Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cows in the Field and Butterflies in the Stomach

It hit 99 again, yesterday, and no rain in sight. YUCK. Last summer was so mild and it spoiled us. By the time we kick back for 4th of July our fields are going to be brown and crunchy. So, in the meantime, I am trying to let my eyes soak up all the green they can. This is the view from my front porch this morning.

It is so hot that the kids are pretty much staying indoors. This is hard on them and me! The splashy pool has already lost its appeal - not that it was ever all that appealing. Any chores that need to be done around here need to be done early in the morning or early in the evening. Since early in the morning is considered strange, unusual, and unpleasant for several of the chore-doers, early evening has been the time of choice. Last night the boys were cutting down corn stalks and feeding them to the cows. They were not dressed for the job - both in shorts and Jules was actually barefoot. I fussed at them while shooting the pics. Dusk is rattlesnake time....of course.
So far the only place I have seen a rattlesnake this summer has been on my screened-in patio, curled up on the tile. He was thoughtful enough to rattle when I opened the door. I couldn't immediately identify the sound and stood there quizzically for a moment while every cell in my body said, "Bad sound. Freeze." Then I screamed like a girl and slammed the door. I called Jeff, who was in Austin and he told me to kill it. Ha! I called David, who is my somewhat neighbor and stand-in husband when Jeff is out of town and tires need changing, goats' heads need removing from fence holes, and snakes need killing.
David HATES snakes. He wanted to know if he could shoot it. Did I mention it was on my tiled patio?? I don't know what he did, exactly, because I didn't watch. I am never going to be one of those country wives who can just go run and grab a shotgun or a hoe. T'aint gonna happen.
I know one of those wives, though. Shortly after we moved back here, I met her through the local MOMS Club I formed. I was invited to her house for a playgroup playdate. I was used to the little playgroup I'd had in my suburban neighborhood in the city. And here I was driving WAY out into the middle of nowhere on miles and miles of dirt roads to locate her house. After driving over several cattle guards I arrived at my friend's home. And there she stood, greeting guests, none of whom seemed to be slightly concerned that she was holding a shotgun!
"Hello," I said.
"Hi! Would you like some iced tea?" she replied.
"No thanks. Somebody getting married?" I asked while nodding towards the gun.
"Oh my gosh! You are so funny! No, I just killed a couple of rattlesnakes just before you drove up. We have lots of little ones coming today. Safety first!!"
I tried to imagine my former city playgroup members uttering "safety first" while holding a locked and loaded shotgun they had just fired. I gave up after a brief moment. I LOVE COUNTRY GIRLS!! I just wish I could be one : ).
This is a picture of Miss Joyce, chewing on a corn stalk. She is about to pop. She is the last heifer we are waiting on to calve.

And here is Jeff, supervising in his signature outfit - boots and shorts.

Speaking of my kids and getting up early (wasn't I speaking of that earlier?)....a year ago I drove a van load of homeschooled teens up to Michigan for the Odyssey of the Mind World Tournament. We left early in the morning, and it wasn't quite light out. As we drove one of the boys said, "Look! There are people standing by the side of the road! What are those people doing out in the middle of the night??"
To which I replied, "Those are children and they're waiting for the school bus."
They sat in stunned silence for several moments. I know what they were thinking. "There but for the grace of God..."
Well, I have reached the final stage of panic over this upcoming weekend. At least I hope it is the final stage. I read some articles on how to pitch to an agent and they have scared the crap out of me. Advice on attending the conference included, but was not limited to, the following:
1) Don't be the weird guy.
2) Don't stalk or corner agents - it scares them.
3) Corner agents.
4) Don't be aggressive.
5) Be aggressive.
6) Don't get drunk (unlikely - it is a cash bar).
7) Get a pedicure if you're wearing sandals as apparently cracked heels will break a book deal.
8) Look professional. (Like a professional what? I haven't looked professional in a long long time. And now I've gained most of my weight back which is another post, let me tell you. I had to buy a new outfit but truly could only find one and I can't wear it all three days.)
9) Have business cards ready to pass out (I don't).
10)Have your manuscript market-ready (its not).
11)Mingle mingle mingle (I hate to mingle when everyone else is mingling! I prefer to wait until they're all done and then mingle at my own pace.)
Oh, there is more but I can't even get into all of it. There are over 300 writers and just a few agents. It is the "meet and greets" that are making me the most nervous. I picture myself walking into the school cafeteria holding my tray as the new kid. Everyone else is going to be dressed better, weigh less, be much much taller, and have completed manuscripts. They're all going to know each other. They're going to be witty without being silly, aggressive without being overbearing, brilliant, beautiful, etc. Of course, I know a bunch of writers and they don't tend to be these people but maybe I'm hanging out with the wrong crowd.
I hope they don't all have a buddy. My buddies couldn't come. I want a buddy. I would feel better with a buddy.
Let's end this thing on a positive note, shall we? How about a recipe? I don't feed tuna to my kids because of the mercury content and a show we saw on dolphins getting trapped in nets that made us all hysterical. So I make salmon salad and the kids love it - even Jasper and Camille! I have pics to prove it!

I buy the red salmon in a can. Drain it and add mayonnaise, sweet relish, hard-boiled eggs, and red onion. I also add cottage cheese. It adds flavor, protein, and stretches the salad to feed my brood. I just put a serving spoon or so in. We eat it on crackers, lettuce leaves, or whole wheat bread. It is also good in wraps. Enjoy!

Sardine Mama
PS I just noticed on my site meter that I have a few folks in Georgia reading my blog. I love Georgia! Beautiful state.

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