Thursday, November 29, 2012

There are gifts, and then there are GIFTS!

Been thinking a lot about what I want to post this week. I loved all the Thanksgiving Posts. Loved them even more because someone was actually thankful for me. The ‘Oh How I Miss You Blogfest’ was also fun and heartwarming. It’s nice to see and read all of your positive comments about friends, family and especially those who are ‘words on a screen’.

Another blogger mentioned that Thanksgiving is the ‘Gateway to Christmas’ and for that I’m excited. I love Christmas. I love buying and giving gifts. I generally go overboard, but it’s so much fun. I like the idea of trying to figure out what will be meaningful and fun for the recipient. What can I give that will be unique and tell them that I really care. I want them to know that I listen and want to please and excite them with my choices.

Kids are easy, they want everything. I try hard to decipher what is real desire and best fitted to their age, ability and learning, as opposed to who has the slickest ads. With adults it gets harder. Most adults that I know, have the things the really need, so I like to look for something totally frivolous that they wouldn’t buy for themselves. That’s where the fun begins.

But, there is another side to the Christmas Season that is a little melancholy for a lot of us. Christmas is also a time of deep reflection. A time when we miss loved ones who are no longer here, friends who have gone by the wayside and I tend think about those people I ‘let down’ or failed somehow.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid I have a list of people that I have failed throughout my lifetime. People who reached out me in some manner and I was too preoccupied or too selfish to even try to meet their needs. So often all it takes is a little attention to get most folks through a ‘bad time’. Christmas is a time when I think of them. It’s a time when I wonder if there is something more I could do, even now. It’s a time when I pray a lot and try to be better.

Quite a few years ago, I was up late wrapping presents on Christmas Eve. I had commercial TV then and some live Christmas Pageant was airing. I was absent mindedly( is this really a word? - oh well, it is now) watching. It began as an angel tells Mary of the divinity of her coming child and ends with the Savior’s Crucifixion. I was a little angry. How dare TV ruin my Christmas Spirit by reminding me of ‘the rest of the story’? At Christmas I’m in a frame of mind where I prefer to think only of the JOY surrounding the event we are celebrating. I stopped wrapping and began contemplating my disappointment. It was then that it hit me (like a ton of bricks, I might add) that the true JOY in the Christmas story is truly only present when we consider ‘the rest of the story’. The love shown to each of us in the giving of the greatest gift. Redemption, if only we accept it. Total and complete unconditional love extended to each and every one of us, if we can abide it. And finally, an example or pattern for us to follow to be worthy of both.

I hope you enjoy giving this Christmas Season as much as I do. I hope you all realize just how much you give to me. Now get out there and start shopping, or start baking, or start making those fun and meaningful gifts for those you love. When someone tells you Christmas should not be about the gifts, it’s gotten too commercial, whatever, whatever. Remind yourself that gift giving is a tiny part of the example set for us at this most important and joyous time of year. And have some fun with it. Man is that he might have JOY.

I’ll be off island next week, visiting the States. Yeowee!  I’m excited and a little apprehensive. I’ll wave if I see ya. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Here we are folks the day before Thanksgiving (well at least if you live in the States), which I don’t, but where I live it’s any excuse for a party and a day off from work. Since I am a US citizen and a thankful one at that, thought I should mention it publicly. BUT, first I want to tell you a little about the Cruzan experience (Cruzan – the term applied to the people of my island – St. Croix in the U.S. Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands).

Ah, paradise most of your say…

Down here (any excuse for a holiday – remember) we celebrate Halloween and Diao de las Muerta  (Day of the Dead) which is a holiday more celebrated in Mexico and Central American. We went to a celebration on the far northwest end of the island where they featured ‘fire eating fire dancers'; Kiki and the Flaming Gypsies. Not something you see every day, and not something you see in the more civilized parts of the world. These gals with their flaming torches and hula hoops right up close and personal. I’m sure there were more than a few singed hairs floating around.

Next on my list is the local produce. Wow, there’s nothing like the tropics. Everything grows here, and grows like a weed, especially the weeds. There are places the ‘bush’ is so thick you cannot get through without a machete. Ah maybe that’s why everyone has one strapped to their back. Down here they call them ‘a cutlass’. Yeah, you read that right – hold over from the days of Cap’t Morgan – who knows?

Check out this local avocado. Also, here's a hermit crab who couldn't find a shell large enough so he substituted a glass jar. You kow what they say about folks who live in 'glass houses'.

If you’re smart you will own and drive an ‘island car’. If you car is what we call an ‘island car’, you are less likely to be broken into and believe me that’s a problem. I have a friend who drives a fancy new car and it has been broken into as much as three times – on the same day – yeah, that's a bit of a problem. Best to take the important stuff out and leave the doors unlocked. Recently, I purchased a new car and my shopping around went from the

the FAST

To the not so FURIOUS

Both are actually island cars when you look closely. That little red BMW convertible was a ’94 and the interior was shot, but I didn’t care I wanted it badly. The Isuzu Rodeo is in better shape (an '01), the A/C works and so does the radio/CD player(none of those did in the Beamer). It’s safer and won’t disappear in one of the potholes, for which STX (the abbreviation for St. Croix) is famous. I did the right thing and bought the Isuzu, but only because it was $500 cheaper and that was all I had.

The beaches are phenomenal.

Need I say more?

One of my final STX experiences happened just the other day. I was shopping in K-Mart our only larger department type store on island (well one of two – we have two K-Marts, but nothing else). While looking over some dry goods at the very front of the store, trying to pick out a tablecloth for my Thanksgiving table, I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked over and YIKES! there was a rat – yes I said RAT with a body about eight inches long and about another twelve inches of skinny pink tail.

OK, I’m not sure who is more shocked, me or the rat. I look around and there are people everywhere, including store personnel and nobody but me notices this furry little vermin. Well, the rat turns and runs back behind the Coke machine he came out from. I’m standing there in a state of shock wondering what to do when Mr. Rat comes back out and runs under a pallet holding some boxes about a foot away from me. Now, my first thought is to drop the tablecloth and exit the store as quickly as I can, but K-Mart is my only option and I’m an island girl, so I put the tablecloth in my cart and head down the aisle to look for some shampoo, I’m not planning on buying any food here today or ever again. Ha – it’s just another island experience. Sorry no pictures of this one.

I’ve been here on island for two and a half years now and I have to admit I’m starting to get a little homesick. I really missed fall this year and I wouldn’t mind a little snow for Christmas. Considering I’ve spent the previous 30+ years living in the Inter-mountain west at an altitude of one mile+, this stint at sea level has been fun, but it’s wearing thin. I’m ready to trade my flip flops back in for a pair of Sorrels.

All in all I’m grateful. I know if I leave the island, I will miss it and always look back on the experience (rat included) and be grateful for the time I’ve had to spend here in what some would call paradise. But mostly I’m NOT grateful for places or things BUT for people and experiences. It’s since and because I was coming here that I started blogging, writing, and living even louder than I had been before. Many of you reading today, I would not have met, but for this.

So, when you sit down to your turkey dinner tomorrow, think of me ‘Far Away’ sitting down to mine (actually I don’t eat meat or poultry, but I’ll still be sitting down in front of a turkey) and remember that Paradise is of our own making, it’s not really a place here on earth. Look around at those you love, remember those that are no longer with you, and think of the ones who appear as ‘words on a screen’ and be thankful for all. I am.

Friday, November 16, 2012

'Oh How I Miss You'

Today is the 'Oh How I Miss You Blogfest , but I bet you already figured that out for yourself.
Go here to learn more about it and see the other participants.

As you can tell, today is the ‘Oh, How I Miss you Blogfest”. For more information click on that little blue ‘here’ up above (don’t even try clicking on the badge – you guys know me better than that) and get all the info from the hosts. You can also check out the other participants and see if you are on anybody’s list.

First the three I miss ~

Number One – the person I miss the most is ME. Now before you think; ‘whew, what a narcissistic comment’, let me explain. Lately life has been kicking me to the curb on a continual basis. Health issues, financial issues, personal issues, computer issues, and on and on and on, have left me with very little motivation to blog. I hate complaining and I find myself whining more than ever, so I just keep my mouth shut and slink off into the corner.

The reason I miss me blogging, is that when I do post something ( I have made it now for three weeks in a row – posting once a week) so many of you come around, even after I’ve been delinquent for a long time, and you cannot imagine how good your comments make me feel. Also, because you guys comment, I get out and visit you back. When I’m out and about in the blogosphere, I’m more informed, entertained and think a whole lot less about my personal woes. I’m workin’ hard a making a comeback, at least on a weekly basis.

Number Two – Stephen T. McCarthy at ‘Stuffs’. Stephen shut this blog down months ago, but I still miss his great travelogues, goofy characterizations and entertaining blog bits. There are some things he’s talked about that can get a laugh out loud from me, when I just think about them. He still blogs at
FFF-F, but he is often a lot more serious in that space.

Finally – Draven Ames at ‘Another Slightly Scary Story’. Draven hasn’t posed anything since November 2011 (a year ago) and I miss the offbeat horror that he wrote and hosted. I’m not necessarily a big horror fan, but he did come up with some pretty different stuff. Not zombies or werewolves but ideas of a more psychological nature.  He seems to be gone, gone, gone.

Now who would I miss if they were to ‘go away’? Well it goes without saying; I would hate to see Mr. McCarthy shut down his FFF-F blog, as he is threatening to do. His serious, politically un-correct posts serve a needed purpose in the blogging world.

I would miss Alex J. Cavanaugh and Matthew McNish if they were to take more than a short vacation. Alex has to be the nicest blogger out there and I am learning a lot from Matt’s QQQE blogspot.

I do and would miss D.L. Hammonds of ‘Crusting Altitude 2.0’. The reason I do miss him is that he has been hosting ‘Fight Club’ forever. While FC is a great idea and it sure gives numerous writers an opportunity to get some really great flash fiction noticed, I miss some of the insightful posts D. L. makes about his work and things going on in the world. So, come on back D.L.

There are a whole lot more people that I would miss, if they were to stop blogging, but the rules said three and 'you know me'; I would never break the rules. Ha!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Here we are, the first Wednesday of the month, the month of November no less, and it’s time for the Insecure Writers Support Group.

Something new for me this month, I’m not too insecure. If you caught my last post – I’ll wait while you go and read it, if you like – you noticed that I opted out of NaNoWriMo. At first I was kind of bummed about this, but now, here, today, November 7th, I feel pretty good. I’ve got my November project and its working. I’m revising and editing last year’s NaNo Project, and it’s coming together nicely.

Everyone says that when you finish up a story to take a break, step away from it, start another project, if necessary. Well, I did. I took about a nine month break. I never really started another project, probably because this one kept nagging at me, but I really couldn’t bring myself to revise it either.

When faced with the prospect of whether or not I was a writer or simply a wannabe, I decided writer. So, I put my butt in the chair and got to work. My new critique partner made it through ‘Sandy and is looking for my MS. (Thank goodness on both counts.) I am so excited. I am actually ready to send it out into the world, at least to let one other person read it. I’m still making revisions and I’m sure there will be many more, but I’m back on track again.

A project that I am in complete control of. One that I can see through to the end. A project that I find engaging, exciting, and hopefully rewarding. I guess, in the end, the temporary cure for MY insecurities is to have a project to immerse myself in. Like just about every other problem I encounter in life, the solution lies within.

Good luck to all of you doing NaNo. Good luck to the rest of you too. May you find your solutions.

Now go on over to that badge on the side bar. Click on it and get to the Linky List of other participants in the IWSG, so what advice they have to offer and what comfort you can give.