Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Today I am 71

Happy Birthday to me!

I got some new rose-gold curls for my birthday, thanks to my favorite hair stylist/colorist ever - Ellie Miller of Shear Shakti in Boone, NC.  I love her to the moon and back!

AND - I love my new color. 

I was going to "touch up" my pic a little; you know, that thing people do to their photos so they look a little younger . . .

Smooth out a few wrinkles

Cover up a few freckles and age spots

Take away a pound or two

Life those eyes and that chin

Use that ol' airbrush tool!  

But decided that's just silly.

Because . . . 

I'm 71

And as soon as you see me in person the first thing you would think to yourself is "that's not what she looks like in her pictures!"

I know!  Because I've said it myself! 

But - aging isn't something our society accepts of us graciously, unfortunately.

Especially if you're a woman.

You might hear someone say, "oh, . . .  (whatever whatever add your own words) just some old woman."

And then when called on will respond with the declaration that "old" was just being used as a descriptor, not an insult.

Uh huh.

Then why not just leave it out? 

And say, "oh, . . .  (whatever whatever add your own words) just some woman."

Know what I mean?  See how different that sounds?

Or, "oh, . . .  (whatever whatever add your own words) just some  [nice/mean]  or  [funny/grumpy]  or [helpful/useless]  woman."

WHY "old" when there are other words easily used as "descriptors" that actually do say what you mean?

I'm sure people just don't think.  And so that makes it okay.



And here's the thing.  

Do I mind being 71? 


Do I mind getting older?  


What I DO mind is that "old" is tossed out as something really bad.  

Remember J.K. Rowling asking, " … is 'fat' really the worst thing a human being can be? Is 'fat' worse than 'vindictive', 'jealous', 'shallow', 'vain', 'boring' or 'cruel'?"

So, here's me, K.W. Barley asking, "  ...is 'old' the worst thing we can be?   Is 'old' worse than 'vindictive', 'jealous', 'shallow', 'vain', 'boring' or 'cruel'?""


At least I don't think so.

But, in addition to all those words Ms. Rowling mentions, I add "rude."

Yeah - that's one of the worst things you can be.

Unthinkingly rude?  Well, that's forgivable . . .   unless you try to walk back the unthinkingly rude mistake by attempting to paint yourself as a victim and arguing the point like kicking some dead horse.  An argument you lost before it started.  Then?  Forgivable?  Nah.  Maybe.   . . . not so much.

And those of you who keep referring to yourself as "old?"  Honey, quit doing that.  It just sounds dumb. 

"Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me . . ."

Monday, November 25, 2019

Annabelle Turns Three!

Happy Birthday to our Precious Princess!

maybe that's enough pictures for now . . . 

i am so bored with all this



Quit or I am going to bite you ! !

I mean it

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

In celebration of the occasion of my birth

Do you treat yourself to a gift on your birthday?

Sometimes I do.

Mostly though, I just call it a birthday gift because it might cost a little more than I would normally spend on something for myself.

Some little luxury that I can rationalize a hundred different ways.

I dd treat myself to a little birthday "to me, from me" gift this year.  I'll be turning 71 next week and my gift arrived today.

want to see it?!

it's beautiful!

But first you get the story that goes with it.

I am, and have always been, a lover of carousels.

Beginning with the old Trimper's carousel on The Boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland.

I fell in love with it when I was a little girl, and love it every bit as much now as a big girl.

Then, in my 60s, I had my first visit to Paris.

And, I fell in love with the carousels in Paris.  

Donald and I have spent a lot of time during two trips taking pictures of some of these carousels, 


Bercy Park

Bercy Park

Luxembourg Gardens

Tuileries Garden

Eiffel Tower

and, many in the Musée des Arts Forains 

And hoping to get back to Paris 'cause there are still a few carousels we haven't seen and photographed yet!

Falling in love with Paris means falling in love with ALL things Paris, including the monuments, the cafes, the shops, the parks and the history of each of them.

As it happens, I also fell in love with Hermès scarves which are out of my price range.  Some of them, in my opinion, ridiculously so.  

I looked at some vintage designer scarves at a Parisian flea market/brocante and alas, no bargains to be found there, for sure.

But, during all this looking, I happened across a particular scarf that I fell head over heels in love with.

I'm a person who loves research.  Going into a research rabbit hole is one of my favorite things.

The Hermès rabbit hole is full of fun things.  

There are several Hermès scarf artists, and many of the scarves have their own story to tell, representing everything from the original equestrian theme to French history and cultural themes, each scarf with a title all its own.

(Warning!  Beware of fakes!  https://eluxemagazine.com/fashion/how-to-spot-a-fake-hermes-scarf/ but remember, not ALL Hermes scarves are signed by the artist - https://carredeparis.me/2019/06/27/are-all-hermes-scarves-signed/ )

The scarf I fell in love with is  Les Clefs du Notre Enfance (The Keys of Our Childhood).

After a couple of years of searching on-line at used clothing and accessory shops and auctions, including Etsy and Ebay, I finally spotted one at Poshmark and joined its "watch list."  It was priced a bit lower than many I'd seen.  One reason for the lower price is that the iconic orange Hermès box was not included.  Believe it or not, that means a great deal to a great deal of people.  Not to me.  

After several months, the price went down, as did the shipping price.

I kept watching.

It went down again. 

Not willing to try my luck any further, I sent in a counter-offer which was accepted.


And here it is - Happy Birthday to me!  

Title: Les Clefs du Notre Enfance (The Keys of Our Childhood)
Artist: Loic Dubigeon
Year(s) of issue: 1991/92
Measurements: Approx. 35" x 35" (90cm x 90cm)
Material: 100% Silk twill

Wishes do come true!

These  photos don't begin to do it justice.

you can see more Loic Dubigeon's Hermes carres (squares) here: https://carredeparis.com/collections/loic-dubigeon 
And, there's a pinterest page https://www.pinterest.com/pin/549720698239392051/?lp=true

If you're able to find one, it was produced in different colorwaves

Note:  A helpful way to help ypu authenticate your Hermes scarf:


Post Script: Watch for news about a photo book of The Carousels of Paris coming in 2020.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Bitter Southerner

Are you familiar with The Bitter Southerner?  

An on-line source for some pretty great writing -  check it out - https://bittersoutherner.com/we-are-bitter

And some more than decent shopping . . . 

Available Here:  https://bsgeneralstore.com/

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Mystery Awards Announced

Sadly, I did not make it to Dallas for Bouchercon this year.  

It's always a good time and I missed seeing so many good friends.

It's a time to reconnect with readers and writers I only get to see at mystery conventions.

So, I didn't get to collect hugs, and I didn't get to give out congratulatory hugs, but I am proud as punch to share award winners here.  And prouder yet to call some of these folks "friend."


Best Novel 
November Road by Lou Berney (William Morrow)

Best First Novel
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Doubleday)

Best Paperback Original Novel 
Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day (William Morrow Paperbacks)

Best Short Story 
“The Grass Beneath My Feet” by S.A. Cosby, in Tough (blogazine, August 20, 2018)

Best Critical or Non-Fiction Work 
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara (HarperCollins)

The 2019 Barry Award Winners from Deadly Pleasure Mystery Magazine.

Best Novel
Lou Berney, NOVEMBER ROAD (Morrow)  

Best First Novel

C. J. Tudor, THE CHALK MAN (Crown)

Best Paperback Original 

Dervla McTiernan, THE RUIN (Penguin) 

Best Thriller

Dan Fesperman, SAFE HOUSES (Knopf)

 The Macavity Awards are nominated by members of Mystery Readers International, subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal and friends of MRI. Congratulations to all.

Best Novel 
November Road by Lou Berney (William Morrow)

Best First Novel 
Dodging and Burning by John Copenhaver (Pegasus Books)

Best Nonfiction 
The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman (HarperCollins)

Best Short Story 
 “English 398: Fiction Workshop” by Art Taylor (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Jul/Aug 2018)

Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Mystery 
The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)


What You Want to See by Kristen Lepionka (Minotaur Books)

The Best Bad Things by Katrina Carrasco (MCD Farrar, Straus, Giroux)

The Questionable Behavior of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone (Redhook Books)

"Chin Yong-Yun Helps a Fool" by S.J. Rozan (EQMM)