2/25 12:10pm A good excuse for my blog absence: Art and I just returned from a two-month trip through Southeast Asia. Our travels so exceeded any of our expectations that we're still in partial disbelief of everything we saw and felt and tasted. We began in Hong Kong and then cruised to Southern China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, which was followed by a week in Singapore, and then a two-week stay in Bali (which is, indeed, paradise).
Our combined thoughts:
Most memorable: Sailing out of Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong, the night before the Chinese New Year
Most heart wrenching: Mothers on sampans having their children dive into the ocean for money thrown at them by the cruise line passengers, knowing that there was a chance the child would be pulled into the ships propellers
Most sobering: Cambodia
Most stunning accommodations: The Grand Hyatt in Nusa Dua and their Club Lounge
The Perfect City: Singapore (although chewing gum is still against the law)
So, after a 15-hour flight back to Chicago, and a quick puddle-jump to Albany, we are now home and totally jet-lagged. More about our travels later.
And waiting for us at Lazy Goose was a final copy of Finding Happiness in Simplicity, which will be released in a little over a week. We are delighted with the book (!) and extend our deepest appreciations to our publisher, Globe Pequot Press, our editor, and our agent. We hope everyone likes it! Here's the link:
12/30/11 Season's Greeting to All
12/30 This week has been spent with family and friends and our hearts have stayed warm while the temperatures have plummeted at Lazy Goose. It was a very nippy 9 degrees out last night. But no complaints on that front; compared to last winter, it's been rather balmy.
We're wrapping up the year on a good note: a few days after Christmas, I submitted a manuscript to my agent (sorry, not about Lumby although I think it's just as delightful) and am so excited to finally have a chance to work on a book I've been thinking about for quite some time. And Art is finishing the last two paintings which we hope will be used in our second "Simplicity" collaboration (the first, Finding Happiness in Simplicity
will be coming out March 6 and is now available as a pre-order from Amazon).
No plans for New Years Eve as of yet although we have a few kind invitations in hand. As it is in cold climates, a lot depends on the forecast for snow...will it? won't it? and if it does, how much? No matter where we are or who we're with, though, we're going to look back and be thankful for our good fortune over the last twelve months. But in truth, we'll be ushering out 2011 as quickly as possible; it was a very hard, tiring year and we can't wait for the new year to begin!
Wishing all of you a very healthy and happy 2012. It's a year filled with hope and promise.
11/18/11 Finding Happiness in Simplicity
11/18 10:40am Also in our Winter 2011 newsletter, there's an announcement that on March 6, 2012, Globe Pequot will be releasing Finding Happiness in Simplicity
, a 122-page hardcover book that is our first collaborative effort which uses my writing and Art's folk art.
We are delighted to be associated with such a great publishing house and look forward to a long relationship. Our second book, Finding Love in Simplicity
, is already in the works!
You can pre-order Simplicity at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0762779233/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER
Or Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/finding-happiness-in-simplicity-gail-fraser/1106240759
We really hope that you are filled with encouragement and joy while reading through the pages and losing yourselves in Art's amazing images. Please let us know what you think.
11/18/11 A Winter Newsletter - Free Screen Savers!
11/18 10:37am Fall passed in the blink of an eye, so all I can say is better late than never, I hope. Our Winter 2011 newsletter just went out with courtesy links for free Poulin and Colt screensaver collections of 22 images each that you can download from www.secondnature.com.
The Poulin coupon code is poulinyearart and the Colt coupon code is coltvivland.
The process is fairly simple: order as if you we're purchasing but use the coupon code instead of a credit card. You'll then receive an email with a link. On your 'download page' first download and run (install) the Sample which is actually their platform and screensaver utility. And then download the collection (either or both).
On your desktop, you will see a Second Nature icon. Click and choose the Colt or Poulin image you would like, an optional rotation, etc. You'll also see a few complimentary winter scenes from Second Nature.
We hope you enjoy!
8/15 I received this the other day and wanted to share it with all of you. If S&P was to give a credit rating to the Jones, I'm sure it wouldn't be AAA either. The way I see it: the numbers A) speak for themselves, B) are nauseatingly terrifying and C) have not been caused by just one person or just one party and will not be solved by just one person or just one party. If we do not work together to solve the problem, we are all going to drown in it. John, thanks for sending it along! U.S. income: $2,170,000,000,000
8/15/11 Looking at the National Debt Problem
Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000
New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
Recent budget cut: $ 38,500,000,000 (about 1 percent of the budget)
It helps to think about these numbers in terms that we can relate to.
Therefore, let's remove eight zeros from these numbers and pretend this is the household budget for the fictitious Jones family:
Total annual income for the Jones family: $21,700
Amount of money the Jones family spent: $38,200
Amount of new debt added to the credit card: $16,500
Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
Amount cut from the budget: $385
6/28 11:22am A quick note to all our Lumby friends: next week the doors of Lazy Goose will be opening as a year-round retreat for artists and writers and those who dream of developing a creative outlet.
6/28/11 Lazy Goose Retreat
Please visit us at www.lazygooseretreat.com for more information!
6/16 7:55am Occasionally, seemingly unrelated and disconnected events come together, if only for a moment, through a sound, a word, a smell. And at Lazy Goose, that moment was yesterday and that word was Buzz.
6/16/11 Buzz, On So Many Levels
Buzz.first, our honeybees: they've kept us in stitches for the last two weeks. Sue Monk Kidd certainly captured their essence in just one titlemy, what a secret life they have. We have seen seven different swarms since the first of the month. We have no idea if they are coming or going - have they found paradise in one of our hives or are they off to greener pastures? - or if it is just a partial swarm - the mother-in-law has packed the bags but is leaving the grandchildren behind - or if it's the same colony - they all look alike to me. But what we do know is that on seven occasions, a swarm of about 50,000 bees gathered in one of the orchard trees for about 24 hours and then, without notice, simply vanished. Although they drive me nuts trying to understand their peculiar habit, I'm more convinced than ever that they are one of the most extraordinary animals on the planet.
Buzz.as christened yesterday. But first, an explanation: we have forty acres at Lazy Goose with our enclave of buildings (the studio, cottage, main house, barn.) sitting just about in the middle. Although most of the property is naturally wooded, approximately three acres surrounding our buildings in nicely manicured. (Alright, if the truth be known, I'm a grass fanatic so it looks more like a golf course than a normal residential yard.) Therein, the problem: with all the intermittent rain we've had, our caretaker has been unable to mow on the day(s) he's scheduled to be in Greenwich, leaving me to do the job when the sun finally shined. Tadpole (our small 17hp Kubota riding lawn mower with a 40" deck) gave his all, but it was taking me slightly over 8 hours to cut the grass. I sooo don't have that kind of time. So it was off to John Deere on Tuesday morning where I test drove their larger mowers. I passed on the zero-turn and ended up choosing an x50026hp with a 54" deck. I used it yesterday and my two word review: it flies! And the three blades cut so fast and clean, the grass looks like velvet. Two hours later, every blade was trimmed to 2.75". Amazing! Oh, and my new mowers name (as suggested by Art): Buzz.
Buzz.the word of mouth kind. We are delighted to pass on the news that Morris Publishing - Globe Pequot has picked up my next book - Finding Happiness in Simplicity - which is an illustrated inspirational non-fiction that uses Art's art and my prose. It is expected to be a 112 page, 7x7, hardcover with an anticipated release in May 2012. Our agent (thank you, Jill!) could not have found a better home for our book and we're absolutely thrilled.
4/27 11:39am As some of you may have noticed, my blog has been pretty quiet over the last few months, but for good reason: we've been knee-deep in several lengthy projects that are just now coming to completion. On the top of the list, I finished the manuscript for my dramatic epistolary novel, and thanks to my agent, it's now making the rounds to several editors. So, the waiting begins for my pages to find a good home and a strong champion. I'm sure Yoda will have his paw involved somehow. We also have two other major literary projects that are in various stages of development and review, but more about those later.
4/27/11 Plan Your Work and...
While I've been writing, Art has been painting with wild abandon under the name Adrien Colt, and we recently overhauled our studio website www.lazygoosestudios.com. There will be a dozen new Colt paintings added in the next few days, so please visit when you have a minute. Although his folk art is still turning heads and garnishing more and more licenses, right now he seems to be having a blast with his impressionist landscapes which are being scooped up at an unexpected rate. If any of you are in the area on July 16th or 17th, you're invited to Lazy Goose for the Open Studio Tour, during which a dozen selected artists across Washington County open their studio doors to the public. Come by and say hello!
And then last, but certainly not least, there is Lazy Goose and the hundred chores we have now that spring is upon us: the bee hives and orchard need tending and the grass needs fertilizing. The ponds are filled to the brim with all the rain we've been having (yes, the trout survived the winter), and the raised beds are waiting to be prepared for the heirloom tomatoes plants due in on May 9th. The deck furniture has been brought out, the barbecue lit and the blender turned on for blueberry margarita. Life is good.
2/28 9:43am After going through four shovels and one pitifully ineffectual snowblower (we suspect its smoke, at the time of implosion, could be seen for miles) we're still trying to find our way out to the road, once again serving as real-life examples as to why smart folks in update New York don't have a third of a mile driveway that closely resembles a Cooney Island roller-coaster. What ever were we thinking??? Ohthat's rightwe wanted our privacy. How nuts was that?
2/28/11 From the Frozen Tundra Called Lazy Goose
But nothing in life, including the formidable weather, lasts too very long. In fact, change is on the wind; with 22" of packed, frozen snow already on the ground followed by another 18" of fluff last week, the temp has skyrocketed to a balmy 35 and now it's sleeting.delightful.
So, no better time than to share my "Top 10 Time-Wasters When Snowed In at Lazy Goose"
1.Pull out Art's book "100 Fabulous Bloody Marys" and see if they're telling the truth
2.Look at For Sale By Owner listings of multi-million dollar homes on Maui
3.Remove the four-letter words from my draft note to our local NBC weatherman
4.Skim through the Neiman Marcus catalog for a 'Kate and Willie' gift
5.Send Colin Firth a 2011 Art Poulin Calendarhe's so cute
6. Photograph my toes for a new publicity shot
7.Write a formal Lazy Goose sanction against Gaddafi
8.Read the user manual for our DVR
9.Since I'll now know how to use it ('it' being the DVR), pop some Orville Redenbacher, grab a throw blanket and watch On The Beach and then The African Queen
10.Compose Top 10 Reasons I Shouldn't Work on My Taxes
So, any other news from Lazy Goose? Yes. With a sad heart and with tremendous longing, I need to tell my friends in Lumby that our dear Yoda, a tremendously gentle New Skete German Shepherd, passed away three weeks ago. We (including Emma) miss him awfully. Since then, though, Yoda has been incredibly busy running around heaven aligning the stars for usreally. The most amazing and unexpected turn of events have happened since we said goodbye to him, and there's no other explanation that we like as much. He's such a good boy, and just aligns the stars one by one, just for us. Art's Jodi's Antiques puzzle was selected by Universal Studios to appear on Fox Broadcast's "House" a few weeks ago, and then we received notice that his puzzles were used in the swag bags given out by Paramount Picture for the 83rd Academy Awards. Too cool. Thank you, Yoda. Godspeed.
1/2 1:50pm 50 degrees and blue skies at Lazy Goose - what spectacular weather to usher in the new year! In truth, I'm pretty delighted 2010 is now behind us - the year brought a few unexpected challenges that tested our resolve, resilience and ability to recover in both body and spirit. There were too many valleys with too few peaks - just enough to keep us moving forward. But the year is done with, with no residual carryover into 2011, so we are smiling again with the promise of a new year that is sure to bring a great deal of happiness to all of us in Lumby.
So, what's on the schedule for today? I'm working on some lists. A confession: I love lists - lists of all kinds regardless of origin, author or topic although the more arcane the better, numbers preferred over bullets and in pen better than in pencil ("Commit!" I say, and for the same reason I do sudokus and crosswords in black ink).
And I love making lists. I suppose it has something to do with the linear-ness of my mind and the fact that I'm more a "get to the destination" person versus "liking the journey" free spirit. For a list maker, such as myself, yesterday and today are the two days of each year to relish in our passion and glory: I made a list for "This Week" as is always written on Sundays, "This month" as is always created on the 1st or 2nd and, alas, "This Year," the scribing of which will certainly continue for another day or two.
So, for a moment, I feel pretty organized and ready for the next 7, 31 and 365 days. But if anything, 2009 proved to me just how tremendously unpredictable and uncontrollable life really is, no matter how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise. So, I'll do my part in steering the cart where I think it should go, but when it takes off in a direction of its own, I'll just hang on for dear life and trust that at the end of the trip, I'll be that much better for the ride.
Warmest wishes to all of you for a healthy, happy and prosperous 2011.