Writer’s Life

2 05, 2022

In Search of the Leak

By |2022-05-02T06:29:16-05:00May 2nd, 2022|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life|1 Comment

There’s a leak in the water feature in our backyard. We know there is because the water in the pond drops when we turn on the fountain.

We have been trying to find the leak for weeks. It’s a perfect example of things life keeps tossing in my world to keep me from my writing.

We filled obvious cracks with a cement caulk. Then coated the entire bed of the creek that winds from the fountain by the garage to the retention pond at the edge of the back porch with a rubber product to seal it.

That task required removing all the rocks that weren’t cemented to the creek bed. The rubber then had to cure for a week before we could add water again. The poor birds were not happy to lose their bathing hole.

Once the rubber cured, we refilled the pond, but, alas, when we started the pump again, the water sank like bathwater down the drain. Clearly, there was still a hole somewhere.

The creek drops in elevation in sections. We isolate each section to test for the leak. That narrowed the search to one section and upon careful examination we found a hole going through the rubber coating and the cement structure below to dirt.

We plugged the hole, filled the pond, and started the pump again. Our backyard birds were ecstatic.

The plan was to add more black rubber over the white patch once we knew we’d fix the problem. But sadly, the pond level sank again when filled.

Only about a quarter inch this time. But still not good.

After more scrutiny, we discovered tiny cracks in the fountain structure and water seeping out around the bottom edges.

That song from Girl Scout campouts, “There’s a Hole in the Bucket,” ran through my head as we were working. Have a listen if you’ve never heard it. Warning: You’ll be humming it all day.

I remember the last verse we sang at camp differently. We passed a bucket around as we sang and after the last verse, the one holding the bucket stuck it on their head.

We’ll be using our heads, but not like in the camp song. We’ve called the stonemason who built the pond. He’s coming to isolate the fountain leaks and fix them.

25 04, 2022

And Then There Was No Internet

By |2022-04-25T12:11:03-05:00April 25th, 2022|A Writer's Life, Make Me Think Monday, Writer's Life|4 Comments

Our internet provider had a major outage recently. No warning. No explanation.

I suspect one of the construction crews accidentally cut a fiber-optic cable. We have lots of roadwork and new home construction going on around us. The city is encroaching on our quiet little community.

No power, we’re used to that but having power without internet—that was weird.

To make things worse, we switched to streaming from the same provider so we had no Netflix or Amazon Prime. No series to binge after dinner. We found ourselves thrust back to pre-internet days.

All was not lost though.

I had never tossed our DVD/VCR player or favorite DVDs and VHS tapes in any of my downsize purge frenzies.

We had options.

We spent a very enjoyable evening watching one of our favorite DVD movies from 2001, Moulin Rouge starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.

Watching their love story made me want to write a romance novel titled “Come What May.”

After the movie, we headed to bed to read. Normally we say, “One more episode. It’s not too late.” and end up staying up too late to read.

Not a bad day overall.

One day without internet was a nice break, but no internet at all? No thank you.

11 04, 2022

Pollen and Planting Time

By |2022-04-10T10:47:34-05:00April 11th, 2022|Make Me Think Monday, Writer's Life|0 Comments

Spring has sprung in Rosehill, Texas. Azaleas are bursting with blooms. White blossoms fill Bradford pear trees. Unfortunately, pollen from pines, oaks, and every green tree is also clogging the air. Daily pollen counts here are double, triple previous years.

Pollenpocalypse may be upon us, but the gardener in me won’t be stopped.

Morning Glory seeds need to be planted and zinnia seeds dried from last year’s blooms must be spread in the flower beds.

Plus, Confederate Rose trimmings rooted over the winter have leafy growth. Time to get the sticks into the ground so those twigs can grow hardly roots.

If you’re not familiar with a Confederate rose, this is one.

The showy blooms, 4 to 6 inches wide, appear in fall. They open white, fade to pink, and, as they age, end up red. All three colors can appear on the same plant at the same time. It’s not a rose at all but a species of hibiscus native to China (Hibiscus mutabilis).

It’s a favorite Southern passalong plant since it’s so easy to propagate. The easiest way to reproduce the plant is to simply put cuttings in water like I did.

Legend says the flowers were used to soak up the blood spilled on Confederate battlefields and hence the name Confederate. In the book Passalong Plants, Felder Rushing says ladies in Mobile, Alabama gave these flowers to Confederate soldiers returning home from the war. He’s a well-known authority on all things southern especially gardening things so it’s bound to be true.

Another name is “cotton rose” because its leaves resemble cotton foliage and its round flower buds resemble cotton bolls.

The Confederate rose can be either a small tree, a perennial, or an annual.

One good thing that’s come from Global Warming is more people are being introduced to the Confederate rose.

In places that don’t have winter freezes, it can get grow thirty feet tall. What a sight to see so many multi-colored flowers each fall.

The best thing about Confederate Roses…

All you need to do is ask a friend to have one in your yard. Don’t be shy about asking. It’s what we do down here. It’s perfectly acceptable.

14 03, 2022

Nothing like Irish music to Put Ya in a St. Patrick’s Day Mood

By |2022-03-11T05:55:46-06:00March 14th, 2022|A Writer's Life, Holidays, Make Me Think Monday, Writer's Life|0 Comments

St. Patrick’s Day brings all things Irish out around my house, even more so than usual. We feast on Irish stew and soda bread and start our day with scones. The air rings with Irish music.

But traditional Irish music isn’t limited to St. Paddy Day. You’ll often see a bit of toe-tapping going on around here. I could listen all day. And often do.

Music is the heart of Ireland. Whether the fiddler on a corner in Dublin or the man on the country lane blowing his Irish whistle or a late-night session at the local pub, you’ll find toe-tapping, hand-clapping music everywhere. Our visits to the pub sessions were the highlight of all our trips to Ireland.

 

 

 

 

 

One night, as a session broke up a native Irish speaker leaned over to me and said, “Ah, I tell ya, it was great music, ‘twould make the water stand out in ya eyes.”And indeed, tears did sparkle in my eyes that night. Nothing is more wonderful than the combination of traditional music and dancing.

Every visit to Ireland should include an Irish evening of traditional music, song, and local dancers. We still talk about our long-ago visit to Bunratty Castle’s Irish Evening at the Corn Barn.

Here’s a commercial video describing the event. I promise it will put you in St. Patrick’s Day mood.

7 03, 2022

The Gonk Has Returned

By |2022-02-26T10:30:35-06:00March 7th, 2022|A Writer's Life, Uncategorized, Writer's Life|2 Comments

Don’t know what a gonk is? Meet Gonk.

The Gonks’ signature features are a small, spherical body and two googly eyes. A gonk is not a gnome or a leprechaun though there are family resemblances.

Gnomes have a pointy hat and face full of hair. Gonks don’t.

Leprechauns sport green hats and orange beards. Gonks don’t have orange beards or stovepipe hats.

 

Gonks are the creation of English inventor Robert Benson. They were quite literally the first toy craze in England post-World War II. Endorsements by Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers aided in their popularity.

Gonks also appeared in the 1964 movie Gonks Go Beat. The film is a take-off on the Romeo and Juliette theme. Two musical communities, one who likes rock and roll and one who likes ballads, become reunited through a couple who love across their communities.

With the publication of this 1960s Simplicity pattern. Gonks became homemade toys. Children loved them and they could be made from almost any material and any size.

The Gonk-guy below was created from the pattern by hubby-dear’s sister, seamstress extraordinaire.

Her Gonk creations were much desired and cherished.

Around our house, we have many of Nita’s Nitawork needlework creations including Mr. and Ms. Santa Claus, a holiday door wreath, and a Texas State Fair First Prize-winning wall-hanging of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Sadly, our University of Texas gonk met his demise years ago.

That’s why I was so delighted to discover this round, cuddly guy with a great message on his shirt when helping Nita’s son clear out his sister’s apartment.

A treasure that brings back fond memories.

28 02, 2022

Goodbye to February and Hello to March

By |2022-02-09T11:07:16-06:00February 28th, 2022|Writer's Life|0 Comments

February is all about love. Hallmark Movie Channel even renamed the month LOVEuary. March will be about all things Irish and the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

What better way to end LOVEuary and welcome March than with this short film, written by Kealan O’Rourke and produced by Trinity University, Dublin.

In “Before Sunrise,” shadow creatures play throughout the night in a fairy tale village. One shadow is tired of his mischievous life and discovers something altogether more magical.

Enjoy!

31 01, 2022

No New Year Resolutions for Me

By |2022-01-30T10:04:23-06:00January 31st, 2022|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life|1 Comment

After everything that happened in 2020, I had so wanted 2021 to be our return to normalcy. There were moments, but normal didn’t happen.

We had even more COVID variants to put up with. Plus, we lost Betty White and Alex Trebek. Not a good year at all. I was more than happy to turn my calendar and head into a new year.

January always feels like a second chance, a time for fresh starts. To begin again with resolutions for changes, if not in the world, then in ourselves.

Bloggers offer plenty of ideas for resolutions. I usually prepare a goal-setting blog or two myself. Not this year. No blog and no list of personal goals for me this year.

Why? Because resolutions are notoriously unsuccessful. Life always gets in the way. I’m trying something different this year.

I haven’t liked what I’ve seen in the world in the last two years. I haven’t laughed a lot. Some days I haven’t even smiled.

Instead of making a resolutions list, I intend to laugh more in 2022. While I can’t change the past, I’m counting on humor to get me through the present.

I know there will be new challenges in 2022. According to experts, China’s “gift” to the world is entering the endemic phase. That means COVID is never going away. The good news is, having survived the last two years, we have an arsenal to combat an endemic.

Will laughter solve all the issues we face? Of course not.

But laughter will increase oxygen intake and stimulate our heart, lungs, and muscles. Most importantly, laughter will increase the endorphins that activate and relieve stress responses.

In today’s world, that’s a win-win.

24 01, 2022

The Posing Tree

By |2022-01-28T12:06:56-06:00January 24th, 2022|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life|1 Comment

We have a huge oak tree in our front yard. Its trunk is thick. The branches wind and curve and resurrection fern covering the limbs unfurl to life after a rain.

Arborists tell us it’s around two hundred years old. We love it for its beauty and shade.

It begs to be climbed.

Old and young and very agile answer its call.

It is a perfect posing tree for photographs.

Photos that capture moments of time.

Photos that bring smiles.

Memories are what I love most about our beautiful oak tree.

 

What are you loving most these days?

15 11, 2021

The Wandering Pickleball Paddle

By |2021-11-14T06:10:54-06:00November 15th, 2021|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life|0 Comments

Hubby-dear is a Pickleball addict. He wears his hat all the time which leads to questions.  Because he loves the game, he’s always eager to share. He’s been responsible for growing the sport every place we’ve lived.

Hubby-dear also carries paddles, nets, and balls in his car for a quick demonstration. If someone wants to learn, he offers one of the extra paddles.

During our great Texas Ice Apocalypse remodel last February, Hubby-dear invited one of the workers to join him on our local city park Pickleball courts. The young man didn’t have a paddle, so Hubby-dear lent him my Ol’ Yellow paddle from his stash.

The young man played a couple of times. He loved the game so Hubby-dear let him keep the paddle until he could get his own. He even wrote his phone number on the paddle so the man could call with questions.

Fast forward to two days ago, Hubby-dear received a text from a car dealer in Mississippi. He’d found a yellow Pickleball paddle in a car he bought at a car auction in Texas. Was it Hubby-dear’s?

After an exchange of texts and calls mostly about Pickleball (the car dealer was a Pickleball addict too), Hubby-dear gave the car dealer our address.

The paddle arrived the next day via next-day delivery!

I think I was happier than Hubby-dear. I’d played many a game using Ol’ Yellow until health issues forced me to retire. These days I watch Hubby-dear win local championships with his partner.

I may not play, but Ol’ Yellow is back in Hubby-dear’s supply basket awaiting the next new Pickleball convert. Who knows where the paddle will end up next?

If you haven’t played Pickleball, stop by your neighborhood courts and watch. And, yes there will be a court somewhere close by.

Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in American.

11 10, 2021

An Alexander Day

By |2021-10-07T08:10:31-05:00October 11th, 2021|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life|1 Comment

It’s been an Alexander morning.

A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad start to the day where nothing’s gone as planned. I’m sure you’ve had those days too, but you may not be familiar with the term Alexander Day.

The phrase is original. The concept of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day isn’t. The idea comes from Judith Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

If you are not familiar with the story, you MUST read this delightful children’s book. Adults will easily relate. Click here to read more about poor Alexander’s day.

I used to read the story to my children and students. The story is a wonderful lesson in attitude adjustment.

My Alexander morning, day one of a 10-week hypoallergenic food trial to determine if an allergy to protein is causing our dog’s constant scratching and resultant bloody sores, began with pumpkin all over the floor, me, and Finnegan, and the pill disguised in the pumpkin on the floor.

I ended up cramming the medication down his throat with my fingers. A very yucky thing to have to do.

A giant mess to start my day. Like Alexander, I had to decide what to do with this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I could grump all day or can change my attitude. I’m choosing to do the latter. The rest of the day can only improve.

Tomorrow has to start better.

Go to Top