The Freshwaters

Monday, June 25, 2007

A few years ago when a friend and I visited Williamsburg, VA, I got to make a side trip to Northern Neck of Virginia. In 1659 Thomas Freshwater left England and came to America. He received a land grant and founded a plantation, which I gathered may have been lost on/about the Revolution. The land grant is vague [using trees for landmarks], but other Freshwater descendants gave me enough directions that I visited the general site where the Totuskey River meets the Little Totuskey. I brought back a bottle of dirt for both my sister and myself. There are two books on the Freshwater genealogy and figuring prominantly as the research site for early records was the North Farnham Church, pictured below. :) Carol

Ditzy Chix on You Tube!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

It's been a hellish week; I was either on the road or out of town on business. Then I started my redo of the TV room. I'm exhausted but have cleared the TV room out of everything and got the ceiling patched and 1/2 painted. I'll be working on chemically sanding the walls bit by bit during the work week so hopefully next weekend I can finish painting the ceiling and start priming the walls. I hope to have most of it done by the time I head for the National Conference in Dallas on July 11.

Speaking of which, the Ditzy Chix are on You Tube! Check out the video. :) Carol

Cool again

Friday, June 15, 2007

I spent a vacation day listening to the a/c crew install my new unit. The air handler is in the attic so for the better part of the day, I heard the ceiling creak and groan. Maddie was simply ferocious. She didn't like all the strange men in her house at all; she certainly lived up to her breed, the lion dog. I finally had to crate her. With all the disruption, I only got a little writing done, but I'm almost have the latest proposal finished. Once that happens, I'll start tackling the TV room. It needs a makeover from ceiling to floor so I know it's a tremendous undertaking...which is why I keep putting it off. I figure if I buy the paint that will motivate me.

Tonight I'll have a good night's sleep. Then it's off to the car dealership to get a replacement radio [the dashboard light malfunctioned] and hopefully catch an early show of Fantastic Four. Have to get my adventure flick fix. :) Carol

One of my ultimate distractions...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Is working on my family tree on Tonight I meant to clean, especially since the a/c people are coming tomorrow to install the new unit. However, I had a notice that the court/land records had been expanded on myancestry. When I clicked to see what the newly added records were, my eyes lit up at the category 'Virginia Heraldy'. That did it. I was lost to the night in research.

So far a run of the surnames of my ancestors who lived in Virginia have yielded nothing, but I did locate additional will and marriage information on the branches of family that came to Virginia in the early 1600's. One of the marriage records noted the bride's father was "Capt. George Bryer" and with that bit of information, I found the passenger list with the information he came from England in 1650...which is the earliest arrival of my ancestors I've found to date. Up to now that honor has belonged to Thomas Freshwater I, who came over in 1656. So now at least one branch of my family has been in the US for 357 years, and the Freshwaters for 351 years. Cool.

Several years ago when I visited Williamsburg, VA, my friend and I made a side trip to the Rappahanock area where the Freshwaters had their plantation, and I filled a bottle with dirt. So far all branches of my family lead back to England, but what cracks me up is that most have been farmers...and I can kill any plant with a single glance.

:) Carol


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ack! A friend called during "So You Think You Can Dance" tonight. Although I answered on my cell phone and turned the TV on moot, I still missed the middle 4 couples. I was hoping to get a feel for the individuals. I know I like Lacey, Benjy's sister, and I also know that I'm cheering for a woman to win. The contest has had two male winners so it's time for the women to kick butt. From what I did see, it should be the year of the women dancers. There were a number of good ones...I just couldn't catch their names or get a good impression so I'll know one from another.

Still, I think the overall quality of all the dancers has improved over the prior years of the contest. Good for the viewers. Now you ask, why do I love dancing so much?

Until I turned 12 and discovered I could not make the transition from ballet to toe because of my flat feet, I wanted to be a Rockette on Broadway. I took dance from ~age 4 until I was 12. So here's a thrill for you, one of the first pictures of me during dance recital. See what you missed!
:) Carol

Countdown to New Orleans

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The schedule is up for Heather Graham's Writers for New Orleans Conference!!!!! I'm so psyched. I'll be doing the following panel:

Panel Four 3:15 – 4:00 pm Carol Stephenson, Helen Rosburg and friends
Sex! Romantic, hot and heavy, in the shower, down by the levee. From a man’s point of view, and then a woman’s too. What makes it a romance? What makes it a thriller with a couple of people getting it on? Ships in the night or life long delight.

There are a ton of events planned, including a party at the Cat's Meow on Bourbon Street that's being sponsored by Helen Rosburg.

Heather began this conference in order to give back to a city she loves and has been in a number of her books. My first trip to New Orleans was in 2002 when I attended the RWA Conference. I loved the town, from walking through the French Quarter to listening to the music from every store to riding the streetcar to the Garden District. If you're interested in attending, here's the link to the registration form and schedule. If nothing else, go to the site to listen to the music.

Heather Graham New York Times Bestselling Author of Suspense, Mystery, Vampire, Ghost and Romance Novels

And here's a shot of Jackson Square. :) Carol


Monday, June 11, 2007

This past Friday I noticed that the a/c unit I just had serviced was spitting out warm air. Since it had been pouring down rain the day the repair guy was there, I was hoping that he simply hadn't charged the unit with freon.

When I called the service this a.m., they gave me a 11-1 p.m. slot so I had to drive home from work for the designated slot. The repair guy did actully make it within the slot, and after he tried several things, I got the bad news: the compressor was kaput. The unit is 22 years old, so it exceeded its life expectancy by 10 years. However, the temperature gauge is hitting 90 degrees right now in Southern Florida. Fortunately, given how the house is constructed, it does have a 2nd a/c unit that cools the kitchen/TV room branch. So I'm not totally miserable. When it's time for bed, I crank up the ceiling fans and enough cool air reaches the other side of the house to keep it from being totally unbearable.

Since my schedule is such this week that I can't call up a bunch of a/c companies to shop around, I simply order a new unit through my service company. I had begun researching online plus speaking to others about units they bought so I had a fair idea of what the cost should be.

Come this Friday, I will be using a vacation day to get a new unit installed and will be a heck of a lot poorer. However, as I get ready to enter the hot side of the house, I feel like this picture I took of a sunrise when the smoke was playing havoc with the sky. Hot, hot, hot! :) Carol


Saturday, June 9, 2007

Today's Florida Romance Writers' meeting was all about technology...If you know me, you know that technology and I don't mix. However, I learned a lot interspersed with socializing.

For example, Aleka Nakis and Sharon Hartley told me all about 'flash drives' so immediately following the meeting at the Airport Sheraton Hotel I went and purchased one flash drive for my books and one for my photos. While my mind tried to absorb this technological advance, I scoped out Nancy Cohen's gorgeous necklace and Karen Kendall's adorable outfit [loved the sandals!]. As Kathleen Pickering and I both had the good taste to wear pink, we endeavored to get everyone likewise wearing pink to sit at our table.

It's looking like quite a contingency of our members will be attending Heather Graham's Writers workshop in New Orleans over the Labor Day weekend.

When my brain cells had regenerated enough from flash drives, I listened to the program featuring Melanie Heyworth of, who spoke about websites; Mary Stella, our resident blog meister; and then Rhonda Pollero and Traci Hall [of the] discussed the latest in book marketing: iPodcasting. Rhonda most effectively demonstrated the use of a USB microphone and patiently explained to me what an iPod is. Of course, she cited to her buddy Cherry Adair as being one author who is always on the edge of technology and writing.

Although exhausted by this influx of information, I rallied long enough to sign up for our Super Saturday [coming in September] that will feature the tremendous word smith Stephanie Bond.

Later, Maddie needs a walk. :) Carol

Road Ranger to the Rescue!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

First, I have to acknowledge whatever angel who had me as an assignment today. I was a victim of the infamous debris on I-95. I was on my way to a mediation when I saw a car swerve ahead of me. As I'm fairly conscientious of the traffic around me, I knew I had trucks on either side of me and traffic behind me. In other words, hitting the brakes or changing lanes was not an option. I eased my foot off the gas, held on tight to the steering wheel and prayed.

Kaboom!!!!! The noise reverberated throughout the car. It took me a while to safely pull into the lane to my right and even more distance before I could pull off safely. Whatever was on the road, it ripped the hell out of my rear tire. I called my secretary to let the other side know what had happened and to call me on my cell for the start of the mediation. Then I was a good girl. I got in the trunk, pulled out the donut tire, jack and whatever the tool is for removing the lug nuts. I then pushed, pulled at the lug nuts without them budging a smidge.

So I next called my office's wonderful manager to ask which way I should be turning the lug nuts, and he said he was on his way. Mind you, temperatures were hovering in the high 80's and equal humidity. So with rescue on the way and being mindful of all the news stories of people killed on the roadside by disabled vehicles, I got on the other side of the barricade.

Just as the manager arrived, a tow truck pulled up: it was the Florida Dept. of Transportation's Road Rangers. Since we don't always appreciate what the government does, this is one thing the State of Florida does right. I never had such a more welcomed sight. In less than fifteen minutes the Road Ranger had switched out my damaged tire for the donut and sent me on my way. Get this, it's a free service.

I made my mediation and didn't actually get the aftermath shakes until I was driving home from the mediation. I know how lucky I was today. And the Road Rangers made a bad experience turn positive for me. Here's a link to the service:

:) Carol

The June photo from my calendar

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I'm braindead from driving to/from Port St. Lucie today for a deposition. For my job I average 200 miles/week in drive time. At times I can work on writing in my head, but not today as the weather was treacherous and drivers were doing all sorts of crazy things on slick roads. So I'll just post the June photo from my calendar. This is a shot of the town of Manchester. :) Carol

It's raining!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

We're having a second wave of rain post-TS Barry. We really need it, but the storm moved in before I got home from work. The main problem is this is a thunder-boomer and not safe to be out in. I've had to dash out with Maddie 2x now during lulls so she can take care of business. Normally, the first we do when I get home is go for a walk, but so far tonight no walk. I keep monitoring the viper radar on a local TV channel, but I'm not spotting a break. Both Little Darling and Maddie are hanging very close to me--Little Darling on the sofa and Maddie at my feet--as the storm is spooking them. Here's a shot I took of Maddie over the weekend after her beauty appointment. She gets a 'greenie' as a treatment while I'm writing. :) Carol

Little Darling

Monday, June 4, 2007

Within the past month or so, a young neighborhood girl has discovered my love kitty, Little Darling. Her mother does the commendable work of fostering rescued animals and at one point fostered a litter of kittens. Apparently, her daughter developed a real affinity. The kids play basketball on the street, and on occasion my cat goes out to watch, and that's how they met.

Now on occasion my doorbell rings and I find the girl on the doorstep, asking if the cat is around. In other words, asking if Little Darling can come out and play. I then locate the cat and hand her over, telling both of them to have a good time. At times the girl will return Little Darling all wrapped up in a small blanket. You should see the look of ecstacy on the cat's face. The girl also has a box of playthings in it, and she'll sit and play with the cat while the basketball game goes on.

It's absolutely precious to watch them together. And here's a shot of my Little Darling. :) Carol

2007 Season in full swing

Sunday, June 3, 2007

June 1st began the 2007 Hurricane season, and the second named storm had already formed...TS Barry. Fortunately the storm was a blessing, bringing much needed rain to our parched state. Of course, the 6-7 inches we had was only a drop in the bucket. After all, Lake Okeechobee is ~9' below normal. But what rain we had may stave off imposition of Phase 4 restrictions where we're only allowed to water once a week for an hour.

One puzzlement was the news coverage of gallons of fresh water being released to the ocean rather than being retained. The water management district said it had to release the water through the levies to avoid flooding, but one would think that there could have been a way to redirect the water to save it. If nothing else this drought has shown is Southern Florida has become overdeveloped beyond the available water capacity. It's time to think outside the box so we don't have another repeat of this year's water shortage.

The hurricane sales tax-free period began on Friday and will run until June 12th. I already bought the one item I wanted for this season: a weather radio. I also bought more batteries to replace ones used over the past year. Otherwise, I'm pretty well set. I need to drag out the generator and test run it plus start stocking up on gas. I don't want to keep much around, but I want at least a 2-day supply. Going through the gas lines right after a hurricane hits is way too stressful. Gas stations along the evacuation routes are supposed to have generator hook-up's now, but I still rather avoid the initial mayhem.

So Andrea and Barry are already here and gone; next name up will be Chantal.


Our Second Anniversary

Friday, June 1, 2007

Maddie here. Believe it or not, today is Carol's and my second anniversary together.

For those who don't know our story, I was left in my dog carrier case at a fire station [I have totally wiped away any memory of my former life. Everything is now "AC"...After Carol!]. A paramedic's wife took me in and then went around the building where she worked, looking for a good home for me. Carol's friend knew she was dog hungry so shot her an email. Fate was smiling brightly on us for Carol came to see me. When she stood on the other side of the door from me, I knew she was the human destined for me. I went home with her and now we're a team.

To celebrate, Carol took me to Wendy's tonight. She ordered my favorite meal - a double cheeseburger of which she gives me one pattie. Yum! She promised to keep me an extra-special brushing tonight. Then tomorrow is my beauty day at PetSmart grooming. I made a good choice in humans, don't you think? Later, I have to go sit by her feet and look adoringly at her. Maddie