Sweet sixteen

I have a lot to be grateful for today — high ground, electricity, heat. But what I really want to express my gratitude for today is a date. Last Thursday marked the sixteenth anniversary of the day my husband and I met. We have been together ever since, and I can’t imagine a man who would be more perfect for me. I’m so grateful for meeting him, as well as for his presence in my life.

What are you grateful for today?

A car that drives

I’m a couple of days late with my gratitude post this week. On Sunday, while driving home from shopping with my son, the car gave a couple of thunks and then wouldn’t drive. I did eventually get it to move, but it was very sluggish from a stop (had to floor it). Shifting from drive to low had no effect; the car still didn’t want to move. Had to have it towed to the dealer for service on Monday and didn’t hear back on what was wrong until last night.

I was afraid it was the transmission.

It was not; it was a bad cam shaft position sensor, which meant the engine didn’t know how fast it was going. Instead of thousands of dollars, the price tag was only hundreds. When road testing the car, the service department found a few other problems that I’d been sort of aware of, and I okayed fixes for a couple of them now.

When I drove the car home, it handled like a dream. Braking was smoother than it’s been in months, and the car accelerated smoothly.

A working car and a not-unmanageable bill are on the top of what I’m grateful for this week. How about you — what are you grateful for?

In-service days

I’m grateful that I finished up the current batch of paying work and have time free to spend with my family on a day when the kids are both home for teacher in-service days and my husband has fall break.

Hope you’re all enjoying the day!

What are you grateful for today?

Today

The sun is shining in a clear blue sky; the heavy gray of yesterday is gone. The red dogwood leaves flutter in a light breeze–most of the bright berries have already been eaten by birds, and I can easily see how soon the branches will be bare. Random small twigs and branches lie beneath the maple, shaken loose by the recent rains, mixing with leaves that wait to be mulched into the green grass with the next mowing. Across the street, one maple is starting to turn, still green at its core, but yellow, gold, and red on its edges, as if it’s bursting into flames. The hostas in the front bed have gone to seed. The sedum has darkened from dusty pink to a burgundy shade, a nice contrast with its pulpy leaves.

Autumn is definitely settling in, here in eastern Pennsylvania. I don’t smell woodsmoke in the evenings yet, but it’s just a matter of time, as is frost coming along to kill off all the annuals. (If it happened this week and got rid of all the goldenrod pollen, I would be ecstatically grateful, just for the record.) We still have a few days heading up to 80 (27 C), where the attic fan kicks in, but the bulk of the days are in the high 60s and low 70s (say 19 to 24 for those of you in other countries).

Stores have fresh-pressed apple cider for sale, and piles of pumpkins surround the corner markets. Neighbors have yards strewn with Halloween decorations, and we even put up some new gel clings to try to deter the berry-drunk birds from plowing into our windows.

I love this time of year, ripe with possibility–yes, my brain runs on school-year status, which makes fall the start of the year and new ventures. My writing always increases, and I manage to turn my hand to needlecrafts, prepping for the gift-giving season ahead.

What are you grateful for today?

Sleep.

Way back in May, I mentioned that I have workaholic tendencies. These are worse when I have a deadline or (very rare!) if I’m actually past a deadline. So I’ve been up completing a freelance job since . . . well, whenever I got up on Sunday. I did take some time out to breathe, to chat with my friend Nicki, to get groceries for the week.

Most of my time, however, has been sitting here, staring at the screen. Getting ready to send off this index now, and then, yes, SLEEP. Some little errands to run tomorrow, a book to finish reading (another one to start), and then on Wednesday, it’s back to the other current freelance job. And making sure I have time in my schedule to write and exercise, too.

Right now, though . . . zzzzzzzzz. G’night!

Mmmmmmm. Chocolate.

It is no secret that I love chocolate. White chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate. The chocolate oranges that you whack to break apart, candy bars, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate-covered pretzels, chocolate truffles (easiest ever are from one of Marcel Desaulniers’ cookbooks), hot chocolate on a winter day. A couple of years ago, my husband gave me this luscious chocolate-brown long winter coat for Christmas. Chocolate everything.

In celebration of the “What’s Your Chocolate?” blog hop today, I’m sharing my favorite chocolate recipe, a flourless torte adapted from one that appeared in the first issue of Chocolatier magazine. Continue reading

New books!

Yes, because if you read my recent TBR post, you know that what I really needed was more books on hand. To be fair, some of them are work related (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged) and others were for my kids. Have to love my son’s reaction on Friday when I told him to get ready to go — he comes upstairs and asks where we’re going. When I told him we were headed to the bookstore, his shoes were on in less than a second: “Okay, let’s go!”

And the best cool thing about these new books? Suddenly, I have most of the plot for the next book I’m going to write — not stolen, more “Oh, but wouldn’t it be cool if . . . ?”

What are you grateful for today?

Repeat clients

My day job is a self proprietorship that I’ve been running for more than a dozen years now. I can tell you the adage is true — it’s more profitable to get a repeat customer than several clients who only use you for one job. There may be businesses where this is not true (wedding dress sales, perhaps?), but even those can use referrals from customers. One of the publishers I’ve done proofreading for over a number of years is engaged in selling off one of its imprints that I do a lot of work for. This could’ve meant a hit to my income, but with no fuss, they simply started asking me to do proofreading on other titles.

The same is true for readers, I think, which is probably why series are so strongly recommended. It’s easier to get readers to come back to see what happens next, rather than leaving them wondering if you’ll like their next book, your next world, your next set of characters, as much. It can be done, but it’s more work.

So today I am grateful for clients who like my work enough to keep working with me, even if it means shifting to a different topic area and style. And I am grateful to readers who enjoy my stories enough to keep reading, even those that have nothing in common with each other.

What are you grateful for today?

Noisy kids

My son’s been off at camp for a week. Saturday, my daughter and I drove up to the camp to pick him up. My minivan was filled with chatter and singing all the way home; I’d missed that. In fact, all day Saturday, listening to them talking to each other and squabble with each other, mostly what I felt was contentment.

Of course, by Sunday, when I took them both grocery shopping and had to keep telling them to stop touching everything, that gentle joy had worn off a bit.

Sunday evening, my husband came home from a conference, so now the house is just as noisy and busy as ever. Life is good. Even if it does try my patience a bit . . .

What are you grateful for today?