Friday, July 31, 2009

Beware of that perfect parking place

It was a shady spot in a gravelly lot on a warm day. Nobody else is parked there, what luck! In fact, the whole lot is vacant. We pull in, park, get out, and start walking; Mom forgot her cane, so she hangs onto my arm. She mentions something about these little black blobs on the ground. I am very preoccupied. Looks like leftover asphalt crumbs, I say. You know, it's road construction season in the Midwest, and some of those workers can be pretty sloppy.
We return to the car about 30 minutes later. This time I look down, and I look closely. Oh-oh, those aren't asphalt blobs, they're... berries?
I look up. A-hem. A big tree with red and blackish-purple berries, like big ol' raspberries... The source of our coveted shade. Well, I say, at least no birds have blessed us with droppings on the car.
Now, I look down again. At my feet, at my sandals. At Mom's feet. If we'd been barefoot, it would have looked like we'd been stomping out the grapes of wrath before his judgment seat! (OK, self, settle down, now!)
Back home, we decide to wipe our feet on the grass. Picture: elderly woman, hanging onto daughter as they wipe gunk off their shoes. We look up. Neighbors watch us from their stoop. Almost fall over laughing, wondering what they must think of us.
Later, same neighbors watch as I scrub said shoes and sandals with a brush, Fantastik and water from the hose.
Shoes cleaned up pretty well... then I notice the asphalt driveway, little bits of dark berry from our shoes, waiting for someone to walk all over them and tromp them through the house. More hose, more water.
Neighbors still watching: "Whatever they stepped in must have been good, Ray..."

The berries in the photo above are wild black caps from my yard, much tamer than seedy mulberries mixed with gravel.

Great news: Eddie's Wake publish date, July 31, 2009. Today! Mom says we need to celebrate with ice cream. Chocolate, vanilla. NO berry!

Books soon to come.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"We're On Our Way!"

No photos for this post... (Can't think of anything to use. Maybe if I had a photo of a car...) We're on our way! Eddie's Wake is in production. In a few more weeks, we should have books. Yay!
Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wild Things

It seems like I've been seeing (and hearing) all sorts of wild critters lately. On the way to work last week, poking its head from the weeds at the side of the road was a bald eagle. I'm sure it was lunching on roadkill, maybe a whole deer or a raccoon. I remember fifteen years ago or so, when the eagles were just coming back from the brink of extinction, we took the kids on a hike down to the Mississippi River, hoping to see one. It was late December and the water was open and there were at least four or five big eagles feeding on Mississippi River fish. What a thrill that was! And now there are enough eagles that seeing them around here is a pretty common occurrence.

And then there are the deer. This time of year they are more of a traffic hazard than anything. Two fawns at the edge of the road, trying to cross then chickening out, back and forth to the center line then finally across. I was glad I saw them soon enough to slow down and take in the show. On Saturday while fixing breakfast, I heard the strangest noise... was it a bird or squirrel? I looked, and saw a doe, 20 or 30 feet from the house, looking down at something and making that whistling-snorting noise. I opened the window a little and she looked at me. Then down. Then at me. I'm not sure I like having deer so close to the house (my hosta plants, you know) so I made a little bit of noise and she took off into the woods. And there, just above the weeds, went the furry tail of our mouser cat, Cougar, after her. Did she really think she could catch a deer?

I think I saw a groundhog heading into the corn the other day. And there are the howls of the coyotes and fox at night, making me go out looking for little Betty, my favorite cat, the one we don't think is smart enough to run from predators. And of course, there are the bluebirds and hummingbirds who like it when I water the garden. I quit filling the regular birdfeeder, since it attracts raccoons and possum this time of year, and I do NOT like having that kind of wildlife on the deck!

All this is diversionary for me. We are still waiting for approval of the cover for "Eddie's Wake" from Outskirts Press. They have to OK it, then I have the final say, and then it goes into production and then, in three to four weeks, I'll see the book. The real deal. Next post I hope to be able to say, "We're on our way!" but for now... wait, wait, wait.

The photo above is Betty, soooo busted.