Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Words of Winter

I might be too busy penning my next novel about Levitation to post regularly here, but I haven't forgotten about my feathered literary muse. In a way, Chorus of the Crows has been wintering. My novel has been on hold while I've been out chopping wood, stapling plastic over the windows, buying one of those wearable sleeping bags and putting up canned goods for one hell of a winter. In other words, I'm doing the hard grunt work of editing. Sigh.

As 2017 sputters out, I'm busy working through my forth edit, (I naively thought I was done after two) and the good news is, now, I have help! I no longer have to wonder if my novel is good or destined for the garbage like used kitty litter. This month, my favorite new mentor (and award winning author) Peter Geye, said its terrific and that's all I need to know to keep editing with a tentative and hopeful straightening of my spine. It takes resolve.

 Now, I don't mind churning out edits like a deranged Rumpelstiltskin - in the hopes of getting published by somebody. (the only guarantee is that I'll be rejected by somebody) Peter has been a great mentor - for every slap of the hand there's a pat on the back. 

But enough about my novel. Have you read Wintering? It's Peter Geye's third novel - another book like his previous works, Safe from the Sea and The Lighthouse Road. It's immersed in Norwegian immigrant culture and tales of life in Northern Minnesota. I loved it. I wonder if it's because I'm Norwegian?

These are the kind of jokes I grew up with: 

Lars asked Ole, "Do ya know da difference between a Norvegian and a canoe?"
"No, I don't," said Ole. "A canoe will sometimes tip," explained Lars.

  • Ole went to the Sons of Norway Hall one night and finally won the door prize, which was a toilet brush. He was so excited that he won he brought it home and used it often. Someone asked him during the next meeting what the prize was and if he liked it or not. Ole replied, "Yea I like the toilet brush, but I think I'm gonna go back to using paper."

Ole and Lena got married. On their honeymoon trip they were nearing Minneapolis when Ole put his hand on Lena's knee.
Giggling, Lena said, "Ole, you can go a little farder now if ya vant to"... so Ole drove to Duluth.

 I absorbed Ole and Lena jokes at every Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas gathering of my childhood. (not including family reunions) Nobody told a joke better than my Aunt Pat. She also baked a mean ham dinner.

But no, I didn't like the book because I'm Norwegian. The characters were familiar, odd (someone was even named Odd) and compelling. Harry, the main character, reminded me of Richard Proenneke - the man who ventured into the wilds of Alaska to build a home for himself and later turned up on PBS during pledge drives. Like Richard, Harry is damn likable and utterly capable. A real man. Plus, survival stories are always interesting. My favorite character, the location, serves as the book's visual heart. I don't have any complaints, just like one of my favorite lines: 

"She had the constitution of a hunk of granite."

"Then how did she die?"

"Without complaint." 

P.S. Guess what I'm making on Christmas day? 

Lefse. My Aunt Pat might have baked the ham, but my Mom wielded the Lefse paddle. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Feathered Floozies

It's Halloween week on The Chorus of the Crows. I've lassoed a few wayward, Halloween themed posts, and I'm sweetening the deal by re-posting some old favorites. This one in particular is an expose on my unforgivable, dirty lowdown past... 

Me and my favorite pistol. Beside me, my pretty partner in crime. 

Alas, there is a shameful and checkered past reflecting back at me from my foggy rear view mirror. Oops, I mean the dusty old fashioned looking glass I held up over my shoulder, to ascertain just what was galloping at a rowdy clip, at the tail end of my wagon. I ran across this picture in my photo archives and it spurred me to describe my former life, as a low cost Saloon girl. 

The news of the weird unfolds like this...I may have worn feathers by night, but by day, I was a gun toting outlaw - robbing from my former clients. There were no morning trots of shame for me. No little doggie. After every illicit crime spree, me and my trusted horse Maybelline tethered up at the saloon with garters full of cash. There were only a few occasions where the men were so flat broke, that I was forced to steal a chicken or a skinny goat. Well, a girl has to eat. It was all too easy. Those were the glory days. The nights were sticky, the sheets looked like a future Jackson Pollock painting and my lips were always irritatingly chapped, from long rides in the Arizona sun. But, those were good times. 

So, just how did I pull off my robberies?  I plied the men folk with so much whiskey during our rolls in the hay - on the third floor of that filthy, whiskey soaked establishment -  that they never saw me follow them home. Maybelline was a sure footed horse with the stealthy hooves of a cat on the hunt. So, the foul drunkards never heard or suspected a thing. Mind you, I never hurt any woman folk or young-ins. Although, I heard from my friend Michelle (on the right) through one of her clients, that one disgruntled wife bashed in the skull of her husband at breakfast with a cast iron skillet -  bison meat and eggs flying around the cabin in a flurry of grease, after one of my early morning visits. I guess the cheater deserved it. 

I never made enough money to get rich. But I lived well. I could afford to mail order new feathery frocks from the Sears Robuck catalog. I had a custom made saddle, rumored to be fashioned and carved by the same leather mason that the Jesse James gang used. How I learned that will remain a secret between me and a certain, un-named outlaw. And my friend Michelle and I never went hungry. When other settlers were eating potatoes boiled with pine needles for flavor - through the long harsh winters - we were eating high on the hog. And a fat one at that. 

After a time, I gave up the outlaw life and married a warrant/bill collector. My friend Michelle became a famous horse whisperer. She fixed up unhinged horse flesh in a jiffy, starting her career in the arid hills of Los Angeles, and winding all the way down to the wilds of Baja, Mexico. She always did have a way with my Maybelline. 

She gave up whiskey. 

I didn't.

The sober truth.
Me and my friend Michele at one of those old time photo booths. As if you didn't already know that!

The Spooky Sand Hill Cemetery

The Sand Hill Cemetery has the unfortunate reputation of being haunted. 

In fact, there is no doubt that the location near Caryville, Wisconsin, isolated on a dirt road leading to the edge of a rural bluff, is indeed scary. But, is it haunted? As the narrator of Ancient Aliens always proclaims..."some say yes." 

We were picnicking on the bucolic Chippewa River State Trail in May, when an older gentleman appeared out of nowhere, with a camera in hand. After discussing the historic value of the site where we were eating lunch, (click here for more on that) he regaled us with ghost stories surrounding the nearby Sand Hill Cemetery. He warned us that a demon named Blackie resided there, growling at all comers. He said that back in the day, he witnessed a circle of dark figures wearing black swirling cloaks surrounding the grave of Baby, performing some kind of unnerving ritual. And some say, they've seen children roaming the grounds, attempting to converse with living visitors. Except, they might not really be children at all. Well, not anymore. Gulp. So what did we do after hearing these mysterious tales?

We finished eating and biking, of course, then headed straight for the cemetery...

The grave of Baby.

This stone is slowly being masticated by the ravenous earth.

The penny stones.

It really does seem like a lonely and forgotten place.

If you look into the distance, you can see that this abandoned cemetery sits on a ridge. The isolation is off putting. After hearing about the haunted tales from our new friend, my pulse raced as we approached the site in our vehicle. Luckily, it was during the day, because some say the headlights of a ghostly vehicle will trail you at night and then mysteriously vanish. I wondered if we too, would experience an assault on our car, as others have claimed. After parking, I shakily exited the car with my camera. Meanwhile, my husband was too freaked out to take any photos with his phone. None.

I walked to the edge of the tombstones and just stood there. I wondered if I would be accosted with a negative energy.  To be honest, I didn't feel anything. I only felt a gentle breeze stir over the ridge line. I only heard the rustle of pine branches. But, that being said, I didn't like it when my husband abandoned me to go wait in the car. I, on the other hand, felt compelled to finish my illicit photo safari.



I don't know what significance placing a penny on grave stones possesses. But, it must mean something to someone.

On our way out, we noticed blood red tags on this sign. I don't know what the red tag signifies either. But I assume it is some kind of warning. Unfortunately, we most likely didn't heed it. Gulp.

When we got home, I asked my husband why he wouldn't take any photos. And more importantly, why he abandoned me to wait in the car. Jerk!

He said he didn't want any spirits attaching to him like an unwanted tick. I've always wondered... 

did we come home alone?

Google the Sand Hill Cemetery. If you dare.

The Awesome Links: 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cover of the Crows

Now that I'm done writing my novel, I'm planning my book tour. I'm already booked at the Barnes and Noble on the north pole in September. The shiny new store resembles the ice palace from the movie Dr. Zhivago. It's breathtaking! Of course, I'll have to wear a puffy jacket, bring my hair dryer to thaw out the books and look out for falling icicles. But other than that it should be cool - literally. These days, I'm practicing my signature while wearing mittens. So far, it is only slightly better than the scribbles created at the credit card machine at Rainbow. Nevertheless, its getting better. 

I'm super excited! My appearance has been scheduled for months at the galley sized book isle at Kmart. That's coming up soon. I'll have to ask my assistant to shine a blue light on the details. Well, if I remember right, I'm only signing at the Fargo location. That was an ego fail. Even so, I heard Jaclyn Smith started her collection at that location, so great things could happen to me as well. Just in case, I'm growing out my hair and using Breck shampoo. 

I'm on a waiting list at one of the research stations on Antarctica. (the coldest one) They told me I would have been a shoe in if I would have created a penguin character. That was ill planned on my part. At least Amazon will take me - they take everyone!

Well, I may not be touring quite yet, but a girl can dream. And speaking of dreams, I'm always waking up with editing ideas. Luckily, I keep a notebook under my bed. Besides dreaming, I'm drawing. When I'm not illustrating my current children's book commission, Mrs. Jones' Tea Party, I'm counting and drawing crows. There are 7 on my mock cover. 

I had so much fun creating it. I feel it works on many levels: first, there's a color blocked punch of color; readers won't have a corn kernel of trouble spotting it at Target or the book kiosk at LAX. It would really stand out against the snow and ice of the North pole too - I'm just saying - in case Target doesn't work out. Other than color, the maze of arterial fibers at the center resemble a heart muscle, but are really the roots of a corn stalk. Besides those visuals, if you squeeze your eyes you can almost see a skeletal hand reaching down to twiddle its bony fingers. All of these visuals are shaken out of the pages of Chorus of the Crows

Coming soon! 


Monday, May 8, 2017

Monsters at the MIA!

If my novel, Chorus of the Crows, is ever made into a film, I want Guillermo del Toro to direct it. I can't think of anyone more qualified to spin my dark and stormy dreams into a surreal reality. Last night, I dreamed I was visiting a deceased loved one from my past. She appeared to be living in a porcelain institution lit by insanely bright florescent lights - I should have headed back to the parking lot right then and there - but I forged ahead, entering her room, gasping. There I witnessed her carbon colored head, shrunken, as if magically turned into a rotten, dehydrated apple. Her skin was like burnt leather and anchoring her face, the pertly blinking eyes of a mannequin. To top things off, her freak face was bobbing like a demonic bobble head doll, glued to a disproportionately large body wearing a trendy black fringe leather jacket. (Well, I do like fringe) Needless to say, my loved one didn't look like that. 

What the heck?  Maybe I'll turn demons into demon-ade and insert this wicked vision into one of my novels someday. Thanks weird brain. 

Now, witness Guillermo del Torro's monster of a collection culled from his home in L.A. It's been on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for months, scaring all comers. The MIA gave future instagramers the green light on photography. Luckily, my husband had his i-phone. I took photos of my favorite monsters - I freaking loved the show!

The first masterpiece theater drama I ever watched was the Charles Dickens classic, Bleak House. That's what Guillermo - we're on a first name basis since he'll be directing my movie someday- named his un-heavenly abode. The first Guillermo directed movie I ever witnessed was Pan's Labyrinth - a masterpiece of horror. 

Dark-lights of his collection...

The wings have eyes. 

I remember this character from American Horror Story/Freak Show. I didn't know it was based on a real life person. 


Poe and his toes.

I love Fawn.

Dresses from Crimson Peak. 

Hitch and a crow. My muse. 

Talk to the hand!

The freakish exhibit is on display through the end of May at the MIA.
For more click on

For more on Chorus of the Crows buy my book someday!

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Land of Venison and Honey

 I paid a local author to critique the questionable query letter I created for my novel, The Chorus of the Crows. The move prompted me to read her book...

"There's a lot to be said for conserving words," was one of Vac's unintentional witticisms. 

Sarah Stonich, Vacationland

Conserving words. That would be a nice way of describing my query letter critique from the author. My critique was slight - possibly rushed - even so, I loved her book Vacationland. Here are two more great lines from Sarah Stonich...

The sun, too, now hiding behind a cloud with tails of mist that follow, like the farts that trail her father. 


She fetches a lawn chair from the porch just as bats start to scallop out from the eaves and dusk begins to suck away the color. 


It was a great read: Whimsically poetic with a wile use of words - wonderful. There were so many sentences that pulled me back, prompting me to re-read them. The story takes us to a fictional Minnesota resort called Naledi Lodge - way up north. So far, that some of the cast of characters resemble comedic Fargo characters. But not all of the characters live up north; some are tourists whose paths intersect with Naledi in subtle ways, almost as if dispersed into the wind like cottonwood seeds. At the end of almost every chapter, I thought, "That was my favorite one."

I also laughed more than once about the mention of venison, since my freezer is full of the stuff. I felt like I was a kindred spirit with the venison chow-mein eating cast of characters. Does that sound weird? Well, the meat is healthy and when you have a freezer full, you have to get creative. 

I might not have discovered this book if I wouldn't have hired the author to critique my query letter. I still don't know if I've created a good query. I contemplated hiring another author to critique my revision, but I figured I might end up even more confused. I'm still in awe that The Loft Literary Center offers this opportunity. It is pretty darn amazing to be able to get feedback from a living, breathing writer - even if I felt my critique suffered from temporary asthma - it was worth it. 

The author suggested I change the title of my book to Chorus of the Crows instead of The Chorus of the Crows. 

I think that's a great idea!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Novel Update

In November of 2016 I finished writing my first novel. Hooray! But where was the parade? Not on my street. I expected to exit the computer room to an explosion of fireworks. At the very least, I hoped for a wrap party with balloons, streamers and lots of liquor. There was nothing. Nada. My husband may have given me a hug. I don't remember. It is possible, that my cats looked at me with a whisker twitch of pride and amazement. But it was probably just a sparkly reflection over my shoulder that caught their eyes. Or hunger pains. 

Not only did I finish my novel, but now, I've finished my first revision. As soon as I enter the story line, time flies like a Delorean on plutonium. I become immersed in it. I hope some day soon, readers will feel the same way. Revision is fun when an editor isn't breathing down your neck with a laundry list of shame. Gulp. That could change. 

Soon, I'll be entering a new phase. The phase where people actually read it. I'm not sure when or where that will be. The internet? A self published e-book? A hard cover that wins the Pulitzer prize? Here's where you may find my book in the future...

a) Richard Branson's speedboat. President Obama is reading it, again, while kite surfing.

b) First class. Hillary Clinton forgets her copy in the seat pocket of an airplane. Shesh! What is she going to do while waiting to give her speech at the latest Women Who Whiskey gathering? Meanwhile, the first class flight attendant snags it, taking it with him to Hong Kong on a long layover. Then he passes it on to all his buddies. Score!

c) The airport kiosk of Barnes and Noble. The world awaits!

d) President Trump's golden toilet. 

e) The garbage can at Starbucks. Bummer.

Here's a snippet of story line snagged from my query letter...

Just like stubborn weeds, retired farmer Oren Walton finds himself plagued with nagging hallucinations. The visions start out benign enough. Small. Harmless. But like a prolific summer thistle, they grow, sprouting new leaves with every passing day. If you ask Oren, the things he sees are real. Like his gal. The one he sneaks out to the R.V. to see at night. She’s the best damn thing that has happened to him since his wife Amelie. He has Parkinson’s. That’s true enough. But hallucinations? He doesn’t believe it. Until the visions escalate, darkening the skies like a murder of crows, threatening not only him but the safety of his loved ones.

Loved ones like his wayward daughter Sedona. She doesn’t know what to do. She quit her job in true country music fashion to move home and help out her struggling father. But now what? She wasn’t cut out to witness her father’s slow decent into madness. And then there’s his lady friend. The real one. Her old school teacher Lavinia Swift. The one that spews profanities like, “Education elevates you!” Ugh. If it wasn’t for her mother’s mysterious journal entries, leading her closer and closer to the truth, and Jeb, lanky, glacial eyed Jeb, she’d be high tailing it back to Minneapolis. But then again, Jeb is the new Methodist minister. And there’s no way she’s going to church. Ugh.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Game of Followers

My first instagram shot from our 2017 trip to Nicaragua.

I finally joined the instagram party last July. #latetotheparty.  I was delayed at the Phoenix airport, bored and harboring a new digital crop of imagery from Sedona, Arizona. I'd resisted becoming a social media loser on instagram for quite awhile. But photography is my favorite hobby. It just makes sense to share the love with like minded phone carriers. It turns out, however, that like minds don't always think alike.

Don't get me wrong. Insta-users love my photos. But only for one day. Then they say adios, au revoir and good bye. Of course, anyone that uses instagram knows who the real losers are. Them. The idiots that only care about numbers. They mindlessly follow every instagram account they run across, then they turn the hour glass upside down. When the last grain of sand funnels through, they cackle like the green faced witch from the Wizard of Oz. 

Their stats give them away at first swipe. They only follow 400 people, but are followed by 23,000. They must be famous! They must travel the world sharing paparazzi worthy flashes from their fabulous life. Hashtag the Eiffel Tower. Hashtag the Pyramids of Egypt. Hashtag moi and Bobby Flay. Oh wow! They absolutely must be the coolest people on the planet to have so many instagram followers. Right?

Wrong. They're just jerks. There are no pyramids. I lied.

Here's a screen shot from a blog post educating people on how to be assholes. 

So who employs the nasty follow/unfollow method? Almost everyone on instagram. I've been unfollowed by accounts that only have 6 boring photos. Most of the time, their photos are marginal at best. You might see the Tower of Pisa nestled in-between 1,000 selfies. There's lots of food porn. No doubt about that. There's a few tasty beverages. A few hot mamas in bikinis. And maybe their cat. Like I said, they only care about numbers. Not photography. So they follow every page they swipe across like a frazzled tax accountant on February first, hoping to be followed back. They might even like one of your photos. And leave a thumbs up in your comment area. Then, like they heard a blaring smoke alarm accompanied by a river of flames, they run away from your page screaming. They dump your sorry ass.

A few months after I joined instagram, I was about to cancel my account in disgust. I still feel that way every time I have to unfollow another scum bag. Sure, I've accumulated a few real photo fans. Thank goodness for them. Or I'd lose faith in humanity completely. 

So what do you do if you want to stay sane and also stay on instagram? There's an app for that. Now, as soon one of those losers un-follows me, it's adios amigo. It's easy. There are tons of un-follow apps to choose from. The apps compile a list, as often as you choose to refresh, of every last loser that leaves you in the dust. Please people. Don't become a stat. Don't become someone that was only followed to grow another fool's account. Ditch them as soon as they ditch you. 

Don't play into The Game of Followers!

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Phenomenon

Image result for images of busy sidewalks
A busy sidewalk from google. It is located somewhere in the world, somewhere I definitely don't want to walk...

There's a bitter brewed, percolating phenomena underfoot. An insidious, pervasive rudeness is sweeping the land... and the sidewalks. I've grumbled to my husband about it for years. I even walk to his right, hoping to avoid a walking path ker-scuffle. What is it? I'll call it walking while f-ing rude syndrome. Good grief people. Move the F over! 

A few months ago, I was walking on a tepidly busy sidewalk in Naples, Florida. It's a given that the drivers are bad. It is Florida after all. But the walkers? Well, they might be worse. A blond dressed to kill, resembling a well seasoned Prada model, (apparently strutting the sidewalks in front of the pedestrians of fashion) just about made me sit my ass down into a potted palm tree. This so called lady and her oblivious friend would not budge. Then later, two dudes did it twice. One of the times we passed each other, I had to turn sideways, and even so, I was being groped and scratched by the lecherous shrubbery. I'm not kidding. They would not move the F over. 

So finally I googled it. It's a thing. The walking rudeness. The phenomenon. It bugs other people too. 

A few times I've tested the waters. I've tempted fate, by not walking completely off the sidewalk into the safety of the grass, like so many rude groups of so called ladies expect you to do. I put hundreds of miles on my sneakers a year, walking the Minneapolis chain of lakes. There will be groups of women walkers, side by side, hogging the whole trail like leaf cutter ants, deeply entrenched in self important conversation. Well, a couple times, I just moved to the edge of the sidewalk, like I always do anyway. Heck, I'm not rude, right? We collided! The ants would not move the F over! And don't even get me started on the runners who almost plow into me on a regular basis. Maybe I'm invisible...

When I googled this phenomenon, there was a group of women that were mentioned several times as the worst offenders. I've had this happen to me as well. Moms with prams. They will walk together, prams lined up like an offensive line, and God willing, they will not move the over. 

So what gives? I know we're all busy gabbing with our gals, eyes and fingers stroking our beloved phones, brains oblivious to the locations of others. But, please, I have a blog and I'm using it today. For good. For change.

People... please move the F over!

Thank You

Monday, February 6, 2017

The 37th Parallel

"If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans."

Stephen Hawking

I've been interested in Aliens for as long as I can remember. It just doesn't seem practical to imagine that we are all alone in the Universe. Over the years, T.V. shows like The X Files and Fringe just fueled my curiosity. The truth is out there, somewhere, right? According to Chuck Zukowski, the main character in The 37th Parallel, "There's more physical evidence that UFOs exist than there's physical evidence that Jesus Christ existed."

I wasn't blown over by the evidence in the book. But there's no doubt it is intriguing, sometimes gruesome and curious. Ben Mezrich did a handy writing job, shuffling the deck of information gleaned from Chuck's real life little black book and in turn, dealing out a winning book. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but there were a couple incidents at the end of the book that were pretty darn compelling. Chuck is a self proclaimed UFO nut. He has devoted his life to investigating cow mutilations and other unidentified objects. Flying and otherwise. The unfortunate cows in the story are firmly planted on good ole terra firma. But even so, they are caught up in the whole alien phenomena just as certain as if they had sprouted wings. I was equally shocked at the sheer number of mutilations as I was at the gruesome details of the crimes. It's worse than a Stephen King novel. And the book certainly left me wondering, What in the heck do aliens see in the 37th parallel? They seem to use it like a runway, lighting up the skies above and reeking havoc below. If you're an Ancient Aliens junky like me, you'll love the book. 

"A generation from now, people will look back at us the same way we look back at those who believed the earth was flat; the evidence that we've been visited by extraterrestrials is so overwhelming, it's actually a leap of faith to believe anything else."

Anonymous aerospace executive

"If we ever travel thousands of light years to a planet inhabited with intelligent life, let's just make patterns in their crops and leave."

-words of humor and wisdom from the internet!

Monday, January 30, 2017


Ma Petite

"What will happen to Ma Petite and Le Puff when we leave? What will happen to me?" Those are the questions I found myself asking at Villas de Palermo this January. We always make friends with the locals when we travel. And by locals, I mean the local critters. 

At Flor de Sarta in Leon, Nicaragua, we met Bruno. Bruno would race, claws clicking, ears flapping, up to our balcony at night and lie down at our feet. He was simply devoted to me after I accidentally dropped a pat of butter on the floor. Bruno the dog. Of course, there was also Coq a Vin and Barbecue. The French owners of Flor de Sarta were unhappy with the taste of the local chicken. (I, on the other hand, think chicken in Central America is far superior to America's bland, tough and antibiotic riddled jail birds) So they decided to butcher their own. Instead, they fell in love with them. Now, Coq a Vin and Barbecue roam the courtyard, picking and pecking, along with a flock of pigeons and doves. 

Le Puff. A.K.A Puffy.

So when we met our new orange vacation pets, shown above, I gave them french names. In honor of our stay in Colonial, vibrant, gritty Leon. But of course, it had more to do with the french owners of Flor de Sarta. Mais oui. 

We also called them Little Orange and Puffy Orange. Eventually, it became puffy and petite. When the mood struck.  As you can see, they made themselves right at home. After we fed them, they were ours. They never left. Whenever we came home, their two little faces were staring back at us from outside our patio door. When we woke up, they were waiting for breakfast. After they ate, they made themselves right at home inside. Who ever stays there next will have two cats whether they want them or not. At one point, puffy brought in a dead dove and hid it under the sofa. But hunting wasn't puff's only joy, he also loved to curl up by my side while I was clacking the keys.

The ladies that cleaned the casa and the dude that walked by every morning watering, would point and say, "Gato." What ya gonna do? 

The first time we went to the restaurant at Villas de Palermo, we found an orange kitten mewling at our feet. Good grief! Our hearts can't take anymore!!! Orange is a theme at Villas de Palermo. There were orange cats here the first time we stayed three years ago, and they'll be orange cats long after we leave. 

I still think fondly of Caracol. Our beach companion in Panama last year. Caracol the dog. He followed us everywhere.


"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." 

-Winnie the Pooh

Friday, January 20, 2017

Two Tears in a Bucket

Akua in a bucket.

We're planning a trip to Savannah next Summer,  and being an aspiring writer, the first thing I did was pick up a copy of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I'd never read it. Even so, I knew it would be the perfect literary guide to the city - and a great beach side page turner to bring along on our travels to Nicaragua this winter. I wasn't disappointed! Needless to say I'm sick of Flor de Cana rum. (not really) It's Nicaragua's holy water and I can't get enough. Nevertheless, I can't wait to sip a martini in Savannah while sitting on the bench and grave marker of the poet Conrad Aiken. Meanwhile, I'll watch a few ships pass by - their destinations mysteriously unknown. I won't mind making a toast to him and his ill fated parents, but I draw the line at giving his parents a suspicion. Anyone fool hardy enough to commit murder, then suicide, doesn't deserve a sip of my tasty beverage. 

The real life characters in the book were humorous and enchanting. Especially the drag queen nicknamed the Grand Empress of Savannah. She had a motto that I found irresistible. I told my husband about it and now it has entered into our language lexicon. Especially while on vacation in Nicaragua - life is slower there. Sometimes, the gringo faces certain challenges. First world problems to be exact. It's good to have a phrase to spout when times are tough - like when happy hour isn't observed as it should be. Or, when the breakfast that is supposed to start at 7, suddenly and unpredictably, starts at 8. Can you imagine? The worst thing possible happened on a Monday. We were on a gelato streak. We got dreamy, creamy gelato - the best in the world - every darn day...until Monday rolled around. Ever have a case of the Mondays? Well, I did. They were closed!  AAARRRGGGHHH!!! But I need my medium sized, half chocolate, half passion-fruit gelato. Finally, after much frumping and grumping, I decided that it wasn't the end of the world to wait for a pina colada later that day. For heaven's sake. Of course, times really are tough for most of the country. Many people still travel by horse; most people need to collect wood just to cook or heat water. Chicken dinner...where's the ax? Need milk? Hitch up old yellow. 

When the going gets rough, just think of Chablis. Drinking wine is a well known cure for the Mondays, but I mean the drag queen from Midnight in the garden of Good and Evil...

"Mama's different though. She has a big ol' photograph of me bein' crowned Miss World, and it's hangin' in her living room. She taught me not to worry about things that don't matter. She has a motto that I love: 'Two tears in a bucket. Motherfuck it.' That's  Mamma. She's a okay girl." 

The lady Chablis and John Berendt from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Words to live by!