Monday, July 16, 2012

Sunshine and Sweet Tea

Yesterday I typed the last word of The Selkie Enchantress, the second story in my Seal Island Trilogy! I have been writing like mad for months and editing as I go, so I should be days away now from sending it off to my beta readers. I can't wait to hear what they think. Now that I have a moment to breathe, I look forward to giving my blog some love again. :)

I love blogging. I really do. I didn't know what to expect when I started, but it seemed like a fun idea so I figured I'd give it a go. What I didn't expect was how many amazing people I would meet through blogging. And Twitter, of course. I think of them as one and the same, really. Twitter is sort of like a doorway to invite people into your home (or your blog) where they can learn more about you and get a glimpse into who you really are. I've learned what to expect from my favorite bloggers, what kind of conversations we'll have, what issues we'll discuss. Some of these blogs have become places I visit regularly--comfortable, familiar places where I can kick off my shoes and stay awhile.

This week, three lovely bloggers I met through Twitter nominated me for a sunshine award. If you're not following them already, you should!

Lisa Shambrook ~ @LastKrystallos

Meg McNulty ~ @charitygirlblog

Rebecca/Moonduster ~ @moonduster

As for the award, I'm supposed to tell you ten things about myself, so here goes...

1) I love bluegrass music, especially the sound of the fiddle.

2) I always have a candle burning, probably because I'm an Aries (fire sign).

3) I love almond-scented things, oils, lotions, soaps. Yum.

4) Most of my wardrobe is blue, probably because I blush a lot (Irish complexion). Blue cools me down.

5) I think biking is the secret to happiness.

6) I love to watch the moonrise over the cornfields at night.

7) I write best when it's raining outside.

8) I grew up riding horses and I hope to get back into it one day.

9) I've only been to Ireland once. I can't wait to go back.

10) I have a green thumb, and love to garden.

To spread the sunshine love around, I'm supposed to nominate ten more bloggers, but I think I'll dedicate this particular award to the memory of someone who was a ray of sunshine to me when I moved into my first apartment in DC several years ago. Patsy Jo was my next-door-neighbor. She was in her late-sixties, had a thick North Carolina drawl, lived in the district for decades and worked on Capital Hill her whole life. She knew everyone.

I knew no one, and every night when I came home from work, I'd pass by her door, which was always open, and she'd call out asking if I wanted a glass of sweet tea. Which she made fresh. Every day. Her King Charles Spaniel, Dutchess, would be sitting out on her brick stoop, wagging her tale. I'd wander over and she'd have me pick some fresh mint from the garden and we'd sit outside, sipping tea and greeting the rest of the neighbors as they came home. After we all got to know each other a little better, that turned into vodka, but who's keeping track? I have since moved many times into different places around the city, but this first home and the wonderful neighbors I met living there will always hold a special place in my heart.

My first garden which Patsy helped me create.

The same garden, mid-summer.

And look how beautiful it grew by early fall!
I hope Patsy's sweet tea recipe will bring a little sunshine to your day.

Patsy's Southern Sweet Tea
(No measurements, add ingredients to taste)
Boil a big pot of water
Melt sugar into the water
Turn off the heat
Add tea bags
Add cloves
Let the tea cool
Add lemon
Fill a tall glass with ice, fill it with sweet tea
And don't forget the fresh sprig of mint from the garden!