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.)
Great news from Amazon! This past week four of my books have been released in print format. Until now they’ve been available at Amazon only as e-books. All four were published by Avalon Books in hardcover earlier, but were sold mainly to libraries. Now that they’re out in trade paperback, I’m hoping they’ll find new readers. “Summer of Fear,” is a mystery. “Love’s Sweet Song,” “Where Love Waits,” and “A Night to Remember,” are “sweet” romances. So stop by. I’ll pour you each a steaming cup of coffee, and offer you a banana muffin fresh from the oven, or a slice of homemade applesauce cake. Questions? Try http://www.amazon.com/author/normadavisstoyenoff
Hurray!! For the very first time (and I’ve been checking regularly), I’ve found a few very tiny shoots poking through the ground in the backyard. So many shrubs and plants were damaged or killed by the rough winter weather, it was a real joy to see those small bits of green promising that at least we’d have a few tulips and daffodils.
We’ve finally found something else to talk about this winter besides the terrible weather. Especially now that the Academy Awards are over, the current most popular greeting seems to be, “Have your income tax done yet?” Even if our favorite CPA or other tax consultant takes care of the actual filing to the IRS, we’re still responsible for rounding up and sorting out tons of bills and receipts and other important papers. And there’s always something of the utmost importance that seems to have disappeared. We drop everything else in search of this one elusive paper, going through waste baskets, emptying drawers, turning over boxes, until after several hours we throw up our hands and temporarily give up. Only to discover the document we’ve been frantically searching for has been right in front of us all this time, hiding there in plain sight. Ever have this happen to you?
A dozen of red roses is nice. So is a heart-shaped box of candy. An offer of dinner out is hard to turn down. And a little bling inside a box is always a nice surprise. But when you get right down to it, none of this is really necessary. The Beatles were right. LOVE is all we need. So Happy Valentine’s Day, and lots of love to everybody!