Why I Hate Vacation.

Image result for Vacation

Okay, so I didn’t go anywhere tropical. It was tropical enough in Minnesota with the temperatures and heat indexes both in the 90s. Image courtesy of Google.

Hey.

There’s nothing really to hate about vacation, really. Who doesn’t enjoy not living by the clock, being available for spontaneity, kicking back and seeing the world when you’d normally be at work?

I usually don’t hate it at all except…..

I’m with you, enjoying about 90% of the time off that we’re talking about. I usually have a great time and reach out to people I know I wouldn’t otherwise- because I work odd hours and don’t call people as often as I should or would. Aside from being social, I’ve truly enjoyed pretending to be unemployed without the income issues of actually being unemployed these last five days but tonight, my vacation sucks. Why?

Because I’ll have to go back to work tomorrow. Which means back to solving problems I didn’t create and people I’m only being paid to deal with- otherwise I’d never cross paths with them. I know they truly would rather be at home as well so there’s no hard feelings. Life.

You know the feeling….

Time to rest up and get ready.

Already looking forward to the next opportunity to be on an extended break.

Image result for frustration

Admit it, you’ve been there too… Image courtesy of Google.

 

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National Night Out (Minneapolis)

Hey.

Earlier this week I got a flyer in my mailbox regarding today’s activities for National Night Out (NNO). I chose not to attend, opting instead to be kind and move my vehicle to the back driveway and let the kids (at least 15 or more) play in the blocked off section we have, while I write, blog and occasionally peep out of the window. It’s always welcomed to see children out playing together while their parents congregate.

I saw a police officer chatting up with residents earlier and I was glad to see this. With the news stories of late involving the deaths of citizens at the hands of law enforcement and vice versa, we need a week of this kind of respite, in my opinion. Our block is home to a demographically wide range of residents in both age and color and the one’s closest to me I’ve already met and wave to often as I’m going about my daily routine. I chose not to co-mingle today because I felt shy and the 2 hour event I feel usually involves the line of questioning I wasn’t up to answering. Usually people think I’m in my twenties and thus the “Where do work?” “What do you do?” barrage of questions is always something I have to encounter. I prefer the small talk and anonymity of crossing paths and just waving and saying hello.

Truthfully, we need more National Night Out days. I don’t speculate and guess a lot about my neighbors but some people truly need the opportunity to get to know their neighbors and build trust to know that others are equally concerned about the safety and well-being of the neighborhood, including law enforcement. It’s also a great excuse to pull out the grill and ‘let the people come’. If you live in the U.S and missed out on this year’s NNO due to it not including your block, I’ve included the link here so you can perhaps get one going in your area. Next year, the day will fall on my birthday and thus I’ll be in a more festive mood. I’ve been in party mode for the last three days and by today I was truly partied out. If you were able to enjoy NNO let me know- so far, Minneapolis has been the leader last year in NNO participation. Represent your city!

 

 

 

Back in the Swing of Things

swinging

Do you think he hit it? Or was it a strike? Hmmm…(courtesy of Google images)

Hey.

I know it’s been awhile. A little over six months to be exact. I took a small (okay, semi annual in length) break from my blogging activities to hunker down and deal with some things- a storm of events both good and bad. I missed this favorite activity of mine. Trust me, I need to do some serious catching up with what’s been going on in your lives because life does go on and I depend on other bloggers’ perspective about many things. Writers are the best bunch of people.

My beloved pup, Oliver, of twelve and a half years passed away after a lengthy decline in kidney function and hemangiosarcoma (tumor of the spleen) that had evidence it spread to his liver. I’ll have to write more on this later but I’ll suffice to say for now- dealing with this was one of the more painful moments of my life (five weeks, actually). I lost a member of my pack and as you may or may not know, long standing habits take a very long time to adjust away from. He is sorely missed.

I also made the decision to become an independent author in December 2015 and cut my ties fully in January. If there are any other of you authors on the fence about going independent- let me tell you, YOU CAN DO IT. I was with a publisher who pretty much jacked me around for a few years and then basically half-assed a book release. Um yeah, I deserve better. Trust me I’ll be writing more about this in hopes of giving other authors in a similar situation the inspiration and resources they need to continue on their journey to authorship. Fortunately, we live in a post-traditional publishing world (yey!) and there are plenty of ways to get your work out there. Let me reiterate the last part of that statement:

There are plenty of legitimate companies that will help you produce, publish and market your quality work and make it available to the public for purchase and enjoyment.

So on an author note: my novel Affliction will be re-released this Fall in time for the zombie lovers to enjoy it. Affliction is a wonderful story and I dare not ever let any person discourage my writing passion and goals of having it along with the subsequent stories available to the public.

Folks, never let anyone stand in the way of what your God-given talents are. You’ll probably find that you’re in a somewhat miserable state until you’re doing what you’re truly supposed to. That is factual.

That is my theme for 2016 and pretty much the rest of my life.

So with this re-dedication of mine, of sorts, I’m here to raise my hand to say that I’m still present among you and hope that you all have been well. If that isn’t the case I hope that you are doing better. Life is a journey, not a destination. <— don’t quote me on that, I’ve always heard that statement and I want pass it along to you.

Stay tuned.¬† ūüôā

Feel free to check in by commenting below- let me know how you’ve been. I’ll be poking around a few pages, getting back in touch with you too.

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Courtesy of Google Images.

 

 

Changing Perspectives

"Priorities" Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

Image courtesy of Google.

Hey.

Like the title suggests, this Christmas Eve I’m acknowledging my changing attitudes and thoughts on many things… my God, does that mean I’m getting older (again)?

Recently I’ve been experiencing my own episodes of independence and maturation (moving in with the boyfriend can do that) as well as changing and owning up to the production of my own works (going from traditionally published to independent status) I feel more in control of my life now than ever before. I feel the potential to achieve success is mine to renew, rebuild, and refurbish- I am the captain. Part of me wants an official badge and hat or something while the other half wants to laugh at my former self for assuming I wasn’t capable in the first place.

indie publishing

Courtesy of Google images.

I’m in the mode of near-exclusive encouragement to others who are contemplating their next professional move, especially when it comes to authorship. Sure it will cost you a little money but piece-of-mind about the outcome is worth it, even at double the price. I’ll write more on the specifics of my journey later but I’ll suffice it to say that right now, I’m completely at peace about it all. My motto now is more closely aligned with the saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”- “What are you waiting for?”

Well, as we close out the end of the year and look to set goals at the most popular and powerful time of the year in January: What are you waiting for?

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Courtesy of Google images.

(Almost) Missing: The Magic of Christmas

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Courtesy of Google Images.

 

Hey.

It’s two days before Christmas Eve and suddenly I’m reflecting on Christmas memories from year’s past. Its bittersweet. For about five years now I’ve found that Christmas has lost its steam, its potential, its wow factor. I’ve come to realize it’s not as fun of a holiday when you’re all grown up. Sure, if I had kids I could make it my job to give them the best impression that an obese man with a beard actually makes it to every house overnight with reindeer pulling toys on a sleigh- no bathroom breaks required. I don’t have kids so for now, I look to others and build as much of the fun as I can.

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Courtesy of Google images.

 

Like many others, I¬†think the¬†era of Christmas itself has changed due to technology and consumerism. I complain now for a very good reason: I¬†spent the peak Christmas years for a child¬†in Anchorage, Alaska in the mid¬†80’s. Let me tell you, it gets no better for Christmas than that. Folks my age and older¬†will agree. Back then, things were simpler. With mountains surrounding the city and our¬†proximity to the North Pole, it required no stretch of the imagination to believe that fat man would make it down the chimney so many of us had. With real reindeer roaming around the surrounding forests in the outskirts of the city it was easy to wonder if they were a part of the magic eight out on a stroll when they weren’t busy pulling the jolly fat guy around with his toys. We also attended church and knew of the spiritual meaning of the day: the day which we celebrate Jesus’ birth but I’ll admit as a kid the presents were much more exciting!

Christmas 3

Courtesy of Google images

 

Now as an adult,¬†I as well as other 80s babies are now¬†consumed with coordinating work/travel schedules, meal planning and gift buying… which all¬†but a¬†smaller portion of joy is removed to be experienced once everything comes together for Christmas dinner. The long awaited, child-like¬†excitement is now replaced with budgeting and other mild stresses along with other adults who feel nearly the same way. The real reason of the day becomes more apparent and important. Jesus replaces the jolly fat guy. We each become a little bit responsible for the fate of the world around us.

Like my grandmother says, “Enjoy your youth.”

My offering to you at the height of this season (I apologize for not getting to you before now) is for a little bit of that child-like wonder to return to your heart. Remember when you went¬†to bed¬†on Christmas¬†Eve and you were excited beyond words? Remember when you woke up feeling like you hadn’t slept at all but daylight was in the window and you knew this was one of the best days of the year? May that feeling return and make itself known. May your dinner table be packed with food and your smiles and laughter come often. May you wonder if only for a second whether that fat, jolly man might’ve made his way around to every heart bringing the gift of peace.

Merry Christmas.

Christmas Wishes Blog Photo

Image courtesy of: You guessed it- Google images

 

 

Introducing Author Shellie Blum (An Author Spotlight)

Hey.

Many moons ago you may recall my interest in doing book reviews and¬†other related topics here¬†on WordPress. Being an author myself, I want to always share what I’ve learned about ‘authorship’ and the good things I come across.¬†Writers tend to be a cool bunch of people-¬†we¬†interact often and thus¬†the chances of coming across fantastic individuals runs high. Here’s a fantastic lady I’d like you to be aware of.

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Courtesy of Shellieblum.com

 

Shellie Blum is her name and Waterski Girl Wonder is the memoir she’s pinned about her upbringing and life around the sport. I’ve been friends with her on Facebook for a few years now, having the privilege to view her throwback¬†videos of when she and other ladies would perform years ago in the 80’s. Shellie is¬†one of the most positive entities in my friends list- posting only the cutest of animal photos and clips. Unfortunately¬†in 1989 Shellie suffered a career ending injury-¬†a Hangman’s Fracture and a broken jaw during a practice run. Up until that point Shellie was living her successful dream. At the moment of injury though, she would spend years coping with¬†what it means to truly¬†survive. Below is a brief Q&A session I had the privilege of having with¬†whom I can only describe as a humble¬†and kind lady:

 Where were you born and where do you live now?

I was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina on the military base Camp Lejeune. I now live in Lake Wales, Florida.

When did you decide to write Waterski Girl Wonder? How long did it take to complete it?

I was being called crazy on the Judge Alex TV show facebook page and was banned from it. This was in January of 2012. Around January 19th if I remember correctly, I was so angry I started writing my book, and 25 days later I had my first draft completed and sent off to a proofreader February 15th, 2012.

What can readers expect from Waterski Girl Wonder?

I’m hoping readers will feel like they’re on a roller coaster ride of my life- and that they will have to metaphorically keep pinching themselves that, indeed this really did happen.

You’ve obviously overcome a tremendous injury- I’m glad you survived! Are you still dealing with any health issues from that incident today?

I have several health issue but feel extremely blessed that I’m still alive. And I realize how lucky I am compared to other people so I try not to complain too much.

What words of advice would you give to yourself if you could go back in time to visit yourself as a child?

Perhaps to be more patient. I’ve always been in a hurry about things, you know trying so hard, moving too fast. It’s something I’m still working on today.

Speaking of children, you have a lovely set of twins, are they fans of the waterski sport?

They are both very athletically inclined and are 2nd degree Black Belts in Tae Kwon Do. Yes, they are fans of all watersports but I don’t push them in any direction. I let them decide what they want to do, and mostly they like to see if their old mom can flip them off our inner tube from behind our Seadoo.

What are your other hobbies?

I really don’t have any hobbies, unless of course you consider my obsession with Social Media. Somewhere along the time line of me writing my book and trying to garner the attention of traditional agents and publishing houses, I was told I should build a book platform. I didn’t even know what that meant, but apparently Social Media is the ticket. I would go after building my Social Media presence and book platfrom like I’ve done everything else in my life… Balls to the Wall! Maybe it will pay off, maybe it won’t. Only time will time. The powers that be told me to build a book platform, so I built it. Still no help from traditional sources, so I’ll go it alone.

Are you doing any additional writing now? Can readers expect more titles from you in the future?

I am not. But I am being encouraged by some of my fellow writers who have read my memoir and think I should. Isn’t that great? I truly appreciate the camraderie of the Indie writing world. So, yes, I feel like I might have another book in me.

When/where can we buy Waterski Girl Wonder?

The official book launch date is December 16th, 2015, but you can get the hard cover book right now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, you know, the regular outlets. I am fighting, er, uh haggling with Amazon to discount my book, so that process is happening just now. Hopefully, by December 16th, 2015 I will have gotten the price down where it’s a little more competitve. Just google my name Shellie Blum or Waterski Girl Wonder, my book and website should pop up.

If you’d like to pick up a copy through Amazon, I’ve included the link here.

Shellie is on Twitter.

She is also on Facebook.

Follow and/or friend her, you won’t regret it.

shellie 4

Courtesy of ShellieBlum.com

 

 

Womenopause

Courtesy of Google images.

Courtesy of Google images.

Hey.

While reading random stories online, I stumbled across a wonderful article on menopause– which also begs me to wonder why they decided on calling it that. I know it has to do with the root word menses but for gender significance it has nothing to do with men, so why not call it womenopause?¬†Anywho…

At 36, I’m not in the age range for this rite of passage for¬†our older ladies. I’ve always worked with a few who mother nature decides to retire from natural motherhood and if you’re as lucky as I am, you’ve heard all about it- in detail. From what I’ve experienced, some women consider it the bane of their existence at the time while others, more quietly go about ‘the change’ without the dramatic showcase.

Estrogen, estrogen, estrogen, why did you forsake me?”

(hint: because your old butt should not carry and deliver any babies, anymore- not without IVF and many prescriptions)

To everything, there is a season.

I’m usually a good listener so for years, actually ever since I started working in retail when I was 16 and was around women of various ages, I’ve¬†been included in these conversations simply because I’m a¬†woman and for training purposes- that¬†is, to prepare for that life ahead, I¬†too should know what happens and hear some perspective. This also has happened in my 20s and 30s now, quite often!

My first job was working with the city at age 14 painting houses for low income families in the summer. We were divided into groups and often there was only one female painting with 5 or 6 males. Menopause definitely was never a topic.

I’m still at least a decade, possibly closer to two-¬†from¬†having to worrying about¬†this but alas, between now and then some¬†number of older ladies will be sure to fill me in even more before my time comes. Then, ‘the change’ will happen to me and suddenly I will transform into one of those women I had to listen to.

~~

Shout out to Opinionated Man who¬†re-blogged my post,¬†Taking a Stance. Check out his blog too! If you don’t know who he is- he’s like the biggest ‘force’ in WordPress as far as I’m concerned.

Courtesy of Google images.

Courtesy of Google images.