It’ Over After Walks, Talks, and Company!

The view through the front door from inside. And then outside greeting guests after dark.

Amy, Patrick and Marla all came in his truck (as usual) with loads of presents and assorted foods and wines. We walked first to the river here after beautiful skies in the early morning.

And the view from the house they stayed in around the corner from my house.

The river…

The Riverwalk in Murphy with a warm-up at the Rare Bird for lattes afterwards.  Patrick and Amy further down the path….

Another day we walked the dam…

We enjoyed the company coming to visit while Amy, Patrick and Marla were in town. Lots of wine to go through…. And we did our traditional toast to Pacia with her drink of choice (Fresca and very cheap whiskey). It is served with popcorn and we do this every time to remember our dear old friend who almost made it to 100 years of age. She is one of the first to come to our Spirits Bar and spend some time remembering. This year Lee joined us…

We played new board games but did not do the puzzle I bought…I will do that one another time.

The evening they were all arriving back home in Michigan, I went for a walk around the neighborhood and stopped for a wine just before catching this sunset on my way home.

Today I went to the grocery store and picked up the two foods that are supposed to bring good luck if eaten on the first day of the year.

Just noticed these are mustard greens instead of collards….yikes! now I have to go back tomorrow and buy a can of those.

I wish you all a happy new year and can not express all the gratitude for how you have kept in touch with emails, cards, and gifts. Thank you so much.

I will be spending more time writing and show you my thoughts for another children’s book in my next post.

Til later…..


Getting Close to Company and Christmas

Every year one of Mary Jo’s friends makes her this gnome for outside her mailing business and coffee shop where I go five days a week. He is cleverly done, don’t you think? I decided to fuss up my entry way to the house and headed back to the shop in town to add more bits of artificial greens and lights so someone can find their way in after dark.

I will take a photo of it tonight when it gets dark. A neighborhood party had to be canceled tonight due to the flu so I have asked a couple of friends from this end to pop in for wine and meet the young couple from the opposite end. I don’t want to waste these spurts of socialization that surprise me every now and again.

I have spent the day finishing off sewing three pairs of pants, cleaning up and then baking Christmas cookies. Since I am way overdue for a blog post, I thought I’d better get to it. There is just not much new here. Amy, Patrick and Marla arrive Wednesday evening. I will have a cream of mushroom soup ready for them…and a crusty bread, I think.  It will require another trip to the store. Here is what I parked next to the other day…..constant reminder of how low the IQ has fallen here in the States.

I went to poetry meeting last week and had a successful read. I keep thinking they will make corrections or suggestions on my work. But the poet who heads the group called to tell me that my work needs no changes and to please keep it up. I will spend most of the winter writing so as to publish another book next summer. A friend in England bought several of my books for Christmas presents. Other than those buying Burke and Wills and the Stoat Story for grandchildren, I am not being told about purchases or reviews. I should probably go on Amazon to see.

First I need to take a walk…

Very little sleep last night with sore rotary cuff. My new neighbor (physical therapist) gave me some sensible exercises to help until I can lift dumbbells at the gym again. He told me that several women my age can not lift arms overhead. No problem here…just do not want to lift dumb bells that high. Not now anyway.

That’s it for today…Here is Sadie keeping me settled.

More later…


A Lovely Couple of Days

I wanted something a bit Christmassy by the front door so took myself into town to a lovely shop and came home with fake but realistic looking greenery and three more iron reindeer. I am happy that now when someone comes over they can be greeted with a bit of holiday.

And really good news. Last night I was taken to an art gallery opening in a town about an hour away. It was wonderful to see such high quality art and craft.  But the best part was seeing old friends and so many new ones from here in my new town. The first couple I saw was the ones who came to visit me during the hard times. Catharine brought madeleines, homemade sour dough bread, and a handwoven towel patterned after the surrender dish towel from the Civil War. Her husband Kent would draw animals on postcards to send to Lee so he had something with his name on it. So good to get hugs from them again. His cards and the many arriving daily from another local friend and those coming all the from Australia got us through some very hard and lonely times.

Others who came to the opening were some local business people from here and a new young artist that the gallery was representing,  and is opening a local space here for artist in residence retreats in a building that was once a school, then restaurant where I had my first osso buco many years ago. I enjoyed our chat and we are thinking of having lunch together to continue our conversation.

Here are a few random shots from the gallery:


The champagne and food selections were amazing.

I also had a conversation with a potter that I knew years ago. I told him that when I purchased his work I never knew whether to use it in a functional capacity. His work hovers beautifully between usability and art. He liked that observation and now I have another of Terry Guess’s works in my home. Thank you, Robert, for pointing out how well it went with this textile.

It is a dreary day…rain, drizzle, rain….I could have been writing more on my short story…but didn’t.  I did share the excerpt from that story with the poetry group. Positive comments afterwards.

I tried listening to a broadcast about writing “grabbing first lines” . The author (of young adult books no less), and an agent to boot. But could not take his voice and the cheerleader encouragement for the popularity of young adult books. Do they all need to escape into fantasy and lands full of magical beings? Spending time reading classics about to be pulled from library shelves by the crazy ultra right seems a better use of their reading time. Followed by some hard discussions of what is happening in the real world seems a better alternative.  My age and impatience of the encouragement to write young adult books “because they are popular” is definitely taking over.

I need another glass of wine now!

Til later…

Reading and Writing

One of the fellows that I have coffee with in the morning thought I might like to have his copy of a biography of Oscar Wilde. So now it is mine to pass along when finished. Thoughtful of him.

Last evening was my time with a Manhattan and the legal pad. When I came out to head home with many new words on the pages I saw how lovely the lights are at dusk.

And then down into my neighborhood where the stops are all pulled out for some houses.

The cats were waiting for me by the front door.

Sadie gave me twelve toes on what I have written so far.

This morning with Oscar Wilde sitting next to me, this was the view coming onto the road home.

Seemed like a good day to continue writing but first I needed to get bookmarks for the three books waiting to be finished or opened. That led me down a memory lane of trips to Australia. The things I most often purchased were bookmarks and threads of all the colors I saw in that place. Darwin had a different palette of colors than Tasmania, Victoria from New South Wales…and so on. One of the bookmarks came from a fancy tea house in the middle of nowhere in Queensland while being driven to Brisbane to catch a flight back home. And that all led to fixing myself a cup of tea.

A little more Australia indulgence.

And then when I pulled out the tea infuser I remembered how labor-intensive weaving these were. Everyone at a Christmas dinner had one straddling their wine glass with their name on a tag hung from it.

I still have lee’s that he hardly used because he was a tea bag guy with only one type that he liked. Mine, as you can see is very tea stained and I feel like I am sharing tea with those favorite people who are no longer here in person.

Most of my Christmas presents have been wrapped and tucked away. Just a couple impulse ones yet to arrive. Speaking of which, I am wondering if I should buy the new Dyson vacuum that hangs in a charging station. Their ads even show a woman waving it overhead to vacuum her ceiling! Who does that?! But my old Dyson is really a pain to shove across the area rugs. I gets bogged down and requires a good shove and pull back. Plus the “wand” has to be pulled out and flung about until I manage to get it poked under furniture where the cats find a way to pack with their hair. This new battery charged one seems to want to go everywhere with very little effort. The family call is tonight so I will ask what they think and more importantly which one wants to take this behemoth off my hands.

Sitting in my studio writing I just saw the mail lady put something in my mailbox. I have convinced myself that it is something not only important but desired. I am going to take the less than one minute to get from here where it is warm, go out into the chilly afternoon, and return.

In the box was a lovely card from a long time family friend. And laying on the bench out front was one of the Christmas gifts I was waiting for.

I need to go for a walk but the wind and cooler temperatures are telling me to just walk through the house one hundred times. I will start with twenty and check my Fitbit.

I bought a pizza while I was out last night and will finish it for dinner. Part of me is happy not to have to face another bowl of vegetable soup!

Here is an excerpt from a new short story I am working on. It is supposed to be about the reclusive cataloger in a library but I am totally caught up in how those numbers get there in the first place. Trying to explain why I wanted to use the Dewey Decimal System in a short story to our local librarian was a real and present danger of a right brained person trying to get information from a left brained person. She rightly gave up on my notions of placement mattering to the books involved and sent me off with a couple of sheets of paper showing what those numbers and categories mean. It is quite helpful but falls short of the feelings that books might have about how and where they are placed on the shelf.

Excerpt from a story in progress titled, Joey.

“He picks up three books from one of the stacks and walks into the spaces between row upon row of books that have been coded to belong with others like them. It is important that none have strayed for too long from where they belong.

Each book has a code on a small white paper taped to its lower spine. This code of numbers and letters makes it clear where a book belongs and who its companions are likely to be. It is the book’s home, a place to feel closeness, to rub shoulders with those that are similar and so familiar.

Some will never leave the others’ side. Some are separated for brief periods of time, leaving a temporary space of emptiness. And some must adjust to being permanently parted when a more in-depth, detailed, knowledgeable book comes between them.”

So enough for today…better get pacing about the house.

Til later…..