I don’t see what you see…

​Visualization is a funny thing. If you introduce yourself to me and then I ask you what your last name is, or how to spell it, it’s because if I can spell it, I can picture it in my head and remember it. So, basically, if I can write something, I can remember it.

On the other hand, I have difficulty visualizing how a room will look after being repainted or rearranged. So I couldn’t picture quite how my new shelf/desk would look before it was finished. The pics it was modeled on helped, but I couldn’t really see it. I had to trust that my dad could see what I was aiming for.

To combine the two, in a way, my fiction prof tells me that, obviously one of my scenes is “very deeply imagined,” when it really isn’t. Sometimes I can’t see it until I’ve written it, one painstaking detail at a time. Other times, I can write an evocative description that allows you (the reader) to picture it, but I’d never be able to see it myself unless someone sketched it for me… and then I agreed that it was right. You know, like watching Alan Lee and John Howe interpret Lord of the Rings in sketches, and seeing which one Peter Jackson agrees with.

Anyway, I was just pondering why I wanted to try out brush lettering (beginning sometime last semester) and why I enjoy it so much. Well, not only am I helping myself to remember Bible verses, but I’m literally “painting” with words. And I love words. 
I love ’em so much that while I might want to be daring and try something new (like pottery or improving my photography or painting) when I see a piece of God’s handiwork in nature… but my fallback will always be words. 

Words are my language, with which I try to make others SEE.

september bullet points…

It’s been too long, you’ll say. Well, that is completely true. You’ll have to forgive me, because it’s going to last a while longer. But let’s review the main stuff, shall we?

  • This is my senior year. While I am kept busy (and occasionally swamped), that means that within a year, I will be a college graduate searching for a job. Which means, some sweet day, I will have time for non-school related activities. Like blogging.
  • I still take photos, but mostly post them to Instagram from my phone. My camera only tends to travel with me when I visit family, and then I try and take pics on camera AND phone, because of occasional lighting and speed issues on my phone. But my phone quality keeps improving, so it’s my go-to. Laziness? Maybe. Sometimes,  you do what you have time for.
  • The Lord has blessed me with a lot of spiritual growth this year, partly because of attending a new church. Sometimes, I want to shout for joy… and then a new school assignment “calms” me down. But my Savior has been gracious, and is working on me in the patience area, as well as the worry area. Not the same, I assure you.
  • I am enjoying my history classes, as always, as well as taking another fiction workshop. So, I spend a LOT of time reading for class, and writing assignments. Which is why most of the time, I don’t have brain space for any other kind of writing. Except, you know, on FB or on my Instagram posts.
  • What else is there? Some of you began following me because of my trip to Australia… what is it, 5 years ago now? While I keep in regular contact with my Aussie friends, I do hope that in the next year or two, I will be able to afford to go visit them, finally. And visit all the places that I didn’t get to, last time. But maybe, once I graduate, I will have time for more trips here in the U.S., too.
  • Continuing that thought, I have been on several road trips this year, mostly to the beach and PA and Virginia. To visit family and friends. But mostly, I wasn’t in a writing mood, because I’d been “schooled out” at that point. There are times when you never want to go near a computer again.
  • Along with the above JOY about knowing the Lord better this year, along with that comes a renewed interest in a few things that I’ve slacked on over the years. Playing my guitar or playing the piano. Trying new things, mostly art-related. Getting a bike, and taking some leisure skills at school, like tennis and top ropes. So, since writing and blogging still remain in my list of things I like to do, I’m more likely to do them when I’m not busy AND when I’m particularly happy/joyful about something. When worry and frustration crowd things out, the fun things slide, because… well, that’s playing with avoidance tactics, as I see it. If I’m blogging in order to avoid studying, then I’m shirking what I have to be doing. I want to keep my GPA up high, you know. 🙂
  • So, all that to say that, I’m praying for more patience and to hand over the worries, as well as to make sure I’m not slacking on my schoolwork. It’s a mixed bag when it comes time to thinking about blogging. But I’m trying to get it back into the list of things that I CAN do, when there is time and freed up brain space.
  • Thanks for hanging in there! I just thought I’d include a collage of photos from this last month, just for a bright spot in the writing blather that I’m including here. I hope you have a blessed month and the rest of the year, in case I get tied up totally with school until Christmas!

writing and I…

The written word and I… we have a strange and wonderful relationship. When it exists at all, I suppose. I’ve gotten so out of the habit that when I find that I want to write about something, I’m too tired or too busy or too… something. It’s like finding excuses for not going to the gym, but the difference being that I love writing and I do not love working out. Working can be satisfying, don’t get me wrong, but I have yet to find it addictive. I keep thinking that if my attempts to start running would get anywhere, then I could do it quickly. But if I start up too fast, I mess up a recurring injury in my foot.

After the end of the school year, I was so tired of writing, that I wouldn’t have dreamed of blogging about it. Besides, hadn’t my blog readers heard about my last three vacations where nothing happened at all? Or just listened to me complain about my schoolwork?

But I have no excuse now that school has been out for some time, and summer is halfway over. I’ve recovered from the swampedness that comes with taking a history class, a literature class, a fiction writing class, and a theatre class that requires one long paper at the end of the semester. This next semester, I’ll have three history classes to get through, if nothing changes, and hopefully I will have adjusted to the new keyboard on my new laptop by then. My brother swore I’d like it, but after a month, I still miss my HP keyboard. How does a bigger keyboard not space the keys out any further? I feel cramped.

The one thing that occasionally makes me want to begin writing and jabbering again is when I read a favorite book, and feel like stating some marvelously individual opinion about it. I missed my opportunity during exam week, because I was rereading Little Women, but really did NOT have any time to write about my opinion of the Professor Bhaer versus Laurie question. In case you’re wondering, I’m pro-Professor Bhaer, and do not quote Christian Bale at me, because Laurie in the book is nothing like Laurie in the movie, and as much as I love the movie, it’s wrong.

However, that is another rabbit trail that I shall avoid. My thoughts are running along with the books of L.M. Montgomery and I’m almost finished reading Emily’s Quest, the third of the Emily trilogy. But even that, I wonder if I should write about it or not. Any reader of Montgomery (yes, as in Anne of Green Gables) will have their favorites of her books. And I wouldn’t want any critique of the Emily books to be seen as a dislike of Emily herself, because I have friends who named their daughters after her.

What am I trying to say? Reading the books about Montgomery’s authoress heroine makes me think about her need to write, rather than feeling like complaining about why the Pat books are my favorite (sorry, I love Hilary Gordon more than Teddy Kent, if you must know). I have always empathized with Emily’s writing struggles, but as I grew up, I realized that my need to write isn’t quite as… visceral as hers. Is that the right word? Seems appropriate. I fully understand the need to write something out, but I can be much lazier about it than Emily ever was, probably because I have e-mail and other things to use to communicate with people. Who knows?

Anyone who loves to write can empathize with Emily Byrd Starr, but we’re not all cut from the exact same jib. My need or interest in writing comes in spurts. Or I just haven’t found the story that I want to tell again. It’s been a long time since I’ve had any story to tell that could be remotely like the ones I told about Australia.

This is probably a very confusing post. Maybe I’ll eventually figure myself out. And my writing, too. But don’t I just long to find the story that has to be told, once more. You know, the one that I have to tell, no matter what.

ain’t no time in the present…

It’s that time of the semester, again. When I can no longer read non-fiction for fun. Though to be honest, I was able to read my own history-for-fun books for longer than usual, because I’m only taking one history class. When your only history studies are in early Western Civ, digging into the “excitement” of Mesopotamia, then you can keep reading your books by Larry Schweikart on the history of America and American exceptionalism. But eventually, the amount of study and writing catches up with you. And now, I read well-worn fiction that I’ve read a million times, to pass the time when I’m eating at home. If I’m eating my lunch at school (and I usually am), I’m trying to work my way through C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, when I have time.

So, obviously, my German studies, reading my Geology book, and now my History books are starting to keep me busier. Which is almost too bad, when you’ve discovered some writers in one of your classes that you’d happily discuss books with, for hours on end. And share them. But they’re no more able to read fiction off my bookshelves than I am. Oh, wait, I did manage to fit in the latest books by Rick Riordan, The Blood of Olympus, and the “picture book”, Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods. But those are light reading, easily polished off on a Saturday. DSC_1218Some of my conversations with classmates have set off the “have you read this? have you read this?” default setting that every major bookworm knows and loves. And maybe their friends hate. If they aren’t bookworms, they might just, but then that means something’s wrong with them, right?


L.M. Montgomery, as well as Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte Bronte, & Jane Austen.

For example, thinking about fantasy fiction for a certain class has me thinking about my favorite writers that specialize in creating their own fantasy worlds, or they even retell classic fairytales. My favorite of these is probably Robin McKinley, who both writes a killer fantasy tale in worlds that boggle my mind, or she just rewrites the old favorites in an absolutely brilliant fashion. Take Spindle’s End or Rose Daughter, for example. The former is such a detailed tale of Sleeping Beauty that it still takes my breath away, every time I’ve read it (you know, about 150 times). And Rose Daughter is her second Beauty and the Beast story, the earlier one having been aimed at children, and she still manages to make both of them original and magical. And this is still the author that won the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown, and the Newbery Honor mention for The Blue Sword (which is actually my favorite of the two). And along with the rest of the fantasy loving world, we’re all waiting for the second book in her Pegasus series, because if that book didn’t have the world’s most “horrible” cliffhanger, followed by three years of waiting… excuse me while I go sob in a corner for a while.DSC_1219Ok, now that I’ve pulled back from the Cliffs of Insanity, which is starting to talk about my favorite fantasy fiction, I’ll hit another type of book. Or two. Because when I realized that one of my classmates was minoring in Creative Writing, specifically in Poetry (myself, I’m considering minoring in Creative Writing, in Fiction), I had to start wondering two things. Have they ever read L.M. Montgomery’s Emily books and do they like Emily Dickinson?Quite the contrast, isn’t it? Stay with me for a second. As any reader of my book posts knows already, I’m an avid fan of L.M. Montgomery, but not just because of the Anne series. While not my least favorite of Montgomery’s books, Anne of Green Gable is not my favorite even of that particular series. That is, of course, Rilla of Ingleside. You should probably look up another post on the subject, because if I get started on Walter and Dog Monday, I’ll probably cry. But you really need to read the entire series to reach the crowning achievement which is Rilla.


Did I mention I love Larry Schweikart? Beowulf AND Tolkien, for the win. And Emily Dickinson.

Ok, I’m getting sidetracked again. Sorry. Emily of New Moon, and the rest of that trilogy, follow a young girl who’s been orphaned and sent to live with family members that don’t particularly want her. No, no, she isn’t Anne, by any stretch, even if she is an orphan and has an amazing imagination. From the very start, she has more determination than her father, and she wants to become a writer. Starting with letters written to her beloved father, she eventually meets a teacher who appreciates her skill and desire to write and the scenes where he critiques her writing and verbally slaughters everything she writes, in order to make her better… they’re priceless. Considering how much I enjoy writing, can you understand that I not only feel a sense of awe over Montgomery’s way with words, but wish that I had a bit of Emily’s skill, too? Because she attempts poetry, as well as fiction, and every writer understands the desire to want to write even better (and more).Back to Dickinson. I rediscovered this author while in my British Literature class, last semester. That may sound odd, since she wasn’t British, but one author that we did read (and I disliked the book, by the way) was fascinated with Emily Dickinson. Some of her lines were in the chapter titles and there was one poem at the beginning of the book, which we concentrated on, as well as the title of the book, Opposite House. It made me curious, because I vaguely remembered Dickinson from when I was in elementary school. I just remembered that she was rather dreary.

But when I looked her up again, all these years later, I was hooked! And despite having a number of poetry collections, and occasionally scraping out a few of my own, I’m not a big poetry reader. But I had to buy a complete collection of Emily Dickinson’s work, and though I still haven’t finished it, I’m fascinated by how she strung her words together. Of course they were supposed to go that way in the poem… but how did she know it?


Pssst… three of Wrede’s books are on the left side of the shelf. Awesomeness.

A few days ago, I discovered there was a one-woman play that had been written about her, called The Belle of Amherst, by William Luce. Apparently, it’s playing in New York City right now, starring Joely Richardson, and if I could afford to go to NYC for the weekend, I’d go right now. Unfortunately, I have to get back to my schoolwork soon and do tons of writing over the weekend. Oh, and I can’t afford a plane ticket. But I’m going to read that play soon, just to see what another author thought of Dickinson’s words.In the meantime, I’m looking forward to when Charlie N. Holmberg’s sequel to The Paper Magician comes out, though I’m not sure when that is. It’s called The Glass Magician, and I pre-ordered it. Another fictional tale that places magic in Regency or Victorian times. But if I tell you all about how much I love Patricia C. Wrede’s stories set in that type of setting, I’ll never shut up. Some of you have heard it before. Better search for her name in my previous posts.

Now, I need to go read some Geology or do something else constructive. Tomorrow, after school, I’ll really get down to the business of catching up on a few items of homework, just so I can spend the rest of the weekend writing. Because ENGL 345 has my name on it for Thursday, especially, and I have some more drafts to spin out. Auf wiedersehen, good night. 🙂

another week, another friday…

Who doesn’t love Fridays? Actually, though I don’t pay much attention to the “hump day” commercial, Wednesdays always trigger the almost-weekend feels. Probably because my Geology Lab is that day, and though not usually difficult, I still don’t like having to stay at school until 4:30 to 5. Yes, I know, you’re very sad for me. But my last two semesters, my classes were always done by 2-3 and I had a full schedule. So that gave me some time to veg out and get a breather, before working on school work.

But Mondays and Fridays fly, because there’s only two classes and not too huge a gap between them. Except my Geology class had a sub, and then he went through the slides on sedimentary rocks in twenty minutes. And announced that that was all. We blinked in surprise, and moved out. So, I had more time to sit outside in the cool fall breeze, eating my lunch and reading a few chapters of Mere Christianity.

Hmmm… I really should have taken some pics on campus, but I’ve been lazy. There’s still plenty of construction, but at least the second parking lot at the library has reopened, so that area doesn’t look as chaotic. It also seems really wide open, because they took a tree out over that corner of the pond. I had to stare at it for a long time in order to locate where the tree’s trunk must have been, because I know that spot used to be shadier. But when you walk past the library, heading towards Riggs, now, you get a nice view of the old and new sections of Rhodes Hall, so I guess that’s a plus.

Some tests are coming up next week, the first ones in my Western Civ class and one in German. I’m a little nervous about the history one because it’s essay format and you never know how a new teacher will grade or what he might throw at you for an essay question. Especially when you don’t get the question in advance. so, have to spend some of my weekend, reviewing the Greeks, Romans, and Mesopotamians, and try and forget the hogwash he taught us about the Israelites. Well, maybe I mean to remember some of it, but forget it when the test’s over.

I’m glad my cold is getting better, and hopefully by Monday, I won’t sound like a frog anymore. I keep reminding myself that no matter how much my nose runs, I’m thankful to be past the sore throat part. That’s always the worst.

Enjoy the weekend and the fall weather!

blueberry summer…

Nothing says summer quite like picking and eating lots of blueberries! My family freezes over 100 quarts of them every summer, for daily eating year-round.



And now, it’s peak season again, and I picked 3 gallons in two hours. That’s about 18 pounds of blueberries, and to pick that many, that fast, the berries need to be hanging in clusters that seem almost like grapes. We were just stripping the bushes as quickly as possible.



Well, I hope your summer has been as yummy as ours!



the book countdown…

Seven months, 72 books down. 5 months to go, 28 books remain. School begins in three weeks. Can it be done?

I don’t usually pay all that much attention to the page numbers, when I start a book. Especially when you’re reading books off your Kindle, it really throws off your mental tally. I was aware as I read through several Grace Livingston Hill books that at least two of them were some of her shorter ones, but what does that matter?AGiftOfDragons

My intention was not to go on a GLH reading spree, but now I have a sneaky suspicion that some of the mass market paperbacks I grew up on were abridged… though the publisher never admitted to it. Especially the ones that were set before the Civil War. When I get my hands on my storage unit book boxes, I’ll double-check.

I’ve been crunching some numbers, as I’ve realized that July is going to be my biggest reading month of the year, and why not? Once school starts, I’ll have too many important books to read for school, so I’ll have little time for fiction or my own choices of non-fiction. Don’t worry, I’ll include them on my lists, though.

After realizing that I’ve read 16 books this month, I decided to add up the page numbers, to prove to myself (and anyone else that cares) that I’m not skimping by reading short children’s books in order to make50453 up my numbers. The official page count for the month is 4,995 pages, though I can average it down a few for the illustrations in Anne McCaffrey’s A Gift of Dragons, and the occasional skimming that every reader can’t quite help. Still, I would say that 4,500 pages of reading isn’t bad, for one month.

The plan really was for me to tell you more about my latest reads, but as soon as I’ve started a new book, I’ve been less than interested in talking about the previous books.

I began this month by re-reading some of my favorites by Brian Jacques, and I will always recommend that people read his Redwall books. But Mariel of Redwall, The Pearls of Lutra, and The Long Patrol are probably up there at the top of my list of Jacques’ favorites. Especially with Mariel, you can tell that it’s one of his earlier books, and how much more dastardly the villains were, in some cases.

Somewhere along the line, I picked up a free e-book copy of Veronica Roth’s Divergent, and started to read it before going on my July 4th vacation in Georgia. I was so hooked on the story that it was hard to thdrag myself away from it, in order to spend time with my friends. Fortunately, our vacation time allowed us both a little time for catching up on reading and internet stuff.

For those interested in certain famous young adult novels, at present, I’ve read Ally Condie’s Matched (enjoyed it), Beautiful Creatures (it’s dull and uninteresting), The Hunger Games (awesome, as is the movie), Twilight (enjoyed it, get over it), and I tried to read Graceling. Really I did. Absolutely abhorred it, couldn’t get past the first chapter.

Just trying to put it in some context. If you’re looking for a story that’s almost as interesting as The Hunger Games, then I recommend the Divergent trilogy, while I’m waiting for the library to get a copy of the second book for me. Matched was enjoyable, but nothing as fun and fascinating as the characters in Divergent.

Perhaps I should be giving you more details about the stories themselves, but why give anything away? If it’s for you, you’ll allroadsget hooked on the first chapter, and Amazon usually offers a sample of that.

To switch things up, I started another free e-book, and for every Jane Austen fan, All Roads Lead to Austen is a winner. This true story follows a college literature professor as she spends a year in Central and South America, as she tries to find out whether Jane Austen’s stories translate well in their culture. Not just whether they’re readable in the language, but do the inhabitants of each country get caught up in the characters, and argue over them as if they’re real? Are the situations that happen in Regency England just as true in our modern day, because she wrote such real characters?

I kept hoping that the author would have a reading group about Northanger Abbey, though she never did. But when I found out that Northanger is her favorite book, too, that made up for it. She had stuck with the most popular of Austen’s books, during her travels, but to know that a college lit prof has the same favorite as me… that made up for that little detail.  : )The-Name-of-the-Wind-373x560

Jumping back into fantasy, I finally opened an e-book that I bought before going to Australia, but never took the time to read. But just as my mom had told me then, Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind is a winner of a tale. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy, even if I have to wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas in order to do so. And for those interested, at about 660 pages, it’s the heftiest book that I read this month, but completely worth it.

Then, of course, I headed back into my childhood and teenagerhood, by reading my way through all the free e-books available of Grace Livingston Hill books. I’ve heard all the different complaints and compliments over them, over the years, and I have a particularly hilarious memory of someone asking about an 51W59CmTN+Lold-fashioned word. But in this branch of Christian fiction, they’re either for you, or not, and I love how they throw me into the early 1900’s, as well as the pre-Civil War era, depending on the book… and yet, they’re not really defined by the year they’re set. I love the characters, especially Miranda.

While I was wading through the GLH books, I watched a trailer for the upcoming movie Austenland, starring Keri Russell and JJ Feild. Also, Bret McKenzie, if you’re a LOTR movie fan. He was the unofficially named “Figwit”, at the council of Elrond, in FOTR, and Lindir in The Hobbit. I know, I know, randomness…

Anyway, I’ve heard of the book Austenland, but hadn’t gotten around to reading it. But if they’re going to cast Keri Russell in it, then I need to go read it. And it didn’t hurt that they cast JJ Feild, who plays my favorite Jane Austen herograce-livingston-hill-the-obsession-of-victoria-gracen in Northanger Abbey, as one of the lead guys. I borrowed the book from the library, and stayed up until midnight reading it. You can ask my mom, I was giggling over the start of the book, as few books ever cause me to do. You’ll understand when you first “meet” Elizabeth Charming, and her attempts to speak and be British Regency.

After that, I found out (marvelousness!) that I could download Midnight in Austenland from our library’s website. So, I had read that by the end of the following day. Yeah, it was that good, and that fun. Who doesn’t want to play Regency dressup, and then wonder if they can live without their cellphone?

Now, I know that I can reach my yearly reading goal by reading about 5-6 books a month, so I think that should be pretty do-able for me, don’t you agree? In the  meantime, I’m going back to my Thomas Sowell book…

i met my Waterloo… and then it got peed on…

Just for the record, I don’t like using that word. My mother raised me better than to use words that can be considered crude, vulgar, or crass. Of course, I still use them every once in a while, but if I do, I have a reason for it. If you are being impolite or rude, just for the sake of being ill-mannered, then you have no excuse. You may think we’re descended from apes (and I beg to differ), but at least I know I have better manners than one.

Now, aside from that rabbit trail… I’m about to leave Australia for home, just when I’m reaching the point where I don’t hear my friends’ accents anymore. I’m pretty sure that tourist I bumped into, at the Sydney Opera House, was American, but it didn’t register until he walked away. Whether Aussie or American, they often just sound normal to me. Even to the point where I’ll meet someone and think, “Gosh, they sound like Buddy.”, or “I wonder if Joe knows he has a twin over here?”. Only after the fact, do I realize that doesn’t really make sense, because my American friends speak… well, American.

It’s a nice feeling, that familiarity, and knowing that I’m also pretty good at understanding all the terminology. I know what a “sticky-beak” is, understand that “no worries” can mean “no problem” or “you’re welcome”, and don’t get confused when someone greets me with “How ya goin’?”. I even speak coherently, every day, with a four year old that still can’t pronounce several letters of the alphabet, but I only ask her to repeat herself when she’s talking too fast for the human ear to hear (or when her mouth is full of food). In no place that I go, do I sit there with my mental “ear trumpet”, waiting to ask for a translation.

Of course, my U.S. friends will tell you that I’m going to go deaf before I go blind, when I get old, because I’m always asking my friends to repeat themselves. No, I don’t actually have a real hearing problem, but sometimes the words all run together in my head, or I’m not paying enough attention the first time. Or my friends are speaking too fast. Or too softly. If they’re speaking too softly, they’re probably the same friends who are always telling me “Shhh!”, no matter where we are. But don’t worry, I love them anyway.

The other major option is that I sometimes hear one thing, when they actually said something else. So, I have to stop and think about what they said again, kind of like when you play Mad Gab.

So, with all my comfy-ness with the Aussie accent and terms, I seem to have met my Waterloo. If you’re not familiar with the idiom, it refers to the battle that finally crushed Napoleon, back in the 1800’s. Bonaparte was seemingly unstoppable, but Wellington just plain smashed him and his army, and the French army never recovered from it.

Well, I met my Waterloo in the most unlikely of places. Several weeks ago, I came outside to find Mrs. B laughing, and asked her what was up. She told me (as I thought) that Bub had peed into the chook-laying container, and then a chicken startled her, causing her to shriek and fall over. Now, the plastic container that we’re talking about is at least four feet tall, so a baby can’t lean over it, much less get into it. But since babies do odd things, nappies and bodily functions are regular occurrences, and my brain was running a bit slow, I stopped to contemplate what she had just said. And couldn’t figure out how Bub had done such a thing, especially as she still had her nappie (diaper) on.

After repeating herself twice, I finally realized that Mrs. B had said Bub “peered” into it, but the Aussie accent pronounces that “pee-yud” or “peed”. Yeah. So, I slapped myself (mentally), several times, and promised to pay closer attention.

Several weeks went by, and I was working in the kitchen, while the girls were home from school. And then, laughter came from the direction of the bathroom. When asked, Bea told me that Bub had “peed” into the toilet, and then said “guck”, and backed away. Now, we’ve been trying to get Bub interested in using the potty, so this sounded somewhat normal to me, but when when I saw her a moment later, she was fully dressed. And why, if she had used the toilet, had there been no tremendous applause? Because it would have been a first time, and worthy of being noticed.

But the sentence still didn’t sound right, somehow, so I asked Bea again, as if I hadn’t heard right. Nope, I heard right, but something was still wrong. When I asked her again, Bea finally figured out what the problem was, and did the same thing her mom had done… “Not peed, PEE-yud, Rachel!”.

Everything clicked, and I was again crushed my my own stupidity, of Mad Gabbish proportions.  And later, I realized the part that really should have caught my attention. Around here, when we’re talking about babies and nappies, we say “wee” and “poo”, not “pee” and “poop”. So, in both instances, they would have said that she “wee-ed”, if it had actually happened that way.

Babies do crazy things, though. Don’t all moms know that? Some of them rip their clothes off, any chance they get, but my Bub doesn’t do that. But she did, one, helpfully take her nappy off, and hand it to me, after having done a poo. While I was outside hanging up laundry. I think I had a fit of hysterical laughter. Wouldn’t you?

So, my brain didn’t register it’s crazy mistake, because somehow, the subject matter seemed right, though the language seemed wrong. Have you ever had a funny misunderstanding, while in another country? I already know about the American/Aussie confusion over the words “root”, “nurse”, and “rubber”. Aside from the obvious ones, do you have a hilarious travel  and/or language memory?

Oh well. One can’t be perfect. And I guess I’m lucky that none of my other Aussie friends have yet to tell me that they “peered” into something. This time, I might really go off in a fit of hysterics. And then “wee” on myself.


After a post or two about some good books, I feel like there’s no possible way to follow them up. Everything else will be dull and uninteresting. So, advancing from that premise, I can talk about anything I want to, because it will all end with the same result. Ahhhh, the relief.

I’m having trouble settling on any one topic, but that’s probably because the heat has fried my brain. No, really, when all you do, all day long, is sweat and continue to drink water and Gatorade, how can you possibly have any serious thoughts about anything? Before anybody makes any smart remarks about “glistening”, I don’t sweat much, in general. But in this heat, you have to… or else you curl up and die, I suppose.

I put my Akubra hat on to go outside and hang up the laundry, as the temperature’s been over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for the last three days, and no one in their right mind would run the dryer. Of course, we rarely use the dryer anyway, but you’d need to have a death wish to use it now. And when the signs by the railroad say that the heat’s in the extreme danger section, and we’re not supposed to light a fire for any reason, not for barbecuing or burning leaves, could running a dryer cause an explosion, too? It’s an interesting thought, but I’m not testing it out. It’s bad enough that my girls still like to make cookies, using the oven, on days like this.

Of course, I have the coldest room in the house, so I have somewhere to retreat from scorching temperatures. Everybody else goes to visit the pool. I like the pool, too, but I’m afraid I’ve been a bit of a chicken about it, ever since my ear ache came back for a while. It seems to have cleared up, so I really need to go see the doctor, hopefully for the very last time, here in Australia.

I know, it’s probably asking a bit much, but considering I’m only in Australia for FOUR MORE MONTHS, you’d think it wouldn’t be that much to ask, to stay away from the doctor? Good grief, I still don’t know what my doctor looks like, back home, and here, I have no trouble recognizing him, and prefer him to both doctors I had to see over vacation.

Time’s going to fly by, now, so those of you at home waiting with bated breath for my return… I’m coming! My friends have reminded me that I will miss the March conference at GWH (have we decided on a real name for it, yet?), but it will be the last one that they have to survive without me. Yay! So, you’ll have to play Apples to Apples without me, and if you actually get to play volleyball (if so, it will be a first in the last two years, and I will be immensely jealous!)… well, I’ll have to pick up some more volleyball scars at another time. Maybe at the Labor Day conference. Booyah, I’m coming!

Strangely enough, speaking of the March conference and GWH, I was reading Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods (I knew there was something else I could talk about, in another post!), and he mentioned stopping off in Caledonia State Park, and being unable to find the Appalachian Trail from there, because of the bad maps. I wanted to laugh, because Caledonia is a pretty dull park, but I happen to know exactly where the AT is, because I lived just down the road from it, for years!

What else goes on here? Aside from the soaring temperatures (somebody was telling me that asphalt was melting in some places), the kids are still on vacation, so life is very full and lively. The baby has a mild case of conjunctivitis, so she gets the joy of having us wipe her eyes with eye drops and cotton balls, now and then. And it only makes her a little more fussy than usual, however, carrying a sweaty, crying baby, in this weather… well, I’m sure you get the idea.

The girls are preparing for school, putting name labels on all their gear, including individual pencils and markers (is this normal in Australia?), and getting new shoes. Sadie’s getting ready to start kindergarten, which is very exciting, and she and Emmie are each getting a new uniform to wear. There is endless squealing over how cute they are, when they try on their slightly-too-big uniforms.

The cat went into heat again, causing her to make untold amounts of noise and to hiss at her two remaining kittens, whenever they hove into sight. Or when they aren’t in sight. I think it’s because we recently found out that they’re boys, and she objects to boys at this time, especially when they’re related to her. So, at the moment, she’s in the closet for the night, as they’re all three getting fixed, tomorrow. We’ve been over this with the girls, several times. Dusty’s not allowed to eat, from 6pm and until after her surgery tomorrow, so DON’T OPEN THE CLOSET. I expected caterwauling, but they tell me she’s really in the closet.

We’ve had some thunder storms at night, though the rain isn’t causing the temperature to drop at all. So, when it began, last night, the doors began to slam shut. With the downstairs being so warm and humid, I opened the door, this morning, and found some poor frog had lost its life in the slamming. I felt sorry for it, but more sorry for myself, as I had to clean up the disgusting mess.

What else? I’ll try and post about Bryson’s book, or some general stuff I’ve been reading, soon. I’m starting Detection Unlimited, by Georgette Heyer, and trying to figure out why I don’t remember (yet) what happens. I know the plot, backwards and forwards, in all her other mysteries. I considered reading Venetia, but decided I still needed a little time before I read it next. I’ve read some of them SO many times, I still have  wait it out, occasionally. And one downside to a Kindle is that you can’t just open the book anywhere and start reading. Which stinks, really. One of the glories of an actual, paper book, is being able to start reading anywhere you like, and jump around… or even read the book backwards, if you want.

Sorry for the ramblings. Blame it on the heat, if it makes you feel better.

[P.S. I just realized that this is my 200th post. Three cheers for me!]

baked away the evening…

The people from my last job are having a cookout or potluck dinner, sometime after I leave for Australia. It’s almost the end of the school year, so the Hendrix Center at Clemson will close for the summer. Once I heard about the get-together plans, I thought that I’d bring my contribution in early, say my goodbyes, and use the plates of cookies as a bit of a thank you.

So, I got out my cooking ingredients around 10pm, last night, and went at it. I haven’t made cookies in quite a long time, but I don’t think I’ve lost the knack. One advantage to cooking late at night… there aren’t too many people around to make depredations on my handiwork.

Anyway… I was only at the food court for two months, but everyone was so very nice to me, made life interesting for that period of time, and made the time go by quickly. I did need a bit of a distraction, after I accepted the Australia job, as well as some income. So, to my former fellow employees, thank you for making me your friend, even if only for a little while.

And for all the rest of you, here’s the recipe for Mrs. Fields’ cookies, which I made for my friends at work. Enjoy!


Mrs. Fields’ Cookies
2 cups butter 

2 cups sugar  

2 cups brown sugar 

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

4 cups flour

5 cups oatmeal, blended (Measure oatmeal before blending, then put in blender 1 cup at a time. Blend til it resembles flour, add to dry mixture. This helps to keep cookies chewy and moist.)

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. baking soda

24 oz. chocolate chips

8 oz. milk chocolate bar, grated

3 cups chopped nuts (optional)

Cream together sugar and butter, then add eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients in a big bowl. Then mix wet and dry, then add chocolate items. 

Roll dough into ping-pong sized balls. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet, let cool briefly before taking off pan.

Bake 375 degrees for 8 minutes 

(or for convection oven, bake 350 degrees for 6 minutes).


*This is a BIG recipe. Our mixer won’t handle the whole thing. We use a mixer for the first 5 ingredients, and then stir the wet mixture into the dry, in a big bowl, by hand. Very thick.

**We don’t usually use nuts.