Put Down Your Phone!

I’ve found myself spending way too much time scrolling through the short reels on Facebook. It’s funny what catches my eye. For some reason shaving down the hooves of horses is fascinating to me, or blurbs of babies, humans or animals. I like seeing out of control hair styled into something manageable. I like some of the artsy videos as well as cooking, though I am neither artsy nor a cook.

The more I watch, the more reels are presented for my viewing. FB loves to keep me scrolling on and on. I have immersed myself in trying to solve some of the puzzles that are presented or attempting tricks clever people come up with. I hate when my kids or grandkids come over and pull out their phones, yet more and more me and my friends do the same thing. 

I actually feel sorry for the youth of today. I think they are missing out on living their lives because they are too wrapped up in their phones, and they seem oblivious to it. At least I can put my phone down, for hours on end. I also can very easily leave it home—that is usually not intentional, lol. 

Just my rambling for today.

Globetrotting with the Grands

Sometimes life hands you something so wonderful, you just hardly know how to react. It happened to me a couple of weeks ago.

I decided about a year-and-a-half ago that I was going to take my two oldest grandkids on a trip to Europe this summer. Lily is seventeen, Jack is sixteen. I told them about it and the expectations I would have for them to pay for their own meals and any shopping or additional excursions we might want to go on. They got to help chose where we would go. This way they would have time to work and save and plan for this great adventure.

We were on a guided tour, I’m beyond daring to venture out on my own for such a big trip. We started in London, where I may or may not have lost the kids at the airport within 15 minutes of arriving! We spent the remainder of the trip blaming each other for that. From London we went to Wales, then Ireland, Scotland and back to England.

While I knew the kids were excited to go, I had my doubts about how it would all play out. These tours operate on strict time schedules, there would be no sleeping in for teens who like to stay up after midnight watching YouTube videos and acting silly. Each morning they gave themselves fifteen minutes to be ready and they were ready, every single time. Our bags were by the door and we ate breakfast on time.

They both thanked me, early on in the trip and several more times during it. It warmed my heart to know they really did appreciate it. We have memories that will last a lifetime of the places we saw and things we did. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!

Walk the Walk

Okay, so here’s the question: What is keeping you from getting outside and going for a walk? We all have a million excuses, I’m too tired, it’s cold out, I don’t have time. Really? It takes me ten minutes to walk around the block, that’s it, but usually, I walk a lot more than that. 

If going around the block seems like too much of a challenge, only go to the corner and come back, or walk past three houses and turn around. Gradually increase it to more until you can conquer the entire block.

But it’s starting to rain! Take your umbrella. How long have you kept it unused in your closet? It still works, and it’s kind of peaceful to walk when it’s raining. Storming is another matter, stay inside!

Well, I live where it snows and it can be icy. It’s dangerous. I hear you. Take your walk to the mall or the “Y”. Or, if you’re a hardy soul, dress warmly and get a pair of those gripper thingys or cleats to put on your shoes or boots. They really do work well and a walk outside in the cold can be invigorating if you’re dressed properly. Do be careful.

There are so many benefits to walking! It’s good for your heart, mind, and soul. It can help lower your blood sugar and help you lose those few extra pounds. Losing extra weight can help lower your blood pressure. It’s a win/win any way you look at it. If you are feeling down, get out and walk. See what other people are doing, admire the yards and the flowers, enjoy the seasonal decorations. Maybe this is the time you’ll want to get in touch with yourself or pray. You will come back home with a better attitude, and maybe you’ll have an extra burst of energy to tackle the next project on your to-do list. Give it a try, you can do it! 

My Two Cents on Dieting

What is it with aging and dieting? I have been trying to lose weight for a week now and nothing is happening! It didn’t used to be this way.

I know, you say a week is nothing, but seriously, for me it’s like a lifetime. I have cut way back on my snacking, which is a very big deal for me. I am trying to drink more water, eat more healthy foods. Heck, I even went grocery shopping this week and had nothing bad in my cart, (well, not counting the 4-six packs of diet soda, which I am also trying to cut back on—baby steps).

Maybe you’re thinking, well, you just need to exercise more. I go to the “Y” five days a week, three days of “Forever Well-Dance” and two days of “Forever Well-Water Aerobics”. On the days I do the water, I also ride two miles on the stationary bike, and I walk outside for 30-45 minutes almost every day of my life, rain or shine, snow or ice. In fact, yesterday, I slipped on a patch of ice nicely concealed in a new, fluffy layer of snow. So now I have a sore elbow and hip for my efforts. And what does the scale say? Something to the effect of, “You are not the boss of me!”

Argh! Throw me a bone (one with no fat or gristle, only lean meat, please). Just some sign that I will be rewarded for all my suffering. . .

Not Set in Stone–Apparently!

For over a year, my daughter and I have been planning a trip to Italy. Since I’m retired, the timing wasn’t much of an issue for me, but my daughter is a different story. She is a teacher, so we pretty much had to limit it to summer. She also usually teaches a summer school session, so we had to keep that in mind. Then there’s her boys with their busy, busy lives. Her youngest plays on a travel baseball team which takes up many of their summer weekends. I scoured the trips for one that would meet our timeline and finalized it in December to take advantage of “early bird” rates. Now our trip is only weeks away!

Last night I got a call from the travel agent. The airlines cancelled one of our return flights! My heart just sank. It means we would miss our connection in Chicago. She wasn’t clear on just what the problem was, or the proposed solution. She sent me the old itinerary for the flights and the new. What it comes down to is spending an entire day in Frankfurt, Germany and coming home a day later. They will pick up the hotel fee and maybe give us some vouchers for food.

I tried to convince them to look for an alternative route to get us home as planned, but nothing worked. We even offered to drive a rental back from Chicago, but they wouldn’t pick up the tab for that. So, looks like we will be even more international than we thought. Wish us luck–Danke!

A Little Backwards

A couple of weeks ago the city of Green Bay was the site of a huge book and author festival, Untitled Town. As an author, I had attended the first conference last year and could hardly wait for this year’s event to come around. And this time I was scheduled Sunday morning to be on a panel, making the event even more exciting.

My Saturday was booked solid, the entire day. I first attended an open discussion with a literary agent from New York. He was very well attended and answered a variety of questions . They centered mainly on topics dealing with how to get an agent to be interested in your book, writing a query and having a great hook. I enjoyed him.

The next panel featured one of my friends from our local writer’s group as well as another author I had met at last year’s event. It was so fun reconnecting with her and she introduced me to the other members on the panel. They spoke about writing about difficult topics, dealing with death, violence, etc–it was very interesting. I am always so impressed by  how generous other authors are in sharing advice and expertise.

Another panel followed, this one talking about writing for children. I again picked up some good information and added a few more books to my “want to read” list.

The final event I attended that day was an author who spoke about writing for young adults. As I was the first one in the room before he started, we chatted a bit. I took the most notes in his session and came away with a lot of suggestions I will definitely use in my writing and querying.

All in all, I came away from this day spent with many other lovers of the written word inspired and filled with so much excitement to continue my writing. What a great day!

As I went to change into something more comfy when I got home, I discovered I had my top on backwards. I thought back to all the people I had met that day and spoke with and sat next to and all I could do was laugh out loud and shake my head. Oh, brother, nothing but a class act here. No wonder that neckline felt so high!

Shovel Your Snow!

This past weekend, April 14th and 15th, 2018 will go down in history for Green Bay, Wisconsin as we were hit by the biggest snow storm in 130 years. It was epic! The final total of snow over those two days was 24.2 inches. Most of us were hunkered down the entire weekend, wondering if the blowing, drifting, freezing, white stuff was ever going to stop.

Well, yes, it did stop–then came the clean–up or so you would think. But no! It is Tuesday and I went on a walk today, as I do nearly every day. Unbelievable how many people haven’t cleared the sidewalks. This was especially true of people on corners. And if they did happen to do the sidewalk, chances were pretty good they did not tackle the huge mound that the snowplow left at the corner. Now this old girl isn’t about to start mountain climbing at this stage in her life. I need a path through the snow bank so I can cross the street! Can’t tell you how many times I had to double back and go down the driveway and walk in the road to the next driveway.

I lived on a corner for 30 years, it’s one of the reasons I finally moved, all that darn shoveling! But I did it, by myself most of the time. I cleaned out the corner banks and also the fire hydrant on my property. Yes it was a pain, but I did it.

Come on people!!  End of rant…  🙂

P.S. I am not totally heartless. I do realize there are folks out there unable to do that kind of work. They get a pass, but the rest of you…



Feeling a Little Guilty

I really wish I were a more consistent blogger, but I’m not. However, today at my second ever book signing, I had an interesting occurrence.

It was held at a local bookstore, Reader’s Loft. I just love that place! Ambience is very calming. There’s places to relax and read, Christmas music playing, antiques, and it’s just very warm and welcoming. Two of the most laid-back cats hang out amongst the stacks of books and come around for a pat or two.

Being close to Christmas, there was a fairly steady in and out of customers. I was surprised at how many men came in to buy books—is that a sexist comment?

Anyway, a very nice woman was standing with my book in her hands as I walked in to set up, which I took as a good sign. I really didn’t think I would sell more than one or two books. We conversed for a while. She teaches some writer’s workshops and was buying the book for one of her “students” who is writing in the same genre as me to inspire her. I thought that was so lovely.

Next was another woman who is majoring in creative writing at the university. She was a little older than your typical college student and I think it gave her some reassurance to know this was my first book and I am way old…

I noticed a group of nuns wandering around the store for quite a while, they were carrying a lot of books. The younger one came over by me and picked up my book. We chatted a little, she turned down my offer of one of my homemade Christmas cookies, but she wanted my book. I’m thinking, OMG, this book has some rough language. The main character even drops the “F-bomb” a time or two, to say nothing of the couple of slightly steamy love scenes. I felt like I ought to warn her, but she read the blurb on the back as she stood there, so she had a sense of what was inside. I feel sort of guilty… 😉