Chiseled Thoughts


Positivity,

Thoughts chiseled with good intent,

Like an open book.


Greetings everyone! I’ve been experimenting with some techniques to create some new forms of visual communication.

I was inspired after looking at graffiti and wall murals, and I started wondering what it is that I love about them so much. I think that, for the most part, it’s the bold, bright colors and the handwritten messages that draw me in. So… I thought it would be fun to attempt some miniaturized “wall mural art,” in the form of prints or posters, and incorporate some of my portrait ideas.

For my first test run (pictured above), I used Illustrator to create the profile silhouette of my youngest grandson a couple years back. I know, I know… it looks like every other 2 year old out there, but trust me, it’s really him! He was actually eating and I caught him mid-cracker, so I had to do a little magic erase, but I love the innocence that it captures. That’s how I see it anyway.

I thought it came out fun, and it was a perfect match for my Haiku tonight, written just in time for the Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge: Intent & Thought.

Peace & Love!
—Janet

I Choose Peace

Image by Patou Ricard from Pixabay

I’ve been hemming and hawing for weeks (or months), the pendulum swaying back and forth; from feeling as though it’s my responsibility (as a human being) to talk (or keep talking) about current events—to the polar opposite—thinking that it’s the last thing I should even consider.

It’s been harder to write, ever since the virus began circulating and destructive human behaviors began rearing their ugly head. There’s been sickness, stock piling and greed, fear, anger, and chaos… sliding into racism, violence, protests, riots and anarchy. That’s not to say that most of this wasn’t around before the pandemic, it was just hidden a little better. Regardless, how do you go about ignoring all of that—acting as if it’s business as usual—without feeling… well… peculiar?

I’ve considered sharing some new ideas about my New Lifestyle, New Me project recently, but I’ve talked myself out of it because my personal life—and things like my lifestyle change—seem so insignificant, or trivial. So then I wonder if I should just talk about what I feel. And then I realize that I’m not sure what it is I feel, or why I even feel it! But… I think it finally hit me the other day.

I was talking to a friend about recovery meetings. She was asking me questions because she was curious about what goes on inside the rooms. I was explaining to her how all of the meetings are different. Sometimes there’s a speaker, and the rest of the room sits quietly and listens. In book study meetings, we read from certain chapters (of whichever recovery book we’re studying), and then we talk a bit about our thoughts on what we read.

And then there are the “other” meetings—the round robin meetings—where they go around the room, and each person gets about three minutes to share. I explained to her that there is no cross talk (no conversations are allowed to take place back and forth), and that everyone just listens. Once the time is up, the floor moves to the next person.

And then I told her about the uncomfortable moments I’ve had at those meetings, when I’ve watched someone break down. Sad. Struggling. Scared. In pain. Depressed. Sobbing. And then the timer dings. And the next person starts talking, almost as if nothing had happened. The room is tense and uncomfortable for a few minutes, and someone might offer the poor soul a tissue, but all in all, we just keep going—moving right along—as if it’s business as usual. It’s so peculiar!

I think one of the reasons this happens, is that it’s a room full of alcoholics. Ha! All joking aside, that is actually a true statement. Everyone in the room has the same issue. The same sickness. No one is better than the other, and no one is worse. No one goes into those rooms to fix someone else, nor are they even capable of doing that. They go there to fix “themselves.”

Once I got home, after our conversation, I realized how similar it was to how I’m feeling right now. It’s like the world around me has the floor, and it is breaking down. Sad. Struggling. Scared. In pain. Depressed. Sobbing. And here I am, listening… waiting for the timer to ding. My inclination is to reach out and grab the world, and try to fix it. But maybe—just like in the rooms—I can’t do that.

I can only fix myself. And it’s uncomfortable.


That pretty much sums it up. Life is uncomfortable right now. I think the image from pixabay works perfect. Moving forward in recovery and maintaining sobriety requires discernment. Each person is responsible for what they allow into their mind. And today, I choose peace.

Much love to you all!
—Janet

The 70’s to Today

A Life in Rap


Gallivanting, and

Bar hopping.

Living it up, and 

Hotel bopping.

Race with the Joneses,

Some name dropping.

A 401K, and

Wife swapping?

Dieting fads, and

Pill popping.

Sucking it up, with

Sugar free topping.

Trade bra for a mask, 

Boobs flopping.

Zoom meditation, and

Online shopping.


Word Count: 46

Weekend Writing Prompt: Gallivant

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A little Weekend Humor—
Peace & Love!

Having a Vision

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.

Japanese proverb

My new laptop is working great, but the screen is VERY small. My little old eyes (that need cheater glasses) were not too thrilled with the size. So… I decided to get creative, and I’m using an old television as a monitor, and it is REALLY big. Boy do I have vision NOW. Ha! I’m exaggerating, I must confess, but it’s larger than any of my laptops have ever been. I was really able to zoom in and see some of the tiny details in my flower tonight.

I guess that’s what having a vision is all about; being able to see, or at least imagine, what it is that you’re working on, or going after. I think the first half of my life was a whole lot of action without vision. Like the hamster on the wheel, or a dog chasing its tail… just thoughtless, repetitive motion. And boy what a nightmare it became!

Sobriety was a gift (thank you God!). It really opened up my eyes and gave me clarity. My vision about the future can be clouded sometimes, and I definitely daydream, but I can see my feet, and the path that they are on, VERY clearly. And all I can say is… Oh, what a beautiful road it is!


The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.

helen keller

Shelter in Place

Storm intermission,

Seductress teases through glass,

Fragile barricade.


Greetings everyone! My new PC is finally here, and I am back in action with Photoshop—and a few other new and exciting programs to get creative with. I’m feeling things out tonight, and I thought this somewhat serene image would go well with Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge: Break & Glass.

There’s a little double meaning in there, because I (like many of us) am torn at times; feeling like “things are getting better,” and then “things are getting worse.” It’s hard to decide, so I just take it day by day. And today was good!

That’s about all for now. I hope you’re all surviving, staying healthy, happy, and safe. God Bless!

—Janet

The Stranger

Be kind to the stranger,

The one you don’t recognize.

An untold story simmers deep,

Beneath her burning eyes.

Lend an ear to the stranger,

Hear how her heart has bled,

Offer comfort, give her strength,

As she travels the path ahead.


I have to say that the reason I worked on this portrait today was that I’m finally losing it. I think we all have our breaking point, and I may have hit mine today. Things got a little crazy. I swear a lot of it has to do with all of the negativity that is encircling me lately. It seems like everyone wants to make a point, everyone wants to be right, and everyone is so angry. I can feel my body tensing up more and more every day as I listen to, and read, so many words. I know that light is right ahead, ready to shine, but it’s just not close enough.

Anyway, enough about me. I thought the art and poetry would help change my mood, by putting some of my focus outward—thinking about what other people go through. My portrait really is of a stranger, and it got me to thinking about how we all see each other, and how we treat each other.

I’d love to share more right now but it’s late—so I’ll be back tomorrow. I haven’t been out much because I can’t breath in those damn masks, but it may be time to revisit the New Lifestyle, New Me project very soon. And I still have a short story to finish! That’s something to look forward to!

So, that’s about all for now. Until next time… Peace & Love to you ALL.


Word of the Day Challenge: Untold

Ragtag Saturday: The Path Ahead

Winds of Change

The sky is ablaze,

Logic is lost in anger,

Winds of change are here.


I needed to work on some art, and post some words today. Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge: Anger & Logic sort of landed right in front of me at the right moment.

I’m doing a lot of praying over here. Black lives matter indeed, and that is not a new idea to me. Seeing the hatred and anger that I’ve seen lately, on the other hand, simply brings me to tears. I’m just heartbroken. I’m trying to stay off of social media because I see nothing but daggers being thrown around in there. I hope my Haiku says something good. It’s a bit ambiguous, but change is coming.

Anyway, I pray that resolutions come swiftly and peacefully, and that great progress is made. Life is good, and God is so, so great. We are all a part of His wonderful tapestry, woven out of magnificent colors, so let’s celebrate our diversity with love.

Midnight Mayhem


I’m stirring up mayhem tonight, and I’ll probably kick myself for it later. My garden photographs are waiting to be sorted, and my short story still needs an ending, but I REALLY wanted to work on this portrait—so here I am—finishing up in the wee hours of the night.

Actually, the “mayhem” I’ve added is supposed to push the portrait toward the humorous side, sort of like a comic book, but I think it ended up looking more serious than fun. Anyway, there’s a story in here somewhere. I had to send a photo to the college for our virtual graduation, so I ended up with a self-portrait to play with. I don’t know… I thought it was about time I sucked it up and did a portrait of my own—for me.

Life is simply a mix of mayhem and magnolias, so embrace this gentle riot and gather flowers along the way.

kat savage

A Pause


Beautiful pauses,

Cloaked in fragrant petals bloom,

Life is not a race.


Happy Hump-day! I’ve taken a few pauses lately, to photograph some of the wonderful things in our backyard. This little butterfly (or moth?) caught my eye recently. It didn’t move much, so I’m assuming it was enjoying its own little time-out, soaking in some sun and nature’s beauty.

That’s about all for now. I’ve got a little time on my hands before the three day weekend here (but who’s counting anymore), and I’m looking forward to catching up and sharing some cool garden shots.

Peace & Love!

Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge: Cloak & Race

Recalibrating

Would you believe that tomorrow marks the beginning of WEEK TWELVE of my New Lifestyle, New Me project? Wow! It feels as though I’ve lost part of my life somehow—like my wall calendar has this huge red “X” scratched across the month of April or something. And half of May too!

Not to worry. As of today, there are still 532 days for me to hit my first “weight loss” goal. So… I’m in the process of recalibrating. All of this “stay at home” time has given me an opportunity to think, and to get to know myself a little better. I’ve noticed that I still have this default mode that makes me want to emulate other people. I’m not talking about the desire to be fit, there is nothing wrong with that—what I’m talking about are the numerous methods one can use in order to “get” fit.

When you think of fitness, what comes to your mind? Running? Aerobics? Joining a gym? Actually, I do have a gym membership that’s on hold due to COVID, but that’s another story. What I’m trying to say is that most of these ideas are default answers. They’re the things that automatically come to mind when thinking about fitness (or just being “active”), but they’re not necessarily things that I enjoy doing. When I set this change in motion, I wanted my new lifestyle to be different, to be fun, and—last but not least—to be adventurous.

I’ve been reading a book about prayer (thank you Collette) and something the author said really stuck with me. A lot of people put off praying because they think that they need to have everything in order before they pray. But the truth of the matter is… it is “through” our prayers that we begin transformation, and start getting things in order. It’s like putting the cart before the horse. It’s not a huge surprise either. I know people who to do house “clean-ups” before the housekeeper comes to clean! That’s actually the perfect analogy.

I mentioned a while back that once I weighed a little less, and was more limber, I wanted to sign up for some dance lessons. After reading that little tidbit on prayer, I realized what I had actually said in my statement… I wanted to get in shape, before getting in shape! What a bunch of phooey.

We’re in the beginning phase of “re-entry” here, so things won’t be happening right away, but I’m feeling good. Mid-June looks like a good time to start my own new phase—a new adventure—giving me 30 days to do my research. The goal is to start with a simple stretch class. I LOVE to stretch!

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make here is that it’s time to “DO” the things I love—NOT to plan and prepare, and “get myself in order” so that one day I can do what I love. Life is too short for that.

It’s time to dance!


Thank you for reading… I hope you’re all doing what you love!!
—Janet

The featured image is something that I chose because it makes me feel calm. A beautiful rose, whose petals are slowly unfolding to form a wonderful pattern… like a beautiful dance.

Word of the Day Challenge: Dancing

Red Solo Cup


Country songs, red solo cup—

Metaphors for simpler things.

Faded Glory, holding tight—

To the memories that they bring.


I wanted to try something creative tonight. I’ve had a couple of long days and it’s nice to take a pause, and stop (over) thinking. I took this photograph at a country music festival some time ago, using a cheap point and click, and I really like the frame. I’m always drawn to my poor quality images—it’s so fun to transform them!

I didn’t notice the red solo cup up there on the stage until I started playing around with the black and white effects, and I thought it was kind of cool; my funny little muse.

Anyway, that’s about all for now. I hope you’re all safe, healthy, and doing well…
Peace & Love!

Late Night Fiction #7

Franky with a “Y”

For anyone just joining, this is an ongoing short story that I’m having some fun with.

Previous scenes can be found HERE, if you’d like to read them. This scene won’t make much sense if you don’t, but you could certainly give it a whirl.

I hope you enjoy!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

SCENE SIX

Noah’s ears buzzed as an unfamiliar flying insect used his nose as a landing pad. His feet shifted beneath him as he waved his hands frantically to shoo it away, and Noah began to lose his balance. Crouched under a huge pine, not far from the cabin, he panicked. After several close encounters he had learned to remain silent and unseen. If he made any noise, his location would be compromised. 

He grabbed hold of a large limb above his head, to keep himself steady, and it snapped. Noah tumbled backward, his arms still hugging the branch, and the two rolled down the slope in unison. When he came to a stop, Noah picked himself up and allowed his eyes to scan the area quickly— locating the cabin and zeroing in. Franky was standing at the balcony’s edge, looking out in his direction, and he was afraid that she had heard him. She had instructed him to stay out of sight, and he had broken the rule.

He maneuvered himself behind the trees, through an area he was now well acquainted with, and made his way to a small base camp he had set up. Two large boulders rested on each other to form a chair, and a flat piece of bedrock served as a table. Noah sat to catch his breath, leaning his head back to rest. He could feel his heart thumping as he stared up at his mock roof— Franky’s long jacket—quivering in the breeze. She had given it to him for protection, when he left her at the cabin steps, and it was now strung between two branches, above the sitting area, blocking out the sun’s harsh rays.

One of the ties suddenly broke loose as a large gust sailed through, exposing a large bulge inside of the fabric. Noah rose to investigate. He reached into the pocket and pulled out a small bound journal. Running his fingers across the worn cover, he admired the texture of the leather, and then he fanned through the book. The pages were filled with notes written by Franky, and—after doing a quick repair of the roof—Noah sat down to read. 

SCENE SEVEN

The sun was beginning to sink and the air was piercing cold. Franky and Asher had been hiking all day, making their way to where she had told Noah to wait. Asher begged her to stop and rest, but she refused. She was sure they were almost there. The twilight sky was quickly turning to dusk, and it would soon be too dark to continue.  

An icy flurry rushed through, nearly tossing them off of the trail, and the trees began howling in the wind. Noah stopped dead in his tracks, as he recognized this familiar sound. It was the same ominous roar he had heard nights before—up near the waterfall—before Franky had arrived. He could hear it more clearly now though, and it wasn’t a roar at all; it was someone sobbing. The cries were coming from just above, echoing down—and reverberating deep into the canyon below them. 


To Be Continued


I know it’s not late (not here anyway), but I had a few minutes to finish another segment. We’re almost there! It’s possible we’ll reach the end in just a few more scenes (I hope). I also wanted to pop in and share that life is really, really good and I’m LOVING my new classes. There’s been some other things going on too, so it’s been hard to sit down and post—but it looks like I’ll have some time in the next few days.

We heard that Los Angeles officials are wanting us to spend another few months “staying at home,” but the natives are extremely restless, and I don’t see that happening at all. We shall see. Is anyone else out there experiencing that kind of friction? Just curious. I hope you’re all safe and healthy.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope you’re enjoying the story so far! Sorry to leave things hanging in the middle of scene seven… but I’ll finish it up very soon.

Peace & Love!!

Late Night Fiction #6

Franky with a “Y”

For anyone just joining, this is an ongoing short story (that is slowly becoming long-er). It was written in my Creative Writing class a year ago, and I’m sharing (and editing) it now… just for fun.

Scenes One through Four can be found HERE, in case you’d like to read them. This scene won’t make a lot of sense if you don’t, but you could give it a whirl. We haven’t reached the end yet, but I can tell you for certain that we are now officially one scene closer!


SCENE FIVE

The smell of coffee roused Asher out of bed. He rustled around his office, and then hurried downstairs. Franky had made herself at home in the kitchen, and by the looks of things, she had been up for hours. She appeared showered and ready to go.

Asher grabbed a cup and waved it in the air, signaling her to follow him upstairs. Floor to ceiling windows, that were previously hidden behind massive blackout drapes, ran across the entire east wall. Wood french doors were open wide, exposing a wraparound balcony. Asher rarely went out there by himself. It was the kind of place that warranted a companion, he thought, and he felt giddy with glee to have Franky there this morning.

The air was crisp and breezy, and the Aspen trees—with their new spring growth—enveloped the surrounding area. Yellowish green leaves, like the wings of butterflies, danced and fluttered amid handsome white trunks. At the edge of the property, a dirt road separated the well-kept land from the virgin forest that was carpeted with evergreens. Layer upon layer climbed the mountain to its peak, where the trees shrunk to the size of dots, and lined the waterfall’s crest.

Franky propped her feet up on Asher’s chair, and he examined her tiny feet as he sipped his coffee. Chips of black paint, probably from months ago, were still sticking to the tips of her toes. She stared out in silence as she thought about Noah. There were so many times, after the accident, that she was certain she had seen his soul. His face would light up as the two made eye contact, or his lips would form a smile as he tried to communicate with sounds. 

It was so hard not knowing what was going on inside of his mind. She had obsessed over it for months. She wanted to bring Noah back, she knew she had discovered a way, and she refused to think about the risks and consequences that were involved. What frustrated her more than anything, however, was that the operation was a success. The chip she had implanted was able to retrieve and collect data, process it, and then store the information for future use. 

The heartbreak came when she realized that, although the artificial brain was even more intelligent than her own, Noah barely knew her. He showed no emotion whatsoever. Before she could work things out, all hell broke loose. Somehow the government had found out about Noah, and they wanted him bad.

“I need to go find Noah,” She said, imagining him out there in that forest all alone.  

“I’ll come with you.” Asher’s voice cracked—like a boy on his way to manhood. His mind had been wandering, and he was caught off guard by her words. He wasn’t physically prepared for a rescue mission of any sort, but there was no way that he’d let her leave alone. He was much too fond of her now, and he had to keep her near.


To Be Continued


I thought I would use one of my own images tonight. An old railroad track that appears to go nowhere… kind of like a story with no end. Ha-Ha! Honestly, most of this scene is totally new, written yesterday and tonight. I’ve scrapped the ending that I had, and I came up with a pretty good new one, so all I’ve got to do now… is write it.

I hope everyone is doing well! I’m keeping up with school and feeling really good about things.

Stay Positive, Safe, and Healthy!
—Janet

Bare feet, Salty Hair

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

Kahlil gibran

No rhyme or reason for this one here. I was looking into my archives, thinking about more feather close-ups, and I just fell in love with these feet.

My new classes started this morning and I was able to get in and view (with eyes wide and mouth agape) what the next 8 weeks will look like. Let’s just say that I’ll have a little less time for blogging! I’m psyching myself up to wind down, and nothing says “I MAY be on hiatus” better than toes in the sand.

Anyway, the next 8 weeks—just like my little friend here—are going to fly…

That’s about all for now. Hope everyone is staying safe and keeping healthy!!
—Janet

Late Night Fiction #5

The beginning of this short story, which spans across several posts, has now been pieced together on one page. Scenes One, Two and Three can be read HERE.

I’ll be adding the new scenes as well—once I’ve worked out any kinks—so by the time you read this the page may include this portion too. I realized why I like posting it in small increments like this. Well, for one because now I’m making major edits to the original, but the other reason—the bigger reason—is that each of these posts are the extent of my attention span when I’m reading.

That explains why it takes me so long to finish a book! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this one…


SCENE FOUR

Time stood still for Asher that evening. He didn’t notice the fiery red sky as the sun made its final descent into the horizon. He wasn’t even aware that it had vanished, and they were now sitting in darkness. His eyes remained fixed on Franky, his ears hanging on her every word. 

She told him about her younger brother Noah, and how the two of them had been inseparable until she went off to the University. They came from a family that was full of love, and her countenance beamed with joy when she told him stories about their childhood together. Their parents were killed in a tragic automobile accident not long after she left, and Noah had been with them. He survived the crash, but suffered tremendous brain damage. 

Franky was a brilliant student with a scholarship in computer science. Machine learning and artificial intelligence were her areas of expertise. Professor Hinkle, who was the head of the department, had taken her under his wing when he noticed her potential. She had experienced many successes with her experiments, and he assured her that her work far exceeded anything he had ever seen from a student.

They spent months discussing the possibilities of AI brain implants. The professor was much too cautious and conservative in his thinking though, and the two disagreed about many things. They just could not not see eye to eye, so Franky distanced herself from him. She built a makeshift lab in an abandoned wing of the university, and night after night she would work in secret. Finally, after weeks of very little sleep, she had made a significant discovery. She believed she had found the answer, something miraculous, and it wouldn’t just help Noah—it would bring hope, and new life to people everywhere.

“I made a horrible mistake.” Franky confessed. “I wasn’t thinking straight. I was tortured by grief. Noah was with me, but the brother that I knew and loved was gone. It was like watching him die, over and over again.” 

Her eyes welled with tears and one managed to escape. He watched it glisten as it slid down her cheek. She leaned back in the chair and stared upward. Asher followed her lead. The firmament resembled a black canvas, dotted with a billion radiant stars, and careful strokes of the artist’s brush had painted a delicate milky haze over them. Franky felt herself being swallowed up by a black hole, the infinite void that surrounded her in the moment.

Sitting there in the silence together, under the stars, Asher felt connected to her. They were kindred spirits, he thought. Each of them were so driven, but their hearts were filled with discontent. He tried to grasp his emotions as he stared into the black. He had never been romantically inclined, but he was drawn to her in the most indescribable way. Prepared to speak his mind, Asher looked over at Franky, only to find her sleeping. It was time to put her to bed.


To Be Continued

Good night everyone!


Photo by Bartosz Kwitkowski on Unsplash

Our Beautiful Mind

It’s been a long time since I shared an update on my New Lifestyle, New Me project. I’ve been quiet about my progress. Why? Well… let’s just say that I’m beginning to understand why Adam and Eve hid from God after they tasted the forbidden fruit. They failed to stick to the plan. They broke the ONLY rule. That’s embarrassing! Humiliating even.

I get it. I’ve broken MOST of my own rules already, and confession is a very hard thing. 

But today is a new day, a new beginning, with fresh thoughts. 

Beautiful thoughts.

When I reorganized my room recently, I moved my bed around. The left side of it—the side that I have been getting into for years—now runs alongside a long, narrow table that I love. There is not much room between the two, meant to give me “just enough” space to get in and do some tucking in the morning, nothing else. 

That being said, the right side—the side that used to be up against the wall—is now my new area of “approach.” There’s a small rug at the base of this “right” side, beckoning me to come in for a landing and rest my feet. There’s plenty of clearance to walk around, sit for a spell, and to launch myself into bed at night.

Here’s the thing. Every time I enter, the FIRST thing I do—without even thinking—is head to the left side and SQUEEZE myself into that tiny space between the table and my bed. I can’t help it! I’m a terrible creature of habit. I’m bound and determined to reach “the left side” of my bed, even if it means nearly knocking over a lamp and spilling paperwork to the floor every time that I do it. This pattern of behavior made me curious, and so I pondered it for a bit. Two words came to mind. 

Procedural Memory.

If I want to change that weird habit (which might seem lame, but it’s a perfect example), I can’t give up. I’ve got to force myself to veer to the right, and I’ve got to do it again and again, over and over.  

Procedural memory is a part of long-term memory that’s responsible for motor skills. It’s where information on how to perform certain procedures is stored. It’s like learning to ride a bike when you’re young. You try and you try, and you probably wobble at first (after falling several times). But you keep doing it, over and over, and then—once you’ve got it down perfectly—something miraculous happens. The task no longer involves conscious thought. You can ride a bike, and you can do it without even thinking! That’s incredible.

When I shared about the curse of the all or nothing recently, I think most of what I said was “self-talk.” I do that a lot; sharing ideas with you all as I try to teach the ideas to myself. The whole point behind my thoughts were that I should not just GIVE UP (do nothing or quit). Life is not about all of nothing. It’s about putting forth effort to do the things that you’d like to do, or to make the changes you want to make.

So, as far as my New Lifestyle, New Me goes—if I haven’t succeeded the first time around, or the second, or even the third (and so on)—it does not mean that it’s time to give up. It means that it’s time to GET UP and to try again. And again.

Because when we do something over and over, like learning to ride a bike, eventually that miracle happens. One day we wake up and we can do it without thinking. That new healthy habit has taken root, residing on its own in that place we call our procedural memory… deep inside of our beautiful mind.

God really IS great.


Thank you for reading! I hope you found something interesting or enjoyable here.


Three Things Challenge #224: Bed, Young, Curious

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Late Night Fiction #4

I’m including a table of links to hold this story together.



Continuing on from night #3

Asher turned to see the woman standing at the doorway, and then his eyes darted away. He couldn’t believe how beautiful she was. Her delicate frame was wrapped inside of his blanket, and the bottom swept across the floor like the cathedral train on a royal wedding gown. 

A braid of dark hair hung to her waist and her large hazel eyes seemed innocent, yet intoxicating. His mind conjured up the things that his sister would say if she were there. “Keep yourself together Asher! Make eye contact with the girl!”

“Have  I interrupted you?” she asked.

“No. My sister emailed me to ask if I’ve made any progress on my book,” he lied, rising to meet her at the door. “I thought I’d let her know how slowly it’s coming.” He grinned, hoping she would laugh at his gawky humor.

“I can’t thank you enough for taking me in,” she said, extending her hand out. “My name is Francesca, but my friends call me Franky.”

“I’m Asher,” he shrugged.

His mind churned, overwhelmed with nervous thoughts. Should he touch her hand? Were his hands too clammy? Surely she would sense his discomfort. With noticeable indecision, he clasped his hands around hers, shook with a quick spasm, and moved awkwardly around her to leave the office.

He showed her to the guest room that had the most splendid view, and the two walked out to the veranda. A baby blue sky faded into layers of yellow where the sun began to move behind the mountains, and scattered pink clouds hung in the air like cotton candy. Asher stood slightly behind her, watching her admire the nightly show that he’d gotten so used to on his own. He’d been longing to share it with someone, and he was happy that she was there to see it.

He noticed that there was a magnetism about her, he could feel its pull. Is that how she had ended up in the arms of this “thing” that had brought her there, he wondered. Did she remember what had happened? Surely not, he decided. She was too calm. Any person experiencing such trauma would be hysterical. 

“I’ve got to leave soon,” Franky said, interrupting him mid-thought.“My brother is in trouble and I’ve got to go find him.”

Asher had studied journalism in his university years, and he was always exploring eccentricities. Over the years he had developed a talent for conducting interviews and he was very good at it. The conversation made him think back to those days and the confidence that he had when he worked. He turned two chairs upright and brushed off the cobwebs and dust. 

“Let’s sit down,” he said, feeling oddly pleased with the situation. “Why don’t you tell me what’s going on and let me see if I can help.” 

“His name is Noah,” she began. 


To Be Continued

I had to pop in and add just a little to the story tonight. Hopefully the chunks will get longer so we can get to the end very soon. It’s all coming back to me, that class and the adventure of writing this story.

I remember spending SO much time on the beginning. By the end, it was a mad rush to finish it and turn it in. After that I didn’t even want to look at it! Re-reading it is like watching a movie in slow motion, and then hitting fast forward right when it gets to all of the action, and the ending. That poor, cheated ending. 😉

Anyway, that’s all for now. For anyone who’s reading… I hope you’re still enjoying the story!


Photo by Ehud Neuhaus on Unsplash

Yes, Yes, Yes!


Yes to the rhythm,

Yes to the beat,

If you can’t stand the fire,

Then get out of the heat!

Yes to the lyrics,

Yes to the tune,

Swing to the melody,

And dance to the moon!


This is a celebratory piece for sure. I was procrastinating a term paper in comparative religion, and the assignment is now “officially submitted.” Who would have thought that a class I chose to take for “fun” would turn out to be so brutal!? Anyway, my fear and dread is now over and it feels marvelous… almost makes me want to dance!

I’m upcycling today. Or recycling. This was originally my abstract Salsa Dancing art, and I thought it would be fun to make it more literal. I think the colors alone are enough to energize and improve the mood. If you like bright colors anyway. Now… I tried to make the dancers more conspicuous than the girl that I hid in Unraveling, so I’m hoping these two are visible, even without the cheater glasses.

I’m going to take a peek at my short story later and see if I can add to it tonight. As for now, it’s getting hot and I think it may be time to visit the kiddie pool…

Peace & Love!


Word of the Day Challenge: Yes

Faith to Fly


Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.

Rabindranath Tagore

Another recycled image today! I had forgotten about my “feather close-ups” that I wanted to dig into some months ago. When I saw the Ragtag Daily Prompt: Abstract in Black and White I went searching and found one that I had done, and I re-did it. I like it! Feathers are so beautiful.

Last night I had my new student orientation. I was SO glad it was on Zoom because I felt so bad. What are the odds of that!? Anyway, today I ordered my books, and Monday is my first day EVER attending a University. How exciting! I think I’m a little nervous. Even if it is virtual for now. Anyway, I’m looking forward to starting this new chapter, and I have faith that the journey will be fulfilling and rewarding.

That’s about all for now.
Peace & Love!!
—Janet

Late Night Fiction #3

Chapter One Continued

Asher stood frozen as questions flooded his mind. Was he going mad? Was it a dream? He pinched himself hard and yelped. Shards of glass crunched under his feet as his body shifted. With his eyes still glued to the window, he sidestepped to the broom closet. Suddenly something moved outside. It looked like an animal of some kind, sprawled out in the yard beyond the front steps. Perhaps it was a deer, he thought, they came around often.

The animal struggled to rise and collapsed again. He grabbed his flashlight and crept out to investigate. Its deliberate breaths grew louder and more strained as he approached it. Illuminating its form with the light, he learned that it wasn’t a deer at all. It was a young woman! Asher plucked her up and rushed inside, placing her body on the couch, near the fire. As he let go of her small body, her eyes opened wide and she clutched his arm.

“Please don’t say anything,” she pleaded.

Before he could respond, her eyes closed and her body withered into the cushion. What did she mean by that, he wondered. Surely she was delirious! He covered her with blankets, and sat nearby to observe, watching her sleep until the sun rose.

In the morning, as the light came in, the woman stirred. She looked around, moaned lightly, and then faded back to sleep. Asher left a glass of water on the table beside her, and retreated to his office. He slumped down in his chair, heart racing, his forehead covered in sweat. He was painfully uncomfortable around women, and now he had one in his home! What was he going to say to her? The computer lit up and a reply from his sister appeared. “Thank God,” he mumbled. 

Asher,

I can’t believe you! How can you unplug from the world like you do? I’ve been trying to call you. Please look at the news! Whatever it was that you saw, it is real. You’re not imagining things. Everyone is searching for him. They don’t know who he is, or WHAT he is, but they believe he’s dangerous. He was seen near Denver, carrying a woman. I’m having trouble believing it myself Asher, but it’s true!

I pray that you read this email, and stay safe until he’s found! If you have your phone, please answer it! Or call me!

—Emma

The cabin was secluded deep in the Rocky Mountains, nearly two hundred miles from Denver. Was this thing a man, or some kind of wild animal? Bigfoot perhaps? Had he carried the young woman all that way? Asher reached for a bead of sweat on his forehead, just before it reached his eye, and read the email again. Suddenly the floorboard creaked, and a shadow blocked the hall light. He fumbled for the power button, and the screen went black.


To be Continued

We’re getting to the parts that I want to rewrite, so the upcoming scenes will be coming in slowly. I’m not liking the fact that it feels drawn out. We had a page minimum on the assignment, so that’s exactly what I did at the time—draw it out. Ha-Ha! Anyway, I don’t like it. I think a short story should be just that: short. With my attention span, I don’t have the patience for a slow moving plot.

Also, I don’t want to sound like an alarmist, but I felt pretty cruddy all day—and maybe feverish. I slept on and off for several hours, and am heading back there now. Let’s hope I sleep it off tonight!


Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Late Night Fiction #2

Franky with a “Y”

Continuing on with last night’s story

Chapter One: Scene Two

Months later, and miles away, Asher struggled to assemble his router. He was ready to break his silence. He needed to make contact with someone, anyone, but who could he trust? Who would even believe him? The lights blinked as the machine scanned and searched for a connection. He held his reading glasses in place and inspected the sticky note, pecking at the keyboard to log-in. Thousands of unread emails filled the screen and he scrolled down to locate his sister. She would understand. He hit compose and began.

Dearest Emma,

I’m sorry that it’s been so long. I’ve been at father’s hideaway for months now. I vowed to stay off the grid until my book was finished; I needed to remain focused! The chapters are coming along, but not as quickly as I had hoped. Writer’s block is a terrible thing. I was certain that my solitude here would resolve the matter. You know I’ve always written best in the quiet.

I am writing to you now because the strangest thing has happened and I feel that I must share it before even more time elapses. The weather was fierce this winter, but the snow has finally melted. The eve before last, I kindled a fire and curled up at the hearth, watching through the window as a curtain of white water cascaded silently over the jagged rocks and down the mountainside. 

From my secure position, the scene was mesmerizing, and quite tranquil. When I closed my eyes, however, there was an ominous sound. It was so perversely odd that my eyes opened wide in horror. I witnessed the most peculiar thing Emma. There was something out there. It’s stature was so very odd, and it leapt across the falls with ease; from one side to the other. Surely it was not a human.

I needed to share this with you, as the incident now has me questioning my own sanity. You know how vulnerable I am, and how dangerous isolation can be. It is my hope that you’ll write back, and assure me I’ve not gone mad! You’ve always known how to comfort me, and I look forward to your reply.

Give Elle a hug and kiss for me.

Asher sighed with relief as he hit send. What he’d seen out there had seemed so surreal, so imaginary. Once he’d written the words to Emma, everything felt more real, and less threatening. His nerves were calmed, and he was sure he could get some much needed rest. 

As he reached the stairwell, the front door rattled and shook, and several loud thuds caused the cabin walls to shake. Asher’s wine glass slid from his hands, shattering at his feet. Outside the picture window, a large figure paused on the road and stared back at the house. The two stood motionless as they made eye contact. The figure turned quickly and ran, hurdling over the pines, until it’s dark silhouette vanished in the thick of the forest.


To Be Continued.

Wow! Going back to this story is fun. In case it’s not obvious, the story is inspired by an old Shelley classic, with a new twist and a modern spin. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed Scene Two.

Spoiler alert: tomorrow we get to find out what the racket was outside.


Image by Predra6_Photos from Pixabay

House of Joy

Hidden in the sticks,

Forbidden love, house of tricks,

Lonely man finds joy.


I’m sorry. A little rough around the edges there, but what the hell. Couldn’t resist. I’m finding solace in humor and lightheartedness these days. Anyway… this is a recycled image from the old copper mining town of Jerome (Arizona), once known as the “wickedest town in the west.” Today it is home to about 450 residents (many of them artists) and it’s a fun tourist attraction that I had the pleasure of visiting. My haiku is a bit literal, as the building shown really WAS a bordello back in the day. Now it houses a quaint little gift shop.

That’s about all for now. Peace & Love, and may your day be a great one!


Written for Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge: Stick & Trick

Late Night Fiction

This is a wild experiment. I’ve been thinking about where I want to go with my writing, and it occurred to me that I could revisit a short story I wrote in my creative writing class about one year ago today. I’m NOT a writer of fiction, and don’t imagine myself going down that road, but you just never know. It just came to mind, and sounded like a fun thing to do. A nice change of focus.

Plus I was terribly unhappy with several parts, and the ending, so I’m hoping to edit the story as I sift through it. I’ll be sharing it in increments, and boldly welcome (and encourage) any critiquing. I’m not attached to the story in any way, shape, or form, and this is only an exercise. I do LOVE the idea behind the story, so I really do hope to create the perfect ending some day.

FRANKY WITH A “Y”

CHAPTER ONE

After nine months of preparation, she was ready; new life would enter the world. The laboratory was dimly lit, and was hidden in an abandoned wing of the university. Too much light would alert the others of her presence. 

She navigated his wheelchair carefully through the room, avoiding the tangles of wire that stretched across the floor. After lifting his frail body onto the gurney, she secured his limbs. A nearby thunderstorm announced its existence with a flash of light and a loud crack. Her small ivory hands stroked his blond hair as she kissed his forehead.

“I love you Noah,” she whispered.

His empty expression was briefly interrupted as an infant like coo came from his lips and they opened to form a smile. She slipped the mask over his mouth and he slept. She took great care to slice only the smallest section of tissue. The chip fit into place with absolute precision. Noah responded with a twitch; a simple reflex reaction. She stitched up the incision and leaned back. 

The storm was directly above them now, reminding her of a celebratory parade. Rain pounded down on the tin awning, like the sound of snare drums marching by. Thunder exploded in a crash of symbols, and the bass echoed through the room. The lights flickered and went black. Too tired to respond, she closed her eyes and fell asleep in the darkness.


Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

Tree Party

tree

When the zephyr appears,

We flutter and sway,

A waltz in the wind,

An impassioned ballet.

If the squalls should arrive,

We’ll shake, and we’ll sing,

Let loose of the branch,

Square dance in a ring.

The birds will take part,

Building homes for the new,

Whistling with joy,

Loving chirps, or a coo.

It’s a party, my friend,

Nature offers with glee,

Come join, all are welcome,

Better yet… it is free!


The image is another recycled photo; our Ginkgo. That tree is huge, and it just keeps growing, and growing…

Anyway, I was working on it last night and this afternoon, and was tickled when I saw the Word of the Day Challenge: Zephyr. How fitting!

Not to bring up the elephant in the room, but my walking came to a halt—just for this week. In case anyone is curious. It’s been pretty hot, like in the high 90’s, so I took a little break. We put up a little pool in the backyard, to soak our feet in, and watching the birds play inspired the poem.

That’s about all for now. Peace & Love!
—Janet

Liebster Award

I’m humbled to share that I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award and it is my honor to accept it (and to pass the torch on to some of the wonderful blogs that I follow). A big Thank You and Shout Out to Michael A. Kuch at Kuched.blog for the nomination. I read Michael when I’m having coffee, lying in bed, and occasionally while dancing.

RULES

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  • Share 11 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-11 other bloggers.
  • Ask your nominees 11 questions.
  • Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post

Answers to Michael’s Questions

  1. If you were a shape, would you rather be a square, triangle, circle, or free-form amoeba? Definitely amoeba! I’m extremely fluid and could never be confined to a rigid shape.
  2. Name one habit you would like to quit and one you would like to start? I’d like to stop questioning and doubting myself all of the time. I’d like to start walking regularly (at least 3 days a week like I had planned!!)
  3. If you could change your first name, what would you call yourself? Levi.
  4. What does the world need: more love or less hate? Well… now that Jackie DeShannon and Dionne Warwick are singing it in my head (and probably will be for the rest of the day), I’d have to say “What the World needs now, is Love, Sweet Love.” It is my hope that hate will dissipate when enough of that sweet love is spread around.
  5. Have you ever been mistaken for someone else? Many times. I’m not sure WHO, but I’ve often heard; “Oh, wow… you look just like someone else I know” or “I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else.” Who IS this mystery woman they call someone else? That’s what I’d like to know.
  6. What’s your favorite Car Karaoke song to sing? There are SO many, but for an energetic drive I’d have to say Happiness by NEEDTOBREATHE (link provided because it’s a great song by one of my favorite bands who I saw in concert not long ago… thank you very much).
  7. Burial, Cremation or Cryogenically Frozen? Honestly, I don’t like to think about death so I have no idea yet.
  8. How do you like your apples? I don’t really like apples but I’ll eat Apple Pie on special occasions (if there is no Banana Cream on hand) and I’ll eat parts of a Candied or Caramel Apple.
  9. What’s missing in your life? A beach house or an R.V. to roam the countryside. I’ll shoot for one or the other (or both!) when I retire. Retire “from what” I have NO idea. Ha-Ha-Ha!
  10. Favorite toy as a child? I’d have to say roller and/or ice skates. I’m actually thinking of taking up rollerblading again (did that in my 30’s and loved it).
  11. Salty or sweet tooth? Both, but if I MUST choose I’ll take sweet.

11 Facts About Myself

  1. I don’t really care for shoes.
  2. When I was young, I wanted to be a dancer. I keep telling myself—as motivation—that if I can lose the extra pounds that are holding me back (keeping me from being limber and causing shortness of breath when I work out), I’ll reward myself with private dance lessons. I’m 99% sure this will happen.
  3. I have NO Italian in my blood, but I married one, lived with another one for 10 years, and have dated several. I have no explanation for this. Maybe I’m just drawn to names that end in a vowel? (Joke!!)
  4. Number 3 can’t be confirmed because I’ve never had my DNA tested. Note to Self: Do that, for the sake of curiosity.
  5. I don’t fly.
  6. I talked too much and had no filter when I was a toddler, became painfully shy around the age of 13, and now—in my fifties— I’m back to talking too much with no filter.
  7. My attention span lasts about 3 minutes.
  8. I know I have WAY more to contribute to this world than what I’ve offered thus far, and that’s the goal I’ll be focusing on after graduation next year.
  9. I don’t own a car at the moment, but with the way gas prices are going it may be time to buy one.
  10. I miss my road trips SO much and hope to be off on a new adventure when school is finished.
  11. If I ever overcome my fear of flying I’d LOVE to visit all of those places I can’t get to right now.

My Nominees Are…

  1. Wine to Water
  2. Flannel with Faith
  3. While Walking Today
  4. The Potter’s Project
  5. Just Teri

I’ve listed these 5 women because they’re kind, thoughtful, funny, and inspiring… and I can relate to them all in so many different ways. I love reading their posts, and I encourage others to check out their blogs. I could go on and on with nominees, but I’m keeping it simple today.

Questions for my Nominees

I’m going to mix and match here as my imagination is running low, and my 3 minute attention span ran out an hour ago!

  1. What is your greatest life lesson so far?
  2. What’s your favorite Car Karaoke song to sing?
  3. Name one habit you would like to quit, and one you would like to start?
  4. What has been your greatest challenge in the past month?
  5. Share one thing you’ve never shared before about yourself.
  6. What are you most afraid of?
  7. Have you ever been mistaken for someone else?
  8. What’s missing in your life?
  9. What is the number ONE thing on your bucket list?
  10. Would you rather camp or do a five star hotel?
  11. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

I’m sorry to anyone I’ve left out. You’re welcome to to join in… NO discrimination here, and I’ve never been one to follow the rules!

Peace & Love…
—Janet

Intersection

Lonely Street crossing,

Foggy mind, vision unclear,

Trouble lies in wait.


This haiku almost sums up some of my recent thoughts. Who would have thought that it could be done in just eleven words. Ha! “Isolation can be dangerous” is another way to say it.

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to use this image and saw the opportunity here—so I snagged it. Another one from the camping trip; driving through Pismo Beach in the rain.

That’s all for now. Happy Saturday!


Word of the Day Challenge: Lonely and RDP Saturday: Trouble

Beautiful Storm

I started working on this image during my “time out” yesterday. I feel wonderful today, and very well rested. The beach scene is not quite where I wanted it to be, but it will have to do. For now. Striving for perfection is exhausting, so it’s “good enough.”

I’ve come to the conclusion that—even with this extra time we’ve all been given—it’s still possible to burn out. Too much sleeping, overeating, excessive introspection, and even (in my own case) an overdose of blogging. Some of it isn’t visible; it’s the unseen things we do behind the scenes—thinking about what to share, writing and editing, scratching the whole shabang and then starting over—that sort of stuff. Assuming I’m not the only one who does that!

Yesterday I REALLY dug in and I’m almost finished cleaning and organizing my space (the old bedroom / desk / work area). Wednesday is my new student orientation at the University— which, unfortunately, is now on zoom instead of face to face—and then the following Monday my classes start. Yay! That being said, I’ll be too busy to over-introspect or overdose on blogging, so that’s really good news. Anyway, it felt SO good to clean and organize. Sometimes I think cleaning is good for the soul. It helps us heal, and everything looks so pleasing afterwards. Like a fresh start!

I thought I’d do a Daily Gratitude because that’s how I feel today. After writing about my struggles with the ALL or NOTHING syndrome, and trying to find some kind of balance, I see something very beautiful in that storm, something I’m very grateful for…

Sanity: The ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner.

Although it’s not official, I’ll stick to the definition of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I’ve done that before! And I blamed everyone around me for the destructive tornado that seemed to follow me wherever I went. Not until recovery did I learn that it was me. I was the cause. It was MY storm.

Having a sound mind and the wherewithal to think and sort through my whirlwind of thoughts, from different perspectives, is something I’m truly grateful for. It is in that storm that the answers hide.

I’m ALSO grateful to all of the readers, my friends. Every comment (or like) encourages me, and your words have helped me to see or realize new things. 

I know it’s a bit strange to lump together sanity and readers (friends), but actually it’s not. This is a difficult and unusual time we’re all in. Life is “different” right now, and it will be different for quite some time. Being there for each other is part of what keeps us sane. So, if you ask me, I’d say that the two go hand in hand.

Thank you for reading, and for being there!

Peace & Love…
—Janet

Where am I going?


Is anyone else asking this question lately?

The featured image here is pretty significant, as it struck me in several ways. First, I took the photograph several years ago and—until yesterday—never even knew that the Santa Monica Pier is literally the end of the famous (or maybe not so famous) Route 66.

The historic route started in Illinois (Chicago), ran 2,400 miles westward (across 8 states), and ended in California, at the Pacific Ocean, right where I shot the image. Over time, the original route has been changed and rerouted, so the old Route 66 is no longer “official.” If you plan it right, you can still make the journey across a good portion of it—and there are many cool markers to be found. This is one of them… a sign delineating the End of the Trail

Which is ironic, because that’s actually another thing that struck me about the image… the end of the trail. Lately, there are a few things that I’ve thought about giving up, and blogging is one of them. “This image would be ideal for my farewell post,” I said to myself. The end of the road, so to speak. I know that sounds overdramatic, but I really did entertain the idea. 

Sometimes these waves come over me—however fleeting they may be—and I consider throwing in the towel. It feels as though I’m writing “much ado about nothing” and tossing empty words into an even emptier universe; the dark tunnel we call the internet. My words echo as they leave me… FADING… fading…… and then they disappear, never to return. 

For one thing, the things that I write about have morphed dramatically over time. The reason for coming aboard in the first place was to share my story of finding God and recovering from alcoholism. That story has been told. It’s preserved in time, WAY back in my archives, and there are many other bloggers out there—just like me—telling the same story. We’ve done it! We’re doing it… every day.

As for the present, I’m not an evangelist, or an apologist, and I have no education in theology, so I try to be VERY careful with my words about my faith. Someone was too quick to hint around about my errors, and I was deeply saddened by that. So… I’ve stuck to the philosophy that “living my life as I now live it” is continuous (and rather convincing) evidence of my walk of faith. And I am still sober and forever grateful for this new life.

And then I considered my New Lifestyle, New Me project. I LOVE the idea, and I’m very enthusiastic about it, but already it’s a struggle. Off to a rough start you might say. Who would have thought that the quarantine would alter our lives so drastically just as I set sail on my new adventure! Not to mention the fact that it’s embarrassing to share my thoughts along this journey, because my thoughts —like everything else in life—are ever changing. I can only imagine that trying to keep up with the wanderings of my mind is an exhausting task. 

So… Where AM I going? What am I to make of all of this? Today, writing about all of this feels good—because I’m actually getting somewhere.

No. 1 Look Outward

The first thing I see from my observations is that my lack of knowledge about the significance of that Route 66 marker is an analogy, of sorts, for my introversion. My tendency to look inward for insights and inspiration is a hindrance at times. I’m always missing out on things—things that are going on all around me—because I’m hyper focused on that odd little world that lives inside of me. Talk about a dark tunnel through an empty universe. Ha-Ha! 

I’m going to work on changing that. Rather than allowing this pandemic to bury me even deeper inside of myself… I’m going to reach out more. Less thinking and talking—more watching, looking, listening, and doing. 

No. 2 The Curse of the All or Nothing

The other thing—the really exciting thing—is the other analogy that I notice, that relates to my blogging experience, and my New Lifestyle, New Me project. If things aren’t working for me, my first inclination is always “walk away!” The changing and re-routing of the old Route 66 speaks volumes to me here. The journey is still possible, it just looks different. The road is not CLOSED, it’s just been altered.  

Having an “all or nothing” attitude toward everything has done nothing but get me into trouble—for the better part of my life. I want to DO IT BIG, or DO NOTHING. It’s so hard for me to find the middle of the road, that space in between—where perfect balance exists. But that’s exactly what is needed right now. Rather than shutting it all down, all I really need to do is some altering and re-routing, just like they did with old Route 66.

This is not the end of the trail. It’s the beginning!


Thank you for reading if you made it all the way down. I’m thrilled that these were not just empty words today—they were from my heart.

God Bless!
—Janet

Selfies


CAUTION: To avoid injury, please remain at least 6 feet away from the cliff’s edge (and other people) before you pan in and shoot.


This is another shot from my old hike to “the Hollywood Sign.” I was working on the “sketch” effect and wasn’t even sure what I’d do with the image, until I saw the 3 things challenge. The man’s shirt is what originally caught my eye: Young, Broke & Fabulous. Something I could really relate to. Hey, two out of three ain’t bad! 😉


#ThreeThingsChallenge: Injury, Shoot, Pan

Unraveling


The chaotic bold,

Hides her shadow.

Underneath this bravado,

She shrinks.

Her quilted facade,

Is unraveling,

And soon…

She will be revealed.


As I was putting this post together, I realized a couple of things. First of all, I’m not comfortable writing words that aren’t bursting with sunshine and happiness (except for my occasional rants, or whispers of self-doubt). Let’s say it another way. This poem is not about me. Ha! It did, however, remind me of what I’ve mentioned before, about feeling like an impostor at times. That being said, maybe the piece was constructed by my subconscious mind.

Secondly, although the featured image started out as a total abstract (which was originally some very blurry lights), after thinking about the poem I did an alteration—and now I can’t resist the urge to share it with you! If you didn’t notice already, there IS a girl curled up in there; the woman who’s unraveling. So, now that I’ve told you… I guess it’s not so abstract after all.

I hope you’re able to see her, and not just a blob. I was going to make her even more subtle—and not say anything at all—but then, what’s the point? And I’m not so sure I like her there. I’ve saved my original, so it may come back another day, with a different (more uplifting) message.

That’s about all for now. Peace & Love!!


Word of the Day Challenge: Quilt
RDP Tuesday: Bravado

Femme Fatale

black cat

Cold-hearted feline,

Smugly bats her eyelashes,

Struts across the lawn.


If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that my Haiku was written for our cat “Gypsy” who thinks she rules the roost (and likes to ignore people). BUT, she was nice enough to pose for the featured image, so I’ll cut her some slack.

We love Gypsy. She waits at the front door and signals us with the cutest and meekest meow, so we’ll let her in. Then she sashays her way straight to the back door and waits again, for us to let her out to the backyard. I guess she’s too good to use the gate. Ha! Anyway…

Thanks for reading.
A good afternoon to you all!
—Janet

Written for Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge: Cat and Bat

Weathering the Storm


Not much required,
To get through the storm,
Here’s advice I was given in life:
Drive a modest abode,
Keep the tank full of gas,
Ne’er forget…
Your Swiss Army knife.


So… maybe I’m NOT the sharpest tool in the shed. It’s the 19th of April and I’ve just learned (via Google) what NaPoWriMo stands for! With just 11 days left, I find out that it’s National Poetry Writing Month. Ha! One would think that—with my unusually low tolerance for curiosity—I might have inquired about this sooner. Anyway…

The image is another photo from yesterday’s walk (with 1 or 2 hours worth of playful editing included). LOVE the RV!

That’s about all for now. Peace & Love!


Written for RDP Sunday: Swiss

Rainbow

Love Wins

Long ago, in the hood,
Way back in the day, 
The streets were all empty,
And the city was gray.

Anger was brewing,
The rains, they poured down.
No one would listen,
To a positive sound.

Without a warning, 
Light shone in the dark.
Beauty was forming…
In the sky. In an arc.

Hearts began melting,
As they all looked above.
They found what they needed,
In the rainbow of love.


Happy Sunday! Be the light, spread the love…
—Janet


Written for the 3 Things Challenge: Arc, Hood, Back

Photo by trashhand from Pexels

Common Cents

old wood fence

A little patch of wild grass,

Some flowers draped across the fence,

Times are hard; dollars obsolete,

So we decorate with our common cents.

About the Image: I saw this exterior fence while walking today, and I just had to take a pic. The simplicity of it, and the fact that it “almost” looks staged, really caught my eye. I’m pretty sure that’s a bougainvillea creeping out of someone’s backyard. My son has been fist-fighting one of those plants since he moved into his house a few years ago. Apparently they have a strong will to survive!

Good Ol’ Days

family portrait

Since I’m still excited about personalized portraits (and waiting for my next victim) I thought I’d play around with a new style this weekend. This one’s an old family photograph that’s been circulating in my “circle.”

The original was scanned, and pretty small, so the task was to figure out how to keep it from getting stretched and pixelated. I decided to do it in black and white, turn it into an old Polaroid, and then add a background to frame it. If you haven’t guessed already (and why would you), I’m the little blonde in shorts sitting up front—on my Aunt’s lap. The tall, dark, and handsome man straight behind me in the very back is my dad (who is sadly, no longer with us), and next to him (on his left) is my mom.

I’m going to take a guess and say that this photo was taken in the late 60’s. Yikes. The good ol’ days indeed.

Good Ol’ Days

A phrase used by old people. When these words are used in combination it is a signal to young people to get the hell out. “Ahh yes the Good Ol’ Days. Did I ever tell you about the time we rode the train from St. Louis to San Diego?” (this is where you leave)

Definition courtesy of Urban Dictionary.

Pier Ride

Buckle Up!

This image depicts a good chunk of my life: One Wild Ride. Full of ups and downs, spins and twists, hairpin turns— and (far too many) “hold onto your hat!” moments. Of course, the ride in the photograph is actually pretty tame—hence the bold colors and wild effects that I’ve added.

I thought it was a fun thing to do today. This is from my Santa Monica Pier archives, from several years back. I’m beginning to think that my recent obsession with bright colors has something to do with feeling pent up. I don’t react well to being caged. Ha-ha! True story.

New Lifestyle Update

I’m still on hiatus from my walking, but I’m buckling down and putting a (semi) routine together: Walks on Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday.

I think that’s about all I can handle right now but it’s my minimum. If I do more than that, then how awesome is that!? And I do notice that walking day after day doesn’t necessarily work for me. I feel weak the day after a long walk, so I like the idea of resting days in between.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve actually done a lifestyle change before (altering my diet and adding exercise) and I lost 50 pounds doing it. I’d say that, all in all, it took about a year. I was in my 30’s (from what I remember) and the method was simple: eating healthier, unprocessed foods, and walking 3 miles, 3 times per week. And honestly, I’m pretty sure it was the walking routine that did the trick.

Anyway, I like the idea of a routine like this because I won’t guilt myself out on the days I rest and I’ll really “look forward” to the days that I do walk. Like tomorrow, for example! I’m really jazzed knowing that tomorrow is THE DAY. I’ll get up early, pack up my bag (which just arrived) and be out the door. I like that plan!

That’s about all for now. Thanks for reading!


The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.
—Mike Murdock

Moonlit kiss

Perfect Date

Steakhouse rendezvous,

Moonlit kisses for dessert,

Icing on the cake.


This is a bit foreign to me since dating is NOT in my vocabulary at the moment, but what the heck. Now that I think about it, I don’t know if anyone is really thinking about dating right now.

I do think, however, that this Haiku is a nice distraction.

A reminder of simpler times and special moments.


Written for Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Challenge: Steak and Cake

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Unanswered Questions

What is this “uneasiness” I’ve been feeling lately?

What am I doing differently at the moment, since the (unofficial) quarantine started? What is it that I miss? What do I think I need?

Is it possible that this “time out” is stirring something inside of me, causing me to reevaluate my priorities, reassess my goals, and—more importantly—think about my future? Or my present?

Is that, perhaps, what all of us are supposed to be doing right now?

I started asking myself questions because I can’t shake the feelings I’ve been having lately. I’m not going to label the emotions, or the moods—let’s just say that I’m not myself these days.

As I was writing down questions, I couldn’t help but see the similarities to child rearing—or discipline. Kids are put on a “time out” when they won’t stop misbehaving. Whether or not they take that time to think about what they’ve done… well… that’s another story.

Is that what we should be doing? Thinking about what we’ve done?

That’s a pretty wild assumption but I mean, honestly, when you REALLY think about it, isn’t it the most bizarre thing EVER to think (or realize) that the whole WORLD is on a time out? All around the globe, we’re all in the same predicament. For the most part. Has that ever happened before?

Have we been given this time out so we have time to think? About what? And of course… we have my favorite questions of all:

What can I learn from this? What is this experience teaching me?

I don’t know. I have plenty of questions and no answers. Yet. But it’s possible there WAS a takeaway today.

I really DID quiet myself.

Maybe being quiet is the start… the beginning of wisdom.


No walking today. Just some schoolwork… and the quiet.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A Good Harvest

strawberries

Today was a beautiful day.

It felt like summer this morning so I took my walk early. I wanted my energy level to be high. Exercise seems to be the “in” thing right now because there were people everywhere. Walking, jogging, cycling… I was constantly zigzagging across streets, making sure to stay 6 feet away. How weird that feels! I try to acknowledge everyone—offering a smile, a wave, or a friendly “hello”—just to let them know I’m not trying to be avoidant. Or rude.

Still no photographs from the streets. I ordered a super lightweight backpack to carry my water, camera, and music… so after Saturday I’m ready to rock and roll. Now let’s hope for some good photo-ops!

And if not, that’s alright too. On my walk… I realized that I’ve got to stop building these expectations. That’s what the problem has been.

I need to Just BE. Just ENJOY.
Stop thinking and worrying about plans… and Just DO.


Things are as they are, we suffer because we imagined different.

That’s about all for now, thanks for reading!

Walk Stats: 3.46 Miles / 1 Hour, 19 Minutes / 8,484 Steps


About the Image: My mood was so elevated after soaking in all of that sunshine that I roamed the backyard to see what I could share. I’ve been watching these hanging strawberries and this afternoon they were begging for a selfie.

Beach Walkers

Dieter’s Journal #2

Dear Diary,

I was going to write about my New Lifestyle, New Me project, but I think the Quarantine is taking the lead. I was convinced that it wasn’t affecting me, but now I’m starting to think I’ve been in denial. I took my walk just before the sun went down, because I wanted to spring clean first (still working on that). My energy level was so LOW that my walk became a stroll, and it didn’t lift my spirits whatsoever. I don’t venture too far off and it’s like the same old same old at every corner. Been there, done that.

It feels like I have depression or something (and I’m guessing that because I’ve never really been depressed). Absolutely NOTHING excited me today. Maybe I’m in need of some dopamine. Or oxytocin. Maybe they went on strike when I started badmouthing rewards.

I Googled “things to do during the quarantine” to see if there was anything that I hadn’t thought of already. One suggestion was to “text all of your exes in case you want to get something off your chest.” Ha! Thanks but no thanks. Although… ?

I think the problem is that everything is melding together. I hardly know what day it is anymore, and everything I want to start gets brushed aside because… well… it’s just not a good time to start anything right now. Mornings feel like night, and nights feel like day. There’s no structure. Not that I enjoy structure—I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl—but it would be nice to have some kind of routine.

Maybe that’s what I’ll work on; I’ll create a routine! (felt a rush of dopamine right there).

Anyway, I’m thankful that I got out there even though I wasn’t in the mood. Let’s hope for a better tomorrow. Thanks for listening.

Walk Stats: 1.45 Miles / 33 Minutes / 3,514 Steps


The image isn’t from today, I’m still trying to figure out how to walk with it. I took this photo on one of my beach trips (which I could really use right about now!). I love the fact that the two women are really into their conversation. It made me think that maybe I’d like a walking partner. It would be so cool to have someone to talk to on my walks. Note to Self: Look into that when the restrictions are over.

Art-Hollywood Closed

Restricted Access

Hollywood has unfortunately become a memory. It’s nothing but a sign on the side of a hill. —Mickey Rooney


I haven’t taken my walk yet but I’ll be on my way shortly!

I’m still testing out the new photo editor with some of my older images. This upcycled photograph (the original taken while hiking up to the Hollywood sign) seems to sum up all kinds of emotions that are circling around these days, and it is now my latest addition to the Quarantine Collection.

Let’s hope my walk discovers some of the beauty that is still out there.

Peace & Love!

Leaf Art

Hanging On

I watched little leaves, 
Drifting in the wind.
Spinning, twirling, floating.
Landing ever so softly,
On the ground beneath my feet.

On the branch above,
One was still hanging on.
Quivering in the breeze.

And I wondered…
Was it shaking from fear,
Afraid to let go?
Or was it fighting to break free,
Hoping to fly?

And I wondered…
If that were me,
What would I do?
Would I play it safe,
And hang on to what I know?
Or would I take a risk,
And fight to break free?

Their journey,
However beautiful,
Was too brief. 
A landing was imminent,
Leading to death and decay.
And never again,
Could they return to the tree.

Then a gust swept through.
And the leaves took flight again,
Spinning, twirling, floating,
Drifting up to the sky.

And then I knew…
Which I would choose.


So this is what happens when you have quarantine time on your hands and you use that time to go for a walk. Ha! I really DID watch a couple of leaves drift in the wind, and I thought about those leaves (and this poem) for the remainder of my walk. The image is not from my walk, but it IS mine; made today…especially for this poem.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!
—Janet


Walk Stats: 3.39 Miles / 1 Hour, 11 Minutes / 7,923 Steps

Quarantine Walks

Journaling through Quarantine

An idea on which direction to go with The Quarantine Project finally came to me. It didn’t happen while walking yesterday—as I had hoped—but the light bulb turned on this morning as I sat down to write this. 

I didn’t take my camera walking with me because I was worried that it would slow me down. After several days of rain, I was eager to get out there and POWER walk. The camera is fairly heavy, and I would have had to wear it around my neck. Note to Self: find a backpack to wear on my walks; to carry water, phone, glasses, identification, and camera.

What’s ironic is that while the rain kept me indoors, I was able to read all of the posts by JLynn on WhileWalkingToday; another blogger who is literally walking her way into shape. All I could think about while reading her posts (besides being amazed by her perseverance and her humorous approach to it all) was how much I missed being out there… walking.

Anyway, since I didn’t have my camera—of course—I noticed EVERYTHING. My first thought whenever something caught my eye was always… “Man, I sure wish I had my camera!” My disappointment subsided when I thought about the fact that sometimes photos don’t express what you REALLY see. Many times in fact. So I thought I might write about what I saw instead.

Gratitude kept coming to mind. I was so grateful to be outside! Being “without” really changes us. When I broke both of my ankles some years back, all I could think about was how heavenly it would feel to walk again. Yesterday was like that. I kept looking up at the big blue sky, wanting to lift my hands and shout Hallelujah

I walked through an alley that I never even knew existed. And I’ve been in this community for… welldecades. We have equestrian neighborhoods here, and the alley runs behind the houses in one of those areas. I guess you could say I had an up-close and personal view of the back; horse stalls and all. And manure. Honestly… I was never so happy to smell horse poop. 

Upon entering the major thoroughfare, I was greeted by several walkers, runners, and cyclists… almost all of them wearing masks of some sort. 

One man who jogged by me looked something like this…

painted spring

PHOTO NOT BY ME

I wasn’t wearing a mask so I felt a little awkward. I didn’t really plan to see humans (how odd is that?!) so it didn’t seem necessary. Much of it is still so surreal to me. It seemed like I had exited stage left and had erroneously landed smack dab in the middle of a Mad Max production. But, in spite of it all, everyone I encountered was full of energy and life, and they all seemed as grateful as I was… to be outside.

All in all, it was a beautiful day. I walked 2.77 miles (or 6,768 steps) in an hour. And I haven’t been wearing my step counter either. What I’m realizing is that with counting steps, reading up on food facts, and hopping on and off the scale… all of this can easily turn counter-productive. As they say—don’t think about what you are trying to quit! The key here is the same key that helped me stop drinking and smoking. Turn it over to God and think about something else; NEW things.

So, it seems as though everything is falling into place. I’m going to think less about food and fitness, and focus more on The Quarantine Project; a collection of stories and images from “walks around the neighborhood” during the social distancing restriction. When you think about it—some day—any experiences that we document right now will literally be a part of history. What an awesome opportunity!

That’s about all for now. If you’ve made it this far down… thank you so much for reading (hanging in there).

And thank you Rebekah and JLynn—for all of the inspiration.