Happy 92nd birthday!!!

I’m a day late on my blog for this month. Actually a day and a half, since I usually set them to post shortly after midnight my time. But I had good reason. I wanted to take this month’s blog to pay homage to my Aunt Merna, who turned 92 years young today.

As a child, I remember my Aunt Merna as this impeccably dressed woman with an impish smile, a great sense of humor, and a hug for any kid within reach. She couldn’t have children of her own, so adopted all of us nieces and nephews, and there were/are plenty of us to hug.

Now that I’m older, I realize that she was Wonder Woman in a day and age where women stayed in the background.  She worked full time as an administrative assistant and kept up with everything around the house. All the cooking and cleaning, etc. An independent woman.

She needs a little more help these days, but that doesn’t diminish the sparkle in her eyes or that impish grin of hers. She finds joy in each day, even though her body complains. I admire her.

Several of us got together and took Aunt Merna out to lunch today to celebrate and the woman who said she didn’t celebrate birthdays anymore ate it up, along with the free hot fudge sundae!

Happy, birthday, Auntie. Let’s do this again next year. 🙂 And a merry, merry Christmas to those who celebrate. To everyone, whether this is your holiday or not, I wish you a peaceful and happy December and entrance to a brand new year full of new possibilities.

For more information about Laurie Ryan:
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So that was November?

These days every month seems to pass in a flash, but November takes the prize for me this year. Probably because my main focus was NaNoWriMo (a yearly event that challenges you to write a 50,000 first draft of a novel in one month). I’m extremely happy to report that I hit that goal. Yay! And a double yay to my fellow NaNo-ers Jillian and Kit who also came in well ahead of schedule. We rock, ladies 🙂 (nothing like a bit of self-congratulatory rhetoric, ha!)

Working toward that goal was harder some days than others, but what I found interesting was how it kind of solidified my process. I’ve been writing for many years and I’m usually a sit down and just write kind of gal, but lately I’ve noticed that word sprints are my bag. Word sprints consist of setting a timer for however long you want to write (or whatever task you want to accomplish), in my case twenty five minutes, and then not stopping until the timer goes off. Then you can take a short break (five minutes) to get up and stretch, make a cuppa, sweep the floor, you get the drift, before heading back to the keyboard and setting the timer again. It’s worked so well for me and really keeps me focused, so I’ll continue to work this way in the future.

When I wasn’t writing, November has been a month for walks in the local woods. My happy place. I think we’ve had everything weather-wise this month here in the UK – gorgeous sunshine, rain, fog, rain, frosty mornings, rain, and yes, even more rain. And with rain comes mud, mud, and even more mud. Happy days. It was during one very rainy, muddy walk that I discovered my sturdy boots leaked (thank goodness for Black Friday sales 🙂

One day I checked to make sure nobody was around and then had a very happy time amusing myself kicking up leaves as high as I could. Well, it made me happy. It wasn’t long before an inquisitive little girl made her way back from her own explorations to see what her crazy mummy was up to 🙂

Can you spot Vivvy in the photo?

Anyway, I hope everyone has had a good November and taken the opportunity to enjoy the month whatever you have been up to (and a belated Happy Thanksgiving to my US friends).

I want to just finish this blog with a heartwarming video I spotted on Facebook this last week. You might have seen it, but here it is below. It’s a mamma chimp reunited with her baby after she thought the baby had died. In reality the baby had been whisked away for life-saving treatment. That is one adoring and beautiful mamma. I admit to shedding a happy tear while watching, and even AJ was clearing his throat a few times. Best with the sound on…

November 2022

I went out to take some picture of the tomato’s a few days ago and snapped a picture of the boat. Since we bought the house in August when it was in the 3-digit temperatures, we didn’t take it out. Now it is perfect spring like weather, and we see boats out a lot. 

I’ve been here 5 months now and I am starting to acclimatize. Weather for sure is different from the Pacific NW. And, things you do in ‘seasons’ is a lot different. Winter is the time to get outside. My tomatoes and basil like November. There is even a volunteer tomato plant growing like a weed.  

Maybe I should string Christmas light over them.  🙂 

With Christmas coming, Kris and I are going back north. The grandkids are there so we wouldn’t be happy here without them. Plus, I’ve arranged to have the things in storage moved down here. Kris and I will coordinate the pickup in Washington and Rick/Lin will cover the Arizona end. It will be a busy December for sure. 

Wishing all of you US folks a Happy Thanksgiving this week. Oh, and if you venture OUT for black friday shopping, have a good one. I’ve only done it once and that was enough until this online shopping came into play. 

PS: Just as I started to post this blog Lin sent a picture of Harley’s first professional grooming. OMG I love this puppy

 

Nanovember

Winter draws ever nearer here in the UK and the exceptionally mild weather we have enjoyed slowly creeps down the thermometer to normal temps for November. Five days ago, the back garden was bathed in warm sunshine. We took advantage to be out there tidying, weeding, putting pots to bed, mowing the lawn and pruning a few shrubs. This was followed by mid-morning coffee enjoyed on the patio – a first in November for us. Today, the difference is apparent. The sun has reached a low in the sky meaning the back garden is now in permenant shade until next March. I try to keep smiling and keep busy. It is the only way I can cope as I hate winter and the cold.

And busy is what this past month has been as with no excuse to spend time outside, I keep writing. Writing, writing, writing for NaNo (I’ve decided to call this month Nanovember!) a 10-week writing comp, and other items including blogs, reviews and next week an article for my art group’s website. And, of course, painting, with my latest effort framed and hanging on the wall at my art group’s venue. I am pleased with it and have begun a larger version, although at present that is not going well and I will have to start again. As long as it is ready for next year’s exhibition, I am in no rush. Called “Clifton Autumn” it is of the famous Bristol landmark Clifton Suspension Bridge.

It is also the time of year when things have a habit of going wrong for us. Two weeks ago, our new large-screen TV broke down yet again, the second time in less than twelve months. As you can imagine, Dave was not happy. It was taken away to be repaired a week ago on the promise they will give it priority. We are still awaiting its return. I would rather the supplier replace it, Dave wants to give it a second chance. As he is the one who watches it most, he is a huge sports fan especially cricket and rugby, it is his decision. Meanwhile the bedroom TV, small screen, half the size of the other, is assigned to the lounge so we are not without. Unless we hear today, I feel a rather irate phone call will take place.

Yesterday evening Dave was in a rare mood to go non-food shopping, which we did. Among other items, we purchased a set of 3 stoneware casserole dishes of different sizes. Not cheap but needed in order I can stock the freezer with ready-cooked meals for over the Christmas holiday as I have taken to bulk cooking with my Instant Pot, which I love. Back home, I took the packaging off to find the largest dish had a long crack along the bottom which was not apparent when we took it off the shelf. This morning, Dave is back at the mall to get a refund.

We are waiting for the next thing to happen. It always comes in threes for us. My money is on the heating boiler, his on the tumble dryer or washing machine breaking down. I hope it is none of these but all three are getting on in years, a bit like the two of us!

Did I mention Christmas? Yes, it is all around us already. Shops full of festive food and Christmas ornaments. Television advertisements full on. And near to us, a house has its outside decorations up and lit at night already. And why not. It brings delight and cheer to the people to see, it is something to look forward to in the dark and dreary days. My mother has said she wants to come to us for the holiday. We would love this as she has not been here for 2 years but I fear our stairs will be too much for her. Dave has said if she comes, he will buy a Santa outfit to wear when we go and collect her. She would love that.

Meanwhile, I wait with bated breath for the carols to start, and whilst waiting, I must get on and paint this year’s Christmas card. I hope I haven’t left it too late to get it to the printers in time. Wish me luck.

Kit Domino’s websites and blogs

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Cold November

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Sorry I missed last month. I had a lot going on and the date slipped right past me. I’ve had a lot of stuff going on around the house, mainly getting the yard ready for winter. I had new bark … Continue reading

November Madness and Music I’ve Become Obsessed With

Jillian here. Happy November. For those of us doing NaNoWriMo, we’re in the midst of the craziness right now. Last night, I accidently added a zero to my word count, so instead of 22,003, the website had me as 220,003, which is ludicrous. When I tried to fix it, it said I had like negative 199,000 words, so it has been even crazier trying to get it to register correctly now. It even has me as already winning it and that is certainly not true. 🙂 I confess, it is driving me bonkers! LOL

About two months ago, when I was watching an episode of Grantchester on PBS, Robson Green, who plays the detective, was walking around his office singing a little. Someone told me he used to sing with a partner and they were called Robson and Jerome. I had no idea even though I have loved Robson since he was in Wire in the Blood back in the early 2000s.

Of course, I had to find what he sang. You tube has a great selection of their songs and I have been obsessively listening while I work. One day recently, my son asked me who I was listening to and when I told him, he looked them up too. He recognized the Jerome guy from Game of Thrones. I only ever watched two episodes of that show as it didn’t appeal to me, but Jerome was also in Ripper Street which I did like. How cool is it that these guys are so talented? Acting and were also successful recording artists.

Here are links to a couple of songs: What Becomes of the Broken Hearted

If I can Dream.

Update on the bathroom renovation: It’s going slower than the hubs wanted but he is still feeling effects of the cancer treatments and not moving as fast as he wants. He has to rest a lot and has been going to bed super early. I am not stressed about it, but he is. He has also done a few things 2-3 times as he isn’t happy with how he did it the first time or two. He has reset the shower base three times. He thinks he can live with it now. LOL

This week, we honor our veterans here in the US with Veteran’s Day and my friends in the UK have Remembrance Sunday as well. Happy Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks.

I’ll leave you with a picture I took in Rhode Island when my son lived there.

To Everything, There is a Season…

I have always been more of a cooler weather person than a heat of summer person. I have good friends living in Arizona and listening to them, the possibility of becoming a “snow-birder” in winter is very enticing. Honestly, though, I think I’d miss the Pacific Northwest weather. We get a touch of all the seasons. Lots of color in fall and spring, a bit of snow in winter, and abundant sunshine in the summer. I like those changes. In fact, maybe for me, it’s more about the change than the season. I don’t ever want to stagnate, so I need occasional change in my life to make me feel like I’m moving forward.

As I type this, it’s overcast. Rain is coming in later. And it rained yesterday. I went for a walk in it and loved it. Granted, I no longer splash in puddles. I walk around them these days. But it’s rejuvenating to smell the rain and hear it fall.

And winter? I love hibernating. Honestly, I could sit at the ocean and storm watch, never getting a thing done, and be completely happy with my life. Hmmm. So much for not stagnating? Lol.

What season is your favorite? Whichever one is, I hope you get to embrace them all, because nature rocks!

For more information about Laurie Ryan:
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It’s spooky time…

Don’t you just love Halloween? No? Me either, well at least I didn’t used to, but lately I’ve gotten more and more into the spirit (pardon the pun) of it. I think it started a few years ago when I dressed Vivvy for her puppy Halloween party at doggie training. It was lovely taking her for walkies dressed in her little witchy hat and cape, and getting the reaction of the kiddies who were doing their trick or treat fun. One little lad caught up with me in the local field yesterday and asked if Vivvy would be dressing up again this year, so it looks like I’ll be heading out to the shop to get her a new costume 🙂 We have a Spooky Evening Walk here in the village on Monday night where lots of houses are decorated. It’s fun, and Vivvy loves it, mostly because she gets loads of attention, and treats!

What I really love about Halloween though, aside from eating all the leftover chocolate/sweeties after trick or treat, is watching the scary movies on TV. This year so far I’ve watched Interview with the Vampire (can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched this in the past), Dracula, The Midnight Club, What Lies Beneath, and 28 Days Haunted. The shows I love most though are the ones that are those ‘reality’ types they do just for Halloween, where celebs get to stay at a ‘haunted’ house/mansion/castle for a few nights. I especially like the ones where there is audience participation and you can comment via email/YouTube about anything paranormal you think you’ve witnessed on screen. Yes, I know they’re mostly a set up and purely for entertainment purposes, but it’s just fun getting scared in a safe environment, LOL.

How about you? Are you a Halloween fan? Like scary movies?

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Book Review (The Vixen and The Vet)

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This is another book I found through Bookbub.  I hadn’t read any of Katy Regnery books but she has a very extensive backlist.  And all from 2012. (https://www.katyregnery.com/books) If you are looking for a roance with a capital R this one is … Continue reading

October Round-Up

Mid October, and here in the UK autumnal colours are filling the trees, hedgerows and gardens, a distinct chill in the air although the days are often sunny and out of the wind, mild. But I do miss the summer heat. Whilst we enjoyed the high temperatures, the garden suffered. Our vegetables were a disaster except, surprisingly, our potato crop and most flowers in the front beds perished due to lack of water. Dave pulled out the majority of them, leaving only the dahlias in-situ even though they were failing too. What a difference to them now. Thanks to plenty of rain showers and cooler weather, they have come into their own and look lovely.

You might notice in the background of the photo in front of the wheelbarrow a flush of yellow that should not be there. These are wallflowers that should not be blooming until next March/April. For some unknown reason they are in flower now and thus too late to move into their proper position around the drive. Hey ho, win some, lose some. Good job we have a plan B.

We kept the pots and baskets watered as well as we could, and by using grey water on the rear garden, but they all struggled to thrive despite all loving the sun and warmth. To our joy, most have only recently come into full flush, as are many things in the back, thanks to the rain. I still even have honeysuckle, clematis and a climbing fuschia in bloom. The Californian poppy by the bird-bath, a survivor from last year, has been in flower since May and is still going strong. We are just hoping the first frosts keep away as long as possible. Oh, the wonders and vagaries of Mother Nature.


And what of our pond? Last week, we called in a waste contractor to remove the remaining rubble as was too much for Dave to clear on his own. Glad we did, the work was done within an hour. Now we can order in the topsoil and, fingers crossed, have a lovely flowerbed by next spring. What we can plant here is limited as this area is in full shade most of the day, one of the reasons why the koi pond was placed here. The first thing I shall be planting is bluebells – you know how much I love them!

The past month saw me running another acrylic art workshop. A small group this time which worked better because I was able to give them much more individual attention. At the end of the day it was lovely to see finished paintings, and each one different. I do not like seeing a group of virtually identical artwork all the same as mine; I encourage individuality. They obviously love it and already champing at the bit for another workshop. That won’t be until early next year, giving me plenty of time to work on what to do, and get my book finished! Yes, I’m still working on it, having made a few changes to the ending.

Talking of painting, you are honoured to be the first to see my newly completed piece. Called simply “Yport”, it was inspired by a collection of photos taken in Yport, France by a friend who is a brilliant photographer who gives me free reign to use any of her pictures. I would be lost for ideas without her work.

Enjoy your month whatever and wherever you may be.

Kit Domino’s websites and blogs