Self-realization Meets Fiction

Soooo, I’m going on a personal level here that makes me super uncomfortable. But, what do they say? Truth is better than fiction?

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I’m working on a book where my married heroine is debating having an affair with a man she knew from her childhood. The angel on my shoulder doesn’t want her to do it, because I want her to be an upstanding woman with deep integrity who puts her husband and family first.

The devil on my other shoulder thinks it will make a great side story to an all ready intense book.

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So, I dug deep in my gut and examined my own standards to make the decision.

I’ve always said I wouldn’t consider an affair because I would never put my husband in an embarrassing situation. I have far too much respect for him to ever purposefully do that. But this morning, I had a revelation! I not only think and feel that for HIM – I have my own personal reasons for ME!

I come from an abusive past and find it hard to let people close to me. This includes men. I can’t open that door to trust and intimacy without a lot of emotional pushing and pulling. And that is definitely not a one-night fling sort of process.

Back to my heroine. If she feels like I do (and they always do, don’t they?), she wouldn’t have the affair, because she couldn’t be intimate with someone without first trusting them. Since the man knows she’s married, the relationship would be built on dishonesty. That’s a rocky start. The affair would go nowhere and the friendship would certainly end badly. My poor heroine. I don’t want that for her with all the rest of the crap going on in this story. Maybe we’ll stick with sexual tension and not let it progress farther. Let’s see if my personal beliefs come out in this story. If they do, you’ll know the truth about their origin. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.

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Of course, these characters always have minds of their own, so we may find her in a moment of weakness.

We’ll see what happens….

 

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On This Day – The Year of the Rooster

2017 The Year of the Rooster!

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If you were born in 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, or 2005, this is your year!! Not necessarily all good luck, but definitely a year of change and growth.

The rooster is the sign of punctuality. Think of the real rooster, who awakens farmers with the rise of the sun. People born in the Year of the Rooster are honest and intelligent, and most are born naturally good looking.

bbd77de8536ebd73d77ccd3a7ec79627In the Chinese zodiac, January 28, 2017 begins the tenth of the twelve year cycle. Most people would think this year would bring good fortune to those born under the sign, but in truth, this year brings change. The question of luck depends on how you look at those changes.

If you’re a rooster, you may face career changes this year. It won’t all be bad, but you’d be wise to put away a few dollars in case some months get a little tight during the transition. Your relationships will remain stable this year. And, health-wise, make sure you get your annual physical.

Rooster folks have lucky numbers of 5, 7, and 9 and lucky colors of gold and brown.

Celebrities born under the sign of the rooster include Justin Timberlake and Elton John, so maybe we’ll see more of them. Jennifer Aniston and Bette Midler also share this sign. And it wouldn’t upset me to see a bit more of Matthew McConaughey. 🙂

(rooster painting by Theresa Paden at www.TheresaPaden.com)

 

 

MLK Day and the Fiery Cross

We must meet hate with love.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

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(photo of MLK removing a burnt cross from his yard in Atlanta, Georgia 1960)

If I found this symbol of hatred in my front yard, I would probably call anyone who would listen, post it all over social media, get the police involved, and generally throw a fit. Then, I would pack and move, which is exactly what the haters wanted to happen.

MLK didn’t do any of those things. Look at his body language. He doesn’t show hatred, anger, or fear. He seems very calm, though undoubtedly very perturbed. He hasn’t even told his small boy to “go back into the house,” as he refused to cower from the danger that obviously existed.

Though we all know MLK was quite an incredible man, my thoughts on the photo revolve more around history. What does religion, Jesus, crosses have to do with racism? Where and when did cross burning start?

The first recorded instance I could find is in the poem The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott, published in 1810.

In the third part of the poem, a burnt cross was used to summon Scottish clans to rise up against King James. In the poem, the chieftain made a cross of wood and lit it on fire. He then killed a goat and extinguished the fire with the goat’s blood. The burnt cross was then carried by a messenger to a nearby village. The messenger spoke only one word, the place to meet. The village would then send a messenger to the next village and so on. Any man who failed to show up at the appointed battle was to meet the same fate as the goat and cross.

This, however, wasn’t something new the author created. Using a “fiery cross” or a “bidding stick” was the common way to rally people to an assembly as far back as the 1500s, and commonly in the 1700s to rally Scottish clan members to arms. It was even used with Scottish settlers in Canada during the War of 1812. All of the above examples were never a form of racism, only of communication.

The burning cross became a symbol of the Ku Klux Klan when this public way of rallying supporters was adapted by them in the 1915 film The Birth of a Nation. They used cross burning as a rallying cry, but this time, it was not to stand up against monarchs or battling neighbors. This time it was accompanied by hymn singing and prayer and was used to rally supporters to create/maintain white supremacy. It became an anti-Catholic, anti-Jew, anti-immigrant, prohibition symbol.

By the 1950s, the Klan and its burning cross was more focused on an anti-black rhetoric. This is where they lost me. I hate to leave you here, dear reader, without the answers, but I have yet to find why this symbol was used to show hatred by placing it on black people’s lawns.

Please let me know what you think.

 

Synchronicity – the way you know you’re on the right path

There are many moments in my life where “The Twilight Zone” theme music should be playing in the background. I call those moments Synchronicity – the times I know I’m on the right path.

I’ve been so stinkin’ busy the last five months, I’ve not written any blogs, I’ve not worked on my book “Witch Dance” that I wanted to release September 21st (umm, what is the date today? crap.), I’ve not marketed, edited, or completed much. Of course, with the lack of progress on my book and the work-a-holic that I am, I’ve felt a bit of despair. I guess the feeling has been akin to failure, or loser, or slacker, or something.

Well, I had a moment of Synchronicity that changed my mind.

013The last few months I’ve been looking for a puppy. Our 10-year-old Bichon/Terrier mix, Rudy, has been lonely since we put our Aussie down last summer. Trophy husband and I are both gone to work all day (yes, I got a new job. more about that in a later blog), and Rudy sits alone by himself and pouts. He’s never been alone before – his whole life. His tail is droppy. His smile has faded. I needed to find him a friend.

I’ve had a few close calls in finding a puppy at some local county shelters and rescues, but nothing has panned out. Yet one failure after another. I found a couple puppies in the newspaper, but I never got responses to my emails.

Three weeks ago, I found a 10-week-old Miniature Schnauzer on Craigs List. I emailed the owner and within a few hours I was picking her up. The woman only had her for two weeks and thought raising a puppy was too time consuming, so she was looking for a new home for the little girl. She had named her Bella.

maxresdefaultOn the drive home with little Bella in my lap, trophy husband and I tossed out a hundred names. We didn’t think Bella really fit her. Piper. Pepper. Peanut. Etc. When Pippa came out of my mouth, I knew that was it! She looks like a Pippa. She acts like a Pippa. Trophy husband said, “You mean like the Princess’s sister?” First, I was surprised that he knew who the Princess was, much less her sister. Second, he said it with a mild disgust in his tone. I didn’t think he liked it, but I was determined this dog would be named Pippa.

Two weeks passed. I still hadn’t worked on my book, but now I had a new excuse. I have a puppy, which is a time consuming responsibility.

I figured this little girl was probably due for some vaccinations, so I pulled out the folder the woman gave us that had “Bella” written on the front. I hadn’t opened it since she gave it to us. I was busy. New puppy and all. So, I thumbed through the papers inside and found the breeder’s paperwork in the back. Written on the breeder’s paperwork was “salt & pepper” and in large capital letters at the top of the page, “PIPPA“!

Whoa! What?

Synchronicity

pippaYes, her name is Pippa, apparently has been since the day she was born. Yes, she is meant to be with us. She is the dog we are supposed to have. The disappointments over getting a dog from a rescue were not failures, they were leading us down the path to Pippa. Rudy’s smile has returned. His tail is wagging again!

 

The book can wait. I have a new puppy.

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Girls Can’t Run Marathons! Oh, Yeah?

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Girls can’t run marathons. Girls can’t do much of anything. They’re just…girls.

Young women today need to realize that women have not always been equals in the world, and in many ways, we still aren’t. We’ve only had the right to vote for the last 94 years. Think about that, ladies. Your great grandmother and perhaps your grandmother couldn’t vote for the next president, a privilege you take for granted. Up until fifty years ago, a woman couldn’t get a loan or open a bank account without her husband’s signature (and permission).

One woman who bravely and boldly paved the way for us is Katherine Switzer.

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At the age of nineteen, Ms. Switzer decided she wanted to run the Boston Marathon. Guess what? Sorry, it’s a boy’s club. You can’t run.

She did it anyway. I don’t know how she got past the registration desk, but somehow, she got her number, pinned it on her sweatshirt, and started the race. She got many kind acknowledgements from the male runners, but at some point during the race, reporters got wind of a woman running and caught up with her, asking her stupid questions like, “Are you going to run the whole race?” and “What are you trying to prove?” Eventually, a man tried to grab her and throw her out of the race. He turned out to be the race manager. He is the guy pictured below in the dress shoes behind her. Fortunately, he was tossed to the side of the road by Ms. Switzer’s boyfriend.

boston marathon race organizers attempt to stop kathrine switzer from running 1967. she finished the race

At that point, Ms. Switzer realized she needed to finish the race – for all women. If she quit or allowed them to throw her out of the race, it would be a blow to all women who desired to compete, and she would become a joke, a tabloid headline. At the time, there were no intercollegiate sports for women, no scholarships, no prize money. Women competing physically was almost unheard of.

In the freezing rain and frigid temperatures on April 19, 1967, Katherine Switzer finished the Boston Marathon in four hours and twenty minutes, forever changing the face of sports opportunities for women.

If you’d like to read more about Ms. Switzer and the Boston Marathon event in her own words, you can find it on her webpage HERE.

The Strawberries are Here!!!

My local farmer’s market had “Strawberry Fest” this morning!

I can’t even believe how good these smell and how beautiful they look.

strawberries at Franklin

 

I bought ten pounds of these beauties. Enough to freeze…

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Enough to make jam…

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And a few left over for a strawberry shortcake and a late-night snack.

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God bless strawberry growers!!

If you’ve ever canned, you know my kitchen is popping away right now. 🙂

Quilting. What was I thinking?

IMG_20150908_180218183_HDRWhen I was a young girl, my paternal great grandmother made me this quilt. When I was at her house, I noticed her sewing in the evening while watching television. It was done completely by hand. It never occurred to me that she was sewing it for me.

At the age of fifty, I still have the quilt and I treasure it. At some point, she made me a second one, and my maternal grandmother, who was a professional seamstress made me a third. I should probably pass them down to my children, but I can’t bear to part with them.

 

I have long been an artist. I make music professionally. I write novels professionally. I’ve made all of the artwork in my home, from paintings to rugs to throw pillows. Well, I was bored and decided to take on the time-consuming project of making a quilt. What was I thinking??

quilt piecesIt started with cutting out 680 pieces. Sigh. That took a couple weeks. Then, fortunately, I had house guests, so I put it all in a box and ignored it for a couple weeks.

 

 

 

 

pinwheelsWhen I pulled it back out, I began making pinwheels for the center of the blocks. Twenty pinwheels seemed daunting, but using a sewing machine, (not sewing by hand, you silly rabbit!) the pieces came together fairly quickly, but still….there was twenty of them.

 

 

 

 

octagonsNow, I had to cut these square pinwheels and turn them into octagons. Not owning a special ruler or being able to find one at JoAnn Fabrics, I spent hours figuring out how to do this. After I had a total meltdown, my husband quietly worked on the computer constructing a template for me. In the meantime, I found a video on Youtube showing an easy way to turn a square into an octagon. When I cut one in two seconds and showed him, he was awestruck by the simplicity. “Well, if you want to do it like that,” he said sarcastically.

The original pinwheels were 7” squares, and after I turned them into octagons, I needed to sew corners on them, making them 6.5” squares. At the time, I was thinking this was some kind of cruel joke, but as the pinwheel got new corners, it began to change shape. It looked like a cross. Weird illusion.

 

 

starNext, I started working on the star points. They were time consuming, but they came together easily. The octagon/square was placed in the middle of the star points. Notice in this photo, the octagon still looks like a cross, and the completed square has two star points pointing up. Well, that’s also an illusion and won’t look like that for long.

I was supposed to cut these completed squares into large circles, but as with cutting octagons, that was just too much work. So instead, I sewed together frames, sewed them onto the completed squares, lining up the seams with each star point and creating a whole new angle on the original square. I flipped it over and trimmed off the excess corners on the square. That was so much quicker than trying to cut a perfect circle, hoping I didn’t cut it too small. From the wrong side of the quilt, it’s pretty sloppy, but from the right side, you can’t tell, and it saved me tons of time and probably a half bottle of whiskey.

 

one finished squareSince the octagon and the star points shifted with adding the frame, you can see in the finished square that the cross is gone and the star only has one point sticking up. This whole quilt is one big illusion.

1910 seams later, the quilt top is finished. I need to sandwich it and start quilting. But I think I need to take a break for a couple weeks first.

 

finished top

 

 

Won’t it be fun if my great grandchild won’t part with this quilt?