Creatures of Habit…..

Many of us do get comfortable in our routines and habits. Yes, there are others that seem to approach all sorts of things spontaneously, and while I occasionally have such a moment, it’s very occasionally.

They finally opened a new Publix a bit closer to us than the regular one. It is a brand new building which is always nice and the employees seem to be enjoying it. Hubby went first although did avoid opening day. I ventured in for a few things last week and did actual shopping yesterday. The design and layout are different and so far, I am about 70% of understanding where things are. Aside from the fact yesterday was really busy for me, it does take longer to shop because of not knowing which aisle is which. Yes, there are signs, but now I have to stop and look and read them. In all the other Publix, the bakery and deli are close together and in this one, they are on opposite sides of the store. That completely alters the sequence which will be okay once I am accustomed to it. After spending at least fifteen minutes more than usual, I had enough to get us through a couple of days and figured one of us could go back for whatever I missed. In all fairness, we generally have to make at least one extra trip anyway for one reason or the other.

Stockage-wise, they do seem to have less of some things at this store, but for example, they have veal scallopini and that’s nice. I didn’t get any this week as I picked up lamb chops instead. The other change to get used to is more refrigerated units than refrigerated open sections. No doubt that saves on electricity, but again, the different set-up is throwing me off a bit. Ah well, I should be okay in another week or two.

Progress on New “Shades”…..

This is the longest gap I have had between books as Idyllic Islands was published in 2021. I’ve mentioned in a previous post I was struggling as I am writing Shades of Remorse, the fifth in the series with Police Detective Bev Henderson, from a triple Point of View rather than a dual as the others are. The reason I need to make this change is because while most of the action takes place in Verde Key, a critical event and character is in New Orleans and that character then arrives in Verde Key. I couldn’t find a way to realistically portray the character or events involving her only through the eyes of her aunt.

I have worked through most of the initial issues I had and am more comfortable with the way the story is flowing. I changed some of my approach as I certain elements I was going to include won’t synchronize as I thought. It’s all part of the process and I’m okay with that. I’ve also decided to introduce a new assistant medical examiner and I think fans will like her. So far, Kyle, Bev’s husband, isn’t as prominent as in previous books, but he may appear more in the later chapters. I’ll see how that fits. I still don’t have as much time to devote to it as I would like, but I do want to get it out this year. No earlier than fall and it might bump up against the holidays.

About Those Fundraisers…..

As I have previously posted, we are heavily involved in the community and there are – as everywhere – so many non-profits that do good work. They run the gamut from the internationals such as the Kiwanis with lots of members to the small, focused groups such as those who serve children and teens for specific purposes. In other cases, they are cultural in nature like our two museums. They all need constant donations and for the large, well-established ones who can afford grant writers and are networked into the big donors, they can bring in substantial sums. That still requires a lot of effort, but also results in noticeable results.

For others, it’s developing a smaller network, yet enough supporters to get by. I fall into both categories – not as a member of a major organization, but I do sponsor certain events as Charlie Hudson Writes and use those as a business expense. Sometimes it’s an ad, and other times a basket. In changing to the smaller side, in addition to whatever we personally contribute, I cover many of the organizations in the newspaper with the closing paragraph along the lines of, “There are many worth causes and this may be one that especially appeals to you.”

Because of holding events outside (sometimes covered, but open air) and the seasonal residents we have, Oct-May are the big fundraising months with every weekend (other than Thanksgiving and Christmas) where at least one event is held. Multiples are common. Big dinners and fishing tournaments are the most prevalent and of course a few golf tournaments. Apparently with the surge in popularity of Pickleball, tournaments for that, too, may be starting up. I suppose I should go watch a match some day just to see what the game actually is.

Those Far-Spaced Events….

I would imagine everyone was watching the eclipse for at least some point yesterday. One friend traveled to Texas to be with old friends, my grandniece is at Baylor which was in totality. Rest of her family is in Houston so they had a fair amount as well. The TV coverage was great as they were switched from location to location. I think I spent about an hour watching. There has been at least one in my lifetime and perhaps two. Who knows if we’ll be here for 2025 (2024?), but it’s feasible. I haven’t checked with the kids yet for what they did, although granddaughter is old enough that I’m sure they had class about it beforehand. I guess some places not accustomed to many visitors were somewhat (or completely) overwhelmed with people coming in and again, I guess for those who aren’t sure if they will ever see another one, it would be important to be part of it.

Now, a once-in-a-lifetime for us was crossing into the new millennium and that was pretty spectacular. Yes, all the worry and prep about Y2K turned out to be a non-problem, although being prepared did make sense. We were friends at our beach house in Nagshead. We had looked at traveling to somewhere exotic and even at several months out things were either already booked or prices jacked up so much we didn’t want to pay that much. We weren’t very concerned about the world coming to an end in 2012 and can’t say we did anything special for that one.

We probably won’t be around for the nation’s 300th either, but the 250th is just two years away. That should be a great Fourth of July celebration and no doubt, there are places already making their plans. Hmmm, now that I think about it, I might should be booking somewhere already. Well, the kids are likely to still be in the D.C. area which would be logical or another trip to Philadelphia.

Whirl of a Week…..

Well, I knew it was going to be busy and with four extra events/tasks thrown in, let’s just say I haven’t had much spare time since our return. Some if it is social though so it isn’t as if it’s all work. At the moment – and I will try to keep it that way – Saturday will not require me to go out to meet with anyone. I may have one semi-obligation and if that comes about it will be here at the house.

Lots of things for the two non-profits I am heavily involved with have been at the core of the week and then there were some lingering input needed to get the taxes off. We split it with me gathering all the initial data, then Hubby has to do the on-line input of many pages. This is like the third time since our tax guy has started using this system and therefore, it’s more familiar. The issue is now that many institutions don’t have to send tax documents until the end of February, there are always one or two that are later. And between holidays and the surge of people who come to dive Jan-early March, it is really difficult to get what we need done by the first week of March. I can’t recall the last year we didn’t put in for an extension. Ah well, it simply stretches things out.

We have another artist reception this evening and while I have attended the last few by myself because of Hubby’s schedule, this is one he really wants to attend. That means I go to my 5:00 and instead of going from that to the reception, I’ll come home instead, link in with Hubby after he has a quick shower, then back to the reception. Dinner after with friends though who also can’t make it until later which allows everything to align.

Back and Busy…..

Although we did leave the cold behind on Thursday, ironically temperatures went down a bit here as well. Not to where anything other than long sleeves were required which meant great improvement over sweaters and coats. The list of to-do’s I already had lined up for the week was added to yesterday and timing is going to be trickier than I expected next week. I have to shift a few things around and do some extra coordination.

Hubby did get enough groceries yesterday to carry us through the weekend and there were some lovely lamb chops. While we do enjoy lamb routinely, Easter is one of the times we like to specifically have it. Bothering with a traditional leg is not something we do after having tried it once. The meal was good; just more involved than marinating and throwing chops on the grill. I’ve posted before about how lamb was never anything we ate in the deep South because back when I was growing up, it simply wasn’t really available. All that has changed of course as even if you live in a place without a major grocery store, there is the internet option.

We’re having snapper with roasted tomato and tomatillo sauce tonight to balance out the extra red meat of the past few days. Hubby will spice up the black beans to go with rice and I’m still trying to make up a bit on the salad side. The kids always enjoyed ordering appetizers for dinner and that did not include one as a salad.

Anyway, Happy Easter to all who celebrate it.

Where Did the Week Go……….

Ah, the usual answer of course with some extra deadlines thrown in and forgetting to check when I did the last post. This week isn’t really any better as I have to line up an interview to ensure I have an article for the paper while we are away. It’s a nice story though – I think – as it is a Barber School which has opened downtown and promises a career in nine months. As anyone who follows the blog knows, I am a big supporter of the trades, or in this case, personal services, that provides a path to at least start on. I hope they also have some data as to hires after graduation.

Anyway, shifting onto the personal writing side, even though I’ve never had a commercial success, there are a couple of paths for writers like me who have a large body of work available. One way is to have some celebrity pick up a book and start talking about it. Not very likely to happen. The other is having a book picked up for film or television which then generally will drive sales. I receive weekly cold calls/emails offering a package about getting more attention for one of my books. In one case, it’s a company I did open an account with and never opted for their service. They recently sent a special offer for a significantly reduced price and since I didn’t publish last year, I thought I might as well have a conversation. That led to me agreeing to do a submission. What I didn’t realize was the offer was actually for five “pitches”, not one. Since each pitch requires about three-four hours to prepare, it has been time consuming. The focus will be my two scuba-themed mystery series. The first two are for Shades of Truth and Shades of Gold, then the first three in the Chris Green series. Those are Deadly Doubloons, False Front, and Georgina’s Grief. (If you’re new to the blog, everything is at I still need to complete one step to activate the other four and it’s a graphics thing I have to get help with. I can’t say I expect any real success, but as has been my approach all these years, I might as well try.

Two Charter Memberships…….

I belong to multiple associations/organizations and in two cases, am a charter member. The first one is a bit amusing. I was stationed in Maryland and as usual, received constant requests for donations to things I contributed to as well as many others I don’t. I open a letter one day asking me to become a charter member for the National Museum for Women in the Arts (NMWA) to be established in Washington, D.C. They went on about how there were no dedicated museums to women artists and this would not be part of the National Parks system, but a private museum such as the Phillips. I wasn’t sure if the request was legitimate, but I sent a check and then pretty much forgot about it. I eventually receive another letter about how NMWA has now purchased a building and whatever date they anticipated it would be renovated and opened. Well, that was good to know. When we went back to the D.C. area, we went to the museum for the first time. It was previously a Masonic Temple and has an odd shape. Inside, however, the building itself it practically a work of art; lots of marble and soaring ceilings. Two floors are for rotating exhibits as they have so much art, it can’t all be displayed. One floor is special exhibits and they have had some fabulous ones. The fourth floor is for research and archives. There are rooms for meetings and lectures, a lovely gift shop with obviously great  items and there is a Metro station a short walk away.

The second organization is one I’ve posted about before and I note on Facebook each Memorial Day and Veterans Day. I was stationed in Hawaii when Brigadier General Wilma Vaught made the rounds to tell women about the plan for The Women in Military Service for America (WIMSA) museum. In selecting a site within Arlington Military Cemetery, that ensured it would be easy for people to find. It is h intriguing and a totally different concept than NMWA. The history and stories it contains are varied and inspiring. One of my goals if we ever have an extra couple of days when we visit the kids is to take Amelia to both places, but especially to WIMSA.

Need That Extra Day……

I think it’s good we have the extra day in February this year as more tasks seem to pop up all the time. Oh, I did have a boss one time – well, worked for him on two different assignments years apart – who was a Leap Year baby. While being born on April 1st can come with its own set of jokes and being born right around Christmas can cause birthdays to sort of get overlooked, a Feb 29th birthday has to be the most confusing. He, and maybe most, chose to celebrate Feb 28th in the off-years.

And speaking of birthdays, we are once again, by coincidence of timing going to be with the kids and granddaughter not long after her birthday. No present on that day, but will hold off until we see them not quite two weeks after. That way, we’ll combine a souvenir for the trip and birthday present. She’ll have plenty to open on the actual day. We will take care of her for at least one day for the kids to have a, “date day”, and might turn that into two. If so, one day might be “girls only” and let Hubby go off for a photo shoot as we will be in Center City Philadelphia with a lot of great architecture. If we do that, there could be shopping involved to buy a new outfit. The advantage of Philadelphia in late March is the weather might be really nice for the many outdoor things available. If the weather is tricky, there are plenty of indoor options as well. It might not have the magic of Disney, but the Science Center is terrific and there is allegedly a Lego place which of course will be a draw. We won’t make firm plans because it’s too unpredictable and since we will be there on week days, getting into places should be okay without advance tickets.


No Scuba This Month Either…….

In all fairness, I don’t usually have the chance to dive in February and often not January. While the water is colder, I can generally handle that. The issue more often is wind. Hubby has had some really tough days on the water the past three weeks and  was even if my schedule was better, the odds are I wouldn’t have gone out. Yes, those of us who live here do get spoiled. The amusing part is for divers who come from the Northeast or the Great Lakes area consider these conditions to be almost balmy.

Added to the weather aspect, I did take a tumble Jan 6 when I was in a hurry and didn’t notice the uneven paver. My hands were full so when I fell, my right wrists didn’t take the full impact. The sprain was manageable as were the scraps and bruises. It isn’t completely healed though and I suspect trying to wrestle with dive gear for another couple of weeks wouldn’t be a good idea anyway. I am working my way back to being able to do my toning exercises where I use 5-pound hand weights. I do that three days a week with a series of eight different exercises starting with 32 reps per arm, then 34 on the second day, and 36 on the third. I managed four exercises yesterday and stopped. As much as I would like to be completely healed, I know I have to be careful not to push too hard. A friend who was in physical therapy a few times following surgeries was bad about, “if some is good, more is better”. One of the therapists finally convinced him that, no, they set up his schedule for a reason and trying to “do extra” would do more harm than good.

I am grateful it was no worse and am respecting the fact that we don’t heal as quickly as we did in our younger years.