LIFE WITH WEEBLES-TAKE 2- Steps of Death

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Like I mentioned before, Greg has Ataxia which means he can trip over a line drawn on the floor. This makes a nervous wreck out of me. I have no idea when a dust bunny, or a crack, or a piece dog hair will trip him and land him on his butt. Well, usually he lands on his belly and flops around like a fish out of water. Scares the be-jesus out of me. I know he hates it. It isn’t something he can control, which for a control freak, is unacceptable. Oh, yes, I failed to mention before that in addition to Greg being a neat-nut and having OCD, he is a control freak as well. I think most men are to a certain degree. Of course Greg is a LEO and they are very independent creatures. I’ll give him credit, however, he’s mellowed quite a bit, but the gene still lurks in the shadows.

Daddy was the same way. However, Ol’ Dad was a Scorpio which is tons worse than a Leo. When a stoke took him down, not being able to control the situation or do simple things like tie his shoes was hell of earth. So I understand Greg’s frustration at not be able to do the things he did before,like cleaning the ceiling fan. Here is one of Weeble’s FaceBook post that pretty well tells the story:

“Boy, Ruth pissed me off this morning. I said I need to clean the ceiling fan over my bed. She asked how I was going to do that. I told her I was going to use the vacuum cleaner and one of those Swiffer things. I said, If I can’t reach the top, I’ll just stand on the bed. She said, “That’s the dumbest think you’ve ever done”. Boy howdy, I jumped right back and said, “I have done many dumber things than this.”

Weebes used humor but if you’re skilled at reading between the lines, frustration stands out.

When I moved in I had a ton of stuff. I refuse to call it crap as I paid darn good money for some of it. Nevertheless, I had a lot of it. Greg’s solution was to put it in the attic. I flipping hate that attic! When we bought the house there were no attic stairs so we bought a set of pull-down steps and had them installed. Steps of Death! The stairs are narrow, steep, and the rungs were made for a kid’s shoe size two to step on. My shoe size is 5 1/2, and I have to really watch where I place my foot. Now imagine Greg who has a shoe of 9 or 10 trying to maneuver the rungs. Even when he didn’t have Ataxia it wasn’t easy. I avoid the attic like the plague. As a result, I stuffed all my treasures into two closets. I did wrestle a few boxes up those steeled rungs of hell but only a few. As life would have it, I sometimes need things I stuffed into those closets, but when I go to get them, I can’t find them. Oh man, that pisses me off no end. In my mind’s eye I can see it in the exact box I put it in, but the box is nowhere to be found. Greg’s answer to all of this: “It must be in the attic.”

I swear if I put all the stuff I can’t find in the attic, the ceiling would cave in. I know damn well it is not upstairs and I will not tempt the hand of fate and crawl up those steps of death to prove my point. Greg’s answer to this, “I wish I could get up there. I’d find it.”

Oh, holy hell.

No way. Weebles can’t feel his feet. He’d have no idea if his foot was on the rung or if it was flopping off the side. This statement made me come unglued and I yelled, “No flipping way are you to ever try climbing in the attic!” Actually “flipping” was not the word I used but you get the idea. I continued my rant, “If I ever come home, hit the garage-door opener and see you laying flat-out on the cement garage floor with the attic steps looming over you, I will kill you!”

Greg’s answer to all of this, “I’d be dead. You couldn’t kill me.”

Good point. But because I’m a stubborn Taurus I just had to have the last word, which was, “I don’t flipping care. I’d resurrect you then kill you all over again.”

I’m really not complaining about Greg even if it sounds like it. He’s a good man, and I’m not a peach to live with either. I’d much rather co-habituate with a neat-freak than a flabby beer-bellied, billy-goat-stinking slob. I do stupid stuff too. Not a whole lot, but some.

But I swear to God if I ever find out Weebles has been up in the attic, I will be wanted for Murder in the first degree.

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LIFE WITH WEEBLES-TAKE : The Art of Compromise

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One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my life is: Never say Never.
Seventeen years ago I divorced only to find myself sixteen years later, moving back in with my ex-husband. The arrangement is strictly a roommate situation. I pay him rent. I live in my half of the house, he lives in his half. I have my own living room, bedroom, bathroom, and office. The kitchen is common ground. He does most of the cooking because I can’t boil water. Never have been a good cook, never will. We usually eat supper together but as he likes different TV programs, we split after supper and go to our separate corners.

You may be thinking, why did I move back? First and foremost, MONEY. While I could pay my mortgage and all the bills, I had no money to live on. Same with him. We were discussing this problem one day and I mentioned I was going to sell my place and move into an apartment. He said, “why not move in with me?” We could both save. A win-win situation.

The second reason for moving back concerns health and safety. Greg was diagnosed with something called, Ataxia. What is that? It is a lack of muscle coordination which affects, speech, eye movement, walking, picking up things, and other voluntary movements. Walking is Greg’s biggest challenge. He can’t feel his feet. They hurt all the time. This is difficult for me to understand. If you can’t feel your piggies, how do you know they hurt? He can’t stand still. He wobbles back and forth like a drunk which gave birth to his nick-name. Greg belongs to the Patriot Guard Riders whose members nick-named him Weebles. “Weebles wobbles but don’t fall down.” Except this Weeble falls down a lot! As he lived alone you can imagine how scary that was for him. What if he fell and couldn’t get up? Having someone in the house who could help would be a great comfort. This works in reverse as well. It is also nice knowing if I ever needed help, someone would be there for me too.

So, last September I moved in.

Thus begins the saga of, Life with Weebles.

Greg is a neat-freak. He’ll argue that he isn’t. But he is. Me? Not so much. I’m not a slob by any means. Well, ok, I do carry the gene, but I keep things picked up. Greg would again disagree. So I will compromise and say I keep things picked up in my own timeline which usually conflicts with his time. Case in point: I will get around to doing those few dishes in the sink but not when I’m trying to get out the door for work at 7:30 in the morning.

The first week I moved in I volunteered to mop the kitchen floor. Bad idea. He ‘Swiffers” the floor as all the floors in the house are hardwood. Another minor irritation for me. I do not like hardwood floors. Carpeting was created for a reason, ya know. Weebles has allergies and Co Pd. He claims rugs hold the dust, pollen, and dog hair too securely and he can’t breathe, thus the hardwood. Hmm . . . my bedroom has three area rugs, my living room has a large one as well. Compromise. Anyway, back to the kitchen. I thought I knew how to mop. Apparently, I was mistaken. There is a certain pattern he uses when he mops. Who knew? What difference does it make? Isn’t a clean floor the objective here? Guess not. After a heated discussion on this pattern on his, I comprised. I do not swiffer the floors anymore. Period. Well, when he’s not around I will. This constant compulsion of his for neatness drives me up the wall. My lack of it drives him up a wall.

Making ice-tea was another thing that I apparently have no notion of. Did I mention that in addition to his neat-freakishness he is also OCD? Things must be done in a certain order. Again, he will deny this. But. When the blue ice-tray has to be in the middle of all the red ones, six on each side of the freezer, and the sugar goes in first before the ice, that trumps his denial. Again, comprise. I don’t make the ice tea when he is around.

As I said before, walking is Greg’s greatest challenge. He can literally trip over a dust bunny. He never knows when this will happen. One minute, upright, the next, flat on the ground or floor. It makes a nervous wreak out of him and turned me into a praying deva. Every morning before going to work, I say a prayer for the angels to keep him upright and balanced. I wrap him in a suit a bubble wrap as well. Greg often posts his falls on Facebook: Here is an example.

“Well, Ruth has been here one week. Today, she got to meet some of the neighbors. They came to the front door and at first, she thought they were selling something but she answered it anyway. They told her that there was a guy lying on the ground in the back yard. They came out to look and sure enough, there was. ME!!!!!!!!! I rolled my ankle and down I went THUD. I think I was down there for 5 minutes or so. She brought be a chair and I was able to help myself up. I would have eventually have gotten up but it was nice of the neighbors, they live a few houses down and just happened to be in the back yard when they heard and saw me go down. Well, Ruth, glad you moved in? lol

As I’m an author of three books, Greg suggested I write one titled, Life with Weebles.” I wanted him to start his own blog and write himself, but he wasn’t too enthused about the idea. So. Comprise. I am writing the blog entries.

Stay tuned for more Life with Weebles. The stories are not to make fun of Greg or anyone who suffers with Ataxia. But, hopefully the light-hearted spin on this disease will bring a chuckle or two. And as we all know: laughter is the best medicine.

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Demon Fighters

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In my book, Daughter of the Howling Moon, my hero, Bethany Ann is half mortal, half spirit. She is a demon fighter for God. In case you haven’t figured it out, the heroes in my books, be they from a previous life time, from another dimension, or wishful thinking on my part, are extensions of me. So does that mean I consider myself a demon fighter? Yes.

Pretty bold statement, isn’t it? Here’s another one: You are too.

The first thing a demon fighter must learn is how to recognize the enemy. Webster defines demon as an evil spirit. Mental pictures of ugly, devil-like creatures spring to mind. But I really doubt Webster was a demon fighter. Bethany Ann is. She says, “evil can twist and turn and slip through cracks and never plays fair.” Demons, therefore, take many shapes and can attack in the most deceiving, innocent ways. They’re sneaky little devils to say the least. The physical demons are easy to detect, to fight, to defeat. It’s the ones who don’t take physical shape that are the worst: hate, fear, judgment, ridicule, panic, terror, jealously, greed, basically any negative thought or action is a demon. So how does a demon fighter destroy those? By being aware. By paying attention to every thought, emotion, and reaction.

Every day demons attack us. Social media is their breeding ground. How many times have I read a post on Face Book that instantly stirs up emotions of hate? I fire off a response before my brain has time to yell, “Stop!” I am so pissed at the stupidity. Oh crap. I just birthed a demon.

Fear is hate’s first cousin. The favorite food of a demon, by the way, is fear. They gobble it up like cotton candy. Terrorism is a first class demon. Just the word, Isis chills the heart. The media plasters pictures all over the television and newspapers of the worst man’s inhumanity to man ever conceived. Fear brings us to our knees. We fold. Knuckle under. Confuses us leading to make hasty, wrong decisions. The demon wins. Marches on. How do we fight him? By not giving fear power.

How do we not give fear power? We stand in our own truth.

As Bethany Ann says, “good always destroys evil.” I believe this 100%. Evil may win a battle or two but never, ever will it win the war. This is my truth. Make it yours. Every morning put on your armor. Declare with conviction: God, Universe, The Force, whatever name you give to Good is the only true, absolute power and it will defeat evil every time.

Watch your thoughts. I struggle at work. Feelings of hate and irritation bombard me.Yes, sometimes those demons win. More often than not, however, I kill them. I replace those negative thoughts with positive ones even if that means I have to find pictures of kittens and puppies to put as a screen saver. My little ice-cube of an office is full of pictures of my books, fairy ornaments, magnets received as gifts from my Sisters, anything and everything positive. I’ve even been known to shoot a SOS email to my Sisters who never fail to respond with something that makes me laugh.

Oh by the way . . . demons HATE laughter. Melts them like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Anger is a good demon killer as well. You may think that anger in itself is a demon. True. But my anger has right and good behind it. Remember when Jesus said, “Get thee behind me, Satan!?” He was pissed, no doubt about it. Satan turned tail and ran.

All of this is easier said than done. But not impossible. Do not ignore the demon but don’t feed him either.

Stand in your own truth. Take back your power. Watch your thoughts. And know without a doubt, Good always destroys evil.

Become a demon fighter!

I could use the help.

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PLAY DOES A BODY GOOD

cat playiing

This past weekend I attended the annual Oklahoma Writers Federation Inc (OWFI) writing conference in Oklahoma City. For three days writers from all over the country gathered together to share their experiences and writing expertise. Starting at 9:00 in the morning through 4:00 in the afternoon, every hour on the hour, presentations and workshops were given by authors, agents, editors, and publishers to help guide and instruct all level of writers toward better writing, speaking, and publication. A famous author banquet held on Friday night acknowledged member’s books that were published in 2015. In addition, a costume contest was held where associates came dressed as their favorite characters in either books, film, or television. Steven James, our keynote speaker stressed the importance of the small moments in life we often rush by. On Saturday night, awards were presented for various contest categories.

While the conference is geared toward education and instruction, having a good time is stressed and encouraged. I considered the meeting as a grown-up playground. Over two hundred participants gathered together in one place with the same goal in mind. Energy was high. Joy and laughter filled the hotel to overflowing. Old friends hugged and kissed. New friends were embraced and welcomed. People smiled, said hello, held elevator doors open, please and thank you echoed through the halls. All of us were united as one collective consciousness of creativity.

I left the pressures of my day job in the parking lot. The stress of home and family was stuffed in the trunk to keep the spare tire company. I didn’t turn on the TV. Didn’t fret over transgender bathrooms, Donald or Hillary, Isis, whites, blacks, oranges or purples. My cell phone was only used to find out when the next meeting was or whose room was the designated after hours gathering place.

On the way home, however, I could actually feel the weight of the real world pulling on me. Old familiar feelings of irritation, depression, hopelessness, agitation, and boredom became stronger every mile I got closer to my own bed. Inspiration and motivation that dazzled so bright for days started to tarnish. Individuality, whimsy, and humor that were embraced just hours before morphed into judgement and ridicule. My high-pro glow dulled.

All of this made me realize the importance of play.

I would rather play and laugh then work any day. Who wouldn’t? But. Why can’t we do both at the same time? Why does work have to be boring and stressful? Why can’t I wear a black dress with green tights and an orange cowboy hat? Why isn’t laughter and creativity encouraged and acknowledged instead of squashed flat? What’s wrong with thinking outside of the box? Or the circle?

I suppose all the enlightened gurus would shake their heads and remind me, “A person makes their own happiness.” Since I strive to walk with the great masters and teachers, I’m being a big ol’ hypocrite for not following their advice; for allowing those negative feelings to affect me. So, I think I’ll put on my big yellow raincoat and boots, go outside and dance in the rain, pet a dog, smile at a perfect stranger, smell a rose or two, laugh and recapture my sanity.

Never underestimate the importance of play.

It does a body good.

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The Importance of Hope

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Ever read a book and hate it?

I have.
Chapter 1: I’m pretty sure the story isn’t one I want to hear. But. I stick with it. Hoping it will get better.
Chapter 2: Not much better. Kinda interested in where this is going, however. I’ll hang in there.
Chapter 3: Holy cow how much pain and suffering can one character endure? Maybe some happiness will come his way.
Chapter 4: Is there no plot here? Just eat, drink, have kids, suffer, and die? Keep an open mind, trudge on.
And so on and so on.
Last chapter: This ending sucks! No happy-ever-after. No lesson learned. NO HOPE!

As a beginning writer, and for all levels of writers for that matter, a good critique group is essential. By good, I mean a group that will give honest feedback. Not mean critique. Not ripping- the-heart-out-of-the-writer critique. Just honest feedback aimed at making both the writer and the story better. This group should not only teach a beginner the mechanics of writing such as, point-of view, sense of place, internalization, grammar and such, but should also guide the new author in what makes a good story. What does a reader want? What will hold his interest? What will destroy it?

I don’t consider myself a perfect writer. I am not the begin-all/end-all author. I don’t know it all. But I do have three published books and am working on my fourth. Also, I am a reader. An excellent reader. I know what I like. Therefore, if I were the leader of a critique group, I would stress the importance of hope. In my opinion, hope is a major ingredient in any story.

I’ve read books where the main characters have all died. Books full of pain and suffering. Stories teaming with negativity. But the author saves the essence of the story by giving the reader hope in the end.

Hope neutralizes sorrow. It may be one tortured step after another, but hope keeps us plodding along. Without hope Apollo 13 astronauts would’ve never made it home. Without hope the miners would never have gotten out of that hole in Chile. Without hope mankind would be lost. Hope gets us out of bed in the morning.

Hope makes the impossible, possible.

So, to all writers out there from the beginners to the experienced, always, always put a ray of hope in your story.

Hope keeps a reader hooked and keeps him reading.

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Live and Learn

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In 2011 my first novel, Soldiers From the Mist was published. While the thrill of being a published writer far exceeded my dreams, I was never comfortable about the story. I rushed the ending. I didn’t stay true to the voices in my head.
For those of you who haven’t read the story, Soldiers was channeled information I received from the ghost of the main character, Charles Ely, who haunted my house. Charlie and his comrades couldn’t cross over, rest in peace, until I gave their story and message of Universal Love to the masses. I wrote Charlie’s words and stayed true to his direction right up until the end. Then, I goofed-up. I changed the ending. I did so because I was new to writing game.
Even though, deep in my gut, I knew it was wrong, I ignored higher direction because I thought I knew better. I’d pitched the book to a New York agent before it was finished. (A big no-no in fiction writing.) The agent wanted the first three chapters. Panic hit. What if he wanted the complete manuscript? It wasn’t done. I had to finish it, fast. On the advise of many published writers who said I couldn’t end the book the way it should’ve been because readers would hate it, I went against Charlie and wrote my own, human ending. I copped out. Wrote a happy-ever after conclusion.
While Charlie was happy his story had been told, he was not thrilled with me.
I’ve written three books since Soldiers. Two are published: The Rook and the Raven and Daughter of the Howling Moon. My fourth book, The Legend of Dixie Dandelion will be finished this year. The main thing I’ve learned from beginning writer to more accomplished writer is to stay true to yourself. By all means, listen to established writers, your peers, and critique group. But never comprise for the sake of finishing the book; to get it in print. If it takes years for this to manifest, then take the years. What ever the release date, a book is born at the correct time. Never turn your back on intuition. Stay true.
So. What happens when a ghost isn’t happy? It comes back to haunt you, of course!
Charlie returned.
I rewrote the ending. The true ending.
On April 29, 2016 the true Soldiers In the Mist will be released from The Wild Rose Press. Much of the story is the same, but not the ending. Is the ending bad? Is it sad? Will the reader hate it? You be the judge. Let me know.
I will say, however, Charlie is very happy and that’s all that matters to this author.
If you are a beginning writer, learn your craft. But always, always stay true to the story that unfolds in front of you. Be bold. Be brave. And remember:
You are never too old to live and learn.

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ODE TO THE PTERODACTYL

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Last week the Sisterhood, (Jan Morrill, Linda Apple, and I) held a writing retreat at Spider Creek Resort just outside Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The place was beautiful. Our cabin was better than some hotel rooms I’ve stayed in. On Saturday morning the three of us went “walk-about” with our pens and paper tucked in with our cell phones. The exercise that morning was to observe things we could later write about.
For those of you not familiar with this area, it is just a hop, skip, and a jump from Beaver Dam. Years ago Dinosaur World was a huge attraction for people going to the dam. Today, however, Dinosaur World is gone. But. The ghosts of ancient prehistoric ones still roam. This is what I saw that morning and what I wrote:

Ode to the Pterodactyl

In the golden hour when day is neither dawn nor dusk,
They ruled the skies.
Sailed on the wind with feathered wings of iron,
Searched land below with sharp, blacken eyes.
A flying fortress with needle-sharp beaks and prehistoric bones
Kept the innocent ones safe in their rocked-skinned homes.

Some say deadly predators.
I say guardians. Protectors in the sky.
Shouting out warnings of the bullies: T-Rex and Raptors
With their piercing, fierce cry.

Alas, the Land Before Time is no longer; over and done
We speak of it only for history; or make films to poke fun.
The warrior bird has fallen, crashed to the ground
Who will warn us now? Keep us safe?
Keep us sound?

But never fear, the mighty Pterodactyl’s soul still roams on high
Visible only to those who believe magic will never die.
Oh thank God I am not overly practical.
Life would be so dull without the mighty Pterodactyl.

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