I don’t know why this month’s always so difficult. Okay winter, but it’s short. It should be easy.
But we have ice on the lane, ice on the patio, dogs who don’t want to be outside more than five minutes. Who can blame them? We have cold. We have gloom. Then how about some more gloom? With some ice and sleet and whatever else February wants to toss down.
Then we have Thursday. Suddenly it’s sixty degrees. I hear birds celebrating. I don’t get outside myself for long, but when I do, it’s ahhhh. Between the rain and the sudden warm, the ice is just a bad memory.
Then Saturday happens. Gloom is back, and cold. And let’s just throw in some snow. It wouldn’t be such a thing, except psychotic February gave us Thursday. Why?
So due to snow, and the fact my guy’s coming home, I spent most of snowy Saturday in the kitchen. Pasta e fagioli sounds good, and the traveler’s very fond of my sour dough pretzel rolls.
It’s a nice way for me to spend a February day, and it’ll be good to see my guy again. Even though . . . this is my kitchen counter without a man in the house, even after making soup and bread.
And this is my kitchen counter after BW.
It soothes my double Libra soul to have the tidy. Clutter and chaos just bring on a underlying stress I mostly ignore because, well, life and I do share that life and the house with a male.
I’ve always shared life and houses with males. A father and four brothers. A husband and two sons. I happen to know not all men are messy, but mostly the ones who aren’t don’t live in my little world.
The offset here, other than I actually love my man, is someone else will go outside on the frigid mornings to feed the dogs, take out the trash and recycling. That same someone will plow the snow off the lane. That someone will do the dishes after I cook, even if he appears to be genetically incapable of cleaning off the counters or stovetop.
Note to BW: (A few swipes with a questionable dishcloth is not cleaning off.)
Still, February’s more than half over. I don’t wish time away–ever–but that doesn’t mean I can’t think about spring while I’m looking out at my snowy woods. It’ll be harder to take when they’re forecasting close to 70s later in the week.
Psychotic February. You just have to take it as it comes.
Cranky Publicist note (or…And Now something different):
As the winter yang to Nora’s winter yin — in the summer we reverse — I must speak up for those of us who go outdoors in the cold months. While I’m grateful on the truly miserable days to work in a home office, I need to put on layers and get outside at least once a week to breathe and reset.
The rewards abound: I found gorgeous blue skies and ice sculptures in Frederick. Roses under sulky gray skies in NYC. Reds and golds and dragons in NYC’s Chinatown to celebrate the dawn of the Year of the Dog.
Summer will be here way too quickly (the mid-week forecast is closer to 80 in my elevation — yikes!) for my thick blood, while Nora will embrace the warmth with thanks and celebration. (And WHY does the summer contain TWO months with 31 days? The winter haters get February. I want a February.)
And yet, the seasons will turn and we’ll each have our moments in the sun.
Which is exactly what I don’t want when BW goes on his winter break. What I want is a quiet house, little to no cooking, and hibernation routine.
The first disruption in this planned bliss happened when I had to go back to the dentist because they found a stupid cavity on my regular check up. Still quick and home, get to work and all’s well.
It worked that way for several days. Just me and the dogs. Get up, feed and water dogs. Go to work. Let dogs in because it’s freaking cold, but dogs behave so continue work. Put dogs out at workout time–except for a single digit day where I didn’t have the heart leave them outside for 90 minutes. But they embraced their good fortune and behaved.
Sign books if it’s signing day, and have the wonderful Janeen bring me a salad from Vesta. Feed dogs. Feed self.
And since I have galleys, do galleys in the evening in the quiet.
Put dogs out, let dogs in. Rinse and repeat until bedtime.
This is great!!!
Great for me, and great for BW who’s enjoying the balmy breezes of Hawaii.
Then Tuesday happened. My lane is already an ice rink–which Logan reports on his after-school visit is pretty awful. And he’s pleased because all his teachers said there probably wouldn’t be any school Wednesday. I’m out of the loop–why not? Ice storm coming.
So I check, oh yes indeed. Snow, sleet, freezing rain, starting any minute, and through the morning. With forecasted accumulations of an inch on the ice.
That’s very bad.
I call my weekly housekeeper who comes Wednesday, tell her don’t even try it. It’s already bad, and it’ll be worse. Stay home.
I plan to call my amazing landscaper guy after the storm to have him spread salt or whatever works. No point doing that until after.
We get a little snow, but mostly it’s that freezing rain, and everything’s covered with ice in the morning. And it’s still spitting down. What do I care? I’m going to work right upstairs.
Morning routine–with a little nervous in taking out recyclables, but I’m careful. Dogs in, dogs out, work, work. Stop work to call landscaper. Go work out. Cold, gloomy, icy, but I don’t care.
I’m a little amazed to hear my guy out there while I’m sweating in the gym. That was fast.
Fast enough Janeen’s able to bring up books. Sign books. Bye, bye.
Feed dogs, consider feeding self.
And the lights flicker, everything beeps, then goes out.
I’m not initially worried. I have a full-house generator. I wait for few seconds to hear that muffled roar. Instead, I hear a roolf–roolf sort of grinding, and no power.
This is not good.
As this has never happened before, I’m baffled. Am forced to call BW to ask who to call. It’s single digits, and we have no heat, no light, no water, no nothing.
Somehow he finds the number for the people who installed the generator years ago. They’ll send someone within the hour.
Meanwhile Logan and I are texting as their power’s out, too. Normally, I’d have them all come up here in the light and warm, but I have no light and warm.
I stick a mini flashlight in my pocket, get out full-sized ones, light candles, light the gas fireplace.
Talk to generator guys. Service guy is finishing up another emergency call and will head out.
That grinding worries me a lot. I’m no mechanic but it sounds like something going to burn up or just can’t get going. What to do if we can’t get it fixed and the power doesn’t come back?
Possibly call the inn, see if there are rooms. But that would mean I leave my dogs out in single digits all night. And I’m not entirely sure now that it’s dark, temps dropping, I can get down the lane.
Pace, mull, worry. I can only use my cell, which I’m busy charging with a portable charger, and cell service is iffy here. But the service guy gets though, is on his way.
Maybe we’ll get lucky. I keep Logan and the gang updated. I could send them to the inn if necessary. Just not sure about leaving the dogs out all night so I may need to tough it out.
Meanwhile the smoke alarm and house alarm are beeping constantly as there’s no AC. I have a raging headache by the time the very nice Robert arrives.
The dogs are thrilled! Another human.
He goes down, gets to work. He works quite some time.
Comes back up after this some time, tells me they’re going to try to get me a portable generator as mine’s going to need more work. Apparently it hasn’t been serviced in a decade, was low on oil, etc, etc.
I feel my head explode. This is BW’s job. He has his jobs, I have mine. Why do we have no maintenance contract on an essential tool? I say to Robert, when my husband gets home from Maui, I’m going to beat him with a hammer.
Robert laughs. He doesn’t know I have a hammer and I know how to use it.
He goes out because it’s easier to get cell service outside. I hear him go down, work some again. Then he comes up. They haven’t been able to find a portable for me. He’d tried another fix, but no luck.
They’ll come back in the morning, he’s so sorry.
Not his fault, and he’s been out there in the cold and dark for over two hours.
As we’re talking, the lights come on, everything stops the stupid beeping. I’m afraid the universe is messing with me. I ask Robert. Is the power really back on?
He grins. Oh yeah, you got power.
Such is my state that I say out loud and with extreme joy: Oh, fucking A.
He laughs again.
Text Logan, and yes, they’re back in business. We exchange virtual high fives.
Somewhere around eight-thirty, I finally feed myself.
And when BW calls we have a very unhappy conversation. He’s genuinely and sincerely sorry — but sorry don’t cut it, pal. LOL.
I probably won’t beat him with a hammer–but I’ve already arranged for semi-annual maintenance. This will never happen again.
I have to say through those four stressful hours I thought about the people in Puerto Rico who’ve been without power for months. It makes me sick and sad. I could’ve camped out in here for a night–did it for longer than that before the generator (which is why we have one). I had places I could go if the outage lasted more than a few hours.
For me, this was an inconvenience–fairly serious as it’s cold and there are grandkids and animals to think of. But basically an inconvenience.
And an adventure I could’ve done without.
But things are back to normal. My lane got a second hit of salt–because it’s bad out there. I scrubbed a couple of floors because my housekeeper couldn’t make it here. I found a bucket of ash to throw over the worst of the ice on the way to the trash and the bird feeder–though it’s still pretty dicey.
I’m getting my work done, my workouts in, and my house is nice and quiet.
It’s another gray and gloomy day, but due to that second hit of salt, the flower delivery guy made it up the lane. And I have such pretty, cheerful flowers sent by my editor. Dark In Death hit number one! Yay!
I also have my monthly flowers–when it’s gloomy, flowers bring the light.
I have the fireplace going, candles lit, happy dogs, and I believe I’ll pour myself a glass of wine when I finish this, maybe settle into the quiet with a book.
And hope my only adventures are inside those pages.
I’m no Scrooge, so I love the holidays. I even–mostly–love all the work and prep that goes with them. The other night, I watched Bad Mom’s Christmas (laughing like a loon)–and it’s true, Christmas is the Super Bowl for moms–and nanas. But with that very merrily done, our annual New Year’s Open House happily done, we took our traditional January break at the spa.
This one turned into a work/spa deal for me, but that was all good. A morning workout, a few hours of work, a lovely massage, then family and friends to spend the evening with. A good kick off to a year for me.
But now, ahhh, winter routine.
After a solid writing week–another ahhh–I spent my Saturday as I like to spend January Saturdays. Even better, Bruce and Jason (after a considerable effort and tech know-how) set me up with a mirroring tablet in the gym. Now I can mirror, stream, whatever it is a boatload of workouts onto the big screen. So my day starts with some new to me routines–a good way to fool the mind and body that they’re having fun.
I’m a fan of the Beach Body gang, even though some of the trainers are sadists. Sometimes it takes a good sadist to whip you through a workout.
With that done–whew–it’s kitchen time. I promised BW a pot roast–makes him happy. Mine simmers for hours in a full bottle of red wine. Who wouldn’t be happy? With the potatoes and carrots pealed, onions and celery sliced, that big hunk ‘o meat simmers drunkenly while I shove up my sleeves and head up to the third floor.
It’s purge and organize time, another winter routine.
I hit the One More Room first because eek! This is where a lot of the holiday magic happens–the storing, the wrapping, the bagging and tagging. It’s also where we store bowls and platters and so on used primarily when entertaining.
It needs help.
A couple hours later, voila! Magic. It looks like an actual adult lives here.
Move onto my closet. More purging. Be tough, Nora! You can do this. Maybe once or twice I pulled something out, waffled and put it back, but for the most part, I AM tough. And since post-signing next Saturday pals are coming over to go through all I purged here, they’ll be glad I was tough.
My closet now looks like a fairly sensible woman lives here. A woman who really, really, REALLY loves shoes and boots, but is reasonable.
My office next, and there I’m very pleased that due to several years of very strict purges, it doesn’t take very long.
A top floor sweep in one day. Happy dance!
It gives my time to cull through my scarves–another big love–while the pot roast finishes off. Boy it smells good in here.
Some well earned bubbly, which should, imo, be part of any routine, then pot roast.
Day’s done–but oops, four tubs of books waiting to be signed. Okay, this calls for more bubbly. And now, the day’s done. A very satisfying winter Saturday.
Today, more of the same, that’s routine, after all. It’s about time for that workout, then I’ll pick the next room, maybe rooms, to tackle. Plenty of leftovers, so no dinner to cook.
And tomorrow, it’s back to the book and the hope for another solid week of writing.
For somebody who doesn’t like the cold, can do without the bitter winds and snowy drives anywhere, indoor routines keep winter happy.
Cranky Publicist addition: Nora wrote a post called The Road to Discovery in Feb 2016 in which she said, “I cook pretty much as I write, which is why I not only don’t but can’t answer the calls for recipes after I post a blog on cooking. Please, please, don’t ask me!”
May I suggest the joys of Google for recipes? BTW, I just found one for crock pot beef stew cooked in coffee . Must go make!
[Note: the italics and bold words are my doing. ~Laura]
In my normal routine, weekends are for domestic stuff, family, taking a breath. There were many times back in the day that I put in time writing on weekends. There are still occasions I work weekends, or go back to work in the evening–but mostly I try not to.
I need to enjoy my home, my family–and tend to both, just like most people.
This weekend, after a fun gathering here on Friday evening, I got in an early workout before hitting the domestic and family. Fun for me that when I started wrapping the last of the Christmas presents, a pretty snow began to fall. Light, fluffy, and the perfect backdrop for my tradition of watching (as Kayla calls them) cornball Christmas movies while I wrap.
Done with that, I headed down, put on more cornball as the snow fell and I kneaded bread. And while the bread rose, started making soup. It’s another routine in the life during the fall and winter. Making soup and bread on the weekends.
My house smelled glorious. As a reward, during the second rising, and while the soup simmered, I got the book I haven’t had time to pick up for two weeks, poured myself some bubbly and sat in the library. A fire, a snowfall, an adult beverage and a most excellent book. Nice.
Today, we had a window before Logan’s basketball game to do some cookie baking. Another tradition–one that now had Kayla mostly in the lead. The girl’s a good cook. A double batch of chocolate chip, some peanut butter blossoms, and after they had to head out, I finished up with candy cane kiss cookies.
Yum to all. My kids took a break in there, took advantage of Nana’s soup. Next weekend we’ll add Colt in and do our famous painted sugar cookies. Fun, chaotic, messy, adorable and delish.
If I didn’t take this time for family, for homey chores I very much enjoy, my life would have no balance. All work will, no question, eventually lead to burn out. That’s not beneficial to anyone.
I get readers fall in love with a book or author and want more. And more, and faster, quicker–and often NOW. The book I finished in my library was John Sandford’s latest Virgil Flowers novel. I am a HUGE fan. And now I wait a year to see where Virgil goes next. I’d love to have the next instantly, but that’s simply impossible, and so very unfair to Sandford. I assume he also enjoys having an actual life.
None of us who write can write as fast as readers (myself included) read. We can’t. And we shouldn’t try–because the work will suffer. Readers can and do gobble up a book in hours. Writing that book takes months, and in some cases years.
I’m thrilled many readers enjoyed Year One, are supportive of this new direction I followed. I’m flattered readers are looking forward to the second book.
Where this breaks off is where some readers feel entitled to demand, or are outraged by a wait for a book, or jump to conclusions about the publisher or marketing or whatever. I don’t include in this those who say: Oh, I can’t wait!! Or how will I wait!! Or I wish I had it now. I wish I had the next Sandford in my hot little hands. I’m a reader, too. (And the last line in that book had me going: Hot Damn! But now I wait.)
I’m talking about those who complain the books should be published one after another, or closer together. I can’t write them to suit those readers because these books are longer than my previous trilogies and so very much more complicated to write. And I just insist on having a life in there, too.
I haven’t written the three books in a trilogy one after another for years. I used to be able to do so. I haven’t so longer than I can remember. Same with the Robbs, which I could, at one time, do nearly always, three in a row. Life, creativity and scheduling have made that impossible.
I have not, as some have claimed, written all three already (so my publisher can hold them back). These books are brutal and fascinating and scary to write, and it takes a lot of time, a lot of effort. And so much figuring out, my brain hurts at the end of the day when I’m into one. I want to produce the best books I can, and I can’t do it like a machine that pumps them out on demand.
I think part of the problem is that I write fairly quickly, and readers have gotten used to more and more. I still write four major books a year. Four. It’s all I can do well. Frankly, I think the other part of the problem is that some readers are used to how quickly the self-pubbed produce–and don’t look at the fact those stories are generally a LOT shorter, don’t go through a serious editing process, a cover art process, the scheduling process, the marking issues, and so on.
All those processes take time.
When my editor and agent came here for dinner (and the holiday signing) a bit ago, we sat in my kitchen going over the schedule for 2019. St. Martin’s, like all publishers, have other authors, and consider placement carefully because YES, publishing is a business. If the publisher doesn’t make some sort of profit, the publisher can’t stay in the business of publishing. They can’t pay writers, editors, sales reps, marketing and publicity staff and on and on.
SMP would, absolutely, be thrilled if I could write a book every month. They’d find a way to publish all of them. I can’t. Physically, creatively, realistically, I can’t just pump them out like gum drops. If I did, the quality would suffer, and every single reader would, rightfully, complain.
Year One is a departure, and won’t appeal to all readers. The In Death series doesn’t appeal to all readers. The stand-alone I write every year doesn’t appeal to all readers. I like the diversity, and I need it to stay creatively fresh. But I can’t write faster, I can’t give more than I do. If I tried, I’d burn out within a year–and spend my time gardening, making soup and bread.
I prefer the balance. I hope readers who enjoyed Year One will anticipate Of Blood And Bone next year the way I anticipate the follow-up to Sandford’s Deep Freeze. And in the meantime, read and enjoy the multitude of wonderful books out there.
Me, I’m going to dive into King’s Sleep Beauty first chance I get.
It’s been weeks! I’ve been crazy busy with no time to do a blog. Squeezing some out now as the rest of the time until Christmas is even crazy busier. But that’s the holidays. While I thank God it’s just once a year, I wouldn’t change a thing.
BW and I took our November week at the spa–a working week for me–and I’m ready for another. It’s a nice break, and a different routine. Workout early, write for about four hours, then get a lovely spa treatment. Somebody else cooks dinner and cleans it up. A pretty good deal.
Straight to Boonsboro on our way back for Logan’s middle school production of Charlotte’s Web. Altogether adorable.
We had our November Girls Night Out in Boonsboro with lots of happy faces–along with champagne and yummy snacks. A fun evening for all, and a lovely way to celebrate being a girl!
Then boom! It’s Thanksgiving here with the gang. That means making pies–yes, from scratch–on Wednesday, and a full day of kitchen duty on Thursday. With round two with leftovers on Friday. I love the smells of Thanksgiving cooking, and the fussing–and the fact that our Kat can always be counted on to deal with the piles of dishes.
I got smacked with some mild vertigo last weekend, just enough to screw up my schedule. But that’s over, for which I was extremely grateful on Thanksgiving. Still, it meant the wrapping I had planned for last Saturday didn’t get done until this weekend. Done now, and whew.
Presents wrapped–except for the few stragglers coming in this week. I can’t count the number of schmaltzy Christmas movies I’ve watched while I wrapped boxes and bagged gifts. I’m not ashamed of loving them.
Since I leave in the morning for my most cherished annual holiday with girls, decorating came a little early around here. I’m having my agent and editor for dinner next Friday–along with grandkids–and our holiday signing Saturday, another holiday deal on Sunday, so this was it. BW hauled up the tubs of holiday decorations, and we hit it, and hit it hard. A couple more wrapping sessions carved in there, and we are so ready for Christmas.
There are several more marks on the calendar through December, but we can now take them as they come, and enjoy every minute of being with family and friends.
I hope to squeeze out time for another blog before the first of the year, but just in case: Here’s wishing you and yours all the joys, chaos, bright lights and merriment of the season.
However crazy the next few weeks are for you, don’t forget to light a candle, eat a cookie, give a hug and celebrate the moments.
I’ve been working pretty hard since our return from France. I like working hard, so that’s all good. But I like play time with pals, too. I had a great day/evening/night with good girl pals this week on our Try To Make It Annual Girls In Boonsboro trip.
I get into town early enough to take a new class at Fit In Boonsboro with my pal, JoAnne. Grabbed 45 on the elliptical first, then did 45 of boogying cardio after. Got my 90 in, and had fun doing it. That’s some work.
Reward came with lunch and champagne at Vesta with Jo, Laura, Pat, Mary Kay, Mary and Elaine. Good food, good pals, good wine.
Then it’s shopping–lots of opportunities for that in B’Boro. Josie’s On Main first stop geographically.
I found myself a fun Witch Please tank that amused me–and has already been worn for a later workout. Among other things I picked up a few Christmas gifts, then we wandered down Main to Gifts In Boonsboro. Earrings! A gorgeous vase I’ve had my eye on–and a gift for my pal Ruth in Michigan. A just because as the black/white/gray soft as a cloud hand-made afghan said I Am Ruth’s.
Onto TTP for more, and whee, they’ve put Stephen King’s new book written with his son Owen aside for me. Can’t wait to dig in.
Then on this perfectly gorgeous October afternoon, it’s time to check into the inn, hang out in The Courtyard. More bubbly, yummy snacks, those good pals–and a couple of fun guests.
And presents for me as my birthday’s coming. Cake, too. That’s a good deal.
Before the evening ends, the webmaster for our businesses stops by on his way home from a Boy Scout meeting. He has his amazingly adorable son–also Owen. Owen is one of the top popcorn salesmen for the Scouts–and it’s easy to see why when he starts his pitch. My fave is when his dad said he could get the key for the storage place, break in and get the forms. Dad, says Owen, how do you break in with a key?
I bought the 22 pack of microwave Movie Theater (extra butter!). It’s delicious.
A fun day, a quiet night, another morning workout, then mmmm breakfast. I’m not a breakfast eater but it’s hard to resist the offerings at the inn.
All in all a lovely reward.
Then back to work.
Thursday my perfection of a hairdresser comes to do my cut and color, give BW a trim, get Logan’s hair cut before he catches the bus for school. This time Logan has a picture of the cut he wants. Harold makes it so. The result is a seriously happy teenage boy. Handsome, too.
And back to work. Sticking hard with it to get it off to my agent and editor before I pack for a week in NYC. Another reward.
Flowers come–calla lilies. Every year I give myself the gift of flowers every month. It makes me happy, especially in the winter.
Friday I make red sauce for pasta for Kayla our running girl. She has a meet on Saturday. Logan, however, is done with pasta every Friday and gets to pick the main meal. He wants Grandda’s flank steak, my roasted rosemary potatoes.
We make this so. And I get more cake!!
Saturday I pack, or mostly. Workout first, then figuring out what I need for a fall week in the city. And then–reward–I take the DVD of Wonder Woman BW gave me and gorge on it and Owen’s popcorn.
Today, Jason and Kat will be here for a foundation meeting and dinner. BW made extra flank steak with this in mind. I have to make more potatoes, and they went over pretty big on Friday night.
Tomorrow, finish packing–not much there–and start refreshing myself on the Chronicles Of The One trilogy before I start writing the final book.
Work and reward. It’s a nice balance. Reward yourself!
It’s been a good week here, a routine week–my favorite kind. Work, workouts, dogs, my favorite teenage boy after school. And the weather’s holding onto summer just a little longer.
Since my man took off for a week at the beach, and I stayed home, it’s been a week without cooking.
I made myself a list for the weekend, including some domestic stuff. Not a lot there as–sorry guys–men are messy. The house has stayed in order this week, so that item didn’t go on the list. Since it didn’t I took a couple hours to work instead, got the workout in after that, then started harvesting herbs.
I have four ice cube trays of chopped oregano in the freezer. I’ll pop them out, bag them today, then move on to basil–and rosemary if that fits my day.
My garden may be winding down, but I still had the pleasure of wandering out, cutting hydrangeas, and some this and that. My lovely editor sent me flowers last week, and as they’d faded some by Saturday, I culled out what could be culled, added those this and thats for a pretty little spot of color.
It’s nice to wake up to flowers, a clean kitchen counter, and snoring dogs.
Most mornings, Atticus comes up to my office when he’s ready to go out. He doesn’t much like to go out without Parker unless it’s an emergency. Getting Parker up in the morning is like dragging a teenage boy out of bed.
Five more minutes, Mom!
I start off cheerful. Let’s go, let’s go! Give him a pet–Come on, let’s go out. He’ll roll over, curl up. Every morning, same deal. I’ve found the only way to deal with it is to grab the end of his dog bed, haul up (he’s all muscle!) and roll him out. Then he yawns, stretches–all this while Atticus is dancing around. Gets up, stretches, stretches, takes a couple steps, stretches–and if I walk out expecting him to follow, he’ll try to sneak right back onto the dog bed.
When BW’s here, and gets the dogs up, I hear him go through the same routine. I imagine my voice mirrors the rising exasperation in his.
So we’ve done that today, and I had my hour or so up here to check on the world before feeding time.
Pancho is now pretty much completely deaf so he no longer hears my whistle. You can hear my whistle at least a quarter mile away–ask my boys. The other two come running like maniacs, but in the past couple months, either BW or I have to go around to the front of the house and the dog hut where Pancho spends most of his time sleeping. Wake him up–he’s always a little startled–then he’ll lumber around to the back of the house behind me.
Today Parker’s feeling frisky, so as we walk around, he charges Atticus. They jump, wrestle, leap on each other, growl and dance and carry on. Then in their wild joy ram straight into me. I repeat, Parker’s all muscle. And Atticus? To paraphrase the bard: He may be but little, but he is fierce.
They nearly took me down.
Anyway, that’s done.
I’m going to work for a bit, get in that workout, do the herbs. Then my weekend list is all checked off. (Routine–we hope–dentist visit in the morning, but I’m not thinking about that today.) I should have time to spend a little of a quiet Sunday with a book.
Before the dogs got going, at some trembling moment before full dawn, I looked out my office window. The sun must have been at some perfect point of rise because while the sky was more dark than light, it shot sparkles through my woods. It looked like faerie lights glimmering.
I figure with that start to the day it’s going to be a good one.
Summer–my favorite season–is winding down. We’re approaching Mabon, the Autumn Equinox. With that fleeting balance of day and night, most harvesting’s done. My tomatoes sure are. My garden’s got the late summer shabbies though there are some pretty fabulous spots and corners of color and bloom still. Before much longer, I’ll be thinking about making soups, pulling on sweaters and boots.
So, I for one, am holding tight to these last wonderfully warm days.
We had a busy summer around here. Lots of work, lots of travel. And we capped it off with our annual summer party.
That meant the weekend after we returned from France, we had party prep to deal with (and that’s after unpacking, putting awaying, nose to the grindstoning on the book).
While Jason and BW spent hours on a rainy Saturday setting up outside–awnings, tables, chairs, food stations–Kat and I spent hours inside (with some assist from our Sarah) cooking, baking, chopping, stirring. I think, in one day, we made up for our couple of weeks on holiday with no cooking involved.
Kat brought France back by making the amazing dessert we call pie-cream-pie. Labor intensive, creative and absolutely delicious.
Fortunately, the rainy Saturday turned into a pretty Sunday for the party. Lots of people, lots of food and drink. And that’s a wrap for another summer.
With that wrap, the kids head back to school. Kayla’s back in cross-country training. Run, Kayla! And Logan grew TWO inches while we were in France. We’re now eye-to-eye.
And at last, one completely at-home weekend follows. Nowhere we need to go. BW and I both spent it doing chores around here. It felt wonderful to put the house and yard back in order. But that short spurt of–for me–domestic bliss–led up to this past weekend’s signing at Turn The Page.
I knew going in this would be a long one. We were lucky to host three writers (and personal friends) who rarely come to our area. Our stellar line-up included–in alpha order: Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Susan Wiggs. A nice bonus for me to be able to catch up with all of them. And since some 360 readers–give or take–came through the doors, I wasn’t wrong about the long one. Five and a half hours rates as long–for the writers and the readers.
Thanks to all who came to sign, to buy books, to be there, for their patience and fortitude.
Today, it’s warm and sunny–but I see one of the poplar trees out my window going yellow with September. I’ve tidied my house, done my workout (not easy to drag my butt out to my gym today!), and after I write this, I’m going to do exactly nothing for the rest of the day.
I want to add to anyone who’s had their lives and homes disrupted by Harvey or Irma, you’re all in my thoughts. I’ve been lighting candles for you, and will light one today before my nothing begins.
Note from Laura: I came back from the beach to get to the signing. One last sunrise to hold me over until next year:
I’m always torn when the summer solstice arrives. Litha celebrates the brilliance of that longest day, that peak of power and light even as the days after are just a little shorter one by one. So I think we have to appreciate what the full-on summer and that light offer while we have them.
A lot of that, for me, comes from the garden. I spend some time every day I can in that light, with the flowers whether it’s working with them or just admiring.
This past week was–happily–butt in the chair, fingers on the keyboard. A brief detour to the dentist for the permanent crown to replace the one that cracked. I had an 8:20 am appointment, got there at 8:15, and was back in my car heading home at 8:35.
You don’t get better than that.
Every day last week after work and workout, I chose a snack out of proteinpromos massive list of ideas high in protein and then took a little walk around with the dogs. Sunshine and flowers–add a glass of wine on the walk, dogs trotting along and that’s a perfect end of the work day for me.
This week, if nothing gets in the way, looks to offer the same.
Yesterday, no work but workout, then gardening gloves and pruners.
Here’s what I saw along the way.
Purple cone flowers starting to pop among the green, green, green.
Begonias flourishing–and what’s left of some nasturtium after cabbage loopers attacked making a gradual comeback.
Monarda, vivid and feathery.
Thriving pots–even most of the ones you see Parker (and it turns out it is primarily Parker) digs in.
Whiskey barrel of coleus and sweet potato plants.
Mystery perennial. Bookstore Janeen gave me a pot of ONE of these from her yard last summer, and didn’t know the name. These sunny pretties have spread like mad. Anybody know what they are?
Snapdragons, lobelia, nasturtiums, basil, lavender, with cardinal flowers and Black-Eyes Susans almost ready to bloom.
My happy little faerie garden, or most of it. Some Solomon Seal and a bleeding heart already bloomed off, ageratum, mini fuchsia, dragon wing begonia. The sweet alyssum in the front doesn’t seem to love it there. I’ll try something else next year.
But a very happy barrel of impatiens.
One of my gardening companions.
More thriving pots on the lower patio.
And tomatoes on the vine, with pepper plants coming right along.
I didn’t think to take a picture of the hydrangeas, but since I didn’t walk back in empty handed, we have a pretty little harvest in the very cool vase Laura gave me.
After my morning workout, I think I’ll grab some clippers and cut more flowers on my walk around with the dogs.
Flowers, inside and out, make summer for me as much as long, sunny days.
It rained a lot last week, and though the gray gets tiresome, I had a full week without leaving the house. Full work days without: Crap, I have to do this or go there.
That, for me, was pretty much heaven.
We did have a visitor one morning. BW found this stunned mourning dove–and afraid the dogs might go to town on it, brought it in to show me. Before he started back down, the dove pulled itself together, started to flap. So out it went, safe and sound.
And I broke a stupid crown, somehow or other.
Now, I’ll call the dentist office first thing in the morning, right before I leave for Kat’s birthday shopping trip and slumber party. We’ll see if the dentist can squeeze me in after that, and before we leave on Friday for Logan’s Excellent New York adventure.
Can’t believe my guy is thirteen.
So a crazy week coming after heaven, but much fun in there. Likely two more stints in the dentist chair, but what can you do?
After the week of work, workouts and rain, we had the sun shine for us on Saturday for the signing at Turn The Page. To my recollection, it’s the first time we’ve done a June signing, but Come Sundown’s hit the shelves, so we worked one in. We’ll still have our traditional anniversary signing in July, with the Fall Into The Story Brunch on the Sunday following the signing.
But for this past one, we had sunshine and nice temperatures–and an unexpected power outage in Boonsboro. That was interesting, and fortunately only lasted about an hour. The readers, authors and staff handled it all with patience and good humor.
Laura and I did a little Facebook Live chat–just a couple minutes, before everything got going. Maybe we’ll do another one when we’re in New York. Logan’s main wish is a trip to the Nike Store–the boy does love basketball shoes–but we also have tickets for a ballgame, plans to take him down to The Flatiron, maybe take a stroll on the Highline, eat pizza–and just give him a fun, Logan-centric time in the big city.
I need to pack for our Kat-centric overnight (Girl Fun!), but I treated myself to a walk around the gardens–without the work this weekend as I have too much else to see to–and clearly the flowers enjoyed all that rain.
I expect I’ll be in the dentist chair one day this week, then it’s pack for Logan’s trip–with, I hope, at least a little writing time in there.