Saturday, April 30, 2016

Taking a hard look at myself

I was looking through the new issue of Bon Appetit tonight and found a recipe that sounded good to me. Can’t remember exactly what it was but it involved tomatoes—it may have been the statement that a salad doesn’t have to have lettuce, a sentiment I agree with. I grew up on tossed salad and love the blue cheese one Jordan makes us, but in general I’m tired of salads with everything but the kitchen sink. So I was thinking tomatoes, blue cheese, cuke, and avocado—and then remembered Christian doesn’t like tomatoes, doesn’t really like to have to pick them out of his salad.

My mind followed a thread. I live alone, but when our great move is accomplished—still looks like a long way off—I’ll be eating with my local family, and it’s foolish of me to add recipes to my appalling collection that Christian won’t like. Somehow that made me take a hard look at the fact that my lifestyle will be changing forever. I expect it to be great but it’s still a great unknown. What if I don’t like my tiny quarters? What if I can’t fit everything in that I can’t bear to part with? What if I’m lonely back there (I’ll still have my precious dog)? Afraid? I actually expect it to be a wonderful change and am excited about it, but it’s still a great unknown—and there’s a lot of upheaval and work to be done before it’s accomplished.

And then a thought I’ve pushed to the back of my life came to the front. I’m going to my own cottage, not assisted living, not an awful nursing home like we sent my mom to. But it’s still the end of an era in my life … and time to confront my own mortality. I really don’t want to believe I’m 77 with limited mobility and various other aches, pains, and problems that come with aging. If I can barely get around by myself now, how can I live to my mid-90s, which is my goal. I can’t get around well enough to get out in the world, which would keep me younger—and less anxious. I want to see my grandkids grow up. I love my life, blessed with family, dog, friends, home, career—I don’t want any of it to change. And yet I feel it might. It’s that great unknown again.

I belong to a small online group of very supportive writers, and the message I’m getting from them is that I am a strong, capable woman and need to stop running myself down. I’m going to take that as a mantra. Along with my walking mantra, which is “Heel, toe, I can do this.”

Meanwhile, nice day today. Went to lunch with Subie and Phil, then to a frame shop to order frames for two pieces of art that became book covers and my good friend, Barbara Whitehead, was kind enough to give them to me. A quality frame shop always results in sticker shock and this did. Then to Staples where I bought a new keyboard because once again I spilled wine on mine and killed it. Now it’s almost nine, and Jacob has just arrived for the night having been to a TCU baseball game and dinner with friends.

For tonight, my world is pretty much in order. I’ll take the great unknown a day at a time as it comes. Breathe in calm, breathe out anxiety.

Friday, April 29, 2016

I gave a party and no one came

With Jordan at The Gilded Cage book signing
It happens to all authors at least once and many more often. It’s not exactly true that no one came—I’d say about twelve non-family members came, but they were all people who are like family to me. Jordan’s good friend David, whom I’ve known since their high school days, wandered in first, and he, Jordan, Jacob and I sat alone, looking forlorn I’m sure, for over an hour. Just before party time we had a heck of a rainstorm—I thought my umbrella and I were going to be blown away in horizontal rain. Jacob was supposed to shepherd me but he abandoned his duty and ran for cover. Jordan came and helped me.

Jordan put this party together, and put her heart and soul into organizing it. It was at the Wine Haus but Chadra next door delivers appetizers, and she ordered a delicious assortment. I sold seven copies of my novel, The Gilded Cage, and two copies of the children’s book that started me investigating the life of Bertha Honoré Cissy Palmer—the children’s copies were a bonus and last minute thought.

Jordan, Chandry and Marj--good friends at the signing
There are several ways to look at this: some authors have parties and don’t sell any books. Seven is not great, but it’s okay. And I got lots of emails from people who were put off by the weather, by illness, travel, work, etc. So the word was out and some who wrote to me had already bought the book.

This book is, as I’ve said, a major effort on my part, my “big” book, the result of probably ten years of writing, putting it aside, writing and revising, changing the voice of the narrator. It represents hours and hours of work on my part, and I desperately want it to do well. I also hope that it gathers a national audience, not just Texas. It’s set in my hometown of Chicago, unlike my Texas-based mysteries. So I’m hoping some other measures that I’ve taken will bring it the attention I think it deserves—I’ll be on a blog tour in late May and early June arranged by the Historical Fiction Blog Tours—they know the sites for readers of historical fiction—and I’ve hired a publicist every other month for three months. We’ll see if these investments pan out—or prove to be, like tonight, a big bust.

So tonight I’m neither elated nor disappointed. It is what it was. I enjoyed the evening with friends--most of whom were Jordan’s friends who are like other children to me—and I was glad to see the close friends who went to dinner with us afterward.

A bonus to the day: this morning a lovely woman who has a used-book stall in a local antique mall came to go through my books and bought 134 books. Nope, it didn’t by any means wipe out my bookshelves but it was a start. My friend Carol Roark arranged it, was here to help, and has ideas for the rest of the books. A step forward in the long downsizing process, and it’s reassuring to know she found my books interesting.

All in all, progress and a lovely day.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sometimes you just have to laugh

That’s how I feel about politics tonight—at least Republican politics. Ted Cruz, clearly losing, appoints a vice-presidential choice way ahead of time. And not only that, he appoints Carly Fiorina who dropped out of the race because she was so unpopular. I saw a joke FB post today with Cruz saying to her, “And after we lose Indiana, we’ll appoint a cabinet.” Cruz apparently said Hillary is scared to death of Fiorina, and some pundit replied, “The only thing that scares Hillary is that Fiorina will sing to her.” Come on, folks, this is getting silly.

And yet it’s not. Donald Trump’s amazing sweep both amazes and scares me. I simply cannot see him with his hand on the red button to trigger international disaster. That scares me almost as much as Ted Cruz. I was surprised today at John Boehner’s leap into the fray, a leap that probably seals Cruz’s defeat.

It will come as no surprise to many of you that I see Hillary Clinton as the obvious choice for the Democrats and for the presidency. I used to love Bernie, and I still love his idealistic views, but I think they are impractical. And he’s turned from nice guy to bitter. I wish he’d kept to the high road, and I admire Hillary for doing so. Bernie once pledged to support whoever the Democratic candidate is—I hope he honors his pledge and urges the “Feel the Bern” supporters to do the same.

Meantime I had a good day—two grocery stores in one morning about wears me out, or at least wears my back out. Even though Amy, my traveling companion, as she calls herself, carries in all the groceries.

No long nap today—my brother and sister-in-law came to look at Uncle Bob’s white on white weaving. After much discussion, during which Cindy said, “If it weren’t the color of our walls,” and “I really do like this piece,” they decided to try it out. I will call my man who cleans Oriental rugs and ask him to clean it, and then they’ll take it. As John said, “We are not putting Uncle Bob out on the street.” He was dear to all of us, and we treasure his work. Now, then, there’s the painting of a pink chrysanthemum on a green background—any takers?

Uncle Bob was a gay man I met in the 70s through macramé classes (does that date me) who eventually became family, and when I was raising four teenagers alone he was a great help—most of the time. He taught them to drive and to ride horseback and to be polite at all times. Sometimes however, especially on trips, it was like having five teenagers. I remember one trip to Corpus….no, we won’t go there. He died of AIDS in the early ‘90s, a great loss for our family, and we all treasure the pieces of his art we have—except for that darn pink and green painting.

Tonight I had a nice, laughing dinner with my restaurant explorer friend Betty. We went to Fixture where I always love the Day Boat Scallop. I was ready to leave when I saw they’d taken it off the menu, but we’d already ordered wine.  We split a scallop and veggie dish plus a side of truffle mac and cheese. So good. Pleasant night to dine on the patio, though we’re expecting storms after midnight.

Tomorrow a used book dealer comes to look at my library, and in the evening we have my publication party. Rain all day may put a damper on things, but I’m being optimistic.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Perhaps only anxiety sufferers will understand this, but I read somewhere that you should do something every day that scares you. That leaves me a long list of possible. Yesterday, as I reported, I met an old/new friend for lunch. It took a bit of courage, and I could so easily have opted out, pleading a migraine (no, I don’t have them) or a stomach issue (yeah, sometimes) but I didn’t. Scariest part for me was that I rarely go places alone these days but I did it, I hope with some grace.

Today I went to the nursery with neighbor/good friend Greg, having warned him I was unsteady on my feet. Again, I could have sent him with a shopping list but following my conviction that one way to combat anxiety was to get out in the world, I went. I was the most ungraceful person you ever saw getting into his jeep—but I did it. I worried if they had places I could sit if my back gave out. “We’ll figure something out,” he said. Greg takes life as it comes, with none of my anticipatory worrying.

I left my cane in the car because it falls out of the carts at the nursery—just held on to Greg. We got a cart for me to push and went through the nursery, with him saying, “Follow me this way.” I’m sure other customers thought how awful of him to let that old lady push the cart and order her around.  But I did follow him, we got everything on my list (no basil), and my back didn’t bother me. As the checkout a helpful employee tried to take my cart, and I said, “No, it’s my cane.” “Just trying to get it out of the way,” he said. I replied, “Well, then you’d have to get me out of the way because I’d be flat on the ground.”

The whole trip was fun, we got all the herbs I wanted and some other plants so my porches are in good shape. I sat on the front porch and then the deck while Greg planted and had a thoroughly pleasant morning. So two days in a row I’ve made myself do things I dreaded and had a great time both days.

Tonight I’m exhausted. Jordan arrived late afternoon, rearranged all the books, and moved them back into bookcases in the sunroom. I sorted as best I could and mostly watched. Then she realized I hadn’t looked at the bookshelves flanking the fireplace, so nothing would do but we check them. She works under the deadline of the book dealer who’s coming Friday—and probably won’t take even a tenth of the books. I have orders to sort one more carton and one bookshelf before tomorrow afternoon. She is so organized and so full of energy—I’m grateful beyond measure, but I’m sometimes a little tired.

Life is looking good.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Storm watch, lunch with an old friend, and a book triumph of sorts


We are in the bated-breath stage waiting for the predicted PDS storm to hit us—I think those are the initials, and they stand for something like Possible Disastrous Storm or equally awful. Apparently, it’s a designation only rarely used. But they say we could have baseball-size hail, tornadoes and heavy rain. I worried about Jacob, because they didn’t call his baseball game, and he, always nervous about tornadoes, didn’t want to go play. But he and his mom are safely home.

Earlier this evening I sat on the deck—supposedly to think about my novel-n-progress but my mind wanders. The breeze was lovely but with that pre-storm feel, and the air had that funny color, not green, just different, that it gets before a storm. I could hear distant thunder to both the east and the west. But so far nothing has materialized. I hope I don’t have to eat those words.

I met an old friend for lunch today—except we’d never met. When he came in and recognized me, I said, “We haven’t ever met, have we?” and he said no, but we’d talked on the phone when he used to interview me and review my books (pre-social media, probably late ‘80s or early ‘90s). Years went by with no contact and then he friended me on Facebook—one of the beauties of that program is the friends you make.

Randy said he’d read enough about the Old Neighborhood Grill in my books that he wanted to try it. I said if we set a date, I’d meet him, and so today we met. Lots of fun. Wide-ranging talk, but a lot about kids, grandkids, and—gulp!—how we were handling our estates. But also some book talk—he’s a prolific author—and a collector way out of my range, with original art and first editions. Funny—both of us on canes and neither one of us can hear well, but we had a good time. Thanks, Randy.

Since the weather was to storm tonight, I had my usual Tuesday night supper for lunch—meatloaf, green beans, and mashed potatoes with cream gravy. Asked for a big to-go box but surprised myself by barely saving half the meatloaf and eating everything else on my plate. Great meatloaf sandwich tonight—my favorite.

Took such a sound nap I wasn’t sure I couldn’t get up in time for Jacob but I did. Jordan came along, in a tizzy about what to do about baseball and the storm. But we unpacked boxes of books and suddenly—the last one was done. We had unpacked 46 cartons of books damaged in the storm and sorted them into destroyed, saved, and barely damaged. Now to figure out what to do with them—her goal is to empty my dining table of the stacks and stacks of saved books. Damaged beyond saving are packaged to go to a recycling place and there are boxes for women’s shelters and schools. We of course had to toast our accomplishment, but she still has an ambitious agenda—clear the guest room (which we’ve used as a junk room) so the bunk beds can come in before Megan and Ford arrive.
Other than a brief period of anxiety this morning, all this activity has kept me feeling much better. Work, I’m convinced, is good for the soul.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A tiring good day

Guess what, folks? Unboxing and sorting books is tiring. And that’s what I did all morning. A used book dealer is coming Friday morning, and the librarian/archivist friend who arranged this warned me to take out ahead of time the books I want to keep. We don’t want her to choose one only to have me say, “Oh, no. I want to keep that one.” So I did the long bookcase in my office this morning. I was amazed at how dusty the books were and how dirty I felt when I got through. Don’t know how thorough I was but I am getting ruthless. Some of my books are, I’m quite sure, collectors’ items for people who research the history of the American West, which I probably will never do again. But there are a couple, like Foster-Harris’ The Look of the Old West, that I can’t bear to part with.

Jordan also got two boxes from the dwindling stack of cartons for me to sort—they were supposedly saved, but some are well beyond recovery. I did those, so tonight she got two more boxes down. That and my lawyer’s bookcase are on the list for tomorrow.

Today, the groomer also came for Sophie. I love it—they pull up in front in a pickup with a trailer that has everything: water connections, heat and a/c, electricity. Sophie gets so excited when she sees that truck. And tonight she looks so pretty. And the restoration company sent two men to spot clean the places I’d found on the couch. So it was busy around here—probably just what this anxious soul needed.

Tonight my Canadian daughter (her real mom lives so far away, we’ve adopted each other on a make-do basis) and her partner came for happy hour. Lovely evening on the patio, and we had a good happy visit, laughing a lot. Jordan spent the afternoon at another mom’s house working on the kids’ group science project. She has threatened Jacob with death and destruction if he ever signs up for another group project. But they’re done! She came in and poured herself a most generous glass of wine.

And suddenly, I’d lost my starch. Was so tired I didn’t even want to think about supper. I had knocked a hard-boiled egg out of the fridge and cracked it, so decided I should eat it for supper. Too lazy to even devil it—just cut it in half and put salt on it. With cherry tomatoes and a big slice of heavily buttered Parmesan toast—and a bit of dark chocolate. Got my starch sort of back this evening (maybe I was just hungry) and did some good guest work.

If you read my newsletter or follow me on Facebook, you already know it’s party time Friday night at the Wine Haus, 1628 Park Place Avenue, to celebrate The Gilded Cage. Nope, you don’t have to buy a book—just tell me you’re happy for me. You’re on your own for wine, but I’ll provide snacks. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Down in the dumps

This blog is sometimes where I work out problems that are bothering me, so here goes: I’m doing to dump about my dumps. A blue day in which I felt sorry for myself for no good reason. I have so much to treasure in life—a loving and supportive family, creative work that keeps me happy, a new book out, lots of friends, a loveable dog, a comfortable house and exciting plans for its future. So what’s bothering me? My lifetime enemy, anxiety.

I decided tonight that the problem is that I spend too much time home alone. On that note I decided to take my daughter up at the last minute on an invitation to supper. But I woke from a nap feeling blurpy, stayed home, ate leftover chicken. While I often enjoy my aloneness and quiet, I am also a person who feed on people, is energized by them. So why do I stay home?

Because it’s easier. Home is familiar, with paths I can follow from room to room. Outside my home, I’ve gotten insecure about walking (actually my walking is better—I’m doing my exercises). I scheme and connive so that I rarely go someplace alone but always have an arm to lean on. I have even hired a wonderful travel companion—we go to the grocery together. It’s called drawing the circle tighter, and I need to push back that circle.

Even at home, I’m most comfortable at my desk, so I tend to ignore things that should be done around the house. As a result of that and other things—downsizing and storm damage—my house is pretty much a mess. And I’m used to having people come in and exclaim about how warm and welcoming it is. Today I did laundry, watered plants—but I need to sort the last nine boxes of books, fill the shelves of my new filing cabinet, and restock the laundry area—items from it are all over the kitchen alcove and it looks awful. I can’t rely on Jordan to do all that.

This week I have several opportunities to push back the circle, and I am by gosh going to take advantage of them. I’m to meet a Facebook friend for lunch Tuesday—I’ve known him a long time, not sure we’ve ever actually met though we may have. So easy to send a message saying I can’t make it, but I’m not going to do that. If I have to call the restaurant and ask someone to help me in, so be it. I’m actually looking forward to lunch.

Wednesday I’m to go to the nursery plant shopping with Greg who keeps my yard. If I have to cling to him until he gets me a basket to push, so be it. And if I have to say I need to sit, I’ll sit (too long on my feet and my low back screams at me).

I’ll go to dinner with friends Tuesday and Wednesday and try my best not to cling. I am going to get out of the house. And when I’m home, I’m going to forsake the refuge of my desk—that’s what it’s become—and dig in.

Watch my dust!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A staycation day

 In spite of my own protests, I turned into a recluse today and spent the day at home alone—well mostly. Confession: I had such a good time at my own dinner party last night that I overserved myself with white wine (who, me?) and wasn’t feeling particularly well this morning. I think it could be described as shaky with a headache. Finally had a banana and a cup of tea and began to feel better.

The restoration company returned my couch today—it’s a sectional with more pieces than you care to count. And it goes together in a weird way—when it first arrived, six months or so ago, it took us weeks to unbox, unwrap, and assemble. And we might never have gotten it done if Jamie hadn’t come over—he has a Lovesac and knows how they go together. Today, watching the three men try to puzzle it out provided an hour’s entertainment. I could offer an occasional hint, and after many tries—and taking it apart and starting over again, they got it done. I cheered for them, and they thanked me for my patience.

Jordan warned me to inspect every piece—I didn’t quite do that, but I did find two pieces with stains still on them. The company will send someone to spot-clean Monday. So just to be sure I suggested she come by and examine the couch—I didn’t want to be accused of missing something obvious. She didn’t find much more except for some light water stains. The room is beginning to return to normal—I now have a long (empty) bookcase, a table and chairs, and a couch, plus a working TV if we can find the remotes. And the new paint and floor look wonderful.

Jacob is here tonight—he played all afternoon with the sons of friends, and I didn’t realize he wanted to spend the night and was invited. So I suggested they have him here by eight, and he came in unhappy about not spending the night. A grandmother’s dilemma—I should have let him stay, though Jordan had not mentioned it, but I sure am glad to have his company. He soon brightened, talking about all the Rubic’s cubes he has and is going to get. I swear when he’s sixty, he may have a valuable collection—like some people who collected comic books way back when. Today those ubiquitous cubes come in all kinds of shapes and sizes—he’s ordering a pyramid and a multi-sided.

On my staycation day I wrote a guest blog, cleaned up some details, and spent much of the day reading a book. Somehow reading is such a luxury that I often put it off for work to be done. But, hey, I’m retired, and I’m my own boss. So I’m going to finish the night reading. Only problem is Jacob confiscated my iPad and I’m reduced to reading on my phone. It’s okay.

Friday, April 22, 2016

On becoming a recluse...and cooking for others

I said to a friend tonight that I thought I was increasingly becoming a recluse. He asked if I liked to have people in my home, and I enthusiastically answered yes. Did I like being alone? No, sometimes I get bored. “Then you’re not a recluse,” he intoned.

So my problem is not being a recluse but the anxiety/mobility that makes it difficult for me to leave my house—been there, done that some forty years ago so I know I can overcome it again.
Meanwhile my reclusiveness was interrupted tonight by Subie and Phil, good friends just back from a long trip to Argentina. They called to ask if they could come for wine. Of course they could. Then Jordan and Jacob arrived, followed by Christian with much-needed dog food, and finally David who doesn’t come for visits often enough. David was Jordan’s first boyfriend, is now a close friend of both Christian and Jordan, and in his SuperDave cape takes Jacob to TCU ball games. He’s family around here.

I tried to get Subie and Phil to stay for supper but they wouldn’t, so the five of us ate on the deck. I fixed a super chicken dish I think I found in a NYTimes cooking column: spray a roasting pan with oil of some kind, cover the bottom with onion slices and sliced shallots, put chicken thighs on top. Season with salt and pepper and slide into a hot oven (I did 450 and it still took about an hour and a half). Layer croutons in a serving dish and arrange chicken on top and dump the roasting pan on top of it all. My only complaint--the croutons didn’t become as soggy as I expected. I served it with Christians’ green beans—cook some bacon and retain the grease, drain bacon and crumble. Dump green beans into grease, douse liberally with cider vinegar and, when serving, crumble in the bacon. That and one of Jordan’s good blue cheese salads was dinner. So good.

High old time of visiting and friends. Tomorrow I work. And maybe I won't be a recluse

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Whirlwind days

This afternoon I woke up from a lovely peaceful nap, with Sophie at my feet, to find Jacob’s friend Hayes in the dining room doing homework, Jacob and his tutor in the sunroom with their math, and Jordan flitting about doing all the chores I should have down. After an hour, when they were all gone, I felt like a whirlwind had left my house. But within maybe two hours Jacob was back and hungry, and an hour later his parents arrived and we sat and talked about—I don’t know what. I am so glad my life is never dull. It will keep me from getting old.

And when I woke this morning I thought life was dull. Soggy dull morning, and I had no get up and go. Had to make myself go shopping, though Amy, my traveling companion/caretaker, kept assuring me the sun was coming out and sure enough by the time we left the second grocery store it was out and bright. But two grocery stores make my hip ache and I am limping around tonight, although in a better frame of mind.

I was inspired today by the Queen’s birthday (do we need to specify what queen?). Ninety years old and look at her dignity and good spirits…and her long and apparently loving marriage. I know there are rumors of awful family rifts and conflicts in the royal household, but they sure manage to keep them under wraps, unlike some of our American leaders, and I cannot help but admire her. She rules with an iron fist in a velvet glove. As I limp along in my late seventies, I think I want to be like her at ninety.  I may not ride horseback as she does, but I have to do my yoga more. And today the day has gotten away from me and I won’t do it again. Tomorrow for sure.

I know the British monarchy is sort of an outmoded idea, but I love it and hope it goes on forever. Will and Kate are the hope of the future for maintaining the dignity of all that Britain stands for, and I value that, especially since some of our presidential candidates have by degrees lost all sense of dignity. I love the pomp and circumstance, just as I love the traditional Protestant church service.

Long live the Queen!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

No profound thoughts tonight

My living room tonight
I’ve been thinking about Bernie and Hillary a lot lately and intended to be profound about that contest—but I just heard a tentative report that she won NY. (As did Trump). My thoughts were going to come out on the side of Hillary, even though so many people hate her—maybe I’ll write about that soon. Meantime, if you come across a Facebook site “Becoming Anti-Bernie,” I’d suggest you read it.

But instead of being profound, I have to confess I pretty much frittered the day away. There are things that were on my to-do list this morning that are still there, and I can’t point to a whole lot I got accomplished—posting some marketing things for The Gilded Cage, answering emails, etc. There were painters here most of the day, and that’s not conducive to concentration. The put plastic down to protect the floors, especially in the dining room where they were patching water leaks in the ceiling, and I was leery about slipping on it. They were most kind about either moving it or taking my hand to help me. But still it was a distraction.

Do want to make sure you all know I’m giving away free copies of The Gilded Cage on Goodreads—you can enter April 23, so don’t dally. Here’s the link:

Went to lunch with two special friends at Nonna Tata and had what is probably my favorite lunch—braseola with a vinaigrette potato salad. Several years ago, when I first ordered it the waitress said, “I don’t know. It sure smells funny.” Good marketing. In case you don’t know, braseola is the Italian beef version of prosciutto. It comes dressed with greens, grana cheese, and a light lemon vinaigrette. Delicious light lunch—really an appetizer, but enough for lunch for me (especially if I come home and have some chocolate).

During lunch yesterday and today I kept trying to think of the name for trimming trees or bushes into three tiered, rounded balls. A web search yielded “poodle trees” which I thought apt but not what I was looking for. Tonight out of the blue I thought of the word—topiary. I quickly wrote the three friends I had lunch with yesterday and today, and one wrote back, “Ah, good, now I can sleep.”

Would you believe at 9:45 I was waiting for a nine-year-old to be delivered from a baseball game (they lost)? He’s home now and, I think, off to bed. Will follow him soon.

Tomorrow: a busier day: got to finish that to-do list and rewrite the first 2000 words—did some online research on the actual case in the back of my mind, and I need to rethink things.


Monday, April 18, 2016

A rainy launch day

Today is the official launch day for The Gilded Cage, but as so often with such things it feels a bit anti-climactic because I’ve been talking about the book so much. Still it’s been a good day—Amazon helped me boost it. One of my friends got an email from them announcing publication, so I gather others did too. Then they asked if I wanted to promote it to my Amazon friends and I of course said yes. So I presume they sent out another announcement with a blurb.

No launch party today. It will be April 29—Fort Worth folks, mark your calendars (and please note some of you may have gotten an earlier mistaken date—it’s Friday, not Thursday). Five to seven p.m. at The Wine Haus, 1628 Park Place Avenue, Fort Worth, 76110. You’re on your own for wine but I will provide snacks. Let’s party! I’ll for sure be reminding folks again. I’ve already heard from several who say they’ll be there and some who have ordered the book because they can’t come. It’s on Amazon—but do come party. I’d love to see you.

Today I’m worried about my kids and grandkids in Tomball, about 40 miles northwest of Houston. The picture above is a composite of their property looks like—lake high, half-finished swimming pool full of rain water. The last picture is what happened when my grandson put buttermilk on his cereal. Makes me laugh. They tell me they are okay, all stayed home today including my workaholic son. Only problem is a roof leak which he optimistically says is no big deal. Houston has been declared a disaster—much worse there than in Tomball, and even Austin had a two-hour school delay.

Rain is gone for now here but apparently coming back. We had lots of thunder in the night, so I had a dog curled up on my bed. Now it’s just gray and dreary. My day was brightened by lunch with my good friend Melinda—felt like a happy camper after food, wine, and sociability, and came home and unpacked three more boxes of books. Goal for today is five. Many of those I found today were beyond hope.

Miles to go before I sleep. Must unpack two more boxes of books, do my yoga, and write 500 words on the new wip. So I’m signing off.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Thoughts from a prude

I never thought of myself as a prude. I think my four kids will tell you I was fairly forgiving and understanding when they were teenagers, though I did draw the line at fart jokes and other bathroom humor. But now, frankly, I’m appalled at the tone of our presidential primaries.

Let me hasten to admit that I’m a liberal, and I find the objectionable material on the right. But we have presidential candidates talking about who can pee where, how women can avoid rape (don’t go to parties—yeah, that will fly with the younger crowd), masturbation and small hands, and dildos. These are men who want to run what was once the most powerful country in the world and is closing to regaining that status? Can you imagine FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, even Nixon or JFK bring up such subjects on the campaign trail? Certainly not either of the Bushes (their wives would cream them) or Barack Obama. No, we’ve hit a new low.

I know it’s important to Ted Cruz to improve the morality of America (according to his standards) but, frankly, I find it a deterioration of our standards of common decency. What happens in the bedroom—or shower stall or wherever—is between two people, or maybe one, or maybe three or more. But it’s not the government’s business.

Are there not more significant problems for presidential candidates to consider? Like the ever-exploding Middle East, the climate and weather problems, immigration, social inequity, medical care? Why are we hearing about people’s personal sexual habits, especially from people whose own habits are not above scrutiny if gossip be gospel?

Today I read that Ted Cruz promised to step back the “war on coal” if president. Does he not realize that coal manufacture pollutes the atmosphere almost more than any other industry? Oh, that’s right. He doesn’t believe in climate change, but he does believe selling sex toys is harmful to the morality of Texans—and by extension, most Americans.

Both Hillary and Bernie have addressed the problems of the LGBT community but not in a prurient, judgmental way. Other than that, they have stayed out of the bedroom, and that’s one more reason I’d vote for either of them.

Come on, folks, let’s not lose the standards of decency and reduce our country to this level of baseness. We are better than that.

I cannot help but think of my mother. If she heard this discussion, her chin would go up, her eyes would go out the window, and there would be no such talk. A true lady. We could all learn from her.



Saturday, April 16, 2016

The weekend that wasn't meant to be

The weekend that I had anticipated with so much joy turned out to be a bust. Megan called this morning to say they weren’t coming. The game they wanted to see was rescheduled for three today, which they couldn’t make, and the weather forecast was frightening. She did not want to be on I35 with a nine-year-old in a hail storm. I of course wouldn’t want her to drive in those conditions, and I wasn’t really surprised. We have rescheduled for a weekend in May. But, yes, I was bummed.

Didn’t sleep well last night—scratchy throat, stuffy nose, aching leg, and of course terrible dark thoughts at three a.m. Turns out I didn’t feel much better this morning though I sis two loads of laundry, emptied the dishwasher and did sundry other household chores, without much enthusiasm. Jordan said she and Jacob were still coming for supper and we’d cook the salmon I bought for a celebratory feast. I thought I was feeling better until she arrived. I’m sure she wasn’t the trigger, but I began to cough and finally made a mad dash for the bathroom. After that I recovered a bit but thought how good it was Megan and Ford hadn’t come up.

We did not cook the salmon, froze it. I just didn’t feel up to either cooking or eating it, and Jordan plied me with water and gave me buttered rye toast. When I sat down next to Jacob at the table, he ostentatiously moved his plate and drink away and then said, “Well, Juju, you’re sick.”

Jordan and I unpacked and sorted some twenty cartons of books. Some went straight to the trash pile; others, damaged but still readable, will go to schools and women’s shelters. Some I will keep—they’re in good shape, and I’d like to have one copy of every book I’ve written. Jordan says she has a spread sheet. You can’t tell that we made progress, but we really did, and she feels much better about the books. Says we can whip through the remaining 20 boxes in a couple of nights—not so sure about that.

She also is keeping a spread sheet of costs and insurance reimbursements for the hail damage, and lectured me fairly severely for not telling her about the insurance check I deposited today. Nice to be in such capable hands.

Now they gone, leaving me with a glass of water and a diffuser with peppermint for nasal problems and lavender for soothing. Think I’ll read and go to bed early.

No rain yet. The rain blew up a while ago, showering Jacob as he watered porch plants that will be sheltered from the rain, but it seems to have died down again.


Friday, April 15, 2016

A day of waiting

I spent the day at home today—waiting. Waiting for the floor people to finish installing the new wood floor in the sunroom. They were wonderful people to work with, and I scarcely knew they were in the house. Waiting for Socorro to do what she could about cleaning this house which is still stacked with cartons of books—neither Jordan nor I have the heart to tackle them. Waiting for the restoration company to return my couch—which they didn’t, which is probably good. Monday I’ll be waiting on painters. I seriously doubt my house will get back to normal until I’m settled in the cottage—and we don’t even have a building permit for that yet. This makes four trips to City Hall and about six weeks or more. Life is full of waiting.

And worrying. I was afraid the couch would arrive while the sunroom was still full of flooring equipment. I worried that Jacob’s grandparents would block the roofing people into the driveway when they came to pick him up from school. If I’m going to have to do all this waiting, I need to learn to worry less.

A bright note: I have a lovely new file cabinet, four-drawer, oak—a treat to me from me. But now I have to fill it with the files I sorted out of the old metal cabinet. We put it out on the curb and it was gone almost instantly. Lewis explained to me it’s recyclable which is a nice thought. I’d start filling it but the files I want to start with are at the bottom of a pile of boxes in the shower stall in my office. Boxes everywhere in this house.

I wasn’t idle. Lots of work on my desk, and I was busy all day. Excited about Monday’s launch day of The Gilded Cage and yet afraid to check pre-orders. What if there aren’t any?

Looking forward to a quick visit from Megan and her youngest son, Ford. They’re coming for a Sunday baseball game which I’m afraid will be rained out. But we’ll have a good visit, and Jacob and Ford will be delighted to be together.

Just set myself a goal. Unpack two boxes of books tonight. Sweet dreams everyone.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A huge mistake...and a joy

Last night, in one thoughtless keystroke, I overwrote all the back-up of the blog posts I’d made since early January. I’ll blame it partly on Word for updating the program but it was truly my fault. I knew all along I was pushing my luck to keep so many posts in one file, but on the other hand my blog posts, if compiled into one book, would rival War and Peace or Moby Dick. So this will force me to go back and winnow—but not tonight, thank you.

I told Jacob about it when I went to tuck him in (too far past his bedtime) and he said, “Damn, Judy!” I thought it an appropriate response and told him I was tempted to say something stronger but wouldn’t.

Besides, does anyone care about “A year in the life of Judy Alter?”

Today, after getting lots of work done, I’ve been having fun going through recipes. One of my favorite things to do is plan menus for company. Saturday night my oldest daughter and her younger son will be here for a Sunday baseball game at TCU. Christian won’t join us for supper because he’s going to do yard work all day—I suspect he also relishes the time alone and is being sweet and giving me and my two daughters some girl time. Jacob and his cousin are best buddies and will be so delighted to be together.

Back to recipes—I picked out a whole bunch, mostly things I can’t fix for Christian. My choice was a wonderful Italian tuna sandwich with green pesto, but Jordan said she and her sister don’t want all that bread. She chose salmon with anchovy butter and capers. It’s good, but Megan was in Alaska last summer, brought back tons of salmon, and may be ready for a change. I wrote her, hope to hear tonight because tomorrow is grocery day. Friday I have to stay home for delivery of my now-dry and clean couch. Today I had to stay home for delivery of my splurge—a four-drawer wooden file cabinet. We put the old battered two-drawer out at the curb last night and it’s gone—Lewis tells me it’s recyclable and that’s why people pick it up. This staying home for workmen, while far from over, is getting tiresome and a bit wearying. Today they were laying new floor in the sunroom where the original was destroyed by hail.

Wow! Talk about wandering off topic. Anyway that’s my story for the day.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Pushing out the circle

I seem to be writing about anxiety a lot in the last few days but that’s because I’ve felt its looming presence in my life. One of the things I learned years ago is that you can draw the circle tighter about you or you can gradually push that circle wider. Today was a widen the circle day, but it wasn’t easy.

The second Tuesday of every month I meet a wonderful group of book ladies for breakfast at the nearby Old Neighborhood Grill. This morning I woke in high anxiety over the thought of going to the Grill alone—having Amy F. as a “travel companion” has spoiled me—and weakened me. I know today was like other days in my past—do it today or you may never do it again.

Often when I wake with disquieting thoughts I find it helpful to turn on the TV while I brush my teeth, wash my hair, and get ready for the day. The news takes me out of myself in a good way, and that’s what I did today. Then I set out for the Grill, so late that a friend called and asked if she could get me. By then I was determined.

Parked in the farthest handicapped spot and had a moment of heightened anxiety—couldn’t let go of the pole that held the handicapped sign. And then I took a step and I was off and fine.  It was what I’ve always said—if you could turn your mind off and just act. Enjoyed breakfast and fellowship, and when we were ready to leave my good friend stayed close by ready to offer an arm if I needed it but let me do on my own what I could.

Tuesday nights Jacob and I often meet neighbors at the Grill. He’s had so much baseball lately that he hasn’t been able to go, but we went tonight. For a lot of complicated reasons we walked down the driveway to the garage instead of my usual route out the back door. I haven’t been down that driveway since I fell a year ago, but a nine-year-old hand in mine is a great comfort. Fun dinner, and then Jacob elected to walk home with Mary Dulle. Perfect timing—I parked the car in the garage and was halfway to the gate when they came along. So for me, it was a day of pushing back boundaries.

It was also, as many days will be, a day of business, and I don’t mean writing. Lewis came by and we figured out some insurance paperwork; the bank sent me a list of things they needed, and I spent a good bit of time compiling them; the floor company came to begin work and will be here for two days. I see light at the end of that tunnel, but we still have no building permit for the remodeling. I see all this taking up a lot of time in the future.

But it was a good day, one of accomplishment, and I’m upbeat tonight. Oh—with the gout menu eliminating many favorites—meatloaf (beef), pork cutlet (fried), I had a turkey burger for supper. Good but not something I’d want every week. Deluged today with gout advice—ordered tart cherry pills and will eat more citrus (can’t stand grapefruit). Ate tuna but with a guilty conscience. Someone said some things are triggers for one person but not another, so now I’m trying to think what unusual I might have eaten. Someone said asparagus--tell me it’s not so!

Monday, April 11, 2016

An old man's disease

What image comes to your mind when you hear the term “gout”? I see a corpulent, overweight old Englishman of the 18th century, eating huge piles of roast beef and swilling ale. Samuel Johnson probably had gout though that has not been proven, but he comes to mind as a classic case.

So imagine my dismay and surprise today when I was told my swollen left foot is probably due to gout, and the reason I don’t feel the tremendous pain usually associated with it is that I have had peripheral neuropathy for years. A doctor who has known me longer than I care to admit told me long ago he could diagnose that from the way I walk. I surely don’t think I mirror the image of the man above.

But wait! I don’t drink ale or beer, and I eat precious little beef. So, as internet addicts do, I went to Google where the first thing I found was a list of ten foods to avoid. Top of the list: fish. I eat tuna fish at least once a day and sometimes, like today, twice, and yes, I drink quite a bit of white wine—but I always thought red wine, although healthier for you, caused gout. Wonder how many Italians have gout?

The rest of the list didn’t alarm me so much—beef, but I eat little of it; rich sauces—not guilty, except on occasion; organ meat—okay, I love chopped liver but I know it’s not on a healthy diet and rarely eat it. Is tongue organ meat? I eat more of that.  Fruit juice—I eat raspberries and blueberries a lot when in season but don’t drink fruit juice. Soda—never, nada; caffeine—one cup of green tea a day. Surely that doesn’t count. Fried foods—I avoid them like the plague. Well, most of the time.

So there go fish and wine. I foresee lunches of egg salad and cottage cheese. It surprises me that cheese and eggs are not on the list, though we are increasingly told what a bad rap they both had. Cheese is touted often as a misunderstood good-for-you food, especially since all blame has focused on sugar and carbohydrates, neither of which I eat much. I would have told you I eat a healthy diet—what could be better than tuna salad, cottage cheese, cherry tomatoes and a bit of fruit. I guess Mother Nature fools us again.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Nothing extraordinary, nothing catastrophic

 Just an ordinary day. I didn’t blog last night because I was worn out and had little to say. Up early to meet Greg, who tends my garden—he moved indoor plants outdoors and watered everything well. I’ve been remiss. Now forbidden to climb on even small stools, I can’t reach the second shelf of my greenhouse windows and though Jordan has done her best, the plants have suffered—I think the lavender is beyond recall.

Then contractors Lewis and Jim appeared and disappeared—Greg looked all over the property for them. Turns out they were behind the cottage looking for survey stakes, which they found. The three had a pow-wow about what would be torn up in the back yard for remodeling.

Went to two grocery stores. Now that’s enough to wear a woman out! And last night went to a lovely gathering of friends at the nearby Wine Haus to celebrate Jaimie Smith’s promotion to director of curriculum for the Birdville School District. Jordan’s out of town, but Christian escorted me and Jacob, who had been to a TCU tennis game, joined us later. Delightful evening on the patio-and I discovered a new favorite—eggplant and goat cheese pizza (and I’m not a pizza eater!).

Today I had a delightful visitor—Kenneth Jones who had grown up in this house. We walked through the house and he told me how things used to be, including a pass-through where the milkman left milk and butter. Then we sat and visited, and he told me about the people who lived in the neighborhood, some of whom I knew. Really fun, and I will write it up for the neighborhood newsletter, which I just happen to edit.

Tonight my friend Mary V. came for supper, and I fixed mushroom stroganoff—really good, but I have enough to feed Coxie’s Army. I cook in brief periods—15-30 minutes does my back in and I have to sit; then I can go back and do more. Same for cleaning up the kitchen. But I am so delighted to be cooking.

So now, once again, I’m tired and headed for bed—chores to do tomorrow like washing clothes. Now what else was I going to do? I’ll think of it.

Sweet dreams, everyone.


Thursday, April 07, 2016


I’ve splurged and ordered something I’ve wanted for a long time—a four-drawer oak filing cabinet (I’m tired of metal). It’s needed to transfer my files, always overcrowded, to the cottage whenever that happens. Meanwhile I’ve been struggling with overstuffed drawers. So today I started through the first drawer of my two-drawer file, which contains mostly stuff related to my writing. Discovered I could discard quite a bit, but still filled one carton. Lower drawer contains business files and is more of a challenge—plus it’s harder for me to work bent over.

When I filled the first box I had to open a carton of books returned by the restoration company—mostly it was packing paper and then some mass market paperbacks. Whatever they did to them worked because you couldn’t tell they’d had any damage. There were maybe 20 books—I sorted them into “keep” and “not keep” piles. There were also four video tapes—probably from the ‘90s and most likely of my interviews on City Cable TV when I used to interview authors. I doubt they survived moisture plus baking, and besides what would we play them on. The trouble with technology is that things are outmoded so quickly and no longer relevant—or retrievable.

Going through the files was a nostalgia trip, especially those that I discarded. One for Scooby, my ever sweet Aussie who died four years ago; another for a dog that I had to put down because he was a biter and bit Jacob twice—that really tore a new hole in my heart. Jacob asked tonight, “Is he dead?” Jay and I said yes. “Why didn’t you just give him to someone else?” We tried to explain that if a dog bites randomly it isn’t fair to give him to someone else. There were also files about publishing projects that never worked out, companies that I am sure are long out of business. I saved a lot of files about my career that will someday go to my archive at the Southwest Writers Collection but for now will go into my new file cabinet.

Big worry: what if the new file cabinet arrives before I empty the old one? And then there’s the file drawer under my desk, with active files, to sort out.

Believe me, downsizing is an overwhelming task. Meanwhile, they should deliver flooring tomorrow for the sunroom so it can acclimate and perhaps put it in first of next week. Still no city permit for remodeling the cottage.

Life goes on.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Politics, again

 Sometimes you can’t just bite your tongue and move on. This is one of those days. The political primary scene changes so much it’s worse than watching a tennis match and having no clue who will win. Sanders is surging forward in the Democratic contest, yet I hear conflicting reports about why he will win and why he won’t. Increasingly, in spite of his wonderful ideals, I hope he doesn’t. That nice genial man who started the campaign has turned more than a bit mean-spirited toward Hillary, and in some areas—foreign policy—he’s demonstrated a concerning lack of knowledge. Granted, his concern has always been domestic, and Lord know our domestic situation needs help. But I have long hidden a doubt about his ability to turn domestic dreams into reality, and now I’m a bit more concerned.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump’s crudeness, misogyny, and lack of any knowledge of either foreign or domestic policy seems to have him sliding in the polls. After all, Cruz took Wisconsin (I don’t even know if that’s a big thing or not but his supporters sure act like it is). Still I hear so many voices saying Cruz scares them more than Trump—the latter is what he is, blustering, outrageous, loud and crude. But Cruz is a much subtler threat—mean, conniving, deceitful, a religious zealot.

In all this I am afraid John Kasich gets overlooked. He’s not good copy like his two rivals. Instead he seems calm, reasonable, a middle-of-the-road guy, a moderate. Not so. Listen carefully to what he says. He’s really negative on women’s rights, and he wants so shut down social security—says we seniors will get used to living without it. Really? When it’s almost half my monthly income? I don’t think so, John. And it’s our money—we paid into it. The government owes us a bunch in that fund, and neither Congress nor the president have the power to take it away. I’m afraid Americans will breathe a sigh of relief if a brokered convention gives Kasich the nomination—not a good thing. Apparently the GOP will not consider candidates who didn’t run in the primary, but that still leaves Rubio, Carson, and Jeb Bush. Jeb could be like big brother W., winning by default.

It’s a conundrum and leaves my head spinning, but I confess I follow it closely. I’m not one of those who can turn off the TV until after November. The future of our country is too important.

On an unrelated notes: you know the food is good when you go back to the same restaurant two nights in a row and order the same thing: a swordfish sandwich. Press Café with its wonderful green setting on the river gets my vote. It was windy tonight so we ate inside and watched all the young happy hour people clustered around the fire pit in their outrageously high heels and short dresses—which the wind whipped about. Noisy inside but bearable. And the sandwich was so good. Have half for tomorrow’s lunch.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Some days don't start out so well...

 This morning, halfway to the dentist’s office, I realized two things: they hadn’t called me to remind me of the appointment, so did I really have one this morning? And, I only had a hearing aid in one ear, the result of talking to my younger son on the phone. I arrived at 9:40 only to be told that my appointment was at 9:10 and did I want to wait until 11:30 when she could take me? No, I didn’t. So I drove home, called and rescheduled., double-checking the time.

It wasn’t a bad start to a bad day. The rest of the day went fairly well, and ended more than nicely with two friends at a new café. I had been there once before and found it too noisy but today was so balmy—84 or so—that we could eat outside. The restaurant was semi-empty inside and fairly quiet; outside almost every table was taken, and it was noisy.

But the patio is by a green expanse and, beyond that, the river with a walking path. We watched children playing, families walking by with strollers and dogs, even two people on horseback. It was a bit breezy but really nice being outside for a pretty sunset and lovely fresh air. I had a swordfish sandwich—delicious, but I brought half of it home—and potato chips, which I never eat but these had such a good dipping sauce. My companions had chicken salad and steak salad-the latter a salad with a good solid chunk of steak next to it, apparently cooked just the way she wanted it. Our other companion  licked his bowl clean so I guess the chicken salad was a hit. I was a bit tempted by the blue cheese in it.  These days I’m always leery of salads in trendy restaurants—I don’t like kale, but there was no kale in either of their salads. But delicious tangy watercress—and in my sandwich too. Lovely dinner, and lovely evening.

All’s well that ends well.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Daredevil girls

I was never a tomboy, never a daredevil girl, never inclined toward athletics and sports. In fact, looking back on those “awkward” years of early teens, I was a wimp who sat on the front porch and read books all day. I took riding lessons once in an arena, was grounded from two lessons for some minor infraction (I was never guilty of major infractions) and was thereafter leery of horses. Hated gym classes, maybe liked archery in college, and the closest I came to athletics was when I ran a bit because I was married to a runner. Sadly, a sedentary life (unhealthy) is my style.

So in my forties, I found myself writing about adventuresome women—first a teenage girl who tamed a horse none of the men on her father’s ranch could ride. Then Libbie Custer, who rode horses at breakneck speeds across the prairie with her beloved Autie and survived when he quirted her horse until it ran away. And then there was Cherokee Rose, modeled on Lucille Mulhall, the first female roper in Wild West shows.

Why was I writing about daredevil women when I was such a wimp? I read something today that we write about our fantasies. So maybe I was writing about the woman I would never be—shoot I do well these days to do my yoga. Maybe I was living out my fantasy in my stories. That implies a bit of inadequacy feelings on my part—but I think that’s probably true.

Cissy Palmer of The Gilded Cage doesn’t exactly live out my fantasies. In fact, as far as I found in research, the only activity she engaged in was walking—she loved to walk the “Ladies Mile” from the Palmer House to Marshall Field & Co. But strangely enough I gave her some of my fears. In one passage she is forced to choose between riding the giant Ferris wheel (each cage held 40 people) or creating a scene. Cissy never created scenes, so she rode the wheel, and it was soon apparent to the man who trapped her into the ride that she was afraid of heights.

My oldest daughter has suggested more than once that portions of my fiction, especially the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries, are highly autobiographical, so I guess giving Cissy my acrophobia is just another example of that.

Where does all this lead? I have no idea, except it gives me a glimmer into why I’ve created some of the fictional characters that I have. In my estimation, most of them are more clever and brave than I am. It’s fun to write about them and imagine myself cool in the face of danger. A psychologist once told me I’d be the first on to panic in a theater fire—and I wish he’d never said that to me.

I leave you tonight with another profound thought, this from Julia Roberts. I found it on Facebook today and will roughly parse. If someone leaves you, let them go. It doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. It just means that their part in your life story is over. Sheesh! I should have learned that years ago.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Lovely quiet weekend

Juju and Jojo at happy hour tonight
I look like an old lady but please bear in mind
no make up, no nothing--it was a lazy day

Absolutely wonderful weekend, in spite of a garage sale. Jordan is, as a friend said, the queen of garage sales. She had almost everything out by six-fifteen Saturday morning when Christian arrived. I slept on until almost 8:30, got up and wandered outside. Not a lot of action, and it was chilly, so I spent most of the day at my desk. They wrapped it up about noon and headed for Goodwill. Then they disappeared, came back about 3:30 and left again. I worked at my desk, napped and got a lot done. Marinated tuna (Totino’s—try it!) and spinach for supper.

Today was much the same, although I made a batch of sloppy Joe in the morning. I’m sure I’ve said this in a blog before, but my recipe is actually one called a wine casserole. I decided tonight I like it better plain than in a sandwich. Every once in a while I get a longing for it. It’s one of the few meat dishes Jacob likes, but tonight, just back from a weekend in Austin with his paternal grandparents, he was too tired to eat.

cartons of damaged books waiting to be sorted
Long discussion at the dinner table about my boxed books. In spite of Blackmon Mooring’s best efforts, they are dry, cover mostly okay, but pages warped. We have to unpack forty-six cartons, look at every book, and inventory them. Right now they are stacked in my dining room. Jordan, who worked so hard to organize them before the hail storm, gets a new attack of frustration every time she looks at them. Christian and I have both agreed to spend evenings sorting. I’ll need to dig out some recipes to cook supper for them on those evenings. I think a good plan for the children’s books is to donate them to the school district and take a tax deduction.

Tomorrow people come to pick up three beds we won’t need, and sometimes this week the floor people start on the floor in the sunroom. We’re making progress. The hail storm sure messed up our grand plan, but I guess it did for a lot of people and I can’t whine.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Hectic day

I sort of miss the day of greased doorknobs and other April Fool’s prank when my kids were little. Jacob didn’t seem to acknowledge the day at all. But I really didn’t need pranks to make it a hectic day.

A stomach problem and my aching left leg interrupted my sleep last night, so I didn’t wake feeling exactly well rested. Then my remote keyboard and mouse just quit dead.  I bought new ones, installed them, and they didn’t’ work; took them back to the store, where they assured me they did work. Came home—they didn’t work. Finally neighbor Jay—yeah, the good-looking one—rebooted the computer, which left me feeling the fool. First thing anyone with Microsoft programming should think of.

Meantime, I got a haircut, ran some errands, sneaked in a nap, entertained at happy hour, and was in the midst of Jordan’s bustle to get ready for the garage sale tomorrow. People will begin arriving before daylight, with flashlights, so she’ll be up early to get things out. She’s spending the night here; Christian is going home to care for the dogs but says he has orders to be here by six a.m. I am going to close my door and sleep on.

I have to watch her. Tonight I found a $1.00 sticker on a wicker/straw/whatever shelf that has always hung over the commode in the cottage. Perfect place for extra tp and Kleenex—and a lot cheaper that having shelves specially built. So I “saved” it.

Bless Christian. Just when I thought I might faint from hunger-or too much wine on an empty stomach—he brought barbecue. So good! I fear it’s going to be a weekend of bad eating.

In spite of all, my world seems to me bac in order. Jordan has gone to a friend’s, and I may be carried back to high-school days of lying awake waiting to hear her come home. Meantime I’m enjoying a quiet house.

Oops. Jordan and Christian just came home. Quiet gone.