Just a Big Pile of Dirt with Compost

The paperback is ready: Sweetheart Braves.

If everyone buys 250 copies, I should finally crack the bestseller list. Don’t let me down!

I’m finally back at it and working on Book 4. I still haven’t figured out my process yet so I’m trying something different. That’s a joke because I have figured out my process. It’s to start strong, flail early, have a major freakout, write in circles with intermittent periods of pulling my hair out and sending almost daily whiny messages to my friend Kira about how I really and truly can’t figure out how to finish it this time. Then I make myself finish it because Lorelei has me on the schedule.

But I want to do it differently this time. With less whining and gnashing. More on that story as it develops.

I’ve been doing my last bits of fall gardening. I bought 90 bulbs online and then found a bin of clearance bulbs at Fred Meyer and bought 30 more. I moaned and groaned but I buried a lug of bulbs last weekend and finished up on Monday night. It’s going to be pretty in March.

I optimistically left 2 tomato plants in the ground, both loaded with green tomatoes. Not much progress. I picked everything today and put it on the window sill. I also had this brilliant idea to buy broad beans to do magic to my soil. Actually it wasn’t my idea, it was in this newsletter that I subscribe to.

The only newsletter that is actually helpful, doesn’t come too often, and contains things I actually want to buy: Territorial Seed Company. It was their idea. I need to send them a note and tell them their marketing team is gold medal champion if they’re getting me to stay subscribed, read every one, and buy stuff.

This evening in the 20 minutes before dinner time I was in the dirt with a hand trowel, shoving broad beans in.

I wanted to get things done today because the rains are coming. This is the flower part of the garden and it still looks pretty. There’s lots of work to do on this side yet but I’ll wait until the cold and rain shrivels everything.

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Can’t you dig the sunshine?

When we go to Orleans we go I5 to Grants Pass and in good weather cut over to Cave Junction and a couple of dinky little roads before we hop over Grayback to Happy Camp. In the interim spot between Cave Junction and Grayback, a big truck loaded down with portable toilets came up behind me. No matter how fast I drove or how narrow the road got, he remained no less than three car lengths behind me.

Normally I just get out of the way but I was already driving above the speed limit and: it was a truck with portable toilets! It was like a PeeWee Herman movie with me shrieking as I drove faster and faster and portable toilets loomed up behind me.

He finally pulled off to go a different direction.

During my visit I picked buckets and buckets of grapes. We got a bunch of apples and huckleberries. Mom and I went to get some pears. I am not especially comfortable on tall ladders or any ladders, to be honest. Mom wanted me to scamper up to the top for the prize pears on the top of the tree. I climbed about halfway and balked as the ladder bowed in the breeze.

Mom said: MOVE! I’ll do it.

So I let her climb up there and helpfully stood back and took photos in case I got something that would make a good viral clip. Don’t worry, she’s fine.

Isn’t this bear poo an interesting cylinder shape?

On the drive home I saw a small RV pulled over by a state trooper. The driver was dressed like Davy Crockett complete with full buckskins and raccoon tail cap. My sister said there might have been a mountain man festival in the area which would explain the fast-driving portable toilet truck, too.

This is my pumpkin crop with the blue hubbard and a butternut.

STILL NO PAPERBACK. ARGH. Amazon is killing me. They have everything but haven’t approved it.

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Favorite Garden Treat

Quick update in case anyone is checking here: Sweetheart Braves paperback is still not available.

Giant online retailer told me they shipped the proof last week. It’s not here. Since I’m leaving town tomorrow I’m certain it will show up then. I won’t have time to review and click the magic button until I return next week.

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Not Even the Free Stuff

I didn’t even read this book, someone told me about Swedish death cleaning and I took the idea, as I interpreted it, and spent a day going to town on our own clutter situation.

I didn’t do a dramatic job but I had a bunch of kitchen items from my mother-in-law’s kitchen (Yeah, yeah, I know, but these are items that I actually want, really good old school Pyrex and Corningware. They don’t make it as good anymore. If you need some good Pyrex, let me know. I can fix you up) and no place to put them. While I was in the mood for decluttering I did the same in a couple of other areas of the house — sheesh, decluttering is exhausting and so much work for such a small reward. But the small reward was one entire carload of stuff away. I’ll take it.

I’m inspired to take care of some other piles of stuff that don’t bring me joy but I need more time to go through it. I started Book #4 so my attention has been redirected.

I got rid of things using various methods: giving them to people who need them, Goodwill, Friends of the Library, going to the clothing reseller, and listing them for free on Nextdoor. It’s been quite an eye opener that stuff I have that I thought was super amazing, in great condition, and would be in high demand from a person looking for free stuff, did not get even the tiniest eye blink of interest. Oh my, and I also had a big wake up moment when the too-cool-for-school clerk at the clothing reseller gave me her best look of over-polite disdain and slid my items back across the counter.

I’m a woman now.

Book 4 still isn’t available in paperback. SORRY! I received notice that Giant Online Retailer shipped my proof last week. I need to make sure it looks right before I release it into the world.

Going to Orleans next weekend. Coming soon: this year’s squash crop.

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Autumn Leaves Falling

I started yanking stuff out before I took a photo and had to run back in and grab the camera.

I am putting the garden to bed earlier than usual this year. The tomatoes have been completely underwhelming and I’m tired of watering. I did a little homework and I’m trying a cover crop again this year and more soil conditioning/fertilizing methods. It’s still a work in progress. I’ve been trying to get out there all afternoon but there’s always one more thing to take care of.

I get up a little after five so my bedtime is a little after nine.

My body completely rebels when I try to go to bed before nine. Even if it’s just a few minutes. Sometimes after a long week, a girl is tired. I could not keep my eyes open one more minute and had read the same page in my book about 10 times so at 8:50 I said, good enough, and turned out the light and conked out immediately. Woke up, wide awake at 2am. Flopped around for at least 2 hours. The rule is always to tough it out until 9.

Last week I read an article, it might have been about the new Apple watch. I’m not interested in the watch I was just skimming various news sources and came across this in passing. I saw a remark that the medical tracker was good at recognizing AFib and I swear what my brain processed was that this medical tracker could recognize lies, as in: a fib. I thought that was going to be a very interesting device.

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Road Tripping

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before but I can’t seem to get my act together. I feel like I spent the entire weekend zooming around the house trying to take care of things.

I keep trying to do less things but there’s always something I can’t avoid.

Paperback has been uploaded but I still have to go through a review process. Stay tuned.

Last weekend we went to Atlanta to hang out with one of my writing friends Kira. Bob went with me and we had a great time. I did not take very many photos.

This is a photo of some sad bananas that didn’t make it into the garbage and sat on the curb all weekend. And me in my open toe shoes.

We also went to the Carter Center. Guess who’s idea that was?

Normally when I visit Kira I go by myself and we spend the entire weekend at her house cooking, baking, writing, and watching rom coms.

This time we left the house and had adventures.

I’m not sure what was going on with this photo. Was I trying? I think I might have thought about taking a picture of the fountain and decided against it then took not just one, but several photos just like this.


Kira and I did one cooking day and made this delicious spinach lasagna. We spent one day sitting around the house while Bob went off and did Martin Luther King Jr. themed things.

Here’s Bob with his two new best friends Millie and Lila. He shared little snack nubbins with them so they followed his every move. Millie is in the lower left corner. I don’t have the energy to do a Photoshop trick to make her more obvious.

Also while in Atlanta we went to the Oakland Cemetery on the hottest day at the hottest time. Luckily there were lots of trees. And we did the CNN tour which was super interesting. It gave me mild anxiety watching how they use all these devices and watch little screens to keep everything going smoothly.

We when we got home we both gasped when we stepped out of the airport. It was about 68 degrees with a cool damp breeze. I’m not complaining but I already know that in two months I’m going to be crying for warm sunshine again.

Summer is over. Bob is back to work. I’m wearing closed toe shoes again. I saw them clearing the shelves for xmas lights in the store.

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Book Has Landed

Ebook is available now from all your favorite book sellers:

Kindle | Nook | Apple | Kobo | Paperback-TBD

Paperback is still a few weeks out. I need a final cover and then I need a final proof and meanwhile giant online retailer is changing the way the paperbacks are done and I have not been successful at figuring how that’s going to work yet.

I’m headed out for a fun trip. Stay out of trouble while I’m gone.

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Okay. The book still isn’t available. It’s done. I’ve done all my part.

But there are parts of the process that are completely out of my control. There was some technological confusion which comes from technological entities trying to trick you into being dependent on their ecosystem. Then I got all the information updated into the places it needed go. Now I have to wait for them to get back to me. Plus giant online retailer is changing some stuff for self-publishers which is a giant good ship clusterfukatonia.

I have no purchase URLs. I can do zero promotion until I have those bits. I have been sitting here waiting all day.

I will do my best to get it going tomorrow but I have two long work days in front of me and then I’m going out of town and won’t be in an environment conducive to dealing with my book. I’m super frustrated.


The house behind us had to chop down all their trees. They lost one several years ago and I could see the rest were looking unhealthy. This is more or less the view when I’m washing dishes. I miss the trees.

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Twenty-Two Years

This weekend I celebrated 22 years with my sweetie. I had a work meeting in Seattle so I dragged him with me and after my professional responsibilities were finished we had a terrific time goofing off for a couple days.

The skies were smoky but we got a little bit of rain on the day we left.

We spent an evening sitting outside watching Khu.éex', a Tlingit funk band.

We took the ferry to Bremerton. Our plan was to do a quick lap and get back on the ferry to return to Seattle but we met a man going to a reunion of the U.S.S. Turner Joy a naval ship that has been turned into a museum.

He was really friendly and fun to talk to so we ended up going to the ship with him and touring the ship. He was all animated showing us his bunk and where he worked and telling us hilarious stories of his time on the ship. We had a such a great time talking to him.

We also walked along the waterfront a bit and walked around downtown. We went to the Seattle Art Museum.

We took the train for the trip. Bob was dying to go to 13 Coins for an early dinner before we got on the train back home. Thirteen Coins is one of those restaurants where everything on the menu is heavy duty meat/fried/sauce but super delicious. We arrived a little after 4pm and the place was insane with people and groups everywhere. We sat at the counter and watched them cook which was entertaining. I wanted to ask how close they were to capacity — at one point the guy working in front of us had 5 pans going with omelettes and pasta and picatta — but they didn’t have time to chat.

When we left someone told us Ed Sheeran was playing at the stadium which explained the chaos.

Unless there is an unforeseen snafu, Book 3 will be out on Tuesday, September 4. I just got the manuscript back and I need the weekend to finalize it for publication.

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What I’ve Been Up To

We bought a head of cabbage so Bob could make coleslaw. I showed him how to use the food processor and, not comprehending how much this would make, he shredded the entire head.

We have several giant metal bowls and one of them was filled with shredded cabbage. You can tell yourself that it doesn’t look that terrible until you start eating it and you realize that one portion of coleslaw goes a long way and barely makes a dent. It’s not like ice cream where you have to force yourself to stop eating it.

The good news is we’ve worked our way through about half this week.

ICYMI: Simone Biles came back to gymnastics competition. Even if you’re not into gymnastics you should watch this floor routine. I lost track of elite gymnastics for a long time and then this podcast got me back into it. Well, and I guess the horrible scandal brought it back to my attention. The organization is still pretty turded up but the US has so many incredible athletes and better coaching style so big future ahead.

I also did a bunch of cooking last weekend after so many weekends of being chained to the computer. I made potato salad using potatoes from my garden. I made a peach pie and I made cornflake milk ice cream — that pie and ice cream taste amazing together. I baked bread. It seems like I washed about 10 million dishes so I’m probably forgetting something.

This weekend we are going to be gone. So those of you at the edge of your seats waiting for Sweetheart Braves looks like I will have to you right after Labor Day.

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