Saturday, March 28, 2009

Scheduling a Gift

Last year at this time my husband requested more time with me so I went to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday and sometimes weekends blogging schedule in an effort to free up some of myself for him. It was one of his birthday gifts, and it worked out really well. I didn't always begin my day at the desk, and we both enjoyed that little holiday. He felt pampered and while I did miss being right on top of things here, I felt it was a small price to pay to make him smile so often!

I'm doing the same thing this summer. I hope I don't disappoint or offend anyone, but we really need some extra time to get our lives back to normal. We had an uproarious (is that a word?) winter, with lots of stressful moments and we just need to find a way back to living the way we did "before"... Understand? I hope you do.

Starting on April 1st I'm going to be here, but less frequently. I'll still try and pop around and visit with everyone, and will check emails and all but I just won't do it every day.

We've got spring tilling, and planting, as well as summer mowing and every other thing that comes with living on a farm looming on the horizon. I'm hoping to find time between chores to dance in the moonlight with hubby, to chase fireflies at midnight and, most of all, to rediscover the silly moments that came so easily before this winter's trials roared into our lives.

And you know what? I hope you do the same...take time to smelll the roses, chase your dreams and dance with the one who makes your heart sing. I think it's important, and I hope you do, too.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, March 27, 2009


I've been on the hunt for a Netbook.

With summer approaching it is obvious I'm going to suffer from the same dilemma that plagues me ever year. I hate being tied inside when I can be outdoors. I do have a laptop but I don't drag it around the way some people do. I work at various spots in the house, and occasionally on the back deck, but I'd never dream of hauling it onto the boat with me when I float around on the pond. I'm thinking that a Netbook might just be the thing to make me feel more mobile.

Any suggestions? Anyone have any experience with them? I'd greatly appreciate any input.

Hope you have a nice Friday!

Here, it's gorgeous so I'm headed outside to rake some more leaves. I'm dumping them in one of the gardens, and will till them into the soil. Yeah, on the farm the work never ends but I don't mind.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Method to the Madness?

He reached for the scrap of paper but a shrill screech stilled his hand.

"No! Don't touch it!"

A scowl pulled his brows together. "Why not? What is it?"

She didn't glance away from the computer screen. "It's, um, the last..." Her fingers flew over the keyboard. "It's the last six chapters."

Leaning close enough to read the scribbles, he said, "This? Are you sure?"

"Um...yeah, I'm sure. Don't touch it."

Three hours later he walked through the family room. The computer was silent, its lid closed. She sat with her feet tucked up beneath her.

A nearly empty bag of M&Ms rested on top of the laptop.

He pointed to the wadded scrap of purple paper. "What is it now?"

A grin met his stare. She tossed another candy into her mouth and, barely suppressing the scream that threatened to escape from somewhere deep inside her, she said, "Done."

"You finished the book?"

"Uh huh." She swallowed the chocolate, then reached up and pulled him into a hug. Whispering against his cheek, she asked, "So, how do you feel about pizza and champagne for dinner?"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hi and Bye!

I've got to dash this morning, so please forgive the speedy post.

I hope all is going well in your world. Here I've been deep in the writing cave. Today I plan to finish the last half of the very last chapter of my new book. Yay!

Today author Linda Swift is visiting at From the Pages. She shares a yummy recipe, talks about her family and her writing and also shares an excerpt from her new book, Circle of Love. It's a great interview, so if you've got a moment why not head over and check it out?

I read Linda's last book and loved it, so I'm looking forward to reading this one, too. I plan to pick up a copy and take it out to the back porch, read it page by page and simply relax. Sounds like a plan, doesn't it? But now, I've got to run.

Hope you have a good day!

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Book?

Think she's writing a book, too? Think that's her writing cave?
Me? I'm kind of jealous...I think I need an al fresco cave, too.
Hope your week is beginning on a high note!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Into the Cave

I hope all is going well in your world. I hope you're enjoying spring, and that the snow has finally cleared in your backyard.

Here, we're loving the warm-ish weather--anything out of the teens will do! We've been on the hunt for crocuses but so far have been unsuccessful in finding any in the beds. Not to worry, though, the week is young. Birds are singing. The pond is thawing. Life is good.

With all these tangible signs of spring in the air, I'm feeling antsy about getting out, raking up, finding those crocuses. Before I can fully enjoy the rites of spring, I have to pull together the threads of my current wip. I've got to find the page that says The End.

So I hope you'll bear with me this week, and excuse my short posts and lack of presence in our cyber-neighborhood. I'm going to crawl deep into the writing cave and finish this book. Then, if you can imagine my lunacy, I am going to stay in the cave and finish another book that I've got half-written.

And after that? I'm going to go outside and play!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ever Notice?

Have you ever noticed that when you arrive at a turkey party, the attendees have a habit of turning their backs on you and showing you their, um...well, their backsides? Hmm? Have you ever had that happen to you?

If you get their attention, they'll turn around and give you the beady eye look. You know the one, don't you? It's the why-are-you-bothering-me? look. You've gotten that look now and again, haven't you?

Then, just when you think you might just make friends at this turkey party, they do what clubby sorts generally do...they leave. You have had that experience once or twice, haven't you? Been flat-out left at a party, with only the leftovers to nibble on and the needle stuck in the groove of the Barry Manilow album so that all you hear, over and over again, is At the Copa, Copacabana...At the Copa, Copacabana...At the Co--
Huh? Oh, right, you get the picture.
So...been to any turkey parties lately? Hmm?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Treats

This is one of my favorite recipes. Fast, and truly scrumptious, they're the perfect addition to an impromptu tea party. We are having one of those this afternoon, so I'll bake a batch of brownies this morning. I thought you might need a pan of these at your house, too!

Happy Friday!


3/4 cups melted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cups flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9-inch pan.

Combine butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add cocoa, baking powder, salt and flour and stir until mixed. Then add chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


"Don't look outside."

"Why not?" Her feet hit the floor. She stuck her toes into her slippers.

"You won't like it."

Not easily deterred, she scuffed to the window, pushed aside the curtain and looked out.

A chuckle, from beneath the bedcovers.

"Told you so."

"But-but-but it's spring!"

"Technically, no. Spring starts tomorrow. Today, darling, we have snow."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

From the Forest

She shaded her eyes with one hand, searching for signs of movement.

"Do you see it?" Whispered excitement. His words, so near her ear, made her smile.

"Nope. Where?"

He moved, stood behind her and pointed. Following the trail from his fingertip, she looked, straining her eyes.

"Oh!" Success!

Chuckling softly, he pulled her close. They watched, lost in the magic of the moment.

"Do you think it's the same one we see every year?" she asked.

"I don't see why it wouldn't be. I wondered if they'd be around this year, after the harsh winter we had." He shrugged, pulling her still closer against his side. "I guess they did all right."

"I guess we all did." She said a silent prayer of thanks. Then, "So, how long do you think it'll be? You know, before the babies come?"

"Not long. We'll have baby foxes before you know it."

Life on the farm...who could ask for anything more?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Down to Business

With all this gorgeous spring weather we've had I have been shirking my responsibilities, writing-wise. Yeah, I really have. And no, I'm not proud of it. But I've been tempted by the warm, sultry breezes of spring...and I've not been able to resist.


I guess you know one of my weakest points now, don't you? I'm a sucker for being outside.

I do my best writing when it's wet, cold, snowy, get the idea. When the sun is shining and the world is calling, it's a struggle for me to keep my behind in my chair and my fingers on the keyboard.

Still, one must resist temptation occasionally. So today I'll write. The book is actually nearing the home stretch, the point where I've got to tie the ends up and find a way to satisfy every character, as well as the eventual readers. This is an exciting time for me, seeing my goal is near and completely attainable.

Yeah, today I'll write. And tomorrow and Thursday there's rain in the forecast. Who knows? Maybe by Friday I'll be able to play outside without the book hanging over my head.

That is, until next week when I begin working on the next book...

I'm going to enjoy today. I hope you do, too. :-)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Un Posto Al Sole

A place in the sun.

That's what we found yesterday. And, hopefully, what we'll find again today. It was nearly sixty degrees here in the middle of nowhere yesterday, and all I can say is we loved every minute of it. Every single minute!

I spent most of the day raking and clearing up fallen branches. I cleared out the front rose garden, the side flower gardens and even took a few of the garden sculptures out of the barn. The yard looks so much friendlier with the statues nestled into their appropriate spots, and with bulb greenery shooting up around them.

All in all, a good day. Today? More of the same. Hey, we've waited a loooong time to see spring. For weeks this winter all I did was clear snow, slip on the ice and swear about both. Now that the birds are chirping, bulbs are sprouting and there are warm breezes to caress my cheeks I'm not wasting any of it.

My new gardening gloves already look like they've been dragged through the mud! I've got one bloody patch (rose thorns bite), grimy fingertips (pushing dirt away from the tulip shoots) and there's a shiny spot on my right thumb that shows just where the rake drags across my finger. Yeah, I've been getting dirty!

Do you have any plans for this beautiful Monday? Are you getting dirty or do you somehow manage to keep your gloves tidy?

I'll take photos as soon as we've got some color to share. So far we've mostly got brown but I have faith that soon we'll be surrounded by many shades. When we are, I'll share them with you.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Raking Snakes

You know we live in the country. Smack-dab in the middle of nowhere. In a land where the wild things rule, and we humans probably annoy the heck out of them. Generally I love the wild things. Most of them, anyhow. There is, however, one type of wild creature that I'm less than fond of.

All right, I'll admit it. I can't stand 'em. The very thought gives me the shivers. But like 'em or not, they were here first and it looks like they're here to stay.

Snakes. During the summer there are snakes here. I'm told they're harmless little (I beg to differ on that point. Those suckers look huge to me!) garden snakes but I don't care. I don't like them. Sorry if that offends you, but it's the honest-to-goodness truth.

So now as I begin the yearly rake-out of the flower gardens, I pray it's still too cool for the slithering monsters to be active. I pray they're on lockdown somewhere, slumbering without any thought of getting caught in my rake's teeth.

Let me tell you...if I catch just one of those horrid things in my rake, the bulbs are going to have to find their own way past the leftover leaves and small twigs. I am so out of there if something slithers my way. And the rake? It's hitting the creek across the street, going to float downstream and out of my life.

Just saying.

What about you? Any plans for today?

Got any snakes to rake in your yard?

Saturday, March 14, 2009


How many times have you gotten completely swept up by a book just before you planned to go to sleep? And how often have you spent half the night huddled by the light, reading while the rest of the household slumbered? Hmm?

C'mon, confesss. You know it's happened to you. Admit it; you're with friends here and no one will think any less of you for having bloodshot eyes and fog brain.

Like the ones I've got this morning.

Let's just say that my eyes feel like sandpaper and my head must be filled with mush but there's a grin on my face that just won't quit.

Last night I planned to only read a chapter--maybe two, at the most--of one of the books I received for my birthday earlier this week. I never imagined I'd get pulled into the story, never figured I'd spend half the night lost in the words. I didn't plan on it but I've got to say it was well worth it.

The book? Aussie Rules by Jill Shalvis. I'm loving it. I had to cry "Uncle!" about two-thirds of the way through, but let's just say I've found a new favorite author.

This afternoon I plan to sit down and finish reading. I'm sure the morning's chores are going to zip by, knowing I've got such a warm, witty book waiting for me.

What about you? What was the last book that sucked you in and kept you burning the midnight oil? I want to know, because by tonight I'm going to be looking for a new book to read...

Happy Saturday!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Resolutions Kept?

I only made a few New Year's resolutions this year. So far, I am on my way to keeping all of them. What about you? How's it going for you, resolution-wise?

One is pretty easy to keep because whenever I see someone ask for companions to take part in their fitness plans, I raise my hand.

I've been doing Melissa's Crossfit Challenge. I fell and missed some days but thanks to Melissa and the other participants support and encouragement, I didn't give up. I made up the days I missed and am right back on track. And you know what? I'm so glad I didn't give up!

Author Cami Checketts is sponsoring a month-long fitness contest. There are rules, and points given or withheld, along with an personal fitness goal. I know, it sounds complicated, but it isn't. And Cami's plan is accomodating enough that small treats are figured into the event, so no one should feel deprived. And that's a good thing, because there was plenty of birthday cake to go around this week! So far I've gotten all my daily points, and am on target to make my personal goal as well. I'm so glad she asked me to participate! My jeans are grateful, too. :-) are you doing with keeping to your goals? If you're flagging, is there anything I can do to help you? Hmm?

Happy Friday the 13th!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wake-Up Call

I stayed up till the wee hours of the morning so I'm a trifle worn out, but very happy. What was I doing, you ask? Well, I sat near the fireplace, all cozy and warm, and worked on my laptop. I finished chapter 12 of the new book, went back and tweaked a couple of the early chapters, then called it a night--um, called it a morning.

A few hours later, I was up again, ready to face the manuscript with a fresh outlook.

This is what I found:

I'm sure you know what I thought about that...that...that white stuff.

But then I found this:

I guess even snow clouds have silver linings!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Best Part

The only sound came from the logs crackling in the fireplace. Then, he squeezed her hand in his and asked, "Did you enjoy yourself?"

She smiled into the darkness, nestled her head on his shoulder. "Um hmm."

"What part did you like the most? The food? Singing? Dessert?"

"The most?"

"Right. The thing that you liked best. What was it?" He pulled her close against his side, wrapped an arm around her shoulders and gazed down at her.

She smiled, then shrugged. "Those things were all great but none of them was my favorite part of the day."

"What, then?"

With a sleepy sigh, she said, "The family. The family and the love...those were the best parts of the day."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Candles, Dreams...

...and a lot of smiles.

Having a good day here. Hope you're having one, too!

Back to regular blogging tomorrow...

Monday, March 09, 2009

Breezing By

Oh my goodness, what a Monday we're having here! Just kind of nuts, but not in a bad way. As soon as my feet hit the ground I was running, and it's been that way all day long. No complaints, but an apology for not having visited with you early this morning. An apology, too, for saying hi and bye now. I've got a cake to bake, and dinner to make, before I can sit down and truly breathe.

So, I hope you've had a lovely Monday. See you tomorrow!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Tease Me

Yesterday was heavenly. Blue skies, warm enough that I only had to wear a fleece jacket and with gentle breezes that made my heart flutter. Could it be? The first real taste of spring? Maybe. I could talk myself into believing Mother Nature might be cutting us some long as I didn't look down at my muddy snow boots. Those? They obviously hadn't gotten the Spring Memo.

This is the view of the big garden and the greenhouse. Notice the blue sky?
This year we'll only be using a small part of the big garden but I'm hopeful I'll figure out how to get the most from the least. Yes, we're scaling back, a necessary change that I hope will only be for this year. We'll see.
Yesterday I spent a chunk of the morning raking out some of the flower beds. I discovered the first indication that our red and yellow tulips are going to grace us with their presence. I know it sounds silly, but I actually screamed when I found the tulips poking through the ground. It's been a long, hard winter here. I need tulips!

I found one of these yesterday. Crocuses are one of my very favorite flowers. If you ask me, it takes a lot of gumption to poke up through the cold, hard ground so early in the season, and bring such a burst of beauty. I only found one fearless crocus, but the way I figure it...where there's one there's bound to be more. Don't you think?

I hope the spring tease is in your neighborhood, too!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Amore, Stile Italiano?

Happy Saturday! I hope you're well, and gearing up for a pleasant day. Here, I'm tickled because the sky is blue, the breeze is warm (40ish) and there isn't a hint of snow in the air. I'm beginning to believe that spring really may be on the way.

Hubby is somewhat worse for the wear after our Thursday morning outing. The small foray into the world was good for his spirits but his body is rebelling. So I'll pamper him a bit today, make some special foods and entice him to watch a couple of his favorite movies. Hopefully he'll feel better by tomorrow.

Yesterday afternoon I was lost in Shirley Jump's The Bridesmaid and the Billionaire, a true indulgence for me since there seem to be more chores in any given day than hours, when something occurred to me. I'm enjoying the book, but I wish it was in another language. I know, that sounds strange, but I realized that if I spent more time reading books in languages I speak I'd keep myself more fluent. Usually the foreign language books I read are classics, which can be pretty dull if you're reading translations. So today I'm going to peek into a couple of sites and see if I can't find some Italian or Spanish romance titles. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? I'm actually very excited about this, and wish I'd thought of it sooner.

So my day includes husband pampering, searching for International love and working on the new book while hubby naps. All good, and when done beneath a robin's egg blue sky, sure to be very satisfying.

What have you got planned for today? Anything you'd like to share?

Friday, March 06, 2009

Quiet Friday

Gearing up for a very quiet end to the week. Seems natural, considering this was a banner week in this house! Yesterday's outing was short, but oh-so sweet. We didn't make it to the pizzeria, but there are sure to be more outings so I definitely see us getting back to doing "normal" stuff. The mini-adventure took its toll, so we are going to have a restful day. At least hubby is. Me? I've got a few things to do before I can hunker down and relax.

My chores aren't exciting, but they are necessary. This morning I'll mop the floors, dust and vacuum. I've got a couple of loads of laundry to do. And I'll make some quick sauce and roast some peppers and onions early, so they'll be ready at dinnertime. I'll make the Friday night pizza later on, and will be pleased when most of the work, with its cleanup, is already out of the way.

After lunch I plan to write for a couple of hours. Hubby will be resting so I'll make good use of the quiet time. The book I'm working on is going well...almost too well, if you know what I mean. I plan to throw a little monkey wrench into the mix this afternoon. Hey, I don't want this heroine to have an easy time of it! Nope, she'll have to work a bit if she wants to get to her happily-ever-after. She should be glad I don't make her shovel snow...

I hope to find an hour or two late this afternoon to read. Yesterday I felt like Queen for a Day because I got to peruse the bookshelf at the grocery store! I know, it seems so silly but when your life gets turned upside down the small things take on a whole new meaning. It's been months since I've gotten to buy a book so I picked up three. I could've taken the whole shelf but I restrained myself! Today I plan to dive into Shirley Jump's The Bridesmaid and the Billionaire. This book looks like a fast, fun romantic read and is just what I need!

What about you? Any Friday plans? I hope you have a lovely day, and I hope that you find some time in your day to relax. :-)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Small Pleasures

Ah, the things we take for granted in life, like coming and going whenever we feel like doing so. Granted, in the dead of winter we pretty much get snowed in up here, but still, we're able to go out now and again. This year, of course, has been different. Drastically different. So different I don't ever want to do this again, but that's another story altogether.

Today we're planning to go out. Not go out, as in have a fancy date. And I don't mean we're going out anywhere exotic, earth-shattering or extreme. We're simply going out. Venturing into the world. Going somewhere besides the hospital or to a medical office.

My heart is beating double-time! I'm so excited by the prospect of doing something--anything!--normal it's almost too much to describe.

Funny, isn't it? The things we take for granted. The things that seem monumental when we're unable to do them. The little things, trivial bits and pieces of life that make up ordinary days, mean so much when they're denied.

Oh? Where are we going?

You're going to laugh.

Hold onto your seat, because I've got a short list of places we're going to go.


The post office. The drive-through bank line. And then, the biggie...the grocery store! Yes, we're going to pick up milk, bread, fruit and a very short list of other essentials. I don't remember the last time I was this thrilled about seeing the frozen food aisle!

Oh, and if a certain someone is still feeling up to it after we've bought a few groceries, we're heading to the pizzeria for slices and Cokes. Now, it doesn't get much more "normal" than that, does it?

Ah...I'm in heaven.

What are your plans for the day?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A Tease

He tapped a fingertip against the windowpane. Then, he turned to her and grinned.

Uh oh. She knew that grin. It wasn’t a run-of-the-mill, harmless smile. Nope. This one was pure…teasing.

Scanning her mind swiftly for a source of his obvious amusement (at her expense, no less) so she’d be ready to face whatever he was about to say—hopefully with a witty, equally teasing reply—she struggled to keep her own features bland.

It was no use. As far as she could tell, the only thing outside that window was the thing she’d learned to despise. Well, if not totally despise—that was such a strong word!—at least dislike. Snow—and lots of it.

The window-tapping finger touched her cheek, tracing a cool line across her skin. He chuckled, the sound low and throaty. Then he leaned close, placed a kiss on her temple, and said, “You do know why it’s snowing again, don’t you?”

His mouth moved to her neck, trailing a line of kisses warm enough to melt anything. She swallowed hard. “A cold front?” A deep rumble sent shivers down her spine. How did he manage to kiss and laugh all at once? She ventured, “A warm front?”

The devilish grin on his handsome face grew as her skin tingled beneath his touch. He stood behind her, pulled her close and pointed the finger that had begun this madness toward the window. Her gaze followed his fingertip, connecting the empty distance between his skin and…ah, that was it. She spied the two white lumps on the deck outside the French doors.


“That’s right. Looks like Mother Nature got annoyed by those patio chairs you hauled out of the barn yesterday. Ticked her right off, I’d say.” He put his arms around her, hugged her tightly against his body.

Mother Nature can take a flying leap, she thought.

But he wasn’t done teasing her. Not yet.

“The way I see it, there’s only one thing for two snowbound people to do.” Ideas rushed though her head but before she could tug her sweater off, he said, “And since you got us into this white mess, I’m going to insist you take the lead in this adventure.”

She quirked a brow, the grin on her own face wider than the one he wore. You don’t have to ask twice, her inner vixen purred.

When he turned away she assumed it was to throw a log in the fire. Light a candle, maybe.“Come on, let’s get our gear on. I’ll grab our boots. You get the hats and gloves.”

“Boots? Gloves? Hats?”

He smiled above an armful of down jackets. “Of course. You wouldn’t want to take a walk in this stuff without your coat, would you? Come on, Snowmaker. You asked for this, so let’s get going.”

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Hello? Spring?

All right, so the east coast was hit with a monster snowstorm yesterday. For once, we were (thankfully!) spared, with just a couple of inches covering our lawn. How many is a couple here? I don't know, I haven't been outside yet, but the view on the deck looks like we got five or six inches. Yeah, a half-foot is just a couple here at this point! Funny how point of view changes by the tail end of the snow season, isn't it? Because it is the tail end, isn't it? Please say it is!


Yesterday's snow was silver lined. I spent a good chunk of the day, about five hours, writing. It's the first time in months I've had the chance to do that, just sit and write uninterrupted. You know what? It felt glorious. Fabulous beyond words. I don't think I realized how much I missed writing like that.

I wrote just over 4,500 words, and I'm very pleased with how the story is evolving. I managed to tweak some early pages, as well, so I'm just grinning from ear to ear here. And since there's no sign of a spring thaw in sight, I'm going to spend a good part of today writing. It felt great yesterday, so why not continue?

What have you got planned for this un-springlike day? Or is there a hint of spring in the air where you live?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Seeds, Seeds Everywhere!

Just a couple of sights from our weekend. You know what's coming, don't you?

That's right, spring is on its way. And what would spring be like without thoughts of gardening? I know we're going to drastically downsize the gardens this year but still...who can resist a seed or two? Or a catalog (or two or three) with a cup of tea? Hmm?

Yesterday I brought in a half-flat to start a few seeds. I plan to buy this year's plants but my dad loves really, really hot peppers so I planted a dozen pepper seeds.

Then, just because I think they're fun, I planted this half-dozen Turk's Turban squash seeds.

So, we're going to have a tiny garden but there's still going to be room for fun.

Do you garden? And are you gearing up for the upcoming planting season?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Basket of Love

This gorgeous bouquet arrived a few days ago. It might look like a spring floral arrangement to some, but we know what it really is. We're sure this is a basket of love. And we know, too, that it's too special not to share.

So we're spreading the love.

Thanks, Aunt Shirley! We love you right back!