Reality VS Expectation

Last September I promised a couple of readers who participated in a little quiz game a copy of a book of their choice. Nope, haven’t sent them yet.

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As you know, I’ve received the Solitude books but I have yet to order Kawaipuna Cottage. In an effort to not need to revisit these stories again, I’ve put them through editing software and tried to correct all the errors. Well, as many as I can find. I ran into a snag with Kawaipuna Cottage because I couldn’t un-format it. It caused quite a lot of swearing. Once I shut up and started over I realized there is a part of the book that I didn’t like. Long ago when I was posting it on Wattpad, a friend asked me to change the sickness Carly’s mom was dealing with. I didn’t think it would be a big deal. As I got into the book, correcting and doing the odd rewrite here and there I learned something. I was writing about my mom’s death, years before it happened. A walk in the dark exploring how it might play out at a time we only knew it would be sooner than later.

So, here I am sitting at my computer four months after I promised books, still wading around in the middle of the first book I ever wrote.

The boxes will be sent in February with books and also with a North Dakota smile.  Sort of a fan crate from North Dakota. I think my long-suffering readers will sincerely enjoy the little surprises I’ve gathered for them.

So, the decision I’ve made is to go back to the original version of Kawaipuna Cottage. It requires a bit more tweaking then re-formatting, then ordering.

For those of you who haven’t read Kawaipuna Cottage, it is, I think, the funniest book I’ve written. Possibly also the cheesiest book I’ve written. I loved my character Carly, so much, I took her name as part of my pen name. She’s a bit of a dingbat, but I love her. Mitchell, I love only slightly less than Carly. It shouldn’t be much of a strain to figure out which Scottish movie star I modeled him after. With all it’s pretty fluffy story-line and HEA ending, Kawaipuna Cottage might forever be overlooked except there is Mitch’s love of on the spot limericks and Carly’s, um, well, hmm, she’s just plain hilarious. I mean who doesn’t love a 30-something year old woman who talks to herself, struggles with liquids and her love of anything edible, would chew off her own arm before cutting a hair off her head, sometimes forgets deodorant, might have a small case of OCD and/or introversion, and hears voices in her head, a chorus of them.

I have it listed as Book Two in the Best Friends Series, Solitude being Book One. I wrote Solitude second but Carly showed up all uninvited as Regan’s travel agent, and wouldn’t leave.

 

A little excerpt…..

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I absently push at the screen door with my hip. It unexpectedly pushes back and scorching
hot coffee slurps down my leg and onto my toes.
“Ouch, hot, hot, hot d -, oh crap, oh, s -!” I try to shake off scalding hot coffee drops while not spilling anymore from my sloshing cup. Proud that my proper God-fearing, western upbringing has prevented my swearing-in front of Auntie Laura, I look up to see what the door is
stuck on and find two, rather incredulous, green eyes
staring back through the screen at me. My cheeks flush. I spent the better part of last night watching him run around half-naked. And the other part of the night…, oh
boy, I can feel my face burning.
“Isn’t someone with yer drinkin’ habits best left to cold drinks?” he
asks in that breathtaking accent.
“Following me, are you?” I reply.                                                                                                    I’m turning into Yoda.                                                                                                                           Good grief, I didn’t even brush my hair today.
He pulls the door open and gestures me out. He’s wearing a long-sleeved, pretty-much transparent white shirt, only partially buttoned. His sunglasses are tucked in the waistband of familiar ragged carpenter shorts, and he’s wearing flip-flops. He looks better today than he did yesterday.                                                                                                                                 I’m fairly sure I hate him. “Thank you,” I murmur and hustle toward my car.
“Hey!” he yells.
Clenching my teeth, I glance back and see him jogging across the sand.
“Would you know a good place close by to get some groceries?” he asks.
I look at him stupidly. Doesn’t he have people to do that for him? I
look around, where are his people? “If you head back up the road to Hanalei, you can get anything you need there.” I answer.
He nods and squints out at the ocean, jingling something in his pocket.
A bead of sweat trickles down the small of my back as a seagull whirls, screeching overhead. I straighten a bit at the creak and slap of the coffee shop’s ancient wooden screen door.
“Oh, hey Carly, he’s a big one, yeah?”                                                                                                 I hear Auntie Laura cackle from the doorway followed closely by a wolf whistle. I glance up, hoping he’s been bored to death and killed over or disappeared. Shit. Here it comes, that slow smile. Dear Lord, forgive me but that smile did some terribly indecent things to me from the television screen last night. In person, it’s a small miracle I stay standing. He rubs his chin. He has that sexy, scruffy beard thing going on.
I should have used deodorant today.                                                                                          Today would have been an excellent day for that.
“Carly.” he says.
Well, that sounded just wonderful. Damn it!
“Oh aye, don’t suppose you might take pity on a fellow traveler
and help me find a grocery?” he asks, looking at me hopefully.
Logical Carly howls from my left brain, NOOOOOOOOOO. Unfortunately waking all the Carly girls who live in the other hemisphere. Truly, there is not a worse course of action than my spending any time with him. First, I just spent more than half the night watching him run around in a loincloth. Second, it will totally interfere with my whole twelve-month, man-free, your life is crap plan. Third, he’s attractive and I’ve, err, used him for something naughty. Fourth, he has a smart mouth. Heaven save me from a man who can talk back! Oh, and fifth, he’s Scottish, the accent the brawn, the chest hair the smirk, the whole
damn package! So by all means, let’s spend a few more hours together.                                 Bad idea!
Wrong road!                                                                                                                                     Warning – train whistle in the distance, flashing red lights, air raid sirens going off . . . .
“I was just heading that way, actually,” I hear my mouth saying.
It’s not directly attached to my brain and today, that’s a problem.

I know it will never be a great American novel, but I do like to write about people I’d like to spend time with. I guess it’s my way of peopling my own little town. A little leftover anxiety from being adopted, that desire to find your tribe, the one that adores you, the one that would never leave you behind.

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Looking Back, 2018

I’m starting this post in a noisy hotel room in Billings, Montana. The girls are tired and arguing as they make the couch bed. We’ve spent the last ten days with relatives and are making the laborious trip home. The roads have been equal parts excellent and horrible. We’ve seen two slide-offs so far, one a semi, but the roads the rest of the way home tomorrow look very good. We chose a good window. 

I’ve been reading many blogs this evening, people I follow who are posting their end of year notes. Zee and Servetus inspired me to look at my blog stats. I’ve never done that before. My most popular blog post last year was BTS Is Comingfollowed closely by 3 Steps to the Perfect Adoption, which tied with a big surprise showing by Spank Me, the second blog post I wrote here. 

I must admit I’m quite surprised. Not so much by the BTS post but by the other two. I’ve often wondered this year, what direction to take the blog. Although I love BTS to distraction, I’m not one to blog about just them. The subject of adoption fills me with a helpless rage that makes me dread writing about it. Spankings and all things BDSM are fascinating to me but very far from the path I currently walk in life. Though a part of me dreams of exploring, pragmatic me worries about blogging about it and the possibilities of small-town backlash. Especially when considering my current occupation. It requires more contemplation. 

I’m back home and tomorrow, back to work. Time to settle back into comfortable ways. The holidays, while delightful, were filled with face time, with actual people! It was pretty exhausting. I’m ready to sit back, meditate, write, publish, and be more open to the wonderful. 

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BTS Nominated for 2019 Grammy’s

I too have been disappointed in the Grammys and Oscars. This is exactly what I think of the BTS Grammy. Next up…BTS as Time Magazine Person of the Year?

.:shy:.

Sort of.

So here’s the deal. The artist behind the Love Yourself: Tear album is being nominated for Best Recording Package. Which is not one of the below categories BigHit entered BTS for Grammy nomination consideration:

  • Album of the Year
  • Pop Album
  • Song of the Year
  • Record of the Year
  • Pop Duo/Group Performance
  • Music Video.

To be honest, I hadn’t had any hopes of BTS getting a nomination at all. There were many articles already explaining how BTS would have little chance with Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Record of the Year – mostly due to Grammy’s being snobs to boy bands in general. There were some hope, including from yours truly, BTS would nab either Pop Duo/Group Performance and Pop Album. The one category which stood out to be the best possibility was Music Video. Still… I knew it was going to be tough.

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Squandered Passion?

“If you can’t work in a field you are passionate about, learn to be passionate about what you do.”

 

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My thoughts exactly.

 

I don’t remember who this was attributed to, and it’s a paraphrase from my not perfect memory.  I saw it on a bulletin board yesterday at work. It was a bit deflating, first thing in the morning, especially mixed with everything already churning in my head.

I’ve worked many different jobs in my life. I’ve always gone above and beyond and been successfully promoted.

The single most difficult part of writing is not being acknowledged on a regular daily or weekly basis. After I’ve spent a week writing a chapter or two, no one is sitting at my dinner table pouring a drink and putting their feet up ready to commiserate with me and my sore butt. Realizing that the society of friends is the reason I’ve been able to stick with the school this long has finally pushed me to start looking at writing retreats. I need some (geographically) close friends who write!

 

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little things

When I think about what my bosses notice me do at work, I’m never correct. Some of the biggest things I accomplish are not noticed by anyone. On the other hand, the smallest effort outside the box, everyone sees. Doesn’t that seem opposite of what life really is?

While my mornings are filled with my non-verbal kiddo, my afternoons are pleasantly occupied teaching reading in an older grade. Another aide and I share a group of four students in which we manage four reading rounds of 15-30 minutes. Every week we have a new book for guided reading. A few weeks ago it was about a penguin selling hot chocolate. With my not always wonderful habit of speaking before I think, I said: “We should have hot chocolate this week!”

The other aide looked at me, a bit perplexed while the kids cheered at the idea. I mean, we were reading about it all week, shouldn’t we have some? Of course, when I left the classroom, I immediately forgot.

I forgot the next week too.

I finally remembered on my day off, Friday. I was in town anyway and drove through at McDonald’s to get five small hot chocolates. I snuck in the back door of the school with a bag of tiny marshmallows and a tray of steaming drinks. I dropped them off in the quiet room where we study, with a quick warning to the aide I usually work with that they might still be hot in an hour.

“Aren’t you staying?” she asked.

I smiled at her, “Are you kidding? It’s my day off, I’m so outta here! Have fun!”

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Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Pexels.com

I got a note the next week from our excited Special Ed Coordinator. She was thrilled that we thought to include drinking hot cocoa to go with the story. Turns out, one of our kiddo’s had never had it before. He loved it, of course. She said, “Now every time they read about Hot Chocolate they’ll taste it, maybe they’ll wonder if it had marshmallows, it opens windows in the mind.”

Here we are a couple of weeks later and our story is about a mouse who wants to touch the moon. It’s a no-brainer, I own the moon. A 3-D printed moon with all the cool features and lit from the inside by an LED, I mean, it’s really cool!

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If you think the kids thought Hot Chocolate was cool, they went nuts for the moon

Of course, I wasn’t there because I’m not on Fridays, but it was another big win in reading. We have pictures of each of them holding the moon that we will print and send home with them.

I got an excited text from our coordinator, but really, it’s such a tiny thing. An afterthought is what it was.

All my energy and brain power is focused on propelling my Kindergartner into self-reliance and communication. I just show up to reading and read. It’s odd, isn’t it?

I don’t think we truly understand the power of tiny things. If we did, wouldn’t we fill the world with them? Wouldn’t we quit dreaming of being the hero and find so much more satisfaction in being water, in filling the cracks and gaps? Doing those things that don’t require any effort at all, or so it seems, could that change the world? Could I change the world with only my passion?

Thankful

Our Thanksgiving has never been traditional. Growing up I had my fill of that. Cooking all day, setting the tables, family, displaced college students, friends of my parents. All followed by dish washing to the power of ten, tired and very cranky parents, too many people crammed in our house.

After we moved to Pittsburgh and suffered through a couple of friend Thanksgivings, we settled into our own thing. A morning round of cooking our favorite foods, in pajamas. The rest of the day watching movies or football, reading, playing games, or whatever we wanted, in our pajamas. Paper plates, plastic cups, naps, cuddles, quiet, laughter, recharge, our day has it all. Moving twenty hours closer to our hometown hasn’t changed our tradition at all.

We didn’t plan it that way, we thought we’d be seeing much more family. However, a few years in we realized it wasn’t any different from Pennsylvania. Everyone was happy to see us when we made the twelve hour drive, each way. We were exhausted.

 

We like spending time with family but quickly got tired of always making the drive. After two years we slid right back into our comfortable tradition.    [jojo.jpg]Today we celebrated again. We laughed together, argued, cooked, and napped.

This morning while I was lazing in bed, I thought about the things I’m thankful for this year. Too many to count, really.  In past years, that feeling of gratitude has terrified me. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Perhaps I’m most thankful for the change in my perspective. After spending so many years trying to ensure that other people love me, I finally understand it all hinges on loving myself. So many people say it, in an offhand manner.

“You can’t love anyone until you love yourself.”

I would have argued, “If you have energy left to love yourself, you’re doing it wrong.”

I would have declared it until I was blue in the face, until that year arrived that I couldn’t love anyone. I laid on my bed, unable to move without excruciating pain and wished someone would take care of me, someone would love me. I cried so angrily with the realization that only I would do that. It was so much easier loving other people. I was so angry at everyone.

What I’m beginning to understand now? My love is the only love I wanted. Only I could give myself exactly what I needed. Only I can fill those cracks with acceptance. Only I know how to open my heart again and share an honest love that comes from a bottomless, bubbling spring, not some rusty bucket I beg others to fill.

And all that brings me to you. All you crazy people who read and comment and for some reason, beyond comprehension, recognize something in me as a kindred soul. Thank you for giving me feathers for my wings, and a soft place to land.