I love my garden!

Today we had our first big harvest from our summer garden.

We had a bowlful of sweet basil. I wish you could smell this right through your browser–it was intense and WONDERFUL:

Basil

We had a lovely panful of green beans just calling for a little ham and onion:

Beans

We had broccoli tops and green peppers:

We had full size tomatoes in a variety of colors, practically dripping with juice:

But best of all, we had a bowl of yellow cherry tomatoes, sweet and del…hey.  HEY.  What happened here?

Dang it. Not fast enough.

Happy summer, everyone!

When passion doesn’t pay

Regular members of my readership club will note a drop-off in post frequency, and I apologize for that. I have been distracted by…dare I say it?

Life.

As if Little Miss and her PMS isn’t enough, we have been wrestling with the Captain’s behavior, which looks like it will now be handled by partial hospitalization over the summer, with strict attention to behavioral issues. Dr. Do-Be-Do has also begun exhibiting angry outbursts and lackadaisical behavior toward assignments and teachers that is very unlike him and somewhat frustrating; these, hopefully, will be the subject of work at his therapeutic camp for which I’ve finally completed the intake. 

Add to this an overhaul of four rooms of our house, including a complete ceiling replacement in the 30 foot by 20 foot kitchen and the bathroom flooring, the decor switching from warm-colored Moroccan grotto to stark cream and cherrywood Victorian/steampunk. With a hint of Firefly, as we add some Chinese touches, including a fabulous Chinese cabinet I drove to Asheville to retrieve this weekend, with Little Miss as my co-pilot.

My secretary has essentially vanished into her other job; I’ve seriously got to consider replacing her, but the thought process has been too painful. I’ve muddled through on my own, and the Cabana Boy, bless him, has put me on the volunteer list to take interns from his business school, at least to tide me over.

My passion has been with none of these things. My passion has been in The Elf Queen  and her forthcoming series of novels and their promotion and writing. My passion has been in the month-long spree of daily contact with writers and editors that was CoyoteCon. My passion has been in associating with an editor at a romance press who loves my work, though I haven’t sent her anything that exactly fits her line–she’s now assigned me a novel to write for a special series, and I’m fleshing out a story for that.

My passion has found me five editors in the last thirty days who have requested to see full manuscripts of mine, and are reviewing them as we speak.

My checkbook, however, is reminding me that somewhere along the line, all of these things are extraneous to the business of paying for our lives. So the stack of bills here must be attended to.

With any luck, we’ll be back to passion soon. Stay tuned…

Running out of time

How does it happen, every year? Summer starts when the kids get out of school and you have this huge vista before you, all the things you’re going to accomplish, both educational and just-for-fun, and the next day comes, and the next–and suddenly it’s August already and almost back to school! How does that happen?!

Not that we haven’t done anything. All three kids have dutifully gone off to camp daily since the second week in June (with its three-hour round trip driving), until the annual visit to Memaw’s house. We’ve had picnics, and put up the inflatable pool (okay, so it’s a little green at the moment from disuse, but it’ll get better next week after camp. And some algae stuff.). We’ve visited family and friends within a reasonable radius (Hey, Jen and Seb!), had a blast at motel pools on the way, hit the Erie zoo, we’ve seen movies and plays.

So now we hit the stretch and all those things we were going to do this summer to get everyone ready for school are sitting at the top of the downhill slide. Little Miss has a stack of papers her teacher sent home, as well as learning a typing program so she doesn’t have to face so much handwriting as she enters fourth grade. Ditto Boy is going to spend days with his dad learning how to do household things–hanging drywall, repairing broken items, changing the car’s oil–all designed to help with his self-esteem and self-confidence.

The Captain — well. Seventh grade. The Cabana Boy has a program of computer learning ready for him, and we’ve finally decided to put a computer in his room with Internet access (appropriately limited) so his thirst for trivia can be fed and maybe he’ll just learn something. Plus, he’ll have access to online communities of peers who may be easier to communicate with, less ready to judge. Over the last ten years, my closest friends have been those I’ve met online, not in real life; maybe that’s not such a bad way to go.

There are still movies we want to see, places to visit. Our museum membership in Pittsburgh gets us into half a dozen places free, and we want to take the kids downtown to gaze up in awe at the crystal palaces of the business world. Two major Irish festivals remain, featuring Gaelic Storm, who delights us all. We’re not quite ready for Cedar Point or King’s Island, but we might try Waldameer. Still haven’t made it to the beach. Or the park. Or the library. But we’re gonna! Sometime! Maybe about midnight on a Wednesday in a couple of weeks! Hurry up! Time’s a-wastin!

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If you have any time left this summer, come visit the Parents Helping Parents Carnival, where there’s a lot of good advice and funny stories about the parenting life, and gain some perspective at the Carnival of Work-Life Balance.

Summer, we love thee

Greetings Ye Lords and Ladies, Ye gentles and Peasants, and Welcome to Ye Olde Ode to Summer!

Still recovering from the Medieval Faire, as you might note. That was a delight except for the 46 minute thunderstorm right in the middle. But we met some charming people very close up, as we huddled inside the faire sales tents and thronged around the glassblower’s 1000-degree ovens, which kept us warm. Our favorite performing band from last year, E Muzeki, had broken up, but the main members were there in a new configuration called Elysium, so that was a huge plus.

But on to the subject of our muse, i.e. Summer. We picked with great delight our own home-grown vegetables this week, peas, spring mix, black raspberries and squash, with the green bean and broccoli crop coming on close behind. I expanded the herb garden this year, so we have a wide assortment of smells and tastes that I will be picking to dry soon for the winter.

little beans

little beans

The Cabana Boy and I have been weeding and trimming for a few days now, and I can finally sit back and admire. The flower beds are a burst of luscious colors surrounded by the deep green of the trees. In summer, our yard is truly beautiful. This season is what lured me from the tropics, the leafy verdant glades and woods of my childhood.

flower bed

flower bed

The warmth is an additional delight this year because though my fibromyalgia ramped up to phase 2, my doctor has prescribed the new medicine Lyrica for the pain–and it’s been a miracle. Within 24 hours the pain I’d carried for months faded, and the tense muscles with it. I’m not depressed, my energy level is high, and I can move again! Lyrica doesn’t work for everyone, I know, but I’m grateful for its help.

Our bean teepee

Our bean teepee

And finally, six months into this blog adventure, I crossed the 10,000 hit mark last night. I have made so many nice connections through this small window into the world, and I wish warm days, fresh delights, bright flowers and good health to you all! Come back again soon!

red flowers

red flowers

Snippets

So far this week, it’s been a rollercoaster of ups and downs. The county people told the newspaper they “have no clue” why poisonous gas appears and disappears on the street in front of our house. That’s reassuring. (please insert sarcasm here)

On a high note, a fiction piece I’ve been trying to publish for four years finally came out–and I got paid!! Makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. You’re welcome to take a peek– My Sad Cuisine . I’ve definitely been in this field too long.

While we have not yet resolved our camp issue, it is becoming painfully apparent that Captain Oblivious has reached a plateau in his functioning level that may be permanent. He’s nearly 13 and has a crying fit whenever something happens he doesn’t like. For example, yesterday at camp, surrounded by therapeutic people, when it was announced there wouldn’t be computer time because some repairs were needed, there followed a 15 minute rant that caused him to have to be be removed from class and counselled in the hall. A similar breakdown occurred last week when the eye doctor recommended bifocals for his terrible sight. He didn’t want bifocals, they were awful, he couldn’t get used to them! Scream, cry, rant.

We all, therapists included, have been working on the meltdown situation for six YEARS without improvement. I think I’m becoming resigned to the fact that he will always deal with things this way. It makes me sad (No really it pisses me off. I am convinced he could control it if he tried. Maybe not. Maybe we’ll never know.) Employers won’t deal with that. Places of higher learning won’t deal with that. How will he be able to function on his own?

Then one of my girls came to me for some important advice. That always makes me feel good.

And finally, the “Welcome, Summer!” edition of the Carnival of Family Life picked up one of my pieces, but there is a whole beach basket full of lovely reading there for folk from families. Stop in and take your shoes off!

Summer daze is coming

Though the winter deluge has not yet ceased (to my dismay) it is nearly the dreaded time to plan the summer vacation.

It’s not the vacation that’s dreaded, of course; it’s the planning. The adventure of when, where, why and how much always falls in my lap because my husband shares his son’s ADD and I’m a multi-tasker.

So. Let’s plan a vacation interesting enough for the adults, not overwhelming to Little Miss as she recovers from her sensory disorders, not full of trivia that Captain Oblivious will drown us with over the next six months, and still punchy enough that Ditto Boy (whose ADD drives him to copy faithfully all his brother’s skills) will be able to follow along. Huh.

We are blessed to some extent that the group are fabulous car travelers. The autism actually helped for a long time, because they could be sitting right next to each other and never notice. A gift! Of course, as they’ve gotten better, they’ve started the “Moooom, he’s touching me!” “Moooooom, he took my book.” You know how it goes. They tell me this is progress. I hope it is.

So. Hmm. Traveling. Then, I find this. Now we’re talking.

I’ve always liked the occasional garage sale, in recent years much more selective about attending them because I’ve got plenty of junk in my OWN house, thank you. But my husband is addicted. If we’re driving down the highway and there’s a garage sale or swapmeet on the side of the road he stares longingly, and if I’m driving and we pass it, I swear he makes that whiny noise a sad dog makes. If he’s driving…well, let’s just say the junk value of our house doubles. UNLESS he drives by slowly, and then gives me that look like, “See there, I drove by! I’m not a garage-aholic. I can stop ANY time!” just before he stops at the next one.

But this?? 630 MILES of garage sale in a row? With motel recommendations so you can stay LONGER? When I showed him, he drooled on his keyboard and shorted out the thing.

So I’ve got a friend in Louisville (pronounced Lou-a-ville, my friends) and I’m overdue for a visit with her. We could leave here and be there in seven hours or so, then pick up the trail and head south. Only 490 miles of yard sale. Darn. I hope we don’t miss something important. Then head on south to the end, take a left and drop off the kids at their grandmother’s in South Carolina for their summer visit. Hmm. This might work.

Little Miss is getting into the science of getting. She could find all sorts of wonderful (cheap) things. Ditto Boy and his dad can stop at multiple places for short amounts of time, perfect for their attention spans. Captain Oblivious will likely stock up on books and bury himself in a corner of the back seat with them. Perfect.

I’ll get my husband to install a tray in the front seat for my laptop so I can pen the Great American Murder Mystery while we’re on the road, something about someone driving along 630 miles of yard sale and leaving murder weapons among the junk to vanish into some hot little hands. Yeah, that’s it… (Wait! That’s not a bad idea! Where’s my laptop!)

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Meantime, I am invited this week to be part of the Just Write Blog Carnival , so writers stop by, and see what else you can find. Then I will leave you with this, which was really cute and demonstrates that some people have much more time than I do.