My Novels

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Here I am again, the THIRD entry today. This HAS to be a record for updates in ONE day. But I DO have something to write about, and wanted to capture this while it was fresh in my mind.

DH came home this afternoon, and as usual, I asked what he had for lunch. He said he had some delicious barbecue ribs at a local restaurant, and the best part was that it was free. I asked, "So who bought your lunch?" (Often co-workers will take turns paying for lunch.)

He said, "I don't know."

And of course I repeated, "You don't know?"

"Nope, when we (several co-workers together) got up to pay, the guy said that a lady who'd been sitting near us had paid for our lunch."

Of course, DH asked who the woman was; and the guy said he didn't know. As none of the co-workers, or DH, had paid much attention to the woman near them, they were surprised...and a bit perplexed. But the instant he told me about it, I said, "That could be one of those pay it foward acts."

We'd both seen the movie a long time ago, and I'd also looked on the web to find that there IS indeed still a strong movement by that name, with a website. We both found the movie to be good, but the "idea" of such acts of kindness/favor willingly done and having the only request be that the recipent do another kind act for a stranger in the very inspirational. I admit though that I've not done anything like that, just forgot about it essentially.

Anyhow, I guess it IS possible that the woman who anonymously paid for their lunch could have had that in mind. Or she may have paid for their lunch because of my DH's profession, which is helping others and/or keeping the peace.

At any rate, it's an intriquing situation. If you aren't familiar with the movement, you can read about it by clicking on this link: Pay It Foward

I went on my bike ride, stopped in the cemetery a little while and located what seems to be perhaps grandparents of one of the former owners of the land here. But I didn't find the owner's graves; perhaps they are still alive. I also located the family name of another owner on several tombstones, but didn't have time to explore further just then.

And NOW, I really, really am going to do some WRITING!
No doubt I spend far too much time reading online journals! Very addicting, and while not exactly a terrible habit, I do have other projects I need to be working on. Like the novel-in-progress, or research, or typing up notes/material I've found about our old farmhouse. At any rate, I suppose everyone is entitled to a vice (not counting my obsession with writing, that is!).

Our weather has become gloriously mild after the past weekend of thundershowers. I have enjoyed my afternoon bike rides, pure pleasure! As I biked yesterday, I thought it felt almost like a preview of fall weather, and I am sure looking forward to that, my favorite season here in the South.

DH worked on the garage every afternoon, due to the cooler temperatures. He got it all stripped, and one first coat of white on. Now he'll have to add another coat, possibly next week since showers are again predicted for the weekend. Perhaps he can strip the old wash-house paint this weekend, between showers. Then it'll be ready to pain along with the last coat on the garage.

I went shopping at a discount store yesterday, had some necessary items to buy. I usually go to the shopping mall about two miles from our house, unless I need something I can only find in the city ten-minutes north of us. And tomorrow I have to buy groceries, which I have come to hate.

Today I did housecleaning (as usual), had some time to surf/read journals online, and soon Ill settle down to work on my writing projects. I did want to make this entry first and then I'll have the entire evening to work, since DH has a part-time position for Thursday nights.

I submitted my blog/journal to a website with Alabama blogs, and it is listed there now under, "Somewhere in Alabama." The link will be at the bottom of this site.

I stayed up late last night, finishing Thomas Cook's, "Breakheart Hill." It was truly a mesmerizing read, and I recommend it along with most of his other novels. Especially if you like tragic stories about high school romances gone wrong!

I'll close with a couple of excerpts from the novel, which demonstrate his exceptional poetic prose style:

From Breakheart Hill, by Thomas H. Cook:

“It is the curse of memory to dwell on possibility, to consider not only what was, but what might have been.”

“We think of it as something lurking behind a door. We see it in the glint of a blade or the cold blue muzzle of a gun. It is supposed to come at us from behind a jagged corner or out of a dense, nightbound fog, and we often imagine it as a stalking figure, shadowy and threatening, moving toward us from the far end of the alleyway, watching us with small, malicious eyes.....
But danger, even mortal danger, does not always look like that.... It is not always a stalking figure with raging, red-rimmed eyes, or even a coolly malicious one, patiently waiting in the shadows. It may be something else, something that calls to you gently, gathers you in warmly, caressingly, something that coaxes you sweetly toward destruction.”

Ever wonder who is getting rich in the Bush Whitehouse Years? Take a look at this news article out this morning, and it'll solve the mystery.

Exxon Mobil Profit Soars on Energy Prices

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), the world's largest publicly traded oil company, on Thursday said its quarterly earnings surged 39 percent on record oil prices, higher production and its best refining and marketing results in 13 years.

The Irving, Texas-based company said second-quarter net income rose to $5.79 billion, or 88 cents a share, in the period, from $4.17 billion, or 62 cents, in the year-ago quarter.

Yep, looks like good years for the oil companies. (sigh)

More later today, if I have time.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

I have some new photos of the kitten, and my other cats. Kitten has grown so much, and is NEVER completely still (unless sleeping!), so I had a difficult time getting pictures of her. My other indoor cats are thriving also, and I wanted to post a few new photos of them as well. All pictures will be at the end of this post.

This past weekend DH and I didn't get as much accomplished as we thought we would. We got most of the garage paint stripped, just need to do one small section of the back -- if it doesn't rain tonight. Saturday we had to make a trip to the building supply, get some lumber to replace the rotted or missing planks on the two outdoor buildings. And we bought some high-grade, thick plastic to put down for our new driveway/carport, putting out weed/grass killer there first. Hopefully we can get the two loads of gravel delivered either near the end of this week, or early next week.

We also had to make an unexpected trip to Wal-mart on Saturday; the small air-conditioner on the cat porch quit. It was very old, so I can't complain, and the new one only cost about $75.00 since it is only for one room. Lately it's just been terribly hot and sweltering and the cats can't survive in that sunroom without air conditioning; it is not part of the central heat/air for our house.

Sunday we went on our usual drive, taking a break until late afternoon. However, by the time we got home thunderclouds were on the horizon and before we could do any more work, it started storming. Buckets and buckets of rain, thunder, lightning and it didn't let up till after dark. Monday the same thing, so that makes TWO afternoons I've not been able to go on my bike ride. But hopefully today I can, since it looks like the clouds are moving out, and the sun is about to shine. It was foggy, with a slow drizzle all morning, but improving now at 2:30.

I've been doing more research/note-taking for my work-in-progress (novel), as well as reading fiction when I have time. I'm really enjoying the Thomas Cook and Ruth Rendell novels I ordered from

I was thinking this morning (while doing housework) that the two houses we own are, in some ways, similar versions of my childhood homes. My parents lived in town, and though the house DH and I own there is better by far than where I grew up, it IS in a nearby neighborhood. And this house we own in the country is similar to my grandparents' old farmhouse. I suppose I should be very content, satisfied and happy...since we've managed to own (both paid for) two homes that are similar to houses I lived in as a child. In many ways, I am grateful/thankful for having managed to do this, because in large part, it has been due to living frugal and carefully, good planning, and of course, a bit of luck. I don't think we'd sell either one unless absolutely in dire need of money -- and that I foresee ONLY as some sort of major medical expenses. {BTW, DH got the results of his medical tests, and they were fine!} But I digress...

I spent some time this morning tinkering with my website, The Prose Menagerie. I noticed that one of my novels, "The Secret of Cry-baby Hollow," and my website were voted by readers as top favorites at, and I was entitled to a blue ribbon
graphic for those. So I updated the site with this new award, and did a few other necessary tasks.

Now to end on an upbeat note, I'm going to post some excerpts by Maurice Hall I found so very true:

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more fortunate than the million who will not survive this week.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If your parents are still married and alive, you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you can hold someone's hand, hug them, or even touch them on the shoulder, you are fortunate.

If you can read this message, you are more fortunate than over two million people in the world who cannot read anything at all.

And yet, we Americans still gripe and whine about insignificant matters. No wonder most of the world thinks we're selfish, self-centered and arrogant/spoiled!

Here's the photos:

Kitten eating -- her favoite thing to do! Posted by Hello

Bob, hiding out so Kitten won't aggravate him! Posted by Hello

Buddy (black cat) and Princess (looking mad) Posted by Hello

Kitten taunting Slinky Posted by Hello

Curious Kitten Posted by Hello

Saturday, July 24, 2004


I located the Hamricks' gravesite (early owners of the original 40 acres of land) yesterday afternoon on my bike ride. It was another one of those almost eerie occurrances. I had passed their grave lots of times, and it was near the path where I ride...but yesterday, as I went by, I glanced in that direction and lo, I saw the name on the headstone. I stopped immediately -- though I'd found several other Hamrick graves, none were the right ones -- and had a feeling this was the ONE. Sure enough, on the footstones were engraved the exact names I was searching for. Additonally, there was an unknown lady's grave on the other side of the man. Looked like after his first wife died, he married this lady, and he was buried between them! At any rate, I will try to get some pictures this afternoon to post.

Oh, the reason I hadn't noticed this Hamrick grave is because there was a HUGE clip-on flower arrangement on the headstone. It had come off, and I realized that when I was looking at it, so I picked it up and put it back on. The thing fit VERY TIGHTLY, so the wind could NOT have knocked it off. I had the strangest feeling then, as if the Hamrick's were saying to me: "Here we are, stupid!" Yeah, I guess my overactive imagination DOES get the best of me sometimes!

Now I only have two more couples' graves to find, in order complete birth/death dates of all those who owned this land prior to the house being built. There's still one large corner of the old cemetery to explore on foot, and maybe if the heat isn't too bad this afternoon, I'll do that.

Today promises to be busy here; we're stripping the garage and wash-house. DH has a small pressure washer that does the job quicker, and he's using that. Once the buildings are dry, he'll start painting; using the spray painter sures does make the job go faster. Next week we'll have two loads of gravel brought for the driveway at the back of the house, where we put the carport. So we need to kill the grass there today and then put down thick plastic for the gravel.

Once those tasks are finished, we have only TWO major tasks to finish: a new roof and painting the alumnium siding white. DH talked to a roofer the other day, and he will come out soon to give us an estimate. We want a green roof (either metal or shingle) and that should truly improve the appearance of everything, make it all come together -- at last. BUT if we get that all finished before Oct. 12th of this year...well, we will have accomplished an almost miraculous feat of renovating this whole place in ONE YEAR!

When all this is completed, I plan to write the one remaining heir of the original owners of this house (a grandson, age 59, who lives in a nearby large city) and explain how we've renovated the house, and ask if he'd like to see it. And if he has any old photos of the house when first built, any memories of visiting here (he is the ONLY grandson) and other information about the place he'd like to pass along. Perhaps he can tell me a little about his maternal grandparents who built the house, for I'd like to know something about them personally, and their lives. I already have a rough draft of the letter I'll send (his name/address was in the deed, and I checked it out via the internet, and he still lives there) to his home, providing my email address and phone number. I think this would provide invaluable information for future owners...particularly when I create a "time capsule" to leave within the walls or attic somewhere.

Another project for late fall is building a large barn about halfway between the old small barn and the back of the pasture, get it away from the house somewhat. DH had a contractor who builds metal barns to come out and do an estimate; he asked $14,000.00 to build what DH wants, which to say the least, was RIDICULOUS. DH has begun buying good but used metal from chicken houses torn down in this area (excellent material, since it only has minor hail damage that insurance replaced) and figures he'll only have, at most, around $4,000.00 in the barn if he builds it himself. We have even toyed with the idea of stabling horses (for rent) when it's finished, but haven't decided yet on that. Regardless though, when the barn is done, it WILL add $14,000.00 value to the overall resell value.

It's nice to have the large rental fee from our house in town rolling in like clockwork each month. We were very lucky to find such great renters; they pay ahead of time, AND take excellent care of our place there.

One thing I've noticed on my bike rides in two vastly different nearby subdivisions: a blue-collar subdivision is always brimming with activity, people out in their yards, kids riding their bikes, friendly hellos everywhere I ride. But in a very upscale subdivision (homes around $500,000.00 value) where I ride occasionally, there is NEVER anyone outside, and if they are, they never speak as I pass by. I find that revealing about the "difference" between lower middle-class folks and -- as my grandmother would say -- "high-faluting" upper middle-class people!

Gotta get going. Have LOTS to do today. {Still working on novel research/note-taking and plotting when time permits too.}


It's around 8:00 now, and I've just returned from my bike ride. I did get some pictures of the Hamrick graves, and will post them below.

I was thinking today about my description of the blue-collar neighborhood..and how it reminded me of Anne Tyler's novel, The Accidental Tourist.If you haven't read that, it is a very good novel!

Here's the pictures:

Why I couldn't see the name... Posted by Hello

Tombstone with man in center of the two wives Posted by Hello

Thursday, July 22, 2004

I'm sitting here waiting for a free word processing program to download, and thought I'd make an entry. MS Word has locked up on this computer, and it has always had glitches in it, so I'm not about to start my rough draft in that! I'm downloading two programs: a small one that replaces notepad, and another larger one that is supposed to be similiar to Excel Word. We shall see, I guess.

I am getting verrrrry excited about my new work-in-progress, and find thoughts/characters/ideas popping into my mind at all hours of the day/night. Now that is the FUN of being a creative writer; the preoccupation, the daydreamy moods, and the general "honeymoon" stage of a novel. Although this might not be a long novel, more of a novella; however, since it will be written in omnipresent viewpoint (from four different perspectives interspersed through alternating chapters) I am fairly sure it'll be a full-length novel. I'm still researching/reading, and will have to do a quick review of writing from the omnipresent viewpoint. It's been awhile since I've written from that perspective, but it is necessary in this storyline, for I want readers to know ALL the characters inside and out, and as a means of increasing suspense, tension. For now my tentative title is: "Into the Fire," although I'm also toying with another title, "Sleeping Dogs."

DH went for his medical checkup, had a test done, but won't get the results for a week. The urologist said he looked fine though, and told him to come back in six months. No problems related to the kidney stone/infection he had recently. He then came home, changed clothes and went to get some hay. He has to load it on a flatbed trailer after it's cut and baled. That is a hot, messy job today...but he took plenty of cold water (in a thermos) and should do okay.

I'm going to upload some recent photos in the online photo album, under the folder "Cemeteries" or "160 Year old Cemetery." For now I'll post a couple here; I took these one afternoon on my bike ride.

Many tombstones in old section have birth dates of late 1700s Posted by Hello

Old section of cemetery; pioneers supposedly buried some who died as they passed through here Posted by Hello

This ceramic cat (and other toys) are on a child's tombstone Posted by Hello

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Sooo, I've been busy, as usual. Over the weekend, DH and I painted the metal tops of the garage and old wash-house. Turned out very nice, and now we still have to paint the buildings. We did get the fence painted white, and the front of the garage, so that from the road, our old place is starting to look quite nice!
I finally have an outline/plot for my "adoption" related story. I've done so much research that the plot came quite easily! I still have to do a bit of research on a couple of issues that will play a big part in the storyline, and I've worked on that earlier today. I had no idea that John Douglas (the criminal profiler) had a website with a bulletin board where he actually participates. I posted a question about an aspect of a character I will develop, and the information will surely be helpful.
I finished reading "Into the Web" by Thomas Cook last night. You know, I hate to say it...but I think he's beginning to repeat himself in his novels. As an author, I know that can happen after you've written several novels with similar  storylines; it's one reason I stopped writing fiction for awhile. Now that I have a completely different subject matter, I am fairly sure I can write something different to my other novels. Yes, I will still be writing suspense/crime drama, but the adoption angle is not something I've never explored. It has such varied potential, and will make for interesting plot/characters.
I've been riding my bike each afternoon lately, since the weather has been wonderful. It's in the 80s during the day, low humidity, and 60s at night. Yesterday afternoon I stopped for a short while in the old section of the cemetery, and looked around. I found one tombstone with a birth date of 1798...the oldest one I've found yet. Wish I'd taken my digital camera!
Oh, I'm back on a diet. I'd gotten over 100 lbs, and seemed to stay there. I want to get down to 95, and then stop the diet. Mostly eating fresh veggies/fruits, which are plentiful and reasonably priced this time of the year in the south.
I'm about to prepare a tasty chef salad for our meal, with fresh tomatoes we grew ourselves. So I've got to end this for now. Entries may be sporadic once I get started on the rough draft for my novel.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Not much to write about today: I slept late, making up for the loss of a couple of nights. Seems as if the day has flown by, getting up so late.

I DID get two of the novels I ordered from today: "A Demon in My View," Ruth Rendell; and "Into the Web" by Thomas Cook. I'll soon escape down the rabbit hole of reading, for I'm sure these will be impossible to put down.

I'll end this entry with some random quotes I've collected:

"If you want inner peace find it in solitude...." --Stewart L. Udall

"Secretly, my true ultimate goal in life is to be the lady who lives in that creepy old house in the neighborhood that the kids are afraid to go to when they go trick-or-treating because they think she's a witch." -Blogger

There's an old joke about the optimist who said that this is the best of all possible worlds, and the pessimist who said, "Yes, I'm afraid you're right."


On Writing:
"If it doesn't hurt, you aren't doing it right." - Sarah Schulman

"It's a high, this writing thing," he says, "a kind of drug, and once you experience it nothing else is ever the same. Ordinary life seems like a prison sentence in comparison to the freedom of writing." -Robert Sheckley

Q: How are diets and writing alike?
A: Both are very hard to get back to after you take a day off.

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

". . . [The poet] arrives at the unknown: and even if, half crazed, in the end, he loses the understanding of his visions, he has seen them! Let him be destroyed in his leap by those unnamable, unutterable and innumerable things: there will come other horrible workers: they will begin at the horizons where he has succumbed." -Arthur Rimbaud


"He who does not accept and respect those who want to reject life does not truly accept and respect life itself." -Thomas Szasz

"Eternal life -- a fate worse than death."

"Jesus loves you, but everyone else thinks you're an asshole." -BumperSticker


And lastly, quotes from "Middle Ages" a novel by Jennie Fields I just finished reading; the protagonist is a middle age woman who is divorced and finds her first college sweetheart again via the internet:

"You know, you wake up one day and you find that you've made a series of compromises. None of them extraordinary. Merely realistic revisions of your original dream. But compiled, they become much more. They send you on a path away from the possible. You discover you're not who you wanted to be. You're not even who you can be. You're just ordinary. Your story is hardly worth telling."

"It hurts to think about the impact of your life on the world.... Hubris, I guess. Longing for immortality in a mortal world."

Reasons to marry:
1. For beauty
2. For great sex
3. For companionship
4. To become one with your soul mate
I wonder if anybody ever gets all the way home.

"....I've thought about how incredibly intimate E-mail is. You can read it naked and no one would know. You can get an answer back the very same day, sometimes even minutes later. But somehow, miraculously, it's more revealing than a phone call. More personal. More of a whisper in your ear. You can reread it when it reaches you, or scares you, or confuses you. There's no trace of it hanging around the house for others to read, and if you fear that your family is prying, you can lock the file. You don't need a stamp, you're not a helpless victim of an unreliable postal system."


Hopefully I can go on my bike ride late this afternoon, like I have every day except yesterday since it stormed. I have to wait till the sun sinks below the horizon, when it's cooler and no sun to worry about.

Guess that's all for today.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I stayed up verrry late last night, finished reading the novel, "Middle Ages." It was delightful, and apparently absorbing enough that I HAD to finish it. Been a long time since I couldn't put down a good novel. Somehow I feel I'm about to get back into my own writing, as well as obsessed with reading again. And as Martha Stewart would say, "It's a good thing!"

I spent all morning cleaning, rearranging on the cat's porch, quite a task. It is not quite as difficult to keep their quarters clean in their new abode, but does need a once-monthly thorough cleaning/mopping/etc. Nice and cool out there with the small air conditioner, but the two outside cats are underneath the back porch where it's cooler. Last time I checked it was around 95 outside, and sweltering, blistering heat that hits you like a fist when you open the door! Horrid, horrid.

I'm posting an old photo (which was featured in our local newspaper) of my paternal grandfather and his parents/siblings taken in 1912. Perhaps this small version won't show it, but there's a very nice, shiny NEW Ford Roadster behind them all. My grandfather was the eldest, he's on the far right, the tall, good-looking chap! My great-great grandfather/mother were prominent in their small rural community back then. They owned the General Store, and lots and lots and lots of LAND. My great-great grandmother was an immigrant from Germany when she met my great-great grandfather, and she spoke fluent German. My grandfather said she would often spout off in German when angry with my great-great grandfather -- which was often, for he was a real pain at times.

I knew my great-grandfather only when he was aged, probably in his late 80s, and quite a character. He lived with my grandparents briefly, and my daddy used to say that every morning the old gent would awaken him at dawn by poking a walking stick in his side, and yelling, "Get up, time to rise and shine, can't lay about in the bed all day, son." That didn't endear him to my daddy at all!

My grandmother never liked him, and when he left there, he went to a nursing home -- where it was rumored he chased all the young lady caregivers and even the elderly women, trying to romance them. Hey, he WAS a character!

My great-great grandfather/mother with grandfather and siblings in front of a Ford Roadster, circa 1912 Posted by Hello

And here's a picture I took the other day, after a rain shower. The two outside cats got on the motorcycle seats, since it was dry and cool under the carport. They look ready to hit the road!

City Kitty and Bitty Kitty ready to take a spin on motorcycle! :-) Posted by Hello

That's a wrap for today!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Late at night, or in the wee hours of the morning, when I can't sleep (like last night), I think of zillions of topics to write about in this journal. {Perhaps I should get up and write instead of lying awake?} Then morning comes, I have a multitude of chores here (take care of cats, clean house, etc.) and I end up never writing about all my thoughts the night before. Oh well, so it goes.

I do have a few ideas to discuss today though, as well as updates on recent activities.

First off, my cat (Buddy, one of the last three remaining kittens) seems to be having a bout of kidney stones or crystals. He's had this before, and got blocked, so I am watching him carefully. I am fairly sure he ate some of the kitten's can food, though I try to keep an eye on him when I feed Kitten. It doesn't take much though to cause him a problem; Hill's Science Diet, adult formula, has thus far kept him stone-free. I did have some steroid pills (from Buddy's last vet visit) and antibiotic (which the vet prescribed for City Kitty, though I could not get it down her), so I am giving those to him and hoping to avoid an expensive vet trip should he become blocked. (As an aside, you know it's bad when you, your spouse AND the cat gets kidney stones. I saw a map one time of the regions prone to having the most people with kidney stones, and the southeast was prime territory. It may be the extreme heat of summer and sweating without enough water intake, or some other reason...not sure.)

Last Friday I ordered some good novels via which I could find nowhere else. At least a few of these anyway. I am crazy about Thomas H. Cook and Ruth Rendell's mystery fiction -- though some of Rendell's fiction borders on the bizarre, with psychopathic personalities that she "gets inside the head of" like NO other fiction author alive. She sets all her stories in England, where she lives, and though I don't care for her Inspecter Wexford series (since I don't like detective series that much), I do enjoy her crime fiction. Some of her early work is out-of-print, but I found several such novels via in the used book catergory. I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to order those, for I really enjoy her work.

As for Thomas H. Cook, he is a born-and-bred Southerner, and sets most of his novels in the South. His best work, IMO, centers on a past unsolved murder/crime, which his protagonist finally solves when returning to their "native southern town." In this category, his latest novel, "Into the Web," promises to be a great read. I ordered it as well as several other novels I'd never read, such as "Break Heart Hill." Can't wait for those to arrive!

In the meantime, I went by the library the other day and got a few novels. I'm currently reading, "The Middle Ages" by Jennie Fields. It is good so far: about a woman in her 40s who, now divorced, finds her first true love, a college sweetheart. Lots of that "middle ages" stuff too that I can identify with!

While at the library I also got a regional history book, and plan to copy/print out some of the information about the nearest town from us, as well as local history. I thought this would add a nice touch to the past ownership history of this house, when I get it all organized and framed. If nothing else, it should be interesting to any potential owners of this house in the future. But, like improvements on this place, it's still a "work-in-progress."

On Sunday afternoon DH and I went riding on the Honda Goldwing motorcycle he bought. He got a bargain in the price, since the owner needed cash, and plans to resell it for profit...but we will ride till he sells it. My back and legs are a bit sore, so I don't know how much riding I'll be able to do...and it was very hot Sunday...but I enjoyed it nevertheless. Riding on the winding secondary country roads was nice, but I sure didn't like being on a main highway; too much traffic and scary at faster speed!

Now...regarding adoption "reunions." I have done a ton of research and have concluded that the media is focusing ONLY on the good stories lately. There is an interesting website that has a forum for adoptions, and I've been amazed/shocked at some of the horror stories about reunions of adoptees/bparents posted there. For example, I read of one woman adoptee who found her birth mother, and was told her birth father was in prison. So she proceeds to visit him, and he almost molested her in the visiting room!! Goodness, do adoptees who have great adoptive parents really need to know if they have a rapist birth father? Anyhow, you can read some of those bad reunion stories at the following website:

Disappointing Adoptee/Bparent Reunions

In order NOT to end on such a depressing note, I'll add this last article that I found really uplifting about a stray cat found by U.S. troops in Iraq:

Tabby Gets Military Rank After Iraq Tour

Tue Jul 13, 8:56 AM ET

By The Associated Press

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Fort Carson Staff Sgt. Rick Bousfield of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team had a mission: Saving Pvt. Hammer.

Pfc. Hammer is an Iraqi tabby cat the unit adopted after he was born last fall at a base in Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad.

When Bousfield found out his unit was leaving Iraq (news - web sites) in March, he decided he couldn't leave a member of his team behind.

"He has been through mortar attacks," said Bousfield, a 19-year Army veteran. "He'd jump and get scared liked the rest of us. He is kind of like one of our own."

Pfc. Hammer got his name from the unit that adopted him, Team Hammer. Soldiers would tuck Hammer in their body armor during artillery attacks, and in return, Hammer chased mice in the mess hall.

"He was a stress therapist," Bousfield said. "The guys would come back in tired and stressed. Hammer would come back and bug the heck out of you. He wiped away some worries."

The kitten earned his rank after nabbing five mice.

When Bousfield learned his unit was going, he sent an e-mail to Alley Cat Allies, a national clearinghouse of information on stray cats, asking for help bringing Hammer along.

Alley Cat Allies raised $2,500 for Hammer's shots, sterilization, paperwork and a plane ride to the United States.

Hammer left Iraq with his unit in March, then flew from Kuwait to San Francisco in cargo-class. He traveled first class with an Alley Cat Allies volunteer to Denver.

Bousfield met the kitten at the airport.

Goodness, makes me wonder why people don't just "adopt" a cat instead of a human baby -- who, in all likelihood, will want to "find the bparents" at some point in the future and hurt the adoptive parents! :=)

Otta here for now!

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Hmm, long time, no post. I've been in a bleak mood, and just haven't had the inclination to write in this journal of late.

We DID get our carport, and it's already installed. Haven't done much work around here since then though.

July 4th was fun; my sister and brother-in-law and their son visited for the afternoon, and we had a nice cookout. But it was hot as Hades, and then a thunderstorm in the later hours. Still, I always enjoy visting with them.

I have finally started reading fiction again, and even stayed up late last night reading in bed. It always makes me itch to write fiction again when I read good stuff, like last night. Mainly a collection of short supernatural stories I had in my collection, which I'd read before but was worth rereading. I'm thinking of joining a Mystery Guild bookclub, because I don't get to the library as often as I used to. We'll see, I guess.

A few questions I plucked off a website for journal writers:

My favorite place in the world paternal grandparents' old home/farm, which was destroyed by tornadoes in 1974, unfortunately.

I wish I could change the way I…become depressed a lot these days.

My worst nightmare would be…--has already happened, the thing with DH last Christmas involving adoption. An unwanted intrusion into my/our life, but hopefully resolved without any further problems.

The three things I enjoy most about my job are… -- job? What job? Oh, I guess that would be my writing: I enjoy the quiet time for reflection, the creativity of fiction writing.

If I could change places with someone for a day it would be…the late Carl Sagan; he was brilliant, and I'd love to know what it was like to be THAT intelligent!

Here's some recent photos:

Mr. Slick, our quarterhorse, staring out the barn window Posted by Hello

Sunset from backyard on July 4th Posted by Hello

Outta here for now.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Hey, I'm wasting some time until the guys show up to install our new carport. We ordered a green metal with white trim, a double-car size; we'll have it put at one end of the back porch, and make a driveway off the dirt road. It'll be much more convenient, especially when I have a load of groceries!

We hadn't planned on ordering this just now, but metal has gone sky-high in price, so we found a bargain ($100.00 less than most are sellling for now) and decided to buy it. DH will have to do some work with the tractor for the driveway, then we'll have to get a load of gravel...but once finished, it sure will be handy. to my wasting time:

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