k.b. owen

From Ivory Tower to Amateur Sleuth, a “character” guest post

Hi, fellow mystery fans! I’m Jade Blackwell, the protagonist in Gilian Baker’s cozy mystery series. Our lovely host, a former college English professor herself, asked if I’d drop in to explain to her readers how a tenured English professor winds up as a blogger…and an amateur sleuth. 🙂 Thanks K.B., for inviting me to share my story. Here goes.

Five years ago, I was working as an English professor at the University of Wyoming, near my hometown of Aspen Falls. I’d worked there since receiving my Ph.D., and had finally clawed my way to the top to earn one of the few coveted tenured positions in the department. It was my dream job… until it wasn’t.

After years of working in the Ivory Tower, I was becoming more dispirited with each passing semester. The endless department meetings, apathetic students and mounds of grading were wearing me down. And really, who was I kidding? I wasn’t convincing anyone to study the classics with zeal or to write coherent literary analyses. I was ready for a new adventure, but where to begin? Teaching was the only thing I’d ever known.

Then one day, while flipping through a back copy of Writer’s Digest, I came across an article on how blogging was changing the writing world. I’d been on very few blogs, and only then to disqualify them as credible references for a scholarly research paper a student had submitted. But the thought captivated me, and over the next few weeks, I spent my spare time researching writing in the blogosphere. And so, my new adventure began.

I started “a side hustle” by ghostwriting for bloggers and other online entrepreneurs. After several months, my clientele had grown, and I was ready to make the switch. I loved working from home and being my own boss! And, I found a passion for writing again. Instead of “publish or perish,” I got the chance to research and write on a huge variety of fascinating topics—everything from gourmet pet food to email marketing. I turned in my digital grade book and gave myself over to living life as a solopreneur.

Later, I started my own blog as a part of my online business. A Writerz Block offers fledgling freelance writers information on making a living from their skills. It’s the best of both worlds—I get to teach people who actually want the information I’m dispersing, while at the same time, I get paid to write.

That also means I have time to play the amateur sleuth, something I couldn’t have done while teaching. Even A Time to Kilnthough I taught classic literature for years, in my humble opinion, there’s nothing better than a well-plotted mystery. I’ve now helped our local sheriff, Ross Lawson, tie up two murders.

Now, I wasn’t looking for a real live case to solve. I thought the only whodunit I’d ever figure out would be in between the pages of a book. Like most amateur sleuths, I stumbled into the first murder to help a friend–Liz is a fellow blogger who was being cyber-stalked. Admittedly, my first attempts to assist her made things worse, but I made it up to her in the end by proving who the real killer was.

What a thrill! (Though I could have done without the perilous situation I landed in.) And I was ready to get back to my normal routine once my friend, Liz, was back safe and sound at home with her family. I chalked her case up as a fluke–a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a real detective. I mean, living in rural Wyoming doesn’t offer many opportunities to sniff out murder.

So imagine my surprise when my very own pottery teacher was killed a few months later! And on top of that, my daughter’s former boyfriend ended up being the main suspect. What is a girl to do? I reluctantly teamed up once again with my lawyer friend, Gabby, to figure out who was killing people off in our quiet, little village. {Oh, did I mention there was more than one murder?}

Luckily, Gilian has written up my adventures in her second book. So, if you’d like to see how I nimbly cracked the case (okay, how I stumbled onto it) follow the link to pick up a copy of my latest escapades in A Time to Kiln.

 

Gilian Baker is a former English professor who threw in the towel and decided to show ‘em how it’s done. She’s gone on to forge a life outside of academia by adding blogger, ghostwriter and cozy mystery author to her C.V. She currently uses her geeky superpowers only for good to entertain murder mystery readers the world over. When she’s not plotting murder for her Jade Blackwell cozy mystery series, you can find her puttering in her vegetable garden, knitting in front of the fire, snuggling with her husband watching British TV or discussing literary theory with her daughter.

Gilian lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with her family and their three pampered felines. In her next life, she fervently hopes to come back as a cat, though she understands that would be going down the karmic ladder. She’s the author of Blogging is Murder and A Time to Kiln. Be the first to learn about new releases and discounts, plus get exclusive content by signing up for Gilian’s email list here: http://gilianbaker.com/blogging-murder-first-chapter

How lovely to meet you, Jade! What a journey…from literature professor to blogger to amateur sleuth! I agree wholeheartedly with your statement: “there’s nothing better than a well-plotted mystery.” I know my readers think so, too. I’m tempted to advise you to keep out of trouble, but then Gilian wouldn’t have anything to chronicle, would she? *wink*

Congrats on your new cozy, Gilian, and best of luck!

~Kathy

 

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Play Ball! 1890s Baseball Trading Cards

New York World, April 1895.

For many folks, summer means…baseball! And you know what? That was true in the 1890s, too, when the sport was in its second full decade. Rule changes and refinements during this time helped shape the sport into a closer approximation of the game we now know. For more about the specifics, check out this baseball history guide.

Bubblegum baseball cards were popular when I was growing up in the 70s. It wasn’t too tough for kids to do an extra chore or scour some change out of the sofa to buy a pack: 16 cards, with a stick of bubblegum inside! Cool!

In the 1890s they had baseball cards, too, but a stick of gum wasn’t included. The cards were inside tins of tobacco. (Yeah, not for kiddie consumption). Here are some pics of 1895 baseball cards from Mayo’s Cut Plug tobacco:

 

Amos Rusie, pitcher, New York Giants, 1895.

 

Bill Joyce, centerfield, Washington Senators, 1895.

 

Cap Anson, first base (though the Baseball Reference site has him down as manager), Chicago Colts, 1895.

 

Charlie Abbey, centerfield, Washington Senators, 1895.

By the way, in case you’re curious about how the teams above did in the 1895 season, the Washington Senators finished 10th, the New York Giants finished 9th, and the Chicago Colts finished 4th. The Baltimore Orioles finished in 1st place that year.

The site Baseball Reference has kindly made its table available, so if you’re a statistics geek and love getting into the trenches, check it out below. If it doesn’t display, the hyperlink will get you there. Enjoy!

Do you collect baseball cards, or enjoy America’s Pastime? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Kathy

P.S. – Wonder why I’m talking about baseball? Well, there might a a tenuous connection to the next Concordia novel! Stay tuned….

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Where my research takes me: baby cages

Internet searches are the oddest things. This time, I wasn’t doing research for the next Concordia Wells mystery (although in another post I’ll have to share with y’all some cool stuff I’ve learned about 1890s East Hampton, Long Island).

This time, I was researching catios.

What is a catio, and what does it have to do with baby cages?

Okay, getting to that.

First, my cat. Tora is a rescue and we care for her as an indoor cat. Not only is it part of the terms of our adoption agreement with the ASPCA, but it’s safer for her. Besides the usual foxes, skunks, raccoons, and other wildlife, we have a colony of feral cats in the woods behind our house and a domesticated cat next door with feline AIDS. Plus our little gal’s only seven and a half pounds fully grown. She’d be outmatched in a fight.

Tora, sitting IN the window ledge, looking at me plaintively. You can see the fur sticking through the screen, LOL.

 

Enjoying the sun.

The problem is, she LOVES being outside. It’s obvious her previous owners who gave her up (pregnant and unvaccinated) let her go out whenever she wanted. In nice weather we bring her out to the backyard in her harness (which she can easily slip out of, even the smallest one we could find), and we give her plenty of inside window perches. She loves both, but we know she’s pining for more. So I started looking at protective outdoor options, including a deep, screened-in window box. These, along with larger, screened enclosures for the outdoors have become known as catios: “cat” + “patio.”

Image via catiospaces.com, where you can purchase plans to build your own.

On to baby cages:

In one of the articles about these window enclosures, it mentioned that similar contraptions were used for babies in the 1930-50s.

Huh? Was that really a thing? I mean, I grew up in an age where moms held their babies in their laps during car rides, seat belts were optional (and air bags? ABS? Lane departure alert? Sci-fi stuff), kids roamed the streets unsupervised until dinnertime, and parents took their kids on chickenpox play dates, so hey, anything’s possible. I did a bit of poking around.

It turns out that, yes, they were used, but not widely, and mostly in high-rise London tenements in the 1930s. (By the way, there’s no evidence of any reported deaths from these things. Whew). Emma Reed in 1922 applied for a patent for her own design.

I’d love to be able to show you the pics, but they are all copyrighted. However, here’s a British Pathe clip about baby cages. Looks like it was filmed in the post-war ’40s or early ’50s, I can’t confirm the date. Be warned, it’s kinda corny, with a gazillion goofy puns:

But why suspend babies in cages out the window in the first place?

I had the same question!

The answer is an intriguing one, and led me back to the time period of my own novels, the 1890s (funny how that happens). In 1894, L. Emmett Holt, MD published The Care and Feeding of Children (reprinted 8 times between 1894 and 1917). He advocated the liberal “airing” of young children to promote good health.

Fresh air is required to renew and purify the blood, and this is just as necessary for health and growth as proper food.

Care and Feeding of Children (Google Books, 1917 edition)

To be fair, nowhere in the book does Dr. Holt suggest hanging babies in cages out the window–his advice was confined to opening windows to air out the nursery and taking babies out in strollers–but you know how people can be…if a little is good, more must be better! And it had to be tough for moms in upper-level apartments (no elevators) to climb down the stairs with baby and stroller in tow.

So here’s a fun story: among the mothers who took Dr. Holt’s advice about infant airing to heart was Eleanor Roosevelt, after the birth of her first child, Anna. Here’s the passage, as recounted in Hazel Rowley’s Franklin and Eleanor: an Extraordinary Marriage (2010):

Wow. Makes growing up in the ’70s seem pretty tame. *wink*

Want to read more?

A Brief and Bizarre History of the Baby Cage

This is Real: The Baby Cage | Apartment Therapy

The Intriguing History of 1930s Baby Cages

 

Ever had an internet search take you in a bizarre direction? What child-rearing fads do you remember? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Kathy

P.S. – we haven’t decided yet about the “catio.” Stay tuned.

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The Introverted Author, the Malice Domestic Convention, and a Giveaway!

Malice Domestic 29

To (liberally) paraphrase Austen: it is a truth universally acknowledged, that we introvert authors need to come out of our writing caves from time to time and interact with our fellows.

The Malice Domestic Convention fits the bill nicely for those of us who are mystery author introverts. Malice celebrates mystery fiction written in the cozy style, aka the tradition of Agatha Christie, and has been held yearly in Bethesda, MD since 1989. With its three days of panel discussions, book signings, awards, and social receptions, the convention draws authors and readers alike.

One of many signings, after the crowd had thinned and I could move around.

When I step into the space, I feel as if I’ve rediscovered my tribe. No one bats an eyelash over you bringing your takeout lunch to Luci Zahray’s (otherwise known as the “Poison Lady”) panel on the use of organophosphates to bump off someone (characters, of course). The audience was practically rubbing its hands and cackling with glee as she detailed the symptoms, the lack of a test to detect the compound, the difficulty in reversing the effects, and the ease of access to the poison (any Home Depot or garage sale…also, apparently DDT can still be found at the random garage or yard sale because folks don’t throw out ANYTHING).

Luci Zahray, “Poison Lady.” You can’t see the rat poison and other samples she had on display from this angle, unfortunately.

For the introvert, the nice thing about a convention is you can pick and choose when you want to converse. You can get a lot out of the convention by simply attending the panels and listening (not an option if you are ON the panel, of course, but then you signed up for that, LOL).

The hospitality lounge is a nice place to get yourself some coffee or tea and browse the long tables for bookmarks and promotional goodies that authors set out. I came away with a pen, a set of sticky notes, a disposable flashlight, and a hand mirror…all kinds of cool stuff! I had brought some of my own material for the hospitality tables, too: bookmarks of my Concordia Wells series, along with a basket of peppermint patties and individually wrapped tea bags with my logo sticker/web address on the back of each piece.

It’s hard to see the stickers here, but they were really cute. *wink*

I kept refilling the basket, but there wasn’t a candy or tea bag left by Sunday morning!

In between browsing the dealers’ tables, chatting with folks, getting my books signed, and going to the Agatha Awards dinner, I attended several terrific panels that weekend (there were many more I couldn’t fit in). Here’s a partial list to give you an idea:

  • Malice Go-Round: It’s Like Speed Dating, But With Authors (Attendees sit and relax while pairs of authors come to them, distribute bookmarks–and sometimes chocolate, and describe their series and new releases. Then the moderator calls time, they rotate to another table, our table gets a new pair of authors, and so on. One of my fave events).
  • Making History: Agatha Best Historical Novel Nominees (Authors nominated for the Agatha in the category of best historical novel talk about their books, their research, etc. A fab and funny group!).
  • Murder on the Menu: Food & Mysteries (Several food-themed series authors talked about their inspiration, where they get their recipes, and the funny coincidence of growing up in households where their moms couldn’t cook all that well…maybe compensation for a deprived childhood? *wink*)
  • Poison Lady (Described above).
  • Book’em: Book-Loving Sleuths (Kind of self-explanatory, but it’s amazing how many bookshop mysteries are out there!)
  • Murder Way Back When: U.S. Historicals (Loved hearing about research challenges and successes…I continued the conversation with a couple of the authors afterward, comparing databases we use).
  • Sherlock Lives! (I love reading about the Great Detective, and it was so much fun to listen to the discussion of the current pastiches out there, and all the SH societies).

Panel for best historical Agatha nominees. Catriona McPherson won!

 

The most meaningful event for me personally was the Mystery Most Historical Signing, held on Friday evening. Mystery Most Historical is this year’s Malice anthology of short stories, and guess what…a story of mine is in it!

“Summons for a Dead Girl” is set in September of 1911 in New York City, months after the devastating Triangle Factory fire, and features spirit medium/con woman Maddy Cartiere. The blurb and opening paragraphs below give you an idea of the story:

***

This book signing was an additional thrill because I was part of a large group of authors (many of them prolific and best sellers) who were also signing. The reader turnout for autographs was amazing, and it was such a privilege to chat with mystery fans while sitting in the company of award-winning authors such as Catriona McPherson, Victoria Thompson, Carole Nelson Douglas, and Elaine Viets!

Your typical group picture: someone looking away, someone’s eyes closed, someone waving a hand or fussing with something, LOL.

 

Short story author Keenan Powell was signing on my left. Such a nice lady!

 

The volunteer photographer got my blurry side, LOL. I never looked so good.

So, to celebrate the release of the Malice anthology (and my birthday, hubby’s birthday, Mother’s Day…so many excuses), I’m holding a…

Giveaway Drawing

May 9th-23rd

I’ll be giving away five (5) signed paperback copies of Mystery Most Historical!

To help with logistics, I’m using the Gleam giveaway service to keep things organized and make the random selections. All you have to do is click below to see your options for entering the drawing (you can enter multiple times, if you wish):

Anthology Giveaway!

Once the contest is over and the winners are notified, I won’t keep your email info for any reason. I respect your privacy.

However, if you’re interested in signing up for my author newsletter (sent out approximately 4 times a year to announce sales, giveaways, and book releases), I would love to have you on board! Here’s the sign-up for that:

concordia-1thru5

Sign up today, and receive a FREE novelette!

Thanks for signing up! Your email is in good hands, I promise. Once you have confirmed your subscription you’ll receive a thank you email with a link to my FREE novelette, NEVER SLEEP!
~KBO

Whew! This was a longer post than I usually write. Thanks for reading, and good luck with the contest!

~Kathy

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The appeal of the amateur, and a group giveaway!

 

 

Hi everyone! Today is the first day of a week-long, Amateur Sleuths Group Giveaway sponsored by Henery Press. The giveaway features books from 32 mystery authors, myself included (more on that below).

The topic of amateur sleuths got me thinking: why do readers and authors find the amateur so appealing? As a former lit professor, I couldn’t resist taking a stab at analyzing it. Here’s what I came up with:

  • Reader engagement:
    • When we’re talking about an amateur investigating a crime, there must be a powerful personal motivation for him/her to get involved in the first place. After all, why disrupt one’s comfortable life as a wedding planner/baker/teacher/knitter/what-have-you, when the police can do the dirty work? When it’s personal, it helps draw the reader in.
    • An amateur sleuth is a “regular joe” – an ordinary person without any specialized training in criminal detection. We as readers can identify more readily with such a character, looking on and sympathizing as the protagonist struggles to blend his/her personal life with this crazy investigation s/he has unexpectedly taken on.
  • Then there are the opportunities for conflict, suspense, and uncertainty, all crucial elements in a good mystery:
    • The amateur is caught unprepared, and struggles to deal with the emotional cost of learning unpleasant truths about those s/he is close to.
    • The amateur is likely to encounter resistance from friends, family, and the authorities in the course of investigating.
    • As an untrained amateur, our protag might very well make mistakes along the way. Could one of those missteps prove fatal? Bwahaha….

What could be more fun than making life harder for our favorite amateur sleuth, right? *wink*

So now…on to the giveaway!

April BookmarkIT Amateur Sleuth Group Giveaway

April 5-11th

Grand Prize: Kindle Fire and 32 ebooks (shown above)

1st Prize: 32 ebooks

…and there will be FOUR 2nd Prize winners, who will each be awarded 8 ebooks (randomly selected) from those listed above!

How to enter: It’s FREE! Simply click on the giveaway link, enter your info on the entry form online, and you’ll be notified if you win! It’s a great way to try out authors you may not have heard of, and you’ll get future info about releases and sales on new-to-you amateur sleuth mysteries.

So, what do you like about amateur detectives? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Kathy

Want to read more about amateur sleuths? Check out these posts:

Nancy Drew: girl detective, Master of Mystery

Miss Marple visits Masters of Mystery Monday

By the way, the Miss Marple post above includes a fun video spoof: Marple, Matrix Style.

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Spring Fling Blog Hop!

Happy Spring! Today, fellow writers (links below) and I are participating in a blog hop to celebrate the vernal equinox. We’ll each be talking about spring-y things.

As an avid container gardener (my only option for gardening, as we live on property that’s mostly deck), spring for me starts in January, when the seed catalogs start rolling in. They are a welcome sight, I have to say, and help me dream of greenery in the midst of the gray-brown backyard. Usually I start seeds–cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and vining flowers such as morning glory and cardinal climber–in mid-March:

Cukes, tomatoes, and peppers in this pic. Notice the capillary wicking mats, which is the best way to water seedlings.

Recently we had a week or so of 70-degree days that lulled me into a false sense of security, and I direct-planted sweet peas, scallions, and lettuce seeds outside. Um, well, that turned out to be ill-advised, as you can see by this pic of my lettuce pot (taken three days ago):

 

uh oh…I may have to replant….

But the false starts and hard work are worth it, in the end. Here’s a photo montage of how things look by mid summer:

 

So, what are your favorite things to do in the spring? I’d love to hear from you.

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog-hopper sites, and see how these gals ring in the vernal equinox:

Allyson Charles

Connie diMarco

Gilian Baker

Layla Reyne

Kirsten Weiss

Mona Karel

Misterio Press

Shannon Esposito

Victoria De La O

 

Until next time,

Kathy

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3 Reasons Why Sleuths Can’t Take a Vacation, and a New Release!

Ah, the chance to get away from it all. Our sleuth (amateur or otherwise) is more than ready to leave the bustle behind and relax, dig her toes in the sand, perhaps sip a cool beverage beside the water. Not a care in the world.

Nope. Not gonna happen. The mystery writer is there to ruthlessly yank that illusion away. Bwahaha. 

Why so heartless? Because vacationing is the perfect occasion for mayhem and murder. Here are three reasons why…. Read the rest at Misterio Press.

 

Announcing a new release!

 

Missing jewels…a haunted inn…a long-held secret…

 

Penelope Hamilton Wynch, one of the few female operatives employed at the Pinkerton Agency in 1886, is sent to the Adirondacks to investigate the mysterious happenings at Schroon Lake Inn, newly renovated to cater to New York City’s upper crust on summer holiday. Rumors of ghosts are bad enough, but when expensive jewelry disappears, the owner’s livelihood is at stake. A woman’s touch is needed.

 

Pen’s boss, William Pinkerton, thinks he has given her the perfect cover. She is to play the part of an eccentric spirit medium, eager to experience the purported ghostly manifestations.

 

Unfortunately, her cover will not remain intact for long, and there are those watching who do not want the secrets disturbed.

Available for pre-order now, goes live March 1st!

Order for Kindle or iBooks
Until next time,
Kathy

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My funny Valentine

Hubby and I have been married a while now (27 years and counting), so we’ve seen a lot of Valentine’s Days come and go. For us, the occasion is usually marked by wine, chocolate, and me not cooking. Winning!

It’s also a great occasion to reflect on relationships. With that in mind, I’m re-posting a piece that Paul and I co-wrote 5 years ago when, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we commented upon one another’s “eccentricities.” (My updates/new commentary in RED).  Enjoy!

Foibles

“Foible” is defined as “a minor weakness or eccentricity in one’s character.”  Sometimes foibles can be the death of relationships; however, in other instances, they are what lend interest and individuality.

To celebrate foibles “up close” in all their quirky glory, we’re approaching today’s blog post a little differently:  hubby and I are going to discuss each other’s foibles.  Yep, I’m going to point out his “eccentricities” and he’s going to point out mine!  Let’s hope we make it to Valentine’s Day next year, LOL.

But I get to go first (hey, it’s my blog).

My description of Paul:

My hubby. He’s smiling now; just wait until he reads this…

Paul enjoys what he himself terms “geeky” pursuits.  He loves boardgaming and math – whether it’s Age of Renaissance or Fractals, he shows equal enthusiasm.  He has me playing a lot of these boardgames now, too, and he designed one of his own that was published last year by BlueSquare Games – squee! – called Trains, Planes, and Automobiles. It’s a cool game, although I know I’m biased.  By the way, fractals look nice, but I’ll never get it.

He’s a former Naval Academy grad and submariner who now works in the computer software/project management field (and that’s all I can tell you without having the free world fall to pieces and being required to shoot myself or something), has played classical piano since elementary school (never mind how long ago that was), and is a fab father to our three boys, who also like to tease dad about his little eccentricities.

 

On to…Paul’s foibles:

Here are a few that stem from his Yankee frugality:

  • He saves everything, especially boxes.  We have a gazillion cardboard shipping boxes, of all different shapes and sizes.  It’s sort of an archaeological dig of nearly everything we’ve ever ordered or been gifted with in the past decade.  Amazon seems to be our biggest supplier. I’ve nested them as best I can so they don’t take up too much space.  Now it’s a long row of big boxes at the top of the laundry room rafters, with “MORE BOXES INSIDE” scrawled across the fronts in sharpie.
  • He puts scrap paper back in the printer tray.  The rest of us keep forgetting he does this, and when we click “print”  and pull out the sheet – arghh!!  Dad put scrap paper in the printer again! It’s like a little ambush, every time.  Bwahaha. One of these days, I’m going to remember to swap out the paper.
  • He disassembles and saves wooden planks/parts from broken Ikea furniture.  It starts to build up after a while (although I’ll admit, it came in handy a couple of times).  Spiders and stinkbugs seem to like hanging out there, so whenever we need wood for a project, he has to go get it.

And then there are the times when we’re in the car, and he’s the one driving:  he waits until what feels like the last blessed moment to get into the turn lane. Meanwhile, I’m dying to say something, like “Um, the turn’s coming up, honey, are you going to change lanes now?”  My knuckles turn white, clenching the arm rest, willing myself to stay quiet, but all the while, thinking:  “we’re going to miss the turn, we’re not going to make it, no one will let us in the lane….”  I have to admit, it gives each trip a little zing! of uncertainty.

If he’s feeling particularly generous that day, he’ll give me a little look, and change lanes early.  Happy Birthday, dear. (Maybe he’ll take pity on me this Valentine’s Day).

Speaking of driving, the kids crack up when Paul is backing up the car; he turns his head toward the rear window (where they can see him at ground zero), and makes his “pirate back-up face.”   It’s totally unconscious, but he bares his teeth and scrunches his cheeks in a sort of “Arrr” pirate grimace. (He got new glasses since then, and doesn’t need to scrunch his face anymore. I miss pirate back-up face….)

The boys also like to tease dad about the following:

  • the way he eats corn on the cob (indescribable)
  • laughing (big, belly-laughing guffaws.  No one hearing him can keep from laughing, too)
  • His pet phrase of exasperation: “Oh, for crying out loud.”  I seem to be picking up that one nowadays, LOL. (Yes, it is definitely now part of my vocabulary. You can’t swing a cat without hitting a “for crying out loud.”)

So that is my dear-heart, frugal, laugh-out-loud man, whom I love with all my being.  I wouldn’t trade a single foible.  And it would be really easy to tell if aliens ever kidnap him and switch him out for a pod growing in the basement.

…Your turn, honey!

Hello, this is Paul, husband of K.B. Owen. I should start by making absolutely clear that I love my wife with all my heart, and nothing she can do will sway me from my eternal devotion to her, heart and soul. (K: Isn’t he just the cutest thing?) 

That said, I understand that I am free to share with the Internet World a few observations that I have made regarding the customary behavior of my Beloved that some might consider … idiosyncratic.  Only a few things come to mind.

image via clker.com

First, my darling Sweetheart has a propensity for always finding a better way to arrange and store things that we as a family all need to be able to find every day.  The best example is the kitchen.  Whenever I go to look for, say, a coffee cup, I go to the cupboard where I remember that we said we would put them … “oh, wait, that was where they were last fall.  I remember now, she moved them over here by the refrigerator. … No, wait, that was around Christmas time.  I think they’re … Kathy, where are the coffee cups now?”  I kid you not, this happens several times a week.  “Don’t you remember, Paul?  I told you two weeks ago that I moved the coffee cups over by the microwave.”  “Oh, yes, you moved them [with a certain pained emphasis to imply, ‘for no earthly reason that I can imagine’].  Of course you told me.  Of course I remember.”  The problem is that’s not the first thing I remember when I think of where to look for a coffee cup.  Truth is, it’s about the eighth candidate on the list of possible places the coffee cups could be today. (K: Hmm…I haven’t rearranged anything in a while. That gives me an idea….)

Second, the delight of my heart bakes Christmas cookies, dozens upon dozens, in a major evolution that spans weeks and dominates the kitchen and dining room and fills the house with the irresistable aroma of baking, only to forbid upon penalty of death and severed fingers that anybody should so much as touch one of them.  “They’re for the neighbors/friends / homeless people / strangers in the bayou.  You can’t touch them.  Here, have this one; it’s burnt/broken/ otherwise defective and therefore unpresentable outside the family whom I don’t have to impress.”  So we all, our three sons and myself, swoon over the odors of Christmas cookies, drool over the sight of them on their cooling racks, and console ourselves with the notion that at some point on Christmas day, after all the neighbors, friends, and vagrants have been satisfied, we’ll have our crack at whatever small fraction of the baked manifestation of our wife and mother’s love remains in the house in the form of leftover Christmas cookies.

(K: I now bake “decoy” cookies to keep the hungry horde away from the more time-intensive Christmas cookies…hey, I’m not without a heart….)

Sanders and Snowball. RIP.

Third, I have learned never to maintain hope that our home will be rodent-free.  For as long as I can remember, our house has had some kind of terrarium or cage (or two or three), and within them some form of cute, fuzzy hamster, gerbil, Guinea pig, or even rabbit running on its wheel or in its ball or around its cage.  Over the years, I found that no sooner would I have buried some poor beastie (K: after it has languished in a paper bag in the freezer for a few months) in the woods behind our house than the next day I would come home from work greeted by my darling wife’s latest find at the pet store, some new little creature twitching its whiskers at me as if to say, “Aren’t I cute?  Don’t you just love me?  Won’t you feed me for the rest of my fuzzy little captive life?” Oh, for crying out loud. (No more rodents…we now have a cat. Hubby pretends he grudgingly accepts her. Yeah, right–he’s not fooling anyone. *wink*)

 

So, there you have it – wife and hubby, dishing on each other’s “foibles.”

What foibles do you live with on behalf of your beloved?  We’d love to hear from you!  Come on, give us the good stuff!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Kathy and Paul

Paul tweets at @paulowengames

Blog: paulowengames.blogspot.com

(Here’s a pic of us celebrating our 26th anniversary in Bermuda!)

 

 

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