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Sunday, October 31, 2021

Sunday Pics - Happy Halloween


Bruno and Kitten in the background


Sven is looking out this window in the previous photo

Boat landing/park down the street


Pumpkins at Beth's from down the street the other way


Our pumpkins: The Instigator (center) planning mayhem. The egger-on (left) eager to watch. And the woe-is-me (right) we're all going to die.
 
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! EAT CANDY! WATCH SCARY MOVIES! AND PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE DEMONIC PUMPKIN PLANNING WORLD DOMINATION :)
 

Monday, October 4, 2021

I'm sorry to say that 2021 sucks way more than 2020

 There is no doubt that 2020 was a difficult year for many people. Probably most people. It was not that difficult for me. I stayed home for a while and collected unemployment, then went back to my same job at the pawn/antique shop. I didn't suffer because I'm not a social butterfly and fortunately live with three other people so was seldom alone. Not that I mind being alone. In fact, I like it. Which is why I didn't really suffer. For sure I missed stuff, and yes I hated wearing a mask (still hate wearing it), but I got vaccinated as did the people I work with along with most of my family. I feel fairly safe.

Then came the last quarter of 2020, in which one of my moms began to have health issues, and the election turned into...I don't even know what to call what happened. I am beyond dismayed at the turn our country has taken. I cannot believe how we've been divided by so many things, and I can barely stomach the glee some people exhibit at the pain of others. I may not go to church any more but it isn't Christian. Not one bit.

I will not discuss the events of January 6th except to say that it was a disgrace to our nation.

I will end with telling you why this year sucks so bad. My mom with the health issue took a bad turn in June, was life-flighted to Boston for emergency surgery and somehow made it through only to have a massive stroke at the end of August. It is only now I can tell you about it, mainly to explain my absence. I suppose it's a blessing she didn't live long after. She wouldn't have wanted to be dependent. But...it really sucks not having her. I imagine some of you know how I feel, and some of you are lucky enough to still have your mom, or moms as the case may be.

I miss her every day.

This is the poem I wrote.


The Order of the Night

 stroke

brain bleed

vigil

This is the order of the night.

but we have questions

who is going to make the lemon squares?

who is going to send the Hallmark cards on birthdays?

who is going to send Mother’s Day cards to their daughters and Valentine’s Day cards to everyone?

who is going to explain the Advent Candles?

(One for Hope, One for Peace, one for Joy, one for Love, and the last for Christ)

where is science when we need it?

where is magic? Miracles?

because we want our mother back.

we want more of her fudge brownies and lasagna

we want more visits, another girls’ night out, one more Christmas

because who’s going to sustain us with her righteous scorn?

who will we call when’re sick and need to know we’re not dying yet?

who’s going to love us no matter what?

And who is going to give you that look that says you already know the answer?




Thursday, August 26, 2021

I am not the person you think I am

As some of you may know, I have an aversion to spiders, or anything that might resemble them (which isn't hard now since my eyesight SUCKS!). I once had a spider in my ear and had to go to the ER to get the fucker out. Once out, I asked that the spider (still amazingly alive) be released. That's how I try to be. Yes, spiders give me the heebie jeebies, but that's my fault, not theirs, no reason that my irrational fear should result in the demise of a fellow creature, right? 

So. A few weeks ago Jennie (my boss's wife) and I found a MASSIVE spider in the basement at work and she was all ready to step on it. I quickly found a jar to put over it and managed to get it outside. Mind you, I had a good scream when I first saw it, no doubt amusing the hell out of the guy who was looking at the oil and gas cans. I tried to explain. It was a spider, and a REALLY big one. He didn't say much. I do wonder what he thought, but whatever.

Anyway. That's the sort of thing I usually do when confronted by my fear.

 The grasshopper incident did not follow that plan.

Here's what happened.

I was picking flowers in the yard for a bouquet because flowers are cheery. I had them all ready in the vase and was taking said flowers to their spot by the stairs when I saw that something was on me. An insect. A LARGE insect. I had no idea what it was at first (blind MFer remember?) and used the vase to get it off me . I can't believe it and the flowers survived in light of how many times I had to rub the vase against whatever the fuck was clinging to my shirt before I got it off.

Once gone, I put the flowers down and saw that Silas had noticed the grasshopper I now recognized because I wasn't in panic mode. He was pawing at it, biting it, and I thought, fine, just kill it and this will be over. Unfortunately, Silas doesn't really have a killer instinct. He was a little nervous. Maybe the thing's feelers felt funny. Maybe it smelled funny. I don't know. But it took a long time before that grasshopper was dead. Too long. I finally picked up its limp little body and put it in the trash.

Silas is at the far right, Bruno in the middle and Lulu left


A few days later I was walking Bruno and the whole scene played itself out in my mind for whatever reason and I thought, "My God, you are a monster."

_________________ 


In other news, I finally finished my WIP, THE READING ROOM, and am now working on revisions. I've been a shitty reader but I did very much enjoy The Magic of Found Objects by Maddie Dawson, along with M. Knight's Old. Although not up to the standards of The Sixth Sense or Signs or Unbreakable (imo), I still enjoyed it, and the actors (every single one) were incredible along with the aging effects.

I do hope you are all well and stay that way!


Friday, July 9, 2021

A brief update and two recommendations

 May.

That was the last time I wrote anything here, and I have no excuse except choosing to do other things, many of which were no doubt a complete waste of my time.

Case in point. Driving to Florida with my brother to visit my mom.

I won't go into detail but I will never, ever in a million years drive to Florida if I can possibly help it. I can give you lots of reasons why, but the loss of time would be #1.

Just not worth it.

Oh, and a piece of advice. Never stay at the Knights Inn in Allentown, PA. The check in person when we arrived was busy smoking outside, told us to go in and wait. Then when she began to check us in, she got on her phone to discuss grocery shopping with her kid. My brother finally says, "Will this take long?" She says, "I can multi-task!"

Clearly not, but whatevs.

Anyway. No driving to Florida, and no more 2 star hotels. I deserve better!

Here's a few happy pics from Lieu Gardens...


 

 



Now for my recommendations.

11/22/63 by Stephen King and Mare of Eastown with Kate Winslet.

The book (no surprise) is long. Very long. But I was invested every step of the way with the narrator, who has been shown a way back and given the tools to stop the assassination of JFK. Needless to say it won't be simple, and it definitely won't be easy since time doesn't like people messing around with it. If you're a Stephen King fan, I highly recommend this one.

As for Mare of Eastown, all I can say is wow. Kate Winslet was fabulous as the main character, trying to solve a murder investigation while still grieving (or resisting grieving) the loss of her own son. Her friend Lori, played by Julianne Nicholson of Law & Order fame, was equally amazing. I can't say enough about this show and am sad there were only 7 episodes. 

 

And last but not least, my favorite new song



Monday, May 17, 2021

Need more tulips!

 Last time I promised some more pics of tulips...


Yeah. Not too many, unfortunately. In fact, not nearly enough! I am going to make it my goal to order some tulip bulbs to plant in the fall so that next year, when I show you the pics of this garden, it'll look a whole lot better (I hope!). Honestly, I can't wait to retire (or partially retire) so I have more time to make the yard look pretty. 

In other news, I made a small breakthrough on my WIP, which has clarified my ending, but also discovered (read: had it pointed out to me) a glaring omission, which will take a lot of work on my part to rectify. Can't wait to work on draft 2 (said with equal parts sarcasm and sincerity).

Finally, I finished the Rotherweird series and loved it. Also kinda want to live there even though there's no internet and I wouldn't be able to play 7Days2Die with my brother.

Currently reading The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert and just watched Frankenweenie 

which almost made me cry.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Three Things

 First, the small flower garden out front that I promised last week

 


That second floor room to the right with the bay windows is mine, and the tree in front is the one I mentioned last week. I can't wait for it to be green! As for the garden, I have no idea what the purples are, johnny jump ups maybe? If anyone knows please tell me! Lovely daffodils blooming and some tulips coming (probably next week), most of which did not bloom last year and none of which I planted. The previous owner is credited for everything that grows there though I would really like to plant some bulbs come fall if I can remember AND be motivated enough to go do it. Possibly ordering bulbs might help.

Second, at the shop (Maine-ly Pawn & Antiques), we have a new dedicated library, which I worked very hard on and am admittedly a bit proud of how it turned out. Previously this was the music/electronics room, a bit of a cluster, and not the least bit appealing. Now...well, check out the pics and judge for yourself... 






Finally, I have an idea for a smallish project that I will share if I decide to follow through (nothing like being committed, right?), and I finished Wyntertide and am now reading Lost Acre, the final book in the series, which I highly recommend for patient readers. This is not a rip through it book, this is a take your time and enjoy the scenery book.

Next week...tulips I hope! Have a fabulous week if you can and stay well.


Sunday, April 25, 2021

Sunday pics

 The view outside my window this Sunday morning

My lovely tree is about to bloom which will hide the view of the neighbors across the street and give me a million green leaves instead.

Kitten (we will not discuss his stupid name) at the ripe old age of 14, handsome as ever

Sven and his new buddy, Orion


Sven (8mo.) and his other buddy, Bruno


In other news I'm about three chapters away from finishing my current WIP and I've read 12 books thus far this year. I am currently enjoying Wyntertide by Andrew Caldecott, the second book in a series series that began with Rotherweird and ends with Lost Acre. I will also mention City of Ghosts and Girl A, both of which I ripped through and recommend - City of Ghosts if you like ghosts, and Girl A if you like psychological dramas.

Also still enjoying Avatar and came to a realization in the shower the other day (where many great realizations take place) that the group is going to need Zuko because he completes them. Ang is air, Kitara is water, Tof is earth, and Zuko is fire. Without him they are incomplete and cannot hope to succeed in uniting the four nations.

Yes. These are the things I think of while I'm in the shower. 

I got my second vaccination (no side effects other than a sore arm both times) and come Tuesday will be considered "fully immunized." Hallelujah! Looking forward to visiting my mom in Florida even though it will likely be sweltering hot by the time I go (June). Nevertheless, I can't wait to hang out with my mom whom I haven't seen in over a year!

Finally, the weather is getting warmer, and I'm starting to clean out my gardens. The front garden is half done. I'll need to decide what to plant alongside the perennials. Last year's plants didn't do so well thanks to a late frost so I'm not in any hurry. I would like to try Zinnias again but only if they'll grow like this (as opposed to the sad things I had last year).

Benary's Giant Zinnia, cut flower garden - Victoria Elizabeth Barnes



Hope everyone has a wonderful week!


Monday, February 15, 2021

The Good Demon



I just finished this book the other day and noticed it only has 33 reviews and it deserves way more so I'm giving a shout out. If you like southern gothic horror or supernatural, paranormal, etc. I think you will like this tale.

When we first meet Clare, her demon is gone and she's in mourning, grieving its loss. Her home situation is pretty crappy. Her real dad is dead, her jerk of a stepfather is the one who called the preacher and his son in to rid her of her demon, and her mother isn't or can't be what Clare needs. But then Clare finds the clues her demon left behind. A way to get HER (as Clare calls the demon) back. And as Clare works toward this goal we learn all about how her dad died, how the demon came into Clare's life, and what Clare will or will not sacrifice to get Her back.

This was a super fun story with a very interesting demon and I almost wanted to know more about Her and her kind. Oh, and the Wish House. What a perfectly horrible awful place!

 

I put this up there with Joe Hill's NOS4A2.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Sunday Pics

Well. I haven't done a Sunday pics in a while so...


I will begin with Sven, my new kitten





I got him in October - let's call him a birthday present to myself - spotting him on Facebook at The Animal House, a local place for pet stuff and adoptions. I'd lost my awesome black cat, Jasper, a while back and here was this little guy showing up on my Feed in need of a home...well let's just say I was down there pretty damn quick. He's still absolutely adorable and I love him to pieces.


Then there's the pawn shop, which has been fairly quiet until last week. Here's a few pics of various places. 


 

Don't you love the creepy dolls? Yeah, me neither, lol.


Last but by no means least is this Cooper's Hawk that came to visit the shop. I took some pics with my phone but couldn't get any decent shots. Luckily, my favorite birder (my son) came by and got some great pics. He has this massive zoom lens, and if you want to see more awesome pics of his, check out my facebook page. I post a lot of the pics he sends me.


 


In other news, I have only read two books this year, which is a bit sad, and watched very little television. We are still watching The Americans and only have a few episodes left til the end. I admit I am very worried for many of the characters. Watched The Dead Don't Die last night which was funny, probably mostly because of who was in it. I have been writing fairly diligently - my current work in progress stands at 50k - querying, and playing too much Scrabble - my average score is 373 and my average word is 24.5, which is pretty good although admittedly Scrabble on line is easier to get higher points than the actual game.

And now, I'm off to kill zombies with my brother :)


 Have a wonderful week and stay well!

Friday, January 1, 2021

Goodby 2020, you were only good for one thing: reading books

 I'm sure there were plenty of good things that happened in 2020, but I'm afraid they will always be overshadowed by the bad, with Covid-19 at the top of the list. Coming in a close second for me is my mom's health, which is largely why I've posted nothing recently. She is now home recovering from surgery but not out of the woods and needing lots of help. Hence my absence.

But. I always share my books with you all at the end of the year and I did do some serious reading in 2020. In total, I read 44 books. I've marked my faves with an asterix but honestly, there are no bad books on this list.

 

1. The First Salute by Barbara Tuchman – straight up history

2. A Memory called Empire by Arkady Martin* - scifi winner of the 2020 Hugo award for best novel

3. The Ten Thousand Doors to January Alix E. Harrow - fantasy

4. City of Bones by Martha Wells scifi/fantasy

5.Artificial Condition by Martha Wells* scifi

6. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher - fantasy

7. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone – scifi/fantasy

8. The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

9. The Wonderling by Mira Bartok* – MG fantasy

10. Circe by Madeline Miller* - fantasy

11. The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith* - fantasy

12. The Girl Beneath the Sea by Andrew Mayne - thriller

13. The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne - thriller

14. The Girl Who Drank Down the Moon by Kelley Barnhill* - MG fantasy

15. A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor Chronicles of St. Mary* - fantasy

16. The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heldig - fantasy

17. Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd* - fantasy

18. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire* - fantasy

19. The Broken Girls by Simone St. James – thriller (with ghosts)

20. The Haunting of Maddie Clare by Simone St. James – mystery (with ghosts)

21. Shards of Honor (The Vorkosigan Saga) by Lois McMaster Bujold - scifi

22. Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah - ? mysterious child shows up

23. The Missing Sister by Elle Marr - Thriller

24. The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold - Scifi

25. The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold - Scifi

26. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – Psychological Mystery

27. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon -fantasy

28. Ghost by Jason Reynolds - MG

29. The Unadoptables by Hannah Took - MG fantasy

30. Who’s That Earl by Susanna Craig* - Regency Romance

31. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Sand - Spculative

32. The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare* - Regency Romance

33. The Boy in the Photo by Nicole Trope - Contemporary/missing child

34. The Wizards Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher* - MG Fantasy

35. Find Layla by Meg Elison - YA

36. The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O’Neal - Family Drama

37. Vita Nostra by Marina & Sergei Dyachenko - Speculative

38. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire* – Fantasy

39. Jack by Marilynne Robinson - literary

40. Things in Jars by Jess Kidd* - fantasy

41. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay - Horror

42. Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson - ? kids catch fire but aren't harmed

42. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw - YA  

43. Far Away by Lisa Graff - MG

44. Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells- scifi*


The only bad thing about having read so many books is that I'll feel like a total loser if I don't read at least the same number again in 2021. On the other hand, 44 is less than a book a week and considering I can read a book in a day I shouldn't have any trouble. Right? Right.


I'll leave you with a bunch of pics my son sent me, mostly birds. Any mis-identifications are my fault!

Black Crowned Night-Heron

Loon

Sandhill Crane

Red-Headed Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Great Blue Heron

Hawk

Turkey

Ruby-throated hummingbird

Mallards

Loon


Happy New Year and let's hope 2021 is a better year for all of us!