Monthly Archives: June 2013

A Sad Day For The Mafia

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I’m guessing there are many readers who would have qualms about feeling sorry for anyone affiliated with the Mafia. However in this case I’m referring to one of my favorite actors James Gandolfini. I watched The Sopranos in its early years then stopped for some reason. I began following the re-runs about three months ago.

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As a writer I became extraordinarily intrigued by how in the heck David Chase made me like, no, made me love Tony Soprano. Every evening at eight o’clock I turned on HBO and watched the series unfold from beginning to the very last episode. There were brutal murders (hits ordered by Tony), terrible beatings (also by Tony’s request), extra-marital affairs (featuring Tony himself), violence toward women (involving Tony and his mistresses).

Yet David Chase allowed us to enter the psychiatrist’s office where Tony opened up and revealed his soul. Tony had a soft side to him. He loved animals, be they ducks or horses or the dog his father took from him when he was a young boy. Tony couldn’t stand it when someone mistreated an animal. And he never hit his wife Carmela though she often dared him to do so during their frequent violent arguments. Carmela and Tony’s nephew Christopher were the only ones who could stand up to Tony and not back down.

The viewer ends up rooting for Tony Soprano. Loving him. Liking him.

James Gandolfini could turn our hearts with a look. A tiny facial expression and I could laugh, cry, or nod with complete understanding.

James died last week at the age of 51 of a massive heart attack.

And I am so sad.

Duck Tales Part II

This part of my story begins a few days after my original The Ducklings Are Coming post. If you haven’t read that post yet, go do so now. I’ll wait.

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Oh, you’re back. I was just humming a tune. You probably noticed my musical talents are … shall we say … ear-numbing? 🙂

Duck TalesA few days after I wrote The Ducklings Are Coming post, we heard our son shout for assistance. As we raced outside, he told us that the neighborhood tomcat had disappeared under the front deck dragging Mama Duck by the neck.

The men flew into action. My husband raced for one end of the deck while our son headed for the other end. The pounding of our feet against the floorboards and the sound of our loud voices must have frightened the tomcat into releasing Mama Duck because a few seconds later, the tomcat sprang out from one side of the deck and Mama Duck came flapping out the other end.

My husband raced after the tomcat, while poor Mama Duck took one look at the remaining humans and took flight in the opposite direction.

We took a quick peek through the branches of the juniper at the eggs. There was blood on them, so we knew Mama Duck had been hurt, but the eggs looked intact and unbroken. Provided Mama Duck came back, the ducklits still had a chance.

A while later, DH reappeared. He’d chased the tomcat clear across the yard and halfway across the farmer’s field. But now that the tomcat knew where the nest was, we knew he’d be back.

So we waited, keeping watch for Mama Duck, the return of the tomcat, or for the crows and magpies to discover and destroy the vulnerable eggs. To add to our worries, the temperature dipped to near freezing.

Mama DuckThe next day, we saw Mama Duck down by the pond. She was alive but limping. By mid-afternoon, we saw her walk from the pond toward the house to check on her eggs. If you look really close at the picture on the right, you can see her walking across the lawn.

My story has a bittersweet ending. While the duck eggs didn’t make it, we’re happy to say that Mama Duck recovered from her injuries. For the next week, she recuperated down by the pond, the Mallard duck in attendance. She didn’t fly, but instead walked everywhere. From our viewpoint near the house, it looked like she was searching for a new place to nest.

At first we mourned the loss of the duck eggs, but when we saw the tomcat once again sneaking up on the juniper, we knew the loss of the eggs had been a blessing in disguise. At least Mama Duck was safe … or as safe as Mother Nature would allow.

We currently have another family of ducklings visiting our pond. They appear late in the evening, just before sunset, and spend the night on the duck deck which floats in the middle of the pond.

And we’re keeping an eye out for our Mama Duck with hopes that she will appear in a few weeks with a new batch of ducklits. If  not this year, then maybe the next.

Red Georgia Clay (Sung to the tune of Toby Keith’s Red Solo Cup)

Red Georgia claypants 1

You tick me offpants 2

Let’s have a standoff

Over the laundry…Pants, close up

Ah, yes. Red Georgia clay: the bane of my existence during baseball season. Take a look at these pictures, folks. This is just one week’s worth of baseball pants. How is a woman with other children, other responsibilities, other laundry, supposed to keep up?

productsAll the moms in the stands compare notes. Have you tried this? Have you tried that? Well, here’s another picture proving I’ve tried just about everything. In truth, the season is over, however I still have three pairs of pants soaking in Iron Out in my laundry room sink.

Iron Out, in case you’ve never experienced the joy of this powder, makes your house smell like a sewer. I kid you not. The ladies on the bleachers swear by this stuff, but either I’m not using it right or my son gets dirtier than their kids, because it still doesn’t get all the stains out and that’s after days of soaking! Days!Fels-Naptha

My all time favorite product, guaranteed to rid white clothes of stains is the inanely named Fels-Naptha. Huh? What marketing genius came up with that catchy title? Although Fels-Naptha does work, while scrubbing stains with this soap bar, I feel a kinship with my ancestors of generations past who scrubbed clothes over washboards. My biceps have never looked better. I can hear the announcer at the fictitious World’s Fittest Mom competition: And now, fresh from the laundry circuit, here’s contestant number three, stay-at-home mom, Christy Hayes…

Does anyone have any suggestions for those of us lucky enough to live in the South who face the joys of red Georgia clay on a daily basis? Please help. Inquiring minds want to know.

summerHappy Summer Solstice everyone!  Believe it or not, this is one of my favorite days of the summer.  Yeah, I know how pathetic that sounds, but as a sufferer of low vision with NO vision at night, I love the longest day of the year.  Sixteen hours of daylight!  Yahoo!

While Memorial Day is touted as the “official start of summer” by most people in the U.S., June 21st is actually the official, official start of summer for the northern hemisphere.  Really.  It is.   Unless you live in Georgia where school lets out BEFORE Memorial Day weekend; then the summer solstice is more like midsummer, as the European’s refer to it. summer solstice But I’m not going to think that way because that only leads to panic about summer slipping away.  Today, I’m going to relax and soak up the vitamin D. 

Typically, this day is filled with the smell of chlorine and bug spray, sidewalk chalk and lazy games on the lawn.  For some, it’s an excellent time to take stock of their life and assess how their goals and aims are going.  Kind of like a gut-check on those New Year’s resolutions.  Because after today, well, it’s all downhill toward the end of the year.  The days get shorter; the stress gets more intense.

But I digress.  The summer solstice is meant for meandering and enjoying.  Sit outside and read a good book.  (Check the books page on this blog for some suggestions.)  Or, go shopping and ‘renew’ your wardrobe.  Start a new exercise routine.  bonfireIf you want to celebrate this day as they did in past generations, prepare a bonfire in the evening hours.  Just please don’t jump over said bonfire as was the tradition centuries ago.  I don’t want to be responsible for any injuries.  You can also worship the sun.  In Latvia, they host a naked run through the streets.  Although, if you decide to try that, please, don’t tell the cops about this blog. 😉

Whatever you decide to do today, enjoy.  June 21st may still only have twenty-four hours in it, but it sure feels longer than that.  Wouldn’t it be great if every day had fifteen to sixteen hours of sunlight?  Would you live your life differently?  How are planning to use those extra hours of daylight today?

Ladd Fortune

The second installment of my 2013 Ladd Springs series is out! Ladd Fortune takes readers from the adventures of Nick and Delaney to the escapades of Malcolm and Lacy, all centered around one gorgeous piece of property ~ Ladd Springs.

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The forsaken children of Ladd Springs return home to seek their fortune, but no one is happy to see them. One is home for love, one is home for money.

Lacy Owens has come back to Tennessee for a return to the fold, only she’s done so on the heels of Jeremiah Ladd. He’s the prodigal son of Ladd Springs—a mecca of streams, springs and trails in the eastern Tennessee mountains—and he’s determined to reclaim the land as his rightful inheritance.

Lacy cares little about Jeremiah’s plan. She simply yearns for the comfort of family, but sister Annie Owens wants nothing to do with Lacy, though sees opportunity in Jeremiah’s return. With him in town she can finally prove paternity for her daughter Casey, and ultimately stake her own claim in Ladd Springs.

Trouble is, Jeremiah’s father has already willed the property to his granddaughter, Felicity Wilkins. She’s away at college, but fighting for her rights back home is Malcolm Ward, partner in Harris Hotels, and a man with a financial stake in Ladd Springs. It’s his job to see the land remains in Felicity’s possession.

But when Malcolm falls for Lacy without realizing her hidden agenda, his plans are put into jeopardy. In these parts, blood runs thicker than legalities and feuds aside, it’s a hard lesson for a city boy from California to comprehend.

Love and money are powerful forces but only one can prevail in Ladd Springs. Which will it be? Find out in the second installment of Ladd Springs

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