Beach Meditation

No words to scream today,

But I am writing again, I have thoughts

As I meditate with each step, each noticing is my prayer of thanks:

For soreness in my legs, for water that reaches for my toes, for foamy surf that comes and goes

For soft sand caressing each step of my feet

A low radio playing a happy beat

For waves that invite and dare, crashing down every which way

And the slight trickle of sweat down my back as I turn when it’s time to walk away.

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, 7/20. Writing, Living, and Hanging with the Dog.

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali

It has been another really hot week, but I have managed.  Several days were half cup days, one day iced coffee, and today was a glorious full brewed cup of coffee day! You may drink whatever you like, my friend.  I’m sorry you missed the dog-walking this morning.  We ran into two neighbors with dogs, and after the initial barks and noise, I walked with them, and the dogs all got into line, like going on a walk with their brothers/sisters.  It was great.  Now to cool off.  Let’s sit down for a few minutes…

My days have been a joyous celebration of mostly introvert heaven and a little bit of friendship time. There is the joy of deciding for myself what I’ll do each day. Coffee hour on the front porch (usually cut short by the heat); my dog enjoys sitting there off the leash, sniffing the air and making noise at passersby. There’s beach time, no more than once a week, but having gone three times this summer so far, it is still more than the usual Sept. to May time frame. Reading hour, writing hour, social media/blog/book news time, Netflix hour during lunch (as I have already binged all that I will binge for this summer. I’m looking at you, Ozark, Stranger Things,  and Seasons 1-2 of The Handmaid’s Tale); then there’s exercise HALF hour with yoga hour twice in the week. I’ve taken to walking with my dog in the park or walking on the beach in sockless sneakers for a half hour. It’s a great way to get a tan without being a target for sunburn. So, I think I have divided my time in a healthy way, with occasional visits to our nearby sports bar where I play trivia. They have an awesome chicken wrap for dinner, and my son likes to go there, too, so that takes care of dinner!

Many folks I know are planning or are on vacation, and I’m just waiting until the end of July for a short St. Augustine getaway. I’m saving money though, so I am thinking about places to go this Winter and maybe a family trip next summer.

Author Progress Notes(2) My new graphic!

On the author front, I’ve pretty much wrapped up most of the writing I wanted to do.  The Malachi manuscript is with a beta reader now, and I get random ideas for the Ellie manuscript now and then, so I am writing them down.  I get what I think are excellent ideas for dialogue, so I have a jumbled mess in her Word doc, so at some point I will need to make an outline.  I know how it begins and how I want it to end, the rest will come to me.  I made the graphic above in a burst of coffee fueled energy, and the joke is, it contains an outline, as if I planned everything ahead! You can see from the statement before this, I am largely a pantser and only plan when I know I have to tame the wild weeds growing rampant in the lush field of my mind.  Actually, the joke should come after my next paragraph, so I suppose I’m just being ironic today.  🙂  Maybe there will come a day when I’ll follow the outline.  Are you shaking in suspense?

DetoursInTimeAudible Coming Soon In Audiobook! This is the audio bookcover.

The Detours in Time audible version should be done in August or July, and I have put Undercurrents in Time up in ACX.com for auditions.  I’d like it to be released shortly after the Detours in Time audible version.  Seems like a sound decision.  I also added Made for Me, my first published fiction book (novella length) to a group effort of selling our .99 books.  Made for Me is light sci-fi that describes what a “weird date” might be like in the future and then explores the relationship that fellows, a sort of societal taboo.

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If you’d like to learn more or download Made for Me, a light read with an unexpected ending, it can be found on Amazon, Made for Me on Amazon

It is also available at other retailers such as B&N, Kobo, and Apple by clicking this link:  https://books2read.com/u/4Xo50v

On the topic of world domination, I guess am 1/1000 of the way toward my goal of having my books on the shelf in every country.  I am not a Math person though, so we may need to add some zeros. 😉

That’s all I have for today!  Life is good, my friends!  Have a great week.

Weekend Coffee Share. New Year, new dog?

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at eclecticali.wordpress.com.  My irreplaceable dog, Bixby, ponders my morning coffee.

Well, of course I still have the same dog, my Bixby, but this week was a time for many new things, so maybe it’s just new year, new experiences? Specifically, new experiences for Bixby. Although, we are still in dog training mode. This is week 3.

 New year, New ‘do.

It has been a relaxing week, my last week of Winter Break, and I was broke enough to curtail any true vacation activities.  Still, I was going stir crazy, and the dog has been good all week.  I think his training is benefitting him greatly.  I also have bought him a sturdy, new leash that causes less stress on my wrist.  So, I felt adventurous.

This all made a New Year’s Day visit to the beach perfect.  Well, that and the almost 80 degree weather.  Jacksonville, Fl is unpredictable like that.  Whatever weather we get in January, we are never surprised.  🙂  Bixby’s never been to the beach before.  There were lots of people there, But I’d have to say, overall, he was well-behaved.  He was thoroughly distracted by all the people and the smells, but he did not once get defensive with anyone.  No one really came up to him, though.  Many people complimented him, foxy as he is.  After a brief walk, we went to Starbucks and he got his first puppucino.  As you can see, he was to busy to ham it up for the camera.  🙂  That was the greatest day this week.

I’ve also been purging papers today and getting papers together for doing my taxes and pondering my writing plan for this year.  I’m pretty sure I will push the publication of my next book to 2020.  It’s just where I am in life right now with my job and the publication budget.  I am short on time and money, so stretching it out would be a good call, and that may give me more time to promote Detours in Time and Undercurrents in Time.  The paperwork and planning is not exactly the fun stuff, but we did take Bixby to dog-training today and that is fun, if you ask me.  Everything has it’s time and place.

I did write a flash fiction this week for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, which opens a lot of possibilities and may inspire a new character!  Visit it here: Wrapped up in Silence. #Flashfiction #FFfAW

Here are some fun things I was reminded of when looking at my 2018 finances:

Celtic Fest

St. Augustine Beach for Kenny’s birthday

Publication of Undercurrents in Time and a blog tour

The Pixies Concert

Visiting Rhode Island with my son

I am also pondering taking a vacation at some point this coming year, probably not over the summer but at another time to visiting an interesting yearly cultural event.  You may likely hear upcoming details as I get myself pepped up as well as my travel partner.  🙂

Thanks for stopping by to share a coffee, tea, or some other beverage of choice.  Have a great week!

O is for Ocean. #AtoZChallenge

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*I own the rights to this photo.

This photo was taken in April of 2015.  My son walks on the beach with a bird fluttering behind him.  He has had a wonderful love and curiosity of birds through childhood.  I have many pictures documenting that!  The ocean has been a common ground for us, even through his tumultuous teens.  It has always been a place of peace.  We spent a day at the beach on this particular weekend surrounding his 19th birthday.  While most teens might prefer partying with their friends, he is a quiet fellow, and he loved this.

img_0284.jpg  Digging on a beach in St. Petersburg, Fla. 2007. Note the chubby cheeks of childhood.  🙂

I used to take him to the ocean quite regularly at certain times of our life.  It is not as frequent lately since we live a little further away and I don’t enjoy long drives, not to mention, my life is packed full of work, volunteer activities, and writing goals.  But I still make it a point to get there over the summer.  It is the first acknowledgment for me that summer is here and it is time to relax.

Coincidentally, it is my son’s birthday again tomorrow.  So far, the only plans are to take him to a Brazilian Steakhouse.  He is turning 21.  I am praying for sound decisions now that he is going to be legal.  I also need to make a beach appointment with him soon!

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2006 Sunrise beach visit.  Always a special time!  Note the birds in the background.  🙂

**The AtoZ Challenge theme for my blog is “Who I am.” Yes, it’s wide open.  In April, I will blog from A to Z to include little tidbits about me, poems I’ll share, and stories. Each day I will write something based on the next letter in the alphabet.  It’s been fun so far, yet it has really given me a chance to pause for reflection as well.

Want to know more about the A-Z blog challenge?  Visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com

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