I may chat about my books, what I'm writing or reading, or just general thoughts. You may read posts about my cats or just my crazy life in general. Comments are welcome, if anyone wants to interact with me. Maybe we can share war stories, whether it's writing related or just about life in general.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Quiet of the Desert Speaks

Desert Behind my House - Sunni's Photos

How nice it is to sit outside in the quiet as night settles on the desert. The bluff behind me is quiet and yet undisturbed by man, the red rocks glisten in the setting sun – all aglow with golden-red. Away from the noise of the TV and internet and other workings, just quiet to reflect and watch the wind gently stir the leaves in the trees we planted years ago. They almost touch each other now – a gentle quiet caress branch to branch – the idea to bring shade in the hot summer months.

The mournful calls of the quail make me realize how much of a lonely place the desert is. Other animals call to their families, the rattling of the chipmunks, the cooing of the doves as everyone reunites for the night before the day ends and the sun once again sets over the bluffs. I can’t help but think of the Crystal Gayle song, the melody in my head.

I sit on the park bench on my patio and I enjoy the gentle breeze because I know it won’t be long and cold will be here and I hope the trees are rooted to their foundations to fight for life when the cold threatens their very existence.

No, I don’t complain it is hot –and it is – because in the blinking of an eye it will be too cold for me – my body succumbing to the dreariness of nature and the cold season settling in all around us. The winter killing my very soul and I’ll be screaming within to let me out – PLEASE – and wishing it were summer once more. I can never get warm in winter –no matter how hard I try. That’s how I am I can’t change that.
Desert Behind my House - Sunni's Photos

As people, we are here to suffer while we enjoy the beauty all around us. We live in the time that is for us, a time we’re supposed to learn what we need to know right now. So I desperately try to find something good about winter I can rejoice in. After all these years I still don’t know what that is, but I know it is a time of rest for the plants so they can rejuvenate themselves to put on the display they do for us every spring and summer. That is the only joy I can find in winter, other than it makes us appreciate not having to shiver once spring arrives once more. If we were never cold, I suppose we could never really truly appreciate the warmth of a summer day. Although I question that thinking as I write this, knowing how thankful I am for every nice day, when it is warm enough to walk once again in the desert and enjoy the amazing nature untouched by human hands.
Desert Behind my House - Sunni's Photos

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Most Unusual and Frightening Events I Experienced as a Child

Actually, these are two different events so we’ll take the unusual first.

Cow pasture - Free clipart

I grew up on a farm in rural southern Texas, as you know already if you’ve been following this blog. We very seldom left the farm except to attend school. I was too young to recall this unusual event, so I had to enlist the help of my mother for this one. The things she told me about I don’t even remember because I wasn't even walking yet. This is what led up to that unusual incident.

During my first year, we lived in an old farmhouse on the other side of the pasture from my grandparents. We referred to this place as the Chernosky house, for the people who owned it. Daddy leased it from them before I was born. Mama said it was awfully run down, an old wood house with 2 x 4’s on the walls. There was no sheetrock or plywood, and no running water. Daddy ran a pipe to the kitchen from the well, which was about 20 or 30 feet from the house. The floors were bare wood and put splinters in my knees and hands when I was old enough to crawl.

I honestly don’t know how my mother put up with some of the things she had to with farm life, being the city girl she was. She told me they used a hot plate for cooking and an ice chest as a temporary refrigerator. There was no heat, so Daddy got a space heater for the bedroom. They would keep that door closed to keep it warm. Mama and Daddy even ate their meals in there because the daytime temperature in the kitchen was 40 degrees in the wintertime.

The roof had leaks all over it, so my parents placed foot tubs and buckets around to catch the water. There was a terrible ice and snowstorm that year, so they took me and went to stay with my grandparents until spring.

Mama and Mamaw (grandmother – Daddy’s mother) were going out to the corn barn one time to get corn to feed the cows. The corn barn was a small, wood building on stilts that was located in the middle of the cow pasture. It had holes cut in the walls to serve as windows and a door. In later years, we would all have to spend our time out in that barn, shoveling corn from a wagon, to fill it up every year after the harvest. The cows would always gather around trying to get at the corn and none of us particularly liked that part of the job.

Mama had me in her arms that day and, Vergie, one of the milk cows, came along and stuck my whole arm in her mouth thinking it was an ear of corn. Mama screamed and she and Mamaw got my arm out of the cow’s mouth before any damage could take place. Mama said, “I forgot how slimy cow’s mouths can be.” I can only picture the expression that must have been on her face that day, because of course I was too young to remember that.

That following summer we moved into a travel trailer that my Daddy bought from a trailer park in Houston. He parked this trailer next to the milk house, which was across the driveway from his parent’s house. It was a palace compared to the Chernosky house, I guess, but it still had none of the modern conveniences we have today. This small, silver trailer also got awfully tiny and crowded with four kids and two adults living in it. However, you have to manage with what you have when you grow up on a farm.
Similar to trailer we lived in - Free Clipart

We lived there for five years doing all the things kids would normally do growing up and then we moved into the sharecropper’s shacks. Kid number six was on the way and we definitely needed more room. It is when we were living there that life got more exciting and my first sister and I experienced the most frightening event in our lives.

When I was about ten or eleven my sister, Scherri, and I were out fooling around in the cornfield when a Brahma bull got out of the pasture and started chasing us. I can’t remember a time in my childhood that was more frightening than that. Of course, we had many bulls while we lived on the farm because Daddy would change them out every few years, but the others did not compare to this creature.
Brahma Bull - Free Clipart

We tried not to let panic set in as we were running across the rows of corn. It was almost harvest time, so the stalks towered above our heads. We were down toward one end of that field and the bull was at the other. We could see him keeping up with us as we crossed the rows and there was a clearing in the field. We ran and ran as fast as we could; darting around the corn stalks and wondering if we were going to make it to the house alive.
Corn Patch - Free Clipart

That bull was a very terrifying sight to a kid, white and big with large horns and a hump on his back and he always looked particularly mean. At that point, it was each man for himself, so we did our best to keep the fright at bay. The only thing to do was to keep running. The house never seemed so far away! I was out of breath and my heart was pounding. My legs felt weak and tired, but I knew I didn’t dare stop until I got in the door. I kept trying to run faster.

I made it home before Scherri and I was still panting when she got to the house. Her face was beet red and she was shaking like a leaf, so Mama put her in a tub of cold water to cool her off and calm her down.

For a few years after that, we kept looking around behind us every time we went out to the cornfield.

Does anyone have a frightening experience to share?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


This is probably my favorite holiday because I think we should be thankful for all our blessings and I’m glad a day is set aside to remind people to be thankful, if they need reminding. I really get upset today when I see all the Christmas decorations out way before Thanksgiving has arrived. Every year this gets earlier, and has almost squeezed Thanksgiving out of the mix altogether.

When we were growing up, Thanksgiving was the only holiday that we all got together to eat and make merry. By all, I mean our first cousins, aunt, and uncle who lived on the same farm with my daddy’s parents and us. It was a day we could put all of our feuding with each other on the back burner and just enjoy all that life had to offer. This great feast always happened at Mamaw’s house every year, but of course, this all changed once we started growing up, moving away to lead our separate lives, and our grandparents passed away.

Rosenberg Mamaw (daddy’s mother) would always cook the turkey and dressing every year. We were all too young then and not allowed in the kitchen, so I’m not sure if all the adults would contribute to this dinner other than taking part in all of the cooking that went on and there was lots of that.

Mamaw was a terrific cook and was always baking something. She would start out a couple days ahead making the pies and cakes, cookies and kolaches. I remember very well going into her big dining room and there on the buffet against one wall would be all the desserts lined up for Thanksgiving.

My aunt and mama would be in the small kitchen with Mamaw most of the morning getting all the food prepared. Of course, once we got over there, the house smelled like turkey and made all of our mouths water. Mamaw had gotten up around 5 am to get that big bird in the oven. With that 24-pound turkey almost done, they would start preparing all the other side dishes. Every time we kids would go in the kitchen, they would chase us out in the yard to play until it was ready.

Growing up in southern Texas, the weather is still very nice at Thanksgiving, sunny with leaves still on the trees, maybe just starting to turn color in places. It was definitely warm enough to play outside without wearing coats. As kids, we took full advantage of this.

Mamaw’s yard was huge and we would get into playing all kinds of games: tag, hide-and-seek, red rover-red rover, Simon says, jump rope and many other things. We could spend hours out there. Most of the yard was green lawn with a narrow cement sidewalk splitting it in two. The garden sat in an area off to the left of the house. The rest of the yard surrounded by trees growing next to the fence, large sprawling paper shell pecans, crepe myrtle, mulberry, with fig trees across the back of the house that faced the main highway into town. A large peach tree grew by the sidewalk about midway between the house and gate that led out to the chicken coop, the barns, and “jelly man hill” by the pump house.

The milk house was also out there across the road, a place where we’d like to go in the hot summers because it was very cool in there, once used for processing milk, as my grandparents used to run a dairy before we were born. When we were growing up the diary had long gone, except for milk used by the family, which Mamaw cooked on the stove and bottled, the cream skimmed off to make homemade butter, which each of us got to experience as part of growing up in the country. Mamaw now used this small block building for a washhouse and usually kept it locked to keep us out of there.

The fenced off cow pastures lie beyond that with farmland off to the other side. We made use of most of these places to play our games, but on Thanksgiving generally sticking close to the yard. We wanted to hear that call to dinner, which was usually around 2 pm. We had all worked up quite an appetite by then.

Mamaw had a large dining table, but not big enough to seat 6 adults and 13 kids, so she sat up card tables that stretched from the dining room into the living room. This is where most of the kids had to sit, the privilege of sitting at the grown up table left to the oldest kids. After fixing plates for all the younger kids, we could sit down and serve our own.

Her dark brown table, always dusted to a high shine, was barely visible under all the plates, platters, and bowls of food. Everything smelled terrific and we dug into out turkey and dressing with gusto. There would be several vegetables and of course, the usual green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, cranberries, home baked rolls with homemade butter, and plenty of iced tea in mason jars.

With a sufficient amount of turkey and all the trimmings consumed, it was time to cut into the delicious baked goods. It was really hard to make up your mind on this, being pretty stuffed already, but I usually always had to have a piece of homemade apple pie and of course at least one homemade kolache. The chocolate cake was hard to turn down as well, so we usually ended up so stuffed it was a wonder we could go back out in the yard and play, but we did.

The ladies would chase us kids out of the house and the men would sit on the porch “chewing the fat” and watching us, or lie down for a nap. We always seemed to have boundless energy and Thanksgiving was one day when we all got along.

It was wonderful to be out there playing and not having to face that enormous cleanup that we helped with, as we got older. As I reflect back on my childhood, it really didn’t seem fair at all to make the women do all the work while the men sat around. I guess that’s the way it was in those days, what a man expected out of a farm wife. Not only did they do all the cooking and cleaning, they did many chores and worked the fields along with the men. Farm women had long days and never stopped until long after the men folk were able to relax. I made up my mind back then that I didn’t want that kind of life for me. I would have made a terrible pioneer woman and I’m glad I didn’t grow up in those times, which were rougher than our farm life.

Today, all of us do our own thing for Thanksgiving. All of the family doesn’t get together anymore, but some of us live in different states now. The married ones still living in TX usually get together with the in-laws. Occasionally, they take Mama out to eat separately. Daddy passed away in 1980, so Mama lives with one of my sisters now.  Of course we'll all remember Daddy this year as we eat our feast because it would have been his 88th birthday.

My husband and I usually enjoy a quiet Thanksgiving meal, on a small scale, staying home with the cats, occasionally getting together with friends where everyone brings a dish to share.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving all; no matter how you celebrate this important holiday.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Entering NaNo

From National Novel Writing Month Website

Well this is my first time to enter the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) contest, held every November. This is something I say I’m going to do every year and I’ve never gotten to it. I do have it on my “bucket list,” so I thought I’d just face the situation this year and take a shot at this.

I’m writing a mystery/thriller book this time instead of my usual fantasy and so far, it’s going petty well. I had some notes on paper here and there and on the computer. I have posted snippets from time to time. So far, things are off to a good start, and I’m ahead of schedule on word count, however this is only day three, as I’m writing this post ahead, so not sure where I’ll actually be on the 18th when this will be posted to the blog. I feel like this is a good thing, to be ahead, because you never know when those unexpected moments in life crop up. Curve balls always seem to head my way where everything derails and I’m not able to keep up my routine.

I really have no idea what to expect from this adventure, but I’m so positive with my attitude that I really think at this point that I’ll finish with my 50,000 words, time will tell. I’m sure it will have moments when I want to pull my hair out, but it will be an accomplishment to finish.

That is just the beginning of my plan. I will be taking that novel, rewriting, editing, polishing, etc to enter in the ABNA contest in January. I’ve entered everyone since its inception and I’m not about to stop now. I don’t expect to win, but it is fun and a great learning experience, also lots of camaraderie with the ABNA, not unlike what we have here on the blogs.

If anyone else here is entering the NaNo, good luck to you. Remember when it gets tough, you must keep going and not give up. We really have to put forth everything we have into everything we do.

Good luck all. Happy writing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I'm Always Running a Race

Royalty Free Clipart

I have to ask myself “why is that?” I guess part of it is getting involved in too many projects at one time. I’m forever doing this even though I know better. I can be like a bee hopping from one flower to the next.

There are always things I have to do on a daily basis, such as cooking and cleaning, but then there are things I really want to do, which usually consist of some creative endeavor, usually writing, but not always. After all life is more than cleaning, cooking, and homey chores isn’t it. At least I don’t feel fulfilled unless I have some creativity in there somewhere.

I can be working on several writing projects at one time and then all of a sudden see something that sparks a new interest – a new writing contest, or something of that nature usually. Sometimes I’m googling around to find out how to do something, only to find something else I want to try in the process. This happens all the time and then of course there is never enough time for all this stuff.

I am the worst offender about emailing myself links to explore further when I get the time at some future date – whenever that is. Invariably life always gets in the way of all these artistic things. I know the rest of you will find this pretty silly, but not only can I email myself two dozen times a day, but also can stay up to the wee hours looking into something I want to know more about that I found earlier in the day. This of course leads to sleep deprivation, which is so normal in my life now that it is odd to sleep more than about four or five hours a night.

The problem is, if something is really on my mind I’ll lay wake thinking about it anyway, so may as well be up looking into it, or writing on my latest “masterpiece.” I’ve stayed up three full days with no sleep at all, but that is about my limit. Of course, I can’t do that if the husband is home. That only causes problems for my peace-loving nature.

The creative spirit is a curse at times. I’ll be the first to admit that. I get involved in many creative things, not just writing. My friends think I can make about anything and are always telling me “you should make those and sell them.” “Yeah, right,” I say. They have no idea how much time all this takes and the fact is you can never make enough money to make it a worthwhile endeavor.

I’ve been this way all of my life and don’t see that ever changing. I’m sure my husband cringes every time he thinks about how to get rid of all my “junk,” if I should meet my demise before him. He struggles enough with his dad’s garage full of “trinkets.”

Someday I’ll have to write about all the stuff I’ve been into in my life. It astounds even me when I think about everything on that list.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Being Happy Doesn't Mean Life is Perfect

Royalty free images

Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.

I’m not sure who first said this quote, but how true it is. It seems a perfect way to start this post. We can choose to be happy or sad, mad or glad – it’s all up to us in any given situation. I have to bear this in mind lately because since I got back from Oregon, it’s been one thing or another around my house. Lots of small stuff in the big scheme of things, but still optimism and patience is important.

I went out to water my patio plants because they really needed it. I had the gal looking after my cats’ water them once while I was away. Wouldn’t you know the hose would spring a leak and watering became an ordeal, getting more on me than the plants, causing me to resort to using a bucket. This took two dozen trips to finish the job, but in the end made things easier.

After I finished that and came in the house, it seemed a bit stuffy so I thought I would take advantage of the few nice days left before winter and open some windows. Well we have roll-up blinds and some of the chains decided to break. When I think about it, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened before with daily use over several years. However, this caused another two-hour project while I took them down to see if I could rectify the situation. After finally getting the mechanism apart and the chain back on, I discovered it was on backwards, so had to start over again. It was just one of those days.

I finally got on the net to order new parts, knowing all my dinking around is only a temporary fix. When I tried to call the factory, I discovered the phones were out! Thank goodness for cell phones. The first call was to the landline provider to see what that problem was. Some technical difficulties, they said, and didn’t have a predicted time when that service would be back up and running again. It was widespread, encompassing several towns around us. We weren’t alone; however, this didn’t really make things any better. The next call was to the factory to order new parts for three blinds. Four hours later the phones came back on.

To top the day off my husband’s computer decided to quit. Therefore, we’ve been messing with that for several days now. He is not a happy camper and thinks I have all the answers, despite the fact he thinks I know little about anything – except computers apparently. What I’ve learned about them is by the school of hard knocks and hours of research and fooling around over the years. As I mentioned before, I’m stubborn and have great tenacity. It’s a good thing one of us is like this, since we have gotten little help from tech support concerning this problem so far. That is one thing about calling anywhere today and definitely a pet peeve of mine. You get stuck in a computer phone system and routed all over the place by robotic voices and finally end up in India or China with someone who’s English is not understandable. Very frustrating, so as I’ve said many times, Google is my best friend when left to my own devices to repair things.

Of course, all of this means I’m getting no work done and am way behind on my freelance assignments. It’s just something else to add to the stress level.

So, you can see when it rains it pours, but I guess if we didn’t have a bit of rain in our lives we wouldn’t truly appreciate all the good times as much as we should.

Besides that, getting angry and stomping my feet won’t solve anything – not really, perhaps only making me feel better for a short while. Of course, the notion of going out in the desert for a good scream has crossed my mind. However, it would be just my luck that my neighbor would call 911 thinking I was having and emergency. Walking away and taking some deep breaths works better. I can usually come back with renewed optimism and some new ideas for conquering the problem I’m facing.

How do you deal with things like this?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

From a Position of Power

Well we all know that to deal from a position of power we must put ourselves above others (literally), or actually know more than they do. This happens even in the cat world as my neighbor found out while watching my cats while I was away for a week.

When Sherry (my neighbor) reached up to pet Koki who likes to perch in the cat tree, she got a surprise. Her roost was way above Sherry’s head, so of course, she couldn’t see her tail swishing, which she does if she’s not in the mood, or has had enough. Before she knew it, Koki had snagged her good on the hand, despite the fact we trimmed all claws before we left. The other two cats were being friendly, so she figured Koki would be the same. When she told me about this later, I was surprised because usually Koki is mellower than that.

Tootie is the one who knows no strangers. Someone she has never seen before can come to the house and it’s as if a long lost friend has arrived.

My other cat, Comet, walks around with her pistol waiting to take anyone on, so again, I was surprised she was being so friendly; usually she has an ulterior motive.

Thankfully, we’ve both had many cat scratches so all was well in the end.

When I explained about the “position of power,” she knew exactly what I was talking about, just never thought about that in a cat way.

If we all think back, I bet we can remember going in for interviews when our chair was lower than the boss’s was, deliberately I’m sure. After all when you think about it, if you are taller than another is you feel superior, or in a position of authority, to a point. Of course, the interviewers would want to put themselves in this place.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Oh No! Not Again! Changing the Clocks!

Royalty Free Clip Art

Is the US the only place that changes the clocks twice a year? Or does the whole world do this? This is the silliest practice I’ve ever seen and wonder every time this happens, just whose brainchild this brilliant idea was.

Why can’t we just leave the clocks alone? I can see no benefit whatsoever in changing the time on us like this. I think the intention originally meant to help the farmers in some way by saving daylight. Now can anyone tell me how it helps the farmers, or anyone for that matter? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this does not save daylight, or energy.

We either are using more light in the morning, or at night, so where is the benefit? There is no energy savings and I challenge anyone to explain to me where it is. When we get up in the dark, naturally, we have to turn the lights on to get our act together in the morning. At night, if it’s dark, we have to use lights to cook our evening meals. How does this save electricity? I’m open-minded. Thus, I would love someone to explain the science behind all this. If there are no benefits, why do we do it? It’s a shock to our natural system. It would be nice to know we’re getting shocked for a good cause. If there’s no good cause, let’s stop it already!

On a positive note, I have an extra hour to write tonight, but then come spring it's pay- back time, isn't it, when they play with the clocks again.  As they say, there is a price for everything.  This is still one of my pet peeves and I don't think I'm alone.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Herd of Elephants?

Royalty Free Clipart

One cat running sounds like a herd of elephants when they get a wild hair and start racing through the house from one end to the other, from window to window, flying over the furniture, or anything else in the path. That’s really the only time cats are noisy, other than when having a disagreement with each other.

The top floor of my house is mostly carpet and I imagine that’s why it sounds like bowling balls up there, their little claws digging in for traction. Downstairs isn’t so easy being mostly tile, so they slam into walls during these escapades, which doesn’t seem to hurt them at all. They just shake it off and take off again.
Koki "Should I or shouldn't I?"
Sunni's Photos

I’m not sure what causes these wild urges, but at least they’re getting some exercise and sometimes it can be quite comical, unless they break something in the process. I guess that’s why I love cats, they’re quirky and independent and, for the most part quiet, which is what you need if you’re a writer. In addition, you don’t have to walk them, rain or shine, hot or cold, like a dog.
Koki "I think I will."
Sunni's Photo's

I have some cute little videos I’ve taken with my camera that I’d love to post ,but I’ve got to figure out how to turn them right side up. The cats love playing with the laser light we have, so go absolutely crazy, but unfortunately, I had my camera turned sideways and I’ve got to figure out to rotate that video – much more complicated than a rotating a picture.

Of course, they aren’t always like this. There are always plenty of catnaps to fuel those energy spurts. As you can see, they sleep with abandonment and total oblivion.
Koki "Well now I'm just plain tuckered out"
Sunni's Photo's

Tootie "Me too...I'll join you."
Sunni's Photo's
                                                      Comet "I'll join you. That was fun!"
Sunni's Photo's

Have a great weekend everyone!