Nana’s Teapot

I’ve been sharing recipes and will again. Today I’m sharing my grandmother’s teapot.

Dorothy H. Richardson died January 3, 2017. We called her Nana. She was born in 1914, and Thursday would have been her 103rd birthday. Longevity runs through the maternal line; her mother – my great-grandmother, called Grammie by my generation – died several weeks before she turned 102. They had the usual mother-daughter tensions, and I sometimes thought Nana wanted to live longer than Grammie just to say she had.

She was an avid reader as long as I can remember, and the first Nora Roberts book I read was one of her earliest category romances for Silhouette, borrowed from my grandmother during a visit to my grandparents’ home.

Nana had a way of doing things throughout her life that were givens. Fresh flowers on the table was one of them. My husband made a big impression on her when he met her for the first time, using the best flowers from my aunt’s Christmas arrangement and mixing them with new flowers from the florist to create the centerpiece for dinner. She was struck by several things, not least of which was his ability and willingness to do this.

Age and illness had taken their toll on Nana. She’d been living in an assisted living facility for the past several years after leaving Hospice care. At the time, she and her doctor thought she was close to the end. She entered Hospice, went off all her meds, and got better. The decision to leave was mutual: Hospice had a policy that precluded extended stays, and Nana was getting depressed seeing the friends she made while she lived there dying.

When she turned 100, we surprised her at lunch on her birthday. Both of her children, all five of her grandchildren, and a couple of her great-grandchildren were there, and she Face-Timed with a great-grandchild and her only (at the time) great-great-grandchild. She wasn’t up for a long visit and went back to her room after a short time, overwhelmed by the number of people celebrating what she hadn’t considered to be a big accomplishment.

Fast forward to the week before Christmas 2016. She decided she would leave on her own terms, and made the decision to stop eating. My mother was scheduled to go to New Hampshire January 4, but her brother called the week before to say she needed to come sooner. Mom flew up to NH from the family gathered for the holiday in Jacksonville, Florida. She visited with Nana for a couple of days before the morphine that eased her pain ended conversation. Nana died a short time later.

She liked her tea, and her teapot is below. My mother brought it back from New Hampshire to St. Louis, and gave it to me when I was in St. Louis two weeks ago. Not wanting it to break if I carried it on the airplane, I opted to have FedEx deliver it.

I haven’t used it yet – I know she’s gone, but I feel like the first time I use it will reinforce her absence. For now, I have it on the counter as a reminder of my proper grandmother who sent thank you notes, wore scarves around her neck almost daily, and loved her tea.

Celebrating Husband’s Birthday!

Today is Husband’s birthday! 

We’re celebrating at the Vero Beach Hotel & Spa for two nights, enjoying a staycation. We sat on the balcony and watched the sunrise, and then walked down to The Lemon Tree for breakfast today (and plan to tomorrow). Later today we’ll go to an 11:00 movie, have a late lunch, and then relax at the pool bar with $5 Margaritas. We’ll have dinner at Cobalt with friends, and head back into real life tomorrow. 

I’ve been proofreading Happy Homicides 1: Cozy Holiday Mysteries. It is an anthology written by twelve authors, and includes a link to get a bonus file of recipes and crafts. It goes on pre-sale September 15, and on sale October 15 – perfect for holiday gift giving. At only 99 cents, it’s a great price!

Below are birthday sunrise pictures from our balcony.



A Writer’s Life

I look forward to the day when I have an AutoChef like Eve Dallas has in J.D. Robb’s In Death series. Until then, my husband and I share cooking and dish duty. I’m lucky that he does his own laundry. I do mine and the common laundry (sheets, towels). We both clean the house.

Grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, housecleaning – all take time. Time that in theory is better spent writing.

The reality is that sometimes laundry sings a siren song. Sometimes, the words aren’t flowing as a writer would wish. Sometimes, any thing is a welcome distraction. Those times are when Things Get Done. 

Other times, when I’m in flow, I resist stopping. I want to stay in the story and keep going. I want elves to clean the house and do the laundry, and fairies to bring me food and take the plate away when only crumbs are left. I want to stay in my bunker and write, write, write. I don’t want to interact with anyone except the imaginary people in the made-up world I put them in.

But that’s not my life, and few writers can or want to live like a hermit. Elves and fairies are in short supply, and the AutoChef isn’t available. Getting lost in my writing every day isn’t an option, and I have an office in town that keeps me motivated to shower and dress in real clothes.

The romantic notion of a writer tucked away in a room for days on end is mostly fiction. Some rare writers might achieve seclusion, but those I know have lives in which writing is just a part. The life of a writer looks like the life of anyone who has a job, a relationship, and friends. 

A writer’s life looks like your life, but writers look at daily life with a warped eye and turn it into drama. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this!