A Real Live Author As Opposed To Me, the Barely Blogger

Have you ever come across a person who seems to have a back-handed, left-handed, snide, or otherwise insulting remark for seemingly everything and everyone?  A person who just says things and you can’t help but lower your brow and give them the side eye, smirk combo as you go on about your day?

This likely describes a family member or a co-worker. For me, it describes a person whose opinion mattered, and up until this point, I had a desire to please and cared what they thought of me.

This past July, I reconnected with an old friend. It’s an odd relationship that has an explanation that I should save for another time. I will just say, like I did above, that I really respect this person and what they think of me. I take what they have to say to heart.

So much so,  that this story actually happened just after Thanksgiving and I am still thinking about it. I am also still trying to let it go while I bite holes in my tongue. I am not sure that ever mentioning it would serve any kind of purpose.

Here’s what happened.

I reconnected with an old friend. Over the next few weeks we started to get more familiar and little by little, he started to chip away at my bubble and I started getting more comfortable sharing personal things.

I have always had an interest in writing. I excelled in creative writing in school. I carried the passion into my adult years. I loved to write poetry, short stories and then eventually, blogging became popular so I started a blog.

My current blog, the one you are reading, is probably my fourth blog. I have had these starts and stops mostly because I went through life changes (divorce) and in my transitions ( there were many) I lost my voice. Or at least I thought I did. Or I was worried about my ex husband stalking my space and that gave me stage fright.

On those blogs, I wrote a lot about my experiences  being a mother to a child with Down Syndrome. Then, I wrote about being the single mother to a child with Down Syndrome. I also shared experiences from when I worked for the county police etc.   I wrote a lot about my personal reflections in hopes that I could reach other women and girls who were facing some of the same challenges that I had made it through.

On several occasions, I had women reach out to me through post comments or e-mail to share their stories or say “Thank you,” because reading my posts reminded them that there was hope and that they were not alone.

Some of these women were pregnant with babies that were suspected of having Down Syndrome, new moms, recently divorced or whatever their story was. I was getting a lot of positive feedback.

I was published in the Huffington Post online. It was a humorous article that I had written about quirks and the human condition.  While it wasn’t a Pulitzer Prize winning piece of literature, it was published in one of the more popular media sources at the time. Most important, people enjoyed it.

I don’t remember how many hits I got to my blog after that.  I do recall looking at my stats one night and nearly going into a panic over what it was that was driving people to my blog in droves.

Dear God! What did I write?

Keeping in mind what I have explained above, I have always felt pretty good about the majority of the topics that I have written about. While I may not always use proper grammar and punctuation I think that I have always told the story and gotten my point across.

I know that there are those who don’t consider bloggers to be serious writers. That’s likely the majority of us. We do however, serve a purpose. If not to others and only to ourselves. We all started a blog for a reason. In my case, I did it as a means of therapy for myself and to help others. I have accomplished both.

Going  back to the re connection to my old friend, I did mention to him that I enjoyed writing and that over the years I have been hot and cold with blogging and that I was currently revamping my blog. I also told him that I wrote reviews for trails and parks for the Outbound Collective. At one point, he knew that I was out taking pictures so that I could update an entry I made to the Outbound Collective.

I was proud of all of this. He seemed interested so I was comfortable sharing about it a little bit but I admit I didn’t go into full detail or even provide him with the web address for anything. He didn’t ask for it either.

Fast forward to that cold day in November where I reach out to see what he’s up to. I get half assed invited to meet for lunch with him and a reserve police officer and a couple of town officials that happened to pass through.

On my arrival, I was greeted by my old, dear friend, and told that we were being joined by a reserve police officer who “was also a real author, as in, had books published,”

Stab to the chest. It wasn’t just what he said but how he said it. I was taken back a little bit. I tried to decide how he meant this and if his intentions were locked up in the crappy tone that he had. I didn’t ask.

Here’s the thing. I never bragged about writing or having a blog etc. I mentioned it as something that I enjoyed doing. I never mentioned how many followers I had or site visits. I never even revealed the title of the blog or passed on the website address.

It was an awkward lunch. I don’t know if my darling old friend was in a mood or what. I got to meet and have lunch with this real live author. He was really nice and easy to talk to. I enjoyed that.

The Real Live Author gave me the short version of his resume and told me what books he had written and published. They exist. He is the real deal. After talking to him for awhile, it didn’t even seem odd to me, that a man this accomplished,  was moonlighting as a reserve police officer.

I couldn’t help but wonder though, was he self published? What a bitter thought. It wasn’t his fault that my old pal had made the comment about being a “real live author”. Who knew if he meant it to come off that way. I am not going to bring it up.

The point of this blog entry to is to remind myself and others to keep on doing what you’re doing. We are important and serve a purpose in our own way. Don’t forget that a lot of people gather their information online from bloggers like you and I that have experience in whatever it is that they are looking for.

I really can’t afford to have a book published, but I can write article after article about my personal experiences as a single mother raising a child with Down Syndrome. I can go on and on about my battles with the public school system as much as I can about the joys of each milestone.

People all over the globe relate to me in so many ways and they relate to you too!

In closing, and I am not even kidding, my dear sweet friend gave me the “real live authors” book as a Christmas gift.  I wish I could reveal who the author is and the book that I received but I can’t count on anyone not mentioning it in conversation.

And I know how some of you can be *chuckles*

I hope everyone has a great week!

My Thoughts and Prayers to Humboldt

On the evening of Friday, April 6, 2018,  15 members of the Humboldt Broncos Junior Hockey Team were killed in a crash, involving their bus and a semi,  as they were on their way to a playoff game in Nipawin.

I wanted to express my condolences to everyone involved. Team, family, friends and community.  All of my thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time and every day that follows. I am very sorry for your loss.  There is no other family quite like a hockey family. You hurt, we all hurt..  God bless and God speed..

You will be forever in our hearts…

Humber Broncos

Members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team are shown in a photo posted to the team Twitter feed, @HumboldtBroncos on March 24, 2018 after a playoff win over the Melfort Mustangs. RCMP say they are at the scene of a fatal collision involving a transport truck and a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos northeast of Saskatoon. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Twitter: @HumboldtBroncos

How I Discovered the Pileated Woodpecker

It all started this past week when I discovered damage to the mirror on the passenger side of my car. It looked like someone had either come along and punched it or shot at it with a BB gun. We have a couple of kids in my neighborhood that I suspected of causing the damage, but I never said anything to their parents.  As much as it irked me, I let it go.

I am glad that I didn’t say anything because a few days later, I discovered that no one was responsible for the damage to my mirror. At least not a human being. The culprit was actually surprising.

This is the damage to my mirror. It’s cracked pretty good and even missing pieces. What was more impressive is that the mirror itself was pushed in and down and I had to readjust it back it its original position.

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I am a member of an app called Next Door. Next door is a social networking tool that connects you with people from your own neighborhood. There are several categories or topics to chose from.  Of these many topics, one of them is “Crime”.

I saw a post made by a neighbor about vandalism to his vehicle. He posted a photograph of his own side mirror that had been damaged and he wanted to know if anyone else had their vehicles vandalized.  The damage to his mirror looked very similar to mine.

Someone else piped up and said that they had witnessed a Pileated Woodpecker attacking its own image in the side mirror of their truck. They went outside and chased it away but it was too late, they too had damage.  They explained that the birds were aggressive towards other males during mating season, which was now. The bird believed it was fighting another male.

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The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker that lives in our area of northern Indiana. They measure roughly 16  inches from head to tail and have a wingspan of almost 29 inches. They are usually recognized by the flaming red crest on their head. The Pileated Woodpecker is the second largest woodpecker in North America, second to the Ivory Billed Woodpecker, which is nearly extinct.

The Ivory Billed Woodpecker species is listed as critically endangered and possibly extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The American Birding Association lists the Ivory Billed Woodpecker as a class 6 species, a category it defines as “definitely or probably extinct”

I’m an optimist.

As the day went on more and more neighbors were popping in with their own experience. They had either seen the bird or had damage to their own vehicle too.  Neighbors in the know suggested putting grocery bags over the mirrors or fold them in to avoid attacks.

Later in the week, the St. Joseph County Parks had posted a photo to their Facebook of a tree that had been pecked pretty good by a Pileated Woodpecker. They explained that they will excavate deep into the wood of dead trees to eat nests of carpenter ants.

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Photo courtesy of Audubon.com

Quite honestly, as much as I love nature, animals and the outdoors, I had never paid much attention to the woodpeckers and the  different varieties. What an interesting way for me to discover them.

While I haven’t been lucky enough to actually see the one that’s terrorizing local vehicle owners, I have heard him. He’s been hanging out somewhere nearby as I’ve heard him several times in the mornings.

They really are beautiful. To learn more about the Pileated Woodpecker, visit Adubon.com

 

The Dausman Ditch Farm Bridge

In my post about the Northern Indiana Floods, I mentioned the wooden bridge over the Dausman ditch. This bridge is located on the property that belongs to my friend Chalisa’s family.  I often take my horse, Belle, down the lane and across the bridge to ride the trails in the woods and the edges of the fields.

This was the bridge during the flood. As you can see the ditch spilled over into the back fields.  It was an incredible sight to see. This is significant for our area.

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The water came up and over the bridge for several days. Chalisa’s father and brother made attempts to save it by reinforcing the structure the best that they could. Their efforts paid off because the ditch crested and the water slowly receded.  The bridge still stands.

This past week, Belle and I took a walk down the road and down the lane to the bridge and the back fields. It was a gloomy gray and misty morning but warmer than it had been. It felt good to get outside and enjoy some quiet time.

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I can’t explain what’s so great about this bridge. It just is.

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The wooden bridge over Dausman Ditch- March 28, 2018

 

The ditch is back to the usual water level. Thankfully.  I hope we don’t have to deal with this again any time soon.

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