Still no Autumn…but wait, is that thunder?

We have had no rain in a long time. We have had lots of sunny and hot days.

Since OU Boy is now the head chief in charge, his hours are 8 to 4. And week-ends off. This is very different for us and we are learning to adjust. The good part is we still have time to get in a couple of hours at the lake.

Saturday we went to Lake Overholser. Specifically to the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge. We had about 50 kayaks and 15 paddle boarders and it was about 90 degrees. We explored every nook and cranny and found some deer and dozens of turtles who quickly plop into the water if you speak.

The rock formations are so pretty. We did about four hours of that and then went to Pride Fest where I got a lap dance from a guy who had better eye makeup than me. OU Boy just kept his head down eating his chili fries. But it was a blast. Lots of singing and dancing and good food.

OU Boy had his yearly heart check up as last year this time he had 5 stints put in. For the first time his cholesterol was high. 160. He was in shock. He has never had an issue with cholesterol before. He had also gained some weight which the doc said was muscle mass from all the kayaking we do. But now he has to change his diet. And lord you would think his dog died. He wasn’t happy that I tossed the chicken fry steak and went with a lentil stew. He did not eat it. He had an Eggo. Last night I made pinto beans and brown rice. 0 cholesterol. He loved that. But this is going to be a long battle I think.

People here are still fighting over their right to not get the shot. One of my neighbors said it made you sterile. I’m good with that. Stupid people should not procreate. Our grandfather had a stroke and had to wait over eight hours for a bed anywhere in the state. 80 percent of patients are unvaxxed people. Now, I’m sympathetic to sick folks ( NO, she is not) but my grandfather isn’t dying because you were stupid. Finally we found one fairly close to home and after a week he is back home and getting stronger. One of my neighbors came over to tell me her friend had died after only a few days of being in hospital with Covid. I asked if she had been vaccinated and the neighbor said, NO. Whereupon my smart mouth said,” Oh well, that’s one less idiot in the world”. And honestly that is how I feel. If you aren’t willing to protect your children and family that’s on you.

So this was a long rant and now I hear thunder so either it is finally going to rain or the big guy upstairs wants me to hush.

I hope you are all well and keeping yourselves safe. What is everyone reading? Has anyone seen Midnight Mass on Netflix?

xx P

It is officially Autumn…somewhere

Hell yeah we are ready for a little cool down. With Autumn officially here it is still 90 degrees.

I have seen so much pumpkin spice crap I want to throw up. Popcorn, Oreos (seriously leave Oreos alone). Personally I’d like to see more cider donuts. Buckle up y’all, things are about to get weirder.

I haven’t been able to type for a bit. I had second degree burns and blisters on my left hand. I would love to say it was a welding accident or I rescued a puppy from a fire, but no if you are a crafter you already know. The dreaded hot glue gun. And while I’m running to the faucet screaming I ran into the wall. A picture fell down and broke two of my toes. I knew they were broken because one looked like the letter C and they turned black. Days later OU Boy rolled his ankle. So we’re just gonna sit on the sofa and not move for a bit.

Obviously we are trying to do too much. OU Boy got a huge promotion which also means different schedules and fixing up his office. I stopped by and he has two loungers, a 70 inch flat screen on the wall, an air fryer, and a fridge. That is the outer office. His new schedule is 8 to 4 and Monday through Friday. I don’t remember when we didn’t work Saturdays. So we are adjusting to each other’s schedules and I am trying hard to be a wife. So far it’s just having dinner ready. I’ve made it twice this week.

I realized that I have no idea what a wife does. Iron? I work full time myself. We sat down and talked about my lack of wifery skills. He is fine with just carrying on as we are with me being understanding of his odd hours at first. And sex. The good thing is he is a garbage eater. Meat, potatoes,pasta, casseroles and the good old sandwich with Kraft cheese. I can make dinner of two olives and a triscuit. I’m great at taking things out for dinner but by the time it rolls around I just don’t care.

It’s still hot here so we have been kayaking and visiting the Grands. Grandpa is in hospital now. If you are on the fence about this Covid thing, well, get off. My Grandpa had pleurisy and a mini-stroke. There were no hospital beds at all. Nowhere. We were told a bed may open up at Yukon Community and it did after 8 hours. We are sending folks to other states now and still these idiots refuse to get a shot. If you have to be hospitalized you wait for someone else to die. That’s brutal.

I am grateful for a never ending stack of books and a tea supply that will never run out. So, how are things in your neck of the woods?

I’m gonna go take something out for dinner. “And she laughed and laughed”.

P

WE HAVE A NEW KAYAK DOCK!

August arrived with a heat wave! We were so excited to have a new kayak dock at the lake. Out in the middle of the lake it’s cool and there are no bugs trying to suck your blood out!

We have been going at least once a week and discovering new little coves and rock formations. It’s a terrific workout for your entire body. And it’s also the only place I can find peace these days.

This past week was one of those long-hauler syndrome weeks. I call it Covid Lite. For three days I run a fever, lose all taste and smell and can barely move my body. I really wish they had released the vaccine before we caught it, but at the time they didn’t even know the name of it. We are fully vaccinated. None of our neighbors are. They are all leaving it up to God. Which I’m good with since we need less stupid people in this state.

We’ve entered a war. I have a sign on my door that you must show proof of vaccination to enter and then you still need to wear a mask. I don’t go anywhere without a mask still. I don’t trust people. So those hours on the lake are priceless. No one but you and your kayak. No “news”. No, ” Well, I heard…” I don’t care anymore. I don’t care if I hurt your feelings. You don’t have the right to put my life in danger.

We have made our position clear. I respect your decision to not get the shot. I don’t however believe it’s because you don’t know what is in it! To which I reply, ” Do you know what was in any of your vaccinations?” They never have an answer. They just say they will leave it up to God. Well,God sent us a doctor and a vaccine.

So this has been a right shitty week. On the plus side, I read six books and wrote 16 reviews. Since Vitamin D is so important I also went out and floated in the pool yesterday and let the sun unknot all of the knots in my stomach. Crohn’s does not think much of stress and we have been under a lot of stress.

How is everyone else handling the stress of this? Have any of you removed yourself from family and friends because of this? Our hospitals are overworked and overrun with Covid. There is a nursing shortage and people are being moved out of state. Hopefully not to Texas!

Thanks for listening to this gloomy Sunday rant! I know we’ll get through this, but man, it sucks.

P

Hello July! Can we go on vacation yet?

These are the only things I have been doing. Fishing, Camping, Swimming and Boating. And of course, reading.

It has been a hot month so far. We had like 7 days of rain that let the mosquitos breed, so that was fun. And by the fourth it was hot and humid. We were spending a week at the lake with the grandparents and that turned into one night and a trip to the emergency room. It was also the last tent camping we will ever do!

I do not fish. I eat fish. OU Boy fishes. with this lure I bought him. A treble hook? Well, he was reeling his line in when one of the barbs caught him in the crotch of his shorts. I reached over to grab it and it slid right in my finger down to the bone and then deep in my thumb. Picture my thumb attached at one end and his crotch at the other end. No one could move at all without pain. So off to the emergency room we went. The lady signing in before us took one look and let us go first.

There was a lot of chuckling going on and several people stopped in just to look at it. In the end they stuck a needle in and numbed that sucker good. I told him just to do what he had to do and do not tell me. So when he was finished and I looked my thumb looked like the Hulk! Except orange from the Betadine. The doctor asked if we wanted the lure back. WE did not. We left with my thumb intact but OU Boy had to leave with a hole in his pants letting everyone see his festive boxer shorts.

We decided we are not fishermen or tent campers. Thank goodness for the a/c in the RV. So we sold all the camping equipment and bought a boat. Makes perfect sense, right?

My TBR pile got way out of hand. Now it’s doing well at 19. Kindle books. Maybe 20 physical books. But we lived through the vaccine, the fish hook, and the rain, so I think we are going to be good.

We had a big family Fourth of July picnic at the farm. The youngest was 6 weeks and the oldest was 90. It was a great day that ended with no injuries.

Finally all of my fingers are well now so I’m back to the things I do best. Read and whine.

Happy July!

No, I’m not okay. But I will be.

It’s been a wild May and it is only week one!

OU Boy and I had decided I would take the Moderna vaccine and if I didn’t die then he would take it. I was so anxious the day before I almost chickened out but I need to leave the country soon and I have to have proof that I have had the shots.

Obviously the universe had other plans. We got there and I had my shot. Then Jennifer, our pharmacist told OU Boy she had one dose left as someone had chickened out. So he got stuck too.

For all the people in my life who told me how good they slept after the first shot and how painless it was? Screw you all.

From Saturday evening until Tuesday evening we couldn’t even move our arms. I was so glad I had mine in the left arm or I couldn’t have gone to the bathroom alone! We had fever, chills, PAIN. At one point I would have chopped the arm off. I had Covid last year. There was no PAIN. Granted it was six weeks of hell, but I recovered.

Wednesday dawned sunny and I had no more pain. Physical pain. As most of you know my mother left this earth on December 5th. May 5th is my birthday. This was the first time in my life I didn’t receive a card from my Momma. Plus that 5 a.m. text. So that set off the sobbing jag that lasted all day and night. I was already on the edge of a full-blown anxiety attack. As most of you already know it’s been almost five years since the great eye debacle (corneal transplant) and Monday my surgeon released me to a corneal specialist. I am finally stable. And what did I do? Pick up the phone to tell Momma.

It’s all these firsts that are gutting me. I am lucky I have three sisters and a brother who buoyed me up through texts, and lots of love. And OU Boy who took me to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant where they thought we were celebrating Cinco de Mayo. I’m French. We lost that minor battle, so no, it was Cinco de Patricia.

But we made it through. But that second shot on the 29th I am already ancy about!

Hope everyone is well and doing their best to stay healthy.

xx P

HAPPY MAY DAY!

Can you believe it’s May again? Things are so different everywhere. Here the mask mandates have expired.

The Governor signed into law that no one can get an abortion. Ever. He says he is pro-life. Aren’t we all? Next up should be Viagra taken down so those men couldn’t knock anyone up.

He also said we are now a Second Amendment Sanctuary State. What?? Does that mean if you can’t use a gun in your own state you can come here?

OU Boy and I discussed the Moderna vaccine and decided I would get it and if I didn’t die, he would get it.

Poor thing. We went this morning for mine and they had a cancellation so she gave him one too. He’s been throwing up since. My arm is really sore but I am alive.

It’s been good weather so I have been outside walking or running my 5 miles a day. Other than that it’s just been reading and reviewing.

I am reading The Glorious Guinness Girls right now. Interesting read.

Have a good weekend and welcome to May~

BLOOD AND TREASURE DANIEL BOONE AND THE FIGHT FOR AMERICA’S FIRST FRONTIER by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

Blood and Treasure: Daniel Boone and the Fight for America's First Frontier

The middle of the 1700’s were full of uncertainty for the thirteen colonies that Great Britain has founded so far. There are so many different battles going on it’s no wonder everyone was a little anxious.

Everyone wants to find a new frontier. And they are all willing to die for it. The Natives, the French, the Spanish and of course our mother country. The conflicts were gruesome and cruel. Everyone was lying. Someone’s word meant nothing. The Natives were rightly upset and everyone wanted a piece of the country.

And here is where we meet Daniel Boone. Well, actually my husband is a direct descendant of his sister, Elizabeth, so we thought we knew pretty much everything. We did not.

The name Daniel Boone brings me immediately to the song. First off, he wasn’t a big man. He wasn’t at all like the movie and cartoon versions. He was a man with a passion for finding out what lay beyond the Appalachians. He wasn’t a fighting man, but he did his part for the revolution. It’s always dangerous to turn people from the past into larger than life characters and that has been done with Boone.

It was a fast read and based on a lot of research. How did Boone become such a legend? He was seldom home, working as a trapper with a friend or his brother. They would be gone for long periods of time. He saw his fair share of suffering in his own household and they always seemed to be on the edge of financial ruin and yet Daniel did what he had to do to care for his family.

Here you can read his story as told from many different people. The history of America is in this book and I am better for having read it.

NetGalley/ April 20th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press



Hello April, Maybe Next Time Leave the Wind at Home…js

It is a rare day here in Oklahoma when the wind isn’t blowing like Kansas is sucking air from Texas and we are in the middle. But it is most definitely Spring and things are popping up all over.

The trees are budding, the daffy dillys are up as are the tulips and crocus. The trees are spreading pollen as if they were benevolent beings tossing beads at Mardi Gras. People are sneezing and we look at those people out of the corner of our eye because, well, Covid. Yesterday I was doing my walk and sneezed so hard I had to run back home and blow my nose.

This is such a great season. Everything is that new green and our grass looks like the inside of an easter basket. As our groundskeeper was watering the containers around the pool, she called to me and we found baby bunnies burrowed in a pot. Oh, my were they cute! Tiny as can be with the longest eyelashes. We didn’t disturb them. We also have our annual mallard mate here swimming in the pool. She has built a nest under the shrubs and blends right in.

We had an interloper yesterday. A young male. Very rude. I was inside taking my shoes off when I heard the most awful racket outside the door. With one shoe in hand I ran out to find the young male trying to ‘hook up’ with the Mrs. While the Mr. was trying to get him off of her I’m yelling, ” Get off of her! She’s married! That’s rape! “. To be honest I don’t feel as though the Mr. was as manly as he should have been. And she let him know it. So nature is doing her thing.

Since I have had to be indoors so much I have redone my bathroom tile. Painted the bathroom. Finished the kitchen and planted a lot of herbs to make tea with. My spinach is about 2 inches tall and so is the fennell. Now if this darn wind would go somewhere else I would be happy.

Happy Easter!

Okay Winter, time to March right on out of here!

So March came in. I’m always surprised by how quickly it gets here. Can’t we just give February a couple of more days? I wasn’t ready for March.

We have gone from 2 feet of snow and the entire state losing its’ mind to me wearing shorts today and leaving all the windows open. So Winter can just March itself right on down the road. Like to Australia.

I have spent the entire past 7 days gathering up all of the Vine Voice things that have piled up over the year and either gave them to people in need or gave them to the church. I had an entire room full of everything from a cordless drill to an inflatable bath tub. That bathtub is awesome! It will be in my tent all summer.

I have been doing a series on downsizing and living smaller. People think if you live in an apartment it can be impersonal. But as long as you aren’t making permanent changes, you are good. So in that vein, I’m looking at this wallpaper thing on Wayfair. Especially made for renters. Peel and stick. Some of it is good and some is very cheap and ugly. One looked like those old cardboard Christmas fireplaces. Apparently the good folks at Wayfair also talk to Amazon because the next day the only one I wanted was on Amazon Vine. So I ordered it. I had seen pictures on the site and thought it sounded good. Thick, easy to move and it doesn’t take the paint off the wall. Mine looks like brick and has a pebbly texture to it. The 3D effect makes it look real.

I thought it would be like Contact Paper, but no, It’s thick like wallpaper and you can easily reposition it. It took OU Boy about an hour total to do our entire kitchen backsplash area. I love it and I’ve invited my friends over to see it and they loved it also. I just ordered another roll and paid for that one! I’m going to try in on my bookshelves.

I had ordered all of my tea making herbs plus all of my cooking herbs so I asked OU Boy if he would pick me up a bag of organic seed starting soil. He brought home a 50 pound bag that I didn’t even put a dent in. But they are all planted and labeled and sitting in my back bedroom that gets lots of sun in the afternoon and then to give them a boost I got a few grow lights. Can you tell I am ready for Spring? Time to till up the garden at the farm and get things ready.

How is everyone? Is the plague slowing down any? What are you reading? I’m reading a really good book about Ethel Rosenberg.

Stay Safe. Especially Texas!

xx P

VICTORINE a Novel by Drema Drudge

Victorine Meurent. You may not know the name, but you know her. Take a look at Manet’s Olympia or Picnic on the Grass. Victorine models for many artists. She is living in Paris, posing nude or clothed. But her secret desire is to be the painter, not the model.

In 1863, a woman artist is laughable. It is not a career that is encouraged by parents or society. But Victorine is no ordinary woman. No. She is a force of nature, steamrolling her way to her dreams. She doesn’t want someone else’s life, she wants to live her life. And she does.

She endures the horror of the occupation of Paris. She makes do with nothing. But she is always kind and loving.

Victorine is one of the most interesting women I have had the pleasure to read about. She is smart, curious, and determined. Her personality is so strong and the author portrays her so well, you can feel her emotions. This is not something I come across every day. I wanted it to last longer. I honestly don’t have words for the energy this work of art is. Victorine came to life with the language the author used. I have a feeling we shall see more!

March 17th, 2020 by Fleur-de-Lis Press

This book is a real force of nature. Once you begin to read you will be helpless to stop! So I had some questions for this author who has such a flair for the written word.

She was kind enough to answer

Thank you so much, Patricia, for having me on your blog today. I appreciate it.

So, this is your first published book?

Yes. It’s the culmination of a lifelong dream of being a published author. I’m still pinching myself and I find myself holding it in my hands and turning it over and over sometimes.

Why Victorine?

I was in a college class, The Painted Word, that was about literature featuring paintings. The professor put up a PowerPoint presentation with artwork to inspire us. When he got to Manet’s Olympia, something about the painting, the nude woman in it, arrested me. I had never seen it, but I felt like there was so much she wanted to say to me. I told her I would listen. It was only later I discovered she was Victorine Meurent, not only a model, but a talented artist as well.

What type of research did you do?

What I wanted more than anything was to go to Paris to learn more. I refused to even attempt to find out anything about her until I could see “her” in person. (My process is learning from the artwork directly first, to see what it can “say” to me. Then I do book research.)

I was in grad school at the time, and we took a trip to Paris. I couldn’t sleep the night before I went to D’Orsay, because I knew “she” would be there. When I stood before the painting of Olympia, I felt like the model still had something more to say, but I couldn’t figure out what. I started crying in frustration.

Then a tour group came by, and their leader started talking about this model in the painting whose nose had been broken by her boxer boyfriend. That was the first I had heard of that. The funny thing was, I could never find any proof of that in my research, that there was a boxer boyfriend. But I knew it belonged in the book. Willie was born. He remains one of my favorite characters in the story.

Once I was home, I dug deeply into the internet for information. I discovered there wasn’t much to know about Victorine, which disappointed me. But by using the paintings of her, by reading about the time period, I was able to put together something that approximated her story. Many of the best-known painters of the time painted her, not only Édouard Manet, but also Alfred Stephens and Toulouse-Lautrec.

When I realized she was an artist herself, but history had forgotten that fact, I knew why she had chosen me to tell her story: she wanted me to return her to art history. (Or “herstory.”) My initial research only showed one known painting of hers, rediscovered in 2004. However, as my husband and I dug deeper, (besides being my sweetie, he’s also my research assistant) we

found three other paintings of hers. This included her self-portrait, which thrilled me. Seeing how she saw herself after all of the paintings of her confirmed for me that I had heard her correctly. (And I should add, we didn’t discover this painting until right before the book went to press. I quickly made a few changes to the scene where she paints herself. I also got permission from the painting’s owner to use the painting on the back of my book, the first time her painting has ever been published. I felt absolutely validated in my journey with her, then.

What is your favorite writing genre?

I love writing literary fiction. It’s sometimes difficult to write, is sometimes difficult to read, but there’s something deep and universal about it that speaks to me. It deals with what’s most important in life. It’s a full meal with something to snack on after the fact, too. Or I think that’s its aim. Not that it’s without its faults. Sometimes it takes itself too seriously. Sometimes it goes too dark.

That being said, I read lots of different genres, because sometimes you want something lighter. While I classify Victorine as primarily literary fiction about art, it is also historical literary fiction.

And who knows what I might write in the future?

Can you share with us what you are working on now?

Gladly! While I adore writing about art, I’ve taken a break to write about another topic that thrills me. Virginia Woolf is my favorite writer, so I am incorporating some of her book To the Lighthouse in mine. My novel is about Briscoe Chambers, a grad school student working on her thesis on Woolf. She’s married to a country music singer, Michael, and she’s also his manager.

The book opens with her discovering very publicly that he has cheated on her. The problem is, he’s contractually obligated to work with the woman he cheated with. And Briscoe has invested so much of her time and energy, not to mention her heart, in him and his career that she has to decide what to do next. It’s not as easy as just walking away. Reading and writing about Woolf help her come to a decision. Add in a distinctly Southern flare (I’m originally from the South and my husband and I lived in Nashville for a stretch) and I think it’s a fun one.

Who in the literary world do you look up to?

As I mentioned, Woolf is my absolute favorite writer. Her work is layered, nuanced, and challenging but rewarding. W. Somerset Maugham’s work is amazing. Toni Morrison is in my top ten, for sure.

Sena Jeter Naslund’s writing is a current writer whose work astonishes me with its delicate beauty. (Full disclosure: she’s also a mentor and dear friend of mine.) When it comes to art in

fiction, Stephanie Storey’s writing is lovely as well. Irving Stone’s writing about art is beyond compare.

I am a classics fan, clearly, so the Brontës are favorites of mine, all of them, William Shakespeare and Jane Austen, of course…I could go on and on here.

Thank you again, Patricia, for having me on your blog and for all you do for the literary community.