Life’s Roller Coaster, BBQ, & Niagara Falls

Oy!  It was a lousy few weeks for relatively minor health problems that kept cropping up and eating into my living and writing.  Strangely enough, it only hit my husband and myself.  Personally, I think the kids had a hand in it somewhere – even if they were only carriers.  Of course, I can’t blame my root canal on them.  That was alllllll me.  So, I felt like a worm-riddled corpse alternating roasting over the fires of hell and drowning in a vat of mucus.  (How do you like THAT mental image?)  Luckily, hell on earth didn’t last forever.

It conveniently ended just before our 4th of July family BBQ.  My husband has been experimenting with different grilling and smoking techniques and recipes for close to twenty years now.  Several years ago, my Granny (who hailed from Texas and was a hell of a cook) gave him a dry rub recipe that took his BBQ to new heights.  (Sorry, folks, it’s now a closely guarded secret.)  Previously, he’s converted regular charcoal grills to smokers, but this year, he bought an actual smoker and it made all the difference in the world.  The taste was always there, but the ribs were more tender – the best we’ve ever had!  Here’s a few photos.

Yesterday we went on a day trip to Niagara Falls with my sister-in-law and one of her sons.  Every summer, we try to go somewhere fun with our kids.  Some years, our husbands go too.  This year we very much missed the presence of my oldest nephew, who just graduated from high school and had to work yesterday.  Ah, the joys of becoming an adult!

Since we live so close, both my husband and I have been to the Falls multiple times throughout our lives.  It’s been a few years since we’ve gone together and I don’t think we’ve ever taken the kids.  We crossed to Canada on the Lewiston Bridge north of the Falls because we wanted to go to the Butterfly Conservatory.  Inside a tropical greenhouse on three levels are thousands of butterflies of many different species that just flit around playing, eating, and mating – even landing on you sometimes too!  It’s way cool.

Down near the Falls themselves, things have changed considerably.  They’ve updated and  added to the big attractions.  (If you are interested, here’s a good link.)   We noticed the huge amount of free parking all along the river’s edge is partly gone (and of course what was left was all full up), but the spectacular formal gardens are still there!  We went on the Maid of the Mist boat ride to the bottom of the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side, which the kids loved and we adults enjoyed.  I marveled at the skill of the captains of these boats.  You are so close to the bottom of the falls (they give you rain ponchos to keep from getting drenched) but the boat stays pretty much in one spot for about 5 or so minutes so you can hear the roar and feel the awesome power of the Falls up close and personal.  It’s a humbling experience.     We didn’t want to ruin our cameras with all the water on that trip, but here’s a couple photos from a distance.  It’s hard to see here, but on the second one, just right of center at the bottom of the Falls, there’s a faint shadow.  It’s a boat and that’s where we were!

So, after all this feeling cruddy and having family parties and day trips, how could I possibly get any writing done?  I’ll have you know I added some new scene cards that I’m starting to chomp at the bit to write.  I was entranced by the second half of my story because that’s where the sexy new civilization resides and I’ve got all kinds of cool ideas for that.  But in order to get there, I need to show my main character’s own people and society on which I’ve done quite a bit of building and it’s not new and shiny anymore.  It took a bit of convincing, but my Muse found a slightly different angle she could play with, so it’s all good.  I even have a working title this time.  Ready now – ooooooh! aaaaaaah!:

Ancient Magic 

I know, I know.  It’s pretty lame, but it’s a working title.

I did some freewriting in my character’s voice (she still sounds an aweful lot like me, though) and got some interesting motivations (happily, not mine). 

So, in the end, I DID accomplish something. 

Of course, now I have several flower beds full of 3-foot high weeds that are screaming for attention, several piles of paperwork on my desk and kitchen counter and dining room table to sort and file and … laundry … and …. sigh.



6 comments on “Life’s Roller Coaster, BBQ, & Niagara Falls

  1. Texanne says:

    Sorry you had such cruddy health for a while there. Lovely photos, both of the ribs and of the falls! And glad to know you are progressing with your novel. It’s so easy to slump through summer.


  2. ekcarmel says:

    I’m slowly starting to catch up with everything. I’m glad you liked the photos. We had a couple of real good days with family, which is the important thing. Documenting the fun just makes it last longer! The novel is indeed progressing, but at a very slow pace, I’m afraid. I’ve got a few less hectic days coming up and hopefully I can make the most of them.


  3. Diane says:

    Is the meat supposed to be black? Could you chew it after your dental work?
    Glad you are over your cold/flu and back into writing. Looking forward to reading the rest of your story sometime. 🙂 The falls look spectular, too.


    • ekcarmel says:

      Lol – it’s supposed to be black. This isn’t grilled over an open flame where the black would be a hard crust. It’s smoked, an indirect method of cooking, and the black is tender and doesn’t taste burned at all. So, the BBQ wasn’t tough, but I was also on some medication for pain, plus our neighbors broke out the Margarita Mix later and, well, I was feeling NO pain.

      At some point I’ll need beta readers, so I’ll keep you in mind if you’re still interested at that point. It’s looking like sometime next year, though.

      I know the photos don’t really do it justice. I had some better ones, but this is too public to put family photos up. I’ve been thinking of doing Facebook. Well, actually, several people in my family have been hounding me to get on there. That way I could show photos to people I know. Any of you all on Facebook? I know Twitter seems to be the place for writers, but at this point with just about my whole family on Facebook, I’m going to start there.


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