I love “Chateau Diaries” on YouTube

With all the many Corona Virus restrictions in place over the past three months, entertainment opportunities to offset tedium during this same time frame have been meager indeed. Travel is practically non-existent,  viewing entertainment sorely limited, family and friend gatherings measured out via number of face masks and square-foot real estate. However, as a writer, these same limitations present me with a silver lining. I can escape to my current work in progress, The Vintage Stylist, the third and final book of my Loving Vintage series. But even after getting lost in my fictional world with characters: Annie Savone; Julie Bishop; and Mimi Shepherd, I need to shake myself out from that world and take a stretch. Mummy with Vintage Telepath

One of the brightest parts of our day now is to view the YouTube channel, Chateau Diaries. This is an amazingly entertaining, informative and special pandemic escape vlog created by this Chatelaine of the 16th century Chateau de LaLande tucked away in the center of France. This is the ongoing vlog series of Stephanie Jarvis and her passion to lovingly renovate and restore the chateau to its former glory. She lives there full time and is visited by Isabel Jarvis Attfield, her spirited and intrepid Mummy, friends and other family. They are joined by Workaway volunteers from the four corners of the earth who search for a different way of life other than the universally accepted nine-to-five drudgery as they help in the restoration effort. As an anniversary gift to Mummy and with love and gratitude for all the entertainment value Chateau Diaries has added to our days, I sent some of my stories for Mummy to add to her To Read stack.

This YouTube channel  is so relaxing to view! Stephanie, Mummy, Scotman, Michael, Oliver, Nati, Selmar, Diesel, Thomaz, Marie, the Illusive Nic, Dan the Gardener, Antoine, Marie Wiik, Mary “Poppins,” the “Ians,” the peacock, peahen, and peachicks … all these wonderful characters will brighten your day and grow a huge smile on your pandemic weary face! I highly recommend it!

Adding joy to your winter day

From Nardi Point …

Yes, something was missing. Where were the flowers Laurinda took pleasure in collecting and placing on the oak kitchen table? She knew Laurinda stepped off the deck into the wooded area and gathered pieces of nature  to celebrate her mornings. Pinecones, green sticky ball seed pods, holly leaves bright with red berries sometimes mixed with honeysuckle vine, Bluebird feathers, and juniper berries—all were arranged casually and admired. She could read Laurinda’s mood by the seemingly spontaneous items she collected, for each of nature’s items held meaning. Their absence concerned her.

Bringing Nature Home is all about floral arrangements inspired by nature and how these arrangements contribute to wellbeing in our daily lives. Each season produces natural elements, that if we give pause to see, can uplift our spirits. Blog Winter

Laurinda practiced this. She took moments out to walk the golden pine-matted woods and collect pine cones, small twig shapes, varied leaves, a red Cardinal bird feather, berried branches, native grasses, and any wildflower that presented itself. All brought seasonal delight and joy to her day.

So, though the calendar may read winter, wrap a warm scarf around your neck and explore the botanicals out there waiting for you to collect and enjoy.

Sitting too long…a cautionary tale

Nancy is super engrossed at the keyboard. Her thoughtful heroine is about to make a fatal error….

Four hours later—Nancy is super engrossed at the keyboard. Her thoughtful heroine is still not thinking right, she’s going further down the rabbit hole. And Nancy hasn’t moved from her position yet!

Yes, this is how the past several years have gone starting five novels ago. Why am I sharing this with you? So you become smarter than I was and not completely disregard exercise from your daily routine. I don’t have the time or inclination to think about exercise. Well, the time is available that’s true, but I’d much rather be “super engrossed at the keyboard” than wasting it doing any sort of exercise.

It started with a hitch in the leg/pelvic region. What had just happened? It seemed for a moment maybe one leg was shorter than the other and it resulted in an uneven limp/walk. I shook it off and thought an actual short “refreshing walk” would rid me of the kink. Only about a block away from home, my upper legs burned, my stamina deserted me and the thought I may not be able to walk back to my home crashed into my brain.

I asked our family physician, did I need  xrays?  Medication? Gulp, surgery like in hip replacement? Am I disabled? He is so patient with his writer patient. “No. You need exercise, like a nice refreshing walk. I also recommend physical therapy.” I shook my head. Argggg! I seemed to be without a choice.

Two months later, I thank my physical therapist, Sheila Gallagher-Whitlock for introducing me to best practice exercises for tight hip-flexor and Psoas (pronounced so-as) muscles. For me it means various exercises, a daily walk, a stand-up desk, and writing intervals of no longer than twenty minutes. Twenty minutes!

So all my beautiful readers and writer friends, I humbly offer this tale for your consideration. I never dreamed this could happen to me, but I’ve since learned I am not the superwoman I thought. No, I could become disabled for if this condition had been left unchecked, the muscles I work so hard to improve daily could have reached the point of no-return and a nice little scooter would have been my only future option.

This tale I share is even more important than a New Year resolution! If like me, you find your daily routine is light on mobility, do what you can to change that! I wish you all the very best in 2019!

From Nancy, writing from her stand-up desk!

Remembering a poem fondly

All is so clear in hindsight, isn’t it? I wrote short stories and poetry throughout grammar and high school without recognizing writing would be the constant joy of my life. While additional paths criss-crossed my journey, I’ve just uncovered some dog-eared, early published materials … and it’s like meeting my younger self.

Seeing the magazine cover from the issue that held my first poems, the small payment check received fifty years ago, the gracious letter from the Editor-in-Chief, Sylvie Schuman, acknowledging my contribution is like reviewing a standalone journal. Every word of that letter places me back exactly to the time I first opened the envelope and read her message. And she said magic words any author lives for: “I shall be happy to see more of your creative work in the future.” It took my breath away. Of course I sent another and it too was published. Yes, I was ecstatic. 0306161632~2_resized

There was even a fan letter from Beth Johnson written on the softest blue onion skin stationery so popular with girls of the ’60s:

You probably think this is very strange having me writing to you when you don’t even know me. But I just wanted to write a little note to tell you how much I love your poem, ‘Apart from love.’ It is really beautiful. 0306161634~2_resized

Wow! I’d love to meet up with Beth somehow after all this time. Beth, if you’re out there, please let me know. How I would have loved to have encouraged my younger self’s writing life and hint at the publishing adventures that awaited. Perhaps there’s a story-line here.

Feeling grateful for the perspective of time and sending encouragement to anyone who simply cannot resist putting words to paper!