My Novels

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Roadside Pix

Not much to write about today, except the same old, same old. Weekend warriors indeed, that's DH and I when we work on this place. Today is so hot and humid, you break into a sweat just being outside standing still. Not much worth making ourselves miserable over, so we're not doing lots outside.

I am planning on hanging new curtains I finally bought for the living room later, have to iron those first. I had put off buying drapes, and only had sheers with mini-blinds behind them. Now that we're not having to spend so much for exterior work, I found some drapes marked down to a reasonable price.

I've actually not done a lot of decorative stuff in the yard yet either, just waiting till the more expensive projects are finished. Like that roof/vinyl sofit for trim/gutters...which we hope to have done sometimes in late Fall. That will definitely require a professional though, and we've already asked for an estimate. I want to eventually have a long flower box beneath the picture window; an arched white arbor at the end of the rock sidewalk at the entryway (DH already has the rocks in place, which he got out of the nearby creek); and a small, pretty area where the tree swing is now. Maybe next Spring I can also have some flowers; there just wasn't time to plant any this year. Ah, lots more to do....possibly even a very small garden next year, so we can have fresh veggies -- our few tomato plants have made lots, and have been delicious.

I snapped a few more pictures on my bike ride yesterday afternoon, and will post them at the end of this entry. I ride this country road EVERY single day on my bike, and it hasn't lost its charm yet!

I'll end this with an apt quote:

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

Stretch of road along my bike ride Posted by Hello

Curving road on my bike ride Posted by Hello

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Hayfield along my bike ride, college in background Posted by Hello

New Template

I finally had to replace my old template for this blog, because the new navigator bar at the top (instead of ads) wouldn't allow the title to be displayed. NOT complaining though, since the site is free and easy to use. But it did take a bit of work on the code for I wanted to include all the quotes, archives, my links and links to other websites as well. Nothing fancy, just plain with an emphasis on the writing.

We're having typical August weather now, hot during the day, sometimes a shower that turns the outdoors into a steam bath. A bit cooler at night, which is a relief. I went on my bike ride a couple of mornings, when I got up early. Now that school is back in session, there are no kids out in the mornings, it's quieter on my ride. However, I have to wait till after the school bus has gone by. {I call the lady driver the bus-driver from Hell; she zooms up this dirt road, leaving a whoosh of dust trailing behind the bus. I guess I'd be driving like a bat out of Hell too, if I had a zillion kids screaming and yelling in there with me!}

The weekend was another busy time; DH and I are making slow progress, but he has a week's vacation starting Sept. 7th, so that will give us plenty of time to do other stuff. We also have to do some maintenance upkeep at the rental house in town -- pressure-wash the vinyl siding, clean out the gutters and put gutter-guard on those. But the remainder of our time should be spent here finishing up the last exterior work on this house.

Yesterday I had to make another dreaded trip to Wal-mart, but got an early start and was home before 12:30. I needed to buy a new DVD/VCR combination, since both our VCRs finally bit the dust and I like to record movies early in the evening to watch late at night when not reading. I like having this combo, makes it easier to watch DVD movies too.

I rented two EXCELLENT movies over the weekend: "In the Bedroom," with Sissy Spacek (and you KNOW she never makes a bad movie). That one was truly a movie that leaves you thinking long, long after it ends -- not easy to do in a movie.

The other movie was "The Life of David Gale". Kevin Spacey never makes a bad movie either. This one is especially suspenseful and meaningful. Never thought I'd see a movie that could make me realize that an innocent man CAN be convicted, sent to death row, and executed. It has a wicked twist at the end that will leave you breathless.

And with that, I'm outta here for today!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Country Sounds

Sometimes late at night when I am near a window, I will hear country sounds. These are distinctly different to city life -- probably because in town one hears nearby neighbors, even if only children playing, a neighbor mowing a yard, or simply two people chatting over a backyard fence. But here in the quiet, I have heard sounds I'd not heard since the days at my grandparents' farm.

At night there is the steady noise of tree frogs, cicadas, night creatures.

Or the distant sounds from neighboring farms: a dog barking, cows bellowing.

Once I got up in the wee hours of the morning, and heard a cow making the most awful, mournful bellowing -- it was almost like a pathetic yowling. Over and over, the cow would make this long, sad, echoing squall. The next day I told DH about it, and he said it was because the calf had been taken away from the cow. And people think animals don't have feelings? I doubt I've ever heard a human mother make such a deeply sad, grieving sound at the loss of a child.

Every morning about 7:30 there is a pickup that goes past our house with two large dogs in it. They bark in some strange syncopated rhythm -- yip...yap...yip...yap. The first time we heard it we laughed, but now if we don't hear the dogs, we wonder why.

One night we had a telescope out in the yard, focusing on the bright moon...and gradually there was a bass chorus of frogs from the nearby creek. It seemed to go on and on and on...but was not unpleasant. When a hard wind comes up from that hollow where the creek is, there is a long, echoing sigh, which sweeps over the house, around the eaves and is almost scary in its intensity.

Of course during the day, there's always the chatter of numerous species of birds; some are at the feeder, others in the overgrown bushes at the edge of our yard, which we still haven't eliminated. And at the other neighboring farm, they have goats; the baby goats made the sweetest crying/bleating sound back in early summer. I miss them now, for the farmers sold them at the exotic auction in this community. They were very cute, had long, lop-ears.

Such are the country sounds here...different, but interesting, soothing at times. There is traffic too, of course, but oddly enough, I've become accustomed to it -- and mostly it's during peak hours of people going/coming to/from work. Yet there are many quiet, totally quiet times -- and though the creature sounds are unusual for me, I don't miss the sounds of human noise nearby at all.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

It's been awhile since my last post, but I DO have new photos of all the finished work. Look for those following this post.

DH and I worked all day Saturday; and he also got hay again. We both spent several days moving his workshop stuff from the barn to the garage. He plans to make a saddle/tack shop there when time permits, and needed to move stuff out of the barn so he could store hay there. It was quite a chore, but we finally got that all done.

Saturday afternoon DH stored 120 bales of hay in the barn, has another 120 in the other side and still room for 75 more. That should get us through the winter for the horses.

I have been doing some writing, and that's the reason for my delay in posting. Still work outdoors too, painting, etc, but now that I'm absorbed in a writing project, this blog may suffer from lack of updates. BUT, I am glad to have the time for writing again; I'd forgotton how much I LOVE writing!

Cats are all well, life is fairly good just now.

Our weather has started getting hot again, and some humidity has come back. I am still riding the bike in late afternoon, only take one day off a week. This month is my THREE year anniversary -- I've been riding the bike three years now almost EVERY day! I sure hope it's helping me stay healthy, but of course, I also enjoy it too.

I finished another novel last night, "The Tree of Hands" by Ruth Rendell. It was okay, but not as good as some of her other novels. Now I have only one left to read that I ordered from, then it's back to the library.

That's about it for a post today. Need to get busy with my writing project.

Wash-house seen from backporch Posted by Hello

Tree swing, tomatoes alongside fence Posted by Hello

Backporch, carport, City Kitty being lazy Posted by Hello

West-side driveway, new gravel, carport Posted by Hello

Friday, August 13, 2004

Okay, here is a ghost story for you:

Courthouse 'Ghost' Identified As Insect

CHESTERTOWN, Md. (AP) - It turned out to be just a bug on the lens of a security camera. The would-be ghost haunting Kent County Court House is an anomaly that's happened before, a security company said.

On July 29, for a little more than an hour, a courthouse security camera showed a round, translucent, white object that seemed to "walk" up and down a set of stairs inside the newer wing of the courthouse. A security officer first saw the strange light on a delayed video and then live on the video system.

"I've seen it so many times, it's not funny," said Brooke Eyler, general manager of Atlantic Security, which installed the courthouse cameras. "It's definitely a bug."

But a self-proclaimed "ghost investigator" wants to have another look.

Beverly Lipsinger, president of the Maryland Ghost & Spirit Association, said the descriptions she's heard don't sound like a bug. But she hasn't seen the video yet for herself.

"It's a ghost," said Lipsinger, a Randallstown resident. "They don't want to believe, so they're coming up with something."

Ya know, it's always good to make a declaration before 'seeing' the evidence, isn't it? Do I believe in ghosts? Nah, but I DO think the subject matter makes for suspenseful supernatural fiction. I also know that digital cameras can distort photos in weird ways; I've posted a few peculiar pictures taken in the cemetery that look ominous, but which I'm fairly sure were only quirks in the digital camera. When the battery is low, it can truly produce strange images too.

And speaking of pictures, hopefully sometimes soon I'll have more of the latest work/improvements here. Just need to get a few more minor tasks finished, then I'll try to snap updated photos.

Shopping today in the nearby mall, and then I need to work on my writing project. GORGEOUS day out there, brilliant sun and only supposed to be 82. Wow, is it REALLY August in the South?

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Ladies and gentlemen, I now present to you the evidence that we humans have very, very strange behavior at times -- and that we do indeed live in a mad, mad world.

480-pound woman dies after six years on couch

She lived in filth, so large she couldn't move from her sofa, even to use the bathroom.

Early Wednesday, still fused to the couch, Gayle Laverne Grinds died following a six-hour effort by rescue workers who struggled to lift the 480-pound woman and get her to a Martin County hospital.

Unable to separate the skin of the 39-year-old woman from her sofa, 12 Martin County Fire-Rescue workers slid both onto a trailer and hauled her behind a pickup to Martin Memorial Hospital South. She died a short time later....

"I tried to take care of her the best I could," said 54-year-old Herman Thomas, who lived with Grinds in the duplex apartment in Golden Gate, south of Stuart. "I tried to get her to get up, but it wouldn't do no good."

He said the woman that he called his wife hadn't been off the couch for six years. No record of their marriage could be found.

"I wish I could have pulled her off the couch, but she wouldn't let me," he said, covering his face and sobbing.

Inside the home, the floor and walls were matted with feces, and trash was strewn across the floors, some which were bare concrete. Furniture was toppled, and pictures were knocked off walls.

Unidentified relatives expressed anger at the scene.

"Family members are upset.... It's a difficult position," Martin County Fire-Rescue specialist Chris Wisniewski said.

Clifford Grinds, who is believed to be Gayle Grinds' brother, refused comment and slammed a door when contacted by a reporter at his Hobe Sound home Wednesday afternoon.

Court records show Gayle Grinds cared for a young niece and nephew after the death of her sister in 1992. Those children are now 19 and 15, but their whereabouts were unclear Wednesday.

This is an excerpt only; you can read the entire article by clicking on the headline. What a weird situation, and you have to wonder if the woman was trying to commit suicide. Isn't there an easier way though? What about her so-called husband/family? Who the heck brought her tons of food to stay that HUGELY OBESE? There is going to be an investigation, but here's a little tip folks: When you have been on the couch so long and you are so fat you can't get up, you need HELP.

Another thought: The vivid descriptions in that article sure could make me lose my appetite. Just save it, and when you get that urge to really chow down on something you KNOW you don't need, read that again.

As for my weight, I'm staying at 100 lbs, which seems to be just right for me. I try to eat healthy, not starve, and not overeat. With the regular biking, I seem to stay where I am without any gain.

I spent most of the morning cleaning house, doing some stuff I needed to do. More painting outside later this afternoon, and it is an IDEAL day here. A cool front came through, and it is a mild 79 degrees today. Unheard of in the South in August! Love it, love it, love it. The weekend is supposed to also be this nice. We do need rain, but maybe next week we'll have some showers.

Now I have to get busy with some writing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Yeah, well, I KNEW it was just a matter of time till those drastic gastric bypasses (for those too lazy to exercise, and/or learn how to diet) would catch up to them. Now...the next thing we'll hear, there will be lawsuits galore. Please, people, how about some moderate exercise, some moderate eating of a balanced diet...and losing weight that way?

Deaths Raise Fears Over Stomach Stapling

Sugerman estimated more than 110,000 gastric bypasses will be done in the United States this year. Complications strike as many as 1 in 5 patients, and it is believed that for every 200 patients, 1 to 4 will die.

You can read the whole article by clicking on the link.

I finally finished the new website/blog, but had to do some outside painting today. DH and I will move all his stuff from the barn to the garage later this afternoon--and I wanted to get some painting done ahead of that. The old wash-house looks great with fresh paint, and things are starting to shape up. Ah, one of these days...we will only have to maintain all this and that will seem like no work at all compared to what we've been through since last October.

More tomorrow, I hope!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Now this is just ridiculous. A small scratch on a pilot by a cat, and he turns the plane around, delays the flight? GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

Cat in Cockpit Forces Emergency Landing

Aug 10, 9:33 AM (ET)

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - A Belgian airliner made an emergency landing after an agitated passenger - a cat - got into the cockpit and attacked the co-pilot, the airline said Tuesday.

The SN Brussels flight from the Belgian capital to Vienna, Austria, had been in the air about 20 minutes Monday when "it was noticed" that a passenger's pet had escaped from its cage, "although it is not yet clear how," according to an airline statement.

"Once free, the animal proceeded to wander around the cabin," slipping into the cockpit when meals were being delivered to the two-man flight crew, it said.

"At this stage the animal became agitated and nervous," it said. An airline spokeswoman added that the cat scratched the copilot's arm.

The pilot decided to return to Brussels as a precaution, and the 58 passengers departed once more two hours later on another flight.

More later today, if I have time. I'm working on creating another website/blog, and it's very time-consuming.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Today I had to make a trip to Wal-mart, NOT my favorite thing to do. But sometimes I need items I can only find there, thus it is a necessary evil. I left around 10:00 and got back near 2:00. Yes, it takes hours to scout the whole HUGE Superstore...and, of course, even though I don't buy everything I want, I like to look at things I might purchase in the future. I did see a nice bike there, which I want to do a bit of research on...ah, I can dream!

Absolutely PERFECT weather, unbelievable for August in the South! It is a mild 83 degrees today, light wind and sunny...feels almost like a hint of Fall in the air. A cool front came through last night, and though we only got one small shower, the temps are supposed to stay in the low 80s all weekend! Hope DH and I get lots accomplished on the place this weekend; we're hoping to get two loads of gravel delivered either this afternoon or tomorrow morning for the new driveway and carport.

I got a check in the mail today from; it was from past sales of my novels, when those were available there. Not a great windfall, but nothing to sneeze at either! I'm also an associate, and occasionally review books at my website, and earn money when readers click on my link to to buy a book I recommend. That brings in a small amount, but still worthwhile, since I love to read anyway and reviews are easy.

I finally finished typing up some information/facts about this area from a regional history book. I thought it would make an interesting side-bar when I put together all the data about previous owners of this land/house. I want to eventually get all that printed up in a grand style, have it framed and hanging on the wall in the living room. I detest straight typing, though my speed is blazing fast; it's just a bore, and something I put off till necessary. And it was necessary to get that done, since I had to return the history book to the library today when I was in town.

What else? The other morning I was thinking of my paternal grandmother, and a vivid memory came to me: She and I are standing in the front bedroom of their old house, it's Sunday morning, and the sunshine drenches the clear long windows. We are making up the bed, and as she snaps the crisply clean sheets out, then drapes them over the bed, I smell that fresh 'outdoor' air scent that comes from laundry dried on a line. Then I hear the small radio being turned on, and a Gospel Quartet sings a song my grandmother loved. I can almost transport myself back to that day, it is so real in my memory...

Anyhow, I never attend church, and my grandmother wasn't a regular either. She DID believe in God, but often said one didn't have to be inside a church to "worship" in their own manner. In fact, often she and my grandfather would read the Bible a few hours each Sunday afternoon, during a quiet, peaceful time...and that was their idea of worship. At any rate, I became curious about the song I remembered, looked it up on the web and found the lyrics:


Some glad morning when this life is o'er,
I'll fly away.
To a home on God's celestial shore,
I'll fly away.

I'll fly away, O Glory,
I'll fly away.
When I die, Hallelujah, bye and bye,
I'll fly away.

When the shadows of this life have flown,
I'll fly away.
Like a bird thrown, driven by the storm,
I'll fly away.

I'll fly away, O Glory,
I'll fly away.
When I die, Hallelujah, bye and bye,
I'll fly away.

Just a few more weary days and then,
I'll fly away.
To a land where joy shall never end,
I'll fly away.

I'll fly away, O Glory,
I'll fly away.
When I die, Hallelujah, bye and bye,
I'll fly away.

- Words and Music by A. E. Brumley, 1932

Ah, yes...I can almost hear that song again... It evokes a beautiful, pure love, the warm, wonderful feeling of my grandmother's house, her dear presence.

And I will ALWAYS have her memory, which is the gift she left me simply by being the wonderful, loving person she was to me.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Sooo, as usual, it's been busy around here. The weekend was spent doing various chores, like getting most of the garage painted, shopping at the building supply store for more paint, wallboard, etc. I have some pictures to post, and those will follow this post.

Last night I stayed up late reading Ruth Rendell's novel, "The Lake of Darkness," and it was truly suspenseful right up to the LAST sentence. Now THAT is good plotting, which she does so expertly. Unfortunately, I shouldn't have read into the night, got little sleep and don't feel too great today.

We're in the midst of a frightful heat wave, and it's supposed to reach 96 today; no telling what the heat index is, what with thick humidity too. My outdoor cats have retreated to a nearby clump of bushes to find shade and escape the heat on the backporch. I went on my bike ride late yesterday afternoon, but don't know if it'll cool down enough to do so this afternoon.

I'm still researching/note-taking for my novel. I have a loose plot developed --found a great free program for that, "QuickPlot"-- but I'm not ready to start writing on the novel just yet. I am thinking of writing a short story first, which will incorporate some of the extensive research I've done.

I'm also thinking of starting to write my columns again at No one has taken over my topic, "Childfree By Choice," and they are anxious to have regular columns posted. Just haven't decided yet. If I do, it will be only a monthly column, which would not take up a lot of my time.

I was thinking today that it seems as time passes, I'm happier with this place than I'd orginally thought I would be. In fact, I think I like it here better than DH, though he will probably like it more when all the hard work of exterior/outside renovation is finished. As it is now, he has little time for the horses, hardly ever goes riding, and spends all his free time working -- either bush-hogging the pasture, mowing the huge yard, or busy with painting, redoing the outside buildings. Ah, but at least I never have to hear him say again, "There's nothing to do." :-)

Here's the photos I took this morning of the garage and fence:

House, fence, garage from driveway near road Posted by Hello

Opening between garage/fence, and glimpse of barn beyond backyard Posted by Hello

View from driveway, fence providing privacy in backyard Posted by Hello

I'll close today with some quotes by Ruth Rendell about writing:

"One is either a story-teller or one is not. And if you are a story-teller, and it is possible for you to write, you will start writing stories." (Interview in The Irish Times 1996)

"I would think that the old-fashioned detective story which is so much a matter of clues and puzzles, is certainly on the way out, if not already gone. Crime novels now are much more novels of character, and novels which look at the world we live in." (Interview in The Irish Times 1996)

Writing is, while the process going on, a very private thing for me. I understand, I quite like the idea that some people write something and they read or show it to a friend or a companion or somebody they live with, and discuss it. But to me that's impossible. If I do that, the whole thing falls apart. It's as if it's brought into the light of day, and reality destroys it. I never discuss it at all. (Ruth Rendell 1996)