I’ve just found out that yesterday was World Dictionary Day. And I, who have a whole long bookshelf filled with dictionaries, had no idea. Although I’m sure at one point during the day I did open one of my many books of words to check on something, so it isn’t as though they were totally neglected. Still. Now, even if it’s a day late, I’d like to wish one and all a very happy World Dictionary Day! After all, where would we be without Noah Webster?
Tags: Dictionaries, Noah Webster, Words
I love October. But I always feel it should be announced with a drum roll or something. For one thing, it’s the most colorful month. Breathtaking reds, yellows, deep golds are everywhere you turn. Of course, if you happen to be the one who’s responsible for removing all those gorgeous leaves when they fall, you might be just a bit less impressed. And October’s also become the official beginning of the holiday season. I was reminded of that when I tried to buy a new leaf blower this afternoon. I was lost among not only all the pumpkins and Halloween costumes, but Christmas trees were being set up, and boxes of dolls and other toys were stacked everywhere. Back home without the blower, I pretended not to notice any fallen leaves anywhere on our property. Instead I tried focusing on the lower branch on one of our sweet gum trees. For a few days now the star-shaped leaves have been a brilliant crimson. I’m hoping that’s causing our neighbors to forget those adorable, prickly, little brown balls the tree spreads far and wide the rest of the year.
No, you haven’t fallen asleep like Rip Van Winkle! And, no, I haven’t looked at the wrong page on my calendar. It’s just that I’ve decided to announce that my Christmas short story will be in the December issue of True Story magazine. Over the years I’ve written and sold tons of short stories to magazines. Although I love writing the shorts, it’s my full-length books I usually focus on. Anyway, when November rolls around and if you feel in the mood, pick up the Christmas issue of True Story magazine and find out why it takes a cat, a run-down Victorian house, a left-over Christmas tree, and the sound of church bells, for a couple to discover they’re actually in love with one another. The title’s “Not A Creature Was Stirring, Not Even A ….” Hope you like it.
I’m extremely happy to report that my Office Manager is not only still here, but seems to be as good as new. She’s amazing. She’s furiously battling with my shoe laces again, and returned to her job of waking me each morning at six. Right now she’s curled up asleep here in her office chair. The only problem we’ve had lately is that when she’s outdoors she’s started taking her cue from the squirrels. Tail in the air, she walks right past her yellow water bowl, to cling to the coping of the pool while she takes a long, refreshing drink. I doubt the chlorine is very good for her. But who knows? Anyway the pool’s been winterized and covered now, so that’s been taken care of. Winter. Are we ready for it? I haven’t even raked the leaves yet!
Hi, everyone! Lately things have been rather quiet here at Notes From Norma. My wonderful, marvelous, fourteen-year-old furry little Office Manager has been having more than her share of troubles. I wish I could say she’s getting better. But at least on one of her good days she still rolls and plays like a kitten, and can hardly wait to get outside to find out what wonders she’ll discover in that large, fenced back yard of ours. She packs a lifetime of joy into ordinary things, like stretching way up on her little kitty toes trying hard to see what’s on top of the patio table. (Nothing. But one never knows.) Then it’s off to check out that interesting pile of rocks, under which those pesky chipmunks live. And of course she couldn’t spend a day outdoors without a lengthy visit to our small woods, with its towering trees and the ground beneath thickly covered by English ivy which may hide almost anything at all. When she tires of exploring all these things, she returns to the patio and her favorite napping spot in one of the flower beds, or if it’s especially sunny, she lays on her back on the sun-warmed brick pavers, feet in the air, and snoozes, enjoying this good day of hers to the fullest. I watch her, and I learn. So here we are together, taking our days one at a time, and being very, very grateful for each one that turns out to be good.
I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean to be away so long. But sometimes life intervenes. Do you remember that line from the Ancient Mariner? I’ve had reason to lately. Several weeks back I woke up at two in the morning to hear a curious rushing sound. Half-asleep, I stumbled out into the hall. It couldn’t be, I thought. But it was. A burst pipe. In the second floor bathroom. Surrounded by swirling, gushing water, it took me a few moments to realize I had to get down to the basement fast to turn off the main water valve. That accomplished, before I even changed out of my night clothes I did the next thing I always do in an emergency. I phoned my next-door neighbors—who else? Thanks to their help, things were soon under control. My insurance company was notified, and we were waiting for a plumber and a restoration company to show up. Since then I’ve been dealing with the aftermath. Someday I hope to have my house back the way it was. But I’ll never underestimate the power of water. Or of good neighbors. And who knows? My experience might turn into an interesting story someday. (That’s just one of the many nice things about being a writer!)
Until a few days ago the tree branches were dark silhouettes against the sky, bare except for a few almost too-tiny-to-see buds. It was cold enough to make you grab a jacket on your way outdoors. Nights often brought frosts leaving roofs and grassy areas as white as if we had a light snowfall. But all that’s changed. It’s almost as though a hidden switch has been flipped and spring’s been instantly replaced by summer. Swelling buds in the morning are leaves by afternoon, and the flowering trees are painting entire neighhoods with brilliant pink and white and rose. I know, according to the calendar it won’t officially be summer until June, twenty-first. And the leaves we’re welcoming now, we’ll be grumbling about in September. But for this little while, let’s enjoy the lazy days of summer. Put up the hammock, lean back, take a long drink of iced tea or whatever, and pretend not to notice how fast that green, green grass is growing. (Ditto for the weeds.)