A to Z Challenge

Friday, August 31, 2012

Looking Forward To...

This Sunday. Here at my house, the gloves come off. Because really, it'd be awkward to play cribbage with gloves on. Who will come out on top? Who will be the point counting, card manipulating wizard? Who will walk away with the top prize, a beautiful handmade board created by the woodworking mastermind Tom Zehrung. My daddy : )

We've held this tournament twice now, and both times the grandmaster poobah winner has been...drumroll please...my dad. Sigh. He's a winner that one. I suppose he's got a few years of wisdom and card analysis to back him up. But, dang it, I've beaten him before, on more than one occasion. This is it, third time's a charm, right? I've just gotta play my cards right, literally. Maybe I'll spend the next couple days reading up on cribbage strategy, see if I can find a few tricks, give me an ace up my sleeve.

Whether I win, lose or come out somewhere in the muddy middle, the real winner is me. Much of my large family is coming from miles away so we might bicker and banter and well, in all honesty, actually just enjoy each other. When you have 10 siblings, the likelihood of all of them showing up at any one time gets pretty slim. But, I'm excited that we'll have 7 out of my parent's 11 kids here! That's not too bad! Add to that some nieces and nephews. We also will have other friends here that are family, you know what I mean, those folks that may not be blood related, but you'd do anything for them, and they'd do anything for you.

I think there's a little of my momma in me, 'cause the thought of a full house doesn't stress me at all, it excites me. The more the merrier. So, if you hear some extra laughter in the air Sunday or anguished cries (I've likely called Muggins ; ) follow it to its source and join us.

Happy Labor Day Weekend everyone. May your labor only be ones of love.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Momma

Today would be her 77th birthday. But, she's not here to share it with, and I miss her every day.

I was raised by my mom to believe that when you die, you are gone. Dead. Finito. Nothing but bones, or, in her case ash. I was raised to believe you stay that way until the return of christ when you then head up to heaven (as long as you have given your life over to the Lord). There are no spirits, no ghosts. That's what I was raised to believe.

To tell you the truth, I really don't know what I believe in regards to this anymore. I like to believe she's still watching me, hopefully she's still proud of me.

I actually have this thought that some part of her is off flitting about from bird to bird. My momma loved birds. Her whole life. When she was a little girl in school, she was able to mimic bird songs. So well in fact, that she got into trouble once when a little bird sat just outside the window of her one room school house singing away. The teacher accused mom of trying to disturb the class.

Later in life, we had birds as pets. Parakeets, Cockatiels, a silly African Gray parrot. Mom loved painting as well. She painted clock faces, and recipe boxes. Her favorite decorations were hummingbirds and owls and little orioles. She was always singing and had a beautiful soprano lilt. My own momma bird.

So, when she passed from this life to the next, I've found times where I felt the birds were giving me messages, where I felt the connection with her because of them. The morning after I received the call that she was no longer with me, I was vacationing at a Lake in California. I went outside that morning and the glorious birdsong at 5 am caressed me and held me embraced in song. It filled my broken heart with love and I knew she was okay. She was comforting me still.

Later that year, my husband was watching a movie at midnight. It was Hellraiser. My mother would absolutely hate that movie. She hated anything to do with satan and his evil influence. A bird outside our bedroom window went absolutely beserk, screeching and causing a huge ruckus. I told my husband jokingly that my mom didn't like what he was watching and he should change the channel. He turned the movie off and the bird was immediately silent. Crap. I had just been kidding, but maybe there was some truth to it?

When my mom's brother passed away, a couple years after mom, another incident occurred that got me to wondering. I live on a bluff above a river. Behind my house is a state park, lots of birds. Pigeons, owls, blue birds, finches, woodpeckers, turkey vultures, wild turkeys...all manner of fowl. The day after his passing, I was thinking about him and my mom, and wondering if they were together again. I looked up and saw a white dove sitting on my fence. I had never seen doves nor have I ever seen once since. It cocked its head at me and I just knew. It was all good.

Today, another little confirmation to me that my momma is still hanging about, keeping an eye on me. I was sitting outside just thinking about her, thinking about how lucky I was to have had such a wonderful woman as my mom. I heard a tapping sound. I ignored it. I heard it again. I looked up to see a blue bird tapping my wood fence. I didn't rise, I didn't move, I just looked at it. As soon as I had silently acknowledged it, it took off. I totally felt like she's said, yup, thanks for thinking about me kid, I'm all right, see I'm free. I know that sounds kind of silly, but I've never seen any bird do that on my fence before. Not even a woodpecker.

Honestly, I realize these are just odd little coincidences. But, I love to think that she's still about, keeping an eye on us. Following our lives and watching her grandbabies grow. It helps me keep the connection with her, keep her spirit alive. So, I'm going to go get the expensive gourmet bird food that I buy just for her and fill my feeder in her honor. My little birthday gift to my very wonderful momma.

I love you mom.

Monday, August 27, 2012

75 Words - Big Kid

So not long ago, I read a great little book, filled with short little stories (each a mere 75 words), that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have wanted to employ that idea with my own writing to play with the concept, to see what kind of impact can be made with just a few words. Here's my first little attempt.

Sierra, 9, is a fourth grader this year. She made a realization at school, she's on the big kid side of campus. Hence, she is a big kid. The glow of pride that shines on her cheeks is adorable.
"So, you're a big kid now?"
"Your sister left for college, who's going to clear off the table now?"
She looks around, puzzled.
"You are, congratulations! You're a big kid!"
Sometimes life just ain't fair.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'll leave the door open.

I'll leave the door open
I'll peer into the room
I'll hope to see you smiling
I'll hope to hear the banjo
I'll know you won't be there
It's good to keep a little dream...

I'll be patient till I see you
I'll miss you every day
I'll think about where you are
I'll hope you're keeping safe
I know you're growing up
I'm proud of the woman you've become

I'll be so excited for Thanksgiving
I'll smoke a big fat turkey
I'll make the Jack Daniels yams
I'll whip up a pumpkin cheesecake
You'll put up with all my hugs and kisses
Secretly, you'll be happy to get them : )

Well, the first child is off and away. 600 miles away. She signed her name into the big book, shook hands with the university president, and rang the bell. I am so proud of her and excited for her. And while the house feels a little bland without her, I know she's going to do herself proud up there at school.

Right now, it seems like it will be forever until Thanksgiving comes. It is likely the first chance I will have to see her again. But in reality, I know how quickly time flies. Especially when a person's busy. I don't like to sit around doing nothing, that's what makes time drag.

For now, I'll keep myself busy with being a mom to the two who are still here home with me (thank goodness I have a couple here I still get to mother all over : ), and I'm writing a sequel to Return of the Crown (that's going to require some serious contemplation), I'm still learning to manage the marketing aspects of writing (will I ever get it all figured out), I have a husband I adore that enjoys my attention(not that he ever gets all the time he deserves), and there's a world out there to explore and enjoy. Yup, Thanksgiving'll be here before you know it.

But, I'm still gonna peek in that room everyday, and wish...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Time keeps on ticking...

Time is ticking away, and I'm helpless to prevent it. I look in the mirror, and I do not see a woman who has two adult children. I have three babies. Don't I? Who am I kidding, even my baby isn't a baby. Yesterday she proved that by taking on all the high speed thrilling roller coasters at Six Flags Marine World.

Two of my babies are fully grown. One is working and going to school here in town. So while she roosts in the coop, she's spending more and more time out in the world on her own. This is a good thing, a necessary thing.

The other adult child is heading off to college in less than a week. She is flying the coop. I am so proud of her, and yet, I wish I could tuck her under my wing for just a little longer...

I look at my wee chick, who is growing so fast, and I shudder. Nine years ago, my coop flier was her age and she was just a newborn babe. Look where we are now. The time is sliding past me, whisking my children along with it...taking them from me.

There is a war going on inside me. It is about getting past the feelings of loss and reveling in the pride. And of that, I have plenty, for my husband and I have raised some pretty amazing kids. Smart, talented, beautiful, kind, respectful, etc. etc.

The next couple weeks are going to be rough, some adjustments aren't meant to be easy. There will be tears shed, and I really hate crying, it's so salty and drippy and annoying. I know I still have time to mother all over my little one, she still needs me. And, I know my older two still need me too, just not in the same way.

Nicki, Sami and Sierra, I love you with all my heart.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Where do we go from here...

A couple songs just popped into my head this morning as I contemplated where I wanted my blog to take me. Cue the music...

"Where do we go from here? Now that the children are growing up. And how do we spend our lives, if there's no one to lend us a hand? I don't wanna live here no more, I don't wanna stay. Ain't gonna spend the rest of my life, Quietly fading away..."

In my life, my children are growing up(2/3 are over 18), but unlike Alan Parson's Project, I do have helping hands. My family, my friends that I've known throughout my life, and all my new friends that I haved met because of this blogfest, through twitter, and through goodreads. The song doesn't really echo my sentiments as I'm pretty happy where I am right now and excited to be in this little corner of the blogging world. And as for quietly fading away, anyone who knows me realizes it is out of the realm of possiblity for me to do anything quietly. Okay, so weird song choice for describing my hopes for this blog, maybe the next song that popped into my head will be better.

"Where do we go? Where do we go now? (Sweet child) Ooh, where do we go now? --Ai-ee-ai-ee-ai-ee-ai-ee (you get the picture) Sweet child of miiiinnnnneee!"

Guns and Roses knows my writing is sweet to me, first my book and now this blog. Return of the Crown is my baby. Its travels have just begun, but already it's spreading it's wings further than I personally have tread. This week I shipped a copy off to a contest winner in Australia and one in Great Britain. As for this blog, I know that people from all over the world have stopped by and shared some time with me here in this very spot. I know as time slips past as it is sure to do, I will grow in ways I have yet to imagine. The people whose lives cross paths with mine will touch me and leave lasting impressions. I will grow as a writer, as a friend, as a person.

So, Where do we go...I guess wherever the road takes us. I will race along the fast lanes of the information superhighway that helps me glean information. I will throw the top down and follow the curvy mountain roads that take me from blog to blog where I will delight in other's success and share in their hopes and fears. At times, I'll find myself on bumpy roads but I won't let that dishearten me, I'll just get better shocks. If a roadblock pops up, barring my way, I'll put my foot to the gas and crash on through it (I've always wanted to do that, but I'd hate to ding up my car). I guess in short (I know, this was nothing close to short), I'll just keep going. I'm not sure what my destination is, but I know I'm going to have fun getting there.

So to leave off in Piratey fashion as this is the last post in the Buccaneer Blogfest and to go along with the song theme...Pass me that there jug o' rum.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We pillage and plunder, we rifle and loot.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don't give a hoot.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We extort and pilfer, we filch and sack.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
Maraud and embezzle and even highjack.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me.
We kindle and char and inflame and ignite.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
We burn up the city, we're really a fright.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

We're rascals and scoundrels, we're villians and knaves.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
We're devils and black sheep, we're really bad eggs.
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.

We're beggars and blighters and ne'er do-well cads,
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
Aye, but we're loved by our mommies and dads,
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho.
Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Free is Good!

I just finished up a giveaway with Goodreads, I'm mailing out the copies of my book today. In fact, I will see my book travel to Great Britain and Australia! How exciting, Ravyn will be winging her way across the Atlantic and the Pacific! For the Blogfest, I've created a Rafflecopter giveaway as well! It'll run through the 5th, so make sure to get your entry in!

a Rafflecopter giveaway