Saturday, March 20, 2010

Woody Woodpecker lives at my house

Okay, so probably not the real Woody Woodpecker. But I have seen a pair of pileated woodpeckers numerous times over the past two months. The distinctive squawking call is unmistakable, and the slower, deeper thumping of their pecking echoes through the woods. Normally they are heard and not seen, but these two have been out of the heavily wooded areas and as close as twenty feet from my house. They like to hang upside down in a young black walnut tree to reach the suet feeders. I've also spotted them in a two-hundred-something-year-old maple tree (mostly hollow, mostly dead) across the driveway in the pasture. Check out the pics! Note how she uses her tail feathers as an extra set of hands to balance.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tweeting and Friending

This month RWA's PRO-class is tackling the subject of social media. This tech-unsavvy writer now knows enough about Twitter and Facebook to be dangerous. Yes, I am tweeting and friending! The good news--I found several friends from high school and have connected with lots of my fellow RWA PROs. The bad news--I'm not entirely sure I know what I'm doing on either. Well, I'll give it a try!!!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Break

Vacation pushed Pilates to the wayside this week in favor of hiking. My family and I enjoyed four days at Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio. Ash Cave was the first stop, with the easy half-mile hike back to this large sandstone overhang once inhabited by Native Americans. The fifty-degree-plus weather contributed to the rushing waterfall of ice and snowmelt, dropping over a hundred feet to the floor of the gorge. Our next stop was Cedar Falls, named for the hemlock trees mistaken for cedar. Icicle curtains hung from the sandstone cliffs like glacier-colored stalactites.

Tuesday's trek consisted of a six-mile loop from the Old Man's Cave trail past Rose Lake Dam to Cedar Falls, then back to the Lower Falls at Old Man's Cave. After a late lunch we hiked the Old Man's Cave trail. Parts of the Gorge Trail were so treacherous from ice, we had to backtrack and reroute around those areas, but the numerous falls and natural ice sculptures mad for some breathtaking pictures.

The most rugged trails took most of Wednesday. Because of dangerous conditions, the rim trail at Conkles Hollow was closed. The gorge trail led us through the deep narrow fog-filled valley. Huge ice curtains hung from the cliffs, with runoff creating waterfalls to join the stream at the base of the gorge. Rock House and Cantwell Cliffs, my personal favorites, had us improvising in several places where fallen trees blocked our paths. Rock falls and erosion had also damaged bridges and stone steps in a few spots. Half the fun was forging our way along the steep boulder-strewn sides of the valleys to find a new way to the existing trails.

Thursday, our last day, we packed up and checked out of the cabin. Before heading home, we made another stop at Old Man's Cave. The difference a couple of days of warm weather made was amazing. The river had gone down at least six inches. Many of the ice curtains had melted or fallen. We were even able to hike the sections of the trail that had impassible. I can't wait to go back this summer!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Goal Tending

I had another great goal-tending month in February! In addition to registering for the RWA National Conference, I also averaged nearly 1100 words per day and am waiting to hear back on a partial request from an agent. And somehow I have managed to maintain my three times a week Pilates schedule as well.

More good news--my son's dog is finally responding to treatment for diabetes. After two months, blood sugar as high as 692 (no, that isn't a typo), and two kinds of insulin, yesterday he tested at 491 on 35 units of Novolin twice a day. The vet bumped up the dosage to 40 units twice a day, in hopes that may control his blood sugar levels. At $61 a bottle for insulin, I'm paying almost $200 a month for medication. Then there are the weekly visits to the vet, boxes of syringes, urine test strips, special food, etc.

I have decided to add another goal for March. One of my manuscripts has hovered near completion for several weeks, so this month I want to finish it. That will bring my total to four completed 90,000 word manuscripts!

Time to drag those words out of my mind and put them on paper, so to speak.

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With a Kick!