Thursday, May 28, 2015

FL-Manuscript in the Mail

     YES!  My first official poetry manuscript submission!  Back in the saddle of writing, I researched a few literary contests.  Unicorn Press offered one…First Book Contest.  The requirements were to send in 56-72 pages of unpublished original poetry.  I sent 64 poems on 68 pages.  The winner receives $250 and will have their poetry published in a hand-bound book by Unicorn Press.  Woo!  Hoo!  Wish me luck…you gotta play to win!!!  

 I had a creative surge after I returned from the post office and stretched my skills to include drawing…designed a fun cover for my poetry book.  I may call it  Lines of Life - Love - Laughter
I also sent 17 poems to Blue Mountain Arts – Poetry Card Contest.  I’m writing every day, working on my 6th short story, creating a scene file for a possible novel, reading genres I haven’t read before and loving all of it!
     Bright Spot – A spontaneous lunch stop at The Olive Garden not only afforded me a great meal, but the pleasure of meeting Dawn.  She was my server with a smile!  It was apparent that she was not working alone…Lucas is due to be born in only 8 days!!! 
Dawn and Lucas
Between my salad and my stuffed mushrooms, Dawn took a well-deserved few minutes to sit down and chat.  She and her boyfriend Wayne have a 6 year old little girl, Emma who is excited to meet her baby brother.  Wayne’s 10 year old son from a previous relationship is very possibly even more excited about the birth of little Lucas because finally he will not be the only male child in the family.  You see, Chris has a 14 year old sister as well.  Dawn’s last day at the restaurant will be Friday so she can rest up for next week’s big event.  She was such a delight to talk with.  She has a bright and cheerful outlook about today, next week and her family’s future together!  May your life continue to be filled with blessings, Dawn!
     This morning I ventured to the beach on my knee walker.  It was cool and breezy and relatively humidity-free…I had to try especially since there is a beach access directly across the street.  It turned out to be a bit more challenging than I had anticipated.  The beach access included a winding sand covered path before you actually reached the beach.  So my walker, my boot and I had to synchronize and harmonize our movements…big time! The arms got a serious workout.  With all that said, I spent a wonderful hour on the beach.  I leaned the walker on the trash can and I sat on the sand leaning on the walker… I watched the sun creep up the beach as it cleared the tops of the buildings behind me and had some fun with a shadowy selfie!  I read some Maya Angelou and headed back to the house.  Now, I know that trip is possible, but I am quite satisfied to have done it ONCE.
Shadowy selfie...LOL

Bird on a breakfast mission...
movements were so calculated
Funny what you notice when sitting still
most of the day...open blinds on art
Open blinds on wall
Huge bird nest spotted atop light pole
driving back from the post office
The new hairdo...the only thing more
challenging than taking a selfie is taking one in the mirror!!!
I never know where my eyes will be looking...LOL
How is it possible that it took this many years
for them to notice the spaghetti didn't fit in the pot?

The sun slowly making its way up the beach


Sunday, May 17, 2015

FL-Update Week Misc.

     Getting around the house is becoming easier…doing things upright on one foot still tires me, so I just do things in stages.  The knee walker has been a great help!  I can’t use it for everything though…like doing laundry.  If I could tape that…it would be a candidate for America’s Funniest Videos for sure!

     I tried a couple new dishes this week.  Blueberry-ricotta pancakes and Zucchini pasta.  The additional ingredients in the pancakes them a little ‘mushy’, but very tasty.  The ‘pasta maker’ gadget was loads of fun to use.  An entire zucchini’s worth of curliness in one long strip!  It was amazing.  I mixed half corn pasta and half zucchini and topped it with baked chicken and onion-garlic sauce and grated parmesan!  Can you say YUMMY???



         Doctor check-up was on Friday.  Same news…4 more weeks of no pressure on foot with it raised most of the day with occasional ice.  Then begin the ‘walking’ process!  The x-rays were great…nothing has shifted and bone is healing well!  Left foot swelling is going down...I almost have an ankle..lol

     Bright Spot – Got a knock on the door and it was an Oceans 6 team!  They are food distributors for major restaurants like Carrabba’s and Texas Roadhouse.  Michael was training a new rep.  Her name was Natalie.  Michael and I demonstrated the fine art of negotiation.  I believe that Amy was impressed…LOL All 3 of us had a good time and I now have freezer with some great steak and lots of shrimp!  I will be feeding Rachel and Megan like royalty while they are here visiting.  They’ll be here in 19 short days!  Once I try the goods, I’ll pass on Michael’s direct number for anyone who wants more information.
Michael and Natalie




Monday, May 11, 2015

FL-Double-sided Bright Spot


  I love life’s little surprises!  Heck, I love life’s big surprises, too!!! 
Noticing anything unusual about this
restaurant?

Yep, it is closed...empty...except for ME!
      Today I had to go to the post office.  It took a while.  I also needed to stop at Walmart for salad fixins.  It was 1:45.  I was hungry.  That wonderful Texas Roadhouse was still right there on the same lot.  I decided it would be better to eat something light there than to go into Walmart really hungry!!!  So I parked, grabbed my crutches and attempted to open the door…it was locked.  A very nice man/employee showed me to another door and a bell.  He pushed it for me and invited me to sit on the bench.  By then I was totally confused, but I complied…mostly out of curiosity.
     Then to my great pleasure, a handsome young man opened the door and said to me, “Oh my, what do we have here?  How can I help you?”  Despite my surprise, I replied, “Well, I’d like to come in and have some lunch!”  He smiled apologetically and let me know they don’t open until 4:00PM.  I was so bummed.  I said okay and was going to leave.  He told me not to go and that if I didn’t mind not actually having a server, he would be happy to fix me a wonderful salad and check on me himself.  As if I wasn’t surprised enough…
     So in we went.  He seated me at a booth in the bar area and brought me 2 glasses of water because it was pretty hot outside.  I got comfy and ordered my Caesar salad.  Trevor, the proprietor of this fine establishment was fun and unbelievably accommodating.  Moments later, lunch arrived.  I thanked him and told him to go in the back and do what he needed to do because I was just perfect!  I had the entire air-conditioned restaurant to myself including great music and was being tended to by the owner.  How fun was that? He came to check on me a couple times. 
     Finally, I had to tell him about Bright Spots on my blog.  HE was MY Bright Spot for sure.  
Trevor!
But I did inquire more about him and his happy news.  As it turns out, Trevor just took over this restaurant last Wed. which was also his birthday!   He had been with another company for 12 years and chose to join the Texas Roadhouse team because of their philosophy.  This organization sees their highest priority as the people.  It was obvious how important that was to Trevor.
     He explained that Texas Roadhouse does not spend money on advertising.  They get the word out about their restaurant through their “legendary store marketers.”  Carol is theirs.  She is employed 40 hours a week to engage in community outreach.  She goes everywhere giving out coupons, appetizers, other menu item samples and telling people firsthand about the restaurant.  She is instrumental in raising money for various charities through the restaurant.  What a wonderful concept!   Carol just happened to come by just as I was ready to leave.  She was very sweet.

     The self proclaimed best aspect of Trevor’s happy life is his wife and 2 little guys, one is 3 and the newest member is 11 months old.  I am so grateful to have crossed Trevor’s path today.  He is a delightful person with a positive and open attitude toward life’s opportunities.  Thanks, Trevor for your hospitality and conversation…and the complimentary lunch!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

FL-Pre-Mom Day Outing

     What a fun day I had!  My Mother's Day treats to me from me.  First, I drove 34 miles just to stock up on the ice tea that I love….only Whole Foods carries it….it was absolutely worth it!
     Then, I went to the Oasis Salon for a long overdue haircut. 
No, that's not me...LOL
But this is my new hairstyle!
 There I met Jonesy, the wonderful woman who did exactly what I asked her to do with my hair….unheard of!!!  She convinced me to have my eyebrows waxed…a first for me! 

I was so excited!  Well, not really, but I survived!



Bright Spot- Jonesy shared with me her amazement at the continuous flow of gentlemen interested in going out with her lately.  She seems to be enjoying the attention.  She is learning to say YES with discretion and NO without guilt.  Good for her. 
Jonesy
 
I stopped back at the house for a shower and lunch before I headed to get a massage.  Just as I was scrambling about with my crutches and knee walker, a car pulled up.  A window rolled down and a voice said, “Judi?”  I said yes and the woman told me she had a delivery for me.  Shocked, I asked if she would be able to bring it into the house.  She agreed. 
Mother's Day flowers
from Matthew and Adam
When I got in and turned around, there she stood holding an absolutely adorable flower arrangement…orange and white rose, daisies, carnations in an orange vase!!!  The things a son remembers about his mother…favorite color…orange!!!  It was such a wonderful surprise!!!

     My massage was also wonderful….first time ever 90 minutes!  My muscles were ecstatic until I had to use them to get me to the car using crutches…LOL  It was 4:30 by the time I got on the road and there was a lot of traffic.  I decided to get some early dinner at a Perkins restaurant nearby…hadn’t been to one of those in forever.  Bright Spot- I was greeted and treated with kid gloves the entire time I was there.  My server, Gail was delightful and took good care of me.  I was in the mood for a fresh salad and onion rings, but I’m quite particular about the latter.  They have to have a lot of onion and minimal yet flavorful coating.  Of course, I asked Gail to check with the cook.  Not only did she check, but the new manager, Darren, came out to talk with me about them.  He offered to make me a couple to try before I confirmed my order.  How cool was that?  He brought them out and they were fabulous!  My official order went in immediately.  My salad was just as delectable.  Both Gail and Darren touched base with me regularly.  I was noticing that Darren was just as welcoming with each person coming through the doors.  How refreshing, I thought.  I spoke to Darren later and he told me the restaurant was under new management with new menus hoping to win the love back of Perkin’s customers.  That should be easy if they continue to serve great food at reasonable prices and treat customers like they did that afternoon.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

FL-A Cure for Cabin Fever - Get Creative, Get Out!

     Days are flying by with my renewed passion for writing.  I bought 11 Kindle edition books about fiction writing and I’ve read 4 of them in the last week!  I’m taking notes, experimenting, and watching flix recommended that demonstrate plot and dialogue genius.  I’ve registered for 2 literary contests and my daughter Rachel and I are trying out a fun activity.  We select a writing prompt, choose a deadline for manuscript completion and then share our stories.  Our first task will be shared this Saturday.  It’ll be interesting to see what each of our minds guided us to create from the SAME PROMPT!  “Incorporate the following 3 items in your story: a soup can without a label, a cigarette pack filled with M&Ms and an unrequited crush.” 
     This past Sunday was a week alone in the house…it was necessary to get out for awhile.  I got to the car with needed transportation devices, drove to Walmart, hobbled in, rode all around for almost 2 hours in their motorized vehicle with basket just checking things out, purchased a few items to aid in my writing projects and EAR appeal


I love it!!!
and a few groceries, graciously accepted assistance getting bags into the car, drove back, unloaded the car and got everything in the house AND I did so without a hitch, mostly!!!!  Woo!  Hoo!  Must say though that a great deal of focus and creative ‘problem’ solving was involved…LOL
Handlebars came to the rescue!
     Between the loading of the car and the unloading of the car (I didn’t get any perishable items), I went into a Texas Roadhouse restaurant for lunch.  To my absolute surprise and pleasure, I was gifted with a server from heaven!!!  Bright Spot- Louie, Louie, Louie!  He greeted me as though we were old friends and provided the perfect recommendation for lunch after I gave him a rather shabby description of what I thought I wanted…LOL   That man sure knew what he was talking about…everything was spectacular.
     Of course, after I finished eating, I invited him to have a seat and asked him to tell me something happy in his life or what he is grateful for.  Without hesitation, he said, “Waking up.”  That lead to a chat that inspired me.  Louie is 37 years old (looks like 25) and has been around the block.  Born in New Jersey, he gravitated to Florida for his education, than headed west to perform as a Chinese pole acrobat and  trapeze artist.  How fun is THAT?!  He returned to Florida a few years ago and now he has a gorgeous little girl named Neriah, who is 2 years old. 
Dad and Neriah
We talked about his love of and appreciation for overcoming obstacles, getting up more times that you fall and goals worth having and sticking with until they are reached.  Louie wants nothing more than to be able to say “YES” whenever his daughter needs something.  I could see in Louie’s eyes and feel in his presence the love he has for Neriah.  Louie, thank you for taking good care of me and for allowing me to step into the beauty that is your life for a moment.  Keep your heart on your goal and you can’t go wrong!!!