One Year Later and Beautiful and Lovely Awards

One year ago I started this blog as a way to create a routine for writing as I am one of those writers who needs a deadline unless I am unusually blessed by my muse.  Occasionally I can conger her up with a lighted candle.

At first I was going to call my blog “Crones and Curmudgeons,” but then I decided I did not want to speak for the curmudgeons  as they tend to speak loudly enough for themselves.  I would write from the viewpoint of a crone, a coastal crone since I live on the  gulf coast.  It would be “The Coastal Crone.”  On July 8 I  published my first  post, “Wisdom of the Crone.”  One year later I am acknowledging two new awards.

The first is the “Beautiful Blogger Award” from a beautiful young woman, Cara Olsen, of “This Little Light of Mine.”  Cara writes from her heart and has many talents.  One blogger wrote, “That girl can do anything!”  Check out her book, “Awakening Foster Kelly.”   Thank you, Cara!

The other one is “One Lovely Blog Award” from a lovely lady, George Weaver, of “She Kept a Parrot.”  George is probably one of the first persons to follow my blog.  She generously shares her life – present and past – through orb of camera and accompanied  by words of wisdom and humor.  She and her camera can turn the ordinary into the exotic.   Thank you, George!

One of the rules of these awards is that you disclose seven random things about yourself.  Here are some whimsical revelations.

1.  I once had six grown cats:  three were  inside cats and three were outside cats.
2.  My daughter and I graduated from college the same year.
3.  I have never been to Las Vegas or Branson, Missouri.
4.  Whenever appropriate I wear heels to augment my height of 5′ 2”.
5.  I am morbidly afraid of snakes.
6.  Sunshine makes me happy.
7.  I am not a morning person.

Another rule states that I must nominate others for these awards.  Forgive me, but I am going to deviate.  The purpose of these awards seems to be to recognize, encourage and promote blogs we find worthy of our time.  Cara and George have nominated several blogs they like so I will simply encourage you to check out some of the ones they have chosen.  You may find some you may want to explore and follow.

Here are the posts where they listed their nominees. 

My thanks again to Cara and George and to all who have stopped by my blog to look around, comment, like and follow.   I hope you will visit again!

Just for fun – Summer Scenes on my Veranda

With the official arrival of summer on the calendar I thought I would post some pictures taken on my veranda.  It is a nice spot to enjoy a second cup of coffee in the morning and a glass of wine in the cool of the evening.  The golden-fronted woodpecker and his mate are gone, but one lone hummingbird is still hanging around.  (Click on the photos below for larger views.)


Fountain and Bromeliad

This bromeliad just opened completely this week and will last for several weeks.  Husband took the flower/fountain shots.

Close-up of bromeliad bloom

Do you see a face in this one?  I see a face, eyes, nose, hair and beard.  It  looks a bit  like Yosemite Sam from the Warner Brothers cartoons or perhaps King Neptune.

Wiccan in a pot by the fountain

I took this one of my cat, Wiccan, as she relaxed safely up high in a large pot on the left side the fountain.  She often leaps gracefully to the fountain for a drink of water.  She is twelve years old and will probably be my last cat.

June is the beginning of the hurricane season.  Will this be the year that a major one hits our area?  We have been spared for many years.  If one comes, we will bring Wiccan inside and roll down the shutters.  In the meantime I will embrace  summer.   May you enjoy the summer days wherever you live!

My Favorite Bibliophile…

A couple of years ago Husband and I took a road trip to North Texas to check out family history on my father’s side.  We visited small country cemeteries, a beautiful old courthouse, a log cabin and Uz, a town near where my grandfather was born.  All that is left of Uz is a state historical marker.  My great-great-grandmother, who is buried in the area,  kept a diary from 1876 to 1888.  Today I think she would have been a blogger and would have definitely embraced Facebook.  But that may be another post!

Since we were so close, I had to visit Archer City, where my favorite bibliophile – Larry McMurtry – lives.  He was born near Archer City and grew up in the area where his father ranched.  The first stop was the Royal Theater.

Crone at the Royal Theater

As a not-so-famous-bibliophile myself I love to visit used bookstores wherever I travel as I seek bargains and rare treasures, so a visit to Archer City was perfect.  The small town (population 1848) is home to Booked Up Inc., a series of bookstores owned by McMurtry.  They are right in downtown Archer City near the courthouse and scattered around in several buildings.  There is a guide to tell you what type of books are in each building.  The day we were there it was quiet and we usually found that we were the only customers.  When I found my first treasure, “The Golden Man” by Victor W. von Hagen, there was not even a sales person around  to take my money.  Then I noticed something posted by the front door directing me to go to building number one to pay.  It was like being in someone’s personal library with books stacked high on shelves (ladders for he brave) and organized loosely by category.  There were no other literary related items for sale.  And we would have to go elsewhere for coffee.   The other buildings were similar:  some smaller, some larger but all smelled of warm dust and old paper.

The last stop was building number one where indeed  I was able to pay for my treasures and encountered Leo, the bookstore cat.  Dare I think that since Larry McMurtry does maintain a home in Archer City not far from his book stores that he might actually be in town and stop by?  Alas, a sign read, “When will Mr. McMurtry be here?  At his whim.”  I confess that I did persuade Husband to drive ever so slowly by his home before we left town.

I have read  many of his books, fiction and non-fiction, and  it would be hard to choose my favorites, but these would be at the top of my list.

“Lonesome Dove”
“Terms of Endearment”
“In a Narrow Grave”
“Duane’s Depressed”
“Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen”

Recently I was surprised to learn that at age 72 he had married the widow of fellow author and friend, Ken Kesey, on April 29,  2011.  James McAuley interviewed him last year for an article in The New Yorker titled “Larry McMurtry’s Dying Breed:  A Visit to Archer City.”

McMurtry, in addition to being a novelist, essayist and screenwriter,  has been a book collector for many years and has bought out the stock of several old and prestigious  bookstores.  In one non-fiction book he includes a chapter titled “Book Scouting” and explains it this way.

I’m sure that I’ve had as much pleasure in the hundreds (or maybe thousands) of bookshops I’ve been in, going along row by row and shelf by shelf looking for a title or an edition that I’ve never seen, as my father did culling and inspecting the many cattle herds he bought from.  The process of selection, weighing the qualities of various animals, in his mind, was a work that required judgment, sophistication, experience, and – if you will- taste.

And that, essentially is what I try to bring to the composition of my book shops: taste, which if applied persistently will result in an interesting mixture of books, none of which is undesirable or unappealing.”

McMurtry has often written about the changing world of the dying breed of the cowboy and co-wrote the screenplay for “Brokeback Mountain.”  He also hints that  book collectors may be a dying breed as well.

How we read is changing.  I like the digital world for blogging, news, articles, shopping, reservations/tickets and some of the social media, but I must have my books.  They are comforting to me.  I can take them with me anywhere and anytime, touch them, make notes in them, mark them with a favorite bookmark, stack them on the floor or make room for one more in a book shelf.  When I give one as a gift, I write a dated message inside.

Perhaps I am a dying breed also.  Maybe I am in good company!