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View from the courtyard

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Nothing but blue skies and sunshine

It’s 90 degrees and 100% sunshine where I am in Arizona–and yet I’m sequestered inside, lounging on my bed as I try to conjure up a topic to blog about that simultaneously edifies and entertains our loyal readers.

In the Valley of the Sun there are no changing leaves to wax on about–no doubt you have had your fill of the foliage, whether as a leaf-peeper yourself or via all of the pictures posted on Facebook. There is no question that this was a stellar year for colorful foliage in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Green-thumbed residents in Arizona are planting their gardens, though the sun continues to blister the tender arugula and basil plants. Back home it is time to weed-whack the perennials or continue to cover them at night with sheets as we try to eek out a few more weeks of blossoms.

We have seen numerous vees of ducks and geese, presumably ones that have followed us here from brrrr chilly New Hampshire. Unfortunately, my husband (if I can drag him onto the plane) and I, unlike those real snowbirds, must return this week to furnaces and wood stoves, sweaters and gloves, delaying our true winter migration until after Christmas. In Arizona it is still shorts and sandals, air conditioning and ceiling fan weather.

Our grandchildren are out scorpion hunting–and killing–at night with black lights. The good news is after six days here we no longer check our bed at night for scorpions and we aren’t afraid to walk around indoors without our shoes on. Outdoors–that’s another story.

Our mode of transportation is an open air Jeep Wrangler. The other day I was caught without my sunscreen as the sun beat in through the open roof. (Luckily, I never leave home without my zippered, hooded sweatshirt in tow, just in case we venture into a store or restaurant with the a/c thermostat set at sixty or lower. I plan to launch a campaign to “encourage” businesses to raise their a/c thermostats. Sorry, I digress….) With what I considered a clever defensive move, I whipped on my sweatshirt backward with the hood covering my face. Instant protection. And immediate embarrassment to my husband as we stopped at a ubiquitous stoplight and the women in the car to our left and the man to our right gawked and laughed. At me. (This appears to be a case where ” you really had to be there” to appreciate the humor of the situation.)

With any luck I’ve entertained you. Or made you envious. The edification will have to wait. I’m still on vacation.

 

 

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October whispers in my ear

4ac78946-e2b4-46cd-9ffb-e3fe233ce013-004October is here and we in northern New Hampshire know what the forecast is. Changing seasons: shorter, cooler days. Turning leaves: tour buses, leaf peepers. Flipping the family photo calendar: grandchildren clad in Halloween costumes, my mother’s birthday. Swapping out my wardrobe: fleece, socks and sneakers. Fall cleaning: screens down, deck furniture in.

October whispers in my ear: I know you’re busy but don’t forget that NaNoWriMo is on its way. November first is less than thirty days away now. Don’t you always say you are going to start preparing for NaNoWriMo in October? Get your outline and character sketches done so that you can just start typing away on November 1 with your outline for reference? I bet you can exceed 50,000 words if you do that.

This year I have a response. Listen, October, stop bugging me. I am working on an outline for NaNoWriMo. I already have my characters’ names with personalities formed, allowing for more novels to follow. I’ve drawn a rough map of the town where the murder takes place. I’m reading Louise Penny’s “Inspector Gamache” novels to make sure that I don’t end up copying her quaint, idyllic, deadly town.

It’s a real temptation, especially as this area of New Hampshire abounds with similar towns: a town common or green surrounded by old churches, old stately homes, old maples, old, white fence, old pines adorned with Christmas lights. Possibly a gazebo decked with red ribbons and sparkly snow. You get the drift….

My fictional town of Woodbury wears a blue-collar attitude. A diner instead of a bistro. An auto repair shop in place of a bookstore. A run-down motel instead of a B & B. The hub of the town? A Village Store where the locals go to catch up on all the gossip they missed at the diner. And let’s not forget the farms on the dirt roads spiking out of Woodbury. Beyond town lies another world, a lake populated with out-of-state visitors, some who visit for the summer, most just a week or two.

And there’s plenty more. I think I am in better shape than I have ever been for NaNoWriMo.

So take that, October.

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