Personal

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What is it about the night that awakens our imagination and gets our heart racing? There are all kinds of answers to that question. For me, it’s the secrecy. What exactly are the shadows hiding? What is cloaked by the black that the light of day would reveal?

I’ll be the first admit I have an overactive imagination.I don’t watch horror movies because I remember every detail of the monsters and the evil that reigned. When the lights go out, I don’t need those images adding to the ones I’m already conjuring. I close every closet door and tuck away every stray piece of clothing on the floor, lest they hide a villain or become some malevolent entity in the wee hours of the night. Problems loom so much larger when they pull me from sleep. Sounds magnify and become telltale signs of a malicious presence seeking to harm me. I try to be logical about this whole thing. But there’s something about all those shifting shadows that completely crosses my wires and I can’t seem to pull myself together.
 
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supportI’ve been thinking a lot about my support systems of late. Both personal and writing. Mostly because Mr. Nina is spending his weeks 2 hours north of me and I’m alone so much of the time. All I can say is … thank goodness for the Internet!!

I was once asked what the most difficult part of my writing journey has been and by far it had to be the period time when I was alone before I found other writers to share my celebrations and disappointments. My family has been a steadfast cornerstone of my career, believing in me even when I stumbled. I love them for that, but they don’t really understand the kick-in-the-gut feeling of getting a rejection, tumbling sales or the inability to find your writing mojo. Only another writer totally comprehends¬†how difficult this stay-at-home-I’m-having-an-amazing-time-making-things-up-and-killing-bad-guys writing career can be.
 
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Mr. Nina had a terrible time with the lights this Christmas. Poor baby ūüėČ

With Christmas only days away I’m completely off any semblence of a writing schedule. So I’ve sort of thrown up my hands and I’m diving head first into grocery shopping for all the company and wrapping presents. And to me there is nothing more festive than watching some Christmas classics while the paper is cut and the ribbons are curled. I don’t think any of these never-fail-to-watch classics will surprise many of you.
 
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frustrationI know. I know. In the nine years since starting this blog I’ve never been this inconsistent posting. But really, every time I think I’m getting my feet on the ground, life knocks them right out from under me and straight on my @$$ !

A little over five years ago, Mr. Nina lost his job at a hospital in northern Maine where he’d worked for 22 years. No problem. I had really been wanting to move for a very long time. I was tired of living in the willy-wags in the middle of nowhere, where the most excitement came from my weekly trip to Wally-world for grocery shopping and social time (because everyone was shopping)!
 
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vietnam-memorialI’ve never been to war. I watch it from the comfort of my kitchen usually while I’m cooking dinner from a well-stocked refrigerator.

I’ve never carried a gun. But my heart aches for those who carry one every day, knowing it could be the only thing that saves their life or that of a fellow soldier.

I’ve never said goodbye to someone I love, fearing I may never see them again. But I’ve watched flag-draped caskets arrive back on US soil, where mothers and fathers grieve the loss of a child.

I’ve never had to be separated from someone who is my whole world while they fight for a freedom I get to appreciate every day. But I’ve known brave families who get down on their knees every night and pray for the day they can hold their husband/daddy/wife/mommy in their arms again.
 
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I’ve just passed my 10th anniversary. Oh, not of my marriage.¬†10 years ago this past June I broke my chalk and picked up a keyboard. Yep — I became a fulltime writer. And it’s amazing to me how things have changed in my life.

The first year it was me and the computer. Simple. I got up I figured out where my story was going and I wrote. Family members were my beta readers. They read. They critiqued. I adjusted. What a simple life of writing. And one that made me very happy.
 
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My sister-in-law is visiting. And to my amazement she grabbed some reading material before heading into the bathroom. Kinda surprised me. Why? Because I think reading in the loo is more of a “guy” thing. I think most woman¬†pop into the bathroom in hopes of having at least two minutes to do their thing before someone knocks and yells “Moooooom”. And every woman with children will tell you the little ones have a special radar tuned in to their mom. It doesn’t matter how engrossed they seem in activity, all it took for me to get their attention was to¬†pick up the phone, lean my head back and close my eyes for a couple of moments or shut the bathroom door … those little angels came running with some desperate need that¬†had to be fulfilled at that moment.

But men? Men seem to find their zen in the bathroom. Guys gather a couple of magazines, the daily newspaper and the mail before heading in for their “quiet” time. And EVERYONE knows it’s best to steer clear of that corner of the house for several hours after that door opens and the green fog drifts away.

Now, my guilty pleasure? Soaking in the tub with some fancy candles burning around me and slipping into the lovely water with a wonderful book (and a glass of wine). *sigh* Since I was a library gal prior to being a writer this meant worrying about ruining a library book. When I started buying my books there was less worry, but still I had to be diligent about making sure the pages didn’t curl from the steam rising off my bubbles.

With the advent of e-readers bathroom reading is even easier. Slipping that e-reader into a gallon sized baggie allows one to read without worry of getting the reader wet. And flipping those pages from one hot scene to another? Easy peasy.

So grab that book, a glass of wine and some candles and settle in for a long hot soak in the tub. Just tell the family you’re doing something like re-wallpapering the bathroom walls or scrubbing the floor … anything that doesn’t involve relaxing. Because you know they won’t leave you alone if they think you’re not busy!

So curiosity has me asking … are you a bathroom reader?

MH900313820I can’t let today go by without telling everyone how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful mom. She raised 5 children (each of us a year apart … you do the math … FIVE teenagers! And she survived!) She’s been wonderful as I’ve become a mom. She hangs back until we ask for advice and then gently shares her wisdom. Mom lives far away from me and though we don’t talk on the phone very often, I think about her every day.

But 28 years ago when I married Mr. Nina another wonderful mom came into my life. I’m so fortunate to have someone else who loves me unconditionally, supports and encourages. I truly am doubly blessed.

Though my life is in complete turmoil, these two women have stepped forward to do what they can to bring order to the chaos. They both bring me to tears every day and I don’t think they realize how much their love and support has meant over the past few months as the bottom tumbled out of our world.

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I also have three beautiful children, one love-sick son-in-law whom I adore and a cute-as-a-button-never-stops-running grandson.

I have a trunk full of all the cards and little goodies my children made for me when they were little and though it is in storage at the moment, the memories never fade. Little Boy Blue (who’s now 22) made me a hand pressed in plaster that hangs from a pretty ribbon. Beautiful Girl (now 24) made me a clay mask of her face in second grade and painted it all kinds of whimsical colors. Baby Girl (who’s now a mom) weaved a yarn thingy that fits just perfectly over my body moisture bottles that sit on my bureau. There are countless gifts of weaved baskets, clay pots, and a wooden treasure chest … all gifts my children made and gave to me on Mother’s Day. They are more precious to me than all my fine jewelry.

Now that they’re older, my children give me gifts of words. Hallmark cards scrawled with a little note at the end, loving words from the heart that make me cry. Every. Time.

And despite all the other #%@^ of my life … all these things I hold onto ever so dearly and realize how truly blessed I am. I know many of my blog readers have moms looking down on them from heaven. The reminder that everyone’s days are number makes me appreciate the small gesture of love even more.

If you’re a mom … Happy Mother’s Day. And I hope this day finds you counting your blessings as well.

Whew, life has been throwing me some interesting curve balls as of late and truthfully … I haven’t handled them well.

Just about 2 1/2 years ago Mr. Nina was downsized from a job he’d had for over 20 years. Despite the blow to his ego, the change had been one that needed to happen. I was ECSTATIC to finally move out of the wilds of northern Maine. We finally sold our house in the spring of 2010 and I put all of our worldly possessions in storage and joined Mr. Nina in Rhode Island in a two-bedroom furnished apartment. I was soooo happy! We were finally only 2.5 hours from southern Maine where our families live! Life was an adventure! By late fall 5 offers on houses had fallen through FIVE! Even our realtor couldn’t figure out what was going on. In this house market you’d think we could have a couple of those for a steal. Hmmm …

Anyway, we rolled into the holidays blissfully unaware our life was going to take another turn. Right after the first of the year, Mr. Nina lost his job. (Which made me grateful someone was looking out for us and we hadn’t bought a house.) A week of unemployment turned into a month of unemployment turned into a winter then spring then a summer of unemployment turned into 10 months of unemployment. It was rough going to say the least, but we managed.

Then in October Mr. Nina landed a job in Vermont and off we went back into the wild woods. Not quite off the beaten path, bet definitely not the quick-paced life of Rhode Island I’d come to enjoy. (Hey, 20 years in the middle of nowhere of northern Maine had left me with a lot of civilization to catch up on!)

I’m sitting now in a rented home with all of my things out of storage, but still in boxes as we’re in the process of building a handicapped accessible home a couple of towns over from where we are living. All of this is great, but it’s left me in a little bit of a tailspin without the ability to plant my feet on solid ground.

Hence the lack of blogging. Lack of keeping up with social media. Lack of writing.

But there seems to be light shining from somewhere. I’m hoping within the next couple of months as we get settled in our new home in our new state, that life will once again find a comfortable rhythm and words will begin to flow. I can already feel them swelling and story ideas coalescing with the warming temperatures of a January thaw.

So keep an eye out for me. I might have been down for the count, but I was never out. Thanks so much for sticking with me and continuing to read my books in 2012. I’m looking for bigger and better things in 2013!

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