#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller
A Brand New Year

May 2017 be your happiest, healthiest year yet–exceeded only by 2018 and the years beyond.

Last night, I waded through 8 inches of unplowed snow to spend a delightful evening with my neighbors, Bill and Julie.  I should have taken the truck, but I didn’t even consider it–after all, I was only going next door.  

Famous last words.  I wiped out midway between their house and mine; fortunately, with all that fresh snow, I might as well have landed on a featherbed.   I got a little wet, but otherwise, no harm done–I was very grateful that I’d fallen into softness, instead of slipping on hard ice.  As we get older, falling is a bigger issue, and besides, I’m a klutz.  Bill and Julie greeted me with smiles and the promise of a ride home at the end of the evening, and we settled in to visit, nibble tasty tidbits, and discuss our dogs.  :)  (Mowgli and Tule stayed home, as they are not well-behaved enough to make social calls, though they often accompany me to Mary Ann and Larry’s (the Canadian Wrangler) place, where there are no carpets to mess up.  Anyway, Julie served delicious black-eyed peas, a New Year’s standard, said to assure good luck throughout the coming months, and I truly enjoyed their company and their festive home.  Rose, Bill and Julie’s adorable puppy, a beautiful yellow lab, was allowed to come out and say hello, and I was delighted to see her sweet, squirmy dog self.  At the end of the evening, Bill drove me home–all 800 feet of the journey.  :)

New year, new enthusiasms–I’ve discovered herbal teas and remedies, and having a ball experimenting with different mixtures.  I’m also making some essential oils–rosemary, arnica, calendula and eucalyptus, for a start.  I plan on putting my food dehydrator to good use this year, and I will be experimenting with fermented foods as well.  Learning Paleo has led me to all kinds of interesting discoveries, including the health benefits of fermentation, and my old standby, Pinterest, is FULL of great ideas, recipes and techniques I’ve never heard of.  I’ve fallen in love with coconut oil; it has so many uses–from skin care to cooking–and I’ve just begun a new program called ‘oil pulling’.  When I first heard the term, I was confounded, and when I found out it involved swishing an organic oil around in my mouth for 20 minutes, I was, to say the least, nonplussed.  As I came across the term more and more, however, I became intrigued.   Supposedly, the process pulls toxins from the bloodstream (hence, ‘pulling’) and whitens the teeth, along with many other good things.  Because I love few things more than an experiment, even if it fails, I decided to give it a try.  Yesterday, I lasted about five minutes, but I am nothing if not persistent (or stubborn), so I tried again this morning.  Well, as my Southern cousin, Doris, would say, “butter my butt and call me a biscuit!”  I made it the whole 20 minutes, and I was absolutely amazed by the results–my teeth were several shades whiter.  Zounds, Batman.  I’m counting oil pulling as the first New Thing in my bullet journal.  

How I love my bullet journal.  I record books I’ve read or listened to, exercise sessions, pages written, blog entries :), meds taken, etc.  This month, I’ve added something, an idea I gleaned from–where else–Pinterest.  It’s called A Doodle a Day, and it was simple to map out.  (I always use pencil when I sketch a layout in my bujo, as those in the know refer to it, in case I want to make changes before adding ink, markers, etc.)  Anyway, I traced 31 little squares, using an inexpensive template from the craft store, and will fill each one with a small drawing.  I’ll be posting pictures soon, here and on Facebook, so keep an eye out.

I’ve been listening to lots of books, and reading, too.  Words in, words out.

That’s about it for Tuesday, my friends.  Thanks for hanging out with me.

When the final curtain falls…

I was surprised and saddened at the news of actress/writer Carrie Fisher’s recent death, and doubly so to learn, just minutes ago, that her famous mother, the unsinkable Debbie Reynolds, had passed away just one day later.

It goes without saying that the world will not be the same without this talented duo.  

A long time ago, in a universe far, far away, I saw Ms. Fisher in person, as I was later privileged to watch Ms. Reynolds perform live.  Both experiences were entirely unforgettable, as you might imagine.  

I was attending a writer’s conference in Southern California, and we were all tremendously excited because Ms. Fisher was to be the keynote speaker.  By then, she had appeared in “Star Wars” and penned her brilliant novel, “Postcards from the Edge.”  If I remember correctly, she and author Catherine Coulter shared an agent, and Catherine somehow managed to book Ms. Fisher for the evening; the group could surely not have afforded her speaking fee, so someone was doing someone else a favor–although there were moments when things seemed dicey.  Ms. Fisher had recently given birth to her daughter, Billie, and she appeared in the author’s suite in a housecoat and slippers.  (Yes, a housecoat and slippers.)  She clearly did not want to hobnob, and she glowered at everyone who dared make eye contact.  All righty, then.  We were braced for just about anything.  And that was what we got.  :)  Ms. Fisher, still pudgy from her pregnancy, probably in need of medication, did give her speech, reading with it from typed pages, which she proceeded to drop when she’d reached the last line, so that each one drifted, snowflake style, to the floor.  It was strangely hypnotic.  

I can still see her, so small she could barely see over the podium, chain-smoking like mad (which gives you an idea just how long ago this was) and powering her way through page after page.  A few audience members were annoyed, but most of us, myself included, were fascinated.  Even in a dark mood, Carrie Fisher was absolutely brilliant–I’ve met a lot of witty people in my lifetime, but she was in a class by herself, surely the mistress of the one-liner.  I don’t regret one moment of that night, though I do feel deep sympathy for her dreadful struggles with depression, and it breaks my heart to know she went through so much over the years.  I’ve read all her books, and with each one, I marveled at her sense of humor, her formidible intelligence and, yes, her talent.

Years later, I saw Ms. Reynolds perform in a Nevada casino.  She must have been in her mid-to-late 60s at the time, but she put on a wonderful show, singing, dancing, and making very funny remarks about her ex-husbands.  She was so tiny, and still beautiful, and she was absolute dynamite on that stage!  Her energy and the power of her voice were mind-blowing, and seeing her in person is one of my favorite memories.  If you’re around my age (ahem), you surely remember the “Tammy” movies, and just about everyone with a remote interest in musicals has seen “Singin’ in the Rain”, the Gene Kelly classic.  Unless I’m mistaken (it happens), our Debbie knew little or nothing about dancing when she was signed to appear in a feature film with one of the most talented hoofers who ever lived.  Mr. Kelly, a major star as well as a perfectionist, virtually bullied her (I think she was 19) through take after take, but, being the trouper she was, that sweet, fresh-faced girl from Texas hung in there.  In fact, she proved to be Texas-tough, enduring the scandal after her first husband, Eddie Fisher, left her and their two small children for Liz Taylor, and again after her second husband spent every cent of her money.

I think it’s safe to say it, my friends.  They just don’t make ’em like those two anymore.

Godspeed, Princess Leia; may the Force be with you.  Fare-thee-well, Tammy.  You were the definition of the word ‘star’.

You will both be deeply missed, and long remembered.

The typical Pony Express rider was nineteen years old and made $100-$150 per month plus room and board.