Wednesday, October 27, 2010

There Is A Time

     At last I'm back here at my post. I've been without my computer for ages . . . just at a time when I needed it the most. Due to last year and all the things I've been dealing with, somehow the virus protection protection program I subscribe to got overlooked, expired and I got a major infection which resulted in my hard drive crashing and having to be scraped clean.
     It is hard to imagine how devastating this has been. I'm very bad at backing up things anyway and I was just lucky that my wonderful computer people were able to save my documents and Outlook Express for me. So far the only thing I've discovered that I'm really missing is my address book in Outlook Express. I'm not sure how that happened but I have most of the names in Yahoo and I have printed off the others in the past so I think I have many if not all.
     I was caught in the final weeks of arranging for the MFS conference (it is the 4th, 5th and 6th of November) and things have been really wild. On top of everything else, my co-chair, who is located several hundred miles away, has had intermittent internet problems of her own.
     Then the new book came out and I've not been able to do much with that AND my in-laws have been in some really bad medical conditions.
     Hooey! I'll be glad when this is all over.
     I keep loading things in the trunk of my car for the conference and I worry that I'll manage to wreck it and lose all my signs, posters, folders, etc.,etc.,etc.  But that won't happen, will it???
     On to better things.
     I've had a whole day to sort of finish up some of this stuff and in between I sat down and watched a video. Now, this is not something I do. I NEVER watch videos. But last night my daughter was talking about one, "Something's Got to Give" with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keeton. She left it laying out and, by golly, I celebrated all my work and sat down and watched it.
     What fun! I can't remember the last movie I watched. If I ever sit down to relax at all I read. I think I went to the local theatre and saw "Up" the clever animated cartoon about the little man who sails away with him house and a bunch of balloons when I last saw a movie. But I certainly enjoyed it.
     Now, back to work.
     The next time I write . . . and I hope it will be with a lot less time in between . . . I have something very pleasant to tell about.
     Just not enough time to get into it yet. So keep reading. I'll get to it sooner or later . . . I promise!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Checking In

     I'm beginning to feel like I'm connected to the computer. Something like a growth on my knees. (I've got where I sit in my armchair with it on my lap. I'm gonna have to get a pillow or something to keep from baking my legs.) All day today, up and down, to the printer, back to the phone, to the computer, to the phone, etc., etc., etc.
      However, things are really getting done lately. If I had time to write it all down, I'm sure I would be astounded at myself. I can't believe how much I can accomplish when I really put my mind to it.
     On top of everything else, I think I mentioned the two writing assignments I've been given. Well, I now have a third one!  
     Actually, this one has come along just at the right time. Let me explain.
     Several years ago, six friends, myself included, formed a not-for-profit group we called Ozark Writers Inc. (or OWI). Our goal was to promote Ozark writers and writing. For quite awhile we explored several avenues of promotion, e.g., workshops, lectures, book signings, but the most successful project was the publication of two anthologies, Mysteries of the Ozarks: Vol(s) I and II. As time went by, the publishing house ceased to exist and we each became busy with out own projects and the group sort of went on vacation.
     Yesterday, I had an e-mail from one of the women asking if I would be willing to write another short story for a third anthology, Mysteries of the Ozarks: Vol III.
     Well, I'm not about to let the others publish something without submitting a story that I've written for consideration! (Never mind that its been over a year since I've written a short story at all. There's always the possibility it will be turned down.)
     Anyway, since (as I mentioned in an earlier post) I've been given an assignment to write a chapter on 'how-to write' a short story, I figured I would simply keep a sort of journal while the mystery story comes into existence. This way I can kill two birds with one stone.
     Not to mention forcing myself to get busy with my chosen profession.
     Let's face it. You can just get by with so much by having major surgeries and putting on conferences. You've got to get back to work some day.
     So watch out for all of it. I'll keep you up.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Good News At Last

     The new book is out! I spent all day yesterday in Springfield and the main event was meeting Lou and picking up a couple boxes of Trash to Treasure. The cover is great and my only concern is that I didn't make a very long manuscript out of it to begin with. I just wrote until I thought it was finished. There were really more adventures that could have been written about.
     Oh, well, maybe I'll do a sequel.
     Right . . . before that comes two assignments: one for a how-to chapter for an upcoming book and one for a how-to book. After that I need to find publishers for the two juvenile novels I've written. Then there is the novel in my head that was conceived several years ago and has been carried around for a long time waiting for the right time.
     Also, let us not forget that Trash will have to be marketed. Letting the book languish in boxes, or small bookstores does not get it sold, as we all know. Gotta get out there and push it too.
     When I finished with Lou I went by to give Connie, my older daughter, her copy and found her sick on the couch. However she really perked up when she saw what I had and gave me a special hug. While I was there Allison played her latest accomplishment on the violin. She is going to make one whale of a violinist. She has an ear for it and had picked up a lovely tune on YouTube, copied the sheet music and is mastering it. I've got to find out the title so I can hear it again. It is beautiful and she played it so well I was amazed. She's only been taking lessons for a few weeks.
     Sandy and Ben received their copies when I got home and Ben took one to his mom at the nursing home while Sandy and I met Mark at the homecoming parade in Monett. I gave Mark his copy while we waited. Josh marched in the ROTC group and Aaron danced at the top of the Sophomore float with all the rest of his football buddies. Great night and big big crowd. Kris, however, opted to stay at home and watch t.v., for some reason. Long day at school, I guess.
    By the time I got home I was really ready for bed, let me tell you. 
    This morning I'm still so tired I can hardly leave my chair. I look around and the house is a shambles. I've been gone so much lately I'm behind on everything and I'm such a bad housekeeper the least little let-up really shows. I usually try and keep a pathway through the main part but when things get so hectic I tend to pile in those areas too.
      Fun time is over. My work is cut out for me this morning.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Eating Out:: Always an Adventure

     Today was another day for running around like a chicken with its head chopped off. (For those who don't understand the term, I'll explain at the end.)
     In other words, I had errands from 10 this morning until 3:30 this afternoon. I was dropping when I got home, thought I'd lie down a bit and for ten minutes all I could do was dwell on more things I needed to do so I got up and did them and forgot all about the nap. Well, at least I was home.
     I really shouldn't gripe, no matter how tired I get. The weather is so fine, autumn brilliant and sun-shiny. Breezes blow and the temperature isn't hot nor is it cold. For the first part of October it is just about perfect and I do enjoy getting out in it. Soon cold November will settle in and I won't want to leave the house and the furnace for anything, even food.
     Speaking of food, I discovered a special little spot today that I've overlooked up until now. 
     First I headed into town where I got sheared (badly needed) and as it was just nearing noon, I tried to think of someplace different to stop for lunch. Monett is not the most adventurous spot in the world for cuisine and everything sounded boring. Suddenly I thought of a little place in Pierce City that at one time had been good so as I was heading in that direction anyway I decided to give it a try.
     Uh-oh. Closed down, a victim of the current money problems, no doubt.
     Now what?
     Just next door was a little drug store with an old-fashioned soda fountain. There were plenty of cars parked around it and I was left with little to choose from anyway so, what the heck? A hamburger would be better than nothing.
     I pulled into place before the windows. I could see the few tables and bar stools were pretty full but upon walking in I managed to find a spot right next to the cash register. I perched on top of a stool and looked all around, admiring the decor.
     My attention, however, quickly turned to the plates being prepared by the pretty girls in front of me. Oooh . . . each one looked delicious.
     To make a long story short, I chose the special for the day, French Onion soup with yummy mozzarella cheese and and enormous plate of spinach salad full of grilled chicken, sliced strawberries, mandarin oranges, pecans, and bacon, all topped with wonderful sweet poppy-seed dressing.
     I'm ashamed to say I ate every last bite.
     It is now eight at night and I'm still not hungry. To those of you who know me, that is some kind of miracle..
     Now, Pierce City is just a very small town with not too much going for it. But if you by some chance are driving through one day and it is lunch time, my advice it to stop and sit a spell and have a bite to eat at the little drug store. It isn't hard to find . . . it is the only one in town from the looks of things . . . right on the main drag (and do NOT drive more than thirty down that drag either).
     You'll be glad you did.
     Just to finish part of my day I'll tell you I drove on westward to pick up some lovely homemade bread from the Country Cupboard Bake Shop, located between Stark City and Newtonia. Lovely people own it who make fabulous jams, jellies, breads and sell a large variety of wonderful food items as well as some specialties, e.g., aprons, spices, doilies etc.I'm ashamed to say I don't know if they are Mennonite or Amish, Mennonite I believe. I must ask the next time I'm there. Not that it matters. Lovely people no matter.
     By no means all of my day but since so much of my life revolves around food, it is fun to share this much.
     Oh, yes, the chicken. When you kill a chicken for food, you must either chop the head off with a hatchet or wring its neck by holding the head and spinning the body around until it becomes detached from the body. The body will jerk and twist for two or three minutes as the nerves adjust to death before it quiets, hence: running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
     Now, isn't that food for thought?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Moving Right Along!

     After a couple of hectic weeks, things are picking up once more. I've been on the computer and the phone countless times with my lovely editor, working out last minute stuff about the new book, and it looks like it will be out sometime next week! Hurrah! Been a long time a-coming.
     Actually, I started the manuscript two or three years ago. It isn't too long . . . more a memoir than anything and regional at that. Tigress Press was all set to go with it when the owner, Janet Musick, unfortunately developed severe health problems and had to close down the company. So it went back into the files and waited until the right press came along.
    I'm so pleased that High Hill Press agreed to publish From Trash to Treasure: Evolution of an Ozarks Junkyard, mostly because it is really a gift to Ben, my husband.
     Another subject . . . the Missouri Folklore Society: last-minute stuff keeps cropping up again and again. There are so many details. My co-chair and her helper came down last week and we went over the meeting site again and worked on the schedule, checked out maps, and tried to think of things we'd forgotten.
    We've been so fortunate locally to have such good publicity. Monett, Neosho and other places have gone to so much trouble to let people know about the conference. I'm hopeful lots of locals will show up. On the other hand, I'm really worried about the membership. We've had problems with newsletters getting out this year as well as some other things. Nothing that myself or my co-chair could prevent and that's what is so very frustrating. We do as much as we can on this end and if it isn't publicized properly across the state, well, I worry . . .
     What wonderful weather we're experiencing but I'm really afraid we aren't going to have the marvelous color we usually have in the fall. After the long long really scorching days of August, I fear it over-powered what moisture it takes to pull out the scarlets, oranges, etc., we usually look forward to. I'm watching the sassafrass behind the kitchen and the "shoemake" along the roadsides and they aren't looking too promising yet.
     On the other hand, we've not had a hard freeze yet either.
     Oh, dear, what a dilemma! I can't stand cold weather so I don't want it to freeze but I love the color so I can't wait to see the results.
     That's me . . . never can make up my mind. Well, whatever will be, will be. I'll take what I get and learn to like it.
     I'll probably gripe and gripe but enjoy it all anyway. 'Til next time, folks.