My Novels

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Same stuff, same story...

I've been very, very late in writing an updated entry. Why?


Simply beautiful here in the South. I've been outside enjoying the early autumn days, biking when possible, puttering around in the yard.


I have been devouring novels after a visit to the library last Friday. And the one I simply could NOT put down, and which kept me up until 3:00 AM this morning finishing it, "House of Sand and Fog," by Andre Dubus III was truly remarkable. I know there's a movie out based on the novel, but I've not seen it yet. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book at the library; you'll find it is literary writing but with a suspenseful plot and meaningful theme.


I have been doing a good bit of writing, which usually means that I neglect this online journal. I'm involved in a novel, a work-in-progress, which will NOT be posted on my website.


I've been looking for a new printer because the one I got from my brother-in-law needs a new ink refill, and frankly, I can almost buy another, better printer that has TWO free ink cartridges with it. Plus, I'm thinking of going with a laser printer, which can print up to 3,000 pages of black print with one toner (and toner is not much more expensive than those ink cartridges). Still undecided at this point, but I do want crisp, clean copy for printing out my novel when finished.

Otherwise, there's the daily routine of cat care, housework, cooking, running errands, etc. DH is off next week, and we hope to finish up the odds and ends of our remodeling project. The enclosed backporch is almost done, have the sink/plumbing installed in the mud-room, and need only to paint the interior of the sunporch. I'm sure we'll stay busy next week though.

Now I must watch the Presidential debate. Bet Kerry wins!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Brief Update

I'm still alive, but just haven't had time or the inclination to post in this blog.

We weathered hurricane Ivan fairly well here, although there were some power and phone outages due to the extensive rain/wind. Fortunately we didn't lose power on the day the worst of the storm passed, but then yesterday the phone and power were off and on all day. I suppose the repair crews were working, since the outages were nearby. All in all, can't complain about the rain or wind; we lost a few treelimbs, the yard got littered with debris, but we needed the rain and it sure has helped out newly planted grass thrive.

This week has been fantastic, in the low 80s, and 50s at night. Almost a chill in the early mornings, with a preview of Fall soon to arrive. I LOVE autumn. I find it difficult to stay indoors this time of year too. Long bike rides are perfect, and piddling in the yard makes for lots of time-wasting!

DH and I got most of the backporch addition finished; all the siding is up, and we have started on the interior. The mudroom should be done after this coming weekend. It will be SO handy to have that room for washing up before entering the house. The outdoor cats love the sunporch, since they can lie in the sun but come and go as they please through the petdoor. Hope to have photos soon.

Yesterday I had to take one of my indoor cats, Slinky, to the vet. She was having a minor problem, and it turned out to be nothing serious. I also took Kitten and got her a distemper shot, which she had not had yet. The lady vet couldn't get over how BIG Kitten is getting to be -- at only 4 months old! I think she's going to be a whopper-sized cat when grown.

Otherwise, life goes on. When I returned from town yesterday, it was late afternoon and our house/yard looked SO pretty in the setting sunlight. We ARE indeed making progress, and one day will have it all finished, I hope.

By the way, ONE thing I don't like here -- dove season started last week, and darn if it didn't sound like a shooting gallery during the day. I think it is very reckless to allow hunting so close to other houses, for it's only about a half-mile to the city limits and subdivisions, not to mention how close we are in this community. I don't like ANY kind of hunting, and we wouldn't allow it on our property, but apparently others here do. All that close-range gunfire made me VERY nervous and uneasy all weekend.

Last weekend we drove by the house in town, and saw the renter lady is planting a pretty shrub/flower garden in the frontyard. It will sure improve the looks of the yard! She and her husband are great renters!

I'll end with two items, the first a thought-provoking article about China's overpopulation control. It makes me wonder how long it will take for this kind of action to be necessary in the USA, regarding overpopulation?

Couple Fined $94,000 for One-Child Rule Lapse

Sep 20, 9:02 AM (ET)

BEIJING (Reuters) - A court in China's southern boomtown of Shenzhen has fined a couple 780,000 yuan ($94,250) and sealed off their house for having more than one child, the Beijing Morning Post said Monday.
The pair were among nine couples who were fined "social fostering fees" for their extra children, the newspaper said. They had their first boy in 1997 and last year had twin boys, the newspaper said.

With approximately 1.3 billion people, China is the world's most populous nation. It has stringent rules on family planning that allow couples usually to have just one child, at least in cities, and limit numbers elsewhere.

The couple's house had been sealed up "according to the law," the paper said, or until they pay the fine which was unusually large. A house is sealed with a white paper bearing the stamp of a local court pasted across the front door.

Punishment for having more than one child can include having the power to the offending couple's house or to the houses of relatives being cut off.


And lastly, on a lighter, funny note, this piece:

You know you're living in 2004 when...

1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.

2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.

6. You go home after a long day at work you still answer the phone in a business manner.

7. You make phone calls from home, you accidentally dial "9" to get an outside line.

8. You've sat at the same desk for four years and worked for three different companies.

10. You learn about your redundancy on the 11 o'clock news.

11. Your boss doesn't have the ability to do your job.

12. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home.

13. Every commercial on television has a website at the bottom of the screen.

14. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

15. You get up in the morning and go online before getting your coffee.

16. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. :)

17. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.

18. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.

19. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.

20. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list.

AND NOW U R LAUGHING at yourself.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Long, long week!

Yes, it HAS seemed like a long week of nothing but WORK! DH and I spent every day, all day working on enclosing the backporch and creating a mud-room on one side and a sunroom on the other side. We have it enclosed (with waferboard and siding on the outside) but still have to finish out the interiors. That will have to be done as time and money permits, but the mud-room is first on the agenda because it will be very useful.

I had a bad scare one day: DH was out working, and I was doing a bit of housework inside. I heard this crashing sound and instantly KNEW what it was: one of the huge 6X6 foot sheets of solid glass had broken. I didn't know if DH was hurt, or out of the way when it hit. I thought I would have a heart-attack before I could get out the door to see what had happened! Fortunately, DH was fine; he said the glass had apparently gotten unlevel in some way while he was lifting it to install, and shattered into a million pieces. It WAS tempered glass though, so there were no slivers, etc., just small blunt pieces that aren't too dangerous. We had quite a time picking up all that glass though, and it filled TWO five-gallon buckets!

However, we didn't need that glass panel after all; only two panels would fit in the space we had available. We still have a tinted 6x6 panel to use in the garage when DH converts it into a saddle shop. A friend gave us these four 6x6 pieces which had originally been in his store, and we wanted to put them to good use.

The pictures below should show how we're progressing. More to come, when the project is done. We still have to put siding on two sides, but have the storm doors up, even a pet door for my outside cats to come into the sunroom area.

That's about all for now. DH went horseback riding in the forest today with his buddies, and I had some time to relax and get back to my writing projects. That is what I'm about to do...write! :-)

Cleared corner of yard, old oak, newly planted grass Posted by Hello

Part of project nearly done.... Posted by Hello

City kitty finds peaceful spot to sleep amidst construction project! Posted by Hello

Kitten, now four months old, with mama looking in from sunroom Posted by Hello

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Latest project update

It's been very hectic here lately -- not unusual! But it seems I can just never find time to make an entry in this blog. I hate missing a long stretch without updates, mainly because at some point in time I may wish to refer back to this journal for documentation about what I was doing during any given time-frame. Anyhow, I do have a short time before I get down to other work and wanted to write this entry.

DH and I have been working each afternoon, clearing out the overgrown corner of the backyard. It had several huge, unruly bushes, an old dog pen with wire around it, weeds knee-high. There is a pretty old oak in the center of that corner (behind the garage) and we want to eventually have a nice sitting area out there -- with another tree swing, some lawn chairs, etc. It will make a perfect place for DH to talk with his horse buddies and/or potential customers once the garage is converted into a saddle/tack shop.

To that end, we cleared most of the brush, tall weeds, wire-fencing, etc and then DH used the tractor to clear up the ground. Additionally, at the westside/back of the house, there was a large mound that needed leveling -- partly to help rainwater drainage away from the house. So he is working on tearing up that grassy mound, dragging some of the dirt to other lower, sunken areas of the backyard. It is a total MESS! But this is necessary as part of the landscaping of this yard; we knew it had to be done, just hadn't gotten around to this hard work yet. Plus, I was dreading the mess, since the grass will have to be replanted, some hay put over it till we get lawn growing again. One benefit of clearing that out is the lovely view now; we can see all the way across the pasture from the kitchen windows/backporch, almost down to the creek.

Starting Friday, DH is off for a week of vacation. We may go to a horse sale about 50 miles to the west Friday afternoon; he mainly wants to look over the tack/saddle selections, and see if there's any horse trailers he might buy at a bargain and resale later.

The weekend will be another busy time, since we'll continue working on the yard. IF that hurricane happens to come ashore in the wrong place, hitting us with tropical rains next week, that'll be a shame! I hope it doesn't, for we have lots of outside work to do. However, if it does perhaps DH can work in the garage, starting the project for the interior. Or start putting up the frame for a mud-room that will cover part of the large backporch he built. We want the mud-room to cover about half the backporch, and it will have a sink at least, good flooring, maybe later on a small shower. This would be so useful for us when we come in from outside, dirty and messy, and can clean up there without having to come inside the house and track dirt, grime, etc. And of course, it will add value to the house.

The last time we drove by our house in town, we noticed that a house farther west along the same block had sold, and was now for rent. Yesterday I read an ad in the newspaper for that rental, and they are asking $250.00 MORE than we did for our house!! And it is no better than ours; in fact, it's in a worse location, sits directly across the street from some apartments (where illegal Mexican immigrants live). The deposit they asked is more than we asked by $350.00. IF they rent that place at that price, then if and when our renters move, we will probably go up on our rent too. Perhaps not that much, but at least $50.00 to $100.00 more. I am sure that as time passes the rental fee will go up and up in that area, because though it does have some drawbacks (the alien problem, though none of them are directly in sight of our house), it is still better than MOST rental houses in rundown, bad parts of town. Also, there are some extremely lovely older and newer expensive homes mingled in with the smaller ones, and by and large, it is a quiet neighborhood for being in the city.

I have another project related to this house which I hope to tackle soon. I decided to download ALL my online journal/blog entries from the first time we looked at this place till now. I will then burn them all on a CD, along with the digital pictures before/during/after our work inside and outside. I can put this in a time-capsule, along with some print stuff about the previous owners, etc. and conceal it somewhere in the house -- either the attic or in a wall -- for future owners. It would be something unusual to find at some distant date, and especially for those curious about the history of the house. My journal entries will give a more personal account of what we went through in buying this house, and all the hard work. Maybe I'm just being sentimental though, and no one would care -- but I have a feeling that as time passes, these old, old houses are going to be more and more rare and therefore, more valued by anyone who buys one. Oh well, I can hope, can't I? ;-)

I'll end with these photos I took of my Pampass Grass. I can't believe how it's grown, it's only one year old, and has beautiful blooms already. In these pictures you can also see that the small cypress cedars are growing fast too. I have five of these across the front yard, hoping to shield the noise from traffic when they are larger. Maybe next year I can have some flowers too, but didn't have time to work on that this past spring.

Outta here for today!

Pampass grass in front of the house Posted by Hello

Another view, with more of the cypress cedars Posted by Hello