Practice, Practice, Practice

In the attempt to become a better writer, I started participating in the weekly writing prompts provided by the Writer’s Digest website.  I have no clue what I am getting myself into, but it is kind of exciting.  Creative writing is something I loved doing when I was younger, but as the years passed, I slowly stopped.  As with photography, it was one of those dreams I imagined myself accomplishing, no matter how many times I gave up on it.

The Writer's Digest Logo

The Writer’s Digest Logo

With the prompts, the stories have to be 500 words or less.  Not as easy as you think it is.  With the first story, I went over about 200 words and had to cut out some parts (of course).  It’s hard, because you feel you need all of your words to truly convey the story you want to tell.  This is going to be fun learning all the aspects of creative writing again.  I am nervous about sharing what I write, but I will not get the feedback if I don’t do it.

I will be posting my stories here and on the website.  I hope this will help me establish confidence in my work.

I have already written two short stories and will publish them today in separate posts.  Feel free to write in the comments about the stories and what I need to work on.  Also, if you decide to participate, let me know!  I would love to have some of you write along with me.  Whatever I can help you with, I would be more than happy to do so!

Happy Writing, Everyone!

There Is No Rule Book

Enjoy life and the beauty that surrounds it. Picture Credit:  Ruby Middleton

Enjoy life and the beauty that surrounds it.
Picture Credit: Ruby Middleton

There is no rule book on how to live your life.  There is no manual out in this world that gives you step by step instructions on the complexities of life.  We learn something new about ourselves everyday, but we learn through trial and error.

We learn through experiences.

We learn by living our lives, knowing that we will make mistakes along the way and that our mistakes will become valuable lessons.

We become so afraid of taking chances that we miss golden opportunities everyday.  Why hold yourself back?  Why keep yourself away from the best that life can offer you?  We wake up to lists, plans, itineraries, but what is wrong with waking up and letting life happen?  Wake up one day and say, “I am not going to live today with a plan to follow.  Today, I will enjoy each minute and let life happen.”  You may surprise yourself at what you can accomplish and that day may turn out to be one of the most epic days of your life.

There is no rule book on how to live your life.  Do not limit yourself from the possibilities that await you.  Take one day at a time, enjoy each day as much as possible and live without any regrets.

We only have one life – do not waste it.

Mornings Are Unacceptable (and “Twins” Are Not What You Think They Are)

The doors that holds me in captivity . . . or is the gateway to my financial freedom?  You can see the bad and good in everything.Picture credit:  Ruby Middleton

The doors that hold me in captivity . . . or are they the gateway to my dreams? You can see the bad and good in everything.
Picture credit: Ruby Middleton

Dear Friends,

Oh!  Today was rough.  Going to work 30 minutes early is, what I would call, unacceptable.  Coming into work at 8:30 a.m. is not a big deal to me.  I am usually on time and ready for the day to start.  Coming in at 8 . . . Totally. Different. Story.  A thirty minute difference sounds minuscule and for most, it not something to fret about.  You go in, do your job, then send your happy butt back home.  Not this girl.  This girl has major, catastrophic issues when it comes to getting to work at 8:00 a.m.  The world spins and fire shoots out from the ground, signaling the end of times.  The sun disappears and darkness engulfs us all.  We are going to die.

Ok – it’s not that bad, but it sure does feel like it.  I feel hungover, even though not a bit of alcohol has touched my tongue.  My head pounds and I stagger from the pure exhaustion from rushing to get ready for work.  My eyes can’t stay open, which then results in me running into a wall, which then causes the ultimate headache of all time.  Yeah – morning person I am not.

Walking the Halls  Picture Credit:  Ruby Middleton

Walking the Halls
Picture Credit: Ruby Middleton

So, I plan on heading to bed early tonight.  I think the whole staying up until midnight watching YouTube videos may have been a major factor in my extreme grumpiness this morning.  Nope – it’s me not being a morning person, in addition to the late night Youtube watching.  The funny part is I remember back in high school, I could stay up all night long reading a book and not miss a beat when I had to wake up an hour after I fell asleep.  Can’t do that now – I wouldn’t wake up in time and then, I would be jobless.  Ugh – I wanna be young again!!!!

Before I head out, I need to make a minor correction.  A friend of mine sent me a text message last night, shortly after I posted my blog entry.  This is what it said:

Read your blog and was wondering why you were wishing your breasts a happy birthday? Then, I realized you were talking about your friends . . . muahahahaha

To clear things up:  When I said Happy Birthday to my Twins, I was not referring to the ones attached to my body.  I was speaking of my friends . . . who are twins.  I call them my twins because they are my friends.  So, twins do not mean boobies!  It did give me a good laugh.  To my friend:  you are such a pervert!  To anyone else who thought this:  Shame on you!  You are perverts too . . . but you’re still my friends.

Sweet dreams, everyone!

Love always,

Rubes

New Experiences: My Inner Artist Came Out To Play (And a Happy Birthday to My Twins!)

Hello Friends,

My inner artist came out to play this weekend and we had a blast.  Look at my beautiful painting!  Isn’t it the most majestic thing you have ever laid your eyes upon?  Go ahead – marvel at the beauty that awaits you.  Go on . . . scroll down . . .

My Butterfly!Picture Credit:  Ruby Middleton

My Butterfly!
Picture Credit: Ruby Middleton

Hahaha!  Did you really think you were going to see a masterpiece?  Well, it may not be the best painting in the world, but for me, it is one of the most amazing things I have ever done.

My friends and I went to Wine and Design, located in the West Ashley area in Charleston, SC.  I did not know what to expect because this was my first time there.  Wine and Design is an art studio where you choose the desired painting (by looking at the calendar they have on the website) you want to recreate and register for that night.  When you get there, you will receive step by step instructions on how to paint the picture of the night, while sipping on the delicious alcoholic drink  you decide to bring with you (if you decide to bring something).  They provide all the materials for you – the canvas, paints, glasses for your drink.  All you need to bring is your drink (and/or snack), and of course, yourself.

Wine and Design - West AshleyPicture Credit:  Lili Ortiz

Wine and Design – West Ashley
Picture Credit: Lili Ortiz

The night my friends picked was called Open Studio.  Here, you get to choose the painting you want to recreate, and then, you are basically on your own.  The instructors walk around and assist you if you need any help, but this is mainly all you.  You can also change the colors of the painting you want to recreate.  To sum it all up, you go and have fun being a kid again.

My best friend, Lili, and her twin sister wanted to do this for their birthday and I am glad for this choice.  Who would have known how fun painting would be?  Well, I guess most of you already knew that, but this is coming from a girl who really does not get out much.  It was a new experience for me and I am definitely planning to do again.

I wanted to write about this on Saturday, but after I arrived home, my bed became more important to me.

Did you enjoy your weekend?  If so, what did you do?

Monday is officially over guys!  Take care and I will see you tomorrow!

Love Always,

Rubes

Wine and Design Website:  http://wineanddesignus.com/WestAshley.html  –>There are other locations you can choose from, but I wanted to represent the one I went to :-)  If you come to Charleston, check it out!

To my friends:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LILI AND YVETTE!  You two are amazing and I am happy to have you in my life :-)

Lili and I

Lili (My PPR) and I
Picture Credit – Lili Ortiz

Yvette (Sunshine) and I

Yvette (Sunshine) and I
Picture Credit: Ruby Middleton

 

 

The Waiting Room Chronicles

Hello Friends,

Nothing much to report this way, except it was a busy day at work. The day went by fast and before I knew it, I was heading to the lung specialist for my 3 p.m. appointment.

While sitting in the waiting room, my mind starting thinking about when I was officially diagnosed with Lupus and End Stage Renal Disease (another way of saying complete kidney failure) , and I must say that out of all this time, the one thing I wished I had done was document (in writing and pictures) everything I was going through. So much happened during those years, and it would have been interesting to go back and read how I felt going through each stage of my disease. I would have had so much to talk about: being on dialysis (peritoneal and hemodialysis) , the seizures, waking up from a coma, how it felt knowing my kidneys would never work again, the process of getting on the transplant list, the depressing times at the dialysis clinic, losing my sister in the process of going through all that, and the list goes on and on. Maybe one of these days, I will sit down and try my best to write down everything I can remember. Knowing my story could possibly help someone else down the road and encourage them not to ever give up is a dream I have held on to for a very long time.

I guess that is why I took out my phone and started taking pictures of what was around me. My want to document everything got the best of me, and even though there was not much to look at, I still wanted to have something to remember the day. Note to self: People will look at you strange if you start taking pictures of random things around you. I take it they were not used to someone just taking pictures for the fun of it. Oh well.

I was looking out the window and wanted to get a unique picture of the windows and the cars outside. My idea was to get different angles, but the stares from people stopped me. Lesson #1: become more confident about taking pictures . . . and not care what those around me are thinking of me.

photo (4)

Here’s a pic of my Blueberry/Tardis, waiting for me to make my escape (You get it? It’s a Ford Escape, waiting for me to make my escape. Funny, eh? No. *Sigh* – Good thing I never went towards the comedy career path).

photo (5)

Anyone who has ever had a doctor’s appointment or has ever stayed in a hospital should know what this is. You hear it coming down the hallway, it’s wheels squeaking to announce its arrival. We all love it when are arms are squeezed so tight, it feels like the blood is going to burst right through your skin. Every time I hear or see one of these, it reminds of those nights in the hospital when the nurses would come once an hour to check my vitals. Really? Once an hour? I thought the whole point of being in the hospital was to get better and REST. That is kind of hard to do when someone comes into your room at 3 a.m., and then squeezes the life out of your arm. Ahh – good times.

photo (6)

The appointment went well. All it did was reaffirm what I already knew – I have asthma. Now I can add that to the list of ailments that plague me on a daily basis (asthma, anemia, Lupus . . . yeah, that list can go on forever too, but it’s ok).

The good news of all of this? I am still happy to be alive :-)

No walking was done today – I had a rough two days and I decided to rest (and my definition of rest was playing Sims 3 University Life for about 3 hours. It was worth it). My miles will be caught up by the end of the week.

Tomorrow is Thursday, which means the countdown for the weekend will begin. Take care, my friends.

Love Always,

Rubes

Living Life Through The Lens

Hey Everyone,

Today was . . . interesting.  My morning did not go well, and I ended up coming home from work.  Slept most of the day, and now, I am feeling a bit better.  I just finished walking my mile for today, which now brings me up to 2.46 miles.  Not far, but it’s something, right?

I wanted to do something a little different today, because I feel like I have been neglecting my photos.  Photography is something I still want to improve my skills in, and that will not happen if time is not put aside for practicing.  While I was looking through some of my photos to show you all today, a thought came to me about the way we see our lives.

We take a lot of pictures with our phones.  It’s almost unheard of these days of anyone having a phone without a camera.  Each day, we feel the need to document our surroundings, afraid of missing something or forgetting the best thing that happened that day.  Our phones/cameras have become our lifeline and it is how we communicate with others.  An example would be Instagram.  Everything we do is being photographed, either by us or by someone else.  Life is being told through pictures, not words.  It is very obvious – we live our lives through the lens of our cameras.

I love taking pictures with my phone.  Being able to be creative with such a tiny little instrument like my phone has been an amazing experience.  The apps make it worthwhile too because you can really be artistic with your photos.  While taking my photography courses, I was learning how to use my SLR, but at the same time, I was able to use those same techniques with my phone.

Most of the pictures you see on this blog are taken with my iPhone 4 and I usually use the Camera+ app for editing.  With these following pictures, I wanted to play around with lighting and shooting from different angles.  I think these came out kind of cool.

photo (2)

photo (3)

Photo1

I hope you like the pics :-)

Happy Tuesday afternoon, evening, or Wednesday morning to you all!

Love Always,

Rubes

Short and Simple

Waking up is always good, but waking up to sunshine is better.Photo credit:  Ruby Middleton

Waking up is always good, but waking up to sunshine is better.
Photo credit: Ruby Middleton

Dear Friends,

Hello :-)  As you see, another late night posting.  This is going to very short and simple since today was a busy day.  I felt this would be a nice time to share with you one of my favorite quotes I try to live by.  It comes from a young British Youtuber I watch all the time who goes by the username, Danisnotonfire (real name:  Dan Howell).  He is currently living in London with his close friend and fellow Youtuber, AmazingPhil (real name:  Phil Lester).  Their videos make me laugh all the time and even though I am a bit older than them, each video has something (a message or a story) I can easily relate to.  This particular one from Dan hit me pretty hard and the message has stuck with me ever since.

The title of the video is The Meaning of Life and to me, it is one of the best videos Dan has made (but to be honest, I think all his videos are awesome).  Click here on the link and watch the video on your own (trust me:  you should watch it).

Quote:

“You are a human with one life, and it is up to you to make it the best life you can.”

I know it is the most simple thing a person can say, but this is now a constant statement that rolls around in my mind when life is beating me down.  We forget how precious this life is and I feel that we spend our time wasting it away doing things we really do not want to do.  I know I had fallen into a rut that caused me to hate every single minute of every single day.  Each thing I did seemed repetitive and it was causing to regret the choices I had made in life.  I know – that is a stupid thing to say, but it’s the truth.

This video made me understand that I have the choice (no one else) to change my life and make it the way I want it to be.  Yes, I may work in a place that I feel is not a good fit for me, but going to work grumpy was not making my situation any better.  Realizing how lucky I am to have a job with the way things are in this world has allowed me to work on becoming a better employee and to learn how to enjoy my job.  Yes, I maybe a lot of pounds over my ideal weight, but how can I change that if I don’t get up and do something?   What is the point of complaining if you are not going to do anything to make it better for yourself?  Stop being afraid to live and go for it!

So each day, I wake up and remind myself how awesome it is to be alive.  Each morning I get out of bed is a new day, a new beginning and I have the choice as to how great my day is going to be (I am reaching for an awesome day . . . how about you?)

Take care and I will write to you all tomorrow!

Love Always,

Rubes

P.S. – I bought a Chromebook today and am using it right now to type this.  Verdict:  I absolutely LOVE it!  It’s so nice to have something so small and have the ability to get things done without carrying around that heavy laptop I have (which is also what I use as a desktop).  If you are someone who loves Google (I DO!), I think this would be a great thing to invest in.  Yes, there is no DVD/CD drive, but I can live with that.  I wanted something I could use mainly for writing and internet.  This thing is amazing!  This wasgood purchase for me :-)

One Week, One Grateful Girl

This is what happens when this girl does not get a proper lunch break at work . . . the mind starts to wander and silly things appear on paper.Photo Credit:  Ruby Middleton

This is what happens when this girl does not get a proper lunch break at work . . . the mind starts to wander and silly things appear on paper.
Photo Credit: Ruby Middleton

Dear Friends,

Today was a busy day at work, hence the late posting of this letter.  The whole time, while doing the important things like answering emails, dealing with customers, writing notes down during meetings, all I could think was “when am I going to write my letter today?”  See what this blog has done to my life?  I love it!

Today is the one week anniversary of me returning to my writing duties as the owner of this blog.  I know this may not seem like a big deal (I mean, I was writing on this page for a year now and I did not even do a “one year anniversary” post), but it is to me.  This is the first time since I started this blog that an idea came to me about the direction I wanted to take this blog and I stuck to it.  If you read my previous entries, I seemed like a lost girl, trying to find her style, her groove, her place in this vast world of blogging.  I was trying too many things all at once, and the result was a mesh of things, but no cohesion.  There was no flow to the blog.  It took about a year for me to realize that what I was doing was not working for me.  So, I made the decision to walk away for a few months to figure out my course of action and once I came back, I knew what I wanted to do.

There are some aspects of the blog that I was doing before that will come back into play.  I miss doing the playlists, so that will come back (that is one of my goals.  You will see the rest of the list soon).  I just felt that once I found that niche that would work well for me, I would be more inspired to do entries and my topics would not be forced; the topics would just come to me and the process would feel natural.  The letter idea came to me because I wanted to address why I was gone for so long and now look . . . I have written something everyday for a week now.  I even included pictures with each entry!  

The best part of all of this are all of you.  Being able to connect with others has been such an amazing surprise from doing I really like to do.  I love opening my email and seeing the likes I get with each post.  Knowing someone out there is reading my posts makes me feel like I am doing something right.  I cannot wait to reach out more (another goal) and really get to know my readers.  I really hope you do not get sick of me, because I plan to be around for a while.  I love sharing my world with you and hope you are getting some enjoyment out of it too.  Don’t forget:  we are on this journey together :-)

Like I said, a week is not much to most, but when you have a mind like mine, it is a reason for celebration.  Also, you have to remember I am the girl who had to learn, after becoming ill, that one day at a time really matters when you are trying to achieve something.  

Take care and let’s hope we will have more reasons to celebrate in the upcoming months.

Goodnight (or morning, depending on where you are)!

Love Always,

Rubes

Wednesday Blues

Sometimes, I wonder what are beyond those clouds.Picture credit:  Ruby Middleton

Cloudy, with a chance of hope.
Picture credit: Ruby Middleton

Dear Friends,

I almost did not write a letter today.  My mind is just all over the place and I am tired.  I can’t stop thinking about my professor and knowing today is the day she will be buried.  Her memorial service is being held at our school, and as much as I cared for her, I am glad I am not going to the funeral.  I made a pact to myself a while ago that I was not going to attend any more funerals in my life.  To me, funerals are not about closure.  The last thing I get from a funeral is closure.  What I get is that lasting memory of someone I loved laying in a box and being buried in the ground, no longer able to roam the earth as a living being.  That is just not the last memory I want of them.  I want to remember them the way they were when they were alive.  I wish I understood that when my sister died.  Unfortunately, it would not have mattered in her case because I was by her side when she died.  I was able to see firsthand what it is like to watch someone you love slip away from you – it is absolutely heartbreaking (and that is exactly what that did to me – it broke my heart and has affected me in ways I never thought possible.  *Sigh* . . . that will definitely be a post all on its own).

Gosh – that paragraph is so depressing.  Let us move to something a little more light at heart.

A plethora of ideas came to my mind last night for my blog!  I am so excited!  One of my goals is to connect more with you, so I have mini-projects in my mind.  This weekend, I plan to list all my goals I want to accomplish with my blog/letters for this year and will post that up something during next week.  This is the first time I have felt confident about doing something I want to do, and hope you will continue to follow me on this journey.

Yesterday’s meeting at the library went really well!  The committee asked me at the end of the meeting if I wanted to become an official board member for the Friends of the Library and I said yes (of course!  Why would I say no?).  The next meeting is their annual meeting and that is when the new members will be voted in.  Excitement filled me up like sunshine does to your soul after a rainy day.  It really is the little things that can make you happy.

On that note, I will see you all later.  Take care and be thankful you are alive today.

Love Always,

Rubes

Home is Where the Library Is

Picture I took at the New Library (still close to my house).  When I can, I will add pictures from the old library - the one I loved so much.Picture credit:  Ruby Middleton

Picture I took at the new library site (still close to my house). When I can, I will add pictures from the old library – the one I loved so much.
Picture credit: Ruby Middleton

Hello Friends,

Not feeling too well today. I woke up this morning with a bit of a headache and stomachache. The allergy season is not being friendly to me and if I could, I would kick it with all my strength for making me feel so bad. Well, no time for complaining – I have a work day to get through.

I am really excited about my meeting at the library today after work. Since I became a member of the Friends of the Library group for my local library (it is a group to promote and support the local county library system), I have been waiting for a volunteer position to open up. About a month ago, I received an email asking if I would like to be in charge of their Facebook page. My immediate answer was yes. I know it is not a big position, but any job or volunteer position that is part of the library is a good thing for me.

The old library building near my home (the building was located on – get this – Library St. You cannot tell me that is not a cool street name! I would live on Library St.) was my place of serenity. When I was younger, my sister and I used to take weekly trips to the library together. It is one of the fondest memories I have of my sister and I will always be grateful for that time we had together. Every time she announced to our family she was heading to the library, I jumped up and met her at the door with my shoes in one hand and the books I needed to return in the other. I made sure she never left me behind when she went to what I considered my magical place (you know how some people are about Disney? My Disney was the library). Each visit was an adventure waiting for me. Many hours were spent sitting on a bean bag in the corner of the room, books surrounding me like a moat surrounding a castle or like a body of water surrounding a deserted island. In my mind, I was on an island. Books and libraries helped me deal with the constant bullying I dealt with in school. It was my escape, and it still is to this day.

I guess you can say this is my way of giving back to the one thing that truly made me happy as a child. I will always support my local library, and it will always be considered home to me. I really think my heart is the shape of a book – that is just how much books rule my life (yes, I know my heart would not be functional if it was the shape of a book. Just . . . let me dream, ok?! )

Did you have a place that was your escape from the world? I want to know! It helps me to know that I was not the only one who wanted to run away from the world and be transported to a place of magic and happiness.

I hope you are enjoying your Tuesday! Take care and I will see you soon.

Love Always,

Rubes