How is it possible? November is half gone!

Snickers.

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I  keep checking the calendar, the one on the wall, the one on my phone and the little one in the lower right corner of my handy-dandy Netbook and they all say the same thing!  How is it possible?  November is half gone!  Where did it go?

Yes, the Snickers bars and Milky ways are long gone.  Had some help with that, just so you know.  And I’ve made great headway on my novel.  You know, NaNoWriMo! I apologize that things seem to have fallen by the wayside here.  My intentions were good, but we all know about good intentions; don’t we?  Having made several round trips in the course of my life, I assure you, it’s true.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions! Would I lie to you?

And believe it or not, I do have a life that is not tied to a computer and the internet.  I know, it surprises me too!

There were even a couple of days when the only writing I did was the morning long hand pages.  Some things must go on, no matter what.  those couple of days were a combination of the good and the bad.  Not awful, just not real happy.  I guess they weren’t really “bad” as I think about them now.  No bad news or upsetting events or anything.  Just, no good news or sources of delight either.  Guess I’ve gotten kind of spoiled recently in feeling just so pleased with life I felt like dancing more often than not.  I think I’ve found a balance point.  it could happen.

Still, it is now minutes into the 16th of November and whether I write it or not, I’m thinking already!  I’m still not certain when the downhill run begins.  Might even be as early as September.  Then again, late October is more likely.  When dawn still looks like the middle of the night and dusk arrives sooner every day.  Wonder if that’s what makes time seem to fly.  Shorter daylight hours, no matter how they play with the clock!  Seems once November starts it’ll be a New Year before you can blink twice!

Could just be that I’m getting old.  I heard somewhere that time moves faster for old people.  Maybe I’m just having fun.  I’ve been doing a whole lot of laughing recently.  That helps.

The one thing I know for sure to slow things down is to wait for something.  The more impatient I am, the slower time moves.  Mostly, I don’t wait much anymore, even when standing in line.  Fortunately, I am often easily amused.  If I haven’t brought a book or some portable game, There are usually people to watch.  And wonder about.  And make up stories for.  Never a dull moment.  Once in a while, though, I do find myself waiting, impatiently.  It’s one of the main reasons I have done my best to stop doing that.  Cause waiting in my mind is often followed by, impatiently.  Like string on a yo-yo, they work together and in just about the same way.  Mood goes down, comes back up; mood goes down… you get the idea.  I prefer not to wait.  Seems better for all concerned if my attention is focused on something, anything else.

So, I’m still kind of wondering; How is it possible? November is half over already!

Blog Topics; how do You decide?

Complete set of the seven books of the "H...

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When you’re writing a daily blog, how do you decide what the topic will be?  For some folks a specific subject is the foundation and everything else is decided from there.  Parenting, politics, healing, pets, pests, ……………the list goes on.  What about when you don’t do that?  How does a topic become a topic?

It’s not like it’s assigned; like homework or a magazine article.  I think most bloggers are independent writers.  People with something to say and the blogging world provides the venue to say it.  Which makes it all the more interesting to me ; wondering about how topics are chosen.

It’s like imagining how best selling authors come up with stories.  If these folks really write what they know, they lead very interesting lives!  Wouldn’t you like to follow John Grisham around for a day?  How about Dan Brown?  I’ve always been curious what a day in Stephen King’s life would be like, he has a curious, not to say spooky take on most things.  If you assume, as I do, that fiction flows into reality.

And those were only the first three writers to come to mind; there are so many good story tellers!  I love Robert Parks books.  All fast reads and very entertaining.  He did a lot without using a lot of words.  Janet Evanovich  does well with that too.  When the characters step off the page and become three dimensional, escape from reality is complete.

I do seem to have two different modes when reading fiction.  With the lighter more humorous stories, the characters step out of the book.  With the more serious stories, I dive in, like I can be in the middle of things, yet keep the characters contained within the confines of the book covers.  Don’t want some of them in the real world, at all.  I read a lot of murder mysteries and have a fascination with fictional serial killers  and especially the psychologist types that draw word pictures of them.  Profilers!  Most intrigued by the process and ability, doubt I’d ever want to do it myself.  Is it just fiction, or, do you really have to guard against becoming like the monsters you hunt?  Some of this comes from having too much free time on my hands and some of it crosses my mind whether I’m busy or not.

I don’t read much in the fantasy genre and yet I have two authors I read over and over that fall into the category.  Marion Zimmer Bradley and J.K. Rowling.  Okay C.S. Lewis too.  I came across The Mists of Avalon so many years ago, I don’t even remember.  It’s Arthurian legend from a woman’s point of view and I reread it every couple of years, just because.  Bradley has written other books and I’m sure they are just as good and I haven’t read them, yet.  As to Harry Potter, well, that’s a kind of annual thing.  From book one to book seven, one after the other until I reach the end.  Each time something different catches my attention, more details stay with me even after I’ve closed and reshelved the books.  And there is no question of reading only one or two, definitely not out of series.  I don’t care much one way or the other about the movies, just have to read the books, in order, as if the seven were one.  It is all one story, just had to be in multiple books to prevent physical injuries.  My theory any way.  As for C.S. Lewis, his Lion in the Cupboard series was pretty good, I just relate more to Harry Potter.

As long as I’m talking about favored authors anyway, might as well mention James Clavell, Herman Wouk and James Patterson.  These are also authors I will purposely re-read.  There are a couple of writers I find myself re-reading by accident.  See a title and think, that looks interesting and then get a few pages into the book before discovering, I’ve already read this.  Most of the time I’ll finish reading it anyway, cause what I remember tends to build anticipation rather than spoiling the story.  I keep Clavell, Wouk and Patterson on hand, just in case…the world comes to an end and there is nothing new to read, or, I just can’t decide on a book.  Too many choices, what if I pick the wrong one?  These three are guaranteed likes, I know it from the start.  I’ve read them before.

And this just isn’t what I thought this blog was going to be about.  At all!  I had my Melodie Beattie meditation book at my elbow cause I was thinking about the reading for today’s date in Journey to the Heart.  I’d say it’s a good one, if I didn’t say that just about everyday.  To myself ,if not out loud.  She writes in a way that reading what she’s written is like having her in the room with you.  She’s comforting and reassuring without lying!  That’s my take on her writing anyway.  It’s like she hears what’s in your mind and heart and offers perspectives and suggestions for looking at things differently.  Nothing far fetched or difficult to do.  More like the difference between looking at a table setting sitting at the table and then looking at it from across a room.  Perspective.  Sometimes when you’re too close to a thing all you see are the flaws.  From across the room there is a beauty that shines through, even though you know the flaws are there.  The plate still holds food, the fork still picks it up and carries it to your mouth.  All the separate parts are functional and the flaws are minor.  When they’re not right in your face, they’re mostly unnoticeable.  It’s even possible to see the beauty when you stop looking for the faults.  Seems to work the same way with people.  Look too close and all you see are flaws.  Stand just a little away and there is a whole person and really so much more than acceptable.  A dear and loving, loved, lovable friend.  The magic happens when you can do that for the person you see in the mirror.  And Melodie Beattie has been one of my guides down this path.  That is almost what today’s reading was about.

So, I’m curious to know.  Blog topics; how do you Decide?

 

It’s November, I have Much to be Grateful For!

The First Thanksgiving Jean Louis Gerome Ferris

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It might be that because Thanksgiving is celebrated this month, whatever the reason, it’s November and I have much to be grateful for.  And I know it!  Sometimes it seems I’m not as aware of gratitude at other times.  What I believe is something about November brings it all rushing to the front of the line.

Blame it on the weather or the shortening of daylight hours.  Something about it being November causes me to pause and reflect on people, places and things I’m grateful for in more depth than at other times of the year.  Sunshine and warm weather invite activity and other distractions.  November, especially the early part of the month, seems to invite nesting and contemplation of the joys of simple things.  Hearth and home, hot soups and stews, warm drinks with spicy aromas.

Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember.  So many good smells coming from the kitchen.  People gathered at tables displaying abundance and variety.  The “good” dishes, flatware and crystal seen in use, not just on display and gathering dust.  More people “dressed up” than usual.    There seems to be an unspoken agreement that this is a time for appreciating life and sharing in the wealth and abundance of it.  It’s a party, just not the same kind of party as Christmas, New Years or a birthday.  It doesn’t seem to have the raucousness those events bring up.  Subdued isn’t the right word.  There’s a quiet peacefulness to it.

Once the holiday rush starts this mellow time comes to an end and doesn’t seem to return for another year.  Yes, there are definitely moments from one November to the next.  We all have to take time out occasionally to reflect and absorb.  Something about November seems to concentrate it all.  October seems to involve finishing things, maybe some preparation for the nesting ahead.  I’m just guessing at things here.  Trying to tell if there really is as much of a pattern to things as I suspect.  I like things to make sense, as much as possible.

This year has been totally jam-packed.  So much has changed since last November.  Some friends have moved away, some new friends have been found.  My attitude and outlook on life has improved dramatically.  I’m not sure I would recognize the person I was last year and I’m pretty sure she wasn’t thinking these kind of thoughts.  Gratitude, quite likely, just, differently.  I don’t know if I can clarify.  Wonder if grateful is different from thankful.  Are the underlying motives different?  You know, like the difference between suggestions and advice…strings attached.

Gratitude is a way of life.  A way of thinking, feeling and acting that recognizes the many graces in each and every day.  Not just acknowledging them, giving them active attention and notice.  Looking for them, cause you know they are there, no matter what is going on.  A smile from a stranger.  A green traffic light where it has “always” been red.  Money in a pocket you had forgotten was there.  The way the sunlight hits a tree or a crystal prism or creates silhouettes in the distance as it sets.  A friend gets good news that lightens his or her spirit or heart.  Choosing exactly the right thing for a meal.  A chance to do something you’ve wanted to for a long time and “everything” falls into place and you do it!  And it’s grand!  SO many daily graces and because we’re not looking for them and at them they just go by, not recognized for what they are.  I kinda think we start out just saying thank you at the odd times we happen to notice.  The more we notice and say thank you, the more we notice.  It seems to be self feeding.  Before we know it, we are living gratitude.

I don’t think it happens  over night.  It starts slowly and gradually and we do have to participate in order for it to begin building on itself.   For as long as we fail to notice the variety of daily occurrences of grace we slow the process.  There are other things going on at the same time and we can get bogged down in the stuff we don’t like to such a degree that we don’t give much, or even any, notice to the stuff we do like.  When we only see grace every other day or week or month or year, life looks hard and tedious and rewarding.  It’s as if gray days are twice as gray and sunny days are dimmer than they could be.

It is altogether too easy to overlook grace unless you actively start paying attention.  We have become so accustomed to being worried and stressed that more than a few of us start thinking not only that’s all there is, we also think, that’s how it’s supposed to be!  We get a lot of encouragement in that direction; however unintended.  Parents, bosses, spouses……the press, books, movies….even some churches.

Noticing daily grace has a kind of Pollyanna flavor to it and may be seen as superficial.  Something.  It’s rarely what you hear people conversing about.  I guess that mostly depends on your usual contacts, more than anything.  Most of my friends, now, don’t just notice daily grace, they talk about it.  Sometimes with a quiet smile, sometimes in total excitement, sometimes with a sense of awe.  Hanging around with these people has definitely rubbed off.  I’m encountering more people in different situations and circumstances who also notice and acknowledge daily graces.  I no longer think it is limited to people who have chosen a particular set of life principles.  It’s like, they are living the principles without having them literally spelled out.  Interesting!

Looking forward to each new day as a surprise and an adventure, the good kind, is still pretty new to me.  If you’ve never lived any other way, none of this will make sense.  If you have lived another way, I hope this makes sense and offers encouragement that different good is possible.

One of the daily graces I have discovered and been paying close attention to is how much joy there is in writing.  Putting thoughts into words and sentences and paragraphs is my idea of a good time!  I do have other ideas of a good time, it’s just that writing is almost always available.  Between starting the blog and NaNoWriMo, I am definitely in seventh heaven!  It’s like a walk through continuous scenic country and I always have just enough light to see obstacles ahead.  Putting things in black and white (unless I’m in a rainbow mood) shows more choices than just thinking and worrying ever do.  Seeing the obstacles means I can avoid them, work around them or work through them.  The biggest difference is actually “publishing” thoughts and musings and opinions and such.  Might be that it forces me to look upside down and inside out; more than one way.  However you choose to express it.

So, it’s November and I have much to be grateful for.  How about you?

I must be having Fun, Cause Time sure does Fly!

Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits

Image by Steel Wool via Flickr

 

 

I must be having fun, cause time sure does fly!  It’s already Friday and it just doesn’t seem possible.  If I didn’t have specific references to  each of the other days of the week, I’d swear they hadn’t happened!

Monday was Halloween, had candy and everything.  Got my favorites and darned glad of it too!  Our porch light is on a motion detector.  Might have mud on it or something, cause it sure didn’t detect any motion and there was plenty of it to be detected. I think it’s just contrary, it detects the hell out of people trying to sneak up and doesn’t shut off for hours, unless you want it to!  Oh well, Snickers and Milky Way….all mine now!

Tuesday I met with friends and then went to a gift making class.  Wrote about it in my blog, so it must be true.  And of course, first day of NaNoWriMo, how could I forget to mention that?

Wednesday, met with a friend, wrote more on my novel and even got my postaday2011 published.  Not bad.

Thursday was more novel writing, a conversation about one of my favorite bloggers which distracted me from doing postaday2011 and an evening with friends that was the usual Thursday night party.  We have dinner at Popeyes and meet some other friends and it can run the gamut from ordinary to quite life changing.  Thursday nights have to be experienced, never predictable.

So, now it’s Friday!  I have to say it once or twice more, I think.  Just until I can believe it. Of course, it might already be Saturday before that happens!

All I can conclude is, I must be having fun, cause time sure Flys!

Checking in; Life beyond NaNoWriMo

Mother's Day

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I’m just checking in today; looking to see if there is really life beyond NaNoWriMo.  I suspect there is and felt compelled to do a reality check.  Yeap, life still going on in all it’s glory!

I’m not sure what the tempo is going to be from day to day, so, I’m really playing it all by ear.  I missed postaday2011 yesterday cause I let NaNoWriMo run me most of the day.  Only stopped at all because I’m a grown up (sometimes) and meet my commitments.  Having said that, I found out how great a friend a couple of my friends really are.  My friend in NYC was so cool about my obsession and totally understanding about my delayed response to her text!  And another friend, closer to home cut me some major slack!  seems when I typed our appointment into my calendar all I put was the time….When she arrived I was surprised to see her.  Couldn’t figure out why she was there and she was right on time too!  She graciously rescheduled and went on about her business.  I’m going to have to activate sticky notes again.

I did take time out yesterday to get together with friends and go to a gift making class at YBN!  We had so much fun!  I made bath salts and the toughest thing to do is decide who to give them to.  Denise made a candle and it smells great!  I actually debated with myself for several minutes before deciding to do the bath salts, the smell of the candle is quite inviting.  Some folks would only burn it around Christmas because it is spicy, citrusy.  I’d burn it any time I could get one together with a match; it smells that good.

If you live in or near Crofton, MD go to YBN and take a gift making class.  Check out the website for schedules and costs.  www.YourBodyNeeds.com

Well, thoughts are completely drifting to the novel now and I do have to be ready to leave my little nest at 2 p.m. today, so…

Just checking in;life beyond NaNoWriMo……All is well!

 

 

Crap, I still don’t have a title!

Cover of "The Artist's Way: A Course in D...

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This morning has been about pacing myself into the day. I actually slept in…’til 5:20! The pattern recently has been more like3:30 a.m., so, I slept in. And don’t you know it felt like I was so far behind the power curve I would NEVER catch up? It sure didn’t take long for what first seemed like a fluke to become an expected pattern! Less than a month. I’ve heard somewhere that it only takes eight repetitions of a behavior for it to be a habit. Something to Google, I’m sure. Mostly just noticing that I have gotten so used to waking at zero dark thirty that I feel like I’m burning daylight when there is none! Did I burn it all yesterday? Well, no, look, sunrise!
Unless I have to go out and about for some reason, early morning is when I start writing. I start with coffee, three meditation books and three pages of long hand writing. The coffee is self explanatory to coffee lovers, inexplicable to those who don’t have the custom. The three meditation books seem to have resulted from an inability to choose just one and come from the theory, if one is good, three are better. May not be true; works for me. The three pages long hand writing is a determined effort to attempt The Artist’s Way, again. Didn’t get very far the first time. It’s a book by Julia Cameron. She teaches people how to access their creativity. Started to say “get in touch with” and gagged. Sometimes things get so over used. I might use that phrase again before I die, or not. Sounds so saccharine to me. This is neither the time, nor place for that topic.
I’m playing around again with different things, just to see what happens. Some of the nice people who left hyper-links on my blog led me to the concept of using underlines, italics and bold. I think I like bold better than all caps. Italics tend to disappear with the theme I use. Fade out, hmmm, maybe that’s the idea.
Thursday is such a different kind of day, isn’t it? Other than Thanksgiving, does anything really important happen on a Thursday? I ask because I was thinking how fluid most of my Thursday plans usually are…Today is a fine example. Tentative plans to get together with Denise and do more blending. No definite start time, no particular blend in mind, and just need to be sure to have things finished so Denise can leave to meet a commitment and I can get to her neighbor’s house in time for our regular Thursday evening schedule of events. Daytime Thursday can be just about anything. I’m often curious to see how Thursday will unfold. The possibilities are endless.
Most days I do “other stuff” once my three pages are written. It makes sense to take a break from writing for a little while and allows time for things that won’t do themselves: housecleaning, laundry, cooking. Getting back to write the blog is scheduled, loosely. I don’t like to wait too late cause if I get distracted (oh, look, a lion) it might not get done at all. And I’m having too much fun with it to allow that to happen. Oh, on some days I also do written “Step” work. Can’t leave that out…it makes everything else so much richer. If my daily post is done by 7 p.m., all is well. Netflix time!
This is why this post is being written now. When I looked at how things were rolling out, my little voice said “now or never” referring specifically to today. My inner voice is well aligned with the concepts of One Day at a Time or Just for Today. Absolutes now have limits.?! I rarely use terms like “always” and “forever”. There doesn’t seem to be a way to alter them that indicates change is constant. I can’t explain how “never” escaped, it just did.
Part of the “other stuff” often includes reading other people’s blogs. I can’t do it every day, so, I really enjoy the days when I can. Today was one of those days. And grumpyoldfart.wordpress.com was on my list. I made a note of the web address this time. I tempted the fates and read more than three. Also spent time reading the comments! Time well spent! This man has a gift for ranting I haven’t heard since Dennis Miller. I don’t even remember the show he was on; his rant was the only thing I watched. And I’ve lost track of his doings since then, saw him somewhere else and lost interest. Anyway, Don Mills rants well. If you go to his page, bring your sense of humor, otherwise, you won’t get it.
The other blog I visited was ashleyjillian.wordpress.com and I hope I got that right, because her site was also cool. Can’t get online right now, so I can’t tell you the precise name of the blog I read, it was Top Ten Ways to get Freshly Pressed. I think. Sometimes I get really close. As the internet is not horseshoes or hand grenades, really close is like another planet, not there at all. She does a fine job of ranting herself. Maybe just wry observation would be more accurate. I like her writing style and she gets some interesting comments as well. I am curious….what, exactly, is an Oxford comma? I feel like Mr. Weasely asking Harry Potter, what exactly is the purpose of a rubber duck? I’m sure it will be self evident, once it is explained to me.
The temptation to try for 1600+/- words is present, but not overwhelming. I still have “other stuff” to do and the muse must be having another in-service day. Crap, I still don’t have a title!

Supercalifragilisticexpyalidocious!

I don’t know about you, but I’m laughing!  Couldn’t think of a title and the word came to mind.  Spell check may just fry!  Do you ave any idea how difficult it is to type when you’re laughing??? Can’t see the keys for the tears running and I hunt and peck with the best of ’em.

IRC Spell Check

Image by ©aius via Flick

Seemed like a good idea to start out laughing, cause I’ve been thinking about one of the funniest bloggers, and possibly, human beings.  Right here on WordPress.  I  just came across his blog a few days ago and learned the same day that I have to  read in small doses….Anymore than three in a day and I, literally, laugh myself sick.  And I love it.  I so rarely have a favorite, favorite., anything.

The name stated on his blog is Don Mills and he refers to himself as a Grumpy Old Fart.  I believe he calls his blog The Problem With Young People.  I was hoping Zemanta would kick in with a link.  Not yet.  Not the one I was hoping for, anyway.

I’m glad I signed up for email notices,  I still haven’t figured out the shortcuts for getting to my favorites.   Scrolling through people I follow seems like plowing through wet snow, three feet high.  Did I really click follow That many times? Probably did.  I’m a reading junkie  and enjoy good writing.  And there is SO much here to choose from.

Would you believe, with all the people I know, NOT ONE owns up to being a blogger!?  I would dearly love to talk to a Live human being who could show me the ropes.  I’m beginning to sense the error of some of my ways and would like to find the simplest ways to correct them.  This is so much more than I ever thought it would or could be.

Look at the title, it’s been that kind of day.  Not even close to word count and have, momentarily, run out of steam.  Need to feed the little gray cells, good night!

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