Mid-Month Salutations September 2019

I know. You’re wondering what I’m doing here now on this mid-September day when my monthly round-ups often take multiple months to get posted. Ah, but it’s a fault of impatience. You see, my college classes have begun but the first big deadline for my students isn’t for several days. I’ve been braced and ready to go – and now I wait. You might not know this about me, but I have never waited well. So here I am. And here’s what I’ve been doing while I wait for the onslaught of student assignments to hit my inbox.

My second novel is – maybe – done! Proofing and formatting is in progress before I’m ready to share it with anyone else. The book is called Home Place which is what my family still calls where we grew up even though none of us have lived there in a very, very long time. I always feel the need for a disclaimer to say that the story is NOT autobiographical, even though it is set in the very house where I spent my first fourteen years of life. It’s a unique house – a duplex really, built in the 1870s by my great-grandfather for his large brood of children. Here’s how he hoped it would look, a show-place for his amassed wealth and prosperity. We suspect old Amasa had more than his share of ego and pride.

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In truth, the house never achieved the grandeur old A.O. aimed for, (why would he have guards on the roof?) but it did have touches of elegance that my young self took for granted. High ceilings, wide woodwork, big airy rooms. Often too airy – with not a scrap of insulation to keep out winter wind.

Since my novel Home Place is set in contemporary times, I don’t want to use this historical image on the cover. Here’s my – non-artistic rendering of the house which looks more like it did when I lived there. Next task: find a real artist to help me turn the image in my head into an appealing cover for this story.

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I’ve also been making use of my waiting time by prepping items for sale at our Christkindl Market booth – a mere two months away. I recently learned Kumihimo which is a form of Japanese weaving that works well with beads. And I’m felting scarves and soaps (another new item for me) too. Here are some samples.

The two necklaces with tassels convert so they can be worn close around the neck or longer. How fun is that? And the other has a magnetic clasp. I think it would be a great flash of pizzaz under a collar and since it has less work and fewer beads than the others, it will be cheaper too. As yet, I have no idea regarding pricing. Any ideas?

IMG_0970The teals and oranges of these colors conjured this abstract sunset-y scarf in silk, wool, and bamboo. It’s about 6 feet x 18 inches, so it could be worn in lots of ways. Price? Beats me. What would you pay?

I’ve played with ancestry.com in this waiting time too – after I got results from the DNA test that sat on my desk for over a year. No real surprises, except that a few of my ancestors must have trekked from Germany to Sweden or vice versa in some long-ago era. But England, Scotland, Wales, France, and Germany matched with family lore I already knew. And I’ve learned a few unknown names that ancestry.com believes I came from. I’m still holding out to rely on my Grandma Crosiar’s meticulous records. She was great at recording births, deaths, and marriages. I do wish she’d recorded more stories or that I’d asked her more questions. But as I was only 14 when she died, my concerns did not yet include stories about where she or Grandpa Eli went to school or what she remembered of her own parents. I tried not to make the same mistake with my parents who never seemed to understand how their stories were important enough to tell. I am glad, though, that I wrote up a lot of what I remember of them and created a digital scrapbook with those stories and lots and lots of photos for my sibs and their kids. Whether they want the info or not, I wanted them to have it and now they do. When I add those unknown ancestor names to our family tree, they’ll get that info too – again, whether they want it or not.

And yes, I’ve been reading too – some truly terrific books. But…since my book club is meeting tonight to talk about one of them, I’ll wait till the next Salutations to report on my September reading adventures. (Don’t expect it to be timely. Student assignments will surely have me up to my neck in grading papers by then.) Meanwhile, from my garden to your screen, enjoy these bursts of brightness!

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