And Now for Some Trees……

This does seem to be the summer of those annoying, but necessary expenses in maintaining a house. I already discussed – or think I did – the pool work we’re part-way through with. And as I have posted about previously, the back yard gets out of control and has to be seriously cleaned up every few years. This time though we are taking a slightly different approach. We had one of our traveler (fan) palms removed a while back. The more Hubby has looked at the remaining three and as troublesome as they are at times, he wants to go ahead and get rid of them. It’s a combination of new shoots constantly sprouting that have to be dealt with and the fronds that drop more often than the other palms. The only real downside will be the orchids that have grown well on them, but maybe we can find another spot. We might also decide to get some air plants instead and put them in baskets on the fence.

And our landscaping guy we’ve used for years did ask me about whatever the small tree is next to the generator. That was planted in the last “refresh” by the other landscaper we use for the big changes. Problem is the way it grows makes it difficult for the generator service people and the guy last time did mention it. According to our regular guy, apparently if he cuts is way back, when it re-grows, it will be straighter and not get in the way so much. It makes sense and then hopefully, it will be good from then on.

Lots of Fireworks……

Quite frankly, this was a year with everything going on, I didn’t have the energy to try and put much together for Fourth of July. Hubby had to go shoot the event which meant arrive around 6:00 and stay until 9:30 and I simply didn’t want to spend that long at the event. Maybe next year. Or it’s like a three-mile walk so perhaps next year I’ll go with him, stay for an hour or so, and walk back before it gets dark. That would be kind of interesting. Anyway, we did have one of our neighbors over for lunch. Again, it’s been a hectic time so fundamentally, we went with grilled chicken (BBQ style), grilled corn on the cob, beans, Publix potato salad, cold slaw, and key lime pie, plus Marie Callendar frozen apple pie I baked. For appetizers I only did deli tray and little meatballs lightly sauced with BBQ sauce and those were also from frozen. I polished off a couple of leftovers for dinner and Hubby grabbed something at the event.

I have no idea how much the neighbors spent on fireworks, but it must have been quite a bit. I usually go out and mingle for a little while and even passed on that. Someone else behind us (perhaps in the adjoining neighborhood) also had lots of fireworks. A couple of times, there was the display out front and in back which made for a nice array. I had the Capital Fourth tuned in as well and cranked up the volume for the 15 or so minutes I watched that part. Hubby had skipped on pie after lunch so I stayed up later than usual and had my final drink of the night while he enjoyed his apple pie a la mode.

He had to go in for morning boat instead of getting to sleep late and I don’t remember what the rest of his schedule is for the weekend.

No Second Dive This Month….

Ah well, June won’t be a two times out on the water after all. It’s a combination of things with extra commitments and tricky weather. It is the rainy season and so we are getting frequent afternoon downpours; some of which are severe thunderstorms. Several days ago one was so bad the museum had significant water intrusion and disrupted operations. While most of what had to happen was taken care of by others, there was a lot of back-and-forth about what was going on and those things take time. There have also been some issues with scheduling different events and coordination that isn’t going as well as I had hoped. Nothing drastic, merely time-consuming.

On the writing front I am pushing to get the first draft of Shades of Remorse completed before my trip so I can maybe do some editing while traveling. Even though I will be relocating every day, I am likely to have some stretches of time in motel rooms, too. My process for writing is I leave gaps in the first go-round in order to get the main plot and subplots where they need to be. That puts me at what I refer to as the seventy percent mark. Filling in those gaps, working out any disconnects in sequencing, plot, or character behavior takes me to the eighty percent level and ready for what is called Beta Read. That’s bringing in a fresh pair of eyes. Some authors use multiple Betas, but I’m fortunate in having my wonderful Hubby. This is the only time I print the manuscript. I then read it aloud to him; a few chapters at a time. We do this during morning coffee and while prepping dinner instead of watching TV. After that go-round, I edit those changes in preparation of sending it to the professional editor. Speaking of which, I have to email the editor I use for these books to see if she is available. They travel a fair amount. I have two editors; one foe scuba-related books and one for everything else.

Ow! Memories…..

A conversation about working under extremely uncomfortable conditions reminded me of not only those times in the Army when weather conditions were terrible, but also my boot issues. To start with, while I was a bit of a tomboy, that did not extend into being athletic. Going into the Army and being as small as I was did cause a number of issues. Actually, my first boot-related injury was while in ROTC. The single field exercise I went on included tromping through some swampy water. They had no boots to come close to fitting my size 4.5, so extra socks in the smallest size they had might have worked if I hadn’t a) had to wear them as long as I did and b) maybe if we hadn’t gone through the water with God knows what kind of bacteria. Anyway, multiple blisters that burst, then became infected was not fun.

Moving forward when I was at Fort McClellan for initial WAC training, they did at least have size 5. What none of us knew was women’s boots were not designed with the same support as men’s. In all fairness, we were among the first group of women who were expected to do more running. So, not liking to run anyway, when I began to experience pain in my ankle, I ignored it. Then it was both ankles and when I literally couldn’t walk down the hall without leaning against a wall dragging my feet, I agreed I needed to go to the clinic. Achilles tendons strained in both ankles; common for women. Had I known, I would have gone in immediately. They did later do away with women’s boots in favor of better support. And a number of years later, medical people finally convinced the Army running in boots was a really bad idea and proper shoes were allowed for physical exercise. Oh, it was running three mornings a week and alternate exercise two days a week.

There was another time I won’t describe, but you get the idea.

One of Those Silly Things…..

While I realize discussing¬† a hot tub as temperatures are now hitting the 90s may seem odd, there is a reason. When we had the hot tub and pool put in, I wasn’t aware the “how” of turning on the hot tub would be so complicated. I mean, you press a button, right? Actually, no. Valves have to be turned in a certain way first. Hubby can of course do it no problem. He’s explained it to me multiple times and even took a photo with the phone so I could see it. The problem is the valves look alike to me. One day I braved it and sure as the world did it wrong and basically drained some of the water out of the hot tub. Naturally, I haven’t tried it since.

It takes about an hour and a half to come up to temperature and so if Hubby doesn’t get home until after 6:30 – common if he has afternoon boat – that means no hot tub until around 8:30 which also means that’s probably the same time as something is on TV to watch. While we can record, and go relax in the hot tub instead, it’s been ages since we’ve done that. There is actually an issue with the hot tub that needs to be repaired. My plan is to talk to the experts to see if we can also retrofit a system to make it simple enough for me to handle. There might not be, or it might be prohibitively expensive. It is certainly worth asking the question though. I would love to be able to do this for myself.

Maybe Time for a Change…..

For those who follow the blog regularly, you know we’ve been through different phases with our back yard. When we first moved in, the intent was always to have the pool and hot tub take up most of the back yard. We kept the side and front yards intact, although they aren’t very large. Our thoughts were we could keep up – that has always included with our regular yard guys and occasional additional help. And yes, we have done a major refresh of the back twice and tinkered with other things at different points. At the moment, we have the three large traveler palms on the side behind the hot tub end of the pool. Also known as fan palms, they do spread out their fronds in a nice fan way. On the other hand, they drop those fronds fairly often or need to be trimmed and they constantly have shoots that take hold and need to be removed. We did have a fourth tree that sprang up removed and Hubby is considering if we should take all of them out.

I have to pay our guy this week and will put in a note to see if a) he can handle that big a job and b) if not, does he know someone who can take care of it. We also have one spot where we have been unsuccessful with growing anything and there might be an issue with the soil. That may turn into the place for a new fountain as the easiest solution. What I haven’t told Hubby is that I’m tired of the right-hand front bed, too. We’re tried different things; none of which I have been really happy with. Now, our hibiscus in another place in front are lovely and the purple whatever they are on the other side can stay as well. They get a little ragged, but are more manageable. Stayed tuned as we figure this out.

Memorial Day Ceremonies….

I’ll be headed out soon to the local cemetery where the VFW leads the annual ceremony of speeches, firing of the 21 gun salute, playing of taps and then volunteers place small American flags on the graves of veterans. I cover the story each year for the paper and there are usually multiple Scout Troops as well as individuals and other organizations that participate. Hubby is teaching – as is usually the case – so I’ll do the best I can with photos. Okay, I managed to let the day slip away from me and didn’t finish this yesterday. The ceremony was nice as usual with a few new participants and some who weren’t able to attend this year.

Looking back though to many years ago – as in 33 – the Memorial Day of 1991 was very special to us and had nothing to do with official ceremonies. As I have mentioned in other posts, we were in Germany when Iraq invaded Kuwait August 1990. The immediate response units such as the 101st and 82d Divisions and associated Air Force, Marine, and Navy units began Operation Desert Shield as decisions were¬† planned, then made for Desert Storm, the offensive operation. Hubby had to leave first in November (actually on our anniversary) and I followed the first week of December. I’d sent ten-year-old-son back to the States where he stayed initially with his paternal grandparents for Christmas, on to Texas to be with my sister and her family, then back to Maine after school. Texas schools were out in May.

After the “Lightning Fast” war, there were refugee operations and a follow-on force to put together. As logisticians, we of course helped get tens of thousands of troops on their way home first. Therefore it was May before we were scheduled to leave, but didn’t know exactly what day it would be so couldn’t make firm plans to bring son back. We were also exhausted and needed a few days to semi-recover. Since even at that age, he was a seasoned traveler, we agreed he could make his first Transatlantic flight alone. Hubby’s parents lived not quite an hour from Atlanta, so he flew from Maine to Atlanta, stayed with them a couple of days, then we allowed him to pick one of three cities to fly into as they were all direct flights. He chose London. We drove over, spent the night, were reunited with him the following morning and spent another three days there. While it wasn’t an official ceremony, it was certainly a great one.


Guest Blog Post, Overcoming Imposter Syndrome…

Ah, last week was more hectic than I realized. I intended this to post on Friday.

As you know, I occasionally have a guest blogger and today is Candace Sigmon. In engaging with her by email, she has a great background being somewhat, “born to DIY”. She has always loved to tinker, fix, and build, and she has been working on home projects with her dad pretty much ever since she could hold a hammer. She created because she thought it might be fun to share some of what she has learned along the way as well as resources that she finds especially useful.”

While the topic here isn’t exactly DYI, it’s an interesting topic that I see among a number of writers. For those of you who have friends or loved ones who may struggle with self-doubt at times, Candace offers some excellent insight:


Image Freepick

Silencing Self-Doubt: Proven Strategies to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome can be a formidable barrier to achieving our dreams. It stealthily undermines our confidence, leaving us feeling inadequate despite our accomplishments. But fear not, as there are proven methods to overcome this self-doubt and unleash your full potential. Let’s explore some effective strategies to combat imposter syndrome and pave the way for success.

Understand Imposter Syndrome

Recognize that imposter syndrome is a common phenomenon characterized by feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, despite evidence of competence. It often stems from internalized fear of failure or being exposed as a fraud. Understanding that many high-achieving individuals experience imposter syndrome can help normalize these feelings and reduce their impact on your self-esteem. By acknowledging its presence, you can begin to challenge and overcome its influence on your mindset.

Aim for Excellence, Not Perfection

Instead of chasing an unattainable standard of perfection, focus on excellence or progress in each task. Perfectionism fuels imposter syndrome by setting unrealistic expectations and fostering a fear of failure. Embrace the concept of “good enough” and recognize that mistakes are growth opportunities. By shifting your focus from flawless outcomes to continuous improvement, you’ll alleviate the pressure to measure up to impossible standards and cultivate a healthier relationship with success.

Boost Your Confidence Through Education

Returning to school to enhance your skill set can significantly boost your confidence by affirming your capability to learn and adapt. Acquiring new skills not only expands your expertise but also provides a solid foundation for self-assurance in your professional and personal life. The benefits of earning an online degree include the flexibility to balance education with other commitments and the opportunity to connect with a global network of peers and professionals. Notably, enrolling in an MBA degree program can particularly help you deepen your understanding of business, strategy, and management, while also enhancing leadership skills and promoting self-awareness and self-assessment.

Personify Your Imposter Syndrome

Giving a name or persona to your imposter syndrome can help externalize and confront these feelings. It allows you to separate your identity from the negative self-talk and self-doubt associated with imposter syndrome. You might envision your imposter syndrome as a critical colleague or a persistent gremlin. By visualizing this inner critic as an external entity, you can engage in dialogue and challenge its undermining beliefs. This process empowers you to take control of your thoughts and emotions, reclaiming ownership of your narrative.

Replace Negative Self-Talk

Challenge and replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations. Imposter syndrome often manifests through self-deprecating thoughts and beliefs, such as “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t deserve success.” Combat these harmful narratives by consciously reframing them with affirming statements. Practice self-compassion and acknowledge your accomplishments and strengths. By cultivating a mindset of self-affirmation, you’ll build resilience against imposter syndrome and cultivate a greater sense of self-worth.

Embrace Humility

Acknowledge that no one knows everything, and it’s okay to seek help or clarification when needed. Embracing humility frees you from the pressure of unrealistic expectations and fosters a culture of continuous learning and growth. Recognize that vulnerability is not a weakness but a strength, as it allows you to connect with others authentically. By embracing a humble attitude, you’ll create space for collaboration, innovation, and personal development, ultimately enhancing your confidence and effectiveness.

Seek Support

Don’t suffer in silence. Share your feelings of imposter syndrome with trusted colleagues or mentors. Opening up about your struggles can alleviate the burden of isolation and provide valuable perspective and encouragement. Surround yourself with a supportive network of individuals who uplift and empower you. Lean on their guidance and feedback as you navigate challenges and pursue your goals. Remember, seeking support is not a sign of weakness but a proactive step toward growth and resilience.

Imposter syndrome may lurk in the shadows, but it doesn’t have to define your journey. By implementing these strategies, you can dismantle the barriers holding you back and step into your greatness. Remember, you are capable, deserving, and worthy of success. Embrace your journey with courage and resilience, knowing that you have the power to overcome imposter syndrome and achieve your dreams.

End of Guest Blog

Thank you, Candace.

Pop-Up Card and Dinner……

I received an envelop and a box yesterday and mistakenly thought the envelop was an item I’d ordered sent separate from the items in the box. As Hubby was on his way out this morning – yes, he’s working on Mother’s Day – I opened the box first. In finding everything I ordered inside, I was now puzzled about the envelop. It contained a large, pop-up card that I assume was sent by the kids. Since I am capable of accidentally tearing these things, we will wait until this afternoon when Hubby is back and I’ll let him open it.

An aside before discussing dinner. Weekends are of course busy dive time and thus Hubby rarely has a weekend off. Between my various writing, I also work part of each weekend; it’s just the way things are. Anyway, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we don’t go out for Mother’s Day, etc., because it’s always very crowded and we prefer to make a special dinner at home. I am going out with a friend whom I usually have lunch with on Sunday, but we’re going to the Red Crab where people tend to come in later.

For my special dinners, I tend to go lobster or steak au poivre and steak won out for tonight. Hubby found two lovely filets – we sometimes have to ask the meat guy at the store to cut some for us – and I picked up the heavy cream for the sauce yesterday, some nice asparagus and dessert. I usually go for some kind of cake and decided this time to instead to get chocolate and lemon cream pies. These are from the freezer section. The brand Edwards makes whole pies or you can buy two slices in a box. I’m thawing one slice from each box and I like them both. I’ll let Hubby pick first although I have also offered half a slice of each. Oh, and as usual; one chocolate covered strawberry as garnish. I am conceding to Hubby on the wine as I would normally have bought a Mouton-Cadet or something similar, but we have extra Zinfandel on hand and that’s his favorite. He did already buy a bottle of Chandon for us to have while preparing the meal. Oh, he does the grilling and I do the sauce.


Computer Annoyances….

We are so connected these and dependent on our computers that when we have issues, it makes the time difficult. About two weeks ago, I began having problems with my laptop as it wouldn’t light up the screen properly without going through a very odd procedure. Hubby finally had some time where I could show him and he agreed, “That’s weird”, and had no idea what could be causing it. On the other hand, once I went through this odd procedure it worked just fine. The concern, of course, was it would get worse and no doubt fail at an even more critical time. So, since he was finally going to have few days at home, I took the computer to Best Buy on my way to a luncheon Monday. The pleasant tech listened to me and you could tell she thought I didn’t know what I was saying, but politely said, “Let’s try it”. She also said, “That’s weird.” She thought it might be an update and driver issue and she could take care of it while I waited. Great! Nope, didn’t work which meant the next level techs would have to tackle it. Sigh, maybe as long as three days.

Hubby set me up with his back-up, older laptop and I had backed up my files to an external drive and flash drive. That was awkward as his is set up slightly differently, and of course his computer wasn’t set for my printers. Fortunately I didn’t have to print and they did get mine fixed the following afternoon. Hubby went to get it for me as I knew I wouldn’t really understand what they would explain to me. The problem was a disconnect with the drivers and something I did not in fact quite understand. There was a recommendation from the young lady about a different way to update that I guess I’ll try to remember to do each month.