Endings

Sep. 14th, 2011 10:00 am
bogwitch64: (Default)
"...I'm being rude. I'm spoiling the ending, not only of the entire book, but of this particular piece of it. I have given you two events in advance, because I don't have much interest in building mystery. Mystery bores me. It chores me. I know what happens and so do you. It's the machinations that wheel us there that aggravate, perplex, interest, and astound me.

There are many things to think of.

There is so much story."


I read this earlier this morning. The Book Thief, by Mark Zusak. Death had just given away a huge plot point, and that was his excuse for it. It got me thinking (uh-oh) and I realized he is absolutely right. It's not about the big booming, softly sighing, gut-wrenching finish, but all that leads up to it that makes a story great. The coolest plot twist in the world isn't going to atone for a mediocre build-up. And while a great build-up attached to an otherwise lackluster ending sucks royally, at least the author has entertained long enough to pull the reader to that ending. Of course, the reader might never pick up a book by that author again, but that's another post entirely.

We've all heard the term "muddy middle." It's that part of the story not the beginning we're all excited about writing, not the ending we all can't wait to get to, it's that middle part that has to tie the fun beginning to the exciting end. For some, it's the hardest part, and now I understand why many hit that wall: Getting a reader hooked is hard, Keeping them hooked is harder.

I've picked up books because the opening hook is fantastic, only to give up on it thirty pages in. Maintaining the momentum is crucial, no matter how difficult it is to one-up your beginning. We can't all get away with giving up our big finishes the way Death (and Mark Zusak) can. It has to fit. It has to be part of that build-up, or it comes off as contrived. How ever we do it, we have to make our middles as fabulous, more fabulous than the bookends of our stories. That's how we keep readers who cheat and read the end of the book first. (You know I'm looking at you.) Like Death says, it's the machinations that wheel us there that aggravate, perplex, interest and astound.

What about you? Can you forgive a so-so story for a big-boom ending? Vice-versa? What's the hardest part for you to write? Beginning, middle, or end?
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Ah...it's 9:00. My house is empty of all but me, my cats, and cricketsong still chirping away outside. Oh...and there are the garbage guys. I hear the truck squealing to a stop. There goes the garbage! Ah, again, silence.


I had a marvelous week. My brain feels much better. I can't WAIT to get upstairs to write. So much has fallen neatly into place (as things tend to do when I stop trying to force them--will I never learn??)


While I was away last week, I got to thinking, and thinking led to wondering, and wondering requires the curious oyster to ask. So I ask you:

If you could live anywhere, in any house, what/where would it be?


Before you answer, keep in mind that YOU are the only one who matters. No family to stay close to, no job, nothing but your own, personal desires.


What/where would mine be? Give me a place where the mountains meet the sea. The Coast of Maine. Camden, if you want to be exact, though I haven't been there in a long time, so it might have changed some. My house would be stone, a fairytale cottage with a wide front porch and lots of trees to keep it shady and cool. The house would contain a rather large fireplace, and only four rooms: bedroom, kitchen, sittingroom/library, and bathroom. I want it small, but not cramped. My cats need room to explore. Across the street, the beach where the sea crashes and the gulls screech. It might get crowded in the summer and supercold in the winter, but the crowds would not be anywhere near what I'm used further south, and I enjoy the cold, quiet months wherein the earth sleeps deeply and long. Ah, I just got myself to dreaming...not good when I have to go upstairs to work!


So, tell me your dreams! The curious oyster needs to know.
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The thermometer says it's 90 outside. The humidity is 46%. It's rather soupy out there, but in here, winter's returned.

I don't like air conditioning, to be honest. I don't mind the heat. I don't like it, but I don't mind it either. There's a pool in the yard to cool off in, and when night comes the heat goes, and it's awfully nice to sleep with the windows open and the overhead fans whirling breezes, cricketsong and owls hooting and the occasional coyote howl.

But I live with others who do mind the heat, so while I might not give in until it goes to 80 in the house, I will turn on the air conditioning when I know it's going to be hot and stay hot for several days, even at night--like yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Much as I hate to close myself off from summer sounds and scents (ah, the briar roses are in bloom!) it's kind of nice to bring winter back for a visit.

I love winter. The cold and the quiet, the sleeping earth, grey skies, bare trees. Daylight is thin, but the nights are long and full of dreaming. It's a time of rest and reflection, of tremendous creativity. There are no gardens to tend, no kids crashed on sofas watching TV for months on end, no weekend bar-b-ques to prepare for or recover from. The chaos is (usually!) at a comparative minimum.

And now I'm remembering everything I love about summer--the heat and the kids home and the weekend bar-b-ques. Gardening and noise and the general chaos that saps my creativity, and my time.I think it's time to head out to the skychair, soak up some summer until the heat makes me cranky enough to come back inside to my winter haven.

Which do you like best? Winter, spring, summer or fall? Why?
(Curious oyster and all that...)
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When I read this one, I gasped. Today's Forgotten English word:

pay in cats: to pay, not in cash, but in inconvenient or useless commodities.
~Richard Thornton's American Glossary, 1912

Black ats were considered unlucky, as we all know, but even worse was a cat born in May. I am quoting here:
A certain unluckiness is held all England over to attend a May kitten, as well as a May baby. The latter will be sickly and difficult to rear; the former must be drowned without mercy; no good would come of rearing it; it would only bring snakes and slowworms into the house, and never kill a rat or mouse...On this point, the Rev. Hugh Taylor writes, "My groom, a native of North Tyne, tells me no one would keep a May cat because it would lie on the children's faces and suffocate them"
~
William Hendersons's Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties of England, 1879
0_o

My Gramma Grace--half Italian, half English, used to say never to have cats and babies because cats, "steal a baby's breath." This bit of folklore is not new to me, but until now, I never thought of it as a nationwide campaign to drown all kittens born in May!  And it's making me wonder why cats? Why May? What phenomenon could actually occur that would bring this about?

I can guess at some, but I'd rather know your thoughts. Yours are always way better than mine.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!
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Today's Forgotten English Word

hochle: to tumble lewdly with women in open day.
     ~John Mactaggert's Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopedia, 1824

I have to admit, it's not the word I like so much, but the story that came along with this one. May Day is a randy holiday, no matter where in the world the festivity arises. Much as I love debauchery, that's not the fun part either. It's this:

William Black's Folk Medicine, 1883 says that a swelling on the neck may be cured by the patient going, on May Day morning, to the grave of the last young man buried (if the patient is a woman; if a man, he's to go to the last young woman's grave) and collecting the dew gathered there to rub into the swelling.

0_o

I can make a few connections, but why the neck, specifically? Especially considering it's a May Day thing. I can think of other swellings that might be more appropriately dealt with on this day--but the neck?? And why dead people dew? I want to know how this came about, dammit!

The curious oyster is a difficult little beastie. It is seldom long appeased before the next question arises.

Any guesses? Any facts? Anything at all to offer my beast?
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The curious oyster is at it again. A friend sent me this news story today by way or another blog, but I found this video clip and...well, I'll let it speak for itself.

Middle school teacher writes erotica.

The original article in the local paper.
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(Note--this is NOT a criticism of Follett's editors, nor is it an attempt to "better edit" Pillars of the Earth! ! I use these sentences only as illustration, because they are what prompted this post to begin with!)

Alfred's oath was prompted by the size as well as the speed of the horse; it was huge.
Tom had seen beasts like it before, but perhaps Alfred had not. It was a war-horse as high at the withers as a man's chin, and broad in proportion. Such war-horses were not bred in England, but came from overseas, and were enormously costly.

The above is taken from Ken Follett's, Pillars of the Earth. I suppose wrong is not exactly a word a lowly writer like myself should use in conjunction with this masterpiece. However, because it is a masterpiece from a master writer, I thought it would be a good example to illustrate my own (admittedly anal) thoughts on show and tell.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with the bolded sentence. Most of the sentences I included (for illustration purposes) are telly sentences. ...it WAS huge. It WAS a war-horse... ...were not bred. ...were enormously costly.

What then, is my problem?? The first tell is completely unnecessary. The rest of those sentences fully get across the sheer size and power of the animal through more necessary tell. Rhythmically, it works without it. So why leave that first, it was huge in there? It stands perfectly well without it, better, IMO.

I am working hard at knowing the difference between being telly and style. I'm told that sometimes that telly thing is a style. I nod my head and try to understand, and yet in my head I call shennanigans. Why is that style and not laziness? And please remember--I am not speaking of ALL tell, only the unnecessary ones. Lots of stuff needs to be told. I get that. I am certain I've got what other writers would consider unnecessary tells in Finder, and will have in subsequent works. I do strive, however, to get rid of those I can to make room for those I feel I can't.

Maybe it's completely ME, but when I read a book wherein the verb in most sentences is passive (to be, as well as sense words like wished, wondered, thought--anything that takes place inside a character's head) the story drags. I know I focus on these things, but it is only because now I realize why such things do indeed feel draggy to me. I can get beyond it to actually enjoy a story, but for ME, I feel like it's not a reader's place to get over it. I feel like it's my place not to erect that hurdle to begin with. The same goes for a point I recently made in a prior post about the word okay. It is my opinion that I don't have to worry so much about the readers who won't notice, as I have to worry about those who will.

Know what I mean?

Just for shits and giggles, break down the rest of those sentences:
It was a war-horse as high at the withers as a man's chin, and broad in proportion. Such war-horses were not bred in England, but came from overseas, and were enormously costly.

And without the tell:
The war-horse stood as high as a man's chin at the withers, and broad in proportions. Such war-horses were not bred in England, but came from overseas at enormous costs.

Yeah, doesn't sound nearly as good--doesn't have that rhythm and I really couldn't get rid of one tell without deleting it completely. Being a historical novel, getting all the necessary detail in, all the history, isn't conducive to bare-minimum TELL. And this is why that first one buggered me, and the rest did not. It was the unnecessary one. When you have a book full of tell, what's one more?? I say, when you have a book full of tell, WHY one more?

All books are full of tell. Mine are. Most I read are. I can ALWAYS find a few that can go. I'm not talking about those few (as in Pillars of the Earth that I used ONLY because it came up!) I'm talking about those that can and, IMO, should.

Which camp do you fall into? WHAT'S one more? Or WHY one more?




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*1* Today's forgotten English word is:
biwrixle: to change, transform
~Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary 1888

If it weren't so awkward a word, I would try to work that one into a story. I still might.

*2* Anyone who has recieved a critique/edit from me knows my pet peeve of using time/era inappropriate lingo. One that comes up next to constantly is OK, okay, O.K. Unless you're in a country where the English language has influence, and it's sometime after the early 1800s, O.K. doesn't exist. If you're writing fantasy, it isn't just "earth specific" it's "US after 1800s specific," and thus would not exist in your world, unless you have an etymological background to support it. There are those who say, "Everything is translated anyway, what's the diff?" There is a diff. It's the diff between it feeling authentic, and feeling inauthentic.

I know I'm anal. Let's not go there.

March 23, 1839: O.K. was used for the first time by the Boston Post, as an abbreviation for oll korrect in reporting on the local Anti-Bell Ringing Society, a group hoping to prohibit dinner bells. 0_o

"Waggish journalists writing in city newspapers from NY to New Orleans then began using this and other intentionally incorrect initials facetiously, such as K.G. for "no go," K.Y. for "no use," O.W. for "all right," and later, K.O. for "commanding officer."

A year later, O.K. became an election slogan and symbol of the Democratic party. Supporters of Martin Van Buren referred to themselves as "the O.K. Club" because Van Buren was born in Old Kinderhook, NY. Seventy years later, Woodrow Wilson was so positive that O.K. was derived from the Choctaw word okeh that he started spelling it out as such.

In 1963, American wordsmith Allen Walker Read solved the mystery of O.K.'s origins (above.)  It had, in the interim, become the most familiar of all Americanisms across the world. (And THUS, unsuitable for fantasy!)

(No need to argue the validity of this story--I'm aware there are as many "orgin" stories as there are months in a year. One way or another, it's an Americanism, which is my point.)

*3* I dare say that few woman enjoy being called a spinster. Apparently, that dislike is rather more deeply rooted than I thought. Richard Chenevix Trench (who died on this day, 1886) an Irish-born linguist who helped consolidate the OED, stated that spinster  origniated from:

"...a name often applied to women of evil life...sent to enforced labour of spinning in the house of correction (a spinning house) and thus were spinsters." 

I suppose anyone can follow how the word evolved to mean an unmarried woman, which had its own negative connotations itself no matter what we may think of a man-less life these days. Still and all, I like the original meaning of the word much better.

WWTD?

Mar. 24th, 2011 09:45 am
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The answers to yesterday's questions from the bogwitch are as follows:

World: Child abuse/neglect. It all starts with the children folks. Give them a good start, they will give us all a good future.

Country: Extremes in government. Good-bye ultra-conservative right, so long mega-liberal left. We good people filling in the middle are taking back our country now. Your agendas cause too much strife, and prevent ANYTHING from being done. We don't need you.

State/town: Girls would have the same opportunities boys do. In school, in jobs, on sports teams, in art. This is a worldwide problem, I know, but I can't speak for EVERY state, even if I assume it's the same. I know in my state, in my town, the opportunities for boys far outweigh those of girls. For example, in this town's high school, the girls' sports teams are consistently state champions; our football team has won something like five games in the last ten years. Where does all the funding for sports go? Yes, to the football team. In this state, girls more often earn the valedictorian spot both in high school and college, but boys most often get into better schools and higher-paying jobs. And while there are more girls who stick with Girl Scouting through to the end and beyond than there are boys who do so in Boy Scouting, there's a HUGE advantage where college is concerned for a boy who has earned his Eagle Scout rank, but does anyone even KNOW what the highest rank is for a Girl Scout? Probably not.

My own life: I'm happy, with myself and my life, so I'm inclined to say there are no wrongs I would right--I wouldn't be here without them, yeh?? HOWEVER! I would like to lay a little smackdown on the various parties in my life who convinced me I didn't have a brain in my head. If I'd trusted my own intelligence more, the wrongs needing righted in my life would never have happened in the first place.
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A question, that is. Well, several, but--here, you'll see:

If you could right any wrong in the world, what would it be?

If you could right any wrong in your country, what would it be?

If you could right any wrong in your state/town, what would it be?

If you could right any wrong in your own life, what would it be?


I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours!

*Note--I have not been getting any LJ notifications for the past week or so. If I commented on your blog and you commented back, this is why I probably didn't answer. I think I kept up with my own blog, but if you felt ignored, so sorry. It wasn't intentional.
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Part of the reason I asked this question is that a friend of mine recently rented a home on the beach on Molokai, Hawaii; just her, her writing, and the waves. She'd occasionally walk to what passed for a grocery store (which was actually a bait shop) to buy whatever came in off the fishing boats that day. Other than that. No. One. For two weeks. She said the solitude nearly drove her insane.

What heaven! I thought. What bliss! Two weeks on a beach with nothing but sand and surf and books and writing and my own fabulous self for company!

But always? It got me thinking.

[livejournal.com profile] msstacy13  said: "...part of the madness of prison life is never being alone,
yet solitary is worse..." 
Very good point. There is a reason why solitary confinement is used as an extreme form of punishment. And yet [livejournal.com profile] ckastens  said: "You would go crazy either way, but it would take a lot longer if you're never alone..."  Touching on Stacy's point, and yet coming to the opposite conclusion.

(*edit--Chris is actually saying the SAME thing Stacy said. My brain got mixed up with the longer and never and...yeah...)

[livejournal.com profile] maryjdal  cracked me up: "never" although within six months I may be wearing a paper bag over my head and seeking corners.

Always and never. Never and always. I asked the question. I placed the parameters. Pretending to be alone isn't being alone. Being alone within oneself isn't either. The choice was to always be in the company of others, or never be in the company of others. In the end, [livejournal.com profile] snootchon4  said exactly how I feel:
Never. Dammit. Never. Much as I hate to lay claim to that decision. Dammit.

When I asked this question, I thought I would choose always alone. But I know that, in the end, it's just not true. Dammit, it's not true.
 
This was fun. Thank you all for participating. The curious oyster is appeased. For the moment. But this was so much fun, I feel the curiosity nudging me with a new question to pose to you, dear flisters. Hmmm...maybe I'll make this a weekly thing!
 


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I have a question.

If you had to choose between always being alone or never being alone, which would you choose? I mean ALWAYS and NEVER. No cheating and saying, "Well, I'd choose never because I could find ways to squeeze SOME alone time for myself." No. You can't.

(Ok, you can go to the bathroom alone, but that's IT! And no cheating and staying in there an hour, reading.)

So which would it be?

CATS!

Mar. 17th, 2011 10:14 am
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Today is St. Gertrude of Nivelles Day! A patroness of cat-lovers and protector of cats. Her story is a bit...suspect, but whatever. Considering the heading of my journal, I couldn't let the day pass without mention.

From Wikipedia:
The towns of Beverst (Belgium), Geertruidenberg (Breda) and Bergen-op-Zoom in North Branbant honour her as patron. She is also patron of travellers, and is invoked against fever, rats, and mice, particularly field-mice. There is a legend that one day she sent some of her subjects to a distant country, promising that no misfortune would befall them on the journey. When they were on the ocean, a large sea-monster threatened to capsize their ship, but disappeared upon the invocation of St. Gertrude. In memory of this occurrence travellers during the Middle Ages drank the so-called "Sinte Geerts Minne" or "Gertrudenminte" before setting out on their journey. St. Gertrude is generally represented as an abbess, with rats and mice at her feet or running up her cloak or pastoral staff.

Hmm...sea monster? I told you her story is suspicious. Nevertheless, I suppose by the time she got to England, St. Gertrude's thing about being a protector against mice and rats translated into being a patroness of cat-lovers and protector of cats.
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I haven't had any really fun words on my Forgotten English Calendar lately, but today I did find this:

The New World celebration of Mardi Gras began in 1703 in Mobile, Alabama--not in New Orleans. Until well into the 20th century, Mobile's Mardi Gras was segregated.

Well, I found the first part interesting, the second part deplorable, but that's another story entirely.

I got some potential good news this morning. A friend who is a guidance counselor in a neighboring school district asked me if I'd like to participate in their summer reading program. The kids would read Finder as one of their summer reading books, and then have a "meet the author" party just before school starts up again.

It's a brand new program, and they're still working out the details, but I told her I'd love to! Now I wait and see if it actually pans out. Keeping my fingers crossed!
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You are stranded alone on a deserted island. You've enough food and water to sustain you indefinitely. You've shelter. You also have a gazillion notebooks and pens and pencils. There is no hope of rescue. Your stories will be washed away by a tsunami moments after your death. My question is this:

If you knew no one but you would ever read your words, would you still write?


Ok, the deserted island scenario is redundant, but answer the question anyway. :-P


bogwitch64: (Default)
Before you answer that with a chuckle or a quick, "YES!" hear me out. I am really trying to figure out if I'm insane for thinking there is a right and wrong here.

Here's the scene:

Anna and Robbie make a mess playing with their play-dough. Anna and Robbie leave said play-dough all over the place and move on to something else. Three days later, the mess is discovered and their sister, Philomena, is told to clean up the mess.

Philomena: "Anna and Robbie did it. Shouldn't they clean it up?"
Parent: "I asked you to do it."

Parent pitches fit, saying he/she does everything for everyone, why can't anyone do something for him/her. Philomena says she is tired of cleaning up after Robbie and Anna, because parent ASKS them to do it, and they either ignore it or blatantly say, NO! And then Philomena gets called in to do it because she's less argumentative than Robbie and Anna.

I am certain you can see both sides of this. Parent is seeing it as, "I do everything for you. You should NEVER say no to me when I ask something of you." Philomena sees it as, "Once again they say, NO, and I am the bad guy for not wanting to do it for them."

Now here's the question--Does parent have a right to expect Philomena to continue cleaning up after the other two when they're allowed to say no but she isn't?

I feel that if Parent allows Anna and Robbie to say no, then Philomena is not obligated to pick up the slack. It's PARENT'S job to see that Anna and Robbie do what they should, not Philomenas to keep the peace when they won't. If everyone picks up after everyone, if there is a give and take--all right, I can see Parent's point--we all help one another out.  But the fact is, we don't, and some of us REALLY take issue with being treated as servants while others are allowed to be reigning prince and princess.

Parent only sees it as, "I do everything for everyone. I am always there when someone needs me. NO ONE should ever say NO, for any reason." But the fact is, Parent only expects that of Philomena, and after a lifetime of acquiescing, Philomena has had it. And so has Other Parent. This doesn't seem to register with Parent.

What is your opinion? For serious...
(I'm looking at you, Peadar!)
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But I'm a curious oyster who seems to have escaped the Walrus and the Carpenter enough times that I can feel safe thumbing my nose in their general direction.

Yesterday's post sparked a question in my head. Can you be a successful writer if you don't love the process? Or at least, not totally hate it.

[livejournal.com profile] peadarog  responded that he hated revisions/edits. When I asked how he managed to be a successful author when he hated editing, he likened it to a sink full of dirty dishes: Ignore it until the smell and flies are driving you mad. Then, put on a pair of industrial gloves, grit your teeth and get it done.

Obviously, Peadar has proven one can be a successful author (The Inferior was one of my favorite reads of 2009--read it!) while not loving the whole writing process. But is he the exception to some rule?

Can a writing career be sustained on that partial love? Will those who truly hate, hate, HATE the revision process still be writing five years from now? Ten? Twenty? I don't doubt that a novel can be powered through, even turn out great--but can such success be sustained for the long haul?

What do you think? Curious oysters want to know!

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I saw this on [livejournal.com profile] krylyr  and [livejournal.com profile] csecooney  's blogs today. I've never seen this one before. I had fun playing along. Maybe you will too.

There are sites that make me feel like I'm sitting in someone's living room. There are others that make me feel like I'm seated in the audience, watching stand-up or a play. There are others that make me feel like I'm wandering fairytale woods, others that make me feel like I've come in from the cold.

So I ask you. If my blog were a place, what would it look like? Tell me how you found your way here, and share the question if you're so inclined, that I might answer it for you.


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I am curious--does anyone else out there invert numbers? I call it number dyslexia. I am certain, if it's a real phenomenon, there's a proper term for it. I don't invert letters. I can read just fine. Numbers are my nemesis and always have been.

A few years ago, I noticed that I do indeed invert numbers. If someone tells me their phone number is 374-5960, I will inevitably write down something like 347-9560--and I did it just now. I was thinking 347, and wrote 374 again, and even then, in explaining that, I did it again. When I dial a phone number, I have to look at it one number at a time, OR--and this is strange--as a whole. If someone tells me to dial three hundred seventy-four thousand, five thousand nine hundred sixty, I can dial 374,5960 without thinking twice. Trying to do it like a normal person? Heavens to betsy! Sometimes I can do it if I think of it as three hundred seventy four - five thousand nine hundred sixty.

I am convinced that my trouble with math all through my school years is directly related to this. I got the theories (though don't ask me to tell you them NOW!) but I almost NEVER got the answers right. I never understood how I could understand, yet not be able to get an answer correct. I blocked math out. I told myself I was stupid. I was a fish who couldn't climb a tree!! But you know what? I'm not stupid. I have trouble with numbers. That's all.

I've been practicing lately. I got a word puzzle book--the kind that you have the answers and you have to fit them into the boxes--and some of those puzzles were numbers instead of words. I was skipping over them. Today, I decided to try one. It's a challenge, I'll tell you! But it's not impossible. I'm wondering if I can retrain my brain to see/think/relate numbers correctly. Maybe I've just told myself numbers are my enemy for so long that my brain believes me. I don't know.

So does anyone else do this?? Is it a "thing"? Or is it a "Terri thing"?


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Fish are jumpin', and the cotton is hiiiiiigh...

Sorry, waxed a little Porgy and Bess there. It is indeed summer now in beautiful New England. Last week, it was mostly cool, sunny and breezy. It was too cold to keep the fans running through the night. I even had to pull the extra blanket up over me in the wee hours of the morning on Thursday. My husband, who will shiver all night before he'll get up to turn the fan off or cover himself adequately, murmurred, "Mmmmmm....warm. Wake me at Christmastime." He has no recollection of the incident.

The humidity kicked in over the weekend. It started on Friday. We have central air in the house, but I didn't turn it on. I don't mind the heat--in doses! I couldn't take a whole summer of it, which is why I will never live south of New England. But when the air conditioning goes on, the pool in the yard sits empty, unused. Poor thing. When the air stays off, the whole fam goes out there to get cool. One of the joys of my summer is the evening swim we all take after supper. The heat of the day gets swallowed up by the night. Fireflies sparkle. Bats swoop. Ahhhh... The temp at night here is seldom over 65. The hottest it was even over the sultry weekend was 70. Fans in windows, ceiling fans whirring. We don't need no stinking air conditioner.

I don't like being closed inside when there are breezes outside, and birdsong. I'm closed away from the outdoors all winter, and most of spring and fall. During those months that the windows can be flung wide, why would I close them? But I did cave this morning, when I woke up at 7 and it was already 84 degrees in the house. I have book club here tonight. It's supposed to storm. And though I plan on holding the meeting outside on my big, covered porch, I have to be prepared in the event we're forced indoors.

But right now, I'm sitting at this computer in my faux-winter environment, watching the leaves ruffle and the branches sway, and it's bugging me that I can't even hear it shuuuussshhhh. A storm's coming. Several are predicted. I'll miss that electical moment when the storm finally hits, when the air changes. 

Still and all, I've decided that this part of Connecticut has the most perfect weather. We get all four seasons in fairly equal doses. We get rain in the spring, but nothing of the mud-inducing monsoons other areas are plagued with. We get plenty of snow in winter, but rarely get snowed in. Autumn in Connecticut...need I say more? I didn't think so. Temps in the summer range between mid-seventies and mid-eighties. Nights are always cool. If we get a heat wave--like this one that has yet to spill over 90--it doesn't last long. Yesterday, it was a humid 84 that felt like 87, according to the weather channel. Tomorrow, our high is supposed to be 79. Here beside the river, that means it'll be more like 73.

My favorite time of year begins in August, and goes through to Christmas. The weather is best, the holidays are abundant, and the kids are back in school.

What's your favorite season? Month?
What does your summer have in store for you?
Curious little oysters want to know...

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