Jan 11 2014

So, New Year’s comes but once a year. That’s about all I can stomach.  All of this looking to the future and re-creating myself takes its toll.

I try to maintain a low profile, pretend it’s just another time of year and wait until it all blows over, along with the resolutions of the “do-gooders.” Unfortunately though, this last year, because I roomed with Laurel Regan and Sabrina Lovejoy at BlogHer ’13, it’s been harder for me to maintain my low standards of performance. Note to self: Don’t ever room with movers and shakers.

Sabrina & Laurel Networking at BlogHer ’13

From the beginning, I was odd man out. “Let’s go here,” they said. “Let’s go there,” they said. “Let’s get up early in the morning and take in every networking opportunity at night,” they said. But, I just put my pillow over my head, and waiting long enough, could hear them go out the door, frolicking off to their next adventure. Leisurely mornings and Grumpy Cat levels of non-performance were my preferred specialty. But, gradually, totally against my will, I have been influenced thoughout the last year in ways I never would have anticipated.

Kitty Surpassing My Level of Activity

I have found that Sabrina, whom I call “Pastor Lovejoy,” covers the spiritual plane. She spreads common sense goodness on her web site and blog, “Much Needed Advice for Women,” while holding court on Facebook, Twitter and BlogHer with a zillion devotees. Sabrina is ready to comfort the lost deniers of reality by Tweeting and posting at all hours of the night and day, offering unconditional love and guidance.

 Taking Stock of My Emotions with Sabrina

Laurel seems more of the physical world, manipulating art media and touting organizational skills to define and document every day existence. She creates, in a disciplined way, making small things of beauty seem monumental. Laurel has introduced the world to her trained eye, on her web site and blog, “Alphabet Salad,” with Tangles, continuously posted articles and photographs. While sending updates to Instagram, Chatter, BlogHer and the Library of Congress, Laurel insures little things will be seen in radiant beauty, not forgotten.

Learning Office Supplies are Beautiful with Laurel

And so, because of Sabrina’s unwelcomed good influences, I have started Tweeting uplifting sayings and having a totally unintended positive attitude. Because of Laurel, I take photographs of office supplies and my cats in various, heartwarming poses. And, now, as you can see, I am attempting a January NaBloPoMo, once again, walking in their footsteps. Not exactly following their levels on punctuality, but baby steps, baby steps.

My Cat Will Take on all Cuteness Comers.

And so, when Laurel promptly posted, “My Blogging Bucket List,” I grabbed a pen to copy and emulate eveything she’s planning on doing. I know whatever it is, those are the right things to do. But, geese! Halfway through, I got tired and quit. I couldn’t even complete writing down Laurel’s Bucket List.

And, reading Sabrina’s glory-luscious New Year’s Eve Post, “Happy New Year – My Prayer for You,” I realized I’d have to keep myself on the spiritual straight and narrow for a month of Sunday schools, which made me nervous, feeling not quite up to all of that goodness.

So, finally, I realized the best way to come up with a 2014 Bucket List of my own was to keep it short and sweet. Just be more like Laurel and Sabrina and leave it at that.

Because, like I said, when you’re headed for greatness, it takes baby steps, baby steps.

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Mar 20 2012

Nothing is more invigorating than a spring day,
except, maybe, getting a book published!

Many years ago, no wait, many, many, MANY years ago, in the middle 1980s, I was teaching a quilt class. We met once a week at one of the class members’ homes, interrupting our quilting with snacks and hot tea. One of the ladies would haul out a big notebook and read to us. She was transcribing handwritten letters, sent back and forth to her sister-in-law, Bert, in the 1950s. We loved hearing the letters. They were so interesting and the enormity of her task, typing them all without a computer, was impressive.

And so, we spent the winter, hunkered down, quilting and listening to wonderful letters read by one of the original authors. We knew Grace was serious about her letters, because as we quilted and talk through the weeks and months, the stack of typed paper grew. Then, at some point, Grace started mentioning the idea of publishing her letters with Bert as a book. The other quilters and I would try to think about publishing a book, but that was very far away to us. Grace, however, anticipated entering the publishing world someday, without a second thought. Later, I learned that her dreams, with her positive thinking, brought results.

Grace’s book was published in 2000.

The years went by. I moved away and lost touch, got married with a family and often thought of Grace and the quilters, but never quite took action to say, “Hello.” Then, with the immediacy of the Internet, in 2008 or so, I wondered about Grace, did a search on her name and got the surprise of my life. I was directed to Amazon, to a book called, “Dear Bert” by an author named Grace Kull. I was thrilled!

At that, I had to get in touch and reacquaint with one of my favorite people, so I called Grace and we have been in touch ever since. And today, I called Grace again, because today is Grace’s ninetieth birthday. Counting backwards you can figure she became a published, first time author at seventy-eight years of age.

Happy Birthday, Grace, and Many Returns!

Being a first time author was not her only first. Talk about trying new things, Grace opened a bed and breakfast in the 1990s, forging ahead to bring new people into her life. And indeed she did. One of her guests turned out to have connections with a one man publishing house, Jerry Kelly of Xoxox, as one article says, “hard to pronounce, but easy to admire.” The rest is history as Grace’s book came out and delighted everyone who read it.

Grace and her cat, Abner.

Jerry Kelly is a graduate of Kenyon College and an informative article is available by clicking here. While interestingly enough, Jerry is called a literary “midwife” for his birthing of books, Grace is also mentioned in the article:

“More typical, perhaps, is Grace Kull, an octogenarian homemaker from Cooperstown, New York, who came to Kelly through his network of writer friends. In 2000, Kelly published Dear Bert, a collection of letters by Kull to her sister-in-law. In 2003, he brought out Traces: A Soldier Writes Home, a collection of war-time letters by Kull’s brother, John E. Rames, who was killed in the Battle of the Bulge in 1945. In both cases, Kelly was drawn by the personality and humor that shone in the letters, as well as by the way the letters’ mundane details evoked a particular era while innocently touching universal chords.”

Grace’s second book, “Traces: A Soldier Writes Home,” has a heartwarming aftermath as members of the armed forces who knew Grace’s brother in WWII have written her following her book’s publication. But! That’s a good story for another post, so we’ll end by wishing Grace:

The Best of Happy Birthdays!

May each day throughout the next year
bring you all the happiness of today!

NaBloPoMo March 2012

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NaBloPoMo November 2012