Monday, February 29, 2016

No I'm Not Having A Breakdown

I am not having a breakdown, but I am having something, I know that for sure. I want change, but have gotten stale in my desire to take chances. Perhaps it all has to do with my damn hip issues. But I am working on getting myself up and moving again, my hip replacement surgery (this time for the right hip - the left hip was replaced in May) scheduled for this April. Yikes, Déjà vu. Been there, done that, got a T-shirt. Who the hell wants to do it again? But if I don't I will forever be walking on my cane, popping pain meds, and overall feeling handicapped.

I watch everyone, watch how they move, and want to move freely, too. It has been almost two years that my hips and I have done this dance. And not the type of dancing I like. Although, I have to admit, in the aftermaths of my last surgery, dancing to Bruno Mars Uptown Funk on my walker was exhilarating.

I wonder what craziness will follow. I looked at a house in a quaint little town over the weekend. My desire to move to an old house on a small parcel of land, and I mean old house, one older than I am, is constant. Life plays tricks on me, I feel content, and so I abandon this dream because I am having fun in town, close to my friends. The feeling of contentment lasts a few months, and then I am back to my dreams of finding, not Mr. Right, but the Right House. (Mr. Right has been gone now almost eight years.) The old age thing that bothers me, is when will it be to late to move? The drive after exiting the freeway was full of pastures with cows, for heaven's sake. COWS. Black and white, hundreds of them, grazing in fields. Charming. Could I look at cows on my drive rather than all the traffic and buildings surrounding me now? Perhaps. My farm fantasy is bigger than any man fantasy. Men fantasies: Been there, done that, got a T-shirt. But I've never had a farm. I've never had a Victorian cottage.

Every year, the same thought, I should move, change, be daring. Every year something holds me back. What does the universe have planned for me. I do believe this period of my hip issues is for a larger issue. Giving me time for the next big chapter. I'd have already made some sort of a move if I could physically move better. I know I am in a growing, discovery period, but, enough already. I need something more.

Being grateful is important in life, and I am happy, thankful, and grateful, I never doubt for a minute I am blessed. My question is this. At what point does being grateful keep you from moving forward? Change is growth. There is always a cliché for every thought. This one: Bloom where you are planted. I'm blooming. I need to be repotted, perhaps.

So, Saturday night, after a glorious day in the country, I am back in my hood with a friend, eating dinner, watching younger folks dancing to old rock music.  Tapping my feet to the beat, and drinking wine, I think about my upcoming birthday in August. If things go as planned, I will be dancing on the floor, not moving to the music at my table. A young woman was dancing that evening, and I want to be like her, at least, bolder in my dress like her. Wearing a dark Fedora, a blazer, short skirt, black tights and tennis shoes, she danced a few minutes with her wine glass and then vanished into the night.

My sixty-fifth birthday I was wearing a straw Fedora at a Steppenwolf concert at a Harley Davidson dealership. That photo is my current avatar here. I don't see why I can't update to a black Fedora for my sixty-eighth birthday. That, and a lot of red lipstick. A girl needs a little color.

In the interim, I am working on a new book. Years ago, in 2010 to be exact, after the launch for my widow memoir, I sat on my patio, dogs by my side, watching the moon slip in and out of the night clouds, and thought my house was the perfect setting for a Nancy Meyers movie, the movie adaptation of The Unfaithful Widow. (I love all her movies, my favorite, It's Complicated) Now, I wonder if I wouldn't like to be sitting in a rambling quirky Victorian farmhouse in a quiet, but literary community, an hour from Atlanta, if Nancy comes calling.

Time will tell, and if you know me, I will tell all. But no, I'm not having a breakdown. I'd like to say I am having a life surge, trying to figure my next move. Wherever I am, what ever I am doing, my faithful dogs will be by my side. I just need to keep their hair off my black fedora!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Who Am I?

I've been asking myself this question more than I care to admit, but then I balance it with two excuses, so I don't feel so pitiful. My hip surgery has slowed me down to the point I sleep more than I should, can't move like I want to, and still need the other hip replaced sooner or later. My other excuse, I am getting older, not that I mind that at all, but I hate I am slowing down from excuse number l. That makes me feel old. Get the point? I've got to dig myself out of my bed and back into my life. Those that know me, know how social I am in spite of feeling sluggish and walking with a cane. You will find me at book events, out to dinner, visiting with friends, and shopping.

Being social has never been an issue. It's my nature. Being creative, pushing myself to be more, do more, make more, is the root of my problem.  Writing was my salvation when my husband died. I wrote my first book. A week after my book launch I slipped (on dog pee in my kitchen from my naughty dogs- but what a perfect way to have an accident for me) and had to have rotator cuff surgery. Did that slow me down? Not on your life. Six months later I opened my shop in Old Town Lilburn, Georgia. An antique shop with a twist - we were a writing center, too. In 2014 I had surgery, but the week before I went into the hospital, I uploaded my naughty novel to Amazon. I had a book blog tour to come home to after I left the hospital. Still pushing along, I had hip replacement surgery May 2015. The week before that surgery, my picture book dedicated to animal rescue A Dog Dreams of Paris was for sale on Amazon. Later that month, a book blog tour to promote it from my desk chair. Then came the crash. While I was healing and feeling better, I realized my other hip needs surgery and that fogged my brain to a slow down. So not like me.

This morning I hit Facebook first thing with my coffee in hand (morning ritual since I live alone) and saw this post from Sixty and Me  (I've also signed up for their newsletter) about Jamie Lee Curtis and knew it is time to ask that question Who Am I and find out to head towards my next milestone - 70. I've got a few years to get in shape to be better than ever!

It's good to have goals!
Somehow, my health, while mostly great, but not perfect with another major surgery looming ahead, has depressed me. I worked myself back to a great life after gaining my widow crown - the hardest loss for me. So why can't I get my act together after surgery? My theory is simple - and don't think me jaded. I had perfect health after my husband's death. I was terrified I'd live with sadness forever. My salvation was pushing ahead to find the new me - and I did, as a writer. But now my health is tripping me up, and I can't run from that. Can't hide filling my hours like I did almost eight years ago. Yes, I can write, but my body hurts and I still take a few pain meds, which make me sleep. But no meds, no moving. It's a vicious cycle. And the other thing about resting - and this is a positive - all the dogs pile in bed with me, so it is a love fest. They can't believe how lucky they are I am the sixth in their six-pack and just want to sleep all day like they do.  If I ask Who Was I in a prior life - well, it was a K-9 for sure! But it is this life I am questioning.
I have gotten lazy, no matter what my excuse. I need to push more, but still be kind to my body. I am questioning the title I gave myself seven plus years ago - Writer/Author. Who Am I? I am not sure. I am not a mother. Not a grandmother. Those two titles help define you as you age, too. I am just me, a sixty-seven year old woman with a bad hip, walking on a cane, trying to figure out my next move. I still write. Still paint. Still love the creative arts. Still organize small events. Love all my friends and my family. Am blessed. But to feel in my bones I am worth it all, I need to figure out who I am and get busy with it. The one thing I know for sure, I have to be creative to be me. That's a great starting place.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

New Blog Georgia Home and Life Features Mom & Pop Businesses, Old Homes, Artists, Writers and More

So, here I go again. I wish I could stay put with my current blogs, but I am a blog freak, and if I get an idea, I have to blog about it. Somewhat off my usual rounds of getting to my favorite places in Georgia while I am in physical therapy for my hip replacement surgery (done in May, which if you follow my other blogs, the Merry Month of May is when everything, yes everything happens to me!) So instead of choosing another month to break the cycle, I elected May for my surgery. No easy task either to have surgery when you live with six dogs! The best pet sitter in the world moved in to run the household for three weeks. But now, life is back to normal. I am on a walker, but still a bit off my rocker! And back to thinking of moving to a small farmhouse outside of Atlanta.

As I sat at the computer looking at tiny towns with big old houses, I realized how little I know of Georgia outside of metro Atlanta where I've lived all these years. Well, the lights did not go out in Georgia in my brain that night, instead a humongous fluorescent light bulb lit up ( I try to keep energy efficient with everything I do). START A NEW BLOG. The words whirled around my head as I thought of titles for my blog and checked to see if the domain names were available. Yes, I also am a domain name freak. My list is long, you never know when something big could happen!

An hour later, exhausted, I came up with Georgia Home and Life. Anything with lifestyle was taken, but if you throw enough words together and run them through a domain name checker, you will sooner or later win the lottery and get your name!

I sent an e-mail to a writer friend ( PEN, short for Penny, but perfect for a writer, agree? You can visit her website here.) to see if she had an idea or two for a post. She came up with something better. The phrase Homegrown, as in small business homegrown in Georgia. Can't tell you how much I loved that name. So back to my domain checker and now I own the dot com Homegrown in Georgia. And with that name the complete idea for the blog fell into place for me.

Homegrown in Georgia. Spotlighting small business, mom'n'pop restaurants, old houses, getaways, local artists, writer, and more. Discover all you didn't know about Georgia.

You can visit the blog and learn some things! You can also contribute if you have a special spot close to your heart in Georgia you'd like to share with us.

I'm energized again after surgery. Between my new blog and the launch of my picture book A Dog Dreams of Paris I have lots to do between my physical therapy sessions.  As if living with six dogs didn't keep you on your toes even when you are dancing on a walker.

I am writing this drinking coffee out of the official Georgia Home and Life signature mug. You can have one, too. Easy Peasy to purchase on CafePress in
the shop On The Q-Teez, along with some great writing and artists T-shirts and mugs designed by, who else but my friend PEN!

Available through On The Q-Teez on CafePress

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Dog Dreams of Paris Blog Tour With WOW Women On Writing

Blog Tour Dates:
June 29 - July 31
Link to The Muffin for dates and details!

My dream for April's story became a reality in May this year. Her picture book was completed and up on Amazon. I met my deadline of having this project completed before my hip replacement surgery May 12th. My book designer, and sister, made it happen by giving me her full attention! We pulled the project together in six weeks, although it has been in my mind for several years. Pam saw the project in Technicolor and made this book a beauty to hold and look at. Pages bursting with color and  full of all the graphics  and text I sent her. She is a one women wonder with her company PD King Design. While she does all my books with Gilbert Street Press, she works with other authors, too.

Below is the kick-off e-mail from Wow Women on Writing to launch my tour. How fun is it?

Have you ever seen a dog "sleep running"? The most common explanation is that they're dreaming of chasing something ... a car, a ball, a rabbit. But what if it's something else --what if they're dreaming of hightailing it through JFK airport to catch their flight to Paris?
If you're wondering who would come up with such an unexpected scenario, it's author and dog lover Barbara Barth. In her latest book, a charming picture book for dreamers of all ages, you'll meet April, a rescue dog turned diva. A Dog Dreams of Paris is a fantasy dog memoir -- April' travel diary on places she would visit in Paris.

My other dream is to use this book to help raise money for my favorite animal groups. A portion of all sales goes to animal rescue and books can be purchased in wholesale lots for fundraisers. I live with six rescue dogs that rescued me after I became a widow.

I'll keep you posted on my blog tour and what's next in the writing world around here. I now have five other dogs that want a bit of fame, too. Perhaps 2015 will be the year I finally complete my dog memoir!

 Buy On Amazon. Paper only. $10.95
 with part of the proceeds going to animal rescue!


Monday, May 4, 2015

What Have You Learned This Year?

And just in time for Mother's Day . . .

Visit my Mother's Web AudreyFrankAuthor

My mother posted the following on her blog today. She is an author and a role model and taught us we could do anything at any age. Health issues have slowed her down this year - but not so much with her writing, as she has a new novella on Amazon. But it has slowed her down to getting out of the house and being active to do the things she likes.

As I approach my eighty-seventh birthday, I find myself asking have I learned anything this past year? Yes, I have – patience. Patience to endure pain and not feel sorry for myself. Humility and gratitude for the friends who have had the guts to stick by me even when I knew they didn't want to listen to another gripe. My best friend, Claire, (my adopted sister) should get a medal for bravery in the face of turmoil. I have also reached that point in my life when I realize: who matters, who never did. I have stopped worrying about people from my past. There's a reason they aren't in my future. I can never be the person I was, but I can make the effort to be the best I am at this point in my life. Thanks to my daughters Barbara and Pam. They are the joy of my life. Thank you. Lord, for carrying me through the worst of times. If I'm lucky, I'll still be around to celebrate next year.

I kid her we are living in parallel universes. My health has slowed me down this year, I am getting ready to launch a picture book this weekend, and I have hip replacement surgery scheduled for next week. I am out of sync with my normal life, too. It is so hard to walk. Everyone tells me surgery will make me a new person again. I hope so.

We are both learning patience, although, me not so much!

Last week I chatted with a realtor to let her know I want to sell my house as soon as I have had time to get on my feet after surgery and physical therapy. It is not a listing -just a heads up my house could be for sale. For some reason knowing I have put those vibes out to the universe makes it easier for me to relax and do what I have to do the next weeks. If it is meant to be, well, so be it. Someone knows I can be had - well, my house can be had! I am working on what needs to be done the week before surgery; letting the universe know I am ready to sell my house and finding the right flattering attire for physical therapy. I don't own sweat pants or T-shirts for working out. I found the cutest leggings (large size so I can slip in and out without trouble) and tops at Marshalls this weekend so I can be the PT fashionista. As I laughed with a friend. I am not vain. I don't think I look that great - but I know how bad I can look, and prefer not to share that with the world. In pain in pink sounds easier to deal with, too.

My Chinese fortune cookie the first of the year told me all I needed to know. My dreams will come true by the end of this year!

But what is that dream, exactly. I am fickle and it changes with regularity. Right now, as I sit and visualize the days ahead, I see a charming farmhouse, an hour outside of Atlanta, on an acre or two of land (just like the farmhouse in my novel, Danger In Her Words).  A house that will work for me and with me. A writing center with classes, book club meetings, rooms and a cottage to rent to writers who want a picturesque retreat at a nominal fee for their writing getaway. Rooms for friends to visit. A place my mom can move too when she is ready to leave St. Augustine.  A safe haven for my six dogs. It is something I can do, not outside the realm of possibilities, even though my few pain meds let me see this dream in Technicolor!

We all have dreams. Miss April in Paris, one of my dogs from a local shelter, dreams of visiting Paris, the city that shares her name. Her diary, A Dog Dreams of Paris, will be available on Amazon later this month. It is a charming picture book designed by PD King Design. Not a children's picture book, but a book for those who dream at any age.

I hope you will check out my mother's website and books. She writes romantic novellas about people that could be your neighbors! Unlike me, the writer with dogs!

The years pass so quickly. Some we have control of, some control us. I think my mother hit it in her post. I can make the effort to be the best I can at this point in my life. As always, she is an inspiration to me to be my best, no matter what, to be thankful for what I have, and, because of her encouragement over all these years, to dream big.

Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new. What have you learned this year? I love to share stories on how we grow!

Rambling as I like to do, I come back to how I started this most - in time for Mother's Day . . . Happy Mother's Day, Mom! Love you.


Thursday, April 9, 2015


In the silence I rediscover who I am.
There is something so cathartic sitting in silence in the early morning hours. My dogs are fed, they've run the yard, and I am at my computer listening to birds chirping, the soft breathing of the hounds, and the whir of the ceiling fan over my head. It is hypnotic.
I look out the window and my yard spans as far as I can see. It is not that my yard is so big - it is just that the right of way to the creek gives me privacy. Space to dream.
Yesterday the lawn ladies came and trimmed all my overgrown bushes, getting rid of that pesky privet shrubs that grew four feet high and invaded every space that once held cottage flowers. The only bushes that are still tall and proud, my rose bush that drapes and crawls over a pink iron cart in the back bed, and butterfly bushes in the side bed that look like they came out of a maze from Alice in Wonderland. I can see straight across the yard to the farm fence. It was hysterical to watch the dogs' reactions when they ran out yesterday afternoon and sniffed every open space. I can keep track of where the dogs are better now. The yard is fenced, but two dogs, Bertha Barth and Miss Chloe, like to try to dig under the edges of everything. Sadly for those two,  I can catch them in the act. Their antics exposed before they get too far.
This morning, my kitchen door is open and there is the faintest hint of fresh air coming through the door and circling out the sunroom window. Time stands still in a world that is way too active. I used to crave company in the morning, wanting to talk to someone, to hear a human voice, to have sound where I sat quietly thinking about how my life used to be. I realize now there is sound everywhere if you listen.  A melody that sings without any voice that needs to be answered.
I've worried the past year that the universe has stopped giving me signs. If you know me, you know I follow those signs as though they were a road map. I think my head was too full of what I thought I needed to do, that inner chatter that confused me, rather than show me my path. I love the quote above. It is not mine, but I find it to be so true.
In the silence I rediscover who I am.
I am due to have hip replacement surgery in May. I have postponed it for months my fear of surgery overwhelming me and the lack of signs from above (yes, my universe includes the man above!) as to what to do and when. The silence of the last few months has finally given me my answers. May. That month that everything seems to happen - love, marriage, death, rebirth, all in May over the years. Now surgery. It will be the rebirth of my getting control of my life again. The silence giving me strength. The universe bringing new friends, a great pet sitter, a diet plan and exercise.  I am learning more about myself as I sit quietly and take deep breaths. Life doesn't always have to be full speed ahead to bring you what you want. This health interim has shown me that I need to slow down to move forward. I needed to clear my head of the image I had of myself that is so out of date. I love that at any moment life can give us an epiphany to help us find our true selves.
My heart was sad over the holidays because my life seemed so isolated with my hip and knee issues. Now I have to smile. It was a time of growth, to look inward, to take that silence and rediscover what matters most. I've cleared my demons and the universe has room again to guide me.