Happy New Year 2021, Now Get Back to Work

Happy New Year y’all! I hope everyone was safe, healthy, at home, and celebrating their own personal triumphs and accomplishments from the past year. We did.

On New Year’s Eve, we spent the day listening to music, my daughter and I danced and sang, my husband and I drank, and then we went to bed. We were going to stay up and watch the ball drop on Times Square via youtube, but after some thought, because we were all growing tired, because a private house party will do that to us, we decided to watch the 6 hour video on New Year’s Day instead.

New Year’s Day was about as eventful. As previously mentioned, we began the day watching the festivities in Times Square. I really enjoyed their theme for the year, celebrating our heroes– police officers, nurses, teachers, postal workers, and others who worked to help others during the most difficult of times last year. I’m an online English teacher and my daughter schooling is also online, but we were both set up this way long before this Covid era. I enjoyed listening to each interview. Every person there was nominated by someone, interviewed and tested, and then able to share their experiences of last year. It was incredible.

However, with 1-minute left on the Times Square clock, my phone rings, it’s my next door neighbor calling. Not being rude, I rejected the call to watch the New Year’s ball drop. My phone rings, it’s my neighbor again. This time I answer it, but tell them to ‘hold on’ because we were in the last 25-seconds of countdown, and I hold my phone at my side. We watched the New Year’s ball drop ‘Happy New Year 2021’, I put my phone back to my ear and ask what’s up. I did not expect what I got in response…

To make this possibly otherwise long story short, we were under a tornado warning and the siren was about to go off. In 5-minutes my husband and I put three cats into their own carriers, I told my daughter to grab her wallet, I threw my glasses and phone into my purse and threw it onto my shoulder, my husband did the preparatory walk through shutting this and that off around the house, and we rushed to our neighbor’s place. The siren sounding the entire time. We were lucky, three different tornadoes touched down, but none of them were in our county.

Now, over a week into the new year, I guess it’s time to get back to work. I love my work, but I also like the long breaks.

This week I have to really focus on my book because it’s all about cover design. I have 2 different photos to plan; ‘meet the author’ and my cover. I will be on both the cover and the back of the book. I am very nervous about this because I don’t normally have my photos taken. I’m the one behind the camera capturing the moments. Not this time. I was hoping for a haircut or trim, but I think I need to be more concerned about the weather. It would be hard to capture the meaning of my book through the cover art, if the picture is ‘rained out’. In the meantime, I’ll be working on my backgrounds through the week.

Well y’all, I’ll conclude this post, thanking y’all once again for reading and following me. Wish me luck as I proceed to wrap up my book publication. I’ll write again soon!

Surprise! Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Greetings y’all! Since my last post, many things have happened. We found a kitten, I moved into the ‘cover design’ phase of publishing, and Thanksgiving came. It has been an interesting few weeks to say the least.

On Saturday, November 7th, my dad gave me a ride to Macon, to Kitty City Cat Rescue, so I could pick up ‘Maleficent’ and bring her home. The whole idea was to surprise my daughter with her very own kitten. She has had the name picked out for years, though not as long as my husband and I had the name ‘Merlyn’ picked out before we were finally able to establish a home where we could have her.

‘Maleficent’ is proving to be very energetic, with a feisty attitude, but she loves to play. She reminds us of ‘Merlyn’ when ‘Merlyn’ when her age.

The day I brought her home, we absolutely surprised our daughter. ‘Maleficent’ had spent the entire 45-minute car ride, from Macon to Thomaston, meowing, which is normal. Unfortunately, the long car ride mixed with my dad’s driving technique, gave ‘Maleficent’ a queasy stomach. Luckily, I decided to include the blanket you see in the photo, in her carrier, and she only got sick on it. Twice. The good news is she hasn’t gotten sick since.

Having ‘Maleficent’ around has been different. ‘Merlyn’ and ‘Carlee’ are 8 and 6-years old respectively, so it’s been quite some time since we had a kitten around. ‘Maleficent’ is feeling right at home though because she runs the halls with ‘Carlee’ at night and into the early morning, and she gets her roughhousing with ‘Merlyn’ during the day, when she isn’t sleeping. Her favorite early morning activity is to play in my bed, attacking different areas of my bedding, about half an hour before my alarm goes off for work. I admit, it was kind of annoying at first, but what do you do when it’s a kitten.

I mentioned earlier, my book has moved forward, and now I am in ‘cover design’ mode. As soon as my friend whose a retired hairdresser can trim my hair a little, I get to experience my own little homemade personal photoshoot. I’ve never had a personal photoshoot, unless you count glamour shots that sadly fell through due to cost. That’s a story for another time.

Now, Thanksgiving. That was a busy day. I took the day off, meaning I didn’t open any time slots for my student’s parents to book. Instead, I woke up at 4am to begin prepping and baking. A week before this, my husband and I created the menu we had been planning to cook for our family and friends.

As you can see, we offered several choices for Thanksgiving dinner.

Preparing everything was tiring, but fun and worth it. By the time my husband got up at 6am, both pumpkin pies were in the oven, and I was filling the deviled eggs. Afterward, I started in on mixing my no-bake cheesecakes together, then I took a break. All the prepping we did, it reminded me of my mornings when I worked as a prep cook for Applebee’s in Monroe, Georgia. My husband and I learned early on that we work better in the kitchen together than anyone else we know. There are some people who don’t understand how we work so well together.

Now, to say our Thanksgiving day went absolutely perfectly smooth, that would be a lie. We did reach a hiccup in the system plan. First, it rained all morning, off and on, from heavy downpour to light drizzles, back and forth. We might have gotten past the rain, but the hiccup that followed left us without further options. We hooked everything up correctly, the propane tank to the turkey deep fryer we purchased, but there was a hit/miss somewhere because we weren’t able to officially deep fry the turkey. It wasn’t raining when my husband hooked everything together. It wasn’t raining when we set it all up in the spot we designated specifically for it. It began raining as we were trying to ignite the purpose, and because it did, we had to shut it down. So, instead of deep fried turkey, we properly executed a last moment oven roasted turkey. It was delicious!

The hardest part was sending text messages to our family and friends; “Due to inclement weather, deep fried turkey is now oven roasted. We’re sorry for the switch.” I felt like Gordon Ramsey on “Uncharted” when he’s unable to deliver his original dish idea to his guests of their culture. I am so thankful everyone was understanding. Well, almost everyone.

I experienced an additional hiccup, but it was neither food nor Thanksgiving related. At least I don’t think it was, but I don’t honestly know. My husband and I decided to do Thanksgiving this way because, as I mentioned and we all already know, we all have to take caution against Covid-19. I spent Thanksgiving, planning, prepping, preparing, and cooking with so much care, love, devotion, and thanks. Every plate we made, everybody we fed, we did it because we are thankful to have each and everyone we included in our Thanksgiving feast, in our life.

Our delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

Well y’all, I think that’s all for now. Christmas is right around the corner and with Christmas comes our Christmas menu. Yes, my husband and I are planning the same kind of theme for Christmas, but yes, a different menu. No turkey. We’re thinking about a spiral ham, prime rib, and colorful side dishes. Equally delicious.

Additionally, it’s not just Christmas we’re planning for, my husband and I were blessed to have a child born exactly 2 days after Christmas. This year, she turns 16, but because she’s a Descendant’s fan, it’s not ‘sweet sixteen’, she prefers her 16th birthday VK (villain kid) style; ‘sinister sixteenth’.

Thanks for reading y’all! I’ll post again soon!

‘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.

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!

 

 

‘When The Thunder Rolls, and It Spooks The Cat…’

Hey y’all!

A week ago, as of tomorrow, was a scary day for my household.  It was storming, thunder was booming, and my dad’s cat Tana (short for Montana) became spooked enough from the thunder she ran for cover.  Right under my dad’s recliner chair.

Mom and dad were in the living room, enjoying some afternoon television programming, my husband and I were upstairs, relaxing to our own television when my mother screams my name for help.  Normally, when mom needs my help with something, she’s nonchalant about it.  This scream was blood-curdling, like Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt in Jurassic World.  The scene where she screams at him and the boys, “RUN!!!”  Something was terribly wrong.

My husband and I flew down the steps to find dad on the floor, half under his recliner chair, trying to release Tana from the mechanical grasp of his recliner.  There are no words to describe the horror of this incident, however, we did manage to pull her free seconds later; once dad was able to figure out how she was stuck.  Obviously, she was hurt, but alive and breathing, as well as beyond spooked.

Mom and my husband immediately began making phone calls to find a veterinarian open on a Sunday while dad and I evaluated what we could of the damages without moving Tana.  Dad was so distraught, he couldn’t think.  Finally, minutes later, mom was referred to a 24-hour animal hospital and my husband was putting together a cardboard box/transportable bed to put Tana in for the ride to the animal hospital.  Minutes after that, mom and dad were pealing out of our driveway with an injured Tana, meowing sorely.

Dad said she didn’t meow as much as she normally does during car rides, but the fact that she was meowing is a good sign.  Cat’s can’t meow with a broken neck.

At the animal hospital, they took x-rays and gave her a full tip to top examination, and except for a possible concussion, she was cleared.  No internal bleeding, nothing broken, but she did have pain in one of her legs.  The doctor put her on an anti-inflammatory medication for three days and let her come home.

I’m thrilled to share that she’s acting like herself again and dad has recovered as well.  I feel a little nervous when thunderstorms roll through the area, because I don’t want Tana to get spooked again, but she’s a cat and accidents happen.  I think we’re all a little more alert because of it.  Tana included.

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As always, thanks for reading and thank you for your support.