“So Much Novelty and Beauty … “

From The CHIVE

From The CHIVE

I was an early adopter, and dropper of Pinterest. I first stumbled on the site when it was a free-for-all. The pictures were tiny, the text was tiny, EVERYTHING  was tiny because anyone could slap something on what was the front page and anyone could say whatever they bloody well liked. Some of the pins and comments were … heated.

And then it got to be the premier curating site on the Web. And after Facebook and Twitter it is most likely the premier time suck online.

The Pinterest link above is to my own page. You can see what a laggard I am even in the area of social media. Just for ducks, I think Anne would be a Pinterest wiz. She would have board after board of beautiful and interesting things. Frederick OTOH would probably be like me and have a half-finished board of “stuff.” Nothing terribly orderly or deep, just something to kill some time until the next voyage.

I think Harville would have the most interesting board of all the Persuasionites. From Austen’s description, their little house beneath the pier in Lyme WAS a Pinterest board. I think Sophie’s boards would mostly be about travel while the Admiral might curate Boats, Badly Painted. What would Sir Walter and Elizabeth put on a Pinterest board? Lady Russell would have a private board of men she wants Anne to marry. And what about the Musgroves? Mary would have a Symptoms and Things to Watch For along with a Modern Mothering board.

How about the other H/h of Austen Fan Fiction? Darcy’s board worth searching out? Lizzie’s full of trash or treasure? Elinor Dashwood’s Handy Hints for Cottage Management perhaps.

As always, keep it clean. Some of Austen’s characters could make this less-than PG rated fast!

I think I’ve gone distracted.

I have a confession to make, and if you didn’t think I was strange before, you surely will after you read what I have to say.

I often “see” my life as an observer, as if I were watching a movie or reading a book. I write the scenes in my head as they unfold. If I’m riding in a car, I watch the scenery flash by and hear the music which always plays in the background.

Lately, I’ve mused on the idea expressed by Mrs. Bennet: “Three daughters married! Ten thousand a year! Oh, Lord! What will become of me. I shall go distracted.” I see myself in that statement.

Mandy baby bump

I have only two daughters, and they are now both married. I also have a granddaughter and another on the way, due to arrive December 12.

My younger daughter married in June and will move to California on Sunday to join her husband. She’s already shipped her car and packed her bags. We’ve handled sending everything ahead that we could, and she has gift cards to replace the rest. There have been many bumps in the road this past summer, but I think everything is finally handled, once we go to the Post Office tomorrow and mail a few packages to her new address.


My daughters were born nearly ten years apart, so we’ve had children (young or grown) in our home for the past thirty-four years. There has always been laughter and noise. This will be a huge adjustment.

When we leave her at the airport Sunday morning around 5:30, I truly shall go distracted. Unlike Mrs. Bennet, I will not be at all glad to see her leave, though I am happy for her and her husband. He’s an excellent man, and they are wonderfully matched. However, if he makes only ten thousand a year, they’ll be back home very soon.

I’m sure the background music in my head will be appropriately sad and sweet. 

In Honor of Teachers


I changed the background in honor of the Ladies of JSI. Pamela Aidan, Barbara Cornthwaite, Robin Helm, Laura Hile, and Gayle now are, or have been school teachers. And since it’s that time of year when they and thousands of others go back to class, I thought a little remodel was in order.

Thank you for all your hard work, and have a great year.

You never forget a wildfire

Photo:  Josh O'Conner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Creative Commons Flickr)

Photo: Josh O’Conner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Creative Commons Flickr)

I stepped out of the house this morning to an amber sunrise and the acrid scent of smoke. Not smoke from a neighbor’s grill or fireplace, but from distant wildfires.

My brother, Dad, and me

My brother, Dad, and me

You never forget that smell. Even now, a whiff sends me into a panic. It’s a visceral response from childhood.

I grew up in California with chaparral-covered hills on three sides of our house. And also across the street, as you can see in the photo. That scrubby brush has oily leaves and is drought-resistant. And man, it burns like anything. My dad installed a sprinkler system on the roof of our house.

Most of the big fires were across the narrow valley in Angeles National Forest, but some were in the hills behind our house (La Tuna Canyon). Have we loaded the cars to evacuate? A couple of times, yes.

And wouldn’t it figure, two of the neighborhood kids were fond of setting fires. Ah yes, Jack and Tony, prize delinquents-in-training. How many pre-teens have experience calling the fire department? *Laura waves her hand.*

My heart goes out to the people of northern Idaho, eastern Washington, and eastern Oregon. Fires like these create their own howling winds and become an inferno scary fast. We forget that brave men and women put their lives on the line to fight them. This week three firefighters died in the line of duty.

“It’s only a house. Be safe.” This was on a sign put up by an Idaho family as they evacuated. A timely reminder that possessions are unimportant, and life is fragile.

Loving Longest When All Hope is Gone

Georg_Friedrich_Kersting_005_detail “Oh!” cried Anne eagerly, “I hope I do justice to all that is felt by you, and by those who resemble you. God forbid that I should undervalue the warm and faithful feelings of any of my fellow-creatures! I should deserve utter contempt if I dared to suppose that true attachment and constancy were known only by woman. No, I believe you capable of everything great and good in your married lives. I believe you equal to every important exertion, and to every domestic forbearance, so long as — if I may be allowed the expression, so long as you have an object. I mean while the woman you love lives, and lives for you. All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one: you need not covet it), is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone!”

Anne Elliot, Persuasion, Chapter 23

Beware the Energy Vampires

The Energy Bus

Mark Richt, the head football coach of the University of Georgia, took an unusual approach with his team last year. He had all his players read The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon and had an artist draw a huge picture of an Energy Vampire on the wall of their team meeting room. When a player said or did anything which displayed a negative attitude, he put that player’s picture on the wall. No one wanted to be there. By his actions, Coach Richt was telling his players that he would not allow negativity to sabotage the team and their goals.

I think that’s a good thing to do in every area of our lives. Is a friend’s negativity sucking the creativity and positive energy out of you? I know there are times when we need sounding boards and someone to listen to a rant, but if that’s a constant aspect of the relationship, maybe it would be better to avoid the energy vampire and find a few more positive people to include in your circle. Energy Vampire quote

As a writer, I have to have positive, yet honest, feedback. My betas (Gayle Mills, Wendi Sotis, and Stephanie Hamm) are honest about what isn’t working in my writing, but they also encourage me. They are honest without tearing me down. My friend, Laura Hile, is my writing cheerleader. Donna B., a friend of mine from church, always has a positive word for me. I want to be “that” person for someone else.

Who encourages you?


Waiting for rain

Photo: Alon (Creative Commons Flickr)

I so wanted to be laughing in the rain like this. But it was no, no, nothing. Photo: Alon (Creative Commons Flickr)

In my part of Oregon summers are sunny. After the constant drizzle of late fall / winter / early spring, this is a welcome joy. Ah, but this year summer began in May, and we have had very little rain since.

Yesterday the forecast said thunderstorms, 80%. O happy day! We almost never have thunderstorms! As I worked through my manuscript edits, I left my window open. Just like the California girl that I am, I kept my ears tuned for that “rhythm of the falling rain.”


Water the garden? Naw. Why haul out the hose when free water was coming? So the percentage dropped to 60%, then 48%, no big deal.

See, I am adept at waiting. “Good things come to those who wait” could be my life motto. Except at the train station when I’m late. Or where there’s a deadline.

What’s that you say? Waiting can be a mask for laziness? Or (gasp) procrastination? No, it’s called prudence. That’s it, I was being prudent. And optimistic too.

A breeze whipped up, I heard droplets on leaves. And then that wondrous scent of rain on dry grass, a wave of it. At last!

Ever hopeful, I waited for the downpour. Or even drizzle. Nothing. A faint sound of distant thunder rumbled. (Unless it was our neighbor moving his trash can!) That was it, our big event, a handful of stray drops. The storm passed Beaverton by. The weekly forecast now shows only sunny icons, average temperature 83 degrees. Not a scrap of rain. Rats.

So today I’m not waiting. I will haul out that garden hose, and I will continue with manuscript edits. Even though I’ve written myself into a corner, even though I’ve found continuity errors, I will keep at it. Because sometimes it does not pay to wait.