Thursday, June 16, 2016

Celebrating the Small Things. June 17, 2016 - Fireflies

Welcome to the Celebrations Blog Hop.

It is a good way to pause, take stock, and see that your world is actually a fairly nice place to live.  A time to focus on the small things that you tend to overlook.  

Today I am celebrating fireflies.

I just stepped outside holding a leash which had, on its other end, a three-month old puppy named Chester.  Night had fallen, but a glow remained to the west.  The moon rode high in the sky, still bright from the vanished sun.  A breeze, still carrying a touch of early spring coolness, stirred my hair.  Chester was snuffling in the grass and deciding whether he wished to ‘do his business’ or just sniff the wind.

Chester’s preoccupation with sniffing the wind was a good thing, I thought, savoring the scent of still-tender grass and flowers.  It was a perfect evening, the stars beginning to glitter in the sky’s zenith, mirroring the fireflies that sparkled below them.

I had forgotten fireflies.  I forget them every year only to remember them in the spring with a sense of finding an old friend that I had once thought lost.

I remember driving through a summer night heading toward my grandparents’ house in rural Vermont, seeing the woods so alive with the pale light of fireflies, they seemed to be full of tiny fireworks.  The woods were a sea of flickering light, and if I looked up into the sky I could see them trailing upward.


My father liked to watch the fireflies with us…  Like any child, I tried putting them in jars as night lights.  I stopped after perhaps the third time.  They always died, and they were so beautiful and so harmless, how could I put them somewhere that they could die?  Later, I learned more about them:

For example, male fireflies flash in flight, seeking females while females return the males’ flashes from the ground on the on vegetation.  Well, that may be the case.  Propagation of the species is always important, but as the years pass I become more convinced that things are often done because they are enjoyable.  The glitter of fireflies is a joyous sight for me, and I would not be surprised to learn sometime,, somehow, that fireflies enjoy flying and flickering.

If you are in Florida during firefly season, you can visit a park that features them:


,,,and do visit Lexa Cain and her two delightful co-hosts L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits,





Friday, June 10, 2016



Good morning (North American time) and welcome to the Celebrations Blog Hop.

Do visit Lexa Cain and her two delightful co-hosts L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits,

It is a good way to pause, take stock, and see that your world is actually a fairly nice place to live.  A time to focus on the small things that you tend to overlook.  

So…  What am I celebrating?

Well, my mother has moved to her new home.  She is no longer isolated, but is in a sort of condominium housing arrangement.  She has a lovely apartment, lots of air and light, things to look at and very kind neighbors who greet her every day.  Some of them have been good friends in the past.  She had been somewhat careless over meals.  Now she gets twenty meals a month in her choice of dining rooms.  She said some of the cooking is not to her taste – the way they handle vegetables, for example – but overall, she says, it has been very nice.  She is glad she moved. 

(The downside is that she downsized and I am currently housing some ‘treasures’ I hadn’t really wanted, though they are lovely:  Royal Crown Derby handpainted service for twelve, and various other items of bric-a-brac that I don’t have room for.)  But she is happy that that the things are safe, and that is all that matters.
Can you feel the wind???
 

The weather has taken a cool turn here in the northern hemisphere, in the northeastern United States.  I have been enjoying the wind tossing the trees chasing the clouds across the skies. 

Two nights ago, letting my new puppy out to powder his nose, I happened to look up at the sky in time to see the tall maples swaying before the wind, and Orion’s constellation, striding across the sky, covered by rags of swift-moving clouds.  It was well before midnight, and the sky still held a touch of dark, dark blue with the clouds glinting against it.  I do love spring.
Show Off!
Oh – and tomorrow I pack up my cat and attend a show.  He enjoys it, and I like rosettes.  How can I lose?


So what is everyone else celebrating?  Do tell!









Wednesday, May 4, 2016

IWSG - May 4, 2016

Today is IWSG day. Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and all the other writers who support each other, make us all smile and think in this monthly hop. No one is mocked or sneered at. All are welcome. We have all been there.


The awesome and very nice co-host for this month is Chrys Fey 
Visit the website and look around: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/


And visit the other posters in this blog hop, enjoy the thoughts and the advice and most of all (for me, at least) the realization that everyone has insecurities, and we can enjoy them, work with them, and understand that at times they motivate us.

My post this month deals with something that I certainly feel.  This graphic expresses it beautifully:


Don't we all feel that way?  We write, we think, we plot, we agonize over characters, we feel angst over whether we are promoting our published work, polishing the work that we hope will be published, smarting from a rejection, worried about whether our beta-readers will like the story, and whether they will tell us to scrap it, worried that no one will be willing to read our manuscript, and wondering whether we still have the spark, since it has been over three weeks since we set pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard.

We know that this is all part of writing, and we try to hold our heads proudly (those of us who have been beheaded...  No, wait!  I am trying to express something profound and normal, and humor is out of place...  Or is it?  Hm.  I'll leave the wisecrack in.) and soldier on.

So what can we do?  Realize that there are a lot of us soldiering on, accept that the feelings are going to arise no matter how fabulous you are.  Sarah Bernhardt, the great actress, had terrible stage fright before any performance of a part that people loved.  So we can acknowledge the worries, smile at them, and soldier on.  ...And maybe share our worries with our nearest and dearest, whether friends, family or co-writers.




Friday, April 22, 2016

Celebrations, 22 April, 2016 - getting back into things


22 April, 2016 Celebrate The Small Things

This is my first post in over a month.  I took a 'repairing lease' and unwound.  We all have times where we have to sit down and catch our breath, clear the cobwebs from our minds, and try to gain a little peace.

It helped, and I am glad I bowed out for this time.

And now I am back and celebrating.

I am celebrating the literally hundreds of blog posts I missed in these past two plus months. And I must admit that returning at the height of A to Z gives me a lot of good things to read.  Since I will be with my mother this weekend, I'll be doing some catching up.

I am celebrating a book I picked up to read, which led to some truly wonderful moments, and gave me an author  to admire.

I will be working on a review for it.

I am celebrating the fact that my mother has decided, with no pushing from her children, that she will move into a condo-type place with other people, many her friends, where she won't be isolated, will have activities, and won't be lonely.  I could wish that she were closer to me than 250 miles, but if it allows her to stay where she is accustomed to be, with people she knows, I can certainly drive 250 miles to see her.

The move will cause headaches, of course, but she will be in such a better place that I can't object at all.  She said "I feel so badly that you have to drop everything and come down here."  And I say, "I seem to recall you and Dad doing the same for me."  It gets the point across.

Treasure your nearest and dearest.  Time passes too quickly, and it's best to say the things you want to while they are here.

Now to go off to work and to read other posts.

Do visit Lexa Cain and her two delightful co-hosts L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits,


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Celebrations March 18, 2016


18 March, 2016 Celebrate The Small Things

Once upon a time, a lovely lady and writer and blogger named VikLit had the idea to start a blog hop commemorating the little things that make our lives (or weeks or days or moments) something to celebrate.  After some years, she turned it over to 
Lexa Cain and her two delightful co-hosts L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits,

I am celebrating the close of another week, the prospect of a (nearly) spring weekend, and the opportunity to get a little reading and writing done.

Spring is an important celebration, and it was heralded by 0the sudden appearance of a line of daffodils, just about ready to bloom, near the door to my garage.  They pushed up through last year's leaves and moss and there they are, like gold-tipped spears.

Of course, Friday's appearance is a wonderful thing to celebrate.  It is not that I grudge my day job, I simply like the time to step back and catch my breath.  Sleeping in on a Saturday morning is a prospect to celebrate.



It is nearly time to break out my quilts, one made by a very dear friend, the others heirlooms of various 'importance'.  I have a very old one, made in 1843, of blue-dyed and white cotton muslin, celebrating the marriage of two people, their names embroidered in red cross stitch on the corner.

Incidentally, if you have an old quilt, don't store it folded with the backer out.  The quilter friend told me that that strains the backing.  Always store quilts with the patterned side out.

Now you have something to celebrate!  (The way to store quilts that won't strain them.) and I can lose myself in the memory of the scent of laundry drying on a clothesline.

And  the arrival of Spring!
What are you celebrating?



Friday, March 11, 2016

Celebrating, 11 March, 2016


11 March, 2016 Celebrate The Small Things

Welcome to this lovely blog hop, started by VikLit, bless her!
Lexa Cain and her two wonderful co-hosts L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge and Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits are presiding.

Check them out and be prepared to smile!

What am I celebrating?  Well, changes, comings and goings. I spoke of Jesse James (my darling old dog) earlier.  He's left quite a hole in my household, but lots of smiles, as well.  And it appears that we may be having a new little presence in a couple months in the form of a puppy.  Jesse's wisdom and humor linger.  We learned a lot from him, and the puppy will benefit from the years we had him.  Meanwhile, we're remembering and smiling.

On another front, I am finishing two stories, a full-length novel set in Paris and a fable that I've mentioned before...  Or, I will be once I start up again in April.  I've been beta-reading (VERY enjoyable!) doing this and that.

And fiddling with things.
Large male saltwater crocodile, Australia

Which brings me to my celebration.  I have a cover nearly finished for the fable.  I've posted a version of it before.  It prominently features a magnificent crocodile that is a major force in the story.  The photo I found was perfect...  It had been printed in a newspaper.  If you are using photographs or other images, you must, if you are honest, verify that they are in the public domain and, if not, secure a license to use them.  As an amateur photographer, I understand what goes into taking what your eye sees and turning it into a work of art.

So, the crocodile.  I searched for the photographer...and I finally found him.  Or, rather, his name.  I looked him up by name and located his website.  At his website, I swallowed hard and took a deep breath.

The man was a superb photographer.  He did work for the National Geographic Society.  He was as good as Galen Rowell (if you know photography, you will know the name).  I couldn't possibly afford him.

But one must ask.  I wrote to him, told him what I wanted the image for, explained how I had tracked him down, and inquired whether I might purchase a license to use the photograph.  Knowing his quality and my budget, I also started looking at stock images...

And I received this response:
Hi Diana
Thanks for your enquiry. I can confirm that the image of the crocodile is one I took in 2005. The Courier Mail published it without my permission (which is far from unheard of). I have full copyright over the image however I preference how I license images depending on the status/capacity of the use, and the user etc.

I would like to provide you use of this image as a courtesy, since I appreciate the demands on writers in bringing their work to completion. I also appreciate the obvious effort you have gone to contact me.

I have attached a higher res version of the image to assist you.

If you are able to publish your work it would be great to receive a copy.
Good luck.

Kind Regards
Kerry
I looked at the image he had attached and reread the note.  The book will be published and he will receive a copy as well as credit for the image.

...and I am celebrating the nearly finalized cover that I can use now that I have cleared permissions:

(Stars are very important in the story)


What are you celebrating?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Jesse James - To All Good Dogs

Today I said hail and farewell to my dog, Jesse James, who lived to the grand old age (for a large Lab) of nearly fifteen years.  It was hard to say goodbye.

Jesse James  August 9, 2001 - March 5, 2016

What purpose did they serve, all the good dogs that once ran through the world and wait now in the shadowy quiet of the past? 

They lightened our burdens and drove away our enemies and stayed when others left us. They gave aid and comfort, protection and security. They held a mirror wherein we might see ourselves as we long to be. They gave us a glimpse of the world beyond the narrow confines of our own species. 

Although we make dull students, slowly they help us learn how to command and to protect with wisdom and justice and imagination. 

They taught and still teach us the joy of giving generosity and kindness and love - without the thought of gainful return. 

And now - all the fleet hounds, the staunch mastiffs, the loyal shepherds, the dancing toys, the fumbling puppies, pets on silken pillows, workers plodding at their tasks, the special ones you loved best, those of ours we still miss. 

To all the good dogs, goodbye
Until on some brighter day, in some fair place, 
You run out to greet us again

    George and Helen Papashvily