Another Healing

Another Healing

Monday, May 30, 2011

Storms

Whee!  I have Internet again!

Vermont has been slammed with insane thunderstorms every day for the last five days, and I lost Internet (and phone and TV) after the first one.  It feels like being blindfolded.  I drove an hour on Saturday to find a relative with a working computer just to stay on top of my emails.

Now, I enjoy a good thunderstorm if I'm somewhere safe, but these have been a bit much.  Several days, it was like the storm started late afternoon and just kept going until midnight.  Other storms would blast through all night, every few hours, making real sleep impossible.  And it has just rained all the time.  We're trying to open our swimming pool for the season, and we'd no sooner gotten it filled than we had to start draining it.  I've been out in downpours pitching chemicals over the side, trying to time it between thunder events.  I admit, I'm a little obsessive about my pool, but the deep, dark secret is that I'm really a mermaid, and if I don't get wet at least once a day... I usually start each summer day with a dip before breakfast, end it with a dip before bed, and have at least several swims during the day.

Anyway, I'm back, for the moment at least.  Today we're going bike riding for the first time this year, and I'm a little worried about how my knee will hold up (I had surgery last fall -- torn meniscus.  A whole lot of no fun.)  Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hummingbird Food

Yesterday was International Migratory Bird Day, a day to celebrate and welcome back those birds who grace us in the north with their presence this time of year.


Here's a male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird at my feeder, just outside my window.  I shot the photo through a pane of glass because last year, when I tried it with the window open, a hummingbird flew right into the room with me.  He looked around, then turned and flew out.  Thank goodness.  I just stared at him, frozen in surprise.

If you're interested in attracting hummingbirds, here's a few tips.  They like areas with flowers, obviously, but they'll come to a feeder almost anywhere.  Don't be afraid to put it close to your window -- these guys aren't shy.  Choose a feeder that has little perches for them so they can land and rest while they're feeding.  Also, a feeder with a built-in ant trap on top is a good idea to prevent ants from taking over -- the trap is a little moat you fill with water, which the ants can't cross.

The best food is easy to make.  Stay away from the store-bought ones -- the red dye is really bad for the birds.  The recipe:

Mix four cups of water and one cup of white sugar.   Heat until boiling, then cool. 

Fill a clean feeder and store the rest in refrigerator.  Every three to five days, bring the feeder in, wash it, and refill.  The warmer your temperature, the more often you should change the food.  It'll start looking cloudy, or get bugs in it.  Never add to what's in the feeder -- it's better to dump what's left and start clean.  And that's it!

Enjoy!




Friday, May 20, 2011

Fiction Mirrors Life

I just had one of those weird moments where my life and my fiction collide.

Last night, as I posted yesterday, I was working very hard on my Charity Sip, which, hopefully, everyone will get to read sometime in the next few months.  I'm not going to jinx myself by saying what it's about before it's even finished, but suffice it to say that a thunderstorm and a flooded road play a major part in it.  I live on a road that floods occasionally from a normally pristine mountain stream that becomes a raging torrent intent on reclaiming its ancient bed, which, unfortunately, the dirt road now occupies.  So last night I was trying really hard to recreate in my mind what the brook looked like, sounded like, felt like, and smelled like, when it was in flood.  I mean, I was totally getting into it!  I was the flood, the raging water, the icy blast, the roar, and... you get the point.

So today was a pretty mild, quiet weather day where I work, about forty minutes away.  I picked my youngest daughter up at her school on the way home and let her drive, since she's got her permit and  teases constantly to practice.  She was just telling me what an incredible thunderstorm we'd had up this way, when we crested the brow of the hill, and I swear, out of nowhere, just the way my character experienced it last night, the road was under water before us.  We were both so stunned that I had to yell at her to put the brakes on.  I have never, in the twenty years we've lived here, gotten taken by surprise by a flood like this.

So as I got out of the car to access the situation, all I could think about was double checking my descriptions from last night.  I was pretty close, I think.  But isn't that the craziest thing?

Did we make it home?  Yes.  I took the wheel, and while I would never encourage anybody to drive through water, I know my road and can tell from experience when it's okay to cross and when it's not.  My character made a bad decision last night, and I have no desire to repeat what he went through, thank you very much.

Then I called my husband and told him he probably ought to cancel band practice at the house tonight.  I love the guys in his band, but not enough to have them for the entire weekend.

The only other time that comes to mind when something like this happened was once when I was working on a scene where the fire alarm goes off in the school where I work.  As soon as I got to school the next morning, the fire alarm goes off.  And then it goes off later that day, and then the next day. It seemed there was a problem with the system, and I kept thinking, "Okay, okay, I've got this now!"  Then when it went off yet again the following day, I was like, "Is this my fault somehow?"

I know we writers of fiction think we control our worlds, but sometimes, one isn't so sure.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hummingbird

Aw, I've got a ruby-throated hummingbird at the feeder beside me, and he's got an apple blossum petal stuck to his tummy.  That's enough to make my evening happy.

And I'm almost finished the rough draft of my Charity Sip.  That's good, too.  I've been working really hard on it all week.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

So What Do You Think?

Hello out there!

I'd love to hear from people

Leave me comments, or send me an email (my address is to the right)

I love to chat.  Let me know what you think of my blog, my stories, or my photos

And ask me questions about anything I've written, or writing in general, or anything at all.

Including birds.  Seen any interesting ones as the seasons change?  Seen something you have no idea what it was?  I'm an avid birder, and I might be able to help if you saw it in my neck of the woods (New England)

Or just keep reading.  That's okay, too.  I'm having fun

Thank you!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Robert Frost

Spring has finally really set in up here.  The way I can tell for sure is that the only snow I can still see is way up on the side of Mt. Mansfield, and the green is working its way slowly up out of the valleys.  I call that little brush of color "first green," and it is without a doubt my favorite time of year.

Robert Frost, famous New England Poet, wrote a poem about this time of year.  The funny thing is, most people don't know it.  I see this poem printed beside pictures of maples in flaming fall foliage all the time.  It drives me CRAZY!

Here's the poem:


Nothing Gold Can Stay
Robert Frost
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

See what I mean?  People see the word "gold" and think foliage.  And they're right -- sugar maples turn a burning orange gold in the fall.  But the trees also show a tinge of that color in the spring, too.  The new leaves haven't started producing chlorophyll yet, which is where they get their green color.  Robert Frost noticed that when the leaves first appear, they're gold, but they turn green so quickly that it seems they're holding that hue only for an hour.  Then more leaves grow, and they turn green, and that little dawn of Eden is gone into the daylight of summer.  And these brief spring days, after a Vermont winter, are truly worth gold.

And here's a photo I took yesterday of Frost's gold:



See what I mean?



This shows it, too, across the beaver pond below our house.

So every time you read this poem now, you'll understand what Frost means.  And when you show off your knowledge, you can say you learned it on a gay erotica writer's blog.  (Sorry.  I have a Master's degree in English and it still comes through sometimes.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What am I working on now?

Well, I've agreed to do another Charity Sip this year to support the "It Gets Better" organization, which is dear to my heart since I work with kids in high school every day and I know what goes on.  I turn a blind eye to the plethora of cell phones, and all the swearing in the halls goes right over me, but NOBODY says, "That's so gay," around me without finding themselves stammering an apology a minute later.  I'm normally a very quiet and mild mannered writing tutor, but there is within me that which breathes fire, and it comes out on occasion to everyone's surprise.

And I'm also writing another novel.  This one I'm tentatively calling Another Healing, and it's the sequel to my Charity Sip from last year, "The Rosebud."  I'm taking it slow and having fun, and I'll make more posts about it later.

Notice has a release date!

August 24th is the happy day, which seems like a long time away, but I'm sure it'll arrive quickly.  I'm very excited for my first novel to join the company of my other stories, and I'm excited for this story to find readers at last.  I've been in love with dragons for as long as I can remember, and I've been writing Notice for a long time.  It started out as a short story, but the members of the writer's group to which I've belonged for a long time all agreed that it wanted to be something longer.  So I put it aside and then took it out, then put it aside, then took it out, and did this for over a year, and then this past February during school vacation, I took a hard look at it, and then it grabbed me and pulled me into the computer and I wrote the rest of it in about six marathon days.  Then I polished it up, sent it in, and it was accepted in March.  Now it's May, and Notice is in edits. Very cool.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Look at my island now!

Look at my poor little Icon Island now!

The water has risen like another foot since last weekend.  The lake was a rare dead calm this morning, which is a good thing for people who live along the shore.  Hundreds of homes are being damaged and many people can't even get home right now, and the lake continues to rise.  At this rate, my island will just be some trees growing out of the water in another week. I've been out all morning taking photos because this is truly a record setting spring around here.

The first hummingbird of the year just hummed into the feeder right beside me, which is hanging about two feet from my desk on the other side of a screen.  It is a most welcome sight.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rain!

So I'm a bit of a closet meteorologist.  I come by it naturally, I think, from my grandfather, who was obsessed by the weather.  As a Vermont farmer in the early 1900's, he had a right to be worried about too much or too little weather at the right or wrong times, but he took it just a little too far.  I've seen him dash out onto the porch in the middle of the night in a howling snowstorm in just his slippers to check the thermometer on the wall, to see if it was forty below yet, or still just negative thirty-nine.  If he were still living, he'd have a personal weather station in every room, and would check back and forth between them to compare the differences between the weather in the front yard and the weather out back.

I'm not quite that bad (okay, I do have one weather station in the kitchen and one in my writing room, but that's just so I don't have the excuse to leave my desk to go and check -- more writing that way, see? -- and I have a rain gauge, but only one!  Right now there's exactly an inch of new rain since I left the house this morning, and our brook is on the rise again.  Our little brook, one of those idyllic ones that winds through fields, trickles down a rock cascade, and is perfect for sitting and thinking beside, can turn into a raging mountain torrent and wash out the road and our culvert in under an  hour with the right conditions.  It gives a whole new meaning to being glad to get home, and since our road dead ends just past our house, it can give us a forced vacation at its slightest whim.

Vermont had a record setting amount of rainfall in April, and right now, our largest lake is at an historical high.


This is a photo I took a few years ago of the island in front of our family camp.  I use it as my icon sometimes, because I like it.


This is the same island, from the same spot, this weekend.  The lake is about six feet higher, and very muddy.  It's pretty amazing.  I've never seen it like this before.  My grandfather would be beside himself.

And it's supposed to rain all week.  Vermont is never dull!