Woe! It’s Wednesday


Our dogs are naughty. That’s been established. Jake even has his own Facebook page to prove it.

Jake and Harry picked a fight with a neighbor dog who was minding his own business, walking down our road with his owner.

It got ugly.

We’re installing an electronic fence to keep the bad, bad, very bad dogs contained on our property. We have over two acres, plenty of room to run around. But noooo, they had to run to the neighbor’s to check and see if their dogs could play or if there was something more interesting going on.

Their world is about to change. We hope to have the fence up and running by the end of this week. We planned to be all done but… you know that saying, Measure twice, cut once?

We should have measured thrice, ordered once. We ran out of electronic wire before we ran out of yard. More has been ordered and we’re waiting.

But what’s bothered me most in this whole saga, is what happened after the naughty bad dogs picked the fight and the owner came over to talk/yell at us about it.

I know he was angry and he had every right to be. I’m not defending our dogs at all.


The neighbor stood in the middle of the street, yelling at the top of his lungs and stabbing his finger in the direction of every nearby house. “Those people hate your dogs. Those people complain about your dogs. Those people are mad at you because of your dogs.” Etc.

What bugs me is that not one person bothered to tell us that our dogs were being disruptive or intimidating or otherwise a problem.

So the issue escalated until they bullied another dog and a person got caught in the middle. Everyone is fine, by the way.

The neighbor wouldn’t listen to an apology or accept any attempt at amends. He’s mad and he’s going to stay that way. Which he has every right to. He also called county Animal Control (we’re in compliance! Everyone is licensed and vaccinated).

We had a similar situation several years ago with some landscaping that apparently the neighborhood felt impeded their sight at a stop sign. Someone called the county on our oleander bushes. They measured. Even though we’d been assured by the county before planting that they were in a legal spot, the county changed their mind and decided the plants were eighteen inches too close to the road. We moved them.

I’m upset because we’re surrounded by a bunch of immature neighbors who don’t have the maturity to come and talk to us about these issues. They hide behind their phones and make calls.

Come on, people. Be grown-ups. If there’s a problem, talk to the person it concerns first. If there’s no satisfaction, then call and file all the reports you want. Fill ‘em out to your heart’s content.

But, please, do the right thing first.


Today, I’m praying for Amber, Ginny, LoraLee, and Carol.

Currently reading: The Art of Racing in the Rain – see yesterday’s post for more on that.

Last movie: The Social Network – brilliant screenplay, great performances, but overall… a little flat.


Book Talk Tuesday


I’ve just started The Art of Racing in the Rain, that I mentioned was on my stack a few weeks ago.

So far, it’s enchanting. Enzo’s voice is wry, self-aware, and delightful.

But there’s an air of impending doom that suffuses the entire book and I know I will end in tears, sobbing and likely drowning my feelings with Lay’s BBQ chips.

So, I’m going slowly, taking my time. I’ve renewed the book once already at the library. I hope to finish in time to return it by the next due date. I really hope I can finish it without turning into a blubbering pile of mush on my office floor.


The Art of Racing in the Rain


Fiction Friday

The current hot ticket in Christian fiction is Amish. Anything with a bonnet and/or a buggy on the cover is a surefire bestseller, sez the prognosticators and fiction buyers. For those of us who don't write Amish fiction, we have lots of stories and ideas and nothing to do with them.

Since we finished Curveball, I've been thinking about what to do next. I still have publishing hopes for my other completed novels and I've already posted and blogged everything that has been rejected.

I've been playing with the idea of just writing, kind of free form, very little editing, 500 words or so every week. But I needed an idea. Then I remembered that everyone wants Amish fiction.  Then I remembered that I don't know anything about the Amish culture except what I've seen on TV and in the movies and read. Then I realized I know some Mennonites. Not the Old Order Mennonites, who look and believe similar to the Amish, but Mennonite Brethren, who are still pretty darn conservative.

I decided that I know enough about both the Mennonites and the Amish to write a story. What I don't know, I'll fake. It'll be 500 words or so a week. I have a few characters sketched out. I have a premise.

So, I present:

The Bandbox Hat

I have no clue what the hat is or where it came from. I just figured I could get a buggy and a bonnet on the cover.
So imagine, an open buckboard wagon from behind. A man is steering the wagon. A woman in a white cap is in the back. She has one hand resting on a round hat box. She is looking ahead.

Next week we begin.


Woe! It's Wednesday

Sometimes, I wish I wasn't such a nice person.
Sometimes, I'd like to not turn the other cheek, to give back as good as I got.
Sometimes, I'd like to tattle, to point a finger, to say "Aha! I knew it!!"

But, I'm cursed with goodness.

I don't mean I've never done anything wrong or hurt someone's feelings or said something I shouldn't have.
But I've never done it deliberately. I've never said something designed to hurt the other person as much as possible. I've never snubbed someone on purpose.

I always give the benefit of the doubt. I make excuses for others' behavior.

I'm getting awfully tired of it.

Recently, I've been hurt in a public and deliberate manner. I've been talked about behind my back. I've been ignored and I'm pretty certain that I've been passive/aggressively snubbed in a manner designed to be sure I knew it.

I want to do the same thing back. I want justice and fairness.
But, my God and my conscience won't let me.

I've struggled with how "nice" I have to be when someone is mean to me. In the past, I not only turned the other cheek, I lay down and let them leave scuff marks all over my cute ruffled blouse.
I've recently decided that I don't have to do that anymore. I'm a beloved child of God and God doesn't want His beloved to have footprints on her back.
I'm worth more than that to God, so I should be worth more than that to myself.


Book Talk Tuesday

I skipped posting last week because I was immersed in something Wicked. 

The touring company of the musical was in town and we had tickets. I'd heard it was a great show and I wanted to see it. But I have this quirk that I may have mentioned a time or two. I only like to see movies or shows that are based on books, after I've read the book. This is sometimes a problem. My kids were probably the only ones on the planet (or at least in their circle of friends but they swore it was the whole planet) who didn't get to see The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe (circa 1988, I think) when it came out. Because we were still reading the book.

Anyway, I had my nose buried in Wicked by Gregory Maguire in preparation for seeing the musical.
Side note: I'm usually not a big fan of musicals. I know lots of people who rhapsodize over The Sound of Music or My Fair Lady. I'm more of a cut-to-the-chase kind of girl. Just tell me stuff, you don't have to sing it to me. But I wanted to enjoy Wicked, so not only did I read the book, I also purchased the soundtrack so I'd be familiar with the music. And it worked! I thoroughly enjoyed the show.

And the book.
Which is the backstory of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch.
I thought Maguire did an excellent job filling in all the what-ifs of the source material. I tried to read the original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, but just could never get into them. So I can't say if Maguire is more faithful to the books or the movie. (Yes, I realize that means I broke my rule of not seeing movies based on books until I've read them). Anyway, where was I?

Oh, yes. I never wondered why the Wizard wanted Dorothy to kill the witch, or what was so special about those ruby slippers, or why the witch put a spell on the Tin Man. Maguire's book tells us the way it may have happened. His conjectures are well reasoned and stand up to burden of the classic tale.
The musical, of course, had to make changes. The book covers 30 or more years and involves many characters and subplots. I thought the show did a good job of keeping the vital points and letting others go.
All in all: I loved them both!


Woe! It’s Wednesday

I’ve been a little bit busy lately.

A couple deaths in the family.

A birth:




When things are busy, I feel like I get a lot accomplished, but other things are left undone.

But when life isn’t quite so frantic, I tend to think I’ve got all day, or all week, to get that done. But it doesn’t.

I have stacks of pictures and memorabilia waiting to be organized and scrapped.

I have an office to clean out and move in a new shelf unit.

A new sofa is sitting in the dining room, waiting for us to clear the old one out of the living room.

So many entries on my to-do list.

So few check marks.

I’ve always tried to put people above projects. I hope I’ve succeeded. And will continue to keep it in balance.

In the meantime, I have to go finish up those taxes.


Book Talk Tuesday


Who doesn’t love a book?

The crisp fresh pages.

The smell of ink.

The bright back light.

ERRRHHHHT. Whoa. The what?

Yes, in case you’ve been so wrapped up in Survivor and Celebrity Apprentice that you haven’t looked at a book in months (perish the thought!), the books you grew up on are changing.

In big ways.

Mega publishing news in the last few weeks are the numbers that self-published e-books are selling.

Amanda Hocking sold upwards of 450,000 copies of her young adult novels and, on the strength of those numbers, recently landed a contract with a traditional house.

Joe Konrath’s first Lt. Jackie Daniels mysteries were traditionally published, but he’s pretty much left that world behind and is self-publishing now.

Barry Eisler made news for declining a $500,000 advance in order to self-publish his next books.

Sales for e-Book readers such as the Kindle, the Nook, and the Sony Reader are spiraling.

Some people moan about the change and how they love books and would miss the smell and the feel and the heft of the book.

Others say the portability and convenience far outweighs the aroma of ink and paper.

Let’s face it: paper and ink and transportation costs increase every year to the point that now a hard cover book costs as much as $27.95. That’s dinner for two at DiCiccos.

E-Book prices range from free to about $15 with the majority under $10. Simple economics make the e-reader an appealing option.

Some costs are fixed. An editor’s salary is the same whether the book is destined for the page or cyberspace.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em: e-Books are here to stay.