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bwlines Sayreville NJ blinds

bwlines1 Sayreville NJ blinds

bwlines2 Cape May NJ balcony

bwlines3 Cape May NJ Fire Tower staircase

bwlines4 Cape May NJ Fire Tower staircase

bwlines5 Cape May NJ Fire Tower staircase

bwlines6 Cape May NJ Fire Tower staircase

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Lines and Angles



bowie rip 1.11.16
“Oh no love, you’re not alone”
I’m finding it hard to string a sentence together right now, unexpectedly choked up about someone I never met and I know I’m not alone.
Rock stars come and go, they influence us, they encourage us, they lift us up when we’re down and make us cry when we need an excuse to reveal our emotions. They can define us, give us something to cling to when we are lost and broken, give us something to hold on to when we are frozen and can’t take one more step forward.
David Bowie captured everything we freaks suffered every day and welcomed us, encouraged us, gave us a place to drift to when we were overwhelmed and alone.
He wrapped his words around us and let us know we weren’t alone, influenced generations, kicked opened closet doors and told us, “it ain’t easy” but it’s worth it, we can let our freak-flag fly high and proud, and it was alright, we could all be rock and roll stars.
Growing up in suburban New Jersey wasn’t always easy if you didn’t fit the cookie cutter mold of a blue-collar town but David Bowie gave us a glimpse into what life could be like if we just stayed true to ourselves and didn’t worry about the whisperings behind closed living-room curtains when we walked down the street.
He showed us we were all limitless, we really could touch the stars if we just reached out and shrugged off the mud slung our way. He gave us courage, strength when we needed it most, there at the tip of our fingers and the drop of a needle on vinyl.
Inspiration to become ourselves.
Nearly every band I’ve loved has, at one time or another, done their own version of a David Bowie song, including my own band. Standing onstage singing a Bowie song was a rite of passage in my circle of friends, a sign to everyone that yes, I’m a freak too, just like you, and isn’t it grand?
No-one but his closest friends and family knew he had cancer, so the world woke up to a gut-punch this morning. I’m sure I’m not the only one who was awakened by a text or phone call from a dear friend telling me the terrible news that Ziggy Stardust was no longer with us here on earth.
Rest in peace Mr. Bowie, you are now a true star, a starman waiting in the sky, making the Heavens glow brighter, a celebration of music left behind in your wake.
And all the children will continue to boogie, for you taught us all, we are not alone.
Watch me now….



Are you up for the challenge? Be The Little Engine That Could and de-clutter your life….or….at least try :P

Anastasia Vitsky

I’ve lived in my current home for a few years now. Not as many as some, but the most years of my adult life. (I’m a semi-reformed nomad who once moved five times in thirteen months.)

Whenever I moved, I purged my belongings and got rid of huge piles. Even so, I accumulated more and more stuff.

Treasures, yes. Needed equipment, yes.

But great piles of STUFF.

When I moved overseas after graduation, I brought with me two suitcases (back then, overseas flights allowed for two suitcases weighing up to seventy pounds each), a backpack, and a carry-on bag.

I brought with me four books: the first three Harry Potter installments and my bilingual Bible. Part of my love-hate affair with Hermione stems from those months when those were my only English books available. This was back before Kindle, Skype, and FaceTime.

Almost ten years later when I moved back…

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{December 29, 2015}   Sweet Christmas Kisses ~ My Review

anaschristmasbook
I love Christmas stories, multiply that by 5 and you’ve got a perfect book full of sweet romance at Christmastime.
I love all of the authors in this book, every one of them is on my Favorite Naughty Authors List and have now been added to my Favorite Nice Authors List.
From Anastasia Vitsky’s “Check Yes Or No”, her first M/F romance is about a boy and girl, friends since they were children, the story takes us through time as they live their separate lives. But when Sharie comes home for Christmas and tragedy strikes, will events open up Sharie’s eyes to the man Richie has become? Miracles are always possible at Christmas!
“Kismet and Cocoa” by Dominique Eastwick begins with Abby, a baseball bat, and a gorgeous stranger at her door. With one of the best first lines from a hero I’ve ever read in a romance book, “I have a kitten”, Preston spits out those words hoping to stop her from swinging a baseball bat at his head. With memories of a bad romance lingering in her head, will Abby give Preston a chance at love? A lovely Christmas romance!
“Silver Bells and Cat Tails” by L.J. Garland takes us into the world of Tabitha, lover and rescuer of cats, she finds homes for strays through her shop Café Mew, a coffee house with a twist, the cats pick out their humans instead of the other way around. Tabbie hesitates when it comes to relationships, who would believe a ‘crazy cat lady’ can communicate with her cats? Noah intends to prove her wrong with a little help from Tabitha’s furry friends just in time for Christmas.
“Meri Chris Mess” by Dara Fraser, Meredith moves to Oak Springs to start over taking a job as a music teacher. A few weeks before Christmas a flood destroys nearly everything in the school leaving the Christmas Concert in peril, without an instrument to be played. When Chris, a local Firefighter enters Meri’s life, will he be able to help Meredith pull off a Christmas miracle for the town, as well as giving Meri the happy ever after she deserves?
“The Little Match Girl and the Billionaire” by Kate Richards finds Noelle stranded and homeless on Christmas after her business and home burn
down in a fire. She finds a box of abandoned kittens and as she walks through a storm shivering she runs into Charles, or rather Charles nearly runs into Noelle as his car slides on the slippery road Noelle had just stepped into. A snowstorm, a box of kittens and Noelle stranded and homeless walking through the streets in her nightgown, will Charles be the Christmas miracle Noelle needs?

Christmas magic and love is the common thread in each story, and I defy anyone to get through this book without smiling through their tears.
I loved this book so much I’ve read it twice already. I guarantee you will do the same!
anaschristmasbook



{December 24, 2015}   Harder Than They Told Me

christmaswou4
well it’s Christmas Eve
but I don’t feel Christmas in my heart
oh it’s Christmas Eve and I don’t feel a thing
yeah it’s Christmas Eve
and memories keep running through my mind
yeah it’s Christmas Eve and you aren’t coming back

they told me it gets easier as the years crawl by
they said there’d come a time
when I would smile
they told me I would feel your warmth
your love surrounding me
but all I feel are teardrops in my eyes

nothing is the same since you’ve been gone
no matter how I try to get along
nothing much makes sense to me
I’m not the girl I used to be
another Christmas Eve again without you here
christmaswou3

christmaswou

for all those alone at Christmas, even if you’re surrounded by people, and for those alone wishing desperately that they weren’t… for all of us who suffered loss of any kind…. sometimes, it’s more raw than you expected and…. well, as alone as we feel, remember, we aren’t alone, even when it seems like it, but sometimes we need to wallow… shutting up now to watch Christmas movies set unrealistic expectations so we can all feel worse about our lives :P

Merry Christmas my lovelies, you keep me writing, and while I’ve been MIA lately, I’m dipping my toes in and New Year Resolutions and all {happy dance} so try and enjoy, and I will too, a New Year and new beginnings my friends, yes?
oh, one more thing, this is being written as song lyrics and I just spit these words out a little while ago and didn’t want to forget, keep you updated on the outcome of these words :)

All the love from me to you <3



{December 20, 2015}   Shadow Jump

shadow6

they slip from the corners
circle ivy-like up my legs
sting, prick, jab, knaw at my outs and ins
till they swallow me whole,
tight around my chest so i can’t breathe
those shadows
pull me under,
flatten down
me,
an old rug, there to wipe your muddy feet on,
then, throw me to the dogs or kick me to the shadows,
i slide up the walls,
darken the ceiling and cloud the windows
this shadow I’ve become
is everywhere,
an invisible shadow, seen sometimes as a haze
or a speck in the corner of your eye,
sometimes sepia but mostly the black shadow clings to me so i spread it,
bits of me drip off, evidence found at the scene of a crime
in shadow-form,
multiplying shadows, a clone here, perhaps a faded echo of what once was there,
some of the rug-kickers shine in the sun, wrongly though,
they wallow in it and i fade a little bit more,
soon i will be another shadow on the wall,
ever alert for the escape clause,
when i shall shadow-jump my way through,
scattered willy-nilly across the floor, splotches of shadow,
a hop, skip and a jump will take me there,
away from this land of shadows
to a shadow of another kind,
enough to heat me
even infrequencies keep me holding the glow,
shadows recede until i hear the call
and i dread the shadows lying in wait,
impatient to steal what’s left of me
again

shadow7



Christmas can be difficult when we lose a loved one, but the memories can carry us through. Join us and feel free to share your memories and thoughts of those we’ll never forget.

Anastasia Vitsky

blue christmas1

 The holiday season can be joyful for many, but it also brings up mixed emotions and grief. One of the sacred traditions of Ana’s Advent Calendar (in fact, the largest reason for creating this event in the first place) is to honor and welcome all whose hearts are tender at this time of year.

This month isn’t all doom and gloom, and we have plenty of laughter and silliness (Lynn, those naughty kitties were hilarious even if I do vow to exact revenge for taking my name in vain!). But in the midst of a joyful, noisy, celebratory month where the world seems to be filled with reminders of loss…this is where we come to soothe our hearts. At least I do, and for the past three years you have soothed your hearts with me.

Another tradition of Blue Christmas has…

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{November 30, 2015}   Delilah’s Fiction Relay Part 9

fiction-relay
Finally my Lovelies! Delilah’s Fiction Relay Part 9! That pesky little thing called Real Life came knocking hard, so please forgive my tardiness. We’re still in the beginnings of this Fiction Relay, so if you haven’t been following along, well, shame on you first of all, but please feel free to go here, the Home page, where you can see what it’s all about, who’s playing along, and links to all the chapters. You can also go here to the Summary Page to catch up a bit on each chapter. We’re still early in the game, so settle down, pour yourself something tasty, sit back and enjoy the journey with us. We have no more an idea where this is headed than you do, so lets all find out together!
And away we go…..
~
Joey wiped down the pristine bar for the fourth time, although it was already so shiny he could see his own reflection.
A rather nice reflection it was, if he did say so himself.
It was a nervous habit he had when he felt like he had no control over anything. Mindless cleaning by rote kept him occupied. His brain whirled as he tried to piece together the puzzle that was now taking up a good portion of his life, courtesy of Rosalie.
Sure, he loved her like the sister he never had but she’d gotten herself into a mess and as usual, he gladly attempted to put together the pieces for her.
There was nothing Joey wouldn’t do for Rosie, after all, she’d saved his life when he needed saving the most and he knew he could never repay that debt, even though she shrugged it off.
That was his Rosalie, strong, courageous, beautiful, and always there to bail out her friends whether they asked or not.
But she prided herself on taking care of her own problems and did her best to keep everything hidden behind a forced smile. Rosalie found out the hard way that relying on other people usually ended up in disappointment and heartache.
Never again would Rosalie trust anyone aside from Joey. She’d been hurt too many times.
Well, it was time to turn the tables on Rosie, she needed help and this one was too big for Joey to handle himself. He needed assistance, so without letting Rosalie know, he called the only person he knew capable of taking care of things, legal or not.
There was only one not-so-little problem and it was a doozy.
If Rosie found out he was working with Charlie behind her back, trouble was sure to follow.
Rosie was on her way to see Joey now. They’d been searching for her “sister” for over two years now to no avail, but Joey had just gotten some information that could either find her or lead to yet another dead end. Every time they seemed to get closer to the truth, another obstacle was thrown in their path. They weren’t even sure if they were following the right path, the last three women who were supposedly the sister Rosalie was looking for turned out to be false leads. Even if this girl turned out to be the one they were looking for, there was no solid proof she even knew anything about the gem, or if she’d admit anything she might know.
Rosalie had never met her, it was only through her deceased Mother’s journals that Rosie became aware of the possibility of a sibling. The more she read the more she became suspicious there was some sort of mysterious cover-up. Her Father was no help, he was too busy increasing his fortune to acknowledge his daughter. Or was that daughters?
~
Charlie was the source of the latest update and there was no way Rosalie could find out. She’d be furious that Joey confided in someone else but if she discovered that someone else was her neighbor Charlie, all hell would break loose.
Rosalie seemed to have taken an instant dislike to Charlie. In Joey’s world, and knowing Rosalie as well as he did, instant dislike translated to an attraction to Charlie.Rosalie would never admit it but Joey knew her better than she knew herself and she was unwittingly showing all her tells. That in itself was out of character for Rosie.
If Joey wasn’t careful this whole undercover shit could blow up in a colossal way.
~
Charlie had to admit, he was having a good time messing with his cute neighbor. He hadn’t missed the flustered look on her face when she saw him dressed closer to his real self rather than the old ratty robe he wore as part of the character he was playing.
A man had to make a living, and even though Charlie had a hefty bank account between his inheritance and his tendency to live frugally, he socked away most of the money he made on the occasional jobs he took on.
He got bored easily and working undercover was unpredictable. Anything could happen and usually did but Charlie was always prepared for anything that might come his way. While he tried to stay away from guns, he was an expert when it came to Martial Arts and like a true Martial Artist, he kept that fact close to the vest. No need to advertise his skills, no need to let anyone know he could kill a man with one move using the right pressure point.
Better to try and keep a low profile, carry himself around with a scruffy beard and worn clothing. People like that tended to blend into the crowds becoming nearly invisible which was a big plus in his line of work.
He knew Rosalie trusted him about as far as she could throw him and he took a perverse pleasure in encouraging her opinion of him.
Easier to get the job done if he kept his distance from her, but when he thought of those eyes of hers, and that pert little figure she tried to hide, he couldn’t help but play with fire.
Joey told him in no uncertain terms that Rosalie was off limits as far as the romance department was concerned.
Looking down at the scruffy little tabby that had followed Charlie home a few weeks back, he scooped him up and laughed as Ripper purred loudly as he brushed along Charlie’s face, claiming ownership.
“Well Ripper old boy,” Charlie said as he stroked the cat affectionately, “Joey may have put romance off limits but he never said anything about some mutually agreed upon sex.”
Charlie grinned as Ripper meowed in agreement.
He’d seen a lot in his line of work and Charlie was sure there was a lot more to Rosalie than met the eye.
~

Over to sylvialoves for the next chapter!



{November 6, 2015}   Letting Go, Slowly

dadmomDad and Mom pre-marriage
bestparentsMom and Dad in Branch Brook Park, Newark NJ

I have two choices.
I can either continue to wallow in grief and despair or I can move on and try something else like, say, living my life before I myself drop dead.
I’m starting to lean towards the second, more alive version of me.
Don’t get me wrong, my heart is killing me, I could easily curl up into a ball and cry for a few years, but I’m starting to make even my own self sick with the Poor Me Parade banging ’round my head.

I cast thee out! Be gone unclean spirit! Away with you Evil Monster of Unending Grief! Enough!

Okay, so I’m not making light of death and grief, and with all these major life changes happening one after another in the course of three or so years, well, the burden is decidedly weighty.
But.
I have to let it go.
Not the love, not the memories, but the sadness.
It’s not healthy and I can imagine my Mom’s face, giving me the patented Carey-Look-Of-Disapproval, a Medusa-like look capable of stopping you in your tracks and possibly turning you to stone.
“Joanne Bridget,” I can imagine her saying, “don’t you dare stop living just because I’m not right there with you. I’m in your heart, now stop grieving and start doing. And don’t even think for a minute I’m not watching over you, get your ass moving, keep writing, and for the love of God, get yourself back down to Cape May and enjoy yourself. Live. For me. For you. You’ll see me again one day and FYI, they have wooden spoons up here in Heaven, don’t make me have to use it on you missy. Now go and live your dreams and for God’s sake, stop feeling guilty, you are my daughter, act like it before I send your Father down there to ground you!”

I’ve been grounded enough times to know I better start living and stop, well, not.

My brothers and I have mended fences and are once again we three instead of strangers.
The last few days were spent talking together, the way we used to once upon a time.
We shared memories and some family secrets were revealed, things that made our past a little more understandable. Looking back on things from an adult perspective instead of the eyes of a broken child. None of us were ever really broken, we were just kids raised by Parents who did the best they could and I can honestly say they did a damn good job.
I wouldn’t trade either of my Parents for anyone in the world. They made me who I am, they made me me and it’s long past time I live up to myself.

I will never completely stop grieving, I will never not miss them like crazy, but it’s time to move on and live again. For Mom, for Dad, and for the three of us, two brothers and a sister, a small, but loving Family.
We will never forget you Mom and Dad, but we will love you forever and honor your memory by remaining your children, forever.

bestfamily1Mom, Dad, and baby brother Tommy

bestfamily2Brother Donald, me, Mom with brother Tommy in her belly

bestfanilyMom, Tommy, me, Dad, Donald took the picture
3ofusDonald, Tommy, me in the Poconos

bestfamilyThe three of us, once upon a time



{November 2, 2015}   Why My NaNo became Nah-Nope

goodintentions
Good intentions.
Then life gets in the way.
~
I’ve been looking forward to NaNo since last year. As time moved faster and November got closer, my excitement level increased by leaps and bounds. I cleared my schedule for the entire month of November as far back as August. Nothing was going to stop me from the writing train and I was bound and determined to end November with a finished novel.
I work best under pressure and deadlines, so in my mind, NaNo seemed like the perfect tool to force me to do something I love, something that makes me happier than anything else I can imagine.
Write.
Ideas filled my mind, I knew what I wanted to write and I knew I had it in me, all I needed was a blank page and some solitude.
Check and check.
This is the part where excuses, legitimate though they may be, began to build a wall between me and my dream.
Look, it might sound like a cop out, but when my Dad died on September 26th this year, it threw me off emotionally.
Sure, maybe I could attempt to write through my grief but there were complications called family and no matter how many times I explained I had a commitment for the month of November, legalities wait for no one.
And when you’re dealing with a lack of sympathy for the loss of your last living Parent from your own blood relatives, it does something to your heart.
When you are immediately thrown into a situation, unprepared and without legal control, when you have to deal not only with grief but also with the reality of the impending loss of the home you considered yours all your life, when you have to listen to strangers put a monetary value on your childhood, your memories, well, it messes with your mind and makes you question things you didn’t even know were questionable.
Like, who is this stranger I call brother and why does he look at me like I’m someone he never met but has to deal with?
And why am I getting yelled at over the phone because I shut my ringer off for an hour so I could sleep because, you know, ‘family’, that I have fibro and chronic fatigue and sometimes I crash?
Look what I just did, I babbled about my excuses when logically, I could have used this time to write, like, NaNo-write.
But at this moment in my life, when everything I knew to be true crumbled as I twisted myself pretzel-like trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, I don’t feel right committing myself to something I know will be forced out of my hands whether I like it or not.
Sure, I understand so many of you are working a full time job, raising a family, and still participating in NaNo and I wish I could do the same right now.
But I also know, if I attempt to push myself through while navigating so much legal stuff that I haven’t even had the time to seriously grieve yet,  without a doubt, I’ll crash and burn for a few months at the rate I’m going.
There is a lot of infighting I can’t talk about yet, but my stress level is equal to all the stress in my life added together.
My middle child refuses to allow me to continue living until this family mess is straightened out, and truthfully, I feel like the guy in the middle of a boxing ring, I’ve already taken a few hits and I know there’s more in store until the house is sold and The Best Family Story is put to bed. The End.
It breaks my heart.

But back to NaNo, it’s November 2nd and it just started yesterday. It’s breaking my already broken heart even more because I feel bad that I said I was going to do something and didn’t follow through.
I’m trying to look at it in a more positive light: maybe I can’t participate in NaNo this year but I can still write.
I’m involved in the most awesome Fiction Relay right now and just wrote my first ‘chapter’ a few days ago (psst, read it, it’s right here on this blog, like, the previous post, she said with shameless self promotion). I turned in my Super Secret Project 2 days ago and I’ve also got a WIP offline that I’ve now decided will be worked on as hard as possible while NaNo is happening, in a way, it will make me feel almost a part of it.

I am a writer.
I don’t say that very often, I tend to downplay anything good about myself. I think there’s a clause about that when you’re born under the sign of Cancer. That and tears.
But I am a writer, and NaNo or Nah-Nope, I will continue to write.
I just wish I was NaNo-ing, but as they say, everything happens for a reason.
I think I’m going to try and believe there is a good reason behind this.
Because I am a writer.
goodintentions5



et cetera
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