Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The heat finally broke last night. In fact, it got downright COLD. It's only in the mid-40s outside right now. :::shivers:::

Still, the humidity is gone and it sunny, so the day (once it warms up a bit) will be lovely.

I contacted DD's curriculum carrier and they gave me an extra day to get things done, so we're all good with that. Yay! Now, DD is sad because school's over. She came to me no less than three times yesterday, once she was crying, and said she was going to miss her teachers (the curriculum is on DVD so she's actually taught in a real classroom, with trained teachers -- I'm basically there to help with questions and grade papers). In fact, last night before bed she asked if there was a way she could write them a letter. So sweet.


I'm not entirely certain why my across the street neighbors' boys decided it was okay to have a dozen friends over (including a couple of girls with really shrill screams) and then play basketball -- complete with hooting shouts of victory and rap music turned up to the highest volume -- until well after 10 p.m. last night.

I realize that THEY don't have school tomorrow, but it was a Tuesday and I'm fairly certain most of the adults on the street get up early for work.

I'm tired.


My writing isn't going very well. I'm getting words down, but I'm not happy with them. I want more description and wish it felt smoother as I wrote it, but I suppose I should try to consider this an outline instead of a first draft. That might help... *sigh*


You Are Eggs Over Easy

You have good taste and high standards. You are very detail oriented, and you know what you want in life.

When everything is in its place and things are as they should be, you can finally relax.

You may seem like the kind of person who has things come easy for you, but it's all an illusion.

You work hard to make your life perfect, and part of this perfection is making things look effortless.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Murphy Came To Visit

Murphy's Law:

•If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.

•If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then.

•If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.

•If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.

It was one of 'those' days yesterday -- you know, the kind where Murphy (and his lousy law) come to visit. Two days ago, I got an email from my curriculum carrier, notifying me that I needed to have the DVDs back to them by 7/5 or get charged an additional fee. I had NO idea there was a deadline, so hadn't been worried. We had it planned so she'd be done by the Fourth of July.

In a panic, we set to work. DD had six days of school left. She did school Sunday. Yesterday, she woke up and did school ALL DAY LONG -- from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. I have to mail them out today by 5 p.m. for them to get there on time. She has two and a half more days of school left. I'm thinking we're not going to make it.

I spilled on my kitchen floor no less than four times -- the last of which was the dog's food, which I spilled all over me, the dishwasher and the floor, and scared the dog so badly she didn't want to come back in and ... yanno... EAT IT off the floor (which was remarkably clean, since I'd already mopped it THREE TIMES).

The clothes I was wearing were the only clean summer clothes I had. I was in the middle of laundry, and EVERYTHING was in there. So, I put on some old, torn up sweats (it was 90 degrees out with high humidity and we don't have A/C) and cleaned the kitchen again.

I can't dry my bottoms in the dryer or they won't fit (add "need to diet" to my list of things to do), so I have to hang them out and pray they're dry by this morning or I'm going to be either running around naked or wearing winter clothes in the heat. I don't like either option.

I won't continue, because it's just too depressing ... but suffice it to say, Murphy overstayed his welcome and he'd better be gone today.


There was some good news. In Pillar Place, we hatched another butterfly. Iota was already up and about by the time I checked on her at 6:30 in the morning. Unfortunately, it was hazy and damp, so we couldn't release her until noon, by which time she was READY TO GO. So, I only got one picture of her because the moment she smelled freedom, she was off!

Here is Iota:

And last year I planted day lily bulbs (they're pest resistant -- both deer and bug... my kind of plant!). They're a lovely color, and DD took some pix:

And today, it's sunny, not quite as hot and humidity is down a little. I'm so ready for no humidity. I'm tired of my head looking like a used steel wool pad.


Your Vision is Personal

More than anything else, you'd like to understand yourself better and find your purpose.

It's minds like yours that have produced the most insightful novels and mind blowing movies.

You have always been deep and philosophical. You find it difficult to take anything lightly.

You feel most alive at the quietest moments. There's something thrilling about being alone with your thoughts.

Except that I haven't created insightful novels or mind-blowing movies (yet!), this is pretty much correct.


Monday, June 28, 2010

A Haiku

The only problem
with Haiku is that you just
get started and then
~Roger McGough

Woke up late
Need to start day for family
Blog suffers

In Pillar Place
Iota Hatches and Dries Her Wings
Another Female!

Favorite Haiku:

Haikus Are Easy
But Sometimes They Don't Make Sense

What's a Haiku to describe YOUR day?


You Are a Couplet

You're not much for words, so you write a little ditty.

It might not be a novel, but at least it is witty.



Sunday, June 27, 2010

Butterflies and Ash

And the case of butterflies so rich it looks, As if all summer settled there and died. ~Philip Larkin, "Autumn"

I wish I could sleep in. I gave it the old college try the last couple of nights -- even locked up the cat -- but only made it until 5:30 both mornings, which is sleeping in for me, not not SLEEPING IN. Yanno?

Oh well.

In Pillar Place, we had two hatchings yesterday: Hercules and Kappa.

Hercules gave me a scare. He fell from his pupa when he emerged, butt huge, wings crumpled. He hurried to the side and climbed the mesh to hang, but his wings took forever to straighten, and the bottom little whoosies that make him a swallowtail never did go completely straight.

Regardless, he managed. Here he is:

Kappa followed a couple of hours later. Even with her wings crumpled, I could tell she was female. YAY! We needed a female. She did everything right and had no mishaps. Here she is:

See how much more blue she has on her wings? Kappa also had one of the biggest chrysalides. We're trying to pay attention to those things to see if it helps us sex them before they are butterflies.


Otherwise my day was uneventful. I did more weeding (it never ends), moved some of my annuals (turns out it's too hot in front of my house for portulaca, despite the fact they love heat ... they were dying a slow death) and raked the clippings from the grass to use in my garden.

DH dumped ashes into my garden when I wasn't looking... I came home from the store and it looked like my eggplants had survived a volcanic eruption. Because ... he didn't toss it into an empty spot, he dumped a big pail right on top of my plants.

Oh yes he did.

So I had to shovel away a bunch (a little ash = good, too much ash = kills plants) and then give my poor eggplants a bath. There's still quite a bit of ash there. Hopefully it doesn't kill them.

First the deer. Now I have to figure out how to protect the garden against husbands.



Rain Makes You Sleepy

You tend to move extremely slowly. It takes you a long time to adjust to change.

You tend to have your head in the clouds. You are a bit absent minded, and you're often lost in your thoughts.

You are naturally content and happy. You can adapt to your environment easily.

You prefer to be around a wide variety of people. You believe that you learn a little something from everyone.

You find peace when you are alone. You know how to balance your emotions well.

Except for the end, it's completely wrong, lol...


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Slapdash Saturday

Weather means more when you have a garden. There's nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans. ~Marcelene Cox

I saw a pileated woodpecker this morning when I took the dog out. Those are the coolest critters (The Pileated Woodpecker is the third largest woodpecker in North America. The Imperial Woodpecker and the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker are larger although -- sadly -- they are generally considered extinct). I suspect that's what has been tearing apart DD's rotting stump in her flower garden -- she keeps planting in it -- because they prefer to eat bugs from those types of things.

Our neighbors down the road a bit have the nest and I'm terribly jealous when I see several of them perched on the trees.

I had a quiet day yesterday, as DD and DH went boating. It was gorgeous out and the humidity finally let up, so after taking Dakota for a REALLY long walk, I did a lot of work outdoors that needed doing... mostly weeding. It's just been too hot to work out there, so things have suffered. I got two huge buckets from my flower gardens (and barely made a dent), and then hoed and weeded the veggie garden. Thankfully, the newspaper/straw weedblock is working fabulously, and I only have to weed where that didn't get put down (I ran out of straw about 2/3 of the way through -- but I'm definitely getting more straw next year because this is awesome).

I have a few little baby green tomatoes on a couple of plants. The deer really did a number on them and ate most of my blossoms, but they're slowly coming back. DD has lots of pea pods and the squash and eggplant have a few babies. Hopefully I'll be harvesting something soon! I'm thinking of planting more green bean seeds, but it might be too late... I sure wish we had a longer growing season.

Today the plans are for more of the same as long as it doesn't rain. We have conflicting reports from the weather channels -- so it's anyone's guess what the day will be like.


In Pillar Place: Kappa's chrysalis is really dark, so I'm betting he'll be hatching very soon. Hercules and Beta look like they'll be following closely. My luck? They'll all three hatch about the time it rains! LOL...


Your Name Comes From Venus

You truly appreciate beauty in all its forms. You easily see the beauty in everything.

You are an admirer of art, nature, and even people. Grace and style appeal to you.

You are naturally attractive and alluring. You often have a strong mutual attraction going on with people.

And while you prize beauty, you are not a snob. You see what is unique and special about each person.

Mostly right...


Friday, June 25, 2010

He is Alpha

Butterflies are self propelled flowers. ~R.H. Heinlein

We had our first butterbaby emerge yesterday. Taking pictures with my camera is tricky since it has to be plugged in, so I didn't get many good ones. I used my cell phone, but can't figure out how to download them off (am visiting the cell phone store very soon for help).

In any case, meet Alpha:

From the first picture, you can see that his spots are predominantly yellow, which means he's a male. Everything about him was routine, even his hatching and release... all without incidence. We're hoping this holds true of the rest!

Next up for hatching: Kappa and Hercules -- both started their pupae on the 13th, so they could hatch any day (even today!).


You Are Warm

You are very interested in other people. You have great deal of sympathy and compassion.

You are a confident person, and you're aware of the image you project. You act like you're in control even when you're not.

You are not very comfortable being approached. Conversations with strangers are difficult for you.

You are engaged and paying attention to the world. You are a good listener.

About 50/50 ...


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Six Things

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. ~Judy Garland

Yesterday, Maria Zannini posted an award on her blog:

And instead of awarding it to fifteen blogs, asked us to post one random thing about ourselves in her comments (I did *G*) and then another six here. I'm carrying the torch here -- anyone who reads this and wants to play: post one random thing about you in the comments, and then another six on your blog.

Suddenly I have the song, "Getting to Know You" going through my head...

Anyway.... here are my six other random things:

1. I'm trying to get up the nerve to try eating milkweed.

2. I have a tendency to start singing songs when someone talks -- I can find a lyric that goes with conversation almost without fail (hence the "Getting to Know You" above ... it just happens).

3. I don't like swimming in natural water, and I won't touch bottom if I'm barefoot, even if I'm in two feet of water. Who knows what lurks down there? :::shivers:::

4. I'm prone to depression, so have to consciously find ways to stay happy -- it's probably why I tend to write funny stories.

5. I suspect I'm a little OCD -- there are certain things that must be done a certain way (I mentioned one on Maria's blog yesterday), and if they aren't I have a meltdown. Either that, or I'm a control freak....

6. I have a soft spot for all creatures (great and small *G*) and even apologize to the ones I smoosh (like Japanese beetles ... I saw my first one yesterday). When I kill them, I make sure it's in the most humane way possible, and if they would just leave my stuff alone, I'd leave them alone.

Okay... who's next?


I just saw a bird (it landed on my deck) that I don't know what it is! It had a dusty orange back shading into gray on its body, and a white tummy. It was about the size of a cardinal, which is what I thought it was at first... must go on a bird hunt.

Yes, I am this random in person, in case you were wondering.


You Are Salsa Dancing

You are expressive, dramatic, and passionate. When you dance, you dance your heart out.

You are outgoing and willing really put it all out there. You don't have a shy bone in your body.

In fact, it's probably hard to hold yourself back from dancing. When you hear good music, you want to move.

You think people need to get out of their heads more and hit the dance floor. Dancing is one of life's pure joys.

That's about 80% true ... and I do love to dance!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rain, YAY!

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. ~Langston Hughes

I can't believe I'm so happy it's raining ... normally I'm more a "boo-hiss" person when it comes to anything wet falling from the sky, but it's been SO hot here and so dry and everything was dying unless I watered, sometimes twice a day. Even my drought-resistant, full sun plants (like my lambs ear... that I always just want to sit and pet) was wilty.

So let's hear it for rain! Plus it means I don't have to haul water -- because there is no hose to my veggie garden. So, I have to use two big watering cans, over and over and over....


Things are VERY quiet in Pillar Place, though I'm betting Alpha will chose today to hatch, just to be ornery (since it's raining and we can't release him). Our last pillar, Epsilon, went on walkabout yesterday and is now hanging upside down on a stick awaiting her transformation.

So far we haven't found any more swallowtail babies, which I find amazing. From here on out, though, any babies we find would be overwinterers and I'm not sure I want to deal with that (though DD will probably file an appeal and win, cuz I'm a sucker).


Check this out... it's SO COOL. If I ever get a rat again, I'm training him.


You Crave Money

Some may say it's materialistic to crave money, but for you, money represents freedom.

You do have a taste for the finer things in life, and you'd also like the option being able to do what you love for work.

You don't chase money at every opportunity, but it certainly factors into your decisions.

You have some pretty ambitious financial goals, and it's likely you'll achieve them.

Actually.... that's pretty much correct. Especially the "money represents freedom" thing -- DH and I want to move in the worst way, and can't because there is no work for him where we want to live. If he could move back into the blue collar sector and we could still survive, we'd be set. And I could start an animal shelter. He could fish and boat to his hearts content. I could have a greenhouse. He could have a 1985 Toyota 4X4 like the truck at the end of "Back to the Future" to restore. Just gotta win the lottery, or become a NYT bestselling author. Or, yanno... BOTH. *G*


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

:::Spammers, grumble, Spammers:::

Tough and funny and a little bit kind: that is as near to perfection as a human being can be. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

I spent the first part of my morning deleting spam comments. Even thinly disguised comments that appear to be made by a human are spam when they include a pile of links to advertising sites. Just saying.

I've also added moderation to all comments older than three days -- so at least next time I won't have to go back so far to delete things. *sigh*

I woke early this morning to the sound of a loud THUMP! DD had fallen out of bed. I went upstairs to make sure there were no broken bones and she was buried under her covers, but I heard a small, muffled "sorry" so figured all was well.


I know you all know how much I love my Nook... I love, Love, LOVE my Nook (one really cool thing? If you take it into a Barnes and Noble, there's always some sort of coupon that shows up when you open your Nook ... a couple of weeks ago it was for a free dessert at Starbucks, another week it had a free coffee). You can even go into a Barnes and Noble and read ANY eBook they offer for FREE for one hour (rather like how you can browse a book in the store). It's non-proprietary, you can upload books in several formats without problem or cost. I read on it constantly and it's actually easier on my eyeballs than a regular book.

The reason I'm raving is this: Barnes and Noble now has a Wi-Fi only Nook for $149, and a regular 3G Nook for $199. In all fairness, I should mention that Amazon countered the lower price with one of its own on Kindle, but I'm such a huge Nook fan (and not so much an Amazon fan) that I have to rave about what I love.

Yesterday, I went into our local Barnes and Noble and bought THREE Nooks and THREE $50 BN Gift Cards for the LASR/WC/Aurora anniversary party in August. We are giving them away (so if you've been wanting one, but the bank account says no -- this is your chance). We're having a scavenger hunt starting August 2nd with just over 150 authors. It's going to be a ton of fun and I can't wait! I suspect I made the Nook lady's day, though, by buying three Nooks. Wonder if she sells that many a day usually? *G*


In Pillar Place yesterday, things started off a bit rocky. We still had two pillars outside The Box on their food: Mu and Epsilon. Apparently that was a mistake, since when I got up yesterday morning, one -- Mu -- was AWOL. I searched, and I searched and I searched ... but caterpillars are pretty tiny and there were lots of places it could hide. I needed to catch it before it started settling in to make its pupa, so crawled around looking underneath furniture and watching where I stepped (I had visions of squishing it ... yuck).

I have a HUGE ficus tree in my office and I started thinking Mu went there to hide, so was looking, one branch at a time, for a pillar. As I circled the thing, I looked down ... and there she was. Half on the floor, half on the heater vent looking completely exhausted. If you consider her size, the six feet or so that she traveled was a LONG way.

We've opted to put them in separate containers to pupate -- not as small as those toilet paper "gizmos", but I taped a paper towel over the lid of our monarch containers and put a stick inside and left them there. As of last night Mu, Nu, Gamma and Eta were all purged and ready to start cooking. Epsilon was HUGE, but seemed disinclined to walkabout. Maybe he did last night -- I'll be able to check once DH is up.

We're watching Alpha very closely since he should be hatching into a butterfly at any time. I'm excited to start seeing these critters! So far, Mu's little jaunt aside, things have been fairly smooth. Here's hoping that keeps up!


You're Sweet Because You're Zany

You've got a little zing to you, and people appreciate your edge.

You would never use your wit to hurt anyone, but you never pass up the opportunity for a good joke.

Your take on the world is a little unconventional, and you don't mind entertaining people with your observations.

You may not fit perfectly into the mainstream, but you wouldn't want to. You like being different.

Works for me! LOL...


Monday, June 21, 2010

The Day After Sunday

How is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person? ~Fran├žois Duc de La Rochefoucauld

The quote was apropos of nothing in this post. I just found it amusing. *G*

It was HOTHOTHOT yesterday, and so humid that even my toilet was sweating. We don't have A/C, so there are some times we suffer. Not many, thankfully, but when nature cranks up the sticky weather, it can be tough.

I had to water all the gardens yesterday -- don't typically do much watering, to be honest, because we get quite a bit of rain here, but I looked outside around noontime, and the plants in my front garden were nearly dead! All wilted, poor things. So I stood outside in the high, hot midday sun and soaked everything.

About 20 mins later it rained. It was the strangest thing -- it clouded up in a matter of minutes and then DUMPED water for about 30 seconds. It was literally as though someone had filled a bucket and poured it out. It POURED, so heavily you couldn't see through the curtain of water.

Then as quickly as it came, it left. The skies cleared back up to pure blue and the heat returned. Weirdest thing...


Pillar Place is fairly uneventful. We have pillars doing their thing: eating, pooping, transforming. The goofy things are completely ignoring the very lovely sticks we've put in the box, though, and it's getting to be quite a traffic jam on the roof of The Box. Check it out:

The big white spots are mesh, and the masking tape is there to cover previous webby stuff from pupae. I really need a new box, but can't find a copy paper one to use. I used to sell Avon and I'm tempted to go back, just for the boxes!! *G*


Over Memorial Day, my friend Michele had come up to visit. She only just got around to downloading the pix she took, and sent me this one... I think it came out quite nicely aside from the fact I was squinting in the sun (and I don't often say that about pictures of me):

And that is the story of my life ... at least for today. How was your weekend?


You Are Real

No matter what, you are always yourself. You don't know how to be anyone else.

You are honest, authentic, and comfortable in your own skin. You embrace your faults.

You expect everyone else to be as transparent as you are, but you're not always so lucky.

You're in search of the good people in this world, and as you find them, you make friends for life.

About 50/50 ... I was having trouble deciding, because I liked some flowers, but hated their vases, lol...


Sunday, June 20, 2010

I'm Dreaming....

Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives. ~William Dement

Last night I dreamed that DD had found a caterpillar. She kept telling me it was a Tiger Swallowtail, and we needed to get maple leaves, but the pillar she held was black and red with knobs and bumps all over it.

I asked her if she was certain it was a Tiger Swallowtail, at which point I got the "Duh, Mom" look.

Funny thing was part of my brain knew it wasn't, but my dream-self totally bought into it. Of course, upon wakening, I had to know what that other pillar was.

Here is a real Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar:

Here is what DD was holding in my dream, a Pipe-Vine Swallowtail:

I'll give YOU a "Duh, Mom" look.


Hey.... got a cool blog? Have a friend with a cool blog? Check out the contest Maria Zannini is having in her quest to find and highlight cool blogs!


I wrote another 1000 words on "Now and Forever" yesterday. It was good to sit and write. I need to do a search of horror movies, though, because Cori is going to refer to her soon to be MIL by a variety of names, most recently "The Mom of the Black Lagoon".

Any thoughts?


You Are a Corn Dog

You are lively and carefree. You are playful, and you enjoy food that is fun!

You are easily delighted. The smallest pleasures in life make you quite happy.

Whenever there's a party, you're not far from it. You live for the good times.

You are an engaging and interesting person. You make an excellent impression and find friends easily.



Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Perfect Summer Day

What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade. ~Gertrude Jekyll

What a gorgeous weekend we're having! Yesterday was sunny, in the high 80s and a slight breeze. I ended up having to mow (normally my DH does -- he loves to do it), a task that would have gone much quicker if I didn't have to keep stopping for frogs. The frustrating part was that they looked like the mushrooms we have growing in our lawn so I'd be toodling along and then... a mushroom would hop! LOL...

In any case, I'm fairly certain no reptiles or amphibians were injured yesterday on our lawn, which is not always the case.

Today I'm going to look for a systemic pesticide -- something I hate to use -- for my squash bug problem. Every year my plants get hit by the squash borers. Last year, I managed to catch and squish a bunch of the moths before they laid their eggs, which gave me a little extra time with my plants, but they still ended up dying well before the end of summer. Since I can't "pick" the larvae (they drill into the base of the squash stem when they're born), I have little choice but to try to kill them systemically. Organic controls are dubious at best, and I've tried them with little success.

My SIL had a moose in her backyard on Friday. A teenager, she thinks, all legs and head. I'm telling you, the wildlife this year is crazy.

Now, I'm heading out to take the dog for an early walk before it gets too hot. Have an awesome day!


You Should Live in a Mediterranean Home

You are warm, friendly, and welcoming... and your home should be these things as well.

You like to work hard, but you also appreciate your down time more than most people.

You know how to kick back and relax. Other people find you a joy to be around.

You may not be able to be on vacation every day, but you like to bring a little vacation home with you.

Um... not really.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Growing a Salad Bar

Despite the gardener's best intentions, Nature will improvise. ~Michael P. Garafalo,

So, yesterday I went out to check my garden, excited that we've had this rainy / steamy weather that plants seem to love. I had visions of ten foot tomato plants covered in blossoms, cucumbers for days, squash plants taking over the garden...

... what I found instead were deer prints and 6" high nubbins.

Yep, it's true. The deer came and pretended my garden was a salad bar. All but three of my tomatoes were eaten down nearly to the ground, the cucumbers are half the size they were, and even the squash had a a few bites taken out of it. The also trampled my baby lettuce, and I lost about half of what was planted.

So, I guess my grand harvest will have to wait a while.

I swear, I'm going to move into the middle of the city.


In Pillar Place, we have one more pillar on walkabout: Beta hit the trail last night. There are two more in The Box: Theta and Eta, but I don't think they'll be quite ready to start baking for another day or two.

Alpha should be bursting free of his chrysalis early next week, and I'm excited to see our first butterfly of the season.

Speaking of butterflies, Maria Zannini emailed me about a great Monarch site I hadn't visited before. It's and they have all KINDS of cool information about monarchs. I know Groovy is planning to host monarchs up in her neck of the woods, and there might be others of you. You should check it out.

Even cooler, they offer monarch eggs for sale. I'm seriously considering buying some... but they aren't cheap. We had such a shortage of them last year, though, I think it might be a great idea.

Again, I say to anyone who has some space: GROW MILKWEED. The loss of habitat is one thing that has affected the monarch population more than nearly anything. I have some milkweed seeds now and will have more in the late summer. It's common milkweed, indigenous to pretty much the entire USA, so you wouldn't be introducing a non-native species to your part of the country.

I will send it to you at no cost... just plant it if you can.


You Are a Delight

You are easy to get along with and easy to be with, but you're definitely not a doormat.

You'll cheerfully ask for what you want, and you're almost always ready to compromise.

You are comfortable speaking your mind, and you're also willing to admit you may not be right.

You know how to work well with others. You can bend in the wind, but you don't break.

Actually... I think I'm a little pushier than that, lol.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Slight Transformation

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. ~Richard Bach

We were fortunate enough on Tuesday to capture one of our pillars, Lambda, actually shedding his skin for the final time on his way to becoming a butterfly. I apologize that the video is slightly out of focus... my camera will no longer hold a charge, so I'd plugged it in while sitting on its camera dock and was holding the entire contraption up, so couldn't see the screen very well to see if it was focusing. Despite the blur, you can see what the poor critter goes through to get that skin off.

ARGH.. sorry... YouTube and I are fighting over this video, and Blogger won't upload it directly for me. I'm going to KEEP fighting and see if I can't get a video for you to view... check back?

Okay, I got it to load on Facebook here... but if you're not on Facebook, I don't think you can view it. Will keep trying other options.

Iota shed his skin yesterday, so we now have five pupae in The Box. The other pillars are still too small to go on walkabout, so things should be fairly quiet over the next couple of days, with only poop dumps and feedings taking place.


Agility was fun last night, but poor Dakota got beat up again. She seems to draw the more physical dogs to her and was being played with VERY roughly by what might be a boxer/pit bull mix (??) -- fairly small... about 40 lbs, tenacious and quick. The dog wasn't hurting her, but apparently another dog saw things differently. This dog is one I absolutely adore, but is one HUGE package of walking muscle. My guess is that she's a chocolate lab / pit bull mix and probably weighs 80 lbs. She decided to intercede and a fight ensued, with Dakota on the bottom in between two very alpha dogs.

The smaller dog's mom was nearby and nabbed her and I grabbed the bigger dog and pinned her saying "NO!" very loudly, but I hope I didn't upset HER mom by doing so. It's always a tough call when it's not your dog you're reprimanding. Her mom didn't seem upset, and we've always gotten along, so hopefully things are cool.

Still, I sure wish Dakota wasn't always on the bottom of the fighting...


You Are Driven By Self-Improvement

You believe that if you're too satisfied in your life, you're doing something wrong.

You are always trying to better yourself, and that means putting in a lot of hard work.

You want to be the best you can be, and you hardly ever rest. You are a type A person for sure.

You are always trying to make your strengths more robust and your weaknesses disappear.

Hmmm... yes and no...


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Welcome Guest: Cindy Jacks!

Cindy is here today as part of her Goddess Fish Promotions tour to celebrate the release of her romantic comedy, "All the Good Men". Not only will you be entertained, but if you comment you'll be entered to win a signed print copy of her book and a branded "Fiction for the Bad Girl in Every Woman" book bag!

Now ... here's Cindy!

Tell me five things I probably don’t know about you and that most folks wouldn’t guess.

I almost always have a song playing in my head which supposedly is a symptom of manic depressive disorder. Yikes! I'm not sure that's the case with me. I like to think of it as my own little psychic phenomenon. Many times, when I turn on the radio, the song in my head matches the current song playing. Wacky, right?

I'm a big NFL fan, but not because I have a particular affection for the game. Don't get me wrong, I like football, but what I like more is potential to construct a weekly party around the event. Food, drink, and pageantry. Not to mention all the young men in oh-so-tight football pants. Plus, it's a chance for the BF and I to bond. There's really no down side to it, lol.

I'm actually really shy which I suppose is why I'm a writer as opposed to an actress or singer. Well, I can't really carry a tune, but even if I could, I don't think I'd seek out the spotlight. I'm perfectly happy behind the scenes. A lot of people are surprised by this aspect of my personality because I'm very friendly and outgoing, but social situations exhaust me. I'm told that means I'm an introvert. Who knew?

I'm most comfortable when I'm in the water. I grew up in places with the most magnificent beaches: Hawaii, Jamaica and Florida to name a few. I can't remember a time that I couldn't swim and didn't love to explore the ocean. For me, water equals peace.

If plants had post offices, my picture would be hanging there as one of the ten most wanted for 1st degree herbicide. I love flowers, herbs and homegrown veggies, but I'm an the worst gardener ever. I can follow plant care recommendations to a tee and still poor things die. I suppose if some folks have 'green thumbs', there must be those of us with 'brown thumbs.' That's me. Brown Thumb Jacks, lol.

Fill In the Blank(s): If I could have any superpower, it would be ______________

If I could have any superpower, it would be x-ray vision because I could see any guy I want naked and it would safe a fortune in healthcare co-pays! :D

Write me a paragraph using the following three words: CABIN, EARPHONES, DIARY

Ana blocked out all distractions with a pair of earphones, playing soft, romantic music. Not that there were many distractions to block out. She loved her Smith Mountain Lake cabin for just this reason. Complete and total solitude in which to contemplate the events of the past month. She'd sat down to make her daily diary entry, to try to make sense of the affection growing inside her. Instead, she drew hearts and flowers like a lovesick teenager. Perhaps the silly doodles said more about her emotional state than any amount of words could.

Any brief news you’d like to share?

In addition to All the Good Men with Moongypsy press, I have another new release, writing as CJ Elliott, titled Hour of the Wolf. Check it out at Cobblestone Press.

You can find Cindy here:

Now... take a look at her cool video for the book! I had to share because ... well.. I made it :-)

And here's a taste of the book for you:

Dahlia is sure the hackneyed platitude is true: After a certain age, all the good men are married or gay. She feels her thirty-eight years put her well past that 'certain age.' Her best friend and her sisters dare her to put her fate where her mouth is. The terms of the challenge? During the month of October, she has to end her five-year-long man fast and go on dates with men of their choosing. Oh, and she also has to go out with anyone else who asks.

As the date disasters pile up, the vindication almost makes the torturous evenings bearable for Dahlia. But a handsome new neighbor, Jackson Carmichael, moves in, changing the rules of the game. Retired after twenty-six years as a pro firefighter in Boston, he volunteers with the local fire department, coaches a youth hockey team, and appears for all the world to be the perfect man. He just might throw a wrench into Dahlia's plan to die lonely and single...that is if she doesn't scare him away first.


Skipper's, McGrady's, the Dew Drop Inn. Dahlia didn’t find her father at any of his regular hangouts. As a last ditch effort, she drove home, hoping to find him there. No such luck.

She called Beck. “Hi, it’s Dahlia. I haven’t found him, but if for some reason he turns up at the VFW, please give me a call.”

“Will do, ma’am. Again, I can’t tell you how sorry I am he got away from me.”

“No, no. It’s not your fault. I felt like I should’ve stayed home with him, but with all the orders at work—” The doorbell interrupted her thoughts. “Beck, there’s someone here. I’ll call you back.”

As she clamped the cell phone shut its hinge snarled in a lock of hair. Dahli tugged at the accursed thing as she trotted to the front door. When she opened it, Dahlia abandoned her efforts to disentangle the phone. There stood her father, soaking wet, draped against the shoulder of a man she’d never seen before.

“Hi.” The stranger flashed an apologetic smile. “Does he belong to you? I feel like I've seen him pruning the hedges out front.”

She squeezed her eyes shut. Perhaps if she blocked out the image of her piss-drunk father long enough, he might disappear. Opening one eye she found she’d had no such luck.

“Yes, I’m so sorry. Where did he wind up, Mr…?”

“Carmichael. Jackson Carmichael. I found him floating in my koi pond.”

“Oh, good Lord. I’m really sorry. We’ll pay for any damages.” Dahlia reached for her dad, but Jackson scooped up the old man using a fireman’s carry.

“Not to worry. I’m just glad I found him when I did. Is it okay to set him on the couch?”

“Please. I’ll get some towels.” She hurried from the room if only to hide her flaming embarrassment. Upon return, she made a vain attempt to blot up the water that pooled around the passed out lump she usually called Dad.

“Thank you, Mr. Carmichael. I can’t apologize enough. Daddy’s a bit of a handful.”

“No apology necessary, but may I…?” He reached out a hand.

“Of course.” Dahli thrust a dry towel at him.

“No, no. I meant—” Jackson made a gentle twist and tug that freed the forgotten cell phone from her hair. “There you go.”

“Christ almighty. Lovely first impression I’ve made,” she said and shoved the phone in her pocket.

“Nah, no biggie.” He stripped off his shirt and dried himself. “I meant to come by to introduce myself a couple days ago, but I’ve been swamped trying to get settled.”

Though a half naked man in her living room—and a rather physically fit one at that—was a rare occurrence, Dahlia did her best to avert her eyes. “I’m sure Daddy and I have made you want to run for the hills.”

“Not at all, Ms…?”

“Foster, but please, anyone who finds my father in his fishpond can call me Dahli.”

“A pleasure,” he said and handed her the towel. “Thanks.”

“Would you like something to drink?”

“I’d love something, but I have to get back. Rain check?”

“Sure. Come by anytime.” But I won’t hold my breath...not that I blame you, she added silently. Dahli walked him to the front door, thanking him again. After closing the door behind Mr. Carmichael, she plodded into the living room to check on her father.

“Daddy,” she said to deaf ears and sank into the loveseat. “What am I going to do with you?”

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears!

I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn. ~Henry David Thoreau

Well, okay... only bears.

Yesterday morning, about 10 a.m., DD happens to look out her window to the woods out back -- a habit we both have because it's where I keep my bird feeders and we love to watch all the birdies. Only, it wasn't a bird she saw.

"MOM!! There's a bear taking your feeders!"

Because I have my priorities, I ran for the camera ... but he was too fast for me. DD was upstairs yelling and the dog was barking and it was all too much for the bear. Unfortunately, he didn't drop my suet feeder though (it was my good one!) but he took off into the woods, which are only about 20 feet back.

He wasn't a huge bear, but not tiny either. My guess? A juvenile maybe a couple years old... could be that his mama kicked him out on his own this spring and he's just not doing so well on a diet of unripe blueberries and chipmunks, so is looking for easier fare.

I waited a few minutes and then went out to bring in the rest of the feeders... sadly. One of my great joys is watching my birds, especially this time of year. One of the coolest things I get to see is the mama woodpeckers bringing their babies to the suet feeders and teaching them how to use it. Yesterday, I had to see mamas and babies come over, hang on the tree and "peep peep peep" looking around for the feeders that have been there for YEARS .... and see nothing. I wanted to cry. I did close my windows and sliding glass door on that side of the house so I couldn't hear them anymore, because it broke my heart.

Later in the day, I took a walk and bumped into a neighbor a couple houses down. I mentioned the bear and she said that just a week or two before, her DH opened the curtains to the deck (it was night and he'd heard a noise) to find a bear on the deck, on his back, drinking the sugar water in their hummingbird feeder. He ran for his camera, too (yes, we're all a little strange) but refused to open the screen so didn't get a good picture.

I'm thinking it's the same bear. And something got into my garbage a couple weeks ago, too. Dragged the garbage bag back into the woods a bit and tore it apart. It especially liked the empty container for my DH's "International Coffee" and the empty container for my chocolate soy milk -- so whatever it was, it had a sweet tooth.

In any case, the feeder are going to stay inside for now. Not only do I not want to lose any more feeders, but it's not fair to the bear. He's going to get used to stealing from people and it's going to get him in trouble. I don't want to contribute to that.

But still... this morning, when my birds were peeping from the trees around where my empty hooks are sitting, it was all I could do not to put out food. I'm terribly sad.


Your PB and J Says You're Adventurous and Accepting

Your eating style is gluttonous. If you like something, you're going back for seconds... no matter how full you are!

You have an average sweet tooth. While you enjoy desserts, they aren't exactly your downfall.

Your taste in food tends to be pretty flexible. You may crave sushi one night, and your favorite childhood recipe the next.

You are probably a fairly normal, upper middle class person. You don't rock the boat too often.

You are a tough person who isn't afraid to live life fully. There isn't a lot that scares you.

You are laid back and extremely easygoing. You never make a fuss, and you try to enjoy every moment.

Nope... that's almost completely wrong... lol... But I do love a good PB&J!!


Monday, June 14, 2010

A Funny Place to Find an Idea

"Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young." - W. Somerset Maugham

So ... funny thing happened the other day. My biz partner, Judy, mentioned that she's written the title of a book wrong in an email to someone. Just a "ha ha" moment, really, but then I grabbed the title and said, "The story could be about this and the heroine could be this way." and then she chimed in with more, that I added to, and she added to and then I said, "Yanno, this would work for Geoff's story."

You see, I'd set "A Jewel For Geoff" aside because the heroine wasn't working for me. I liked HER and her family, but what she was in the story? Just wasn't adding enough conflict and she fought me every step of the way, so I knew it was wrong. I just didn't know what was right.

Now I think I do. I'm going to jot down some notes and let it simmer in my brain a bit while I work on the "Kitchen Matches" sequel, but I'm pretty sure this one is it.

And all from an error on an email.

People always ask writers where they get their ideas. Fact is, ideas are everywhere .... you just need to grab 'em when you see 'em.


In Pillar Place: we have one more pillar on walkabout. Lambda started doing his thing late afternoon.

We are a bit concerned about Kappa... he made his little webbing (the one that adheres him to the roof) funny and it's sort of loosely wrapped around the front of his body. We're concerned that it may impede his ability to shed his skin the final time -- and if it does, hopefully that's ALL it will do. We're hoping he still makes his pupa correctly.

Iota is the only big pillar left and I bet he goes walkabout today. Then things should be very quiet for a bit (unless DD finds more pillars. She's looking every day, but no luck).


You Are Popular

For as long as you can remember, you've always made friends easily.

You are spontaneous and adventurous. You're happy to go with the flow or shake things up a little bit.

You are charming and smooth. You can make the best of a boring or awkward moment.

You are hilarious and eager to make others laugh. Things can only be so bad when you are around.

Uh... no. Not really...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

This and That

Protect me from knowing what I don't need to know. Protect me from even knowing that there are things to know that I don't know. Protect me from knowing that I decided not to know about the things that I decided not to know about. Amen. ~Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

Lord, lord, lord. Protect me from the consequences of the above prayer. ~Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

I've used that before, but it still amuses me...

It's been an ugly, wet, dreary weekend... which wouldn't be the end of the world except that it tends to put my DH in a bad mood. No boating.

So, rain again today, but then the week is going to be nice -- which, after a yucky weekend, also tends to put DH in a yucky mood, lol. Here's hoping NEXT weekend is gorgeous all three days!


In Pillar Place, we have two more caterpillars becoming pupae: Kappa (which we expected) and Hercules (which we did NOT -- he didn't look big enough). Despite the plethora of really attractive sticks that we placed through The Box, they both opted to make their spot on the roof. This is VERY inconvenient, and those little toilet paper roll gizmos are starting to look VERY attractive.

There are two more that are big enough to go on walkabout: Lambda and Iota, but after that it'll be a bit.

It's supposed to take about 10 - 14 days for them to become butterflies, so Alpha should have his wings by right around June 20th - 24th. Yay!

No new pillars, yet, but we'll start hunting for monarch eggs soon. Last year, we found our first eggs on July 16th. Last year we found our first swallowtail pillar on June 13th, this year was May 28th -- just over two weeks early. So I figure monarch eggs might be early, too. We'll start checking at the end of June.

I hope we have a better year this year.


Your Home is Comforting

You believe in putting your needs first, and you avoid depriving yourself.

You are likely to have a home full of your favorite things - from soft pillows to delicious food.

You believe in living in the moment. If you feel like having home baked pie, then you'll have home baked pie!

You could never feel at home in a sterile or unpersonalized house. The best homes feel lived in.

That's only half true ... the first part? Nope. Second? Yep.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Yesterday in Pictures

A good snapshot stops a moment from running away. ~ Eudora Welty

Yesterday I stepped out of my shower just as a note was slipped under my door. DD does this quite frequently -- apparently the 23 hours we spend together each day aren't enough... that 30 minutes when I hide in the take a shower always brings something to her mind that must be shared IMMEDIATELY.

Here is the note (which cracked me up! I felt like I should salute and say, "YES, SIR!):

Beta is one of our pillars who grew quite a bit, and his food was a tad wilty so he was dangling precariously over the side. And, yes, I took care of it immediately.

DH took the car around for repair quotes yesterday. Want to see what $2k in damages to a car looks like? Here it is:


Since we no longer have a food budget (or an anything else budget for a while), it's a good thing I just made gallons of strawberry jam (during which time I was so frazzled, I forgot to take pix to put on my Healthful & Homemade blog... sorry):

You can live on strawberry jam, right? *G*

And that was my day.

How was yours?


You Shine Early and Late

You're the type who's both a morning and an evening person - you just tend to slow down in the middle of the day.

You wake up fresh and ready to face the world, and then you get a second wind right before bed.

You are calm and steady. You try to pace yourself and find balance in your day.

Your do best in the spring when the world is full of hope and possibilities.

Interestingly that's pretty close. Every day around 2:00 I'm ready for a nap, but an hour or so later, I get my second wind. And I do love Spring.


Friday, June 11, 2010

It Was An Accident...

It takes 8,460 bolts to assemble an automobile, and one nut to scatter it all over the road. ~Author Unknown

Good news on the pillar front ... Alpha FINALLY shed his skin and is now an officially cooking butterfly. He should be fully cooked in a week to ten days. We were terrifically worried about him, but I guess he knew what he was doing!


So, yesterday I once again proved that I shouldn't have a reverse mode on my vehicle. Consider this: in the past I have backed my Celica into a light pole, my 4Runner into my SIL's truck and then yesterday I backed my car into the garage.


Just scraped the side about 18" long (though how I managed that long a scrape I have no idea ... I was barely rolling and slammed on the brakes the moment I heard/felt anything), but it dented it and scraped off the paint.

DH was remarkably accepting over the entire thing, while I swear I was inconsolable.

In any case, I've decided that our next house needs a drive through garage.


Today, we go strawberry picking. I bought my low sugar pectin yesterday and am ready to make jam. I'm planning on making half strawberry and half strawberry-rhubarb.

The beginning of canning season has arrived! YAY! I'm looking forward to seeing if I'm able to can and freeze enough to see us through the winter. I feel very Little House on the Prairie-ish.


You Are an Emotional Artist

You're the type of artist who creates because you are moved. It's like it's not even a choice.

Your art is all about expressing yourself, and to be honest, you don't really care about what others think of it.

You are in love with the things that you create. Every piece of art you've made has great meaning to you.

You don't beat yourself up if your art isn't perfect. If you're happy with what it says, then that's all you could ask for.

Mostly right...


Thursday, June 10, 2010

No Time

Sometimes I feel that life is passing me by, not slowly either, but with ropes of steam and spark-spattered wheels and a hoarse roar of power or terror. It's passing, yet I'm the one who's doing all the moving. ~Martin Amis, Money

Yesterday absolutely flew by for me yesterday... one minute it was early morning and the next, time for bed. I honestly don't know where it went! I feel like I got nothing done, and yet was busy all day long. It was crazy, and I was ready to either cry or tear my hair out by evening.

Maybe that accounted for my odd dream? I dreamed that Maria Zannini called me up and asked if I could fly down to Dallas to play cards with her for a couple of hours.


Thanks for the invite, Maria! LOL...


In Pillar Place, Alpha stil hasn't finished pupating. He's still just hanging there... it's been more than 24 hours since he hooked himself into the position to become a chrysalis and nothing has happened. We're worried.

Kappa, Lambda, Iota and Hercules have all been moved into "The Box". They're quite large, especially Kappa, and I wouldn't be surprised if they all go walk-about in the next day or two.

The little ones left are still really tiny (though not nearly microscopic, like when we found them eight days ago). I've heard they take about 14 days from hatching to pupating, but half of these guys are still small enough that they're black, and the other half are only about 3/4" long. How they're going to go from this:

To this:

In five days is beyond me. But, I might find myself surprised.

For a fabulous look at the Black Swallowtail Life Cycle in pictures, go here.


I also harvested my marjoram yesterday -- just before it flowered (which is apparently the best time to harvest your herbs because they are highest in oil -- and flavor -- at that point). I washed it and it's now tied into four HUGE bundles and hanging to dry inside a paper bag.

Once it's dried, I'm going to grind it and put it into little bottles (I'm hoping to find some). I'll most likely have more than I can use, so will be giving some away -- interested? It's a wonderful Italian seasoning, along the lines of oregano. This is only my first harvest -- I'll most likely do it again at least once. I have so much marjoram that I pull it up like a weed and throw it away in an attempt to keep it in its 1 x 2' garden area. It's crazy.


You Are Unique

You are vibrant and excited for each day. You like to mix things up a lot.

You get bored easily, and you're always on the hunt for new experiences.

Your friends would describe you as playful and full of zest. You look forward to every event and occasion.

You are restless sometimes. You need a little adventure to satisfy your wanderlust.

Sort of...


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Welcome Guest: Caroline Clemmons

Give a big howdy to Caroline Clemmons -- another brave participant of my crazy Wednesday questions!

Tell me five things I probably don’t know about you and that most folks wouldn’t guess.

1, My youngest daughter, Bea, and I used to have an antiques business with three booths split between a couple of antique malls. We loved going to estate sales and auctions but were not that great at the business end. For one thing, we didn't have the cash to make really important purchases. For another, we love antiques ourselves and took the best things home. LOL We attended one sale where a policeman appeared to close down the sale because the seller hadn't obtained the required permit. Bea and I had just purchased a beautiful (to us) oriental folding screen and were afraid the policeman would make us return it to the seller. We picked it up and hoofed it at a trot to my car a block away. Getting this large screen into the car was another feat. The screen is now in my dining room because I just couldn't part with it (you see the problem with our business!). Bea and I laugh every time we think about how we must have looked scurrying to the car carrying that heavy screen on our shoulders.

2. I have written numerous articles for historical journals and local history books. I love family genealogy and history and have been collecting family trivia and anecdotes since I was a child. I wrote and published a book about my mother-in-law because she wanted one done for her grandchildren. All her nieces and nephews wanted a copy, so we had a second printing done. Of course, then I had to do a book for my mom to be fair. For my mom, I included all her family and it was a bit longer. My brother and I are compiling a more difficult book for our father's family. I don't like those genealogy books with just endless lists of descendants. Boring! I prefer lots of photos, family anecdotes, and migration tales to make the book more interesting. After all, in addition to preserving facts for posterity, we want people to actually enjoy reading the book.

3. We've moved a lot. The first thing I do when I move is join a church and a lot of community groups to become acquainted. When we lived in Florida, I seemed to be publicity person for all the groups and took in so many articles with captioned photos that the newspaper editor asked me if I'd like a job working for the newspaper writing the same sort of articles. They'd been trying to increase subscriptions in the area in which I lived, but without success. I told her I had children with health problems and wouldn't like to leave them alone on the days they couldn't attend school. She said I could work from home if I came in occasionally and Even then I could leave at three. The pay wasn't much, but I loved the job. Soon, people were calling me with story ideas and I spent most of my time writing human interest stories about people in the community. The newspaper's subscriptions doubled, and the editor and publisher credited my stories with the increase. As was our way, though, my family soon moved back to Texas and I left my newspaper job.

4. When I was President of my daughter Stephanie's high school PTA, parents were concerned about a gas station on the corner by the school grounds because the new owner changed the station's name to "Six Pack Express." The place was a teen hangout, and we figured they were selling alcohol and cigarettes to minors. The Council of PTA's held a meeting in which I was the shill who recommended a change in the way distance was measured from school to business which would prevent the gas station from selling alcohol. Because of that, the City Council President and I received bomb threats. I was so surprised at mine that I laughed at the caller and told him something like get a life, probably not a good idea. The measure passed without bombs going off and I have a nice little certificate from the Secretary of State for my work.

5. Remember I said we'd moved a lot. When we built our first dream house, I designed it. I spent weeks with graph paper and drew out all the interior features with precise measurements. My father had built houses when I was a child, but he'd passed away by this time. My mom gave me a couple of suggestions on lining up plumbing between stories, but I did the plans. When we had selected our builder and the lakeside lot, the developer (which is an interesting, but scary story) insisted we have the plans drawn up by an architect. We took my plans to the architect the developer suggested (which probably means the developer received a cut of the cost). The architect made one change in my plans and took out a door between the kitchen and family room. We asked the builder to put the door back in. The builder told me my drawings made the built ins much easier and that my plans would have been enough and he didn't need the architect's plans--so that was money wasted except the developer wouldn't have approved our building otherwise. We loved that house, but we have itchy feet and moved away. Now, however, we have settled into our final (maybe) dream house.

Fill In the Blank(s): The next person to ring my doorbell had better ____________.

A delivery from I am never totally out of books, but am waiting for the next Julie Garwood, Amanda Quick, and Rhys Bowen. My husband and I are fast readers, which is good and bad. We are always rummaging around for something to read. I trade books with friends, shop Amazon, reread old favorites, and---yes, I'm confessing in spite of no royalties paid---shop used book stores and garage sales. I love discovering a prolific new author so I have a long list of books to which I can look forward.

Write me a paragraph using the following three words: Tough, Pig, Cellar

Let me tell you one of the tales about my father and his six brothers--if the thought of seven boys doesn't make you shudder too much. My grandfather was tight with his money of necessity, but that's hard to explain to a bunch of rowdy boys. A carnival came to the town near them and they wanted badly to go, but my grandfather wouldn't give them any money. They had a tough decision. They just had to go to the carnival but where could they get some cash? They took one of my grandfather's pigs down into the cellar and covered the pig with bootblack. Then they took the pig to my grandfather and told him that two of the older boys had received the pig for doing some work for a neighbor and were looking to sell the animal. My grandfather bought the pig and off the boys went to the carnival. When the polish soon began wearing off of the pig, my grandfather realized he'd bought his own animal. I asked my dad if he wasn't worried about getting in trouble. He said they knew they'd get a whipping, but by that time they'd already been to the carnival and had a good time and the whipping was worth it. Thank goodness my husband and I have two lovely daughters instead of seven (shudder) rowdy boys.

(The story is true except for the cellar part. I have no idea where they polished the pig. LOL)


Caroline Clemmons is a city girl turned country girl. All her life she has made up adventures. After reluctantly giving up her desire to ride the range with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, she turned to making up detective stories a la Nancy Drew. An eighth grade journalism teacher encouraged her to write down her stories and guided her in the process. Caroline spent her early childhood in Southern California, but then moved back to West Texas where her parents eventually settled in Lubbock. Her books include western historical and contemporary romance. Caroline and her Hero Husband live in rural North Central Texas with their menagerie of pets that includes a Shih Tzu and three cats. When not writing, Caroline loves spending time with family, reading, travel, browsing antique stores, and researching family history.

Caroline's June 2010 release, OUT OF THE BLUE from , is a time travel in which a clairvoyant healer from 1845 Ireland is blamed for her remote area's failed potato crop. To escape the mob determined to burn her as they have her home, she leaps off an Irish cliff into the Atlantic--but she lands in a present day Texas lake beside a police detective's bass boat. He's recovering from wounds sustained when his partner and best friend was killed in a so-called drive by shooting. He's determined to find the killers, and he's convinced this mysterious woman knows more than she'll admit.

Check out Caroline's website at and her blog at for news of her other upcoming releases: a sensual western historical, THE TEXAN'S IRISH BRIDE, and the sweet contemporary, TEXAS FIREWORKS. She also posts occasionally on

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Things Your Grandmother Knew

A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life: he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I've been trying to read "How to Sew a Button and Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew" by Erin Bried, but have discovered that either I'm far more self-sufficient than most (please tell me you all know how to make pancakes from scratch and roast a chicken?) or she's putting an awful lot of filler in the book. Of course, at the beginning of the book she states that one of the reasons she's opted to write the book is because she bought Swiss Chard from the store to use in a pie instead of rhubarb ... so maybe the fact that I know how to sew a button onto my clothes or how to iron a shirt is unusual.

Yes, there are some things in the book that I didn't know, but for the most part it's all repeat information for me. Darn.


As expected in Pillar Place, Alpha went on walkabout yesterday. Last evening he was clinging to the side of the box, not moving, which would probably indicate that he was ready to purge and really get serious about becoming a butterfly.

DD found one more pillar to add to the group, so now we have Nu. She really REALLY wants to have one named Xi, so she's diligently hunting for more, despite the fact we really don't have the room for them... and don't get me started about monarchs (although for those, I use individual Gladware containers with air holes poked in them, so can stack them for space).

Butterfly wrangling ain't for the faint of heart. But for those who want to do it, there are lots of sites telling your how like this one:

The most fascinating thing I've seen on these "raise a pillar" sites are how to find swallowtail EGGS. Not as easy as monarch eggs ... but I think we'll give it a try.


Yesterday flew by so fast it barely felt like it even happened. Two of my "helpers" at the LASR/WC/Aurora site - my reviews editor and my admin asst - were both gone to the Lori Foster gathering over the weekend, and the editor was flying home yesterday, so I've been doing triple duty the past few days. Between that, and trying to get school wrapped up for DD (she still has a couple more weeks, much to her dismay) things were absolutely crazy.

In the "good news" column, though, we got DD's assessment test results back and she was in the 95th percentile with all of her ratings in the "above average" range. YAY.


You Are Having an Awesome Day

You feel grounded and stable in your life. There is not a lot of change going on.

You are a peaceful person. You have the ability to deal with life's problems as they unfold.

You are prioritizing your individuality right now. You have your own stuff to work on.

Deep down you crave comfort. You want what's familiar and guaranteed to sooth you.

Pretty much....


Monday, June 07, 2010

Revenge of the Pillars

Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar. - Bradley Millar

So, it rained all day yesterday -- frequently POURING as if someone was dumping buckets down on us. I admit to being a bit worried about the new plants -- that's a lot of heavy water to be beating down on them -- but for the most part, they took it just fine. The petunias lost some flowers, the ageratum was pretty well squashed (but should bounce back), some of my taller tomatoes tipped over a bit. But the rain really helped the stuff I moved around to perk right up (I had some gallardia, echinacea and annual bachelor buttons that looked nearly dead after being moved).

The best part, though? It killed the humidity. Hallelujah. I walked out this morning to cool, CRISP air instead of the oppressiveness of the 90% humidity we've been having. Maybe I can finally take my frizz ball hair out of its pony tail without looking like Diana Ross on a bad hair day.


We have a few new additions to Pillar Place. On Saturday, my SIL happened to be here when DD found a pillar. Despite telling her we were using the Greek alphabet to name them, she begged us to call it Hercules. So... we have a Hercules, lol. Yesterday, in between cloud bursts, DD went out hunting pillars (she was terrified they'd all be killed in the bad weather .... they weren't).

We now have Kappa, Lambda and Mu to go with the other ten, all of whom are happy, healthy and eating like pigs. In fact, Alpha has been put into The Box -- the one with sticks to make his pupa on.

I was watching a video on raising Black Swallowtail pillars yesterday and the guy makes these little pupa containers out of half a toilet paper roll and a paper towel. When the pillar "purges" which is rather icky, but indicates he is done eating and ready to make his pupa, this guy picks them up and plops them inside.

While I understand his motives (it sure makes life easier to keep them well contained) it seems sort of cruel... the pillars will "walk-about" for a day or more before making their pupa, and I have visions of the poor critter doing a thousand loops around the tiny paper holder.

I know, maybe that shouldn't bother me so much, but it does. So... mine will have The Box to use instead. Also, with The Box, I don't have to move the pupa once it's made.

As an aside, every time I name one of the pillars, I'm reminded of the movie "Revenge of the Nerds". Remember Omega Mu? Or Lambda Lambda Lambda?



You Are Circus Circus

You are fun loving and outrageous. You are always looking for the next good time, and you are easily entertained.

You are daring and open minded. You'd run away with the circus if the offer was good enough...

You are unpredictable and zany - no wonder people love to be around you so much.
You're not just the life of the party. You bring the party with you!