2022: Aging Gardeners

            I mentioned last week my husband is looking at another shoulder surgery. To say the least we’re not looking forward to it. It’s not his first and we know what he is up against.

            There’s no doubt about it, we’re in our golden years.

            He’s not ready to call a lawn service company yet. It’s a guy thing. So last year we bought a ZTR lawn mower even though we live in a residential area with a normal sized yard. It’s a small mower and he’s not happy with it, or maybe he’s not happy having to use one, but it’s a compromise. There is nothing wrong with the mower, it’s the stage in life.

            This year we went one step further. We hired a company to drill a water well and lay a sprinkler system. It is one more thing we can do with a flip of a switch and not push or pull the equipment around like we did when we were in our twenties. We’re more than a little beaten up physically, probably because we were always do-it-yourselfers, and now our bodies are paying the price.

            But with a riding lawnmower and a sprinkler system we should have a beautiful yard, right? We’re home all the time to look after it. If you see us running (ambling) through sprinklers this summer, join us!

            Perhaps we should have spent our money on an RV and traveled the world. It might have been less expensive and not as hard on our bodies. Awww, retirement.

So much for ageing gardeners. Maybe we should stick to books. What are you reading this week?

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2022: Cottonwood!

My husband had shoulder surgery this year and is looking at another.  He is not happy with the idea of being incapacitated and so we work together on the yard work. 

Yesterday he was certain he could mow the front yard with the new ZTR mower he bought this time last year.  So, I tried to help him. We moved things around in the garage so he could get to it and once it was out, he really had no trouble at all making wide circles and keeping the shoulder as inactive as possible. 

Until the Cottonwood began to fall in blizzards. It stuck to sweaty bodies, flew up our noses, and stuck in our hair.  Once it quits for the year, we’ll have to have our air conditioner serviced which will look like it is covered in thick woolen batting. We’ve been here before. The neighbor next door has a 100-year-old Cottonwood tree, and it loves the spring when it can show it still has what it takes.

After coming in covered in the white fluff I was inspired to write a poem to express my feelings.  

COTTONWOOD WRANGLER

Balls of white gossamer fluff roll across the prairie

And The gardener watches the blizzard in vain.

In true Oklahoma form a funnel of cotton rises into the air on my front porch

I watch knowing nothing can be done until the Cottonwood is spent.

Each spring between Mother’s Day and June, huge puffballs fall from the sky

And the neighbor’s 100-year-old tree once more springs to life to procreate.

Seeds set out on cotton wings – some the size of my hand – and drift into corners

Motivated to growing into a tree like its mother.

And I, the gardener, become a wrangler of Cottonwood babies

Scooping the balls into dust pans and securing them.

I slam down the lid as half escape into the air before they are dumped into trash cans

Headed for the landfill where their dreams of treedom might come true.

So much for gardening. What are you reading this week?

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2022: Mother’s Day

I’ve done a lot of things on this planet in my 69 years. Some smarter than others. But the best thing I ever did was to become a mother of two wonderful human beings. It’s Mother’s Day and I looked up some old pictures to prove to you I raised two children. Both of them live close and I see them as often as possible.

I started young, barely twenty, when the first one showed up. I was terrified I’d screw up and we’d all starve. I didn’t know what to do with the little bundle of joy—and it showed. But I had a mother and mother-in-law to help guide me. Even though I thought I knew better sometimes, I still learned from them.

I worked part time when the children were young and tried to avoid placing them in day care. Their dad worked early mornings so I worked part-time afternoons. It brought in a little money. When they were in school full time, I went back to work full time too. And I went back to school while I worked and mothered. And the years whizzed by.

We always had a lot of music and books in our home, though there were times when we had little else. And my kids remember that. They remember the classical music as I rocked the baby to sleep and later the bedtime stories when they were old enough to appreciate them. I often put the needle on the 33-rpm record while we danced around the living room, and I managed to get rid of some dust or fold another load of laundry. They are both good readers and music lovers. I must have done a few things right.

I now have five grandchildren and they too are grown. The one I kept on weekends sometimes when he was young is about to graduate college. I couldn’t be prouder. One lives around the corner and though he works out of town, he helps us with things we’ve become too old to manage. The others I only see on holidays, but I look forward to those times.

Of all the things I’ve done in my life, being a mother was my favorite, and I wouldn’t change a thing in the way it happened. Happy Mother’s Day.

What are you reading this week?

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2022: OWFI Conference

Last week was Enid Author Fest and this week is the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. conference. It’s conference time!

It seems like years (it has been) since we’ve been able to get together. The pandemic cut a notch out of our get-to-gathers for the last few years and I’m happy to be able to attend again. Virtual conferences just aren’t the same.

If you’re interested in joining us check out 2022 Registration — Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. (OWFI) and see what the excitement is about. There will be speakers from all over the country along with banquets and awards ceremonies. Old friends will get to see each other again and new friendships will be made.

I remember my first conference; I only went for the Saturday sessions. I drove down early and then home after the final speaker of the day. I had no idea how much I missed. But I was ready the next year. Now we drive to Embassy Suites in Oklahoma City on Thursday afternoon and home after breakfast on Sunday morning. We attend both of the banquets and sit in on as many sessions as possible. I don’t want to miss a minute.

And this year there will be smaller celebrations taking place in a room designated for that purpose. The Enid Writers Club will celebrate their 100th anniversary (next January) with cake. Come by and join us. The Oklahoma Romance Writers will have an awards celebration also. There will be many things for many writers.

The conference always brings in editors, publishers, and agents who are available by appointment so the writers can pitch their work to them. I have gotten to know all my publishers at this conference, and I am happy to say those relationships have worked out beautifully. There will also be book sales by the author and a silent auction going on throughout the hotel.

Come check us out Friday and Saturday at the Embassy Suites in Oklahoma City on Meridian Embassy Suites Oklahoma City Will Rogers Airport – Guest Reservations (close to Will Rogers airport).

What are you reading this week?

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2022: Author Fest!

It’s Author Fest time!

Each year for the past five or so, the Public Library of Enid and Garfield County has hosted an author fest. I’ve loved being a part of this group from the beginning and each year the library produces innovative ideas. You can interact with authors of all types, and you can always purchase a book from your favorite author.

It is National Poetry Month, and the library combined a love of poetry with all things literary. Many people donated an original poem to be combined into an anthology and available sometime after the festival. There was a typewriter (yes, a real typewriter) on sight and poetry on the fly was created just for you. I got one. It was great.

I met old friends and made some new ones. There were authors from all over the state at the festival and it was a wonderful time to catch up with friends from the past. I also met a lot of new people.

I always look forward to the Enid Author Fest and will continue to attend. I handed out a lot of fliers about the Enid Writers Club. There seemed to be a lot of interest from people of all occupations who would love to learn to write better. It is the 100th anniversary of our local club in January 2023 and we are starting the celebration early.

Literature speaks to all people as was evidenced by the wide variety of participants. Enid had several things to do yesterday with a barbeque cookoff and home show, but lots of readers came to the library also. We’ll do it again next year. Thank you Enid Public Library for your support.

What are you reading this week?

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2022: Easter!

Happy Easter!

Easter is time of renewal for spring and a holiday for Christians. Other religions also celebrate near the same time.

My Easter Lilies are up about three inches and will not bloom until summer. They don’t have a calendar, I guess. But the yard is greening up. If we weren’t in such a drought, it would do better. It is still cool but in Oklahoma that will come to a blazing halt very quickly.

I talked to my cousin in Texas, and they are having a fish fry—a staple for them at Easter. I heard our dinner might include lamb chops. But that’s not set in stone. I’m not cooking, other than the Deviled Eggs I’ll bring. We’ve been invited to our daughter’s house for dinner. I’m looking forward to seeing family and that is the main reason for being there.

Easter is the beginning of spring and warm weather. It is a time of renewal and plans to do things differently than last year. I’ll have a better lawn and I’ll get more exercise—maybe. I always make plans at New Years and Easter and other beginnings. There’s that unfinished novel or two that I need to get back to work on.

Whatever your plans for Easter and the beginning of warmer weather, I hope your plans include friends and family. Whether you are religious or not, and whether your celebration includes bunnies or crosses, have a good celebration and enjoy the season.

What are you reading this week?

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2022: Enid Author Fest

The Public Library of Enid and Garfield County is having the Enid Author Fest Saturday, April 23, 2022, from 1-5 pm.  Like a lot of things, it’s been two years since the last one and I’m looking forward to connecting with my fellow authors once again. 

According to Margo Holmes, Adult Programs and Development Coordinator:

Local author festivals provide an opportunity for authors to showcase their work while developing connections in the area, and the public learns about authors publishing right here in their neighborhood. Attendees can meet some of the top writing talents in the region, sample their work, and even take home an autographed book. 

Since our festival takes place in April this year and April is National Poetry Month we would like to incorporate a poetry contest that will take place all month, with winners announced at the festival. The submitted poetry will be published in a bound book and everyone who submits a poem will receive a free copy of the book. We will offer poetry on the spot, where poets with manual typewriters will create a custom poem for festivalgoers.

Come to the festival and check out the authors, get some personal poetry made just for you, and make connections with Oklahoma authors.  Come by my table and say “hi.” We’d love to see you.

What are you reading this week? Come pick up a new book at the Enid Author Fest in downtown Enid April 23, 2022, from 1-5.

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2022: Return to the Garden

It’s spring! I know because I worked on the lawn yesterday. Not really the lawn, but pots around the lawn. I made my maiden voyage to the greenhouse and spent the first of many fortunes. Like everything else, the prices have gone up. I filled some empty containers and wished them well. I hope we don’t have another freeze.

            I know it is spring when I can clean off the patio, set up the patio table, and put out Toucan Harry, the ceramic bird my mother brought back from Mexico many years ago. He graces my patio with hopes of great summer nights.

            Years ago, I rescued two galvanized trash cans destined for the dump and put flowers in them. I had visions of containers overflowing with wildflowers. I bought a large packet of seeds. They came up struggling and never progressed much further. I took care of them instead of leaving them in a meadow to fend for themselves. But in the mix of seeds the next year arrived Four O’clocks. I had to take pictures and ask what they were. They smelled wonderful. But they too didn’t fill the container as I had imagined. So, this year I planted Petunias around the emerging Four O’clocks. Maybe I can yet fill the containers as I imagined.

            I’ve cleaned out the herb garden and I see sprouts of various plants. The basil always takes over and has to be pulled so it won’t overshadow everything else. I got rid of a few weeds in the front flower garden and put Geraniums in the flowerpots that grace each side of the front door. We are planning some sod to fill in some holes that have developed in the grass. My husband just endured a second rotator cuff surgery and is not happy about being helpless in the garden for the growing season, but we will persevere.

            In between bouts in the garden, I am writing as usual. There’s always a story in my head just itching to get out. Welcome spring!

            What are you reading this week?

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2022: The Writer’s Block – LA Talk Radio

                The Writer’s Block, an online radio show affiliated with LA Talk Radio The Writer’s Block | LA Talk Radio, is once again on my horizon Thursday night, March 31, 2022, 8:00 pm CST. I’ve interviewed with these people several times and they’re starting to feel like family. Jim Christina, an author himself, is the radio host and I’ve even gotten to know his wife, Gerry Christina, an avid reader. Bobbie Jean Bell is the co-host, and she always makes you feel welcome.

            We’ll be discussing my latest books, Flatiron Death Grip and Blooming Greed. Two different genres and double the fun.

            I’ve interviewed with others, but this group reads and knows your books before you get there—so they’re prepared with the tough questions! Be on your toes.

            My husband was in radio for many years when we were young, and I have gained great respect for that ability to think on your feet—especially at my age. My brain cells aren’t what they used to be. Get it right the first time, there’s no going back.

            Their format now includes Skype and will not just be live audio but video later and podcast for when you want to go back and listen. We’ll find out if I have a face for radio.

            But the hour-long interview is fun and exhausting. Jim and Bobbie Jean sometimes ask the challenging questions that you hadn’t even thought about, but they never fail to ask, “what do you do about writer’s block?”

            Tune in on Thursday night, March 31, 2022, 8:00 pm CST, to The Writers’ Block The Writer’s Block | LA Talk Radio and listen to the interview. You can call in and ask questions if you like. They’ll give you the phone number. We’d love to hear from you.

            What are you reading this week?

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2022: Blooming Greed and Keystone Lake

                In January, my latest Keystone Lake novel, Blooming Greed, was released by The Wild Rose Press. Once again Erin is out solving crimes and some of my favorite characters are on the case. This time her neighbors are disappearing and the lake she’s known all her life is in trouble. The fishing is disappointing and lake levels are so high that prime lake front properties are flooded. Boating your favorite spots can be dangerous due to debris in the water.

            With the flooding of prime real estate, people are leaving after selling their weekend homes at rock bottom prices and property owners are beginning to notice. Could this be due to a family Erin has known all her life?

Erin Shipley grew up on Keystone Lake before moving to Tulsa and becoming an associate attorney. Now, she’s back, representing a client who is concerned about the flooding and property values around the lake. Properties underwater are being bought and sold for pennies on the dollar by someone called T & H Realty. When her friend’s uncle, Jeff, dies mysteriously on the lake, Erin wonders if it has anything to do with the real estate scam and launches an investigation. The dam is old and zebra mussels are clogging it, not allowing enough water to flow out. If the dam breaks, it will flood downtown Tulsa and areas around it. But that’s not the only danger…whoever killed Jeff isn’t finished with their diabolical plan, and Erin and those she loves are at risk from more than just a dam break.

            Check out Blooming Greed and see what’s happening on Keystone Lake to Erin and her friends.

What are you reading this week?

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