Category Archives: Blog

Olympic Sized Memories

Everyone — let me qualify this — a lot of folks around the world have their eyes glued to the Olympics.  I’m one of them.  When I was a young kid (don’t laugh!) forty years ago, we only received 3 to 4 TV stations at our home.  We had a TV antenna on the roof of our house and when the summer thunderstorms rolled through, our reception was gone.

I always prayed it was during some Olympic event I didn’t really care about.  I won’t say which ones, so I don’t offend anyone.  But the ones I refused to miss were the gymnastics, running, diving and swimming competitions.

I watched Mark Spitz win all of his gold medals, Nadia Comaneci score a perfect “10”, and Greg Louganis hitting his head on the diving board.  I even watched Caitlyn Jenner (then, Bruce) win the 1976 Decathlon.   And don’t even get me started with the Winter Games.  I wore my hair in a Dorothy Hamill cut — along with a gazillion other teens — for years!

Over the years, we’ve been witness to triumph and sadness.  I remember the horror of the 1972 games in Munich.  Eleven Israeli athletes were taken hostage and murdered by a terrorist group.  Those athletes were honored for the first time at the Rio Olympics.  And in 1996 at the Atlanta Games,  a bombing in the Centennial Olympic Park as part of a terror attack affected sporting events and their security measures until this day.  Two people lost their lives and 111 people were wounded in this brutal attack.

Even with those terrible tragedies, the Olympic spirit continues.  Athletes around the world train with a goal of being good enough to go to the Olympics and represent their countries.  Some of them will remain in our hearts and minds for years to come because their spirit and commitment are a testament to the human race and our innate human instinct to become more than we are and more than we can imagine.

So I’d like to say “Thank you” to athletes like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and all of the other athletes for giving me not just summer entertainment but inspiration every four years for the past 5 decades of my life.  Now I need to go watch the Olympics.

An Electronic Love Affair, Of Sorts

I received the email from my cell phone provider telling me it was time to move on, upgrade, etc.  Up until this point, my cell phones had been more utilitarian and nothing like the mini computer / phone I currently use.

My phone had been beside me on all of my walks providing music to motivate me.  It helped me navigate strange roads and even learn a “poco” bit of Spanish.  Obviously not enough.  Now I was being told it was time to leave it behind.

True, it really didn’t have enough memory for my growing collection of apps.  I put all of my photos and books in the cloud, but my music and apps like Facebook took a lot of megabytes.  I’d always have to delete one app to load another.  Sigh.

It was time to take the leap.  Of course, once I arrived at the store, I deduced none of the penny phones would do.  I stood before the display of the newer generation of phones.  With all of my apps, it wouldn’t make sense to change brands. One phone was less money (which is code for still a shitload of money), but it was smaller in size than my current one.  I had enough problems with typing on my faithful little blue phone.  No way would this one work.

The other potential replacement was much larger.  It had a lot of GB’s, 64 GB’s to be exact.  What couldn’t I do with so much memory?  It would be easier to type on, easier to read my books when my Kindle wasn’t available to use and it was BIG!  The American way of thinking is ‘the bigger, the better’, right?

I told them to ring me up.  What was a few…several hundred dollars compared to the new relationship I would be developing with my new buddy?   This phone would be in my presence more often than my husband.

I took my new rose-gold lifeline-to-the-world home with me.  After downloading all of my apps again and getting familiar with it, I had a sudden shocking realization.  My new phone wouldn’t fit in my back pocket or any pocket.  It wouldn’t fit in the armband I specifically purchased for my cell phone for easy access and convenience during my long walks.

Just like a real love affair, sometimes the little irritating traits don’t show up until after the commitment has been made.  And as we do in real life, we adapt and accept those quirks, because you can’t live without them anymore.

My Vacation from Writing

‘If you live to write, you write to live’.  I’ve heard that quote somewhere.  No, everywhere.  It and the quote — ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ effectively speak to those of us who were ‘bitten by the writing bug’.  (I know, I know, I’m the Queen of Hackneyed Expressions tonight).

So, I dutifully packed my laptop and lugged it to Puerto Rico with me.  My youngest son was getting married and we would be meeting his fiancee’s family for the first time.  I pictured myself sitting on the deck looking at the ocean or the sunset while typing away.  Carefully dragging my laptop to the beach… You get the picture, right?

Oh, it happened.  Once.  I wrote a 500-word short story for a writing prompt.  The topic was “Lakebed” and despite my usually light treatment of subjects for my short stories, this one was dark.  Perhaps my change of mood was the result of being in Puerto Rico and pre-wedding anxiety.  That would be a resounding negative.

For me, Puerto Rico was all about warm breezes, floating in a pool, and watching the moon sink into the ocean each night as the stars overhead rotated across the dark sky. pool It was the sound of the waves slamming up on the rocks at the foot of the forty-foot cliff our villa was built upon. The island will remind me of drinking wine as I reminisced with my best friend about our youth and the escapades which will remain a secret between the two of us.  Puerto Rico is the laughter floating in the air while we sat at a beachside restaurant inserted the name of our main entree into our conversations because it sounded funny.  “Holy Mofungo, Batman!” will never sound funnier than it did that night.  Okay, I lied.  I think it still sounds funny, but I’m kind of a nerd.

I guess what I’m trying to say is — Puerto Rico was helping me write my next sentences, paragraphs, chapters and books.  It is the source of my memories of the single teardrop on my son’s face while he watched his bride walk down the aisle under strings of lights  illuminating their faces as the shadows of the coming night deepened.

Although I didn’t put many words on paper during those twelve days, I did create lasting impressions I will carry for the remainder of my days.  The creative spark for our ideas can be found in many places and in many activities including floating in a pool watching white clouds in a beautiful blue Puerto Rican sky.

 

Love and Loss

Each story, while unique, has a central theme that the reader can identify themselves with personally.  One of the most poignant themes concerns “Love and Loss”.  Stories, poetry, and songs have paid homage to these tender emotions for as long as humankind has walked the Earth.

I’ve laughed and cried while my favorite characters have struggled as they dealt with love found and love lost.  I rooted for Rhett Butler to win Scarlett’s love and found myself devastated when fortune didn’t cooperate.  Right or wrong, as a teen, I searched for my own hero so that I could live happily forever in a white house with a picket fence.  I ignored the “nice guy” in favor of the “bad boy” FB_IMG_1445913233417_kindlephoto-1998123 (2)experiencing my cycle of stories of love and loss.

The flirty banter between our characters is balanced by the angry and tearful rhetoric in another chapter.  So goes real life.

Over the past few months, I’ve said good-bye to good friends and family as they left this world.  I watched the anguish of love found and love lost knowing I couldn’t change the outcome like I can on the written page.  But comfort can be found in knowing as long as our own stories continue — love will be found, will be lost and will be discovered anew.

 

Looking for Inspiration

2015-06-19_194509000_AADCD_iOSIf you talk about writing with anyone, at some point you will hear the quote — “Write what you know.” — Mark Twain’s famous words.  So does this mean if you are a truck driver you should only write about driving trucks.

No, I don’t believe Twain meant it literally.  I will be sitting at home with my laptop waiting for an idea to pop into my consciousness.  A scene from a day, a week or months ago will come to mind.  A funny story about a friend can suddenly have an influence on how my character will act in a certain situation.

Our pasts and our futures can be the impetus for a story.  I mentioned my canine muse in the blog, The Best of Intentions.  My furry companion and his antics will more than likely show up in several of my future writings.  In Exodus, the protagonist’s yellow lab is an amalgamation of my buddy and some of the dogs I’ve met over the years.

During my walks, I will suddenly have the solution for a plot line which wasn’t working.  I can hear dialog between characters.  When I get home I will grab my notebook and scribble the thoughts on the page hoping I didn’t forget anything.  I have even been known to get up out of bed during the night to jot down a scene.

Obsessive?  Probably, but it’s so much fun when the stories unfold.  The real work happens after the ideas are written.  Then it is up to the writer to mold those snippets of life’s inspirations into an entertaining story.

The Best of Intentions

I admit it.  I’m not good at always following through.  I’ve had diaries, journals and another blog before I started this one.  It had been over a year between posts.

Yikes!  A lot happened…I’ve had my reasons.  Seriously, I have.  Four things occurred in my life which interfered with my blog time.

Oh?  Just four.  Yes, I can hear voices in my head.  I feel I need to disclose to my readers — I do talk back (thought you should know).   Also, I have the privilege of having only sarcastic voices.  I blame my early years in NYC and an Irish Catholic dad from the South Bronx for this issue.  Back to the matter at hand (as you can see I might have ADD too).

The first event was on Thanksgiving eve 2014, my eldest son decided he would like to be the proud owner of a yellow lab puppy.  I felt the spirit of the holiday and agreed it would be great to have a dog around the house again.  We drove over 5 hours round trip that same night to get him.  I know…

Number Two — I developed a severe case of puppy caretaker syndrome.  Every photo I took had a puppy in it.   Every conversation revolved around the puppy.  My daily schedule was now dictated by a small dog.  He didn’t stay small for long.  But that is another story for another time.

Number three is not humorous.  My mom got sick.  Very sick.  At 80 years of age, she needed more help than my other non-medical siblings could provide.  I spent 6 months with her.  Occasionally returning home to assure my husband I still lived there.  My mom is better, is able to live in her own home, and I’m able to live in mine.

I returned home to a half-grown lab and time on my hands.  Here comes number four — I read a lot.  My Kindle has now become two Kindles so I can always have one charged. Can anyone say “Addiction!”?   I joined a writing forum, and  I started to write.  I love it, and spend my time reading other writer’s work, writing on my own projects and occasionally posting on my site.

A yellow lab can be found in some of my books.  I guess you know where I get my inspiration.

How Not to Blog

I think the axiom that “it always looks easier than it is” holds true for blogging.  I didn’t think it would be so difficult to decide on what sort of format I would choose?  Do I add gadgets?  And if so, how many?  I think I changed the template and layout about 30 times!

That calls into question whether or not I am too indecisive or too much of a perfectionist.  I can tell you right now that perfectionism is not something I’m too worried about.  So that leaves indecision… And the main impetus of doing this blog is “What Will I Do Now??”  So it works.

A photograph was necessary for the website, blog, Facebook, twitter, etc.  I am a novice at taking “selfies”.  I don’t particularly like having my photo taken.  So, I am trying to use my smart phone which I hate to admit is smarter than I am at times. There are so many steps to remember!  I have to get the right lighting, try not to get my fingers in the photo or the clutter on the table and try not to look so startled.  Having seen the “selfies” my nieces seem to create daily, I knew I would have to make some choices about whether I should do a “fish face”, open my mouth in surprise as if I didn’t realize I was going to take a photo of myself, or put my hand on my hip like I’m on the red carpet.  I didn’t make any of these choices so I think my photo is unique in its own way.

I haven’t seen this kind of selfie yet 🙂

I’m not sure that my nieces would approve, but I believe that good dental care is important.


My journey of self-fulfillment and actualization was at a standstill today.  I had to run errands.  I worked on my blog.  Oh, and I took a few “selfies”.

FYI

Did you know?

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