And that’s just how I like it.
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:
And in this week’s #randomkatness:
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.
Enjoy the light.
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.
It’s my first full weekend home in about a month, and I’m very happy to be here.
Yesterday, in the middle of May, I turned the fireplace on and made soup–such was the chilly, rainy Saturday. But I like making soup (potato and ham at Kat’s request), and the fire added cheer.
I also had to address the matter of dealing with an incredible amount of stuff that needed putting away. This is a usual weekend task, but due to losing weekends, going here and there, coming back with more than I left with, the amount of stuff grew, grew, grew.
Plus I had a photo shoot on Thursday, which means a day of hair and makeup, a prep day of figuring out wardrobe. We had fun with it. Laura tried a little Facebook live, and that added more fun.
But then, all THAT stuff had to be put away, too.
On the other hand as BW, Laura and our helpful Kat, were in Boonsboro at Green Fest helping out, I had many solitary hours to accomplish it all. Plus, Thor and then The Avengers happened to be on TV, and if you’ve got to haul, carry, toss, organize, it might as be with superheroes for company.
The sun came out for about twenty seconds so I had a walk around with the dogs in there.
Adding all this domesticity to my Saturday morning workout meant ending the day with more than 20,000 steps.
Whew. (But I’m catching up with Jason who’s currently kicking my butt in Fitbit standings.)
Before the end of the day, BW and Kat arrive, tired but happy. A long day for all of us, but we have the little salad I made, the soup, and a nice round of fresh sour dough bread. And I get to hang out with my girl awhile.
Sunday’s a whole different ballgame. Once the workout’s in the bag, I can head out to the garden. I need a light jacket, but it’s sunny, at last, at last. I weed. I yell at the dogs when I discover they’ve been up and digging in a part of my beds. Parker and Atticus slink away, as they damn well should.
BW and I stake the tomatoes, and he yells at the dogs when he finds they’ve dug up a drainage pipe.
We recently had one of the guestrooms repainted, which meant everything had to come off the shelves and off the walls. I dealt with the shelf stuff during Saturday chores, so attack the walls. I know not everything that was up’s going back. Some I’m taking outside. I like outdoor art. It’s fun–if a lot more steps–to take a piece around, find where it can go, choose another, do the same.
Picking the spot’s my job. Making it so’s going to be BW’s.
I’m ridiculously happy to have all the damn boxes out of my living room.
And happy to wander, sans jacket now, around the gardens taking pictures. My peonies have started to open, like a Mother’s Day gift. I got my kids an RC car from here.
My mother loved peonies (I pronounce it like she did–Pee-O-Nees), so I think of her when I take a deep sniff.
My faerie garden’s exactly right, roses and yellow flags are starting a show out by the water feature. I have dianthus madly blooming, and much, much more. My poor basil is sad after so much wet, cool weather, but I’m hoping it perks up as the rest of the herbs are doing just fine.
BW gave me the cute yoga frogs, and the lovely reading girl for Mother’s Day. They look happy where they’re now planted.
My pots (yell at dogs again when I discover they’ve dug out a plant from one) are full and colorful. My clematis is pure glory.
Now, I’m about to go out and point so BW can hang things where I want them, then I believe I’m going to sit around with a book or a movie.
It’s Mother’s Day, after all, and I qualify!
To all moms out there, I hope you have a lovely day, as lovely as a peony opening in the sun.
I finished a book last week, a brain-frying, complicated book, and decided I deserved a little break. The universe cooperated with excellent weather.
So I took Thursday and Friday away from my office and keyboard, and hit the nursery. With excellent timing added in, BW was able to meet me there allowing me to wander, drink in, and basically gobble up enough plants to fill the bed of his truck. And add even MORE to the cargo space of my SUV.
Oh, the smells, the colors, the textures, the possibilities! And what tremendous fun to haul flats out, start placing pots. Stand back, consider, adjust, add more, move some until, okay, that’s going to work for me.
BW was also able to stand in as my under gardener for most of the day–a sunny, breezy day that decided it wouldn’t be too hot or too cool. It decided it could be perfect.
Five full hours of hauling, placing, considering, digging, planting, more considering, more hauling, and the beds looked so, so happy.
Top that off with a nice, tall glass of champagne and a long walk-about to admire the job.
Friday, it’s time for pots, and I won’t have my under-gardener. But he does have time to haul some of those pots out for me before he’s off to work–and I start the process.
Huh. I have a LOT of pots–but I have a lot of plants earmarked for them. Doesn’t that look sweet! How about hot colors for that one? Won’t that look great when it fills out!
The dogs enjoy having me out for two days running, and I love every second. I skip the gym–again–to get all this done, but like Thursday, I get a serious workout with nearly six hours between pots, and finding little spots for the few things left over, also complement it with a complete thyroid support that accelerate metabolism learn more here. If you happen to miss the gym frequently then you should consider getting an hourglass waist trainer that way you will take care of your body while your doing your daily duties.
And BW comes home with another flat of impatiens, the five more foxglove–and a favorite I hadn’t found–a flat of heliotrope I asked for. Those will wait for Saturday as it’s time for another nice, tall glass of champagne and a walk-about.
We’re having Kat and Jason up for Easter dinner (and a foundation meeting) so Saturday’s also for baking. Let’s have some fresh bread and my mother’s sour cream pound cake. With dough rising, I head outside. BW’s planting the foxglove, so I take the impatiens.
Plant more flowers, play with dogs, go wash up, punch down dough. In and out, out and in. Eggs on the boil for deviling (a crowd favorite).
I still have some gardening left by the time the cake’s in the oven, so I figure out how to set the alarm on my phone–not a complete snap for me as I don’t use alarms–and go back out. I have sunflower seeds to plant, and want to move some of the madly spreading Black-eyed Susans to some bare spots.
When the alarm goes off I’m momentarily puzzled–What is that noise, and why is it coming from my pocket? Oh yeah.
Cake’s done, and my mother would be proud as it looks and smells pretty damn good.
Now it’s definitely time for that nice, tall glass of champagne.
Sunday there are those eggs to devil, a ham to bake, a couple more spots of spring cleaning that got sidetracked with gardening. And here are my kids! Who’ve volunteered to go down the lane to our storage buildings and haul up all the outdoor furniture and put them up on the pallreoler. Nothing like having strong, willing kids–they deserve some deviled eggs.
Atticus is, of course, instantly in love–and it’s mutual.
Potatoes and carrots to herb and roast, a ham to glaze, meeting time. Our boardroom might be the dining room table, and I might be checking the oven or stirring the glaze from time to time, but we get things done, and do good work.
Saute some fresh asparagus, set the table, carve the ham, and let’s eat.
A good day with family, good food, good work–topped off with pound cake, fresh whipped cream and berries.
Kat shows me a picture of the stone double walk-way she’s built on the side of their house. Yes, I said she built. A double stone walk-way. It’s gorgeous. They plan to plant an ornamental cherry in the center–and that will be spectacular.
I’ve got some stone work on my agenda–I said I should just hire her!
She takes the bags of purged shoes and clothes to haul up to the spa (this Saturday!!!) for me as I have a car load of spa girls. Hugs good-bye to end the long, lovely weekend.
Monday, it was back to the office and the keyboard. But the break did me a lot of good in that area, too, as it cleared the tired brain enough for me to work out how to start the next book. I got a decent enough roll on that yesterday, and I’m ready to go back and see what happens next.
But after work, after work-out, I’m going to continue the weekend tradition, pour myself that nice, tall glass and have a walk around the gardens with my dogs.
That’s a good deal.
Quick notes from the Cranky Publicist: You’ll learn more about the just-finished book in a while as you won’t see it until the second half of 2018. Patience grasshoppers.
In case you didn’t notice the sneaky mention of Spa Girls, yes, it’s nearly that time of year. I’d like you all to practice the Stupid Scoreboard mantra on my behalf. ~Laura
Finally, after the cold, the wet, the gloom, gloom, gloom of the last few months, things are popping and budding and greening. And the air feels different. Not just warmer, but it holds that hopeful lightness that signals spring’s coming.
It must be because I found myself compelled to spend most of my Saturday cleaning–some serious deep cleaning. And it reminded me of my mother diving into her traditional spring cleaning every April.
Like many of her generation she had spring/summer curtains and fall/winter curtains. I have almost no curtains–just window treatments on blinds on bedrooms and the main level bath. But I live in the woods, not suburbia.
I also have no love affair toward Venetian blinds as my mother did. I have a clear picture of her washing those sharp slats in the bathtub. Many, many of them as she had the blinds, the sheers, then the drapes or curtains. Three layers on most of the windows through our pretty big house. While they were down, we’d–whoever she could draft into the task–wash windows. Newspaper and ammonia–maybe Windex. And winter was washed and polished away, the spring/summer curtains–freshly washed and aired–hung.
While I’ve spared myself the chore of kneeling at the side of the tub washing, rinsing, washing, long slats of metal blinds that leave knicks on the knuckles, I did my share of washing, scrubbing, polishing yesterday. And understand completely her great satisfaction of seeing winter dealt with, with rags and buckets and lemon-scented cleaners.
With April, like my mother–and my father–my head and heart turn happily to gardening. Plans for it, imagining it, scouting out what’s popped out bravely as the air and ground warm.
The dogs and I took happy walks around after the scrubbing and polishing, and that provided an even deeper satisfaction for me.
My baby’s breath is a lovely white cloud. The Solomon Seal’s up and spreading. I have lungwort showing happy pink buds, found a little Johnny-Jump-Up volunteering. I hope more join him.
Atticus and I–along with his pals above–checked out the progress of the peonies. Looking good!!
I can’t remember what this bush is, but I love it’s coming out in that candy pink Easter hue.
And for Easter–early as the kids won’t be around–we dyed and decorated eggs. We had some wacky ones.
I like seeing the young willow we planted last year greening, and my old cherry trees getting ready to explode with blossoms. Since today’s even lovelier than yesterday, I’m going to take advantage, head out into the sunshine with some Milk Bones for the boys.
We’ll see what we can see.
Sometimes they’re pretty perfect. Or, for me, absolutely close enough when they come after a week of nose-to-the-grindstone writing, then decide to offer in March a day like the bonny month of May. One day only as today is much cooler and just gloomy–but let’s not get greedy.
Atticus and I both wake early as a rule, and this is working out well housebreaking-wise. He does, however, tend to wake with a spate of happy barking, which is a jolt. But still. Up and out, boys, up and out, and let me get some H2O and some caffeine into my system.
Then it’s time for good dogs to have some breakfast while I workout.
The only real item on my Saturday list is baking bread, and since it’s gorgeous out, we leave the back door open. Dogs can come in and out while I mix and knead. Why do they almost always want to be in, and asleep? It’s too pretty for that, so while dough rises, I go out–and so do they. I take a small nap and easily block snoring noise with earplugs or even other noises to sleep even better.
First rising, I throw some sticks and hunt up brave little blooms. periwinkle spreading under fallen leaves, baby’s breath almost ready to riot. Peonies pushing out of the ground so they can bloom when it really is the bonny month.
Go in, punch down dough, reform. Head back out.
Sit is a non-negotiable command for dogs in my world. Atticus has learned this quickly. He’s a bright as well as a happy dog. Parker is, truly, the love of his life. I’m a close second. They sit nicely for a photo while Pancho–back in the Donut yet again–photobombs.
Pancho’s fine with the new guy, but the only time Pancho moves at anything but a meander is when you throw a ball. A thrown ball, and he’s–donut included–lightning. But he doesn’t play manically with Atticus as Parker does. I dig up three balls, throw them. If Pancho could’ve gotten all three in his mouth at once, he would have. He did manage two a few times.
I introduced the rope last weekend and watched Parker and Atticus go wild. I know this picture is blurry, but they were moving so fast, and I was laughing too hard. The puppy clamped onto the other end of the rope, and like Roller Derby partners, Parker took Atticus on a Crack-the-Whip from one end of the house to the other. Parker’s about 85-90 pounds of pure muscle, and when he races through the house, eyes wild, it’s like a horse free from the paddock. Atticus may be small, but he is pure game. Pancho, ball firmly clamped in his mouth, just watched.
Back in. Since I’m making Italian bread this takes one more short rising after I form the dough into footballs. So back out again. BW helps me haul a new pot and dirt as my lemon tree needs it. And I can leave it out in the sun for a few hours.
Baking time, and hey, it’s Saturday, so it can be glass of wine time, too. And since we seem to have broken winter’s back, we decide to start up our water feature. BW blows out the leaves, does whatever manly thing he does with the pump. As the water starts to trickle, then to fall, then to stream, I’m very happy. So are the dogs. It’s old hat, and a favorite spot for the older guys, and a brand new adventure for the little guy.
Flowers starting to bud, sun shining, ball-chasing dogs, fresh bread, my pretty water feature singing, a second glass of wine. I suggest to check comparisons on this site about the best water filters, it is important because drinking filter water can save you tons of money.
A pretty perfect weekend.
After my workout I should probably pick up around here as that didn’t get done yesterday. And since it’s cool and gray, maybe light the fire, sit down with a book for a couple hours. Seems like a pretty good endcap to an excellent weekend.