Dad

Thank you to everyone who has reached out with kindness, compassion, sympathy, and simple human love.

This week is the two-year anniversary of watching my father die.

Yesterday was his birthday and the day we withdrew life support.

Today is the day I spent almost constantly at his side.

Tomorrow is the day he drew his last breath.

I’m fighting to keep afloat.

Fighting to stay grounded.

Hugging my puppy and doing everything I can to make it through.

As if giving me a special gift, Ladybug ate her entire bowl of kibble yesterday. First time in ages.

I didn’t think I would have to face the second Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, his birthday, and now his death day on my own.

But I hold fast to the love and promise of his memory.

I am my father’s daughter.

Even if he no longer lives.

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A lovely new book about bats!

My friend, Jess Schira, has a new book out! We connected a few years ago over her writing about pigs, and she’s been a constant resource for me when I have animal questions. She’s even helped when I’ve worried about my puppy.

If bats are your thing, Jess is your woman! Check out her new book. Say Ana sent you. 🙂

—–

60 Beautiful Bat Facts

A Handy Guide for Writers & the Bat Curious

Did you know that:

Bats could be the key to preventing a worldwide chocolate shortage?

That the U.S. military explored the possibility of using Mexican free-tailed bats during WWII?

In China, bats are a simple of luck, fertility, a long life, prosperity, virtue, and good luck?

That in Slavic folklore it was butterflies, not bats, that turned into vampires?

That the markings on a bat’s wings are as distinctive as fingerprints?

Bats account for 20% of the world’s mammal population?

That one little brown bat consumes more than 600 mosquitos in a single hour?

That in Germany, gamblers used to sew the heart of a bat onto their clothing for good luck?

That bats are more effective seed distributers than birds, making bats a key factor in the reforestation of the rain forests?

You’ll have a difficult time finding a mammal that’s more misunderstood than the bat.

Since the dawn of time, bats and humans have shared an uneasy relationship. Humans have claimed that bats consort with the devil, were proof of witchcraft, and that they morphed into vampires, they’ve been used in medicines and viewed as harbingers of disasters. The reality is that bats are cute, harmless creatures that serve an important ecological purpose. They’re clean, peaceful animals that simply want to be left alone to do their job. Now that researchers have started to take in interest in bats, we’re learning that in addition to helping keep the mosquito population low, they’re also an evolutionary wonder.

Without bats, the world would be a very different, far less pleasant place to live.

Whether you love bats, have always been curious about them, are a writer who wants to include a bat or bat related mythology in your plot, or simply wish to expand your Chiroptera knowledge, 60 Beautiful Bat Facts is for you. You’ll enjoy this laid back and easy-to-read exploration of all things bat-like, including Batman!

60 Beautiful Bat Facts is currently available via Amazon!

https://www.amazon.com/60-Beautiful-Bat-Facts-Writers-ebook/dp/B076ZQZ99K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1515393532&sr=8-1&keywords=beautiful+bat+facts

Gratitudes

I haven’t done Thursday Thankfulness in ages. Well, I haven’t done any post in ages. Such a shame, when it’s writing that makes me Ana.

So, while we are happily playing round robin add-a-sentence to write a collaborative story on Facebook (look me up if you want to join!), and while you’re all having fun pushing up my word count for the promised story…

I think it’s time to write my gratitudes. Even if it’s not Thursday. Even if life has thrown me a few lemons in the past year. Even if sometimes it all seems like too much.

Because when else do we need gratitude most, but when life is hardest? We choose to want what we have, or we choose to want what we don’t. I’d like to have many things right now that I don’t. Stability, predictability, and a whole host of other things.

What I’ve got, instead, is this wonderful little band of fiercely loyal readers who waited throughout a year of book drought but came running as soon as I put out the call.

How grateful I am.

How pleased, touched, amazed, and overcome.

You’re still here, my beloved readers and supporters and friends.

Today it’s time to take stock of everything in my life that I can appreciate.

For a bed with clean sheets and a pillow that’s clean and good condition, I give thanks.

For a room with a lock on the door and a cupboard to store my possessions, I give thanks.

For food to fill my belly and a place to store nourishment for tomorrow, I give thanks.

For a shower that runs clean and sort of warm water, I give thanks.

For access to a toilet, toilet paper, soap, and sanitary water for washing my hands, I give thanks,

For a clean and dry towel to use after the shower, plus clean clothes to put on and soap for the shower itself, I give thanks.

For a smartphone with access to the internet and ability to add data to my plan, I give thanks.

For a room that protects me from the night chill and wind, I give thanks.

For new books to keep my mind occupied, I give thanks.

For fluids to drink instead of getting parched , I give thanks.

For the ability to close my eyes, lie down, and sleep, I give thanks.

For the sweet reassurances of community who tell me I will weather this hard time, I give thanks.

For every one of you who still wants an Ana story, I give thanks.

I give thanks for you, dear friend who has touched my life.

I need your voice as much as I need my writing. For what good is a writer with no one to read her stories?

For you, I give thanks.

So many thanks.

And love.

Reader challenge!

So…..

Rumor has it that one or two Anastasia Vitsky readers may still be around.

Is it true?

Would you like another story?

Comment below (Facebook also counts, if you prefer) if you’d like ten words of a new Ana story. Wooden spoons are a must!

I’ll see how many people comment and then decide whether to do a fan favorite or start a new one.

Of course, you are free to vote for your favorite characters in your comment.

Comment can be anything! New year’s wish, update, whatever you want.

Hugs and love to all.

Ana

V for Valentine’s, V for Victory, V for Violence-No-More

Christmas and the holiday season of 2017 has been…well, interesting. That’s all I’ll say about it, but you may read more of it in the eventual publication of An American in England. Maybe. 😀

In the meantime, however, I’ve realized that this year’s Giving Tuesday (and the entire Ana’s Advent Calendar) went by without notice.

!!!

It’s been a huge part of my life and your lives as well, so it’s something I’d like to rectify.

I put out a call on Facebook two days ago (that’s the easiest place to find me these days), and I asked for help. Last year, we helped children in an ultra-poor elementary school by giving their teacher over $1000 in books and classroom/school supplies. In the past, we’ve donated literally thousands of dollars’ worth of books and Kindles to LGBT homeless shelters.

This time, I wanted to help adults. Specifically, women.

More specifically, women who haven’t had fair shake in life.

Within a day, all of you wonderful people had pledged $392.

Three hundred ninety-two dollars! 

I’ve tentatively teamed up with a domestic violence shelter for women (specific details are being kept private for now as safety is a huge issue).

Once I get a more firm idea of the amount we can give, I’ll contact the shelter and ask what their needs are.

Current suggestions include:

–Tumble dryer (make it easier to dry clothes and save space in small accommodations)

–Dishwasher (save on labor for busy, stressed women who may be pregnant and/or juggling kids)

–Amusements for the children (to help poor stressed moms whose kids may throw fits at being in an unfamiliar environment)

–Various necessities, such as tampons/pads, cleaning supplies, food, and other basics

One great idea, though, is a Valentine’s Day party/gift bag set!

After all, women enter these shelters because their relationships have gone bad. It can’t be easy to go through a holiday dedicated to relationships in that case.

If you’d like to join the VDay effort, here are a few ways how:

Head over to my Patreon site (www.patreon.com/anastasiavitsky) and sign up. ALL Patreon funds for this month will go to the shelter. (You can stop your subscription right away so it only takes one payment)

Email me at ana_stasia2007@yahoo.com. Please put Women’s Shelter Fundraiser for your subject line.

Contact me through Facebook (or comment below) if you’d like to join in. I’m afraid Twitter is a bit wonky at the moment. If you can’t contact me on Facebook but still want to contribute, please comment below. I’ll work something out with you.

I’ve been away from WordPress for so long that I see it now has a donate button. I don’t know a ton about it yet, but I’ll look into it. Let me know if that’s something you’d like.

Please help us make Valentine’s Day a day of victory for this domestic violence shelter! Let’s usher in 2018 by making the world a better place. Let’s believe in the good of people and make good things happen.

I need that faith, and maybe you do as well.

Much love from Ana

P.S. Watch this space for special exclusive offers for those who participate!

Giving back: in memory of Debbie Liles

(Warning: slightly political post)

As I’ve mentioned before, my father was a lifelong educator in the public schools.

When he died, one small comfort was knowing that memorial funds donated in his name would help causes he cared about.

Since then, education has taken a beating from our current administration. The arts, especially, have suffered.

I was the lucky recipient of a wonderful public school system that provided ample opportunities for music education, but times have changed. Title 1 schools, or schools with a high percentage of children from low-income families, especially struggle in the current climate of test-driven education.

Kids need to learn reading and arithmetic, yes. But they also need a reason to live. They need hope for a better tomorrow, safety to develop as a whole person, and encouragement to shine.

What music education gave to me, music teachers in public schools give to the next generation. Through endless budget cuts and inhumane demands and schedules, they give children a chance for a better future.

Last month, a music teacher was killed as part of a robbery.

There are no words to describe what her family and school family must be experiencing.

(Full disclosure: I’m not connected to her or her family. I’m just someone who was touched by her story.)

Debbie Liles’ son has set up a GoFundMe page for memorials, and they will be used to keep her music programs going. I know that many of you search for causes to contribute to, and ways to make this world a better place.

I hope, if you are looking for a place to donate, that you’ll consider keeping Debbie’s legacy alive.

As for me, I can’t afford to give much. But I am putting a small check in the mail and saying a prayer.

In my dad’s memory, I want to honor Debbie Liles’ life work.

Would you consider doing the same?

 

Waiting for love

For those of you who follow me on Patreon, Facebook, or Twitter, this will come as old news. For those who have just joined the party…

Last month, I married the love of my life.

It’s a long story filled with details too private to share here, but “loved one” (as I’ve called her) and I went from best friends to life partners in the blink of an eye.

(Okay, so there were endless late-night heart-to-heart conversations, weeks and months of thinking we were still friends when everyone around us knew better, and an avalanche of heartaching logistics and red tape involved.)

But we were married in Gemma’s church in Citrusville (faithful readers will recognize Gemma from Gemstone), with one of my quilting granny friends (retired pastor) officiating alongside the pastor of Gemma’s church.

As the saying goes, life is what happens while you’re making other plans.

Neither of us had any intention of falling in love. We’re set in our ways, and we considered ourselves best friends, sisters, and platonic soul mates.

Apparently, we are ace champions at denial and stealth dating. Except I think at least one person is supposed to know it’s dating when it’s stealth. 😀

(I won’t get TMI here, but…uh…not platonic. At least not anymore. 😉 )

There is a mountain of paperwork, bureaucratic obstacles, and endless practical details to sort out before we can find out happy ever after, but for now we wear our wedding rings and live in hope.

Waiting, not so patiently, for love.

Love reunited.

And love triumphant.

A not-at-all-real-life new book, An American in England, is currently in progress and will be published in the fairly distant future. Look for sneak previews coming soon. The first two work-in-progress chapters are available to Patreon subcribers.