Words, Words, more words…

I have been reading a book that explains how to become a better writer. The book, Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Hardy, details what it takes to…well, the title explains it all. Yes, I am probably one of the few remaining nerds that still find satisfaction in rummaging through the library bookshelves to find the perfect book. I had to hurry out the door when the librarian told me I could check out 30 books at one time! Admittedly, I have checked out this book once before. Hence, as you will notice in the coming sentences, I never finished it. I think I even had to pay a late fee.

In any case, this particular book says I should write at least 30 minutes a day. It does not matter what the subject is, how the words are formed, or even if it just makes sense (or non-sense in my case). The idea is to write. Get the words out of your head and onto paper. It also says, “Our writing can make us look smart or it can make us look stupid. It can make us seem fun, or warm, or competent, or trustworthy. But it can also make us seem humdrum or discombobulated or flat-out boring.” The reason I have had such a hard time writing this year is exactly this reason! I felt words had abandoned me. It was no longer fun or witty; it felt like a job – a boring, everyday mundane job. I am sure most of you can relate because you probably have, well, a boring and mundane job! After all, not everyone can live their dream or even work their dream! I was dealing with this whole writing issue on top of the fiasco with the bathroom remodeling I told you about last month. If you forgot about that whole mess of a life, you should reach back to this story here, Some Challenges Are Not Planned. If there is any story that made me look and feel stupid, it was this one. Talk about putting your trust in people and having it trampled on – along with stealing your money! I do not think anything can make a human feel more stupid that that! 

Anyways, I have been practicing that concept of writing 30 minutes a day but what I wrote is not what I wanted to post. It goes back the above statement where your writing makes you seem humdrum and boring. I felt it was dry, brittle; kind of like the limbs on my lime tree right now. That is not my vision for this blog. I need a little more spice in my life and my reading.

Now, here it is, two days before the end of the month and I still have nothing to post. I reached out to some friends…ok, so it was only two friends, but who’s counting…about what I should write. No offense, Karen and Christine, but you are my wing-ladies and really my only sources of creativity at this point in life. Christine thought I should write about “Balancing Life”. Perfect idea since I have a huge disability with this! A.N.D. since I have not completed any Bucket List items this year, my sources are rather limited. Even though, I still have a gift certificate Christine got me for Christmas to drive a racecar on the Richmond racetrack. Umm, I need to mark that on the non-existent calendar I have for all things fun and adventurous.

Well, that was two days ago and still nothing to post! Yesterday, I spent the majority of my time in bed, with a horrible cough that made my insides feel like they were going to explode and a headache that made my head feel like it was on fire. After all, I have been battling bronchitis since Memorial Day! Should I mention that I was also up all night with these symptoms and a dog that was having pretty much the same kind of night?! It did not take much convincing to call my boss and tell him I would not be at work. 

Anyways, Christine’s ideas sounded like a good one; until I sat down to write. I will put that topic on hold for another day when words do not want to reveal themselves. Today, it is all about Words, words, and more WORDS! Today is really the last day of the month though!

What do you consider makes a good story? How do you write a good story? Where do your ideas come from? Do you really look at the present and past tense of a sentence, the preparatory and non-preparatory statements, or the conjunctions of a word? I learned all those things in Middle School but do not dare ask me to recall what all those things are today. I was good at recognizing them but age has taken hold and my memory does not serve me well. I think my brain freed up space for the less important things in life: cooking, cleaning, and managing a full time job and other people’s schedules. You know the drill ~ at least any adult should. I was excited when I read Chapter 3’s title, Shed High School Rules! Then I realized it was really talking about the paragraph structure and not necessarily the sentence structure. Guess there is going to be a lot of Googling in my future!

Wait! I just discovered Microsoft has this thing called Smart Lookup. If you’ve been reading my blog then you already know I’m computer illiterate. Honestly, I don’t know how my boss puts up with me…I the ability to crash Microsoft Excel better than any test dummy in a fake car. Sometimes, I crash it on every click of the mouse button! Anyways, if you turn on Smart Lookup and right-click on a word (literally), it will find things on the internet related to your “word”! This is how I discovered that Wikipedia defines morphology as “the study of word formation and structure.” You would think I was dissecting something as if I were actually in a science lab! Wow! There’s even a movie called “The Words” with actors and actresses I’ve never heard. Ok, before I continue down this rabbit hole, let’s just get to the point…not sure that I really had one but…

The point is…WORDS! Everybody has them! They may not sound the same from person to person. You know this first hand if you’ve ever said something that someone totally misconstrued what you said. They may not look the same when written on paper. Honestly, how many languages are there? I can barely speak proper English let alone trying to speak another. They may not have the same affect (or is it effect?) for each and every one of us.

Words provide different feelings for different people; whether spoken, unspoken, or written. Think about it! The word love when spoken may leave you feeling happy. When it’s displayed through an action, for instance a hug, may leave you feeling warm and cozy inside. Then when it’s in writing, may put you in tears; much like that fancy Romance novel you’ve been reading. At times, words may leave us speechless. Other times, we say more than we should. Remember that last argument with your spouse or significant other? Yeah, we’ve all been there, I’m sure! The point is, we all have words. It’s the way we use them that truly makes an impact on our audience. Ann also tells us “you’ve got to choose words well – and write with economy and style and honest empathy…”. Afterall, everybody has feelings…ok, maybe not, but Everybody Writes!

The Wave Crashers Return

Emily and I had our second surfing lesson with VA Surf Sessions. Wes couldn’t join us on this adventure so my friend, Christine, joined us as a new “Wave Crasher”.

Last Sunday, I did not apply any sunscreen to protect against the rays. The backs of my legs were really burnt by the end of the day. To avoid a repeat of that day, I had Christine spray the backs of my legs with 50 spf sunscreen. We were provided a rash guard shirt for the lesson. After filling out the required paperwork, we chose our boards and sat in the sand to listen to the brief.

This weeks lesson consisted of seven participants. I was a little concerned that there were so many people as I was under the impression that there were four surfers to a lesson. Our instructor for this lesson is Charles. He has 13 years surfing experience. He took us through this rather entertaining introduction and repeats surfing terminology similar to last weeks lesson. He was a rather funny guy and very entertaining. He had an assistant, Josh. Josh is 18 years old and only has one year experience. I explained to Charles that my niece was very nervous about surfing. Therefore, I was a little apprehensive when he sent her off with Josh for a little one-on-one experience.


Unlike last weeks lesson, we all sat on the beach while one group went out to surf. We rotated throughout the two-hour lesson. I felt this method did not provide adequate time for getting comfortable with the water or to help Emily get over her fears.

On our second ride out, I passed Emily to Charles so that she could use his expertise to get comfortable and hopefully have an enjoyable ride. As they make their way out, Christine is already on her way with Josh. I, on the other hand, struggled to get past the break. I kept crashing into the shore line. The waves on this particular day was tumultuous or so it seemed. It must have been a comedic sight because the dads along the beach were laughing at my every attempt to get past the break. Finally, I am past the break! That took forever. I decide that this is going to be the wave. Okay, maybe not this one! Well, not that one either. But the next one. Yep, that was it! I finally rode my first wave! It was awesome! Exhilarating! Exciting!

There were two young boys that were part of our group. Tyler, from St. Louis, Missouri and Maxwell from Norfolk, Virginia. The boys were amazing. They took to the waves like experts. I talked extensive with Tyler and he began to tell me all about his four year old niece that surfs really good. Four years Old! I can’t even stand up on the surfboard. I can only imagine that she was his inspiration for learning how to surf. Unfortunately, he tells me there are no waves to surf where he is from. I hope he continues this adventure. It would be an awesome experience to be able to share this sport with his niece as they grow through the years. I wish I would have had a video or more pictures of the two young boys to share with you. It was great to see them try surfing for their first time.

Also apart of our group was Kim and Leslie. One of them came all the way from California to visit the other. Unfortunately, I can’t remember which one. I really enjoyed talking with the two of them. Like myself, they seemed to struggle with the waves. It was obvious they were having fun with their experience. I even surprised them by take a few videos for them to share their experience.

Before I knew it the session was over. I was feeling a little disappointed because I did not get the experience or time on the surf that I was really hoping for. On the other hand, Charles provided some insight that helped me to ride my first wave. It was a nice experience but I really wanted more time.

The next day, I woke up with this horrible rash on the back of my legs. I could only guess it was from the sunscreen. After a few days, I decided to go to medical to have it evaluated. The doctor was stumped and had no clue to what it could be. She prescribed some steroids with hopes it would take care of the issue. Luckily, it did and I did not have to see a dermatologist but it is odd that it was caused by a sunscreen that is suppose to protect you from the elements. I am so thankful to be past that misery!

I feel so fortunate to be able to share this experience with my husband and friends. I feel especial important that my niece wants to join me on this journey. I am so grateful for the time we spend together. After all, she is a teenage and most want to spend their time with friends and doing things that friends want to do. God has truly blessed me!

“There are so many different elements to surfing. Small waves, big waves, long boards, short boards. This makes it a sport you can share with people. It’s not just a solitary thing – it’s become a family thing, too. It’s about exercising and passing something on from father to son, and from mother to daughter.”
~Kelly Slater

Wave Crashers and Surf Rider

July’s adventure was all about water sports. Surfing, to be specific! I think I may have found my new addiction. The best part is, I get to share this adventure with my niece, Emily. I feel like the luckiest aunt in the world.

I have been trying to find ways in which I can connect with my nieces and nephew. They have lived apart from my husband and I almost their whole lives. Yet, I still look for things that we can share together.

For Emily, it is our desire to be adventurous. We both want to learn to surf. We both want to learn to scuba dive. We both want to go tubing and climb mountains and hiking! She is only 13 and is willing to experience all these things with her Aunt Dee.

We took our first surf lesson together with VA Surf Sessions in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I was really calm leading up to the day of our lesson. As the time approached for the lesson to begin, I was getting butterflies in my stomach. I soon realized that Emily, too, had those same butterflies. She was really nervous but excited. I was really excited that she had joined Wes and I on this adventure.

I have always admired the ocean, the waves crashing to shore, the smell of the salt water. I grew up on the Gulf Coast and grew to love the feel of the ocean breeze. Standing there on the Virginia Beach shoreline, known as Croatan, memories flooded my brain. I envisioned myself riding those waves like the surfers do in the movies. I quickly learned, it does not happen like it is portrayed in the movies.

Our instructor was Bryson. He was extremely knowledgeable. He had been surfing since he was 8 years old. He has an opportunity to go to Africa and teach surfing once the season turns cold here. That’s an awesome experience for such a young man. Anyways, he went through all the steps of describing the waves, the rip currents and what to do if you get caught in one, and practicing how to land on the board.

It’s time to hit the waves! We get out pass the breaks and take turns riding the waves. Getting past the breaks was our first challenge. I soon realized that I needed to add more shoulder and arm workouts to my routine. I was amazed at how fast I fatigued just paddling out for the first wave event.

First up is John, an addition to our group. There are typically four people to a group. John does really well but I can’t remember if he rode his first wave. Wes is up to take his turn on the wave. He, too, does really well. After a few attempts he is up and riding like a professional. He is our “Surf Rider”! As much as I admire Wes, he annoys me with his ability to accomplish things so effortlessly. I wonder if his skateboard days has anything to do with his ability to surf so easily.

Emily’s turn! She attempts to stand up but soon falls off the board. She tries again. She is able to get on the board in a squat style attempt but not really able to stand up. I can see fear in her face as she tumbles, like a tumbleweed, to shore with waves crashing down on her. I saw her go under a wave and felt a panic inside me. She surfaces and I see she is okay. I worried that it would scare her away from trying again. We talked a little about how important it is to keep trying; to get over the fear so it doesn’t entrap your being. Even with her fear, she decided to go out and try it again. I was so proud of her for not letting fear take over!

Now, it’s my turn! Bryson pushes me off with the wave and I miss my opportunity. I try again, and again, and again. Each attempt was much the same as the last. I felt frustration creep up inside me but was determined not to let that take over the fun I was having. It is a new experience and I was determined to enjoy it to its fullest! I never really did stand up to ride a wave. The waves seemed moderate but they were difficult to ride. Like Emily, I did more tumbling and crashing into the shore line than actual surfing.

Well, the fact that Emily and I were never able to stand up and catch a wave did not detract from the extremely fun day we had. It was a blast! We laughed off the day with naming ourselves, “Wave Crashers” and headed for lunch at Waffle House and indulged ourselves with my first taste of Sweet Frog ice cream before heading home.

We ended our day of adventures with an agreement that we would get out to try another surfing lesson together!

“Surfing big waves is not an extreme sport to me. I fall off, tumble down, and come up. My heart’s racing because I’m thinking I almost drowned, and I thank God I can breathe again, but I always think, ‘What am I hitting?’ Water.”
Paul Walker