Saturday, June 15, 2024

Road tip woes

 We just got back from a wedding last weekend. That's another road trip in the books and another bout of COVID hopefully nearing an end in my system. Yes, I think this is the third time in less than a year, but who's counting? Traveling would have more sparkle and shine for me if it didn't always seem to precede fever, blinding headache, and hacking cough.

On the bright side of my pessimistic mood, traveling from the North into the Southern regions of our nation is always an opportunity for storytelling.

We'd been watching for a rest stop for quite some time and finally found one in a small Missouri town. One of those combo gas station/grocery/bait shops that are so popular. The kind that makes you wish you'd brought a fishing pole along. As it was the only bathroom we'd seen for miles and miles, there were quite a number of people waiting their turn. You would think that the owners of this wonderful establishment, knowing they'd cornered the market on available toilets, would have had mercy and put more than two stalls in the women's rest room, but alas.

The line was long and going no where. A young mother with two small children had taken up residence in the handicapped stall. For long agonizing minutes we got to hear her repeatedly encouraging them to keep trying and asking whether they needed to poop, while half a dozen middle-aged and older women, with possibly weak bladders, squeezed into a 4X5 waiting area, shuffled our feet, and stared intently at the dirty floor.

A younger woman came in behind me and when she saw the situation I said, "Apparently, this is the only indoor bathroom in Missouri." She laughed but informed me, "There's a great place about twenty miles down the road near where we're camping. It has huge facilities and a big liquor store attached." She imparted this information as though it were a cross between a Big Foot sighting and The Fountain of Youth. I'd never heard of a Rest Stop liquor store, sounded sort of dangerous for fellow travelers to me, but we were on foreign soil, so I just nodded and smiled.

Hearing the young mother continue to plead with her children to go, I was sorely tempted to skip the line and point Leon toward the Fountain of Youth Rest Stop, but finally the stall door opened and out came the frazzled mother with a kindergarten aged girl who avoided eye contact and a boy about three with thick golden curls who grinned at us all like he was waiting for applause.

Thankfully, we all survived the wait, but it could very well have been those close confines that insured I once again was blessed with COVID.

On our return trip along that same Missouri highway, a billboard advertisement caught my eye. The Lips to Hips Bakery. I was really craving a doughnut right about then but as a Minnesotan who rarely tells it like it is, that too realistic picture of my heart's desire turning quickly into a permanent fixture on my hipline was anything but alluring. Southern cute and charming sounds a lot like Just Say No to a northern girl.

Until next time. Please leave a comment and share something interesting or funny from your travels.

Thanks for stopping!


Thursday, April 25, 2024

All is vanity but let the yard work commence anyway!

April showers makes all things green and heralds yard work and back aches. The garden needs tilling and planting, the grass needs fertilizing, leaves need raking, and voles need killing.

God sends the rains on the good and the evil, there is nothing new under the sun, and all is vanity.

I've been reading in Ecclesiastes. Can you tell?

Despite the disappointing end of King Solomon's reign, where he tucked away women in his harem like a squirrel filling a nest with acorns in the fall, and then blamed them for being beautiful and vapid rather than brainy and godly, he did excel at looking life right in the eye and calling it disappointing. (a little spring sarcasm for you)

Personally, I love spring. Rain, gardening, hard work, and all. Yes, we do it again and again, season after season, year after year. But rather than looking at it as an inevitable repetition or a depressing cycle that only ends in death and decay, I prefer to look at it as joyous! 

God has given us another year! Another spring! We can wallow in what we don't have, how hard it is for us, or just about anything reported in the news cycle. Or we can till up our patch of earth, plant our seeds, and praise Him for sending the rain, the sunshine, and supplying us with all we need.

God is good! Life is good! Spring us sprung!

Psalm 98:4 Make a Joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!

Thanks for stopping. Leave a comment and tell us about your spring project.


Friday, April 5, 2024

To Binge or to Sleep, that is the question

Bingeing is for the young. No, I'm not talking about binge drinking or eating until you barf. I'm talking about a habit that sends you into a world not your own, where you meet people that you never would have met, and find yourself in situations you never thought you'd be in.
I'm talking about the ultimate binge habit. The one I crave still but just can't find the energy to persevere through until dawn.
Reading. ALL NIGHT LONG. Just can't stop. Can't put it down. One more chapter. One more scene. One more... page, and then I'll turn off the light and go to sleep. I promise.
I don't know the number of nights I read for hours after everyone else was asleep. My high school and college days are a blur. The party was long over for everyone else, but I read on... and on. Binge reading like a boss. OR a student of the written word. Fiction, that is.
I don't think I could have gotten through those long boring classes of Science, Algebra, and whatever else they were teaching, without a good book hiding behind my textbook. My fictional world taught me more than those heavy hardback textbooks ever could. Where was the prose, the tension building plots, the red herrings, the protagonist's inner struggle? History is so "just the facts, Ma'am."
When a fiction writer takes a piece of history and turns it into a story, then the magic happens. These days, the younglings that we birthed, stay up till all hours, bingeing inane and badly written television series that have been refried, rebooted, and written to appease the weak woke underbelly of our society. Total garbage.
Instead, they could be devouring awesome stories that would keep them up nights and instead of feeling like they'd wasted hours of their life that they'll never get back, they'd feel exuberant and want to share the joy and satisfaction they had in the book they just finished. Best choice scenario: By leaving a written online review. Or, just by sharing their love of the book with their family, friends, workmates, and strangers over lunch or their breaks or on a date or by texting or in line at Walmart.
Many people have never read a good book, so they have no idea what they are missing. On the one hand, I feel very sorry for them. But on the other hand, I think their idiots.
I enjoy watching shows on television too, but there is definitely a shortage of good writing with most of what is available. Sometimes, the only reason I make it through an entire show is because I like the actor portraying the lead, when in fact, the plot is inane, and the dialogue is infantile. It's absolutely heartrending.
Don't waste your life or your sleepless nights.
Read a good book!

If you haven't noticed, along the side of this blog there is a list of books I'm reading for the month. When I'm done I leave a star review next to them. Just in case you are looking for suggestions. Or, you're just curious to know what I'm reading:)

Ps. If you've read any of my novels, I would so appreciate you leaving a review at the online store of your choice.

Please take a minute and leave a comment to share the last book you read that made you want to stay up late and keep reading. (No judgement here if you were unable to stay awake. The desire is what matters:)

Thanks for stopping!

Sunday, March 10, 2024

The stars are out tonight!

I'm not talking about the celestial ones, but the naval-gazing, over-paid actors preening for paparazzi in tiny strips of sparkly material braggadociously promoted as ridiculously-priced and coveted designer gowns but which look more like what would be left after a beautiful piece of fabric was fed through a wood chipper. 
It’s been so long since I actually spent the time or money to go to a theater, I had to look up what movies were nominated this year. None of them look half-way interesting except “Killers of the Flower Moon” and I already read the book. (Fact: If you are a reader, you know that the movie is never as good as the book.) Besides, I can’t stand to watch anything with Leonardo Decaprio in it.
Once in a great while, I will watch a movie included on Prime. 
Sometimes I find an independent or small budget film that looks good.
Sometimes I find a film that’s been lauded in the media, has won awards, but has terrible reviews by real people who paid to watch them... and I'm curious to know why.
If you’ve ever watched the Oscars, you might think that the criteria for winning a little golden statue is to be boring, depressing, or both. 
“The worst plot, dialogue, and character development goes to ______!” (fill in this space with your own terrible movie moment) Clapping ensues. Fake humbleness and the pretence of being so unworthy while other narcissistic stars sit with pasted on smiles trying to appear unfazed by their loss while plotting in their minds how best to destroy the person standing up there on stage taking what should have been theirs.
So, I saw two movies recently that piqued my interest. 
The first one was Sound of Freedom. A movie that got shot down in the mainstream media. A movie that Disney producers rejected. Apparently, it was too gung-ho against child trafficking. Which should really get you thinking about who is writing and producing the shows your children are watching. Sadly, for Disney, it ended up making over $250 million dollars worldwide. That they lost out on.
Sound of Freedom was a gut wrenching, horrific portrayal of the scourge of child trafficking in the world. Trafficking is the largest money maker and fastest growing business of all, proving that evil people will do absolutely anything for the love of money. We have politicians pontificating over American slavery that ended almost two hundred years ago while completely ignoring the blight of sex slavery in our nation and world right now. Perhaps that’s why Disney rejected this film. It’s real. It’s happening. And if most of their recent movies and cartoons are anything to go by, they are actually working to desensitize children to sexual perversion, thus making them easy targets for pedophiles.
The most amazing thing about The Sound of Freedom was that even though it was a story about truly evil people and horrible unspeakable things, they managed to film a movie without filthy language or graphic scenes and still make you feel the horror, fear, and hopelessness of the children, the disgusting underbelly of this world of buyers and sellers, and the righteous anger of those working to rescue these children and end these practices. Jim Caviezel and the rest of the cast should be on that stage tonight being celebrated and getting awards.
The second movie I watched was Everything, Everywhere, All at Once. I know. The title alone should have clued me in to the absolute mess I was getting myself into. If I’d even gone and read what Wikipedia said about it > “The film explores philosophical themes such as existentialism, nihilism, surrealism, and absurdism, as well as themes such as neurodivergence, depression, generational trauma, and Asian American identity.” I probably would have clicked to the next movie. But alas, I started to watch. 
Being a writer and lover of books, I very seldom fail to finish a book that I start. I pride myself on finishing novels that even bore me silly, thinking there will be a redeeming moment soon. Those moments don’t always come. As with this movie. 
I couldn’t watch it all in one sitting. It was too painful. I felt bad for the actors, but they obviously thought they had signed on to a winner, and they were right. Apparently, according to Wikipedia again, this film won seven Academy Awards. Go figure.
I ended up watching it in about five parts because it was so absolutely stupid that I felt like I was watching a never-ending episode of SNL. And not the old SNL when you sometimes smiled or even chuckled. No. The new SNL with comics who flunked out of Gender and Palestinian protest studies at Harvard and decided to promote their highly unfunny rhetoric on late night where they have to pay people to laugh and clap and sometimes still get silence.
And so, my theory was once again proved correct. The movies with the most awards are most often the ones to avoid. Boring, much too long, with a storyline written by someone with the mentality of a twelve-year-old mad at his parents for taking away his video games. There is always pompous, in-your-face sermonizing about acceptance, while not accepting anyone who disagrees. What they consider to be humor makes the three stooges seem hilarious in comparison. And I hate the three stooges.
It may be a while before I venture into the Academy Award movie world again. It was just too painful. There is only so much depressing philosophical drivel I can handle. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Change Can be Good

I left Wordpress over technical difficulties. Mostly, my own. I know my limitations. Even if they would sit down and teach me one on one, I would fail all techie, nerdy, computer guru classes. I have absolutely no interest in learning it and my brain will literally shut down when someone talks about it or I have to read a paragraph about algorithms or permalinks. Sadly, I can no longer keep it running properly without my dear friend who originally set it up for me. Besides, the prices with Godaddy were becoming outrageous. 

I hope that if you ever stopped by to read my posts on Wordpress, you will continue to read them here on blogspot. It may not be as fancy or have as many bells and whistles, but I had no idea how to use most of the whistles anyway. In fact, I had no idea where they were located or how hard to blow.

I did have a wonderful bookstore at my other site with direct links to all the stores where my books can be purchased. Have any of you ever used those links and purchased a book through them? Please let me know down below in the comments. I'm checking if it is worthwhile to try and see if I can get a store page set up for this site. Although, I think most people go directly to the store of their choice. Tell me if I'm wrong.

Maybe without the added stress of keeping everything running and paying the enormous fees, I will have more inclination and creative juices to actually write fun posts. So, there is that.

Some change can be good. Sometimes it's hard getting past disappointments or upsets, letting go of the familiar to grasp the new, or getting out of a rut of our own making. This is a fairly new year still and I am looking forward to what is ahead. I hope you will come along and meet me here at The Thin Line Between Truth & Fiction.

Thanks for stopping!