Category Archives: People

At Quiet City Books

Yesterday, as part of Lewiston’s Sunday Indie Market, Clif and I went to Quiet City Books, where we had our own little table for our own little books.

Quiet City Books is one those shops that feels like home to all nerdy, wordy folks who love books. (Yes, that would include me.)  Courtney MacMunn Schlacter, the owner, has managed to tuck in bright, funky art and sweet little gifts among an astonishing assortment of books that appeal to readers young and old.

What a delightful way to spend a winter’s day. We sold some books and chatted with Courtney, who has a commitment to making Lewiston a better place. We talked about how too many people only hear what’s bad about Lewiston, a mill city that has seen better days, but nonetheless has a lot going for it.  Thanks to Courtney and other bright, creative people, Lewiston now has a hopeful spark.

So readers, if you live in the area and find yourself in Lewiston, stop by Quiet City Books, look at the art and the books and support this wonderful local store.

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Glasses of Shame

All right. The first proof copy of Library Lost has been edited, and a second proof copy is on its way, with an expected delivery of next week. Normally, this  would be a chance for me to catch my breath and maybe get some much-needed household chores done. But…we have two fairs this weekend, and, just to add a merry touch, a nor’easter is blowing up the East Coast. Will the fairs be canceled? And, our perennial question, will we lose our power? Stay tuned!

Last week, Clif had a cataract removed, and the procedure was a huge success. His vision is greatly improved, and he hardly has any restrictions on what he can lift. But I promised you a funny story about his cataracts, and here it is.

First, we must have a picture of Clif wearing what he has dubbed his “glasses of shame,” which loudly proclaim cataract surgery and old codger satus. The gray hair, of course, just adds to it.

Even with a procedure as minimally invasive as a cataract removal, fasting is necessary. An upset stomach during the procedure would be a Very Bad Thing. Clif’s surgery was just past noon, and by the time he had sufficiently recovered, it was about 2:30 or 3:00. Even though Clif  was woozy from the sedatives he had been given, he was hungry. Extremely hungry.

The nurse was in the room while we were discussing where to eat, and she said, “There’s a Kentucky Fried Chicken just down the road.”

“Do you want to go there?” I asked Clif.

“Yes,” came the prompt reply.

Thus one of our guilty pleasures is revealed—we both have a soft spot for Kentucky Fried Chicken. A leftover from our youthful days, I suppose. We hardly ever eat there, but when we do, we enjoy it.

The nurse helped a wobbly Clif to the car, and off I drove. At KFC, there was, of course, no nurse to help Clif. There was just me, significantly shorter than Clif and with creaky knees to boot. In we toddled—a woozy Clif with his glasses of shame and me doing my best to hold a steady course. I can only imagine what we looked like.

Because we hardly ever go to KFC, we had no idea what the various meals included. Swaying slightly, we studied the large menu sign on the wall behind the counter. Finally I asked the woman who was patiently waiting for our order about what sides came with one of the Big Box Meals.

Without hesitating, she leaned over and said in a loud whisper, “Ask for the senior citizen special.”

And so we did, saving ourselves about $10. We each had two pieces of perfectly cooked chicken, a surprisingly light biscuit, hot mashed potatoes with gravy (yes, they were instant), and cole slaw.

As we ate, we giggled about being urged to order the senior citizen special. This is a first for us as usually we have to ask for it. But I suppose we looked like a pair who was in desperate need of a good deal.

Everyone once in a while, there is a benefit to being gray haired and wobbly.

 

 

 

Kit, Dogs, and Kids Leave

This morning, Shannon and Mike packed the dogs and the cat into the car to begin the long trip back to North Carolina. While there has been flooding in their area, the waters have receded, and their town house, on a hill, remained dry. Other people in North Carolina have not been so lucky, and I expect it will be a long time before some areas recover. How terrible it must be to have your home severely damaged or destroyed, and I always feel so sorry for those who have endured such a loss.

On a happier note…we had a wonderful week with Mike and Shannon. The best part was just sitting on the patio and talking. We are lucky indeed to have a daughter and son-in-law who love books, movies, and art as much as we do. So much to discuss! Also, when it comes to politics, we are like minded, and that is another plus.

Yesterday, as a farewell breakfast, we went to Forage Market in Lewiston, and Shannon and Mike were very impressed with the food. Holy cats, those bagels are good. I bought extra for us to have this morning, and the day-old bagels were still pretty tasty.

The house is quiet now, and as always after our children leave, we feel let down and blue. Fortunately, we have a little something to keep us busy.

The cover for my upcoming fantasy novel, Library Lost, is nearly ready, and how exciting it was to see the proof.  I am thrilled with the cover, which will be a perfect complement to Maya and the Book of Everything.

As soon as Library Lost’s cover is ready, I’ll be posting it on this blog for everyone to see.

And next week, I will return to reading blogs and commenting. This week, with all the talking, eating, and having fun, I just didn’t have the time to keep up with everyone.

More Birthday Brouhaha

As I have written in the past, our philosophy is to celebrate early and celebrate often. Along with escaping Hurricane Florence, Shannon and Mike had timed their trip north to coincide with my birthday, which was yesterday. Since Clif’s birthday is a week from now, we figured a double celebration was in order.

Yesterday was a sunny day—not too hot, not too humid—so off we went to the Red Barn for seafood and chicken. I, of course, had a lobster roll. Utterly delicious, with just a touch of mayonnaise to hold the lobster together.

Then, for dessert, a whoopie pie.

After lunch, it was onward to Waterville to see the new waterfront park by the Kennebec River. Since the late 1960s, when in a fit of urban renewal all the buildings were torn down, a piece of land off Front Street had been empty and pretty much neglected. Not anymore. How spiffy and lovely it looks.

We walked across the Two Cent Bridge, a suspension bridge that connects Waterville to Winslow. Time was when walkers had to pay a two-cent toll to cross the bridge, but that time has passed.

For no fee at all, we went across the bridge, where I took a picture of Shannon and Mike.

Here’s a shot down the blue, blue Kennebec River, toward the Hathaway Mill, which no longer produces shirts and is instead used for businesses and apartments. (You can’t really see the Hathaway in this picture, but it is on the right past the bridge.)

And here’s a shot up the river. On the right is the old Scott Paper Company, which looks deserted. So many factories closed, and while they polluted the Kennebec River, they also provided good-paying jobs. So far, nothing has come to take their place and lift the area’s economy.

But it was too fine a day to brood on a stalled economy. (I’ll save that for another day.) After walking across the bridge and along the river, we went to Cancun, a Mexican restaurant in Waterville, and had drinks at a table on the sidewalk.

Happy birthday to us!

A Garden Visit

This has been a week of visiting with friends and a much-needed break from fiction writing. I decided to take some time off, and I probably won’t return to fiction writing until mid-July.  For the past month, there was a mighty push to get Library Lost finished, and my batteries need a chance to recharge.  Of course, I’ve been thinking about the third book, and I’ve even come up with a new dimension called Down Cellar, which sounds like hell but is really a place outside time.

Anyway, I digress. Today, my friend Gayle invited me to come see her gardens, and that visit was the cherry on the sundae of a wonderful week. Here is the sign that greeted me when I pulled into her driveway.

That sign made this nature lover’s heart leap with joy, and as to be expected, Gayle’s yard and gardens were green and welcoming, filled with bushes, trees, plants, and water—all designed to encourage creatures that scamper, jump, flutter, and fly.

Like me, Gayle has a lot of shade in her yard, but she gets enough sun for various flowers, including white roses,

columbines,

foxgloves,

and a lovely delicate iris.

Most gardeners are very generous, and Gayle is no exception. She even gave me a plant to take home.

This plant is called Brunnera, and it likes shade. Those white patterned leaves are sure to brighten a shady spot in my garden.

Many thanks, Gayle—for the tour, for the plant, and for providing such a welcoming place for wildlife.

So inspiring.

La Reine de Juin

Today, on this first day of summer, is the anniversary of my mother’s birthday. She would have been eighty-two. Ten years ago she died, just before her seventy-second birthday. Too soon, too soon.

But the picture below was taken when she was still young and was just beginning her adult life. (I’ve posted this picture before on her birthday, but I like it so much I decided to post it again.) If my memory is correct, I think this was her graduation picture. Such a fancy dress to wear under the graduation gown. She might have worn this same dress to her prom, but my memory is sketchy about this.

Anyway, here is a little food for thought. Her grandmother—my great-grandmother—never went to school at all. Her mother—my grandmother—only went as far as eighth grade. My mother graduated from high school. In three generations, you can see that progress has indeed been made. (An important thought to hold close during this time when we seem to be taking too many steps back.)

At any rate, happy birthday Rochelle June Dansereau. Surely the first day of summer is one of the loveliest days to have a birthday.

I Have Been Noted

One of the great delights of blogging is becoming friends with people you normally wouldn’t meet. Some of those friends are not that far—in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Others are actually much farther away—Canada, England, Scotland, and even Australia.

One such blogging friend is Quercus, who lives in England. (He has a blog called Quercus Community.) In response to one of my comments on a recent post, he referred to me as “a noted author of YA fiction.”  So very kind of him, but I replied that “noted” might be overstating the case. He wrote back: “I stand by what I said. If necessary I will write a post tomorrow titled ‘A Note About Laurie Graves’, and then you really will be noted!”

By gosh, Quercus did exactly as he promised, and he wrote a lovely post entitled A Note About Laurie Graves – Author, Raconteur and Eater of Ice Cream. 

I was tickled, touched, and oh so pleased that he would take the time to write about me, to, in fact, note me. Also, as an indie author with a budget as big as a minute, readers’ kind words and promotions really help.

Many, many thanks, Quercus, for noting me. And thanks to all my other blogging friends who have bought and read Maya and the Book of Everything and have been so encouraging.

It really makes a difference.

And, Quercus, thanks to you I will no longer hesitate to state that I am a noted author.