Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Mystery Readers Journal and Miss Birdie

Law, hit's good to see you, honey. Come on up here and git you a chair on that end of the porch. I'll set myself over here and we'll holler back and forth.

I'm doing just fine. Calven has been doing what little shopping I need and I ain't in need of much. This flu thing is hitting the old folks hard and I praise mercy I ain't in a nursing home. And it's a good thing I ain't going out for if I saw some of those folks that won't wear masks, carrying on like they do, I believe I'd take my walking stick to them.

I ain't told you my big news. I was naming to call you in a little bit but now here you are. And what do you think, you and me is going to be wrote up in a magazine. Now how about that?

That woman what wrote up all our doings, that writer-person who does those books, is writing a piece about you and me for a magazine called Mystery Readers Journal.

She said as how it's going to be a whole issue about Senior Sleuths. "What's a senior sleuth?" says I and she says it's an old person who solves mysteries.

 "Oh," says I. "Well, Lizzie Beth ain't all that senior and I ain't much of a sleuth but I reckon taking us together, you'll spin some kind of story." And then she goes on to remind me how I helped find Calven and that little girl and Calven's momma too. So I recckon I am something of a sleuth after all.

Now stop that giggling--the poor woman does the best she can. And I thought it was right good of her to make such a fuss over me and my doings. And she said as how she'd be sure to tell us when the story come out.

Me in a magazine--who'd a thought it!

Monday, June 29, 2020

New Website in the Making

It was time and past time for a new/updated website. I finally bit the proverbial bullet and have hired a fella to bring the site up to speed. With a new book coming out in October (finally!) and with little prospect of actual in person events to promote And the Crows Took Their Eyes, a good website seems crucial.

So I've spent most of yesterday (it was rainy) creating new content for the new pages and searching my files for pictures to adorn them. 

HOME was simple -- book cover, brief synopsis, advance praise.

Next up was ABOUT VICKI and even typing those two words kinda gives me the willies. (What are the willies, anyway? Nevermind, I probably don't want to know.) The thing is, I was raised with the idea that one doesn't talk too much about oneself or heaven forbid, seem to brag on oneself. But ABOUT THE AUTHOR is a part of every writer's website so I settled in to try to give a brief overview of my life and alleged writing career.

More pages to come-HISTORY of the Massacre is next on my to do list. And eventually maybe DISCUSSION GUIDE. What else do I need?

Ay, law. 

That reminds me. I also finished up a piece for Mystery Readers Journal. But I'll let Miss Birdie tell you about that tomorrow.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

A Poem by Tu Fu

The days grow long, the mountains
Beautiful. The south wind blows
Over blossoming meadows.
Newly arrivedswallows dart
Over the steaming marshes.
Ducks in pairs drowse on the warm sand.

  Tu Fu, 713-779
                                                                ( translation by Kenneth Rexroth)

Saturday, June 27, 2020

In the Garden

I hesitate to say anything for fear of putting a jinx on it, but the garden is coming along. I've been suckering the tomatoes and removing their low-hanging leaves in hopes of slowing down the ever present blight by better air circulation.

Also, some hoeing and weeding . . .

The temperature's been moderate (low eighties) and it's been a real pleasure to be outside digging in the dirt.

This bed with zinnias and little onions required hand weeding so I unched along on my rear end, a gardening position I find myself using more and more.

I think my witch socks lend a festive touch.

 And because a garden post wouldn't be complete without a snake--this fella below isn't our friendly greenhouse-dwelling black snake. This smaller one was sunning on the rocks by the fishpool (maybe on the lookout for a frog?) but when I aimed the camera at him, he slid away.

I suspect he's the same fella that fell across my arm when I opened the basement door to toss some dirty clothes downstairs, He must somehow have been resting on the top of the door and when I opened it, down he came.

It happened fast. What'sthiscoldpieceofblackhose?Omigod,it's asnake. Yes, I made a lot of noise. Waaa-aah! But I saw almost at once it was a harmless blacksnake, evidently as startled by the encounter as I was. He slithered off down the stairs and presumably out the downstairs door which was open to the outside. He also left a truly vile smell on my arm--but it washed right off.

I looked it up. And it appears that releasing musk is a reaction to serious danger. Poor guy. No wonder he wouldn't hang around for a better picture. Yikes! It's that woman again. I'm outta here!

Friday, June 26, 2020

Josie Presents

After breakfast Meema and I took a little walk. We had to go get string for my beans to grow up. Also I had to check out the garden.

The plants are growing fast because it's rained a lot. Weeds too, says Meema.

The wet grass gets in my sandals.

I have to sit on the blue bench and let them dry.

I can climb this wall.

And sit on it. 

Then we walk around the front yard and up to the basement door.

The washer and dryer are down here and I help Meema put the clothes in the dryer. The wet towels are very heavy but I am strong and can do it. The socks are easy.

Then we go upstairs and tie the string for the beans to twirl on.  Then I want to watch a video.

Meema is oppositional and says we will read a book instead.

This is how I look when I am oppositional.

After lunch, I put on a show with my cupboard where my collections are.

I open the doors and say, Ladies and Gentlemen, Presenting...!

Meema and Grumpy clap their hands. 

I take out my wand and do magic moves. Meema and Grumpy clap again and I do a very big bow. 

I will do this show some more because they really like it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020


John called my attention to this handsome critter crawling over his shoe that was on the porch railing. So I wanted to figure out what it was and did the search thing, to no avail. (The first search showed me pictures of spa rocks--shiny and black like the shoe sole.) 

The closest I could come (on a NC website that has pictures of 149 common beetles) was the Larger Elm Leaf Beetle. The color and markings are more or less correct but the site says that this beetle is distinguished by its 'lightbulb shaped' body and  the beetle pictured on the site is definitely more bulbous than this one. 

But this one might be quite young--note the semi-transparency. Age may contribute to that bulbous shape, just as in humans.

But down the rabbit hole I went, realizing how little I know about beetles. Right here in North Carolina, I might encounter a Pleasing Fungus Beetle or a Pustulated Carrion Beetle. Or a Twice-Stabbed Lady Beetle. Or a False Bombadier or a Festive Tiger . . . 

In Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, Stephen, an ardent natural philosopher, admits to a friend that he has not given the Coleoptera the attention they deserve.

  I find myself thinking the same thing.

Monday, June 22, 2020

And They Did It Again

Not satisfied with their progress on the previous weekend, the gang reassembled on Friday and laid more block.

The walls inched higher . . .

The newlyweds were there. Their wedding had been on Wednesday and Friday they were hard at work.

In the evening we had another socially distanced meal--ribs and hotdogs, salad, baked beans, and potatoes au gratin.

Josh heaped it all on a hot dog.

Note the formal attire. And the admiring gaze of his bride.

Josie and Shayne shared some crackers.

Josie loves crackers. And Shayne. 

On Saturday the work continued.

By the end of the day, the block was nearing the top.

Great progress!

And another big meal -- moussaka, Greek salad (with Greek potato salad as served in Tarpon Springs), pork souvlaki (kebabs), pita and tzatziki and hummus . Plus frozen chocolate pie on a pecan crust. With whipped cream.

Dave the chicken embarrassed herself by jumping on the table and stealing a potato chip. Embarrassed but unrepentant.

What a great weekend! What terrific friends!