Gerri Bowen: Dog Graduation, Smart Phones, and This and That

So long since my last post. A lot of stuff going on, but we all have that, don’t we?

My dog just graduated from Intermediate Dog Training class. She has on her cap. She didn’t have it on for very long, though.

Tawny's Graduation20140510_185837

Tawny’s Graduation

 

She grew to love going to the classes because it was held in a store where all the employees have access to dog treats. She quickly learned that is she sat and offered a paw, she’d get a treat from strangers. It was also a good way to socialize her.

The next best thing was Gracie. She was the other dog in the class, and just turned six months old. She was the sweetest puppy. Always, always wagging her tail and smiling. She and Tawny played whenever they could.

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Tawny and Gracie

Tawny and Gracie

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The bed was used as part of the training, as in, Go to the Bed and Stay!

Sometimes they did very well with that command. Tawny has learned some important commands that my other dogs never really understood. Maybe I’ve become a better instructor. I walk around with treats in my pocket so I can reward her when she listens.

The commands I appreciate Tawny learning are: Wait. Wait is such a great thing for dogs to know. Sit, stay. Leave it! Drop it! Come! Heel. All great commands. No more chasing her around the yard to get  whatever she found and is chewing.  No more of her gnawing on something she shouldn’t. I still chase her, but only so she can run, which she still loves to do.

Now, heel is where I kind of cheat. She wears a harness, not a collar, so she never chokes herself by pulling on her leash. The leash attaches to the harness has two handles, or two loops. One is at the end and the other is about twelve inches from where the leash connects to her harness. She more or less has to walk next to me when I hold the loop that is closest to her body. Works for me.

We will also go to the Advanced class, but I want to want until after the hot weather is over. That is assuming this summer will have those horribly hot and humid days where riding in a car isn’t fun, even with air conditioning.

mouth for doorI bought a new smart phone. I had one some years ago, loved it, but I was on a plan and I could not see paying almost $100.00 a month for use of the smart phone. Nice, but not worth it. I’m cheap that way. So when my current contract ended, I signed up with a plan that is just under $50.00 a month, no limit to talk, text, etc. So I bought a new phone. :)

Then I had to figure out the phone. I love my new phone, don’t get me wrong. It whistles at me, rings like a bicycle bell, and makes other fun noises. But it is so hard to figure out how to get to stuff. All the cell phones I’ve had in the past were kind of easy to operate. It was if a real person gave a great deal of thought to how to get to one place to another. Very intuitive. You kept pressing things until you knew where everything was.

Not this phone. Instructions don’t help either. I’m sure part of the problem is my age. I tend to understand what is written, and will re-read until I do understand, and am rather good at following instructions. Does not help with this phone. I guess I need to keep pushing some more buttons. :D

snow ice treesAnother thing. What is happening with the The Weather Channel? If they’re trying to wreck it, they’re succeeding. There was only one The Weather Channel. I remember you could turn it on at any time and get the weather. Now it is a Morning Show in the morning. At night you have shows about trucks crashing, or prospecting, videos of past storms, or all sorts of stuff that loosely pertains to weather.

I have cable and can get seven morning shows if I want. I don’t watch morning shows because I don’t like them. I want to see what the weather will be. If I want news I will turn to one of the news channels. They used to have a little talk between the forecasters, and that was plenty. I remember when they used to show weather from around the world, but they stopped doing that years ago.

How about going back to weather all the time?  Want to do something besides repeating the weather? Then tell us where storms come from and where they go. Educate us. We can see that the storms are blowing in from the West coast, but where were they before that? Where did they originate and why? Where will these storms travel? Why do some storms travel across the Atlantic and some don’t? How about letting us know about what is going on in Europe? South America? Far East? Australia? Our neighbor Canada, for crying out loud.

And please, please you weather anchors, stop looking at the other and telling that person what the weather is. You both work there. Face us and tell us the weather, not your co-anchor. Thank you.

Well, I guess I just ranted. Felt good. Anyone else feel this way about the sometimes-we-have-weather channel?

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Gerri Bowen-When I Saw a Soul and What I did with that Knowing

blonde on red rosesIn my former life as a massage therapist, we were required to take a certain number of body work classes for the educational requirements so we could keep our licenses current. The classes were usually four days duration, Thursday through Sunday, and were never cheap. I preferred to take classes near by so I didn’t have to pay for air fare, extra meals and a hotel room. In the early nineties that wasn’t a problem. Most were held at the old Baltimore School of Massage in downtown Baltimore, on Broadway. Before it moved to Woodlawn in the county. And was then sold to a Cruise line. But I digress.

Massage can get boring after a while, if all you ever do is the same thing, day in and day out. I welcomed the chance to learn new things, and as my client base grew, I realized I needed to learn more. So I learned from the best. Hugh Milne for Cranio-Sacral therapy, Fritz Smith for Zero Balancing, and Aminah Raheem for Process Acupressure. All energy work.

What I learned in those classes changed how I perceived things, allowed me to question what it was I thought the world contained, how we are affected by energy and how we can effect a change with energy. Much more, but to list everything would make this blog way too long. :) Some on my best work came the day or two after I had a class. As it is when people with the same mind-set, goal or belief get together, the energy produced can be wonderful. Or terrible, depending on intent. Think: a miracle witnessed, or a massacre.

I was taking a Cranio-Sacral class, I forget which one, and one morning we did a meditation on the chakras. It took all morning. We partnered up and sat on the floor, lights dimmed, candles burning, and did an unhurried meditation, beginning with the first chakra. My partner was unknown to me prior to this class. Nothing special about her. Well, she was a physical therapist, and at that time P.T’s and massage therapists weren’t friendly, turf wars and such. I wasn’t very hopeful about this meditation thing, but I noted my observations as I received them. Then I got to her fifth chakra, the Heart. I am still overcome when I think of this, all these years later.

It was slow at first, and I didn’t understand what I was seeing. It was white, like a cloud, and emanated from her chest. Is that what I think it is? And then as if in answer, it grew bigger, much bigger. I knew I was crying because it was so beautiful, and so very unexpected. I remember thinking that for someone so normal, her soul was so beautiful. Then I realized we all must have a soul like that. A tons of bricks.

I call that thought up from time to time to remind myself while watching news or reading on Facebook that while yes, that person acts and sounds like a raging lunatic, they also have a beautiful soul inside. Not easy. I’m no saint.

So what did I do with what I had seen? I used it in a book, years later. The following excerpt is from Love’s Blood. Britta is the heroine and is sitting with Karin, waiting with her for the Death Goddess to come and claim her. Dromo is the Cheetah and Koozie is the Raven.

CoverFinalLG-LovesBlood Britta looked farther into the hall when Karin dozed. It appeared to be a large hall. It was dark, so she couldn’t tell if there was another level. She sat in a passageway that ran
along the outside wall, but at the far end was another, smaller room.

She was used to people living in buildings on the ground, having seen where her cousin kin lived. It appeared the Dane tribe built houses like the Saxons, but this one
was bigger, longer. Not like the huge house of stone and marble where the Da entertained guests, or the stone guest house outside the mist wall, or the houses in
Pennge. This might be similar to the houses in the village outside the misty veil, but only because they were low to the ground and had thatched roofs like this one.

Best if she never made mention how she and others lived at Breen. How could she
explain that? Still, didn’t the Dane or Saxon ever build houses large enough for all to feel
free and comfortable? Had it not occurred to them? She might mention it when she
better understood the language.

She could hear conversations coming from the large hall, and half the time
understood what was said. Not that anyone spoke to her. Nay, she was ignored. No
doubt because she was sitting next to Karin, keeping vigil. Other than the times
someone brought food to her, none ever looked at her.

The girls and Lars avoided her. She never saw Erik. If Dromo hadn’t shown her
where to take her ease, she wouldn’t have known where to go—even how to ask where to
go.

Being left alone, she had all the time she needed to help Karin ease into her next
cycle. Time too, for learning the language. Koozie and Dromo kept her company, helping
her with the Dane words, telling her stories about their other lives, but often times they
would argue quietly between themselves about grandparents. When that happened
Britta chanted softly to Karin, for two reasons; it kept her from overhearing what was
obviously a private, ongoing argument, and it appeared to ease Karin.

It was dawn when Karin’s soul slipped out of her body. Britta smiled when Karin’s
soul lingered, had to laugh when she felt Karin’s shock upon realizing that what she had
told her was true. Britta felt warmth encompass her, heard Karin’s request of a chant to
assist her on her way. As she chanted, Britta saw Karin’s soul grow to huge proportions as it twisted and swayed, testing its freedom out of a body, all the while swelling as the
chant grew more intense, more commanding. “Farewell sister,” Britta heard. Then Karin
was truly gone.

2021426_blogI hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Below are some links should you care to purchase the book.

Here is the amazon link : http://www.amazon.com/Loves-Blood-ebook/dp/B00D73OCYM/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1370535016&sr=1-7&keywords=Gerri+Bowen

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Loves-Blood-ebook/dp/B00D73OCYM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1370871969&sr=1-1&keywords=Love%27s+Blood+Gerri+Bowen

Barnes&Noble: http://www.amazon.com/Loves-Blood-ebook/dp/B00D73OCYM/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1370535016&sr=1-7&keywords=Gerri+Bowen

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Love%27s+Blood

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,000 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 50 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Christmas! And All Good Things

snow ice treesIt’s nearly Christmas. If you celebrate Christmas, I hope all your preparations are coming along nicely. Presents bought and wrapped. Dinner planned. Guests invited. Decorations for home and table looking beautiful.

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I’m fortunate to live in a warm, comfortable home. I will be seeing family on Christmas day. We will enjoy  good food and much laughter. The children will get nice presents. So will our dogs and cats.

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But please, do remember those less fortunate. They are all around us. Any little thing you can give is good, because it all ads up to something big. Toys for Tots, and The Salvation Army do good work. Some grocery stores have bins where you can donate can goods or toys. This is also a good time to go through your clothes and donate items you no longer wear, but are still in good shape. Coats for children as well as adults are always welcome.

reflected rose

This is also the time of year when Christmas stories are popular. Many to choose from. I don’t have anything new published this year, but if you haven’t read my older ones, give them a try. All about love, forgiveness and acceptance. With humor. All are “sweet”.

In order, because they follow from year to year: Joy’s Christmas Wishes; A Chorus Singing Love; Mind Your Fangs; A Wild-Blooded Christmas-With Fangs. Look on My Books page here on my blog.

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Recovery, Good News, and Musings

I’d say recovery is complete from my back surgery. A few rough weeks with nerve pain in my legs, but Medrol dose packs helped. (May I just say that labor was more bearable than the nerve pain.) Unfortunately, I needed four of the dose packs, for which doctor was hesitant to approve. So with the last one, I was also told to take four other pain relievers. It all worked. I believe it was the accumulated pain meds by the end of the day that contributed to my falls. I fell twice, and the last time was a doozy. Black eye and all that. No permanent damage, but I stopped all the pain meds. My balance is not good, and now I need to use a cane at times. It forces me to slow down.

A big test comes this Saturday, when I drive for a little over an hour to get to my writing chapter’s annual Christmas party. Sitting and driving for over an hour used to really aggravate my back, so I’ll see. Hopefully, all will be well.

My good news! I applied for and was accepted into PAN on November 27th. What the heck is that? Published Authors Network. I am a member of RWA, the Romance Writers of America, and the organization has writers of all levels. Those who want to write, those who have written but haven’t yet been published, and those who have been published. As well as PAN, there is PRO. Pro membership signifies you have completed a manuscript, sent it out, but it wasn’t accepted. I had been a member of PRO for many years. It’s actually a big deal, because completing a manuscript, and editing into  good shape is harder than you think. Being eligible for PAN means you have earned $1,000.00 on one book in one year. The book that earned me PAN is AUDREY’S LOVE.

eCoverFinalLG-AudreysLovePuppy Tawney is doing well. Unfortunately, she chews anything and everything. I find the weirdest stuff in the backyard. Gloves, a stocking. ??? Toys I can understand, and I’ve told my grandchildren not to leave their muddy shoes where Tawny can reach them. Or their toys. They forget.

One of my cats, Sally, collects little socks that litter the floor of this house. I have to find them before Tawny finds them and eats them.

Three Cats 01Sally is in the middle. Sophie is on the left and Loupie on the right.

Tawny still hasn’t learned to walk on a leash yet. Okay, she can walk near me as she lunges ahead. Unfortunately, whenever I try to walk her, my back hurts after.She’s only 34 pounds. I keep trying different harnesses, because just a leash on her collar is pointless; she slips out and laughs at me as she dances around me in circles. My fingers are just not as nimble as they used to be, which ticks me off as I try to unsnap the collar and get it back on her. She needs training, but I am hesitant to sign up this time of year. Really, the least of my worries. :)

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Gerri Bowen: Good News, Unexpected Restrictions, & Advanced Planning

My expanded version of BLUE MOON REUNION is now out! That’s my good news. It was the first short story I had published, and was in an anthology, Blue Moon Enchantment. All stories in anthologies have word limits. Now that my publisher has published them separately, some seem very short to me. BLUE MOON REUNION always seemed too short to me, so I was able to expand it and get it published. For those who have read AUDREY’S LOVE, you will recognize some names. Sir Robin, my hero in BLUE MOON REUNION, is grandson to Vincent of the Great Mustache. :)

My new cover:

BMR WEB largeBuy Links:

 http://amzn.to/16LFZQR

Smashwords: bit.ly/1ch5prC

Barnes&Noble still don’t have the new one up. :(

My Unexpected Restrictions? I read through the booklet I was given, to help prepare me for my surgery, and the weeks after. I was tempted to cancel the surgery.

For 2-8 weeks after surgery, I will be allowed to sit for no more than 10 minutes at a time, and then just to dress, eat, and use the toilet. Then I can either do a little walking or recline on my back! No bathing until my stitches are removed, and that is on the 16th. Eleven days without bathing? Heavens! No bending. No twisting. No reaching. I may lift something that is directly in front of me, but only if I can lift it with one hand.

So we come to Advanced Planning.

Everything I think I’ll use can-wise, plates, bowls, will be placed on my kitchen counters so I don’t have to bend down and retrieve stuff. The top shelf on my refrigerator will have to do since I won’t be able to bend down to reach for anything. I’ll leave the top of my waste can open, so I don’t have bend down to open it.

It took me several days to figure out how I can bathe without bending, twisting or getting my stitches wet. :) I have one of those spray hoses that hooks up to my shower. Generally I’ve used that to help me clean the shower. I’ll use that, although cautiously, since I can direct it away from incision site. No way to wash my hair, so I’ll try some dry shampoo. I hope this all works.

As for computer time… I bought a lap top cushion desk. If someone is around, I can ask for their help in handing me my laptop. And plugging it in. And then lifting it away. Can you understand why I was tempted to call this off?

Driving in a car? I must be in a reclined position. If I’m in the car for longer than 15 minutes, we must stop and I must walk for 5 minutes, and then continue on. There is a special protocol for getting in and out of the car, too. Can we say p.o.? I will do my very best to be compliant. It will not be easy, though. I’m sure I will be grumpy. I’m sure there will be pain pills.

I doubt I will be on computer very much, but who knows? I have a few reviews I’d like to complete, and a gazillion books to read. I also bought some movies to watch. As with other horrible things that I’ve experienced, I’ll have to plan on how I’ll use this experience in a story. Someday. When I can once again bend, twist and plant myself in front of my desk computer.

Surgery is scheduled for September 5th.  A week from today. If you don’t hear from me for a while, you’ll know why.

If anyone has been through this, and has some helpful tips, please let me know. :)

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Gerri Bowen-This and That: Book Sales, Back Surgery, Puppy and Ants

First, I had a pleasant shock when I received my royalty statement for January through March. Audrey’s Love was released February 3rd. From that date through March 31, 711 copies were sold! :) Call me pleased. I wish I knew what I had done so I could continue this success. Reviews came quickly, and from strangers. I didn’t know how all these people heard about it. Not sure if it being a time-travel was part of that success or not. It was also a medieval romance.

eCoverFinalLG-AudreysLoveLove’s Blood was released June 4th, so I’m curious what the numbers will be for this one. No reviews up yet for Love’s Blood. As far as I know, none have been sold. I won’t know until the next royalty statement, April through June, which I won’t get until September. Love’s Blood is not a time travel; a romance, paranormal, shifting, wood nymphs and beings stuck in animal bodies type of story…but definitely not a time travel. It’s one of my favorites. I love my characters Koozie and Dromo. Koozie is a Raven and Dromo is a Cheetah in this book. They are in other stories I’m writing, and those I have planned, but will appear as other animals.

CoverFinalLG-LovesBloodSome of you already know this, but I’m having back surgery September 5th. Long overdue. I’m tired of some days spent hunched over and walking with a cane. Either in pain or in a stupor because of muscle relaxers and pain medicine. If you’ve noticed I’m not online as much as I was, it’s because I can’t sit at the computer for very long. Many emails and blog posts are unread because it hurts to sit and read. I haven’t been able to write, either. A big, nasty, bummer!

The worst part for me is forgetting not to do things, as in bending over or weeding, or picking something up, or moving furniture.

I happen to like to move furniture. Always have. My mother would come home from work and I’d have the furniture moved around in various parts of the house. This has continued throughout my life. My husband would come home and be amazed how I could move certain pieces from one level of the house to the other. He joked that I must have levitated them, because he couldn’t figure out how I’d moved sofas and bookcases by myself.

Alas, my moving furniture is at and end. For the most part. Those little pad things are great. However…

Ants. I had to deal with a sudden any infestation yesterday. This year is horrible for ants. Is is bad for you, too? I assume all the rain we’ve had has contributed to the problem. The thing is, I don’t leave crumbs around. I’ve had to deal with ants before, so I’ve learned to rinse dishes immediately, pick up and wipe up after animals and grand-twins. Not easy! Cats and dogs don’t see crumbs any better than the grand-twins. I don’t leave anything opened. So why did they come in? I assume it was the rain.

Unfortunately, their trail was under something. That something was a three shelf wooden unit, and had to be moved so the trail could be cleared. I moved it slowly. Logically, I know it shouldn’t matter, but I figure if I move something slowly rather than just jerking and pushing, but tug a bit, turn and ignore it, and then go back and tug some more, it won’t hurt my back. So I tugged/moved the shelf thing. Moved everything off the floor in the pantry and kitchen, and then cleaned the floor until no more ants were seen. I did not move the refrigerator. I was tempted, but I knew that was a definite no-no. Besides, no ants were seen creeping out from under there. Ants are still gone today.

Weeds. I was doing so well with weeding this year, and then my back went out. I think it’s the weeding that gets me, not the furniture moving. No matter how gently (yes, the if I pretend I’m only going to pull this one weed so it won’t hurt me ploy) or inattentive I pretend to be, those weeds just draw me in with their taunts. Look at me! Look how many inches I’ve grown overnight! Look! Now there are ten thousand of us!

I actually spent some time this morning trying to figure out a way to weed without using my back. My favorite position was lying down on my stomach, head to the side, and with a hand shovel, getting those weeds. Except it’s really wet and muddy. Nor could I figure out a way to move forward, backward or to the side without involving my back. So that’s out for now.

Puppy is doing well. Has finally figured out it is a Good Dog that pees and poos outside. Bad Dog pees and poos inside. She still won’t go out by herself. So every morning, between 4:30 and 6:30, we make the trip outside and walk until her business is concluded. I’ve tried putting her out by herself, but she waits on the porch for me to join her. When we are outside, she constantly looks to see if I’m still there. If she doesn’t see me she runs to my door. Then I waved my arms and call her name and once she sees me, comes running, so very happy she’s found me.

The cats don’t yet realize they have claws and could do serious damage to puppy’s nose. I’m waiting. Puppy is in for quite a surprise.

That’s it for now. I hope all is well with you!

 

 

 

 

 

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