I’d Like to Thank My Fan

Hi All!

It’s been a long hot summer, no really- like watering the garden at 6:30 in the morning and still coming inside covered in sweat kind of hot. Also the absence of rain has been reminding me of my former SoCal environment. So with those factors my early morning watering was pretty much daily.

But a storm rolled through last week and even though the highs are still in the 90s, there has been a shift. I have been able to sneak out a few mornings and take walks, I mowed the yard with ease, and patio time has become enjoyable again.

So with this breath of new weather, my mind has started to refocus and I realize how much I miss blogging and connecting with people. So…hi, again.

I found that one of the side effects of extremely hot summer weather is the desire to do nothing outside (at least for me). This leads to more indoor activities, which leads to making the indoors more comfortable. To achieve this I had three ceiling fans installed…

I think this was a wise choice because it became so comfortable to sit at my desk that I accidentally finished a novel.

Seriously if the book ever gets published I am thanking my ceiling fan on the appreciation page, next to all the humans that I love and kept me going psychologically and even physically.  But the fan deserves some credit.

I finished in mid-July,  at 95,378 word count. My husband volunteered to take a look at it, overall he like it. He thought it should be longer, but this a guy who reads three-inch thick books as his light reading. It’s so bad that I had to get him this button:

I Like Big Books

I also got him a “Read Local” Button, because he always offers to read my books & it doesn’t get more local than the person snoring next to you while you try to sleep.

I did some clean up, rephrased lines, cut scenes, and then added a few things.

I think I surprised him when I easily added 11,000 additional words in my “editing”.

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Being the amusing fellow that he is, he said that was nice start but I should go for 125k. I assured him that it will be a series, so there will be more to read.

Now my 2nd Draft is the hands of my Beta-Readers. *furiously chomping on fingernails*

This is the first time someone besides my husband has read a book I have written. It’s a huge step for me as a writer. I’m a little bit more confident in sharing this one because it is purely fiction, while my first had echoes of things that happened. It also helped I had wonderful people around me telling me how they couldn’t wait to read it.

Of course Honey, my husband was always the loudest with his “cheerleading” and I couldn’t have done it without him. Thank you Sweetie.

You are my favorite Fan. xoxo

 

Two For One Fooling

Originally Written on April 2nd, 2014. I meant to post it up last year, but forgot.

I am not a big April Fools’ person, most pranks seem mean spirited so I haven’t really participated much in the day, until this year.  A few weeks back we made the flight arrangements for my little sister Firefly to come see us, but instead of telling her the flight details right away I decided to wait until April 1st to send her a fake itinerary.  I originally planned to enter in something about having to ride a burro at one point, but thought I might be laying it on a little thick.  So here is what I sent her.

Dear Firefly,

So we got the arrangements made for your trip out here. =) You mentioned that you didn’t want us to spend too much money on your flight, so I looked into it and I think I found a pretty good deal!

Instead of flying into Our Airport I found it is much cheaper for you to fly into Nashville, and it’s even less expensive if you take a red-eye.  So you would be leaving SoCal at 10:55 pm on the 18th and arriving into Nashville around 4 am the next day.  There is a connection in Tucson at midnight and then one in Houston at 2 am, but you only have a 15 minute and 20 minute layover, so you’ll be back in the air before you know it. Hopefully all of your flights will be on time, at that hour I’m sure there won’t be too many delays (unless there is bad weather).

Now once you get to Nashville you can take a shuttle to the rental car agency and drive here, it is only around a 6 hour drive and you get to see the lovely state of Tennessee on your trip.  It really is gorgeous.  You’ll have to check when the rental car agencies open, it might be normal business hours.  Now I remember from my younger days that most places won’t rent a car to you if you are under 25.  If this is still the case, you can take a cab to the Greyhound station, it looks like it’s only 15 minutes from the airport. There is a bus that leaves at 11:20 am that can get you here by dinner time.  I know that’s a while to wait but you can check out Nashville and you could spot a Country star at breakfast.=)

I promise when you get into town we will take you to whatever your favorite restaurant is, so start thinking of your favorite place and we’ll make reservations.  If you can, try to choose a place near the bus station. That would be great, we don’t want to be driving around in rush hour traffic, you know how the drivers are around here.

Your flight home will be a little less complicated.  Your flight going home is at 6:20 am and then you only have one layover in Tulsa, unfortunately it’s for almost three hours, but then it is a direct shot to LAX.  Do you think Mom or Dad or maybe one of your friends will be willing to pick you up at 4 pm that Tuesday?  If not we’ll get you a ticket on the Greyhound, I think the station is right there at the airport.

Hope you are having an awesome week.  I love you!  We’re so looking forward to your visit.  =)

Love,

Big Sis

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. April Fools’!

 

Apparently my sister believed the whole thing until she saw the April Fools at the end.  Her only indication that it might be fake is that I wouldn’t have checked on the hours of the Rental Agency ahead of time. =) My tell was that I wasn’t my usual thorough self.  Anyway I got her good and because she was fooled, she decided to read the email to my Mom.  Apparently Mom believed it too.  She shot her the famous Death Ray Glare at Firefly and threatened to call me at a “Non-3 Hour Time Difference Appropriate Time”.  Little Sis was able to mutter “April Fools'” before Mom could dial, thankfully.

Next year I think I am going to have to watch my back.

The First Half of January

Much like our little Groundhog friend I am poking up to see what’s going on.  January was a busy and very fun month.  My sister Firefly came to town on New Year’s Day and we crammed as much fun as we could into the two weeks that she was here.  The following two weeks were spent (happily) recovering from the weeks before.

This was the first time she had been out here during Winter.  In previous trips she always came at the beginning of summer, but she wanted to see our version of Winter.  So instead of watching out for thunderstorms while in the pool or hiking through the green in Pisgah, we found the perfect combination of layers to keep her warm outside and not overheated indoors and visited as many places as we could that did not require wonderful weather.  Thankfully almost every trip we went on had gorgeous weather.

Honey, being the wonderful man that he is, pretty much drove us across the entire state of North Carolina.  The first weekend we went to Asheville for a day trip. The sky was blue and the air was freaking cold, but we had fun.  The stores and restaurants were very crowded while the streets looked almost bare (everyone was inside) with of course the exception of French Broad Chocolate that had a line thirty deep outside.

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We promised Firefly as much chocolate as she wanted at another location if we didn’t have to stand in that line.  Perhaps next time French Broad.

During the week we went to coffee shops and book stores and of course a trip here is not complete without a trip to the Goat Farm, where Firefly got to hold a baby goat.

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The next weekend we headed to the coast.  Kudra and Porter were sweet enough to let the three of us stay with them for the weekend.  We just lucked out an Honey got to attend the local Beer Club meeting with Porter, while Kudra, Firefly, and I had a Girl’s Night with the female members of Kudra’s family down at the beach.

Kudra, Firefly, and I somehow pulled out a win on Heads Up, after trailing behind for most of the game against Kudra’s Mom, Aunt, and Cousin. There were a lot laughs and a lot of dancing, and even a few worm dances.  Some truths came out when Kudra’s cousin insisted that her Mom would not be familiar with the movie 9 1/2 Weeks and made her Mom skip the question, when it turned out the adults had all seen it together when it came out.  Haha.

And while they all seem to want to rock into the early hours of the morning, I was all ready to crawl into a ball by two am. Firefly and I made the plan to watch the sunrise over the ocean, since we were a few blocks away from the Atlantic.  Thankfully this time of year the sunrise was past 7, but it took us a lot of willpower to get our butts out of bed.  As luck would have it, it was a very cloudy morning and we didn’t really see the sunrise, but it was really cool just to be there with my sis and share that moment.  There is a picture of us there, but it will not be seen by anyone besides us because it is completely obvious on both of our faces how much sleep we got.  She as able to get a few extra winks when we got back to the house, while I stood outside on the balcony and breathed in some sea air.  Firefly really liked it there, it had two things she loves in location it’s in North Carolina and it’s coastal.

We spent another two days there and were fabulously hosted around the city.  As it usually goes on the visits out there, the time went by too fast and we justified pushing our departure time as far back as we could.

And of course when we got back I realized how quickly her trip time was disappearing.  As she gets older the conversations get more simple, but more complex. The days of her thinking I am on the “gown-ups” team, is less of the hindrance when we talk to each other now.

Firefly’s only disappoint in the trip was that she didn’t get to see it snow.  Which is a rarity here anyway, but of course the weekend after she left we got a few flurries in the morning and then full on snow a week later.  Maybe she’ll see it next year if she choses to spend her Winter Vacation with us.  If she does I am promising now that I will wait in line at French Broad Chocolate, even if it means I have to wear a parka to do it.

Odd Energy

It was the oddest thing, but yesterday I got a surge of energy.  I used it to take those ten minutes in a day that I have been denying myself to meditate.  It really is the most simple of things but so easy to put at the bottom of the list, even when I know it makes me feel better I still have issues making myself a priority in my day-if that makes sense.

After a frustrating session (you do get rusty on breaks) I did a few things around the house with a feeling of intention for starting and completing tasks. This carried over to communication; texts and emails were answered. Kudra even sent me a email about free online classes for a subject very near to my heart. And then I actually blogged! Holiday cards were addressed and laundry taken care of and in such purposeful way that it wasn’t like I just floated for one task to another.

Later I went to the gym, did my 10k steps on various equipment. I think I even got an endorphin rush.

I finished up the afternoon by “helping” my neighbor Meryl socialize her new (hopefully) puppy by going to a Starbuck’s and pretty much asking people to come pet the puppy while I sipped on a holiday coffee.

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Imagine a person coming up to you and asking, “Would you do me a favor and pet this puppy?”

And I am wondering what caused the surge.  Could it be the meditation to the endorphin rush?  Maybe the healthy food?  Or maybe it was just the cute puppy above… All I know is it was an odd energy that I haven’t had in a while.

Then this morning I read an entry from one of the blogs I follow (and you should too). Liz mentioned that there was something in the cosmos that began three years ago, Winter 2012 and now it is coming to an end. And while that idea frightens me slightly, I am wondering if it will be a good thing for me.

In Winter of 2012 I was packing up our house and planning to move across country to a place I had never been. We knew for a few months it could happen, but we didn’t want to tell anyone until it was a sure thing.  I think that is where my habit of introversion took root.

After the move and some of the company we kept or rather did not keep, I felt my little shy, obedient side coming out and ruling more of my life. It has been struggle to find my voice again and my sass, but through some situations and people in the last year I have been able to get it back.  But really the last two months I have been feeling quite different.

I noticed I didn’t blog as much the last three years, which sucks because so many new things happened that I really did not record properly and I worry that I have lost those initial thoughts forever. I’m not going to make any big promises of blogging, but I want you to know the intention is there.

So I am hoping that this odd energy is maybe just a little Retro-Melly coming out to take a look around.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and enjoy the New Moon tonight.

Strolling in Savannah

Last weekend Honey and I went down to Savannah for the first time. It was lovely, the demeanor of the city is more in line with the slower pace that the South is known for, which I have only glimpsed at occasionally since we moved. The squares are beautiful, the streets and shops are easy to navigate, and even after only ten minute there we felt so relaxed.  Even in traffic and crowded bars people were still polite and even tempered with each other.  It was a nice break from home.

We walked a lot, as we tend to do on vacation, and I began to notice a interesting trend.  Savannah is an older town, lots of cobblestone streets, uneven stairs that shippers probably trekked up in down in the previous centuries, and well the city is designed to be walked around…so it was easy to notice that most women were wearing flats.  Even the most dolled up Southern Belles and ladies that were bar hopping were sans heels.  I think I have found my people =)  I wore flats or sneakers unapologetically to meals and around town.  I think this is the first trip I have had with my husband that has not resulted in a blister.  (I say that with love).

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IMG_2154.jpg After dinner one night we went to a Martini Bar called Jen’s & Friends which has a menu of hundreds of martinis.  I am not usually the type to have sweet Martini’s but I got a Heath Klondike Bar Martini (two of my favorite things), it even had a good sized piece of Koldike Bar as a garnish and it was pretty damn delicious. Their regular mixed drinks were also very good (that is what Honey had).  And despite the Party Buses arriving and a really small space, everyone was so nice to one another.  I should also mention Savannah has the whole “Go Cup” thing in parts of the city.  When you order a drink they ask if it is for here or out, you can pretty much walk around town with a open beverage as long as it is in a 16 oz plastic cup.  The next afternoon I became a little jealous of a man carrying a Bloody Mary around (why didn’t I think of that?).  I did not partake in the Go Cups, but I might some day.

Honey prepared for the trip by reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil the week before we left.  I was busy with a dinner party we were throwing for neighbors the night before our trip, so I have still yet to crack into it-but I did see the movie.

And yes of course we did walk by Mercer (Williams) House.IMG_2184.jpgOddly enough there was a Camaro parked outside (detail from the book that Honey pointed out).  We wondered if one of the staff or the owner intentionally keep one outside.  We didn’t see a “Camaro Parking Only” sign and when I looked up if there often was a Camaro out front, I couldn’t find anything.  It was just one of those things.

So Honey and I, after walking and window shopping for the last three hours, sat on a bench in Monterey Square, which is the square Mercer House looks on to.  We couldn’t have asked for better weather.  The sun was out, I think it was in the 60s, and there was a cold breeze to make you remember that it was December-but only as a passing thought.  After a few minutes our attention was drawn up.  There was squirrel performing various acrobatics in the oaks and palms above us.  Then the little cheeky guy started talking and chirping at us and did not stop, that is until I pulled out my camera to record it.  Then he stopped, so I stopped recording; so he started talking again.  Apparently whatever he was telling us, he did not want to go on the record as saying. My personal theory was the squirrel had the spirit Danny Hansford and he was complaining about the direction Chevy had gone with the Camaro body style.  Just a theory.

We made out way down to Forsyth Park after a stop in a local shop we went down to the fountain where a couple was getting engaged.

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I didn’t take a picture while it was happening, this is actually three minutes later when apparently their friend popped out from behind a tree to reveal she was taking pictures the whole time.  Thank goodness the future bride said yes!  We hung around the fountain for a few more minutes, soaking up the sun and the very quiet Sunday afternoon.  Another couple came up to the fountain, she was in a wedding dress and their Reverend was with them.  There was a whole lotta love at that fountain.  I don’t know if they were just there for photos or if the ceremony was about to begin so we gave them their privacy and went on to walk down one of the most beautiful streets in America.

IMG_2173.jpgOur trip down there was wonderful, almost over too quickly but I was beginning to miss the kitties at home so it’s good we only stayed for a couple of nights.  I can’t wait to explore more of this lovely city in socially accepted, comfortable shoes.

First Full Table

It’s been a while, but I must say in my absence I have been having a lot of fun.  There’s a lot to catch up on so since we have just finished up a holiday weekend, I’ll start there.

The last couple of years we have had Poppy and Monte over for holidays.  We love hosting with friends and letting them in on a few family traditions as Honey & I make our new ones with them.  So this year Monte and Poppy brought over an extra guest, we didn’t mind she was nice and really didn’t eat too much of the food.  Of course I am referring to their six month old daughter, who technically was at last years tThanksgiving as well but this time we got to feed her turkey.  She was a delight, super cute, and the rest of guests adored her.  We also had a friend I knew from the farm Mordecai* and her fiancé Whistle. She moved here from the West Coast and it was her first holiday season in town.  Remembering how awkward holidays can be in a new town I was sure to invite her over as soon as Halloween had passed.  Apparently we spared both of them some major family drama.

Our Thanksgiving table was expanding for the first time and I was thrilled.  But it didn’t end there, two more friends joined in as well.  My eight person table that I got with the thought that someday it be would full, even though at the time we didn’t know anybody, finally reached capacity last Thursday.  It was a moment for both Honey and I, seeing the smiling faces around the table and knowing that we have a little Family of Friends here.  I should also point out that this is the first time everyone had met one another and everyone got along wonderfully. Even though everyone was different ages, martial statuses, and even different countries.  I joked we had a little United Nations Thanksgiving going.  Honey suggested I knit placemat flags of the countries for each of our guests.  I told him my skills were not developed enough for the ridges of the Canadian Maple leaf.  At least this year. 😉

Honey made the turkey, the deviled eggs, the gorgous sourdoughs pictured below, and for the first time I let him make cornbread stuffing from scratch.  I must admit that is was pretty yummy, it’s been one of my  holdouts of childhood nostalgia to have Stove Top.  The other one holdout I used to have was Log Cabin syrup over real Maple Syrup, but I shrugged that one off a few years ago.

I made scalloped potatoes, pumpkin pie and for the first time a pecan pie.  I also made cranberry sauce for the first time, which was ridiculously easy and got a few people out of their childhood traditions of using the fabulously canned cranberry sauce that still had the shape of said can when put onto the table.  I added some orange and allspice, it was great.

We also cracked open our latest brew, an ale that we call Sandy Claws Christmas Ale.  We brewed it in October, so it seemed appropriate.

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I didn’t get many pictures during the evening, which to me is always a good sign that I was having fun and being there in the moment.  But sometimes I wish I would remember to at least take one or two.

After dinner we all stayed around the table and talked, which shocked me because I figured with the table being as full as it was we would scatter ourselves out into the kitchen and tv room.  But everyone sat around talking and laughing, so why stop it? At one point Whistle shared with us that he plays the Penny Whistle and if we’d like he would play us some songs.  He played three Irish ones that were so beautiful.  It was the first time that we had live music in the house and I couldn’t have asked for a better after dinner entertainer.  It was lovely, he’s welcome to all of our dinner parties from now on.  Haha.

The next day Honey went to work, I attempted to see the counters of our kitchen again (even with a dishwasher it was platters galore).  I was good and also went for a walk to work of that cornbread stuffing.  When Honey got home  we did a little patio time which included a bourbon and a cigar (for me).  We stayed in to avoid any Black Friday madness that might be going on and relaxed at home.  The weather was perfect and we stayed outside until the sun went down.

On Saturday we went to one of the Pop-up shops for Small Business Saturday near a brewery and got some local art and saw some friends. And since we were at a brewery had a glass or two of some seasonal beers along with some very yummy Food Truck dishes.

Then Yesterday I began taking down the Fall decorations and putting up the Christmas ones.  I have strict rules about that, no Christmas lights out when there is Turkey on the table in our house. =)

It was an amazing weekend full of some of the wonderful people we know.  I was thankful for the company, the incredible food we had, and the friendships developing.  Everyone told me they had a great time, so here’s hoping that we just started a new Thanksgiving tradition.

 

 

 

*all italicized names are the first time I am using their nicknames

Greetings from Zone 2… I mean 1

Hi again, sorry but last week I found that I was a little distracted.  I was running around doing the things I usually do, but I never found the way to my computer.  I was also doing some research for my book but not really writing.  I did at least finish my own Fall scarf with the knit two, purl two technique (yes I am a boring knitter). But now I’m back and I have things to talk about.

Two weekends ago Honey and I put in the Fall garden.

Fall Garden

No really, we put in around 40 plants. Doesn’t look it?

Fine, here’s this week’s progress…

Peas

We planted carrots, radishes, kale, three types of lettuce, collards, arugula, and peas. We also put some mums in pots.  Pretty soon all of the fall colors will be fading to browns and bare trees and I need some pops of colors. I am also putting in some more pansies because they seem to be the only thing that lives all year round here (unless the deer decide to have a midnight snack).

Potted Plants

I like the Fall garden because after a certain point it goes on auto-pilot.  Right now I have to water pretty regularly, but as time progresses the weather will cool down and not as much water will be needed.  With the weather this summer I had to water pretty much everyday (by hose).  It is also much more pleasant to water in the Fall as oppose to the summer.  The sun, the bugs, the heat, the sweating from just standing there…I don’t miss it.

Last week I also help put in seeds for the Farm’s Fall Garden. We put in the lettuces and kale, but also lots of root vegetables.  We also moved their greenhouse closer to the house so Viv can keep in a eye on the seedlings.  She was telling me about Zones in permaculture and how it translates to our everyday life.  Zone One is the path you walk all the time, kitchen, driveway, bathroom, bedroom the things that will get the most attention because you see it the most often.  The Greenhouse used be more in Zone 2 or 3, but now it is right next to the house and she’ll see it whenever she comes home.

This got me thinking about the Zones in my house.  Like I mentioned my office is the furthest room from the stairs and off in it’s little world down the hall, which is awesome but can also lead to neglect.  Because unless I have the intention to come in here it can be very easy to not to.  So I have decided to start keeping all of my teas in here, because in addition to it being knitting season it is also tea season.  It may be in Zone 2 of the house, but if you put your only method of caffeination in that room it immediately upgrades to a Zone 1 if not 0. 😉