Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Tell Us Something GOOD!




HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: My tomatoes are coming up! I mean, producing tiny little baby tomatoes. They are AMAZING and glossy and shiny and it almost makes me cry to see them.

We strung lights around our patio, and it is SO pretty.

I am up to 20,000 words in my new book, and have not hit a brick wall yet. Knock on wood.

My bathing suits still fit. (Although I’m not going to wear them, forget about it.)

The basil is flourishing and I have already made buckets of pesto.

We are watching a good TV show called The Old Man, and are immersed in Only Murders in The Building and Better Call Saul. And we loved Season two of Tehran.

I get to interview the incredible Ruth Ware! Ahhh!! Have you read The It Girl? It is so good that I am in awe and intimidated.

I found out what had made the hole in our front yard. I feared: Snake. See the photo to the right?

But! I actually saw a chipmunk pop his head out of the hole one day and I almost collapsed laughing. (Can you see him in this photo below?) I had walked outside to check the hole--who knew what I might see? And up he came! SO happy that I had my phone with me. You never know when a big mystery will be solved. And now I have proof!



















Yes, I know we will never think of ketchup the same way, and all of our new main characters will be named Cassidy, and the world is very very scary. 

But that makes this all the more important: Reds and readers, tell us some good things!

LUCY BURDETTE: We ripped through the second season (or is it more than that? Anyway the new group of shows) of Borgen. Still love the show though this season was a little darker, with the ambitious women not showing too well.

As Hank knows, John convinced me to try watching THE OLD MAN, and I believe the first 15 minutes of episode one were the grimmest moments of television I’ve ever viewed. I quit and came upstairs and ended up chatting with Hank and Debs, and Hank convinced me to keep watching. So after episode two, it has improved, though still very dark and we know it’s going to come to a bad end. Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow are icons, so worth watching just for them.

Something else good: great things to read! I am 2/3 of the way through Rhys‘s next stand alone, WHERE THE SKY BEGINS, and you all are going to have a treat ahead of you. And…


A tiny bit of self promotion. Today I saw a review of A DISH TO DIE FOR on the Gabber. The author said “What’s so delightful about the Key lime food critic mysteries? The setting. The characters. The food. And of course, the writing.“

That will keep me going for a while!

HANK: Yes a terrific review will float you forever! A critical one will ruin your day. Several days. It's so terribly heartbreaking, and so personally painful.  So YAY for the good ones! 

RHYS BOWEN: lots of good things at the moment. Next big stand alone finished (440 pages! May need to cut) Enjoying family time. Phoenix lot are visiting. 11 for dinner tonight ( Yikes) barbecue at Jane’s tomorrow.

And… Wimbledon is on. My big treat of the year, remembering when I used to go in person and eat strawberries and cream and drink Pimms.

Apart from that we’re enjoying a Japanese series called Old Enough Is anyone else watching? Delightful little kids. And a new series of Alone. I love watching other people endure hardships!

HANK: Ooh, you went in person! We need a blog about that!

JENN McKINLAY: It’s July in AZ, so we need to dig a little deeper for the good things, but Hub and I are enjoying The TERMINAL LIST and MURDERS ONLY IN THE BUILDING with THE OLD MAN on deck. My editor approved my proposal for my next women’s fiction rom-com, TO BE READ, which is set in Ireland (Woo hoo! Headed to the Emerald Isle this autumn!!!).

After a six months hiatus, I’ve picked up my knitting needles again, which always calms my active brain. What am I making? A sweater? A blanket? A teapot cozy? No. I’m crafting a very long wool snake for the kittens we are still fostering. (Anyone want a kitten? No, really).


They’re all wearing collars with bells now because we had a jailbreak from the kitten room, with Shackleton (named for the polar explorer) leaping the baby gate and running straight at Satan (aka Patsy, our very old very cranky cat). It was a MOMENT, let me tell you, but all survived unscathed. The critters make me laugh every day and they’re thriving, so that’s something amazingly good.

HANK: Kittens are endlessly hilarious. What are they THINKING??

HALLIE EPHRON: It’s a good day when there’s basil in the garden and pinenuts in the fridge. Best of all my grandkids were here and acted out an entire episode of dancing with the stars. Cartwheels abounded and they stuck the landings. I was the judge and awarded $40,000 to the winners.

Even better I’ve been hanging out with an old friend and building up my walking stamina and remembering what a glorious world we inhabit.

HANK: Oh, that must have been hilarious. SO funny. And you are incredibly generous.

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: My roses are spectacular this year, and even though I’m not spending much time on the back patio, I get to see them every time I hang fresh laundry on the line, which is itself a delight in summer.

This is the time of year I love my house the most - it’s timber and plaster walls keep it cool naturally as long as I open the windows in the evening and shut them in the morning. I love walking inside after doing some gardening and feeling that lovely 70F temperature - and knowing I didn’t have to add to my electrical bill!

Evening TV watching time is also cuddle time for Rocky and Kingsley, and we’ve been enjoying many of the shows you all have, along with the excellent FOR ALL MANKIND and the new season of RUSSIAN DOLL. And then the next morning I wake up with the two of them snuggled up against me - honestly, I have a pretty sweet life.


DEBORAH CROMBIE:
We are in for a week (and I'm sure lots more) of brutal heat here in north Texas, so my really, really good thing is AIR CONDITIONING! We've replaced both our AC units in the last two years and the difference is amazing!

And I'm thrilled to have a little TIME. Edits are finished on the latest Duncan/Gemma and I have a wee break before the copy edit arrives–

Which I spent yesterday reading an advanced copy of Rhys's fabulous new standalone, WHERE THE SKY BEGINS. You all are going to love this one!! Such a good story!

We've waded through STRANGER THINGS (my editor would have cut 100 minutes:-) so are looking forward to starting the new season of ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING. Considerably lighter fare. Oh, and the best, a new series on Hulu called THE BEAR. Rave reviews for this one, about a young chef who comes home to take over his dead brother's failing and dysfunctional sandwich shop in Chicago. Great performances!

And when it cools off enough in the evenings to use the grill, I'm loving the new cast iron griddle my friend gave me for my birthday.

One more good thing–the Merlin bird app on our phones. We're having so much fun recording birds for Merlin to identify. The app is put out by Cornell, and it's free.

HANK: Yes, that's amazing! We use Merlin all the time. (It was a catbird! Another mystery solved. AND we saw a Baltimore Oriole in our very back yard!)

So how about you, Readers? Tell us something good!

114 comments:

  1. Not much television-viewing lately, nor as much reading as usual, unless you count all the picture books we’ve read lately. Our two youngest grandbabies are spending the summer with us and we are enjoying having Little Ones in the house again. We’re spending time at the playground, in the pool, and in the garden . . . it’s all great fun.

    [And I do still get to tackle my to-be-read pile after tucking the Little Ones in for the night . . . but afternoon reading is all children!]

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    1. SO CUTE! What are you reading with them?

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    2. Goodnight, Moon is a favorite . . . anything Pete the Cat makes them laugh . . . Dr. Seuss is fun, too. Other favorites: The Little House, The Snowy Day, Miss Nelson is Missing!, Corduroy, Mooncake, Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, The Grouchy Ladybug, The Very Hungry Caterpillar . . . .

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    3. If you haven't yet found Mo Willems, you need to check out some of his books to read with your grands. and Bill Peet, too, if you can still find him in print.

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    4. Absolutely hilarious picture book series by Ryan Higgins starts with Mother Bruce. Too funny!!

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    5. Joan, are the parents there too, or only the grands??

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    6. Making great memories with the littles, Joan. And revisiting lovely ones with your own children, I bet.

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    7. ANd I keep envisioning you...awww. xoox

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    8. Thanks for all the suggestions . . . We've read a couple of the oh-so-funny Pigeon books, Mark, and Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent is in our to-read pile. . . . . . . . . We do't have Mother Bruce, Judy, but the Little Ones loved We Don't Eat Our Classmates! . . . . . . . . . We're having a great time, Karen . . . and it's just the grandbabies, Lucy; Mom and Dad are home in Georgia . . . . . . . . We have several Little Bear boooks, Hank; they're all just wonderful . . . .

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  2. So many good things! It's important to celebrate the joys, right now in particular.

    A long time dear friend is coming to town this week, and we have plans to pick blackberries at the farm one day, and to have lunch with mutual friends the next. We have not been together for three years.

    We chose to stay home tonight instead of venturing out to see fireworks, but someone in the neighborhood had a show that we could see from our living room!

    Hallie, that was a very generous prize. That must have been quite a performance!

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 5, 2022 at 9:26 AM

      Wonderful! We had exactly the same firework situation coming to… We decided to stay home and then around 930 —kaboom! We went out into the driveway and we could see a glorious fabulous fireworks show!

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  3. Spent this afternoon with some friends from church, and it was just delightful and relaxing.

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  4. HANK: I share your giddiness about growing your cherry tomatoes. For the first time since 2018, I am able to eat SOME nightshades (tomatoes, sweet bell peppers & eggplants) without getting a bad allergic reaction. So, my expanded 2022 edible balcony garden has 3 cherry tomato plants (yellow, red & black tomatoes) & 10 asian eggplants (8 purple, 2 white). Lots of little tomatoes have formed, no eggplants yet. And my 2022 garden score against Satan the black squirrel is Grace: 14, Satan 2.

    Fingers crossed for no travel jinxes, I am travelling to Montreal by train this week from Thursday-Sunday. It's my first summer getaway to Montreal since 2019. So many events are happening this weekend: Montreal Jazz Festival, a 100-stall street food festival in the Old Port, & a huge outdoor circus event with 50-foot giant puppets (3 Giants/trois géants) wandering around 3 parts of the city.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kg19ZFrpNdI (see them in action from 7:00 minute mark of video).

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    1. Yay on the nightshades, Grace!

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    2. I agree with tomatoes etc, and Montreal sounds terrific!

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    3. Grace, what changed with the nightshade allergy? And how did you know it had?

      We don't know what we're missing until it is gone. I would have a tough time not being able to eat tomatoes.

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    4. Have a good time in Montreal, Grace! It must feel so good for you to stretch your travel muscles again

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    5. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 5, 2022 at 9:28 AM

      Oh Grace, you are so amazing! Is Satan the same Satan? Do you really think so? You two have been adversaries for years now, right? It is such a hilarious relationship. And cannot wait to hear about all the travel!

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    6. KAREN: Well, I ate a small amount of nightshades. The allergic reaction occurs within 30-60 minutes. My COVID brain fog & the nightshade allergies lessened one month after getting my second & third COVID vaccines. Coincidence? I think not.

      DEAUN: Yes, I was in Montreal last December before omicron hit but the city was nowhere near normal. But these multiple summer festivals & events are a sign of a more regular fun summer weekend.

      HANK: There are several black squirrels on my street, but most of them don't make the leap from the tree/runs up the main building steps to my balcony. It's Satan (or his progeny).

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    7. Very interesting, indeed, Grace.

      Karen

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    8. KAREN: I agree it's been hard to modify/avoid cooking any recipes with tomatoes or peppers for 4 years. But I have been able to enjoy fresh tomato salsa with jalapenos, pasta with tomato sauce and NM green chiles so I'm happy. Still having allergic reactions to hotter chili peppers.

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    9. HA! There's probably some Grace-lore that they pass along to their progeny, right?

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  5. Congrats on all the good news, Reds. I discovered the Merlin app this year - so fun! We're watching Anatomy of a Scandal, which is great. My tomatoes are also sizing up and the cucumber plants are thriving and I have eight foot tall sunflowers blooming, which always makes me smile. Also smile-inducing is talking with my son and his sweetie in Puerto Rico about their February wedding plans, and seeing my other son and his wife in western Mass next weekend.

    MURDER, UNCORKED, first in a new series, is going along at 27k words. I'm also writing two new Rose Carroll short stories that will be part of a collection of all the Rose shorts that have been published over the years (two nominated for Agatha Awards). I'm excited about A QUESTIONABLE DEATH AND OTHER QUAKER MIDWIFE HISTORICAL MYSTERIES, to release in the spring!

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    1. Oh, and my blueberries are starting to ripen, one of the best treats of summer.

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    2. EDITH: Yum, love blueberries. My year 2 strawberry plants are also giving me a handful of berries every few days. Another summer treat.

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    3. We had to cede our blueberry bushes to the birds...oh well

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    4. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 5, 2022 at 9:29 AM

      Oh, cucumbers! They are the funniest things to watch grow… And wow, to eat a fresh cucumber is a very different experience than one from the store, don’t you think?

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  6. Hank, you made me laugh out loud with your bathing suit. Don’t you use it to go in the pool ?

    I could visit my godmother who turned 97 this weekend and who is still in good health .
    Yesterday, I went to pick my first raspberries of the season, yay ! I can’t stop eating them, it’s so good. I love summer and all what it brings: fruits, vegetables and herbs.
    Danielle

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 5, 2022 at 9:30 AM

      Oh, all that sounds absolutely wonderful in every way! Fresh raspberries are transporting, I agree!

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    2. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 5, 2022 at 9:31 AM

      Let’s just put it this way.… It is a situation every summer with the pool. It’s just such a process, you know? Bathing suit, sunscreen, water, wet hair, change clothes, shower, oh my gosh, and it takes too long. Xxxxx

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  7. Mostly good here, too. But Kenai is old and was sick during the night so my morning plan is to get out the carpet washer and spend my morning washing the family room carpet. As my step mother used to say," This too shall pass!" LOL

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 5, 2022 at 9:31 AM

      Oh… Poor thing… XOXO

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    2. Poor Kenai. I try to view the necessary cleanup episodes as the price we pay for so much love, Judy. My little guys were so scared of the fireworks going off they wouldn't go out for their last turn of the night. And therefore I woke up with a pile of poo in one corner of my bedroom. Someone couldn't make it until morning. It happens.

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    3. Julia, bigger dog here - spread over the room. Mostly gone now although I may have to use the carpet washer again in a couple of spots. Fireworks might have caused some of the upset. Kenai can't do stairs anymore so he is stuck on ground floor level and bedrooms are all upstairs. He doesn't bark (remember?) so if he has a problem during the night, there is no way to tell. Sorry to hear of your poochy panic. The fireworks went on for hours.

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  8. Good things:

    - Vacation home purchase is crawling along.
    - Finished the first draft of THE TRUTH WE HIDE, the fourth Homefront mystery (due out February 2023), which is due to the publisher in a month
    - Dotting the last i's and crossing the last t's on LIE DOWN WITH DOGS, the fifth Laurel Highlands mystery due out next month
    - scored tickets to take my sister to see Garth Brooks later this month
    - enjoying the third season of The Umbrella Academy and now I know to queue up Only Murders!

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 5, 2022 at 9:32 AM

      Wonderful! Will this be your first concert in a while? And where is your vacation home? So exciting!

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    2. Hank, my sister and I went to see Billy Joel last summer - outdoor venue, so it was nice.

      The house is in Ligonier, which is smack-dab in the middle of the Laurel Highlands. Very close to the ski resorts, Fallingwater, Ohiopyle, everything we love about the area. Lots of cute shops and restaurants. And public utilities! Now if only we can get the sellers to meet us halfway on one little issue.

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  9. Life is good in so many ways. I see bunnies when I'm walking or jogging in the am and get to meditate on the deck with frequent visits from hummingbirds. I hear their helicopter buzz before I see them as they visit the feeder or the honeysuckle. I managed to plant a few new plants I bought without letting them die.Yay! My raspberries are ripe, yum. I saw family yesterday for a BBQ in my sister's yard and then a rousing game of Aggravation. I get to go to church every week in person--this still feels like a miracle to me. I've been reading some really wonderful books lately. Thanks for the exercise in gratitude!

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 5, 2022 at 9:33 AM

      Wow, what a series of joyful things! I love reading this… And I’d rather vote for raspberries!

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  10. Today is my MILs 90th birthday and that’s a great thing! Another happy thing is our oldest son and family are relocating from NC to PA and will now be living 35 minutes from us instead of 7 hours. We are having what I refer to as Michigan weather—warm days with low humidity and cool nights. The birds are singing and feeding in the backyard. Life is pretty good if I stay out of the news feeds...

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    1. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 5, 2022 at 9:34 AM

      Yes, that seems like a very wise idea! And that’s wonderful about your relatives… That will be so much fun. And our birds are going crazy, absolutely, Jonathan cannot keep the birdfeeder filled – – although I think the squirrels have something to do with it. Are you successful at keeping them away?

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    2. Emily, closer children sounds great to me. And I love your Michigan weather. That must be why it was such a vacation destination in the days before air conditioning (not that it's still not a go-to place in the summer!)

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    3. Hank, we have baffles on all of our feeders but those persistent little squirrels still manage!

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  11. Got a thumbs' up for yesterday's dinner from grand-nephew "my most favorite ever". Hamburgers, baked beans, corn-on-the-cob, garlic pasta salad. Heck, I cooked it and I thought it was pretty good, too! ;-) The lawn got mowed before it rained and I didn't have to touch the mower (thanks, older nephew!). Jenn, I adore your foster kittens! Our three older 'kittens' are still without a permanent forever home, but the little female just gets sweeter every day. She hangs out with me and comes when called. Mr T hasn't lost his swagger and Henry Higgins is as vocal as ever when he wants something. Outdoor/indoors--the animals make everything better.

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    1. Flora, I don't want to give anything away, but I suspect your three older kittens may have actually already found their forever home...

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    2. Julia, we do love them, but can't bring them inside. Four cats already inside. Would much rather they had indoor homes, but no takers. So, yes, it looks like they're ours.

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    3. YUMMY! xxxx And yes, they do have personalities!

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  12. Still on a high from the past two weeks driving around western Normandy with my husband, with a stopover in Chartres on the way there and in Orléans on the way back. Every day was full of new and beautiful sights, but the highlights were the stained glass windows in Chartres; the 230-foot Bayeux tapestry, which shows the background to the Battle of Hastings (1066) and the battle itself in magnificent embroidered detail; and Mont Saint-Michel (both the view of it from every possible distance and the fantastic Gothic buildings. D-Day landing beaches and related museums and memorials were also deeply moving. Being back is all right, too--it feels good to buckle down to revisions after two weeks of play. Oh yes, I just found out last night that my second mystery in the Polizei Bern series, SONS AND BROTHERS, can already be preordered on Amazon. Makes the sequel seem real!

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    1. YAY, that's great! Oh, the Bayeux tapestry..it's incredible. HOW did they do it?

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  13. For hubby and me this feels like the first real day of retirement -- the first day when all our colleagues had to get up and go back to work after a weekend while we got to sleep in. That's definitely a good thing!

    We've enjoyed the return of ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING, DEATH IN PARADISE and BROKENWOOD. We are now going to check out THE BEAR as well.

    My last month or two of work was totally a sprint to the finish, so I got no plants out whatsoever. But Saturday we went out and bought a hanging plant stand and another plant stand and six colorful blooming plants, and voila, our deck has color and life again.

    Speaking of that deck, I have been enjoying sitting on it and reading. Hubby and I had proactively decided we didn't want to leave on a trip right away at retirement because we really like summer at home. I think we made the right choice. Just sitting out on the deck with a book is such a pleasure!

    One last thing: Deb, you said the edits are finished on the new book. After your post on it, what was the final length of the edited manuscript?

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    1. Susan, staying at home is a good call. I feel the same way about living in Maine; we have three fabulous months out of the whole year, why would I want to travel away then?

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    2. Just under 100K, Susan, 450 pages. It was the most I've ever cut from a book but I think it is the better for it.

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    3. WOW, that is quite the moment! And it sounds like you are enjoying it to the fullest. YAY!

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  14. Watching ENDEAVOUR and GRACE. My knockout roses are in July bloom. It's a good year for daylilies if they're treated with deer spray. The Cincinnati Opera is back at Music Hall. Next up: Pirates of Penzance. I haven't seen a Gilbert and Sullivan production for many years.

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  15. Rule for living #4: Find joy where you can.
    -I am going to get Merlin.
    -In season, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, farm fresh eggs and creme. Clafoutis on the menu this week.
    -Tomatoes on the vine.
    -aromatic roses riotously blooming
    -Rain
    -My sister's foster puppy.
    -That other people find joy
    -PBS's Endeavour.

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    1. DEAUN: Yum, I love making clafoutis. Farm-fresh eggs, berries & tomatoes sounds delish.
      And I agree with you about finding joy.

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    2. That list is perfection! xxxx Fabulous. xxx

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  16. On the book front, I won two books last week--one from Jungle Red Writers (thank you, Hallie and Debra) and one from Goodreads (!) I'm getting more requests approved by NetGalley now--52 so far this year. Not too bad for someone without a blog or a Twitter or an Instagram. I keep my feedback ratio high (currently 97%). And I recently finished Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting by Claire Pooley, which will be on my favorites list of the year! I highly recommend it.

    My family and I attended July 4th festivities on July 2 (Saturday night), and the band (Big Crush) and the fireworks were fantastic. So nice to spend the late afternoon and evening with my loved ones. The band played "I Feel Good" by James Brown, which was my husband's and my "song," and my dear daughter-in-law danced with me.

    Finally, my older son returned to work after a 5-month medical leave, which included a month-long hospital stay. He's been living with me since he got out of the hospital. Quite a relief for both of us that he still has a job, and he has adjusted well to his dialysis schedule.

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    1. Margie, congratulations on the book front! Thank you for reminding me. I won a book giveaway here for Jennifer Chow's beautiful novel. And grateful that your son still has a job.

      Diana

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    2. AW, your song! That's so great! xx

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  17. Something good? I am feeling gratitude for many reasons. About a week before Memorial Day weekend, I was walking too fast on the sidewalk and I fell down! Both knees were scrapped. One leg got the worst of it. I was reminded of a friend who had a similar fall. She was not as lucky as I was. Within days, she died because she also hit her head. She thought she was fine then she died in her sleep. I am grateful that I did NOT hit my head. For a while, I was really scared! The bruises are slowly healing. Yes, I saw my doctor and XRays showed NO broken bones. So it looks like it's just deep bruises. I am grateful that I am Still here on earth. I want to live the best life that I can while I am still here. I am feeling GRATITUDE that I am still alive.

    Another note of gratitude is that my family likes me. I was thinking about a family who rejected their developmentally disabled daughter. There was a obituary notice in the newspaper that the disabled daughter died. I kind of knew the family because of their connection to my godmother. Even if I was the only Deaf person in my family, I was ALWAYS included in family events. I feel gratitude for the family I have. We all have different personalities and temperaments. When my cousins got married, I was a bridesmaid in their weddings. Despite the pandemic, we have Zoom meets and conversations on FaceTime.

    And I wrote 2,775 words for my novel in progress after struggling to write ten words for a while. I think that I am on a roll now.

    This is such a long post so I will stop here.

    Diana

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    1. Your family sounds wonderful, Diana.
      DebRo

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    2. Thank you for this. So glad you are healing and writing again. Looking forward to getting my hands on your manuscript.

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    3. Deb Ro: Thank you for your kind words.

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    4. to Anonymous (Hank?), thank you for your kind words and when I have my manuscript ready, I would love to ask all of the Jungle Reds to read it. And if someone LOVED it, I would love a blurb for the book. xoxo

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    5. Thank goodness for a family that loves you unconditionally! When I began losing my hearing 20 some years ago I worried if I would still fit in to family gatherings and as grandchildren were being born how I would communicate with them. Several family members reassured me that those grands wouldn't know me any other way so they would embrace my hearing limitations; sure enough no truer words were spoken!

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    6. You ARE on a roll! That's great, and what a perfect comment. xxxx You make us all grateful. xox

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    7. Emily, thank you. We are very fortunate to have our families, right? Because I lost my hearing so early in life, I HAD to start school just after my 2nd birthday. If I had been born Deaf, I probably would have started school at 10? months. I love that your family members reassured you. If I may ask, did you and your family learn Sign Language?

      It is a very visual language. I did not get my cochlear implants until the last half part of my life. For me, the cochlear implants really helped me in many ways. I have several Deaf friends who refuse to get cochlear implants and I respect their feelings. No one can tell them how to live their lives. I'm still laughing because once I was at a social event. I met a lady who was connected to something like cochlear implants group? She heard my voice and she suggested that I get cochlear implants. When I showed her my cochlear implant speech processors, she was very surprised! We are casual friends now and talk once in a while. I never took it personally.

      Hope that you are safe and in good health.

      Diana

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    8. Hank, thank you. We are grateful for your beautiful books. We are grateful for all of the beautiful books by all of the Jungle Red Writers. I am grateful that we can still read whatever we want to read.

      Diana Xoxo

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  18. I discovered a new show - HARRY WILD on Acorn. Jane Seymour is delightful and hilarious. We plan to visit the Badlands later this summer. I'm hoping it won't be too hot!

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    1. LOVED LOVED LOVED Harry Wild. Jane Seymour is one of my favorite actresses.

      Diana

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    2. We visited the Badlands around 15 years ago and were charmed. It was meant to be just a minor stop on our trip out west, but it ended up pleasantly surprising us and remains one of the brightest memories.

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    3. I LOVE Harry Wild!

      DebRo

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    4. NEVER heard of Harry Wild! And oh, eager to hear about the Badlands!

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  19. Knitting with kittens . . . now THERE'S a challenge! So sweet, I wish allergies allowed . . .
    Heat advisory this whole week, but I have books and few responsibilities. Once I move frogs from the hot mailbox to the cooler environment under the maple tree (coconut shell "frog houses" in place) I can relax. Keep writing, y'all, and I'll never run out. <3

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  20. I wanted to learn a new skill, but I don’t feel comfortable in a classroom setting. I jokingly suggested to an acquaintance who does beautiful work that I might want her to teach me to crochet, and she said she would! So we meet once a week at the library. I was worried that I would be terrible at it, or that it would be a chore to sit with her, or to work on it at home on my own. Well, it turns out that I love it, and many nights I force myself to put my crocheting away and go to bed! I’m slow, but I find crocheting to be soothing. The last seven or eight months have been difficult for my family, and for me personally, and crocheting is turning out to be good medicine. And I’m proud of myself for being able to learn a new skill at my age!
    DebRo

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    1. I used to crochet in college - it's easy and so meditative.

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    2. And I meant to add, I'm glad it's bringing you comfort.

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    3. DebRo, thank you for sharing. I remember the joys of learning from individualized attention. When I was at university, a housemate taught me how to knit and I was able to pick up fairly quickly this time. I had tried to learn knitting before. Perhaps I was not ready until then? I learned how to crochet when I was 7 years old from a babysitter.

      Diana

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    4. That sounds so lovely--you get to be with a pal, and learn something new, and create something beautiful along the way!

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  21. The Merlin app - I had no idea! Off to download right now.

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    1. Rick and I are both using it--fun to play each other the recordings!

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    2. The Merlin app is new to me. I'm going to check it out...

      Diana

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    3. YAY! It's really fun...eager to hear what you discover!

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  22. Coralee the jammerJuly 5, 2022 at 11:32 AM

    I made strawberry rhubarb jam yesterday after almost 35 years of no jam making. and it jammed! Thanks to Amanda, my coach, I am back to working on a wip progress. Big tip of the hat to Jay would told me about The Orville, the third season is on Hulu and just as good as the first. Also finished watching the Staircase and still cannot make up my mind. Meditative stitching continues, almost finished a lovely Spring cat in a garden. Love hearing about everyone else, and thanks for the kitten photo.

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    1. Oh, a new season of The Orville! And great that it's on Hulu!

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    2. Congratulations on the jam! That's big.

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    3. You ARE a jammer! Which Staircase are you watching? The documentary or the dramatization?

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    4. Both, watched both. What did you think?

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  23. My best news: I finally got Blogger to work right, but it means using a different browser. Chrome works, but Firefox turned out to be the problem.

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  24. This post from the Reds is a definite good thing! And on other fronts - Dark Winds on AMC is fabulous, and I'm finally catching up with all those episodes of Blue Bloods that I missed. Really, I'd watch anything to see the famous Selleck dimple - wouldn't you?

    We've had a glorious spring and summer in Northern Maine. Night temps in the 40s and 50s day temps in the 60s and 70s. Truly perfect to enjoy from the peace of our back porch.

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    1. I wish I got AMC 'cuz I really wanted to see Dark Winds. Glad to hear it is as good as it sounds!

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    2. Oh, so please to hear you like Dark WInds...I just noticed the shabby old paperback in our library-room, such a coincidence! And aw, thank you. xooxo

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    3. Kait, I really need to live where you do. I love those temps and hate the "hot as Hades" temps here.

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    4. I am so grateful for the weather this year. It is perfect!

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  25. This post is fun--so that's a good thing and so many suggestions for tv series to watch! We just finished up watching The Kominsky Method and loved it (Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin starring, what's not to love?). Another good thing--I'll be planning my vacation to Maine this evening. Apart from family visits, I haven't done any traveling since, well, you know why. A week away this September will be wonderful. Until then, the Farmer's Market is filling up with veggies! --Melanie

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    1. Melanie, that sounds so wonderful! And Maine is the perfect place to get away form you-know-what. xooxoo We are eager for details!

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  26. Reading all these wonderful comments is downright therapeutic. Another *good* thing!

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  27. First, my TV streaming, as I seem to be doing more of it these days. My husband convinced me to watch The Old Man, and despite the violence in it, I'm enjoy the performances of Jeff Bridges, John Lithgow, and Courtney Cox. Husband remembers to remind me on Friday that a new episode is out. My true love is Stranger Things, as I share interest in it with my grandchildren and daughter. When I say grandchildren, it includes my almost thirteen-year-old granddaughter, my additional granddaughter added to my daughter's family last fall as a family-involved care deal, and the girls' friend Marcus. I bought the three of them Stranger Things t-shirts. While Izzy told me yesterday at the 4th of July fish fry they have finished season four, I still have the last episode in season 4 to watch. She told me I would cry. I've also just rewatched the first three seasons with husband Philip, and I'll watch the last episode of season four by myself this week. I watched the second season of Russian Doll, and with its body swapping and going back in time was very interesting. It is definitely a dark, emphasis on dark, comedy. Now, I have to get to season two of Only Murders in the Building, as I loved season one.

    Other good news is that my knee seems to be healing well and I've read some wonderful books. Oh, and I'm getting my blog site updated, which I'm excited about.

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  28. I bought what I thought was 2 cherry tomato plants and one Early Girl. What is ripening and almost ready are 3 cherry tomato plants, but no large, slicing tomatoes. Luckily my son has more of those than he knows to do with them. My blueberries are also getting ripe. There might even be a few raspberries on the plant I got for Mother's Day. Now I need more rain.

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  30. Hank, just a warning-- chipmunks will sample your tomatoes. Sometimes human hair deters them, so save your combings

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