Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga

Monday, June 25, 2012

The wheels on the bus go round and round

I just read my last blog. The retreat seems to have taken place eons ago; yet, it has only been 12 days. So much has happened since then. 

When I brushed off the (pixie) dust of the retreat and sat down at the computer, I edited a few stories over several days running. I also wrote an article about the retreat for our Southern Breeze newsletter. Keeping up with my writing wasn’t easy because life interrupted—in a good way—as it has a tendency to do. Most noteworthy was the visit of our niece Maria.

On her first day here, she and I baked chocolate chip /walnut cookies, and I shared my baking secrets for perfection.  (Okay, they aren’t all that secret—use a mixture of butter-flavored Crisco and butter, plus sift your dry ingredients, even when using all-purpose flour.) We don’t often barbeque because we’re hold-outs for charcoal—which takes a bit more effort than gas—but we barbequed that night. Yum.

Her arrival got us out of our rut to witness the world around us. My husband took her sailing while I read in the shade at the edge of the dock overlooking Lake Guntersville. Bliss for all involved. We went to the Space & Rocket Center—something I hadn’t done since my kids were half-pints wondering if they’d grow up to become astronauts. In the great out-of-doors, we listened to a 14-year-old boy croon about love, followed by the lovely sounds of a friend’s Celtic band. We hopped in the car and drove an hour and a half to Lynchburg, TN—a disturbing name, indeed—where we toured the Jack Daniel Distillery. (And, if you have a chance to go, make reservations a couple of weeks beforehand at the famous Miss Mary Bobo’s. But be prepared to share your delicious meal family-style, as well as your life history.) The final day found us strolling through our beautiful botanical garden and taking life easy.

YOLO. You only live once. It takes a teenager to share the meaning of the latest initials. Maria was game for everything—from eating anything I cooked to going to zumba with me (where she wasn’t a bit mortified by the presence of her aunt on-stage) to helping paint the deck. And while Steve remarked to me that it was reminiscent of having teenagers in the house again, it really wasn’t. She was on her best behavior, and so were we. You know how it is.

After she left, we felt a hole but reverted quickly back to our usual routines. And that’s when I got busy again.

I now have a new  job with www.childrenslit.com. Learn more about its mission at: http://childrenslit.com/about_new.php. It’s a volunteer job, but it pays—in books. For every five books I read and review, I get five more to read and review. Despite the fact that I’m expected to review books outside of my typical genre, this job has my name written all over it. But reading takes a fair amount of time, and reviewing takes even more. If I think something stinks, I have an obligation to let people know . . . in as gentle a way as possible.

But that’s just me. Don’t feel any obligation at all to let me know your true feelings about this blog.

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