Archive for May, 2012

The Gaelic Garden Gnomes and I had an opportunity for a little rest and relaxation before beginning our concentrated  summer history and folklore studies.

One of my friends, also an author and editor, offered to drive my daughter and me to Houston.  My youngest daughter lives there and our plan was to celebrate our birthdays.

Spur-of-the-moment fun and the possibility of visiting Galveston was too good an offer to pass up.  Besides, the gnomes really wanted to go to the beach.  Seamus said that even using magic, we couldn’t do much better than fifty miles to the gallon in the Prius.

We packed our bags and hit the road.

The gnomes were a bit overcome by Dallas and Houston traffic in one day.

They asked if we might stop for some refreshment of tea and crumpets, but my daughter had a better idea.

After polishing off a bag of  kolaches, the gnomes weren’t sure they could move.  They thought we’d had enough excitement for one day.

Seamus loved the kolaches.  He is thinking of opening his own kolache factory in the Old Country.

Finn said, “I think kolaches would pair well with my barley malt.”

Seamus said,”Kolaches would pair well with anything.”

Finn said, “My barley malt would pair well with anything.”

I distracted them with the cry of, “Look!  Palm trees!”

They insisted upon immediately posing for a postcard shot to send back to the Old Country.

It was a beautiful, balmy day, and all was well.

Three Authors and an Artist ~~ Miss Jocelyn, Miss Cynthia, Miss Aubrey, and Miss Lyndsey decided to strike a pose, too.

We strolled the beach and enjoyed the sounds of the waves crashing and the gulls playing chase on the breezes.

That is until Finn decided that he must swim.  I cautioned him that the surf seemed to be a bit strong.

“Fiddlesticks,” Finn said.

Seamus suggested a nice lounge on a tuft of seaweed.  He and Snickers were perfectly happy.

Finn was bored.

Miss Aubrey told Finn that swimming was not only a bad idea, it was prohibited in this area.

Finn pointed toward the horizon and said, “Shark!”

While we were distracted, he dove in the water and swam away chuckling.

“Faith and begorrah!”  Seamus dove in after Finn, but the currents were powerful and unrelenting.

The tide swept in quickly.

Tragedy seemed eminent.

We charged into the waves to retrieve them, but too late.

The gnomes had gone under.

Suddenly, lightning flashed and the ocean boiled.

For a split second, an apparition like a mermaid rose from the deep.

The twinkling lights floated and led us under the pier, then disappeared.

I spied a tiny red hat.

“Seamus!  Finn!  You’re alive,” I said.

Seamus and Snickers were still choking out water.

“Glub, glub,” they said.

“Pub.  Pub.”  Finn said.

There were no more shenanigans for the gnomes that morning.  But the afternoon…my goodness.  You would think that was enough excitement.  Finn, however, was just warming up.

Stay tuned,

Miss Cynthia  ;^-

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The Gaelic Garden Gnomes have settled in with a flurry.  If you need to catch up on the saga, the introduction to our adventure begins here.  You can also click on Tea and Tales under Categories.  Pour yourself a nice cup of tea and we’ll begin.

Their first night of arrival was hectic.  I had arranged for them to sleep in the guest room that I call my grand-children’s playroom.  I thought they would be comfortable there.

I was wrong.

Seamus said that he thought he could sleep on the quilted Sunbonnet Sue pillow, but Finn said he was not sleeping with a giant in his bed.

He said, “I’d just as soon be out under the stars.  Besides, it’s too, too — pink in here.”

But when I told them about the neighbor’s cats and the coyotes that frequently run through the pasture, Seamus said they would stay indoors, giants or no.

Seamus said, “Miss Cynthia, mum, do you suppose we could find something a wee bit more cozy and not so … so … pink?”

I located cute little beds in an arts and crafts box.  Seamus said they would be quite comfortable with their packs as pillows.

Finn said it was still too “pink.”

I’m learning, he can be a bit surly.  But he’s the Gaelic Folklore expert.  I must handle these situations with kid gloves.

I started to tell them that they could look around and see if they could find a spot they preferred to sleep when my phone rang.  I took the call and was distracted just briefly.

Afterward, I returned to the guest room.  The gnomes had disappeared.

I searched throughout the house and asked Desi, my schnauzer, and Lucy, my rescue/schnauzer/yorkie/pointer,  if they had seen the gnomes.  Desi rolled over for a belly rub and Lucy just rolled her eyes.  (She refused to even pretend to point.)

I hoped the gnomes would reappear and I decided to take a few deep breaths.   I went to the kitchen sink to put water in the kettle for some tea and what do you think I found?

They were on the windowsill…comfy and happy as ever.  Although I was relieved, I asked Seamus why they hadn’t answered.  He said that perhaps they had nodded off for a moment due to the delirium at being in such a garden-like locale.

I caught a note of sarcasm in his tone.

“Well, there is something green growing from a pot of dirt,” I said.

Seamus smiled.  He tries to be kind and patient.

Finn just rested his head on his elbow and watched me fuss.  He does that a lot.

Everybody settled in for the night.  I had to answer several more phone calls.  My daughters continued to call and ask me if they thought I really would be okay with two such unusual visitors in the house.  They are worried that a bit too much magic will be going on.

“Anything could happen,” my daughters said.

“Something magical needs to happen around here,” I said.

“And unusual visitors?  I’ve dealt with worse,” I said.   “You do remember the autumn when one of you thought match-making your mother with a nomadic artist from Santa Fe would be a good idea?”

I did not need to say more.  End of conversation.

I have to go now and prepare tomorrow’s menu for my guests.  They are quite excited about my potato soup and scones.

When I told them about the recipe, Finn said, “Why do Americans have to put green chile peppers in everything?”

I am quite excited about preparing such teensy tiny servings.  ;^)

Stay tuned.

Miss Cynthia  ;^)

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Please forgive the lag in the recent excitement.  I know it may seem to you that I have forgotten that you were waiting to be introduced to my summer guests, The Gaelic Gnomes.  But around here, it has been anything but dull!

After their arrival, there ensued a bit of a fuss.  Thank goodness we have that all ironed out.  (I’ll explain later, but part of it was due to the preferences of one of the gnomes (who shall temporarily remain nameless.)  (He preferred to NOT be here.  He said he had seen enough of the prairie when they arrived.  He wanted to turn around and return immediately to the “Old Country.”  Thank goodness, the other one — a bit more mellow in nature — was persuasive.) We worked out a compromise.  I said that they did not have to stay for the family festivities over the Mother’s Day weekend, if they would please please return.  They decided to make a quick trip to Oklahoma City where a Worldwide Garden Gnome History and Folkloric Convention took place in the Myriad Gardens.  (It was a secret location there, so don’t ask.  Possibly invisible.)  Well, how could I refuse, as they said they would return with much more amazing information in Gaelic History and Folklore.)  Besides, the ornery sensitive gnome said he didn’t care what I thought.  Twenty of my family members in one weekend would be too much to ask of any gnome to meet.  And there was that little issue with my dogs.  But, I digress — I will explain it all later.

May I please introduce you to my guests:

This is Seamus.

He is very patient and thoughtful.  He specializes in Gaelic History (mostly due to the fact that he’s been around for several hundred years, although he won’t say exactly how long, and he’s seen a great deal of it for himself.)  He will share as much information as he can remember, while they are here this summer.

You will notice his pet snail, Snickers, who is his constant companion.  Seamus usually carries Snickers everywhere they go, but Snickers occasionally insists on crawling by himself.  (So that’s where they came up with the term, “at a snail’s pace.”)  Thus the reason I will allow much more time when we have to be somewhere if Snickers is to be allowed to crawl.  And thus the reason Seamus wins an award in my book, for his mountains of patience.  (Which really is astounding for one so small.)

I will mention here, that Seamus asked me to underscore that they are not just  common Garden Gnomes.  They are of the teeny, tiny, faerie variety: Gaelicus  Gardenus Gnomedus Faerieordae Minisculus.  Very rare.  (This of course, tripled my delight to have them here.)

This is Finn:

Finn, by all appearances, seems to be what you would call, laid back.  This is, however, an illusion.  The cogs in his teeny tiny brain never stop.  He promised Seamus that he would just agree to disagree with me.  I have learned very quickly that biting my tongue treating him with the utmost respect and care, even if he does swear frequently in Gaelic Gnomish, is the best remedy.

It is all going to be worth it, however.  Because Finn has received the highest education and awards with honors for his research in Gaelic Gnome and Faerie Folklore.  (He asked me to call him Dr. Finn, but Seamus said that was ridiculous, and he wouldn’t allow it.)  Finn covered his mouth with his hand and stifled a giggle.

Finn asked me to please express his delight in being here (I think I might have seen Seamus elbow Finn’s side at that moment,) but mostly he wants to know if he can please dig through my storage shed for abandoned bits of copper pipe and tubing.  He says he is going to have to construct a small still, as what passes for Scotch Whiskey in these parts is not fit for consumption and he thinks it’s going to be a longggg summer.


I know now that just because gnomes are from the British Isles doesn’t mean they drink tea.

Nevertheless, I am thrilled to have them here.  I do realize that this is a very rare opportunity.  I can hardly wait to share more with you, so much has already transpired.

But I’ve got to go.  Finn is yelling something in Gaelic to my little schnauzer and Desi is yelping.

Leave a note if you like, with your well-wishes for Seamus and Finn!

(You may follow the entire adventure by clicking on the Category — Tea and Tales.)

Miss Cynthia :^)

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I’m very excited to share my plans for the summer with you.  I realize that you may not be so excited about my plans, since you would most likely be more excited about your plans, especially if they involve a beach and swaying palm trees.  However, my summer will be spent close to home and I’ve cooked up some excitement.  I am preparing for the “big” class at the university in the fall ~~ the catapult into my future ~~ Writing the Novel.  I’ve waited four years (and really a lifetime) for this class.

(I know — I know — get on to the big news.) Patience, please…just bear with me while I share a little more background.

A genre has to be selected for my novel  — such as, mystery, thriller, or romance (aren’t they all connected?  I’m not so good at any of those subjects in real life — I’m not sure how they would turn out on the page….)

Science fiction — no, too close to my previous life and very uncomfortable to talk about, much less write about.  Western — (maybe, since I grew up in Nevada near the silver mines and gambling halls….)

Fantasy … well, maybe.  I do enjoy studying the history of many eras, but especially that of Britain, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales — where many of my ancestors came from (I’m looking for a king or a queen in the family files, you know.) (Isn’t everybody?)  Anyway … fantasy… well, you know, too, that a great deal of my thought life  is spent floating in the air among the clouds and castles I’ve built there.  What better genre for me than fantasy?    ;^)

I was thinking about spending time this summer studying Charles Dickens, or Shakespeare, or Jane Austen and giving some of their ideas a fantastical tweak.  Or maybe Stephanie Myers.  You know, the sparkling vampires get such a bad rap in the upper eschelon of professional writing classes at the U….(I thought maybe that I could write about UNsparkled faery vampires full of teen angst …. You don’t think that’s been overdone, do you?)  (We could call it, “Twiflight.”) (Don’t get me wrong — I read the books and watched the movies because there is always something to learn.)  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  My lesson is this:  The author is laughing all the way to the bank.  ;^)

Well, anyway — while deciding which direction to take, what to my wondering eyes did appear, but …

A brochure!  (It fluttered through my yard one day, twisting and turning on a wild breeze that we, on the prairie, call a “dust devil.”)  I snatched the brochure from its dusty landing.   This was the title:   Announcing the Summer Mentorship of Gaelic Gnome Lending in Education Society.  Or SMOGGLES, as we will refer to it in the future.  ;^)

Here’s the basic idea of all the info:  They would send gnomes to me from Europe to exchange information about Gaelic Gnome and Faerie History and Folklore.  Well, as you can imagine — that is a deal that I could not pass up.  That was it!  My genre — Historical Fantasy!  I would learn about real gnomes and faeries and then write about them.  That certainly could never be overdone.

All that would be required of me was the exchange of gnomes or faeries from my area, with one or two of theirs! (And, of course, lodging and a tiny bit of food for the summer.)  Well, I promptly rounded up a couple of cowboy gnomes. (Everybody knows that Oklahoma is one of the most magical areas on the continent.  The cowboy gnomes are rare, but really not that difficult to locate….)  It was quite an experience, but that is another story for another time.  I sent them on their way to Europe and awaited the arrival of my exchange.

The blessed day finally came and the gnomes were to fly in by Red-Tailed Hawk Courier at one o’clock in the afternoon.  I sat out on a lawn chair and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Hours passed.  I feared that the Oklahoma Red-Tailed Hawks did not take too kindly to the Gaelic Gnomes and may have stopped for a snack.  I went in the house and phoned the proper authorities and after much red tape and hullabaloo, I was stricken.  My gnomes were lost before they ever arrived.

Well, I went back out to the patio with some refreshment in hand (tea, mind you,) to lament the poor luck of it all.

I sat in the porch swing and sipped my cup of “tea,” sighing all the while.

It began faintly at first, just rising over the sound of the crickets and cicadas in the locust trees and the evening breezes.  I heard the strains of a jolly Irish tune filtering through the air.

“La Li La Lie … O’er the skies we fly … La Li La Loo … Bringin’ magic to you … La Li La Lold … The truth be told … La Li La Lie … We’d soon spit in y’er eye ….”  (Well, I’m pretty sure those were the lyrics, but I can’t be certain, it was faint and distant.)

I made my way around the yard, checking under rocks and fence posts, when finally, this is what I found:

Don’t forget to “click” and enlarge! You simply must see this to believe it! ;^)

My gnomes!  They had arrived after all and were taking a moment of recuperation in what they said was the most comfy spot in my garden!  (The rest of it is pretty well covered by weeds.)  I was elated.  There they were — in all reality.  Gnomes and their little packs holding all their worldly goods and magic!  From the Gaelic Isles — or the “Old Country” as they like to call it.  Well — I’m very excited to introduce them to you.  But that will have to wait for another post — they are hungry and tired from the long journey.  I must run and sort out the details (and let the SMOGGLES know that the gnomes have arrived safely.)   Stay tuned for updates.

Miss Cynthia  ;^)

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“I’m writing a book.  I’ve got the page numbers done.”  (Steven Wright)

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