Life progress.

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I have to brag because this weekend I worked in the yard for the first time in three years!

iris2015 Seriously, it’s been that long since I’ve been strong enough to climb our mostly weed covered slopes. Maintaining a traditional yard in Colorado is a serious labor of love. Our high desert climate makes green carpets almost more work than they are worth. Yesterday, I applied fertilizer and weed killer to our long-suffering grass, trimmed unruly trees, and photographed first flowers of the season. After three years of mowing-only by my overworked husband, the yard, like myself, is a bit worse for wear. But, good news…landscapers will be here in early May to give the yard a modest zeriscape do-over.

Too bad people can’t get a do-over, a la Avatar. I’d love to have my decorative rock replaced, my mulch refreshed, and my stumps removed!

Also, this weekend I’ve had a lot of time to think about my writing. If I wrote as much as I thought and worried about writing, I’d have three or four novels completed. Since many of the physical problems I’ve endured are receding *cheers loudly at top of lungs*, it’s time to start pounding the keyboard again. I’m starting with blogging. I STILL love it. lilac-pen-orange-writing-thThe precise word count and the perfect positioning of art makes me feel as if I’m having high tea with a thesaurus. Four hundred words or less is always a pleasure.

Even though my blog’s been silent I’ve noticed every few weeks someone new follows me. The latest is ireadencyclopedias.wordpress.com. Jay is my first follower from Japan, and his lovely blog inspired me. Thanks, Jay.

So, I’m still here…having survived health problems to numerous to mention along with many other challenges. To quote Robert Brault : “Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a cha-cha.”

Maybe corny, but it’s true.

Tell me what you’re doing, fellow dancers!

A-Z Blog Challenge Reveal

It’s almost A-Z to time again and, better late than never, I stumbled over the A-Z Challenge Reveal. Watch out, my beloved followers. Starting April first I’ll be peppering cyber-land with a blog a night. Short ones, I promise.themebadge

My theme this year is Colorado Road Signs as metaphors for the excitement and terrors of fiction writing. OMG, you say?  Believe it or not, you can learn a lot from road signs that has nothing to do with caution, law, or even addresses. And, if you don’t learn anything else, they can make you laugh!

Join us all as we thunder forward, writing two-hundred and fifty words nightly for the month of April, speeding toward our goal and breaking the literary speed limit.

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ONWARD!

 

Out of Range

IMG_0673I’ve been out of range this week. Although we had to climb to almost 12,000 feet, we finally disconnected ourselves from dumb phone, smart phone, ipod and kindle. A strange but wonderful feeling. Liberating!  My lovely Florida sister spent the week with us and we toured the old haunts. She was last here in 1974 and, while a lot has changed in Colorado, the magnificent scenery remains the same.

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Above:  sunset near our house.

To the left: Rocky Mt. National Park.

Below: Hi- way 36 heading into Boulder, Colorado.

Next week back to pondering the synopsis for new novel. Until then, I’ve turned off my phone. LOL.

Where is your most beautiful view?

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Photos taken by Liz.

Howdy, Ma’am

I was listening to country music at dinner the other night, a xfinity streaming station called True Country. My husband put it on, and it sure brought back a flood of memories from my brain aquifer. Long ago in a cultural detour far away, my girlfriends and I went through what we in Colorado call a cowboy phase. howdy-3_l(It’s the hats and boots, you know.) Honestly, I knew practically nothing about country music except my Dad sang with the Sons of the Pioneers in Oklahoma. Dad also saw Bonnie and Clyde pass through his dusty hometown so you have an idea of how old the music was.

Fast forward to the late twentieth century. There was a black-hat cowboy working at our drafting company.  He busted himself (his words) rodeoing, so he was stuck in the civilian world making a living.  This mysterious man recognized my curiosity about country music. He brought in personally recorded tapes (anyone remember those?) for my listening pleasure. It was wonderful discovering such unique music. I fell in love with George Straight. OMG. For weeks I listened to new tunes, stories of romance and heartbreak, everyday life and love of USA, pickup trucks and bar room brawls. The emotional voices of country and the natural feel of the lyrics enthralled me.

My music tastes moved on through a variety of styles, finally landing on ambient space music, rowdy Latin Jazz, and a few old timers – George Thoroughgood, Bob Marley, and ZZ Top. But, the other day at work, early in the morning before the boss came in, someone tuned into a country station and I found myself instinctively two stepping across the office. Drifting up from the past, the embedded dance made me smile and my co-workers laugh. Some things you never forget, no matter how far they fly away.

What music makes you dance across the office?stars-th

Photo credit: Shine20 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

FLEXING MY WINGS in MAY

I wish there were more letters in the alphabet. A to Z  Blogging Challenge keep me writing every day. It gave me a chance to flex my wings, and I want to keep the momentum.

So, my gentle goals for May, 2013 are as follows: the-rise-my-new-flickr-friend-camera-truth_l

1. I will blog once a week, Sunday night.

2. Nightly, I’ll continue working on first chapters for several novel ideas (just to see if anything grabs me), and I’ll be more open to panster style. Maybe a rigid outline isn’t what I need now. Luring my muse out of hiding is crucial and, if I have to give up obsessive control of my words to find him again, I’ll do it!

3. I’ll search for more firsthand information and advice from published authors. So far, two wonderful ladies, Tina and Gayle, have shared their experiences on the way to the published land. Nothing takes the place of the thoughts of those who did it. (I’ll add their last names and book titles when I get permission from these great gals.)

4. Two queries a week will leave this house, no matter what. It surprises me how difficult it is to push the button on your query letter or print out the packet for snail mail agents.  Arrgh!

5. My quest for information about the pros and cons of self-publishing continues.

6. Daily, I’ll send thoughts of thanks to my husband, Rick, my great fan, Georgie, my beta reader, and Lynette, my critique partner, for their honest, intelligent feedback.

And, I haven’t forgotten that Spring is coming, and I’ll be outside, getting dirty, planting, or just basking in the beautiful Colorado sun.

So, what are your gentle goals for May?

Photo credit: gmayster01 on & off … / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Y’all come back now.

Y – You can tell it’s spring in Colorado. One day it’s 78 degrees, the next day it’s snowing. So, automatically, my thoughts drift to the beach. I love the mountains – I do. But, there is nothing warmer or more comforting than the ocean. Particularly the beautiful shores of North Carolina. Several years ago my husband and I travelled to Atlantic Beach  to spend a week with my mother, brother and sister-in-law. 267317_258012604226721_2408210_n[2]We rented the first floor of a gracious house on the beach, walked for miles on the hard sand, played in the water, ate chicken sandwiches and drank warm beer. Above us undulating ribbons of pelicans patrolled the waves.

Only problem was, it was August. If you know the South, you understand only crazy tourists go to the beach in August. It was hotter than a piece of chicken frying in the pan. Fortunately, we had an offshore breeze most days but, still, OMG. That didn’t stop us. We went on an early morning see-the-dolphins charter from which the slippery mammals were conspicuously absent. The guide later informed us dolphins head for colder water in August. Somewhere the dolphins were laughing at us.

We toured historic Beaufort, NC, home of the notorious pirate, Black Beard. Beaufort has a wonderful museum full of recovered pirate artifacts, maps, weapons, and other Jack Sparrowish items. We slurped melted ice cream and plodded the tourist route through town.  My husband gallantly squired Mom around, steadying her during moments of fatigue or dizziness – his own. Mom soldiered through the day until about 2:00pm. She was like a dolphin, seeking the safety of cool surroundings. She stayed inside basking in the AC while we lubed up with spf  50+ and headed out,  determined to enjoy the ocean. Heat notwithstanding.

That night we watched UFOs rise in the sky and, for a few moments, we believed – until we realized the bright darting lights were probably maneuvers from Seymour Johnson AFB or Cherrypoint.

So, in spite of disappearing dolphins and false UFO sightings, we had a wonderful time. And, when our hosts said, “Y’all come back now,” I thought to myself, I’ll be back as soon as I can.

stars-thWhere do you go when you’ve had enough of winter?

Oasis

After the tragic events of the last few days, I’ve decided to concentrate on beauty. Writing is an oasis for the mind, but  tonight photos seem more appropriate – an oasis for the eyes.

1048553049Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado

One of the most beautiful places on this planet or any other.

sunsetNorthern Colorado

Sunset view from our back deck.

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Winter is going.

As soon as the snow clears, these beauties appear.

What is your oasis?