Views of July

This is the quiet before the chaos. Well, not so much chaos as time-consuming activities – many filled with emotional tugs. Early Saturday morning, I’ll be in Lockport where I’ll be rocking a lanyard and staff shirt. I also have a new skirt for CrabCon. If you’re going, I’ll see you – Gina and I are working the check-in table. The following day, Husband and I will be attending a wake for a dear man. Paul Lawton was a playwright, teacher, and all-round good guy. We both miss his knotty quips and wry humor.

The following week is a wedding and the week after that is our vacation/family reunion in Essex. I’m already closing my eyes and taking extra deep breaths because the sheer number of details associated with preparing for all these things overwhelms me. I won’t make it to Friday night’s writers group this week, next week is iffy and I’ll be out of town the following so that “grounding” will be lacking and Gina will be out of town for weeks, so the Wednesday morning write-ins will also be gone (unless the lovely Mary is up for it – and I have time.) The lack of that structure is unnerving especially when my tablet has been acting up and demonstrably hostile lately. (Why yes, I do love all of my first-world writer problems. They are lovely, aren’t they?) But with all that apprehension, there is also my gratitude…and bugs. This one insisted on having its picture taken.

The bird’s eggs hatched. Here they are hungry on the 4th:

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And this is from today. Look how big they are getting! (The picture is blurry and distant because I didn’t want to get dive-bombed.)

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These bulbs bloomed.

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The pink lilies are still going strong – except for the ones the deer ate.

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These lilies line a portion of our driveway.

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This is to show how tall the yellow flowers are already – and to show off the newly painted roof on the garden shed.

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Oh, this happened, too! I now have garden gates installed!

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The fenced-in tent is up and the back end of the woodshed was finished over the holiday weekend – not that it looks very different, but it’s exciting to have a non-leaking roof.

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The past few mornings, I’ve supplemented my breakfast with blackberries, conveniently planted by birds right by the tree on my way to the mailbox.

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There are pansies in the flower box.

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The moss is doing well.

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I took a lot of pictures to remind myself of the loveliness here in the summer. It’s far from perfect, often in need of weeding and/or mowing, but its home, where I collect my creekside reflections to share on here.

Thank you for stopping by and for the read.

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Parting with June

This year, we managed to drive away the robin who kept depositing sticks and straw on top of the air conditioner. The unit is next to our bedroom and there are places you don’t want birds to nest. Another spot we weren’t keen on them living was in the PVC we use to hang our garden hoses. We missed one.

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I was able to take a picture of her sitting on her three eggs.

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She chose a nice spot. I asked her nearest neighbor how he felt about it.

He had no comment, but pointed me to the beauty of his pond.

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(I like this angle of the lily since full on, they look like they are made of plastic.)

And, as it happens, that one glorious unreal stretch of publication news and prize winning was short-lived, but so wonderful. I’m still mildly warm with the afterglow…or is it the weather? I’m not complaining, just saying it’s a bit warm. I’m anxiously waiting on the red lilies to bloom. In the interim, I have baby-pea pods and the amaryllis to admire.

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I want to thank Mary Akers and Gina Detwiler for continuing the write-ins at Spot Coffee on Wednesday mornings. They inspire me so much and the consistency helps me focus on writing new material. I now need something to inspire me to edit. Anything besides deadlines to contests – the only thing I have right now and that just makes my heart thump and palms sweat, which is not conducive to thoughtful rewriting, but it’s all I got. Ah well, I suppose a writer is never truly happy – at least for long. Thank God, Goddess and Spirit of the Universe that I have amazing people in my life to connect with the rest of the time. I’m grateful for you! (Yes, I’m talking about YOU!)

Thank you for stopping by and for the read!

 

June is gorgeous with words and flowers

What can I say? The writing news has been shockingly good recently. In case you’re not bored to death from my Facebook posts, here’s a recap: I placed second in the latest On the Premises mini-contest (#42!), which can be read here. I thought I’d only made the Micro-Madness Long List – and I was so happy with that – but then, last night, I saw that I was shortlisted and published here(June 13)! (And if you’re anal-retentive like me, you’d do the math and see my story was in the top 10!) 101 Fiction Issue 23 was released with my story in it. I wrote it during a Kathy Fish Fast Flash Reunion Workshop. Another one is coming up this weekend and I’m excited as all get out.  I also received an email from the Strands International Flash Fiction Contest…and I’m on the short list. Plus! The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature took a story of mine and it will be out in March of 2020. Like I said, shockingly good news on the writing front which has been quiet the balm for the rejections which have also tumbled in to remind me I’m NOT all that.

The yard and garden have been keeping me on my toes. I had a Disney Princess montage! I went out to plant willow near the road. I put three in and turned around to see a black butterfly with amazing blue iridescent spots. I walked around to the next section and found a yellow swallowtail butterfly on the pale pink lilacs fluttering about. Then, walking to the next section, I heard a ruckus. It turned out to be a duck squawking for the baby ducks to get in line. All of this happened in like 6 minutes. It was amazing. And of course I had no camera at the time.

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This is the pale pink lilac bush. I wish there was a way to have you inhale the aroma. Wild roses are blooming nearby so it’s heady on that path.

Monday, I had a lovely time in Springville at Café 49 catching up with Kim Chinquee and Wednesday morning found me at Spot Coffee in Orchard Park with Mary Akers. I wrote and she worked on Crab Con details. And I got my swag bag!

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Tuesday I did more yard work since the weather is spotty and found the slim irises are also in bloom.

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And back on 31 May, even though I told Husband he didn’t have to, I was honored to receive roses from him to commemorate 19 years of being married/20 years together. (Isn’t he sweet?)

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Anyways, and all in all, this is one of the happiest posts I’ve ever gotten to write. Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

What’s a marriage without an anniversary fight?

The above picture shows exactly how far the annual putting up of the screened-in tent proceeded until we were both hot and sticky, then pissy enough to walk away. That was on Memorial Day; it’s rained every day since then so there the parts lie rusting. I can only hope the canvas isn’t growing mildew. I don’t know why. We put this up annually, it’s the same parts, yet every year we find a way to have it not go together smoothly the first time. This year was particularly awful. Husband was on the ladder, holding the top while I was to run around to all the corners and slip in the posts…and I found we’d assembled the panels incorrectly. Everything needs to be undone and reassembled. Good times…

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The long weekend was productive in that the garden bed I’ll be using is tilled and after years of having them, the gates are all on so I can dump compost in there without the dog deciding that some bits weren’t ready for the heap.

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I missed the blooming of the crab-apple tree, but the lilacs are out and so are these purple flowers though I’ve forgotten their name.

The weekend before the ugly one, we had a lovely time over lunch at Julie’s with Robert Little. He was in town for an impromptu visit from Chicago. Jim and Julie Tuttle joined us, as well as their grandson. (The dumpster photo involves a joke I’m not going to explain.)

I haven’t been writing too much, or submitting, but after a drought, I have an acceptance! Thanks to John Xero at 101 Fiction, my piece born from a Kathy Fish Reunion prompt called “Landscapes” will go live on 2 June 2019. I also received word that “Firstborn” written from a prompt in Kim Chinquee’s Hot Pants office on Zoetrope made the long list in this year’s Micro Madness Contest for National Flash Fiction Day NZ in conjunction with Flash Frontier. I guess my so called writing career isn’t dead yet…or is it? Check back soon to find out for sure!

🙂 Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

May is Complicated with Progress

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Here, spring is transitioning from bleak limbs to an ongoing explosion of colors. Driving to town reveals a profusion of yellow from shrubs and daffodils, then white petals another day, purples a few days after that.

The future green leaves begin in different shades that alter as they grow. Even the hawthorns look lovely.

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I love this time of year for its nuance of hues, just not the associated pollen.

It’s been wetter than hell so the lawn has grown taller than it should be, but there’s no sense mowing when pushing the mower into mud sinks the tires and the blade will not spin. This year, the living room/dining room/ kitchen area underwent an extensive spring-cleaning. I had told Husband I didn’t want to clean and move the furniture around until he cleaned the chimney and stovepipe. Once he did that, boom, I was off on a mission. In the process, somethings were purged,  shelves in the corner were put in, and the big pullout door was installed. Even without the doors, I love the improvements to the kitchen. And yes, there is a light in the cabinet!

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The fabulous Ellen Meister opened a new page for writing prompts on Facebook. Check out Sparks! So far, it’s fabulous and I’ve gotten two new stories written!

Since last I posted, we attended the West Falls – Colden Library Volunteer appreciation dinner and acquired a new-to-us truck. Life changes quickly sometimes, too slow at others. Ah well, at least it’s interesting. So thank you for being interested enough to stop by a read my allergy pill induced post! I do appreciate it very much.

Seeing spring flowers, George Saunders, and progress

Today, I was rudely woken by the racket of heavy machinery. It interrupted a dream conversation I was having with an old friend of mine named J. P. We were discussing the cuff links he bought – they were more expensive than the suit he was buried in. I’d gone to bed last night trying to find the “structure” for the novel I’m working on and had been toying with the ramifications of when the mother dies in the story. I think all of my novels involve a MC with a dead mother. If the mother is alive at the beginning of the new one, is that progress?

I’m writing this in view of these lovely flowers from a person whose book I’m beta reading/editing. When they hate the comments I have and the insights I’ll offer, at least I’ll have picture of this beauty. As a writer, I know that only thing I’m hoping to hear is, “It’s perfect! No changes needed!” when someone (Nina Fosati) reads my work. As an editor, I rarely read anything that doesn’t need a tweak or two…or much more.

Babel’s season ended last Thursday with George Saunders. I enjoyed his talk and the following conversation with Barbara Cole immensely.

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Many thanks to Nina Fosati for arranging and driving there this year. Speaking of driving, the maple dropped red bits on Ben so it looked like he had measles. Actually, he needs another part and will be back in the shop next week. So I guess that’s more “not driving” related than “driving.”

I’ve never had a dog I had to take to a groomers before. They do wonderful magic. Kobie went from this:

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To this:

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The transformation was huge and quick, unlike spring where the changes take time.

And the kitchen renovation. Man, that is taking time, too.

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Ah well, I’m enjoying it all while it’s happening and if it’s possible, I extend the length of beauty as much as I can. Perhaps that’s why I’m dawdling on the new book. It’s a good theory, don’t you think? Beats the easier to believe one where laziness is to blame.

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Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

Crocuses and Siren Songs

I had a birthday last week and it was not the best, but I survived and am looking at it thus: Bad starts lead to the best finishes. Since then, things are looking up. The crocuses have bloomed!

The car went into the shop and I’m allowed to drive it for a while. We’ll be traveling to my Aunt’s 80th birthday party this weekend and I’m glad we’ll be going in the car –not Husband’s truck.

Last Friday, I had the best time with Tamara Grisanti. I went with her to the Exhibit X Fiction Series. Kim Chinquee and Christina Milletti read at Hallwalls. After, we attended the reception at Christina and Dimitri Anastasopoulos’ home.

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I’m still reading the books I mentioned last time and added “Daisy Jones and the Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid to the mix. So far – page 118 – not bad. I’ve also read many of the award winning flashes and micros from the lists that have recently been announced. There is so much great writing out there and so many contests and opportunities! Tamara sent an email about the Berlin Writing Prize. I let everything roll over me – birthday wishes, the readings, the theme of circus – and I pounded out a story on Saturday. Thank you SO much Tamara for the inspiration! And thank you once again Nina Fosati for being such an amazing, honest, and thoughtful first reader. Tamara and Nina, you both ROCK!

Speaking of things looking up, this lovely thing arrived the other day. I’m rather fond of it.

We took a walk in the back forty this weekend and found this stray.

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The frogs are in the pond.

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Our Christmas tree is now planted.

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I am thrilled to be able to walk out back again with ease. Scrolling through Facebook and Twitter, I found other calls and I am competitive – with others and myself. Always trying to write better, learn more, find typos…so I’m off to polish, possibly submit, and definitely read while listening to the siren calls of spring and submitting.

Thanks for stopping by!