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...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Blog is finally where it is supposed to be!

I did some clean-up work, installed some updated stuff, and Voila!...my Blog now appears on my PC exactly where it is supposed to be.

Can you believe this weather? It is supposed to be in the 90's this weekend. Guess it is time to clean the grill. I bought some foil grill pans (they have holes on the bottom) to use for grilling veggies, pizza, french fries, even hamburgers. But the grill itself needs a good cleaning, and I plan to outfit it with some better tools.

I bought a set of BBQ tools at Lowe's when I bought the grill. (The grill was intended as a Father's Day prezzie for Dick as I'd hoped to get him to enjoy grilling...it worked somewhat!).
But the BBQ tools were made in Taiwan or someplace where they hadn't a clue...the gripper tongs don't hold well, the turner is so big everything slips off, and the other tools don't work the way they should.

There are hotdogs in the freezer, just waiting around to be grilled until their skins split and they turn a bit black around the edges...YUM! Open a can of beans, mix up some coleslaw with tiny pineapple chunks and some cranberries, get out the spicy mustard...see what happens when the prediction is 90 degrees?


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Luncheon of the Boating Party

I joined a local Book Club to discover some new writers, to read in some new directions, to spread the word about books I enjoyed reading. Well, our book for next month's meeting is a true treasure!

Susan Vreeland's Luncheon of the Boating Party is described by Amazon.com as historical fiction. The cover of the book is a copy of Renoir's painting. Vreeland has taken his actual painting of that piece step-by-step and the reader reaches an entirely new understanding of what went on for him to produce the work.

So broke he cannot afford his paints, or to pay the friends who model for him, or to pay the owner of the restaurant beside the river who provides food and drink for everyone on several successive Sundays, Renoir struggles, living on his admirers' contributions to help pay the costs.

You learn about models having to buy second-hand clothing while a friend brings a distinctive hat with red poppies for one lovely girl, who holds a small dog despite the artist's reluctance to use animals in his paintings. Again and again, the reader flips to the front cover, or the inserted color copy of the painting, to see...oh yes, he didn't use the woman in the striped dress after all, she was much too difficult, and yes: there is the girl in the boating party blue dress wearing her beautiful hat with the red poppies, and a white ruffled piece that the artist is delighted to paint.

Our Book Club will tour the new Roanoke Museum at our May meeting to discuss this book. Again, the book is a treasure and a delight to read. Degas is mentioned several times (and not necessarily in a good light!) as are Renoir's contemporaries.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Blog OK?

I'm told my Blog appears in the correct position when others visit. Apparently, it is only my screen that places it halfway down the page. GRRR! Where is that book, Blogging for Dummies?

Looks as if we will be spending the summer in Maine again this year. Dick having just had open-heart surgery had revised his plans to drive here, there and everywhere. But he wants to haul our camper up, park it at his uncle's farm, and use it as our home base. Last summer, we stayed with my daughter. All the many stairs, and tearing apart the downstairs bathroom (and flooring in a 100+ old farmhouse) meant a difficult stay. We also had terrible weather, with constant heavy rain and very hungry mosquitoes. We're ordering better weather this time~

The plan for the camper in Maine is to facilitate Dick's hunting and flyfishing trips. He already has some of his church friends eager to join him this fall. I'll be happy to stay here at home after a summer up in the far north.

I have many friends who spend months away in a better climate. I don't know how they do it! It can be a lot more complicated than it sounds.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Strange...when I click on Review instead of Edit, the Blog is right where it should be...

David Baldacci spoke for over an hour today at Trinity Ecumenical, and he was SO funny! He told the most delightful stories about his writing, about encounters with people in airports reading his book, about writing his books (14 bestsellers!), about living at Smith Mountain Lake, about his kids...I am SO glad I went. Tickets were free, but collections were taken up for both the Moneta Branch of the Bedford Library, and the Westlake Branch of the Franklin County Library.

When it was mentioned that it had taken two years to get Baldacci there as a speaker, he said that whatever was collected, he would match...then he grinned, saying that might have made the 2-year wait bearable!

I bought a copy of his first-ever book and left it at the library for him to autograph, rather than stand in a very long line. Tickets were numbered, and I would have had to take #211 in line. I'm not able to stand and stand as yet, so that was the simpler plan.

We also had been asked to bring a 'gently used' book, paperback or hard cover, to donate to a charity he and other writers contribute to, promoting literacy to children without books to rely on.

I believe he also participated in an evening dinner program, but I'm not certain. We are so fortunate to have David Baldacci as a summertime neighbor and as someone who values libraries enough to assist in fund raising for them.


Did I fix it?

Thanks for the nice notes re Dick's open-heart surgery. He is doing really well, although he keeps interpreting the "Do not drive for four weeks" as...oh, they don't want me to drive to, oh, Texas, but they surely didn't mean I could not drive to WalMart.

Can you believe it is actually April? The birds are flocking (yeah) to the bird feeder as we buy sacks of the pricey sunflower hearts and the fruit and nut mixture they love. The purple lilac bush is about to flower, and the Japanese Weeping Cherry is gorgeous. (I just hope the Japanese beetles leave it alone this year.)

I'm trying to decide whether to plant my herbs in a pot on the BBQ deck, or over by the wooden fence. I'm thinking I'll use them more readily in cooking if they're just out on the deck. Decision made! (and they say women can't decide...)

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