My Novels

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010: Year End Reflections

I'm sitting on my back porch in balmy 60 degree weather, enjoying the sunny breeze, typing on my QuickPad. Just this past weekend, snow was on the ground and temperatures hovered at near 18 degrees. Welcome to climate change, or for the disbelieving, unwashed masses, just the normal ups/downs of weather.

Earlier I took the dogs on another long walk, and enjoyed the weather. Rain on the way tomorrow. I've been taking extra long walks with the dogs in order to lose two pounds I gained from Christmas food indulgence! As of this morning, I'm almost there!

At any rate, I wanted to write a year's end summary about 2010, making note of the more significant events in my life. It was a peaceful year, uneventful in some ways, but I did make it through - and at my age, 59, that in itself is an accomplishment. So many never live to see my age, therefore each day is a small miracle.

This past year started with me being back in my house where DH & I lived for 25 years; I was very happy to be back home. And I still am.

A brief list of home-related tasks this year:

1. I did my own lawn care with a battery-operated Neuton lawnmower. No small feat when you consider I'd never mowed a yard while DH was alive. I even managed to rake tons of leaves, cart them to the curb in a wheelbarrow. I only hope I have the stamina to do that next year, since I saved money by not having to hire it done.

2. I had drainage ditches put in to keep the rainfall ruining my carport and had the sidewalk/front entryway improved. Had a nice garden-like shrubbery spot to enhance the front.

3. In the Fall, I had gutters removed, trim work done on one side of the house to improve drainage and eliminate gutter cleaning. Also had new doors put on the garage, some electrical work done in there so I could use the space for the stray cats to eat/sleep through winter months.

4. Rounding out the year in home improvement, I had a new central heat/air system installed with a ten-year warranty (labor & parts). Long overdue as the other system was getting very old.

5. In spring, I wasn't sure I'd be able to sell my other house, so I dropped my medical insurance due to income decrease (losing the rental income). I hoped if the house sold I could use a portion of the money for the pre-existing medical insurance via the new federal program for my state. It was a very loooooooong six months, but luckily I did sell my house and should be getting my insurance card this week. It's expensive: $583.00 per month with a $2,000.00 deductible but at my age, it's sheer folly to be without insurance (especially if you have savings/assets/investments/annuity to protect).

5. In October, I had the triple-flu vaccination, and within two weeks, noticed a swollen lymph node under my arm. It is still there, though decreasing, was never large. I haven't had it checked out due to being without medical insurance and the prohibitive costs of testing. I hope to get that checked next week. I still think it had to do with the flu shot, since I've learned others have had that side effect. But I'm not sure, so I must get it seen by a doctor. I haven't felt ill, other than a brief bout of nausea just about the time I noticed the swelling - two weeks after the flu shot. Otherwise, I feel fine.

6. For Christmas, I bought a Roku and joined Netflix. I'm loving the movies, and may cut back some of the channels I get via cable, saving money.

So those are the main points I want to remember for 2010, a reference for my journal if I need to look back.

Who knows what 2011 holds? January is always a very strange month for me; I've done some wild & crazy things in January's of the past! Maybe I get stir-crazy, not sure...

Thus, another year ends. For the New Year I have only two wishes: good health & living to age 60 so I can qualify for DH's SSI, which will certainly improve my monthly income and, hopefully, allow me to increase my savings.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day After Christmas

Woke to more snow flurries, but by noon, occasional sunbursts. Bundled up the dogs in their new coats (gift from sister), put on my heavy coat, and we went for a walk! Since the wind had picked up, it cleared the streets of snow, no danger of icy spots. Brisk walk, but nice to get out of the house for awhile.

Pictures from the day:

Oscar models his new snug coat!

Rambo models his new coat!

Slinky & Bitty Kitty enjoy their gift, a play cube!

Morning sunlight on fallen snow with dog tracks!

And now I'm about to enjoy home-made vegetable soup that I cooked, yum.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day Snowfall!

Just a reminder for myself that we're having a white Christmas in Dixie today!

As beautiful as it is though, I fear a real icy mess tomorrow since temperatures are supposed to fall into the 20s tonight.

Hope everyone's having a great Christmas 2010!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Review of Roku HD Player

Originally submitted at Roku

The new HD, with built-in wireless, delivers top value in high-definition streaming.

Best item I've ever bought!

By Cara from Alabama on 12/22/2010


5out of 5

Pros: Reliability, Easy to set up, Great value, Compact, Easy to use, High quality picture, Built in Wi-Fi

Cons: Want more video choices

Best Uses: Bedroom, Living room

Describe Yourself: Netflix fan

I love my new Roku. I'm 59, female and somewhat tech-challenged -- but I had NO trouble hooking up the Roku to my HDTV. Worked right out of the box, no problem.

Then I joined Netflix, and enjoy each night choosing a good movie to watch! I have never had a DVR or pay-per-view/pay-movie-channel, so this has provided me with countless hours of excellent movies/TV programs, etc.

My only concern is that Netflix will eventually have to raise their monthly fee; I'm on the one-movie-at-a-time with no limit for streaming movies. If the fee went up a lot, I'd probably have to drop it - and that would be a real shame. The Roku/Netflix are a great alternative to high cable costs for such a selection of entertainment viewing.

I'll be recommending Roku to all my friends and family.


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

December Update

I wish I had a valid excuse for not posting more often, but I really don't. I have no desire to hash out some private issues I'm going through right now, so I've resorted to little snippets of my life via Twitter.

I will probably have some news to share within a couple weeks though, about something I've been going through. If I can convince myself there's an incentive in writing about it here, I will.

I always thought, as a writer, you have to be willing to put yourself/beliefs/thoughts/feelings out there and be open to sharing in personal ways that many people aren't. Even in fiction, there is a part of your heart & soul in the characters, story, theme. Until a year or so ago, I continued to openly share via this blog, but gradually I have withdrawn somewhat. Not sure what has caused this, maybe just seeing how the internet has allowed everyone (it seems) to let it all hang out for the world to see. Privacy is now becoming a premium few have any longer. It's one thing to write a personal postal letter or email, and another to blather on at length about the most trivial, inconsequential elements of one's life for the whole world to read.

NOT to say all personal blogs are that way, and in truth, the few writers who can eloquently describe their lives/thoughts/feelings with meaning and significance are a joy to read. Yet for every one good blog, there's about a million that are pure trash complete with bad grammar, poor spelling, etc. Just like reality TV ...too many trashy lives being hailed as entertainment. NOT. And the sad thing is, most people can't tell the difference between a humiliating reality TV program and good drama with theme/characters/meaning.

Enough of this rant though. Suffice to say, I'm going through a re-evaluation about my own writing at this blog. In the meantime, I am writing by hand in a journal, which has rekindled my love of writing in general. I can't explain why that would be so, except to say that when I close the journal I can put it safely away and know that my thoughts are not splashed all over the world for anyone and everyone to read and judge/comment on. Perhaps as I grow older (59 as of Dec. 3rd), I'm becoming a more private person?

For now, I'll close with this excellent video regarding a vegetarian diet being healthy and why we have an epidemic of obesity here in America: