I’ve been away for a month. On vacation, at home. No travel was involved. It was mostly sharing time with friends over impromptu lunch and dinners that Charley and I cooked together. And spending precious  time skyping with our friends Shengdong and Milanda in Xiamen, China and with Borja, Esther and Jose Luis in the Basque Country of Spain – remembering past years and holidays we’d  celebrated together.

hugging-wordsAs a result of our own Jalabokaflod (Christmas Book Flood is the Icelandic Tradition of exchanging books at Christmas and then spending the cold winter months reading.), we enjoyed the first full weekend of the New Year watching a snowstorm from our little library window. We sat in front of the fireplace,with cats in our laps, reading books we’d exchanged on Christmas Day.

Charley and I also spent much of January together making an extra bedroom (better known as the dumping grounds)  into an office for me. Having to take my notes, time lines, photographs, manuscripts from the dining room table every time we had guests was getting old fast. We decided it was time to listen to Virginia Woolf’s advise in her essay,  “A Room of One’s Own”  .

We removed furniture and junk, cleaned and scrubbed, painted and then moved in a desk and bookcases and a love seat for when Charley  comes to keep me and Roxie company in my new office. (Roxie seems to think it’s her room and I’m letting her believe it to keep her appeased.)

Roxie reading the Pacas Are Coming!
Roxie reading the Pacas Are Coming!

Some of January was spent with the people who are helping with preparing my 2017 books for publishing.  Final editing,  illustrations and marketing. Unfortunately for Roxie D, neither of these books we’re getting ready for publishing are the long-awaited Roxie Dammit Book. She’s been watching me closely and seems to think her time in the spotlight is coming. Again, I’m taking the easy way out and letting her believe this for the time being. It will be bad enough around here when she discovers the truth. I’m not sure how well she’ll take learning I’ve written a book about a carnivorous pitcher plant who decides to become a vegetarian. We know how she felt about the “spitting alpacas” book.

Although I’ve not been writing and posting blogs, I’ve tried to keep in touch with my blogging friends by visiting their sites. I’ve fared much better with Facebook. There, in my messenger, I found two lovely surprises. The first was  a friend request from Lynne who’s from the neighborhood where I grew up. I remember her as the little girl I used to babysit. And then last week a high school friend messaged me and it brought back a flood of nostalgia. It would seem that my 50th reunion is coming up this year and a Facebook page has been set up for Saint X Girls to re-connect.

I tend to be a person who moves on and doesn’t look back. Neighborhoods, elementary school, high school, college, jobs. I leave and move on and old friends invariably become part of my past.

In the fall, I happened to come upon an obituary for the father of one of my closest high school friends. I’d not contacted her in years. I saw that he was to be interred at the Veteran’s Cemetery near my house and immediately decided to be there the following day to give my condolences. But then I read the last line : “Mr. Allison was pre-deceased by his daughter Sherry” and I suddenly realized I wouldn’t have the chance to laugh with her again. We laughed all the time when we were together. She was carefree and loved to have fun.

So, I will try to be a better friend to those people from my past who send requests and I’ll make sure I’m at my reunion because there are going to be people attending  who once were very important in my life until I moved on.

January is coming to a close. The first month of a new year and it’s already almost done. I didn’t get a chance to wish all of you who visit me and make me smile a Happy New Year. But today, Saturday, January 28, 2017,  we celebrate the Chinese New Year. The year of the rooster.  Therefore,  I’m really not too late.

And so,  I wish you all a peaceful year filled with joy and prosperity and I look forward to reading about all of your adventures in 2017.

Kung Hei Fat Choi!img_2874



76 thoughts on “January

  1. Clare, a lovely post to read. I’d just thought of you yesterday (absolutely true) and wondered why I hadn’t seen a recent post from you. Glad you spent your time having fun with family and friends. Your new office sanctuary sounds wonderful – I hope to do something similar. You have much on the horizon for 2017 – here are wishes for the best.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sharon, thank you and yes, I’m getting back into the groove. I’m finding multi-tasking almost an impossibility now when it was so easy back in the “olden” days. Having a place to work, an actual room, is something I needed to keep me organized and sane. The “dumping room” will not be missed.I’m looking forward to visiting you and finding out about interesting books I’d like to add to my reading list. Take care and I’ll visit soon. 📚

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh wow, Ethel, I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. I know it made your heart so heavy.
    Your vacation at home sounds perfect!! That’s the very best!! I hate to travel.
    Congrats on your room of your own!
    Please hug Roxie for me. All that she has to put up with, poor girl.
    I’m glad to see that you’re rested, and renewed for the new year! Happy New Year!
    Love, Lucy

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a delight to hear from you, dear Claremary, thank you for your kind wishes. Congratulations with your new place for creating, It’s a big occasion, every artist needs a space, It’s vital. Many luck for your publishing plans, sure they’ll be successful! I am glad your life is full of people and adventures. Happy 2017, let it be even better than you expect!😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good to have you back. Your own room is always wonderful. I share an office with my husband but I have been eyeing one of our guest bedrooms (we have two). I’d like to bring my sewing machines up stairs. I am just not a basement person. I haven’t done anything but mend on them since we moved them down there a few years back. We have 2 granddaughters who come for a few days every year so it’s a tough decision but perhaps we could do air mattresses in the sewing room instead. We’ll see how that goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kate, Kids love to camp out on air mattresses. It’s an adventure and you can use sheets to make your office into a temporary campsite. Definitely take that extra room and make it your own. I’m so much more organized and not moving things around and losing track of my supplies. I just have to deal with sharing it with Roxie – but I’m sure she’ll write a future post about the trials and tribulations of sharing it with “She Who Hogs the Desk” (that would be me). I’ll visit you soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You definitely deserve a room of your own. Glad to know you’re making it happen. I’m not much for looking back, so I find FB to be a drag instead of an inspiration. I adore blogging, where I interact with people new to me, like you. Roxie is a darling, btw. Are you certain the room isn’t really for her?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy new year to you Clare! May it be filled with productive new spaces and new writings as well as a happy, healthy family (including the furry members). Now, is that a Rhode Island Red rooster????

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear Claremary,

    I’m so glad to read your post. Happy new year to you too. Here in India, there are many faiths and many cultures that allow people to celebrate new year round the year! Your writing has that warm feel good factor that makes me read it at ease and remember. I too will make my best efforts to respond well to my old friends who’d call.

    I enjoy it when you refer to your cats. A room of your own? Wow!! I’m sure your office is gonna be an awesome place!

    Best wishes for you book! Good luck 😊

    Love, Mana


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mana, What a lovely note to come upon as I check my comments on an early Sunday morning.Right now in the US, it might appear we are not open to other faiths and cultures because of the acts of one buffoon, but that cannot be further from the truth. Differences are precisely what makes a country rich and I am aware of how beautiful India is in her diversity. Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a warm comment. Clare

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy New Year to you too, Clare. And to Charley and the cats! Sounds like you’ve had a good holiday and a chance to re-charge your batteries. Enjoy your new room of your own – hope it will be a creative space for you. Can’t believe the first month of this year is already almost gone. I did a post on the TakeFive Authors blog reviewing some of what I’ve been up to in this first month of the year. Link here if you want to catch up! https://takefiveauthors.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/take-five-authors-a-round-up-of-this-years-news/comment-page-1/#comment-1741

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Happy new year, Clare. Glad you’ve got a room to yourself, me and Mr H. have one each and wouldn’t be without them, I think it’s what keeps us sane!

    I’m a ‘looker backer’ but I am also aware of the present time. I find it difficult to stay in touch with old friends and have lost contact with many of them, but have also had similar experiences of finding out people have died. Aside from close personal friends, I was shocked to the core to discover a blogger I knew from more than a decade ago, had died in the interim and I hadn’t known. Despite that we’d never met and had only exchanged a few words off the blogsite (not WordPress) I was heartbroken. I suppose when we make connections with people, sometimes those connections stay longer ‘in the ether’ so to speak than in our day to day reality.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand how shocked you must have been. Just in the month I’ve been away from blogging, much has happened to some of my friends. Parents have passed away, dear pets have died, sickness and operations….It was a very difficult start to the new year for some. I’m wishing for a better time for all of us in 2017, Val.


    1. You can copy and use it. It’s one of the only pics I’ve gotten from the internet. Although the text of both are completed, neither of the books are published yet, but if you go to Pages on my blog (Children’s books and Mysteries) you can see the cover photos that are in the process of being designed. Any input or views on them is appreciated. Thanks, Andy. I’ll be stopping by your blog later today.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Andy. I’ll do that. I imagine you are working a bit on your book, too. I really enjoy seeing and listening to you on YouTube. It’s like you’re here in the living room with me, except I can’t make you a cuppa. Enjoy the holidays!


  10. Nice post for catching up. It sounds like you have had a busy January. I especially like hearing about your new space. That is so important whether you are engaged in writing or not. I hope you and your cat can share it amicably. Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve done well in the past, writing in a comfortable chair. Now that there are more books and 2 genres, both with photo illustrations, I find my work is taking over the house. So, best for all that I contain it into one room.
      Roxie has been pacified for the time being. She sprawls over the desk, draping herself over one of my arms, trying to thwart my typing on the laptop, but if I place the iPad at the other end of the desk and turn it on to cat videos, she can be distracted for almost an entire hour. I’m sure she’ll offer her views on the “sharing” situation in some later post.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I see you “liked a comment” over on Val’s blog. Val is a blogging buddy of several years and I love her dearly. She has been most helpful in “attempting ” to steer me in the right direction with all my computer woes.

    I find your blog interesting since it involves a cat. I have several cats- well in fact a passel of all strays or one time ferals that I saved from destruction. But that is something that I haven’t really written about.

    I so admire anyone that is a writer and it seems that a good many folks who write are all well educated in English. How fortunate can one be?

    I shall attempt to keep up with your blog. I adore your photos.

    Yvonne D.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yvonne, Another cat lover and one who collects strays. I love you already. And of course, I think Val is wonderful. I enjoy reading her posts and I always read the comments. They are a major part of each post, at least I’ve found that to be with my blog. I’m glad you like the photos. It took me long enough to figure out how to get them into the media library and then into a post. I, too, am not very technically savvy and have stumbled along these past two years as my blog has evolved. I will make sure to stop by your site today and I thank you for taking time to write such a lovely comment. You’ve made my morning brighter. Clare

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Eugenia, Yes, I am on linked in and I am a horrible linked-in friend and Facebook friend and twitter friend! I just don’t check them enough. I’m going to link with you and try to be a better friend. No promises, though. Thanks and see you soon! Clare

      Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s good to read about your time-out staycation … I’m glad you have a room to work in – and pleased to see that Roxie has been keeping up with her reading. My school year set up a Facebook page late last year with the intention of having a reunion in the next 18 months. It has been quite amazing to catch up with faces I had long put away at the back of my fusterly mind and sad to find out that some are no longer with us. Life turns to death so easily and it has been a good lesson to me to seize the moment and be in touch rather than putting things off for a tomorrow that might never be. I wish you the happiest of years filled with joy and content and peace and laughter and most of all brimming over with love ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Clare, we are absolutely fine but it has been a two months of constant change since I flew out of Logan on 1st December …. to England to be with family then back to France to collect The Brains and The Bean and down to Grenoble to find somewhere to live (failed on that) back to England for Christmas with daughters and mother and up to Liverpool to see husband’s wonderful family who allow me in as a sister, back to France and packing up our flat for this sojourn thence back to Grenoble for him to start the work he is doing here til July (are you still there?!?) … found flat, moved in on first Feb and beginning to settle now that my ‘things’ are all around me again. Also three freezing trips to our Maison Catastrophe (the one I write about from time to time which will, honestly will, be beautiful when it’s finished in about a gazillion light years from now). The Bean is Queen of Grenoble by now and she sends great buckets of Patisserie love to Roxie and ZuZu and youyou too …. I have written the sum total of three pieces since I left the US but when you have time, it would be lovely to hear from you in your special writing place! Xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I did follow that whirlwind tour. You must be happy, finally, to be settled. And the Bean must be equally ecstatic to have both of you under the same roof – lots of attention! I am plodding along this morning, trying to get this week’s post in shape. So many things going on with juggling three new books right now. Two almost ready to be published. Luckily, the weather is not bad, so I’m able to run about getting things accomplished. I’m not finding enough time for social media and have decided to take small breaks as opposed to turning it off totally.
        I was wondering about your French “retirement” home. Are you able to make any progress when you’re not there? I know it will be beautiful and the way time is flying, you’ll be living there soon.
        Roxie has taken over the desk and literally demands cat videos. If I do not comply, she finds a way to get her paws on the keyboard, ruining my latest piece of writing by turning the pages into gibberish! @#$%_)(!@#$$
        She refuses to give up her place and lays staring at me for hours on end just waiting for an opportunity to present itself. She obliterated the photos in my blog post last night, just before I was to press “publish”and I still haven’t figured out how she did it. I’m in the process of reconstructing it again and don’t dare leave the room for a minute. Take care and give all a hug for me, too.


  13. It’s good to know that your January blogging break was spent better and more productively than mine! It sounds like you have an exciting year ahead, and I’m really looking forward to the post where you describe Roxie’s reaction to being left out of your published works. Again! Maybe she’ll beat you to it and write it herself? I wonder if cats’ vocabularies are rich in expletives? It’s great to see you here again and to enjoy your words and pictures once more. Take care 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clive, Nice to see you’re on the road to recovery. Yes, Roxie has been hanging around “Her” office all day typing whenever she can get her paws on the laptop. I’m not sure what she’d got up her sleeve, but it will be interesting, I can promise you.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Clare I loved the image of you and Charlie with cats in laps, reading and watching the snow storm from your snug library. I could also identify with the nostalgia you felt for the past after learning you wouldn’t have the opportunity to laugh with an old friend again. I wonder if we always think there will be time – later? It resonates with me especially when I realise I am so far behind with reading your blog.
    It sounds as though your book is close to publication – so much work. Poor Roxie! I hope you’re prepared for the fall out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have another funeral to go to next Saturday when we return from DC. It has been a winter of loss. But it makes us more aware of every single day we have together. I know you are feeling much the same.
      The mystery book is in its final edit stages with me and the publisher. The cover is done and now we are checking for any last minute details. Then off to print the 1st galley and then another edit and then that’s it! Time for a launch party!
      The little verse book is being illustrated and when Zack gets done with it, he wants to do a Roxie D. book! She’s completely won him over! I guess I’ll be preparing the text for it very soon and shall use parts of her musings from her blog posts. Any input you have on this would be much appreciated. It’s midnight and I have yet to pack. Sleep tight.

      Liked by 1 person

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