Summer Time Promises

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I woke up before 7 this morning.  The trouble is, I was up until 12:00 last night and I was tired.  The bright sunlight was hitting my sensitive eyes, and even though I still saw faces of my dream people from last night, my brain was telling me, “You can’t sleep much longer.”  It’s just as well.  Those dream faces were spooky.  So maybe I don’t need to get thicker drapes after all!  I certainly need to re-adjust my sleep habits.  Lack of sleep can make a person anxious.  I’d much rather wake up calm, feeling well-rested.  As an educator, I get the summer off (Or, I work a fun job for the summer, but not this year).  This leads into my first promise to myself.  I am creating a list of promises that I must keep this summer, since they are all related to my mental and physical health.  Putting them in writing is the first step to making them a reality.  So, here they are:

  1.  Start going to bed earlier.  My son will be getting up early for work anyway, so I might as well.  Plus, if I get up earlier, I can get in on the beauty of morning sunlight!
  2. Witness at least one sunrise this summer.  It could be on a walk with my dog, or an early trip to the beach, very early, that is.
  3. Since I am bothered by the morning light in my eyes, having a bedroom that gets light from the east in the a.m., I won’t write (or edit) as much at that time; I think I’ll get myself on a schedule, and these morning hours would be great for, an outdoor walk with the dog!  Reading on the treadmill at the gym! Reading on the couch! Maybe I’ll watch my X-files reruns or Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix in the other room.  That’s just a few.
  4. Cleaning and organizing around the house.  Because of writing my latest ebook and setting a goal that my pride wouldn’t let me forget, I kind of let a few things go.  It’s time to sweep up again, to say the least!
  5. Yoga, twice a week, or more
  6. Work on the 200 page manuscript I hope to publish in a year
  7. Blog more regularly.  I’d like to contribute to Jacqueline’s Thursday “Around the Neighborhood” photo posts! (She is the blogger behind acookingpotandtwistedtales.com)
  8. Send a short story to a paying publication
  9. Get a little sun, without getting sunburned
  10. Fun!  Hear an awesome live band
  11. That spa day I have been putting off
  12.  Spend social time with some friends I haven’t spent time with in a while
  13. Dance.  Even if just once!

14. Number 14 is pretty ambitious and I may have to let it go if it doesn’t work out.  My 20 year old son does not converse with me much anymore.  I would like to get him to read one of my stories, and/or, get him to perhaps write a story of his own.  He has a way with words, and the imagination, but it has been seriously blocked for a few years.  The other option is to have him help contribute to my manuscript, because I am writing an explosion scene and really want to get it right!  He has read all sorts of military dramas and told me he’d be able to explain it.

15. Let’s not forget:  reading!  I am part of a book club.  I love to read.  Summer is the best time to do this!

16. This follows on the tail of #15, because reading is just about the only thing I do without trying to multi-task.  I want to spend more time giving all of my attention to doing one thing, and doing it well.  Be it writing, promoting my writing, cooking dinner, and talking on the phone (I have to get better about that)!  I will be so much more relaxed if I can follow through on this goal, even if just for the summer.

17.  Get a passport to replace the one that expired years ago.  This is important to my mental health, because it is part of a dream.  I want to travel abroad.  Maybe this one little step will motivate me to work and save for it.  It most certainly is a practice in optimism!

Is that all?  Well, I am sure something else will be added, but I have to make sure I meet all of these first!

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The Book Trailer Journey! #selfpublishing #newrelease

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“Seeing Through Sampson’s Eyes,” sci-fi

My second Kindle ebook is now live for download at Amazon! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GNNCHHQ  Downloadable for 2.99, or free in Kindle Unlimited!  I feel like it is more action-packed and suspenseful than the first.  This is less romance, and more coming of age, sci-fi, in a technologically advanced future, though it is somewhat of a sequel to my first book.   A twenty year old searches for her identity.  And flirts with danger.  (Didn’t we all)?  Here, I am documenting my humorous, albeit frustrating journey to get a book trailer out on social media beforehand to promote it….

6/06: 7:48 a.m. Facebook post:  Finished a cool book trailer video for my sequel, and my laptop ate it….or maybe The Cloud ate it? It’s gone. Next time, I’ll feed it cookies first. ‪#‎backtostepone‬ ‪#‎learnbytrialanderror‬

Evening of 6/06, Inner monologue:  Okay, I have the bare bones outline still saved from 5 days ago.  I’ll just add to that.  Have to change Dr. Parington’s photo.  Add my book cover at the start and end of the video.  Edit captions, make font bigger.  Add music.  Slow down 3rd and 5th frames.  Add Amazon link (Now live) for the Kindle book.  Save.  Double check saving. (Can’t lose again, please, not again.)  This music is perfect.  Now, upload to Youtube.  Why is the little red-haired girl the main visual (thumbnail, that’s what they call it)? She’s too cute.  This video conveys suspense.  Oh, I can change the thumbnail.  (Sees only two other options, neither are any more representative of the tone I want to communicate.  Uggg!)  Okay, I’ll abandon the idea of changing the thumbnail.  Maybe I’ll figure that out someday.

*Saves again.  Crashes, way past bedtime.*

6/07: 8:01 a.m. So, I need to use some wording that conveys that this is not a cutesie little story,  despite the thumbnail, but rather, that it is more suspenseful and intense.  Got it.

Facebook post:  “Book trailer finished! The cute redhead will now lead you through the rabbit hole: ‪#‎KindleEbooks‬ ‪#‎Newrelease‬ ‪#‎indiewriter‬ ‪#‎scifi‬ https://youtu.be/PQuKD6LUZGY  This is a sequel, but could be read alone.  Thank you for watching!”   *I think I better hurry and log off so I can get to work!*

After all that trouble,  I’ve had many compliments on my book trailer!  All because I did not give up.  And I won’t.  Ever.

It was referred to as “intense” and “the best I’ve seen.”  Now it has been viewed 43 times.  This is one way to spread the word about my book!  Now, please, go watch the trailer! http://youtu.be/PQuKD6LUZGY     And maybe, just maybe, download and read the book!

*Photo courtesy of canva.comUntitled design(16)

The Smell of Summer, a.k.a, Hanging with Mom

Inspired by writerswrite.com prompt, “Write about the smell of summer.”

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1989.  In Vicky and Luverne’s tree, MN.

I’ve been wanting to write about my mom lately, anyway; she’s been having a reawakening of sorts, so this prompt fits right in!  My answer to the smell of summer would be, sunscreen.  The smell has always made me feel beautiful and relaxed, maybe because it signifies a relaxing day at the beach and the slight sunny glow that results (no burn, please).  Well, lately, my mom has smelled of sunscreen quite often!  This in itself makes her seem 20 years younger.  She used to wear perfume a lot, and being allergic, I always asked her to tone it down.  I do not associate the smell of perfume with youth; scented lotion is much better.  But now, she more often smells of sunscreen than not.  It is all part of her new goal of being active and getting OUT.

My 75 year old mother should give lessons on how to stay young.  Besides working part-time in a grocery store, she has been going to a Senior Center for a couple years now, and made several friends.  She usually goes to their exercise classes.  I’ve accompanied her once or twice, and I would say, they are really exercising, and it’s sort of fun.  They go to coffee afterwards, and they are a delightful bunch.  One of them is writing a book, like I am, and another loves to read everything, even Fifty Shades of Gray. (She’s 80, by the way).  I believe this group of friends is part of what keeps my mom young and active.  But that’s not all…

She started chatting with our neighbor, longer than necessary.  Yep, I’m sure other neighbors are looking and thinking, something’s going on there.  Well, he’s not yet 60, somewhere in his 50s.  But who cares, it’s just talking, right?  Well, it is, isn’t it?  I told her not to get drunk around him; I think she has already broken that rule.  Well, yeah, she drinks socially now, more than before, but I’m not here to judge.  In fact, she had two-for- one margaritas when we went out for Mexican the other night, and got really silly.  Heaven forbid I tell her what to do, but I did suggest she slow down and drink more water. (She didn’t).  My son spoke up and said he’d drive her car home.  Bless his soul.  I got past the urge to set limits for her, when I came home one day and they were outside the garage, standing there, chatting, shooting the breeze.  I should explain, I live with her; we bought a house 8 yrs. ago, and my now 20 year old son lives there, too.  So, on this particular day, I drove into the driveway, and said, “Hey, kids!”  Well, that’s just what they looked like!  As if they sneaked out to see other, young love in the works.  They both laughed and Mom loved the role reversal.  So I’ve decided to let her have her moments.  If this makes her feel good, it is not my place to limit what she is doing or judge it.

He bikes a lot, and eventually they went biking together, for a 6 mile ride.  She has since become quite regular with it, and if he’s working or busy, she goes by herself, for 6 to 9 miles.  So evidently, the new habit is sticking, and she won’t be relying on him to go bike riding with her.  She seems determined to seek out her own happiness and not depend on any man for it.  I say, Go Girl!  Last week, she bought a new bike.  I don’t think she needed it, but it sure is a sweet ride and seems very comfortable.  Sometimes she is up before me in the morning, and gets out riding her bike before I have even showered.  With the advent of summer and the heat, she started wearing sunscreen.  One night I noticed the sunscreen smell and realized it was her. The scent of the beach came to mind, relaxation, sunshine, and lazy waves.  But most of all, a feeling of youth.

The photo above is of me and my mother, in 1989.  We’d climbed a tree on my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Minnesota.  She said she did it just to prove she could.  What a happy memory.  She and I laughed about it the other day, because she couldn’t get back down!  (I think someone had to help her).  But this is one thing that keeps my mother young, and I hope it has rubbed off on me.  She doesn’t exclude herself from anything because of her age.  Sure, we had a good laugh about the tree, but she did prove that she could get up there, so who cares about getting down!  She still has a youthful attitude towards throwing caution to the wind.  And a somewhat innocent belief that things will turn out just fine.  That was a wonderful summer memory.  I don’t see it as the past, either, it is just another example of how my mother has lived, and still does, live her life with an attitude that keeps her young.  So the smell of sunscreen is still something I associate with beauty, relaxation, and youth.  And now I often detect it on my mother:  the smell of summer.

Summery Blog Party Live Link…Come on in!😊🙌🎡🎶🎼🍭🍕🍡

Come on in, let’s get this party started. You are most welcome. Do make yourself comfortable. Refreshments are nicely arranged down the page: Drinks, Chocolates, Cakes, Donuts, freshly squeez…

Source: Summery Blog Party Live Link…Come on in!😊🙌🎡🎶🎼🍭🍕🍡

The stamped, addressed envelope

 

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5-26-16:  I just put it in the mail today, and I had struggled over the decision to fax it or not.  The deciding factor was that I would not have to explain to anyone what I was sending, would not risk them seeing what I was sending, had I gone to a Kinko’s or faxed it from my work office.  It would bring up my awkward, conflicted thoughts.  Now it may take longer, but it’s so much easier to lick the envelope, seal it and stamp it, and then send it  without a word to anyone.  I won’t have to hide these feelings when I stand in awkward silence, or feel I have to try to explain to someone that I am letting go of a dream.

I just sent the notice to cancel my son’s college fund, and to get a refund on the remaining amount.  At first, it was a glorious feeling, knowing I’d have that money coming in to pay for a summer vacation, and to fund my summer of doing nothing but writing, promoting my writing, and doing other enjoyable things.  It was a relief.  But the reality of sealing and stamping the envelope just brought up these conflicted feelings.  You see, it made me look back.  Back at how he loved going to the college campus but would not keep up with his studies, and the frightening alcohol overdose that landed him into the E.R and into a downward spiraling depression during that first term of college.   This was on top of some of the problems he was already having.  Of course, he withdrew, and didn’t do much, until, a year later, he tried college again.  He struggled in his classes and could not keep up again, told me I was not helping him enough, then told me to leave him alone when I tried to help.  I’d already decided I would not pay for a tutor.  I had done that through his high school years.  The college fund that paid for his tuition was opened by me when he was an infant and I made payments for 18 years.  It was hard to look at him losing a grasp on that dream I had for him.  It was sad as well, because he really enjoyed the open campus and just being there.  After dropping out, he once again, was not doing much, and appeared to feel lousy about himself for a while.

Enter the job opportunity.  A friend of the family helped him get a full-time job.  It earns entry level pay, but there are opportunities for advancement and technical training.  He is doing some really hard dirty work and is enjoying it.  He never complains! I’m amazed.  Recently, I decided to accept that he wasn’t going to college, and to cash in the college fund, depositing it into a retirement account.  Well, it makes sense to set some aside for this unemployed summer that I am about to enter.  I really do need a rest, but not only that, I really do want to continue writing and drumming up interest for my work, because that encourages me to write more.  You may have figured out that writing is my passion.

It took me a couple of days to mail this thing, but, I guess, I am using it to pursue my dreams.  Some of it will go into my retirement account.  I’m trying to feel better about this again.  It is not only going to help me pursue my dreams,  it also represents my letting go, as hard as this is, a dream I constructed for someone else, someone who needs the freedom to construct his own dreams.

There are so many different ways to let go.  Ways we have to let go.  The final step in this scenario was for me to let that stuffed envelope go that I’ve been holding onto for days.  There is really no way we can foresee the future for our children, or the roads they will take.  But we can have faith, that it will be a blessed path, where every misstep leads to wisdom, laughter, or important lessons learned.

AustenBabyAndMe.96.16841_1312867349399_3054698_n  1996.  Loved then, still loved now. ❤

Re-posting. Tumbler 101 for Authors

I’m still trying to figure out this Tumblr thing, and how it could be useful to me.  It is very visually distracting and draws a person in.  Now, how do I draw them in to my Tumblr site and the info. about my published book?  Does anyone use tumblr as an author?  Please share your thoughts and some of your experiences, as I am just starting out!

I will have to read this one a few times, but it seems pretty thorough, and I thought I’d share:

http://selfpublishingteam.com/tumblr-101-for-authors-guest-post/

Not for Me, the Wives’ Social Circle

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*Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Have you ever felt like a caged bird?  I’ve even felt that way in the midst of several other people.  They didn’t seem to be caged.  At times, I was just accustomed to it, and I made do, laughing and enjoying myself.  Though I must admit, there was always an underlying feeling of being trapped, and perhaps, a knowledge that I chose this trap myself.  This entry is not about marriage being horrible, and it is not to rant about the atrocities of my marriage, nor is it to slam the wives I was acquainted with while married.  It is just my experience, brought up by a thought that popped in my head after eighteen years, “Where are they today?”

This social circle of wives was something that formed whenever our husbands all went out together, or when there were celebrations, such as my son’s second birthday, or someone moving to a new house.   We bonded when our husbands made long treks to refill on beer or liquor so the party could go on. It made sense, though.  Most of our husbands had worked together in the Navy.  Many of them got out in their early twenties to pursue education, a job, a life in one place.  This was the age when we were getting engaged and married, and then pregnancies and babies came along.  We were all around the same age.  I was cut off from my high school friends.  Part of it is how shy I was in high school, another is, I never really attempted to keep in touch with any but maybe two close friends.  I can gladly say I’ve gotten better about that, though.

I started thinking about our little group of wives lately.  I just wondered about “The Millers,” whose baby was born weeks after I took my toddler with me and left my husband.  I even spoke to Mrs. “Miller” after leaving him, trying to be friendly by phone, explaining my side of the story since my husband was incredulous as to why I’d want to leave our marriage.  She gave advice.  Lots of advice, that mentioned seeing my husband, dating him, but living separate.  I was not interested in seeing him or dating him; I was interested in piecing my identity back together without him.  He was not to be trusted with my deepest thoughts; it seemed he would always twist them and use them against me.  I spoke to one other wife, “Mrs. Smith,” whose husband left her a few months after I left mine, and it was mentioned that they were partying together, hinting that maybe my husband’s newfound freedom looked good to him and influenced him to leave.  They also had a child, a one year old, at home.  Now, all of these friends drank heavily.  I am not implying that Navy men are heavy drinkers.  There are some who are not.  My ex-husband simply did not seek them out as friends.  I think I heard him refer to them as nerds, or too straight arrow.

It is not surprising that Mrs. Miller would encourage me to stay with my then husband; her own husband had already put her through all kinds of financial hell, and she stayed, for whatever reason, and that’s her own business.   Not surprising either that Mrs. Smith hinted at my ex-husband’s influence in her husband leaving her.  You see, it came out that she never trusted my husband.  She mentioned his “beady eyes,” and that when he came around (before we met), she knew that he and her husband were going to get drunk and rowdy.  What must she have thought of me?  Did they all think that?  Poor Pam, quiet, patient, she has to put up with all this.  Why does she put up with all this?  She must not feel she deserves any better.  I was a part of a circle of wives who looked down on me.  Who could blame them?  I sure didn’t choose my own friends.  There were many times I felt fear and desperation that I could share with no one, but my mother.  She herself worried that I had no one to really confide in.  At least, toward the end of our marriage, I was chummy with a young woman at work, and a man, who was married and I had no intention of fooling around with, yet it buoyed my spirit being his friend, and feeling I had an identity out of what my husband would choose for me.  Yes, I told my husband about these friends.  Needless to say, they were never invited over for dinner.  He tried to make me feel guilty for having a male friend, and to convince me the young woman must be too wild, because she hangs out at a certain country bar.

So, it is apparent that the wives’ club was in existence for convenience.  Throwing a party meant my husband’s friends and their wives were coming over. It was nice to have gals to talk to that were in similar experiences as mine as far as house buying, family planning, new parenthood.  But when I left my husband, it became apparent that they did NOT see me as a person separate from him.  I could not befriend them.  He would always be a fixture in our conversations.  When my best friend from high school moved back into town, as her husband’s job took them all over the Northeast for years, we’d get together and talk about what a loser my ex was, and yes, hers too. (He eventually became her ex).  We’d talk about what we wanted in a man, without any guilt.  We’d share book recommendations of women standing up for themselves and starting new lives.  That is what a true friend does.  When you envision ill-fortune befalling your ex, it’s so good to tell someone, and have her laugh with you, and say, I get it.  You are not judged; you are encouraged to share.  One good, understanding friend; that is better than belonging to any group of women.

It is only with a small hint of sadness that I think of them, and where their children are now.  College?  Marriage?  Good lives?  Hopefully not trouble?  I don’t pick up the phone or try to contact them on Facebook.  I am a different person now.  I will leave that life behind.  If I should run into them, I will smile and ask all the details about their children; I will truly wish them well.  After eighteen years divorced, I have developed my own circle of friends, through work, church,  former employment, even some high school friends with the help of Facebook.  That, again, is better than belonging to a circle of wives.  I may or may not be a wife again, and there’s nothing negative I imply about being a wife.  The point is, what I want to be is a loving person, a friend, a writer, a lover of life, dog lover, poet, and maybe the best I can be as a teacher.  That’s it; it is all I need to be part of, and I meet many lovely people in my life, several that I would call friends!