Category Archives: Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff

HAPPY 4th OF JULY!

Hope your 4th of July is full of joy and fireworks! Everyone at our house hopes everyone at yours spends the day with those you love doing something amazing!

4th of July 2021 Art -- Bath & Body Firework Pop Collection

Father’s Day Bird Update!

Happy Father’s Day!

On May 21, I got pictures of a Carolina wren nest we found that had four eggs in it. Fourteen days later, on June 5, we checked in to see how things were going. There was a sleeping baby–at least two sleeping babies! The other two we couldn’t see, but there was a chance that they were snuggled up underneath the others. They didn’t have feathers yet, so they needed to huddle together to keep warm. Still, there was also the possibility that the other two eggs didn’t hatch, or that the hatchlings didn’t make it. Here’s a photo of the front most sleeper (I drew a thin red circle around his little developing beak).

Sleeping Baby Carolina Wren -- not more than two weeks old - CLOSE UP COPY

Today, we have confirmation that at least three of the fledglings survived! I wish I’d gotten a picture, but Nathan didn’t have his camera. There were three fluffy, grumpy-looking baby wrens (that’s how you tell, other than the fact that they waggle their wings, make a lot of noise, and beg for food), and they were being fed by Mommy (Daddy–whom we call Fattypants–was singing elsewhere). We are very excited to welcome these little ones!

Also, Carolina wrens usually breed twice in a summer, so hopefully there will be another batch in a few weeks!

UPDATE: It’s confirmed–there are three little ones, but there was one egg left in the nest, which means it probably was inviable. I’m glad those that hatched are all alive and happy! Here’s the egg that was left:

Carolina Wren -- Dead Egg in Nest 06-22-21

Story accepted and I went and did THIS yesterday …

Yesterday was interesting! I got a short story accepted (cannot release details yet), I went over a friend’s and she made me a genuine malt (that tasted like the way my dad used to make them!), and … I did this…

Blue Hair 06-13-21

I love my recent X-Men’s Rogue-inspired hair, so I’ll definitely go back to that, but I wanted to try something different for summer. I wanted something a little lighter, but this’ll fade as I wash. I’ve never tried crazy color before, but I figured, why not?

On another note, post-Tidings, I have an idea for a second Romantic Ecothriller, one that involves the sea. I thought it might be cool if my main chick has this color for hair.

Meet my most recent paginated lover …

A Fall of Marigolds

I have started reading books only to break up with them a couple of chapters in (you will never hear me say, “that book was okay.” If it’s not blowing my mind, I stop). For me, a book is like an amazing lover: it has to rock my universe. It has to suck me in so completely that it becomes my world, my be-all, until I’ve finished it—and that’s often in as few as two days, or, at most, a week. I have to have a serious romance with it, to the point that when I finish, I go into a strange state of grief.

On a break from work last week, an article about unique historical fiction reads popped into my feed, and I was lucky enough to stumble onto A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner.

From “7 Unique Historical Fiction Reads That Put a Twist on the Genre,” by Chris Gaudio over at Off the Shelf: “Historical fiction inevitably features tragedies of the past, but what’s so unique about Susan Meissner’s A FALL OF MARIGOLDS is the thread that connects two such events: Read the rest of this entry

We have a nest!

…thrilled to announce we stumbled onto our Carolina wrens’ nest (they found a cozy spot inside the cover of one of our generator’s propane tanks)! Mommy wasn’t happy when we came by to get a photo, of course–so we had to be quick which means these aren’t the best pix, but we’re hoping to see fledglings soon!

Carolina Wren Nest 1

Carolina Wren Nest 2

What happens when someone overhears you in the grocery store …

Friendly's Ice Cream haul 05-19-21

It was a beautiful day here in Connecticut—finally, hot! I’ve been eating a lot of ice cream lately. Mostly because I love it, life’s too short, and I’ve been in a very happy place for over a month.

My three favorite flavors are vanilla (because, you know, back in the 1970s, you didn’t have a whole lot of choices except for Neapolitan and coffee and I wasn’t a fan of chocolate or strawberry), Butter Crunch (because my dad always took me out to Friendly’s for that) and Summer Breeze, a pleasing, summer-only edition blend of vanilla, lemon candies, and graham cracker. This last one I discovered in 2019 when it was on sale in a grocery store near East Providence and I wanted to try something new.

I put the Summer Breeze in my cart. I’d only planned on getting two cartons, so I tried to make a choice between the Butter Crunch and the vanilla.

Suddenly, I said—louder than I’d intended—“F— it.” I grabbed them both.

I heard a woman’s laugh from down the aisle. She was standing in front of the cases where they keep all the frozen treats.

“I was just thinkin’ f— it myself,” she said. “I can’t decide. I think I’m gettin’ a few! F— it!”

We wished each other happy eating, and I headed to the check-out.

You’re probably wondering why I’d put this on my blog, but it was just one of those perfect moments in life in which you just bond for a second with a complete stranger. And after the rough year or so we’ve survived, it was comforting. It was a reminder that yes, eventually, we’re going to be okay.

And now … which carton should I mine first?

Until we meet again, Auntie Del

Delores Thanksgiving 2012

Auntie Del at Thanksgiving at my house in 2012.

My mother’s last surviving sister, my Aunt Dolores, passed away on April 20, 2021 (interestingly enough, her late husband’s birthday). She was a very special lady—quite the card. Here’s the eulogy I wrote, and a smattering of photos and a snippet of video. My brother Chuck’s eulogy is also included as a PDF. Read the rest of this entry

Video: Unboxing the Tomy Smaller Home Bentwood Rocker

Tomy Smaller Home Rocker and Tiny Newspapers Test Shot
The Tomy Smaller Home & Garden Bentwood Rocker and my tiny newspapers. This was a test shot for what would become the cover of the Holiday 2021 chapbook. The scale between them’s slightly off, but I think I did okay for someone who really isn’t that crafty.

Remember all those tiny newspapers I was making? I finished them! I made 320 sets, which means 640 total (two per set). I really enjoyed listening to documentaries or watching TV with my family while I worked on them, and shocked myself when I got them all finished in just three weeks.

Anyway, the tiny newspapers will accompany this year’s holiday chapbook, which is my “Christmas Card” to friends and family (if you’re not on my postal mailing list and would like to be, please drop me a line through my Contact Page). This year’s story is “Nothing to See Here,” and is set in 1986 between the Challenger and Chernobyl disasters.

I’d had the Tomy Smaller Home & Garden (also known as Tomy Smaller Home after a lawsuit) dollhouse as a kid, and loved it to death (more on my current quest to replace the whole thing in future posts). All of the furniture was well made, and there were a couple of unique things about it: it was 1:16 size (most dollhouses are 1:12, and to give you a better mental snapshot, Barbie is 1:6); in addition, its design was “modern” (at the time, that meant extremely 1970s/early 1980s in its décor).

My favorite piece, for some reason, was the Bentwood Rocker. I really fantasized about owning a real one when I grew up (not anymore, peeps! I’m over it, just FYI). I needed to take a photograph for the cover of the chapbook, and I thought the rocker would be perfect, since a full-sized one features prominently in the story.

Nothing to See Here 2021 Chapbook front cover
The front cover of 2021’s holiday chapbook.

Since I’d bought the SH&G living room set that contained the rocker—but I’d scored it in brand new, unopened condition—I wasn’t about to crack into the kit to use the chair as a prop. I went on Ebay and instead bought a used one for ten bucks. It came in a Velveeta box—pretty appropriately ’70s!

Contemporary Velveeta box.
The Velveeta box containing the rocker…it’s almost $8 now? Good Lord! I remember when this crap was three bucks!!

The day it arrived was magical.

The unboxing — March 5, 2021. Oddly enough, I’m wearing a vintage 1986 necklace.

A fave coffee’s back!

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Island Coconut K-Cups

I live on coffee (and wine, too, but that’s not what I’m discussing today). I frequently will drink as many as five cups, even late into the night. It’s the fuel that keeps me writing.

That said, I have my personal favorites. Back in the 1980s, I was a huge fan of International Coffee’s Suisse Mocha. In the early 1990s, Dunkin’ Donuts French Vanilla was my jam.

ONE of my favorites these days is Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ Island Coconut, which starts appearing on store shelves in March and is sold through June (after that, I’ve found you’re out of luck). I usually get my K-Cups at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, but I’m sure if you hunt the shelves of other stores like Target, you’d probably find it.

Game on, people! Time for me to stock up!

If you love Island Coconut and can’t find it after June, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND H-E-B’s Houston Blend, which is a little more coconutty, but damn close. You can order some of that online here (and yes, they have K-Cups too): https://www.heb.com/product-detail/cafe-ole-by-h-e-b-houston-blend-medium-roast-ground-coffee/2337503

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates it, happy last day of Passover for those who celebrate that, and for fellow Pagans, happy Ostara two weeks late, although we seem to just celebrate every day, don’t we?

I wish you all, no matter what you’re doing, a spring-like day full of joy!

Bath & Body Works Easter 2021 Candle
Bath & Body Works’ Sweet Carrot Cake Candle, infused with the scent of sweet cream cheese frosting, fluffy carrot cake, and cinnamon spice. Yum! Good enough to eat!

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