No Bears Were Seen


Photo by Francesco De Tommaso on Unsplash

Leavenworth FB photo
We spent two days out of town a few weeks ago, the first time in two years. Yes, we had a lot of anxiety about breakthrough infection, but most of our activities were outdoors in Leavenworth, WA, a small Bavarian-styled village and our favorite vacation destination.

We were able to enjoy our favorite hike, the Icicle Gorge trail, twelve miles from civilization. “Enjoy” might be a stretch for me since I am deathly afraid of encountering a bear in the woods and had a firm two-handed grip on the bear spray canister the entire 4.16 miles. The winds picked up that day and lodge pole pines knocking against each other make for a horrific sound in the forest!
We also had a lot of fun during our first time metal detecting along the banks and in the water of local rivers, though we didn’t find anything more valuable than quarters. While trekking to one river where my husband wanted to search, we encountered a lot of bear scat. The animal that left that would easily outweigh both of us, so I offered a compromise. Instead, we searched a river bank at a lower elevation where the temperature was beyond cool and the water was glacial runoff. I shivered, but at least I wasn’t eaten by a bear!

On the way home I was able to pick my fill of elderberries (oh, yes, bears love these, too) that became jam the same afternoon. September kicks off a big preservation month for me and these foraged berries are just the delicious start.

Photo by ceit wonders on Unsplash


What's So Funny?

Image from Pinterest

Wikipedia defines wit as "...a form of intelligent humour, the ability to say or write things that are clever and usually funny. Forms of wit include the quip, repartee, and wisecrack."

Who hasn't thought of the perfect quip or comeback a minute, hour, or day after your conversation has ended? There’s a name for that phenomenon -- l’esprit de l’escalier, the spirit of the staircase, which refers to the perfect retort that arises at the wrong time. 

Writers have that gift of time--if the perfect line doesn't come to you in the first draft, you have revisions to hone your prose.

I write to expand my communication capabilities and to stretch my mind. To that end, I plan to take a romantic suspense book I wrote a few years ago, but never published, and revise it as a romantic comedy.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Oh, it will stretch my mind and capabilities! The problem is, no one who knows me would say I’m a “fun” person. I get things done, games aren’t something I enjoy. 



But I like to find humor in things, make puns, and create fun new words like awesumma (awesome with a Latin twist). Humor and word play are skills I’d like to improve and I expect it to be an enjoyable pursuit.

Humor combines with wit in one of my favorite figures of speech, the paraprosdokian. This is found in a sentence or phrase where the latter part is surprising or unexpected and causes the reader to reframe or reinterpret the first part.

Here are a few examples from Winston Churchill, a master of the paraprosdokian. More examples can be found here.

  • If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
  • I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  • I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.

Similarly, authors need to find fresh ways to express familiar phrases. Instead of her heart pounded, readers are more engaged with her heart hammered like a metalsmith on six Red Bulls.

Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash
Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash




See the difference? 

So, here's hoping my funny bone isn't broken and I can turn my romantic suspense story into a light-hearted, smile-inducing romance. Reading other romance comedies for research is a lot of fun!

Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash


Neighborhood Sharing

In my neighborhood and many others in Seattle you can find "Little Free Libraries". These often look like tiny houses and usually have two tiers of books inside. Some may be dedicated to children's books, but most have titles for all ages.

The concept is that you take a book and leave a book. There is one on my street and there may be one on yours. You can look up locations at the Little Free Library site linked here.

The Little Free Library site also has plans for creating your own Little Free Library, and a link to register your location.

In addition to occasionally dropping off a book, I recently created bookmarks to add to the Little Free Libraries in my neighborhood. Making the bookmarks gave me a new creative outlet where I can apply all my card making techniques and supplies, and the bookmarks are perfect accompaniments to books.

This first batch is made from DSP--double-sided paper. Each bookmark is vinyl covered for durability, and the decorations on the end of the ribbons are little trinkets I've found while out on walks.

There is a tab on the bookmark that slides over a page to help keep it in place:

My next batch of bookmarks were made from metallic paper and included new tassels that I bought. Each one also has a stamp on the back: a hedgehog, rain, field of flowers, coffee mugs, and a sentiment "Sparkle with all your heart". I love having a new way to share my paper hobby with others.

In addition to Little Free Libraries, our neighborhood also has Little Pantries where people can leave food for those in need. On a walk this week we found a Little Pantry refrigerator stocked with juices, salads, and fruit!

Little Free Libraries feed hungry minds, and Little Pantries feed  hungry bodies. Both are wonderful ways to share with our neighbors.


Photo by cyrus gomez on Unsplash





Summer is Almost Here!



Photo by Oliver Hale on Unsplash

My creative endeavors this past month have been in the garden, most of that time spent pulling weeds so I could plant more strawberries. The gardening efforts are paying off, and not just in tidier plots.

The herbs are bountiful and I've already dried a few for use this winter. Here are parsley, chives, thyme, hyssop, sage, and several huge borage plants that came up without planting (something known as "volunteers"). The bees love borage, and I love bees.

We'll be eating plenty of white potatoes later this year, along with broccoli, cauliflower, and hot peppers. In the front of this photo are sweet potato plants I'm trying out. This fall I'll be planting asparagus for the first time, and I'm told by many this perennial thrives.


We decided to put full covers on the apple trees to prevent apple maggots. The biggest tree had to undergo a lot of trimming to get the mesh netting on. The trees look like ghosts now, especially in the early morning when I do yoga.


We'll enjoy a lot of raspberries this year, too. Once again, the plants are overflowing the raised bed we grow them in.

I've enjoyed my early mesclun salad mix greatly and will be adding varieties that are more heat tolerant. Little did I know that someone else would enjoy the spinach and lettuce I started indoors last month. This little lady now gets her own cat grass so she stays out of momma’s salad starts!

I spent some creative time indoors to make a card for a very special 90th birthday. It also celebrates the summer season that is just about to begin.

Getting to Know My Neighbors


Now that I've been working at home for over 400 days, I've really gotten to know my neighbors--the backyard neighborhood life, that is.

The squirrels have become so accustomed to having a little dish of shelled peanuts that I find them waiting at the patio door as soon as I finish my morning yoga. They have even begun taking peanuts in the shell from my hand when I hold them out.

As I was typing an email for work one morning I heard scratching at the patio door and found a furry little customer waiting, or rather, demanding more nuts. If I installed a little doorbell I wonder if I could get them to ring when they are hungry.😀

In addition to the usual three squirrels who have learned there are plenty of nuts to go around, I've seen birds I never knew about. The Steller's Jays also like the bowl of peanuts. 

Townsend's warbler
Other birds I've seen are the spotted towhee, Townsend's Warbler, nut hatch, bush tit, house wren, variegated thrush, flicker, gold finch, and junco. And hummingbirds enjoy the flowering red currant in the backyard.

Pine siskin
The pine siskin was responsible for a terrible salmonella outbreak among birds this spring in Seattle and people were asked to take down bird feeders for three weeks to stop the spread. I missed my feathered friends, but it didn't take them long to return once the seeds were back.

Black-capped chickadees are my favorite and there are several who have also learned about the peanut bowl. I've seen people feed them out of hand, but haven't been able to do this myself. 

With the warmer weather we've had I've started putting out water for the critters to drink. It didn't take the chickadees long to discover the dish is perfect for a little bath, and the squirrels were drinking by the afternoon.

The backyard visitors I'm not so keen on are the raccoons. They are often vicious, especially if cornered or with young ones. Other backyard friends I am happy to have visit are the rabbits. They are so cute I'll happily share my spinach and strawberries with them.



No Bears Were Seen

  Photo by Francesco De Tommaso on Unsplash Leavenworth FB photo We spent two days out of town a few weeks ago, the first time in two y...