Wednesday, April 15, 2015

My ADD Muse

I think the hardest part about writing is when your mind moves faster than your fingers can type, but it’s doubly hard when the story moves on in your head while you’re dreaming, taking your brain further along in the story than where you’ve typed to.

You would think after all these years I would be accustomed to this problem, since, after all, my stories do play out in my mind while I’m doing other things, like chores, or sleeping, and the fact is it usually helps me work out what happens next.

My problem is that sometimes my brain skips way ahead.

I know there are authors who insist they write whatever scene is on their minds then go back in edits to put the scenes in order and fill in the blanks. I’ve tried this. I have several manuscripts with the words “skip ahead,” typed into the manuscript. But each time I reread those manuscripts I’m still drawing a blank as to how to fill in the gap.

In the past week, instead of forcing myself to work on my manuscript I’ve volunteered to chauffeur a friend around, went shopping and out to lunch with a friend, taken my sister-in-law to various appointments, and played countless games on my computer. I’ve also opened my manuscript any number of times, but all I’ve managed is adding a couple paragraphs, and those simple sentences took me most of the day! I’m generally not that slow.

In fact, I have it open right now. But as I know it ends well before the spot running through my head, I can’t bring myself to even look at it.

Why does my brain have to jump ahead?

Well, it needs something to do while I’m doing other things. Let’s face it, I have ADD, my brain goes, period. It doesn’t stop, not even when I’m asleep, since my dreams often give me story ideas, or solve problems I’m having with a plot.

None of which helps me complete another manuscript. I’ve managed it six times, but none since, and I’m starting to feel like I will never manage it again.

I’ve gone to the point of telling myself not to start another one until I finish what I’m working on, but then the story I’m working hits a road block I can’t seem to work out while another story takes over. This has happened many times, and only once have I managed, after almost a year of working on other stories, returned to the interrupted story, when a sudden idea gave me a new path to take.

Then again, I did finish that one, thanks to the inspiration. Maybe I should stop fighting it and just go along with my scatterbrained muse. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Travel Arrangements

Though I don’t watch TV or any news programs, I’m informed enough to know that Greta Van Susteren is some sort of news commentator. I’ve also heard, or read, enough of her commentaries to know she’s conservative, and anti-Obama. Since I’m very conservative and anti-Obama, what I have read from her, I’ve agreed with.
Today I was reading through Facebook and saw someone’s post sharing what was titled as her rant about Obama’s spending habits.
I’ve seen plenty of headlines about the lavish vacations he and his family take and other headlines criticizing how much taxpayer funds the Obama’s spend on personal things so I had every reason to believe this was more of the same.
The entire article was about spending taxpayer money on travel expenses.
One thing she pointed out was that under normal circumstances, news reporters wanting to interview the U.S. President would have to pay their own travel expenses because the President wasn’t going to go to them.
However, that’s just what Obama did.
He traveled to California for an interview. True this one wasn’t with a news reporter, but rather a talk show host, but it’s essentially the same thing. His wife also traveled to California for an interview, just a different talk show.
While Ms. Van Susteren did point out that past presidents had never traveled to interviews, and these interviews were purely for entertainment television, as opposed for news purposes, her main objection was not to why they traveled but the means they choice to travel.
 Granted her complaint was focused fully and completely on the cost of that transportation choice. A cost we as taxpayers clearly will have to pay.
I agree.
It’s expensive and we as taxpayers should question every such expenditure. I believe it’s our constitutional right to do so.
I certainly don’t understand why they had to do the interviews.
It’s not like Obama can legally hit the campaign trail for 2016 and if he tried I would fervently pray that this time the masses have wised up and actually realize the man and his wife are anything but patriotic and we do not need them in our White House.
But Ms. Van Susteren’s biggest argument against the expense wasn’t about the entertainment or how past presidents dealt with interviews, but the fact that the Obama’s used two different planes to travel to the same place at roughly the same time.
Now I’d like to point out something to Ms. Van Susteren.
It is also policy that the president and vice president don’t travel together.
Because if something should happen we as a nation wouldn’t lose both at the same time.
I do realize that Michelle isn’t the vice president. What she is, is the mother of two beautiful young daughters, who call our president Dad.
I’m the mother of five.
When I have traveled it has been with my husband and kids and never by plane. But I think young Sailor Gutzler would agree that parents traveling together can be a tragedy for the children. She’s the sole survivor of a plane crash that took her parents, sister and a cousin. I think she’d feel better right now if her mom hadn’t been on that plane and was still here to comfort her.
The Obama’s aren’t the only parents in this unpredictable world of ours who choose to make separate travel arrangements.
You may not like how much money they spent on this trip, but don’t automatically assume their choice was purely for their personal creature comfort.
As a mother who hates Obama, I’m not making that assumption.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Ever since the first time I heard of school district passing a zero tolerance for violence policy, I’ve wanted to say just one thing. It won’t work. It in fact will backfire because it gives bullies leverage and victimizes their targets two times over.

How did I know this up front? Simple; the first time I heard of this policy, I flashed back to time in my life when a certain bully would pin me in the corner then call me every filthy name in the book to my face until I, in an effort to get away, would punch him in the stomach and or kick him in the shin. At that point, he’d go running to our mother crying that I kicked him in the groin for no reason at all.

Our mother insisted to there was no reason for me to damage my baby brother in such a vicious manner and refused to listen to my side of the story, so she spanked me. Nothing I said managed to get through to her, not even saying repeatedly I didn’t get him in the groin, not by a long shot. This continued until the time I managed to point out that my younger brother was quite a bit larger than I was which had the unfortunate results of the next time I fought back that he trounced me instead of running to our mother.

And while I know this zero tolerance school policy wouldn’t be between siblings, it was still the same situation where the adults in charge would not accept any reason for one student to hit the other. I knew right then, the bullies of the world would figure out pretty quick all they had they had to do was avoid touching their victims and they wouldn’t get into any trouble.

Better yet, for them anyway, the system would further victimize their targets the second their targets fought back.

It was a disaster waiting to happen without adding in internet, cell phones, and texting. (Those additions make it a nightmare.)

But I seriously doubted anyone would listen to a college dropout, so I kept my mouth shut back then, and now I’ve read a story of a mother who fought back, and I applaud her.

Not too long ago I read a story on the internet about a mother who got called into school because her daughter had slugged a boy (a much bigger boy) a couple times in the face, and her reaction was fantastic and about time!

First, she actually listened to her daughter’s reason (unlike anyone else) and second she turned the tables on the principal and teacher present. If you haven’t read the story, here it is in a nutshell.

The boy in question had been repeatedly snapping the girl’s bra. When she told the teacher, he did nothing about it. (Please note the teacher was male.) So she resorted to slugging the pervert, whereupon the principal called her mother as his first step toward expelling the girl. (Please note the principal was also male.)

This fantastic mother boldly accused the boy of sexual harassment (a form of bullying I also endured during school) and promised the principal she was going to the school board because the teacher did nothing to protect her daughter from a boy who was considerably larger than her daughter. Hurrah! Well done. And it’s about time someone did this.

When I mentioned this to my twin, she told me of woman she knew who got called to school because her small for his age, black belt, second grader used his skills on several fifth graders who were bullying him. This mother informed the school her son had that black belt to protect him from bullies because the school wouldn’t. Again hurrah!

And it’s about time the school boards, principals, and teachers of this country actually started to protect the small, weak, and female students from the taunting and degradation heaped upon them by the bullies and perverts also attending their schools.

If you’re going to inforce a rule of zero tolerance, make it zero tolerance for name calling, harassing, and bullying, and let’s not forget to include in that snapping girl’s bra’s, groping, and or making sexually suggestive comments and remarks to or in the hearing of persons of the opposite sex.

And let’s send out one more hurrah to all those mothers out there standing up for their victimized children!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

On A Missing Phone

One afternoon this last week my husband, Jerry, didn’t leave to pick up our son from school at the usual hour saying he had a meeting after school. I didn’t think it was possible but Jerry had talked to him since I had so I didn’t say anything.
Then our land line rang. It was our son calling because he needed picked up. Either there had been no meeting or it hadn’t lasted as long as Jerry thought.
As Jerry left to get him I had the brief thought that it was odd my son called the land line. Not odd he couldn’t reach his dad on his dad’s phone. That’s happened before. But each time it has he always called me on my phone, not the land line.
So I thought I’d asked him about it when he got home but the first thing he did was ask me, “Mom, where’s Dad’s phone?”
“I don’t know. Ask him. Why?”
“Because I tried to call him, and a strange man answered his phone, twice.”
Okay. Not good. I’m thinking Jerry misplaced his phone completely forgetting I’d seen him on his not long before our son called. Hoping whoever had it was only answering in hopes of finding the phones owner. I called.
A vaguely familiar male voice answered. But he told me I’d called his phone number. I told him I’d dialed my husband’s number and what it was. He told me his number.
It took an additional second or two but the area code, from a different state, helped everything click. Jerry had forwarded his calls to his brother-in-law’s phone.
We spent a half an hour or more talking to him and my sister-in-law laughing about the issue and telling them they’re going to have to take messages for Jerry since they’ll be getting all his calls.
Eventually we hung up and I was faced with finding his phone without being able to call it so we could get it off call forwarding.
Then I wondered if the cell phone company could be any help so I called them and told the customer service representative my problem.
She cracked up. She’d done something similar to her phone just the week before. Apparently accidentally forwarding your phone isn’t all that uncommon because they actually have the means to undo it.
With that fixed I proceeded to call my husband’s phone again. I could hear the buzzing, but couldn’t pin point where it was coming from.
Two of my children all but tore my room apart trying to track down the sound while I sat and kept calling the phone. (I had to hang up when voice mail answered and start over.)
The two of them looked through every drawer, even ones Jerry would have no reason to put anything in, and my daughter was saying we’d probably have to clean under our bed when my son figured out the sound seemed to be coming from behind the bookcase.
The only thing behind the bookcase is the hall closet. So they left my room and opened it, thinking it’d be on top the towels or something where it would make sense for him to misplace it.
Not so easy.
Several calls later my daughter finally found it, buried in a pile of old magazines on an upper shelf that hasn’t been moved in years.

Somehow, I don’t think that was accidental or absentmindedness. Do you?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mourning 2

This last week I haven’t been able to get much done, if it wasn’t one thing, it was another, but I’ve spent most of the week having to relax, or stay off my feet. And I guess I could have been writing, but I couldn’t concentrate (oh the joys of ADD).

So what did I do? Well, I thought about watching a movie, but then my eyes fell on my Star Trek collection, reminding me that we recently lost Leonard Nimoy, so as a tribute to him, I decided to watch my DVD’s, and boy do I have them.

In the last couple of years of my husband’s life, he, for either my birthday or Christmas, gave me boxed sets of the first through third seasons of the original series, plus boxed sets of the original series movies and the TNG movies, not everything in that universe, but enough.

I have now worked my way through the entire first season and am into the second season, but I also took some time to watch the commentary and extra features available in the set. Including the piece about Nimoy discussing all the trouble they’d had fashioning his ears, and the casting changes made between the first pilot (The Menagerie) and the pilot featuring Captain Kirk.

All interesting stuff, and certainly stuff I already knew since I’ve owned the DVD’s for some years now, but it’s nice to be able to look back, and see it all again, and to remember what we’ve lost, but it’s also nice, just to watch and remember how much my husband enjoyed giving me these sets. He loved me a lot.

Sometimes it’s the little things, which make life easier to bear. Don’t you think?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Okay, it’s time to write my blog post for the week and I’m avoiding it. Big time.
The bills need paid and groceries bought, and the towels need folded. And I have to check my email accounts.
Then I can waste some time on Facebook, which will last for about an hour, unless of course I’ve checked it every day this week, which I have, so there is really no new posts to read. I rarely post myself so now I need something else.
Well, there is always that notion of making all my Christmas presents this year. I could work on that. Ideas for presents I can make for my kids, husband and sister would be a good start. Or I can just work on a couple of handcraft projects I started months ago, maybe even finish one.
Then there is always games. No I’m not a gamer. But Sudoku puzzles are always good for an hour or two. Or talking my kids into a game of Life, Clue or better yet Monopoly is a fantastic way to while away some time. We do have other games, but those get played the most. Monopoly, that’s a great idea. That will take up the most time.
But then it’s the middle of the school day and most of my game playing kids are, well, in school.
Next idea.
Oh look, my sister is online. Let’s talk to her.
Okay she’s focused on her own writing right now so what else can I do.
What time is it?
Oh, snail mail.
That should be good for a few minutes of distraction. First I have to get someone to fetch it. Then of course there it sorting through it and chucking the junk, dealing with the bills. Unless of course it’s one of those day when we don’t get much.
With that done I have to find something else to do.
My husband lost something important, should I drop this and help him find it?
Never mind. That was solved quickly.
Let’s see, what time is it? Not lunch time. What is there for lunch? Um, who needs to do the dishes? Who is making dinner? Oh never mind that. Tonight half the family won’t be home for dinner so its catch as catch can.
Well I’ve used up twenty minutes.
Now if I were vain I could spend time doing my nails or makeup or something. I don’t even own any makeup, and I did my nail care the other day so don’t really need to right now. (See, not vain.) I could always brush my hair. I haven’t done that yet today. It’s long and likes to snarl so it should take a few minutes.
Well, now what else can I do?
Ah, rescued by the phone. And never mind again.
Okay, I’m really wasting time here.
Some people think writing is so easy but most days it’s really like this. Trying to focus on the task at hand with distractions all around you and its worse when you have no clear idea what you want to write about.
That’s why I posted this quote on my screen.
"If you really want to do something you will find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse."  Jim Rohn

I don’t always focus, but at least I always try.

Do you ever have days like this?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Jim Boy

The first time I saw him, I yelled for Dad to come help and hollered at my brother, Bryon, for allowing that beast to follow him home from the park. I’m not a dog person. I prefer cats, and I definitely don’t like big dogs. This brute was the biggest German Shepherd I’d ever laid eyes on.

Bryon maintained the dog followed our little half-brother, Benji, not him. I considered myself rather brave to dive forward, grab the toddler, and haul him to safety onto our porch. Bryon may have called him a dog, but all I saw was a monster, a menace, and he was huge. I stood on that porch secure in the knowledge that Dad wasn’t a pet person.

Dad came out, took one look at the beast, and ordered Bryon to take it back to the park.
I thought that would be the end of it, until the dang critter had the audacity to charge forward and stop Benji from falling off the steps. I doubt there is a man in the world that wouldn’t cave if his wife looked at him the way Mom looked at Dad that day and said, “The dog stays.”

I groaned, but then pointed out that there was no way anyone was going to get a collar on that thing, let alone a leash.

Bryon happily dubbed the beast Jim Boy and rushed out to buy a collar. The stupid creature didn’t even fight it. My prediction that he’d never accept a leash never even got tested. Soon after he followed my brothers home, we moved out to the country.
I did learn however that I wasn’t the only one who thought he was too big. Our neighbors thought he was a wolf. More than once I overheard one neighbor telling another neighbor, “I couldn’t believe my eyes, there was this huge wolf chasing a rabbit across my field and, as I watched, I realized that beast had on a red collar!”

I told each one of them that Jim Boy was the gentlest animal on God’s green earth; of course, by that time he’d grown on me. I’d even petted him a time or two.

Jim Boy came to us trained, too. He was housebroken and answered to Bryon every time he whistled.

Jim Boy also stopped Benji, and later Danny, from falling off the front porch more than once, and kept them from falling into the nearby canal at least twice that I know of.

He also kept strangers out of the yard, not that we had a great problem with that out in the boonies as we were. Whenever someone came to our place the first time, we had to go out and introduce him or her to Jim Boy; otherwise, he wouldn’t let them out of their car.

I’m sure he loved living in the country, but one day Dad announced he found a better job in Tacoma, Washington. I looked it up. Tacoma was bigger than Boise. I pointed this out, and pointed out that a huge place like that definitely had leash laws. I even mentioned how long a car ride that would be. Jim Boy loved to ride in the car, but for that long?

We debated it for weeks, in the end Dad took Jim Boy to the vet, made sure his shots were up to date and got some tranquilizers for the trip. The vet told us Jim Boy was indeed half Timber Wolf and gave Dad a small packet of pills. He instructed Dad how to give them to even a reluctant recipient. I watched Dad give him that first one. Not only did Jim Boy not fight it, he lapped it right up, no problem.

On the morning of our third day on the road, while we loaded the car, I remembered the pills and reached for them, only to discover just one missing. We’d forgotten to give him the regular doses and he’d remained as calm and complacent as with the medicine! We teased Dad about wasting money. Jim Boy was too good a dog. We finished our trek feeling we would have no problems having such a large beast for a pet in the big city.

Our first problem arrived when the US Postal Service notified us that we either pen our so-called dog or lose services. We thought no problem. The house Dad rented had a large back yard with nice six-foot high fence around it. Jim Boy didn’t like the backyard. He took one flying leap and sailed right over said fence. The second he soared over it, it dawned on me that any dog who was over six foot on his hind legs wasn’t going to find that fence a challenge.

I even joined in on complaining that it wasn’t fair to confine him to the house. We particularly hated that the postman delivered mail anytime between nine thirty A.M. and half past four P.M. We never knew when he would show. Jim Boy took his confinement docilely.

But that lead to another problem, or rather Konnie and I had a problem. We had a split entry house and Jim Boy took to lying across the head of the upstairs hall, right at the end of the railing overlooking the stairwell.

The three youngest members of our family had no problem crawling over him, and Jim Boy never so much as twitched when they did. The three tallest members of the household could step over him even when he was standing up, but Jim Boy’s shoulders came to about waist height on the two not so tall members of the family. Of course, if he remained recumbent we’d have no problem expect he didn’t remain so.

Ben, Dan, and Patty could crawl all over him, Mom could step over him laden with a baskets of clean laundry, but, if Konnie or I attempted to step over him laden down with homework, he’d stand up!

And I don’t mean he’d yawn, stretch, and languidly get to his feet, after we’d managed to step over his hulk, I’m talking as soon as we had one foot over, he’d suddenly get to his feet, each time sending us to the floor and our books flying. It never failed.

And despite Konnie saying it never happened to her, I remember at least once when it did. I clearly remember one day after school entering the house through the garage (to avoid being the first one the little ones greeted home) only to witness Konnie’s books to go sailing down the stairwell while she yelled at Jim Boy. So it happened to her at least once.

Then one day I sat and watched him. He didn’t move a muscle. All three little ones were crawling back and forth over him like it was a game. Mom stepped over him several times doing chores; he looked sound asleep and totally unaware of what was going on around him. I risked it and stepped. I went sprawling!

The next time I tried asking him to move. He ignored me. I thought for sure he was asleep that time. I was wrong, again. After that, I started grabbing him by the collar and moving him out of the way. He sulked away giving me a look that seemed to say, “You’re ruining my fun.” I didn’t care.

I started taking walks when we lived in the country. I did it as much for the exercise as to get away from our noisy crowded house, but I was afraid of Jim Boy going with me. We still didn’t own a leash, and even we if did, I doubted I’d have been able to hold him. I knew he would come when Bryon whistled, but I can’t whistle. I didn’t think Jim Boy would come back when I called to him. He fooled me again. I called; he came romping back. It got to the point that all I had to do was pat the side of my leg a couple times, and he’d happily sprint toward me.

Jim Boy looked forward to my walks as much I did because I never tried to stop him from snooping around or chasing rabbits. I let him do whatever he wanted as long as he stayed in my sight. But after we moved to Tacoma, I thought going for walks would be a problem, we still had no leash, and I’d seen several people walking their dogs on leashes, though none without. I didn’t know what to do, but I wanted to go for walks.

I resisted for as long as I could, but finally I set out — Jim Boy happily romping along.

It made me smile when I saw a fellow walking a couple of big Rottweilers. Those dogs took one look at Jim Boy, turned tail, and dragged their master away.

The first time I saw a cop coming my way, I called to Jim Boy, except I didn’t know any commands like “heel,” so when he reached my side, I grabbed his collar. Jim Boy sat down. The cop, our next-door neighbor, stopped and told me that technically, I needed a leash, however, as long as Jim Boy was so obedient, it was okay. That helped.

Jim Boy particularly liked walking along the main road in our area. There was no sidewalk and the ground fell away from the road into an overgrown ditch. He would explore around down there while I walked above. I could see him dodging in and out of the bushes, but I doubt anyone driving by could. It was fun to watch him enjoying himself like that, almost like when we lived in the country.

Then one day, as we enjoyed our walk, a fellow in a pickup stopped and offered me a ride. Kids at school may have called me a country bumpkin, but I’d lived in a city until I was fifteen, and I wasn’t naive. The driver and both his buddies were leering at me, and even if I had wanted a ride, I’d never have accepted their offer.

I explained to them that I was taking a walk for the fresh air; they continued leering and pressed harder. As I politely told them again that I was just taking a walk, I tapped my leg. I knew Jim Boy came running instantly, not only because I knew the dog so well, but because of the looks on the faces of those three men. They stopped leering at me and stared wide-eyed with fear over my shoulder, then the driver hurriedly put his truck in gear and sped off as Jim Boy nuzzled my hand. I gave him a big hug. He licked my face. I miss that dang dog!