"Not all those who wander are lost" J.R.R. Tolkien

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shameless Advertising (Reprise)

I've done it before and I'm doing it again.  This is the motorhome for which we traded our 5th wheel.  We love it but would love being debt free even more!  If you know anyone interested . . . 

PS:  The Mini is NOT for sale!!

Obviously, the back!

Large slide out on this side.

Couch folds flat.  Slide is not even out and there's tons of room.

Dinette folds flat as well.

The bathroom is large enough to host a party!
Whole wall of cubbies and wardrobe space.

Queen size bedroom, nightstands are brilliant!
Tons of storage above and below the bed.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I'm beginning to think that Twists and Turns was a propitious choice of name.  While the blog started out with a singularly specific intent it has evolved along multiple rabbit trails.  I mean, really, where else can you find a blog about full time RV travel, home buying and home renovating, vintage cars, neurotic Weimaraners and PTSD?  This blog is a veritable cornucopia of information!

I've been thinking about PTSD lately and that I should maybe fill in some blanks with regard to my husband.  It seems like we've become a normal American family busy with jobs, school, sports and church.  I haven't written about PTSD in a long time because honestly, I forget about it.  Chronic depression is not something I want to dwell on for any length of time.  It comes and goes and the three non-depressed family members live our lives around it, accommodating when we can and moving forward despite it when we can't.  It doesn't rule us and thankfully, its presence is usually short lived compared to the old days.  After all, Donald is now employed as well as a full time student.

But it ain't easy.

For instance.  On Saturdays, after I run and after Donald makes pancakes, we bicycle to the Salem Saturday Farmer's Market just to have coffee and to buy whatever produce and cheese catches our fancy.  Blissfully, we are now able to leave the boys at home to watch Netflix cartoons in their underwear.  This past Saturday we had a beautiful sunny morning and we enjoyed ourselves at the Market.  Then we decided to go pick up the motorhome because the dealer was fixing a few minor things.  By the time we came home, Donald was done in and had to go to bed.

At 11:30 am.

I get really frustrated when he goes to bed in the middle of the day because we're not talking a 15 minute power nap here.  The only thing that gets him back up is that he has to go to work.  Sometimes I get downright angry, other times I do a lot of heavy sighing and eye rolling.  This past Saturday I was actually well behaved and didn't say anything until he woke up.  When I asked him why he went to bed he explained that his depression was cycling through since picking up the RV.  So I asked him to pinpoint why.  Turns out the dealer and the DMV have messed up our license and it's not taken care of yet.

No big deal, right?  In a normal family this is an inconvenient hiccup.  Not in our family.  Inexplicably, this is the type of thing that sends Donald over the edge and straight into bed.  Honestly, don't try to think it through or rationalize.

Trust me.  I've tried.

This is where I find my lack of patience an extremely unfortunate character flaw.  It's my Achille's heel.   I'm not compassionate in the best of circumstances and even less so when confronted with the same old thing, day after day, for nearly five years.  Sometimes I do okay but other days I'm a horrible companion to the man I swore to love in sickness and in health.   I wonder at God's sense of humour;  I'm positive He has one.  "Oh, yes, let's give the least compassionate woman on the planet to the man who is going to need bushels and bushels of it!"

Still, here we are, warts and all and just glad that we are given a new 24 hour period as a do-over for the previous one.

And it's not all bad.  Donald is being promoted for the second time in less than a year at Target; he is moving out of security and into a senior leadership position while being groomed for an executive position back in the security department for the coming spring.  His confidence level is not what it used to be but I see his potential and, maybe more importantly (because he doesn't listen to what I say!) so do the folks he works for.  He's excited about the new position but also nervous.

He's also performing a wedding for a Navy shipmate the end of this month and he's nervous about anything to do with ministry.  He'll be fine and it's a fairly low-key affair, as far as wedding go.  He's also been hard at work on his dissertation and I'm very proud of him because he is not the scholarly type, never has been and never will be, and this puts him a year ahead of schedule.  Really big deal for a lifelong procrastinator.

Just another Twist and Turn from my end of the world!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Since I dropped the bombshell about writing my first novel I thought it would be appropriate to perhaps give an update on the process.  First of all, I began March 21 and since then have written 21 chapters and 260 pages.  That, in itself, far surpasses my dissertation and feels like a heck of an accomplishment.  Come to think of is, it's been a heck of a lot more fun than my dissertation!  Marginally less research though, which, for me, is never work. Geek is not skin deep with me; it goes clear to the bone.

If I could sum up the writing process in one word (and I can because this is my post!) it would have to be:  Surprise.  Everything about writing this story has been a surprise.  What I am about to reveal is going to sound certifiably crazy; I recognise this and, after coming to grips with it, I'm now quite comfortable with it.  Here is my dirty, little secret:  these people are real.  They talk to me (only in my head, duh!); I dream about them; I wake up at 2 in the morning with ideas and have to get up immediately and write.  They say and do things while I'm writing that I never planned for them to say and do.

What, you say?  How is this possible when I'm the author?  My response:  I have absolutely no idea.  But I tell you true.  I recently introduced a new character to the story with just the barest notion of her purpose.  I wrote a full paragraph describing her without once stopping to consider what I was writing and now I'm twiddling with the notion of a second novel with her at the center.  I have pictured particular scenes and then when read over what I had written I discovered everyone did what they wanted to do and I was utterly charmed with the results.  Hopefully some publisher will be equally charmed and offer me an obscenely amazing contract!

The story is set at the end of World War II in one of my favourite villages in northern England.  It's definitely a love story (never my genre of choice so another huge surprise) but there is heartbreak, huge life choices to make, a poisoning mystery, a lot of history and a blue Great Dane named Keeper.  The characters are people who say and think things that depict, I hope, real life in a real time, which means mistakes are made and life is far from perfect but they have to learn to change, grow, and maybe even love again.  Keeper has to learn that shuttlecocks are not his special chasing privilege.

I leave with you my protagonist's musings about returning to her childhood home after five years at war and after her husband has left her for a French woman.  This a vulnerable thing to do but I'm interested to hear thoughts and/or similar writing experiences.  (Someone please tell me I'm not alone in the universe!)

          Oldfields had been a lovely place to grow up.  Aside from its fabulous proximity just west of the Pennine Moor, a fantastic place for a ramble, on a clear day from the back gardens one could just see the purple heathered Penistone Hill, from which one could walk to Top Withens, long thought to be Emily Bronte’s inspiration for Wuthering Heights.  Liz loved everything about the Yorkstone constructed country house, especially the way its appearance altered according to light and shadows as well as the weather.  During an early summer sunrise the traditional rusty red and brown stones blushed shades of pink and deep mauve; if the day should darken into a thunderstorm, those same stones appeared darkened and stained as though by the Viking blood that was the genealogical inheritance of most of Yorkshire’s long time residents.  Yellowish inside, Yorkstone has concretion lines of orange running through the stone, only seen after an experienced delver rives it in two, thus, during a sunset, many times the house smouldered in a blaze of fiery colours.  Liz was astonished at how often the inorganic stone seemed to breathe and change across the moods of a day, as beautiful as its surroundings of living flora and fauna.

            Yorkstone was also liberally used to divide the pastures, surround the garden and hedge off the drive.  The massive, dry stone walls had been present for hundreds of years and Liz marvelled at the half-moon capstones of yellow sitting as sentries on the top of the wall, silently keeping watch over Oldfields, aglow in the moonlight.  As a little girl, on bright, sleepless nights, Liz would lean out her open window trying to count each capstone, losing count and starting again, until the seemingly never ending wall drifted out of sight in the encroaching darkness.
          It was good to be home, a place Liz missed deeply and loved fiercely.  Perhaps more importantly, it was a place where she was loved fiercely in return.  Such a haven is exactly where one takes a broken heart, broken not so much for what Liz had lost in her faithless husband but for the dreams she harboured of her future.  At Oldfields, Liz would find rest, and, sustained by serenity, support and fresh, moorland air, she would heal. 

So, no idea why the last paragraph won't double space and it won't let me fix it even though I cut and pasted directly from the book.  It's sending my perfectionist tendencies into overdrive so I'm going to walk away and feed my family now.