Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

In Transit

I will be in transit today--here to the airport, airport to Seattle, Seattle to Spokane--a journey with a stopover. I'm sorry to leave my daughter and soon son-in-law; due to distance and our separate schedules, it's harder and harder to get together. (Ditto with friends, far-flung these days.) I'm equally glad to go home, though. I feel renewed and ready to really roll, with the writing and my plan for a Fit Linda in 2010. :)

I must have been a lot more tired than I thought I was. I forgot a few strategic things when I packed for the trip, for example. I've napped every day--yesterday was basically one looooong nap, although we went out to dinner at our favorite Santa Monica restaurant, The Galley around 8 in the evening. The clams there are delicious and the atmosphere is so cheerful, festooned with strands of colored lights, year around. It has become a tradition to go there when I visit.

Except for a trip to Pearl to check out art supplies and a foray to the Promenade on Christmas Eve morning (principally for those items I forgot to pack), we have kept the shopping to a minimum. Decided just to be lazy and spend as much quiet, together time as possible.

All in all, the trip has been a wonder and a joy.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lazy Day

I have been lounging around all day long, still in my pajamas.

Last night Wendy and I drove to the beautiful home of a very dear friend, in a swanky part of L.A.--what a lovely evening! Old friends, lots of talk, good food, photos taken on delay so the photographer could rush over and join the pose, decorations sparkling, a funny dog serving as resident charmer and commedienne. My friend's husband, a prudent man, hid out somewhere upstairs in his office--too much estrogen, I'm sure, and even the dog is a girl.

Today, I've just been resting, and then resting a little more. :)

Tomorrow, I'll be traveling back to Spokane, and although I will hate leaving Wendy and Jeremy, it will be good to see Sadie and the Bear, the kitties, and the horses. OK, and the people, too.

I'm eager to start writing "Austin"--that man is just bustin' to get his story told--try out some art ideas in my studio, perhaps even play a few slot machines over at Northern Quest. :)

More later. I think it's time for another nap.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Morning After

It is so restful! Once again, Christmas has come and gone, although most of us are probably still surrounded by lovely wreckage, to one degree or another.

I received excellent gifts, chosen with such love and care that I get choked up just thinking about them. A Year of Wishes candle set--a special book for compiling a memoir, journal style--a pen that records what I write and transfers it into a computer...(!!!)and many other goodies as well.

Jeremy cooked a nice turkey dinner, and we all feasted and made merry. Everyone agreed that it was nice not to have to go anywhere, although I will always remember Christmas Eve day, when we visited the Promenade, a nearby mall, and watched street performers and listened to musicians and enjoyed a fabulous lunch at a restaurant lit with millions of little colored bulbs.

We did some art work, talked, and generally relaxed. It has been heavenly.

Today, I plan to keep a very low profile.

I might even take a winter's nap.

Be merry.

Friday, December 25, 2009

For Unto You is Born

this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

My deepest love and appreciation to all of you, on this holy day and always.

I wish you:

A very Merry Christmas,
A happy, healthy and prosperous New Year

And may all the fresh hope that Christ brings be yours.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My sweeties
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Wendy and Jeremy at the Magic Kingdom, December 23, 2009
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Survivng the Magic Kingdom

Tis the day before Christmas
And all through the house
There are signs of yesterday's
Bout with the Mouse...

Ok, ok, I shouldn't give up my day job (as if I would ever be fool enough to do THAT) and write poetry. It was the best I could do on short notice. I might even add to it, as things occur to me--which they have an alarming tendency to do. Disneyland was beyond crowded, but everybody pretty much minded their manners and a very good time was had by all, in our party at least.

I chuckled while waiting in line to go through It's A Small World--one little boy, probably having had all the fun he could stand, as my dad used to say, punched his brother. Exasperated, the mom said, "Santa saw that!"


And Sister Sally, this is for you..

It's a small world after all
repeat again
It's a small, small world!
repeat endlessly

Seriously, our world IS small, and getting smaller every day. May it also be a more peaceful world, a more gracious world, where people make allowances for each other and at least try to get along--like they do at Disneyland.

All we have to do is behave ourselves. We should be able to do that, right?

Merry Christmas, one and all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Have you been to to watch the Texas McKettricks video and enter the contest--your chance to win $10,000 or a stay at the glamorous Paris Las Vegas Hotel? There is even a little quiz to take, though you'll want to read "Tate", book 1, before you tackle that. And keep an eye out for updates, as a new film segment will be posted on January 15, a behind-the-scenes kind of thing. I haven't seen that one yet, and I'm as eager as anybody!

Yesterday, while we were out shopping, we were parked in the lot on top of the Best Buy store. Jeremy, finishing his shopping long before Wendy and I did, in typical guy fashion, was playing the radio while he waited for us. Well, guess what. The battery ran down, and the car wouldn't start. What happened? Well, the cutest cowboy-type I've seen since the trip to Vegas for the rodeo finals stopped and asked if we needed a hand. I mean, this one could have been a McKettrick or a Creed, he was so good-looking and so, well, cowboy. Out came the jumper cables and in a trice, we were back on the road.

Cowboy courtesy, at its finest, folks, and right in Santa Monica, CA. :)

Today's agenda includes Disneyland, and I am super excited because I haven't been there in so long--all sorts of new things have been added and updated and of course the place will be beautifully decorated for Christmas. Nobody does magic like Disney, though I've got to say, I saw some truly spectacular things in Las Vegas earlier this month. I told you about Switch, the restaurant where the walls change every twenty minutes, and the ceiling does this Phantom of the Opera thing. Amazing.

I'll be tweeting right along, knowing me, so check us out on

I will also post pictures to this blog at the first opportunity--probably tomorrow.

And tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I think I hear the faintest jingle of sleigh bells....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NOT Dreaming of a White Christmas :)

Here I am in "sunny" California--bunking in my daughter's guest room and already having a wonderful time!

Today's schedule includes a trip to Pearl--a favorite art supply store here in Santa Monica. I'm reading a manuscript of "Garrett" and falling in love with my McKettrick men all over again. I can't wait for you to read it.

The Christmas tree is all decorated and the box of presents I sent ahead has arrived. All systems go.

Have fun and be blessed.

I will update you later.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Travel Day

I'm off to California in a few hours, and I can hardly wait to see Wendy and Jeremy, waiting for me at LAX, with big smiles on their faces. Big change over last year, when Spokane received 5 feet of snow in the second two weeks of December and Christmas was less than festive. Wendy and Jeremy had planned to come here for the holiday, but the roads made that impossible.

This year, things look a lot better, although 2009 was not without its worries and sorrows. Mary Ann was so very sick in June that we feared we'd lose her, and we did lose a beloved cousin, Kathy Bannon. Kathy loved books and animals and world travel. She was a fantastic cook, had a delightfully wry sense of humor and an extensive knowledge of wines. I miss her very much.

Life is bitter, as well as sweet, and I suspect that in the grand scheme of things, it's ALL good, though that's hard to see sometimes.

I should be able to blog and post pictures from California, so check in once in a while, won't you please?

Meanwhile, stop rushing around. Take a deep breath. Pace yourself. The important things will get done, and those that don't won't matter.

Be kind. Start with yourself.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Other artwork

This was done with a woodburner and acrylic paints. Gave it to my mom for Christmas.
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Angel Painting

This is the angel I mentioned...
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Miscellaneous Chatter

I'm glad you can't see my kitchen right now. It looks as though a bomb went off. :)

Yesterday, my mom and I went out for lunch at one of our favorite places in Spokane, the Onion. We also love Tomato Street, but, hey, we had to make a choice. So it was the Onion--partly because the food is so good and partly because it's across the parking lot from Michael's. You know if you read this blog that I'm into folk art, and mixed-media is my passion--color, texture, sparkle! I love it all. (Life would be so much simpler if I had one of those hobbies that involve a single set of supplies, like needlepoint or even painting in oils. But NO, I've gotta be into mixed media, which means I am forever finding and trying a wide variety of supplies, new and old.)

Anyone who had ever seen my art-room/studio (never mind my kitchen on the weekend when Mary Ann isn't here to whip the place into shape), would quite understandably ask themselves, "What else could this woman POSSIBLY need?"

Well, here's a for-instance. That darned Martha Stewart is at it again--her company sells the best glitter, and now those stinkers have added tiny little beads in about a million-jillion colors and something called 'tinsel glitter', which is like teeny tiny itsy bitsy sparkly confetti. Then there are the iridescent sprinkles that will look so nice in angels' wings...

You get the idea. Between the Michael's bags and the grocery store bags and the rest of it, I have some surface-clearing to do. I also have a manuscript to read through, a lunch date with my sister-in-law, Karen, and her delightful grandchildren, Karmen and Jeff, and an outline to flesh out for my angelic editor, Joan Marlow Golan. (I say 'angelic' because she's never tried to kill me, even with extreme provocation. :))

Oh, yes. And I probably should pack for tomorrow's flight to sunny California!!!!

This time last year, we were buried under five feet of snow and I was seriously bummed out because that meant my daughter and someday-son-in-law couldn't get here for Christmas. What a difference a year--and the proper medication--can make. :)

Told you it was misellaneous chatter. If you read this far, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Happy Sunday.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Foggy Friday

The winter fog has rolled in, filling the draw behind my house and the valley beyond that. It's beautiful. There may be snow on Christmas Eve--but not for me, unless it snows in Santa Monica. :) I leave for a long-anticipated visit with my daughter and Someday Son-in-Law on Monday. We always have a fantastic time together.

Sadie is off to her exercise program--Bernice is getting a bath--we lead a glamorous life around here. :)

Yesterday I had appointments with both the dentist and the hairdresser, but today I can tinker with the working outline of "Austin" for a while. That will be a pleasure.

Have a good, safe weekend, and don't overdo it. Trust me, it will be Christmas again in about five minutes.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Would you believe--I set up a SEWING MACHINE? It's true. I can prove it, if necessary. It took me a lot of instruction-book study just to figure out how to wind the bobbin (I haven't used a sewing machine, for the most part, since Home Ec class, back in 1966!) Mary Ann helped me thread the needle, and I was off and running. Am I planning to start making my own clothes?

Perish the thought. :)

(I may be in danger of quilting, though. The colors and textures of today's fabrics are SO tempting.)

I'm experimenting with various mixed-media backgrounds for art projects, and one of them involves applying tissue and other lovely thin things to fabric, with matte medium. Random stitching on top, preferably with metallic thread, fills me with joy. I love metallic things--for example, the stunning bracelet I received from my wonderful, fabulous publishers, Harlequin books)--threads and foils and glitters. If it shines, I like it!

Most of my Christmas stuff is done. I'm off to California soon, to see Wendy and Jeremy. We're going to Disneyland to enjoy the lights and create even more special memories together. Lunching with my mom on Saturday--I don't see her nearly often enough, so I'm really looking forward to that.

Today? Planning "Austin", for sure. Doing a little art work. Maybe even playing a few slot machines.

With a wild cowgirl like me, you just never know.

Which is why you ought to keep reading this blog. :) You don't want to miss anything, do you???

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Skiff of Snow

We got a couple of inches of snow during the night--it is lovely. Yes, I am actually enjoying it. I can even say I appreciate it. (I appreciate, for instance, that it is not a blizzard. Last year, we had five FEET of snow in the month of December alone.) Alas, the rain is already beginning, so it will melt away.

I have decided that "appreciation" will be my watchword for 2010 and beyond. Of course it's easy to appreciate the obvious blessings--personal freedom, family and friends, critters and books (writing them AND reading them) and good health--or it it? I don't know about you, but I have a tendency to take a lot of things for granted. It's something I want to change about myself.

Anyway, I am challenging myself to be thankful for the annoyances and the delays and the frustrations as well as the stuff that makes a cowgirl say "Yeehaw!"

For instance, I gained a lot of weight after quitting smoking last June. How do I embrace being too fat with appreciation (zounds)??? Well, to start with, it's been almost 6 months and I'm smoke-free. I don't cough and choke and constantly wonder when I can have my next cigarette. As for the food issues, well, in most of the world, getting ENOUGH to eat is the main consideration. How much snivel-room is there, really, for living in a part of the world where so many of us have TOO MUCH?

Yes, I plan to take off the weight. I've done it before, and I can do it again. Only this time, I'll be BOTH slender AND a nonsmoker. :)

Stay tuned.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Just Call Me Lindarella

Check out the trio of Prince Charmings, western style.
(I actually intended to put this at the bottom of the blog, but there you go. It's a miracle I managed to post it at all.)
Would you believe in 60 years of life, the above play on my name (Lindarella) has never occurred to me before this morning??? (Or if it did, I've forgotten. :))

Not much gets by me!

I needed a fairy-tale name to describe a fairy-tale experience--my recent visit to Las Vegas as a guest of Harrah's and the world's greatest publisher, Harlequin. Working together, they came up with a promotion I probably couldn't have dreamed up on my own--and I have a pretty darn good imagination! The first event was a VIP affair in one of the lounges at the beautiful Paris Las Vegas--I couldn't believe how many people came! It was so much fun to sign books and chat with readers. A high-point (not that there were any low ones!) was meeting Susan and Bruce Harrell, winners of the all expenses paid trip to Vegas and a pair of rodeo tickets. Susan wrote a wonderful entry about why she wanted to bring her husband to the National Finals, the biggest event in rodeo. They were so sweet together--love is lovelier, whichever-time around. I did my heart good to see the way Susan and Bruce looked at each other.

The second event was an autographing in the lobby at the Paris. Readers received a free t-shirt and signed book, and they could have their picture taken with the three sexy cowboys playing the parts of my Texas McKettricks. (See above. As if you could have missed them.)
I'm all reinspired, after my trip. Ready to push up my sleeves, wade in and draft "Austin", the third and final story in this series. Writing is such isolated work, and meeting the readers really helps me to feel connected.
Be blessed.
See you tomorrow.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Under the Weather

But only temporarily!

I have some kind of bug, but I'll blog over the weekend, I promise. I still have a lot to tell you about Linda's Las Vegas Adventure.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

She's Baaaack!

Home from Las Vegas late last night--I swear, I slept like a dead woman.

Over the next few days, I'll tell you all about my wonderful experience down in Glitter Gulch--there is a LOT to say! Before I go any further, though, I have folks to thank. The wonderworkers at Paris Las Vegas did everything they could to make this old cowgirl feel like a queen. I had a beautiful suite and many other perks, and truly excellent meals. So my heartiest thanks to Christie and your fabulous crew for an experience I will NEVER forget. For heaven's sake, I even had my name up on the Bally's sign out on Las Vegas Blvd! Yes, there will be pictures, here and on Twitter. (And I will be telling you more about the two events I did at this gorgeous hotel.)

Michelle Renaud and Diana Mosher from my merely magnificent publishers, Harlequin, hit the ground running, like storm troopers. There was no need they didn't anticipate, and just being in their company was a lot of fun. They squired me around in limos, along with my niece/assistant, Jen, who was super efficient as always, and took us to some terrfic restaurants. The first was called Switch, and it's in the new Encore Hotel. Well, let me just tell you. I'm a country girl, and I was impressed! Every twenty minutes, the walls and even the ceilings change. Had me gaping, and thinking, as country girls will, "Well, golleeeeeee!" We visited Carnevino the next night, at the Palazzo. Again, an unforgetable experience.

We managed to hit Cowboy Christmas yesterday, for a couple of hours. Just long enough to put the usual dent in my bank account. :)

It was a flying trip, with practically zero free time, and I didn't go to the rodeo, as I usually do, nor did I see Steve Miller, Flint Rassmussen, and most of my other NFR buddies. It was just one of those crazy years.

I bought some great stuff at Cowboy Christmas. Watch for pix on this blog and on Twitter, and I'm working on getting some prizes from Maverick Rose up on the website soon. I go straight to their booth every year (okay, right after I stop by Montana Silversmiths to say hi to my pals there), to see what's new.

Today, I'm mostly planning to recover and do some Christmasy stuff.

There is only one thing that could have been better than being in on the celebrations down in the desert, and that's being home.

More tomorrow.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Pinch Me

I think I'm actually finished with the new book. :)

"Tate" and "Garrett", the first two stories in the Texas McKettricks trilogy, are strong books, and I'm so proud of them. I won't pretend writing them was easy--for some reason, they were harder than most of their predecessors have been. I hope it means I'm growing as a writer--even though I've been publishing books since 1983 (yikes) and writing them for much longer than that--I think it's important to polish old skills and master new ones and I really try.

You deserve the best story I can possibly deliver.

During the writing of these stories, my art went to a new level. It was as if a dam broke or something; all this color and texture just appeared. I learned some great new techniques--favorite website in this regard is Suzi Blu's wonderful Les Petit Academy. She's funny, she's fun, and she's a great teacher. I'm in her Angels class, which is offered online, and I'm loving it. I will be sure to post my angels as I paint them--there are three paintings in the course.

Podcast of the day:
Stuff you missed in history class, on iTunes.

How will I spend my weekend?

Well, I'll be getting ready to head down to Vegas on Monday for an exciting visit, so be sure to either watch the blog or tune in on December 10, when I will be back home, with a lot of stories to tell. In my experience, Las Vegas hotels aren't the easiest ones to blog from--they do not want you staying in your room, tapping away at your computer, so the wireless set-up isn't always that great. :) (No, siree, they'd rather you were downstairs, tapping away on a slot machine!)

I need to buy some clothes--this is a Fat Year, darn it, because I quit smoking on June 23--because nothing fits. :(

I hope to do some art work, too. That's my personal therapy.

More later.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I Keep Saying This, But...

I really, really think I'm going to finish "Garrett" today! I did some polishing yesterday, making changes my editor asked for, etc. I'm so excited!

After "Garrett", I'll be taking a short (but glamorous) break to head down to Las Vegas, for some National Finals Rodeo festivities. I'll be appearing at Paris with a lot of Hunky Cowboys. (Yes, Linda plays Las Vegas.) I would love to see each and every one of you there, but if you can't make it, not to worry. I will be tweeting. I will be Facebooking. I will be blogging and posting pictures. You will probably all stand up and shout in unison, "Enough already!!!!"

I will tell you that I got to see the video book trailer HQN made for the Texas McKettricks, and all I've got to say about that (right now) is WOW!!! It will be up on the website soon, so you can see my good-lookin' boys.

The weather is cold today, but the sky is clear, so I'm thinkin' sunshine.

Sadie has the day off from exercise, and she's sleeping away. My kitchen (where I'm writing this) is being taken over by art supplies. Somehow, they sneak up from my studio/craft room downstairs and before I know it, I'm surrounded. I am indeed my mother's daughter.

Love you, Mom.

Keep on keeping on. After all, what else can we do?

(Podcast of the day: The News from Lake Woebegone, Garrison Keillor. I love this guy.)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

December Again

It's lovely out today--frost shimmering on everything, but the sun is shining. The pines in the draw stand tall and green and sparkly. Today, I'm celebrating what is instead of resisting what isn't. :)

I've been writing--I'm putting the finishing touches on "Garrett", and making lots of wonderful discoveries in the art realm.

I've really gotten into podcasts, too. I mean, there is some FASCINATING stuff out there. What are my favorites? Craftcast, with Alison Lee. Craftypod, with Sister Diane. Stuff You Missed in History Class. (Wow. This last one is terrific!) All are available on iTunes, and probably on their websites. I'm checking out some others that are very promising, but I don't want to recommend them until I'm sure.

Make it a happy day.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Some of my art

This is a 12x12 beeswax collage I call "Veiled". It's a Christmas gift for a good friend.
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Monday, November 30, 2009


The little Arabian sweetie-mare.
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Banjo and Coco

Mother and son.
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My first ever horse. She started it all!
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My little paint pony, named for Robert E Lee's magnificent horse--which looked completely different. :)
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Hello, Monday!

Well, as you can see, I've discovered the art of posting pictures to my blog. Where this will all end is anybody's guess. To say I tend to get carried away with things like this would be the understatement of the day--week--month--YEAR.

Expect to see strange and amazing things--and lots of fun shots of my big adventure, coming up in Las Vegas, at the National Finals Rodeo, in December. I'll be there from the 7th to the 9th, so it's a flying trip, but trust me, there will be plenty to blog about. (That many cowboys in Wranglers? Be still, my beating heart.)

I wish I were skinnier, though. I quit smoking last June, and I've put on a few pounds. Oh to be BOTH a nonsmoker AND a size 8. It's back to Weight Watchers for me, right after the holidays.

Finally, I'll be finishing "Garrett" today, and I am so happy about that. Since this is a trilogy, I don't have to say good-bye to the story people quite yet. Beginning soon, and working hit and miss through December and REALLY HARD in January, I'll be starting "Austin", the final book in the Texas McKettricks series.

And so, it's back to Blue River, Texas. It's Big Scene day.

Yee-haw! Open the gate, boys, I'm ready to ride!

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Thanksgiving

I was working yesterday--and the big hoopala is planned for Christmas, since I'm joining Wendy and Jeremy in Santa Monica then--so I figured I'd just fix the turkey--whenever. Use that nifty deep fryer I bought specially from QVC--I cannot resist a gadget--and let everybody drop by when and if they pleased to fill a plate and nuke it. Not exactly Norman Rockwell, I admit, but, hey, I was happy.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the handy-dandy turkey fryer fell into the Some Assembly Required category. In other words, you had to snap on the little plastic feet and then screw them into place. I couldn't find the screws OR the screwdriver, and there was No Way I was lighting a fire under a gallon and a half of cooking oil unless the thing was darn secure.

So I gave the bird the minimal required prep--I washed it--and put it in the oven to do its thing. It's been in for about an hour when along comes Larry, the Canadian Wrangler, and Mary Ann's husband. He says, no problem. Finds the screws. Attaches the fryer's feet. Ready to roll.

Except that it takes an hour just to heat up the oil. Interestingly, only about 45 minutes to cook the actual turkey, but go figure.

The hell with it, we said, after some consultation. (We say that a lot around the Triple L.)

So we never plugged in the turkey fryer, and I took the pasty-poultry out of the oven and fridged it. We all went to the casino, where we played slot machines and ate at the buffet.

We're having turkey TODAY.

Even as I write these words, the oven is heating up.

There you go. You've got to be adaptable in this world.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Foggy Thanksgiving Morning

There is a cloud resting in the valley below my house. How lovely it is.

Today, I'm especially grateful.

For my loved ones, human and furry.

For my freedom, and those who preserve it for me.

For the first responders, the brave ones who run toward any disaster, in order to help, and not away.

For my home.

For books and art and music.

For way too many things to list here.

And certainly for you, dear reader.

May you be blessed, now and always.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkeys in the Trees

They're out there, windy and cool as it is, trying to snug down in the inadequate branches of tiny trees along my driveway. This morning, I watched with a smile as one HUGE turkey bounced precariously on a low branch, while another, below on the ground, jumped and jumped, trying to catch one of the few remaining leaves. It was almost as though they were working in concert, except that turkeys, whatever their good points, are not smart. They've been known to drown by turning their heads up in the rain.

In case you're worried, these turkeys are obviously not starving. Some of them must weigh 25 pounds, or even more. Feeding them would be false kindness--plus, I had an uncle who fed wild turkeys, and they became so plentiful that they would peck at his front door at feeding time! No sir, I learned my lesson trying to feed birds in Arizona. The pigeons came and muscled out the small birds and every roof in the neighborhood had crap on it. Fortunately, these patient and good-natured folks understood about the crazy writer lady at the end of the road and still liked me.

I'm so close to finishing the book! Another chapter done yesterday, and it's a good one. I love sharing the storyworld with my characters. Roaming around Blue River, Texas, tracking rustlers and all the rest. It's a writer's life for me.

Also, before I head for Blue River, I have a new art product to mention--it's called Liquid Pencil. Graphite that can be mixed with water or medium and applied with a brush. LOVE IT. Produces a great "grunge" effect, which is what we're going for on Suzi Blu's Petit Academy. I'm proud to say some of my art work has been posted there, now that I know how to upload photos, and I'm loving the classes I'm in.

And so, for today, adieu.

I'll be right here, counting my blessings.

Dogs on the kitchen dog-bed.
Horses in the barn.
Cats roaming wherever they darned well please. :)
And turkeys in the trees.

Who could ask for anything more?

Not this cowgirl.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I love Tuesdays. Like Thursdays, they are buckle-down-and-tend-to-business days. By Tuesday, one is over the shock of Monday, and has yet to reach Wednesday--over the hump day, they call it--when a lot of people inevitably start thinking about...Friday.

Tuesdays are faded quilt days. They are watercolor days. They are lovely, tea in china cups days.

Tuesdays, especially at this time of the year, are days to have split pea soup simmering in a crockpot. New books and DVDs come out on Tuesdays. I plan on lighting a fire, writing a new chapter, and doing some sketching, painting backgrounds, or whatever. Just as long as it involves paint, paper and/or glue, and is messy. :)

See you Wednesday. No doubt most of us (the lucky ones) will be thawing out turkeys and shaking out tablecloths.

All the things we have to be grateful for? The start of a thousand other blogs.

Enjoy your Tuesday. It has charms all its own.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Slushy Monday

It snowed. Then it rained. Now, of course, we have slush. You don't see paintings of slush. You don't read poems about it. It's just--slushy.

Lest you think I'm feelin' blue, it isn't so. I painted and drew this weekend, and even managed to post a couple of my sketches to Suzi Blu's Petit Academy, where I am a student. This is a big accomplishment for me. Drum roll, please. (I'm also taking an online course from

I spent yesterday reading "Garrett", making notes and minor revisions. I expect to finish the story this week, and I'm eager to barrel right on into "Austin", which is the conclusion of the trilogy. Stepping back and taking a good look at the story was a wise decision--it's good. You're going to like it.

I bought a turkey on Saturday. Will be trying out my turkey deep-fryer from QVC. :)

Until tomorrow.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Yesterday's Story

I slipped into a parallel universe. That's the only way to describe it. :)

I had every intention of doing everything I usually do in a day. But it just didn't happen. (Well, beyond normal care and feeding of the animal kingdom, anyway.) I never got dressed, actually. I mostly just sat around and stared at things. :)

I did one constructive thing yesterday, and that was a beeswax collage, incorporating one of my own drawings. Attempts to photograph the great big turkeys swaying in the branches of the little bitty trees were not successful. I am undaunted.

Today, I'm back from the other universe. I plan on dressing, writing and generally moving on with my life.

If I'm going to be doing some version of time-travel, though, I'd really rather go back to the Arizona Territory and hang out with the original McKettricks...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


When Mary Ann and Larry told me they could see our large flock of wild turkeys swaying in the limbs of the small trees in front of my house of a morning, from their place across the road, I thought they were pulling my leg. You have to see these birds in person to believe how BIG some of them are--as in, none of them are in any Thanksgiving danger because they wouldn't fit in anything smaller than an industrial oven.

The front of my house is lovely, and it does overlook the pasture, where the horses are, or will be, after the Canadian Wrangler brings them their room service breakfasts in their snug stalls and turns them out to take the air :) Most of my life is lived at the back of the house, as my office, studio and kitchen, and in summer the deck garden, are all on this side. So, although the turkeys regularly parade past the fence and down into the draw, thus driving my Yorkie bananas with excitement, I have not noticed them trying to nest in my relatively small trees. It's a sight, I'm here to tell you. I got a phone-camera shot this morning and posted it to Twitter; I plan to get better pictures next time, with my other camera. (These robins on sterioids fled soon after I opened the front door.) In the meantime, the large brown blobs in the tree limbs ARE turkeys.

Trust me. Would I lie to you?


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Christmas Tree

This has to be some kind of record for me. As of yesterday, I have a 4 foot Christmas tree set up in my office. It is white, with pastel lights, and it looks so pretty in the dark. (I have always loved the way Christmas trees look in the dark.)

Why so early? Well, I'll be in Las Vegas for three days during the rodeo--Harrah's and my wonderful publishers have teamed up to put on the most amazing promotion for my books and for me. I will be giving you lots more details as I get them and also tweeting pictures like mad, once this begins.

That's reason one for putting up the tree early.

Reason two is, I'll be leaving for Santa Monica to spend the holiday with my daughter and future son-in-law on December 21. On the 23rd, we're going to Disneyland to see all the lights and decorations--watch for tweets on that, too.

In the meantime, I want to look at shining Christmas trees, without putting up the big fifteen footer that usually goes in the living room. Ergo, I purchased two prelit white trees (one is for my bedroom) and ornaments in silver and aqua.

I'm into enjoying Christmas this year. :)

We might even have to downgrade my personality type from A-minus to B-plus.

Or not.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I spent the whole weekend relaxing. Painting. Reading. You get the idea. In fact, I became SO relaxed that I'm running late with just about everything, including this blog.

My original intention was to work this weekend, as I am so close to finishing "Garrett". Instead, I played with art supplies and allowed the Writing Muse to rest. Now, the Muse is ready to create, big-time.

I'm onto something here.

Maybe instead of being a Type-A personality, I can ratchet it down to Type-A-minus.

Stranger things have happened.

Stay tuned.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Snow Predicted

Okay, it's only an inch, scheduled to start coming down at mid-day, but I'm excited. YES, I said 'excited'. After all, snow is beautiful. (Repeat after me, snow is beautiful, snow is beautiful...)

Cold weather has definitely kicked in--all the horses have new blankets to keep them snug when they're out in the pasture during the day. Sadie-beagle wears a blue fleece coat to and from her exercise therapy classes. Bernicie has a red one, but she hangs out here with me most of the time and doesn't need it.

Today, I'll be working on "Garrett"--the process, though rigorous, seems almost magical. I sit down at my desk in my lovely office and close my eyes for a moment, and suddenly it's as if I'm in Blue River, Texas, in the middle of the action.

I can't believe they pay me to do this.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans and Active Duty Personnel:


Thank you for sacrificing so much to preserve the freedom we cherish. Your courage, persistence, dedication, honor and constant heroism, be you male or female, are an inspiration to all of us.

I won't pretend it doesn't break my heart to see you in airports and other places of transit, dressed in your desert fatigues, saying good-bye to husbands and wives, tiny babies and small children and tearful elders trying hard to be half as brave as you are.

Like Bob Hope, I dream of a world where you can stay right here at home, with us, always.

Alas, we must make do with another sort of world for now, and carry on, and you are the main reason we can do that.

Thank you for your service.

For the example you set.

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

975 Faces to Go

I've set a goal to draw 1000 faces, as many of you know, and I try to draw at least one every day. Some are better than others, of course, but my rule is: No tearing them out of the sketchbook.

I want to be able to look back over my work someday, around face 1002, and chart my progress. I'm learning structure now, to create contour with shading. It's HARD.

You might be wondering what all this art talk has to do with writing books, which is my day job and my passion, and that's reasonable. Art trains anyone, but especially writers, to look more closely at things around them--to see more deeply. And somehow that informs the writing with a new level of reality, so the reader can experience the story right along with the characters.

The basis of art, the wise ones say, is learning to SEE what's there, and not what we expect to see.

The same applies to writing, it seems to me.

And to life.

Monday, November 09, 2009

My Weekend

I attended Kathy Bannon's memorial service on Friday, in her hometown of Kettle Falls, WA. I fully expected to work on Saturday and Sunday, as I'm on a deadline and "Garrett" is flowing so well. Alas, saying good-bye to a dear friend and cousin took a lot more out of me than I expected.

On Saturday morning, I took my time with my journaling and did a few sketches. Later I visited JoAnn's and Spokane Art Supply, which is one of my favorite haunts. When I got home, Sadie and Bernice threw a welcome party, as they do whenever I come back from anywhere, be it the mailbox of the Great Wall of China.

Alas, I ended up playing with paints from then on. I did backgrounds, watched videos, experimented with colors and textures. I napped and read and listened to books on my iPod. I neither tweeted nor blogged.

I was totally self-indulgent. This would normally arouse a lot of guilt--protestant work ethic and all that. Zero guilt this time, though, because there's a reason why 'you've got to refill the well' has become a trite old saying--because t's been true so long.

Be kind, not only to others, but to yourself.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

More on Gratitude

It just seems natural to write more on gratitude, so here's my Thursday list:

I am thankful that:

1. The book is coming along, and I'm loving the writing process.

2. I start an online art class on January 29, and I'm so excited!

3. My editor, Joan, is an angel. She brings out the best in me.

4. Sadie and Bernice are here in the office with me, Sadie snoozing in the recliner.

5. It's cold outside, but the sun is shining.

All simple things. All good. Try it--you can come up with at least five things to be thankful for, I'm thinking.

Tomorrow I will be attending my cousin Kathy Bannon's memorial service, so there might not be a blog.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

November Thoughts

I suppose it's appropriate that, with the approach of Thanksgiving, I am thinking a lot about gratitude. As my dad used to say, if you can get out of bed and put your feet on the floor, it's a good day. I heartily agree--now that I'm older and wiser.

Back when the Simple Abundance craze was on, I started keeping a gratitude journal--simply put, in case you were in a parallel dimension when Oprah championed this most humble and most holy of virtues, you make a practice of recording 5 or more things, each and every day, that you are grateful for. Obviously, this causes you to look for good things during the day, thus there is a positive focus.

I must have a dozen of those little green books, neatly filled with one-sentence thank you's. Somewhere along the line, I let the habit fall away--it wasn't that I wasn't grateful. I was just busy. Little by little, things got to me--like that big snowstorm last December--though mostly they were really small annoyances.

Recently, I have gotten back into the habit of keeping a gratitude journal. There are other factors, of course, but I think this is one of the main reasons why I feel a little better every day than I did the day before. I've realized that even in the darkest times, I had heaps to be grateful for. Counting blessings really DOES seem to attract still more blessings.

I recommend this highly. No need to buy a special journal for the purpose, unless of course you really want to--a composition book or plain notebook will do.

Among the many things I am grateful for, here are 5 for today, not necessarily in order of importance. :)

1) Sadie-beagle weighs 31 pounds. Finding a trainer and getting the weight off my sweet dog was a miracle.

2) I am no longer a smoker. Ditto. This seemed utterly impossible at one time.

3) I have the most amazing daughter, and I get to spend Christmas with her this year!

4) I have the best crew of ranch-hands ever--people who show up, suit up, and Get 'er Done.

5) When I sit down to write this blog, I know you're out there, ready to read it. Thank you for showing up so faithfully, and for buying all those books, too.

Be blessed and be kind. You never know what other folks are going through.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Artist of a Thousand Faces

It stands to reason that if I do something 1000 times, I will get pretty good at it. And because I want to be a better artist, I have set a goal for myself, to draw at least 1000 faces in my sketchbook. I'm making real progress already, folks--I've been posting sketches on Twitter (@lindalaelmiller) for the past few days.

Of course my real love is and will always be writing stories. I mean, I can't believe they pay me to do this!

My sister Pam arrived safely back in Scottsdale last night, and was happy to be home and see her kitties. Her husband was away for an important job interview--we're all crossing our fingers, because this would bring them back to the NW.

I just proof read the beautiful printed newsletter that will be going out to everyone on the snail mail list. You might want to make sure you're signed up, because it's a wing-dinger and a dandy. There's even a blurb written by my baby brother, Jerry "Bubbie" Lael. :)

Mom forgot her cane after her overnight visit--it will be delivered to her tomorrow--and every time I look at it, standing in a corner in the kitchen, I remember that scene in the original version of Miracle on 34th Street. At the end of the movie, a very small Natalie Wood makes the hero (John Payne?) and heroine (the incomparable Maureen O'Hara) stop the car because they're passing the dream house, the one she asked Santa for. They stop. They all go into the house. And there is the cane, proof that Kris Kringle had indeed delivered on his promise.

It must be getting close to Christmas.....

Monday, November 02, 2009


My Mom and sister, Pam, arrived yesterday and spent the night. We had a great time catching up on our visiting and playing with art supplies.

Pam will be returning to her home in Scottsdale, AZ today, and Mom will be heading back up north to her retirement community.

I'll be going back to Blue River, Texas, to rejoin the Texas McKettricks.

All kinds of exciting things are in the works--keep an eye on the website for updates.

More tomorrow.

Friday, October 30, 2009


This IS Friday, isn't it?

I'm so caught up in my story, "Garrett", book 2 of the Texas McKettricks, I have to stop and think about what day it is.

Sadie is off to her class today, and Bernice and the kits and I will be hanging out downstairs, in the office.

I'm having a lot of fun in my studio, too--I slip in there on breaks and slap some paint onto something--:) It always gives me a thrill. I've enrolled in Suzi Blu's Les Petit Academy online, and I'm learning to draw and shade faces. Not the super-realistic kind, but the artsy ones. Suzi is quite a character, an excellent teacher, a very good artist. She has a knack for making learning fun and includes PDF files that are really helpful. The other big discovery is I love this one! You can rent how-to art videos for as long as a month and watch them right on your computer. An idea whose time has come.

Of course we're only in the pioneering stages of online studies--all the more exciting to think of what the future holds.

Have you seen "A Creed Country Christmas" in the stores yet? It has a lovely cover, and the story is very close to my heart. Lincoln Creed, the hero, is the stand-up, straight-shooting cowboy who founded the Creed ranch, back in the early 1900s. His lady is Julianna Mitchell, a woman of heart and compassion and unbelievable strength. My favorite characters are the children--and having it all happen at Christmas was just magical.

Which reminds me. Christmas is coming.



Thursday, October 29, 2009

Let It....SNOW?

Woke up to the first snowfall of the season this morning, and it's still coming down. Lots of small, busy, swirling flakes. Cha Cha-kitty is sitting at the back door as I write this, looking out and thinking, well, who knows what? Sadie and Bernice have both curled up on their beds for a little kitchen-snooze. (The kitchen is Sadie's favorite place, since there's always a chance of falling food.)

This is a perfect writing day. It's cozy, and I love cozy.

So that's one thing I can put in my gratitude journal--one of about a million.

Be happy. It's a choice, you know.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sister Pam

My youngest sister, Pam, is in Spokane for a visit. I met her at the airport yesterday and she followed me home in her rental car so we could catch up. (She's actually staying with our mom.) We both speak the same language: ART. Pam is an exceptional polymer clay artist, but her creativity is boundless. She made the neatest miniature table, all from recycled materials--it's an impressive piece of work. Mom, Pam and I are getting together for lunch today.

I'll be working around my writing quota for today. :)

One of my favorite things about art (and life) is the high of an ah-ha moment, a discovery, a little buzz of WOW. I try something in my studio or at my computer--it works--and I'm thrilled. If it doesn't work, that's okay, too, because I've learned something, and it's full-circle back to discovery again. It's win-win!

How I ramble.

So, anyway, welcome to town, Pam.

See you at lunch.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Here Comes the Sun

Today's weather is LOVELY--really heart-lifting. (My sister, Pam, is flying up from Phoenix for a visit, and must have sent the Arizona sunshine on ahead.)

I had a very good writing day yesterday--it was rainy and gloomy out, but I was snug in my office downstairs, engaged in the world of the Texas McKettricks. (Not a bad world, all in all.)

Around four pm, I tweeted (on Twitter, which must make me a twit) that the flu had just hit me like a bus. The last time I felt like that, I was on a plane home from the Far East with Debbie Macomber, and I literally knew the moment when I went from well to sick, and it WAS a moment. I was in and out of bed for three weeks. Yeesh. Not only that, but it was December.

Well, THIS time, brewing a hot toddy and taking a nice-warm (my daughter's and my personal shorthand for 'nice warm bath') must have done the trick. I plugged myself into a book on my iPod and snuggled down and lo and behold, I'm much better today. Ready to write and dabble a little with my paints and generally enjoy my good life.

My thanks for the many condolence emails concerning the loss of our Kathy. It means a lot. And she'd be the first to chide me into action if I sat around acting like a sad-sack. :) So I'll do what she'd tell me to do if she were here: Get on with it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Cousin Kathy

Kathy Bannon passed away this weekend.

She was older than the rest of us, and growing up, she was pretty bossy. We used to tease her unmercifully for reading so many Harlequins (how ironic is that?) and she'd either dismiss us with a disdainful wave and a sniff--or chase us all over the farmyard. :)

Kathy loved to read, she was a fabulous cook and, in her day, she was very active in various amateur theater groups--I believe she actually performed in "Nunsense", but probably lots of other things, too. She built and painted sets, helped make costumes, and directed.

She traveled all over the world--in fact, I think her adventurous nature prompted me to travel to faraway places with strange sounding names, as well. Just a few years ago, she spent Christmas in a boat on the Amazon, for Pete's sake. Even as a young teacher, she'd work two jobs during a summer, save every cent, and spend the following summer exploring some exotic locale.

There was so much to admire and love about Kathy.

She was a remarkable teacher--English was her field--and some of her favorite authors were (besides moi, of course) Nora Roberts and Jayne Ann Krentz. We shared a passion for books, Kathy and I, and I will miss her recommendations and our discussions.

Yesterday, standing in Barnes and Noble, it hit me with a whallop. Kathy's gone. How can that be?

I know she touched many, many young lives with her firm but humorous manner. She had a way of calling a person on b.s. without making them feel foolish--a real gift.

Kathy's beloved cat, Rudy, I am grateful to say, is happily ensconced at Mary Ann's, and has been for some time, since her mistress has been ill for a while. Mary Ann's promise to care for Rudy no matter what meant a lot to Kathy--and Mary Ann keeps her promises. (Rudy stayed here with me for a long time, but my cats, especially Cha Cha, picked on her too much. At Mary Ann and Larry's place, she is the only kitty.)

For now, Kathy, good-bye.
I'll miss you, big-time.
And I'll see you again some day.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Just in time for the weekend, I'm recombobulating. :) As I can thank my mom for the word 'discombobulation', so I extend felicitations of gratitude to my sister, Sally, who emailed to ask if I was 'recombobulated'.

Weatherwise, we're having a rather dreary day. Rain, rain and more rain--Sadie did not want to go to her exercise session today. Yesterday was her tenth birthday, though, and she got a little extra lean hamburger as a treat, so she needs to work out. (Thank heaven she can't talk, because I know she'd have a few remarks to make about the ironies here.) Mary Ann is out doing errands and Jen is on vacation and the Canadian Wrangler is wrangling, so it's quiet in this house. Just Bernice and the kitties and me, for now anyway.

So, it's off to work. My office is so cozy, I look forward to going there every morning. Maybe I'll even light a fire.

Until Monday....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I think that's a word, anyway.
And it certainly describes me, today.
I could NOT get to sleep last night, no matter what, partly because I couldn't find my iPod and I'm addicted to my nightly book-listening time. (After searching three floors, I finally found the missing item right where I'd left it--on the stair railing in the entry way. ) Yikes.
It was four a.m. when I closed my eyes and six a.m. when the dogs and kitties, who had slept just fine, thank you very much, decided it was time to start the new day.
A nap?
I've got to admit, that sounds pretty good right now.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More Fog

Fog words have been going through my mind this morning, since we have more of the stuff...

You might say the draw behind my house is fog-swathed--or fog-clogged--

This is what happens if I have too much free time.

Best get back to the story.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Fog Blog 2

I awakened to find the deep draw behind my house brimming with fog this morning. It was beautiful, and I couldn't help seeing it as something of a metaphor. Things I've been 'in the fog' about seem clearer these days.

The weather is cold, and I am grateful to be snug in a warm, well-lit house, with coffee on hand and the dogs nearby, snoring away. (Sadie has exercise today, and Mary Ann will be coming to pick her up around nine.) The cats have been outside and gone back to their mysterious business, whatever that is.

I had big plans to work all weekend, but I didn't. Instead, I slept, read, painted, and babied myself a lot. (Thanks, Universe, I needed that.) I finished reading "Conscious Living" on my Kindle; I came across this book on an artist's website and recommend it highly. The author is Gay Hendricks. I downloaded Barnaby Conrad's "Time Is all We Have" from, too. Conrad is an artist/writer and this is his account of going into treatment at the Betty Ford Center. I liked it a lot--memoirs are my favorites, at least currently. I never fail to learn something.

The new painting is smaller than others--16X16. I will post pictures on Twitter and Facebook later today, although it isn't finished.

And then there's my OWN book--I love this story.

Until tomorrow.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Report

Sadie is in the dog house. She got hold of an old bag of Pupperoni that should have been thrown away long ago and gnawed her way into it during the night. I found the evidence this morning. :) Good chance her weight will be up today! (And all the low cupboards are going to be cleaned out.)

I had a good, productive day of writing yesterday, even having to run out for a mammogram (all clear, thank Heaven)--I was definitely in the zone. I'm still feeling a bit flu-ish but sitting at my desk isn't all that demanding, so that's where I'll be.

Or on Etsy. Or Craftgawker. Or Twitter. Or Facebook.

There are certainly a lot of fun distractions in this world.

Alas, I will save those things, as well as slipping into my studio to paint, for breaks.

I promise.

No, really.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Good Morning!

I'm feeling restored on this sunny fall morning. Nothing like a little sunshine to raise my spirits.

Plans for today--"working" on the new book (this shouldn't really be called "work")--maybe putting a few touches on some paintings I've started. I've been using a lot of Gallery Glass lately--it's faux stained glass, available at Michael's or JoAnn's--and I love the way it looks on canvas.

Have posted pix of two pieces on Facebook and Twitter. Favorite comment so far came from my cousin, Barbara, who is an accomplished artist, as are her mother and sister. She said my figure looked confused, like maybe she forgot the baby on the bus. :) We Laels. I gotta tell you, we're a little different. Every last one of us.

I have a mammogram this afternoon. Whoo-hoo! But aren't we lucky to live in a time where such things are available to us?

Cat Cha Cha is trying to eat my red roses. I would post a picture if the kitchen weren't so messy. :)

Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

There's a name for this kind of day...

Two of my favorite people, one my mother and one a long-dead writer, Gladys Tabor, who wrote wonderful books about a Connecticut farm called Stillmeadow, would call a rainy day like this one a "pencil-sharpening day". :) I love it.

For me, it will be a print-out-and-read-through-what-I've-written-so-far day. Picking up loose threads, weaving them in, and moving on. I love this story--"Garrett"--Book 2 in the Texas McKettricks series. It touches my heart in some very tender places.

I'm learning Twitter and Facebook. (Check Sadie out on Twitter--lindalaelmiller--she has her new blue coat on, and was VERY reluctant to go out to her trainer's for today's session.) YES! What's next--YouTube??? My own audio podcast, available on iTunes? As a matter of fact, I bought the equipment for podcasting, but I haven't learned to use it yet.

The trouble with life is that there are just too many wonderful things to see and do and learn about, aren't there? At least, that's my problem.

And as problems go, it's not so bad.

Stay dry. :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tap Dancing Again

Although I seem to have some kind of flu bug--no energy, coughing, aches and pains--I am feeling better about my life than I have in a long, long time.

It's one thing to create drama in my stories. It's another to create drama in my life.

My imagination is, to put it mildly, well-developed. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Why it's good is obvious: I get to write stories for a living. It's the right life, the best life, for me, and I'm grateful. Why it can be bad is trickier to explain and to recognize when it's happening. It seems I'm in costume and out there on stage tap-dancing myself into exhaustion before I realize that I'm doing it again. I'm dramatizing. Things are magnified--especially fears.

And I wake up with a knot of anxiety in my middle, like I did this morning.

Drat. I've been making another epic production of my life--cast of thousands, with camels and pyramids and miles of sand in the background--a stirring orchestral score, swelling to a crescendo. Maybe Charleton Heston, parting the Red Sea.

(Oh, for Pete's sake. Get over yourself, Linda Lee Lael. :) You're that little girl from Northport, and sometimes you're just plain astounded to find yourself living the dream. Hard to believe it's real, huh?)

Now, to push up my sleeves and do what I love. WRITING stories for you to read, instead of ones in my head, designed to scare the bejeebers out of me.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Shopping on Etsy and Other Indulgences

While I have yet to work up the courage to offer one of my own paintings for sale, I have a growing collection of what I would describe as folk art, most of which I find on Etsy, or by clicking to see who is following whoever is following me (sheesh, that was a mouthful) on Twitter. As you know if you've been reading this blog for a while, I plan to donate my net profits (after sales tax, shipping, etc.) to various charities--when I put something up on Etsy or eBay and IF anyone buys it. :)

There are some VERY talented artists out there in cyberspace, and I think it's wonderful. Really excellent stuff, and the prices are extremely reasonable. I buy only originals, never prints--and this is hard sometimes because I love the images. My choices are cheerful, brightly colored and usually small--some of my favorites, by an artist called Danita, are just 8x8 inches. I like Jane deRosier (may be misspelled)--Jane is GrittyJane on eBay and I have a lot of her angels and saints.

I've been a bit under the weather all weekend--not serious enough for a perscription, get well cards or homemade chicken soup (darn it) but barely enough energy to function. Don't be worried. :) I'm a tough ole cowgirl. Even though it's a holiday today, Mary Ann came to take Sadie for her exercise day--thank heaven for Mary Ann. I just don't feel strong enough to go driving anywhere, and Super Assistant, Jen, Sadie's normal chauffer, is away on vacation. I'm a little behind on the story though, and that worries me.

Have you ever been sucked into a book? This happened to me as I listened to a new story by Audrey Niffen-something--she's the author of "The Time Traveler's Wife"--and the story I heard was "Her Fearful Symmetry". Strange title for a fascinating piece of work about mildly creepy bunch of characters living next to a cemetery in England. (Go figure.) What drew me in was the ghost--I can't resist a good ghost story. This wasn't just a book, it was an experience. If you like mildly creepy ghost stories and good prose, you'll probably like this. I think it's much better than the other title, which was hard for me to follow.

And I digress. Again. Always.

I need to get to work.

Be blessed, be safe, and be kind. Kindness has never been more important, methinks, that it is right now.

Friday, October 09, 2009

A Great Time to be Me

I'm loving my life. True, it's not what everybody would want--there's a lot of stress and pressure, with so many critters and a payroll to meet. :)

I love my daughter--she's amazing.
(The rest of the family, too, of course!)

I love my work.

I love my dogs, cats and horses.

I love painting--mixed media is my thing.

I love my new haircut.

I love my Kindle 2 and my iPod. YES!

I love "That's Clever" on HGTV. (But WHERE are all the new arts and crafts shows, HGTV and DIY?)

I love my editor and my fabulous publisher and my incredible agent.

I love that I'm going to have a great time in Las Vegas during the rodeo!

See you Monday. Make it a good one.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

As the Seasons Turn

Most of my deck garden has gone on to the compost bin, although the tomatoes are still hanging in there. I will miss my beautiful flowers, but I know the ground must rest and restore itself before producing next year's heart-stoppingly gorgeous blooms.

There are a number of October birthdays in my family, so here are some happy wishes going out to:
Niece Kelly (yes, Auntie is late again, but your card is on it's way to your new address!)
Brothers-in-law, Jon Reily and Jim Lang--your cards are in the mail, and best wishes in the meantime. :)
First cousin Lee Bleecker--today's the day! Have a happy one!

Today will be a writing day, of course, with a brief trip to the hairdresser, much needed. My hair has gone wild again. It does that, no matter what the season.

Enjoy the moment.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

What I Will Soon Be "Reading"

Jeanette Walls, author of the fabulous "The Glass Castle", has a new book out, called "Half Broke Horses." Even as I write this blog, the latter is downloading straight into my iPod--now you know why 'reading' is in quotations at the top of this blog. I can hardly WAIT to start listening to Walls' latest--"The Glass Castle", which I read in print form, was so good I couldn't put it down. Not only that, but it got me hooked on personal memoirs. Can't get enough of 'em, ladies and gentlemen.

Although nothing replaces a good old-fashioned book kind of book, I admit to being a major fan of the recorded variety. At the end of a day at the computer, I'm often tired of looking at words, much as I love them, and prefer to listen. I'm one of's best customers, as you can imagine. I even like to listen to my OWN books sometimes, but only when they've been finished for a long, long time. Too soon, and I'm wanting to change this and change that and I just start fixating and that's no good, of course.

Today, more writing. I'm loving the new book, and I'm hoping you will, too. Eventually, I'll be able to download it from and maybe even be objective.

Or not.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Cool and Sunny

That's today's weather report from Spokane, Washington. :)

It is truly beautiful and close to perfect, as far as I'm concerned.

The horses have coats to wear--special blankets to keep them snug at night. Sadie-beagle's sweater from last winter is now much too big, so she's got a spiffy new fleece number coming in the mail, as does Bernice. Sadie is often still damp when Jen picks her up after her exercise days, so she does need something to keep her warm.

Memories of this year's Lael Reunion linger in my mind. My dear family. What a crazy, funny bunch.

Working on "Garrett" today, and loving this book, big-time. Once I've finished my writing for the day, I'll probably paint.

It's a good life.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Family Reunion 2009

We Laels met in Colville, Washington, at the Eagles Club, this past weekend, as we have done for years. It's always a good time--my family is big on storytelling (go figure), art work and just generally performing. The younger ones sing or read original poetry, and some of the elders do, too. One of the highlights was Uncle Larry's humorous eulogy--for himself. These Laels are a creative bunch, I'm here to tell you, and funny, too.

Not to mention interesting. Cousin Sheri plays a "psycho nurse" (her term, not mine) in John Carpenter's remake of "The Ward". She's also done some voiceovers for Disney, but we love her most for her comedy. She's hands down the funniest member of the family, and in this outfit, that's saying something.

We have lovely, crisp fall weather today. Sadie-beagle is feeling fiesty, now that she's slim and svelte, and we played a little fetch this morning. Interestingly, Sadie always thinks I should do the throwing AND the fetching. Her part, evidently, is just to bark and look cute.

It's a dog's life around here.

Friday, October 02, 2009


So many good things come to us by word-of-mouth. Quinoa, pronounced Keen-Wa according to the box, is one of those things. News to me, though I know a lot of you probably already know about this marvelous grain. It has three or four times as much protein as oatmeal, and some claim it is the original manna mentioned in the Bible. You can do about a million things with the stuff. A health-care professional told me about it--so of course I had to try it.

I'll be back on the recipe kick again soon, too. Just looking for slim-jeans friendly ones. :)

Have you seen the Texas McKettricks and the contest to win a trip to Vegas and attend the National Finals Rodeo? There's a link in the letter on the main page of this website.

Today is rainy and cloudy, but that's okay with me. (Fortunate, since the weather does not take orders from yours truly.) We're in for some beautiful weather next week--high sixties and sunshine! I guess it's what we used to call Indian summer.

The Lael reunion is this weekend in Colville, and I'll be attending. It kills me to leave this book, even for a day and a half, but family is family and blood is blood.

You can see Sadie-beagle's sad-dieter face on my Twitter page.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Writing and Painting

The two seem to be intertwined for me, at least these days.

The big piece I call my Renaissance Showgirl is done, except for signing and spraying to protect the paint. She emerged while I was writing "Tate", over a period of many days, a line here, a dab of paint there. That the two pieces--book and painting--are connected on some level seems pretty clear, although they aren't alike in any way.

I will be posting the finished painting on my Twitter page today. I have also posted pictures of both my new books, so you'll know what to look for. :) (

Now, as I compose "Garrett", book 2 in the Texas McKettricks trilogy, two new paintings are in the works. It is an interesting phenom, to say the least.

Mean Girl is on vacation. I'm Eating Sensibily, aka the only thing that works for me. I've already lost 4 pounds, which tells me this weight is more about holding onto things mentally than what I eat or don't eat.

This morning, I had Cheerios mixed with yogurt and a banana. Information you probably don't need. Trust me, it could have been worse.


Make it good.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Shift

I felt it yesterday. It's a mind-shift that happens when I've really made up my mind about something, like quitting smoking or taking off the after-stopping weight.

As you know if you read yesterday's blog, my intention is to eat mindfully. Consciously. I know how to do that, and I'm sure you do, too. Forget dieting.

And so another journey begins.

Our autumn weather is keenly beautiful--the blues seem bluer and the trees seem greener, and out front the aspen leaves are changing color, too. The crisp apple I ate as part of my mid-morning snack was incredibly delicious. I actually held that fruit and looked and it and wondered when was the last time I enjoyed an apple that much??? Maybe it took my tastebuds three months to come back, I don't know.

Here's what I do know. There are other shifts I need to make in my life. Maybe there are in yours, too. And that's okay.

Darn, that apple was good.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Will I Ever Learn? :)

I'm smart in a lot of ways, and I say that without bragging. I'm not, it would seem, the brightest bulb in the box when it comes to changing my diet.

Here's what happened. I quit smoking, and I started to put on weight. Since I'd kept my last weight loss off for nearly two years, I wasn't happy about that. I like wearing little jeans, and not just from vanity--I'm not actually a very big person, bone structure and height-wise. I don't feel like myself when I'm heavier.

So, okay. The most important thing is, I'm staying a nonsmoker, for good. I decided I was ready to stop the weight gain and--here's where the dim-bulb comes in--I wanted to do something that would be easy, a no-brainer, so to speak. (Truer than I am comfortable admitting, my friends.) I ordered Nutrisystem. After all, Marie Osmond looks pretty good, right? (Of course, she always did, didn't she?) In my imagination, I saw the steaming lasagna, the hamburgers, the good stuff. What arrived (because somehow I didn't find the good stuff option, which of course involves up-ordering) is a bunch of dry "food" packaged to last into the next millenium. Well, that's my plan. I'm keeping it in the garage in case of disaster.

What was I thinking? Will I never learn?

I would have been better off to buy Weight Watchers frozen entrees, which I at least know and like, until I got back in the portion control groove.

This blog is in no way intended to dissaude you from trying Nutrisystem (my brother-in-law has had great success with it and likes the food), if that's your thing. I'm just telling you about my own experience: this is not for me.

I need to learn to trust myself again, where food is concerned, and I can do that.


And again.

And a few times more after that.

It is interesting, being me. :)

Make it a good day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Back to Work

I wrote on Saturday, but on Saturday evening, late, my long-time friend Vicki Webster and her long-time friend, Sandy, arrived for a visit. (Sandy is now my friend, too.) I intended to work all day Sunday, as well, because Vicki is the type of friend to understand these things, but in the end, I didn't. I needed this time with my friends, whether I could spare it or not, and I'm glad I took it. We had breakfast at Northern Quest Casino--played slots for an hour or so--went to Walmart, came home. Later, we headed out again, to Michael's, where I bought more of the Gallery Glass paints I've been using on the piece I call my Renaissance Showgirl. I ended up doing her entire headdress in various colors and the effect if striking--stained glass. Except for finishing off the edges of the canvas and spraying the whole thing with some kind of protective coating, in two weeks, when the paint has cured properly, she's finished.

I so love this piece. In fact, if I'd seen it in a shop or a gallery, done by someone else, I would probably have bought it.

Check her out on my Twitter page:

There are few things I love more than painting--writing leaps instantly to mind. It's hard work sometimes, no denying that, but it is also such a joy. I can go and live in my story world, with my story people, and then slip back out into my own, to rejoin loved ones, dogs, cats and horses. To enjoy friends and breakfast and slot machines and visits to Michael's and all manner of good things.

I feel restored this morning. Ready to return to Blue River, Texas in a big way.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Read all about it!

On October 1, a wonderful contest begins. The winner will be flown to Las Vegas to attend the National Rodeo Finals with me!

Watch the website for info.

Inner Mean Girl

I spotted her this morning when I was journaling. My inner mean girl, I mean. Although she has the occasional critical comment to make about other people, the truth is, she mainly picks on me. And I have gotten so used to her voice that I usually don't even question what I'm hearing.

M.G. has plenty to say about the weight I gained after I quit smoking ("How could you have let this happen--again?? Don't you ever learn?") There's no credit for the accomplishment of breaking the nicotine habit, though. M.G. says: "That's what you get for starting smoking in the first place."

My most cherished dreams are fair game, too. When I dare to hope that I might meet a nice man, one I could love and respect, and he might love and respect me right back, M.G. says: "All the good ones are taken" or "Men your age want younger women."

I've got to tell you, I was raised a small town/country girl, and if anybody outside my own head ever talked to me like that, I'd probably tie right into them, make them a new face. Rip their lips off. You get the highly exaggerated idea. :)

And I'd be stooping right down to Mean Girl's level, if I replied in kind. So I'm taking a compassionate approach, because I think, deep down, M.G. truly believes she's protecting me. She probably just needs some love and reassurance.

Do you have an inner Mean Girl/Guy?

Careful. They can be very convincing. :)

Make it a great weekend.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Light of Fall

Autumn has its own special quality of light, doesn't it? I'm searching for words to describe it, but so far, they elude me. Northern Italy has its own unique brand of light, too, which is why it is so popular with artists, and the same is true of Paris.

Yet another reason why fall is my favorite season.

Early October always brings the Lael Reunion--and I'll be there for sure, despite another big deadline. This is the only time I see many of my relatives, and our numbers have been dwindling over the past few years. My Aunt Lil, Uncles Jack and Wes, and, of course, my dear dad. He always enjoyed the reunion so much--friends, family, fun and flowers, those were the things that were important to Dad.

Much love to all of you. I must get back to Blue River, where Garrett and Julie are waiting to tell their story. :)

Until tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I stepped on the scale today. I have SO been in denial.

I knew I'd gained some weight--I quit smoking 3 months ago today, after all.

Well, it turns out I gained about twice what I thought I did!

Here's what I feel good about, though. I can do something about this. I can be BOTH a slender person AND a nonsmoker.

I've done Weight Watchers so many times and, frankly, with my current deadlines, I just don't need another commitment on the calendar. What to do, what to do?

I'm taking a page out of Marie Osmond's book. I signed up for Nutrisystem. I admit it, I want something that works quickly and doesn't take a lot of thinking, because all my energies are going into my book at this point.

Darn it, I have a big time coming up at the rodeo in Vegas this December, and I want to look good in my jeans.

So, no more recipes for a while. No more Boeuf Bourg. in the immediate future, but that's okay.

I'll keep you posted on my progress, of course--you can expect to read more about the art, the critters, and the preparation of my deck garden for winter.

I love knowing you're out there.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Every Day, In Every Way...

I am getting better and better! Recently, my Doc weaned me off one kind of med and ramped me up on another, and for a while there, that was one mean bull to ride. :) I managed to make it to the buzzer, though, and I might even be in the money. (Whole lotta rodeo jargon rolling out today.)

The weather is beautiful, again. It will be hotter today than yesterday. I know I will write, participate in a conference call, and visit my dentist. (Into every life, a little rain must fall.)

I posted an ATC on my Twitter page today--I've only got five, but I'm looking for trades. There will be other editions, in other colors, but this is numero uno. Send me a picture of your proposed trade on Twitter if you're interested in a swap. If this proves to be a viable and wieldy way to trade, there will be many more offerings. Just one rule: ATCs must be 3 1/2 by 2 1/2. Go wild!

The Showgirl painting (aka What I Do When I'm Working Through a Story Problem), is coming along nicely. I keep adding to her magnificent head-dress. She's so gorgeous, she's inspired me to do another version in reds and golds. Renaissance Showgirl is 30x30, mostly in green, copper and blue. She's a dandy! When she's completely finished, I'll post her on my Twitter page again. I'm planning a full length piece now, a Renaissance lady with a very elaborate gown and head-piece.

Since I'm a country girl, I'm starting to wonder where all this European stuff is coming from. :) (Not that I don't love Europe. I've been there many times, and Sally and I are going back, this time to Barcelona, in March.)

Maybe it's a past life memory. :)

Or not.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Belated Blog

I generally prefer to blog in the mornings, but today it just wasn't happening. I couldn't get online--until now, that is. I'm on a break from "Garrett" and munching on blue M&Ms. (Not a good thing. I quit smoking 3 months ago and my jeans are getting too tight.)

We're in for a week of good weather, here in Spokane, and I'm appreciating it big-time. It's neither too hot nor too cold--as in perfect--and the sky is that poignant shade of blue that makes your breath catch and the backs of your eyes burn. Out in the pasture, the horses are rimmed in gold, feeding under the towering pine trees. It's darn near too beautiful to bear up under, all of it.
I went to Costco yesterday--yes, Costco, on a Sunday afternoon--and loaded up on various things, as one does at Costco. Lean, ground turkey for the dog's food--Sadie is holding at a sleek 31 pounds--stew meat for the next round of Boeuf Bourginguon, etc. I made Coq au Vin--chicken cooked in red wine, basically--last week, and it was delicious. I did have a hard time getting past the fact that that chicken was purple, though.

I'm just a country girl. :)

More tomorrow.

Friday, September 18, 2009

To Blog, or Not to Blog

That is the question.


My plans for the weekend include writing, writing and---writing. :) Probably some cooking and some art, too. Maybe I'll plant some daffoldil and tulip bulbs for next spring--I have some dandies on hand.

The weather is blue-green, beautiful. Tomorrow, it will rain--and that's good, too.

The plants in my deck garden, with the exception of the zinnias, are starting to thin out and slow down. While I will certainly miss the summer flowers, I do appreciate the cyclic nature of things. Winter is beautiful here--although I DO hope we won't be buried by snow again--and you can bet I will be looking for all the positives I can find.

Snow is beautiful.

Snow is beautiful.

Snow is....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sunshine through Rain

As I write this, a light rain is falling, and although the sun has ducked behind the clouds now, moments ago, it was shining right through the shower. It was an incredibly beautiful sight, and I tried to capture it for my Twitter page (, though frankly my iPhone photograph didn't do it justice.

I'm sure the wild turkeys are hiding out in and under trees, waiting for the rain to pass by, but we see them almost every day--often just on the other side of the front door, or passing the fence in back. Yorkie-Bernice is fascinated, sometimes yapping wildly to alert us all to imminent invasion, sometimes standing with her front paws against the fence, tiny tail twitching back and forth, and you know she's wondering in her little brain, what the heck are these things? Her partner in crime, Cha Cha the cat, is usually pressed against her side--literally. I've been trying to get a picture of those two standing shoulder to shoulder, but so far I haven't been fast enough. Cha Cha is a long-haired kitty, with a fat fluffy tail, and she curls it around Bernice's shoulders once in a while, like a boa.

The rain continues, with thunder added for atmosphere and drama. Cha Cha waits impatiently to go outside, which is her favorite thing do do. In her mind, she isn't an ordinary house-cat at all, far from it. No, she's thinking, the jungle cat never sleeps.

The horses, meanwhile, are getting a free bath. :)

Be kind to a person or an animal today--or both.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


While I was out for an appointment yesterday, cousin Mary Ann filled the house with fat, lovely dahlias in pink and yellow--splendid zinnias in clusters--a glorious sight to see. We'd been discussing the state of the flowerbeds earlier--an embarrassment of riches, you might say--and in that take-charge, do-something way she's always had, she started filling vases. Upstairs, downstairs, billows of color and shape and texture of the sort that only God could design.

A plentitude of any one thing--in this case, flowers--seems to attract more of the same, in some strange universal alchemy. For no reason at all, except that she thinks I'm a 'peach', my long-time agent and friend Irene Goodman sent me a bouquet! Star-faced yellow lilies, interspersed with pink roses and a carnation or two--wonderful. As Irene is wonderful.

I'm fighting the flu today. Sadie-pie is her old bright-eyed self, though she'll be on her meds for a while, just to make sure.

We have sunshine and heat here in Spokane, but the flowers and vegetables are starting to wane, and I can feel autumn in the air. It is a time filled with pleasant memories for me--bonfires, the approach of Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas, all of which were very distinct from each other when I was a child--less so now, I think. But that might be a misperception on my part. Who knows.

I'm having internet problems again, so I'm going to post this now, in hopes that it sticks.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sadie Report

The beagle-dog is on antibiotics, and much improved over the last 24 hours. (I'd tell you what was wrong with her, but believe me, ignorance is bliss in this case.) Suffice it to say, nothing serious and she's on the mend. Since she'll be ten on October 22, and is graying around the muzzle, it's fair to say Sadie likes to spend a lot of her free time snoozing anyhow. :) She has her frisky side, though--especially if she thinks food may be involved.

I'm so thankful for Dr. Bauer and his wonderful, caring crew, for Joni Bories and the miracles she works with overweight dogs, for Dr. Harari, (I have probably misspelled his name), the gifted and compassionate surgeon who gave Sadie a new knee. Isn't it a wonderful thing that there are so many different callings, so many different kinds of people out there?

It would certainly be boring--not to mention grossly inefficient--if we all wanted to live in the same place and the same way, do the same job, read the same book. Good heavens, think of the fighting. :)

And so God made us both the same and completely unique--like snowflakes.

Only God could pull off a trick like that.

Be blessed. He loves you, and so do I, and we're going to get through these hard times together, being as we're pardners and all. I'm a great believer in showing up--I think it's 98% of the whole game--just turning out with the rest of the team, ready to play if you're called onto the field, ready to cheer for the home-team if you're not on the roster that day.

I'm pretty sure Sadie agrees. It's hard to tell sometimes, since she always wears the same expression. Once in a while, she curls up part of her lip and makes me think of Elvis. The king would probably say she ain't nothin' but a hound-dog, but she's a lot more than that to me, of course.

Have courage. Keep showing up. And above all, be kind.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Life is What Happens

....when you've made other plans. John Lennon was certainly right about that.

For instance, I planned on a full, uninterrupted day of writing today. The reality? Sadie-beagle has some kind of infection of the beagle-butt and needs to go to the vet. We're leaving in a few minutes.

I was in an art/cooking frenzy all weekend, and I also finished reading Jennifer Niven's marvelous, "Velva Jean Learns to Drive." It's been a very long time since I enjoyed a novel that much--I've already pre-ordered Niven's next book, and I can hardly wait to get my hands on it. (Please don't think I'm slighting romance here--I love my genre, but I don't read a lot of romance because it's a busman's holiday for me.)

I've posted a picture of the 30x30 piece I call my Renaissance Showgirl :) on my Twitter page, along with a shot of the composition-notebook journal I'm painting. This is an involved process--I read about it in Somerset Studio's new magazine, "Art Journaling". Pages have to be glued together and then gessoed, and it takes FOREVER to dry. An exercise in patience.

Yikes. Patience is not my strong suit. Which means the Universe provides plenty of opportunities to test it.

Be kind. We're all in this together.

I made BOTH Boeuf Bourg. AND Coq au Vin over the weekend--both were delicious. I will probably gnosh on the BB for the rest of this week--I froze the Coq au Vin. The recipe for the latter came from an excellent cookbook called "The Food of France", purchased at Williams and Sonoma. I had C au V for supper and WOW, it was good, if I do say so myself. :)

I have gained a little weight since I quit smoking, no question about it. But I have a theory about food. It seems to me that if I actually cook, thus eating better food, I will be content with less food.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Musings on Fall

I have always loved this time of year--there is an indefinable quality to the air or the light--or both--that seems so poignant to me. The drive along the Columbia River, toward Northport--for me that will always be the road home--turns spectacular during the autumn season, as the leaves turn every color from palest gold to brassiest orange to deepest crimson. The sight is breathtaking--each leaf seems to shimmer from within, as though lit by some other sun, in some internal universe.

There are birch trees in my front yard--or cottonwood. :) I'm not sure which. I do know this much--they are beautiful, with their sleek white trunks and dancing, coin-like green leaves, shimmering in every breeze. The sight always makes me think of the sequin-like bangles trimming the costumes of gypsies and bellydancers.

I probably shouldn't drive much around this time of year. :) I'm too fascinated by the scenary to keep my eyes on the road.

And so, fall is here, whether the calendar agrees or not. It gets a person to thinking about cycles--this year's flower and vegetables plants will eventually land in the compost bin, and return next year as food for new flowers, new tomatoes, new herbs...

In the words of Louis Armstrong, "And I think to myself, what a wonderful world..."

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Today's Sunrise

Is a beauty! You can get a look at it on my Twitter page.

There is a definite feel of autumn in the air, even though we're in line for more hot weather. There are more tomatoes and green peppers in my deck garden than I can rightly use, and we still have plenty of bees buzzing around, that's for sure. (I've heard bees are endangered. Not to worry. They are all congregated on the Triple L, outside Spokane, WA.) I have raised exactly one eggplant, small but perfect. The zuchinnis, on the other hand, are spooky, the way they grow. One day, they are four inches long, the next day, I swear, they're HUGE. Next year, I'll use compost and all that experience has taught me this year. :)

Still thinking about that next recipe to try. The bread doesn't count, because that's something I've made before. Never made lasagna, though...

Our county fair is this coming weekend. I might just have to attend--or not.

Here is the great thing about being me. I have a lot of responsibility, yes, but I also have a lot of freedom. :)

More tomorrow.