ALL MY NOVELS ARE NOW AVAILABLE IN E-BOOK FORMAT ON AMAZON

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At the start of this year in January I joined Twitter. Since then the learning curve has been steep. To begin with one has to find intelligent or insightful things to say. Not as easy as it sounds since one also has to do it in under 140 characters, including spaces! And at my age quick wit can be a challenge.
One must learn to say profound things in a brevity of words. Thankfully I still seem to have the knack.
I have also found that because of my disability, my hands are unreliable I frequently hit two or three keys at once, spasm and hit a key repeatedly, or miss keys all together, spell check is a blessing and I must limit my postings. But I try my best, though now and then something gets by me. I have learned perfection is good but not always easily attained. I usually post first thing in the morning when fatigue has yet to take me and my coordination is as good as it will get! I guess I still live by the adage of the early bird!
Getting logged in to the site is easy as long as I remember my password. Then I have to get my thoughts together and think of something to say. Sometimes long minutes pass and my mind remains empty, not a good feeling!
Every since very young I have had a talent with poetry, Haiku being my strength, so I always try to include that. Then I try to say something about writing, another life long pursuit.
At times local events inspire what I post.
Joining Twitter is easy simply go to www.twitter.com and follow the prompts to join.
It has taken me all these months to reach 200 followers, and I thank each and every one of them for being interested in what I have to say.
Is it worth the efforts you ask? I think so. So for those of you who have been hesitating about joining or going on Twitter, no worries, its easy and fun!

Lost Hope?

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Lately the news has been full of doom. Drought in California, Vancouver Island. Restrictive watering for Metro Vancouver. Smoke laden air and air quality warnings. Bumbles bees on the decline, sea birds too, as are bats and frogs. Heat waves, low flow rivers and streams dominate each news cast. I sit and wonder what are we to do?
Is this the end of our bountiful existence? I hope not. So then what can we do about this? I can share what I have done. In small measures we can help mitigate the situation. First my husband and I have eliminated over half of our lawn. We also limit our watering. We never use pesticides or herbicides on our lawn. I do use some on the walkways but it is a vinegar mixture, and only enough to keep the weeds down that we can not pick. I spray our grapes with insecticidal soap and live with the bugs that attack our cherry trees and fruit trees. We cut tent caterpillar out of our trees and compost them.
In the house I do not use chemical cleaners. I use vinegar for windows and counter tops. During flu season I use Lysol bacterial wipes on shared surfaces. I do not use over cleaner, window cleaners or counter-tops cleaners other than water and vinegar. If a drain gets sluggish I use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. I put the soda in the drain first then follow with the vinegar. I use a certified Eco-friendly laundry detergent and dish soap. We do not plant flowers for we are reluctant to water anything unless we can eat it! Most everything we grow is done so in raised beds and each plant is watered with an emitter. In five minutes we can water our entire garden. The emitters drop a good amount of spray right to the roots, enough to keep our veggies growing well even in the worst heat.
We compost our food scraps, and have red wiggler worms in our compost bins, they turn stems and peelings into soil with speed. Soil we can use to keeps those raised beds fertile.
We have several areas of rock-work and gravel where grass once grew. Years ago we ran over seven sprinklers twice a day. Now we run two, once a day.
It has taken us some time and I know we can improve on our use of water, we are doing so already, limiting sprinkler use to once a day. We water in the evenings so that the water does not evaporate with the heat of the day. If it is forecast to rain, or rains, we do not water at all, why would we, mother nature did the job, yet many of our neighbors water no matter what, rain or shine! If even half of them cut out watering when it rains we would save a great deal on water consumption. If the nearby ranchers turned their systems off when it rained we would save even more!
By not using harsh chemicals we can help those small creatures that share our spaces with us to recover.
By cutting back on water use, even just a bit perhaps we can see those drying out rivers and streams begin to flow with force once again.
It only takes a small effort, multiplied by the efforts of many, to begin change.
The adage reuse, recycle, reduce had become a mantra with me and my husband. If everyone tried to do so we may just begin to slow global warming, allow our waterways to begin recovery and give the animals and insects around us a chance to return from the brink of extinction.
Walk or bike instead of driving. When you do drive, multitask and get many errands done, planned out so to mitigate the carbon impact.
Thinks about what you flush down the drain or the toilet. Everything goes back into the environment. What you do everyday may come back to haunt you, so make sure you do everything with thought and consideration to its impact.
It is not yet a hopeless situation, at least I don’t think so and if we each do our small part maybe we can fix this situation. I want to leave the planet better than I came to it. So many say we are here for a good time not a long time. It may well be true. Remember though, your children will be here well after you, and their children, and so on. I do not want my legacy to be the eventual extinction of the human species.

Time Travels

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When I was young I could hardly wait for the days to pass by, but oh they were slow to do so. It seemed an eternity to my birthday, to Christmas to summer vacation. As I grew up those days began to move just a bit quicker. It seemed an eternity before I got my driver’s license, when I did it seemed like just a blink and suddenly I was driving! I could hardly wait to grow up and be independent then one day I was. The waiting had been agony, the arrival seemed instantaneous. One day I was suddenly independent, grown up and on my own, or so it seemed. Then I could hardly wait for my wedding day, that was 34 years ago. It seems like yesterday. Where did all those precious days go? When I was pregnant I cherished each stage, but could hardly wait for my child to be born. He is now 33 years years of age and out on his own. He is a man full grown, following his own dream and studying entomology at the university. Not long ago, it seems, he was a little guy in gum boots with a a butterfly net chasing insects, now he is making a career of it. I long for the days when he brought his finds into the house and inadvertently they would escape. We went on a few merry chases! Time, once longed to pass swift, now goes far too fast for me.
I look in the mirror and see a gray haired old woman looking back and wonder where the young woman went? I look at my husband, his hair too is going gray. Though still quiet robust at seventy, he too is old. He still can make my pulse skip a beat, thank God! We have shared thirty three years together and they seemed to have spun by far too quickly. It doesn’t seem that long ago, I remember myself as an anxious young bride about to walk the isle into a union with him. We have both lost family members and friends since then, many to old age a few to sudden death. Our circle is shrinking.
I write fantasy and science fiction novels. In some of them time travel is possible. In many ancestors from the past, now dead, take active roles in the present. Real life has neither time travel or ancestors so easily reached. But I must admit, I do believe we have mastered time travel. It exists in the very passage of our lives. We glibly travel through time, unaware that we are doing so. The hours meld into days, the days into years, the years into decades. So that four or five decades seem like a single beat of the heart. Time travels and we go along with it, the trick is to slow it down long enough to enjoy it!

Canada Day

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I’ve been thinking about what it means to be Canadian, a fitting thought on Canada day. When I was young it meant learning french, (badly), saying the Lord’s prayer in school, singing Oh Canada, on special occasions. Everyone around me spoke English. I myself am of a very mixed ancestry, Maori, English, French. I lived in Mexico for six years during my childhood. When I began to attend Canadian schools there were very few foreigners in my classes. Most were pale skinned, blue eyed and very western. Being fresh from Mexico I didn’t quite fit in with the main crowd. So most of my friends were the miss-fits, the brown skinned girl from Africa, The little girl with braces on her legs due to Polio, the obese girl, the fisherman’s daughter from Japan. We became a close group.
Now when I visit the city of Richmond, where I grew up from aged eight into early adulthood, I see very few pale skinned, blue eyes souls. I feel like a minority there. Where I once wandered and walked with my friends as a child, there are now exotic stores named in letters I can not read. The people around me speak a language that sounds harsh to my ears. They often jostle by me and seem indifferent at best to my presence, no smiles no nods. The fabric of our country has changed. I think its great that we are so multicultural, but I can’t help wonder if in doing so we are losing our identity. In Richmond there are signs in Chinese that I can not read. If I go into those shops I am often received with chilled silence.
When did this happen? When did I become the foreigner in my own country? Now don’t get me wrong I’m all for immigration. After all, in a way we are all immigrants. We are all human beings who share this small limited planet. We all long for a better life. I am a fourth generation Canadian on my mother’s side, a third on my father’s. My husband is a tenth generation Canadian on his mother’s side and goes back countless generations on his mother’s side due to her First Nations ancestry.
He often notes how our culture seems to be fading, replaced by an alien culture we don’t fully understand. Often those new cultures seem to bring their issues with them, terrorism for example. I had never heard of terrorist cells in Canada until immigrants bought them to us.
So I wonder where its all going? Will we as people be able to keep the best of each culture, meld these positive traits and move on, or will we fracture, express the negative and in the end destroy each other? I am hoping that the fact we are all human beings and share this small vulnerable planet together, wisdom will prevail, and we will find a way, after all we are all in this together. As for the question of what is being Canadian means, perhaps the better question is, what does it mean to be a citizen of the planet earth?

Immature senior Put on Another Diet!

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Recently diagnosed with GERD. Doctor not sure what the cause is, the digestive enzymes for my chronic pancreatitis, or the Lupus itself. Could be both. The fat counts in my blood were still up as well, indicating an inflamed pancreas. So I had to reduce my minimal fat intake…again.
In the last two weeks I have been trying to find food I can eat. Its been an eye opener! Here I though, I was easting well all along. I have oatmeal for breakfast, noodle soup (Low salt) for lunch and steamed bland something for dinner. My snacks are no sugar apple sauce or whole grain Cheerios. I have on low fat yogurt a day. After being told about the fat intake I began to wonder where it was coming from…found it in the noodle soup! I also had chicken strips now and then, found them full of fat too! The noodle soups are full of trans fats, 12 grams fats, 6 grams tranfats one package. These are the flat hard Asian noodles. In one meal was getting 30% of my daily intake! For a low fat diet, that’s a lot! So no more of them! No more chicken strips either. I had considered them okay, but being deep fired they are not. If I go out for a meal now I am limited to grilled chicken. I do not eat beef, and am allergic to fish. I am a tad worried that the doctors will soon make mention of gluten! Lets hope not or I’ll starve.
Due to the pancreatic issues I can only eat easy to digest foods, all cooked in some way, so salads are out, tried them and they tied me up in knots! I can not eat acidic foods, so citrus is out as are tomatoes, onions and garlic and no spices of any sort. You try going out in the world and finding food without them! I am hoping that somewhere out there there exist a food producer interested in folk like me, and will begin making easy to prepare foods, or restaurant fare that can be consumed by souls in my situation so we can eat our now and then. Its bad enough that I have to take a digestive enzyme pill with every meal. (Its a capsule form, with coated granules inside, I can open it up to take it) it’s very powerful stuff, prescription, and since I can not swallow pills must be mixed in a small bit of jam to be taken. This on its own creates a public stir. I have had people ask me pointedly what I am doing! Life has become a bit of a challenge.
These last three weeks I have not done any editing or writing at all, too down! I am almost always hungry, and find eating no longer a pleasure. I do it to fuel myself, nothing more. The food at best is bland, even when I try to fool myself into thinking otherwise. My husband has been great about it, eating the same stuff I do to make meal preparation easier. He takes care of his own breakfast and lunch, and never complains about the supper I serve, though I suspect he is getting tired of the bland! I have offered to make him a big plate of spicy pasta, but he refuses. He feels its unfair to have me prepare such a meal and not get to enjoy it. He has offered to cook his own, but its my kitchen! At least so far it is.
Just this last week the USA announced its ban on transfats. I applaud them and hope that Canada catches up to that plan soon, then it will forced the food manufactures to make foods free of the stuff and I can start having soup again! Until then the hunt is on, I seek something tasty to eat that doesn’t eat my gut out in return!

On Getting Discouraged

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Back in 1997 I was forced to retire due to Lupus, then three years ago developed Chronic Panceatitis , five months ago I developed GERD. My medications are expensive, my energy and enthusiasm low. But life is short, and truly a gift so I soldier on, with the help of my husband and the support of my son.
Three years ago they both encouraged me to do something with the pile of manuscripts I had stored out in our shed. They represented countless stories I had written when healthy during summers vacations and the few spare moments I had.
One was set for publication except that 9/11 happened and the publisher was next to the Twin Towers, so that ended that!
On their encouragement I began to edit and send those works out to publishers. I was down as I now longer felt I was doing much of anything productive being ill and all. My teaching career was over and I was feeling a bit useless. Then I got published. It was as if I were reinvented. I was no longer disabled in my mind, I became a writer!
Now after a year following those first works being published I have yet to sell more than one single e-book copy! I am an writer, an author without an audience.
Once again I find myself getting discouraged. When I wake feeling listless and ill it is truly a challenge to do this blog or post on Twitter, let alone do the few minutes of editing I do every morning, until as of late that is. For nearly a week I have not opened my lap top to edit a page or two. I have missed posting on Twitter, and have felt listless about posting to blog. Now in part I must confess its because I do feel quite ill, the GERD had knocked the wind out of me. At times it is as if a hot lump gets lodged in my throat, I don’t want to eat the limited bland diet I am on because it actually hurts to do so. Why bother to publish if one gets swallowed by the millions of titles out there. I suspect my books are lost in the bunch and can not be found which is why I began Twitter to begin with. I have just over 120 followers, mostly other aspiring writers, so maybe its doing me no good.
So the big question now is, do I keep putting my limited energy into this endeavor? Into any of it? When I feel it a challenge to go on, my husband lifts my spirits and encourages me to do so. But sometimes, I must confess I feel hopeless. Its hard to be sick and keep on trucking. I dread going to the doctor’s as he often finds something new wrong with me!
But…I am still alive and still have some zest deep down inside, so I guess I will keep trying! But I think I may just ramp things back a bit, keeping up a blog and my other on line communications is a bit much for how I feel at present. It would be nice to hear from some of you instead of the Spammers, they are the only ones as of about a year that bother to post comments.

The Thunder Storm

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This past weekend we experienced quiet a thunder storm. We had just come home from a friend’s memorial, the one I wrote about in my last article. The service was well attended and a fitting send off for our friend. About an hour later the sky went slate dark and then the distant thunder began to boom.
Our friend always liked a good storm, so we thought it fitting! The the heaven’s opened up. First it was a heavy rain, then the hail began. When the hail stones got as big as the end of my thumb I grew concerned. We have a pair of skylights in our living room and the pounding stones sounded like they wanted in!
It lasted for quite a while. Then the hail ended and torrential rain began. Then the power went out! Thankfully I had decided to get our evening meal cooked early, as we often get power outages during any storms that pass by.
No sooner had the power gone out, the hail began again. Our front lawn looked like winter. The sky went even darker and the thunder dolled and rattled windows. Lightning brightened our dim rooms. It was quite a show.
Water was running down our driveway like a wild stream, parts of our lawn became flooded, especially along the walkways. We got as much rain in a few hours as we would get in over a month. We are semi arid and I suspect our rainfall was over an inch. Once it calmed a bit we both ran out to close our greenhouse and inspect for damage. Our home and living quarters were fine. One shed roof, an rather old one, was stripped of some of its shingle grains. An Area of wooden walk way once painted gray to match our cement walk way looks sand blasted, a lot of the paint gone! My zucchini plants were shredded, as was my spinach bed and my rhubarb.
I now have do do some intense planting and reseeding. We a a roof to repair and a walkway to repaint.
We saw the news the next day and felt for the people of Cash Creek, we got off easy in comparison!

WHAT MATTERS IN LIFE

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Woke up to find the sky overcast and dreary, felt blue until I though about my friend. He’s in Respite care, fading fast from this life. He is drudged so he sleeps a lot. My husband has known this man for sixty years, I have known him for about fifteen. We paid a visit to him yesterday, we have been visiting him in care for a while now, but not while in respite, he just went in two days ago and is fading fast. That visit got me to thinking. WHAT IS LIFE ABOUT? Do we simply go through the motions as the years pass and then end up in the confines of a hospital bed to fade out under heavy sedation?
I recall the room he was in, five family members in attendance and more on the way. We were the only friends at that time, but we know one was turning back from a road trip, three days drive away to return to visit a passing friend, another would be by later in the day. So that made one in my count of what was important- FAMILY and FRIENDS.
Oddly the man passing away never married, yet his family circle was large. People in our community who know him and know of my husband’s nearly life long friendship have often asked how our friend is faring. This happens a lot. Our friend was a big part of the community. In his younger years he was a milk man who delivered milk to homes the old school way, then a Fire Chief, an auxiliary police man, a Cadet leader, as well as working in the local grocery. He goes a long way back in the community, and is well respected and liked. So that brings me to the second in my count- COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT. Our friend’s work in his community will live well after he has gone. Even the local Museum has proof of it, in the form of countless photos where he is prominent.
Our friend never harmed another, was kind and generous and helpful. He supported youth even if it meant in the form of encouragement, sometimes financial. He lived his life well, thinking of the possible consequences of his actions, thinking of others often before himself. He had a quick sense of humor, and up until a year and a half or so ago, visited the local A&W early, at six, to have coffee with the old timers from town, including my husband. They had a lot of laughs together often telling stories about the old days. This brings me to number three in my count- A LIFE WELL LIVED- volunteer, be involved, make a history with the place you call home and do no harm.
As we sat by his bed side I understood clearly that he could take nothing with him when he went, nothing that is, but the love of the people who were in the room with him and the love of those he touched in his life. His car, parked nearby at his assisted living place, was useless to him now. He had not driven it for nearly seven months. His bank account was doing him no good, nor were the awards for service he kept in his room. These are only things, tangible of course, and evidence that he had done well. But the more powerful evidence, from my point of view were the people in the room with him and the ones on their way, evidence far less tanglible. This man will be greatly missed, he touched many lives.
Life is about love and those we love. Take a moment each day, actually take lots of them, to appreciated those you love, after all, in the end it’s all that truly matters.

Pelicans In Flight

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Last week we saw something we have never seen before. As we drove along the highway a large flock of circling birds came into view. I studied them for some moments, white bodies flashed in the sunlight, framed by black tipped wings. The birds turned abruptly, circled then wings went still, they had caught a thermal. They were almost overhead and not too high up, that’s when I reconsigned them, pelicans!
Now inland pelicans are rare to see, we spot them once or twice in the spring, if we are lucky, usually huddled together in a large congenial grouping near the shoreline. Their bulky white bodies and thick elongated beaks make then easy to spot if you know what to look for. Of course their snowy white plumage also helps, and they are distinct from the swans in shape. Even from a distance.
Never before though had we seen such a grouping in flight. There were at least thirty individuals above us, turning almost in unison as they sought to keep the thermal. Their boomerang shaped silhouettes were bold against the blue of the sky, their flight distinctive. It was a true delight to witness them as they soared and circled.
We pulled over and watched them for a moment or two until they disappeared from view behind a hillside.

At Last, The Anticipated Royalties!

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Woke up early today so I switched on my computer to check my e-mail. I got all excited because there it was, the long awaited notification for book royalties. I still have dial up so it too a few minutes to open the two files. During that time I began to fantasize about the payment, would it be fifty dollars, a hundred…more? Once open I read down to the total, fifteen cents Euro! That’s about thirty cents or so…really? Then I read the invoice more thoroughly. I had sold one copy of ESCAPE FROM CHICKAMAUGA in digital form. One copy in a whole entire year. TURNING POINTS sold zero copies of anything.
I am so discouraged. Now to be clear I do not write for fame or fortune, my books were written years ago when I was well. Two years ago I took them out dusted them off did some editing and sent them to publishers. I want them to be read. I have been told by publishers that they are good. They are from the heart and in some ways a part of me.
So the big question now is, how do I get people to read my books? As of yesterday I have seven published and one in the works. Will they all go out into cyber space and be overlooked?
I suspect there are millions of books out there, millions of souls just like me longing for their readers. I know it may take some time, but one reader in one year for two publications? Seems pitiful!
Now we have 17,000 subscribers to our Immature Senior Blog, I have a Face Book Page and am on Twitter which raises that number. I am hoping that some of my fans buy one…only one of my works from Amazon or Kindle. That way my books could get read.
My health has no been good recently. It gets harder each day to do my posts and edit the works I have left that need it. I need a reasons to continue, having an audience would do that.
Summer will soon be here…great time for summer reading. If any of you are looking for a good read, check out my books, I am sure you will find something there to suit you. I write paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, and general fiction. Pick one, just one, read it and let me know if you enjoyed it. I want to be read now that I am published, after all, why bother if not?