Posted in Blogging, nonfiction, postaday, Wednesday Whatever!, writing

Wednesday Whatever!

Today I want to talk about …. Writing advice. I think I’ve touched on this a time or two before, so bear with me. I had a small conversation with my friend Kim over at Silently Heard Once about writing advice. Oh, by the way, go visit Kim if you like poetry and good discussions on things that matter. She’s a wickedly good poet.

Anyway, we touched on reading writing advice and how much it scared us both. So much so we couldn’t write! We doubted ourselves so much because we couldn’t write like people would say we SHOULD write. So we didn’t write at all.

In my case, I was pretty much a newbie on blogging. Just starting out on this blog and wanting to write stories so much I dreamed of them. I was scared to write them down and put them out there. Sure I had a blog for cooking, recipes and such. I wrote on that for at least a year before I started this blog. To me though that was different. It was recipes. It was cooking. It was about food.

This blog was scary to start. Why? Because it was about writing. Writing stories. Writing characters. Writing something that someone else actually wanted to read and enjoyed the experience! I had kept the love of writing stories to myself for so many years that I was scared to death to put my work out there to be read by strangers.

I also had a conversation many months ago with my mentor and good, good friend Maddie Cochere from Breezy Books. (If you like funny books with a mystery go check her out!) I told her of my fears and she told me to stop reading writing advice! Which thanks to her I have. Whew.

Now, I’m not saying writing advice is a bad thing. Nor am I saying no one should follow it. What I am saying is this….read, apply and believe with caution. Don’t be like me. Don’t think all writing advice should be followed. Because if you try to do that you will just drive yourself crazy(ier) and come up against a wall you can’t climb over.

Write-what-you-are-passionate-to-know-about

Take what writing advice makes the most sense for YOU. If you feel you can only ‘write what you know’, then go for it. Just don’t be afraid to write what you DON’T know. That’s what research is for.

For every ‘do’ in writing there is a ‘don’t’. Eh, DO what makes you happy and what makes you proud to put out there. DON’T be afraid to put your writing in front of people. That’s how we learn. That’s how we grow as writers.

I’ve also heard this…When you are not writing, read!

Image-1-5

Well, that is good advice if someone doesn’t have a life at all. Now me, I have the husband to take care of, the house, bills to pay, groceries to buy, people to talk to. I have a life! I can’t be reading as much as writing or nothing else gets done. Hell, some weeks I can’t even write because I have too many other things to do and it’s exhausting. I can’t remember the last time I was able to sit and just read a book. It’s been that long.

Would I love to? Hell yeah! Do I have the time? Hell no! I do what I can. When I have time and the energy, I write. Because right now that’s what I need. I need to get my stories out. I don’t need to acquire someone else’s story. Sorry. Nothing personal. I’m sure many of you understand what I mean. I love books. I’ve read countless books in my life. I want to read countless more. But not right now. Sorry, Mr. King. When I become as rich as you I will hire someone to do all these other silly things. Until then, well, reading is not high on my priority list and I don’t feel bad for it.

So, what I’m saying is this….do what works for you. Don’t be afraid of writing what you want. Pay attention to the writing advice that works for YOU. Don’t follow blindly. You have a brain, use it. Just because some big name writer says it, doesn’t make it useful for you, just them. There will only ever be one Stephen King, JK Rowling, Neil Gaiman. Thank the goddess’. And there is only one YOU.

 

writers block game writing creative

 

 

 

 

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Monday Meeting, nonfiction, postaday

Monday Meeting ~~~ January 25, 2016

Hello, People!

I hope everyone survived the blizzards and other weird weather this past weekend. The weather here was warmer than usual and our snow melted. I thought some of you would appreciate that tidbit of news. 😉

Monday Meeting

Today’s Monday Meeting is going to be a little different. As I really don’t have much news to impart.

The husband is on his second round of chemo for his colon cancer. He’s holding up well. Not much in side effects. His blood pressure dropped and he’s more tired. Otherwise not much else, which is great. His cancer doctors said not to worry too much about the blood pressure as they have found out that low blood pressure is not as dangerous as it was made out to be in the past. This is his second month on the chemo, he has four more months to go. We just take things a day at a time.

He even gained a few pounds, so that was good news too. He went from being 5’9 inches and 100 pounds even, to 105 pounds. Every pound on him is a good thing. Even if he shrank a few inches as when we first got together he was 5’11. I keep telling him he don’t watch it he’ll be shorter than me! ha!

So, that’s about it with the news.

I thought I would add something to this weeks meeting. There has been an ABC post going around. I first read it on Holly’s blog, than a few others joined in. So I thought I would do it too. It’s been a long time since I did one of these. And, of course, it’s all about ME!

 

The ABC’s About Me, Me, ME!

A: Age – Older than dirt! Oh ok, 60. Geesh.

B: Biggest Fear – Not being able to care for myself in my old age. Being in a nursing home. Scares the crap out of me. Not going to happen if I can help it.

C: Current Time – Noon

D: Drink I last had – Anyone want to take a guess? Well if you know me at all you’ll know it’s….Coffee!

E: Easiest person to talk to – I have a really good, good friend that I email all the time. I can tell her anything and everything and she never judges and always has wise advice.

F: Favorite Song – Now this is impossible to answer. I love music. So I’m passing on this one.

G: Grossest Memory – Wow, after 60 years of living there are a lot of them! I would have to say the winner is a restaurant kitchen I saw once. The ex and I owned a carpet cleaning business back in the day. We cleaned mostly business’s. There was a restaurant that wanted the dining room carpet cleaned. We had to fill the machines with hot water from the kitchen. This kitchen smelled, it had bugs, the floor was so greasy we had to be extra careful not to slip and bust our asses. We saw mice and droppings under the sinks. It was the dirtiest, most disgusting thing I ever saw! Not too long after we worked there it was closed down for health reasons. Gee, no surprise there!

H: Hometown – Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Left there when I was twenty, never been back.

I: In love with – Well, I do have an ongoing love affair with…Coffee! Also, with books. Yeah, I’m a word slut.

J: Jealous of – I had to really sit and think on this one. I came up with….nothing. I used to be jealous of people who had a lot of money. Then I got to know a few of them. They aren’t happy people. So I stopped being jealous. I used to be jealous of talented people. You know the ones. The ones that could paint and write and do other talented things. Then I realized I have talent too. I paint and write. I know how to live on next to nothing. Believe me, that takes real talent! The older I get the more I realize there is always going to be people who do things better than me, have more things than I do. And that’s ok. I stopped comparing myself to others long ago. I’m much more content now.

K: Killed someone? – No, I haven’t. I have shot at people before. If I wanted to kill them I would have. I’m a good shot. I only shot at them in self-defense. If I wouldn’t have, I wouldn’t be here now. That’s a whole ‘nother story. Let’s move on.

L: Longest Relationship – Depends on the relationship. Romantically, it would be the husband. This one, not the first one. Will be fourteen years in September. Other relationship I guess would be with my mother. 😉

M: Middle Name – Lynn

N: Number of Siblings – Real ones? Or just the ones I claim? Eh, ok, real siblings….three….one older sister, one younger and one older brother.

funny-family-quotes (1)

O: One Wish – Is this like the Miss America questions? If so, then world peace. If it’s meant for a personal wish, then…..better health. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

P: Person You Last Called – My mom.

Q: Question You are Always Asked – Where are you from? I always get asked this when I have spoken to someone for more than a few words. I lived in the South for over twenty years. I guess I still have a bit of the southern or Texan accent. I’m told with just certain words or if I get angry or excited or nervous. Then my accent gets stronger. Since living here, I always answer this question with a much more pronounced accent….I live in Southern Alberta…..gets a laugh every time.

R: Reason to smile – Hell, just waking up every morning is a reason to smile. My dog Sam. Sunshine. Writing. Music. COFFEE! Friends. Just living life.

S: Song you last sang – A silly little made up ditty to my dog Sam. Where no one else could hear. Believe me, you don’t want to hear me sing. If you even want to call it that.

T: Time you woke up – Midnight, 2 am, 4 am, 6 am, 8 am, finally got out of bed to get coffee at 8:30 am. Getting old is not for sissies.

U: Underwear color – Um, that’s kind of a pervy question…..moving on.

V: Vacation Destination – What is this ‘vacation’ thing you speak of?

W: Worst habit – Swearing…..a lot.

X: X-rays you’ve had – Knee, shoulder, stomach, lung, hand

Y: Your Favorite Food – Lasagna

Z: Zodiac Sign – Virgo, …yup that’s me.

 

virgo

 

See you next Monday!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blogging, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday, Stories of my life, Wednesday Whatever!

Wednesday Whatever!

Hello, People!

Today I want to talk about doctors. The good, the bad and the terrible. Doctors, for the most part, are fine individuals. They are wanting to do good, to help people. They spend years and years studying to become what they are. I admire that.

The last few months I have met a lot of doctors. With what the husband is going through, we have seen and talked to more doctors than I can keep up with. They have been kind, considerate and some are even downright funny. I also realize doctors are people too, just like you and me. They have a past, a family, friends, embarrassing moments. All of it. Even if some don’t want to admit to that time in college when they went to that one keg party and completely became inebriated and passed out on the neighbor’s lawn. Naked. With a stuffed purple Barney.

Personally, I have met some great doctors. I have also met some terrible doctors. Those are the ones I want to talk about today. The terrible ones. The ones that have terrible ‘bedside manner’, if not down right bad hygiene. Yeah, those doctors.

doctor-men-in-uniform-clip-art

In my many years of living I’ve met a whole lot of doctors. In my case, most of them were bad. Maybe not bad in being a doctor, but bad in being a person. I seem to draw the worst luck in that aspect. You’ll see what I mean.

Let me go back to the first one I remember. Way back in the time machine to when I was about ten years old. Just a little girl. I developed what was later found out to be a kidney infection. I remember it hurt bad. Terrible pain. Back then most people didn’t go to doctors. You only went if the home remedies didn’t work. Or you were dying. Well, I thought I was dying. My mom must have finally realized that, yes, I was in terrible pain and needed a doctor. So she took me to one.

We lived in what was called in Milwaukee back than as ‘the inner core’, which basically means we were living in the slums. Poor people lived there. Of all colors. My mom and I walked to the doctor’s office. My dad had to work and we had no money for bus fare. As for cabs? That was for rich people! Not us. It was like the walk from Hell. We finally get to the doctor’s office and it’s two flights of stairs up. It’s in an old three-story building. I remember those stairs because it was just pure agony walking up them. I cried all the way up. Slowly.

We reach the doctor’s office and go in. The doctor was the only person there. Sitting behind this big wooden desk. She motions us in and we sit in two hard, dark wood chairs that I think came from some school. The doctor was this tall, stately woman with short grey hair, wearing slacks and a blouse and no-nonsense shoes. She also had a no-nonsense look on her face. She never smiles. I remember that too.

She asks my mother whats wrong with me. My mother tells her. She looks at me and frowns and asks to come over to her and show her where it hurts. So that’s what I do. Scared to death I was. She was formidable. The doc sends me back to my chair and starts asking my mom a bunch of questions. Both my mom and I finally realize where the doctor was going with the questions. She thought I was pregnant! At ten years old!

My mother was livid. I think that’s the only time my mother came to my defense. My mother puffs herself up and says firmly….”My daughter is NOT pregnant!” She reminded me of a banty rooster. I was proud of her, but scared to death. The doctor backs down and tells her that she would be amazed at how many young girls come in complaining of things and it ends up they are pregnant. Which was probably true in our neighborhood of poor folks. There was a lot of drugs, alcohol and sex abuse going on. My mother was a bit clueless back then.

Anyway, turns out I had a kidney infection. I was put on penicillin and got over it. That was the first bad experience with a doctor, but not my last.

The next one was a real winner. I was married to my first husband then. Young and so naive. I got pregnant for the second time. (I lost the first within weeks) I knew I was pregnant. I always did. We went to a doctor so I could get examined. Now I was a bit overweight that time. Not much. About twenty pounds. On my small frame it looks more than it is. I get in the room and was told to undress by the nurse.

I wait a good twenty minutes or more for the doctor. He comes in….reeking of tobacco. His white coat didn’t fit over his protruding belly. He examines me. Asking me a few questions. Didn’t take but a couple of minutes. He tells me to sit up and he puts his hands on his hips and states….”I can’t tell if you are pregnant because you’re too fat!” I sit there shocked. I try not to take too deep of a breath because the man stunk so bad.

He goes to wash his hands and as he’s washing them he tells me that maybe I should step away from the ‘trough’ more often. Yes, he used the word trough. Like a pig would use. I stood up. Got dressed while he was still talking about diets and crap and never said another word to him. I wanted to slap him. I walked out on him mid-sentence and never went back. Two weeks later I miscarried. Bastard.

Now this last one I’m going to tell you about was a real winner. I still shake my head. It was a few years later. Still married to the ex (but not for long) and was working for my sister-in-law. I go to work feeling tired and worn out as I found out the night before that my husband was cheating on me….again. We fought, he became enraged and well…lets say it wasn’t pretty. I went to work and a few hours later my face feels weird. Numb. The last customer looked at me weird when I smiled at her. Something wasn’t right.

I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. My face was off kilter. The left side was weird-looking. I smiled in the mirror and only half my face moved! I pinched my left cheek and didn’t feel anything. I thought I was having a stroke. At thirty-seven years old. I called the only person I could. My ex. Told him what was going on. He came and took me to a walk in clinic. And that’s where I met him……the octopus doctor.

I go into the room and only have to wait a few minutes for this middle-aged doctor to show up. He looks me up and down and smiles a huge smile. He introduces himself and takes my hand in both of his and wouldn’t let go. He asks me whats wrong, I tell him. He looks all concerned and cups my left cheek. Alarm bells are ringing, but low. Then he says he wants to listen to my heart and lungs. Fine. Most doctors would.

He unbuttoned my first two buttons on my shirt so my cleavage is showing. He listens to my heart and lungs when I suddenly notice his other hand is resting on the side of my breast. Bigger alarm bells go off. I move just enough so that his hand isn’t on my breast. He walks away a few steps and starts writing something on my chart and asks me when he can give me a through exam. Huh? I shrug my shoulders and don’t answer. By now the alarm bells are deafening.

He laughs and walks back to me and tells me he would LOVE to give me a head to foot exam. I just try to smile and say nothing. He takes a piece of kleenex and tells me to close my eyes. Oh crap. I do it. I think if he does anything wonky I will deck him. Suddenly I feel the kleenex against my good cheek. He wants to know if I feel that. I say yes. A few seconds later he wants to know if I feel that, again. I say I don’t feel anything.

Suddenly what I do feel is both his hands sliding down my chest! I open my eyes and stare at him. He smiles and starts talking like nothing just happened. I couldn’t get out of that place fast enough!

He tells me I have Bells Palsy and what to do. As I’m leaving with a prescription for steroids he tells me not to forget about that physical!

diagnostics-161140_960_720

So yeah, I’ve had my fair share of bad doctors. How about you? Got any good stories? Let me know!

 

Posted in Blogging, nonfiction, postaday, Word Fun

Fun With Anagrams

Hello, People!

I missed Monday’s Meeting yesterday. Don’t ask. It was a strange kind of day for me.

So today I thought I would bring you some more fun with words. Last time it was Palindromes. Today it’s Anagrams! Aren’t we exciting? Don’t answer that.

I’m sure you are all familiar with anagrams but let me refresh your memories. An anagram is a word, name or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of another, using each original letter only once. Some of the best ones I think are ones that manage to link the new word, name or phrase to the original one in some way, such as when ‘listen’ becomes ‘silent’.

Let’s see what I could come up with.

anagram2

 

 

Astronomers = No more stars

Conversation = Voices rant on

The country side = No city dust here

If I wanted to see what I could do with my name “Jackie Phillips”…….. Jail Slick Eh Pip

Clint Eastwood = old west action

The check is in the mail = claim “heck I sent it (heh)”

snooze alarms = alas! no more z’s

William Shakespeare = Willie makes a phrase

To Breathe is to Write = a tot be shortie write

the detectives = detect thieves

debit card = bad credit

vacation times = I’m not as active

 

A-Game-of-Letters-1898-McL

 

 

That’s just a few I found or made. I bet you have some to add to the list! Let me know. 

 

 

 

Posted in Blogging, Humor, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday, Stories of my life, Wednesday Whatever!

Wednesday Whatever!

Another fine edition of Wednesday Whatever! Coming to you from the windblown town that I reside from. Nestled miles from the Rocky Mountains in a low laying valley that the wind seems to favor.

(c) Jeff Swenson
(c) Jeff Swenson

It must favor it because it fricken blows every chance it gets! And I’m fricken tired of it! Ahhhhh, that felt better. #%$&*^@ wind! Yes, that is me speaking not so nicely about a part of Mother Nature that she finds rather entertaining, I’m sure. I’m also sure she will get her revenge in time. Ha! It was worth it! Take that Mother Nature!

As you can probably tell…the wind is blowing here today….and yesterday….and the day before that….and…..sighhhh.

I don’t mind the wind most days, really I don’t. I love a gentle breeze as much as the next person. Even in the middle of fricken January. But, when it blows a gale and hinders me from even walking or breathing is when I get a bit put out. Which is what happened today.

Yesterday I needed to go the grocery store. I put it off because the wind was blowing so fiercely that it was cleaning off my patio for me…and I didn’t need nor want it cleaned off.

Today I got up and it was as calm as one would like. Not a single breeze blowing. Absolutely perfect. It was even warm enough that it was melting the snow. Great! So I got dressed and decided to go to the store. I would have whistled if I could have, that’s how happy I was. I would whistle but I can’t. Not to mention my teeth might fly out. Not a pretty sight. Anyway, I got in my trusty, rusty mini van and tootled off to the grocery store.

The sun wasn’t shining, but it was calm and pleasant. I might have even smiled at a perfect stranger. I might have, but I don’t remember. Old age you know. I get to the store and amble inside enjoying the day. I push my cart up and down the aisles, just enjoying being by myself for a while. It doesn’t happen too often folks, so I was enjoying the novelty. I finally get to the check out with my few items and smile at the cashier. She’s a nice lady that often checks me out.

We chat for a few minutes about this and that and of course, the weather. We both comment how nice it was to have calmness after the terrible winds we’ve been having. I glance out the big windows in the front of the store and notice it’s still calm. I smile. I’m happy. I finish paying for my purchases and walk toward the exit. I don’t even mind waiting behind the lady that decided she needed the whole doorway to stop and put on her coat. Slowly. To tuck her scarf just so around her neck and pull on her gloves. While I’m patiently behind her just wanting to load my groceries and go home.

Finally, the lady is done getting dressed and we proceed out the door. At my store there are two doors you need to go through to reach the outdoors. They have doors on both ends of the store. Well, the lady in front of me goes off one way and I go off the opposite way. I go through the next doors to what was a nice morning into Mother Nature’s perverted sense of humor. The wind threatens to knock me off my feet while it steals my breath away. Literally. I couldn’t fricken breath the wind was that strong.

I hang on tight to the cart that wants to turn around and go back into the store. I push it to my van and open the back-end all the time trying to breathe while the wind rams my breath back down my throat. %#(%&^ wind! I get the back door open (it’s the kind that opens upward). I grab my bags and stash them as quickly as I can. Suddenly I feel this large thump on the top of my head. The wind had pushed the door closed on top of my head! Ouch! Dammit! I shove it back up and stow the rest of my stuff in the back and quickly close the door.

images (2)

I let loose of the cart for a second! Just a split second! The wind whips it toward the parking lot and almost into an oncoming car. I grab it in the nick of time while still trying to stay upright in the battering wind. If I could have had enough breath to curse I would have! The wind didn’t give an inch.

I manage to push the cart back to the store and walk against the wind back to my van. I get in and narrowly miss getting my leg crushed by the door as I scramble inside. That’s when I start to curse. In between panting. Not my finest moment.

I drive home and hope the wind is a bit calmer by the house. Yeah, who was I kidding? It wasn’t. If anything, it was worse. I get the back-end of the van open once more and the gate so I can tote my bags in. The wind pulls the gate out of my hands and drives a sliver into my finger. @#%^$*# wind!

I pile my bags on the porch, fight the wind to close the gate and open the house door. I manage to get the bags of groceries inside, fighting the wind all the while. I collapse in the kitchen chair and try to catch my breath. I swear I heard Mother Nature chuckling as I rubbed the top of my head and sucked on my sore finger.

#^@%#^$& wind!

 

 

How was your day?

 

 

Posted in Mi Vida Loca, Monday Meeting, nonfiction, postaday

Monday Meeting ~~ January 11, 2016

Hello, People!

The second week of January already! I wish time would slow down just a bit. With that thought, let’s get this meeting started.

 

Monday Meeting

 

Please take a seat, help yourself to the beverages and snacks. Make yourself comfortable.

The first full week of January went quickly by as I tried to do too many things at once. Which is what I usually end up doing. I did manage to get some things done, though, so I felt pretty good about it all. I got some government paperwork done that I need to renew my Permanent Resident card here in Canada. Have to renew every ten years. There is paperwork to do and a fee to pay. Good thing I saved up for the fee, as I knew it was coming this year. Hard to believe I’ve been living in Canada for fourteen years this month. I love it here.

I also worked on my blog(s) last week. Mostly on the end where you readers don’t see. Yes, I have two blogs. Maybe a third will be added if my friend Mer and I can get our shit together. 😉 And YES, I’m crazy. One blog is hard work, two is a hell of a lot of work, three is just over-achieving. LOL

My second blog is my author blog. Go take a look if you’re curious. Not a whole lot to see as yet. It’s a work in progress. You can see it at… jlphillipsauthor.com

On the husband front…He has been on chemo for colon cancer for eleven days now. The only thing we have noticed as far as side effects go is his blood pressure dropping. It will drop down into the low 90’s over 70’s. He gets a bit dizzy when it does that. I called the cancer clinic and asked them about it and they told me they have never had anyone’s blood pressure drop with these particular chemo drugs. Guess there is a first for everything. I’m supposed to just keep an eye on him and they will talk to us about it when we see them next week. Otherwise, he is eating good and we haven’t noticed anything else going wonky. So that’s good news for a change.

I usually take a few weeks in January to organise myself. I go through paperwork, throw out what I don’t need anymore. Get myself ready for tax time. Redo things that I think need a bit of sprucing up. (Like my blogs) Generally just get things together for the coming year. This year is a bit more challenging as we have many doctors appointments and such to keep track of. It’s all coming together nicely.

This year I have also decided it’s time to concentrate on ‘me’ more. That means getting healthier, in mind and body. Not being so hard on myself when I can’t get everything done as I want. I have to learn there is only one of me and that I’m getting older and slower physically. I still think I’m thirty years old and I’m not. Dammit.

I’m going to try to lose weight and get myself in a better mindset. I need to lower my pounds and my blood pressure. With that in mind I’ve decided to change doctors. My old doctor was not interested enough in me as a person and what my life is like outside the office. I made an appointment with a new doctor. I’ve already met her briefly and I liked what I saw, so I asked if she would be willing to take me on as a patient. She said yes and I have an appointment on the 27th. It’s a first step in a new year for a new me. Wish me luck.

I talked to my mom last week too. She’s doing pretty good all things considered. She’s 86 and I hope I’m still as together as she is when I’m that age. If I reach that age. Women in my family are known for living long lives, so we shall see. I always know when she is doing well….she cooks. And she’s cooking up a storm lately. She’s been trying out a few recipes that readers sent her for her birthday. She still talks about all the cards and recipes she received. You guys are the best!

That’s about it for now. I do hope everyone has a super week. See you around!