Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ho-hum--and a new veggie dish

Another day of being shut in. Since last Sunday (maybe Saturday) I have been out of the house twice. This is getting old. Tonight my solitude was nicely broken by my Canadian daughter and her partner who came for wine and then went on to a party. Made me feel almost social. They reported driving is easy but walking is treacherous. I'm glad I stayed home.
I discover that if I sit at my desk too long, either writing, checking email, etc., or reading, I develop a sort of inertia. So this afternoon I folded the laundry I'd left in the dryer a shamefully long time, made the first layer of a casserole for tomorrow, and made myself a new dish for supper--pea mash.
I asked my Canadian daughter if she'd ever had pea mash, thinking it sounded British. She said it sounded like bangers and mash (which I love) but no she'd never had it.
I sautéed some defrosted sweet peas in olive oil and mashed them with a fork. Lesson learned: they don't mash with an old-fashioned potato masher. The peas just roll around between the tines of the masher. I seasoned them with a bit of garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper (got a little heavy on the pepper, which is often a failing of mine), and added a chopped scallion. Really good. I'll do that again. Good thing because I have two full bags of peas in the freezer.
Not a bad day--200 emails, 1000+ words written, some reading, couldn't nap. Tomorrow it's supposed to be fifty, so the great thaw will come. By Tuesday, in the seventies but thunderstorms. I think I'll sing and dance in the rain.

Friday, February 27, 2015

An old story by now

Snow is a tired old story in the Metroplex by now. We had our share of ice and snow early in the week and some of us--count me--thought it was mostly behind us. Yesterday there was a light dusting which proved to be just that and no more. In spite of Jordan's misgivings, I went to the grocery and nothing bad happened.
So this morning when Christian said, "Hunker down. It's going to snow," and Jacob crowed, "It's snowing already," I didn't think much about  it. It was a light dusting--tiny flakes--but it kept coming all morning and into the afternoon. If you live here and watch TV at all,  you know how bad the roads were: at one point, police were working 45 accidents with 30 in the queue.
I had more social plans than usual this weekend and was looking forward to being out and about. Tonight is (was?) a preview at the Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame of a special program, scheduled later, on the making of the movie, Lonesome Dove. Not sure how I got an invitation, but I did, and Carol Roark was going with me, threatening to wear those rhinestone chaps she doesn't have. Tomorrow night we were going to take friend Phil--and his seeing-eye dog--to Weatherford for the opening of a show on The Buffalo at the Museum of the Americas--cancelled. We may go to the Old Neighborhood Grill for supper. It will be good to get out of the house and among people if that happens.
I did worry about getting Jacob from school, because the TV had dire warnings about how slippery things were. The mother of one of Jacob's friends picked both boys up about 10:30 this morning. Jacob went home with them to play and was to be delivered back here. But then he was invited to spend the night. Every time I glanced out my office window today I saw parents picking children up early. The school never did officially dismiss early.
There are good things about snow days--I'm more likely to do my yoga when home alone all day, and I get a lot of work done. Dug into my novel-in-progress last night, reading from the beginning, and found lots of holes and contradictions. Then I lost track of what had happened when, so I will have to do that again. I will write more tonight and then read--not the book I'm reading for review but a mystery that I can lose myself in.
Next week doesn't look much better--freezing rain and sleet tonight, rain until midweek, but by Tuesday the predicted high is 77. Today it didn't go above 28. Want to talk about whether or not climate change exists? I have a few words, not polite, for the legislator who brought a snowball into Congress to demonstrate that the earth is not warming!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A doggy, snow week

Sophie at her most adorable, saying, "Notice how cute I am." The week has been much absorbed with dogs. One of Jordan's two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels developed pancreatitis--during a snow day when the vet didn't open until noon. She was in the vet's overnight and the subject of much concern . Since it was a snow day, Jacob was here and Jordan brought Cricket, the other dog, because the two are not used to being separated. Sophie thought that was delightful--a playmate. Cricket, and her sister Juney, are quiet, reserved dogs who prefer to sit on your lap and not move. Sophie made overtures to Crickey, which Jacob interpreted as bullying, causing him to lock her in the office which drove her frantic. I explained we couldn't lock her up in her own house when we were all here and if he'd calm down, Sophie would too. And that's just what happened. Juney is now happily at home with her sister and feeling better.
But Sophie loves happy hour, when it seems there's almost always someone here for a glass of wine. First of all it's her signal to become desperately hungry. After she's fed, she wants attention and shows us how cute she is.
Sometimes I think about living alone, which mostly I like, and think I couldn't do it without a dog. Yes, I talk to her, and she responds. Yes, she gives me comfort in the cool of the night--if someone threatened the house, she'd sound the alert. Though pretty much when she's in her crate, she considers herself "off duty" and doesn't bark until she wants to go outside--usually about four in the morning, thank you very much. But then it's not a bark but a sort of soft "Ruff." She's crated because she seems to have forgotten that she can wake me up to go out and has left puddle marks on my kilim rugs. I don't think I've ever in my life had a perfectly house-trained dog, and I consider it a deficiency on my part.
Other than that it's been a snow week--two days of school closed and then yesterday was a gorgeous day, sunny, not too cold. Today the prediction was for a light dusting of snow in the morning, though Jordan looked at the radar--which looked like a huge something was going to hit us--and announced I should not go to the grocery. I protested it's liable to be much worse the next two mornings, and I should go when I can. The light dusting was barely even that--tiny flakes that disappeared before they hit the ground. At her urging I went to the store so early that I was home by 9:30 and can stay home the next two days, although I have evening plans both nights that I hope the weather doesn't cancel.
Saturday is the Cowtown Marathon, an event for which planning began in my living room many many years ago. I well remember the first marathon--it began to sleet about ten the night before, and my ex, Joel, one of the founders, sat in our bedroom and said, "Shit! I don't want to hear sleet." Next morning I drove four young children to the North Side (I was doing publicity for the marathon) and we stayed all day.  Now when I think of having turned them loose on East Exchange I am horrified but they assure me they were always with a bunch of kids.
This Saturday it's supposed to be freezing rain. Jordan and Jacob are scheduled to run, Christian to walk. We'll see what happens, but the weather forecast does bring back memories.
The trouble with snow days, for me, is that I get too comfortable staying home and then have to remind myself I am perfectly capable of moving about in the world. Felt a bit of that this morning.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Legal tangles and an exploding computer

For about ten years, I held power of attorney for a cousin in Canada. I hadn't seen her since I was twelve--which, believe me, was a long time ago. But she was incapable of handling her own affairs, and I was the only close relative. I remember my father years ago saying, "If anything happens to us, you will take care of Jenny, won't you." It was like a legacy.
Jenny died last May, intestate. I don't think she ever had a happy life, but she was perhaps the happiest she'd ever been in the provincial home where she lived the last few years. I grieve for all that she missed in life, but I'm glad she was comfortable, well cared for, and had a sense of being cared about.
Finally this month the Canadian courts named me as executor and sole heir. I had meantime arranged a funeral, burial, headstone--all the details that go with death. And I thought I was through. Today my computer exploded with emails from the Toronto lawyer and the trust company tax preparer. It's complicated enough when a person dies in this country  with a will--take away the will (I never would have asked her--it would have scared her) and put the only relative in another country, and it gets complicated beyond measure.
I apparently have to file two returns--one with the Canadian Revenue whatever (the trust company will do that--for a fee, I'm sure) and one to meet a new requirement of the Ontario judicial system (the lawyer will do that). We're not talking about much money here, and I can see it rapidly diminishing with legal fees. We had some discussion about filing under the new requirement--the lawyer said she didn't think I was required to but it was a risk. Seemed like a small risk until she mentioned the minimal fine is $1000 (okay, not the end of the world) and/or two years in jail (oops! the end of the world). We're filing.
But I got so I hated to check my email--and each time I heard from either of these wonderful people (they really are most helpful) I saw dollar signs spin before my eyes.
Meantime I got into another computer dither, trying to apply for a Twitter widget for my newly designed website--Twitter refused to accept my URL as valid. The web designer finally said she'd do it herself, and of course it worked the first time--after I'd tried ten times. At least I was glad to have that chore taken off my hands.
By the end of the afternoon, I needed a break desperately. The morning's snow had melted and the day turned gorgeous. My dining adventurer friend Betty and I went to the Tavern...and ended up across the aisle from my son-in-law who was having a drink with a client. We split an odd combination for dinner--the appetizer of deviled eggs (love them) and a bowl of rigatoni Bolognese. The Bolognese was neither the rich red sauce I expected nor the cream-added sauce I sometimes encounter, but it was meaty and good and I suspect pretty authentic. Good food is always a solace.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Yep, it's my zoo and my monkies

The sectional couch in all its glories is put together--after 18 cartons and untold hours of work, mostly by Jordan, Christian and Jay. Note one pillow doesn't match--missing a slipcover. It's not quite finished, because we will link the pieces together after we get the TV in place, and also decide what to do about the hassock (nobody seems to know that word) and the coffee table, which is an antique munitions chest and I really want to keep. But it's done, we can sit on it, and it changes the character of the once-playroom completely. I'm excited about it. No red wine can be drunk on it--house rules. One of my daughters (I'm not naming names) will remember a recent disaster with red wine and a couch!
Other than that, it's been a day. You know the phrase, "Not my zoo, not my monkeys"? Today they were all mine. We were iced in this morning and Jacob was to spend the day. He didn't arrive until eleven and then came accompanied by a dog and a flustered mother. They have two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and one was desperately ill--turns out she has pancreatitis and is in the vet's overnight, maybe for two nights. Meantime they didn't want to leave the other dog, Cricky, home alone because the two are very attached and sort of insecure.
Sophie thought it  was fine, even exciting to have Crickey, but Jacob gets upset when Soph jumps on poor passive Crickey, so I have to tell him to chill. He wants to lock Sophie in the office, which she won't stand for. Eventually everyone calmed down, and Jacob did his studies with his dog curled next to him. Sophie gave it up and retreated to her chair.
Friend Carol called wanting to go to lunch to beat off cabin fever, and I explained I couldn't leave two dogs alone, so we had tuna sandwiches here, and Carol swept me a path to the side steps off the porch--by tonight it had all melted anyway and was fine.
Jordan and Christian arrived about five, Christian left Jordan, Jacob and Crickey here, and I eventually left them to go to dinner with friends--Tuesday night at the Neighborhood Grill. With, I must add, a sense of relief. No ice, good dinner, nice companionship, and I came home to a quiet peaceful house.
No idea what tomorrow will bring--except snow. Supposed to melt by ten or so. This has been the week that was for weather and isn't really supposed to get better until the weekend. Yuck.
Who, me? Write? Not a chance. But I did get some work done. Going to sleep early with a clear conscience.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Memories of an old friend

An obituary in yesterday's paper alerted me to the death of an old friend, a man I hadn't seen in years and years, and it brought back some happy memories and some musings on life. The man's wife, S., was and is a good friend of mine for over forty years. Young, with infant children, we all hung out together a lot--we were neighbors in a small, upscale neighborhood (hey, I was married to a doctor), and we were involved in liberal causes. We partied. We had great lives.
But things change. Joel and I divorced and then a few years later so did S. and her husband--though they later remarried briefly and then finally terminated their relationship. S. worked at TCU as I did, but many years ago she moved to NYC to be near most of her children. We've kept in sporadic contact, had rare visits, but I think we both knew in the back of our minds that we were old friends with deep roots. I've emailed her since her ex's death and had warm replies.
I got to thinking about the two of us today, and the similarities struck me with force. Not just that we lived in the same neighborhood and worked at TCU. We were both married to men who, each in his own way was larger than life and lived outside what would be called the norms of society. I can't truly speak for her, but I suspect I know that when their marriage was good, it was very good. I know I have happy memories of my own life at that time. Four children, the happy domestic life. In a lot of ways I loved it; sometimes I chafed against it.
My ex and hers both were an enormous part of our lives and left indelible impressions, things that shaped us for the rest of our lives. But we each went on to build satisfying lives for ourselves--she as an artist and me as a writer. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say those men gave us the strength to do that--I'd like to believe it came from our inner selves. But whatever, we did forge ahead, and we're both happy campers, close to our children, pleased with our lives. The parallels interest me.
S. wrote that she hoped she would now be free, and I wanted to tell her no, she'll never be free. My ex is still in my thoughts--and sometimes my dreams--a lot. Oh, yes, there were other men--some good, some disappointing--but none had the same impact on my life. I still don't know whether to damn him or thank him--but I think it's the latter.
Here's to the good old days, to all those golden memories softened by time. And to long-lasting friendships.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Oscars Baffle Me

I'll admit it right off the bat--I'm not a movie fan. Watching a movie makes me itchy, thinking of all the other things I could be doing. Commercial movie theaters strike me as greasy, dirty, and smelling of popcorn--not a smell I particularly like. I'd go to showings at our local Museum of Modern Art but somehow that has never worked out. There are movies I wish I'd seen--Midnight in Paris comes to mind, and so does Still Alice, which showed recently at the museum and scheduling just didn't work out. But the average, run-of-the-mill violent movie? I have no desire to see it. Even when I was a kid, I can remember hiding my eyes a lot during Captains from Castile and when I was older and dating, I studied a lot of theater ceilings with great intensity. Nope, I'm not a movie fan.
So it baffles me that people are so caught up with the Oscars. A couple of weeks ago friends came fro Sunday dinner and one said suddenly, "I've got to go. It's time for Downton Abbey." Something else I have no interest in.
This week, I knew it was the Oscars--Jordan insisted they were staying home--so my usual pack of friends came early, five o'clock, ostensibly to work on the couch. Jay worked, everyone else watched and quizzed him about his new job. When sleet was beginning outside and at least half of North Texas was cooking chili, I put out a platter of cold cuts and cheese, bread, sliced tomatoes, and condiments plus a hearty salad. We loved it.
But 6:45, and they were all out the door, saying they couldn't miss the red carpet. As they left, Susan said,, "You'll watch it, Judy. You know you will." No, I won't. I have a new book I've just started and I'll read. Sounds so much more rewarding to me.
I don't care about fashion failures and successes; I don't know 90% of the current movie stars. Y'all enjoy--just don't rehash it with me tomorrow.
Since we'll be iced in tomorrow, I probably can enjoy a vacation. By Tuesday, when the world melts, the Oscars will be old news, and I'll still have my book.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Anticipatory anxiety

This winter may be the worst I remember--oh, not here in Texas though for what we're used to it's been worse than usual. I read somewhere today that Texas has two seasons--winter and summer. And they take turns appearing in the same week. But across the country, particularly the Northeast, the pictures of snowdrifts are appalling. I grew up in Chicago, and I remember bad winters, but nothing like what we're seeing. My prayers go out to those stuck in this snowy winter land. A little snow is pretty--but this is beyond belief.
But tonight, in Texas, we're hearing bad forecasts, and I admit to a little anticipatory anxiety. Tomorrow it is to rain; Sunday night in the wee hours it will turn to sleet, and Monday the high will be 32--won't do much to get rid of that sleet. I am preparing to hunker down for two or three days. Invited friends for a quick and light sandwich supper tomorrow--so we could discuss the couch and finish one part--but send them home in time for the Oscars/Downton Abbey, whichever they choose. One wrote me, "We'll see you tomorrow night, before winter hits us again." And I'll be grateful for their company in what I anticipate will be a time of seclusion.
I have already made up my mind that Jacob won't have school Monday--I don't know why it takes the school board so long to decide this when it's already clear to me. If that happens, and if his dad's office is closed, he'll stay home; if school is closed and his dad's office isn't, he'll spend a long day with me. If he has school, I already have a neighbor in mind to ask to bring him home. I don't want to venture even across the street on sleet-covered streets. Oh, my, how I dislike that kind of weather.
But the funny thing is that sometimes the forecasters get us all in a snit, like my anticipatory anxiety, and then it turns out not to be nearly as bad as predicted. It may not sleet, or it may warm up enough to melt--or who really knows what can happen?
I liked the old days of weather forecasting, when it wasn't such a precise science, when they didn't tell us a week ahead what weather to dread, when they didn't tell us the cold index or the heat. Tell me it's 32--I don't need to know the chill factor.
You all stay warm and safe and pray for the rain we need so much but not for sleet. Please.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Great Couch Caper

The couch--in progress
When my children were all here in January for rodeo, we came to a collective decision: I do not need a playroom any more. The grandchildren are all--sob!--too old. I need a "hang out" room. Accordingly, after much web searching, debates, etc. Jamie ordered a 45 inch TV--back-ordered--and a LoveSac sectional couch. Six sections.
It arrived this week in 18 boxes, some of which had an oh-so-appropriate puzzle piece on the box. The first shipment was six large heavy boxes which I found sitting on the porch--apparently the Fed Ex guy didn't ring the doorbell, etc. I was napping but didn't even hear Sophie throw a fit--and she always does that. I managed to get three or four in the house by turning them end for end and then once they were inside, sliding them--which involved picking each up enough to get it started sliding on the rug. Neighbors Jay and Susan arrived to help bring the rest in and open one to look at what we had. Gray cushions, base, etc.--I had ordered beige, but this was an okay color--a little dull, but okay. Jordan arrived, and we did a tandem operation--I opened the cartons (carefully) and she moved them to the former playroom, now to be called the sunroom because it is all windows and has the most delightful light.
By that evening there were five adults (including me), four dogs, and Jacob helping to assemble the couch. We got it into a rough position and quit. I ordered hamburgers.
The next day 12 boxes arrived. Fortunately I caught the Fed Ex man as he was delivering, and he cheerfully brought them all inside for me. I opened four square smaller boxes and found slipcovers--the beige I'd ordered in a nice durable, washable fabric. Put those carefully aside, because each bag is labeled as to what part it fits. The other eight boxes were big and unwieldy. I opened four and gave up. Christian arrived, unboxed them all and carried them into the sunroom. I defrosted frozen spaghetti sauce (homemade and very good, if I do say so). Meanwhile all the empty boxes are stacked in my dining room. Christian said, "I hope you're not having a dinner party soon." Words of encouragement.
This morning, Jordan looked at what remains to be done and said, "Let's take a vacation." But by this afternoon, she suggested I cook supper tomorrow and they work on the couch. Jay said he'd come over on the weekend if he had help. It will get done, and it will be wonderful--I know it will. Meantime I'm exhausted.
Wonder if I could order BBQ for tomorrow night?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

How I Became a Writer

Please welcome, Gloria Alden, my Wednesday guest blogger. Gloria writes the Catherine Jewell Mystery series: The Blue Rose, Daylilies for Emily’s Garden, Ladies of the Garden Club. The Body in the Goldenrod, as well as a middle-grade book, The Sherlock Holmes Detective Club. Her published short stories include “Cheating on Your Wife Can Get You Killed” winner of the Love is Murder contest, “Mincemeat is for Murder” andThe Body in the Red Silk Dressin Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, “The Professor’s Books” in Fish Tales, “The Lure of the Rainbow in Fish Nets, “Once Upon a Gnome” in Strangely Funny and “Norman’s Skeleton’s” in All Hallows Evil. She lives on a small farm in NE Ohio with assorted critters: her collie, Maggie, two house cats, a canary, two old African ring-necked doves, two ponies, and six rather old hens, plus one loud guinea fowl. She blogs with Writers Who Kill on Thursdays. Website:

 I am a writer. I write poetry and mysteries. Although I’ve been writing for over thirty years – not counting my teen years – I only started calling myself a writer when my first story. “The Professor’s Books, was published in the first Guppy Anthology, Fish Tales. Before that I labeled myself wife, mother, Girl Scout leader, teacher, etc., but not a writer.

The first time I had something published was the year I started college as a non-traditional student. My first English professor encouraged me to submit an essay I’d written in class to the ICON, a twice-a-year Trumbull Campus literary magazine of Kent State University. It was an emotional piece, “Saying Good-bye,” about the death of John, my eighteen-year-old son, from cancer the year before. I received many positive comments about it which encouraged me to start submitting poetry.

From then until I graduated, I had at least one if not more poems in each issue of ICON, and I won The Virginia Perryman award for freshman writers covering all of KSU for a short story I entered, but I still did not call myself a writer.

When I entered college as an older student, I was unsure how I’d do. It had been twenty-five years since I’d graduated from high school. However, I thrived. I loved the academic world and was that eager student at the front of the class. Well, maybe not so much in the math and physics classes I took. After that first semester, I always took extra classes, and almost all of them were literature, poetry or writing classes. I was that odd student who loved writing; term papers, poetry, research papers, whatever. Even though my professors liked what I wrote, it didn’t necessarily mean I was a writer.

When I graduated, I became a third-grade teacher. I loved it but missed the academic life so I went on to get a Masters. Fortunately at that time, I was able to get it in English and didn’t have to pursue something relating to elementary education. Again I was in my element; reading, researching and writing. I’m still not sure how I did it because as a teacher, I always went above and beyond what was necessary. It was probably on very little sleep. In those years I was a teacher, and that was the only way I saw myself, not as a writer.

Sometime after I got my Masters, I started my first book, a cozy mystery with a gardening theme since gardening is one of my other passions. I’d planned to write a mystery for some years, but I procrastinated, until my sister, Elaine, came up with the idea that together we should write a book. We worked on it as a team in the beginning. However, since we don’t live near each other, before more than a few chapters were written, I took over the writing. It took several years, but I finished The Blue Rose. But since it wasn’t published, I still didn’t consider myself a writer, only a wanna-be.

Off and on for the next ten years or so, I sent out query letters, and with each rejection, I’d stop sending out query letters for several months or longer before starting up again. But I didn’t stop writing. I finished a second book in the series, Daylilies for Emily’s Garden, a middle-grade mystery, The Sherlock Holmes Detective Club, and went on to write two more books in my Catherine Jewell Mystery Series: Ladies of the Garden Club and The Body in the Goldenrod. I’m now working on my fifth in this series, Murder in the Corn Maze, and have lots of ideas for more books.

Those small successes of having short stories accepted encouraged me finally to self-publish that first book. I felt even more like a real writer at the launch of The Blue Rose when I sold and signed copies. Being asked to join the Writers Who Kill blog several years ago was also a validation that I was a writer.

Many people think about becoming writers without pursuing it. We’ve all heard people say “I could write a book if . . .” and then come the excuses. I think many writers need some catalyst to actually get them started down that path. For me, it was the death of my oldest son. Only those who have lost a child can understand the pain. Over the years I’ve written well over thirty poems for John. I plan on putting them together with a few essays I’ve written into a book. There are several ways to deal with that kind of death; one is to spend your whole live grieving and another that I chose: to do something positive that makes a difference not only in my life, but others. I chose to become a teacher, and it was one of the best choices I could have made to help the healing. The writing just kind of worked its way into my healing process. It doesn’t mean that I don’t think of him often, but I’m content and happy in my life as a writer.




Tuesday, February 17, 2015

It's a sin to kill a mockingbird

Inevitably, announcement of the forthcoming release of a "new" book by Harper Lee triggered a new interest in the author's life and work, along with the gossip that swirls about her to this day. By coincidence, our church's women's book club discussed the book this month. Friend Jean and I planned to go to the brown bag luncheon today, but I am stuck waiting for a furniture delivery. I packed Jean a lunch, but she decided we should just eat here and have our own discussion. So we did.
To Kill a Mockingbird, its themes and social significance have been so much discussed that it seems redundant to rehash it here. Jean said the one thing that stands out for her is the character of Atticus--a man well grounded, sure in his beliefs of right and wrong, willing to buck society for what he believes the truth to be. I think many people would choose him as their favorite character.
Author Harper Lee has become almost a legendary recluse--but a lot of that is just legend. I recently read The Mockingbird Next Door, by Marja Mills. Mills, a feature writer for the Chicago Daily Tribune, traveled to Monroeville, Alabama, in the futile hope of getting an interview with the famous author. Instead, she was thrilled to talk to Lee's older sister, Alice, then in her nineties. Before she left town, Harper (known as Nelle) sent word she'd like to meet. One thing led to another and to friendship with the end result that Mills lived next door to the sisters for a period of about eighteen months and came to know them, their friends, and their way of life. She ate with them in restaurants, visited in their homes, went on exploratory jaunts with them.
Nelle was not the recluse many envisioned--she was an active part of her community. And she lived part time in New York where she maintained an apartment. Mills' account of her time in Monroeville is memorable in the picture it paints of life in a small southern town and of the lives of the two sisters. Nelle was a bit eccentric, outspoken, but shy in public, reluctant to give interviews or talks. She was happy with her life, and when pressed about another book, I believe she let Miss Alice answer: "Why write another when you've hit your peak?" Mills wrote with the sisters' blessing, but there are hints that Harper Lee as dissatisfied with the final product.
Today Miss Alice is gone, living and practicing law until she was 103, and Nelle Harper Lee is in an assisted living facility, barely able to see and hear and some say her mind is failing. She is in her late eighties.
The puzzle is why, after all this time of adamant refusal about another book, did Harper Lee consent to publish what is essentially a first draft. The editor who rejected it requested the extensive rewrite which resulted in the published version of the book--after heavy editing. Harper Lee possessed uncanny insight into the ways of her town and the South and the ways of people in the era of her book, but she was essentially an amateur writer. The publisher of the new book, Go Set A Watchman, plans to publish it unedited. I think we should all be prepared for much repetitive material, but who among us doesn't intend to read the new book? There are the nasty rumors, of course, of money to be made by the publisher and the lawyer now handling Lee's affairs, and a suggestion that if Miss
Alice was still handling things there would be no new book.
I don't remember when I first read Mockingbird. It was published in the early sixties, when I was in graduate school, and whether I read it then or not, I can't be sure. I know I saw the movie...and it's one of the few that lives up to the book. Gregory Peck dominates in perhaps his best role ever. I watched it and reread the book a couple of  years ago in preparation for a panel discussion, and I remember being surprised at how different the cinematography was from what we're used to today. I hope no enterprising producer gets a notion to do an "updated" film. Gregory Peck is long gone, and I cannot imagine another Atticus.
If you haven't explored the original book, or Marja Mills book, or seen the movie, all are worth your time before Go Set a Watchman comes out.

Atticus to Jem: "Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." All mockingbirds do is sing their hearts out for us.

Monday, February 16, 2015

How about a vacation day once a week?

Doesn't that picture make you feel cold? I am horrified by pictures of the snow accumulating in the Northeast. I saw one of a fellow author's office with snow packed against the lower panes of two windows. Made me cold to look at it, and I couldn't imagine working while looking at the wall of snow. All those images all over the television screen make me guilty that I whined today about mid-to-upper thirties and rain at the start of the day. It wasn't as bad as predicted--they said rain all day but it quit by mid-morning and got to about 40. Tomorrow a high of 49. Still, today was one of those days that you could set the thermostat at 80 and still be cold. I vowed not to poke my nose out the door and indeed, when I locked up for the night I realized I hadn't opened my front door all day. I took a nap today and was too cold to sleep, woke up wanting nothing more than to be too hot. Tonight, an extra blanket and a pair of socks. It's that damp cold.
The result of the cold though was a wonderfully productive day--I wrote two guest blogs, my daily thousand words on Murder at the Mansion, and finished gathering together all my tax information--a chore I had been putting off for some time. I'll deliver it to the accountant's office later this week, my week being taken up with a furniture delivery and a visit from the exterminator. Sophie has been barking furiously at the ceiling in the hall--not often but enough to make me believe there's a critter in the attic. Somehow the critter always moves, or Soph always hears it when I'm asleep.
I find that when I set my mind to a full day at home alone, I get so much done. It's amazing. I think I ought to declare a vacation one day a week, to catch up on house chores, desk work, whatever. Tomorrow is not supposed to be a lot better, but I will be out and about again in the world.
For my friends in the Northeast, stay warm and safe and don't work too hard shoveling that snow. For everyone, stay warm and cozy.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Food binds us together--a weekend of wonderful food, family and friends

Jacob with Charyl at the Old Neighborhood Grill--she sees him coming and says, "Grilled cheese. No pickles."

Texas author James Ward Lee, sometimes called the grandfather of Texas literature, once wrote, "The foods we eat, the way we eat them, and the imagination we bestow upon their preparation will tell [much about us] to historians, folklorists, and anthropologists of Buck Rogers's twenty-fifth century." (Quote in the jacket copy to Eats: A Folk History of Texas Foods, by Ernestine Sewell Linck and Joyce Gibson Roach.) I was privileged to be part of the editing and promotion of that book, and Jim's words long stayed with me. I thought of them this weekend, which was filled with food, family and friends.
On Friday night, friends organized a food and fellowship gathering at the Kimbell Museum--where the food is always good although ordering at the buffet counter is a bit puzzling sometimes. It was a time to see friends I hadn't seen in a while as well as some I see frequently. And it was lots of fun. Low key, no program except some background music--a real chance to visit with the like-minded.
Meanwhile, Jacob was having cooking lessons which is good--we want him to grow up in the
cooking tradition of his family. Jay, my good-looking neighbor, took Jacob to the Grill for supper and then home, where they made red sauce for the next night's lasagna. Jacob chopped onion and garlic and learned to curl his fingers under so he didn't chop them; he sautéed tomato paste and learned to tuck his shirttail in when around open flames. He came home high on excitement for what he'd accomplished, and the next night modestly accepted praise for his part in the dinner.
Our Valentines party was an Italian night. Jordan brought home several bottles of chianti from her Italian trip this fall, so we had antipasto, lasagna, salad, gelato--and, oh yes,
chocolate truffles! Lots of laughter.
Antipasto is one of my favorite ways to entertain--with Jordan's help, I loaded one tray with salami, cheese, smoked salmon, and a small bowl of banana peppers. Another tray held vegetables--artichoke hearts, cut up hearts of palm, cherry tomatoes, olives, baby ears of corn. In some cases that's an easy meal. I felt sophisticated when I asked the deli guy for capicola--it's the only salami I know by name!

Finally this morning the third graders at church received their Bibles as part of the service. Jacob's other grandparents and I were in attendance to beam with pride. He was pretty happy and proud himself when he came back to the pew with a children's version of the Modern English Bible. (I secretly hoped for the King James version but it would have baffled him!)
Then of course we had to celebrate--more antipasto, a Mexican casserole, and a huge salad--new recipe I found on High Made Foods for Fiesta Salad and dressing. I never put sugar in salad dressing, but this was really good.
So tonight it's back to half a tuna salad sandwich. Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be the kind of days when you want to stay in, and I will eat modestly--very modestly. There's that six lbs. I gained over the holidays! But what a great weekend.
Yes, food binds us in fellowship, and as I said to someone recently, "If I'm not writing, I'm cooking."

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Oh, frabjulous day!

For a writer in these modern days, being without a computer is like a chef being without a stove or a painter being without a brush or charcoal. My computer simply didn't boot yesterday morning--it acted like all was fine, took my password, and then did nothing more. Son-in-law in Austin did what he could over the phone but it didn't work. So I took the computer to Staples, where I was both impressed by the thoroughness of their check-in process and frustrated by the time I stood there. But I left, sans computer, and went to the grocery store.
Then I was home, wondering what to do. I have an iPad and I could answer email and sort of follow Facebook. But it's not easy for me to be as fluent on an iPad keyboard--I am much more conversational on a keyboard. And I had a chapter in my head--or at least a scene--that I wanted to write on my novel-in-progress. I can't tell you how many times I jiggled the mouse, trying to wake my computer. Of course, I was staring at a blank remote screen because there was no computer attached to it. Very frustrating. As I told probably too many people, I was like an addict in withdrawal, and even my daughter worried about what I would do in the evening. No worries, I'm in the midst of reading The Mockingbird Next Door, but there were still emails I wanted to answer more fully, Facebook exploring I wanted to do, and that scene that was playing out in my head.
Today I had several helpful phone calls from the Staples technician, a really nice man named Sean. We established, to his disbelief, that I didn't have an original form of Microsoft Office--it came on the computer which is less than a year old. He told me it was a virus, but he would have it fixed soon.
About five-fifteen he called and said it was ready to go. I said I'd be in tomorrow, though I really wanted it right that minute. But I was having a glass of wine with Jordan and Jay and didn't feel I should jump in the car. Jordan said she'd take me, and off we went. (Jordan wants credit as #1 daughter for this--sorry, Megan; I know you'd have done it if you were closer.)
So tonight I even put dinner off for an hour while I caught up with calendar dates I'd made a note of, password changes,  59 emails, and all that stuff.
And now I'm a really happy camper. Many thanks to Staples and Sean for quick, fast, and efficient services. Amazing what a difference that has made in my outlook on life!

Monday, February 09, 2015

The solar system, a great dog, and a hectic evening

It was hectic at my house tonight, but the afternoon started out calmly. Jacob brought his latest project--the solar system--home. I had seen it before but he painstakingly explained it to me, describing each of the planets and some of their remarkable statistics. Truthfully, I was pretty impressed--it's a good presentation. He got 100 on the project, and 100 on his presentation. Kudos to his dad who helped and who, thank goodness, is good at this kind of thing. Homework was a different matter--his class had moved on to the geography of South America, and it was hard for him. They provide a small map, but we ended up using Google; still we were both frustrated. His mom arrived and in minutes they finished what Jacob and I had labored over for a half hour. She tells me I'm too intense and should not sit by his elbow while he does homework--but shoot! Truth is he sits by my elbow, and yes, I probably do give too much help. I'm reforming. I admit I got in a snit about homework, cooking, and conviviality, but I recovered my good disposition. Think I'm tired.
Then the evening got hectic--Jay, Subie, and Phil arrived, ready to try the new TV and move furniture. Big problem: TV didn't arrive, and we learned it's backordered until early March. But they all moved furniture, measured, and we got a new sectional ordered for the "sunroom"--that's what I'm going to insist people call it. During all this I was making a double batch of my version of sloppy Joe, and occasionally stopping to sit and sip wine when my opinion was called for. The couch has been ordered--tan, but we will put lots of bright pillows and throws on it.
Subie, who hates sloppy Joe and will not eat it, liked mine. In fact, I think she had two helpings--just not on a bun. She and Jordan ate theirs in a bowl. I loved mine and look forward to the leftovers. Everybody else seemed quite content--Jacob followed his sloppy Joe with a peanut butter/jelly chaser.
Phil comes accompanied by Santiago, his seeing eye dog, who is one of the sweetest dogs I've ever known. He is nine years old and more than ready to retire, but Jacob loves him. Sophie loves him too, though she gets a bit jealous at times, and Santiago does try to eat her food. He's also a bad counter surfer, and we watch that nothing is where he can get it. A big lab, he's easily able to reach up and steal food.
Everyone was gone by seven-thirty (having arrived at four-thirty), and I did the dishes (not much to do since others had gotten a huge start on it) and settled down for a quiet evening. Whoosh!

Sunday, February 08, 2015

The vegetable challenged

Sometimes it seems like I am surrounded by vegetable-challenged people. My two sons-in-law are the worst offenders, with a long list of vegetables (and other foods, like tuna salad) they won't try. Megan, who was vegetable averse as a child, eats almost any vegetable, and Jordan is getting much better, eats asparagus but still no spinach. Jacob adores broccoli but isn't adventuresome about many other vegetables.
Last week my neighbor, Jay, announced he was NOT eating cabbage. The only vegetables that I can think of that I won't eat are parsnips (my dad loved them, not sure I ever tasted them) and okra (it's a texture thing). But I love most vegetables--including spinach, turnips, and eggplant. Okay, I don't much like turnip greens but love raw mustard greens in a salad and steamed beet greens.
Tonight I fixed a cabbage casserole. When I announced that a few days ago, Jay said he had decided he had to "man up" and try it. Actually it's much like stuffed cabbage but without all the work. I once or twice fixed original stuffed cabbage where you soften the leaves in hot water, stuff and roll. Got the recipe from someone who grew up with that cuisine--eastern European. My younger son really liked it, and I found a recipe where you stuff a whole head of cabbage, hollowed out, and serve it in wedges. Made that several times because it was easier.
But this casserole was really easy and has the same ingredients: ground beef, chopped cabbage, chopped onion, rice, and tomato juice. Because the first time I made real stuffed cabbage, I was told to use lamb, I substituted it for beef tonight. Even Jay said it was good, and he'd eat it again. I worried about a side since the main dish had all the food groups, but I had broccoli and cauliflower left in the fridge, and I cut them into sizeable pieces and roasted them together with olive oil and a bit of white balsamic vinegar. Good meal, if I do say so--and hearty.
After dinner we sat around talking about the Kardashians and Bruce Jenner--I couldn't believe the conversation at my dinner table had gotten so trite (and boring!). Then, poof! everybody had to rush off to get home in time for "Downton Abbey." I threatened I might never cook for them again, and they said I should just cook earlier. Are they spoiled or what?
Of course I'll cook again--tomorrow night. I'm making my version of sloppy Joe while Jay and Jordan move furniture and unpack the new TV which is to arrive tomorrow. Jay invited Phil and Subie to join us, but Subie said she had an absolute aversion to sloppy Joe because when her mother made it, it had all that orange grease on it. I told her (repeatedly) that this recipe is really a wine casserole, and I just call it sloppy Joe. She finally allowed that she might come, especially when I reminded her there would be leftover cabbage casserole. See? I really am surrounded by picky eaters--need to find new guinea pigs.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Lovely, lazy day

Today was one of those days that rarely happen to any of us over the age of, say, fifteen. I woke up knowing there was not one darn thing I absolutely had to do today. In fact, the world wouldn't fall apart if I stayed in bed all day. I didn't, but I slept late for me (7:45) and lounged through the morning with email, Facebook, and the skimpy Saturday newspaper. It was 10:45 by the time I had done my yoga, made the bed, and straightened the house a bit.
Spent the rest of the day doing what I wanted--reading edits at the computer, checking email, doing a little more on my taxes, and taking a good long nap. In fact, I woke up because Jacob was standing over me, poking me. Once again, I would tell you I only dozed because Sophie was enraged by something off and on, but I sure didn't hear Jacob and his dad come in. By the time he wakened me, he said he'd been here twenty minutes. We roughhoused with the dog on the bed (against my rules but I didn't feel like complaining), and I finally got going.
The day itself was beautiful--sunny, 70+ temperature, and gorgeous. I watered porch plants and saw the damage my laziness during cold weather had caused. Some will come back, others won't. Yes, it was a crime to be inside on the first gorgeous day in a while, but I was doing what I wanted to do--and that's a real luxury. Jacob and his parents went bike-riding and walked over the "really cool" new pedestrian bridge over the river. Tonight my mysterious neighbor seems to be having an outdoor party--tiki lights blazing in the backyard. Every once in a while I turn and stare at them--love those brilliant but controlled flames.
Even my meals were my favorites today--tuna sandwich, a dab of sweet potato salad and another dab of hummus, and sliced cucumber for lunch. For supper, Jacob and I had breakfast--scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. He's busy at his iPad, and I'm back to my computer.
The kind of day to thank the Lord for--peaceful, happy, and fulfilling. Now I'm off to write 1000 words on the work in progress (I hope).

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Fine food

I started to title this "Eating High on the Hog" but that doesn't do justice to the two meals I had in the last two days. I was eating sophisticated food, and I loved it. I have a reputation among some friends for eating things most people wouldn't touch. For instance, I love the tongue sandwiches at the local deli, along with the chopped chicken liver and, occasionally, pickled herring. I grew up eating fried kidneys, though I haven't had them in years--you can't buy two any more, have to buy a whole case (I only wanted to see if I still liked them!).
My restaurant-exploring friend Betty and I had dinner at Sera last night and shared a chaucuterie platter of whiskey smoked salmon, duck prosciutto, and duck liver mousse with an arugula, marinated onion, and pepper salad and marinated okra (one thing I don't eat--Betty got all the okra). I could have eaten fourteen helpings of the mousse (and felt awful afterword)--it truly was wonderful. We each order a black Caesar salad--an unusual mixture of kale, butternut squash, white anchovies, black garlic (I have no idea what that is), and a light vinaigrette. A lovely meal.
Today at lunch, my former colleague Melinda and I went to Nonna Tata (sorry for those of you out of Fort Worth if these references don't mean much), and I had the bresaola platter--bresaola is the beef version of prosciutto, served on greens, garnished with thin slices of Grana cheese, and dressed with lemon and olive oil. It's served with a vinegar-dressed potato salad. Absolutely delicious. Our server bribed us to change tables by promising dessert--I brought home the darkest chocolate mousse I've ever seen. Jacob took one look and announced, "I don't like it." So I ate half--too rich to eat the whole thing at once.
One night before these delicious meals, I had a chicken-friend pork cutlet with cream gravy, black-eyed peas, and salad. Delicious too, but heavy, and I felt sluggish the next morning and decided to eat light for the next few days. The meals above were light because they were presented in European quantities--not the huge servings we Americans have come to expect. Also there was nothing fried.
I'm not sure if it's the lighter dining or the experience of two really fine meals, but my disposition is brighter than it has been in several days. There's a lesson to be learned there. Back to my standard tuna fish salad.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Leggings and restaurant sanitation

If you follow Facebook, and maybe if you don't, you may know about the youngish woman who forswore ever wearing leggings again, out of respect to her husband and to avoid arousing lust in other men. Her YouTube video went viral and even made national TV shows. As one who wears leggings a lot, my first thought was that if a mid-seventies woman in leggings arouses lust in men, let them enjoy it.
I read a piece today by a journalist who essentially wrote, "Get real. Get serious about the real problems of life." She quoted a series of horrifying statistics--the number or children left orphaned by ebola, the number of people being starved, tortured and killed in various uprisings, the number of women raped in such uprisings, the number of children in America living below the poverty line, and so on. After each terrible statistic, the journalist wrote, "And you want to talk about leggings?" Powerful stuff.
It reminded me of our busy Republican Congress. They've been working hard at doing--well, let's see what: passing the Keystone Pipeline bill, which the President has already promised to veto and which most sane Americans oppose because of it's enormous pollution potential to the world's environment, America's water supply, our "bread basket," etc. Compassionate fellows they are, they have voted to slash Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits plus knock many children off their parents' health insurance. Oh, and let's not forget they are on the 50+ vote to repeal the ACA. Not fast learners. In their wisdom--or is it greed--they have voted to sell vast lands owned by the Apache tribe to a foreign corporation--these lands are pristine and absolutely gorgeous with rock canyons, etc., the best of America's Southwest, not to mention that they are sacred to the Apaches--and, I believe, granted to them by treaty. But we won't let a little thing like a treaty bother us.  Speaker Boehner is again threatening to sue President Obama--can't remember what for this time, but I know that eats up taxpayers' dollars at a fantastic rate. The House is waffling on the question of mandatory vaccines--many of them are old enough, as I am, to  have lived through the terrors of the polio epidemic and surely they all know about the 1918 influenza epidemic. And they're waffling?
And the latest idea I like, from a Republican senator who, trying to make a point about too much government control, suggests that we allow restaurants to opt out of the law to make employees wash their hands after using the bathroom and before returning to work. There'd be a whole lot of restaurants I wouldn't be eating at! But of course we can't allow women to opt out of laws that rob them of control over their own bodies.
What a mess this country is in. Want to talk about leggings?

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

A new book from Harper Lee

Few things could have jolted me out of the funk I've been in like the news that Harper Lee will publish a new book, written before the classic To Kill a Mockingbird. The new novel, Go Set a Watchman, was actually written before. Lee submitted it to an agent, who requested that she re-write, making it from a young Scout's point of view. She did, and the rest is history. Her talent for painting the picture of a small Alabama town during the days of segregation is beyond remarkable. We walk those dusty streets with Scout, and with her we watch Atticus during trials. The books has an immediacy that few have. At the same time, it delves into social problems, racism being the most obvious. But the treatment of women, the insular life of a small town, the small prejudices all come to the fore. Like many readers world-wide, I thought it was one of the most impressive books I've ever read. And it had a greater impact on me than most.
A few years ago I was asked to sit on a panel discussing the book with several local people. I re-read the book and watched the movie. The book was even more powerful to me, and so was the movie. Some scenes were already clear in my mind--Atticus shooting the rabid dog, Atticus in the courtroom. But I was amazed at how far cinematography has come since the '60s. Still I loved every minute of it. The moderator of the panel was Bob Ray Sanders, a black local journalist and good friend. He asked me how, growing up in Chicago, I felt about black people, and I confessed that I was afraid of them. Bob Ray thanked me for the courage to answer truthfully. Not long after that session, I found Mockingbird on my oldest granddaughter's bedside table (I was temporarily occupying her room). I was crushed when I asked how she liked it, and she replied she thought it was boring. The book is required reading for something like 70% of high school students--perhaps that's a mistake; perhaps it's too soon. They can't appreciate the social problems because in this day they see them as solved, although racism is still a vital issue (proven by negative reaction to our president).
News of the forthcoming book--which I will read ASAP--sent me to the book I've been meaning to read: The Mockingbird Next Door, by Marja Mills, a journalist who, with the blessing of Harper Lee and her older sister Alice, moved next door to the ladies and wrote their story. Mills says Harper wanted to call it "Having Their Say" in spite of the fact that the title had already been used for the popular memoir/biography of the Delaney sisters, two ninety-ish black sisters who lived together in New York all their lives. I haven't gotten much beyond the opening, but I'm looking forward to reading it.
And I plan to be in attendance when my church reading group discusses Mockingbird week after next. It's been a good day for bibliophiles, especially students and devotees of American literature.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Redecorating blues

My current couch--recover? replace? forget it?
I have lived in my house twenty years, seen four children grow and leave home, and welcomed seven grandchildren. In that process, my furniture has taken a beating--I swear I never let my kids jump on couches and beds but some of my grandchildren seem to think that's what they're there for. Inertia has held me back--I couldn't get a fabric I like as well for the living room couch, those barrel chairs are a little worn but not bad, it would cost too much.
A couple of factors got me thinking about sprucing up the house. The grandchildren no longer need a playroom--their play is not stuffed toys and a huge hobby horse and things like that--we sold most of it at the last of Jordan's garage sales (oh, how I wish it were the last but I guess I meant most recent). I did hang on to a trike that is at least 80 years old and obviously repainted with loving hands. It has a huge hole in the solid rubber front tire--I can still hear three-year-old Maddie when she looked down and said, "There's a hole in my tire," drawing out the word hole in dramatic fashion. It was given to me by dear friends, now gone, when their grandchildren outgrew it but it had belonged to the grandfather and probably someone before him. Sentimental value. Meantime, my grandchildren's idea of toys is mostly iPads and X-Box or at least cell phone.
At the same time, my grown kids said if I want them to visit often, I need a place for them to hang out (I am blessed that they always want to be together whenever possible), so I'm converting the playroom into a sunroom--it gets marvelous sun all day long and much of the year is downright hot in the late afternoon. Eleven-year-old Eden (who is going to be a designer, architect or fashionista--I don't know which) did drawings, and she was the one who envisioned a 45" TV (ordered and to be delivered Monday) in the middle of the bookcase, a couch across from it, and comfortable chairs. Plus we'd take the doors off the storage area below, add adjustable shelves, and showcase the collection of my own books that are now tumbled in there. This would seat eight or more, and for the overflow, there's a round oak table with four sturdy chairs and a few straight chairs with cane seats--hard to protect from children.
The first plan was for a sectional which sounded fine until I started looking at sectionals--I wanted something bright until I figured out a red sectional would overwhelm the room. Since I hate shopping I did all my browsing online. I decided if  I was updating the look, I should have the living room couch reupholstered. Today Jacob suggested putting the current couch back there and buying a new one. We decided it sounded good, but we already have one objection already--the current couch isn't comfortable and we should stick with sectional.
Then my neighbor said the only way to do things was to empty the living room and start over--rearrange but not discarding. I sort of like the way my living room is arranged right now. Truly, my head is spinning.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Strangely out of sorts

Whine, whine, wine. I've had a wonderful weekend with my family--lots of laughter, silliness, loudness, and a few deep discussions--mostly about how to rearrange my house. The kids ran and played and ate and complained, and it was like any family get-together. The first group left about nine, and the others in a flurry about noon. I fixed brunch, we sat and talked some more, and then they were gone, leaving behind what looked like a messy kitchen but actually took about fifteen minutes to clean and straighten. I caught up on my computer, read the paper, read my book, and napped. Dinner was leftover chicken-fried steak, not as good as last night but still good, and two small slices of roast cabbage. All good.
But now, a long evening stretches before me, and I'm not sure what to do. I don't want to work, but the book I'd been so anxious to get back to in quiet moments isn't quite doing it. Big project for the week is organizing my 2014 tax information but who wants to do that on a Sunday night? (I may sort the stack of papers as a start). No, I'm not a football fan and am not turning on the SuperBowl. Will just be glad when it's over, though I do love this year's Budweiser ad.
Inside and outside, the world seems darker and chillier to me, and my old house seems to creak more. Sophie, who is my barometer, was completely content to sleep in the office all afternoon, so I guess the creaks and cold are my imagination.
Wonder why this mood has come upon me--no doubt, you've had it too. I guess I got wrapped up last week in preparing for the weekend and then all weekend I was either busy or snatching a moment of quiet. And now that I have all the quiet and more, I feel let down.
What's your solution to a mild case of the blues? Guess I'll have a glass of wine and try the book again. Tomorrow, back to business.