My Life In Pictures From 2018 - What a Year
A day in my Life

My Life In Pictures From 2018 – What a Year

My Life In Pictures From 2018 - What a Year

Saying goodbye to the year 2018

As the end of another year approaches and a new one is about to begin, I find myself reminiscing over events that have happened over the past year. I take out pictures I have taken and relive the moments of another year that has gone by so quickly before saying goodbye to it.

I come across pictures that didn’t seem like were taken that long ago when in fact some are almost a year old. Where has the time gone?  I ask myself. These years are just whizzing by and I try to cherish every moment, live life to the fullest and make as many memories as I can with my family and friends.

I have gathered a collection of photos I have taken throughout the year and wanted to share them with you. Not only do I want you to know me as a writer but also as someone you feel you know. Once in a while, I like to give my readers a little insight into my life and allow them to know me as a person. So I thought it would be fun to show you my year in pictures and my favorite memories that I will cherish forever.

January 2018

December 31st is my birthday so the week after, in January, my husband surprised me by taking me to the Titanic Exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley CA. It was a fantastic tour and we spent the entire there, seeing the rest of the library too.

Laughlin NV
Oatman AZ
Oatman AZ
Oatman AZ

In the last week of January, I took my best friend Joanie to Laughlin NV for a weekend, to celebrate her birthday. We had an awesome time and on the way home, she talked about a small town in Arizona called Oatman. Well me being the spontaneous kind, looked at a map, saw we were close by and took a detour through the town and boy am I glad we did. I just love this place! I could spend days there and wished we had had more time to explore this magical place. The burros are descendants from the gold miners who used them to haul gear and food. When the miners left the town, they left the burros behind, where they remained and now live with the locals, who watch out for them, feed them and give them medical attention if needed.

February

I grew up reading Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter and wanted to see this movie myself. My grandkids loved it and I was not disapointed either.

March

Every year, in March, we attend the Fred Hall Show in Long Beach. It is a family event that we have been doing for many years. My husband and I, our son, daughter-in-law and grandkids all enjoy the many outdoor activities they have to offer including, kayaking, fishing, log sawing, ax throwing, dog jumping and seeing all the latest gear for outdoor activities.

In March we had our first big snow fall and it happened when we had the grandkids up for the weekend. It was just before St Patrick’s day so we spent the morning making cookies and by the afternoon we had a few good inches of snow on the ground. Luke, (The youngest) spent an hour on the front porch just watching the snow come down. He was mesmerized. By night time we were surrounded by a blanket of snow and spent the evening playing in the snow by flashlight. The next morning, Luke was in awe looking at the snow that had fallen overnight.

April

After twenty years of parts being stored in the garage, my husband finally begins building his custom Harley Davidson Panhead. What a beauty she turned out to be.

When the grandkids come to visit I always try and take them some place and always include my best friend’s grandson, (Johnathan, who is sitting in the middle.) On this visit in April, I took them all to the Western Cowboy event.

May

Mother’s Day I was shocked when I received a guitar from my husband. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play one. Well now I have the tool, I just need to find the time. It will happen one day, I promise.

Mother’s Day is also an emotional day as I think of my mother, bedridden in England, suffering from Vascular Dementia. She no longer recognizes me and I miss her smile and her visits to the United States. Without fail every year, my sister sends me a photo of her reading the card I had sent her. Thank you sis!

June

June was a proud month for all of us when our eldest grandson, James won first place in his Jiu-Jitsu tournament. Way to go James!

July

July was when we had the temperatures souring in the 100’s and it was time to head to some waters. So we packed up our bags and tents and headed to Kernville with the kids and grandkids where we spent the weekend, kayaking, swimming and lazing around on inner-tubes. What a glorious weekend it was.

August

Finally, after months of anticipating and waiting, I see the cover to my book for the first time and absolutely fell in love with it. I think the publishers did an outstanding job.

As many of you know, we live in the mountains and see many sitings of wildlife. While at a friends house one afternoon, I see a mama bear and her cub strolling down the street while I was sitting on the deck. It took my breath away and a memory that I will not forget anytime soon.

August was also a month to spend more time on the water with the family. This time we decided to spend the day on my husband’s nephew’s boat in Redondo beach. The kids and grandkids joined us and also family members we hadn’t seen in a while also showed up. It was a great day spent catching up, swimming and of course kayaking.

September

In September I received the first copies of my book. What an emotional day that was. To hold my book in my hands for the first time, brought tears to my eyes. All the hard work and frustrations to get it to this point was absolutely worth it. My husband also managed to make me cry when he came home with a beautiful bouquet of roses and a sweet card. I love you Gordon!

September was also the month to celebrate our youngest grandson’s birthday who turned 3 in 2018.

After twenty-five years in the making and eight years to write, RECKLESS BEGINNINGS went live at the end of September. A date I will never forget.

When I received this picture of my Mum with my book, I broke down in tears. Seeing my mother and my book together, tore at my heart strings. I know she will never read the book, but she was there in the beginning and read the first three original chapters before dementia took over her life. At times I wished I had written the book sooner.

October was also the month when I held my book signing at our local library. I have never felt so proud of myself. I loved the support I received from family and our little community that I’m happy to call home.

November

While driving to work one morning I was listening to the news about the wildfires that were rapidly spreading through Malibu and up ahead in the distance I could see the smoke plume from my car. It was so eerie to see and such a sad day in Southern California. It was a devasting fire that took over 1000 homes. My heart goes out to all those that were affected by these deadly fires.

November was also the month Luke received his first belt in Jiu-Jitsu. (He is only 3) Well done Luke 🙂

I also got my new car. A Honda CR-V. It was time. My last car had 250,000 miles. (Also a Honda CR-V)

I had my first televised interview with KBAK 29 NEWS from Bakersfield. I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck but thanks to the interviewer Rayna Harvey, I felt completely at ease and it went extremely well. Thank you!

December

December is all about Christmas. And what a Christmas we had. We went to our small town Christmas parade, made cookies, had more snow and of course celebrated with the family.

So there you have it. My best moments from 2018. What fond memories do you have of 2018?

Happy New Year

I want to wish all of you a happy new year and success in whatever you have planned for 2019. I hope the road you take is an easy one.

Reckless Beginnings is $0.99 (eBooks Only)

Reviews

REVIEWS

“Reckless Beginnings by Tina Hogan Grant is engaging and riveting, a well-written story injected with a lot of realism and pathos. Told in a strong and mellifluous tone, this is a story about family and a woman’s search to make sense out of the chaos of her life.” – Readers’ Favorites

“I read the book in a day and a half. A great book I couldn’t put it down. ” – Angie Hardy

“What a story to be told. Moments that are gut-wrenching, some that are comical, some moments where you just want to scream why are you doing that…. but in the end a very good page turner. The main character of the book is very well written and I felt so connected to her life, her choices and her pain and happiness” – Dana D.

A day in my Life

An Unexpected Flashback to my Childhood

An Unexpected Flashback to my Childhood

Once in a while, I like to break away from the subject of books and give you a little insight on events or special moments occurring in my life. This is one such post. It’s been an eventful couple of weeks that have stirred up many buried memories that I had forgotten about and revisiting them warmed my heart and unexpectedly took me back to my childhood days.

Voices From The Past

I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the Ilkley Gazette newspaper from my hometown, Ilkley in England had written an article about my book Reckless Beginnings.   You can view the article here.  Well since the article was published, a number of my schoolmates have contacted me via Facebook. Our friendships began around the age of seven in Primary school and continued until we graduated from Grammar school at sixteen. Afterward, we all went our separate ways and lost contact with each other.

When they reached out to me on Facebook, I was immediately thrown back into my childhood days as we texted back and forth, reminiscing the schools, teachers, hanging out at each other’s houses and pretty much sharing the same memories. A few days later one of them sent me our class picture from 1972. Wow! Now I really was thrown back in time.

An Unexpected Flashback to my Childhood

This is our class picture at Primary school. I was nine years old and I’m in the front row, third in from the left, with the overly short crooked bangs. (Fringes, as they are called in England).  It’s funny while looking at this picture from so long ago that I’m able to remember it like it was yesterday. In fact, I even remember the night before because my mother was furious with me. Wanting to look my best for the school photo I decided to cut my own bangs. Well, you can see the result was not very flattering and explains why my mother was angry. The dress I’m wearing was one of my favorites. It was bright orange with white polka dots. I seemed to have worn it for many photo shoots. Here is another picture of me, wearing the same dress.

An Unexpected Flashback to my Childhood

Pulling Out the Old Photo Albums

After revisiting the past with my lost friends, I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to remember more and began pulling out the old photo albums and low and behold  I found a picture of me with one of the girls that had reconnected with me on Facebook. I’d forgotten I even had this picture of us together.

An Unexpected Flashback to my Childhood

My husband and I spent hours on the couch rediscovering our childhood while we laughed together at the memories the pictures were taking us back to. We talked about our favorites toys and all the mischiefs we used to get in to. We were amazed at the freedom we use to have. I would walk three miles home from school. After doing my homework, I would spend the rest of the day outside frolicking on the moors and I wouldn’t be in trouble as long as I was home before dark.

Life was so simple back then. We didn’t realize as kids, how good we had it. We learned from our mistakes and grew a tough skin. If we fell down, we got back up. I remember if I cried my father would turn to me and say, “Oh hush! If it hurts, it means your still alive.”  The value of a dollar was taught at a young age. Chores were expected to be done in lieu of a weekly allowance.  I was also required to get a paper route, delivering the morning paper before school to help pay for the new bike I wanted or the new shoes I just had to have. We grew up respecting our elders and being inventive when it came to entertaining ourselves. Oh, how the world has changed.

Take Time Out & Revisit your Past.

An Unexpected Flashback to my Childhood

I wanted to share this with you because unknowingly I had let my childhood slip away. There was so much I had forgotten but going through the old photos brought me such joy and took me back to places I hadn’t thought about in years. Even after being married to my husband for over twenty-five years we realized while going through the pictures together that we still had stories to share with each other.

An Unexpected Flashback to my Childhood

Don’t let the memories of your childhood fade away. Once in a while, turn off the TV, put down your cell phones and pull out those old albums. Blow off the dust and share them with someone close, your spouse, parent or child. You’ll be surprised at the memories each picture will trigger and the stories you will have to tell. I can guarantee it will be a long night.

What are some of your fondest childhood memories? I would love to hear them.

BUY RECKLESS BEGINNINGS HERE

An Unexpected Flashback to my Childhood

RECKLESS BEGINNINGS is currently available in paperback only. The Kindle/ebook edition will be available in about six weeks.

Ordering the book is easy from any of these fine online retailers.

 

 

BOOK DEPOSITORY

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How did a Single Photo Trigger Feelings of Regret?

You might be asking this question after reading my title. Let me explain. When my book was launched and I was overwhelmed with a sense of pride, I immediately mailed a copy to my sister in England. Included in the letter was a small request; that she’d take a picture of the book with our mother. Continue reading “Feelings of Regret – Triggered by a Photo”

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 Dad, I remember the phone call like it was yesterday. It was one of the worst days of my life. Eight years ago today the caller told me you had passed. I fell to my knees and sobbed. We had just talked the day before. We had laughed and joked and I had hung up the phone feeling proud to call you my father. Within twenty-four hours you were taken from me and I kept asking myself why? Continue reading “Memories of a Father Missed”

A day in my Life

A day in my life – ATV versus snake – Another adventure

A day in my life – ATV versus snake – Another adventure

Sharing a day in my life

Periodically I like to break away from the topics referring to my book, writing tips or reviews and give you a peek into my everyday life. This event happened last week and I’ve not laughed so hard in decades and I just had to share it with you all.

Some of you may have seen the video of this encounter which I posted on social media. If you have, well now you can read the story behind the video.

What to do on a day off?

Rarely do my husband and I have the same day off. When it miraculously happens, we leave our lives and responsibilities in the dust and escape on an adventure. Today the skies were blue, winds were calm and the sun was beaming upon us, telling us it was a great day to take the quad and dirt bike up to the top of Frazier Mountain. We agreed, packed a lunch and headed out the door.

 

A day in my life - ATV versus snake - Another adventure
The top of Frazier Mountain

 

The glorious ride to the top

Living at the base of the mountain and on a dirt road, we’re able to ride from the house on the dirt bike and ATV to the top of the mountain without loading them into the truck. It’s about a twelve-mile trek and took us just under an hour to reach the summit.

The climb up the mountain was rejuvenating. As we climbed higher, I could actually feel the stresses of writing, chores at home and all our responsibilities being left behind. I welcomed the soleness the mountaintop gave us. After turning off the bike and quad, we were mesmerized by the sound of the slight breeze whistling through the pine trees. We watched as they swayed lightly in the wind. A lizard catches our eye as it scurries across a rock. In the other direction, we snatch a glimpse of a bushy tail as a squirrel races up a tree. Up here nothing matters and life is good.

After spending the afternoon, exploring different trails and stopping for lunch it was time to head back home. My husband, Gordon leads the way on his dirt bike and I follow driving the quad. Becuase he likes to ride faster than me, he tends to be a quarter-a-mile-ahead. Taking my time, I make a turn on a sharp bend, only to see my husband standing in the middle of the road, waving his arms above his head. I can tell he is yelling at me, but with the noise of the quad bellowing in my ears and a helmet on my head, I have no idea what he is saying and continue to ride. If I get closer, I’d be able to make out what he is saying. Right?

Gordon continues to wave his arms in a frantic manner and yells whatever it is he is yelling. In an attempt to communicate above the loud motor of the quad, I shake my head with my hand held up to my ear, indicating to him that I can’t hear him. In response, he shakes his head vigorously while rolling his eyes.

A day in my life - ATV versus snake - Another adventure

Finally, I hear the word “STOP!”  blasting from Gordon’s mouth.

That got my attention and I came to an abrupt stop. With the motor still running, I holler back, “WHAT? WHAT’S THE MATTER?”

Gordon yells back, funneling his mouth with his hands, “THERE’S A SNAKE IN THE ROAD!”

“A WHAT?” I scream back.

You’d think by now I’d have the sense to turn off the quad so we could talk civil to each other, but I don’t and my husband has to continue shouting. “A SNAKE! YOU’RE ON A SNAKE!”

As soon as I heard the word snake, I began freaking out. Neither Gordon or I like snakes. In fact, we hate them. I follow his hand signals instructing me to back up, which I do only to hear more screams from Gordon. “OH NO! IT’S IN YOUR QUAD. THE SNAKE WENT INSIDE YOUR QUAD.  GET OFF THE QUAD!” he yells in a frantic state.

Understanding what my husband was yelling, I jumped off the quad like it was on fire and ran twenty feet in the other direction. Oh and yes I left the quad running.

Avoiding the quad, Gordon races over to me, still yelling in a state of disbelief. “THERE’S A SNAKE IN YOUR QUAD. YOU STOPPED ON THE SNAKE. IT WAS ATTACKING AND HISSING AT THE TIRE. WHEN YOU BACKED UP, IT WENT INSIDE THE QUAD.”

At that point, we both began to laugh hysterically. Here we were in the middle of nowhere, both afraid of snakes and we have one hiding in my quad. After a meltdown of laughter, I tip-toed over to the ATV and turned it off. Gordon joined me and we began the search for the snake. After twenty minutes we finally found it in the back coiled up next to one of the shocks.

A day in my life - ATV versus snake - Another adventure

The dreaded task

Now that we had located the snake, our next mission was to figure out how we were going to get it out. I decided to stand back and film the event, while Gordon held his weapons – two sticks and approached the quad with caution. He kneels down and attempts to prod the snake with the sticks. But that only caused them to break. Now with shorter weapons, he tries it again, but not before stating, how much he hates snakes, while I’m laughing hysterically in the background. After twenty-minutes of prodding and banging on the quad, the snake finally uncoils itself and slithers away from the quad. Oozing with relief, we creep over to our unwelcomed guest, see he is a gopher snake and not poisonous, laugh some more and begin the trip home.

This was an adventure that will stay with us for many years and a good story to tell at gatherings. We also have the video to prove it which I’ve posted below. Enjoy.

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A day in my life - ATV versus snake - Another adventure
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A day in my Life

Mourning my mother who is still here – Is that possible?

Mourning my mother who is still here - Is that possible?

Is it possible to mourn someone who is still here?

The answer is yes. I’ve been mourning my mother every day since I began losing her almost eight years ago. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of her.

My Mother

Mourning my mother who is still here - Is that possible?

Gifted with her charm, her bubbly personality, a zest for life and a smile that lit up every room. I am so proud to call her my mother.

There was nothing she wouldn’t do for me or my older twin sisters. Always putting us first and sacrificing her own needs. Many hours have been spent laughing together, crying on her shoulder and being held in her arms when we needed comforting.

She is the strongest woman I’ve ever known. She is my rock and because of her, I’m who I am today. Mum taught me to never give up, follow your dreams and live life on your terms. I listened Mum and I’m doing it.

Mourning my mother who is still here - Is that possible?Mourning my mother who is still here - Is that possible?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mourning my mother who is still here - Is that possible?

Mourning my mother who is still here - Is that possible?

Then you came along

You made your first appearance about eight years ago. We tried to push you away and fight back. But you made it quite clear you were here to stay. Little by little you began chipping away at our mother. First, you brought confusion into her mind and disorientation. A few months later you returned and began stealing her memory. Robbing her of her short-term memory.

A year later you came back with a vengeance.  Showing us you were winning. Because of you, Mum began to hallucinate. Did you enjoy it when you saw the fear in her eyes when she believed her apartment walls were covered in ants and she could no longer stay in her home?  Did you get a sense of satisfaction when she was found wandering aimlessly on the city streets at three o’clock in the morning in her bathrobe, alone and afraid?

 

When is enough, enough?

Mourning my mother who is still here - Is that possible?

For the last eight years, you have slowly robbed my sisters and me of our mother. Feeling helpless, I’ve watched you over the years strip her of every characteristic that made her our mother. Her youth, beauty, courage, strength, and dignity. When is enough, enough?

Our mother no longer recognizes any of her three daughters. Any recollection of us has vanished and we live with that pain every day.  She now lays in bed unable to walk or talk. She has lost all of her bodily functions. You have consumed her, leaving only a battered shell. The mother we once knew has left us and will never return. Are you happy?

You know who you are

Yes, I’m talking about Vascular Dementia. A horrific disease that has invaded my mother. A heartbreaking slow death with no cure. Because of this illness, I mourn my mother. Six thousand miles away in England, we no longer talk on the phone or skype. She no longer comes for visits.

You took her before she could meet two of her grandsons. Before she could see the house my husband and I built with our own bare hands. A house my mother and I discussed for hours. Sharing in the excitement, dreaming of the day it would be built. She couldn’t wait to come stay in the guest house we had built. A place she never got to see or use. You took her before seeing my debut novel that is about to be published. I miss having my mother in my life.

I am forever grateful to my sister Jane and brother-in-law John. They are close by and take care of your every need and keep me in the loop of your deteriorating state. They send me pictures that break my heart. The thought of walking into your hospital room and seeing nothing but a blank stare, no recognition that I am your youngest daughter tears me apart.

What Dementia can’t take

Mourning my mother who is still here - Is that possible?

This disease may have my mother in the grasp of its evil ways but what it doesn’t have and can never take are my memories of her. I will treasure these for the rest of my life. This Mother’s Day I will reflect on those memories and hold them close to my heart and reminisce on the days she was free of you. Days where we laughed, danced and sang together. Days where she told me she loved me and I told her I loved her back. Days where we took a road trip to Colorado to see her other daughter. A daughter she hadn’t seen in ten years.

This Mother’s day, I will hold my grandsons tight and tell them what a wonderful great-grandmother they have. We will share pictures together of the amazing woman they will never get to meet. Dam you dementia!

 Bringing awareness to the disease dementia

In the UK, Dementia Action Week is May 21-24.  Please visit the site to see if you can help.

Here in the US, it’s National  Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.

From my Mother and me, We want to wish every mum a happy Mother’s Day. You are loved and appreciated every day.

What are you doing to celebrate this special day?

Other articles “From a day in my life”

Finding myself stranded and unprepared

Drowning in editing. A much-needed break

A day in my Life

Finding myself stranded and unprepared

Finding myself stranded and unprepared

I’ll get around to doing it

How many times have we said this to ourselves? Things we know we should do, but constantly put it off.  I have lived on Frazier Mountain for over fifteen years. Our elevation is 5,000ft and in the past, we’ve had some pretty harsh winters. There were times when I was snowed in for days. My car, buried in five feet of snow. It’s during these times, I remind myself that I need to stock my car with emergency supplies, in case I find myself stranded.  Years later, I still haven’t done this and last week I wish I had. My fears became a reality when I actually found myself stranded and unprepared.

Finding myself stranded and unprepared

The weather was not a concern

That morning I had plans drive to Pine Mountain Club – another small mountain community, less than nine miles away. I had plans to help a friend get ready for the holidays. The skies were blue, there were no winds but it was rather chilly – fifty degrees. I dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, sweatshirt and leather knee-high dress boots with a low heel. The thought to bring a jacket crossed my mind but that’s as far as it went and I left without one.  There was speculation of a light dusting of snow by late afternoon and  I planned to be home before then. Continue reading “Finding myself stranded and unprepared”

"Reckless Beginnings" Journey, A day in my Life

Drowning in editing – A much needed break – dealing with editing blues

Drowning in editing - A much-needed break - dealing with editing blues

My life for the past three months

If you’ve been following my blog, you’re probably aware that I received my book “Reckless Beginning” back from the editor in September. We are now in December and I honestly can’t believe I’ve been working diligently on my edits for three months. After my normal eight-hour day job, I’ve been spending the rest of my days going through the manuscript in dept. Continue reading “Drowning in editing – A much needed break – dealing with editing blues”

A day in my Life

Kayaking solo to replenish the mind

kayaking solo to replenish the mind 1

kayaking solo to replenish the mind. Why I like to kayak solo

My husband and I both enjoy kayaking. We venture out together frequently, discovering new lakes and marinas. But sometimes it’s nice to go solo where I don’t have to engage in conversations or keep up a pace.  Kayaking solo is my escape and a way for me to just collect my thoughts.

We all need an outlet in life where we can regroup our thoughts and remove ourselves from the hustle and chaos of everyday life. A place where we can release the stress and just chill out. For me, it has to be away from home. It doesn’t work at home. I’ve tried but the temptations allure me to clean the house, do the laundry, clean the yard, wash the car, walk the dogs or the phone may ring. Or hey why don’t I browse the internet.  Continue reading “Kayaking solo to replenish the mind”

A day in my Life

Feeling the pressure to write a sequel

feeling the pressure to write a sequel

 

feeling the pressure to write a sequel

I just reblogged a post I came across regarding the pressure of writing a sequel. I totally relate to this topic. Even though I am going through the excitement of having my first novel “Reckless Beginnings” being published, I am now dealing with anxieties to write the sequel within two years. Yes, I am definitely feeling the pressure to write a sequel.

How am I going to do this? 

I ask myself. It took me seven years to write the first book. Before then it mulled around in my head as an idea for fourteen years. I don’t want my work to deteriorate and lack in quality due to pressure from the publisher to get it done. Of course, I don’t want it to take another seven years to complete and I want to stick to my standards and work ethics.

In order to get this done in a reasonable amount of time, I need to have a plan of attack.  I need to structure my writing time more aggressively and discipline myself to spend longer hours writing, no matter what temptations allure me. My days will start earlier. Probably before sunrise when the house is quiet and I will make sure I spend at least 3-4 hours a day working on the sequel before I involve myself in other activities throughout the day.

I wrote the first book at my leisure with no pressure. When I felt like writing, I wrote. Having the pressure of being printed with a sequel in the works changes everything. I don’t want my readers to wait too long, I want to please my publisher and yet I don’t want to produce a rushed manuscript and disappoint my readers.

Quality over quantity

Yes, the pressure is defiantly on but I have to remember and keep reminding myself, “This is my book.”  This is a reflection of me and I don’t want to destroy the reputation I am trying to build by trying to rush out the sequel. Quality is important over quantity. If it takes a little longer, that is okay. I want the reader to feel that and not be disappointed in the sequel.

If you have any additional advice on how I might deal with this pressure, I am all ears and it would be gladly appreciated.

As I type this the song “Under pressure”  is booming in my head. Time to change the tune. Help!

 

Below are more of my links that you may enjoy.

 

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Monday’s weekly 7-day writer’s prompts

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