Flawed Character

Orange and gold leaves blanket the neighborhood streets. My friends are off buggy-ing in Utah and I’m jealous. I love that machine! The weather came back to beautiful Indian summer, warm days and cool nights that are allowing me to put the yard and garden to bed. All that is left now is pulling out the squash plant and dead heading the roses once they are done.

I plugged in the roof heat tape on the north side of my entry portico, and while up there debated the merits of Christmas lights. I decided against worrying about them, or putting them up. As I’ve driven the neighborhoods in the past, it seems to me, either go big or don’t go at all. In tubs in the basement are enough lights to go big, but I don’t seem to have the desire at the moment to put them up. I’ll put up my lighted wreaths and candles in the windows as usual, but leave the rest for one of two things: someone to show up and help me do it, or a sudden attack of inspiration. I’m not counting on either.

So, I’ve had this nagging little thing, and it turns out it is a hernia. It requires surgery but nothing immediate. “Take your time to figure out when works best for you,” the doctor said, “because you can’t lift for six weeks after the procedure.” Well, if you have young grandkids, you know there is no such thing as a ‘works best’ time. Something is going to get screwed up with this surgery – besides my wallet.

My YA manuscript, “Rhyaden,” is in the hands of my developmental editor. Time to start in on “Compass Point” once again. I believe I have worked out the kinks to make the good guy and little more flawed, not exactly villainous, but you know, human and occasionally stupid like the rest of us.

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Autumn Joy

I drove across the Rocky Mountains and was treated to the glory of Mother Nature’s Autumn. Starting in Utah on Hwy 6, all the way to the Vail Valley in Colorado, I saw the best of fall colors. A sea of shimmering gold leaves amid vibrant orange and brilliant red patches made it truly difficult to concentrate on driving.

I wanted to stop and photograph the splendid scenery, but I also wanted to get home. The rest of the week is full of appointments and obligations. None of my photographs were going to live up to the beauty I saw today, so I kept going. I’m glad that I got the opportunity to see it, though, as I haven’t had a chance to get up into the mountains this fall.

What I did do this past weekend was finish that infamous final battle scene. I am very pleased, but my developmental editor hasn’t seen it yet, so it remains to be seen whether or not the book is finished. Amazing what gets pointed out to me that, even though I wrote it – or left it out – I don’t see it until it’s pointed out to me.IMG_2812.jpg Still, I’m excited.

Another couple of short trips are planned for this month. In the meantime, my to-do list includes digging the carrots (they got their first freeze so should be sweet and ready), pulling out the tomato plants and putting the garden to rest, covering the patio furniture, and putting up Christmas lights. Really? Christmas lights? Who put that on the list?

My prayers go out to the people enduring the California fires. Having gone through one myself, I know how devastating and frightening fires are. The loss, the survivor guilt, and the new reality are all incredibly difficult to move past. The loss of life in these fires and the recent hurricanes heighten our awareness of what we can and cannot control. Tell your family that you love them today. Every day.

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Bump Stocks

Pizza night with my grandsons. The oldest one ate five pieces. Wow. I think, perhaps, he might be growing. We have no extraordinary plans for the weekend, just sleeping in, playing at the park, and maybe some ice cream or a movie. Who knows where the spirit will lead us. Their parents are far, far away for the weekend, so we can be as creative as we want.

I put new tires on the car. Good thing because they are predicting snow at home the day before I return. Not what I had in mind. Usually if you take a precaution like that, you don’t need it. All the hoses are drained, but the sprinkler system has yet to be blown out. It is scheduled. That’s all I can do for now.

I got in a good walk, two laps on the walking track around the field behind the nearby school. The boys were on bikes for that part and then got in a half hour on the jungle gym equipment.

I’m going out on a limb here to say I don’t believe any civilian needs a bump stock. There is no valid purpose, hunting or otherwise for a bump stock. If you think it’s your right, you are wrong. It’s no more a right than civilians owning nuclear weapons, or being able to drive without a license, or squat on someone else’s land. We are a land of laws, that’s part of being civilized, and we do what’s in the best interest of everyone. Do you tell your child to wear a bike helmet? Me too. They would rather not, but they are safer and get used to it, You might be fine as a bump stock owner, but the next guy – who used to be fine – might be about to snap. You can give it up.

I realize the manufacturers make a boat load of money selling bump stocks, and they want to continue doing so, so they’re going to whip up a frenzy over this issue, never once mentioning how much money they make, or how much money they are willing to pay lobbyists to keep that money machine going. Please, read between the lines.

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Shucks

The weather forecast says sun. Funny, I can’t see it through the fog. It got downright chilly in the night. I turned the furnace on finally. Which reminds me, I need to change the furnace filter. I knew there was something else on my to-do list. Oh well. When that sun does come out, I’m going to do a happy dance. I have a dentist appointment. I believe my reward should be sunshine.

The unimaginable shooting in Las Vegas is a subject that I find I can’t write about. I do pray for the victims and their families to overcome the loss, the shock and the terror and trauma to follow. I do wonder what could possibly be the motive behind such a heinous act. I do wonder if there will ever be an act so incredibly awful, people will understand the real gun control issue. Not the purported one put out by the lobbyists, but the real issue, money. No, I don’t suppose that will ever happen in my lifetime. Someday, maybe.

Tree colors are changing. Leaves are falling. My burning bushes are brilliant red. Oh, how I love that. Mums are in their glory. My favorite season, autumn, is upon us. I’ve even had a couple of mugs of hot chocolate (so far). If only the grey winter wasn’t looming on the heels of such vibrancy.

I get to see my grandsons soon. I can’t wait for some of their hugs.

The query letter is finally taking shape. What a struggle. I’m also ‘trying to begin’ writing the final battle scene of my YA novel. Not that I wanted to write a battle scene, mind you, but it needed one, so there I go, attempting to put together a scene that is worthy of the characters and a fitting end. Not easy to do when you are a ‘don’t like conflict’ kind of person. Shucks.IMG_2493

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Sunshine

Sunshine Needed! The cold is one thing. Rain is one thing, a good thing actually, unless you’re flooding. No sunshine is unacceptable. I need sun, brightness, the uplifting energy and happiness that comes with the sun.

The million little things to prepare for winter are getting done. Writing is getting done. The query letter is – never mind. It’s harder to write than the 85,000 word novel, which is fun to write, exciting, a challenge, satisfying – everything a query letter isn’t. ugh.

My granddaughter and I decorated for Halloween. Mrs. Bones is sitting on the front porch, wearing her hat and scarf, lit up with spider lights and surrounded by jack-o-lanterns. We also boiled cinnamon sticks in water, filling the house with the lovely aroma of cinnamon, experimented with two different methods of cutting up whole pineapple, and played several games of rummy. Pretty nice afternoon.

Speaking of spiders. They are invading. I woke up to fog, looked out on the lawn, and a new web (wasn’t there yesterday) covers a portion of the lawn. Weird. I’m used to vertical spider webs. What are they catching in the lawn? You have to give them credit for being industrious. I wish I had that kind of energy. Perhaps the lack of sunshine is spurring them on to new endeavors this fall.

Rather than turning the furnace on this fall, I’ve been enjoying a fire every morning to bring the temperature up in the house. So peaceful and comforting. Oh, as I live and breathe, there is sunshine coming through the window. I think I’m going to go outside and just sit and soak it up. Who knows how long it will last. Glorious sunshine.

Well, that was nice, fleeting, but nice. Reminds me not to take sunshine for granted. Perhaps it was a tease, a harbinger of more to come. One can only hope.IMG_2892

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Taxes Well Spent

A long bike ride along the Poudre Trail made me appreciate a city that spends its tax revenues on the people that live in that city. What a beautiful trail. I hope the day comes when they figure out how to get the trail under or over I-25. Except for that little gap, the trail extends from LaPorte to Greeley. Quite a feat, if you ask me. There are marvelous parks and rest stops along the way, including a botanical Treasure Island in Windsor and CSU’s Environmental Learning Center.

Reflecting again on my recent trip to Acadia NP in Maine, I cannot help but urge people to support the National Park system. What treasures our country has (they truly are part of what makes America great) and our descendants, children, grandchildren and beyond, deserve to have them protected and there for them to enjoy. Acadia did not let me down. I should have scheduled one more day there (I seem to leave each park wishing for one more day) but there was so much to see in the rest of New England. I had never been there to explore before. I will go back! Sailing was the highlight, but then there was the good seafood, the calming sounds of ocean and rock, the soft forest, oh on and on. It was a delightful trip.

I’ve had a difficult time getting back into writing. The end of my YA novel needs a lot of thought and work to weed out the unnecessary and fine tune the closure. Ack. I just want to go to the mountains and enjoy the colors of autumn, or go kayaking, or or or. I’ve started dead-heading in the yard, planted some more mums for next year, and need to bring in the patio furniture, hoses, etc. A little bit each day is what I tell myself. It will get done. Despite the current cold, I know there is more warm weather to come, though Mother Nature has had a real attitude this year.IMG_2720

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A Great Trip!

Well, this certainly seems odd, sitting down at my desk to write a blog. Rather seems like I should be out sailing, or kayaking, or canoeing, or driving to the next hiking trail. By the way, I thought Colorado had a lot of hiking trails, but we don’t hold a candle to New Hampshire. That state has trails! Everywhere! And then there was all the rich history of Boston. Love that city! And Bar Harbor Maine – wow.

The New England woods are different, softer, than ours. I suppose it stems a lot from the types of trees that grow there. The evergreens are not the stiff spruce of Colorado’s high and dry climate, but softer, airier trees mixed with the beautiful oaks and maples that make the colors so rich in the fall. Birch is everywhere too. I brought home a piece and it is surprising how tough the bark is. I thought it would be paper thin layers, but it is more like leather. No wonder it made such good canoes. So pretty too.

The funniest thing about staying in a New Hampshire cabin in the woods this time of year is getting used to the sound of large acorns crashing down on the roof, or your head. I truly mean “crashing down,” no little plops, but loud cracks and pops. A person has to get used to walking on them too, crunch, crunch, crunch across the deck and down to the dock.

Best of all was the pair of Loons that live on the little lake we were staying at. They are so pretty. They are also amazing divers, staying under water up to thirty seconds at a time when fishing. If we were quiet, they let us paddle fairly close, but they were careful to maintain a proper distance. We noticed there did not seem to be many birds. Maybe they had already migrated south for the winter? The color was just starting, but we saw enough to get a good taste of what is coming, making it even more difficult to leave. I am truly blessed by such a great experience. Speaking of good taste – Maine blueberries. I can recommend a place to get the best blueberry muffin you can imagine.IMG_2727

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