Tea For Three

A little late with my blog this month, as was the birthday tea I enjoyed with my two sisters yesterday. We were certainly waiting a long time for the day to come round. Well over 18 months! But it was worth the wait and we three enjoyed ourselves.

But why the long wait? Back in Sept 2019, my twin sisters celebrated a milestone birthday. A gift from their four children was a thermae spa 2-night break in Bath, England. This is an incredible mineral spa with rooftop swimming pool giving panoramic views over the city. As the year was getting late, the trip was arranged for the following April and invited me to join them for afternoon tea as my birthday treat. But we all know what happened the month before, that dreaded word: Lockdown. The hotel agreed to hold the booking to the end of lockdown. Another birthday for my sisters came and went. Lockdown eased only to be fully re-imposed Christmas 2020. Again, the hotel happily rescheduled it for my birthday April 2021. But lockdown was still on, though easing. In March, it was finally arranged for June, when most restrictions here were lifted, except for the few we are still under.

https://www.thermaebathspa.com/
Britain’s original thermal spa in Bath.

At last my sisters were able to enjoy a much-needed break, spoiling themselves relaxing for a few days indulging in some spa treatments, sight seeing, and the best part — my being able to join them for a champagne tea at their hotel.
The historic city of Bath is some 25 miles from my home. Whilst I could have taken the car, it would mean I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the champagne. Not to worry, I have a Diamond Travel Pass, giving free travel on buses. I hadn’t been on a bus for over two years, and having enjoyed this journey often in the past, was looking forward to the trip there and back. The only problem is the time the bus takes: anything up to 2 hours or more depending on traffic, as it is a complicated route with many stops, but scenic. My other half was not happy.

“I’ll drive you,” he said. “The car needs a good run out and it gets me away from the house for a few hours too. How long will you be?” he asked. “And where can I park and wait for you?” Now, you would have thought by now after over 40 years together, he would know that whenever I meet the girls for lunch or my sisters, we chat and chat and chat for hours. Nor was I going to spend the time clock-watching. I told him I would get the bus or train home, both stations being right by the hotel, and he could pick be up from the station. I didn’t think it fair him having to spend his afternoon/evening driving me back and forth twice (Bath is an hour’s drive from home). But no, he wasn’t happy with the idea of me travelling by bus. Or train. So it was agreed he’d pick me up, I would ring him when ready.

It was lovely seeing my sisters again. Admittedly it was only a few weeks since the last time we were together but sitting in different surroundings, being waited on, lovely champagne, a delicious scone cream tea served by the most helpful and friendly staff who made us so welcome and comfortable. Afterwards, we decided to go for a walk and find a bar where we could sit outside (the weather this past week has been gloriously hot), enjoy a glass of G&T and people watch, wishing and missing our many fantastic holidays abroad together, but it was a wonderful way to spend a summer’s afternoon. We wandered back to the hotel, and whilst we waited for Dave, still with an hour to enjoy, we ordered another round of G&Ts.

“Shall I be mum?”

Such precious time goes far too quickly, too much precious time has been lost but we treasure every moment together. May there be many more.

Kit Domino’s website and blogs

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Life in the Pacific Northwest

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Happy June! I don’t now about where you’re at but the Pacific Northwest the weather can’t make up it’s mind. We have days where its in the 60’s, the sun is out and life is good. Then it goes to … Continue reading

Today is Ridiculous

Jillian here. Sorry I am late. My paralegal has been out and this is the second week. She had surgery so we are muddling through doing her job and ours. It’s not been too bad….until today. Today is ridiculous. It is also her birthday and if she was here, it might just be her last one 🙂 (Joking)

As is wont to happen when she is out, I find things I thought were done and done correctly have not been. A case I already won blew up yesterday and I am still dealing with the fallout today. I have to file some response to what the other lawyer filed just to cause issues; a client called with something I thought had already been taken care of and I ended up having to go to the courthouse as well as another lawyer’s office to get something notarized since the paralegal is the only other notary here besides me. AND I can’t notarize my own signature. 🙂

You know that old saying about the “hurrier I go, the behinder I get”- well, that is me…especially today. I’m exhausted.

To bring some cheer, here is my sweet Baboo- first haircut and a day at the water park. Which is which? 🙂

Have a happy June…hoping everyone is less stressed than me!

Inspiration

This month, I launch a new romance series. I’m a beach junkie. I love being at the ocean, walking along the beach in search of treasures, watching the waves roll in, or just sitting in a chair reading and listening to the roar of the ocean.

I decided to set my series on the Washington Coast, and Willow Bay was born. Fictitious, but tied to some of my best beach memories. It’s been fun writing these stories and I may (or may not) have used them as a reason to head for the ocean. Inspiration always powers books to strong finishes, right?

As a writer, those kinds of inspirations can come from anywhere. I went to a Tall Ships festival and my three-book series, Tropical Persuasions, was born. My fantasy series, Earth Legacy, came from all the news about climate change. My horse story, Rudy’s Heart…well that came to me in a dream. 🙂

Inspiration enhances all our lives. Just looking at our Over The Backyard Fence blog partners. If you like to paint, like our own Kit Domino, a field of bluebells sends you rushing home to the canvas.

If you love dogs, like Faye Avalon, you help raise puppies to help others and end up with the love of your life in Miss Vivvy. Or, like Marie Tuhart, you search for one dog and take on a sister and brother both.

Lavada Dee is inspired by family, life, and travels near and far to expand her horizons, and we are inspired through her travel blogs here.

Jillian Chantal does a weekly photo blog, Wordless Wednesday, and she inspires me with the the amazing pictures she posts.

Without inspiration, it seems like there would be no forward momentum, no growth. I for one, try to keep my eyes open for those inspirations. From an eagle floating overhead to the beautiful blooms of a flower. From a friend’s post about what got her through a tough time to another’s announcement of an imminent wedding. It’s all fodder for my own happiness and for my stories.

Do you notice inspiration around you? I hope so. 🙂 Have a wonderful month and I hope you get some glorious sunshine to inspire you.

For more information about Laurie Ryan:
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Life Is Expanding

This year feels good when I think of where we were last year at this time.  With restrictions relaxing, and more business’s opening, Karen and I took advantage of the great weather last week and ran out to a nursery we heard about in Adna. 

It’s a bit of drive from here but the trip was part of the lure. Beautiful country out that way. I clipped the photo from “Adna Floral” website.  This is a nursery I’ll be visiting again.  

Adna Floral est. 1963. is a family owned plant nursery, that takes great pride in personally growing every plant they sell. Open April 15th through June 30th. There is an excellent selection of healthy plants to choose from. Some of the colors are ones I haven’t seen before. 

Of course we included lunch in our outing. And, what an experience. Just up the road from Adna, in Chehalis, is Jeremy’s Farm to Table restaurant. Karen had been there and suggested it.  I don’t know how I missed it as I’ve certainly been in and out of Chehalis over the years. Like the nursery, I plan to go back. 

I can’t say enough about Jeremy’s. It flanks the historic Chehalis railway and was started in 1990. It partners with local farms to provide the freshest ingredients for menu items. I had “The Special”, Crab Cake Benedict. It came with home fries and I could have made a meal on them. So Good!!!!!  Of course I had to get dessert to go . . . Strawberry Crisp. 

Are you hungry yet?  Looking forward to more days out and about. Hopefully you are getting back out there too. 

Behind The Name

Many writers use an alias or nom de plume, or in my case also a nom de pinceau. This initially was unintentional. I’ve never liked my real first name and had suggested I publish under different one when I secured a literary agent at the beginning of my writing career. She disagreed, saying there were very few authors with my first name and persuaded me to keep it. I was fine with that.

Some years later I took up painting but begin by not signing my work simply because I didn’t know what to sign as: My full name? My initials? Something else? People began taking an interest in my art leading to a work colleague particularly keen to buy my first bluebell painting. Anxious to see what else I had created, he searched for me on the internet. That was how I discovered there was an American artist with exactly the same name as me and, more to the point, painted in a similar style. One picture he found was indeed so much like one of my own, one could argue I had copied it. Mine was a waterside view in Hampshire, England, entitled “Solent Garden”, hers of a scene either out of her head or somewhere in America. There was only one thing for it. I had to paint using a different name. But what?

“Solent Garden” by Kit Domino

I wanted something simple, easy to sign in acrylic and something memorable, something short. I spent hours wondering, then remembered one of the main characters in my first (unpublished and hiding in the bottom draw of my desk) novel. His name was “Kit”, an abbreviation for Christopher, but also for Christine and Katherine. Perfect! (BTW my first name isn’t either of those two, in case you’re wondering.) Now I needed a surname. Looking back I could have used my own, and it would have worked but the title of that story called out to me. It was “Domino”. Voila! There was my new name.

Back to my agent. Despite numerable efforts, she was unable to find a publisher for my book notwithstanding being short-listed and runner up in a major national writing competition, so we parted ways. Undeterred, I published that novel under my new name. It seemed the obvious thing to do; that way I could keep my private and writing/artistic life separate especially where social media is concerned. It stops hackers too, and halts would-be scammers in their tracks. You’d be surprised the number of times I’ve had fake emails from Inland Revenue saying I owe thousands in unpaid taxes or am due for a large rebate, or claiming to be from my bank concerning fraudulent activity on my account — you know the type of thing. The moment I see something like that addressed as my pen-name I know it’s a scam.

Having another name also means I can, as I intend to do at some stage, write about my past, which is a novel in itself and one my agent had wanted to me write as part of offering a 3-book deal to publishers. I wouldn’t be able to do that under my real name as I need to protect people the story affected, including my family.

Having a pseudonym has many advantages so if you are considering using one, go for it. You can always change it!

Kit Domino’s website and blogs

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Wildlife

I chose that title with a specific reason. It’s that time of year when all the birds are out and about, and various wildlife including wild rabbits. Guess who decided he wants to chase them all? Yep, little Tommy. He … Continue reading

May = Mother’s Day

Jillian here. May in the USA brings us pretty flowers and Mother’s Day. My own mother has always given her two children small tokens for Mother’s Day which I think is cute. We made her a mother and she honors us as well as us honoring her. Pretty cool, huh?

This year, we got flowers to either pot or plant… My sister and I both have black thumbs so we both see these as “victims”- Mom has a super green thumb and thinks (delusionally) that her offspring do as well. I don’t know why she thinks this as she has rescued many a plant from our evil clutches in the past. One time, when I was in law school, I had a fern that was down to four twigs. She took it home with her and by the time I came home a couple of months later, she had three big ferns hanging on her back porch from my feeble little twigs.

I’ve killed cactus and wilted silk flowers, so pray for this plant. It can use all the help it can get!

Hope all had a great Mother’s Day- whenever you celebrate.

Geocaching Mars

Has anyone been keeping an eye on Perseverance, NASA’s robotic explorer, since it landed on Mars? Hubby and I have enjoyed keeping an eye on things. It was a nail-biter the day it landed, but all went smoothly. If it’s something you’re interested in you can find more about it here.

Some of the highlights:

7/30/20 – Launched.

2/18/21 – Landed in Jezero Crater on Mars.

2/19/21 – MEDA environmental analyzer records first weather report on Mars. -4 degrees Farenheit (-20 degrees Celsius)

4/19/21 – Helicopter Ingenuity lifted off from Mars surface, the first powered flight on another planet. By the way, did you know a small piece of muslin from the Wright Brothers’ first flight is affixed to Ingenuity?

But one of the coolest things that happened, for hubby and I, was something we were actually able to participate in. We like to geocache. I’ve probably mentioned that a time or ten, including in last month’s blog. It’s urban treasure hunting without the treasure and it gets us out walking and you can find more about it here.

Well, Geocaching.com and NASA got together and planned the best geocache EVER. An alphanumeric code was added to a plate that the Perseverance camera would use for calibration once it landed. It would take pictures of that code and send them back to NASA.

We, as geocachers, were able to dig through the Perseverance pictures and find that code, then log the find on geocaching.com. So we’ve officially geocached Mars and we got this digital souvenir to remember it by.

So far, almost 76,000 other folks have, too! I know I’m being a geek, but this was soooo cool to be part of.

For more information about Laurie Ryan:
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What’s in the box?

Since my motivation has been a trifle lacking lately, I’ve decided to level up on ways to get more productive.

Writing wise, that means online sprints with my writing pals. These get me moving, but I have to admit that the sprints are sometimes all I manage and writing takes a backseat for the rest of the week. *Sigh* Not even a juicy new idea for a series has kept the old motivation levels high. While I also get inspired during online chats with my girls, especially when they all seem to be storming along with their goals, that inspiration can sometimes wane all too soon. *Double sigh*

Since I always feel better when I’m writing consistently, and apparently I’m not the only one who notices that (cue husband), I’ve been thinking/researching other ways to motivate myself.

One thing I found was Nonsense Timer Writing. Ten minutes where you just type gobbledegook. No proper words, no real sentences, no punctuation. Nothing, in fact, that makes any kind of sense. The theory is that as you type rubbish, you’ll find yourself wanting to write properly. Little ideas will pop, characters will speak, and before long you’ll want that ten minutes to be up so you can get back to the story you’re currently writing. Well, anything is worth a try.

Another technique is one hubby has come up with. Poor AJ hates it when I don’t write on a daily basis. Can’t think why? Maybe it’s because I find him things to do around the house when I’m not at the keyboard. Anyway, he came up with a reward system where he places something in a box, seals it up, and I can only open it when I’ve done my daily word count.

He’s only been doing this since the weekend but so far I’ve found a small bar of chocolate, two biscuits, and last night I opened it to find my kindle! It seems he’s going to be merciless. I dread to think what other of my ‘necessities’ he’ll hide in that box and won’t allow me access to unless I hit my word count!

Ah well, it’s working for now and I’ve typed more words in the last few days than I have in quite a while. Whatever works, right?

So, tell me. How do you find the motivation to do the things? Have you found any bizarre or interesting ways, or are you just naturally disciplined? I’d love to know.

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