Beauty and Decay

Hey y’all,

July and August are probably my least favorite times of the year. Things here in the hot, humid south slow down – people are on vacation if they can afford them or hiding in the air conditioning if they can’t. After 10 AM, it’s too hot to work outside for any length of time. My yard gets a shade wilder than I want it to, and yet I feel spurred on to greater productivity, probably because of the increased sunlight. I’m often writing grants and funding applications about now, hoping my work can be funded next year.

In short, at this time of year, I always feel behind and a little afraid.

But I’m still walking most days – the pool is my wintertime thing, I have decided. There is something primal in the walking I crave. I’m staying on my health plan and have maintained my much-needed 50-pound weight loss from last year. I’m writing every day. And the book project is firmly underway, and members are getting a chapter a week in their emails.

I guess I’m saying that, despite how I feel at any given moment, I’m OK. Upon examination, this shocks me and pleases me, all at the same time.

I hope you are OK, too.

Things I wrote this week.

Beauty and Decay: Beauty and decay always coexist. Always.

My Favorite Sandwich: A memory involving propane, propane accessories, and cheap barbeque sauce.

Garden Party: I went to a thing.

A list of lists

I’m a sucker for lists. Especially lists of “compiled wisdom,” for want of a better term. But this collection of “Things you are allowed to do” is thought-provoking. There is a degree of privilege in any choice we make – if I tell you that you should wash your face every day, that supposes you are privileged enough to have access to soap and running water – but overall, this list is more about giving you permission and stretching your mind around possibilities.

After reading that one, I ended up in a vortex of links, which somehow landed me on these two different lists of “100 things to do to have a better life” (1, 2). Again, privilege, caveats, not necessarily an endorsement of everything on the page, etc.


Rereading Farewell, My Lovely last week has got me on a noir jag again – I just reread Ross MacDonald’s The Moving Target. MacDonald was the generation after Chandler and Hammet, and his Lew Archer series (18 books deep) carried the noir torch forward.

Two trivia tidbits: MacDonald was the pen name for Kenneth Millar, who may or may not have had a multi-decade-long affair with Eudora Welty (Gossip at the time said yes, the pearl-clutching Welty estate insists not).

Also, the fictional town of Santa Teresa (which is based on Santa Monica) recurs often in the Archer series, and when Sue Grafton produced the next generation of fictional detectives with her feminist detective Kinsey Milhone, she based her in Santa Teresa as homage.


We are in the research stage of a planned kitchen renovation this winter. If you have a kitchen feature you love, have some kitchen advice, or anything you think we should know, just reply and tell me about it. If you want to see a picture of our current layout and see what advice others have offered, you should check out this Facebook post.

Thank you for reading. This website is free and ad-free because of the support of my readers. Or, if you want to say thanks for this post, you can just buy me a cup of coffee.

1 Comment

  1. Love your pond!! And congrats on maintaining your 50 lb. weight loss.
    I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. It took quite a few years to get my head on straight about how to maintain. Going into 2008, I was way over my goal weight and had just turned 65. I told myself that I had to get old, but I didn’t have to be fat. I made a New Year’s promise to myself to lose the weight — Yeah, me and probably millions of other people making that New Year’s resolution. BUT I did it! By the end of October 2008 I had lost 70 lbs. I have kept it off ever since then. I keep a food diary and I exercise — mainly walking. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this last week, I had 3 days of walking more than 10,000 steps each day. It has really been hot, so I did part of the steps early each morning and then did the rest in the evening when it had cooled off some. On the days that I’m putting in lots of hours on my church’s 10 page newsletter I don’t get nearly as many steps in. Walking also gives me a little meditation time, which is also a good thing.

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