Tag: NFL

Aspects of Fall

Aspects of Fall

24 September 2017

Fall is officially here!  The temperatures are slightly cooler in the morning and beginning to drop more in the evening.  Here in New Mexico, the sun still keeps us toasty during the day.

I’m torn between which season is my favorite: summer or fall.  I love summer because of the dry heat; I can curl up on a chair on the lawn with a book and an icy beverage and get lost in another world, and I love to live in my tank tops, shorts and flip flops.

I love the fall because of the temperatures, which makes it easier to walk Duke early evening. There’s green chile that I will never be without in my life, and took time to package my own last weekend.  It took me the majority of the day, but was something I felt that I had to do.  Next year, I may buy it already roasted, peeled and cut, but for now, I’m happy with the 14 containers in my freezer, while also setting some aside to eat fresh last week.  I enjoy cooler nights huddled in a chair, wearing a bulky sweatshirt next to the fire pit; it’s the perfect time to play more golf, and, of course, football. I love receiving packages of apples from home, and my aunt sends me the different colors of maple leaves.

Unfortunately, the fall is also a season where every part of the environment bothers my allergies, and I suffer.  I’m not the only one; poor Duke is on allergy medicine for a few months every fall and spring now.

I created new summer traditions, and beginning to create new fall traditions, although every season and holiday now warrants a new tradition.  I am always thankful for friends and family.  I have turkey day plans now, which I am very excited about. I am off the hook for cooking (of course), but in charge of the pies and cranberry sauce. I have a new freedom in December, and plan to spend it with my sister, her husband, and my new nephew ready to enter this crazy world in a matter of days!

Fall is a great season to use for showing (not telling) in writing.  You can see it: leaves changing color, leaves falling off trees, crops being harvested; baseball winding down, the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta; feel it: cooler temps; a crisp morning chill that justifies why we dress in layers in NM; hear it: leaves rustling on the sidewalk, on the lawn, being tossed up in the air or in garbage bags; the echo of high school, college, and professional football games being played across the country; taste it from foods associated with the season: apples, green chile, pumpkin; and even smell: there’s a distinct smell in the crisp air, lawns still being mowed, the first cool night that causes fireplaces to be lit and the smell of burning wood infiltrating the atmosphere; green chile being roasted; I begin to bake a little bit more, and I even change my perfume according to seasons.

I have used the seasons and weather to show my readers where characters are in a story.  Weather can certainly play an important factor, as I used the howling snowstorm in my previous (unfinished) novel, Stricken, to set up the turmoil my protagonist endures.  Finishing Stricken, followed by Women in the Library, is my early 2018 goal after I have moved and settled in to wherever my new home will be.

I begin edits on Natalie’s story in October while plotting out my next novel for NaNoWriMo.  Another sign that fall is here, and I’m excited to have another focus once my October volunteer obligations are completed.

Life is certainly exciting, and I am keeping busy.  I am also focused on ways to bring happiness into my life.  I auditioned for Socorro Sings yesterday. Although I didn’t get picked to advance to the December 1 competition, all who auditioned were invited to return to sing a group song on that day, and I just might do it.  I figured I would have a better chance being published than picked from a singing audition, and I gave it my best.  It’s really nice bringing the arts back into my life.

While I’m done watching my team today, I do have the Red Zone and NFL Mix, on the tv in the background.  This is the perfect fall day to sit on the patio and get some serious writing done!

Images below by Karen M. Hellinger, 2017.  Green chile: from roasted to cooled to peeled. This is the good stuff New Mexico has to offer!

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Soaring

Soaring

18 September 2017

This is football season.  I am back to my “fall” schedule, watching my New York Giants play, while paying attention to how the other teams in the NFC East are doing, knowing the tv will be on all day Sunday, Monday and Thursday night until playoff season.  Some days I have the Red Zone displaying, so that I can watch everything.  I contemplated not renewing my Sunday Ticket this season for financial reasons, but it’s really hard to live without it.  I’ve been an avid NFL since I was a child. And now I’m adding college football to my fall repertoire. This is really going to be a fun 2017!

For the first time in 2 years, I returned to an NFL game.  I met up with friends in Dallas to watch NYG lose terribly. I am still perplexed that there wasn’t a bigger focus on offense during the draft.  Our O-line hasn’t been cohesive. I am thankful the defense is strong… Hopefully, they’ll do much better for Monday Night Football.

So, this has been quite a week.  From suffering a minor hand injury the Friday before I left for Dallas, to flying back Monday morning, then dealing with a perpetual 2 year old deciding to tango with a skunk, a concert that was temporarily stopped for 30 minutes due to thunderstorms, the NMT President’s Golf Tournament, Saturday football, preparing green chile for freezing, and Sunday football.

I mentioned going to a concert.  A friend went with me.  I had lawn seats, but I wasn’t going to complain since the tickets were free. It wasn’t one of my top picks, but I wasn’t sure I would have the chance to use my voucher before it expired.  At least it was a rock concert, and at an outdoor venue that I enjoy attending.

I was looking down on the stage, and my friend noticed I was distracted. I began talking about events over the past week.  He pointed out to me that I had always watched football and attended concerts long before I met my ex-husband.  I was claiming to take it all back, but he pointed out that it was mine all along; I was simply sharing my experiences with him.  He’s right.  He does a very good job putting things into perspective when I’m trying to juggle with my thoughts, or attempting to piece things together to make some sense of my life.

Maybe that’s why he says I’m Karen 4.0.  I skipped the phoenix cliché, by not just rising out of the ashes, but jumped straight up from the ground, not even preparing to take flight, to soar. The same friend who once reminded me to be gentle and kind to myself earlier in the year was the first to comment that I am soaring.

I am soaring because I have the support of my friends and family.  I am soaring because I still fight battles (that many don’t see or know about) and I resolved to put “fun” back into my vocabulary and life. My wingspan is wide.  Everyone has a different definition of fun.  My definition includes: being happy, laughing, enjoying time with friends as if it is the last, talking to family; doing the things I love to do, and living life.

And my imagination has gone wild, constantly creating stories and poems.  I have a large file full of story ideas.  Or, the ideas that I capture immediately. I do not like being without pen and paper most days.

The time has come for me to wrap up the story of Natalie and Adam.  This is a good story, and one that should be read. The themes between this one and the next are going to intertwine a bit, so I will need to spend time including a twist to make each one sound exciting and new. Between everything else I have going on in my life, and watching my calendar continue to fill up, I am looking forward to the finale of the story; the sigh of relief with a large smile knowing my novel is as complete as it can be.

New routines.  That’s what I’ve found with the return of the NFL season-new routines and time management. I have music to practice, a novel to write, a poetry book to wrap up, friends to hang out with, a life to declutter, and a dog who is under close supervision after the skunk incident this past week.  I have finally gotten the smell out of the house, so now I am waiting to take him to the groomers to rid of any last remaining smell.  I guess most people would be terribly upset about this type of episode, but I have found myself laughing (with tears running down my face) because there’s nothing I can do about something that is done.  I simply have to clean up the mess, fumigate the house, and watch him closely when he goes out at night. Yeah, I’m still chuckling a little.  This is my first skunk incident.

I do like fall. I look forward to my NY apples to eat and make pies. I love football.  I forgot what I was doing long before I went back to school, but the only thing that matters now is what I want to do every day. I still take things one day at a time, and thankful on the days I only manage to breathe, but the other days that are full of laughter more than makes up for the harder days. This woman is soaring, but still remembers to touch ground every so often.

Photos: Hoffman hot dogs and coneys from NY-the only food to grill while tailgating with friends. Arlington, TX, for the NYG vs Cowboys game, Sept. 2017.

Memorial Day: On the Patio Because of Our Military

Memorial Day: On the Patio Because of Our Military

29 May 2017

Today is Memorial Day.  My family and friends have served in the military.  Some have been lost in combat.  For all those lost, we continue to remember their service to our country on this day.  We adorn their graves to help remember and honor.  We decorate our loved ones graves because plants and flowers begin to grow (and survive, as it stands in my NY hometown).

And THANK YOU to those who continue to serve.

During my travels, I see military personnel in airports a lot.  If they’re not pre-occupied, I will step out of the way, trail off from my path for a moment, to thank them for their service. I don’t do this for me, and I have arrived late at my gate when I stop for a few seconds, but the plane is still loading; I do not care.  I do this because they deserve recognition.  They deserve a standing ovation.  It’s respectful, and an act of good citizenship.  I appreciate what they’re doing for our country.

Because of them, we feel safe flying around the globe, driving across state borders, going to concerts, football games, and more.

Because of them, I can sit on my patio in the mornings with a mimosa.  I can sit on my patio in the afternoons with a glass of bourbon, strong-add ice; write, study, and feel safe in my home and backyard. I can sit on my patio in the evening with a steak- overcooked- potatoes not grilled up correctly, but, yet, I have my glass of wine…as I continue to write: this blog, tweet, revise my thesis, finish reading a novel, compile my poetry book, and have the freedom to take Duke for a walk any time I want.

THANK YOU AGAIN!

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I feel it’s important to remember those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. I feel it’s equally important to take one minute out of our lives (again, we have our freedom) to thank those who continue to serve. As a civilian, I may not understand what they go through, especially when called for duty, but to stand up and volunteer to keep the U.S. safe and protected is a massive burden to carry…while being an honor.

Which leads into a different type of discussion because my literature class this term has been focused on 20th Century American Literature.  It was not what I expected.  We have been examining how literature, from poetry to fiction, has changed since WWI.  Add in WWII, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Movement, the Beats Generation, and (now) Post 9/11.  That’s a ton of information to consume and filter…especially as I am waging my own personal war; some of this shit gets too heavy for me.  And I do not mean shit in a disrespectful way.  We just finished The Yellow Birds, a novel by Kevin Powers, about the Iraqi war.  Since I just finished a short paper on the unreliable narrator, I won’t go into my soapbox.  What I can say, however, is the books chosen for the course, and the contents contained within, brings forth a new perspective on literature and its evolution over wars and movements.  I was hoping for discussions about Gatsby; perhaps a tie-in from Victorian literature, but that was not the case.  Instead, I battened down the hatches (here goes the clichés), braced myself, and rode the torrential waves and storms that came at me for the past 8 weeks.

Yeah.  This is week 9.  This is the official thesis revision week. Something happened at 12:15am, the turned into paper writing a 2am, and giving up by 2:30am (I think).

I began Memorial Day with an 8am hour-long conference/Skype call, but it was okay because it was with new and old friends.  Any friends that enter my life these days are warmly welcomed.  We had a good discussion, and ended with laughter.  Although, I am curious to know how intimidated a male colleague, from another country, with zero understanding about American football felt as two women drove their own narrative about the game, fantasy football, the players we like, the teams we follow, and plans to attend an NFL game together…

Shall I put that into perspective for you again?

Females conversing about all aspects of the NFL.  Male from another country with zero knowledge-asking for a short version about the purpose of the game, etc. (perhaps something less than the Cliff Notes version).  Females talking about their favorite teams.  Male caught in between two females being enthusiastic about the NFL.  Male just shakes his head.

😊 This may be a long 5 months for him as we continue discussions leading up to a conference, and I begin to take over conversations at our committee meetings specifically involving football.  Yep, just counting the days until the NFL season returns!

I have spent many, many mornings on the patio.  Drinking coffee and writing in the morning.  Writing in the afternoons.  Reading mid-afternoons.  Drinking wine and writing in the evenings.  Reading/writing into the late evenings.  Simply enjoying the crap out of a home that consumed my inheritance.

I have returned to work, but it is now short-lived.  I will be taking a leave of absence again (my friend calls it a sabbatical! hah), through June.  However, because I am still waiting for the perfect lemonade cocktail to be whipped up, I am looking at longer.  For the first time in my life, I am only focused on taking care of myself; re-discovering who I am, who has been hiding behind glass walls, and who wants to break out. I may not necessarily have to decide on a set career at this point in my life, because I want to be the next mega-author, but I need a job that will help pay the bills, cover insurance, ensure extra biscuits, treats, and pay annual medical bills for Duke, and…make me happy.

This is my time, my year, my focus to get myself back into rebuilding a new system, and I dare anyone who wants to try to stop me!

We are free because our military protects us, keeps us safe.  The next time you see someone in a uniform, take a few seconds out of your schedule, even as you are rushing to your next gate, to stop and thank them.  Treat them to a cup of coffee if they’re behind you in the drive-thru of a coffee shop.  A random act of kindness goes a long way, and we can sure use a lot of kindness these days.  Lastly, keep remembering those who died sacrificing themselves for us to live in a world we have today.

Duke thanks our military, too!