127 – mumblings from the mountains

Sitting looking at a smoke-hazed mountain outside my best friend’s back door. It’s beautiful, even in the fire-induced fog. The sun is trying to climb over it–she often doesn’t get actual sun on her house until upwards of 10 a.m. because it lies in the early morning shadow cast by that mountain.

Happy to be here, feeling a sense of accomplishment–a quilt that I worked on for almost a year has been given to the newlyweds, and the bride was my friend’s youngest daughter. The bride and groom are off now to Hawaii. Now a couple days just for us, the vacation we both sorely needed–and a quick visit with son John in Great Falls before we head back to super-heated but not-on-fire West Texas.

attic window quilt
attic window quilt

Got a nice, long visit with Kelsey and Brian and the kids the last week of July, got to know Miss Haley Leann a little bit better, and had tons of fun with Tyler.

Also took on a consulting job shortly before that, getting operations turned around at a restaurant in the 8000+ population town 45 minutes from the ranch. The same folks who own the ranch own the restaurant, and when their general manager asked if I’d take on the challenge, I couldn’t resist. That was July 17, and from there until we flew out to come up here for a week, I’ve been running with my ears laid back. It’s in much better shape now, with tons of help from Kels and Brian as well as Corey, who jumped in with the staff to do the massive cleaning that was the first step to getting the place back on track. It’s a 90-day contract, minus the time here in Montana, so as of October 16, I’ll be back to entrepreneuriality, if that’s a word. And November is NaNoWriMo.

Oh… and we bought a warehouse. 🙂

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124 – light dawns, habit calls

As the sun rises on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, 2015, 6:51 a.m: We do not forget. To those who thank living veterans, we appreciate it–but please give the day’s respect to those who paid with their lives for our freedom. Raise a glass in their honor; celebrate their names. Remember them. We do.

I was looking outside to see if it was light enough to run yet, and decided MemorialDayto check and see when sunrise actually was these days in these parts… and it would be, oh, now.

Didn’t run yesterday and felt guilty as sin–may have finally developed a good habit. Only took me what, eight weeks? They do say it takes 27 repetitions to develop a habit, and considering I’m unusually slow, especially when it’s something I should be doing, I’m figuring a little over double isn’t too bad… 🙂 I’ll take it.

The final proof copy of “She’s Thinking Out Loud,” my book of collected columns, is uploading (for the seventh time) as I write this. The digital copy is out for review, and my apologies to my reviewers, as I set a deadline for them of this weekend, my head being so far up my own backside that I totally forgot that for normal people it’s a three-day weekend. So I re-sent my e-mail and asked them to get reviews back to me by June 1, and if I get them at all, I’ll be grateful.

There’s space in the print reserved for them, and they’ll be inserted after the final print proof is in my hands. Woo-hoo, second book will be out in June, people!

And, speaking of books (and you knew I would) if you happen to be around Fort Stockton, Texas, on June 11, at 6 p.m., stop in at The Garage, Coffee, Music & More, at 1110 N. Main St., for “Meet the Author,” where I’ll be presenting a few selections from This Little Pig, A Flak Anders Mystery. The first 40 people seated will be able to buy a signed first edition of the book. It’s my first book in print, as well as my first novel.  Bring cash, I don’t accept credit cards yet! 😀

123 – reaching for serenity

Serenity has always been something I’ve strived (striven?) for, which in and of itself is an oxymoron. You shouldn’t work for serenity, right? You should be able to simply sit, breathe, and serenity will just plop itself right down in your lap like a kitty cat and start purring.

Well, yeah, it hasn’t worked like that in my experience. It’s like most cats I’ve ever known, pet them one, then two times, and then the third or fourth time, and you never know which, all of a sudden you have a huge glove made of cat, and all four legs are stretched up your arm, all claws out, trying its dead-level best to see what your muscles and tendons look like under your skin. cateyes

Well that escalated quickly, didn’t it? And that’s exactly what happens when I reach for serenity.

And yet, I woke up feeling, well, serene this morning.  Maybe because I finally quit reaching, and started finding it in things I’m already doing.

Like activity at levels that I’ve honestly never even thought of…

I just hit three miles on my running yesterday. On 55-year-old, crapped-out knees, I ran three miles. Yesterday. Me. Admittedly my version of running… and an arthritic 70-year-old could probably beat me up the hill running backwards, but I don’t care. Because I’m doing it. For three miles.

And I got the copy edits completed on my second book of the summer yesterday… and it’s NOT perfect, and I let it go to the reviewers anyway. Because I’ve finally stopped letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. It’s never going to be perfect, but it’s good. And it’s going to sell. And if I can sell enough of “She’s Thinking Out Loud” and “This Little Pig” to hire a copy editor for the next book, I will be a happy, happy woman next year… ’cause I’d just as soon never edit my own work again. That is HARD. But it is done… and that makes me feel very serene.

And I got the design completed last week for a project that I’ve been thinking about for SIX MONTHS. That I can’t actually talk about yet because it’s a gift, but I’ll take pictures and post. That’s my afternoon’s work out ahead of me, and I’m really enjoying the thought of it, instead of dreading it. That’s helping the serenity bit, too.

And I was invited to read from This Little Pig at The Garage, in Fort Stockton, on June 11.  Which makes the whole thing a real-io deal-io, you know? And so many friends have grandmamosesstepped up to push This Little Pig all over Texas, out to friends everywhere. It’s been an amazing trip.

Some people just apparently do not blossom until they’re older.

Me and Grandma Moses.  Late bloomers, baby.  That’s her painting, “At the Bend in the River,” painted in 1948, when she was 88 years old.  She didn’t even seriously start painting until she was 78… I’m like 23 years ahead of that.  Just the thought of that makes me take a deep breath and smile.

Good company, at least, and some paintings are worth upwards of a million bucks. Something to think about when you come to get your signed first edition of This Little Pig at the reading, you know. Just saying…

And Corey Matthew Hannon, love of my life. That’s where serenity lives. Whenever I’m feeling like I’m going to jump out of my skin, I just go find him… and that kitty-cat look that you can see at the top of the page starts to fade from my eyes. I can feel it.

Time to go run. In the mud.

My favorite.  Like being five again… 🙂

122 – trying to tell me something…

There are times in this life when you feel like you’re doing the right thing. And yes, if you’re thinking, “Seriously?” even at the grand old speed limit of 55, I do wonder.

Last night, I got a message from a soldier, just out of Basic and on to his Army Initial thislittlepig-profile-pbTraining, about a column I wrote in the Fort Stockton Pioneer a couple  weeks back. His mama sent it to him. His message will be going in a frame on my wall.  It moves me to tears every single time I read it–and that’s not as easy as you might think! I work with words, I manipulate them every single day. But a few simple, heartfelt words on his part make me fall apart every time I read them.

And, last night, my oldest friend–someone I’ve known since I was in middle school–told me what she thought of This Little Pig, my first novel.  She grew up in the area where the book is set, knows the accents, the way the language is structured. Her comment on the book, and I quote: I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!!!GREAT AWESOME SPECTACULAR …. JOB!!!! The only reason I’m not naming her is because she also wrote a review on Amazon, and they will take them down if they think you solicited them, which I most emphatically did not.

That alone would have made my night, but then she went through her Facebook address book and proceeded to share my book image and link with every single one of the folks we went to school with, individually, and tell them how great it was. People like this come along so seldom, and if I could have gone to her house last night and hugged her, I would have.

Oh, to hell with Amazon.  Kathy Whitaker Figueredo, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You remind me that old friends, the ones who knew us first, remain the most valuable throughout our lives. Hopefully we can see each other at that 40th high school reunion if they hold one in 2017!

Holy crap, we’ve been out of high school for nearly 40 years. Okay, I refuse to let that bother me. Yet.

Last night reminded me that I write because it’s what I do and because it’s who I am, and it’s who I’ve always been.

Kathy knew that–and she’s known me since I was 14. She says she told me in English class I’d be writing a book someday.

Hey, Kathy! You were right.

121 – my brain hurts

I am trying to fix everything about everything at once, and it’s starting to make my brain hurt. I know this because I’m starting to lose my homonymns. You know, the ones that sound the same, but are spelled different and mean different things?

Anyway… this website’s fixed, my other, professional website’s pretty much fixed,when the print version of This Little Pig comes out end of next week, it will be in great shape. Oh, did I creepysmileyfacemention the book will be out next week?  Can you see that grin all over my face? Yeah, maybe not.  Well, there is one. Not as blissfully silly as the neon pink one at right… but still.

That’s number one. I have another sitting right in front of me, just waiting for me to start marking it up… and a whole LIST of things to do along with it.

And oh, people, if I get any happier… well, you know the rest, don’t you?

Everybody at once, now!

If I get any happier, I’m going to have to sit on my hands to keep from waving at people.

Time to stop looking at this buggerty thing for today. The computer, that is… Go do something retro, like crochet. Happy Mother’s Day to me – along with the children that my amazing and delightful husband gave to me, at the ages of 15 and 17 years old, respectively, I have just given birth to a freaking BOOK.  It only took, oh, a bit over 12 years from conception to delivery.

So I’m slow!