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COVID 19 MASKS: WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?

black framed eyeglasses on paper
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Reflecting over the past six weeks, I ponder what I have lost. Networking with other authors, seeing anyone else in general. Though I am an introvert, every so often I do like to see others. At first, I lost my momentum to write, but joining NaNoWriMo Aprils Camp got me back on track and I was able to finish my newest book “Arctic Eagle,” and get it to my editor, Masani.

What I have not lost? Weight seems like no one can take that from me. I cannot seem to quit baking. Though, my mother in law and husband, seem to be enjoying the dozens of cookies, bars, brownies, and bread. My body is screaming Stop!

Now let us talk about masks. I sewed three hundred masks and donated them. However, I should have attached a warning note with them. You see I wear glasses. Big black glasses. So, I go to the local grocery store for some needed items. I put on my homemade mask, get out of the car, go inside, grab a cart, and a disinfectant wipe and clean that baby down.

I walk first to the produce section, you know, where they have those plastic bags you can put produce in? Well, I grab two. One for each hand and quickly insert hands in bags. Thought I should pick up a few oranges for mom in law, fruit is good right? Healthy. They had just filled the bin. I want to be sure to pick the best oranges, juicy ones. I stand in front of the filled bin, picking one, then two oranges and placing them in an individual plastic bag. My goal was six. I think to myself, this is going well, I am being responsible, for my health, and everyone else’s. I smile, and quietly giggle.

As I am reaching to choose a third one, I suddenly realize something is wrong, I cannot see! I grab the third orange, wondering what in the world? What happens? Yes, at least three dozen Oranges are suddenly hitting the floor, I cannot breathe, and I cannot see. I sense the produce man running towards me.

Turns out when you wear a mask, and wear large glasses, they tend to fog up when you breath. Having plastic bags on your hands, does not help your ability to take your glasses off. So here I am looking at the young produce man, glasses fogged, saying, “Help Me!”  Mind you he is a teenager. He takes my glasses off my face, smiles, at least I think he was smiling, I did not hear him laughing. Let me give you a visual. Without my glasses I cannot see a thing. I wear my glasses, but also need to wear readers, when reading, or working on the computer.

As he was calmly wiping my glasses off on his shirt, I was trying to remove my mask with my plastic covered hands. Finally, a not so nice word came out of my mouth, I ripped those plastic bags off my hands, and took off my mask. The nice produce man, handed me my glasses, and said, “Its okay, I will clean this up.”

I thanked that young man. Turned and put my cart away. I went back out to the car, drove home, and made a list. I sent my husband to the store. I may never go back.

So that was how my Sunday went. How was yours? Please feel free to share, with anyone you know who wears glasses.

Covid 19 Shut In: Day 30. A Month In Review

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Though spring is a time of new life, renewal, and warmer weather, I have been spending the morning reflecting on the last month.  It is day thirty of the shut in because of the Covid 19 Virus. My hopes are that everyone reading this is well and healthy.

Foremost, one thing I cannot comprehend is why there is a current toilet paper shortage. Is that really what everyone thought of purchasing first? Why not frozen or canned food? Relevant items to use when you are locked in your home. I do not believe that toilet paper is an effective item to prevent getting the Covid 19 virus. There are closet’s around the world filled with toilet paper.

The last thirty days at home have been nothing short of interesting. My mother-in-law who suffers from Alzheimer’s lives with us full time. Normally each morning she enjoys watching the news and reads aloud what crosses the television screen at the bottom of the screen. How do you explain the Corona Virus thirty or more times a day to an Alzheimer’s patient?  The solution? Subtitles. I found she will read anything running across the bottom of the screen while you watch something else. Though I have found the Andy Griffith Show on Netflix has kept her laughing without subtitles. Do you know that there are over one hundred and fifty episodes of Andy Griffith?

Then there is the fun of opening Mom’s experiences to Face time and Skype. Trying to figure out how she can see herself and her loved one on a phone and laptop is nothing short of amazing. Then comes the irritation of why can’t they just come and visit, why are we doing this? The most heart wrenching part of all this, is even though Mom can’t remember five minutes ago, there is that space of real time when she hears something on the television and you witness the confusion, the fear, and the realm of anxiety that comes for the next few hours, even though she can’t remember why.

Another realization in my reflection is how I am learning not to even watch the local news stations. If I hear one more word about having so much more time to clean house, tips on how to get your kids to help clean house, or anything that has to do with filling my time with cleaning house, I swear I will toss the television out the front door.  I think they should air repeats of Bob Ross shows, or DIY’s on making something creative.

I am trying to make good use of my time. In the early morning hours, I work on writing a new book, Arctic Eagle. Over breakfast with Mom, we have in-depth discussions on planning a deck garden. I have visions of her watering the plants in the mornings, while I sit nearby on the deck writing a new mystery series, The Cold Case Chronicles.

Random thoughts race through my mind. Will much change when we can go to the store again together? I know she will wear a mask. Will the garden centers open in time for us to plant a garden? Dare I make a trip to Walmart for potting soil and seeds? Will I run out of craft supplies? I do not see that happening in the next five years, but the concern is real. Will I have to cancel my vacation plans to visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park in August? This will be over by then, right?

I am fortunate my husband is essential, as he reminds me of this daily. He is a truck driver. My daughter owns a hair salon and going insane being home. She has taken to painting signs, I recently found one outside the front door that said, “Made with love and other shit.” She is coloring swear pages, and trying not to panic about losing her business, making her mortgage, having enough to buy food. She is one of those business owners that does not qualify for unemployment. The Grand kids are enjoying the break from College and sleeping till noon daily.  This is my life, keeping everyone calm, keeping mom occupied, and being thankful the hubby is working, so we can help family members who need financial support.  So, in closing friends, stay healthy, stay safe. Connect with your loved ones however you can. So, in closing friends, stay healthy, stay safe. Connect with your loved ones however you can. Stay calm.

FINAL SECRETS

Final Secrets FinalLast week I was thrilled to write the words, “The End.” Finishing the last book of my “Ignited Secrets Trilogy,” which left me feeling proud, accomplished, a bit overwhelmed and sad. I will miss my characters. They have been a part of my life for two years. Three women with secrets, all who grew personally within each story, learning to accept themselves for who they were and who they came to be.

Of course in all honesty “Shadow of Secrets” came to me while I was sitting on my deck painting a rock, thinking, Okay Kacie, you have been forced to retire, are you going to spend the rest of your life painting rocks? What is next? Then it dawned on me, I could be an author.

When I started the first book, “Shadow of Secrets,” is was to be just one book about an environmental mystery Fraud in the renewable energy industry. This was an experience, I watched evolve firsthand, and it disgusted me. Though my book is fictional, the circumstances different, yet similar, it was an experience that impacted me deeply.

Near the end of writing that first book, is when I realized that this could be a trilogy focusing on the main women in the book. Each woman had a story to tell. I surprised my self at the story line as it went on. What started as one book about an environmental mystery, turned into three and by the end of the third book, we had a Mexican Cartel/Mafia war involving the Irish Republican Army and CIA fictional Black Op’s teams. Mind you I am surprised the FBI has not showed up at my door, considering the online research I have been conducting.

It’s amazing how stories evolve as they are written. Soon, I must start the next book, “Arctic Eagle.” In a world full of risk, a quiet Cyber Operations Specialist is pulled into a worldwide chase to stop a terror attack in Los Angeles. Arctic Eagle came to me in a dream. I know right? My dreams should be one of peace, happiness, expectations.

More research to come. If the FBI shows up at the door, I will post a link to donate towards my bail. If I survive the next book, I may start a series of novella’s called The Harris Graystone Mysteries. What mystery could the Girls from the Ignited Secrets Trilogy solve next?

Lesson, life doesn’t end at retirement, we can achieve our dreams no matter how old we are. We all have stories to tell. What’s your story?

Interested in reading Final Secrets? Click Here.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO JANUARY

I personally find January to be the dreariest month of the year. In Minnesota we currently have mountains of snow, and today we are expecting another foot to land on my doorstep. This wonderful month tends to be the longest month of the year. Though I must admit, as the snow falls from the sky, it is beautiful to watch and creates a picture-perfect landscape. It is hard to imagine that Spring will be arriving in just weeks. Of course, Garden Catalogs are already arriving in my mailbox! That one thing provides hope.

January can also be the most depressing month of the year. Though I am not one to get depressed, I have found a multitude of ways to get through the month, so I don’t lose my mind. I have a few items I keep in my bag of tricks and I will share them with you.

I purge my closet of clothes I haven’t worn in the last year. I must admit, three bags went in the donation box this year. I am beginning to wonder if I am clothes hog.

I live in Minnesota! Once the temperature hits thirty below, I accessorize! I put on my multiple layers of sweaters and my winter coat. I often wear a cute scarf and matching mittens.

Let’s keep it real, my bank account does not allow me to go someplace warm. However, I would recommend it for anyone who can. May I suggest, Nevada. Not only is the weather warmer, but they have casino’s and buffets. I especially recommend Laughlin, Nevada. Great food, warm weather, and penny slot machines.

Eating! I tend to bake a lot of cookies during January. Today I will be mixing up a batch of peanut butter cookies to get me through the on-coming snowstorm. I also like to try new recipes during January. Creative cooking is always good for the soul. I especially like creating new soups in the crock pot.

Start a new project! I always start my new craft projects in January. Be it a new afghan to crochet, new set of dish towels to embroider, or a new quilt to sew. Okay, I will admit, I start all three each January. It is important to note, I have 52 unfinished quilts to complete in my sewing room.

I write. Whether it is starting a new year journal or working on a current or new novel, I write. Nothing like getting stranded at home in another foot of snow on top of the three feet you already have, to get your mind working on a story. I try to place my locations in warmer climates.

Television is a staple. New shows start in January, then there is always Netflix!

Remember Spring will be coming, though looking out my window it is hard to imagine. My pool is yet not buried in the snow, so you will often find me gazing lovingly out the window, saying, Hello Pool, sixteen more weeks and I can fill you again.

Remember we can do this! We are survivors! Leave a comment how you get through January.

Barriers

Radical Rhymes

Yesterday I went to see Les Miserables the musical. It wasn’t my first time, and Victor Hugo’s masterpiece is the only book that actually reduced me to tears. But it isn’t the performance I want to discuss here, although it was magnificent, it’s the interactions I observed on stage. The cast were extremely tactile, they were constantly touching one another. Now, some of this was choreographed, but some seemed to be designed to comfort and reassure one another. Back patting, shoulder squeezing, supportive smiles, it was heart-warming to witness.

And it made sense to me. They are a company, a community. They are in it together, a collective with a common purpose: to provide a great show.

In life we are – it seems to me – far less comfortable with contact. As a student one of my lecturers showed us a video taken of crowds walking along a high…

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Setting Your Vision For 2020

For years, I set New Years Resolutions and never accomplished a darn thing.  So I found a strategy that worked for me.  At the beginning of December, I go over my past year’s goals and reflect on what I have accomplished and where I have failed.  Yes, I can tell you now, we all fail at one time or another, it’s a part of life.

I look at the accomplishments as wins and failures?  I spend the time to reflect on what I could have done to improve on my success.  What worked and what didn’t work. 

I reflect on whether my actions indeed brought me closer to my overall vision for the year.  Did your’s?  So I ask, did your actions bring you closer to your yearly goals?  If not, you cannot expect the things in your life that you need and want to change: to change.  Everyone has their different walks in life.  The setting goals process is not a one size fits all method, but it is unique to your life’s vision.  Whether it is personal goals or career goals, the goal map is yours to make to create change and success.

Here are some reasons to set those goals:

Goals will always provide you with a starting point and a destination to reach.

When you write your goals out, you see where you are going, what changes you need to make at the mid-point of the year, and if you are progressing in your goals.

The process of writing your goals will help you clarify your desires, understand their importance, and commit yourself to achieve them.

Remember there are always some sacrifices to be made, but stay committed and overcome the challenges.  Work on your plan.

Your goals will help you focus your attention on your purpose and inspire you to be better.

When setting goals, be sure to define them in your overall vision for the year.

The secret to achieving your goals?  Start them.

Journaling Tips

Write your goals for the year on the first page of your journal, or create a vision board.  Whichever you choose, it will be there as a reminder for the year ahead.

Every month, take the time to review your goals and write about your accomplishments, consider the changes you need to make, and reflect on the challenges of the month in moving forward with your vision.

HOW TO SELL HALLOWEEN TO A SKEPTIC

Halloween is one of the most likely holidays of the year met with much skepticism.  Parents spend time planning costumes for their children as little monsters, vampires, ghosts, witches and the current fad of the year for princesses and heroes.  What child doesn’t love collecting candy?  I have childhood memories of being three or four years of age, thinking it was the best time ever.  I learned all I had to do was ring the doorbell, and the person gave me candy.  I thought it was so great; my mother told me I was out ringing doorbells in the middle of the night looking for more candy.  After that incident, she no longer allowed me to eat a lot of candy after returning home from Trick or Treating.

The origin of the Halloween holiday began over 1900 years ago in Europe.  A Celtic celebration of a new year celebrating the days as when the souls of the dead supposedly mingle with the living. They celebrated the holiday with large bonfires, often still done today.  However, many religions look at Halloween as a pagan day.  So let’s view as to why we should love the Halloween holiday.

You can be what you want to be

One of the primary reasons to love Halloween is that people can dress up to be whoever or whatever they want to represent. It is like a night to play “make-believe.” It’s not just about the scariest outfits, but it is about imagination and characters that depict your personality or have inspired you the most.

You can play dress-up without worrying about any judgment. We can make bold choices and go as something people don’t associate with us. It usually is the perfect time to open up and be brave.

The Adrenaline Rush

 The rush is the best part of all adrenaline seekers. Unlike all other holidays, this one is exciting as well as thrilling. You can do all the daring things and scary things that previously frightened you. This holiday makes you want to take a leap of faith and challenge yourself for new ideas.

If you happen not to be an adrenaline seeker, you can watch horror movies or scare other people just for fun.

Candy

One primary reason to love Halloween is the amount of free candy that you can collect. Typically kids aren’t even allowed to have that much candy, but Halloween seems like a free pass, and you can have as much candy as you like then. Apart from this, you can get all types of sweets like toffees, chocolates, popcorn balls and so much more. Adults are also known to have a sweet tooth. Nobody says no to free candy, so why not avail it when you can. And we believe even those skeptics can’t refuse some good candy.

Carving Pumpkins

One of the favorite activities of Halloween is carving the pumpkins, which is very exciting. All the family members usually carve the pumpkins to display them around the house. Making weird and scary faces on pumpkins as well as making Jack O Lanterns is an exciting activity that makes you love Halloween and pumpkins. Some places even hold the best-carved pumpkins competitions to celebrate the best-carved pumpkins.

Don’t have to buy gifts

Some of the skeptics who find Christmas better need to know that Halloween doesn’t require you to buy gifts and give them. You can wear your bed sheet and collect candy. Without spending a single dime, you can have most of the fun at Halloween.

Decorations

Another one of the reasons to celebrate Halloween is the amount of exciting and scary decorations. Halloween decorations are creativity at its peak. The spider webs, hanging bats, carved pumpkins, cauldrons, and ghosts hanging around give the place an eerie vibe and festive feel. Creating the decorations is an open-door to creative ideas and putting them in motion.

A Different Kind of Connection

On Halloween, people often dress as monsters and other scary creatures, which help to reduce any fear of the unknown or the supernatural. As a holiday, Halloween allows people to dress up into things they are most scared of, and this helps them remove any fear of the being.

Halloween encourages people to be brave and be firm against our fears. It connects us with our concerns as well as the unknown realm. Halloween encourages us to take a peek into that realm and feel comfortable with it.

Conclusion

Halloween is one eerie as well as a thrilling holiday, different than all others. Some might be skeptical, but even they will be convinced by reading all the above reasons. Some like the decorations; others love sweets, but most importantly, Halloween helps us realize our mortality and helps us face our biggest fears in the form of dressing up like them.

Will Girl’s Trip’s Ever Rule The World?

Nothing is more exciting than spending quality time with girlfriends. But nowadays in a busy world staying in touch with friends can be hard.  Sometimes our friends live miles away or have moved to another State to establish her career, and now you all are living away from each other. Why arrange a long weekend Girl’s Trip to spend time together? Spending a memorable time with your friend’s is exciting and memorable because:

Girls Like Adventures

We know how to enjoy every little moment with friends. Girls have massive excitement for trips across the world with friends to enjoy every moment and make it memorable. According to our secret sourcebook, girls when traveling, do not like to go fast, be lonely, and we never want to visit someplace alone. We like to move at a slower pace, which allows us to collect moments, take photos, and build exciting memories. 

Diet doesn’t matter

You cannot enjoy your Girl’s Trip without having great wine and yummy food. In my case, excellent Root Beer.  Eat and drink whatever you want. No need to worry about calories. Forget the dieting and eat everything to celebrate the moments. 

Girls love to do Gossips

What is more fun than gossiping with your girls? Yes, this is the favorite hobby of every girl. What others wear, how they live, what we love to discuss with our girlfriends? But remember one thing; while gossiping about someone make sure that person is not around you otherwise you will be responsible for any upcoming situation. 

Girls love to do shopping

I can surely say shopping is my weakness, and when we visit a new place, we have an urge to buy every unique thing we find.  Now it’s our best friend’s duty to keep us in the budget and stop us from purchasing a lot of useless items. We must pay attention and warn them if it is a beautiful item that won’t fit in the vehicle on the road trip home.  Most things, if needed can be mailed back home.  Look at all the options when making purchases.

RULES FOR A GIRL’S TRIP

Dress up in whatever you want

In our daily routines, we often are dressed in business clothes or whatever fits in our career wardrobe. On a trip with your girlfriends, you can wear whatever you want to wear. Feel comfortable and feel relaxed about what you are going to wear. Your friends will not make fun of you. Make every moment remarkable and excellent. 

Capture every moment

Great pictures are an excellent way to remember your trip. It can put a smile on your face even when you’re having a bad day. Girls love to take selfies and we-fies. Take pictures of every moment.  Whether you are in a hotel or cabin,  girls like to take photos of every corner of the hotel or cabin, and then they love to take pictures of food and share it on social media like Instagram and snap chat to their other friends too, of course, show them what fun they are missing.

Life is too short, you may spend 70 years working to make money or to establish yourself, but in the end, you may have no friends to spend time with, to share your achievements and dreams. So do not waste any time in making plans for a Girl’s Trip.  Decide on a location with your friend’s, and make the weekend memorable and joyful.

Will Girl’s Trip’s Rule The World?

Nothing is more exciting than spending quality time with girlfriends. But nowadays in a busy world staying in touch with friends can be hard.  Sometimes our friends live miles away or have moved to another State to establish her career, and now you all are living away from each other. Why arrange a long weekend Girl’s Trip to spend time together? Spending a memorable time with your friend’s is exciting and memorable because:

Girls Like Adventures

We know how to enjoy every little moment with friends. Girls have massive excitement for trips across the world with friends to enjoy every moment and make it memorable. According to our secret sourcebook, girls when traveling, do not like to go fast, be lonely, and we never want to visit someplace alone. We like to move at a slower pace, which allows us to collect moments, take photos, and build exciting memories. 

Diet doesn’t matter

You cannot enjoy your Girl’s Trip without having great wine and yummy food. In my case, excellent Root Beer.  Eat and drink whatever you want. No need to worry about calories. Forget the dieting and eat everything to celebrate the moments. 

Girls love to do Gossips

What is more fun than gossiping with your girls? Yes, this is the favorite hobby of every girl. What others wear, how they live, what we love to discuss with our girlfriends? But remember one thing; while gossiping about someone make sure that person is not around you otherwise you will be responsible for any upcoming situation. 

Girls love to do shopping

I can surely say shopping is my weakness, and when we visit a new place, we have an urge to buy every unique thing we find.  Now it’s our best friend’s duty to keep us in the budget and stop us from purchasing a lot of useless items. We must pay attention and warn them if it is a beautiful item that won’t fit in the vehicle on the road trip home.  Most things, if needed can be mailed back home.  Look at all the options when making purchases.

RULES FOR A GIRL’S TRIP

Dress up in whatever you want

In our daily routines, we often are dressed in business clothes or whatever fits in our career wardrobe. On a trip with your girlfriends, you can wear whatever you want to wear. Feel comfortable and feel relaxed about what you are going to wear. Your friends will not make fun of you. Make every moment remarkable and excellent. 

Capture every moment

Great pictures are an excellent way to remember your trip. It can put a smile on your face even when you’re having a bad day. Girls love to take selfies and we-fies. Take pictures of every moment.  Whether you are in a hotel or cabin,  girls like to take photos of every corner of the hotel or cabin, and then they love to take pictures of food and share it on social media like Instagram and snap chat to their other friends too, of course, show them what fun they are missing.

Life is too short, you may spend 70 years working to make money or to establish yourself, but in the end, you may have no friends to spend time with, to share your achievements and dreams. So do not waste any time in making plans for a Girl’s Trip.  Decide on a location with your friend’s, and make the weekend memorable and joyful.

Reflection: Expectations VS. Reality

Beauty surrounds us.

Fall is my favorite season of the year.  The air is crisp; the trees are in brilliant colors of red, orange, and yellows.  This time of year is the perfect time to sit out on my deck in the early morning with that first cup of coffee, watching the sunrise and breathing in the smell of fallen leaves on the ground.

It also begins my time of reflection for the year. Reflecting on what my expectations were for the year vs. the state of things as they exist today — reality, those things that we can and cannot see. 

As I reflect on the past year and the expectations, I set for myself; I found a valuable lesson.  Always expect the unexpected.  I am retired, enjoying the quiet days to myself while the hubby is at work.  I joined a writer’s group, belong to a social women’s group and love to spend the early morning hours on my deck starting my day journaling, then moving to spend the day working on my Ignited Secrets Trilogy.  I enjoy the fact the children are doing well; the grandchildren are all now in college and life is good.  My expectation?  I am going to become a full-time author.  What better way to spend retirement, right?

Then life happens.  As we age, our parents get older, and we must ensure they safe, healthy, and happy.  My siblings and I did for our mother, who passed nine years ago.  I had lost my dad when I was twenty-one.  My mother in law suffers from mid-stage Alzheimer’s.  She had been living with her daughter for the past four years.  Life changed for them.  Her husband took a new job in another State.  Therefore, our life changed; someone needed to step up and care for mom full time.  Mom has moved in permanently until which time she needs twenty-four-hour care. 

Expectations vs. Reality.  I still take the time to journal early each morning, but most of my writing is now happening on my kitchen table, rather than my sacred space in the garage.  Yes, I had my hubby build me an office/quilting room in the garage.  What was once a two-car garage, became a one-car garage.  By writing at my kitchen table, I can answer the multitude of questions my mother in law has throughout the day. 

It amazes me to watch her, realizing she is in the moment.  A place most of us strive to be.  Though for her, that moment is all she has.  No five-minute past, no one-minute future.  Yesterday while the President was on every channel of the television for most of the day, she was trying to figure out what he was talking about and why he seemed angry.  Mom is 87, and her generation listened when the President talked.  Then she wanted to know why someone didn’t fix the lighting. He looked orange.  I covered these questions a hundred different times yesterday as if it was the first time she had asked.  I became creative; how do you explain today’s world? 

Here I am in my season of reflection, adjusting my expectations, and making new expectations for the year to come.  I write out my hopes, beliefs, and my dreams for the future.  Similar to New Year’s resolutions, though I learned long ago I do not stick to resolutions.  Hence the new word expectations. 

I split them out in three categories, my hopes for my grandchildren and how I can assist them in their direction.  That can be anywhere from financially to embroidering them a new set of dish towels for their new apartments as they start their life path.  I reflect on my written life mission and vision statement, making the changes needed to stay current.

 I then spell out my dreams for the year, what do I want to accomplish as a writer, how many quilts do I want to make this year or finish, and what growth do I want to see in my self for the year.  These are my goals.  Simple right? 

My signal for reflection is the changing of the leaves, my sign for setting expectations is the first snowfall and breaking my goals down to achieve success begins December first to be prepared to start the New Year with a bang.

Everyone has different ways of continuing their journey through life.  I find mine works for me.  I encourage everyone to find their way to make each new year the best year of their life.  For mom, I fully intend to make this next year a year of feeling safe, happy and fresh-baked cookies on the counter every day.