My Novels

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Hmm, I think I'm about ready to move.

Yesterday afternoon I had the old house all to myself, and it was...peaceful, quiet and I liked it a LOT. When I first arrived, the mare and her colt approached the fence near the driveway. The mare hung her head over the fence, and did a little noise that suggested she wanted a treat ...and right now! Pronto I went into the kitchen, looking for some extra loaf bread or something, and could only find saltine crackers to feed her. But she seemed to like those, and ate most of a pack...though the other horses had to get in on the act, and eat their share too.

It was sorta fun, though I'm not a horse fanatic; however, I AM a critter fanatic, so most creatures rate high on my scale of importance. And a hungry critter...well, I cannot resist them. The mare wasn't really hungry, I'm sure; she's gotten spoiled, since people stop by and sometimes look at them, and I've seen at least two cars parked alongside the fence on the dirt road side, looking, etc. DH has seen signs of carrots and apples being fed to the horses. Heh! Lucky horses!

Anyhow, the sun came out and I got to witness a BEAUTIFUL sunset through the picture window as I painted the interior trimwork. I love seeing the wide, open sky...for here in town, I rarely see the sky. Mostly that's due to so many huge old trees blocking the view, but also other houses crammed side-by-side and back-to-back.

I also painted the last of the wide baseboard trim in the living room, and I am happy to say I'm completely done with ALL the trimwork! However, the bad news is that there's still a bit of sheetrock dust in the plastic, and it seems to have attacked my sinuses as well as my eyes. I've been wearing protective eyewear when I was in the midst of sheetrock dust, but didn't last night and my eyes are red today, sore. We are planning on removing the last of the pastic on the floors either tonight (if we go there to work any) or this weekend. DH suggested we might go there again tonight, and he'd continue working on installing the laminate wood flooring, which looks fabulous so far.

I did get a photo of the picture window and you can see it HERE if you're interested. I'd like to put some flower boxes underneath it soon, which should brighten it up somewhat.

DH and I went to get the Kentucky Fried Chicken, and it was a very QUICK trip; the nearby mall is only about two miles away! As we were preparing to eat, one of my sisters and her husband stopped in. They wanted some advice on an application my nephew is filling out for a position where DH works. My sister was so impressed with the progress of the house, and how great it all looks. She saw it BEFORE we did a single thing to it, and as she said, "It was...kinda rough looking. I didn't know if you two could pull this off, but I'm amazed at how good it all looks!" Nice compliment, yep!

Nothing more from the "problem" and I'm beginning to understand the wisdom in this quote: "Silence is golden." :-)

Our list of 'to-do' before moving is narrowing down, so we are thinking we MIGHT be able to move the weekend of March 6th/7th. Of course, we'll be taking things there before that weekend, and only have the larger stuff to move then. Also, we need to buy a used fridge, since we plan to leave this one here for the renters.

And here's a reader email and my response...that made my day today!

hello Ms. Swann, i am a student doing a paper on your story KISS OF DEATH. I was wondering if you can tell me what made you write this story?

Thank you,

Hello Nicole,
Many thanks for your email. I'd be glad to tell you why I wrote, "Kiss of Death." I actually read a very short paragraph in a factual newspaper article about a man who was seen kissing a lady on the street, and later the man was murdered. It inspired me to wonder "why"...which is the basis of much fiction.

I'd love to read your report on my story, if you care to send it in an email.

Thanks again. I'm always glad to hear from readers!

Cara Swann
Visit my website with more of my work, "The Prose Menagerie"

And that's all she wrote today!

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Still alive....still slaving away at the old house. DH and I got a lot accomplished this past weekend, mainly installing the huge picture window. What a job that turned out to be! But it looks fantastic, and I hope to have a picture of it soon. We also bought some dark green shutters (same color as the new entryway door) and put those on each side of the new window, which created a great effect as you approach the place from the road.

Needless to say, we worked all weekend; I got the exterior window trim painted on the front porch, and cleaned the windows. We also have put one coat of white paint on the siding, and need to add another; then we can put down the plywood sub-floor and then the rugs. We also put a coat of sealer on the brick fireplace and hearth; that makes it look better, and is easier to keep clean. Everything is really shaping up nicely.

I've been riding my bike each morning lately, and later today I plan on going back to the old house and painting the trim around the inside of the picture window. DH will meet there around 4:00, we'll get a meal at Kentucky Fried Chicken (one is in the nearby mall) then work on putting down the laminate wood flooring in the den/dining room.

I spent most of yesterday cleaning out some old books and junk from my study, and got those all boxed up. Probably will sell them at a yard sale or donate to the Salvation Army store. Since we're moving, it's a good time to get rid of unnecessary things -- and downsize. I also cleaned out the bottom kitchen cabinets, discarding a bunch of stuff I never used. I may give that to one of my nephews who is getting married next June. Next I'll tackle the closets, yuck!

Overcast here, but mild temps...more rain tomorrow. It's beginning to look like an early Spring here, and I am hoping we're moved in time to take full advantage of it...this is one of my favorite seasons, other than Fall.

I finished reading a good novel, "All is Vanity" by Christina Schwarz I highly recommend this novel, if you are at all interested in being a writer. The protagonist is a woman struggling to write a novel. This author also wrote, "Drowning Ruth," an Oprah book club selection -- but I didn't like that one as much as the most recent novel.

Gotta run, lots to do today!

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Whoowee! I feel just like a legal secretary...or a lawyer, or...a landlord.

Today I spent most of my time downloading, filling-in and printing legal forms for renters. Yes, I am planning on putting out a sign "House for Rent" and application (in plastic tube) for potential renters for our house here in town. That means I had to also download and fill in a legal form for a Lease Agreement -- current in our state. So I've been busy printing out this material, and might put it out in front of our house next Monday. It might take a few weeks to find suitable renters, and that would give us time to do so.

I am anxious to stop the bills for two houses, and get some INCOME coming in from rent on this house in town.

We are having a BEAUTIFUL day here in the South; in the 60s, sunny and PERFECT for getting outdoors. I went on my bike ride around noon, then scrubbed/cleaned out a large durable dog-house that I plan on using for the cats inside, once we move. Yesterday was fairly nice too, and I cleaned a storm door off the old house, but haven't decided if we'll use it or not. So I've been busy!

We finally found a huge picture window for the living room at the old house. We'd shopped around, and one building supply told us they could get one: but they never did, and we were tired of waiting. That is the ONLY window we need to replace, all others now done.

So we called a glass company here in town, and they said they could get us exactly the RIGHT size to replace the double-windows in the old house, and for HALF the price of what the building supply wanted. AND they deliver! So we should have that window delivered on Saturday, and if all goes well, it should be installed before the weekend is over. This will make a tremendous difference in the living room, as well as the view of the house from the road -- should improve both immensely.

I LOVE the view out those windows, for you can see part of the pasture, and a long section of the road, as well as the woods. I think I'll like sitting in that room, just looking out at the peaceful country scene.

That's about it for today!

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Not too much to report, just the same old, same old. Worked like crazy over the three-day weekend (DH was off Monday) and we're accomplishing a great deal. We have even gotten to the point we have a list of the items that must be bought and things to be done before moving. If all goes well, we may move by either the first of March or no later than mid-March.

I'm constantly amazed at how nice the old house is shaping up, and enclosing the front porch was an excellent idea. Not only do we have a large room just for the cats, but also a good-sized foyer where we can enter and hang our coats, etc. DH finished all the siding inside and now we only have to put down plywood, then flooring. Last of all, we'll have professional carpet cleaners out to do all the carpet inside the house.

Today I had to run errands, then buy a few more things to take there. It's been rainy all morning, rather cold, but the sun seems to be peeking out now. Would love a couple weeks of ONLY sunshine; we need it to dry out the soggy ground.

The new colt is doing fine. He's out being frisky, always by his mama mare's side. But he won't be at the farm much longer; DH will take him and the mare to the new owner within a couple weeks. Also, DH has sold two more horses lately, and when we're at the old house working, people stop by off and on, wanting to look at horses or saddles. Soon as we move in, DH will put up a sign on the fence alongside the highway with our phone number and advertising horses/saddles/tack for sale. Considering the volume of traffic, we should get quite a lot of customers!

Nothing from the "problem." And as the saying goes: "No news is good news."

That's it for today!

Friday, February 13, 2004

Brief update today. I have to run errands in town, and unfortunately, tackle Wally World (Wal-Mart for the uninitiated) I'll be busy. Then tomorrow, back to the old house and more work, work, work.

Buddy, my ailing cat, is still straining at times in the litterbox; I've almost finished giving him the antibiotics, and though he seems better, I may have to take him back to the vet this afternoon. Of course, I changed his diet to a better grade of food that is supposed to prevent urinary problems...but he just doesn't seem up to par.

And so, I'm about to be off on my appointed rounds. At least the sun is shining, and it is supposed to hit 50 degrees today.

I'll close with these quotes:

Rebecca West: "Men call me a feminist when I say things that differentiate me from a doormat."

"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia."--E. L. Doctorow

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Guess what? I'm working on a NEW project. I decided to read ALL of my journals before we move, and started with my "little red diary" from childhood. Amazing the things one forgets about being a kid! Then I started on my young adult journals, from the first year of my marriage, and what an eye-opener! But my NEW project is going to be typing ALL of my hand-written journals from the past into my computer, and putting them all online. When I get some of those posted online, I'll add the URL here for anyone who wishes to read those. What better way to perserve them than being online?

DH and I did accomplish a good bit at the old house this past weekend, and he has three days off this next weekend. Should get more done, and be closer to moving...IF I move. I'm having second thoughts AGAIN...

No contact thus far from the "problem"...but that is never far from my thoughts/worries. I occasionally do more research online about adoption, and the other day I ran across a website that had a "psychologist's opinion"...and it infuriated me. Here's the email I sent her about her attitude:

You know,
It's amazing that this "adoptee as victim" has become such a pervasive issue in American society. And so-called "therapist" like yourself certainly do NO ONE any favors by advancing this viewpoint.

No, I'm NOT an adoptee.

I'm NOT a birth parent.

I'm NOT an adoptive parent.

What I someone who was abused at the hands of their own "natural" parents. It ENRAGES me to see adoptees who had wonderful, loving adoptive parents treat them with insensitivity, and try to find "birth parents" (what a misnomer, as if giving "birth" meant they were parents) who might, or might not, be potential abusers.

IF this trend continues, there will be FEW adoptions...because, of course, "natural" parents (no matter HOW abusive and horrible) MUST be preferrable to "adoptive" loving, caring parents. I tell you, when I was a child (being abused by MY "natural" parents) I often wished some good, caring "loving" couple would adopt me.

Here is your own words:

"If you related to anything I have written here or if you have answered yes to any of these questions, you may be adversely affected by being adopted. I am a firm believer that ALL adoptees are adversely affected by being adopted. Even they have a wonderful adoptive family and positive experiences in reunion with their birth families, the fact of the matter is that they were UNCHOSEN at birth. Many experts feel that the separation from mother is one of the most traumatic experiences one can endure."

Adoptees (and ignorant counselors) just need to GET OVER IT. Trust me, things could have been MUCH worse with the "natural" sperm donor and incubator. Giving a child up to a GOOD home, with LOVING parents is NOT being UNCHOSEN. Dumping a baby in a trash can, that's being UNCHOSEN, lady.

And one day soon, I will write a novel based on just how destructive this whole "adoptee" search for "birth parents" really is -- for society at large, and for the thousands of damaged, waiting, sad kids in foster care now who will NEVER have a loving adoptive family choose them.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Another brief update to say that Buddy, my ailing cat, is improving. He is still not back to normal, but eating and playing some. I also read the label on the dry cat food I'd been feeding, 9 Lives Plus, which is supposed to prevent urinary stones. And aha!, when I compared it to other such brands, I see that it has more magnesium and ash content.

Today I went to the pet store, and bought some very pricey dry food to prevent urinary problems. However, better an ounce of prevention than a pound of cure. I am hoping this will help him.

What else? Oh, no more news from the "problem." Still feeling optimistic we've heard the last of it.

And best of all? I have a new friend here in Alabama -- a mathematics professor at a college only about 50 miles away. Met on a friendship group online. He is also interested in some of the same hobbies/activities I am, and this should prove to be a fascinating email exchange.

That's all she wrote today, folks.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Just a brief update to report on my ailing cat, Buddy. He seemed so much better after the vet visit yesterday, since he was diagnosed with bladder/kidney infection and crystals. Not blocked, but definitely having some problems. The vet gave him a shot of antibiotic and antispasmodic...which helped.

However, this morning he doesn't want to eat. I tempted him with some special treats, and he still didn't even nibble. I did get the liquid antibiotic down him, and will just hope he feels better by tomorrow, or I'll take him back to the vet. At least it wasn't the bad news I was fearing...

Well, another weekend nearly here and we'll be working again at the old house. We are hoping to install the last window, which is extra large to replace two double windows...if it comes in. We had to order it, and the building supply said it should be here this weekend. I also plan to scrape, sand and paint the exterior trim on the front porch windows, for that will have to be done before we move. Plus, I still need to paint the interior trimwork in the living room. So, plenty of hard work ahead!

We are hoping to move at least by the end of this month. Or earlier, if possible. We're getting tired of taking care of two houses, and could sure use the money either from the sale of this house in town or rent off it.

In the meantime though, work, work and MORE work ahead!

One last note: I found a rant about adoption and/or open adoption records that truly gave me a chuckle, as well as hit home on a truth. No, I don't have some unknown kid of my own out there...but adoption is partly what DH's "problem" is about. Read this and you'll get an idea of my opinion:

Abort the Bastards

Thursday, February 05, 2004 promised yesterday, I got some photos of the colt. I also posted one picture of the new entry on the side of the enclosed front porch. We still have to paint the door (probably colonial green), but at least the picture shows how we changed that area.

You can see the pictures at the bottom of the webpage album by clicking HERE

I was looking forward to doing some writing today, since it is rainy, dark, bleak. But I noticed Buddy acting a bit different last night: He was straining in the litter box, and also occasionally backing up to things and putting out a few drops of urine. I think he may have a kidney infection or stones...but I feed my indoor cats nothing but the best urinary stone prevention dry food. Anyhow, I have an appointment for 3:00 this afternoon at the vet, and will have to fight the late traffic as well as this rainy, windy weather. I just hope this is nothing serious with Buddy; he's the last of my three kittens, and I don't want to lose him.

Must run now.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

New baby here! Yep, DH has a couple mares due, and one surprised us by having her baby...last night! The mare is a gorgeous Palomino, and the colt looks exactly like her! She's had several colts, and always does well with them. No exception here, either. DH made a deal where he would keep these two mares till they delivered, then let the owner have them and the colts until the colts are weaned. Then DH gets the colts back. So the baby will only be with us a couple weeks or so, until it's safe to move her and the mare.

I haven't seen the colt yet, but DH called early this morning and described it. He's coming in early, and we'll go to the farm then so I can see the new colt and DH can do some rearranging for them. He wants the colt and mare in the barn, since it's supposed to start a hard rain tonight and continue through tomorrow and into Friday morning. I'm going to take my digital camera, and try to get some pix of the colt!

I spent a busy, hectic morning. Had some shopping to do, mainly for stuff to use at the old house. Needed a new trim paint brush, some mini-blinds for the kitchen, a couple topper curtains, and just random items. Even ended up dropping by the Salvation Army store, and found a few bargains. I already have curtains in all but two of the rooms, and I'm trying to get a lot of such details finished before we ever actually move in. It sure would have been nice to be there this morning, to walk out the back door and see that cute little newborn colt! Of course, there's still another one to be born, and maybe we'll be there by then.

When I got home, I went on my bike ride -- the first time this week. And darn, it's just like starting all over, very difficult. But I DID go the entire distance, and feel whipped! But I felt like I NEEDED the exercise.

Still doing research related to the current situation here -- but as the days pass with no news, I am hoping we've heard the last of it. I just want to get back to our life, and forget all about that crap. However, I am sure that I will write about it...even if in a fictionalized form, sooner or later. I've learned too much, and feel very, very strongly about my views on this. And only when a writer has such deeply passionate feelings about something should they attempt to use it in their writing. In fact, one of Writer Digest's writing prompts is this:

List the issues, both big and small, that make you angry. Getting in touch with subjects you feel passionately about can help you decide what you need to write about.

I haven't felt as angry and upset about anything as the latest situation in years and years. I am beginning to think that a serene life is not conducive to writing! :-)

And that's it for today.

Monday, February 02, 2004

So far, so regard to my present situation. No news is good coin a cliche.

But today, this rainy, dreary Monday...I've been remembering someone from the past. These lyrics seem to capture that person so well:

All Those Years Ago - George Harrison

I'm shouting all about love
While they treated you like a dog
When you were the one who had made it so clear
All those years ago

I'm talking all about how to give
They don't act with much honesty
But you point the way to the truth when you say
All you need is love

Living with good and bad
I always looked up to you
Now we're left cold and sad
By someone the devil's best friend
Someone who offended all

We're living in a bad dream
They've forgotten all about mankind
And you were the one they backed up to the wall
All those years ago
You were the one who imagined it all
All those years ago

All those years ago
All those years ago

Deep in the darkest night
I send out a prayer to you
Now in the world of light
Where the spirit free of lies
And all else that we despised

They've forgotten all about God
He's the only reason we exist
Yet you were the one that they said was so weird
All those years ago
You said it all though not many had ears
All those years ago
You had control of our smiles and our tears
All those years ago..

All those years ago
All those years ago...