Duck Shenanigans, Snow, and Reading Material…

Apr15, 2014 snow

While some—or many, or maybe all!!!—of you are experiencing the wonderful delights of spring, we’re getting snow again. It’s beautiful, of course. Big white fluffy flakes that will hopefully not accumulate overnight. I’m ready to put my shorts on, not my snow boots and winter jacket and toque.

And even though it’s chilly out there, hovering around the freezing temps, in the last week, the geese have arrived. And this morning, our ducks are on the pond, swimming along the edges where the ice has melted, picking their way across the still frozen middle—or iceberg as I joyfully refer to one of the last remnants of our winter.

Our mother duck is far braver than daddy duck, and has ventured onto the thin layer of ice which was water yesterday, but overnight has developed a thin crust of ice. We watch her fall through the paper thin ice, then she sits there and stares at her husband as though she expects him to venture out and rescue her. He doesn’t. Apparently he has more common sense than his female counterpart.

Eventually she manages to crawl back onto the ice, breaks through again, then finally finds a spot that will hold her minuscule weight long enough for her to waddle over to the open water where she spends some time swimming with her mate. But soon they wander out of the water and disappear, searching, I imagine, for a safe spot to nest.

I want to tell them there are no safe spots, except for maybe in our shop. There’s predators all around…that nasty cat who caught our mother duck last year and nearly made a meal of her, foxes and coyotes and believe it or not, a cougar, too.

So while I watch our wildlife settle back onto the acreage, and wait for the warm temps to arrive, I’ve lined up my reading material:

The Memory Child by Steena Holmes

A Numbers Game by Tracy Solheim

Don't Let Go by Sharla Lovelace

The Memory Child by Steena Holmes

The Numbers Game by Tracy Solheim

Don’t Let Go by Sharla Lovelace

How about you? Is your part of the world warm or cold? What book(s) are you reading right now? Have you entered the Authors In Bloom bloghop (last day is April 16, 2014!)?

Happy Easter!

NOTE: Originally posted to the Women Unplugged blog.

Authors in Bloom 2014 Blog Hop!


Welcome to the 3rd annual Authors in Bloom blog hop! This blog hop begins on April 7th and runs till April 16th, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST.

GRAND PRIZE: We’re giving away a Kindle Fire or Nook (winner’s choice) along with a $25 gift card for the same.  We’re also giving away a 2nd prize of a $25 gift card.

Enjoy and good luck!

This year, I decided to share a gardening tip that I found in one of my favorite gardening magazines, Garden Gate Magazine. Not only are their pictures stunningly beautiful, but they have great tips and tricks, too. You can even subscribe to their Free Tips email.

Their April 2014 edition gave me the perfect idea for using color in our new garden area:

1. Choose several plants with a similar hue that bloom at or around the same time, and scatter them throughout the garden.

2. Then choose several more plants in a second hue that again blooms at or around the same time, and scatter them throughout the garden.

3. Repeat until you’ve run out of gardening space!

The end result is that your flower bed will be a mass of pinks or purples or reds — whatever colors you’ve chosen — at different times of the growing season. And since winter in my part of the world gets very cold, I’m focusing on planting mostly perennials, starting with the Pinks as seen in the photo to the right.

And now for the prizes:

1. On my site, I’m drawing 4 names and giving away each person an e-copy of one of my books in mobi or epub format (winner’s choice). All you have to do is sign up for my newsletter (signup form is at the top of the righthand sidebar) and in the comments below, let me know that you’ve done so. Then tell me what your favorite flower is.

2. To be eligible for the Authors in Bloom blog hop grand prizes listed at the top of this post, make sure you LEAVE A COMMENT below (even if you don’t sign up for my newsletter). Only those visitors who visit EACH and EVERY stop are eligible for the grand prize ereader and gift card. Eligibility will be verified by hop’s end.

3. And finally, make sure to leave your contact email in the comment section, otherwise we’ll be unable to contact you if you win! Winners will be posted on both the first (Dianne Venetta) and last (A Cozy Reader’s Corner) websites of the list below.

And to make it super easy to visit all of the authors participating in the hop, here is a list of the participating authors:

NEW this year, Dianne Venetta will be hosting a Facebook Party for the entire 10 days, including more garden tips, recipes, fun facts, etc. on Facebook.

Enjoy yourself, and good luck!

April 17, 2014 Update: The Authors In Bloom grand prize winner is… …Savannah Miller! Mary Preston won the 2nd prize! Congratulations, ladies!!!

And the winners on my site are … well, like last year, I decided to giveaway an ebook to all of the new subscribers of my newsletter. 🙂 Yes, you read that correctly. I’m currently contacting everyone to find out which book they would like to receive.

Happy gardening!

A LITTLE YOGA BREAK

maya-fiennesI love yoga. I love the flexibility, the deep breathing, and the peace it brings me. For the hour I practice the poses, my mind is focused on the singular task of performing the routines, which helps enhance my focus when I’m at the computer working.

A couple of years ago, I discovered Maya Fiennes Maya Fiennes book, Yoga for Real Life, and her Kundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress DVD, and these quickly became part of my exercise program. Maya teaches Kundalini Yoga which “awakens awareness”. It is the oldest form of yoga and uses meditative focus, breath work, and chanting.

Recently I found this DVD available on YouTube, along with a couple of other cool features from this yoga teacher. Turn on your sound and enjoy the background music. It’s written and performed by Maya, who is also a classical pianist and performer. This program runs about sixty minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THX9jKPEMGs

However, if you want a quick routine to energize you, Maya also offers something different, a free style five minute routine that will totally get you moving and make you smile. If you don’t have time to check out the other links, make sure you check out this one because it’s super cool and fun!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zI0q1nG7BN4

Or if you just want to lie back and relax, here is one of her songs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V05RKa1ohf4

Visit Maya’s website where you can learn more about Kundalini yoga.

Have you ever considered doing yoga or meditation? What about the practices appeals or doesn’t appeal to you?

Note: This was originally posted on March 26, 2014 at the Women Unplugged site.

Time Flies When You’re Having…

Time ClockTime sure does fly when you’re not looking.

When my boys were little and I worked outside of the house, I used to believe that the days and weeks and years passed by quickly because I was so very busy.

I didn’t know any better.

When my boys were teenagers and I continued to work outside of the home, I believed that the days and hours and minutes would slow down once I was no longer helping with homework and playing chauffeur and working so many gosh-darn overtime hours.

I still didn’t know any better.

The year my mom turned 65, I said, “Mom, time is whooshing past. I can’t wait till the boys grow up and life slows back down.”

My mother looked at me with wisdom in her eyes. “If you think it’s fast now, just wait till you’re my age.”

I didn’t believe her.

And yet, now that my boys are grown up and on their own, now that I’ve stepped out of the daily commute rat race and work from home, now that it feels like I’m not rushing here and there 24/7, time continues to pick up pace.

Beautiful SunsetI’ve talked to my boys and they concur. Those childhood and teenage years crawled past with all of the urgency of a snail crossing the road. But we all agree that the moment we turned the corner into adulthood, time shifted into overdrive.

How can that be? Why does it sometimes seem that the hours in a single day drag on endlessly, yet the passage of time from one Christmas to another happens in the blink of an eye? And if time speeds by faster each year, what will it be like at 95 or 100?

Do you know of a way to slow down time? Or is the ever increasing passage of time all hogwash and you recommend I get my head examined?

Thanks for stopping by to talk to me today!

(Time clock photo credit. Beautiful sunset photo credit.)

Originally posted at Women Unplugged.

 

 

The Emotional Payoff Of Being A Good Daughter

I love to read emotionally charged stories, with characters who are shredded, then put back together. But I also love to laugh, so over time my own writing has become a blend of these two elements…just like in real life.

Pink flowerOn the Personal Transformation site, the blog post author discusses the importance of having a happy emotional payoff. If you’re interested, check out the post. It’s short. I’ll wait…

Oh good, you’re back.

On Monday, my sister and I took our mom to the knee doctor, and Mom is now on the list for knee surgery. For two years now, we’ve been trying to get her on that list. The good news is, she’s finally on the list. The bad news is, she’s finally on the list.

Confused?

Mom wants the operation, badly. She’s super active, and the knee not only causes her pain, it slows her down. And truthfully, the slowing down part is probably harder on her than the pain.

I want to be a good daughter. In fact, I get a huge emotional payoff when I’ve done something that makes Mom happy. But a very large part of me is afraid for this 98 pound, 85 year old woman. She’s feistier than I am, may even be physically stronger than me (although I think her strength is driven by the sheer determination to win at all costs), and the operation will allow her to be independent far longer than she would be if she didn’t get it.

But to me, she’s weak and old and frail and precious, and I struggle between being the good daughter (supporting her decision to have the operation) or being the bad daughter (convincing her the operation is a baaaaaddddd idea, especially at her age).

Hmmm, now where’s the humor in all this?

Well, you have to know my mom. She is one of the most determined, hard-headed women I know. Which means that once the operation is over, she’ll be pushing to get back to her “normal” self.

But her shoes are atrocious. She inherited them from my dad or her sister or anyone else who has said, “Dora, do you have a use for these? I’m throwing them out…” We can’t get her to wear proper footwear. So I’ve told her that while she’s in the hospital, I’m sending in reinforcements to collect and throw out all of her shoes. She doesn’t believe me, but in July, I’m fully expecting to be shunted to the bad daughter doghouse.

Then there’s the vegetable garden. I’ve warned her that if she plants before she goes into the hospital, it’ll be gone when she gets out, because no way can she resist the urge to play in her garden (and by play, I mean work). Again, she doesn’t believe me, but I’ve decided that part of the emotional payoff of being a good daughter is protecting my mom from her own stubbornness, and protecting her will give me a hugely happy emotional payoff.

And seriously, I’m not really afraid of the bad daughter doghouse. After all, I’m her daughter. Isn’t there a rule that she has to love me, no matter what?

So what are your favorite emotional payoffs in real life or in fiction?

Originally published at Women Unplugged.

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