Survival of the Oldest

Sometimes I can forget that I’m in my sixties, while other times the limitations of my age rear up and smack me right in the face. Yesterday, as I chaperoned a group of 17 and 18-year-olds on a trip to an amusement park, there was no doubt that I’d passed the threshold of youth and doddered into the realm of the (nearly) elderly.

The other chaperones were all lovely young women who made me feel welcome. Their children were among the recent high school graduates on the trip, while I was there for my grandson. They all had tons of energy. My meter was running low.

I did my best to keep up with the younger women, but between the 90° heat and my almost total lack of sleep the night before the trip, I lagged a bit. I might’ve whined a couple of times. But—I prevailed! Maybe not in a glorious manner, but I’m still alive to write this morning, so that’s a win.

That’s me in the back on one of the more harrowing rides…🤪
That’s me in the front—just kidding. I think I was sitting on a bench in the shade when this was snapped.

I’m glad I was able to go on this trip, but if I’m going to be there when the next grandchild needs me I’d better start aging in reverse.

Oh, just a word about these “kids” we chaperoned. They were so well-mannered that at times I wondered who was chaperoning who. What an amazing group of young people with big dreams and bright futures. It was an honor to hang out with them.

Peace, people!

Sleepless in Illinois

I’m going to need some good vibes today. Last night I might’ve slept for two hours. Maybe. I’m estimating on the high side. And today I’m chaperoning a group of recent high school graduates on a trip to a theme park in Iowa. It’s going to be a long day, but I’m pasting a smile on my face and putting a song in my heart. Just hoping the song isn’t a dirge.

Peace, people.

Sweet Pea Specials

Since switching to a vegan diet I’ve become a frequent diner at Sweet Pea Cafe in Tallahassee. I have favorite dishes—the Caesar Wrap is one, and Rancheros is another, but I give a thumbs up to everything on their menu. It’s all vegan, all the time.

The specials board never fails to make me smile even if I’m not enticed to try what’s listed. I’m a messy person and sometimes the special isn’t suited to dining in one’s car.

Today’s specials were particularly inventive.

The BBQ Streisand was tempting, but I could well imagine the resulting bbq splotches on my tee shirt.

If you live anywhere near Tallahassee pay this little unassuming cafe on Tharpe Street a visit. Tell them Leslie sent you.

Peace, people!

The End or Something Like It

On Monday afternoon I typed the words “The End” on the first draft of Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort. The denouement came with little fanfare. I was sitting on the sofa drinking a glass of water when I realized the book’s ending had been written for several days—it was just buried in the middle of a bunch of other stuff. I grabbed my laptop, searched for a specific phrase, and voila!

Not for the first time did I thank the powers that be for word processing programs. A bit of copy, a smidge of pasting, and a big fat dollop of deletion, and I had something that closely resembled a book. Well, the roughest, rawest version of a book. If I were laying it out in cooking terms I’d say that the ingredients are all there and they’ve been mixed into a batter, but before it’s ready for consumption it’ll need to be baked and frosted. Sprinkles are optional.

I gathered all my gumption and sent the batter, er manuscript off to trusted beta readers. That’s such a scary feeling. One would think it would be easier now that I’ve published two books, but it’s not. I’ll be a mess until I hear something from my readers.

Now what? Well, while I’m waiting to revise Wedding, I have a sequel to The Cowboy and the Executive running around in my head, and I’m almost certain there will be at least one more story in the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort chronicles. It’s a scary thing, this creation of characters. They take on lives of their own and they depend on me to tell their tales. I wonder if I’d have even begun writing if I’d known how that worked. Deep thoughts for a Monday evening. I believe I’ll have some wine.

Peace, people!

Virtual Graduation

Our grandson, Garrett, graduated from Riverdale high school near Port Byron, Illinois, on Sunday afternoon. Studly Doright and I weren’t able to attend, but we watched the commencement exercises live on YouTube. It really was the next best thing to being there.

We’re so proud of Garrett. He’s headed to Bradley University in Peoria, IL, in the fall where he plans to study game design.

We’ll see Garrett and the rest of his family next weekend when we travel to the Quad Cities to attend a party in his honor. I’m ready to distribute hugs.

Peace, people!

Sci-fi Recommendations from a Master

I’m a huge fan of author Gareth Powell. His Embers of War series is one of my favorites, featuring unforgettable characters and a fast-paced narrative.

I follow Gareth on Twitter and have found him to be kind and funny and generous. He makes himself available to answer all sorts of questions from fledgling authors, and as one such author, I am extremely grateful.

So when Gareth posts a list of his favorite science fiction books, I pay attention. I’ve read quite a few of the ones listed in the link attached below, but not even close to all of them. I’m in for some wonderful reading adventures. I feel it in my bones.

https://www.garethlpowell.com/40-recommended-sff-books/

Peace, people!

Why Are Endings So Hard?

I wrote 1,000 words today. Correction—I wrote 1,000 really crummy words today. Oh, maybe there were a couple of good sentences thrown in for good measure, but everything else was crap.

Endings are tough. When I set out to write Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort I had an ending in mind. But that was before my characters developed other ideas and now my preconceived notions no longer apply.

As usual, Studly Doright is no help. Along with his stock answer—have a tornado blow everything away and type THE END, he now suggests the (to him) clever use of ellipsis. “Just write a sentence and end it with …“ he says.

Oh yes. Great idea.

I’ve tried distancing myself from the story. I’ve tried drinking too much wine. I’ve explored the idea of throwing the whole thing in the garbage. But those two okay sentences give me hope. Yes, endings are hard, but not impossible. I shall prevail.

Another possible ending…

Peace, people!

Tarot Reading

Yesterday afternoon I took part in my first tarot card reading. It was fun and interesting and totally unlike what I’d imagined. The young woman who conducted the reading was lovely. She sensed my nervousness and put me at ease.

I’m not going to share what was revealed at the reading. For some reason I feel like that would be akin to telling folks what one wished for when blowing out candies on a birthday cake or when making a wish on the first star of the evening. It just isn’t done.

But I will tell you the question I wanted answered—“Am I on the right track?” The answers were enlightening, and taken with a large grain of salt.

At her reading, my protagonist in Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort wants to know if it’s time to move on—if it’s okay for her to begin actively living again after the death of her beloved husband. Like me, she’s a skeptic, but still considers some of the advice she receives practical.

Have you ever had a reading done? If so, what were your thoughts on the outcome? If not, what might you ask of the cards?

Peace, people!

Unexpected Souvenir

On our way back to Tallahassee from Dallas, where we’d attended graduation exercises for our granddaughter, we got an unexpected and unwanted souvenir—a crack in the windshield. It wasn’t a large crack, but threatened to grow if we didn’t have it fixed quickly.

So today I’m sitting in a Safelite AutoGlass repair shop waiting for my windshield to be made whole again, when in fact I should be finishing the first draft of Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort. My brain is stymied, though, and I don’t know how to bring the tale to a satisfying end.

Perhaps my main character could have a minor crack in her windshield, and after it’s fixed she and her friends could live happily ever after. Almost like real life.

Peace, people.