Friday, June 13, 2008


Vendetta has been declared. Three or four months ago I came across a listing in the Market Watch section of my Story Circle Network newsletter. It said there is a publication called "GreenPrints, 'The Weeder's Digest'?," that is seeking submissions. It sounds right up my alley, being a gardener, so I shoot off a story about all John's mishaps in the garden when we first bought this place. A couple of months later I get a reply saying my story isn't very cohesive, sort of rambles, and isn't all that strong. I can see his point. It was one of the first stories I wrote, and I did ramble a lot back then.

Next I shoot off two of my more recent stories, both much shorter and tighter. Two or three months go by. Yesterday I finally get a response on one of them. The editor's handwriting is so poor that I can only make out a few words here and there: poetic, evocative, going to pass. Well, that's disappointing, but at least it isn't as negative as the first one. There's still one more story out, and you know what they say..."Third times a charm!"

Not in my case, apparently. Today I get my third rejection letter from this fellow. My eyes fly to the words "Thanks again! Cute! Remarkable!", and my spirits soar, but then come to a screeching halt when they hit "I don't know, I'm still going to give this one a 'near miss' too, though. Sorry again." What's with this guy?!

I am not giving up though. I'm bound and determined to win him over. Guess I'll just have to break down and subscribe to his damn magazine. I need to study what makes it into print, so I'll know better what he is looking for. Who knows, maybe that's his secret intention, only printing stories from paid subscribers, in order to increase readership. Pretty funny, when you think about it. One reason I submitted here in the first place was that it is one of the few places that actually pays for stories. So now I'm going to shell out twenty bucks for a subscription, to increase my chances of getting paid not much more than that for my story? So be it. Vengeance will be mine!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Yesterday one of the muses had an adventure she was anxious to share with us. Apparently she has hooked up with a group of women who go hiking together about once a month. My first thought was "Ick, gross!", but then she started describing the property where they took their most recent trek: gorgeous natural landscaping, stair steps carved out of the earth, dry creek bed leading down to Lone Man Creek, and a beautiful infinity pool where they all cooled off afterwards. It sounded more enticing by the minute.

Now, I don't mind walking at all. In fact, I'm quite fond of it. The word "hike", however, sends chills up my spine. It calls up visions of the hashes we went on in Indonesia: clawing my way up steep inclines, or sliding down muddy ones on my butt. We "pears" with little stubby legs don't do well with steep inclines. Still, wouldn't that be something, me joining a hiking group? John would just keel over in a dead faint if I told him that! The group is taking the rest of the summer off, so that gives me a couple of months to practice hiking up and down my steep driveway, and climbing the hill behind my house. It would also be good training for a trip to Italy like my friend Sibby just took. They stayed in a hillside town where you had to park at the bottom of the hill, and carry your luggage up nearly 300 steps to your pensione. Yep, it might be worth joining, just to see the shocked expressions on the faces of everyone who knows me.

Monday, June 9, 2008


What a blast! If you recall from a few weeks back, I mentioned being somewhat phobic about art. Well, I was in a bookstore recently, and happened across a magazine called Somerset Workshop. It had detailed instructions for several different art projects, and one of them really struck my fancy. It's a paint-over technique where you photocopy a found human image, either from a photograph or a magazine. You cut out the image and attach it to the background of your choice, then paint over and around it. So I just cut out these shapes of Alexis and Austin, glued them on to a piece of canvas, then painted over them and added my own background. It was so easy, and so much fun. Try it, you'll like it!


How does one segue from the wonders of Thailand to the wonders of Luling? I have a new friend, also named Becky. She wrote a book called French By Heart, and she has a blog called Wonders Never Cease ( In a recent posting, she confessed to a passion for "gigantic bizarre-o" stuff. Immediately this water tower came to mind. We've passed it a million times, going back and forth between Houston and Wimberley. It's located in Luling, Texas, home of the famous Watermelon Thump Festival.

So, this one's for you Becky R. Hope you enjoy it. Now if only I could scrounge up our photo of that giant jackrabbit in Odessa.

Taa Daa! Found it!

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Can you believe it? My name's finally in print in a major newspaper, and I almost missed it completely! My article for the "Wish You Were Here" series in the travel section of the Austin American Statesman wasn't due to be published until Father's Day, but as we were casually flipping through the paper this morning, I spotted a familiar photograph. For those of you who don't have access to this paper, here is my story (and a few extra photos they didn't include):


We lived in Indonesia when our children were young, and one of our first vacations from there was to Phuket, Thailand. It included a day trip to the Phi Phi Islands (pronounced Pee Pee, much to the delight of our kids). A water bus took us to the main island, where a tropical buffet had been set up beneath the palm trees. Next we were loaded onto several small boats, and paddled out to an uninhabited island. They first took us to the Viking cave, where bamboo scaffolding was set up for the harvesting of birds’ nests (a valuable delicacy destined for Bird’s Nest Soup). We were then dropped off at a private beach.

As we picked out a spot to spread our towels, the kids ran off to get wet. Once we were settled, we scanned the water for them. “Uh, Dear? Notice anything unusual?” asked my husband. As a matter of fact, I did. At least half the women weren’t wearing tops. He then pointed to a few of them who stood in a circle, chest deep in the water, and had been tossing a volley ball back and forth to one another. “What’s the ruckus?”

It appeared that the women had been distracted from their game by the sight of a snorkel that kept circling around them, like a shark around his supper. Several times they called out “Hey you! What are you doing?” When they got no response, one of them finally reached out and put her thumb over the top of the snorkel, forcing the swimmer up for air. Who popped up, gasping and choking? Our seven year old son, Austin. To this day, he still swears he was only studying the fishies.