4:00 A.M.Musings…..

I haven’t gone on-line yet to look it up, but the past few mornings have been worse than usual with my insomnia. For quite some time now, when that 3:00 a.m. hits and I can’t get back to sleep, I move to the love seat where I stretch out, and turn a show on with something not overly stimulating at a low volume. This generally causes me to drift back to sleep with half an hour. Not so yesterday and I didn’t think it would be much better this morning. As a note of interest, there would be several misspelled words here, but they are being caught by the little “red underline” that apparently doesn’t require sleep. Anyway, maybe I am cycling through where I can actually function with five hours for a short time. I am having a cup of herbal tea rather than put the coffee on yet. See, 4:00 a.m. doesn’t bother me much a couple of mornings a week. As most people who know me are aware, I am normally up between 5:00-5:30. Therefore, 4:00 isn’t that much earlier. The 3:00 though, that’s different. I do have one of those combined sleep aide/pain relief things that seems to work, but I don’t like to take them every night. I realize they claim they are not habit-forming and perhaps not. I simply don’t like to take pills other than basic vitamins and supplements.

It’s possible I will be able to fit in a nap, which will help. That didn’t actually work yesterday though which is why I thought for sure I’d sleep longer this morning. Ah well, what’s done is done and my guess is I’m up for the day. On the other hand, during the time when my son didn’t consistently sleep through the night until he was four years old, the idea of sleeping five straight hours was blissful. I suppose I should keep that perspective.

Day 3 into Day 4…..

Poignant thoughts alert. Although my time with the quilting guild was absolutely delightful, there was no way they could cover my expenses for this is trip. I came because it was truly fortuitous. Of all the places I could have been invited to speak, what are the odds there would be a group within a five-hour drive of my friend whom  I had not seen since 2003? If one chooses to not believe in such things, that’s fine.

My drive over yesterday was pretty much without incidence, other than the fact they failed to replace a directional sign I needed after doing some roadwork last year. As I was going along and felt perhaps I had missed a turn somewhere, I stopped for a bathroom/beverage break and being female had no problem asking if I had in fact missed a turn. The young lady immediately said, “Oh yes, everyone does that,” and explained the problem. I was only about ten miles off’ so that wasn’t too bad. I arrived within fifteen minutes of my original plan which from my perspective put me on target.

My friend and I passed a pleasant afternoon catching up and reminiscing. We had dinner that night with her daughter who is only a year younger than me and lost her husband unexpectedly Thanksgiving morning. The irony here is I met my friend years ago after she lost her husbandly unexpectedly at the too-young age of forty-five. However, since I lost my first husband unexpectedly at twenty-seven, I was able to help her sort through the intense emotions. And so, last night we were both able to sit there and offer support to her grieving daughter. Such is the power of female friendship.

What’s One More Deadline?….

First book in the “Small Town” series

I’ll try not to feel guilty about my lapse in posting. It is something I enjoy doing and when I slip up, it bothers me. On the other hand, when I say “Yes” too often, there are only so many hours in a day. On Wednesday I head up to Wisconsin and that has generated some extra, “But can’t you please do…..before you go?”

Anyway, the upcoming trip I briefly mentioned in a previous post is of special interest. A lady from the Darting Needles Quilting Guild contacted me last year about being a guest speaker. I would not normally travel that far, but in this case, there is a dear friend whom I have not seen in many years. It’s about a six-hour drive from where I’ll be presenting, but since I haven’t been to Wisconsin, this should allow me to enjoy some of the state at least. She lives in a very small town which is rather fitting considering I’ll be talking about my Small Town quilting cozy novels. The town where I’ll be presenting is either on or close to Green Bay and sounds like it is charming. There is a university that I suspect will remind me of the small university I graduated from in Louisiana. I’ll be taking a suitcase since I’ll be carrying some books as well as staying a few extra days. That means I can throw in a jacket in case they won’t be having the high 80s/low 90s temperatures I’ll be leaving.

I’m looking forward to visiting a part of the country I’m not familiar with and as usual, I’ll do a daily blog while I’m on the road.

 

 

When The Odds Change….

Serious content alert. This is “odds” as in a mathematical term, not oddities as applies to different things. I’m not certain what keyed the memory. For those old enough to recall the 1970s TV series, “Kung Fu”, you might not have caught the 1990s short-lived “Kung Fu – The Legend Continues”. In the later series, David Carradine played the grandson of his original character and the show took place in modern times. In one episode, an activist had studied with the Master and men he was trying to expose were planning to kill him. At one point, he spoke with the Master and they recalled an exercise the young man had gone through. He’d been surrounded by “opponents” and had asked which ones to strike first. “The ones you cannot see” were the instructions. He held his own for a while, but as he was falling to the mat under the weight of multiple men, he asked what he had done incorrectly. “Nothing,” was the rely. “When the odds are too overwhelming, you will lose.”

With Memorial Day approaching, there will be stories told of men and units who defied what were incredible odds and won. Those are the stories we love to hear and should. There will quite possibly be other depictions of battles lost – battles that perhaps should never have been engaged in or certainly not in the manner they were. The slaughters of World War I come to mind when the deadly consequences of tanks and machine guns were foolishly ignored by generals who wanted to believe they could cling to traditional means of warfare rather than understand the “odds” had been irrevocably changed.

On the other hand, sheer technology does not always win the day as we learned in post-World War II conflicts. Sadly, we enter into another Memorial Day when our troops are still deployed in harm’s way. So, as is the purpose of Memorial Day, do take a few minutes to say a prayer for those who lost their lives in faraway places.

And Yet Another Insurance….

People who are considering relocating or arenew to the area often aren’t fully aware of certain financial matters. Florida does not have a state tax, yet state income has to have sources. That generally is done through additional fuel, property, and sales tax as well as perhaps higher cost for certain services. Those are the sort of “second-level” costs to be aware of. Home insurance is another. Everyone is accustomed to paying home insurance and often flood insurance. What people don’t necessarily know is the additional polices that can be applied regionally. For us in a water-bordered peninsula state with a six-month long hurricane season, that means windstorm (hurricane) insurance. So, if you have a mortgage (set aside any PMI aspect), you are required to carry separate hazard, flood, and windstorm policies. Not long ago we were notified sinkhole insurance is an optional policy. Before that raises a chuckle, much of Florida has a limestone base and in central, north, and west Florida, there are cave systems. Those equal large (sometimes massive) holes underground. That also makes for potential sinkholes fully capable of occurring suddenly and destructively such as the ground collapsing under part or all of a house. It is common enough that insurance companies are now issuing special policies. In response, there are also now companies that specialize in sinkhole mitigation. These are construction companies that have worked out the warning signs in a house and can come in to perform certain tests and strengthen aspects of the house accordingly.

At this point, coverage is optional here and we are not in one of the counties known as “Sinkhole Alley.” Hopefully, that won’t change.

 

When Politics Really Did Mean Murder…..

My husband hates the Jeopardy category of “Royalty”. Other than Cleopatra, Rameses, King Tut, King Herod, Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth, Mary Queen of Scots, George III because of the American Revolution, Queen Victoria, and Princess Diana, he hasn’t a clue and doesn’t want one. I’m not an expert, but I often manage the category until it gets into the obscure stuff (of which there is a great deal). We are currently watching “The White Princess” on Starz after having watched “The White Queen” last year. The shows about the War of Roses and rise of the Tudors are actually fairly accurate which is saying something for Hollywood. As I pointed out though, this is a situation where you don’t have to make too much up. There was enough violence, sex, betrayal, and intrigue to make any writer/producer happy. We look at today’s “dirty politics” – which I do wish were less nasty – yet in the end, no one’s head actually gets chopped off and children aren’t murdered because they will have a claim to the thrown. That is not to say terrible things aren’t happening in the world, but within most countries, the “political blood-letting” is figurative.

I tend to prefer non-fiction written in an engaging manner since history reads like so much fiction. I do like historical novels although I am more demanding than hubby when it comes to wanting historical accuracy. I don’t know that I have a favorite period – I mean who didn’t enjoy the Clan of the Cave Bear series – even though I haven’t read (or watched) Outlander. That’s more because I’m not a big time travel sub-genre fan. Anyway, Hubby more or less follows the story line of The White Princess as long as he doesn’t have to figure out whom is whom. He boils it down to who is on the throne and if they can stay there. His view is anyone who isn’t in power is trying to get there and that does pretty much sum up the situation.

Relax With a Short Story….

If you’ve never roamed around my website into the Short Story Archive, I invite you to do so. For whatever reason, this morning, I suppose because it’s Mother’s Day, I was struck by a desire to go and look at one I did which has a unique twist to it. “Mamma in Moonlight” http://bit.ly/174Vq6v is actually a prequel to, “The Frequent Bridesmaid” http://charliehudson.net/stories/story200606.html

This is not normally something I do. I originally wrote, “The Frequent Bridesmaid” and some time after that, I ran across a writing challenge (I think it was),  where you were given the first line and went from there. In this case, the first line was, “Mamma has always had a love for possessions.” I don’t recall why that one struck me as it did, but I realized it could match with the previous story. It is what I refer to as “drippingly Southern”, and yes, I know there is no such word. This falls into the category of words that should exist and as a writer you can sometimes get away with such antics. Although I do behave when a book or other publication is involved, I’ll exercise my right in a blog to step outside grammatical boundaries in this case.

Anyway, if you want to sit and relax with a couple of short stories, you can take them in either sequence. Have a great day. Circumstances are such that I’ll be working most of the day because in the freelance world, deadlines don’t really respect weekends or holidays. I will stop around 4:00 and will celebrate Mother’s Day after that.

Why I Love Entrepreneurs……

I posted about Joe’s Famous Hamburgers a couple of years ago. He makes a great burger and his decision to branch out into something brand new after being downsized from a company was the kind of story I enjoy. We would stop by occasionally and a few months ago we noticed his bright red food truck was no longer in the familiar spot. I was sorry to see that, but there are lots of reasons for a food truck to disappear just as there are for any other restaurant to close.

Surprise, surprise – last week I was passing the newly opened K&G Cycles store and there was Joe’s truck in their parking lot. I didn’t have time to stop, but really slowed down to make sure it was him. Yes! I told Hubby and he agreed we would have to pop by soon. I had a bit of an odd schedule yesterday and it was right at 11:30 when I was practically next door to K&G Cycles (more about that in a future post). I pulled into the parking lot and saw the Open light on in Joe’s truck. I walked up to tell him I was glad to see him and immediately called Hubby to see if he was making lunch yet. I knew he probably wasn’t and sure enough, he was on his usual schedule. I told him I was bringing burgers home. Joe and I chatted briefly about how the other location had become too pricey in rent and he hadn’t been able to get a permit to re-open until K&G Cycles had their Occupancy Certificate. The only drawback to Joe’s is there are only two picnic tables, both uncovered. But if you’re doing take-out, you’re all set. He’s definitely not fast food, so don’t be in a hurry. It’s worth the extra time though. He has other sandwiches and hot dogs and some day I might go for something other than the burger.

You can find Joe on Krome Ave in Florida City near the Cracker Barrel. He’s on Facebook, too.

Of All The Silly Things……

Finished Hearts For Amelia Quilt with Sam, My Daughter-in-law

When I decided it was indeed time to take up quilting, I had already made the decision to stick with smaller quilts which could be crib quilts or lap quilts. The reason for this was threefold. Space was the primary issue as we do not have the room for a large dining table that makes for an excellent quilt layout spot. We also don’t have room for a large sewing machine which comes in very handy as you’re trying to work anything from twin bed size on up. The third reason was I am not, in general, in a hurry to get any particular project completed and so the definitely slower element of hand quilting was not going to be an issue. Since the first quilt was to be the one for Amelia, there was a bit of a deadline and with all my other obligations, plus the relative complexity of the quilt (which was a great way to learn), I did have to push a little to make it. The one rule about the quilt was that it was fully intended to be dragged about and eventually no doubt torn up rather than treated as something special. I’ll make quilts for her at different stages of her life, so trying to preserve the first one wasn’t necessary.

Anyway, one of the things I’ve discovered is I cannot seem to find a thimble I can comfortably use. None of the other quilters appear to have this problem and haven’t noticed I don’t use one. At this point, I’m too embarrassed to bring it up. I did discuss it with a friend who agreed it was an unnatural feeling and a little awkward. I will keep searching about and see if I can work through it, then eventually ask for help I imagine. If anyone out there has an idea, I’m open to suggestions.

Amelia and Quilt (Bright sunshine making her squint)

Watching an Orchid Unfold….

I have been quite clear in my posts that Hubby is the plant person. A rock garden is the only type genuinely safe around me although I have gotten better with succulents. I’ve also posted before about our experiences with orchids and sure as the world, the two we thought were thriving may not be after all. The large one in front affixed to one of the palms is fine and in almost constant bloom. The two small ones in the back yard are the ones we may lose/may have already lost. Which brings me to the fourth one.

Thanks to our environment, orchids plants are a frequent table decoration at events. Last September when we attended the Chamber of Commerce Installation Dinner at the beautiful Schnebley Winery, we happened to be the ones from our table who won the lovely orchid as a door prize. It was in full bloom and kept the blossoms for quite some time. The leaves looked healthy enough even though we weren’t sure what was going to happen in the longer term. About a week ago, we realized there were not only buds on it, there were even more than when we first brought it home. Over the past three days, the first bud opened slightly, then about half-way, and fully late yesterday. I took a photo at each stage, but unfortunately for the second time lately, me emailing myself photos from my phone isn’t working. I’ll have to ask Hubby to see if he can “unblock” them. If so, I’ll edit the post and insert them