News from My Corner December 2021 #Newsletters #TuesdayTidbit #Inspiration

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

 

 

 

Dear Family and Friends,

 

In the past few years, I’ve asked my virtual assistants to write my holiday letters for me. But, as I’m sure you remember, they can be a bit biased. Last year, when all three of them, Siri, Google, and Alexa, chimed in, it almost got deadly. So, from now on, I’m taking my brother’s sage advice. If you want something done right, do it yourself.

That having been said, I’m trying something new. Fellow author and blogger Lynda Lambert composes a newsletter that she sends and posts on her blog twice a year. So, I’m going to see if this will work for me. It may not, but I always say you never know until you try.
As I’m writing this on the day after Thanksgiving, there’s no snow on the ground, only leaves. Although it’s cloudy and cold, there’s nothing to indicate that winter and Christmas are on the way.

Although I’m glad not to have to deal with winter weather, it would be nice to have a little snow tonight for Sheridan’s annual Christmas stroll, where my singing group, Just Harmony, will perform. We’ll be singing indoors at a local thrift store, and a little of the white stuff on the ground would surely put people in a holiday shopping mood. Meanwhile, I’ve asked Alexa to play the holiday standards station from Tune-In Radio, and that seems to be putting me in the holiday letter-writing mood.

Thanks to COVID, I haven’t done much traveling this past year. I’d love to fly to Florida and spend Christmas with my brother and his family, but although I’m fully vaccinated, I’m concerned about picking up the virus in an airport or on a plane and passing it on to someone more vulnerable. Now that another variant of the virus has been reported in South Africa and other locations, I know I made the right decision to stay home.

Although I miss my family and love being with them, it’s not worth it if I’m risking making someone sick. I’ll probably eat Christmas dinner at the senior center. I had a nice Thanksgiving meal there yesterday.

Last April, I attended the WyoPoets annual workshop in Gillette, about a hundred miles south and east of Sheridan. I had submitted a poem for critique, and to my surprise and delight, the presenter read my poem during the workshop and offered her comments. Sadly, most of the day was spent reading and discussing other poems, including mine. I would have liked to  have done more writing during the workshop. But it was still fun reconnecting with other poets I hadn’t seen in over a year.

In June, I attended the National Federation of State Poetry Societies virtual conference, which featured workshops, open mic readings, and other activities. I wrote a couple more poems as a result of those workshops.

In July, my brother and his wife came and stayed for a few days. They’d been traveling across the country, visiting friends and relatives, and Sheridan was their last stop before they headed home to Florida. While they were here, we attended the rodeo parade and my class reunion and gathered with other family members for a celebration of life for an uncle who had passed away the previous winter. We had a wonderful time, and I’m hoping to get down to Florida to see them sometime next year.

All throughout the spring and summer, I was working on my new novel, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me. It was finally released the first week in October. Unfortunately, not realizing how soon it would be published, I signed up for a virtual memoir writing class that started at the end of September and ran until the first of November. So, between that and my blog and other obligations, I had little time to promote the book until this month. As for the memoir writing class, I now have a few more creative nonfiction pieces I can submit for publication later.

Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me is a novel about a grandmother with dementia who lives in a nursing home and tells her teenaged granddaughter a secret. The girl, not knowing what else to do, tells her parents she knows this secret. In the course of the book, which starts Halloween and ends at Christmas, the family is dealing with the situation. You can read a synopsis, reviews, and find ordering links on my website at:  https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com I’ll be signing copies of the book at Sheridan Stationery Books and Gifts on September 4th from one to three p.m. and have scheduled a radio interview on station KROE AM on December 20th at 9:10 a.m.

Last year, senior facilities where I’d been entertaining, that had been on lock-down due to the coronavirus pandemic, started opening up. I now do two gigs a month, one at a nursing home and the other at an assisted living facility. Our local senior center does lunchtime livestreams now in their dining room. I’ll be performing for one of those on December 23rd, and the event will be broadcast live on Facebook. I recently started participating in karaoke online through Zoom and in person at a local bar and grill.

Just Harmony has also started performing again. In September, we sang for a state Red Hats convention. Besides our performance during tonight’s Christmas stroll, we’ll be singing at a Mormon church service, an assisted living facility, a historical museum’s holiday open house, and for a local women’s club’s Christmas party.

I leave you now with a poem I wrote several years ago and revised recently for one of my writers’ critique groups.

 

 

 

 

 

MOTHER’S COOKING

 

 

 

I loved Mother’s meatloaf, steak San Marco, calico beans.

During meals, she often said,

“It’s too dry, too salty,

needs more pepper, should have been cooked longer.”

 

When I was an adult, she mashed potatoes for the first time:

boiled, peeled, sliced them,

added milk and butter, then attacked them with an electric mixer.

They turned out chunky but still tasted good.

 

On Christmas Day, with family and friends gathered at the table,

she berated herself for allowing

bits of potato to evade the whirring beaters.

I said I liked the potatoes, asked for a second helping.

As she scooped another delicious mound on my plate, she said,

“Well, you’re used to college cafeteria food.”

 

 

I hope your holiday season is as memorable as the year my mother made mashed potatoes for the first time, and I wish you all the best in the coming year.

 

With Love and Friendship,

Abbie

 

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

Front cover image contains: elderly woman in red sweater sitting next to a window.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

***

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Lunchtime Livestream with Abbie Taylor #Events

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

I’m pleased to announce that a week from today, July 7th, I’ll be playing the piano and singing in the dining room at The Hub on Smith. If you live in my neck of the woods, the facility is located at 211 Smith Street, and you can come and eat lunch while listening. The event will be broadcast live and recorded. You can click below to visit the events Facebook page. One way or another, I hope you can come.

Lunchtime Livestream with Abbie Taylor

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By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Image contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Day by Day #Musical Monday

I’ve sung this song many times but never performed it. It comes from Godspel, and one summer when I was in high school, my mother hoped I would sing it in a production of this musical. After a busy schoolyear, the last thing I wanted to do was be in another play. But, over the years, I’d learned that when Mother wanted me to do something, it was best just to go along with it.

To my relief and Mother’s consternation, I wasn’t cast in the production. I didn’t even have a chance to audition. The director, who Mother knew from the local theater guild, after advertising the production, which would take place in the local park’s band shell, told her son, who was in my class, to pick whomever he wanted to be in the play with him. I had a crush on him, and he didn’t know it, and, of course, he didn’t pick me.

When Mother confronted the director, the other woman pointed out that being in the production would have been dangerous for me, with my limited vision, because they were doing it on monkey bars. I couldn’t argue with that, especially since I didn’t want to be in the play, anyway, but both my parents, in outrage, threatened to resign from the theater guild. Fortunately, they came to their senses.

So now, here I am, singing this song, accompanying myself on the piano, and not crawling around on monkey bars. Thank God! Enjoy!

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

My Life and the Coronavirus #Wednesday Words

Last March, when COVID19 restrictions were first put into place, if I’d still been working as a registered music therapist in a nursing home, my routine would have been drastically affected. Group activities would have been limited, if even permitted at all. I would have spent a lot more time with residents in their rooms and would, no doubt, have heard complaints from those who enjoyed my group sessions about the lack of them.

Residents might not have even been allowed to congregate in lobbies or eat in the dining areas. All staff would probably have been pressed into meal delivery service. This would have been tricky for me, due to my limited vision, because, unless labels on trays were in large enough print for me to read, I could have given the wrong resident the wrong meal. This could have had serious consequences for people on special diets. I’m so glad that in 2005, I decided to quit practicing music therapy and write full-time.

Before the COVID19 restrictions, although I wasn’t working as a registered music therapist with seniors, I still volunteered at nursing homes and other facilities at least once a month, entertaining residents by playing my guitar and singing. This took more time than you might imagine because, like all musicians, I had to practice. I also needed to learn new songs residents requested or that I thought they might enjoy, as I did when I was practicing music therapy. Once the pandemic became prevalent last March, all senior facilities were on lockdown and are still on lockdown today. This has given me more time to write.

During the first couple of months of restrictions, the local YMCA was closed. So, I couldn’t attend water exercise classes, either. I started working out at home, which didn’t take nearly as much time as a trip to the Y. Thus, I had even more time.

Now, the Y is open, and I go there three days a week, as usual. That could change, depending on what restrictions our state’s governor puts into place this week in response to the rising number of COVID19 cases. I’ll be so glad when this pandemic is behind us. Although I may not have as much time to write, I’ll again be able to do other things I enjoy besides writing and entertaining seniors, including attending concerts and plays, eating out, and singing with my group.

***

What about you? How has COVID19 affected your life or your writing? You can either sound off in the comments field below or click here to participate in Stevie Turner’s Open Book Blog Hop on the subject.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

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Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

9 to 5 #Musical Monday

One year while I was in college, my parents gave me a singing machine for Christmas. This was an eight-track player with a microphone that could be connected to a stereo system. It came with specialized cartridges containing the accompaniment to popular songs. It was possible to order more cartridges when I ran out of songs to sing. I could also record, on cassette, myself singing the songs with the accompaniment provided.

I had fun with this for a while, making several such recordings and sending them to friends. One of the songs I sang was the one I’m featuring today. I no longer have that recording, and frankly, I don’t do the song justice. So, to commemorate Labor Day, here’s Dolly.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy, and may you always have positive experiences.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

Website

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.