Friday, October 31, 2014

Tempus Fugit

My 2013 Hallowe'en Pumpkin

I can hardly believe it's the end of October already.  I never got to Kruse's Pumpkin Patch for the ghost pumpkins I love, mainly because I kept thinking I had plenty of time.  I should know better than to think that way.  Experience has surely taught me by now that there is never plenty of time.


Tomorrow begins an exercise in self-discipline--not my strong suit--as I write like a crazy woman through November's NaNo challenge.  On one hand I'm looking forward to it because the plot swirling around in my head wants to be told, but on the other, I just want to burrow in, read books, make great simmering pots of...whatever and enjoy the quiet solitude that comes with crap weather, storms and the early darkness. Hibernation beckons, though conversely, I find it easier to write when it's cold and dreary.


Time changes this weekend.  And honestly, how long are we really going to keep doing this? Flipping time back and forth is just pointless. We're humans.  We'll adapt to one time frame, whether it's standard or daylight savings. Besides, time isn't a piggy bank; no matter how it plays out, time can't be saved.


So, dear readers...Happy Hallowe'en!   I hope all your treats are sweet ones.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Books, Bill and Ted

I spent the better part of the afternoon working on a cover for the alleged wtf am I thinking? NaNo book.  I struggled with ideas and fonts and photos until I was finally satisfied with the end result. But now I can't get it off Word or into a different format to post on my NaNo page or the blog.  A quick cut/paste operation that, yeah, you'd think would be simple, wouldn't you?  Instead, nothing's working, another hour wasted--and believe me, at this point I wish I was wasted. Doesn't bode well, does it?

On the NaNo site, they're always giving pep talks and encouraging advice on ways to forge ahead, persevere, never say die.  Today I read that if you have a cover for your book, your chances of success increase by 60%.  That's huge.  And I'm pretty sure I will need every percentage I can get to make it through November.

I don't know what it means that I have a book cover but no one will ever see it.  I'm sure there's a message in there somewhere...


Remember Bill and Ted, my Darwin sunflowers?

Here they are, just a few weeks after sprouting all by themselves...

Barely a week later and growing like magic beans.  Bill is the smaller one in the back, Ted is smiling for the camera...

This was last week, just before the storms and high winds came.  I wanted the flowers to keep growing for as long as possible so I could use the seeds in the winter for the birds. 

Unfortunately, when I was outside working in the back garden on Monday, I found poor ol' Bill and Ted laying in the dirt, so I dusted them off and set them in the garage out of the damp.  Earlier today I cut the stalks off and brushed most of the dried flowers away to see if there were any seeds under all that golden yellow and was so pleased to find there were.

And here's a funny thing.  Bill was smaller throughout the whole growing period, but look at him now. He ended up the size of a large dinner plate...

Ted, though he might only be equal to a salad plate, made up for his smaller size with bigger, perfectly formed seeds that the birds are gonna love...

Nature.  Mesmerizing, amazing and a thing of beauty.  Symmetry in the spirals of a sunflower...

So now they're hanging in the garage to dry out and sometime around Christmas I'll hang them in the pine trees for the birds.  Maybe by then I'll have figured out how to get my book cover posted. Sigh...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Miscellany

My stormy, turbulent weekend was just about perfect. Lots of rain and wind, dark clouds and gloomy skies.  Makes me smile just to remember it.

Saturday afternoon...

Sunday morning I made a big pot of chili, something I've been wanting to do for months. It simmered all day, making the house smell heavenly, feel warm and cozy.  As the rain pounded outside, I had a great dinner of chili and cornbread; the boys had dog food with cornbread crumbles.  Everybody was happy...

This week I'm attempting to organize myself, and the month of November, for my imminent NaNo adventure which starts on Saturday.  I'm not sure I have the stamina--or the brain cells--to actually follow through, although I've done it in the past and will give it my best shot this time around.  I've got several plot scenarios playing in my head, except being a pantser I pretty much let the characters run the show and they often wander off in a different direction than where I'm headed. This style of writing can make things very interesting and exciting, but also difficult and crazy.

Two books I've been waiting to read for over a year are both out tomorrow.  I won a random drawing for them on the Wicked Scribes website weeks ago and now can hardly wait another minute for them to arrive. The FedEx truck pulled into my drive half an hour ago and I was all yippee and wow, a day early, but no, he was just using the driveway to turn around.  Way to fire me up for no reason, FedEx guy...

The weather is mild today, with clear blue skies and about 72*.  I've got the doors and windows open, the breeze is soft and warm.  **sigh**   If summers were like this, I would be so totally incredibly wonderfully pleased.  But alas, they're not.  Still.  I'll take this ideal autumn day and let the memories of the scorching, sweaty misery of an exceptionally hot summer fade into obscurity.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

It's The Little Things...

This is the kind of weekend I've been waiting for since June: cold, rainy and no reason--except walking the dogs--to venture outside. I'm going to finish a few household chores this afternoon, then it's books and cuddles on the couch with the boys and maybe a movie or two.  No lawn mowing, pruning, watering, gardening, sweating, cursing at the heat...nope, none of that.  Just rain and chilly weather and toasty warmth indoors.

And yeah.  I'm totally smiling.

At the park this morning, all dark and gloomy, I took a shortcut behind the theatre whilst walking the boys because the rain was really starting to come down hard and I wanted to get them into the car before they drowned.  As we came around the building to cross the parking lot, these wonderfully beautiful flowers caught my eye.  They're so vivid and cheerful against the dreary backdrop of gray clouds and rain.

When I got home after the walk, this was the view across the valley from the back deck. Great contrast between vibrant yellow and blank void...

Pizza for dinner tonight, not something I do regularly but the occasion calls for it, at least to my mind, especially washed down with a nice cold bottle of Dos Equis.

Happy Hour at my place, peeps...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wild and Crazy

The winds have been ferocious, strong enough that I almost didn't take the boys down the mountain to the park this morning, but since they don't care about wind or rain as long as they can have an adventure, we went anyway.

Things seemed calmer in town, more a stiff breeze than Cat 1.  I parked by the Arts Center, we walked across one edge of the soccer field to the path between the park and the old VA cemetery and began to stroll toward the river.  A cop drove into the parking lot, went to the end, turned and parked.  I'm now walking toward his car, though still about twenty feet or so away when out of nowhere this incredible blast of wind strikes.

I was knocked back about five feet, literally just hammered almost off my feet. The air was suddenly filled with swirling leaves and dust. Ozzy--the 9-lb wonder--was rolled like a ball for several dizzying spins, but Max, 18-lbs of solid, was literally lifted into the air about six inches, then dropped into the grass several feet away. For a brief moment, Max became Toto and there wasn't a single thing I could do...

Except laugh like a crazy person.  Seriously, it was wild and scary, and so totally unexpected, there was nothing else to do but laugh.  And then it was gone.

The cop immediately drives his car toward me and rolls down his window.  "You alright?"

I'm still half stunned, half laughing.  "Wow, that was bizarre."

He looks at Max, who has now glued himself like Velcro to my left leg, then looks back at me and smiles.  "Thought he was going airborne for a minute there."

I reach down to reassure Max, then call Oz to me to make sure he's okay after rolling like a child's toy. As I'm picking leaves and debris out of his long hair, I say, "For a minute there, he was."

We both start laughing.  He reminds me to beware of falling/snapping limbs from all the trees that line the river and drives off.  The rest of the walk is quiet, uneventful--except for my occasional bursts of laughter.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Storms and Sun Tea

Last night the predicted storms arrived.  I woke up, sometime before dawn, to rain and wind and the low, faraway rumble of thunder.  One of my favorite things is to listen to the elements whilst snuggled in bed. It must be some kind of primal thing...or childhood memories of waking in the dark, the house quiet around me, warm and toasty under the covers as I listened to the chaos outside.

I've always, always loved a good storm, the wilder the better.  There's just something so raw and scary about the unpredictability, the sheer force of nature, that resonates to my soul.

It's been raining for most of the day--storm after storm--though it's not in the least bit cold.  I have the doors and windows open, the breeze wafting in is warm and humid, almost tropical.

Five minutes ago.  A brief vision of blue skies, though it's raining far across the valley as the clouds roll over the mountains from the coast...

Over the weekend it was still unseasonably warm--82* on Saturday.  I mowed the lawn, hopefully for the final time, and made my last pitcher of sun tea.  Then I tried to drink it sparingly, savoring the unique taste of Chai brewed and mellowed by the sun, because it will be months before I make another batch.

Except.  I didn't restrain myself enough apparently.  This afternoon, and my last taste of sun tea...

Ah well.  I'm ready to make the switch to hot tea, and cocoa.  Definitely.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Abyss Was Deep

I've had a weirdly bad week.  A crisis of faith (not religious) one day, slogging through the Slough of Despond yesterday, then this morning I woke up as Eleanor Rigby.

Like I said, weirdly bad week.

My crisis of faith?  I don't think I have one shred of belief that, as humans, we are worth saving. Honestly.  If aliens came down and took a look...we'd be toast.  Though at the rate we're going, we'll nuke ourselves way before they get here.

I opened my laptop on...Thursday?...and all the despair and horror and crap that makes up our world these days just overwhelmed me.  Normally I skim the news, try to save my head and heart from the torture of details, but for some reason the headlines were graphic and succinct enough to give me more info on the stories than I wanted.

Who decided it was okay to bring the most deadly disease on the planet to our shores? How many women have to be murdered, abused, subjugated and treated like chattel before we say fucking enough already because--believe it or not peeps--men are not superior beings.  And what kind of parent forgets their baby is in the back seat of a car and goes off to work?  Why is it that every day--every single day--some person goes nuts and kills his entire family.  Take yourselves out instead, you crazy bastards, leave the innocent alone. How many wars can we fight?  How many ways are there to kill the environment, living creatures, people?

My crisis of faith dropped me headfirst into the Slough.  I wallowed. I tried to crawl out but kept sliding back down the slippery slope.  The hopelessness was just plain daunting. I stayed off the internet, didn't turn on the television.  I walked the dogs for miles; spent long hours in silence with just them, my books...and whiskey.  By last night I'd gotten a grip...maybe seeing life through whiskey fumes helped in that endeavor.  Whatever. When I went to bed, I felt marginally better.

Then I dreamed.  About love and sex and bone-crushing hugs and sharing a life.  It was so vivid and wonderful that when I woke up this morning, I forgot for a second--just a tiny little second--that it wasn't real.  My man is gone.  There is no love, no sharing, no sex. I'm just a different bloody version of Eleanor Rigby.  Without the Beatles to sing my song.

I'm out of the Slough now, and though I'm still shaking the mud off my boots, the turmoil in my mind has eased.  I kept my head in the moment today as the boys and I walked through the VA complex, the Sumac and Maple trees turning such incredibly beautiful colors, I couldn't help but smile.

And I learned something.  Smiling is like good whiskey...minus the burn.