The No Ride Challenge

This is the one month / 30 days No Car Challenge

We live in a world where having reliable transportation can mean the difference in type of employment and socializing. Employers want people with ‘reliable transportation.’ People will pick up and drop off friends for only so long. For those of us who don’t have a car we rely on pay-per-ride services (taxis, Lyft, Uber, city bus.). The downside is that not every city has city busing. The ones that do are limited by schedules and routes; if there’s service where we live.

So, I came up with this challenge idea. It seems to me like some have forgotten what it’s like; while others have had wheels since they were old enough to drive.

The challenge is to live without your vehicle for 1 month / 30 days. You pick your month.

Try to figure out how to get to school, work, shopping, appointments, the health club, the mall, and social activities without using your car. In short, figure out how to live your life, still managing your daily activities without using your vehicles.

Feel free to get tips and advice from those friends who don’t have wheels.

My tip- buy a month unlimited bus pass, if there’s a bus system in your area.

The intention of this challenge is a reality check. For some it won’t make a difference, for some it’ll open their eyes about how they take their wheels for granted. to remind people of what it was or is like to not have one.

Disillusioned and Need Help

I’ve griped about it already but now, I’ve had it. I’m disgusted. When I was in Iowa I did a search for rent in Florida. It was extensive, we’re talking weeks worth of searching. I was finding places renting one bedrooms for $ 400 to 450. Many of them allowed one, up to two cats. I felt hopeful that I could find a place. I even saw ads for one of my old, and favorite apartments renting for $300. If I had known that this was a lie, I would have stayed where I was. At least I knew the truth there.

After I moved down, I checked those places again. The apartments I was interested in. The prices had gone up in a matter of months. Those $ 400-450 units are now $ 500 to 600. That favorite apartment is now $ 800. And cats? It’s now ‘no pets allowed’.

I feel like I’ve been duped, lied to, deceived. There’s even one place that advertises $ 399 a month on the newspaper site. When I found the complex on it was different. The rent listed was $ 550. I saw the reviews and most complained that it was $ 399 for the first 2 months then the landlord jacks the price to $ 550. RED FLAG!

I’ve looked at pictures to some of these places. We’re not talking about fancy, 5 star complexes with crystal clear, heated pools, in unit laundry / connections. We’re talking about base line apartment. Places that don’t even offer dishwashers or central heat and air. Places that are under 500 square feet.

To me, this is greed plain and simple. If these were hotels, we’re talking 2, maybe 3 stars worth. There is no reason why these little places should be renting for so high other than pure greed.

I’ve said it before. I am powerless, average Jane citizen. The ones who do have the power do nothing except let it happen. Most people just shrug or say ‘it is what it is.’ Meanwhile, the rent keeps going higher. People get priced out of a place to live because their income isn’t 3 times the rent.

Sure, there’s housing programs like Section 8. The problem is that these only work when they’re OPEN. From what I’ve been seeing, the sites for these programs are saying the lists are CLOSED.

I’ve seen a few places that advertise low income housing. The problems here are that they don’t answer their phones and they don’t return calls.

What else I know for certain is that I can’t stay where I’m at. There’s no access to public transit. I can’t afford to go back to Iowa. The money isn’t there. So, I’m stuck in a place I can’t stay. I am out of ideas. So, I am asking for help.

Please do not suggest that I give up my cat. I’ve had her for over 10 years. In 2017, I lost two cats one month apart. Then, I had to give up the 3rd one. Athena helped me through these losses. The thought of losing her makes me ill. I can’t lose her too.

The Next Chapter

Today I am 10 days away from the next chapter or book of my life. As I write this I think about several things; asking myself important questions about this current chapter or book of the last 19 years. Things like: Is everything done? What’s left to do? Have I missed anything?

Change isn’t easy but it is inevitable. I believe that if you’re feeling stuck or trapped in your situation, when an opportunity comes up for change we need to pounce like playful kittens. This has finally happened for me and I’m pouncing.

I left Tampa Florida in June of 2001. I suppose that it’s fitting that my return to Florida is also in June. It’s almost hard to believe that it’s been 19 years. I don’t feel it. I don’t look 47. To be honest, I don’t feel like I’ve aged, physically. Mentally is another story.

In reflecting on this time, I had some growth both spiritually and academically. I’m not where I’d like to be with either one but I am better than I was when I left home. With my writing, I have more projects than before. Sadly only the academic papers and one non-RPG story are finished.

For a time it seemed like I was making progress, that my life was finally moving forward then in 2005 my life came to a halt. I decided to take time off college to pay off some debts. This took longer than I anticipated and since this, I’ve felt like my life has stalled.

Yes, I got a lot of debt paid off but, honestly, its debt I wouldn’t have had had I been smarter with my finances and not smoked. It’s mind-blowing when you quit – you realize just how much of your money goes towards that habit. It’s a lesson learned. There are many reasons why I’m glad I gave up this habit.

When I look back on the time since there’s been little to no progress. At least not by society’s standards. To make a list of what I have accomplished, it’s not as long as I had hoped or wanted.

My Top 5 Major Accomplishments:

  1. Earned 21 transferable college credits.
  2. Paid off roughly $ 20,000 in debts.
  3. Quit smoking
  4. Eliminated the clones / copies of files among my writings.
  5. Made my first A in a math class that I can remember ever making.

When I look at my writing. I know 2 things for certain: 1, I should have finished with the IFW course over 15 years ago. 2. I should have finished a number of projects long ago. Publication is a separate issue. Sadly, I don’t. What I do have or rather did accomplish was the elimination of the clones, multitude of copies of my manuscripts.

With this, I think about the people who told me things like “don’t do it.”, “Scrap them and start fresh.” Etc… So many said so many things that told me to simply give up on my manuscripts.  I was determined though. A friend and I spoke about something completely unrelated. She told me about her problems with duplicate files and how they were a pain. I mentioned that I had the same problem with my novels. She told me about duplicate file finder programs. Problem solved. These programs knocked out the clones within months. They saved me uncountable years worth of aggravation from manual comparison.

I have tried to get back to writing; it hasn’t been easy. There’s problems around me that are beyond my control. I’m not physically comfortable- I need a new office chair but can’t afford one. To some, this sounds like an excuse. Others, however, understand the importance of being comfortable when writing. The right chair, the right sounds, the right environment are all important aspects to have before writing.

While my apartment has been good for a lot of things, writing has not been one of them. Anyone how has or does live in an apartment complex, especially an old one, knows what I mean. The walls may nor be thin but the loud and hard noises get through. Music is the worst, arguments come second. If someone lives above you- there’s every footfall, every item dropped. If there’s a dog or a baby, forget peace and quiet.

With this new chapter / book I’m hopefully. I’ll be living with my Mom and Step-Dad. They have a home on roughly 3 acres in country like area. My hope is that this will mean quieter days. Yes, they have a number of animals: cats, chickens, and dogs. What they don’t have is neighbors upstairs, on the other side of the wall, or children playing in the stairwell outside the front door. Not to mention screaming children outside the window. So, I am hopeful.

Here’s to the next chapter… the next book, on my life.



Moving Along

A number of my friends are already aware of this. My followers might not be.

A lot of things are on hold right now, especially the writing because on June 4th I begin a new chapter in my life. I’m leaving Sioux City, Iowa. I will be moving to Florida with my Mom. After the move, I’m hoping to be able to move forward with my writing at full steam. This includes the course with Institute for Writers. I am on assignment 9 out of 12, to go. Yes, it’s the same one I’ve been on for 3 years. I’ve decided to take a different approach to the story. I’m excited.

In the mean time- people can join me at The Café on my site. This is a new forum community not just about my work but about people connecting.

The Café

Selling My Grandfather Clock

I am moving and cannot take this with me.

This clock is ideal for someone who wants the look of a Grandfather clock without the adjustments. All 3 functions are battery powered. See the image included that shows the battery placements. The clock itself takes one AA ( 1 ), the chimes take two AA batteries ( 2 ), and the pendulum takes two C batteries ( 3 ). On average, the right batteries will last up to 6 months ( like Duracell).

This clock is made of cherry wood with glass insets and 4 small shelves inside.

The pendulum and other decor are made of brass.

The best feature is that the chimes can be turned off!


notes on the battery compartment-

1- 1 AA battery for the clock face

2- 2 AA batteries for the chimes-there is a switch that controls the chimes on / off

3- 3 C batteries for the pendulum

I am asking $250, the value and price I paid.

Please contact me through Facebook @

First Quarter Down

It’s hard to believe how fast this year is flying by. We just ended the first quarter already. It doesn’t seem like it was too long ago that we run in this year. Wow!

What’s in store for me this coming quarter? Creating, writing, and more reorganizing. I’m also toying withy the idea of returning to Toastmasters. I’ve been to a few meetings this year and they’ve also got some big changes coming.

2018 is proving to be an intense and exciting year for me. Some folks would think I’m just sitting on my rump at the computer. Isn’t that what writers do? LOL

Seriously, don’t be fooled. There’s a lot going on inside this grey matter. Having a planner to work with, geared towards writing, has been a HUGE help. Rather than sitting here thinking what to work on first, I’m organized and decided on what to prioritize. Yup, I’m taking the simple route- going by the number of files in each folder, from smallest to largest. Before long, my writing folder will be totally organized and I will be done with the cloned files. That’s just a side benefit though.

I can hear it now, you know who you are- saying “I knew it, she’s still going after those blasted clone files!” It’s all part of the process in reorganizing. In the mix, I am making time for new writings. I’m able to find the time thanks to the planner.

This is just the beginning of how excited I am. The progress that I’ve made this year out-weighs what I did the last 2 years combined (2016 – 17). The biggest part is that I have gone through things I have been meaning to get to for years. I’m hoping to be able to keep this momentum going through the rest of 2018.

What’s In Your Library?

This is my response to the lists being posted about “what belongs in your personal library”. Some of these lists are articles that would have us believe that if we don’t read what’s on their given list- we’re not well read, or learned readers. People need to keep in mind that these lists are based on opinions and should be taken as such.

That said- this is my list of books that I enjoy and recommend. I would love to hear / read what’s on other people’s lists.

Note- Companion books are listed together


1. Holmes Manual, Mike Holmes

2. Life Strategies, Dr Phil McGraw

3. From My Heart to Yours, Robin McGraw

4. Is it Just Me? Or Is It Nuts Out There?, Whoopi Goldberg

5. The Total Money Makeover + workbook, Dave Ramsey

6. Common Errors in English Usage, Paul Brians

7. When You Can You Will, Lynne Bernfield

8. Emily Post on Etiquette, Elizabeth Post

9. Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Album

10. Ann Frank, The Biography, Melissa Müller

11. Have You Seen My Country Lately?: America’s Wake-Up Call, Jerry Doyle

12. Writing From Personal Experience, Nancy Davidoff Kelton


13. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

14. Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

15. Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

16. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

17. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

18. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

19. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens

20. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis

21. Death of A Salesman, Arthur Miller

22. Tailchaser’s Song, Tad Williams

23. Dracula, Brahm Stoker

24. The Dragon Hunters Series, Paul Genesse

25. America 2040 series, Evan Innes

26. The Kinsey Millhone Series, Sue Grafton

27. The Wind in The Willows, Kenneth Grahame

28. Mars, Ben Bova

29. Moonbeams, LaKisha Spletzer

30. My Sweet Audrina, V.C. Andrews

31. The Iliad / The Odyssey, both by Homer

32. The Boxcar Children, series, Gertrude Chandler Warner

33. The Nancy Drew Mysteries, Carolyn Keene (pseudonym)

34. The Hardy Boys, Franklin W. Dixon. (pseudonym)

35. A Study in Scarlet, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

36. Dragonriders of Pern, Anne McCaffrey

37. Harry Potter, series, J. K. Rowling

38. The Phantom of the Opera, Garston Leroux

39. The House of The Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorner

40. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson

41. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

42. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

43. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austin

44. The Immortal Unicorn, 2 book anthology by Peter S. Beagles

45. Jonathon Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach

46. The Illuminatus! Trilogy, Robert Shea, Robert Anton Wilson

47. Blackstone Chronicles: 6 Novels in 1 volume, John Saul

48. The Tyrant’s Daughter, J.C. Carleson

49. The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

50. Sweet Valley High, series, Francine Pascal

For Writers – top 10

1. Self Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Brown & Dave King

2. Elements of Style, Strunk and White

3. On Writing Well, William Zinsser

4. Notes to a science fiction writer, Ben Bova

5. Writer’s Craft Series, Rayne Hall

6. The Ultimate Hero’s Journey, Neal Soloponte

7. The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, Christopher Vogler

8. Busy Writer’s Guide, Marcy Kennedy

9. The Writer & The Hero’s Journey, Rob Parnell

10. The 90-day novel / the 90-day rewrite, Alan Watt

Why is Ben Bova listed twist? One, he’s talented, two, he knows what he’s talking about. Three, few authors release books to help others, aspiring writers in their genre. Ben Bova has a collection of works that helps sci-fi writers achieve the dream he has acquired.

Thanks Ben!

For those looking for that book that will put you through the gauntlet of emotions- I recommend: Dewey, The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, Vicki Myron

For those asking

Who is Mike Holmes? Canada’s #1, and most popular building contractor.

What is this?

So rather than try to explain what the problem is- I opted to take a screen shot.

Getting rid of the text isn’t a problem, however, I would like to know what it is and why it’s on several copies of various manuscripts.


If you know of an easy way to clear / get rid of this sort of content. please let me know. I’m open to suggestions.

Lifestyle Reset

In my week off from social media I came to realize something. As much as I like connecting with people, I like my life with piece and quiet. I like my life with a little less social networking, So, I won’t be around as much as I used to be.

The way I see it, we’re too connected, we don’t need to be connected at every moment. I believe that social networking is a tool not a life-style.

The other day, when I was at Walmart, I saw a number of people not paying attention to their surroundings, they had their focus on their devices. I can only assume that they were either playing a game or on social media. In other words- they were making technology the priority, a lifestyle.

For those who remember life before social media, remember what we used to do? We should do it again, and more often. For those who don’t remember- I’m talking about getting together, in-person, face-to-face, off-line

In my opinion, we should reset social media sites, the internet, as they tools they’re supposed to be. Stop using them as the lifestyle they’ve become.

As for how my week off went-

I got a lot of editing done, watched a few movies, and got caught up on the shows I like. And Athena, my cat, got lots of attention.