Hello to all my followers

Bobcat plowing driveways

Hello to all my followers

If you have been reading my last few articles, you know that a lot has happened in my town, county, and my state. Last week, we suffered a wind storm of sustained 80+ mph winds that lasted for hours. It started at around 2 pm and was still raging after I went to bed that night. It’s no surprise that I didn’t sleep that well that night. By the weekend, local law enforcement reported 6 people died as a result of the wind storm.

Bobcat plowing drivewaysNow, just as we are recovering from that storm, yesterday, once again, two massive weather patterns decided that the north-eastern US was ready for another clash. Guess who is stuck in the middle? You got it, I am. That is my part of the state. While the northeaster ravaged the coastal states with blizzard and blizzard-like conditions, I don’t live in that area. I’m about 500 miles west of the coast, right where the northeaster storm decided to interact with the arctic storm coming down over Canada.

My local international airport closed, shutting down all flights into and out of my area. Officially, as of this moment, the airport has so far recorded 22.2 inches of snowfall, and it’s still coming down. Wind is a problem. The snow that is falling, is falling almost sideways. While there is a patch of ground next to my house where I can see the grass, in other area, the drifting snow is the real problem. Roads are still snow covered, despite the highway department doing an awesome job in plowing the highways. Even some of the large massive plows have slipped off the roadways and ended up overturned in ditches. It’s scary, and I’m staying put.

My girlfriend’s daughter is stuck in Hamburg Germany waiting for a break in the weather and return home. The news tells us that things should break around midnight, and by tomorrow, we should be able to get back to what constitutes normal for my region of the country. Yes, you get that right, it’s still snowing and they are estimating another foot of snow before it ends tonight. What progress made to keep the roads and driveways cleared last night must be repeated all over again.

Snow covered hot tubThe replacement hot tub cover that I bought after the windstorm now has more than three feet of snow on it. Thankfully, I was able to get a cover as I doubt the plywood and tarp I used temporarily would have survived the snow.

But you know what? I’m healthy. I’m strong. I’m warm and safe. There is a lot to be said for that. I know that there are thousands of homeless, hanging out in shelters and abandoned underground subway tunnels trying to keep warm in temperatures approaching 0 degrees F. I feel for them. There was a time, almost two decades ago, that I might have been one of them. Providence, luck and perseverance helped prevent that from happening, though I believe luck was the most significant portion of that. Thank you Lercher for being in the right place and the right time to pull my ass out of the fire.The Trafficking Consortium

In the meantime, I am working on cleaning up before publishing my latest book, ‘The Trafficking Consortium’ and getting back to writing anew. I’ve got my cup of hot coffee to warm me as I stare out the window, and see mostly white snow. Cheers.

Have a great day and a better tomorrow.

Hot coffee is servedOh, and have a cup of your favorite beverage on me.

I feel fortunate

Clash of the Titans

I feel fortunate

That’s right. I feel fortunate and incredibly lucky. Two days ago, my area of the country and specifically my county was hit with a disastrous sustained windstorm.

Clash of the TitansBy sustained, I mean a storm raging, hour after hour, and lasting just over fifteen hours. It started slowly, teasing the people in its path, lulling us into thinking it wouldn’t be too bad. At its peak, lasting many hours, we registered eighty-plus miles per hour wind speeds. Speeds that were similar to those recorded by smaller hurricanes. Yet, this was no hurricane, just a clashing of two weather fronts. A clash of two weather fronts? I feel like it was a clash of the titans and we were insignificant casualties.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t live in a hurricane region or in the tornado belt. I feel for those that do. When a tornado touches down, it reigns havoc for those in its path. However, it’s pretty localized to a rather narrow track, which can be only a couple hundred yards to a mile or more. Hurricanes are another story of course and are more akin to what our region experienced.

In my case, our windstorm encompassed dozens of counties, two or three by six to eight long. medusa transformingMeteorologists in the area report that our area hasn’t ever seen one of this magnitude in over a hundred years. The damage was incredible and extensive.

In the early stages, tractor trailer trucks were flipped over on their sides, like toys in a child’s hand. As the day progressed, roof shingles were ripped from the roofs of houses and tossed like confetti in a parade. Then, trees were uplifted out of the ground, root ball and all, toppling which way and that, often landing on houses, crushing them and their occupants.

The roof of one of the local middle schools in my town was ripped off and sailed in the wind for hundreds of feet before touching ground. States of emergency were declared in several towns in my county, including my own. Live electrical wires danced in the streets, begging for the occupants of cars they draped, to step out in a futile attempt to escape their deadly touch.

Thankfully, in all the turmoil and bad situations, no one was seriously hurt or killed. Wow!

I could go on and on. It’s bad, but I know, it could be worse. I feel fortunate that my house faired well. My roof is intact, and I didn’t lose power to my house. I have about $600 in damages in non-critical areas of my house. Not bad considering most of my neighbors have damage ranging in the thousands. Kudo’s to the builder of my development. He coordinating the immediate repair to the roofs of the quality homes he built, and within a day, all of the houses on my street had their roofs repaired. Today, as I write this, he is doing the same on the homes located the next street over.

Kudo’s Joe Sciortino of Sciortino Homes .

Over ten thousand homes and businesses in my county lost power. It is going to take a week or more to restore power to most of the region. Temperatures dropped overnight, and the thermometer outside my window informs me that we are currently at eight degrees F. It’s cold, and I pity those that do not have electricity to power their furnaces. Many of my friends lost power, and I offered them a warm bed for the night. Gratefully, their power came back on last evening. All due to the willing power workers that showed up in our region yesterday from all over the state to help out.

I feel fortunate, and I am grateful to all those that descended on my community to help out. It could have been worse. Thank you. Now, I need a cup of coffee.

Another day without spilling my coffee

Losing my freaking mind over spilled coffee

Another day without spilling my coffee

Two whole days and I didn’t spill a drop of my coffee. Whoo hoo! Both days were splendid, and I got stuff done, now if I could only delete my chronic headache, but who cares. Coffee heaven!

Losing my freaking mind over spilled coffeeSpilled coffee

Don’t spill the coffee

Coffee Cup from Coffee Shop

Don’t spill the coffee

Spilling your coffee on the way into work definitely makes for a very bad day. I don’t recommend it. Very bad day!

Coffee Cup from Coffee Shop

What Makes One Happy, part 2

coffee latte

What Makes One Happy, part 2

Last time I wrote about my short-term vs. long-term happiness. Another short-term happiness is coffee. I love coffee. Sixteen years ago when I rejoined the dating scene, I had my first cup of vanilla latte. coffee latteWhile I liked coffee then, I fell in love with vanilla lattes. Today, exiting the dating scene with my long-term girlfriend, I drink several cups of coffee daily, laced with vanilla sugar-free creamer.

Which brings me to my second item in my long-term happiness list, alone time for painting, drawing, and writing. I drink coffee as I paint, draw, or write.

However, I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up, shall we?

As a child, I drew all sorts of spaceships and ground vehicles, making up stories as they developed. I also tended to write stories in my head that incorporated these doodles or were fresh and not related to them. I even wrote a couple down which were lost to the hands of time. As a young adult, I forgot about them and proceeded to be caught up in photography and girls. Girls turned out to be my main obsessive behaviors and I was awkward around them. It took a lot of trial and effort that lasted for decades, despite getting married and having a child in the meantime.

Sixteen years ago, I revisited my creative talents a couple of years after my marriage died and I lived alone. I loved it and I began drawing and painting in earnest. Living alone like that for all those years trained my adult mind to disappear into my creative world, feeling and living the lives of the characters I created. Later, branching out and revisiting my creative writing, I fell into the same pattern. In some ways, it was easier to disappear into my creative world as I could sit in a comfortable chair and write; all the while, my girlfriend watched her favorite shows on television.

I have to admit, I prefer my alone quiet time, apart from life and in my creative space (my office or my studio) in order to draw, write or paint. Sailing into the sunsetIt’s important to me, no question about it, and being there makes me happy. I’m free to be myself, unbeholden to anyone or anything else. Feeling what my characters feel and experience, I can develop story lines that flow. I can feel the pain and joy, torment and pleasure that they feel. It hurts at times but I am able to leave a bit of me in my creations. As I have said before, my heart and soul is embedded in each work I create, be it visual or written. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

To be honest though, it is difficult at times to separate myself from the real world, where my girlfriend is such an important part, and spend time in my creative space where I immerse myself in my fictional realities. I can recall a numerous occasions when I had to stop and ask her to wait until I finished a particular section of the story. I didn’t want to lose track of the flow of the story, extricate myself from the pretend world in order so that I could interact with her on whatever she wanted to say. Sometimes she’d acquiesce and other times, she’d fume. I can’t say I blame her. I do the same to her.

Last November, consumed with writing my latest book, ‘The Trafficking Consortium’, she really became bothered at the time I spent writing the story and disappearing into this fictional world, even when I was sitting right next to her. The Trafficking ConsortiumI took every spare moment to write, moments that she had felt were hers. I agree. Most times they were but during November, nope. It was as if I had a barking dog scratching at the door to be let out and relieve itself. Just as you can’t tell a dog to wait, else it would piss on your carpet, I couldn’t tell the story to wait. Frankly, it hurt to keep it inside instead of being let out. So, every available moment was taken to write, and write, and write some more.

My girlfriend and I are still negotiating these rules of engagement, so that I can create undisturbed and uninterrupted with time I allocate to her. Since she is very important to me, I walk a delicate line between the two worlds. In the meantime, I keep at it. I thank the universe that lately, she is okay with me blocking out significant blocks of time to create. I wonder what she will think when she figures out that some of my best creative time is well after dark and can last into the wee hours of the morning. I don’t think it is a problem though as my body can’t take it anymore. For some reason, it insists upon a decent night’s sleep.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a great day and a better tomorrow.