Posted tagged ‘drought’

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.

Rainbows and Book Covers: Say What?

August 19, 2012

Storm’s coming. Not much time left.

I get it. You’re thinking with this title I’ve definitely gone over to the dark side. Or lost my last marble.

But not so.

You see this week—I can’t remember which day it was because sometimes when you’re so busy trying to meet deadlines and still deal with life—well, time becomes a non-factor. Trust me on this. I know it’s a fact. Anyway, I had one more run through to check for typos on the last edit for my next book More Than A Trifle.

Storms had been threatening all day and with the extreme drought we’ve endured this summer, I certainly didn’t want to hope it wouldn’t rain. So I worked as fast as I could on a task that takes time and at best can be described as tedious.

As I closed in on the last ten pages, the sky really turned ominous. Always a great predictor of bad storms with loud thunder and lightning, Oreo headed for the dark and comforting space behind the toilet in the bathroom. She really wanted me to join her.

Like that was going to happen. To the claps of thunder getting closer, and a few baby bolts of thunder high in the storm clouds massing like armies over the chrome hued waters of the lake I increased my pace.

Two more pages. The lights flickered.

One more page. The thunder sounded as if a thousand bowling balls had just landed on our roof. The Holt Medallion on my desk shook, rattled and rolled.

One half page left.

Oreo scooted from behind the toilet and howled for me to come join her.

A bolt of lightning zig-zagged through those storm clouds over the lake and appeared to land in the water just to the north of my office windows.

Oreo howled.

And I finished. Saved my file—3 different places. And quickly closed down.

Oreo kept yelping for me to join her in the bathroom. However, behind that toilet wasn’t going to work for me. Instead I dropped to the floor, leaned against the tub, and held her in my arms while I watched the storm unleash its fury.

Half an hour later, the thunder ceased and the lightning appeared headed toward Michigan. Oreo gracefully wiggled from my embrace, and went to the bathroom door. I struggled to get up from the bathroom floor—not a pretty sight to watch. She walked away rather than witness it.

We have a rainbow…

I walked into the den and found her snuggled contentedly in the corner of the couch. I could see the skies lightening in the west and the sun was making a valiant effort to reappear even though the heavy rains had dwindled to a drizzle.

Rainbow, I thought and grabbed my camera.

We not only had a magnificent rainbow, but a double one. And in one of the shots I took that day (wishing I had an even better camera) the end of the rainbow appeared to be in the tree I can see just beyond my office window.

I’ve decided it’s a sign. A symbol if you will that this book—one I’ve slaved over—one I finished just before the storm that brought the rainbow, well, this is going to be my best book, my break out book, my pot-of-gold book if you will.

I’ve written and edited it through one of the worst storms in my life. I finished it just before a big and needed storm arrived for my community. That storm brought needed rain but no damage. It did bring a double rainbow to remind us that better times come for those who keep up the good fight, persevere, and believe in the beauty of rainbows.

Can you wait until September?

Now, as I promised last week. Here’s the first official showing of the cover art for More Than A Trifle.

I hope you’ll let me know what you think. Does this lure you in like it did me once all the work to get there came together?

Sizzling Summer Musings

July 8, 2012

Moss rose adorning a friend’s front steps.

It’s been too darn hot…

This past week saw long standing records fall. Every day we broke a temperature record for that particular day. Those records go back to the early 1900’s. Nothing prior to that was kept consistently.

We’re breaking another record here–lack of rainfall. In this small particle of the planet we haven’t had any measurable rain since the last week of May. Our trees are going dormant. The grass already has. The sustained high temps coupled with the drought conditions has our environment very stressed.

What I see from my office window–crunchy grass.

So are those who live here. We aren’t used to this weather and really don’t know how to cope with it. Even our Lake Michigan which normally will freeze a swimmer’s fanny this time of the year is currently a whopping 78 degrees.

That’s incredible.

The fisherman aren’t happy because the fish have taken off, probably to find cooler waters though I don’t know where. Those that are still hanging around are dying. Every nightly local newscast shows pictures of dead fish rising to the surface of inland lakes and rivers.

All last week Milwaukee which is about 40o miles from here held its major music fest: Summerfest. Last night’s news showed clips of areas totally empty of people during what usually are busy times. Vendors said they noticed far fewer crowds since the temps were so high and it was “too damn hot.”

We need these clouds to come closer, not rain out in the lake.

Fortunately late yesterday afternoon, a cold front arrived. Winds switched from the southwest to the northeast. That meant the temps dropped a few degrees but those few degrees made a difference.

My neighbors started sitting outside again. People showed up at Summerfest. The women golfers playing in the major golf tournament in Sheboygan–up the road 90 miles or so–weren’t sweating so badly when sportscasters interviewed them.

What a difference going from 106+ degrees to 85 degrees farenheit. Why I even turned off the AC and opened the windows!

I’m a Wisconsin gal, born and bred. We aren’t used to this kind of sustained heat. I really hate it. From what I gather listening to people talk, they agree. We want are usual summers back: the gentle rains (heck I’d even take the storms), the cool nights, the pleasant days, green grass, flowers blooming instead of drying up, well you get the image.

But Mother Nature does and Mother Nature does. But this summer suggests that climate change is going on despite what some experts data to explain “it ain’t so.”

Not looking good.

Often this past month as I look out my windows, now coated with a light layer of soil which is blowing off the drying up fields, I think about John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. When I see the clouds of dust blowing over my dried out lawn, or try wiping it off my front door step and my cloth turns muddy, I understand the fear and desperation of those farmers and their wives who lost so much at that time. I hope our drought doesn’t replicate that terrible time.

But I hear the concern in our farmers’ voices when they mention their crops already being lost. I sense it in my frustration in fighting the never ending dust. And I think, perhaps, I should pull out my copy of Grapes of Wrath and reread it. Then I won’t feel so sorry for myself because my perennials have all gone dormant, my grass is dried up and crunchy, and the leaves of our trees are already dropping because they are so stressed.

As a writer, I will use this experience in some way. I don’t know yet how, but I will use it.

Gorgeous, but not a drop…

I wish we would get a gentle rain and soon. Maybe what I need to do is to plan a picnic and invite 50 people. Then for sure it will rain–and probably be 110.

Have a good week. Be kind to the universe in a manner you find comfortable. Every little bit helps. Until next week…

I’m Back…

July 1, 2012

Yes, I am and happy to be sharing Sundays with you again.

John is on the right. He was probably about 8 in this photo. The other two boys are his brothers.

I’m somewhat rested but definitely much more focused. I decided to conclude my break and post today because today would have been my son John’s 50th birthday. That day was a very hot Sunday just like today. If you knew John, send a birthday wish heavenward. If you want to know more about him, read a post from a few years ago.

I know if John were still alive, I’d have many more of these to-do items off my list.

When I took my break, I felt frustrated with the landscaping project. Well, I think that project will never end as it’s still in what I refer to as a seriously major mess.

In the shade mid morning. Ugh

We’re enduring a heat wave, something that doesn’t happen for extended periods of time in Wisconsin. The heat is coupled with no rain, and we’ve officially been designated a drought area. So the photos I’m posting today are from plantings I’ve photographed in yards other than mine. Why? We’ve not turned on our outside water due to the landscaping, and I’ve chosen not to plant anything this summer because of that project.

This week I had the opportunity to see some beautiful photos the results of a couple trips a friend and her husband took. He is an incredibly photographer. Of course, he has all the right equipment to capture in photos nature and landscapes that take your breath away with their beauty and their detail.

Lovely purple clematis in a friend’s garden.

Anyway, I also enjoy taking photos especially of scenery and animals or birds in natural settings. My photos will never be the same as his even if I had his equipment because his vision, his unique way of composing or envisioning his shot differs from mine.

I thought about this in relation to other artistic skills or talents. Take writing for instance. Two writers might hit on the same setting and even similar elements in their plot, but both those stories end up very differently. I thought about this concept while reading a book recently. The book had a subplot similar to one of mine in Seasons of Wine and Love. Same circumstances for the subplot, same state, similar characteristics in the heroine, but very different in the manner the story unfolded and the heroine’s journey.

As I’ve become more immersed in the skills of writing and preparing for publication the best story I can, I realize that this has impacted how I read or watch a TV show or a movie. Not that I look for what isn’t right, but to see different approaches to plot elements and how that’s done, why it worked or didn’t for me. In some ways that detracts from what used to be my simple enjoyment of such items.

Window box–thanks to another friend

My husband does this with his cooking and his analysis of possible recipes to try. He makes the recipe, then tears it apart to decide how he might make it better. Or maybe never remake it as it didn’t turn out as he expected. He carries this trait into dining out. Always he’s trying to determine what spices or herbs make the dish or not. What he might do to make it better.

Finally, I think this idea has some merit in our personal lives. As we get older and experience life more in all its manifestations, we take that wisdom and apply it to our lives and what we experience each day. Hopefully, that allows us to make our lives better or easier. Not make those stupid decisions we’ve all made in our earlier years. If you’re one of the few who never made a stupid decision, you’re very lucky and very wise.

For most of us the path of wisdom is living through our lives with all its bad decisions as well as good ones, but learning from both.

Lilies from hubby

I guess that’s why I call what I write Wise Women Fiction. My heroines are on that journey.

So I’m glad to be back. I hope you have a wonderful and safe July 4th holiday if you are a reader who celebrates the day the US celebrates our independence from Britain.

See you next Sunday.