‘When Quarantine Gives You Lemons, Have Some Lemonade’

Hey y’all! Somehow, time got away from me and therefore I unfortunately forgot to write. Sorry about that.

So, how have y’all been getting along with quarantine? Me and the family have been doing well. We’re all coughing up seasonal allergies, but nothing infectious. About a month ago, which is how I know it’s been too long since I last wrote, I suffered a bodily allergic reaction to a flea treatment I gave my cat Carlee. I had first tried an oral medication called CAPACTION. According to the dosage directions, I could give her a single pill every day. Unfortunately, the fleas were so bad, I had to take more drastic measures. I bought a 2 monthly dosage package of Advantage II, and with my husband’s help, applied it to ‘the spot’ on the back of her neck, then thoroughly washed my hands with soap and water. The directions said to wait 24 hours before bathing the cat afterwards, but I gave it 48 hours, and then proceeded to deep clean the rest of our place; bedding, mopping, vacuuming, and spraying down our furniture using an all- natural flea killer. I felt not only accomplished, but like I finally got to the bottom of the fleas. Well, I did get to the bottom of the fleas, I also developed a near full-body breakout. At first, I thought it was my eczema flaring, but my lotions weren’t doing anything to relieve it. I tried cortisone anti itch crème, but all it did was make me itch less, it didn’t clear the red at all. I tried oral antihistamines, taking 2 pills every 4-6 hours as directed, no improvement at all. Four days after giving my cat the flea treatment, I was calling my doctor’s office for an emergency appointment, in hysterics. The night before, I hadn’t slept a wink, forcing me to cancel my first class in 2 years. Long story short, I was experiencing an allergic reaction, it was very red, very angry, and after a single steroid shot in my hip/buttocks area, and another week of z-pack steroid, I’m finally clearing up. A lot of eczema catch-back resulting.  Sadly, I’ve been rather hesitant to pet my Carlee since, but I’ve made up for it using string. She’s 6 years old, but still a kitten with string.

Speaking of quarantine, and therefore Covid-19, does anyone else dream that they find themselves in public without their mask? I’ve been having dreams lately that I’m in public and I realize I don’t have my mask, or that my daughter and I are in town without our masks, and I’m practically panicking which then wakes me up. These dreams are like bad dream level. I don’t let my daughter leave the house.  She does have a mask, but the way I see it, she doesn’t need to leave the house, unless for good reasons, like a doctor’s appointment. I don’t even want my husband going into public because of his heart condition. I’ve been there already, my husband laid up in a hospital bed, barely able to hold a spoon to eat tomato soup. Tired and very sick. I am not going to relive that. Every time I leave the house, I have my mask, hand sanitizer, and my reading glasses for eye coverage. I haven’t let anyone in the house since quarantine, except the gas guy because he had to light our pilot light after turning the gas on from outside, but not before mandating his own mask.  I have to say, I’ll be so happy when I can finally have Walmart grocery delivered to my front door, because every time I leave the house, my anxiety shoots through the top of my head.

Now we’re in the process of adopting a rescue kitten for our daughter. She has wanted a kitten, or cat of her own for a couple years now, but we’ve not been lucky enough to find one yet, so I took a different avenue. First, I looked into our local animal rescue, but they didn’t have anything in our broader criteria, so I google searched for animal rescues and came up with adoptapet.com and a search radius of up to 50 miles from my location. I found an absolutely adorable little girl in Macon, the perfect color gray/blue, the perfect age, and after an appointment to meet her, determined her the perfect fit for my daughter. Little girl, or ‘Maleficent’ as my daughter wants to name her, is the perfect gray/blue, and she is so energetic, I can almost picture goat yoga, but kitten contortionism instead, because my daughter is a gymnast/contortionist. We haven’t told her we’re getting her a kitten, or that we’ve even found one. We’re aiming for completely surprising her. I’m almost expecting her to cry. I might possibly try for a video, provided I remember. I’ll at least post pictures after.

My book, it’s coming along. Right now, I’m waiting for corrections to be made so that it resembles the vision I have in mind for it. First embarking on this journey to and through publishing, my original idea didn’t include images, or photos. However, arriving at Page Design level opened my mind to bigger possibilities. Sometimes, words alone are okay, but sometimes, words with an associated photo, sketch, or even a letter written and signed by a since passed family member helps the reader obtain a better understanding of what they’re reading. Thanks to all the work I put into some artwork I created last year for Christmas and birthday gift giving, I got back into sketching, so when the time came when I learned I could include up to 20 images for free, how could I not see the opportunity make my book better. I got pretty creative too. I’m proud. Once I approve all corrections and I’m completely satisfied with the entirety of my book, I move into the final stage; cover design. This means ‘photo shoot’ to me, like when I had my senior pictures done. Not only will my picture be on the back-cover where you can ‘meet me’, the author, I’m going to star on the front cover as well. I have a very unique idea that includes several factors regarding the world today.

This post would have come sooner, had I not forgot, but also, had my natural monthly visitor not showed up. What a weekend. I didn’t want to do anything other than sit or lay around, because I was so uncomfortable. My dad texted me Friday to ask for help packing because he’s moving across the street from where he has lived for the past year. I told him I didn’t know at the time because my hips and lower back were in severe discomfort. I would have helped had I not just started the monthly crimson routine. It’s always the worst the first 3 days.

Okay, well, I think I’ve caught y’all up for now and I’ll post again very soon.  Stay safe, stay healthy, and as always, thank you for reading. Until next time!

Carlee feels much better after her treatment. I’ve recovered, but not without minor skin blemishing. No big deal.

Summer is Officially Over

Hey y’all!  Good morning!  While it’s not officially the end of summer, but it’s the end of summer in my household.  As I’m typing this, my daughter is in a virtual classroom with her homeroom teacher, preparing to take her first MAP test of the school year… tenth grade.  Where has the time gone, right?

Since school is back in session, I’m back to fully working.  I’m teaching in the early morning, then after my daughter starts school, I’m cracking into creating new bookmarks to promote my upcoming book, brainstorming and creating fliers to promote my free library, communicating with my editor and preparing images to include in my upcoming book, and of course, keeping up with my daughter’s school agenda.

I’m actually glad school is back in session, because my daughter’s attitude, being a teenager and all, has been, per say, through the roof.  She’s at that age where she wants to believe she already knows everything, and as a teacher, I’m trying to educate her about the real world, but she just rolls her eyes or walks away; goes to her room.  I don’t remember ever showing as much attitude when I was her age, but we all say that, don’t we?  All in all, I can say she is generally a good kid.  Like any teenager, she needs an attitude adjustment every now and then.

My tomato garden is still coming along.  I’ve been able to pick three from the original I call ‘Mater’.  My roma, which I call ‘Roma’ has finally blossomed enough to develop a few tomatoes, and the larger of the three different tomato plants I have, I call ‘Allyn’ because she was given to me by my neighbor, an older gentleman.  His front yard is full of potted tomato plants nearly as tall as he is.

Here are some before photos of my tomato plants.

 

Here is what my tomatoes look now.

I’ll be able to pick the two in the single picture soon.  My ‘bae’ and I are looking forward to eating them on tomato sandwiches; my favorite simple summer sandwich.

I also wanted to share with y’all a photo of some ‘Elephant Ears’ growing on their own in my yard.  They aren’t as big or tall as the ones growing in my neighbors yard, but I still think they are a unique plant.

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Aren’t they cool?  I think so.

Well y’all, I’m going to conclude this post for now.  The good news is, with school back in session, as I mentioned before, I’m ‘in office’ more full time now.  Not that I ever left.

I hope y’all are maintaining a safe and healthy ‘in-home’ lifestyle.  I hope y’all are wearing your masks when going into public, and I hope y’all are practicing the health safety of social distancing.  Remember, we’ll get through this.

Thanks for reading y’all!

What’s Up, What’s Up?!

Hey y’all!  So, the last time I posted, I wrote that I had submitted my manuscript to my ‘possible’ agent at Page Publishing, and I would know, either way, within 2 weeks.

Well, last Tuesday, my ‘possible’ agent called back.  He actually called me on Monday, but I was bravely shopping at my local Walmart.  Don’t worry, I always wear a surgical face mask and gloves.  My husband was home, so he took the call, but my ‘possible’ agent didn’t say anything except “I’ll call her back”.  When I came home from shopping with my next door neighbor, my husband told me all about it as he came out our front door and crossed the street to meet me with our groceries at our neighbors car.  For the rest of the day, everywhere I went, my phone was on me, waiting for the call back, but he didn’t call back.  However, on Tuesday, the moment the phone rang, I snatched it up.  Low and behold, it was Page Publishing.

My ‘possible’ agent asked me how I was doing; I said I was good.  He asked how I was feeling; again, I said I was good.  Then he said, “I have news regarding your manuscript.”  Now my heart is racing, beating so hard it’s in my throat.

“Are you ready?” My possible agent asked me.

“I’m as ready as I’m going to be.” I replied, and we both laughed.

Without dragging it out any further, my agent accepted my manuscript.  I’M.  GOING.  TO.  BE.  PUBLISHED!  Y’all Didn’t Hear it from Me: A Journal of Life Stories is getting published!  OMG!!!

I am sorry that it took me a week to share my breakthrough news with y’all, but I was waiting until I signed my agreement and communicated with my assigned coordinator before I said anything.  Now that I have my itinerary, it’s real!  I AM A PUBLISHING AUTHOR!

So, what’s next?  The long, patient wait while everything about my book is checked and rechecked, created, developed, and priced.  Now I have to work on writing the Synopsis of my book, my ‘About The Author’ piece, submit any images I want included in my book’s content, and anything else my coordinator may want from me.

As of right now, the journey to writing and completing my manuscript was taxing, but enjoyable.  I feel like the journey to publishing is going to just as taxing, yet enjoyable as writing the physical book was.  Even hearing my coordinator go over all of my information felt remarkable.  It wasn’t just go over my name and author name, it was more when she read my title aloud to verify my work.  To hear someone other than myself or my husband say it, “Y’all Didn’t Hear it From Me: A Journal of Life Stories”, put me on cloud 9.  I know one thing is for sure, the day it all comes together and complete, and I receive my 10 copies in the mail, I’m vlogging the video for y’all to see.  I may cry, because I never saw myself publishing a book, but here I am, doing something extreme I didn’t know I wanted.  Something my family has doubted the possibility of since my great-grandmother, Nanny, published her Christian book of poetry.  She didn’t do anything with it, so it didn’t go anywhere.  She chose not to do anything with it for her own reasons.  I have so many reasons I am doing this.

By the way, what do you think of vlogging?  I’m curious.

Anyway, until next time!  Thanks for reading y’all!

It’s Manuscript Mania!

Hey y’all!  I thought I’d touch base again, and talk more about my manuscript.  It’s really coming along!  I started working on it daily and diligently just before the start of the new year, making it a strong habit to write daily, even if I’m only writing into a random journal.  My husband helps with the editing process on the more serious pieces.  I write, or lately, rewrite, give it to my husband for an opinion, and depending on his opinion of the piece, I reread it for revisions.  It’s a process, but we’re a great team.  My husband and I.

I’ve been pushing myself so much, I have a few pieces in limbo.  For example, I’m rereading to rewrite one, and my husband has three different ones in his email inbox waiting for him.  They either need a directional opinion, or a final proofread for grammatical mistakes.  A couple of them are pieces I’ll be submitting to Chicken Soup for the Soul!  The others, are my book.

I just finished with “Not Quite Nestle”, a story about my mother’s Christmas cookie disaster, and what exactly happened.

I spent some time revising a story I titled “What’s That Smell?”, about the birth of my daughter and a visitor I never expected.

Another story I’ve been working on, I titled “A Little R to R (Rest to Recuperate)”, a story I wrote about finding time for myself.  With all the stress in life, everyone needs a moment to themselves, to take a deep breath, to shake your shoulders, to meditate, or whatever you have to do to gain a better grip.  Finding time for myself came one step at a time.

I wrote a funnier story about Christmas awhile back, and decided it needed revising.  “Merlyn’s Christmas Cat’astrophe” is about our oldest cat and her first Christmas.  Kittens will be kittens.

That isn’t all.  There are more, but these are the more recent pieces.  I’ve spent all this time working on them, since just before the turn of the new year.  I’m up before the sun every morning because I teach English classes in a virtual classroom in China.  When I don’t have a class scheduled, I use that time to write and revise because the house is super quiet, peaceful, and still.  Time flies when you’re having fun.  I can’t wait to see it finished in April when I submit it for publication!

 

 

“Homeschooling, Blogging, and Writing my Book”

I woke up this morning feeling ready to conquer the world, and by world I mean my planned projects which I’ve been happily writing into my daily agenda.  I took the weekend to rest and relax, and to do some thinking (especially after I was rejected for a writing position I applied to earlier last week.  I received the rejection email Friday.)    I soon came to realize I lost track of what I’m aiming for.  I lost focus on my purpose and therefore forgot what my prize is.  So, last night, I decided, my focus is on three things–my daughter’s education, my blog, and my manuscript.

Well, by the time first class connect dismissed, I was ready for a break because my daughter seemed to have woke up with an attitude.  She wanted to be mouthy, she had something to say for everything I said, or something one of her classmates would say in chat, or she wanted to do things her way–meaning wait to do her homework after school instead of during the last 15-20 minutes she had left in class to work in the ‘quiet work room’.  I told her she was doing it then because the assignment she wanted to do, an essay for English, she could do on her own.  Her homework she was going to want my help with.  She didn’t like it, and she exaggerated a sigh the way she always does when she isn’t happy with something I said or tell her to do.  As I said, she was already in a mood, so her mouth eventually wore on me.  By the time class connect was over, I needed a break from her, so I went down to transfer loads of laundry.  That didn’t the way I wanted either.

My schedule is not going as smooth as I wanted it to go today, but I’m accomplishing it all just the same, so far.  I still have two short stories I want to reread and make edits where necessary.  One is almost finished, the other is only the rough draft.  I can do it, but I have to keep focused.  School, my blog, and my book.  That is what I’m putting all my concentration into from now on.

I’m a mother, a teacher, and a writer-to-become-author.

I just hate when things in life happen in daily life that put a hindrance in one’s well-planned scheduling.  A defiant attitude from a daughter whose just entered her teen years, a load of laundry wrapping itself into a tight ball rather than drying in the dryer correctly, or the fact that it’s Monday and Mondays seem to be the ‘long’ day at the office every week.  I can see why now, but it doesn’t mean I like it.  I accept it because it’s what I do best, but I’m still going to be real about it.  I just have to remember what I’m focusing on.  Homeschooling my daughter and helping her gain an education, writing my blog to share thoughts, experiences, and lessons, and working on my manuscript, or writing my book–whatever you want to call it.  Those are the things that are important to me right now.