Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

But the Content, It's Still the Same

I decided--not so much decided, rather felt on whim--to play with the new Blogger design options.

Found this new template; it's my favorite favorite blue. This color, it's me. I've looked for it so many times before. Wish the background detail, though, the map-ish stuff at the top, wasn't there. Does it detract?

My blog header, the custom one I made and loved so, it's gone. But the blue, I just love the blue, and the plain white words look so much more professional.

I think it all looks so professional. Does it feel cold? I don't want my place to be cold. I want it warm as always; a place you'll come and feel and be happy and know life, the life I capture with words.

I suppose I need reassurance.

And I suppose this is a bonus post, published on a Monday evening, just shy of 11 p.m. The house is quiet, and I feel heady, in that dreamy way. Wanted to reach out.

With my new look. Do you like it?

Things I Learned in Iowa

We drove to Iowa Saturday, for a family reunion on my husband's side. Here are things I found worth noting, in no note-worthy order.

* Hwy 15 has more than one detour.
* My husband's uncle has a chicken farm, with 3.75 million birds passing through a year.
* Cherry-rhubarb wine exists. (I saw three homemade bottles.)
* My daughters are normal kids, and good girls.
* Water from a hot bottle is not tasty.
* My husband and his brothers are as immature (together) as they were fifteen years ago.
* I love family, even if they're not mine by blood.
* Some people change... some people stay the same.
* A convoy of 20+ military Hummers, several with rocket launchers on top, and a few drivers who look sixteen, is a powerful sight.
* A restaurant will serve you whitefish and insist it's salmon.
* Crowds of people make me nervous, and I fumble with awkwardness. (I've known this, but was reminded once again.)

But my favorite:

* In a small Iowa town lives a boy of about twelve. He overloads a girl's bike--perhaps his sister's--with no outward embarrassment. He owns those wheels; they have become his. He circles the Dairy Queen, his turf, back and forth... with no mind to the bottom crack hanging behind him.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sweet Misfortune by Kevin Alan Milne


A cute, cute idea, and one very sweet read.
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Sophie Jones is a pessimist. You can tell by her wry sense of humor, the umbrella she carries every day, just knowing it will rain, and because of the misfortune cookies--dipped in bitter chocolate and stuffed with dim advice--she makes and sells in her confections shop.
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Happiness rightly eludes you. ~~ When offered the dream of a lifetime, SAY NO! Remember, it's just a dream. ~~ Yesterday was the high point of your life. Sorry.
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Sophie feels convicted in giving her customers these treats with a realistic bite. After all, there's no guarantee life will ever go your way, that you'll be happy in the end. She knows. She lost both parents to one tragedy, and her fiance dumped her with no explanation.
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Why get her hopes up? Dream? Expect happiness? In her experience, it's all for naught.
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Enter her ex, Garrett, who returns to beg forgiveness and a chance to explain everything. She hesitates, of course, because why risk heartbreak again? But when he shows determination, going so far as to elicit help from the general public, she concedes.
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One more shot at happiness.
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Can Garrett prove to Sophie it does exist?
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Kevin Alan Milne, praised for his sweet, heartwarming tales, is the author of The Paper Bag Christmas and The Nine Lessons. Visit him by way of his website or blog.
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*I was given a copy of the book, courtesy Goldberg McDuffie Communications, in exchange for this review.
**Incidentally, I've another book review up at The Blue Bookcase. See what I had to say about The Wednesday Letters by Jason Wright, here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Writer in the Kitchen

"Cooking takes time. It takes focus. It takes love. And that's what I pour, instead, into the work of creating and running an entire town named Mitford... Thus, on most evenings you may find me standing at the sink, devouring such culinary delicacies as pepperoni left over from last week's pizza, or fried chicken from the gas station up the road..."
Jan Karon
author of the Mitford books
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I read this in the introduction to Karon's Mitford Cookbook and Kitchen Reader, and I thought yes. Yes! This is me!
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And now I feel less guilty about not wanting to spend more time in the kitchen. All that creative energy, I understand now, goes toward my writing.
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What about you? On what do you spend your energies?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ducks, Boat, Pond


When over the weekend we came across these ducks, and their picture-perfect surroundings, I had to pull out my camera.
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Tell me a story, give me an observation, anything--no rules--about this photo.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Meet Carolyn

I thought of you, my readers, the other day. Because I met someone, and I knew you’d like her. She was real, and I knew right off I wanted to introduce her.
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Her name is Carolyn. She came into the salon, where my mom and I were getting pedicures. She said she was from out of town, had some time, could she squeeze in for a pedi?

It was a rather curious thing. What was she doing in this small place, on this casual afternoon?
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As we waited—my mom for me, me for my toes, Carolyn for her turn—we began to talk, as idle women do, and the question came up. So what brought you here?
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She was so sweet, so unassuming about it, but honest and real about it, too.
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“I’ve brought my little girl,” she said.
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A little girl, we learned, who lost her mom nine years ago. Whose dad didn’t want (or even claim) her. A little girl—in her teens now—Carolyn took in, making her family, and who'd wanted a summer trip to her hometown, to see her childhood friends.
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So they’d traveled from one midwest state to another, for the weekend. And while the little girl had time with her friends, Carolyn had time to herself.

First on the list? A pedicure.
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...A woman worth meeting, don't you think?
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**I asked Carolyn if I could take her picture, because I was so taken with her, and her story. Could I write about her, too? She was so kind to humor me. Thank you, Carolyn. Best to you and your family.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Walkin'

I’d taken to walking by myself, but that day I had an exercise buddy... I knew how lucky I was to have her along with me...

Come to An Army of Ermas to read more of my post, I Go Out Walkin', and find out what propels my walking partner.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Remembering

Every day I remember, sometimes half-a-dozen times, sometimes more, and I say, "I love you, Dad."
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I hope I never forget.
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Tell me about who you don't want to forget.

Friday, June 11, 2010

She May Be Searching for YOU

Lit Agent Sara Megibow, of The Nelson Literary Agency, is on the hunt for new romance authors to represent! Check out what she has to say here, at client Natalie Bahm's blog.

She may be looking for you!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Girl and Her Senses

I liked this meme of the senses, thought it different and interesting. Wanted to borrow the idea (and so I have). Here's my take:
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Touch
Feeling the sting of the sun--just above my knees, and the outer swatches of my upper arms--from having been out on the lake for the holiday weekend. The wrap of a band-aid, curling around the pad of my finger. My big toe, and its exposed nailbed, where I bungled and tore it days ago.
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Taste
Aftertaste, really. This afternoon I had a bottle of Gold Peak Tea, which has left a heavy sweetness on my tongue and at the roof of my mouth. I really need to brush.
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Sight
I see a web, running down a length of space between the beam above my desk and the side of my laptop, inches from my hand. Where, oh where, is the responsible spider? *shivers*
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Smell
Nothing. I try to breathe in the lavender from oils in the living room, just over and down from this balcony where I sit, or the fresh nostalgia that accompanies the first days of a summery house. I know they're both there. But for now, nothing.
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Hearing
The blow of the air conditioner. My husband's voice, none too quiet on the phone, as he talks someone through buying a car. My girls, distant and content, as they play in our basement a couple floors down.
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What could you share about your five senses?
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Thanks to Kelly from My Voice, My View, from whom I snagged the meme.