Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weather Abides

The weather forecast all week has called for rain on Friday and thunderstorms on Saturday. No biggie to most of you, but in Southern California most folks do not take weather in their stride. I was sure anyone thinking about having a sale this weekend would convince themselves to wait a week or so.

Last night it poured as ordered. So far today we’ve had nothing but sunshine and fluffy white clouds. Okay, there’s a chilly wind blowing, but wind is something everyone’s used to here.

I had errands to run (had to get that quarter of a tank of gas that $20 buys right now) so I headed out, though a bit later than usual. I did give Craigslist a quick check before I left, and there was one ad posted early in the week about a neighborhood sale. Yeah, right, my sarcastic self muttered. But sarcasm was not enough to quell hope, so I drove by that neighborhood and sure enough there were a few sales.

I’ve got to try to remember which realtor scheduled this thing. When it eventually comes time to sell our house, we could do worse than work with someone who seems to be able to control the weather.

Going to yard sales is an especially frugal hobby this time of year. Last week I spent a dime, this week it was a dollar. Check out these great vintage paperbacks. Two of them include two books: The Secret of ZiIMG_0134(how does the alien get his cape to float like that?) plus Beyond the Vanishing Point (“Out of infinite smallness grew a gigantic peril”); IMG_0132 and One Against HerculumIMG_0130plus Secret of the Lost Race. An Andre Norton I don’t think I’ve ever read—woohoo!IMG_0129This Heinlein doesn’t ring any bells either.IMG_0128And Earth Abides…didn’t they make a movie of this several years ago? IMG_0125I dimly remember an Australian movie with the same themes, but it had a different title. However, I did find this gem on YouTube—a school project that some kids did to promote the book. (Keep going past the initial voiceover, which is a bit hard to understand.)

As a writer, what I’m really jealous of is the blurb on the back cover—from Carl Sandburg, no less. Sheesh!


While I was perusing the boxes of books, one of the ladies having the sale noticed my car sitting by the driveway. “A convertible with the top down!” she exclaimed, walking over to look at it. “Somebody is really a free spirit.”

“Um, that would be me,” I said.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Rainy Day Winners!

Last night it stormed. Today was mostly sunny…but everyone chickened out of holding a yard sale in case it was going to storm some more. Marcia and I found a total of 3 sales to stop at. She bought 3 Peggy Lee LPs at one place for a buck. One of them had its original price sticker still on it--$1.59. When she said something to the young guy having the sale about that price he said yeah, that must be what his grandpa paid for it.

We are not sure how we feel about being in the same generation as someone’s grandpa. If they are old enough to hold a yard sale, they are too old to have a grandpa our age!

I managed to spend a whole dime on a Mary Stewart book. IMG_0124

I got there just in time to hear the previous shopper saying how excited she was to find Mary Stewart books. This was the only one she missed. Dang it. I just hope the ones she bought were the ones I already have!

So we had fun hanging out together but it’s hard to construct much of a narrative. As Marcia commented on our way home, “No dogs, no stories, at least we got to eat.”

BUT—we have a giveaway to conclude! Thanks a heap to all who entered this giveaway and left such lovely comments. I really appreciate the feedback from those who have read Sleeping Dogs Lie. (And yes, the parts you laughed at were meant to be funny!) I had such a hard time picking just three that I decide to have five winners. And those winners are…

Amber Von Felts



Kimsim and


Looks like Amber and TYRaines have contact info on their blog profiles. If you other three could contact me so I can get your email, I’ll send the pdf of In Dogs We Trust to you soon. And you all can start your new careers as proofreaders, feedback givers and (hopefully!) book promoters.

Meanwhile I’ll be thinking sunny thoughts for next Saturday. My goal is to spend at least fifty cents!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chasing Trails

The word must have gone out this morning that this was THE day to put out signs for sales that didn’t exist. If I chased one I bet I chased fifteen. It’s true that driving around the OC on a sunny Saturday in a convertible is not much of a hardship, but with gas prices as they are I prefer my driving around to be productive.

The word also went out that if you were having a sale that could be found, it must be mostly baby stuff. Which was great for all the folks who need baby stuff. At one of the sales a young man was putting together some piece of baby equipment (something colorful, not sure what it was) and I figured it was his sale…until I heard him ask what the price was! The woman who actually was in charge of the sale laughed and said, “Are you still putting that together?” Guess he wanted to be sure all the pieces were there—always a good idea even at yard sale prices. I’ve tried to train myself to check inside DVD and CD cases. So annoying to get home and find the case is empty!

Of course I’m always hoping to meet pets at sales, and it was a low key day for that. The only dog I met was this oneIMG_0074and we didn’t get to interact. Objects at ground level get further away the older you get!

I finally managed to spend a little over $19, beginning with 60 cents worth of soap.IMG_0081 That should do us for a while. I always love deals that make the 99 cent store look expensive!

Another sale netted these garden stakesIMG_0093 that we can write plant names on. Should come in handy for the garden tour, which is coming up at the end of April. If you’re in Southern California that weekend do put it on your calendar—free, self guided tour of a whole bunch of gardens “by real people for real people.” Keep an eye on the tour website for more info.

I also picked up two sheets of Dresden die cutsIMG_0086with nursery tale motifs.

IMG_0088 IMG_0087 

I’ve seen pictures of these decoupaged on Easter eggs. I’ll probably put them on eBay soon, but if you’re interested let me know, we can save those eBay fees.

I was headed home when I noticed an obscure sign and followed it, and thought I had found another false trail. But around one more curve I spotted another sign, and I found a sale with a lot of basket making supplies. The mother of the ladies having the sale had been a basket maker; it’s not a skill you run across too often around here. I didn’t pick up any of those supplies, but I did bring home five adorable Beatrix Potter Christmas ornaments.IMG_0082Still in their original packaging. Haven’t decided whether to keep these or resell them. They go for about $20 each at Replacements Ltd., and seem to do well on eBay as well. But dang, they’re cute!

My last stop was close to home, where I scored this chandelier.IMG_0075When we eventually sell this house we will replace the antique light we have in the dining room.

IMG_0107The chandelier came with those little clip on cloth shades and a few replacement bulbs. It wasn’t quite as good a deal as the fifty-cent chandelier that my friend Diane made off with a while back, but still not too bad.

If you haven’t entered for my latest giveaway,  you still have plenty of time! Three people who leave a comment will get to be pre-publication readers of my new novel, In Dogs We Trust, coming out this spring. So if you like to read, jump on in!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Another 11th Day Giveaway!

Here we are, the 11th day of another month of 2011. Time for another giveaway, and I think some of you will like this one. The prize this time?

You get to read my new book—before it is published!

In Dogs We Trust is nearing completion. The artist is working on the cover design, and I’m giving it a final editing (plus all the other details that go into publishing a book). Three winners will receive the manuscript (as a pdf file) to read and enjoy.

Since we haven’t gone to print yet, I’m hoping the winners will catch any typos I’ve missed (you always think you’ve gotten them all, and there’s always one that got away). I’d love to be able to include some quotes from readers on the cover. And I’m very much hoping you’ll help me create some buzz about the new book.

This time out Louisa and the dogs get involved with running a bed-and-breakfast inn on an island…as well as theft, counterfeiting, hidden identities, and a whole lot of snow.

Entering is simple: just leave a comment on this post. You don’t have to be a follower (love it if you are) or jump through any hoops. It’s great if you’ve read the first book, Sleeping Dogs Lie, but I’m interested to know if this one stands alone—or makes you want the read what you’ve missed! Enter by 9 am PST next Friday, 2/18. Since the prize will be a file I will email to you, you can be anywhere on the planet. So jump in, and good luck!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thanks…and be sure to tune in Friday!

Thank you so much for all your lovely notes about the loss of our Lizzie dog. I knew a lot of pet lovers were out there reading my blog, since the yard-sale-pet pictures are always so popular. I have truly felt among friends who understand the grief of losing a loved one, whether that one has two feet or four.

We are doing okay. Missing Lizzie of course, and grief is a sneaky thing. You realize you’re feeling a bit better, then wham, grief knocks you down again. But you keep going. After all, that’s what Lizzie would have done, and you can do way worse for a role model than a sweet dog.


Hope you’ll all stop by this Friday, the 11th, for my second 11th day of 2011 giveaway. Not going to tell you yet what it will be, but I think some of you will be interested!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sweet Lizzie

Went garaging this morning with my friend Marcia. Had fun, bought a few things. But that’s not what I’m going to write about today.

Our sweet, sweet Lizzie dog died yesterday. We found out in October that she had a tumor on her spleen, and there was a fifty-fifty chance that it was malignant. Even if it was not, that kind of tumor can start to bleed internally, and the animal dies. We had to decide whether to do surgery.

Lizzie was nearly 13 years old, which for a dog her size was quite elderly. We wanted to give her the best chance of a happy life, however long it would be. The decision was not clear to me. So I did something that some of you will think is crazy, but I’m very glad I did it. I used an animal communicator recommended by a close friend to talk over the situation with Lizzie and find out what she would want.

It was a fascinating session; all our pets got into the conversation. In fact, our cat Noll insisted on talking first, because he wanted to demand “more food that tastes better.”4MO3 sm Lizzie communicated that she did not want the operation, and after more discussion with my husband, we decided against the surgery. We knew that her time could be long or short, but that we would just enjoy her every day as long as we could.

Perhaps the most important part of working with the communicator was that Edward was able to know what was coming. He was appalled. He had absolutely no idea that Lizzie would not always be with him. He’s five years younger, and has been with her every day since he was nine weeks old. 101_0125

We had four more wonderful months with Lizzie. She was happy, energetic most of the time, truly in great spirits. She was a little creaky at times because of her age, but has done great.

Yesterday turned out the be the day we hoped would not come, though we knew it would. Lizzie collapsed when she got up, and I knew at once what had happened. We sat with her, talking and crying. She was calm and not in distress. When the vet’s office opened, my husband called to consult, and because the process she was going through could have taken many hours and become worse for her, we decided to take her in. The staff at our vet’s were so kind. It was a hard thing to do, but we had to let her go to sleep forever.

All of our pets, mine and yours, bring so much to our lives. To live with another species so closely gives us the opportunity to expand our awareness of the world. The laughter they bring would be enough, but they give us so much more. Absolutely no one is ever as glad to see you as your dog.

IMG_0426aLizzie was a pound puppy who went through some hard times in her first 3 months of life. To her last day she was anxious that someone else might get her food, though I promised her every day that I would never give her dinner to a cat. We did a lot of training with her to overcome her issues. She was the smartest and most sensitive animal I have ever lived with. She always knew exactly what everyone around her was feeling. I’m not sure if she was psychic, but nothing escaped her attention. When our cat Buster had cancer, he underwent two surgeries, and we were told that he was cancer free. After a few weeks, Lizzie started inspecting his surgery site several times a day with her nose, and I was sure that she had detected a new growth. The vet assured me that it was just scar tissue. But Lizzie was right and the vet was wrong.

We have so many wonderful memories of her. I don’t think there was a day she did not make us laugh, and if there is a more priceless gift than that I don’t know what it could be.156_5618

So we are sad today. Edward is taking it hard. But we have no regrets. I believe we made the right decision four months ago. Of all the gifts our pets give us, one of the greatest is that they teach us about dealing with death. It’s in the contract from day one, and as hard as it undoubtedly is, it’s something we must learn.

This morning I decided to make a cup of tea to drink while I read my email. I took a clean mug out of the dishwasher, filled it with water, and put it in the microwave. When I took it out, I found a small black dog whisker on the rim of my mug. I choose to see it as a little hello from my Lizzie.

Lizzie in NV

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Check out my guest post over at Omnimystery News! I've written about how much time passed between having the initial idea for Sleeping Dogs Lie and getting to write “The End.”

Yeah. It was quite a while!
Pin It button on image hover