Sunday, March 23, 2014

Moving Day is Finally Here!

After one long year, moving day has finally arrived. Tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m., two men and a truck will arrive to whisk us away to our new house.

If you've been following this blog, you know that on March 29, 2013, OG and I set out on our grand adventure--moving from the Twin Cities in Minnesota to Carmel on the central California coast. We bought an uninhabitable wreck of a house with glorious views, moved into our vacation condo, and commenced work. Now, nearly one year later, we're finally ready to move in. We've sold our condo and are happy to be turning it over to a young, single woman (first time buyer), to begin her adult life as a homeowner. She's thrilled, and we hope she enjoys it as much as we have.

The house turned out to be a much bigger project than we initially anticipated. If I had it to do over, I'm not sure I would. Due to vermin, dry rot, and asbestos, we had to strip it to the foundation and studs and start from scratch. The upside is that we have a completely new house. The downside is that we had to pay for a completely new house. 

As with any new house, there were hundreds of decisions to make, both large and small, and we didn't always make the right ones. For example: neither we, the designer, nor the contractor properly envisioned the laundry room door until it was hung and blocked half the cabinets. They were able to re-hang it to swing to the right instead of the left, but now it blocks the utility closet door. If we'd been thinking, we would have asked for a pocket door instead. As it is, OG will probably take it down and store it in the garage. Also, the master shower is enormous. We could have added a foot to the toilet room on one side and the linen closet on the other and still have had a plenty large shower. OG thinks the fireplace is out of proportion to the living room and we should have switched the locations of the guest bath and the laundry.

Oh well, live and learn. I'm sure we'll adjust to most of these things over time. The others will undoubtedly be changed (at great additional expense). However, I plan to concentrate on what we do have--a lovely, new home in a great location with a fabulous view. I'm excited to learn how to garden in this very different environment. Due to the daunting size of the project, I hired a landscaper to install the paths, irrigation, and basic plants, but I'm looking forward to adding things and tweaking the design over time. The deer came in the first night and stripped eight of the allegedly deer-resistant plants, so my first task will be replacing them with something less appetizing. 
Finished Back

The plants look tiny in the photos, but with the near-constant sunshine and twelve-month growing season here, they'll grow fast. I plan to post pictures of my progress, so stop back by from time to time and catch up!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Welcome Guest Author Liz Flaherty

I'm delighted to welcome fellow author and good friend Liz Flaherty to The Second Half. Liz's latest novel, 
The Girls of Tonsil Lake is free on Amazon from March 4-8 Stop by and pick it up. I hope it gives you a few hours of pleasure.

Blurb: Four women whose differences only deepen the friendship forged in a needy childhood…

They were four little girls living in ramshackle trailers beside a lake in rural Indiana. They shared everything from dreams to measles to boyfriends to more dreams. As they grew up, everything in their lives changed—except their friendship. Through weddings and divorces, births and
deaths, one terrible secret has kept them close despite all the anger, betrayal, and pain.

Now, forty years later, facing illness, divorce, career challenges, and even addiction, the women come together once again for a bittersweet month on an island in Maine. Staring down their fifties, they must consider the choices life is offering them now and face the pain of what happened long ago.

Secrets are revealed and truths uncovered, but will their time together cement their lifelong friendship—or drive them apart forever?

I wanted Andie to come to New York, but she didn’t feel up to it. I felt a little shudder go through me when she said that. Andie’s always been so strong, and she’s cancer-free, so I found it startling and frightening when she admitted to feeling less than wonderful. But, as Let There Be Hope shows, cancer changes one in sometimes indefinable ways. Maybe this is one of those changes.
Mark and I visited some islands off the Maine coast once, in our early days. I was so enthralled that he bought me a house on one of them, a little strip of green called, appropriately enough, Hope Island. It reminds me of Bennett’s Island, the fictitious utopia of Elisabeth Ogilvie’s books, except that Hope has all the mod cons.
I love to go there. It’s a place I can be myself with little regard to what anyone else thinks. I sit in my bathrobe on the wraparound porch of the Victorian horror that is my house and drink coffee with Lucas Bishop, our neighbor. I read Jean’s books without worrying that someone will see the covers.
I’ve never taken anyone else—it was Mark’s and my private getaway—but I wouldn’t mind if it was Andie who was there. Or Jean and even Suzanne. Andie and I could work on her book. Jean could cook and keep house since she’s so crazy about doing that, and maybe even spin out one of her romances placed on an island. And Suzanne our hair or something.
We would all be together as we are that single night every year when we drive to the lake and pretend we’re facing down our ghosts. I am a little afraid that the day will come that we’ll have to face them down for real.
I wonder if they’d come.

BIO: The Girls of Tonsil Lake is Liz Flaherty’s eighth book, and it is no less thrilling than the first one was. Retired from the post office, she spends non-writing time sewing, quilting, and doing whatever else feels good at the moment (like drinking wine on Nan’s boat). She and Duane live in the old farmhouse in Indiana they moved to in 1977. They’ve talked about moving, but really…30-some years’ worth of stuff? It’s not happening!

She’d love to hear from you at or please come and see her at: