Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year, continued

I'm off to the wilds of Prairie Village, Kansas, but don't let that stop you if you want to party on. Remember, Andif has a couch available, and you'll only have to pick off about a million dog hairs. But that's okay, because one or two of you may need a little hair of the dog in the morning. ; p

Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year's Eve

Whatcha gonna do?

I'll be spending the night with friends, so I'll be there on New Year's Morning to watch the Cotton Bowl with them.

As I started writing this, it occured to me to be grateful for the things I DON'T have to resolve to do in 2008, like. . .I don't have to make a resolution to stop smoking, because I did that many decades ago. I don't have to resolve to lose the 15 pounds I lost last year. I don't have to resolve to meditate every day. It's really NICE to have some things I'm already doing, instead of thinking I ought to be doing.

Is there anything you don't have to resolve to do? I think that's worth celebrating. I know that Family Man doesn't have to resolve to relax more. :) Kimberly doesn't have to resolve to sell her novel. :)))) If there's something you've accomplished so that you no longer have to resolve to do it, breathe a sigh of relief, raise a toast of gratitude to yourself, and here. . .have some more champagne.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sunday Bulletin Board

Let's get our coffee To Go this morning, and then go wandering around our Village to see what our friends are up to. (I wrote most of these on Saturday, so when you visit these blogs you may want to hit Refresh to make sure you're getting the latest news.)

Cathyc has stepped down from the throne and passed over the scepter as president of the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime. She must have done an exceptionally good job, judging from what they gave her. Go read about the charm bracelet they presented to Cathy. It's the most amazing one I've ever heard of, and must have required hours of thought, love, and effort to make for her.

You have got to take a look at Boran2's most recent finished painting. But first, to fully appreciate his accomplishment, look at his first version. (Scroll down just a bit.) Then go see the final one here.

By now, Beth is either in the air or already returned from her vacation in Mexico. She caught a cold, dagnabit, so you can give her your best cold remedy. Why do I suspect most of them will involve some kind of spirits? ; } She also had an attack of the deadly Brain Fart, for which there is no known cure.

Conda has wise things to say about tradition and change.

Family Man's, er, family does it right. They manage to balance tradition with change in beautiful ways.

I do love You Tube. And bless Jen for posting a You Tube video of Buffalo Springfield singing, "For What It's Worth." It is, she says, probably her favorite protest song. It's definitely mine, although "Ohio" always gets to me, too. Until I saw that clip on her blog, I had never seen Buffalo Springfield perform! It takes me right back to my senior year at the University of Missouri, and the pride I felt that the "Springfield" in their name was--impossible to believe--the one in my own state.

Last I heard, Kimberly was taking a well-deserved break that involved down comforters, good books, and plenty of hot chocolate.

I'm pretty sure Man Eegee is out of town, but you can still catch up with the latest picture of The Noble Bud if you scroll down just a bit.

Rick Bylina is, as always, aMUSEing and observant. He's also generous. Do you know he regularly gives writing ideas away? I don't know how many potential best-seller plots he has offered to anybody who wants them, but I hope he'll get a percentage of sales, or at least a nice box of very good chocolate. Better yet, I hope he gets his own best-sellers.

Kelly and Mrs. Kelly have colds, poor babies, but that doesn't keep Wyrdsmiths from wyrding right along.

Over at Jungle Red, they've added another writing pal to the blog: Roberta Islieb who is the new national president of Sisters In Crime. When I was "tagged" by Man Eegee, I tagged five of my seven just by linking to them, and they were awfully good sports about responding. I haven't read the last few they wrote, but that's on my touring list of pleasures for today.

Katie's got a brand new blog. Well, not really, but Katiebird is going to have a "fresh, new look" soon. In the meantime, just by visiting there yesterday, I was reminded to drink more water. As many of you know, Eat4Today is the place to go if you need a nudge (and friendly support) to sustain good, healthy habits.

Okay, maybe this doesn't exactly fall under "good healthy habits," lol, but I'm putting up a link to something delicious at Far Manor. Hey, they've got milk, they've got wheat, they've got eggs!

Did somebody say, "bird butts"? Why, that makes me think of Olivia! Here's a link to one of my favorites of her recent shots: Widdle Bitty Bird Butt.

One of our new friends, Paul Lamb, has a blog about the agony and ecstasy of the writing life. The post to which I'm linking is one in which you will find both the A and the E, plus an example of sane and practical perseverance. God and The Flying Spaghetti Monster both know that it's not easy for a writer to remain sane and practical in this business.

Another new friend, Kathy McIntosh, also has a great blog about the writing and life, where she has strong words about "conversing fuel," (lol!), and even a recipe for hummus. Plus, she recently got "tagged" by Conda, so you can read all (okay, some) about her.

Ghostfolk and Andif don't have their own blogs, so I can't link to them. If they did, they might not be here so much. Therefore, you won't catch me doing any more than the bare polite minimum to encourage them to get their own blogs. I like things JUST FINE the way they are, where I get to make Andi my unofficial blog photographer, and I don't have to leave home to read Ghostie's posties. I guess I could say thanks, though, and tell them I love their presence and presents. :)

Another little bird told me you'll also enjoy Knucklehead's photo blog, and, of course, The Daily Coyote.

Oh, and as for me, on Saturday, I saw the movie "Charlie Wilson's War," and loved it. Best role for Tom Hanks in ages. Written by Aaron Sorkin ("The West Wing"). Directed by Mike Nichols. Also starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. What's not to like? Although. . .I might not have liked it nearly so well if it hadn't ended Just Right.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Green Planet

This is such a gorgeous picture by Andif. Otherwordly. Do you dare to follow Captain Pickard down the path, into the Comments?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What I love about spring

I'm still dreaming of spring. One of one of my favorite things is to wander down rows of baby flowers. It's like sliding a tray down a cafeteria line where my eyes are bigger than my stomach, only in this case my eyes are bigger than my garden. But I just know I can make room for a bit of this, and a little of that, and oh! look what's over there. . .

What's your favorite season of the year?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Spring skiing

Okay, I'm sick o' snow. I'm ready for spring, so I went looking for it, and I found this amazing photo of a Japanese flower garden, or at least that's how it's labeled. It looks like the world's most colorful ski slope to me.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Pigging out is such sweet sorrow.

I can't eat more until tomorrow.

Monday, December 24, 2007

What's that in my stocking?

Andif, you crack me up! For the uninformed, those creatures in the stockings are marmots/groundhogs. A marmot was an unofficial mascot of the Booman Tribune political blog, back in the day. Andif introduced him to the masses, and then provided endless entertainment by placing him in compromising positions like the ones above. (You should see him with the hookah pipe.) As for the stocking, it says "kansas," because that's how I was known in those days.

And now I've gone on to a blog of my own. But more important by far is the fact that an entire family of real-life marmots populates our back yard every spring and summer. And to think I didn't even know what a marmot was until Andif became possessed by their spirit. The constant presence of them in my life since then must be, I dunno, fate.

So from the stuffed marmot and me---and thanks entirely to Ms. Marmot, herself, Andif--here is a wish for a happy Christmas, if that's your flavor. If it isn't, I wish you a happy whatever you have, with bells.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Light posting

Photo by Andif, of course.

As the picture suggests, I'll be doing light posting through the hollydays. If I had any heavy thoughts I think I absent-mindedly stuffed them in a package and wrapped them. Somebody's going to be so surprised tomorrow. :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

By Far, the Best Rolls

And "by Far," I mean these beauties were homemade by our own Farfetched from his grandmother's recipe. Omg, can't you just smell them from where you are? I could eat the whole plate of them. First with butter, then with turkey leftovers.

So what's yeasty in your life right now?

Friday, December 21, 2007


"Boing" as in spring, and springing back. Didcha miss me? I missed you! I sorta read the comments, now and then, but I tried to stay away as much as possible to make good on my vow to write. I finished one short story rewrite, got part of another one done, and not much else, I'm afraid, though I also finished my Christmas shopping. The photo of fireweed is one of my favorites from Andif. (Correction: It's actually from her husband, Jim.)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Open house

Knock, knock? Hmm, looks like nobody's home. Oh, well, let's go on in anyway. She said we're welcome to make ourselves at home even if she isn't here, didn't she? Good. I thought so. There's supposed to always be coffee and tea and plenty of food in the 'fridge and the pantry, and she said she never stops the newspapers. No, don't lock the door. She said to leave it open so her friends can come and go as they please. . .

What does that note say? Hi, Guys. I've had to leave for a few days to get some writing done, but don't let my absence stop you. I'll miss you, but I'll be back before you know it. In the meantime, come in any time you feel like it, and stay as long as you like. Love, NP

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Sunday Bulletin Board

The bulletin for this Sunday is, Don't Forget to Feed the Critters! My wildlife loving and feeding neighbor tells me this is a hard winter for the feathery and furry ones, because weather conditions earlier this year have deprived them of some of their usual food to get them through this season. For instance, there's a mockingbird who lives in a tree in our front yard, and ordinarily he and his family look forward to the berries in a little tree in the neighbor's yard, but this year there was not a single berry on that tree for them. Not. One. Berry. Our little friends need help this year.

I'm putting seed and bread crumbs on our deck above and patio below through these snowy, icy, bitter cold weeks. On the deck, we get Junco sparrows like the one in the photo, and Cardinal pairs, other sparrows, blue jays, doves, flickers, and a couple of squirrels who are using their tails like luxurious fur coats to cover their backs. Down below, our tidbits feed the wild turkeys and anybody else who wanders by. I also hung suet, which is popular with a woodpecker. I don't worry about providing water, because our wonderful neighbors keep a clean stream running all winter.

So my Sunday message for this week is: CHIRP! , which translates, I've been told, into both "Please," and "Thank You!"

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Best present

My son will be 24 on Monday. Although he was born on the 17th, because of complications we were still in the maternity ward on Christmas of '83. That morning, the nurses dressed the babies in little Santa hats like the one in the picture, and then put wee Santa bibs on them before bringing them into us moms.

I guess you don't have to try to guess what was the best Christmas present I ever got. :) Oh, and did I mention that my first book went on sale within the same twenty-four hours when my child was delivered?

Of all the gifts you have received for any occasion, do you have a favorite? Or was there one that ranks as the worst evah?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Once upon a blog

I don't think I ever said how much I loved everybody's storm stories. Thanks so much for telling them, and for all the other great stories you natural-born story tellers spin around here. And considering that my brain feels as frozen as the tundra outside my doors, this might be an excellent day for you to spin some more. . .


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Coffee Shop Heaven

At our coffee shop, the weather is perfect, the coffee is fresh and hot, there's a fabulous choice of teas, and laptop batteries run forever. (Family Man's recliner is off to the left, just out of the photo.) Plus, we always reserve a couple of chairs for any lurkers who might decide to sit down and say howdy. It's okay to drop crumbs, because I have to vacuum today anyway. Just don't forget to give the waitress a tip--like how to multiply by nine on your fingers, how to run a chicken house, or how to bargain for a taxi ride in India.

Tag, I'm it

Man Eegee, that rascal, tagged me today.

These are the rules:

1) Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.

2) Share 7 facts about yourself.

3) Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.

4) Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

My seven facts. . .

l. I recently started meditating once a day. This time, I think it's going to take.

2. I love anything that makes me laugh uncontrollably.

3. I cannot play a musical instrument, and believe me, I've tried. I took piano lessons as a child and then again as an adult. In another life I'm coming back as Ahmad Jamal and playing "Poinciana" until I'm sick of it.

4. I absolutely adored being a soccer mom.

5. I love to cuss. I don't understand people who don't love to cuss. My best friends all love to cuss. We must have all been sailors together in another life. Don't tell our mothers.

6. I have never learned the multiplication and division tables.

7. I like to experiment. Like, I went without credit cards for a year and a half, partly to see what that's like in this society. Luckily, I never needed to rent a car. It was tricky at hotels. I felt a constant undercurrent of nervousness about the whole thing, which I hated. I now have two cards, but one is a bank cash card, not a real credit card, and the other is for Macy's. And I have greater understanding of what it's like to pay only cash in a credit society.

And now the new tagees. . .Hank, Rosemary, Hallie, Jan, and Roberta, you've all been tagged. You, too, Conda and Beth. The rest of you are spared either because I know you're swamped, or because I suspect you've already been tagged before.

Monday, December 10, 2007

It was a dark and stormy. . .

Do you recall some memorable storms in your life? The weather kind, not the emotional ones. :) I'll never forget the "Ruskin Heights Tornado" when I was 12, and the "Plaza Flood," and the cold and ice when my son was born, and. . .

I'm writing this on Monday night, hoping the ice that's coming won't create another memorable storm, the kind that's brilliantly beautiful to look at but which comes accompanied by the cracking of tree limbs and the green flare of electrical transformers going out, and the bouncing of bumper cars. . .

Let's forget the storms of the present. Come on over to the bonfire, grab a stick and a marshmallow, and tell us a storm story from the past. Maybe you were scared, maybe you were thrilled, maybe you were cozy, maybe you were vulnerable, maybe you saved somebody, maybe you were saved, maybe you nearly died, maybe you felt really alive, maybe you played the world's longest game of Monopoly, maybe you got drunk, maybe you got pregnant, maybe it was beautiful. . ..anything can happen in a storm!

What happened to you?

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Are writers the only ones who have groups? Do computer guys and girls meet at somebody's home once a month to angst about code? Do doctors meet for lunch to read their diagnoses to each other? Do plumbers gather to discuss plastic vs. metal pipes? Do librarians long to flock together over wine?

New writers always seem to be looking for a writing group. They want to know how to a.) find one; and b.) tell if it's a good one. Finding one can take some time, and it can take some boldness. . .like going to a class or a conference and asking people if they want to form a group with you. I did that once, and we met for years. So, yeah, finding a group can be a challenge. But telling if a group is a good one? That's easy.

Here is Nancy's Law About Writing Groups, and it also applies to writing classes and teachers, friends and relatives, agents and editors, spouses and dogs:

It's a good one if it makes you feel like writing.

It's a bad one if it makes you feel like not writing.

Oh, sure, I could say a little more. I could say the best writing group is one where people tell the truth, but in a kind and sensitive way, and where each of them understands that their opinion is just that. . .their opinion. That, honestly, is all there is to it. If you gather kind, truth-telling people around you, everything else will work out fine.

Here's Annie Lamott's description of one good writing group she knows:

Helping each other has made their hearts get bigger. . .All four of them are excellent writers, but only one of them has been published at all, and that was just one article. But you know what? They love each other. They still look forward to their meetings after all these years. They are better writers and better people because of their work with each other.

That last line is the part I love best: "They're better writers and better people because of their work with each other." That should be true of any work we do, because if it can't make our hearts bigger, then what good is it?

Happy Monday to one of the good groups. :)

Updated: Sing like a coyote

I just had to add this photo to today's post, apropos of nothing. That's a coyote. It's from a wonderful blog I just discovered, about a young woman, her cat, and the coyote who lives with them. You'll love it, I promise. The blog is called The Daily Coyote.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
But the blogs are so delightful,
And since we can't go outdoors,
Let it pour, let it pour, let it pour.

It doesn't show signs of stopping,
But we've got corn for popping,
We'll do as we darn well please--
Let it freeze, let it freeze, let it freeze!

When we finally say goodnight,
We won't have to go out in the storm,
When we finally turn out the light,
We can stay home and be warm.

The ice will start its melting,
The sleet will stop its pelting,
As long as we've here to go,
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

Friday, December 7, 2007

The devil's teeth

This is our weather forecast for the next SEVERAL DAYS AND NIGHTS. Pray for us. :) But doesn't that photo make you want to run your hand along them and knock them off and hear the tinkle tinkle of icicles?

What's your forecast for this weekend? I predict a day of breezy writing, followed by a low-pressure front of relaxation produced by heavy movie going, accompanied by light eating and drinking.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

White linen

Frost Flowers by Andif

Most of us had never even heard of them until we saw this photo yesterday.

. . .a frost flower is . . .layers of ice squeezed from the stem of a plant.

I hope that today somebody tells us something else we never knew before.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tracking the story

Just because I want to see Andif's photo of the path again. I hope I can follow it today to the end of a new short story.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Caution! This post, and the comments that follow it, could be hazardous to a diet.

There are certain foods I have to have at regular but long-spaced intervals:

A double cheeseburger from Winstead's once a month. I have to have it with a 50/50, which is half fries, half onion rings.

A chocolate malt--must be a malted--from the same place, once a year.

Mexican food once a month.

Fried Chicken from Stroud's, once every few years.

A bag of Frito's, twice a year.

Cheetos when I travel by car. And a Hersey's Almond bar, or two.

A hot fudge sundae with whipped cream and pecans, hold the cherry, once a summer. I would really like to make it a Banana Split, but I can't bring myself to take the plunge.

Is there anything you can't live without, but which you don't have to eat often in order to feel satisfied?

Monday, December 3, 2007

She Said, He Said

I'm declaring this Share-a-Quote Day, which means if you've got a funny, wise, inspiring, thoughtful, educational, encouraging, supportive, comforting, beautiful , or any other kind of quote to share with your blog buddies, you've come to the right place on the right day.

I'll start. . .

I have not a shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith. Gandhi

That cracks me up, at the same time as I take it seriously. Oh, so that's all there is to it! Just make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith as Gandhi. Nothin' to it. :) We can probably achieve that by noon.

Got something funny or inspirational to share?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

In praise of mistakes

There was a time in my life when I was fascinated enough by Aikido to visit a couple of dojos and watch them do their stuff. I was impressed by the beauty, grace, and daring of the movements, but it didn't take long for me to face the truth that I didn't want to throw myself around like that, or get flipped around by partners.

During that period, I also read a few books about that Japanese martial art, including The Intuitive Body by Wendy Palmer. In a chapter called, "Practice," she retells the story of a Chinese man who climbs a mountain to ask a hermit sage about the meaning of life:

What is the most important aspect of one's life?


How do you get experience?

Good judgment.

How do you get good judgment?

Bad judgment.

This week, may we all have the good judgment to seek learning and experience in the things we want to do more than anything else in the world. And may we then be fortunate enough to make some mistakes that will help us become better at those things we want to do. I can almost guarantee that if I do the former, the latter is sure to follow. :)

Sunday Bulletin Board

Okay, is it fair to lose a championship game AND your phone and internet service all on the same night?
Sad Tiggers. Tiggers dragging tails.
Here's to next year!
Got any better news than I do?