Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Maddie here. Bummer. Carol got me this cool orange T-shirt with a bat on the back. I was going to get to help her pass out candy this year. You know, greet the kids with a woof and wag of the tail. Maybe even plant a sloopy kiss here and there. But bands of rain moved across our area this afternoon, lasting until early evening. We only had a few kids. Now Carol has a ton of candy to haul into the office, and I didn't get to show...er...help out much at all. But Carol promises that I can help her next year. Until then, the orange T-shirt goes back into my drawer.

And more colors!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Before bringing you this gorgeous interlude, I'm thrilled that COURTING DANGER placed third in the long contemporary category of the Maggies this past weekend! Thank you, Georgia Romance Writers and all those who judged! :) Carol

The Colors

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

You may be thinking, "Hmm, Carol, but where are the fabulous fall colors you saw in Vermont?" And my answer... :) Carol

Anniversary: Hurricane Wilma

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Today marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Wilma. Thank God for El Nino as it's blown apart all the tropical depressions that formed this year. While hurricane season officially ends 11/30, with the cold waves sweeping down over the south now, it appears highly unlikely that a hurricane will form [knocking on wood as I type ]. My section of Florida really needed a break. We had 3 hurricanes in 13 months, and there were still homes with blue tarps when Wilma hit. In my neighborhood all the blue tarps are gone and the rapping sound of hammers has dissipated. When I'm on the road for my job, I'm also seeing fewer and fewer tarps. People are still living in temporary housing, but with the next season not until 6/07, maybe we can all get back on our feet. Here's to another 30 days of peace and quiet. :) Carol

The End of Pool Season

Monday, October 23, 2006

My neck of Florida is getting its first cold wave of the season. Temperatures are supposed to drop by 20 degrees. Yet when I got home from work tonight, the breeze was just getting a nip to it. After I took Maddie for a walk, I made a dash for the pool. The water was brisk as opposed to pleasant, but I swam my normal laps. Although I have solar heating, under the best of conditions, it can only heat the water about 10 degrees, and the solar system hasn't been the same since Hurricane Wilma. So with the cold wave, I figured I've had my last evening swim for the season. With the solar, my 'pool' season runs from April through end of October for sure, but anything beyond that is always questionable. Since I love swimming at night as it relaxes me, I'll miss my laps. However, the upside is tonight I got to open the windows to let in the fresh air for the first time since May. It feels so good! :) Carol

Manchester, VT Courthouse

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Built in 1822 the Manchester Courthouse stands across the street from the Equinox Hotel. I loved the play of light on its gold dome. In the mornings we would open our window in our attic room [I mean that literally. We got out from the elevator on the 3rd floor, went up stairs, opened the door to another steep flight of stairs to get to our room]. Then we would hang out to look at the sunrise light illuminating the church and courthouse. This is a sunset shot. :) Carol

Mt. Equinox

Friday, October 20, 2006

Of course, the Equinox Hotel takes its name from Mt. Equinox. Take about tight curves to drive up the mountain... There are several lookout points along the way, and it got progressively colder as we neared the top. Then at the summit...brrrrrrr!!! There's an abandoned hotel and no wonder. Once it's dark, it would be impossible to navigate the road. The area is owned/run by a group of monks whose monastery can be seen from one overlook. My friends and roomies Kathy and Diane are pictured freezing their bums off at the top. :) Carol

Equinox Hotel

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Our group stayed at the Equinox Hotel in Manchester. The hotel has strong Orvis connections as one brother began the sports clothing store and the other brother this hotel. 3 Presidents have stayed at this place and it reportedly has a few ghosts, though I saw none. While the rooms are small and lack many of the conveniences we come to associate with the hotel chains, the staff was fantastic. The hotel does boast a quaint tavern, and my friends did rave about the spa facilities. :) Carol


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

High on our 'to do' list for the Manchester area in Vermont was touring Hildene, the estate of Robert Todd Lincoln, who was Abraham Lincoln's only child to grow to old age. On a visit to the Equinox Hotel [where I stayed] with his mother, Robert fell in love with the area and bought land next to a friend's place. Robert lived there until his death and the property went through a series of his children and grandchildren. However, the line of the direct descendants ceased with the death of the last owner in ~1975 and became a historic landmark due to local preservation efforts. Lots of cool and interesting historical items in the house, but my personal fav was the case with one of three surviving black hats worn by Abe himself. Gave me chills! :) Carol


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

As part of the foliage tour my group took, we visited an alpaca farm. Believe it or not, an alpaca costs about $20,000. and the value of the animal isn't its coat. You also have to have 2 alpacas as they don't do well solo. They were curious, running up when we entered the pen, but didn't like sudden movements. The alpacas especially were drawn to the children in the group. Now I didn't know they could spit, but thankfully they didn't while we were in the pen. Thanks to my friend Marge Smith, here's some info on the critters: "Not all alpacas spit, but all are capable. While occasionally the projectile contains only air and a little saliva, the alpaca often bring up and project regurgitated stomach contents...
Spitting is mostly reserved for other alpacas, not for humans, but sometimes a human gets in the line of fire. If an alpaca is extremely displeased at a human, that person may well become covered in smelly, green goo...
For alpacas, spitting results in what is called "sour mouth." Sour mouth is characterized by a loose-hanging lower lip and a gaping mouth. This is caused by the stomach acids and unpleasant taste of the contents as they pass out of the mouth.
Some alpacas will spit when looked at, others will never spit — their personalities are all so individualized that there is no hard and fast rule about them in terms of social behavior." :) Carol


Monday, October 16, 2006

I'm back from Vermont and loved, loved, loved the state and the people. It was my second trip there and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I've got scads of photos but I'll start with the high point: The British School of Falconry located in Manchester, Vermont. I got to work with a Harris hawk called 'Sky'. She was a sweetie and weighed less than a pound and a half. We got to toss the hawks into the air [that's to allow them to find a draft of air to fly on] and then summon them back to roost on our hands. I had a blast and of course picked up a book on falconry. :) Carol

Beauty Day

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Maddie here. Saturday was my beauty day. Carol took me in and the groomer brushed my teeth, trimmed my nails, gave me an oatmeal bath [I have itchy skin] and then finished off the day with a haircut. However, the groomer had to add one last detail...she put orange Halloween bows in my hair. You would have thought I looked like a million dollars the way Carol made mushy noises when she first saw me. After we shared an Arby's roast beef sandwich as our Saturday treat, she just had to take me out in the front yard and take a million pictures of me. I'm not sure her getting a digital SLR camera was such a good thing. Now she can take all the pictures she wants because she knows she can go through and delete those she doesn't like. Still, all in all, I'm looking good and I smell nice and clean. Carol's taken to giving me extra snuggling. It's a tough job, but if someone gets her hugs, it's going to be me. Later, Maddie padding off in search of Carol


Thursday, October 5, 2006

As the week draws to a close, I'm getting psyched for my trip to Vermont next week!! The extended forecast indicates temperatures from mid-30's to high 50's. Unreal. And...best of all the fall colors are peaking early. It should be over 50% color next week. On my first and last visit to Vermont a few years ago the colors were only 30%. The hotel I'm staying for the Florida Bar Family Law divison retreat/seminar gives falconry course so I'm signed up. It should be good research for a heroine I have in mind for a new book. Of course, as the day job is frenetic, I'll end up packing last minute but I will not forget a scarf and gloves. I won't repeat the same mistake when I went to Italy and a Siberian cold wave swept the country; I ended up with pneumonia. :) Carol

The Great George Strait

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

I wasn't always a fan, but in the 1990's when I discovered the joy of country music, I discovered George Strait. This week The Man celebrated his 53rd no. 1 hit. Two and a half decades earlier, he scored his first number one was in 1982. In fact, he has scored more Number One songs than any other single artist in history and has sold over 62 million records in the meantime amassing 28 platinum or multi-platinum discs –more than any other country artist. I can't think of any other singer who has accomplished this. Some may still be recording and occasionally climbing the charts, I don't think anyone has done it by staying true to his initial 'genre' of music. From start to finish, he has stayed true to Western swing. Phenomenal. That's about 3 generations of listeners with whom he has struck a chord. Remarkable record, remarkable singer. You go, George!!!! I'll be listening. :) Carol

Switching gears: rave

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Okay, switching gears. I was thrilled to see a reader's review posted about Shadow Lines on eharlequin. Thank you Cady for being such a great supporter of my books!!! I'm working hard on coming up with another legal series for the new Silhouette Romantic Suspense line. :) Carol http://community.eharlequin.com/webx?14@281.PbiqaTioV13.8@.4a837210

More ranting: Another form of cowardice

Since I seem to still be in rant mode...I came home to hear another form of cowardice: the hit-and-run political spew message on my answering machine. I've been getting messages for weeks from this non-party but political group. They spray sensationalism and then at the tail end there's this low mutter that sounds like 'americanvoices.org'. Yet when I went to the website, I found this very worthy organization dedicated to the preservation of American music. So I'm being ambushed by a group that is too cowardly to leave a legitimate name or phone number for me to contact them, tell them that they're full of crap and to stuff it and to leave me alone... That if they continue to disturb the sanctity of my home, I will start contributing to a candidate I've wouldn't have considered giving money to just because this group is comprised of cowards and sensationalists. I know better to expect that the 'do not disturb' law can be extended to politics , but I think the law should require these a**holes to provide contact information and if asked to, are required to take your phone number off their calling list. I'd even go with an exception for candidates and the political parties so long as a contact number is included in the message so you can call and complain. But for the non-party political organizations, eat sh*t and die for invading my privacy. And for the organization mascarading under the name of the poor legitimate, exemplary organization 'American Voices', shame on you. Cowards. You are the worse kind of distortion of free speech: too afraid to hear back from someone who disagrees with you. Carol

I have to believe in hell...

Monday, October 2, 2006

or else there would be no justice in this world for cowards such as the Amish or Colorado shooters. We're supposed to take care of our young. Yet these bloody cowards walked into schools with loaded guns, separated out helpless young girls, and in the Amish case tied them up before killing them. Then, these men took the easy way out and killed themselves, not even giving society the chance to drag them to the nearest tree and hang them. They'd better be roasting in hell at this very moment. Carol