The Repentant Juggler

Normally, I stick to the “theme” of this blog—providing tips related to writing/blogging and editing, and what the P.I.s are up to at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency.  Today’s post is a tale . . .

. . . the tale of a repentant juggler.

Repentant because, of late, Faith has stepped back from her periodically neurotic self and viewed life, and herself, with new/different eyes.  The result: she feels quite remorseful, if not ashamed.

Juggling a demanding full-time job and caring for an elderly parent (a full-time job in itself) is very difficult for a sole caregiver.  Faith hasn’t slept more than three-four hours a night in many years; as such, she tends to be perpetually exhausted.  So, when She isn’t leaning toward sad or resentful, Faith may feel sorry for herself.  Silly, but true, she thinks with a wry smile and troubled heart.

Faith loves that parent but may not always like her . . . and only because she hasn’t learned to completely forgive and forget.  In her heart, Faith believes she is a good person and attentive caregiver, a decent daughter, but then decides she’s not.  Good people simply do not whine, cry, despair, or question life or the Big Guy.

Perhaps it’s also that her parent is old and fragile, and that may also frighten and fret her.  Faith remembers the strength that once was . . . and remembers who and what they both once were: youthful and robust.  Aging has its merits, becoming “old” does not.

There have been bouts of depression and they have proven debilitating . . . and downright annoying.  Faith has had it with that, though.  Depression has drained her once too often; it’s time to go!

Faith wants to return to the person she once was: a good-humored, easy-going, caring person with dreams, hopes, and faith.  Fortunately, Faith’s moving in the right direction. With the help of a kindly naturopath, healthy diet, and her own [very firm] desire to turn her life around, she’s taking purposeful baby steps forward.

She recalls a once popular expression: when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.  She likes that and says, “Look for a huge pitcher!”  And while she’s at it, Faith is going to juggle those tart little citrus fruits, too!  She’s going to flip vexing anxiety into sweet calmness.

The juggler is truly repentant . . . and prays that the Big Guy forgives her . . . and that, going forward, she will embrace, even welcome, the challenges that come her way.  All acts and actions truly lend themselves to learning and growing.

Faith recalls yet another once popular expression: don’t give up, give over.  (Sometimes those trite expressions are just so spot on.)

Life’s too short to be apprehensive or angst-ridden.  She’s looking forward to a wholesome new life and outlook.  It’s all about love—for others and self.

Faith laughs softly and a couple of expressions juggle within her mind [maybe they’ll become personal mottoes] . . .

Be strong, not wrongStay true, not blue.

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But I Don’t Wanna!!

Familiar words?  Possibly you’ve heard them from your child, spouse, partner, parent, relative, coworker, buddy-bud?  Or perhaps you’ve uttered them?  He-he.  Been there, many times.

Take today’s post.  It’s been a but-I don’t-wanna post week . . . because, honestly, I couldn’t think of anything [bleeping interesting] to post about.  T’is true.  Oh, I could rack my brains and come up with something—I usually do—but I don’t wanna!!

There’s just too much on my daily plate with the demanding 9-to-5 (which is more like 5-to-5) and mom-care.  That’s a me dilemma, but you have your own, so we’re not alone.

So how does one quell the I-don’t-wanna issue that flits in and around your head like a pesky mosquito?

The first thing would be to decrease a sense of being overwhelmed, which seems to be part of the I-don’t-wanna equation.  Yes, you’re working.  Yes, you have family obligations.  Yes, yes, yes.  Still, you want to post/write, or engage in a hobby, pastime, and/or project.  Whittle the list; make it manageable.  Determine where you can schedule some time to fulfill that “me need”.  Even if only 10 minutes, assign them to yourself and take them.  Focus and do what you can do.  Always remember, regardless of what outside factors are dictating, you count, too.  So honor that!

If you’re experiencing blank moments, search for inspiration and ideas.  The internet is chockablock full of information—concepts, views, notions, opinions.  Find something that interests/stimulates you.

Sometimes, posting or sharing your intended goal helps; then you have no option but to commit to it and follow through.  I know I wouldn’t want to state I’m doing something and then not do it.  I’m a gal of my word … unless something truly unforeseen and unavoidable transpires, but then I’ll get to it as soon as possible/doable.

If you’re like me these days, kind of “slumpy” <sigh, sigh, sigh>, look for someone or something to move or motivate you.  Contact your know-it-all sis.  Email your no-worries-hiking-in-the-mountains cousin.  Text your man-I’ve-got-an-awesome-life aunt.  Ask for input/guidance.

Social media is a wonderful tool for reaching out to others for encouragement and support.  Join a forum or community or three—maybe one that revolves around something you’ve never even vaguely been interested in.  Learn something new.  It may take you down a new—and exciting—path.

Try not to let the but-I-don’t-wanna-do-it blues get you down.  Flip them around.  It’s not easy getting rid of negative thoughts or feelings, this I know, but it can be done.  Consider your “slumpy”—recognize it and address it.  Yes, maybe it’s not changeable right this moment.  But it will be.

We all struggle with the slumpies, those blank moments, the I-really-don’t-wanna-do-it trials at some point.  Keep the faith, my friends, keep the faith—grab it, embrace it, wrap it all around.  You’re truly not alone.

When You’re Lanai Lounging . . . Auld Lang Syne (Old Long Since)

Rey, Linda and I have more time on our hands these days, as many do.  We’ve gotten quite used to lanai lounging; I wonder if we’ll find the energy/motivation when the time arrives to return to “normal” . . . whatever that may entail.

We were chatting the other day about the weeds that need pulling, shrubs that require trimming, and the pool that hasn’t yet been fixed (poor thing is missing tiles like a youngster missing milk teeth).  After stifling a few yawns, we drifted to discussions revolving around childhood days—those funny/silly moments that we’d carry to our golden years and beyond.  Rey thought it a great idea to share, so that’s what we’re doing on this fine June day.

Linda will start us off.

I don’t recall many good times, I must confess.  My mother died young, during squally weather, when she was rundown by a vegetable truck (cabbages and beets, to be precise).  My brother Lido and my sister Loretta and I didn’t really much like each other and have only recently made efforts to be “family”.  But that said, I do recall an occasion when I must have been seven or eight and my siblings and I were seated at the Thanksgiving dinner table.  I don’t know what started it—most likely Cousin Ivers sucking back too much bourbon (again)—but one of those asinine TV food fights began.  Every last person seated at that immense table ended up covered in some sort of foodstuff, myself included (I sported gravy and green beans).  It became even more comical when inebriated Cousin Ivers dragged drunk Uncle Max (not a true uncle) onto the lumpy, bedraggled lawn.  A colossal brawl erupted, resulting in a free-for-all, the likes of which the neighbors—and police—had never seen.  You know, I’ve never looked at a turkey dinner quite the same since.

And Rey?

I have to go with the time Margaret-Ann, this pig-tailed cutie in fourth grade, set her baby blues on Merck, this guy I really liked.  She’d smile and flip her thick, satin bow-tied tails, and tee-hee-hee at all the right times.  Small wonder he started liking her too—and turned away from me.  Gag.  I felt a need to let him see what a fake she was.  So-o, I made sure something “accidentally” fell off her desk.  When she leaned over to pick it up, I stuck a huge multi-dollar wad of gum on her seat.  Oddly, she didn’t notice right away.  When she did, which was outside the classroom, she cursed a mean streak right in front of Merck.  Who’d have thought a fourth grader could utter words like that (never mind that she looked like she could smack the guilty party straight across the schoolyard)?  Given he came from a rather religious family, he was surprised, and not in a good way.  That crushed that mushrooming relationship.  He-he.  Yeah . . . that was a very fun day.

Lastly, me.

I’d have to say a fun/funny childhood memory involved Rey and me at Uncle Flex’s Ogunquit cottage.  I may have mentioned him re another incident—the one where he lost one eyebrow (a fox-moth caterpillar-furry one).  This transpired after that.  (I’m surprised he’d not become more wary of the two of us.)  We were in our early teens and not getting along, as was the norm.  This time we’d decided to be constructive and grill dinner on the handsome Weber grills that Uncle Flex and Cousin Balo used so well.  The hot dogs and hamburgers were scorched beyond recognition, one of the grills was knocked over when Rey and I got into “fisticuffs” about who burned what.  Anything within reach burst into flames almost immediately (the patio and railings were old and dry).  Henri, a husky Havanese, never barked, but hearing the commotion, yapped up a storm and raced from the cottage, followed by frantic Uncle Flex, into the nearby woods.  Long crazy story short, the cottage did survive—for the most part.  Henri was never heard from again, though, and Uncle Flex moved across the Big Pond not long after that.  And Rey and I were forbidden for the next three decades to be together in the same room, cottage, state.

WPA1COVER FPoiHere’s to old/long/since memories.  Funny how they can prompt grins and rolling-on-the-floor laughter . . . [much] later.

Take care everyone—continue to stay safe and be well.

Unabashed Shameless Promotion . . . for Me and My Pal

Yes, another post related to shameless promotion—but it’s not all about me today.  While an interview re yours truly appeared on Julia Sutton’s blog recently (see link below), I’m actually posting about Julia, a lovely woman who has graciously interviewed a number of authors.

WPjulias2AJulia, for those not familiar with her, hails from Wolverhampton in central England, and is an author of contemporary romance and picture books for kids.  She’s penned The School of Dreams series: Book 1 – The School of Dreams, Book 2 – Visions of the Heart, Book 3 – Student Affairs.  Book 4 is in progress.

On a personal note, Julia is happily married with two children and is the proud owner of a Border Collie and two chinchillas.  An avid reader, she also enjoys drawing, cooking, walking, watching films, and drinking lots of tea.  Interests also include animal welfare, looking after the environment, and being kind to people.  How awesome is that?

I’m sure she’d love you to visit.  Please connect with her at:

Facebook Author Page:  www.facebook.com/booksbyjulia1972

Twitter:  Julia Sutton Books @booksbyjulia72

Instagram:  Julia Sutton Books

WordPress:  juliasuttonauthorblog.wordpress.com

. . . And, if you’re interested in seeing my interview, please go to:

https://juliasuttonauthorblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/24/author-interview-with-tyler-collins

 

Bliss as a Blogger

So yesterday was my b-day.  And, as many of us do when another year comes and goes, I felt compelled to reflect on all that I’ve achieved over the years . . . since I started blogging (let’s leave writing/authoring, and personal growth, for other posts).

There’d been another blog site prior to this one—can’t even recall the name of it (I’d deleted it, silly me).  Had one follower.  The posts were a “potpourri” of thoughts and musings about everything and anything.  I thought some were very good.  Yes, most silly me for deleting it.  Live and learn.  Always.

When I first learned about blogging—posting one’s work for the world to read—I was intimidated.  Really?  You mean someone might actually want to read my stuff?  Somebody, a total stranger, may be tempted to react/comment?  (A bit naïve, but hey, we develop at different junctures).

Even if I only had one follower, the first blog wasn’t a failure.  I acquired a working knowledge of links and imbedding, GIFs and other media tools.  Trial and error helped immensely; nothing like screwing up big time to learn what not to do in future.

I’m happy with this current blog, although I recognize it needs a major face-lift, a goal I’d set two-some years ago.  So I state the same today as I’ve stated in past . . . that I [still] want to add editing and proofing services.  And yes, definitely (!), I must be more pro-active re networking.  Time, however, is not something I have much of—those of you who know and/or follow me, understand why.  So, patience is a virtue and, as such, I must be a paragon.  All will transpire when the cosmos decrees (or I win the big lotto pot).

Yup, another year has come and gone, and I’m still rather where I was when I first started.  Regardless, I pat myself on the back for the editing and writing advice and tidbits I’ve been able to provide; hopefully, some of you have found them of value.  And I pat my Triple Threat Investigation Agency private eyes—JJ, Rey, and Linda—on the backs, too.  They’ve posted numerous times on my behalf, and awesomely I might add.

For those of you toying with the idea of a blog, but haven’t yet taken that first step, I highly recommend you do.  It’s fun and therapeutic.  It can prove a sanctuary (it certainly has for me).  It gets the ol’ gray matter (and in my case, it truly is “ol’”) whirling and twirling.  You’ll meet some fantastic fellow bloggers along the way and discover like-minded communities.

I’ve found definite bliss as a blogger.  As they once said, it’s boss!  ♥

Gratefulness for Friends

Today’s post is a simple one – of gratitude, hope and faith, and evolution.

Friends, be they few or countless, are to cherish and respect.  Be it one or many, be grateful for their support, strength, camaraderie  . . . their tears, frustration, anger.  You know those that are true: they stand beside you through thick and thin.  They offer advice [and reprimands] when you’re uncertain, down, or waffling.  They cheer you on when you’re not certain you can make the last mile—and they wait at that finish line with a smile and a hug.

Friend: a person we know, like and trust. 

Friend: an individual we’re united with in a contest or combat or cause. 

Friend: someone who encourages and commiserates. 

Friend: somebody who puts up with your tear-crammed calls at any time of the day or night

Friend: a selfless soul who stands by your side (props you up) no matter what

Friend: J-o-a-n-i-e.  

Gratitude is something I don’t give enough of, maybe because I’m so absorbed in the 9-to-5 and mom-care—when not writing or editing—that I have no time to think about anything outside the box I’ve become welded in.

We may, time to time, feel lonely, but let’s not forget that we’re not alone. 

Today, I say thank you to all my friends and followers—for being there, for being you. 

Stay strong!

Staying Scissorsously Sane

Hey, it’s Rey, ever happy to post on behalf of our boss.  Linda’s too busy trying new iced-tea concoctions and baking cupcakes (her new thing) while JJ’s decided to try her hand at painting, watercolors primarily.  She’s not a bad sketcher, so let’s see how she does with brushes and colors.  The kitchen and lanai are off limits for me today.  So, here I am, tap-tap-tapping the laptop . . . and the table top . . . as I think of ideas.

To be honest, I’ve been blanking out re what I’d post about.  The Boss is the writer and editor, so she can focus on the dos and don’ts of authoring when she returns from another meltdown (just a minor one this time).  Linda’s all about wine and food, but she’s too busy deciding if thyme and cilantro work with white chocolate.  JJ’s not up for sharing P.I. stories or painting tips today.  So-o what’s a gal to do . . . but tap-tap-tap?

I could share the hair-dye episode.  You know how during lockdown they’ve been saying don’t buy box-color to touch up your roots if you’ve been having your hair done at a salon?  Well, the three of us were getting antsy about our expanding roots and decided we would prove the “advisers” wrong.  Linda volunteered to be the first, so JJ and I found color that looked like her raspberry-red shade.  Uh, it turned out a more a damson-plum purple—at least on the roots.  The formerly raspberry-red locks ended up a unique blend of grape and barberry.

It’s okay, though.  Linda’s no longer sobbing or ranting, and my cousin and I managed to seize the scissors before she cut too much hair off . . . or came after us.

So, back to the post.  How about keeping it simple?  I’ll share what songs are inspiring the three of us right now—as we lounge on the lanai and organize the ohana, or chat online with colleagues and chums

JJ:

She still loves (never tires of) Israel Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole’s “Somewhere over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World”.  Hawaiian-born IZ, as he’s better known, left us much too young, but his fantastic music lives on forever.  His songs, and amazing ukulele playing, made—still make—this a wonderful world!

Linda:

“Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves, a former British-American rock band, makes her smile and dance, like everywhere, including on the lawn!  It’s a feel-good song that makes you know that all will [eventually] be okay.  Yeah, it does date back to ’85, but it still sounds fresh and fun.

Me (Rey):

“Ave Maria” by Il Volo.  You laugh?  (Yeah, so did JJ and Linda.)  I know, I know, it’s not my type of song of music—not even my century!—but when I first heard it a month ago, it really touched me.  I listen to it every morning now when I get up.  It’s so beautiful.  And I won’t share this with everyone, but it makes me feel, well, real humble.  (And, you know, those Il Volo guys are not bad on the eyes, either.  Be still, my beating heart.)

Take care, friends and followers.  Listen to [sensible/rational] advice out there, and follow it as you will.  Most importantly, be safe and well!

More Me, Me, Me . . . Can You Stand it?

He-he.  As an FYI, as part of the REV7 marketing platform, Next Chapter has opened their own Pinterest boards for showcasing Next Chapter books and authors . . . such as yours truly.

New content is added weekly and all Next Chapter books will be included on their boards as soon as possible.

Next Chapter’s Pinterest boards have grown rapidly and reach thousands of viewers every month.  Thousands?  The private eyes at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency and I think that would be super awesome. WPPin5

Now, if only we could figure out Pinterest; it’s about as clear as Instagram.  (Can you spell m-u-d?)

Take care everyone!

A Simple Wednesday Morning Shameless Self-Promotion

The Boss has a lot on her plate re the 9-to-5 and mom-care right now, so the three of us engaged in “rock paper scissors” to see who’d post today.  Linda won, but managed to bang up her finger (and her temperament).  Rey’s feeling fairly fatigued so, you have me, JJ, today. 

The post isn’t about me or the agency, but about our boss.  Her building has a monthly newsletter and they featured a brief, informative interview written by the lovely fellow dweller, Judith Michael.  It certainly helped rally her flagging spirits. So, I thought I’d share it here . . . because I’m all for some simple shameless self-promotion (even if it’s for someone else).

The WestClair’s Writer:  Tyler Colins

Look no further than The WestClair to find Tyler Colins, our resident writer.  While Tyler has written both fiction and non-fiction, her focus is on writing mysteries.  She has completed four books in the Triple Threat Mysteries and is well into writing the fifth.

The series centers around three strong female private investigators with distinct and unique personalities. According to Tyler, JJ, the narrator, is calm, mature, and thoughtful.  Her cousin Rey is brash, impetuous, melodramatic, and “won’t take ‘no’ for an answer”.  Rey’s best friend Linda, is smart and a little “nerdy”.

Tyler gravitated to the Triple Threat saying, “I liked the characters or they liked me . . . they wanted me to be their boss”. Of the three women, Tyler’s favourite is Rey because “I want to be her.”

When asked to describe “the unique voice” of her writing style, Tyler likened it to “a 1950’s lounge – easy going, beatnik, laid back, with a cool feel”.  The laid-back vibe of her writing is in contrast to the busyness of Tyler’s life. In addition to writing, she edits fiction for a company in Japan, has a full-time job in human resources, and looks after her mother.

You can find out more about Tyler’s work on her blog https://thewritersgrabbag.com/ Her books can be purchased from Amazon and some will be available from The WestClair Library when the second-floor lounge reopens. It’s best to begin with The Connecticut Corpse Caper, the first of the Triple Threat Mysteries and initially written as a stand-alone book.     as written both fiction and non-fiction, her focus is on writing mysteries.  She has completed four books in the Triple Threat Mysteries and is well into writing the fifth.

WPallselfThe series centers around three strong female private investigators with distinct and unique personalities. According to Tyler, JJ, the narrator, is calm, mature, and thoughtful.  Her cousin Rey is brash, impetuous, melodramatic, and “won’t take ‘no’ for an answer”.  Rey’s best friend Linda, is smart and a little “nerdy”.

Thanks so much, Judith!  The gals and I are very appreciative.

Continue to stay safe, everyone.

Seri—ously … ?

Hi, it’s Linda.  The Boss had “stuff” to take care of today, so I stepped in.  Given the three of us at the Triple Threat Investigation Agency have had cases with multiple murders/murderers, we thought it might be interesting to look at serial killers. 

While the murderers in The Connecticut Corpse Caper, Can You Hula like Hilo Hattie?, Coco’s Nuts, and Forever Poi did kill a few people who crossed their paths, we never truly viewed them as “serial killers” (or SKs, as Rey likes to call them).  They executed people for specific reasons.  The National Institute of Justice, by the way, defines a serial killer—SK—as a person who has committed two or more separate murders, generally with some psychological and/or sadistic sexual aspect.  Wikipedia defines an SK as someone who has killed three or more people.

There was a time—the latter part of the 20th century specifically—when there appeared to be a glut of them.  Remember Ted Bundy, Son of Sam, John Wayne Gacy, The Zodiac Killer, The Hillside Stranglers . . . ? 

Did you know, though, that the number of serial killers has dropped 85% in 30 years?  In fact, the FBI says they account for less that 1% of killings.  (I wonder if the writers of Criminal Minds considered that.)   Some of the reasons were that the latter part of the 20th century had turbulent times, people moved frequently, and hitchhiking was common.  Finding victims wasn’t overly difficult.  Moreover, computerized databases and data banks, and utilizing DNA for forensic purposes, didn’t exist until more recently.  Add to that: longer prison sentences and reduced parole, as well as the abundance of security cameras.

In case you were wondering as to the types of SKs, there are said to be four major ones.

Visionary

These serial killers hear—and respond to—voices or visions, which compel them to murder certain types of people.  Visionaries tend to be psychotic.

Mission-Oriented

This one experiences a need to kill certain people that fall under a given group (call girls, women/wives, transient workers, those with certain religious alliances or a particular race, as examples), but this type isn’t considered psychopathic or psychotic.

These former two tend to be focused on the act of killing and do so swiftly.

Power- & Control-Oriented

This SK experiences sexual gratification by dominating and humiliating victims.  Sociopaths, they live by their own rules and guidelines.  They also like to play God by being in control of life and death.  Many famous serial killers fall under his category.

Hedonistic

This one experiences a connection between violence and sexual gratification.  Feeling pleasure from the act, he/she has “eroticized” the experience.  A hedonistic killer takes the time to torture or mutilate a victim.  You’ll find this type of serial killer in novels and movies.

These former two are focused on the process of killing; they enjoy torturing their victims and derive delight from the slow deaths they produce.

Based on interviews and subjective data, not every serial killer falls under one type and many are more than one type.

Eighty percent of SKs are white males between the ages of 25-34 and are charismatic, bright, and mobile.  Their killings, at least initially, tend to be meticulously planned.  They also develop over time and learn from mistakes so that they can “improve” their killing methods/styles.  Women SKs, by the way, do exist and generally tend to kill for the same reasons as their male counterparts.  Unless they have a male partner, however, they don’t tend to sexually assault or physically maim their victims. 

Another general fact: many were mistreated or neglected as children and many abuse drugs and alcohol.

Other labels include “organized” versus “disorganized” and “asocial” versus “non-social”, but the majority appear to be organized and non-social.

There’s simply too much information to impart in a post, but as gruesome as some of it can be, it’s also—as Mr. Spock would say—fascinating.  If you’re interested, I’d highly recommend you go googling.

WPsk2Meanwhile, our latest case, Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha, may—possibly—feature an SK.  This crafty and creative individual is certainly keeping us, and our police pals, on our private-eye toes.