Kittie Howard

Monday, March 17, 2014

Link to Characteristics of Creative People; Blog on Mini Hiatus

A couple of weeks ago, when I made my news junkie rounds of blogs (from conservative to liberal), I came across a post about the characteristics of creative people on Huffington Post that did more than catch my eye: It made me smile. The link is here. I think you'll smile, too. It's seriously great!

Otherwise, my laptop's been sitting on my desk, lonely and sad without me (I'd like to imagine) as days have ended with me flopping into bed, too tired from preparing for the North Carolina move to give it a goodnight pat, or, like today, too feverish from the crud going around to do much of anything.

The good news is, Mr. H., who is rarely sick, is on the mend. Yes, we both had our flu shots. But this isn't the flu or pneumonia. It's just a nasty crud that lays one low for a bit. In the meantime, my blog's on hiatus . . . there's no sense pretending I can do more when I can't.

Really hope this winter bug hasn't nipped at you! xoxo

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Look at the Pecan Tree Ahead

When I was growing up in South Louisiana and lived with my parents on my grandparents' farm, I loved opportunities to ride with my grandfather in his green Ford truck when he went to the back pastures. Even though the layout of the pastures was as familiar as the sun rising in the morning, trips rippled with excitement. I couldn't wait to see how much calves had grown, if the green casings on pecans had begun to turn or how many cows were at the watering hole.

Actually, the watering hole was a dynamite hole about the size of a respectable pond that did double duty as a fishing hole. Sometimes, after we'd checked to see how the cows were doing on their rather sloped side (perhaps a calf had ventured too far), my grandfather would drive to the opposite far side of the watering hole, where he'd stop, get out of the truck and remove a knife from the tool box in the truck's bed.

When this happened, I could barely sit still. We were going fishing!

Later on, I'd learn to select my own bamboo pole from the thicket not far from where we'd stop and run the line, then add the stopper and hook. On this particular day with no day or month, with just a warm sun and a gentle breeze to anchor the time, I focused on threading a worm on the hook that was high enough to entice a fish but not so low as to feed a turtle.

My grandfather didn't know how catfish and turtles had taken up residence in the watering hole, what had once been flat land. But many years later -- more years than I could imagine at the time -- my grandfather and I sat on the bank with our fishing poles. Since the cows sullied the water, we both knew we wouldn't keep any fish we caught. But that didn't matter. It was the sheer joy of being there.

However, on this particular day with no name, I caught my first "eating-size" catfish that we wouldn't eat, barely able to contain my excitement as I focused on getting the fish to shore. That done, I jumped up and down -- whee! -- and couldn't wait to tell my sister Sarah what had happened, pins and needles Sarah wouldn't be home when we got home -- as if a three-year-old had Wall Street appointments beyond her afternoon nap -- and fidgeted in the green Ford truck that wouldn't go fast enough.

And, so, this was how I learned to work toward a goal. My grandfather told me to look into the distance, where I knew my house was, and then focus only on the pecan tree in front of me. Since the truck was moving, the tree ahead would become another tree ahead, and I would reach my house, my goal, faster than if stared into the distance, wanting it to be.

Fast forward the day-with-no-name to today and the goal is that my husband and I will list our place for sale the first week in May. Now that the first load of stuff is in a North Carolina storage unit, we need to focus on the expected work one does before listing a dwelling.

Dog work that, like the tree ahead, moves steadily forward each day.

We hope to be settled in our NC house by June, even if this one hasn't sold. Many, many thanks for your very helpful paint/decorating suggestions. True confession time: Instead of devoting time to my blog, free moments have been consumed by paint palettes too easily Googled. However, that did lead to one decision being made: beige walls in the great room. Now, which beige remains to be determined. . . that next tree ahead.

My apologies for being so slow in visiting you. Obviously, my old routine of visiting blogs in the evening fell apart -- something about being too tired to think and/or nodding off with my hands at the keyboard while flopped on the sofa -- so I'm switching out evening for morning visits. I think I'll still be as slow as a turtle -- one can only do so much -- but will plod along, from one tree to the next.

Have a great day, everyone!


Friday, February 21, 2014

Congratulations, Canada; What Bieber Could Do in the USA

Congratulations, Canada! You won a hard-fought hockey game and get to keep bragging rights for another four years. *sniff! sniff!* Then we'll talk again. :))) Ah, sports . . . and the spirit of the game . . . love it!

Congratulations, too, to Team USA for giving it your all. . . and to all of the other teams and participants in the Olympics. Every four years, we're glued to the screen, enthralled by the grace and beauty of spirited competition, always a bit sad when the games end.

Alas and alack, though, we're stuck with Justin Bieber for a bit. So, hmm, what could he do in the USA to pass the time? Some tongue-in-cheek suggestions:

1.  Run for Congress.

2. Open a weed shop in Colorado.

3. Buy the Miami Dolphins.

4. Be a consultant to the television show "Scandal."

5. Take singing lessons.

6.  Settle down with one of the Kardashians in Kansas.

7. Take a hike with the Kardashians, Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, and Ted Nugent.

8. Go with his parents and buds to group counseling in hopes everybody will grow up.

In the meantime, I'll be enjoying the last hours of the Olympics. . . and rooting for Canada to win hockey gold!

Loser Gets To Keep Bieber!

There's more important diplomatic stuff at stake than a case of beer. It's trickled over the USA/Canada border and onto our news that the Canadians have a better idea for the loser of the USA vs Canada Men's Hockey game coming up shortly: The loser keeps Justin Bieber! It's all tongue-in-cheek good fun, but, hey, why not kick back and chuckle a bit?

We've gotta, just gotta win!

Have a great weekend, everyone! And hang in there: Spring's almost here, hallelujah!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Colorful Question Amid Snow, Snow and More Snow

While California struggles with a parched earth and the worst drought in over 100 years, snow keeps blanketing other states. From my window, the snow looks pretty, a Currier and Ives winter landscape that kisses the snow-filled horizon . . .

 . . . whoa, more snow's coming today and tomorrow . . . a couple of inches here in Northern Virginia . . . a foot and a half projected for Maine.  For us here, temperatures will rise to the mid-50s next week. We've been warned the upcoming melt could lead to flooding. Yeow!

During the hiatus, hub and I have busied ourselves preparing for the upcoming move to Eastern North Carolina. Since the first wave of stuff that made the downsizing cut will go into a storage unit there in mid-April, we boxed many of the books and collectables that have come to be an extension of who we are, a good thing. One's life needs a decorative touch, warm reminders here and there of goals achieved in another time, another place that nudge the spirit to focus forward, to experience what lies behind the next 'mountain.' An African expression comes to mind: A river that doesn't flow stagnates and dries up.

But I've given much more thought to paint. Specifically, which palette will work best in our new home? Here's the frontal layout: traditional foyer with dining room to the left, study to the right; after a wrap-around, two steps lead to the sunken living room, almost a great room if it weren't for the family room off of the kitchen (to the back, left). Since long panes are alongside the house's entry door and large Palladium windows are on either side of the fireplace that anchors the living room's far wall, there's plenty of natural light, perhaps too much at times.

Since we're just a few minutes from the beach, I'm in a quandary about how to create a light, airy entrance without turning the house into a beach cottage. I'd love your suggestions as to which paint neutrals/colors you'd use. . . without using blue as I left my 'blue stage' years ago and don't really want to return. . . and, no yellow as the living room area is currently a light yellow . . . nice, but stale looking to our eyes . . . it's time for a change . . . Please, please, how would you switch out that yellow?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Crystal Collier's Celebratory Blogfest: Whom Would You Beg Your Parents To Set You Up With?

I'm delighted to participate in the celebration for Crystal Collier's new book, "Moonless." A high-society murder in 1768 England definitely makes the reader turn the pages.

But before we unravel the plight of the murdered host, a cuppa tea and the answer to Crystal's question: I would've begged my parents to set me up with George Clooney. Besides being drop-dead gorgeous, the guy's got charisma, the elusive "it," and doesn't get hung up with people liking him . . . hmmm, come to think of it, I'm also describing my hub . . . ah, nice!

Now, come on, jump in . . . whom would you like? And the blogfest link is below. Let's help Crystal celebrate her Big Day. . . and an awesome book!

And please ignore the Linky sign-up and proceed to the good stuff. I couldn't get the Linky bit outta there. Ohhh, me and computers!

In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night.

Her nightmares become reality: a dead baron, red-eyed wraiths, and forbidden love with a man hunted by these creatures. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with her beloved and risk becoming one of the Soulless.

So here's the question: If you lived in a society where arranged marriages were a la mode, whom would you beg your parents to set you up with? Why? (Literary characters and celebrities welcomed.) 

And while you're at it, enter to win one of these great prizes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The rest of the hop is below!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Waffles and a Warm Fire

When the weather's really cold, waffles are a Sunday morning breakfast favorite. If strawberries, blueberries or other fruit's in the fridge, we pile on the topping and enjoy the feast. If not, hub spreads butter on his waffles, then drizzles the four-plex from our waffle machine with maple syrup. The drizzle begins in the center, spreads to the right and wraps the waffles at right angles, all the while making sure syrup dribbles down sides.

Since I'm not a big fan of margarine (or butter) and don't care much for sweets (I know, weird), my waffles are plain.

If we were cartoon characters, the cloud above hub's head would say, "Yuck. How can she eat those things without margarine and syrup?"

The cloud above my head would say, "Yuck. How can he eat those things with all that syrup and margarine?"

But we don't say anything. We've learned not to. Early on in our marriage, a quip about being weird led to a newlywed's World War III, with the usual blah, blah, blah youth blubbers before the light dawns: Duh! He/She's eating the stuff. Who cares?

However, as much as the weather has challenged, tonight was the first time we've had waffles. For dinner? On a Tuesday? What's the world coming to?

Waffles just felt right, that's all. Ice shimmered on trees outside. Logs crackled in the fireplace. We felt warm and toasty, snuggled into winter's routine. Hub reminisced about the snow as we cut into our waffles. On February 9th, his mother and father trudged through Nor'easter snow on their side street in New Hampshire to get to the ambulance to get to the hospital, where hub was born.

Six months later, on July 9th, my grandmother-to-be held a sun umbrella over my mother as she managed her way in the New Orleans heat to get to the ambulance to get to the hospital, where I was born.

Ah, winter stories . . . like waffles in the tummy and logs on a fire, they warm the heart, regardless of where one's from, with or without syrup.

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!