Monday, January 31, 2011

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

In case you hadn't heard, Christine is hosting a combo You've come a long way, Baby Blogfest/Anniversary Contest this Saturday, February 5th. If you haven't already, click on over and enter the contest and/or the blogfest for some fabulous prizes. Hurry, time's a ticking.

Link to Christine

I've also signed up for Arlee Bird's A to Z Blogging Challenge for the month of April. Click on over and sign up for this one, too!

Arlee's A to Z Blogging Challenge

Okay, I'm off to work on that manuscript!

Happy Tuesday, Olivia J. Herrell


"Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared." ~ taken from pg 18, Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clasen.

Translated for me: Write, dammit, WRITE!

Today's online radio station is Southern Rock, courtesy of AOL. Just now the James Gang perform Walk Away.  You gotta love Joe Walsh. OMG, I just found a 1971 live version and these guys were babies! Wow.

Anyway, back on topic. Bugsy is outside chasing birds around the feeder. And I? I am preparing for my writing time.

B.S.? You did NOT say that. But, yeah. Probably.

The Truth is just this: If I don't sit my fanny down and write this epic tale taking place in my head, someone else will. Or something similar. So it's time for me to shut up and sit down. And write. In spite of the fact that I am scared s**tless because it feels, and is a gargantuan task, even one snippet, one scene at a time. But I'm convinced. If Tolkien can do it, so can I. If Lucas can do it, I can do it.

I will.

Here I go.

May the Force be with you and may the Eye never fall upon your face.

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell

Sunday, January 30, 2011

This, That and the Other

I give up. Since I can't seem to put together a real post, here's a list of what's been happening in Rebel Land.
  1. I'm spending a lot of time in Villa Rica (aka VR), the home town I left thirtysomething years ago. The plan at that time was to leave and never, ever, not in a million years, go back. Not to live, anyway.
  2. I now have an 'office' upstairs in Lola Salon (friend us on Facebook) in said home town and so far have two official paying patients. Thanks, guys! If you're looking for a new chiropractor on the west side of Atlanta, I'm your gal.
  3. I pet-sat for my sister-in-law this weekend. Carolyn, if you're reading, I love you and, oh my god, HOW do you manage all those critters every day? They wore me out. Please don't go anywhere again. Ever.
  4. Bugsy has officially boycotted the house in Dahlonega while I'm in VR. He refuses to come in for my roommate. At all. Which means he is sleeping outside. At night. (Later I'll share a picture of him in a box in my back seat as I tried to leave for VR the other day.)
  5. This distresses me BIG TIME. So I came back to Dahlonega two days early. He now sleeps peacefully curled up against me, under my arm on the chair.
  6. Tomorrow I will plead his case once more with my aunt, who has graciously given me a home in Villa Rica until I make enough bucks to rent a place of my own.
  7. Yes, I'm starting over again. But you know this about me already.
  8. The depression is gone. Totally. Completely. Vanished. Thank God for prozac.
  9. I've re-discovered a book I ordered two years ago and wasn't ready for. Till now. The title? Potatoes Not Prozac (PNP). I'm doing the first step (eating a balanced breakfast within the first hour of rising in the a.m.) and have cheated a bit by experimenting with the third step.
  10. I will tell you that for two mornings in a row while doing this I was flooded with serotonin and beta-endorphins (what the eating plan is designed to do and why you won't want sugar anymore) and literally SINGING in happiness. Seriously. Keep this up and bye-bye prozac!
  11. I found Healthy Choice Steamers, courtesy of my roommate. The first was so-so. The second (Steak Merlot) was yummy. Sold me. For only $2 on sale and several minutes later I've got a tasty, less than 300-calorie meal with plenty of complex carbs (the good kind) and protein.
  12. My favorite, however, is Kashi. The Lemongrass Coconut Chicken and the Southwestern Chicken are both SUPERB. The Sweet and Sour Chicken was a little too sweet for me.
  13. And don't ask me about the Health Valley F-Factor Skinnys. Laudy mercy get out of the way in the morning!
  14. I now fit in to my fat jeans (woohoo) and will have my first monthly weigh-in on the 1st (in two days). I'm on target for Minus 35 by 6/30. Remember, that was only 1 1/2 pounds a week.
  15. I slid backwards in a love relationship last week. Call me weak. Go ahead. I believed again for a moment. Dang.
  16. The pesky sugar cravings are gone. That is, by the way, only one point of the Potatoes Not Prozac program.
  17. Confession. I felt crummy yesterday afternoon (that whole love thing and the Bugsy thing) and ran screaming to a movie where I, with little guilt, ate popcorn and (I'm happy to report) only HALF of the very-sweet Cherry Coke. But yes, I ate all the popcorn. No extra butter.
  18. After the movie I wandered in to Marshall's, somewhat mollified by Jack Gulliver Black and Jason Segal, but still feeling the edge of the blade. Wandering the aisles I came across a $2 water bottle, stainless steel. I eyed and coveted a hand mirror, but resisted. Then an idea hatched. I would treat myself to something. The relief was palpable and immediate.
  19. Almost like this, but way cuter.
  20. That gold leather (and out-of-my-budget) purse I spied last weekend was gone, a bargain snatched up by another lucky Marshalls' shopper. But there, on the last rack, behind the other red purses, a ruby (think bright cherry) red Billion Bucks Kathy Van Zeeland. On sale for $15. No f'g way. Yes I bought it. I had to.
  21. Retail therapy complete, I played eScrabble (my latest addiction), jiggered with my nephew's blog template, watched How the Earth Was Made on History Channel and had an otherwise unnoteworthy Saturday evening. But that red purse sat by me the whole time and I petted it now and again.
  22. This morning it was time to switch purses. I removed the requisite wad of paper stuffing, unzipped the back compartment and stuck my hand in to remove a piece of paper.
  23. It was a $2 bill, folded in two. No lie. A real one. I got chills. Why was there a $2 bill in the zippered compartment of my Kathy Van Zeeland bag? I have two other Kathy bags and THOSE didn't have $2 bills inside.
  24. I googled all manner of combinations to find some promotion I imagined MUST be going on, in which the person who ends up with THAT particular Kathy bag wins some incredible prize. But no such google results. If you hear or read of this super contest, let me know will ya? I'll split the spoils.
  25. What about the hand mirror, you asked? Yeah. That ole' hand mirror. I couldn't seem to get it out of my head. I swung by Marshall's on the way to Dahlonega and I'm now looking at it. I will feel rich and beautiful every time I gaze within and that indeed is worth one or two sheckels.
  26. Another old book belonging to the 'purchased and neglected' category found its way to my attention last week. The simplicity of The Richest Man in Babylon eluded me the first time around and I lost everything. Think I'll heed George's wisdom this time.
  27. "A part of all I earn is mine to keep."
  28. Can it just be that? He says so. Time to try it his way. It worked for plenty of others. Why not me? Or you, for that matter?
  29. Thank you for sticking it out for this very long post. You just witnessed me getting unstuck.
  30. Tomorrow is the first day of many to come in which I spend AT LEAST two hours of butt-in-chair recording William's story. It is leaking out of my every pore. Time to pour it on to the pages.
  31. THAT is my commitment. To William. And to me. A commitment I intend to keep.
  32. But first, I needed to dump this stuff to get the clutter out of my head. There is more, believe me. But I'll spare you. For now.
  33. Sorry for the list. It seemed to be the only way to get it out.
  34. So thank you. Thank you very much. (Why do I hear Elvis?)
If you stuck with my dish session all the way to the end, make sure to leave a comment so I can give you some well-deserved link love.

Rebel Yell! Olivia J. Herrell
P.S. It's time for my evening complex carb, Ezekiel's Cinnamon Raisin Bread, toasted with unsalted butter. Mmmm. Night ya'll!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Muse Food

Thank you Dave Roots, for playing tunes I can listen to all day long. If you like acoustic, you'll love Dave Roots. Old favorites. New ones. With a mixture of every kind of toe-tappin', often deep and always melodic tunes. Check Dave out.

While I agonize my next post (and, yes, it's brewing), here is Blue Rodeo performing one of my favorite songs from the mid-90's, Five Days in May .  Perfect timing. The familiar, haunting strains yanked me back to Seattle, where I stumbled upon them during a brief (and wet) sabbatical from chiropractic school.

Then, as songs and books will do, the punch line slung me back in to today. Perfect. So perfect.

It's okay, Calvin. Coming home is as natural as breathing.**

~ Olivia J. Herrell
**Let me clarify. Coming home is as natural as breathing AFTER being sucker punched in the stomach and recovering from the shock. Yeah. Like that. Grateful breathing.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

To Agonize, or Not to Agonize

That is the question.

Stop whatever it is you are doing.

Close your eyes and get in touch with the thoughts tearing about in your head and the emotions rampaging through your body.

Then take a deep breath and let it go. Let go of the breath. Let go of the whirlwind.

Let it drain right out of you. If it's not all gone, take another deep breath and do it again.

There. Now feel, listen, to that center deep within you. What is it saying?

Stop agonizing.

All sorts of amazing things will become clear.

In the world of tea, to agonize means simply to steep. According to an interview by Zinta Aistars with Polly Kragt, The Queen of Tea, "...'the agony of the leaves' [is] a phrase used to describe the steeping and unfurling of tea leaves while brewing the perfect cup of tea."

I like the tea-related definition of agonizing better than the one we have been taught, the one I have believed in all these years:

Online Free Dictionary: ag·o·nize (g-nz)

v. ag·o·nized, ag·o·niz·ing, ag·o·niz·es
1. To suffer extreme pain or great anguish.
2. To make a great effort; struggle.
To cause great pain or anguish to. See Synonyms at afflict.
[Medieval Latin agnizre, from Greek agnizesthai, to struggle, from agn, contest; see agony.]-----------------------------------------------------
Alcoholics Anonymous has a saying, "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional."

Is it really that simple?

I think so. I can choose to writhe in excruciating pain, tumbled by the ebb and flow of life in an undertow that smashes my head in to rocks and my face in the sand.

Or I can choose to steep in the inevitable turbulence, contained within the quiet of self, until I am the perfect 'cup of tea'.


Light bulb! I just realized that I am a fewer-leaves-in-the-tea-strainer kinda gal. BUT I'm also a leave-it-in-there-forever kinda gal. I even cozy up to the stick.

Do I steep too long? Naaahh. Just to my own satisfaction.

Picture me, sitting sideways in my ancient slouchy chair, back to a cushioned arm, knees pulled up, draped in Bugsy's favorite sage-green throw, sipping out of my 20-ounce terracotta mug, my favori-test tea, Japanese Sakura Cherry Green Tea, delivered by UPS this very day from Cafe Moto in California, listening to my inner quiet deliver a novel of epic proportions (now that was a long-a** sentence, phew!).

Now. Picture me, reeling in the wake of the world. I like the first vision better.

How do you envision yourself?

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Believe I Can Fly

Click on over and tell me what you think:

My 2011 Goals, The Short List


"I believe I can fly,
I believe I can touch the sky..." ~ R. Kelly

Sunset Day Four, Great Southern Snowstorm 2011
Thank you all for supporting my dreams
and for sharing your own with me.
You give me the strength to carry on
and the inspiration to believe.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Facebook and the Great Southern Snowstorm 2011

I tend to be more chatty on Facebook than on Blogger. And more often. I recently realized that while I am connected to family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers on Facebook (FB), I am missing out on my blogger buddy's FB lives.

I'd like to remedy that. Many of you display a Facebook button on your blogs. I'm adding one, too. I like peeking in to others lives and sharing mine with them. It makes me feel a part of something bigger.

Typically my FB posts and comments are short. Yesterday I got wordy. I'm sharing as is, no grammar corrections, etc:

Dahlonega Snow 1/10/11
"Saw some people on the news who were out playing in the snow with their dogs and just had to!!!

The soft, powdery snow stuck to my Koolaburras and the sweats rolled halfway to my knee. Pat, our wonderful hyperactive landlord beat me to it.

He and Daniel had already scraped the main road through our little 'village' and is now scraping driveways of some 20odd cabins and houses.

Even sheltered, Betty's white 
I cleared the snow off my car, swept five inches of snow off our stairs and helped Randy clear a spot on the landing outside our front door, plus his truck.

Then trudged up the driveway to get the mail and check on Willa and Saphire (Saffy ...for short) who leapt around the snow like an old pro (has some Llasa in her!).

Now I'm settling in to do some writing.

Bugsy Buddha guarding my notes
Makeshift feeders are just as
appreciated by our feathery friends.
Hope everyone is taking advantage of this lovely reprieve.

Go outside. Get wet. Build a snow woman. Throw some.

Lordy, don't eat any. No telling what kind of chemicals you'll be downing.

Thank the maker for a day in which our world can cleanse herself, without automobiles and planes flying about her dumping petrochemicals.

Bugsy's new favorite hangout

Take the day to relax and enjoy your home. Your house. Your husband. Your dog.

Read a book. Take a nap.

Rejoice in this day. it is good."

Okay, I'm off to find a Facebook button to post here so that we can be friends. Hope this works! :)

TaDa! Here it is. Will you friend me? Pretty please?

Olivia J. Herrell

Create Your Badge

You guys rock! I've also added the badge in my sidebar under followers.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Country Strong

Yesterday I rose early to a clear sky and warm temps, the predicted ice storm still working its way across the country. Ahh. No hurries. No worries. No storms in sight. I was leaving for Dahlonega to stay ahead of the storm, but had time to meander and enjoy the respite.

First stops were two prospective offices in Villa Rica. Both have potential, both have drawbacks, both could work for me to see patients.

In Atlanta I stopped at Trader Joe's, my favorite California store that has (thankfully) landed in swanky Buckhead. Then north on Hwy 400 at the Home Goods store in Cumming, I spent an imaginary $1,500 on fun and funky furnishings for the new (yet still imaginary) office. If you've never done this, do. I kept a running tally of my 'purchases' and snapped pictures of each item with my cell. What a blast!

At the local Walmart, Dawsonvillians were scurrying to buy up milk, baloney, bread and bananas, a predictable phenomenon before any winter storm.

The final stop was Dawson Cinemas, where I met a friend to see Country Strong, a movie I wouldn't have chosen. But my, my, my, my, MY.

Gwyneth rocked. As did the other two singer/actors, Garrett Hedlund and Leighton Meester. AND the soundtrack.

The story is sweet. Not perfect. But sweet. And heartbreaking in its eerily accurate depiction of the devastating effects of untreated alcoholism, addiction and depression.

All in all, watching Country Strong was not a bad way to spend a couple of hours, watching pretty faces with the voices of angels burn up the big screen. While eating popcorn. Thumbs up from both me and my companion.

Stepping out of the theater just before dark we were greeted by frigid air driven on a biting wind. At 7:30 this morning it was 15 degrees, we'll not see the warm side of freezing today. Snow is expected around midnight, followed quickly by freezing rain.

As for me? I'm staying warm. Dry. Home. Fiddling with my blog format and working on the latest manuscript. Thinking about a nap.

But I promise. We have emergency rations: candles, gas heat, well water, plenty of food. I won't forget to toss out seed and food scraps for the wild critters and birds. We're all set. Ready. We'll ride out the weather, as long as it's here for only a while.

If it's the arrival of the Ice Age? Well. I'll see all yall on the other side.

Love and joy, Olivia J. Herrell

Here's Gwyneth Paltrow singing "Country Strong

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Inspiration Arises with Quiet

Some day soon this will be the view from my porch
Federal Debt and oil prices are rocketing through the roof again and, while this pisses me off, something more basic is plaguing me today. Once more I'm giving away my quiet time.

Last March I posted about this very thing and just rereading the article quiets me. So I'm sharing with you. Maybe you'll get your own little piece of zen and a resolve to reclaim your quiet time.

In the Quiet of Morning
I realized this morning that I am a little off-kilter. Well, maybe a lot. The realization has been sitting there, staring me in the face. Guess I've been too 'busy' to let it in.

I finally tore myself away from the computer and sat on the steps in the sun. It's still chilly here in North Georgia, 31 degrees when I went out. I put on my Koolaburras, grabbed a throw to wrap around my legs and donned my uberheavy Brian Head sweatshirt. I took my breakfast with me, a handful of raw walnuts, a plum and the last inch of green tea in my cup.

This is what has been missing in my life. Sitting. Being quiet. First thing. To start my day. This is what feeds me. CLICK to read the rest of the article.
You can also see that, while the writing has vastly improved in the last 10 months, the voice remains the same. At least that's my take. What's yours?

Do you treat yourself to quiet time? Is it sacred?

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Frankie's No Kiss Blogfest

Here are the Rules, straight from Frankie Writes:

1) Sometime between now and Jan 2, 2011 (Uh, yeah. I just found out about it this very minute!) write a post about the No Kiss Blogfest to let everyone know you are participating and that they should too. Why? Because it's awesome!

2) Sign up for No Kiss Blogfest by clicking over and filling in the Mr. Linky. Because Mr. Linky is awesome.

3)Tweet about No Kiss Blogfest, using the hash tag: #nokissblogfest because #hashtagsareawesome

4) After you've recovered from New Years Eve, write a blog sharing your Almost Kiss, No Kiss Blogfest entry (either one from your WIP, one you just wrote, one from a book, movie or tv show) and post on January 2, 2011!!! Because reading your posts are awesome!
For the blogfest I'm sharing an excerpt from Churches, Chickens and ChiChi's, my first in-process novel. It hasn't been edited in a bit so I hope it passes today's muster.

It was dark when Sammy stepped from the Boeing 767 at the gate in Atlanta. She was glad she’d told her father not to pick her up, she wanted him at the hospital with her mother. She needed the drive to Gainesville to gather her wits. She had slept a bit on the plane, just enough to ease the hangover from the night before. Of course, the two Bloody Mary’s had helped.
She was still angry at J.C. And even angrier at herself. There was thinking to be done, decisions to be made and a huge mess to clean up. But right now, the main thing was Mama.
Fighting the tears that threatened again, Sammy shook them off and threw a brilliant smile at the man who had just deplaned. Tall and lanky with broad shoulders, dark hair and flashing eyes, he was exactly what her bruised ego needed. He looked crisp and fresh in black-on-black Armani, in spite of the five-hour flight across the country.
“Cherie,” he grinned, “you here for long?”
“Don’t know,” she replied, tossing silken hair from a pixie face that held sad, green eyes.

Lanky waited a beat for Sammy to fall in beside him. She had a designer bag  over one shoulder and towed a laptop and carry-on behind her.

“May I?” He asked, reaching for the carry-on.

“I’ve got it, thanks,” she flashed another of those almost-famous smiles. “You changing planes? Coming home?” The report of her stiletto heels rang through the concourse, blending with the symphony of Hartsfield. One PA announced an arriving Delta flight, another, a last boarding call.

Lanky paced her, smitten. She knew that look.

“I’m just passing through. My next flight’s out of Concourse B. And you?” he asked.

“Oh, just visiting,” Sammy shrugged and stepped on to the escalator descending to the tram.

“Can I buy you a drink?” he asked, close behind. “I have a couple of hours to kill before my next flight.”

Sammy hesitated. What was another hour or two? She could use the diversion. When she’d called Daddy after landing, he’d said Mama was sleeping.

“No, handsome, I’d better not,” she concluded. “I have to grab a rental car and head north. I don’t want to get in too late.”

“Mon Cherie, are you sure?” he implored. “It’s early. One hour. No more.”

Laughing, Sammy waggled her head and gave him a little pout. “No, Handsome. I’m sorry.”

The tram pulled up and after everyone had gotten off, Lanky extended his arm for her to board. Sammy stepped in, chose a center pole and wrapped her arms and leg around it. The dark man took another and watched her with jet-black eyes, a speculative smile on his lips.

He was certainly a sight to behold. Too bad she didn’t have time to play. But still, she was tempted.

The tram announcement interrupted her thoughts. "The next station is concourse B. The color-coded maps and signs in the vehicle match the station colors. Please move to the center of the vehicle and away from the doors. Please hold on. This vehicle is now leaving the station."

When Lanky edged over to share her pole, Sammy unwrapped enough to give him a handhold.

“One little kiss, Cherie?” he leaned in and whispered.

“Non,” Sammy giggled. Then sighed. Oh, it felt good to be pursued. Even if only for a while.

“The train is approaching Concourse B. Please hang on.”

“Just one?” his breath tickled her ear.

“Non, s'il vous plait, non. Stop teasing.”

“Ah, mademoiselle, my heart breaks.”

“We have now arrived at Concourse B. Please step away from the entrance. The doors are about to open.”

“Your stop, handsome,” Sammy said. “Have a great flight. And thanks for the offer.”

Lanky chuckled, leaned closer and planted a warm kiss on her lips, his eyes never leaving hers. Then moving away, he stepped to the door and stood, watching her.

“Au revior, mon amour,” he laughed, stepping off the tram, and waved as he turned to go.

“Bye,” Sammy waved, green eyes sad again, watching him though the closing doors.

“Bye,” she whispered.
Okay. So he did lay a little smackaroo on her, but she didn't kiss him back. And she didn't give in to her baser instincts, either. She didn't have that drink with him. So I'm hoping it qualifies.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments. Then click on over to Frankie Writes to read all the other entries or to submit your own last-minute one.

Thank you so much for stopping by. For reading. For commenting. And, hopefully, for following as well. I'll be over to read your posts tonight!

~Olivia J. Herrell
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