The Good, Bad and Ugly

Hello, WordPress community!   You thought I died, right?  Santa arrived early at my house and I’m the proud owner of a new computer with Windows 8 – more about that later (and less on the endless gripes I have regarding it, because, after all, I do love you guys!)

So much has happened since my dear old, 6 year computer crashed, I could keep you reading for 3 days straight – alas, I’ll try to keep it short-n-sweet, and fill you in.

Because of the roller coaster ride of the past few weeks, I thought I’d split out my update into Categories…

The Good

I have a computer – as an early Christmas gift from my ex-hubbie.   Remember when I told you there are many reasons I still love that man?   Remember when I poured out my heartache at my perception of betrayal?  Yeah…. He’s human, but he is still, so often, my knight in shining armor.

Jerusalem Artichokes are in the ground – right on the west side of the house, which was slated for Cottage Herb Garden.   I kept trying to figure out where to put them, and then realized, they are the perfect answer for protection from summer sun and leaving western wall open for radiant heat in winter and so, I have perennial beds outside my kitchen door.

Soon after getting my new computer, I awoke one day to sub-zero temps and pain – spent the morning plotting out my garden beds and have the plans all ready to follow, as infrastructure for the east side is done…. Finally….   West side of my 4 lot place is slated for cultivation in 2015 – –

The fescue grass planted this year is still green and beautiful – without water since September and no mowing.   Excited to plant more in non-garden areas next spring.   This year’s work will result in 2/3rd’s less mowing/weeding come next summer.

Fence has been put up to expand Oakley’s room thanks to the generous help of a dear, dear friend.   Fence post driving is hard work for me and I got 4 posts a day done, with 10-day rest periods in between! LOL  Thanks, Dick!   Never could have done it without you!

I”m no longer “Unemployed”

First, I was invited to a community weekly dinner that is primarily attended by retired senior citizens – then I’m asked if I would be interested in cleaning up after said weekly dinner each week – 1 hour/week @ $10/hr.

Then, the local library advertised for a part-time aide (10 hours a week/ 2 hours a day) – I applied, interviewed and did my skills test.   I got the call offering me the job.   I was ecstatic!   Me, working in a primary source of information and getting to help others in their quest for knowledge – Could anything be more perfect?!?

On a side note, a weight I had been unconsciously carrying fell away when I received the call.   Until I got the job offer, I didn’t even realize that behind my angst over, “Will I ever be well enough to return to work?” lay the even deeper anxiety, “Will anyone ever want to hire me again?”

One week at the library and wouldn’t ya know, a friend who is as passionate about nutrition and locavorism as I am, decided to buy the local cafe and offered me a part-time job.   Actually, she asked me some questions, I asked if I could help, offered to work more hours than God placed in a week when she said, “Yes”, and got the response:

“I would love to have you there everyday, but I do not want to be the cause of you having a set-back in your health.   I’m thinking 3-4 shifts a week, (four hours) and we’ll play it by ear on how you get along.”

So, between the three, Local Jobs, I will soon be employed 27 hours a week by folks who appreciate what I have to offer and who often take the time to look out for my health better than I do….

Which I consider a success – if I can’t learn to put myself first, at least I’m learning to form relationships with people who know that about me and look out for me, even when I don’t do it for myself.

A quick blessing on all those wonderful folks, in person and online, who are so good to me.  (blessings for those who cause me pain is in the Bad/Ugly sections – sorry, a leopard doesn’t change it’s spots overnight….)

My family decided to buy a washer/dryer combo for me as a Christmas gift.   While I love my Wonder Washer, the joint pain in my hands left me unenthused over wringing out heavyweight clothes once I no longer had my Spin Dryer to do it for me.  I’m over the moon at having a modern day laundering mechanism again.   Will report on my new tool as soon as I have a month’s worth of electric and water bills to report on – cuz you know, some things aren’t a bargain, even if you get them for free….   LOL  My Dad listed horses as one of these items….though he got me one, anyways…

I woke up today, totally pain free.   I’ve been trying different things and have been struggling since the pneumonia in September.   How apropo that I awoke, at last, to pain-free living on Thanksgiving.

The Bad

I had huge set-backs in my health after the pneumonia fiasco – another bout with it, then an abscess that had to be sliced and drained.   This time, I didn’t wait until it spread to hell and gone, so the slice and dice did not include gauze packing in the amount of a trip to the moon and back.

(See?  I’m learning – should have put this one in the Good section….) 

AND, if you are pro-active and go to the doctor early enough, without a designated driver, they can do local numbing shots, instead of saying, “Either you call someone to pick you up and we’ll put you under or you cuss while we slice – – ”   I was very grateful to get this taken care of without having to bite-a-bullet.

Then, the lovely return of neck/back pain that preceded my stroke back in 2011.

(Which sent me into a gale of emotional storms, praying that I could live at least until my son graduates from high school). 

This latest set-back confused and bemused me….   But it also stretched my horizons in my learning and what to do for myself.   Can’t say that I regret the new information I now know, but Lord, someday I would like to learn this stuff an easier way.

Windows 8 – I gave it 10 days before I whispered even one word to the outside world about not liking it.   As much as I embrace change as an offensive player in so many venues of life, I admit to being a defense player when it comes to computers and software – I get tired of learning new stuff all the time to perform the same old functions.

I’ve engaged in learning about Open Source Options for what all I do and am preparing to take the dive on eradicating Bill Gates from my computer – – which means, if I mess it up, you may not hear from me for another long period…..again….

The first week of working at the library coincided with my new-found activities of volunteering at a local food bank.   Which I  found when I asked if I could trade work for food when my wall furnace started lagging on lighting and then turned into a flame-thrower.

Acutally, if I hadn’t been worried about killing us all in the middle of the night, the wall-furnace-turned-flame-thrower was kinda cool to watch – a long hiss, followed by a mini-explosion and blue-gold light bursting from the wall – – alas, I’m a parent and have to be responsible – I got it fixed…using my grocery budget….

The gals who run the food bank are awesome.  And they seem happy to have manual labor show up regularly – They helped me out during a hard month and I get to help with the food bank garden next year!  Yay!

(This, too, should be in good, as should everything in this post, but, it still confounds me that I must learn the Good by experiencing the Bad – – Have you seen “Life of Pi?” yet – No?   Okay, watch it and you’ll ask why I’m still separating things out into Categories, even after having this epiphany….)

By week’s end, I was exhausted and I had momentary doubts about my ability to rejoin the world.   But I took self-care seriously during the weekend and, quite frankly, basked in the glow of working for/with people who know my health history and actually give a damn about it…  A new concept and this last part should be in the Good, but I trust you to understand.

An elderly man, who knows me because I went to school with his sons, attended one of the community dinners.  Here’s his line of interrogation (aka small chit-chat that small communities engage in) that sent me racing for my self-tranquilizers of choice – (nicotine)  I do not hold him personally responsible – I’m willing to give him the benefit of doubt – but no kidding, how can anyone hit everyone of my triggers in less than 3 minutes?  Seriously!

“Who was your dad?  Oh, I knew him – but I didn’t recognize you – you’ve changed!” (Yeah, bozo, I still have about 30 lbs to lose to get to my pre-stroke/pre-thyroid weight)

“How many kids do you have?   Didn’t you have a boy shortly after you graduated?” (Yes, yes, my oldest son, who you knew, is dead – here’s how he died – yes, what a shock and shame, thank you for bringing it up)

“So, where’s your husband?” (Far away, separate household – yes, yes, he decided on a different path for his life that didn’t include us – but, thankfully, this has not left me hot-to-trot or any other stories you have about divorced females and their rampaging sex drives – you’re safe, cuz if I never have to deal with a man again, I’ll thank God for eternity.)

“My son got a job and they’re paying him $18.50 an hour – I’m happy for him, but you kids are entitled and ask for too much” (Okay, if I strip you of everything you own other than the clothes on your back, I’d like to see you survive on minimum wage and do ya know, I was earning $18/hour as a no-degree, straight out of highschool, unskilled temp in 1988, less than 50 miles from where we are sitting – in the face of high unemployment, employers will pay whatever they damn well please and if you gripe they can find a dozen others who would just love to work for peanuts.)

“Why aren’t you volunteering at the local Thrift Store?” (Because I only have so much energy in a day – because I volunteer for the local booster club, because I offer low cost websites/hosting for small businesses and don’t charge them for extra work I do,  because I chose to volunteer at the food bank – because I’m on a limited income and creating my own garden and home grown food seems a priority for me, because I give something, everyday, for free to someone else, even when I don’t know how I’m going to pay my own water bill….)

Now, the reason I shared this with you is this conversation took place in under 5 minutes – and sent me into such a whirlwind of emotions (anger, mostly) that I excused myself and went home to have a cigarette (which I had been weaning myself back off of, since falling off the non-smoking wagon this fall)

I sat at home, ingesting higher levels of nicotine than I’ve used in over 3 years, and wondered if I’ll ever be fit for polite society again.   We all have our blind spots.   We all live with a perception of the world that may not be true for someone else.

But, DAMN, if it isn’t hard remembering that when someone is pushing your buttons.

This is included in Bad section because I see how intolerant I’ve become by being a semi-hermit and not having to deal with a wide-range of personalities on a day-to-day basis.

The Ugly

Inheritances Update – All my added chapters and the formatting of the entire manuscript managed to get corrupted during my “Save” and “Backup” operations of my writing.  I managed to retrieve my text file, but only the back-up from late July.

(See?!?  See how long I babied my old computer along… sigh… the greatest gift of life is learning to Let Go.)

One beta-reader returned my pre-computer-crash printed manuscript marked with  front page notation, “Compelling and beautiful –  Rework structure as fiction – story engaging, but not a non-fiction How-To.”

Ill health, damaged files and feedback indicating change needed – all combined-  induced me to return the ‘pre-order’ sale funds to those who supported Inheritances, with a promise of a free copy once it was actually done.    I haven’t had responses from you two, so please, let me know if you got the PayPal refund and if you’re mad at me forever or not….

This is in Ugly, because I let customers down – had I not put Inheritances up for sale prior to it’s release, this would be listed under “Bad, but Doable” – Alas, someday, Inheritances will be born – I will not, however, again try to Induce Labor by putting a work up for Advance Copy Sale – too many bad things happen when I try that route.

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So there it is – a nearly 2,500 word treatise to catch up since I’ve been gone – and I didn’t even include it all…

But I’ve missed you – I’ve missed writing – I’ve missed all of it –

And just as soon as the manure is spread on garden beds, home-made Christmas presents are done and I’ve adjusted to working for someone else several hours a day, I shall return with my shorter, more subject restricted posts….

Until then, may you and yours be comfortable, fed and happy!   Whatever holidays you celebrate during this time of year, I wish you the brightest of them.

Until We Meet Again….

xoxoxoxo

Summer Break

Well, no, it’s not really summer break but after engaging in marathon days of working on the final, yes final! manuscript for Inheritances, I needed a break.

The manuscript is to be placed in the hands of my beta-readers this coming week. Yay!

In the face of a government shutdown, some uncertainty on whether I will be allowed to even view, much less apply for different health insurance options without lying about my income (I can go no further in the process if I tell the truth –  I’m shot over to the site to apply for Medicaid and the company I am currently with shuts its doors for business on December 31st. and yes, I filled out my application on the 1st),  research done that revealed of the numerous doctors within a 50 mile radius of me who are listed as taking Medicaid/Medicare patients, many, including the first 34 ones I called, are not taking new patients, and my current doctor does not take it either,  as I follow the news and ponder the long-term ramifications of this dangerous game our elected officials charged with running the country are playing… Well, I REALLY needed  a break…

So I’ve been watching documentaries, reading and pondering.

Here’s the highlights:

  1. The right to counsel, to have an attorney appointed should I be unable to afford one, only became a RIGHT in 1963 – I thought it dated back to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, but no, it actually traced back to the 14th amendment portion regarding due process and was not rigorously engaged in by any amount of consistency from state to state until decades later.  The original interpretation pretty much left to the states to do as they pleased until Mr. Gideon, sent to prison in Florida and a poor, drifter who had been charged with crimes before (an unlikely citizen rights hero)  hand-wrote a plea to the Supreme Court, on lined prison stationary, informing them he had been denied counsel.  And Justice Hugo Black had to wait 20 years for his dissenting opinion regarding the 1942 Betts vs. Brady case to become the unanimous decision by all 9 justices in Gideon vs. Wainwright.  Full Scoop
  2. Had Harry S. Truman stopped talking after informing the American people via television he was going to seize steel manufacturing facilities and place them under the charge of the Secretary of Commerce to avoid shutdowns due to labor disputes, because the very lives our wonderful lads overseas in the Korean Conflict depended upon steel production continuing, he may actually have gotten away with it.   But no, he had to get worked up and spout off about the greediness and overall hatefulness of the steel barons and gave them the additional support of the American people to come out fighting for their rights, for, they argued, if he can take our steel mills today, what will stop him from taking your house tomorrow?    Morals of the story: Stop talking when you’re ahead and never believe that just because you appoint someone to the Supreme Court and play poker with them, they will always be on your side.
  3. Corporations are, by law, required to put the profits of their stakeholders first – if they do otherwise, they are, in fact, breaking the law.  In the face of this, I better understand massive layoffs, refusal to cooperate and engage in activities to benefit the laborers who create their wealth, the environment or much of anything other than making a few rich folks richer.   Interestingly, the wide sweeping changes that turned corporations from strictly defined and restricted entities governed by carefully worded state charters into entities with the rights of a person, but without a soul to feel guilt or a body to incarcerate, are also traced back to decisions by the Supreme court on cases brought before them under the 14th amendment.   See a timeline here
  4. That if you put the Disclaimer, “This video is for entertainment purposes only and the opinions expressed are not necessarily what anyone who had anything to do with making this video thinks is true” and offering those you are bad-mouthing the chance to make a response or decline to, keeps Monsanto, Tyson, the Beef Association and Dairy Council from suing the pants off you when you and 50 or so others talk about shady business practices.  I’m going to put up this disclaimer on my blog, in case those in power actually ever read my blog – Because I don’t think Gideon vs. Wainwright applies to civil litigation….
  5. I’ve decided one of the screening procedures for possible new friends or relationships is asking, “How do you feel about the following quote:”?

    “Is it ethical? I don’t know, but I did the job I was paid millions to do and I feel good about it.  This is how we make capitalism work.”

  6. I’ve also seen that if I intend to carry through on my intent to not pay taxes this coming year, as a gesture of civil disobedience towards a complex system I believe in need of change, it’s best if I start broadcasting my intent now.   To allow my side to be stated before being whisked away in the middle of the night in a caravan of black SUVs because I’m a threat to the nation and held in a secret location where I’m unable to log into WordPress and tell you why I haven’t blogged in over a month.
  7. I thought about transferring over  the $13.57 in my checking account to a bank in  Switzerland, renting an alley garbage can in San Francisco for my manufacturing headquarters and hiring a board of directors to hold company meetings wherever the rich of the neighborhood make .03 cents per week – all so I could avoid paying taxes legally, due to various national laws regarding such things but, then, where’s the disobedience in that plan?  Plus, the Swiss and Off-shore bankers hung up on me when I told them the balance I would like to transfer over.   I also really felt awful only paying .03 per week to my board of directors.   And since there were only going to be 3, I really couldn’t find an affordable way to give them healthcare benefits, either.  So I scrapped my plan for joining the big boys and fighting injustice from inside the system.
  8. I laughed at the old documentary that showcased the technological breakthrough of Pink Slime, and the factory manager who said they hoped to someday corner 90% of the market in the fight for ending hunger – – Pink Slime, I believe, has been removed from fast food chains and Congressional dinners – – the large inventory has been shipped to our nation’s schools via the Commodities free/low cost subsidizing of School Lunch programs, or so it was reported some months ago, and now that I have my disclaimer, I don’t actually have to research the current status, do I?  (My deep reluctance to engage in the relentless & never ending research in quest for the facts and truth is why I decline to be an investigative reporter – and probably, would actually make a A-1 politician)
  9. I watched Michael Moore interviews and wondered if now that I’ve put on some weight from sitting writing all day instead lugging heavy landscaping materials around, wear my pajamas 24/7, don’t do my hair or make-up so there is that much more time to write and watch documentaries, if he’d want to date me?   And how Howard Zinn only looked that unkempt during his civil disobedient crusades, because the local powers that be had drug him through some mud and street debris on his way to the paddy-wagon – – Just Saying….
  10. I’ve once again marveled at the claim that 55 men convened for more than 6 months to design an entirely new form of government,  argued, debated and insulted each other to the extreme, yet all kept their initial promise to not breathe a word outside the walls in which they convened about what they were doing,  Really?   55 people kept a secret for 6 months? – Amazing.

Sated and re-inspired by the history of both our mistakes and our triumphs, fresh in the knowledge that sometimes our collective conscience and the wheels of democracy do manage to move somewhat faster than receding glaciers, I’m ready to dive back into editing – yes, I have 3 other books that have sat for years.

But before I start, I’m thinking maybe I should do the dishes and take a shower – maybe don some street clothes and run errands in something other than my bedroom slippers, sweats and a t-shirt –  – before I dive back into the La-La land of my own design.

Then again, maybe I can deliver 2 manuscripts next week, not just one…

Wishing you a happy and wonderful Summer Weekend Break.

And What do You Think?

I’m buried in finishing Inheritances.   The 12 or more hour long writing days may be getting to me.

The “print button” for beta reader benefit has not been yet pushed as I re-read the entire manuscript and realize things I thought I had included, I had actually written on my blog or in my journal – and had not included in the ever-growing manuscript.

As ever more information is being added, I’m starting to have niggles of self-doubt –

For you see, the original manuscript contained short journal entries, to set the stage for the sharing of what I’ve discovered during my journey of grieving.    As I add items, I’m finding it necessary to include some of the longer journal entries, to adequately portray my perspective at the time, or the coping choices I was making, in order for the following text to have any, well, context.

My niggling of doubt inner critic is going something like this:

“Who would want to read this?   People are looking for options and answers, not just another sob story.”

And so, I ask you, dear WordPress Community, what do you prefer?   Do you like knowing what’s really going on behind the scenes, or would you rather just hear about the lessons learned and the gifts received without the personal stories these realizations were borne in?

Thanks for any/all suggestions, opinions and “Stop procrastinating and finish the damn thing, already” comments, in advance!

😀

Perfectionism, Procrastination and WTH

This past spring and summer brought me experiences I felt deserved inclusion in my book, Inheritances, and my recent illness has placed me in front of my computer more hours than time spent outdoors on landscaping activities.  October 1st was to be end of landscaping/gardening and the beginning of writing, reading, website and crafts season.

I’m ahead of schedule, it seems.

I admit to being stuck.   As I add the new thoughts to the existing manuscript – I re-read the old and think, “Why on earth did I think this book needed published?”

A question I’ve asked a thousand times over the past 7 years.

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My years spent as a so-called efficiency expert (my real job was to find efficient ways to collect and disseminate data – a database builder with a glorified title) taught me one huge and important lesson:

I have monumental issues with ‘Scope Slippage.”

If you’re not familiar with this term, I’ll give you an example:

“Tamrah, go on over to Unit D and fix them up with a tool to more efficiently report on what they do.”

An hour or three days pass

“So, Tamrah, how’s it going?  Any idea on when you’ll have them up and running?”

“Yes, most likely next week.  However, I have discovered that Units A, B & C actually have already collected 97% of the data that Unit D is responsible for reporting – they are not collecting their data in a manner that is easy to share, so I’m building their tools, so they can electronically share the data with Unit D and all they’ll then need is a way to add their two cents to the data.”

“Fabulous, keep me posted.”

Another hour or week passes

“Tamrah, where are we at on the tool for Unit D?”

“Coming along nicely – I found out that if we added in a couple of fields to collect a few other stats, we could greatly cut down on the work needing to be performed by Units F, H & I.   I’m implementing that and building the tool to receive the data for the affected Units.  We should be ready to go by next week.”

Twenty minutes later, in the bosses office

“Honestly, Richard, the whole damn show, Unit A through Unit ZZ needs to all be in one grande database.   I can map the entire thing for you and it is the most efficient way to approach this – the $$ saved will ginormous and with cooperation, it can be built quickly.”

“Sure, I hear you.  But there is not budget for that and, can you please, please, just build the tool for Unit D?”

This example is what some people dub perfectionism – enough never being enough.

Or procrastination – finding something new to do to avoid doing something you already signed up for.

I dub it the height of laziness – why do something twice or multiple times, when, with a little thought, planning and up-front work, you can save hours of labor later?  I know how to track Return on Investment – I can spend hours on designing something that will be easy to maintain, later….if I ever finish it…

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Inheritances started as a way to communicate the gifts we receive when a loved one is terminally ill.   The blessing of knowing time is limited and grabbing all the time we can, while we can.   I started writing it as my dad battled first lung, then brain cancer.

It was a small project and quickly completed.   Then my oldest son died. Quickly and unexpectedly from bacterial meningitis.

And I thought about how different the grieving process was for me between the two.  And added those thoughts to the manuscript.

Then my marriage and financial health started slipping away – I lost work, husband and home in a short time – I recognized the signs of grieving and realized how grieving takes place anytime we lose something from our daily routines…

Into the manuscript the ideas, coping mechanisms and gifts went.

Then, feeling as if I had lost nearly everything, I had a stroke and lost much of what I thought of as me.

And though I did not write for more than a year, post-stroke, my brain pondered upon the new lessons I was learning, knowing they, too, must be included.

See?  Scope Slippage.

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Nothing in my book is new – people have been grieving ever since we learned to love and form attachments.  We all, to a certain degree, carry the scars of our losses, the wisdom gained from those trials and we trod on, doing the best we can with what we’ve got and where we’re at.  Why on earth would anyone need to read about it?

I spent two hours on the phone recently, with one who is a designated beta reader- who has yet to read a single page of the manuscript.

And another 30 minutes or so today.

We talk often on a myriad of subjects, but quite some time has been spent recently discussing the reasons I’m resisting printing it out and delivering the manuscript for perusal.

I know it is not because of perfectionism – this beta reader happens to be one of the most well-adjusted folks I know, whose opinion of my work, whatever it may be,  I will accept – good or bad.

I have no fear of delivering what I deem to be a final draft and my reader declaring, “worst first draft, outline or idea I’ve ever laid eyes on.”

Not because that may not happen, but because I know I will be enriched by the experience no matter what the verdict.

So scratch fear of criticism, failure or less-than-perfectionism from the list of whys.

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I’m well known for my procrastinating ways – I always have a myriad of projects in some stage of completion.   Soon, I will pull out the quilt I started 3 years ago in the attempt to have it ready for Christmas gifting this year.

There are those in my circle who will tell you I never finish what I start.  This is categorically untrue.  I finish everything I start – sometimes decades after I started, and sometimes, finishing is accomplished by, “This project no longer contains any functionality for my happiness nor does it add to my daily routine.  It does not benefit anyone else, and will not detract from anything if let go.  therefore, letting it go is finishing it.”

I am a master at letting go.

To this end, I will admit, I’m not letting go of Inheritances, and cannot see ever doing so, though I’m sure I will go through the entire “Is it True? Is it Kind? Is it Necessary?” test many more  times before birthing my creation to the public.

And so, procrastination seems a no-go, as well.

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The past few years have taught me that if I’m resisting, there is probably a very good reason for doing so.   Case in point, I resisted getting out and pulling weeds from an area this past spring – always finding something else I’d rather be doing, all while the litany of “just get out there and get ‘er done” played through my head.

Thank heavens I did not listen to my own internal nag, for into the weed pile would have gone the seedlings of wild poppies that I would not have recognized as being something I wanted to keep, rather than throw away.

This is just one example in a lifetime of many that have proved waiting (or procrastinating, if you insist) often pays off for me – the deepest troubles I’ve found myself in over the years were the times I pushed to ‘make it happen’ because “I Should” rather than I Must because I simply must.

So here I sit, doing my part by self-analyzing my reasons for resisting hitting the ‘Print’ button and delivering it to another set of eyes.

If I cannot, soon,  come up with a character flaw to explain my resistance, I shall wait, for obviously something else is going on.

Or I might not – maybe I’ll quit editing, print out the pages and deliver them.   Just to see what happens.

Maybe, just maybe, that which is needed to become un-stuck is only a beta read away…

Signs, Part 4,389

signsantelopeI’ve written about signs before – so many times, I’ve lost count.   It occurred to me that I’ve never told you why I started believing in signs in the first place…

You might think it was my early encounter with Ms. Taurus-Lotsa-Fun, who introduced me to the world of astrology.

Or the fact I was raised in the Protestant religion – pray and you always get an answer – even if it’s not the one you want.

But actually, though I was introduced to the concepts of Signs early and often, I didn’t really start paying attention them until I was 30.    Gut feelings/Intuition was a no-brainer – but any -ology saying ‘If such and such shows up, it means such and such’ was seen by me as “Superstition”.

Then, shortly after I turned 30, with a six-month old baby and scars/healing/no energy from massive surgery done three months before, I plopped down on the couch at my neighbor’s house, and heard his exclamation:

“WOW!  You are BLUE!  What’s going on?”

“Nothing – thank goodness – and if it were, I’d be too tired to do anything about it.   What’s it all for, anyways?”

There’s a reason why depression and the color blue are linked, I’m thinking…

As we talked, we worked around to the topics of AskingForHelp-ology and Sign-ology.

I choked out,

“The only prayer I ever make is that when the message is given to me, ‘May I not be too stupid to get it’.”

Which took us down the why-would-you-ever-be-so-hard-on-yourself  and trust-your-inner-voice pathways.

After that conversation, I understood that my intuition and seeing “Signs” were the same thing – just different ways of connecting.  With my intuition, I used my body and feelings to better navigate the world around me.   Signs were just an external way of reminding me what I needed to be telling myself.

Sometimes, I’ve misinterpreted the signs.

crowFor instance, for weeks before Morgan died, crows were everywhere.   Not a big thing, as they abounded near where I lived and worked.   The odd thing was there was always a crow standing near my car when I left for work, arrived at work, left work and arrived home.    It seemed that every day the same crow was there to greet me as I commuted back and forth.

I was excited.   I had given my notice at work and was neck-deep in a creative project with a friend.   Things were looking up!   Crows mean change and I was tingly all over realizing I was about to embark upon a magical journey of transformation in my life.

Needless to say, hindsight has proven that yes, transformation was in the air, just not in the pleasant manner I had envisioned.

**********

Which brings me to these past few days – There is an antelope who stands stock still and looks at me every day I drive out to do the neighbor’s chores.   I’m sure it’s the same one.   Antelope abound here, too – but this is different.

This lone antelope stands still and I feel the pressure of its’ gaze the entire time I drive by.

Since I’ve smartened up some these past few years, I have on my shelf Animal Spirit Guides by Dr. Steven Farmer (who I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting in person).

After a few days of Mr. Antelope showing up (yes, they are always Mr., Ms., Miss, Uncle, Aunt, Grandmother – – I just pick what feels right) I decided I’d best be finding out what the message was, because I am sure there is one – –

And here’s what I found that spoke volumes to me:

Courtesy Animal Spirit Guides by Dr. Steven Farmer:

If Antelope shows up, it means:

Whatever your heart’s desire, make a clear and firm decision to begin it, and then go for it with gusto.

Whatever you’ve begun, follow through and finish it as quickly as you can.

You’ve been spending too much time in solitude and need to seek out the company of friends.

Call on Antelope when:

You feel sluggish and lethargic and want an extra charge of energy.

You feel blocked or stymied in your efforts and need to take action in order to get things moving.

You’re starting a new project or job, or else you’re approaching a new phase of your life.

**********

I’m clear now – I’ve let myself get overwhelmed and something has got to give.   It’s summertime.   Garden and landscaping projects time.    The timetable for my book, Inheritances, has slipped from mid-May to July, due to a myriad of factors – new chapters written to be woven in and Life events that mean my main grammarian’s red-lining has been interrupted.

I’ve learned it’s best not to mess with signs.   There is nothing stopping me from working on my landscaping projects, but there have been several signs this past week to indicate if I keep pushing on getting Inheritances out, I may well regret it later.

So the decision has been made – Winter time is for writing, quilting and website building.  Summertime is for landscaping and building a future Market Garden spot for my community.

Inheritances publication has been pushed out till next Winter (I’m thinking November time frame) and I’m going to plunge with gusto into my outdoor paradise building – for as long as my little body can hold up.

Thanks so much to all who have pre-ordered.   If you don’t want to wait till November, feel free to contact me for a full refund.   If you don’t mind waiting, thanks again, ever so much for your support!