Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Comma

The comma has always, always given me problems. Where, oh, where to put that itty-bitty squiggly line of a hook within a sentence. That's why I love writing simple sentences, where the commas I generally need are for a series. Series? Yes, as in red, white, and blue. Or, if you're one who withholds the last comma, then: red, white and blue.

I don't know what they teach in English these days, but back in my day (hahahahaha, back in my day, as if I'm sooo old, but to someone younger than 60, I suppose I am), I was initially taught the series (or serial or Oxford, if you prefer) comma. That's the one where you place a comma before the conjunction: red, white, and blue.

That all changed in 10th grade. The English teachers, as well as the journalism instructor, were marking me off for following the series comma rule and demanding that I drop the comma before the conjunction: red, white and blue. Me, being a sheep, followed suit. From day one, I thought a series without the comma before the conjunction looked rather naked and the intention of the sentence was insincere.

Flash forward with me to my late 20s. Behold: I am now working at my dream job—an assistant editor for an independent educational book publisher of supplementary materials for special education teenagers. The house style for a series was the serial comma rule. Hurrah! I received my best training as a writer and editor at that job, thanks to Winnifred, my supervisor.

Today, I only withhold that last comma in a series if a publisher's house style calls for it or if I'm writing a press release. How about you? Do you put in that final comma in a series?


Friday, February 27, 2015

Behind the Screen


"May I go outside, please?" asked Molly the Cat, nearly squishing her face to the screened door.

Molly and I are heading over to The Weekend in Black and White, hosted by Dragonstar. Come join us by clicking here.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Dude, The Husband -- Observant


I love it when the Husband says, "Take a picture of me." And, I trail after him as he excitedly heads over to a building, a sign, or something else that he has observed. I wait as he sets himself up, then says, "Go ahead."

This photo, for instance. He saw this sign last year at a corn maze. It wasn't obvious to me what he was going for but that didn't stop me from taking the photo. It's only now that I see what he had been pointing at.

No. I don't recall him taking off his hat that day.

Today is the letter O at Jenny Matlock's Alphabe Thursday. That's where I shall be checking out other N posts. Come join me by clicking here.

Jenny Matlock


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Growing!

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic Green Thumbs
. . .and Fingers


And just like that the Mama's trees in the backyard are bursting with life.

Gee, when did the leaves start sprouting on the miracle tree?


Golly, the young apricot tree has a lot of buds this year. 


Gosh, the banana leaves have begun unfurling.

 

I'm participating in ABC Wednesday, a meme began Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and administered today by Roger Green at Ramblin' with Roger. Today is the letter G. Click here to read other G posts.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Being Inspired


Recently, Birgit of BB Creations honored me with the Inspiring Blog Award. Thank you, Birgit, I appreciate it very much.

The award came with a request that I write about three things that have inspired me this past few weeks. As usual, I started by pulling out the dictionary.
Inspire -- To rouse/motivate/encourage/influence/incite someone to do or feel something. In particular, to do some kind of creative thing.

Highly incited to clean the bedroom

Being bit two nights in a row, and having those bug bites swell and itch to no end, inspired me to find the source and do something about it. Poor Molly the Cat was brushed and combed several times throughout the day. Then I decided to look under our bed since I was being bit on my feet.

Horror!

Carpet beetles were feasting on a blanket that once belonged to the Husband's parents, which we had tucked under the bed last summer. Out came the vacuum cleaner again! I got down on my stomach and back to vacuum and ended up with a bunch of bug bites on my torso, which also swelled and itched that I thought I was going crazy. After more vacuuming, including the closet and the drawers, we checked through all our clothes in the closet and dresser, threw some clothing out, and did a lot of laundry. The positive spin to all this is that we now have an organized closet and dresser.



Roused to find out what's happening with the Ladies

The Husband and I take care of two ladies—Molly the Cat and the Mama. We don't tell them that. It's best to let them think they take care of us, which they do. Care taking, at least for me, involves a part of my mind constantly keeping tabs on where they are and taking note of sudden sounds and noises.

Scene: Late yesterday afternoon in the office.


"Meeeooow!" 

I didn't wait to finish typing my sentence. Out the door I went. "What's wrong, Molly?"

"Meeeeeow!" Molly the Cat said, walking back and forth in the hallway, just above the stairway. She stopped and gave me first an accusing look of Where were you today? and then a demanding look of Pay attention to me. Now!  So, of course, I picked her up and cuddled her as I walked over to the Husband, who then took her in his lap and I went back to complete my sentence.

Scene: This morning in the office.

Bang! Bang! Clatter! Bang!

Another sentence went uncompleted. I bounced down the stairs and around the corner. Mama was bent over, reaching for something under a desk. "What are you doing?"

As Mama glanced up. I noticed the pot of rice beside her. "I opened the last container of rice," she said. Without saying anything to me, I knew that we would need to buy a sack of rice the next time we go to Costco.

Motivated to be creative

I gave this more than a cursory thought. Cursory, ha! That's a big word for me. It came out of somewhere, I just don't know where. That's where I think my creative inspiration comes from. That somewhere that holds the everything that moves me to be creative—to write, to draw, to take photos, to cook, to sew, or to organize chaos in my closet.

And, what are those every things? These are just a few examples:
  • The Husband's laugh.
  • The wag of Molly the Cat's tail.
  • Evidence of the Mama dragging the ladder across the yard to do something she knows we don't like to do.
  • The fine ornamental details on an old building.
  • Two white butterflies suddenly flying across my path.
  • Olive oil, flour, yeast, and sugar—which put together make pizza.
  • Mama's old pedal Singer sewing machine.
  • Abstracts of local newspaper articles from more than a 100 years ago.
  • Morning sun peeping through the bedroom window as I open my eyes.
  • Musings, photos, and art work of Birgit, Widdershin, Sue Elvis, Leovi, Lady Fi, Lori K, and many other bloggers I have met through the memes and blogs hops in which I participate.
Every day, new things that I see, smell, hear, touch, taste, and sense get stored in that somewhere from which my inspiration comes.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Mellow Lemon Yellow


When the Mama bought her lemon tree, she lucked out big time. Not only does it bear Meyer lemons, but it also gives forth citrons. Someone had grafted a couple of citron branches to the lemon tree, unbeknownst to her and possibly the nursery from which she bought the tree. 

Some of the citron are Buddah's hands. They're the ones that are oddly shaped, generally looking like fingers. Buddah's hands can get truly creepy looking.

Today I'm hooking up with Monday Mellow Yellows, hosted by Gemma Wiseman. Click here to see other yellow-colored interpretations of the world.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Five Book Reviews for My 2015 Reading Challenge


I love reading books. Writing book reviews, not so much. I tell myself it's good for me to write them for my 2015 Reading Challenge. Discipline and all that. Of which, I have been finding the time to read for pleasure more regularly. Yay! for that. Boo! though, as a couple of the books I've read don't fit any category. This may mean another level of discipline—finding books that do match the challenge categories. I'll think about it.

Anyway, today, I give you four reviews. Just so you and the FCC know: Should you click on the Amazon links and happen to purchase anything there, Amazon may reward me with a bit of change.

A book with magic

As I read The Game by Laurie R. King, I traveled back to the Flapper Age, wandering around India with 60-ish Sherlock Holmes and his much younger wife Mary Russell.  The couple was sent there by Mycroft, brother of Sherlock, to find the 50-ish missing spy Kim O'Hara, the once-upon-a-time young boy about whom Rudyard Kipling wrote.  Sherlock and Mary disguise themselves as traveling Beduoins, who do a little magic show wherever they stop. Along the way, they are "adopted" by a young boy who helps them complete their mission. They eventually head to an Indian kingdom bordering Afghanistan that is ruled by a rather eccentric and cruel man who has ideas of taking over all of India.

The Game is the seventh of 13 titles in King's Russell and Holmes suspense series. This is the third one that I've read and it won't be the last. I just love how Sherlock and Mary roll their eyes as people fawn over Sherlock and ask about the stories that Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Watson wrote about him. I've never been interested in reading the Tales of Sherlock Holmes, even after enjoying the movies with Robert Downey, Jr. and watching the TV series Elementary every week. But, after finishing The Game, I now want to read Doyle's books.



A book based entirely on its cover 

Mrs. Kormel is Not Normal! by Dan Gautman is a fun, quick and easy read. It ought to be as it's the level between an easy reader and a middle school book. This book is part of Gautman's My Wierd School series, in which each title features one of the adults working at Ella Mentry School. Don't you just love the name of that school?

Mrs. Kormel is an Ella Mentry School bus driver who has her own secret language. When kids get on her bus, she greets them with "Bingle boo!" and when kids stand on their seats, Mrs. Kormel shouts at them to "Limpus kidoodle!" and they do.

The story is about the day that Mrs. Kormel and the kids go pick up a new kid somewhere off their normal route to school. Do they ever make it to school on time for show and tell, the math quiz, lunch, or the stuff after lunch?



A book from your childhood

Why did I let so many decades go by before reading Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue by Maurice Sendak? I love this very short tale that cuts to the chase so quickly, vividly, and, yes, enchantingly. The story is not unlike Aesop's The Boy Who Cried Wolf. That's all I'm saying.



A Memoir

I thought Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan was a novel when I checked it out at my local library. A few pages in, I realized it was a memoir. Corrigan has breast cancer and to her surprise she can only find comfort in her mom. She's surprised because Corrigan had one of those classic love-hate mom-daughter relationships when she was young. Corrigan tells us about that relationship and how she came to realize how much she was like her mother when she worked as a nanny as a young woman in Australia. Corrigan wrote about her memories with humor and love.



A book set in a different country

The Vanishing Thief is the first book in Kate Parker's series A Victorian Bookshop Mystery. I enjoyed it so much that after I finished it, I promptly searched the web for the next title, which ought to be in my mailbox in the next 10 business days.

The story is set in the latter years of the Victorian age in London. Georgia Fenchurch, the main character, owns a bookstore that she inherited from her parents who were murdered over 10 years ago. Georgia has vowed to find her parents murderer and, wouldn't you know it, after 10 years, she has sighted the murderer on a bus. Finding her parents' murderer is the subplot.

The main plot is finding a missing man who has managed to mingle with the upper class even though he is not. Georgia does her investigation as part of a secret group called the Archivist Society, which is known both by the London police force and the well-to-do. There are an interesting bunch of twists and turns to the tale, including the fact that the missing man has been blackmailing several upper class families. There is also a handsome duke who may have abducted the missing man and who is attracted to Georgia and she to him. He reminds me of the Beast in the Beauty and the Beast. Maybe they'll kiss in the next book.



Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Ditzy Moment


A couple of weeks ago, the Appliance Guy checked out the burners on our electric stove. We were down to only one working burner. I actually watched the third burner spit up flames as it died. Both the Mama and I were worried that we'd have to get a new stove. All for naught. The Appliance Guy told us that all we needed were burners and immediately called in an order for us.

Since the Appliance Guy was there, I asked him if it was possible to calibrate the oven. "It's not working?" he asked, opening the oven door.

"Sometimes my dishes come out dry or undercooked, even though I follow the time and temperature on the recipes," I said, watching him take out the oven racks, turn them around, and insert them back.

"Were they in backwards?" I asked.

The Appliance Guy stood up. "The door wasn't closing properly because of the racks."

"Oh."

"The stove is also old," the Appliance Guy said, which he most likely added to cover for my ditziness.

"Over 25 years," said the Husband. Chiming in, I like to think, to also make me feel less scatterbrained.

"So, all this time I had the racks in upside down and backwards. I can never remember which way they go in," I said, thinking about the time I  couldn't figure why my boots hurt until a friend said, "Sue, you've got your boots on wrong."

The Appliance Guy said, "Just remember that the hooked ends go in first with the hooks down."

I nodded. "I thought they had to be in the front to catch the pans in case they slip out."

"I never thought of that," he said, smiling.

After the Appliance Guy left, the Husband  started washing the breakfast dishes. He was bent over the sink laughing like crazy.

"What's so funny?" I asked.

"You thought the racks would keep the pans from slipping," the Husband said. "If they slipped out it's because the floor is uneven."

What could I do but laugh with the Husband. Loudly and long.

I hope the Appliance Guy had a good laugh, too.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Point of View


Today, I'm participating in The Weekend in Black and White. To check out some very cool photos by bloggers around the world, please click here.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Dude, the Husband -- Nature Guy

My Alphabe Thursday theme -- The Dude, The Husband

The Husband's and my first not-a-date nearly 20 years ago was a hike up a mountain. We learned a lot about each other as we climbed up and down the mountain that day. For one, we both watched Lawrence Welk as kids. He was, in fact, the first person of our generation to whom I ever admitted watching that show.


We've been on a lot of urban walks and wilderness hikes since that first not-a-date nearly 20 years ago. A traipse through a pine forest is the Husband's favorite kind of walk. Meandering among the trees clears his lungs and refreshes his soul.

The Husband also likes to walk along the beach. So, he's very willing to drive to my favorite beach where the ocean air clears my lungs and refreshes my soul.


Today is the letter N at Jenny Matlock's Alphabe Thursday. That's where I shall be checking out other N posts. Come join me by clicking here.


Jenny Matlock

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Prize-Winning Flowers at the County Fair

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic Green Thumbs
. . .and Fingers
For a bunch of years, a long time ago, the Mama raised flowers that won various prizes at the local county fair. However, she never received the praise, glory, or, for that matter, the prizes because the flowers were not hers. They belonged to a female relative of a co-worker of the Mama's. At the time, the Mama was the supervisor of the research technicians at a seed research company. Her authentic green thumbs and fingers made every plant she touched grow happily and abundantly in the fields and the greenhouses. Everyone, from the bosses to the laborers, who worked with her knew it. Of course.

The Mama told me this story about three years ago when I was putting together my first flower arrangement entries for the county fair. (I was amazed she had kept this secret for so many years.) Every spring, the female relative of her co-worker purchased a bunch of flower seedlings and gave them to the co-worker who brought them to the Mama. She placed the seedlings in one of the company greenhouses and tended to the plants' needs, making sure they grew happily and abundantly.  Several months later, the co-worker retrieved the plants and brought them to his female relative who snipped the best blossoms and entered them into the county fair.

The female relative won lots of prizes, according to the Mama. "I never saw any ribbons," said the Mama. "No prize money at all."

You'd think the female relative of the co-worker would have at least given the Mama something.

Maybe this year, the Husband and I can convince the Mama to enter her flowers into the fair. Or, maybe, I'll just do it for her. That way when she wins, it'll be a big surprise.



Every week, I participate at ABC Wednesday, a meme created by Denise Nesbitt 16 rounds ago. Currently, it is being administered by Roger Green at Ramblin' with Roger, with the help of his ABC Wednesday friends.  Today's featured letter is the letter F. Click here to read other F posts.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How I Spent My "Gone Reading" Day

I need to put up my "Gone Reading" sign more often. I got some good reading done yesterday. It did take awhile before I actually ran to the bedroom and escaped into another time and place but when I did I read for two hours before it was time to make dinner. In the evening, I went back to the mystery I was reading until I turned the last page of the book, which I will tell you about another day.

To feel okay about going reading, I decided to cross a few things off my To-Do list. I finally put the photos I had scanned back in the Mama's albums. Some of them even went back on the correct pages. Hopefully, the Mama won't notice. I filed away some documents and put papers to shred in a neat pile on the floor.

I even researched what kind of milkweed grows in our area and where to purchase the milkweed seeds. Milkweed is what monarch butterflies munch on as they pass through from here to there. When I was a kid, monarch butterflies were a common thing to see around here. Not anymore. Over the decades, their food source has been wiped out every where through development, which, of course, has contributed to their decreasing population.

Belt Holder

Last week, the Husband and I did a thorough cleaning in our bedroom on account of the carpet beetles that suddenly showed themselves. Damn, bugs. On one hand, it was good thing because it forced the Husband and me to take out everything in our drawers and closet. "Oh, I didn't know I had that," said the Husband more than a few times.  We got rid of a bunch of clothes and reorganized things. And, you know what, we only had a few things that had no place to be.

The Husband's belts, for instance. Yesterday, I got tired of seeing them sprawled on the dresser, so I put on my thinking cap. Essentially, I found a bunch of curtain clips in a drawer and. . . Voila!


As you can see, Jane Austen had to get in on the action, too.


Monday, February 16, 2015

"Gone" for the Day


Does anyone put up a "Gone Fishing" sign anymore?

I think it's a good idea to check out now and then. So, I'm posting my sign. Hopefully, I'll get some good reading done. See ya tomorrow.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Sunday Riddle


I've got something short and sweet for you today. And, hopefully, amusing.  Here's the first riddle I ever memorized, way back in fourth grade!

What colors do you paint the sun and the wind?
Answer: The sun rose and the wind blue
 Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

If I repeated myself, oh well. That's what comes of being another year deeper in senior citizenry.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Being Artsy-Craftsy


When I was a young thing living in San Francisco a long time ago, I thought it would be fun, neat, and so very cool to be a street artist. Alas, I was no artist nor a crafter of pottery, jewelry, candles, hand sewn clothing, or other items that I thought I would like to make and sell.  Still, a young thing can dream. Okay, fantasize.

Four decades later I am finally exploring that artsy-craftsy part of me.  Some of you already know I like to take photos. And, last year, I threw caution to the wind and illustrated my stories during the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. That was very scary. Drawing, that is. Here's an example of my new found artistry.

Last week, I decided to doodle a daily calendar. Storybeader at Stroll Through Storyland planted the seed in my head when I read her post about calendars. Then, Tony, a photographer/artist friend from my young-thing days, shared a doodle page from his art journal on his blog. That clenched it for me. So, for now, I'm reminding myself what the date is with a doodle.

Making Cards

One of the blogs I regularly follow is BB Creations by BB, aka Birgit. She makes the most awesome one-of-a-kind greeting cards that she showcases on her blog with an explanation of how she made them. Her enthusiasm and sense of humor always gets me wanting to make a card after a visit. The last time, I even noted on my daily calendar to make valentines. See, once I write something down, I may do it.

Well, I didn't make a bunch of valentines. I made one, a 3-D one, too. Whoo-hoo! The valentine was for the Husband. He even watched me go at it.  I had a great time drawing, painting, cutting, and taping. I was in zen.

Will I do more? This may be the year I finally make individual Christmas cards for our family and friends. We shall see.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Molly says, "Stop!"


Jump.

That was Molly the Cat. She jumped onto my not-so-organized desk, tip-toed across my arms as I was tippy-tapping on the keyboard, then crawled through spaces that were crammed with stuff. Of course, I had to stop to watch her. And, I had to take her photo when she decided to rest her tail on my keyboard.

"Get the picture," said Molly the Cat. "Then, get me my lunch, Missus."

Molly and I are hooking up with The Weekend in Black and White, hosted by Dragonstar. Come check out other black and white photos with us by clicking here.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Dude, The Husband -- March, March, March

My Alphabe Thursday theme -- The Dude, The Husband

Once upon a time, the Husband was part of the marching band in both high school and college. He played the trombone. He totally loved the experience from what I can tell. And, he still has his marching skills. Sometimes when we go walking, he marches ahead of me, turns and marches back, and when we meet, he turns quickly face forward. I have to say, his precision makes me swoon inside.

Last year, we walked over to the hardware store to purchase a couple of pieces of long lumber to shore up the back fence.  The husband marched them most of the way home. Check out his style. Can you just see him in a marching band playing the trombone once upon a time?


Today is the letter M at Jenny Matlock's Alphabe Thursday. Come check out other M posts with me by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Endless Energy

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic Green Thumbs
. . .and Fingers

In the late 1990s, when the Mama was in her mid 70s, her doctor prescribed her one and only medication -- a pill for low thyroid. The doctor started her with .05 mg, a very low dosage. But, in the Mama, woooo-weee! It made her run the marathon, jump over the moon, and lift several 100-pound bags of soil every day.

Essentially, taking the medicine made her tired. And, of course, after awhile she stopped taking it.

A few months went by before I discovered she was not taking her medication. While visiting her one weekend, I noticed she was looking very tired so I checked her bottle. She was very good at not refilling prescriptions.  The bottle was the one I had ordered months ago and it was still full. The Mama admitted that she stopped taking it. Sigh. 

"Why?" I asked. She shrugged. Her usual answer to questions to which she was not ever going to respond.

"That's why you're feeling tired," I said. "The doctor prescribed this medicine so you can have the energy to do your work."

After more nagging from me, the Mama reluctantly took it.

That day, I watched her run a marathon, jump over the moon, and lift several 100-pound bags of soil. I was tired keeping up with her. The following Monday, I called her doctor and told him what happened. He mumbled that he would cut the dosage in half. All was good. She was back to just running a 10K, jumping over the roof, and lifting 50 pound bags of soil.

Last year, the Mama's thyroid levels had decreased, so the doctor doubled the dosage to the original .05 mg. I worried that she would start running around like crazy and hurt herself. Nothing happened. Hurrah!

All is good, as you can tell. The Mama no longer runs, jumps, and lifts like she used to, but she slowly and surely moves around her gardens, front and back, happily tending to their needs.


Today is the letter E at ABC Wednesday, a fun weekly meme created by Denise Nesbitt 16 rounds ago. Currently it is being administered by Roger Green at Ramblin' with Roger, with the help of his ABC Wednesday crew.  Please click here to read other ABC posts.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow


Actually the hair went two days ago -- on Sunday. Clip. Clip. Clip. Clip. The Husband did the whack job for me.

The longest strands of hair were about 17 inches long. That was nearly four years of growth. Definitely the longest I ever grew my hair.

Nearly four years ago, the Husband and I shaved off all our hair. He did his beard as well. That was the second time we did it. Our reason the first time around was to see how long it would grow in a year.  (Here's the link to that story if you're interested.) As for the second time...uhm, I don't recall. But, after a year went by, we wanted to know how long it would be after two years. Then, three years. After which I just thought of growing our hair as our five-year plan.

In the past few months, having long hair became a drag. Depending on how I sat or laid, I'd pull on my hair.  Grooming it daily was a pain. Some days, I pulled it back without combing it. If I went out on those days, I wore a hat. And, washing the hair -- drats!  Too much water to use in the drought we're going through.

Then, over the weekend, my neck, shoulder, and back got crazily bit (don't ask) and every one of those insect bites puffed up. Grrr, the itchiness. That was it. No more long hair. So after I washed my hair and let it air dry,  I sectioned the hair into four bound parts (because I'm donating the hair) and asked the Husband to cut away.

Clip. Clip. Clip. Clip.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. My head felt sooooooo light and free.

I haven't done anything with my hair yet. I would like to get a nice haircut, but I don't feel like spending $40 or $50 now that I have short hair. And, I think I want to take cello lessons. So, for now, I'll just wear a hat when I go out.



Monday, February 9, 2015

A Mellow Yellow Field

 

Isn't this field of yellow mustard lovely? It was quite happy, I thought, because of the rain. This weekend our area had its first rainstorm of the year. Hopefully, we'll get more rain to soften the blow of another year of drought.

Being that I caught such a mellow yellow field with the camera, I hooked up with Monday Mellow Yellows, hosted by Gemma Wiseman. Click here to check other mellow yellow photos by bloggers around the world.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Remembering Dawn


Yesterday, I found an unfinished draft that I wrote about four years ago. It was about Dawn who I had not seen since the mid-1980s. About four years ago, I learned that Dawn had died, and she had been dead for 12 years. Only in her 40s, she died from pneumonia in London.

Gorgeous Dawn was one of the most sophisticated, yet down to earth, individuals I have ever met. She had a style that I could only describe as the beauty of Italian art, music, film, and food.  And, she had a light that caused both men and women to turn around and smile in appreciation.

Dawn was the sister of my brother's friend who fell in love with my best friend at the time, back in the early 1980s. So, I ended up hanging out with Dawn now and then. If we hadn't had this connection, I doubt that Dawn and I would have ever met, as we did not move around in any other of the same circles. She was the artist living in the North Beach of San Francisco, while I lived in the Richmond District, working three part-time jobs as I completed my training for a teaching credential.

I am grateful for having known Dawn. She had a wonderful wit and sense of humor, and her creativity and sense of adventure were inspiring. I recall the afternoon we were decorating my best friend's and my flat for a Halloween party.  Dawn was helping me put together some detailed decor on the wall. At one point, she turned to me and said, "Sue, you are so anal-retentive." We laughed. Being anal-retentive was a good thing, and she would have known. She was a budding fashion designer. 

A few years later, my best friend and I had a falling out. She didn't want to patch up our friendship, so I never did see Dawn after that. Over the years, I would wonder where Dawn was and how she was doing. One day, about four years ago, I decided to find her online. At first, I tried Facebook. Nothing. Then Google, and voila, up popped a link to her Web site of her photography work. Her work was -- and is -- outstanding. They reminded me of her, Dawn, the person I knew a lifetime ago.

Then, I came to the part in her biography about her death in 1999.  It did not matter that I hadn't seen Dawn in 26 years, nor that she had been dead for 12 years. It was as if it just happened.

Here's to the light of Dawn!


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Atta Girl, Jane Eyre!


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen used to be Numero Uno on my all-time list of favorite books. Then, a few years ago, I read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. And, just like that, after 40-some years, Pride and Prejudice became number two. 

So, what took me so long to read Jane Eyre

I was introduced to the novel in seventh grade when our English class watched the 1943 movie starring Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine. Until I watched the 2006  BBC series of Jane Eyre with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson, I had no idea that Jane Eyre had a lot of gumption, courage, desire, determination, and smarts. Ms. Fontaine's portrayed Jane as meek and overpowered by the selfish Rochester. Then after I saw the 2011 film of Jane Eyre, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, I finally decided to read the novel. 

Wowza! I love Jane. She stands up to Rochester from the moment she meets him to the moment they finally reunite. Rochester is a fortunate man because he has Jane's love. I admire Jane for the way she keeps moving forward, without bitterness,  no matter how tough life gets.  Atta Girl, Jane Eyre!

At last year's county fair, I entered a dry flower arrangement under the book title category, illustrating Jane on the moor, where she wandered about grieving after leaving Rochester when she learned he was married. That's the entry in the photo above. Yup, bits of moss and lichen glued to two rocks. This passage from Chapter 28 in Jane Eyre accompanied the entry.
...There are great moors behind and on each hand of me...The population here must be thin, and I see no passengers on these roads: they stretch out east, west, north, and south -- white broad, lonely; they are all cut in the moor, and the heather grows deep and wild to their very verge....
   I stuck straight into the heath: I held on to a hollow I saw deeply furrowing the brown moorside; I waded knee-deep in its dark growth; I turned with its turnings, and finding a moss-blackened granite crag in a hidden angle, I sat down under it....
Jane is barely visible in the photo. So, here's another a photo of when I was putting together the arrangement. Jane is represented by that rolled piece of blue denim as her cape and a red bit of fabric for her bonnet.


In case, you all of a sudden want to purchase a copy of Jane Eyre, rather than head to your local library, here's a link to Amazon. By the way, should you purchase anything at Amazon via this link, I may be given a few pennies for the referral.  FCC wants you to know that, as do I.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Old Bank's Windows


My camera is a point-and-click Canon Powershot A1200 so I generally have no idea how my photos look until I see them on the computer. Now and then, I'm very surprised by a shot. Like this one. When I took the photo I was focused on the curtains and the ornamental piece between the windows. Imagine my thrill to see the reflections in the windows.

Today, I'm sharing at The Weekend in Black and White, hosted by Dragonstar. Click here to see other black and white photos by bloggers from around the world.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Dude, The Husband -- The Lion-Hearted Man

My Alphabe Thursday theme -- The Dude, The Husband
Not once-upon-a-time, but in the now in a land that could be considered far, far away lives a lion-hearted man with a wonderful sense of humor.  He is a man of many talents and skills. He can interpret the colors and shadows of a forest scene on paper with pastels, pencils, or paint. He can play a cool trombone,  dance his ass off, and whistle like the birds. He can say very articulately, with great logic, why an individual or organization, is being inhumane. This man can do so many things.

Once-upon-a-time, this lion-hearted man met a woman deep in the throes of woes. Day by day, he enchanted her and helped her climb out of the abyss and back into the light of laughter, imagination, and love. Then one day, they decided to marry. And, they continue to live happily onward, with some occasional forays into Grrrrr! but that is to be expected. They are a regular, loving couple after all.

Today is Jenny Matlock's Alphabe Thursday. Yup. That's where I shall be checking out other J posts. Come join me by clicking here.

Jenny Matlock

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Mama's Daisies

My ABC Wednesday theme: The Mama and Her Authentic Green Thumbs
. . .and Fingers

The Mama loves her daisies, but she complains that they're a pain to deadhead. She does it anyway so that they continue to bloom. And, bloom, they do throughout the year. I've taken to snapping off old and spent daisies off the plants in the front yard while Molly the Cat wanders about. When I started, it was to be a good assistant to the Mama. Now, I do it more for me. It helps me find zen.

One of these days, I'd like to get her some regular white daisies. Check out what colors and types she has now.


Today is the letter D at ABC Wednesday, a fun weekly blog hop created by Denise Nesbitt 16 rounds ago. Currently it is being administered by Roger Green at Ramblin' with Roger, with the help of his ABC Wednesday friends.  Please click here to read other ABC posts.



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Sign of Long Ago


This aging handsome sign hangs from an old, run-down, vacant building in my town. The hotel has been empty for several decades. As a kid, I thought the building held secrets about evil goings on. I still do. The Husband was with me the afternoon I took this photo. Otherwise, I would've taken photos of the building from the corner or across the street. Yes, I'm chicken. Buk. Buk. Bukkk.

It's Sweet Shot Tuesday. This is my sweet shot of the week. To check photos by other bloggers, please click here.

P52 Sweet Shot Tuesday with Kent Weakley

Monday, February 2, 2015

Orange Umbrella


Today, I'm hooking up with Mandarin Orange Monday, hosted by LorikArt. Click here to check out "orange" work by other bloggers around the world.

Lori suggests that we have fun playing with out images. So, I did and had a blast playing with the various filters at Photoshop.  Thanks, Lori, for the encouragement. Here's the final result.