Friday, January 19, 2007

until February

Hey y'all

Everything and everyone is fine, but I've got dogs to train, articles to proof, a column to write, and a novel to revise, not to mention an impending maternal visit (yay mom!) and a trip to san francisco.

So I'm not going to be posting for awhile. Check back in right before Valentine's Day, and I'll tell you lots of stories.

In the mean time, ponder this:

1. Crude oil under $50 a barrel


Congress taking away rollbacks to oil companies
Walmart pledging to start solar-powering 5 stores

2. quantum physics apparently refers to things going on sub-atomically (who knew?)

3. And as always, the more research I do for my book, the more I implore you to buy non-hormonal milk and grass-fed, hormone-free beef. The cheap stuff is cheap for a reason.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

every morning

I took the dogs on a brisk, half-hour walk this morning. I do this every morning. I then came back, toodled around on the sites that I have to check before I can begin work, while Shadow lay snoozing at my feet. After the obligatory ten minutes of compulsive site-checking, I rose, gathered the notes I'd made over breakfast, and prepared to work on my novel. This involved getting my binder, moving a chair, grabbing a blanket b/c I get very cold sitting at a desk without moving, and retrieving my stone-cold cup of coffee from my bureau.

It also involved Dido.

Dido is a dear, sweet dog, with a massive anxiety complex and more than a touch of OCD. Because I was moving, she felt compelled to follow me, stopping whenever I stopped and looking up with very mournful black eyes, as if to say 'but what about me?'

Which is why I sat down, patted her head, and said, 'my turn. it's my turn. you already had your turn.'

and then I dragged her bed into the study so she can lie in the corner and beam dog-walking/patting thoughts at me in comfort.

Friday, January 12, 2007

It's been a trying, overly emotional day.

But all is well.

Here's an old picture to tide you over til Monday, you rabid ableponders, you-- it's of K. the first time he played volleyball in that strange hidden sand court, entering a game that's been in continuation since 1984. With a lot of the same people.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I've been chided for making Mississippi sound too good.

To tell the truth, the two times I've driven back and up the East Coast convince me that we won't settle here forever. But we both have the strange feeling of being in an unfamiliar land that makes quirks seem charming and inconvcniences part of the new landscape (don't get me started on the labryinth of drivers lisences and vehicle registrations).

For clarification, our new house is in Water Valley, Mississippi, a small town 20 miles from Oxford. Oxford is the cultural powerhouse of north Mississippi, with crazy expensive real estate (for these parts), a coffeehouse, a kicking bookstore, and great restaraunts. Water Valley, on the other hand, has a drugstore that's straight out of the 1950s, soda fountain and all, an antiquestore/cum tea shop, a hardware store, a post office, churches, and a recently closed restaraunt whic has elected to keep its bar open until the owners make some decisions. However, Oxford used to be a backwater and Water Valley was a thriving railroad town, so it's stocked with beautiful turn-of-the-century houses. Queen Annes and some really magnificent Victorarians, as well as columned brick mansions that can be had for pretty much a penny and a song. The biggest house here sells for about what a townhouse in DC goes for.

Anyway, K. and I are happier to be in Water Valley because it's a smaller town, with lower rent, and the people are falling-over-themselves happy that we're here.

A girl told me that the only meeting place here is at the aforementioned bar. K. and I are not bar people-- in fact, I lay awake last night trying to remember if we've ever gone to a bar-- but we're lonely. And so we went last night, which apparently is "the" night.

We walked in, and the ten or so heads clustered around the counter turned. For the next hour, we met everyone in the room.

An elderly gentleman named Snooky said he'd lived in Water Valley for fifty years.

"Where'd you move from?" I asked.


"How'd you get down here?"

He winked. "Philadelphia, Mississippi."

We chatted a while longer and somehow got on the topic of safety.

"Hit's a pretty safe town," he said. "I've been walking around for fifty years and never got raped."

Trust me, it was funny.

On Friday, I'll be attending the literary club, which meets at the aforementioned drug store and swaps paperbacks. Apparently, they can get right rowdy, but I feel obliged to join since they waived the customary five thousand dollar joining fee "on account of your youth." (Really, I can't wait. And they were joking, in case y'all don't get southern humour.)

Apart from the Texan who's going to work on an oil refinery in Panama and a rather elderly Elvis, I also met a man who's had three wives and who wrapped his arm around me before he left. Luckily, K.'s bigger than him.

We emerged an hour or so later with our two glasses of wine anonymously paid for-- since anonoymous doesn't have much meaning in a town of this size, the bartender had been instructed not to let us know who had. My bet is on the lady who brought us spice bread the other day and vows to get us to join her church.

I am getting pretty fond of all this local color; we just need a farm. And speaking of, I met a gal at the gym who has friends with a 1920s farmhouse on 11 acres of land who are thinking of selling. I jotted my cell number down on a class schedule, and now we're touring her friends' property in early February.

It's all a long shot, but we'll see.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I can't help it. I tried to convince myself that y'all would figure out that there are THREE new posts below this one, but I just don't trust you.

Read them all.

day of the blog

The sun finally peeked out (it poured all yesterday), and so here's the house. By the time I was inside, it had retreated again, thus not adequately conveying the amount of sunshine the living room and the study get...but we're loving it, at half the price of the townhouse and gazillions times the pleasure, and it's a good place to call home while we wait for our farmhouse. Ignore the mess, remember we only unpacked last weekend, we are in dire need of bookcases, rugs, and a large desk for moi, and enjoy. (We're going to visit the Amish chairmaker this weekend! We only have one!)

Christmas pics

Christmas Eve, all a bit tired, on our way to the midnight service.

The Pierce girls are all a bit bleary-eyed as we shuffle into open our presents before driving to auntie j's.

But spirits soon pick up as caffeine and presents give their respective highs. (how cute is my husband?)

And then we toddle off to auntie j's, where we kind of stopped taking pictures, but note my adorable cousin, pictured in the last photo with sometimes adorable sister (who luckily for me is such a college brat that she never reads this, so I can lampoon her to my satisfaction):

It was a really nice Christmas, filled with K's pies, too little sleep, too much driving, and just the right amount of sentiment. K's family being so far away was the only sour note, but it's their turn next year.

Mississippi Miracles

On Monday, after a weekend of unpacking and being in the house, K. and I were ready to start off the New Year with a little.. adventure.

Being nosy non-drinking types, we headed to Sardis Lake, a lake north of Oxford that apparently everyone and his brother goes waterskiing on.

Lakes are different down here. They're manmade for sport. Because of cottonmouths and other water nasties, ppl don't really go swimming in them. Although thank heaven we're too far north for alligators.

But a lake is a lake, and so we drove to it. I had my nose in a book, planning our San Fransisco vacation, and so when K. broke into laughter and slowed the truck, it took me a second to look up.

He was laughing at the lake. Or rather, the absence of one.

Sardis lake, boat ramps, signs, picnic tables and all, consisted of a vast sea of...mud. Dotted with dead standing trees and occasional glimpses of flat blue water. It looked like an alien landscape under the big blue sky.

"Maybe we're on the wrong side," said I.

"There's a road," said he, pointing to a gravel road that streaked through the mud.

Being in our Tundra, the dogs in the back, we elected to take the road.

And we crawled along appily enough for a full five minutes, until we reached a dip that was filled with shimmering blue water. The earth, cracked and fissured, looked sturdy enough to go around said dip.

So we did, and promptly, despite me bouncing in the back, despite K. sinking in the deceptively soft mud to get pieces of wood for the tires, despite our kick-ass four wheel drive, we got stuck.

The air was very cold and clean, the sky very blue, and we were marooned in the middle of this vast mudpit. I laughed, and luaghed, and laughed. And bless his heart, K., inches of clay stuck to his new sneakers, laughed too.

Then I spotted them on the horizon. Four-wheelers. They spotted us, and within moments, we were surrounded with eight four-wheelers laden with big men and boy-men, all decked out in camo, with two dogs accompanying them.

"Why didn't you stay on the road?" The biggest one asked.

"It's full of water," K. said, and I nodded my Virginian head.

"Lined with concrete," the man said. He held his hands about a foot and a half apart. "Ain't but that deep anyway."

We felt very dumb, and even dumber a minute later when we asked where the hell the lake was anyway.

"They drain it every winter," another man said. His boy-child said, "we just come out here to play."

Three of the fourwheelers winched and towed us out within minutes, while another boy-child stared in the windows at me, snapping madly away, and Shadow and Dido. "You have two fat dogs," he said, and though I smiled, that's just not true.

When we were back on the road, the four-wheelers wheeling around us like mechanical herding dogs, we gave them our sincere thanks.

"Welcome to Mississippi," the boss one said, and then they streaked away.

We ended up driving on and letting the girls play. Despite the mud, it was a better beginning to a new year than I could have dreamed up.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

a bone


pictures tomorrow, I promise, I swear.

In other news: I finally found a good eyebrow waxer. I'm reading the Dalai Lama's "Art of Happiness" like the good little yuppie I am-- and I like it. I'm trying to train the dogs to a-- stay off the couch/armchair and b--do the invisible fence thing. Which so far means that they're pretty much afraid to go outside. But we're only in day two, and according to my manual, this is normal. I'm working on a few short projects before revising the novel, and all is going well. I fried the motherboard on my laptop, though, which apparently costs nearly what I paid for the darn thing three years ago, so we're not getting it fixed. I'm waiting for K's battered laptop (cabin-building in VT took a toll) to die, and then I'm going to pressure him into getting us a desktop that we share for internet/word processing.

IN THE MEAN TIME, I love my new system. Two binders. One for random stuff, one for writing. Here's what I love about it: no commitment. I can write whatever wherever, and then ORGANIZE IT because the paper has HOLES. I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT. And unlike the darn laptop, binders are truly portable. AndI get to feel productive typing it all up later. The catch about being self-employed is that so far, there's little built-in busy work, so I'm actually happy for the mindless addition to my routine.

I have a great story, but I want to save it for tomorrow so pics can accompany it. So check back tomorrow, peeps.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

We've driven 1700 miles and moved to our new house. But, alas, the internet doesn't get turned on until Thursday.

Blogging will resume and pictures will follow.