The unlikely happened, I went a few places, and there’s a hummingbird in my lilies

There’s a tale of elder love on the radio this morning. It’s airing about 20 minutes before the week in politics program. A taste of hope before the chaotic contention. Around here, it happens the opposite way; I do a madcap rendition of cleaning/weeding/organizing/hauling buckets of water to the new trees/mowing before I achieve a calm to read and/or write. Even now, I typed the first three lines before walking away. There was a sink full of dishes, now washed.

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The wood shed roof is as complete as it can be – the two ends aren’t done because Husband didn’t have the panels for it. He says he could piece it together with remnants, but he’d prefer solid panels. It’s watertight though, something it hasn’t been in years. Walking back from getting the paper, this blue and white striped sight is quite cheery.

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I had an A M A Z I N G run. On the 24th, I got word that my story, “I Am Promilla” won the Postcards Poems and Prose Magazine’s “Clutch” Flash Fiction contest. June 27 will long be remembered as one helluva day. “We’re Toast” was accepted by Bending Genres, Former Cactus took “Tilt-A-Whirl” AND Spelk accepted “The Difference Between Us.” I could not believe it, but it happened and these are all venues I love. I am delighted – plus, on Tuesday, I received payment for “Pirouette” which will be included in the Bacopa Literary Review.

We’ve done a bit of weekend visiting with family recently. There was Ash’s Graduation Party,

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And then a quick trip to PA to see Niece from Boston & The Twin where mint leaves were muddled for juleps.

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Monday has me traveling alone to another gathering of family of a different sort – a funeral. As the amazing Kathy Fish recently hosted another Fast Flash Reunion on Zoetrope, I’m sure I’ll revisit the prompts to make sense of all the interactions that are coming at me in a furious pace, kind of like the Literary Orphans reading assignments. And the library just emailed that “The Female Persuasion” is in so I’ll be finishing that up soon, too. I better get going, there’s a lot to accomplish in this lull…

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like capturing pictures of hummingbirds in my lilies!

Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

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Summer is a Whirlwind

Here it is, officially summer and already most of the projects have at least a dent made in them. Half the woodshed roof is done.

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The massive pain that were the rose bushes in the front yard have been ripped out and replaced with an Azealia bush and a maple.

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Plus the roadside portion of  the garden shed is painted and the redigging of the ditch on the hill was started last night, and several new steps to replace the front ones are complete. The next two weekends will be filled with grad parties and visits, so I’m glad we are so far ahead – compared to previous years that is…even with a minor injury of a run-in with the woodspliter. It’s much healed.

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It’s not been all work all the time. I do make a point to enjoy the beauty of flowers and trees we’ve planted and listen to insects and birds though I wish I didn’t have to listen to the pair of cardinals attacking the window outside my office, but one can’t have everything.

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On Wednesdays, I’ve been going to one of the multiple SPoT Coffees to write with Mary or Gina – yesterday it was both. Without them and Friday nights at the Comfort Zone with the Hamburg Writers’ Group, I’m afraid I’d lose my way. I can’t say thanks enough to Nina and everyone else who keeps me writing. And the Kathy Fish Fast Flash Reunion starts tonight! You know where I’ll be!

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Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

My intentions are paving the way to hell…

After a long break from scheduled blog posts, it didn’t occur to me that I’d post late, but here it is, Friday afternoon and I’m just now starting to write this.

And as I write, I’m enjoying the weather from inside the “cabana,” where I can’t see the frog pond, but I hear the activity. This is the view:

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Monarchs are flitting about as well as the deer fly and bees. The cotton woods are busily trying to copulate, their seed dances about and falls to coat everything with a soft haze of down.

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This is the first day I’ve had to truly enjoy the yard. I’ve spent most of the time away mowing, weeding, gardening, and watering the new trees – generally with Kobe nearby, smelling everything and generally being a happy and good dog. This weekend we’ll be getting 5 cords of wood, so I’m glad I have a few minutes to sit and relax. Kobe is underneath the swing, patient and observant.

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Monday, I made a careless mistake/had an accident and went to the doctor’s office instead of the ER. Suffice it to say, I learned a lesson and will be far more diligent with the wood splitter in the future. Nothing broke, but my index finger on my left hand was squashed enough that I’m certain the nail will fall off. It is disgusting to look at – I shan’t share the image.

Prior to that bit of fun, I read Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” which was quite good. It took me longer to finish than I anticipated so I have to return “The Female Persuasion” tonight and sign up for it again. Had I not read last night, I would have been FINE not finishing it, but the main character just left Faith’s house after the weekend stay and I just found out why she had a million messages on her phone when she was out of range. Oi! Sad news!

Writing wise, the biggest thing is the acceptance by Bacopa Literary Review for a flash called “Pirouette.” As I understand it, I’ll be paid for it which is always lovely. I wish I had money to pay all the writers “I” publish at r.kv.r.y. and Literary Orphans, but, alas, I don’t and that sucks, but I love the work that is accepted and try to show it on Facebook and Twitter.

I’ve made it to several “write-ins” with Gina at Spot Coffee and even squeezed in a few hours at home so I have some new work to hone and submit. I’m rather fond of a piece called “The Eaves;” I aimed high with that one. Oh, and the Bellevue Literary Review sent a personal rejection with both praise and suggestions for my “Southern story.” I’m batting it around, sprucing it up, letting it sit, tackling it again.

Tomorrow is my last shift at the library before the summer break. Tonight is another meeting of the Hamburg Writers’ Group where I’ll get a chance to see Nina and the others. I plan on reading a flash tonight that I’m submitting for a contest. I’d had the premise for the story and the first few lines for years but could never get it to go. Sometimes a prompt is the prompt you need to finish something.

 The mail is here, so I’ll gather my things and get ready to post thing. I’ll see some of you soon and I can’t wait! Everyone else, I’ll be back here in two weeks – more or less. That’s my intention anyways…

 Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

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This post delayed by missing cat, wayward file, and deer

 

In an understatement, let me begin by saying that Thursday was a perfectly terrible day. I got up early to mow the lawn and weed eat before the heat set in. I managed to get the roadside section done but when I took the lawnmower across the bridge to work on the large lawn, I noticed the back left wheel was poised at a 45 degree angle because the deck had broken apart. Good times.

Proceeding to the weed eating, the cordless worked well, but I stopped 2 feet from where the cord would reach – which I didn’t realize until I’d put the cordless away. I did finish both sides of the ditch but when I began the area around the garden, the string ran out.

Did I mention it was a rather warm day? I worked on weeding the patio then went in to work on new book. Wednesday, I’d had a bit of a breakthrough while at SPoT Coffee with Gina and Mary and was anxious to get back to it as I’d come up with a new beginning earlier this month. I saved the file. I hadn’t printed it out. I also hadn’t saved the file in A N Y of the spots where it should or could have gone. I checked, double checked, grew frustrated, panicked, annoyed and then went out to do the rose propagation experiment I’ve only wanted to try for 20 years. Filling the planter and dipping the stems in rooting hormone powder, I convinced myself I dreamt writing those two missing paragraphs. Sigh. I did finally find them, but by then the urge to write was superseded by the desire to read.

That lasted until sitting out on the swing; I looked up and noticed the EIGHT deep purple tulips in the far planter, which had started to open yesterday and should have been picture worthy today, were A L L   GONE. Even the red had disappeared. Bloody stupid greedy deer…I set about placing the fuchsia where the hummingbirds could find them since they are now back and I’m grateful.

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I then worked on cleaning up the pine tree debris until Husband came home. I put the cat on her leash and we were all outside enjoying the weather and catching up. For five minutes, we let cat wander. Dog went toward the creek, I got up to see where the cat had wandered off to…and she was gone. Completely. We looked, hunted, called, I declared her dead and we went to look over the lawn mower. Husband declared it sufficiently broken enough to get a new one. I checked under the car before driving away.

Oh how Wal-Mart was fun today – I’ll spare you the mind-numbing details – let’s just say the time between realizing I could take the display model and the employees confirming this was 40 minutes. Sigh. After that, I picked up an unfulfilling dinner from Top’s deli even though I could have made dinner at home had I not gone through the whole “I’ll check in the back” routine at Wal-Mart.

Anyways, when I returned home, I was sad to hear cat hadn’t been found yet and I worried more because hawks were circling overhead. While Husband got the new mower up and running, I thought about where cat had been known to go before. You cannot imagine how relieved I was to see the end of her leash. She’d holed up in a piece of…ductwork. I really don’t know what it’s called, but it’s black and round and Husband brought it home because he couldn’t stand that it was being thrown away.

Right, so, cat was found, dinner was eaten, not enough reading, writing, or lawn care occurred BUT – knock on pine – this day is over and Because Science is on and I realize yet again the cosmos have a thing to do and sometimes it’s doing us.

 

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Clichés are dumb, but they tend toward truth…

On Tuesday, I took Kobe to the vet and was there for less than an hour. When I returned home, I had two rejections – one for a contest and one for a fellowship. Being a writer is filled with all sorts of delightful occurrences like these…

*Sigh* I’ve been in a sad funk. Apparently, even if you care nothing about a person, it still bums you out when you’re told by them that Nazis should kill you. Who knew? The fight with Husband and the assault on my senses, which was snow flurries on April 30th, didn’t add any merriment to my life either.

Luckily, I have a great friend named Kellie, and during my downward spiral, I read her newsletter that was about dragons – of all things. Anyway, the message came across as you can either lie waste to everything you’ve built with fiery breathe – OR – you can polish and repair the minor nicks in your scales. I’m still not in a great mood, but I took down the firewood platform, cleaned the floors, and rotated the living room furniture today. As I write from this new spot, I feel better. Kobe is supportive of the move, having curled up to my right. (Of course, he walked away when I picked up the phone to snap a shot. I’ve never seen a more picture-shy dog in my life. The vet’s assistant can attest to this as she spent seven minutes trying to take a picture of him for his file but only has a fluffy blur of ¾ of his face)

So, I guess the take away is that life – especially the writing life – can be daunting, but there are people out there who can help it along. I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not I believe in signs (see a recent previous post about that) but here it is, May 3rd and the flowers are out,

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the frogs are lounging in the pond,

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and no Nazi’s are currently at the door ready to take me out.

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(As I’m preparing to post, I do want to say this minor shift in surroundings and thought has gone to remind me how lucky I am, and the amazing friends I have, so shouts outs to Nina, Gina, Mary, Jim & Julie, Betty, St. James, Dan, Wendy, I can go on for a very long time… Seriously! What was my funk about exactly?)

The GORGEOUS May/June issue of Ink in Thirds is out and one of my pieces is included with the likes of the amazing Timothy Gager, Tara Isabel Zambrano and Meg Tuite!

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Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

Cheers!

April madness

Since last I posted, I’ve introduced Kobe to Betty, Gina, Mary, and Bill. I’ve had two dresses fitted, a mani/pedi and my hair cut. I’ve rented a car, driven to New Hampshire for a wedding, returned, and then turned around to drive to PA to visit my sister. I’ve been out to dinner at J. P. Fitzgerald’s and Raphael’s. I’ve seen J. T. and the Law play at J.D.’s Brewpub. I’ve attended the Taste of the Southtown’s, a school board meeting, and the annual West Falls-Colden Library Book Sale. I saw Junot Diaz at Kleinhan’s with Nina Fosati as part of the Babel series and secured tickets for next year’s stellar line up. I’ve read Ready Player One by Ernest Clive, Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, and About a Boy by Nick Hornby and SO many short stories and flashes. I’ve hosted the novel critique group and gone to Spot Coffee for a write-in and now have two new micros and two flashes. I’m certain I’m forgetting other things that I’ve done and seen but tomorrow, I have a meeting about featuring the house in a magazine and will attend a meeting of the Hamburg Writers’ Group.

Dear reader, after this month, I can honestly say it’s been interesting…and an adventure.

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Say, what dog?

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve reached a milestone birthday. Many thanks to the well-wishers, card senders, and gift givers! As I mentioned on Twitter, Husband FINALLY got me a card – by himself – and he did well. The one he chose had a giggly, red octopus inside holding wine glasses. I don’t think octopuses drink though…

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Slightly before that, we got a new (geriatric) dog. Welcome to our home, Kobe!

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And no, I’m not a woman who is going to knit sweaters for her animals, but when Kobe was rescued, he came with a skin condition and they had shaved him. (Naked dogs are just as attractive as naked cats – hence pet sweaters and vests until his hair comes back.)

The search for an agent continues. In the absence of one, I’ve been tossing out ideas to my writer friends about which book to pursue next. I keep circling back to Lettie – and changing everything I’ve written so far. I was jotting down notes while I was trying to go to bed Tuesday night and I’m taking that as a good sign. While I’d love to sit down and just start with the rewrite, I’m holding back because of Niece’s wedding in Lincoln, New Hampshire, and my upcoming trip to Duncannon, PA.

I just glanced over at my calendar and I’m exhausted. There are so many things to do this month, including the West Falls-Colden Library book sale on the 21st. It’s my turn to host the novel critique group on the 24th. There are multiple appointments and meetings, too. What I’m saying is that the second post this month might be delayed by a week as I sort out all the thoughts, feelings, happenings, and events. (Yes, I do have the best problems.)

Oh, Nina and I went to see Viet Thanh Nguyen at Kleinhans on the 23rd and on the 20th of April, we’re slated to see Junot Diaz. I have to say I’ve enjoyed this experience so much. Many thanks to Nina for suggesting we get season tickets, Just Buffalo Literary Center for creating the Babel series and Barbara Cole for her knowledge, warmth, and grace as moderator.

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Fierce winds took down a tree yesterday and it missed the lawn tractor, so I’m grateful for that. A few other limbs came down so the spring cleanup we were planning to do became a little more daunting. Ah, the life of a homeowner near a creek in western New York…there’s always something to do!

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(And look forward to!)

Thanks for stopping by and for the read!

 

 

 

*These are my Creekside Reflections; yours should vary.