So my summer off from writing continues for one more week, y’all. That’s not 100% true, of course, because the business of writing continues every day even when the writing of new books does not. I’ve kept it to a dull roar of two hours or less per day (seven days a week, because people read every day). Thursday Earth to Emily (Emily #2) releases. Friday August 7th I am hosting my first-ever writers retreat (squee!), and on Monday August 10th, I start the outline for Hell to Pay (Emily #3). I am tingly about it, too, which is what I hoped would happen if I took a break. Well, that, and recovery from surgery and back injury, moving to Nowheresville and working on the new place, moving offspring (X three!!), and a mid-summer visit to our eldest daughter in the Virgin Islands.

I hung the last pictures yesterday, so the move-in is complete. Eric got his tractor back from the shop after flipping it only to break it again two days later so some of his projects were delayed. The biggest was a combo of French drains and walkway with repair of the decimated lawn area, post flooding. He’s hard at it now, and it’s looking great. We finished a joint project: family pictures in our stair well. And I lovingly assembled my enormous closet. My mother sent a cool rug for the laundry room. And the custom shelves from cedar we lost in a drought a few years ago turned out gorgeous. Yay!







My new office rocks—the screened room. It’s wonderful as a place to eat breakfast, too. I love all these things (so much), but I may love our bed and its new bedding most of all. [It doesn’t hurt that I’ve learned that tilting our mattress up a few degrees keeps my husband from snoring. Talk about peace!] Can you tell from its colors that I picked it out the week after we returned from our anniversary trip to Bora Bora? Bathroom, too.





See the ghost image in the glass?

There have been some bumps in the road. Like me breaking the “nothing but clear liquids in the bedroom” rule with a black cherry soda, which was exactly that color on the new Berber carpet and new silk duvet cover after Eric knocked it across the room. He spent an hour getting every last trace of it out of both (God bless Eric, my great grandmother would insert into this story at this point, if she were still alive). I’ll follow my own rules in the future.

Scorpions. Lots of them. We are finding one in the house every other day. They’re very near death by the time we see them, but not quite there yet. They range from tiny to quite big. We’re not sure how they’re getting in and past our bug spray barrier, but a major investigation and caulking project is in Eric’s near future. That, and copperheads. They’ll move on, eventually, and they’re nowhere near the house, but we have found several on our entry road. Ah, the joys of uprooting a former forest and building a country house. Believe it or not, these things don’t freak me out and are far outweighed by the peace and beauty here. That, and the deer feeding on the corn we left for them outside our bathroom window, until the dogs chase them off. The deer are persistent, though, and they keep coming back.

Georgia the Malinois discovered a skunk that she now visits every day. (Have to see what Dog Training Genesis says about how to teach her not to love skunks!!)  On Day One when it sprayed her she barked and rubbed her eyes in the grass. The oils she secretes took out the smell by nightfall, at least on her. She transferred the smell to her collar, her bed, the other dogs, and us, and none of us secrete Malinois oils. I washed everything. The next day, she did it again. And the next day, again. This is becoming a bit of a problem, and we’re hoping the skunk moves to less doggy environs soon. Here’s some video of Georgia with her best friend, Louise. (Petey is with me inside “his” screened room, and Layla is to the left of the video.) You can skip all my dog videos if you’re not animal crazy like me, but, for those who are, here you go 🙂 Click to view.

Our daughter’s high school FFA project, Dixie the chianina cow, moved in with us a week ago with her three-month old calf Jax. Jax is a brute, with a big plump belly. As a result, Dixie is strutting the pasture super model-thin. At the advice of our cow guru and the future owner of Jax, we are now separating them by day to begin the weaning process and Dixie’s recovery. Man, I wish childbearing had done that for me! Hey, guess what? More obnoxious animal video! Yep, click to view.

Last week we tried out our brand new massage table. I swear, in addition to his other wonderful qualities, Eric could be a professional masseuse. However, on this day, it didn’t work out so well. The massage felt wonderful, but when I tried to sit up to get off the table, I was in breathtaking, curse-worthy pain.  Basically sciatica brought on by my hyper mobile lower back, piriformis syndrome, and insufficient core strength to overcome them (in the wake of the big H, followed by a LOT of physical labor). Either the way I reclined or something Eric pressed on went whack. I couldn’t function for 36 hours, then could function marginally, and eight days later was still hobbling like an octogenarian. I have such empathy for my husband and father who have severe lifelong structural issues and chronic daily pain, and others in their boat. Gotta say that the swim spa and dog walking have helped tons. Two days ago I was back on my ball chair and using my standing desk. I’m now on day three of yoga. I’ve lost most of the weight I’d gained whilst having female problems, so that helps my back, too. Recovery or bust. I think the low carb ice cream I’ve learned to make will help my attitude. Salted caramel with chocolate chips? Yes, please. If you want the recipe, comment and I’ll post it.

We thought that moving into the sticks would not appeal to our kids, but we were wrong. Susanne has been at TAMU three weeks and has come here three times, once mid-day after two tests, just to eat, lounge, see her cows, and hug the dogs. TAMU is only 45-minutes away. Eric said I lit up like a firecracker when she showed up. Honestly, it is pretty awesome that she comes back. It won’t last, but while it does it eases the “weaning” we are going through. Think daytimes apart in a nearby pasture, like Dixie and Jax 😉 Susanne did manage to stream a Direct TV HD movie that cost us $37 dollars in over-the-limit bandwidth and rental fees, though, so we weren’t entirely sorry to see her go that night.

The oldest, Thomas, brought his girlfriend, Brenda, and we had a fun weekend. Thomas mowed during one of the two days the tractor wasn’t broken, and Brenda helped me refinish our dining room table and our sofa table. I was really happy with how they came out.



Well, enough sitting here writing when I’m on a writing break. Time for some yoga and swim spa! Sorry for the boring update. What can I say? I’m enjoying my staycation 🙂

That’s all I’ve got.


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