Summer News

IMG_3629It’s been awhile since I posted an update, so thought I ‘d share what’s been going on with me. I’m sure I’m not the only one to be whizzing through summer. It just gets faster and faster each year.

I went on vacation to Florida in June. We rented a house with some of my family across the street from the water. It was lovely and I took many sunset photos. My daughter and I got really burned the first day out – and yes – we applied sunscreen! That put us off the beach for a few days exploring the area, hitting several book stores. On the days when I did get to the beach, I was in my happy zen place emotionally and inspired to write. Hmm… I wonder if I can write that off this year, eh? A working holiday…oxymoron. You’ll be sure to see my beach inspired poems if you stay tuned.

For my birthday, my husband gave me more nights in a hotel for writing. It was amazing. I finished my first Christian Tompta book (Gnome on a Mission) and have sent it out to beta readers. I also started revisions for book 2 (The Journey Home) and wrote my first query letter. The weekend was quite the success, though I think in the future I’ll stick to two nights rather than three as I was pretty stiff walking out of the hotel. Several days in a confined space do not do a body well!

In July met friends in Cleveland to see the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time. We ate dinner at the Great Lakes Brewing Company and stopped by to see the house from “A Christmas Story.”

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This month we are reaping the benefits of my hubby’s garden and our counters are overflowing with cucumbers and tomatoes. He has already  canned  peaches, green beans and cherries (my favorite). I made pickles and we are looking forward to canning squash and tomato sauces and soup. Yum! I’ll have garden fresh flavors in the midst of winter.

This is my daughter’s senior year of high school, and that will cause me great sadness. I love her so much and am excited to see the choices she makes for her own life, but my family will be entering a new change soon, so I am going to live in these moments with her as much as I can.

This month will bring more family and fun to our home. I’m very grateful for the many blessings God has bestowed upon me. I hope you all are feeling the blessings too ,and enjoying your summers.

Peace!

A Total Sensory Experience

At the beach I close my eyes and…

I feel the wind ruffle the individual hairs on my arm and blow across my face. Gritty sand sticks to my feet. My skin is tight from dried saltwater.

I see the colorful umbrellas, kites, sand toys, bathing suits, blankets and towels as I look down the shore. The water washes in shades of blues and the sand paints in shades of white as it stretches, interspersed with tall grass.

I hear the crashing waves as they break across themselves and the sandbar. Seagulls and crows squawk as a radio plays in the distance. Children laugh.

I smell ozone and fish from the water, a hint of beer, and the sunscreen lotion with its whiff of coconut.

I lick my lips and taste the salt in its bitterness before I fall asleep.

Fish Out of Water

An introverted gamer teen desires family time,

to feel connection. And love.

She takes off her shoes and follows grandma through the sand,

carrying chairs and umbrellas close to water’s edge, smiling,

even though today is not a day for swimming.

She sits in a chair as sand blows into her every crease and crevice.

The sun is too bright and too hot, but the wind cools…

even as it annoys by throwing hair into eyes and sand into

her sandwich.

An artist, she draws the waves and her family as she waits,

wanting to get into the water, but unable to.

She watches her family members laugh and frolic in the sea.

Her skin burns. Pain.

Day one is done, her beach time is over.

Six more days, no gaming.

Nobody talks to her. Nobody to talk to.

She sits alone in the house, reading. Alone.

This is her memory of the beach.

Tucker (a vignette)

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A young man brings a black curly-haired four-month-old puppy to the beach. He throws a tennis ball across the white mounds and the pup runs after it, bringing it back slobbery and full of sand. The young man throws it toward the water.

The pup runs after it, but stops abruptly at water’s edge, prancing back and forth as he stares into the water. It’s coming for him. He watches the ball bounce up and down in the waves. He cries for the ball. He sniffs the salty air. He looks down. What is he looking at? Is it a crab? A fish? A sand dollar not yet dead? He tentatively steps into the water and bites at the waves as they crash against the shore. He tries to get them, before they get him. He turns to look at the young man who tells him again to get the ball. He whines and turns back. Boldness takes over the pup and he leaps into the water, grasping the ball in his jaws. Fear turns to joy as he frolics amongst the waves, the ball caught in his mouth instead of a fish.

The young man calls him back to the towel. The pup drinks fresh water from the green fold-up cup the man has filled for him. The pup turns back toward the water, his muzzle dripping with the fresh water. He runs back to repeat his actions, biting at the waves, catching the ball and frolicking in the ocean, fresh water dripping into salt water as he searches for those elusive sea creatures that ride the tides.

Eventually slowing down, he runs back to his owner when called to plop down in the shady sand under an umbrella, tired from his new experience. His tongue hangs out and he lays his head on his paws to rest. Ah, the joy of the sea.

 

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Beaches

I have been extremely lucky to be able to travel quite a bit in my lifetime. It’s a favorite thing to do, so I’ve taken advantage of opportunities presented to me. One thing I’ve noticed over the years, is the differences in beaches.

On the east side of the continent, or west side of the Atlantic from Massachusetts to Florida, I’ve generally seen beaches in a normal tan sand color. They usually have tiny bits of seaweed, shells and the occasional dead fish, ray or jelly that wash ashore, but the sand is fairly soft and not too gritty or sharp. Beaches are short or long from ocean to boardwalk/parking lot depending on the tides and weather patterns. I do prefer a longer area with the low level water gently washing over my feet.

On the west side of the continent, or the east side of the Pacific, I’ve noticed the sand is similar to the Atlantic side; however I’ve seen large seaweed with carrot-shaped attachments and sea glass wash ashore. Rocks litter the beaches and snakes like the beaches there too, yeesh (shiver). The water’s cold, but surfers and seals seem to like it. That is cold, unless you find a beachy alcove with shallow water that is heated by the sun. Then it’s fun to swim and flop around. California beaches, from Sausalito to San Diego, are lighter in their coloring than the Alaska beach I visited, and that one had pines fairly close to the water.

When I was on the west side of Europe, or the east side of the Atlantic, I dipped my toes in the icy waters of the North Sea. When I say icy, I mean it, as there are icebergs in it. I can tell you I didn’t stay in long, that’s for sure. But my little family enjoyed walking along the sand, as it was almost as firm as a sidewalk. We barely put footprints into it.

I also dipped my toes in the Mediterranean. (Totes just spelled that right the first time!) I stood on the black rocks of Tuscany and looked into the clear aqua blue water. Even though the rocks were smooth, it hurt when different parts of my feet went in different directions as they did their balancing act. It wasn’t a “lay-out” kind of beach, but it was fun to skip rocks and test the warm water temperature. Now, I know all Tuscan beaches aren’t like that one, but that’s the fun of checking out many different sites.

What’s my favorite beach, you ask? Why, the beaches along the upper Florida gulf coast! Soft white sand warms with the sun and has the occasional beach grasses growing through. Shells are aplenty, the cost of visiting doesn’t blow you away, and the water’s warm. People are pretty laid back, excluding traffic, and there are tons of things to do and see. It’s why we visit repeatedly.

Peace. And sand. And flip flops…