#WeekendCoffeeShare. Top 10 Sounds Accompanying my Morning

Noting the sounds around me is part of a mindfulness exercise from the book, Mindfulness Journal for Beginners. This exercise can help you to be more in the moment, especially if you are a worrier or an overthinker like I am. Here’s my top 10 for this morning:

1. I woke up hearing my son’s steps in the hall on his way to work. That gives me an idea of the time, and there was no need to sleep late, I had a good night’s sleep!

2. The pitter-patter of my dog’s feet on the tile floor, excited to wake me up, or is he urgently needing to get outside?

3. My dog’s sneeze and snuffle as he’s telling me he wants to go out. He doesn’t use his bark much to communicate, but rather, uses facial expressions and other sounds.

Bixby loves to move!

4. Geese flying overhead as I step out back with the dog. Those geese just love Northeast Florida, don’t they?

5. Soft rain drops, not even a sprinkle;  well, actually,  I  think it is just drips from the roof. No…now it is sprinkling. A peaceful sound.

6. Some construction machine,  probably blocks away, but not a bothersome sound.

7. My Keureg Coffee machine brewing my half-caff Hazelnut. Yes, it’s time for a coffee day! You may have whatever you like!

8. A Youtube mix containing Of Monsters and Men hits, one of my favorite bands. The urgent Winter Sound will wake you up and fill you with determination; the mysterious Slow Life could just take you into deep sleep. The lyrics of many of their new songs are quite thought-provoking. I may switch to Miles Davis when the coffee is done brewing.

9. There is the usual tick-tock of the clock, but I can drown it out by turning the music up, and sometimes that is what I prefer.

10. If this were a real coffee shop, I’d hear the lull of voices discussing how good their coffee is, our wildest dreams and goals (owning a farm with many dogs and creating a writers’ camp, becoming a comedienne), or the antics of an interesting member in their family. It all sounds good, as I am vowing to have some me time later and not to focus much on my job today.

Okay, I suppose I must share one thought from my week, as I challenge myself to form a mindset that helps me survive the everyday stress and the pandemic distance:

“Don’t grow up too fast, but if you must, save the good moments of your childhood: running through sprinklers, dressing up as imaginary characters, laughing at ridiculous things. They will help you through many hard times as an adult.” -Pamela S. Canepa

Or, to quote a more famous author: “Don’t grow up too fast, Darling. Age is inevitable, but if you nurture a childlike heart, you’ll never, ever grow old.” -Beth Hoffman

My most important goal.

How are things in your world? I thank you for stopping by. Have a great weekend and an even better week!

The Coconut Village, A Self-Love Story

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I had just spent a whole year single after a devastating break-up.  My job came through with a bonus at the end of the year, so I was going to travel.  The Bahamas became my destination.  Beautiful beaches, 80 degree weather, sunshine, and beautiful people with rich accents would fill my vision and my world for a few days.  Travel by cruise ship was my choice.  As we are stuck in our various hometowns due to COVID right now, it does me some good to look back on these memories.

It didn’t take long to decide who I would take.  There was no one I really wanted to go with me, no girls-gone-wild trip for me, and I wasn’t convinced I’d want to meet a man on a cruise ship.  This vacation was for ME.  I didn’t want to leave my ten-year-old son with my ex-husband, though, so I took him with me.  He was such a great kid for a ten-year-old.  I did not regret my choice.

Being the only adult in my partner, I got to make the decisions on where we would go, what tours we would take.  It all worked out! I kept track of my charge, planned our tours and agenda, and still had fun.  We took a tour of Queen Mary’s steps, a flamingo farm, and other lovely sites. Then, we took time to enjoy a beach a little bit away from the tourist hotels.

I paid for a cab which was more like a mini-van that could hold several people.  We found our beach that was riddled with gnarled trees, white sand, and coconut trees.  We sat, waded in the water, he swam, and I just wanted to relax on my towel.  Looking back, I feel as though I forgot to worry about a thing in the world, except keeping an eye on my son; but he was keeping track of where I was and did not want to wander either. I was home base.  I don’t remember us arguing about a single thing on that trip.

After a while, a woman is walking by and says to me, “Do you want’cha hair braided?”

“How much?” I ask.

“Six dollars per braid.”

“How about the whole head, just across the front?”

“Fifty dollars.”

I pulled the cash out of my pocket and said, “Okay.”  I explained to my son that I could not turn my head, and he HAD to stay in my sight.  He did. He sat and gathered some coconuts.  She began to braid. We talked about my son, her family, where I was from, and I forgot to worry about her fingers in my hair.  I forgot to worry about people I don’t know walking up to me.

A man came up with a box. “Coconut and rum! Two dollars.”  I forked out the money and forgot to worry about drinking something from a box carried by a man on the beach.  It was tasty.  I forked out more money and I don’t know how many I had, but nothing too crazy.

My son started going a little further and gathering more coconuts, adding in what I drank from.  I bought him his own coconut (minus the rum) to enjoy the coconut milk. He kept gathering more and when he had gone a little too far, came back when I called.  I explained that he had to stay safe and I couldn’t get right up.  When she finished my hair, I looked like a blonde Caribbean girl, or just like me trying to look Caribbean? It was cute, anyhow. 🙂

As it got closer to evening than afternoon, we had to walk back to find another cab.  No problem.  We got into a cab that was full of young guys having a party time.  Oh great, I thought.  They were a little noisy, but I joined in as they started singing old Motown hits.  It was so fun, and my son just looked at me and laughed. I can still picture the look on his face.

The next day, we woke up on the cruise ship and went to the pool.  I just took in the sunshine and the breeze. I was a little hungover.  He sat there quietly. When he went in the pool, he told me where he was going. I kept my eyes open, still relaxed, and soon, our dinner table partners, a woman with her grandson, came up and said hi, so my son had someone to play with in the pool.  He had a ball, and I sat there and relaxed.

It was a buffer time between a bad break-up and my son’s angst-riddled, terrible teens.  But this vacation served to show me there are rewards when you just let yourself do WHAT YOU WANT to do. It also gave me a focus to look back on when those teen years happened, to remind me that, yes, my son really is a good person, and we can get along quite well. Sometimes, making time for my son has been an important act of self-love.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share, Of Holiday Celebrations and Cryptozoology

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. It has been a crazy hectic week, I survived it, and I have added even more dreams to my life bucket list! Pull up a chair and your favorite beverage while I sip a V8 and we talk about surviving work, reaching for goals, and the things we want to do one day!

Seriously, I’ve been grading essays at breakfast and multi-tasking every part of my life this week. It’s nuts! The essays aren’t done. I’ve survived Halloween (and a surprise visit by school admins that involved 90% of my students participating and doing just WHAT THEY SHOULD IN CLASS, HOW PLEASANT!) I  also volunteered at a middle school dance, just for a while. I let some of the girls paint a spider on my hand at the face-painting station. It looked sort of awesome! I didn’t have to work too hard at the dance, but there are always the few kids who want to run around or go piggy back while I chide them sternly to go and dance, envisioning someone hitting their head on that hard floor. We’d like to avoid that… I’ve also been trying to help coordinate some volunteer events for students in the NJHS club, which takes planning, for sure! So, I’m ready to have a weekend where I do fun things for myself with the people I love and enjoy spending time with. Essays will have to wait until Sunday, today I will start with ME.

Did you know there is a Cryptozoology & Paranormal Museum in Littleton, NC? It’s an 8 mile drive for me. I was searching fun Bigfoot sites this morning. No essay grading today! I came across mention of this museum. Having visited a Fan film Star Trek stage a few weeks ago, I want to do more of the same! I can’t bungee jump and don’t have time to plan visits to Europe. A girl’s gotta have something. Geek life it is! I want to be around people who are so enthusiastic about something, either paranormal or historical. (My other choice is the Joan of Arc Society and parade in New Orleans on her birthday, happening every year, January 6th). That, and I want to take some Improv classes. Seriously! “Baby…didn’t want parades just passing by her…” (Thank you, Melissa Manchester)! When will I do all this?   Well, I have summers off and two weeks for Winter Break…

But for this weekend, I have my writing dream going. Undercurrents in Time in audiobook is in final quality assurance stage. The narrator said she “loves this book” and enjoyed reading it. I feel in love with it again as I listened to her narration. It is a dreamy narrative, as it is sci-fi, but focuses a lot on the character and motivations of Tabitha and her need to escape. Hmm, haven’t we all been there? Imagine hanging out with your great niece when she is grown, something you’d never live to see, or learning the future of your troubled brother.

Regrettably, I’ve been so busy and worn down that I haven’t written much fiction on this blog lately.  Maybe I’ll have time with the upcoming holidays.  Here is a link to the last one I wrote, if you just discovered my blog or haven’t seen this one yet (it promises a good dose of ‘weird’: Maverick-Light and Shadow. 

Well, it has pleasant chatting with you here on my front stoop in the rare 60 degree weather in Jacksonville, Fl.  Maybe I got a little sun on my face!  How was your week?  I appreciate you stopping by!

It’s Here! #audiobook

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Another ‘author’s firsts’ challenge unlocked!  Detours in Time, the sci-fi time-travel novel, is now available in audiobook!  I have been so excited about this, and editing was a bear!  I think the narrator and I were both a little perfectionistic with this project. Hopefully that means a better product for the reader, err, listener.  Check out the audiobook, get your copy, or start your trial or membership at this link: Detours in Time Audiobook

Detours in Time has earned thirty positive reviews so far, and has earned critical acclaim:

2017- Earned the Literary Titan award

2018- Received Reader’s Favorite 5 star sea;

2018- Earned the title of ‘Official Selection’ in New Apple Summer E-book awards, Young Adult Sci-fi/Horror

Detours in Time pairs professor Milt Braddock with the younger Pinky (Tabitha), a dancer and artist, on a trip to the future that will test their resolve and their steadfast friendship.  Hailed by reviewers as “a great way to spend a few hours in both another world and another time!” –Tome Tender Book Blog

The narrator is Emory Stegmer, a musician, reporter, and Flight Software Lead with NASA.  He is fairly new to fiction narration, but his accents are the bomb!  You can check out his Twitter at @VAXHeadroom if you’re curious.

#Weekend Coffee Share. Of Coffee…. and Books!

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8 a.m.- Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at eclecticali.wordpress.com! Today is the day of my first ever book-signing, something I have been dreaming of since I first decided I might like being a writer at age twenty. Pardon me if I am a little distracted….I will be adding to this post later, after the book signing, so that I can tell you how it went! For now, I have half a cup of coffee with cream, as I am sure to grab a cup later at the coffee shop directly across from the bookstore, San Marco Books.

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I’ll be signing my novel, Detours in Time, and the sequel, Undercurrents in Time. Detours in Time is my pride and joy. Undercurrents is also special to me, but with a different tone and focus. It’s like knowing you want liquorice, but today you want red liquorice, and yesterday only black liqourice would do. I’ll be signing the books at a lovely little indie bookstore in the best of areas, sitting at a table at the front of the store on a beautiful day in Florida! Excuse me, I need to stop talking about it and actually do this!

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10 p.m.- Okay, so the day is now over! I had more than half a cup of coffee. However, I had no more than that. A friend offered to get me something at the sandwich shop across the street, and I asked for sweet tea. It got me a little wired. Perhaps that was due to my already being nervous and excited. It worked out though. The weather was wonderful. I had lots of supportive friends come out, some I hadn’t seen in quite a while, and I talked to plenty of new people about my books, passing out postcards with my website info. This one friend really surprised me though:

Turns out, a few of my friends surprised me by wearing t–shirts they got made just for the occasion! My heart was aflutter. Just for me? I have the best friends in the world, and I feel so loved! They gave my mom a shirt as well, since she is my number one supporter and fan!

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This day was a dream come true. Do you know just how long I’ve dreamed of this? My heart is full!

Follow the current Weekend Coffee Shares here:  Weekend Coffee Share 11/03

No Two are the Same.

Middletown, Rhode Island sunrise.

The air is cool and the birds are waking up, singing their happiest tune. They flitter from rooftop to rooftop.

Slowly, the tip of the bright, round orb appears. A fully dressed, perfect twenty-something couple walks, then stops in front of the hotel next to my Dad’s apartment. They probably had just gone out for coffee and are staying somewhere along this tourist strip. Luckily, they got quiet.

My son and I are here for four days, staying with my dad in his small, minimalist apartment in a tourist area that is just a walk from the beach. He took us on a sailboat yesterday. Minus 20 minutes of queasiness , it was beautiful and awesome. Add to that the fact that I met today’s goal: waking up to see a strange sunrise. It is not just new, for every sunrise is new. It is strange, as it is occurring in a place I’ve never been and a spot where I’ve never sat before. Sure, I’ve been to RI, but I missed the sunrise, and I certainly never sat on this stoop before!

I can’t tell you this sunrise is better than those back home, since I usually drive to the beach for sunrise. It adds an element of color and vastness you just don’t see surrounded by buildings. However, in this island/inlet area, the beach near us is in the direction of the South. So what do you get? A totally different sunrise experience, and that is just what I wanted.

Every sunrise is unique to its area, like its own fingerprint, in a sense. This leads in to one of my bucket list goals: to observe the sunrise in 50 different cities. Before today, I had achieved maybe 4 cities. (Yeah, I came about this goal in the last two years). I’m happy to say I achieved this leg of the goal, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!