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It’s All Good

My day started with the rat a tat tat of roofers at the house behind my fence, about thirty feet from my bedroom. But that’s OK. It was nine o’clock and I really wanted to see that house repaired and lived in for the first time in years. So there was a balance of aggravation and reward. Who knew that would be the cadence of my day?

Breakfast and then off to the grocery store for prescriptions that had to be picked up today, not to mention groceries. I was ahead of my normal schedule. Looking good. Turned the key to the car and NOTHING. I mean nothing! No sound at all. Calm down. This is why I have a battery charger. Except the sound of complete silence was all I got with it attached.

Aha! This is why I have GEICO roadside assistance. An hour later a tow truck arrived. His device, looking a lot like mine, but more industrial started the car right up! I breathed a sigh of relief, but was still concerned about a bigger problem. Mine was a two month old battery. How could it do that to me? It must be defective. The tow truck guy scribbled on his pad, then nosed around my car.

“Did you recently turn on these two lights inside your car?”

“Those? No.”

“When was the last time you drove it?”

“A week ago Friday, eight days ago.”

“You sure you didn’t turn these lights on?”

“Not since I looked for a receipt about a week ago. Oh.”

But again, this was good news. My new battery might not be defective. Only the driver. To be certain I followed instructions and went to Auto Zone and had them check it out. It was charging fine by then. Bless their hearts, they had no idea when they sold me that battery they took me to raise. You see the very first day my son dropped it into his pickup bed onto a crowbar and battery acid poured everywhere. They had to come out in hazmat mode to clean it up—and give me a new battery. Now this. I’m sorry, Auto Zone.

Finally, I’m picking up my meds, which should be free or very cheap because I finally finished my deductible.

“Do I owe anything?” I asked.

“$76.00.

“What? This is what I always pay, but my deductible is behind me!”

The pharmacist was sympathetic and as bummed by insurance companies as I. There was nothing he could do. But my car had made it to the druggist and my heart would not go into overdrive without meds, so in balance, all was good.

I realized it was late afternoon by then and I had forgotten about lunch. That taste of Boars Head at the deli counter wasn’t quite enough. A little cup of pure cider was nice in produce department, but lunch was what I was missing. At the next turn was the demo lady. She was cooking meatball sandwich, soup, and mud pie. She was almost ready to serve.

“I’ll just pick up my wine in the next aisle and be right back. I’m starving, forgot to eat lunch.”

“Wine?” A waitng woman said. “Get me some.”

When I returned our demos were ready. They were generous. The three of us got into a conversation about the first time we had wine. I mentioned Boones Farm at age 30.

“Get outta here,” the other lady said, “Boones Farm was my first as a teenager.”
“Do they sell it in the U.S.?” she asked.

“They did,” I answered, “but I haven’t seen it in years. Where did you buy it?”

”Dominican Republic.”

We really wanted to uncork one of my wines to have with our lunch, but thought better of it.

“Give her an eggnog!” my new best friend told the demo lady.

So now I am swigging eggnog with a three course lunch. Not bad. All we lacked was rum.

“Oops, I forgot to announce the demo is ready,” said the demo lady.

I wondered why the three of us had time to visit.

So missing lunch seemed bad at first, but turned out to be delightful.

The bagger who took my groceries to the car would not leave until she knew the car started. If it didn’t she was prepared to put my cold items in refrigeration until I got on my way. IT STARTED. But had it not, I was covered.

Some might say I had a bad day, but no. No. I had a wonderful day. If all the negatives had not happened I would not have had the positives.

Okay, there’s one negative I haven’t balanced yet. In the mailbox waiting for me was a bill from the Toll Authority for two missed tolls for “someone” driving my car. I check the date. I insisted Jason drive my car to his oncology appointment that day to save his gas. He must have forgotten I don’t have a transponder. So I, who never drives on toll roads or Interstates has a toll violation. Where’s the good in that? It’s only $4.95, and I can pay online. Without going to jail, I assume. It’s all good.

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This is my first meme. Really. Always learning something from Amurin. I’ll send to a short list while I’m on a trial run.

Here are the rules, such as they are: Players start with 7 random facts about themselves. Those who are tagged should post these rules and then post 7 random facts. Players should tag 7 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

 

 

 

1.   In the fourth grade I wrote my first short story. Prominent in it was a rattlesnake. I once had a rat snake under my reading chair for two days, received a gift of a black racer in a bag from my husband, video taped one swallowing a green garden snake. Then there are the steamy photos I took of rat snakes mating on the fence. They have a habit of falling out of trees with a splat when enraptured or fighting. You learn to look up as well as down in a converted swamp. 

 

    2. My proudest recent accomplishment is learning to operate a single

        lever faucet.

 

3.     I still have older friends, but they are REALLY old, including a 92-year-old writer. The “young ones” are unrepentant hippies for the most part, and bikers.

 

 

4.     Beside my husband and children, cats are the most important creatures on earth. My father had an aversion to them, so my first came when I was thirty. Since that day we have not been without purrs and hairballs—and mystery.

.

5.     We once had a sailboat business on Lake Monroe and later, a  business doing drug, alcohol and DNA testing.  Mostly “Who’s your daddy?” situations.

 

6.     I was six years old, and could hear the doctor give orders to start cutting out my appendix and the nurse saying I was not under, but could not move or speak. Next thing I knew it was over and Mother was moving me to another hospital. Dr. Frankenstein had used my upset stomach as an opportunity to try the new thread he invented. You don’t want to see how much it really didn’t improve on the current stitches.

 

7.     A young derelict tried to hijack me once, but really pissed me off when he flashed that knife. I drove off.

 

 

 

 

 

http://backyarddetour.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

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I began blogging in the early sixties. You read that right. That revelation occurred to me only today. It is amazing how a word, name or place will pop out of a page and events will come wafting back. The words today were “Lynn, Massachusetts” on Mark Sardella’s blog.

 

I suddenly remembered someone who lives (or lived) there. The Boston Strangler stalked somewhere in that vicinity. She used to talk about it. Her name is lost to the years and this is the first time I had thought of her in over four decades. The mystery person from Lynn was only a voice to me on a tape recorder. An 8-track? I don’t remember, but it is possible. Soon after another nameless voice came to me. This one a woman from Long Beach, California – then another from some western state where he was a radio personality. I was a young mother living in Richmond, Virginia. What did all of us have in common? Writing—entering contests to be precise where we finished jingles, wrote 25-word statements and named things.

 

The early sixties was a fertile time for contests and sweepstakes, which we considered poor stepchildren to what we called “skill contests.” I belonged to the Gold Dominion Contest Club which met at the Richmond Public Library once a month. In my early twenties at the time, the next youngest member was at least twenty years older than I, the oldest in her seventies, but we shared a love of creativity and writing. All had won a lot of prizes. Tempa Blanton had taken advantage of rampant contests after World War II ended and won everything in her kitchen—including the kitchen sink. She said in her youth she was told she looked like Judy Garland. If you squinted your eyes just right, she still did.

 

Oh, back to the early blog——  From a national contest newsletter, I hooked up with contesters from across the country. Soon a tape arrived in the mail. I listened to each tell of their lives and contesting experiences, then added my story and mailed on to the next in line. The tape continued to make its circle for several years with long gaps between arrivals. One day it no longer arrived and I never heard from them again.

 

Could they still be out there? Still contesting, or gone on to other writing, as I have? More important, do they know they might be among the first bloggers on earth? Okay, so it was a round robin tape, but a forerunner of coast to coast communication with strangers, don’t you think?

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HarperCollins has created an unbelievable opportunity for writers to get their work before a respected publisher. In their words, “We want to flush out the brightest, freshest new literature around.” That means YOU. This is your chance to post chapters of that novel languishing in your drawer or the one you will write for NaNoWriMo (after a lot of cleaning up and rewriting). Your novel may be chosen for further review and even publication.  HarperCollins main page issues the invitation below.  The publishing world is changing, sometimes for the better. This is an exciting new opportunity for you writers out there. From HarperCollins website:

 

 

Get Read. Get Noticed. Get Published.

authonomyTM is a brand new community site for writers, readers and publishers, conceived and developed by book editors at HarperCollins. We want to flush out the brightest, freshest new literature around – we’re glad you stopped by.

If you’re a writer, authonomy is the place to show your face – and show off your work on the web. Whether you’re unpublished, self-published or just getting started, all you need is a few chapters to start building your profile online, and start connecting with the authonomy community.

And if you’re a reader, blogger publisher or agent, authonomy is for you too. The book world is kept alive by those who search out, digest and spread the word about the best new books – authonomy invites you to join our community, champion the best new writing and build a personal profile that really reflects your tastes, opinions and talent-spotting skills.

The publishing world is changing. One thing’s for sure: whether you’re a reader, writer, agent or publisher, this is an exciting time for books. In our corner of HarperCollins we’ve been given a chance to do something a little different.

We’d really love your help.

Read more at http://www.authonomy.com/about.aspx.

 

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Writing Muse

Writing Muse

 

Last year I let September slip by without notice, but not again. This is Anhinga’s second anniversary. The occasion deserves some notice, if nothing else, for the great American novel it kept me from writing, but also for all the wild and crazy bloggers I’ve met. You know who you are. So in this third year I hope to set aside more time for fiction writing, but still keep in touch here.

Other writers I know are beginning to think that once a writer gets her release from writing anything, she is fulfilled enough. Serious writing suffers.   But in grade school I found time to write very bad short stories on a Big Chief pad under a shady bush at recess. While training on the job to be a new mother, I found time to write last lines, 25-word statements and go to contest club meetings. For at least fifteen years, I’ve written fiction to take to my writers’ critique group, though the volume has decreased. Because of this? Probably. So if I don’t post as much this year, you’ll know why. It’s time to send a few things out and see what happens. If this sounds like I’ll be spending less time here, don’t count on it. I’m weak and writing is writing. My muse flutters over this computer and reminds me of the lure and siren call of this keyboard.  Channeling James Mitchner, she says:

“I love writing. I love the swirl & swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.”

Now it’s time for BlogsDay cake.

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Something special is disappearing before our eyes—used book stores. Jerry and I rely on Legible Leftovers, a wonderful little bookstore with bibliocats, and mysterious rooms of books. This afternoon we run over for our fix. The door is locked, books shelves are partially empty. It has the look of abandonment. We feel abandoned. How will we feed our habit now? It’s not just the prices; it’s the books you don’t see at Barnes & Nobles. That wonderful book review you read six years ago, but never got the book until you saw it here, the new writer you found along with a stash of her other books, classics you wish you had read, the little book of Haiku found in a tiny poetry room—all in the past.

 

We hop in the car and drive to a strip center where we once see a bookstore sign. It is a bookstore, but for school books. We go on to the adjacent town. We knew of three bookstores there at one time and think one might be still open. It is, with a parking spot right in front. Our luck seems to be changing. There is even the requisite cat, and a dog for good measure, old books in every space. But search as we do, not one book fits our tastes. Frankly my nose burns from the past-due-for-a-change litter box. It is not a pleasant place to browse.

 

We can order online, and do, but it’s not the same as wandering through the aisles till something strikes your fancy and reading a little to be sure. At Legible Leftovers one particular kitty would often help in my search, stopping at the shelf where I’d find the perfect book. My friend says a small, new store will open soon in another adjacent town. Dare we hope?

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I never get the memo. Do you ever feel that way? Take a trip to the grocery store. A pattern will appear about the third aisle. Sometimes every other shopper is well over six feet tall and I’m lost in a forest of belt buckles. No one tells me when it is Tall Day – or Bring Your Whole Family Day (that’s fun), or Learn Another Language Day, or Humongous Boob Day (sorry you missed it, guys). Then there’s Skinny Model Day (what are they doing around food?), Lovey Couples day, Grandma/Grandpa Day with lots of little wispy women looking as if they would blow away if the air vent poofed unexpectedly. Okay, that’s almost a fit for me except I’ve withstood a few hurricanes.

Did you get the memo about switching from mathematically to arithmetically? It was obviously new to talking heads on election night, too, because they sometimes had to correct themselves.

A few years ago the newspapers began to reverse the order of things that decreased and increased. No longer was it, “sales went from 2% per quarter to 6%.” Suddenly without warning they would say, “sales went to 6% per quarter from 2%.” That’s just not right. I’m sorry. Who stays up nights screwing with our minds like this?

Of course, I could just be one of those people who never gets the memo.

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river-stephen-5-20-7-0111.jpgJoin me in another Hairy Moment. I’ve posted a second chapter from a book in progress, a memoir of sorts. This one contains only the high tension moments my husband I have experienced. I’m skipping past the “I was born in a log cabin” part, hoping to give the reader little to skip over on the way to adventure.  Click on the tab at top of page and enjoy.

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It’s a fair question and I hear it frequently. When can we expect a novel from you? I can’t answer that, but I will tell you what I am working on at present. It is a non-fiction account of points in our family life that I consider “hairy moments.” All lives consist of peaks and valleys, with some of each having great meaning, but I’m not going there. I’m taking you only to the peaks of excitement, fear and terror. Can a girl from a small Texas town who married her dream guy at nineteen and reared three children during the days of June Cleaver experience heart thumping moments? I’ve been told by a wiser writer than I that what seems typical to me might not to others. Maybe you? You may sample a chapter on “Works in Progress” page (at top). I’d love your feedback.

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This Rocks

fountain-0111.jpg    There Jerry and I were in Sanford, Florida in the middle of a Pebble Junction, an open air rock supermarket. We tell the man behind the counter what we are looking for, small stones to go in the bottom of our cascading fountain so the birds won’t drown when they bathe or drink. It was like asking for toothpicks in a lumber yard. They not only didn’t he laugh, but pulled out a large brochure and checked off one possibility after another. The number, name of the rock and aisle were all there. We grabbed a sturdy wagon and headed to aisle 4. Outlining the aisles of smaller stones were much larger stones, then displays, then mountains of gravel in different tones. We’re talking stone wonderland. The natural beauty gathered in one place was overwhelming. How do you choose among such jewels? I promise you I never felt this way in a jewelry store, but these gems were manly chunks of the earth, unpolished, unadorned, just raw beauty.

The small irregular, but rounded stones with sparkling quartz caught my eye and I fingered one after the other. “You know rattlesnakes would love any pile on this property,” my husband murmured, looking around. I pulled my hand back, but only for a moment.

One of the workers who had overheard us interrupted to point us to the multi-colored river rock. I hated to leave the sparkles, but we did. The multi-colored were pretty and one looked like a red heart. Wait. Another couple was rifling through our sparkling rocks. There must have been an acre of rocks and they were at mine! So we go back. They wanted large ones; we wanted small, so a truce of sorts took place.

Jerry thought we had enough with the two types, but I had not tried on every shoe—-uhh seen every rock — but I agreed to check out. I suddenly realized it was about 100 degrees in the middle of a rock farm. At the end of the aisle were Glacier Green , the most beautiful stones I have ever seen, looking like chunks of an iceberg. We arrived at checkout just before a couple of guys came dragging boulders.  We looked at our wagon, then theirs and said, “You go ahead.” Now I am not accustomed to buying rocks and the guys in front of us rang up a bill in the hundreds, so I felt for my card. The clerk weighed our loot and said, “$2.62.”  I had to ask twice.  Cool.

The stones are now resting beautifully in the solar fountain Jerry gave me for our wedding anniversary.  It is the most amazing gift I could imagine. And if the fountain is not enough to impress someone I can always say my husband gave me a four-pound rock for our 50th.

If you would like to learn more about the facinating rock store, check out www.pebblejunction.com.

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