Down the road for 2016…

2016 has arrived, and the holidays are behind us and we’re about to resume all of the regular routines once more. With the onset of the new year, there are many things of which I wish to take stock, one of them being the direction I want my blogging and writing to go. With that in mind, for this first blog of 2016, perhaps I need to re-examine exactly why I started Down Many Roads in 2011.

Roads—particularly those narrow, unmarked country types—wind along and often take us to surprising places we have no idea even exist. I’ve always preferred the off-the-beaten-path roads to the tedious interstates and tollways, if I’m not in a rush to get somewhere! And given the choice of “one less travelled” or the busier, more logical one, I’ll be like Frost and select the former.

Upon retiring from my teaching career, we moved away from a very busy town in the western suburbs of Chicago to a small town smack dab in the heart of rural northern Illinois.

Once we were pretty much settled into our new residence, I discovered the world of blogging and decided to give it a try. My wish was to write about various topics: writing, reading, authors, sports, memories, travel, family life, our children, our grandchildren, etc.

In short, I wanted to venture down many roads whenever the spirit moved me. Thus, I had the title of my newly-hatched blog: Down Many Roads. I vowed to publish something at least once a week.

Despite my original intentions, I haven’t been as faithful to posting on a regular basis, and often times I’ve not been motivated to devote the time needed to do it right.

Where I sit and work on my writing, I can look out my windows to acres of cornfields (or soybeans every other year!) and not feel hemmed in by the hustle and bustle of people and cars on the go, always in a rush to move their lives right along.

I hope that 2016 will be one of good and regular posting on my journey down many roads–that I do, in fact, do it right–and I also hope you fine readers will stick with me along the way. Come along and let’s see where the 2016 roads take us!:-)

Oil change, morning TV, and late-October musings…

cropped-countryroad1.jpgLate October—very late! Halloween rolling in tomorrow. Weather changing. Patio and deck furniture hauled to the garage. Solar lights pulled from their places of importance around the yard and brought in for cleaning, battery removal, and storage.

One of the last mowings, trimming, and edging for the year before mower gets traded for snow thrower that’s been hiding out in son’s shed down the road a ways.

Car in for oil change this morning. Large TV blaring in waiting room in Service area. Screaming fans in the street and gushing hosts and hostesses on program annoying and headache inducing! I hate TV in the morning, especially GMA, but I can’t very well get up and turn it off. It’s not mine, after all! So I sit and wait. Try to read my Jeff Shaara book about the siege of Vicksburg, but Taylor Swift is rattling my concentration with her birdlike warbling.

Commercial break. Two to three minutes of political spots that paint opponents as the most evil and vile persons walking this planet! These do nothing but add to my distaste for having the damned TV turned on in the first place!

A lady beside me is bending the ear of an older gentleman two seats away—something about the tree that fell next to her house and the giant sinkhole that scared the bejabbers out of her neighborhood. He shakes his head as if to say that he is spellbound at all that she is telling him.

Some employee from the front comes in, apparently on some mission of importance, and re-stocks the styrofoam cups for the coffee machine, that is now woefully near empty!

Fortunately, oil change and tire rotation is done within forty-five minutes, so I’m free to escape and regain my equilibrium in the peace and quiet of my Equinox. Best part: maintenance service still under warranty and no charge, and everything checks out A-OK. Still like new!

On the way home, I pass many farms and fields. Harvest in full swing, and farmers working hard to beat the impending rain and big weather change that’s heading our way here in northern Illinois by tomorrow.

Nearby orchards and farm stands have closed for the season. Out of apples, pumpkins, and other autumn delights. Signs proclaim that another season has come and gone and “Thanks for your patronage…see you next spring!” Owners preparing to head south for the winter, I would think. Basking in the sun while we’ll be basking in the driving snow as it flies at us from our snow throwers on a regular basis.

The busy “writing season” is creeping in now. Important to take care of outside chores so when the frigid winds howl and the snow begins to fly and the furnace reports for duty once more, work on next novel and short stories can move along without so many interruptions. No NaNoWriMo for me this November. Have enough work to do on current WIPs. Maybe again next year.

Now, time to move along to next items on “To Do” list. Happy late-October, all…CortlandWriter 🙂No Sun Up in the Sky...

If it’s not one thing, it’s another…and another…and…

Large and small skillets
Large and small skillets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Out of the frying pan and into the…well, it’s really not as bad as dodging the flames and fiery consequences, but it’s just one more thing added to this increasingly busy month.

On top of everything else, I’ve begun a week-long online course all about Compiling in Scrivener, presented by Gwen Hernandez.

And though I’m eager to get into the lessons and take away so much more than what I already know about the somewhat tricky process of compiling my writing for publication in the wonderful program that is Scrivener, there are other obligations and duties that need tended to at the same time.

For instance, we’ll be moving into the cottage the end of the month, and the general procuring, organizing, and packing for this monumental annual event has arrived, and we are busily getting to it. In the meantime, I’m waiting for a string of clear, warm days so I can water seal our back deck before I head off for my summer splendor. Also, there’s the usual necessary yard work right here that cannot be ignored. And my grandfatherly task of picking our two grandsons up from school three days a week still is in the mix as well.

I know, I know. It would seem that I’m coming off as being not very happy about my lot in life. On the contrary, I love it! It beats the alternative, and I don’t think I’d know how to act if I didn’t have a zillion and one things going on all at the same time.

Looking back over my life, I’d say that I never have done things the easy way. Instead of clearing the way to focus on one thing—and do it well—I’ve been known to take on something else and try to manage to somehow complete them both—some with good outcomes, others not so good. As a result, the experience is often frustrating, leaving me somewhat ticked off at myself for taking on more at one time than I probably should have. But I doubt if I’ll ever change, and so I’ll stay the course, as it were.

Speaking of “course,” I am happy to say that the Scrivener Compile course, which began this week, is

scrivener corkboard
scrivener corkboard (Photo credit: Terry Freedman)

going well, and I can do the daily lesson any time during the day or evening. And our preparation for “move-in” weekend is moving along and all will be fine when it’s time to head to Michigan on May 23rd.

Also, the yard has been cut and fertilized this week, and the dandelions haven’t invaded totally. I meet the grandsons on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday right on time at 3:00 without fail. So, somehow, there does seem to be enough time in each day to get things taken care of, and really what do I have to moan and groan about?

I suppose that now that the nasty winter is finally a distant spec in the rearview mirror, and spring and summer are coming alive rather quickly, all things we need or want to do seem to need doing all at the same time. And that’s OK. Somehow, I know from experience that it all will get done! I’ve said it before: Life’s good!…CortlandWriter


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