Archive for October, 2016

Mount Airy, NC is a town on which Mayberry is based on, but in 1977, Chip, aka Brenda, this isn’t like the Andy Griffith Show. For one, her dad is dead. Also, her grandmother hates her. Chip wishes she, her two sisters, and her mother had never moved in with Grandma and her creepy collection of dead animals. Then there’s Grandma’s love of pageants which infects her sisters. For a girl who is more concerned with saving turtles and prefers to climb trees, it’s almost too much to endure. Then one day, on a walk to town, one to purchase dress materials, as Chip is searching for signs of her father, she discovers the School of Charm and decides to enroll so she can try to fit in more with the rest of her family.

Secrets abound in the book of maybe magic. I liked that that it was vague and not in your face. There’s plenty of humor in the story and great characters even dead ones like Deady Freddy, the stuffed owl in Grandma’s animal collection. The development of the grandmother and Chip is well done. The last chapter ties everything nicely together.


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Flowers on the Roadside



Weird. I never noticed all the yellow flowers along the side of the road until this fall. I’ve counted at least four different kinds and took pictures of all, but one. There are the teeny-tiny flowers on strands that make a brush of blooms that wave in the air. There are the orchid type flowers, small flowers on a stalk. I photographed them in the woods, a place where they recently burned the brush clear. I saw them as I drove by and made sure to stop the next time I went past. There are little yellow flowers close to the ground and little yellow flowers up high on a tall stalk. Ooops, five different yellow flowers. I forgot the bush type with the flowers on the tips.

Besides the yellow ones there are a few blue ones as well and a deep purple and a light red one. All of them I failed to see before I started photographing the road I’ve been traveling on every week. How I managed to not see them I have no idea because they look pretty.

Now, what kind of flowers they are, I have no idea. I’m not good with with them. I accidentally kill houseplants. I forget about them and when I remember, they’re all shriveled up and dry. Sometimes I’ll see a flower and a name will pop up, residue from my parents who are big into gardening and that. Sometimes I’ll get the German name instead since my mom didn’t always remember the English one.

These flowers may be weeds, I don’t know. What I do know is they delight my eyeballs and I enjoy taking pictures of them.

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In a recent forum I read, a person lamented on having to create a blog, join Twitter and Facebook, and do other on-line ‘stuff’ in order to promote herself as an author. She felt frustrated and overwhelmed. I sympathize with her. At least I can keep up with my blog and find topics to write about although I might repeat myself every so often. I’m proud that I have been able to post an article fives times a month.

Facebook, I have no interest in joining. It’s time sucking and, to me, has this big brother attitude.The company shows you the news they want you to see and monitors what you put up. I want no part of it.  Ditto for Twitter. I don’t want to read other people’s sound bites ‘ate great cheeseburger today’ and I don’t have time to waste in tweeting what I’m doing ‘we had a fire drill today’.

The biggest deterrent to promoting oneself is time. With work, personal obligations, and trying to keep up with everything there’s little time to do much else. What little time I have left over I wish to use for my writing. It’s the time I need to recharge my personal battery. Writing keeps me sane and if I don’t write, life unravels.

Prior to a month ago, I spent my netbook time writing blog posts to upload. In the end I didn’t even want to get on my netbook anymore because writing had become a chore and took away from writing my story, a story I can’t get into because I haven’t able to maintain a proper relationship with it. Open netbook. Think of blog topic and write. Groan. Now I’ve changed how I write my blog posts and things are getting better.

By the way, one of the responses to the blog article and on promoting oneself was to start small. Good idea. It would get too overwhelming otherwise. Right now I have one thing – my blog. Once things resolve in my life, then I’ll expand. I’d love to have a web page, but that requires time and money. I’ll love to redo my blog page – time. But I’m happy I can post to my blog so I’ll be happy with that for right now.

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I love historical novels. That’s what attracted me to this book. Set in the late 1800’s and set on a farm in Nebraska, it tells the story of eleven-year-old Nate and an Orphan Train boy, John Worth. After Nate’s leg is crushed in a farming accident, a city boy is brought in to help out on the farm. Each boy is distrusting of the other. Nate thinks the other boy is taking his place in the family and John is told he’s only a worthless city boy.

The story is told in first person through Nate’s eyes. It’s a page turner from page one. Lightning is coming and that sets off the chain of events that drive the story. As it progresses one is told of how of John became an orphan. As I read I thought it would have been great to hear John’s point-of-view. We know Nate fears that he is being replaced and that he feels stupid because he isn’t doing well in school. We learn how John feels at being thought dumb because he doesn’t know farm work and mad because the mother assumes what he is not. We learn this through his conversations with Nate, but it would be cool to have his point of view, a companion novel, of his journey to Nebraska and to feel how lonely he is and what he thinks of this family who takes him in just to do work not even letting him inside the house like an animal.

Great book.

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Hurricane Matthew is chugging our way. The South Carolina coast is evacuating. I live in the Midlands, what we call the middle of the state of SC, and it’s won’t impact us too much. Good. Mom is panicking enough as it is. I’ve noticed that she tends to obsess about things lately. It makes me start to think that maybe I shouldn’t watch the news so much. She grabs hold of something and gives it a little twist.

Still, she’s right to worry about the storm. Just not as much as she does. There’s not much I can do, but let her be. On Monday, when the far left edge of the cone of uncertainty (the possible course of the storm) went smack dab though our place, she said I had to go to the store and buy bread, Promise (her butter substitute) and canned foods, enough to last a week. I said I had to get milk anyway (we have enough Promise and if the power goes out we won’t get to use it anyway), but I never said I’d be purchasing all those items. I did get bread though and milk, two soups, and a banana.

Last night, when my sister called, Mom started worrying about two paintings we have. And the rugs. And her jewelry, what little she has. She said she was going to start packing. I said wait and see. I didn’t add the fact that the person who would be packing would be me.

Today, the news showed the storm to have turned a bit. Mom wasn’t as worried about the storm anymore, but she did tell me: You have to go early to the library tomorrow. All those people are coming into town and it will be mess. The traffic will be a nightmare. I didn’t tell her that I doubted all of the people coming from Charleston and Beaufort were going to go down the side roads I’d be using. I just said: OK.



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