Monday, June 25, 2012

It's A Dog's Life

  *Clearing throat*…eh, hello. My name is Savannah. I know that name shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that knows my momma, or reads this blog. Er…anyways, my momma told me that I had to pull my weight around here, and contribute one way or another to this household. I’m not quite sure what that means. I guess that for today it means that I am writing my own ramblings to you.

  If you read the blog “Cavalier Queen,” you know it was from my sister’s point of view. She speaks the Queen’s English. Me…not so much. I speak with more of a deeper voice, and I kind of sound like Scooby Doo. Don’t mock me, that’s just the way that I am. You see I am a little bigger than her, which makes my barks louder and my voice deeper. Aw shucks, I guess I rambled. Sorry folks. Okay, so let’s get on with it, shall we? This working thing is keeping me from my nap.

  So my momma thinks I need to contribute more. I guess I need to remind her that I do plenty of work around here.

I protect my sister…

 I do paperwork…

I also do inspections. Here I am making sure the groceries are all safe.

   I also do special things to make people laugh. Once, while staying with Gramma and Grampa, I took all of my cousin Kate’s toys (she’s a Jack Russell Terrorist!) and put them in a straight line across the living room floor. It took quite some time to accomplish, but I did it. A perfect line. Momma said not to tell that story because she can’t find the picture to go with it. I felt like you needed to hear it anyway.

  Another thing is my uncanny ability to tell time. I know I get fed at six o’clock every night. One minute after six and I start to get antsy. I tap dance across the floor. My whole body starts to wiggle, and I talk. Sometimes I even say, “Momma!” I can feel my body get weak as the minutes pass. Don’t worry. I’m relentless in my pursuit for food. I will not take no for an answer.

 You see, I really do believe that she forgets how much I do around here. I can’t help it she always sees me taking a nap here or there. My hard work warrants it!

  Oh no, I hear thunder. I have to go! I gotsta find my momma to comfort me, I really don’t like the loud noise. Thanks for listening!
So, tell me about your pet(s). Do you have dogs, cats, fish, pigs, etc.? Are your pets “working” pets, like herding dogs, or no? Did Savannah do well enough on her first blog to warrant another in the future?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

For The Birds

  They are found everywhere. They’ve been spotted in cities, and the country. You can catch a glimpse of them from woodlands to wetlands, and everywhere in between. All around the world they’re found in trees, in the air, or on the ground. What am I rambling about today? It’s one of my favorite subjects…
Rose Breasted Grosbeak

  Every song they sing is beautiful. (Except for those that are sung too early in the morning!) From sunup to sundown you can count on the harmonic tweets and twitters of birds. Some are just a chirp while others are more whistles. Some squawk and some sing one tune after another. Either way they seem to sing in a way that puts me at ease. It’s almost as if they are saying, “Everything is going to be okay.”  

Indigo Bunting
  Their colors are mostly bright and beautiful. Many times the females keep a more neutral, almost bland color. That apparently gives them more protection from predators. Even so they are impressive. The bright orange of a Baltimore Oriole, the vivid red of a Cardinal, or the brilliant blue of an Indigo Bunting never fail to impress me. It is hard not to fall in love with these creatures.

  They flutter effortlessly through the air. Sometimes they even hover. Some can fly for miles and miles to return to their winter homes. Can you tell that I just love these beauties? I love them so much that a friend and I try to imitate their every call. We can do a mean crow call, er…never mind! Just last week I saw a turkey eyeing up my blueberry bushes. I think I had a handful of berries, and the birds got all the rest. Later on in the week I was gazing out the kitchen window when lo and behold what do I see? A turkey was running, literally running, down the road. I of course, imitated it, and did it apparently well. The Charmed One about broke a rib in laughter. It’s another one of my useless hidden talents. You never know when they will show up!

Hummingbird and Salvia
  Steer it back to the birds, Kel. Okay. I can’t say that I have a favorite. There are just so many to choose from. I do love the Bald Eagle, and Hummingbirds. And Finches. And Chickadee’s. And Cardinals. Oh, you get where I’m coming from, right? Yes, I know I am a nature fool. What about you?

Do you like birds? What are some of your favorites? Do you ever find yourself smiling when listening to them? Do you imitate them?

W.P.I.-Every bird has a unique diet. You can plant annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees to feed the bird population as well. Sunflowers are a popular treat for many birds. Lantana, petunia, and salvia are admired by Hummingbirds. Fruiting trees and shrubs are also a feathered favorite. Finches like Echinacea, aka Coneflowers. Many Hollies produce berries that birds devour in the winter. Those are just a few planting ideas if you like to watch and keep birds around!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ride With Me?

Let’s take a drive, shall we? Don’t be afraid, I won’t lead you astray! I’m sure we all could use a little de-stressing. Come on, pile into my vehicle. We are going to head about an hour north of where I live to one of my favorite places. It is a place of spectacular views, whispering pines, and some great shopping also. Hop in and buckle up. Let me guide you through Blowing Rock, North Carolina. *Hoping like heck this works!*

  The drive is not spectacular until you get close. The temperature fell six degrees from the bottom of the mountain to the top, but it is a comfortable 70 degrees, perfect for our first stop. We turn off of the main highway onto a winding, narrow road lined by centuries old rock walls. Trees overhang the street casting shadows. We pull into our destination, The Blowing Rock. Okay, I’ll give you a little bit of history first. The Blowing Rock is an immense cliff about 4000 feet above sea level. It is called this because the rocky walls of the gorge below form a flume in which the northwest wind sweeps with such a great force that it returns light objects cast over the void. Have you had enough history? Okay, let’s get to the good stuff.

  We park the vehicle and walk toward the stone building. Big, sweeping trees dance all around, welcoming us. As we near the building hydrangeas, hosta, and rhododendron offer a special hello. I’ll pay the small fee to enter the park because hey, you didn’t ask to come on this ride, so I’ll cover ya! We leave through the back of the shop to step out onto the first overlook. There it is…the valley and the rolling hills.

 The scene takes all the tension from your shoulders and lifts it straight into the air. Next is the blowing rock itself, all high and mighty, showing very little wear even after years of people climbing on it.

Behind us is a little park area with more flowers, a nature trail and benches for sitting. Finally we come to the observation tower.

I have to pause because my fears hit me, but I put one foot in front of the other to get these pictures just for you. I eased out onto the deck and snap a couple photos. Then it happened. The wind blew and I felt the deck sway. I thought that was it, that I definitely was going to fall all the way back to earth, but thankfully my legs stabilized. One more quick picture and I ran off the deck, happy to have my feet back on real ground.

  The nature trails were entwined with daylilies, ferns, hosta, and leucothoe. We sit at a bench and inhaled all of the beauty that this place had to offer. It is quiet except for an occasional squeal from a child. Awe sets in. It’s so hard to believe that something could be so breathtaking. We go back and check it out again before we pile into the car and head for downtown Blowing Rock. 
  A couple of miles down the road we enter the quaint little village. We park and stroll up and down the sidewalks. Occasionally we stop and shop at a boutique, or browse in a gallery. We eat lunch outdoors under the shade from an umbrella at a local restaurant. I like it because it is pet friendly. Dogs lie patiently under the table waiting for their owners to finish their meal. The aroma wafts through the air. After lunch we do more shopping, and grab an ice cream. Across the street, in the middle of town is a beautiful park with tennis courts, horseshoe pits, swings, and a playground for kids. Many benches line the edge, giving people a great view of the main street, and all its shops. People watching, taking in all the beauty of the landscape, shopping, and the fresh air has taken its toll. We are all tired, so we make our way back to reality.

  Thanks for taking this ride with me. I don’t know if anyone has ever been there, but Blowing Rock is a great place to visit. I hope I helped you envision it a little, and maybe even give you a mini vacation. 

Where do you go when you need a little break? Are you near the city, country, or suburbs? Did I ease your tension even a little? J

P.S.- Please forgive me for the number of pics, I just wanted to share as much as I could!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What You Don't See

  Today I was going to talk to you about my garden. I was going to show you some before and after pictures, but my mind went off in another direction. No not another attention problem, quite the opposite actually. It went in a more creative direction, or so I think. You all can be the judge. Feel free to let me know what you think at the end!

This is not the actual plant!
  What do you see?

  A dead plant?

  What you don’t see…

  A dumb redhead that knows better than to relocate at this time of year. Then she leaves town for a few days with nobody to water it. Another thing you don’t see is the replacement plant I put in its place!

  What do you see?

  A pot with flowers?

  What you don’t see…

  My love for Hummingbirds and hardier annuals had me planting this pot. A few days ago I was deadheading and watering it when I noticed some moss under the dark green leaves. I went around to the side to see if I could get a better view. I found a nest of some sort nestled under the plants. Curiosity got the best of me. I had to stick my face in closer to possibly see what built in such a cute little spot. I suddenly heard wings fluttering so I quickly stood up. A little wren flew out of the nest right into my chest. It held on for a quick second then probably felt my heart about beating out of my body, or my rather loud scream, and took off. I don’t know who was more scared. (I’m telling you, I cannot make this stuff up. My neighbors probably got a really good laugh from that one.)

  What do you see?

  A rather tattered hanging basket?

  What you don’t see…

  A tear that has fallen from my eyes onto a leaf. This is an Angel Wing Begonia that was given to me. Last year. It was a birthday present from my brother. Little did he know that is one of my favorite plants. Little did we know that a few short months later he would leave this life, and put on Angel Wings of his own. I tried to root it but was not successful. When winter came and the plant died I put it in my potting shed to get rid of at a later date. Well, we had a warm winter. A few weeks ago I noticed the plant had life to it. Little by little leaves would start popping up. Now I hung it back up where it was last year. It may not be a full, beautiful plant to most people. To me it is. The tear on that one leaf is a tear of joy. I believe that he sent me a sign.

So, now that I just showed you a side of me that I probably shouldn’t have, tell me…

What are some things people don’t see around you? If you look hard enough what do you find?
W.P.I.-When transplanting a shrub, tree, or perennial, make sure you get as many roots with it that you can. A good rule of thumb is to go at least as wide as the canopy of the tree, or as wide as the shrub. Wrap the roots in burlap to protect them. Plant it in its new home as soon as possible. Water is an absolute must. J

Monday, June 11, 2012

Can I Have My Attention Please?

Many, many moons ago!
  There are many times that I set out on a mission to make people laugh. Laughter is one sound that I absolutely love to hear, and we don’t do nearly enough of, IMO. I have been this way my whole life. That could be the reason why I won the coveted Class Clown award many many moons ago in high school! Trust me when I tell you though, Ellen DeGeneres has nothing to worry about! So I hope that when you read my ramblings here you keep that at the back of your mind.

  I self diagnosed myself as having attention deficit yesterday. I will admit that I have a touch of it on most days, but it was full blown on that day. It got so bad that I just had to sit back and laugh at myself. Let’s see…where do I begin? Well, it started when I rolled out of bed at 6:45 a.m. I managed to get a half cup of coffee gone before Snake Charmer left. Problem number 1-always finish the first cup of coffee. I started to put clean dishes away out of the dishwasher. Something got my interest and made me walk into the living room. I saw dust so I grabbed the dust rag and started dusting. After I finished that I went back into the kitchen and realized I never finished putting the dishes away. K While still doing the dishes I thought, I need to put some laundry in. I walk out and start the washing machine, grabbed clothes, and started load number one. Somehow I ended up in the master bath. Hmm, that needs a little cleaning too. Are you starting to see a pattern? After cleaning half of the bath I again found myself standing in the kitchen. Now I’m hungry. I pour a bowl of cereal and grab my nook. (I can’t help it, when I’m alone I read and eat at the same time.) I finish and continue reading. I am nearly finished with the book when the battery thingy starts flashing. Great, time to recharge that and get back to the task at hand. Er…what was I doing last?

  It was at that point that I just laughed at myself. No matter how hard I tried I continued this pattern all morning long. All.Morning.Long. I finally finished cleaning and fell fast asleep in the chair. Sitting up. With a forty pound dog on my lap. I guess all of the mass confusion in my mind caught up with me.

  So, this is me. I told this story to Snake Charmer when we were eating. That resulted in the Charmed one almost choking on a French fry. It’s a *facepalm* day.

  I have to admit that I am a little awestruck  at a recent event on facebook. I was sent a friend invite from a real, live, has been published many times, author. To her own private page! My cheeks redden even as I type this. I am pretty much speechless. I feel so lucky, and maybe a little worried, although friends tell me not to be. The Charmed One says that the author likes me for me, and to not change a thing. They say that she must enjoy what I write either here, or the blog that she is a part of-The Goddess Blogs. (Don’t laugh, it is a blog with ten wonderful, unique authors, who talk about this and that and post great pics of men on Sunday’s! Check them out sometime!)

  I can’t help but worry. To quote Jill Shalvis, “I can’t even explain myself to myself!” I think that might scare some people!

Do you self diagnose? Is your attention span a little better than mine, or do you have your moments also? Have you won any prestigious awards in school or your workplace? 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Life's Constant Revisions

  The windows are open and I’m typing away. Right now I am working on this blog, before I was working on Book 1, er…Eagle’s Nest. That’s right. I’m still working on that. Hey, don’t laugh at me. I do have another job! I learned some very valuable information in one of the last classes I took, so I went back to Eagle’s Nest and have been revising it since. About a month ago I stated, “I should be done in about two weeks…” J EEK. Well, it is a slow process. I want to get this right, because after I’m done with this revision I plan on an all out, no holds barred, full blown blitz to both agents and publishers alike.

  For a while I thought about self publishing it. My mind changes with the wind on whether I want to do that or not with this book. I think to be fair to myself I have to try the traditional way. If I get nothing but rejections then hey, maybe my book does suck. But I don’t feel that. I felt good about it before the latest round of revisions. Now I feel even better. I am trying to be more…descriptive. So, I sit here and think, should I give you the synopsis? Or should I give you all an example of how things have changed? How about a brief synopsis first? It is just a snippet of the real rundown but it gives you the picture of the main character.

  Alexis Smith is the heroine who appears to have it all. She owns a highly successful business, has a beautiful home, and great friends. Only a handful of her true friends know of her tortured past, and all she’s had to deal with. They know the true story of what lies beneath her physical and mental scars.

  Old part of chapter 1…

            Alexis stopped outside the sales office and listened to her two faithful employees chatter back and forth.  Savannah was telling Nora a story about a landscaper who frequents the nursery.  Alexis took a deep breath and entered the room.  She tried to put a smile on, but as she did the smiles of her cohorts disappeared.
            “What is a matter with you honey?” Nora asked.  “Are you sick, or did u see a ghost?  Don’t just stand there, get in here and sit down.”  Nora gave Savannah a worried look as they both rose to go to their boss.
            “Would you two sit down, I’m fine,” Alexis stated.  The looks on their faces showed they didn’t believe her at all, and Alexis picked up on that.  “Honestly, I’m fine. Please don’t worry.  I just have a huge headache that’s all,” Alexis tried to reassure them.
            “You are so pale, come on and sit down before you fall down.”  Savannah led Alexis to a chair.  “When did you sleep last? Did you eat?”

Revised for the I can’t recall how manyeth time version…

Not the cover...just a great pic of an Eagle's nest!
            Alexis Smith rubbed her temples hoping that would stop the throbbing going on inside of her head. Ever since she read the email from the New York State Department of Corrections the gentle pounding turned into a relentless throb. She stopped outside the sales office and listened to her two faithful employees chatter back and forth.  Savannah was telling Nora a story about a landscaper who frequents the nursery.  Alexis took a deep breath and entered the room.  She tried to put a smile on, but as she did the smiles of her cohorts disappeared.
            “What is a matter with you honey?” Nora asked.  “Are you sick, or did u see a ghost?  Don’t just stand there, get in here and sit down.”  Nora gave Savannah a worried look as they both rose to go to their boss. Her dark sunglasses didn’t fool them. They had been friend’s way too long to not know something was wrong. They were both at her side in seconds.
            “Would you two sit down, I’m fine,” Alexis stated.  The looks on their faces showed they didn’t believe her at all, and Alexis picked up on that.  “Honestly, I’m fine. Please don’t worry.  I just have a huge headache that’s all,” Alexis tried to reassure them. The last thing she needed was to worry her workers, and distract them from their jobs at hand. Apparently just walking into the office was enough to do that. She knew she felt like hell, but Alexis didn’t realize that she looked like it too. If she actually looked in the mirror she would’ve known. Unfortunately, when she looked in the mirror she saw the scars. And the scars brought the memories she cared to never think about.
            “You are so pale, come on and sit down before you fall down.”  Savannah led Alexis to a chair.  “When did you sleep last? Did you eat?” Savannah was Alexis’ right hand. She was not only a close friend, but she handled all of the accounting of the business. She handled all of the tax issues, and was in charge of Alexis’ personal accounts also. Alexis didn’t trust many people, but Savannah was one of only a few who broke the substantial walls around her. Right now Savannah’s focus was solely on Alexis and her health. “Alex, talk to us, did you eat anything?”

  I know this is just a tiny bit of the chapter, but I hope I made my point. So now maybe you can see why it takes me so long to do this stuff. Hopefully you all will stick with me long enough to find out if it has what it takes, or if it is destined for the back of the closet. I promise you will be one of the first to know either way! Heck, you may even hear me yelling from my rooftop if it gets picked up!

What did you think? Did you see a significant difference? Was it for the better? What have you revised for the better in your life?

W.P.I. - The next time you boil or steam vegetables, don't pour the water down the drain, use it to water potted patio plants, and you'll be amazed at how the plants respond to the "vegetable soup." Do this after the water cools, of course!

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Music In Me

  One of the memories that stand out the most from my childhood is my brothers blasting AC/DC and jumping around playing air guitar while lip syncing all the lyrics. It happened with many bands, not just the aforementioned. Every day after school they marched into the house, threw their books in their rooms and made their way to the stereo. The speaker’s limits were tested as they cranked up their band of the day. It always varied from Aerosmith to Loverboy to Foreigner to Styx to name a few. I guess my love for music must have started then, although I am positive I vowed to myself to never play air guitar or lip sync in public. Sadly I have sung in public, but let’s keep that on the down low, shall we?

  So my love of music started young. I’m from the country, so it was just natural that when I was old enough to form my own opinions about music I would listen to the twanging strings and great story telling folks that make up the genre. Later on I would listen to a lot of pop, rock, and country. Then I became a licensed massage therapist and became a fan of classical and more instrumental music. Needless to say I have music of all sorts in me.

  I am telling you all of this for a reason. It seems that I have read somewhere along the way that if someone is writing a blog to let your readers know a favorite team you follow, or star, etc. I have already told you all that I am a HUGE hockey fan, and I will always love the Buffalo Sabres. Today I am here to tell you about the one person in the music world who I absolutely adore. She has the same birthday, hair color, eye color, and a much better voice than me. She comes to me in dreams and saves my life. She is a huge inspiration to me. SHE is the one and only…Reba McEntire. (Notice she is Irish also!)

  So, from here on out you might see me using words such as Reba Nation, or Rebatastic or some other word I make up to describe how awesome I think she is. Oh, and she has a new series coming out on ABC in the fall called Malibu Country. I will watch each episode faithfully, because that is what this superfan does! (I made that word up too!)

  Now you have it. My music hero. I have a couple others like P!nk and Adele, but I never have dreamt of them. They have never saved my life. Hey...I know it was a dream. It felt real! Don’t judge me!!! Anywho…

  I am going to leave you with a video that cracks me up. It is by a band called Walk off the Earth. They are doing a cover of the Gotye song, Somebody That I Used To Know. It is five people playing one guitar at the same time. If you haven’t seen it please check it out. It is pretty amazing.

  Who makes up the music in you? Do you listen to all different genres of music, or do you keep to one? Does anyone inspire you like Reba does me?