Friday, June 26, 2009

My assistant











This is my new assistant, Joey. He critiques manuscripts by tasting them. Fortunately, he declares my current revisions to be lip-smackingly delicious!

Other services he provides:
1. "Testing" my coffee
2. Occasionally reminding me to rest my eyes by closing my laptop
3. Pouncing on pages coming out of the printer
4. Sucking my elbow if I daydream too long.
5. Lap warmer
6. Keeping desk free of "debris" by knocking pencils, rubber bands, and paper clips to the floor.
















7. Alerting me to "intruders" outside (ie, birds, squirrels) with deep growls
8. Ambushing me from behind the sink in the bathroom
9. Workout partner, resting his 16 pounds on my forearms as I type
10. Enforcing required breaks by dragging toys to office

Okay, I know I've made him sound like a pain but he's truly a joy! I adore him, and I think the feeling is quite mutual.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

No Place Like Home



























































I now have blisters, mosquito bites, a farmer’s tan, and the reek of Ben-Gay...but so far no buyer’s remorse!

I am loving my new home. The place just felt sooo right from the very first time I saw it. I had a blast on my gypsy year, but “coming home” is what I craved. This house will be a perfect home base from which to continue my travels.

I got possession of the house at 2:30 on a Wednesday afternoon. By 8:00 that evening, I had pulled up a pile of thistle (that ended up as tall as me), planted beans and peas I’d started from seed, and painted two of the four colors in my kitchen. I was READY.

I spent the first weeks mostly working outside getting a garden in—I dug and tilled garden beds, planted flowers and veggies, put in stone paths, hacked away out-of-control honeysuckle, and hauled 2,400 pounds of dirt—48 fifty-pound bags of dark black garden soil. (My wonderful sister helped me haul 1500 pounds of it).

Hauling all that weight felt like symbolically hauling away baggage from the past to plant this new beginning. A lot has happened in the last years, and I have anewfound clarity and happiness. Ahh... There just seemed to be an abundance of metaphors available about starting over, putting down roots, and—clich├ęd as it is—blooming where you’re planted! (there’s more, oh so many more).

So many of the perennials I’ve planted have been orphans from friends’ gardens, so I feel surrounded by my tribe when I walk out there every morning with my coffee cup. There are theconeflowers and gargoyle from Michael, the lilies from Ted and Dave, the Siberian irises from Michelle, the lilies and coneflowers and hummingbird feeder from Anne, the arugula and lamb’s ear from Laurie, the bee balm from Mike and Lauren, the stone pavers from my parents’ yard, and on and on...

The day my belongings arrived from their year in storage felt like Christmas! I really pared down last spring. I kept only what I truly loved. For the most part, there were no surprises—I welcomed my Fiesta ware, my African artifacts, my paintings, my Indian wall-hanging, my gorgeous divorce quilt. But I do have some gaping holes: I have no dining room chairs, for instance. I’ve decided to take my time and slowly replace things only when I find items I adore.

The office, which I’ve dubbed my “sanctuary,” is my favorite room in the house. All windows, with a view of the privacy-fenced gardens, it is an inspiring, Zen-like place to work. Lots of sunlight and birdsong. Squirrels and hummingbirds galore keep Joey the cat entertained.

There are still projects galore, but this week I returned to my writing routine. I will continue to unpack, weed, and decorate “after work.” But first, there are books to be written in that lovely sanctuary...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Missing in Action!

Some lovely, caring readers have contacted me, inquiring if I'm all right since I haven't posted a blog for all of June. Aww...it felt good to be missed. All is well—I've just been crazy busy with moving into my new house! (woo hoo) Buried in boxes, paint-spattered, with power tools charging in every room...if you've ever moved, I'm sure you can relate.

This house is a dream house for me—and the yard even more so. I spent the first four days working solely outside digging, tilling, and planting new garden beds. The gardens will be in full view of my fantastic new writing office.

Photos will follow soon...just as soon as I find my camera among all the boxes...