Sunday, June 24, 2018

Kite String 2

Kite String--take 2
I found some kite string in my drawer the other day.  It lay there neatly on it’s stick, never been used.  I do not remember how it got there, but I’m guessing it was put there as an afterthought with good intentions to be used one day.
It belonged to my son’s kite; the kite that had been sitting in the corner of his bedroom inside a jacket of plastic, waiting for it’s maiden flight across the sky.  Oh how we had vowed to take it out one day, ever since his 10th birthday, but there it sat in the corner of his room, gathering four years of layered dust.
It was a beautiful kite; a green fancy dragon type with brilliant colors of yellow and red, almost too beautiful to be torn in flight.  I first had thought it would look best just hanging from my son’s ceiling at the corner of his room-but that never unfortunately ever happened either.
Last summer I came across it when we sold our home.  I was quickly reminded of its presence again while packing up my son’s room.  It was still sitting there, untouched and unused and unloved.  A deep sense of regret and guilt came over me.  The thought of it being left there, after so many years, forgotten, embarrassed me.  I regretted not taking it out with my son and I shamefully packed it away with the rest of his belongings, vowing to myself that it would see the light of day sooner than later.
Now, almost nine months later, it now sits in the trunk of my car, among the dozens of empty reusable grocery bags and beach bag supplies.  It’s sail is torn, and it’s frame broken from negligent abuse.  Why I ask myself?  Sure, kites may not be as popular as they once were; there are so many other toys out there nowadays.  My son even has a frisbee that plays music.  But still, the kite string was left in my kitchen drawer for a reason.  I always had good intentions for us to fly it one day; perhaps it was because I wanted to relive a childhood memory of simpler days; of riding bikes until the streetlights came on, or memories of building forts in the canyon across the street; collecting wild flowers and fire flies in old jelly jars.  Where have those days gone?  Trapped in kitchen drawers with good intentions.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Kite String

Kite String
My childhood summers were spent near the ocean at windy beaches with rainbow buckets, shovels, and countless plastic kites purchased with birthday money at the local TG&Y.   My plastic kite certainly wasn't the strongest or the fanciest; it was only your run of the mill triangular kites decorated in the shape of butterflies with only a string for a tail.  I made it my own by adding plastic bows and leftover hair ribbon.  It was cheaply made, but it was strong enough to last at least one day at the beach.
“All you need is some kite string, and a good wind,” my father would say.
I fondly remember days with my father, and carefully holding the kite's frame high above my head, waiting for his signal.  He would stand there in front of me at a distance, waiting for the first gust of wind.  
“Let go!”
I joyfully released my kite into the wind, and marveled as It steadily rose above me; it’s tail of ribbons looming wildly above my head.  I watched my father as he skillfully maneuvered the line with his hands; releasing the line slowly with his fingers.  His small steps backward would send the kite higher into the sky.   
“Okay, Julie.  Take it now.”
My father then motioned for me to take hold of the spool of kite string.  I was unsure of myself, and my father seemed to sense my insecurities.  I wasn’t the most coordinated child, and there was a history of many ill-fated flights from the past, but a sense of determination soon took over me. 
“Just keep it steady.  If the pitch starts falling, just run a little, but keep it against the wind,” my father warned.
I nodded to my father, as I took a tight grip to the kite string. 
I felt the strong and steady pull of the line instantly, and happily watched as my butterfly kite continued to lift up above me.   It was exciting to know I was in full control, and I could feel my confidence rise with the kite as it continued to drive steadily up into the sky.   My kite was also getting a lot of attention.  Younger children were now standing near me, and even strangers had stopped to look up and admire it cutting through the clouds.
“Roll the line a little.”
Hesitantly I began to roll my spool of line; a little to the left, and then to the right.  The motion soon sends my kite down immediately, loosing it’s pitch and out of control into a turbulent looking frenzy!
“Run, Julie run!”  my father calls out excitedly.
I take the spool of line and take off running, kicking sand, my butterfly kite flying out of control somewhere behind me. 
"You did it, Julie, you did it!"
I hear my father's voice behind me, and turn around still running, only to see my butterfly kite now dancing; with ribbons and bows flowing gracefully against a cloudy summer sky.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Rain Ramblings...and nothing more.

It's raining cats and dogs and elephants outside.  It is keeping me from doing the things I had planned to do this morning, such as walk the dog, and do my grocery shopping.  Instead I'm here waiting to leave the house when I go pick up Nicholas from school.  Max is none to happy either.  I've caught him sitting at the door watching the rain.  He is feeling restless, and we have already played "chase" a few times already.  This rain, is tempting me to finish more Christmas shopping but the only thing that is stopping is me, is the fact I don't know what to buy my children.  They have given me little to go on so far.

I've done two days of writing, and today, I am looking for some more inspiration.  I may have to come back to this later today to finish.

Okay, I never came back yesterday to finish.  So, let this count as my 3rd and 4th day of writing.

I have to get back to Linda, but at this point, it's been such a long time, I feel like I need to go back and read what I had previously written, without getting the urge of rewriting and editing everything again.  That is my problem.  I write, go back, edit, go back, and I'm stuck there forever.  Oh well.  It's a price I have to pay---time and energy.  Now that I'm not moving my home in boxes I can put my energy in that.

I'm currently sitting here at the kitchen table with a shower cap on my head because I'm dying my hair.  I have 45 minutes until I have to wash this stuff out, so I have no excuse to not do my writing right now.  I've been thinking about my character, for the last few days, and thinking of different scenarios in my head.  I'm not quite sure how it's going to end, because there is still a lot to think about.

Questions in my head are:  Who is Linda?  Well, she is a bit of myself and other people I've known through the years?  What problems in life is she faced with:  Learning how to live for herself for one. Learning how not to follow the dreams of others.  Learning about her own dreams.  Not settling for the safe route all the time.  Learning to let go.   Problems that other characters face, should intermingle that.  It's all about life decisions; creating your own destiny.  Dorothy didn't know quite sure where she was going, but she was told to follow the yellow brick road to find her answer.  Alice, on the other hand just fell down a rabbit hole.  Linda in a way is thrown in a situation she cannot control-just like the tornado that threw her house on the wicked witch.  The taxi driver is Linda's witch, and Francisco in a way is the Cheshire cat/Glinda the good witch.  There is no scare crow, or tin man, or lion, but there is a little dog, and there are the voices, and dreams, and spirits.

Linda has two choices for her destination:  The hospital or the airport.  The hospital is a place she is unsure of the outcome.  The airport will take her away-but not necessarily back where she came from.    The taxi cab is there waiting, intermittently at every corner, like death.  Poor Linda.

And then there are the characters?  Will I have Helio and David duke it out for her?  The doctor has a lot to prove with her under her care, but David does too.  Not quite sure what Tilly and shoot, I forgot her cousin's name already.  Not good, Julie...  Looks like I have to do a re-read.  Oh well, it's either that or wash the kitchen floor, which is it going to be?  The kitchen floor will just get dirty again.

Okay, about the rain.  Well it rained quite a bit a few days ago, but it has stopped.  Yesterday was quite beautiful, and so is today.  There is no rain in sight for today or tomorrow.  The sun is shining through the window, hitting my shower capped head.  Please sun, help me cover those annoying resistant greys at my temples!  I have 10 more minutes until I can shower this mess off my head!

I'm wondering if I should change the title of this entry from "Rain" to something else.  It really isn't the subject anymore, but to what I ask?  Perhaps I should change it to something like, "Julie Just Rambling Away" or "Julie Ramblings", or just NOTES.  ??  Hmm.... Je ne sais pas, mon ami.  Nao sei.... and WHY does this not auto-correct when I write in French, but it does when I write in Portuguese?  That is so fricken annoying.  Okay, "fricken" isn't a word either, but really...  Well, look at that, I have to head to the shower now.

Have a wonderful Saturday.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Stressed Hands & Hair

I finally took a day to fix my nails last week- just a gel manicure (already chipped of course).  I found a nice and almost empty salon, that gradually got crowded very quickly after I arrived.  There was one younger woman who they were just finishing up on, and so I had no wait time.  It was nice for a change to no wait.  Minutes after I sat down, two older women came in accompanied by their small white dog, and then another woman with extremely long orange, Halloween inspired nails took a seat next to me.

"I'm going to change my Halloween Jack-o-Latern painted nails into turkeys!" she exclaimed.

That's nice, I thought.  I got my nails painted a very dark purple.  I don't think the manicurist much liked my color choice, but I never was one to paint my nails in season too much.  I have also never had the desire to apply girly rhinestones or turkey faces on my nails.

Usually I kind of squirm in my seat if the person doing my nails starts massaging my hands and arms, and neck and shoulders, but today I didn't mind.  It really felt good.  She did it before I got my nails done, not afterwards which I thought was a little odd.  She also had to ask me to "relax my fingers" which I apparently have a very hard time with.

How does one relax their fingers?  Do have overly intense hands?  Is it because I've typed most of my life?  Are my fingers just too heavy.  What can I do to relax my fingers?  Do I need to imagine my fingers floating on the surface of a pool?  Or do I need to picture them running through the sand on a sunlit beach in some exotic island, or imagine them going through the hair of some handsome celebrity?  I have no idea how to relax my fingers, and the more I think about it at the salon, the more tense I get.  I invite all suggestions on this subject.

Well, after paying for my tense, stubby nails, I left the salon and noticed a hair place nearby.  I needed a trim because I was noticing that my hair was getting tangly at the ends, and I just needed to cut those split ends, so I decided to just drop in for a $15 haircut.

I wasn't expecting anything but a quick trim, but the girl who did the deed turned into my personal hair specialist.  I wasn't looking for one, but I got the advice anyway.  After she proceeds to comb my hair (which is still wet from this morning's wash) she asks me,

"Have you been stressed lately?"

I tell her about my recent move, and she smiles and nods her head and proceeds to tell me that it is showing in my hair.  Your hair is damaged, she says.  She goes on to tell me how her hair has been breaking because of her recent move and that half her hair fell out.  Lovely.  That makes me feel so much better.  Not.  I appreciated her candid conversation but at the same time, what she said just made me feel even more stressed.

"If I were you, I would consider a good chop after the holidays."

What?!  A good chop?!  I asked her what she mean't by a good chop.  She takes the hand mirror and shows me where the cut should be, and she is pointing to the area just below my neck.  Uhh... I don't think so lady!  I nod my head, and say nothing, but inside I'm screaming saying no f'ing way!  I simply don't do short hair.  I tried it in my 20's per suggestion of the first husband, and I hated it and vowed never to do it again.

Now, lately I've been looking at my hair more closely wondering if my hair is in such bad shape.  I asked my husband, "Does my hair look bad?"  He laughed and said, "No, it's beautiful!" and it was followed by a kiss on my forehead.  But of course he is going to say that.  Do I really expect him to say, "Gee, Julie, it looks terrible?"  Of course not.  He likes my hair long, just like I do.

So now I'm trying to be more cautious of my hair, and finding myself doing what I hear never to do: looking up stuff in the internet, and of course I'm reading the worse case scenarios of hair loss and damage due to stress, and how it could be signs of diabetes.  Lovely.  No, not feeling stressed at all at the moment, thanks to the unsolicited advice and a $15 haircut.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Move 2017

I've been putting my writing on temporary "hold" since the move in August/September and it's time to get back and start writing again.  The class I was attending did help me with my writing to an extent.  But now, I just have to devote at least 20 minutes to writing each day.

Twenty minutes is really nothing.  Once I start writing a hour goes by very quickly.  I just have to get my motor running again.  I just can't leave Linda in a coma for the rest of her life, can I?

No Linda must get out of her coma, and life needs to resume back to normal.  If you are reading this your probably have no idea what I'm talking about.  It's okay.  Linda is a fictional character, and she is fine for the moment at least.  I just have to get back to writing and save her.

As for my normal, this new house is finally becoming to feel more comfortable.  It is no longer just a space that belonged to someone else.  It is becoming OUR space.  I cannot even start to explain what a whirlwind the past few months have been.  If you were to tell me that I would be living in a house like this in Santa Cruz County a year ago, I would have have never believed it.  Sure, this time last year, Rich was already showing me different real estate listings on his little iPad, but I would have never guessed it would eventually really happen.

"Hey, honey, look at this one," Rich would say happily getting out of his very comfortable easy chair to show me another listing while I typed away at the kitchen table.

"Yes, that looks nice," I would respond, all the while thinking to myself how his mindset had changed since we first bought our home in San Jose 14 years ago.  Rich had seemed to love living San Jose so much.

 "There's no place like San Jose," he would say, over and over again, "I'm not moving, no reason to move from here."

Rich's job was there, and Matthew lived close to there, before he eventually came to move in with us.  Yes, I had a commute to work, but it was a reverse commute, and my kids were not ready to change schools.  Nicholas was a baby, and my mother watched him in Santa Cruz while I worked-it all made sense.  When my older kids realized that living in a different city other than the one you lived in wasn't "fun", they eventually went to school near the house, and so did Nicholas.  My job hours decreased to only 30 hours (as I had requested) and things were just fine, until that schedule was taken away, and I simply just retired early from that "place" I worked for 26 years.

At first the thought of moving back to Santa Cruz County sounded great.  Being back "home" would be wonderful because it was where I was from.  I could actually never get lost there.  I missed the smell of the ocean, and the people.  San Jose was big.  It had big stores, big buildings, and long streets that lasted an eternity, usually filled with strangers.   My children seemed to almost automatically assimilate well in their new city, no matter how much they had protested on the move there in the beginning.  They embraced their new town, and went to school and eventually found new friends.  They loved their teachers, and made good relationships, and found jobs, and grew to know San Jose very well.  I on the other hand was torn between San Jose and Santa Cruz, usually driving over the hill either to work, or making visits to my mother.  I made a handful of friends and drove with with the help of my GPS and still got lost most of the time.  

My home in San Jose was a start of so many good things; fourteen years of ups and downs-mostly ups with our growing family.  There were a few squabbles with the kids, and some heartaches with combining our families, but for the most part the house was built with a lot of great memories.  How was I going to be able to leave that now and start somewhere else?  I had never lived in a house for so long with my children.  Not only were there memories there, there was a lot of investment money wise including the custom pool we put it, the new floors, our newly remodeled kitchen.  Ok, it wasn't necessarily a model home, but it was a very nice, and comfortable one.

We (Rich and I) started seeing houses for sale in May, and it began as a very lackluster experience for both of us.  Rich and I would look over the area, and like, it, but the homes inside were nothing "special".  It lacked what we had in San Jose.  There was just nothing that really made us say to ourselves, "Wow, I could really see us living here." until we we walked through the house that we eventually live in now.  I remember seeing this house for the first time, thinking to myself, "this is all that we need", but disbelieving at the same time that we would ever be able to purchase such a great place.  The smell of the redwoods surrounding the house and the peacefulness of the area got me at first, and then it was the kitchen and the bedrooms, and of course the enormous tub in the master bathroom that I've always wanted but never managed to get.  But for the price they were asking, dear God, I really didn't believe it, but there was always a hope.

Well, we weren't going to lose anything by not trying.  Our real estate agent Amber didn't even seem to think they would accept our bid, and I believe it shocked her more than it did us when we eventually signed the papers for this home.  They accepted our bid, and we signed the papers on 8/2/17, leaving us with only 14 days to sell our house in San Jose.  August 2nd.  Not my favorite day of the year because it happened to be the anniversary of my father's death.  Rich came home with even more news that day; the daughter of his former employer who had recently passed away came to Rich's office that day saying that she wanted to give him all of her father's former customers.  It all seemed a big weird coincidence, because I was not expecting any good news to come on that particular day, but it was almost a sign from above telling us to "go for it".

We had 14 days though.  Rich and I had planned a weekend away to Half Moon Bay at a very beautiful golf resort months ago, and although the trip took our minds off of what was going on for a little bit, we were both feeling nervous and anxious.  We spent the few days questioning ourselves, and asking "what if's".  What were we going to do if we couldn't sell our house?  Would we lose the house in Scotts Valley?  Should we try and look for a new house, or wait a few years to sell, and look again later?  Bill our real estate agent seemed to think that we had nothing to worry about, and that we could sell our house within the 14 days.  We already had an open house that Sunday, so we  rushed back early to San Jose for our first Open House.  I quickly cleaned and vacuumed to make the house as pretty as possible, and there it began.  Open House where strangers were going to begin walking through our home; it all hit me at once quickly.  Damn, this is really happening.  We got our first bid 5 days later.

The days proceeding were days of much contemplation of  sitting in my jacuzzi, thinking of how much I wanted to move, and how much I didn't.  It was really happening.  It was time to think of gathering moving boxes and actually pack.  How were we going to manage to do that in 14 days?  Matt was getting married in DC in September, and if all went as planned we would have to move everything the week we would be coming home.  It seemed impossible, and Rich seemed a little irritated each time he saw me pack another box up.

"You know it is a little early to do that."

It wasn't. My mind had already been set that it was going to happen, and the last thing I needed was for anyone to tell me that it might not.  I was already driving Nicholas over the hill to Scotts Valley each morning for school.  This was going to happen; no matter how long it took for the buyers of our home to sign the papers.  Our agent was getting nervous that things were not being signed on time on the other end.  I was getting nervous, Rich was getting nervous, Mary our neighbor was getting nervous about the people moving in.  Were they going to take care of the lawn as well as we did?  Would they love our house just as much as we do/did.  With each box I taped up and boxed, I was already slowly starting to disassociate myself from the house.  I was packing, and I was going to continue to pack.  Rich seemed to just think everything would pack itself.  No worries though because I proved him wrong very quickly.

After a mix of happy but stressful "before wedding" and "after wedding" situations, which I will not go into now, we got back from our whirlwind 4 day trip to DC to arrive home with a two day window.  We arrived home on a Tuesday evening, and we had to be out and in our new house on Thursday.  Hello! I saw the first look of urgency in Rich's face. Yes, it was actually happening.  A white moving truck was in our driveway with 6 or 7 men and they were there to move my house to another home.  From the looks of them, I would have never guessed how strong these guys were; despite their size they were holding 100 lbs on their shoulders.  My house of 14 years was moved in a matter of only hours.  On Thursday night we found ourselves sleeping in another home in our bed, and we awoke to the sound of woodland creatures.  They were sounds that I had never heard of since my girl scout days of long ago from camping outside.  I heard owls, hawks, and sounds of squabbling squirrels; all seemingly calling out to me, as if they were saying, "hello, lady, welcome to the forest..."

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Early Morning Phone Calls

Is dealing with insurance companies a pain for everyone, or have I been cursed?  I was on the phone yesterday with my new dental insurance for a solid hour--luckily the problem was resolved to my favor at the end...BUT it was for something that shouldn't have been an issue in the first place!  Grrr...

I just got a follow up call from "Kyle" (at 8:04 am-gee thanks) who informed me that m  six month waiting period was "waived".  Thank you, Kyle, but that six month waiting period should have never been there in the first place!  I had dental insurance before-I've had it for years!  Thankfully I still had Rich's email with all the information from the previous policy..otherwise I'd be tearing up drawers and cabinets.  I just can't believe how unknowledgeable these customer service agents really are.

Why am I writing this in a blog?

Well I could easily just write this in a post on FB but I don't think anyone particularly wants to hear about my insurance struggles.  I seriously doubt anyone is going to read this post either, (most of my followers are not on Blogger anymore, at least I don' think so anyway.  Please leave a comment if you happen to be.

I should be writing free style at least 20 minutes a day just to get me back in the writing mindset, and I really do miss writing daily on a blog.  Which brings me to another subject--my writing class!  It resumes this Thursday at 9 am, and I have a publishing class right after.  I was reminded by this morning, at 8:02 am by my teacher with a quick call this morning.  Gee, that was nice of her to call to remind me.  I'm sure she called to remind everyone, I hope.  The majority of the class or retired senior citizens, perhaps that's why she called, and not because I missed a class, and then there was a "break" last week for President's Day.

So...that's two phone calls, and it's not even 8:30 am yet.  I'm predicting that another call will be coming in shortly--probably from mother.  I sure hope her cough medicine is ready for pick up.  Because I would really hate to call the Safeway pharmacy again, and her doctor nurses.  I called them twice yesterday for this codeine syrup that is supposedly "addictive".  Why on Earth would a doctor prescribe this medicine if it was so highly addictive in the first place is beyond me, but why it's such a problem is another.  My mother hasn't asked for a refill in over 2 years-doesn't sound like she has a problem with it, does it?

If it's not the cough medicine, my mother may be calling about the new oven she wants to buy at Sears.  Sale ends today.  She had 28 days in February, but today would be the day she would want to buy an oven.  If I do have to drive down to Santa Cruz I'll make sure to leave off a plate of malasadas for her, although I don't think it's the best thing for an 80 something woman who has diabetes should consume.  May be I'll only bring a few--no need to give the ants around her house another excuse for a visit.

Right now I'll just relax at my computer until the next phone call erupts.  I'm perfectly content sitting hear with my little dog on my lap.

Well, I think I'll return and work on my novel now.  Yes, my novel.  I'm finally getting serious with my writing.  It was a nice visit back to Blogger-and I will be back.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Linda Vista Moved To Private

I  have  FINALLY  moved the rough draft writings of Linda Vista to a private blog!   Changing it to private is something I've been wanting to do for quite some time, but of course, I had put it off for weeks; seriously, months.

The thought of having it out in public, NAKED has started to bother me for a number of reasons, and by scanning over just some of the entries (I have about 21 so far) I have noticed already that there is A LOT of things that need to be edited and changed.  It's NOT READY to be shown to the world just yet--even if the audience is pretty nonexistent at this point.

So...if you are looking for more adventures of shall have to wait.  Julie needs to get her act together in the time being and really commit herself to this writing project.  Things have to get serious on her part.  Don't worry--Linda Vista is STILL in the works...

Game on!!