Monday, December 31, 2012

Pssst

Follow the linky to my new weblog. And no, I don’t hate blogspot. I still highly recommend them to most folks starting a blog.

http://www.mssluyter.com/

PS--I'll probably be deleting this blog here. It's just ... not really me anymore.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Trying again...test 5

Blogger, Picasa and I seem to be having issues. I hate messy breakups. So here I am trying to upload a picture.

 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thoughts under a full moon

I'm here. I have no clue where the month has gone. I've been crazy busy which is a good thing because it keeps my mind off morbid things. The only time I have free is sitting on the swing at night. I love the night, especially after midnight when the streets finally quiet down. It almost makes me think I'm back in the country. Almost.

Last week the streets were filled with sirens. I live in Aurora, fifteen minutes from where the theater shootings took place. In the past, my kids and I have been up there. I knew that mall. That theater. Now, Aurora has become a punch line for comics. The new poster child for guns laws. And politicians are suddenly interested in the city and our votes.

One thing has changed. I would describe people out here as being very solitary. They're not overly friendly and often keep their distance. It's not really a bad thing just different from growing up in NY and being down in Florida. But since the shooting, more people have looked me in the face and said hello, whereas before I normally had to greet someone first. I thought I was imagining this until someone else pointed it out as well. It took a tragedy for us to reach out to others.

But, sitting on the swing last night, I wondered, are they really trying to make a connection, or are they trying to decide if that person sitting next to them on the bus or at church is a monster.

Okay, maybe my thoughts are still morbid.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Stopping to look at the rainbow


In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back…..Charlie Brown

Hello internet world. Yes, I’ve been gone, looking at sunsets and rainbows. And cleaning up after my dogs because their…dogs. They tend to think the garbage pail is a second food bowl. It’s also been hot here. Hot like in the 100’s for the past few days. I don’t mean to whine but my house is not set up for central AC and the old swamp cooler finally gave up. How rude for it to do it during the hottest June that I can remember. Luckily, it’s not humid here because that would be ugly. But dehydration is a big issue even without the heat.
Besides being cranky about the temps, I’m doing well. I’m finishing up revisions for a short story and sending it off. I figured I wrote it so I might as well do something with it, right?
Also this week is summer camp so I’ll be busy helping out with a bunch of preschoolers. Preschoolers. Doesn’t that word just scare you?
Reading, reading and more reading because I know there’s an end to my TBR pile. Plus journaling. Journaling, for me, is my lifeline to my sanity.
Happy Monday!

Friday, June 8, 2012

If only...


“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
Albert Einstein  (1879-1955); Theoretical Physicist, Philosopher, Nobel Prize Winner

I’m sort of stuck at a crossroads about some things in my life. Neither turn looks especially good. In fact, it comes down to shades of gray. Don’t you hate that?

I think this is why I like writing fiction. Because I can abuse characters without shame and moneywise it’s cheaper than therapy.

As I type this, I have a lot of hesitance about my choices. In my younger days, I was impulsive. Stubborn. And, I made bad choices. Guilt and embarrassment nag me about some of them. I know it’s all a part of growing up and maturing, and trust me, if I had to do them over, I’d make some of the same mistakes again.

Did I say some? I meant a lot.

The ones where I might’ve hurt someone’s feelings because I was selfish, those are the ones I’d take back. But maybe because I can’t fix those with apologies, those are the moments that left me wanting to be a better person. (wow, I’m sounding like a fortune cookie. My apologies.)

Anyway, I ponder my choices, grateful that while both can end badly, there’s always tomorrow to fix them and move on.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Growing Pains

(By the way, I suck at titles in case someone didn’t figure it out.)

I know I mentioned earlier I wasn’t going to talk about writing as much, but sometimes my thoughts on writing edge over to real life.

A friend and I were talking about writing skills and storytelling yesterday. The only way to improve writing is to keep on writing. If you want to submit one day, the old saying is to write a million words first. You’d be shocked how fast a million words add up. So you know…it sounds like a lot, but you can get there.

Staying in your comfy world of writing romance, SF, fantasy or essay, will get you your million words, and it might work for you to become a better writer. But if you’re writing a million words, what’ll it hurt if you spice things up. Dare to be crazy. Dare to write something out of your comfort zone.

I started writing again by jumping into a short story class. In the past my short stories looked more like an awkward scene. ONE long scene.

Laugh. It’s okay. I still can’t believe I actually submitted a couple of them.

I’ve also read a lot of romances. I add love stories to longer works. No, I’ll never write for Harlequin, but it’s fun to add romance to a fantasy. And it’s hard work that takes practice. Like learning to weave tension. Or writing hooks for your openings and closings—and all the paragraphs in between.

It’s hard to teach or explain to someone about writing for a new genre, technique—or how to write a soul for a character. Before someone can be published, they face these difficulties and learn to overcome them. Most times writers each have their own ways of dealing with them.

It’s very much like life. There are no clean cut instructions on dealing with death, a child with a drug addiction, or how to live with a debilitating disease that won’t kill you but will make wish for death. Or when a freak accident happens, and lands you in the hospital. Those rejections that you keep hearing, start taking a toll on your spirit. There are plenty of books on the subject on how to overcome. There will be people who try to help you. But in the end, each person faces these hurdles differently. Success and failure often comes to down our own mindset.

As we face each challenge we grow in spirit, strength and courage. No matter how horrible the next heartache or tragedy, we pick up and go on—learning to deal along the way.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Mondays are going to the dogs...and cat


Pete's begging for cookies here.

The weight is going straight to his butt. I'm talking, his has vanished under the rolls of fat.
We're talking double wide backside. 
Now, as a good parent to my poor pleasantly plump dog, I have been busy trying to help him kick his cookie habit.
I tried. I really tried. And failed.
The cat bribes Pete and the other dogs with anything that happens to be on the counter.
Cake. Cookies. Bread. All the animals love bread. Meat. Veggies.
Anything edible.
And...some things that aren't.
I tried putting things inside the cabinet.
The cat got smarter.
He climbed in and liberated the potato chips while I was out.
So now we are all dieting.

Chasing my egocentric cat and cleaning up after my gluttonous dogs, was NOT the reason why I wasn't online.
But my blog gets little traffic as is so why bore the faithful few with my tedious mishaps. I'll save the more humorous moments for another time, but I can tell you all there were no broken bones this time.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The place no woman likes to be...

The dreaded doctor visit.

Because there's nothing quite as embarrassing as wearing one of  those stupid paper gowns. I mean back in the day there were the cloth ones that had broken snaps and missing ties. They were bad enough, now there's paper. For what? To further humiliate us.

Of course, everything is like flash frozen for added comfort.

Oh, and there's always someone who thinks Muzak 80's regurgitated music is gonna make me happy. Sorry, listening to Blondie organ music only makes me want to kick someone.

You know what would relax me? Not waiting for like 45 minutes for the doc to arrive in the room. Because those cute, Eco friendly, hygienic paper gowns never ever fit right. Never.

So, yes, I'm off today to see the doc because what better way to start off the week. Love Mondays.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Because it's Friday...

Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?" Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night."…. Charles M Schulz



It's a sign when even blogger gives me grief first thing on a Friday morning. As if to say, gotcha.

My first clue of trouble, the dogs are behaving themselves for the first time in weeks. I'm telling you, the cat is plotting something that scares even the dogs.

Speaking of fuzzballs, he's curled up on the birdcage, watching me. I think he's waiting for me to leave to use the computer.

And have you noticed when someone else is wrong, they start off an argument by pointing out all your faults. Like a checklist. Really? You don't think I have my own list of pet peeves about you??? Difference between us, I don't tear you down to feel better.

And when I'm silent, it's not because I'm not too dumb to come up with a comeback or that I'm feeling guilty. I'm plotting. Be afraid.

Lack of sleep makes me sick to my stomach. And adding copious amounts of coffee, doesn't help. But yet, I still reach for cup when I smell the rich aroma first thing in the morning. Is that like masochism or what?

Power song for everyone to blast this morning: Pink's Raise Your Glass.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sometimes it's okay to walk away....


No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. --Eleanor Roosevelt, 'This Is My Story,' 1937
Some folks live to make others miserable. My mom was very much like that. She made it a sport of humiliating me to the point that when my college friends came by the house, they’d ask me in secret if I was adopted.
There are lots of folks like her. Some hide their meanness behind righteous words and roles of leadership. Others are right there for world to see like my mom. They’re supposed to love us, but the ones that know us best can turn into the vilest of haters.
Maybe because no one hugged them. Or gave them cookies. Or maybe they weren’t breastfed. Who knows…
Mom wasn’t evil. She was…difficult. And self-destructive. I think she was a victim of her own demons and secrets. I know I’ve described my family as dysfunctional but the truth is…they’re my family. Crazy. So not perfect. They are family, for better or worse. And I do love them. I want to make that clear. Sometimes love is destructive.
There comes a time when you find you have enough courage to leave. You don’t mean it to be harsh or cruel, but some relationships turn ugly and to save them, you have to get away.
I don’t know if my parents ever got that. Of why I had to leave Florida. My parents are both gone and truthfully I left a lot of things unsaid, especially with my mom. But I had to go. I had to stop being the victim and become victorious.

Monday, May 14, 2012

For those who like the strange...

I have many friends doing the SAD challenge...(story a day challenge). And for those who still don't know what I mean, this is the month you get to write short stories. Lots of them.

For those who need to kick start their muse (and those that like the strange) and think the zombie wars can't happen, think about this bit of creepiness: Ant zombies. I can't make this stuff up.

Let your muse run wild!

PS--since this is the third time I've had to log in and edit this post, I must make a mental note to never try posting while I'm half asleep.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Books that matter


“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one.”
 ― George R. R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons
As a young child I hated to read. Despised might be a better word.
If you look at me now, you’ll see I wear glasses. Very thick glasses. I also have contact lenses, which work better than the glasses. But back when I was five or six, I didn’t have either. All people saw were my strange blue eyes that constantly moved. My world was always blurry. But you know, I thought that was the norm.
So while teachers were going over the ABC song—which I learned with no problem—I couldn’t actually SEE the letters.  Some of my teachers thought I was retarded because I couldn’t identify letters. Others thought I was just being a smart mouth, but no one put my eye problem together with my academic failures. It wasn’t until third grade folks caught on.
So there was this rush to get me caught up. Large print books. Extra teachers. Extra reading classes. Extra homework. Like that was supposed to make me embrace school?
Then there was my primary third grade teacher-Mrs. Cox. She made her class read all the time. Her philosophy was, if you can read and write, you can rule the world one day.
I hated her. And…I liked her. She pushed. She taught tough love. She taught me to read. And that one year changed everything. Then I stumbled on a story called, The Witch’s Buttons by Ruth Chew—it ignited my imagination. In my mind, she is the mother of all urban fantasy. 
I read that book so many times it fell apart, and my mom threw it away. I knew it had gone out of print, but on a lark I hit search on Amazon and there were some copies for sale. I know it sounds weird, but when I think of that book—that sits on the shelf next to my desk—it brings me back to third grade. The year that changed my life forever, and the challenges I overcame.



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This is Zeke

 His name is short for Ezekiel.
He's cute, right? So were the kids from Village of the Damned, and we all know how that movie turned out.
Don't let him fool you.
He's not even close to sainthood.
Just ask the birds. Correction. Bird. I now have one.
He's a clepto. If he can carry it, he'll take it.
He's figured out if he hangs out way up high--he can throw things down on me.
Especially while I'm sleeping.
He's a fast little bugger when I'm chasing him.
He thinks he rules the dogs, but I do believe Miss Kitty, the Chihuahua, is plotting to kill him.
I have no intentions of saving him.

(Actually, this post was all about trying to load pictures. It is a nice photo of him though.)

Monday, May 7, 2012

So…I’m here. Alive


You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
--Eleanor Roosevelt
US diplomat & reformer (1884 - 1962) 

The hardest thing for me to do is take that first step because of fears. Afraid of failing. Afraid of sounding dumb. Afraid of giving the wrong answers. Afraid of falling. (Walking and talking is a challenge for me.) Or just being noticed in a crowd. (That’s a whole different post really. Probably needs to go under a label called phobias.)
I felt lost for the longest time. I can’t say I’m living happily ever after. Nothing in life is ever put that neatly back together. Sometimes the next big thing you do in life is just re-learn how to get out bed in morning. But this new look to the blog is a start.
Sorry, I swear I won't whine ever again because life is just too short.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

This year….

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Thankfully, 2011 is just about done. Not that this has been the worst year of my life. This has just been a long tiring year.

Yes, this year there were lots of tears.

And there was laughter. Not as much as there should’ve been. Still there were good times.

There were things to celebrate.

And things to mourn.

I found old friends.

And I learned that death took a few from me.

I didn’t bother looking back on my post from last year about resolutions or goals. This year has been a very strange year full of lots of growing pains, and the list of goals I had written from last year seems almost silly now. Outdated. Tonight I won’t be writing up resolutions or goals. Or giving this year a theme. 2012 is all about seizing opportunities with hope and about facing the troubles coming my way with courage.

This year, I’m wishing all of you courage. To try something new. To send off your manuscript that you let linger too long on your hard drive. To show off that singing talent you’ve kept hidden. To get out of bed when you think there’s no reason left. To find laughter even when you have tears on your cheeks. And joy when the world seems so heavy with grief.

2012 is here. Happy New Year!!!