A Reflection of Another Year Passed

Hey y’all! I decided I wanted to write a reflection of another year we’ve lived as we look to the future for a new year to come. Looking back, I’ve come to realize that every new year comes with its own ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, highs and lows. This year, 2021, has been no exception.

The biggest struggle of this year was social distancing. While it really didn’t faze my husband, daughter, or myself, other members of my family did somewhat struggle with it. Many of the decisions I had to make this year weren’t met with open minds, but nonetheless, I made my decisions and accepted that others would not agree. Life moves on.

My husband and I lost friends this year. A dear friend of ours crossed over into another world very unexpectedly and not a single day goes by when he doesn’t cross our minds lovingly. We miss him, but we must also remember that he is no longer suffering from the sickness that took over his body. I want to include that his health had nothing to do with Covid, but instead other underlying issues which persisted to worsen. His husband, of course, suffered the most from the loss. Unfortunately, as the year drew on, we also lost him as our friend. I can’t say what happened exactly to cause the change in our friendship because I don’t know. We were there for him as much as we could be. The only thing I can estimate is a misunderstanding that I couldn’t change because of other things I was dealing with.

The good things that occurred this year include becoming a published author in February with my book “Y’all Didn’t Hear it From Me: A Journal of Life Stories” which is available in both paperback and eBook through Amazon.com, buying a motorhome and exploring Florida as it was the only state on the East coast I had yet to venture, planning and accomplishing a birth week scavenger hunt for my husband’s 51st birthday (which he absolutely enjoyed), receiving Bindi Irwin’s book signed by Bindi herself for my own birthday as well as a signed postcard personalized with a birthday greeting from Robert Irwin, and completing two different photoshoots with my new Nikon camera. Now, these are just to name a few because honestly, I can’t recall every little thing.

My published book available in paperback and as eBook through amazon.com.

Since we’ve been on the road exploring Florida, I wanted to also share some of the unique sites we’ve seen.

Mickey Mouse ears in Orlando, Florida. We were hoping to see Disney’s castle, but that was a no go, and we weren’t leaving the interstate to find it only to take a chance of getting caught in traffic. Maybe next time around.
A ‘Jurassic Park’ jeep in Tampa, Florida. Sorry the iconic symbol on the side is blurry. I almost had the perfect photo, but an Amazon Prime delivery vehicle photo bombed my attempt.
I thought this was a very unique paint scheme saluting our troops. The wreath hanging on the front is very festive.
A new military utility vehicle on its way to California. The truck driver was also kind enough to allow me to climb up onto the back of his truck to get a glimpse of the inside of this military vehicle. I’ll tell you the inside looks like a very tight space with a couple screens and many, many gadgets and gizmos along its dashboard.
Another unique design on the side of a tractor-trailer parked at a truck stop just outside of Orlando, Florida. Better be minding Uncle Sam y’all.

I would say we’re finishing off the year on a positive note as we make our way back into Georgia to set in what we’re calling ‘dry dock’ so we can work on a few things, improve, and set up for our next adventure. We have many plans for 2022 including our own YouTube channel, but more details to come later, after the new year starts. Until then, we wish y’all a safe and Happy New Year 2022!

Gators In Gator Country

Hey y’all!  We were stopped for a few days at the Love’s truck stop at exit 314 off interstate 75 in Florida.  In truth, this truck stop appears to be no different than any other Love’s truck stop, except maybe a classier looking women’s restroom, but otherwise, the same. 

The difference between this Love’s to any of the others we’ve been to isn’t on the inside.  It’s on the outside.  This place is quite literally surrounded, not by swamps, but by swampy areas.  We parked in the very back, farthest corner of the trucking parking lot, and right behind us was swampy turf.  To each side of us was swampy turf.  They were like swampy ditches out skirting the entire parking lot.  Closer to the actual store is a very alga caked pond that may as well be called a swamp.  The surface of it is so green, I don’t know that anything could live in it, though I did see a crane or two, peck from it. 

The entire pond looks like this caked segment.
I think the crane knew it was being photographed.

Right in the middle of the entire Love’s truck stop operation is a large pond, completely fenced in, and every few feet there are signs to warn you of dangerous alligators.  Now, these signs aren’t just there because the employees think their cool.  No.  There are actual alligators in that pond.  I don’t know exactly how many live in it, but I’m pretty sure there are at least two given what I’ve seen. 

Can you spot the alligator in the background?

The first day we were there, we walked all the way around the fenced in pond, commenting on the signs posted literally all the way around the pond, but we didn’t know any better.  However, after making the full circle, nearing the end, near the truck stop mechanic shop, there I spotted what looked like a 4- or 5-foot alligator sunbathing on the bank.  Talk about feeling blown away because I physically spotted it, from several yards away without any direction!  The next day we took another walk around the pond, this time, on the same bank I spotted another alligator, a different one… or maybe it was the same one. I really couldn’t tell.

Even more fascinating is to see them in motion. Thank goodness it’s fenced in.

It’s fascinating to see these alligators not as residents of a zoo, but in real outdoor life.  What’s even more fascinating is all the birds we see walking around inside the fence, with these alligators.  I’ve seen them skirt the alligators, and don’t think they aren’t fearful of those alligators attacking for a quick snack.  No, these cranes may tiptoe around, at least a good foot away, but they rush their steps the rest of the way once they know they’re clear.  These alligators may be following those cranes with their eyes, but not once do they move, not even a twitch.

The Love’s truck stop celebrity.

It’s interesting because we weren’t even going to stop here at this Love’s truck stop.  Since we’ve been traveling, we’ve stopped in at several truck stops.  We’ve also stopped and stayed overnight in the back of Walmart parking lots, we stayed one night at the back of a Big Lot’s parking lot, but it was located in a strip mall, so in reality we stayed overnight in a mall parking lot, but we bought needed things from places in that strip mall.  We were aiming for the truck stops at exit 341 off interstate 75, but no sooner did we get on the road, after stopping at a Publix grocery store for food supplies, I saw the enormous billboard advertising this Love’s truck stop at exit 314.  My husband was still hesitant to stop because he wanted to get further up the road, but after a little research to find out how big it was, we decided on it, and to confirm our decision, just as we were pulling in, it began to rain.  I don’t like my husband driving the motorhome in the rain.  The motorhome is older, and I don’t trust weather-wet roads.  Given how hot and humid the weather is in Florida, the rain was invitingly refreshing.  The wind that day was quite strong, so that also had my nerves on edge, but now that we’ve discovered the alligators living in the Love’s truck stop pond, it was totally worth stopping in for a few days! 

See ya later alligator!

Fort Myers, Florida

Hey y’all!  Since we’ve spent the last two months traveling down into Florida and now back up through Florida, I wanted to take the time to tell you about our adventures in Fort Myers.  It’s a very popular town, to say the least.  We only spent about a week there, but it wasn’t without adventure. 

We traveled into Fort Myers during the first week of December and found a place to park in the back of a Pilot truck stop.  The day we pulled in, we decided to check into any RV parks that might have been in the area, and luckily, we found a very nice one barely a mile from the truck stop called Lazy J’s Mobile Home Park.  Normally I refrain from using names when writing, but in this case, the names are necessary.  Lazy J’s Mobile Home Park is run by a guy named Troy and his wife Sharon; two very hospitable people who additionally helped us out, not only did they give us a small discount for staying there, but he pointedly parked us a little closer to his place just so we could get the best Wi-Fi signal possible so we could watch the College Football SEC game between our Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama’s Crimson Tide.  Unfortunately, our Bulldogs lost, but life goes on. 

The day of the game, we pulled into the park just before noon, set up, plugged in, and preparing for game day, we drank a couple Budweiser’s.  Afterwards, hubby and I decided to take a small walk to Family Dollar, which wasn’t far; just one street over.  People were having outdoor barbeques and enjoying the hot, sunny weather.  However, the following morning, the road we had walked to get to Family Dollar was marked off with yellow crime scene tape and a sheriff’s car was blocking the way.  An interesting wake up call to say the least.  The road was blocked off for most of the day.  Why?  In the middle of the night, around 2:30am, there was a shooting… on that road.  To be more specific, the shooting took place at the house where just the day before we saw they were having a family cookout.  We didn’t stop or anything, just commented between ourselves how they were having a cookout.  Everything about the atmosphere on that street seemed so peaceful.  Well, something went wrong in the middle of the night.  Hubby was awoken by the flashing lights of cop cars; our daughter was awoken in the middle of the night by the sound of shots being fired.  I slept through the entirety of it.  In talking with the owner of the park, Troy, we learned that it’s a very rare occurrence in that area.  The last time, he said, was about four years ago. 

We pulled into the park on Saturday, for the SEC game, and were scheduled to stay until Monday, however, I was enjoying the serene scenery and the residents, we paid and stayed an extra day to further enjoy the area.  We would take a walk around the park in the mornings after having coffee, throughout the afternoon, and again at night after the sun went down and the temperatures cooled.  Everyone was decorating their homes with Christmas lights and inflatable Christmas figures.  Our first night there, as we were heading to bed, I noticed some major Christmas lighting through our back bedroom window.  Looking out was a magnificent sight.  There was a house literally on the edge of the water, and their holiday decorations were over the top according to my standards.  What made the scene so magnificent was how it reflected over the water. 

A spectacular sight.

The owner’s place was nicely done as well, but his had a musical accompaniment.  It was hard getting the right shot where everything was lit at once.  As we went to pay for an extra day at the office, we compliment Sharon on their Christmas lights display and found out he isn’t even finished with them!

Amazingly, he wasn’t finished with the lighting.

We met some very nice people during our stay there.  Everyone was so friendly, wishing us a good morning during our morning walks, and sharing their life stories with us if they caught us walking at night.  One guy, an older gentleman, who is now retired from the sheriff’s department following an incident in which he got hurt on the job, shared with us that him and his wife plan to travel after he has some surgery that’s required being how he got hurt.  He didn’t go into details, but he found us so interesting given how we’re traveling. 

During our time in Fort Myers, we also explored some Mexican cuisine.  First, we ordered from a small, local taco truck, called Super Taco.  We ordered some simple tacos and a super burrito.  Both were so tasty we went back the next afternoon in hopes of eating there again, but they weren’t open.  Since they’re food wasn’t available, we walked a little further up the street to what we thought was a Mexican restaurant, but it wasn’t a restaurant, it was a Mexican food market.  Inside this food market, in the back was a takeout counter like you find in the Walmart Deli section, but this was straight Mexican cuisine.  The food was absolutely fantastic!!!  My husband knows more Spanish language than I do, so he ordered for us and our daughter who stayed back at the motorhome with our cats and watched a movie.  I hate to say it, but I felt so out of place, I stuck to my husband like I was glued to him.  Additionally, I wasn’t big fan of Mexican food, but after eating from that food market, I have a changed palette!  For what we ordered, we received about the same amount as when you order from a Chinese restaurant… more than one can eat in a single sitting.  We ate that for lunch, dinner, snack, and the next day my husband finished it.  I would love to go back for more, but we don’t have the time to travel back down to Fort Myers.  My favorite part was their tortillas.  They’re nothing like the packs of flour tortillas you buy in your local grocery store, or even the flour tortillas that come with your meal at a Mexican restaurant.  These are homemade, pressed singly, and taste way better.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat at a Mexican restaurant ever again, because the Mexican food market figuratively blew my mind, and changed it.  I love authentic Mexican food!!!  Actually, while we were walking one night after the sun went down in the park, we were walking by a house that you could literally smell their homemade tortillas.  It smelled so good, I considered knocking on the door to ask for dinner.  LOL.  Just kidding.  I would never do that, but the next day, during our morning walk, the small Hispanic lady who lives there was smiling and very friendly, wishing us a good morning and asking us how we were doing.  We smiled back, and told her we were doing good, and joked with her that we almost stopped for dinner the night before.  She must have thought it was cute because she smiled even more with us.  Needless to say, I can’t wait to try out other authentic ethnic cuisines!

Yummy food but was only open the one day.

Visiting and staying in Fort Myers was an experience I would gladly do again.  The food was divine, the Christmas decorations were festive, and the locals were welcoming. 

Another place that was festive.
A few more Christmas lights.

Punta Gorda, Florida

Good afternoon y’all!  As we have continued further into our traveling endeavors, we’ve certainly experienced many things.  For instance, the town of Punta Gorda, Florida.  The weather was nice and hot throughout the days and cooling at night.  For the most part, Punta Gorda is a quiet town, but there really isn’t much to do.   We watched airplanes of various sizes fly in and out, but that’s about it. 

One of the many planes we saw flying into land at an airport nearby.
Another plane we saw flying in.

Through one Saturday there was apparently an ATV or motorbike race of some sort going on not far from where we were parked that made the area sound like Talladega in April.  As the day drew on and the sun set, the noise grew louder to the point that when we went to bed, you would have thought they were racing the roads outside our camper.  The noise wasn’t bad, but our cats were acting crazier than they normally do.  They were acting out so badly, they were being absolutely annoying.  The youngest one exclusively.  I don’t know what her issue was.  Between using the kitty box, running rampant throughout the camper, and bathing herself rather loudly, it was like she was thinking, ‘How can I annoy the humans to the absolute max?’  Being the youngest, she still wears a bell on her collar because it’s easier to keep tabs on her at any given time.  Unfortunately, she loves sleeping on my pillow at night, so when she gets an itch she must scratch, and it’s like an alarm going off sporadically throughout the remainder of the night. 

Parking in the back lot, dirt lot of a Pilot truck stop, we met a homeless musician living out of his SUV, waiting for his next gig.  He seemed like a decent guy; he simply experienced a rough turn of events when a previous gig fell through which caused him to lose his place when he couldn’t pay his rent. 

While parked, we got to watch a few truck drivers practice their parking.  The main driver seemed to have an African or possibly Jamaican dialect.  He was the one giving instruction, so for several hours, in the basking heat of the afternoon, we watched each of them take their turns pulling up and backing into a course of traffic cones set up by the main guy giving all the instructions.

Later into that day, we watched another guy, driving a white SUV, turn off the main road into the dirt lot, only to do a single doughnut burnout which of course stirred up a massive cloud of dirt, and then drive off.  What his purpose was for doing that, we don’t know, but I will say we were not impressed.  Sure, a doughnut well done, buy why?  As soon as he did this, we jumped to close our camper windows, or the dirt cloud would have completely permeated the entire camper. 

After the sun went down for the night, we were relaxing, watching some television when we heard what sounded like a vehicle dragging something heavy down the main road.  Then we literally heard that heavy something detach itself from said vehicle.  Afterwards, within 30 minutes of hearing the obvious scrapping thunk, we heard at least three other vehicles hit that heavy something.  Not good.  We didn’t like the sound of it as it sounded dangerous, so hubby and I went to check it out.  Turns out the driver lost their bumper.  Walking in the dark with my phone in hand for the flashlight, we found a twisted, mangled heap of a bumper that could have very easily caused serious damage to any vehicle unable to avoid it.  I moved this mangled bumper into a ditch off the road so others wouldn’t accidently hit it.  I don’t even want to imagine the damage it would have caused otherwise.  While we don’t know what kind of vehicle dropped the bumper, we’re estimating it wasn’t in good condition to begin with. 

During our last couple days in Punta Gorda, we met a couple of people performing a search and rescue for a lost cellphone.  What happened was the lady who lost her cellphone had accidently left it on the roof of her car while she was driving.  She was making a turn off one road onto another, unfortunately causing the cellphone to slide off into the middle of the opposing lane.  More unfortunate is she had the type of cellphone which has a compartment on the back where she kept her credit cards, bank card, and her driver’s license.  These items were later recovered by a passerby walking her dog and discovered the cards laying in the grass.  With the help of Facebook, she was able to return them to their owner.  The cellphone on the other hand wasn’t recovered; not until much later.  We were all estimating that another passerby found the cellphone, tossed the cards aside and went about their own way.  Thankfully, this was not the case.  It was the next day, as we were leaving out, stopping in at the Walmart located just across the street from the Pilot truck stop, the guy we had met and tried to help in finding the lost cellphone, recognized our camper and stopped to give us the update.  Thankfully, the cellphone was also recovered after unfortunately being run over and therefore cracked and broken by another vehicle, which is why the cards were found strewn about as they were in the grass and turned in at the local Wawa.  Though the phone was now broken, we were glad to hear it was recovered and returned as the owner was more upset, not about the loss of her phone, but about the photos she had in her phone.  Luckily, she should be able to take her broken cellphone to her service provider and the representative should be able to recover all her photos.  A happier ending than what could have been. 

So, that’s Punta Gorda, Florida.  I’m sure there is way more to the town than we witnessed and experienced, but when funds are limited, you make your own of it.  We’re still thankful for all that we were able to experience.  Helping others is what we enjoy doing and we did that as much as we could.

Until next time, thank you y’all for reading and thank you even more for following my blog.  In the meantime, we’re moving on, on down the road, and into the next town of our choice… Fort Myers, Florida!

The clouds were really fluffy looking.
One of the many unique recreational vehicles we’ve seen since traveling.

Home Sweet Motorhome

Hey y’all!  So, the last time I posted, it was a piece my husband wrote about scammers on Facebook Marketplace falsely advertising top-notch motorhomes and RV’s for ridiculously low pricing. 

Today, I’m writing because we finally made it happen.  Yes, we bought our motorhome!

This week has been so anxiety driven and action packed, I’m simply glad we were able to accomplish the enormous task. 

Hubby and I have been scouring Facebook Marketplace for what feels like months.  I swear to y’all, I was checking the site 5, 6, 7 times a day just to see if anything new had been added, and I was rechecking motorhomes and RV’s which we’d already read over deciding not to inquire.  Well, last week, hubby found this one, a 24ft with 2 sleeping areas. 

So, through the weekend I enquired with the seller, first making sure it was still available, exchanging numbers for better communication, and finally, arranging it so that we had a ride to go and look at the motorhome. 

On Monday, my dad and his wife agreed to take my husband, daughter, and myself to go and look at it; just under an hour to get there, and the same to get back.  The motorhome looked just as it did in its pictures, the interior is needing some work, but no more than we can handle, and my husband started it up.  It cranked over like a beast on the first try. 

On Tuesday, the guy selling it was nice enough to help us out a little further, and personally drove the motorhome to us though Hurricane Ida was making her way through.  I was browning some ground beef to make chili when I happened to look out our kitchen windows and saw our motorhome drive by on the next road over from ours. 

The only detail I don’t like about the motorhome interior is its carpet.  I hate carpet.  I hate carpet.  Did I mention, I hate carpet?

On Wednesday, after I finished with my scheduled classes for the morning, my husband and I tackled face first into the next project… ripping the carpet out.  We spent that afternoon and Thursday afternoon ripping carpet out and removing the trash accumulated and left behind by previous owners. 

Sorry, it’s not the best, clearest photo of the carpet before I tore it up, but you get the idea that it had to go.

On Friday, I admit I didn’t do anything with our motorhome.  Instead, I taught 3 scheduled classes, took a nice long nap, and then proceeded to do very little through the rest of the day.  Everyone needs a day off from working and I was more than exhausted. 

Same general area as previous photo, but after I ripped the carpeting out. We’re going to put down water resistant wood laminate.

I’m hopeful that next week we’ll be able to get it properly tagged and titled as well as install new flooring in it.  Once the new flooring is in, I can properly scrub everything inside, from top to bottom, then proceed with the details of minimizing our belongings.  We’re not hoarders, but we do have a lot of things, most of it being in the media department.

I said we had a lot of books.

So, everything has been a process, but we’re getting there… one day at a time.  I know it’ll all be worth it once we’re moved in and settled. 

As always, thanks for reading y’all!

Thinking, Writing, and Reflecting About Chicken Soup for the Soul

Hey y’all!

I am a writer and because I am a writer, I think a lot.  A Lot.  I think about my past and I think about my future and all the things I want to do.  Most of it has to wait until after my daughter graduates from high school which will be in another three years, but at the same time, I can do many of the things I want to do now, in the present time, because I’ve been blessed with the ability to work from home, as an English teacher.

One of the things I want to do is publish.  I want this about as much as I’ve wanted everything else I’ve been blessed with in my life because I love writing so much.  I love sketching to, but writing allows me to bare a piece of my soul that I can’t do in creating artwork.  Yes, I know writing is just another form of artwork, but writing is also different from sketching.  In writing, I can talk about the many obstacles I’ve overcome and what I learned from those obstacles.  When I sketch, I create pictures that make me happy.  Writing also makes me happy, but differently than sketching does.

Someday, I want to see my written short stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul because Chicken Soup for the Soul is the most widely known nonfiction short story compilations book around the world.  I began reading them when I was just 14 years old.  I recommend then to anyone I know and everyone I meet.  I recommended Chicken Soup for the Girls Soul to my daughter’s best friend in gymnastics.  She’s a couple years younger than my daughter, but she loves to read, according to her grandparents.  Not only did I lend them my copy, but after reading the book and returning it to me, her grandmother went out and bought herself a copy of a more recent title, Chicken Soup for the Grandparents Soul.  I don’t know how often this happens to other people, but it was a first for me.

I’ve been writing and submitting short stories to them for the last two years and one thing I can say for sure is my ability to write is improving.  When I first started trying, yes, I wrote crap.  Boring and unacceptable for publication; and obviously not what they were looking for.  Now, two years later, reading my own work chokes me up, but maybe I’m just partial to my own work.  Rather than being my own worst critic, I’m over complimentary to myself.  I used to have my husband simply proofread my material, then I click the submit button and off it went to their inbox.  Now, I’ve improved the writing process, asking him to critique my material, not once, but twice.  The first critique is always for direction.  The second critique is to fix anything which doesn’t sound right, or doesn’t fit.  If and when he gives me an all-clear, I then ask him to proofread it for me to clear my grammatical mistakes.

I know publishing is a hit and miss no matter who you’re trying to publish with.  When it comes to Chicken Soup for the Soul, my single short story entry is only 1 in about 5000.  As of current, the only time I’ve ever received a personal message from Amy Newmark herself, it was to ask for my mailing address to mail me a couple signed books, per winning a book drawing.  It was an incredible experience, but nothing like I imagine it’s going to be when the day comes I receive an email, that my short story has been chosen for publication in a future title.

So far, I’ve submitted a short story to each of these future titles; ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’, ‘Listen to Your Dreams’, ‘Stories About Christmas’, ‘Stories About Self-Care and Me Time’, and ‘You Go, Girl’.  The short story I wrote for ‘You Go, Girl’ is, in my opinion, my personal best.

In closing, I write to clear my head of the most concentrated thought swirling inside.  Chicken Soup for the Soul is my most favorite book series.  I can’t deny that and I won’t deny it.  I know my day will come, and when it does, I’ll laugh, I’ll cry, and I’ll jump up and down like a crazy high school girl finding out that the boy she likes, likes her back.  I’ll probably run to my neighbors and share with them this most exciting news of my life, but I am not going to deny myself the emotion of finally accomplishing what I’ve been working so hard to do since I began my writing journey.  I’ll tell you what else I’m not going to do, when sharing my news with my parents, who don’t completely understand the lengthy time and amount of patience writing a single story can take, regardless of story length, nor the hit and miss of publicating, I am not going to allow their happy-so-so attitude to clash with my over-the-moon-top-of-the-world-basking-in-personal-accomplished-glory attitude.  After all, this isn’t about them, this is about me.  They will be happy for me, supportive, and accepting, and that’s all I really can ask for.

Thank you for reading y’all!

 

Moving Out, Moving Forward, Moving Up, and Moving On

Greetings and good morning y’all!  It has certainly been some time since my last post, but like all things in life, there has been a lot of things going on.

For instance, moving is never easy an easy task.  Packing, sorting, cleaning, loading, unloading, unpacking, and setting up.  It’s stressful, time consuming, hard work, expensive, and above all, physically draining.  After living under my parent’s roof for four years, seeing to and helping them around the house because they’re only getting older, they decided they’re ready to live on their own and don’t need my help as much.  I should have expected this, but I was busy, caught up in my own endeavors.  So, when they told me they were moving, that they found a place, nearly everything I was working on, screeched to an unexpected halt.  If it wasn’t for my amazing husband, I might have experienced emotional turmoil in epic proportions because there wasn’t any foresight, only a tight aftermath.

I’m not a religious person, but praying for guidance, strength, and some peace of mind is not beneath me.  I did this everyday until the day we moved into the trailer I now call my home.  A rustic two bedroom, single bathroom mobile home, settled in a quietly quaint mobile home park, managed by a couple, like ourselves.  I personally have several things in common with our landlady, not including her name reflecting that of my late great-grandmother.  As I mentioned, moving is expensive, and we used every penny to make it happen in record time.  We have a couple small debts to pay off, but nothing to lose precious sleep over.  Before finding this place, if it wasn’t for being genuinely exhausted every night, I would have lost sleep, caught between a rock and a hard place just trying to find a place to live.  However, when every thing else fell through, this place became the light at the end of the long, dark, questionable tunnel.  My prayers were answered.

It’s not quite been a week yet since we moved, but I was forced to take a week off from home-school and teaching.  I’ve missed my Chinese students, but my daughter rather enjoyed the full week away.  Unfortunately, now we’re facing Interim Assessments head on our first week back.  We’ll be spending this week and the weekend catching up on missed assignments and such, but she’s a trooper and with me for a mother/learning coach, there’s nothing she can’t successfully accomplish.  This morning, I taught my first class in our new place and it was awesome!  It truly feels great to be back in my online classroom.  I’ve missed my students with their smiling faces and energetic personalities.

We’re still settling in; down to a couple boxes left to unpack of bookshelf dust collectors, a pile of framed photos to hang, five full bookcases of books to reorganize, and a washer to replace a sensor in, but we’re happy.  My parents are happier as well, living as just the two of them- something they have been striving close to 30 years for.  They had to learn to live life separately before they could live life together.  Now they’re embracing their golden years, living their happily ever after.

As for us, hubby and I are also embracing our separate solitude.  Career oriented in our field of English literature and writing.  Creating our heart’s desire, stories and art with added educational attributes.  It’s our world.

The Saturday After

Good morning y’all!

I took Thanksgiving off.  I didn’t work (except for in the kitchen), I didn’t write, I didn’t read, I wasn’t on social media, and it was the perfect day.

Mom and dad invited some friends over to have Thanksgiving with us, our daughter made a new friendly acquaintance, I socialized while keeping up with the kitchen, and we all enjoyed ourselves (with the exception of the fracture currently in dad’s back between his shoulder blades).

My husband cooks the turkey every year while I’m in charge of cooking and baking the rest of it–the fried collard greens with little smokies, green bean casserole, savory herb stuffing, ranch-infused mashed potatoes, gravy I made from the turkey drippings, King’s Hawaiian rolls, canned yams, jellied cranberry sauce, homemade deep-dish pumpkin pie, and homemade sugar-free peach cobbler.

Normally, Thanksgiving leftovers take days to finish up, and there’s still a good chance you’ll throw something out.  Somehow I pulled off the opposite and made the perfect amount for everyone.  I made Thanksgiving lunch/dinner, eating around 2pm, then ate leftovers for dinner/snack that evening.  Yesterday we ate leftovers for lunch, and then again for dinner.  Now, the pumpkin pie is gone, the peach cobbler is gone, and I’ve gotta make more cobbler.  It was delicious!

Yesterday, my husband helped me bring up our Christmas decorations from the basement.  We decorated our office, doing a ‘Christmas Around the World’ theme this year.  My husband set his village up along a high shelf, I set my late-grandmother’s Native American Nativity scene up on a shelf below that, and on another side shelf, I placed my Nativity scene of Bethlehem, Egypt.  Christmas around the world.

I placed Santa under our tree, to portray him waiting patiently for Christmas, to make his yearly trip ‘around the world’, delivering the childish spirit of the holiday.

I spent the rest of the day decorating the rest of the house, putting the other tree up in the living room for my parents.  I hung the stockings for show, some garland for sparkle effect, and put the place mats out just because.

Now it’s Saturday.  This afternoon our Georgia ‘Bulldawgs’ play the Techies (Georgia Tech).  Our dawgs are aiming for another awesome year being 10-1!

I’m still waiting to hear back about the writing sample I submitted for review.  I think I did well on the assignment, but I’m not reviewing myself.  As long as they can see that I know what I’m doing, that I can tutor their way with their paperwork, and I will only improve with time and practice, then I have my case made.  I wasn’t thrilled with the sample assignment, but I’m glad for having done it because now I have the idea, and I think that’s the point.

At first I looked at the assignment like it was in a foreign language.  I think I read everything 10 times over before finally wrapping my mind around the system; I was trying too hard.  Once I relaxed and let myself fall into the assignment, comments, remarks, and direction came easier.  When I felt like I’d completed it properly and to the best of my current ability (as my APA/MLA formatting is a little out of practice) I sent it off for review.

Now I’ve taken a step further than I normally get.  All I can do now is wait patiently, cross my fingers, and hope for the best.

Thanks for reading with me and I’ll write again Monday!