Uranus: Rolling Retrograde Pale Blue Beauty & Simple Car Repairs 1-ohhhh!-1: YOU GOT THIS!

Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun and not visible to the naked eye. It’s an interesting and f96496501b29ea59d0cd2f06ad7bba09im-not-saying-its-cats-but-its-cats-thumbunique planet worthy of our attention. Don’t you feel that about yourself sometimes? Especially as a Lonely Woman, or Lonely Man? That you are no longer visible but you are unique and interesting and worthy of attention? You’ll hear, “Get yourself out there! Be around people!” But, it is exactly the “getting yourself out there” thing that is confusing and daunting and scary, isn’t it?

But I digress. Because I like to say/write: I digress.

Uranus’s axis is tilted at 97-98 degrees, so the planet rolls on its side for most of its rotation around our sunmain-qimg-86166fcd316a7716d4486a9e420e9a96. This rotation is called retrograde—opposite of Earth and other planets (besides Venus and Pluto, which also spin in a retrograde direction). In these retrograde planets you can imagine that the sun would rise in the west and set in the east. Though, Uranus is so tilted on its side that some of its orbit points its poles right at the sun so there’s 42 years of sunlight at one pole while the other is in complete darkness for 42 years—that sounds like my moods sometimes; hahaha! The 42 years of sunlight/darkness is during Uranus’s solstice; during the planet’s equinox it is a little more “normal” in its “seasons.”

It takes 84 years for Uranus to orbit the sun—Earth takes 365 days. Imagine that for your birthday I pick you up in my Lil Log Spaceship and take you to Uranus.  Let’s also imagine your birthday is today, July 16, and, let’s say you were born in 1970. If you were back on Earth you’d be 46 years old. But if you were with me on Uranus you’d only be 0.54–notice the decimal y’all!—and what would be your second birthday wouldn’t be until July 20, 2054! I bet you’d miss all the cake and ice cream and presents and would scurry on back to earth. As for me? Well: Pitiful Lonely Woman Alert!—my last birthday was spent—guess, no really, guess!—yeah: alone. Dang. So a birthday once a year or once every 84 years—hmmmmm, gotta think about that one. Like Charlie Brown says (and I don’t exactly quote): We don’t mind being alone and lonely so much, we just don’t want a holiday(or birthday) to emphasis it. Awwwwwwww!

On Uranus, a 115 pound person would weigh 102. Not a huge difference like some of the other celestial bodies—for example, a 115 pound person would weigh over 3000 pounds on the sun but only 19 pounds on the moon! I’m gonna have my cake and eat more of it too on the Moon.

uranusUranus is an Ice Giant planet. There’s an ice mantle that surrounds rock and more ice. Its atmosphere above consists of ammonia, water, and methane ice crystals—this gives it its gorgeous pastel blue color.

Now here is a weird thing: because of Uranus’s atmosphere, it is thought that it may rain diamonds! Imagine diamond-hail falling down on and around you. As well, It could be that there is a layer of liquid diamond. I’m not a diamond kind of woman, but I’d love to have me a big ole pretty jar of liquid diamond. Now I bet that would be interesting and beautiful. Dang! My precious.

Many people believe Saturn is the only planet with rings, but Uranus has rings too (so does Jupiter and Neptune). They are small rings made of dust and small boulders.

Neptune has 27 moons. Can you imagine looking up and seeing 27 moons? They were named after William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope characters—like Puck, Juliet, Ariel, Cupid, Miranda, Oberon, Caliban, etc. etc.

For more on Uranus, see this video below:

Some pronounce this planet Ur-ran-us and others Ur-anus. I admit I picked this planet today because I was saying “Your-Anus” in my head, and since I kicked ass yesterday, that was my reason. Yeah. Well. What can I say? Laugh. I have my own thought-processes.

And the reason I kicked ass is because I was able to make a couple of repairs on my car without any help—because there IS no help. When you are a Lonely Woman/Man, you are responsible for everything, and that includes car repairs and maintenance. And that’s what I want to talk to you about today, besides Uranus, that is! The more we can do on our own, the more kickass we feel. The more empowered we feel. Before I opened up that hood, I was worried about what those repairs were going to cost me, and where would the money come from? How much more can my groaning credit card take? I’d been putting it off, and it wasn’t safe to do that. I was tired of the anxiety over it.

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You are allowed to look pitiful if it’s your birthday and you are by yourself being a Charlie Brown. Just say’n

Stress . . . worry . . . obsesses . . . anxiety . . . or, open the danged ole hood and just Try It.

The repairs I made saved me a trip to a mechanic (other than the “check engine” light that I will talk about), and everything I did was completely FREE! I included a video (below).

These repairs were done on a 1998 Subaru Outback. Your car may vary. Refer to video below if you want to “see” what I’m talking about. And be careful about safety: Engine OFF; hood secured, and any other areas of safety necessary. Your car may be different from mine, so just be Smart about things.

Problem: One of your headlights is not working. It’s not the bulb, because either you’ve had that replaced, and/or you notice the light sometimes works.

Solution: I always keep my engine off! Open the hood, secure the hood safely. Now, look around at FullSizeRenderwhat appears to be connectors and connections leading to the headlight. Behind the bulb you’ll see wires connected to a “plug” –unplug this connector and make sure all the wires are secure. Press the wire connections in, brush/blow away any dirt and dust. Plug the connector back in. If you are lucky, as I was, the headlight will come on! Just be sure you are not forcing things—if it isn’t something easy to disconnect, maybe it’s not supposed to be disconnected!

Problem: Windshield wiper cleaner not working. No motor sounds; no water.

Solution: Again, engine off, look under your secured hood (safety always please!), and find your 064B5BE3-06C5-4A51-9BE8-A33E9221BAA0 (3)windshield wiper fluid container. Make sure first it has fluid. Then look for connectors/connections-wiring leading to the fluid container. Check the wires and connections—I like to press them, push them in, move wires out of the way so they don’t hang up on something. Press on the connectors to make sure they are secured. Sometimes it’s just a loose wire or connections rather than a bad part!

If you have motor sounds but no water comes out to clean your windshield, then look for the small tube that goes from the windshield fluid container up to your hood. In my case, that black rubber tube coming from the windshield wiper fluid container was disconnected from the white plastic connector on the hood. I simply connected the two, turned on my wiper cleaner, and VOILA! Done!

Problem: “Check Engine” light suddenly comes on. Right after I drove my car after these repairs, my check engine light came on. This has never happened before and I was about to panic, but I knew it had to do with something I’d just done. I drove right to a local mechanic (in this case Waynesville Tire—and they were awesome). I told them the repairs I’d done.

Solution: They hooked up a device and all they ended up having to do was put in a code to turn off the check engine light indicator. The mechanic explained that some things will cause that sensor to go off and indicate a check engine light when there is nothing wrong with the engine. We figured that when all that water sprayed in my engine from that loose tube, it somehow caused the sensor to go off. It cost me nothing. So “check engine” doesn’t always mean something bad or catastrophic. If your check engine light comes on, don’t let someone scare you in to some huge repair. Take your car to someone you trust and ask them to try putting in the code to turn off that check engine light. If it continues to come on, then you may have something to address. However, in my case, that was the solution!


Next give-away is next post. And I draw from people who’ve “liked” or commented (here or on the post that shows up on my Facebook Page) from the last drawing until now, so more people are included and it makes it more fun. So on the posts I don’t have a give away, your name still goes “in the hat” for the next drawing.  

During the next few posts, I’m going to delve into the area of – gasp – Dating! Or Not Dating, as the case may, or should, or could be. Stay tuned.


 

1964980_10152466287074176_8369086502746553258_nIf you like Southern/Appalachian/Family Saga fiction (sometimes with a supernatural touch), then I hope you will consider one of my novels (or short story “snacks”) by clicking on this link to my 51j6n1OihJL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Amazon Page. I appreciate your support!

1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nAnd I thank you, my readers.

Earth’s “Near Companion,” Vomitus-Appearing Suppers, Tip for Dirty Oven Doors

It seems that Earth has a mini Moon (it’s not really a moon but I like to think it is) that’s been around for about a hundred years. Only no one Asteroid-2016HO3-e1466075012630knew it until recently. This little asteroid has been circling round Earth for a long time, and will stick around for a much longer time—centuries maybe.

Scientists call this moon a “near-Earth companion.” Asteroid 2016 HO3 orbits the sun but stays this constant Earth companion. It never strays far away. There was once another asteroid that followed for a while, but it went away—buh-bye. If I may personify for a moment: I wonder if Moon grieved that companion? If space seemed more spacier after that moon was gone.

But this little moon is “. . . much more locked onto us.”

If the asteroid drifts ahead or behind or too far away forward or backward, the Earth uses its strong gravitational force to hold tight to the asteroid so it can’t or won’t wander away too far.

It also stops the little moon from becoming too close.

A PRODUCT PICTURE, DOORMAT, GO AWAY, COME BACK WITH CHOCOLATE 2_001Ah. There it is. The irony. The contradictory contrariness of relationships.

Andrew Griffin in a science news article (<click to read) writes, “In effect, this small asteroid is caught in a little dance with Earth.” Oh the dizzying dance.

Ah. It all sounds like Human Relationships, doesn’t it? Are you the little moon? The Earth? The Sun? Do you try to get away and are pulled back by the gravitational force of someone? Will you stick around for centuries, or go away as the other little moon did?

A “Near Companion”—that seems rather perfect to me. Not too close, not too far. And always with the knowing you could spiral off and away as the other asteroid did if things become too . . . too . . . permanent—whooosh! Buh-bye. Dang. I pitiful myself.

If you are your own companion, out there as Moon seemed to be before little moon was

This is the lighter sweeter frosting

The best chocolate cake I have EVER made for someone special – contact me if you want the recipe.

discovered, you must find ways to navigate the universe as Lonely You. One of those things is the obtaining of and cooking of (or not cooking of) and eating of food. Today I’ll talk about the preparing and eating of Alone Fooding.

When I pop out from my lil log spaceship for supplies, I try not to be resentful of the money and time it takes to gather and pay for food. I’m tempted to grab the easiest most processed crap-a-doodle-doo-doo because cooking alone and eating alone while not always horrid can be rather boring and uninspired. You can’t cook something delicious and then have someone say, “Omg! This is so delicious! You are amazing!” Or on the other hand, you cannot say that to the person who just prepared you something amazing. Dang.

But since I am a healthy woman—I was a personal trainer for many years—and I know what I am to do to keep my body and mind strong, I try to prepare healthy food most of the time. Though I do admit that I am a sucker for those cheap-ass Mrs. Callender’s chicken pot pies—add a salad, and there you go! And always cook them in the oven, not the microwave or else they aren’t as good. I also sprinkle Parmesan cheese, or feta, or blue cheese, on top of the pie when there’s about five minutes to go—it makes it seem a little more Home-Madey and gives it a nice fatty-yummyness. Once I stirred in brown rice—nah, took away the pot-pie-ed-ness of it all.

strawberry salad 2 - Copy

The last of the peanuts at the bottom of the jar. Strawberries that needed to be eaten. Last of the yogurt in the bottom of the container-deli mustard-olive oil-honey balsamic vinegar dressing

strawberry salad - Copy

Sometimes I put chicken on my salads, but sometimes I use vegetarian meat replacement – like this chickpea and spinach patty.

I do not like to waste food—not that I ever did before, but even more so now with a tight budget of One, I want to purchase and prepare and eat only what I am able to, and waste not want not as the old cliché goes—a cliché becomes a cliché for a reason, y’all! So this often has me preparing strange conglomerates of ingredients. It often has me throwing bits and pieces into a stir-fry or salad and then just shoving the mess in my mouth and chewing and swallowing until I am done.

I’ve thrown fruit on salad, and the “dressing” is often only an infused vinegar and a little olive oil, but sometimes I will be, um, “creative” and stir together yogurt, honey-mustard or other kind of mustard, pepper and salt, whisk that together, and though it looks like vomitus, it’s rather tasty.

raspberry salad - Copy

Vegetarian “‘fried’ chicken” patty, shaved parm, peanuts, raspberries I need to eat quickly, olive oil, and pomegranate-infused vinegar

Salads are a good way to have a summer cool meal, but make sure you have some protein on there. I add nuts, seeds, and often I use vegetarian “meat” replacement, or real meat, or eggs. Cheese and the olive oil also adds some fat and flavor. I’m not a crouton kind of person but sometimes I’ll eat my salad with tortillas, and rarely but occasionally crackers. I’ve even tossed the last of the bag of Dorito-dust on my salad—though I very rarely purchase empty-caloried chips and crackers.

 

 

 

vomit food

Vomitus on the plate – but it was tasty! I promise! Brown rice from the freezer, bell-pepper from the freezer, seared chicken that I didn’t burn!, green beans that needed to be eaten, spices like Curry, parm on top. As for the chicken – I purchase chicken tenders and freeze each one separately– I only eat one tender-not a big meat eater. I also squeezed a half of a grapefruit into it because it needed to be eaten that day!

Sometimes the food looks appetizing and yummy, and sometimes this Experimentation means the food looks like dawg vomit. I threw into this stir fry some raspberries that were just at the edge—one more day and they’d be too mushy to eat. And I ate it with gusto!, because: waste not want not! Really, it was rather tasty! I promise.

I cook up a big pot of brown rice—brown rice is better for you. Yes it is! Suck it up and eat it!—and portion it out in individual freezer-safe containers so I’ll have brown rice on hand. You can add it to canned soups so they’ll be more nutritious, but not to Mrs. Callender’s pot pies—no no! Or to the stir fry. Or beans and rice. Sometimes I’ll throw the brown rice in a skillet and then add a couple of eggs and stir that around—quick protein—wheee!

A quick “stir-fry” idea is: add a little olive oil to a skillet, and at this point if you are using chicken or other meat you want to sear and cook that now; otherwise, if the meat is cooked or you are going “vegetarian,” toss in bell-pepper (I purchase bell peppers and immediately wash and slice them up and store them in the freezer—they freeze very well), onion and garlic if you like it (I also freeze my chopped onions, but I purchase the jar of minced garlic—just works better for me), and sauté this until the peppers are a bit “wilted” but still have a little crunch (or not, for if you are like me, you half burn them because you become distracted—ungh!). Add in the brown rice, meat or fake meat if you want, and any seasonings you like, (I also squeezed half a grapefruit I needed to eat), and DONE! Voila! Dinner in a flash!


yogurt oats2

Instant or not instant oatmeal with no sugar added, low sugar plain yogurt, dried fruit, milk or water, honey, refrigerate overnight

Instant or not instant oatmeal with no sugar added, low sugar plain yogurt, dried fruit, milk or water, honey, refrigerate overnight

vomit oats

Ugh. What’d I do this time? Bleah – vomit. But I ate it.

One night I threw together oatmeal, yogurt, a little cream and water, dried fruit, cinnamon, honey, stirred, and refrigerated overnight and had a nutritious breakfast before my hike. It was pretty danged good. But the next time, it turned out a gloopy gloppy pasty mess—and I ate it for supper while I worked on an editing job, and for dessert I had a peanut butter and jam sandwich—urp. Waste not want not.

 

corn burnt tortilla

Gorgonzola cheese sprinkled over corn tortillas, broiled in the oven, and then drizzled with honey. Had I not burnt them, they’d have been perfect. But I ate em up. That’s canned soup on the side that I added some of my brown rice from the freezer to.

I have really great “palate” instincts—I have been told I’m good at flavors, mixing flavors, finding unique and tasty flavors. I have the ability to be a Good Cook. But I am not. I often burn things because I’m in a hurry and turn up the heat too high, or become distracted by a shiny thing. I will start out with a yummy thought like these gorgonzola cheese sprinkled on top of corn tortillas with a drizzle of honey: what would have been delicious is instead burnt, but I ate them anyway *see want not waste not.* Not bad—urpity.

You know what the difference is between a good cook and someone who cooks? Patience and Love. I have neither but especially I do not when I am not a Near Companion to anyone. When I’m the asteroid who flew off and away into the galaxy or beyond, I Throw Shit Together and Hope for the Best. Sometimes it turns out fabulous, and other times I have Dawg Vomitus or Gloopy Glopped Messes or Burnt Tortillas or eat Mrs. Callenders pot pies. Mostly, I am bored. Bored. Bored. Bored. And when I am Bored, I experiment, and when I experiment, I have to eat what I prepared, even if it sucks.

I will tell you this: do not eat over the sink or even while working (though sometimes it must be done) or out of the pot! No no! Prepare your gloppy gloop or your burnt food or your surprisingly tasty dawg vomitus and ladle/spoon/fork it onto a plate or bowl and grab your silverware and a napkin and Eat Civilized, my friends. Eat Civilized.

grinder

Grind your own spice mixes! A small hand-cranked coffee grinder works well.

By the way—I took this coffee grinder and instead use it to grind pepper, or salt. And I add things to the mix. Even coffee! Coffee salts, coffee peppers—really quite good. If you are by yourself, you don’t have to worry, because if you mess it up, no one will know, right? Right!

So, my good friends—what do you prepare for a One? Or a Near Companion? How do you navigate your kitchen? How do you shop for food for one so you don’t “waste not want not?” I need ideas, recipes, thoughts!

 


Update on my post below about Alcohol: I had nothing to be concerned about after all! I am happy to report that I’ve not missed my daily fancy craft beer or my wine one bit. I thought I would. I worried I would. I was terrified I would. But, I do not. Never looked back. Feel great. Lost a couple of bloaty pounds by not imbibing. It seemed it was more a habit and boredom than anything else. This proves something important to me. I will continue not to Drink Alone, for I think that is best. But I am very happy and optimistic that I can return to my many many years of Social Drinking. Can I get a WHOOHOO! Y’all!


 


dirty oven door

Dirty Oven Window

This worked!

door2

Hot Water – Paper Towels – Soak

salt door - Copy

Salt – scrub

clean door

Voila! One more time and it should be perfect!

 

 

 

 

 

TIP OF THE DAY! I have a self-cleaning oven and it works great for the oven
part, but my glass door always looked gross. I’ve scrubbed to no avail.

Enter Ask Heloise –  I’ll need to repeat it one more time but it worked!

Eleven years of frustration remedied in about 20 minutes. Hot Dang! Open oven door and carefully poor water you’ve boiled (I was boiling eggs so I used that water-ha!). Be careful! Lay paper towels over the hot water and let soak 5-10 minutes, adding a little more hot water about halfway through. I went the entire 10 minutes. Wipe up the water. Cover the window with salt, and then scrub. Wipe up the mess with a damp cloth. Dry. Though she didn’t say to, I then used a Clorox Wipe to shine it and then a paper towel to buff. Try it!




 

Winner of the Coffee Drawing is: Karen Anderson (<click to her blog)!

Karen, please contact me via email or FACEBOOK or in the comments here.

Also note that in the future I will be adding names to the drawing from any comments or “likes” not only here on my blog but on Facebook as well.

Next drawing is for something you can’t buy at a store. Details later



1964980_10152466287074176_8369086502746553258_nIf you like Southern/Appalachian/Family Saga fiction (sometimes with a supernatural touch), then I hope you will consider one of my novels (or short story “snacks”) by clicking on this link to my 51j6n1OihJL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Amazon Page. I appreciate your support!

1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nAnd I thank you, my readers.

Black Holes. Deaths of Stars. “How to” of the day. Give-away drawing.

This from The Physics of the Universe, which has more information on Black Holes you may be article-2302364-00570A6100000258-460_634x430interested in reading: “A black hole’s mass is concentrated at a single point deep in its heart, and clearly cannot be seen.” A single point deep in its heart—ah, how poetic and lovely. In my lil log spaceship, I only skim around the places where the black holes are in our Milky Way Galaxy, because to go too close is dangerous. The blackness pulls, pulls, pulls, and once inside, just as with the light, there is no escape from it. We must search out the light and leave behind the darkness, though the darkness holds fascination and we are often drawn to its mysteries.

You see, black holes are places in space where the gravity is such that even light can’t escape; the gravity is so strong because matter is condensed into a tiny space. It can occur when a star is dying. The idea of shining beautiful stars dying is poetic in itself. Nothing escapes death—so shine as bright and beautiful as you can while you can. As the narrator in the video below says, “Out of catastrophe, comes creation.” Ah. yes.

Since no light escapes, black holes are invisible, but scientists can use their sciencey toys to look at stars close to black holes and study how they act differently from other stars.

The Big Ones are called supermassive black holes—imagine a mass that’s more than a million suns. Our galaxy has a supermassive black hole and it’s called Sagittarius A. Sagittarius A has a mass that’s equal to about 4 million suns. A whole bunch of Earth’s could fit in that black hole. But some are tiny enough to hold in my hand. *Kat takes a moment to picture this—holding a tiny black hole and feeding it light. Amazing.*

To say it most unscientifically, black holes are constantly “hungry,” and if the spaceship is too close, DSC09985we could be sucked into the blackness. Of course, then we’d know what was inside and that would be kind of awesome. Though, we’d never survive—once you arrive at the Event Horizon, time slows way down, and you are spaghettified—streeeeeetched out most uncomfortably.

Earth is probably safe, since black holes are too far away to swallow up our Earth. But even if Sagittarius A drifted our way, the black hole’s gravity would be the same as the sun and we’d just orbit the black hole.  Now, that presents problems all of its own, right? Sometimes in life we orbit around black holes instead of the sun, don’t we? Where light doesn’t escape. But we don’t stay there, because we are strong and we are fearless and we are determined. Right? Right!

Over the last few posts, I’ve talked about what it’s like to be lonely—the feelings and emotions behind loneliness. Now I want to explore our galaxy in other ways. Ways that will be helpful—I can’t guarantee I won’t become Black Hole-ish where light can’t escape and I am dark and mysterious and looming, but it’s all part of the Lonely Woman’s (or Lonely Man’s) journey, right?

Today I made you a video of how to check your oil. We all should learn how to do simple things with our vehicles, our homes, our lives. And taking care of simple things gives us a feeling of accomplishment and power. It saves us a little money, too. The first week I showed you a simple “repair” of your garbage disposal. Week after that, what to try if your ceiling fan is making noise. Today, checking your oil!

Next week, I will be talking about cooking for one. And, I’ll be asking you for ideas and recipes. It’s easy to slip into buying quick easy processed frozen food and though that’s okay for an occasional meal, preparing fresh healthy food will keep us at top performance, just as we want our vehicles to be at their top performance.

So let’s move away from the Black Hole for a while and towards the shining stars that are still brilliant and light-giving. Shall we?


Give Away: I’ll be drawing for a pound of Starbucks coffee. Beans or Ground, strong or medium or light, your choice. Coffee! Coffee! Oh how I love coffee! The winner is chosen by me drawing a name from the comments or “likes” section-either one, it’s just nice to have you drop by and acknowledge you were here so I can smile at you. My plan is to have at least one give-away a month, perhaps two. Judy D won the chocolate from the last give-away.


If you like Southern/Appalachian/Family Saga fiction (sometimes with a supernatural touch), then I hope you will consider one of my novels (or short story “snacks”) by clicking on this link to my Amazon Page. I appreciate your support! And I thank you, my readers.

Visiting Earth. The deafening loud-ass silence of loneliness.

Earth. Third planet from the sun and the only planet known to support life. It’s the only planet not imagesnamed after a Greek or Roman god. And unlike the naming of other planets’ moons, our moon is simply called Moon—this struck me today, that we didn’t name Earth’s moon; I wonder why? Though I like Moon and if they named it, I’d still call it Moon.

As Earth ages it is slowing down. Only about 17 milliseconds per hundred years, but it lengthens the days. Many millions of years from now, Earth will have a 25-hour day. What to do with that extra hour? Sleep in? Waste it? Yeah. We’ll waste it.

Though we have a 24-hour day, it actually takes 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds for the Earth to rotate on its axis—that’s called a Sidereal Day. No, our nights and days won’t eventually be wonky. Why? Because Earth orbits around the sun and if you consider the motion from the sun as Earth orbits it as well as the rotation of Earth on its axis, it comes to 24 hours, and that’s called a Solar Day. Solar Day is the time it takes for the sun to be back in the same place in the sky—24 hours. Yeah, that sounds confusing, but really it’s not when you think about it a moment, or just accept it.

And a year isn’t exactly 365 days. There is an extra .2564 days to make a total of 365.2564 days. To make things even out, every 4 years we have Leap Year. We are so clever.

Click here to see: Earth rotating at night.

And since I usually mention a weight measure when we visit other planets, did you know that at the equator you would weigh a few ounces less than if standing at one of the poles? Gravity.

If we were aware of how fast we are actually moving, spinning through space, at, depending where you are on Earth, a bit over 1,000 miles per hour, you’d at the very least vomit.  It’s weird to think though that people on the equator move fastest and people on the North or South poles are still. So if we were aware of our spinning and moving, we’d all rush to the poles and freeze our asses off.

It is on Earth I land my little log spaceship and trek down to The City for supplies and fuel. The City where I have my home-base is tiny with only 1,000 or so full-time residents. But during peak tourist seasons that swells and quite considerably. There are people and cars everywhere. You would think dsc06364that having more people would make the lonely feel less alone, but it does not. People are not meant to be alone. Like water finding water, people find people. We are social animals. Everywhere we go, there are groups, or couples. There are parents/grandparents and their children. There are couples—lovers or friends or both. There are groups of friends. There are families. There is touch and talk and laughter and argument and discussion and kiss and hold and share.

If you are alone and find something funny or interesting or amazing, the funny or interesting or amazing loses its shine when there is no one to say, “I know! Right?”

When you have been alone in your spaceship for many days, you are not sure of how you sound or appear to others. If you speak to someone, you wonder if you made sense. If your words and 002sentences and phrases come out coherent. You forget what conversation sounds like. If you are in a social situation, you either babble a million words, or you have few words at all and stare dumbly at the other person as they wait with raised eyebrows for you to say something. You practice speaking to your little dog because you aren’t sure if your voice will go rusty—can vocal cords forget how to speak if not used regularly? You google it, and find out, here, that you’d be just fine—that when someone woke from a 19-year coma, he was able to speak. You are relieved, and also, strangely, disappointed.

Though Earth is loud, especially during the busy seasons, or when you visit other cities while on Earth, and even more especially after returning from Pluto and Mars (previous posts), there is a vacuum of silence around you. While the silence of loneliness is quite apparent, the sound of loneliness is really quite loud.

When alone most all the time, you forget what you look like. Reflections lie. They do, really. If there 074is no one to tell you that you are beautiful or handsome and sexy and wonderful, what are you then to yourself? Though you shower, brush and floss your teeth, eat fairly healthfully, drink in moderation, and sleep, and exercise, and stretch, and take care of yourself in many various ways, you may not brush your hair for days; you may wear clean but comfortable-and-not-attractive clothes for weeks; you may wander about the spaceship touching things just to make sure you are real—because if the things you touch are real, then so are you. You don’t doubt your sanity—you don’t. You don’t. You don’t. Don’t. Don’t. You. Don’t.

Some nights the loneliness becomes shapes in the dark and you aren’t even afraid. Instead you ask, “Who are you? What do you want? Guess what I saw today?” And there is no answer, so you sleep and dream of people. People people people populate your dreams—and you are doing things with the people: talking, laughing, having sex, kissing, hugging, arguing, running from them and to them. You wake from your dreams and for a moment it is enough.

You have a constant “cruel wanting.”

The paradox is: though you are lonely, you want to be left alone. Because you get it in your head that people are not to be trusted. People mean hurt and chaos and responsibility. You can’t stand it but you do.

And that’s all I have to say to you today. That’s all I got.

————

(P.S. I’ll have another give-away next week, as well as a Repair of the Day, and some Dinner Ideas for One – WHEEHAW!.  – Judy D – you won the Mars Chocolate drawing from last week. Email or FB message me.  . . . )

The Unfinished Galaxy. Mars: The No God Zone (Also: Lonely Woman’s Easy repair of the day; and a yummy give-away)

Mars is our next door neighbor . . . .

It is the forgotten playground of a god, or God. Almost there. Almost Just Right. Almost Earth-like . . . more on that later.

marsSmaller than Earth, it does have two moons so that in itself makes it nice to visit in my Lil Loghouse Spaceship. Though, it’s often difficult to see the moons, because of the dust storms kicking up. The wind howls, and you can hear it if you click on this video—as well as see a sunset tinge the sky blue. You can hear the sounds of Mars from space on this video.

From space, Mars is beautiful in its own way—if you like red, and I do. There’s so much iron in the soil. And it’s cold. 80 degrees below zero. And I forgot my coat on Pluto. Oh well! When you are a Lonely Woman, you don’t have anyone to remind you to grab your coat, or to make sure your shirt isn’t on inside out, or fix the tag that’s sticking up in the back, or acknowledge your existence when you return to Earth from Mars. There’s not even a Jesus to wipe off your Mars-dusty feet, either. But I digress . . . .

On Mars, there’s canyons, volcanoes, craters. Clouds, fog, wind. Tornados. There’s gravity—though one-third less than Earth has. If you dropped a cup of coffee on Mars, it would fall slower than if you dropped that cup of coffee on Earth—maybe you have time to grab it, but then I suppose everything would move slower. Just like with Pluto, which I wrote about below, you’d weigh less: if you weighed 100 pounds on Earth, you’d only weigh 37 on Mars. You could also jump higher on Mars. Wheeee! Though after a while, jumping higher means nothing if there’s nothing to jump for, or no one to show how high you are jumping and laughing while you scream “Isn’t this cool?” We must have witness to coolness or it just doesn’t feel as cool.

It takes a little less than twice as long for a year to pass on Mars than it does on Earth—plenty more time to fail at your New Year’s resolutions; am I right? One day on Mars is only 20 minutes longer than on Earth. What to do with those twenty minutes? What to do. Waste it? Make it count? Scientists think that at one time the planet could have had liquid water, or at least could support oceans. They think that something may have struck Mars and flung out a lot of its atmosphere into space—

That happened to me. I was metaphorically struck by something, or if I’m being honest, by someone, and parts of me flung out into space so that I am left altered. I am Mars—all howling winds and dust storms and I am next to all this Life and Abundance and I am not Goldilocks—Not Just Right—and . . . more on that in a second.

Mars is the closest thing there is to Earth, and scientists think it could support life. As long as we don’t think of it as Life as We Know it On Earth.

I don’t believe in God. Not any longer. And not for quite some time.

Okay, that came out of the blue, right?

Doesn't that "mass" look a little like our continent?

Doesn’t that “mass” look a little like our continent?

As I travel our Galaxy in the lil spaceship, I see our beautiful Earth among all the other planets so inhospitable. I know that Earth is in the “Goldilocks Zone,” meaning Earth is situated in the “just right” place in our solar system not only to support life, but life so lush and varied that it boggles the mind how we became who we are and what we are—Random Acts of Nature. Because, I randomly think, if there were this Higher Being creating, why not Mars? Why would a god so magnificent and awesomely and powerful stop with one planet? Why make Mars “almost there” but not go there? Would a god realize his limitations? Did he/she/it want us to be the Lonely Planet? Did he/she/it feel abandoned so abandoned the entire project? Would a god or God be the loneliest being in not only this galaxy, but in all the galaxies? Maybe God or gods created just what he/she/it felt—a world full of lonely-hearted people looking for a way not to be lonely; a world full of the Always Searching for Something that isn’t there until it is and then it isn’t.

If you are the Lonely Woman traveling the galaxy looking down at the busy earth, and the desolate planets all around it, you feel the absence of God not the presence. You don’t see this Miracle—instead you see Beautiful Acts of Random. You see how a planet right next door just because it is not in The Perfect Spot, but almost is, is not able to sustain the life as Earth does.

You know what I miss most about believing in a god and Jesus and all that? Not the fire and brimstone—I mean, face it, the God(s) man created are abusive and mean and incredibly cruel and why would I pray to that? This God throws you in a lake of fire and watches you burn—how sick is that? And though Jesus would want to kiss your blistered feet, even he has to turn his back on you once you do whatever it is that is not pardonable. And there you are screaming out their name, begging for mercy where there is none. That sounds  like a really interesting novel that I’d read once and be so disturbed I’d never read again. I have done much thinking on this. I find science comforting. Very comforting. I find a god or Gods unsettling and more like a fairytale told to misbehaving children to get them to Act Right.

But what I miss about Jesus, you see, is that as a Lonely Woman, you lie in bed at night and there is DSC09985no one to listen. You speak aloud to hear your voice, and you “pray” to the Universe but you know no one or no thing hears you. The dark is darker. The night is nightyer. The loneliness lonelier. You think that if it were your last night on Earth, who would be there to witness your death? Who would cry and scream and shake their fist to the sky? It would only be after no one had heard from you that they’d begin to worry and then make their grisly discovery. You try not to think about these things. But you do. So you reach out to neighbors and friends and family and find ways to make sure you are Seen and Heard and Discoverable very quickly.

Earth may be the God Zone, but Mars is the No God Zone, and that is where I am hovering right now, right above Mars, looking down at a dust storm fierce and howling. When I land, I’ll walk its dusty soil and know that no Big Being in the Sky would leave Mars so desolate—so close to Earth yet so far. Here’s a Rover on mars.

It’s as if the God Story is unfinished. As if this Being started a project in a petri dish, the Great Scientist in the Sky, and then grew bored. Or gave up. Or perhaps thought, “This is enough for me. This is just right.” Or, as I lie in bed at night looking out the window at the stars and as the moon shines on my right foot, I know just how random I am. There is some comfort in that. I can absolve myself from so much responsibility.

But there is no one to say that to. No one to talk to and say, “Guess what? I just had an epiphany!” And there’s no Jesus there to nod his sage head and say, “Good work, my daughter.” There’s no God up there smiting me, either, which is a relief. Who wants to be smit’ed?

For Lonely Woman in this strange Unfinished Galaxy, there is You in the night. You. You. Just You. You. Just You. Unfinished. Almost but Not Quite Just Right.


Easy Repair of the Day: Is your ceiling fan making noise and driving you nuts? Did you know that sometimes all you need to do is clean it? That there may be some dust on it, or on the top of the blades where you can’t see it, and that is causing it to be out of balance. Turn the fan off, take a rag and clean the blades top and bottom. Turn the fan back on and be amazed that it fixed the clickity sound or the clackity sound or the click-clack sound. If this does not work, or only partially works, you may have to go to your local hardware store (or big hardware store) and purchase a ceiling fan weight balance thing to try that. But the easier fix without even leaving your spaceship is first to try cleaning the blades. I cleaned the dust from mine and it worked!


Links: Daniel Wallace Guest Author at R&T, Firefly Dance, RAP, etctgIf you love Appalachian/Southern Fiction, I hope you will head over to Kat Magendie Amazon Page and pick out a book. I will have book give aways (mine and other authors’) from time-to-time, but today–chocolate. TG & Sweetie are two of my best sellers. But there are more to choose from.


Give away of the week: Chocolate! Since we talked about Mars today, I am going to give away some Mars chocolates. I don’t like the “first commenters” thing.  So, at the end of the week (Saturday), I will randomly draw a number out of a box and whomever is the *that number* commenter is the one who receives the give away. If I receive only 1 commenter, then, well, I’ll have to pull from the box until I get number 1 *laugh*

Pluto: too tiny to clear away obstacles? (& Repair for the Day)

At one time Pluto, though the smallest in the solar system and the farthest away (as far as we knew), was a Planet, a regular old planet and a part of the Nine Planets we all grew up reciting in school using a mnemonic, such as: My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas (for more, plutoclick on this site: Mnemonic Devices Memory Tools ). But one fine day Pluto was flung out of its A Part of the Whole planet status in our galaxy, left to drift there in the cold and dark.  Oh people rooted for it and that made Pluto feel hope, but it was still alone out there. Perhaps because scientists felt so sorry for Pluto in all its lonely isolation, they upgraded it to a Dwarf Planet. A consolation prize that didn’t lessen the sting so much as make Pluto feel its pride surging up but its feeling of belonging surging down.

Tpluto_color_beforeclosestapproach.jpg.CROP.original-originalhough Pluto’s status in the galaxy changed, Pluto had not changed other than the natural changes that occur with any living thing—and one could say that planets are not living things if there is no life there, but that’s a subject for another day. Pluto was doing as it always did, so far away in its own little world. Pluto is so difficult to explore and know about, since it’s so far away, that it is often misunderstood—and even so, it relays its heart on its pale face (and you can see and read about that heart on Nasa’s Site), sending messages of please love me! I am worthy! While at the same time keeping its distance away from all the others. A strange contradiction.

A Dwarf Planet is called this because it is so little it cannot clear other objects out of its path. Oh, my friends, how we do relate to that. In our One Status, tucked inside our spaceship, we see obstacles of every size and though we may feel mighty, we can’t seem to clear the way—and we see the other planets big and important doing what we struggle with and that only make us feel smaller and lonelier. We begin to feel this ineptness creep up on us. That inept feeling erodes and causes us to flounder. It’s all too much!, we wail. And, it is. No platitudes from well-meaning friends and family helps. Yes, they mean well when they say the supportive things they say out of their own helpless way of helping you. But it means nothing when you are struggling to clear the way through the galaxy’s bombardment.

One day on earth is 24 hours. But on Pluto? One day is the equivalent of 6 and ½ days. Time drags on slowly and methodically, though at the end of it, how much was accomplished? It feels as if we squandered that six and one-half days. We pass by Earth and see all the busy people accomplishing in one day what it takes us almost a week to do—because it’s all on us. Because no one has our back. Things pile up. Housework, food shopping, bill paying, dog care, work. And repairs to the ship (see below!). We’re pocked by the obstacles smacking us senseless and we cannot clear the way because we are so tiny.

It’s very cold on Pluto. 375 to 400 degrees below zero cold. It’s icy. Cold, dark, icy. Who would love
Ice Walk at Killian Knob + Video Whale Back Rock & VK's Sagathat? It is only icy because it is so far away from everything and everyone else. Isolation. But yet, there is that big heart. There is that grit. There is that tenacity despite its smallness.  There is that, I am Here! I am HERE! You will not discount me! Goddammit! You will see me! You will respect me!

On Pluto, you can eat whatever you want and hop on those scales and laugh your ass off. Pass the ice cream! Pass the cookies! More chips and dip please! Because 100 pounds on Earth is only about 7 pounds on Pluto. So, my lovelies, the nights you are alone watching rerun marathons of Grey’s Anatomy with all that love and kissing and sex and people interacting and hope and loss and the 630320whole messiness of life and death, you, One You, are eating an ice-cream bar with enough calories to run a couple marathons around the perimeter of Pluto. And if you have not tried Magnums, and I mean the ice cream you sillies you, then travel in your spaceship over to Earth to the nearest store and find them. But know that they will taunt you from the freezer—call out to you, entice you. And you will answer because you crave the enticement, the taunting. You must save them for a special treat because once you return to Earth from Pluto, the weight difference will astound and amaze, and my friends, we must stay healthy! Magnuming ourselves into bad health isn’t the answer either. haw!

So how do you navigate your One-ness world? How do you clear objects out of your path even if Ring around the universe, pocket full of planetsyou are told you cannot or you tell yourself that you cannot, or reality is you in reality cannot? You rise out of bed. You make your bed. You wash your face. You comb your hair. You turn on the coffee pot. You eat breakfast. You put one foot in front of the other and you Do. You try not to look at the other planets who hang in the air with all their importance. You show your heart and hope that one day that heart will be a beacon for Something More. But until then? Until then you try and you try and you try some more. And in the failings come success. Even small successes are accomplishments that will make you feel empowered. All by yourself.

That is what Pluto does. That is what Lonely Woman does (mostly). That is what we who are One in the galaxy must do.


Repair for the day: If your garbage disposal in the spaceship quits working, don’t immediately start wondering how you will replace it. Instead, grab a flashlight and dive under that sink and look for the Reset Button. Yes, if you did not know, there is a reset button on your garbage disposal. I found it, and it worked, so I didn’t need to do anything else. Before you go resetting, you’ll need to make sure there is nothing stuck in the disposal causing it not to work. Please do not go sticking your hand in there until you not only turn it off, but find the plug to unplug it! I once chewed up an entire glass in the disposal and had to unplug it so I could dig out millions of shards of glass. But I did it! And I did it this time, too, by not letting panic take over: Where will I find the money to replace this? Who can I trust to install it? OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG! (More on those thoughts another time). I simply hit Reset.

There are other troubleshooting ways to fix your disposal on your own. It will give you a feeling of power to be able to fix what goes wrong in your spaceship, without having to travel to one of the Big Important Planets to find someone, or pay someone, to help you. Again, please make sure that if you are sticking your hand down in that dark nasty abyss, you turn off the disposal and unplug it. Two videos to help you: Short One with only Music & Visuals & Longer One with Voice Instruction.

Next week, I will have a give-away. If you did not receive anything from me last week and you should have received the Kindle Copy because you “won” it, then please contact me.

NEVER FOUND THE OCEAN . . . .

Back to the cove at Killian Knob

NEVER FOUND THE OCEAN

Daddy arrives in ten million pieces

Plus two

How amazing

I can lift him

All at once, once and all

Piece by piece

Grain by grain

Had I found the ocean

(can you swim, Daddy?

“don’t be silly, I’m dead!”)

He would drift there

With each lifting wave

Old things shout

From ten thousand lips

“Time for all dogs

To be dead,

Aren’t you feeling a little sick?”

Daddy, I’d say, that makes

No sense

If I cry out to the ocean

(come back!)

He’ll send a small part of himself

(as he did in life)

Spill over my bare feet

My toes seek find

Anything but what I searched

(you’ll be safe in the ocean, Daddy

“safe from what?”

you know, Daddy, you know)

A piece of tongue floats by

Speaks of sadness

More often than joy

(as it was in life)

And now that I listen

silent

Hey, Daddy! Hey!

But he’s swallowed

By the by the by

Big sea only grass

Without even a wave

 

Kathryn Magendie

Presenting: Diane Buccheri of OCEAN Magazine(published in OCEAN magazine soon after my father died – a wonderful magazine that I was privileged to have poetry, prose, and photographs published within its beautiful pages. Ocean Magazine is, or was?, based out of the coast of North Carolina by its beautiful and talented and dedicated publishing editor Diane Buccheri. She dedicated herself to the ocean and all that it contained.)

A dozen interesting tiddlybits to make you go, “Huhn. Well now I know! Thanks Kat! You’re Special!”

  1. 0841. Our interstates have a “system” to them. Odd numbers are north to south with the lowest numbers in the west. Even numbers are east to west with the lowest numbers in the south. Exits are assigned numbers to let you know the distance to the next exit—mile-markers aren’t always exits but they tell you distance “in between.” The interstate system is about 46,300 miles, and of those 46,300 miles, it is a known fact that 40.4858788584857% of the time, a bathroom will be ten to fifty miles from where you really have To Go Bad. And 50.4848482975875% of the time, a Left-Laner will hold up traffic for 20.225 miles, plus three, and then flip you off in indignation when you finally zoom by in frustration.
  1. Supposed to work - let's hope you never have to find out!

    Supposed to work – let’s hope you never have to find out!

    A skunk can spray up to ten feet away. The spray is a yellow oily substance—and guess what? Oil and water don’t mix; so if your dog is sprayed and you wet the dog, it’s going to stink worse—delightful, right? The spray contains as many as seven kinds of nasty “ingredients” that can easily be conglomerated by the skunk into a gas that explodes from the ass(it rhymed!)—that’s what makes it stanky; no, stanky isn’t strong enough a word—putridly pungent. A skunk stinks, yeah, but  in a sobering addition to this light-hearted skunkfomercial: did you also know that skunk spray can cause severe anemia and death in dogs? Okay, only very rarely but worth a note if your dog loves chasing Pepe LePew.

  1. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop? According to science: 1,000. According to Kat: about 30 before she bites into it with glee.
  1. When you google “Will I ever use Algebra in real life?” This is the kind of answer you find, which is an evasive non-answer in my Algebra experience: “This is a difficult question, but the simplest answer is that Algebra is the beginning of a journey that gives you the skills to solve more complex problems.” Uh huh. Nice try.
  1. 007It’s a myth that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. Where did that saying come from? Actually, it’s from the 1800s or some other time when people made up stuff out of boredom and other bored people readily believed it because there wasn’t Google, or Bing if you are a Binger, to debunk it (only 6.777558475% of people like Internet Explorer; poor thangs)—of course, ironically, the internet is full of BS that bored people make up and equally bored people believe. Anyway, lightning not striking twice meant: misfortune won’t happen twice in the same way to the same person. *fake-coughs out a barely perceptible bullshit*
  1. Women’s colons are longer than men’s colons (so who is more full of sh with a side of it, you may ask? Answer with care, my male friends, answer with care). And our female colons are more twisted up. We’re all discombobulated in there. Why? Whyyyyy? They—the infamous “They People” (who I believe are Aliens! No, really!)—say it’s because we give birth. Oh. Okay. So, we have more colon so we can squeeze out a human? Uh huh. They—the Aliens—are tricksters. Just tricksters.
  1. Conversely, a man’s brain is about 10% larger than a woman’s brain. Now, before you men’s heads swell up even more, no it doesn’t mean you
    This is your brain; this is your brain on gender

    This is your brain; this is your brain on gender

    are more intelligent, or any less intelligent. It does mean you process differently. But brain size is not a correlation to intelligence. The brain is larger to accommodate the extra body mass and muscle. Is to! Is TO!

  1. Speaking of brains. Artists have different brains. According to a scientific study (by “They”), researchers found sort ofishy scientifically that artist’s brains are structurally different from non-artists. I suppose that includes us writers, right? I need an excuse for my discombobulated hootnannies. Scans (by They/Aliens!) show that artists have more grey matter in an area of the brain that matters to scientists because scientists are awesome. That area of the 1291293eef10a1b7765ddd172deed303brain could possibly (why aren’t “They” ever sure?) be linked to that “inner eye” that gives visual creativity/clarity.
  1. While goofing off on Google, you find things that you think are jokes, then realize some people really do believe in these Thangs. Like, the im-not-saying-its-cats-but-its-cats-thumbf96496501b29ea59d0cd2f06ad7bba09“theory” that cats are aliens. Uh huh now; I see. Well, there is discussion of it Here and Here. Enjoy!  The first one actually is called “catalienconspiracy.com.”

10. The Perfect Every Time Boiled Eggs. Really! I swear! Put eggs in a saucepan and cover the eggs with water–I just added “the eggs” while re-reading this; didn’t want you to think I meant cover the pan with water -haha! Bring water to a boil and soon as it reaches that “roiling bubbling toil and troubling boil” turn off the heat, cover the pan with a lid, and let the eggs sit in the water for 14 minutes—no more! Some say 12 minutes; some say 13 minutes (what do “they” say?). I’ve had success with 14 minutes. Soon as the timer goes off—and if you don’t use a timer, you will forget and your eggs will suck–no one likes sucky eggs or to suck an egg; eww. No, you will forget–use a timer. I mean it; you will. Anyway, pour off the hot water, add cold water on top of the eggs in the pan, and add some ice to stop the cooking process. Perfect boiled egg.

  1. Most writers make crap for money. If writers are in it for the money, nowadays especially, then those writers may surely be sorely disappointed in the results of their dreams of Lotso Casholo. No, seriously! You wouldn’t believe the people who think I’m rolling in it because I have 5-6 books and some stories out there. When they see me pull up in my 17 year old Subaru decked out in clothes from the clearance rack, an old Dell laptop, a broken-shattered iPhone that I refuse to replace until my iPad’s paid for, they think I’m being ironic, or eclectic, or
    What you talkin' bout Willis?

    What you talkin’ bout Willis?

    that I left my sports car at home with my Louboutin’s. Seriously, though, folks. There is about 0.555785959992445566999999% of the population of authors/novelists who can do this “for a really good living without having another income” and 0.2455668855599999494994949 of those 0.555785959992445566999999% spend a lot of their time writing inspirational platitudes and giving writers advice about how we should be doing this and not doing that and all this blah blah blahdidly blah that they half-believe themselves but they’ve paid their dues, by golly gee, and can tell all us other writers how it is done and if we can’t do it that way, well no wonder we don’t sell books! The rest of us are varying degrees of starving, doing okay, doing pretty well, and pretending we are doing very well by posting upbeat Facebook and Twitter updates about how awesome we are doing and how we aren’t drowning our sorrows in wine and chocolate and sex—la tee dah, y’all! Haw!

  1. And speaking of Louboutin’s—while looking up how to spell it (I can spell Ked’s – wait, is that Keds or Ked’s – dang), a glance at a site that sells downloadthem yields this: “cheapest” (relative term): $525 for some kind of oogly-arse boat shoe looking thangs, to the more expensive sparkled heel at $4,225—my entire wardrobe does not come anywhere near that much—shoes included.

Now, aren’t you glad you know all that? I know I am!

—————————————————–

393520_294411430580586_999236092_nTouty Plug of the Day: I love this Facebook Page – easy, simple, uplifting, fun: Things I Like –About: “feel free to add your likes (3 per post)–just keep it clean–keep it positive. drop by or join our “365 day like-a-thon.” by posting here, we have your permission to include our favorites in the future, THINGS I LIKE ©”

The Workout-Writer: Perceived weakness holding us back from our potential

11794466_10153495739099176_2740973581806587689_oWorkout:

I’ve taken up hitting the boxing bag. Not only is it an excellent cardio workout, but works/strengthens/tones the entire upper body—arms, chest, back, core. I “knee” it, too, thus adding some strengthening to my lower body. I often think of my father—he boxed while he was in the Air-Force, and while I’d never hop into the ring, it brings a connection all the same.  But what I want to talk about here today is perceived weakness that keeps us from realizing our potential, because we often don’t recognize potential when we give up too easily, especially when we feel weak and ineffective in an area.

While boxing a couple of days ago, I’d punch the hell out of the bag with my right, but the left was weak and puny. I flailed away a few times and when my left arm just wouldn’t cooperate, I gave in and punched only with my right, every so often smacking unremarkably with my left just to give the right a rest—and, because I figured I had to do it, even if it didn’t feel right.

It frustrated me, this weakness, but  the more I concentrated on the way my left fist felt when it connected to the bag— the weakness of that punch—the more I hated punching with that fist, and the weaker it felt. My workout wasn’t near as effective as it could have been, and I soon tired of it, finally moving on to something else. I came up with excuses as to why my left jab was pathetic: I’m right-hand dominate; I use my right hand much more often and it’s stronger; maybe there’s a pinched nerve on that side causing weakness, etc. and blah blah blah!

Two days later, I headed down to my workout room early, put in my earbuds to loud techno music, and slid on the gloves. Without thinking about what I was doing or how I was doing it, or why, or when, where, what, I just began punching the bejeebus out of that bag—right right right left left left right left right left right right left left left LEFT LEFT LEFT LEFT—POW BIFF BAM!

When I at last stopped, sweat pouring, I looked down in surprise at my left gloved fist, amazed at its strength and endurance. It was tingling and burning but it felt great! It felt powerful! I felt powerful and strong, and capable. I’d hit the hell out of that bag with what I thought was a useless left punch but instead was just as powerful as my right. I slid off my gloves and noted the redness and coming bruising of my knuckles and inside the soft portion between my pinky and “ring finger” and all that did was make me feel more powerful—it was visual tangible evidence of the power of my punch.

Did my arm/fist grow that much stronger over the two days since I’d last boxed? Nope. What I’d done was stepped up to the bag and without thinking about it I just began pummeling it. I didn’t think about weakness; I didn’t think about what I was doing at all. I allowed myself the freedom to find my inner strength. For whatever reason, I’d blocked myself from recognizing my potential by that perceived weakness.

Isn’t it fascinating what our minds can do? The tricks it can play on us? Sometimes, we must outsmart our own Self.

Writer:

This is often how it is with the writing. When we approach our work with our fears and wants and needs and with conditions and scads of willy nilly jumbled up over-thinking-it thoughts, we encounter perceived weakness—the words stall, the language comes stilted, the characters blink at us from the page with perplexed expressions. The writing day seems flaccid and weak—just like that perceived weak left appendage of mine. We want to give up and give in, and we at last grow frustrated and/or bored and move on to do something else.

Yet, for many of us, when we just sit down, put our fingers to the keyboard, and let fly whatever pours out of the black hole in our brain, something seemingly magical happens. We become stronger writers almost overnight—well, dang! Because imagine if we wrote without those conditions, without over-thinking, without all the “What if this isn’t right?” “What if it doesn’t sell?” “What if no one likes it?” “What if a meteor falls on top my stupid head and smushes me to kingdom come and I never finish this and someone sees it before it is finished and it sucks and that’s the legacy I leave behind—a stupid half-finished work that sucks so bad everyone laughs and taunts and points their fingers at it?” What if we instead allow our beautiful subconscious minds, those deep instinctual strengths, to rise up from a place we cannot mine by peeking in the opening—we instead sometimes must amble, explore, stumble upon. Go for it. There’s a reason the clichéd advertising phrase Just do it makes sense—because it does work.

Wrapping it up now, y'all

Wrapping it up now, y’all

So.

As I box, I will gain in confidence. I will become even stronger, yes, but I will also become better at the control of my body and what it can do. And as I grow stronger and better and more confident, I’ll start critiquing my form, how I’m hitting that bag, how my stance is—I’ll be “editing” my workout. So it is with the writing. I lift up my head and there will be a completed terrible (or not so terrible!) first draft—then the work of editing begins where I critique my form, check my stance, work on fine-tuning. I’ve done it with novels and other works that have gone on to be published—five, six, or more, times. What’s stopping me now? Perceived weakness, over-thinking, fear, conditions.

Stride into your writing room just as you will the workout room and instead of letting the world in, instead of telling yourself you are weak and can’t do it right, march in and just start punching (tippity tapping on the keys) away until you feel strong and confident and know nothing can stop you now.

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three set_edited-best_edited-11743500_553542498076585_1943216434_nIf you all haven’t gone on over and checked out kat magendie novels that are on Kindle sale, and haven’t read any or some of my books, I hope you’ll go on over and give them a try. I as always am appreciative and grateful for my readers—thank you all for your support. It’s all for you. The link above should take you to a page that should list all my books and stories, and you can see the ones on sale. As well, I’m going to soon have a promo on my 1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_nshort stories, offering a few for free—since I rarely mention them and often forget them, they kind of sit there like little lost waywards, and I’m so proud of the artwork!TG audio

Now get to work(out)!

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Touty mention of the day:

Head over to the Word Shark – Karen R. Sanderson’s Blog– Right now she has a guest there who does some amazing metal artkaren-sanderson-word-shark-blog-graphic

Karen R. Sanderson was raised by a mother who wanted to be an English teacher and who worked for Merriam-Webster as a proofreader and an aunt who could complete the Sunday New York Times crossword in a day. Their favorite expression was, “Look it up!” Karen reads punctuation and grammar manuals for fun.

Karen is an editor and proofreader, blogger, and writer. She edits fiction and non-fiction including: sci-fi, fantasy, children’s, mystery, paranormal, western, horror, historical, literary, and journalism. Karen completed her writing coursework through UCLA, the University of New Mexico, and Santa Fe Community College. She was the winner of the SouthWest Writers 2009 Writing Contest – The Best Hook. Her short stories have been featured in The Rose & Thorn Journal, Every Child is Entitled to Innocence anthology, Valley Living Magazine, BewilderingStories.com, and WritingRaw.com. She is currently working on collections of short stories and poetry.

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The Novelist’s Dilemma (is not a dilemma at all, is it?)

images (4)My posts lately have been rawly honest. Opening up my pea-head and displaying not just the cray-cray but the insecurities I have as a novelist is not easy. I’ve always displayed a more positive outlook because I recognize how lucky I am to do this. I’m extremely grateful for what success I’ve had, and for how I am able to write beautiful words and interesting unique characters—how easily the words (not plots) come to me. But sometimes I over-think things—it’s a character flaw. And I’ve been over-thinking this new book—and my entire career as a novelist.

At different points in a novelist’s career there are decisions to be made that affect the novelist. Consider that it takes months or more to complete a novel all the way through from first draft to final-ready-to-be-published. No one wants to spend that much time on any project only to have to scrap it, or to have it fail. Who would like those odds?  Not I, said the Kat.

There arrives the “what next?” question. What seems an innocuous query is fraught with complication. (Now, following here, excuse me for  mentioning my books and linking to them and their sales on Kindle – indulge me, since I don’t do it often but I should!).

tgraces1743500_553542498076585_1943216434_nsweetieLast night I picked up my copy of “Tender Graces” and began to read it as if I didn’t write it (I recently also read “Sweetie”, and such a warm and tender feeling overcame me. The words were rich and full and lush. The character apparent. The work isn’t perfect—in fact, I can see things I’d change about TG;  it was my very first novel, after all. But I felt the novelist’s love for her work, the language, the setting, place, tone, characters. It all came rushing back to me just how much I love what I do. And how lucky I am to be able to do it. The “Virginia Kate Sagas” (TG, Secret Graces & Family Graces – SG & FG are on sale for under $5 on Kindle, y’all, Sweetie for under $6) and Sweetie are examples of a writer who created out of nothing Secret%20Graces%202012%20-%20screenbut love for this writing life—it shows, and the readers felt it, too—I receive more mail on the Virginia Kate books & Sweetie than any other–I think they get the better reviews, too. Not perfection, but sincerity and truth. I believe in this author. I trust this author. The characters come alive and appear as apparitions in the room.1461250_496657083765127_1387255473_n

With the exception of one of my novels—The Lighting Charmer (and to some extent even that book), which is on sale for .99 cents on Kindle! and sorry for the touting — my published books were written in one way: I sat down and followed my character to see what she, or he, would do. I didn’t think about plots or outlines or “what I should do;” I just wrote. With abandon. Without fear. With love. With hope. These images of my book covers you see here?: I did this. I wrote these books. *Takes a moment to be filled with happy gratitude* family_graces_-_screen

Then the “novelist’s dilemma” smacked me stupid – should I write what I love; how it comes naturally to me? Or should I write what I hope will be more popular? Before you say “don’t fix what ain’t broke—write what you love!” Understand that the novelist profession is not only from the guts of us as artists, but it is also a business. This is not a hobby for me. I count on this as income. I count on this to help pay bills. And that’s where the rubber skids crazily on the road. Because what I love to write, what comes naturally to me, is not “Popular Fiction” that consistently time and again tears up Amazon rankings in the top 100 (though Tender Graces, Sweetie, and yes, even The Lightning Charmer were Amazon Best-Sellers. TG & Sweetie made it to top 100. TG was number 1 on Amazon paid list – The Help was number 2: haw! Yeah, I’ve had my moments!)

someone sent me this screenshot - wish I had one of TG & Sweetie!

someone sent me this screenshot – wish I had one of TG & Sweetie! So-Why am I whining? huh. Stop it, Kat

I fiercely love Virginia Kate and those cast of characters; I adore Sweetie & Melissa. I love Ayron & Laura in Lightning Charmer and I still think that’s my best attempt at a romancy-supernatural-mountain people kind of novel—I think that book would have been even better had I let myself “go” and wrote with the same abandon as I did with my previous novels, warts and all; imperfection and all. Those characters interested me, and still do. They captured my attention and my imagination. Still do.

I was in love. I was so very grateful. What happened to that? I can bet many novelists/authors out there can answer that question with a wry twist to their mouths.

So, the novelist’s dilemma: write what you love and let the money chips fall where they may, or, try to write something “Popular” and . . . and . . . be an unhappy novelist! One who isn’t writing very much. One who writes sad discombobulated blog posts about how she is not writing and feels uninspired.

If a novelist isn’t writing, then what’s the point? If the novelist is unhappy and discombobulated, then she must find out why and remedy it. If the novelist wants to be loved by the masses, then she best not be a novelist. And if Ego is involved—oh, Ego is a terrible snarling drool-faced monster! Kick Ego out the writing room door, y’all—kick it HARD until it never returns.

The answer is clearing the cobwebs in my wonky brain. The path I choose from the paths before me that fork off in fifty-galleven directions is—drum roll, please—the one that makes me happy. Duh. The one that may (or may not!) mean failure in my bank account, but always success in my heart account. As for some “popular” attention and sales? Well, there’s always a chance that will again come. Right? Yes! I’m still alive! I’m still a gifted writer! I can still write write write as much as and as long as I want to.

I’m a woman in her 50s. I’ve paid my life dues. I can bloody well do what the hell I want to. *Fist Pump*

When I am on my “deathbed,” believe me, I won’t be sorry that I didn’t write a huge spectacular best-seller, I will be sorry that I gave up the writing just because I couldn’t write a huge spectacular best seller. Huh. Well now.

Consider: when we are not true to ourselves. When we do not do what we know in our hearts and gizzards is the Right Thing (for us). When we look outward to other novelists’ successes. When we keep checking our bank account to see how much money we have. These things change us, changes the way we think about the writing.

I need an ass-whupin if I don't get back to work!

I need an ass-whoopin if I don’t get back to work!

And the writing will suffer right along with the novelist. The heart is not pierced with love. Something is missing—and it will be apparent to the reader. Oh yes, it will.

So what if I just take this new book and turn it over on its end and shake out its pockets and take a look at what falls out? The lint along with the pocket change and interesting rocks and bones and a leaf and something magical and a supernatural glowy thing and interesting odds and ends and whatnotalls. What if I followed the character around to see what she’s up to, and she’s up to something believe you me. What if I followed to see what her magic is? How it is affecting the town? Why some of the town is suspicious of her? What about that man in the shop: what’s he up to, or is he only in love with her? What are those “Memory Vases?” What is she doing with the vial of blood or the strand of hair—why is she mixing that into her magic paints? What’s she up to? What’s her story? Let me follow her around until I find out! “Black Moon Cove” . . . why is that bomping me upside my head as a “working title” . . . ?

What if I wrote how I did when I was happy with love and excitement?

What if the novelist’s dilemma is really not a dilemma at all? What if we are in control of our own writing lives? Well, dang me!

Yeah. What if?

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Touty shout out of the day (and in the future, I’ll be shouting out lots of people here—not just writers):

download71ebbf88305ed9b9af826593ca46d111Writer Unboxed. A place where writers, editors, agents, and all things writing and writing related are discussed. Go visit. See for yourself. They’re amazingly awesome.