Monday, June 28, 2010

Shifting Gears For A Moment . . .

Okay, I don’t mean to bring anyone down, but I lost a wonderful friend last week. I debated whether to even post this, but I feel I owe it to her for every great minute she gave me.

Some of you know that the Queen of Fairview, my special cat Lucy, died last week. Rather than dwell on her last days, which were heartbreaking for me and not at all good for her, I’d like to mention what made her so fabulous.

She was smart. That Lucy, she figured out how to open the interior doors in the house except for the pocket doors to the bathrooms. You couldn’t have a private moment in there either—she’d come and pound on the door until you let her in.

She was attracted to shiny things. She’d “borrow” jewelry, hair clips, paper clips, etc., play with them for a while and then move on. I once searched for a gold ring for days before I found it under the recliner.

She loved a good high. Lucy on catnip was great fun. She wasn’t tidy about it but she always demanded and got tuna for her munchies.

She was funny. I’d be standing in the kitchen, and she’d walk in and yell at me, then run away again, daring me to chase her. I’d catch her, scoop her up into my arms and cover her face with kisses and let her go. Then she’d twine around my ankles and start the game all over again.

She never clawed the furniture. She was the first cat who ever owned me who actually used all the scratching posts I bought for her.

She kept me company. Lucy would sit in her office chair while I wrote, hour after hour, content to be with me, never bored. She’d sleep, I’d work, and didn’t mind that the dog wandered in an out.

She was so loving. Now and then she’d wake up, jump on the desk and tap my arm with her paw to give me a straight-on look of love so meaningful, I’d always stop to hug her. At night, she’d jump on the bed after I turned out the light and flop against me to let me know she’d arrived, and she’d begin her bath.

She was elegant. While the dog and my other cat Josie think the laser pen is a lot of fun, Lucy never bothered. At first I thought she might not be able to see the red dot, perhaps due to some kind of color blindness. Then I realized she could see it just fine—she’d lift her chin and look away with haughty disdain for those so easily amused.

And she was an elegant lady to her last moment. When she reached the end of her thirteen years, with shaking hands I sewed Lucy into a linen pillowcase I’d once embroidered with my initials on it. I hired the landscape guy to dig a three-foot-deep hole in the back flower bed, and some kind friends and I gathered to lay her to rest. I have lost people in my life (who hasn’t?) and losing her was every bit as hard. Aside from the consolation of knowing her all those years—still too few—I also know where she sleeps with a lovely garden angel watching over her.

Oh, but I miss her. I will miss her for a very long time.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Those Pesky Words

It’s word pet-peeve time here at the blog, and today our subject is overused words and phrases in current circulation.
Language is fluid, and words will slip into use for a while (sometimes w-a-y too long) and then be gone again. They seem to make their first appearances on TV news and in journalism. So here, in no particular order, are those that I hope will leave us soon.

1. Gone missing. This was originally a British expression, to the best of my knowledge. It works well for them—the British can use this and get away with it. Here, not so much. It sounds like some kind of odd activity or destination, and can apply to inanimate objects such as car keys and barbecue tongs, or to gravely serious subjects like children and elderly adults. Some hypothetical examples:
    “Where are you off to, honey?”
    “I’m going fishing, shopping, to get my hair highlighted. I’m just going missing.”
    “Where’s Bambi?”
    “Oh, she’s gone missing.”
    “Did she say when she’ll be back?”
    Better still: “Kobe Bryant, you just won your fifth NBA Championship! What are you going to do now?”
    “I’m going missing!”
    How about, Bambi is missing?

2. Gone extinct. This is one of gone missing’s ugly step sisters and has some equally ugly tenses, as in go, going and went.
    “Today a report released by the EPA says the double billed walla walla, native to the coldest areas of the upper Midwest, will go extinct in the next ten years due to habitat encroachment by the single billed walla. This is the second species threatened by the walla. In 2003, the frilled loppydoozy went extinct due to the walla’s invasive behavior.”
Become/became extinct is probably more correct.

3. Albeit. Isn’t this word just too, too precious? It sounds like someone’s middle name. Ferdy Albeit Grayson. In fact, it is a real word and the usage is correct, but archaic. Albeit comes to us straight down the centuries from Middle English and has been lurking in the shadows since the 1300s. It’s a contracted form of the phrase “although it be.” Can’t we just say although?

4. Arguably/Inarguably. Major sigh. These two are from 1890 and 1925, respectively. There should be a list for the world’s worst adverbs because I’d add both of these.

That’s all for now. The next time we touch on the subject of our tortured language (at some distant date) we’ll take a look at a few of the most ghastly online communications. About ten years ago, author Nancy E. Turner wrote a wonderful historical about life in the Arizona Territories entitled, These is my Words. She might not have realized at the time that some people writing on the internet would make her protagonist’s awkward prose, indifferent spelling, and random capitalization look contemporary.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

We'll Be Right Back After This Message

Right now through Sunday, June 13, visit for a 15% savings on all of my titles when you enter the following coupon codes:

Harper's Bride - MT62J
A Light for My Love - BK34T
Homeward Hearts - MJ34X
Home By Morning - NA78E
The Irish Bride - XL57B
Montana Born & Bred - YT36L
A Taste of Heaven - RF32C
Allie's Moon - WA55F
The Bridal Veil - FA97G

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What Goes On at Those Book Club Meetings, Anyway . . . Part 2

Oops, first one week goes by and then another, and pretty soon I realize I’ve missed my weekly installments here. And now I find myself looking forward to hosting the Book Club Babes this Friday evening. For the first time ever, we will be reading one of my books, which is somewhat daunting. At least that was the assigned title but if you’ve been reading along with me here, you know that we don’t always get around to actually discussing the book. If we do, hopefully, the Babes will be kind.

That’s one of the cringe-inducing realities of book reviews. I have read some that made careful, thoughtful, and therefore worthwhile observations about a given title. Others have the tact and manners of some primitive beast—the heavy sighs and eye-rolling of the reviewer practically leap from the screen, dripping with the same acid used in the movie Aliens. Odd, but reading one of those reviews causes my stomach to produce a nearly identical substance that can burn holes through every organ and layer of tissue without mercy.

Sometimes an idea that gleams like the sun in an author’s imagination might find disfavor among negative naysayers. It’s to be expected; readers’ tastes vary widely and what one will be enthralled with, another will savage in an online review. I’ve read a lot of them and received a few. Well, you know, it’s bound to happen. It’s just about impossible to please everyone. We have only to look at local or national politics to see that. And with the hit-and-run anonymity of the Internet, people feel pretty free to say just about anything.

I came across this on another blog and thought it was pretty interesting.
The pages are also beautiful to look at.

 In the meantime, the Book Club Babes and I lift a glass to you. Keep reading and have fun!