Monthly Archives: June 2008

How is Reality TV like Genre Fiction?

I was scanning the blogs I have come to read semi-regularly, and one of them had a post about Reality Television.

Now, I don’t watch much reality TV. I don’t like the Survivor-type shows, or the Bachelor shows, or the ones where they try to screw up peoples’ lives. I have to admit that I am even enough of a prehistoric antediluvian (if those words don’t mean the same thing), that I don’t watch American Idol.

I do however like a good many of the “fix-up-your house/yard” shows, and will watch Dancing with the Stars with the fella. (He also likes Iron Chef–which I have to admit is sometimes fun.) Still, I’m just not a big reality TV fan. So when I read this post about how writers like Reality TV, I thought “pfffftthh–yeah, right.” I do see how other writers might like it, but frankly, I think Reality TV is far less real than the scripted stuff, because People just Don’t let out their real gut-deep stuff. We hang onto our secrets.

Anyway, one thing said hit me.

The plot takes the viewers on a journey, from the opening credits of the first episode to the closing credits of the finale. The number of episodes and even types of challenges might remain the same from season to season but, couple it with the characters, and the story becomes something a bit different each time.

And suddenly, I had a rebuttal for those who complain about how genre fiction always has such a predictable ending. (Although, it’s usually only romance that gets those kinds of complaints, sometimes one gets them for other sorts of genres.) Reading a romance or a mystery novel is about the Journey and the Characters, not the ending.

Admittedly, the folks who sneer at romance and other commercial fiction also usually sneer at Reality TV–but regular, scripted television shows are the same. Except in that case, you even have the same characters facing the same kinds of challenges. Characters discover a crime. Characters solve a crime. The end. Then again, those folks sneer at pretty much all television. I tell ya, it’s almost like you’re flat not supposed to enjoy anything at all.

These are the same people who get all shocked when you talk about reading something Just For Fun. Who think you must read Edifying Fiction (or strictly non-fiction).

Well, phooey on that. By the time you get out of school (and some of you are taking longer about that than others), life’s too short to spend time reading a book (or watching television) unless you Enjoy it. Don’t think you “ought” to read this or that. If you like it, then read it. If you don’t, then don’t–and don’t apologize to anybody for it.

No wonder there are so few readers left–when so many in the world are sucking all the FUN out of reading!

Okay, I will get off my soapbox now. I’m just frustrated today, I guess, by all the people who seem determined to suck the fun out of–reading, if not life…

No writing this week. I did get all my revisions in the computer for the Old Spirits partial. I printed out the first couple of chapters of New Blood to read at ApolloCon. Never did put that on my website, did I? Sorry.

I’m hoping I won’t have to go look after the parents before Sunday afternoon–Mom had surgery that was more extensive than we expected (still relatively minor), so… I’m pretty sure I’ll have to go up sometime, though, because I’m not sure just how competent Daddy is with the looking-after.

OH. And the boy wrecked his car. Nobody hurt. Something of a slow-mo crash–low speeds. The other person got a ticket, but his car isn’t drivable, and this is the third time it’s had front-end damage. (I don’t think we’re counting the tree that fell on it…) We may have to get a new car. But for right now, we’re dealing with being a 2 car family with 3 drivers. He dropped me off today, and will pick me up, but I’m leaving the island tomorrow, so he and his father will have to deal with car issues then.

Rain! and Hecticness

It’s been a very dry spring on my island. We just barely missed making the Top 5 Dryest Springs Ever because we had a little stormlet two days before the official first day of summer. Then on the first day of summer, while I was driving back to town from Fort Worth, The Sky Didst Open and The Deluge Didst Pour Forth.

While I was on the highway. And I had to visit the little girls’ room (so to speak). I’d’ve made it all the way home, except everybody slowed way down–because when the Sky Opens here, the Deluge Really Does Pour Forth, and the freeways tend to flood three or four inches deep. And when they flood, people hydroplane and crash into the other cars if they drive too fast. So it’s a good thing that people slow down. But I had to get off the freeway and find a pit stop. Then I had to squeeze my way back amongst the cars driving slowly in the pouring rain, because it didn’t show any signs of slowing. And it didn’t. Rained all the way home. Rained me into the house. Stopped long enough for the fella to bring my stuff in the house without raining on everything. Then it started raining again.

Rained again today. Hard, but not terribly long–though it’s still sorta sprinklish. We have friends in town, from our little Panhandle town, come to the beach. It will be fun to get to see them again, but there’s a lot of cleaning up that has to be done. And grocery shopping. I did already get by the fish market… You know we have to serve boiled fresh shrimp to all our visitors.

This is going to be a VERY hectic week. Besides our visitors, our “bureau” at the paper is short one person, because she got slapped in the hospital before she keeled over, and they need me to put in extra hours, if I can, but there’s a funeral I ought to go to (relative of a relative), and I’m taking Friday to head over to ApolloCon. There’s a couple of other things too, that I may skip out on–or maybe not. Depends on how everything else goes. But I’m tired.

And I’m trying to pull together a partial of Old Spirits to send the editor. I think my chapters look pretty good. But I need to write a synopsis that makes sense. That’s not going to happen this week. Not as crazy as life has gotten just now, but I’m thinking about it. Trying to figure out how to summarize stuff I’ve written, and sort of exactly what will happen in the parts I haven’t written. I think I need to pull a big chunk of courtroom stuff out… of all the courtroom stuff, maybe. It’s very loosey-goosey just now, and I know I’ll need to tighten the heck out of it before it’s done. But for now, I guess I’ll go with it.

Going to read from New Blood at ApolloCon at my reading Friday night. Hope a few people will be there early enough to want to hear it. Have to print it out to be ready to read.

Here I have written this huge long blog post, and I haven’t even mentioned the cool beach stuff. Like, beginning last Friday, when I went out to walk on the beach (sans Dolly), and the fish were WAY in shore. And of course, the pelicans and dolphins (and I even saw a skimmer, which was way cool) were inshore chowing down on them. I love to watch the brown pelicans fishing, because they’re so cool about it. When the fish are thick, the pelicans will fly just ten or 12 feet above the water, and when they see a fish, the feet will drop like webbed landing gear, and BAM! They’ll hit the water. They dive so fast, and there’s always a splash–a big one, given the size of the birds. But it doesn’t faze them–up they pop, maybe float a minute, and off they go, into another take-off to get ready for another dive. They can dive from as high as 50 feet without getting hurt, but given how murky the water often is, I wonder how they can see fish in it. Maybe that’s why they fly lower. But then, I have seen them dive from way high up, so they must be able to spot them. It’s so much fun to watch that drop–Bam! (er, splash?)

Today, I took Dolly back out again. She’s really pretty good, but I think I’m letting her get into some bad habits. I think she figured out how to jump around in the surf while on the leash–she can run in circles and still run and jump. I think she watches for the bigger waves (still not very big, but she’s short) so she can jump them and let them float her a second or two. There were all kinds of dead fish on the shore–some of them really big. I saw one that was a good 2 feet by 1 foot from dorsal to ventral. Big fish. I don’t know if they just got stuck in the shallow water, or what, but… Lots of great big feathers from the pelicans too. Dolly couldn’t figure out how to pick one of those up to carry it with her. There were big washes of broken shells that were still big enough to hurt my tootsies. And more sargasso, but not enough to make blankets. After the sargasso cometh the jellyfishes… Come on, seaweed! Keep coming. Don’t want jellyfishes.

Since Catie has encouraged me to walk to Rivendell, I’m going to do it. I don’t remember how far it is, but I’ve walked 6 miles on the way. According to the Eowyn Challenge, I have made it into Tookland. It’s going to take me a Really Long Time to do this. At least the only thing I have to climb are the rock jetties, every half mile or so…

Words written–who knows? (I’ve typed in 92 pages–but I’ve written lots more than that)–I did write 20 pages last week.

Miles walked to Rivendell: 6


Those of you from the South know that I am not making up random numbers to title my blog. Forty-Two is a game. I didn’t realize that it was also called Texas Forty-two, or The National Game of Texas–but I am not surprised. Forty-two is played with dominoes, and it has a little bit in common with Bridge, because the person who wins the bid chooses trumps. It has a little bit in common with Spades, because it’s a lot easier to learn than Bridge, and it is generally a fast and furious fun time.

Monday night, we had a couple over for root beer/Coke floats and Forty-two. I wound up partnering with the male half of the couple, and We Wiped The Floor with our respective life partners. First game wasn’t quite a skunking. They won one hand. The second game was neck and neck, but my partner bid two marks (we’re not purists who actually count up the points in a game–if you win a round–one shuffle–you get a mark. Period.) and I helped him win it. It’s always more fun when you’re winning.

It was fun finding a new family who plays Forty-two. In our families–both the fella’s and mine–you learn how to play Forty-two at least by the time you turn 13. It’s possible to learn it as young as 10, but really, you’re not ready for the cut-throat strategizing, or counting the spots and remembering what’s fallen–and all the bazillion rules and variations on rules and ways to bid and make a bid–until you’re around 13. I have many, many memories of family Forty-two tournaments.

Once, when I was in high school, we had gone to Yellowstone Park for a weekend, and after dark, we needed a game to play in the cabin we were renting. I don’t think the sisters were old enough yet to be in the Forty-two game, but my brother and I had learned. Except we didn’t bring the dominoes. So we went over to the Old Faithful gift shop to buy some. And the only dominoes we could find were in a travel set. Instead of the nice 1-inch by 2-inch playable dominoes we had at home, these were about 1/2-inch by 1-inch, without much thickness at all. See, you have to set your domino hand up on their edges so nobody else can see them, because it’s really hard to fan a set of seven dominoes. But these travel-sized things were so narrow, they kept falling over, so everybody could see who had the double-five or the six-four. (Which is bad. Take my word.) We eventually wound up holding them in our hands. These were small enough you could kind of line them up on your palm and see them okay, and keep everybody else from seeing them. I remember laughing a lot that night.

There is usually a lot of laughing during Forty-two games. There is also a fair amount of fist-shaking, and name-calling. (You gunky! is a popular one.) When the middle sister had finally achieved the proper age to be taught how to play, I remember that the brother had just learned a new word: Renege. And so, being an obnoxious teen at the time, he kept accusing everybody–especially the sister–of reneging. Of course, she had never heard of the word, and had no idea what he was accusing her of, and–being a touchy pre-teen–quickly grew offended. So the next time he spouted off “You reneged!” she came back with “Well, you bedogged!”

If he was going to make up insults, so was she. We still accuse each other of bedogging.

I really like to play against my father-in-law, though it’s not quite so much fun to play as his partner. He has this not-so-good habit of bidding on his partner’s hand. Or on, well–nothing. Just because he hasn’t had a chance to bid in a while. And this is despite the fact that there is no such thing as a re-shuffle. If the bid goes around and nobody bids, the shuffler (there is no deal, each player has to draw their own dominoes) HAS to take the bid. He hates the force bid–but he’ll bid on nothing anyway. Makes him easy to set.

I have more Forty-two stories. But I think that’s enough of a riff on dominoes for today. I love dominoes. The world would be a better place, I think, if more people played Forty-two, and learned how to call each other gunky and bedogger, and still be friends.

Oh. I wrote 2.5 pages Monday, 4 pages yesterday, and 4.5 pages today. Not bad.

And I think I’m going to (maybe) try to “walk to Rivendell” which is 458 miles. Which will probably take me better than a year. I did about 2 miles today. With the dog. Exhausting.

In the Water!

I finally got in the water for the first time this year, and it was as wonderful as I thought it would be. I really like the Gulf. I like the warmth. I like the mild waves. I like floating and, well, I just like it. I wanted to go out this weekend, but you know, there are rules about swimming.

I believe in the Buddy system. You just do not go swimming–especially in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Texas coast–without a buddy. Yes, there is a lifeguard, but you need somebody there With you, paying attention To you, who will notice when you’re not where they thought you were. So, I had informed the fella I wanted to go swimming. But he wasn’t feeling well. (He’s been dealing with allergies and bronchitis all week.) I was hoping I could get him to at least come down to the beach with me to sit on the sand and be my swim buddy while not swimming. But the boy got off work early. He came home at 6 p.m., instead of the 11 p.m. hour we were expecting him. And I got him to come with me.

We also took the dog, because Dolly likes to swim too. We walked over. I still think that’s total coolness, that I can WALK to the beach to swim. We had to take turns going out to floating depth, because dogs are short and one of us needed to stay with her in the shallows. I was walking back to our stuff to put the boy’s glasses on his shoe when he was out past the breakers, and Dolly slipped her collar. She didn’t mean to–she just wanted to go sniff something else–but she came back and let me put the collar back on her. There was a little Yorkie yapdog barking like crazy at her, and she wanted to go over and say hello, and we were mean and wouldn’t let her, because the Yorkie was behaving so aggressively, it would get itself eaten. And then people would be mad.

I had a wonderful time in the water. I went out twice to float–just laid back and let the water rock me. Got caught once when it broke over my head, but I didn’t have to touch bottom. Just spit out the water and straightened out again. Oh, and I was body-surfing in, and got stuck in water just a tad too shallow. See, it’s kind of a production for me to stand up when I’m on the floor, or the ocean bottom (those bad knees again)…and the water kept knocking me over before I could get up. It got rather comical, before the next breaker sort of pushed me up to my feet… The second time, I started walking a little sooner.

Then we had dinner and all of us went out to see the new Indiana Jones movie. I enjoyed it, though the fantasy elements had me rolling my eyes a little. Just once. It was fun.

Father’s Day, the boy offered to take his dad out to dinner at the restaurant where he works, but since the fella will be having lunch there three times this week, he said “anywhere but there,” even if it is one of the nicest places in town. (Darn.) So we went to the Chinese buffet, because the Japanese place is closed for lunch. And we took naps and I had a really good Father’s Day. Not so sure about the father in the family… 😉

This will be a very, very busy week, with stuff going on just about every evening. No, not just about. Every. Single. Evening. And to get everything done, it cuts into my morning writing time. I am going to work like mad to try to get at Least 2 pages done every day–and I’m afraid that will be a tough job. Still, I did get my 2 pages for today, between sticking a chicken in the crock pot for supper, doing laundry, cleaning up for group meeting at our house tonight (still have to buy ice cream on the way home…), and… I’m sure there was something else I was doing this morning. Oh yes! cleaning the boy’s bathroom, because he didn’t do it. And we’re having people over tonight. (The ice cream is to make root beer floats.) 2 pages. Basically, I finished up a “confrontation” scene. I had ideas on where to take it next, but had to write them in the margin, because I was just out of time.

(Had to go to the bank, the post office (My bookrak books came in, Yay!), and to Comcast to take back the old converter box and get a new one, before work. Fortunately the Comcast office is right next door to the newspaper office, literally.)

Who knows when I will get to go back into the water… I’ve got a “roundtable critique” thing in Fort Worth this weekend, ApolloCon next weekend and… well, there’s bound to be something else going on, but darned if I know what it is. At least it doesn’t take long to get to the beach… :)

When I don’t WRITE FIRST

This is the granddog. Dolly wanted me to throw her bone for her when I took her picture. She’s not jealous of her toys at all, though she does like to play tug-of-war. She was just home for the weekend when I took the pic. She’s spending the summer with us now, and has filled out a little more. She’s just now getting to be a year old. I’ve enjoyed having a dog to play with and take out to walk.

We went walking this morning and she worked me hard–didn’t pull or anything. She was very good on the leash. But she likes to walk fast, and I hate to hold her back, so I walked a little faster. Which is good for me, so I probably ought to take her out more often, huh?

I was fussing at her, trying to get her to hold still in this other picture, and she dropped her bone and put on that “I’m in trouble?” look… No, I didn’t crop or compress the pictures. Should have, but I didn’t. I was mad at the computer, because it wasn’t downloading the pictures the way I wanted it to. I did finally get them downloaded–after only a little cussing…

I’ve been wanting to share pictures of the granddoggy–and to put some pictures on the blog just because they look nice, but, well… Mostly I blog at the dayjob these days, and I don’t have my pictures there. I e-mailed these to myself. I’ll have to do that more often. :)

Don’t know what I have to blog about. Went walking today. The beach was lovely. Not so much seaweed today.

I did get six good pages written yesterday…and today, I wrote a paragraph. I think it had more than one sentence in it.

See, I’ve listened twice now to a workshop on Writer’s Bootcamp, which discusses lowering goals to raise production. If your goal is one sentence, and you write two, you’ve achieved 200 per cent of your goal. (Right, math person?) Anyway, I’d like to write more than one paragraph, but –and I do know exactly what I did wrong.

I did not Write First.

I’ve learned over the years, especially when I got to write full time, that if I am going to get any writing done, I have to Write First. Before I look at the computer, package up books to mail, print out critiques for writing chapter meetings–any of it–I have to write.

Now, it is permissible to shower and have breakfast, and even to go out for a walk with Dolly (or without) (in which case, the walk comes between breakfast and shower, ’cause, you know, one must wash off the sand and salt and sweat–this IS Texas. The temp may only be 87, but there’s, like, 900% humidity which makes it feel like it’s 418 degrees…) before I start writing. I can also put dishes in the dishwasher, or put laundry on to wash (preferably not both), or make necessary phone calls before I start to wash. (The phone calls really need to come before the writing, because otherwise the phone calls get forgotten and my meds don’t get renewed, or my hair gets longer and longer and longer–which state it is in right now. Way Too Long and Shaggy.) But those are the only permitted chores. Otherwise, the writing HAS to come first.

And today, I didn’t. I needed to send an important e-mail, and I needed to see if another e-mail had come in. (I hadn’t checked e-mail since Monday, so there were a lot, and I didn’t read very many of them.) I needed to download pictures from the camera. I needed to print some stuff out, except I couldn’t remember where I’d put the files. Then I got out the pages I wrote yesterday. Then there were the books I finished that ought to go on Shelfari (I know. Time-wasters…) Then I looked at what I wrote yesterday.

I added a phrase here, moved parts of a sentence around there to give it the highest impact. I clarified that bit and took this other thing completely out. Then I had to put a sentence in another spot. I tinkered. And when it was time to go on, I wrote my two sentences. (I’m pretty sure there were two.) And came to a stuttering halt.

I HATE this. I want to be able to sit down and just write. And I’m fumbling all over the place. Summer usually sucks when it comes to the writing. There’s a lot of stuff going on. I’m traveling a lot, have commitments in the evenings, more people at the house. But those are just excuses. Because if I remember to Write First, I can get it done. Sometimes it comes slow, but it does come. I just have to Write. First.


Graduations, sisters and seaweed

So, we went to the niece’s graduation last Friday. I took the day off work so we could arrive early enough to help out with the shishkebab party, and got to cut up potatoes, peppers, melons and strawberries to go on skewers. The potatoes and peppers were cooked (with some pretty cool marinated meat). The fruit (which included both green and orange melon and pineapple) was not. (Though I did put some pineapple on to cook, actually.) I got to visit with the sister AND the brother and various in-laws. The nephews condescended to at least say hello, though not much else. They’re mostly at that monosyllabic teenaged or pre-teen phase. The nieces did chat more. (There are only two of them, and one is only 8. But her almost 18-year-old sister did visit quite a bit.) It was fun to get to see everybody. This leaves only 5 more kids on my side of the family still in public school. These kids are growing up.

My sister has graduated from college with her teaching degree–just three or four weeks before her daughter finished high school–and has a line on a job in the school where they live. We’ve all got our fingers crossed.

We came on back home Saturday, because we’ve got a lot going on this week. And now I try to think what it is, I can’t. Lots of church stuff going on. We’ve been experiencing house shopping with the daughter–they have now made an offer, and it was accepted, so they’ll be moving soon if all goes as it should. Hopefully I won’t have to go help them move. I’ve moved too much already this year.

I’ve been trying to get back in synch with the writing. It’s going a tiny bit better. I got 3 pages written today, rather than the 2 pages I wrote yesterday. Maybe I can write 4 pages tomorrow.

I went walking on the beach Monday and took the granddog. I’d been nervous about taking her with me, not knowing how she would behave, but I broke down Monday morning and just did it. Dolly did jump over the seat to sit in the back seat, rather than the back cargo area, but didn’t move any farther than that in the car. And when we got to the beach, she was a perfectly behaved little doggy. She didn’t even chase the birds, much less try to play with the few kids out that early. We didn’t walk in the water much. The seaweed has come in.

Oh BOY has the seaweed come in. It made an ankle-deep blanket about 3 or 4 feet deep right at the water’s edge, because there was so much of it, the water couldn’t push it any higher on the sand. It kind of dammed the water up, and if we wanted to walk on the water side of the sargasso, we were almost knee deep in the water when the waves came in. And it was this thick along the whole mile course that we walked, and all the miles we drove past.

Dolly’s a medium-sized doggy, so she walked a little faster than I do, which got me walking a little faster. Not as much faster as to keep up with Dolly, but faster. I’m a tad sore today.

So, that’s the news–pitiful, isn’t it? But I’m going to leave things at that.

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.)