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Here be bad jokes

So, congratulations to Stepson and his beautiful bride. The wedding was on Saturday and theoretically, I should be able to post pictures from the actual event, but I’m not sure the camera has enough juice to download even if I tried. I do have a picture of one of the table toppers though, since three of them ended up at my house.

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It’s been clean and catch up since then. Things are nearly back to what passes as normal. The credit company called to complain that we hadn’t activated our new cards yet. Did they not realize we were busy for the last few weeks and didn’t have time to deal with that sort of thing? Same thing with the dentist who texted and called excessively about the appointment that was in my book? We went last night so that’s over. We both had numb tongues after; good times.

Otherwise, don’t tell my Aunt Marie, but I sold a Pete and Tara story to a “Mature Content” magazine. I consider that “Adulting.” Yes, hanging around a select few people does invoke a bad habit of punning and/or not very good joke telling. And I wouldn’t trade a minute of the time I just spent with Niece, Nephew and his delightful girlfriend, and my brother-in-law. Also, I just want the world to know that it was awesome that Tiffany not only said she liked my work, but gave specifics. So awesome! So cool!

The tomatoes are plentiful this year. I’m cooking down another batch now and have many more to go. I also think I might be damned well close to having a book’s worth of P&T stories. Apparently, writing a flash a day (often three) has given me a lot to choose from. The second I have some free time, I’m going to corral the loose pages and see if I can’t put them in order and see if it works.

Free time!

Now that was funny!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for stopping by for a read. I’ll try to get pictures up soon. And, my darling Niece has a hysterical video of that she said she’d post on my Facebook page so, look for that. Eventually. She’s a teacher. She’s busy. And she’s awesome.

*These are my pruny fingered creekside reflections. If you’re canning tomatoes this year, your experience might be similar. Except for probably the adulating part.

notblueThe large calendar continues to be useful. I even put the notation, “Blog!” on last and next Thursday’s squares. When I realized that meant writing one during Stepson’s wedding week, I switched that around and so you’re reading this now and not then – or last week.

Husband and I still have a lot to do to get ready for the guests that will be staying with us and normally I’d be outside mowing or weeding, but the humidity is brutal. It was bad yesterday, too, but I managed to get the rest of the wood in, Husband pulled out the old tractor to see if that transmission can be married to the one we’ve been using and I pushed the steps to the south lawn closer together. All of this with chipmunk scurrying underfoot, under leaves, under steps and in the trees. They are plentiful and brave this year.

I had an AMAZING run of acceptances recently. Christopher James took “It Only Hurts When I Smile” which came out of Kathy Fish’s workshop! It’s scheduled to appear in Jellyfish Review on 17 December. Kae Sable took “Something to Talk About” for Dime Show Review and it’s live. I felt unsure about “Birth Control” and put it up in Hot Pants in Zoetrope to workshop…and the incredible Kim Chinquee loved it as is and took it for New World Writing. It’s live HERE. And on Sunday, A. E. Phillips wrote to say she’s taking “An Alice is An Alice is an Alice” for both the print Fall Issue and the 2016 Year End Collection of The Donut Factory. Two weeks, 5 acceptances. Hell yeah!

(I did enter the bizarro world where the rejection from Apogee was welcomed. All that winning was starting to freak me out.)

Both “Birth Control” and “Something to Talk About” are very new and from the stack of flashes involving the characters Pete and Tara.  I thought the piece I wrote on Tuesday where Tara meets Pete’s mother for scones (with clotted cream – Thanks Mary Akers!) didn’t work and I was disappointed in myself. I went back yesterday and found it isn’t bad at all.

I was discouraged that only one sunflower came up this year – I planted two rows – but look at the multi-headed one that came up!

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Saturday, I’m back to my piece of heaven — volunteering at the West Falls-Colden Community Library. I won’t be there as often this season as I’ll be working some Saturdays. (Yes, Virginia, I did get a job.) And I’m glad I put that in the book, because I nearly forgot! So much is going on in the next two weeks from Husband doing things he’s never done before – including getting his hair and beard tended to by a hairdresser – to hosting a group of writers hours (I hope I have hours to prepare!) after our houseguests leave.

So, barring that it’s too much and does kill me, I’ll be back in two weeks to tell you all about with pictures of Husband in a tuxedo!

Thanks for stopping by!

*These are my Creekside Reflections; your experiences may vary.

This morning, between the spats of rain, I’ve seen a swallowtail butterfly flitting around the flowers. Yesterday, I spotted a newly hatched monarch and I was so grateful that Husband made an effort to mow around the milkweed.

I’ll often stop washing dishes when the hummingbirds come to the feeder on the window outside the kitchen, but Tuesday, it was empty and I washed and filled it. I still had my hand on it – standing right there so it wasn’t like I was trying to camouflage myself – and a hummingbird came to feed. I don’t know if it was extremely hungry or incredibly trusting, but it was a thrill to be so close and feel the wind from its wings. I have this lovely friend who sends out a newsletter about nature, animals, and spiritual concerns. Because of her, I’ve been more attuned to nature recently and noticing strange things like that occurring more often, probably only because I am paying attention.  (Thank you Kellie!)

Recently, I used my gift card to Barnes and Noble to purchase one of those calendar organizers, you know, the ones that look impossibly thick with pages to plan your week and list goals and you wonder why anyone would ever need one that size. Let me tell you, I didn’t realize it, but I have needed one for a very long time. I’ve only had it for a few weeks and I’m already amazed at how easy this has made my life. So, Stepson, if you’re reading this, thank you for the Christmas present.

Yesterday was Husband’s birthday and even though it was a milestone, he didn’t want a fuss, so he didn’t get one, but he did get a card, a pan of brownies instead of a cake, and a case of his favorite beer.

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I posted a similar pic on Facebook and was delighted at the number of likes and birthday wishes it generated. Also, I know it’s small minded and petty, but I do wish people wouldn’t use his first name on Facebook, because, well, I’m not sure he wants to be associated with the likes of me via social media.

And Husband’s birthday is not the only close family member’s birthday this month. There are at least seven, plus two friends that are like family, and there’s a baby shower to attend and an ex-in-law’s anniversary to celebrate, so yes Hallmark, I am keeping you afloat…not that I expect a big company such as yourself to send me a thank you card.

Besides sending out tons of greeting cards, I’ve also been weeding the garden, mowing the trails, weed-eating the labyrinth, reading, making and drinking gallons of sun tea, cooking, cleaning, stressing out over Stepson’s impending wedding and the guests we’re putting up and the accompanying dinner menus, who’s getting where and when, attending Board of Education meetings, Hamburg Writers Group Meetings, looking forward to the novel critique meeting, being thrilled for friends with book releases (Congrats Gina Detwiler, Jeff Schober, Mary Akers, Claudia Cortese), enjoying the results of the Bemer treatments, being excited to start as a Bemer tech tonight, submitting two things a day because I was down to something stupid like only four things out plus fretting over the pink hibiscus and goji plants that I bought at the East Aurora farmer’s market last week which haven’t gotten planted yet, but man do the bees love them both.

 

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If I was reading this, I’d think that was all I was doing, but actually, I’ve been doing a lot of writing. These two characters, Pete and Tara, will not leave me alone. I’m taking old and new word lists from Hot Pants and even though I can’t find a story with the words, “Boogieman, ankle, Dumbo, kiwi and tax,” they do, and make it all about them. I decided to make them have sex so they’d have what they wanted and leave me alone. Was that good enough for them? No, they were right back at it yesterday and used a Kathy Fish Workshop Reunion prompt to get there. I read that piece, “Sweet Spot,” to Husband and his response was “I didn’t know you had it in you,” which made me not want to associate with him on social media.

Oh, and we have new art!

art

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

*These are my Creekside Reflections; your experiences may vary.

When I finish writing projects, I’m usually thrilled to be done…not so much this time. I know, I know, I plan on this being a trilogy, but in roughly two days, this draft of Dreaming Lettie will be done and that makes me sad.

I’m thrilled to have such lovely problems.

The “fun” story I mentioned last time was polished up and I want to give a shout out to Nancy Leone and Nina Fosati for their help and insight and to Saundra for laughing when I read an early draft at the Hamburg Writers Group meeting.

The heat has been getting to the plants. The garden is doing great, as well as the trees and shrubs I’ve been taking water out to every day in the far backyard but today I noticed the hydrangea, one that’s been doing well for at least 6 years, was stressed so I hauled water out to it, too.

The bee saga came to a peaceful conclusion. When Vikki, my amazing and brave sister was here, she soaked cotton balls in almond extract and plugged them around the entry. The wood that was pried off, stayed off.  I had a plan to entice them to a new home, but when I secured a bottle of lemongrass oil, (Thank you Nancy!) the bees had moved on. Husband replaced the wood last weekend. Soon the gutter will be repaired, the tree taken down, caulk applied, the window washed and scaffold taken down. Now that’s a project I will be glad to be done with!

The timing of that will be convenient since the vegetable canning has already begun. I put up three quarts of green beans yesterday using the outside stove my incredible Husband made for me years ago. It is such a great thing to do water boiling outside in this weather.

And so, out to the screened-in tent to begin the end of my latest book. If you’re interested in reading another book, here’s what I had to say about Christopher DeWan’s soon to be released collection, “Hoopty Time Machines.” Thanks for stopping by!

 

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*These are my creek side reflections. Yours may vary.

If Only…

Last week, Thursday was the only day I didn’t have to be somewhere to do something and I really needed the day to decompress. Hence, this blog post is late. I send this picture of a pink hollyhock as a peace offering.

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Thanks to the encouragement from Gina Miani and Mary Akers, I’ve been putting in at least 1000 words a day into “Dreaming Lettie.” Not today though. Today, I wrote a flash that amused me. I’ll be sharing the rough draft with some of you shortly. (Sorry!) After I stack some wood, I’ll probably go back to DL. Yesterday, I wrote over 1500 words, but after an implied sex scene, I didn’t know what to do. I may need to go back to the beginning and write the scenes I skipped to find out the timeline.

The summer projects are going along as well as can be expected. The garden is growing; the trees, flowers and bushes in the back haven’t died; and the walkway redo is farther along than it was last week. We have company coming next week and I’ve been a willing guinea pig for Nancy who just got a Bemer. If you get a chance, try it. After I got a compliment on how radiant I looked from a friend at Lowe’s, I got carded at Wal-Mart. (I didn’t even know they carded at Wal-Mart!)

With the writing, the yard work, and the wood, I haven’t been on Facebook, watching television or listening to much radio. It’s just as well. With this election, everyone seems to be losing their minds. I caught one perfect comment though. Roxane Gay said the equivalent of “I don’t need my president to be my friend; I just need them to lead.” If only she was running – Or Matt Boyle. Sigh.

Have a great week! Thank you so much for stopping by! You’re awesome and I appreciate you! Here’s two more flower pictures!

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*These are my creek side reflections; your experiences ought to vary, you know. Just sayin’.

Did you have a happy 4th? Husband and I went out to watch fireworks in East Aurora on Sunday since I knew he wouldn’t want to be out late the night before he had to go to work. Capturing fireworks is tricky and after about 5 minutes it was deemed a better idea to just set the camera down and experience the barrage of color and sound.

Kudos to the people sitting by us who kept redirecting the drop-in mouthy guy who wanted to bash Trump/Hillary/Bernie loudly before I kicked him in the shins and said, “Guess what? No one is here to talk politics. There aren’t that many things we as a community gather for, so don’t be an idiot and tarnish it because you think if you’re loud you must be right.”

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(And in case you’re wondering, I’m an undecided registered independent voter and I don’t care about any of your opinions, so don’t talk to me about the election unless I specifically ask you to do so. Also, I’m not going to ask you.)

 

 

 

Beehunt

I’d hoped to have more bee pictures of the partial extraction. I asked Husband to put them on his laptop over the weekend. I even asked if he downloaded all the pictures. If they’re on there, I can’t find them. *Sigh* There’s a reason “Trust, but Verify” got to be a saying. Regardless, this is what I ended up with:

Honey

A jar of raw honey from our very own wild bees.

MANY, many thanks to Vikki, my incredibly knowledgeable and brave sister. Love you!

 

The July issue of r.kv.r.y. Quarterly Literary Journal is up and gorgeous. Jerri Bell’s “Care Packages” is deliciously written. Lucinda Kempe’s “On Perseverance: 5 Shorts” is wonderful and Len Kuntz’s “Twisters” will leave you breathless. Check them out, as well as the other amazing work made all the more incredible by Fay Henexson’s photography.

After last month’s scramble to get my 20 pages done in time for the novel critique group, I decided to drop “New Thing” and work on “Dreaming Lettie.” I’ve already gotten my required pages written plus a couple extra, though I need to slow one scene down. After I post this, I’ll be editing that and then continuing on. Working on the same thing for a little bit each day helps so much to encourage continuation. Hopefully, it will lead to completion.

I had a lovely evening last night in Eden at the Hodge’s. Mary Jo invited me and Nina Rochella Fosati for a light supper and a discussion about writing. Charles played butler beautifully, especially when he brought dessert. Mary Jo, Nina, and I talked about our writing process, submitting, agents, the good parts and the frustrations of doing this crazy thing where we take the same 26 letters and turn them into characters and force those fragile constructs into conflicts.

Otherwise, it’s been hot and dry here so I’m developing upper arm and leg strength taking multiple buckets of water out to the 4 remaining pines, 4 mounding perennial flowers and 3 blackberry bushes early in the mornings. Each time I do, I’m reminded that I’m not a morning person. Ah well, I guess that’s proof that I do love plants. Especially when they do things like this:Lily

Thanks for stopping by!

 

(The above are my creekside reflections. Your reflections may vary.)

The problem with living in the moment things is that events in the forefront are what get written about in this blog as opposed to what has already happened. As an example, I forgot to mention Husband and I went to the Arboria luminarium at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor and Tifft Nature Preserve over Memorial Day weekend.

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This past weekend was memorable for the swarm and that I learned how to post a video, but on Facebook, so you’ll have to go here, (SORRY!):

Swarm II

This is the back of the house. We were outside on the patio talking as we normally do when he gets home from work. I heard a buzzing I couldn’t figure out – it wasn’t the dryer hum, it wasn’t the air compressor kicking on, etc. It got closer and I was drawn right into it. Husband had seen a swarm earlier this spring and talked to Scott, “The Bee Guy” from Delevan who told him they would be docile. Husband took out the camera and around the minute thirty spot, you can see me waving in the bedroom window, trying to get his attention.

The Swarm

This is the first video – I’d hoped to figure out how to edit the video by today, but no dice. It is clunky, and some of you have seen it before.

Regardless, we’re now looking for someone to retrieve the queen.

After that excitement, I went to the Comfort Zone for the Hamburg Writers Group meeting. Mary Jo Hodge was there and it was good to see her again. Nina Rochella Fosati read a revised version of the story she read last week. I am so impressed with her ability to go back with fresh eyes and strengthen a piece in new and interesting ways. My rewrites rarely get overhauled that much. I hope to learn that skill from her.

This weekend, we got enough gravel so our driveway resembles an actual driveway.

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The herb garden was finished.

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In three days, I wrote over 5000 words in “Dreaming Lettie” for the novel group. Deadlines are the only way some writing gets done. I’d been working on the “new thing” and stopping to go back to Lettie was a bit of a challenge. Keeping up with the lawn and garden has been fun, too. I wrapped up the labyrinth yesterday.

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The garden “complex” is closer to having a fence.

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Ten pines are our newest addition.

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And I’ve got to find time, space and energy to plant these blackberry bushes.

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Also, the beavers are back.IMG_20160616_114330

 

Good times and almost summer fun all around. Thanks for stopping by!

 

*These are only my Creekside Reflections and if yours didn’t vary from mine, that would be awkward.