Skipping Black Friday repost

Thanks to a reader alert, I’m reposting Skipping Black Friday because autocorrect didn’t like my book title, Moments of Meditation. Even now, autocorrect insists that I can’t spell repast.

I eased into the center lanes when the right-turn lanes on Eastbound I-580 stalled behind vehicles inching toward the exit for the San Francisco Premium Outlets several miles ahead. A glance to my far right as I drove by the massive mall showed automobiles circling, the drivers desperate for a parking space. Why the frenzy? Designer brands at bargain rates up to 50% off. But could it be more about the hype than the discounts? More hooked on Black Friday?

I smiled as I journeyed home from volunteering at a Thanksgiving charitable event. The attendees were grateful for the free sit-down meal ordered from a brief menu, each course served at their cloth-covered tables on real plates, with stemmed glasses, and stainless utensils (no paper or plastic).

I didn’t cook or serve. My part was easier than that. I signed and gave away my book, Moments of Meditation, to those who couldn’t afford to shop on this early Black Friday and to the volunteers who could have shopped at the outlet mall but chose to make this a true Thanksgiving for others.

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Events, Holidays, Memoir

Skipping Black Friday

I eased into the center lanes when the right-turn lanes on Eastbound I-580 stalled behind vehicles inching toward the exit for the San Francisco Premium Outlets several miles ahead. A glance to my far right as I drove by the massive mall showed automobiles circling, the drivers desperate for a parking space. Why the frenzy? Designer brands at bargain rates up to 50% off. But could it be more about the hype than the discounts? More hooked on Black Friday?

I smiled as I journeyed home from volunteering at a Thanksgiving charitable event. The attendees were grateful for the free sit-down meal ordered from a brief menu, each course served at their cloth-covered tables on real plates, with stemmed glasses, and stainless utensils (no paper or plastic).

I didn’t cook or serve. My part was easier than that. I signed and gave away my book, Moments of Medication, to those who couldn’t afford to shop on this early Black Friday and to the volunteers who could have shopped at the outlet mall but chose to make this a true Thanksgiving for others.

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Events, Holidays, Memoir

One in a Million

Merriam-Webster describes one in a million as a declaration of praise for an outstanding person. Today, I am part of a different definition of one in 500 million.

There are more than 500 million blogs worldwide.

Here, there, everywhere with more added daily. Or perhaps I should say hourly. So, welcome to an overloaded internet. Does that recognize a blogger like me? More like a full military about-face command the opposite direction.

The average bloggers invest 3.5 hours creating a blog post.

That’s almost 1,300 hours a year. I drafted five crime fiction novels in less time than that.

 More than 50% of bloggers are between the ages of 21 and 35.

Well, that explains the time. Either these bloggers work from home or they still live at home where someone else does the shopping, cooking, and cleaning.

Approximately 7% of bloggers are above age 50.

Maybe not one in a million yet, but I’m climbing higher every day.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogging, Writing

Skipping NaNoWriMo

Skipping rope was a favorite pastime in my growing-up years. It wasn’t really skipping—more like hopping up and staying in the air until the rope passed under my feet. I conquered the double rope twist. Then considered a child’s game, now physical trainers say skipping rope is a full-body workout.

Later, skipping turned a corner and became skipping breakfast, or at a minimum toast and coffee, while I battled an hour-long commute to work.

Skipping returned when I read a heartwarming story when I detoured from reading mystery novels and bought the hardback of Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, first published in November 2001. In that novel, a couple disgruntled with the hustle and bustle of Christmas chose to get away from it all with a cruise instead of facing the hurdles of the hectic season.

That story of shifting perspectives, and the encouragement of my writing class instructor, lured me like a fish to the bait in 2009. What better exercise than writing my first mystery during National Novel Writing Month?

That exercise channeled my inner creativity. I jumped from the safety of nonfiction into the world of writing crime fiction. Words flew from my fingertips to the screen and formed the first sentences when the clock on my computer showed midnight on October 31st. I hopped through the required 1,667 daily word count that first night with coffee and chocolate to keep me alert. That win ended with a generic certificate for my first 50,000-word novel before November 30, 2009.

Tonight, ten years later, I’m skipping NaNoWriMo, a/k/a Nano in favor of thirty days revising that first, still unpublished, novel. Maybe tomorrow I’ll buy a skipping rope. I’ll need the exercise.

 

Disclaimer: I skipped pulling out my stored box of Christmas decorations to photograph my personal Skipping Christmas and used an Amazon link instead.

 

Published, Violet’s Vibes blog, Thursday, October 31, 2019

Photos: Skip rope, computer keyboard, Skipping Christmas, John Grisham, NaNo Winner 2009

1 Comment

Filed under Blogging, Events, Memoir, Publishing, Reading, Writing

Downsizing

Downsizing, usually associated with the sale of a large home when moving to a smaller residence for empty nesters, has become a common word in Northern California. But how many people downsize without moving?

I’m a member of a nonprofit writing group that chose to host a yard sale this week. Aha! My opportunity to unclutter. Small things, once valuable but no longer used, hid in corners and top shelves. I bagged those, but I didn’t stop there.

Do I need that hexagon-shaped end table that hides more stuff inside? What about that new pair of athletic shoes I’ve never worn? Books? I sorted hard copy and softcover books that hugged a sturdy five-tier shelf oak shelf as though an umbilical cord poured life into the words. I sorted into keep, donate, and trash stacks. When I finished sorting, I realized that I didn’t need a six-footer to house the remaining books. I tugged a folding bookshelf that I couldn’t part with away from the wall and carried a few books at a time to their downsized home.

Then, I passed judgment on two heavy-duty oak lateral files that had been my combo storage and dressers for more than a dozen years. I determined to oust one. That decision soon led to a greater examination. Why not donate both to the yard sale along with the bookcase and the end table?

Great idea, I decided. But how does one transport heavy furniture to a yard sale? I contacted another member who was donating a small piece of furniture. “Who’s delivering for you?” became the most relevant question of the day.

Two musclemen—a requirement for this job—hoisted the furniture, one item at a time, and left bare spaces. The removal went smoother than a surgical extraction of an unwanted wisdom tooth.  Well, except for one thing. The perfect replacement dresser on Craigslist sold while I waited for a reply from the owner. So my downsizing created a new problem. While I continue my search for the perfect size dresser, everything from those four drawers is crammed into my bedroom closet.

Inconvenient. A synonym for downsizing.

5 Comments

Filed under Events, Memoir, Writing

Wi-Fi Hotspots, Pickleball, and Seeds at Copper Queen Library

The library in Chowchilla, California, my hometown, was all about books way back then. Books, books, and more books. A quiet zone where the locals browsed the shelves in silence, acknowledged acquaintances with a nod or whispered greeting, and read in silence. The librarian gently cautioned children who dared speak aloud, even in a quiet tone, that silence was a library mandate. Even the thick walls of the old adobe building seemed to encourage the whispers.

Libraries have evolved from places to borrow books to versatile community resource providers. Perhaps none more than the Copper Queen Library in  Bisbee, Arizona, named the best small library by the Library Journal in 2019.

The Copper Queen Library was established in the late 1800s to offer the miners in Mule Gulch a tranquil place to visit. Now, the library offers programs for early learners from ages zero to three-year-olds, pickleball equipment, Wi-Fi Hotspot devices, and a seed library for gardeners. I understand how the checkout system works for returnable items, but seeds? Seeds are for planting. How does the patron return borrowed seeds?

The library website explains that borrowed seeds are to encourage gardening. The seeds are donated, checked out with a library card, but there’s no due date. The seeds are heirloom heritage—no GMO—so they continue to germinate new seeds that can be returned to the library any time in the future. For borrowers without a green thumb, experienced gardeners donate to offset the losses.

My childhood librarian might be impressed by the Copper Queen’s seed library, but no doubt she would expect the patrons to whisper their questions about the return policy.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Events, Memoir, Reading

Downtime

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines downtime as resting or inactive. The first definition is “time during which production is stopped especially during setup for an operation or when making repairs.” The secondary meaning of downtime as resting gives an example sentence of an injured athlete facing months of downtime or napping. The Collins English Dictionary secondary meaning is “the time during which a computer or computer system is down, or inoperative, due to hardware or software failure.”

Recently, the Collins secondary meaning crashed into my world. No sound like a broken bone. No blood like a flesh wound. No flurries of EMTs running to where I was downed on the field by another player.  The official Microsoft Office diagnostic repair program failed to awaken the sleeping files.

My Wi-Fi still worked, so I searched for new computer prices. An identical laptop with the same features and speed cost more than my two-year-old machine. That discovery prompted a search for a local repair shop.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I pulled into the parking lot of a local repair shop. I hoisted my bright red computer bag over my shoulder and walked to the door about the same time another person arrived.

Locked. A small sign showed the working hours. I had arrived at lunch. Downtime.

I turned the hour into productive time while I grocery shopped. The few days downtime without a computer didn’t go well. I fussed and fumed like an injured athlete off the field. Then, up and running with a new hard drive. More like up and limping because I had to reinstall all my software programs.

Now that I’m back in the ball game, it gives me a greater appreciation for sidelined athletes.

 

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Events, Memoir