Thursday, April 28, 2011

V is for Villa Rica (aka Welcome Home)

“In my little town
I grew up believing
God keeps his eye on us all.
He used to lean upon me
As I pledged allegiance
to the wall, Lord I recall
My little town...” ~ Paul Simon

Over the years I’ve found much meaning in song, prose written by kindred spirits expressing my heart. Paul Simon is one such author.

His song goes on to say, “…in my little town I never meant nothin' I was just my father's son. Saving my money. Dreaming of glory. Twitching like a finger on the trigger of a gun..."



I could relate.

Why? Because my mama told me that there was nothing in my little town for me. She often called it a one-horse town, and not in a fond, off-hand manner. More like disgust. Anger even. Of course, back then I didn’t get that. It was my mother after all, the woman whose job it was to look out for my best interest.

There is a law in life: that which we dwell upon, we create. Over time, the evidence mounted. Convinced she was right, Mama’s words became my own. And I left.

This coming June I’ll turn fifty-four. For fifty-three of those years the belief, deeply rooted, remained. I stayed far away.

Last year, I began making forays back home with cousin Kek, drawn to this kin who became my best friend.

One day while here, I realized I was happy. Delightfully so. I had family that loved me and a town full of classmates and their children’s children. It was nice knowing I had a history, people who knew me and loved me anyway.

Now that I am officially back, I see with different eyes and hear with different ears. I have come to understand. My mother had no reason to like Villa Rica. She was a foster kid from New York who met my father in Texas, a sailor in uniform who won her heart.

She came home with him to Villa Rica for love. She found resentment, maybe worse. My grandmother didn’t want Daddy to marry. He was to go back to college, after all. A wife and kids ruined her dreams. Did it ruin his too?

No, Villa Rica wasn’t kind to my mama. I understand why she was bitter. I understand why I was branded by it. She was a powerful woman and she was, after all, my mother.

But Villa Rica is my town.

As an adult with nothing left to prove, I am home. Mama’s gone. No longer do I have to live her words. I drive the streets of my childhood, see the houses I remember, and pride blooms in my heart.

My town.

I like the sound of that, the feel as it rolls off my tongue.

My town. Villa Rica.

Welcome home, Roaming Rebel. Welcome home.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for Wuss

There's a big storm blowing in, so I'm bowing out. For now.

Back tomorrow with a real post. Promise.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ochocinco for PETA, Livin' La Vida Loca

I started a blog post last night on my itty bitty iPhone screen. No, I didn't finish. So I'm starting over.

I've run across a few share-worthy items in the last week or so, but because of the seemingly never-ending saga of moves, changes and the resulting short-on-money-ness that I find myself in (still), I am once again without wireless at home. This too shall pass.

My participation in the A to Z Blogging Challenge? Blown out of the water. Apologies to anyone clicking over to find that I'm not on the right letter of the alphabet. I've gotten rather random on that front. So today you get L, O and P.

My new office mate shared this link on Facebook the other day. It's an ad for PETA picturing Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver and one fine specimen of man-ness. He is clad in nothing but his birthday suit, tats and a football, and yes, his privates are covered. The message? Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin and Let Animals Keep Theirs.

Wow. Yessir.

I watched Shrek II again last night and wanted to share a video of Puss and Donkey singing Livin' La Vida Loca. Alas, I couldn't find any good videos of them, so here's Ricky Martin.



Thursday, April 21, 2011

One of These Days...

...I will be settled.

I've rented a small one-bedroom house in town in Villa Rica surrounded by a small forest. I had no furniture and no money, but it's happening. Yeehaa!

...I will not be facing another move in the foreseeable future.

Ahhh. Makes sleeping on an air mattress almost palatable. But not totally.

...I will buy a new bed.

But for now, today, I bought a used one. I'm grateful to be sleeping on a real bed tonight.

...Calvin will show up on my doorstep.

I will swoon. Or maybe just fall in to his arms.

...I won't be scrounging and scrimping.

That day is nearing, but not here yet.

...I will get the rest of my stuff from Dahlonega. And California.

Dahlonega will be here on Saturday.

...I will write again. Not just dribbles and drabs. Really write. As in, consumed.

Finish my second novel. And my first.
...I will get back on track with the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

Umm. Yeah.

In the meantime, I'm getting the day job/business going. Scavenging for furniture and household goods. Taking care of Betty (please don't let it be serious). Etcetera.

Love y'all, Olivia J. Herrell

Here's Emmylou singing One of These Days written by Earl "Peanutt" Montgomery.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Leon Russell, I Just Had To

Every day, all day, this song is playing in the back of my head. Must be the beach. Ahhh...



Back to the Island ~ Leon Russell

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just.

Be.



Just.

Breathe.


"2 AM and I'm still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to


But you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable,
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button now
Sing it if you understand.
and breathe, just breathe
woah breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe." ~ Breathe

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I. As In Me.

In the excitement of moving (yes, Lordy, I got my own house), working, packing for the beach and acclimating Bugsy to his new home, I amost missed my I post.

Here it is, plain and simple:

I. I. I. I. I.

Night y'all, Olivia J Herrell

Friday, April 8, 2011

Highly Sensitive People Unite!

Last year, while researching the main character for a novel, I discovered that I belong to an elite group of people who comprise (they think) about twenty percent of the population.

Imagine my surprise and delight to find that I'm not alone. That I'm not weird. And that there's nothing wrong with me, I'm wired like this. Phew. Big sigh of relief.

I was so excited that I sat down and wrote an article and posted it to this blog. I keep a link at the top of my sidebar in hopes that other HSP's will be guided here. So that they (you) will know, too.

You are not alone.

For the same reason, I repost the article from time to time. I was fifty-three before I found out. What if my parents had known? And what if I had been told as a child?

Imagine how different my life might have been.

What if someone had said, "Olivia honey, there is nothing wrong with you. Yes, you're different. But in a good way. You're gifted. You feel things others don't. You see things differently. You're a prodigy. You are not a freak, nor a problem child. You're to be encouraged in your eccentricities; not squelched, ridiculed or belittled."

Yeah, No. That didn't happen. Not in my house. Did it happen in yours?

Eldala author, Michelle Gregory, found me after one repost and wrote a beautiful comment. I wanted to host an HSP blog hop and asked if she would like to co-host. She agreed.

Then the depression hit. I procrastinated. Let time slip by. Then more. Still no HSP Blog Hop. But I still think it's a good idea. And, Michelle, if you're reading, I'm ready.

Would anyone else like to weigh in? Co-host? Make us a cool widget? We could get the word out to a lot more people. Look what Arlee, Jeffrey, Alex, Jen, Candace, Karen, Talli and Stephen have done with the A to Z! 1283 bloggers!

We could do that for HSP Awareness, too.

Whaddya think? Should we rebel it? HSP's unite?

~ Olivia J. Herrell


On the sadder side of life, I attended a visitation tonight for a friend's son. He would've been twenty-seven in a couple of weeks. We arrived early and let the mother, father and family go in alone to see him. It was the first time since his passing.

It was heart-wrenching. Guttural. Raw.

My heart bleeds for my friend, his father. It bleeds for the young man's mother. His brothers. His friends and family. For the life that was taken too soon.

Drugs kill. Whether prescribed or not. So does alcohol. They took my brother at thirty-two, a combination of alcohol and Tylenol. There's nothing pretty about it. Nothing at all.

Are You Grateful?

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful.” -Buddha

I didn't die, didn't get sick and I learned a lot today. In fact, in the last couple of hours I've met several new people, read and followed their blogs, got my topic from Bz who is doing A to Z Gratitude topics for the month of April, finally know what Fight Club is really about courtesy of Matt, seen inside at least one person's (Alex's) heart, received encouragement to let my freak flag fly from Laura, received a Creative Blogger Award from Deirdra, and met another HSP (Anne).

Just to name a few.

What did you learn today?
Are you grateful?
I am.

I'm grateful for you,
dear reader, and
for you, faithful
commenter, and
for you, my
blogger friends.
My family.
My Bugsy.
I'm grateful for
my laptop,
my iPhone,
my flatscreen tv,
my inquisitive
mind, my
sensitivity, my
ability to
write words
and feelings
and thoughts.
I'm grateful
for love.

Happy G Day ~ Olivia J. Herrell

**Dear Blogger pals, it is with heavy heart that I add a postscript to my G post. G is for Gypsy, who died in Roland's arms yesterday. And H is for hearts that are broken over and  over, yet live to love again another day. Our hearts are with you, Roland, in your time of sorrow and grief.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Found. Finally.


After a year of hearing my cousin Kerry sing the praises of one Brian Keith, her long-time counselor, I've not only finally met him, but had an hour session with him. Today.

Metatron courtesy AngelicArtistry.com


I walked in to his office in Carrollton and found Nirvana. Comfortable couches. Spiritual artwork (I'm told by another of his clients that most were painted by Brian). Crystals. Plants. A subtle hint of incense in the air. Quiet. Peaceful. An oasis of calm.

As he stepped down the hall and out of the shadow in to the lounge (to call it a waiting room wouldn't do it justice), I recognized a fellow seeker. A kindred spirit.


An ancient family member.

Found. Finally.
  
He asked me a few questions related to birth date and order. Told me about my deceased mother's agenda which helped me understood why I never felt good enough for her.

And so many other things.

He filled in many missing pieces of a childhood that left me reeling.

I'll leave it at that, 'cause it's 1:25 a.m. and I need to sleep.

Thank you, Universe, for steering me to this incredible counselor/minister. I'm looking forward to getting off the prozac.

Brian, you rock!

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Brian has offices in Carrollton and Dahlonega, Georgia. For an appointment or more information about R. Brian Keith, DD, PhD, go to: www(dot)briankeithcounsel(dot)com

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

El Dorado

For Day E of the A to Z Challenge I give you El Dorado, my favorite John Wayne movie. In it he plays a hired gun whose shooting hand goes numb sporadically. He encounters a young, knife-throwing James Caan (circa 1966) who joins him on a quest to help his sheriff friend, a drunk Robert Mitchum, defend his town against the bad guys.

Though I've seen all of the Duke's movies over the years, I'm not a die-hard fan. But this one is different. And it's different because of the supporting cast whose characters bear names like Mississippi (Caan), Bull (Arthur Hunnicutt) and J.P. Harrah (Mitchum). Then there's Edward Asner playing Bart Jason, the rancher stirring up all the trouble.

This calls to mind an article that Eric W. Trant wrote awhile back. In it he points out that sometimes it's the supporting character(s) you love the most. That's certainly true for me in El Dorado.

As Thornton and Mississippi hit the trail for J.P.'s town, El Dorado, Caan sits up high in his saddle and delivers a moving rendition of Edgar Allen Poes's poem:

Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old,
This knight so bold,
And o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow;
"Shadow," said he,
"Where can it be,
This land of Eldorado?"

"Over the mountains
Of the moon,
Down the valley of the shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied,--
"If you seek for Eldorado!"*

My favorite scenes in the movie are Caan's. He and Hunnicutt lend a twist of humor. Dean the pathos. And Wayne? He's the quintessential hero.

It's a movie I will watch most any time, though I rarely have the pleasure. Thank you, AMC, for playing it for me tonight.



~ Olivia J. Herrell

* El Dorado, by Edgar Allen Poe courtesy of POETS.org

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dollar Dollar, Who Wants the Dollar?

Are you suffering from the Normalcy Bias?

According to Wikipedia:
"The normalcy bias refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of the government to include the populace in its disaster preparations. (emphasis added)

The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred that it never will occur (emphasis added). It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation."
I caught the tail end of an ad on the radio this evening, just enough to make me jot down the website when I arrived at the restaurant. And to further prompt me to look it up when I got home. What I read gave facts and figures and words to what I already knew in my gut.

Inflation is rampant, in spite of the fact that our government keeps denying it. Sure, interest rates are low, thanks to artificial regulation. This allows Uncle Sam to keep borrowing Dollars at 1.5%. They keep printing MORE dollars, causing prices of 85 of the 88 listed commodities to skyrocket. China is dumping US Dollars in to any and every concrete asset they can get their hands on and have been for years.

The US tells us unemployment is down. We scratch our heads and wonder why it is, then, that we can't get a job? Or our neighbor? Or our kids? Where are these jobs? Well, wonder no more.

The unemployment rate today has nothing to do with how many working age people don't have jobs. It is calculated based on the number of people on unemployment. So if you owned your own company, which so many of my friends do (or did) and are now out of work, the government ignores you completely.

If you worked for a company and lost your job, and have been unable to find another job, you're only counted as long as you draw unemployment benefits. Once your benefits run out (and, mind you, you still don't have a job) you are no longer counted as being unemployed!

Who the hell came up with that calculation? And what bozos adopted it as legitimate? Oh. Excuse me. It's the old lie-and-pretend-it's-the-truth game.

Here's another startling statistic. Fourteen percent of Americans are on Food Stamps. That means one out of seven Americans can't afford to buy food. We're not talking illegal aliens, either. We're talking about you and me.

The US Dollar is no longer the currency of choice. It all gets technical and boring from here. But hold in to your bloomers baby: as bad as it's been, the shit hasn't even hit the fan yet. It's gonna get worse.

Now, back to that Normalcy Bias. Do you, like I, believe that America is too great to fall? So was England fifty years ago. Our house of cards is crumbling. Our Dollar is being devalued every time the Fed prints more money. One day soon it'll be like Confederate money after the Civil War. Scrapbook material.

I know this wasn't a pleasant post. I'm feeling quite sick myself. But I love you guys and felt the need to share. I'm thinking it's better to be prepared. To know if a tsunami is coming. At least it gives me time to say a prayer. To stop and thank God for a good life. To tell someone close to me goodbye.

And maybe, if I know soon enough, I'll have time to warn my friends and family so that we can run to higher ground.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Click here to read the report I read. Then surf around to look at articles if you want confirmation.  I did. *shiver*

Monday, April 4, 2011

Calvin

"Who's that girl walking down the street?
That's my baby, she's my baby." ~ Calvin B. Streets

Seven years ago I met the love of my life. His name? Well. That depends. He kinda has a split personality. I'm in love with both personas and have been almost from the day we met.



That's him in the video. And that's me he's singing about.
I almost lost him. And that's a whole 'nuther story.

His stage persona is Calvin B. Streets. And he's a genius. I know music. I'm a connoisseur. A couple of weeks after we met, he hands me this CD. It was the next-to-final cut of the ten original songs he was including on the master for his CD He Ain't Done With Me Yet. It's available on CDBaby if you're interested.

He leaned over and slipped it through the window of my car as I was leaving that day. I thought, "Oh shit. I really like this guy. What if I listen and it sucks? What will I tell him?" I'm not one to hurt people. Or lie if I can help it.

I popped it in the CD player and out blasts this rockin' Stratocaster, sounding all Stevie Ray Vaughanish and sexy. Holy moly. That's HIM?? His sex appeal went up a few notches and I breathed a sigh of relief. I wouldn't HAVE to lie. After a couple of days I knew most of the words to the songs.

Over the years we were together in California, I watched Calvin create song after song: words, music, the whole shebang. His process intrigued and delighted me. It seemed so easy. I'd get up in the morning and there he'd be, on the sofa in the living room working out chords, words, whatever.

God, I've missed that.

His process inspired me. It gave me the permission and the want-to to write. I wrote a yet-unpublished Children's book. Then, after a long hiatus, I started blogging. And now I'm working on two novels.

Thank you, Calvin. You are an amazing musician, writer, producer. And friend. I've missed that, too.

I'm so glad you're back in my life. I'm not letting you go this time. I promsie.

Can't wait till you're here in the deep south with me, the home of the blues and the heart of Dixie. Where you, oh bloozman, belong.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Calvin's CD is available on CDBaby. His new all-acoustic CD will be out late this summer or early fall. In the meantime, check those out on youtube. Enjoy. :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm Friends With Nathan Bransford

On Facebook. Yeah, well. Gotta start somewhere, right?

Did you know that his new book Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Kapow will be out next month?

It's Day 2 of A to Z. My wireless is down. I'm snuggled in bed with a laptop and no signal and I refuse to go down to the basement to troubleshoot. Which means I'm typing this with one finger on my iPhone.

So Sir Nathan is my B.

Thank you, Mr. Bransford. For being my friend. And for being my blog post.

You're the Best!

~ Olivia J. Herrell

Friday, April 1, 2011

Award Starts with Aw(www)

Today is the official beginning of the A to Z Challenge. April Fools! NoT.  There are 934 bloggers participating. At least that was the count when I looked a few minutes ago. 934 bloggers who have accepted the challenge to blog on topics from A to Z over twenty-six days in the month of April.




Don't be surprised if I get bored and go backwards from Z to A. Or jump all over the place. The point, I think, is to build blogging muscle, writing muscle. To get in the habit of writing every day.

That said, here goes. I am starting at A. Because it is April. And because I want to.

I've received a couple of Awards over the last couple of months, during the time that I have been mostly away from blogger. This seems to be a perfect time to trot them out and thank my friends for thinking of me.

Thank you.

I may miss one. Or two. If I do, and you notice, please tell me so I can make Amends.

Dang, where are those suckers? Oh wait, I found one. The last one awarded actually, by Jules over at Trying to Get Over That Rainbow.  Thanks, Jules!


This one asks the receiver to tell 4 truths and 1 lie, then pass it on to 5 beautiful bloggers. First, the task.

1) I've found the perfect house and will be moving in within a few months.

2) My cat is having kittens.

3) I just sold Black Betty and bought a new (to me) SL450 Convertible.

4) Calvin Streets is moving here soon to hit the Atlanta blues scene and I'm so happy I could burst.

5) I hate getting awards.

Well, crapola. Thanks, Jennifer Shirk for picking the one 'lie'. You were right. But I did the exercise backwards and listed four lies and one truth. Oops. So, which one is the truth? :)

I'm passing this on to the last five bloggers I've met, most of them through Tessa and LB's Nature of Magic Blogfest. (BTW, I wasn't one of the five finalists, but I did receive a special mention for the excerpt I posted from my new work-in-process. I'm thrilled to pieces, thanks, guys!)

L.B. Diamond @ Yup-Like the Stone
Autumn @ Autumn Shelley
Linda @ Scheherazade
Laura Howard @ Finding Bliss
Monica @ Old Mommy, Still Yummy (who actually found me through A-Z!)


I received this beautiful award from two of my friends, http://elliot-grace.blogspot.com/ and...

OMG! No you did not. Ummm. Yes I did. I didn't save it. It's not in my dusty award closet. Was it Donna Hole? Jules? Becky, the Words Crafter? Oh, please Universe, help me to be more organized. And please, whoever I forgot, please forgive me. Geez.

Anyway, Donna, Jules, Becky, Elliot, Eric W. Trant, Roland Yeomans, Michelle Gregory, Yvonne at Welcome to My World of Poetry and Bru at Pitch Slapped I am passing this Award along to you.

Because you are always there to hold me up and encourage me, even when I seem to be down for the count. You guys rock.

Please click over and visit these awesome writers. I am blessed and grateful to have each and every one of you in my life.

I've been at this one post for hours and I'm beginning to suspect that if each of the 26 April A to Z posts takes me this long, I probably won't make it. I do, after all, have a bestseller that needs writing. But I'll give it my best shot.

Till tomorrow, then. My hastily scribbled notes say I'll be talking about 'Be vs. Are'. Hmm. WTF? Of course, I was supposed to talk about 'A vs. The' today. Oh well.

As we say in AA, keep coming back. :)

~ Olivia J. Herrell

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