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Monday, July 18, 2016

Blogger Guilt?

Is Blogger guilt the same as Catholic guilt?  My post last week was a cheat.  Call it a lifeline perhaps, but the blog hop that appeared like an angel and supplied me with word-fodder when I had nothing to write, got me off the hook.  This week, though, I won’t allow myself the luxury.  It’s time to come up with a real post, even though it feels like I’m still out there treading water, at a loss for words when the lifeguards have all gone home.  So, you’re going to get what you always get with this happens, a word dump. Brain, to fingers, to post. 

As I write, we’re cruising towards our end of July heat wave, but after two visits down to South Carolina since March, I’ll tell you this.  Up here, we don’t know heat. We just don’t.  As a result, I’ve been snickering to myself at work when I hear people moaning about the humidity.  To be clear, it is not unusual around here for people not to own air conditioners, and without one when the thermometer tops ninety and the humidity soars, it really is hot.  That said, the reason so many of us don’t go to the expense, or bother of installing air conditioners is because the heat just doesn’t last.  By August, the nights will already get cooler. Add to that a sea breeze that helps to mitigate high temps, and like us, you too, might own one air-conditioning window unit that some years never makes it up from the basement.  As this moment, ours is still down there.

Ugh.  Weather?  Is this all I can come up with?  Come on fingers, you can do better than that...

Hmmm.  Ummm…

Things I am grateful for:

A visit from one of my oldest friends this weekend along with her husband.  

When I wake up to a clear sky and a weekend stretching ahead of us, well, trust me, I know how lucky we are. The ocean we love is near and we appreciate it even more when we get to share it. Fate was especially good for this visit, as we took our guests sailing and the wind blew steady and strong.  Later, we swam off the harbor sandbar, and the normally frigid water was bearable.  We ate dinner outside and the mosquitos allowed to us finish before chasing us inside—and Sunday morning, when we headed out early to drink coffee and eat bagels on the beach, the still water blended with the horizon as if an artist smudged the line with a charcoal pencil. The stone lighthouse on the horizon faded in and out amid a distant haze, while behind us, a morning beach yoga class quietly struck their poses.  Having company allows us to see our hometown through our visitors’ eyes, making it a holiday for us, too.

And last but not least, I received an email from my favorite blueberry patch this week, announcing the berries are ripe.  

That means in the next day or so, I’ll pull on socks with my sneakers and head to the farm where I’ll sling the rope tied to a plastic bucket around my neck, and pick with two hands. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this tradition for each of the seven summers I’ve been blogging.  Being out in the fields with the birds and the cicadas and the tickle of tall grass around my legs always inspires me.  Making blueberry crisp with fresh picked fruit does too.  Stay tuned.  Could be my topic for next week…

Saturday, July 9, 2016

This is Me, A-Z

I haven't done a blog hop in a while.  I had fun with this one. This hop is on until July 13.   To join in, or get to know others, click here:

This is me, from A to Z

A: Age
Really, I have to tell you?  Well, I started this blog when I was 50.  You do the math.

B: Biggest fear
Something will happen to my husband or daughter

C: Current time
10:15 am

D: Drink you last had

E: Every day starts with
“Can’t I just stay in bed a little longer?”

F: Favorite Song

Too, too many.  But here is the haunting, ethereal one I come back to whenever asked this question:

G: Ghosts, are they real?
I rather hope so.

H: Hometown
On the south shore of Massachusetts, where I've been for the last 24 years.  Before that, a town a bit west of Boston.

I: In love with
Life and my dear, dear husband.

J: Jealous of?
Hmmm.  Try not to be.  Really.

K: Killed someone?
In my second novel, I killed of the MC’s father…and cried for about an hour.  Haven’t done it since.

L: Last time you cried?
I’m pretty sure I cried watching a video someone put on FB, but since I do that regularly, I can’t remember which one.

M: Middle name?
Elizabeth, which I now use as my first name.  Believe it or not, my real first name is Mary.

N: Number of siblings?

O: One wish?
To get my act in gear, finish my current manuscript and finally publish a novel.

P: Person you last called?
My daughter

Q: Question you're always asked?
I moved to my husband's home town and he is one of eight siblings.  If it is not, "Are you related to...?"   then it's ...Which one are you married to?"

R: Reason to smile?
My husband, my daughter, my garden, when my articles are in print, when someone says something nice about my writing, better yet, when someone acknowledges me as a writer…

S: Sounds that annoy you?
We are on a jet path to the airport.  When the wind comes from the northwest, we hear every circling plane, and they fly low.

T: Time you woke up?
5:20 am.

U: Underwear color?

V: Vacation destination?
Just returned from Charleston, SC, which has been on my bucket list for years.  I haven’t replaced it yet.

W: Worst habit?
Reading when I should be doing everything else.

X: X-Rays you've had?
Besides the airport and dentist?  I have them pretty regularly to check on what (fingers crossed) remains a benign medical condition.

Y: Your favorite food?
To many to mention, but here are a few: bread pudding, corn and clam chowder, roast leg of lamb, a fresh tomato off the vine…preferable with fresh basil and mozzarella.  Shrimp or clam linguini.  Bolognese.  Roasted potatoes.  Blueberry pie.  Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate brownie, or New York Super Fudge Chunk…really.  If it’s not liver and it’s prepared well, then it’s my favorite. 

Z: Zodiac sign
Cancer.  Yep. Got a birthday coming up!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Who? Me? IWSG July

It's IWSG Day.  The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. The brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh, our brilliant ninja leader, please visit his co-hosts this month: Yolanda Renee, Tyrean Martinson, Madeline Mora-Summonte, LK Hill, Rachna Chhrabia, and JA Scott.

This month we have a theme question: What is the best thing anyone has said about your writing?

I write freelance for a publishing company that produces various local lifestyle magazines.  They gave me a start about six years ago, offering me the opportunity to write about food-related subjects in free blog posts for one of their online publications.  Once I proved myself, they began giving me feature articles in their magazines, and often, my picture appears on the contributors’ page.  Honestly, people who read my blog probably know more about the articles I write than the people in my day-to- day life. I mean, if people ask, I tell them what I’ve written lately, but they don't ask much, and I don’t run around announcing every piece. It is enough for me that the editors pass my name along to each other and every couple of months or so, I receive an email asking me to write a feature story.  The topics are fun, and they pay. I get a lot of enjoyment out of the whole business.

So, last week, my husband and I stopped at the library together. While we don’t know the names of the librarians, they're familiar faces, and as I checked out my books one of the them said to me, “You're the writer, right?”

Eyes widening, I nodded.  “I am.”

She gave me a big grin.  “I carry a subscription to South Shore Living, and I always look forward to seeing your articles.” She said.  “And I read The Globe.  I saw your recent story there too!”

Walking out of the library, honestly, I giggled.  “Did you hear that?” I asked my husband.

“I did,” he said.  “Look at you. You have a fan.”

Then, this past Friday, something added to the fun.  My husband and I went out for an early supper at a modest waterfront restaurant we get to occasionally.  After we finished, I waited on the sidewalk outside while he visited the facilities.  Even though I'd just seen it, I perused the menu stapled on a glass covered bulletin board before beginning to read a wooden-framed notice beneath it.  It was a review, it started off witty, and I gathered myself ready for a fun read.  One paragraph into it, the thing started to sound...familiar?  I checked the byline and started laughing.  Five years later, I'm kind of tickled with myself.  The thing was good and yep, I wrote it.

The best thing anyone has said about my writing?  The compliment some invisible employee bestowed when he or she framed my review and placed it on a bulletin board facing a well-traveled sidewalk on a busy road.

Kind of feels like I have a little "street cred."

Monday, July 4, 2016