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Baby, It's Hot Outside, and A Good Day for Catching Up Inside

Allow me to state the obvious; it's hot outside. It's sauna, blast oven, fry an egg on the sidewalk hot. I've found myself changing the lyrics to a popular song and singing, "Baby, it's hot outside," several times today.

As I write this on Sunday afternoon, the real feel at my house is 108 degrees. I just went outside to tend to a couple car maintenance chores that have been slipping my mind the past few weeks. I figured if I didn't do them today while I was thinking about them, I wouldn't do them for at least another week.

I drive a 10-year-old Black Dodge Charger R/T. I call her Black Pearl. Pearl for short. She's my baby, but she's getting older and uses a little bit of oil. I hadn't checked the oil since my last change on May 19th. As you may expect, it was a quart low. Because I plan ahead, I had a quart of full synthetic 5W - 20 oil on the shelf just waiting to be used.

Pearl was also out of windshield washer fluid, which I use every day I work. Chat dust from the parking lot combines with dust from the construction site next door to make my windshield incredibly dirty by the end of the day. By the end of the week, my car is gray or brown depending on which dust is more prominent. Sometimes in the spring, it's yellow from pollen. Therefore, I go through a great deal of windshield washer fluid. Of course, I also had a brand-new jug of washer fluid at the ready.

By the time I checked my oil and filled those two fluids, I was sweating so much it looked like I was crying. My husband has been puttering around outside and in the garage for most of the day in this heat. I told him he needed to come inside, but he wouldn't listen. The best I could do was give him some water and let him do his thing.

I like to think that he's working outside to allow me quiet time to write, but it could be that he just doesn't want to spend time with me today. I'm okay with either one because he's entitled to his feelings, but I prefer to believe the former rather than the latter.

I told him this morning that I have a plethora of writing to get done. Both OWL (Ozarks Writers League) and OCW (Ozark Creative Writers) contest submissions are due the last week of August, and I've barely begun to contemplate the themes of the various categories I'd like to enter. Between the two conferences, there are 49 contests I'm going to try to enter. Most of my short stories have already been published, which means they're not eligible to enter. 95% of the categories I wish to enter will require brand new stories and poems.

There is one category that excites me, which doesn't require something new. It's for a news article or blog post published within the last year. The judges are looking for an opinion essay, so after I finish writing this post, I will be going back through my content to see if any Ozarks Maven posts fit the bill. If not, I do have a newspaper article that might work. I need to check the date on it because it may be too old. Even if I don't find anything suitable, it's still a cool contest. I don't see many opportunities to submit my blog entries into contests.

My chiropractor asked me why I enjoy entering contests a few years ago. The answer is simple. They're fun! Even if I don't win anything, I get to sit in a room full of creative people and celebrate their victories during the awards ceremony. I love to see my friends excel. I do usually place in something, even if it's only an honorable mention. With talent on the level of my competitors, an honorable mention is truly an honor. When I place in the top three, I'm ecstatic.

I suppose you could say I have a competitive nature because I also like to enter art competitions. I enjoy creating things and sharing them with other people. It brings my great joy.

Do you ever compete in anything? If so, what?

Sally's Secret Legacy is now complete on Kindle Vella. The paperback and ebook versions should be published this fall. You can check out the Vella version here:

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