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Adaland Mansion

For mom’s birthday last weekend, we took her to Adaland Mansion in Philippi, WV, for breakfast. This gorgeous historic home is open for tours and special meals throughout the year. Although it’s in a non-touristy part of the state, it’s well worth the trip to see the house and visit with Ann Serafin, the executive director and salvation of this […]

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Kindling a New Affection

I still don’t have an e-reader, but I did get my mother a Kindle for her birthday (today–Happy Birthday, mom!). I have, like many book lovers, hesitated over this mechanized take on reading. But I will now confess, after loading books on mom’s and trying it out, they’re pretty fantastic. Easy to load, easy to read and oh-so-easy to transport an entire library wherever you go. I will NEVER give up real books and I will ALWAYS treasure certain books that sit on my shelves, but I will grudgingly admit that e-readers are a great invention. Books are dead, long live books.

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Making Headway

The latest revision is done! Now I need to reread the whole thing and make sure the changes work within the flow. I’m also applying some of the things Sol Stein is teaching me. Deleted about 150 “verys” last night and now I’m hunting down and slaying adverbs. “The adverb is the enemy of the verb.” – Mark Twain Speaking of Mark Twain, his autobiography is due out this fall. It would make a nice birthday or Christmas present . . . (hint, hint).  I found the below excerpt on proofreading that I need to keep in mind as I read my own manuscript. Twain is one of my heroes–in part because I don’t think he would like to be. And then there is that other thing: when you think you are reading proof, whereas you are merely reading your own mind; your statement of the thing is full of holes and vacancies but you don’t know it, because you are filling them from your mind as you go along. Sometimes — but not often enough — the printer’s proof-reader saves you — and offends you — with this cold sign in the margin: and you search the passage and find that the insulter is right — it doesn’t say what you thought it did: the gas-fixtures are there, but you didn’t light the jets.

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Fall in WNC

It’s peak leaf season this week and hence one of my favorite times of the year. I’ve been hiking up Bartlett Mountain, which is just across the street from our house. It’s a steep climb, but well worth it once I get up there. As I climb, I make a point of not turning around to see the view until […]

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Well it IS a publishing credit . . .

The Southern Foodways Alliance has just come out with their first cookbook in the spirit of those old church/junior league/women’s group cookbooks we all have tucked away somewhere. You know the ones–spiral bound and often including comments about the recipes that almost seem like inside jokes. Well, I have a recipe in the SFA cookbook and it’s really more like a short essay than a recipe. It’s for fried squirrel with gravy and honestly, I hope people will appreciate it as a glimpse into growing up in Appalachia rather than as a culinary masterpiece . . . although it is mighty tasty. I credit my mom for teaching me to cook the squirrel and dad for shooting it. My husband isn’t altogether convinced that having this recipe included in the collection is an honor. Check out the book SFA Community Cookbook.

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Shooting Stars

I LOVE to see shooting stars. I don’t know what it is–maybe it’s how rare they are and how much trouble you have to go to in order to see them. Maybe it’s a fond memory of laying on blankets in my aunts yard with cousins watching for shooting stars after making s’mores around a campfire. Maybe it’s the idea that heaven is “up there” and meteors seem almost like messages from God–little flickers of light that say somebody’s home. Whatever the reason, I made the effort to see some shooting stars back in August during the Perseid Meteor Shower. I saw several and they thrilled me more than you’d expect a blip of light to thrill. Tonight is the peak of the Orionid shower–the meteor’s in the tail of Halley’s Comet. We have a frost warning going on so I’m not sure I’ll bundle up to see them, but I like even just knowing they’re out there. Flickers of God-light.  Check it out. Orionid Meteor Shower.

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