Sunday, August 23, 2009

Where do writers get their ideas!

Everywhere! Anywhere! It can be a thought, a verse, a poem, an incident, or during a walk, a car ride, on an airplane in mid flight, on a boat, a cruise ship, or while doing dishes, or washing the bathroom floor, taking the dog out to do its thing, planting a garden, mowing the lawn, cleaning the garage, cleaning the basement, watching a program on TV or a movie on the silver screen.

Or it can happen while shopping in a grocery store.

That happened to me today when I stopped to pick up a few things like yogurt, coleslaw, rolls, and some milk. I spotted a man dressed in a black tank top and tan shorts. His jet black hair was worn short, but you could tell if he let it grow longer it would become thick and even unruly. He was tanned, the kind of tan that is earned not by sunbathing but by working outside. And he was very well built. So I'm guessing construction.

He glanced over at me. And I thought what a perfect specimen, and saw a character developing. I briefly returned the glance, and self-conscioudly slipped into another aisle, all the while peeking around the corner. He glanced again my way, and I pretended to be studying the contents on a can of cat food.

Finally, I knew I had to make my way to the cashier where he was now paying for his purchases. It's a small store and I had two choices. Get in the same line behind him, or go in the one at the right where a customer had a loaded cart.

I took a deep breath and placed my few items on the conveyor belt as he paid for his stuff, and then he left.

A brief moment in time. A lost opportunity.

Still, it triggered something inside my mind, and as I drove home I mentally heard a conversation going on between two women.

"I just met the sexiest man," Janette told her roommate Nicole as she lined up the cartons of yogurt on the refrigerator shelf. "I didn't actually meet him, I spotted him."

"Tell me where that was so I can see if there's more like him." Nicole laughed. "It's the middle of a Sunday afternoon. Where could you meet someone like that anyway?"

"Becker's Foods." Janette smiled, closing the door. "And I'm wondering if maybe he does his shopping there every Sunday afternoon."

"Wow, you're serious."

"Yes, and I'm going back next week to find out if my hunch is true."

So will Janette go back? Will she meet up with this dark handsome stranger? And will this dark handsome stranger present an opportunity for Janette to live out a few fantasies?

My mind is already working on those scenarios and I can't wait to find out what happens.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Helping the Economy!

I do my best to help this stagnant economy. At least I think I do. On a fixed income consisting of a pension and a SS check I am still out there making purchases.

And I do it in the local stores in my area. I go to Mandee's. I go to Job Lot. I'm often seen at WalMart. I go to either Price Chopper, Stop and Shop, or the IGA's.

I figure every little bit helps. We get the things we need, and these businesses stay in business and pay their employees.

This is pretty much what it takes to keep any economy going, stabilizing it to the point that jobs can be created. When that happens, then we've got more people going into the workforce that coming out and who in turn are able to do what I'm doing, which is helping a stagnant economy.

Except at times people like me on that fixed income might use a helping hand in terms of a break in the pricing of these goods and services.

I went to a local HealthTrax facility to see if I could join at a reasonable price that would not seriously jeopardize my budgeted monthly expenses and put it at risk.

This is a facility that once housed tennis courts and held local tennis matches. It is a facility that my late husband frequented quite often, playing in these matches, as well as playing in tournaments that built him a solid reputation as a tennis pro.

I think the match that he would always remember is the one he played during a yearly tournament called the Ralph Strong Tournament where he and his partner John played against Ralph Strong (84) and his partner (50's.)

Bob and John were still in their 30's. Both avid and capable players they ended up losing the match and afterward expressing the fact that Ralph was a very consistent player and very seldom missed the ball as it came over the net.

Although I myself never became a competitive player, I can still hit a forehand, backhand, and overhand and get the ball in the right spot.

Needless to say the faciilty held good memories until this past Tuesday when I decided to go and see what specials they had going. And they did have a special going, as well as an open house. My granddaughter accompanied me and was excited at the prospect of her grammie becoming a member. For an additional fee I would have been able to bring her during school vacations.

In an earlier post I think I related the fact I once belonged to Gold's and when my healthcare costs went up, I had to cut out that monthly expense of $37. In fact every year as my healthcare cost creep higher, I try to cut down on something else.

But with the way the economy is at this point, in the back of my mind I thought just maybe I could get a really good deal and pay less than the $37. But alas, instead the cost even paying ahead turned out to be $41 a month, so an increase. Fixed incomes don't really allow for these increases.

Still I thought maybe I could come home and mull it over, go over my budget figures, see what I might be able to make this work. I told the "salesperson" this. That day they were willing to waive a $30 fee if I signed up right then and there. She then tells me to wait a second while she checks with her boss to see if this was the best deal they can give me. She comes back and tells me that if I wait until Friday to give them an answer, then they would have to charge me the $30 fee. I'm thinking "hard ball tactics" which grates against my soul in a way that puts me immediately on the defense.

Do they not see that all this looks like is that I'm penalized for wanting to think this over rather than sign a contract for close to $600. Then they're telling me that some insurances will cover the whole costs. Unfortunately, my insurance doesn't although they are in some program called GlobalFit where a discount can be given anywhere from 10% to 60%. This I've been given, a whopping 10%. Still the monthly fee is $41.

Three days later the phone periodically rings and it is the health facility calling. I don't plan to answer and am looking into another facility where the rates are low, though they don't offer as much as this first one.

Still, for me it's a place to go where I can get fit and socialize. It doesn't have to have all the bells and whistles. And hopefully this one will fit into my tightening budget, because I'm sure with the way things are going in this nation, what with obesity dangerously on the rise, my healthcare costs will continue to soar and I will be paying that ER visit for someone who has not healthcare insurance, but loves and mindlessly indulges in all that fast food at McDonalds, Burger King, and Pizza Hut.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

One week with Sugar

Yep, it's one week today and yes it has been a bit of an adjustment period for both of us. The beginning of the week I found myself asking, "What the heck was I thinking?" A puppy is work. Every morning instead of coming straight to the computer, I now go straight to the family room and clean out her pen. She sits there and looks up at me, then shakes, jumps, and when I open the door wants to be picked up right away. Reminds me of the days when I took care of babies. Not much difference.

This morning a week later I went through the same routine, as well as washed her with a Quick Bath pad, ensuring I covered everything, and then I brushed her as well. I let her loose and she followed me from room to room. So of course I had to shuffle through the house as I continued to clean out my office, taking more time and getting less done.

Then I looked at her at one point and something came over me. I need to appreciate these "puppy" moments because like with my babies, they are fleeting and you find yourself wondering where all the time went. Of course tears came to my eyes as I picked her up and gave her a kiss and lots of hugs, and a few treats.

Stay in the moment, enjoy the present, and the rest will take care of itself. That's pretty much what I'm learning to do with Sugar. One day she's not going to be able to run like she did this morning, and may simply stay in her spot watching the world go by.

Meantime, she can run like the wind, and enjoy her puppyhood with me.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cleaning out my office today!

I finally took the plunge and am now starting to move things out, most of which are boxes of books that will eventually be shelved once I get the shelving installed in my office. But first I need to clear it out and to do that takes a bit of strategy on my part. I try to carry the boxes out and managed to do three until I felt a pain in my left lower back. Immediately I put the box down, and kept moving before everything froze up on me. I then took a long hot shower, applied some of the Tropicin cream and kept moving. I then carried small piles of books from a box in the office to the garage. It's the old "taking baby steps" trick that eventually gets the job done.

I found my mind can no longer work in a too clutter environment. There is organized clutter where I know where everything is. And there's the clutter that gets out of hand and is telling me, or practically shouting at me to do something.

And I pick this hot day in August to do it. The house is cool but the garage is up there with temps in the 90's. I give myself several days to get this stage completed. Then I'll wash the walls. Go to Home Depot or Lowes and look for the paint. I'm not sure what color...should it be striking like maybe a terracotta hue. Or more subdued and more in touch with what's on my living walls which is a stone gray color. I'm not sure. They have the small cans of paint you can bring home and try them out.

This room hasn't been touched in over 35 years so long over due. I still remember papering it with a striped blue, gray, and white paper. And I still remember the special blue rug, and blue checked bedspread. This was my older son's room. The last thing done to it actually was sandpapering the wood floor and putting a nice varnish on it. I remember that week my husband spent the time using a hand sander to do the job. Later that week he came with me to an RWA writers' conference in Natick, Ma. This was all during his school vacation, April 2002.

I had wanted someone to come in and do the sanding but you know how men can be when it comes to doing these types of projects. Why pay someone else when they can do it themselves.

It proved to be quite a project, with all that dust produced by the sander. The floor still looks pretty good and has held up over these last seven years.

Now I just have to get to moving out these boxes and make this the office that will help to inspire me to keep creating my stories.

It is late afternoon and still at this time somewhere inside me listens for his voice telling me he's home from school. Although during the summer months he would be coming up after giving a tennis lesson at the local golf club. And then we'd go out a grab a bite to eat. I'm sure this summer he would have all four grandkids on that tennis court teaching them everything he knew about the game.

Yes, life is pretty much taking baby steps and moving forward.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009