Writing 101 – The Great Switcheroo

In the beginning, there were a handful of blogs that caught my eye. In the beginning, I was, in a word, skeptical. After all, who in their right mind would create a virtual diary only to share their dirty laundry with anyone who had a computer. Who in their right mind would bother to read it?

But, like a good TV virtual reality show, ala Survivor, the Voice or the Amazing Race, I got sucked in. Really, I blame Creating Keepsakes, Simple Scrapbooks and their publishers. They did a stand up job of promoting these woman who made it all seem so easy.

Before I knew it, I was creating my own blog thanks to Typepad, one of the major blogging software companies at the time. A few clicks here and there and voila’, I too, was a bonafide blogger. The only difference was I didn’t have a gaggle of followers. But, hey, a girl can always dream.

What I did have were family and friends who took an interest in my little blog. And, at the very least, what I didn’t have were the mean followers who for some wacky reason felt the need to write mean and nasty comments on the blogs of the more successful bloggers. These meanies were known as “trolls” dressed in women’s clothing. After reading some of the riff raff that was written, troll was too kind a word. Some women are downright viscous. It makes me sad.

It’s crazy to think that I’ve been following some of these blogs I’ve been quietly following for over five years which apparently makes me a stalker…no, there’s another kinder word for it, but it’s slipped my mind. So when the prompt for today is to pick a blog, any blog for which I would like to switch, it should be an easy task, right?

Actually, if I don’t give it much thought, It is a very easy task. I would pull the switch with Miz Booshay.

I stumbled upon her blog thanks to the now extinct Photography section of The Pioneer Woman. If you are familiar with the mad writing skills of The Pioneer Woman, you’re probably astounded that I would choose Miz Booshay over Ree (aka the Pioneer Woman), but what can I say? I’m a simpler Debra now than I was two or three years ago and the simpler me goes with a simpler, but equally down to earth blog. And if the Pioneer Woman is a fan, than who can argue with that?

Other than that, why would I want to switch blogs with Miz Booshay?

  1. Her blog is updated on a consistent basis. You can count on her blog to be updated most weekdays around 8 or 9 am Central time unless she’s out of town or something special is going on.
  2. Her blog is full of love. Anyone who frequently uses phrases such as Love wins and Love you, mean it, is okay by me.
  3. There is such honesty in the way she writes.
  4. Her blog is full of positivity without being goody-goody.
  5. I love her red carpet reviews of the Oscar’s, Emmy’s and her movie & book reviews. She has a wonderful way of critiquing the stars without sounding mean. And she finds things to like that I missed.
  6. Her blog is filled with love. Did I say that already? That’s okau, because despite losses in her life that would cause others to stumble into a pile of bitterness, she chooses to be on team Love.
  7. I love the pictures she posts. They aren’t super flashy, but they are real, filled with loving, happy, true smiles.

I could go on, but (excuses, excuses) I’m tired. Looking forward to seeing what other blogs, for which participants in this exercise would like to pull the great switcheroo.

Goodnight!

<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/switcheroo/">Switcheroo</a>

Life is but a blur

It’s been almost a year since my journey of living with cancer took the inevitable turn. Easter Sunday 2014, I couldn’t ignore the pain anymore. My brother and his family came over for the holiday at which I mostly parked my hurting body on the oversized recliner. For the most part, I was able to smile through the pain with all the love that surrounded me, but after they left, the pain intensified.

Mom was resting on the sofa, while I softly prayed. I wasn’t sure what to do. Should I tough it out as I usually did or should I ask her to take me to the ER? I wasn’t convinced much would be accomplished there so what would be the point? A sharp throbbing pain reverberated through my back speaking volumes. By the end of a long night, I was admitted to the hospital where the RN’s assigned to my room, put down “Pain Control” as the go-forward plan.

Since that night, time has been mostly a blur. There has been progress and there has been set backs. There has been a kind emergency doctor with the most gentle bedside manner. I refer to him as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. If he had his way, I would have left this earth nine months ago.

For a time, I fought a good fight. Then I threw in the towel, begging my family and anyone who would listen to me to consider taking me to a respite home. Just for a few days, I would say, so mom can rest, too. But they wouldn’t listen. Instead they scolded and challenged me. Encouraged by their love and belief in me and driven by the support of my hospice team, I began to push myself.

While there is a lot I’m still unable to do on my own (and I mean A LOT), with God’s strength and faithfulness, my stamina is slowly building. I still hold on to hope. There are moments of clarity, but often times I feel I’m living in a dream. It makes it difficult to concentrate.

Mom has been fabulously supportive. I don’t know how she does this. She’s given up so much of her life to take care of me. She is often tethered at home as she doesn’t like to leave me for any length of time unless there is someone whowill be watching me. How do I even begin to thank her for all she does?

She is a big reason I fight every day. Fight to grow stronger. Fight to regain my independence. Fight to walk again. Fight to remain clear. With God holding my right hand, I know my dreams can come true. Life won’t remain a blur. 16839442750_2fd399e2b9_z

<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/blur/">Blur</a>

Writing 101 – Three Letter Words

Where do I begin? As quiet as a stealth bomber three letter words in today’s world,  dominate our conversation, including written communication. It used to be that books offered a much more mature vocabulary. While there is still much focus on reading, quality of language is undoubtly dumbed down .

Several years ago, I went online to purchase my daughter books I loved as a child. Reading at that time didn’t rank high on things my daughter liked to do; however that didn’t burst my confidence that these books would pique my daughter’s interest.

A huge favorite of mine, called “Up a Road Slowly”, told a tale of a young girl named Julie growing up with a distant relative after Julie’s mother’s death . My best friend, Laura and I devoured every word, reading it repeatedly.

I didn’t realize then that there were more than simple words throughout each page. They contained sophisticated vocabulary words. Advanced vocabulary words weren’t limited to that book. We found advanced vocabulary words were routinely in other children’s books written around that time period such as Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.

It saddens me that we’ve seemed to have dumbed down expectations. I don’t blame texting because this lower expectation took place before texting became prevalent.

So do I blame three letter words? No. Would I like us to figure a means to improve vocabulary? Absolutely. This post, however, is in response to a challenge to write a whole article without a three letter word. Should I be dinged because a book I referenced contains a three letter word? Without a doubt. Is it possible there is another three letter word written above? Probably so.

<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/three-letter-words/">Three Letter Words</a>

Writing 101 – It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World

I admit it, I often hide behind the veneer of text messaging. I’ve always been terrible at picking up the phone, fearful that I would run out of things to talk about while at the same time unable to find a socially acceptable reason to end the call gracefully. And since I don’t handle rejection very well, asking for a favor over the phone is even more difficult for me. Anyone waiting for a return call from me, best not be standing by the phone. They may be there for a long while.

My first fear, running out of things to say, likely come from my elementary years. During this time, we moved approximately every two years. From Puerto Rico to Illinois to Delaware and just for good measure, every once in a while we would return back to our home state of California to shake the dust off our feet. Traveling was a novelty for our family and sometimes mom and pop would take pity upon us and allow us to call our cousin long distance.

For the first minute or two, the call was fraught with excitement as we said our hello’s and obligatory, how are you’s. After which we had very little to say and the line would be quiet for minutes on end, each of waiting for the other to come up with a topic of intereat that might ignite the call. It never came. Somehow the call would mercifully end and in time, I came to dread having a receiver handed over to me unless it’s my sister who had a wonderful knack for keeping a conversation going.

Second, I love text messaging in that I can put out a question or request to one or more of my contacts and wait for a response like a grown-up. Just this morning I sent two such text messages, the first to my dad making sure he was still planning on taking me to my doctor’s appointment. The second was to a cousin asking if she would be able to join me to our Good Friday service. With a text message, the responder won’t hear the disappointment in my voice nor see the crestfallen look upon my face if they aren’t able to say yes.

I communicate a lot more with certain loved ones now that we all regularly use text messaging. Is it a perfect medium? No. Don’t get me started about the little keyboard which makes clean typing impossible. Then there’s the lost art of quality letter-writing. If you don’t know what I mean by this, check out Ken Burn’s “Civil War” and read some of the letter’s that are quoted.  If you do, you’ll know what I mean. The words that flow from the paper emote such visual effects and feelings, I can close my eyes and it’s like I’m there back in time. I don’t want the moment to end.

Many of the writers had such passion. I love how the men and women wouldn’t hold back. Added to this is the beauty of having the verbiage on parchment paper in the writer’s handwriting, each a unique style of its own. Mom and I were talking about how letter writing was not only becoming a dying art, but that we are losing out because most of us don’t bother printing text or email messages. Why bother? They don’t have the quality of a true handwritten card or letter.

I think about the wooden chest I have in the garage filled with correspondence. They speak to my heart. There’s the letter from my uncle who wrote to us when we lived in Brazil asking if I was still a little roly poly (what can I say, I was a round albeit cute baby). And there are the countless birthday and random cards from my grandmother who rarely failed to include scripture at the end that she felt compelled to share. Then there are the letters I wrote to my best friend in High School that she gave back to me when we returned to the states after two years in Iran. We wrote to each other faithfully for over six-months promising that we would give each other our letters back once both our families got home.

It makes me sad that our children and our children’s children will likely miss this medium in exchange for the pros of text/email messaging.

<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/its-a-text-text-text-text-world/">It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World</a>

 

Writing 101 – Fool Me Once

Fool me once, fool me twice, fool me once again, it’s been a long, long time.

Today begins the journey of responding to daily prompts for the next 30-days in an effort to get my writing off the blocks and put an end to the dry-spell I’ve been having since my last set back over a month ago. Wouldn’t you know, the prompt is less than inspiring to me. I’m determined, however, not to let this stop me. As Louis L’Amour whispered to me yesterday, I needed to simply start writing, no matter what.

This is my no matter what.

There is a song from the 1940’s that went like this

Kiss me once, then kiss me twice
Then kiss me once again.
It’s been a long, long time.
Haven’t felt like this, my dear
Since I can’t remember when.
It’s been a long, long time.

When I first saw the prompt, it reminded me of the lyrics from the song. It keeps playing over and over again in my mind. The prompt asks us to publish a post that gently pranks my readers. Readers? What readers? Really, I’ve got nothing. I’ve never ever been good at practical jokes, better known as pranks. What’s a practical joke anyway and what good is it when it’s done on the first of April when everyone is waiting for it?

Just once in my life did I pull a prank. It was not a good one nor was it practical. The moment it was put into action, a bad feeling came over me and I tried to pull the plan back. It was too late.

We were living in Iran at the time. My sister was a senior in high school and I was a sophomore. We were walking home from a friend’s house at the little American community at which we lived. Our friend lived on one side of the community and we lived on the other side which was probably six or seven blocks away. As we walked home, a plan began to hatch.

It sounded funny at the time. It was probably my idea, as I was the stupid one. How I got Eliz to agree with me, if this were the case, I don’t know because she was usually much smarter than me that. Somehow we thought it would be funny if we told mom that I got hit by a car. Eliz would run ahead of me and break the news to mom. I would follow a few minutes behind and shout “April Fool’s”. We would all break into laughter and then enjoy a delicious snack before dad got home.

What were we thinking?

Eliz had no sooner took off running, disappearing from sight when a bad feeling came over me. Perhaps we were tempting fate. I certainly didn’t want to get hit by a car so perhaps it would be best if I hightailed it to the house and get in the front door as quickly as possible. I began to run to the house at record pace.

By this time, Eliz had burst into the house breathless from her own run home. Mom was in the kitchen making dinner when Eliz made her appearance, exclaiming “mom, mom! Debra got hit by a car”. There was no hesitation on mom’s part. She dropped what she was doing and ran out the door full steam ahead.

As much as Eliz wanted to stop the act, it was too late. Mom was in action and in her concern was much too fast for Eliz to stop her. She was left in mom’s dust, trying to keep up unable to get the words “April Fool’s” out. The whole thing was like a freight train out of control and we were about to hit head on.

From the moment I saw mom with a wild look of fear in her eyes, I knew we were doomed. Confusion crossed her face as she tried to process the scene. “April Fool’s!”, I lamely said. What else could I do? I watched as mom waffled between relieve and anger. All the while as she was running toward the accident scene, a million thoughts ran through her mind. Hospital and ER conditions here were quite different than the US. What if they needed to airlift me back home? How badly was I hurt?

Now that she saw I was okay and that this was just the meanest, thoughtless April Fool’s joke ever, she was ready to hurt us herself. I wouldn’t have blamed her. There were not enough apologies possible to make up for the errors of our way. From that moment on, playing an April Fool’s joke never seemed like the right thing to do.

Ironically, just over a decade later, shortly after my son cycled off to school, I received a frantic call from his ex-babysitter telling me that my son had been hit by a car. It was no joke, though thankfully, a broken arm and face abrasions were the major extent of his injuries. I felt so blessed. Blessed that God had watched over my son. Blessed that his life was spared. Blessed that I would have my son tucked in his bed that night.

Later that night I thought about that day so long ago and what we put mom through even if it only lasted for less than 15-minutes. Never again. Never again.7271660904_7c3f44c281_z

Fool Me Once

Writing 101 – Time Will Tell

There has been so much inspiration in my life over the past month. It has come in the form of a quote, a movie, an email or call from a loved one or acquaintance. Each time I’m convinced this will be the kick in the pants I need to get myself moving in the right direction. After all, there has been, confirmation from various sources encouraging me to travel down the same road which makes me believe much of this comes with God’s blessing.

Why then has writer’s and creativity block hounded me during all this time? Every day I think about writing. Then each night I go to bed unfulfilled because the well has been dry. I don’t know who is experiencing the bigger drought, the state of California or the state of Debra’s mind.

This I do know. Something has to be done to get this going again. This morning I sat at the kitchen table, my mind in a haze. Most days it’s hard to concentrate. I often feel that I’m in the midst of a dream and some days are worse than others. Today on a scale of 1-10, 10 being worse, it was a five. Somewhere in the middle of the day, the fog lifted and now just past midnight, my mind is suddenly clear and I’m not sure what to do with it.

I struggle with the thought of going to sleep because I don’t want this feeling to end, I’ve waited for it too long. Yet, I’ve been sitting here for the last 30-minutes trying to think of something, anything, to write about, culling through my pictures, hoping and praying that something I see will ignite that spark that keeps tugging at me.

Nothing. Then I opened my blog bookmarks and click on the following link that I haven’t clicked on since I added the URL to my bookmarks. It’s called Where Would We Be Without Words.

The eighth quote kicked me in the pants. Thankfully, my bottom isn’t where the brain freeze is located, even if there are some of you out there who would disagree. The quote is from Louis L’Amour. If you’re not familiar with him, he’s an author with numerous western novels to his credit. The quote is as follows:

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.
Louis L’Amour
It’s obvious…in order to break this block, I’ve got to start chopping away at it. The only way to do it is to write. Write every day, even if I’m writing garbage about nothing which explains the drabble above that you’ve had to put up with. That should be easy. Still I just sat here, my head bobbing fighting the urge to drop off to dreamland.
After a long and unproductive 30 minutes had passed, I wandered to my wordpress page and found a post indicating that in April, there would be another Writing 101 course. If you’re experiencing the same problem and are interested in learning more and joining along, go here for the nitty gritty.
Just a disclaimer…historically I stink at the daily prompt thing. Doesn’t matter if it’s a writing prompt or photo prompt. I generally start off pretty quickly off the blocks and die off just as quickly before I get to the finish line. The ironic thing is that a long time ago, our CEO asked the management team to give him a list of two or three flaws we believed we had as a company that was impacting our client satisfaction.
Having just “finished” a large project, I had plenty for which to write. My first observation resonated with the CEO because he would often bring this up during our townhall meetings. It went something like this, “Often we mistake seeing the finish line with crossing the finish line.” At the time, there was a lot of truth to my statement which is why I believe it spoke to him the way it did.
What he didn’t know was that when I made this observation, I was including myself as a culprit of this bad habit. So we’ll see what happens. I may just write every day. It may start off as horrible as this drabble and get better. It may never get better. It may just be another failed attempt in which I’m lucky if I write at least once a week. It may be just the kick in the pants that I need to get going again.
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Time will tell. Time will tell.

Where have all the bloggers gone?

For years I was a faithful blogger reader. If you blogged on a consistent basis and there was a quality or substance that caught my heart, it would be promptly added to my bookmarks and devoured along with my Danish and coffee every morning.

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i must have been a little late to the party because shortly after I discovered the big bad, wonderful world of blogging, Yahoo and other internet sources began writing about the demise of blogs. The way I looked at it, it was more like the survival of the fittest for it seemed to me the best blogs continued to update their blogs on a regular basis even though it did appear that the number of readers adding comments had undeniably dropped.

Still, my mornings would begin with my cup of coffee while reading my favorite blogs which by then had taken a higher place than reading the morning paper. Our family was still stuck in the land before time scooping up the morning paper from the driveway every morning so this was a major change in my routine.

Last year, however, there was a noticeable increase in bloggers questioning their commitment to continue to maintain their blogs. I found the whole thing rather irritating as it seemed to me that many of the bloggers were on a “me too” roll, which was likely how they began blogging in the first place.

Right about this time my blog writing Begun to hit its stride. I tarried on hoping that I could pick up the audience looking for something to fill the hole the other bloggers were leaving. Their loss would be my gain. Or so I dreamt.

Just as I was gaining momentum, I was hit with three different medical set backs. I couldn’t focus, couldn’t write, couldn’t take photos, couldn’t read. The room would spin uncontrollably or I couldn’t stay awake long enough to write anything.

During this time, I not only lost the habit of writing, but of reading my blogs, too. Now I’m in the process of reconnecting with “my” blogs, many of which either faded quietly into the light  while I was absent or had bid everyone a fond farewell. The ones that really broke my heart were the collaboration blogs, hosted by a bevy of talented, inspiring women. Still, I haven’t been able to pull up my bootstraps and get to serious work. While, I know it’s hcoming (yes, it is, I know it is), the sooner I can get back to it, the better it will be. Today, I found that there are a constiuancy of women who have started a new collaboration called “view finder”. Perhaps it will be the kick in the pants I need to get going, but I’m not counting on it.

p It feels good to know there are still a fair number of bloggers who have not jumped off the band wagon. Time will tell if there are still readers out there who haven’to given up on the writers. I haven’t given up on the whole thing and I hope anyone reading (if anyone is reading this) hasn’t either.

Time will tell…