Vertigo…or something like it

Some of you know I’m in a writing group, and yet another of my fellow writers has published a novel. Nancy Hartney is an incredible writer–she’s already published two short story collections–and this is her debut novel. Read on to learn about it in her own words.

Nancy Hartney

Ever stand on a cliff precipice and look down? Feel the exhilaration and fear?

When I finish a book—be it a collection of short stories or now my debut novel—those feelings take over.

And then, when a publisher selects the book for publication, my thoughts and feelings intensify as the process of editing, revising, formatting, design layout, and cover selection begins.

If You Walk Long Enough, my debut novel, is scheduled for release February 24, 2021.

The title is taken from a conversation between The Cat and Alice in Wonderland. Alice is lost and asks The Cat which way to go. She says she really doesn’t care where she goes, she simply needs to get someplace.

The Cat responds, “You are sure to get someplace if you walk long enough.”

Returning from Vietnam, Reid Holcombe, the main character in the novel, cannot decide what direction to take. Old ghosts…

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Loneliness

Loneliness

Don’t go, she wanted to tell them. I’ll be all alone. No one to fix meals for. No one to hug. No one to love—and I do so love you.

She watched them scamper away, chasing butterflies and grasshoppers. Slowly she closed the door, hoping one of them might run back. But the doorway remained empty.

She brushed her graying hair out of her eyes and blinked back a tear. What to do all day? Nothing but wait.

Nightfall came at last, and she heard them at the door. They’re back, she thought with satisfaction. My kitties are back.


Image Credit: © vlr.comics–stock.adobe.com

Going with the Flow–and the Flow is Easy

Well, the laptop that I told you all was kaput the other day shall henceforth be known as Lazarus, because it has been raised from the dead. Okay, it still dies now and then, so it isn’t as reliable as I’d like and I should probably get a new one. But I need to wait for my tax refund anyway so I’m going with the flow with ol’ Laz here.

Going with the flow seems to be the story of my life these days. I’m living in an apartment I’m not thrilled with because that’s what I can afford. The pandemic has limited my social life (we’re all in that boat, I know). It seems I spend a lot of time at home and that can make me a bit stir crazy.

Still, I remain proactive about some things, which brings us back to the laptop and why I’m likely to get a new one even if Lazarus remains alive. I’m active in my writing group and need reliable computer to maintain my good standing. Not that anyone would kick me out if my attendance and writing were spotty, but I want to stay active and be a consistent, contributing member.

I’m also proactive about the health of my cats, which can be costly. They each need to have their teeth cleaned, and that’s expensive–but necessary. So I’m saving my pennies and hoping this latest stimulus package goes through so I can get that done soon. Poor babies. They need to go back to the vet (high trauma) and get put under to have their teeth cleaned. 

I’m lucky enough to have a couple of great cats, snugglers both of them, so I want them healthy and happy.

I may not like my apartment and I may be bored quite a bit of the time, but overall, I’m happy with life. Sometimes you have to put up with something for awhile to make way for better things. I’m hoping I can move up in my job sometime soon, although I really like my manager and the group I work with so I’m a bit hesitant to get too proactive there.

So yes, I’m going with the flow on my job–a job with great benefits and respect for its employees, so the flow is easy.

And I’m lucky enough to say right now with my life, the flow is easy.


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Rats…it’s happened again

Some of my longer-term followers may remember the last time my computer went kaput. I got a new laptop then, but time has flown by and my “new” computer has died.

So I’m writing a short post to let all of you know you won’t be hearing much from me for a couple of weeks.

The timing is okay, however, as I’ll be getting enough of a tax refund to afford the laptop I want. Nothing fancy, but definitely more powerful than what I’ve been working with lately.

I still have my phone so I can respond to comments you leave. So for now, thanks for being there for me!


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Lucky Me

Like the rest of you, I’ve had my share of both good and bad luck.

I have the worst luck with socks. No matter how many I buy, I never have enough–they just disappear. I got a pack of six last week and the first time I wore a pair, I noticed a hole. Of course I’d thrown out the receipt so I can’t return them. I just have to hope this is a fluke and the remaining socks will hold up well.

Various colorful socks on clothesline. Striped, checkered, polka

Heart lately 2My love life has been decisively unlucky. Okay, I bear some responsibility here, but looking at it from the great vantage point of age, some of it is also a matter of luck. Frankly, at this point I’ve given up and I’m planning for the future with the expectation I’ll be single for the rest of my life. Thirty years ago I would have been depressed beyond measure, but I’ve outgrown that thinking.

20181227_000110Despite my bad luck with socks and love, I consider myself lucky in most ways. Those of you who’ve followed my blog know how crazy I am about my cats, Walter and Mimi. They chanced into my life (read “Here’s Your Baby” for that story) and are two of the sweetest cats I’ve owned. As companions I couldn’t ask for more.

I have a job. I have a home. I have a reliable car that’s paid for. Given the current economic situation, I consider all that tremendous luck. My parents are both living and they love me, as does my brother (I won’t speak for my sister out of respect for her feelings and actions). I have intelligent, thoughtful friends–and I count several of you in that group.

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Some people don’t believe in luck, rather, they see everything as part of God’s grand plan, and maybe they’re right. I have a strong faith and I consider that a gift from God, so call that good luck. I think personal responsibility is a big part of our fate. But I can’t help but believe some of it just comes down to the luck of the draw.

We have to accept the good and bad in our lives, and know that both will come and go. I know I’m not the first one to say this, but what you believe in will save you. Believe in being grateful. Believe in sharing love. Like the rest of you, I’ve had my share of both good and bad luck. But I’m choosing, with gratitude and love, to put my eggs in the good luck basket.

 

Image Credits: Socks ©Julija – stock.adobe.com; Eggs ©Nitr – stock.adobe.com; Heart © Belinda O; Cats © Belinda O; Friends ©Rudie – stock.adobe.com.

Happy Birthday, Beth

Today is my sister’s birthday. I’ve written before about her decision to cut herself off from the family, so I won’t elaborate here, except to say, Beth, you are loved. I’m hoping against hope you may know about my blog and might check in here. I trust you are happy and healthy and living the life you want.

Happy Birthday, Beth, and many more.

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It’s My Birthday–and a few other things to celebrate

Today, January 21, is my birthday. I did a little research and found it’s also the birthday of Placido Domingo, Hakeem Olajuwon, Jill Eikenberry, Geena Davis, Benny Hill, Charlotte Ross and Telly Savalas. Not to forget Ethan Allen, the American Revolution fighter who helped found Vermont, Stonewall Jackson, Confederate general, Rasputin, mystical adviser in the court of Czar Nicholas II of Russia and Christian Dior, French fashion designer. Plus numerous other people I’m less familiar with.

AdobeStock_241373127 smallIt’s also Squirrel Appreciation Day. Now, I don’t mind squirrels, and my cats love watching them. I certainly don’t want to run over any. But actually appreciating them? I looked it up and while there was a bit of information about the species, there was nothing telling me the why375px-Rocket_J._Squirrel of the celebration, unless it’s a general appreciation of wildlife. I get that. Or appreciation of Rocket J. (aka Rocky) Squirrel.

AdobeStock_399788441 smallMore importantly, perhaps, than squirrels, it’s National Hug Day. No need to justify the raison d’être for that one. These days, what with the pandemic and all, many of us are falling short of our usual hug quota. But consider reaching out and giving a “virtual hug” to someone who could use a little pick-me-up. How that virtual hug manifests itself is up to you.

Granola bar with nuts, fruit and berries on white.AdobeStock_70508848 [Converted]It’s also National Granola Bar Day. In lieu of birthday cake, we can all have a granola bar together. But let’s not overindulge, as this year, January 21 is Women’s Healthy Weight Day (Thursday of the third full week in January).

Plenty to celebrate today, but the biggest reason of all for me is, gosh darn it, it’s my birthday!

Birthday cupcakes


Image Credits: Cupcakes ©Ivonne Wierink – stock.adobe.com; Women chatting ©ayelet_keshet – stock.adobe.com; Squirrel Appreciation Day ©Flavijus Piliponis –stock.adobe.com; National Hug Day ©bulgn – stock.adobe.com; Granola Bars ©nadianb – stock.adobe.com; January 21 ©Елена Николаева – stock.adobe.com; Rocky Squirrel courtesty of CreativeCommons.org.

Welcome, 2021

Last week my dad told me about one of his earliest memories–certainly the first New Year’s Day he remembers. He was about three or four, and when he woke up on January 1st, he ran to the window, fully expecting all the snow to be gone. It wasn’t, of course, and early on, he learned a valuable lesson: not much changes between December 31st and January 1st.

That’s not to say things won’t change in the new year. They will, and I think most of us are hoping for a better year. I had high hopes for 2020. It wasn’t as bad a year for me as it was for some, but I agree with those who say:

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I’m hoping 2021 doesn’t require the same resigned sense of humor and that things will be better. I’m hopeful the new vaccines will do the trick and that COVID-19 won’t be the threat to us it is now. I’m hopeful that jobs are gained back. I’m hopeful for a little more political integrity.

Not much may change in one day, but we have reason to be hopeful. For all of you, I pray your year may be filled with unexpected blessings, big and small.


Image credits: Snowman ©Lilya – stock.adobe.com, Stink/Stank/Stunk © Ak7studio-stock.adobe.com

Changing Habits and New Year’s Resolutions and Such

I’ve vowed to start eating healthier, and that includes cutting back on my Diet Coke intake. A friend suggested I try flavored waters, and I was delighted to find cherry limeade flavored water at the local Neighborhood Market. Problem was, once I switched addictions from Diet Coke to cherry limeade flavored water, I discovered the my new favorite contained aspartame. So I’m back at square one, with a refrigerator full of both soft drinks. Okay, I’ve cut down on the Diet Coke and at work I drink lots of water. But at home I’m not sure I’m much better off.

Changing habits is never easy. I hear that sitting is the new smoking and I just don’t know how to keep from sitting as much as I do at home. I’m trying to cut down on screen time as well, but I’m having a hard time coming up with alternatives. Yes, I can read, and I do that, but one of my alternatives to watching TV is to write and that puts me plunk in front of my computer screen. Yes, I could get out and walk, and I do that, but that doesn’t take up as much of my time as I’d like. So I end up watching a lot of TV, reading and writing, all of which have me sitting.

I’m fortunate in one sense that my current job has me on my feet a lot, moving around quite a bit, so I keep myself “active” in that way. It’s not the same as aerobic exercise but it’s certainly better than sitting at a desk all day. I do sit for a couple of hours a day, but the rest is up on my feet.

I say it again: changing habits is never easy. At least, changing some habits isn’t easy.

I’m lucky that I’m relatively healthy. Sure, I could lose ten pounds (and there we go with that changing habits thing again), but a recent physical and the resulting blood work showed some positive results, better than I expected.

But I need to change some habits, so this year, for the first time in decades, I’m making some New Year’s resolutions. I’m going to exercise more, drink more plain water and eat healthier. I have a plan for each and I’ve already started to implement these plans (why wait?).

My cats have agreed to hold me accountable. Okay, I’ve developed some other accountability systems, hopefully better equipped to help me than my cats.

So here I go…


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Merry Christmas and Happy Blogging Anniversary To Me

Hope Santa Paws was good to you and yours! Merry Christmas everyone!

It was six years ago today that I first started this blog. I had no idea what I was doing, and thankfully they didn’t have these blasted blocks for me to deal with. I also was in a dark place and needed an outlet for my pain. In the past I’ve reposted that first post on this anniversary day, but since I’ve come so far since then I’m going to forego that tradition.

Blogging is a funny thing, and my blog has gone through several transformations (none of them deliberate) to become what it is today. Four years ago, I was posting two or three times a week. I had a bi-weekly feature, Classic for a Reason, where I featured movies from the golden age of Hollywood. That feature became its own blog and I’m still posting there today (classicforareason.com).  Check it out if you’re a fan of classic, I mean really classic, films.

Today I have much less time to dedicate to blogging, but it gives me a great deal of pleasure to see that many of my old posts are still viewed. Of course that doesn’t compare with the pleasure of getting to know my many blogging buddies.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Image credit: ©Anton – stock.adobe.com

Santa and the Pandammit

Just for fun, here’s a short short story I wrote for my writing group. We each wrote a one-page, double-spaced story (making it really short) for our final meeting of the year. Merry Christmas!

They couldn’t visit Santa Claus because of the pandammit. Mommy said lots of people were getting sick and Santa had to stay well for Christmas. Keri understood. Sort of. Wasn’t Santa magic? How else did he visit everyone in one night? Couldn’t he make himself better if he got sick?

Keri helped Mommy and Daddy decorate the Christmas tree. Daddy said he had a big surprise for her. “Keri, since we can’t go to Santa, I thought we could bring Santa to you. Here’s a Santa ornament. You can tell Santa what you want for Christmas this way.”

Mommy smiled really big. “Go on, honey. Tell Santa what you want.”

Keri looked silently at the ornament. The real Santa sat at the mall. “Should I hang it up, Daddy?”

“Of course, kitten. How about there?” He pointed to one of the branches closer to the bottom. “You don’t have to talk to Santa right now. He’ll be right here when you’re ready.”

Keri nodded and picked up another ornament. Mommy sighed, but Keri couldn’t help it. She wanted the real Santa Claus.

Later that night, a long time after she fell asleep, something woke her up. She didn’t know what it could be, but she did know she felt hungry. Mommy had baked some cookies right after they decorated the tree, and Keri knew where to find them.

She tiptoed through the living room on her way to the kitchen, looking over at the tree as she passed by. Wait. Something twinkled. Like a star. Keri walked over to the tree to see what it could be. The Santa ornament! But wait again. Santa looked different. Did he just wink at her?

“You didn’t believe I could really be Santa, Keri.” The ornament talked to her! “But I am. Tell me what you want for Christmas.”

Keri smiled. Daddy had brought Santa to her.

Image credit: ©ezstudiophoto – stock.adobe.com

Oh my. It’s Snowing…

Oh my. It’s snowing, and they’re predicting a total of more than six inches. In my home state of Minnesota, this would be nothing. In my adopted state it’s a problem. Given the limited number of plows in my county (and none in the city), it makes driving dangerous. I don’t want to go to work tomorrow, but I’m out of days off. So I’ll be driving slowly, like a little old lady.

It’s supposed to be sunny tomorrow so the snow will melt, at least enough to make driving okay by the time I leave work. At least, that’s what I’m counting on.

It is pretty though, so I might as well enjoy the beauty today, when I don’t have to drive.

I would prefer a white Christmas. Since Christmas lands on a Friday, we’d have a weekend for the roads to clear. Maybe we’ll get that, too.

Oh my. It’s snowing.

(oh my…when I posted this, I got a notification that this is post number 500. That’s a lot of writing, most of which I did a few years ago. Thanks to all my loyal followers and those of you who drop in from time to time as well. It means a lot to me.)

Happy Creative Holidays

We’re all being forced to be a little more creative these days. As the pandemic rages on, most of us must find new ways to be close to friends and even family for the holidays. I urge you to follow the recommendations of the CDC as well as find new traditions that will remind us in years to come how we survived the frustrations of 2020.

Creative holidays in the past, for many of us at least, meant making our own Christmas decorations. Now it means finding ways to be close to each other without threatening the health and lives of those around us. For some businesses it means finding ways to stay afloat while restrictions limit the normal flow of things.

I recently wrote a short story about a family who replaces the mall Santa with a Santa ornament and urges their five-year-old daughter to whisper her Christmas wishes to the ornament. (Perhaps later I’ll share that story here; for now it’s being saved for my writing group.)

Happy Creative Holidays, everyone.

Image credit: ©Maridav – stock.adobe.com