Candy. Crushes. Competition.

I am glad to have worldwide acclaim,
In the self-published, dog-eat-dog game,
It’s my title, thank god,
That is prize-winning odd,
Not my writing, my looks, or my name.

BBC entertainment page

The BBC ran a teaser with “Candy crushes competition” as the headline

I don’t know whether to be excited or embarrassed.

When The Bookseller announced that Strangers Have the Best Candy has received the Diagram Award for the Oddest Book Title of the Year, they said there was no cash award, just a “passable bottle of claret” awaiting me in London.  However, their news release said that agents and publishers “are tipping it to be the ‘hot book’ at the forthcoming London Book Fair.” Is this an example of British humour (sic), or are they serious?

Light entertainment

All our plans for the evening were made,
When our friend, Ken, who crews on the Jade,
Made us just chuck them all,
For he gave us a call,
And said, “Come on, be IN the parade!”

Parade entrants gathered on the dock next to ours

Brunswick lighted boats, ready for the parade

You may ask, what were our plans for the evening? We had dressed up in Santa hats to watch the parade from shore! A huge thank-you to Pete, Ken, Deb, and Chuck for letting me practice my parade wave.

The experience brought back memories of the first (and last) time we cruised in a lighted boat parade, in 2003 in New Orleans. I wrote a limerick about that, too — one of my first!

How the West was wet

As the day breaks, a beautiful hush
Hangs o’er breathtaking fields, oh so lush,
But this deceptive green,
Is the most ever seen,
For the rain’s turned the whole place to mush.

Sometimes it’s the colors that tell the real story, and it’s a tragedy. Driving along, enjoying the lovely green fields in North Dakota and Montana, we suddenly realized: It’s not supposed to be green here! And those blue waters? The ones over the road? They’re not supposed to be here, either.

A rancher in Montana yesterday told us about digging a post hole on top of a rocky hill and coming back, two days later, to find it half-full of water. “It hasn’t rained, has it?” he asked his Dad, incredulous. “Nope.” In all their lives, folks have never seen the ground this saturated. Many folks couldn’t plant their crops. The ones who did say their hay’s not forming heads and ripening.

Our pictures show blue skies, puffy clouds, and vast green fields. The news organizations’ photos show tragic flooding and families fleeing their homes. Both capture the truth of 2011.

Here’s where we crossed the Mississippi.
Flooding along the Mississippi

And here’s some of the flooding along I-94.
Water over I-94 in North Dakota
Watch for water on road — yikes!

The following super-green photos were taken at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.

Panoramic image of Theodore Roosevelt National Park overlook
Hiking in Painted CanyonThere’s plenty for horses to eat this summer

Pud muddle

We were driving from Durham to ocean,
When we happened upon a commotion.
All the folks in a huddle,
Had been stopped by the puddle,
But it did not impede our car’s motion.

I’d been worried, unable to sleep,
For I feared that my friend’s trusty Jeep,
Might get stranded and drown,
In that flood, murky brown,
But the water was 2 inches deep!

At an ice cream shop in Vanceboro, North Carolina, the woman behind the counter told us she had to be rescued from her house that morning by boat. When we asked about any flooding on US 17 to the south, she said, dramatically, “The water is over the road up that way — and it’s rising.” Concerned, we hurried through our ice cream and got back on the road. We found the flooding, one block away. It was just a big puddle.
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Claire's birthday present

Official Barack Obama Portrait
If you think that equality’s great,
And you wish for a world free from hate,
And you have curly hair,
And your first name is Claire,
Here’s your present! It’s just one day late.

Claire’s birthday was the day before the inauguration of Barack Obama. The photo above is Obama’s official presidential portrait, which we’ll be seeing in federal buildings while he is in office. It’s the first presidential portrait taken with a digital camera.