The Importance of Eyeglasses

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

Tucker, our dachshund, got up at 1:30 a.m. the other morning and wanted to go outside.

This is not unusual. I got up and walked with him to the kitchen to let him go out back. I did not put on shoes or my glasses.

I will not make that mistake again.

He started sniffing at the door from the garage to the back yard which was latched open leaving a small space between it and the wall.

I looked and saw what I thought was one of his balls behind the door. It was just out of my reach so I grabbed the mop and used the handle to scoot it forward.

As I reached to pick it up a baby possum hissed at me!

I was very glad I had not grabbed it. I stood for a few minutes trying to decide what to do.

Since I wasn’t wearing shoes, I didn’t want to chase it out in the back yard. Being unable to see without my glasses, I was afraid I would step on something and really hurt myself.

I left it alone and went back to bed. It was gone when I got up the next morning. Hopefully, it was as scared as I was and will not come back.

If so, I will at least be able to see it before I start reaching because I will grab my glasses the next time Tucker decides he has to go out in the middle of the night.

I thought of this eyeglass commercial:

I’m grateful it was Tucker who followed me back into the house.

Flowering Words of Wisdom

Sometimes English Isn’t English

English isn’t always English.

I learned that many years ago from my British partner in our antiques business. With his King’s English and my Texas-English, communication was frequently a bit of a challenge.

As we traveled the English countryside on our quest for merchandise for our shop in Houston, I quickly learned his bobbles and bits were my smalls. My chest of drawers was his bureau. What he thought rubbish, I thought garage sale.

Chip Butty

The first time we circled a round-about to catch a chip butty truck I wasn’t sure what I was getting. By the third day, I was searching for the trucks myself. (If you’re not familiar with the English treat, it’s french fries on buttered white bread. Add a splash of ketchup and it truly isn’t bad. Carb overload, but who’s counting?)

This GrammarChek infographic highlights some of the other U.S.-British English differences we worked our way through while in business together.

British vs. American English: 63 Differences (Infographic)

What about you? Have you ever had English-speaking differences with someone?

All God’s Critters

A blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

I have come to accept the fact that not everyone shares the Miller fascination with all things living.

When people come over for the first time I hold my breath and hope they don’t turn around at the front door when they see the bee hives and hear all the dogs. So agreeing to host an international student is a huge risk.

Bill, the Chinese student currently living on Miller Farm, fits right in. He actually has pet snakes at his home in China. His mom cares for them while he is here. I’m very impressed with her. Wrangling chickens is one thing but snakes…

Anyway, on the way home from school this week, Bill mentioned that there had been a snail hanging out on the window in his bedroom. He said it hadn’t moved in a couple of days – not surprising for a snail.

A little while later he came into the living room with…The snail on his window had three baby snails. He put them back outside on a tree with their mom.

Miller farm has now seen the birth of guinea pigs, lizards, chickens, quail, mice, puppies, and snails. I have a feeling we are not done yet. I just hope we go back to babies with fur or feathers.

Flowering Words of Wisdom

A Writer’s Dilemma – Drama and Suffering

We all dislike negative, unhappy things aka drama.

Who wants to suffer and be unhappy? I sure don’t.

But – reality is drama, though unwelcomed most of the time, is what life is all about.

Our puppy’s reaction to hearing thunder for the first time.

Happy drama is a very different thing.

I love the drama our new Old English Sheepdog added to our world. If you’ve ever had a puppy, you can relate. He changed our lives dramatically while adding so much laughter and love.

As a writer, I have such a difficult time being hard on my characters. I don’t want them to suffer or be unhappy. Unfortunately, that makes for a dull, uninteresting story. Drama is an integral part of real life so fictional characters must suffer.

After attending the BONI Intensive Seminars where Donald Maass stresses Tension (drama) on every page to engage readers fully, I finally understood the need to create more suffering for my fictional characters.

Readers expect drama and want to become emotionally involved with our characters. When drama and suffering are absent, readers fail to connect with our characters. They won’t read our books.

If you need a nudge to add drama to your writing (as I did), let me suggest:

1. Read The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass
2. Attend a Breakout Novel Intensive Seminar
3. Visit One Stop for Writers website where you’ll find loads of resources like The Emotion Thesaurus

And, just for fun here’s some video inspiration on how to add  drama to a dull scene:

Flowering Words of Wisdom