Dark and Drippy Days

Oct 14 box 012I survived retRober by being very, very busy and rather quiet. The quiet related to both conversations and written exchanges because I felt primed and ready for a fight most of the month. As verbal debates are not my forte I’m sure I would have tripped over my tongue while putting a foot or two in my mouth. Daily prompts in my Facebook and Google+ social news feeds to practice gratitude and patience was good.

Being able to spend the majority of my time this month with two beautiful, healthy and happy grandchildren has been awesome. There’s a lot to learn and contemplate when observing how much joy and laughter happens with empty boxes and tossing dirty laundry.

With Robbie and his other grandma, Stormie, Kaedence and I have an hour long excursion on Thursday mornings to the library for Tiny Tots songs, story time, toys, and bubbles. Then Kaedence naps for more than two hours! One-year-old is a magical age in the life of a child, and it’s very short. She’s solidly into her toddler stage and Robbie is only a few months behind. He’s got his first teeth and can roll or army crawl across a room pretty fast if there’s some shiny electronic components, or wires, in sight. Every day I count it a blessing that I have this time with these little angels, and every evening I am totally thrilled to go home.

I feel I have nurtured my soul with my grammy-nanny duties though they were a lot longer and more intense than I expected. But that’s okay because one year is pretty short because I now measure my life by the decades.

I’ve been an active blogger for five years now, which is only a half decade, and this is the first time it’s been a whole month between posts. That will change soon because the other stuff I’ve been busy with is my transition from aspiring novelist to published novelist. One aspect of that is organizing storyboards and binders which is part of my writing process now, and really only interesting if you want to write novels. If you care you can read about it on the SMP author blog, then read all the other posts from other authors on topics that I find highly important, and they tell it better than I ever could.

Tomorrow is Halloween and I may go to a party, in costume. November is NaNoWriMo and I intend to meet a daily word count and whip a new novel into shape. So my days of being really busy and rather quiet may continue. There is too much drama going on around me right now and I’m taking notes for future novels. Dark and Drippy Days are great fodder for future romance novels.

October is here in Retro

October is here and I’ve seen it referred to as Rock-tober in more than one of my media feeds. I really don’t have the time or energy to research why October is rockin, so if you know, please share in the comments.

Here’s two links for really easy and simplified predictions for the month ahead. My advice for people who don’t know about rising and moon signs is to compare and contrast at least two or three of these type of short blurbs and have fun with it. These are general and mundane types of predictions so there’s nothing to fear.

http://www.thetarotlady.com/work-with-theresa/forecasts-and-predictions/

http://www.tarot.com/horoscopes/october-2014

Of course Mercury Retrograde is flavoring the entire month and Theresa Reed has a delightful essay explaining that at http://www.thetarotlady.com/mercury-retrograde/

handstands on the beach

A Day at the Beach – April 24th, 2012

This means it’s really Retro October this year and I’m probably going to think of it as RetROber. Which may be all the brainpower I have, or not. We’ll see.

My grammy-nanny days will continue as 12 hour days, 5 days a week, through October as my daughter completes her new job training period. I only have both babies three days a week, and the long days are with the one-year-old who is now walking, and takes nice long NAPS! And those days when I have both, they wear each other out now more than wear me out. My eldest daughters are only 13 months apart in age so I’m savvy with playing these babies together so I can stand back and be the clown. I’ve also got the right touch for babies to fall asleep in my arms. And they are adorable. Even so, I’m rather impressed that I’m holding strong through this level of daily non-stop exercise. I’m sure it’s research for something I’ll write about someday. It’s like I’m training for a marathon even though I have no intention to ever do anything like that. Marathons are not on my bucket list, the training is too grueling.

Writing for baby or parenting mags is not on my bucket list either. But I’m becoming utterly fascinated by these 20-to-30 something parents who entered their adult stage with college, careers, and choices, in their personal histories. They also have more technology than Star Trek, and can Google, Skype, and GPS their work commute to avoid traffic delays. They also have terrorists; climate change, global unrest on many layers, in addition to unknown assault weapons and meth labs in their neighborhoods. [This could explain the vampires, zombies, superheroes, and wizarding schools that they call entertainment.]

I’ve always loved October and the fall season. [I'm going to avoid ranting about Santa ads!] This is the season for celebration over the abundance we’ve sown through the year – that will sustain us until spring. [Unless you live in the southern hemisphere and are beginning your summer fun!]

This October is going to be a good time to rewind and reflect on a personal basis.

For at least one month of your life, this October, make the effort to ignore anything and everything that generates fear, stress, or worry.

Review, refresh, redo, relax. Re-purpose, re-train, re-new…

“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” Hellen Keller

Rainy Days are Writing Days

92414 005It smells like fall here in Oregon, and the cloudy skies and intermittent drizzles is great for reading and writing. I’m fascinated to review the past year, or twelve, with my sister as we discuss astrology aspects. Having grammy-nanny duties (currently full-time) has made me do a lot of reassessing of my time and energy.

I can tell I am now in better shape physically than I have been for years because babies don’t allow an “I’m tired and I just want to sit” excuse. Both of them are capable of entertaining themselves with my attention to occasional games and songs. Robbie is sitting up and rolling everywhere, Kaedence is walking and now has her first pair of sneakers! The play really well together and wear each other out so take long naps at the same time. That’s when I’m resting too.

I am amazed at the difference technology has brought to my lifestyle since I was raising my own babies. I’ve also been fascinated to be active in a variety social media venues but mostly as an observer this past  year. By the holiday season I will be a full-time writer again (while returning to part time grammy-nanny duties) and know that social media will be part of my career activities. I intend to have fun with it.

But for now, I am still enthralled with truly living in the moment day-by-day. It is such a rare opportunity when a baby discovers their toes for the first time, or a toddler squeezes a wilting rose and is splashed with rain water. Everything is worthy of laughter, clapping, and singing.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

I recently read the final chapters of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess.

Jenny’s blog has an international readership and I am a fan. This made reading her book like a fan-girl experience for me, which is very rare.

Like most of Jenny’s posts, the stories and phrasing in this book triggered  some awe; there were many loud  guffaws, snorts, and more than a few cringes. Like some posts The Bloggess has shared through the years, there were stories where I shed an empathetic tear or two.

It’s a 5 star ribald and wandering open window into an alien world.  I personally can’t relate to anything Jenny presents in this memoir. I personally related to everything Jenny presents in this memoir. How is that possible? I’ve never been to Texas and only once stepped into a taxidermist shop.

That’s the beauty of good writing and great storytelling. The words on the page traveled through my psyche as a reader, a reader the author probably never imagined would read her book. It’s not that Jenny and I couldn’t be friends if we were neighbors or met at a PTA function but logistically that would never happen. She’s in Texas, I’m in Oregon and my PTA days were in New Jersey.

I now plan to have this book forever perched on my desk so any time I see one of those prompts to pick up the closest book and turn to page #, sentence #, I’ll have a random sentence and paragraphs to enhance the content. I usually avoid those prompts but now feel I’ll enjoy using this book.

This memoir allowed me to be a reader, and that’s a wonderful opportunity for a writer.  I am glad This Mostly True Memoir happened even if it did take eleven years, and I am totally glad I happened upon it in a local bookshop.

Friday Night Take-Out

On the spur of the moment, my sister Sherri and I decided to meet at her place for dinner. Both our husbands were out of town but our weekend schedules didn’t allow time for a sisters-night. These involve wine and we usually solve the mysteries of the universe and all political unrest prior to midnight when we crawl into bed. In our younger days we were more raucous but I wasn’t spending the night. We were sharing take-out and I expected we’d eat on her back patio.

She had just returned from picking up our take-out, from the Italian restaurant less than a mile away, when I pulled in. I was freshly showered with hair still wet and neither of us had done our hair or makeup as this was casual time.

fostoria 003But when I got inside, her dining table was decked out with linen cloths under Fostoria American clear plates, water glasses, wine goblets, and more. Our mom had a full set and now Sherri has them displayed in her home and she does use them, though usually not for take-out. Our mom always said that no matter how pretty or fragile, china and crystal was meant to be used but with special care. Rose probably has a few Fostoria pieces, and I have the square pedestal cake plate. Sherri has a round one but she sort of covets my square one.

We had extra fun sharing our take-out dinner with the fancy place settings and maybe it made the food taste better, but even take-out from Bugatti’s is awesome. When I got home I looked at my cake plate and realized I probably hadn’t used it in a few years. I keep it on top of the cupboard over my stove and I could tell it was dirty. I’ve never used it to serve a cake but all kinds of other desserts have been stacked or displayed on it for parties. There were many years I’d turn it upside down and put it in the center of the table to be a family Easter basket full of goodies, when the girls were young.

I took it down today and washed it up. There was a short few seconds where I wondered if maybe I should give it to Sherri to complete her set but then quickly knew I wouldn’t. Instead, I think I’ll use it more on random occasions.

Settling into September

1 yr old Kaedence and 6 mos old Robbie.

1 yr old Kaedence and 6 mos old Robbie.

I am not a teacher but there were only a few years in my life when the school calendar wasn’t my primary one, until five years ago. During my childhood, I was always excited at the start of a new school year because I love learning new things; standardized testing was rare, and summers in Cleveland, Ohio were ripe with humidity and wild thunderstorms.

My summer activities revolved around riding my bike to the pool, friends homes, and the library. The school year included sports, dances, concerts, science fairs, and my friends were in town all the time. I was always thrilled to be done with school for the summer but felt the new school year was ripe with adventures.

Astrologically, the Sun forms a trine with my natal Mercury and Saturn at this time every year and that’s good stuff. This year I am feeling more of this as Jupiter has recently moved into my first house, initiating a new twelve year journey for me. I’m super blessed to begin this cycle teaching toddler grand-babies how to dance, even before they can walk.

Many life events that changed the tenor of my days have happened in early fall. This year I have a plan of action for my time and energy. I have a daily/weekly word count goal to finish my next novel. It’s doable with my baby duties and requires me to be organized and proactive. It’s been an amazing summer, rich with fun and family and friends. Now I’m ready to work toward new adventures.

The Next Generation

Yes, I am a Star Trek fan as I grew up enthralled with the original series. I became an avid fan of  Star Trek: The Next Generation but didn’t have time to enjoy all the Star Trek spin offs and fan fiction. Strong stories based on deep themes with diverse characters sort of take on a life of their own. Gene Roddenberry’s vision of our future is worth attention. We should boldly explore all the fun of living that includes the present, the future, and the past.

There are the family stories that can be stranger than fiction and some of those are happy family stories – here’s a picture:

grandbabies

These are only the “west coast” grandchildren. My sister and I live in Oregon and some will say it could have something to do with the water more than babies being a contagious condition. <grin>

There was a family barbecue to celebrate everyone being in the same state on the same day. The birthday cake was divided into four sections to honor two birthdays and two half-birthdays. Yep, that’s us, any excuse for a party, even a half-birthday.

Our parents had five children and 22 grandchildren. There are now ever more great-grandchildren as our siblings in Ohio have even more grandchildren.

The original Star Trek series was a bit more like “Space Cowboys” than Gene Roddenberry envisioned and The Next Generation was a bit more cerebral, technical, and with special effects that Gene may not have anticipated.

My childhood was that original type of space-cowboy story, with generations of ancestors and layers of crafts, skills, and achievements regarding the space crafted for where and how we lived our lives. There were adventures but there were also lots of morality sermons.

Every Original Star Trek TV show was a space adventure and Captain Kirk seemed to have a fist fight every week, but each episode ended with some type of morality sermon. The theme of the show was to boldly go where no man has gone before, but the show producers felt a moral lesson needed to trump the bold adventure. It’s been decades since I’ve seen any of those original shows but a Google search on “Captain Kirk Sermons” has about 403,000 results

According to my parents, everything was a life lesson and as we were Catholics there was usually a percentage of guilt assigned prior to the joy reward.

Star Trek: The Next Generation began 100 years after the original series. But in my family it’s half that. These babies will have “communicators” even more versatile  than those flip & twist gadgets that were so sci-fi fifty years ago. In every episode (I think) there was an electronic tablet for Captain Kirk to sign authorizing something. We’ve got those tablets now but how good are our signatures? Cursive writing is no longer taught in schools.

In Star Trek: The Next Generation, instead of fist fights and expendable “red shirt” characters, Captain Picard read books, drank Earl Grey tea, and went on archaeological digs.

I hope this next generation of our family will have access to all those super cool tools and maybe use phasers to dig ditches because there will still be a need for digging ditches. The tools will mean the next generation can do their work easier and with passion while they also communicate clearly. They will have access all kinds of historical records by asking a question, and have multiple scenarios to consider prior to making a choice. That’s one thing I anticipate will never change – a choice will be needed.

I hope the next generation accepts having access to global databases of information and stellar communication systems. I hope they have tons of fun while putting all of the above into uses that are beneficial to many. It’s okay if the current choice with the technology available is to play games about angry birds and view cat tricks. Fads are momentary choices that barely impact a decade. Generations last a whole lot longer.

These are turbulent times on Mother Earth but babies keep arriving.

School of Beauty

I go to the local beauty school every four to six weeks.

My mom always stated my hair was my shining glory which meant from my earliest days I was not allowed to complain about my thick and vibrant mane. I wanted to! I tried! I got no sympathy from my friends that my hair would do its own thing no matter how I tried to tame it.

I stopped arguing with my hair in grade school. It grew fast and I was required to get it cut three times a year. Fortunately, the local salon was owned by two men who won lots of awards for hair styling and they never grumped about how long it had been since my last trim, or whatever I’d done with the scissors during the interim. I think they were Jay & Bob, and both were married with children, and I always got a great cut for my hair with their dedicated attention to style. I really only wanted it off my face.

I moved to Oregon in 1997 and one of my first friends was my neighbor, Nancy. It wasn’t long before she revealed she taught at the local beauty school. Nancy was happy to trim my hair and soon she was coloring it too. I’d been content with the low-priced box that would cover dull and gray strands. Within a few months, Nancy told me they needed “real heads” for the students to learn. I thought it would be fun, and it was! During one color class I had four students working on my mane.

I soon learned that Nancy had to cut and color my hair because my personal “beauty regime” was such a disaster that she couldn’t talk to me without cringing.

So, since 1998, whenever I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror I called Nancy at work and she’d get an appointment on the schedule within a few hours. The students I met were always in their final days of the program, excited to be moving soon into their new careers. Working on my hair was their treat from Nancy, their teacher, even though she’d hover because a less than good job from a student would impact our leisure chats.

Nancy and I have lots of stories we’ve share through the years and our eldest grandsons are the same age. She was the mom-on-the-street when I had to leave our younger daughters, at 13 & 16 yrs-old, in charge of our home; the horse, the dogs, cat, bunny, after  Ed’s accident in 2002. His job included 85% travel and he couldn’t do his job without me as his pack mule, for almost a year. A few years later I was there for Nancy each day when she sold off everything after her husband’s death in 2005.

I continued going to the beauty school every month and later learned from the students that I was one of the few friends from Nancy’s former life that was still a friend in her widowed life. For about a year, the students assigned to my hair already had heard about me.

I became addicted to meeting these students and hearing their life stories and career plans. I’ve sampled every beauty treatment taught at that school and I’ve been a test client for a variety of beauty treatments from facials to pedicures. I enjoy being the guinea pig for a new process for beauty students. It rates way higher for me than being a medical test case. One is interactive to make me look and feel good, the other requires documenting heart palpitations and diarrhea.  Yeah, I avoid pills and a good shower after the hair color chemicals is a favorite cure.

Nancy is the Beauty School director now, she still teaches some classes but the students know her by sight and reputation instead of as their primary mentor. The school has also moved twice, so I’m really knowledgeable regarding the differences of wash-out bowls and issues with water temperature. I’m known as that novelist friend of the director, who tips well, and has this most awesome head of hair to cut and color.

I understand that my association with beauty schools is tainted by having students hand-picked for my treatments. However, my attention to my shining glory hasn’t changed much. The only difference is, I’ll pull out my business card and explain that I need to look like my author photo.

The students and I have a great time because I really am more interested in their personal life stories; goals, dreams, challenges, achievements, than what they do with my hair.  And they love running their fingers through my hair.

I totally appreciate what I have learned about what goes on behind the scenes in film, television, fashion shows, and plastic surgeons offices.

There’s a lot to learn in beauty schools.

A time for plans, maybe

During full moons we like to place our crystals and special gems to be bathed in Luna light. But my sister and I were careful to make sure the moon had left Capricorn first. This is to get the recharge from the eccentric and freedom loving Water Bearer, who’s ruling planet is Uranus. (Cap’s planetary ruler is Saturn, the taskmaster.)

According to Jacqueline A. Carl  of the American Wildlife Foundation: “Today’s full moon, which I like to refer to as Dispute Moon because insects are at peak activity in August, is a Super Moon. Beware anyone who’s really affected by the cycles of the moon.” 

The caption on the bottom states:

Tonight will be a Super Full Moon. Which means the Moon is closet to earth than any other time making it appear much bigger than usual.

Not only is it a Supermoon but it coincides with the Perseid Meteor Shower so expect to see lots of shooting stars in the night sky. Remember to make a wish.

This supermoon is in Aquarius and that’s my sister’s sun sign. She is having back issues, specific to where the stars are placed on the goddess image.

ARTWORK_MYSTICMAMMA_MOONWOMAN

Check out www.mysticmamma.com for a variety of insights regarding this full moon goddess energy.

In other news -My sister shared the insights of Philip Sedgwick who states There are four planets currently transiting Scorpio; Saturn, Mars, Vesta, and Ceres. It may surprise you that Vesta and Ceres are planets but when considering stellar advice it’s easier to go with the flow. Arguing with astrologers includes using terms like quincunx so I prefer to nod and smile a lot while listening to see if I can discern an energetic or psychic message for me.

Scorpio (deep water, secrets, and revenge energy!) rules my 4th house which represents HOME. This includes family life, my roots, my end of life, and real estate. Saturn is all about chores and restrictions, while Mars is all about action and battle. It’s a good thing I spend my days with a baby and a toddler who are super cute even when burping and pooping.

Vesta is the keeper of the home fires and Ceres is the ultimate advocate and I’m not really sure what that will mean for me. My meditation is all about creating a structure for my days that will benefit my spirit and inspire my creative writing projects.

Ed’s on a boys adventure with his grandsons so I went wandering along the Willamette River to soak in the views and clear my mind. Then I went into a small bookstore with the hope for a story to inspire me. Of course I found one, it was even on a display stand, and it is a book I’ve intended to read:

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess. I intend to only read one chapter a day as I know it’s going to be a long time before all these energies leave Scorpio.

A proactive intent

Aug 09 063I am anticipating the August days will dawn with a flavor of continuity and control… Ha Ha…

The Sun, Jupiter, and Mercury are in Leo and that’s more fire than this sunset picture I took of Mt. Hood a few years ago. I expect to feel invincible and ready to party daily as Leo rules my 1st house, my persona, and is represented by my mane of hair that is too short for a decent ponytail.

Mars, the planet of action, is giving me the sudden urge to get my house in order with intent for some structure to my writing career. I believe there will be a consistent grammy-nanny schedule for August and that will be great! I like routines but there is nothing routine about babies. The greatest blessing is that after days with babies I am too tired to bother with global, or even local, news. This means I’m only paying attention to what is in the present moments of my life and there’s been lots of good things.

Today I felt full of energy to get stuff done but instead paused and did a computer back-up session. It’s been a while since I did and there are a few hundred pictures of babies, people and places, from recent months that are now stored in a safe place. It’s so easy to get caught up in the digital cloud and forget that a good thunder and lightning storm, like the one last night, could wreck havoc on electronics.

A lot of my friends and family are feeling a shift toward abundance in their lives. We are all grateful for lessons learned that make these good events so much sweeter. I hope you feel the same.

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