Archive for the ‘Other Thoughts’ Category

Hi everyone, I just popped in to say I just got a job and after two days work I realized that I am unable to write at this time. So all of you get a new writer for a while and I will pop in from time-to-time and drop a few lines when I get used to the new schedule. Ha! and just a few days ago I wrote a ‘no’ page. Go figure.

Anyway, my dad agreed to help me out so you will still get some good reading material. Anyway, this is the welcome to Rex Trulove. Please say hello.

Also, for those of you waiting on Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse, it too is on hold for the moment. But never fear, every spare moment is spent working on it and hopefully I will have it ready soon. So keep looking for updates!

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There are two main reasons that people have trouble saying no. The first is not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings. The second is that you want to be able to help. However, there is a point in time when it is necessary to say no. That point may happen sooner rather than later and can be for a variety of reasons. Of these reasons, one is that you need to care for yourself for once; another is because you are swamped at home or at work and have very little to no ability to do what is being asked.

There are several ways available to say ‘no’ without having to explain your reasoning or feeling silly for doing so. One way is to say that you are unavailable to do what is asked. If you are busy, don’t be afraid to say so. If you have other plans, that is ok to say, too. Many people will accept these reasons and you won’t burn any bridges. Another thing you can say is that you need to take care of yourself or of something for yourself. You’d be surprised how many people will accept this one. Probably the easiest way to say ‘no’ is to just say it.

If their feelings are hurt, which is possible, remember that there are times when they won’t be able to help you. Don’t be afraid to say no. Sometimes it is important and healthy to say no. Trust me on this. You are important, too. Don’t spread yourself so thin that you ignore your own needs. Set your boundaries and stick to them. 🙂

Finding a Balance

Posted: March 5, 2014 by Cat Reyes in Other Thoughts
Tags: , , , ,

Its hard to find a balance with everything we do. It can become easy to feel like you are being sucked under the tide and held there. No room for a breath or even to move around. I know that feeling.

The secret is to find a balance. You know what you are capable of. Here are some things you can do to find a balance. 🙂

You can do it in a few easy steps. Schedule yourself. Give yourself time to do each thing you want and still have a little fun.

Set boundaries between what you want to do and what you need to do and stick to it.

Know when to get help. Sometimes an extra set of eyes or hands can make a huge difference in a workload.

Know when to say no. This is probably the most important thing you can do. It is really hard to say no to some things, like if the boss keeps piling things on your desk or you know you have this and that to do. If you are feeling overburdened say no.

Know when to have fun. I mentioned this before, but seriously, it is really important to have fun sometimes. Even if it means taking a small break and doing something silly. Sometimes it will even refresh you.

Be sure to take time strictly for yourself. Being able to get some alone time, even ten minutes worth, is a good way to recharge the batteries.

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Here are some sites that advocate preparedness for you all to check out. Sorry this is such a crummy post. Been dealing with health issues again.

Government link for building an emergency kit.

Water

Pet Preparedness

First Aid Kit

 

 

In my spare time this week, in between working everything else, I decided to make cookies. I ended up modifying an old recipe my gramma gave me because her cookies always came out hard and I like soft cookies. So here ya go:

 

My Soft Oatmeal Cookies

Âľ cup butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp cinnamon

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

2 cups oatmeal

Prep oven at 300.

Heat butter until melted, add brown sugar and mix. Add sugar, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, egg, and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add oatmeal and stir. Drop dough on cookie sheet. Bake between 6-10 minutes or until edges turn brown and cool on rack.

Depending on size makes 16 to 2 dozen cookies.

You can add raisins if you like. Try about a cup, and that should be fine.

A Tasty Winter Snack

Posted: February 24, 2014 by Cat Reyes in Other Thoughts

Last night, we had a nice little snowstorm blow through and my mom and I decided to make our yearly winter treat. I decided to share it with you, so that if you get some good powder snow, you can enjoy one of my favorite snacks. I call them Icees.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

I don’t know how or when my parents came up with it, but every since I was a little kid, my parents made my brother and I this cold snack using snow, Kool-aid, and a cup of sugar. It has been one of my favorite things about winter for years. I just got my husband into it a couple years ago and he loves it, too.

What you do is get a large  bowl (we are talking large, think of your biggest bowl – trust me on this) full of snow. Pour the Kool-aid evenly over the surface of the snow (just use one for best results). Pour a cup, to 1 1/2 cup sugar over the Kool-aid and start mixing. You want the color of the koolaid to distribute evenly through the snow. This, unfortunately, takes a little while. I figure about ten minutes of stirring. Then serve up and enjoy. 

It doesn’t work with snow that is starting to melt. It has to be powder snow or the treat doesn’t come out so well.

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Here is a tip for anyone who writes: If you are writing your first draft, never stop writing until you are finished. You will lose the drift that you have and be completely unsatisfied with what you come up with when you come back to it later.

Yep, you guessed it, I’ve done it. I found out my mistake when I tried to finish up Cleopatra’s Journal. So now I am very unhappy with the ending. I am currently toying with an ending remake. But there is one problem. I forgot how I wanted to end it, and that is how I got into this mess in the first place. My suggestion, never stop working on your first draft. Even if you only write a few sentences or a handful of words, never ever stop writing until the first draft is finished.

The good news is that I am starting to get the feeling I had when I first started writing it. How? By working through the posts, one day at a time. I know that it’s considered an edit, but it’s still reminding me of what I was doing.

One thing that will happen in a rewrite, or edit, is you will start to think you are the worst writer on the planet. Yep, I’m there, too. I know that there are better ways to write some scenes, only… I can’t think of them.

I am starting to think that first person is not my forte. I like writing in third person, which seems easier. First person, you have to stick with the one person, no matter what. Noticing what they notice, without doing the whole “I looked at so-n-so…” is one of the problems I am facing. I keep thinking I need to make my character notice it first. But then again, I am still in the edit where she is alone, so everything does focus on her. I know I have less of a problem when other people are involved.

Just to let you all know, my edit has gained another 2k words by the end of day 4. The opening, or what I think of as the prologue, to the story dropped three hundred words to boot. Of course, I’m thinking of dropping the intro completely, since everything is reiterated later on.

That’s it for the update. Wish me luck.

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Today, I have been working on my school stuff. I have to admit that I hate textbooks. Most of them use terminology that is completely unfamiliar. So, as a student, you end up overwhelmed and confused. What is wrong with these people? They would get better results and students would have an easier time, if these people just wrote in a more common lingo. It’s not rocket science!

textbook photo: open textbook textbook.jpg

But no, I have a typical text-book that has me completely overwhelmed and on top of that the class wants me to write a two- to three-page paper on how a work enters a literary canon. The problem isn’t the length, the problem resides in the fact that I am going to have to figure out how a work actually gets into the canon. And so far… I am finding nothing. The text doesn’t help more than stating that institutions made up of teachers and literary researchers determine how a piece is above and beyond the typical literature of the period. Please tell me how that helps…? I am betting that my best bet would be to ask someone who actually is involved in plugging texts into an anthology, what makes them determine what works? And since that is impossible, I am going to have to have a think about it. (Yes, in that sentence a ‘think’ is used as a noun.)

While I am thinking about it, I am watching some recorded Finding Bigfoot episodes. I bet that will help more than the text does. I wish the people who write out what we are supposed to do for our assignments would actually read the texts they form the assignments on. I mean, they would quickly find out that what they are asking us to do, at least half the time, are impossible. The other half of the time I am left wondering if the teachers actually read the texts that the students are required to read. I swear, the last class I had, the instructor was only reading student comments and basically repeating them back in more ‘intellectual language’.

On an aside, I am still working on Surviving the Apocalypse novel (maybe series) and am still hoping for a completion date of the end of next month. But if I keep getting stumped by the class stuff in the next five weeks, it may be longer before I can finish it. I hope not. I am now wishing for the days that I wasn’t in school. 🙂

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What are your thoughts on bigfoot and werewolf sightings?

bigfoot photo: Bigfoot Bigfoot.jpg

I was recently watching an episode of MonsterQuest and I had a thought about bigfoot. What if bigfoot was really a wereape? I know, I know, it’s less likely than bigfoot is. But the reality is just as likely as having a giant primate that is half man half ape in most of these countries. It would explain why human dna commonly shows up in the dna of these animals. It would also explain why they are so hard to find.

And don’t forget that werewolves are still thought to be sighted today!

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The Fire

Posted: February 9, 2014 by Cat Reyes in Other Thoughts, Stories, Survival
Tags: , , ,

This was a paper I wrote for class a while back, too. I hope that maybe it will help someone who’s been there and gone through it.

The Fire

In 1996, there were over 400,000 house fires across the United States, resulting in more than 3,500 deaths, 18,000 injuries, and over four billion dollars in damages. That year, my house was among those ranks. I remember the scent of smoke and the dark haze that floated up to the ceiling, but more importantly, I remember the cause of the fire, and the fact that we lost everything but a few animals in it.

It was January. There was snow on the ground, arranged in clumps, but it wasn’t especially cold. We lived in a triplex, a house that had three separate living areas sitting side by side. Ours was the center abode and it was the only one that was in livable condition. The apartment on the left was missing the bathroom floor in its entirety. The apartment on the right had several holes in the floor. It wasn’t hard to get into either house if you crawled under the floor. The holes in the right apartment were easily large enough for a thin teen to pop through. My brother, myself, and our friends did so on a regular basis.

My room and my parents’ room lay against the divider between our house and the house on the right. The far wall in my parents’ room was the divider between their room and the living room in the right apartment. The fire started there, in the living room of the right apartment, but I was the first to notice it because my parents’ room was several steps lower than mine.

We had all gone to bed that night kind of early. I was sitting up reading because it wasn’t that late. The smell was what first attracted my attention. My family goes camping around once a year so I am familiar with what the various scents of smoke are. I knew that the sweet smell was the burning of wood. But it was mixed with other scents. The scent of burning paper and the bitter tang of plastic were also there.  Combined, it was wrong. I was out of my room within seconds to see that a faint shadow of smoke curled against the ceiling, creeping into the rest of the house.

I burst into my parents’ room, startling them both. “Smoke!” I shouted at them. My dad was instantly out of bed, pulling on his pants in the same moment. He shoved past me as he started shouting orders. “Get out of the house! Everyone, get out. Grab the animals!” His voice sounded as though it came from behind a wall, even though I was only about a foot away.

My mom bustled past, not bothering to grab pants to cover bare legs. She only wore her nightgown as she raced through the hall into the kitchen before turning to the back of the house where my brother was. By the time I hit the kitchen, my dad was coming back in the front door.

“The fire is next door!” He shouted, at the same moment, my mom came back into the kitchen. “I can’t wake Pol!”

“Get Chrys out of here!” My dad told my mom, striding past us to my brother’s room. My mom grabbed my hands and we made for the living room. Once there, I broke her grip and grabbed the bird cage, remembering my father’s words. Only later, I would learn that the birds were already dead. My mom saw what I was doing and threw the front door open wide and started calling the animals. It didn’t help that panic and smoke tore at our throats and nothing more than a few shrill shrieks got past our lips.

I did not hear much. Everything sounded muffled as if a blanket covered everything that would make sounds. The sounds that were made, besides being muffled, were distorted. Smoke curled and burned in my throat making my voice sound almost heavy.

This had only taken a few seconds, but already the smoke was covering everything, dimming our view. I could see, dimly the door that lead outside and ran through it, calling for my mom. She was already outside, waiting for me along with my dog, who was barking shrilly in fear. I turned back in time to see my father and my brother break through the smoke behind me. Pol was dragging one of the dogs along with him. My dad held his turtle, being the only thing he could find in the blinding smoke. Dad shoved me ahead of him and the three of us burst through the smoke into the chill night air. As the fire-trucks pulled up, a cat shot out of the house and tore into the bushes that lined our yard. It was the only cat who survived.

I remember standing there holding the bird cage and staring at the house as the fire began to lick my parents’ bedroom windows. I could feel the cold air around me, but I wasn’t cold. I knew I should have felt some kind of chill, some kind of emotion for that matter. But there was nothing. I was empty staring at the black smoke billowing out of the house from windows and eaves. The door we had emerged from had becoming a billowing cesspit of acrid smoke. The fire-trucks’ red lights would light the smoke in an ominous flash before letting it return to its dull black color the next second. To me, the smoke was obvious against the dark sky, but maybe that is just how I felt.

Several firemen came to pull us away from the fire, leading us through the gate, into the road. I could feel the icy chill of pavement against my bare feet, but it didn’t seem important. My throat and lungs burned, but the pain also wasn’t important. We watched as the firemen battled the fire, trying to save what they could. In the end, almost everything was gone. Out of all the animals we had, we lost three cats, the birds that I carried in the cage, and a dog.

Two days later, we were allowed to go back to the house to see if we could find anything. My brother and I skipped school to do so. I remember clutching the flashlight that I had been given as its beam of light swept over the charred remains of my bedroom. The smell was muted because of the cold and I didn’t smell the damage as I should have. The only sound that followed me into the bitter blackness of my room was the crunching of my shoes on the burned remains of my material world. I remember moving some stuff from a corner and seeing a glowing coal. It still lived after two days of cold weather and being drenched by a fireman’s hose.

Outside my room, I heard someone talking to my dad. Now I know it was a fire marshal, but at the time, I just heard voices. I heard the word arson, which, I learned when I went home, meant someone had started the fire, and later I would be told that the fire originated in the living room next to my parents’ room. The man told my dad that it was probably some homeless person trying to get warm during the cold night. But a couple weeks later, we would learn the truth.

One of my brother’s friends had turned on him for some reason or another, a few days before the fire. During a later argument, the guy told my brother that he started the fire. No charges were pressed against him, even with his admission. He denied it to the police and had a supposed alibi: His ill father claimed he was in his room all night. We knew how many times that he snuck out of his bedroom window to hang out with my brother, while his father thought he was in his room doing homework or such. But we had no proof that he did it that night, other than his admission to my brother. However, he was later caught for starting a fire in someone else’s house. Luckily for that family, they caught him in the act. Unfortunately for us, he was still not charged for starting the fire in our home.

It wasn’t until I was staring at the coal that I felt something. An aching sadness that seemed to both pull my gut lower and squeeze everything inside of me with an icy grip. I threw up because of it, right there. The acid taste almost crippling me in that darkened room of things that I once had. But out of the bile came another emotion. Anger. I was angry. More angry than I had ever been in my life. All of my things had been destroyed. The stuffed animals I had collected, my Barbie dolls, my clothes… my cat. Even worse, my family could have died.

I know that I can replace the things I lost, that material items aren’t important in the broad scheme of things, but I also know that no one should lose so much in one night. Nothing of mine or my parents’ was salvageable. A lot of my brother’s things were destroyed. Pictures, books, musical instruments, paintings, drawing, toys, clothing, stories written by myself or my father . . . All these things were burnt to ash or melted into indecipherable shapes twisting in agony… and worst was the animals. I didn’t understand about paintings and pictures, the significance that they meant on my life until I was much older and realized that they were a part of our memories. But the animals . . . To me and my family, animals are like people. They aren’t just toys or pets. They are our family. My cat had been a birthday present who, I intelligently named “Meow”, would stand and wait for me to come home every day. Meow was found behind the stove where she tried to hide. Two other cats had been with us for years and were found two feet from the door. The dog we lost had been in my life since before I could remember. I felt her loss the most, because to me, she was my sister. The dog was found hiding under my brother’s bed, apparently having followed my mother when she went to wake my brother.

We lost so much in that fire, but we also learned a lot about ourselves. We learned that even though we lost almost everything we owned, we still had each other. That together we would make it. It was at that time that I knew love would see people through even the worst of times. I knew that love is the most powerful emotion in the world, and where there is love; there is life and a way. I continue to live by that creed. We weren’t killed that night as my brother’s friend intended. We survived and rebuilt our lives.

Things have never been the same since that night. We live as if we will lose everything in a moment’s notice. We don’t trust others, either. I have a hard time making friends because of the fear that one day they will turn and destroy my family, maybe not as literally as my brother’s friend once attempted, but that thought still resides in the back of my mind. We know that life is precious and it has made us a stronger family. We have learned the value of people assisting those in need and we have tried to help others. In the end, sometimes that is the best that anyone could do for someone in a bad situation: Try to help them in any way that we can.

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