June is whizzing by this year. Seems like the business of carefully re-opening to pre-pandemic experiences consumes lots of energy! It’s been so fun to venture forth without a mask. I’m savoring the highlights! I totally relished my first pedicure and massage in over a year. A special occasion dinner in a restaurant with a crisp white tablecloth and excellent bar was truly an amazing treat.

To celebrate the second anniversary of the publication of “A Better Next” I participated in a couple of book giveaways. One, with Paper Lantern Writers, provided me with some unexpected opportunities to chuckle. In this giveaway, the author had to pose a question for prospective entrants as a run-up to eligibility. My question to entry was “when was the last time you wore a high heel?”

Why that question, you ask? The cover of “A Better Next” features a high heel— a fancy red high heel. The type I would never wear, and indeed, the protagonist of the book, Jess Lawson, wears infrequently, but does enjoy on occasion. Entrants seemed to appreciate the question and I got some fun answers. Here are a few: 

“Are you kidding?” 

“Couldn’t find any high heel slippers”

“Dressed up in heels once in 2020 just to see if I could still balance.”

My clear favorite, and the winning entry was “2020 was the year the high heel died for me!” I happily sent off the winning book to this funny lady thanking her for her heartfelt answer.  

I also ran a Goodreads Giveaway https://www.goodreads.com which resulted in lots of new potential readers. In this giveaway program, you just need to indicate that you want to read the book, and click to enter the giveaway. Promoting my book is always fun, and I’m rewarded with new readers in interesting ways. In 2020 bookstore events declined and authors do what they can do to find readers.

Last night I listened to Deirdre McNamer discuss her book “Aviary” published by Milkweed Editions. It’s a great book. The NYT reviewer sums it up very well by using the term “ongoingness” to describe how life, even in a retirement home, continues to surprise if we keep ourselves open to it: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/13/books/review/aviary-deirdre-mcnamer.html. Haven’t we all needed to believe in ongoingness over the past year plus?

Another June highlight for me was to finish the re-do of my patio. This was the culmination of effort started last year to replace a crumbling retaining wall. That work was finished last fall, so I could put up a new fence this spring and enlarge the patio footprint in the process. My contractor was a talented guy who not only designed a beautiful hardscape but was flexible enough to switch gears when our brick was gridlocked on a shipment and stalled in Indiana. Fortunately, his alternate plan for bluestone was inspired. I found new patio furniture early enough for an eight week wait and Voila—the patio is open and entertaining has begun!

Just in time for the BIGGEST highlight of JUNE. My grandchildren have arrived, and have brought with them their pandemic puppy. Now, the challenge is to make sure the puppy and my cat can co-exist…..for a brief but lovely time.

I hope you are all enjoying your own JUNE highlights!