Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mowing Leaves

Today is a beautiful, calm, sunny January. The morning started out at twenty-eight degrees with a promise to warm up to the fifties. This would be the perfect day to begin my annual mowing of the red oak leaves that have buried my lawn. Much easier than raking and bagging.

I dragged out the mower around ten o'clock. The temperature had warmed to the forties and no strong breeze to cause wind-chill trouble. I happily hummed as I gassed up the mower, changed the air filter, and rolled it to the lawn.

It started on the third try and I took off. Dust and debris flew everywhere. We had some rain recently, where was all this dry stuff coming from? And then I found out the worst part as I swung around to make another pass.

 No breeze is not a good thing.
That big old dust cloud hung in the air, nose high! I held my breath and moved faster but each pass made the air worse. In for a penny, in for a pound. I clamped my lips tight, breathed through my nose, and finished.

The yard looks great, my clothes are washed, the neti-pot had a workout, and I settled down to read after a hot, hot shower.

Three hours later the tissue box is almost empty and I just popped an antihistamine.

But, like I said, my yard looks great.

Do you rake, mow, or hire someone to get rid of your leaves?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Indie Published Books Can Be a Delightful Surprise

It's been cold, wet, and dreary out. The kind of January we desperately need, but not the kind to venture outside the warmth of the recliner and afghan.

I decided it might be time to download some free or inexpensive self-published books (now indie-published) on my Kindle. I wanted to see if the quality of the writing, all aspects, were improving since so many writers were going that route and readers were praising them.

I didn't want to load up my Kindle with vanity works, the ones that made us wince or snort in derision when we first heard about self published books. There are still a whole lot of those books available. But how could I be sure?

I pulled up Amazon and began browsing. First a title had to grab me, then after I clicked on it, I read the blurb. If it sounded like something I would enjoy, I immediately looked to see who published the book. (If it's not obvious, a quick search in a new window tells you right away if it's not a traditional house.)

My next step is to check the author's page if there is one. I learned some amazing things. Some of these authors were traditionally published in the past and, still owning digital rights, they've uploaded the book. Some authors left publishers to go out on their own. Others, tired of rejection after working for years honing their craft, have gone this route and have quality work to offer.

To my delight, most of the books I downloaded turned out to be well done. A few were rough around the edges in the editing tight department, but I chose well.

I encourage other skeptical and reluctant readers to give some of these indie books a chance and judge for yourself.