Sunday Book Review, The Calm and the Storm by Martha Perez

My Sunday Book Review today is for Martha Perez’s short, inspirational prose from the soul, one who has been ‘there’ with some of life’s soul wounding moments.. And in this short but inspiring book, the author offers words of comfort.

Blurb:

The Calm And The Storm: Inspiration that will keep you strong enough to keep going!

When you look at the reflection of the moon as the waves ease toward the sand, I am the calm. The wind blows, and the air is cool. When the waves are crashing on a dark stormy night, and the bat’s shadows reflect the glow of the full moon, I am the Storm.

“The Calm and The Storm” are 12 short quality chapters that will acknowledge what you go through in life. Not just what you go through now, but what you’ve been through before. We are all strong and powerful people trying to make the best out of life. If you want to be inspired, I wrote this with love. Even though I write dark stories, this book is made to get you through the dark days and appreciate the other days as well.

My 5 Star Review:

Martha Perez is soul inspiring. I have a few of her books awaiting to be read but I chose to read this short inspirational book one day when my soul needed soothing.

This book a collection of short chapters of words to inspire. It’s not about crying over wrongs and hurt, but finding the reasons to make it to the next day.

“When you feel your life is filled with darkness it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to not be okay. But then find that reason to continue.” ~Martha Perez

“When life breaks you, let it shape you. Don’t focus on the pain. Focus on the fight.” ~Martha Perez

“I fight with my pen. I fight when I type. My ink bleeds pain mixed with empty tears.” ~Martha Perez

Perez offers avenues of hope by referencing her own over-comings in life in small detail, helping to point others in a more positive direction despite obstacles. She speaks as though talking specifically to us, the reader. A good book to pick up again and again when your self needs a little lift.

©DGKaye2022

How Am I Doing? Too Much Solitude isn’t Healthy – #Procrastination and #Grief

It was a year April 7th that I lost the love of my life, my husband, Puppy. And today is his birthday. I’ve been busy painting new rocks to place around his gravestone for his birthday visit. And went over to the garden center to pick up a lovely spring planter.

The sun’s rays were shining brightly in this photo

This past year has been one of The most difficult time of my life. Many days I find myself not coming to grips with anything. When you love deeply, you will grieve deeply. I am on my own way too much it seems and I know with certainty getting away for the winter was my saving grace, being around people – company, always someone to talk to.

Most of my days are spent reading, researching various things from the spiritual to online grief groups, and writing. It may seem I haven’t published anything for quite some time, but the writing has been plentiful and has given me much material to work with from my journaling and the many poems I have written. My procrastination, because of my newly acquired short attention span hasn’t permitted me to do anything concrete with any of it yet, but I’m slowly working on that as I struggle through each day with what feels like a never-ending grief who is my constant companion. I know though, that one day soon I will have much of my writing to share. My grief doesn’t just pop up randomly, but walks with me every minute of the day. Some days I can deflect it off ’till later’ and some days it just gets the best of me. So I continue to live in my mantra of ‘One Day at a Time.”

In my moments of distraction, I find myself running to Youtube listening to angel messages, Mediums, poets, from inspirational things to talks on the afterlife. I’ve been watching a lot of Youtube videos, getting lost in the 70s and 80s lately too. I can listen to that music because it takes me back to some of my most happiest times – the times before I met my husband, so those songs couldn’t set off yet another fresh round of grief. Somedays I find myself having to do anything to distract myself from doing anything productive as my grief is a staunch companion. I find myself always trying to gauge my emotions and watch where my mind goes. If I feel the need to abandon doing something constructive (like writing and getting back to edits so I can publish I book I wrote two years ago), when the weight of my grief reminds its presence, I need to do that in that moment. This is my coping mechanism taking over, and I must listen.

If my soul craves the need to jump over to Youtube to watch a video on the Afterlife, or a music video to take me back to a happier time, I do it. I’m alone much of the time and I thank goodness I’m resourceful because let me tell you, I loved living on my own when I was younger. I had the time of my life in those days with a very active social life. But this time ’round, both the calendar and the couch are equally empty.

I’m okay with music prior to knowing my Puppy, but not yet ready for hearing ‘our’ songs. I passed on the Luther Vandross video – So Amazing, that popped up on the playlist, the one I walked down the aisle to when we married.

I’m getting acquainted with, but not quite used to living alone. Being single in grief at a certain age is nothing like being single in my 20s and 30s, especially when you’re still trying to digest being in the digit ‘six’ club. If I didn’t have my writing to keep me sane, who knows where I’d be. Writing is my sanity, as it seems to have been my ‘go to’ since I was a child. I feel like I’m in a new learning phase of my life where I allow myself to follow my whims instead of putting them on the back burner for tomorrows – those tomorrows that sometimes never come.

But I’m always writing. I probably have enough writing for three new books. The only thing I haven’t yet got back to is my desire to do something with my words. So in the meantime, I keep writing. And I’m actually considering putting some of my writing in podcast that will eventually become part of the book on grief that I’ve been journaling about. The universe will guide me when the time is right. My heart is far from ready yet to reread the thousands of words I have written in these past two years.

My circles in life are considerably smaller. I am grateful for the friends in my life, especially those who’ve ‘stayed’. And equally grateful for my online writing friends here who keep check on me and keep me motivated, informed and entertained. I feel as though I haven’t found a direction yet, so I remain coasting along to whatever the days ask of me without putting pressure on myself. Grief is a strange animal that takes hold of me in a moment’s notice. It distracts, it chokes, it hinders, and somedays it’s just emotionally crippling for me, and it works on its own schedule. Too much alone time is not healthy for a griever. I am trying to work on that too.

I will finish off by saying that procrastination is a well known thing for writers as we often will look for a distraction when the muse isn’t fulfilling. But sometimes, in other aspects of life, procrastination is the very thing that soothes our insanity, and a diversion is just what the doctor ordered.

Happy Birthday to my Heavenly Husband 🧡💔💘

Last of the diehard Toronto Maple Leaf fans – who may just make it this year!

Mexican memories

Love of my life

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Garden Black by Frank Prem #Poetry

My Sunday Book Review is for the latest collection of speculative poetry by Frank Prem. I have enjoyed reading many of Frank’s books because his poetry interpretations take us along with him on his observations whether real or fiction, his truth shines through.

Blurb:

The Garden Black poetry collection is a venture into fantasy and speculative fiction based on the dual themes of rain forest and fantasy.

. The rainforest becomes a desert, and then the sea.

. A man in a satellite orbits the earth while playing his violin and pondering. A girl gazes up at the passing light and dances.

. Od Ovo – a youth who is from here, raises the dust of frustrated boredom on a mining asteroid, and cannot believe traveller tales of places where water falls from the sky.

. What colour are the flowers in the Reaper’s garden? They are all colours . . . They are black.

Welcome to the speculative fantasies that are The Garden Black.

My 5 Star Review:

From fantasy to the deep is what you will find in this new interesting collection of speculative poetry by Frank Prem. Prem’s poetry reminds that life is fragile and fleeting. Life is brief and can be both harsh and beautiful at times. The author shares conversations evoked in his mind through his observations and imagination, life’s incidences and moments.

A few poems in particular, caught my attention and touched deep. I’ll share them here through partial excerpt:

Not sorry only grief (waiting)

"I have no wish
to go back
home

home
never
quite
had room
for what I was

but
I do wish
that home
could spare a
thought - 
just ocassionally -
for me ..."

Unbound (goodbye)

"gravity
would hold me down
but
I was not made
to be
earthly tied

I set my sights
somewhere
over the tree tops

the strength
my strength
lives
in the will I hold ..."


Jet on night

"he
is a silhouette

she
a shadow leaning
up against
the wall

he reaches
to touch her
with the sun
shining behind him

she holds up
a phantom hand
to better feel
their connection

darkness on
darkness

he isn't there

jet on jet

she isn't there ..."



©DGKaye2022

Colleen Chesebro’s #TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge No. 272: #Tastetherainbow-Color Poetry ~Senryu

It’s been awhile since I hopped on to one of Colleen Chesebro’s Poetry Challenges, and as one known for not tolerating injustice, I felt compelled to join in this week’s poetry challenge with a Senryu. This week’s challenge we are free to choose any form of syllabic poetry we like, but must include a color.

Black hearts, empty souls
Stealing freedoms, women's rights
Darkness reigns Supreme

If you’d like to join Colleen’s weekly challenge, please visit the original post.

©DGKaye2022

Goodbye #WATWB We are the World Blogfest

As many of you know, I have been a participant of the #WATWB for almost five years. This was a group of authors who posted something positive every Friday on the last Friday of each month to deflect from some of the negativity going on in the world. While I was on winter blog break, I didn’t know that March was the last month for this.

It was nice to be part of a set scheduled posting, but that doesn’t mean we can’t randomly share posts on goodness at our leisure or whenever we come across something worthy of sharing. So this past weekend I was feeling a bit nostalgic and was surfing through some different genres of music videos on Youtube and came across one of my favorites by Tim McGraw – ‘Humble and Kind’, and another classic relic by Teddy Pendergrass, sung when he was still lead singer of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes – ‘Wake Up Everybody’. Both these songs spoke to me with renewed emotion on reminders of the state of our world with big messages to remind about patience, tolerance and actions needed, reminding us about compassion. Like Teddy sings, “The world won’t get no better, if we just let it be …”

We are all, still the world. McGraw’s video is beautiful – both words and video. Pendergrass’ song is still very much of importance, despite the 70s being long gone, the message remains relevant, wake up everybody!

I hope you enjoy and are rejuvenated in compassion as you listen to the words. Not sure about you guys, but McGraw’s video has me reaching for tissues everytime. That song has been the ringtone on my phone now for quite a few years.

Official Soultrain video – by Philadelphia International records

Tim McGraw official video

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Laugh Out Loud – 40 Women Humorists Celebrate Then and Now #Anthology

A hilarious romp back to the past where 40 humorists from the Erma Bombeck Author’s Writer Workshop, contribute humorous stories about life comparing – then and now. Many of these stories touch on womanhood, aging, acceptance and grace all taken with a grain of salt and bringing words of wisdom to light – all in good humor.

Blurb:

Remember ironing your hair? Rolling it in soda cans to straighten it? Lacquering it with enough spray that it could ward off bullets? Ever slather on cement-colored lipstick so heavy, you looked like a zombie princess? Remember hot pants and platform heels? The danger of patent-leather shoes? Were you a secretary, nurse, or teacher, but only, as our mothers urged us, until you found “Mr. Right.” In her new book, LAUGH OUT LOUD: 40 WOMEN HUMORISTS CELEBRATE THEN AND NOW…BEFORE WE FORGET, Allia Zobel Nolan and 40 funny ladies from the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop chronicle these blips in time as they look back at life in the past lane. Zobel Nolan and the other dancing queens then fast forward to today and write about what it’s like to blink and wake up to be 50, 60, 70, and beyond—experiences ranging from cremation ceremonies to marrying younger men, from senior online dating to finding yourself a menopausal maniac in Mexico.

My 5 Star Review:

This book is a great romp of nostalgic humor. We all remember stories, incidents, trials, tribulations, and the aftermath where we can look back on the years and laugh at. We wore crazy styles, did stupid things, had wild crushes, crazy habits.

Funny women here sharing their humorous stories of the past, taking us on a nostalgic trip back through our own memory lane and having us shaking our heads in ‘I can’t believe I did or wore that’ or in affirming, yes, I totally remember that. In this anthology of fun you’ll read some funny side up stories about life from bell bottoms to Birkenstocks, from hot pants to hormones, from mood rings to menopause, it’s all here in 40 fun stories that will provide a few hours of many Lols, while keeping tabs on life from youth to aging and everything in between.

A few favs:

When We Were Fashionistas and the hilarious fashion rundown of the 1960s, Saturday Night Ain’t What it Used to Be – those long Saturday nights when other people had a date, but we didn’t, Menopausal Maniacs in Mexico – had me in stitches and nodding my head at the familiarity and the hilarity of aging gracefully – not, Breathless Encounter – takes us on one woman’s struggle to learn about wearing shapewear and the struggle of getting out of it, Losing It – will resonate with everyone who has struggled with diets, Taking my Face out of the Drawer – talks about when the author began wearing makeup and unapologetic for still feeling comfortable in seeing her face in makeup as the face she is still familiar with, and my ultimate favorite story by Sherri Kuhn – Loving the Skin I’m In – a story about aging and acceptance of beauty changes, fashion fails, settling for comfort unapologetically – “I didn’t get this way overnight, you know. Turning into a midlife goddess, completely relaxed in my body takes time and dedication.”

The book ends with a tribute to Erma Bombeck: Laughing Through the Pain by the author Allia Zobel Nolan who collaborated this most entertaining and clever anthology of humorous takes on women and aging who iconizes Bombeck for her wisdom’s on life, often of the mundane sort that become humorous to us women who can relate, despite Bombeck’s own tribulations in her own life. As Nolan writes, “She held up a mirror to her life, burst out laughing, then sat down and chronicled it for millions to enjoy.”

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I don’t have a single bit of talent left and could say, “I used everything you gave.” ~Erma Bombeck

©DGKaye2022

Puerto Vallarta, #Mexico Part 3, Fun, Sun, Shopping and Friends

Welcome to Part 3 of my winter away in Puerto Vallarta. Today I’m going to share more photos and a few video clips to give you the vibe and describe a bit more about interesting facts and observations about vacationing in PV.

Bartering

I’ll start with shopping. In stores, the price is the price. But when visiting outdoor markets or buying from beach vendors, don’t forget to bargain or I promise you’ll be paying too much. Typically, when a beach or market vendor offers you prices for their wares, I’ve discovered that they will usually double the actual price of what they will eventually accept. They are crafty sellers and they know there are many new tourists who they can snag in at too high prices, often not taking into account the many repeat visitors who know the game.

Often the vendors that peddle their wares along the beach aren’t always selling their own hand-crafted goods, but they are selling for other people’s stores. They have a price they must get to both, pay for those goods and make a small profit. I know this game well, especially as a seasoned shopper. I may not always be buying, but I look and always check prices. Let’s say someone is selling beach covers on the beach. Typically, if you go downtown to markets and such you will see these same covers going for $250 to $400 Pesos (range of $12-$25 US dollars) but you can be sure if you ask ‘Pedro’ on the beach, how much, he’ll ask you for $800 Pesos. That’s when I laugh and joke around and say things like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ And I’d say I can get the same thing downtown for ‘x’ amount. Then the negotiations begin as ‘Pedro’ will rebutt with asking how much would I be willing to pay. It’s just the way the game goes. I know that if they are asking $800, it’s really valued around half. If I want the item I’ll offer $400, usually never accepted right away. He’ll come back at around $600 and I’ll say I don’t need it that bad for $600 but I’ll take it for $400. After all is said and bartered, I’ll walk away with the item for $450, $500 max. I get what I want, and I know he got to make some profit without ripping me off.

Le hat

Above is the perfect demonstration of waiting for the right price. I saw this unique hat downtown in an over-priced store near the beginning of my trip and fell in love with it. It came in various colors and the brim was all hand embroidered. When I first saw this hat, the store wanted $60 US dollars for it! And they didn’t even care to bargain so I left it and kept my eye out for it in my many travels, but everywhere I did manage to find this style I found it too over-priced. Until I went out for the day with my friends Jamie and Pat to Bucerias and we walked through the market, and there they were again. The goods were cheaper up there than downtown PV. I didn’t even bargain when I found this beauty, the young girl was so sweet sitting outside her little kiosk in the sun. I asked how much and she told me $380 Pesos – equivalent of about $25 Canadian dollars. Sold!

My friend Shelley and I went on a few shopping jaunts together, but we also went grocery shopping together a few times too. I can tell you that grocery prices have gone up there like everywhere else. The food in PV is delicious and freshly made in restaurants, and to my knowledge and taste buds – without preservatives, a refreshing change from North America. I felt my grocery bill had gone up about ten percent since 2020, and definitely noticed the upcharges in restaurants and bar drinks. I used to be able to eat a dinner out for $12 that became $15, and sometimes upwards of $20, depending on where I went out to eat at. Fish is relatively cheap in PV and brought in fresh daily to many restaurants. Shrimps are cheap and plentiful on every menu and marlin, mahi mahi and snapper are always on menus.

Shelley took this at the upscale supermarket – La Comer. In this section they make fresh tortillas daily

This is a glimpse of this huge, well appointed supermarket, fresh meat and fish section

The bar drinks went up quite a bit too, considering alcohol is relatively cheap to buy there. Drink prices almost doubled for the most part in most restaurants and at the pool. Beers were typically a dollar, now three dollars. Mixed drinks that used to cost about three dollars became six, seven and eight, depending where you went. I used to like to order the odd Pina Colada at the pool in the afternoon (a little easier to handle during the day than margaritas), until they doubled the price while I was there. Instead of paying eight dollars for a drink I decided to replenish my own bar in my condo and bought a bottle of rum, crema de coconut and pineapple juice, all for under $18 and made myself many afternoon drinks for less than a dollar.

Best Pina Colada with authentic recipe. Malibu Rum, Crema de Coconut, Pineapple Juice and a splash of lime

Shelley and I went downtown to the factory where they sell all the beautiful blown drinking glasses and accessories. I wanted to buy so many things but wound up only buying two giant martini glasses and two shot glasses because the glass is heavy and I had no room to spare in my carryon bag. The margarita glasses weighed more than the martini glasses. They do the safe wrapping there too. The only danger were the rows and rows of shelving full of glassware we’d walk up and down through the aisles looking at. I had my big beach shopping bag slung over my shoulder and had to hold it close to avoid being a bull in a china shop.

Beautiful blown glass

Of course we had to stop for a libation in between shopping.

Me and Shelley (Shelster) stopping in a watering hole

This a photo of the famous ‘Our Lady Of Guadalupe’ church near the center square down by the boardwalk/malecon. Many church-going folk tourists go there for Sunday morning service, and it is often referred to as a meeting point when people make plans to meet downtown.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Below is a short veryyy amateur video I took of me, Shelley and our new girlfriends from Alberta, Carol and Sharon. The four of us were crazy together and somehow we had created alias names for ourselves. Carol became Pat McGuilicutty, Sharon was Marge Simpson (because she piled her massive hair two feet high on her head most days at pool, except it wasn’t blue. I dubbed Shelley, Shirley Shelster, and I was named Sheila Tequila. We went downtown for Happy Hour and a pub crawl.

Pub crawl in PV

Here’s a small sampling of downtown Malecon. Me, Shelley and John spent the day downtown one day, walking, shopping and of course a few drink pit stops.

Downtown boardwalk

Here’s an interesting picture I took while we were at a red light on the way back from downtown. You never know what you will see in PV for a hand out.

Guy on a unicycle right in front of our cab

They come in all shapes and sizes there, geckos, lizards and salamanders

This guy was hanging out near the pool steps to lobby

On my last night in PV, Shelley and John, Wendy and Jerry, had already left the day before. Brenda and Saul were already home. Thankfully, Jamie (Ukranie) and Pat were leaving the next day also, we were the last of the diehards left and we went downtown for dinner. Jamie left early because he had to attend to a Zoom conference, leaving me and Patty Girl to our own devices. So we walked over to the Margarita Grill our favorite landing spot when going downtown for a good margarita.

Margarita Grill

Last night in PV drinking our medium sized margaritas

After margaritas and a tequila shot, Patty and I walked across the street to the always busy Dolce Vita restaurant and sat down at the bar and finished off our night with Spanish Coffees before heading home.

This vacation started off as a slow burn as I was apprehensive in going solo, discovered friends who I thought were friends, weren’t really, then ultimately, meeting some fantastic new friends who made my time in PV very special. These are not just PV friends, these are all new good friends that I keep in touch with and will not only be meeting up with again next winter, but I plan on taking Patty and Jamie up on their offer to visit them in Vancouver this summer, as well as my pals Shel, and John because they live right here in Ontario about an hour and half away. I will also be visiting them this summer. A great gang of people and blessed to make all their acquaintenances.

My Winnipeg girls, Wendy and Brenda

Dakotas
My North Dakota Girls Jackie and Kathie

Sharon, me, Carol and Shel

Wendy and Jerry (the artist)

Shelley and John

Bobbie and Shawn also from Ontario

Me, Patty, Jamie, Shelley and John

Thank you all my new wonderful friends for making my trip so much fun!

I hope you all enjoyed reading and watching slices of my winter escape to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

©DGKaye2022

Sunday Book Review – Just Before Sunrise by Carol Balawyder

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m delighted to share my review for Carol Balawyder’s page turning story about love, lust, crime and the innocent people who get caught in between in her noir thriller – Just Before Sunrise.

Blurb:

A coming-of-age story with a domestic noir twist.

Nadine, tired of running her call-girl agency has upgraded to gold digger as she finds the perfect rich widower to marry. Discovering that her wealthy widower is an abuser she seduces his stepson, Charlie, to plot her husband’s murder.
But things don’t go as planned and soon she is turning to her experience hiring young call-girls to find the perfect girl to save her from going to prison…
Homeless Maya is drifting on the streets, grieving the recent loss of her mother.
When she is offered the opportunity to prepare a lake-side house to be used as a half-way home for delinquent girls, she doesn’t think twice.
She soon falls for Charlie, the attractive boy next door, who has a seriously dark side. She is drawn into his murderous schemes, doing anything he asks her to, risking her own safety for the promise of a future with him. When she finds herself party to murder, and she realises he is more concerned with his older female accomplice than with her, she must learn to trust her instincts and use all of her courage to get out of their trap alive.
As a subplot there is the rocky romantic relationship between an older woman and a younger man who become involved in investigating the murder for which young Maya is accused of committing.
Just Before Sunrise is a story about loss and survival. About loneliness, betrayals and deadly desires.

My 5 Star Review:

This book begins with different people telling the story that seamlessly converges into a page-turning dark tale.

It begins with the relationship between Joni, a women’s homeless and abuse counselor, and her younger boyfriend Adam. Their relationship is like good friends with benefits with question marks about developing into more. The two love each other, but with Joni in her mid fifties, she isn’t keen on having kids, and Adam still in his thirties, struggles with not having any. He even contemplates marrying someone just so he can have children.

At this same time, we meet Nadine, an ex call girl who uses her beauty and wiley ways to meet men with money. She craftly meets wealthy Logan, at his wife’s funeral. Nadine pretends she was friends with his wife and wiggles into Logan’s life – with an end goal of marrying him.

Nadine moves in with Logan and his step son Charlie and soon hatches a plot of pretending to fall in love with the young Charlie so she can win his attention to help her set up her end goal plan of getting rid of Logan – a man they both despise.

The convergence of this story occurs when Joni meets Maya, a sixteen year old homeless girl. Joni has a cottage next door to Charlie’s parents’ summerhouse and decides to use her cottage as a safe house for homeless young women. When Joni takes Maya up to her cottage to help prepare the place, Maya befriends Charlie. Maya begins feeling a connection with Charlie as he shares stories with her about him being abused when he was younger, to win her sympathy so he can use her for a decoy later on with evil Nadine’s dirty plans.

After Nadine and Charlie’s plan to get rid of Logan take place, they find they are left with a money hungry brother of Logan’s that they need to get out of the way of their plans to have everything. As the plot thickens, poor Maya unknowingly becomes part of a sinister plan. The two evil doers snag in this innocent girl into their dark scheme in hopes to use her as a scapegoat for their insidious crimes.

In this story we’ll witness relationship awakenings, self-discoveries, and finally, regained self-worth by Maya, while Adam and Joni grow through searching for missing Maya and both finally realize what it is they really want out of life. No surprise the author, with her criminal psychology background, does a wonderful job of writing noir and getting us invested in her richly drawn characters and her lovely setting of Quebec, Ontario in this book that will keep you turning the pages.

©DGKaye2022