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Showing posts from July, 2008

But my house is clean!

I have accomplished nothing…NOTHING…in regards to writing this week. Suffice it to say, we will never survive retirement. Two people who are used to doing their own things do not function well when stuck together for extended periods of time. Especially when one of them bounces back and forth between pain and drug-induced bliss.

However, my house is clean. It’s much easier to be interrupted while vacuuming or Swiffering and come back to pick things up right where you left off than to try that when working on a crucial scene.

Plus, we’ve had more visitors in the last week than we’ve had in the last year. So having the house tidy isn’t so bad.

Mow, mow, mow your grass

I try to keep some things about myself quiet. Like the fact that I can mow the lawn. Some household tasks have become firmly the property of either my hubby or me. I do laundry. He mows the lawn. And my mom’s lawn. And often HIS mom’s lawn. He hates it. He’d rather mow the pasture on the big old Farmall tractor.

However, due to a mishap on Thursday which you can read about here, I have been forced to take on a few more duties for a while.

Yesterday, I mowed the lawn. And Mom’s lawn. I didn’t do a very good job. It’s not a chore at which I wish to excel.

The Wheel Horse we use is almost an antique, but it still runs like a champ. It belonged to my dad, who gave it to my hubby when Dad started failing and could no longer keep up with the grass. It’s one of those things that still gives me a feeling of connection with Dad.

Mostly, yesterday I heard him chiding me for the way I was mowing. Dad was a perfectionist where grass-cutting was concerned. Mom once mowed the yard and he wasn’t happy a…

Progress on all fronts...sort of

Usually, my most productive writing days are Monday and Tuesday. Not this week. For the last few days, our electrician has been here, installing new electrical service to accommodate the much anticipated heat pump. I also had a critique group meeting on Monday and a private yoga class to teach yesterday. So my time to write was already limited. Then add to the mix the electrician shutting off the power from time to time and you get zilch in the way of pages written.

But the wiring job is on hold as we wait for the power company to do their part in the transition. So this morning, I wrote. It was grand.

I’m up to page 78 in my shitty first draft. It’s not been an easy 78 pages. But the plot is beginning to gel. The characters and their voices have become more familiar to me.

Of course, just when things get rolling, I have to drag myself away from the story to focus on other commitments. The 2009 Pennwriters Conference for example. Some days, I really question my sanity for agreeing to tak…

Saturday Morning at the Track

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I hadn’t realized how much I missed my regular jaunts to Mountaineer until I headed there on Saturday. One of the perks of writing the racetrack veterinarian mystery series was the research. I just HAD to hang out at the track to get the feel of that lifestyle right. Now that I’ve put that series on hiatus until the first two books sell and I’m writing about an entirely different world, I’ve had no “reason” to make the 30-mile-plus one-way drive to track. Gas prices haven’t helped.

But Saturday, I went anyway. To hell with four dollars a gallon.

My trainer friend Jessi has an entirely new crop of horses in her stable these days. I walked several of them around and around the shedrow. We gave a couple of them baths. Which meant we also got a bit wet. With the thermometers reading ninety degrees, I didn’t much care.

One major disappointment was the demolition of the rec hall, which sold the world’s best French fries. I dream of those fries. A new rec hall has been built, but it’s under n…

Heat and Insomnia

We’ve had no word from either the electrician or the heating/air conditioning people regarding when we’re going to get rolling with the new heat pump project. And considering we’re in the middle of a major heatwave, I admit to a little impatience. I also admit to some insomnia.

I can’t sleep when it’s hot. Plus I’m at an age where I can create my own heat, especially at night. Bad combination. Open windows and ceiling fans just aren’t cutting it.

So I gave up and dragged myself out of bed while it was still dark out and promptly stepped in cat barf. Lovely. I guess it’s going to be one of THOSE days.

Did I mention I’m out of my favorite organic coffee and am stuck with the cheap stuff? I’m also out of Skye’s favorite cat food (she barfed the last of it up early this morning, which is what I stepped in). So she’d none too happy either. Good thing I’m going shopping today.

Scene of the Crime...err...PARTY

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As writers, we often live our lives in the caves of our offices. So when given the chance to get together for a summer picnic, we tend to seize the opportunity with great relish.

And sometimes pickle relish, too.

A group of our local Sisters in Crime gathered together yesterday at the beautiful home of my conference and retreat “roomy” (and fellow Working Stiff), Brenda Roger, for some good conversation, good fun, and GREAT food.


In all honesty, Brenda could teach Martha Stewart a thing or two about throwing a shindig for a bunch of mystery writers. She even MADE her own crime scene tape. I’m sure her neighbors are talking big time and wondering who got snuffed. From the chalk outline on the front sidewalk,


to the severed fingers in the cupcakes,

to the antique mystery board games on display, the setting was perfect.

As for the food…

I’ve made no secret of being on something of a “diet” lately. Well, I went completely off the farm with my eating at this bash. I have no problem saying “n…

My Birthday

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Some people have parties for their birthdays. I’ve reached an age where I usually just ignore them. But yesterday, I enjoyed a phenomenal birthday. And it wasn’t that we did something extravagant. We simply did something we do on a regular basis. The gift came from Mother Nature. It didn’t rain.

We went to Ohiopyle and rode bikes.

Since it was the middle of the week, there were no crowds. The rain we’ve been having almost daily had cleared out and taken the humidity with it. The mountain laurel was in bloom, but storms the previous night had left it looking a little tattered. A chipmunk sat on the edge of the trail and watched us cruise by. Even a deer seemed unimpressed by our passage.

I stopped and tried to get some photos, but in the dense woods, it’s difficult to see her in there, looking over her shoulder.

After our ride and a picnic, we returned to the car and drove to Confluence, a small town further up the river. Along the way, we stopped to take in this view.

See why I love this…

Working Stiffs Wednesday

It's Wednesday, so as usual, I'm over at Working Stiffs today. It will be my last post there for a few weeks as several guest bloggers will be borrowing my slot for a while. But I'll still be here. You can't get rid of me that easily.

On Vacation?

We’re back from our spur-of-the-moment trip to the Allegheny National Forest. We spent two days doing as close to nothing as is humanly possible and still retain vital signs. Of course, I kept thinking about all the work that I should have been doing back home.

I did collect a couple of ideas for short stories. Now I just need the time to write them.

Today is a work day. I have a private yoga class this morning, things to address for next year’s Pennwriters Conference and a blog for Working Stiffs to write this afternoon, and a Pennwriters meeting during which I am helping to present a talk on research this evening. Do you see any time in there for working on my manuscript? Or one of those short stories? Or even one of the queries I want to send out for a couple of potential articles I have in mind? No? I don’t either.

Technically, I’m “on vacation.” So is hubby. By “on vacation” I mean that the yoga studio is closed (my class this morning is with a private student). We feel compelled…

Escaping Reality

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Thanks to a last minute invitation, we’re escaping the real world for a couple of days. We’re headed to the Allegheny National Forest. No Internet. Spotty cell phone service. It’s going to be culture shock. We will have electricity, so I’ll take my laptop. Maybe I’ll get some reading and writing done without the constant interruption and distraction of email and phone calls.

Walk in Peace

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As I have mentioned in a few previous posts, I’ve been walking in an effort to lose some weight and get back in shape. I’m happy to announce that I have reached my goal weight. Total pounds lost: 16. That’s since late March. Not too shabby.

Of course, the problem now becomes KEEPING them off. I’m no longer in the strict phase of the Best Life Diet. Now I’m onto maintenance. I’m pretty sure the key to it (besides staying away from large bags of Lindor Truffles) is walking.

My spring walks on the farm soon came to a halt when I started picking quantities of ticks from my scalp. I switched to walking on the bike trails around the area. But I found this to be…well…BORING. Walk out fifteen minutes, walk back fifteen minutes.

My solution? Variety. I still walk the Montour Trail some days. But I’ve found some portions of the trail to be more aesthetically pleasing than others. And I’ve discovered other places to walk.

So I’m starting a series of posts here about my favorite (and less-than-favori…