Thursday, May 31, 2012

O My Irish Heritage!

  If you are a regular here then you know I claim to be a hundred percent Irish. If you’re not a regular then I’ll tell you that I tell my family I don’t know what the rest of them are but I am Irish to the hilt. My great grandfather’s last name was Ryan (hence the name!), I have red hair, and well I just love all things Ireland. Recently though some family and friends have stated they wonder about my…er…Irishness.

  I fancy me a Guinness every now and then. Actually, I like beer of any flavor at about any time! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an alcoholic, I just like to have a drink once in a while. Over the past couple of weeks I have given up beer. Upon telling my friend Tweet (her actual name is a bird name, but for blog purposes we’ll call her Tweet!) this she just about grew another head. She asked if I gave up drinking everything. I kind of just looked at her and smiled. I then let her know that I do have the tiniest bit of whiskey with a cup of tea. She immediately started cracking up and stated, “That’s good, I was starting to worry about your Irishness! They may take away your Irish Card.”

  As a reminder, I found out I have a fear of heights. It was an unpleasant experience that I would rather not remember. With that being said I tempt my fear of heights. Why? Because I am stubborn. I am a redhead. I feel I must, because it makes me mad that I have this fear. I believe that it is a mental thing that I can overcome. Stubborn. I am in a hotel for a couple of days. My room is on the fourth floor. It has about a three foot wide balcony with two chairs that face each other and a small table. Below is a courtyard with a pool and beautiful landscaping (although I would change a couple of things!)  When I arrived the other day it was raining and windy from tropical depression Beryl. I didn’t step foot onto the balcony. This morning though, it had quit raining so I grabbed my coffee and tempted fate. It was okay at first. Then suddenly I noticed my chair started inching its way toward the wall. That’s where I sat perched. Needless to say I held the wall up. I got so mad at myself. Stubborn.

  Reality hit me pretty hard a couple of weeks ago. I have road rage. My commute is forty minutes long. This is thirty minutes too long! Of course everyone in Podunk County believes the car behind them knows exactly where they are going, so there is no need to put a turning signal on. Or they will not, absolutely not, refuse to go one mile an hour over the speed limit. I mentioned to Snake Charmer one night that I think I need to take some anger management classes. Snake Charmer turns and says, “You can’t change your heritage.” There it is! I wonder if all red heads blame their stubbornness and short temperedness on being Irish. I will probably be forever banned from Ireland or from calling myself Irish if any real, born and raised in the country Ireland peeps read this! I do believe I am being unjust to my countrymen/women! Sorry.

Are you stubborn too? Do you think fears are all in your head and you can overcome them? Have you been to Ireland?

W.P.I.- An idea for fixing courtyard container plants…fertilize regularly. Also, change plants out if they get leggy. The sun conditions are not right for them so switch to plants that are more conducive for the conditions.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Tell Me About Yourself

  Snake Charmer and I have a side business selling merchandise. We sell some on eBay, and some at a local flea market. It started out with NASCAR apparel and accessories, but now involves other items such as die cast cars and trucks along with sports jerseys. I am always amazed at items that people collect. As for myself…right now I am into collecting autographed books. I am developing a nice pile of them. This week I will add one more that I am excited about. I am going to a Susan Mallery book signing. Susan is another contemporary romance and women’s fiction author whom I adore! (I have a few!)

  Dealing with collectors of varying degrees has me wondering many things about you all. So here goes! Full participation would be appreciated class! I am going to ask some questions in hopes that you will answer. It may involve coming out of your shells a little, so please…try it! Believe it or not I am very shy in real life so I understand your hesitancy. Please though, let me know that someone is out there reading this! Oh, and don't worry, you won't be graded! 

1.       What town and state/country are you from? Is that where you reside now?
2.      What do you do for a living? Ex.-lawyer, teacher, stay at home mom, etc.
3.      What do you do for relaxation?
4.      Do you read? If so, what genre calls your name? Who are some authors you like? What are you reading right now?
5.      What is your favorite vacation destination? If you could vacation anywhere in the world where would you go?
6.      Do you collect anything? What is the oddest thing you’ve heard of or seen someone collecting?

Okay, I’ll kick things off…

1.       I’m originally from a small town near Buffalo, NY. I now reside in Podunk, NC. (Actually near Charlotte, NC)
2.      I’m a horticulturalist, part business owner, and writerJ.
3.      Writing is relaxation to me. Of course if I were actually on a deadline it wouldn’t be relaxing! Then reading would be my relaxation.
4.      I love fiction. Especially romance. Specifically contemporary and historical, oh and women’s fiction. I like Robyn Carr, Carla Neggers, Julia London, Susan Mallery, and I stalk…er…like, Jill Shalvis also! (To name a few!) Currently I'm reading TIME OUT, by Jill Shalvis.
5.      I love to vacation in Savannah, Georgia. (So much so I hope to be living there soon!) If I could go anywhere I would go to Ireland. (Did you really expect anything else from me?:O) )
6.      Well, you know now that I collect autographed books. I have heard of people collecting dead bugs. :/ (No offense intended if you're one of them!)

See…that wasn't too painful. Was it? I'm looking forward to your responses!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kitchen Remodel Gets Flushed Away

  So, this story is kind of typical Kelly. It is another “Day in the Life” episode. Well, sort of! So, if you’re new to this place I’ll cut it short. I hope to sell the house I live in now and move about four and a half hours south east to Savannah, Georgia. For me this can’t happen soon enough, especially after the snake incident. Unfortunately I keep hearing words like “equity.” *blech*

  One area that definitely needed work was the kitchen. The house is not old, but the kitchen needed some major updates. Finally the time has come to put some money into remodeling projects. Okay (I rub hands together in excitement), bring it on! Let’s get some granite countertops and a new floor. A smile comes to my face. Then it happens. The episode starts. The kitchen remodel happened in bathroom number two. EEK.

  We were going to start with the kitchen floor.  A good friend recommended his friend to do it. He came and we concurred with the flooring option. Unfortunately he didn’t do that kind of flooring. Hmmm. So we showed him the small bathroom. What was going to be a simple paint job turned into a whole renovation!

  The people that lived here before us had children. The bathroom reflected that as it had a lovely fish border and blue walls. The linoleum flooring matched the kitchen. Well, here…I’ll let the pictures show you.


  So that was before. Here’s the after. It is hard to tell the color of the wall. I believe it was called Sea Mist or something very close to that. I tend to wonder who comes up with paint names. They make it sound so enticing, don’t they? The floor is now tile, with a new sink top, and new lighting and fixtures. Oh yeah, a new commode also!

Yea, I’m excited about it. I’m even more excited to learn the granite counter tops go in early next month! Yay. My kitchen turned bathroom remodel is now coming back to kitchen. I’m sure I’ll post pics of that too. If you want. Hopefully after that I can show you all the For Sale signs! This move cannot happen fast enough. I cannot take much more here in Podunk, or another snake looking at me through the window. J

How about you? Have you done any remodeling lately? Was it a remodel reward or nightmare? Have you tried to sell a house in this market? 

W.P.I.- Plant shrubs and perennials that will bloom at different times of the year. Add annuals to give great seasonal color. Your garden will then have year round appeal! 

Have a happy, and safe, Memorial Day weekend. Thank you ALWAYS to our service men/women. You are the best!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Peaks, Valleys, Mother Nature...Part 2

  All day long I knew I had to write this blog. I have subjects that I am going to get to, but for some reason today I held off. I kept thinking something is going to reach out and grab me. It will say, “Blog about me!” Imagine my surprise when it did. It not only grabbed at me, it scared the living daylights out of me. This is actually something that ties into the last blog. Bonus! Er…did you read the last one?

  I have told this story one other time, but I need to tell it again so you get the full effect. I’ll make it short, I promise! Okay, here goes. I grew up with three older brothers. Needless to say I was tomboyish. Whatever my brothers were doing you could count me in. Sometimes that involved playing with things like, oh I don’t know…snakes. I never minded snakes until one day I got off the school bus and my brother yelled for me to check the mail. I opened the mailbox and there was one ticked off snake in there. It was coiled up and hissed at me. From that moment on I have had nightmares about snakes. I cannot stand them. Even though the one in the mailbox was just a garter snake it might as well have had fangs with venom dripping from them. The nightmares that ensued have lasted for years.

  Come back to the last blog. I went on about watching a couple of American Robins build a nest just outside of the kitchen window. I educated myself on how long it took to build the nest, and how short of a period it was before the babies were born. Then my hatred of nature started when the babies disappeared. I knew something got them because they were too young to fly.

  It was beautiful outside today. I did some outdoor jobs for a while and came back in. I grabbed an apple from the refrigerator and stepped over to the sink to rinse it off. As I peeled the sticker off of the apple something caught my eye out the window. I looked up and let out a very loud scream. (Just so you know I am not a screamer. I usually chuckle when I hear someone screaming.) I got so freaked out I became paralyzed with fear. *gulp* Outside my window was about a six foot long black snake looking at me. I cannot make these things up, I swear. After I realized it wasn’t in the house I calmed down a little. Well, enough to grab my phone and take some pictures.

  I guess my darkest thoughts about what happened to those baby Robins was true. Deep down I knew that was the only thing that could get them.

  Needless to say I will never come out of my house again. EVER. I did find a new concoction that helped though…Seagram’s 7 Dark Honey and Tension Tamer tea. It is a match made in heaven! 

What kind of critters live in your area that may make you scream? Did your siblings torture you? Do you have any accidental concoctions that you came about? Come on, spill peeps!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Peaks, Valleys, Mother Nature

  A few weeks ago I noticed a North American Robin building a nest just outside of my kitchen window. I love birds so I thought of this up close and personal view as a great learning experience. Every time I entered the kitchen I would slowly tip toe over to the sink and peek out at the goings on in the Robin’s world. Let me just say that I have received an education.

  I learned it took about two days for the nest to be built. I was thoroughly amazed at the diligence and repetitiveness it took for that nest to come together. I cannot say exactly how long after it was built that she laid the eggs. The first week they weren’t on the nest that often. After that they were on it regularly. My guess is it wasn’t more than two weeks before the babies were born. Before I knew it they were feeding the babies. Every once in a while I would see some yellow beaks, wide open, waiting for something to magically be dropped into it. All in all there were four of them. Mommy and daddy would take turns bringing food to their hungry babies day in and day out.

  A smile came to my face when I watched the babies. Their heads went from nearly bald to fuzzy in a matter of days. They would stretch as far as they could when a parent landed on the side of the nest. All competed for the coveted meal. I watched day in and day out, in awe of Mother Nature. And then it happened.

  Yesterday I didn’t see the adults flying in and out like they had been. After dinner I stared out the window looking for any signs of life from the nest. Nothing. I knew it was too early for them to leave. I’ve seen them so big where they spilled out of the nest before they ventured out to a life on their own. I got a ladder, climbed up, and found no babies in the nest. Mother Nature sucks sometimes. I don’t know what happened. I could guess, but it wouldn’t do any good. I am still sad about the whole ordeal. I thought the nest was in a pretty safe place. But obviously I don’t know much.

  So I had to look up happy pictures today. Pictures that restore my faith in the animal kingdom... 

Pictures that make me feel happy again...

Pictures that make me forget about the food chain, and forget about what a beyotch Mother Nature can sometimes be...

There. That made me feel better. What about you?

Have you ever observed nature at its finest? Have you ever had the displeasure of nature at its worst? Do you take it to heart, or just pass it off as a fact of life?

W.P.I.- To control weeds in the garden use mulch. If those pesky weeds still get through spray with vinegar. Repeat as needed.

Monday, May 14, 2012

How Do You Judge a Book?

  Sometimes I hear things like, “I don’t know why I read that book,” or “I don’t know what possessed me to pick that book up.” I then wonder if people are just saying that, or if they really don’t understand these things. I scratch my head, because ninety nine percent of the time when I purchase or borrow a book I know that I will like it. How do I know these things? I am a book lover. I know what I like to read. What draws my attention to a particular book? Sometimes it’s the cover, and sometimes its word of mouth. Sometimes I open it up and read a few pages to get the feel for the writers writing style. So I’m wondering…what draws you to a particular book?

  An author I follow recently blogged about something similar. She really didn’t talk about books covers, which I think is important, but she did talk about the importance of the first sentence of the book. I was completely thrown for a loop by this one. I honestly do not pay that close of attention to the very first sentence. I would hope that readers would give a book more than one sentence before tossing it to the wayside. I read many of the comments that were left and I think it was about 65% that said they would give a book more than one sentence. Phhew! It got me to review (and maybe adjust) my own books and works in progress.  

  I went through some of the novels I have at my house. I thought I would give you a few examples. You tell me if you would read them or not.

  • ·         “Elly sensed something was wrong immediately, but since she was not a woman who lived by her instincts, she did nothing.”
  • ·         “Hannah Willis was a second year law student at Virginia, and everything that lay ahead of her seemed bright and promising-except, of course, that she was about to die in these dark, gloomy, dismal woods.”
  • ·         “Maddie drove the narrow, curvy highway with her past still nipping at her heels after fourteen hundred miles.”
  • ·         “Alexis Smith rubbed her temples hoping that would stop the throbbing going on inside of her head.”
  • ·         “Emma Sharpe steeled herself against the sights and sounds of her past and kept up with the nervous woman rushing ahead of her in the dense southern Maine fog.”

  Well, what do you think? I threw in a couple of different genres there to give different perspectives. So let me ask…would you read any of these? (In case you are wondering one of those is from my book! Which one is it?)

  I judge a book by more than the opening sentence. I hate to sound like a cliché but I sometimes judge a book by its cover. Usually if I like what I see on the front cover I turn it over and read the back cover. However it is I come to open that book and start reading I do give it a chance. At least a chapters worth!

How do you choose what books you read? Do you judge by the book’s cover? Or are you one of those first sentence and done people? (It’s okay if you are, we don’t judge here!) For what reason have you ever quit reading a book? Did you figure out which first sentence was mine? J  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hero Worthy?

  If you read my rant, er, blog, on Monday you knew there was a chance that I could end up sitting on a jury this week. I, along with 70 other cheery people showed up at Podunk County Courthouse. We sat for an hour, were let go for an hour and a half. We came back for an hour and a half and let go another hour and a half for lunch. See a pattern here? I quickly realized I should go to work for this Podunk state. To make an exhaustingly long story short I was one of the fortunate ones who got picked to sit on the jury. That’s right my friends, twelve seats to fill with at least 70 people to choose from and I was one of the lucky ones.

  I guess the whole experience will make it to a blog one day. For now I want to talk about something different. Something that when I say the word you will automatically think…BORING! I want to talk about research. Sitting there watching lawyers, clerks, police officers, and a judge the last few days got me thinking about how much research people do. Those lawyers do extensive research. So do judges. I do research sometimes at my paying job. Doctors do research. Many careers require research of some type. Heck, I do quite a bit of fun research for this blog! I do quite a bit for writing, too. I am going to share with you some great, fun stuff I have come across researching. One of these guys will be the hero in my next book. This is research I love to do, and I know you’ll enjoy too!

  Ladies...without further ado, let me introduce you to my next hero. I don't know which one it will be yet, and all leave me questioning...

What's he doing with his hands?

Does he need need a massage to go with that stretch?

Why aren't you smiling? Life is too short to be that serious. Can I help with something? ;)

Ho hum. Decisions, decisions. Actually, I don't know if any of them will work. Maybe I have to get my nose back to the grindstone, and research a little more. I believe I stole one of these from Jill Shalvis. Thanks! Jill has very good taste. Check her out sometime. Until then tell me...

Does your job involve doing research? Do you like it? Which one do you think my next hero should be? Or do I maybe need to keep searching?      :)

W.P.I.- Many spring blooming shrubs liked to be pruned right after they bloom. They usually start setting their buds for next years blooms directly after their flowering is done. This applies to many, but not all spring bloomers. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Civic Duty

  There are times when I can’t share one of those “A Day In The Life,” or, “It could only happen to me,” moments. It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s just that I would not be able to make a whole little story out of it. One of those moments happened a while back, and now I finally have enough to tell you about it. So… without further ado, and with very little pleasure, I give you, “Civic Duty.”

Is this who "they" are?
  They say that it is one of the most important civic duties you can perform. Who are “they?” I have always wondered that. (Sorry, I got sidetracked there). But the civic duty I speak of is the dreaded jury duty. That’s right folks, Monday morning I have to report to Podunk County Courthouse and perform my civic duty. Let me just tell you how excited and happy I am! J

  This all started a couple of months ago. I received my first summons to appear on April 9, 2012. Well, wasn’t that the day I was leaving for a vacation that I had planned for almost a year? You see, this is my life. This is why I call this blog “A Day In The Life.” Things like this happen to me on a normal basis! So I filled out the bottom of the form and stated that I would not be able to make it. A couple of days later I received a phone call from the Podunk County Clerk of Courts. The nice lady stated it was fine that I was not able to make the court date. She also stated that I HAD to be available for the next one. This was fine for me, because most days, weeks, or months I have nothing planned. The nice lady then asked me what month I would be available. I stated May was good (let’s get it over already)! I no sooner got back from vacation when my next summons from Podunk County arrived.

   A few years ago I got summoned for jury duty. That summons had assigned me a number. The day before I was to arrive I had to call a certain phone number and they would tell me if I had to show up or not. It was a nice automated system that ran smoothly. Unfortunately for me that was a different county. This summons sitting beside me only has my name. It didn’t assign me a number. Apparently here in Podunkville the population is so low that you don’t need one? I don’t know, but I don’t have a good feeling about this. Needless to say I’m sure that Monday morning I will put a big smile on my face and show up to the Podunk County Courthouse, Courtroom number 3 and perform my civic duty. This duty that is said to be an important civic responsibility. Hhhmmmm. Just a question here, but isn’t it an important civil responsibility to not break the law in the first place? I digress. My mother texted me the other day and told me that she can’t stand jury duty and my father loves it. Go figure. I can’t wait to see which one I am more like in this aspect! *oozing with sarcasm* J

  I guess that all in all it will be alright. I actually hope I am chosen. Spring is a very busy time at my normal job. I could use a break! Plus, when I have to deal with stuff like this it makes it hard to work with a straight face. Sorry everyone, I could not make this up if I tried. This is the actual trash can from work. It is waaay to good not to share!

When is the last time you were called for jury duty? Do you like serving on a jury? Who do you think "they" are?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Stupid Genes=Cool Video

  Yes, I had a stupid genes moment yesterday. The results hopefully won’t end up with me seeing a doctor. Hopefully is the key word in that sentence. My stupid genes struck in the morning. Unfortunately, as the day progressed so did the aggravation associated with the injury. This is not the first time this injury has occurred either. It’s the fourth!

  It is the fourth time that I have scratched an eye. One time my dog did it. Two other times it happened at work. After the first time at work I make sure to always wear sunglasses for protection. Well, there was a time that I didn’t and I paid for it. I reached into a plant for a tag and got waaay to close to a jagged holly leaf. Needless to say every time my eye was scratched I ended up seeing a doctor for it. Yesterday I potted some bigger plants to put on my back porch to provide some privacy from the neighbors, and road. I carried them to the deck after they were potted. Well, one of the branches reached out right behind my sunglasses and…you guessed it. Four.Times. I guess I need to think about goggles. Sheesh. 

   So, I am cutting it short today. I’m going to share a video that always makes me laugh. Hope you enjoy!
Cats playing patty cake!

W.P.I.- When re-potting plants make sure to break up the root ball. Sometimes you may need a utility knife or shovel to do it. If potting into a concrete container remember to water more often. The concrete absorbs the water quicker than the roots can.