Sunday, February 28, 2021

Some Color, Please!

 I have this herb garden window in my kitchen, which you would think would be a great way to keep fresh herbs for my cooking. But, the North Carolina sun tends to bake everything, especially in summer, so all the herbs I've tried to cultivate have shriveled up and died within days of being put in the window. Not wanting to throw my money away on a lost cause, I've let the window languish for months. The only thing I could think of that would handle the harsh rays would be cacti, and I'm firmly of the opinion that, if a plant doesn't produce blossoms, it's not something I want to spend time with. That eliminated cacti, for the most part. 

So, it was with some trepidation that I picked up a bag of crocus bulbs a month ago. I planted some of them in the herb garden planter and then threw the rest of them into the ground–no mean feat, since the ground was fairly frozen. When the bulbs in the window began to sprout, I was thrilled. I finally had found something that would give me some color in my kitchen. 

A few days ago, it hit the mid-60s here, and I was delighted to see the bulbs I had tossed outside had bloomed as well. A little color is a good thing, whether it's in my window, my yard, or my books. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

A Shot of Good News

The past couple of weeks have been even harder than normal. It seemed every day brought another dose of bad news from a family member or a friend. It's been hard to focus and I found myself wishing for one day where the only news was good. 

It didn't happen all in one day, but this past week did bring a glimmer of light in the midst of all this darkness. First, the refinance I'd been working on since December finally came to a conclusion and I signed the final paperwork which would give me the lowest interest rate on my mortgage that I've ever had on any home I've owned. And then, a few days later, I got my first Covid shot. In three short weeks, I'll get the second dose, and then, I'll be free to hit the road and see how my Mini-Cooper handles on a long trip. And, I'm no longer living in Texas, so there's that. 

Can't wait. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Eulogy for Mary

 This has been a sad week for me. My little dog and faithful companion, Mary, had to be put down at the beginning of the week. It's been lonely in this house without her. In the past year, with the pandemic keeping us all quarantined, she was the only one I had daily contact with. And the only one I could hug and kiss on. 

She was not always the easiest to get along with, but that was because she had not had a normal childhood. Every author knows backstory is what makes an individual who she is, and Mary's was unique. Her first five years were spent in a 3 x 3 foot cage, where she was bred time and again. Fortunately for her, the horrible puppy mill decided she was past her prime and put her up for auction, where she was rescued by a faith-based organization who christened her Mary and spent five months getting her adjusted to normal doggie behavior. Even with all their good training, I still had to keep her on a lead for over a year, in order to get close enough to her to pick her up. She didn't understand stairs, or grass, or someone wanting to pick her up just to cuddle. If she'd been my first-ever dog, I would have given up. But Mary had a big heart in that little body and I knew I could get to it somehow.

I had a big enclosed backyard, into which I put Mary when she first arrived. Rather than relish the open spaces, she moved around the yard in 3 foot circles. The circles gradually got larger, but she didn't learn to run until I took her to my sister's home, where her dog, Harry, showed Mary how to dash across the yard. Seeing her run full-out with Harry brought tears to my eyes. They were a good team, Harry and Mary, and she missed her buddy when he passed. She's with him now, and running free again, I'm sure. 

Mary started slowing down this past year, and took to camping out at my feet, on my blanket. She didn't necessarily want to be held, since she still had trouble with people grabbing her even after nine years with me, but she wanted to be close. Her greatest enjoyment this past summer was being able to sit on the porch swing with me and make fun of the golfers as they zipped by in their tiny carts. 

I'm grateful she's no longer in pain, but I already miss her so much it hurts. I'll pack away her toys and beds a little at a time, and maybe next summer, I'll give them to the Humane Society. Right now, though, they're little reminders of her. I'll bury her ashes near the porch swing, so she can still enjoy that with me. 

RIP, Sweet Mary

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Close Enough to Nature

 I'm about to celebrate my third anniversary in my North Carolina home. I enjoy watching to golfers whiz by my back door in their golf carts as they chase little white balls (or pink ones, if it's Monday morning when the ladies have their outing). And, occasionally, I get a chance to see more than golfers from my window, as witnessed here, when a young buck came calling. 

The other morning, though, I was startled to see an animal run by my back door. From the corner of my eye, I only saw a leg as it scarred by my back door. I jumped up, writing forgotten, to see what kind of critter had come so close. Loping across the field was a beautiful red fox! Since the community I live in is called Foxfire, it should not have come as a surprise, but this was the first one I'd encountered. And having a door between us was just fine by me. 

Now, I just have to figure out how to use the fox encounter, such as it was, in my writing. A good friend of mine lives in the mountains and has black bear visitors to her breezeway all the time in the spring and summer. I'll be content with the occasional fox, I think. 

So, what inspires you?

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Peace, Love, and Rock n' Roll

 It's been a very chilling and divisive time in our country, and try as I might not to be political, it does splash over into my writing and my blogs. Especially since I've spent the last year or so researching and writing about the Revolutionary War, which started America on its current path. Our forefathers had great insight, but even they could not conceive what our 21st century would look like. with its instantaneous news cycle and multiple outlets with talking heads sharing multiple opinions and skewing the facts to serve their purposes and their audiences. Makes me yearn for the days when life was more simple–the 1960s. 

I was a typical hippie child, with my tie-dyed shirt and peace symbol earrings. Back during this era, all I had to worry about was whether the cops were going to bust me for scoring some weed. I was a member of SDS, the Students for a Democratic Society, but we were hardly the radical extremists that are overrunning our way of life now. Everything was groovy. 

How naive and childish that seems now. But I do still have a peace symbol at my back door, and hope at my front door. When we are all vaccinated and can hug each other again, it's my hope we can get back to simpler times. To peace, love, and rock n' roll. 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

It's Cookie Time!

 This is my favorite time of year. The Girl Scouts have begun selling their cookies. This year, I decided to forego the in-person interaction and order my cookies from a friend's daughter back in Ohio. I've been tracking my order ever since and, with any luck, they should arrive in a day or two. 

Not only do I look forward to eating my treats, but I always reflect on all the Girl Scouts did for me when I was growing up. Wilderness Camp on the back forty of Mrs. Serfass's farm taught me an appreciation of the outdoors. I still remember that horrendous lighting storm that was so dangerous we had to shelter in the barn for the night. It made me wonder how the folks on the wagon trains heading west took shelter during such storms. I'm sure they didn't have a dry, safe barn to hunker down in. 

Obtaining as many badges as possible was always a competition with the others in my troop, but, in addition to honing my competitive spirit, I learned a lot of things along the way without realizing it at the time. The knowledge from the cooking and sewing badges have come in quite handy in an adult world, as have many of the others I collected. The design of the badges had come a long way over the years, but the intent is still the same. As nice as it was to complete a challenge and get a badge, it was always the Cookie sales that I looked forward to. Talk about a competition! 

In my adult life, I made my living selling things. I went through a lot of variations on this theme–selling ads, subscriptions, handmade quilts, exhibit booths, and finally, my own books. To think, it all started by selling Girl Scout cookies. 

Happy munching. And in the words of the cookie monster–COOKIES!

Friday, January 15, 2021

Back To Normal?

As anyone who follows this blog knows, I've spent the last few years involved in the Revolutionary War. I feel like I've been part of the band of rebels, the Sons of Liberty, as I've written these books. I developed a great admiration for these brave souls, who led a revolution against a giant force and had the foresight to craft a body politic that has lasted for hundreds of years, with minor tweaks. 

Recent events have brought our Constitution into sharp focus once again. Perhaps it's time to tweak the document again, because, clearly, something's not working. We have half of America's population disenfranchised and thinking another revolution is what's needed to get our country back on course. 

Having lived in DC for a number of years, it breaks my heart to see the fortress it has become since January 6. This is not the country I grew up in, nor is it the country I want to live in now. Not only am I feeling unmoored because my series is at an end, I have a sense of dread that the country I love is at a crossroads. 

Will we ever get back to normal? What is normal anymore? Will enough of us get vaccinated so we can once again hug each other? Will I ever feel safe in the grocery again? 

I want that. I want to hug my friends. I want to visit the Mall in DC again and go to the new museums that have been erected in the last ten years. I want to see my family. I want to select my own bananas. 

I want normal. 

To see what 'normal' was like during the Revolution, read one of my Revolutionary Women books.