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!

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Stupid S!*%# I Did When I was Young. The 80s.

Moon Landing Buzz Aldrin America 1969 Flag Photo credit, Pixabay.

As an avid member of the MTV generation, I saw this sort of image every night.

It was somewhere between 1983 and 1984.  I was fifteen and landed a steady, or, quite regular, babysitting job.  I mean, it was every night and sometimes on the weekends, too.  This couple lived in our apartment complex and had two or three kids.  Yeah, I’m hazy on whether or not there were two brothers, because the one or two of them presented very little problem except once, however, there was also a little girl who still wet the bed and had a pile of dirty clothes in her closet.  These two parents were very busy.

The mother was pretty with dyed blonde hair, and she dressed well.  She worked in retail, you see.  That meant working several nights and weekends.  Her only issue was not being in shape.  The little girl told me someone compared her mom to Santa Claus.  She was also a cheery woman; I liked that.  But the pile of smelly laundry in her daughter’s room bothered me.  Mind you, many of us in that neighborhood had to go to the laundromat to do laundry.  Her daughter was no trouble and very sweet, she just wanted a lot of attention.  Mom worked a lot.

The father was some sort of adjunct professor at night and may have also had a day job; I am not sure.  He also was sometimes gone on weekends; I don’t know why.  I did not find him attractive at all, and he was fairly quiet, and, in my opinion, seemed a little lecherous.  Though that could have been my teenage imagination.  I remember one time I had an out of town relative visiting and had to babysit that Saturday morning.  Expecting to go home at noon and have lunch out with my family made me quite miffed when the dad got back around 3:00 p.m.  He stopped at a store after work to buy a stereo.  I felt like this baby-sitting assignment was taking over my life, but I stuck around for the money.  After all, I just had to be there, the kids went to bed at their assigned time, and I’d get to watch MTV for a couple of hours.

Once, a friend was hanging out with some guys in the neighborhood and brought them by.  I told the kids these guys were my cousins, and I let them come in.  One of them was acting funny.  That’s what the boy said, and he told his parents later.  I don’t know why, and I didn’t suspect foul play; I didn’t really like these guys but thought I’d earn some popularity from letting them ‘hang out.’  It was wrong.  I got a talking to by the parents, but I still had my baby-sitting job.  They were very busy and needed someone to watch their kids, you know.

I hated not having fun on my weekends.  I can’t tell you how many hours I worked for them, but I recall an $80 week and buying a good amount of clothes and shoes.  Some of my friends would want to go and do things on the weekend, but I’d be baby-sitting most of the time. Well, it got to the point where I wanted a weekend off and asked a week ahead of time.  I was told I needed to find a replacement for that weekend.  I had no idea where to turn and did not think that was my responsibility.  So I told them I could not find a replacement, but I was going to take that weekend off.  They found someone else, and she became my permanent replacement.  I wasn’t too upset.  It was too bad I lost the job, and it was 6 to 12 months before I found a real job, but I got to hang out with friends a little more.  I also stopped falling asleep in my first Mod class.  Still, I couldn’t use this job as a reference after the way we parted.  It didn’t seem to me they’d give a glowing recommendation since I felt like I left them in the lurch.  For a while though, I had been feeling trapped in that little apartment with those kids who really needed their parents, not a distracted teenager warming up frozen dinners for them.

Maybe those parents, in time, got where they needed to be and finally were able to be at home more.  I felt sad for their kids; my parents were divorced and Mom had to work odd hours at first, so I understood that.  What I didn’t get was why they were living like that.  Did they really have to?  Two parents in the home; I thought they were being selfish, but maybe that is also my naivete.  Looking back, I know I was more judgmental with the dad, especially when he could have been home to have lunch with his kids but instead went shopping.  My own dad was pretty absent from my life, phoning it all in from long distance and forgetting my birthday more than once.  I still love him, though.

All in all, I learned from the experience.  I suppose the parting needed to happen when it did, and I was the catalyst for that.  Still, I should have quit a good while before that.  I should have given two weeks notice to give them time to replace me.  I wouldn’t have felt so irresponsible.  When I started driving, I worked a few other babysitting jobs but nothing as regular.  That lasted until I got my first real job, that of a fast food cashier and burger slinger.  By then, I had learned the right way to resign from a job.

Maybe I wasn’t so stupid in this situation.  Perhaps I was just an average fifteen year-old, reacting to way too much responsibility put on me too quickly.  I should have been studying more, participating in clubs, and enjoying myself.  Instead, I had a learning experience.  Go figure…

#WeekendCoffeeShare. Where was I?

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Welcome to the Weekend Coffee share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali.  It’s the end of the school year for many of us, and as a teacher, I breathe a sigh of relief.  I got to sit back and chat a bit with fellow teachers at a late lunch commemorating the end of the year.  It was nice, but I left before the part was over so I could get home to finish up assignments for my online class.

Yes, in the midst of working on getting another novel released and wrapping up the school year, I started a course for teaching Gifted students last week.  It actually started on the same day as my 50th birthday!  Fortunately, I did most of my celebrating over the weekend leading up to my birthday.  Here is a post I published here on WordPress where I attempt to humorously deal with turning the BIG 5-0:   A Girl Turns 50    Now, back to this Teaching Gifted course.  It will  last until June 22nd, though it may not seem as tedious next week when I have Weds. through Fri. off work!  I can do this.  I can do this.

After 6/22, I’ll have a few free days for fun.  There is my boyfriend’s birthday and the Pixies concert.  It should be a great time!  Good old eighties music, the best kind!  We’ll be pretty tired the day after the concert, I’m sure, so I planned the book release for two days after the concert.

Yes, Undercurrents in Time, my sequel to Detours in Time, will be releasing on June 26th!

Detours in Time w Award - 3D Book CoverPt2[2371]

Detours in Time, Book 1.

By the way, you can even check-out the pre-order page here for Undercurrents in Time, maybe even pre-order your copy at a reduced price before June 16th:

Undercurrents in Time Available on pre-order

That’s all I have for now!  It seems like plenty on my plate, I shouldn’t try to handle it all at once, but I think I can do this!  I just noticed how short this post is.  It has been another full-cup-of-coffee day, and I still have much more to do.  Have a great week, everyone!

*Weekend Coffee share is hosted at https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/weekendcoffeeshare-theatrics-games-and-potlucks/   where you can check out other fellow bloggers coffee shares and even enter your own for this week.  Check it out!

“A Girl Turns 50,” Top Ten Wishlist

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Photo taken, 1991 at Royal Gorge, Colorado.  The way I still see myself….

On this, my fifitieth birthday, I have ten wishes.  If nothing else, they’re good for a laugh.  Maybe you can identify?  I don’t know how am I fifty, anyway.  Where does the time go?

My Ten Fiftieth Birthday Wishes:

  1. Stick on eyebrows that won’t come off or irritate my skin when I take them off… I haven’t tried the stick-ons because I’m afraid.  That, and I’d suddenly look completely fake. Seriously though, where’d the eyebrows go?  Maybe a temporary tattoo of eyebrows would be better, because there’s no way I’d do a permanent eyebrow tatt, what if it went wrong?
  2. Eye make-up that applies itself.  Honestly, who has time for eyeliner?  Though the eye shadow can hide some wrinkles, I still only have time for it 1-2 days a week.
  3.  An extra pair of hands that will do all the typing I want.  They’ll respond to my every wish, but I will never feel their pain.
  4. A button on my shower that will emit lotion water.  Does that exist?  Well, it should.  Adjust your shower so it only hits you below the chin to avoid the eyes and mouth.
  5. Shoes that will massage your feet with every step.  Come on, that is not unrealistic!  Somebody needs to make this!
  6. For my favorite dress shirts to all be also available in cotton.  It absorbs sweat much more nicely than those other materials.  I could wear something other than t-shirts comfortably.
  7. A portable fan you can sit on your shoulder like a parrot.  It should be lightweight, too.  When a wave of sudden heat hits a gal, sometimes it shows up immediately on the face.  Just push the button and start the fan!  Everyone close by will benefit as well!
  8. Compression pants with extra padding at the hips and the rear area, for when you have to attend meetings sitting on hard chairs after a full day at work, yet you’d rather be on your couch with the feet up.  There should be some magnetic magic in the hip area for those of us with joint issues or arthritis.  Supposedly that helps.
  9. A new law to limit the cost of all band concerts so that I can afford to go to more of them every year.  Indoor/ outdoor, it doesn’t matter.  Music makes everything better and my budget isn’t growing much yearly.
  10. Something to drink on a long flight that will not upset my stomach.  Is there such a thing?  Travel is just not as comfortable as it used to be.  We need to fix that!

Oops, I’m at ten already.  I’m sure I could think of more, for instance, making every workplace dog-friendly and immediately lowering stress levels of all (well most) employees.  However, I promised ten, and ten puls a half is all you will get this time.  Just wait until I turn sixty!

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Here I am, a year ago, in the finest Jimi Hendricks t-shirt of cotton, very little eye make-up, and subtle eyebrows.  (Subtle, LOL)…You’re right, I don’t want to act like a middle-aged woman!

What Mother’s Day Means to Me. #mom

I found this pin in a pile when my mom recently cleaned out her room. Oh, the things she saves! It is about 30 years old and brings back so many memories. My mother is a huge part of who I am as a person, more so than anyone I know. Her faith and her ability to not curse make her seem angelic and very religious, but let me tell you about the quiet rebellion she has instilled in me through all these years.  She has truly shaped who I am as a person.

Independence is something I learned from my mom. I always thought she just developed it because my dad left, but I believe she had it long before then. You see, Mom left home after graduating and lived in Denver, working as a telephone operator. A few years later, she got married and had me; then my brother came along five years later. She returned to work when I was 11 or 12 after she and my dad divorced. As a teen, I grew to admire her for that. She was a proud Union member, which this pin represents. When Dad left, she worked to help support us. Today, I am also a proud Union member, which is why I love this pin. I also hate the kitchen, so I totally agree about a woman’s place!  Worker’s rights are very important to me as well.

Books, books, books!! I love them, maybe because she taught me to love them. Some things are hard to say, and I now write to get a lot of things out. Part of why I think I love books and writing is because Mom shared this with me. She also read just about anything. Stephen King’s Cujo and Firestarter were lying on her night table, so at an early age (12 or 13), I had read them after finding them in her room. There were ugly things and even profanity inside them. It almost seemed taboo, and I was hungry for even more. Perhaps she reasoned that it was better to prepare me for the world in this way. Maybe, she listened to all those people who told her I was precocious, and just let me read what I wanted.  I thank her so much for not trying to keep blinders on me, though I was reading these books long before she let me see R movies….Still, I loved this secret world of knowledge. And life happened, as it does to all of us. It will shock and disappoint, so why restrict our written education? Those books created warriors who arose from horrible situations, except Cujo, which just taught us to be sure your dog gets rabies shots. I hated King for a while, but it sure didn’t stop me from devouring the next Stephen King book!

Thanks Mom, for leaving a door open for me that sparked my imagination, and thank you for being the best example of what I could grow up to be!

I wish everyone a happy and relaxing Mother’s Day!

-Pamela

My Year of Saying “Yes.”

sunrise-sky-blue-sunlight-67832.jpeg  Photo (c) Pixels.

2014 bled into 2015, and the effects of saying yes were amazing on my mind.

I’d say it started mid-2014.  My son graduated from high school and went to live up North with his dad for a while, and I found myself suddenly with more time for…myself.  Summer time was great.  I caught up with old friends and started helping out at a food bank.  It was something I was always curious about.  Several people from my church also volunteered there, so I got to know them a little better.  There was a nagging worry about my son, but guess what, it was always there since he became a teen.  I kept busy.

Eventually, he came back, as things didn’t work out there.  I figured he learned some necessary lessons being away.  Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know if they sank in.  He enrolled in college and had a few more troubles, then withdrew from his classes.  He really went through a rough time, and so did it.  It was hard to accept that his journey into adulthood would be nothing like mine.  There was a sense of loss.  He was not the person he used to be and would not talk to me about things that were going on.  We sought help, but I did not seek help for myself.  Perhaps I should have.  I dealt with it, somehow.

In November, my mom and I spoke seriously about getting a dog.  She and I live with my son in the same house.  He voiced no opinion on the matter.  She went looking one day and told me about the sweetest dog she’d found.  My son was there and did not voice disapproval; he didn’t voice excitement either, but that is nothing new.  It seemed apparent the dog would be my mom’s and my dog.  Two days later I went in and met the dog.  I’d thought about doing this for a few years and always stopped myself because of the new responsibility, the cost, the adjustment, etc.  Well, I decided to accept this as a happy adjustment.  There were so many adjustments that year anyway.  I put down the deposit and went back to get him when his stray hold was over at the shelter.  Let me tell you, a new canine family member is an excellent way to stave off depression.

Around the time, I was asked to serve on the Session at my church.  It is somewhat of a governing board.  Now, I’d grown closer to spiritually, but mostly in the sense of begging God for help, begging for acceptance to enter my soul, begging things would not get any worse than they were.  I’d discussed things with my pastor now and then, and when someone nominated me for this, I discussed my fears with him and what were the positives.  Obviously, when you’re asked to do this, you have to know you are going to be in a place of servitude and can’t just think “What’s in it for me.” However, I didn’t want it to distance me from my son even more, as I was his transportation and he was involved in a few programs to help him get a job and help him sort his life out.  Still, I said yes after deliberation and talks with my pastor.  It was the third time I’d been asked to do this and this time I finally said yes.  I would start my term in January, 2015.  Let me tell you, it was a challenge but rewarding as well.  I am looking back and reflecting on it, because my three year term recently came to an end.  It got me involved in some voluntary activities that I would not have done otherwise, all very rewarding.

During the three years, my son lived in a world separate from me, in our own home, in his mind.  I still made efforts to keep him on the right path.  He was in a state of recovery and did not ask much of me, yet he needed my support.  He would at times accompany me to church events.  I learned a lot while serving on the session, and I felt closer to God.  I frequently was in a state of reflection, and I started writing more.  Poetry had been a sometime hobby for a few years, but I started writing stories.  It was a great escape.

In mid-2015, I bought a little notebook to write down all the zany ideas that popped in my head and disappeared when I later had time to write.  I binge-watched Mad Men that summer, and the character, Don Draper’s transformation and soul-searching inspired me.  I wrote a few stories online that I shared with no one other than the writing platform where they were housed. In early 2016, I started blogging here at WordPress.  It opened a new world to me, and I would respond to photo prompts and communicate with other bloggers who are also writers.  I still benefit from the WordPress community.  I submitted some stories at Wattpad, and while I think their audience wants something different from my brand of stories, I grew some confidence, and I decided to extend one of the stories into a book and self-publish.  Since I had joined an online Writer’s Group, I had learned a little about the process. I am still learning more today.  I really got into a mindset back then of telling myself, “Yes, I can,” and “If not now, when?”  I had put off writing for several years because of hurting in my hands, being busy at work, fogginess in my brain (which was probably a sort of depression).  Writing helped sharpen my brain.  It acted on that problem, and it happened in spite of the first two afore-mentioned problems.  Sing it, “We Shall Overcome.”  That is the story I want to live.

#WeekendCoffeeShare. Staying Afloat

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/  I like completing this challenge weekly, if at all possible.  It helps me to check the gauge somewhat, and process where I am in my writing and life journey.  I apologize for the stressed tone in the first few paragraphs; there is relief if you read through, I promise!

I am sad to say I didn’t write much this week, except for a flash fiction at the start of the week based on a photo prompt.  What came out was sad and maybe a little bit touching.  You may find it here: Flawed Magic Men You know, it’s disillusioning when the faults of a a person you look up to as a small child become revealed little by little.   I’ll have a cheerful story another week!  Other than that, I’ve been so busy I can’t write, and I’ve only been able to read a little bit but not every night.  Still, a manuscript of mine is in the hands of a beta-reader, so my words are making progress!  I’ll be happy for that.

The aforementioned state of being busy was due to work, of course.  I’ve grumbled about the state of education already as of late, but I’ll just say I had a suggestion on how to do things.  I tried to plan it to make it work, and my plans were great, but I ended up working until 6:20 one day.  Getting home at 7 p.m. is just no good.  Seriously, I go to bed at 10 p.m.!  I still brought paperwork home and dealt with some of that while eating dinner.  Yikes!  It was quite frustrating.  I felt so behind on the paperwork because I took a day off Wednesday.  That day was great, in the morning.  I did a lot of social media and planning for my author strategy.  Rarely do I get to do that.  However, the afternoon was spent at the dentist, which gets my shoulders in a knot.  Never a good thing.

So, my mother sent me today to go to a flotation tank type spa.  Escape!  My body gets very tense with the events of my day and week.  Letting the words flow when I get home is great for my mind, but still may overuse the wrist, arm, bicep, etc.  My lifestyle is demanding in this way.  Though I have to remember to skip coffee next time, I did lose track of time and my body loved floating.  I felt like a mermaid!  I definitely came out of there with much less tension in my joints or worry on my mind.  I will certainly go again, just to see what it’s like with the door closed!  Baby steps….

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So, the moral of today’s post, is “I shall rise.”  Have a great weekend, everyone!