Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Josie Has Some Surprises

Hey, it's me Josie.

I have an Upstairs Snugglepuppy and a Downstairs one. I brought the Downstairs one Up so they could play together.

They liked being together.

Also, I used Bobadog's comb on them. 

I made candy with my play dough. We are getting ready for a birthday party for the Snuggles.


It looks very good but you must not eat it.

Here's the first surprise. The beans that Louise gave me and I planted are making baby beans. When they get big, Meema will cook them and I will help. Also I will eat them.

Down at the pond, two frogs were having a conversation. They say Ribbit and KneeDeep to each other. 

I don't know what that means and neither does Meema.

When it was lunchtime, there was another surprise--corn from the garden! I liked it except for the way it stuck in my teeth and then I had to use dental floss to get it out.

The last surprise is this: I have a baby in my belly.

On Monday I told Meema there were four babies there--two boys and two girls.  But today, there is only one and SURPRISE! he is a cardinal and he's coming out!

Sunday, August 9, 2020

There is So Much I Would Like to Say . . .

. . . about the state of the world, the state of the country, and the machinations of the current regime to hold on to power no matter what . . .

. . .but I'll limit myself to one simple suggestion: get an absentee ballot and be prepared to hand deliver it--during early voting, if possible. No one knows what the state of the pandemic or the Postal Service will be like come November.

Br prepared for the most consequential vote of a lifetime.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

First Corn!

Some of the top tier of corn is beginning to mature, tassels drying to black. The tier below it was planted a couple of weeks later, a strategic decision to extend the blissful time of fresh corn. My first picking only yielded a grocery bag full, but I blanched the ears, cut off the kernels, and popped them in the freezer, saving out some whole ears to do on the grill to accompany dinner. 

So sweet! So good! And, if nothing don't happen (as Miss Birdie says,) there'll be lots more since I only picked about a fifth of the ripening ears.

Also on the agenda were tomatoes and cukes.  The cucumbers are doing great--sweet and crisp and prolific. The tomatoes, not so much. Deer or something have pruned all my plum tomatoes and bitten into many of the Big Boys and Cherokee Purples. But they've so far left the cherry tomatoes alone.

So I'm roasting cherry tomatoes in olive oil with a little salt and garlic granules then freezing them in half pint jars. They are great tossed with pasta or on a pizza--and they will make a delicious variation on a BLT come winter when good fresh tomatoes are only a memory.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Wordplay and Defenestration

Along with make-believe and play dough and reading books and Highlights magazines, Josie and I do some learning games.  We've been doing a lot of 'What letter does ___ begin with" so I shouldn't have been surprised when she breezed through this workbook I bought some time ago and forgot about till now. She did about 3/4 of it before getting bored. No challenge. 

The Word Book is an ongoing project--something to be done while we're doing something else. Whether it's practicing gymnastics (cartwheel-she can't do one but she'd like to) or waking up from a nap (cranky "I don't feel cranky,"she said,) one of us will say "There's a word for The Book. And then she'll tell me what letter it begins with.

Courage got added when she showed me a little blue stone and told me she was giving it to Dolly so Dolly would have courage. (Would this be from a Wizard of Oz story?) 

She's constantly surprising me with the words she uses: predicament, persistent, gravity, obstreperous, organize are a few.

I shouldn't be surprised though. She's surrounded by adults who use big words. And she wants to know the meanings.

Wednesday night, during Family Dinner Up, Justin reminded her of a word he'd recently told her-- defenestrate -to throw someone or something out a window. To emphasize the meaning, he gave her a piece of bread, lifted her up to stand on the table, and told her to throw the bread out the window for the birds.

She was delighted to do so. And as John said, now she's probably the only three year old around with that particular word in her vocabulary.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

A Stubborn Snake

I was giving the greenhouse plants a quick watering when I found myself eye to eye with a young blacksnake enjoying the sun. I always know that there may be a snake around--but this wasn't the six-footer I usually see.   

I went and got my camera and when I came back, he/she was poised to strike at a daddy-long-legs almost invisible against the white wall. Great, I thought, watching the shiny forked tongue flick in and out, and got myself poised to catch the action. And waited . . .

And waited. Snake stayed frozen in place, like patience on a monument. Hmm, I thought, lowering the camera, just in time to miss the flicking tongue. Well, At least I can get a picture of the tongue action. 

I tried for fifteen or twenty minutes. Snake did not cooperate while I was aiming the camera but (and I swear this happened a dozen times) as soon as I would lower the camera, out would come the tongue. As time went on, the tongue action (while the camera was down) began to look like taunting, not just a quick flick in and out but waving around like a hula dancer's hips.

And I could almost believe that snake was grinning.


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

This Blessed Land

Even when you know the science behind rainbows, they still feel like a magical blessing.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Milestones-Josie Has Braids and Draws Stuff

I have two braids (and  a topknot.) I like braids.

My little chair is handy for checking out my top shelf. The other shelves that are higher are where Meema puts her stuff. I am not supposed to mess with her stuff.

Robin watched me play with my new  toys.  I gave them names like Mr. King and Mrs. Queen, Sir Knight and Miss Lady. Meema said the Jester was Tooley and that we should call the red dragon (who is a nice dragon) for our friend Suzie because red dragons are special to her. 

Later we went to The Room. There was thunder and Li'l Pup got scared. I told him I was there for him and gave him a hug. He felt better.

Everyone was a little scared so I read them a story.

Being a mama is sometimes hard work with so many kids to take care of

It rained and rained.  

Back in the living room I did some coloring in the book my friend Sandy sent me. When a page gets filled up, Meema wets a towel and wipes it clean so I can color it again another time

I drew a yellow sun on the page where Meema wrote my name. I am getting good at suns. 

I did some more drawing upstairs in my office. Meema says it is her workroom but I have a desk there with pencils and paper and paperclips so I say it is my workroom and my office. I tell Meema she can have the corner with her ironing board.

This is a picture of me All Alone at the beach when I was a grownup. There is the sun and the ocean too. I forgot to put the sand in this one but I did in some others. 

Monday, August 3, 2020

Great Smokies Fall Writing Workshops--All Online

Beginning August 27 on Thursdays from 6 to 8:30, I'll be leading a 15 week workshop  for writers of creative fiction who have up to sixty pages in need of careful, compassionate scrutiny from me and their fellow workshoppers. 

I led this same class back in the spring and when the virus shut things down in March, we transitioned rather seamlessly to an online meeting.  I found that the platform (we were using Google Hangouts) allowed plenty of spontaneity and that personalities came across loud and clear. Plus, there was the advantage for me of not having the hour plus drive there and back, comfy clothes, AND, no mask needed!

All the pertinent info about the class is HERE. But if you're interested and still have questions, ask them in the comments or email me (vicki3laneATgmail.com)

I'd love it if some folks who are too far away to commute to Asheville would join us! And I'll be excited to see how writers are responding to this challenging time.

Intimations of Fall and a New Beginning

Not falling leaves, not cooler weather, but something as utterly mundane as putting the yearly inspection sticker on my car suddenly made me think of Getting Things Done, maybe laying in a supply of notebooks and glossy yellow pencils that smell of cedar.

Which is, of course, ridiculous. But I get that urge every year to organize my life and start anew--just as during school days there was always the half-formed belief that just the right outfit and just the right notebook and just the right hairdo would make this school year somehow different--better. Hope springs eternal. . .

I've spent the weekend in a bit of a tizzy (a new favorite word for Josie.) Saturday I was fixing a picnic supper for the crew of friends and family at work on the rebuilding of the barn--lots of chopping of cucumbers and tomatoes and onions as I assembled three different salads to go with the La Brea Tar Pit Chicken, followed by watermelon. 

Alas, I didn't get down to the site till late Saturday and got only these less than stellar pictures. And then I spent Sunday doing all the needful things-picking tomatoes and cukes (deer hoofprints tell me who's eating the tomato blossoms,) cleaning house, paying bills, manicuring orchids. I kept thinking I'd drive down and get some more pictures of the folks at work but kept finding one more needful thing to do up here.

BUT, as of Sunday night, thanks to the indefatigable crew who also worked last weekend, the basement block is DONE, the floor poured, and the next step will be framing. It's been a long and uncertain time in the works but the project is beginning to take a definite shape.

With gratitude to all those who worked so hard! Now that's Getting Things Done!