Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It ain't over...

...till it's over.  (Thank you, Mr. Berra.)

Done, finished, ready.  Well, almost.  This story is set to be released May 31.  Just over 24 hours from now, give or take.  It will be out of my hands.

...And I still have to finalize the Afterword.  All my books have Afterwords.  With historical fiction (which I claim to write) you absolutely have to explain where you have strayed from the conjectural into the invented.  (For example, one person in a main character's life, mourned by that character as dead, historically outlived him...)  I have some words...where the story came from, why it had to be written.

It would be interesting to say what I have found to be true: that once you have written something in a universe that you have created, it is set in stone.  The presence of a specific character in the last book, chronologically, of this series - 'The Memphis Cycle' - mandates the occurrence that is at the center of this story.  ...And then there are my thoughts about what, who, how, why.

Should I write it?  I think perhaps.

I'll miss this one.  It's a 'bright' story.  There is no mystery in it, nothing dire underlies it.  One of mine is a romp - the characters make it so - but the fact behind the story is a tale of treachery, rapaciousness and self-embraced evil.  This one has a love story, and - a blessing that I had not expected - it has a character whose ultimately bittersweet fate, followed through the entire course of my writing this, suddenly turned, rather like the Mississippi changing its course.  I was left standing there, ankle deep in the tide, filled with delight at the way matters fell together, threads were joined, and the flow of the Cycle went on.  I can only say that while I wrote the story, this character's fate followed its true path.

There are some truly amusing sections for me, and some quotes my characters came up with that I found touching:

"Our children sometimes leave us too soon," he said, looking down and away from the sparkle of tears in her eyes.  "You can give them birth, or cause them to quicken in a womb...  You give them the best childhood you can, try to be the father that you should be.  But, ultimately, they will leave you.  A month, a year...  Through marriage, through distance-you do lose them, or part of them you loved.  All that you can do is hold to what you did have, and remember the care you gave them.  And the love.  And also remember, for we sometimes do forget, that what we gave was the best we could at that moment.  And it was sufficient, no matter how we may dream of what we might have done, if only we had known."

Or this, with (perhaps) a bow to Shakespeare:
Seti looked up at him.  "'Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow'," he said.  "You say that too often.  Let me tell you, Djedi, you need to hoard your tomorrows, use them wisely, for tomorrows will run out and you will be left with only yesterdays, wondering where the tomorrows went and desperately wishing to have them back, just long enough to say a word, make a gesture, bind a wound, give one last kiss..."

There is this final worry.  (You may laugh at me - go ahead, guffaw, snicker, tee-hee, snort, chortle...)  The thing is too darned short compared to my usual output.  It is (ahem) only 84,700 words compared to my stripped-down 125K. 

Hah!  I'm going to bed!  24 hours!  Afterword or not afterword... Yikes!



 

 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

They also serve... (thoughts on Memorial Day)

My mother phoned me, disgusted.  She had been talking with someone and my late father's name came up.  Dad was a career Naval officer.  He was in the JAG ('Judge Advocate General') corps and retired as a judge running one of the Navy's districts.  He went into the civilian practice of law after he retired, and rose in that arena.

"So," the man said,  "He was just an attorney."

Mom set him straight.  Dad was a combat veteran.  Not that he bragged about it.  There was a job to do and he did it, like many other veterans the world over.

Dad was an amazing man, and I could not have asked for a better father.  But when he retired, Dad decided to sit down and write his memoirs.  It was a double-spaced typewritten tome called Now I Come To Think Of It.  It contained some surprises.

Dad entered the Navy in 1942 as they were rolling out the top secret radio program.  He became, essentially, an Air Traffic Controller "MIGs coming in at nine o'clock high!".  He saw fighting in the Pacific Theater of the war, participating in the battle of Midway and the big fight involving supply ships.  He was on a Destroyer, his ship was hit by Kamikaze fighters and he,  himself, was hurled to the deck by a wad of shrapnel.

He didn't talk about it much.  Not that it haunted or horrified him, but because like a lot of WWII veterans, Dad did what he had to and came back to live the life of a citizen.  My first inkling was that memoir.  (I promised Dad, as he was dying, that I would type it up and publish it for him.  I'm working on that.)

Dad had ideas of duty and honor and I will never forget what he said once about something I witnessed.

I served as a docent for the Civil War Library and Museum in Philadelphia in the late 'nineties.  I was interested, and I was able to do some research for a book I wrote set in the Georgia Theater.  ('The Safeguard')  I came back from a day there and told Dad what had happened.  It was told me by another docent.

"Hah! You should have seen the idiot!  He came in all puffed up about his great-great grandfather who served in the Union navy!    He had the name of the ship, and he was going on about how great his grandfather was!"

I asked what he had found.

"The ship was docked in Philadelphia through the whole war.  The man spent the entire American Civil War shoreside.  I told him so!"

I thought that was bad form, and I expressed that,  Then I told Dad.  His reply was characteristic.

"Why did he say that?  The man went where he was told to go and did what he was ordered.  So he didn't go into battle - was that his fault?  He served where he was needed, and the fact that he was not discharged dishonorably says a lot.  He had the right to wear the campaign ribbon.  He was a war veteran, something to be proud of."

He fulminated for a moment.  "What sort of fool was that fellow?  I imagine he never served!"

No, probably not.

I found myself remembering Milton's poem:

WHEN I consider how my light is spent
E're half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide,
Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, least he returning chide,
Doth God exact day-labour, light deny'd,
I fondly ask; But patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts, who best
Bear his milde yoke, they serve him best, his State
Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o're Land and Ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and waite.

On Memorial day we honor those who served, men and women.  Some gave their lives, some gave their hearts.  All deserve our respect, admiration and gratitude.

Thanks, Dad (and Uncle Dick).

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Interview With My Main Character

I have the pleasure to interview His Majesty, King Seti of Egypt, today.  His Majesty has graciously agreed to answer some questions about his role in my latest book, Mourningtide, which will be published May 31.  If it please your majesty-

Please call me Seti.  A character never outranks its author, and I am a character that you created, based on a man in history.  We are not the same, and Mourningtide is not a textbook.  You diverge from what is known in one or two regards, but you do cover those episodes in an afterword, do you not?

I certainly do.  Well…Seti…  I thought it would be interesting to speak with you about the events that are covered in Mourningtide.

By all means.

Tell us about yourself.

I was named for my grandfather, who was a troop commander in the Royal Army.  I came from a non-royal family that had spent generations in the armies.  We did have some wealth, and ours was a position of increasing influence.   By the time of the book - according to the reality of the book - I had succeeded my father, who had been named by Horemheb as his successor, and had ruled for a year.  At the opening of the story, I had been King three years.  Two of those years had been spent on campaign, winning back territory and allies Egypt had lost.  I was in my early fifties with four children - two sons and two daughters - and six grandchildren, with two due to arrive at any moment.

And you were expecting a prosperous reign?

I was hoping for one.  I was ready to do what I could to achieve it for my people.

And your son died through an accident.

Yes. 

I'm sorry.

Don't be.  He disregarded the warnings of another, more experienced man, walked into a dangerous situation with his eyes wide open, and was killed.  It happens, as we both know.  I was overset for a time, and Mourningtide tells the story of my healing.  You have chapters up for review on your site.  Did you wish to go over the story itself?  Or did you want to chat about other things?

Let's chat about other things.  This is not your first appearance in one of my stories. 

No, it is not.  My very first appearance in something of yours was a mention, almost in passing, in Pharaoh's Son.  Prince Thutmose entrusted me with a secret which I, in turn, entrusted to Ramesses as I was dying.  His Highness the High Priest had some very kind things to say about me.  My second appearance was in The City of Refuge. In that story I led a division of the Army of Lower Egypt that served as guards and laborers for Lord Nebamun's mission to Akhenaten's capital city. My father and Lord Nebamun were good friends.  I knew nothing of this at that time.

You had quite a large part in that story, didn’t' you?

It was large enough.  I was considered a major character.  Enough happened to make it clear that Lord Nebamun - the hero of that story, along with my good friend Khonsu - was capable of running rings around anyone who came up against him.  I was thoroughly embarrassed, though I did mean well.  Reading over the book, I found myself laughing.

I enjoyed writing the book.

Did you have to have me locked in an escape-proof courtyard on a stormy night?

I did.  It worked.  

Let me ask you: will I be appearing in any other stories of yours?

You appear as a memory several times in Kadesh.  As to other stories with you as a living person...   I don't know.  Your conflict was handled in Mourningtide.  There may be other stories, I can't say.  But not now.
Let's talk about objections people have to books set in Egypt.  The unpronounceable place and personal names-

Punxsutawney

I beg your pardon?

Kealakakua.  Angkor Wat.  If we are speaking of strange or unpronounceable place names, they might fit.  Or, to go 'across the pond' as you Americans and British say it, how about 'Worcestershire' - spelled 'Wore SES ter Shyre' and pronounced 'Woostersheer'.

Well, I-

Or Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwll-llantysiliogogogoch (or Llanfairpwllgwyngyll)  That may be cheating, perhaps, since the name is a sentence describing the location, but it is on the maps.  Looking at it syllable by syllable, I can pronounce it.  Try Pontchartrain.  Neuschwanstein…  How are they worse than 'Waset' or 'Men-Nefer' or 'Iunu'?

Those who read fantasy books have no problem with 'Gormenghast', 'Minas Ithil', the Baranduin, or Dol Amroth.  Prince Imrahil is one of my favorite characters, but his name is no easier  to pronounce than my son's.  And added to my objections is the fact that modern society does not know how my language sounded.  Like the Hebrew writings, we did not supply vowels.

I see your point.  But some of the Egyptian names can be difficult.  Like Amunhorkhepechef.

Be careful: you are meeting yourself coming.  You said that name was easy to type.  And you know better.  It is a ceremonial name that means 'Amun Mighty in Battle'.  Your own sources have indicated that that name was altered depending on what city was home for that prince at any given time, so that if he was residing in Iunu (Heliopolis, if you wish), he would have signed his name 'Rahorkhepechef', and if in Khemnu (Hermopolis, if you are not a purist) he would have been Tothorkpehechef or Thuthorkhepechef.  You were right to give him the nickname 'Hori', by the way.  That's what they called him.

Speaking as an experienced father, a person's name must be something an angry parent can yell at the top of his lungs while running after a naughty child.  Amunhorkhepechef does not satisfy that requirement.  Ergo, it was not the boy's actual name.  It is as silly as someone thinking that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of England - may God bless her! - answers to 'Defender of the Faith' when that title is used by a grandchild at the dinner table. 

Good point.  Do you have anything else to say on the subject of language difficulties?

Yes.  A Elbereth, Gilthoniel!  Silvirin penna Miriel-  You are laughing!

You meant me to. You read Tolkien!  (ahem)  Let's talk about that 'weird Egyptian culture.'

The problem with that perception is that all they know of my era… or, let us say, 85%, comes from tombs and the items taken from them.  I wonder how archaeologists of the future might view North Americans and western Europeans if their only source of information is what they find in Forest Lawn Cemetery or Westminster Abbey.  In fact, there is a hilarious book by David Macauley with the title Motel of the Mysteries that explores what future archaeologists think of a dig in North America.  Their interpretations are very amusing - and they are in line with the folly I see pertaining to my own culture.

Tell me about the hero of your story.

The hero?  There were two.  My son, Ramesses, is one - he showed himself to be like a bell that rings true no matter how you strike it - and Djedi, the young man of the small village that sheltered me.  He saw a need to protect his town from attackers, and he set out to do so.  I helped him as much as I could. 

They had no idea who you were.

Correct.  Lord Nebamun met some ghosts from his past through my inadvertent actions, but he won through, though he did give me a piece of his mind when I returned.

But you were not the hero?

I was the main character, the protagonist.  I did experience hardship and change - but I was not heroic.

We will have to agree to disagree.

You will have to agree.  I did what I always did - though I did mourn the loss of my son.  I had no heights to scale, and falling in love with a wonderful woman required no heroism on my part.  No, Djedi was my hero - and Ramesses.

Djedi.  You helped him.

Yes.  How could I not?  He needed to be coached, they needed to be protected, and I had the experience.  And they were my subjects, after all.

What about Ramesses?

He became the man who would be 'Ramesses the Great'.  That name is spoken with curled lips by some.  It seems that a great man  or woman is always the target of sneers.  People seem to want to see them taken down, their reputations sullied - their clay feet in evidence.  Ramesses was great.  He ruled for nearly seventy years, and his rule made it possible for that part of the world to enjoy peace and stability in what truly was a golden age.

You started it.

Perhaps.  But my reign was not long, and Ramesses stepped in and did his magnificent best.  Poor lad.

'Poor' lad?

Yes.  He is to be pitied.  Think of it:  he saw the deaths of all he loved.  His four oldest sons - three of them serving as Crown Prince - died before him.  Hori after thirty years, Rai - another Ramses - after another twenty-five, Khay (Khaemwaset - one of the heroes of 'Pharaoh's Son')- after another five, when he himself was old.  He watched his children - the children of his youth and his loves - die one after another, themselves old men.  And then he began to fail, himself.  Those people who like to examine corpses and do DNA testing and x-rays have shown that Ramesses had arterial occlusions that probably led, late in life, to senility.  There was, I know, a moment when he stood aghast and realized that he was failing, growing feeble…  I was spared that.

I am sorry.

Don't be, Diana.  There is nothing to weep over.  All hurts are healed now, but we would do well to take that lesson with us.  There.  You are smiling again.  What else do you wish to ask me?
As a character in historical fiction, what is the one thing you would like to say.

I would say that people don’t change:
You are an historian, as I was (at least in your novel).  In your studies, have you found that people have changed at all?  Time has given us ways to kill more people, or heal more people, ways to suppress our imaginations - all the imagining seems to be done for our children now - but as a species, if you will, there is no change to our fundamental nature.  There is a song by Neil Diamond, with the title, I think, of 'Done Too Soon' that ends with this verse:

They have sweated beneath the same sun,
Looked up in wonder at the same moon,
And wept when it was all done
For being done too soon…
For being done too soon.

You make a good point.  And I thank you for spending time with me.    I assume you are going back..?

Yes.  To the place you left me this morning.  The village is fighting off the attackers, Djedi leading under my eye.

Does he know you are king?

You must ask him.  And now, if I may, he is down with a spear in his side and I am holding him...

Will he die?

You are the author.  You know already. And if I told, you would never let me forget it.

Probably not.  Thank you for stopping by and speaking with me.

It is not for a character to object to its author's actions.  Adieu-

Friday, May 24, 2013

Small Celebrations - Old Love

Today I am sitting in my usual seat, looking up the hill after a rainy night. The soil is no doubt soft enough that I can dig up that big Norway Maple in my front yard.  the one that keeps dropping leaves in autumn. 
17 year old BJ on the right






I can reach my teacup, but it is a stretch.  There is a sort of roadblock between me and its brown, hot goodness.

In this photo, large, black, with a face full of white whiskers, he is on the right.  I'm celebrating old love because BJ ('Black Jack', a Bombay) will be turning 17 years old on Wednesday.

Dawn love is silver,
Wait for the west.
Old love is gold love -
Old love is best

lifting a cup of tea this morning for old BJ

(Note: Frida, beside him, is nine years old...)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Reprise


In reading various blogs I saw that I was nominated for another Liebster award back in March.  The one who nominated me was Sharon Himsl of Shells, Tails & Sails .  I love her blog - and her A to Z series was truly enjoyable, as are her other contributions.  I don't know why or how I missed it - I could find no reference to it around the time it was done - but I certainly meant no snub after such a compliment.
 
The questions were enjoyable, and the eleven facts about me were fun to gather, so  I'm posting them here.  If you don't care for this sort of thing, pass on by!
 
 
Eleven questions from me:

1. What is your favorite form of recreation?
Sitting by water and swishing my feet.  Preferably off the end of a dock.  Although...  going places and looking out the window

 2. What kinds of books do you read?
I once made a list of the books I love.  It was fairly eclectic.  I could say what I don't like, but that would offend people who do like what I don't care for.  so...  I like books you can take in sips and savor.  I like books where you can sense the author's heart, lose yourself in the territory of the book.  I like poetry (anthologies are good), adventure stories (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, or Watership Down) books where you find yourself moving through the dust of centuries, whether they are historical or now (Lord of the Rings).  They can be set in the past, the future or the present.  (And now, as a homiletics professor once said, 'If you haven't struck oil in ten minutes, stop boring!)

 3. Why did you start blogging?
I thought it might be fun to try.  I wasn't looking to grab a following, just to put my thoughts down, rather like journaling.

 3. Do you read books on an e-reader or prefer printed books?
I prefer printed books.  I keep losing my e-reader.  It spent the better part of two months in my suitcase.  They are useful, I know - one woman said it helped her cope when her husband had surgery and she had to spend time in the hospital by his side.  ...but I just lifted a brand new book, riffled the pages and caught a whiff of them.  ...ah...

 4. Name two actors or authors you admire.
Robert Downey, Jr.  He had immense talent, went into a downward spiral - and pulled himself up by his bootstraps.  Elizabeth Goudge is one of my favorite authors.  One of my all-time absolutely indispensable utterly beloved and favorite books was written by her.  The Dean's Watch.  Not her best seller.  She had a depth and lyricism to her writing that, to me, was wonderful.

 5. What makes you laugh?
Incongruity, I think.  Slapstick gets me giggling, and if someone is laughing at himself and enjoying, I can't help joining in.

 6. Which do you prefer and why: dogs or cats?
Ah...  yes?  I have both.  Mine are very similar - loving, funny, very worried if I am sad...

 7. When or where do you feel most creative?
Always when I am somewhere that has absolutely no time or space for writing.  Having made the wisecrack, I'll say that I feel most creative around mountains or oceans or sitting alone in a crowd with a notebook.

 8. What is your favorite fast food or snack?
Oreo cookies and milk...or...spanakopita.

 9. Do you have a special place you go to relax?
I did.  I moved.  I think I need to find another.

 10. Do you have a favorite comic strip?
I really liked Funky Winkerbean in the beginning.  Ditto Calvin & Hobbes.  I also liked PreTeena.

11. If you could travel back in time, where would you like to go?
I would love to see China during the Tang dynasty.  Or Hawaii, before it was 'discovered'.

 

Eleven facts about myself
 
  1. I like to sit with my feet pointed to the ground and my toes curled under them (think ballerina en pointe).   It drove my grandfather mad - "You'll break your feet!"
  2. I always wanted a horse.
  3. I love standing in the wind and watching as it tosses the treetops.
  4. In the summer, I love to lie on my back on my parents' dock and gaze up at the stars.  (One time I looked up through infinite space, reflecting on all those millions of stars above me...then I remembered that there is no 'up' or 'down' in space, and I could as well be looking DOWN through infinity.  It made me dizzy and I had to go in.)
  5. I love damselflies.  They like to land on my toes when I'm floating on the lake in an inner tube.  I once had a blue one and a green one perched on my toes.
  6. I have hazel eyes.
  7. I write chapters in my head as I'm running errands.  Once, walking down Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, I suddenly realized that it was a good thing people could not read my mind, since I was at that moment devising a messy end for a villain.
  8. I love seeing older couples walking hand in hand.  Enduring love is wonderful,
  9. I would eat wild strawberries every day if I could.
  10. I am often surprised when I look back at something that happened and realize how truly fortunate and blessed I have been.  This does not mean that I don't want to be a best-seller or independently wealthy.
  11. My favorite flower is a rose.  (Lilacs don't count because they are trees.)
 

I confess it: I am an Idiot.

I am sitting on pins and needles because I am due to receive a delivery this afternoon.
What is it?  Well, a box with three paperback books in it.
I can't wait.  I really am excited about this.

...and there is where I am truly an idiot.

You see, I wrote this book.  I copyrighted it and sent it out on submissions a long time ago.  It is one of the reasons that I was sidelined from doing any sort of submissions to agents for...let me see...seventeen years. (It's a long story and involves a villain who is not representative of agents as a group.)  I did continue writing...

I published it in May of 2011, pulled it last month for an overhaul to bring it in line with the other books of my series called 'The Memphis Cycle', and have re-released it.

I know this book.  I love it, actually.  Writing it was a joy, and it hurt to have it sidelined with the other works the villain touched.  I self-published it, finally, because I just didn't have the heart to go through the cycle again.  (My heart has come back, by the way.)  I can recite huge stretches of it from memory.

"Any breath of that kind of talk and I'll assign you a tour of duty in Mirgissa!  And you KNOW I have the power!"'

The rewrite is a sort of prep for the issue of its prequel.

...and I ordered myself some copies to gloat over.

I am, as I said, an idiot...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Ach, du Liebster!

I would like to thank Jill Haugh at I Had a Little Nut Tree for being  generous enough to award me the  Liebster Award.  I'm happy to post the image here (look below) and answer her questions.

But first something about Jill.  I came across her blog when I followed her from a comment on one of mine - it was one of the 'Small Celebrations' posts, my first, I think, which made me very much aware of the enjoyment, talent and sheer amazingness (coining words) that I have encountered among bloggers.  Her writing is most enjoyable, her blog posts almost always make me think and smile (and, often laugh).  Thank you, Jill!


 
Here are my answers to her eleven questions:
1.      What was your favorite book when you were eleven?
     The Boy's King Arthur, adapted by Sidney Lanier.  It was a nicely illustrated edition, had the archaic language that Lanier kept in from Thomas Mallory's work (Thou stinkest all of the kitchen!)  I had no trouble with the language, by the way, and it has served me as a good example of why we really don't have to 'dumb down' books for youngsters.  I also liked Albert Payson Terhune's collie stories.
2.      What did you want to be when you grew up?
A knight.  Riding a big dapple gray horse.  Imagine my disappointment when I learned that (a) there are no knights now, and (b) girls weren't supposed to be knights.  At which point I mentioned Joan of Arc.  There was talk of my wanting a pony.  I rejected that with scorn.  If I couldn't have that dapple gray charger I wanted a big chestnut stallion:  Man o' War, to be exact.
3.      What was your first Barbie? (or Ken/ GI Joe as the case may be.)
      She had a blonde ponytail and plastic eyelashes.  I learned quickly that messing with dolls' hair gave them messy hair.  She never looked right after that.
4.      What was your favorite TV. show from when you were a kid?
      Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.  My parents would set up a card table in front of the TV and we children would sit there of a Sunday night, eat our dinner and watch.  I also liked Fury, Lassie and Mighty Mouse.
5.      How old were you at the time of your first (real) kiss?
      I was seventeen years old.
6.      Where was it?
In my dorm room.  I was sitting on my bed, chatting.  I learned what you do with your noses.

7.      What was your most embarrassing grammar school moment?
      The day I showed up in school without my underpants.  I was in kindergarten at the time. 
8.      What was the first album (or CD) you ever bought with your own money?
      I *think* it was Teaser and the Fire Cat by Cat Stevens. 
9.      When did you first learn about sex?
      After learning about eins, zwei, drei, vier, and fünf. 
10.  Did you ever walk in on Mummy and Daddy doing it?
      I sure did.  I couldn’t' sleep, and I walked into the living room at nine years of age to find Mom and Dad setting up the Christmas Tree and putting gifts under it, all of them from Santa!  I was utterly stunned and it took me a long time to get over it.  It still makes me tear up. 
11.  What was your proudest childhood achievement?
Performing in my dance recital in a tutu.  I was taken to an Ice Cream Parlour (yes, they had a 'u' there) and treated to a hot fudge sundae to commemorate it!

     *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *  

I am expected to tap bloggers and present my questions.  Before I do so, allow me to post a disclaimer.  I will still follow your blog and like you if you can't respond.  I certainly won't tell anyone.

My nominees have been notified and we'll see if they respond.
My questions for the Nominees have to do with the things we always dream about:
 
1.         Quickly: you have twenty-four hours to set up the itinerary of the dream trip of your life.  Where would you go?  (Details of flights and such can be handled later)
 
2.         What is the one little luxury you can't live without?
 
3.         What little luxury would you love to add to your daily routine?
 
4.         You have just come into a lot of money.  Now you can buy a really special gift for someone who has meant very much to you.  Who is he/she, and what would the gift be?
 
5.         A floor-to-ceiling library crammed with every book you have ever loved; a home on the shore of a splendid lake with mountains around it; a 1930 Deusenberg roadster; an emerald necklace or a top-notch computer/internet/word processing system.  Which? 

6.         See question #5.  Why did you choose what you did?

7.         Would you rather be poked in the eye with a stick in your own back yard or choke on your Chateauneuf du Pape and splatter it all over your table mates at a state dinner?

7.         Do you remember your own most embarrassing moment (hint: the answer is 'yes' or 'no'.  Elaboration though nice, is not necessary.)

8.         Tell us about the moment in the past year that made you the happiest.

9.         Would you prefer to be a monarch or the power behind the throne?

10.       What would you do if you learned that with a wave of your hand you could disable all spam senders?

11.       Quote your favorite line from a book.  Any book.  (Poems work fine, too).  You are allowed to quote yourself, but if you do so, you must post a link to the work.
 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Small Celebrations - Little Things

Another Friday is here and I'm thinking of the small things I'm celebrating at this moment:

I just poured boiling water into a cup with a teabag.  Bewley's Irish Morning tea.  Not Fortnum & Mason, or other such, but strong, straightforward and bracing.  It will taste good.

I woke up this morning to find Orlando curled up by my pillow and purring.  Not Orlando Bloom (but then, he needs to bench-press a few dozen pounds regularly to suit my taste) but Orlando a Burmese cat who likes to be a pirate:

Lando is quite the fellow, and he also serves as a full colonel in the United States Army Special Forces (Green Beret).  He was recently deployed to Afghanistan, and when he returned for rest and recreation, he confessed to a sudden and profound yen for shish kebab and mountains.  He does look on the bright side, and he's a fairly uncomplicated fellow, so awakening to the sound of him purring beside my pillow was something to celebrate.  (Also the fact that he hasn't tried to bite me during our photography sessions.  But I digress.)

So what sort of celebration is this?  That people can see these silly photos and not decide that I am certifiable?  Perhaps.  Worth celebrating.

It is also Friday, and I'll be doing some gardening on a weekend that is supposed to have temperatures in the 70's.

Oh - and I can finish my Liebster Award post (thank you, Ms. Haugh) and get that posted as well.

Now to go put milk in that tea.