Monday, October 31, 2011

Republique Dominicana

We are home safe and sound from our weekend in the Dominican Republic and I want to tell you it was awesome.

I'm sure if you went to one of the may wonderful resorts in the DR everyone would speak English. We did not. We spent the weekend in what I would call downtown Santo Domingo, a city of about three million people. Almost no one spoke English. I did get to speak Spanish and French. Was I intimidate? You bet. But if you wanted to eat, sleep, get anywhere, you had absolutely no choice.

When we first got to our accommodations where no one spoke English, we found that they had given our reservations away and there was no room for us. OK. Rick was polite but persistent in both English and Spanish. Finally, they found us one room, we needed two. There was another woman traveling with us. They had big comfy chairs in the lobby, so Rick told me to take the room with our friend Rosa and he would sleep in a chair. If I learned one thing this weekend it was ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE. We had some other friends from Puerto Rico staying at the same place, when I started asking around we found that there was a room with four beds with only two women in it. Our friend Rosa was happy to stay with these two women and Rick and I had the last room left at the Inn.

I will tell you about the Dominican Republic, but first I want to tell you a little bit about our friend Rosa. It was most important that she go on this trip and do some important work. Her path was filled with obstacles. When we finally got to the airport in St. Croix, ready to leave, we were a little late. (Yeah, you guys know me) Anyway, Rick and I had only carry on luggage. Rosa had a bag that needed to be checked. TSA would not take it, because we were late. They told her she could board but she could not take her luggage. She did not know what to do. I looked her in the eye and told her I knew it was important for her to go, I suggested she leave the bag. BEFORE THIS; I had plead vehemently with the A/A check-in clerk to the point where she told me not to say another word or they would not let me on the plane. She told me not to talk to the Customs Agents or anyone else, but to shut it and go through the boarding process. (I wanted you to know that I did not tell Rosa to leave her bag behind without a fight.) ANYWAY...Rosa exercised more faith than I have ever seen before. She walked away from her luggage and boarded that plane with the clothes on her back. Once in your life I sincerely hope you can experience that. It is to stand in the presence of greatness.

In the Dominican Republic I had the opportunity to speak Spanish and French with a little bit of English thrown in. I got so used to speaking Spanish, that yesterday when we were coming through Customs in Puerto Rico, they were trying to redirect us and I asked something in Spanish, the agent let lose with a whole paragraph in Spanish. When he saw the bewildered look on my face, he apologized and said that after I spoke he did not realize that I was not fluent in Spanish. Are you kidding me? I was raised in Chicago. I'm barely fluent in English. Anyway it was a compliment.

We didn't make it to the beach. The ocean there is very different that on our little island. It is of course beautiful and just as blue, but the swells are enormous 5 - 6 ft. These are not white cap waves, just the ocean swells. That was intimidating.

No one would take dollars. We had to exchange our money and the exchange rate is not good. There's a little wake up call America. There were military types armed with automatic weapons as interesting places. Like a toll booth. I mean the toll on the highway was less than a dollar. They must be pretty serious about collecting. Interesting for me that after three days, the armed military presence ceased to bother me.

Rick and I ate out in a very posh restaurant on Friday night. Nobody in the place spoke English. Our poor waiter was very intimidate. We managed to have a wonderful dinner, and we got what we wanted. He understood my Spanish. We even had Chocolate Mousse for desert. It was in this restaurant where  I learned my most important Spanish word POSTRES ~ yeah, you guessed it that means desert. When the check came I though I was going to have to put my CPR skills to the test. Rick was hyperventilating. See a copy of the charge receipt at the bottom. NOT TO WORRY, that's in DR pesos. About $69US. We knew that, but just the sight had Rick's heart stop for a minute.Hopefully our credit card makes the right exchange, that should be interesting.

Both TSA and Customs were either on High Alert for some reason, or I look like a terrorist. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Rick hurt his back and on the way home every time he had to take his shoes off, I had to tie them up for him (he could not bend over).  All that messing with his shoes made them nervous. They kept telling me to step away from him and then he would get the once over again. I told him to wear the flip flops, but would he listen?

This turned out to be one of my most favorite "road trips" ever. I will be going back. Bad news from our kids is that they probably won't be able to come for Christmas. We are looking for cheap rates to St. Martin. We will try to go between Christmas and New Years to distract ourselves from missing the family. Hey, they speak French there. Who's up for a road trip.

Nanowrimo starts tomorrow. I can hardly wait. We'll have to see what it will be like and adjust the posting schedule accordingly.I know your waiting with baited breath.

Happy Halloween.I hope you can spend the day somewhere where "thinking is optional". I'm gonna.

Friday, October 28, 2011

TGIF and the Big Bird

It's Friday already and so I'm back here. I have to admit it has been fun going back and forth between this blog, which BTW is my personal Journal (rant) and which is supposed to be more about my writing and my books. Lately, I'm not so sure I can tell the difference.

I started the second blog because I was afraid I was too Politically Incorrect and often sounded a little crazy on this one. Sure I could have just toned this one down a bit, but then where would I go to get it all out. Also,I really want to be prepared to promote my books and my serious writing. Now I'm really sounding crazy. when I  opened up my 'dashboard' for this blog, the title for one of the blogs that I follow was "How Much Should a Writer Blog". ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Maybe all writers are not as crazy as me, but I have to write. OK, I'm saying this out loud. It's a compulsion. Can't you tell? 

The past few weeks I have been waiting (not so patiently, I might add) for my editor to get me the second round of revisions on my first book "Far Away Eyes". The second book is done. Ideas for the third are running through my brain. I have done all of the research for "The Ghost's Story", the project I'm working on for NaNoWriMo (do I really need to tell you again, to google it) which won't start until 11/1, so this is it. Blog 1 and Blog 2. This is where I have been writing.

Starting on 11/1, I will have to cut back if I intend to put in 2,000+ words a day on "The Ghost's Story". I'm not sure what I will cut back to, but I'll let you know as soon as I figure it out. 

The first time I went to college(trust me the times I have gone to college are numerous) I was a Theater Major. In that department everyone lives for the applesauce. (Theater joke,you get it right? It's applause, but of course, Theater Majors are known to be horrible spellers among other things.) Well nothing has changed. I live for the feedback. What writer doesn't? OK,maybe there are a few. Not me. So... I want to say right here, right now, how much I appreciate each and every comment made on either of my blogs. Some days, all I do is check back looking for a comment or two. THANK YOU ALL.

That's it for today, nothing too clever, your're not surprised are you? I've got to run and go jump in the pool and workout. Then finish packing. Then head on over to the airport. Today we are getting 'off island' for a few days. Going to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. I am so excited. I'll tell you all about it on Monday(did you have any doubt). Maybe I'll even have some pictures.

If you are into "Horror" for Halloween,checkout this blog He has had 'guest posts' of some of the most horrific short stories, that you are compelled to keep reading, this past week. Be warned it is horrific. The blog has a disclaimer about adult content at the beginning. No visuals, just pure scary stuff. 

Have a great Halloween Weekend. Remember to keep 'thinking optional".

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Moral Dilemma

I like to give my characters a moral dilemma and see what they will do with it. I'm not too crazy about the idea of having my own. It's great when everything is going great and you can just blah, blah,blah your way through, but when the going gets tough and you are called on to put your money where your mouth is, look out.

On Monday I went on and on about how lucky I am to live where I do and I even had the audacity to state that if anyone heard me complaining they should slap me, please. I can't believe I said that out loud. I am the most superstitious person you have ever met. My husband calls me the resident gypsy. It is most assuredly "bad luck" to say out loud "how lucky you are". There you have it, I brought the current moral dilemma on myself.

When we lived in Florida we were very fortunate to live for one year right on the water. The second year we lived in a large house with a swimming pool in a cage, in a great neighborhood, with good schools. (I neglected to mention this Monday in my 'Room with a View' post, possibly because fate knew what was waiting for me and that I would need to bring it up today.) We, of course, were tenants in both places. That's me again, no strings. (Also fortunate, because I hated Florida and couldn't wait to get back to the Rocky Mountain West.) Anyway...back to my fortunate in Florida story, when a good friend stopped by our second house ,on the way home from closing on a nice little house they had just purchased in Bonita Springs, (without all the fine accouterments of my big rental house) she gave me these words of wisdom.

She said,"At first I wanted to be jealous,but then I realized how hard it is for you here and all of the terrible things you have to deal with and this house is payment for those sacrifices. You have here a sanctuary to come home to and get away from the nastiness you deal with on a day to day basis. I don't have that in my life, and I am grateful.  My little house is a fine sanctuary for the tranquil life I am able to live". 

I was not sure what to make of that. We were dealing with some ugly issues during that time in Florida. Issues a lot bigger than my cry baby attitude of "I don't like it here. I want to go back to the mountains. I want to live with four seasons. I miss the snow. Blah, blah, blah. (Hard to believe,today I live in the Caribbean and love it. What a difference a decade makes.) I was asked to Pay It Forward. I have been blessed. I have lived a 'charmed' life. I have lived in beautiful places, that  provide incredible sanctuaries. I live in one right now,if you don't believe me checkout the previous post. I'm not being asked to leave. I am being asked to make a sacrifice. Probably a minor one at that, but for right now it seems kind of major. Will I make the right decision? I hope so. Will I learn something? I hope so. Will I expect some thing in return? I hope not, I have already been paid in full.

Crap. Moral dilemma's are fun to write. (I enjoy making the characters stretch.) They are a pain in the butt to live. I guess someone wants me to stretch also.

I have a headache. I need to get back to a place where "thinking is optional".

Monday, October 24, 2011

Room with a View

I've been having a good time reading other blogs tonight. Everybody is creepy with Halloween coming. More Ghost stories on tomorrow.

For today,right here, right now, I want to show you the view I roll over and wake up to every morning. Yeah that's it right over there. Is that spectacular or what?

Our condo is a two story job. Living room dining room and kitchen combo upstairs and two bedrooms with two baths downstairs. We rent the place furnished. Very little here is actually ours, but no matter. I own that view.

Upstairs in the living room and then again downstairs in the master bedroom there is a wall of windows, floor to ceiling with gigantic patio doors. We throw those patio doors open and  never close 'em. There is a galleria(deck) on each floor that is covered,so rain only comes in during a hurricane when the wind is really howling. It's like camping out every night, with a nice comfortable king size bed underneath you. We can hear the surf all night long.

Believe me I know how lucky I am and yet luck has nothing to do with it. I moved here from a ranch in the middle of nowhere Idaho. We lived in the middle of 800 acres. You could not see another house from ours. About a mile and a half of the main road and the county did not plow for us. If it weren't for a good neighbor with a big tractor we would have been snowed in until spring. It would not have bothered me a bit. More than once we snow shooed out to the highway. I was a tenant there too.

In Colorado we lived on a 400 acre ranch about a mile and a half outside a famous ski area. We lived in the old homestead house. It was about a hundred year old place. This was the homestead of a wealthy man, two stories and a great place. Compete with it's own ghost (not telling that story until December). Tenants there too.

I've been blessed beyond my capacity. We have had the good fortune to live some incredible places. These are all properties that sold for,or were on the market with a price tag in the millions. Now I'm not that rich or that clever, but I am willing to 'think outside the box'. The bottom line is that we're all tenants, ain't none of what we think we own, goin' with us in the end. 

Because we have been willing to 'think outside the box' and sometimes live 'off the map' we have lived some incredible places and it is not over yet. It's true I don't have the security of home ownership, but I am also not trapped, like so many of our friends have been the last few years with the current economy in the US. I also don't live in that little starter ranch style 1000 sq ft home we bought when we were first married. Of course, even that place was in the highest (in more ways than one) incorporated town in North America at 10,300 ft above sea level. That's Alma,Colorado, for those of you wondering, so I guess it wasn't so ordinary after all.(as a side note my husband was the mayor there. What a trip!)

I'm not posting this to brag or anything like that. I know what we do and the way my husband and I have and are still living is not for everybody. We did this when we had kids at home too. I'm grateful Oprah went off the air, because I'm sure one day one of them might show up to complain.  For me it's a great ride. I wanted to post this so that the next time I get on a self pity jag and start complaining, particularly about life in the islands,somebody slap me, please.
This is where I have breakfast every morning.

Lovin' livin' where 'thinking is optional'.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Audacity and Living Out Loud

Yesterday at I started talking about an experience up in Montana at the Little Big Horn National Monument. If your interested go there and check it out. Here today I want to talk a little bit more about the weekend at the horse sale in Billlings, Mt.

A few weeks before this trip to Billings the monthly copy of Western Horseman Magazine showed up. On the cover was a reprint of a painting done by an artist from Cody,Wyoming. It was a picture of a young Montana Cowboy. My traveling companion (daughter)on this particular trip was seriously enamored with this guys portrait. The artist recognized him on the cover. I remember his first name was Nate,but that's all I can remember.

Anyway...we're sitting at this sale, catalogs in hand,not really interested in the next ten or twelve horses coming up,when my daughter says. Oh my gosh, that guy from the cover of Western Horseman is here. Sure enough. After the gavel fell on the last sale the auctioneer mentions him and his recent fifteen minutes of fame. Daughter says, I'm gonna meet him. Now I've know this woman for all of her years. She has no trouble talking to horses, dogs, cats, even squirrels, but people, men people, are more a crash and burn situation. I'm trying to be supportive,but... Well, she gets up goes over to him, introduces herself, shakes his hand (That's a scary thing in itself. Have you ever shook the hand of a horse trainer?) and invites him to go have a drink or something like that.

Before I go any farther and tell you the outcome,I want to be sure Bubba knows what happened next. What happened next the Encyclopedia of Life under the word Audacious her picture popped up with those little track lights running around it. That should happen to every woman, at least once in her life. She should be in a situation, especially a situation with a man, where she says "it's now or never". "Nothing ventured,nothing gained." Where she decides life is for living out loud. Hey Bubba, I applauded you that day and I applaud you now. Never forget that. Never let those lights go dim. You are meant to be AUDACIOUS. Life is meant to be lived OUT LOUD.

The rest of the story...Ole Nate is flattered (he should be Bubba is a pretty little blond Rodeo Queen - it's true,even if she hates that description) and married. I think he might have introduced Bubba to his wife and son. No mater. It's not about the out come,it's about the process.

Everyone of us is a work in progress. Keep moving forward, keep progressing,that's the goal. The only way you can coast is downhill and who needs that.

I am a proponent of Audacity and Living Life Out Loud. I also Hope You Dance.

Happy Weekend! I hope you spend it some place where "thinking is optional".

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dreams or Maybe NIghtmares

Today I was agonizing over what to blog about. So, instead,I started working on my Blogfest list. I can only devote so much time to it. I decided I would checkout five new blogs a day. I also decided to just start at 1 and work my way down, but then you know me. I did my five and saw one more that I just had to look at. HOLD THIS THOUGHT FOR A MINUTE.

Now, I have been going on about NaNoWriMo (don't ask,just google it),probably more on my other site, but, I know I have mentioned it here. Anyway, this is a month long writing project, where you write a novel in a month. The month of November in particular. I have been chomping at the bit to do this. The story idea is making me crazy. So crazy in fact I have been dreaming about the place where it takes place for over a month now. It's a place where I used to live. A very special ranch in Colorado.

When I sat down one morning to make some notes about the story, I wrote the last chapter of the book. I posted that on the above mentioned blog.  It's a few days old now, so if you want to look at it you will have to scroll down. the version posted was NOT edited,so be warned. I can't get this story out of my head and I keep thinking about this place and all of my time in Colorado.

NOW, BACK TO THAT THOUGHT YOU ARE HOLDING; today in my blogfest searches I click on this blog and there is a picture that looks familiar to me. It is a view of one of my AHA moments. That point when you reach the crest of Kenosha Pass and look into the beautiful basin that is know as South Park (Yeah,it is the same at the totally irreverent TV show by the same name. I lived there. I can identify all of their original characters with real people. This is the truth.) I was stunned. I thought Holy Crap. This is like straight out of my dreams or nightmares. When I scrolled down,it was even more incredible. Go there. Take a look. You will have to go to the right hand side of the blog and click on "My Memory Box". There is a beautiful story behind this trip. Read her blog and check it out. Leave her a comment and tell her I sent you. By the way this lady lives in Norway. Are you kidding me?

If you know me at all, you know I do NOT believe in coincidence. I have got to tell this story. I almost can't wait for November 1. I'm wondering what is up with all of this.

On a more sad note, today my wireless mouse died. This is a major bummer. I'm losing my mind trying to use that screwy mouse pad on the laptop. Ah, how quickly we forget.

On a happier note, we are going to get off island for a few days next week.  We are going to the BIG island in the Caribbean, Hispaniola. The Dominican Republic half, actually. I can hardly wait. Caribbean equivalent of a road trip. It will only take two planes.

Can't wait to see what's in store for me tonight when I close my eyes. Hopefully, a few new chapters for "The Ghost's Story".

Monday, October 17, 2011


Is it Monday already? What happened to the weekend? 

I learned a few things this weekend. 

First; on the island where I live there are two types of cars. The first type is the 'standard' and the second is the 'mash and go'. I learned to drive a standard when I was thirteen on the farm, in central Illinois. On the farm you could drive at whatever age. I didn't live on the farm. I lived in the city, but Daddy being a cop in the big city sent me to my aunts and uncles on the farm for the summer, once I was old enough to earn my way. On the farm everybody works. Did I ever mention how much I hate chickens? Due to my time on the farm, I rarely eat eggs. But, due to my time on the farm, I learned to drive 'standard' at thirteen, ride a horse and other things that farm kids learn, that I won't mention here.  Thank you Daddy.

I was in my thirties when I learned that the farm families were not really related to me. (For various reasons that's probably a good thing.) These people were good friends of my grandmother's and I was raised calling them aunt and uncle. All of the cousins were not really my cousins. Daddy was no dummy. I spent a lot of my teen years there with the 'cousins'. It was probably a good thing we all thought we were related.

As usual, I digress. I wanted to talk about driving. For years I drove a 'standard',wouldn't mind having one again. Lately I have become a mash and go kind of girl. That is probably not such a good thing cause I have a lead foot and that mash and go thing is bound to get me in trouble. I do like to turn up the rock music and 'mash and go'.

This whole mash and go thing was inspired by a Cruzan lady who was talking about buying a car at church. I love the Cruzan way of putting things. Of course, this particular lady is from Trinidad, so she refers to herself as a West Indian,not really a Cruzan, but you live here long enough "we are all Cruzan".

Tonight Rick and I went to see "Real Steel". "Rocky" for the twenty-first Century. It was fun. Everybody could use an -underdog, feel good movie- and what's not to like about Hugh Jackman.

That's it "thinking is still optional",but this post has gotten me to thinking. I may have to tell you more about my time on the farm.

Listening to Amos Lee and Willie Nelson. That's a little bit of Heaven.

Friday, October 14, 2011

If this is Friday, then this is where I'm supposed to be. I knew I would be getting a little nuts trying to keep up two blogs. Heck,I'm a little nuts trying to keep up. Anyway another blog that I follow introduced me to something unusual it's called a Blog Hop. I could try to explain it, but since I'm a little dazed an confused at my best,I'm sure I would make a mess of it. instead go to my friend Donna K.Weaver's blog and get the details. find her at:

The point of this BLOG HOP is to list three blogs that you follow and enjoy.  

The first is Donna's. I met her on Twitter. She's funny, interesting and once a month hosts a "grammar blog", yeah I need that. Check her out at the link above.

Second up is by Kendall Grey. I enjoy Kendall because she is HONEST. Sometimes a little profane so be warned,but for her that's a part of her honesty. I think I found her through Twitter also.

Both Donnal and Kendall are writers,so I can relate and get some good advice.

Third is by Elizabeth May. This is where I go to relax and find inspiration. One of the things I do when I write is to try to visualize things, especially my characters. Other writers say to cast you book,like a movie. Sometimes that's hard for me. On Elizabeth's site it's easy, she has some models that work great for the characters in my head. Her scenery is beautiful and relaxing. Enjoy.

That's it for today. Check out these blogs and check out the entire Blog Hop list on Donna's site. Sorry, I couldn't get it to work here. But you know me "thinking is optional" and today is no different.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's Wednesday, I'm back. Let's hope.

I spent yesterday on the fringes of lunacy. Why do I let myself go there? I could make all kinds of excuses,but truth be told sometimes I like it. I feel like I need to apologize to everyone I came in contact with yesterday.

First, my daughter. She called and sounded awful. She and her youngest are sick, really sick. I just got mad. I get mad that she doesn't take care of herself they way she should. I get mad that she has to work so much and so hard. I get mad that we don't live closer together so I can help her out and take the kids when she's sick. I'm really mad because I feel bad for her, but I'm sure she feels that I'm mad at her. I'm sorry, honey. I just want you to feel better. I want your life to be easier. I want you to be happy. I want your children to be healthy,happy, and safe.

Then Rick came home from work in his usual negative state. Things at work are crazy. Things at church are crazy. Last night he had a Presidency Mtg at church and I had an activity with the girls. We were out late the night before with the Missionaries. Neither of us was excited about going back and "herding cats". I deal with that type of thing by ranting and raving for a few minutes and get it out of my system. Rick deals with it with extreme negativity that can last for weeks. We're going on a couple of months now. Even my ranting and raving (I do more and more of it here, because he obviously does not need one more thing to deal with) isn't getting it and there I am at "the fringes of lunacy".

I did sit down and write the last chapter of a new book I want to write. Starting from the end and working backwards. If that's not the "fringes of lunacy" I'm not sure what is. What happened was I woke up with this idea in my head, maybe I dreamt it (I don't sleep well, so I never remember dreams, if I even have them),I wanted to get a few of the ideas down on paper in the form of notes so I didn't forget them. Instead, I sat down and wrote 2,000 words, a complete chapter. It seemed pretty good to me. When Rick read it, he told me he thought it could stand alone as a short story. That was an interesting concept to me. I'll have to think about it for a few days. I have so many more ideas for the rest of the story. From the start, I mean.

My activity with the girls last night was presented by the sister missionaries.I was disappointed at first,because they did not do what I asked. Instead they did a short presentation of exactly what I needed. I'm trying so hard to keep these kids off drugs,out of gangs, out of some guys bed, in school, prepared for college, prepared for a mission of their own, prepared for life. Ah, there they are "the fringes of lunacy".God does know my name. He loves me even when I'm only hanging on by my fingernails. Before we left the church the Branch President tells Rick and I that he had a dream about us the night before. This is the same guy who has been mad at us for three or four months now. He has refused to shake my hand and barely acknowledges Rick (Rick is his 1st Counsellor in the Branch Presidency). I asked him if I died in his dream,because that's supposed to mean something good. He just looked at me. He did go onto tell us some bizarre dream. Either he ate something crazy before he went to bed or somebody is trying to tell him something. I almost asked him what he was smoking, but here in El Caribe that would be a real insult.

My final act of over the edgeness was last night when some guy from Twitter started a conversation with me about a book idea. I let him have it with both barrels of my "Hey Buddy,live your dreams or die" routine. I'm sure he looked at my profile and figured; "Oh yeah,she lives in a place where the rum is always gone". I already sent that apology via Twitter.

OK, apologies done. I think I'm better. I sure can't get much worse. I still haven't balanced my checkbook,it's only been six months. That is today's goal. Rick and I made a personal commitment, we need to get off island for a few days. Our choices were to go to St Maarten to just play or the Dominican Republic where we can play and get a Spiritual recharge. We're going to the Dominican Republic. Santo Domingo in particular. I have the money for one plane ticket. I'm hoping the money for the second is in the checking account. We'll see your fingers crossed.

The fridge is back working. You will love this. Within some hour or another the repairman shows up. He has a very technical looking tool box with him which he places on my counter. He then proceeds to take everything out of my freezer and puts it in the sink. I go downstairs and drag the cooler upstairs. He tells me I don't need no stinkin' cooler, he will have it fixed in a few minutes. OK. Next he pulls a dining room chair up in front of the freezer and unscrews the back panel. Now, he opens this very technical looking toolbox (I am serious about it's appearance, this is not an exaggeration), he takes our a hairdryer, YES I said hairdryer and proceeds to unthaw the freezer. I'm at my computer cracking up. The long and short of it is the heater, YES I said heater for the fridge is shot, (who knew the fridge needed a heater) so it keeps freezing up and the cold air won't circulate and cool things down. He has to order the part from Puerto Rico should be here in four or five days. This little unthaw should last that long. Before he leaves he asks to us e the bathroom. He goes downstairs and comes up to tell me the toilet is broken. OH, Just Shoot Me. I am warned. He will be back in four or five days.

For today anyway; "Thinking is optional".

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's been a crazy weekend. Woke up yesterday with a monumental headache and fire in my upper chest. Felt like the beginning of bronchitis (haven't had that in about seven years). Went back to bed and started slugging the Kyani. We had gone to the beach on Saturday and after only about forty-five minutes int he water I started to shiver,not a good sign.Somewhere in the night I had cocooned myself in the sheet and could not stop shivering. Rick got our blanket and I wrapped up in that and fell back to sleep. Long story short, I'm sure I had a fever and my body was trying to work through this mess. Slept on and off all day Sunday, went to bed at nine thirty and woke up feeling pretty good this morning, little headache residue but, not too bad.

It's a good thing I feel better, because we're back in hunter/gatherer mode. Yep, the fridge is not working. Again. Property Manager is off island. Repairman is supposed to be here within the hour (never did say what hour,just within the). Food in freezer is thawing and stuff in fridge is warm. Gotta love it.

If your interested, I started a new blog. It should be interesting to see how I keep up with two blogs. You can find the new one at It is going to be where I post thing primarily about my books. That way I won't fill up my Journal with all of that stuff. Of course, really big news, like finding representation or a publisher will probably go in both places.

I have noticed that there are still a lot of hits on this blog, with absolutely no comments. I suppose some of my rants have offended you at one time or another. This is my Journal, I am not Politically Correct here. Heck, I'm not very Politically Correct anyplace. I don't believe in name calling or hurting someone's feelings but all of this crap about Political Correctness is turning us into a bunch of liars.

I read an AOL news article the other day where Johnny Depp had to apologize because he remarked about a photo shoot for a prominent magazine had him feeling like he was being raped. I understand that maybe someone thought that was disrespectful to a person who had been raped, making that kind of a comparison, but if that's what he felt, why should he have to apologize. I can think of more than one instance where I felt like I had no control over my own body, no dignity, no privacy. Where one consent led to numerous violations of my person. All this at a time when I was too sick and weak to fight back. (Try cancer treatment).

I'm sick of watching political candidates being attacked for their religion. We all want them to have religion, but must it only be our form of religion. We expect a separation of Church and State and then we constantly bring up "their" church. What is that about? Would I like you all to enjoy the same religion as I? You bet. Would I like you to do that in name and word only and not truly live it? No way. One of my favorite things is when I lose it over something and my humanness shows through; I tend to get the comment; "and she says she's a religious person." Yeah, well, I'm a human person first. I'm still working on the better part of me and I'm sure, I will be for along time.

Racism, the next big issue. Don't even get me started. It seems to me that we have got to stop looking at the color of peoples skin, the slant of their eyes, the length of their nose or the speech patterns they use to determine who we want to be our friends, let alone who we want to led us. Whether friendship or leadership shouldn't we look at qualifications, sincerity of heart and their ability to be honest.

Honesty, this is my final rant for today. I don't care who you are, or who you think you are; everybody lies. I try real hard to be honest. sometimes the best policy for me is silence or ignoring a question all together. But, every so often I'm caught with that 'deer in the headlights"look and I tell an untruth. There are a few places where I never lie. I can honestly say that, but then there are still some of those sticky situations. Here's the thing, are you really trying to be honest? Do you think our world leaders are? Do you think your friends and neighbors are? I do know some people that I can say I do believe they are trying and doing a pretty good job of it. But on the whole I have to say; "Everybody lies."

OK,I have probably offended everyone somewhere in there today.Sorry. Not for anything I said, but I am sorry if your feel offended.

My plan is to post here Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and post on the Far Away Series site on Tuesday and Thursday. I'll leave Saturday and Sunday up for grabs. Let's see how this works out.I do have a problem posting every day. I try not to post on the days when I'm feeling really negative. Can you imagine what that would be like? YIKES.

That's all,from a place where "thinking is always optional".

Friday, October 7, 2011

Had another one of those days yesterday when I did something that I didn't want to do and viola! There was a reason. I let myself be in the place I was supposed to be and I saw a miracle. Do you think that will be enough to keep me doing the things that I should even when I don't want to. I hope so. One might think; 'hey, how many times do you have to be hit over the head with a 2 x 4." Just once more. Maybe.

What keeps us from being absolutely everything we could be. Is it simply rebellion, stubbornness, pride (ouch) or something else. I have been here before,and I manage to slip back because of...well, because of all of the above. I want to be all that I can be. I am most assuredly not afraid to step out into the dark. Maybe it's the light that scares me. I'm not sure. I am grateful for the experience I had last night. I am grateful for the commitment I made. It is going to require a ton of faith and a lot of $$$. Somehow I know it will workout. I have got to stop being afraid of "some things" like $$$ or the lack thereof.

I'll tell you about that particular adventure in November. I promise.

On another note, I want to leave a little review of a book I finished at three AM this morning. "Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern. It was WOW. It's a story about magic. Real Magic. The Magic within us all. It's pretty cerebral, no optional thinking, at times even a little hard to follow, but it you let it take you in and take you over it is an incredible experience. That's a good book to me-- An Experience. That's all I'm going to say other than READ IT.

I'm in the slash and burn phase of rewriting Book I. It is painful, but I can see that it is getting better. I hate reworking things. I hate that I'm becoming a perfectionist. I want my story out there. You know in the end all we really have is our stories. Make them good ones.

OK. The End. That is way more thinking than I need for a Friday morning. Back to a place where:

Thinking is Optional.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

They say (ever wonder who "they" are. Yeah, well,that's another post entirely) that when you are down and feeling really bad the best thing is to be in service to someone else. I so hate it when"they" are right. But, "they" generally are.

Yesterday, I went out with the young sister Missionaries to visit people from the Branch on the Island. This had been planned long before my early morning meltdown of yesterday and even after melting down I went through with it. I'm glad I did. We didn't get to see as many people as I had hoped, but the visits we had were very good. Those of you who know me well,know that I'm not your all around do-gooder. More like I'm generally lazy,selfish and definitely opinionated. Well yesterday was not a do good mission for anyone but me. I hope the people that we visited and the Sister Missionaries were as encouraged as I.

I remain in awe of these young people who give two years of their lives to be in service to first the Savior and second the rest of the world. They are just kids. For the most part they have blinders on. Blinders to the negative side of people, they can find some good in everybody. They are positive in the face of extreme adversity. They are absolutely fearless. Most people wonder how they do it. I know their secret. They strive every minute of every day to have the Spirit with them. This Spirit or Holy Ghost if you will allows them to live on a different plane than the rest of us. One where service to their fellowmen is all that matters. Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all did that for maybe ten percent of the time.

Spending time with them,literally,makes you want to be a better person. Now these missionaries do have the opportunity to have an exceptional life for the two years they serve. They don't have jobs they go to every day. They don't date or worry about relationships of that nature. They immerse themselves in the work. They are supported by the savings accounts they and their parents accrued over the years planning for this two years of love,peace and service. Do you not suppose that they come off this experience people better able to enter into personal relationships that will not only last a lifetime but through all eternity. Do you not suppose that they will make the future employees, entrepreneurs, world leaders, etc., that you want working for you. Do you not suppose that they will be better neighbors and friends to all of their acquaintances. Of course,their human, and if you look close enough you can find the flaws,but do you want to? Do you need to break the spell? Why no just accept that God has sent his angels to be among you for a little bit to help make you better from whatever it is you ail.

Life is meant to bean adventure. Step outside your comfort zone and into the wonder of it all.

Think about that for awhile.

Today let thinking be a little more than optional.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Last night we finally finished watching "The Beaver". I rented it because it was recommended. At first it looks like a really goofy movie,made directed by, acted in, etc, by two really goofy people (at least in my opinion). Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson. The farther you get into the movie, (it took me three attempts, and today I'm wondering why I persisted) it breaks your heart, watching these people deal with depression.

There were no answers. The guy in the movie literally cuts his depression from his life. He accepts the love and help of his family, who finally forgive him all the pain he caused for them. The message, maybe; "you're not alone."

Here's my question. How do you deal with the depression of someone who you love, when they use it to beat you to a bloody pulp. I go along and think that I've just locked that compartment of my life away and then it sneaks up on me and my heart breaks all over again. I get on with my life and think I have literally cut that malignancy out of it, but it keeps growing back.

I admit I do not understand depression. When I was going through treatment for cancer, my doctor told me I was depressed because I would cry at inappropriate times for seemingly no reason. Are you kidding me? NO REASON. Cancer treatment is torture.You go each day and wonder why, because you're pretty sure you're going to die anyway (in fact we all are going to die anyway, but at that time you figure your death is eminent).

For the first time ever, I comtemplated suicide. I would drive home from radiation and look to the mountains in the west and wonder how long it would take me to drive as high as I could and then walk even higher. It would be so easy to sit down under a tree and when the sun went down and it got colder and colder,just go to sleep. Hypothermia, a cowards way out.

Guess you figured by now, I didn't do it. I kept putting one foot in front of the other and letting them torture my body to within an inch of death. Just enough to kill the cancer and not me. I wanted one more day, I wanted to experience everything I could in that day and then the next one and then the next one. It's eleven years to the month of when I finished treatment.It took years to feel human again. Normal is something that will never come.

Anyway, during that time, I had a small relationship with antidepressants. I say small because we never fell in love. I could not stand feeling nothing. Even pain is better than the nothingness.
I "cowboyed up", took it and got through.

I have a hard time understand depression, when there doesn't seem to be a reason. I accept it. I know it happens to people. I just don't know how to deal with it. I don't know how to deal with the hole in my heart drilled by someone else's depression.Who has a pill for that?

I probably shouldn't post this, but I'm gonna. Maybe it will help me deal with all of this for another two years before I break down again. The problem this morning has been way too much thinking and sad songs.

"Thinking must be optional."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Interesting week for me. Wish I had something really interesting to post. Make that something clever to post. I like being clever, probably because it's a rarity for me.

I could tell you Rick made me go grocery shopping yesterday. Oh, the horror of it all. I had four things in my cart at Plaza Extra when I realized here I am in Plaza on Saturday afternoon and it's the first of the month. Food Stamp Day. The place was a zoo. It took us about 45minutes to checkout and I was in the express lane. Next stop Cost U Less. Oh, Just Shoot Me. It turned out not to be so bad. Not very clever though.

Today was General Conference for our Church. As usual it was amazing. We went in the morning and sat with the other Saints and watched via satellite at the Chapel. The place with the Worlds most uncomfortable chairs. fortunately, Conference is so good that two hours in those devices of extreme torture was not as bad as it could be. The Branch holds a Pot Luck between Sessions and that makes it worthwhile sitting in the heat in the horrible chairs. The Cruzan sisters love to cook and the food is incredible. I'm still not sure what most of it is, but since I don't eat meat I'm not eating cat or anything like that (just kidding, they don't eat cat down here). We did come home for the afternoon Session, which we could watch on our computer.

This is the only time I get homesick. I'm not homesick for the States, but I get homesick for the Church as it can be. Guess maybe that's a part of the reason I'm here, to help it be what it can be. I'm such a slacker, it's really hard.

Working to improve my attitude. I have no doubt that "Attitude is Everything" and if you don't have a good one, you aren't going to get far. Sometimes, I think I secretly want to have a bad attitude, for just a little while. I probably should not have put that in writing.

Sent an email to my editor saying "Let's do it. I'm ready to make whatever changes you deem necessary" and I haven't heard back yet. It figures, I'm ready to go and now she is going to make me wait cause I drug my feet last week, thinking. See that's why I say;

Thinking is optional.