In Memory

Published / by Annie / 6 Comments on In Memory

A friend of my daughter’s has died. The police are calling it an attempted murder-suicide.

I don’t know what to believe.

The young man in question was my daughter’s close friend. He was a regular visitor in my home. Just the other day he came over. We sat and watched YouTube videos while we all laughed over dumb stuff.

This is the young man who would come over and shovel my sidewalk in the winter. He would pick us up and give us rides when he would see us walking. He would give my daughter a lift home from school when she had to stay over.

And now we have to watch him be vilified on the news and in gossip.

They don’t know about the young man with a passion for video games. The one who would play for hours with our dog. The kid who would call me mom and tease me because he couldn’t think of me by any other name. The youth who enjoyed showing me strange videos just to watch my reaction, who loved to sneak up on my daughter and startle her just for a laugh.

He might be gone now but, like my daughter, I will remember.

High School Parents: Beware of the C3 Scam

Published / by Annie / 1 Comment on High School Parents: Beware of the C3 Scam

The other day my daughter received a letter in the mail informing her that she was selected to attend a special workshop to help her receive financial aid for college. Considering that I’m scrounging around for enough money to keep our water from being shut off today, I had her there with bells on.

Come to find out, this was just a ploy. They were marketing a service for $2,000 that would tell us what we need to do (like completing the FAFSA and study for the ACT).

My first warning sign was when they started talking about their service. My head popped up because in the letter it was indicated that the basic financial aid help was free.

The second sign that something was up was when they po-pooed the fact that my daughter has already received one scholarship plus money from the state due to her grades.

“We go after the big money,” they told us.

The third sign that something was off was when the “counselor” didn’t know an important fact about taking the ACT.

The straw that broke my back was when they told us we either had to shell out this money now or my daughter would never be able to go to college because open enrollment ended the next day.

This wasn’t my first rodeo when it comes to folks like this so after I refused we went home and looked them up. Even the Better Business Bureau is warning people about these folks. Complaints ranged from not doing what they said they would to refusing to accept their cancellations. One person reported that this company was taking money from their mother’s account two and three times a month despite the fact that the service had been cancelled (sorry, I misplaced the link on that one).

Even more interesting, my daughter went online and promptly found a number of websites that do the exact same thing that they claim to do for FREE.

So if you happen to get a letter from this company, I advise you to toss it in the trash.

The Stupidity of Self Talk

Published / by Annie / 1 Comment on The Stupidity of Self Talk

The past few days I’ve had a sick kid at home. I’ve been chowing down on jalapeño peppers as I hacked my way through writing this novel in hopes of not catching what she has.

Brilliant woman that I am, I stayed up past five in the morning on Wednesday knowing that I had to get up at 8 to take her back to the doctor. I told myself “I’ll just take a nap once we get home and start work.”

Right. Cue Johnny Depp and the strangest dream ever to keep me from getting any sleep at all. The whole dream was nothing more than dear old gorgeous Johnny waking me up every single time I tried to visit La La Land.

So I gave up trying to sleep and made a cup of coffee. I NEEDED to work on my book despite the fact that I felt like crap. I felt so bad that I was ready to just call it a loss for the night and accept a big ugly goose egg on my word count log.

But what did I do? I fired up my ancient writing rig and started talking to myself.

“Okay, Annie, here’s the deal,” I told myself. “You wanna get this book written, right?”

“Right.” (Yup, I even answered myself.)

“Well, you ain’t gonna get it done if you don’t start writing, so sit your happy butt down and knock out a single word.”

So I did.

“Now write another one, you idiot.”

Word by word I ordered myself to write. When one sentence was done I would bully myself until I managed another. By the time I finished I had 1,200 words written for the day.

I met my daily goal and then some.

The thing about having a goal is that you won’t ever achieve it if you don’t do the work; some days you won’t feel like even bothering, just like I didn’t today. When those days come you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to force yourself to get busy. It won’t be fun, but by the time you are finished you will be that much closer to wherever you want to be.

What can you do today?

The Meditative Properties of Bread Making

Published / by Annie / 2 Comments on The Meditative Properties of Bread Making

Here’s a treat from way back during my Associated Content days. Enjoy!

It’s there.

Waiting in the darkness. When you turn out the light it comes.

Whispering, worrying, tormenting.

You toss, you turn – sleep eludes as you continue to be tortured by the thoughts swirling within your mind.

Oozing, shrieking, pulling at you, dragging you inexorably toward an abyss of fear.

Finally, you can’t take it anymore. This demon, this fear, this worry, this concern – you must purge it to have peace.

Walking to the kitchen, you pull out your tools. Two cups of flour, a package of yeast – stirred and set aside.

You take care of the liquids – 2 cups of milk, perhaps one cup milk with water for the rest instead. Perhaps all water, save the milk for the kids. A tablespoon of butter or shortening, two teaspoons of sugar, few shakes of salt, warmed on the stove just so – the butter hasn’t fully melted, but the mix is warm like a baby’s bottle.

Perfect.

Combining this with your flour and yeast, you mix with your wooden spoon, mixing, thinking, adding flour one splash at a time, working as much in as you can before sprinkling the table and kneading the dough.

Knead, press, work, strain. Imagine your tormentor is in the dough as you beat and pull and knead it into submission. You breathe softly, regularly. Your worries and fears come under your control like the dough beneath your hands.

Feel the life beneath your fingers. Know you are participating in an ancient life-giving ritual. Think about your ancestors, standing, kneading just as you are at this very moment. Recall the peace they must have felt as they too worked their worries into the bread.

Finally you step back and give it a poke, smiling when the indentation disappears. It is ready.

You place it in your greased bowl, flipping it once to make sure it is evenly coated, inspecting it lovingly. Covering it with a cloth, you treat yourself to a gentle relaxing bath. Life is truly good.

Enjoy the heat; enjoy the warmth. Consider the life blossoming in the other room, rising as a result of your care. By the time you are finished, rest assured in the knowledge your loaf will be waiting for you.

Dress, dry your hair, and check upon your masterpiece. Perfect, beautiful, mounding within the bowl. Ancient, perfect peace.

Taking your fist, you gently punch it down. That air escaping is your problems, hissing away into the atmosphere. You are free!

Split your dough in half, shape and place in your pans. Or perhaps in your relief you wish to play, and braid your loaves instead? You are free now from your tormentors, enjoy yourself! Relax while you watch your life-giving creation rise again, breathing, just breathing in the knowledge that you are safe, and all is well

As your loaves bake, think about how delighted your family will be to awaken to the aroma of fresh-baked bread, as you stretch out on the couch with your favorite book, calmly glancing at the clock.

Pull the loaves out to cool, covering with a cloth, and go back to bed, knowing you have worked away your demons and can now truly rest, knowing that your family will have not only a fresh healthy treat in the morning, but knowing that everything is going to be okay.

It really is.

The Secret to Accomplishing Goals

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I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and he told me that he’s always wanted to write a novel.

“I’ve got lots of ideas,” he said, “I just don’t have XX and YY and ZZ.”

I must confess that I went on a bit of a rant. I’ve started out and over more times than I can count so excuses tend to rub me the wrong way.

You want to start a business but don’t have the equipment? Look around your house to see what you do have and start from there.

For instance, let’s say you want to start a handyman business but all you have are some cleaning supplies. Offer to start cleaning houses, then use the money you make to start buying your equipment. As you get the equipment, start doing handyman work using the tools that you have, then add more tools and supplies until you get things set up the way that you like.

You want to write a book but all you have is a phone? Download a free text editor and start tapping that sucker out in plain text if you have to. Visit a friend and use their computer to format it and submit it to distributors. When you get enough money from sales, invest in a computer or whatever you feel will help you get the job done easier.

When I started working on computers all I really knew how to do was to speed them up and clean them out. I started doing that for friends to make extra cash. I took that money and invested it into education and tools, gradually expanding my business to cover doing other computer-related repairs.

When I got two registered cocker spaniels, I didn’t know a darn thing about breeding dogs. I just knew that I needed to make some money to escape an impossible situation. If I had told myself “I would love to be able to breed animals but I don’t know how,” I wouldn’t have even gotten the dogs in the first place.

But what did I do? I took them home, went to the library, and read up on the subject. I made a lot of mistakes but by the end of it I made enough to achieve my goals.

I wanted to write books my whole life. I tried and I failed for years. Eventually I came into contact with someone who was writing articles online and I started there. In time I came into contact with others and learned how to write and publish books.

If I had told myself “articles are nice but I want to write books,” I would have passed up on a valuable stepping stone that lead me to where I am today.

Since my head injury I’ve been unable to work a public job. I’ve been told that time and again from family, friends, and medical professionals. BUT, thanks to a friend, I was able to get to the point where I could start writing again, so what did I do?

I started writing.

Yes, I made mistakes. Yes, I had a horrible time trying to get my book formatted. I was using software that I wasn’t extremely familiar with in the days before I got hurt so I kept slamming my head against a wall but you know what? I kept trying. I fiddled and I tinkered until I got a free trial of an ancient copy of Microsoft Word going so that I could get the book published.

What do you think would have happened if I had not kept trying? That book would have never gotten written, much less published. Some days I couldn’t work at all due to my current limitations. On those days I did what I could, and you know what? I’ve got a new book published as the result of my efforts.

You don’t need to have all of the tools when you begin something. You don’t need to have all of the answers to every single problem that comes up. You just need to get started and make yourself do the work.

Every single day, do something towards your goal. If it’s writing, make yourself sit down for ten minutes and knock out a sentence or two. If its computer repair, spend your down time reading and fixing the computers of family and friends. Take dead computers and piece them together to make a good one, then sell that to buy whatever tools or educational manuals you need.

You won’t ever manage to accomplish a single thing if you never get started. You won’t achieve anything if you don’t make the time to do the work. If you are waiting for the perfect time or that windfall in order to do whatever it is you want to do, well, I hate to tell you this Sunshine, but the perfect time or circumstances are never gonna come. You have to start where you are.

What do you want to achieve? What steps a can you take every single day to achieve your goal? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Time to Move on

Published / by Annie

Now that the new Shoestring Girl is making its way through the publishing channels it is time to move on to my next book project.

One thing I plan to do is take the old posts that were salvaged and format them into a book for your reading enjoyment.

Next I plan to work on a novel.

I plan to work on both project simultaneously; that way when I get tired of focusing on one I can switch to the other and maximize my productivity.

What projects are you working on?

The New Shoestring Girl is now LIVE on Smashwords

Published / by Annie

Hello everyone!

Guess what? As soon as I started working in a program I remembered well from before I was hurt I managed to get this book properly formatted on the very first try!

It is now live on Smashwords here, and will be coming to Amazon, Apple, and other retailers soon.

I will let you know  just as soon as other retailers begin listing it; you can keep up to date on my Facebook page and the sales page here on Annienygma.

Thank you so much for your support!

My New Writing Setup

Published / by Annie / 2 Comments on My New Writing Setup

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I was dedicating my old XP to writing, so today I figured that I would talk about my setup.

My computer is really old. In the 11 years that I’ve had it the battery has died and the speakers have started failing. It is currently on its third keyboard, and even that is starting to fail. At one point I even had to replace the processor fan when it died. Even with all of that the poor thing is still ticking, though I’ve created a few workarounds.

I hooked up an external keyboard to solve the typing glitches, added an external mouse because the buttons on my touchpad tend to act up, and then tossed in an old monitor that I’ve had for years. As a result I’ve created a dual monitor desktop system out of this ancient laptop. That allows me to have two files on full screen, which makes working a lot easier.

Here is a picture of my setup:

Even better; I worked this up using stuff I already had. It literally didn’t cost me a penny! I set up an old folding table in my kitchen (my favorite room for writing) so now I even have a dedicated writing spot. I’m hoping that this new setup makes me more productive.

On another note, now that I’ve got my issues fixed I’ve been making steady progress when it comes to formatting the new Shoestring Girl for ebook format. Hopefully it will be finished soon so that I can move on to my next project.

An Early Birthday Gift

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Kes, who happens to be one of my oldest friends (I’ve known her since the 8th grade), listened to me vent my frustrations about writing with my current limitations. After learning about the workaround I discussed in the previous post, she decided to surprise me with an early birthday present:

A copy of Office 2007.

She found it on eBay for around $20 and is having it shipped to the house. I’m so excited! I was wondering how I would work things out once the free trial ended on my dinosaur.

Once I got the news, I started thinking. My ancient Toshiba runs Windows XP. I bought it in 2006; the very last computer that still had XP that the store stocked. I dual boot it with Ubuntu 16.04 but I kept the XP installation alive to play some old software that no longer works. The XP partition has never been online since it was last wiped. I use SneakerNet (a.k.a. a USB thumb drive) or simple transfers through my Linux install if I need any files from the Internet. This allows me to safely use the older operating system.

Since I don’t really need to go online when I’m writing (the joys of the Internet are rather distracting), I decided to essentially dedicate the XP partition to writing. I plan to install the new copy of Office on it and work to my heart’s content.

In time when my finances straighten up or I manage to repair Katie’s old laptop (it died back when I was completely nonfunctional), I will use it with Linux to go online when I need to but keep this old system as a dedicated writing machine.

So, in short, the Universe worked things out. I have been debating for years about having a computer dedicated to my writing so now I’ve got it. Hopefully it will last for many more years.

Thank you for the gift, Kes!

Painful Realization

Published / by Annie / 7 Comments on Painful Realization

I have made a painful discovery over these past few days: I am not as healed as I would like. I have severe issues when it comes to learning and using software that I wasn’t extremely familiar with before I got hurt.

While I managed to get the new book formatted for print, I have had a nightmare when it comes to formatting this puppy for ebook format. I can get everything to work in LibreOffice, I can even code it so that it works in html, but when it comes to converting those files to the DOC format that I need in order to submit it to my ebook distributors, it messes up every single time.

I’m not talking tiny glitches; I’ve seen everything from hamburger text, missing hyperlinks (to mark the chapters), and NO access to the footnotes. I have nuked this file and started over so many times I am ready to cry.

But I haven’t given up. I’m very familiar with Microsoft Word, fortunately (I took a class on it years ago), so I know how to format everything so it will look nice in that program natively.  My problem is with the conversion process. So I got the bright idea to borrow a computer that had Word installed so that I could use it to get this ebook finished.

That didn’t work out so well. They had games and stuff they wanted to play so I had to give the computer back. Sigh.

But I kept trying. I managed to get the 45-day free trial of Office 2003 to work on my ancient dinosaur. I’m not as familiar with it as I am the newer versions, but it works. As a result I have nuked this file ONCE AGAIN (feels like the 20th time) and started formatting it in THAT program.

Wish me luck that I get it done before the trial is over. I plan to work nonstop, taking breaks only when forced, in order to beat my deadline.

Hopefully when I get some more money coming in I will be able to locate a copy of Office on eBay for cheap, one of the older versions that you don’t have to pay for a subscription to. Wish me luck!

In the meantime, know that I am doing my level best to get this ebook formatted and released so that you guys can have it on your ereader devices.

And please wish me luck. I’m gonna need it.

Happiness and Attitude

Published / by Annie

Welcome to yet another Throwback Thursday post, courtesy of John Grebe, the awesome person who managed to save these posts. He recently published a thoughtful critique of the 100 Things Challenge that I highly recommend.

This post was originally published on March 18, 2010.

~#~

“The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything.  They just make the best of everything.” ~ Anonymous.

Lies We Tell Ourselves

It’s easy to look at our failure to accomplish our dreams and lie to ourselves concerning the real reasons they don’t materialize.  Have you used any of the following?

  • I’m not smart enough
  • I’m not talented enough
  • I don’t have enough time
  • I’m too old
  • I’m too young
  • I’m broke
  • I’m afraid
  • I can’t

“The reality is that much of what has been accomplished in our world was achieved by men and women who shouldn’t have succeeded. Many people and obstacles were against them, but they succeeded because they refused to believe the lies we tell ourselves.” ~ Stephen Seaford

Your attitude will determine what your experience is. Decide to be happy, and your world will eventually change to give you more things to be happy about.

Decide to be sad or broke—you can guess what you will get more of.

Have you ever said some of those statements listed in the previous quote?

As lovingly as I can put it—stop.  Stop thinking these negative thoughts about yourself and your circumstances.

We didn’t make it to the moon, invent such wonders as computers and cell phones by saying we couldn’t, we were too dumb or that we were broke.

So the house is a mess and you don’t have enough money to pay all of the bills?  Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you CAN.

Be happy that you paid X amount on this bill.  Grateful that you had enough money for dinner tonight.

Thankful and delighted that the table is cleaned off now, or the dishes washed!

Focus on the good in your life NOW, and more good will come. This happens because you are changing your vibration to the positive, which cannot help but attract more positive vibrations to your life.

Try it.  What do you have to lose?

The Shoestring Book is now in Print

Published / by Annie / 4 Comments on The Shoestring Book is now in Print

Amazingly, CreateSpace worked really fast; my book is already available for sale in print!

You can find it on Amazon and CreateSpace.

Katie and I are working as fast as we can on the ebook; I made a newbie mistake when I was creating it that has forced me to completely reformat it so that it will look right. Right now we’re taking turns doing this page by page. As soon as it is published I will let you know. We’ve got over 400 pages to reformat so this is going to take a little while, I’m afraid.

 

The New Shoestring Girl Book is Almost Ready!

Published / by Annie / 4 Comments on The New Shoestring Girl Book is Almost Ready!

Hello Everybody!

I am exhausted. I’ve been working at this non-stop since I last posted. In the end I had to get Katie to help because for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to do some things with the formatting and I needed fresh eyes and a healthy mind to help review this 400 page monster.

But we did it!!!

The book cover

Right now I am in the process of uploading the print version of this book to CreateSpace to get it published. Once that is finished I will work on formatting this sucker for ebook format.

To thank you for all of your help and support I want to give you the PDF copy of the book for free. It isn’t much, but I want to pay forward all of the kindness and support you have given me. Please feel free to pass it around to your friends – and if you know of any bloggers who would be interested in it, please send it to them as well.

You can download the book here. Just right-click and select “Save As” to download it to your computer. (This link has now been removed since it is now available in ebook format. You can purchase it here.)

If you don’t mind, would you mind leaving an honest review about the book somewhere when it is published? Reviews are like gold to authors cause they are what help us get noticed. Heck, just telling your friends about us helps more than you can imagine!

Anyway, I won’t keep this PDF file up forever; I plan to remove it once I get the book published in ebook format at the very least, so grab it while you can and share the love.

Oh – I will let you know when the book goes live.

Thank you. Thank you for everything!

Love, Annie

Accountability

Published / by Annie

One thing I have been doing with my latest book is to keep a running journal of my progress. Every day I post an update on my Facebook page to let everyone know how much I’ve gotten done.

There are some days when I’m feeling lazy that I don’t want to write but, knowing that I will have to post the fact that I didn’t get anything done on the book is an excellent deterrent to laziness.

This just gives me the motivation to get started every day; once I get going it is easy to continue. My daily goal is to write 1,000 words a day; my daily average is actually 2,501 words a day though some days I might write more or less depending upon what is going on with my life.

Have you ever held yourself accountable for your goals? Please share your stories in the comments below.

By the way, I tend to update my Facebook page a lot more often than I update my blog these days; I share interesting money-saving things I find online as well as the progress on my current book. If you like stuff like that you might want to follow my page.

My Book Killed Google Docs

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Hello everyone!

I think I killed Google Docs. Well, if it ain’t dead, it sure ain’t happy with me at any rate.

I’ve been having problems working on my current book for a while now. Google Docs began getting slower and slower, to the point where I would have to wait several minutes for my words to show up. The sad part is that I’m typing this sucker one-handed; it was taking longer for the words to show up on the screen then it was for me to type them!

Then it started crashing. Repeatedly.

After a lengthy battle I finally decided to download the file and start working on it offline using LibreOffice since I no longer own a computer that has Microsoft Office.

Google Docs would only allow me to download in RTF format and DOCX format. the RTF was, shall we say, imperfect? It was also over 100MB in size. The DOCX file refused to open due to an error. Simply copying and pasting left all my footnotes behind.

I still had a free account on Office Live from years ago so I used it to open the DOCX file.

It would only open read-only.

By this point I was ready to throw something out of a window. It was well past 2am, I wanted to work on my book, and nothing I tried worked. I called it a night. The next day I went in search of a buddy to happened to have a copy of Word.

We managed to get the DOCX file to open and converted to something usable. It isn’t perfect, but it is way better than what I had.

I’m leaving the book online for now in hopes that you can at least look through what’s there but I learned a valuable lesson: Google Docs does not handle large files well. Fellow writers, consider yourself warned.

Now I’m off to work on the book again. I will upload changes/new sections if I can. Sorry!

Remember this as you pursue a simpler life

Published / by Annie

This was originally posted on my blog back in May of 2010. The image is a new addition.

While you are pursuing simplicity there is one thing you must never lose sight of.

This one thing is simple yet complicated at the same time.  I can’t take credit for it however, Shakespeare said it best:

“This above all, to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Don’t follow my idea of simplicity.  Don’t follow your mother’s or the dude’s down the street.

Follow your own.

How I Survived Several Years Without Running Water

Published / by Annie / 5 Comments on How I Survived Several Years Without Running Water

In today’s modern age water is usually only a handle turn away. As a result it is usually taken for granted. But what would you do if that flow of water ever stopped?

Once, a long time ago, it did for me. This is how I survived.

After finding myself an unwed mother I really hated myself. I had failed in the one thing that I was raised that females were to provide: A loving father and family for her young.

So I dated, thinking to correct that issue. I decided to go shopping for a father for my daughter.

After a time I thought I had found him: A man who seemed like an industrious person, down on his luck but willing to sacrifice to come out on top. Being no stranger to sacrifice and knowing how hard it is to find someone with the strength to do without and struggle in pursuit of a greater goal convinced me that he was “the one.”

I was wrong and he was a lie, but by the time I realized this we were already married and I was stuck; forced to live in a house without basic utilities like running water and sewage I decided to make do.

At first we used a bucket instead of a commode, and when it would fill up my husband would carry it outside at night and return some time later with it empty. I do not know what he did with the wastes but if there was a compost pile he used – I never saw it, and I do not want to know.

Within a few months we dug a large pit into the earth, and I watched as my husband added gravel to the bottom of the pit, poked holes in an old metal barrel, and covered it up. We now had a septic system, and were able to use the drains in the sinks and the commode he obtained from unknown sources.

Water at first came from the homes of friends and family until time and distance removed that option and I became too embarrassed about my living conditions to ask other people. By this time most suspected I was in an abusive relationship, and it hurt to listen to the countless lectures on what I should do with my life. I became a recluse, and started getting water from a local gas station, carrying it home in re-purposed cooking oil containers given to me by a local restaurant.

Dishes were washed in hot water, by hand, in two plastic containers, but I digress. First all I had to wash in was a couple of large bowls, and everything was either dried by hand or placed on clean towels until it air-dried until I obtained a dish drainer.

Bathing was primarily sponge baths, done in cool water in summer and water heated on the stove in winter. Eventually the children and I would take baths in an oversized Rubbermaid storage container, pretending it was a bathtub. Every opportunity to bathe at friends houses was accepted graciously until the lectures became too much to bear.

As the years passed I would ask my husband when the oft-promised water meter was going to be dropped, volunteering to do whatever needed to be done to hurry things up. “You already have running water dear,” my husband would sneer. “Now run to town and get some!”

Eventually flood damage caused our last source of easily available water to close and I was desperate for a solution. Grasping for an idea – any idea, my eyes fell upon the creek just yards away from the back door of the house. I thought in desperation – why not?

Bucket by bucket I would carry that water into the home, and its unlimited supply enabled me to keep things so much cleaner that I would thank God for the wonderful bounty of that little creek. All water would be boiled before being used for washing with a little bleach added to the rinse water, just in case. I refused to take any chances.

One day I decided to use that water in our old washing machine since we had no money for the Laundromat. Bucket after bucket I carried that day, first filling up the tub to wash and then again to rinse load after load of laundry. I was delighted at my industriousness, ignoring the blisters on my hands, thinking of how proud my husband would be that I had not begged for money to go to the Laundromat but had instead managed to care for our laundry needs at home. I lost track of time, however, so when husband came home his dinner was not ready. He was not impressed.

My next door neighbor sensed my plight; a few weeks later he caught me outside with my buckets and volunteered his small sump pump for my use. Gratefully I accepted the small device, rigged up enough extension cords to cover the span, and as the pump was not strong enough to push water all the way to the house created a holding area halfway between with re-purposed trash cans. It was a slow process but my daughters and I were delighted. It was the closest we had been to running water in years.

Eventually my husband gifted me with a sump pump of my very own, one powerful enough to reach all the way to the back door with a trickle of water, and I felt like a queen. I could easily wash laundry during the day, though the trickle of water meant that it took a long time for the laundry tub to fill up.

Drinking water was purchased at the store after beginning to use the creek.

I had given up asking about the water meter when one day there was a knock on my back door. A man from the water company was outside, where did I want this meter?

Oh, happy day!

 

What Were You Doing Eight Years Ago?

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Time has a way of flying by when you get older. Ev Bogue reminded me of this in his latest post, as he reminisced about what he was doing eight years ago.

Just for fun, I’m going to look at the old me from eight years ago, in January 2009.

In January 2009 I was living in the projects in Western Kentucky. We had a nice home but I didn’t enjoy the person in charge of the place. It was a beautiful apartment, however–the most beautiful home I have lived in before or since.

I started writing online on Christmas of 2007 so I had been writing professionally for a year. My first submissions didn’t go online until after the new year had arrived. I wasn’t making much, just a couple of dollars a month, but I was proud of that income.

I was working at home in the Internet troubleshooting department of a major cable company. I would wake up on weekdays, log into the system, and help customers troubleshoot their internet connectivity problems. I enjoyed that job.

I had yet to start my first blog. Several of my friends were encouraging me to give it a try. I would do that shortly before I was laid off from my job in May of 2009.

I had never written a book. I didn’t even believe I had a book inside of me at that point, though it had been a dream to write books for most of my life. I could see myself with a whole bookshelf filled with the books I had written.

I had discovered minimalism so I had thinned out my possessions to what I believed was a manageable size. I wouldn’t get drastic until early 2011 when I moved back to Central Kentucky. I still owned a vehicle back then, though I rode my bike to work when the weather allowed.

Thinking back

Thinking back, I am amazed at how far I’ve come since then. I’ve published 30 books and am well on the way to writing my 31st. I’m finally working out the best way for me to write longer fiction as well.

I’ve seen great times and awful times; throughout all of them I have just kept writing. I still remember the thrill when the first person purchased the very first book I published. I remember the delight when I said farewell to my day job and spent several years living on my royalties.

I recall my disappointment when I went back to a public job when my royalties dropped and the fear I’ve had about paying my bills since I got hurt there.

And now, with my pain levels dropped, I am writing again. I believe that this is going to be a very eventful year.

What about you?

What were you doing eight years ago? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Don’t Throw Your Pickle Juice Away

Published / by Annie

Pickle juice is one thing in this house that never gets thrown away. In fact, we occasionally run out of pickle juice before we empty the pickles from the jar (we have to eat fast then!).

One of our main uses for pickle juice is to drink it as a dietary supplement. It helps with digestion and stomach upsets much better than the stuff you find in the store marketed for this purpose. Also, pickle juice provides potassium, which can help with muscle spasms and other things.

Did you know that pickles were used back in the Wild West days to help prevent scurvy? It contains Vitamin C; the lack of which causes this ailment.

In my experience, dill pickle juice works best. We try to always purchase the kosher versions because we believe it to be healthier. I’m not sure about that fact, however – it is simply a personal belief.

On the rare occasions we find ourselves with a surplus of pickle juice, we toss some hard boiled eggs into the brine to make pickled eggs. My dad taught me how to do this as a child. We always had pickled eggs in our refrigerator as a snack.

Because of the many uses of pickle juice I urge you to reconsider before you pour it down the drain. You can find some great uses for your leftover pickle juice on this site. It has some good tips.