Category Archives: pastimes

New-to-me Bird

Birdwatching stuff–skip this if you’re not interested, but I just saw a pair of birds I’d never seen before.

It was apparent they were dove–dove have a pretty distinctive appearance. They were sitting in my driveway when I got off work today, and fluttered up to the neighbor’s fence as I drove up. They were quite reddish-brown, but even more distinctive–the outer half of their wings were a rusty red. Even redder than their bodies. And they were small. a fair bit smaller than Mourning Dove and a whole LOT smaller than Rock Dove, AKA Pigeons. So I came inside to look them up, and found that they are Common Ground Doves. You can’t see the red wings in this picture, but the color of this guy’s beak–that’s about how red the wings were. Ground dove mostly live in Mexico, but they come this far up into the U.S. and they don’t migrate. Pretty cool, I think.

New Toys!!

We got new bikes!

Yep, the fella and me went out last Saturday, and got ourselves brand new, matching, red Schwinn bicycles. The old-fashioned coaster-brake, upright-handlebars, balloon-tire, wide-load-seat kind for riding up and down the seawall. Or wherever.

I think it was a Christmas present. When one gets cash money, sometimes one has to think a while before deciding what to spend it on. Bicycles make good Christmas presents. On the other hand, they could be Valentine’s Day presents. Or even anniversary presents, since that’s coming up in another month or two. Or maybe they were “just because” presents.

The deal the fella made with me was that “if you get a bicycle, you have to ride it.” See, I had a bicycle I never rode. It had a teensy little hard seat that hurt to sit on, and racing-type handlebars that I didn’t like leaning over to hold onto. I just didn’t like riding that bike. So I didn’t. But this one, I already have, and enjoyed it a lot.

Sunday, we went out and rode along the seawall. The weather was gorgeous, people were out everywhere and it was a really nice ride–except I was a nervous wreck for dodging all the strollers-along-the-seawall. Next time we ride that direction, we’re going early in the a.m., when there will hopefully not be so much pedestrian traffic. Or else we’re not riding on the sidewalk.

I went out again Monday, and my legs are wet noodles. The knees are a little sore too, so I’m going to take today off to let them recover a little. Then back out again on Wednesday. Maybe later in the day, so I’m not so worthless…

I will try to remember to take a picture of me and my bike (which may be named Ladybird… It reminds me a lot of the first bicycle I had, which was a fabulous, well-loved bike, and was named Speedy Gonzales. We will see what name this bicycle answers to.) and post it here for y’all to share.

Until then, me and my noodle-legs will toddle back off to work.

Settling In, Not Down

I don’t think my life will EVER settle down. But I’m trying to settle in to things.

Our mattress is still on the floor, and probably will be for a week–unless the fella decides to put it on the box springs and frame on the one day he’ll be at home this week. I opened 6 boxes this morning, hunting the dryer fabric softener sheets so I wouldn’t have my underwear stuck to my socks. The cable guys came to put in my internet cable (YAY!) but basically re-wired the whole house, and they were here till about 12:50–and the new job starts at 1 p.m. I barely made it.

I typed in about 15 cutlines for “Look what I did” photos–they go in the Applause section, and mostly people mail them in. It was tough remembering all the little codes they want for the titles and this little thing and that, so I kept having to go back and put them in, but it worked. I got them all in. Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of things and be able to catch up on stuff. Still don’t really know how the phones work there, but I doubt I’ll be using them much. And tomorrow, maybe I’ll get to be myself. 😉 I’m still the girl I’m taking over for, because the computer guy has a new grandbaby. I’ll forgive him today, because I know those grandbabies are IMPORTANT!

So. I guess I’d better go finish my judging for this contest. I’m Late! I hate being late. I even worked on these while I was at Mom’s. I got them really late, because somehow, my new addy didn’t get in the system, and the entries went all the way to West Texas, then all the way back to the coast. LOoooooong Way.

Oh yeah. This was the last weekend of Mardi Gras. The island celebrates–and has for at least 80 years–though since it’s a smaller place than New Orleans, it doesn’t get quite as wild. But, after we made the son come down from college to help us move (he brought his girlfriend, too, who was great help!), we took them downtown to watch the big evening parade and have dinner. The place we went to eat wasn’t crowded, (probably because we got tired of waiting for the parade to show up and went on to eat, and everybody else was out in the street begging for beads from the balconies and getting drunk) and was very good. And we caught a good bit of the parade. And beads. I caught a few strands, anyway. This was the Knights of Momus Krewe parade, and we were standing under the Knights of Momus party balcony, so the people on the floats were all focused on throwing beads to their friends on the balcony above us. But I had some very cool dolphin beads, and caught some other neat strands. I had a hurricane. I ate fish. It was a good day all round.

Keep your fingers crossed. There is interest in New Blood. And maybe Old Spirits too. And…whatever the third book in the story might be called… Deep Earth? The third book will be about alchemy and wizardry–non-living magic (water, rock, electricity, etc.), and living, non-human magic (plants & animals). It will have two magics in it. Flowering Earth? Suggestions are welcomed. :)

Life, Interrupted

But then, isn’t interruption life’s constant?

This week has been the pits as far as getting any writing done. I think I got a page on Monday. Maybe two. It was a holiday for the fella, and he didn’t stay gone as long as I thought he would. Tuesday, he had a meeting in Austin, so I went to visit the aging parents, and shopped for fabric with Mom for my costume for the Victorian Christmas festival.

Mom is getting forgetful, and kept saying things like “Oh, that will be so hot.” Whereupon I had to remind her (several times) that no, the festival is at Christmas, and it won’t be hot, but might be warm, which is why I picked a pattern with a jacket, so I could take the jacket off, if it was warm. We looked at a bunch of stores and a bunch of possibilities–black, seafoam green, a pinkish lavender (really nice suiting wool), and even a gorgeous satin in royal blue with embroidered silver butterflies. I figured I needed to pick the jacket fabric first, then pick the fabric(s) to make the dress to go with the jacket. And there wasn’t enough of the only fabric that I really thought would go with the blue and silver to make the huge, hoop skirt. (Good grief, I’m probably going to have to make a hooped petticoat too, huh?)

So, my costume is going to be red. Not a bright red, more of a dark cranberry red. The jacket is a jacquard upholstery fabric–the kind with texture in a floral pattern. But it will work for jackets too. The skirt is a darker red, almost maroon–I kept having to explain to Mom that no, I didn’t want a white or cream skirt, even though that was what the pattern showed, because this festival is outdoors, and I didn’t want to be dragging a white skirt through the streets–and the bodice will be an old-fashioned pink rosebud stripe (pink stripes alternating with pink and green rosebuds on off-white), so I think it will look very mid-Victorian-ish. The construction is VERY complicated, which is why I’m starting now. I’ve got eleven months to finish it. I’ve got six weeks to cut it out, before I can go get my sewing machine. So this is my project for the year, even though I haven’t finished projects from previous years. I will probably be putting in the miles and miles of hem the Friday night before the event, knowing me.

Ah well. Now I’ll have to give a regular “costume report” too… (It’s lined, both jacket and bodice, and interfaced, and there’s supposed to be boning in the bodice, which I don’t know if I will put in, but we will see…) Seriously, y’all, wish me luck.

I did actually think about the writing while I was there. The aging parents are getting ready to move–even though they haven’t actually put their house on the market yet–and have been going through their books. They found a copy of my old Master’s thesis on China missions, and I read through most of it, checking on my research. A couple of things I thought I remembered, but couldn’t confirm, I found in there–like the city on the Yangtze usually referred to as Wuhan is actually made up of three cities on 3 sides of the river (it’s very river-y right there), Wuchang, Hanyang and Hankow–I don’t know how they’d be spelled in the current transliteration, though. Anyway–I could remember Hankow, but couldn’t remember what the other two cities were. And they had a huge world atlas where I looked up the maps of China to check on city names and geography of my story, etc. So I did think about it. Just didn’t do any. Also judged a contest.

Haven’t done any writing today either. Had a dentist appointment this a.m. and now have very clean teeth, and no need to go back for more work. (YAY!!) Other things are developing–but I’ll share when I know more.

Think I’m going to stay in out of the cold nasty wind and rain (mostly drizzle, but it rained hard on me when I ran into the post office) and coddle the cold I’m trying to get so I can sing Sunday a.m. Good thing I essentially sing bass. I have never (knock on wood) completely lost my voice, but it has been known to drop into the cellar. I used to scare my Girl Scouts when I got hoarse, because my voice got so deep and rough. And maybe I’ll try to get a newsletter out. I’ve owed one to my subscribers for a while now…


As in, I need more of it! It’s running away and I can’t catch it!

Actually, I think it’s dribbling through those cracks in the sidewalk. Or something. I’m not sure how it gets away from me. Hmm. It may soak into the white space on the pages of books…

ANYWAY. Life has absolutely NOT slowed down. Made a mad dash trip to Fort Worth last week for a nephew’s Eagle Scout court of honor. It was great. Everybody in this picture, except the guy behind the guy in the red shirt, is a relative. And all the guys are Eagle Scouts.

Now see, to me, that is what constitutes an Alpha male. Eagle Scouts are quintessential alpha males. They are leaders and protectors, but they’re not arrogant SOBs, because most of the time, you can’t be a real SOB and get people to follow you. There’s a difference between expecting and inspiring people to do what they’re supposed to do and browbeating them into doing what you want or controlling their every move. Admittedly, I’ve met a few Eagle Scouts who tend to get a little controlling, but very, very few, especially given the number of Eagles I know. In order to become an Eagle Scout, not only do they have to earn the requisite number of merit badges (which isn’t an easy thing), but they have to plan and lead others in a service project, which can range from painting fire hydrants to demo work on old, dangerous church playgrounds. They’re not supposed to do the work themselves, but organize the troop and the community to do it. And believe me, teenaged boys aren’t going to put themselves out for an arrogant jerk. If a guy can get past his “jerk” phase as a teenager, usually he’s not going back to it later on.

Okay, there’s my segue on what I think makes an alpha male and why I tend to write about good guys. I know too many of them. :)

So. I got back from the trip north and labored mightily to get back into the writing. Monday, it was a real, true struggle. I just want to get my 25 pages on Thunder written for this month, and it seemed even my own brain was conspiring to keep me from it. I wrote a grand total of 3 pages. Tuesday was better. I wrote 7. (Yay!) Then I drove across the causeway for my RWA chapter meeting. (I DO love being in a town where I can actually attend monthly meetings.)

I have to go early, because if I don’t get across the causeway by 4:30 at the latest, I can’t really get across till around 6:30 because of rush hour traffic. I barely made it out in time. And it was raining. But I spent my time usefully. I picked up a pattern for my costume for next December’s Victorian Christmas festival. (Knowing how slow I am, yes, I have to begin now.) I bought some fabric remnants to use for “green” Christmas wrapping. I bought some books. And of course, when it was time to head to the meeting, it was still raining, and there was a wreck backing up traffic. (sigh) Anyway, it was a great meeting. Colleen Thompson gave a terrific talk on emotional impact from the very beginning. And then I went for a “nightcap” with some of the other members. I didn’t get back to my island before midnight. (It is a pretty long way to where we meet…) But, since it was still raining, and a lot harder than it had been, I got wet coming in the house, and stayed up a while to finish my book and dry off.

So I was up really late, which made me next to worthless during my Wednesday writing time. (See, there was a point that tied back to my main point, which has to do with time.) I was pretty much worthless all day Wednesday. The only thing I accomplished on my daily list of things to do (very low tech, kept in a little, fat notebook) was to write four pages. At least I did get four.

So today, I had a LOT to catch up on. Updating the website. (It is updated! With new pictures!) Making a dentist appointment. (I think I have a filling coming out.) Paying RWA chapter dues. (I’m a member of 6 chapters. (Ack!) Three land-based and three online.) Buying caffeine free Dr Pepper for the inlaws visit starting tomorrow. Joining the Art League. (I haven’t painted a thing in 5 months, and I miss it!) I even handwashed all the dishes, because the dishwasher still isn’t repaired. Oh, and I also got 6 pages written.

I had to persist and crank and make myself not look stuff up in research books, because even on the days I got more written, I caught myself procrastinating. I would realize that I wasn’t writing, I was looking at a map of the island that just happened to be sitting on the card table where I write first drafts. (We haven’t moved the desk down yet.) Or pick up a research book to look up a name and catch myself reading the parts of it that I hadn’t read and that didn’t really apply to my book. Today, I did a little better, but it was still tough, because I finished the scene I knew about, and didn’t exactly know where to go next, but I kept going anyway and made junk up. That’s what writing is, right? Making junk up.

So, I have 5 more pages to write tomorrow to earn my charm. I have to write 5 more than that (10 total) to make my goals for my “procrastination” loop, and I don’t know if I’ll make the ten. With company coming, I won’t really be able to write over the weekend, and I’m planning a trip to visit my forgetful parents next week… I don’t have time for a dayjob!

Okay, so all I can do is gut it up and keep working. Think “Buy” thoughts at all those editors out there for me, okay?

Dickens, Victorian Christmas and stuff like that

Had a busy weekend, so I’m just now getting here. This past weekend was a big one for the island, because it was the Victorian Christmas festival weekend downtown. This is a huge deal around here, and people come from all over the state to hang out, dress up in costumes and drink glogg. Or wassail. Or whatever. The costumes are supposed to be Victorian, but since she ruled a really long time, the costume-wearer has a wide variety of choices. Everything from hoopskirts to bustles. Some people wear pirate costumes, which are about 50 years too old for Victoria, but hey–they look cool, so nobody cares. There are also Civil War soldiers, cowboys, frontier floozies, beggar urchins, London bobbies, kilted soldiers and pretty much whatever else anyone might want to wear. Lots and lots of top hats.

The fella’s college had a booth on Ship’s Mechanic Row, so he felt he needed a costume, and went out and rented one. (Though I think he bought the top hat and cane.) But since we left it so late, I decided it would be too hard to find something really “authentic” for me, so I did “Victorian-ish.” I found a Victorian-looking top, and already had a long, tiered denim skirt, so I did a variation on the frontier look, I suppose. If I can get my sewing machine down here, though…maybe next year.

So that’s what we did pretty much all day Saturday. Wandered around all the old buildings downtown and gawked at all the dressed-up people. There were plenty who didn’t dress up, but you’d be amazed just how many did. I would post pictures, but I didn’t take my camera, and the fella wants to download the pictures himself, so who knows when that will happen…

I have made it back out to the beach. It was very warm and sunny Friday, and my knees were whining at all the walking on concrete I’ve made them do lately, so I took them back to walk on the sand again. Tiny little rocks all over everywhere. Lots of the kelp-like seaweed. And some ring-billed gulls have showed up. They seem to be a little more solitary than the local laughing gulls, a little larger too. But the easiest way to tell the difference, since the laughing gulls don’t currently have their black heads, is that the ring-bills have yellow beaks (with a black ring) and legs, and the laughers have black beaks and legs. It will be nice when they turn black-headed again… Make it easier for me. The other local black-headed gulls don’t have black legs, so that’s a help too.

And Monday, we went to the college Christmas concert. The choir is basically a community choir–most of the members are my age or older. I enjoyed their music, though a lot of it was a little esoteric. The other half of the program was the Island Steel Drum Band, which was lots of fun. This is only its second year in existence, but it was totally cool. They ought to perform at the Dickens festival next year, I think… Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree works real well on steel drums…

Plodding away on Time Catch. I’ve done a few POV/scene changes now. Maybe finished a chapter–though I never really know till I get it typed in. Still, I like the story and it seems to be going well, although slowly. I’m working stuff out as I go, which means a lot of stopping and making notes and re-writing when I think of something that will work better than what I originally came up with. It’s the details that can trip you up. I know the general outline of what my hero’s going to be doing, but the specifics keep slowing me down.

I was thinking I’d have this “city boy” dress up like a scruffy street tough, to go snooping around out in the outer sectors of the space empire. He is a lot tougher than he looks, but he’s pretty ignorant of life in the outer sectors, and he’s smart enough to know that. So after I’d already written the scene with him in grubby space-suit clothes, I realized he was indeed smart enough to recognize his ignorance and play it up. So he’s dressing like a company bureaucrat from headquarters who doesn’t want to be in the outer sectors, (with hair dyed red with hot pink streaks) so he’ll at least have the element of surprise on his side if any local tough guys try to rough him up. He’s very good at personal violence. So anyway, I had to write that at least twice today.

But the plot is coming clear, and I ought to be able to write the synopsis pretty soon… I’ve learned a couple of things I didn’t realize as I’ve gotten even a couple of pages in that I think will play a great big part in the story. Not sure how, yet, but I think they will. I’ve established the hero and heroine’s goals. I’ve established the primary conflict between them, and hinted at some internal conflict–or maybe self-conflict. I hope I’ve established enough of the universe that people can follow the story. It’s coming together, I think.

Time’s a-Wastin’

Yep. I did it again. Found yet another time-waster. This one’s not on the web.

I was feeling sorry for myself because I can’t get the new Sim Societies computer game, since my computer isn’t smart enough or fast enough for it (even if it isn’t a year old yet). And I saw a different, older video-game that the computer IS fast and smart enough for. And I bought it. THE MOVIES. I get to run a movie studio and make movies and create stars and it’s way too much fun and addictive… Anyway, I’m still here, and still working, believe it or not.

Hmm. I haven’t posted since Thanksgiving, have I? Well, we had a good holiday. The boy came down from university for the weekend, with his dog. It got cold. It rained. The dog got a bath, and went right back outside and got in the mud. (sigh) She’s a sweet dog, though. We ate too much. I did not make a pecan pie, but an apple crisp, besides the cheesecake for the menfolks. I thought the apple thing might be better for me than all that pecan gooey goodness.

The menfolks went fishing. Caught a little sand trout that got thrown back. It rained again. We went to the cell phone people and got new phone numbers to match the new hometown. We went to WalMart and bought me a new phone. We watched a few of the new DVDs I’ve bought and hadn’t got round to watching. We played a lot of videogames. (This was before I bought the new one…)

Yesterday, I mailed White Elk to the agent, and today, I wrote almost 8 pages on Time Catcher. Or Time Catch. I can’t decide which title I like best. Catcher, I’m beginning to think. Anyway, I got a bunch of new stuff written. It’s about time for me to switch POV to the hero, and I wish I knew what his enneagram type is… I do a lot of Eight-Nine couples. (Eight’s the Boss type, and Nine’s the Peacemaker–or the sea and the seacliff…) I think probably because I’m in an 8-9 marriage, but also because Eights make really good action hero types, and Nines are strong enough to stand up to them. But then, I’m not sure what the heroine’s type is, so… Maybe this will be an Eight-Eight story… That would be a clash for the ages…

Once I get Asker’s story to proposal format, I’ll go back and work on revising Devil in a Red Dress. But I have a busy weekend ahead of me, first.

Late Birthday? Or Early Christmas?

So we went to this auction at a bed & breakfast in town that apparently floundered into bankruptcy. They were auctioning off all the furnishings, a couple of classic cars, the house itself, as well as another a couple of blocks away–all sorts of fancy stuff. I may have mentioned before, the fella has discovered a passion for auctions, so we went. Both days.

I intended to go downtown and get me a signed Firefighter’s calendar, since we were in the neighborhood, but I just flat forgot, which aggravates me no end. I think maybe I’ll see if they have some extras at the bookstore one day this week.

Anyway, if you’d asked me a week or so ago, I’d have told you there was no such thing as a house that’s too big for me, but both these houses for sale fit that category. They were just too darn big. Neat, old houses, but way, WAY too big for me.

We did come away with a couple of purchases, one each day. There’s a bit of a history to one of these purchases. I’ve wanted a rug for my side of the bed for a while. I’ve brought three different rugs home from the store– the first two didn’t look right and the third, the fella didn’t like the way it felt when he stepped on it. So I threw a little bit of a hissy fit (what? Me???) and said I’d take this one back too, but he was going to have to help me find a rug we both could live with. Oh, and I wanted a rug for the living room too.

Well, amongst the things for sale were a whole bunch of handmade oriental rugs. Admittedly, we don’t know a whole lot about the rugs, but the prices they were getting for these great big, all-wool, or wool-and-silk rugs weren’t much more than what you would pay for a rug from Home Depot. And they were a lot prettier. So we bought one. A great big one for the living room. Then we went back the next day, and bought another one for the bedroom. Both the rugs were made in India, the big one in Kashmir, and the little one in Agra. The bedroom one has a lot of silk in it and is very cushy on the toesies.

This first one is the big wool rug in the living room (and a sorta shot of the living room–yes, we are using wood serving trays for end tables–we didn’t move all our furniture). And this second picture is my bedroom rug. I think it’s very lovely. My toes are happy. :)

I thought about going to the beach today to walk, but it was seriously foggy out pretty much all day today. It sorta, kinda cleared off around noon-ish, but fogged in again by 1:30. And I just didn’t feel like walking on the beach in the fog. We have no beach report today.

I have typed in the synopsis for White Elk, and am in the midst of revising chapter 3, switching the point-of-view in the first part of it so it’s all in the hero’s POV. I think it’s working rather nicely.

I am again uncertain about the “time” title. I’m beginning to think something like Time Thief or Time Catcher, or maybe even Time Catch, might work better. Or maybe Time Splice. They don’t actually splice time. Other things are spliced, but… I am the sucks-at-titles Queen. Probably a good thing publishers don’t often let you keep your titles–though I did come up with all the Rose titles myself…

Cool Beans

Got some totally cool news today. The Eternal Rose has gone to a second printing.

This is a big deal for Juno. And it is a big deal for me. So, to all you folks who’ve read The Eternal Rose and told your friends about it–THANK YOU!!! And keep telling all your other friends. :)

Okay, so we drove, like, a bazillion miles this past weekend. When I say–well, actually, it was probably only 1400 miles–you will understand that the distance between 1400 and a bazillion actually isn’t that great, especially from the pov of the person actually experiencing driving all that distance in one weekend.

It’s not actually that far to drive to Clarendon and back–about 1200 miles. The extra 200 come from discovering that the Broncos were playing Quanah for the district championship for the first time since we moved to town, only they were playing IN Quanah, which is 90 miles away. So–despite the fact that we had already driven through Quanah once that day–we hopped back in the vehicle and drove Back to Quanah to watch a 1A high school football game. I also got to visit with a bunch of friends while we were there, who we wouldn’t have been able to see without going to the game. And then the Broncos lost.

Because the new town is so much larger, it’s not de rigeur to go to the Friday night football games here–but it still feels weird not going. We spent a LOT of years going to the game every Friday night, because we either had a kid in the band or playing football or both. It was pretty cold. We didn’t take our seats, and the metal bleachers were definitely cold. Daytime temps are pretty much the same on the coast or in the Panhandle, but the temp drops a whole lot more at night up north. No moderating influence of the water.

I’m trying to figure out plots now, and I think I want to rewrite Chapters 2 and 3 of White Elk from the opposite point of view. I’m also having to think about bad guys–what they want, what they’re doing that the good guys can stop them from doing, and it’s tough. I think I’m going to have to do that “think up 20 things to happen here” exercise, because there are just too many possibilities. I have to pick some things–that will need reasons for them to happen–and then the next events will lead from that. I’d rather be writing, but if I don’t know what’s going to happen, I’ll be writing in circles, and I don’t fly well into the mist. I need my roadmap, and I’m having trouble deciding where it needs to go.

The bad guys are in New Mexico. This limits some of the things they can do. They have evil witch powers of several varieties and are of several ethnic backgrounds. This expands some of the things they can do. They want power, because they want to do what they want to do without anybody stopping them or crossing them, and they want money because money provides power. Power feels good because it means they can do anything they want to anybody–they’re the boss dog. Taking stuff from other people proves their power, and taking a life is the ultimate power trip. So. This is where my bad guys are coming from–and now I have to figure out what steps they’re taking to acquire more power. What EXACTLY are they doing? How are they going about acquiring this power? Ugh. What do you think they ought to be doing?

Fancy Dress Party

So we went to the party. This is me in one of my new fancy dresses. I like sparklies, and there are sparklies all the way down the front of this dress.

The invitation wasn’t real specific about where the party was–the hotel and convention center is a pretty big place, and we had to hike through the hotel till we found the right ballroom. I actually remembered a few names of people I’d met before, and even recognized who went with who even when they weren’t next to each other. I’ve met a dozen or more women named either Carol, Carolyn, Caroline or Karen… at least it seems that way. Makes it easier to remember names. I can just come out with a Kar–and mumble an ending, and they’ll think I remember. I’m so bad at names, I don’t mind at all being introduced as Grace.

Grace was actually my nickname in college, because I was so good at tripping over cracks in the sidewalk and getting run over by rampaging Weimeraners and losing my balance and falling into people and stuff. If somebody was going to mix my name up, that was probably a pretty good one to stick on me.

So, here’s the fella in his brand new tux. Someone told us at the party that the island is actually a two-tux town. I suspect we’re not rich enough for the two-tux level, but his position is a pretty political one, so we may get that many fancy-dress invitations. We’ll just have to wait and see. The guys were mostly in tuxes, but the ladies were all over the board–some in cocktail dresses, some in fancy dress pants, some in long dresses. I’m just grateful I didn’t drape my sleeves in the food…

And yes, I have to show y’all my shoes. I got really excited about finding a pair of shoes that would actually go onto my feet–and I found them at a Department Store! Usually, department stores don’t carry anything that will fit me, (wide feet, high arches) but I could get my feet into these, they didn’t hurt any more than any other shoe, and they didn’t cost a bazillion bucks. They have sparklies on them too, but the sparkle doesn’t seem to show up in the picture.

While we were at the fancy party, before dinner started (beef wellington and a really great red and yellow tomato salad), we got invited to go on a boat excursion this afternoon, and since we had no other commitments, and we like boats, we jumped on the invite. I’ll try and get back to let y’all know how it went–and I will take the camera for more pictures. I really need to get back to my painting… (Pictures=stuff to paint, so when I think about pictures, I think about painting.)

It sounds like all I’m doing is running around and going to parties–and I’m doing a lot more of that, for sure. There’s lots of stuff to do here. But I am still working on stories and writing. I got quite a bit done yesterday–finished character interviews and re-wrote the opening. Now I need to get it typed in and merged with the rest of chapter one, and ship it off for critique at next weekend’s writers’ retreat. Except I have to go on this boat ride. And tomorrow afternoon, we have tickets to a concert downtown at the Grand Opera House. (Need to try to take a picture of the inside there…) Anyway, this one is a contemporary urban fantasy romance with the various cultural mythologies merged and mixed together. Tentatively titled White Elk Red Sword, but I’m also considering something like The Shaman and the Warrior Princess… anyway.

Beach report: Went walking with the fella this a.m., and since he has no flip-flops and I like to walk IN the water, we drove down to see if Academy was open (wasn’t), and walked from 45th street to about 27th and back, instead of from 61st to 53rd, like I usually do.

Gorgeous weather–not a cloud in the sky, nice breeze, water pretty cool. More shells than rocks on the beach, but not many of either. After we crossed the 3rd jetty, there was a whole lot of seaweed of both kinds (crinkly-leaved floater and big-stemmed with roots). We’re waiting for the first big norther to blow in and push all the water way out so we can really go shell-hunting. Seagulls, pigeons, little bitty sandpiper/pipits. Saw a big sandpiper/stilt (I have Really got to go get my bird book.) with only one leg hopping away from us. And just as we were about the climb the stairs back to the car, we saw an egret fishing. Going to have to break out the long-sleeved shirt and hat and sunscreen for the harbor tour this afternoon…

I really am appreciating all the “Book sighting” reports. I had a sighting! I went across the causeway into town for the RWA meeting last Tuesday (listened to Sharon Mignery do a great workshop on Conflict), and stopped off at the Barnes & Noble, and there they were! THREE copies of The Eternal Rose and one of The Barbed Rose. So I signed them. Didn’t have any stickers…I’ll take some next time I head into town–which might not be until the next meeting, but that’s just the way it is. So. Thanks, y’all. :)