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With a title like that, several things could come to mind. Hair extensions, contract extensions, or maybe extending a warranty. Except I was thinking of a house porch. My porch measures only 12 feet by 7 feet, and probably like a lot of people, wish it was larger. Or at least wish it stretched a little longer along the house.

white wicker padded bench

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Whatever it’s size, I really like my porch. It is a continual on-going source of work. When I bought the house, the porch was painted completely white, including the steel door, and the porch boards were a nice blue/gray. Over the years I painted the door two shades of complimenting green with a gold highlight. I also painted the top and bottom porch rails a pretty mint green and alternated the vertical pickets the same mint green and white. Finally I touched up the blue/ gray flooring and added white lattice all the way around the foundation.

And since doing that, I have had to re-sand and re-do parts of this as I work on finishing the end result. Because my  house hints at Victorian design, I am aiding it along by making the porch as Victorian as possible, despite it’s small size. When I get it finished, there will also be horizontal boards along the top of the porch header, with matching green, white and gold spindles to frame the porch. Lots of work, but well worth it when it’s done.

However, today it occurred to me the porch is more of an extension than just a project constantly in the works. I see the porch as an extension of the house. An open-air room that needs cleaning up but not necessarily dusted. It’s the first thing guests see upon reaching the driveway and it’s a spare room to sit and visit. Yes, I even have a porch swing and wicker sofa/ coffee table on my porch. It is where I display my green thumb in the warm months and some of my ceramic critters. It’s another room despite it not being counted in the official square footage. It is an extension of the inside living space. When I can, I love to sit out there and watch the rain fall or write while listening to the windchimes and birds calling.

And it occurred to me today the local wildlife see my porch as an extension of the outside living space. Birdfeeders hang from the porch and bird baths, bird houses, and other feeders are spaced around the yard. The birds, squirrels, and chipmunks routinely visit the porch in search of seeds and other goodies. To them, it’s just one more place food might be found.

selective focus photography of house finch perched on bird feeder

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

So that got me to thinking, how many other things in our lives serve a dual purpose, sometimes without us even being aware of it. A vehicle can be a mode of transportation to get us from A to B to C and back again, or it can also be a status symbol. Or an oddity if it’s a collector’s vehicle. A phone is a devise to call someone. Call mom, call the boss, call home. (Remember E.T.?) Yet our phones do so much more. Mine doubles as a map, camera, texting devise and sometimes a timer.

You can probably see where I am going with this. Just as a doorway is a way in to or out from, many things in our lives pull double duty as we just travel through our days. As they say: perception is everything, and how something works or is viewed by us is based on our perception of it at that moment.

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As I write this, everyone everywhere is caught in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. People are sick, dying, going bonkers in quarantine and missing out on valuable family memories. Some are getting creative in how they cope and some just struggle through the madness one moment at a time.

assorted silver colored pocket watch lot selective focus photo

Photo by Giallo on Pexels.com

For me, the quarantine isn’t so bad. I’m a homebody who finally gets to stay  home. I’ve yearned for some time alone at home for years now. I’m sorry it has come at such a huge cost to the world, and the nation, but overall, I am handling the stay-home order well. I have supplies, food, and pets. I’m good.

What does upset me is the zillions of people posting on social media sites of how incredibly bored they are. Bored?? I wish! My problem is quite the opposite. For starters, like millions of others, my small business has all but dried up. No one needs dog walkers or pet sitters at the moment, so all my business income is gone. I am hoping this will be a temporary set back, and not a year-long problem. My larger dilemma at the moment is my health.

Beginning a few weeks before coronavirus was a well-known word, I began having discomfort in my left hip, leg and foot. It worsened so that by the time everyone cancelled on me, I was actually thankful for the break due to the excruciating agony of trying to drive, walk, etc… required of me.

So now I had spare time at home–lots of spare time–and I hurt too bad to enjoy it. I look at the dusty house, disorganized garage, plants that never got planted in the gardens last fall, and the mounds of writing I have to get done (since some of it is already past due). Unfortunately I still cannot sit for long, bend, kneel, or do much of anything. The pain killers I take to manage through the day only make me too groggy to write. This gift of time at home each day is sadly being wasted. And I’m upset at the thief who is stealing it.

person near apple keyboard and cup with coffee beans

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

I have a surgery date scheduled and if the hospital does not cancel elective surgeries, I will soon be okay, and pretty much able-bodied. Perhaps then I can sit long enough to write, plus clean and organize or maybe plant some things in the yard. In the meantime when I read people complaining on social media about  how bored they are, I want to scream. Then I want to invite them over and greet them at the door with either a broom, dust mop, brush, rake, or shovel. I can fix ‘bored’. What I cannot fix is time stealing all my free stay-home days that are systematically being wasted.

shallow focus photography of hourglass

Photo by Jordan Benton on Pexels.com

 

 

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Gamechanger has been a word used in my life a fair bit lately. When I reflect back over the previous twelve months, I can see several gamechanger events that blended together and made 2019 resemble a fruit smoothie.

Some have been good events, a few planned out and brought to fruition and others just a happy happenstance. A few were tragic, negative or just plain bad. Either way, they each added to the mixture.

A few happy examples include the installation of a secondary fenced yard that eliminates the need to leash walk dogs now.  Not only does that make walking multiple dogs easier, that became critically important in December.  A surgery in December proved to be helpful in long-standing health concerns. A new book release with a new publishing house last fall has opened more literary doors.

Most recently a chance occurrence with my old house lead to a partial bathroom remodel, that includes the happy addition of  a 1925 Kohler claw-foot tub, which happens to be a long-term dream of mine to have. I have a wonderful old soaking tub now, which is a positive gamechanger.

In the spring, I impulsively bought some day-old chicks, and then some more chicks. It was crazy when they outgrew their brooder and started wandering all over the house because everywhere I put them, they quickly outgrew it. It was several months before I finally got their outside coop finished and they moved out of my house. That was a gamechanger in itself, but it also taught me I could transform my little courtyard to a backyard chicken coop.

Negatively, February 2019 brought a tragic shock that took me about six weeks to even begin to recover from. Big gamechanger. In September my middle-aged computer crashed and I lost everything on it. Merrily I’d been storing files and pictures to a cloud-based storage, confident I had a good backup should I ever need it. Was I ever surprised to learn for three years everything that showed as uploaded on my end never actually reached the cloud. It was simply lost somewhere in the ozone.

Three years of everything was simply gone. Big gamechanger. One of those ‘gone’ things was the novel I’d been pounding away on for three years. It was to go to the publisher that coming weekend, I had the contract signed, a rough release date, and cover work was starting. Now it was Gone. Not a scrap was salvaged. That series of September losses took me two months to begin to get over.

As I run 2019 back through my memory, with the exception of those two massive setbacks, it hasn’t been too bad. I adopted a senior dog and enjoy her company immensely. I have stayed busy in my “day job” business and it feels good to know I am appreciated and needed.

I have learned to master new technology tricks, especially with my smart-alec phone, and they’ve certainly been gamechangers. I can now verbally dictate notes into the phone, send it to my email and retrieve it later on or text verbally on the go to clients, saving time I used to just sit and text. Gamechanger. Using the zoom and key photo options, I can capture great action shots of my clients, which makes them happy. Gamechanger. I have Lucille, the GPS map program that gives  me shortcuts to places I need to go, saving me untold hours each month in lost travel time. Huge gamechanger. All that stuff is just sitting in the palm of my hand.

Thinking of all these gamechanger advances and revelations, I can only hope to use them positively in 2020. My hope is to remain more diligent with blogging. Time escaped me in 2019, and maybe I can reclaim some of it going forward. I might even get to reading a few of the countless books I’ve purchased in the last couple of years and start leaving reviews here again. I do read, but I am not at liberty to post those reviews.

I’d like to bring back the “I’ve been thinking…” feature. I do think–a lot–usually as I am running up and down the roads like the cartoon Roadrunner. Now that I’ve mastered the “Suri, send me an email” gamechanger, perhaps I can dictate the bones of my “thinking” and get it moved over to the blog relatively easily. Maybe.

With a houseful of critters, and those who live outside, I’d like to post pictures, anecdotes, and more. Heaven knows they keep me in stitches any given day.

Are there any special posts you’d like to see in this blog? If so, leave me a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts. This blog exists for others to read it. If I can put something meaningful here, that is all I can ask for.

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via Wednesday Writers–September’s Song by Ryan Jo Summers

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via By Rote with Ryan: Criticism

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via By Rote with Ryan–The Ladies in My Life

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via By Rote with Ryan: Including details in your writing

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Source: Book Reviews – The US Review of Books: Professional Book Reviews

 

This is the review for “September’s Song”, my recent women’s fiction/ metaphysical release.

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As a person who habitually finds cats camped on my doorstep or yard, I have long wondered how they know MY yard–of all the yards in the area–is the ONE to come to. How can they make that decision?
I think I finally figured out the hobo signs that cats scratch on trees as they travel the neighborhoods, leaving clues for the next little furry feline vagabond who wanders along.
In my imagination, I see little claw marks along the bottoms of trees and posts that sort of resemble these figures, left by traveling cats to warn others of good and bad houses along the “kitty hobo trail”.
#
Dog lives here — use caution
#
Persons with gun
#
Great garbage
#
Even better Food
##
Lots of Good food
#
Crazy cat lady lives here
#
Resident cats already here
#
Can get a warm bed here
Bad dogs  would somehow feature a cute dog within a circle and slash
Naturally I have adopted a few little furry hoboes, after taking great pains and time to tame them down. Without exception, once they are moved inside, they acclimate within a few days and never look back on their wild wandering days. A couple have remained (years later) suspicious of all humans and visitors, while others have adopted a tolerance of anyone who might want to pat them.
Whatever their origins–feral colony, second generation wild cat, or just homeless waif– I have loved them all and they have all enriched my life in their unique ways.

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via By Rote with Ryan: The Importance of Pre-Writing Exercises

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