The hurricane had finally passed. Kate stuck her head out the window and sniffed the air. It didn’t have that wonderful after the rain scent. She wrinkled her nose and looked over her shoulder at her cocker spaniel. “I bet you need to go out, don’t you, boy?”
Gus barked in response, and she gathered his leash, her legs still trembling a little. Okay, a lot. She’d just weathered her first hurricane since her move to the east coast, and she could guarantee it would be her last. Next time, she’d evacuate.
Tenants came streaming from their apartments, shouting questions to their neighbors. Kate had only moved in only two weeks ago and with her job and studying, she hadn’t had time to get to know anyone.
“Come on, buddy.” She guided Gus down the steps and into the grass. Thundering footsteps had her shrinking back against the brick wall. Three men ran past her, all muscled and tanned.
“Are you okay?” A deep voice pulled her head to the right. “You look a little shaky. First hurricane?”
Kate nodded. “And last.”
He smiled, his warm, brown eyes offering reassurance. “This one wasn’t too bad. Category two, but they can still do a lot of damage. Is your apartment okay?”
“Fortunately. The ones on the end didn’t fair so well.” She ran a hand through her hair, wincing at the tangles. She’d spent the last two hours buried in a bathtub with Gus in her lap. He was a wiggler when he was scared, and her hair had taken the brunt of his anxiety.
“Yeah, I know. I’m in an end unit.” He lifted a muscled shoulder in a half-hearted shrug before sticking out one hand. “I’m Matt.”
“Kate.” Her hand felt so small in his. Suddenly self-conscious, she tugged her hand free and clasped Gus’s leash close. “Any idea how long it will take the power to get restored?”
Matt rubbed the back of his neck. “A lot of that depends upon what caused the outage. If power lines are down, it could be a while. And if your guy is anything like mine, he probably doesn’t care for the dark.”
Kate’s gaze met his again. “What kind of dog do you have?”
“Golden Lab. He hates storms so much I took him to my grandparents when I knew this one was definitely going to hit. They have a generator.”
“You stayed on purpose?” She couldn’t keep the surprise from her voice. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be insulting, but I stayed because I really didn’t know any better.” She clapped a hand over her mouth and winced. “I didn’t mean it the way it sounded.”
He laughed, making her relax a little. “It’s okay. Yeah, I stayed. My sister’s a doctor, and she’s stuck at the hospital. And I wasn’t leaving town without her. Listen,” he thumbed over his shoulder, “a bunch of us are going to the pool to cook out if you’d like to join us.”
“No, I’d better not. I have to get back to study as long as I can while there’s still light.”
“Oh.” Matt took a step back. “You’re still in college.”
“Med school.” She corrected his assumption she was a co-ed.
He studied her for a second before realization dawned on his face. “Wait a second. Do you live in 301?”
How did he know where she lived? “Why?”
“Because a med student called the police on me last Saturday.”
“You were the one having the party? The noise level was through the roof.”
“Yeah, it was my grandmother’s 85th birthday party. She did get a little wild.”
Heat climbed up the back of her neck. “It was your grandmother’s party?”
He nodded, a big smile on his face.
She grimaced. “Okay, so maybe I’m a little sensitive to noise right now.”
“You don’t say?” He shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. I remember when my sister was still in school. We could drop a cotton ball on the floor, and she’d complain.”
“And I can really understand why. Just when I think I have things memorized, my mind goes blank.”
“I’d be happy to help you study…since I can’t have any loud parties now.”
The teasing in his voice erased her embarrassment. “Okay, you’ve made your point.” Gus whined and tugged on the leash. Reluctantly, Kate began walking. “I’d better take him.”
“Right. So how about that help?”
“You were serious?”
“How do you think my sister passed?”
“Got any extra candles?”
He fell into step beside her. “I think I can scare up one or two.”
“Hope you like anatomy.” The second the words left her mouth, she burst out laughing. “I mean…”
“I know what you mean, and I do. Very much.”
Over the last several nights, I've been on a movie binge. I do this several times a month when I need a break from the series that I binge or I'm in between series. So this past week, I watched movies I wanted to go to the theater to see but never found the time to do it. You may feel differently about these movies than I did, but here we go!
The love story between Hazel Grace and Augustus is captivating, heartbreaking, and poignant. Two teenagers who've both faced or are facing cancer battles find something unique in one another that draws them together.
If you're looking for an emotional movie, Based on the bestselling novel by John Green, The Fault in Our Stars doesn't disappoint. You'll laugh, cry, and rage against the inequality of life. But you won't stop watching. At least, I couldn't. It was a truly memorable movie, although, I'm not sure it's one I could watch more than once. Watch it and see for yourself!
Imagine falling in love with someone you can't touch. In fact, you have to stay at least five feet apart from them or you both could die. That's what Stella and Will endure. Two cystic fibrosis patients in the same hospital, they meet, fall in love, and share a beautiful love story that is both heart wrenching and inspiring.
Five Feet Apart is more than just about love. It's about sacrifice, challenges, and living your best life despite them. Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson are both strong-willed, determined (about different things), and ready for different lives they can never have.
This movie stayed with me long after it was finished. I'm not sure I'll watch it again, but then, I won't have to because I'll never forget it.
I'm still on a binge and am looking forward to two more movies this week that I've been wanting to see. What about you? What movies have you binged? What are your favorites?
As we're all still adjusting to the changes in our everyday lives, I've been thinking more and more about the people who have helped get me through the most difficult parts of this lock down—my friends. I'm fortunate in that I have those friends who are there regardless of the time of day, regardless of what's going on in their lives. They're just there. I hope I am as good of a friend. I know I try to be.
I heard this song by The Script for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and the lyrics really hit home because it's as if they were speaking directly from me to my friends.
I've got friends that will run through walls
I've got friends that will fly once called
When I've nowhere left to go
And I need my heroes
I've got friends that will run through walls
Do you have friends like this? I hope so because everyone needs someone. I'm blessed to have more than one someone, friends that I consider my heroes.
I know we're all in the midst of this crisis, that we're trapped inside our houses for a large portion of the day, and we can't see our family and friends. So tempers can get short and tensions can run high. The walls are closing in, and you just want to be out and about among people again. I get it. That's definitely me, which is why I started forcing myself to have fun at home.
Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Having to force yourself to have fun? But I'm so work-focused that usually my time at home is spent working. Time outside my house is what I consider fun time. But now that I can't go out as much, I'm challenging myself to do other things, things I used to do a lot more and some I've never done before.
I've gone back to working on jigsaw puzzles, which I used to do a lot more. I just finished one two nights ago, and I'm already jumped into another one. Sometimes, I listen to music or a talk while I'm working on them. It's very relaxing.
I'm getting into plants. This is a new one on me. I've never cared for taking care of plants, gardening, or any of that, but a plant I had gotten in 1997 was dying, and I freaked out. It has a special meaning to me so I called a friend, and she talked me through how to help it. Next thing you know, I'm online looking for other plants (that are kitty-safe) and ready to buy gardening supplies and planters so I can fill up my patio with pretty flowers!
I'm video-chatting so much! Never really cared for this before, but since that's the only option, I've gotten used to it. I can show my friends what I'm doing and vice versa, and I'm actually starting to prefer it over just talking on the phone.
I'm reading autobiographies and behind-the-scenes books. Love them! I'm a big Star Trek fan so I'm reading books by the actors. I have a list of other books that I'm looking forward to reading as well. It's so relaxing to curl up with one before bedtime and dive into someone else's life!
I'm creating so many graphics for my social media out of photos I take while I'm out for my daily walk. That's another thing that I've started since lockdown. I started a walking program around my neighborhood, and I take pictures and videos while I'm out and about. I live in a gorgeous neighborhood with fountains, lush grass, geese, beautiful trees and foliage, and even an occasional alligator. It's fun to see what new things I can find on each walk!
And I'm also rewatching classic comedies like The Golden Girls and The Nanny and diving back into some 1980s shows I haven't seen in forever like Cagney & Lacey, T.J. Hooker, and Scarecrow and Mrs. King. I turned eighteen in 1986 so these shows are a part of my childhood, and I'm enjoying reliving them!
That's just a few of the things that I'm doing so I can shut off work mode for a while. What are you doing? Have you started a new hobby or project since the stay at home orders? I'd love to hear about them!
The world is in turmoil right now, and it's easy to get caught up in watching the news 24/7 and let everything else pass you by. But focusing on goals helps keep me productive, and i don't go stir-crazy! I'm also limiting my social media time, especially Facebook, as too much negativity can dull any progress.
Along with the above, I also wrote thirteen posts for Hidden Remote and began working on a pitch deck for a movie. If you aren't familiar with what those are (as I wasn't until my agent filled me in), you can find out more here. Yesterday, I finished the pitch deck and had another article accepted so I'm right on track for my goals for this year.
I've found that keeping track of my goals like this keeps me accountable. Years and years ago, I had a goal of writing every day. To date, I have kept up with that goal. It's easier now because I'm in the habit of writing every day.
So what you doing to work toward your goals?
My website has changed a lot, mainly because my writing focus is shifting. While writing novels will always be my first love, I have been writing more essays, articles, and guest posts, and recently, I became a contributor for Hidden Remote, which is an entertainment website devoted to television and movie news and insights.
So what does this mean for future books? I'm still writing, but, lately, I've felt drawn to more nonfiction than I have fiction, although I am writing flash fiction and short stories. So while I'll still be working on books, I'll do so more slowly. It's kind of nice not feeling like I'm in a hurry to finish a novel. The only deadlines I have are for the publications I'm doing freelance writing for. And those seem to come more easily to me.
Again, writing novels will always be my first love, but I don't feel the muse as strongly as I used to. Maybe after focusing more on nonfiction for a while, I'll be drawn back to fiction. In the meantime, I hope you'll find something you like in the articles and essays I write. Many of them coming up are human interest stories which are really close to my heart.
This doesn't change how I'll post to my blog. I'll still participate in blogging challenges, keep you updated on what's going on in my writing life and my regular life, and throw in an opinion here or there. But I'll also be sharing links to new creations as soon as they go live on the internet so you'll have more of me to read, in a manner of speaking. I hope you'll continue to follow along!
As the world grows angrier and angrier, and people fight over the smallest of things, this is a reminder that we all need. We don't know what anyone is going through, and it doesn't take an effort to simply be kind.
Ever had that moment in life when you knew something was about to change, something that would literally change your life forever? I'm staring down that road right now. In six weeks, maybe less, I'll know if life as I know it will be irrevocably altered. And I'm hoping, praying, that this change will occur.
I had to make the decision to attempt this change, and along with it, I had to confront the possibility that it might not work out. That's not the part I have control over. Taking the first step forward was. And it's been painful, but a lot of changes can be. Yet, they turn out to be the best things that have ever happened to us.
It's easy to fear change. I do sometimes, but when this opportunity came up, I knew almost immediately that I was going to take a chance. If it doesn't work out, I've lost nothing by trying. And even though the disappointment will be strong, I will at least know that I've tried to change my life for the better.
I am so looking forward to the possibilities this change could afford me. I wanted to write this post today to encourage you to embrace change even if it looks like it will be painful or too difficult. It might not work out, but you will have tried, and that is so much better than wondering if!
Every year, I look back on the goals I accomplished, the joys I've had in life, and the trials. It's empowering to see the successes as well as the obstacles I've overcome, and seeing the joys reminds me that this life is precious! So here we go!
Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I'm sure I've said that here countless times, but it never gets old. I'm one of "those" people that whip out the decorations long before Thanksgiving, and I start Christmas shopping in October. The one thing I do wait for is the music. For some reason, it has to be closer to the actual day before I start listening to it. With Christmas now a little over two weeks away, I'm in the mood! My playlist is ready, although this is just a sample!
I have so many others on my playlist; however, the ones you won't find there are the ones that are more tailored for children like Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Here Comes Santa Claus, etc. I don't focus so much on the Santa aspect of Christmas as I do what it means )except for Baby, It's Cold Outside.) I do admit I listen to that song during the winter months as well. I blame that on the musical comedy Neptune's Daughter with Ricardo Montalban. (Watch that movie if you haven't seen it already!)
So what's on your playlist?
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!