Hello World, I’m Back!


It’s been a real whirlwind of stress lately for all; that goes without saying, but for me, it’s been even more stressful getting ready to open a new business. Renovations are going well: gutting, tearing down, plumbing, electrical, structural-foundation repairs, planning, planning, and more planning. Promotional work begins in September 2021. Applications will go out around that time too and a major conference for sharing our business is scheduled in May 2022. I can only hope that we will be ready by then.

Right now, I’m consumed with creating business plans, financial statements, codes of conduct, program outlines, job descriptions,  teacher manuals, course outlines, application forms, forms, forms… all the stuff I can do  with my eyes shut (this isn’t my first rodeo).

I think it’s the juggling of work and life and being able to juggle creatively that keeps me frosty. Being an over-achiever, workaholic and perfectionist… not very good traits, I’ll admit, with experience/age, I’ve learned to set boundaries and use scheduling (I have soooo many schedulers/calendars and plotters) aids to keep me on track and balance out me-time and family time too. Covid19 has been rough, but all this self-isolation has given my family the drive they need to chip in and help out. Even my special needs daughter is happy to help mom with organizing and cleaning. It’s fun to see her watching me using power tools, amazed that mom can do these things (thanks dad! thanks husband!). I’ve had wonderful teachers.

My favorite part of building is demo time! Boo ya! Nothing gets the adrenalin flowing then smashing, tearing, banging and destroying the old, falling-down-stuff and getting the prep work finished, ready for the new. My head should be five times the size it is by now with all the information over-load it’s gaining regarding maintenance and construction. Having a design and drafting degree helps, but the things my husband knows after over 45 years experience working in the food industry in maintenance as a Millwright/Machinist, you can’t find in any book. We work well together.

One of my previous businesses, I created, was built from scratch too, and it grew for over 25 years very successfully, until I decided it was time to retire. At the time, my daughter was going through extensive facial surgery at Toronto Sick Kids Hospital. It was dangerous, life-saving and very involved. My focus needed to be with her. Sure, I could have taken a leave, but I had no idea how long she would need me, so retirement was the only option as far as my heart/mind was concerned. It turned out to be the right decision. Her recovery took two years.

While she recovered and went through appointments and therapy, more surgeries… I developed my freelance writing/editing and publishing business. I could do a lot of work while sitting in waiting rooms, by her bed waiting for her to wake up, etc. I also did a lot of this work when I couldn’t sleep, which was often. She’s fine now, and my business has grown. I love it! Yet, there was something missing and that’s when this new idea came to me.

Lots of family things happened in the meantime, I need to write a book about all this some day. My health took a nose-dive, my husband’s–same…. We too recovered. We also made a huge decision to clean the slab with those who used, abused and created stress in our lives. It was a gut-wrenching decision, ones we had to make. This too turned out for the best. Our family is much smaller, just the four of us now, but soooooo much healthier and better for all concerned. Our true friends rallied around us and supported all our choices/decisions. Positivity has made the most difference. We are surrounded by it now. Those who hurt and created problems for us, are no longer in our lives.

So now, we build new dreams based on a pilot project I created once the clutter from my brain was removed. The idea has been developing for the past year. It is geared to grow for three years with the end resulting in this pilot project hopefully being picked up by the Government, or franchised out to other regions… who knows. Three years from opening is too far away. All I focus on is creating a much needed resource for special needs people, mostly young adults to adults. But there is so much potential for growth to other age avenues. I’m hoping this new endeavor will grow as the others have. My daughter will benefit from its fruition as will my husband and I. I’m excited to see just how much. There is a great degree of support out there for its success. However, if after three years, it doesn’t grow, then three years of fun and success will be worth it. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, I continue to read and review, write and dream. My author projects will pick up again in the Fall; I have new projects outlined and waiting to go forward. I’m planning on revamping my websites for a fresher look too. I’ve not pursued book projects over the summer because of Covid19; and, with the onslaught of all the celebrity, political and news icons publishing their books, getting agents and publishers to look at fiction right now has been too difficult and frankly, pointless. After extensive research, I’ve found that because of the market’s hit from financial instability creating declines in certain profit margins surrounding fictional publications and its demands thereof by public readership, publishers have been focusing more on guaranteed sales and profits that accompany the publications with star potential. It’s a sad reality for small fiction publishers and an even sadder one for authors of fiction and non fiction genres who can’t compete with star notoriety. I do recommend, however, that new projects should be focused on right now. Write new ideas. Keep writing, building your author potential with multiple projects and therefore, making yourself more attractive to publishers, once the market changes again. There are changes coming in the Fall. I promise.

This is why my business plans are rocking forward and so far, doing so without a hitch, There will always be hitches, but we will persevere as should you. Change from what has been “normal” shouldn’t be so frightening for people, although, I do know some struggle with change. I can only offer encouragement to those who do.

In my years of living, I’ve come to learn that instead of struggling against my second nature that involves anxiety and depression, I’ve learned to embrace who I am and accept my faults/weaknesses as tools/inspirations for personal growth. I’ve learned that over-achievers such as myself, can slow down and enjoy the fruits of labors by being less critical and hard on oneself. Prioritizing is key. Positivity is important to remaining assured and less anxious. Surround yourself with it. Being busy is not the same as being a workaholic and family starts as biological but doesn’t depend on it. Being part of mine must be earned. Being part of a loving and caring family that supports and loves you for who you are and not for whom they can use and abuse whenever it suits them is far more important than anything else. Sharing my daughter with those who are kind, caring and non-judgmental and deserving of her kindness is essential to positive growth.  I cannot save the world but I can take better care of me and mine, and in turn, benefit others through my experiences and support.

There’s the making of a blog or channel in there somewhere. What do you think? Okay, so back to reviewing!

05/10/21

So here I am ready to get back into things and life hits.

My mom who is 83, is diagnosed with cancer of her kidney. Thankfully, it would seem that we’ve caught it early on. Fingers crossed. I therefore, have been consumed with tests and schedules and appointments to keep on this with her, becoming her chauffer, companion, sounding board, and support. It’s been difficult, but I have experience. My dad died of kidney cancer. His was also caught early but his doctor told him not to worry about it, it was nothing. If it was followed up on, as it should have been, then he would have had the kidney removed and lived happily ever after. Unfortunately, because it wasn’t followed up on, the kidney burst, and the cancer cells traveled into his blood stream spreading cancer everywhere. He’s been gone since 1994 and I still miss my fishing buddy.

I won’t go into anything else about that at this time. But my mother has had the saving grace of care by a very good doctor. She will have it removed eventually, and hopefully with treatment, it will go no further.  You would think this is enough to consume anyone’s time, but nope it’s not. My email service went down. This is the email service I use for all my business stuff, my writer’s stuff, and personal stuff that I’ve had and used for 20 years. I’ve been left to scramble to reconnect a new service to all, while trying to remember all my contacts, research those I can’t and organize everything that pays automatically without too much of a break in my services and systems, my business clients and their expectations of service and my daughter’s contacts and services I use for her and her funding. I could go on more but let’s just say for the time being, that I’ve been highly stressed over this. I love it when everything runs smoothly as it had for the last 20 or so years.  

My best and worse situation: Best = no more weeding through spam and ads in my junk file to find client requests. Worse: losing my client’s information and saved work and conversations. Mid-Worse: losing links to emails that were attached to accounts that paid automatically using the email (that’s now lost) as confirmation for sign-ins. I now have redo all this. I doubt this is making much sense, but let’s just add, that I’ve been busy organizing myself on paper too this time, and not relying on anything technical anymore.

Oh, and my online storage went with the email too.  I lost a lot of Publishing contacts, Agents’ emails and great business contacts. All will need to be researched again… I hate asking for what I should have saved elsewhere. 

<sigh>

I’m not explaining this well. 

With renos, business problems, personal issues (family), my mom’s diagnosis of cancer, my own health issues, and my daughter’s ongoing care and worry… I’m a bit overwhelmed. Plus, I’m currently writing a middle-grade chronicles and an adult supernatural thriller trilogy. I’m outlining book three right now. I have final edits for book one done, and soon the cover reveal to happen in June; and, second book edits are being completed with its cover reveal scheduled for July. Book three’s cover reveal date will be set soon and first draft underway over the next few months.

I’m re-issuing my special editions Iggy Squiggles’ books and planning new chapter books for the series. And… whew! I’m on final edits and entering submissions for Dial 911-Dead, my paranormal thriller. 

I will shortly be reviewing on here all the books I’ve read over the last few months. So if you see a chunk of book reviews, that’s because I was finally able to get to my notes for each and post. There’s a bunch! (those, I wrote down!!!!)

See you all soon, and stay safe!

11/2721

So… here I am! Bet you thought I was gone for good, but nope, you can’t kill a weed, as they say.

I’ve been occupied with a whole lot of new things. First, let me update you on my mom. She was indeed diagnosed with kidney cancer. We didn’t wait long to get her into surgery. What a process! With all the Covid19 restrictions, I wasn’t allowed to go in with her. Watching her go down the long hallway to surgery alone, just about killed me. I had no idea if I was going to see her alive again. I can’t even begin to describe how that felt. All the angry, hurt, and depressing thoughts I felt when I watch my father go came back in a rush. I almost ran after her.

They promptly asked me to leave the entranceway due to Covid19. Because we were from out-of-town, and most of the businesses around the hospital were closed because of restrictions, I had no where to go to wait. The other fact of having to be in the hospital at such an early time, especially when surgery wasn’t until four hours later was the beginnings of a very, very long day. So into the paid parking lot I went and parked the car facing the hospital. It was my mom’s fairly new car, so the comfort factor was somewhat good. I sat for a full hour just staring at the hospital silently projecting my strength and desire for life toward where I knew my mother was lying, scared and hopeful. She’s a strong woman overall, but, I know her very well and even the mighty have moments. She is my bestest of best friends. We hold nothing back from each other. I’ve been lucky for this, having my mom as both my mother and best friend. I wasn’t ready for her to go, so I willed with all my strength, squeezing my eyes tight against the tears and pushing whatever I could in her direction.

The hours dragged, I sipped herbal tea, slept not at all for the last four days, and couldn’t then either. The surgery time came and went and I heard nothing. I was beginning to freak out, imagine all sorts of horrible scenarios and just knew that something had happened. It was a new type of surgery they were using for those with similar conditions; they felt it the best and efficient enough to remove all of her cancer. Still, I heard nothing.

Two more hours passed and I was fidgeting terribly. I had to pee from all the tea I drank. Great… Over to the hospital I hurried and into the front entrance where King Kong the security guard stopped me with a lifting of his massive limb and outstretched hand. He asked me where I thought I was going. My dancing around from one foot to the other didn’t phase him, and telling him about my emergency rolled right over his head. So I went to the girl behind the plastic and danced for her instead. I also added that if I didn’t get to use that washroom behind her, I would promptly form a puddle in front of her desk.

After a lot of explanation about how they don’t do this normally, and what not to touch or do commands, she led me to the washroom and gave me a lengthy explanation about washing my hands, disinfecting my hands, using my elbows to open doors… my dance was becoming very expressive at this point. She then made me wait while she wiped down the door, demonstrated the elbow opening thing and turned the light on noting the plastic gloves she now wears. I swear the pee was about to run down my leg. When I thought she was done, not really caring if she wasn’t, and despite her taking her sweat time to close the freaking door and let me be, I began to pull my jeans down not caring if the world outside saw my wide, naked butt, and hurried into the stall. I didn’t display a very good understanding of the use of elbows, etc., as I barely made it to the toilet. When I finally exhaled, I realized that the door hadn’t been locked behind me and the staff were free to walk into the one-manned stall anytime.

It’s never good to hurry along what Mother Nature intended naturally and leisurely to occur. But I did. There was no toilet paper. What the Hell? Thankfully, I had Kleenix in my purse. I was hurried out as soon as I opened the door to leave.

The wait continued in my mom’s car. I wanted to hear from the doctor, so when my phone rang a few minutes later, I grabbed it so fast that it flew out of my hand and crashed into the window next to me. No damage and it was my husband. He wanted to hear from the doctor too. I hurried him off the phone and found myself grasping it so tightly that I forced myself to carefully lay it on the seat beside me. It rang and I jumped. This time I picked it up and carefully put it to my ear. It was a nurse.

Mom made it through the surgery. She was to stay in the hospital until mid-afternoon, after which I could take her home. Say what? Home? Yes, she could go home. That was six hours away. It was a long wait. As soon as I saw her, I hurried out of the parking lot, waited my turn in the car line to get to where she sat looking for me. When I finally got close enough for her to get into the car, I was stunned by how good she looked and overall, was.

The surgery, she explained, was done while she was awake. They froze her entire kidney area and while she lay on a table, placed this machine around her. She felt pressure of the cauterizers as they pushed into her side and burned away the cancer, and what felt like a pounding that moved her hard against her opposite hip. She was still frozen and felt nothing but I was worried how she’d feel when that freezing wore off.

As to her overall condition, I was amazed. At this time, mom was 84. She looked frail and tired but really, really good. I hugged her and didn’t want to let go. But I had to, since I was driving. When we made it to her house, she was relieved to be home. So was I. Mom did great, and even the freezing came out, all she felt was an ache. She said she could live with that.

Mom recovered. My daughter needed an ultrasound and cat scan done around the same time. So once I was done with mom, I took my daughter along with my husband for her tests. They went well, despite her resistance to go. Bloodwork followed. Then we had to wait.

We’re still waiting on the results of the bloodwork. Katie, our daughter, has something zonky going on with her liver and the tests show little bumps and large freckles all over it. We’re worried. I have to say that if I didn’t have my husband and mother’s support, and the support of my closest friends, I’d be nuts by now. I was told raising a special needs daughter takes a very special person.

I’d have to say that it doesn’t take a special person at all. What it takes is a special strength–one that will be needed from the moment that child is born, throughout school struggles and development, to where they age early, perhaps, regress mentally and leave this world far too soon, usually before the parents, but sometimes after the parents, when they are left in the care organized for them, or forced onto them. I hope we’ve arranged enough. So we wait… and hope.

This is where I’ve been emotionally and mentally. I’ve been reading, a lot, at night when I cannot sleep. Sleep is around three to four hours, so I’m up early most mornings. I work during this time, currently on a new planner series; and when that’s launched, on finishing exits for my new how-to book series for authors. The cover design and rebranding surprise is underway, and final edits on my paranormal thriller. And, we rescued a beautiful dog named, Hannibal. It was a rehoming effort that went well. I worked with him prior to taking him to whittle out the bad behaviors which took one day; he had very little. Hannibal is an Alapaha Blue Blood American Bulldog. He is brown and white and stunning. We hope to match him with a female, one we’ll rescue, over the next year for one litter only. He such a good boy, he deserves a family too.

Reviews have tanked. Something had to give and unfortunately, one of my favs took the hit. I’m not sure when in 2022, I’ll begin to review again, but I haven’t forgotten the books received and noted for future reviews. Nor, have I forgotten the generosity of publishers who’ve sent me books to review. Let me remind some that a few of the books sent were well over three inches thick, almost a 1,000 pages each. 🙂

Any who… that is my update. I’ll catch up again soon! Stay safe everyone and be thankful for what you have in life. Every little bit of it, good or bad, is worth it and should be prized. We are the sum of our experiences, so make many! 🙂

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