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...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Apologies due~

Sorry I haven't been blogging regularly, but it's a bit hectic around the house these days. We're getting ready to drive up to northern Maine to see family and pretty much spend the summer in a cooler clime. Hubby keeps packing clothes and packing clothes, while I insist I can do that pretty quick. I finally resorted to throwing some clothes on hangers onto the bed, so he'd think I was packing.

OK, I've made lists, updated all my meds, had laser eye surgery on both eyes (glaucoma treatment, actually) gone to the dentist..arghhh!...seen my family doctor to be certain my blood pressure is under control. It's 128/77, which is wonderful. Gotten my blood tested to be sure I'm handling the meds well. Like Bette Davis said, getting older ain't for sissies, and she was exactly correct.

We're taking the dogs along, so of course they had to get vet-checked out. And Sadie Mae had her spa visit of course.

In the middle of all of this, our pastor is leaving, which the United Methodist Church arranges about every four years, so there have been farewell home gatherings, and the whole church will bid him adieu this next Sunday. When they asked me to decorate, I decided on a picnic theme, red & white checkered tableclothes, vases of daisies. So Saturday a couple of us will put that all in place.

Our new pastor begins on the first Sunday in July, the 6th. We'll be up in Maine by then, so all I had to do was write up a piece for the newsletter and sign some folks up to host our Celebration Sunday as a greet-and-meet for John and Joanna Plummer. I won't get to meet them until we return.

Oh, and I had to get information around about our church's annual swim party in August. Dick is right; I really have too much to do and others will now have to step in while we are gone.

While up in Maine, I've been invited to the local University of Maine campus to display and sell my book, When Men Move to the Basement. Since the first half takes place in Maine, there is a lot of interest in the book. I'm also planning to work on my new book-in-progress, My Church is Making Me Fat...(with recipes). And, should I figure out how to do this on a laptop or my daughter's PC, I'm thinking about having Sadie Mae blog. That little puppy has a lot of attitude!

So, if I'm hit-or-miss for a bit, please know that I will be blogging when I get into a new routine. Or when something happens. Or when I'm just purely interested in something.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Somebody is Going to Die if Lilly Beth Doesn't Catch that Bouquet:

The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Wedding...this is the title of Gayden Metcalfe's and Charlotte Hays' most recent book, which I am just beginning to read. This pretty much reflects the DEEP south, not the nearly-south, as I tend to think of this area near Roanoke.

Very funny, very unpolitically correct, both books (Being Dead, and Lilly Beth) have received knock-out reviews from such as Publishers Weekly. I'm thinking the Lilly Beth book might be the perfect gift for the about-to-be-married. After all, there would be no one to gift the Being Dead book to...it'd be a tad too late!

Well, there are the folks bringing casseroles who might need some new Methodist or Presbyterian recipes, I suppose...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Being Dead is No Excuse:

The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral by Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays.

Friend Becky and I drove to the 419 Roanoke Library to hear Charlotte Hays read from her book, which is just hilarious. Hays lives in DC, and her co-author lives in Mississippi, which is Hays' former home.

Sitting at the head table with her was Jessica Bemis Ward, author of Food to Die For: A Book of Funeral Food, Tips and Tales. Ward lives in Lynchburg and wrote her book about a recently-restored cemetery in Lynchburg. Earlier that day, Jessica Ward gave Charlotte Hays a tour of the cemetery, which Charlotte said she found delightful.

Listening to the two of them banter back and forth gave us plenty to laugh about. Hays' book, Being Dead is No Excuse, is replete with many recipes. When asked whether any of the recipe contributors had any problems with their recipes being featured, she said only those whose recipes were NOT used were upset!

Ward's book, featuring scenes from the cemetery viewed through church-like windows, had many recipes included as well.

Since I'm only just beginning my book, My Church is Making Me Fat...(with recipes) I very much enjoyed learning from their examples. This appears to be a whole new genre!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Writing Awards Given at Moneta Library

Lake Writers, who meet twice a month at the Moneta Library, held a student fiction contest recently. On Thursday evening, 29 May, we awarded prizes to the high school and middle school students who submitted the best fiction. Smith Mountain Arts Council (SMAC) providing the funding for the cash prizes.

We had an excellent turnout of students, parents, other relatives, Lake Writers, and the interested public.

Our first prize winners were asked to read their entries. It was great to hear their words come to life; we'd carefully judged the entries without knowing the students' names. Each manuscript was read by at least three different Lake Writer members.

First prize for a middle school writer went to Alyson Hancock of Moneta, who attends Staunton River Middle School. Her story was entitled: Sunrise on the Mountain Top and was set during World War II.

First prize for high school entries went to Logan Wamsley of Forest, who attends Jefferson Forest High School. His entry was: The Piano Man and it was stunning for his treatment of an adult theme.

In all, including four Honorable Mentions, there were ten winners this year. Pictures were taken by SMAC's Betsy Ashton and submitted to The SML Eagle, Rocky Mount's News-Post, and The Bedford Bulletin.

It was so exciting to read such high-quality submissions and to encourage young writers to continue to write and enter competitions such as this one.