Thursday, May 29, 2014

Magic Carpet Ride, Anyone?


Well, here it is! A sneak peek at the cover of my next book!

He is so dang cute! I am sooooo thankful for the talented people out there who can create illustrations like these. People like me, shall we say, pictorially challenged, would be completely lost without them!

Now, on to the next steps! Page layouts, rear cover design, etc. etc. etc.........

Just that much closer!

This week has been another very hectic one. We continue to be very busy at the shop, blood donor clinic was in town,( they were able to hook me up with one poke this time, Bonus!) we've been assisting a couple of customers in dealing with mouse issues in their campers. (These are the hantivirus kind of mice, pretty dangerous to deal with), book illustrations were completed, and I get to play hooky to go visit a friend!

We, however, will most likely have to rent speakers for our show next weekend, as ours isn't back from being repaired yet. Therefore, a set that works with the rest of our system will need to come home for a visit. So, this means we will need to find a block of time to go in to the city to pick them up. I think I may need to invest in a magic carpet.

As for the rest of the upcoming week? Well, the reason I'm sending these ramblings out into the world a bit early is the hooky playing I referred to earlier. Yep, taking off this weekend to visit my oldest and dearest girlfriend. We get together as often as we can, it never seems to be more than a few times a year, but it does wonders for recharging the ol' batteries.

There is something to be said for hanging out with friends of the same gender, of the same age, that have known you since you were 5. It provides it's own unique charge, slightly different from siblings and spouse, but just as comfortable.

Sooooo looking forward to it!

Then, next weekend, we have a show in Denzil. (as I mentioned, above). They are a really fun bunch of people to spend time with. Down-to-earth, fun-loving, friendly, and a little rowdy. Pretty much impossible not to have a good time!

Before I sign off for the week to speed along, trying to keep up with whatever life has to throw my way next, I'd like to take a moment to make note of the passing of Maya Angelou.

She was such an inspiring soul, who just seemed to know things. Wise doesn't seem like a big enough word, but, I suppose it will have to do. A kind heart, sharing lessons. Someone who truly understood the ripples of her touch.

Well folks, I gotta run. Until next time....................

May inspiration find you, hold you, lift you, motivate you, elevate you to heights thought unattainable.
May you embrace it, believe it, feel it, consume it, creating happiness completely sustainable.

May you find the time and space to recharge your soul, tune your heart strings, revitalize your "you".
May you take this time, not as a luxury, for it isn't, but as nourishment to be absorbed completely through.

May you embrace your fierce, your sassy, your fire, never fearing your strength, your power.
May the acceptance of this side of your "you" free your mind, putting within reach, your heart's desire.

Until next time....

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Prairie Parks, Mouse Poop And Power Lines!


I know it may seem like a strange grouping of photos, but each one represents a pretty significant amount of my time during the past week.

You see, the first, is a shot taken as we entered Prairie Lake Regional Park. We traveled there for a service call after closing time, Wednesday. Neither of us had been before, and were taken aback a bit by the view. These little jewels are hiding all over the place.

Once there, we had the privilege of meeting some very nice people who were having a bit of trouble with their hot water heater. They have a pretty nice set up. They've actually taken the wheels right off of their camper, and have built a lattice enclosed, covered deck that is basically attached to it's side. They are but a stones throw from the boat launch, and take full advantage with their pontoon boat. Mister had a bit of a stroke a few years back and is getting a little forgetful, which worries Missus enough to take the twinkle from her eye while she tells the tale. The grandkids don't come to the lake as much as they used to, as they have jobs and such, but Mister and Missus have great neighbours that come back to the lake every year, so it's never too lonely. Once the summer is over, it's South they go like the geese, they don't much enjoy our harsh winters as much as when they were younger. In fact they don't plan on experiencing another one until the day comes, when traveling so far is more worry than fun.

Nice people.

Now, the second shot, well, I mean, if you're going to put a photo of yourself out there for all the world to see, you might as well go for the glamour shot, right?

This photo was taken as I was gearing up to clean a trailer that mice have been partying in. And by party, I mean trying to turn it into a mouse version of "hoarders", only poopier. It's an insurance claim, and needs to be made safe to use, if at all possible. After removing all of their belongings, and getting a good start on the cleaning process, I think it will definitely be salvageable. It's about a 6 step process, by the time all is said and done, but will be worth it when the family gets to take it on this year's first camping trip, next weekend.

The third and final photo? Well, we had a bit of excitement in our tiny little sleepy town yesterday evening.

After scrubbing and scraping mouse poop all day, I was looking so very forward to hitting the shower when we got home from work. As we were about to turn on to our street, we were waved down by our next door neighbour. She told us we would need to take a alternate route to our house. Why, you may ask? As it turns out, the man down the street, we'll call him Mr. Farmer, was driving his tractor home from his farm, and failed to correctly assess the height of the implement he was pulling.

This miscalculation resulted in taking out our power, phones, internet, and cable. Luckily, no one was hurt. Our power was restored this morning around 2am, the phones and internet, about 6pm, today, and the cable? Well, I'll have to let you know on that one.

One power pole landed smack on another neighbour's roof, a street light was basically ripped in half, the still lighted end dangling upside down, the only thing keeping it from hitting the ground were a few fragments of wood and wiring.

Thankfully, we managed to go around a back alley and park in our back yard, to gain entry to our house. I was even able to sneak a very quick shower before all power was lost.

With no power, no cable, no internet, and no phones, the evening's entertainment consisted of watching the police and power guys do their job. It was getting dark pretty quickly and those power lines and that tractor needed to be removed from the street.

We had power lines strewn across our front yard and driveway, the neighbour, as I mentioned, had the line and the whole pole draping his house, and yet another neighbour had lines laying across their entire roof. It wasn't exactly a situation in which they could just wait until morning to do what needed to be done.

My thanks to the ones out there until all hours, climbing power poles, messing with massive lines and poles, in the dark, to keep us safe.

Then tonight, we are having an impromptu sleepover guest. Our daughter and her hubby-to-be came out to give us a hand in spring cleaning our yard. (Big yard-no time) After they were calling it quits for the evening, Jake decided he just wasn't ready to go home. As they are back in the morning to finish the job, Mom and Dad agreed.

I'll take it. How much longer is he going to want to "nuggle" with his Grandma?

I'll blink, and the grandbabies, won't have time to come to the lake as much as they used to, as they'll have jobs and such.

On the book front? I am not so patiently waiting for the finished illustrations for "Alfred".  I'm trying to keep myself from checking my email incessantly. I'm not very successful.

So, my friends, that about does for this week. Until then......................

May worry never rob you of the twinkle behind your eyes, if it has to, may it be for a moment so very fleeting.
May you enjoy every day, celebrate, be present, for every "nuggle" every visit, every chance meeting.

May you experience the joy in putting a smile on a stranger's face, be it through duty or through deed.
May you know the contentment brought by a life of intentional kindness, not the constant dissatisfaction of one driven by greed.

May you always be aware of your footprint on this life, conscious of all you touch, in-tune with everything around you.
May you see, if you walk as though alone, stomping through, not thinking of the ripples of your steps, the sadness caused will surround you.

Until next time, have a great week!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Gratitude & Grandbabies!

Well, hi!

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy lives to read these ramblings each week.

The top photo lists the top ten countries in which my blog has been read these past seven days. The countries listed in the top ten varies from week to week, but there is one constant. I am blown away, humbled, and completely grateful for every single reader.

I can't begin to explain how much it means to me.

Thank you.

The other two photos? Well, they pretty much explain how I spent the majority of my day, today.
Does it get any better?

The rest of the week was pretty awesome......for the most part.

I began the week with receiving the first sketches from "Alfred Dinglwiggle", my next book. They look fantastic! It never seizes to amaze me how Valerie (my fantabulous illustrator) can take notes at the bottom of a page and turn them into the vision I have been carrying around in my imagination since I wrote the story.

Alfred is sooooooo dang cute! I'm so excited to have the process in motion. I can't wait to have the finished book in my hands!

The past week at the shop was pretty hectic. But, it was worth it. A lot of people are enjoying a weekend at the lake because of it. It tickles me to no end to see people get to go and have fun, and to have even a small hand in helping that happen is pretty satisfying, to say the least.

As for my favourite courier service? Well, I hate to admit defeat, but, I may have no choice.

They won't deviate from their "policy." After corresponding with customer service supervisors, district managers, vice presidents and the like, I filed a complaint with the better business bureau, but, apparently our case "doesn't fall under the umbrella of situations in which they get involved."

My next step would be court. This would end up costing more money and time then they owe us to begin with.

The bully fighting, justice seeking activist in me doesn't want to let it go, but the logical business owner in me doesn't see much sense in pursuing the matter any further.

I guess I will have to take comfort in knowing I did what I could, and let Karma take care of the rest. This is where it would be fantastic if I had a lawyer named Karma... right?! But, alas, I do not. Dang.

Well, nothing more I can do. Time to move on to bigger, better, and much less frustrating things! Giving them any more thought is robbing every other awesome part of my life the attention it deserves. They've stolen enough of my energy.

In the next week...............

I will be one step closer to a finished book..................

We will have had a hand in several more camping adventures...........

We will hopefully be finding out if our speaker will be repaired in time for our next show..........

Sidenote*  I have found a great website, which is kind of the karaoke version of itunes. Now, I no longer have to buy an entire CD, inevitably getting a bunch of songs I already have, just to get the few I don't!

Life is good!

Until next time, thanks again for spending the time. I appreciate it.

May your battles be small, your opponents few, your weapons mighty, your courage endless.
May you fight with honor, integrity, and wisdom, balancing the worth of the win, anger is relentless.

May you see the difference between fighting for a cause, and causing a fight, for sometimes they are twins.
May you see one affects true change, while the other is simply about collecting the wins.

May you see that battles driven by pride and ego only ever end in heart ache, pain and loss.
May you see with such things there are no winners, those left standing simply add up the costs.

May you understand that there are real fights to fight, for our children, for our voiceless, for our hungry, our enslaved.
May you see drama, for the sake of drama, is an undesirable war monument on which to have your name engraved.

See you next time!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mommy's Day!

Ahhh Mother's day.......the day of very creative and interesting breakfasts, jewellery fashioned out of the world's finest macaroni, giant hugs and wet kisses only outshone by the excited anticipation in the eyes of the little faces you love most in this world.

Yes, there are days when we question our decisions, our abilities, our actions, our reactions. There are probably times when we should. But, in my humble opinion, we probably, in most cases, should be cutting ourselves a break.

I don't think there has been a time in history when there have been more demands on Moms, and Dad's too, for that matter.

From what I can see from where I sit in this world, for it's the only view available to me, is this:

The days of supporting a family on one income are long gone, except for a very fortunate few. There seems to be so much more pressure to have your child in every activity available, for fear they won't be "well rounded." There seems to be so many more rules, contrary opinions, and studies. It seems to me, that an extraordinary amount of time, effort and money have gone into the "study" of raising children. Something generations have been doing relatively successfully for thousands of years. Yes, thankfully, parenting has evolved from the "spare the rod, spoil the child" days, but that happened over time, with each generation learning from the generation before. My parents came leaps and bounds from what they grew up with, we stepped it up from there, and, I'm sure, our kids will take it up another notch. This evolution stems from love, not science.

I can't help but feel that the pressures to eat organic, let your child sleep with you, don't let your child sleep with you, to breast feed, but, heaven forbid, not in public, bottle feed, trying to teach your child to read at 2, trying to potty train before they can tell you anything, let alone if they have to go to the bathroom or not, orchestrating lavish birthday parties, running to gymnastics, dance class, music lessons and swimming, all before they have started kindergarten, has elevated to a pretty unmanageable level.

From what I can see from where I sit in this world, for it's the only view available to me, is this:

Release the pressure.......

There is no such thing as a perfect childhood. You didn't have one, I didn't have one, and, I hate to break it to you, your child isn't going to have one. No matter how you run, how fiercely you protect, whether they sleep in your bed or not, music lessons, or not...... life will happen to your child. Our one and only job is to help them develop the tools to deal with it when it does, and to be kind along the way.

Taking part in activities should be fun for everybody involved. If they aren't, what's the point? Life provides enough "have to's" don't ya think?

I think society's pressures are slowly sucking the fun out of parenting all while convincing these same parents that the opposite is true. The best memories are usually created by accident, anyway.

But, this is just what I can see from where I sit in this world, for it's the only view available to me.

So tomorrow, on Mommy Day, accept the macaroni from the sparkling, giant eyes that live on that tiny, sticky face with the tears in your eyes brought on by a love so big, you thought it was a myth.

Over the years the macaroni becomes precious time spent, the giant eyes sparkle on a wiser face, but, the myth never fades.

Happy Mommy Day!

Soooooooooooooo, this week......................

Things have been going great at the shop. We are busy, and every day, bring a couple of people closer to the lake.

I received, this week, a lovely letter from my favourite courier company. It explained, how they regretfully had to inform me that there is nothing they can do for me, due to their policy. By contract, they are not responsible to unforeseeable delays.  I felt it was my duty to regretfully inform them that the delay was not "unforeseeable", it wasn't even a delay. It was a case of their driver not wanting to make a right hand turn. I also felt that the "contract" they are referring to was with the shipper, not me. I agreed to no such clause.

I haven't heard back.........yet. I still have a couple of rungs to climb......

So that about does it for me this time around........time to kick back, smell the roses, and enjoy Mommy Day!

Until next time.......................

May you know that from your first flutter to my last breath, I'll love you with everything I am.
May you see that even though I'll make mistakes, I'll always do the best that I can.

May you know that as you go through storms, if you need, I'll help you ease your pain.
May you see that sometimes, it's just better to kick off your shoes and dance in the rain.

May you know, without a doubt, what an amazing gift you have been to the deepest part of me.
May you see that without you, this fantastic journey, just...wouldn'

May you know that even though I'll make mistakes, I'll always do the best that I can.
May you see that from your first flutter to my last breath, I'll love you with everything I am.

Until next week.....

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Who Knows Flowers?......Ummmmm, Not Me!

Ahhhhh, a rose by any other name.........this isn't a rose, but those that know me will tell you, I'm not exactly what you would call a flower connoisseur. I know a rose when I see one, and petunias, and almost always a poinsettia, other than that, I love them, but I can't call them by name.

Thankfully, there are very flower savvy people in the world. So, when people like me, let's call us, "blossom-challenged", enter these massive, humid, plant-filled green houses hoping to put together a few flower pots for our decks, we have someone to steer us in the right direction. Well, in my case, living in a small town, I, gratefully, am able to walk in and ask for enough flowers to fit several pots "yay" big  that will look nice, handle the wind, and won't die immediately if I forget to water them for a couple of days. From this, these green thumbed magicians put together these beautiful combinations. I've also learned that if you are willing to pay a little extra, they will even put the pots together for you! It's amazing what these flower pots can look like when put together by people who actually know what they are doing!

When I do them myself, it's pretty much petunias. All kinds of colours and sizes, but...... petunias. I am able to get them in the pots without committing mass planticide. Done.

I tip my hat in a big way to the green thumbed among us.

So, another week has flown by. Fast.

We are gratefully, very busy at the shop. We are getting great support from a growing client base, covering an area that seems to get bigger all the time.

I know it's not saving lives, or changing the world in any big way, but there is definitely a sense of satisfaction and contentment that comes from helping people every day. Yeah, it's just helping them have fun with their toys, but it's helping them have fun! Pretty cool business to have.

To close out the work week, we closed the shop a bit early today in order to get to the city in time to pick up a few parts for some upcoming jobs and drop off one of our speakers to get fixed.

Now, just cross your fingers they fix it in time for our next show.

About that, I'm working on taking our karaoke business into the digital age. It's going to require downloading and learning to use some new software, some trial and error, some youtube tutorials, and probably a few swear words,ok, probably more than a few, but I'll figure it out. Hopefully in time for our next show.

If I still had a comfort zone, this would be outside of it. But, I pretty much left any remnants of a comfort zone behind a while ago. No comfort zone = No restrictions =No limits = The freedom to do everything you thought you couldn't.

*Dismounting soap box in my usual ninja style* ( in my mind, stealthily and quick : in reality, probably more  like an over-tired toddler attempting their first somersault )

As for the upcoming week?

 Get more clients on their way for their future camping adventures.....................

With any luck, get my next book sent off to the illustrator............................

Make yet another call to my favourite courier ..............................

Start digital karaoke challenge.............................

Hang out with a grandbaby or two....................................................

Well folks, that about does it.....until next time, I'll leave you with this wish........................

May you awaken every day with joy, contentment, gratitude, and grace.
May your day begin with a smile, a smile that lights up your entire face.

May you rediscover the happiness in moments taken for granted by your younger self.
May you take advantage of knowing now, what you didn't then, leave negativity on a forgotten shelf.

May you use your gained wisdom to it's fullest, allowing it to lead you on your way.
May you trust your hard earned life education, use it, and add to it, every single day.

Until next time...................

Mother's day is around the corner...... "Everyday Wishes"..............