Winter Peace

Shining Star

Just a
thought
at this time
of year…
Man needs the
spiritual in his life.
It matters not if he is
religious or atheist or agnostic,
the spirit of man needs
the nourishment of holiness
and the rest of its peace.
The deep midwinter is the
natural time for that holy season:
in earlier times, man rested from the labor
of the rest of the year and took that time
of the long nights
to cherish his family and friends,
to celebrate their survival through another
year, to mourn those who had gone ahead, and
to contemplate the meaning of his life and its
relationship to all other lives.
The religions of the times – all of them –
understood this contemplation and the need that
engendered it, and thus do many religions mark this season
as the birth of the year, the birth of hope ~
the birth of holiness.
They encourage the fellow-feeling and generosity,
and espouse the all-encompassing wish for peace.
Whether one celebrates the Winter Solstice,
the Feast of Lights, Kwanzaa, or Christmas, the message is the same:

Peace on Earth, Good Will to All!

I wish you all the blessings of the season, and all the joys that you deserve.

Varina Suellen Plonski

 

Advertisements

Hi, Honey, I’m HOME!

Well, I’m back. Back online again at home, and though I don’t quite know how I’m going to do it, I’m by god gonna stay here!

I’m still desperately unemployed, still scared I’ll lose my house, but I’m digging in my feet and saying NO!

I haven’t given up on finding a job, but I decided to bite the bullet and go on Social Security. It’s not much because it’s an early retirement, and quite a bit shy of what I need, but it’s a start.

I also do have a job, of sorts. I am now a copyeditor for Caliburn Press, a small, multi-imprint press now based out of Madison, WI, owned by my soul-brother Alan, his wife, and my soul-sister Kendra, and her soon-to-be husband Scott. I’m learning lots, scrambling to learn more, and turning around what I learn to apply to what I’m writing myself.

What’s been going on?

Well, I have two more cats, bringing the total up to six. I inherited the two new cats from my friend Cynthia, who died in January of this year–very unexpectedly, and while I was present. To be honest, I still don’t know what to think or how to feel about that… But the cats are doing well.

The big boy cat, Trjegul (named after one of the cats that draw Freya’s chariot) has settled in nicely and has lost a significant amount of his timidity. He even plays with the “kitten” (in quotes because she’s a Big Girl now, just that she’s still less than a year old)! The other, a mid-sized girl named Eowyn, is not timid per se, but she is VERY intimidated by my two girl cats, Roxy and Leili. She and the kitten, Pandora (Dori) seem to get along reasonably well; Eowyn doesn’t freak out when Dory pounces on her, whereas she goes into full-on psycho screaming escalation mode with Leili. For some reason, Ziggy, the roomie-and-ex-roomie’s indoor/outdoor cat, does not excite any issues with her, despite how ill-tempered he can be. Go figure…

I’ve been humping my computer back and forth to the library for the past couple of months so I can get online and find a job. See, what happened is this: When I lost my job back in May of 2010, I took two years off and did a two-year curriculum online for Health Information Management and Technology so that I could get a job back in the healthcare field. I liked working in that field because I feel it is very important. Has to do with helping people, don’tcha know. Even though I’m not the kind to get all hands-on and healy with people, I feel that being in the support system for those who do is important. The Doctors and Nurses and EMTs and all the rest can’t do the appointment scheduling and paperwork and records management as well, so we who do are freeing them up to do the important stuff. Anyway, that’s my take on it.

Problem is, the jobs I was hoping to have access to after I graduated just aren’t there. For every position that’s offered, there are LITERALLY 50 or more applicants. So I’m $20k in debt and sinking fast… and there’s the house, and the health care, and the… you get the picture.

After that, I was living on my retirement funds. Those are long gone. Then I was living on my father’s retirement funds, while he was in a nursing home and after he died in 2013. After he died, the funds were administered by my brother. I never really had much of an idea how much money was there. And what with his health problems, one thing and another, we never really communicated about things. So this year when I got new eyeglasses, and it was going to make the month really tight, I asked if I could get some extra money. His response was, do you want me to just transfer what’s left?

That was one of those frozen-in-time moments, you know? That was the end of April. There was enough for the May transfer, and about half that left over. And my mind is going — but I don’t want to say it to him, because I don’t want to fight and I don’t want to get upset but I AM upset — I don’t want to say it, but I’m hurt, and I’m thinking, When were you going to tell me that there was no more money? In June when I call to find out why the transfer didn’t come?

I love my brother, I have a great deal of respect for him, for his knowledge and his ability and all that, but just like with my mother and father, I just don’t measure up for him. I get no respect in return, like I’m not worth thinking about.

Sometimes I’m so frustrated I could cry.

So here I am going to the library looking for any data entry, receptionist, medical or other office position, or maybe copy editing or proofreading.  I actually had a job — for a whole 9 1/2 days. Learning to be an emergency roadside assistance dispatcher for Allstate. Helping people, all I’ve ever wanted to do. But I ran into one of my ghosty health problems and was let go while still in training. I fall asleep. At first, I thought it was because I was on benedryl for a sinus/allergy problem, but then I stopped taking it. And there was the sleep schedule change — I’m a night owl, and had to change back to a day schedule. But no, that wasn’t it either. Then I thought it was sugar crash. I’m diabetic, and they were passing out Jolly Rancher candies like crazy, and I can’t resist flavored sugar. But no, I quit doing that, and still was falling asleep in class. I finally realized what was happening — but too late, they’d already made the decision. See, what happens is this: When I focus hard on something (like in a class!), well, it’s really IMPORTANT that I learn this, because I NEED this job, so I’m REALLY paying attention. Which means I am focusing all my energy into what I’m doing, what I’m trying to learn. And when I’m doing that, I’m sitting really still. I’m sitting forward in my chair, arms folded, watching the video or the teacher or whatever — and I stop breathing. I’m SO focused that my breathing gets shallower and shallower and shallower. I’m paying attention, I’m paying attention, I’m paying attention — I’m gone.

Shit.

It took me YEARS to figure that out! I’d done it before, more times than I could count, at more than one job. It just wasn’t as frequent, because it was at those stupid monthly or quarterly meetings where some talking suit is droning on and on about something that has NO-FUCKING-THING to do with what I do for the company. It never happened when I worked at the Eye Clinic, it never happened when I worked at the Retina Institute, because I was always MOVING. Even if it was a desk job, I was getting up for this, bending over for that, reaching for something else… but when I sat still, just typing or moving a mouse? Z-ville.

The real pity of it was, if I’d made it through that last day I’d have been fine. Because the next week we were going to be on the phones, jacked in with another worker. I’d have been doing the data entry part while the other worker did the phone stuff, and I’d have been moving and breathing and talking in between.

Well, water under the bridge. Looking at other options now, and hoping for the best. I WILL NOT let this all stop me. I WILL keep trying. I’m writing again, and I’m nearly finished with my first draft of Book One. I’ve got a line on an online data-entry job that I hope will work out, and I am STUBBORN AS HELL. Wish me luck!

Three Day Quote Challenge, Day Tree

Last day, Capricorn 16s. Year of the city… oh, where was I? Oh, yeah!

Last day of the Three Day Quote Challenge. I knew I could do it. I am the Queen of Quotes!

First, to fulfill the rules: Thank you, Addy! This was a lot of fun and very interesting. Thanks for nominating me to do it!

In turn, I nominate my partners in crime:

Periodically Demented at:  http://p33d33.wordpress.com/
Thumbup at:  http://livelovelaughdotme2.com/
Addy at:  https://adamskistoryblog.wordpress.com/

And last – I blow off the rules. Addy had originally posted that there were to be three quotes per day (although posting only one, naughty, naughty!) and I have faithfully followed that rule heretofore. But now, I will only post one quote. But it’s a big one, and one that is very important to me. And I’m not even going to type it myself, nor am I going to comment afterward, because I truly believe this says it all.

As for all of you — I wish you peace, and silence when you need it, and raucous friends and fun. I wish you hope, and all the things that are good to have. Most of all, I wish you enough.

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 a 1 a DESIDERATA ~ Max Ehrmann 1927

Three Day Quote Challenge, Day Too

Da Rulez:

  1. Thou shalt thank the person who nominated you:  Thank you, Addy!
  2. Thou shalt nominate three other bloggers with each post, no more, no less.
    Three shall be the number thou shalt nominate, and the number of the nominating shall be three.
    Four shalt thou not nominate, nor either nominate thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three.
    Five is right out.
    OH! Sorry, I got carried away…
    Um, I don’t actually know many bloggers, so y’all are it:
    Periodically Demented at:  http://p33d33.wordpress.com/
    Thumbup at:  http://livelovelaughdotme2.com/
    Addy at:  https://adamskistoryblog.wordpress.com/
    And honestly? I don’t really feel you need to respond. It’s fun if you do, but I know we all have lives, and sometimes we might want to post something else, or nothing if we want, so there!
  3. Thou shalt post 3 of thy favorite quotes each per day for 3 recurrent days.
    So endeth the lesson.

So, the quotes for today? Okay, let’s go with some of my favorites:

  1. Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass. — Anton Chekhov
    This is my most absolute favoritest of all favorite quotes on writing. MUCH clearer than the usual “show, don’t tell” you usually get. I think it is the best advice for writers, and that if a writer only follows this one piece of advice their writing cannot help but become their best possible.
    Because of something I once wrote, this quote always makes me think of Kristallnacht. Of fires burning in the streets, of shattered windows and shards of glass reflecting an angry glitter, of the smell of fear. Of frightened people hiding behind bolted doors or scuttling down alleys like furtive rats with the sound of heavy boots and cruel laughter echoing in their ears. But always, always, the sight of broken glass seen from the viewpoint of someone lying broken on the street looking for one last glimpse of their dying lover.
    Maybe I’ll post that story sometime.Chekhov Broken Glass
  2. Unexpressed emotions never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways. — Sigmund Freud
    I know this for a fact. If you don’t let it out somehow, you will end up sick, or with some kind of behavioral quirk, or try to take it out on someone. Or end up an alcoholic or drug abuser or someone who self harms. What you feel WILL show up somehow. Cancer, ulcers (mine), or misery. Find someone to talk to, even if it’s just a letter to Dear Abby. But let it out!
    Just as an FYI, I’m a really good listener. That’s an open invitation, there. Any one, any time.
    My goodness, I’m grim today. Let’s see if I can find something not so much of a downer for #3.
  3. Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. — unknown
    I really do believe this. Despite how negative my quotes seem to be, I actually am a positive person. I’m just also a realist. I recognize how difficult life can be, how dark and discouraging. But I also believe that we have the capacity to make a difference — in our own lives, and in the lives of others.
    I also believe that we have the responsibility to try to make that difference, even if all we can do is toss a quarter in the Salvation Army pot at Christmas, or smile at someone who seems down. But whatever we can do, we should do it. In fact, that reminds me of my school motto (or prayer, or whatever the heck they called it then, It’s 44 years ago, cut me some slack!).

    I am only one, but I am one.
    I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
    What I can do, I ought to do, and what I ought to do, by the grace of God, I will do.

    Okay, not so much the religious part of it — no longer a Catholic or even a Christian now — but the rest of it? Absolutely.
    I also believe that we are stronger than we think we are, and that if we think we are weak still we are stronger for others than for ourselves. That is an underlying theme of the stories I write; that each of my characters may or may not feel able to stand up for themselves, but when another is threatened they find that strength. (Which I just realized just now. Am I smart, or what?)

    OH! And I know just EXACTLY what tomorrow’s quote will be! Only one, but it’s a long one. Trust me on this, it’ll be worth it, and it will show you so much more about who I am and what I believe in.

Addy and the Three-Day-Quote Challenge: Day 1

Okay, so I just discovered that I had been nominated for the Three Day Quote Challenge. Apparently this is a thing I didn’t know about (how ’bout that!).

The deal is, obviously enough, that I need to post a quote a day for three days. Me. Quotes. Easy-peasy.

But there are also RULES.

The RULES are as follows:

  1. You must thank the person who nominated you. — Thank you, Addy! 😉
  2. You must nominate 3 other bloggers with each post. — Going by Addy’s posts, it’s permissible to re-use the same three bloggers each time. So I’ll make this a round robin:
    Periodically Demented at:  http://p33d33.wordpress.com/
    Thumbup at:  http://livelovelaughdotme2.com/
    Addy at:  https://adamskistoryblog.wordpress.com/
  3. Somewhat confusingly, Addy states that you must “Post 3 of your favorite quotes each per day for 3 recurrent days.” However, there is only one quote for each of Addy’s posts… But that’s okay, I probably have more quotes than I could ever use for something like this, and I find more every time I read something. So I’ll go by the letter of the law (or in this case, the “number”) and post three each day. Addy also states that “The quotes can be of any other people or it may come straight from your own heart.” I’ll see what I can come up with.

Today’s quotes:

  1. For every situation there is a suitable line from a song.
    Ever have one of those days? When nothing is going right, and you just can’t do it any more? Been there, doing that, having ENOUGH FUN now, thank you. And then a song comes on the radio, or pops into your head, or whatever — and suddenly you have the strength to go on. Maybe there’s a line in the song that just hits you right. Maybe it’s something about the whole song, or the memories that come up when you hear it. Maybe there aren’t even words to the song, just the melody itself and the way the harmonies reach into your heart and hold it close.
    “Don’t try to explain it, just bow your head. Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On.” – Jimmy Buffet
  2. Nothing real can defeat us. Nothing unreal exists. – Buckaroo Banzai
    I debated using this one, or the more notorious “No matter where you go, there you are.” But that one has so many correlations: What you are you take with you, you can’t run away from who you are, all that jazz.
    This one, though, is sneakier. BB rejoices in being all zen and enigmatic and turn-your-head-upside-down-and-go-HUH? But despite that, there is an underlying truth to all those weird quotes of his. This one kind of puts things in perspective, once you get your head back right-side up, and I like that. When you have so much going on that you can’t juggle fast enough, realizing that you can leave off half of them in the first place gives you just that little bit of breathing space where you can go “Whew! Okay. Now, what’s left?” and it makes it more manageable somehow. It’s a headgame: you really haven’t gotten rid of anything (nothing real exists, get it?) except maybe useless worries. But recognizing that still frees you up.
  3. When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.
    I wanted a quote for my main character, Ari Dillon. There is a whole world of quotes that speak to me of her: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; Whatever doesn’t kill you is gonna leave a scar; and my favorite, and the one that fits her best, Whatever doesn’t kill me better start running.
    Thing is, what speaks of her speaks strongly to me. I am stronger now than I was when I began writing Black Dog back in November, 2012, because in writing Ari I was looking into myself to find her strength. They always say to “write what you know.” But I keep finding that I am writing what I didn’t know I knew. Each time I reread my WIP(s) I find more things I put in there that I didn’t realize. Sitting in a restaurant, eating something really really yummy, I was bouncing in my seat and swinging my feet. And stopped dead, because I had written that very set of actions for one of my young characters. I knew that motion from the inside.
    And confronting someone who was ready to do violence to a co-worker — I stepped between them (what the FUCK was I thinking?!) because I knew I could talk him down. Or at least I hoped I could. Vaguely knowing that if I could break his target lock on her, I could break his concentration, and then I had a chance. And if not? Well, he was gonna have to go through me or over me to get to her, and by that time help would be there. Yeah, I know. I’m crazy. But there it was — the choice.
    I’ve had bad things happen to me, and didn’t realize that they had strengthened me even when I thought they were breaking me down. And yes, some days I do feel beat down, and I get depressed, and want to bury myself under the covers. (And sometimes I do do that. Need a time out.) But most of the time I know that I don’t really have a choice. If I don’t do it, who will? Ain’t nobody gonna do it for me.And if I’m smart, I put on music.

Well, heck! I don’t know if this was what you had in mind, Addy! Me, going all introspective and verbal like this. But there’s your three quotes for the day; you pays your money, you takes your chances.

We’ll see what I come up with for tomorrow, yeh?

Okay, so here’s where I drop back and punt.

It’s very likely that I have No Barking CLUE on how to do this. So Here’s how I AM doing it.

I said I wanted to do a page where I write, and I have–I think. But nowhere can I see how to show you where that page is. So instead, what I’ve done is set up an alternate site: housesofthanah.wordpress.com. It’s all set up now, and I THINK (but I’m not sure) that there is a way for you, my gentle and faithful readers, to switch to that other site. I THINK you go up to this site’s name (there on the left?) and click on it, and it should show you Switch Site.

If, as is far more likely, I really am utterly clueless and am barking up some dying tree in a far alligator-infested swamp somewhere, then just search for the new site (please!). Once again, that’s:   Houses of Thanah dot wordpress dot com  —  of course, no caps and all squished together. I just typed it out like that so’s y’all could read it more clearly and get the spelling right. 😉

Anyway, this first post is an explanation of the setting for my scarily extensive series of half-written novels. What I’ll be doing over there is writing a serialized novel that runs alongside my primary series. Because I just don’t have the time to sit down and seriously work on my main story due to having to aggressively look for a job before me, the cats and the dog are all living out of my little Hyundai Elantra Touring.

Because, as I’ve said before, I can’t NOT write, and it’s killing me. So please, feel free to check out the new site.

And yes, I’ll still be posting to THIS site. All the fun one-offs and challenges that His Eminence the Supreme Pen Monkey Chuck Wendig sets us, plus anything else that happens to cross my scattered consciousness. Like rants. Or whines. Or whatever.

Remember, that first post is just the setup, not the beginning of the story. Still–hope you like it!

So here’s the deal:

I had thought I was going to start a site that was an affiliate blog. That’s where the blogger has a site on whatever subject, and there are ads and links on the site that go to their Affiliate partner. The idea is that when a person comes to the blog to read the posts and check out all the pretty pictures, they see the Affiliate ad and go “OOH! SHINY! I MUST CHECK THAT OUT!” Each time someone clicks on a link, the blogger gets a set amount. And if the person actually buys something through that link, the blogger gets an additional amount. Pretty nice deal, hey?

Unfortunately (of course) there is somewhat more to it than that. There is the cost for the website itself, the cost for keeping the website up for a year, the cost for the web designer to set up the site the way the blogger wants it and the Affiliate Partner requires, the cost for setting up a business company (LLC or whatever), the cost for opening a business bank account, and the cost for having a minimum (or higher) balance available credit card.

That put it way out of my reach. Unfortunately, that means that I will need to shut that idea down, and hope I can get back a large chunk of the funds I’ve already expended.
Water under the bridge. The horse is dead, it’s time to walk away.

HOWEVER.  Here’sa what I’ma gonna do.

I’m going to set up another page (or two) on THIS blog site, and start doing what I’d thought to do on the other one. I’m going to review books on writing, and sites by other folks on writing, and programs and other resources that help writers to write. (See, this way I have the excuse to read that stuff myself, and make use of what I learn at the same time I pass it on! Sneaky, no?)

And on the other page I set up, I’m going to WRITE. Not my main Work In Progress (WIP), no. But a sidebar to it. A sort of serialized behind-the-scenes story that may hopefully fill in some of the gaps in the Original Story. Or add depth to it. With maybe probably walk-ons and cameo appearances and the like from the Major Characters of the Original Story.

Since I’m going damn near crazy with NOT being able to write due to having to prioritize my job search so I can continue to have a house to write in, and an internet provider to post on and a happy electric company so I have a way to post… You get the picture. But this way I sorta have an excuse to do what I want to do all along.

Why don’t you come along for the ride? You know you want to.  😉