New read #1 for 2016: The Uninvited by Cat Winters

Source: New read #1 for 2016: The Uninvited by Cat Winters

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Hold your face

So, the other day I was pulling out of the church parking lot and had to cross traffic. I hate crossing traffic. It’s the epitome of unwanted confrontation. There was a time when I would go a mile or so out of my way just to avoid crossing traffic, but I digress…

So, I’m pulling out across both lanes and I tell my son, “Hold your face!”

Yeah, that’s not what I meant. I was going to say, “Hold your horses!”, but I knew that was wrong. Hold your horses means to slow down, not be prepared. I was so flustered in the moment I couldn’t find the words to say, “Hang onto your hat!” which didn’t feel right anyway. My favorite warning is “Close your eyes.” {insert evil laugh here}

The best part was when my son said, “I knew what you meant, I was just waiting for your to figure it out.” He cracks me up.

I started thinking about all the family clichés I grew up with. My dad used to ask, “A/C?” which meant “All clear?” until the day my grandma responded, “Yes” because she thought he meant “Anything coming?”

One of my favorites from dad is, “Half past eating time, time to eat again.” I’m proud to say I’ve past that one on to the next generation. Another one is, “Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?” or how about, “Come back when you can’t stay so long.”

My mom had a few I always liked, “Better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” and “I fear neither God nor man, but give this woman what she wants.”

It makes me smile to know I’m passing on a great tradition of family clichés and hopefully adding a few of my own: “They’ll get glad in the same pants they got made in” and “Kill them with kindness” ~~ Okay, those aren’t mine either, but they have helped me more times than not.

My contributions would include, “They only have as much power as you give them,” and “Maybe the grass is greener on the other side, because their septic tank is broken.”

Clichés can be, well, so cliché–but they can also be a connection to a fond memory that should be passed along, no matter how many times my dad says, “I wouldn’t be this old if I hadn’t lived this long!”

Ground Rules

Whiny people drive me nuts. It hits a nerve with me, because people usually whine when they want their way, or don’t like something they don’t have control over anyway. I whine from time to time, and yes, that drives me nuts too. I like having my own way (who doesn’t?). I like being in control (runs in the family). I have learned how to deal with not getting my way, and most of the time I find it’s really no big deal (it still irritates though). As far as being in control, one thing I’ve learned in the twenty years of marriage is that I’m rarely in control, and fighting for control leads to a very unhappy relationship. I am a firm believer in if you give your control over to God; you have more control in a situation. That twenty-year marriage can attest to that on many occasions. I don’t like it, but I accept it, and have more control because of it.

For example, my younger son has a girlfriend. This is his first and therefore new territory for us (my husband and I). We’re working on boundaries and “ground rules”; so far there hasn’t been any major catastrophes. However, my husband has social issues. There are limits to his stress level. Some may say, it’s all in his head or he can choose to handle things if he really wanted to, but I know his limits. I see them on a daily basis. Sometimes I understand, and sometimes I want to beat him over the head with them, but I digress. Today was a test on his limits. My son’s little girlfriend declared upon being picked up from school that she was kidnapping my son for the rest of the afternoon and he didn’t have a choice in the matter.

On the one hand, most anyone would hear that and think she’s just playing. Well, it hit my husband wrong. He didn’t feel comfortable expressing this to my son and his friend, but it didn’t stop him from calling me at work and asking me what he should do, when in reality he wanted to tell me what to do about it. I was to call her house and let her know that because of the weather (bad storms came through) and my son’s condition (he has type 1 diabetes); “we” don’t feel comfortable with him being gone. If something should happen weather-wise or blood-sugar wise, my husband wanted him home. It sounded pretty lame, and it felt pretty lame, but there was something else as well.

As I spoke to this girl, I realized that by letting her get away with “telling” us what they were going to do, we were giving them the control. Hmmm… So, even though I didn’t like having to do the “dirty” work, and tell them they couldn’t spend time together today, I did feel it was important to establish the boundary and authority. Dagnabbit. I hate it when I feel he’s in the wrong only to realize he really is right.

Getting Rusty

“Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk—away from any open flames—to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty.”
—George Singleton

I love quotes. I would be a walking fortune cookie if I could. I especially love quotes about writing. I need them too. I found this quote the other day trying to figure out what to post on my Facebook page. I’ve been looking for something to blog about for that matter. I know I need to write every day, but how do I motivate myself to do it EVERY DAY.

EVERY DAY.

 

Did I mention EVERY DAY?

 

When I first started writing—seriously writing, I would go weeks and even a couple of months writing everyday…2 to 3 times a day… early in the morning… late into the night… and my writing really stunk back then. I mean it was bad! I would go through cycles of writer’s block and self-doubt… lots and LOTS of self-doubt. After it was over, I could get back on the bandwagon and write again, write as if I hadn’t ever had a break. I would make the mistake of giving my writing to someone to read… and get their OPINION… then the writer’s block and self-doubt would start all over again. {Sigh}

I joined an online writing group about 2004 (wow, that’s almost 10 years ago), and learned some basic do’s and don’ts, got my feelings hurt, my ego crushed, and yet somehow I survived. Go figure, right? I remember the first story I put up for critique. I made contact with a lady in Michigan. She tore it to shreds. Action must come immediately, SHOW don’t TELL, passive voice is BAD, POV slips are BAD, Bookisms are BAD… she even said I needed to change the name of the story. My writing was too simplistic, maybe I should write for a younger audience. I was devastated. What did she know? Everything.

I was so upset that I made a list of everything she said to change. I was going to prove her wrong. After about a month or so, maybe not even that long, I came back to that list and realized I had changed every single item on that list, even the name of the story. I was astounded. It was my first step on a long road of finding me as a writer.

I still have procrastination. That hasn’t changed. In fact, I think it’s worse as I’ve gotten older. In spite of that, I have to admit I’m in a much better place, and my writing is too. Just think how great I’d be if I wrote every day? Hmmm… Okay, so here’s the deal. I may not blog every day, I may not edit or write every day, but I’m going to do something about writing every day. I might blog one day (I’d like to see me here at least once a week, how about you?), and edit the next, then do some research or look for blogging ideas, write something new, and then start all over again. I might even switch it up… Today is the first day… let’s see how far I can go!

Do you have any tips or tricks to help get over your writing humps? Please share!

A picture worth a thousand words

When I pick out a background picture for my desktop at work, I usually try to find something that express what I’m feeling or that will cheer me up when I see it, etc. Some of the pictures I’ve done so far include:

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This picture embraced the horrific high temperatures we endured in the summer of 2011.

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This one looks great full screen. As someone is walking by, it’s like there’s a big bird looking through my computer screen wanting to see what’s going on.

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Okay, this one is pretty much for the same reason. He’s just awesome, you know?

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This guy is just so adorable. He covers several expressions. He says, “Boy, I’m so glad that’s over!” or “Isn’t this just fabulous?” or “I’m so happy I just can’t help myself.”

My latest picture covers my most recent state of mine. When people ask me why I picked it, I just say he is a reminder of what I might look like if I let myself dive off the deep end, and how I don’t want to go there, so I have to keep going… but then again, it might be liberating to just let go and express myself unabashedly…

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