Cruising the Mediterranean: Rome and the Cruise Ship

The trip from the U.S. to Rome was relatively uneventful, but very long. Eight hours from Philadelphia to Rome. I discovered that I don’t fly well anymore. Planes are now so cramped and such close quarters. But, on to more pleasant things. We made our way from the Rome airport to the port where we would board our cruise ship. Rome has a Mediterranean climate and all along the way were small, country homes and every one had a garden. I think that struck me because kitchen gardening is becoming less and less common in the US. The scenery was beautiful. Palm trees and small homes with gardens all along the way. The photo above was taken the first time I looked out the window at the Mediterranean. You can see the tug boat pulling away from the cruise ship. The water was aqua, though it looks blue here.

We boarded our cruise ship, the Oceania Marina. Quite large and with all the amenities. It was filled with university alumni from many major universities, but passengers also included private passengers and other types of tour groups including a large group from Korea and another from the Philippines. Our stateroom was large with a big balcony. It was evening and we had a delicious dinner in one of the many restaurants onboard. Food was strictly European which was not so good for me. I eat a low-carb diet and the very generous buffets were filled with high-carb foods. I had resolved to eat what I wanted on this trip. I found that my taste in food has apparently changed permanently. I have been eating low carb for many years. None of the high carb foods appealed to me at all.

Bedtime came early for us that night. The ship left Rome around 7 p.m. to sail up the coast of Italy. One of the things we grew to dislike about the cruise was the fact we always sailed at night. We wished we had sailed during the day for at least a couple of days so we could see he coasts of the countries we visited. But it was not to be. By nightfall, it was chilly outside and raining, weather that would persist for most of the week.

Harbinger – #writephoto

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It somehow seems unfair that, as you get older, life gets harder. Haven’t we paid our dues by now? Isn’t it time for easy street? Apparently not. I’ve just spend one of the hardest summers ever and I’m hoping it isn’t a harbinger of things to come. I don’t normally believe in omens, but the events of the past summer has filled me with fear.

The good news is that I’m enjoying improved health. I’ve also had the opportunity to visit long-lost relatives — my father’s side of the family. It was wonderful to see them. Then there is the bad news. My life was flipped upside down this summer, early on, when my husband had a huge health scare. Major, unexpected, and emergency open-heart open-chest surgery. I don’t think I’ve ever been so terrified in my life and I remain frightened. He survived and has recovered quite well. I’ll never quite recover from the fear. Then, one of my best friends, a childhood friend, passed away, again quite unexpectedly. I still don’t believe he’s gone. To me, we’ll always be kids, camping out in my backyard.

On top of all this, my contract writing job ended. I knew it would, but I’m still sorry it did. I don’t quite have it in me to job hunt. At least not right now. I may wait awhile, then freelance. I don’t think I’ll take another contract position. I’m not cut out to answer to a boss at this point in my life. Operating my own freelance business is more my style now. Writing non-fiction business articles. Perhaps breaking into the B2B market. I also have other areas of interest – politics, culture, education. Maybe finishing my two books. A novel and a book of flash fiction. Those are my ventures into fiction, except for the fiction I have written and will write on this blog. I’ve made a good living writing freelance in the past.

I was reminded this morning of the harbinger I really should focus on. Three months  ago, I rescued a little dog named Clara. She’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a breed I’ve loved for years. She is seven years old and had served as a breeder dog in a kennel. I won’t go into all of her problems, but she was not well when she came to me. She had been neglected and only valued for her puppies. Clara has had a long summer of veterinary care and loving care in my home and she’s started to blossom. She’s starting to respond to us and she’s remembering she’s a dog who has the opportunity to play and be happy. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. Perhaps Clara is the harbinger I’m looking for since fall has arrived and winter draws near. She represents hope for the future.

Blogging my Novel

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When I decided it was time to write my novel, I, at first, to sign off my blog. As I thought about it, I decided that was no fun! Instead, I made another decision. I’m going to blog my novel as I go along if you, my subscribers, would like to participate! I’ll talk about how to write a novel – different techniques that various writers use, developing the characters, developing the plot, building the world of the novel. I’ll post every few days.

My novel is historical fiction. A romance set in World War II. It will involve a lot of research, but I have a lot of material already. The characters are based on people I knew, but they will be fictionalized. But, this novel is highly personal to me and I want it to sell! I will work very hard on this book and I would love your input in the comments as I go along.

In addition, NaNoWriMo is coming up in November when writers are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. I’m not officially joining, but I’m going to get as much done as I can.

I hope to get started within a week!

Subscribers and blogging friends, what do you say? Post in the comment section!

 

weekendcoffeeshare – 7/12/2018

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Hello! Come on in and share coffee with me! I have both iced coffee and regular coffee for you since it’s so hot here. I also have tea, which is what I drink. Just help yourself. It’s on the kitchen island.

So glad you could all join me today for #weekendcoffeeshare! It’s been a busy week for me and I’m sure it has been for all of you too. I’ve had a lot of non-writing things I’ve had to do at home. Hubby and I have done some work on our home. I recently got a new puppy. I’ve mentioned him before in another weekendcoffeeshare post. Tucker is now 4.5 months old. He’s a Cardigan Welsh Corgi and big for his age. Twenty pounds already! He’s a wild and crazy guy and since he’s a member of the herding group of dogs, he thinks I’m a cow or a sheep, I think. He nips at my heels to keep me in line and he thinks my arms are chew toys. I have the scars to prove it!

Tucker and I are in training mode. He can now walk on his leash although he doesn’t like it much yet. We’ve started obedience commands. He learns quickly, but he thinks it’s stupid when I go over and over them. He is learning to ride in the car, outside his crate, and ride quietly in his car harness. So there have been some victories! He’s a rascal! You can see his latest picture below.

I’m in a transition period with my writing. I’m in the middle of one book and have started a novella. I’m also working on a memoir and have done some outlining for a non-fiction book. I have plenty to keep me busy. It may sound like I’m spread too thin, but I don’t think I am. I hope to have the novel and the novella done by year’s end. The memoir and non-fiction book are in the beginning stages.

When I say I’m in a transition period with writing, I mean that I’m finding myself interested in new genres and different topics. I’m thinking about serializing a novella or novel. As far as genres go, I’m still pondering.

Hubby, Tucker, and I are taking a short trip in a couple of weeks. I call it “Tucker’s trip” because we decided it would be good for him for the purpose of socialization. He needs to be around more people and dogs than he has access to when he is just with me on top of this mountain. We will only be gone for a week.

Tell me what you have been doing and your plans for the weekend and upcoming week!

Thanks to eclectic ali for the prompt!

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#Core – #MothersDay

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On this Mother’s Day, I find myself thinking about my mother and what her passing meant to me. She’s been gone for eighteen years now. My dad died when I was comparatively young – only 30. I had my mother for many years after he passed away. After she died, I felt a keen since of mortality at my core. There was no one left older than me. That meant I would, at some point, be next. You really feel that when both parents are gone as they were in my case after my mother died.

When your mother dies, you feel quite alone. Even though I was closer to my father than to my mother, I felt more alone after she died. You never quite get over losing your parents and I think I can safely say, your mother. I think that may be because your mother nurtured you before you were born and immediately thereafter.

Mother’s Day also revers the maternal bonds as well as being a celebration of Mothers. I don’t know a lot about maternal bonds. My mother did her best, even though she was plagued by serious illness all of her life or the portion of her life in which I knew her. We didn’t have the strong bonds many daughter’s and mother’s have.

I hope every Mother out there has a wonderful Mother’s Day today and that you get to spend it with your children!

#Laughter – #dailypost

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Laughter is the best medicine. That’s what I’ve always heard, haven’t you? It’s certainly true. The more you laugh, the better your outlook on the world and your own situation within it. When I’m around laughter, my own spirits soar.

I’ve had a hard year without much laughter, so I decided to do something about that. I’ve always been a dog person and have seldom been without a dog in my life. Usually more than one. My last dog passed away in July of 2017. Since then, I have tried to adopt a couple of dogs, but neither worked out. Those experiences lasted a very short period of time. They were sad experiences for me, but they taught me a lesson. Adopt a puppy that can bond with just me. Since I miss having a dog more than I can say, I decided to take some action.

There is nothing, you know, that can make you laugh like a new puppy in the house. A new roly-poly puppy bounding around through the house performing its antics is the funniest thing in the world. It requires a lot of training, but even that is fun. You’re developing a companion that will be with you for years to come and giving a puppy a forever home.

My new puppy arrives in two days. I’m very excited and can’t wait to hear all the laughter that will ring out in my house. Puppy will be very good for us.

#weekendcoffeeshare – 5/5/18

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I want to welcome all of you to #weekendcoffeeshare! If you were having coffee with me, I would ask you to please pull up a chair. I have a selection of coffees for you, from a traditional breakfast mix to more exotic coffees. Try my hot cinnamon spice tea or just plain black or green tea if you wish. I’m very glad you’re here!

If you were having coffee with me, I would ask how your week has been? Has your weather been as crazy as ours here in the Ohio Valley in the U.S.? It seems like we went from the dead of winter to July within the space of a few days! We had a freeze one night and within a couple of days, it was 88 degrees. There were no green leaves on the trees and everything burst out in buds and leaves all at once. I’m sure the plants don’t quite know what’s going on. One of my tasks for today, in between rain showers, is to take a look at my flower bed and see what made it through our very long, cold, and snowy winter. It snowed more here than in the city less than 100 miles west of us.

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that today is the Kentucky Derby, the most famous horse race of them all. Those of us here in Kentucky really enjoy it and I usually keep up with the horses. This year, life has gotten in the way and I’m not as schooled on the horses as usual. I will still enjoy the race and hope to get up-to-date before the race begins in the late afternoon.

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that I have started writing on my novel again after a long break and I’m really enjoying it. I gained some perspective about it during my break after doing some reading and thinking. I’m changing some things, improving other things, and I’m more satisfied with the direction it’s taking now. I hope your writing is going well.

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that my exciting news is that I’m waiting on my new puppy. I won’t yet have he/she when I write the next #weekendcoffeeshare, but two weeks from now, he/she should be home with me and will be about 10 or 11 weeks old. I’m very excited!

Thanks for having coffee with me and I look forward to seeing you next weekend!

#weekendcoffeeshare – 04/29/2018

Please, grab a cup of coffee or tea and sit with me. I have been out of things for awhile and I only just learned that eclecticali has taken over #weekendcoffeeshare and I want to say a big thank you! I’ve always enjoyed writing and reading these posts and have missed it!

If we were having coffee, I would try to catch you up on my writing and my life while asking about you. I feel that I’ve gotten to know so many of you and this is the forum where we could always share and catch up with each other. As for me, it has been a tough winter here in the Ohio Valley in the U.S. A long winter that started in November and hasn’t ended yet since it frosted last night. Very cold, snowy. Spring is trying to come, but it’s a very late spring since in two days, it will be May!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I took a rather long writing break during the winter. I was in the middle of my novel and for those of you who have written a book, you know that the middle is the hardest part. I put it down and have just now picked it back up again. I feel like I’ve now gotten some perspective on it and can continue to write. Sometimes, you have to get some distance. The distance helped me and I think, now, I can write with a vengeance.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have been without a dog for over nine months now. That’s the longest I’ve ever been without a canine companion in my life. I had a dog during this time, but she was a fear biter so that didn’t work out. I’m waiting on a puppy! I’m excited about that and hope that this works out. Anything can happen with puppies, so right now I’m just keeping my fingers crossed.  I should know in about two weeks about the puppy, so be hopeful for me!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I don’t do well without a dog in my life. I’ve always had a special relationship with them.

If we were having coffee, I would share with you that my husband is waiting to see a neurosurgeon. He has a back issue that is painful and somewhat disabling. We are both worried and hope that he can try physical therapy first. We don’t intend to jump into surgery.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you to tell me how you have been and what is going on with your writing and your life. I’ve missed hearing your stories! I’d also like to know if there is a badge or image that we should put on our #weekendcoffeeshare posts? Thanks!

Thanks to electicali for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare

#AtoZChallenge – Beloved

Before she was tutored and tested. When she was a baby and hardly more, she was beloved by the two familie on the hill. There were two other families that were also hers. A big extended family that sprouted from her roots on the farm in the country. Then the family in the north, her Daddy’s family, who spoke with a strange accent but who enveloped her in their love during the few times she saw them.

When she was only four years old, they visited the family in the north. A reunion her Daddy said. Not just her grandfather and aunts and uncles but great aunts and uncles and cousins. They sat in rocking chairs around the fireplace in the cabin by the lake and told stories of Sweden, the Old Country. She rocked on her grandfather’s lap and felt his big belly laughs. It was the first of only three times she saw him in her life but she was beloved by him and by all of them.

The women cooked on an old wood stove. Everyone ate, drank, fell asleep, and got up the next day and did it all again. They couldn’t get enough of each other. There was so much love in that cabin. She never felt that kind of love again.

At four years old, it was the last time she ever saw them all together, but she remembered it all her life.

#theme: descriptive adjectives

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#AtoZChallenge – Accelerated

As a small girl, she was the apple of their eye. The two families made sure she was accelerated in everything, except sports. Back then, girls didn’t do that. She was moved up in music, in reading, in math. To many levels ahead of her grade level. She was tutored and tested at home. The families were filled with teachers. It worked. Until her Daddy left.

#theme: Descriptive Adjectives

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