Category Archives: Life and Death

Thoughts about my life and the way I have dealt with death of family and friends.

Frustration and Lethargy

Exciting news! My daughter and I have been invited to participate in Barnes and Noble’s local author event on May 19th! I am thrilled! There’s only one problem, it is difficult for Barnes and Noble to purchase books from create space. In order to participate I need to put my books and Anastasia’s on Ingram. Easy enough.

Ingram is a good platform but it costs. It costs $49 per book, but they often have special codes for your first book published with them. I set up an account for myself and one for Anastasia. As I am setting up the account it prompts me to purchase an ISBN. I tried to use the one I have on create space and it’s a no go, guess I’m purchasing an ISBN or two. At this point I was not happy, but if it lets me get into a big store to sell more books locally I’m in.

I’ve bought ISBN numbers, accounts set up and interiors and covers uploaded. Prices set, distribution channels checked and I’m ready to go. That’s what I thought anyway.

I have been fighting with the covers for nearly a week now and I am beyond frustrated!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

Ingram keeps sending them back with something else that isn’t correct. I redid them again today I am crossing my fingers and sending out prayers to every god I can think of that they come back acceptable!

It does not help that the weather has been cold, wet, and gloomy. Weather like this makes me feel tired and a little depressed. A few days of it and I can usually push through, but a week or more and I am driving the struggle bus into struggle town. We have had a glimpse of sun and warmth, barely a glimpse.

So, I am working through some frustration and lethargic tendencies this week. It’s slow going, but I am hopeful. I’ve done a little more work to the kitchen, I’ve written an outline for my next book and I’m considering painting my bedroom. You know, after I’ve procrastinated by binge watching Flea Market Flip and Good Bones for a couple more hours.

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Contemplating Life While Drinking Coffee

I have been in a funky mood all morning. In about an hour I will be heading out to attend a funeral. The funeral is for a wonderful woman who I worked with several years ago. I followed her on Facebook and enjoyed her posts about her horses, her cookie business and her grandson. She always seemed so full of life. So, here I sit with my cinnamon roll and my coffee beginning to understand why I am feeling the way that I am.

Death has always been my greatest fear. There the secret is out no going back. In the last seven years I have lost more people who have touched my life than I have in my first thirty two years. Not that death didn’t touch my life during that time, I just never felt it as acutely as I do now. I felt other people’s pain and sadness when they lost someone, but I never fully understood. Today, I do understand. So, I sit here sipping my coffee with heavy chest and tears threatening because I understand her family’s pain and it breaks my heart that they have to feel that pain.

On a more selfish note, days like these force me to contemplate my own mortality and it is really uncomfortable! I question if everyone in my life knows how much I love them. Have I done everything I want to do in this life? Would I be leaving this world a better place than the day I came into it?

The truth is I don’t know the answer to any of those questions. I think that is what scares me most about death. I haven’t done enough for the people who come into my life, for the ones I love, for myself or for our world. I know it isn’t my job to make everyone happy or fix all of the world’s problems, but am I being the best person I can be if I live in my own little bubble and never leave my comfort zone? Isn’t that what life is about? Living the best version of yourself at least eighty percent of the time.

I think it will take more than one cup of coffee to answer any of those questions. I will keep muddling along and try my best to be the person I know I can be.

What do you think? What scares you the most?

Unblocking

I have been working on my next book for a few weeks. I have managed to finish the first chapter and most of the second chapter. I am now stuck, blocked. I am fairly certain that I just needed to hit pause on the writing, it is still a rough subject, even after seven years. The book I am working on is a true story of how I have dealt with grief over the last seven years. I thought that after this much time the story would flow and be easy to write. I have absolutely why I thought that! I know that no matter how much time passes this will never be easy! Wishful thinking I suppose.

Anyway, I decided to leave it for now and work on something else. Last weekend my daughter and I worked on her room. I have been promising her she could paint and set it up the way she likes for a couple of years and we finally did got it done!

It looks pretty good :). She wouldn’t let me take a lot of pictures as she was eager to have the room to herself!

I do not know if redoing my daughter’s room helped much with being able to write my book, but I do know that it was a nice distraction. I have found that, for me, living with grief means living with it because grief never goes away. The loss I have felt can never be undone so the grief will not just disappear. That does not mean that I have to live in a perpetual state of sadness it just means that I sometimes have to remind myself that I am still living and there are wonderful people in my life who are also living and it would be nice to enjoy whatever time we have left together.

With any luck, I will be able to finish the rough draft of my book by the end of March and have it published in April so that my experience living with grief might help others learn to live with it. Much love my friends! Until next time!

Time to Write

My writing studio/library is finally finished! It was a fun project. Below are some photos of the process🙂.

I started with cleaning out the room and the closet.

It was a horrible mess!

I knew I needed a desk and it had to be something inspiring. I originally started out using old shipping pallets to build the desk. I wasn’t happy with the results and decided to start fresh.

I had 2 old upper kitchen cabinets and long piece of plywood. After some thinking and a long time staring at the pieces I finally had an idea.

First I had to decide which way the cabinets turned bookshelves should sit. I decided on the L shape. Thinking of the amount of space in the room that shape made more sense. It also felt more like a desk than the counter at a store.

The paint color is one that I had laying around from another project. I wasn’t terribly concerned with the color because I wanted to do something fun on the top. I needed a primer and the leftover paint did the trick!

After I painted both sides of the board I screwed it down to the top of the bookshelves. I made sure to place the screws where they would hit the thickest part of the shelves. This way the screws didn’t end up poking into the inside of the bookshelves and ruining any tall books. I wasn’t concerned with filling in the screw heads because the next step covered them up. Otherwise, I would have used a wood putty to fill in the heads then painted over it to get a nice finished look. I’m certain there is a better way to attach a top to a desk, however, I’m not a professional carpenter. Nope, I’m a simple DIY person that often follows the “let’s see if this works ” philosophy 😉.

Onto the next step!

I took an old herbal book and tore out a lot of pages. I know, I know! How could I deface a book! It wasn’t as hard as it should have been, but I kept telling myself that the pages were getting a new life. I took the pages and Mod Podge and decoupaged the desktop. I didn’t stop there!

After I finished the decoupage step I decided to write some quotes from authors and books on the top of the desk. I used a black sharpie but you could use any color of permanent marker. When I finished with writing the quotes I took polyurethane and gave the desktop several coats, letting each coat dry before adding another coat.

While that was drying I created a cork board from some old wood pieces and cork I bought at the local craft store. It turned out nicely 🙂.

I decided I didn’t like the white and painted the outside of the desk black.

I left the inside shelves white because I like the contrast. The colors remind me of ink and paper and books🙂.

I decided to write another quote on the side of the short shelf. I found the quote on Pinterest and I loved it, so I wanted to include it somewhere on the shelves.

Here is the room from the doorway.

I am very pleased with how everything came together and I’m eager to get writing!

Currently I am helping my daughter publish her book on Amazon. It has not been easy but progress is being made. Fingers crossed, it will be available this week.

Progress

Hello! Happy Fall! I am making slow progress on my writing/creative/library space. I think any progress at this point and time is good 😊. The room itself is still a mess, but my desk is about one third completed. It is now standing on it’s own feet!

I will be adding a hinged top. Then sanding and either staining or painting. I’m considering a distressed look to keep in the used/recycled feel of the desk. It is made from an old pallet.

I am also working on cleaning and organizing my house. It has gotten quite out of hand of late. I’m working through one room at a time. Trying not to get overwhelmed by the total mess that is my house. I have successfully cleared off the top of the entertainment center 🙂.

Yes, I know the lower shelves still need dusted and swept off, but you should have seen it before. The amount of papers and things piled on top could have rivaled Mt. Vesuvius for height. I’m not sure how we watched tv!

I am making slow but steady progress on everything. I suppose that progress is progress no matter how slow it moves🙂.

How goes your projects? Lots of love and luck!

Remodeling on Next to Nothing

Hello! I have been able to do a little more to my kitchen. I have started covering the exposed beam that runs between the kitchen and dining room. I'm using old baseboards from my basement.


The next project will be to remove the plaster from the ceiling. I had hoped to be able to put a new ceiling right over the old plaster, however, the plaster is too crumbly. It continues to fall, little pieces at a time, onto my counters and floor, so the plaster has to go.

I am also waiting on a call from a friend who knows an electrician who may be able to do the electric work for a reasonable price 🙂. Barring any complications I might have a new kitchen ceiling and no electrical problems by winter!

I am not terribly frustrated by the slow progress. I knew going into this remodel that I wouldn't have much extra money to spend and because of that things would move very slow. While I wish I had more of the kitchen completed, I am happy that progress is being made. Slowly but surely this kitchen will get done 🙂.

So far I have spent about $50-$75 on the remodel. A neighbor recently moved to Florida and gave me the extra drywall he had from a project and I think I have enough wood to create a unique ceiling. I have been pretty lucky. The electrical work and cabinets will, most likely, be the largest expense in this project.

Until next time friends! May all your projects turn out fabulous!

What’s Next?

My new book is out!
Look for it on Amazon or createspace.com restore 😊. I am super excited!!

Now that my book is finished I am not sure what to do with myself. I have all sorts of ideas but I'm not sure where to start.
My kitchen remodel lingers and I have some ideas for a new book and art projects, but where to begin? Have any of you had a lot of things to do but find your self sitting on the couch binge watching Netflix?

Feeling Overwhelmed

My life is not horrible. I have, however, found it a bit rough these last few weeks. Today all of it poured out in this poem. I don’t really know if it makes sense, then again I’m not sure poems are always supposed to make sense 🙂

I have no voice

Not a single choice

Breath is caught in my throat

But the page sings every word I wrote

There is a pain in my chest

I feel that I cannot rest

I am not as perfect as can be

I am not a perfect person, no, not me

I am bleeding inside

No, you cannot tell, because I hide

Sometimes I just need to be alone

Need so bad I feel it in every bone

I don’t want your hugs

Don’t need your drugs

I just need, for a little while, to not be needed

I cannot breathe until the noise is receded

I do not mean to maim or hurt

My words are not meant to be curt

Not meant to cause pain

I would prefer them to fall soft like rain

But I have let them build for too long

They fly from my mouth much too strong

I listen and I give

Because that’s the best way to live

I try not to complain but my effort falls flat

So, I stuff the words back down until my mouth is fat

I cannot speak

My will grows weak

The words go flying

My strength dying

I cannot help you

Because right now I need help too

Yes ma’am, no ma’am, I am tired of compliance

I… just… want… silence

I need the soft sound of rain

To clear away the pain

 

It is amazing how words written on a page can help a person start to feel better. Like I said, my life isn’t horrible. Sometimes, it just gets a little overwhelming. It’s okay to give what you have, but, as I am learning, recharging and taking care of oneself is also needed. Lots of love my friends 🙂

Breathe

Have you ever felt like life is just throwing things at you to see how you will cope? The last month has been like that for me. I feel that I am doing well and doing horribly by turns. Last week I believed I was doing quite well and then work pulled the rug out from under me and I began questioning myself. This week I met with my illustrator and I felt everything might actually be falling into place. Then I got a call from daughter’s school. Disrespect of a guest teacher and refusal to follow directions. At least she wasn’t fist fighting on the playground.

I thought,  it could most definitely be worse! I have had worse, so I know. I found myself sobbing at my dining room table, even though I know it could be worse. I think sometimes when life throws everything at you at once, it gets too overwhelming to pull the good from the not so good. When this happens and life gets complicated it helps to step back and breathe or in my case have a good cry. Sometimes, even the strong need weak moments. I’m not sure if I am strong but my friends and family tell me I am, so I’ll take my weak moments and use them strengthen myself. 

I don’t know if any of this makes sense. It’s just a thought in my tired brain today, one I felt like sharing. Much love to all!

Division & Unity

I am tired. I wasn’t meant for so much worry, I don’t have a strong enough constitution for it. That’s probably why I was born in the time period I was born in, why I was born to a lower middle class white family in a tiny town in northern Illinois. Don’t get me wrong, I had my fair share of worry as a kid. I was picked on a lot for being overweight, having glasses, being poor, which was evidenced by all the hand me down clothes I wore. It wasn’t cool back then to wear “old” clothes. I just didn’t fit in with most of the other kids. On the other hand, I made some really awesome friends of the other “unpopular” kids. I am still very close with several of them. All of that was a far cry from what other kids went through growing up.Kids in war-torn countries or the kids in Africa that were starving as my mother kept telling me when I didn’t want to eat the salmon cake she slid onto my plate at dinner. I was safe in my little bubble.

POP! I grew up and the rest of the world made its way into my field of vision. Now, I am a grown up with a kid! Now I see the world without the rose-colored glasses and I worry. People are mean, uncaring and often times blinded to the plight of others. Since the presidential election last November I have felt a sense of unreality. I must be in a movie or a television show. The kind where everything is bleak and gloomy, at least until the hero steps out of the rubble and forms a band of other unlikely heroes. Together they defy the enemy and save their country. This isn’t a movie, though. People are being hurt and are frightened. Resistance is a key word that is popping up everywhere and it’s scary to think that this my country and not one that I see from the safety of my television screen. I see horrible links on social media and I am tired. I have a ten-year-old daughter, so I suppose being tired isn’t an excuse for closing my eyes. I am choosing to pick up the mantle of the quiet protestor, a doer of good in my own way. Here are my words and my thoughts on what is going on in my country today.

I keep seeing people post about how we need to stop the division of our country and that this same thing happens every 4 years, so why should we have our collective panties in a bunch. They say this like the people protesting are the ones who divided us. Here is what I say: we, the protesters, of our country’s new president did not divide our country, the new president did. He started the division on the campaign trail and continued it in his inauguration speech. He started it when he said it was ok to put your hands on a woman without her permission. He started it when he blamed every Muslim for terrorist attacks. He started it when he blamed every African-American person for gang violence. He started it when he blamed every Latino person for the drugs coming into our country. Our newly sworn in president started this division, not the people who protest. Yes, there are those out there who are letting their anger get the best of them and that needs to stop. The rest of us are just trying to open the eyes of those who refuse to see. Women’s rights are important not divisive. Civil rights are important not divisive. Human dignity is important not divisive. Environmental protection is important not divisive. If we keep silent then hate and fear grow. If we raise our voices for the protection of our fellow humans and the planet we share it is not divisive! It is a call for love and peace. We want bridges not walls. The next time you want to tell someone to be quiet and stop their divisive talk, because what is done is done, try listening instead. Really hear what they are saying, because out of most people you will hear a cry for love and kindness not hate and ignorance. Love not hate, bridges not walls. These words are my new mantra.