What Happened to February?

If a month, say February, for example, has only 28 days, one can’t be blamed if one is sipping on a cuppa and glances over at the calendar to see March staring in one’s face and realizes one has completely skipped the monthly post on one’s personal blog.

So let’s just move on as if nothing’s amiss here. But February did seem to dash by. Or maybe that’s just me? I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning and/or organizing around the old Hall House AND listening to a lot of music whilst doing so and time has just flown! Also, I think perhaps I owe the dearly departed Mister Man an apology.

See, that man would sit in his office working, blasting his rock ‘n roll favorites way beyond the air waves of that room. Now, I like rock ‘n roll as much as the next person. Maybe more since I worked in radio back in the day. BUT.

There is a time and place for listening to Iron Butterfly and it’s not when one’s writer wife is trying to think up the next brilliant Great American Novel. Or even the next blog post for the Muffin.

It’s not that Mister Man set out to purposefully sabotage my great thoughts. It’s just that music was a necessary soundtrack for his work and so when I would (nicely) ask him to shut off the &*^& music, he would argue (nicely) that I should go elsewhere to work. Things would not so nicely escalate and eventually, he’d turn down the music a smidge because he was after all, working and actually making money, and apparently that carried more weight.

Whatever. The point is, since the first of the year and my Major Cleaning and Organizing Frenzy, I’ve found that listening to music has been very conducive to getting the work done and keeping me in a very fine mood. And certain work (such as emptying kitchen cabinets) requires ABBA, whilst other work, say writing this here post, requires Kris Kristofferson. And for optimum efficiency, the music must…well, blast throughout the house.

So, sorry, Mister Man, I get it now. And you can get all caught up with my February brilliant thoughts over at the Muffin. There’s Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign (and I’m working away on that manuscript! You’ll get it when you read the post.) and Letting Go of the SPECTACULAR.

(And thanks, Mister Man and Kris Kristofferson, for inspiring this February post. You heard me. February. You want to argue, take it up with the Calendar Powers That Be.)

Still Miffed But Whatever

As you may recall well over a month ago, I was thoroughly put out with technology. Specifically, the changes made at this here WordPress blog that once allowed me to write at ease but now requires the use of brain cells heretofore relegated to dealing with the once-every-five-years computer glitch.

Pfffft.

To be honest, I thought if I waited a bit, all would be well when I returned. That the mechanics of blogging here would all be miraculously back to just the way I like it, what’s normal for me. But alas, despite my denial strategy, nothing changed and I’m still grappling with my new blogging-at-Wordpress reality.

Come to think of it, the denial strategy is not a very effective tool in the whole Life Toolbox thingie, is it?

Nope, what’s called for is pulling up one’s bootstraps, facing situations head on, chin up, and no crying in baseball (if you’re a Braves fan).

Look! I added a picture where I wanted it!

So let’s just carry on and take a look at what I had to say about feeling lucky, in life and in publishing, over at The Muffin. At the time, I didn’t have any wedding photos from the Big Event, but if I’m lucky, I’ll find a way to add my favorite pic of Oldest Junior Hall and his Princess Bride. I’d also like to add that, fortunately, it’s been nearly a month now, and all the wedding guests have been quite well, thank you. So happily, we dodged making the 11 o’clock Atlanta Covid News.

While I was waiting and quarantining myself, I turned to some creepy mystery reading because it is my favorite spooky month, after all. I read a Victorian period mystery that was in first person present tense (*shivers*) and I had plenty to say about that, too, over at the Muffin.

I did not say the name of the novel, however, and I’m sure you’re thinking what’s so creepy about a Victorian period mystery (unless you’re thinking of Jack the Ripper and the White Chapel murders and then you’d be a clever one, wouldn’t you)? AND though the Ripper came up, sprinkled here and there, that was not the main creep factor in this novel. It was all about hanging, which was a pretty ghastly and common means of dealing with the criminal element in the 1800s. And there is a LOT more to hanging than just throwing a noose around a neck. So if you’re up for a bit of grisly, and you think you’d like to give first person present reading a whack, take a look at The Hangman’s Secret.

And so that’s about it for October. I sincerely hope that when next we meet, I’ll be well and truly used to blogging here. A little tolerance and kindness would be nice, too, because however it goes in just a week, some people are still going to be miffed. For us all, then, I offer a few words that always make me feel better:

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have OVERCOME the world.” (John 16:33)

Pondering Ash Wednesday

altar-arches-architecture-art-632628In a world that’s beyond fast-paced, where news is instant and everyone is hyper-connected, when change is not just daily but moment-by-moment, I crave constancy. There’s a certain peace that comes with routine, with the assurance that some things will not change, not at their core, at least. I think that’s why I like Ash Wednesday so much.

From when I was just a little kid in a scratchy school uniform to this evening when I go to Mass, I know what’s going to happen. The familiar scent of the ashes, the church decked in purple, the same dirge-like music…it’s all there, just the same. And it’s comforting, these rituals; makes me feel like, despite all the crises in the church, there is hope and strength in these traditions that bind us together in faith and love.

So I like my Catholic traditions, even if some of ’em have fallen by the wayside over the years. Like giving up something for Lent. Holy Sister Mary Joseph, I used to give up something every year, even before I knew why. Mostly, it was chocolate back then, which made Easter morning baskets all the sweeter.

But as the years progressed, I’ve quit most of the easy vices to give up, or I don’t indulge enough to make giving ’em up meaningful. Now I’m left with the tougher ones on that Seven Deadly Sins list. Like pride, avarice, envy, sloth… for cryin’ out loud, how do you give up pride? And if I gave up sloth, does that mean I’d have to give up my naps? I LOVE MY NAPS.

I pondered this problem in my latest post over at The Muffin in “Giving Up to Get More.”And though it’s about how we can give up certain bad habits to become better writers, they’re bad habits that affect us in more ways than writing. They’re the kind of bad habits that keep us from becoming the best version of ourselves, whether that’s a writer or a mom or a salesperson.

So I’m giving up my Debbie Downer habit this Lent (according to Youngest Junior Hall, I start first thing in the morning by reading out all the bad news from the paper. I also read the wacky news and Dear Abby but fine, I’ll keep the latest on the coronavirus to myself).

I was about to say it’s not going to be easy but see? There’s that negativism cropping up already and I haven’t even gotten my ashes yet. Pray for me, y’all, it’s going to be a long Lent!