Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dinosaur Sculpture Park



I love being a writer and photographer. I blog for GRIT Magazine and this week I wrote about a rural farm that has its own dinosaur sculpture park. The enterprising artist built these beauties out of cast-off machine parts. I checked Google Maps to make sure I had the crossroads correct. The sculptures are so big that you can see the shadows they cast via fly-over imagery.

To see all the photos, check out my GRIT Magazine blog post.

Just how freaking cool is that?



View Larger Map

The Apatosaurus in the mid-upper right is so tall that his back is about the same height as the mobile home behind it. Here is what that bad boy looks like from 40 feet away.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Looking Ahead

No doubt about it, this was the hardest summer of my life. Losing my brother changed my perspective on everything and has me thinking hard on my future.

However, like a river, life rolls on and by knowing the keening grief of loss, you can appreciate life for the miracle it is. So, I did manage to squeeze some lemonade out of the otherwise lifeless brew.

So what have I been up to?

1.  I started blogging and freelancing like a pro for About.com. I write about car culture and automotive collectibles at: About Car Memorabilia and have a companion blog at: The Curio Garage.

2.  As I mentioned in my last post, I have a short story in Battlespace and another one in No Rest for the Wicked. 

3.  I went to the bestest superbest writers' conference at Killer Nashville and ended up closing down the bar with two great writer friends and some literary hack named Peter Straub. Yes, I said Peter-by-gawd-Straub. Following the wisdom of debut-author extraordinaire, Jamie Mason, "always check the bar before you go to bed."

4.  I also went on a long-planned working vacation to Las Vegas to see my bestie Suzanne. Ken would have smote me from the other side had I cancelled and it provided much good time and healing. From toasting Ken at a genuine old Vegas Tiki bar to helping load up print studio gear at the Goldwell Outdoor Museum, the trip helped me come alive again and remember that my future is still in my hands.

5.  I will be self-pubbing a collection of my 100-word flash fiction some time in the next 60 days or so. Most are reprints and contest entries along with some written especially for the anthology. I have a couple of other writing projects up my sleeve that I hope to talk more about soon.

6.  I'm going to start blogging for GRIT Magazine about rural architecture in Kansas. Not a paid gig, but it is directly connected to my hobby of getting lost on old country roads and makes the new camera I plan for Christmas a tax deduction. And GRIT often chooses its in print feature writers from the legion of bloggers.

7.  Seriously reassessing all aspects of my career.  Life and work is more about just paying the bills. Yeah, I gotta do that, but I want more freedom than what I have right now.

2012 Vegas Trek Con: (c) Terri L. Coop

So, in short, I am seeking happy. I have always tended to reinvent myself every 7 - 10 years. I am overdo. To fight this, would be in the words of the best cosplay Spock I have ever seen, "simply illogical."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Last Battle . . .

I took off from blogging here for a while to do other things, including some short stories for anthologies.

At 500 words, my story "Outside the Wire," occupies about .6% of the real estate in the Battlespace anthology of military science fiction.

However, it has a much bigger place in my heart. When Battlespace was announced, I knew I wanted to submit. First, my respect for editors Jason Tudor, Keith Houin, and Michael Wistock of The Science Fiction Show. With their combination of military service and love of the genre, I knew the book would be done right.

Next was the cause. Warrior Cry Music helps wounded soldiers reconnect with the world and their own souls with the universal language of music. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars are unique in human history. Technological advances have made all but the worst combat wounds survivable. However, those survivors are often left grievously scarred and maimed – physically and emotionally. We need to apply our same tenacity to treating post-war wounds as we do the battlefield injuries.

"Outside the Wire" was inspired by a sketch I saw in a milblog many years ago. I talked to Ken, my combo brother-best-friend-biggest-fan and he encouraged me to run with it. Ken served in the Navy from 1962 to 1966 on the aircraft carrier USS Valley Forge ferrying Marine amphib units from Subic Bay to Vietnam. He was in basic training during the Cuban Missile Crisis and told me about the dark-thirty announcement that if "Mr. Bear got frisky," they would be on their way to the blockade. I helped Ken see that he'd had a front seat to history during his service.

Ken was my go-to guy for questions on military terminology and mood. He put the skids on more than one plot line with a simple, "nope." I don't know how many times I read drafts to him over the phone until the cadence sounded right.

 However, the story stalled at 1,700 words. To make the 3,000 mark, I would have to expand a simple tale of two guys deciding that today was not a good day to die into a more action-laden techno-driven narrative.

Nothing worked. Then it hit me, instead of going twice as long, how about going one-third as long. The other story slot was at 500 words. So, I edited 1,200 words out of the stalled story, reducing it to about 20 minutes in one corner of a bigger war. Then I did what I always did, called my big brother. I read it to him and his response was, "that's powerful stuff." We discussed a few minor word choices, but the story was written. I polished off the fingerprints, submitted, and was very proud when it was accepted.

My next goal was to surprise Ken with a print copy of the anthology. The day it arrived, I called and got his answering machine. I called again three hours later and felt a vague unease when he didn't pick up the phone. Two hours later I got the message that he was in the hospital. His health had been fragile for many years because of all those smoke breaks as a younger man. Still, he'd been sick before, so I set his book aside for when he got home.

Except this time he didn't come home. On July 20, 2012 my brother quietly left this world. My grief is without bounds. However, blessedly, we had the kind of relationship where nothing was left unsaid. So my only regret is this copy of Battlespace that he never got to see. If you have a veteran in your life who would appreciate it, contact The Science Fiction Show Battlespace Facebook page. It would be my honor to send it to them.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Share Teh Funneh!

While I work on getting back on my regularly scheduled blog posting, check out this interview with a great friend of mine and up-and-coming humorist Beth Bartlett. I am proud to have my columns appear with hers on the humor blog "An Army of Ermas."
Beth Bartlett talks about teh funneh.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Swimming With Sharks!

It was just another Wednesday when literary agent Janet Reid told her faithful chum readers to stay tuned because something was brewing. This usually means we are about to be tested with fire.




On Thursday, we found out that the prize was worthy . . .  Insurgent is the sequel to the wildly successful Divergent. And this was an ARC. Whoever holds it also holds the right to say, "Could you believe the ending to chapter 7? Oh yeah, that's right, you haven't read it and won't be able to for SEVERAL MONTHS." And then nod sympathetically.



The challenge was to write a 100-word story using the following words:

risk
choice
destroy
sequel
allegiance

My entry was originally titled "Outside The Wire," which was military slang for leaving the protected compound or "green zone" and going on patrol.

***

It was raining lead in beautiful downtown Baghdad. Ducking into a storefront, I risked a moment’s respite only to find the space already occupied.

He was my age, another modern-day Crusader bound by ancient allegiances and trained to destroy. 

My Kevlar and his Keffiyeh framed tired eyes and harsh lines that sleep would never erase. 

“Stop fighting and I can go home,” I said.

“Go home and I can stop fighting,” he replied.

Silently we made our choice. The sequel might end differently, but no killing today. 

Nodding, we backed through our respective doors. Back out into the rain.

***

This was another unpubbed flash I had in my portfolio that needed reworking and editing. In the cauldron, it became better.

A few comments later, I got all the prize I needed from a reader:

***

"I hereby cast my non-binding, unsolicited vote for Terri Coop's Baghdad Rain (as I've christened it). And for her very healthy fear of clowns. Seriously, check out her blog if you want to cry yourself to sleep tonight. (Shudders)"

***

First thing I did was change the title of the tale. In my hard drive and memories, it is now "Baghdad Rain."

The first sign of storm clouds came with this tweet:

"I'm despondent due to the number of people who confuse the meaning of "allegiance" with "alliance" "

::cue JAWS theme music:: OH NOES! ::run and quadruple check my entry:: Sigh of relief. I have used the word in its strictest sense, which is duty and loyalty to country and government. 

Back to the Oscars TwitterParty. 

Then this tweet appeared in Ms. Reid's feed:

I can't pick a winner in the INSURGENT contest! 8 finalists FINALLY winnowed from the 155 entries, but I can't pick ONE!

And then she introduced us to www.drawastickman.com as a distraction. Uoooohhh . . . shiny . . . 

Later on came another tweet:

"For those of you wondering about the contest results on the INSURGENT writing contest, I've had to call in reinforcements to help decide."

Hmmm . . . sounds interesting and ominous. The stakes were climbing. Yesterday morning the results posted. I am both proud and pleased to have been named one of the eight finalists out of 155 entries. I didn't bring home the prize, but that's okay. This contest was a cage match and making the title round was what mattered. 

And in the prize post was a hint that future competitions are going to be ramped up.

***

One entry however made me want to read the next page.

***
So, now along with setting, character, conflict, and resolution, there is going to be an undefinable standard of enticement. Did the ending both resolve the current conflict and hint of more to come? Is the 100-word flasher, in reality, the first act of a larger story? 

All I can say is . . . Bring it . . . 




Saturday, February 25, 2012

Feral Furniture Friday (On Saturday)



Not exactly feral, but a rare daylight appearance. Why, yes, I am the photographer of this fine collection of feral furniture. Why are you looking at me like that?

The Lawn Art Game


I'm starting a new feature. With the coming of Spring, the lawn art blooms. However, this collection is a repository of the unwanted and unloved that I spied on a narrow path between two houses. 

Kitsch Salad: Rock, Paper, Scissors



This is my new favorite geeky desk toy. "Rock, Paper, Scissors." The problem is that I keep losing to myself.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Punk Rock Bagpipes . . .



Queen's "We Will Rock You," played on the bagpipes. The best two minutes of your evening.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Story of Book - Part 5

Book and I sincerely apologize for not posting last week. Life just got in the way. However, this last week the weather let Book and I do some walking and go on a couple of adventures.

First, we wanted to continue showing you around Fort Scott and our architectural treasures.



This is the public library built in 1902 on a grant from the Carnegie Foundation. They keep all sorts of treasures in there.


Next up is the Scottish Rite Temple and Masonic Lodge. Take a second to expand the pic and check out the stone detail. It is incredible. Book is in there, all the way at the bottom. Book was having a bit of trouble in the 15 mile-per-hour wind that day.


This is our old home. Our first shop, purchased in 2003. The building is one-third of the original opera house, one of the first in this part of Kansas. The stone fascia dates to before the Civil War. This cool storefront and tile were installed in 1912.


Pretty windy, so Book and I headed home, stopping for a minute in our back deck hidey-hole to enjoy the unusually warm day.


On Tuesday, my birthday, Book and Kindle took me out to lunch because they're sweet like that. I know we told everyone we were going out for cheeseburgers. But, at the last moment, a big plate of sketti was irresistible.


Back deck of the italian restaurant. Book and I hope to hang out here come Spring. In the background you can see our home - all three leaking drafty stories of it. Built in 1888, we like it!


Book is so thoughtful. He chopped the vegetables for our side dish for dinner!


The next evening Book and I had to run to Wal-Mart. What is neat about this pic is it is the eastern exposure showing the western sunset reflected off the clouds. Totally mellow.


Off to work I go. I like walking around Columbus, Kansas. Treasure are tucked where you least expect them. Book wanted to know if these would fit in the car.


Thursday is court day. The Cherokee County courthouse was built in 1955 with nice art nouveau touches. This fountain is fantastic when it is on. Just wait until summer!


Another shot of the grand and gracious aluminum staircase with marble newels. I think the stairs are a molded composite. The stairs are one continuous peace with stylish curved edges.


Common midwestern courthouse architecture has an open staircase, usually three stories with large windows in the front of the building. The staircase provided air circulation to the public areas of the building. 

Book and I are snuggled in tonight waiting for a snow and ice. We both hope you have the best week ever and join us next Sunday for part 6 of "The Story of Book."


No Rest For The Wicked

I am very pleased, as in totally pleased to announce that my short story "Coulrophobia" has been accepted for the upcoming anthology, "No Rest For The Wicked" coming out in 2012 from Rainstorm Press. Edited by the awesome Stacey Graham.


This collection of tales about haunted objects is still accepting submissions as of the date of this post. Check out the website for details. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Feral Furniture Friday

On this week's episode of "Wild Furniture Kingdom," my safari down the back alleys of America to see what you are hiding, I present, "Godzilla Piano," the upright grand edition.


Sam will never play it again . . .

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The 25 Signs of Being a Writer, or Insanity, I Can Never Keep Those Two Straight

If you don't exhibit some or all of these characteristics, you have no business calling yourself a writer. Quit denying it. Roll with it.

From the #WTF Files: Poo-Pourri

I was cleaning photos off my old phone before activating my new smart phone (birthday present to myself) and found these two fine specimens.

Now, these "products" weren't in a joke shop. These were counter displays in a nice pharmacy - gift shop in a conservative little town in the midwest. I am imagining the salesman trying to convince the manager it was a good idea. Or maybe he plunked them on the counter and ran.

I introduce to you "Heavy Doody," poo-pourri, a "before you go" spray to deal with those . . . um . . . big odors. Notcie the manly packaging and point-of-sale display. Heavy Doody is obviously for the man of the house ::caveman grunt::


But what about the lady of the house? Obviously Heavy Doody is just not the right product for her daintier . . . um . . . excretions. So, we have "Deja Poo" poo-pourri for the gentler sex.


No dear readers, I am not making this up. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Kitsch Salad

And before I tend to my work for the day, here are some more classic salt and pepper sets to season up today's serving of Kitsch Salad :


Poor sick berries are sick . . . . 


But, happy feet are happy . . . .


And always remember and never forget, "Give a Hoot! Don't Pollute!"

Why I Fear Clowns

Coulrophobia is defined as an irrational fear of clowns. Well, I don't suffer from it because there is nothing irrational about my fear of these creepy cretins. For the best of the worst in clownfoolery, visit my other blog:

Why I Fear Clowns . . .



The Story of Book

The Story of Book had to take a week off while Writer got some work done. Will be back next week with more adventures!


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Feral Furniture Friday . . . A Day Late

I keep intending to make my Friday deadline. Hey, it's my party and I'll take a by if I want to.

In today's episode of Wild Furniture Kingdom, blue recliner discovers it is not nice to mock the keeper of the keys . . .


See ya next week (on Friday or thereabouts)!

Purgatory Chasm by Steve Ulfelder A 125 mph Thrill Ride

You wouldn't know it by looking at my 1995 teal green Mercury station wagon that resonates down to its rims at 67 mph and my intense dislike of left turns in traffic, but I have a real fondness for racing.

My dad used to take me to stock car races and drags when I was a kid and I was a teen before I learned that most little girls didn't spend their birthday at the Auto-Rama.

However, I'm not a pit bunny and I don't have Jeff Gordon pillowcases. My first degree is in engineering and I have a real appreciation for the art and science of racing. That's important because main character Conway Sax isn't just a mechanic, he's a former racecar driver and race mechanic. That makes him part of a special breed and gives Purgatory Chasm its unique flavor and cadence. You will enjoy the book more if you are already knowledgeable in the sport or are open to learning something about it.

When I read genre, I want the jargon, language, and mood to be authentic. Whether it's military, cop, or legal fiction, if it doesn't feel real, then I'm not going to buy into the story. Steve Ulfelder uses his racing experience to put you into the mindset of a driver. Conway's actions and motivations are filtered through the concepts of target fixation, situational awareness, and the red mist of rage. His knowledge, reflexes, and attitudes are used to maximum effect in this sharp-edged hardcore murder mystery.

Conway Sax also has another loyalty and that is to the Barnburners. Part AA-group, part Star Chamber, the Barnburners are serious people who abide by their own creed: loyalty and sobriety. When a Barnburner is hurt or in trouble, Conway Sax answers the call without question. Even when it hurts himself and those he loves. The Barnburners have his primary loyalty.

Enter Tander Phigg - long time Barnburner and even longer time jackass. The request is simple on its face. Phigg would like Sax to retrieve his special Mercedes, apparently in the clutches of an unscrupulous mechanic. However, when Sax finds himself sprawled on the garage floor with a lump on his skull and a headache to match, he discovers something he already knew, when Phigg is involved there is no such thing as simple.

Phigg can't even die in a straightforward manner. Suicide or murder staged to look like suicide? The evidence is split and Sax decides to follow the leads and play out the hand. After all, Phigg was a Barnburner. . . 

Enter a cast of characters where everyone has an angle, everyone has an agenda, and everyone has a secret. Ulfelder serves up a nicely woven web of potential suspects, setting them up and knocking them down with ease (I hope to see more of the Beet Brothers in future books). I had my suspicions, but wasn't 100% sure who the killer was until the actual reveal. Then, in the manner of all good murder mysteries, you see the clues were there all along. 

In a nicely crafted subplot, Sax must also deal with the specter of his father. The rat-racing and rock-running illustrate the eternal conflict of a son who both wants to please and beat his father and a father who is simultaneously proud and threatened by his son. The resolution is elegant and bittersweet.

So, if you like your books fast moving, action-packed, and with a ring of truth in the characters and settings, then Purgatory Chasm is for you. Go get it now! I was lucky. I scored this great book as part of the prize booty in a contest on his agent, Janet Reid's blog. The other prize was an ARC of "The Whole Lie," the second Conway Sax book. Why, yes, you should be jealous. 

Overall, I give Purgatory Chasm four snaps up and throw in the bag of chips for this line: "A street car is a tool. A racecar is a weapon." Ulfelder will only get better as he keeps writing.




Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Story of Book - Part 4

Greetings everyone and welcome to Week 4 of "The Story of Book," an entertaining project where I carry my favorite book, a 1950s edition of "The Grapes of Wrath," that I . . . um . . . liberated from a library in 1978 with me every place I go and photograph our adventures.

This week's edition is abbreviated. Camera had a diva moment and when I was able to recover the disc, all of the files were unreadable. I think Camera may have been jealous because it was doing all the work and Book was getting all the attention. Regardless, our adventures for this week were lost. 

Also, an old legal matter has bubbled to life and I had to spend most of my free time with my nose buried in a virtual law book researching the effect of res judicata on a trademark licensee and if the privity ruling from Bouchat in 2003 survived the Taylor ruling in 2008 (IMHO, it did). Regardless, Writer's sense of humor was at a low ebb.

However! Sunday dawned sunny and warm and Book convinced me to take a short walk and visit Wise Old Happy Tree who told me that all of this would pass and to enjoy the day for the gift it is. Book says that Wise Tree is wise.


Still, had to do my paperwork and other work. However, in the mid-afternoon, a crisis of epic proportions erupted. Writer was out of tea bags and coffee. A trip to Wal-Mart was immediate and necessary. Book and I stopped by the Wal-Mart book section and were thrilled and overjoyed to see "The Pregnancy Project," a memoir written with the assistance of our wonderful Facebook friend Jenna Glatzer. Yay! Wise Tree was right! This made the afternoon very happy indeed!



And then a stop at the writers' altar, the place all good things spring from, to restock and resupply.


Book and I are VERY sorry for the technical difficulties. We are also sad because we missed a pair of feral fighting sofas in combat formation. Hopefully, they are still there this week . . . 

So, until next week, don't forget to hug your favorite book and give a shout-out to your favorite writer. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Flash Fiction - 100 Words of Fun

This week I managed to check off a bucket list item, I won a flash fiction contest on literary agent Janet Reid's blog. My prize? Two books, including the Edgar nominated "Purgatory Chasm" by Steve Ulfelder. (On a cool note, I talked to the author via Facebook and he's going to autograph them for me.)

She holds these contests from time to time and I highly recommend them. She gives you a list of prompt words, often in honor of one of her clients, and a 100-word limit. The competition is fierce and if you don't bring your best game, well then you get to stay home and watch.

I've written flash fiction for years. I love the spare economy. No words can be lazy or padding or fluffy. Every word has a job to do and had better do it well. However, there is some misconception as to what flash is. It is often written as a vignette or freeform poetry.

Flash is like any other story and has to have the four components of character, setting, conflict and resolution. In 100 words or less . . . Not a problem!

The key is inference. One flash writer said that if readers need description, then all of her characters must be naked, because she never discusses clothing. If she places her characters in church, she trusts the reader to infer they are appropriately dressed.

Forcing extraneous description out of writing is an excellent exercise. I hate reading "It was July 21st at 5 o'clock p.m. and the temperature was 102 degrees." (yes, I have read that in novels) Instead, "It was a hot July evening," tells me all I need to know. In his literary wordfest "Q," Evan Mandery sticks the landing with "It was one of those top ten days of the year . . ." I love that phrase. It is elegant and evocative and allows me to infer my own definition of a perfect day. He goes on with more description, but could have stopped right there.

In this contest, the prompt words were: red, bent, fold, chaos, and chasm. Each word came from a book title on the Edgar list of best first novels.

I keyed on "chaos." I had an old flasher where that was a pivotal word. The story had never seen publication because at 121 words, it was too damn long. I liked the story, but the editing always stumped me.

Here it is in original form:

_____________________________________

The last ambulance left the police station. No need for sirens; the victims were DOA. I settled in to start the reports. Twenty years on the job, and this was a first.

"Damn, I hate murder. Nothing but heartache and paperwork."

I inserted the form into my old typewriter and started on the first section.

The punks had been at the west desk. The old biddy at the east. Both were filing complaints.

She wailed about foiling a car theft.

The hoods bitched about someone pulling a gun and chasing them away from their car.

Hesitation. Double-take. Recognition. Silence. Chaos.


I hit the 'return' key. One section to go.

Conclusions: The old lady was a faster draw and a better shot.

________________________________________

Not bad, but not good enough. Too fat. After I folded in the prompt words, I went to work on the length.

I ferreted out redundant description, such as,"No need for sirens; the victims were DOA." The story is about a murder, the fact that there were dead bodies becomes clear in the next sentence. So, it can be foreshadowed with "No sirens."

You get the point. Once I had a goal, entering it in the contest, and a deadline, Sunday at 6:00 PM, the spare baggage glowed like neon.

The finished product:

_________________________________________

The ambulance left the police station. No sirens. Twenty years on the job and murder is still nothing but heartache and paperwork.

Unfolding a blank report, I bent over my old typewriter.

The punks were at the west desk. The old biddy at the east. Both were filing complaints.

She crowed about foiling a car theft.

Across the chasm, the hoods had red-ass about someone pulling a gun and chasing them away from their car.

Hesitation.

Recognition.

Silence.

Chaos.


I hit the “return” key. One section to go.

Conclusions: The old lady was a faster draw and a better shot.

____________________________________________

100 words exactly according to Word. Spare and clean. A much better story. I don't miss the twenty-one words. By choosing carefully, I took them out and left them in at the same time. The story certainly met and exceeded my expectations and was picked out of a field of 70+ entries. I read a lot of flash fiction and the flashers in Ms. Reid's contests are some of the best I've seen.

Next time she runs a contest, give it a try. Win or lose, you'll have fun, read a bunch of good stories, and you'll come away with a new outlook on the power and economy of words.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Story of Book - Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of "The Story of Book," the tale of a writer and her favorite book who accompanies her (almost) everywhere she goes. To catch up on the first two installments, go to "Story of Book" link under "Rhetoric by Topic."


Monday dawned warm and windy and I took Book out for a promised walk. This is at the north end of Main Street, looking south. Fort Scott was a frontier outpost in the 1840s and a major supply depot during the Civil War.


On the north side of the Fort historical monument is a walking trail through a national park Tallgrass Prairie restoration project. Just a couple of acres, but you get a glimpse of what the prairie looked like before the settlers came. There are several hundred types of plants just in the little patch. I can't wait to bring Book back in the spring when it is all in bloom. Book and I took a pleasant hike and then got back to work.




Tuesday was another gorgeous day, so Book and I headed down to the Fort Scott National Park at the north end of town. By the 1970's the old fort had degenerated into a warehouse and low rent housing area. The park service kicked the squalor to the curb and rebuilt and restored the fort to its historical glory. This is one of the officers' duplexes. If your husband was an officer in the cavalry, this was your backyard and kitchen garden. (Book and I will take you inside on a warmer day. It's gorgeous.)




The parade ground is enclosed by a wonderful walkway about a quarter-mile long. Book and I took advantage of the sunshine for a nice stroll.




Wednesday! And it's time to go to work down in Columbus, Kansas. It's one of those neat little town-that-time-forgot places and is full of great old signs and buildings. Book particularly liked this Reddy Kilowatt sign.




When memes collide. Columbus has a great feral furniture dump (well, the townsfolk may not think it's so great, but I love it.) Book posed with this poor unfortunate sofa carcass that was probably replaced with a cheap naughahyde wannabe.




Okay, this is actually a bit creepy, but Book insisted . . .




Thursday is court day! Book was so excited to go with me. The Cherokee County Courthouse was built in the 1950s and replaced a much larger Victorian structure. Even though the building is a bit . . . um . . . boxy, it has excellent Art Deco details.




This is one of my favorite historical plaques ever. This bell never made it out of the warehouse, but dang it, we're putting it in the courthouse square. Book, with his empathy towards remainders, approves.




Now, a word of warning. Book had the permission of the District Court Judge to take a few photos inside the courthouse. Never take a camera into a courthouse or public building without permission. Unless, of course, you like sitting in little rooms with no windows and answering questions.


The truly beautiful and unique feature of the courthouse is this three-story polished aluminum Art Deco stairway. When the sun is right through the atrium windows, Book and I will get better photos. It is stunning.




Friday rolled around and our car desperately needed an oil change. So, off to Wal-Mart! Last week someone suggested that Book needed a better wardrobe, so we used our free time shopping around. Book confesses to being a bit of a KU fan (shhh . . . our boss went to K-State!)




Something stylish for the rain and snow perhaps?




By January, there wasn't a lot of selection in the fuzzy slipper aisle. Book wanted leopard spots, but there weren't any in his size.




Book confided in me that he believes there is a family of four living in one of these boots. . . . (they were huge!)




Saturday was a quiet work day, but the mailman made it a happy day by delivering a fresh box of Johnny West coloring books! We sent half off to our illustrator Mykol Blackwell who is one of our bestest friends ever. Yay!




Book mentioned going out to lunch, but took one look at the weather . . .




And opted for his Snuggie and the remote.




Sunday came in cloudy and damp, so Book and I hung around the house. However, we wanted to introduce you to Widget! Come summertime, Widget will be our partner in "The Story of Book."




Have a great week everyone! See you next Sunday!