Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 4)

I Got My Covid Vaccine

I’m not quite sure how being vaccinated became a polarized political topic. I’m old enough to remember polio and how we lined up for our sugar cube (what ever happened to that method of vaccine delivery). I remember how relieved our parents were and how they got theirs (after the children were vaccinated). I also remember grieving families who lost their children or whose children ended up on the first type of ventilator (the “iron lung,” which required the sick person to essentially live in a tube that looked like an MRI machine).

I believe in people’s rights to choose whether they get vaccinated and whether they choose for their children to get vaccinated. I believe they should choose based on the science and the facts of vaccination. If they have had a bad reaction to previous vaccinations, then don’t get one, but be safer; wear a mask, stay out of crowds, protect yourself and your family.

I watched a news show (and was immediately sorry) where a man was saying that some cities are going door-to-door to see if someone wants a vaccine. They’re not insisting that the person get vaccinated, they’re just supplying vaccines to areas where they might not be readily available or to people who cannot leave their houses. This particular pundit said that it could be a trick, they could be coming to take your guns away.

I’m tired of polarization and hope we can come together as a country. Let us remember that many of the pundits and politicians who say our freedoms are being taken away (as in freedom to say no to the vaccine), have themselves been vaccinated. Donald and Melania Trump, for instance have been vaccinated (and also received the very best medical care in America when they both came down with Covid before they were vaccinated).

I have my beliefs and I try to respect other’s beliefs.

I believe I’ll get the booster when it comes around. I believe I’ll wear a mask when appropriate or required. I believe I’ll wash my hands more than I once did. I believe we’ll come out of this just fine. And, if vaccines become available for children–that is a good day.

Readjusting to New World After Covid

The world seems a little more dangerous (okay, maybe a lot more dangerous), and is changed from the world I grew up in.

I’m trying to make sense of the fact that I was so careless before, so clueless about the importance of constant handwashing, constant use of anti-bacterial wipes, constant binging of moves and t.v. shows (okay–there was no internet and no streaming “back in the day.”)

I grew accustomed to having my husband at home a lot more, adjusting out routine to daily walks (good), more snack food (bad), worry about friends and relatives perhaps getting Covid. We were braver than most though, going out to eat because there was almost nobody in the restaurants (those that were open), and venturing out on two long road trips (Yellowstone & Grand Canyon). These were two of my favorite vacations–though we were previously into river cruises and trips to Hawaii.

Like many, I wonder where the year disappeared, how it lifted like a heavy fog, leaving me wondered if I did enough “real” work during the year, knowing that I worried too much and accomplished too little.

If it happens again, I’ll know what to do. Or, will I?

What to Write?

I envy writers that have always know WHAT they want to write. Mysteries? Thrillers? Romance? SyFi?

I always been told to “write what you read,” but what if I read a variety of books/articles/genres? I read all of the above with the exception of SyFi, unless you count Stephen King as a SyFi writer (I like his characters).

I most admire literary women’s fiction and women in jeopardy thrillers, both of which seem a little beyond reach for me. I’ve written and started about six mysteries and thought they were cozies (and was told by an editor or two that I had in fact written two “failed cozies.”) Cozies have strict rules, which I found maddening. How can a cozy mystery be such a fast read and be so difficult to write? Same with YA (Young Adult) books; fast reads, hard to write to that audience (for me anyway).

So, I’ll continue to work on writing a cozy or two, a mild “thriller” or two and maybe some non-fiction. I’ve come to realize that while I read and occasional romance novel or women’s literary fiction–I’ll most likely never write one.

Historical mystery? Maybe. We’ll see. My new mantra: get on with it.

Perseverance

per·se·ver·ance /ˌpərsəˈvirəns/

noun

  • 1. persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success: “his perseverance with the technique illustrates his single-mindedness”

I always thought of “perseverance” the word as a verb. As in “I persevered.”

As a noun, the word becomes a trait, a quality, an — advantage.

All of us get discouraged when we don’t seem to be “winning” or “succeeding” at our goals and dreams. For me, it success would be getting more acceptance notices about manuscripts and more positive reviews and criticism.

I’ve learned to take each little “failure” and turn it around. It isn’t failure. Every time we receive and accept criticism or accept a loss and continue in spite of it–we are persevering (there the word is as a gerund!).

I have to (well, I don’t have to, but I’m thinking of it today) again mention my foray into bird watching. The Boulder Fairgrounds Osprey cam this year was “blessed” thanks to a very loving Osprey pair with four eggs–none of which seemingly will hatch. This couple has had nest losses in the past and yet come back each year to build again and have some successes.

Sure–they’re birds and have bird-brains, but we (I) can learn something from them about perseverance.

Bird Geeks (part II)

So, the pandemic (2020) brought upon my house a new hobby–bird watching.

DH and I have always had bird-feeders, but during 2020 have started identifying birds visiting the feeders outside our Denver home. Armed with a bird-identifying book, we seen more visitors this year (I don’t think we are imagining it–more birds and more variety).

We’ve seen a flock of Waxwings, a “round” of Robins (thanks collective nouns book) that swarmed a near-by juniper tree, blue jays, a flock of bright yellow Gold Finches, pairs of flickers, Orioles, Grosbeaks and Pine Siskins.

Those were merely birds we’ve seen at our feeders. We are also graced by fly-bys by Red-tail Hawks, nightly visits by Great Horned Owl(s) and Crows.

We have taken down our bird-feeders now that it is nearly summer–we found that keeping it up attracts pigeons–and then foxes and coyotes, and soon we have created an entire eco-system (or rather circle of life).

We have, however, put up Hummingbird feeders–they visit Denver on their way to the “high country” of the Rocky Mountains.

Oh, and there’s the Osprey Cam that I watch during hatching season.

Talk about “binge watching.”

Lessons Learned at the “Spa”

Went with my two grown daughters to a spa in Arizona. It was a spa that was once a “no alcohol, no carbs, no wine” spa. No fun.

We had fun though. And carbs. And caffeine. And wine. And walks and wildlife viewing and fun classes.

My favorite thing though was having the daughters with me for the weekend to see what issues and topics “bubble” up to the surface.

I thought I knew my daughters extremely well, but I learned things about them that I hadn’t known (and they learned things about me that I’ve kept from them–not huge things, but still.) that may have been the best takeaway from the trip. We were in a place of reflection and meditation.

My lesson learned; stand up for myself more–and for my children.

Looking back at the “spa experience,” I realized the “horse painting” experience was the one that sticks with me. On the way there, I had usual (for me) thoughts of “why are we doing this?” and “this is going to be weird or boring.” Four of us climbed into a van with a young cowboy who took us up a road “a piece” to his ranch stable where four horses awaited painting.

I sized up the horses when we climbed out of the van. Of the four, I thought I’d take any except the big Clydesdale horse with huge feet. When we stepped into the corral, the Clydesdale (named Bonnie) bounded up to me. The cowboy stated that, “sometimes the horse chooses the person.” I guess I was Bonnie’s person.

Older daughter chose a white and black paint (and she did the best paint-job). Younger daughter chose a buckskin that looked like a good “canvas.”

The forth “painter” tried to choose her horse, who kept running away from her. The cowboy (who obviously is also an amateur therapist), asked her how that made her feel. She answered that it was fine. He asked again if she felt rejected. Again, no, she was fine. She helped me paint my giant Clydesdale.

Then came the time to explain what we’d painted. Older daughter, who had a great design of adult and baby hand-prints representing our family, along with other designs, painted in the center of the horse, which “cowboy” said usually represents being centered.

Younger daughter said she painted what she thought the horse wanted. That’s enlightening. She’s a people-pleaser. Yes, that makes sense.

The shocker came when the fourth painter broke down when explaining that she was grieving her aunt’s death. She cried almost uncontrollably and the cowboy helped her along in her grief. She also said that her mother didn’t want to talk about it. Then, the horse that had run from her came up to her. It was an amazing animal-person moment, and cowboy said that horse was his most empathetic and now that she had let go her grief, the horse was ready to visit her.

I read somewhere that horses leave others in the herd alone in their grief; they don’t try to comfort one another.

Other things I learned is: I need to be much more open and much less secretive to them and others.

So, my goal for the rest of my life (as short or long as it may be) is to take down my walls of insecurity and long-time fear of scrutiny and rejection. Take down the wall is my new mantra. No shame. No blame. No fear.

Or, and I learned that I need to stretch much more (or at all). And, that I probably cannot hike for five miles. And, I’ll never give up sugar, caffeine, carbs or Wine.

Some Sadness

I’m generally an optimistic person (some, even my late mother, called me a Pollyanna), but it’s hard now with the seemingly swift changes in the news (Paul Simon’s words: there were incidents and accidents, hints and allegations).

I’m watching with sadness the George Floyd trial (you know the one, where one and maybe four cops caused the death of a black man); the sexual harassment allegations against almost every celeb; the racism allegations against many celebs and non-celebs alike. Now, the latest round of racial violence against Asians because of irrational accusations that they caused the Corona Virus pandemic.

What causes strange beliefs? What causes people to join cults and become irrational? What causes young people to commit suicide or commit atrocities against others? What causes the need for AR15s and other assault rifles? Is there a need for those for ordinary citizens?

Some of my sadness comes from living for the while that I’ve lived, having seen some of the things I’ve seen, having experienced some of the things I’ve experienced. Certainly, I can remember being harassed as a young woman employee, of flirting back with those in power because I believed it was the only power I had, of seeing gays and blacks harassed in most cruel ways (and, shamefully, looking the other way–thankful that this time, it was’nt me who was being harassed for being a young single mom, for daring to be a young woman trying to make a career for herself and her children).

I’ve heard people say there are degrees of harassment, degrees of cruelty. There should be no room for any of it, especially in America. I am trying each day to be a better person, and I think we can ask that of everyone.

Vaccinated!

My husband and I are both now fully vaccinated, but it feels strange, almost dangerous to think about going out into the world again after being safely nested inside our comfortable Denver home for a year.

I feel lucky and optimistic that scientists, the government and manufacturers were able to come up with a safe (and we hope effective) vaccine so quickly. There are questions, that scientists say there are answers for: why isn’t there an HIV vaccine yet after almost forty years?; why did this vaccine get developed so quickly?; what if another, worse pandemic come along (as is likely)?

For me, at least, it’s better not to borrow trouble and be thankful for what is, and go about life albeit more cautiously this time around. I’m thankful for every day of health and well-being.

Some Things I’ve Learned About Writing

  • Nobody wants to steal any of my ideas so I shouldn’t spend much time trying to protect them (unless I become famous for writing, and then that’s another story).
  • Nobody really wants to collaborate on a book with me (especially my husband, who is an author.)
  • I don’t really want to collaborate on a book with anyone (especially my husband, who is an author).
  • I’ll probably not get wealthy as an author—the odds are against it. I’ll be happy if I make it to the dreaded “mid-list” that many authors complain about. I’ll be happy with some “mad money.”
  • I can always wish though.
  • An author can get better each year if he or she pays attention to the craft of writing.
  • The Internet can be an incredible help—and and immense time-waster. It’s better to look up what you need and write on a computer that’s not attached with the Internet.
  • There is no right way to start. Some authors start with a plot idea or a character. I seem to come up with a title first. It’s the only thing that “comes” to me. If the title doesn’t go away, I run with it.
  • I’m a morning person. If you’re a morning person, write in the a.m. If you’re a night person, write at night.
  • There is no such thing as a muse. Some things comes damned close. Music that inspires you. Passages from favorite books. A good movie. You have to start and get it down and edit later. Maybe the “muse” will come with editing.
  • Be careful not to cross the line from muse to stealing ideas.
  • Take criticism, but don’t take it to heart. Be open to advice. Let the advice settle about a week before re-looking or rewriting.
  • Be Brave. It’s hard to put yourself out there.
  • Perservere.

Doing Things Badly

During Covid quarantine, I’ve struggled (like many others) with completing tasks, avoiding ADHD caused by too-accessible television and internet.

I also have the feeling of having too much time, instead of other times in my life where time was my most scarce commodity. I can do it later. I’ve got plenty of time. I’d rather do this now than what I started out doing.

One thing I noticed is that since I have more time, I want to take my time and do it “right.”

I like Ann Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird where she talks about writing (the title meaning that if you set out to create a bird book, you would do it bird by bird, and not all the birds at once). She also talks about the “shitty first draft” of things. Just get the draft out there and fix it later. Turns out that this can apply to baking, writing, painting, household chores–almost anything that requires a finished product. The thing is, if it’s not perfect, it’s still okay. Just edit it.

Writer and poet GK Chesteron said: “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.”

I’ve done many things badly, so I feel very accomplished.

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