Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Throngs of witches and vampires....

 Granddaughter Eden with her loot tonight
Jacob, otherwise known as Michael Jackson, all ready for a party
and goblins, ghosts, Raggedy Annes, Cinderellas, and some scary and really original costumes--one young man (not a kid) had on a green morphsuit (head to toe, covering his face though he said he could see and breathe); another was, I think, a marshmallow--huge. I told him he had a weight problem and should not eat the candy. Actually I glimpsed a skinny kid under the costume.
I live in one of those neighborhoods where families come from far parts of the city by the carload to trick or treat. Our streets are full of bumper to bumper traffic; the parking would make you think there was a carnival at the school; a neighbor one street over told me she spent over $60 on candy and last year they gave out 1300 pieces. The people crowding the streets are incredible, and they came up my walk in a steady stream.
Usually I turn out my lights and go next door but this year Jay is out of town and Susan was unsure what she wanted to do, so I suggested my porch with vegetable soup (from thefreezer) for supper. Elizabeth joined us, though she got cranky--her word, not mine--and tired before it was all over. She was appalled at the number of people and how few were from our neighborhood. One new neighbor from down the street introduced herself, and Elizabeth recognized another girl who lives down the block. But that was it.
Mostly these imported kids are polite--their parents are with them and both parent and child say thank you, wish us a happy halloween, and so on. It does stretch my imagination to come up with a new commennt for every costume, but I try. I am concerned about the tiny infants who are trick-or-treating--really?--and I resent the obvious adults. To me, this is a kids' holiday, and adults don't need to be begging for candy. I tried to adjust my attitude this year, but the occasional greedy kid who grabs a handful instead of settling for the one piece we hand out bothers me. At least two parents reprimanded their children and made them put the handful back, and when we said to one boy "We've seen you before"--he had a distinctive treat bag with a skeleton hand on it--he quickly tried to return the candy but we told him to keep it.
All in all, it's fun to see the cute kids but it's sure not my favorite holiday and by the time we ran out of candy, about 8:15, I was done. Susan went home, I turned out the lights, cleaned the kitchen, and settled at my computer--but I'd left some inside lights on. And would you believe some kids knocked on the door. Now that's nerve!
I tell myself these kids come from neighborhoods where people don't offer treats--of course they don't! They're all over here. But I try to be charitable, Still, what happened to the good old days when your neighbors used trick-or-treating as an occasion to visit?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A down day

Maybe my mood today was influenced by the news out of  the East, but I was so inundated with pictures of devastation beyond imagining that I half expected to see water standing in the streets when I went out. And the day didn't get any better.
This is a very short post because, once again, I spilled wine on my wireless keyboard--actually under it--and killed it. I find it hard to type on a laptop, especially when I keep turning to look at the larger monitor screen on my desk. I foresee a stiff neck. I immediately ordered a new one and paid exorbitantly to have one-day delivery from Amazon; promptly got a notice from UPS that my package would be delivered Friday! It could be a couple of other things, but I suspect it's the keyboard. Called Amazon--they assured me the keyboard will arrive tomorrow. Hope this isn't the beginning of one of my classic runs of three mishaps in a row.
I did do two new things today and most people will laugh that they're new to me. When the six o'clock news on NBC was over, Btian Williams said they would go on another half hour on some stations, and if our local station didn't do it to watch it on NBC Nightly news where it would be streaming live (is that the phrase?). Anyway, I did. So now I'm not intimidated by that idea any more.
And I ordered a print from CVS--uploaded it from my computer. We'll see tomorrow how that works out. I have a fancy photo tray on my new printer, but I lexperimented (another bold step) and found I don't know how to size a photo properly. Hoping CVS will do that for me.
Without a keyboaard that I can write pages on, I did a lot of Christmas planning today and found I'm almost through shopping. That's a bright point in the day!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Austin, family, a triathlon and a birthday party

Oldest and youngest

 Two of my gorgeous granddaughters
These imps were poised for mischief all weekend
Every year, I ride to Austin with Melinda, production manager for TCU Press, for the Texas Book Festival. We'd spend two days owrking the TCU Press booth at this mammoth celebration of  books. This year I rode with Melinda, as always, and we met friends at Z Tejas for late afternoon wine. But I didn't go near the festival. My family was in town, and family comes first. Besides times change, and the festival no longer looms as a mjor event in my life.
I actually spent Friday evening alone at my daughter's while she and her family and the Frisco Alters went off to my grandsons' school carnival. They convinced me I did't want to go, so I had a peaceful evening--for a while. Then they all returned, and the Houston Alters arrived. Three of my four grown couples and six of my seven grandchildren--a treat, and we missed those who couldn't join us. Everyone talked until late in the night.
Saturday my sons were off to a hotel to prepare for the next days half Ironman traithlon, while the rest of us went to Shady Grove for lunch. There's a nice grassy area where the kids got an impromptu soccer game going. Saturday night we fixed fajitas, and Sunday we had a big breakfast of eggs and sausage. Then everyone left about noon to go greet the runners--and convinced me I wanted to stay home. Not hard--I got some work done, had a nap, and didn't have to do all that walking.
Both did well on the race or competition or whatever--this was only Colin's second try at a triathlon. I don't know his time but think it's impressive that he finished, especially since his bad knee was bothering him. Jamie had a catastrophe--the seat post on his new bike broke, and he had to walk it in until someone came to get him. There went his time, and he said he was sailing along before. But the kids reported he was in good spirits. I think it's as much in the doing as the competition.
Late Sunday afternoon was Ford's sixth birthday party--a scavenger hunt. This time I tagged along because Megan assured me it was a pretty place, with benches for sitting. I didn't realize that the kids and adults would all go off in the woods, leaving me far behind. Megan was aghast I didn't bring my book--"You always take a book wherever you go!" So I sat soaking up the sun and watching about fourteen peacocks--plus a whole lot of diverse people out enjoying the lovely day. (Note to my brother: I was outdoors, getting fresh air and sunsine.)
Over this long but happy weekend, I read, by fits and starts, a book I've been needing to get to and roughed out a review, which made me feel good. Got home today about 1:00 and picked up where I'd left off, catching up on mail and email and Jacob's homework. Routine is good, but it sure was nice to have that break and see all those wonderful grown kids and grandkids. I've discovered, among other things, I sleep better away from home because I don't have the responsibilities that call me out of bed at home.
Hmm, soon can I cme back?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Early Halloween on a lazy evening

I sent Michael Jackson (note the silver glove on his hand on his right hip) off to an early Halloween party tonight, and it got me to thinking about Halloween and how it's become such a big deal, so different from when I was a kid. Just the fact that there's a celebration six days ahead of time tells me something. In my day, it was strictly a one-day affair. And I wonder about the elaborate outdoor decorations some people put up. I do like that many families have parties so that bunches of children go trick-or-treating together.
Halloween morning, though, will find me on the front porch, watching all the children walk to school so I can see their costumes. And I haven't been invited yet but that evening will probably find me on my neighbor's front porch where they give out plentiful treats. The young children who come by with their parents are so cute and almost invariably polite--and if they forget the "Thank you," Mom or Dad is there to prod them. I like  that. My own house will be dark. I don't like being home alone for trick or treat, and I certainly don't find it any fun. Makes me feel like a curmudgeon however.
Lazy evening tonight--I've spent a lot of time on Facebook and Pinterest (I almost never go  to the latter--it can suck up time at an amazing rate), thumbed through a J.Jill catalog, did a load of laundry, and am now considering whether I'll turn to the novel--I have a couple of ideas I want to work in--or to the book I should have reviewed two weeks ago. I found a way to urge myself to read that one and write the review--loaded my iPad with two books I am really enthusiastic about reading. I think that's called tricking yourself.
My homemade buttermilk is through its 48 hours of sitting out and  is really buttermilk. I'm pretty excited about that--makes me feel like a pioneer or something. And it's so much better than the commercial product.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Miss Sociability

That's me, today. Miss Sociability. I ate three meals out, with friends--and then I'm going to the doctor tomorrow where I'll have to step on the scale. I've tried to be good all day.

This morning, I met Mary Rogers for breakfast at the Old Neighborhood Grill (yes, that place in the Kelly O'Connell Mysteries). Mary is a writer, journalist, reader, and good friend.We talk books and writing--but grandchildren sometimes sneak into the conversation. She's just read a memoir she likes called Holy Ghost Girl and another book she didn't like as well, The Chemistry of Tears. I confessed that I'm stalled just barely into The Art Forger. It's my weekend project. I had one egg over easy, one piece of wheat toast, and one small pat of butter.

Good friend Jeannie and I went to The Lunch Box. We talk family, grandchildren, dogs, friends, health (ours and her husband's) and life in general. Today we talked a lot about retirement communities, which neither of us want to go to right now.I had tuna, cottage cheese, four thin slices each of avocado and orange.

Tonight was the killer. Betty and Carol Roark and I went to Babe's. Carol emailed some time ago to me and Kathie Allen, our usual occasional dinner threesome, that she wanted to go to Babe's and were we interested? I definitely was. Kathie definitely was not. Had been there recently and thought she paid too much for food she wouldn't normally eat and could have done better at home if she wanted to. Said even her husband didn't like it, though frankly I think he was being sweet. It's his kind of food. Anyway, scratch that idea.

So I enlisted Betty. Today when I told Jordan where I was going to dinner, she said, "Oh well, they have grilled chicken." I am NOT going to Babe's to eat grilled chicken or anything else except heavenly fried chicken. The only other time I was in the chain restaurant, my vegetarian granddaughter, Eden, only ate sides and I commented that I could do that and save eating fat. Jamie  pointed out that the vegetables--corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans--had so much butter in them I might as well eat the chicken.

Tonight, I’m proud to say, I was good. I ate one piece of chicken (they cut it up funny, and I have no idea what piece it was), modest helpings of each of the vegetables, one small second helping of potatoes with gravy, no biscuit, no salad. I felt full but not uncomfortably so. Very proud of myself. Had a good time, though the place was so noisy (hard surfaces all around) that conversation was difficult.

Amidst all of this sociability, not one word written. I’m at 60,000 words and holding!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An empty house

You know that empty feeling a house gets when there have been guests and they leave? That's what Sophie and I are dealing with tonight. My guests, friends for fifty years this fall, are not noisy--in fact, they're both so soft spoken my defective ears strained to hear them and they're not non-stop talkers, either one. So it's not that the house is quieter--it's that indefinable sense of emptiness. I'm not waiting for them to come in for the apartment in the morning, not checking to see if they're sitting on the front porch so I can join them, not cooking for them--not that they let me do much of that.
I learned a lesson about guests--find out their habits and adjust (I did do the latter). Because I love to cook I planned an elaborate breakfast for each day of their visit and dinners for most days. Breakfasts included a spinach souffle, potato nests with cheese and eggs--didn't get to make either of those. I did make pimiento biscuits (they took leftovers on the road with them), Welsh rarebit (with stout) for brunch on Sunday, and cheeseburger soup one night,  King Ranch chicken for Sunday dinner  with Jordan, Christian and Jacob. But my plans for coq au vin went out the window last night when they voted we get take-out barbecue. I'd never object to that! And we had one wonderful lobster dinner out on Saturday night and a Saturday lunch at the deli.
These friends came not to see the sights, do the museums or go shopping. They came to sit on the front porch, sip wine, visit and catch up on children and lives. I worried they were bored, but I don't think so. I on the other hand was delighted. They, both retired, seemed to take a real interest in my new careeer as a mystery writer--who wouldn't relish that attention?  What a wonderful feeling that friends you treasure would drive twelve hours in one day (from Omaha) just to see me--and, I had a sense, check up on my well-being. I hope they were reassured on that scale, in spite of my pratfall into the dishwasher (I am still finding new bruises, new sore places!).
Dick is an electronics guru, so I have two new HDF TVs--one in the apartment and one in the kitchen. And Dick programmed the remote that I wouldn't have had a clue about doing. And he reprogrammed my printer, so I can now scan to email and receive faxes. Gosh, do you suppose he'll come back for every electronic crisis I have?
I'm back to routine, as though a vacation is over. Granted, there's something comforting about routine. I did my yoga for the first time since last Wednesday or Thursday. But routine doesn't fill the emptiness. Sophie and I are both partially encouraged that Elizabeth is back in the apartment, but she's not often inclined to share a late-night glass of wine on the porch.
Oh well, a cold spell is coming. Won't be porch weather for a while.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Writer's Insomnia

Last night I woke at three-thirty and could not go back to sleep. My body was tired and comfortably snuggled in the covers, unlike some sleepless nights when I toss and turn like a washing machine. But my mind wouldn't turn off. Sometimes those three-o'clock-in-the-morning thoughts are pretty dark, and to distract myself from the dark side, I often think about what I'm writing. I can deal with the dark side better in the light of day. Last night, I roughed out a pretty good plot for a new novel--the first Blue Plate Mystery will debut in February--new settings, new characteers (no, I'm not abandoning Kelly O'Connell). But unexpectedly last night I found myself thinking about the second Blue Plate book. Mind you, I'm knee deep in writing the fourth Kelly O'Connell Mystery and that's where my mind might better have been, but there I was in Wheeler, Texas, sending Kate Chambers pellmell into a new advenutre. Actually I was pretty pleased with it, but I still could not turn my mind off.
All this has an upside and a downside--I emerged from that sleeplessness with a pretty good start on a plot for the next book I'll begin. The downside was by five-thirty I gave up all thought of sleep, knowing it wouldn't come. By six-thirty I was up and getting ready for the day--six-thirty? I wanted to shout, "What am I doing up so early." But I was to be out the door at nine, had to greet Jacob at 7:55 on his way to school and had to get my house running for the day. But I also knew that I had to write down the notes from my doze-induced plotting. And I did. It worked out pretty well on paper, as opposed to some schemes that I come up with during a long night.
The late Dorothy Johsnon, an award-winning author, wrote to me that if her muse was speaking to her, the writing flowed. But if the muse wasn't talking, she might as well give it up for the day. I'm a firm believer in that, and I always welcome the muse. But why does she speak at three-thirty in the morning? 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mishaps and a good time

Dear friends are visitng me. They're from Omaha--a long way from Fort Worth and I'm flattered they would drive this distance to sit on my porch and visit, reminisce and sip a bit of wine. We figured out the other night that we have known each other fifty years--a scary thought in some ways but wonderfully comforting in others. I'm grateful beyond measure for friendships that endure.
We've had a series of mishaps. It began innocently enough Thursday night when Martha and I misjudged each other in passing salad--the result was water all over the table, salad in Martha's soup, and a lot of laughter. Then as we cleaned the kitchen, I took a pratfull--into the dishwasher. Even Jacob came running to see what happened. I was okay, although the next day bruises developed and my knee really hurt.
Friday was a bad day in several ways--I could not, absolutely could not, find my prescription sunglasses. I know they were on the kitchen counter but they had vanished. Dick, in trying to fix one TV, effectively killed another. There were spots on the tunic I wanted to wear that night.
Fortunately all things work out--the TV is replaced, plus a new one for the apartment. My sunglasses suddenly appeared sitting on top of the food processor--go figure! My knee is much better. The spots came out with water, and I wore the tunic.
And we have had wonderful moments--a trip to my brother's ranch, where we had a long, leisurely lunch and visit, a good lobster dinner tonight, lunch at the deli, Plus we've had all those long, lovely visits. It's absolutely the best front-porch weather, and we have rehashed our lives, our children's lives, in-laws, life experiences, causes, beliefs. We haven't touched much on politics not so much because we disasgree but because they are not as fervent as I am.
Best of all, they think Jacob is marvelous, and they love Sophie. I think she adores having a man around, for she will go to Dick in a flash and behave for him in ways that she never would for me. Hmmm--do you suppose they'd like to stay?
Old friends are indeed gold, to be treasured. I am so blessed.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hobnobbing with the literati-Texas style

Tonight was the biennial induction into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame sponsored by the Friends of the Fort Worth Public Library. It was a grand event--hors d'oevres and plentiful wine aside, the best part was that I saw and got to hug a lot of people I really like. It felt like being home--and then I realized how lucky I was to feel at home among so many accomplished authors.
My favorite mystery writer, Deborah Crombie, was the master of ceremonies--but we chatted mostly about dogs, not books. The honorees were Sarah Bird, who is a good friend and once stayed in my garage apartment; Carole Nelson Douglas, another good friend that I see once a month at Book Ladies breakfast; Robert Flynn--he and his wife are special to me and I'm proud that while I was at TCU Press we reprinted and published several of his novels; Leon Hale, whose wife is a good Facebook friend and a former publishing colleague (we both got out of the business to a certain extent)--Leon was not able to be there and Jim Lee accepted for him; Stephen Harrigan, a Texas Institute of Letters colleague who we honored once with the TCU Texas Book Award and whose Gates of the Alamo is a book I much admire; Joe Lansdale, who I used to know a lifetime ago in Western Writers of America--it was fun to say hello, tell each other it's been a long time, and how are you doing now?; Rosalyn Story, whom I"m sorry to say I don't know and didn't meet tonight; and Jane Roberts Wood, another special person.
There were others there--a friend who hugged me and said she loved my blog (are you reading this, Gay?), another member of the Book Ladies, and a former Book Lady I haven't seen in forever. I'm not in such a mass of authors and readers often and it was a real treat. Fran and Ross Vick, who are special people in my sphere of friends for lots of reasons; Bob Compton, once book editor of the Dallas Morning News--now we keep in touch through Facebook. I'm sure I'm missing others. Thanks to Jim Lee for chaffeuring me.
Lovely evening.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bringing home our veterans... and neighorhoods

Like many, I am against the wars the U.S. currently finds itself embroiled in and against, God forbid, intervening anywhere else in the Middle East. We have poured too many American lives and dollars into that part of the world, and while we've made progress and gotten gratitude, we've also made enemies and gotten treachery. In my neighborhood, this national tragedy has become poignant, real, and personal.
A neighbor I do not know personally, a widowed gentleman, has lost his only son, a West Point graduate, to a suicide bomber in Afghanistan (I believe the neighbor has two daughters). Word immediately went out on the neighborhood email and there was talk of a floral arrangement. Then others, including me, began to sugget a memorial gift would be more lasting--floral arrangements wilt and are forgotten so quickly. Perhaps something to the Wounded Warrior Fund?
Then came word that the young man's comrades at West Point were setting up a college fund for the daughters left behind--ages two, four and six. Of course that's where the neighborhood gift will go. The bereaved father announced a barbecue in his back yard, following the funeral, and the entire neighborhood was invited. The service will be Saturday at our downtown Catholic cathedral.
Today comes word that those planning to attend the service should arrive early--it is expected to be crowded. And the barbecue? It's been moved to the auditorium or cafeteria or whatever of the Catholic high school because of anticipated large crowds who want to celebrate the life of one of America's finest. Yes, it will be a sad occasion, but I imagine it will also be one full of remembrances and treasured memories and a certain, restrained joy.
Somehow that news of large crowds wanting to pay tribute touched me most of all. It's proof that some of us may not want the war but we have oh-so-much respect for those who give their lives for us, protecting us to the best of their ability. I'm sure Dario Lorenzetti was dedicated to America and proud of his country with the last breath he took. RIP Dario. Some of us who did not know you in life now feel we now you in death, and we respect the life you lived.
This whole tragic event has made me feel gratitude once more for the neighborhood in which I live, this small-town-like slice of life in a big city. My neighbors support each other in joy and grief, they turn out for festive occasions and holidays, but they also look after their own and are there when  you need them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Taking a Break

Houseguests arrive tomorrow. I have been anticipating their visit for weeks.They are friends who date back to the early sixties, though the story of our friendship is too long to recount here. Needless to say they are among those I really value. I'll have the joy of sitting on the porch, drinking wine, and visiting about life and its vagaries. Equally important, they are giving me a chance to put my busy life on hold--no speaking engagements, no work on the novel (who can concentrate?), not even much thought to Christmas preparations, which is a direction my mind took tonight. Much as I love my busy life--this is retirement?--I'm putting it on hold until (oops--that's one of Jacob's spelling words this week!) Tuesday--and really looking forward to it.
Today I went to the grocery; tomorrow I'll cook--an overnight salad that I figure I can make first thing in the morning, put it in the fridge, and convince it it's been there overnight. Cheeseburger soup--nope, never tried it but it sounds delicious and not really too fattening except for the Velveeta. I'll play with proportions. And Palmetto cheese biscuits to have ready for breakfast the next morning.
After that my main cooking will be breakfast dishes and I love it--I have all these scrumptious sounding breakfast recipes and no one to try them on, so I'll fix potato nests with eggs and bacon, Welsh rarebit (oh, that's a story in itself) made with stout, and maybe a spinach/cheese souffle. My own mouth is watering, and I hope theirs will be.
We have no agenda for the weekend beyond two trips to the ranch to see my brother. Martha had fallen sometime back, and my brother, ever the concerned osteopathic physician par excellence, wants to check her out and probably see her twice. Friday's trip will be early, so I can be back to pick up Jacob. Don't know which day we'll go again. Mostly, we'll do nothing. Can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The world is too much with me tonight

I'm watching the debate and not sure of my reaction, but I don't want to wait for pundits to tell me what to think. The media hypes this up as a close race, a sigificant debate, all because it makes a good story. Obama has done a better job tonight of calling out Romney on contradictions and mistakes, but he's still not as fiery as I'd like him to be. Nobody has asked Romney the hard questions--they're talking right now about offshore investments and outsourcing and Romney says he wants to make America attractive to entrepreneurs. Why doesn't someone ask him about his own offshore investments, his record of outsourcing. Why do people let him keep boasting that he has business experience and knows how to fix budgets when all economists say he's not done that, has a disastrous record. Ask the governor of Massachusetts who said if Romney fixes things, Massachusetts was not one of them. Why doesn't someone ask him about the Republican denial of a job support bill for veterans? The right of women to control their own bodies. It's like they're pussyfooting around the issues--even President Obama, though I admire his civilized demeanor and the fact that he doesn't smirk like his opponent.
It strikes me too that Romney is incrediby naive about the operation of government--he says "I will do this," and "I will do that"--does he recognize that he'd have to work with Congress and that's not as easy as he blithely assumes? Obama has not succeeded with some of his programs because of an obstructionist Republican Congress who openly said their one goal was to defeat Obama and they didn't care if they brought the country to its knees doing that. Now, even if elected, Romny is liable to inhereit a highly Democratiic Congress. Thank God for checks and balances.
All in all the debate was a boring disappointment to me. The moderator did a pretty good job of keeping order and not allowing rude over-riding but it could have been tougher. Still being in that position is a difficult one, and I admire her aplomb. I admire what she was able to do on national TV in front of a huge and harsh audience.
I was intimidated today by speaking to about 40 members of Rotary South--but after two days of anxiety, the talk went well. As my host said, "No one walked out early"--apparently they often do--"and they asked lots of questions." Still, I think I"m tired tonight just from relief that my speech is over. Think how President Obama, Governor Romney, and the moderator,whose name I don't know, must feel!
I'm tired too because I was carried back in time this morning about thirty-five or forty years. I had to get Jacob up and going, fed, dressed, and ready for school. Whew! Haven't had that responsibility in a long time. We made it, and he was ready when Christian came to walk him across the street to school. Then I was off on a round of errands. Yep, I'm weary

Monday, October 15, 2012

When did first grade get so hard? And church so easy?

Jacob and I worked on homework from three o'clock, right after school, until almost five and then again for about 45 minutes after supper. He did so well on the spelling test last week (lots of drilling by all of us) that he got bumped up to a harder list this week--words like rapid, limit, spinner that aren't normaly in his vocabulary. And he had to use each word in a sentence so he needed a lot of coaching and encouragement--and sometimes flat-out help. He got so he'd say, "You go first," when we were thinking up sentences, but I said, "No, it's your homework." Took forever but we got it done. And the reading book was harder for him today--for some reason, he could not keep the name "Anita" in his mind, kept wanting to make it into a more complicated Spanish name.We labored through it twice this afternoon and the third, required time after supper. And then we worked on spelling--I had him copy the words and say them, and then I read them to him and he wrote them down--sort of. He surely did not get a 100 but we have the rest of the week to go. He actually wanted to do the spelling words three times--thinks it's fun. But how do you explain that picnic doesn't have a "k"  but "quick" does? God bless the English language. Frankly, I'm exhuasted tonight.
I've been a churchgoer all my life but often a sporadic one--there were long spells, during my marriage for instance and another time when anxiety was really bothering me--when I didn't go, and in recent years I attended only occasionally because I didn't like going alone--or that's what I told myself. Jordan and Christian were determined that Jacob grow up with a church background--she never had that, which makes me feel guilty to this day. So now they go to church every Sunday, and I go because once when I didn't Jacob was most upset about it. I looked at him during  the service yesterday and thought, "This is the child that led us all back to church." I know it's not for everyone, but for me it feels good to be worshipping regularly. And so I am thankful for Jacob for yet another reason.
And now when I welcome visitors by phone and tell them how glad we are they worshipped with us on Sunday, I don't feel like a hypocrit!
Still have to get Jacob settled in bed and convince him that he has school tomorrow and so cannot watch TV until he falls asleep. Life with a six-year-old is a challenge but such fun!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Garage sale day and a visit to a retirement center

Last night my house was full of junk--it was piled high in the living room, covering all the furniture. Kitchen counters held preparations for breakfast and various other unidentifiable things--Jordan is nothing if not efficient. It wasn't the orderly house I'm used to and somehow it discommoded me, though long after everyone else went to bed I stayed up and worked. But I was well aware that I was tired, and I think it was from confusion. This morning, Jordan and Christian were up at five but quiet as mice. I never heard a thing and slept until 7:30 and woke up tired--maybe it was  that falling barometric pressure again..
The garage sale was not nearly as painful as I feared--somehow I had visions of money-hungry people who would try to cheat the kids and stomp all over my property. None of that happened. Most people who came to look were friendly, cheerful, and polite--all things which Jordan and Christian are good at too. I wandered between my office and the porch--read the paper on the porch while watching the goings on, ate lunch out there, and sort of enjoyed the day. It was a perfect day--nice temperature, nice breeze, cloud cover.
Jacob was bored, so I took him with me to the grocery. When we drove up to Central Market, he said, "No, Juju . I don't want to go here. How about we go to WalMart?/" My classy grandson. He soon got bored at Central Market too--soothed a bit by a cake and two kiwi, which he swore he loves.
But when I found myself drinking wine at 2:30 on the porch with neighbor Jay, garage apt. dweller Elizabeth, Jordan and Christian, I realized I was still exhuasted and went to sleep. Kudos to my daughter because when I woke up my house was in perfect shape--you'd never know all that stuff had been here.
This evening friends had invited me to have dinner at the Stayton, the high-rise, upscale retirement community that they moved into a year ago. It's beyond nice--a compact but comfortable two-bedroom apartment,  with such amenties as a huge walk-in closet, an efficient kitchen big enough to really cook in, a bathroom almost as big as the second bedroom. Their furniture fits well, and they are really happy there. Dinner was delicious--I had heard the food was outstanding, and it was--I had lamb chops, with creamed spinach and half of Margie's baked potato. Dining room, with white linen cloths, is on the 11th floor, with a spectacular fiew of downtown at night. The food was outdone only by the visit as we all three caught up on doings and talked dogs a lot--they brought theier two dogs with them to the apartment. Also at dinner, several retired TCU faculty came over to say hello. A pleasant evening. Am I ready to move in? Nope. At least not yet. I need space. I need to be able to open the back door and let the dog out. I need an accessible place for friends and family. But I can see many advantages and I'm happy that Margie and Jack are so well settled. Maybe someday.

Friday, October 12, 2012

A great session with an Alzheimer's Support Group

Tag! You're It! Toight it's Lisa Haselton who's working on a wonderful time-travel novel that will take her back to her grandparents' story, via a trunk in the attic of the house generations of her famiy have lived in. Rad about it at

 I’m laughing at the variety of my speeches, Yesterday I spoke to realtors about mystery; today I spoke to an Alzheimer’s Support Group about memoir. I was a bit—okay, a lot--worried about this, because if I simply had to talk about writing a memoir I could probably say all I know in ten minutes. The group was two hours. I was afraid these people would not participate, not offer memories, etc., because Alzheimer’s patients often have a hard time collecting and organizing their thoughts.
I began by talking about reasons for writing a memoir—to capture your life for yourself, so you can relive fond memories; to capture your story for your children. But I stressed that memoir doesn’t have to be shared. The facility coordinator talked about the importance of old photographs in sparking memories and suggested scrapbooking.
But when the talk turned to their memories, I was in for a pleasant surprise. They volunteered memories. Several had grown up on a farm, and one, a dear friend, said, “I can smell the barn even now.” He told a funny story about his brother mistaking Ex-Lax for candy, which led to a discussion of our experiences with outhouses. Yes, even city girl that I am, I have used an outhouse a lot more than once. A woman I knew had owned a bookstore, which I’d visited one wonderful weekend—so we had fun reminiscing about that. Another man had experience in both city and corporate politics and talked about his career. Then we got on the subject of travel—from New Zealand to San Miguel de Allende, from Spain to Scotland. They talked—with me prodding and telling a few stories—for almost an hour and a half, and the friend who asked me to do this said the thinks they really enjoyed it.
Yes, once one said, in mid-sentence, “I’m losing it,” and another said, “What did I just say? It went right over my head.” But everyone just laughed and the talk went on. I so admire the people who are battling this disease, and the caretakers who are with them usually 24/7. 
I ended by passing out a sheet of questions and suggesting that memoir doesn’t have to be a written narrative: it can be a journal of notes; you could tell your stories to someone else who would write them for you; you could dictate them into a tape recorder, but I noticed that many people did take notes. One woman said she’d been keeping a journal since she was a child.
I had a rare and much enjoyed treat—lunch with my brother and sister-in-law who were in town mostly I gather because she wanted corned beef and cabbage, which the deli serves on Fridays. I had a half a tongue sandwich and John had lox and bagels, which he pronounced better than usual. Nice visit with them, and then it was time for a quick nap, pick up Jacob, fiddle around, and I went to a small but most pleasant cocktail party. Wonderful food, fun to meet new people since I only knew one man at the party.
Now home to a house full of junk. Jordan and Christian are having a garage sale in my front yard tomorrow. Aaargh! Do you know how much I hate that? But if you’re in Fort Worth, come by Berkeley—it’s the neighborhood garage sale, and we have a really good deal on a couch. “Night!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Two new Tag! entries and a great marketing experience

Two more blogs from the Tag! You're It! blog game are up: at, Suzanne Lilly is asking for help with a title and describing the basic plot of her work-in-progress, a young-adult novel with elements of magical realism. Help her out and  you'll be in the dedication. At, effervescent Taryn Raye is full of plans for the romance she'll begin November 1 for National Novel Writing Month--and she even has a title.

This morning I had a unique marketing opportunity. I talked briefly to a small group of realtors--highly appropriate since Kelly O'Connell, heroine of my series, is a fictional realtor working in the same communities these people do. My son-in-law Christian is marketing person for a local title office, and he had arranged a small breakfast for them and asked me to talk. (Christian even made an egg/cheese/green chili casserole to take to them--they had already cleaned the platter when I got there!) One of the realtors is a particuar fan of Kelly, so she whipped up enthusiasm. Christian introduced me, and I was able to surprise him with the news that the latest mystery, Trouble in a Big Box, is dedicated to him for his patience in teaching me about title searches and real estate. He didn't know because while Trouble is available in e-book, the print version isn't out yet. Then I briefly described cozy mysteries, why I chose to write about a realtor in the particular neighborhood I did, the three books in the series, and asked for questions--there were plenty. And I sold 17 books, passed out bookmarks and fact sheets, and garnered new names for my mailing list. I'd call that a success in 45 minutes. Four of the realtors even ordered my cookbook which I showed mostly because it has Jacob on the cover.
Christian now has big plans for similar breakfasts at other real state offices. Great marketing niche for me! And he doesn't even ask for a commission!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Blog stuff and a bit of nostalgia about a poem

Remember the Tag! You're It! blog game? Of the people I tagged, the first has posted her answers to ten questions about her work in progress. Read about Suzanne Barrett's first romantic suspense novel, after great success as the author romances set mostly in Ireland and some in California. Read it at httpp://
And in case you missed it on Facebook, I have to repeat Bill Crider's kind assessment of Judy's Stew in the November 2012 issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine: "Judy Alter is a Texan and an award-winning author of Western fiction, with sixty or so books to her credit. She also writes mysteries about Kelly O'Connell, a real estate agent who finds herself stumbling over bodies. Alter's blog is Judy's Stew ( It's a personal blog rather than a review site. Sometimes Alter talks about her writing ("That Awful First Page") and sometimes about other things, like dogs and book signings and her family. Whatever the topic, Alter's always engaging and worth your reading time." I'm thrilled, so here's my ongoing attempt to be engaging:
The day there was no school, Jacob spent the afternoon playing with a friend. He was so excited about this that he was up at seven-thirty, dressed and ready to go. I had to tell him it would be after lunch. But that night I called to ask if he'd had fun, and he reported among other things that he blurted out that he and his friend had "made a tree." Before I knew it, the words out of my mouth were "Only God can make a tree." They had found acorns, dug a hole, spit on the acorns and covered them up...and they fully expect a tree to grow. Not sure about their time frame.
The next afternoon, while we were working on the interminable jigsaw puzzle--500 tiny pieces--I asked Elizabeth if she knew the poem and she, in her early forties, said no. So I decided it was a generational thing. That night at supper with a group of contemporaries I asked the same question and they all knew it. One man even quoted the last lines.
Of course I had to look up the entire text of Joyce Kilmer's poem which I'm sure I memorized in grade school. So here it is for those of you who want to take a memory trip.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

       -- Joyce Kilmer


Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Some thoughts on friendship

Next week I expect houseguests, friends from Omaha that I first knew in a small Missouri town in the early 1960s. They moved north, I moved south, and there were great gaps in our friendship, times when we weren't much in touch. They came to Fort Worth when both our children and theirs were quite young--I remember the two dads took them all to Six Flags. When my ex-husband left me with four children to raise, I called these friends a lot. After that, we exchanged Christmas gifts and sporadic communications. There was a time when I almost flew to see them in Singapore where they were living, but, not being a good traveler, I lost my nerve. Then about eight years ago, they announced that they were coming to Fort Worth to pick me up and we'd all go to Santa Fe. We had a wonderful time, and I finally confessed that I was afraid the friendship wouldn't be the same and rejoiced that it was. They were astounded. Martha came to my youngest daughter's wedding, and there was always talk of another visit. Now they're finally coming, and I'm excited.
I'm still in touch with my two best friends from high school and even before, one in California and one in Mississippi. The latter used to visit with her husband and children on the way to see family in New Mexico, but then there were gaps in our communication. A few years ago, she and her husband came for a long weekend, and he complained as he always did that all we ever talked about was the past. Last year, now widowed, she and a friend came to visit--and it was like we saw each other every day. Now one of us will email, only to be told, "You've been on my mind." We think alike, all these years later.
These are friends I treasure, friendships that have weathered the test of time. I am saddened when I think about the people once friends who have slipped from my life. Some because they moved to far parts of the country and aren't communicators. When I retired, I lost people who had been part of my daily life--though I hold on to a few of them. I sense other friendships changing and becoming more distant, and I realize that I have a whole new set of friends. I've always prided myself that my friends all become friends with each other--and they do. But I notice now when I gather a close circle around me, there are few of the faces that I saw ten years ago. And I rarely see some friends with whom I used to have a weekly lunch.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I'm sad to lose the closesness with people I've treasured, but I am blessed by many good friends. And I am truly grateful for friends that I have kept over many years. What is it that say?

Make new friends
but keep the old.
One is silver,
The other is gold.


Monday, October 08, 2012

The Chronicles of Sophie....continued

I have a new name for Sophie: 'Stroyer, short for Destroyer. Yesterday was a particularly outstanding day for her. She snatched a handwoven coaster off my desk, didn't chew much but that one corner is probably enough to start it unraveling. Next she got one of my bras--no, it was not on the floor but hanging on a doorknob where I often put it. I thought she couldn't hurt it much. After all she wasn't going to tear great holes in fabric. But when I put it on I couldn't fasten it--she had destroyed the plastic hook--just hope it's not in her stomach.
 But the final insult was that she stole the last bite of my lunch sandwich--just reached up to the plate next to me on the desk and took it. I wasn't looking but when I turned back to the plate, I thought, "Wait a minte. I didn't eat it all." I'd been savoring that last bite in my mind. Then I saw her licking at something on the floor. This was no ordinary sandwich--I had combined mayonnaise, the last of a roast chicken, and crumbled blue cheese on rye bread. My all-time favorite sandwich.
I first ate this combination in the basement cafeteria of a department store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, way back when I was in college. Brought the idea home to my mom, and she loved it as much as I did. We were--and I still am--big fans of Maytag blue cheese. One day Mom fixed me a sandwich to take to the hospital where I worked and also fixed one for the older single woman who was manning the gift shop that day. The other woman ate my sandwich, raved about it, and left me salami and cheese. A big enough disappointment that it stands out in memory even today.
Back to Sophie: last night I had dinner guests, he an Episcopalian priest who had done a blessing of the animals service that day on a ranch. Since Sophie is still too excitable to take to a blessing ceremony, I asked him to bless her. She is now blessed though it was quite informal--she was trying to jump in his lap and he said something quckly about blessing her and then named the whole family. Katie and Gayland were, however, lovely about welcoming Sophie, raved about her beauty (well, I think so), and loved on her. She behaved medium well, did sit when told to but quivered with excitement.
Today there was no school, so Jacob spent the night and was here until after lunch when he went to play with a friend. He went outside to play with Sophie and I took the picture above. He tells me she is his best friend, and today he said, "Sophie is a lover." When I agreed, he said, "I am a lover too. She gets it from me." Then he hastily added, "And from you too!"

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Museum of the Americas

If you live in the Fort Worth area or anywhere near Weatherford, Texas, and haven't visited the Museum of the Americas, you're missing a real treat. It's a small, privately owned museum in an unimpressive building. The owner explained to me tonight that some of the display casese are hand-me-downs from the Kimbell Art Museum, SMU, and othr places with larger exhibits and budgets. But the collecton offers a vibrant display of the heritage of native cultures of North and South America--textiles, artifacts, folk art. The owners want to foster an understanding of the various cultures that have shaped the Americas and the hardships the various peoples have endured. An amazing collection of arrowheads arrived jumbled in boxes--Harold Lawrence painstakingly separated researched, catalogued and arranged signage for each one. The display blew my mind the first time I saw it. There are graphics from the plains Indians, carvings for the northwestern part of the States, a miniature Mexican village, santos, retablos, and costumes from many cultures.
Tonight was the opening party for an exhibit called "The Living Maya." For me, the textiles were the most striking part--above is a Guatamalan huipil or shirt. There were carved figures, arrows, dishes, artifacts I was completely ignorant of--a room filled with color and vibrancy. And, yes, there was a Mayan calendar which ends in 2012.
The gift shop in this museum is a real treasure in itself--the most wonderful greeting cards I've ever seen, dishes, books, small treasures. I came away with several gifts--a primitive angel, a colorful tortilla warmer, and a glass decorative hanging that is just perfect for a friend.
Weatherford these days has several really interesting small restaurants--not just the usual chains. So make a day of it and go visit. It's open Tuesday-Friday, 10-5, Saturday 11-4; closed Sundays, December 24-31, and the month of August. Admission is free. And it's right across the street from the Public market on the Fort Worth Highway after you cross the bridge into town

Friday, October 05, 2012

Hooray for school spirit!

The elementary school across the street from my house held it's annual walkathon today, a fundraiser that to my mind far outshines selling candy bars or cookie dough. Drums began beating at 7:15 as the local high school marching band warmed up, police cars were everywhere. I sat on the porch and then on the steps by the sidewalk, enjoying the chaos. The police cars, with lights flashing, blocked streets; a balloon archway went up over a side street, marking the finish line; people in mostly red shirts (the official walkathon shirt was white by Lily B. shirts are red) hurried toward the school in record numbers; folks I knew waved at me. You could sense the happiness and excitement in the air, and I could certainy sense it in Jacob, as he prepared for his second walkathon with his dad accompanying him.
It seemed to take them a long time to get organized, so I snuck inside to dab on some makeup, or make the bed. Every time I went back out it still seemed chaos, so I'd go back in to do one more thing. The result of course was that I missed a chane to get a picture of  "my boys," but I got them in the driveway as they headed to the school, and I got one of the mass of people heading out through the neighborhood. Christian sent me the adorable one of Jacob's first-grade class in front of the school sign.
In my excitement at catching father and son in the driveway, I managed to get a terrific shot of Jacob's feet and a video no less of my feet walking. Jacob tells me sometimes, "Reading is just not my thing." Well, Jacob, photography is just no my thing. But I keep trying.
Jacob is blessed, as my kids were, to attend  neighborhood school with great spirit and great parent involvement--and his own parents are very involved. Tonight they will all three go to Spirit Night, an event with bounce houses, food, and other attractions. I'm glad those days are behind me, but I'm glad that Jacob and his family are enjoying them.
And I loved the excitement and chaos this morning.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Art of Piddling

Have you perfected it? The art of being content doing absolutely nothing. I haven't though I'm getting better. When I used to be a study in constant motion, I had a friend who could happily watch paint dry. It drove me crazy. I put off retirement for six or seven years because I was terrified of waking up in the morning and wondering what I'd do all day.
Well, it turned out I retired to a whole new career as a fiction novelist, and much of the time that keeps me frantically busy. But I've noticed lately that I piddle more. I'm not so compulsive about doing something constructive every minute.
This morning was a perfect example. I was up at seven, but I knew I had all day to stay home and work (except for the time I worked with Jacob on his homework), so I dawdled, even though lmy goal was to write 2,500 words today. First it was emails--38 of them first thing in the morning, plus junk e-mail, which I clean out every morning. Then Facebook, which was equally busy--everyone commenting on last night's debate and,  yes,  I got my two cents in. Then some of the emails involved business that I needed to tend to, respond to and the like. And then there was the newspaper to read, although that doesn't take long thes days because the newspaper has shrunk to a shadow of  its former self--a fact that I much regret. The breakfast dishes and making the bed takes five minutes tops. Still no worry. I had plenty of time to write.
But I had to do my yoga--there goes thirty minutes. I try not to rush through my routine because I think that defeats the purpose, but I was beginning to worry about those 2,500 words, beginning to feel my compulsive behavior creep back in.
At ten o'clock I let the dog in and settled down to write. By lunchtime or shortly thereafter I was only 350 words shy of my goal--easy peasy. So this afternoon I piddled again--Jacob and I worked a jigsaw puzzle. Tonight I'll do those 350 words, then check some recipe magazines and read the novel I started.
Goal setting really is counter-productive to piddling, and I feel sort of torn between the two. But it will be nice to piddle a bit tonight. One thing I can't do: watch TV without doing something else. It makes me antsy. I guess my compulsive side is still winning. I wonder if age helps....

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

When writing goes well....and Kindlegraph

A couple of weeks ago I received two pages of critique from my mentor/beta reader/friend. He was merciless--I had too many balls in the air--and he was right. So I set about the arduous task of cutting, though eventually I was able to save many passages in the work-in-progress and put them in a different order. I slashed, but I also added new material as I went along. It was a long process, and then I was stumped--where did I go from there?
So I reread the existing draft. I am a pantser, write from the seat of my pants rather than from an outline. So when I come to a halt, it's really a crashing halt. But rereading helps, gives me new ideas--and it did this time.  I began to forge ahead, adding new material, incorporating bits of the old.
At first, when I started the rewriting process, I lost 10,000 words--I hate to write to word count, but I confess that sometimes I do because I'm always afraid I'll write short. 75,000 words is a good count for a cozy mystery--65,000 is okay. But I was back down to 40,000--a way to go.
This week I've been on a compulsive writing kick--2,000 words a day for three days. If I can keep that up for two more days,  I'll have made up for all the lost text and be well on my way to working this one out. Always fun to see how a mystery will come out. I know the villain, and I have a general idea of what will happen--but it's all that in-between stuff that bothers and worries me. Seriously, that's when three o'clock in the morning thoughts come in.
Today I fully intended to get right to the manuscript--after emails, Facebook, the newspaper, and yoga. But something came up that took priority and I had to deal with right away. Guess what? I still wrote my 2,000 words. Some of the saved passages I thought would speed me along proved not to be as lengthy as I remembered them. New material seemed to flow as though I was not even thinking about it. When writing goes well like that, I really hate to quit--but lunchtime, school's out and other deadlines followed. Tomorrow is another day, and I hope to write all morning--my best time--without interruption. Oh, after emails, Facebook, the newspapr and yoga. One has to have priorities.
Notice anything new on Judy's Stew? I've added the kindlegraph link--you can get autographed e-copies of my books. I've had this for some time but I figured nobody knew about it. All around me, authors were posting this widget on their blogs, but  I was like the really slow learner in the class. Finally figured it out, with the help of the Kindlegraph creator, and I couldn't be more proud! Hope some of you will take me up on it. And,  yes, it's my signature--just neater than if I'd scrawled it on a book myself.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Tag! You're it!

My work-in-progress has been tagged by author Ryder Islington--visit her at and read about her work in progress--Ultimate Game, a Trey Fontaine Mystery. It's the second book in her series and though she says it's a mystery, it could be a thriller or suspense.
Now it's my turn to answer ten questions about my WIP, so her goes:

What is the title of your book?

You know I'm just not sure. I played with A Puzzle in Many Pieces, Trust No One, and Danger Wears Many Faces. Right now, the working title is Innocents in Danger. I'll welcome opinions--which title would draw you to the book?

Where did the idea for the book come from?

The book actually started out to be totally different--about a recluse in Kelly's neighborhood, but I couldn't figure out where it was going. When a body was found near the railroad tracks in my neighborhood (honest, a perfectly nice neighborhood), I worked that in and suddenly the book took a totally different turn. What they say is true--your characters tell you what's going to happen.

When genre does your book fall under?

My Kelly O'Connell Mysteries are cozies--all violence, murder, and sex is off-stage. They are also women's lit, because Kelly and her life are so prominent, but I've had many men tell me they've read and liked them, so go figure!

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I so rarely (as in almost never) go to the movies, I have no idea. I'll ask some of my more movie-oriented friends what they think and get back to you on that one.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of the book:

Drug trafficking in Kelly's beloved Fairmount neighborhood is on the increase, and it draws a helpless young girl, classmate of Kelly's daughter Maggie, into danger, along with Theresa, a newly married young woman Kelly is very fond of, into danger--and Theresa's husband, Joe, a good guy but with a bad background.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agent?

Neither. My Kelly O'Connell Mysteries are published by Turquoise Morning Press and I'm delighted to have found this growing press as a home. I don't have an agent.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Months. I'd work, then life would draw me away, then I'd go on a writing spurt. Truth is the first draft is not finished yet. My critique guru suggested I had too many balls in the air and I went through, cutting out distracting side stories and enlarging the major plot lines. But I still lost about 10,000 words and am now back to actively writing forward. I hope to finish by Thanksgiving, maybe sooner.

What other books would  you compare this to within your genre?

Gosh, it seems presumtuous to compare my books to others but maybe Murder Takes the Cake, by Evelyn David, or some of Susan Schreyer's Thea Campbell Mysteries, such as Bushwhacked, or Claudia Bishop's Dread on Arrival.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

My central figure, Kelly O'Connell. I really like her and lots of my readers do too, so I want to keep telling the story of Kelly and her family--husband Mike and two daughters Maggie and Em--and the trouble she gets into.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

I think the setting of Fairmount, an older, inner city neighborhood with lots of Craftsman houses--Kelly specializes in renovating those. But the neighborhood, with its historic buildings and close-knit atmosphere, is a major character in the book. Local readers are usually delighted to come across restaurants and buildings, even streets and houses they know.

So that's the story of my work-in-progress. Stay in touch, please. I want your opinion on the title, and I'll be tagging five other authors to take part. I'll let you know later who they are, and I'll tell you each time one posts.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Oh, that full moon

Do you believe in the effects of a full moon or phases in the moon or, as saying goes, spots on the moon? Saturday night was a full moon, and those who follow such things advised that we stay inside and keep our heads low--bad things were bound to happen. But after that, on Sunday, all would be rosy. So I awoke Sunday morning expecting a glorious days--and in some ways it was but in others went oh so awry.
One of the wonderful parts of the day was church. Our church has a first grade inclusion service, which essentially means after they enter first grade, children are included in the adult worship service. All first graders went up to the front of the church and as a name was called each received a chalice pin. Jacob was clearly the most handsome, most composed child to greet the minister. What? Me prejudiced? Never. Afterwards, his parents and grandparents went for lunch at The Star, where owner Betty Boles, my friend best known to Jacob as Aunt Betty, met us. Jolly lunch, good food, but suddenly I was done, ready to be out of there and home.
Digital disaster waited for me at home. My printer wouldn't work; I installed an upgrade on my iPad and then couldn't connect it to Wi-Fi. I struggled with both all evening. Unplugged the printer so it could collect itself, which it failed to do. Finally Elizabeth came in, tried all the things she knew and most of which I had tried, and we decided the printer was telling us goodbye. Meanwhile, the iPad was working furiously for hours to connect itself.
I'm happy to say that today the gods seem in place--or maybe the full moon has spent its after-effects. I got a medium-line printer which will be installed tomorrow--yes I paid for installation because I don't need any more frustration. I called up the Apple site and fought through their help page to one that I thought was giving me the directions I needed, only to find that when I turned it on, the iPad ws connected to my home Wi-Fi. My world looks a lot better today, but I do hate technical problems.