"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Shockingly Tidy

I've spent part of the past 2 days tidying my office. It's now neatened up beyond my wildest expectations...so I'm off to the cottage for a while to write.

Although I occupy my office when doing various tasks--research, editing, nonfiction writing, email reading, website admin, streaming audio listening--I don't acutally write novels in it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Being in Many Places

Had an insanely productive writing day on Monday. My reward: this sunset!

This morning we headed back to the Lodge--by way of the fruit farm high on the Ridge in New Durham. Jewel wasn't too keen on the detour and fussed a bit about being left in the car (in a very shady spot, with the top open). I picked very, very quickly and soon filled 3 punnets.

Some people were picking blueberries too, really huge ones. But their season will last till September, said the lady who took my money. Oh, and the peaches will be ready soon.

We continued along the high road, past the awesome views of the Belknap Mountains, and drove right by the summit of Prospect Mountain.

I'm soon heading to town for my mandolin lesson. The Chap will be home later this afternoon. The berries are a "welcome back" surprise for him!

My passion flower is blooming.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Stroll: Saturday Supper & Shroom Walk

Of course it rained yesterday, in the morning, heavily. But then it stopped and the sun appeared. I loaded the dogs into the old Merc (my new one is a dog-free zone!) and we came up to the lake cottage.

Lots of traffic. Everyone must've seen the weather forecast with promises of more sunshine than showers, and temperatures rising to the 80's.

Along the way we made a few stops, for hard cider and for flowers. My favourite local greenhouse was offering a "buy one, get one free" sale on annuals. I knew the ones I'd planted at the start of this so-called summer had been ruined by all the rain, so I picked up a couple of 6-packs of red impatiens to replace the drowned and rotten ones. And a couple of geraniums.

I placed one of the geraniums on the porch, in the ancestral historic family bean pot.

The deal on plants was worth the stop. But wait--there's more!

With every purchase, 3 ears of fresh corn. Free! Additional ears were 50 cents. Picked down in Western Mass. Perfect for my Solo Saturday Supper.

Corn, meet water.

I ate an ear and a half, with a sandwich: tomato, fresh oregano, baby spinach, crumbled feta on whole wheat bread.

After supper, a sunset.

After sunset, pink sky.

Once it was dark there were fireworks up and down the Bay, near and far. The cottages and camps are overflowing with people, surrounded by fleets of cars as families and friends gather by the lakeshore.

This morning dawned drizzly and grey. Thunderstorms expected later, but after that a change for the better.

The girls and I had our usual morning walk. I've noticed that the mushrooms and fungi are springing up.

Some are hidden behind foliage.

They come in pretty colours.

Somebody likes eating them.

Some start as nubs.

Some creep along the ground.

I saw these everywhere.


The biggest one of all.

This reminds me of sea coral.

A red one. With Jewel's leash and foot!

Found this one on the steps as we arrived back at the cottage.

I'm pretty sure I'm having something with mushrooms for supper tonight, with my other ear-and-a-half of corn. Probably an omelet. I hasten to add they'll be store-bought mushrooms as I'm too neurotic to pick and eat the wild ones!

We're waiting for the Big White Boat to pass by. It will resemble a ghost ship, the mist is so thick.

The water temperature was 70 degrees yesterday, technically swim-able. Walter the fish has move out into deeper water.

Exactly one year ago I was here in the aftermath of the devastating tornado of July 23, 2008, which miraculously spared both Lodge and this cottage. The anniversary television and newspaper coverage has been a difficult reminder of a terrible time, although the stories of homes and lives rebuilt is uplifting.

Thanks for joining my stroll. For more, go here!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blog Anniversary: The Big Four

This blog began 4 years ago today. I expected to spend its anniversary at the lake cottage, from whence I made my very first posting. However, for several reasons, the weather being one, I'm not inspired me to make the trip today. I'm sorry to report that no interesting critters have emerged from the forest today in honour of the momentous occasion.

So...I've tinkered my sidebar slightly, adding several new links plus images of books I'm reading or have read. I'm in discussions with Cluster Maps about the disappearance of my red dot collection after they archived my visitors recently. But since the map never comes close to reflecting my stat counts anyway, it doesn't really matter.

Yesterday, while the Chap and I dined at a Mexican restaurant in Concord, the clouds parted and we had a rare glimpse of sunshine. It was a lovely evening...but all morning the clouds have been gathering. More rain on the way....

The box I shipped from Anaheim has arrived. I gave the Chap his gifts and set aside the Christmas ones. At the Hmong people booth--where I purchased many items including my skirt--I picked up this shiny lizard. The Chap's nickname for me includes the word "lizard" so I thought I needed this one.

The Chap departed this morning to attend an out-of-state family event...our post-Anaheim time together was brief.

After he left us, Jewel gazed wistfully into the distance.

Ruth reminds me I'll be doing double duty on tummy-scratches till the Chap returns.

The rain is now falling--our respite wasn't very long. Another afternoon fit only for sipping tea and working on the novel.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Big Brown Bunny

The snowshoe hare, who is absolutely enormous, regularly comes out of the forest to nibble the grasses and sheep sorrel. The multitude of chipmunks stuffing their cheeks with safflower seeds stared at him but tolerated his presence. He's not a competitor for their favourite food.

He came quite close to the deck and didn't seem to mind my presence. He wiggled his enormous ears with every click of my camera lens.

He's very quick, as you'll see here:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Stroll: Flora & Fauna

At 5:30 a.m. PST the Super Shuttle van took me from Hilton Ahaheim to LAX, via Long Beach airport where one of my fellow NH deputies disembarked for her flight. My plane left from LAX, and at the start of the flight we flew westward out over the Pacific, something I'd not done since travelling to Australia and New Zealand, before turning towards the east and home.

Arrived at Logan Airport on time, boarded the Concord Coach (a bus)--the same fellow deputy who had flown out of Long Beach arrived in Boston at the same time and also boarded the same bus! It delivered us to Concord, and the drive was peaceful and lovely--blue sky, clouds, setting sun. And so much green, a colour we saw little of on the Left Coast.

The Chap had flown from his Louisville conference to Manchester's aiport. He and the dogs arrived straight from the kennel--all the Porters were in transit yesterday. Much excitement all round. We stopped at Wendy's on the way home, and the guy at the service window gave each of the girls a chicken nugget!

It's a glorious and sunny Sunday! I've got used to sunshine after 12 days in California, but the air is nicer and cooller here in NH. And my garden welcomed me home in a wonderful way!

Rose of the Day: Charles de Mills. This 19th century gallica has produced the last lovely antique rose of the season, it was awaiting my return.

The lavender is now blooming.

And the Queen Anne's Lace.

One of the two sorts of mallow I grow. This is the very pale pink, almost white.

Shasta daisy. I included my finger in the shot to show how massive the blossoms are.

One of 3 colours of astilbe I grow. (The 2 others are white and palest pink.)

My indigo delphinium. It looks like the photo is sideways, but the flower stalk is so heavy that it's listing to the right.

Lathyrus latifolia, perennial sweet pea. This is the bi-colour. I think, due to the lack of sunshine, it's paler than it should be.

Mauve-coloured perennial sweet pea.

Rudbeckia growing wild in the Chap's wildflower meadow.

Ruth and Jewel insisted upon a proper stroll.

We paused to admire our little lake.

When we got back to the Lodge we decided to clean up our act at MEP's Dog Wash.

Rinsing Jewel.

Washing Ruth.

The Chap dries Ruth. You can tell she loves being dried.

Clean x 2

There may be more Anaheim photos to come, I'm not sure. The closing day of General Convention was amazing. On Friday evening we had our deputation dinner at PF Chang's. I've unpacked and given the Chap his gifts--more are on the way via UPS. I was able to sleep late this morning. Though I expected to be weary today I'm feeling quite peppy, but re-entry is a bit odd after being so far away for so very many days. It's as if my NH life was interrupted back around the 4th of July...and suddenly it's July 19th!

As ever, thank you for stopping by. For more strolling, go here!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Dog(s) of the Day

Nearly every day at the Convention I've seen at least one dog. Usually it's a service dog in training, but sometimes it's a local dog being exercised by its owner.

The most frequent sighting has been Emily, who will be a service dog for a disabled veteran.

I don't recall this dog's name, something like Buster or Rover. One of the largest dogs I've ever seen.

Lizzie is also being trained. She's a sweetie.

Bishop Bruno of LA is honoured by having his diocesan Altar Guild's stuffed dog named after him. When not welcoming visitors to the Liturgical Art Exhibit, Bruno hangs out at the cathedral.

Rufus the whippet was rather bored by the Exhibition Hall.

I met Kobe yesterday, on my short walk from the Hilton to the Convention Center. He's an Akita. He also loved to pose for photographers!

Today's sighting was a little tiny white fluffy dog belonging to a hotel guest, in the lobby as I boarded an elevator. No time to get a picture.

Shout out to my own much-missed Ruth and Jewel--looking forward to our reunion on Saturday evening!