Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Josie and the Case of the Missing Crystal

When I went to check on my king and queen and fairies, there was a note in the corner cupboard. Meema helped me read it. I had to find the Magic Crystal by following the clues,  The first one said to look in the tub so I ran very fast to the bathroom where I take a bath on Family Dinner Up nights.

I found it!

                                     And I knew where to look! 

So I ran to The Room and looked under
 Philly, my rocking horse.

This clue was a picture of the stripey tent my fairies like to play in.

The top comes off and that's where the next clue was.

The dress up box is under the bed in The Room.

Of course I found it very quickly. This clue had a picture of the box where my coins are. 

I had to move the library books off it.

And I had solved the mystery!

The king and queen and all the fairies were very happy to have the Magic Crystal back. They played soccer with it till Meema said that if it fell on the floor it could break.

I am a good clue finder and mystery solver.

Note from Meema.  I'd planned this as an after breakfast activity but while she was waiting for her pancakes, she went to see about her fairy people and saw the first clue. The entire hunt took about five minutes with me trying to keep up with her and take pictures. Thus the blurry quality.


Monday, September 28, 2020

Enola Holmes

This Netflix offering was good fun. It's undoubtedly aimed at a teen age audience but since I spend about a third of my waking time playing with a three year old, teen age feels like a step up. Plus you gotta love a story where the heroine saves the handsome romantic interest.

I'm not a Holmes purist. I enjoy the original stories, Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett, and Benedict Cumberbatch. I love the Laurie R. King series that gives Sherlock a much younger partner/wife. I was delighted with Neil Gaiman's story that had Sherlock in China, pursuing longevity. (It seems to have worked.)

I can't wait to introduce an older Josie to Enola. Just recently Josie has been pretending to solve mysteries--which involves putting on a (pretend) mask and creeping around bent over looking for clues. Perhaps we could skip Nancy Drew and go straight to Enola.

There's a YA series the movie is based on--I'll have to look into this. Have any of you read these?



Sunday, September 27, 2020

Grateful for Small Pleasures

The zinnias continue to dazzle and delight. But my big excitement was discovering beans on the vines that the deer had worked over quite thoroughly a month ago. I'd gone to the garden to see if a tomato or two might still be there (yes, there were two. And a stunted yellow bell pepper and some beets--into the salad they go.) And a very good mess of beans. I will appreciate them all the more for being unexpected.

All things considered, the garden's done fairly well. We still have a LOT of butternut squash to harvest and one or two watermelons. And then I think we'll put it to bed, rather than attempt any late season starts. Between Josie and edits for my class plus two potential novel edits in the offing, I'm not going to stress about winter greens. 


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Changes Afoot?

The old brick store building at the bridge has always intrigued me. It's been empty and increasingly derelict in the forty some years we've been here. The fella who lives in the little trailer behind it has used it as a kind of front porch to sit under the green awning and keep an eye on the passing scene.

It was the inspiration for the building where a recluse called the troll lived in In a Dark Season. I gave it a nice interior though I'd never been in the actual building.

Not having been out much since March, I was surprised to see what looks like de/re-construction going on. New windows appear to have been installed upstairs. And the 'front porch' is inoperative. 

Wondering what's up? I suspect someone will tell me.


Friday, September 25, 2020

Aspirational vs. Actual

My writing class has been sharing lists of books they recommend and I am humbled. I've read some of them, heard of others, and am clueless regards many. And there are some that I dipped into and abandoned--like Cloud Atlas.

I should be challenging myself with some of these aspirational choices. Alas, now in Covid times, I'm increasingly turning to comfort reading or re-reading. I picked up Julia Spencer-Fleming's In the Bleak Midwinter as one of those re-read's. I remembered enjoying the book with the complicated relationship between the female Episcopal priest and the very (almost) happily marries Chief of Police of the small upstate New York town.  Sounds like a cozy but this series is a good bit grittier than that. Instead of teashops, knitting, or crafts of some kind, there's a good bit about social problems--PTSD, meth, homophobia, addiction . . .

I knew I'd read others is the series--some were on my shelves-- and I even blogged about one HERE--but not all and it seemed a good moment to dive into another time and place. Immersion reading, as it were. Plunging into this other world, I raced through all nine books in record time and was bereft to find that the ninth was published earlier this year--leaving no hope of a tenth any time soon.

Spencer-Fleming is a master at complicated plots and (dammit) cliff-hanger endings. She is also skilled at making the reader care about the all too human characters in the small town of Miller's Kill. Just when you think one problematic relationship is sorted out, BANG! life, criminal enterprise, and human frailty intervene.

Arrgh! I am well and truly repaid for ending In a Dark Season with a cliff hanger. Waiting for book ten  . . .


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Red Sky at Morning

Around seven, a half an hour before sunrise, there was just this faint smudge in the sky . . .

A few minutes later it had ripened to an amazing fiery sight . . .and in another few minutes, all was gray. When it was time for the actual sunrise, the cloud cover hid it. I'll take it on faith . . .

The sailor take warning part of the old rhyme didn't materialize. No rain, no storm, just gray all day.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Whatever Gets You Through (and Sometimes That's Josie)

Recently I read somewhere about the six month sag-- that many who've been holding out well during this crisis are now experiencing difficulty in maintaining an optimistic outlook. And I realized that, to some extent, it's true for me. 

It's wearing to wake up every morning hoping that things have somehow improved and fearing they've only gotten worse. The death of RBG and the indecent rush to fill her seat (probably with someone who is her ideological opposite) was like a gut punch.

In the midst of darkness though, came a lovely light. A letter included with a SASE and a request for a signed bookplate-- a letter telling me that in the past my books had gotten this person through some rough times and that my blog, and especially the posts about Josie, continued to brighten the times we are in. 

I walked around smiling all day. What better thing could a writer hear?

And now-- for DN--some Josie.

Monday was a Big Day. Another package from Aunt Fay and five new library books and a new Highlights magazine!

Of course the package came first.

In it were three tiny fairy ladies. I introduced them to my other big ones and they had a party.

Also, I made five slides for them to play on.  There had to be a lot because queens and fairies don't like taking turns.


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Autumnal Equinox--A Fine Balance

 In this unbalanced time

It's good to see the sun rise

Due east as it should.

Halfway from summer,

Hanging in the year's balance,

Halfway to winter...

Monday, September 21, 2020

Disappointed! But Here's a Reading on YouTube



After posting about how well the Zooming was going, I had to bow out of the virtual reading at Malaprop's yesterday because my internet connection went all weird. And I saw some of my blog/Facebook friends were there. Drat and I'm so sorry.

So I recorded my reading on YouTube and HERE it is. Not the best but I'll try again soon.

And many thanks to those friends who showed up!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg--A Light for the Ages



We won't go back, Ruth. Your light has shown the way and those who champion equality will follow.

Thank you for your life-long dedication to this noble battle. Your memory is a blessing... and a call to arms.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Voting 2020

I've always loved the Norman Rockwell aspect of voting--gathering with my neighbors to cast our ballots. Even in recent years when I've taken advantage of early voting, it still had a nice feel to it--chatting with the poll workers and a few other voters. putting on the little I VOTED sticker, and basking in the glow of civic virtue.

But in this year of the pandemic, with doubts about postal delivery and the fate of our democracy on the ballot, I opted for hand-delivered absentee voting. Yesterday I drove to the local Board of Elections, put on my mask, and handed over John's and my sealed ballots to a nice lady wearing a mask. I had to fill out two identical forms, stating that it was I delivering the ballots. 

I was the only voter there but they are well prepared for a crowd with social distancing marks along the entrance and hand sanitizer on the desk where you fill out the forms. There are pens-- and you keep yours. A little prize, like when the dentist gives you a toothbrush.

I'm glad this option is in place. And I hope that someday we can return to the Norman Rockwell kind of voting--with proper precautions against voting machine hacking and big mask-less smiles for our neighbors.

Until then, I'll enjoy my new pen.

Note: I already had this post scheduled when I learned of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. May her memory be a blessing... and an inspiration.


Friday, September 18, 2020

Zooming Away . . .


Every semester Great Smokies Writing Program does an event called Writers at Home with readings by current faculty members at Asheville's wonderful bookstore Malaprop's. Unfazed by the pandemic, this Sunday at 3 (Eastern Time,) the event will be held by Zoom. 

If you're interesting in hearing the readings, follow this link 

 I, of course, will read a bit from the forthcoming And the Crows Took Their Eyes.

You sign up (it's free) and Malaprop's sends you an invitation with a link to join the event. (I don't know if it will be recorded or not.)

Getting familiar with this Zoom thing. My critique class is going quite well--it helps that they are all amazing writers and excellent critiquers--and I think there is almost as much personal connection and spontaneity as in regular classes.

(Though I must admit to a bit of a problem last night when my internet went wonky and appeared to be mired in molasses. I ended up phoning in and participating by audio only. I think I've spotted the problem now.)

I hope I have as I'll be doing more Zooming 0n October 16 with my book launch--also via Malaprop's. And I'm hoping to do a Zoom event through our county library after local folks have had a chance to read the book. I'll be looking for some discussion.

I even got an invitation to speak at our local Rotary Club via Zoom. Since the meeting's at 7:30 am, I'm especially happy not to have to travel any farther than upstairs to my workroom   er, studio. (Note my adjustable desk and quaint sound baffling techniques.)