Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ready for a Good Rain

We've had a long sunny spell here in Spokane County, and judging by the overcast sky, we're about to get a much-needed sluicing with rain.

Bernice has a new routine--she gets a walk with Jenni every morning, and she dearly loves the outing. 

Thanks to all of you who offered kind comments--I'm still not the most technically savvy person in the world, and it took me a while to find them.  :)  Someone asked about Buck, the grand old man of the barn, and I'm  happy to say, he's still hanging in there.  He's scrawny, but he eats and wants to be out with the other horses every day, roaming the pasture.  So far, so good.

I had a great writing day yesterday and plan on another great one today. 

I've been dabbling at artist trading cards lately--made some new ones that I really like.  My new favorite toy is the Vagabond, a die-cutting machine made by Sizzix and promoted by Tim Holtz, a superstar in the world of mixed media and paper arts.  My favorite use of the gizmo is embossing cards with different designs.  This gives them the most amazing texture.  Later, I paint them with craft paint and, when dry, highlight them with metallic oil crayons.  Another drying session follows, and then I can collage and embellish.

As I've said before, for me, art is about experimentation and discovery--I'm not nearly so attached to the end product as I am to the process.  :)

Today would have been my grandmother Selma Hanson Bleecker's birthday.  Happy birthday, Grandma!

And that's the news from the Triple L.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Doing my best to get over them, though.  :)  One thing about life--it definitely goes on, and that, of course, is a good thing.  There are, thank heaven, family and friends to love, critters to look after, home repairs to be made. 

I'm back on the job, working away on "Big Sky Country" and loving it.  I'm so proud of this book, and I'm madly in love with Slade Barlow--I can hardly wait for you to meet him! 

I haven't been cooking--that was one of my favorite things to write about on the blog, but alas.  Now that I'm on the D.I.E.T., food preparation involves sticking a frozen meal into the microwave and giving it a five-minute zap.  I'm not complaining, mind you.  It's good stuff, and filling, and probably costs no more than a weekly trip to the grocery store.

As I write this, Bernice the Yorkie is out for her walk with Jenni.  Bernicie gets so excited we can barely get a leash on her, and last time her little feet were already gobbling ground in anticipation, even though she was standing still.  :) 

We haven't seen our herd (band?) of mooses for a while, but the wild turkeys pass through every so often.  The other day, the Canadian wrangler spotted an elk down in the draw--that, believe me, is a rare thing to see in this neck of the woods.

And that's the news from my kitchen table.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Weekend

Still recoveriIng from a lot of things around here, but there is comfort and solace in work, and in friends, and in the many loving messages expressing condolences. 

I did some art therapy over the weekend, right here at home.  Our main freeeway, the I-90, is under contruction, so traffic is at a stand-still much of the time.

I hope neither you nor your loved ones were in the path of Hurricane Irene.

Stay safe and stay well.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Your Friday is My Tuesday

I've missed so much work lately that I have declared this day to be Tuesday, even though it is really Friday.  :)

I received author copies of my new book, "A Lawman's Christmas", coming out in October, and I am very pleased.  Christmas is coming up fast--I'm sure you've noticed that there are already cards, decorations, etc. on display in the larger stores.  It's certainly colorful, and I'm a great believer in planning ahead, but as I've said before, I miss the old days, when the holidays didn't run into each other the way they do now.  There was time, it seemed, to enjoy Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Years--and eventually Valentine's Day, and on through the year.  Each celebration was distinct from the others--a person (okay, a child-person) could savor them...

I promised not to bore you with the new D.I.E.T., so I won't.  I'm on it.  :)  That's all I'm going to say.

I've been watching "Through the Wormhole", hosted by Morgan Freeman, in the evenings, via Netflix.  Fascinating.  I don't understand all that science by any means, being very right-brained, but I get some of it, so that's good.  I listened to Linwood Barclay's new book, "The Accident", and enjoyed it very much--although I knew right away who the culprit was, though the motivation certainly came as a surprise.  I'm reading "Wendy and the Lost Boys", a biography of the late playwright, Wendy Wasserstein, on my Nook.  My only complaint about my Nook is that it keeps me up too late, reading.  :)  I don't even need to leave the lamp on.

What would this world be without books, in all their various forms and versions? 

I shudder to think.

More on Monday.  Thanks for sticking with me over a rocky road.  It means a lot to know you're out there.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to Normal

Dare I say it?  Am I tempting fate?  :) Things seem to have settled down around here--okay, it's early--and I'm hoping it's a pattern.

Wendy went home to California yesterday--she's in the middle of a new script--and although I miss her very much, I know we both need to get back to our regular lives and our work.  My little girl has grown into such a fine, gracious, funny, smart and hardworking woman--I am so proud of her.  Although the reasons for her visit were basically very sad--Sadie and a dear friend passed on the same day--we managed to share a lot of joy, too.  We visited my stepmother, Edith, in Grand Coulee, along with a gang of family members, took my mom to Red Lobster for lunch and some catching up, even made a couple of forays to the casino.  We visited Wendy's favorite fast-food place, Scholtzky's Deli, checked out Hobby Lobby and watched "Celebrity Ghost Stories" on TV, surrounded by three little furry four-leggers.  Wendy is an app-wizard, and showed me all sorts of new ones for my iPad.  :)

Today is a fine day, sunny and warm--our belated summer continues.  :)

And now back to Parable, Montana.

Thanks for being you.


Monday, August 22, 2011

One Foot in Front of the Other

That's been my motto this month.  Keep going, show up, do what has to be done.  What else can a person do, really?  I am so grateful to all my dear friends for the notes and emails and cards, all containing kind words of condolence.  Thank you, everyone.

My daughter has been visiting from California for the last 10 days, and while the circumstances weren't happy ones, we've shared a lot of joy and a lot of tears.  Yesterday, we took my mom to Red Lobster for lunch and a visit, and we had a wonderful time.  I'm going on a serious diet soon (oops, I said the D word) and will not bore you with the details, but it's good-bye cheese biscuits for a while, so I wanted a last hurrah.  :)

I'm back to work today, and glad of it.   Wendy will be returning to California tomorrow, and she's eager to get back to her new script, although we will miss each other and be very sad to part.  For all that we lost two beloved friends, one four-legged and one two-legged, we're both so glad we had this time together.  Truly, sharing joy multiplies that joy, and sharing sorrow halves the hurt.

Life in the country.  Had to replace the pump--we were without water for a while, and it sure makes you appreciate the stuff.  :)  Our late-arriving summer continues--for how long, who knows?  It's a moment-by-moment thing--blue skies and sunshine one minute, overcast the next.  At least it's not dull.  

We're doing okay here on the Triple L, and we all hope you are too. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back Home

What can I say?  The last few weeks have been rugged to say the least--first, Sadie passed away and then, right on the heels of that, we lost a beloved friend under very tragic circumstances.  Wendy came up from California and the two of us attended the services, which were moving and beautiful.  Since it isn't my story to tell, I won't be including details. 

These particular losses run deep, and they will always be with us, but there is the Going On part, and though that's certainly a challenge, it's also necessary, of course.

I'm getting back to work on the book--and writing is a healing act for me, as well as a solace, so I'm glad to have a story waiting to be finished. 

I cry when I need to, but often the emotion behind those tears is something sacred, like love or its first cousin, gratitude, rather than pure sorrow.  After all, the blessings outnumber the heartaches most of the time.

I will be talking about positive things on this blog, because that's where my focus needs to be. 

Figuartively, I've been thrown from the saddle twice lately, and landed pretty hard both times.  Now, it's time to get back on the horse.

Much love to all of you, and heartfelt thanks for all your comforting emails and notes.  It's helpful just knowing you care.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Please Forgive the Silence

There has been a tragic loss in my circle of friends, and I will be attending memorial services tomorrow.  I hope to be back to writing and to the blog on Thursday morning.

In the meantime, we are mourning, and deeply appreciate prayers and patience.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sadness on the Triple L

We lost our dear Sadie-beagle last night.  I miss her so much, but there is peace in knowing she isn't hurting anymore.  I was right there with her, which was a blessing--there are, in fact, many blessings involved here. 

I'll write more on Monday, but right now, I just need to remember, to be thankful for the gift that sweet-spirited, goofy dog was to me, and to cry those healing tears.

Godspeed, Say-Say.  I love you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Sadie was home briefly last night, but still didn't feel well, so Jen and I took her back to the clinic, where she is getting more fluids and possibly a feeding tube.  The doctors are pretty much mystified.  Everything except gastrointestinal stuff has been ruled out, and that's the test of the day.  This poor dog deserves to come home to her family and just rest.

It's been one of those days--it seems like when one fire is put out, another starts up somewhere else. 

Still, we're okay here on the Triple L and I don't want anyone worrying.

Prayers and good thoughts are, as always, welcome.

Thank you for being there, for caring, and for taking the time to read this blog.  I consider you all friends.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Approaching #1500

Tomorrow, I will write my 1500th blog!  I can't believe it. 

Sadie is still at the clinic, but seems to be improving.  Tests and more tests.  Now there seems to be a possibility that she doesn't have Cushings at all.  I just want her to come home and be her normal beagle-self, goofy and funny and always on the look out for a stray Beggin' Strip.  :)

I guess this is an example of light and shadow being necessary for the whole tapestry of a life.  Certainly there are worse things going on in this troubled world right now, so I don't want to sound as though I'm complaining.  I'm grateful for every second I've had--and will have--with Sadie O'Grady the Potato Lady.  (Yes, that is her real name.  Now you know.)

I was watching ghost videos on Youtube this morning while I drank my first cup of coffee.  It's amazing what you can do with Photoshop and some fishing line.  :)  The UFO videos always seem to be composed of very distant flashes of light, and there's one showing this really fakey looking "ghost" haunting Stonehenge--it is very flat and looks projected onto the stone.  The mystery to me wasn't the ghost, it was how the photographer got the people who look after Stonehenge to not only take down the ropes that surround it but allow this person to walk around among the stones, taking pictures.  I've been there several times--it's fascinating to me--and going past the ropes is strictly verboten.

I have a badly needed hair appointment today, and a speech tomorrow night at Spokane Valley Public Library, 7:30 sharp.  If you're in the area, do stop by and say howdy.

In the meantime, it's back to "Big Sky Country".  Just between us, I think it may be the best thing I've ever written...

See you tomorrow for #1500.  Shall we wear party hats?  :)

Monday, August 08, 2011

Adventures of Sadie-Beagle

My little friend has had a rough time lately--she's been in the veterinary clinic, except for a brief stint at home, since last Thursday night.  This morning, she's having a sonogram and then she needs to go to her regular vet and we'll see from there.  We are all hoping she can come home after Dr. Bauer gives the OK.  All this came about, we think, because of her Cushings medicine--it just made her almighty sick. 

Yes, this has been stressful, but there's a lot to be thankful for, too.  Since the night I fell in love, completely by accident, with a beagle puppy in a pet store window--January 6, 2000--she's been a dear, dear friend.  She's lavished me with love and devotion, made me laugh, provided comfort in bad times and good.

So today I will write--that is my solace as well as my joy--and I will wait, and I will pray.

That's the news.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Writing Day

It's a zoo around here, as usual.  The air conditioning went out--AGAIN--and Sadie's having real problems due to her lack of appetite, and we're dealing with that.  Not to worry--she just got dehydrated and needs some TLC.

I'm well into the book, though, so I'm going to write--provided I don't roast first.  :)

Have a good weekend, my friends. 


Thursday, August 04, 2011

Off and Running

Excellent writing day yesterday! 

It's been hot as heck here lately; the houseplants are loving it, but the rest of us wouldn't mind a rainy day or two.  :)

I'm reading another book recommended by friends--read for so long last night, in fact, that the battery on my Nook ran completely down.  It's a memoir called "On Gold Mountain", by the novelist, Lisa See, about the immigration of her Chinese family to the United States, back in the 19th century.  Fascinating history and such an inspiring account of human beings rising above bad odds and prejudice to build a lasting legacy. 

I'm starting Chapter 10 of "Big Sky Country" today.  Yeehaw!  And I'm enjoying every word of it, too.  Wait til you meet this crew of cowboys and spunky ladies.  I'm in love with Slade Barlow, the hero of book one, already, and falling fast for Hutch Carmody, the rebellious hero of book two.  :)  Naturally, I've matched them with strong women who can hold their own, and now I'm just having fun watching what happens when they butt heads.  :)

Worked a little in my art journal from the Teesha Moore workshop in mid-July, but I'm mostly saving the artist trading cards for weekends.  No pressure.  I like it that way.  :)

How do I get caught up in these things, anyway?  By that, I mean Swapbot, and the little hearts, and the kind of stress nobody needs.  This cowgirl can't seem to do anything halfway--it's whole hog or none--a tendency I'm finally learning to control.  And that's good news.

Sadie's appetite is still iffy, but I'm sure the heat is part of it.  She's a senior citizen, at 11, but for a beagle, not ancient.  Maybe I've been reading too many dog books lately, but I worry about her, of course.  She has such a sweet, goofy spirit.  Bernice, too, but she's fiesty, in that terrier way, and always warning us about the Schwan's truck, or the UPS guy, or the wild turkeys, who are, in her Yorkie opinion, plotting something dastardly.  The cats take everything with a grain of salt, except for the occasional sister-spats, when they hiss and slap at each other and I have to say firmly, "No fighty cats!"

And if you think that's silly, the way I carry on conversations with the critters around here, well, you don't know the half of it.


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

In a Good Place

I've made some important decisions lately; some of them are about starting something and some of them are about stopping something.  :)

Have you ever quit a group, not because there was anything wrong with the people in that group,  but because you didn't like who you were becoming in the context you found yourself in?  I just deleted myself from the Swapbot site, where I've been swapping artist trading cards for the last few years, for exactly that reason.  I was getting too worried about whether or not I got a heart when swappers rated my card.  I began to feel angry--sounds silly, doesn't it?--and of course that took all the fun out of my reason for joining in the first place--making artist trading cards.  It's a little like that old Marx brothers joke--"Doctor," one says, while perched on an examining table, "It hurts when I do that."  (Lifting an arm or a leg, something simple like that).  The doctor whacks the patient on the head and says, "Well, then, don't do that!"

Me: Doctor, it hurts when I spend hours making an artist trading card and the other person gives me a low rating.

Doctor: (With accompanying whack on the head.)  Then don't put yourself in that situation!

Oh, the freedom.  I had no idea how much all this was weighing on me.  I can make artist trading cards for the original reason--because I love it.  And now I'm off to do something I love even more than art--writing my new book.

Thanks for lending an ear.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Yesterday Was...

An absolutely wonderful writing day!  I did my timed "freewriting" exercise (10 minutes, just writing as fast as I can, the theme being what I want to happen in the story next), then I launched right into the chapter.  Slade and Joslyn are practically writing the book for me!

Remind me how I kvetched about the cold and the rain.  :)  We're having a heatwave now, like most of the country, and the air-conditioner went kaput--again.  I wrote upstairs yesterday, where it's cool, and will do the same thing again today.

Since Tuesday is new book day just about everywhere, I'm downloading some interesting stuff to listen to on my iPod and read on my Nook.  As I said yesterday, I loved "The Art of Racing in the Rain" and I see there's a new one out, called "Copper", but I'm not ready for another dog book yet.  I need time to assimilate Enzo's story.  :)  I'm reading David Baldacci's "One Summer" at the moment.  Good story, though I like his legal thrillers better--they seem more polished somehow.  Still, I certainly don't fault the man for wanting to try new things.  That's what life is all about, as far as I'm concerned.  Experiments.  Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't--but I think we're always better off for trying. 

Sadie-beagle is still picky about her food, and she got down to 26 pounds.  We never thought we'd see the day when we wanted her to eat MORE.  She weighed 50 pounds when we started this journey a couple of years ago.  Anyway, I guess the Cushings medicine affects her appetite.  Maybe I should be taking it.  :)

On another note, I often marvel at how well this country does, considering the antics of all those politicians back in Washington City. 

"When you and I make a joke, it's just that, a joke.  When Congress makes a joke, it's a law."  (Paraphrasing the inimitable Will Rodgers.)

Keep smiling.  Crying won't do a darn bit of good.


Monday, August 01, 2011

Enthusiasm Makes the Difference

And after a rough 5 days, allergies, that bum knee, etc., I find that I have plenty of enthusiasm.  I'm  SO eager to get back to the book!

Over the weekend, I listened to a book I've been avoiding--"The Art of Racing in the Rain", by Garth Stein.  Why would I, the consummate animal lover, avoid a book told from the perspective of a golden retriever?  Well, because I'm still getting over "Marley & Me", which was one of the best books ever, but it tore me up emotionally.  Still, Matt and Shirley Alling recommended the book so highly that I finally decided to give it a try.  And it was wonderful--joy and heartbreak and all.  I fell in love with Enzo the dog and his 'dad', Denny.  The story was enthralling and well told--I just had to know how things were going to turn out for Enzo and the crew.

I also did some art work, and made runs to Hobby Lobby and the grocery store on Saturday.  That was about all the adventure I had energy for, and I wanted to be ready to write this morning.  Which I am!


And that's the news for Monday.