Saturday Night Serenade–Cat 4? Why Not?

Happy Labor Day! There’s nothing like a three-day weekend. Unless you’re under threat of a catastrophic natural disaster.

For a while there, things were looking exceedingly dicey here in south Florida what with Hurricane Dorian lurking out there in the Atlantic. Friday morning, Al Roker showed a projected path that had the storm hitting West Palm Beach as a Cat 4 sometime on Monday.

Which, if you know our current situation, was just Donkey Kong chucking another barrel at us. We’re supposed to be closing on our house on Friday. If the storm hit late Monday into Tuesday and we continued to have tropical storm weather through Wednesday, there’s not a chance in the world we’d be able to close on time.

And we can’t secure a place to move until we have the proceeds from the closing. But now that things seem to be settling down a bit, and my apologies to the Carolinas, we may just have a path to the next adventure for us.

We have a line on a short-term rental that will allow us to bring Jack, our 85-lb. rescue German shepherd, and that will work until the end of October, when seasonal rates kick in and we’ll have to find something else.

Fingers crossed, by that time, Mr. R will have secured a full-time position back in television news and we’ll be on our way. So if you know of any stations that need a kick-ass news photog or video editor, just saying…

Thanks for taking this journey with us–your positive thoughts mean the world to us.

I hope you enjoy my cheeky virtual middle finger to effing Cat 4 Dorian. If you’re in the storm’s path, be safe. And be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

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Saturday Night Serenade–Stepping Stone

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. R was hit by a car in the Publix parking lot. He’s fine, he wasn’t hurt, really, but the most remarkable thing about it is that combined with all the other setbacks we’ve had recently, getting hit by a car wasn’t all that remarkable.

Over the past couple of years, the real estate business has kicked us in the teeth repeatedly. From the couple who was ready to sell their house then ‘2-more-weeks’ed us for TEN MONTHS, to they guy who has had signed contracts on 5 different houses and BACKED OUT OF EVERY ONE, and every wishy-washy client in between, we’ve grown increasingly behind in our financial obligations.

Then there’s the delightful person who tried to use our debit card in Miami. Lucky for us, they could’t guess the correct zip code. And both our cats died within two days.

To try to help make ends meet, in addition to writing, I’ve been teaching online for nearly a year. Mr. R has been using our only car, a lease, to drive Uber.

In a desperate attempt to save our home from foreclosure, we hired an attorney to help us file bankruptcy. Again, the day we signed the paperwork, that was the absolute least stressful part of that day. The leased car is due to be returned in August. The lawyer said not to worry about the final two payments, she’s rolling it into the bankruptcy. So we’ve blown way past the mileage limit driving it for Uber. It was a relief to think of no car payments.

Then the battery died. Long story short, we borrowed a battery charger from a friend and Mr. R stayed out all night driving Uber to earn enough money to replace a $120 battery on a car we’re giving back.

What we’ve realized, though, is that if we follow through with the bankruptcy, we’ll be chaining ourselves to an outrageously high mortgage payment for the next five years. Sure we can come up with the payment this month. But what about next month? And the month after that?

It just doesn’t make sense. What we’re realizing is that we have to get out from under the house. And Mr. R is planning to go back to television news while doing real estate part-time. Somewhere, there’s a new adventure waiting. And it doesn’t involve the level of stress we’ve lived with for the last two years.

So our house is on the market. Priced to sell quickly. We even have an Open House today.

Where are we going? I have no idea. But tonight’s song touches my soul. This ain’t no stumbling block. It’s just a stepping stone.

I hope you’re enjoying this fine summer weekend. Try to stay cool. And be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Dreamers

If it’s summer, it’s time for my lazy-days guilty pleasure, America’s Got Talent. I know. We shouldn’t love this show. The title isn’t even grammatically correct.

And do we really need to watch dudes getting shot out of cannons, dudes using their nipples to pull tractor-trailers, creepy contortionists, and mediocre magicians. I would say yes, because among all the rabble you find diamonds in the rough, dreamers, many of whom have put their dreams on hold while they got ‘real’ jobs and watched time go by.

One such contestant was Chris Klafford who appeared last week. His unique take on Imagine held the audience and judges spellbound. See what you think.

I think part of the show’s popularity is that most of us root for the underdog who gets a second chance. Because if a large Swede with skinny jeans and the voice of an angel gets his shot at his dreams, maybe there’s hope for the rest of us, too.

I hope you’re enjoying these ‘dog days’ of summer. Be sure to hug those you love. And maybe dare to dream a little.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Going Home

I’m a happy girl.

I’m the mom of two incredible young men. Life hasn’t always been what it should be, and we’ve been through some hard times, not the least of which was living with a controlling narcissist, and dealing with the aftermath of divorce.

Each of us emerged damaged in our own ways. and we’ve worked to move forward. But it’s been a struggle, and my older son has had a hard time of it. Following high school, he drifted, finally ending up in the Air Force for a time. Full of anger and bitterness, he stayed away, refusing to keep in contact. In fact, I haven’t seen him in eight years.

Until three days ago.

Out of the blue, he responded to a Facebook message I sent him a month ago. He and his girlfriend were visiting her aunt in Tampa and it wasn’t going well. Naturally, I invited them to come here.

When I hugged him (maybe I squeezed him just a little too hard), he was shaking. I think he was afraid of how he’d be received. He’d convinced himself that I hated him.

A mom always loves her kids, no matter what. And we’ve had the nicest three days I’m had in a long time. Who says you can’t go home?

They’re leaving tonight for the 24-hour drive back to western Missouri. But we have plans to get together again soon. And I have his phone number. Like I said, I’m a happy girl

Be sure to hug those you love. Let them know you love them.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–I Love a Good Story

I love a good story. But I’m a writer, so I don’t think that comes as a big surprise.

I tend to write long stories. For me, the characters are everything. Their strengths, their vulnerabilities, their past experiences, their flaws and self-doubts blend together to make them relatable. I always want readers to feel like they know the characters, like they’re friends. And that takes time to build.

As a reader, the best books are the ones where I intentionally slow down about halfway through because I know I’m going to miss the characters when I finish the story. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood was like that for me.

That being said, I’m always impressed with writers who can communicate all that emotion in fewer words. Like in a song, for example.

Tequila by Dan + Shay tells a great story. This video enhances that story. Be sure to stay until the end. 😉

And because I have a perverse sense of humor, I’m taking a left turn at Albuquerque. (You have to be a certain age to get that reference.) On my summer television guilty pleasure America’s Got Talent, a guy performed a karaoke version of a different Tequila. Enjoy.

This weekend, we’re well into summer, and in the States, we’re celebrating Independence Day this week. I wish you a wonderful 4th of July. Enjoy your time with family and friends. Don’t hold fireworks in your hand, y’all, because DUH!

Be sure to hug those you love. Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–A Little Sunshine

Do you have a list of songs you consider musical ‘comfort food’?

I do, and this one is near the top of the list. Boogie Shoes is my favorite K.C. and the Sunshine Band song, and it’s from their 1975 self-titled album. The official genre is disco/funk. I love the brass in this song. And it’s fun to sing, too.

Which is probably why it’s been added to the background of a current television ad for a prescription medication. You know how the advertisers sell us drugs–pleasant images of happy people doing happy things, with a soundtrack of happy music.

If you’re paying attention to the name of the drug, which I usually don’t, you kind of wonder how long it will be before you see class-action lawsuits because these drugs are causing ‘suicidal thoughts or actions, tuberculosis, lymphoma, and perineal tearing’ (all actual side effects I’ve heard over the background happy music). Maybe we’d have been better off with the original ailment.

At any rate, I’d like to relax this summer Saturday with a little blast from the past. Did you notice that this clip is from American Bandstand? If you don’t know what that is, sit down and let the grown-ups talk.

Sending warm Happy Father’s Day wishes your way. Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–This is Me

June is Pride Month. I could endeavor to explain the meaning, but I’d rather defer to a source that can do it so much more succinctly than I ever could.

June is Pride Month, a month to celebrate gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and asexual people, plus all other sexual orientations and genders.  The month is celebrated in June in commemoration of the Stonewall Riots, which kicked off the first major demonstrations for gay rights in America. On June 28, 1969 police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village, but bar patrons — gay men and drag queens — fought back, a spontaneous incident which is now marked as the beginning of the gay rights movement in the United States. Brenda Howard, a bisexual activist, organized a march and other events to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the riots and is known as the “Mother of Pride.” Today, Pride Month features marches around the country, educational and awareness events, and parties to celebrate gay pride!

NationalToday.com

While I am not gay, I have a number of friends who are. My step-daughter is. And I support them 100%. I can’t imagine living in a world where I could not be my authentic self, where I had to pretend to be just like everyone else out of fear of rejection or worse.

There’s been a story in the news in the last couple of days about a lesbian couple who were attacked on a bus in London. It seems a gang of troglodites were goading them to kiss, and when they refused, the women were beaten. What the hell? How is it that people aren’t left alone to live their lives?

Our good friends Susan and Lori have been married for years, and they adopted a little boy a couple of years ago. There has never been a child more doted on in the history of time. Together, they are a beautiful family.

But times are getting scary. There’s what seems to be a global movement to restrict the rights of people who don’t look or act or believe the way those in power do. Make no mistake about it–LBGTQ rights are human rights. To marginalize groups of people is to dehumanize them. And when you dehumanize people, you can treat them any way you like. Ask the Nazis.

Tonight’s serenade is a triumphant celebration of being exactly who you were created to be. I hope it find you and yours well. Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!