Category Archives: pastimes

Orchids and OCD

Didn’t get another blog posted last week here on my own blog. I had two last Thursday in other places. I blogged at Whipped Out about making salsa from scratch (or from tomatoes, onions & peppers, if you can’t get any scratch (Ba-dum-ching!)), and I also blogged at To Be Read the same day. So you can go read those posts.

I was coming home from the parents’ on Thursday when those blogs posted, so I wasn’t in a position to tell you about them–and I’ve kind of been on a computer break since then.

Do y’all ever do that? Just stay away from the computer, because you know if you log in, you won’t get away for Hours, and you just have to much to do to take that much time at the machine? Anyway, I was Verra busy over the weekend–well, except for my major nap Sunday afternoon. If you don’t take a nap on Sunday, the whole week doesn’t work. So I napped. 😉

Had an all-morning doctor appt. Friday a.m., then errands–got about 6 books from library. One I think I own. Read the library book again anyway.

Saturday, I repotted my orchids–or maybe I did that on Friday afternoon. Somewhere in there. I had bought a grocery-store orchid (phalaenopsis) about a year and a half ago, and it survived my neglect over the winter in the house. (I don’t remember if the flowers are like the ones in the picture, or of they have more white on them with the purple just in the middle, but they’re similar…) This spring, it made a baby orchid on the flower stalk I neglectfully didn’t cut off. So neglect isn’t necessarily bad!

I didn’t know what to do with the baby plant, so I just left it there. And sometime in the late spring/early summer, I bought another orchid from the grocery store, because the one I got for my anniversary died. (It wasn’t potted right, and its roots rotted. I do know that orchids Have to have drain holes in their pots.) The new one had similar flowers. And I stuck them on my outside wire plant stand, watered them occasionally, and finally brought them inside the first weekend in December, because snow was predicted.

That was when I noticed that the newer orchid had new buds coming out on the flower stem I hadn’t cut off this plant either. (Grocery store orchids are usually blooming when you buy them. Don’t cut off their flower stems!!) So I decided that I ought to go to the library and get a book on orchids and see what I needed to do to put the baby in its new pot and how to take care of the things properly. I figured I was doing the right stuff, but I wanted to KNOW I was doing the right stuff. I guess I’m a little OCD like that. I tend to look up books about things I want to know how to do, and read everything I can about them. Then I try to do things right–but I tend to win more from benign neglect than anything…

Anyway, I discovered that if a phalaenopsis isn’t blooming for you, that if you let it deal with cooler evenings, down in the 45-50F range (7 – 10C), a lot of times it will put on flower buds and bloom. Huh. So by leaving the plants outside till it actually threatened to freeze, I was doing the Right thing to get flowers. How ’bout that…

I also learned that I just had to cut off my baby from its stem and put it in a pot. Since my baby had already made four aerial roots, it is a little ahead of other rootless babies–but I put rooting hormone on the stem anyway. :) And I bought a Home Depot orchid. A cattleya, but it’s supposed to make sprays of flowers, not singles. (I think they’re supposed to sort of look like the ones in this lower picture.) I’m getting brave and adventurous, branching out from the grocery-store easy-grow moth orchids…
Wish me luck with my new enthusiasms.

My 15-year-old Christmas cactus died here in the Land of Great Humidity. It just rotted. And I couldn’t keep the bougainvilleas watered. They grow GREAT in the ground, but I’m not planting a bougainvillea until I have my own house. There are some 10 foot tall bush ones on the way to the beach… Anyway, wish me luck. When/if the buds bloom I will post them.

Do y’all have any plant obsessions? Any stellar specimens? Something really cool on your windowsill? Sometimes, just keeping a mother-in-law’s tongue alive is an accomplishment…

EDIT: Actually, I looked at the label on the plant in this picture, and I think this is Exactly the plant I bought. This is Slc. Jewel Box ‘Dark Waters.’ Slc. stands for (something I don’t remember) laelocattleya, meaning it’s a hybrid. Anyway, I think this is what is on the label on the plant I bought… So. Cross your fingers that I can convince it to bloom. :)

Holiday insanity strikes

I suppose I could say the insanity strikes again, because it does strike every year–but this year’s version just hit last week.

I was running around frantically trying to get ready to go accompany parents to the doctor’s early last week, and be ready for my RWA chapter party on Tuesday, when someone reminded me that the meeting was the third Tuesday, and therefore this week (tonight) rather than last.

It wasn’t that I got the dates mixed up. I knew it was the third Tuesday. I just thought last week was this week. So, in my head, I acquired an extra week for Christmas stuff. I didn’t actually get an extra week, but it felt like it. So with “all” that extra time, I went shopping.

I have to go back to the parents’ tomorrow, so I picked up presents for all the folks who live there. I got them wrapped last night–even the ones with unwieldy shapes and sizes. Go, me! I got presents for the Pittsburgh folks–except the grandson still needs toy(s). Granddaddy is taking today off from work to go shop for toys. He likes to shop for toys. He is also having to shop for some of the ladies in our lives (like his mother and sister-in-law). He struggles with their gifts, but always comes up with something brilliant.

Anyway, after all the shopping, the Christmas party deluge struck. We had one (potluck) party Friday night, two parties Saturday–one of them was actually a birthday party (Happy Birthday again, Ian!)–two parties on Sunday, and–no wait. That was all. Till the party tonight. And there’s two parties at pretty much the same time on Thursday. One starts an hour earlier than the other, so we’ll hit that one first, then slip out to the other.

Some of the parties have been potluck (took sour cream mashed potatoes to one, homemade salsa and tortilla chips to another, and may take salsa & chips to the third, depending on how I’m feeling when I get back from the ‘rents’). Some call for White Elephant gifts. I couldn’t think of anything else, and I’ve been wanting to get the paints out again, so I painted pictures. If I ever get any time at home again any time soon, I’ll try to get them posted so y’all can see them.

Writing? I’d like to get some done, but I haven’t been able to hold still long enough to get my brain unfolded. And I haven’t even started cooking yet–except for the salsa.

BTW, I will be the guest blogger at Whipped Out on Thursday, blogging about my homemade salsa. It’s good stuff. Y’all should go over there and read about it. :) On Thursday. I’ll try to remind you then…

I DID take pictures

Yes, I really did take pictures. When I was in Washington, I went to the National Zoo, and took a picture of the panda. See? It was sleeping, but the camera did a really good job of zooming in on it. :)

I have other pictures, but I think if I insert them without taking up some of the space with text before I put the next picture in, they will try to overlap or something. So I shall blather on about nothing–or whatever I can think of–until I can put up another picture.

I am now on my hiatus from the dayjob to work on the book. Am I writing? Well, not RIGHT this second. I’m putting stuff in the blog. But I did work on it this morning. I got all my cover pictures up at the website. I’m not sure when I’ll be posting my excerpt–probably in October–but that’s not too far off. And I always post it to the newsletter folks first, so you know, if you want to read the excerpt, make sure you’re signed up for the newsletter.

Now for picture #2. My older son and his boys were here when I got home from D.C. and stayed for a week. They went out in the gulf to fish, and caught angelfish. I think I told you, but here’s the proof–the Big Guy with his angelfish. They’re striped when you eat them too, and they’re darn good eating.

The guys have been doing a lot of fishing lately. Earlier–at spring break, I think–they went out on a long boat trip and caught a bunch of vermilion snapper. The fella caught a HUGE red snapper, but had to throw it back because it was too big. Or maybe too small. I don’t remember. I do remember he had to throw it back. but not after he got a picture of it!

So there. I have shared pictures of the guys and their fish. (The oldest grandboy has a few speech issues–he has trouble with soft consonants, so “sh” tends to come out as “tch” and “f” tends to come out as a “p” or “b”. So he was in WalMart with his dad one day, in the pet section, and asked Dad to buy him a fish–except it came out with a ‘b’ at the front and a ‘tch’ at the end…)

Enough about fishing, and enough about the guys, right? You want to see a picture of ME, right? Even though they’re prettier than me…

So–I made this picture big, because it’s a pretty impressive fish–if you’re the type to be impressed by fish, which means I need to fill up more space. I also need to put my travel receipts into the accounting program. 😛 But it needs to be done. I have this bad tendency to save them up for 3 or 4 months and then do them all at once, digging them out from the wire basket on my desk, or the depths of the side pocket on my purse… I should do them right away, I know, but…

And I did have one last picture I wanted to share with you. I don’t look so hot in it, but my friend Rosemary is the star of the picture, because look at the pretty statue she’s holding. Yes, Rosemary Clement-Moore won the RITA award for Best Young Adult Novel at the RWA National Conference awards ceremony. She even let me rub RITA’s head for luck. I think she hand-carried her home to Dallas, for fear her feather pen would break off.

I have more pictures, and now that I am home for a while, I’ll try to get some of them posted with the blog, instead of a huge bunch with no art at all, then one blog with a bunch of pictures. I’ll space them out. I hope. If I remember to do it. You know how my memory is…

On Writing, Blogging, and Editorializing

Now that I’ve written the title to this blog post, I’m not sure what I wanted to say about those topics. Let’s begin with this one: editorializing.

See, my dayjob is at a newspaper. I’ve always been a newspaper reader, even before I got to college and majored in journalism. I tend to read stuff in them, and then–many times–want to argue with the things I read. Which is kind of a lot what bloggers do. But see, being on staff at the paper, I can’t write letters to the editor. However, I CAN write columns. (They’re not actually editorials, since I’m not an editor, but merely a lowly editorial assistant.) So, I wrote one this week. About reading books–recommending that if people want to escape from reality a little while, movies are fine, but books last longer and have a lower cost-per-escape-time ratio. They’re trying to muscle me into writing a column more often–but I don’t know if I can stand once a week. I’ve done that, and sometimes I wrote some really drivel-y drivel. It may be “occasional.” Like whenever I think of something I want to write about.

Blogs are sort of like editorials for everyman. Letters to the universe, instead of the editor. Sometimes they’re read by millions–or thousands. Sometimes, they’re read by friends and family only. Hopefully the readership of this blog runs into the dozens. :)

Blogs are like editorials that people can write instant rebuttals to in the comments. The technology makes it easy for flame wars to get going, because people can just pop off. And there are no editors to clean up their grammar and turn their gibberish into logical sentences. (I’ve cleaned up a LOT of letters. What people mail/e-mail in looks a lot like some of the blog comments. Only less coherent, some of them.)

Let’s see–so I’ve blogged about editorializing. And blogging. So. Writing. Peh. (It’s like Meh, except more puffy, with a P.)

I’ve been making fair progress on the writing, since my realization of what the opening scene should be. Even though I have been smacked in the head with another story that has insisted on being written. I write the contracted book during regular writing-work hours, and have been writing the other one during the hours I would ordinarily be reading or watching television. (My current Netflix movies have been waiting for 2 weeks for me to watch them.) So I’m not taking away from the Official Book. It’s actually been working pretty well. This other one–I’m not even sure it IS a book. It might be. So I’ll see where it goes for a while. Even though I feel guilty, I’m doing okay on The Book.

Well, except for today. Today was a bust. First, I took the granddog to the beach for a walk, and even let her off the leash. She ran and chased the birds into the surf, and ran and ran, and did Not run off across the jetty, or bother the 2 people on the beach, and when she got tired, she came back and let me put the leash back on her. And because she chased the birds (seagulls and willets) into the surf, she got all salty and sandy. So I gave her a bath when we got home. (Mostly because she was stinky to start with.)

Except Dolly didn’t want a bath. She so didn’t want a bath, that she pulled out of her collar (which she didn’t do on the walk). I had to pick up wet, salty, sandy, stinky dog and Carry her to the hose/shampoo. She is not a particularly large dog. But she ain’t no toy poodle either…

She got her bath, though. Then I went inside and took one. Between the walk, the dog bath, my bath, the laundry, and all the other sundry things I had to do, it was getting late, I was feeling cranky, so I didn’t write today. There. I confessed. Sometimes I skip a day writing, even when I’m on deadline. I am hoping this will help … clear my palate. Or something. I think I’m about to run down with this side-writing thing. Right now, it’s feeling very Mary Sue-ish, so if I can’t fix that, it may not turn into a book. And I have A Book to write.

One I am liking, actually. I like how it’s going. I need to go back and tweak some of the early stuff so it doesn’t erase the conflict, but I think I know now how to do that now. Harry needs to shut up. He’s a talky kind of guy, (Some guys are–my oldest grandson is getting in trouble at school for the exact reason his dad used to–talking too much… ) and he believes in laying his cards on the table–but he doesn’t need to lay out quite so many of them. And he needs to be just a tad more aggressive.

Speaking of grandsons–they didn’t get to come last weekend. Just their dad. So all my boys–the fella and the two sons–had a boys’ day out and went Gulf fishing for the day on Friday. They caught two meals worth of vermilion snapper, which is not the same as red snapper, which is not in season. I’ll post a picture of the fella’s ginormous red snapper he caught. The youngest caught a 28-inch amberjack he had to throw back, because amberjacks have to be 32 inches to keep them. But the snapper was excellent. They invited me, but…

So. There you have it. Opinion, and news. What more do you need?

Valentine’s Mardi Gras

Galveston celebrates Mardi Gras. Not quite as big time as New Orleans–but it’s not nearly as large a town. Even before Ike washed away about half the population. So you wouldn’t expect it to be quite as wild, or as big. But it’s plenty big enough for me.

Saturday was Valentine’s Day, but we mostly did Mardi Gras. There were three parades on Saturday, all down the seawall on Seawall Blvd. One at noon (Krewe of Aquarius, I believe), one at three (the Firetruck Parade) and one at 6 p.m. (Krewe of Gambrinus), complete with fireworks over the gulf at the 37th St. Pier. I was invited to ride in one of the noon parade entries–a convertible, not a float–and throw stuff at people. We had candy, beads and college promo freebies like keychains and rubber bracelets to throw.

There was a time I could throw a softball or baseball pretty well. But that was a LONG time ago, and I wasn’t sitting in a car while doing it. Now–I basically suck at throwing. I have no arm, and I’m a klutz anyway. So I took on the job of throwing bracelets. I had to take each bracelet out of its little plastic zip bag, because if you threw them in the bag, they would plummet to the asphalt about a foot from the car, but if you took them out, they had a chance of flying a ways out, at least to a spot safe to pick it up. However, you must take into account the fact that I was throwing them.

Some of them flew right to the folks I was aiming at. Some sailed over their heads. Some sank like a rock. Some hit the balloon tied to the side mirror and went in strange directions. Some went practically behind the car because my arm got all contorted into a crazy side-arm sort of throw… Anyway, the bracelets were very popular, perhaps because they were different. Not your usual bead.

Saturday was a rainy day on the island. It sprinkled lightly while we were waiting for the parade to kick off. It cleared up right as we were heading out (we were about 30 minutes into the parade). Then it started sprinkling again harder when the parade was almost over. We ran out of stuff about 54th St. The parade went to 59th. Oops.

We went back to our house afterward–at about 2:30–to have lunch and warm up. It wasn’t that cold out, but when wet–I had hot chocolate. It was wonderful. :) And while we were eating our homemade soup (I didn’t burn it!) for lunch at 3 p.m., just as the firetruck parade was starting, the sky opened up and the rain POURED down. It rained really hard for about 20 minutes, then just rained for another half hour or so.

And after a little nap, we went back out to watch the evening parade and fireworks. We walked. It’s not far from our house to the seawall. But we walked all the way down past 45th St. so we could see the fireworks. The rain had stopped, but it was still foggy and cloudy. I thought they were going to do the fireworks after the parade, but they started shooting them off before the parade reached us (which admittedly, was an hour and a half after the parade started). They looked very cool lighting up the clouds. We walked back to 45th St., met some friends and their kids and grandkids, and watched the parade with them.

The floats were fabulous, the people all dressed up on them, and I caught a lot of beads. Or rather, I picked up a bunch from the ground in front of me. I actually caught one strand. But I had beads up almost as high as my ears… And I danced with a member of one of the bands marching by. As former band members, we were hollering and cheering for the bands, so when this one–North Forest High School out of Houston–stopped right in front of us, and the tubas and drums took over the music, the kid took my hand and we boogied till he had to march off again. It was hilarious, and no, the fella did not get the camera out of his pocket fast enough to get a picture. (Thank goodness!) But it was fun. Then we went over to our friends’ house for a glass of wine and some stuffed grilled jalapenos. Yum.

We have pictures. I’ll try to remember to download and upload them when I get home.

We also finally found and ordered a sofa to replace our old ratty white one. We’ve only been looking about 2 years to find something we liked. It will be a while before it arrives, but not another year, which is probably how long we’d go before trying to shop again… We still need lamps and end tables and recovered chairs and… Lots of stuff. But not today.

I’m up to p. 33 on the book. Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, right?

Life begins again

Boy, it is REALLY easy to tell when school starts when you live in a tourist mecca. I could have lunch at Whataburger today. During tourist season, no way can I get through the door, much less find a parking place. There usually aren’t many people out on the beach at 8 a.m., but today–I saw even fewer–though the beach still was groomed. (They take a big bulldozer out with a rake and rake up the sand every morning.)

The seagulls have all lost their pretty black heads. And there are brown gulls amongst them. I saw a brown seagull the other day and was very confused. Laughing gulls are not brown. They are shiny white and gray and have black heads–or dirty-looking white ones. (They never do loose all their black feathers.) And then I remembered that the babies are brown. They are the same color as the beach sand. I didn’t see one of them sitting in the groomed sand, until I looked really close.

I saw crab tracks this morning. I couldn’t figure out what they were at first. They look sort of like a 4-inch wide net was pressed into the sand, a delicate-looking pattern. Then I saw the hole in the sand at the center of all the tracks. I suppose I could take my camera next time and hope I see the tracks again. They were really cool looking. I’m pretty sure it was blue crab, or something besides hermit crab (though they are local too), because there was no tracks of a shell dragging behind the skittery leg tracks.

Also saw a couple of seagulls carrying shrimp around. I decided they must have stolen them from the fishermen out on the jetties, because shrimp are bottom feeders, and seagulls don’t dive. It was pretty funny looking though–white shrimp dangling from the gull beaks.

Spent much of the weekend shopping. Didn’t intend to go out and shop, except for books. (The boy wanted the last Terry Goodkind Sword of Truth book. I haven’t read any but the first one, and don’t intend to, but he’s been caught up in the series. I bought 4 paperbacks.) But they were having a big sale at Dillards. HUGE sale. The fella and the boy bought suits and shoes and sport coats. I bought pants. That are Long Enough!! (This is an issue for me, especially since most of the pants I already owned are too short, and the mirror in the bathroom at the newspaper tells me every time I go in there.) I had to hunt amongst the britches on sale for the ones that did not say “Short”–but I found them. (I’m really only average…) And I bought tops and shirts. I wasn’t sure about one pair of pants and one top, and wanted the guys to come upstairs and give their opinion–and while I was waiting for them to finish buying sport coats (they’d already bought suits), and show up, I found two more tops to buy. So it was their fault I bought more. But I look fabulous. (My pants are long enough now. 😉 )

I am reading lots. Need to be writing lots–but I did finally get all that I had written typed in. Tomorrow, it’s time to start with new stuff. And I have 240 pages typed. I don’t think I’ve reached midpoint in the story. Maybe the 1/3 point. (sigh) Which means there will be large amounts of whacking and thinning and trimming going on later. (sigh again) However, I’d rather whack than add, so…

Blown Away

The wind has been blowing like crazy the past few days–knocking over the glider-swing in the back yard every night (as well as the big trashcan) and scaring the granddog into barking. There’s sand blowing across most of the streets in town and piling up in intersections or along curbs or the risers of the stairs up the seawall.

My hair, which needed cutting about 6 weeks ago, is at that awful length where, when the wind gets hold of it, it makes this Dutch-Girl-Paint-girl-hat curl over my ears and nothing I do can make it not stick out in that stupid Bozo-the-Clown curl. The wind is very damp, and has salt in it, and that combines with the hairspray (if I didn’t glue my hair down, it would hang straight down in my face and make me CRAZY) and makes the hair even more impossible. I really need a haircut. Bad. And can’t seem to remember to call anywhere or squeeze out time to go to a walk-in place. I’m either going to have to get used to looking like Bozo every time I set foot out in this wild wind, or manage to get this mess cut off.

I went out to walk this a.m. Right At High Tide. Usually I’m an hour ahead of the tide turning, or an hour behind, or sometimes smack in the middle. But today, I was on the beach for the only turning of the tide today, as high tide hit and then started back out. Not that I really noticed the turn of it, but I certainly did notice that it was high, especially since this wild wind–enough to make cars rock–is blowing straight onshore and pushing the water in more. I had to go almost to 39th street to find stairs that led to sand rather than water, and even then the water was almost knee deep a time or two. And since the tide was so high, the water was over sand that spends most of its time out of the water. Only the very top layer was wet. Immediately underneath, the sand was soft and squooshy, so I was sinking into the sand rather than pounding along the hard surface you usually get with wet sand, because it wasn’t wet enough. All that sinking in makes for quite a workout.

The wind is so strong, the birds were flying at an angle. I saw a few pelicans flying southwest, but pointed south (the direction the wind was coming from). Kind of like you have to drive your car in a strong wind, with the steering wheel pointed into the wind to keep the wind from shoving you off the road. The gulls were flying like crazy just to stand still. It’s been this way for days.

I’m waxing so poetical (or maybe obsessively) because there’s not much else to report. The fella and I did go out to see PRINCE CASPIAN last night, finally. The boy had to work, or we might have gone to see Indiana Jones. That’s the one he wants to see. I forgot to take my sweater, but didn’t get too cold. The folks behind us in line had obviously been to the local theater before, because one had a huge fleece robe, and another had a big jacket. Man, they keep that place cold.

The writing, it also sucketh. No real excuse for it, except that I keep finding excuses. People visiting. Errands needing running. Granddogs needing to be played with. Nieces and nephews graduating. The nephew’s done. The niece is tomorrow. Have to/want to go. Get to leave early enough to go eat shishkebab at the sister’s.

I think I’ve written a grand total of 5 pages this week. That’s five more pages than I had last week, but they’re all…transition. Getting from the morgue to the murder scene kind of stuff. Bleah. I mean, we have to get from one place to the other, but it shouldn’t have to take 5 pages to do it. Of course, I’m disposing of an excess character (indisposition, not death) and switching POV in the process, but it doesn’t feel like anything’s happened. Suppose that’s because it hasn’t. And I’m still not sure where the villain will show up and cause trouble. I’d really like a bit of a frothing-at-the-mouth scene. Especially since I have two potential frothers. Maybe I can use the alternate frother here… Hmm.

Anyway–there’s the News Of The Week So Far. Enjoy, and watch out for that wind. :)

Sandcastles and such

We had houseguests this weekend. The in-laws finally made it down to the island and we had a great time. I keep telling people we love having people come and visit and we want all the brothers and sisters and cousins and nieces and nephews to come–and nobody believes me. But we do. We don’t have a lot of time available for them to come–but we do want them to do it.

Anyway, the fella’s folks got in Thursday afternoon–the day the boy started his first shift at work. He’s waiting tables at one of the nice restaurants on the seawall–it was that or construction work, and he was in favor of the place with air conditioning. He was still at home when they arrived, so it worked out well. Friday, I went in to work in the a.m. while the others got a tour of town and hit the fish market, so we had a shrimp boil for supper.

Our family–both sides–is all about shrimp. Even those store-bought, previously frozen limp-shrimp rings will be inhaled in ten minutes flat (depending on how many cousins are inhaling). And if one of the little cousins proclaims a dislike for shrimp, the standard answer is “Good! More for us.” (One of my grandboys doesn’t like shrimp. His little brother has loved them since he started eating real food. But then he’s like “Mikey.” He will eat anything he can chew. The daughter’s boy has recently decided he will eat shrimps too. Alas, fewer for us. And time spent peeling them for the little guys that can’t be spent peeling our own.)

But, much as we enjoy those grocery-store variety, they pale–absolutely fade away–in comparison to shrimp fresh off the boat, bought at the fish market the same morning they are boiled, chilled and eaten. It’s been a while since we hit the market, and it reminded me that we need to do it more often. (Especially since the fella de-headed the shrimps that came with their heads on and I didn’t have to do it. I hate getting stabbed by shrimp spines.) We don’t need a special occasion. Just shrimp. Oh MY, those babies were yummy.

Mostly, that’s what we did for the weekend. We ate. We also rode the ferry over to Bolivar Peninsula and back, and went out to look at the sandcastles. There’s an annual sandcastle building contest sponsored by an architectural association with all sorts of categories, plus “Best of Show.” The castle that won first place was a literal castle. With ARCHES.

I have no idea how they built those arches. I don’t think they can use any building material other than sand and water, so the arches totally impressed me–and the judges too, obviously. (I’ll get a picture from the fella as soon as I can.)

We also went to dine at the boy’s workplace and I got to try the famous pecan pie. It was almost more a pecan cake, because the filling had flour in it, but it was yummy. I ate way too much, but I’m not sorry. Except that it will take several more power walks (if my walking had any power) to work it off. Sigh.

I got no writing done last Friday. None yesterday, and today I eked out a whole two pages. But it’s better than nothing I guess. (sigh)

So what cool thing did y’all do over the weekend? Or what yummy thing did you get to eat? (I do talk about food a lot here, don’t I? What does this tell you about me???)(I know.)

High Tide

First things first, here. I’m donating the prize to be given away at the 2 B Read blog this week. This is the blog of the published authors chapter of RWA, and I’m blogging over there on Thursday. (I’ll remind you again on Thursday. ) If you comment at the blog, you will be eligible to win the contest. So go read the blog posts, and comment!

High tide was at 7:12 a.m. today. I went out to walk on the beach at 7:50 (approximately). So the sea was very, very close to the seawall when I climbed down the stairs. I drove past the seawall parks (wide areas with benches and picnic tables and big piles of pink granite boulders extending way out into the water) to a place where I could walk more than two jetties without having to walk waist-deep in the water to get around the big piles of rocks–and the water came right up to the bottom of the stairway. I stepped of the concrete step into water.

I tried at first to walk around the rocks–because the sand did not cover those right at the base of the seawall. But the water was just too deep. Up to my knees. And I couldn’t see the sand, so I couldn’t see the places where the water had washed it away. It wasn’t safe walking there. But I could carefully work my way up right next to the seawall and walk through the maze of rocks pushing up through the sand. High tide was really high…

But after I got through the rocks and to a section of beach where the waves didn’t wash quite so close to the wall, I was able to notice all the giant rows of giant pelicans flying down the island, ten and twelve in line one behind the other, and the sanderlings and another type of sandpiper-like bird picking at the seaweed. I thought the other birds were kildeer, but I just looked up images of kildeer, and what I saw was different, so I’m going to have to go home and hit the bird book to figure out what they are. I think the birds were probably selecting little bits of the crinkly seaweed to use for nest building, but I’m not sure.

Had a busy weekend. I had hoped to stay home, but ended up not getting to. Wound up having three softball games to watch on Saturday, since the college team — well, they lost their very first game, but won the second Friday game, which meant they got/had to play Saturday morning at 11:30. They won that one, which meant they had/got to play at 2:00. Then they won that one, which meant they had to play again at 4:30… We didn’t stay for the third game. By that time, the team was so exhausted, they didn’t win again. But they had a good run in the regional championship tournament. I enjoyed watching the two games we did watch.

And somehow, even though I stayed under the awnings and shade all morning and afternoon, I somehow managed to get enough sun to burn. My face and neck turned bright red, enough to show through the makeup, which at least toned it down a little. I wasn’t in the sun! Okay, maybe 10 or 15 minutes, because it was cool enough that the sharp wind made it downright cold. And I burned in that 10 or 15 minutes. Good grief. Okay, so no more going anywhere without sunscreen. Especially at midday.

I’ve been able to get back into the writing this week. Except I had to get into my file cabinet to dig out some research. (I am pretty sure I have some more somewhere, but couldn’t find it yesterday.) Which meant I had to get down on the floor to look through that bottom file cabinet drawer. Which meant I had to get back up. Which is a huge production, given the state of my knees and the rest of myself. And since the file cabinet is behind my desk, creating the walkway between desk and closet, I brushed against the lampshade of the lamp on the desk and sent it slowly crashing over to dangle from its electrical cord in front of the desk chair. The lamp knocked over the Coke Zero I’d been drinking, which dampened the page I’d been writing on, which fluttered to the floor. The Coke dribbled across the desk and onto the floor… Big mess.

So today, I re-copied the page that got all wet, because the ink ran on it, and I revised it, and I went on with the scene…and then I couldn’t decide where to go next.

I kind of think I need to summarize a bunch of stuff here and move back to the main mystery, but I keep getting bogged down in logistics. My heroine has no girl clothes. She needs girl clothes before she can really do many of the things she needs to do. She’s rooming with the girl wizard. Do I need a scene to set up how that’s working? How would that contribute to the furthering of the story? Maybe if later the heroine stops showing up at the rooms…? Bleah. Hopefully I can figure all this out by the time I need to start working in the morning.

And I need to come up with a profound–or at least profound-ish–topic for a blog on Thursday, at 2 B Read. I want lots of comments, so I can give away a book. To YOU, perchance–

Writer’s Weekend

I had a wonderful weekend. A Writer’s Weekend.

My best friend–the one I went to New Mexico and Arizona on a research trip with a couple of years ago–came down to the island on Friday with her husband, because she didn’t want to drive through the big-city traffic by herself. My fella was out of town on business, but her guy did very well staying out of the way. 😉

I took them out to lunch at my favorite “local’s hot-spot”, and then we went downtown to see the hawk show they were having for FeatherFest. (This bird is actually a Sea Eagle, and he’s checking us out.) After the hawks and a walk around town to look in a few shops, we had ice cream at the son’s favorite ice cream parlor. (Mine, too. But I won’t let myself go there unless we have company in town.) We drove around the historical district a little bit, and then headed back to the house for a little while.

B and I (we sign our e-mails by initials only–I think I started it because I’m bone-lazy, but our little group all started doing it, since we all have names with different initials–and now we call each other by our initials) had exchanged a few pages for critique, so we went out on the back covered patio to go over our pages, and while we were out there, it rained. We were under the roof, so we didn’t get wet, but after an hour or so, it started getting cold and we went in. Had supper at Tortuga’s Mexican Restaurant and watched the wind blow the palmettos around. Then we went back home again and plotted a book for B.

She brought her sticky notes and her big foamcore plotting board and her tape recorder (which kept stopping intermittently unless she smacked it–we decided it had become masochistic…) and a spiral notebook and her AlphaSmart. I never realized just how much equipment was necessary for plotting a story. 😉 She had a huge cowboy boot box for the sticky notes, because the first time we tried plotting with sticky notes, we kept saying things like “We need more colors–we need a color for the villain, and for the hero’s internal conflict, and for the suspense subplot, and for–” So every time she sees sticky notes in the store, she checks to see if they’re a color she doesn’t have already. I think she has enough sticky notes to last the rest of her life.

By this time, we were really tired, so we went to bed. Her fella had crashed a while back–the driving stress tuckered him out.

Saturday, we got up, drove to McDonald’s for some breakfast take-out, and after we ate it, we plotted a book for me. Of course, I have more books plotted than I have time to write, and am having to take a week off working on Old Spirits to drive back to the panhandle this week and supervise the moving of the rest of the furniture, so I’m going to be writing even less (which upsets me no end), but we plotted yet another book for me. While we were plotting, her hubby went out walking down the seawall. He went into every souvenir shop along the way, and wound up walking all the way to 6th Street. Which is almost 5 miles from our street. And then he had to walk back. We’d have come to get him if he’d called, but he never did…

B and I went out and walked a couple of miles on the beach-or maybe only one. I was too busy talking and looking at all the birds to pay attention. I even saw some terns. We did walk out on one of the jetties–one with a paved walking path. It was quite chilly, or we might have gone walking earlier, but we wanted to wait for it to warm up. And we still wore out windbreakers to go walking. We weren’t really hungry, so we went back to the house and had peanut butter cheese crackers and watched movies, then went out to one of the better seafood houses on the island for supper. (Had the charcoal grilled/fried shrimp combo–very good.) The man in the house was snoring by 10 p.m., because of his 10-mile hike…

Sunday, we got up and did speed-writing drills. We wrote 10 opening sentences. Not opening sentences to anything in particular, just opening sentences. Then we switched pages, and drew numbers, and wrote scenes to go with the opening sentence that matched that number. I got one that said, “Oh, honey, with a package like that, I’ll do ya for free.” (B is a stinker, because she KNEW I would have to write from her sentences, and put that one in just so I’d have to write something beginning with that… :P) It was a lot of fun, and we laughed a lot.

After that, I had mentioned a free reception and tours of one of the big mansion museums on the island, so we went to that–looked at all the stuff on display in the basement, and went upstairs to look at the living area and take pictures on the spiffy-cool front porch and such. (This is B and her fella on one end of the porch–yes, it’s a round gazebo-y area.) Then we went to eat at a Louisiana-style seafood place downtown, and look at the stores on that end of the street. And then, alas, it was time to say goodbye.

Most of the time, there are at least three of us on our Writers’ Weekends, but our third couldn’t get away this time. But since, despite his ten-mile hike and aching legs, her husband had a good time on the island, I don’t think I’ll have a lot of trouble convincing them to come back. Maybe if my fella’s here next time, the guys can go fishing. I know mine likes to fish, and I think hers does too… We didn’t even ride the ferry or go out to the state park. And maybe our third can come next time too… Can’t wait.

Now I have to just get busy writing Old Spirits, so I can write another couple chapters of Thunder, and get a little farther toward finishing it, and then I can write Time Catch, and then I can write the third, still-nameless blood-magic universe book, and then I can write this book we just plotted. Sometime in 2010, maybe???