Coming Soon!

Jiang Li, Warrior Woman of Yueh is the companion novella to My Adventures As Brother Rat. Jiang Li is now available; for a signed copy, please contact me via my website Contact Me button. Price is $7.00 plus s/h of $2.20 for envelope and postage, or $4.90 for Priority Mail (6 copies will fit in a Priority Mail envelope).

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ubiquitious Winter Letter


Kennewick WA 99337

21 December 2009


Ubiquitous Winter Letter, 2009

Yikes! This is the last year in the first decade in the new millennium – where has time gone? For starters, in this house at least, it has gone into writing and quilting and traveling, and some photography.


I sold my first novel, My Adventures as Brother Rat, to Sam’s Dot Publishing. I’ve also sold some short stories and a couple of poems. I’ve finished two novella’s, which are at Sam’s Dot for consideration, and two novels, which are in the fine-grit polishing stage and for which I hope to find an agent. (Warning! Blatant Commercial follows: For a signed copy of Brother Rat, contact me at lenoragood@charter.net. If you don’t care if it’s signed, order from http://www.genremall.com/fictionr.htm#brotherrat $10.00 for the book, $4.00 s/h)


In February I bought a Subaru Forester and named her Suvie Star Car. In honor of the occasion, my friend Kay, and I realized a long held dream and did a “Drive About” of the country. Three months and 11,500 miles later we got home. The truly amazing thing is we were laughing when we left, and laughing when we got home!


To read about our adventures, and see some of the photos, please go to my blog (archives) at: http://roadtripsandmore.blogspot.com/ Start with March. (You can read February if you want;-) Feel free to drop by the blog any time to get an idea of what’s going on in this house.


Took time out in Nov for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and started another novel, valiantly fought (and won!) a mild case of the flu, and attended Orycon, the Oregon Science Fiction Convention, where I sat on a few panels and schlepped Brother Rat. The highlight of the Con was meeting up with old friends – both writers and Scotty, a guy I used to work with at The Boeing Company in a galaxy and time far, far away from the here and now.


While in Portland I spent a few days with an old and dear friend, Martha, her son Mark, and his son, Eric. In 1960 when I babysat her kids, I taught her baby boy, Mark, how to swim. I’m happy to say, he’s all grown up now, and so is his son. (No matter how I phrase it, it comes out sounding like Martha is OLD, she isn’t. By the calendar, she’s got a few years on me, but I’ve met very few folks as young as she is! It’s just that we’ve been friends for 50 years!)


In the meantime, I’ve decided I’d rather spend a few weeks quilting than writing. This gives me a chance to catch up on some reading of fiction. Two fiction books I highly recommend: Space Magic by David D. Levine and Filter House by Nisi Shawl. Both books are collections of short stories. For memoir and humor, I don’t think you could find more entertaining stories than those found in Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs and Revenge of the Paste Eaters, both by Cheryl Peck.


All in this house are good and hope this letter finds you and yours likewise!


Hoar frost in winter

Flowers in summer

Love all year round


Happiest of Holidays and Bestest of New Years!

Love,

Lenora


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Book Status:
  • No Change

Currently Reading:
  • Journal of a Trapper by Osborne Russell, Edited by Aubrey L. Haines, published by University of Nebraska Press

Truly, this is a bit of a slog. Russell was a Trapper back in the days when Joe Meek, Jim Bridger, Hugh Glass were Trappers. Unlike many of the Mountain Men he was not only literate, he kept a journal, which for the most part is interesting. However, when Haines got his editor's pen on the original manuscript, I wish he'd done just a wee bit more editing. I am currently in the middle of a 14-page long paragraph!

Haines could easily have added a bit of punctuation - at least end of sentence periods - as well as broken it into more manageable and readable paragraphs. What he did was add end notes. Gobs of end notes. Had he made them foot notes they would have become 40 times more interesting because then I could merely glance at the bottom of the page, scanned/read the footnote, and gone right back to the text. Now I have to go into the flipping and flapping of pages, as well as my rant about end notes and how I hope the idiots who invented them spend eternity having to find them!

This is a quote from the middle of the (so far) longest paragraph (14 pages) I've come across, "...We travelled over ground similar to that of the day before shaping our course more Easterly until night Novr. 1st. After travelling about 10 Mls we reached Bighorn river and stopped and commenced setting traps. The river at this place is bordereed with heavy Cottonwood timber with little or no under brush beneath. Towards night a party of Crow Indians came to us on foot armed as if going to war after smoking and eating they told us they were on their way to the Snaks to Steal horses and intended to stay all night with us and leave the next morning. They told us the village to which they belonged was nearly a days travel below on the river and that "Long hair's" village was on Wind river above the mountain but could give us no information of Mr. Fontanell or his party They were very insolent and saucy saying that we had no right in their country and intimated they could take everything from us if they wished. The next morning after eating breakfast they said if we would give them some tobacco and ammunition they would leave us so we divided our little stock with them They then persisited in having all and when we refused telling them we could not spare it one of them seized the sack which contained it while another grasped the Englishmans rifle we immediately wrenched them out of their hands and told them if they got more they should fight for it...." I have copied this directly, leaving in all the punctuation, or lack thereof, and the spellings, etc.

If you like history, and like the history of the Mountain Men, it is a wonderful book, though a bit of a struggle at times.

Projects on which I am currently working:
  • Reading the above.
  • Getting my winter cards made. I have made them for years - taking the photo, getting them printed, taping them to a card, writing a little poem/sentiment in the card, etc. This year, I'm letting Costco do it. I sent the photo, wrote the poem, and will pick up the cards tomorrow!
  • Quilting - I'm almost finished with one more quilt top, have two more tops to finish

From the Mouths of Babes:

I was outside talking to a friend, and his friend's little boy was in the back of their pick up. The boy wanted down, and Dad was busy, so I lifted him down. He's probably three? Anyhow he looked at me very seriously and said, "You look old!" I laughed and told him, "I am old!" Ah, from the mouths of babes;-)

Your old blogger:

Me, reading a short story at a function in October 2009. The plaid shawl is my family tartan, the McBrayer Tartan.

Weather outside:
Cold (42 degrees), cloudy, humid. Bone chilling cold becauses of the humidity. If it was dry, it would be perfect!

Weather inside:
Warm (72 degrees)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas is Coming -- and I'm not ready!

Book Status:
  • No change. Haven’t finished any this week, haven’t started in new ones.

What’s going on in my life:

Jackie and Aaron got the tree up and decorated, Aaron put the three lighted reindeer up in the front yard, and I got ALL of my projects finished AND mailed!

Well, almost all of them finished. Until the other day I had NO idea what photo to use for my Winter Cards, but now that I know, I’ll get them printed up and get my cards written and mailed.

Have decided to take a hiatus from writing for a few weeks and stretch a different creative muscle or two.

Projects on which I’m currently working:

  • Finishing a quilt made from a skirt my Grandfather bought me when I was a little girl. I have the middle done, now for the borders.
  • Finish the baby quilt for my girl friend who is becoming a Grandma and needs a crib quilt at her house for a small visitor.
  • Finish a Churn Dash quilt I have cut out but not sewn, in memory of my Uncle Carl
  • Start a quilt for my bed
  • Start a table runner and if I like it maybe make a bed quilt using the same pattern
  • Learn to use my new dSLR camera (see below)

The Weather Outside:

Cold (24 degrees) and snowing. Snow is predicted on and off until Tuesday, with a possible accumulation of 1 – 3 inches. On Tuesday it will warm up to 34 and rain. And then, of course, freeze.

Yesterday, we had hoar frost. Below are a couple of photos I took (begin Martyr Alert!) in the Zero Degree weather! I did it just for your enjoyment, too. (end Martyr Alert;-)

The Weather Inside:

Warm. Filled with laughter, the aroma of two coffee pots going, the sounds of happiness (except for a cat who has worked hard all day taking naps and now demands dinner!)


Hoar Frost on my Norwegian Pine:



Hoar Frost on a couple of Birch Cones:


Sunday, December 6, 2009

December is here!

Books I’ve finished this month:

  • The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace, by Jack Kornfield
  • Space Magic, by David D. Levine
  • Filter House, by Nisi Shawl


Books I’m currently reading:

  • After the Ecstasy the Laundry, by Jack Kornfield
  • Jedediah Smith and the Opening of the West, by Dale L. Morgan
  • Practical Taoism, Translated by Thomas Cleary
  • Journal of a Trapper, by Osborne Russell, Edited by Aubrey L. Haines
  • Fat Girls in Lawn Chairs, by Cheryl Peck


What’s going on in my life:

Orycon was great! I managed to meet up with several folks I haven’t seen in years, we just didn’t have enough time to sit and get caught up on all that’s happened in our respective lives, but we did have time to talk a bit.


Met new folks I look forward to meeting again, especially Nisi Shawl and David Levine. I bought, read, and thoroughly enjoyed two of their books. Both Filter House and Space Magic are collections of short stories, all different, all well crafted, all great reads! Buy those books, read those books--you will want to reread them several times over! Honest. Trust me.


After Orycon, I spent a few days visiting my friend, Martha. I first met Martha back in 1960, allegedly to spend the summer babysitting her three kids, Bob, Lorraine, and Mark. Bob was 4 years younger, Lorraine 6 years younger, and Mark 8 years younger than I was. I hereby admit I did very little babysitting, and not too much referring. During that first summer of our meeting, I taught Mark to swim, and we all became good friends. Hmmm, now that I think about it, Bob is still 4 years younger, Mark is still 8 years younger than I am. Unfortunately, we lost Lorraine a few years ago due to cancer. It was delightful to get to visit with Martha, Bob and his wife Shaun, and Mark and his son Eric.


I have now known Martha longer than I knew my mother! Good friends are worth their weight in stardust!


Oh, and though the Grinch lives here, I admit that, for Jackie (Aaron’s girl friend) I succumbed and bought a Christmas tree yesterday-silver with white lights. I also bought 3 reindeer for the yard that light up; one, the female (she has horns) turns her head. I told Aaron the decorating of the tree is up to them. I took care of the other decorations throughout the house. Bah! Humbug!!


Projects I’m currently working on:

  • Winter Gifts (sewing) — I have all but one finished.
  • Packaged Winter Gifts — Before I can mail them, I need to fill the empty spaces with popcorn; before I can make the popcorn I need a new hot air popper and a couple of bags of popcorn. It takes a bit longer than using the Styrofoam popcorns, but the real stuff is much more eco friendly – and the birds at the receiving end will enjoy it.
  • Jiang Li and the Fall of the Jinn (working title of the novel) — haven’t done a lick of work on the novel since I’ve been back. However, tomorrow is Monday….

The Weather Outside:

Cold (32) and dark (it’s 6.20am) with more cold on the way.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Last Post for November 2009

Books I’ve finished this month: (alas, nothing new to add, yet)


The Saga of Hugh Glass—Pirate, Pawnee, Mountain Man by John Myers Myers

Revenge of the Paste Eaters: Memoirs of a Misfit by Cheryl Peck. For an excerpt of this most delightful book go to: http://www.enotalone.com/article/4974.html .


Books I’m taking with me to Orycon:

Practical Taoism Translated by Thomas Cleary

The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace by Jack Kornfield


What’s going on in my life:

I managed to get 52,500 words written on my NaNoWriMo novel (Jiang Li and the Fall of the Jinn), filed the scrambled ms, and am now a 'winner.' The novel has been filed in my computer until I return from Orycon, and then I shall finish the draft and then hunker down for the reworks.


Thanksgiving is here and Jackie is in the kitchen slaving away roasting a turkey, and whatever else she’s doing. Oh, no, she’s in the other room on her computer. Well, the smells coming from the kitchen are wonderful, and I’m staying out of the way!


My idea of a perfect Thanksgiving Day meal is one in which I do not have to shop for, prepare, clean up afterwards, or deal with leftovers. Jackie, blessings upon her, is taking care of everything. (I do hope Aaron will help in the KP department ;-)


As I dropped off to sleep last night, I started thinking of all the things in my life for which I am truly Thankful. The obvious ones – my daughter is staying with a good friend in NM, and has found a job; my son and Jackie are here with me instead of living out of a cardboard box someplace cold and wet. I have more friends than I can name here for which I am extremely thankful, not to mention cousins and biological siblings scattered across the country, some of whom I met for the first time on my road trip last spring. And on a three dog night, I am so thankful for a very warm kitty who stretches out next to me!


Truthfully, I found counting my Thankfuls a most delightful way to drop off to sleep.


Getting Ready for Orycon:

Packing is almost complete. Just a few last minute things to toss into the suitcase before my ride comes at 4.45am tomorrow. Now that is something to be Thankful for – my Ol’ Same who volunteered to get up at 0:Dark:00 to drive me to the Amtrak station! I have some stories to take for my reading, plus, of course, I will read a bit from Brother Rat (that is, obviously, the main reason I’m going – to schlep my book;-)


Projects I’m currently (still) working on:

Several Winter Gifts (sewing—finished 2, 4 to go, hand work only)

Jiang Li and the Fall of the Jinn (working title of the novel)


The Weather Outside:

Cold (32 degrees) and gray, slight breeze.


The Weather Inside:

Warm; filled with love and the aroma of a roasting turkey.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The (Almost) End of November

Books I’ve finished this month:

The Saga of Hugh Glass—Pirate, Pawnee, Mountain Man by John Myers Myers. I believe it is published by Bison Press; however, it is available through Amazon.com Hugh Glass has been a hero of mine since I first read about him in fifth grade, and this is by far the best biography of him I’ve read.

Revenge of the Paste Eaters: Memoirs of a Misfit by Cheryl Peck. For an excerpt of this most delightful book go to: http://www.enotalone.com/article/4974.html . I love a good memoir, one that isn’t filled with angst and woe, unless that angst and woe is somehow humorous to the writer and therefore to the reader. This memoir is filled with chuckles and outright laughs. Cheryl Peck is on my short list for Writers I Would Like to Meet.

Books I’m currently reading:

After the Ecstasy the Laundry by Jack Kornfield
Jedediah Smith and the Opening of the West by Dale L. Morgan
Practical Taoism Translated by Thomas Cleary (kinda makes one wonder about IMpractical Taoism, doesn’t it?)
Journal of a Trapper by Osborne Russell, Edited by Aubrey L. Haines
The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace by Jack Kornfield

What’s going on in my life:

November, and NaNoWriMo, are almost to the end. I reached the 50,000 words on my novel; I have more chapters to write and expect it to reach at least 64,000 words before I finish the first draft. This draft is sorely lacking fillers and descriptions; but it has a lot of dialogue (read: talking heads).

Thanksgiving is almost here and my defacto daughter-in-law is going to do all the cooking, and cleaning afterwards. I will spend most of my day doing laundry and packing to leave the next morning at 0:Dark:00 to catch a train to Portland for Orycon, the Oregon Science Fiction Convention. After that, I will spend a few days visiting friends in Portland, before returning home at a far more reasonable hour of the day.

Projects I’m currently working on:

Several Winter Gifts (sewing)
Jiang Li and the Fall of the Jinn (working title of the novel)

The Weather Outside:

Cool (42 degrees F.) and sunny at the moment, slight breeze.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It's November - NaNoWriMo

Hooray, my ISP is back up and running!


Holy moley! It has been a bit since I’ve been here, hasn’t it? Is anyone still out there reading this blog?

Number one, another review has come in on Brother Rat (full disclosure here: Lee is one of my Sisters of Choice ;-):

Lenora presents us with a winning combination. Brother Rat is a delightful tale I couldn’t putdown once started. True, it is for young adults. That shouldn’t stop the more mature from picking it up. If you work hard in the corporate world, it is an entrancing escape. The bonus is that some of the insights that you can take back to work…. be confident.

And what do you do with a book once you’ve read it? One of the best things possible, give it to a kid. DO IT!

And, the primary reason I’ve not been updating my blog: I’ve been busy researching my next novel, which I will begin writing 1 Nov 09 as part of the annual NaNoWriMo challenge. (National Novel Writing Month – http://www.nanowrimo.org). I have partaken of the challenge twice, and both times I have succeeded in writing a novel. True, when one only has 30 days to write a minimum of 50,000 words, they aren’t the most polished words, but the story is told, and one then has time during the rest of the year to polish those words. The whole idea of nanowrimo is to get one to write and turn their internal editor off. It works, at least for me. So, it will be a bit more before I add much to the blog.


The other reason I haven’t been updating is my service is down, and I can’t connect to the internet. I wish I could claim that as the primary reason, but, alas, I can’t.


Sigh.


My Gratefuls:

1. NaNoWriMo

2. People willing to read and comment on my story and novel drafts

3. That I live in the time of computers

4. That I live in the time of television, and DVDs

5. That I live in a time, and a place, where education of females is not just the law, but expected and encouraged


My Wonderment:

That people can actually operate a DVD player without reading the instructions each and every time.


Quote for the duration:

“It's better to send in the Peace Corps than the Marine Corps.”— Sen. Ted Kennedy

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jam Session

While most folks probably think of a Jam Session as a bunch of musicians gathered to make music, to two of my Sisters of Choice (SOCs) and myself, a Jam Session is a three-day weekend in which we make jams. Lots of jams! And marmalades and chutneys and jellies and butters and ketchups!


Throughout the summer we collect whatever fruit we can from our yards, the yards of friends—wherever we can get good fruit for little to no money. We then wash it, prep it, and freeze it. Sometime in the Fall, when the days are no longer in the 90s, and they can get time off from work and come across from Seattle to Kennewick, we have our Jam Session. Three days of madness and mayhem in my kitchen, which is perfect for the work.


We started early Friday morning, and finished about 8pm Sunday night. We did take time out for sleep (at least I think we did). On Friday, we had crock-pot Caribbean Stew, on Saturday we went out for Thai, and on Sunday, my friend, Sally, stopped by and made a fast food run for us. Nancy found a type of pectin that requires even less sugar than the low-sugar pectin we used to buy from the store. We tell everyone that once opened, they need to refrigerate the jar, and consume within a month!


Nancy is our official labeler and divider of the fruits of our labor. (She has the beautiful handwriting.) This year, just before we loaded their share into the car for the trip back to Seattle, Nancy gave us the Grand Total of jars we put up. We were all in shock, and have decided WE WILL NOT TRY TO EXCEED OR EVEN MEET this amount next year. In three days, we put up 461 jars of goodness!


I had the upright freezer pretty full when they arrived as you can tell by the pictures below and they brought fruit to fill the smaller freezer. We used everything but 20 qts of grapes, and as soon as I buy a juicer, I’ll juice the grapes and freeze the juice for next year. The smaller freezer now holds 4 packages of brown sugar for next year.


Guess what folks will be getting for Christmas Presents this year?????


This freezer contains 17 qts of cherries, 27 qts of apricots. 25 qts pf grapes, 4 qts of crab apples, and 1 qt each Asian pears and blackberries.


The small freezer contains all the plums, blackberries, boysenberries, blue berries and whatever else Lee and Nancy brought. I forgot the amounts.




The kitchen island as we began


460 jars of goodness (1 didn't seal, and it is in my refrigerator)


The large freezer when we finished (20 qts of grapes remain)


The small freezer with the brown sugar


And where does one store 153 jars of jam?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Books for Kids

As several of you know, I recently joined Willamette Writers, an organization for writers based in Portland, Oregon. One of the reasons I joined them is their Books for Kids program.

(see: http://www.willamettewriters.com/ half way down the page)

So, here is my offer. Those of you who haven't yet bought/read Brother Rat, consider buying a copy, reading it, and then sending it to Books for Kids. You can buy an unsigned copy at the genremall URL below my name, or you can order a signed copy from me, same price, $14.00, then when you've read it, send it to:

Jerry Isom
Willamette Writers
9045 SW Barbur Blvd Suite 5A
Portland, OR 97219

OR, you can send me a check for $10, marked Books for Kids in the memo section, and I will send a signed book to Jerry and pay the postage. *Books for Kids is a registered non-profit, and whatever you send is tax deductible;-)*

AND, those of you who still have good - not chewed by the dog or child - children's books around the house you just don't know what to do with -- consider sending them to Jerry. If you send them Media Postage, it won't be so bad. And again, it is tax deductible.

Even if you don't send My Adventures as Brother Rat, send other books or a donation.

Books for Kids! What a great Christmas Present for a child AND YOURSELF!

If you have, and know about, a similar program in your area, please consider donating to it.

My Gratefuls:
1. Fair Housing
2. Family Leave Act
3. Friends like my friend, Eric, who is sending two copies of Brother Rat to Jerry!
4. Recipe books
5. Sunny days!

My Wonderment:
For all the News filled with Hate, there are still more people in the world filled with Love!

Quote for the duration:
“To whom much is given; much is expected.” — John F. Kennedy

Some local scenes:
Mt. Rainier from Jump Off Joe Road:

One of the Windmills from Jump Off Joe Road. This picture is the wallpaper on my laptop.

Wild Horses Monument, Vantage WA just off I-90.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stop and Smell the Roses!

I have certainly been remiss in keeping up this blog. Wish I had a really fascinating story (read: excuse) with which to entertain you, but, alas….


Actually, I have been writing another Jiang Li story. Those of you who have read Brother Rat will be familiar with Jiang Li, those of you who haven’t read Brother Rat, well, all I can say is, “Buy the book!” Somehow, though, I think writing is exciting only for the writer. Watching a writer write must be a close kin to watching paint dry.


Today is the first Saturday my friend, Judy, and I went to breakfast at our usual Saturday haunt and couldn’t sit outside on the patio due to the coolness of the breeze. It wasn’t really cold, but was too cool for comfort, so we moved inside-and sat under the blowing air conditioner for a few minutes until another table opened up.


If any of you are in the Tri-Cities area, I will be at the Roxy Theater in Old Towne Kennewick between 5-9pm on Thursday 1 October as one of the ‘artists’ in the Art Walk. I will be signing copies of Brother Rat, so, come on down (even if you don't buy one, drop by, say 'hi' and check out the antique store!


Found a new blog yesterday, http://celibatesexawriterslife.blogspot.com/ Yes, it’s called Celibate Sex, the Life of a Writer. If I can figure out how to link it to mine off on the sidebar, I shall. Alas, I’m not over bright when it comes to computers, so I may just have to link it within the blog. But check the site out. Richard has stories and chapters of stories on the blog. And his intro is to die for!


My Gratefuls:

1. Restaurants with inside/outside seating and tolerate customers moving forth and back.

2. Potato chips with hot sauce

3. Early morning coffee on the patio watching, and listening to, birds and squirrels

4. Google and related search engines

5. My children – Sonja and Aaron


My Wonderment:

The other day while washing dishes, I saw movement in the tree outside the sink window. I looked, and there was a squirrel darting along one of the limbs. It just happens that my climbing rose, which competes with the grapes on my arbor, has also found the tree, and a cane full of roses was beautifully draped across the branch (see pictures below). The squirrel darted to the roses and stopped. Then he very carefully smelled each rose on the limb before scampering into the arbor to munch on grapes. Even animals need to, and do, stop to smell the roses.


Squirrel outside my bathroom window eating a walnut from ‘his’ tree.


Branch upon which the squirrel scooted, then stopped and smelled all the roses within reach.


Close up of one of the roses.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fall has Fell!

Labor Day weekend is upon us, and the temperature has dropped dramatically! Yesterday was pleasant, but on the cool side of our previous temperatures. The sky never completely cleared of clouds, and last night we had a little rain. Enough to settle the dust, perhaps, but not enough water the lawn and trees. We were so used to wearing little more than body paint (I jest!) that yesterday people broke out their sweatshirts. Our high’s have goon from the 90s to the 70s in a day, with highs predicted today of 74 (clouds), tomorrow of 74 (sun), and Tuedsay of 79 (sun).

One of the many reasons I like the Tri Cities area is because we do get 4 seasons. When I lived on the wet side of the Cascades we had two seasons, a short Dry and a long Wet, and when I lived on the other west coast in Florida, it was Wet and Wetter- the summers were the wettest. So as much as I love summer, and the heat, I’m ready for fall and the bright colors, and the smell of fallen leaves, and the mess of leaves on the lawn (OK, I’m not ready for the raking and bagging of all those leaves. I’d leave them as cover for the lawn over winter, but my neighbors don’t like it. They have pristine yards, and don’t mind raking their leaves, but raking my leaves as the winds blow them over the fence is another story;-)


A friend bought, read, and enjoyed Brother Rat, and wrote a review for this blog: “I read slowly Lenora Rain Lee Good's marvelous book My Adventures as Brother Rat so I could remain immersed in Rain's meticulous and well chosen choice of words and visuals. The story alone is intriguing, well stocked with characters good and evil. Some, a mixture of both traits, as we all are. A touch of the mystic adds a deepening sense of who and why some events and movements happen in the story. Ms. Good's book of ancient Chinese times, of warlords and the power of people, great and "unimportant," perhaps can lead us to a better understanding of our own times. —Patricia E. L.”


My Gratefuls:

1. Friends

2. The ability to rationalize

3. The ability to rationalize the health benefits of cheesecake with its calcium and protein;-)

4. An all volunteer Military

5. Cooler weather


My Wonderment:

That the seedless grapes I haven’t picked are reverting and developing seeds! Is this due to age of the vine or age of the grape on the vine? I have no idea. And, as long as seeds don’t develop in the younger grapes next year, I guess I really don’t care, either.


Sacajawea State Park, on the point of land where the Snake River joins the Columbia River is one of my favorite places to take my camera. Flowers, Twice


The railroad bridge where the Snake and joins the Columbia. with the Horse Heaven Hills in back ground. Bridge to Dreams.


Looking across the Columbia to Kennewick and Horse Heaven Hills. We have very intelligent geese - they can not only read, they can reason. The sign says "Swim at your own risk." Note: They are not in the water ;-)


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fall is in the Air!

When I moved into my house, the back patio was covered by a grape arbor. How nice, I thought. And then it came time to pick grapes. Holy moly! Those two vines are most prolific. I have picked and washed and stemmed and frozen and bagged 27 quarts of grapes in the last few days. (They have to be spread on a cookie sheet to freeze, then when frozen, scooped up and put in quart bags). I have given plastic grocery bags of grapes to my neighbors, my friends, my squirrels, the neighbor’s raccoon, and the neighborhood birds. I still have grapes left to pick. Not to mention the sweeping of the patio on an almost hourly basis—when the bees will let me.

When the end of this month gets here, two of my Sisters of Choice will drive over from Seattle and we will spend a busy 3-day weekend turning those 27 qts of grapes, the 25 qts of apricots, 15 qts of cherries, and 4 qts of crab apples in my freezer, plus the berries and plums and whatever they bring into jams and butters and ketchups. Last year in our jamming session (frenzy might be a better word) we put up 240 jars. This year, we’re going to use the pint jars, too (last year we used 4, 8, and 12 oz jars). We may not have as many jars, but we won’t be in such a frenzy. We hope.

My Gratefuls:

1. My Family of Choice
2. Title IX
3. End of Apartheid
4. That I like my son’s girlfriend
5. That my son cleaned the kitchen last night-if only to impress his girlfriend.

My Wonderment:
With all the crap going on in the world that Love still persists!

Quote for the week:
“The older we get—the better we were!” — Senator Ted Kennedy

I’m not about to tackle a quilt with grapes, but here is my first appliqué project. It is a Hawai’ian style quilt only I made the pattern using leaves off the fig tree where I used to live, and the fig. It is a single piece of purple fabric hand sewn onto the cream. No one at the quilt store told me not to use batik fabrics for appliqué—it’s much too dense. I’m still quilting it. I call it: Figlets

This is another appliqué quilt top. I used fusible webbing and machine stitching for this one. I told my ex boyfriend if he wanted a quilt, I’d make him one but he would have to buy the fabric and I’d get to keep the scraps. He agreed. I finally got it finished, quilted, and given to him—with a bill he gladly paid. It is a table topper, but his (now) wife won’t let him put it on the table, so it hangs on the wall. I call it: Done

I love tee shirts, but often find I have a mated pair and end up with way too many. Or they get too old (or too small) to be socially acceptable, but I still like them. I took several of my more favorite ones and turned them into a quilt. It is my heavy, winter quilt, and I just love to snuggle under it—when the temps drops way down. I call it: Warm!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"...and the dream shall never die!" -- E. M. Kennedy

The TV was full of tributes to the late Senator Edward Moore “Ted” Kennedy yesterday, and rightly so. A great American has passed. But I have my own memory of Ted Kennedy, and I’ll share it here.


First, the context: I used to be a political conservative, and this story happened several years before I became a flaming liberal. I was a single mother with a teen-age son when I dreamed—


I met Mr. Right! (every woman’s dream). As happens in dreams, I never saw his face, but he was always next to me. He was wealthy (hey! it’s a dream!) and bought me a gorgeous ring, flew me back east where his family was; we courted, and eventually married. The wedding was High Mass in some huge cathedral, then we flew to someplace warm and tropical for our honeymoon. Everything was perfect—but I still hadn’t seen his face. In the morning, I rolled over and gazed into the face of my beloved husband and it was, of course, none other than Ted Kennedy. I would like to say I woke at this point, but I didn’t just wake up, I woke sitting in bed laughing hysterically.


And so, I have extra special memories of Ted. And I will, truly, miss him.


My Gratefuls:

1. Medicare

2. Minimum wage

3. Living in the age of television

4. COBRA

5. Ted Kennedy


My Undying Dream:

That we will all come to the realization that all of our ancestors walked out of Africa and stop this color prejudice; that we will learn to find interest instead of fear and hate in people who speak differently, worship differently, look different from ourselves—think of the new recipes we could get, the new fashion ideas, and most importantly, the new Friends we could have.


My Wonderment:

That a man who buried his three older brothers, all killed while serving our country, could go on and face the fear that surely was there, and serve our country too. While I didn’t agree with everything Ted Kennedy did, I admire him greatly for facing his fears, for facing his shortcomings, and growing into one of the Great American Heroes of our day.


Sunset in the Horse Heaven Hills, Kennewick, WA


Dune Grass, Coquille Lighthouse, OR


Harvest Moon, Bastendorf State Park, OR

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wow! It’s been almost a week since I’ve posted. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! It’s also been a very busy week, and an exciting week. Mostly, exciting. I’m not sure what the busyness was, but the week sure went by in a hurry!


My son, who lives with me, was gone for the week house-sitting for friends. I had so many plans for the week, and none of them were realized. But I did get several copies of Brother Rat mailed out, and now I am getting the word from several people who have read it they have enjoyed it. One young father is reading it out loud to his two children every night, and he’s enjoying it as much as they are. A couple of “fans” have even admitted to shedding a tear or two at appropriate places. Can I have higher praise than that?


My friends have returned from their trip, Aaron has returned home, and now I need to return to some semblance of a schedule. So, now that the temps are down into the high 80s, I’ll start sewing a quilt I cut out last winter. It’s a jeans quilt, so once sewn together it’s finished, except for trimming all the seams (it’s a ragged edge quilt). It is very heavy, very warm, very green, and very winter. And winter is coming, whether I like it or not.


My Gratefuls:

1. Friends who give me their old jeans

2. Whoever it was who came up with the idea of ragged edge quilts

3. People who sharpen scissors

4. Friends who unstintingly share their expertise with me—whether sewing, making jam, writing—whatever help I need, they give

5. The www. it makes research so much easier than having to get dressed and go to libraries


My Wonderment:

Because downtown Kennewick was blocked off for a parade, Judy and I went to a different restaurant for our Saturday morning breakfast. I felt a little “off” because I really enjoy the restaurant we normally go to, O’Henry’s Go Go. One of the really nice things about O’Henry’s is we can eat outside in nice weather, and it’s relatively quiet. So, yesterday, not knowing where else to go, we went to IHOP. IHOP is not known for it’s quiet, and our IHOP does not have outside dining, so we ate inside, where it was noisy, and under air conditioning (fortunately, I brought a long sleeved shirt, or I would have been freezing!). There were many people there, from senior citizens (like me) to young families. There was lots of noise from the dishes banging behind me (server work station), to the talking among the customers. BUT NO whining or crying children! All of the children, at least those I saw and heard were either quiet or laughing!! Now THAT is a wonderment! And a blessing. I enjoy well behaved children, and I love hearing them laugh—is there a sound more pleasing to the ears than a child, or anyone, laughing?


This is the first ragged edge quilt I ever made. There are 150 squares in the quilt, 10 across, 15 down, and each square is made up of three squares of fabric-2 of flannel and one of old jeans. I now make the squares larger, so there are fewer, and the squares have the pockets, and once in a while the fly. This quilt was made for my foster son in Korea, and cost over $20.00 to ship it, by sea, the cheapest way. I spent more on shipping than on fabric! The hardest part of making these quilts is the trimming of the seams after the quilt is made so the ragged edge “fluffs” after washing. However, they are very heavy and very warm, and virtually indestructible once made.



Ragged edge side:


Flannel side (My extra special helper, also shown, is Tashiko Akuma Pestini):

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pollyanna

I have a dear friend who laughingly calls me Pollyanna, because I’m an unabashed optimist. I admit it, I am. However, I’m not a blind optimist, but if I have a choice to see the silver lining in the cloud, I do so. Though, as an amateur photographer, I also like the dark shadows of the cloud.


If the glass is filled to the halfway mark, is it half empty or half full? My answer? It depends what’s in the glass! If the liquid is something I love, then it is half empty and I want more. If it’s a foul tasting medicine I have to drink, then it’s half full, and I can’t get it down fast enough!


It’s like email. Is email an advantage or a disadvantage? Or is it neither, just being ‘is’? I love email, it allows me to keep in touch with friends across the country, it allows me to submit manuscripts in a less expensive and more expeditiously manner, but if I let it, it is also a great user of my time.


I have many friends who send me many forwards, and I admit, I do not always read those forwards. If I have to scroll through 27,386 prior addresses, I hit the Delete button. If it’s a forward from my Conspiracy Theory buddy—I hit the Delete button. If it’s a forward from some of my friends who want to convince me that their political party (or religious affiliation) is the ONLY political party, (or religious affiliation), I hit the Delete button. There was a time when I might enter into a discussion with these people over the emails, but no longer. I just accept that they care enough about me to send me their dire and fright-filled warnings, delete said missives, and send them back something light and totally off their subject. Is my in-box half full? Or is it half empty? (How many emails will my in-box hold, anyway?)


I guess if I have to choose, I’d rather be Pollyanna than Scrooge. Besides, I’m lazy, and it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown—or so I read somewhere.


My Gratefuls:

1. Friends who send me emails

2. The Delete button

3. Telephones

4. US Mail

5. Popcorn


My Wonderment:

Clouds. I love clouds. Sometimes they are animals, sometimes they just are. Sometimes they fill the sky, sometimes they just give a bit of interest. Is the sky half full or…?


Reflecting Pool at Oklahoma Memorial Site


Looking down on Cottonwood AZ from above Jerome AZ


Blue Bird, still waiting for happiness instead of making his own.