Archive for September 2012

Thank you, Neighbor

September 30, 2012

These whale bones were washed ashore on Monhegan, an island off the coast of Maine.

We have a fantastic group of neighbors. I hope all of you noticed my new header today. One of those fantastic neighbors sent this to me yesterday. He took it at sunrise before they started working to take the boat out for the winter. I much different sunrise view than the photos I usually post.

Even more impressive to me is he took this panoramic shot with his phone and I think the clarity is amazing. Technology–isn’t it grand?

Last week, I posted photos of a trip to Maine my hubby and I took several years ago. Because I’ve been very busy this week you’re getting more since you appeared to enjoy them.

But a bit about the trip. We took it to celebrate our 5th anniversary. And we left the kids behind. Ours is a second marriage and we blended our families.

Our first honeymoon was spent camping with the boys. Very romantic. This one was much better–much, much better. Romantic dinners, moonlight sails, sunrises on the beach…

And oh, the seafood…

Have a great week.

Our sunset sail, chilly but fantastic.

A White Kitty, A Black Puppy and Boats

September 23, 2012

The trip was lovely though often foggy and chilly. Added atmosphere.

I’ll bet you’re scratching your head trying to figure out this one. Especially with my choice of first photo?

Be honest. You think I’ve finally gone round the bend. Totally lost touch with any reality. My lack of sleep and crazy hours are getting to me. I’ve been working too hard and trying to do too much…

If so, then thank you.

If you just begun following me, hang one and I’ll explain–for both groups.

Life has been very difficult the past two years as many of you know. But this past year has truly been a challenge. And I’ll admit early this week as I was frustrated with the formatting for the book now available, I was thinking maybe I really needed to give up something. And I don’t have much left to give up.

Then what worried me even more (yes, I worry a lot–always have), was I couldn’t even begin to think about how to approach my blog post for today or my column due next week for the local paper. I feared my creative muse had given up on me. She expects to be fed new experiences and locations and I’ve been unable to provide much that interested her lately.

Don’t blame her. I hadn’t been fed much if any of that either–we have a symbiotic relationship going on–and I admit I was feeling more than a bit sorry for myself.

When we first spotted this, the fog shrouded it. Eerie. Unforgettable.

But on Friday I had an appointment to get my nails done and my nail tech runs her business attached to her home. I’m the first customer of the day and thus I get greeted by her huge puppy. A friendly sort who’s come to learn that first customer is allowed to give a treat. So she waits–all quivering 130 pounds of black playful puppy. Now did I say how huge Callie is?

Once I dispensed with the treat, I looked around and noticed a very small, open pet cage. No way was that for Callie or any of my tech’s other pets. ) Think horses, another large older dog and a very large, graciously charming cat named Emma. But Emma wouldn’t fit in that cage.

Then I caught a flicker of white lightning from the corner of my eye. I looked down at the floor.

Not far from me feet now sat a very tiny white kitten. (A bit over a pound) A very playful kitten whose antics entranced me while I removed my polish and watched the kitten discover her reflection in the glassed front of the TV stand. I noticed the kitten’s blue eyes and the only color on her body was the merest hint of peachy orange at the tips of her perky little ears and the very tip of her long tail.

Love that crashing Atlantic surf against Maine’s rocky shore .

That kitten further entranced me as I was her play Hide-N-Seek with the puppy Callie. The puppy would galumph after the kitty who would scoot behind a piece of furniture or a chair and then peek out to tease Callie.

When they tired of the game, the kitty raced into her cage to rest. For a few minutes anyway and my manicure started. I then witness what was the cutest situation between animals I’ve seen in a very long time. White kitty sneaked from her cage and jumped, landing on Callie’s paws.

Oh, oh, I thought. Not so.

They started playing again with Callie gently laying her paw on the kitty and nuzzling the kitty’s back. Kitty must have liked it because she stretched out and before I realized it, Callie was her, and then lay her big head over the top of white kitty as if to protect her. They both fell asleep to play again another time.

Those images stayed with me the rest of the day. So did the feeling of joy I gained watching them. I felt blessed that I’d been lucky enough to share in such an innocent experience: two animals stereotypically described as “enemies” enjoying each other so much. And providing pleasure for someone who watched.

Lobster boat. Ate lobster every day.

And then I realized that if I allowed myself to give up my joy in writing by thinking my muse has left, I’ve given my power to the current circumstances and giving in. If I don’t allow that, my muse won’t leave me. She’ll only walk away if I give up on her. And, look, I came up with a post for today.

But what about those boats? And why not pictures of Callie and the white kitty which doesn’t have a name yet? I didn’t have my camera with me that morning–so no photos. As for the boats? Well, in an effort to feed my muse’s need for different settings, I looked through very old photos of a wonderful trip to Maine with my husband, our first one. I scanned some of the photos which I still remember taking and thus I pulled out the boat related ones for today. Enjoy.

See you next week.

Once in a while we had sunshine.

When Rains Come

September 16, 2012

Rain’s coming. Close the windows.

Here in this corner of Southeast Wisconsin we’ve endured extreme drought conditions since June. This means rain, however, we get it, is an event. Especially if your livelihood depends on certain amounts of rain at certain times, like our farmers.

Anyway, this past week we had a full day of rain and even a few showers on other days.

Rainstorms are greatly appreciated because of the drought. However, they also change the look of the lake. So today’s post is more of the pictorial variety, especially since this past week was busy with inserting the final edits and corrections for the print version of Seasons of Wine and Love which is now available for purchase. The print cover front and back is gorgeous.

Front and back cover print version

I’m now wading through the last edits and corrections for the print version of More Than A Triflewhich hopefully will be available with a few weeks. I’ll be sure to let you know.

In the meantime, enjoy Lake Michigan during a storm and I’ll report back next week on More Than A Trifle.

Maybe I best turn off my computer.

Windows closed. I’ll switch to my laptop for a while.

Oh, I think I’ll watch the changes for a bit.

Sure glad I’m not out in a boat right now!

I’m thinking this rain might last for some time and be helpful.

An Irish Lunch With Friends

September 9, 2012

September Sunrise

A busy week—one filled with deadlines—the mother type, wife type, writer type, friend type. Geesh, that’s enough to keep me busy, but I started out sick with some kind of bug. All that made accomplishing those deadlines a bit tougher.

Okay, for a moment or two, I even considered bailing on a few.

But I couldn’t do that. So everything just took me longer, like I was working encased in cement.

And that’s my excuse for not dashing out of the gate this morning ready to dazzle you with, well, with SOMETHING.

But Saturday afternoon made those cement-filled days fade away.

Why?

Because the day dawned clear, cool, and with an autumn crispness in the air. Even better my hubby and I were meeting dear friends and former neighbors we hadn’t seen in at least 6 years. They were back in town for a granddaughter’s wedding and we met for lunch at an Irish pub/restaurant on the shore of Lake Michigan, named Ashling on the Lough.

A Harp chaser–Jim got that. A hunk of cheese, spicy sausage stick, pickle, lime, lemon and 2 olives.

The restaurant was humming and everyone was enjoying food, conversation, and the beauty of the day. When our friends walked in, we spotted them immediately and after the hugs and kisses all around, we got down to business. Talking. Which of course makes one thirsty. Nancy and I ordered a bloody Mary as she said her son insisted we must try them.

Let me say this. That drink could have been my lunch as well as my liquid refreshment. Well, except for the dessert. We ordered one with 4 forks and that dessert tea and coffee were the perfect way to end a delightful and much needed visit between old friends. Ones who never age. Ones you can commence chatting as if you’d spoken with them yesterday.

And talk we did. Through ordering: Jim—Irish stew; Sam—hamburger (recovering from surgery so he’s forgiven); Nancy and I shared—the best sweet potato fries and a grilled chicken breast on sun-dried tomato focaccia bread smeared with pesto, topped with grilled brown tomatoes, smoked provolone, thick sliced bacon and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Absolutely fantastic. Oh and we all had a cup of the BEST Irish root soup. That came garnished with a shamrock of heavy cream. Oh my, to die for great.

But remember that dessert I mentioned? Nancy insisted plus coffee, but I had an excellent tea.

She chose a homemade Bailey’s Irish Cream cheese cake (they make it on site) on a graham cracker crust and perfect glaze of chocolate ganache.

So now you’re asking wondering, where are the photos of such a perfect dessert, or that delicious root soup, or the incredible sandwich or fantastic stew?

Our leaves are dropping and their changing color.

In my mind and lingering in my taste buds. Remember that bloody Mary I mentioned to begin this story about the lunch?

Yeah, well, that and all that talking, that eating, that hugging and being so joyful to be with friends—I forgot about the camera. Oh, wait. I have the perfect solution.

I’ll just have to go again on a perfect September Saturday afternoon. Who cares to join me?

Blue Moon, Kayak, Boat and a Mum

September 2, 2012

August 31, 2012

“Once in a blue moon…”

How many time haves we used that phrase or heard it spoken? Too many—probably—but that’s likely why we recognize it. And probably in the next few seconds, the melody of the Rogers and Hart song will pop into our mind and the tune will stay with us. If we’re lucky, we even remember some of the lyrics.

I’m humming now.

Pretty impressive for a tune written in 1934 for a movie that likely no one remembers any longer. Singers as diverse as Billie Holiday to Rod Stewart, from Mel Tormé and Frank Sinatra to Elvis Presley have sung it. It’s been featured in many more contemporary movies.

It’s a classic.

Are you humming it yet?

This tune has remained in my humming and thoughts since I realized in early August that we would have a blue moon. Fortunately, when the evening arrived, I was able to get a photo, not a close up, but I don’t need one of those.

Who knows? At my age, I may not see this phenomenon again since we won’t have another one in a blue moon—in this case 3 years from now. At least that’s what our newscasters told us last night.

August 30, 2012

So August slipped out with something special…a blue moon.

That beats what other parts of our country got with Hurricane Isaac and its ensuing disasters.

But here in my corner of the world the last week of August were much gentler. Here are some highlights.

One morning after doing an all-night-shift caring for my son, I slipped out onto our balcony and watched the sunrise. Here’s one of the photos I took just as the sun lifted itself to peek above the ebony waters of Lake Michigan. I never tire of watching the sunrises and what amazes me always are the clouds that accompany it. They often do a dance-of-seven-veils tease with the sun and its watchers.

Looking better than 3 months ago.

Because we’ve had some rain, the dry soil has started to sprout grass. Thus I’m not staring at dust and ruts from the hill landscaping and new retaining wall that was a major frustration for me this summer. While the view is far from perfect or finished yet, it beats earth moving equipment and dirt piles.

Our temps were pleasant this week and the lake water is much warmer than usual because of the hot summer. So we have had more activity on the lake. This week was no exception. Again, these photos of early morning kayakers on our beach and late afternoon boaters anchoring for a pleasant dip in the lake broke up my long hours of editing and writing.

There’s no telling how I might use these photos to inspire scenes in future work…

But today I’ve turned the calendar. August has fled along with the blue moon and September slips in with its expectations of vibrant colors and changing leaves, cooler days and chilly nights, pumpkins being harvested and batches of fragrant pumpkin bread cooling on the granite counter.

Fall is coming. I thank my neighbor for adding this glorious mum to her patio. I see it from my living room window whenever I sit in my favorite chair.

I hope you enjoyed your blue moon experience. Are you anticipating September and the glories of autumn?