Spring may have sprung, but this weekend is Christmas


A gift certificate from The Strand has been burning a metaphorical hole in my pocket, and this weekend, I intend to spend the whole thing.

I usually shop with a list. Not this time. This time, I’m going exploring.

I shall enter the store with a sense of wanderlust, rather than a sense of purpose. I’m going to stroll down the aisles and let my fingers caress the spines. I plan to stand on tip-toe and bend deep at the knees. I intend to let myself be swayed by interesting titles and colorful cover art.

Then, once my feet begin to tire, I shall fill my red basket to the brim with romances, mysteries, thrillers, fantasies, historicals, biographies, occult books, poetry books, cookbooks and reference tomes. And when the gift certificate has been thoroughly depleted, I’ll haul my treasures home and dive in.

I can’t wait!

(Photo by Bitterfly)

Footprints in the snow

footprints in the snow

When the sun rose this morning, I noticed something deeply troubling.

Footprints in the snow.

For the past week or so, the temperatures have climbed into the 30s and 40s, causing much of our beautiful winter snowscape to dissolve into a disgusting grey sludge. As is usual in this part of New England, Spring’s preview has turned our driveway into a muddy mess pockmarked by deep pools of rain water and snow melt. Then on Thursday, the air cooled and all that water turned to ice, making the prospect of leaving the house altogether unappealing.

To my delight, it started to snow on Friday night, a light dusting that covered the landscape with clean whiteness. But as I was admiring Winter’s last hurrah, I spotted a set of footprints on the front lawn. There were no dog prints nearby so I’m guessing they weren’t made by M. Nor do the deep manly indentions head to the front door. These prints lead straight to the living room window.

Some time between yesterday and today, some unwanted stranger has been peering into our house.

Once M’s awake, I plan to ask him about the markings. I’m hoping the prints are his, and that he was simply looking behind the bushes for a lost dog toy. Because the alternative? Well, that sends real chills down my spine.

–Update: Turns out they were M’s footprints. He created the imprints while taking this picture of the bush right in front of our living room window. Whew!

(Photo by Herman Brinkman)

Step inside my favorite room and gaze upon my walls


“We are fascinated, all of us, by the implacable otherness of others. And we wish to penetrate by hypothesis, by daydream, by scientific investigation those leaden walls that encase the human spirit, that define it and guard it and hold it forever inaccessible.” –Tim O’Brien

What’s on your walls? Floating bookshelves? Famous prints? Movie posters? Family photographs? Wallpaper or paint? I ask because I wonder, what exactly do you stare at day after day?

Most of the walls in our house are bare. The reason is simple: we’re renting. It just doesn’t make sense to put up a lot of decoration on other people’s walls. With the exception of the holidays, I only decorate the walls of my office. It’s the one room where I spend the majority of my time, and I like to have things that inspire me on the walls.

I haven’t painted the room so the ivory-colored walls you see in the background of these pictures came with the house. Given the choice, however, I’d probably go with black or a navy blue or even a deep red. Something dark and dramatic.


This is the tapestry that hangs above my desk. It’s called “Women of the Sacred Grove” by Emily Balivet and I picked it up last year on Gaelsong. To me, the 12 women represent the months of the year, and they’re heading into the woods to celebrate the full moon.


To my right is this metal butterfly sculpture. I’ve always been drawn to butterflies — they seem free and independent — and the colors on this piece of art beautifully matches my more autumnal nature. In the future I plan to get at least two butterfly tattoos, one will be obsidian and the other a Blue Morpho.


Behind me are very dark curtains whose sole purpose is to block out the evil morning sunlight. There are also blackout shades behind them and a full set of miniblinds. I am serious about keeping out Ra’s rays. But I do like a little illumination and these Christmas lights give the room a soft, golden glow.


Next to the door is this original painting by Jaime Best, one of my favorite artists, who describes her work as “fantasy art with a touch of whimsy and a hint of melancholy.” This particular piece, which I found on Etsy, had a different meaning for Best than it does for me, but isn’t that what makes art grand? To me, this image exemplifies what it feels like every time I send a new submission into the world. Will it be accepted? Rejected? Or completely ignored?


This painting, also by Best, hangs on the wall to my left and features one of the few things I like about summer: fireflies. Is there a more magical — and harmless — bug to keep you company in the dark? I doubt it.


Omnia vanitas

Lastly, these are the images currently featured on my laptop’s desktop. The backgrounds, which change every 30 minutes, get pulled from a folder of nearly 1,000 images. Every time I look at my desktop to grab some code or to open a folder, I’m greeted with something new. The first one I like because it feels like spring. Also seems appropriate that it appeared today because it has a very St. Patrick’s Day feel. The second image is one of my favorites because it reminds me of how I feel just before I write an obit. The original, “Omnia Vanitas” by William Dyce, is stunning. Someday, I hope to own a framed print.

Life and death…so inspiring.

5 true confessions of a jaded mind


* I am simply incapable of leaving a bookstore without purchasing at least one tome.

* A 5-year-old once beat me at putt-putt. I was a teenager at the time.

* I’m also lousy at bowling.

* It is very difficult for me to return library books on time. Part of the problem is the fact that the library is 20 miles away. The other part is that it’s only open for limited hours (usually when I’m sleeping). Try as I might, I always end up paying fines.

* Whenever someone famous dies — particularly a person I admire — I’ll spend the next week searching for their movies or books or music or TV shows and then going on what I call a “tribute binge.” It just feels like the best way to honor them and their artistic contributions.