My Novels

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rainy Day

Not much to write about, just another rainy day. Actually we had some serious storms roll through around dawn, but I slept through it all. Fortunately there was no damage in the city, or my neighborhood due to the high winds.

Rambo is lying in my lap; I've learned to type around him!

I now have three novels at for the Kindle e-reader. I may put a couple more there when I'm finished editing. Decided might as well offer those at a very low price,  99 cents, or free if you are a member of Amazon Prime. And they should also be available for lending via that website. Better than keeping the novels on my hard-drive. There's a link in the right side-bar.

I still haven't finalized my pre-planning for a memorial; the lady I'd been working with had to have emergency gallbladder surgery...and now she's come down with shingles! I'm not in a hurry though because I haven't settled an issue at the cemetery where I want my and late husband's ashes buried. I'm in the process of working that out with the care-taker; the cemetery land was given by my great-uncle, with the stipulation any family members could have free plots. I'd like our ashes put beside my grandmother, and maybe just a small flat stone with our names & birth/death dates.

What else? Nice visit with my sister and brother-in-law on Monday. While he went to the golf course, we drove to that cemetery and talked with the care-taker. I drove my car, and on the way home, turned on the air conditioner. It had been blowing cool air, but not getting cold. Anyhow, after a few miles we smelled something like burning rubber! I shut off the air conditioner, and it stopped. Brother-in-law looked under the hood later, and said he thinks the air conditioner compressor is shot. It'd cost a lot to replace, so I'm considering trading the car in on a newer model. I've been looking at the Toyota Prius, seriously interested. Just so I find another car before hot weather starts -- which could be as early as March here. Sigh.

I'll close with one of my favorite quotes about art/artists:

It's a love that can never be satisfied, more like a yearning. Addressing a powerful & constant state of yearning that torments, yet artists love that torment. Need it. Because they understand that being able to feel this yearning so exquisitely is a secret strength. This is the power of the artist.

If you are an artist you learn how to trap the yearning & put it where you want it, put  it where it goes. That's the secret all true artists come to know.

That is the redemptive power of art. It can make something haunting and beautiful out of something that, in real life, was painful and degrading.

--From "The Finishing School" By Gail Godwin

Friday, January 25, 2013

Quest for Destiny, my e-novel

Just a brief post today to announce my e-book on I'd had it ready for a couple months, just hadn't actually hit the "publish" button. I went over and over and over the manuscript, editing, checking for errors, etc. While I cannot say it's perfect, it's as near as I can get it.

Here's a description of "Quest for Destiny":
Set in a fictional area near the picturesque, historic Cades Cove region of the Smoky Mountains in the 1980s, this romantic suspense novel centers around the theme of reincarnated lovers from the American Civil War Era. The male character has been regressed by hypnosis, knows the past tragic history; he is seeking the woman who has been reborn in this lifetime as his soul mate. When he finds her, the two begin a beautiful romance only to learn they are being plunged back into almost the same dangerous fate that once took their lives prematurely in another time and place. 

Direct link: Quest for Destiny  

I wrote that novel in the 80s. It was published in the late 90s by a small e-book publisher and available at Barnes & Noble online store. However, the publisher eventually went out of business and I retained copyright. I had many reader comments back then, mostly women who compared it to a romance series by a major publishing house. I suppose I should have sent the manuscript to agents, but my strong suit was never trying to get published! 

No rain here yet. Overcast, dreary but dry. I went to grocery store early, picked up some food items. My low back is killing me today; I must have strained it somehow, will take time to get back to normal. No dog walk. Sigh.

Finally a couple quotes about writing:

"...Not listen  to the didactic statements of the author, but to the low, calling cries of the characters, as they wander in the dark woods of their destiny." --D.H. Lawrence

"Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write...can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic and fear inherent in the human condition."  --Graham Green

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How I'd like to be remembered

A writing prompt I had to give serious consideration. Indeed, how would YOU like to be remembered once you are no longer among the living?

This morning as I was out on the sun-porch taking care of my two older cats, it suddenly hit me: I'd like to be remembered as someone who had a passion for pets. Cats & dogs specifically, but not limited to those. I think, honestly, that we humans eradicate the natural environments of animals to our peril; they all have a worthwhile place in our natural world.

I also think there is a special place in hell (if there is a hell) for those who have tortured animals in the name of "science." It's like comparing apples & oranges (animal biology to human biology), doesn't work. Should aliens ever visit earth, they might very well use humans as we use animals -- and does anyone really want that to happen?

And how I'd like to be remembered?

For being an empathetic, compassionate human being who could "walk a mile in another's shoes" -- and feel the pain of a suffering animal or fellow human being.

Writing? Yes, I'd like to know someone somewhere benefited from my empathy, my compassion in what I've written through the years. I've never been a teacher, rather a writer who conveys meaning via stories/poetry/articles. If a reader learns something, great; if not, at least they should be entertained.

I loved reading as a child, and learned from everything I've ever read -- whether fiction (amazing how facts in fiction can teach)...or straight factual articles.

Last night I watched an old movie I'd not seen since the 70s: The Panic in Needle Park. It was as excellent as I remembered it -- though if you have a problem with ambiguous endings, you won't be pleased. Al Pacino was a mere child (joking, but he was very young!), and it's easy to see why he went on to become an all-time great actor.

I also gave the dogs a bath yesterday after returning from the park. Today I walked them in the neighborhood, but not too far. Sunshine is nice, but the wind has a chill. Might get freezing rain tonight/early morning. Hope not...can do without the traffic snarls.

I am getting a head cold, though I think it's just a mild one. Woke up with stuffy nose, sneezing and achy bones. Ugh. Feel weird this afternoon, that strange pall over everything and head-achy, tired. Sigh.

Off to lie down and rest while reading a novel on my tablet.

I'll end with this tidbit by Allen Ginsberg:


has happened

the world.
on the edge,

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sunny Monday

Ah, weird post title! But it was a nice day, even though a cold afternoon. Didn't take dogs on walk. I was expecting someone at 1:00, they never showed up. Had some errands in town, and didn't get back till late.

I managed to watch President Obama's inaugural speech -- and as usual, it was inspiring and delivered eloquently. I hope better days are ahead for our country, especially in the matter of health care reform. Time will tell though.

A short writing prompt:

What is your greatest fear? 

I think my greatest fear is losing all my savings through medical bills. It could easily happen, even with medical insurance. Or I could also lose my mortgage-free home to medical bankruptcy. Truly, that is one of my nightmares: outliving my savings. My income would continue, but I really want to leave the savings to a worthwhile cause.

I met an elderly lady (94) who was scared to death because she'd run out of savings to pay for her assisted living care. She didn't want to be in a nursing home, particularly in the room with another person. I realized that is almost the curse of living to be so old...

And now I'll close with this quote I've always liked about writers:

"The discovery of the complexity of human nature was accompanied by another -- the discovery of the complexity and irrationality of human motive, the discovery that one could love and hate simultaneously, be honest & cheap, be arrogant & humble, be any pair of opposites that one had supposed to be mutually exclusive. This, I believe, is not common knowledge and would be incomprehensible to many. It has always been known, of course, by the dramatists and the novelist. It is, in fact, a knowledge far more disturbing to other people than to writers, for to writers it is the grist to their mills." --Alan Paton "The Challenge of Fear" Saturday Review, 1967

I remember distinctly when I first realized such human complexity -- I was in my late 20s, just starting to write creatively. I thought it was a blinding I could use in my work. But also, from that time forward, it never really shocked me when an average person everyone thought was peaceful, nice, respectful, etc suddenly killed family and/or random people. That is the quandary of human nature, and denial of it by most people is because they cannot imagine someone they love doing the unthinkable. It happens though, just watch the news for a week or two and you'll see the truth revealed.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Pleasant Sunday

Beautiful weather -- nearly 60, bright sunshine, no wind. Perfect for a long walk in the park with my dogs.

Then I decided to try out the Thundershirt I bought Oscar; ads promised it would stop a dog from whining, barking, etc. Oscar whines all the time he's in a car, and nothing I've tried ever stops him! Anyway, I came back to the house, put the tight-fitting outfit on him and away we went on a long drive.

Rambo, as usual, rides well, never a peep out of him. I think I could take him on a road trip and he'd love it.

The outfift did tone down Oscar's whining, but didn't entirely stop it. Maybe I didn't have it tight enough, so I may try to make it more snug next time.

It was a great ride in the country though, no destination, just a random drive at first. Then I remembered a place I'd seen for sale in the real estate guide. Drove by there, a house with 3.7 acres late husband and I'd looked at years ago. The house needs work, but the price is right; and it's located only 2 miles from the city. Not really thinking of moving, but occasionally I do entertain the idea of changing locations. Just not at the present time. The house I'm in now would be a good source of income, especially if I let a realtor handle it as a rental.

Yesterday another trip to the park with dogs. They are loving the walks, and I'm staying off the neighborhood streets until I can find new walking shoes. I wear out shoes very fast, go through them since I walk so much. Wish I could find some that would last longer but no luck.

I found two small seedling pine trees, and put those in the front yard. I'm planting stuff near the curb, with the intention of keeping it trimmed to about five feet. We'll see, I guess, when spring comes.

Next week is sunny too, but with teens a couple nights. Good to get everything drying out after endless rain for the past week!

Sister and brother-in-law have a stomach virus, and are staying home till better. I caught a similar virus last January, and ended up at urgent care. Sure don't want it again!

My grand-niece visited the past couple mornings. She had a mild cold, but not the flu. Actually, the flu hasn't been that bad here yet. Of course, we still have a good bit of winter to get through.

And now, a brief writing prompt:

Something from childhood you wish you still had.

Three things actually.

First: a small red rocker my grandparents bought me when I was about four. It made it through three moves, then I gave it away.

Second: a friendship ring one of aunts gave me. I was ten at the time, and treasured it so much; she was my favorite aunt on my mother's side (married to mother's brother). Unfortunately the next summer it came off my finger at the pool. I was devastated, and though the lifeguard looked for it, never was found. I hated to tell her I lost it and never did, since she never asked. She and my uncle divorced a few years later, which made me wish even more I'd never lost that ring.

Third: a wire-rimmed pair of spectacles my grandmother gave me. They were my great-aunt's glasses --my grandmother's sister. I don't have a clue when or how they got lost. I just know they came up missing one day. There was so much chaos in our childhood home, anything could have happened to those.

Now I'm going to sit in the sun on the back porch and read a good novel.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Southern Snowfall

Yesterday turned out to be an example of everything that can go wrong when we get snowfall in the South -- below the Mason Dixon Line.

Though weather forecasters had been predicting this particular snowfall of up to 4 inches, they kept saying the highway/streets were too warm for any problems. How wrong they were! As is often the case here in north Alabama, it's never easy to predict where the accumulation will be the worst -- and it so happened, we got at least 4 inches in about two hours, between noon and 2:00.

Since the county schools had delayed school for two hours, and let out at 1:00, that turned out to be a mess. School buses were caught in the worst of the blinding snow, as well as getting stuck in various spots all over the county. Some were at the bottom of hills, some near bridges, etc and some schools kept the kids, not letting them out till after five.

And then there was the fiasco on the nearby interstate. Our region is actually at the end of the long Appalachian mountain range, located atop a high plateau. Going or coming, there's serious hills to climb or descend. Therefore the interstate traffic began as a slow crawl, then stopped altogether. The hills had iced over, snowfall atop that with falling temperatures during the night. Wrecks were everywhere, over 100 reported on the interstate alone!

The civic center opened for stranded travelers last night. Nothing really cleared up till around 10:00 this morning -- but both city and county schools were closed. Ah well, so it goes...

In the meantime, back at home on the range, I got a few good pictures and stayed cozy inside with my pets. Did some reading, surfing the net, and sorted through the photos.

For the first time ever, I heard snow thunder a couple times yesterday. I was out on the back porch taking pictures when I heard a boom, then a deep rolling thunder that seemed to go on and on. Surreal and creepy!

Today I went to the library, returned books. Then came home and took the dogs on a walk; neighborhood streets were fine, but my front steps had to be cleared of ice (rarely gets direct sunlight). Now it's a beautiful afternoon, brilliant sunshine, 50+ and only a little snow in patches here and there.

Here's a few pictures from yesterday (click to enlarge):

                      Back yard at noon yesterday,
                      only a dusting as snow started.

This is at 1:30

The street in front of my house

The other direction in front of house

This squirrel seemed confused!

Neighbors trees bent toward my fence

Other corner of back yard

By 4:00 sun was out

This morning 7:00

Finally, a cartoon that was on 
FB about Southerners & snow!

No writing prompt today, since I had the pictures to share. I'll have a prompt tomorrow, if I have time; it's supposed to be a beautiful sunny day, in the 50s! May take dogs to park...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Another Rainy Day

Cold rain again, but I braved the weather and went to town for errands. I stopped at a couple stores, ended up at Walmart -- hate to get in that behemoth store, like going on a hiking trip. Nevertheless, I stocked up on several items, and won't have to return for some time. I usually only make one trip a month to Walmart, and that's enough!

We may get sleet/snow here tonight and tomorrow, though probably no accumulations. I hate sleet, since it can coat power lines and cause loss of electricity. Fortunately I have back-up gas heaters because my central natural gas heat comes from a furnace with an electric start.

I prepared the garage for the outside cats -- there's a cat door in the entry door. I turned on a heat lamp, put their bedding out there, then coaxed them all inside with a smelly can of cat food. Maybe they'll stay in there, though I wouldn't bet all of them will. Year before last we had a fairly big snow, several inches, and it stayed frigid long enough that days went by without any melting. All the outside cats stayed in the garage, warm & toasty with a heat lamp.

One day I was out in the driveway doing something, and Mister Mister came out the cat door. He walked very carefully over to the snow, put one paw in and then shook it indignantly. That was enough for him -- he raced back into the garage! Ha! They all stayed in there for the duration of the snow.

Just a quick prompt for today:

Your weekly laundry tip.

I would have to say a tip I'd read but didn't think would work was to apply liquid laundry detergent to a grease spot on clothing, let it sit a short time, then laundry with the other clothing. It really works, will remove grease spots and blood or other stubborn stains.

With that, I'm outta here to do some housework.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Daily Routine

Another bleak, rain-soaked day...but relief is on the way by tomorrow afternoon. Unfortunately it will be short lived, more rain Thursday. However, Friday is the beginning of sunny, cold days for at least a week. Can't wait to see the sun again and take my dogs on long walks!

For today, I'll get to my writing prompt:

Describe your daily routine when you get out of bed in the morning.

First, though I don't have to get up early, I do. I have always felt better in the morning than late afternoons, when I begin to slow down and feel tired. So I awake at 7:00 even without an alarm clock. However, if I should sleep a bit later, the dogs will get me up due to being used to their routine!

I let the dogs out of their room, they run into the den area and start wrestling with each other. They are always so happy in the mornings, circling me, tails wagging, yipping with enthusiasm. How could that not be contagious? :-)

I feed them first, then go out to check on my cats in the sun-porch; I keep a heat lamp overhead on that porch, so it's warm for them. I sometimes turn it off if temps are rising, or leave it on otherwise. I make sure they have dry food, check the litter box and then come inside.

Next I check on the stray cats (though the 3 that stay on my carport should maybe be called mine), take two bowls of dry food to them. I have blankets and assorted pillows in chairs, a huge plastic tote with pillow/blanket and hole for entry. Mostly they like to hang out on the hood of my car, where I have spread a thick quilt with pillows/blanket. At least that prevents cat tracks when they are on the hood!

Finally it's time for my breakfast! I fix coffee, cereal and sit at my computer surfing the news, reading daily blogs, etc. The dogs sit on either side of me, expecting tidbits, but I usually give them a low-cal snack treat.

After too long at the computer, I get my shower, dress and do housework, sometimes laundry. Every day varies, because if I have errands in town, I prefer to go mid-morning. I eat a bite of lunch around noon, then take the dogs on a long neighborhood walk if weather permits.

I try to write a post for this blog when I get back to the computer, then review past work in my files, trying to determine if any of it could be edited/improved. Sometimes, if I'm motivated, I write. On rainy days like today, Rambo insists on lying in my lap, so I have to type around him -- a trick he's taught me! ;-)

Around 5:00 I have a meal, watch the local and national news on TV while eating at my kitchen bar. After clean-up, the dogs retire to their room/crates; I close the door and let the two cats on my sun-porch inside. They romp and play, then settle down as I lie on the sofa to watch a Netflix movie. Bitty & Slinky have a way of positioning themselves on my on my stomach, the other one draped across my legs. Sigh.

Around 9:30 I put the cats out on their porch, let the dogs out for one last potty run outside.

At 10:00 I head to bed, but sometimes watch a documentary on Netflix on the TV in my bedroom. If it's boring, it puts me to sleep easily! Or I read if I have a good novel or book I'm enjoying.

Spring & summer have a different routine, mainly because I get outside more and sometimes take the dogs to the park instead of walking on the hot summer streets.

Exciting life, no? 

But I make no excuses since I spent a lot of years running here & there while working, not to mention the hectic years when my husband was alive.

Retirement, a satisfactory time.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Raw Wintry Day

Gales of wind, hard down-pouring rain and only in the mid-30s! An awful day following several similar days. We're having flooding all around, and even my backyard, which slants downward, is beginning to have small pools of water. Glad I don't live in a low-lying area, I'd be afraid. The ground is saturated, splashes when you walk in the dead winter grass. Ugh.

I miss the daily walk with my dogs, feeling achy from not getting any exercise in a couple days. May do some simple stretching exercises later, need to move more than basic housework.

I've been reading, since I have several e-books on my tablet.

Early this morning I talked to one of the counselors who leads the group cognitive therapy. I called to make sure the letter I'd sent my therapist (cancelling today's session) had arrived. He said it had, and told me they all missed me in group. I was always quick to speak up in group when he asked questions, and often that started others talking. Otherwise, you had a bunch of court-ordered silent, stubborn people with their arms crossed over their chests angrily, as if never a word would escape their clenched mouth. Nice. NOT.

I wrote a long letter to my therapist explaining why, for now, I wasn't going to see her. I do better expressing myself in a letter, and wanted to assure her that I'm feeling stronger, trying to put the drinking in my past. This is my way of dealing with a bad episode in my life, though I will never forget the lessons learned. I told her she could put the letter in my file for reference. And that if I feel in need of counseling, I'd be sure to call for an appointment. Some closure for her -- and myself, I hope.

This morning I also had a brief visit by a lady representative from a local funeral home. I'd received a card from this place (where my husband's funeral/cremation was) and checked on it I was interested in talking with someone. She didn't stay too long, but I outlined what I want in a pre-arrangement package: cremation, with interment of both my & late husband's ashes buried near my paternal grandparents. A small marker with our names, nothing expensive. She will be back later in the week to present some options.

I have decided to do this now, since it'd be easier on whatever family I have left when I die. Having no children, spouse deceased, it'd be a burden on my sisters and/or nieces/nephews...which could cause discord among them. I'm not religious, and favor a memorial or grave-side service only (some family members are extremely religious). Maybe I'll be around a long time before this will be needed, but still, the funds in it cannot be touched by debt or a nursing home. So there's that...

Now for a brief writing prompt:

Name one thing you feel brings out the best in people.

I could never improve on what the alien in Starman says to Jenny Hayden:

"You are at your very best when things are worst."

Off to read more and watch the dogs piled on the couch snoozing away this frigid, rainy day.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Rainy Sunday

I'll get right to my prompt for today before I fall asleep on this rainy day!

Describe 5 things you want to do or see before it's too late.

Unlike a lot of people, I've never had a "bucket list" this is a somewhat difficult prompt. Most of the time I'm content to be where I am, doing what I am (even if that is nothing but familiar routine).

I've never been much of a traveler; got my fill of it in my 30s when I accompanied my sister/brother-in-law on many business trips. At one point I decided if you've seen one strip mall, you've seen them all. Yes, every place has its unique, off-tourist-map charms, but I think only locals could do justice to those.

Here's my list:

5. If there's one singular place I'd like to see I guess it would be New York City. Frankly, there's nothing to prevent a trip there...but I suppose my desire to see it is not as great as my lack of enthusiasm. Often I'd just as soon look at Google map/street view and/or good pictures of that city. Or even watch a good movie set in NYC.

4.The only other place I might like to visit would be England, non-specific area, just the general area. I don't have a passport, but there's no reason why I couldn't get one. And like seeing NYC, there's nothing standing in the way of it: I have the financial means. Of course, leaving my pets could be a problem, though relatives would take care of them.

Really though, there's no reason I couldn't visit both places if I was just burning to do so. Apparently I'm not.

3. I'd like to have a new car. I'm looking around half-heartedly. The car I have is only a few years old, and my last experience with a new car (it was totaled in a wreck, not my fault) did little to convince me putting that kind of money into a moving vehicle is worth it. I don't take long road trips anyway; mostly drive around here in town. In fact, every time I have my car serviced, they note how few miles I've put on it. One of the techs said last time, "Don't drive much, do ya?"

2. Someday I would like to live in a condo, or at least a place that has no outside maintenance and little inside either. So tired of maintenance issues. On the other hand, I'm not at that point yet, because owning a home allows me to have pets. Yes, I could have maybe a couple pets at a condo...but not as much freedom to tailor living arrangements as I see fit for the pets. Like doggie doors, etc.

1. And that brings me to my real one wish: to have a large dog. Hopefully a Doberman, though the right dog wouldn't have to be breed-specific. I am looking all the time, and do want a rescue and/or one someone has to part with due to a valid reason. I'd take a puppy, but NOT from a puppy mill or backyard breeder; it just encourages them to continue that practice.

As for what is preventing this: I know handling a large dog is very different to having small dogs, and am unsure of my ability in that regard. My dogs would have to adapt to another dog, not sure if they could. So that makes my search more difficult, about specific aspects. Sigh.

It should go without stating that I would like to get involved in my creative writing again, but there's only one reason I haven't: procrastination! Or in writer lingo: Failure to apply seat of pants to desk chair. :-)

Not the fantasy list I think a lot of people would make! But for me, at this time in my life, that's it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bad habits & addictions

Today's writing prompt seemed to strike my mood this afternoon:

List your bad habits and addictions and what you've tried to rid yourself of them.

Of course, my alcohol problem was one of the more horrendous I ever endured. I struggled an entire year trying to quit, but finally voluntarily entered inpatient rehab in October. After that, I stopped helped that I was able to detox with medical assistance. The past six months had been hell on earth: trying to stop, then binging, blackouts (which I'd never had during the six years I drank). The last blackout I had was terrifying -- when I got sober. Apparently I visited with my sister, talked like I was fine, and had NO memory of it. Scary, enough so it sent me to rehab. I know I'll have to struggle against drinking -- but the easiest way to handle it for simply don't drink. Don't have liquor in the house, where I usually did my drinking.

I am anorexic, and was treated for that while in rehab. In fact, being on a starvation diet (age 55, weighed 88 lbs.), led to the liquor. I was at the point I would hardly eat anything, but found that a drink made me hungry and I'd eat. So instead of starving, I started drinking. I've gained back to 105 lbs now, but like the liquor, it's an ongoing battle. I loved being skinny, feel as if I've accomplished something...weird.

I think, to some extent, writing is my positive habit. When I was writing my novels, short stories, poetry...I didn't obsess about my weight, nor ever think of a drink. Writing has saved me many times in the past -- whether I was going through serious stressful events, dieting or suffering from depression and anxiety. I could get lost in my stories and characters' escape. I hope to eventually regain that high, sweet bliss where I cease to exist and let my characters speak through me.

I'm sure I have other habits some would consider bad: Not very social, though I can rise to the occasion when necessary. Being content alone. Hate crowds.  Most of the traits others might condemn, I consider my personality: introvert, independent to a fault, solitary, passion for pets/animals. I could go on, but that's enough.

Link to writing prompt: 80 Journal Writing Prompts

Balmy day, mild 70s, though mostly cloudy. Getting tired of the rain, and there's a musty smell in the air from endless rainy days. Mold and mildew thrive in this environment. Except for the neighbor firing up his grill, an entirely different smell -- which the dogs love!

Took them on walk, then baths. I usually give them a bath in my bathtub, though I do have a utility sink on the cats' porch. Unfortunately, the cats go ballistic if I put them in a separate room while using the utility sink to bathe the dogs.

Anyhow, after the tub baths, I have to scrub the tub/shower stall, and it's usually necessary anyway. (I prefer showers, hardly ever take a tub bath.) I had to mop the floors too, dogs tracking in and out from drenched yard....

Thus this day's entry ends. Hope to use a prompt every day as a way to get back into creative writing.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Second Family

Yesterday I had to renew my car tag. As I walked into the courthouse, I stopped at the security scanner manned by law enforcement officers. I recognized one of my late husband's buddies and immediately upon seeing my face, he hurried to hug me. We caught up on what had been happening to us since the last time we'd seen each other.

And then, as I was ready to leave, he embraced me again in a big bear hug and said, "Remember, if there's ever anything you need, don't hesitate to let us know. We're still your family." He was referring to the law enforcement community here -- it is considered a family. And it's that way with all people in law enforcement; there's a kinship due to the dangerous nature of their career. Most wives of LE's also feel a similar emotional connection because: "Those who sit and wait also serve."  

Our family life is subject to meals left cold or half-eaten due to our husbands being called out unexpectedly. Or being awakened in the middle of the night with a horrendous occurrence that demands officers respond. When my husband was a Sergeant on second shift, there was almost never-ending emergencies, and I learned to never be surprised when he was called out, no matter what he was doing at home. As Lieutenant over the patrol division, our life was subject to whatever was happening in that department. Sometimes officers, if they were having family problems, would come to our home and talk privately with my husband; he always had good, solid advice.

Perceptive LE wives listen to true stories of lives gone wrong, violent confrontations, family abuse...that is, if our husbands are willing to confide. Mine always was, and while I knew not to discuss details with others (not even family) it was a great unburdening for him. I think where officers get into emotional trouble is when they don't confide in their wives -- or at least someone they know they can trust to keep it confidential. In that regard, I also served.

Fortunately my drinking problem, which only started after my husband's death, never caused any trouble with LE . I was more of a stay-at-home drinker, and even when I'd drink to excess, I'd go to bed. I never drove drunk, and for that I am glad and relieved. I couldn't live with myself if I'd harmed anyone while drinking & driving.

Lately if I even think of that warm glow after the first drink, I replace it with the awful experiences of drinking to excess. How I humiliated myself with my own family...which is where all the calamities stayed until my voluntary time in rehab. Yes, I am powerless over alcohol, but with cognitive therapy thinking, I am not powerless over driving to get that first drink or bottle of liquor. All it takes is for me to simply not get the liquor. As far as I know, and I'm fairly sure of this, no one in LE knows of my past alcohol problem. However, even if they had, they would have stepped up to aid me in getting help. They are indeed my second family, though I've never called on them. Yet I know without doubt they would be there if I did.

Rainy day yesterday and for the next week, more rain. I'm hibernating, unless I have to go out for errands. Hope I can get in a long walk with my dogs today, since the rain isn't supposed to start till night. It's overcast and way too warm here -- 60s, near 70 by the weekend!

And that's it for today.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Busy day

I had errands in town this morning -- groceries and other shopping for necessities.

Back home, I loaded up the dogs and we went to two different parks for walking. We hadn't been to the nearby wooded park in some time, so the dogs had to mark every tree (or it seemed that way!).

I wanted to look for cheap shrubs I could plant in my front I drove to a couple nurseries to look. Usually the selection is limited, but prices are marked down due to the time of year. I found two I hope will live; both looked a bit "under the weather." I've had good luck though with such plants, I suppose, due to them being somewhat neglected.

At any rate, one nursery was near another park, so I walked the dogs there. It was not too cold, but occasionally the wind would give me shivers -- even though I was wearing a light jacket. The dogs had a scent-fest and romped all over the park, especially alongside the creek where recent rain had created rushing, cascading water over the many rocks.

I planted the two shrubs quickly once home, because rain was predicted. It started raining about twenty minutes after I got those in the ground.

Rain tomorrow too, a good time to stay indoors and read; I've got two novels, one memoir on my tablet. I also checked out two books from the library; one is a memoir by a writer and the other is a novel by the same author. Must catch up on my reading! Lately I'm sleeping so well that I can't read very long in bed before sleep overtakes me. I'm not  complaining, because I feel so much better lately. Of course, the anti-depression/pain drug helps my mood; I feel more optimistic and less melancholy.

I'm trying to decide what I want for my supper -- probably a veggie burger, salad and small baked potato (one of my favorite meals!).

Enough for today!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Recovery Thoughts

One of the most important aspects of recovery from my alcohol habit is...believe it or not, to put it in the past. To remember it like a bad nightmare that I finally awoke from. I know this is contrary to what many substance abuse programs teach, but the truth is, I'm doing better solo now than attending group meetings. I do plan one last visit to my therapist, just to touch base and let her know my plans.

At any rate, I want to get on with my life. After all, I didn't drink for 55+ years, so I choose to look at my alcohol problem as a response to my husband's death -- and not resolving the loss issues. It was a temporary solution to a permenant problem; I do think I've resolved some of the lingering loss issues, though I've come to accept I'll always miss him and sometimes lapse into grief and sorrow. I try to curb thinking: "What if..." Or, "By now, he & I would have done this or that..." None of that can ever happen, and it's best to stop that line of thought before it gets out-of-hand and triggers a need to escape via alcohol.

I am very aware of the triggers that lead to drinking, and try to stop such thoughts. As well, I have decided I have a lot to live for, banishing the suicidal thoughts I had during my bouts with alcohol. In other words, I feel able to deal with the underlying causes of turning to drink.

I just don't want to spend the remainder of my life being involved in treatment or even helping others with drinking problems. I tried that with my own father -- who was an alcoholic. Never had much success either. Being around reformed male alcoholics remind me of the terrorizing childhood I had, so that is something I need to avoid. AA here had lots of those males, moreso than the female members.

What am I saying here to myself? I want to always be aware of my weakness for alcohol, but I'm determined never to let it rule my life again. Five years was enough, and plenty to make me walk a road I never want to travel again.

A beautiful, mild, sunny day. Already took the dogs on a long walk, and now it's time for baths. I laundered their bedding this morning, have it hanging on the clothesline to air dry.

I'll end with this one last picture of my late husband and I. Remember, this was taken in 1972...thus his long sideburns and my hairstyle. My old photos like this one are starting to fade, as if the past itself is moving into a disappearing realm.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Just Another Thursday

I went to the library early; by the time I got back home, the sun was shining. Felt nice after several days of rain and overcast skies.

Took the dogs on our usual long walk, even though a brisk wind dictated I bundle up snugly. Tomorrow is definitely dog bath day! And we're predicted to get a warmer, sunny day.

And now for a few photos (click to enlarge):

         One of my favorite pix of late husband

        Late husband at Vietnam Memorial/montage

       Oscar always finds a sunny spot!

I'm reading a book titled, "A Dog Named Boo," and found this wonderful quote from the Anasazi Dog Myth:

The earth trembled and a great rift appeared, separating the first man and woman from the rest of the animal kingdom. As the chasm grew deeper and wider, all other creatures, afraid for their lives, returned to the forest--except for the dog, who after much consideration, leapt the perilous rift to stay with the humans on the other side. His love for humanity was greater than his bond with other creatures, he explained, and he willingly forfeited his place in paradise to prove it.

With that, I'm outta here for today.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

My favorite classical music

I bundled up and took the dogs on a brisk walk. We didn't go as far today, due to the frigid temperature and overcast sky. But it was good to get out of the house...

Not much happening here, so I wanted to share this with anyone who has time to appreciate classical music:

           Claude Debussy : Clair de Lune, for Piano 

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Memory Lane

Most of my entries lately have been somber, so I wanted to start the New Year's with a pictorial of myself I found while looking through some old photos. Click to enlarge any of the  pictures.

Once upon a time...

 I was 30, standing in my grandparents' old barn

                   I was 32 and in my prime

         Again the same year, being mischievous

                            Here I'm age 40

Here I am 45

                            I'm 50 in this photo

                           With Rambo at 55

                                   58 here

                             Recently, age 60

 And today, the camera is not so kind; I look               better from a safe distance! :-)

At least I am reminded of my physical progression through time and how aging sneaks up on us when we are simply living.

I'm cooking veggie soup with black eye peas for good luck. It's a bleak day here, raining steadily.

Yesterday afternoon after a long walk with the dogs, I puttered around in my yard, fertilizing a few shrubs, etc.

So it begins...the future, 2013.