Monthly Archives: August 2009

Cooler nights now


     The last couple of nights have been wonderful.  It’s been very good sleeping weather with the temperatures in the mid sixties.  Our AC is off and the house opened up during the day with the low humidity and cooler days too. 

     I am saddened to see that the leaves are ever so slightly beginning to change color and some of the Tulip Poplar and Magnolia’s leaves have fallen.  Summer has passed too quickly. 

     We’ll soon have to rake leaves.  Dear Hubby and I hope to get the pond covered properly this year so we don’t get as many leaves in the water as we did this past fall.  We never did get around to putting the netting up and I had a heck of a job cleaning the pond out this spring.

     The bullfrogs are eating everything they can grab now, fattening up for their winter hibernation.  Yes, for Goliath this includes any birds that happen to land too close to him. 

     It’s also time to change the Koi to their fall food.  I’ll have to add that to my list to pick some up this week before I forget it.

Lucy, you got some ‘splaining to do


     When Dear Hubby is away hunting this year, if he’s up to going, I have plans.  My dear friend and I will clear out what we can from the kitchen, cover my table and chairs, and then we’ll prime and paint those ugly paneled walls.  I’ve waited for too many years to have something done with that ugly kitchen.

     The floor in there is lovely, the cabinets are too, but there’s this gosh darned ugly paneling on the walls that I’ve put up with for 36 years.  This is the last year.  I haven’t been able to find someone who, for a reasonable price, will rip down the paneling, tear down the drop ceiling, and put up dry wall.  DH can’t do it.  The best I can do now is paint over the danged stuff and at least make the kitchen brighter.

     Sometimes DH dreads going off on his hunting trip because he knows I’ll have something changed when he gets home.    This was his home all his life and other than the ceramic tile my friend and I put in the kitchen the room has remained mostly unchanged.  All the changes we made here were because I did them or convinced him that it would look better if done. 

     He almost fell over from the shock when he came home from work the day I tore down the large doorway between the living and dining rooms, turning it into one large room.  He loves it now especially since we also removed the hallway. 

     I can imagine his shock when he sees the kitchen.  “Lucy, you got some ‘splaining to do!”

My turn!


     Since Gavin wrote the post yesterday, Mom said it was my turn today.  My name is Patty; I’m the lovely dark princess in the picture above.  Mom says I’m no princess I’m a Peppermint Patty I have no idea what she’s talking about when she says things like that ‘cause I know I’m a princess.  Daddy says I am his rescued Rumanian princess.  I love my Mommy too but she cleans ears and stuff so I’d rather sit with Dad.

     When I went outside tonight, I chased two of those green critters into the pond.  They both screamed and hopped so high I thought they were birds taking off.  I couldn’t help chasing the first one he was sitting right at the bottom step.  I surprised him as much as he surprised me.  Halfway to the pond the other one screamed and took off so then I had two of them bouncing green things in front of me.  I was so excited!  That is I was until they splashed into the pond.  I don’t like to get wet so all I could do was try to see where they went.  Mom said they hide under the water with the fishes and can stay there for a long time so I should stop looking and come in.

     I told Gavin about the green critters that Mom calls bullfrogs.  He says he’s heard them scream and splash into the water but never saw one close enough to chase it.  I beat him on that one!

We are one step ahead of the squirrels in the great tomato war


     Gavin here, Mom said I could write the blog tonight.  Boy is Mom completely ticked off at the squirrels.  Tree rats she calls them.  While Patty and I were enjoying the AC, it seems that those sneaky critters went and built a nest in her magnolia tree.  Then they started stealing tomatoes and had the nerve to sit on her bench by the back door and eat them!

     Patty says she could scare them off if only she could climb the tree.  We’ve both tried but we don’t have any cat blood in us so it didn’t work.  The danged old tree rat laughed at us but then so did Mom.  Now that it’s cooler outside we’re patrolling the yard more often.

     The tree rat cusses at us from the top of the magnolia.  Patty and I pretend we can’t hear him and maybe he’ll come closer. 

     Dad says it’s time to get out the have-a-heart traps again.  He said something about relocating the fluffy tailed rats.  I don’t know what relocating means but I growled about it at the squirrel tonight.

Hookers, Johns, and night-time photographs


     I know it’s weird that I take pictures of the gardens at night.  The whole night-time photography thing started in a strange way…

     I live in the center of town in a rather quiet area, slightly off the beaten path.  For years, we had a high hedge along the side of yard.  This attracted a certain problem.  What was the problem you ask?  Hookers and their Johns discovered it.  At first, I’d let the dogs out and allow them to bark at the strange cars but I began to fear that these people might try to harm my darlings.  My tactics changed quickly when one man became confrontational and we had to call the police on him.

     After such an experience, you tend to try to find easy ways to move them off without being confrontational.  Having a camera’s flash go off several times in their direction certainly does the trick.  No, I don’t take pictures of them or their cars but they don’t know this.  Should they try to confront me, I can prove that I am innocently taking pictures of my gardens and pond. 

     I’ve found that when I photograph the gardens at night the colors of the flowers and Koi come up clearer and most natural.  There is that deterrent thing too…

Never tell anyone who your tomato overflow person is…


     We planted five tomato plants.  The counters and fridge are teeming with tomatoes.  I have several neighbors who put in at least a dozen plants, no wonder they have so many.

     Our tomatoes are coming in faster than greyhounds after a rabbit and so are all the neighbors’.  Neighbors are scrambling to get rid of them and they are all getting the same response, “I already have a ton of tomatoes.” 

     I’ve made salsa, tomato sauce, and relish.  We’ve had so many BLTS that they are coming out our ears.  (I’m not complaining I love BLTs.)  I have two people I give my overflow to before the harvest fills every shelf of the fridge and my entire counter top.  Shhh, don’t tell anyone but my next door neighbor and my MIL are our tomato people.  They welcome our surplus with glee.  Dear Hubby takes a basket of grape tomatoes and a couple of the Big Boys over to his mom once a week.  My next door neighbor has Big Boy tomatoes whenever she desires them.

     When other neighbors complain that have no one left to give their tomatoes to I suggest taking them to the soup kitchens.

Will multiple sidekicks work?


     With each book I write, Linnie’s sidekick could be the same.  However, I think it might work to use a different one in each subsequent book.  I have several characters who are clamoring for the job.  In Doggoned Dead, there’s Perry.  In Doggoned Bullseye, I think one of the other characters would work better.  In Doggoned Bones, her cousin seems to fit the bill.

     What do you think?  In a series mystery, does it matter to you if the sidekick changes according to the storyline?  I won’t mix and match several in one book I don’t think that would work.

     Why am I writing a mystery series?  I love reading them.  I enjoy getting to know the characters.  The idea of picking up a book that has a familiar set of characters appeals to me.

     Do you read mystery series?  What do like best about a mystery series?  What turns you off?  Come on people, let me hear your opinions.

The night owl advantage


     From the hours of midnight to 5 a.m., the city quiets down.  It’s so peaceful that, on the odd occasion, I can hear the trains from the other side of town.  When I’m outside, all I hear is our waterfall, fountains, crickets, and frogs.  The occasional siren or passing car intrudes but not too often.

     Inside the dogs are snoring quietly and the phone is silent.  Ideally, the TV is off.  I write.  The dinner dishes sit in the sink all rinsed and ready for washing.  They will keep for a while. 

     With coffee close to hand and some inspiration, my nightly post grows.  I read the comments on my blog and answer them.  I reply to E-mails and my books take on new life.  I play with words, phases, expressions, dialogue, and characters.  I hope to take my readers on a journey into a good mystery with twists, turns, and a resolution at the end.

     Around about 4 a.m., I take the dogs out, do my dishes, and go to bed.

I keep very strange hours


     My internal clock is different from almost everyone I know.  How many people do you know that make potato salad at 3 a.m. for dinner the next day?  I just finished making it and put it in the fridge.  Do you know anyone who does dishes at 4 a.m.?  I’ve been known to do that often.  See?  Weird.

     I also do my writing after 11p.m.  I’m never fully awake until sometime in the afternoon.  Before that, I live on coffee to jump start my brain.  Ask me a question before noon and I make no sense.  Probably because I’m still in bed and sound asleep at that time.

     I can’t help it.  I’ve tried changing my circadian clock but before long, it is right back to where it was before.  My mother told me many times I did this as a child.  I drove her crazy with it.  My dear Aunties have learned to take my crazy hours in stride.  They let me sleep until I wake up when I visit.  They also know never to phone me before noon and preferably not until sometime around 3 in the afternoon when I am completely functioning.

I am a dial up slowpoke


     The clouds hung low and brooding over the city, thunder rumbled.  Lightning flashed.  My dial up connection went to hell in a hand basket…

     One of these days, I’ll get a high speed connection.  When I do, I’ll probably be amazed at the difference.  For now, I have to stay with the dial up and be pokey.  I can’t view videos that people E-mail to me—I keep telling them that but they don’t seem to get it. 

     As of now, I simply can’t justify paying what they want around here for a high speed connection. 

     I’ll keep plodding along here at a turtle’s pace while everyone else leaps ahead like rabbits…wait does that sound familiar?

Miscellaneous stuff


     A trip to Borders today gave me some insight into my troublesome character.  I did a bit of scribbling in my notebook I hope will turn into another chapter or two if I’m lucky. 

     After stopping to visit a friend at my favorite store, I went to get a hair cut.  Yes, Dave it’s short again but Dear Hubby thinks it’s cute.  Why do so many men want women to have long hair anyway?  When it’s thick and curly like mine, it’s hot and frizzy in the summer.

     We had a very muggy and hot day today so the dogs spent most of it on their favorite chairs snoozing in the AC.  I’m looking forward to the storms they are predicting this weekend that are supposed to bring cooler and less humid weather with them.

     When I was visiting them last month, my Aunties gave me three lovely Japanese figurines that were my Grandfather’s.  I did some research and found out they aren’t just any old figurines.  They are three of the Japanese Seven Gods of Fortune.  The first one I found is Daikokuten the God of wealth, the second one is Fukurokuju the God of wisdom and longevity, and the third one is Hotai San the laughing Buddha rubbing his belly is supposed to bring good luck.  How fun!

I am not a domestic Goddess


     I hate to clean.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a clean house but I hate doing the work to get it clean. 

     Dusting, oh, I’d rather play with the dogs.  Running the vacuum, yuck, it’s so noisy, wouldn’t it be better to sit and read a book?  Sweeping, it’s quieter but wasn’t there something I meant to write about?  Washing windows?  Do I really need to see outside?  If I wash the dogs’ nose prints off the windows, they’re back there in an hour anyway.  They call it decorating and I tend to agree with them.

     Who wants to schlep baskets of laundry down and back up two flights of stairs when there’s gardening to do?  I can go outside, pull a few weeds, daydream, and play with the Koi and the bullfrogs.  Therefore, the laundry piles up and when I finally break down to do it; I’m at it all day.  It’s a good thing to do on a rainy day.  I can cuddle with the dogs in between loads.  No, I didn’t say dust, vacuum, sweep, or wash windows.