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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Inspiration for a garden

I have to say my garden is not nearly this tidy. I admire very much the family that keeps this home looking as much as possible like its owner created. As anyone, who has a garden, knows-- gardens head toward chaos if not tended. This garden is lovingly tended. They invited any renters to weed but I didn't see a weed. Back or front garden, each showed balance, sense of humor and a love of nature.

and a back garden

Saturday, March 22, 2014

personality and a home.

More than a few times I have probably mentioned how much I enjoy vacations where we rent a home especially through VRBO. It's good because you connect directly to the owners, although sometimes it's a manager of properties. What it feels like, when you get to such a house, is you are living where you are visiting. With my dislike of hotels, stores, businesses, etc., this is a big plus. 

So because it was being remodeled, we lost out on the home we regularly rent at the Oregon Coast. The manager of several properties suggested an alternative. The four of us took one look at the photos and agreed. So last week we were there for three nights and had one of our best rentals ever.

Now the house was not fancy in terms of modern granite drainboards, furniture from Sears, etc. Well it might have had some of that. It was from the outside a rather plain home built many years ago and not much remodeled (other than required by storm damage). It had big windows, large living room, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, family room, fully equipped kitchen, and best of all, for one of our group, a cozy art studio (photo below with the guitar). It was well-maintained and depicted the owner of the home so much that even though she had been dead 11 years, the home still had all of her energy, helped along by the family desiring it to be so. It's still called by her name and inside were things she had collected that gave meaning to clearly an eclectic, fun, thoughtful, artistic lady. You cannot buy that kind of a home. You have to create it.

So for all our days there, we were looking at the various corners and niches with this or that and putting together more pieces of her personality. There were two photos that likely were her but no labeling; so cannot be sure. She had though books, and her art as well as what she collected. It was interesting enough that we did some research online to find that in 1978, after being widowed, she had moved to Yachats and the home that looked directly onto the beach. She lived there until her death. She was very involved in her community and left behind a home which shares a legacy that goes beyond money. It depicts a life.

What I loved especially was how so many of the things she had chosen told stories. They went beyond what they were to stoke imaginations. A good example of that is in the first two photos. Was it really from a sea going vessel? Looking at it closely and some research (the house had internet), it was a replica of Britania, which is in England. You can buy one to paint yourself. Perhaps that's what she did. The job, whoever did, made it look very old. It led to imagining a ship going down on the rocks off the surf, perhaps wreckers tricked it or maybe a storm. Did the villagers rush out to retrieve what they could? It's a story in an object. It was how the home felt.

Okay, I am running out of space. Next week the gardens which were every bit as fascinating.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

Yachats 1

Last week, at the beach, north a bit of Yachats, leads this week to a photo a day of the wonderful wave action (photos by Farm Boss or me as we interchange taking them with no record who took which).

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Spring and a coming equinox

It's almost here-- yep planting season and longer days. From now until the Solstice, the days up here in my part of the PNW will remind me why I love it so much in this area. It also begins our family's birthdays with one after another for a few months-- a break before we come to fall birthdays. Does anybody else have their family's birthdays fall in blocks?

As long as I don't read the newspapers, all is well with me. I am busy with a new western historical romance which I am totally loving writing. I got the idea for it from a short story anthology where my first idea was actually too long for a short story. What I love about writing is such serendipity-- like wow, from seemingly out of nowhere an idea is born as characters, plot and a new life take off.

At the farm, we got a fantastic sunset last week which just kept giving. Can't go wrong with that.

This week, Tuesday to Saturday, we had a great time in Yachats with our long-time friends where we rented a very cool beach house, cooked, laughed, talked, one of us painted, walked on the beach, and savored the artistic environment of the rental house. Lots more coming on that next Saturday with ocean photos maybe mid-week, but that house was sooooo special, not a lot of time to write about it and do it justice.

Now, check this out-- Facebook Barn Dance

March 15-16th, 15 authors are gathering to discuss, answer questions and give away prizes as a way to promote a new anthology, Rawhide 'n Roses-- 15 short stories about the West and love. Yahooo! The barn dance opens up Saturday with not only the authors but some give aways. Come on down and say howdy even if you're not a Facebook regular. All are welcome. If you come when I have my hour, which will be 4pm PDT, I have be giving either a paperback or eBook to one random commenter-- and if you already had the one I am offering, I'll make it another. Hey, at least come and keep me company for the hour ;).

And next week, more about Yachats, the Oregon Coast and a wonderful house and garden.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

When it's raining

 Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 
Robert Frost

For anyone who writes a blog, I am sure there come those days when you go-- but I have nothing to say. This is one of those for me. I know Saturday is coming up where I like to have something uplifting for this blog. It's not easy some weeks. My life is pretty consistently onward and upward. We are getting the much needed rain but, of course, now the issue is, will flooding follow it? I don't think our creek will go into flood stage but other rivers already are. By the time this blog comes out, the rains should have let up.

It's actually been a delightful rain for me as this is one of our pineapple expresses where it's in the high 50s with heavy rain and some wind but not too much (so far). That means I can have the door open when I am writing. Being a native born Oregonian, I love rain. Sure, I like sunshine too but rain makes my part of Oregon what it is. If I need sunshine, I can head the other side of the Cascades but most of the time I feel about rain as some do about sunshine-- it is sustenance. Misty days are also good, but the drawback with them is no rain is falling-- and our trees and land need rain. Can't hardly write a whole blog though about rain now can I?

We did see a rainbow coming back from town the other day. It was a big one  that stretched across the valley, the kind that is hard to actually photograph (but I didn't have a camera with me anyway). The photo above was a different day when we took it along for a Sunday drive and hoping for a photo of mist and a neighboring valley.

I am doing a lot of writing. Writing three blogs a week for Rain Trueax is generally pretty easy (the current one is on short story writing). Lately it's been about the coming anthology of fifteen western/romance writers and their short stories or my own novellas that I am in the midst of researching and writing. 

There has been a lot more to that anthology coming out than just a simple-- it'll be here. Does anything get born without some birth pains? I have mentioned I did a blog for that, which I will also have a link here when it's live-- likewise two trailers-- one about the western and what it means to us as a culture. Writing one on that for Sunday's Rain Trueax also as I think it has a lot of elements to it that make the western interesting to think about for today.

Once in awhile I write a guest blog for someone else. I have one of those coming in April for a new blog. I'll definitely give a link to it when it goes live as I think readers here would find interesting what I wrote, but can't write about that or I'd give away their blog guest post.

And yes, I do relate to that poem by Frost. I too have taken the road less traveled-- more than once, and have always felt likewise-- it made all the difference.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

happiness is...

The other day I was asked for a photo to use in a profile. When I went looking through mine, I realized they all looked so somber. I didn't have time then to do anything about it, sent the least gloomy of the lot, but thought-- I need some smiling photos. It's not like I'm an unhappy person but somehow when it came to photos, I have been most fascinated by taking them without a smile, rather straight faced.

The problem with straight faced is it then appears unhappy. The mad or sad look of a non-smiling face on an older person might be a product of age. Have you noticed how younger people have mouths that naturally turn up. The older people get, the more the natural mouth ends up down. I don't think this is because young people are happier than old people but more likely a result of the aging body-- gravity, dropping muscles, wrinkles, and lines. But it does not look as satisfied-- even if it is.

In my life, I am satisfied. It's not that I go around singing jolly songs all day, but I am doing what I want where I want. The changes I might like are ones I could make if I so chose. I like writing. I like where I live. I like the people in my life, my pets. Currently I have an outdoor reason for feeling good as each day is getting a little longer.

Once in awhile I come across an article or someone asking questions about how to be happy. I don't spend time thinking about whether I am. I don't think about it mostly at all. I am what I am. There are certainly happy moments that make me aware-- yes I am happy about that.

Writing makes me feel good. When I finished the rough draft for the second novella (which is nearly long enough to be a short novel but I want it to stay a novella), I did a fist bump into the air. That feeling when writing does not last particularly long as there is editing waiting, a few rough places to consider-- and then aspects of the next novella are already running around in my imagination.

In researching for it, I wanted to know more about the demonic world. My daughter suggested I try a series of books called the Iron Druid. Kevin Hearne writes them and the first ones are set in Arizona. Well I bought the first.

With my own writing temporarily finished, I started reading the first Iron Druid... Uh oh. One was not enough. I ended up buying the first four. I might be addicted. These books are in a genre called Urban Fantasy; something I haven't ever read-- knowingly anyway. Hearne did a lot of obvious research as he brings to life the world's gods, goddesses, demons, werewolves, vampires and pretty much any sort of mythic monster you can imagine in his stories of a 2000 year old Druid who is always fighting the bad guys. The reads are fun, lightweight, and especially enjoyable for anyone with a little knowledge (too knowledgeable and they might find fault) of world magical systems and mythologies.

His  monsters, etc. aren't the direction I intend for my third novella but they have let me see the benefit of developing personalities for the 'other' side. Since I want it to be a battle of good against evil encompassing the human and spirit world, I am beginning to firm up what mine might be. As to the heroine, that's still undecided, but the hero enters the trilogy in the second book.

Because I am an agnostic, not sure what exists beyond the human plane, I am always cautious how I treat the subject of evil. Yes, I know some think it doesn't exist. I think though in writing fantasy, it must if there is to be a real conflict. I wish there was a category of Urban Fantasy not in Urban areas ;). Rural Fantasy... Ranch Fantasy.. nah it'd sound like erotica. And my  new novellas won't have the sex scenes in them that I have written for my other books.  When you are keeping a book short, you can't afford scenes you don't need. The action has to move fast and derailing it for long ends up writing a novel.

Finally on this subject of what might or might not be-- I've mentioned other places that our new cat, Raven, watches certain types of television. She not only watches but she assimilates what's happening-- at least from a cat perspective. One day it was an old Errol Flynn movie. We saw her intently turned to it, ears reacting to the action until one of the secondary characters let out a cackle like a witch. It wasn't a witch but it might as well have been as Raven went all Halloween cat on us. I mean back up, tail bristly (wish I could get a photo of it; but when she did it, we were laughing too hard-- and the pose doesn't last long). She ran from the room, then came back around from the kitchen and peeked over the edge of the fireplace hearth to look back at the screen. That's when we decided to turn it off. Errol was cute but not worth a Halloween cat in case that cackle returned.

A few days later we thought the totally innocuous, Puss 'n Boots, a kids' animated film, should be safe. At one point the movie's feline heroine let out a yowl at the male and again Raven, who had been intently watching, leaped in the air and ran into the bedroom to hide. She came back after about five minutes. I am thinking she's like a little kid and TV for awhile will have to be monitored for what won't upset her. I've never seen a cat who literally seems to follow the stories. She not only sees it, but she's curious about it. Now we know she also can get scared by it.

Oh yeah and here are some of the photos I took to try and get a genuine smile for the camera ;)

Well it was first attempt...

not there yet...

it's harder than it looks