A Drop In The Bucket

Yes, I have a bucket list. No, it’s not written out, it is stored in my brain and is revamped often. It has long term items, trivial items, and someday when I am a billionaire items. The other day I was able to cross two items off, one because I actually did it and the other because I decided I’d never be able to do it. I don’t feel like I have failed at something because I dropped it off my list, instead I feel happy that I was able to achieve an item on the list. Always look at the positive. Am I right?

I know, one day I will be able to run a half marathon, but I may never run a full. I may drop that one. It won’t matter, because I will be able to say I tried. And I know that dropping an item off the list may seem like giving up to some, but to me, it was done because I deliberated and decided it wasn’t the best decision for me. Bucket lists are good to have, no doubt, but I think every bucket should be able to be tipped to expel a little water and make room for some fresh ideas.

This applies to a lot of areas in life. My writing is a prime example. The little muse that dances in my brain on a daily basis, tosses out ideas all the time, in the shower, driving my car, trying to get a good night’s sleep, and I have no ability to ignore it. So what do I do? I grab my phone, my notebook, or a restaurant napkin and jot it all down. A lot of the time I will begin these stories only to discover that they aren’t there yet or decided that they never were. This is when I need to tip that bucket and release them back out into the wild. It took me a lot of years to be able to learn how to do that and be okay with it. I always felt guilt. I don’t need to do that anymore, because I know there are more ideas to come.

Today, look at your bucket. Pluck out an item and give it a go. Pluck out two, maybe you do one and put the other back, maybe you do both, or maybe you toss them both out and add a brand new one. What matters is that you did what was the right decision for you.

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Put A Lid On It

Hello my name is Cricket and I am a recovering craft addict. I have been crafting for (cough) a long time. I knew I was an addict when I started going to rummage sales and buying all the bins of scrap fabric and boxes of mismatched knitting needles. I don’t even knit. I would go into antique shops in search of sewing patterns from the 70”s and 60’s, only to horde them away in secret hiding places in my home. I guess I hit rock bottom when more than half my basement had become an in-home studio, complete with three sewing machines, a cutting table and wall to wall shelving stocked with a plethora of fabrics, accessories and assorted craft books (sniff and whimper). Thank you.

I love to be creative. However, I have maximum creative A.D.D. I use to co-own a shop to sell all my crafts, but I gave that up a few years ago and January of last year, I put my crafting hat away and focused on my writing full time. I do not regret this at all. That being said, I was left with an abundance of craft materials that I cannot seem to part with. This brings me to my first 2019 resolution.

In order to dwindle my stock down, and free up space in my home I have decided to add one craft back in this year. In order to do this, I told myself, that as long as I continued to keep up with my writing and if everything I created was then set free out into the world, I could allow my first love of handmade creations back in. That is how this year was deemed “Year of the Hats”.

I will be taking all my Tote bins of yarn, and crocheting hats throughout 2019. At the end of the year all these hats will be donated to those in need of warmth to their precious heads. I will keep a hat count, and if anyone wants to hook along with me, feel free. It allows some great time to create as well as think on writing projects, especially when writer’s block strikes. Not only will my quietly awaiting stock be properly used and diminished, I will be able to look back through the year with a sense of accomplishment and warmth knowing that I am helping others and indulging in one of my first loves. As far as my crafting scattered brain-ness goes, with a year off behind me, I think I may now be a recovered crafter. (Jitter, shake.)

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HAT COUNT:  3

I can still look at the craft store sales ads right?

HAPPY NEW EVERYTHING!!!

Okay, maybe not everything, but it is a new year so happy that, at least.

I am having a hard time believing it has been a full year since I put my mind to doing what makes me happy, wow. I can’t say it has all be fabulous, but it has been pretty darn good. Of course, I didn’t accomplish all I set out to do, but I’m a firm believer in, “go big or go home”. How did you all do in 2018? I know there has to be at least one item that makes you smile when you look back on it, even if it was that awesome chocolate cookie you scored at that little place down on the corner with the coffee…wait, that was me, but you get what I mean.

So here we are in 2019. Have you set your goals? Have you set a goal not to have any goals? Either way, it’s all good. I myself have set up four personal goals for the new year. I’m certain I will be sharing them as they take place.

2018’s theme was a year of positive attitudes and finding happiness. I will continue that into 2019, but I am embracing the theme of “just be”. With out getting up on a soapbox, I will simply say this past year has found too many self centered aggressions around our world. I’d like to put forth the idea of “just be” meaning, no judgements. Just be you and be proud of who you are, regardless of what others say or think. Let them just be them. No one can take away what you are inside, embrace it, flaunt it, and be proud of it, JUST BE.

HAPPY 2019!

Building a Name

I feel like I am on the right path. Occasionally when I see a bit of a bobble or glimmer of something fascinating I turn my head, and then I remember I am staying on track. It feels good and I am happy. With advice and research I am making my way and slowly building something that I have imagined for a long time. It can be done.

This week I finished my second romance book in the small town/contemporary genre. It will be released on the sixteenth.

https://www.draft2digital.com/book/325574/cover_image/original

https://www.books2read.com/u/3GYDAa

It’s also available on Amazon in digital and hard copy.

 

My confidence is not 100%, but the more I create the further it gets. I know I am not flawless, and I know doing all this on my own will bring mistakes, but we can’t learn if we don’t try.

True Story

People can be broken down into a few categories when it comes to animals, in the most general categories there are animal lovers and those that tolerate the animals that animal lovers have in their homes, and on their phones and in their stories that they have on the tips of their tongues, always at the ready when out in public with strangers. Yeah, I am an animal lover. But, let me narrow that down. Specifically, I am a dog lover, wait I can go further, I am a small dog lover, okay…I love my dog. He is my baby, loves me regardless and keeps me safe from every mailman, runner, or neighborhood dog walker.

On the other hand my oldest daughter loves her cat, so much so that when she left for college and then moved to LA she thought she would share that precious beast with me, and left her at my house. I keep telling her I would love to pay to have the precious feline shipped via airplane to L.A., at which point she proceeds to tell me the cat is far too old and would never survive the transition, and then there is a long span of silence. I try not to lie to my kids.

As you might be able to see, I do not have an affinity for the cat that presides over my home. You may be saying “Cricket, don’t you mean ‘resides’?” Nope. Shia, presides, as in rules the roost. Yeah, I know some of you are thinking, “wait, you are the human, you rule your own home.” Silly people. Allow me to explain with some various examples.

Shia was never an affectionate kitten, never jumped into your lap, never rubbed up against you and looked at you with adoring kitten eyes. No, she’d wait behind the curtain or under a throw pillow and the moment you moved she’d lacerate your flesh. As she grew, we soon discovered she liked men, not all men, heterosexual men. Who knew cats could be prejudice?

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“Come on, Cricket.”

I have proof.

My family and I went on vacation to visit the oldest in L.A.. We asked my in-laws to take care of the animals that week. Two days in, my husband receives a call saying that Shia had viciously attacked my mother-in-law’s leg and would no longer allow her into the house, but no worries, my father-in-law was her best friend. She still to this day circles about his ankles purring her praise when he stops by. My husband can wrestle with her, rough her up and yell at her and she happily accepts this with a sweet meow and light head butt against his leg. Me, she slices and dices. Now, my youngest daughter’s best friend, since grade school, is gay. He is the sweetest guy and a true animal lover himself. Shia never misses the chance to strike when he comes by the house. She purposely sits in the middle of the stairway so she can take a swipe at his ankles as he passes by. Not once, not twice, but every time he is here, and yet he still tries to be her friend. He is by far a better animal lover than I am, for sure.

As Shia has aged, she has developed some substantially annoying quirks. She insists on eating at five in the morning, every morning, weekday or weekend. She will wander into my bedroom, sit beside the bed and gently say, “it’s food time.” To which I or my husband will shoo her away, knowing very well she has enough kitty fat to sustain her until a reasonable hour. You would think after years of this routine we would learn. So, after this scene, Shia will proceed to find any plastic, crinkly material in the bedroom, ANY material, bags, tags, or page protectors. She will tear, scratch and drag this noisy plastic about the room until one of us tosses a pillow in her general direction. At this point, if we haven’t surrendered and dragged our butts out to serve the princess, Shia will take drastic measures. She will circle the bed, like a hungry shark waiting for the right moment. The sight of a protruding toe, a drop of a hand off the edge of the mattress is her cue to strike, and that becomes her last straw to tell us to get the hell up and feed her famished, decaying, malnourished body that hasn’t seen a drop of food since eight the previous night.

On some days, I can’t deal. I’ll be honest. Some days she gets the dog to help and while she plays her regular routine, she bring him into the mix to whine at the gate. He thinks she is being his friend, but no. She is a cunning kitty. He hasn’t learned this yet. Sh knows I adore my pup, and if he is crying, I’m getting up to check on him. He has no idea he is being played. On these days, after I have told my baby dog he needs to smarten up, I take Shia and put her downstairs until a decent hour, generally this happens on Sunday mornings.

 

Now I know you may be saying, “Well Cricket, why not fill her dish before you go to bed at night?” Did I mention she is elderly now? Shia has reached the age that she has kitty old timers. She literally gets lost in the hallway or on the stairs and will meow until we retrieve her. “You should simply call her.” Ah-ha, we could if she wasn’t half deaf from age. Now, let me get back to my story and the reason for this post…

This morning at five, I heard Shia. I thought to myself, “why hasn’t she made her way into the bedroom to talk to me?”  I was relieved to be able to sleep in, until I heard her once more. I laid there with my eyes closed, willing my dog not to be fooled into whatever her new plan was. When it happened a third time I got out of bed, ready to shut her downstairs, per my usual weekend routine. I walked down the hallway, blurry eyed and still imagining I was in bed. Baby dog was bouncing between the living room and kitchen entryway, so excited to see me, so I thought. His happy dance is just too cute, no whining, no bark.

Shia was crouched at the top of the stairway, which sits in the miniature hallway between the living room and the kitchen. So, I think in my half-awake state that the dog is trying to get past her to get to his water dish, as she has a cruel game of getting between him and his destination so that he is paralyzed in place until she determines she is bored with the standoff. I opened my mouth to admonish her and that’s when I saw the sliding glass door in the kitchen was still open from the previous evening and the sliding screen door had not been latched. How do I know this? I know this because it was wide open and a huge, fat, burly, orange cat was standing in my kitchen, looking confused as hell, like he had wandered back from and all-night, catcall bar and thought he was in his own kitchen. You know, like when you get so drunk you think you are home and then you realize you never left the bar parking lot. What? It can happen…so I have been told…by my poor memory the next morning.

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Needless to say, my appearance scarred drunk kitty into sobriety and he bolted out the way he stumbled in. I gave baby a dog a look like, “you couldn’t warn me? Not even a yip? Some protector.” Shia on the other hand may be the biggest queen in the feline world, but she earned her morning meal and the prized place at the foot of the bed for the morning. I still don’t love her, but I respect her.

 

True story.

Sharing is Caring

Have you ever stumbled upon something wonderful and then argued with yourself on what the right thing to do was? Should you hide it and keep it all for yourself, or share it with everyone? Maybe just a few trusted friends, or your significant other. That’s where I am at this moment in time and I haven’t even arrived at the end of my find yet. It’s that wonderfully good to me, like chocolate peanut butter ice cream or Junior’s cheesecake. Mmmmmm, cheesecake.

My line of thinking followed this twisted and turned path. “Wow, this is me. OMG, how is this possible, it’s amazing. I want to tell someone. No wait, if I share it then someone else will reap these benefits. Don’t tell. Okay, I have to tell someone. I’ll tell my daughter, she’s on my wave length. Yeah, she gets me. Others should have this too. But what if…no it’s out there available to anyone. I found it, they will find it too. Should I help them find it? No-no-no, keep it for you. Share it. It will feel good to share it. Look how you feel, look how it’s inspired you. Okay I’m gonna share it. Am I? Yes.”

By now you are probably completely lost and thinking what a nutcase I am, not to mention cursing me for making you go out and buy cheesecake. So, while you savor that decadent treat take the time to look up or even buy Jennifer Probst’s book Write Naked. If you have ever even toyed with the thought of becoming a writer, this book is a must to have in your library. I swear this woman is living a parallel life to mine, only a few steps ahead, which is giving me mad hope.

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Bonus for having my favorite colored tee shirt 🙂

Jennifer writes a main staple of romance, but I feel this book is informative for anyone with a dream of writing, struggling in the world of writing, or already published. Her witty banter with the reader makes the whole book feel like you are sitting in your living room with well…cheesecake and your best friend. I have yet to finish this book, as I only purchased it two days ago, but the half I have ravenously absorbed thus far has me writing notes, looking at new websites, revamping my ideas and sticking post-it notes in the pages and on my bedroom walls. It’s that good.

Wow, I was right; it does feel pretty damned good to share this. If you have the time and are looking for a reference book that will become one of your most worn and dog-eared prized possessions, get out there and get this book. You won’t regret it.

Living A Dream

I spent the better part of my morning dwelling on the title for this post. Originally I was going to go with Living the Dream then, Living My Dream, but neither of those are a true statement. “The” would indicate that there is a universal, standard dream that the masses are trying to achieve. “My” would be strictly for me, one personal dream, and one personal goal. This was neither, so “A” seemed fitting, because in reality dreams can vary from day to day, person to person, mood to mood. We all hold a multitude of dreams if you give it any thought. Just this morning my dream was a sunny day, a medium coffee and an easy go Monday at work, which I did not achieve, but I hoped for it. Yesterday, on the other hand, I did live “a” dream.

Some dreams are combination goals and enjoyments, and just as fulfilling as a personal goal. So although it was not 100% my dream, I still gained some great “feels” from it. Simplicity is sometimes very rewarding. Yesterday was Mother’s day and I fully enjoyed letting the moms in my life know that I appreciate them, though I fully believe we should celebrate them all year through, dads, grandma, grandpas, sisters, brothers and all family and friends included. I won’t get up onto that soapbox today, but people are important to our lives, every day. Moving forward, I had some lovely time enjoying the good weather and sharing laughter and smiles with the parental units and being part of what their dreams may have been for the day.

Afterwards, the husband and I went to our local home improvement store and made a home purchase of a riding lawn mower. Now again, this is not my dream, but I was part of my husband’s dream and therefore derived some great happiness from seeing him happy. Not only was he thrilled to finally have a riding mower, but after fifteen years of push mowing the lawn, he was finally able to do all the trim while someone else mowed the lawn. Which I thoroughly enjoyed doing (By the way, I named her Jenny due to the fact that the video my husband took of me on the mower reminded me of Forest Gump. I can’t explain my line of thinking all the time.)

Sometimes, you don’t even realize what the dream is until it happens. While pacing around the store waiting on the hubs to load the truck, I happened upon a very reasonably priced American flag set. Before I knew it I was carrying home my new 3×5 Red, White and Blue. Let me tell you, I was thrilled to patriotic pieces. When we first bought our home there had been a place for a flag pole, but after renovations and new paint jobs the idea that there should be one was forgotten. I didn’t recall how much I wanted one, so it had become a forgotten dream, until yesterday. Never let your dreams go, even the little ones. They truly bring ample joy.

So, you may be asking, “Cricket, what was your dream for yesterday?” Again we go to the simple pleasures of life. Every year when the weather finally reaches the point where I know there will be no more fluffy, frozen flakes falling; I love to go to my favorite soft serve stand. The house has been empty of off spring these days and the hubs and I had spent a grand day together so, what better way to top it off than with a small, vanilla, rainbow sprinkled cone. Dream accomplished!

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Yes, this is a small.

Whether it’s “a” dream, “the” dream, or “your” dream, I hope you are in it today and every day.

 

 

Do a Little Dance

“Dance like no one is watching, especially if you are doing the chicken dance.”

It’s been a while, but I am dancing. Life seems to be moving in the fast, busy and congested lane, a lot of “hurry up and wait” happening here. But, my spirits are high, the sun is shining and it has finally reached warmer temperatures. So, I can’t complain.

My first book is out and about and I am learning the tougher end of book publishing. I think I’d like to find a partner in crime who likes this end. In all honesty, I’d rather stay on the creative side of the pool. That being said, book two is in the works and scheduled for a release in June. My fingers are crossed.

It feels good to be on this path and I hope you can say the same. Life is far too precious and short to be dabbling in what we love. We need to kick off our shoes and dive in. Okay, I’m not the greatest motivational speaker, but you know what I mean. I know I am not there yet, I can only wade in the waters so I don’t drown, but my heart is pressing me to jump in as soon as I can and never leave. There’s a lot of room in this pool, room for edge sitters, waders and full on divers, just don’t sit on the sidelines. And when you do make it in, dance like it’s the greatest song you have ever heard, because it will be.

The Immortalists

What if you knew the exact date you would die? Would you live your life any differently? Would you tell your family and friends? Would you believe it was true? What if you knew that your siblings knew their death dates too? index

In Chloe Benjamin’s novel, The Immortalists, we meet the four Gold siblings, Simon, Klara, Daniel and Vayra. As young children growing up in New York, each one of them had been made aware of the day they will pass. We as the readers see immediate reactions and changes, but through the remaining chapters we truly get the impact of how this knowledge can affect a person and a family. While we know what the end result is going to be, because let’s face it, no one gets out alive, we are given their joys and their sorrows and see that through each of them, regardless of their eminent dates, they lived each in their own way.

The stories of the four both intermingle and stand alone. Each sibling takes us on a journey of living, loving and life. With its ups and downs The Immortalists is an enjoyable and eye opening read that leaves us thinking and pondering our own lives and mortality. Chloe Benjamin has constructed a piece of familial art in this book that any reader can relate to in one form or another. If you are looking for a good read that gives you time to reflect, I highly recommend this book. My one sorrow is that I borrowed it and had to return the copy and do not have it to add to my own personal collection.