My Novels

Friday, January 22, 2010

Walk in historic district

I finally managed to get the photos sorted from my walk through the historic district the other day; however, these are all within only about ten square blocks, not the entire district.

Many of the antebellum houses are about three blocks further east, and I didn't go that far. It was overcast, and I was worried about rain.

At any rate, these are not in any particular order...except at the beginning/end. We have a lot of mixed architectural features here, German cottage style, southern farmhouse, victorian and antebellum. Our city was settled by a German, so that is a recurring theme in architecture.

What I really like about this neighborhood is the mixture of houses -- smallish, enormous, older and newer side-by-side. I absolutely loath the newer "developments" where every house has to be a certain square footage, home associations that forbid even a clothesline, etc. It's the non-conformist in me, I guess. LOL

(As usual, click to enlarge)

The above photo is two blocks from my house; the large brick house was once the home of one of our first physicians here.

The brick house to the left is where the local Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise owner lives; he had it renovated/restored to its former grandeur (much larger than this image shows)

And then you have rundown old houses like these right next to a gorgoeous restored house near the end of this block. Across the street, you have this:

A beautiful renovated, updated big house

The beige/brick house in the far left area is one I thought about buying when I moved back from the farm.

This house is two blocks from the elementary school I attended

And this is one of the older homes in the state's historic registry -- more on this place someday

Another view of the physician's house on my return to my block. There's a vacant lot off to the right where a huge, crumbling mansion used to stand; kids dared each other to go in, saying it was haunted. It was demolished in the late 90s.

And this is my street; my house is the next to last one on the right near the corner stop sign.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Frigid in Dixie

We're not accustomed to this weather...but still? Dismissing school due to temperatures in the teens? Or is it that Alabama vs. Texas in the championship football game is tomorrow night? Or the mere possibility of snow? Who knows.

I DO know it's verrrry cold, and difficult for southerners to adjust to such temperatures. However, I DID take the dogs for a long walk today. The secret? Stay warm by layering and bundling up for the colder weather. Actually enjoyed the walk, and so did the dogs!

Of course, spoiled southern critters demand their own kind of special treatments. Evidence in the pictures below:

Slinky & Bitty have TWO heat lamps in their special quarters; they LOVE it, and though curling up together would generate some "heat" they have never quite reconciled to being the only two female cats left behind of the eight I originally had. In other words, they haven't settled who will be the Queen B!tch at this time -- six months after I lost Princess. Their cat quarters are a totally enclosed porch which has insulation, and lots of windows. I have had up to six cats in that porch; and it's ideal for daytime. At night, the cats come inside and the dogs go to their crate for sleep.

Speaking of dogs, Rambo loves his new sweater but would NOT give up his chew for a photo shoot! LOL

Oscar after walk = one zonked dog!

Bitty Kitty says, "I see dead.....dogs."

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Year's Day Thoughts

What can I say? That it's been a tough year, but then aren't many that way? Yet, let me praise the joy of still being alive -- and able to experience each day, each moment as time passes inevitably into the blank void of forever.

I nearly lost my life twice this year: In the spring, on a quiet street going only 30 MPH, a teenager rear-ended my car, sent it soaring into an embankment. I recall the car teetering in a moment of suspended time, about to roll over, turn upside down. Had that happened, I may have been killed due to the airbags NOT opening on a brand new Honda I'd only had two months.

Three months later, after buying a used car, the insurance hassles, getting a lawyer, I was returning from visiting a friend in the next county, when I hit a large dog. I did not see the dog, due to the overgrown grass on the roadside; barely got a glimpse, but had I seen it in advance, no doubt I WOULD have done something to avoid it and since I was on a two-lane highway with oncoming traffic, I could have been killed. Then a scary episode in which I ended up in "Deliverance" country, but fortunately, nothing bad happened.

To say I wasn't even injured in these two accidents is nothing short of a miracle. Or maybe it's not my "time?" All I know is that I have a renewed appreciation for MY life, and realize NO ONE IS PROMISED TOMORROW.

I went through another move, finally returning to the home DH and I shared for 25 years. That was the highlight of my year, and I feel as if I'm truly HOME for the first time in six years.

Then my mother-in-law died in late November; she actually was in the same assisted living facility as my mother, but only for a few weeks before she died.

Prior to that one of DH's younger cousins died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack.

Maybe I should have titled this post: Three Funerals and No Wedding. I sometimes think I'm in a surreal world that has spiraled downward since my husband died almost four years ago.

Yet I also realize that as we age, death of loved ones become more frequent simply due to aging. I remember my paternal grandfather listening to the obits every day in front of the radio. In his 60s, I'm sure he knew a lot of the local individuals who were dying.

Do I have any New Year's Resolutions? Yes. But only two: hopefully sell my other house and finish my memoir. That is all.

I want to reclaim my identity as a creative writer, and write more and often. With that I will end with an excerpt from a book by Marjorie Holmes, "Writing the Creative Article," about writing/writers:

There is a duty...

Talent is a gift. You had nothing to do with receiving yours, nor I with receiving mine. But each of us has everything to do with what becomes of that talent. I am firmly convinced that each of us is given his talent for a reason; and that having talent, any talent, but particularly one for writing, imposes two responsibilities.

First: Talent must not go to waste

What is the true cause of wasted talent? I think it's primarily a lack of that sense of responsibility or duty. Too often talent is regarded as a mere adornment, something with which to amuse yourself and dazzle your friends. That's how it seems when one is very young. I used to write long continued stories which the kids passed around in school (ending when the tablet paper ran out). I dashed off poems dedicated to everybody in sight and read aloud on all possible occasions. I even wrote my own declamatory pieces. And it was all part of a heady show-off syndrome.

Yet deep beneath all this ran a fierce compulsion: I had to write. Even minus an audience, into a vast notebook, late at night, I had to write. And what clinched this compulsion for me and turned it into a profession were the words: "There is a duty."

The list of excuses for wasted talent is endless. But those who take their talent as a serious responsibility appraise the obstacle course and figure out their priorities: "Is it more important to attend that meeting or get on with my work?"

If you want to write badly enough, you can....

This has always been my best inspiration as a writer. If I get discouraged and wonder why bother at all, I pull out this book by Majorie Holmes and reread that passage. It's even a good idea to put that quote "Writing is a duty," on your desk.

That is what writers do: they write. And in the best moments of being engrossed, oblivious to the outer world, in tune with the inner world of flowing, swirling words, one knows it is the main reason for their existence.

And that is my hope for the new year: to find that happiness only immersion in writing worlds can bring.