I prepared well for my first vacation day. I crammed as much work as possible the night before, thinking I would sleep later in the morning. I even prepared my grocery order the night before, scheduling it to come between ten and twelve the following day.
So, I went to bed early in the morning, around three. It seems that that hour had become my regular bedtime.
I was done in, ready to sleep. However, Rex had other thoughts in mind. Truthfully, by the time I went to bed, he had been sleeping soundly for a few hours. So, when he noticed that I was getting ready for bed, he prepared, as well - to have fun.
The first feature of the night was fighting the decorative pillow. It's as big as he is, so it's been a battle. Then, Rex had another idea. Let's go out. It was the right time of the night to chase ghosts in the yard, yapping happily and making the neighbors happy, after all. It might have been Monday the following day, but they also kept him awake with their firecrackers at all the hours of the day and night.
Fed up after a while, I put my foot down and decreed it was time for bed. My phone showed it was past four in the morning, and I imagined I would have about five hours and a half of sleep before my grocery order showed at my door.
How little did I know! At seven sharp, I got a call. The lady from the grocery shop called me to tell me that a product was not available. All right, then. I can't say that I was able to reason at that hour, but I agreed to replace it. After badgering me with all the possibilities, I made my choice. Then she informed me that she couldn't replace that product with another.
So why did you bother me with that for almost five minutes? I never found the answer, as none was given to me. I asked her to prepare the remaining part of the order to cut everything short. It was not a significant loss.
I went back to bed, hoping to sleep until nine-thirty. How wrong I was. Thirty minutes later, I got a message: your order is on the way. What the heck happened with the schedule? Wasn't it supposed to come between ten and twelve?
I didn't have time to ponder that matter too much, though. I needed to get up, shower, and get ready for my order, which came fifteen minutes later.
After putting everything away, I looked at the clock. It was twenty minutes after eight. I sighed and started preparing the coffee. My sleep in had to be postponed for the second vacation day, but God knows what tomorrow will bring.
Funny, though, Rex is imploring me to come back to bed. I will not. Maybe next time, he will let me sleep. Let him find out how it feels like.
Not a great vacation so far. Let's see if things improve. I will keep you posted, though.
I know that some of you will wonder what the heck I was doing on my computer at this time of the night or, better said, of the year. Right now, here, where I reside, people are getting ready to open their champagne bottles and welcome the New Year.
Well, I have already done that. I can't be sure if there are still restrictions due to Covid. I don't own a TV set. I haven't owned one in ages, and I don't intend to get one. It takes too much time from my life, and mostly on commercials. I see enough commercials on the Internet.
But I digress. The possession of a TV is not essential. Nevertheless, it explains why I am not aware of any restriction concerning going out after ten p.m.
So, I opened my bottle of champagne with my family at about ten to get at home before eleven. It was a good bottle: a Dom Perignon. After I took a sip or two, I learned something. That so much praised champagne was wasted on us or, at least, on me. Yes, it tastes good, even though it is somewhat too dry and not as sweet as I prefer my drinks. But I couldn't say anything more about it. Of course, that comes from someone who drinks something once a year - usually on New Year's Eve, so my assessment must be way off. Ignore it, in other words.
We had dinner and watched an old movie about a darn cat. We laughed a lot, but that's the sum of the excitement for the year to come.
I had more excitement getting to my mum's house.
I took a cab, of course. I had promised Rex to get back in three hours max, and he does have a clock hidden somewhere in his mind. He always knows when I am late and makes a lot of noise about it. If I am on time, he is happy to see me, and that's all.
Anyways, I knew I was lying this time. It would have been impossible to get back within three hours. Still, I rationalized that a cab there and one back might shave off some of the time.
So, let's get back to the drive there. I was lucky enough to have an excellent driver. However, I can't tell you how he steered the wheel. He held his cell phone with one hand, replying to messages on WhatsApp and the other on his thigh, keeping the song's rhythm on the radio.
I kept telling myself that I would say something. Maybe ask him to put at least an elbow on the steering wheel, but the words didn't seem to get out of my mouth.
We got there in one piece, and that was a relief. I don't think that a pleasant visit to the hospital would have enhanced the quality of the evening.
The drive back was peaceful. Nothing seemed to phase the driver. He understood traffic, the parking problems in the city, and everything, to be honest. He accepted everything with serendipity.
At ten thirty, I got home. Rex did his usual show - I was late over half an hour, after all. He calmed down and ate his food, asking for a treat afterwards. Well, he was entitled. He had been a good boy this evening. Not so much in the afternoon, but that's water under the bridge.
Then the bombing started. It's been over an hour, and believe it or not, it is still going strong. Interesting, though. It's not even midnight. NIne minutes more to go, and 2022 will be welcomed with smoke and noise firecrackers. I wonder what it would say about that. Maybe he would turn his back, thinking it had tried, but it wasn't worth the pain. Who the heck would love to live in such a disruptive world? Forget about climate change and all that bombing would do to the environment.
Wow, it's getting louder. I wonder when it'll stop. A year ago, a guy noticed that the country could have been attacked, and everyone would have clapped full of joy. He knew something, though. It sounds like we're under a bomb barrage. I tried to go out. I had the feeling I heard a cat mewing. However, I took only one step out of the house. They came at me from everywhere. I have hardly managed to get cover. That's why this blog is ten minutes late.
Well, 2022 must be excited because of this warm welcome. Definitely.
I don't think I could say anything more but HAPPY NEW YEAR! MAY ALL YOUR WISHES COME TRUE!
I can't think anymore - it's murder outside, and Rex is killing my brains inside. Let's hope you'll hear from me next year. Maybe the house won't go up in flames, though.
A post two days in a row, now that's a treat, isn't that? I will try not to spoil you, though. Otherwise, you'll expect to hear from me with a specific frequency, and I'm not so disciplined, to be honest.
These days, my attention span mirrors a butterfly's. I turn here and there without having anything definite in my mind. Of course, I reprimand myself, but that doesn't mean that I get a different result. It's as if I had decided that what happens at the moment is essential. Long-term goals may go down the drain with my wholehearted approval.
Anyway, I treated myself with a haircut as I couldn't stand pushing the hair off my face all the time. My face has been itchy and my eyelids puffy for almost two months.
It is enough that I have to contend with Rex's shedding. The winter is here, but his shedding season seems to go on. Wasn't it just during spring and autumn? Or did I get that wrong?
Anyways, I went to a salon and had my hair cut. I'm pretty satisfied with the result. The lady did try to make me dye my hair, which I refused with determination. She also explained to me how to style my hair every morning. I smiled and nodded acquiescently. I didn't think I would gain points if I had told her that I would generally comb my hair with my fingers. Yesterday, when I met my friend, it took me over twenty minutes to find my comb.
I worked hard today. I went through at least six Dry Bar Comedy videos. Only after I had finished with that, I decided to do some real work.
I thought to take more advantage of this Sunday and waste some time in bed in the afternoon. Rex came with a toy to play next to me, and that toy kept falling off the bed every three or four minutes. He would whimper and stomp his paw to make me bring it back, which I did a few times.
But then, I warned him that he would have to go and take his toy if it fell again, which it did. Then, I merely ignored his whimpering. Whenever he hit me with his paw to draw my attention to his plight, I would pet him and tell him that I loved him. He would spear me with a glance that seemed to say, "You might love me, but not enough to give me my toy back." Well, tough break, pet.
Of course, I didn't sleep a wink! It wasn't possible with his jumping on and off the bed and throwing the toy into the air to catch it. Which never happened! My head made contact with it more often than Rex did.
Anyway, everything's been fine, I suppose. Nothing to write home about, but all in all, a good day. It would have been much better if I had managed to do some work. But, what the heck, there's another day tomorrow.
Hey, there, again
It's been a long week. I could say even a very long week. At times, I've had the feeling that I wouldn't see the end of it.
Waking up at six in the morning and then going to bed at around two or four in the morning didn't help either. Right now, I could say that I know how a well-wrung sponge feels.
The quest for fixing my central heating has marked this week. But never fear: the struggle is not over. It will continue well in the next one, if not in the next year. After the 23rd, I don't think anyone could find a guy to fix it before the 8th of January. It's been a long string of visits from an expert and another, and each one of them presented a different theory. I have even had two visits a day: one in the morning and another in the evening. I needed that to round the things up nicely.
Anyway, in conclusion: no one knows what the heck is wrong with it. So, until I have found someone to fix the problem, I will continue with the regimen of Scottish showers. Worse, the temperature in the house has dropped by quite a few degrees.
However, I discovered how to raise the temperature in the bedroom: a good humidifier can offer the illusion of heat. It also helps to breathe, so that is a plus. Rex always had problems with his nose, and the vapours from the humidifier have helped him a lot.
There have been other things to top up my evenings, like the work meetings scheduled right after the end of the workday.
Still, this evening, I found the cherry on top. You see, I have decided to forget about the many pounds surrounding my body with cushions and treat myself with something sweet. After a week full of disappointments and hard work without a result for the near future, I did need something to cheer me up. So, I ordered two cakes (all right, only one for tonight, the other for tomorrow - I might be a bit airy, but I am not downright stupid).
The good news is that the order came half an hour earlier than expected. The bad news is that the guy who brought the order decided to park in the middle of the road. But precisely in the middle, you know.
This street is not a peripheral street. There's even a bus that passes by. Imagine the thrill the other drivers felt! It was a lively show. The delivery guy did not even glance at my gate, even though my street number is painted with big paint strokes. No, he decided to admire the opposite side of the road.
Well, I tried to attract his attention. Suddenly, the guy starts running in reverse at full speed. I must admit that it was a ballsy move. However, I was not crazy enough to run in the middle of a busy street, especially when the man's move prompted the other drivers to drive erratically.
I reckon that I remained nonplussed for a moment and tried to find a solution to my new dilemma. After all, I wanted only to spoil myself with something sweet to forget about the rest of the week and found myself with something else to decide.
At first, I thought of going back into the house to take my phone. A call to the reckless delivery guy might have done the trick, even though he seemed determined to drive back from where he had come, running in reverse the whole way.
Then, I wondered if I should have bothered. There were only two cakes. My evening wouldn't get much better even with them.
Still, mulishly I went inside and took my phone. I returned to the gate, only to see the man returning to his previous parking spot, right there in the middle of the street. So, I merely shouted to make him look at me, and, wow, so much joy, he saw me and got out of his car.
I was afraid that the oncoming traffic would flatten him on the pavement. Still, apparently, there were only sober drivers on the road tonight, and none felt the need to obliterate a delivery guy. That doesn't mean that they didn't express their feelings with enthusiasm.
The guy gave me the bag, explaining that he had the impression that another woman was standing on the corner at the end of the road. So, he decided to drive to her, thinking that she was I.
I asked him sweetly if he had noticed the number on the wall: two large digits, almost shining in the light offered by the lamp street. He admitted he had never looked at them.
I inquired then how he thought of delivering something to an address if he didn't check the address. The man assured me that it was enough to look around, and he would undoubtedly spot the right customer.
I gave up with a headshake. The man had strong convictions, and nothing coming from me would have changed them. I thanked him from the tip of my lips and left.
Of course, Rex took care to make the neighbours happy all this while. Locked in the back yard, my little boy let everyone within a one-mile radius know that someone is at the front gate and that person might have nefarious thoughts.
Luckily, it is a Friday night, and people might still linger in front of the TV. That doesn't mean they have not sent blessing thoughts in our direction. They couldn't have refrained themselves.
Now, I will devour one of the cakes - it's late, I know. I shouldn't think of it, but right now, I don't give a damn.
There's tomorrow to feel guilty if I have to.
Do you ever have those days when you feel like doing nothing, even though you have tons of things to do? You put them aside, but you can't think of anything else that you'd do instead?
You tell yourself that big lie: it's the weekend, I shouldn't be working. I should relax, have fun, forget about working for a change. And then, you surf the Internet, looking for something that would lead to that fun thing, and brushing off one thing after another.
That film is too ridiculous. That video is too stressful. That music you have heard too many times. In the end, you waste the day away without doing anything. You have had no fun; you've done no work. You're zero to zero in everything.
Then you end the day dissatisfied and in a bad mood, cranky that tomorrow is another workday, and you've done nothing to decompress.
You promise yourself that you won't be doing the same next weekend, but here you are. Repeating the same mistakes all over again.
I don't know why, but during the weekends, I always wake up earlier than during the week. Probably to feel that I am wasting more hours, just doing nothing. That's a strategy as well, for all I know. Perhaps, I need to feel guilty about something, or nothing works out well.
Rex did have some fun on Saturday. After snatching the toy I ordered for him for Christmas, he also seized the toy my sister sent to him. He has never had a noisy toy - I can't stand the mewing, pewing, or screeching that such toys do. My sister said that she took care to choose a quiet one. She was mistaken or just wanted to have fun with my nerves. I suspect the latter. Anyway, every time the toy was making a noise, Rex would howl and start shaking it. I thought of taking it away because he was furious, but he didn't want to give it up. Clearly, my little boy needed to win the fight. He imagined that winning meant that the toy would stop talking back. Well, I can assure you that this is one sturdy toy. It's been over twenty-four hours, and the fight is still on.
On Saturday, I did not do much besides arbitrating between the dog and the toy.
Today, once more, I had to take a Scottish shower. Someone came to fix the central heating on Friday - twice. They came again on Saturday - only once, though. I understand that they need to return on Monday. I still hope to have the chance to remember how it feels to take a hot shower. The memory has become a little fuzzy, I must admit. However, not remembering having a hot shower might not be a problem, but my amygdala and neck had taken a severe beating. They don't want to let me sleep.
There was no drizzle outside after a few rainy days, which prompted Rex to make up for the lost time. He barked like crazy and drove me out of my mind. I am pretty sure that my neighbours wanted to strangle him and me simultaneously. Even right now, he is out there, freezing his little paws off and barking his head off.
Sometime in the afternoon, I decided to order a soup, feeling too lazy to make something myself. The soup came. It looked good - as much as I could see through the plastic film wrapped on the top. I don't know whose idea was that sealing thing. It was not like it could keep the soup hot. I can vouch for that. And besides, half the soup had spilled all over the kitchen counter by the time I managed to peel that film off. It smelt good, so I decided to take a sip before starting cleaning. I knew the soup would get colder by then, and it did.
I ate the remaining half of the soup and called it lunch. I will have to be inventive for dinner. I don't wish to order anything else after the big lunch disappointment. And because I am still keeping the score, another zero to zero this weekend for me.
Now, I will ponder a bit and start working on something. Doing nothing is too tiring, and I am sick of being lazy today.
For the last few days, I have been thinking of writing two short stories for Christmas: one for McNamara's Christmas and the other for Ian's, the guy from Catching Lily. Well, it is just a thought, but I would love to make it happen. I need only a bit of willpower. However, that's in short supply around here. We'll see if I can mobilize and do it. Until then.... see you.
Well, another weekend has almost ended, and one of the thorniest questions of my age keeps bothering me. What the heck have I done all this weekend?
On Friday evening, I have made a very detailed plan about everything I would be doing over the weekend. At least, that I know. However, from the planning phase to the putting-into-work phase, something happened. I blame amnesia. Why should I come right out and spell it as it is? As plain laziness?
Anyway, the final result is null. You will not believe how inventive I can be to find things to do, just not to do what I am supposed to do. Take my word for that: I am.
And once more, I understood that imagining and proposing something doesn't lead to having the thing done, no matter how much you wish for.
At least, I have had a good week so far. People praised my last book, Conversations with Rex, despite my feeling that it did not come out just right.
Besides, the Romanian translation followed shortly. Hooray! I will have gifts for my family. They have to love it, right? Yeah, right! I doubt it. It sounds worse in translation than in English. But, hey, that's just my opinion.
The weekend trickled along, just fine, until sunset. Then, the curse of December and the first half of January stroke. People seem to have forgotten about climate change. Or, probably, they never believed that there was one, to begin with. So, they try hard to outdo one another when it comes to fireworks.
Before, you would hear their boom during New Year's Eve. Now, the entire December is dedicated to them. I think they should change the name of the month in Fireworks Month or something. At least, as a courtesy to the ones that didn't know about that custom.
Anyway, for me, December has become the barking month. Not only Rex barks like crazy whenever a salve is aimed at the sky - or at least there's where I hope they aim. But also, all the dogs in the neighbourhood start howling like crazy. I understand them, but my ears are almost bleeding.
Considering that they already hurt because of the Scottish showers I have been taking for the last week and a half, that's not something I relish.
Oh, my shower! I have just discovered that it also has shower mouths overhead and all around besides the regular shower head. Delightful! It's like you are under a waterfall. Not so enjoyable, though, when water comes hot and cold without warning. However, either I get tougher, or it kills me. We'll see who is the strongest of the two.
For the moment, I only developed a slight affliction: I'm shivering almost all the time. I am sure it will pass in time, or I might find someone who has an idea about why it behaves like crazy.
Eh, until then, I will waste the remaining few hours of my weekend watching YouTube or chasing Rex through the yard when he doesn't want to come in. It will be bracing, but it goes well with the shivering mentioned above. Anyway, it is not like I can't go back to my great plans tomorrow.
Still, I do wonder where are the days when I could have worked for twenty hours a day and started all over the following day.
Well, there has just been another boom. I have to calm the little beast at the door, barking his head off. See you soon... sometimes...
I have been reflecting on many things lately, and I have always thought of sharing them with you. However, thinking and doing are two different things. I am sure that many people in the world keep pushing things to do on the following day, and I have to reckon that I am not only one of them. Still, I am sure that I qualify for the top ten, if not the top three. I am a master at procrastinating.
When I started this blog, I proposed to write every day, and I did that for a while. Then, laziness crept in, slowly but surely, and I lost sight of the target. I came back after a while, well, a long time, and promised the same thing. But I still couldn't keep my word, which chaffed a lot. I like to believe that I do what I am saying, and I usually do. Nevertheless, I can't keep doing that when it comes to this blog.
Sometimes, there is no time. Sometimes, I have a good idea, but no way to put it down immediately, and it gets lost in translation by the time I get to the computer or a piece of paper. But then, sometimes, I can't be bothered. So, I might decide that I am in a too bad mood to be doing anything else but jumping from a thing to another on the Internet or reading.
The words above are not an apology but an explanation. Now that I took that off my chest, I may go on.
I won't promise anything anymore, as I can't rely on my willpower to see things through. We live in an era of self-indulgence, and that microbe touched me too. Like most of my contemporaries, I want to do what I want now, not tomorrow or after I have finished my work. Self-gratification is a powerful drug, and it seems that I am not immune to that.
Anyway, I kept thinking about the transience of news. A new thing comes out almost every other second, replacing the last flaming report. If you don't get to read it at the right moment, it tastes like yesterday's pizza.
I don't know why I've been thinking of news lately, and in particular about their short lifetime. I read it when I feel like it. I don't mind if I missed the last catchy story, and I can understand it as well after a month or a year.
I know that I will never make the news, and I don't nurture any stupid dream like that. Being in any reportage or article brings out vultures. There are enough trolls on the Internet, and I don't feel like I would need to bring any hailstorms over my head. Plus, I doubt that I could land in a complimentary report. Sometimes, luck is a fussy woman who smiles at you with parsimony.
Well, let's forget the news. If you need to think about it, you can turn on your phone or computer, and the world will open like an oyster before your eyes. You merely have to pick a side, go with it, and be merry.
I, for one, will choose the good news for the following month at least. If you have not heard, Christmas is coming, and I have already seen the signs in the shops' windows and the ads piling up in my mailbox.
However, I learned to avoid anything I didn't want to see. Why should I feel guilty that I have not started my Christmas shopping? December 23rd or 24th will do for me.
Although I have already received gifts, I will give mine when the time comes. And anyway, the last gift I received yesterday led to an epic battle of wills with Rex. Determined that he deserved it, even though the name on the box was not his, he tormented half the street with his protests and antics. None of us won. The gift is hidden in a closet and will land in my mother's house. We have had enough disturbance for a day.
I rambled enough, and besides, I have long forgotten why I started writing this post. Age brings that as well. I won't promise to write tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. I need to find my backbone and not make promises I cannot keep. Anyway, just as an aside, you have lost nothing. My life has not been very adventurous, what with the restrictions and Corona around. Besides a few stupid arguments made when I knew I had no chance to enlighten someone and a creepy cab ride one evening, I can't think of anything right now. Maybe some other day.
I have to confess that there hasn't been a good day today. Waking up with migraine will take all the zest out of life.
The slightest thing can drive you crazy, and I have had lots of that today.
I hoped that going out in the morning for the usual walk with Rex would help. Oh, I was so, so, so wrong.
While getting ready, Rex started barking like crazy. My neighbor's two dogs stopped right in front of my door and sniffed Rex's presence. Of course, he sniffed them too. The concert lasted for about five minutes. The neighbor had as much luck with making her dogs stop barking as I had with Rex.
If I woke up with a dull ache in the occipital area of my head, by the moment I managed to take the dog out, my temples throbbed with pain.
Still, the tribulations of the day didn't end here.
There's an older batty lady who lives on the fourth floor of the building next door. Her only occupation seems to be surveying the street and shouting at the people who walk their dogs. If the dog is on the grass, it is not okay. If the dog sniffs the fence, it's not okay either. The sidewalk is a big no-no. I have noticed that pigeons don't bother her. That's why I am sure that she missed the bulletin stating that dogs don't fly.
Anyway, she shouts, swears, threatens bodily harm, and makes a nuisance out of herself. Usually, I can tune out the batty lady, but this wasn't a good day. Politely but firmly, I sent her to seek medical treatment. I advised her that possibly a psychiatric ward would be advisable. I am not proud of that. However, I am proud of myself for my clean language. All I wanted was to blast her ears.
We got back home after a few troubling encounters, like the guy who hadn't learned to use a handkerchief, and I hoped that everything would get better. I drank a mug filled with water, took an aspirin, fed the dog, and decided to start writing, even though my head kept pulsating.
Well, surprise, surprise! A big fly got into the apartment through the balcony doors I had left open. The buzz matched the size of the fly. Of course, it bothered me and drove Rex crazy. Rex relied on his usual defense: barking.
My headache intensified, and my vision changed. I tried to chase the fly out on the balcony, but it didn't work. In the end, I used a kitchen towel to show the fly the way to the balcony. I didn't see or hear the fly anymore, so I thought that I succeeded in my mission or killed the poor insect.
I took a deep breath and went back to work. Rex decided to take a nap, which was understandable. He had barked like crazy most of the morning. He needed and deserved a rest.
Oh, boy, was I wrong! The fly didn't go away and didn't die. Probably she got knocked out for a while. After about fifteen minutes, the buzz filled the room. The dog jumped out of his bed and started barking.
My eyelids shook. Another round with the kitchen towel and the fly ensued. The latter took the hint and went bye out of the balcony window.
Another deep breath and I went back to work.
But wait! I forgot about the preaching guy who occupies the corner of the street right across from my building.
Every morning, the man sets his camp there and starts yelling. Imagine that there are four lanes between his corner and the corner where my building is. Still, I can hear him as if he were just under my balcony. He does have good lungs, although nothing he says makes sense. He doesn't use actual words but makes some sounds. And that at the top of his lungs.
He doesn't ask for money or food. He comes with everything he needs in his backpack: food, coffee, and cigarettes. He appears at the same hour every day and leaves at the same hour every evening. It is like he has a working schedule, minus the days off.
Well, when he started his daily show, my head seemed to swell at least twice its regular size. I tried to write, but I gave up after five pages.
I went back to my bedroom, drew the drapes, and decided to stew in the dark for a few hours. It worked some. At least my headache didn't get any worse. Still, I wasted the day away, and a deadline approaches.
Rex doesn't care. He had his food, played a bit, took another walk, and now he's sleeping after he shot my nerves through the roof with his incessant barking. He had company for that, even now in the evening. The dogs next door helped him to raise havoc. What are friends for, after all?
How was the beginning of the year for you? I don't mind if you want to share. I share with you, after all.
Here, the first day of the year smelt of spring. It also sounded like spring and felt like spring. The feeling was eerie.
However, it was only a one-day miracle. Today, the temperature dipped almost to zero, and it smelt of snow, which put a spring in Rex's step.
On the one hand, I appreciated it. A brisk walk, even a jog, is good for health, but on the other, I never liked losing my breath, and running with a mask over your face and nose might have that effect on you.
Please, think that I also have to climb two flights of stairs with the dog in my arms. Rex weighs about 22 pounds, but it feels even heavier than that. Unfortunately, he can't climb stairs if there are more than five steps. So I am stuck with that chore.
Still, sometimes I lie to myself that carrying him up the stairs actually compensates for my aerobic routine, and I merely skip it. It feels smart at the moment but not so good in the long run. And my capacity to convince myself of various things is endless. Probably, that's why I expended a bit too much during the quarantine period.
The good news is that I managed to do my aerobics today. God knows about tomorrow. We'll have to wait and see. I might be too lazy and skip it altogether because I don't have to work tomorrow. I might convince myself that a free day is meant to be free of any kind of extortion. I have told you that I am good at this sort of thing.
However, another piece of good news is that Rex became a little hero. We met with one of his friends, a bichon. Rex hates this breed, but this little fellow managed to get under his defenses.
Apparently, the little dog didn't want to walk because he was afraid of skyrockets, and his master was very upset. Rex convinced him to come with him, and they walked for about half an hour. The bichon's mamma called him a hero, and his little heart grew and grew. You should have seen him strutting, his chest thrown forward. He made me proud, and he got a treat when we got home.
But in the evening, his stalker appeared once more. The cat came out from under some bushes, and when Rex saw her, he lost his mind. He decided that he could outrun her, so he started running as if the entire Red Army was in pursuit. Yep, the second bout of exercising for the day. Hmm, I think I'd be okay skipping my routine tomorrow. What do you think?
I started this blog on the first of January 2016. I can't believe that five years have already passed.
If I wrote consistently for the first year, the time slipped away from me for a while, and then everything came to a full stop in 2019. If you look back at my posts for that year, you will understand why. Reality has its knack for getting in the way. You know that.
It was not for the lack of ideas. The problem is that they come to me when I am on a bus or in a busy setting. When I get back to my computer, they disappear in thin air. I have the same problem when it comes to my writing. You can't even imagine how many spectacular ideas retreated in that black hole that became my memory. I mourn them every day, but life likes taking its toll.
Anyway, to bring you back to speed, I am still in Bucharest - the beautiful town of the 19th and 20th century, turned into the hugest parking lot during this century. There are areas of the city where you get lost in the sea of cars and have the feeling you must have landed on another planet.
Bucharest is a town that cannot obey any rule, even if that means saving your life. 'Environment' is a dirty word for most, and almost no one thinks of the consequences of their actions when it comes to clean air, clean streets, or recycling.
People embraced democracy with a vengeance - the American way. No one can infringe their rights and ask them to wear a mask, and most of them read obscure blogs on the Internet, preaching about conspirations, micro-chipping through vaccines, and the financiers in the shadows that support Biden. Conversations would be fun, hadn't been for the name-calling and broken relationships.
But that's enough explanation about the setting of my life right now. If you have managed to overcome your boredom so far, you will be glad to hear that Rex seems to be doing just fine after a long period of illness. We moved to another area of the city, and he seems to love it here. What's not to like? There's a lot of grass and trees, wide spaces to walk, birds, and cats.
We've had only a tiny hiccup. Rex found himself with a stalker: a black-and-white kitten, who would accompany him in his morning walk.
He accepted the strange walk fellow for a couple of months. Nevertheless, in the end, he decided to put his foot down and tried to bark at the cat to leave him alone. But you know cats. They are stubborn. If they want something, they find a way to get it. So our little furry friend ignored Rex's bouts of frustration and continued to come along during the morning walk.
Although funny, my tired brain couldn't take it anymore, so I hatched a different plan. Barking didn't work, so I changed the schedule and headed out just a bit earlier. When we got back home, the kitten was already in front of the building, waiting for his barking friend to come. The following day, the cat waited for us when we came out. Smart cat: she already calculated when we would go out.
What can you do, eh? Nothing more, but alternate the schedule and keep her guessing. It worked this morning, even though it didn't work the other day. But hey! You win some. You lose some. I am sure we'll get the hang of it.
Anyway, there are more disturbing things than that.
I am getting more convinced that Rex has OCD. If I leave an object in a place where I have never left it before, he barks until I put it back - how's that about living with a slave driver?
A couple of days ago, I dusted the furniture. Through a mere mistake, I moved a knick-knack about an inch to the right. Maybe Rex wouldn't have noticed it if he were not on the sofa. But he was, and he did. He blasted my ear-drums until I put the object in the exact location where it lay previously. Imagine how fun it is to buy a new appliance or piece of furniture.
Life is full of fun if you know where to look.
On New Year's Eve, despite the curfew, we heard fireworks for hours. I hear that my mother's dog spent the entire evening and night in the bathroom. Rex was content to bark a bit and polish his food off. He wanted to be sure that no one would steal it.
I remember when Rex passed through his first earthquake in 2018, he did the same thing. He only jumped off the bed, barking furiously, of course (his way to express his dissatisfaction), and he checked his food. Afterward, he made sure that there was nothing left on the plate for the earthquake to steal.
Anyway, that's enough for a new encounter in a new year. I planned to begin writing a new novel today. I suppose I should get to it.
I'll leave you with a few pictures with Rex. I hope you'll enjoy them.
AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR! THANK GOD 2020 LEFT! WELCOME 2021!
I love to read series, and I know that I'm not alone. Lots of people do that. What's there not to love? You can sneak a peek in what's going on in characters' lives after their story was told.
I love reading them, so it follows that I love writing them. I want my characters to go on living, and they never let me down.
They bring something more to a new story. They grow, and their development shapes the plot and shades light on the heroine and hero of a new novel.
I have written a few series by now, both as Roxana Nastase and as Rowena Dawn. I liked some of the novels, and I adored others. I know I wrote a good one if I read it the third time and I don't yawn.
However, it doesn't happen often. I can count the ones I love on the fingers of one hand.
I also know that it doesn't mean that everybody would read them with the same eyes. It hurts, but I can live with that.
I have just released a new book, and this one I do love. Not only because of the main characters, which are quite lovable, or because of the story and the humor infused in it. This novel connects two series, The Perfect Halves -- a suspense romance series, and The Winstons -- a paranormal series. Just imagine the potential. I hope I got it right.
Writing isn't easy, you know. And especially if you do it my way.
I read a lot of blogs about writing. Authors explain how they plan, and plot, and how they do their research. Everything is very structured and organized.
So, I figured I'd better keep silent about my writing. I'm far from being organized.
However, everyone has their style. That means that I shouldn't be afraid to talk about mine.
I start with an idea. It is a bit fuzzy, but it covers a few things. I know where to begin, and I have a general idea about the plot. I never write a plan or anything.
I did it once. I wrote the most boring book known to man. So, I stopped. Plans don't work for me.
It is enough if I know who the heroine is, or at least, I have some idea about her. I choose a man who seems right for her. Sometimes, I start with the guy. Anyway, that's just the beginning.
The storyline evolves along the time. Something new might appear and change the line. I don't mind at all. I like surprises.
Once, I got to the last chapter, and a new development popped into my mind. Of course, I went back and changed everything.
I remember what happened when I wrote one of my crime novels, A Churchgoing Woman. In chapter three or four, I realized that everything had shifted. Someone else had become the main male character. I just shrugged and went on with the new one.
I usually go with the story. If it leads me somewhere else, I never fight against it. I suppose the story knows better.
I also do my research while writing. I get to a point in the book, and I have to check something, a place or a profession. It might be anything. Thank God, I have unlimited Internet on my phone. It does come handy sometimes.
However, there's also a drawback. I start doing the research, and I sail from one thing to another. I waste about two hours or maybe more online, while my story patiently waits for me to get back to it. Eh, it happens.
Developing the plot and characters and doing the research at the same time is exhausting. Sometimes, it is also tricky.
For instance, while writing my last novel, Catching Lily - Live Wire, I had to set a mission. Remember, suspense series! An operation is a given. I had already covered the paranormal angle by then.
But let's return to that mission. I chose the site for it and researched it online. I checked even the satellite map. I was covered, or that's what I thought. I developed the scene, and it worked fine for a while.
Suddenly, I realize that the place I chose doesn't work as well as I thought.
Well, it happens. Nothing to it, but go back online and look for a different location.
Of course, I had to read about it first. Then, I checked it on the satellite map. Another hour went down before I went back to writing. But hey, what's the time in the big scheme of things?
The mission was a wonder. Everything clicked. I like the development. It is smooth and catchy. I'm satisfied. I'm even happy with it.
That, until I get to the last sequence. Where the heck is my main character? Everyone is there, and he is missing.
That gave me pause. I forgot Mark somewhere in the forest. Everyone had something to do, but Mark. I couldn't just leave him there. The story belonged to him.
I went back to the beginning of the chapter to retrace his steps. Then, I did something I had never done before. I took a piece of paper and drew something close to a parallelogram. I'm also good at drawing stick people if you were wondering. Anyway, I chose locations for each character. I determined their directions with arrows. Then I wrote the scene once more, glancing at that paper all the while. And thank God, Mark was in it this time.
Now you know. I tell myself a story when I write. The hard work comes afterward when I fuss over every word I put on paper. Not really on paper, as I use a computer, but you get the drift.
I know that most writers don't do that. And the ones that might won't say it out loud. Too many people would look down on them, I suppose.
So what? I would say.
Anyway, if you like suspense, romance and paranormal, or all of them rolled into one, you should try this novel, Catching Lily - Live Wire. You might like it. I, for one, did.
You can check the first chapter on the Stories tab.
Banner designed by Serban-Matei Bedereag
On September 29th, I will have a new release - the book is in pre-order right now, everywhere but Amazon. I cannot have pre-orders on Amazon until next year. So, the novel will be live on Amazon exactly on 29th.
This is a series crossover, more specifically book 4 in the series The Perfect Halves and book 4 in the series The Winstons. Mark from the former will meet Lily from the later, and sparkles will fill the sky: adventure, suspense, witchcraft and love.
My beta readers are telling me it is good. I do hope so!
Blurb: Lily has almost given up on her happily ever after. Mark is just on the run and hopes to keep his hide intact.
A chance encounter makes Lily hope again, and Mark find his stopping point.
Lily comes from a family of witches, and she has got a curse over her head. The Winston family is large, full of wonders, happiness, but also bitterness.
Mark is her chance to get involved with a man who resembles no one she has ever known. He is a strong man, full of secrets, and almost cold-hearted. Mark seizes his chance with Lily, but two questions remain to be answered. Will his past chase her away? Will her family secret come between the two of them?
Lily and Mark bring together the characters of two romance series, infusing their lives both with suspense and paranormal.
Part of first chapter:
Digging into her bag, Lily absently cleared the door of the shop, getting out in the crisp air of the end of December. Unconsciously, her tongue snaked out and caught a snowflake, a habit that she had never outgrown. With small steps, she moseyed blindly down the street. Her attention was engrossed on finding some room inside her handbag for a little perfume bottle she had just bought with Ellen, her cousin by marriage, in mind.
A whimsical smile fleeted over Lily's upturned lips, and her dark blue eyes sparkled with mischief. She could just imagine Ellen's surprise over that gift. The weird perfume bottle, shaped like a ballerina in a twirl, had just called to her the moment she entered the shop.
Lily knew Ellen quite well. Jay’s wife wasn’t the woman to ever go for such unpracticable things. Her cousin by marriage was far from being girly even though her features and body basically screamed Look out – female walking on the catwalk. Nevertheless, Ellen was as practical as they got, and she didn’t have an eye for the out of the common knick-knacks.
Just a few steps away from the corner of the street, a hard body ran into Lily, and she well-nigh pitched to the ground. Lily gasped. She panicked that her face would smash on the pavement. She would have hated to start a new year with a broken nose or split lips, and besides, her mother would have had a fit if Lily had appeared to their New Year’s party like that.
The shock knocked the air out of her chest, and she wheezed, trying to pull air back into her deprived lungs. A drunken stork now, she flipped her arms around to keep her footing, but to no avail. The melting snow had rendered the pavement slippery, in spite of the snowflakes flying around her. Worse, the sole and heels of her boots couldn’t purchase any traction to help her stand.
Luckily, two strong arms spared her to become more acquainted with the asphalt. They grasped her shoulders, halting her fall and steadying her on her feet.
Still, Lily groaned with dismay. All her shopping bags, and even her small shoulder bag, had slipped from her fingers, scattering around the two of them on the concrete splashed with fresh snow.
Fury fired her blood, and her eyes shot upward, looking directly into the angular face of the lean man, who had upset her balance. The need to shout at him was strong, but then, his green, calculating gaze captured hers, and she found herself snared in his intense stare.
Her teeth snapped together, and she swallowed her angry words. Her fingers reached up, and unconsciously, she anchored herself to the man who had taken little time to assess her features thoughtfully.
Her own reaction to him befuddled her, and Lily shook her head to clear it. At the same time, she swiftly raised a prayer of gratitude. At least, she hadn't sprawled on the hard pavement.
He didn’t seem to need too much time to make up his mind. The corners of his mouth curled in a satisfied grin, and with a speed that bemused her, he let go of her shoulders to slide one arm around her wrist and hold her on the spot.
He bent and retrieved one of the bags scattered on the street, and under Lily's puzzled look, with a brusque gesture, he snatched the cap he was wearing and stuffed it in the bag. His disheveled, curly, red hair glimmered in the winter sun.
Still holding the bag, he slid his both arms around her, pulling her against him. Lily's eyes rounded, and she opened her mouth to protest his manhandling her.
"Please, don't fight me about this," he bowed his head over hers, whispering hurriedly a hair away from her lips. "I need your help," he said with urgency in his voice, and then, he captured her mouth in a scorching kiss that went directly to her toes and made her head spin.
She whimpered, her fingers burrowing into his shoulders to keep her balance. A scattered thought reared in her mind and told her to fight him, yet she let herself get wrapped in the passion of his kiss.
The man brought her closer to the hard planes of his lean body, and a shiver ran along her spine when her body molded against his. She knew that she must have lost her mind but forgot about fighting him back. She responded to his demanding lips with a hunger she hadn’t experienced before.
Hasty heavy steps came around the corner, and the noise registered in her mind as something coming from afar. But then, her heart was beating too hard for her to notice that someone passed by them. She pushed the distant sound out of her mind and allowed herself to melt against the man's body, her fingers grabbing the chest pleats of his thick jacket.
The guy knew how to kiss. She would give him that. Her thick lashes lowered over her eyes, and she forgot about everything else but the man whose arms chained her to him, keeping her prisoner in their enclosure.
A few heartbeats later, the man lifted his head just a fraction and stared into her wide eyes for a few seconds, before pulling back and glancing over her shoulder. The left corner of his mouth turned upward in a sarcastic grin, and scorn glimmered in his pupils.
In the distance, three men were sprinting down the street, pushing the people in their path aside, insensible at the stares they attracted their way. A woman got pushed to the ground, but the men didn’t react to her distress cry. They didn’t spare a look on her.
Lily sensed the change in the man’s stance and opened her eyes. What she read in his pupils froze her to the core, and she stepped back, trying to put some distance between the two of them.
"No, you won't, sweetie," the man shook his head, his gaze turning back to her, while his greedy hands yanked her again into his hold.
For pre-order, you can find it here:
In her latest novel, Team Building with a Twist (Scarlet Leaf Publishing, Toronto) Roxana Nastase dishes out an engaging plot executed by a snappy cast of well-drawn characters--from the flippant, feisty Team Leader, Gilbert, who "looks like an unkempt bed," to the coolly inquisitive, shrewd, and attractive Chief Inspector Magda. These key figures are joined by various quirky individuals--including Adam, Anna, Alex, and Mia--all of whom play a significant role in the proceedings.
The group which employs these players sends them off to a mountain villa surrounded by trail-laced forest lands: Their purpose is to build work teams in a pleasant, vacation-like setting to enable them to function more efficiently in response to recent internal upheavals. Meanwhile problems, especially between these characters, do arise! But in the process of attempting to build these buttoned-down skill groups, some of these team members start turning up dead--apparent murder victims, and this immediately casts shadows of suspicion over the entire crew.
What kept this reader flipping pages was this: all these flamboyant characters became potential murder victims and, at the same time, they all became potential murderers. Stirring snippets of humor into this suspenseful story, and ultimately leading to a promising romance toward the conclusion, the result is a captivating, spark-filled read for anyone who enjoys a psychologically solid mystery.
--Tom Tolnay, writer, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Saturday Evening Post, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Twilight Zone, Mystery Weekly, etc.
TEAM BUILDING WITH A TWIST
Born sometime in the past century, living in the 21st century.
Sometimes I have good ideas... (what do you think?)
Sometimes fascinating guests!
(that for sure!)
Sometimes I have to share some of my frustrations,..
(not too tempting, huh!)
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