Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z - zzzzzzzzzz

Zeta clip artZ is a funny letter, one that we don't use too much. I see it most often used to designate sleeping. So my final post in this year's A-Z challenge will be about sleep.

I have a Jawbone UP 24 and I really like it. Lightweight, doesn't make me sweat under it and it reminds me when I need to get up and move.

But the really interesting part is the sleep analysis. All my working life, I got by with five or so hours of sleep during the week and then I would sleep ten hours on the weekend. Since I've retired, I find it fairly easy (most of the time) to sleep a full eight hours. Lately I seem to be fighting some nights of insomnia...no, the band doesn't help but it does let me add nap time.

"Insomnia - when writers work." ~ DB McNicol

Another feature I recently found in the app is the ability to add in other exercise like swimming, hiking, tennis, basketball (and more), but more importantly to me is being able to add yoga. I can add my classes at a moderate level and my at home yoga at an easy level. They seem to have thought of everything!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y - Yoga

Toot Toot Train Carriage clip artI am not an athletic person. I am not a coordinated person. I don't have great balance. I've lost tons of flexibility as I've aged. My idea of being athletic when I was young, was riding a horse. As I got older, it was riding my motorcycle.

When I was at an RV rally, I took a beginner yoga class for three days in a row. I really enjoyed it but after the rally was over, so was the yoga.

A few years later we go a Wii Fit and I did a little more yoga. I enjoyed it and I know it helped.

Fast forward another five years and last month I started a local yoga class. The instructor is young and fit, the participants are mostly older and aged, like me. She is very good at dealing with our infirmities and helping us to slowly work out the kinks. I've been enjoying it quite a bit...two days a week and I walk 20 minutes each way.

The next step is to spend at least 30 minutes on the other three weekdays doing some yoga here at home. I have no more excuses since I bought a second yoga pad to keep in the bedroom!

Are you staying active, no matter your age? Please give it a try!



Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X - siX (I know, cheating)

Letter X clip artX is the letter many of us dread. X-ray, Xylophone, Xenia...ugh! So instead, I'm going to choose a word that ENDS in "X". The word six.

Why six? Well, that's easy. We just celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary this month. Six years of knowing how blessed we were to have found each other - we were both widowed when we met.

Six years of endless adventures. Cruising to Alaska for 14 days, to Panama for 10 days,  7 days to the Western Caribbean multiple times. Attending two Country Music Fests in Nashville. Vacationing in Cancun and Cabo (our honeymoon). Visiting Key West on our motorcycles, seeing Garth Brooks in Las Vegas, riding all of Route 66 on our motorcycles.

These are just part of the adventures during our last six years. The biggest was making the move to Cuenca, Ecuador where we now live in the middle of the Andes Mountains at 8400 ft and get to see sunsets like this.

View from our kitchen/dining area.
Ten minutes later in the other direction, facing Cajas National Park (over 14,000 ft)
I can't imagine what the next siX years will bring!


Monday, April 27, 2015

W - Westerns

Chess Knight With W clip artI grew up in an era of Westerns - television and movies. Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, the Lone Ranger, Rifleman, Hopalong Cassidy, Wagon Train, Rawhide,  Bonanza (to name a few).

Then came the "spaghetti" westerns of the mid to late 60s. I was no longer a fan, it seemed as though the story was lost in the chaos of seeing how many people could be shot and how much blood could be shown.

I was drawn back in the first time I watched "Silverado". This was a western I could watch over and over (and I have). Realistic characters and scenarios with good acting.

Seven years later "Unforgiven" came out and once again, I couldn't watch. Oh I've tried at least three times...I can't get past the opening scene. Same thing with the mini-series, "Deadwood".

The latest in westerns that I can 'almost/somewhat' watch is "Hell on Wheels".

We've come a long way since Roy Rogers and Gene Autry! Think I'll go watch "Silverado" again.

How about you?



Motivation Monday: Computers


I can't say that I agree that computers are totally useless but I do agree that we need to ask the questions. Don't be complacent. Don't believe everything you read on-line. Ask questions. Think for yourself. That's the best way to utilize computers.


Featured in Flash Fiction Magazine

flash fiction

I submitted a flash fiction piece to Flash Fiction Magazine and it was accepted. It should appear on their site today. I hope you enjoy it!

No Use Crying

Saturday, April 25, 2015

V - Vices

Capital Letter V clip artWhen you hear the word VICE you might think about really bad things or things that are really bad for you. Like smoking, drinking or being addicted to sex.

My vices are simple - they are the things I love to binge on (and some of them I can't get here in Ecuador). These are things I have to force myself to do in moderation.

Sure, there's always ice cream and apple pie, but I don't binge eat those (unless one a day when out on motorcycle rides is considered binging). These are the things that I eat until they are gone!

  • Twizzlers Strawberry licorice - yes, I know it's not really licorice but that's what they call it. I have to buy the small bags because once I start....
  • Salty & Crunchy - think good potato chips (we do have some great ones here), tortilla chips (especially with good salsa, picante sauce or pico de gallo - never did understand the difference between them all), and pretzels
  • Cool Ranch Doritos (I know they are a tortilla chip but they deserve their own spot)
  • Cinnamon Teddy Bears - now this is a hard to find candy but when I do, oh my! Chewy and spicy tasty...love them!


My other vice is reading...when I start, I can't stop until the book is done. And if it's a new series? I have to read them all. My latest vice is JB Lynn's Neurotic Hitwoman series. LOVE!!!

What are YOUR vices?


Friday, April 24, 2015

U - Um, Ugh, Uvula?

Letter U clip artNothing immediately came to mind for the letter U so I resorted to using Google to search for words starting with U. There are a lot of them, many using the prefix un- but one word, after the Um and Ugh, jumped out at me.

Uvula - that little dangly thing at the back of your throat that, when touched, makes you gag. Through a lot of research, and a little guessing, scientists now know that the uvula produces a lot of our saliva and it also facilitates our speech.

One thing is for sure, unless you like GROSS, don't Google Images for uvula. Ugh!

But the reason this word jumped out at me is more personal. My late husband was diagnosed with head and neck cancer. His primary site was his uvula. His surgery required the removal of the entire soft palate. For anyone interested in more information, you can follow the journal I maintained (with photos).

Please ask your dentist to screen for oral cancers during your annual checkups.


Apr 24: 2015 Big Dreams, Big Goals Update

{source}
If you have been following my blog for a while, you know I seriously fell down on keeping up with my 2014 goals. I love participating in the goal tracking though, so thought I should set up a few new ones for 2015 (or at least modify the existing ones). So here goes....
  1. Write books 3 & 4 in my Klondike Mystery series.
    March may have been vacation month but April has been social month. We have been swamped with meet 'n greets with either new folks just moved here or folks visiting the area. That and the fact that I joined the April A-Z challenge on the morning of April first means...
    Progress: none

  2. Write at least one novella in the new A Set of Rules Mystery Series
    This new character has been talking to me for almost six months. My thought is to have shorter stories rather than full length novels. These should be a fun, quirky read!
    Progress: initial cover design DONE
     
  3. Continue with the monthly newsletter
    Now that I'm slowly building up my subscriber list, I need to keep this on time and interesting.
    Progress: April done!
     
  4. Continue my Monday Motivation posts
    Folks seem to enjoy these and I enjoy writing them, so I will continue!
    Progress: haven't missed posting one yet and I am trying to use more of my own photos for this
I thought April would be better for writing and I did manage to do a rambling post for the April A to Z challenge...oh and I did get a flash fiction story accepted at FlashFictionMagazine.com which will be published on April 27th, and I did get another flash fiction story accepted for the Flash Flood on April 17th. Hmmm, guess that means I did get some writing done. Now, on to May!!

Celebrate the Small Things - Apr 24, 2015

Well, it's Friday and time to write my post for Lexa Cain's Celebrate the Small Things.

As in the past, I may post something about writing, something personal, something random or even all the above.

Or if I have a REALLY off week, I might just post a photo or two. ;)

It's been a busy month so far and I don't expect it to slow down. But I do have a few accomplishments to share.

First is getting all my "ramblings" for the April A to Z challenge completed. And I have tried to visit and comment on a few new participants each day. Some were very interesting, some not so much. I found myself reading more entries on the sites with shorter posts than those with long ones. With over 1500 active participants...well, you get the picture.

I got a flash fiction story accepted at FlashFictionMagazine.com which will be published on April 27th.

I also got another flash fiction story accepted for the Flash Flood that was done on April 17th.

Hmmm, guess that means I did get some writing done. Now, on to May!!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

T - Twinkle, Twinkie and Twins

Decorative Letter T clip art"Twinkle, twinkle little star" is probably the first thing that came to your mind, right?

And we all know what Twinkies are...and that they went away and were brought back by popular demand.

Twins are always interesting and they seem to run in my step-family family (my husband, Stu's, late wife, Lin's, family).

In fact, our stepdaughter, Bev, is doubly cursed. Twins run in both her paternal and maternal sides. Phew! She has two gorgeous daughters that were nicknamed the Twinkies at a young age.


Her cousin Kelly, on her mother's side, has two adorable younger twins who have been dubbed the Twinkles.


So when I hear the words twinkle and twinkie, something very different comes to mind.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S - Spanish

Pin Point Location Marker S clip artLiving in South America, learning Spanish is a must. We have been here for 15 months and while we have learned a lot of words, we're still at the "Look at Jane run. Jump, Spot, jump." level (yes, we are pre-schoolers when it comes to Spanish).

We took two weeks of classes and felt like our heads were exploding and have backed off a little and are trying to at least learn a new word a week. Grammar and verb tense will come in another year or two.

But something has happened during this process. We have found much more empathy for those immigrants in the US trying to learn English. We laugh and make jokes about the Mexicans who listen intently, nod their heads and enthusiastically tell you, "Si, si!"

Well, now we are those immigrants, listening intently to a conversation, trying to pick up a word or two for context, nodding our heads as we enthusiastically agree, "Si, si!"

Sigh....why didn't we learn a second language when we were young? It would have been MUCH easier.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R - Roasting

R Design clip artAfter playing with the word QUICK yesterday, I immediately thought of playing with the word ROASTING today. (Hang in there, more ramblings coming in future letters...)

"I'm roasting" usually means I'm overly HOT and not that I'm cooking a roast. I do like dark roast coffee best. Hubby roasts a MEAN chicken (and then makes tasty broth in the crockpot). I've never been a fan on Don Rickles type of roasting but some roasts can be funny. Roasted nuts are delicious.

Hmmm, now I'm hot AND hungry...can you think of any other ways to use the word "roast"?



Monday, April 20, 2015

Q - Quick

Flyingcloud clip artI eat quickly, I walk quickly, I used to work quickly. I have a hard time moving slowly...well, unless I'm tired. My late husband, Mike, walked faster than me but my current husband, Stu, typically walks slower than me. I've had to learn to moderate my pace.

But there are other definitions for the word "quick". Here are some sample sentences, courtesy of TheFreeDictionary.com:

  • The remark cut her to the quick.
  • He got to the quick of the matter.
A little more obscure (archaic meanings):
  • The quick and the dead. (or the live and the dead)
  • She was quickening. (she was pregnant)

Regardless, I am NOT quickening, I am quick (in oh so many ways), I try not to cut to the quick but am usually good at getting to the quick of the matter.

Adios!


Motivation Monday: Smiles


I admit it, this is something I rarely did before moving to Ecuador. Now if someone else smiled first...that was different.

But here I greet strangers on the street with Buenos Dias (good morning) or Buenas Tardes (good afternoon) and a smile. Invariably I get a huge smile back as well as a return greeting.

I highly recommend trying this, greet strangers with a smile and see what happens.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

P - Pampered

Wedding Scroll clip artI didn't grow up being pampered. We were a lower middle-class family and any pampering had to be done with my own money, once I started babysitting.

So I found myself in my early 60's, never having had a manicure or a pedicure. I often cut my own hair as well as colored it. My nails were usually short and even clear polish was chipping after the second day of housework.

So when my youngest daughter offered to take me for my first pedicure before we moved to Ecuador, I jumped at the offer.

Needless to say, I loved it and I was hooked. My second pedicure was done during a Caribbean cruise. I waited for a special and grabbed it. Best pedicure ever! Now that I'm living here in Ecuador, the most I've paid for a pedicure is $10 and often I can catch a special to get a mani-pedi for $10. Now that is a bargain! I now can easily afford to pamper myself.



Friday, April 17, 2015

O - OCD

O Single Yellow Letter clip artI never realized I had OCD tendencies until my later years. It never really occured to me that keeping my pens and pencils in a specific order, in a specific place on my desk might be OCD.

Or that my penchant for sorting M&Ms by color and then eating the odd ones first might be OCD.


Try wearing your watch on the opposite arm for a while? When you are putting on socks & shoes, stop and do the opposite foot first. Same with pant legs and shirt sleeves. Habits....

OCD for me has become a habit but one I am trying to break, or at least notice when I'm doing it. Growing up and on into my forties, I had a habit of breaking words up into even groups. So "growing" would be chanted in my head, GR - OW - IN -oops! Not even. So I'd pick another word or make a phrase and try it with that. Mindless stuff....

Do you have any habit that you feel might be OCD related?


Thursday, April 16, 2015

N - Normal

N Letter Nails clip artMy husband loves to tell me (or anyone else within hearing distance) that normal is just a setting on a dryer. He doesn't believe in being "normal" or that anyone is actually "normal".

That's hard for me as I spent most of my life trying to be the person I thought family, friends and society wanted me to be. Obviously, that person should be "normal".

As I've gotten older, I realize I have missed a lot of fun in life by not figuring out who I was and enjoying it. I never dressed up for Halloween, I never did anything that I thought might make me look silly, I never pushed the envelope.

Well no more "normal" for me!




Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M - Mystery

Marcus Baseball clip artMystery is the word of the day - what a surprise! Not really since I love writing mystery novels. Actually, that is the surprise. When I started writing again, I was sure I'd be writing romance novels. In fact, I still have a fully outlined trilogy of stories that sit untouched.

When I started to write "Not a Whisper", all I had was a dead body, a location and a few loosely defined characters. The prologue came from a dream I wrote down in the middle of one night. That's where I got my dead body. I had no idea who the killer was and, in fact, changed my mind several times as I was writing.

Book two in the series, "Barely a Spark", killed off a character from book one. I knew I wanted him dead but again, when I started I had no idea how he died (suicide, accident, murder). And once again, the killer changed several times before I settled.

I love "whodunit" mysteries, if you do too, hope you will give my Klondike Mystery series a try!


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L - Lucky

Red And Gray L clip artI am lucky that I moved out of my small town in NH after graduation and got to experience city life.

I am lucky that I worked in a variety of jobs before finding a career that suited me.

I am lucky I stumbled into a career working with computers. It did me well in my thirty year involvement.

I am lucky to have had over nineteen wonderful years with my late husband, Michael H. Yeaw.

I am doubly lucky to have met my current husband and to share our life together for many more years.

I am lucky to have been able to ride my own motorcycle for thirteen years and even managed to turn age 66 while riding Rt 66.

I am lucky to have three wonderful children, numerous wonderful step-children and too many grandchildren to count! Oh, #3 great grandchild is on the way.

I am lucky to have good health and hope to have for many more years.

I am lucky!


Monday, April 13, 2015

K - Kidnapped

Letter K clip artThis word came to mind immediately. Why? Well, in my first mystery novel, "Not a Whisper", there was not ONE but TWO kidnappings.

When I started writing that book, I had a setting (a fictional town in Pennsylvania based upon an actual area where I had lived), some loosely defined characters and the prologue (which I had written down after a dream). I had no idea who the victim was, when she was killed, how or who killed her.

This is when I discovered that I love writing "by the seat of my pants". For anyone who knows me, this is counter-intuitive. I am a detailed analytical. I love to plan. I am SO not impulsive. But for whatever reason, writing without a strict outline works for me.

I used the same method with book two in the Klondike mystery series, "Barely a Spark" and will be doing the same this year with book three, "Almost a Touch".

Motivation Monday: Wrinkles


James A. Garfield said it all...I have nothing to add to this one. So SMILE!