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).

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: 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, 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!