Posted in Blogging, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, Wednesday Whatever!

Wednesday Whatever!

Hello, People!

 

Wednesday

 

Ah, it’s good to be back! It seems I took an unplanned mini-vacation from blogging. It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. Seems a lot longer. Now I’m back in the saddle again. Did you miss me? No? Ah well, I missed you!

The reason for the time away from blogging was nothing serious. I was just super busy and a bit lazy. Seemed like the husband and I had something to do almost every day. The days we didn’t have appointments I spent doing nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true either. I read books, I cleaned house and I watched endless videos on YouTube. Yeah, being super lazy. No writing, not being creative, no brain cells spent.

The husband is done with chemo treatments. He is doing better. He had another colonoscopy Friday to make sure no more tumors have grown and to check on his colon operation. The only problem the doctor found was where they had patched his colon together after removing the tumor. They had to dilate that area as it had collapsed. Otherwise, he was healthy. Yay! It’s been a long year of operations and chemo treatments for him.

A person doesn’t realize how much pressure they are under until some of it is gone. I was so tired lately. Now, I’m doing better and ready to blog again. Maybe even work on my books! Look out world here I come…..again.

Some of my online friends were worried about me and I thank them for that. You know who you are. You guys are the best. You emailed me and asked how I was doing. That helps more than you know.

Last year was a pretty rough year. Between the husband’s cancer and chemo treatments to my mother dying. Yeah, rough. It’s getting better now. Good things are happening with more good things on the horizon. I just needed to catch my breath for a bit.

I will try my best to get back into my blogging schedule. Hope to see you around!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blogging, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday

Update on My Amazon Problems

Earlier this week I wrote a post about problems I was having with Amazon. Someone had hacked my Amazon account and I was trying to get it back. Along with my regular account, the hacker also had control over my two books that are published on Amazon.

The fight to get my account straightened out and control over my books again had been going for close to a month. I did everything I was supposed to do, I changed my password frequently, to no avail. The hacker still managed to hijack my account. So again, I did what I was supposed to do, I alerted my bank, I wrote an email to Amazon customer service detailing what had happened.

amazon-box-1920

 

After the first initial contact with customer service, I was then pulled into a vortex of red tape and confusion. I was handed off to one customer service representative after another, from one department after another. It was frustrating and I was getting angry. My books were out there under the control of who knows who and I wanted them back.

I wasn’t too worried about my bank account because there is nothing in there. Still, I did everything I could to protect myself financially. That was easy enough to take care of. I have a great bank.

I lost count of how many people at Amazon I talked to on the phone and through emails. There were a lot. None seemed really able to do anything. After a while, they didn’t even seem to try as they just would send a standard email. They closed my Amazon account at least three different times. So I would have to go through re-opening it again and again. I was ready to say ‘screw it’ and not open it up again. But, there were my books out there. They were still listed on Amazon, yet, I had no control over them as my author account was attached to my Amazon account.

I finally did that post on WordPress about what was happening and asking for advice. And boy did I get it! Along with lots of sympathy and support from complete strangers and friends. People are wonderful!

I did finally get the right kind of help from Amazon and I have my books back! Yes!!! It was all because of series of wonderful people who helped get the word out and eventually who helped me get my books back into my control.

First was Chris at The Story Reading Ape, he kindly reposted my post on my Amazon troubles. Thank you, Chris! Because of your re-blog, I received all sorts of advice and offers of help from some very kind people.

Annabell Franklin kindly used Twitter with a link to my post to ask people for help. Thank you, Annabell! Because of your tweet, a very nice man by the name of Colin Hayden who works for Kindle Direct Publishing contacted me. I phoned him with the number he gave me and explained my problems and he promised he would make sure I got my books back on my Amazon and Kindle publishing account.

A few days later I received an email from another very nice employee at Kindle Direct Publishing (Bridgid O’Neal) stating my books should be back into my control and to check my KDP account. Sure enough, there they were! I was so grateful to see them again. I wrote Ms. O’Neal and thanked her very kindly for telling me my books were mine once again.

So, I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you to Chris for re-blogging my original post because without your help the chain of events might never have happened and I would still be fighting to get my books back. Thank you!!!!!

Also, thank you to all the very nice people who commented and emailed me with suggestions and/or support. It meant a lot to me. WordPress has the greatest blogging community that I know of. I appreciate you all!

 

 

 

 

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

Wednesday Whatever!

I was looking at my WordPress stats the other day. A rare occurrence for me, as I usually don’t bother with the stats page. If people read my posts that’s great, if not, that’s ok too. I’m not for everyone.

What surprised me was the one post of mine that was the most popular. It’s the open letter to my sister. I posted that letter on November 5, 2014. Since that day it has been read 7161 times. Almost three thousand more times than my second most popular post.

 

2016-07-13

 

I was floored. Seven thousand, one hundred and sixty-one times, someone has clicked on that post to read it. You know what that tells me? A whole lot of people are wanting to re-connect with their sister. That’s kind of sad.

That one post is consistently the most viewed post…..every. single. day!

Family members are probably the hardest to deal with, especially if there is anger, resentment, misunderstanding and grudges between them. I wrote that letter two years ago because my sister and I had drifted apart. We were no longer talking and I missed her. I didn’t understand what I had done to cause the riff between us. She just refused to talk to me. Granted we were hundreds of miles apart, with her living in Wisconsin and me in Canada. Still, I missed that sisterly connection.

So I wrote her an open letter. I expressed my bewilderment and my love. Hoping, maybe, one day she’d see it and read it. I don’t know if she ever did as she is not on the internet much.

Since my mother died at the end of May this year, my sister and I have started talking again. At first, it was just about my mom, then after she died about her estate. Now, we are talking more like we used to…as sisters. I very grateful for that. It’s just such a shame that it only happened because of the death of my mom. I’ll take it and run with it as I’ve missed her.

Even if one person who looked at that post as inspiration found that connection again with their sister, well then, I’ve made a difference. It was never in my mind to help others with that post, a bit selfish I’m sure but there it is.

So if you can, if you want, keep your family close. I’m trying. Although I have to admit I can and do well without some. But that’s a whole other post. 😉

 

 

 

 

If you were on the outs with a family member, did you reconnect? Or not? Let me know if you’re comfortable doing so!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday, Uncategorized

A Request and a Little Fun

Hello, people! I hope your week was a good one and soon the weekend will be here so cheer up!

Now on to business. I had a brain flash last night. That’s FLASH people….not fart….geesh. Anyway, back to my thoughts. Most of you have read on my blog about my mother. We have not always been friends like we are now. But, that’s in the past and now we seem to be pretty good friends. Must be the old age in both of us. ha!

Anyway, my mother is having her 86th birthday toward the end of the October. For a woman who has a lot of health problems that’s quite an accomplishment. The last ten or twelve years have not been easy on her. We lost my father to prostate cancer about 12 years ago. At one time before he died they were BOTH fighting cancer battles. My dad with his prostate cancer and my mother had colon cancer for the second time. She beat it again… my father wasn’t so lucky. His death was a major blow to her after more than 60 years of marriage.

Mom also had a pacemaker put in a few years ago. She is also on dialysis every other day as her kidneys no longer function. She’s one tough woman, the strongest woman I know. Throughout everything, she still manages to keep her sense of humor. Don’t get me wrong…she is still a woman you wouldn’t want to cross…but she has gotten more mellow with age. I love her a lot. I hope I get to her age with my mind still intact like hers and with a zest for living that she has.

JLPhillips 2013 (c)
MOM! JLPhillips 2013 (c)

 

The reason for this post…this year I would like to do something really special for  her birthday. Something that she can talk about for months at the hospital in the Dialysis unit to keep her nurses and doctors entertained with every other day. But, since I’m broke and can’t buy her favorite diamonds I’ve thought of something else. Something that will make her happy and glad to be alive. But, I need your help. Here’s my idea…

I would like to have all my friends, blogging buddies and anyone else who wants to join in the fun to send her a birthday card. It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate. It doesn’t even have to be a birthday card! Just a nice note saying hi, wishing her well and to show her people in the world do care about the elderly and strangers. She has also been told by her dialysis doctor that she needs to gain some weight. So she asked me to send her a few recipes. She still loves to cook and does quite often. So I would also like you all to include your favorite recipe for her. She loves collecting recipes and has most her life. She would be absolutely bowled over with this! 

I thought I would call it ‘Operation Birthday Card for Mom‘. So what do you say? Will you help me out? This is how I thought I could work it….

YOU send ME the card and recipe. It can be in a separate envelope that I will send to her.

At the end of the month, I will put all the cards and recipes in one big packet and send them to her all at once. I wish I could be there when she opens the package and sees all the love and care that complete strangers shower over her. She will be the envy of the town! 🙂 And believe me, the town is small and everyone knows everything that is going on.

Also, if you would please repost on WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and any place else you can think of! The more the better! I want her to be reading cards and recipes for weeks! She will so love this!

Quite a few of you already have my address, but if you don’t just say so and I will send it to you via email or Facebook message.

So come on! Help make an 86-year young woman happy! Please? Let’s make this a birthday she won’t forget! Especially if she receives cards from all over the world! And remember….good Karma is always a plus. 🙂

You guys rock! Thank you.

And remember to repost! 🙂

(PS….I forgot to tell you her name! It’s Neva Jean Roeder) Thank you Vanessa for reminding me that you all need her name! 🙂

Posted in Blogging, Flash Back Friday, postaday, writing

Flashback Friday

Hello, people!

Hope this will be the start of a wonderful weekend! I’d also like to take this opportunity to say how happy I am with SCOTUS for passing the same-sex marriage law.

I thought I would bring back a little bitty story I did some time ago. It was for the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge. It’s always been one of my favorites. Hope you enjoy my flash of the past.

For that week’s WordPress weekly writing challenge, we were to write a fifty-word story. Not five thousand, not five hundred, but precisely fifty words. Here’s mine…

 

source
source

 

 

My palm is sweaty where I  grasp you, my hand against your firmness.  My breath quickens when I think of what is to come. A long-term affair continues. My eyes close, lips purse. First your smell hits my nose. Ah, so seductive, you are.  Coffee, how I love thee.

 

 

Posted in Blogging, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, writing

Survey for Readers of ‘The ABC’s of Death Story

Hello, people!

funny-pictures-pardon-me-do-you-have-a-few-minutes-to-answer-a-short-survey

I wanted to thank all of you who have read my postings on ‘The ABC’s of Death’ story. I so hope all of you enjoyed reading it and following along as I wrote my book. It was a wonderful achievement of mine to have brought you along on my journey of writing.

Two and a half months, nearly 46,000 words later we have reached the conclusion of the story. It was quite a ride! Now the real work begins… the editing phase.

With that in mind, I am posting a survey for all of you that read the story. It is completely anonymous. I won’t know who said what, so PLEASE be completely honest with your answers. This will help me so much in the editing phase. You have been along on the writing of the story, I feel you should have a say in the editing, too.

Just answer the questions as honestly as you can. I appreciate it. You guys rock!!

 

 

Posted in Fiction, Flash Back Friday, writing

Flash Back Friday

Hello people!

For today’s Flashback Friday, I didn’t go too far back. Only as far as Feb of last year. I thought I would dust it off and display it once more. It’s still one of my personal favorites as far as stories go. Hope you enjoy it!

I wrote this story as part of WordPress’ Weekly Writing Challenge. We were to write a 1000 word story based on a picture. This is the picture my story is based on.

Source: Cheri Lucas Rowlands
Source: Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Juanita’s Joy

 

Juanita trudged up another hill, carrying her paints and brushes in sack over her back. No one seemed to know Juanita’s exact age, not even Juanita herself. She had been orphaned at a very early age, left to fend for herself in a hard climate, sparsely populated.

Today her gray hair was swept back in a ponytail, her clothes ragged but clean. Her face lined by the harsh sun until you couldn’t distinguish one line from another. Her toothless mouth wide in a smile of pure joy. She loved her life, hard as it was. She knew nothing else, so was content with what  she had.

She taught herself to paint  early in life after she found a few used brushes and paints behind a small shop. Years passed and she became better and better at her chosen work. She sold a few paintings to the frequent tourists to provide food, clothing and her precious paints and brushes.

One day she saw an old abandoned building, sitting alone and forgotten. In her mind, she saw a blank canvas, a beginning of something beautiful. So she started her painting. She loved her old town, the people in it as they had been kind to her all her life. She wanted to give something back and all she had were her paints and her imagination.

She wanted to give the old building life again. With her vivid blues, reds, yellows, greens and purples she painted from sunrise to sunset. Soon the townspeople began to come and watch her paint. They would drop off pitchers of water and baskets of food.

They watched her paint and sometimes heard her sing softly to herself as she painted life into something that was left for dead. That building even got a new person to live in it, as Juanita painted a man in the window content with his work.

When someone saw she had run out of a certain color, a new jar or tube would show up on the doorstep the next morning when she trudged up that hill to the building. Juanita would just smile, and continue with her work.  Her painting was the talk of the town and they would ask the other, “Have you seen what old Juanita is doing to that old building? It is a work of beauty!”

Juanita painted what she knew about life, what she enjoyed. Her neighbors plowing their fields in the hot sun. Ribbons the color of the rainbow gently swaying in the wind. Oxen and cactus and the rare flowers of the desert. She painted them all in a mural that was a beacon to everyone who came through her town.

The townspeople began calling the building “Juanita’s  Joy.”

One day someone noticed Juanita did not show up to paint on her building. They got some friends together and went looking for the old woman. They found her in her old ramshackle hut. The town doctor said she died peacefully in her sleep. The always joyous heart, giving out as she slept.

They gave her a fine funeral, buried her under a large tree near her beloved painted building. The whole town mourned a quiet woman who always looked at life with eyes full of color. The owner of the old building donated it to the town in Juanita’s name. They put her paintings inside for all to see and it was run as a gallery for young and old artists.

One day a beautiful sign showed up on the building.

Juanita’s Joy

A place for all to enjoy beauty in all its glorious colors

 

Posted in Fiction, Flash Back Friday, postaday, writing

Flash Back Friday

Hello people!

How’s the new year treating you so far? Yes, I know, it’s early yet.

I have another short story I wrote on this blog when I first started it. It was the second short story I posted, so it did need some editing. Oh, I was such a newbie back then. You can read the original here. 

Enjoy! Remember, I love comments! So go ahead and tell me what you think, be honest, I can’t learn if I get no feedback is the way I look at it.

antique_headboard_in_sunbeam

 

The Shadow

Jenny lay in the dark, frightened and feeling so alone.  She was so tired, yet she fought sleep with every breath she drew.  Afraid to close her eyes, she watched the shadows of the tree outside her window play on her bedroom ceiling.

She tried to convince herself for the umpteenth time that there was nothing to be afraid of. It was her overactive imagination that was messing with her. Her mother always told her she needed to stop living in the clouds and stop believing in make-believe.

Losing the fight, her eyes slowly closed. A few seconds later her lids flew open and she gasped. Eyes wild, breathing heavy, Jenny knew it was no dream. When her eyes were closed is when she  saw, well she wasn’t sure what it was she saw. A shadow? Yes, a shadow was the best way to describe it. And yet, it was more than a shadow. It had substance, a form, a feeling about it.

A ghost? No, Jenny shook her head, it couldn’t be a ghost. You saw those with your eyes open. She didn’t see anything strange when her eyes were open. Only when they were closed. A dream? No! She knew she wasn’t dreaming. She might not be wide awake, but she wasn’t dreaming either. It was so frustrating not being able to explain to herself what it was she was afraid of.

That’s why she was afraid to sleep. She hadn’t had a good night’s rest since she moved into this house. Her first real home, all hers. It was turning more into a nightmare than a dream come true. From that first night, she saw the shadow when she closed her eyes. Didn’t matter if it was night or day, if she wanted to sleep, it was there. Always lurking.

It  didn’t do anything. Jenny wasn’t even sure why she was afraid. She thought it was because it should do something! Anything! But, in all these months it was just there. She sensed it was male. Why? She wasn’t sure. That’s just what her senses told  her. It was male, and it wanted something from her. Or it wanted her.

Jenny’s heart jumped, one day she thought, one day she will fall asleep and the shadow will make its move. Jenny felt her stomach clench with fear. What did it want? She should move, but she hated the thought of giving up her dream home. Her thoughts jumped from one thought to another. Oh, she was so tired! All she wanted was a good night’s sleep. That’s all she needed, it would clear her mind, help her with deciding what she should do. So tired…….. she was so very tired.

Jenny could feel her lids closing. She couldn’t push back sleep anymore. She took one last deep breath, felt her heart pound, and then slowly she fell asleep.

The shadow smiled and moved forward, she was his.

 

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Daily Post Writing Challenge, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, postaday

Things I’ve Learned This Past Year

The Daily Post Weekly writing challenge is to write a list;

For this week’s challenge, I invite you to breathe new life into the established genre of the end-of-year countdown list. Sure, you’re welcome to share your top-20 books, songs, or obscure craft beers of the year. But you could also try something a bit different.

 

My grandmother once told me that I should learn one new thing a day. I think that was wise advice and I have always tried to keep her words in mind. Learning new things keeps me young and I hope, sharp minded.

There are different kinds of learning though. You can learn new facts about a subject, new ideas, new words, all kinds of new things. As long as I’m learning, I’m happy.

This past year was not an easy  year for me. It was a learning year, though. I found out more about myself, my life, my choices, my wants and my needs. So for this writing challenge I am going to list all the things I’ve learned this year.

  • I’ve learned that life can be a bitch. I all ready knew that one, but it was reinforced this past year with a vengeance.
  • I’ve learned that I am much stronger than I thought I was.
  • I’ve learned that I am much weaker than I knew.
  • I’ve learned that you can trust some people. Believe me that is a hard one for me to learn, but yes, I can trust some people and they won’t turn around and stab me in the back.
  • I’ve learned I can be trusted with secrets.
  • I’ve learned I can be a really good friend. I know this sounds strange, but sometimes I wasn’t sure about myself. Now I am.
  • I’ve learned that change doesn’t scare me. I kind of knew that about myself anyway, but it’s nice to learn it over again.
  • change_image
  • I’ve learned patience. Or I should amend that, I AM learning patience. I always thought I was, but this past year has put it to the ultimate test. Sometimes I failed. I’m honest enough to admit that, but then I try again.
  • I’ve learned that people in constant pain are very strong people, they have to be.
  • I’ve learned that people in constant pain sometimes wish to end it, a final end. My husband has hinted at it a few times, that scares me, but now I understand a bit more why he would have those thoughts. One day he might follow through with those thoughts and put it into action.
  • I’ve learned that my depression is trying to take hold once more.
  • I’ve learned to fight that depression, every single day.
  • I’ve learned that trying to work with government bureaucracy is an ongoing test of my patience and temper.
  • I’ve learned that my mother and I can become friends. We still hit a rough patch now and then, but it’s getting less and less that we do. More and more we are learning to appreciate each other and laugh with each other.
  • I’ve learned that I love writing even more than I thought.
  • www.fromoldbooks.org
    http://www.fromoldbooks.org
  • I’ve learned that the people on WordPress on the whole are a wonderful, loving, nurturing group of people. Sure, you might find the odd asshat, or an attention whore, but this community is strong and vital and I am so glad I’m here with you all.
  • I’ve learned that blogging is the best therapy I’ve found.
  • I’ve learned that I still have the capacity to love, I thought I lost that along the way.
  • I’ve learned that I need to give myself a break now and then.
  • I’ve learned that some life choices were very hard to make, but I’m glad I did make the choices I made.
  • I’ve learned that my bad knee hates weather that is -25c.
  • I’ve learned how to walk with a cane, not be ashamed of it, and to find other uses for a cane that I would never have thought about before!
  • I’ve learned how to forgive myself for not being a better housekeeper, there are more important things in life than getting rid of a layer of dust somewhere.
  • I’ve learned that I actually like writing poetry, who would have thunk it?
  • I’ve learned to keep my sense of humor, even in the most trying of times. It saved my ass a few times this past year.
  • I’ve learned that I’ve learned a hell of a lot this year!

 

There you have it. I’m sure I’ve missed something, but I believe I got the most important lessons down that I learned this year. I’m sure I’m due for some more teachings along the way next year.

 

What is the one most important lesson YOU have learned this year?

 

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Daily Post Writing Challenge, Mi Vida Loca, nonfiction, Stories of my life, writing

WRITING CHALLENGE Honey versus Vinegar

Weekly, Daily Post Writing Challenge: Honey versus Vinegar

Small moments of kindness peek through our everyday lives, from your neighbors’ “Good morning!” to a surprise “I’ll take care of that for you” at the office. This week, we want you to explore what that kindness means to you, and share it with others.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

She had white hair, a round wrinkled face, kind blue eyes and a big toothless grin. I was a skinny, shy kid with white hair, an angled face and inquisitive gray eyes and a big gap toothed smile.

We were best friends.

Her name was Minnie, I was told to call her Aunt Minnie. She lived two doors down from where my family lived. We had just moved into the house that week when I met her for the first time. I was about 6 or seven, she could have been anywhere from 60 to 90. I know she was old when I first met her. She always wore dresses, silk stockings that she would sometimes roll down to her calves. Clunky, serviceable black shoes with think rubber soles. She wore glasses to read, otherwise they lay against a sagging bosom from a silver chain around her neck.

When she hugged me tight she smelled of dusty lavender, face powder and that morning’s breakfast.

She was married to a man who was a quiet soul. He would sit in the living room and read the newspaper as Aunt Minnie taught me the ‘proper’ way to take care of the house. She was the one who taught a shy little girl how to sweep floors, dust, and iron clothes. As we worked side by side, she would tell me about her only child. A daughter she would tell me, just like me. A cherished child that drowned when she was 12, many years ago. Aunt Minnie never got over the death. She never had any more children.

Aunt Minnie said she had me now, that’s all she needed.

This kindly old lady befriended a small skinny child who needed a friend so much. She must have seen something in me one day that I didn’t know about. I was living a nightmare I couldn’t tell anyone about. I was living a hell of sexual abuse, also my mother and I didn’t get along. So I clung to kind Aunt Minnie as much as she clung to me.

I would help her with her chores, while she taught me so much. She taught me more than she ever knew. She taught me to have pride in what work I did. To have pride in myself. She taught a quiet, introverted book nerd that it was all right to make mistakes. She was patient, kind and never scolded if I did something wrong. She taught me that even if there was many years difference in our ages, two lonely people could be best friends. She taught me to trust again. Hesitantly, but trust her I did.

Aunt Minnie also taught me that it’s the kindness in yourself towards others that will fill a void, a need. Not nastiness, not jealousy, not hatred. Kindness was something that brought us together, a young child and an older, wiser woman who had so much love in her to share. A child who soaked that kindness up so many, many years ago and now that I am older, is trying to give some of that kindness to others that might need it now.

Thank you Aunt Minnie for being kindness personified.

 

Posted in Blog challenge, Blogging, Daily Post Picture Challenge, nonfiction, Stories of my life

PHOTO CHALLENGE Contrasts

The Daily Post photo challenge this week is: contrasts

Here is my contribution.

 

(c) JLPhillips 2013
(c) JLPhillips 2013

 

My dog Sam and my cat Pouncer sharing the same sunbeam. Now they are a contrast as their personalities are such that this sharing is a very rare occurrence.

 

Mother Natures Art (c) JLPhillips 2013 A Canadian sunset
Mother Natures Art (c) JLPhillips 2013 A Canadian sunset

 

I love this picture I took last year of a sunset off my patio. The bare trees are a sharp contrast against the beautiful fiery sunset.

 

JLPhillips 2013 (c)
JLPhillips 2013 (c)

 

My mother, who will be 85 this year. A woman of many contrasts. She can be the nicest person in the world. Just don’t dare cross her!  My mother and I have had our difficulties in the past, but she is the strongest woman I know as she has overcome so many things in her life. She is only 4’11, but she is a giant in personality.