Monday, December 31, 2012

Puerto Rican New Year's Eve Tradition



IIITo my The Writing Life friends who have joined my writing journey this year
and
to my family and friends whom I love with all my heart -

I wish you a most wonderful and blessed 2013!

Here's to peace, love, good health, safety and prosperity
for you, for me and our loved ones!

My Puerto Rican family's custom is to individually fill a glass of water sometime during New Year's Eve
 and
 at exactly midnight, throw the water out!
Refill that glass with coquito or champagne!
All the negative, gone!

My family and I have followed this tradition since I was young and I have introduced this family custom to friends from all over the world. 
I have thrown out a glass of water in the many countries I've lived and in many states of the US,
always remembering
my departed loved ones who I've shared many a New Year's Eve with over the years
and
I also remember those friends and family far away from me.

Happy New Year!
Feliz Ano Nuevo!

Cheers from West Virginia!!
Ellie


Friday, December 28, 2012

Like a Virgin...



Good morning from snowy West Virginia!

I emptied my purse this morning and found the two little pieces of paper I'd saved from Christmas Day - an IOU to me from my son who stuck it inside my gift and the little name tag that my daughter made out of wrapping paper to put on my beautiful gift.  I'm very sentimental. I save things like that.  Actually, who am I kidding?  I've saved everything my children have ever given me.

In the attic sits a huge Rubbermaid container with everything from my children's first scribbles, their drawings, first attempts at letters, hand-made greeting cards to their high school and college essays.  They are my treasures - my children and their writing and drawings.  My daughter is in a Master's program at the same university my sister and I graduated from and I'm saving her papers, as well.  Why stop now, right?!

In that same container, I've saved Mother's Day cards for my mother  that I made when I was young, a racy, poster-size drawing from high school that I copied from an issue of Cosmo magazine I wasn't supposed to have, and dozens of fashion illustrations I drew from Women's Wear Daily magazines from my 20's.  I kept it all!  Everything tells a story and when I look at them, I am transported back in time, to more innocent, beautiful times.

There are a couple of things I know about myself for certain.  One is that I've always been a storyteller.  Whether with words, crayons, pastels or watercolor, we all tell our stories.  My family knows me to return from a trip, a trip to the supermarket or just a Metro ride and come home with a funny or interesting story or two about someone I met or someone or something I'd observed.  In high school and in college, I was the go-to friend that my friends went to about writing a kick ass "Dear John" letter to a soon-to-be ex, and yes, I will confess to helping my friends whose first language wasn't English with essays and papers in college.  I edited them, I didn't write them, so don't get the wrong idea :)

I don't know if it's a Virgo thing or not, but the second thing is that I have a hard time with bad grammar and misspelled words in any form...and, I find them all the time.  Be it on a friend's website, a cereal box (yes, I found one!), a menu or a sign - I'll find it.  The only place I seemed to have missed bad grammar and misspelled words is in my own novel-length manuscript!  I've read and read these pages for years now and thank God for Microsoft Office is all I have to say.  The program catches my misuse of grammar and misspelled words which is great.  What this program doesn't do, however (unless no one has informed me) is help with clarity.

I am a person who speaks clearly and always attempts to make myself understood and crystal clear.  I can actually admit that I also edit my texts and instant messages. I know.  I know!  It's a Virgo thing and only two fellow Virgo girlfriends and I will admit to that!  And, don't even get me started on auto-correct.  The thought of being misunderstood or worse, that my words would unintentionally hurt someone really bothers me.  I want to be understood and I want people to enjoy my novel.  

What about with a novel?  Art and writing are subjective!  I've exhibited art pieces and photography that  visitors didn't "get".  What I intend to show you through my words, descriptions, locales and by the use of our senses might resonate with you OR they just might go right over your head or by the wayside.  Too much description can bore us, too little can confuse us and/or make us go back a page or two.  Too much dialogue might take us away from the scene and too little might seem sterile and dry.  The flow of a story is important!  I love a page-turner and it is a true art.  One that I'm trying and determined to master...and master and master.  

Note: Two page-turners that immediately come to mind are Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  I read those books in less than two days; couldn't put them down!

I am in awe of a great page-turner that keeps my interest, teaches me new things and shows me new places.  I am a believer in editing to the best of our ability and then, reading our work from start to finish, without editing.  I just put the pencil and the pad of paper down and I read.

I have 25 pages left to edit today.  Later today or tomorrow as I watch the snow fall, I'm curling up on the couch with a pot of tea, my kitten on my lap, and my manuscript, A Decent Woman.  Just me and my beloved story as if I were looking at it with fresh, new eyes for the very first time. 

Like a virgin :)

Peace and love,

Ellie






Thursday, December 27, 2012

2013 New Year's Resolutions


Hi all!

If my family had joined me for Christmas in my home in West Virginia, we'd have woken up to a white Christmas!  I'd heard that we had gotten snow on the day and when I stepped off Amtrak last night, there were four inches and gale-force winds!

Picture this - you step off the train with your weekend-size suitcase with wheels and trudge a block to your house through slush and snow (uphill) with the wind whipping right through your puffy brown coat!  That was me last night at 6 pm :)  I chose to walk in the nearly snowless paths that cars had forged which, of course, meant I was walking in the road.  Drivers were patient with me and one young woman stopped and rolled her window down, offering me a ride home.  So sweet!  I thanked her and told her that I was half a block from home; I could do this.  What a work out!  A much-needed workout to begin to burn all those nasty and oh, so good Holiday calories and pounds that I've most definitely put on.  Ugh...

Months ago, I bought the entire Zumba series of exercise DVDs and gave two to my daughter yesterday.  I am determined to lose 30 pounds.  Yes, I am and I will!  I love to dance and I'm Puerto Rican - what better way to lose weight dancing to merengue, salsa, cumbia, and a bit of belly dancing.  It's on!  I lost 30 pounds last spring and looked my best (for my age), but winter came again and so did the weight.

20 New Year's Resolutions and daily schedule - subject to change or change importance whenever I want them to!

1.   Walk Ozzy shortly after waking up, drink 8 ounches of water first
2.   Eat a yoghurt and drink a glass of water before coffee
3.   Stretch and do not fire up the laptop just yet!
4.   Warm up and do the 60 minute Zumba routine
5.   Cool down with meditation and prayer and water
6.   Fire up laptop, check emails, Facebook and like something or write a status update so that my kids know I'm alive :) At this time, make coffee with low fat half and half
7.   Throw out all the old food in fridge and go grocery shopping for healthy foods! No more fast food until never!
8.   Take Ozzy for his noon walk and eat a salad for lunch
9.   Write my blog and DO NOT watch The View or CNN!
10. Do not turn on television, at all and finish that editing.
11. Write query letters and send out!
12.  Delete phone numbers for Anthony's Pizza and China King!
13.  Throw out all size 14 and 12 jeans and clothing!
14.  Continue walking instead of starting the car and driving; do NOT stop at Habanero's for a steak burrito!
15.  Continue reading and learn to review books that my friends have written!
16.  Continue to keep up with other author's blogs and their book updates
17.  No more painting (wall or canvas) or Pinterest projects this winter and spring!
18.  Order new bathing suit instead of waiting until summer when the pickings are slim to none in my size!
19.  Start wearing my size 10 shorts in the house, tight waist and all!
20.  Be happy, healthy and productive this 2013!  Be published and more focused next year!

Peace and love,
Ellie

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Memories


My sister and I on Christmas morning,1965


Happy Boxing Day to you! 

The day after Christmas is called Boxing Day in the UK because of all the people who go back into stores today with boxes of gifts to return!  I'm not going near a store today, I can tell you that!  I'm headed to the train station around two to catch my four o'clock train to West Virginia - home.

I will board that train with a huge smile on my face, new memories and a warm heart.  I was so blessed to have spent Christmas with my children, friends and family.  We had a wonderful Holiday and I hope you did, too.  We cooked way too much, ate way too much and shared in the cooking and clean up!  Cleaning up after dinner was just as much fun as cooking and eating with my family.  

Interesting to note that the women were cleaning up and putting food away and the men sat on the couch watching TV...what's wrong with this picture??  We kept them busy with three bags of trash that needed to go out and anything else we could think of to include them in the whole Christmas experience :)

I hate to leave my children in Northern Virginia and head home to West Virginia, but I will leave with beautiful memories, tons of pictures to edit and share.  And...I can't say I'm not glad the Holidays are over :)  I also get to see my furry babies tonight and that's great, too.  I've missed them and hope we have snow on the ground.  We had an inch in Virginia this morning, but it's now raining and slowly melting.  Glad I took photos early this morning!

We now head toward New Year's Eve and I don't have any plans.  I've already thought of an outfit if I get asked out, though :) You never know and must be prepared!  If I don't receive an invitation, I just might have a little cocktail party to ring in the New Year with my friends in town.  No reason to ring in the new year alone :)

Then, the editing begins BIG time.  It's time to prepare for the birth of this novel.  I have query letters to write and it's time to push forward in finding an agent and/or getting published out right...I know, I dream BIG!  Hey, I can visualize it, so it will happen, right?!  Right!

2013.  Bring it on :)

Have a beautiful day!

Peace and love,
Ellie


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Holiday Love



Good morning!

First of all, I would like to thank my readers, friends and family for joining me on my blogging journey with Blogger this year!  I've enjoyed my time in my new blogging home and the 852 page views are awesome!  It has been quite a good year for my children and I and we are thankful!  I am thankful for you, as well :)

I wish you and yours a beautiful, safe Holiday season and all the best for the New Year!

My friend Ruth has invited me to a Christmas party tonight, the first of the Holiday season for me, and I'm excited.  I haven't seen the hosts for quite a while and they are a fun bunch - a young, fun bunch :)  I'm finally feeling the Christmas spirit!  I need to pack today, so that I'll be ready for my trip to Northern Virginia to see my kids...I might be a bit tired from the night before!

Tomorrow morning, I take the train to DC and will Metro to my daughter's house to help her get ready for our family Christmas dinner.  I'm excited to see my kids and family!  I'm not really ready, but will have a day to buy last minute gifts in the DC area.  If I can't find great gifts in the malls of Northern Virginia, they just don't exist :)

I leave my Pug, Ozzy and my kitten, Pierre in my pet sitter, Junior's good hands with a new ceramic heater for the kitchen which doesn't ever seem to be warm enough.  I will miss them!  I'm off to share the Holidays and make new memories with my human kids now and leave my furry kids behind :)

My thoughts and prayers are also with those who find themselves alone during this Holiday season, with those who are hurting, and with the Sandy Hook families who face a Christmas without their precious children and family members. I also pray for the military members who can't be with their families, the elderly and with those who are in hospitals, unable to get home.  I pray for those in hospice and in shelters.

God bless and keep you all.

Peace and Holiday love to you,
Ellie


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Furry Blessings



Good morning to you!

You know how people say that having a pet can change your life?  It's true.  A pet can add much joy, love and comfort to you and only a pet can give you unconditional love. I am a huge animal lover and can't see myself living without pets.  

As a kid, we had a Papillion named Monster (he was feisty!) and a laid back Westie named Ricky who loved to dig much to my parent's dismay.  As a parent, I made sure my kids had lots of animals in the house.  Over the years, we eventually owned four Cocker Spaniels, four cats, a cheeky parakeet named Juju, many fish,  two small lizards and one turtle who loved my ex-husband.  I swear that turtle sat on his rock all day long and when my then-husband bent over the aquarium, that turtle did a jig.  I've never seen anything like it :)

All but one Cocker were rescues and so were two of our cats.  I even kept a small aquarium on our front porch so that my kids and their friends could keep minnows and pond critters from their adventures near the creek in the common area.  Our house was animal central and I didn't have a problem with it.  I felt, "what's one more?"

When my kids were in university, the last two Cockers passed away and when they moved away after college, our two Birman cats, Zach and Mia passed away.  I've been present at all their passings which is traumatic and sad.  I cried and cried to lose my precious babies.

Three years later, Ozzy, a three-year old Pug, adopted me at my local Petsmart and he's my bud!  I take Ozzy to the river and to visit friends who are pet friendly.  He's a great dog and when I wanted another Pug as I loved the breed so much, Lulu entered our lives.  A rescue Pug from South Carolina who grew up on the streets, literally.  She lasted a year with me.  The first dog I've ever "given up on".  Lulu was a sweet girl, but she was also a tough cookie.  Lulu didn't adjust to living with another dog, she wanted to be top dog and Ozzy wasn't having it.  My friend and her daughter now have Lulu and I'm happy that she found a good home. She is top dog at their house!

A year after moving to West Virginia, quite by accident, I met Pierre at our local Humane Society.  Love at first sight :)  He was ten weeks old when I brought him home and Ozzy accepted him immediately.  They are quite the pair and I love watching them play and horse around.  Our new family was complete and I also found a great pet sitter as I love to travel.  Life is good!

This morning, I'm looking into installing a surveillance camera in my kitchen.  Yes, you read right.  The peaceful home Ozzy and I shared is...less than peaceful.  Cats will rearrange your life, force you to rearrange furniture and knick knacks, and remind you to shut doors you previously left open!

I need to see what Pierre (kitten) and Ozzy (Pug) get into while I'm sleeping.  Well, I actually know what they get into while I'm sleeping because the evidence is usually strewn on the kitchen floor.  All over the kitchen floor.  I want to SEE how these capers happen.

Last week, I bought a large box of Rice Krispies because I was craving a big bowl of cereal and at five dollars a box, that's an expensive treat!  I had two bowls the night before and I left the box on the counter.  In the morning, the entire box of cereal was all over the kitchen floor!  This morning, I woke up to a brand new package of napkins, shredded all over the kitchen floor and Pierre has managed to figure out how to open the bottom drawer of my stove!  How does he do it?!

Ozzy never got into anything.  He never got into the trash, into shopping bags, my purse nor did I have to keep the toilet paper roll in a closed basket.  I could leave jewelry lying on my dresser, my placemats on the kitchen table and spare change in a bowl.  Not now.  Pierre is one busy kitten at night and his accomplice Ozzy is right behind him...when the object(s) reach the floor.  I can't leave my coffee or tea unmanned, don't dare have lit candles in the house, have removed objects I don't want broken and I've lost more pens and pencils than I can shake a stick at.  Batteries, Chap Sticks and lighters, too!  God forbid I should leave my laptop open...sheesh.

Pierre has been the impetus to redecorate my house for the Holidays.  Christmas cards are now taped to a mirror, I have no ornaments on my tree (only lights) and the dining table is sans Holiday tablecloth.  I wouldn't dream of wasting money on a Holiday bouquet or flower arrangement and poinsettias are poisonous for animals!  Did my other cats do these things or was I so busy with kids and other animals to notice?  Did I have more energy and less stuff?  Have I grown so stuck in my ways that I didn't notice?

The only change I've had to make with Ozzy since Pierre came to live with us is that the litter box now sits on my dryer and it's permanent...I'll let you figure that one out!

I'm constantly trying to stay one step ahead of Pierre, but when that kitten lays on my lap and purrs, I'm putty in his hands. When Ozzy joins us on the couch and snores lightly beside me, that's pure heaven.  When I need a hug, a kiss and someone to baby, they're right there with me.  What're ya gonna do?  Gotta love animals :)

Peace and love,
Ellie





Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Going With the Holiday Flow




Hi all!

Christmas Day is eight days away and I'm finding it difficult to focus on my novel this week.  Who am I kidding?  I found it difficult to edit last week, as well.  A couple of days of good work a week and other days of...distractions.  That equals two and a half weeks of distractions.  Is this happening to you?  Maybe I should have taken December off, thereby reducing the guilts!

Okay, I did have a week vacation with my friends and family in Puerto Rico which I enjoyed immensely.  I rested the week following my vacation and got my house in order.  I even found time to paint my front door glossy black (after pinning dozens of black doors on Pinterest this fall) and I decorated the outside of my house for the Holidays.  I visited with a sick friend, had coffee with two neighbors and caught up with girlfriends and family by email and telephone.  Yesterday, I gave my neighbor and her family a little tree because I know they are hurting this year and last night, I had dinner with a new friend - our second date.  Distractions?  Yes!

My writing rhythm is shot.  I was doing so well at the beginning of the month and had made great headway with my novel and then, the Holiday pressures were on.  I suppose I put those pressures on myself, but they're valid distractions this time of year.  I have ecards to put together, gifts to buy, a train ticket to Virginia to purchase, and friends I'd love to get together with.  Not to mention, my bedroom looks like a hurricane passed through.

I have kept up with my blog, however.  Bite-size pieces of writing.  I suppose the fact that I'm writing is a good thing.  My mind is jumping around and my heart is already in Northern Virginia with my kids and family.  I can't wait to seem them all!

How do people write, publish and market books while working full-time, part-time and raise kids, I wonder?  Am I that disorganized?  I don't work outside the home, I should be able to do all this with my eyes closed, right?  Priorities, I know.  I know the drill, but there's something major to be said about being present.  I don't know how many Holidays I'll have with both my kids and family; none of us do.

So, I've decided to enjoy my family and friends this Holiday season and when I return, I'm turning off the phone, not answering emails and I won't put the TV on!  That's it.  I'm not wasting time mind you, I'm simply going with the Holiday flow and choose not to feel guilty about it.

Guilt, worry, and anxiety are wasted emotions.  I choose to put all my energy into enjoying my family and friends this Holiday season.  For me, that is what is important - being present and enjoying the gifts that my family and friends are.  True blessings.

Peace, blessings, and love to you.
Ellie


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Making Sense of a Senseless Act



Good morning,

Yesterday, I didn't turn on the television until late afternoon after being glued to CNN on Friday after I came back from running a few errands.  I was at the laundromat washing my couch slip cover and cushion covers when the woman next to me put her hands over her mouth and muffled, "Oh, my God."  Of course, the women closest to her, including me looked at her to see what was the matter and she pointed at the television set.  I remember the time was nearly eleven o'clock.  I made a mental note that I'd forgotten to add fabric softener to the industrial machine, but couldn't stay away from the television.  Not much was known at that point.

The three women and myself at the laundromat wrestled to process and fathom how a human being could take the lives of children, any one really, but especially children.  Through our brief conversations, we found out that we were all mothers and two were grandmothers. We had tears in our eyes and the eldest woman turned away, she couldn't watch anymore.  She reminded me of my grandmother and how she flew back to Puerto Rico when it was clear that my mother was dying in the hospital.  That stunned me, but I also understood what my grandmother was saying, she couldn't buy another daughter.  I was a mother, I understood, but would be lying if I said that I didn't want her with me during that horrible time.  I couldn't judge her.  I hadn't walked in her shoes.  Maybe the older woman at the laundromat had lost children and grandchildren, as well?

I gathered my laundry, said prayers on my drive home, and immediately turned on the television.  As the night progressed, I became annoyed and surprised that parents would allow their children, students at Sandy Hook to be interviewed instead of rushing home and circling the wagons in safety.  I caught my annoyance and reprimanded myself.  I didn't know the circumstances, the parent did what he or she thought was right. Not the time or place to judge, I thought.  She knows her child. Maybe her child needs to speak to process and heal?

Anderson Cooper was on and he said that the station had decided not to mention the shooter's name any more than necessary.  I agreed with that.  Then, the gun lobbyists and anti-gun folks came on the air, arguing back and forth.  President Obama spoke and spoke about "meaningful" changes that had to be made.  I agree with that.

After awhile, I decided to check Facebook and friends and family were posting status updates on gun control, Autism, sharing prayer requests and news links as more information became available.  I shared a prayer for the children, their families and for the staff of Sandy Hook.  I understood people's anger and frustration about guns getting into the wrong hands, but I felt that maybe it wasn't the time to argue about guns.  Twenty precious children and six staff of Sandy Hook had been gunned down.  But, then I thought...if not now, when?

Were we being disrespectful by talking about guns, mental illness, the shooter and his family and not focusing on the issue at hand - the death of innocent children and adults?  I could understand people's anger and frustration, I was angry and frustrated, as well.  How could this happen?

I believe most people want to do the right thing in difficult situations, but we can only express what we express because of our life's experiences.  Who's to say what's right, appropriate and sensitive?  We all process information and grieve in myriad ways.  Who's to say what's right and what's wrong in any given situation?  It's human nature to judge other's actions, thoughts and beliefs and I believe most people want to do the right thing.

"She shouldn't have said that!"  "Why did he do that?"  We try to make sense of other's actions and without all the facts, we'll probably miss the mark.  We may never know why that young man did what he did.  Some people blamed the press, his mother, others blamed our society, many blamed guns, a few said our President wasn't really crying, only looking for sympathy votes.  A few said they were appalled and outraged that people were posting updates on Facebook yet they themselves had just posted on Facebook.

We are all trying to make sense of a senseless act - in our own way.  With the life experiences we'd had.  We all filter life and what life throws us through our own lenses.  I finally posted something that has bothered me since 2010 - how children fall through the cracks in our schools in this country.  How bullying can affect some children.  How children can check out of residential treatment centers at 18 years of age in Maryland with severe behavioral, emotional, and mental issues.  I could put two and two together because I'd seen it; I worked in one such center.  I took it even further - what if these children couldn't afford the meds they really need and got a hold of a gun?  It made sense to me.

Another person could read my status update and think, "How could she post that?"  "How insensitive in light of what just happened!"  Well, if you've never worked in a residential treatment center, you might not have share my opinion.  It won't make sense to you.  I thought of parents with children with emotional issues, mental issues.  Their views would be completely different than my own.  Perhaps, a parent saved his family because he had a gun when an intruder entered their family home.  The world looks completely different from where we stand.

We're grieving those senseless and brutal deaths. The more information that comes forth, the more vivid my mental images are - of their last moments, their last breaths.  As a parent, it's unfathomable to me.  The parents and family's grief isn't anything I can ever know as I've never lost a child.

People immediately had negative comments about Emilie's father on the news last night speaking about his beautiful six year old daughter.  Who are they to judge?  We all grieve in many different ways.  He's doing what he feels he needs to do.  Full stop.

Is there a right and a wrong way to grieve and process information?  Not in my book.  We're all doing what we can in our own way with life has given us.

Peace and love,
Ellie










Saturday, December 15, 2012

Thoughts and Prayers


My thoughts and prayers are with the precious babies and the heroic staff whose lives were taken at Sandy Hook Elementary School yesterday.

I pray for courage, peace and strength for the parents, families, friends and staff of the school
whose lives will never be the same.

Rest in eternal peace.






Friday, December 14, 2012

I'll Have a Donut and a Coffee for My Friend Here


Hi all!

The photograph above was taken two years ago on Christmas Eve in my rented townhouse in Falls Church, Virginia.  I loved that house, especially the wood burning fireplace that I used for two years during Fall and Winter, but the rent was crazy high and it was time to buy a house.

I didn't find a house in West Virginia with a fireplace and that really irked me. I could do without a garage and a driveway (which is what happens when you live in town), but a fireplace would have been great. But, moving into this ol' house brought Junior into my life.  He's my road trip buddy and my pet/house sitter and he's a hoot :)  

My friend Irene lives on her family farm outside of town in a beautiful house built in the late 1700's, complete with many wood burning fireplaces.  I love going out there; the views are spectacular and the sunsets are even better.  Irene owns many acres, some still farmed on and last night, she invited me to come out to chop down a small tree and pick greenery, magnolia leaves and holly branches to decorate my house, front fence and enough to make a couple of wreaths.  So, I invited Junior to go with me.  Irene is a very generous lady and as my walk with Ozzy yesterday didn't produce any greenery or anything organic except for a pile of poo that a very inconsiderate dog walker failed to pick up, we're going out.

Junior (75 years old) loves a good road trip and he's great company.  We always laugh and carry on like kids when we get together.  Junior loves to sing and he loves Christmas, so any recent trip to Walmart or the dollar store has included him singing Christmas carols in the aisles!  He is a fruitcake and I love him :)  

Once we almost got kicked out of Dunkin Donuts. Yes, we did.  Junior's last name is Dunkin, spelled exactly like the donuts, and when I tried to order Dunkin Donuts for Mr. Dunkin, I started laughing which set him off which set me off!  I don't know what got into me, but I laughed so hard in line that the teenager behind the register asked me to step aside which, of course, made me laugh even harder.  Junior was no help, at all!

I didn't step aside because I wanted my Dunkin Donuts and a coffee for Mr. Dunkin!  I tried to compose myself, but one look at Junior did me in.  So finally, the kid looks at us and says, "Hey, if you're high or drunk, I'm going to have to ask you to leave!"  WHAT?  Well, that did it.  I couldn't control my laughter or my mouth any longer, it was such a ridiculous scene, but I couldn't leave it alone!  "We're not high on crack cocaine nor do we have the munchies, young man!  You're just making me laugh!"  Junior had to go to the bathroom at that point; he just couldn't hold it!  I finally stepped aside to allow the elderly woman behind me to get in front and no shit, this is what she said, "I DO have the munchies and I'll take a bag of donuts!"  

I almost fell on the floor laughing and I just had to hug her and wish her a beautiful day!  Kids today have no sense of humor :)

So, lets see where Junior and I get kicked out of today...I'm sure it'll be memorable no matter what!

Peace and love to you,
Ellie







Sunday, December 2, 2012

Relax, It'll Happen

Hi all,

I depart tomorrow morning for Puerto Rico and I couldn't be happier.  This trip came up quickly. I jumped at the chance to see my family on the island when I saw the email from Travel Advisor that informed me about the $262.00 round trip ticket!  Done!  I called my friend D and she was up for a trip, so we booked it.

This week, I had a great week with my novel.  I'm at Chapter 23! I hadn't paid my cable and Internet bill on the 1st and when I thought about it...I thought, "well, let's see how much I get done with no major distractions.  Major work was done, wow.  I took what Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, calls a major break.  I left the world behind.  So, I didn't pay my bill and boy, did I get a lot done!  I'm at chapter 22 with the editing. All good.  I should do this more often, I thought!

So, I planned on leaving my home in West Virginia on Amtrak #30, headed for Union Station in Washington, DC to spend the night with my friend D who is traveling to PR with me tomorrow morning.  I called Amtrak before I left the house and was informed about a 30 minute delay.  No problem. I kept calling and at 11 am, I boarded the train.  I'm headed to Puerto Rico tomorrow morning, I thought.  No big deal.  I love the train and the two hour journey.

Around Harpers Ferry, our train stopped.  Twenty minutes later, we were still stopped and no one knew why. I went in search of a coffee in the Cafe car and was informed that the freight train ahead of us had derailed.  The train behind that one (and in front of my train) called in an emergency.  So, we were delayed.  There's nothing as annoying as wanting to begin your vacation or journey and you can't!  But, I kept calm.

One, no one had been hurt in the derailment and two, I was seated next to a lovely young lady who, as it turns out, I had a lot in common with.  Well, actually...her mother and I could be twins.  Long time marriages, divorce, and her mother and I have made new lives for each other. It was funny to speak to a young woman who was saying the same things I've heard my kids say, "She's on Facebook all the time, she writes a blog, and she's tried Internet dating." :)  Yep, been there, done that!

We made the best of an annoying situation and before we knew it, we were moving. We never exchanged names or numbers as people often do, knowing full well that they'll never contact each other.  We enjoyed our time together and bid each other farewell, wishing each other a wonderful Holiday.  It's all good.

I love the randomness of life.  I love the people we meet as we're going on with the business of life.

I'll toast you with a rum punch tomorrow when I reach Puerto Rico!

Peace and love,
Ellie