Wednesday, September 30, 2009

You Can't Get There From Here

Do construction projects ever get done on time? The road to my house has been closed since April. It was supposed to be done sometime in October, then November, but has now been postponed until January. I can't get to work from here. I have to go back roads which adds an extra mile in each direction. That adds up.

Editing my novel is similar to roadwork, so if I have to keep postponing my self-imposed due date, can I claim I've run into trouble with the labor unions and there is a five week leadtime for any materials I need to order?

As an example, at lunch, I fired up my computer, intending to zap out fifty words in one hour. I'm down to weeding out 4,111 words. At the end of the hour I was down to 4,118 words to delete.


I found a scene that needed tweaking.

Yes, I edited out probably 50 words, but I added 58. Maybe this is a job for some of Steve Jaquith's superfriends.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Is the Coast Clear?

The last two days were spent in Lincoln City, Oregon, working on the demolition of my book (or rather, the deletion of words). I took this picture this morning from the open window of my room as I waited for my coffee to brew and my computer to boot.

Editing out almost 6,000 words is a lot harder than I anticipated. I started at page one and looked for extra words, redundant words, words I can cut without changing anything. I'm on page 134 and I've cut nearly 1500 words. The problem is, I've added some too; necessary to foreshadow. I've had to stop and change some, using a stronger verb or a better phrase. I really thought I'd be done by now but the process is excruciatingly slow.

Will the book be better? Perhaps I will not know until the rejections come in and someone says, "Gee, I like the first six pages, but the rest of it needs to be reworked." Six pages of good writing. Wouldn't that be great?

So, it is still a work-in-progress.
(Editor's Note: For the artists reading this blog. If you click on the picture to make it bigger, please note the colors in the water, especially the patch of blue at the shoreline.)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dumping the Garbage

I am dedicating this weekend to dumping 5,426 words from my manuscript. I'm closeting myself in and pressing the delete key.

Reading aloud really helps. I read chapter four to my mother last night. I had thought I was finished with it. I could barely get through it. This edit I'm going for "good enough". Next edit I'll go for "fabulous". Last night I only achieved, "Well, dear, it was very nice. I'm just proud that you finished the book."

Eeeeeeek. Back to work. No blogs for three days. I'm determined.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Big Buckeroo

I went to the post office today. I admit, I don't go every day. Well, actually I don't even go every week, so the mail gets smashed into the smallest box I can rent and every once in a while they can't get any more into it. They take it all out and put it in a bin and put a bright yellow card in my box with my PO number on it.

This is bad news.

It means I have to go wait in line, hand them the card and have them glare at me. "Pleeeeease get your mail more often. We couldn't fit anymore in there. Pleeeeeease." They stomp to the back room and come out lugging a bin full of junk mail, bills and annual reports from various companies in my 401k portfolio. They slam the bin down and snap, "Just take the whole bin. Return it later."

I make their life difficult, I know. And I always promise myself I'll drive up there more often, but really, who cares about junk mail and annual reports? Annual reports just say what the company wants them to say and junk mail doesn't even make good fire-starters.

But today there was something different. There was a personal letter. I remember such things from years ago, before email was invented. I aimed my car out of the lot and zipped down the road to the grocery store. I found a great space right up near the front and with the extra time I saved by not having to walk six extra spaces, I ripped open the letter. It was from my friend, Kathy Ornelas in California. I took out the paper and opened it up. A dollar bill floated out and landed on the floorboard.

That was it. Just the dollar. No writing. No explanation. But Kathy doesn't need an explanation. I know Kathy. I understand her. And I knew immediately why she sent the dollar.

Kathy did not want me to be a blockhead. Bless her. Good friends are hard to find.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Painting is Silent Poetry

Painting is silent poetry. ~Plutarch, Moralia: How to Study Poetry

There are times I envy the painter and the poet. What beauty they express through strokes of hushed color or lines of soft cadence, brilliantly arranged.

Vermont's Dale Blodget set up an easel in the sand at Oregon's Arch Cape one day in October, opening her box of enchanting colors and selecting her magic wand. I set a chair nearby and opened a notebook, intending to write, but soon became enthralled with the painting process. I expected clear, crisp lines to color in later, as with coloring books. Instead an undercoat of color in vague shapes splotched onto the canvas. Slowly, like building tension within a scene, small amounts of detail appeared. Colors began to take shape and make sense. Trees emerged. Rocks formed. White foam rode colorful water. Several hours passed and my page remained empty as I watched the canvas become full, pulsing, vibrant.

A woman stopped by, "G'day. Is that available for purchase?"

Dale, engrossed in the creation, looked up. "Yes."

The woman stepped back and watched for a few minutes. "How much?" she finally asked.

Dale glanced back at the woman. "I don't know yet."

Very few artists are known for their marketing. They are known for the silent poetry they commit to canvas. She could have sold that painting, right there on the beach, but it wasn't complete. How can one price it until it is complete?

But she did sell it on that cloudy, chilly day, with the wind whipping softly and cold sand crunching under bare feet as we packed our possessions and padded back to our car.

I own it. This photo of the painting does not do it justice. Looking at the original you feel the mist, smell the salt, hear the harsh cry of the pelicans and pray the tiny opening in the clouds widens until the rays of sunshine warm the sand.

Artwork copyrighted and used by permission from the artist. Dale's paintings can be viewed at various galleries or by visiting her blog

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Paper Hangers

On Fridays my boss, my co-worker and I go out for lunch. It helps us get through the tedious Friday fidgets, when the sky is clear and the weekend beckons. Yesterday we decided to go to Linda's Homeplate, a tiny little local restaurant with yummy, restaurant-cooked food (I hesitate to say home-cooked because it has not been through a fire or been doused with extinguisher residue). But this may be the last time we stop in there.

My co-worker, Ronna, was in a feisty mood, chattering away, smiling and happy. We ordered our regular burgers (we are known as the "burger ladies" by the Linda staff), except my boss ordered bacon on hers. Such daring, with a casual disregard for conventionality. This set all of us off on a tangent of speculation as to why someone would toss tradition to the wind.

The waitress came back and gave us our regular water glasses and my boss decided to go get some straws. She picked her way through the crowded dining area of regulars and plucked three straws from the bin by the register. This, again, was out of the ordinary. The three of us sat with bubbling excitement, wondering what would next whip us into a frenzy. It didn't take long.

Ronna decided to blow her straw paper at me. She ripped off the end, hauled in some air and blasted that paper toward me with the speed of a semi-automatic. I feinted to my right and the missile flew past my ear, hitting the shoulder of the man in the booth behind us, tumbling down his chest and landing with a FFFffffft in the crook of his elbow.

"What the heck?" he said.

His table mate, having witnessed the entire assault, merely said, "the ladies in the other booth."

My boss and Ronna sat opposite me with identical expressions of horror. I turned my head to see the victims behind us.

Three Washington State Patrol officers.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Is That Crepes Suzette?

I've been through two of the little, white kitchen fire extinguishers, but I only use them if the fire is pretty big. One time I pushed a couple plastic cups and a dirty broiling pan into the oven when unexpected guests arrived. Did I remember them later?

Oh please. Of course I remembered them...when I saw the flames. Plastic really burns well. Nice big flames that defy my ordinary means of extinguishing. PHFFFFFT.

New fire extinguisher.

At a later time, something I was broiling caught fire, or more likely the grease did. Hmmm, did I want a big grease fire? PHFFFFFFT.

New fire extinguisher.

A year later the buzzer kept going off. I'd turn it off and sometimes it stayed off for days. Other times it would wait until I sat down. Beep beep beep beep. This went on for months. Middle of the night, middle of a climatic scene in a movie, middle of cooking. I finally couldn't stand it. I took a screw driver and pried the buzzer/clock unit out of the front of the stove. Several wires fell out with the unit. I looked them over and decided if I cut the black ones, I might be able to remove the entire thing from the front of the stove.

Because I'm not entirely without brains, I decided it might be best to turn off the power first. I set the unit up on the top of the stove, similar to setting a baby on the mom's stomach with the umbilical cord still attached. They do that if the baby comes in a taxi and let the hospital deal with it later, right? Well, turns out babies don't touch an aluminum beauty strip and blow a hole the size of a dime in the stove. Admittedly, I may not have acted in a wise, rational manner, but the buzzer had driven me over the edge.

So a new stove was delivered a year ago and it was such a pleasure to have an oven with no fire extinguisher residue. A few months later, as I turned on a burner, there was a PFFTTSSSH and smoke billowed up from the stove and the little red plastic lens cover over the "on" light flew across the room. Extended warranties are a good thing.

So, my friend Paul, gave me a toaster oven a couple months ago. Last night I set it on fire. Oh, not enough flame for me to use the fire extinguisher, but enough for the white outsides of the little oven to be gray and the little tray inside to be black and a trail of ash to the front door where I threw out the fiery remnants of dinner.

I'm just the teeniest bit afraid to plug it back in. Should I just toss the whole thing and buy another just like it so Paul doesn't know? And if anyone could suggest dinner ideas that require no cooking, I'd be willing to try them.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oh, Miss, Miss

I finally went to the bank and cashed a $25 check I've had laying around. Normally I don't carry much cash. I mean, when you have a Starbucks card you really don't need cash, right? So, I came out of the bank, clutching my purse to my chest, terrified a terrorist would take it. The empty plastic bin I refill with cat litter at Petco occupied my passenger seat and I stuck my key into the lock to get it out.

Two young boys, probably twelve years old, wearing tee shirts and shorts, charged out of the bank and leaped over a three and a half foot fence, landing with a thud nearly at my feet. My fingers tightened around my purse. One of them had those tennis shoes with the springs in the heels and the other had on shoes that appeared to be hand-me-downs from Sasquatch. They took off running between the cars and disappeared behind a van.

Naturally I assumed they'd just robbed the bank. Someone probably idled in the van, eager to peel rubber through the lot to affect a clean get-away.

I opened my car door and hauled out the plastic cat litter bin, ready to use it as a weapon. As the car door slammed shut, a woman came up the sidewalk beside the fence and called out, "Miss, oh miss!"

My eyes shot to hers, afraid she'd say the boys had stolen HER purse and even more afraid she would expect me to chase them down.

"Did you forget your children?" she called.

My jaw dropped. "Children?"

"Yes, those two boys that just ran off. Did you forget them?"

I stared at her. "Um...they're not mine."

She sighed and pointed her keys at a minivan two spaces over. "Well, it was worth a try." The "beep beep" of the locks releasing signaled the boys, who tossed open the doors and flung themselves in just as she arrived at the driver's door.

Nice try. Very nice. But no banana. And that may be the last time I try to walk through a parking lot with twenty-five big ones flaming signals to bad guys.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Revision Revulsion

I'm only on page 67 of Elizabeth Lyon's Manuscript Makeover. My eyes are glazing over and I'm thinking of taking up the violin. After trying to study at the park by the river again and becoming best friends with a two-year-old, and scaring a puppy into a near death experience, I came home to study. I know I shouldn't actually look at my manuscript for a few weeks (six is the time frame that comes to mind), but I decided I wanted to try out some of what I learned.

Did I cut out any of the 13,000 words I need to delete? Well, no. Instead, I changed the word "stood" to "towered" in the first paragraph and added the word "pretentious" to the second. Elizabeth Lyon would be proud. I think I'm all set now. Probably ought to buy a couple envelopes so I can send it off to an agent.

(Editor's note: Melanie Sherman is joking, in case you are an agent reading this blog. She really does intend to cut the excess words and has committed to taking out most of the word "look", some of the word "walk", and limiting exclamation points!)

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Samuel Johnson was born in September of 1709 in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England. He is known for writing the Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1755, which some consider to have had a great influence on modern English. He wrote more than just the lexicon, of course, beginning his writing career by writing essays for The Gentleman's Magazine.

I bring this up today because I ran across a quote from him.

"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money."

I've thought a lot about this over the past couple of days and I think he is right. I mean, the man wrote a dictionary, for crying out loud. It took him nine years. That is pretty smart, don't you think?

I've decided I do not want to be a blockhead. I sit at my computer, day after day, pounding out these blog entries and I haven't made one dime from them. So, I'd really appreciate it if you'd send me a dollar every time you read one of my postings. Because I'm really very generous, as well as fair-minded, if you only log in by mistake and click off again in five seconds or less, you may send only two bits.

Thanks, Mr. Johnson. We learn from history.

(If you leave a nice comment about what a terrific writer I am, I would consider that a fair barter and accept it in lieu of cash)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cheery Air Horns

On Monday, I intended to go to the beach, but instead I packed up my computer and my Manuscript Makeover book and sped to a meeting with Carol, my pre-read partner. I read her my last seven pages and got her critique. By the time we finished, it was nearly eleven and too late for a day trip to the beach.

Luckily we have the Columbia, the bluish-grey river dividing Oregon from Washington and I pointed my car to a park near the Interstate Bridge (I-5). I've written there before, with its quiet solitude, the gentle lapping waves as the sailboats race silently across the lazy currents and the rhythmic sound of traffic speeding over the bridge provides a white noise for zoning out. I hauled my computer and book out to a bench overlooking the water and propped my feet up on my bag, cracking open the textbook and setting my Starbucks beside me.


I came very close to spilling my coffee. The Chief side slipped toward the bridge and honked its air horn, sending a crowd of pedestrians spanning the bridge into a frenzy. The bridge tenders blasted out the horn used to warn the bridge is lifting. My eyes widened because the pedestrians spanned the entire bridge, hands joined. Instead of running to avoid the 531 foot lift span, they merely cheered and whistled and made a wild ruckus.

The bridge did not lift and The Chief split the warm air with its horn again. More passionate screams and cheering voices from the bridge. Behind me, as if on cue, a Burlington Northern engine pulled repeatedly on its horn, keeping time with the click, click, click of the wheels along the tracks.

Dogs barked. Crows squawked. A code three fire truck's siren whirred across the bridge toward Oregon, stopping ten feet from the firm solid ground on the other side. More siren wails joined in, from police and ambulance. The yellow flashing of the strobe light of a wrecker added to the fracas.

I slammed my book shut and squinted across the water. The only thing lacking were the porpoises jumping through hoops, for crying out loud. I downed my coffee, shoved my book into my computer bag and retraced my steps to my car.

At home, I could study with only Hobiecat and Schooner to disturb me.

And they did.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Steve and Mark and the Memoir

I probably should not admit I've only just clawed my way into modern times. A few years back I was shamed into becoming email literate when my mother complained she didn't have my email address. In the last four months I've joined facebook, twitter and blogging. I cannot imagine anyone wanting to read about my recent decent into digital cameras, but it was necessary because I cannot seem to find any film for my Polaroid Land Camera. And it only took three months to figure out how to get pictures into my daily blog entries. But when I learn how to do something I tend to plunge in with my fingers pinching my nose.

Which leads me to today's topic: Steve Jaquith

Steve was a finalist in the mainstream category of the PNWA Literary Contest. After hearing a little about his book, working title "Not Another Celebrity Memoir", I wanted to read it. I asked him to send me his contest entry (about 25 pages of his book) which he did. His humorous writing style reminded me of Mark Twain. In college I read one of Twain's short stories that so hilariously depicted a human flaw that I think of it whenever I find myself on the brink of displaying the trait myself. Steve captures the trait as humorously as did Twain, but with a modern slant.

I asked him if I could mention his book and he sent me a one sentence synopsis:

Faced with the unwelcome task of writing his memoirs, a one-hit-wonder Hollywood actor is stymied by his insecurities until a chance encounter with an unconventional heavy-metal cowgirl renews both his career-path and his self-worth.

The trouble with a one sentence pitch is it gives the reader no clue as to Steve's amusing writing style. Luckily, he went on to say:

You can also use words such as: hilarious, brilliant, and sure-fire best-seller.

That made me laugh, as did the 25 pages of manuscript.

Steve is a writer/actor who has written scripts for Home & Garden Television, interactive murder mysteries for fun and profit, and the occasional ransom note to thwart the Superfriends. He’s acted on film, television and stage and spent a decade touring with an improvisational comedy troupe. I think from this you can discern the man knows humor.

When I asked him to send me a picture to add to this blog, this is what he sent.

With a sense of humor like that, I'm sure we'll be seeing his book in print.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Triumphant Joy and Hazy Terror

Today I finished my novel. I went through two cups of coffee at Starbucks and one sandwich and I came to the end. I didn't even know I was that close, but there it was. The obvious and complete end. Unless it isn't. I have eight pages to read to my fabulous critique group on Thursday and they'll let me know if it is really the end or if I was hallucinating.

And what is more, I finished it exactly, to the day, two years after I thought about beginning it...or maybe three years. Well, maybe it was more like two years and seven months. Or maybe it was three years and two months. But anyway, what a coincidence, huh?

Actually, it took two and a half months of false starts before I could even begin. I'd come to work and say, "Okay, here is what happens..." I'd rattle off the beginning and they'd wrinkle their noses and shake their heads. "That doesn't even make sense."


A week later I'd say, "I've got it!" I'd spew out my idea and they'd look pained. "That is stupid."

A week and a half later I'd say, "This is really it. It really is." They'd listen and when I finished they'd look at each other and assume a commiserative expression and say, "Well, your protagonist sounds like an idiot and it is completely unbelievable."

One day I spent an entire day at Powell's Books and found a great book, not on the subject I wanted, but on female pirates. I wish I had bought that book. I'll probably have to go back and get it when I get filthy rich. But then I happened upon a Time-Life book called "Fighting Sail". It had all the information I needed to give me the opening to my book.

I went to work, two and a half months after I came up with the idea of having a female adventure on the high seas, and said, "Okay, here is what happened." I told them.

They sat forward with wide eyes. "Really?"

I sat back and a smug feeling of excitement overtook me. "Yeah, really."

So I had my beginning. For the next year I did research. Brilliantly exciting, fabulous, enthralling research. Never had research been so breath-taking. Unfortunately, it consumed me and everyone I met got an earful of history. One day I was researching sailing ships from 1805 at the library when a retirement aged man stopped at my table. He leaned over the book I had open to the anatomy of a ship and said, "Those were wonderful ships, weren't they?"

"Yes," I smiled. "Quite thrilling."

He grunted. "I was an Able Seaman in the Navy. I'm retired now."

I raised my eyebrows and all sorts of questions popped into my head. Before I could ask any of them he said, "You know the old saying, 'A sailor has a woman in every port'?"

I nodded.

He rocked back on his heels. "Well it simply isn't true." I sensed I was about to learn a secret everyone would like to know, but doesn't have the courage to ask; kind of like finding out exactly what is worn (or not worn) under a kilt. "Yup. A sailor just doesn't get to every port."

That is when I started doing my research at home.

So tomorrow I'm taking my Elizabeth Lyon book, "Manuscript Makeover" to the beach to start reading how to write my book all over again. It is a totally scary project, but I've got to cut out 13,000 words. My friend, Paul, who has written and published a thesis for his masters and is therefore an authority on writing, said cutting out 13,000 words from a 113,000 word manuscript is simple. Just do a "search and delete" for the word "the".
I think I'll stick with Ms. Lyon's advice.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Novel Writing Boot Camp

I've had some great writing teachers, but one of my favorite classes, Novel Writing Boot Camp, was taught by a couple, Carolyn Rose and Mike Nettleton. When I signed up for the class here in Vancouver, I had about 75 pages written on a book that was kind of a cross between a genre romance and a genre mystery. The first class they talked about "information dump" and how most first-time writers begin with backstory. "Don't do that," they cautioned, "it is bad, bad writing."

I had read over my book the night before and I realized my whole first chapter was information dump. Fine, I thought. I'll just begin my book at Chapter Two. The next class they told us about some other item first-time writers do and, once again, cautioned us against it.

Chapter Two was gone.
Week three, all but two paragraphs were gone of my Chapter Three.
And so it went until the end of the class, I had only fourteen pages left of my original 75. Did I give up? Certainly not. In fact, I began an entirely new book, took heed of all I had learned and when I had about 100 pages written, I took Novel Writing Boot Camp over again, as remedial learning for the writing handicapped.

Surprisingly, I learned even more the second time I took it. Way more. And, at the end of the class, many of us formed a critique group and have been meeting every week for a year. Two of our group have finished their books and the rest are working on the final chapters or doing heavy revisions. Hard work, but still fun.

This week Carolyn Rose announced that she and Mike have signed a contract with Krill Press and will have "The Big Grabowski", out in the fall and a sequel, as yet unnamed, in the spring. Mike is now plotting the third book in that series and Carolyn is finishing a mystery that draws on her “career” filling in for high school teachers, "No Substitute for Murder". Carolyn is also the only writer from the Northwest to be selected to donate a holiday crime story to The Gift of Murder, an anthology due out from Wolfmont Press this fall to raise money for the Toys for Tots Program.

Three cheers for my instructors. They obviously know what they are doing. You can find more information about their books at

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sauerkraut Secrets from Belgium

My parents moved in to their "Independent Living Retirement Community" yesterday. I drove down there after work and helped rip boxes open, looking for a set of sheets. On Sunday, we stopped in so they could show me their apartment which is crammed packed with bright windows overlooking the woods.

A woman from Belgium, Josee Collins, wheeled up to us in the lobby. My father was excited to see her because during an earlier conversation he told her he had been in Belgium during World War II and had built airfields for the Army Engineers. He was in the aviation division. Josee said, "Oh, at Ashe?"

"Yes, we built the airfield at Ashe. How did you know?"

She must have lived near there. She met an American service man, Jim Collins, and married him, coming to America as a War Bride.

I think my dad looks forward to finding out more about Belgium then and now.

But on Sunday, Josee leaned over to me and asked, "Do you know what the secret to sauerkraut is?"

I didn't want to say the first thing that came to mind, which stinks. "No," I admitted.


I stared at her blankly.

She nodded. "I'm serious. Applesauce or fresh apples. It takes the bitterness out."

I've only had sauerkraut twice in my life. I'm thinking they didn't use applesauce. I wonder if this is a secret only she knows, or if the people in Belgium know and simply don't tell the rest of us. Might be worth a try, though.

I'm looking forward to talking with others in my parents new community to see what secrets they hold. This could be quite an education for me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Beauty and Barbed Wire

So, I took the advice of my friend, Carol, and decided to take pictures of the precious mommy and matching baby horse. This caused some irritation within my neighborhood. Now I might have to move.

1. I drove very slowly (by slowly, I mean about 47mph) past the pasture where the bookend mommy and baby horse are located.
Irritation factor: The speed limit on unposted country roads is 50. With inflation, that means 60 to most people, and in my neighborhood a lot of people have obviously been plagued by inflation.

2. The bookend horses were not out. Other, less adorable, horses were out in their place. I passed the driveway with the pasture on each side, but thought I spotted the mare and foal in a small paddock.

Irritation factor: To my dismay, my right blinker isn't working AGAIN. I've had it fixed at least ten times. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

3. I decided to hang a U-turn at the next little country road. Someone was waiting to turn onto the speedway I was on.

Irritation factor: I signal with my arm because my blinker isn't working. The man in the pick 'em up truck doesn't understand traditional hand signals. "Nice blinker, you--expletive deleted-- " he shouts and gives me what is also a traditional hand signal, although it doesn't mean he was about to turn.

4. I backtracked to the long, long, long driveway with the pastures on each side. I squinted ahead and, yes, there are the horse and foal.

Irritation factor: Just as I started up the narrow driveway someone in a pick up started toward me from the house at the end of the driveway. He stopped. With tires crunching on the gravel, I pulled over as far as I could but there was still not enough room for two cars. Backing up is not my strong point. I continued until I got to a wider spot.

5. When I got to the wider spot, I pulled to the right, putting on my non-working blinker. When that action failed to spur the pick up forward, I stuck my hand out the window and motioned to the driver to go ahead past me.

Irritation factor: He didn't understand my hand signals. The big truck idled at the head of the driveway, pawing the ground and snorting.

6. I hung out the window and waved him toward me.

Irritation factor: He finally spun his wheels and spilled to a stop next to my car, gravel spewing and a scowl on his face.

I forced a smile, though I thought I could hear dueling banjos. "Do you know who owns those two horses there?" I asked.
Hmmm. "Well, I wanted to get a picture of them because they are so cute. Do you think that would be okay?"
"I don't know. They are boarded. The driveway is the next one down." His teeth clamped together and his knuckles grew white on the steering wheel.
Not to be discouraged, I smiled. "Oh, well, would it be okay if I just jumped out and snapped a picture?"
He looked pointedly past my car.
"Can you get by me?" I asked.
He rolled his eyes. "Yeah." With that he excelled, leaving a cloud of dust and tiny pebbles plinking across my hood.
I vaulted from the car and yanked my camera out and snapped a few quick pictures. I'll have to try it again when they are in the pasture because you can't see how cute they look together here.

But first I'll rent a car with a decent blinker and wear a disguise.