Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I'm Different....

Game Marbles Shapes clip artI often feel that I am not the "typical" woman. Not that it's a bad thing, but it's, well...different.

  • I don't care for wine or most mixed drinks. Kahlua & cream or a strawberry daiquiri are my favorites. But a dark beer (stout or porter) is my preferred alcoholic drink. It seems like most women like wine and love to joke about it. Sigh....
  • I don't wear make-up. I used to, in my younger professional days, but I was always understated. A little mascara, blush and lipstick. Going out for something special, I might add eye liner, eye shadow and a little foundation. I know if I wore make-up, I might look better but since age 50, I pretty much gave it up. Sigh...
  • I don't color my hair. I did from my 20s to age 50. A lifestyle change, living full-time in a motorhome, necessitated that change. No way could I afford to pay someone, I'd done it myself for 30 years. I know I would look younger if I colored it, now I have to change the colors of the clothes I wear to make up for it. Sigh...
  • I don't like to dress up. Honest! At my age, I much prefer comfort and I've yet to find comfortable dress-up clothes that also look good on me. Jeans and t-shirts (sweatshirts) work for me. I finally bought a black maxi-dress that I can accessorize when on cruises, but that's about it. Sigh...
  • I like simple food and find it hard to try new things. I grew up in New England with hot dogs & beans, meatloaf, beef stew, clam chowder and simple casserole dishes. There are MANY restaurants here in Cuenca, Ecuador but many of them are "fou-fou" places. I look at the photos other share and realize that's just not for me. Give me plain food and I'm good to go. Sigh...
  • I don't follow fashion trends, I don't stay up on the most current music, I don't know who the top authors/actors/etc are. When I do run into these things, it's totally by accident. Doesn't mean I don't care or like these things or people, just that they're not at the top of my "I need to know about" lists. Sigh...
I'm typical for me, not for everyone else. But that's okay, I like me!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Motivation Monday: Children

I sure can't add much to this quote. Brings to mind that when a two year old brings you a toy phone and says it's for you, you talk into the phone!

Kids are our future...invest in them.

Friday, June 26, 2015

June 26th: 2015 Goals

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.
    Well, this is on hold even though this was my main goal for 2015. Why? Read #2....
    Progress: none

  2. Write at least one novel/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: Started writing in first person, got the first chapter done and now I'm going to rewrite it in third person. Then I get to make a decision on which to continue.
  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: June & July are done - combined them due to our apartment move this week. July will be hectic and not sure when we will get our Internet line installed. Number of readers is dropping, we will see how August goes.
  4. Continue my Monday Motivation posts
    Folks seem to enjoy these and I enjoy writing them, so I will continue!
    Progress: I haven't missed posting one yet, still trying to use more of my own photos for this.
June saw us finish this session of Spanish classes but they resume on July 6th. We packed our 1800sf apartment to move into an under 1000sf apartment (but I get a small balcony). We sold a lot of furniture and replaced some with smaller pieces. July will be busy and before you know it, we will be back in the states for 75 days. Eeek! Time to write in every spare minute!!

Celebrate the Small Things: June 26, 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. ;)

We moved yesterday - may not have Internet so posting this NOW! Yes, this is a HUGE celebration. See you next week!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My Feet, My Feet...OH, my feet!

When I was working professionally, I always had a small stool under my desk. There was nothing better than slipping off my heels and rubbing my feet all over the little nubbies and the edges of the stool for a nice massage. At one office, my stool even had a small heater &/or fan. Since I was in Florida, the fan was especially appreciated.

Here in Ecuador is the first time I've had a real desk since I sold my house in 2007 and became a full-time RVer. I managed to snag a GREAT used office chair from a gal who bought it at Staples (and has since moved to Mexico), but when adjusted to the right height, my feet dangle. Yes, I'm short.

I currently have a small step stool that I use but it has a couple of issues. One - it's a bit too tall. Two - it slides very easily. Three - there are no nubbies to massage my feet.

Well, guess what? I found just what I need at Amazon! Is is very similar ones I've had in the past, it's adjustable and it HAS NUBBIES. It still slides...but I know hubby can figure out a way to stop that (hasn't been worth it with my temporary solution).

I will try it out while we are in the states this fall and if it works, guess what will be coming back to Ecuador with me. Can't wait!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Motivation Monday: You

Born with the caregiving gene deeply imbedded into my being, this was a hard one for me to understand. I felt if I put myself first then I was selfish. It took a session with a marriage counselor for me to put things into perspective.

He told me that I needed to be number one in my life. If I didn't take care of myself and my needs, then I wasn't prepared to adequately take care of others and their needs.

It was a hard lesson to learn but I believe it helped me move on to a very successful nineteen year marriage.

Where do you put yourself?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things: June 19, 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. ;)

Packing, LOTS of packing; finishing our first 6 weeks of Spanish lessons (start again in early July); did I say PACKING?

Yup, that's about it. Here's a couple photos for your enjoyment (or not).

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Surround Sound

Ear - Body Part clip artLiving here in Cuenca, Ecuador, we have a wide variety of sounds surrounding us. Many are similar to those in cities around the world but others are more unique to here. I recently wrote a blog post about those sounds and it got me to thinking about all the places I've lived and the sounds in those areas.

I've lived in good sized cities like Atlanta, Miami, Ft Lauderdale and Rochester, NY. I've lived in moderate sized cities like Columbus, GA., Dover, DE., Colorado Springs, CO. and Vero Beach, FL. But I've also lived in small towns like outside Bradford, PA. (where my Klondike Mysteries are set), Clarence, IA. (where I thought the other residents knew I was moving before I did) and Sparta, TN (and now Jamestown, TN).

Each environment has its own set of sounds. City noises, country noises and, if you are far enough out, just the sounds of nature.

What are the sounds where you live? What are you most and least favorite sounds?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Motivation Monday: Friends

I tend to be somewhat introverted. Growing up I was extremely shy. Somewhere in my 40s I learned out to mingle, thanks to the corporate world. But when it comes to friends, close friends have been few and far between.

You know the kind of friend I mean. The one you can tell anything and not be judged. The one you can fight with one minute and hug the next. You feel free to share dreams of your future and disasters of your past.

Family is wonderful but not everyone has a wonderful family. We get to pick our friends and they make us rich.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things: June 12, 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. ;)

Well, we rented a new apartment! That means that most of my celebration is for accomplishing that, finding new tenants for our current apartment (done), selling the major furniture that we won't use in the new apartment (done), buying a wall oven for the new place (done - unfurnished in Ecuador means no appliances), starting packing AND helping hubby host a poker night. LOL! Such fun.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Are you living YOUR dream?

Live Your Dream
Sometimes easier said than done....

When I was little, my dream was to be a nurse like my mother. I could take care of people when they were sick and help them feel better. I practiced for hours on my pets, various rescued wild animals and of course, my brothers.

As I bravely marched into my teenage years, my dream changed and I wanted to be a professional actress or maybe a dancer. I loved performing, it helped me forget my somewhat dull (I thought) life and made me feel more glamorous.

Reality intruded, as it usually does, and I ended up being the proud mother of two by age twenty. I really wasn't thinking much in terms of dreams; every day was an adventure in itself. Working in a hospital brought back thoughts of nursing, but the idea passed quickly.

I did get to travel some, growing up in Massachusetts - moving to New Hampshire in 9th grade - relocating to Florida in my senior year. The service claimed my husband as their own and I got to see Georgia and Delaware as well as revisiting New Hampshire and eventually settling back in Florida. The travel bug was planted, growing slowly but there nevertheless.

The twenties flowed into the thirties - a new marriage, a third child and a new state to live in, Iowa. Dreams? Who had time for dreams? I had discovered computers and started a real career! Part-time college student, full-time programmer, over-time mother and wife. I guess I thought I was living my dream - for the time being anyway.

One day I woke up and got the news that my mother had passed on at the young age of 61. I was stunned. She was so close to leaving her nursing career for her three R's - reading, relaxing and retirement. She had spent her entire life doing for others but never really found complete satisfaction. Had she lived her dream? I don't think so, she was forced to make so many decisions that took her down a different path.

Sitting back, looking at my life, I realized I was following the same pattern. Content with mediocrity in so many areas of my life, I had stopped stretching. I had given up reaching for my dream. Was this what I really wanted? Was this what my mother would have wanted for me? I didn't think so. My oldest children were out on their own, leaving only the eight year old at home.

It's amazing what can happen when you realize you have stopped dreaming and start again. My life turned around. I met my soul mate, my husband Michael. My career soared, and I reached a peak that I had never even dared dream about. I did all the things I had always wanted to do, but never quite could find time for. I tried out for community theatre and got several parts. I tried skiing for the first time and I proved myself wrong - not only could I ski, but I even enjoyed it!

Moving stayed a part of our lives taking us from Florida to Virginia. From there we headed to Georgia, upstate New York, Colorado, Long Island NY and finally Atlanta, GA. We had good times and we had bad but there was one underlying dream that we continued to talk about - traveling in a motorhome when we retired. But why worry about that now? Retirement was years away and we had so much living to do - right?

Catastrophic events have seemed to shape my life in many ways. We had our dream house. Our kids were all grown and on their own. We were both at the top of our careers in well paying jobs.

Were we happy? Usually, at least when we got to spend some time together. It seemed like our jobs kept us apart more than together. It was in February of 1996 that my father suddenly passed away. On the long drive back home, I found myself looking at every motorhome that passed by.

"Why haven't we done anything towards make our dream a reality?" I thought. We were in the prime of our life, we had everything we'd ever wished for, but were we living our dream? Obviously not ... it was time to do something proactive.

The rest of the ride home headed us towards a new life. We both realized that we had a mutual dream that was languishing for lack of effort and if we truly wanted it to happen, we had better get busy. The elusive retirement was closer than either of us wanted to admit and yet we both knew we would want to continue working. Lots of research and reading, many trips to RV dealers & shows, questions - questions - more questions, but we did it. In September we bought our new (used) motorhome with plans to go full-time within 5 years.

But before we knew it, our plans had turned into a reality. A perfect job opportunity was offered to us and we jumped at it. It would allow us to work together, travel and live in our motorhome full-time! We would finally make our dream a reality.

Is this the end of the story? Absolutely not, this was just the beginning. We lived our dream for several years, loving the RVing lifestyle but once again, reality had to rear its head and intrude upon our lives. Mike was diagnosed with cancer, we relocated to Florida (job promotion) and we had almost 4 more wonderful years together.

He passed in November 2004 after seeing me moved and settled in a small
Tennessee town. As many know, a year ago I was working on moving back into the RV lifestyle. It didn't work....but who knows what the future will bring.

The dreams continue and life is for the living! When will it be your turn to live your dream?

I wrote this in 2005, a lot more has happened in the last ten years. I took a cross-country motorcycle trip by myself (42 states, 27k miles), went to work, sold the house and pretty much everything I owned, bought a used Class C motorhome, became a full-time RVer, sold my last motorcycle, met my now husband, bought and rode two more motorcycles, published three novels plus a host of short stories, and now live in Cuenca, Ecuador. Yes, I'd say I was living my dream although it is a dream I never envisioned.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Motivation Monday: Moments

photo copyright DBMcNicol
This is one quote I didn't have to think about. As I approach my seventieth decade, it is the moments that I treasure, not the days.

When I think back to childhood, it is the happy moments.

When I think back to my almost 20 year marriage that ended with the death of my spouse, it is the moments that come back to me. Some prompted by photos that I've taken such as the one above that I took during a Key West motorcycle trip we took. Hot air balloons over a New York state park we visited. My first ski lesson at age 45. My first tattoo at age 54. My first community theater part at age 38.

Many, many more....keep making those moments! You won't regret it.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things: June 5, 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. ;)

This week has been a blur but my BIGGEST small celebrations are:

  • Starting to write the first book in my Lia Rules series, "Rules of Engagement". I'm attempting to write in first person but I suspect I will be switching back to third (where I am more comfortable).
  • I had to drop my yoga classes in order to take Spanish classes but a good friend has started to teach dance therapy/slow aerobics. Hubby and I took our first class on Monday and will go again on Friday. Hubby did better than me. I had to take several breaks...LOL!

Our instructor, Betty, in front.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

#IWSG for June: Language

Once again, it's time for my monthly IWSG post. I swear each month goes by faster and faster as I get older. Wonder why that is?

The theme for this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group is LANGUAGE. Not the English language, but Spanish. My life is currently consumed!

We moved to Ecuador in December 2013. Our initial months were taken over by getting our visas registered, obtaining our national ID card (cedula), finding our way around town and furnishing our apartment. We planned to visit the states in Sept-Oct 2014 so we put off taking any Spanish classes until our return.

We signed up for Spanish classes in November 2014. They were five days a week and over two hours a day. We did learn some things but we were also exhausted. We took two weeks and decided to hold off on more till after the holiday season.

2015 arrived and we had so many new friends to meet and so many new places to explore, so classes were delayed again. Our friends had talked about Coffee Club Spanish classes and they all liked it. So when we finally saw a notice about a new session starting, we joined.

We now go twice a week for 1.5 hours, a much better schedule for us, especially with homework! We just finished the first two classes and are looking forward to them this week. There are six weeks in all, then we can move up to Beginner II.

Yes, we are starting at the base level, rock bottom, pre-kindergarten group. Our old brains take longer to learn something new and a new language at least quadruples that learning curve. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Motivation Monday: Laughter

I got this in an email of daily quotes and felt it was shareworthy. Those who have known be for a while know that I tend to be overly serious. Especially if I'm concentrating on a project.

My husband goes out of his way to make me laugh daily and I love that about him. He's the one that's gotten me to smile so much, another good thing.

Have you ever been going through a stressful period in your life and you decide to read a funny book, or watch a funny television show or movie? When done, you realize how much better you feel for having laughed so much.

So try to never get too busy to feeds us emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically!