Sunday, December 28, 2008


Pay no attention to the "quality" of this photo, pretty please. I'm posting it only because of its content. This is how the big tree outside our door looked last night after a snow. I love how perfectly its branches are frosted, and I love the perfect "skirt" of snow around the bottom of it. Today, after temperatures in the 40's, the tree and ground are green again.

Our neighbors, bless them, are the ones who put the lights on it every year.


Nancy P said...

Working hard. Up late. To bed early. Sweet dreams, y'all.

boran2 said...

Have a good night Nancy!

AndiF said...

That's a nice photo, Nancy; I like the combination of natural and artificial sparkle.

I'm finding hard to believe that 2008 is almost over. But if things are going to go fast, how come it can't be January 20th already? I am really, really ready to do my Buh-bye Bush.

Morning all.

AndiF said...

Oops, holiday schedule threw me off and I almost forgot the Monday Picture Post which, fittingly, is all about trees.

Beech [LINK]

Sycamore [LINK]

Pines (with Sycamore) [LINK] said...

Just in from the Holiday Road, where I spent Christmas eve running around muddy cotton fields in the Mississippi Delta trying to bring huge sacks of food to a pack of feral dogs. Lost a pair of shoes in the process.

I figure the dogs will fight over the shoes and the birds will eat the dog food.

As always, I'm late to the Q&A. Read during the holiday week: Paranoid Park by Blake Nelson; and Martha Grimes' Dirty Duck . I kept thinking when I read the magic word a duck would appear. Nope. said...

Ah: ADD brain of mine is constantly seeing connections with my story (or one of my critique partners).

Lisa, isn't it peculiar how when you're composing and immersed in story eveything in the real world is there to either inform or invalidate your work?

Odd too I suppose that I have always seen this as a fault of the world and not of my brain. I just want to scream at Jeopardy! "Leave my story alone!"

Err.. I mean I want to scream "What is Leave my story alone!"

Lisa M said...

I love the shape of your tree, Nancy. That isn't one we have so much down here. I did pass a Christmas tree farm on the way back from Cherokee this last time. First time I'd seen it. Wondered how they were doing in this economy. We've had an artificial tree for about 10 years now. I miss the smell of a real tree. When I was a kid in Lubbock I loved building Christmas tree forts about this time of the year.

Morning Andi--Ready for the New Year--Yes.
My enthusiasm for politics of any sort--very slim.
Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Illinois Governer corruption
Why I may be in great shape because I'll be playing Wii and doing WiiFit instead of so much news.

Beech my favorite--looks like the leg of a monster.

Ghostie--Welcome back, good-deed doer.

Marvelous Monday to All

Marvelous Monday to All. said...

More Q&A lateness from me, sorry.

People don't ask me, Nancy, how my work is coming.

They do ask me is "What is your next book is going to be?" (hoping, I fear, that it might possibly be something that would interest them ... unlike the ones I've already done) or "What are you working on now?"

I don't mention to people in the real world in which I make money that I also fiddle with writing. It's two lives, really, and it works best that way.

Misdirecton has always worked well for me. Instead of answering, I let my face go bright as if I am just noticing something the person is wearing and I ask them about it. Shoes, socks, earrings, sweaters -- as long as they're wearing it, they will talk about it when asked.

The question I really abhor and which can bring on a panic attack is when strangers ask me what I do for a living. Since I don't tell people I am a writer (I do NOT want to hear about their great ideas for a book, movie, TV commercial...), I have to say something else.

Stephen Kirk in his book Scribblers, quotes me as having said "When I go to the barbershop and the barber says, 'What do you do for a living?' it's like I can't think of a thing to tell him. And the only answer I've come up with, which I have not had the courage yet to speak to a stranger, is to say, 'I collect people's lives.'"

I am still quite mad that some reviewer lifted this citation from Steve's book without attribution (then again, if he hadn't I would have forgotten I'd said that) and I changed it to "I collect dead people."

I do, too. said...

Lisa, which Cherokee is that?

Maria Lima said...

Morning, all! Sadly, I must off to work today and make up for time lost due to the Cough That Would Not Die(tm). Still coughing, but at least I have been able to get sleep over the weekend.

Just a few days left in a roller-coaster year. Hard to believe.

I am definitely ready for 2009.

Lisa M said...

Cherokee is a small town in central Texas. North of Llano, on the edge of the Texas Hill Country.
We own property on Cherokee Creek with a not so palacial single wide with a great deck.

Maria, reading about the Vicks Vapor rub reminded me of my childhood. We got it on the chest not the bottom if our feet. That still is a comforting smell to me.
I'm blessed to have one more week off.
Drink plenty of juice or other clear liquid and don't work too hard at the Mimes. said...

A great deck is all that's required for me to consider a propetry to be palatial. And maybe a chair.

I asked, Lisa, because there is a Cherokee NC very near here, and lots of folks grow Christmas trees in the area (generally at higher elevations than Asheville). I thought you might have been in my neighborhood.

Maria, the Vicks on the bottom of the feet is new to me, too. Sounds like a good way to keep children from running away, though. Any hound could follow that trail.

Lisa M said...

Ghostie--Plenty of chairs on my deck and birds and wildlife to watch.

Haven't ever been to NC. That's on my to do list. Hear it's very beautiful.

Maria Lima said...

re: the Vicks on the soles of the feet thing - I actually read about it online over the weekend as I researched home remedies for cough. Don't know if it particularly worked, but definitely the whisky in the lemon-ginger tea did! Sadly, I can't do that at the day job. ::g::

Jen said...

Aww Maria, I'm starting to worry about you with that thing lingering like it is. Hope your immune system finally beats it back and gets you to feeling fine again soonest.

Kelly McCullough said...

Morning all,

Starting to get back into a normal routine. Treadmill this morning and writing or editing this afternoon. The holidays are not my favorite season for a variety of reasons, not the least of which the total halting of productivity that all the other stuff engenders.

Maria, Jen's right, you've really got to kick this thing.

FARfetched said...

Back at the mimes, not getting much done. At least it's quiet.

Andi, I like the beech roots… there could be a whole world in there. And if the house is empty on Jan. 20, I'll be dancing naked to celebrate. Not a pretty sight.

LOL, Ghost! Why were you feeding wild dogs anyway? And it seems like if someone asks you what you do for a living, you could talk about "the real world in which [you] make money." I've found that telling people that I write user manuals is enough to make their eyes glaze over & change the subject. :-P

Lisa, your trailer + deck sounds palatial enough. If you really want to slack, take pix of the wildlife as it comes by.

Maria: what Jen & Kelly said.

Off to the blankety-blank bank to deposit a little Christmas money…

Lisa M said...

The squeaky, grinding sound you hear is my brain working and my fingers on the keyboard editing. Big relief as I gather some momentum.

Agree with Kelly about holiday schedule. For me time off from work has not translated to good writing time till now.

Andi, I'm thinking how pictures spur imagination like music. I'm wondering what the world in that Beech would be like.
Thank you so much for tickling our creative spirits each week.

We haven't heard from Janet or Bono in a bit. Missing their wry observations and humor.

Anonymous said...

Howdy from the wilds of Maine. Cindy and I are getting ready to settle down and do a little writing, then we're off to see Janet (no, not our Janet) at 3 for popovers.

Welcome back, Ghostie - and I miss the smell of a real tree too, Lisa. Sending healthy vibes your way, Maria. Glad everyone is up and about this in-between holiday week. Sunny and glorious in Bangor, although there's still that white icky stuff on the ground.

Great pictures, Nancy and andi!

Back to my sister's house tomorrow - then off to Boston for a few days. This time on Sunday, I'm back in Warm Country.

Enjoy your Monday, everyone!

Nancy P said...

Hi, everybody. I spent the morning catching up on long overdue email responses. It feels so good to hit, "SEND."

Ghost, you're cracking me up repeatedly today.

Off to library now to bury meself in rewrite.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Pretty photo, Nancy. Evocative in a soft way of the season. Although I'm beginning to cast an exhausted eye on the season and on the decor. said...

FarF, the season found me driving in the rain to Sheryl Crow's hometown (she just donated $1 million to have a public swimming pool built there, which they named after her) to see if I could find a barbershop open on Christmas Eve. I did, and I got my curls cut off. The mom-and-pop donut store was closed, though. Dang.

On the way back to my in-laws' cotton patch (in a county that is almost all cotton with a few fields of watermelon thrown in for a mix and two huge rice fields in the southern reaches), I saw the feral dogs running the hedge rows of the muddy cotton fields. They were back some from the highway. Cotton fields' fence, hedge, tree rows are sparse and more or less just a high running mound. Sometimes there is a bayou behind the mound. Sometimes, not.

It was so muddy the six white dogs in the group were brown and the dogs were having some trouble getting through the muck. Then they would get back to a high piece of sandy cotton field and trot along in a line.

One group was obviously a litter about 1-1/2 years old. There were two shepherd type dogs in the mix of 10 or 12 and they kept working the sides of the group, like they were herding or counting the others.

It was Christmas Eve, you know? So I drove to the next little town, found the grocery store, and drove back out to the highway. They had managed two mile sections by the time I found them. And they were still one field off the highway.

The rest is shoe history. It had rained all morning, but it had stopped. I know better. I walked with a sack of food under each arm across the field, trying to keep my feet hitting from cotton stub row to cotton stub row (the furrows in between held water), watching the dogs disappear before my eyes. Duh.

Realizing, once I got to the higher headge row, that the dogs were gone, I trod back to the highway, through the rows of stubble and mud, crossed the ditch, and got back in the car. Plan A = Zip.

Both shoes were gone. Anyway, putting Plan B into action, I found a field road a mile or so ahead and drove down it (4-wheel-drive kicking in). Got to the hedge row, saw the dogs coming my way and laid out the food. I spread it out a bit, thinking they wouldn't fight each other as much if I did that, but I don't know.

The dogs hid but kept coming toward me. I could see the white faces pocking out once in a while as they came along. Then they got to a point and the shepherds shot out of the hedge row to flank the group and watch me. One went left. One went right.

I whistled and talked babydoll, but feral dogs do not come when called. Not this group anyway. So I hurried and left before they turned around or went another direction.

Who knows, maybe I fed the crows instead, or a family of possums is really really fat right now. Plan C, btw, was to hire the local crop duster and drop in food by air. said...

Hi, Beth in Maine. :-)

Christmas is over, Nancy, is it New Years resolution time yet?

Here's mine: Let icons be bygones. As they say at Mrs. Malaprops' house.

And may odd acquaintances be forgot.

Nancy P said...

nd may odd acquaintances be forgot.

Noooo! I will never forget you, Ghostie!

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