Spring Sights

imageSpotted on back roads leading to Daughter #2’s voice lesson (her wonderful voice teacher lives about an hour distant in the countryside…well worth the trip!) The sheep looked content…and curious.

 

imageAfter this first pic on the left was snapped (at a Stop sign), the two sheep in front, who had been grazing when we first pulled up, raised their heads and stared at us. We “spoke” for a bit and then we continued on our way. 🙂

Halloween Memories

Halloween in the 1984

This was done my first year at college, when I came home on break…

Reminiscing Halloweens past, and the decorating we used to do at the Homestead with all homemade materials.  All the pictures in this post are from the 80’s (as the clothing and hairstyles will attest, LOL)!

Ma with pumpkinCutting jack-o-lanterns with Pa and Ma. Ma is having a bit of fun with her pumpkin. 🙂

Pa and Mary with pumpkin

Admiring the finished products with Pa

pumpkin and mary

And finally, sitting atop the little shelter Pa built for us to stand in while we waited for the school bus at the end of our long driveway…sharing the space with a giant pumpkin Pa grew, and a little orange cat he and Ma took in.

Happy Halloween!

Old Kitchen Nostalgia

imagesGTMBP5VTI enjoy home improvement shows. I particularly like those where renovations happen to bring a “bargain” purchase up to modern speed…but my “weirdness” comes in during the first look at the “before” aspects of the homes.

renovation101216dIt almost always makes me feel a little twinge of poignancy. A pang. A bittersweet sense, of nostalgia for those times and places gone by.52ebec5f697ab040980006d1__w_540_s_fit_

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Beautiful 1950s kitchen

I can’t help envisioning, sometimes – especially with the kitchens – the happy times, the meals cooked and eaten by countless people, the gatherings enjoyed, and holidays and birthday celebrated. It can be places from times long before I was born; it doesn’t matter.

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Kitchen from around the time I was born in the 1960s

The room(s) that hosted those events is being cleared out, emptied, stripped down. That wallpaper or those cabinets and countertops so lovingly selected in 1957 or 1963, or 1990 are nothing more, now, then a mark of a bygone era, and the people who chose them and lived there have moved on, literally or figuratively, to greener pastures.

It makes me kind of…sad.

7-lodge-gothics-snow-cozy

peeking into a lit window at a cozy scene

Perhaps my feeling is connected to the game my mother and I would play (and that I still do sometimes even now, I confess) when we’d be driving somewhere, especially at night, and I could glimpse through some open shades or curtains a lit room or two in a home as we passed by. I was always fascinated by that, imagining the people who lived there by having that quick look. What were they like? What were their hopes, dreams? Were they happy or in the grip of a tragic or challenging circumstance? That “What if?” game led to me writing novels, I’m sure – but it’s also part and parcel of what niggles at me during those home improvement shows.

I’m pretty sure that makes me weird (so if you’re akin to this, or even understand what I’m talking about here, please chime in through the comments, so I know I’m not alone, LOL)!

Do YOU ever get a bittersweet sense of poignancy about something that doesn’t have personal meaning to you?

Sailors Take Warning….

imageIt’s been awhile since I blogged. Much is happening with some family members and other elements of life outside of teaching and writing that has been taking up more of my time that usual. Punctuating this is a fall I took on the ice that caused me to crack my head hard enough to require a trip to the ER. Ultimately, I’ll be fine, but I’m not as young as I used to be, and the goose egg on my head and lower spine, combined with lots of achy stiffness, is slowing me down.

But this is a pic I snapped this morning on my way out the back door to drive to my teaching job 30 minutes away. The “rising sun” sky here looks a lot more gold than it looked to the naked eye: it was much more crimson and ruby, and the old saying sprang into my head. “Pink at night, sailors delight. Pink in the morning, sailors take warning.”

Of course this means we’re supposed to watch out for bad weather. I don’t think there is any in the forecast until Saturday, but I guess I’d better go check.

What do you think of old sayings? Do you have any favorites or any that seem to be more “true” than others? Please share in the comments – and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

Keeping a Balance

rains-poursThis feeling can sometimes overwhelm (for those of you who’ve read Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven, Pa called it the “black cloud” in the final letter of the book, in the Epilogue).

 

 

 

8a382-every-cloud-have-a-silver-liningBut I try to remember this sentiment, also, that my dear mother has always told me.

Sometimes easier said than done.

Can anyone else relate?

PS: I love how the color schemes of these two pictures reflect the moods of their messages (I’m holding on to the fact that blue is my favorite color). 🙂

“Writerly” Perks

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First Moose Tracks book signing, 2/21/15, with a few of my older titles off to the side

One of the perks of being a published author – for me at least – has always been book signings.

I know it’s kind of a dying form; large, multi-author signings are still popular at annual writing/readers conferences and the like, but there are less and less bookstores to host individual signings. Also, I know many authors who dislike them (and I must admit I’ve had a few “interesting” experiences as well –  I remember one notable occasion at a Barnes & Noble many years ago, where the only person to stop at the table and chat was someone who wanted directions to the rest room!)  🙂

But I generally enjoy them because it gives me a chance to meet people and talk about books – and not always my books, either, but books in general. Sometimes people who stop by want to know about writing itself, or how to do it, or they want tips for how to get published. I try my best to address all questions and inquiries to the best of my ability – and I’ve met some really interesting people along the way.

Because Moose Tracks isn’t put out by a traditional publisher, the opportunities for book signings this time around will likely be limited. Chain bookstores won’t carry print copies of it, and only independent book stores who have a reason to carry it would likely go through the process to order (if they have an account with Baker and Taylor, I understand they can get copies through the print publisher, Create Space).

mysteries on main streetI was happy to have a signing last weekend, therefore, in nearby bookstore: a great little shop called Mysteries on Main Street.  It was a lot of fun and I met some new readers, in addition to getting to chat and visit with some I already knew. A photographer from the local paper even stopped by and snapped a few pics.

booksigning oneedited

Signing a book for a friend who stopped by while the news photographer sets up shot

I think if I hadn’t been an English teacher and writer, I would have/should have been a bookstore owner, employee, or a librarian. I love books! I love being around them. And the two hours I spent at this signing flew by, not only because of the activity of people coming in to buy and have me sign a book, but also because the atmosphere of the bookstore just soothes and delights me.

If you’re an author, how do you feel about book signings?  If you’re a reader, have you ever been to one – or would you ever attend one?  Why or why not?

Going Out On a Limb

heartI’ve had a few limbs break off behind me. I’m still pumping my wings like mad to keep from hitting the ground, though every now and again, an updraft helps lift me up.

Sometimes it’s an unexpected, nice comment or even a review of one of my books. Sometimes it’s a hug, or seeing something beautiful out in nature or the world. Sometimes it’s a piece of music that seems to pierce in a wonderful way to my inner soul. Sometimes it’s a cup of tea and a quiet night in, with the wind howling around the house while I’m snug inside.

What are your little updrafts, when you’re pumping your wings to stay afloat? 🙂