Friday, December 28, 2012
A long time ago there were two little boys who had a cushy job advertising seed corn for their grandfather...
I will admit it: the main purpose of this post is to exceed last year's total. Grin.
My mom is getting a haircut & I am doing the wi-fi thing & then we shall visit my great-uncle Jim & my great-aunt Ellen & then I shall get back to my latest "project." I usually try to do a project or two for my folks--it assuages my guilt for making them sit around & play pitch (I think we've played 55 games so far) when they no doubt have plenty of other things to do. (I predict that they'll die working or playing cards.) I already cleaned out the closet that had the toys in it, setting up the little kid table & putting the toys (neatly categorized) underneath it, leaving the table surface as the perfect suitcase holder. I promptly put my suitcase on it.
Now I'm cleaning drawers that hold coloring books (none of which can be thrown away because they are an awesome historical reference with the colorers' names & ages & dates on the pages) & crayons & markers & things to glue on paper (like lentils & macaroni) & markers that have half a use left & a few that are brimming with color. I'm trying to get all that stuff into one big drawer & 2 little drawers so there will be one big drawer & one little drawer empty for guests (like me) so there doesn't have to be so much stuff just scattered around the bedroom. I also threw out an old clock/lamp that my parents had previously given my paternal grandmother, who died the year before I got pregnant with my 27-yr-old twins. (Which was sad, because she had twins & it would have been fun to share that with her.) The lamp part still worked, but the digital clock had begun to keep some other planet's time. I didn't know a digital clock could do that. We probably threw away a historical oddity that was worth serious bucks. I stuck a floor lamp that wasn't being used beside the bed & put a little nightlight bulb in one of the fixtures so now there's good reading & good getting-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-pee illumination. I'm big on proper illumination.
Better finish this off, because my mom should be coiffed by now.
247. Clean out a drawer that has some stuff you don't really need anymore & leave it empty. (Or neatly organize some things that you do need.)
Thursday, December 27, 2012
The guy at Carter's Camp just turned the music on. "We don't need no education..."
Christmas was a thing of beauty & laughter & food. What a fantabulous family I have. I do have to say that the highlight was a visit with my son Zach who drove from Minnesota & spent 1 full day in Miles City with the Winter side of the family & 1 day in Nye with the Hjelvik side of the family & then turned around & drove right back to Minnesota. He & I managed a bit of mom & son time when he first arrived & then I shared him with everyone.
I hope your holidays have been splendid to date & that this New Year's Eve ushers in the best year of your life to date. But if it turns out to just have jewel moments sprinkled in randomly, I count that a great success as well.
246. Write yourself a letter, wishing you a great year & pointing out some of the great moments of the year that's coming to an end. Congratulate yourself for making it to this point. Make a date for some fun activity--& don't bail on yourself. Show up, with bells on.
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Greetings from Carter's Camp, the local watering hole at Nye, Montana, which has high speed wi fi. Cool that. I've had spotty internet coverage on my travels--& travels I've had. I left Asheville the afternoon of December 11th & stayed with my friend Beth Gwinn in Nashville. Check her out at
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Except I don't have 5 writers, because I checked with about 7 of them & a bunch of them didn't get back to me & of the ones who did only one wanted to do it & since it wasn't fun for me to try to get people to take over the world 5 blogs at a time I quit trying to get other people to do it. So, Cathy Tenzo & I will do it ourselves & whoever else Cathy gets to play, if anyone. It was just fun for me to fill out the questions for my books. If anyone wants to play & would like to be announced on my blog, let me know. I won't insist you have other conspirators.
So, here goes:
1) What is the working title of your next book?
The Secret Life of Suzuki England
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
I was driving toward between Pueblo and Denver on a road trip (I love a great road trip) and there was a lot of construction. Ahead of me was a little 4x4 with Suzuki written on the spare tire cover driving the way I like—safe following distance, not speeding in the construction zones and speeding just enough when we could—so I was hanging with it. Then we all ground to a dead stop. We were in the left lane, and there was one of those trucks that says “England” in fancy font on the shiny back door next to my pet 4x4. “Suzuki England,” I mused. (We were stopped for quite a while, so I had plenty of time to muse.) “That sounds like a good name for a character.”
Many years earlier, I had an idea for a character who writes poems on the soles of her shoes. I’d been waiting for the right character to show up and I decided Suzuki England was definitely it. That was all I knew when I started. I wrote a few hundred words, killing Suzuki’s mother in the process, and then started brainstorming some possible things about her, settling on “three quarters elf.”
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Fantasy set in the here-and-now world—and a world beyond
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Chloe Grace Moretz (from Hugo) would be Suzuki England. Her mother: Anne Hathaway. Her father: maybe Hugh Jackman. First and Second: Shia LeBeouf. (Perhaps he’s a tiny bit short for the role, but I really like him.) The scary aunts: Cate Blanchette. Nicole Kidman. Julia Roberts. (How often does she get to play a less-than-good character?)
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
After her mother is killed by a swarm of yellowjackets, Suzuki England heads into the world with the ability to render herself invisible and a mysterious map that leads her to the knowledge that she is three-quarters elf—and may not survive the encounter with her newly-discovered elven family.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Hopefully the latter. I have a revision request from an editor I’ve worked with before and definitely need to get on with it.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Six months. I invented the 2-sentence-a-day rule at about the time I was beginning to write Suzuki (if I am recalling correctly…) and only missed two days in that whole period, both when I was in Peru, seeing Machu Picchu and such. (I give myself a pass for that.)
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle has the same sort of traveling-between-worlds energy. War for the Oaks by Emma Bull, perhaps a bit.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Suzuki England herself inspired me, as she appeared and evolved on the page. Her journeys inspired me. Wondering what would happen next inspired me.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Suzuki England is one of my favorite sorts of characters, the kind who accomplishes more than she otherwise would because she doesn’t know she’s not supposed to be able to do that sort of thing. Poetry as a plot element is something different.
To see how Cathy Tenzo answers these questions, go to
on Wednesday, the 5th of December, 2012.
To completely change the subject, did anyone else notice the Modigliani painting in the new Bond movie, Skyfall? It got quite a lot of screen time.
Blog alternative: (which, in case anyone is wondering, is a suggestion for people to do other than reading or writing blogs & other web stuff...)
244. Wear a crown around the house--or even around town. You might have to make your own, if you don't have a tiara handy. A paper grocery bag has pretty good crown consistency. Burger King, of course, has crowns aplenty. Also, you can get plain brown crowns at craft stores. I got one at JoAnn fabrics that I'm going to collage.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Last night I won $18 playing poker. Fun was had. More fun today, at a vitamin-ish store: I chose my stuff & asked the clerk if it was likely that I had a discount home on my email, which I'd forgotten to check. He said he could take care of it at the register, his words, "I'm only doing this because I think you're adorable. You have really good energy." I told him he did, too. Plus he was about 20 years younger than me. Nice to get confirmation from the universe that you're not the only one who thinks you're awesome. Grin.
Tomorrow I'm doing a blog based on a writing project, so I shall go put away some more papers & escort this cute little stinkbug outside & play with art supplies.
This blog celebrates the wonderfully-diverse 20-somethings I know, a couple of whom are related to me: big screen TVing, little target plinking, over-ripe pomegranate knife-throwing, poker-playing, head-shaving, healthifying, great energy beings.
Also found out that Brad Parks, the one mystery writer I've sent fan mail to, has a book on Kirkus Review Best Fiction of 2012 List. Yay for my good taste. Read his novels in order. (I believe there are, sadly, only 3 so far...) (I know, I only have 1 so far. My bad.)
243. Write a fan letter, whether it's to your child or the author of a new literary find or a potter who made a great morning coffee cup. You can even write an appreciative letter to your dead uncle or perhaps to Modigliani.
p.s. yes, I know. Q-tips. I could pretend I was avoiding trademark infringement because "cotton swab" just doesn't have the same ring to it but actually--in 2 separate blog posts--I brain-farted.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
A few weeks ago I had a couple of compulsory baths. Not that I don't like a bath, but it's nice to have a choice & the little lifty thing (technical term) that determines whether the water goes up to the shower head or down to the tub faucet was firmly stuck in down position.
Derrick tried to fool with it & peered up into the mechanism with the help of a flashlight & decided calcification was the issue. Ah, I thought, remembering my mom's techniques for cleaning her shower heads in the Montana mountains with a baggie of vinegar tied up all around it. One sandwich bag, one twist tie & about a cup of vinegar later, we were soaking.
The next day, I removed the solution & Derrick put a towel in the tub to lie on & I hovered nearby, ready to swiftly act. "Cue tip, stat." "Cue tip." (We went through several cue tips.) It was getting pretty good, but then he asked for that plumber's staple: dental floss. He cleaned off the last bits of calcification & voila! we have showers & baths at will.
We have been having a fabtastic time with Nick. He's been doing a bit more work here than he planned to need to do, but some bugs cropped up after a recent Skritter release & he was also behind in work time because he did a whole bunch of romantic preparation to ask Chloe to marry him. Yes--I went to the grocery store to get broth & bread & a mop & came home with a daughter-in-law to be as well. (Nick called me with the news while I was in the mop aisle.) Speedy little characters, they have already set a date for next June. We are all very excited.
242. Use vinegar to clean something. Bonus points if you also use dental floss...
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
The walls would definitely pass the white glove test--because sheet rock dust is white. Grin. Vacuuming only goes so far, as a shop vac is not exactly a hepa filter device.
We'd just done a little sheet rock sanding in the Cockpit, a room that used to be a dirty ole tool storage room & is now an awesome lil meditation space/art studio/guest quarters. The next guest to be thus quartered (so far the only guest to have the honors) is my son Nick. This will be his third installment in the Cockpit, which has progressed slowly & is now about done. We didn't get it painted yet, & we don't want to fume him out, so it shall not occur before this visit. Maybe later in the season. More likely in the spring. Who knows. I'll drape a sheet against the wall where Nick's head shall be so he doesn't end up as a cue tip.
Yay Nick! Fun shall be had.
I've had a song running through my mind for the last whiles. "Garden Party" by Ricky Nelson. (I have a particular affinity for Ricky Nelson, because my aunt, Ellen Louise, who is only 5 years older than I am, has always said I have Ricky Nelson lips. It is true!) Anyway, I show up at poker on Monday night & what comes up on satellite radio but that very song. So fun. I give you the chorus & invite you to listen to the song.
241. Look up the lyrics to an old song that runs through your mind. Maybe play it on Pandora. You can use my song if you'd like.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Yes, I have been successfully Octobering. The above portrait is one of the many denizens of the arboretum. Most visitors to the domain of the tree folk do not see all there is to be seen. Of course, I am sure that I did not see all, but I did see this fine being.
I've been madly prototyping & designing & dreaming up & up & uppity. So much fun. So useful. What a great combination.
One of the more interesting pieces of October occurred on the 10th. I woke in the wee hours to pee & instead of leaping right up (it wasn't urgent) I lay for a moment, hypnogogically basking. An image formed in my wide awake field of vision, something that looked like the bottom of a spinner, with numbers around the edges. Two of the numbers were highlighted, with the pointer pointing straight down at the number 10. Makes sense, I thought, since today is the 10th. The next number, the only other one that stood out visibly, was 22. Also made a certain amount of sense to me, since my birthday is April 22nd.
So, I go through the day, many fabulous things happening, of which I shall speak more later, & then I went to the f/32 photo group meeting. They have this raffle they call 50/50: buy 1 ticket for a buck or 5 for $3. I've bought 1 ticket before, but today I said I was feeling lucky & was going to buy 5. My 2nd ticket was called, so if I'd just bought a single I'd have been out of luck. They counted up the dollars & I got half the pot, which totaled--insert eerie twilight zone music here--$22. Cool, huh.
Another superb portion of the day was closing on the vacant lot next to the house. So much relaxation flooded in. So much potential is activated.
Lots to do, so I shall leave you to your own Octobering.
240. Look up into the trees. Find a face somewhere & say hello.
Friday, October 5, 2012
Sunday, September 30, 2012
I am willing to bet I am the only one from Buckyville who consumed Ultimate Cheeseburger Macaroni following the seminars on tensegrity & synergy & such. But it worked for me...
I have my eye on a camera, a Lumix. I'm going to decide by the end of next week or so, because I have an extra $5 (yay!) coupon from Best Buy. (Wow, does this post feel like product placement central. Don't you wonder who is paying me? Could it be Best Buy? Hamburger Helper? But no, it is the ghost of Buckminster Fuller. He is paying me in jitterbug polyhedrons, in translational rotational transformation.)
Or perhaps I am sponsored by this dragonfly...
September has been an amazing month. Organization. Creation. Great weather. Investment success. Cosmic visions. Sweet walks. & now, Bucky's buddies. What will October hold? Enough & a feast.
238. Pick a sponsor, corporate or otherwise. You can even make it a reverse sponsorship, where you sponsor a business or a tree or send a positive psychic message to someone else's baby. (How do you sponsor a tree? Give it a glass of water or tie a ribbon around a branch or the ever-popular hug.)
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Yesterday was the Tangerine Ball, a benefit for the Arts Council, which provides funding for art in the schools. I wore a dress that has splashes of tangerine & fuschia, with a couple scarves & a peach sari liner that Susan Paul bought me in India. Then, the piece de resistance, my Cracker Barrel tiara glasses that proclaim "Queen for a Day." You may recall that these very glasses inspired my alter ego, Queen Faraday. I even read a biography of Michael Faraday, who instantly became my new hero.
Last night, at Aloft, a new hotel downtown that used to have a fabulous martini (what were you thinking, Aloft, to take the muddled cucumber & sour apple martini off your menu?) a young woman (possibly named Melanie? Melody?) asked to buy them off my face. She was willing to give me $20 but I told her $10 was sufficient.
How could I sell those pivotal glasses, you ask? I am Queen Faraday. I need no glasses to prove it.
We were at Aloft--even though we already knew they had abandoned the beloved martini--because the Tangerine Ball had no seating. Zip. (Unless you were wearing glitter & lingerie & doing burlesque poses.) Derrick helped build the set--a very fine set--so he had a free ticket. Mine was essentially free, because--along with $10 from the new princess--I found $40 in the little seafoam green purse I chose to carry my accoutrements in. Woo hoo!
Anyway, a fun time was had. Princess glasses were sent on their new quest.
238. Give away some meaningful possession. Know that you still possess the meaning.
Friday, August 31, 2012
I'm taking (slight) advantage of my last opportunity to post in August. A lovely month it has been, full of creativity & growth.
So many things I've done & so many things I haven't. Grin. Isn't that the way of it? (Don't ask my son, Nick, that question. You will get an answer of things chosen & done, with a book written about the doing to boot.
237. What would you do, once in a blue moon? Come up with an idea or two. Maybe even do it.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
I mean, "Hi everybody--hope your August has been going well. Hope you're doing a good job being the emperor of your life." (More of a Vespasian or a Trajan than a Caligula.)
I'm writing an essay for Real Simple magazine's fifth annual Life Lessons Essay Contest. Having a great deal of fun, although the theme is "If you could change one decision that you made in the past, what would it be?" I'm not a big regretter, but I have come up with a cool spin on the topic that gives me juice.
I'm heading for poker soon, so I won't make this a long post, but I did want to mention a lovely artist encounter with a woman named Brit J. Oie. We were speaking about the mountains in her art, something I appreciate, having grown up at Nye. She said they were inspired by the mountains in Norway, where she was born & raised. "Oh!" I said. "I'm five eighths Norwegian and there's a little town in Norway that has my family name." She looked it up on her iPad & found out that she grew up less than 2 hours away from Hjelvik, Norway. How cool is that?
I'm tired of not having pictures, even though my camera has broked & I haven't figured out how to get the photos that I have taken into my new computer, so here's an older one of this cool stand I bought at a place that was going out of business for about 6 months or so. The owner kept claiming that this was perhaps the last day. It's the same place I bought the trumpet...
Anyway, I was carrying the stand home & got tired of it, so I called Derrick up & found that he & his pickup were not far away. I parked the stand & hung the top sideways so I could look through it to the construction on the jail.
236. Think about a decision you made in your past that might not have been one you'd make today--or even would have made then, if you weren't drunk or hormonal or peer pressured or somesuch. Go to realsimple.com/lifelessonscontest & see if you want to write it up & give me some competition. The deadline is September 13th.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
So, back to some old tricks of not blogging until the wee hours (wee days?) of the month. I have been doing stuff: walking, sudokuing, movie watching, pokering, reading, meditating, poeting, festivaling (Bele Chere was this weekend; I saw a tiny bit of it), cleaning & organizing, inventing, prototyping (in the wee scale), arting, etcetera-ing. (This program is weird--it thinks I'm not typing real words. grin.)
I know this doesn't count as a real blog post. (But perhaps we can average the word count with my last massive missive & call it a wash.)
My camera died--the day AFTER its service contract expired. No lie. I'll get a new, different camera in a month or 2. I liked many things about my Nikon Coolpix; however, the time (just short of forever) before you could take another picture was not one of them.
I may speak to you before July has taken off her lovely green costume, scattered with thunderstorms.
235. Make a list of what you've been doing. Celebrate. (Make sure you count things like naps & walks & appreciating--oh! I harvested a bunch of mica on my walk today. That should definitely make the list.)
Thursday, July 12, 2012
On Monday I had my first experience with jury duty.
Actually, it was more like my second experience, or first experience deferred. I'd received a summons directing me to show up in the midst of my planned road trip time, with the date to be potentially recused by the judge 2 days after I was due to leave.
I wrote up a plea, saying I wasn't trying to get out of this, since as a writer I craved new experiences, complete with a dated google map route showing where I would be (I was wrong) on my jury duty date & took a copy to that local, so-exclusive hotspot, "The Jury Lounge." (Jurors Only) Would I even be admitted, as I was not yet a juror?
Heart pounding, I entered the sanctum & presented my case to the woman at the desk. "No problem," she said, as I began to present my case. "We'll just reschedule you."
"You don't need this?" I asked, indicating my carefully-crafted letter with all my reasons why I needed to be where I was going to be when I was going to be there & my clever map.
"No," she said.
I was disappointed. "At least look at my map," I said.
She dutifully looked at my map, agreed it was very clever, & rescheduled me for the ninth of July.
Monday. I showed up, as directed, at 8:45 a.m. Who am I kidding -- I was there by 8:30.
I wore layers, brought knee socks in case it was cooler than bare ankles preferred, brought a magazine & a bottle of water & some roasted almonds. I brought along my library books & movies to return, in case I got excused early.
Eventually the jury lounge filled up, every seat. I watched some home makeover shows on HGTV & read a few magazines from the massive pile. The woman in charge -- "just Beverly" -- (which was kind of cool, now that I think of it, in terms her leading us into the service of justice) showed us a video & administered an oath. There were tons of people & not that many Bibles so I held my left hand on my heart (my true Bible) as I raised my right hand & swore to uphold justice.
Then there was more waiting, more HGTV. We were instructed that we couldn't take food, water, books or magazines into the courtrooms, so I piled all of that under my chair. There were 2 trials needing jurors, a criminal case & a civil case. When they called the names of the potential jurors for the criminal case, mine was not among them. (Non-alphabetical, so you didn't know if you were going to be called until the last name was announced.) More waiting. Then the civil case. Name after name & then "Laurel Winter." I gave my verbal affirmation (you'd be amazed how many people forgot to do that, even though she repeated the name until you acknowledged your assignment) & joined the scramble to line up at the door.
She led us to a big elevator -- even so, there were 2 batches of us -- & we went to the 7th floor, where we were seated in the back of a large courtroom with lovely furnishings & bad acoustics & were introduced to the members of the court. The judge -- who looked a lot like a cardiologist friend of mine back in Minnesota -- told us some stuff, including that we were NOT to talk to the lawyers or plaintiff or defendant or indeed anyone but the bailiff & then they called off 12 names, mine not included. The judge told all of us still sitting in the chilly seats at the back (I put my knee socks on, & my long-sleeved shirt) to pay attention to what was said, because we could be called up in the event that some of those jurors were cut. The plaintiff's lawyer then instructed those in the box & questioned them. It was fun to hear how even in the questions & instructions he had begun to try the case. 5 jurors got sent away & 5 new names called. Not mine. A couple more of those were weeded out & then the defense attorney got to have his turn. He spoke up much more clearly than plaintiff's lawyer had, which I'm sure made a good impression. He spoke to every juror, at some length, but didn't get rid of any.
Then it was lunch time. We were told to be back by 5 minutes to 2. I went back to the jury lounge for my books & movies. The jurors who hadn't been called were lined up at the desk getting their "excuses from the court" slips for missing a morning's work. "Do you have to go back?" one of them asked me.
"I get to go back," I said.
Took the stuff back to library & went to the Jackson Underground Cafe, with every step down (for they are indeed underground) thinking "please let it be gazpacho" because I so love it (theirs is cilantro-free, because the proprietress feels the same way I do about cilantro) & it was!
Back well before 2 but then was told we were not going to be in the same courtroom, but rather on the 9th floor. Dilemma, because our nice big elevators only went up to 8. Milled around a little. Saw the lawyers & their charges & remember NOT to ask them where we were supposed to go. Went back down to the jury lounge. Eventually all of us got there, well after 2. Turns out the judge had told the bailiff that the jurors should go to the jury room on the 9th floor since the 7th floor jury room was being used by the grand jury, but he didn't mean for the entire trial to be moved, so he had to go back down to the 7th floor & collect his stuff. Then the lawyers approached the bench & the judge instructed all of us that if the lawyers appeared abrupt in not responding to "hey, do you know where we're supposed to go?" questions that they were just doing what they were supposed to do, which was not to talk to jurors.
One alternate's name was called. Guess who it wasn't. That's right. Me. So I got to go back to the jury lounge & get my magazine & my water & my almonds & find out that my check for $12 will be mailed to me. A good day's work. I considered having just Beverly write me a slip excusing me from working for myself that morning, but I knew I'd get at least a poem (& a really long blog post) out of it, so claiming to have not been working would have been a lie. Wouldn't want to perjure myself.
So, that's my dance. The jury duty shuffle.
235. Imagine being a juror, perhaps on a famous trial. (O.J. anyone? Or a glass of Watergate?) I suggest you bring your knee socks. But no hat. Hats are not allowed. Neither, I imagine, are hoodies.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Monday, May 21, 2012
Monday, April 30, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
I'm going to do a little time travel & then fastforward into the more recent past.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Happy April. Not the cruelest month at all!
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Got the camera back. It's charging now, so I can check it out & show you some pictures, but I think I'll be going to bed before it's done charging & I wanted to blog again, so here I am, trumpet shadow less again. (You are going to be so disappointed after all this build up. Grin.)
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
I bought a trumpet today. It's been eye candy-ing me every time I walked past the antique store that windowed it. The antique store that's going out of business here & being reborn in another form in Charleston. The antique store that drew me in today on my way to & from doing some other work & the asking price -- cash only -- was $1 less than I had in my wallet. (The reason I had that particular cash in my wallet anyway was because I'd already gone to the bank to get cash to buy a display shelf for $20. Now that was a great deal, too.) So, now, I have $1 & a trumpet. (Okay, I have far more than $1, but now I have a trumpet, too.)
already also art back car cool could derrick door ex go going got he just little might mirror my not now paper piece show somewhere still stuff trumpet up
226. Think about some eye candy you've seen in a window. Imagine a place for it in your home or office. Or, imagine it displayed in a restaurant or coffee shop that you frequent.