Essex

Views of July

This is the quiet before the chaos. Well, not so much chaos as time-consuming activities – many filled with emotional tugs. Early Saturday morning, I’ll be in Lockport where I’ll be rocking a lanyard and staff shirt. I also have a new skirt for CrabCon. If you’re going, I’ll see you – Gina and I are working the check-in table. The following day, Husband and I will be attending a wake for a dear man. Paul Lawton was a playwright, teacher, and all-round good guy. We both miss his knotty quips and wry humor.

The following week is a wedding and the week after that is our vacation/family reunion in Essex. I’m already closing my eyes and taking extra deep breaths because the sheer number of details associated with preparing for all these things overwhelms me. I won’t make it to Friday night’s writers group this week, next week is iffy and I’ll be out of town the following so that “grounding” will be lacking and Gina will be out of town for weeks, so the Wednesday morning write-ins will also be gone (unless the lovely Mary is up for it – and I have time.) The lack of that structure is unnerving especially when my tablet has been acting up and demonstrably hostile lately. (Why yes, I do love all of my first-world writer problems. They are lovely, aren’t they?) But with all that apprehension, there is also my gratitude…and bugs. This one insisted on having its picture taken.

The bird’s eggs hatched. Here they are hungry on the 4th:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And this is from today. Look how big they are getting! (The picture is blurry and distant because I didn’t want to get dive-bombed.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These bulbs bloomed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The pink lilies are still going strong – except for the ones the deer ate.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These lilies line a portion of our driveway.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is to show how tall the yellow flowers are already – and to show off the newly painted roof on the garden shed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Oh, this happened, too! I now have garden gates installed!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The fenced-in tent is up and the back end of the woodshed was finished over the holiday weekend – not that it looks very different, but it’s exciting to have a non-leaking roof.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The past few mornings, I’ve supplemented my breakfast with blackberries, conveniently planted by birds right by the tree on my way to the mailbox.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There are pansies in the flower box.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The moss is doing well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I took a lot of pictures to remind myself of the loveliness here in the summer. It’s far from perfect, often in need of weeding and/or mowing, but its home, where I collect my creekside reflections to share on here.

Thank you for stopping by and for the read.

Oops! It’s Friday and I’m in love with Iced Lemon Biscotti!

Apologizes for my tardiness, but I have fantastic excuses. The first is that the rewrite is going well so I’ve been focusing on that, but the biggest focus has been figuring out the details of our trip to Essex for the family reunion. The car rental is reserved, tickets for the play we’ll be seeing while we’re there are bought, and a cat sitter has been found. Now I’m down to packing, making pasta salad for 40 and cleaning the house before we leave. Piece of cake.

Yesterday there was a tornado in Hamburg. I didn’t know if I’d be able to make it to Tamara Grisanti’s place for her soy candle party, but I did and it was lovely. Iced Lemon Biscotti and Beach Linen were the two Hemlock House candles I bought and would recommend to everyone. We also got to sample some masculine scents that Tamara’s husband created for a bachelor party. I hope they make more of those soon. Kim Chinquee was there, too, and now I have a copy of Veer that will be traveling with me.

7.21.2017D.jpg

There’s a novel critique group coming up and I’m psyched to see Mary Akers and Gina Detwiler again. It’s been too long! Tonight, I’ll be at Comfort Zone for the Hamburg Writers’ Group. Last week, I had the truck and spent time across the street at SPoT Coffee writing two new flashes. Yes, I’m back to being active in Hot Pants on Zoetrope.

Also, I want to say I was so happy to finally accept my first piece for Literary Orphans as Fiction Editor. Congratulations Tara Isabel Zambrano! Her stunning piece, Measurable Hours, will be in the September Issue.

Gardenwise, the hydrangea is blooming

7.21.2017B

and the yellow flowers that attract so many different types of bees are opening up.

7.21.2017c

Writing is a strange process. The more time I don’t have time to write, I write more. A friend of mine was lamenting that he’d just been given a chunk of time and space to do nothing but write and he’s written next to nothing. I’m thinking about ordering him a candle from Hemlock House so the amazing scents will reawaken his imagination.

 

Thanks for stopping by!

7.21.2017A

(*These are my creekside reflections. Your experiences will vary.)

OUR 2015 HOLIDAY LETTER…SORT OF

Everyone celebrates the winter season in different ways. Husband and I rarely do the proper things on the “right” days due to a multitude of reasons. What I’m trying to say is that I didn’t post last Thursday because I already had enough stress going on with getting things ready for the gathering at our home last weekend.

And all I can say about that is thank the Grinch it’s over. Some people were truly outstanding in their efforts to make that the suckiest weekend ever. I’d love to blame it on the full moon though Red Bull might be to blame. I’m not sure what else to think…other than a new year is fast approaching. Billy Crystal’s confusion about the meaning of the words to Auld Lang Syne at the end of “When Harry Met Sally” also comes to mind. The fact that I still haven’t made it through “Billy Jack” niggles away at my thoughts, too.

And with that happy enigma of odd sentences, I present to you either a repeat of what I already sent or a clearer picture of where my poor head is at right now during this festive time of year:

wreath

 

OUR 2015 HOLIDAY LETTER…SORT OF

“Why do I have to sign these cards? You haven’t written your dreaded holiday letter yet.”
“I told you not to complain or you’d be the one writing it. And addressing the envelopes. Then you can stamp them and take them to the Post Office!”
“Touchy! Is this an example of your holiday cheer?”
“Yes. Yes it is. I don’t think you know hard it is to write these things.”
“You’re a writer. It’s what you do.”
“And you’re a carpenter. Don’t I still have a hole in the kitchen floor? Weren’t you going to fix that? Isn’t that what you do?”
“I told you it wasn’t that easy.”
“And neither is writing a holiday letter to friends, family, acquaintances, and colleagues without ticking someone off.”
“So don’t tick them off. Just tell them about the good stuff.”
“I can’t think of anything.”
“Riener. asked Aaron to marry him and she said yes.”
“Yeah, I know your son is getting married in September.”
“Daniel and Christina had a baby girl.”
“That was on my Facebook page, and my blog…But yeah, having both a granddaughter and a grandson now is pretty cool.”
“We went to my family reunion in Essex this July. All three of my brothers were there and you got to see Champy the Lake Champlain Sea Monster.”
“That was a wooden toy somebody put in the water!”
“But you liked the old school house we stayed in and the fireworks display in the yard.”
“Sure.”
“And didn’t you win a prize or get nominated for some writer thing?”
“The Gover. For the millionth time I won the Gover and was nominated for a Best of the Net and a Pushcart.”
“I still don’t know what any of those are.”
“Of course you don’t. You never listen to me.”
“And you listen to me? Really? Where have I been working this year?”
“You’re still working for Kirst.”
“Funny. Where have I been working?”
“Mostly at MRI. A few days at Steuben foods. Lately, Salamanca. ”
“So you do pay attention.”
“I’m a writer. That’s what I do.”
“Well, Miss Writerly Person, if you were paying attention, you would have realized we pretty much wrote the holiday letter just now.”
“You called it dreadful.”
“Dreaded. I called it dreaded. I knew you didn’t listen to me.”
“You’re one to talk.”
“Just write the letter.”
“Sign the cards!”
“Make sure you wish everyone a Happy New Year.”
“Don’t I always?”
“I wouldn’t know. I never read those things.”

Wishing You Yuletide Warmth and Best Wishes for the New Year
From our Happy Home to Yours
~ Me and Husband ~

I was Vanderwalkered in a Schoolhouse

I’m still catching up on the laundry from the family reunion in Essex over the fourth. I think it was Angela who summed it up best for all of us who aren’t blood related:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Champy,” the monster of Lake Champlain, was spotted and photographed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I tried to visit the library in Essex–which is right beside a creek, like mine is–but it had funky hours.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We also toured Edward Cornell’s Art Farm.

Last night, as I was speeding down old 219 toward home after the “Donut Hole” rehearsal and a B.o.b. campaign meeting, three banging songs came on the radio–all in a row. “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem and Rihanna, “Come With Me Now” by the Kongos, and “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode. Different channels, but still. Anyways, careening around those curves at dusk, volume up, I was in control–but going too fast. It flashed that this is the way my life is going right now and I couldn’t be more delighted.

I’m juggling a lot of things and if I blink, I’ll have added a new chainsaw to the rotation. If you ask if it’s too much, I’ll tell you I’m fine. I am. I know this will peter out or a crash will happen, but until then, I’m “alive” in a way I haven’t been in a while.

I have the 10 minute play by Donna Hoke I’m directing which is going well, but that’s over on Saturday. The campaign didn’t raise enough funds so the Iowa trip has been delayed. I’m preparing the second round of questions for Beth Gilstrap‘s interview for The Tavern about her book, I Am Barbarella. I participated in a writing “joust” and had a ton of fun with that. I’m cranking out new flash pieces since being invited into the “Hot Pants” office in Zoetrope, plus writing a new book in 20 page increments. The garden is weeded and if the rain stops, I’ll get the weedeater going.

Right, so I should be getting on with it. Maintaining swiftness and busyness is a temporary thing, but while it’s going on, I am enamored with that sense of power over my own life. Yes, I know that’s delusional, but it is a nice delusion to have.

 

(These are my creekside reflections. Your experiences may vary.)