Marathon Writing Events

I joined SUAW (Shut Up and Write) a long time ago. I loved their events, since it was a way to keep me accountable to the task of writing. I used it to get homework done when I was in school and just to keep me on track with writing in general.

This week, I discovered Marathons. They are similar to the SUAW events, but they are 5 hours long. I got several book reviews written, and published a few posts that have been sitting in the draft folder, waiting to be continued. I also managed to get laundry done, a shower taken, Molly fed, coffee in me, etc, etc. All of it was ok. The Marathons are for accomplishing things. I got a lot accomplished, including finding a bagful of books to be sent to the little free libraries and a phone call to Xfinity, finding out why our equipment isn’t working as expected.

I find that having someone to be accountable to helps a lot. I didn’t make it to the gym, but I accomplished more than I hoped to get done.

Farm Tales Collection: A Book of Fun, Friendship, and Adventure | 10 Short Stories for Kids Ages 4-8 by Arnie Lightning

Farm Tales Collection: A Book of Fun, Friendship, and Adventure | 10 Short Stories for Kids Ages 4-8

Farm Tales Collection: A Book of Fun, Friendship, and Adventure | 10 Short Stories for Kids Ages 4-8 by Arnie Lightning
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this up as freebie.

This is a cute book with a variety of stories about how the animals on the farm interact to get through their daily lives in peace.

It is a quiet book that would be suitable for bedtime stories for medium aged children.

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Goodnight Elephant: 8 Cute Bedtime Stories for Kids by Arnie Lightning

Goodnight Elephant: 8 Cute Bedtime Stories for Kids

Goodnight Elephant: 8 Cute Bedtime Stories for Kids by Arnie Lightning
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this up as a freebie.

It is a quick, calming book for young children and definitely lends itself to bedtime stories. Elephant and his family and friends go on nice quiet adventures that the child would love to hear about.

I recommend this as a bedtime story for small to medium children.

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Farewell My Good Friend

I lost a dear friend this week. We have been friends for more than 10 years but we technically never met. He was an online friend but that helped with our friendship a lot. We had a friendship that didn’t look like it would work on paper but in reality it was an unconditional friendship. There were very few issues that we saw eye to eye on but it made for great discussions. We would tell each other just about everything and even if the other person didn’t agree with what we were doing, the other one always listened and gave support, even when telling the other that we disagree.

Curt’s views were not in line with mine. He was constantly teasing me about being from California while he worked in Tennessee and lived in Mississippi. He grew up in The Midwest and went on to join the military and I never gave the military a second thought for myself. He worked in IT and I work in health care. Our political views were quite opposite and and we just didn’t make sense on paper at all.

If I had had a rough day, I would call him on my way home from work and just ramble. He was used to my topic switching and just went with it. We talked about everything. I learned about what happens if you don’t submit your password changes on time (you get a very long one that is difficult to remember) and what happens when you don’t understand how cell phone upgrades work. He learned about my crazy busy schedule, and helped me finish up with my classes, especially when I needed the motivation towards the end.

I learned about a lot of euphemisms for masturbation. My favorite one was “taking Herman to the circus.” He sent me a photo of a sunburn that he had, and one of his fingers was in the photo, at an odd angle. I laughed because “it looks like you sent me a picture of Herman.” It was not Herman. It was his finger. I also once received a photo of Dick Van Dyke with the caption “unsolicited Dick Pic.” When Dick Van Dyke appeared on Masked Singer this week, I cried.

Having someone who wasn’t looking at someone something from your own point of view made a big difference especially when we both realize the other one wasn’t looking for advice just a sounding board. An opinion from the opposite point of view was always appreciated, since we were never trying to change the other person’s mind.

We saw each other through some difficult times in each of our lives. Basically just getting our random thoughts off of our chests and having someone else listen to us without giving advice and just hearing each other. His early mornings and the 2 hour time difference made it easy to chat with him during my insomnia bouts or early morning trips to the gym. He gave constant support, no matter what I was doing.

We knew what the other one was up to and listened without dwelling on the fact that we thought the other was wrong. I never gave him a hard time about his smoking, but he knew I would prefer he wouldn’t smoke. When he quit smoking, I was so proud of him. I checked in on him daily. I learned to call Jolly Ranchers “Gay Cowboys” because of him.

When it came time for the pandemic, Covid and vaccinations and all of the discussions came up with that, it was very clear that we were never going to see eye to eye . I listened to his point of view and understood where he was coming from and he understood where I was coming from and we knew we would never change the mind of the other one but we understood each other. No arguing. Just discussions.

Around New Year’s, he message me that he had pleurisy and was going into urgent care. He ended up getting a chest X-ray that found a large mass in his lungs unrelated to the pleurisy. He had a CT scan and shared the results with me knowing that I work in oncology. I knew from the initial report that it was not good news and I had difficulty trying not to let on what I know. I told him to go with the experts opinions and he was following along as directed . He had a few head bumps with the insurance companies, and you don’t want to get me started on the power that insurance companies have over delivering good medicine. He ended up having a biopsy confirming that it was cancer . He followed up with a PET scan and found that he had metastasis in his liver. He had a MRI and found that he did not have Metastasis in his brain so that was some good news.

He was going to start chemo right after the MRI , but again the insurance company delayed. He requested not have any treatment on his birthday so he started chemo 2 days later. The day he had the chemo, he checked in with me when chemo ended. He told me he was headed to the emergency room. He messaged me telling me that they thought he was having a heart attack and then again telling me that he had been admitted. The following morning he sent me a picture of him all hooked up to his monitors and settled into his room and told me he was going back to sleep for a little while. I heard nothing more from him after this.

Thankfully, his friend managed to reach out to me on Tuesday. Apparently sometime after he contacted me, he did have heart attack and ended up in the ICU. He had been unable to respond to texts or phone calls. He passed away almost a week after his first chemo treatment.

I have been tearful every time I tell what happened. I miss him and his way of just listening and telling me that I’m doing ok. I miss his IT advice, and telling me to think things through before jumping in. I’m not supposed to update to Windows 11 until he tells me to, so I guess I’m waiting a long time for that.

I learned to ask him before I watch horror movies. He knew what bothered me about the movies and told me what to avoid and what was more suspense than horror. I now have to figure it out with other friends who aren’t as in tune with my needs.

I’m sorry I won’t be able to attend any services that are planned, because of the distance, but I am glad that I have been kept up to date on what has happened.

Farewell Heywood, Jumper, Aslor70, Curt, and all other usernames that you used. I will miss you and so will so many others.

Back at the Gym, Again

Soon after we started 2023, I reached out to a friend to see if she wanted to be a gym accountability partner. She did. We made plans to go three times a week. For the most part, we have kept to our schedule. We had a setback when she contracted Covid, and then my busy schedule has made it so that we are flexible about what day we go.

I have been proud of us. I have not lost any weight, but I can feel progress. Minor things such as not struggling to do tasks that shouldn’t be a struggle.

I now have to add a little bit of my own workouts in order to push myself a little harder. I can do it!

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Book Lovers

Book Lovers by Emily Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I originally picked this up for bookclub, but I didn’t attend it.

I loved the book references in this book. It was a romance, and, as usual with romances, we knew how the story would end, but not how we’d get there.

I would recommend this cute romance to anyone who loves bookstores and the process of reading, writing and publishing, and who loves reading romances.

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After the Rain by Nnedi Okorafor

After the Rain

After the Rain by Nnedi Okorafor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this up for a bookclub read.

I did not read the book that this graphic novel was based on. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed it more if I had the context from the original in mind when I read it. It was definitely on the stranger side, but it was an interesting read, and I had no idea where it was going until I got to the end of the book.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys graphic novels and fantasy.

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