On The Blackwater

Musing on retirement, writing, puppies, and whatever else strikes my fancy

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Spending my life in 20-year increments: DC, Calif, Maine, & now in the BlueRidge Mountains of VA, where my YoChon, Sadie Mae, has started to blog...

Friday, August 31, 2007

60 percent chance of rain? HA!

Anybody out there get any rain? Any at all?

Our hummingbird feeder kept dropping its level rapidly...turns out the squirrels were drinking it. I scrubbed and scrubbed the bird bath with bleach & then added some fresh water. We filled the bird feeder, too, so maybe our regulars will return. It could be the birds went down to the river to bathe and drink. And there isn't much of a river right now...

I know once the weather changes, my mood will change right along with it. I need pouring rain for days, and then a crisp, clear fall.

Oh, but I shouldn't complain...parts of Arizona are having 110 degree weather, day after day.

I went online and ordered two more cotton sundresses, on sale of course. Couldn't find any in the stores...they're getting ready for Halloween. Guess my pumpkin dress will be perfect!

Wondering whether GMA ever figures out that some people DON'T have grilled salmon and/or a nice filet of beef over Labor Day weekend. If they feature hotdogs, they have these huge, loud brothers who do tailgate-type parties. Hmmmm ...I seem to be getting a bit crabby, time to sign off and go out and do my rain dance. In my orange pleated dress.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thoughts on Mortality

Because I came within minutes of dying one year ago in April, I've changed my thinking about many, many things. Up until that moment, I'd visualized the typical movie bedside death scene...you know, the one where the matriarch lies in a huge, comfortable bed (often with a canopy & white curtains) & over the course of several days or weeks, makes her peace with her progeny one by one. Her lipstick is very pale or nonexistent, and of course she is, oh, 80 or 90 years old.

My Mother's side of the family (except for my Mom, at 64 cut down by her lifelong smoking habit) all lived into their 90's. Her mother lived to 90, and HER mother was 93. Her brother is in his 80's now, still working in real estate in Reston and asking me how to start a blog for his poetry.

What happened in April? Reality. Either e-coli or a UTI caused severe sepsis...extreme vomiting, loss of consciousness, rapid trip to Rocky Mount ER where the attending physician shockingly told my husband: Your wife is dying! My BP was 40/30, heart beat was 141, all organs, including my heart, were shutting down. I didn't hear the doctor say that, but knew they were packing me onto the helicopter to Roanoke, where six specialists on a sepsis team were waiting for me to arrive.

When I heard the chopper blades going, I woke enough to say to myself: "I'm going to make it"...then..."What is this, MASH?" It was a breezy ride over and I was rapidly attended to. Later (after 15 days in ICU, hallucinations, tests, more tests, many tubes, etc.) the doctors were very reluctant to release me, wanting to put me into a nursing home (a nursing home? no way!) instead of letting me return to my very own home, bedroom, and bathroom. We had to assure them that Dick was retired and would stay with me 24/7 until I could at least walk without a walker. At that time, the head of the team told me I'd had a 30% chance of surviving, if that, and would NOT survive another such attack.

That I needed to cancel any plans to drive anywhere (or ride as a passenger) or to do any church committee work, even by phone. Everything came to an abrupt halt as I struggled to walk a few feet, took nap after nap, watched more TV than at any other time in my life, and tried to make my brain work normally. (I think I was successful!).

Now, even after all these months... (and I cannot tell you how many dear friends from my church, from the Y, from Lake Writers...responded with cards, calls, homebaked pies, entire meals.) When we lived up in Maine, with Dick's family members all around, and he had frequent and lengthy hospitalizations, only 3 or 4 of his family members responded. Most of them went into their New England hidey-holes, pretending they didn't know how ill he was, as I drove hours and hours in blizzards and ice storms to get him the care he needed.

OK, as I was saying...after all these months, my outlook has entirely changed. I live for today, because I know that I do have this day. I glory in the sunrise every morning...hey, look, I'm alive and well! Laughing heartily at little Sadie Mae as she leaps and bounds around the house (she sometimes jumps back & forth over Winchester, our 11-year old chocolate Lab...he's a good old guy.) Life is good. Sure, I plan to live into my 90's; don't we all? But I'm pretty sure the glamorous death scene ain't gonna happen.

Our home, which we had constructed with handicap accessibility in the master bedroom wing, as well as the front and back doors, has proven a God-send, and was one of the reasons they let me go home from the hospital rather than to some interim facility. And yes, they did say nursing home. GAHHH!

Well, I'm comfortable now with my mortality. Every day is a blessing. I figure the Lord spared me for SOME reason...I just have to figure out what that reason can be. And when I do go, I know my Mom and Dad, my dear maternal grandparents, and my son Andy are sitting around an oilcloth-covered round kitchen table, eating steamed crabs and shrimp, washing them down with cold beer, and waiting for me. Since my Dad was adopted, I only knew his Mom, who died at 69. She's there, too; we all loved our seafood!

Did I have any 'floating above the table' or 'light at the end of a tunnel' or 'family grouped to greet me' visualizations. Nope. Sorry to disappoint , but my visual re family is just my own sweet expectation.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I Danced~

This Garrison Keillor selection from his Writers' Almanac today brought me to tears, so I must share it:

From Garrison Keillor's Writers' Almanac today:
Poem: "Meadowbrook Nursing Home" by Alice N. Persons, from Don't Be A Stranger. © Sheltering Pines Press, 2007. Reprinted with permission.

Meadowbrook Nursing Home

On our last visit, when Lucy was fifteen

And getting creaky herself,

One of the nurses said to me,

"Why don't you take the cat to Mrs. Harris' room—

poor thing lost her leg to diabetes last fall

—she's ninety, and blind, and no one comes to see her."

The door was open. I asked the tiny woman in the bed

if she would like me to bring Lucy in,

and she turned her head toward us.

"Oh, yes, I want to touch her."

"I had a cat called Lily — she was so pretty, all white.

She was with me for twenty years, after my husband died too.

She slept with me every night — I loved her very much.

It's hard, in here, since I can't get around."

Lucy was settling in on the bed.

"You won't believe it, but I used to love to dance.

I was a fool for it! I even won contests.

I wish I had danced more.

It's funny, what you miss when everything.....is gone."

This last was a murmur. She'd fallen asleep.

I lifted the cat from the bed, tiptoed out, and drove home.

I tried to do some desk work but couldn't focus.

I went downstairs, pulled the shades, put on Tina Turner

and cranked it up loud

and I danced.

I danced.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sadie Mae's First Haircut

I don't even recognize her! The Beauty Salon had to shave her hair; her legs were matted, and her ears, so zip-zip, out came this skinny dog with...cheekbones...and funny ears and very big black eyes. Once her hair grows back, about the end of October, they'll be able to give her a real cute doggy cut. OK, let's see if I can upload a picture!

I took several Before shots, but must have moved the camera as they came out blurry. She DID have a big pink & red bow in her hair, but it took her no time at all to tear that sucker off and chew it to bits.
She may be embarassed by the result; she isn't smiling her open-mouth grin. Maybe tomorrow?

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Too Much Goin' On~

Whew! Friday, Lake Writers met & I read the 2nd half of my play. Suggestions were made, some of which I will take, others discard. That evening, hubby & I went to his annual veterans' dinner and had a nice time (and a meal I didn't have to cook...YAY!).
Saturday, off to Diamond Hill General Store in Moneta for their Sunflower Festival. We sat on their front porch, in the shade (I know it hit 100 degrees) drinking lovely mocha iced coffee & talking with many of the visitors as well as our fellow writers: Cup of Comfort for Writers' Becky Mushko AKA Ida B. Peevish, Jean Brobeck, poet from Bedford with her Musings, Jim Morrison, author of Bedford Goes to War, Sally Roseveare with her Smith Mountain Lake mystery, Secrets At Spawning Run. By the time we packed up and left, around 4:30, my cheeks looked like ripe tomatoes from the heat...Becky took this picture. Actually, I believe her alter ego, Ida B., clicked the shutter...

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Lake Writers & Lunch

We had an excellent Lake Writers meeting today at the Moneta Library. Sixteen folks showed up, a record for one meeting. Lots of us read; I read the 2nd half of my play, Summer at the Lake, and everyone seemed to like it fine. There were a few suggestions, minor changes, that I may (or may not) incorporate.

Fortunately, Leslie was there; she runs the playreading group, which meets this Sunday and will read a Neil Simon play I'd suggested some time ago, called: I Ought to be in Pictures. I watched the movie one night, with Walter Matthau and two female actors. Walter hasn't seen his daughter in 20 years and had told her he'd gone off to Hollywood to be a famous screenwriter. He's not made a success of his life at all, and the daughter shows up to get him to help her get a job in movies. The dialogue is hilarious and Matthau was terrific in the part of the failed writer.

Leslie is very interested in my play (even hearing only the last half) so I'll have to clean it up & print out a copy for her and for my friend Peggy, who used to run the group. It's great to have a group all set up to read the play; we often have 50-75 folks to a reading.

The lake, BTW, is NOT Smith Mountain Lake. It's a small lake in northern Maine. But I figure everyone has the 'drop in' visitor who doesn't leave right away. (My Mom always said fish & company start to stink in 3 days.)

Maybe she said 'smell.'

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

STILL no rain to speak of~

Thunder and lightning tempt us like Salome' but dance away from us despite promises. This morning I took the dogs out into a misty foggy drizzle. It soon disappeared.

I'm sad tonight, not from the lack of rain, but from Fred First's blog, FragmentsFromFloyd. I just cannot believe that the coal companies were able to get their mountaintop removal legislation all but voted through. They'll have the authority to dump what they call overburden into Appalachian streams and valleys, disguising it as a way to be less reliant on foreign oil.

Some years back, my son Michael worked on an oil rig one summer off the Louisiana coast. He said they'd strike oil, then cap it. Strike oil, then cap it. When he asked why, he was told it was being reserved so the price could go higher.

So now we'll allow the destruction of our mountains, valleys and streams so one person can drive in a 4-person vehicle to and from work or church or the grocery store. How does this make any sense at all?

I was raised to dry clothes on the clothesline, to make something from scratch if possible, to fix, repair, duct tape, mend. My children and their children have pretty much followed in those frugal footsteps. My daughter's kitchen garden is a blessing to her, a joy, as mine always was.

Is my ultimate legacy to my grandchildren going to be a destroyed natural environment?

Yes, I am saddened by this...

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Rain? Well, almost

Last night, after a WeatherBug warning about thunderstorms, we got just the fringe, only the edge, of a storm that hit Lynchburg like a hammer. Today, Wednesday, we thought we were in for a real rainstorm...but again, it saved itself for the area northeast of us.

Hey, Weather Gods, those city folk in NOVA don't need the water the way our wells and fields and cows and horses and pigs and sheep do. So, OK, maybe we don't have cows or horses or pigs or sheep, but our neighbors surely do. Leaves are turning fall colors and dropping from lack of water.

...maybe it'll pour tonight...WeatherBug still predicts a 50% chance...I should put on my bright orange dress and do my rain dance. That'll scare 'em!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Talk to Me~

Dick & I just returned from seeing Don Cheadle's new movie, Talk to Me. When I read the review in this morning's Roanoke Times, I said we HAD to go see this movie, not only because I'd heard it was very good, and a true story, but because it was about a black DJ at radio station WOL in Washington, DC...and I used to hang around that station when I was a teen, working the switchboard, picking records from the huge record room, watching the engineer work the "pots" (short for potentiometers), running errands for Ed Walker (my nextdoor neighbor, who was blind from birth but tried to do everything without any help, including riding the buses and streetcars all over DC by himself as he went to and from American University) and Willard Scott, also attending AU (before he got famous).

Now, I don't recall any black DJs at that time, but that was the early 50's. I do remember that Ed and Willard were so kind to this gawky teen, letting me hang around the nighttime show and then go out with them for a soda for me, and many cups of coffee for them, with other DJs and the crew. They'd all sit and tell jokes one after another, being very careful not to use any bad language in front of me. They also protected me from any of the guys who might get funny ideas.

Since I was riding there and back on Saturday nights with Eddie's college buddy, my folks didn't object until some busy body told my Mom that she couldn't be certain I was safe, and that she should stop me from going. Mind you, this was 1952 or so, and these were very decent young men. Well, I confess: I crawled out the basement window and waited on Eddie's porch for his ride to get there. Thinking about it now, I can't believe my younger sister, with whom I shared a bedroom, didn't rat on me! But she never did, and eventually my Mom simply forgot about her dictum, and I was able to continue on to WOL.

One summer after I turned 16, WOL needed a switchboard operator for two weeks that their regular daytime operator was going on vacation. They actually hired me! (I remember cutting people off and screwing up the switchboard totally.) But I also remember a wonderful Pearl Bailey who was married to a drummer named Louie Bellson. I had come in from lunch and heard her voice on the air, and asked a fellow sitting in the waiting room, reading his newspaper, if he minded if I turned the volume up so I could hear her interview...he smiled & said go ahead. Then when she came out, hair in rollers (radio, remember?) she said to him: OK Louie, let's go Babe. My mouth just dropped open. Pearl Bailey! Duke Ellington called Louie Bellson 'the world's greatest drummer.'

I recall Nat King Cole coming by, too, and he was very short with freckled light skin, to my amazement. He had a huge smile that lit up a room.
Also Eddie Fisher, in an Army uniform. He thought he was God's Gift.

I DO recommend the movie, Talk to Me, but be warned that the language is pretty graphic.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

I love my sunporch!

Even in this hot, hot weather, my sunporch is lovely. If you go to sunporch.com you'll actually see it, as the manufacturers of the kit hubby used to build it on our existing deck, decided to use it on their brochure and online. They paid us a huge amount of money to use the photo & even sent a photog here, paying him to take the pictures. (caveat: the outdoor view was photo-shopped in; the photog came when before Spring had arrived. Remember Spring?).

Our sunporch has windows that slide down so it can become a screened porch. If this weather ever cools down, we'll be back out there eating our supper every night, plus lunch of course, and early mornings even now are cool enough to sit and have our coffee and read the Roanoke Times together.

It has added a huge room to our small house, and something else as well: we talk to each other out there. Now, most husbands and wives talk to each other, but I mean actually TALK to one-another. No TV news, no radio, no distractions. We watch the birds at the birdfeeders, laugh at Sadie Mae's antics, watch Winchester, the older chocolate Lab as he runs around in the woods with Remington, the chocolate Lab pup.

We can see the Blackwater River below us, although it is very, very low and the small fast-water section doesn't make a sound these days. A good hard rain will bring it up. When Mod-U-Kraf built this house for us, they kept wanting to put a porch on the front, which faces West and gets the hot afternoon sun. I insisted on a big deck across the back of the house instead, with its view of the river through the trees, a sloping farm pasture across the river with black Angus cattle, and in the distance, the Blue Ridge Mountains. I watch the sun rise from my kitchen window.

Adding the sunporch (hubby is allergic to wasps) year before last was a brilliant decision, if I do say so myself. I didn't realize the solar panels on top would heat our house nearly all winter. We open the French doors at 10 am if there's any sun in winter, and close them about 4 or 4:30. What a bonus, enabling us to switch off the heat.

A wonderful view perched up here as we are, free heat in winter, screened porch most of the rest of the year, extra space for our small house, and ... drum roll, please...a place to talk with each other.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

No Techie I!

I decided to change my blog around, add comments down the left sidebar, and find out how to add links to friends' blogs. HA! I nearly lost the blog entirely...my name is on the other side now, comments are still at each entry, and I didn't discover how to add the links...BUT it still has been a productive day, as I finished the first draft of my short play, tentatively titled Summer at the Lake. It still needs work, but I finished it and will celebrate with a nice glass of red wine at supper.

Even if it is 97 degrees this afternoon.

There's a tiny chance of a thundershower, in which case we'll eat out on the sunroom/screened porch.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Books, Books and more Books

First, I am stunned after a comment from Tatiana de Rosnay, all the way from Paris, after I blogged about her book, Sarah's Key. I knew authors Google, but her book is an international bestseller and has been translated into 18 languages. She was delighted with my comments, and we traded e-mails. Film rights are being pursued, and it is possible that Jodie Foster will play Julia when it's all sorted out.

Since I'd read the FCL's copy, and another Book Club member immediately checked it out as we selected it for one of our next books to read, I've ordered a copy for myself. It's a book I want to re-read, and also keep on my shelf.

When we moved down here from Maine, I gave a lot of my books away to my daughter, to friends, to the Salvation Army. We installed ceiling-high bookshelves and I soon asked Hubby to get me some more shelving...he said you need fewer books, not more shelves, but of course I won. There are books stacked neatly on endtables, even some holding reading lamps higher. What's that with low tables and low lamps? I'm from a family of readers, and raised my kids and grandkids to read, read, read. You need a good clear light over your shoulder to read by.

I remember a friend whose parents had bought a huge set of encyclopedias and had them lined up in a long, low bookshelf. I'd go over there and sit on the floor, and read one after another, wondering how in the world I was going to be able to learn all there was to learn when I got older. Now, today, I clicked into Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac to find my very favorite poet, Wesley McNair, featured with a poem about his stepfather who stayed up nights reading from a set of encyclopedias, trying to learn everything about everything, but never getting beyond the book of A.

Now, I know Wesley. He is a dear friend and has won national and international recognition for his poetry. So I clicked in to Amazon.com and bought his latest book, which has outstanding reviews. It's called Talking in the Dark: Poems. I'll get him to sign it when we next head up to Maine. He's retired from teaching college now, and he and his wife live at a small lake, swim every day, visit with their neighbors and sit on the porch and write...by hand...he's not a computer person although he does have a Web site that his son or daughter runs. So he won't be Googling this mention!

I miss Wesley; he would call me when times were crazy, and calm me down with just a few clear sentences. We all need friends like that in our lives. Maybe Wesley's book will add a calming influence to my life. He said that my book sounded just as if I were talking to him, and he loved that.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007


Sunday Scribblings had goosebumps as the prompt, but I've been so busy with our Rocky Mount happenings that I had pushed this to the back of my mind (it's a bit murky back there, too) until I read Colleen's blog, and tied some things together.

Lately, I've been listening to Sunny FM Radio, which is 93.5-102.7 on my car radio. They've been playing music from the 70's...well, from my California 70's, anyway...music that absolutely takes me back to when Hubby and I met. Disco dancing was big then, and there were these tiny dance clubs in Old Sacramento, some with lighted floors, others with old wooden boothes where they encouraged you to carve your name as you sang along with the music.

No, Hubby didn't wear a white suit and imitate John Travolta, but he WAS (& is) a good dancer.

Both of us were divorced and I was thin (honest! I wouldn't lie) & wore cute little short dresses, some a bit psychedelic. Well, this was California, ya know. We tore up those dance floors, and those songs playing on my car radio immediately bring it all back. We've been married 27 years now, but it all began back there...

We even volunteered with the Dixieland Jazz Jubilee in Old Sacramento as it was beginning; it is now so huge that the days of strolling down the cobblestone alleys, eating pizza and listening to the music coming from those small clubs is over. They've built tall board fences to keep out the nonpaying Jubiliee listeners.

Music...the soundtrack of our lives. And yes, I get goosebumps when one of those songs comes up on the radio!

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Coffeehouse Readings

What a great time we had at Edible Vibe last night. We filled the room; counted 40 people total. Sold some books, too. Everybody was excited, milling around, meeting everyone else, laughing, applauding (wonderful sounds, those) and enjoying the food, coffees and teas...I opted for French vanilla iced coffee with cream. Lovely on such a hot evening, but the AC was going strong, so the room was nice and cool.

I finally met Alyson Hagy; no wonder she is a favorite of the library staff. Alyson is from Rocky Mount, told me they'd farmed on the Blackwater River and she knew exactly where our home is located. Her father, Dr. Hagy, practiced in Rocky Mount and then in Roanoke.

She came up to me to ask me to sign her copy of When Men Move to the Basement and told me she loved the humor as I read two essays to the group.

Linda Hamlett Childress, who looks 25 but has a 25-year-old daughter, read from her Tobacco Farmer's Daughter & Rural Route 2. She'd driven over with her mother-in-law, Glenna, who is SO proud of Linda and asked me to mention, in my intro, that Linda completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene and now has been accepted to Virginia Tech. Linda writes, works as a dental technician, is raising her family, and going on to VA Tech. Not only that, she's gorgeous. Check out Fred First's blog, or the library one (somehow, I've not been able to post links...more learning for ME to do!) for pictures from last night.

I look like a preacher, but at least not a pumpkin preacher!

Fred First read one of his Slow Road Home quiet pieces about a drought, and then the blessed rain. He also read a piece he's written about the horrors of mountain-top coal mining.

Dick Raymond read some of his humorous poetry, and played his uke. Honest!

Becky Mushko read her piece from A Cup of Comfort for Writers. She also introduced me as Rocky Mount's Erma Bombeck, which surprised and certainly pleased me.

Keith Ferrell, former NYC editor of OMNI Magazine, introduced Dan Smith, who read excerpts from his memoir, Burning the Furniture.
Today (Saturday) I went to the Franklin County Library to hear Bob Slaughter speak about his experiences during D Day. His writing was so good, it seemed the audience was experiencing the action right along with Slaughter.

Alyson Hagy then read from her book, Snow Ashes. I got her to sign a copy to me, but forgot to tell her our Eclectic Readers Book Club has selected her book as our next one to read. Hopefully Bonnie or Marilyn remembered to tell her, as the library purchased 4 or 5 copies of her book for the book club. They were also planning to purchase several copies of Fred First's book, since we'll be reading his book in October.

Support your local writers!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Another Ordinary (broiling!) Day

I'm sure we aren't the only folks just plain staying inside, drinking lots of iced tea, fanning ourselves, wearing loose cotton. Yesterday, I went looking for a sundress after Colleen's neat tip & found this bright beautiful very orange pleated balloon of a dress, with a crocheted top. I feel like a pumpkin in it, but isn't it cool...

Besides, nobody comes to visit in weather like this, so only Dick and the dogs sit around and snicker at the big orange squash in their house. Maybe I'll get some green sandals and wear it on Halloween.

Cleaned my pantry today. That's like the punchline to an old joke: woman comes home from a trip away to find her husband bragging about scrubbing down all the walls in the kitchen, cleaning the counters, the sink, and even baking a cake for her. She is amazed, until he tells her he initially began mixing the cake batter and forgot to turn off the beaters when he removed them from the batter....hence the scrubbing of the entire kitchen.

Today, I reached for a packet of chocolate pudding to mix up for a pudding-pie, having found another recipe for gluten-free piecrust for hubby. When I reached for the pudding mix, the pantry shelf came tumbling down onto the shelf below, which then tumbled down to the shelf below THAT one. HELP!...I summoned my helpmate as my arms filled with cans of this and that...

We discovered that the shelves we thought were sturdy were actually held up by small plastic pegs on either side; there was no brace in the middle what-so-ever. When one peg worked loose, the whole pantry and its contents came tumbling down, down, down.

Dick got some wooden braces and quickly sawed and placed the wood while I took everything out of the pantry (groan!) and situated it around the kitchen. I DID finally throw out some rather ancient items, cleaned the shelves, cleaned the plastic turntables, then re-organized everything once the shelves were solidly in place with no chance of moving or falling again.

Hey, the pantry is in great shape. I can actually find things now. I found a can of salmon I didn't know I had. And other things. Did I make the pudding pie? Yes, finally. It's still setting up at this late hour. I guess we'll have it for breakfast....

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Cool mist...soft rain...slight chill

Is it working? Let's try some more. ...bare feet in a cool stream, overhanging shady trees, small waterfall splashing nearby. ahhhhhhh

Well, at least there is a ceiling fan whirling overhead as I sit here.

Back to positive visualization...ice cubes in my tall glass of diet Tonic Water. An odd choice, perhaps, but I've learned others choose this method of hydrating. My body must need something tonic water provides.

I am reading a very interesting book, called Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. Julia, an American journalist, is in Paris researching the relatively unknown collaboration between the French government and Hitler's Germany as the French police round up Jewish families and transport them directly to the death camps.

Ten-year old Sarah is taken away with her mother as her father stays hidden in the basement and her 4-year-old brother is safely locked in a cupboard in their bedroom. Sarah takes the key with her, expecting to return and rescue her brother. She has no idea she will not be allowed to return, or that her father will turn himself in to be with his family.

Each chapter is written in different type, so the two stories, Sarah's in 1942 and Julia's in 2002, are easy to follow. It is a haunting story; anyone interested in the Holocaust will find this book difficult to put down.

It's described as an International Best Seller (translated from the English into 18 languages) and is on the New Books shelf at our Franklin County Library. Once I return it, that is.


Monday, August 06, 2007

The Long Hot Summer~

Debi - I answered your comment about the Black Bear, but it dawned on me that you wouldn't know to look for an answer!

Long Hot Summer: I read somewhere that southern writing changed significantly with the advent of air conditioning because all the passionate hystrionics went indoors instead of taking place out on the front porch or by an open window where everybody could hear. Think: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof...or Long Hot Summer.

Whew, this is surely a hot summer. I've always loved the Fall, but I think this year it'll be even more of a wonderful change when that crisp cool weather comes along. Sunday, after church, a baby shower, and a bit of grocery shopping, I actually came home and put on my cool cotton long nightgown for the rest of the day.

We're supposed to have 90+ temps the rest of the week. I think I'll have iced coffee on Friday night at Edible Vibe. Next week, it is supposed to go down into the 80's. I did want to move south upon retirement from Maine, but this is ridiculous. Shouldn't complain, though...we have grown kids & their families in Clarksville, TN, and Birmingham, AL. My daughter in Maine had hail and heavy winds, lots of rain, over the weekend. She says it has been very hot even up there up until this change.

Well, I'm certainly rattling on. Didn't get any work done on the play except in my head, as I'm changing things around a bit. Tuesday I plan to get more written, then Weds is Writers Group and Book Club, more writing Thurs, then Lake Writers, car to shop for maintenance, and coffeehouse reading that evening. Saturday, the 2 authors at FCL. Somewhere in all of this, hubby will be lecturing me about doing too much...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

My Black Bear story

When we lived in Maine, on the side of a mountain above a small lake in a log house we'd built, I was awakened one night by some awful howling. Dick knew immediately that a bear cub had gotten snarled in a humane leg trap he'd set for coyote. I wanted him to get up and DO something, but he said it was the middle of the night, pitch black out, and the cub would settle down and sleep shortly. It did.

Early the next morning, he put on his heavy-duty clothes, particularly his heavy gloves and we went behind the house into the woods, me with our camera ready.

Having envisioned a cute little cuddly black bear, I was surprised to see a fairly good-sized very angry bear cub, all teeth and long claws. Of course, the cub didn't know Dick was trying to rescue him, so it turned into quite an effort. I was merrily snapping pictures, stepping closer & closer, until Dick said: Marion! Keep a lookout for Momma. I'm sure she is right around here and she is NOT happy.

He then says all he saw were little puffs of dust as I wheeled and ran rapidly into the house.

It turned out Momma Bear was not right there; Dick got Baby Bear loose and it tore into the woods for his Mom. He loved telling that story on me. Still does. Dick ended up with bloody scratches on his forehead, which he attributed to the cub's long claws. Only later did I learn it was a low tree branch that did that damage...

Next wildlife story? How about the time a young moose charged my moving car?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Blog not working!

I wrote up my blog and went to post it, got a big fat red ERROR statement that the URL needed a .com or something else. There seemingly is no way around that. I went here & there, even tried a Copy & Paste, deleted some verbiage, that wasn't the problem.

Well, tomorrow is another day. It was a complicated post (naturally!) so maybe I blew out a tube or something...

Now I'll see if this nothing post will publish!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Cable TV stars...

This morning's interview by Dick Shoemaker on Cable 12 went really well. Four of us were there, so we split up, with Becky and yours truly taking the first portion to discuss the Friday night Coffeehouse Readings at Edible Vibe on 10 August. We mentioned all six of our authors, including the fact that Alyson Hagy will be present & will be introduced (so she can meet all of us) but she won't be reading from her newly-published book, Snow Ashes, until Saturday morning at 11 at the Library.

After the break, Marilyn Amero from the Franklin County Library, and Jim Morrison, Lake Writers, discussed the two authors speaking on the 11th. Bob Slaughter, who actually entered the Guard at the age of 16 and went on to fight in WWII, will read from his book, Omaha Beach and Beyond: the Long March of Sergeant Bob Slaughter, beginning at 10 Saturday morning.

Marilyn mentioned that Alyson Hagy, a former Franklin County resident now associate professor of English at the University of Wyoming, has been receiving good reviews of her new book. Alyson is "local girl made good" and is much admired by FC Library staff and the community.

Well, I don't get Cable 12, so those of you who do, please let us know how we did. It ran live at 8:30 (preceded by the SML Chamber) and should repeat sometime tonight and again over the weekend.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Good news...Xray shows ankle has healed

My doctor finally called, said the Xray shows ankle has healed. Wanted to know if I still had pain; I told him only twinges now and then. He now wants me to lose the brace entirely; of course, Dick is trying to overrule that. But I think the intent is to let the bone strengthen.

I am ready for this; I've been "off feet, feet raised, no standing, no walking, no dancing (!), wear brace, wear walking cast" since the beginning of May.

Becky: Did you see Colleen's comment on my Blog? She's suggesting we think about heading to Floyd for their readings at the Cafe Del Sol, third Saturday of the month, 7-9 PM, and join them in reading something. (I'm sure we'd have to let them know ahead of time.)

I've been wanting to head to Floyd for their Friday night hoe-downs for some time now. See above for why I won't dance, but heck, we could watch the dancing and join in the fun. A couple we know is ready and willing to join us as they go out every Friday night to eat. Hmmmm, I think you know them actually. Bonnie (AKA Bubbles) and her beau, Bill.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sadie Mae, the UNtrained dog

Remember reading about the fellow who was walking through a field when burrs stuck to his trouser legs, whereupon he said something like "Eureka!" and invented Velcro?

He should have had a small fluffy long-haired dog. Think of those discoveries.

Today, Sadie Mae decided to take another one of her jaunts around the property rather than respond to: Come! (click) COME! (click, click)...CHICKEN! accompanied by the noise of dried chicken strips rattling around in a little plastic jar...her favorite treat.

She looked back at me over her shoulder and ditty-bopped down the path she has made, then around through the woods, then down in back by Muffie's grave/garden, then down another path the wild animals have made near the birdfeeders.

I hobbled along after her but she's faster than I even when I'm sure of foot. Dick was up at the top of the driveway, using the weedwhacker. When he got on his ATV to head back to the house, she definitely heard THAT...her poopdaddy on the machine she loves to ride...so she ran up there & he scooped her up and brought her home.

She was totally covered with tiny beebee-sized burrs...all over her face, chest, paws, legs...only her back was clear. AND she'd apparently discovered some nice wild animal poop to roll in. OMG. I got the chore of combing & brushing out the little green fuzzy thingies once we'd gotten most of her little self clear of the poop. Then Dick took her into the shower and scrubbed her over & over.

AFter that, I took her out on the back deck where there was a bit of shade and did more combing and brushing and picking out of those burrs. At least she smelled better with all the shampooing.

She's been dodging the leash lately when I take her out, but I surely do not want to go through all that again, so it's back to the leash. I really must learn to be more stern, more Alpha Dog, more...I-won't-put-up-with-this-so-get-in-the-HOUSE! NOW! ...or I'll Velcro you to the wall...