Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cat Rambo's new book

This week the mailman brought a hardcover copy of Cat Rambo's new collection Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight (Paper Golem, $26 hardcover, $14 trade paper). On the front cover is a marvelous Carrie Ann Baade artwork; on the back cover are blurbs by other writers, including this one from me: "I am inspired, these days, by Cat Rambo, and after reading these stories, you will be, too."In between the covers is a fine collection, and I commend the book, the author and the publisher to your attention.

Is this the first time I've been quoted in a cover blurb? Maybe so. The other blurbers, in order, are Laird Barron, Rachel Swirsky, L. Timmel Duchamp, Vonda N. McIntyre and Sarah A. Hoyt, so you needn't take only my word for it the book's good.

A few family-reunion photos, Part 3

Above: I was determined to take a photo of the fire to prove we had one, thanks to the firewood Sydney and I bought at Grant's because we got tired of everyone asking why there was no fire.Above: Sam and Laurie Steele. Sam's on the junior-varsity football team, and Mom is proud.Above: Phillip Steele. How can a three-term commonwealth's attorney look so relaxed? Granted, he's had no opposition the past two elections, which helps.Above: Fran Bowling shows off her latest four-leaf clover. She has a talent for finding them, and her daughter, Sydney, inherited the gift. When I was a child, my parents told me there were no four-leaf clovers, so I'd feel better about never finding any.

A few family-reunion photos, Part 2

Above: Either Charlotte Sartin can't believe what Sheila Steele is telling her, or she's waiting for Sheila to toss corn chips into her mouth. Note in the background that the leaves only barely have started to turn.Above: Buford Steele and Sydney Duncan. We told "Uncle Bu" the stop sign looked good on him.Above: Buford Steele takes a seat. For many years Buford was a rural letter carrier and was active in the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association, just as my father was.Above: Fran Bowling, Sydney Duncan, Charlotte Sartin and Sheila Steele, in mutual astonishment.Above: Tim Steele and Bill Bowling. Since the reunion, Bill has had aneurysm surgery and is doing well, I'm pleased to report.Above: Sydney Duncan tries to show Bill Bowling something, I hope with more success than when she tries to show me something.

A few family-reunion photos, Part 1

These were taken at the Stafford family reunion in Rich Creek, Va., Sept. 20. Sydney's maternal grandfather was a Stafford.Above: Fran Bowling, Sydney Duncan and Charlotte Sartin set up the snack table. Fran's cheese slaw and Charlotte's miniature Crock-Pot hot dogs are as popular as ever.Above: Sydney Duncan forges my signature, which is printed because no one could read a forgery of my handwriting.Above: Fran Bowling makes the memory board every year, to remember family members who have died since the previous reunion, and sets it above the fireplace. Everyone wishes this year's board had fewer names.Above: Fran Bowling prepares the ice chest while Charlotte Sartin tries to track someone down.Above: Pat Sartin. Once a Marine, always a Marine.Above: Tim Steele is happy to be here.

A midair hornet's nest

I obviously don't have a zoom lens, but I wanted to record this hornet's nest built on a wire over Highway 311, Thompson Memorial Drive, between Roanoke and Salem, Va. The photo was taken Sept. 20.