Bookfest and #AmWatching

Last Monday I mentioned I’d be at the SoKY Bookfest this past Friday and Saturday as a reader. It’s always one of my favorite weekends of the year – kind of feels like I’m surrounded by my tribe. I only bought two books – cue the gasps of disbelief. But I tried to buy more, I swear. One of the authors sold out of the book I wanted – yay for him. Another author was unable to come, and I’d read several of the others featured. So I did my best.

I watched several young adult panels filled with some of my favorite authors. Those always inspire me, and I never tire of hearing writers talk about their books, origin stories, what they’re working on, etc. Over eight hundred students from grade school through high school attended on Friday – I love to see kids with books. They also attended the panels and asked some of the standard questions – where do you get your ideas, are any of your characters based on you, what’s your favorite color – but some of the questions were impressive. Do you read negative feedback about your books and if so, how do you deal with it? What’s your method for creating characters? Maybe the teachers supplied them ahead of time, who knows. One of the author’s books was set during WWII and several kids had questions about it. They had a genuine interest in that time period and it showed.

Has anyone watched The Company You Keep on ABC? I’ll watch anything featuring Milo Ventimiglia (Jack from This Is Us), but even hubby likes it (and you know how difficult he is with shows). The cast also includes Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead) and William Fichtner (he’s good in everything). Here’s the description: A night of passion leads to love between con man Charlie and undercover CIA officer Emma, who are unknowingly on a collision course professionally. While Charlie ramps up the family business with sights set on getting out for good, Emma works to close in on the vengeful criminal who holds Charlie’s family debts in hand — forcing them to reckon with the lies they’ve told so they can save themselves and their families from disastrous consequences. The series is based on the Korean Broadcasting System series entitled “My Fellow Citizens.”

Have a great week!

Book Festival, #AmWriting, and #AmWatching

Friday and Saturday of this week, you’ll find me at the Southern Kentucky Book Festival right here in Bowling Green – one of my favorite weekends of the year! This time I’ll be attending as a reader instead of an author. With plenty of panels and authors from a variety of genres, I’m super excited. Although my shelves are full and my TBR chaotic, I’m sure I’ll come home with a stack of books. And I don’t feel even a little bit guilty about that.

I’ve mentioned before that all of my books have been written differently – chronological order, out of sequence, characters showing up out of nowhere and demanding to be included, etc. Book 5 is no different. I realized last week I needed a family tree before I could go any further. A Victorian house has been in this family for generations, and many of these ancestors may be mentioned in the story. Last week I researched popular names from the 1850s to the 1980s. It’s interesting how many of the names from the 1800s are still popular today. They never seem to go out of style.

Season three of Ted Lasso started last week! Son #2 texted me Saturday and asked how dare I not inform him of the new season. Not sure how he could have missed the news – it was everywhere. I love all those characters, but Roy has been my favorite from the first episode. His interactions with his niece Phoebe are adorable (the Christmas episode was fabulous). It’s rumored this will be the last season, but I’m really hoping that’s not true. Shows of this caliber are few and far between.

Believe and have a fantastic week!

Vet Visit, Italy, and #AmWatching

Why no, that tuxedo on the shelf isn’t a statue. I’d planned to go to the used book sale at our our local library this past Friday morning (like I really need more books). Don’t judge me. Plenty of you would have gone if you had the opportunity. Anyhoo, those plans changed. Bond’s had a cough for the past few weeks, but he’d had the same thing last fall and it was diagnosed as allergies. I assumed this was also. But then he vomited four times in less than twenty-four hours, so off to the vet we went. It was an upper respiratory infection, nothing serious, but he got injections for the nausea and an antibiotic. I also have to give him an oral antibiotic for ten days. Which promises to be a challenge since he doesn’t take kindly to being held against his will and a syringe forced into his mouth. This pic was taken in the exam room. He jumped onto the shelf where I couldn’t reach him. Guess his strategy was that if no one could get to him no thermometers could be put in unmentionable places and no needles would be involved. Didn’t quite work out what way.

A few weeks ago I mentioned hubby and I were traveling to Italy in June. We’ve now invited both sons to go with us. It won’t be possible for Son #2 with his work schedule – but don’t feel sorry for him. He and a couple friends are going to Ireland in April. You may also remember he visited ten countries one summer when he was with his university marching band. Son #1 will probably be able to go, so the trip will be even more exciting. When we took Son #2 to NYC a few years ago, Son #1 wasn’t able to go – not that he was really interested. Kind of equals out, I guess.

I finished the second half of season 4 of You on Saturday. Now I’m watching Daisy Jones and The Six. I didn’t read the book, but the show sure grabbed me. Riley Keough really resembles her mother (Lisa Marie Presley), and I became a fan of Sam Claflin after watching him in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It’s streaming on Prime if you’re interested.

Have a great week!

Storm, Little Library, and #AmWriting

We experienced a powerful, hours long windstorm this past Friday. There was also rain, but with gusts of over 65mph it was the wind that caused damage. We lost three trees planted over sixteen years ago when we moved here. Two landed close to our neighbor’s garage and fence, but didn’t do any damage. Our heavy iron patio furniture was tossed around like it was made of plastic. We have other trees leaning over with their roots exposed that will have to be removed. Hubby, and friend, and a neighbor spent around six hours on Saturday with a chainsaw and other tools clearing the trees. Needless to say, at the top of my to-do list today is calling a tree guy – me and hundreds of other people, I’m sure.

I learned last week someone had added a Little Library in our neighborhood. I think they’re wonderful and a great way to meet your neighbors and encourage reading. I dropped off copies of each of my books – maybe I’ll find some new readers. You never know.

Last week I mentioned I felt like Book #5 was missing a piece of the plot that tied everything together. Son #2 came over a few days ago to pick up some things. He also writes for his D&D group, so we’ve discussed writing several times over the past few years. I told him my current struggles, we bounced some ideas around, and something he said reminded me of a note I’d made and forgotten about. We cracked it – woohoo! Sometimes you just need that extra nudge from someone else to shake things loose in the brain, I guess.

Have a great week!

Tower Wars, Lunch, and #AmWriting

It’s a cloudy Monday here, but temps are supposed to be in the 70s. Such bizarre weather this year. Anyhoo, I had a fabulous weekend. For starters, Son #1 was here. You regular readers know what that means. Bond’s arch nemesis, Sora, was also here. Lots of chases through the hallway, occasional hissing, and stealing of toys, food, and treats. Saturday afternoon saw an epic battle of Tower Wars. Faster than the speed of light paw slaps, carefully planned strategic maneuvers, artfully dodged claws – and Bond emerged the winner. Of this round, anyway.

On Sunday, Son #2 came over and made lunch. His Whiskey Scallops were superb, but I forgot to get any pics. I made some mushroom orzo and a salad as sides. It sure was nice to have the four of us around a dinner table. I also forgot to mention last week that Son #2 has been working on a German chocolate cake recipe and brought me a slice to sample. Absolutely delicious – and I’m not a big coconut fan. Being a guinea pig for his recipes sure comes with perks.

I continue to make progress with Book #5 – woohoo!. The ideas are flowing, but I still feel like I’m missing a piece of the puzzle that ties everything together. I tend to write out of sequence, so I’m thinking if I write around it, the characters will reveal it soon enough. Wish me luck.

Have a great week!

Missing Winter, Italy, and #AmWatching

Not sure about you guys, but we’ve had the weirdest weather. I feel cheated because I enjoy at least a couple good snows per year. Temps are far above normal, and later this week we’re predicted to have mid to upper 70s weather. Makes me think the snow may arrive with the month of March – which happened a few years ago, I think. My brain equates February = snow and March = spring. The equations are definitely unbalanced this year.

For those of you who’ve traveled to Italy, I need some recommendations. Hubby and I are finally going. A few years ago we were working with a travel agent and getting ready to book – then the pandemic hit. Hubby will be in Milan on business mid June, so we decided I’ll fly over to meet him, and we’ll spend a week or so. We’re looking at taking the train from Milan to Venice, Rome, and Florence (maybe a couple, maybe all three). I’m ready for some good food and wine!

Over the weekend, I finally convinced hubby to give Breaking Bad a try. I got through the first season several years ago, but for some reason never finished the series. After the first episode, he asked me why we’d waited so long to watch it. If he’d listen to my recommendations more often, we wouldn’t be having these conversations.

Hope you all have a fantabulous week!

Super Bowl, Pinterest, and #AmWatching

I’m writing this an hour before friends arrive for our Super Bowl party. Son #1 wasn’t able to come home, Son #2 has no interest whatsoever in “sport ball” and couldn’t name one NFL team. I’d hoped Jacksonville would make it to the bowl (their QB is from Clemson, and I’m an alum), but I guess I’m now pulling for Kansas City. I’m more about the commercials than anything, and last year’s were a big disappointment. One of my friends loves to crochet. Cats and yarn go hand in hand, so Bond loves her, of course, as you can tell from the pic. This was taken during the game last night.

A friend’s frequent use of Pinterest encouraged me to revisit mine after many years of no activity (thanks, Craig!). The setting of my new WIP is an inherited Victorian house in a small town. After my SIL visited Washington, NC, she mentioned how charming and welcoming it was. It sounded exactly like what I’d pictured for the new book, so I now have pics of that town and various interior and exterior photos of Victorian houses. This could become a thing for me.

The first half of season four of You dropped on Netflix last week, and I binged those episodes in a couple days. Yes, Joe is a stalker and a murderer, but I weirdly find myself still pulling for him. Not sure what that says about me. Anyone else watch it yet?

Have a great week!

Nostalgic Weekend

Some of our family relocated to Morgantown, WV several months ago, and hubby and I were excited about that. Why? It’s where we met and received our undergraduate degrees – the home of West Virginia University. We’ve been back a few times for football games, but it’s been more than a minute since we graduated and years since we last visited. While hubby was off with his brother, my SIL was kind enough to drive me around town to some of my old haunts, places I’d lived (that shockingly were still there), and through the almost nonexistent and unrecognizable Sunnyside (the site of several couch burnings after big football game wins).

I also persuaded her to take me to a restaurant that friends and I often went to at the end of a night – where I first tried the totally addictive french fries dipped in bleu cheese dressing. After all these years, it tasted exactly the same. I joked that it might be because the oil in the fryers hadn’t been changed since then, but I didn’t care. If you’ve never experienced this delicacy, I highly recommend it.

This photo is of Woodburn Hall, built between 1874 and 1876, and where hubby and I met during a finance class in summer school all those years ago. It’s kind of shaded, but our class was the window directly to the right of the main entrance. It still looks exactly the same.

It was fun to go back and reminisce. Tell me if you’ve experienced something like this.

Cleaning, Air Fryers, and #AmWatching

The cleaning spree continues here at the Polen house. After plowing my way through Son #1’s apartment, I kept the momentum going. Both boys still have lots of ‘stuff’ in their bedrooms here, but I was able to get them to clean out a lot of it over the past month. Many trips have been made to Goodwill, and numerous trashbags have been filled. Son #2 took his mattress when he moved out, and the new one was delivered a couple weeks ago. New bedding will be here this week (used up some Amazon gift cards!). A large, bulky desk in Son #1’s bedroom has been donated to a local charity, and a cube organizer took its place. It’s strangely freeing to be rid of so much ‘stuff’. Almost like I can breathe better.

How many of you use an air fryer? I subscribe to Cooking Light and their latest magazine is devoted to air fryer recipes. Hubby and I took the plunge and bought one. We love it. Ours isn’t the largest size, but it’s perfect for just the two of us. Recipes have included different types of fish, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts (hubby isn’t a fan of them, but he ate every bite of this recipe), chickpeas, tater tots, and a Buffalo chicken bowl. I’ve never had much luck with chicken recipes (it tends to come out dry), but it was very moist with the air fryer. And cleanup is super easy.

I’m super late getting to this show, but I started watching Titans on HBO Max over the weekend. I’m more of a Marvel fan, but I was hooked after the first episode. Side note to Staci – it was cancelled before I started, so our curse doesn’t apply to this series.

Have a great week!

Belly of the Beast Report and Lunch

Last week I mentioned I was headed to Son #1’s apartment (the belly of the beast) to clean. The possibility of before and after pics were brought up, but to spare him embarrassment (and there would be plenty) I won’t post any. Let’s just say about ten bags of clothes were donated to Goodwill, numerous bags of trash (I lost count), empty boxes, and a fantasy football board were taken to the dumpster. Dusting is the bane of my existence. Hate it. But I did it for him and sneezed my way through it. Sora (if you follow this blog, you know she’s his diva cat and Bond’s nemesis) was thrilled to have entertainment throughout the day and enjoyed climbing the mountain of laundry on the floor waiting to be washed. When I finished the next day, floors were clear and vacuumed, furniture dusted, clothes hung in the closet and put away in the dresser, and I left with a huge feeling of accomplishment, lol. Here’s a pic of Miss Diva on her heating pad.

I’ve mentioned Son #2 is a foodie and has been hanging out in the kitchen with me since he was around 6 or 7. He currently works at a nice restaurant here in town and loves it. Yesterday he came over and cooked lunch for us – red snapper with a lemon, white wine, and caper sauce over asparagus. Soooo good. He’s also been working on some desserts, and his chef is adding one of them to the menu this week or the next. I’ve been a guinea pig for a couple things he’s tried. Doesn’t that pic look appetizing?

I’ll be tied up for the day, so I may not get to comments and your blogs until tomorrow. Have a great week!