Saturday, November 14, 2015

Got the BLUE going on...

I'm hanging out with Minnesota friends & having a lovely time. I'm writing & relaxing & loving where & who I am. Not rose colored glasses, but cobalt blue, which does not mean the blues. I wish for you the beauty of blue or gold or red or green, or whatever your favorite filter. Maybe pink.

Joying the journey. In joying. Enjoying. I wish you joy. I wish you journey. One step at a time, which is the only way you can experience a journey.

Blog alternative:
303. Pick a filter for the day. Cobalt blue? Princess pink? Green or gold or...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The adventure continues

Zach dressed up for his orientation for the new job
in the Mayo Clinic system. 
I know. It's been a while. I posted from San Francisco & since then I've been to Ashland & Rochester & Salem, South Dakota, & various points in Montana. I'm still at various points in Montana, with limited web access, although thanks to my new Verizon smart phone I can get & send email from my parents' home in Nye, Montana. Crazy. I can see the baby journal updates for Max!

I've not been much in the mood for blogging, having been spending lots of time packing & sorting & such. A lot of my possessions are in a U-box in Rochester, waiting for the word. A bunch are in my car. Some are still in Rochester in various homes. Another one of those "differently-addressed" phases.

But, I had a good trip to Montana, with a stop to visit the marvelous Susi Buck at the Home Motel in Salem. My mom's arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscus tear went well & she's recovering. I've seen all my siblings, but not much in the way of extended family yet. Bunch of my parents' neighbors.

Where next? Just being home where I am for a while. Looking for the next bread crumb to show me the trail. (There was a clue that mentioned Ashland and Medford on Jeopardy the other day.) Anyway, I'm on the adventure.

Blog alternative:
302. Pick an adventure, even if it's a little one. Take a step.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Surviving the third stream

Hello from the land of the bay. San Francisco. Nick & Chloe & Max land. I landed here on Saturday & was going to take a short-ish walk from the BART station to their apartment, except I walked the wrong way on Mission Street for a while (a good while) so it turned out to be a long-ish walk after I got turned in the right direction.

A long-ish walk in San Francisco (even with (light) luggage) on a beautiful day is not too bad though. I did arrive, as the photo shows. Nick has Max in this clever device that just looks like an uber-long scarf but is actually a baby swaddler/carrier/guaranteed-sleeper...

Nice to have a guaranteed-sleeper, because Max can be a bit (grin) fussy when awake. He likes being bounced. Lots of bouncing. I brought some picture books in my little wheeled carry-on & he kinda sorta payed attention while being read to. As much as a month-old baby pays attention anyway.

I've been doing the Grammy thing: changing diapers (more on that later) & bouncing & walking/dancing/quietly-nonsense-singing around & around the apartment trying to make him unfussy, or at least quietly-fussy, so his parents can nap in the loft area upstairs & doing a few dishes & such.

They are not coffee persons so I went out to a coffee shop this morning to get a cup (& a refill). Chloe asked which coffee shop I was going to, with longing in her voice, so I offered to bring her something. Turned out she just liked the idea of going to a coffee shop. So, while I was there, at Bravado, which is nearby & has really cool lighting, I came up with a new rule: each of them has to get outside at least once a day, without the baby. They can go out together & come back separately if so desired, or head out alone, but there must be a little baby-free, fresh air time. Daily! Grammy's rule!

Nick balked a little when I informed him of it, saying, "but what if I want to take the baby along?" I told him he could do that, as well, but the rule stood. Chloe was all about it. Grin.

So, the promised diaper story:

Max had been pooping for a while--I could tell--so I decided to change him. Parents were napping. I set baby on changing mat & get to work. In the midst of it, as I am leaning over him, diligently wiping, a last squirt of soft, yellow baby poop erupts, catching me in the chest & also splatting down onto the changing mat. Fortunately it missed the couch & the soft fleecy pad thing under the changing mat, but I then had to try to wipe up the baby & myself & the mat--& then put on the new diaper without recontaminating. This took a few--quite a few--wipes. I even had to wipe the wipes, as I had poopifed the edges of the wipe dispenser. Oh, & in the midst of this he peed & I had to hurriedly raise the poopy diaper to catch the stream. What Grammy-tastic reflexes!

Then I had to transfer the fleecy pad to the floor & slip the poopy-edged mat out from under the baby & leave him to fuss a little while I went into the bathroom & divested myself of poopy night gown & scrubbed down a little & put on the long shirt I brought to be my robe & go reclaim the baby. It was an adventure. Parents got to sleep through it, mostly-ish.

It has been a day or two since I changed diapers, but I think I've got it. Grin. Nick--when I told him of the adventure--said, "You caught the 3rd stream! Only day 2 & you caught the 3rd stream." I certainly will wait longer next time the little critter is pooping to start the diapering procedure...

Blog alternative:
301. Go outside, just for the sake of going outside. Not on your way to somewhere. Just to breathe in some sunlight. (Or some rainlight, if that's what your weather is providing.)

Friday, June 5, 2015

A Good Plot

I've been busy

A) un-housesitting

I picked up the homeowners late Tuesday afternoon & delivered them to their cats. Phoebe, who has been my lap buddy, happily shedding hair on me, got in a snit & started ignoring everyone. Zoe, at the first sound of beloved voices, raced downstairs to be petted & loved, finally getting the human contact she'd been craving--but unwilling to accept--for 5 weeks.

B) settling back into the other house

Stuff-wrangling--oh the stacks of plastic totes are impressive.

C) preparing for my trip

Yes, tomorrow I am flying to San Francisco to meet Max! (Oh, of course I am excited to see Nick & Chloe, & my friend Ellen, & my nephew Luke & his wife Rachel & other SF buddies, but I do have to admit meeting Max is top priority...)


I have been remiss in letting y'all know:

My story has hit the stands.

"A Good Plot" page 46, Woman's World, grocery checkout stands. It, um, disappears sometime tomorrow, June 6th, probably, even though the date on the cover is June 8th.

Now, back to getting ready to go!

Blog alternative:
300. Plan a lemonade date with a friend.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Techno Damn-the-torpedoes Sell Sell Sell

Not an orchid.
Cactus blossom.


I've been doing some non-techno-damsel stuff, which then required either digging in getting techno-dirt under my nails or throwing up my neatly-manicured (not!) hands in dismay & calling in one of the techno-sheriffs I happen to know.

I opted for the former. Yay me.

An upcoming project was crying out for a new email address & website. After one techno-assist (thanks Bruce) I created the new account. Then I did a little research into domain name registration & website hosting & (all by myself!) picked a provider from the multitudes & registered. I have not yet created said site, but the real estate is mine.

Then I was going to blog (not on this topic; see below) & blogger was signed into my new email account so my attempt to pen a new post just took me to the set-up-your-profile page. I tore my hair for a while until I just tried signing out & then in again, with the correct account. Whew.

So, here I am, feeling ridiculously proud of myself, ready to blog.

As I may have mentioned, I am housesitting for some friends who have gone to Bhutan. A lovely house, with lovely cats, one of which likes me. (She likes me, she really likes me.) The other--not so much.

For quite some time I had to go upstairs with a bowl of wet food, wave it within 10 feet or so of Zoe, who was hissing & growling under her (so far as she knows, dearly-departed) folks' bed. Repeat a couple times. Wait an hour or two. Then, driven by hunger and cat food scent particles, she would come down & eat, growling all the while. I couldn't just leave the food, because Phoebe, who has been lap happy since day one, would eat it.

We have had small progress. She has since come to hiss & growl in the kitchen at the first clatter of food bowls. I'm down with that.

Then, last night, I had gone to bed with a certain nagging feeling that something was undone. It hit me: it was an even numbered day & I had forgotten to ice the orchids. I went down to do so immediately, with Phoebe as my elegant entourage. (She follows me because she thinks it will bring her treats or a trip outside to her little cage where she can eat grass & watch birds & catch some rays. In this case, it merely gave her the opportunity watch me fumble for orchid ice cubes.)

Zoe stayed put, but I can imagine the workings of her kitty mind: What is she doing? What's that sound? The ice cube machine? Oh, she forgot to ice the orchids. She's getting up in the middle of the night (It was only midnight) to ice the orchids. Wow. Okay, so even though our folks were last seen getting into her car--weeks ago--I guess she's okay.

How do I know she was thinking that? Because after I got back into bed & Phoebe jumped up & curled into a warm purrball near my stomach, Zoe came into the room & jumped up too. She settled down right near my shoulder & the three of us fell fast asleep.

Well, the two of them. I just lay there in wonder for quite some time, waiting for another cat to drop. Yikes. Zoe the growler, curled up next to my face. Whew.

Blog alternative:
299. Think hopefully of something you've been uncertain of. If Zoe can leap up to sleep with me, all things are possible.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bonjour, Max--au revoir, jeune fille

Behold, the ides of May...

No, doesn't have a ring to it.

March has the ides, April has tax day, but the 15th of May somehow is left out in the warm. Or at least warmish. Tomorrow the 16th will be chillier---

Oh, dang. It's tomorrow already. Now the 15th of May doesn't even have its own blog post, as I was waiting to get permission to post this picture of my freshly newborn grandson, Max, & his extra super proud daddy, Nick.

Yay Max! (Especially yay Chloe, who spent 33&1/2 hours in labor, including 5 hours of pushing. Max weighed--as Nick put it--9 ton, 1 ounce.)

Welcome to the planet, Max! Are you getting used to it yet? (I just haven't blogged since he was born, lo these 10 days or so ago.) Grammy is looking forward to meeting you in June.

I lied about the temperature, too. It's not until tomorrow, Sunday, that it will get cool.

I've been wrangling stuff. Lots of books packed up in 32 quart plastic tubs I bought at Target. (Hey, book boxes I can lift, & check contents without even opening. Gotta love it.) I've also released a lot of books, including some old French language instruction books I've had since high school & college. I think I was afraid I was abandoning that girl who wanted to learn French. Perhaps I am. My French skills are not good, but those old books are not the way to improve them. If I decide to plunge in again (biblioteque, parapluie, il faut que jai chercher un livre) spaced repetition & online flashcards will be far more helpful. & if I don't--well, I think I will. But not today. (Although I did just look up some French language websites & repeat a few phrases...)

So, jeune fille, wander around in the world a bit. Get your mer legs. But don't go too far...

Blog alternative:
298. Release one of your past selves gently into the world, whether it's for a walkabout or a burial.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Joy jumping

joy jumping

Lovely day here in Rochester.

What did I do? Got rid of some housewares I don't need. Did some organizing. Ate some pasta. Fulfilled my main job as a housesitter: transferred scents from the two long-haired female cats to my two male short-haired grand-dogs & vice versa. I'm sure there's some olfactory machinations going on. The cats are bigger than the dogs, I think.

Did some other stuff. Okay, so I am really not in the mood for blogging. This is a phone-it-in post, done strictly because it's April the last. I'll just say that my grandchild has not yet launched into the outer world & my cold is nearly gone & I've typed in a bunch of stuff from a notebook.

Perhaps May will be bloggier. I hear that's in the forecast.

Blog alternative:
297. Do something poorly, just to get it done. Grin.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Earthday Birthday

Russell Letson, playing the guitar at Minicon
Ah, April. Go she will.

But not without at least one post.

I've had a lovely birthday week, which continues with more celebration this weekend.


drumroll please

--I sold a story to Woman's World. It will appear in the edition that hits grocery checkout aisles everywhere on May 2nd. It is a weekly, though, so you don't have long to get your hot little hands on it.

I got the contract on a Friday, wrote a new (very cool) story on Saturday, edited it on Sunday & Monday & got it into the mail on Monday. Wish me luck!

I've been paring down possessions--going to get back to that right now.

Blog alternative:
296. Make birthday plans--for you or someone else.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The day after Thursday the 12th

Haven't titled this lovely yet. One of my acrylic paintings
that has been languishing in a box. I'm going to take some
artwork to Minicon. Perhaps she'll be there...
I guess you can count on Friday the 13th to get me blogging.

I've been busy working on a new writing project--just started in late-ish February & I have over 15,000 words. Lots of fun as well. It took my energies away from blogging, but I won't complain.

A lovely spring day here in Rochester. I've been wandering the downtown in my shirtsleeves, & a very fine shirt it is, crinkly translucent orange with ruffles and cool bell-shaped cuffs. Plus I got a haircut. I know how to celebrate Friday the 13th.

One of the other things I did since I visited with you last is transfer a BUNCH of old manuscripts to my handy dandy new organizational system: sheet protectors & binders. I had to go to Staples for more sheet protectors & they happened to have humongous, high-quality binders on sale. I got a couple of 3-inchers for $3 each & a 5-incher (I had no idea they made binders in that size) for $4. I'm putting 2 manuscripts per sheet protector, one facing each way. It will be easy to flip through & see what I have. I'm doing the same with cool informational material I've collected over the years.

I'm sitting near a living wall, exchanging my carbon dioxide for some of the plants' waste product: oxygen.

& now, see ya. Back to my novel.

Blog alternative:
295. Hang out near a nice plant (& really, aren't they all?) & deliberately share your breath.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Brought to you by South Korea

Inspired by my friend Cathy Tenzo, who writes a haiku a day

& has recently begun posting a work of art each day

I give you my latest work of (visual) art, which is not yet titled. It will be, however. As a word girl, calling something untitled #37 or somesuch is anathema to me.

This week I have been happily e-corresponding with a couple marvelous students (plus their equally-marvelous teacher) from South Korea. It is always an honor to have my work chosen for school projects, but there is a sense of unreality when it is from halfway around the globe. Yet it is real, & so easy, in these days of email & blogs.

Here is one of the questions I was asked & my answer:

I love the question about how I am influenced when I am writing poetry. It made me think. There are many ways. Here are a few:

1. I have a great imagination and am never short of ideas. Maybe that's why I write science fiction and fantasy, New ideas just show up on a regular basis, sparked by a new science discovery or putting 2 things together that aren't usually associated or just a word. I read the word "cyclops" in a friend's poem the other day and got the idea of wondering what the mother of the first cyclops thought when her baby was born, and other strange, mythical babies, like a baby centaur and such.

2. Emotions. When I'm upset about something or really joyful, poetry is a place to turn to, to either work through the emotion or revel in it.

3. Simple images of everyday life can strike me--like how it feels to hold a little warm dog on your lap (I have one of my grand-dogs, which belongs to my son and daughter-in-law, on my lap right now) and how that simple relationship is as important as a poem. Or striking, unique images, like the year Montana (where I grew up) had such beautiful sunsets because there was a horrific fire in the United State's first National Park, Yellowstone Park. All the ash and dust in the air made the sunsets spectacular--but when you knew the reason for it, the beauty had a dark side.

4. I just love words. They talk to me and I talk back.

5. Reading the poems of other poets can really speak to my mind and my heart and my soul and come out through my fingers, in a notebook or on a computer.

That's probably more than you wanted, but it was fun for me.

Now, on to the rest of my day.

Blog alternative: (Which, as some of you may not know, is my suggestion for things to do rather than surfing the net or reading blogs. Ridiculous that it comes in a blog, but you can easily skip reading this & make your own list...)

294. Look at a map or a globe. Do you know someone in another country? Send them a note. Or write a note to an imaginary friend in the country of your choice & tell them what your day is like & ask them things you'd like to know about theirs. Email the note to yourself. I wouldn't be surprised if you serendipitously get back the answer to at least one of your questions, by seeing it in a magazine or on television or overhearing a conversation between strangers. Bonus points if you graciously (if it's appropriate) let the strangers know they gave you a gift. Who knows, you may end up with a real friend from another country.

Monday, February 16, 2015

My sons' classmate's mother & son's classmate

Dances with bubble wrap

I had an adventure today.

It being (relatively) nice out (okay, so right now it's 19 degrees & feels like 9, but on Saturday we had a high of 4, which felt like 15 below, but it was sunny so it seemed nicer & on Sunday it got up into the (low) single digits & tomorrow the high will be 9 & on Wednesday it will be 2) for southern Minnesota in January, I decided to take a walk. A short walk. Stopped at the neighborhood McDonald's for some fries & warmth. (I am still a southern belle wussy chick & southern Minnesota just doesn't cut it.)

Halfway through my fries, the woman at the next table was getting up & I thought she had cute hair, so I got her attention & told her so & she said she thought she knew me from way back. Turns out our sons were in grade school together. We visited for a little while & she went home to what she'd been taking an ice cream vacation from & I bundled back up so I wouldn't feel too much like ice cream & walked home.

Zach didn't have class, it being President's Day, so he took a little break from studying psychology to hear about my adventure. It turned out that he'd had a college class a couple years ago with this same woman, recognized her last name & asked about her son.

How many degrees of separation is that? Less than one. Our McDonald's overlap was short--& I had not intended to go there at all, until confronted by the windchill--so I am declaring it a synchronicity.

Blog alternative:
293. Go outside when you don't have to, just to be there. Kiss a snowflake for me, if there is one. Better yet, kiss a sunbeam for you, if there is one.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Triskaidekaphilics Unite!

A cool (hot) pool in Yellowstone Park.
My friends Debbie & Jim & I went there in September
just before my dad's 80th birthday.
The last time I'd been there was about 43 years ago.

Happy Friday the 13th!

I absolutely love it when Friday the 13th falls in February, because--unless it's a leap year--we get a repeat performance in March. Encore. Bravo!

(Too many exclamation points? My little triskaidekaphilic heart beats so fast on Friday the 13th. Maybe it's from the candy bar I just ate...)

I've had a lovely day, recycling old manuscripts, getting rid of books I no longer desire (some to the Paperback Book Palace & some to the Friends of the Library bookstore), getting a few things at the beautiful new location of The People's Co-op &--most importantly--reading The Accidental Wife, by my friend C.J. Fosdick. It's coming out this spring from Wild Rose Press.

Carol has always been a very good writer but she's been busy with kids & dogs & horses for some years & gotten back to writing in a big way fairly recently. Yay hurray! I'm going to write a glowing review for her. If you like time travel romances, check it out.

Blog alternative:
292. Set aside the kids (trust me, they'll probably appreciate it, unless they're infants, in which case, wait until nap time) & the dogs & the horses for a moment & work on a dream.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Leopard escapes from the box

Snowy tree reflected in
the glass atop the fabulous
54" round pedestal table I
found at a store in Minneapolis
many years ago.
The very best size for playing cards.

I found my fun clothes!

In a box taken from the recycling pile in front of Ten Thousand Villages in Asheville, before I decided to use standard UPS packing. This was packed when I moved from my Chestnut Street apartment, in 2009. So I haven't seen the leopard print denim bell bottoms or the short red dress I wore to Shelly & Johnny's wedding or any number of fabulous apparel for more than 5 & 1/2 years.

I'll go through them, & make sure they're still fun & they still fit. Probably some things will go to thrift stores or consignment shops, but you know I'm going to be wearing leopard print bell bottoms tomorrow!

This was the funnest of the boxes I've gone through lately, & there have been a bunch of them. Recycled a lot of paper. Now I'm trying to come up with a better system for paper, because I've come to know that putting it in cute black snap-together banker's boxes from Staples just means I have a bunch of cute black boxes on my shelves. It has to be more visual, more accessible, more in-my-face for them to be useable.

I'll the put the old (but not yet old enough to discard) tax materials back in one of the cute black boxes. I'm putting some papers in sheet protectors & putting them in binders. We'll see if that will work better. Perhaps if I had a room with walls made out of cork board I could just pin all the rest of it up &--no, no, that would be a disaster.

I'm good at coming up with systems though. I even have some that work...

Blog alternative:
291. Look at a system for keeping things. Does it work? If not, why not? Get rid of some of the things that got bottle-necked in the system. Bonus if you come up with another system.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Accidental Movies

Do you ever do this? Take pictures with your camera (I forgot, no one has cameras any more. Okay, your phone.) & somehow in the middle of it press something that means you're making a movie. Except you never make movies, so you think you're just looking at the scene, ready to take another picture. But when you push your "take a picture" button, nothing happens. Hmmm, you think, & keep   watching the scene, moving the device, pressing the button. After a little while (one hopes, depending on the scene) you turn it off & back on again, & there you are, able to take pictures, wondering what just happened.

The sad thing about this: the more dynamic & interesting & movie-worthy the scene, the sooner you are to turn it off & start over. If it's no big deal--say, the way pattern looks really cool on the end pages of Mary Oliver's poetry book, Blue Horses, reflecting the light from your little gooseneck LED light from IKEA off the protective plastic coat the library lovingly placed on the book--you might mess around for 47 seconds or so. Sigh.

I was going to share the little movie--with no guarantee that it would be 47 seconds well spent; watch at your own risk; blah blah blah--but fortunately for you there was an error. Instead, taking far less than 47 seconds to peruse, is this photo, 1 of 29 I took. I could show you the slideshow...

The little diorama at the top is brought to in part you by Mr. Jackson, dead these many years. Mr. Jackson was my teacher at Nye School for 8 years, my introduction to education. He taught grammar & phonics exceedingly well, made sure we did at least one freehand drawing a month (on manila paper) as well as the obligatory trace-your-hand turkeys & folded-&-cut paper snowflakes & such for seasonal decorations & ran a kickass rhythm band which was a key component of our twice-a-year programs, Christmas & graduation--standing room only events at Nye. He also--well, I won't go into the parts that made some students (not me) wish they went to school in Absarokee. We can't be all things to all people, after all. One thing about going to a one-room school, is you know who your teacher's going to be next year. & the year after that...

Mr. Jackson had two favorite little gifts he gave to the girls in the school at Christmas & school year's end. I have no idea what he gave the boys. Girls got paper cards with little ceramic animals glued to them or a cool cobalt blue bottle of Evening in Paris perfume.

I probably don't have any perfume bottles left (more's the pity, since a bunch of my decorating consists of setting blue bottles of all shapes & sizes on window sills) but in one of the bathrooms of my parents' house are two sets of little animals that Mr. Jackson gave me. Every time I go home, I rearrange the mama duck & her teenager & baby & the mama dog & her 4 puppies (1 has its tail completely broken off & another has just a little tail tip chipped; I usually make them the super adventurous & adventurous ones.) into dynamic dioramas.

I'm pretty sure, since I left Nye School the spring of 1973 & the ceramic animals were probably "little girl" gifts, that the duck family & the dog family are more than 45 years old. I doubt many of their counterparts, given to other girls, even exist any more. I very seriously doubt that any of them get played with several times a year.

I was unusually enchanted by the diorama I came up with over the holiday season. The puppy peeking out of the heart-shaped box at the baby duck. Mama duck & mama dog nose to nose. 3 puppies converging on the adolescent duck--safety in numbers? So, you get a couple less-than-perfect photos of this (I didn't think of it until it was time to leave & I had to hurry & the light wasn't good & I don't like flash) to go along with (what was going to be) your movie of the end pages of a poetry book. I hope all this artistry doesn't completely blow you out of whatever water you happen to be in.

Blog alternative:
290. Put together some of your possessions (even if you don't have old childhood toys, you probably have a comb & a light bulb &...) in a diorama. A brave coffee cup standing up to a collection of empty beer bottles? One earring leading the escape from the necklace corral?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Winter, cracked in half

Ram Bunctious
It's January. According to my calculations, that's smack dab in the middle of winter. I was just out in Montana for an extra week or so due to tangibles of winter: snow, ice, cold. However, the roads did eventually turn green (on the travel map) & home I came.

Many games of all sorts (except poker, alas) were played. Mom won the pitch series for the first time ever. (Go, Mom!)

It's been a while since I posted, so I'll just do one to have it done.

Blog alternative:
289. Do a slap dash, half assed version of something you've been putting off. Break the ice, as it were. After all, winter is half over.