In case you were wondering, we did make it to Virginia the day before Easter. It was a long trip but we enjoyed several of our stops, especially the Petrified Forest in Arizona, Nashville and Asheville. On Judy’s recommendation, we visited the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville. So glad we did–it’s a massive resort with beautiful indoor gardens and waterfalls.
Jesse secured us the family discount at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. A one hundred year old magnificent hotel with manned elevators–two of which are in Ripley’s Believe It or Not for being inside the chimney of the massive fireplaces. And we rode in them!
The absolute highlight of the trip was a visit to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. (Unfortunately, we toured it with what felt like thousands of other people–it was the Friday of Easter weekend.) Downton Abbey in the US for sure. The PBS series helped me relate to what life at the Biltmore would have been like (and vice versa). As we wandered the property, I kept thinking how much I would have enjoyed being a guest there. I hope to get to another estate–Mount Vernon–before we leave Virginia.
I am still recuperating from my long weekend at Malice Domestic in Bethesda. It was great to reconnect with Eleanor, Heidi, and Linda after almost five months away from my writing group. My niece, Casey, and her boyfriend, Andrew, joined us for lunch on Sunday. As they live in DC, I did get some inspiration to resurrect my NaNoWriMo novel, “Alex.” The good news/bad news is that I am now thinking about linking my other two novels, “Anne” and “Claire.” And making “Anne” into a murder mystery. Somehow. That’s what happens when you spend three days with mystery writers, the majority of whom have written series. I’m making notes and attempting to process this concept but will rely on my writing group to help me decide if this is even worth putting any effort into.
Waiting to hear what my last mitotane level was. It’s been over two weeks since I had the labs done. This is what happens when you’re away from your regular doctor and medical facility. Must say the medical part has been what has caused me the most stress this winter.
Steve is anxious to get back to NH. I’m not. He wants to golf more than anything–but he claims he wants to do things like use his pressure washer (that he got for Father’s Day last year!). I am happy to be responsible for just a wee bit of living space. Right now it’s a bedroom and bathroom. I don’t have to worry that the floors need to be vacuumed or the dishwasher emptied though I do try to do my share of cooking, cleaning, and laundry. Babysitting is not a chore! But I am anxious to get back to my NH family (Elise and Sheffield!!) and friends. Maybe buying the fifth-wheel was the thing to do…..
December 1. Steve’s official start of retirement. A day to celebrate. Under normal circumstances, I would be jealous, looking forward to another four or more years of work while he stayed home, completing his honey do list and puttering around the house. Nothing normal about our current situation. We’re both retired, home together, 24/7.
We have only one vehicle now. Already we are missing the company truck. Can’t just run and get a Christmas tree, throw it in the back of the truck. This year we borrowed Chris’ truck and took Elise with us to Windy Ridge Orchard to cut our tree. I’ve thought about buying a nice artificial tree (we put a cheap one in the gazebo that caused a few arguments as it was being assembled) but I can’t quite make myself do it. I like real ones. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a real tree.
Last year Steve and Sheffield bought an already cut one while I lay on the couch recovering from my surgery. It was not what you would call a pretty tree although he claimed it was the best one in the lot. I recall that Steve and the grandkids decorated it. I didn’t much care what it looked like. But I definitely cared that we had one. It meant that everything was normal. Even though it wasn’t.
This year everything is pretty close to normal. Except we are preparing for our trip to Arizona and packing up the house so that our contractor can renovate the kitchen and install new tile in the mud room. And I get to tear up the old tile! So excited! Our contractor even left me a real tool to do it with—a mini jackhammer. I can’t wait to get started. I’ll probably hate it or, more likely, not be able to do it, and Steve will have to take over. And all of those hours spent watching HGTV will be wasted.
Sort of like writing. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for so long and now that I have the time to do it I realize how much work it is. (I certainly can’t delegate it to Steve.) So it doesn’t get done. That’s why I didn’t “win” NaNoWriMo (yesterday was the deadline and I never got beyond 11,000 words). But I did get a good start on a novel that I like and that I hope to complete – “Claire.” Eventually. Even with Steve hanging around the house…….
I woke up at 2 in the morning for a bathroom break. Someone was thumping my chest. It took me a few moments to realize that it was me. My arm had fallen asleep and I was attempting to wake it up by hitting it against my chest.
The things we do to ourselves without realizing it. Thinking that someone else is doing them to us. That we are not the cause of our own problems, of our situation. That events just happen of their own volition.
I can always justify not spending time writing because the bills need to be paid, the laundry needs to be done, the dishwasher emptied. Hey, I can’t shirk those responsibilities now that I am no longer working. Sometimes I just don’t feel well enough to do more than lie on the couch and watch TV. I can always blame it on my cancer. Then I can go to my writing group with a reason (an excuse?) for why I’ve been neglecting Anne.
Yet I’ve always been able to force myself to power through projects. When I’ve had to. But not when I’ve wanted to. Wanting to have something done is not enough for me. I’ve always needed a deadline, a real deadline, not one that I’ve set for myself.
Last night at my writing group I committed to submitting next week. I am going to start with the beginning of Anne and work my way to the end. The end of what will be the second draft. Two down, how many more to go after that?
John suggested that I post my novel right here on my blog. WHAT??? That means going public with my writing, posting it on the Internet for the whole world to see (OK, so I only have 53 followers). Before I feel it is ready. Or before I am ready……
Just 250 words every other day. Yet it feels like a major commitment. As frightening as it is I think it’s a great idea. I’d love to hear what you think!
It’s 5:30 in the morning and I’m rolling out of bed so that I can join my husband on the couch for coffee, CNN, and the weather before he heads off to work at 6:30. When I was working it was all I could do to get out of bed with enough time to perform my morning rituals and arrive at work by 8.That included eating breakfast in the car during my eight minute commute to my job!
You’d suppose that as soon as he heads out the door I would be firing up my laptop and start pounding away on my novel, the one that I have committed to finishing before I, well you know….
This is the novel I started back in 1986, a mere 27 years ago, definitely a lifetime ago. The one that my mother has asked repeatedly if she will be able to read it before she dies and now that is no longer the question we ask. So now, almost seven months after my surgery and a month following my retirement I am doing just that.
It’s so true what “they” say, those seasoned writers like Stephen King, you need to write every day as once you get out of the habit of writing it is nearly impossible to force yourself back into it. My daughter, the yoga instructor with a successful blog, allows herself fifteen minutes to tackle any project. If that is all that she can manage, she has at least achieved her goal. If she gets so wrapped up in it that she works on it until she absolutely has to stop, she has the satisfaction of knowing that she has far exceeded her expectations. It makes sense when you apply it to writing because once you’re fifteen minutes into your project ,you’ll probably not be able to stop. But still. Isn’t the hard part sitting down and starting, committing to those first fifteen minutes?
In addition to firing up my laptop, the hardest part of my morning is opening the refrigerator and taking out the milk container without looking at or smelling the food then extracting from the kitchen cupboard the pills that now sustain me. It’s hard because I feel fine before I’ve taken my pills after I’ve eaten my breakfast. Because I’ve decided that they are magic, the actual act of swallowing them doesn’t seem to cause any problems.