As I strolled toward the entrance of Wolfgang Puck's restaurant in downtown Denver one evening in July 2002, a man caught me in his arms and boomed, "Hey, baby, where you been?" I was about to slam an elbow into his gut and bring my heel down hard on the instep of one of his blue suede shoes when I realized I was in the arms of Elvis. The impersonator had been hired to accost guests as they arrived at the fifties-themed Harlequin party. ("The Company" always throws a lavish party for its authors on the Friday evening during Romance Writers of America's national conference.)
All those cracks about my husband being my "hunk o' burnin' love" aside, I was never an Elvis fan. But I still laugh when I remember the Elvis who hugged me in Denver, and I still have the pair of hot-pink, rhinestone-studded shades he gave me (they were one of the party favors being distributed that evening). When my boys were teenagers I wore the sunglasses on our patio just to see their looks of horror. For some reason I slipped them on just now as I went outside to check on my flowers.
I don't know how many photos of this chair I've posted in the past three years. My husband and our sons made it for me about a dozen years ago, and it's still my favorite seat in the garden. Every couple of years it gets a fresh coat of this wonderful blue paint. And each spring I put a pot of fuchsia beside it because I like to pluck the blossoms and fiddle with them when I'm daydreaming. (They look like little ballerinas or fairies, don't they?) The arbor you see in the background of this photo is strung with tiny white lights that make the patio extra-inviting after dark.
Here's a jumble of pink stuff in one corner of the front garden: You're looking through a not-yet-blooming pink rosebush at a newly-planted azalea bush, a patch of "Zing" pinks, and a just-beginning-to-bloom pink peony, all on the other side of the front walk. A few years ago I wouldn't have planted these clashing shades of pink right next to each other, but now I'm thinking, why not? Surely a woman who's old enough not to care if the neighbors see her in pink-rhinestone sunglasses should feel free to arrange her garden to suit herself. As my Number One Son put it a couple of years ago, "You're fifty years old and you write romance novels. I think you've earned the right to be eccentric."
Yeah. So as soon as I post this, I'm going to slide my silly sunglasses back on and take this computer out into the garden to write some romance.