The Winter’s Sun #Write28Days #Writerslife

 

*Note: Am participating in the #Write28Days (February) hosted by Anita Ojeda. Click here if you would like tp participate. 

 

Up here in northeastern North Dakota, I am greeted with this outside the front door:

The actual temp is hovering at about -4 with the wind chill of -20 plus. At this stage, all I’m dreaming about is the beach scene above. I long to feel the warmth of the sun on my face, its heat simmering over the exposed skin.  These are the days when I miss living in North Carolina where we were just a few short hours from the Outer Banks. My mother (who’s still living down there) had the nerve to tell me it was a mild 60 degrees there.

*Sigh*

Yet, on the other hand, up here, away from the harsh and dangerous and not to mention, hectic lifestyle that went with living in an area with high population (Raleigh/Durham/Cary/Chapel Hill), life is simple, and the people friendlier. Up here in North Dakota is the kind of place where my son can play outside without fearing for his safety, where schools have little issues with gangs and drugs…

Nah, I think I rather endure the frigid and snowy winters.

 

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Writing: Would You Do Things Differently If You Could Go Back In Time?

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

 

This month IWSG question is: if you could backtrack and do things differently as a writer, would you? 

 

Wow, this is a loaded question.  One I have pondered on and wondered about from time to time.  Who hasn’t?  Especially now that I’m in my mid (ish) 40s, this question keeps popping up in my mind.

My first inclination is to say “Yes!”

I’d have attended SUNY Potsdam (only) majoring in Journalism instead of bouncing around at least six different colleges and ending up with a degree in Physical Education (which I barely used).

As a journalist, I would have traveled the world.  In this reality, I’ve only visited one other country…Canada.

Perhaps I’d even started my own magazine or newspaper company.  Or, maybe even branched off into the publishing industry and became an editor or something.

And just perhaps I’d ended up living in Boston (one of my fave cities) where I’d pen my first and break-through novel that landed me on the New York Times’ Bestselling List.

If I’d done all the above, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

As a writer.  As a poet.

A mother.

A wife.

Living on a small farmstead in eastern North Dakota of all places 🙂  Writing full-time at home.

I’m richly blessed.  I don’t think I would give this life up to relive it as a different person.  It’s nice to dream about it, but that’s it, just a dream.

I like this reality better.

What about you?  If you had the opportunity to go back and do anything differently as a writer, would you do it?

 

 

 

Nature Intervention

Ever gone through times when you think you were starting to get ahead financially and then…ka-blamo!  Nature intervenes.

Life (and goals) interrupted.

This past Friday started out normally.  I got up at 5am to help hubby get around for work, and sent him on his way.  Work for him was nearly 1 1/2 hours commute time, one way.  My son’s on his summer break so I let him “sleep” in ’till 7am.  We’d spent the past few days cleaning the house since my Mom and young nephew were flying in later that morning to spend a week with us.  The house was the cleanest it’s been since we moved in a year earlier (pretty sad, huh?) I was in the process of fixing breakfast for us when hubby called.

“Better get to the basement.” He said.  “A bad storm’s headed your way.”

I glanced out of the window.  Dark clouds were billowing in.

“Okay.” And I hung up.

I sent my son, Karl, down the basement with one of our cats.  I finished fixing a mug of coffee and proceeded to step down in to the stairway when out of nowhere these horrific winds (macrobursts they’re called) slammed into the house.

Whooshing sounds rattled all around us.  Before I closed the door, I glanced back at one of the kitchen windows and saw nothing but a sheet of whiteness.

We sat on the sectional couch in the basement, listening to the roaring outside.  It wasn’t 10 minutes before the power went out.

Oh, great.  (Not really especially if you have a sump pump in the basement with no back up power supply)

The storm was over 10 minutes later.

Karl led me, fumbling and all, to the other side of the basement where the sump pump was, and we checked the “well” in the floor.  The water was rising rapidly.

The next twelve hours were a bit of a blur.   First part of it was spent in the pitch blackness of the basement as I frantically filled the only two buckets we could find with icy water while Karl ran them up the stairs and out the sunroom’s door and dumped their content outside.   This cycle went on for at least five hours.  By this time, hubby had returned home (worried since he hadn’t heard from us).   Karl, exhausted from all the running; and me, in shorts and sandals, up to nearly my knees in cold water, shivering.   The entire finished basement floor now under water.

Hubby declared it “lost.”  We shifted gears and began pulling everything that could be saved out of the basement, and filled the sunroom.

Then my Mom and nephew arrived.

The cavalry.

A few moments later, the power came back on which brought on another set of problems for us.

With the sump pump now running overtime pumping water out of the flooded basement, the piping system became overwhelmed and there were leaks springing in several places.  The largest of them was in the laundry room up on the main floor.  Mom, hubby, Karl and myself worked in shifts baling water until the sump pump “caught up.”  Then the leaks ebbed until they completely stopped.

The ordeal began a little before 8am and finally subsided around 8:30pm.

Then, I went outside and oh…my…gosh…

Tree carnage everywhere I looked.

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I was in disbelief (still am).  I later learned that many farmers around us have sustained similar damages and worse.  Dozens and dozens of crop fields are under water.

Lost or at best, severely damaged.

I wanted to cry; but as I looked around and saw my family…

Safe.  Unharmed.

And I felt so grateful. In spite of the damages our farmstead had sustained, we were together.

And that’s all that mattered to me.

So, now the cleanup process has begun; and even with insurance, I can’t get over how expensive everything’s going to be.  It will wipe out our savings, and max the credit cards.  Hubby had promised to take Karl on a trip to see his cousins out in western New York but it’s looking like we’ll have to cancel that because everything’s being devoted to fixing the damages around the house and farmstead.  As a last ditch effort, hubby has set up a GoFundMe account to see if he could raise money to send Karl on his trip east.  We’ll see how that one works.

In the meantime, God Bless you all and have a restful and safe evening.

 

 

 

Curses of Being Dependent On Internet

yelling

The following was written via a computer on Thursday September 3rd, 2015:

Have you ever gone an extended period without any internet? This is where I am currently well into week three. There are risks to living in one of the least populated states in the country compounded by the fact we also decided to live way out in a rural region (nearest town has about 100 people). Chances are you might not have all the amenities you once had when living on the east coast.

Eh, those chances are actually very good. Only that it really isn’t good. Not entirely that is.

There have been some benefits to not having internet:

1. My muse is free to roam without all the distractions that tend to come with having internet.
2. As a result, I’m writing more.

Then there are some not so beneficial things:

1. Without the ability to drive, I’m pretty much house-bound-hence, the internet is a way of being able to keep in contact with people.
2. Unable to blog or tweet my followers.
3. It makes me feel very alone and with very little purpose in life as a productive person.

We have located a provider that should be out here next week; but, there is no guarantee that we’ll be able to get a strong enough signal with the cell towers to connect to the internet. So, as I type this on my computer, I am hoping and praying that it works. If it doesn’t…
I don’t want to think about that right now. It just has to work.

Stay tuned.

New Road

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Journey

from the green mountains
to the golden, lush prairie
the road continues

(first posted on April 30th, 2015)

kr

kr

My previous life in North Carolina feels just like that-as something that happened in a previous life. Almost everything about North Dakota is a stark contrast to North Carolina. And that for me is a breath of fresh air. Here, I’m finally able to breathe while back in North Carolina I felt like I was suffocating.

North Carolina is a beautiful state. It has the best of both worlds: mountains and ocean. But, it also has way too many people. For us anyway. Both hubby and I grew up in small towns-he in rural Allegheny County of New York and me in a village nestled in the valley of the Adirondack Mountains.

So many people have asked me-why North Dakota?

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Back in February the answer would have been-it’s because my husband got a federal job there. Now, after spending over two months here, I have no single answer to the question.

The weather is beautiful here (even though I’ve yet to spend a winter here so check again with me sometime next year to see if I change my mind). The people are down-to-earth, hard-working, family oriented, with morals and values you would have found decades ago but now growing unfortunately rare. Kids can still run and play outside without parents having to worry about predators (if you know what I mean). My son can finally be a kid and have fun; something he rarely experienced back in North Carolina.

It is wide open here. And I’m loving it. But North Dakota is not entirely flat as people may believe. There are so many different types of terrains here, I am continuously amazed and filled with wonder by the beauty of them all. In time, I hope to share them with you so you may see as well.

Changes can be good. Going from a small house in a subdivision to a 14-acre farmstead way out in the country has been a big change for us; and so far, that’s been a very good thing. Here, I’m hoping to reclaim some of my dreams that I gave up years ago.

Here, on this road, is a new beginning. A brand new journey. I’m ready to start the trek and see where it leads me.

I hope you’ll travel along with me as well.

The Big Move

the big move

 

Only a few more days left before the Big Move!

By either Saturday or Sunday, we’ll be loaded up and riding out for our three-day journey across the states for North Dakota.  We’ll have two vehicles…one of them will be loaded with over a dozen of (indoor and outdoor) cats.  What can I say?  We have a cat farm.

I’ve been to every state along the eastern seaboard, but have never been further west than that.  Yeah, I’ve been deprived.

So, this should be an adventure for me.

From May 16th till sometime in July, I will be without internet access.  I will be back as soon as I can!

Until that time, have an enjoyable and productive summer!

 

Light at the End of the Tunnel

light tunnel

It’s been a while since my last update so here it goes.

We now have a buyer for our house.  The inspection and appraisal were done last week; next week we need to remedy all the small issues that were found as per the inspection (the buyer wants us to fix all twenty-three of them!).  We hope to close on this house late May.

Hubby found a farmstead in ND, and placed an offer on it.  It was accepted.  He plans to close on that place around the end of June (sooner if possible).

In the interim. my son and I (plus all of our cats) will leave NC late May and move in to hubby’s apartment in ND ’till he can close on the loan for the farmstead.  So, for about a month, all of us will be living in a one-bedroom apartment (around 700 sq ft) with NO internet or cable/satellite.

Ugh.

This has been a very challenging time; but at least for now, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Just need to hold on for a little while longer.

How does that saying go?  Absence makes the heart grow stronger, or something like that?  I don’t think my hubby and I have ever been apart this long before.  Can’t say I’m enjoying it, that’s for sure.  Yeah, I’m not too thrilled with the thought of not having any internet for a month; at least the family will be back together again.

Thank goodness.

No Writing=Insanity + Pain

Is it really almost March?

My goodness-where did the time go?

Have moved all the boxes and most of the furniture out to the Pack-Rat pod; now living out of bins and on paper plates and plastic wares.  Hubby has left us behind to go on to North Dakota to start his new job.  My son and I need to stay with the house ’till it sells.

I hope it sells soon.  It sucks having our family separated like this.

Now that things have “quieted” down some-I can focus a little on writing.

Not being able to write for long periods has been painful.  I feel so pent-up and frustrated.  I find myself daydreaming more and more as an outlet to the “real” world.

As a writer, I need my imaginary worlds!   Without them, I’d be in a nut-house!

Wait a minute…that’s right, I’m already nuts 🙂

 

Turning A New Chapter In Life

Boxes and boxes and yet more boxes!

My life took another detour and a new chapter has begun.

I’m forty something and am now officially “retired” for health reasons.

Plus hubby’s new job will soon move us from North Carolina to a land far, far north of here…

North Dakota.

packing

 

 

 

I’m excited.  I’m also very nervous!

As a writer, this new chapter in my life represents new experiences, new people; and of course, new adventures!

Stay tuned!