Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
The scarecrow isn't sure what all the white stuff is. He just knows he doesn't like it. His behind feels stuck to the table he's perched on. We're not telling him the truth: his behind is frozen to the table. Shh!
The birds aren't happy. They're thirsty and wondering who the let the crazy flapping lady loose.
Mary has never seen snow before. She's usually tucked safely in the barn before the first flake flies.
The little tree is wondering where its colored holiday lights are. Aren't they supposed to be on my branches before it snows? Honestly! Such incompetence!
The oak tree doesn't give a hoot. Snow...no snow...it drops its leaves on anything.
The frost is on the pumpkin? You think?
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The steam wafted from his mug of coffee as he lifted it to his lips and took a sip. She watched, stifling a grin as his brow furrowed. When would he learn that steam off a cup meant its contents were hot?
"What's for breakfast?" The mug settled on the table with a small thud as he turned his gaze to the scene outside the window. Snow fell in fat, wet clumps.
"Pancakes?" He gave her his attention. "On Wednesday?"
Ah, such a creature of habit, this man! The usual Sunday-morning flapjack--or was it the snow?--had sent a hint of surprise into his voice.
She ignored his raised eyebrows and slid two golden pancakes onto his plate. "Yes, pancakes on Wednesday." She served herself. "Think you can handle it?"
"Oh, I can handle it all right." Maple syrup pooled on his plate before he set the container on the table. "I just want to know the cause for pancakes on a Wednesday...how come?"
"It's a party."
"What kind of party?"
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
National Novel Writing Month, NaNo for short, begins in just a few short days. A matter of hours, really. And while I realize that all around me people are plotting, filling in character sketches, planning and compiling, I'm not doing any of that. Nothing. Although I've done the novel-writing challenge successfully a few times, I'm beginning to wonder....
Is my lack of preparation a NaNo no-no?
What do I have? Well, I've got a title. And an idea. Well, a glimmer of an idea. I know...well, I almost know what's going to happen in the book. Maybe. Kind of. Well, possibly.
In the past I've written books both "by the outline" and "by the pants" and both methods have worked for me. So I guess this one is going to be a by-the-pants book. Since I've already got a publisher in mind for the project, let's hope it turns out to be a good by-the-pants book.
Now if I can only remember to wear pants every day in November, I'll be all right.
So...how's your Tuesday shaping up? Any by-the-pants plans for today?
Monday, October 27, 2008
Recently my husband and I walked into a furniture store. And although this story begins kind of like one of those a-penguin-walks-into-a-bar jokes, I promise it's nothing like that. Well, almost nothing. Because while those jokes generally make us smile, they do little to warm the heart. What happened to us while we were shopping for a sofa and loveseat for our great room definitely made us smile and warmed our hearts. I hope it will yours, too.
Anyhow, back to shopping. We were no sooner inside the store when we were greeted by a young woman whose energy and vivacious personality made her "hello" really sing. I was, truth be told, overwhelmed by the seemingly mile-long showroom, stuffed with colors, patterns and options. How would we ever pick just one set? I almost turned and ran! But when Rose looked at us and said, "You don't remember me, do you?" I was intrigued. How could I leave with the mystery unsolved?
I stared into her eyes, a glimmer of recognition calling me. Still, I didn't have a true clue. Then, as she spoke, I realized I'd heard her voice before. A long time ago, perhaps. A really long time ago.
Then, it hit me! I knew that voice!
When we were first married my husband and I bought a big, old Victorian on a few acres out in the middle of nowhere. The road the house was on was one of those country roads that connects to a bigger road which connects to a highway that'll actually take you somewhere. Follow me? While our house was nowhere, it was on the way to somewhere. So, the road was well traveled.
One day Hubby and I saw a car down at the end of our driveway. Just like the house, the driveway was oversized, a long, circular strip that climbed a little knoll before it reached the house. Anyhow, we noticed this car and wondered what was going on. It's not like we had neighbors so they couldn't be visiting anyone. And like I said, we were in the sticks. Stopping on the road? Not usual.
We walked down the drive to see what was going on. To see if they needed any help. Turns out they did. Rose and her brothers, on their way downstate to visit their ill father, were stuck. Car trouble.
So we did what anyone would have done. We invited them up to the house. Brought them inside. Offered them use of the phone. Then, while we waited for help to arrive, we sat around and talked. Actually, despite the family circumstance of their dad being sick, we had a nice visit. Believe me, if you're ever going to have stranded motorists visiting your house, hope for someone like Rose and company. They were great people.
After they left we wondered many times how they fared. Of course we hoped their father got well and that they made it to their destination without any more mishaps. But we never really knew the whole story.
Until now. Because although twenty years had dimmed my memory, Rose has never forgotten. She recognized us. She remembered the two strangers she'd met on what must have been a very trying day for her.
We were thrilled to see her again. We all caught up, chatting like we'd seen each other just days before. Good news...Rose's dad is well, as are her brothers. Rose, too, is happy and healthy and enjoying life.
And while she insists we "rescued" them, we've always felt as if we'd been given a gift that day. Knowing we made their trip even marginally easier has never done anything but bring smiles to our faces.
Meeting up with Rose again was like seeing a dear, old friend, and we've been grinning ever since. I guess it just shows that the line between "stranger" and "friend" is a fuzzy one that can be easily crossed.
Rose's remembering us reminds me that the things we do today may follow us well into the future. Something to think about, that.
Oh? The furniture? Yes, we did buy a lovely set that looks perfect in the great room. But you know what? The furniture definitely wasn't the high point of the shopping trip. Not at all.
Seeing Rose again...now that was something special.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
A few years ago I wrote a non-fussy little book called B is for Breakfast. I don't know about you, but breakfast is one of my favorite meals--but I don't like to spend hours in the kitchen in the morning when I'm hungry. Immediate--or almost immediate--gratification is the key. So, some fast, simple recipes that turn a ho-hum morning into something a bit more interesting. One of my favorite recipes from the book is this one. We're making it this morning. Why don't you try Morning Cake at your house this fall morning, too?
3/4 cup milk
½ cup flour
3 T. granulated sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 t. orange zest
1 chopped apple
In a large bowl whisk together all ingredients except the apples.
Lightly grease a round cake pan.
Place pan in a pre-heated 450-degree oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.
Friday, October 24, 2008
I don't have anything much to talk about. Life here is still kind of low-key but we're getting back to "normal" slowly but surely. Honestly, I'm just tickled to be feeling more like myself.
I'm itching to begin writing again but since I've signed on for National Novel Writing Month I don't want to start anything long. But I'm considering working on a short story this weekend, and I'm more excited by the prospect than I can even say. I've missed writing, in a big way.
Oh! And NaNo? I've recruited a new November writer! My friend Judy is going to give it a go. I'm so pleased she's decided to focus on her writing, even if only for a month. She has a wicked sense of humor and I'm sure it's going to come out when she sits down at the keyboard. I'm planning to nudge her right along so she'll remember how much pleasure writing gives her. I know she can do this! I just hope the title of her NaNo book doesn't turn out to be How I Killed My Friend for Bugging Me to Write a NaNo Book.
So...odds and ends on this Friday. My plan is to try and catch up with emails, then write for a bit if my eyes hold out. I've heeded the doc's orders to limit computer time so I've got a ton of emails to answer. If yours is one of those, please excuse my neglect. It has been unavoidable but as I said, things are looking up here. :)
Yesterday there was some snafu with posting comments. Sorry! I've reset all the comment settings so hopefully there won't be any glitches today. Fingers crossed!
What have you got planned for this chilly Friday? Anything you'd care to share?
Posted by Sarita at 8:57 AM
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wow, don't the days just fly by? I know I'm running a little slower than usual but I can't believe it's Thursday already. Can you?
I've got to admit I've been taking it pretty easy this week. Just sort of getting my legs back under me...resting and eating well and generally being a slug. You know, I think I could get used to this!
One of my favorite things to do anytime is read, but when I'm not feeling quite up to par I tend to hunker down and open a book that I have already read and loved. Yeah, I pull one off my keeper shelf.
Recently Marianne had a conversation about the rereading habit (or lack thereof) and while I didn't get to follow all of the discussion what I did see was very interesting. Me? I read so much that I generally don't reread--unless I loved the book the first time around. I mean, really loved it.
Um, I fall in love fairly often, it seems! The keeper shelf is mighty wide here!
Last night I snuggled under a flannel quilt with a cup of tea beside me and fell right back into a book my mother gave me for my last birthday, Janet Evanovich's Naughty Neighbor. What a fun read! I smiled through it the first time and I did the exact same thing last night. The characters are wonderfully likeable, the little intrigue they become embroiled in is both comical and engaging and I guess I just flat-out love the author's writing style.
I knew when I chose it that I was going to be perfectly content for a few hours, and I was. Very soothing and highly satisfying to know that opening a particular book is going to deliver guaranteed entertainment, don't you think? See? That's why I reread certain books! Sometimes I just need to know that I'm going to love the story.
Janet Evanovich's Foul Play goes on sale next week. I'm looking forward to it. As I said, I just really like the way this lady tells a story. She pulls me in every single time, and I love that!
So...what are you reading?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I've been trying to catch up on my blog reading these past few days. It's wonderful to get up to speed with what my on-line friends have been doing. I'm so jazzed by what's up in everyone's world! It seems like everybody's got lots going on. I'm inspired! I want to make popcorn, watch movies, buy a winter coat, read (and re-read!), write and attack my flower beds.
So many fabulous ideas here and there...but only so many hours to each day. But I've got to admit that when Dru posted about her trip to a fabric store and purchase of a fabric panel, my creative mind got working. I actually love those fabric panels because they're so versatile. I mean, they have visual interest built right in. All that's left is to decide how best to use the panel.
A few months ago I bought one covered with cats. My aunt is a cat lover so I thought of her instantly when I saw the panel. I decided to take a fast, easy route and made a small table runner for her. There were nine or ten squares in the panel but I cut them apart, made blocks from the ones I thought she'd most enjoy, then stitched the whole kit and kaboodle together. It took less than an hour to construct and was a fun project.
Now that Dru's reminded me of the always-popular fabric panel, I'm going to head out and see if I can't track down a couple of interesting holiday-themed panels. I've got lots of ideas brewing for those, so hopefully I will find some pretty ones.
I love it when I'm lucky enough to get a great idea from someone else. What about you? Don't you love it when someone inspires you? And, has anyone inspired you lately?
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
NaNo, coming soon! I'm so excited! I love November, love National Novel Writing Month and all the excitement that accompanies it.
My NaNo page is here.
My novel is called A Morning Glory Christmas. Interested? (Please say yes!)
I know I'm going to write a novel in November, and I've got a title and a vague idea of the characters and plot but that's about it. I'm just going to take a deep breath, jump into the fun and enjoy myself, the way I always do. No stress. No worries. I'm just going to have fun.
What about you? Are you playing this November? If you are, please drop me a line. I'd love to buddy you!
Monday, October 20, 2008
We've had some cold temperatures these past few nights. Not just chilly, but pretty darn cold. In the low twenties.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
First off, please accept my apology for simply disappearing for the last week or so. It was completely beyond my control but I'm still sorry. I missed you all!
What happened? Without scaring you with all the gory details, a week ago last Friday we learned that I am apparently much more allergic to something than we'd previously believed. When I came in contact with said allergen I became very ill, very fast. It was all very scary but things are on the upswing now and I'm sure I'll feel even closer to "normal" with every passing day.
Oh? All of the stuff I wanted to get done on Monday, the day I posted despite feeling like ground chuck because I was too stubborn to give in to my body? Just so you know...I didn't get any of it done. Nope. Not a thing. I guess that just shows that we can make all the plans we want. It doesn't mean they're going to be carried out, does it? At least not when we think they will!
The hard part is going to begin for me when I'm really feeling myself. Why? Well, the doctor didn't exactly send me on my way with a wave and a smile.
Doctor's orders? More sleep. Less work. Less stress. No skipping meals. No caffeine.
I was all right up until the "no caffeine" part.
You know what that means, don't you? No chocolate!
Yeah, life is going to change but I can't complain. At least I'm still sitting here, visiting with all of you. And grateful for every minute of it.
Happy Sunday. :)
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sorry to say "hi" and "bye" so quickly this morning but I'm on the run, trying to beat the raindrops that aren't in the forecast.
Yeah, it's Monday! But at least starting the week this way keeps me on my toes.
What's making me dash? Ooh, it's all good stuff on my to-do list for this morning...
-I've got a half-dozen late mums to plant in the flower beds.
-There are carrots and parsnips to be picked.
-The big sugar maple in the side yard has lost its leaves. I'm going to rake them, then till them into the pumpkin patch. Not much fun in the rain so I've got to get that one done early!
Then this afternoon, after all my yardwork is done, I'm going to sit down and finish a chapter I've been working on. The story is a Regency and it's got the usual cast of characters--would-be bride and a gaggle of advice-dealing girlfriends as well as a notorious rake with hot, hunky good looks. Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours, is it? I'm looking forward to finishing up the chapter and beginning the next one. There's going to be lots of twisting and turning for this couple before they find their happily ever after.
Anyhow, that's my Monday. What about you? Any plans for this Columbus Day? Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy yourself.
And keep an eye to the sky. Rain isn't forecast but the clouds look kind of heavy. Hmm...I wonder if Al Roker needs a sidekick?
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I just love Google Alerts! This morning I got a lovely surprise; a new review for Bay Leaves and Bundles from The Romance Studio.
"...This is such a great story of sibling rivalry which Ms. Leone builds just right. If their pillows weren't made of cornhusks I could easily see these two marriageable young women having a pillow fight as they argue about the benefits inherent in their respective choice for a spouse... This is a lot of fun. Without the tri-corn hats, the bundle board, bay leaves and need to ask the father before courting this could be any two sisters in any century. With those things there are probably a lot more smiles as you read!"
Read the whole review here.
Purchase Bay Leaves and Bundles here.
Friday, October 10, 2008
and although I've little save the title at this point
Want to write a book?
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Ah...the joys of homeownership. There always seems to be a project either in the planning stage or underway. Hubby and I work really well together (even with power tools in hand!) so we actually enjoy the around-the-house do-it-yourself projects.
We've got one in the works right now. It involves:
I stood and watched this for the longest time.
A very small sampling of what we've got on site.
They're going to be gorgeous when they get where they belong!
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
The sun had been up for about an hour. Light filtered through the window beside her desk. Her fingers flew over the keyboard, making a mad dash to finish the last paragraphs of Chapter 7.
She heard him stirring behind her. Time was limited. Her fingers moved faster.
Don't turn around. You know his eyes are open and he's staring at you...just waiting for you to make eye contact. Don't...turn...around.
There. The last sentence. Her fingers stilled; her shoulders fell. She pressed 'Save' and closed the file.
His senses were honed to perfection. Although he couldn't see her screen from his position snuggled beneath the covers, his song filled the room at the exact moment the file disappeared.
"Frosty the snowman..."
She turned, laughing. "Frosty the snowman?"
"Was a very happy soul..."
"Hello? It's only October. Pumpkin time. Scarecrows. Not snowmen."
"Hmmph." He burrowed deep, his sleep-touseled curls the only part peeking over the top of the quilt. From the bed's depths she heard, "It's too cold for pumpkins. Maybe even too cold for snowmen."
With a raised eyebrow she reached for her coffee mug. Drained the final inch of liquid. Grimaced. Blech. Ice cold.
The chair twirled as she leapt up and dashed across the room. With a laugh she jumped on the bed, pulling the edge of the quilt up and diving beneath.
Two off-key voices, filled with laughter.
"With a corn-cob pipe and a button nose..."
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Sandswept, the second book in my Chincoteague Island Series, releases in December. :)
Recently I got the cover and I'm over the moon about it. Jinger Heaston has once again captured the essence of the story, kept the mysterious, stormy feel without making the cover gory.
I couldn't wait to share it with you. Isn't it wonderful?
The back cover blurb:
Everyone has a secret. One they hide. Or one they run from—fast and hard, without stopping to consider the consequences of that mad dash for sanity.
Kelley Garrett? She’s got a secret. A big one. She’s hoping to shake its grip but even someplace as peaceful as Chincoteague Island may not be able to shelter her.
Then again, who knows? Maybe it will. That’s a chance Kelley’s willing to gamble on—with her life.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Last week I shared that we'd planted another mum in the yard. I just love mums!
Dru asked if it would live through the winter. Unfortunately mums don't flower through the winter here in the northeast. They die back beneath the snow but in the spring they begin to grow again. By this time next year, the mum we planted last week will be flowering again. Not bad, eh?
Sunday, October 05, 2008
The holiday-themed books are beginning to hit the store shelves!
I don't know about you but I really enjoy holiday stories. When I saw the first few of this month's Harlequins on display I was tickled to see three Christmas stories.
Don't ask me why but the local store never puts all the Harlequins on display at once. I think it's a ploy to get shoppers back in time and again through the month but that's just my take on it. I don't mind their stocking methods during the warm months but when we're snowed in it rattles my cage. Hard. But I digress...
Last night read the first, Snowbound in Dry Creek. I couldn't put it down! I read waaay past when I should have turned in but I couldn't close the book without seeing how it ended. This morning my eyes are bloodshot but it was well worth it.
I discovered Janet Tronstad's Dry Creek series a lot later than I wish I had but at least I've finally found it. There are lots of earlier books (unfortunately I haven't read any of them) but this isn't a series where the reader has to be in on the opening story to fall right into the feeling of the place or get to know the characters. The writing style is similar to Jan Karon's so Mitford fans will enjoy visiting Dry Creek, too.
A Dry Creek Courtship was the Dry Creek story that hooked me. The characters are so realistic they feel like people anyone might know. They are good people but they don't always make the best decisions. They may be sometimes stubborn or irritable...like regular people. I like that. I like a character with flaws, one who doesn't feel perfect or sugar-coated.
Maybe the thing I like most about the Dry Creek stories is the place itself. Dry Creek is written so clearly I can see the hardware store and cafe, feel the heat from the old belly stove and bounce along the rutted roads as if I'm right there. I'm pulled in from the opening pages and, as last night's marathon page turning shows, I'm engaged right up to the final word.
What about you? Do you read holiday stories? Any favorites?
Today I'm opening my well-worn copy of Dracula. I know...it hardly seems the follow-up to such a heartwarming holiday tale but it is October. I read Dracula every October. And Frankenstein. And The Cottage, which is one of the scariest books of all time.
October...goblins and ghouls and all sorts of bump-in-the-night books. And in between? I'm gettting set for Christmas!
Hope you have a great Sunday! :)
Friday, October 03, 2008
Happy Friday, all. Hope you've had a great week. Here in the northeast we've been rained in most days. And you know what that means, don't you? What we do when we're stuck inside?
Um...aside from the cake eating, I mean. And...how did you find out I'd baked a cake? A big, sugary layer cake? Hmm?
Oh, right. You noticed the sticky fingermarks on the blog post. Duly noted. Next time I'll keep a damp towel beside my plate!
But what I was talking about was exactly that. Talking. When we're marooned in the house Hubby and I talk. A lot. Not all of what we discuss is earth-shattering or important stuff. Okay, so most of it isn't even remotely earth-shattering but hey, it keeps us busy.
This week's topic? My office.
Hubby thinks I should have my office in one of the buildings on the property instead of in the house. There's a small building beside the storage barn that would be perfect. It's close to the house but all on it's own. Or there's a spot beneath a couple of huge maple trees in the yard that would work too. Of course we'd put up a small building there, beneath the trees. It's not like he'd send me outside with a legal pad and pencil, maybe an old blanket to spread on the grass or anything. No, there'd be walls. A desk. Maybe a light.
So that's what's kept us yakking this week. Plans. We've got plans for spring projects. At the top of the list? Moving my office.
Me? I think he just wants me and my writing out of the house. Can you blame him? When I'm working I'm usually leaving empty coffee cups around, wearing two different socks and mumbling to myself. Yeah, I'd want to put me near the barn, too!
What kept you busy this week? Anything you'd like to share?
Any plans for the weekend?
Us? We're hoping the rain quits long enough to cut the lawn. It's a jungle out there!
Thursday, October 02, 2008
We lucked out and got a warm, sunny day this week to do one of our favorite things. We went apple picking!
Getting to the orchard is an adventure in itself. There's a long, winding, steep road. At the top--the prize. Acres and acres of gorgeous apple trees! And a breathtaking view.
We buy a bag of cider donuts and wander through the trees, filling our apple bag until it's so heavy we each have to grab a handle to carry it back to the car. Usually we see at least one woodland creature. A bunny. Some deer. An eagle.
The experience is so refreshing, so peaceful, that it's no wonder I begin canning applesauce and making apple rings, pies and apple cookies as soon as we get home. I need to use up the apples we've picked so we can head back to the orchard for another relaxing afternoon of apple picking!
I'm already halfway through this week's bushel. Apple pie, anyone?
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Hubby and I have always done our grocery shopping together. We don't always like the same things but we've never had a problem co-existing in the same grocery cart. In plain terms, he pretends not to notice my cookies and chocolate and I don't make faces at his fish and meat.
Last week we were in the bakery aisle, choosing bread. I had a loaf of crusty Italian bread. He had...something else.
"What do you think about this one?" he asked, holding up a grain-laden, sliced loaf. "I think I'm going to get it."
"Fine," I said, placing the Italian bread in the cart. I had visions of eggplant subs smothered in tomato sauce and cheese and my mouth watered. Hubby placed his loaf beside mine. I concealed a shudder. "As long as I don't have to eat any."
He grinned, knowing full well I wouldn't eat even one slice of the ninety-grain, good-for-you superbread. "Why not?"
"Looks like bird food."
His laugh could be heard all the way to the frozen food section.