Thursday, June 30, 2016

One Hundred Days…30 Days In

Where did June go? I had such a crappy month of May that I was terribly glad to see it go bye-bye and couldn’t wait for June to come rolling in.

I had big plans.

Really big plans.

You can scroll back to the beginning of the month and see what I’m talking about —I wrote several posts about it—but, basically, I’m calling this my summer of discontent and shaking things up a bit.

What I wanted to accomplish most was a summer of writing. I want to write 100K words in 100 days. I know, right? Who has time for that?

Last November, I participated in and completed NaNoWriMo which is National Novel Writing Month where you write a novel in 30 days of 50K words or more. I didn’t write a complete novel—because my novels are going to be longer than that—but I did write 50K words, which I still feel is a fantastic accomplishment.

The words I wrote are part of the current novel I am working on and is book two in a series of three fantasy adventure novels for people my age (49) and older. My motto is why let the kids have all of the fun, us grownups still have an imagination, although we might have to dig a little deeper to find it.

I’m nearing the finish line of this book but I’m finding the more I write in it the more characters and events I want to add which can be a really bad thing. The main themes and plot can become convoluted and bogged down so I am trying to rein myself in and write the last few (many) words.

Another positive aspect of these last thirty days is that I have discovered that the more I write every day, consecutively, in a row, the more I look forward to doing it. I read somewhere that a habit takes 21 days or maybe 28, to become a habit, so maybe that is what is going on.

Every day, I’m looking forward to opening the laptop and putting words on the page. But it hasn’t been without its challenges. The first ten days of the challenge were spent driving back and forth between my house and my mom’s because I’ve been getting my bathroom updated. It should have been a four-day project but things happen so you just gotta go with the flow. 

Literally. The crew performing the remodel hit the wrong pipe and sent water spewing all over the bathroom. Luckily, I wasn’t there at the time, I just stepped in the leftover evidence early the next day. Thankfully, after two weeks the job was completed and I could have moved back home with the cats. However, two of my three air conditioner window units have now gone on the fritz and it’s summertime in the deep south. I only like to sweat in certain situations and usually not in my own home so I decided to stay at mom’s house for the foreseeable future or at least until the cats want to go home.

One of the other things I have been working on is keeping a journal chronicling my days as I write my way through this summer. I’ve never been one to keep a record of my daily life, but lots of my friends do, (Hi Gina! Buy her book!) so it’s something new for me. I titled the file “100 Days” on my Hello Kitty flash drive (that’s the storage device I’ve been using for all of my important stuff since last year’s virus wiped everything out) and the earlier posts that I wrote in the month about my 100-day journey were there too, and they were titled “One Hundred Days” so imagine my surprise on June 18, when I went to open the file and it wouldn’t open. 

The only thing it said was FILE CORRUPTED. 

Both of those files—same name—sorta, but completely different content. I was less than pleased. I spent an entire day trying to fix it, but to no avail. I’ve accepted the losses and moved on. Thankfully, my manuscripts weren’t corrupted--those were the only two-- but I have discovered “the cloud” and have said goodbye to Hello Kitty. You can kiss my grits!

Besides writing 1000 words every day, I have incorporated 30 minutes of walking into my daily routine. It’s become like the writing—a habit, and I find myself looking (Can't believe I said that!) forward to it each morning. And I somehow managed to lose six pounds this month (I know, hard to believe, hell must have frozen over and pigs are flying all over the world).

So that’s what I’ve been doing. As of this blog post, I’ve met my goal for June and have written 30K words in 30 days. Only 70 days to go, and yes, I am counting, every single word and loving every minute of it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Inadvertent Touching

Recently, I went back to my new hairdresser, P, to get a touch up on my newly fabulous hairdo that I've been sporting. I learned my lesson about going on Wednesday, thus avoiding the fumes that arose from the all-you-can-eat extrema burrito fiesta.

I believe it was on a Tuesday afternoon and the salon was hopping. It turned out that P had started teaching a class at the local community college and on that particular day he was teaching the new students in his salon. When he saw me at the front counter, he threw up a hand in greeting and squealed, "GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG, Hola`, chica. My goodness, what has happened to your coif? P did such a fabulous job on you last time."

"Hola`, right back at ya'll. That's why I'm here; the gray is coming back fast."

"Oh, chica, what is ya'll? It is just me, P. Anyway, you have come on good day. I am showing these P wannabes how to become a stud in the world of beauty and salon. Come sit here."

And with that I was led to the first chair and then immediately surrounded by a gaggle of cackling old bitties, three young wide-eyed teenagers and one young ex-Marine with a "I love doing hair" tattoo on his left bicep that greeted me with a wide grin and a strong nod. "Howdy, ma'am!" he said.

Over the next few minutes or so I listened somewhat stoically as my favorite hairdresser launched into the story of our first meeting and of our mutual agreement that my hair was a complete disaster. I was a perfect example of what not to do if you wanted to do your own hair or were too cheap (or broke) to go to a professional salon. "Come closer," he said to the class as he whipped out an iPhone from his fanny pack. "This is chica before and this is chica after P has finished with her. See the difference of what a professional can do?" he said.

"Hey, I didn't know you had taken my picture," I said.

"Oh, bambino, you were too worried about my burritos and my snake. You wanna see it again?"

"Wait a minute," one old bitty said. "I don't wanna see ya 'all's snake. What kind of place you runnin' here? Honey, have you seen his snake before?" she said as she edged closer to the chair and nudged me slightly.


"Whaddya' sayin?" she said and nudged me again.

I wasn't sure what I was nudged with the first time, but I became acutely aware of what it was the second: her boob. They were big and large and were laying straight out, almost in an upward direction. At least she had on a good bra I thought to myself...

...Yeah, she must have a really good bra on to keep those things up like that, I thought to myself. I was thinking about asking her where she did her undergarment shopping when I got nudged again. Stop touching me!

Now, I'm really a patient person and fairly easy-going but there is one thing that drives me absolutely bananas and that is being touched by someone's body part when it is not supposed to be there, if you know what I mean. For that matter, I really don't like being touched at all unless I know its coming.

I've been that way my whole life. I can remember battles with Sister over control over the best end of the couch and rides in the backseat of the family car, stuck in the middle between Brother and Sister riding on the hump, hoping that neither would reach over and pinch, touch or even acknowledge that I was there. "Mom, Sister touched me," I would moan or "Mom, Brother keeps calling me Froggy," which would then result in either a headlock and a noogie or a flick of my ear.

I'm not sure which hurt worse.

Pedro gathered all of his students around him as he prepared the coloring mixture for my hair. "You must be very careful when mixing chemicals. You don't want to turn your client's hair green or blow somebody up. Hee Hee. All measurements must be exact and precise."

The group watched in fascination as P measured this and mixed up that, and finally finished with a flourish. "Bueno! It is finished. Come. Now, let us turn, chica, into a beauty once more."

The crowd gathered around me in anticipation, with Miss Triple Ds in the back row trying to see around the ex-Marine and a tall blond with even taller hair. "Mr. P, I can't see nothing from back here. Can I move up front?" she asked.

"Oh, yes. Make way for Dolly up front," he said.

"My name's not Dolly," she said.

"Oh, I am sorry, chica. You are all so new and P has not had time to learn your names, but it is because you look like Dolly, that I call you Dolly," he explained.

As she moved from the front to the back, nudging me in the process, she took her place behind the teacher and waited for him to begin. P turned around with chemical in hand and ran smack into the large, upturned chest that had been repositioned behind him. "Mos Dios! Aye, yigh, yigh!" he exclaimed as the mixture sailed out of his hand and onto the plastic cape that was draped over me. "Oh, chica, P is terribly sorry. Dolly, where did those boobies come from?" he asked.

"Oh, my goodness. What a hot mess this is. I am so sorry, bebe, but I have the super duty heavy plastic cape and it shouldn't leak through it. Even if it does, that shirt you have on does not suit you anyway."

I was too surprised to say or do anything except look in the direction of where the mixture had been tossed from. Somehow, I wasn't too surprised when I felt a now all too familiar nudge as the large-breasted lady busied herself with trying to clean up the hot mess that was splashed across my chest.

Nudge. Stop it!

I continued to sit in silence as Dolly and P now took turns dabbing at the spill on my chest. Dolly had grabbed the towel that was wrapped around my neck under the plastic cape and P had whipped out a few moist towelettes from his fanny pack. Meanwhile, Sgt. Hair had worked his way through the crowd of stunned onlookers and now stood off to my right side, almost out of my vision. "Mister P," he said in a heavy southern accent. "I've got some more towels here, if you need 'em? All ya'll look like you done a fine job of cleaning her up, if you ask me."

Pedro looked at the ex-soldier and smiled broadly. "Thank you, Sarge, but I think we have it all cleaned up now."

My hairdresser removed the soiled cape from me and began searching for a new getup to replace it. "Does anyone have a clean towel for chica's pretty neck?" he said with an extra ounce of sauciness.

"I do," said Sgt. Hair.

"Oh, good! Come and I will let you be the first student to place the cape and towel."

I smiled up at the ex-Marine with the cool tattoo and strong jawline and caught his smile as he leaned over my body to place the towel around my neck. Nudge. Holy Crap! Here we go again.

"Nice job!" said P. "Now for the cape. Make sure you do it with a flourish. It is all part of the experience, you see."

P handed over the new plastic cape to Sgt. Hair who now had moved in around behind me. I felt another nudge and then a whoosh as the cape sailed up and over and settled perfectly upon me. "Terrific!" said Pedro. "Class, don't you think Sarge did an excellent job?"

The crowd murmured in agreement with "Yes, great job" and "Awesome" and "I wanna try". Sarge remained standing behind me soaking up all the attention, while edging closer and even still closer to the back of my chair. Nudge.

Nudge. "Great job!" said Dolly.

"Will ya'll stop touching me?" I said in exasperation.

"What is wrong, chica? Who is touching you?"

"Well, Dolly there has been beating the hell out of me with her boobs, nudging me every time she comes within three feet. And Sarge here has proven that he's carrying more than a loaded weapon and might just be happy to see me."

"Thanks, ma'am," said Sarge with a flip of his hair and a tug of his groin. "I am enjoying being amongst ya'll and I do apologize if 'Lil Sarge offended you in any way."

I was trying to recover from the 'Lil Sarge comment when I heard sniffling beside me. "Oh my, I am so sorry, being large-breasted has hurt me my whole life," said Dolly. "I thought I could do hair without 'em being in the way, but I was wrong," she said with a sad sigh.

"Oh, Dolly, it is okay," said my hairdresser. "We have just gotten starting in our training. I was so excited when I saw G walk in today that I forgot a first basic step in hairdressing, and that is where to place your junk. In my case, it is where to place my snake without offending the customer; that is why I wear a fanny pack. See, watch? I can nudge chica all I want and it will not bother her," said P as he nudged my chair with his fanny pack.

"But what about me? I don't have a snake and I think I would need a burlap sack to cover up my girls," said Dolly.

"Hmm, yes, you are a challenge but I think I have the answer. Your girls are very pretty and are standing upright, but I think we must get back to nature. You must free them and let them hang the way God wanted them to be."

With that, my hairdresser walked into the back part of the salon and came out with an armload of new smocks for the girls and a leather fanny pack for Sarge. "Here you go everyone. Please put on your new accessories and let's practice not touching our client. You don't mind, do you, chica? I give you half price."

"Go right ahead. For half price, you can touch me all you want," I said. Soon, I settled into a half-sleep state as I tuned out the activity around me. I received a few nudges, one more visit from 'Lil Sarge and then there was nothing. I sensed the activity around me and felt the hands in my hair but I was no longer being knocked around by the various out of control body parts that had tortured me earlier.

"Very good, Dolly!" I heard P say as I became more alert. "You have done a fabulous job."

Dolly handed me the mirror nervously and I glanced at my reflection. My hair looked fabulous. "It looks great, Dolly!" I said. "And I didn't feel a nudge or anything. I think you found your calling."

Dolly had done a good job and other than the sight of seeing her braless chest as she removed her smock, I was quite pleased with the way everything had turned out. I finished settling my bill and exchanging pleasantries with P when I noticed Sarge giving Dolly the eye. "I love the way you did her hair, Dolly," he said as he continued looking at her chest. "You wanna go get a latte?"

Her answer was a wide smile and a nod of her head and I heard P giggling behind me. "Oh, chica, I think I let Dolly's girls go and they have captured Sarge's heart. Such is life at the hair salon. You be good and I will see you in six weeks!"

Friday, June 24, 2016

Should Your Hairdresser Really Be Eating Mexican Food?

I've mentioned a few times in the past about my difficulties getting a decent haircut. I've lived in Georgia for 25 years and I've never had a regular stylist--one who knew what I wanted without me--a complete idiot when it comes to such things--having to explain it all. Yes, I DO want my hair stylist to read my mind.

Anyhow, I've become friendly with the nice lady that works the drive-thru where I do my banking and I noticed that she had a sassy new haircut. "Who does your hair?" I asked.

"Well, he's a new guy at that Hollywood place right beside the Mexican restaurant. He's from California or somewhere, I have no idea how he made it all the way to North Georgia but he sure has my hair lookin' good, don't you think?"

"Yep, sure does. That's why I asked. I can't seem to get a good haircut in this town."
"Me either. Did you ever get that Edward Scissorshand lady up at that quick-cutting place?"

"Holy Crap! She 'bout took my ear off one day. I stopped going there after they scalped me on my birthday. I had to go to Savannah looking like a fresh-faced recruit headed for eight weeks of boot camp. A different lady cut it that time and she even admitted she cut it too short. I was so mad I made myself cry; I hate it when I do that."

"You poor thing. Well, check him out, just" I didn't hear the first part of what she said because another car had pulled up behind me so I drove off with a jovial wave of my hand...

...A few days later after another unsuccessful attempt at fixing my hair I decided to go to the Hollywood place and check out the guy from California. I was worried about having an appointment or having to wait a long time; I guess that's why I don't have a regular stylist because I don't like to do those things.

I walked into the salon, the music was pumping and the place was decked out with faux head models wearing every flavor and size of wig, hair extension and several headpieces that involved various fruits and feathers. MA Fat Woman--you ain't in North Georgia no more, I thought to myself. As I stood with mouth agape staring at one particular headpiece that seemed to sway with the rhythm of the music a snappily-dressed Hispanic man munching on tortilla chips came out from the back. "Hola', you like hair sculptures?" he said with a sweep of his hand.

"Uh, sure. That one seems to be moving, though," I said.

"Oh, yes, si! That is new design; very nice. You want? Good price!"

"You mean somebody's gonna pay to have you put that on their head? How much?"

"For you, cheap price. Only 75. Today is good day, too. We not so busy on Wednesday," he continued in his broken accent.

"You mean for $75, you'll attach a basket of fruit to my head and somehow get it to dance. It sounds like fun, but I was just looking for a haircut."

"Hehehehheh, oooohh, Chiquita, you make me laugh, not $75! It's $7500!
"Oh. Not to hurt your feelings or nothin', but I don't think ya'll is going to sell many of those in this town."

"What is ya'll? There is no one else, only me. I am Chucko Pedro Santa Rosa Hose Munoz from California."

"That's some name..."

"Gracias, but people call me..."

"Wait! I bet they call you Pedro?"

"No, Chica. But you are close. They call me 'P'."

"Well, that's some coincidence. I'm called 'G' and I'm from Ohio."

"Ah, Ha! High in the middle and round on both ends. You like Bengals? Carson Palmer was one of my first customers."

"What's that smell?" I asked...

...As Pedro launched into a full-blown Telenovela about the time he spent in California and the one that got away (a former Bengals quarterback) he escorted me over to his salon chair and offered me a seat. "You are lucky today, Chiquita. P normally has a three month waiting list. I am always free on Wednesday, but nobody ever wants to come in on that day."

"What's that smell?" I asked again.

P ignored my question, threw the smock over me, then twirled me a round with a flourish. "Hmmmm, what are we going to do with you?" he said more to himself than me. "You sure you don't want hair sculpture. I can make you look like Snooki."

"I'm a little too tall to be confused with Snooki, don't you think?"

"Oh, is she short? I was talking about her boobies. Bebe, you got the big D's like she does. You got the nice body, why you hide it under big t-shirts? Don't be afraid to let it all hang out? You wanna see my snake?"

Pedro continued to tilt my head from side to side murmuring to himself in Spanish. I was still in shock from the snake suggestion and my nose kept twitching from some smell that I couldn't quite identify. "Do you smell something?" I asked.

This question was asked to no one because P had slipped away into the back room and after a few minutes came out with a burrito in one hand and a roll of aluminum foil in the other. "We color!" he said as he took a large bite of the burrito and placed it on the stand.

As P continued to get the coloring equipment set up, the smell of the food started drifting toward me. It smelled just like the horrible stench that I had been smelling since I entered the salon. Could the smell from the burritos be drifting all the way from the back?

BBBBBBrrrrppppp, rip, ripp, pow "Perdone," I heard from the back...

As I sat slouching in the barber chair totally inundated with the toxic, but not quite deadly combinations of refried beans and coal-tar petroleum hair dye I heard another volley fired off near the vicinity of where I had last seen P.

Papappapow. Snap. "Ooooh!" Pedro exclaimed. "Perdone! Excuszi! My Gawd, P, what have you been eating?" he chuckled to himself.

I sat in stunned silence. What should I say? What could I say? Should I laugh it off? Should I ignore it? Pedro walked over with the coloring mixture, grabbed another bite of the burrito and began the task of wrapping my hair in foil and applying the goop. When in doubt, do nothing is a motto that had helped me in the past and that is what I did now; absolutely nothing. As Herr Shultz would say: I see NOTHING! I know NOTHING!

Soon my new hairdresser settled into a routine. While humming the Hispanic version of We Are The World to himself complete with dead-on impressions of the different voices...i.e...Bob Dylan, The Boss and Michael Jackson I soon found myself join in. "Oh, Chiquita, can you sing the girly voices for me? I didn't wear the tight pants I need to go high."

"Weeeeellllll, well, well, there's a choice we're making. We're saving our own lives." I sang in my best Cyndi Lauper voice while P chimed in with a silky falsetto that would have made Barry Gibb proud. PPPPPaaaappapp. Snap "Holy Crap, P! You're killing me with the gas!"

For a few moments as the green cloud spawned from P's flatulence floated around and fell down upon me I soon realized that what I was smelling was the end result of my hairdresser's Mexican food binge. I mean, really, should a hairdresser really be eating Mexican food? No wonder there wasn't anyone here today.

Before too long, P had finished wrapping and applying the color mixture and announced, "we wait", set the timer and said, "I'll be right back" and walked outside. I began to wonder if I might have made him mad because he seemed a bit subdued. As I worked my way through an out of date hair style magazine I was surprised to see Pedro walk back into the salon with an overflowing bag of what turned out to be more Mexican burritos. "Wednesday is all-you-can-eat burrito day," he said to my surprised look. "Would you like one?"

Oh, really! Now, everything made sense. No wonder nobody came on Wednesdays. Who could stand the stench? For the next hour or so as P finished up my new hairdo (which turned out great) we continued to chat and munch on our burritos and it wasn't too long before I felt a rumbling in my gut. Poot!

"Awwww, Chiquita! I like you a lot. There is nothing wrong with the passing of the gas. It is a natural thing. I told you, P lets everything hang out. I have something special for you. Do you want to see my snake?"

"Uhhh!" And just like that, Pedro whipped off his shirt and showed me the coiled cobra that adorned the full-length of his back. Now, I'm not really into snakes or tattoos but I knew when something needed to be said to acknowledge such a fine piece of work. "Cool beans!" is all I could muster.

"Oh, Bebe, thank you! There is no better honor than a 'cool beans'. Most people scream and hide their eyes when I offer to show them my snake. For you, half price on today's treatment and I'll schedule you for another Wednesday in three months for a touch up and more burritos."

"Uh, thanks!" (Hey, you can't turn down 50% off, especially in this economy.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Top Ten Things To Do During The First Heat Wave Of The Summer

Here's another top ten list for your enjoyment:

What are the top ten things to do during the first heat wave of the season?

10. Complain to all your friends on Facebook about how hot it is?

9. Step outside to get a closer look at the thermometer to be sure it actually says 102 degrees at 11:00 AM---in the shade.

8. Confirm that it actually is 102 degrees in the shade with 75% humidity and begin the day with another nasty case of swamp ass. (Sweating of the loins.)

7. Stay indoors! (Nope, can't do that. It's hotter inside than it is outside.)

6. Plan a road trip to audition for a television game show. (I'll let you know how that turns out.)

5. Change clothes for the 5th time because it's too hot to do anything inside either; those chores will just have to wait.

4. Stare at window air conditioning units and wonder just how high the power bill is going to be this summer.

3. Sit and sweat as you look at the window air conditioning units that are now turned off since the power bill was over $300.

2. Have some ice cream while typing out a top ten list about things to do during the first heat wave of the season.

1. Move to your mother's house for a few days; she has central air!

Stay cool!

Monday, June 13, 2016

One Hundred Days...Thirteen Days In...Part III

In early May, another idea began to form in my mind. I needed another push to propel me forward in my writing. I’ve just recently returned from Dayton, Ohio, where once again I participated in the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop where writers of all genres, not just humor, gather to celebrate the life of the late Erma Bombeck at her alma mater, The University of Dayton. It was a grand time and I wrote about it in this post.

One of the many highlights of the conference was spending time with my friend, the brilliant Gina Barreca, and being in the presence of someone who definitely brings out the best in others. If you ever get the opportunity to hear her speak, do it, because you’ll leave with more than just a new best friend—you’ll leave exhausted from the camaraderie you feel around her, the inclusiveness and support of someone that has done what you’re trying to do and the message that it’s okay to speak up, to be heard and to make trouble.

The idea that I came up with was what if I could do another version of the NaNoWriMo, but this time do it during the summer months. I can recall seeing an ad somewhere about a hundred days (more or less) of summer and all of the activities that one could do. Why couldn’t I write every day? After a few days of thought I came up with the idea of writing 100k words in 100 days. It’s fairly simple mathematically to figure it out—it’s a thousand words a day for 100 days.

The hardest part was figuring out a day to begin. I kept putting it off and finally settled on June 1. June, July, August and a few days in September—sounds like a fun summer to me. Most people take the summer off but not me, I’m calling this the summer of my discontent and there are certain things I want to accomplish other than just kick back and relax. (Plus, I’m turning 50 on my birthday next year and there have always been certain things that I wanted to have accomplished by then and I seem to have fallen behind in the last ten years.)

The main thing I want to accomplish during this summer of writing is to finish my second novel and be nearing the finish line on my third to wrap up the trilogy. Doable? I hope so, because that’s what my plan is—and sometimes, the hardest part for me is just coming up with the plan.

The first few days of my journey have been a challenge. I started out the month in Savannah where I had time by myself to get started on the writing but spent two full days in the car trying to get through Atlanta traffic. After returning from there, the plans were put in motion to do work on the bathroom so I would need to bring the cats up to my Mom’s house for the duration. The man said it would only take about four days to redo the bathroom and we are already on the eighth day. 

I’ve made several trips back to my house to see if I could be of any assistance (to make sure he knew what he was doing and wasn’t stealing anything) but after the fourth trip I showed him where the key was and to be sure and turn the lights off when he leaves for the day. The goal is to be finished sometime in the next few days, but I'm not holding my breath about it. Besides, I’m not really in that big of a hurry to go back to my house because Mom has central air (I don’t) and the cats (me too) love it.

So welcome to my summer of discontent. Not only do I want to write 100K words in a hundred days, but I also plan on having 30 minutes of daily activity and eating better, which I hope, will help me lose 20 pounds.

I’ll be checking in throughout the summer to let you know how I am doing and if you would like to start your own one-hundred-day challenge—whatever it may be—feel free to leave a comment or you can always email me at The more the merrier and good luck.

It’s June 13, and so far, I’m on track. Only 87 days to go—not that I’m counting.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

One Hundred Days...Eleven Days In...Part II

Over the next several months, I basically ignored my second novel and worked on other things. When late October rolled around again and I received my yearly invitation to participate in NaNoWriWo I ignored it too. I ignored it until several friends mentioned that they were going to participate and had already warned their families that they might have to cook a meal for themselves or go out to eat on occasion. This WAS the year they were going to accomplish this task and nothing was going to stand in their way.

Not hungry family members. Nor a traditional holiday. Not even their usual self-doubt was going to impede them from finishing this 50K word challenge. I thought about it for a second or two and thought “I can do that, too” (and I don’t have any kids) (just a HUGE amount of self-doubt) so why not give it another try.

What made this particular attempt different from the others was the way some of my friends were keeping track of their progress. November is also the month where many on Facebook share 30 days of thankfulness in combination with the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s a simple thing, really, just share a few words in a status post about whatever you are thankful for any given day.

Again, something in my brain clicked and I decided that was indeed something I could do too. I even took it one step further and combined the status post with a mention that I had achieved my daily word count for the day. There it was….out in the open…for everyone to see…or at least all of my Facebook friends. I also planned on walking for 30 minutes every day and writing a small blog post here to let my readers know what I was up too.

I’d be lying if I said it was easy. Not by a longshot. I found out in the beginning if I was writing freely and the words were coming with no trouble then I would keep writing until I needed to stop. I know some friends reported that they wrote every day while others reported writing five days a week. I wrote every day, but on the days I had kept writing, I had stockpiled several thousand words, so I counted those extra words on the days that I fell short of the 1667 daily total.

On several days I wrote late into the night and there were even a couple of days I found myself writing at 3:00 am. After the first ten days or so my friends (who later told me this fact) began tuning in each day to see if I was on task.

I knew early on that I wasn’t going to write a complete novel. My novel is going to be nearly twice the 50K word goal. Another thing I realized to was that I just didn’t want to throw words on a page just for the sake of a word count. I wanted my words to matter. Why I bring this up is many people who have completed the challenge never intend on using the words they worked so hard to share. No way, Jose. Not me. If I was going to put this much effort into something, then you can be sure it’s going to be more than writing “very tough to do” 12,500 times.

And that’s what I did. I completed the whole enchilada. The whole kit and caboodle. I wrote 30 blog posts. I walked for 30 minutes every day. I wrote 50,286 words in 30 days.

And thank goodness there aren’t 31 days in November because the last two days of the month were the most difficult. The electricity was shut off most of that time and my bathroom had a leak that the handyman couldn’t seem to find. It was frustrating to put it mildly, but we worked around each other. I finished NaNoWriMo and the handyman, well, he couldn’t find the leak and was going to Florida for the winter. He’d be back in late May, he said, and if I hadn’t fixed the problem myself (which I do quite often) to give him a call.

And that’s what I did…

Check back for part III in a few days…

Friday, June 10, 2016

One Hundred Days...Ten Days In...Part I

Hello friends!

Here's what I've been up to lately:

Last November I participated in National Novel Writing Month where the goal during the month is to write a complete novel consisting of at least 50,000 words. There are various ways to go about accomplishing the task—such as writing the words “very tough to do” about 12,500 times.  Or “Am I crazy for attempting this during the Holidays?” about 4500 times could probably work too.

Some may have chosen that path, but not me—I chose a simpler plan: I divided 50K words by 30 (days in November) and came up with a more manageable (I thought) number of 1667.

National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo as it is apt to be called is a big deal. There are national groups, state groups, county groups, city groups and the group that I belonged to was called the Teal Deers or something like that. They meet regularly at the local Starbucks and talk about who knows what. I’ve never been to an actual meeting (although I have thought about showing up once to see if I’m missing something) and I can’t remember how I got on their mailing list. It's on my long list of things I should probably check out.

In late October for the last five years, I have received a letter that begins: "Dear Teal Deers, It’s time once to prepare yourself for another failure. You will NOT write 50k words in 30 days. It is freaking impossible." (At least that’s what happened to me the past five years.)

The first time I attempted NaNoWriMo was in 2011 and I wrote about 15K words. It was nowhere near a complete novel and fell far short of the daunting 50K finish line.

But still.

But still, I had the inkling for a story and I put the beginning chapters on paper. That was part one of the trilogy that I am currently working on. It took me another four+ plus years to finish the manuscript and I’ve lost track of the revisions. At some point I have to say, ”It’s finished” and move on to the next project. One of the toughest decisions was deciding how many books to write. As a writer new to writing novels, I don’t know if that is good or bad. I know the story line is there and it’s never far from my mind. If I’m not writing on the books, then I am thinking about the plot and characters in my head.

If we’re friends on Facebook or on Twitter (If not, then why aren’t we?) you’ve probably heard me mention “To The Middle and Back” or one of the characters, “Eleanor Ann” and throw out a bit of dialogue in case anyone might want to know what I’m up to. It’s fun when I receive comments and likes and helps me to keep myself moving forward and putting words on the page.

Last July, I started on book two in this trilogy and made significant progress on the beginning chapters of the book. After a late night of surfing the Web, I landed upon a site in China by someone that has the same name of someone I knew—interesting, I thought, so I clicked on a link on the page—it wasn’t the person I knew and by noon the next day my laptop was fried. It was infected by the Crypto virus and my data was being held for ransom by some unknown douche bags halfway across the world. 

I know the next question you’re going to ask is “What about your backup?”

Thanks for asking, but it seems I was the douche bag because I wasn’t current on my backup plan. I lost everything. Luckily, I was smart enough to have a paper copy of the first manuscript and had even emailed it to myself and a few of my family members just to be on the safe side. I wasn’t so lucky with my other documents which included the beginning chapters of “Return to the Middle” and a few other projects I was working on. 

A minor setback and after a few days of beating myself up about not having a proper backup system in place I got back to work. (I also had a few choice words for the folks that sent me the virus but temper tantrums aren’t nearly as much fun unless the folks that you’re pissed off at can actually see that you’re ticked off so I got over it fairly quickly.)

Check back for part two in a few days...

Friday, June 3, 2016

Blogaversary...Year Eight

It's hard to believe that's it been eight years since I started Reflections on a Middle-Aged Fat Woman. Over the past eight years Reflections has grown from a one paragraph post about my visit to the doctor into stories of my farm life as a girl, my continuing search for the perfect job, tales of hospital visits, unfortunate mishaps at the drive through and the silly things that can happen in everyday life.

One of my readers once told me that the main reason they like coming to visit the site is they never quite know what to expect and usually, get a laugh in return. Personally, I still think that is the highest compliment that can be paid to a writer, and for that, I'm grateful.

Of all of the stories that I've written my favorites are those that involve my family, especially my mom. I've been very lucky to be able to experience trips to the mall, trips around the southeast, a cross-country bus ride trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon and a Christmastime Riverboat Cruise down the Danube with Mom and we always have a great time.

Last September we headed up the East Coast on another bus ride to experience New England in the fall. We had a spectacular time.

This year we are keeping with the tradition of cross-country bus rides but are headed to the Colorado Rockies and surrounding areas. We're going to Pike's Peak, the Air Force Academy and Olympic Training Center. We can't wait!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my stories and I hope to see you again real soon. As you've probably figured out by now, you never know what I'm gonna be talking about!




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