An Update, and a Some Big News!

Just a quick update to let you know that Mark received the infusion today and is feeling fine. No side effects so far, and the folks who took care of him said this would be a double protection that his symptoms wouldn’t get much worse than they are now, which is negligible. And I’m still fine, too, knock wood.

And now for the really big news. My son, Jason, turned fifty years old today! FIFTY! I was looking through old pictures and came across this one of he and my daughter, Erin, some time ago, quite a few years before either was married or had started a family. Looking at it, it’s hard for me to get my head around the fact that my son is … still choking, here … FIFTY today! Holy guacamole! My how time flies when you’re having fun, eh?

And Jason, in case you’re reading this (not really likely, but you never know) 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
WE LOVE YOU!!

Brief Update on the Meara COVID Situation

Just want to thank each and every one of you who’ve commented here or emailed me with encouraging words, support, prayers, positive thoughts, and  kind messages. You’ll never know just how much I’ve appreciated every single one of them. 

It’s only been a bit over 48 hours since Mark noticed the first symptoms Friday night, and got the bad news Saturday morning, but so far, the news is good. His symptoms have lessened a bit each day, and right now, he isn’t coughing or running a fever. He’s tired and napping off and on during the day, but that’s to be expected.

As for myself, I still feel fine. (Or as fine as I usually do, anyway, since I have a few health issues I’m always addressing.) In other words, I’m not feeling like I even need to be tested at this point, though I’m definitely staying HOME just in case. No need to endanger anyone else until I know for sure I’m not going to get sick.

So basically, all good news, and we are very hopeful that Mark’s symptoms will not get much worse, if they worsen at all. And hopefully, I’ll never get ANY. I do think we have our vaccinations to credit for his lack of serious progression to date, and hopefully, this is going to end well for both of us.

Thanks again for being such wonderful, supportive folks. You are appreciated and LOVED more than you know!

 

One More Week!

After much deliberation, dithering around, and mind changing, I’ve finally decided to extend my blog break one more week. I’ve gotten a lot of stuff done that I’d fallen way behind on, both on our house projects, and our garden clean-up/replant. I’ve also made good headway on my PowerPoint presentations coming up this year. And I’ve even written a bit, too, finishing CH 6 and most of CH 7 of my WIP. 

Yeah, I’d hoped to write more, but I realized that some of these other chores were keeping me away from doing so, and by clearing a few more off my To Do list, I’m actually making a lot more time for writing ahead. 

I know most of you will fully understand this decision, and I hope you won’t forget me while I’m gone. If you do, I’m totally gonna blame Diana and Sally. They encouraged me to take more time if I needed to, so it’s obviously on them!
😀 😀 😀 

I’ll be back here on The Write Stuff May 31, if nothing dreadful happens to keep me away. And just so you know, I’ve missed ALL of you more than you can imagine. I’m looking forward to my return!

In the meantime, stay safe, stay well, and STAY HAPPY! See you soon! 🤗

#TakingBackMyLife – Or – Pandemic Loses, I Win!

Good Morning, Everyone! Hope you are all happy and WELL! Today begins a new,  probably sporadic, series of posts on how I plan to take back my life and survive this stinkin’ pandemic! Hope you’ll enjoy following along as I document the things I’m doing to get over the isolation, depression, and frustration many of us have been suffering through for well over a year now.

To begin, I want to share with you the (presumably) simple thought that jump-started me on the journey to taking back my life.  It was as easy as recognizing, and accepting, the difference between these two phrases: “Have To” and “Want To.” They are not interchangeable, in spite of what we sometimes tell ourselves. 

I found I was getting more and more depressed every day as I fell farther and farther behind on writing, blogging, housework, and more. Every morning started with a long “HAVE TO DO TODAY” list, and that in itself often stopped me in my tracks, especially as it continued growing daily. It was overwhelming me.

But guess what? If you haven’t already realized this and have been beating  yourself up over similar issues, here’s the truth: HAVE TO and WANT TO are two very distinct things. 

Sure there are things you really have to get done if, say, you want to keep your job, or maintain your health. But once you’ve jotted down those things that ignoring could cause dire consequences for you or someone you care about, almost everything else can be listed on the WANT TO page. (And some of them can even go way down at the bottom, too, as you learn how to prioritize them according to your preferences.)

So, when I finally woke up and realized I was putting an unnecessary burden on myself (and my health) by treating everything in my life as being a HAVE TO DO item, when most of them weren’t, I began taking stock. Turns out, my Have To Do list is much, much shorter than I imagined. Probably 95% of the things I was trying to do are now listed on my Want To Do list, instead.

Well, good golly gosh! That was actually quite easy to set up, and I found I’d just simplified my life hugely.  I can take care of the Have To items first each day, then move on to the Want To tasks, and work on the ones most important to me at that time. And now I can do that without feeling guilty, which was an amazing burden lifted.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’d be happiest of all if I could clear out both lists quickly and easily, but one thing I’m slowly beginning to accept is that I can’t expect to keep up the same pace today that I’ve kept up for years. Like it or not, time slows us down. But not being able to do it ALL doesn’t mean I can’t do ANY of it, and that’s what I’m focusing on now: clearing off the HAVE TO list each day, and doing whatever I can on the WANT TO one.

Yes, I miss my blogging friends on days when I can’t get to their posts when I’d like. But I try to keep up when I can, even if I’m a bit late, or miss a post now and then. And that’s something I can live with, because I think others understand. And yes, I’m also making slower progress than I’d like on my current WIP, but I AM making progress. I’d thought in my darkest days that I should just give up my writing, but I no longer believe that. I just have to accept that I’m writing at a slower pace and be okay with it. And I am.

With all of the above in mind, I made up a New & Improved Weekly Work Schedule so that I’m not approaching each week in a helter-skelter, slipshod manner. However, the schedule includes two open days where I can either catch up on a project that’s running longer than I expected, or do something totally new and spontaneous, like writing a post on Taking Back My Life.  😀 I have flexibility with the schedule, AND I’m not going to to into a blind panic if things get shuffled around now and then. It’s meant to be a guide, not a grueling punishment, and I’m not going to worry a bit if unexpected interruptions cause me to miss the day’s scheduled tasks.

Between realizing that I don’t have to do it ALL every day, and refusing to continue to feel depressed or angry when I fall a bit short of what I planned, I’m already feeling a lot better. And I hope those of you who’ve been hard on yourself in a similar way will find some ideas here that can help. They’ve made a difference to me, but I’m a simple soul, and not always the smartest about what’s good for me. Still, let me know if you’ve had to do something similar to keep your sanity. (Inquiring minds ALWAYS wanna know.)

Oh, and one last thing. On my HAVE TO list were all my long overdue medical  appointments and check ups, and I’ve gotten to all of them as of this past week. Plus, my cardiologist AND my family doctor had only good news for me! I’ve got my diabetes under pretty good control right now, and my cardio guy says I’m going to live to be 100 if I don’t catch you-know-what. So I’m already making my two lists work for me, and hope some of you will find something similar that helps you reorganize so you can go forth with good cheer and good health!

DON’T FORGET!

Touching Base and #Update

Some of you already know this from various posts around social media, but I am officially under “house arrest” for the next few weeks. Because I’m in a high risk group for Covid-19, due to my age, and have three additional strikes against me due to some health issues, I have been advised to stay at home. Period. I’m taking the advice very seriously. I have grandkids I’d like to see grow up, books to write, and friends to enjoy, so I’ve cancelled my local presentations until further notice, and am NOT leaving the house or yard any time soon.

Now, I’ve become more and more of a hermit over the years, even though I’m not particularly introverted. (Some would say not at all introverted.) I stay at home for days and days at a time, never going past the mailbox, and am fine with it, but it’s my own choice. Knowing I have to stay here is a whole ‘nuther kettle o’ fish. However, I’ve made up my mind that this can have benefits in addition to decreasing my risk of getting sick. If you checked out Don Massenzio’s post I shared earlier, you’ll understand what I mean.

I’m actually looking forward to some uninterrupted writing and blogging time again, as soon as I shake this cold I’ve been fighting. (I’m getting better every day, honest.) I also want to catch up with a whole bunch of things around the house and yard that have fallen by the wayside in recent months. So, I’m going to focus on my at home time as a chance to do all of the above. Naturally, I would have preferred to find a way to make that chance come about without the current wretched crisis we are all trying to cope with, but that’s out of our hands, and we just have to make the best of it.

I’m going to miss getting out to talk about Florida wildlife with audiences that have become friends to me, but many of these wonderful folks are seniors, too, and do not need to be attending events where there are mixed audiences around them. No one wants to expose another person to illness, nor be exposed themselves, so cancelling these events is the right thing to do. If you were planning to attend any of the next few, just know that we will be reassessing in a few weeks, and as soon as it’s safe, we will resume our usual schedule. 

I will also be resuming my regular blog features here in another week or so, as soon as my energy level picks up a bit more.

In the meantime, please folks–take this threat seriously and do everything you can to stay safe yourself and to avoid exposing others to this dangerous illness. When we’ve reached the other side of all this, I don’t want to discover there are any faces missing from my my circle of online friends or the audience at my next event!! (Not even MINE!! 😉 )

Stay safe, stay informed, stay WELL! And I promise to try my best to do the same. 

#Update – Hangin’ in There but Movin’ Slow

Thanks so much to everyone who has sent me wishes for a speedy recovery. Unfortunately, while I’m not seriously ill, this cold is taking its own sweet time about moving on. 

Because I’m in a double-high risk group for you-know-what, I’m paying very close attention to the things I need to watch out for. I do not have a single one of the more worrisome symptoms, and I’m 99% sure I caught this bug from Mark. The good news is, he has pretty much completely recovered. The bad news is, it took about 9 days for him to feel he was totally back to normal. I seem to be following the same pattern, only about 3 days after him, which makes sense, given that he caught it first and gave it to me. (He’s so thoughtful that way. 😀 ) 

I have a regular appointment coming up soon with my family physician, but I will call to talk to her sooner if there is any worsening of my condition. So far, I’ve only seen improvement, slow though it might be. For instance, the low-grade, off and on fever seems to be gone now, knock wood, and I have had no chest congestion at all. Mine has all been sinus related, which probably indicates that my allergies kicked in, right alongside this cold. 

 

I am self-quarantined for now, because a) nobody wants to catch a cold or mild flu from me, either, and b) my resistance is likely low, and I do not want to expose myself to any other problems. Again, there’s no indication that I have anything more serious than a common cold/allergy combo, but I am moving at a snail’s pace, for sure.

Please take care of yourselves! Stay informed on what you need to do to remain well, but don’t give into the mass hysteria. This, too, shall pass! In the meantime, I’m going to remain on R&R a bit longer, until my energy level picks up again, but I will continue to update you every couple of days until I’m back.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled program!

 

 

 

Temporary Change In Posting Schedule

Just a quick heads up so you won’t wonder where I’ve disappeared to. Mark and I have both been under the weather with a bit of a cold (nothing serious, I promise!) and though he is much improved, I’m still dragging.  I’ve fallen even farther behind with things  that aren’t optional, so I’ve decided to give myself a bit of a break for a week or so with the things that are.  My regularly (mostly 🙂 ) #ShareAReviewDay, #ThorsDaySmiles, and #FirstLineFriday posts are on hold as of now and through all of next week. I do have a guest poster next week, but it’s already been scheduled, as have my upcoming posts on Story Empire, so those will run as planned. Hope you’ll tune in for each.

I’ll try to resume my normal schedule here on TWS  during the week of March 23, assuming I’m feeling much better. Will give you a heads up when it’s time to submit any reviews you’d like to share after that date. 

I may pop in with a short post here or there during this interim, if I feel well (and energetic) enough for it. And if you need to contact me, please feel free to do so. I’ll still be sitting here at my desk most of the time, trying to attend to some of the things that have fallen through the cracks as I’ve been plodding my way through this “bug.” Progress is slow and often interrupted by naps, but I’ll be able to respond either here or via email. I just don’t feel quite up to assembling any larger posts yet. Thanks so much for understanding.  

Here’s to your health! (And mine!)

Nothing like a cup of “Earl Grey, hot” to soothe what ails ye. 🙂

 

#SpringtimeTea #DeBaryHall – Reminder

Just a quick reminder for those of you the central Florida area. If you are planning to attend the springtime tea at DeBary Hall (11:00am, Saturday Feb 22), you need to contact the hall right away to make reservations. They have to know how many lunches to order from the caterers. 

Hope to see you there for a yummy lunch, custom teas, a reading & Q&A session with me, and a signed book of your choice, all included in the $25 cost. But don’t wait. The formal parlor area only seats about 20 folks, so don’t miss out.

Call 386-668-3840 and reserve your spot today!

Hope to see you there!

#Updates #BuildingALocalReadership #ScheduleChange

Just a quick post to let those in this area know that I’ve made some changes in my presentation topics. The dates are still the same, but I split one of my programs into Part 1 and Part 2, and that necessitated moving a few things around. Here is the info on the next two events I’ll be doing, followed by an updated schedule through October. 

Remember if any of you are planning to come to the springtime tea at DeBary Hall, you need to call and make reservations. The little parlor area in the mansion will only seat about 20 folks, so don’t wait too late! 🙂 I know most of you aren’t in central Florida, but for those who are, hope to see you at some of these. Thanks!

2020 EVENT SCHEDULE

CONTACT INFO:
DEBARY HALL: 386-668-3840 – 1 Tea & 5 Nature Programs
ENTERPRISE MUSEUM: 386-259-5900 – 13 Nature Programs & 1 Tea

Note: Planned topics may change. If in doubt, call ahead for updates.

*********************************************************************************************

 JANUARY
     January 11 – EM – CFFW Alligators & Crocodiles
     January 25 – EM – Book Release Open House

FEBRUARY
     February 8 – EM Furry Critters #2, PART 1: Raccoons (New 2020)
     February 22 – DH – Springtime Tea

MARCH
     March 7 – EM – Furry Critters #2, PART 2: Opossums and Armadillos
     March 28 – EM – Florida’s Fantastic Owls 

APRIL
     April 11 – DH – For Goodness Snakes!
     April 18- EM – Vultures and Crested Caracaras (New 2020)

MAY
     May 9 – DH – Furry Critters #1 – Squirrels
     May 23 – EM – Florida’s Fabulous Felines: Bobcats and Panthers (New 2020)

JUNE
     June 6 – EM – Lizards and Skinks (New 2020)
     June 13 – DH Furry Critters #2 – Raccoons (New 2020)
     June 27 – EM – Florida’s Fabulous Woodpeckers (New 2020)

JULY
     July 11 – DH – Furry Critters #2, PART 2: Opossums and Armadillos
     July 25 – EM – Furry Critters #3:  Foxes and Coyotes (New 2020)

AUGUST
     August 8 – DH – Florida’s Fantastic Owls
     August 15 – EM – Turkey and Quails (New 2020)

SEPTEMBER
     September 12 – EM – Goin’ Batty (New 2020)
     September 26 – EM – Tea

OCTOBER
     October 10 – EM – Exotics Running Wild! (New 2020)

An Update on #ShareAReviewDay

I know I said I was going to be resuming #ShareAReviewDay starting tomorrow, 1/7, but I was a bit over-optimistic. I’m still trying to catch up with a ton of stuff, while trying to pace myself by not over-doing. And my local presentations are starting up again this coming Saturday, so I’m not totally organized yet.

Okay, who am I kidding? I’m never totally organized! But I’m usually closer to it than I am right now. With that thought in mind, I’m going to resume #ShareAReviewDay Tuesdays (one of my favorite regular features) on Tuesday, 1/21, and I’ve already got one review set up for that morning. I like to do two per Tuesday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and it’s always on a first-come, first served basis.

If one of your books has gotten a new review you’d like to share, or you have an older review you’d like to get in front of some new readers, please check the instructions in the header above under “General Blog Rules and Various Feature Instructions.” All you have to do is email me the things listed there, and I’ll set you up in the next available slot. (The first one to reach out to me gets the afternoon slot for 1/21!)

Be forewarned: When I don’t get enough reviews from you guys, I start sharing my own.  😀 

I hope to hear from a few of you in the next week or two, so I can start scheduling you. Let’s let everyone see what readers are saying about your books! 

Now, back to your previously scheduled programming.
😀