Befuddled, Bothered and Bewildered

Who likes change? Raise your hands.

I see some of you are waving wildly to get my attention. I see some of you cringing in the corner. I’m afraid I cringe with you. Change is a good thing. Too much of it can send me into a tailspin.

So, in the last month I’ve done the following:

  • Debuted a brand new website. While we always expect mistakes and problems any time we try something new, no one involved in the debut expected the recipes to go crazy. They did, though. The instructions were fine. The ingredients went wild. For instance, did you know that Chicken Okra Gumbo contains 3 cups of paprika, 1 1/2 cups of instant vanilla or chocolate pudding and 2 1/4 cups of olive oil (chopped fine.) Apparently once it’s cooked we add bananas and cherries. Who knew? After everyone on my Facebook pages and I had a great laugh, I asked my webmaster to remove them until we find out what went wrong. I suspect General Foods to be the culprit, since instant pudding came up in many of the “revised” recipes.
  • Tried valiantly to get my new, faster and smaller computer up and running. This is never easy, and this time the computer has a mind of its own. Right now my “Envy” is loading 69,000 emails I don’t need or want and there’s no way to stop it. Hal, from 2001, would be more accommodating.
  • Moved too much of everything I own to our cottage in New York for the summer and fall. And while this sounds perfectly delightful, truth is we walked into a horrifying mess. Last year a plumbing disaster meant we had to replace floors and woodwork. So that’s what our contractor did over the winter, along with remodeling a bathroom. Only he left us the dust and dirt and miscellaneous junk to dealt with. (The photo is a teensy example.) Every surface was covered. In his defense he swears he hired someone to clean. I explained he’d been rooked. He wasn’t happy to hear it. I wasn’t happy to pick up the pieces, but between Proman, me and our loyal cleaning lady, the process continues.
  • Did I mention my Brainstorming Buddies are arriving on Sunday? And between now and then, Proman and I drive back to Cleveland to see our granddaughter’s dance recital.
  • On the cottage front, we went without hot water or heat (night temps down in the 40s) for three days until the very sweet guy from National Fuel arrived awhile ago to turn on the gas. Luckily we stayed sort of warm cleaning. I had my first shower in four days an hour ago. Nothing like a little deprivation to ramp up appreciation.

So that’s my befuddling, bewildering life for the past few weeks. I really just wanted you to know why I haven’t been around much. And you know what? Through all of it I’ve been aware that:

  • I have the good fortune to have readers who check out my website and need the best I can give them.
  • I am so lucky to be able to afford a new computer.
  • I am even luckier to have a summer cottage I love, even when it’s coated with dust.
  • Some of my best writer friends will arrive on Sunday and won’t care about the chaos here.
  • And while I didn’t have hot water or heat for three days, I had water, blankets and shelter, something too many people in this world of ours are not lucky enough to have ever.

Life’s like that, isn’t it? Everything on my list is a first world problem.  And they’re all being solved a bit at a time.

I hope your summer is not bewildering or befuddling, and that you spend it with friends and family celebrating your own good fortune.

Next week, some tidbits about A Family of Strangers. Another new thing in my life. If you follow that link right now you’ll find the first chapter, info about how the book came into being, and a short book trailer to pique your interest.



  1. Priscilla Snider on June 5, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Great to hear about your adventures, Emilie. Glad to hear you’ve made it to Chautauqua. I had the opportunity to meet you at a Quilting Around Chautauqua one year and then at a book signing in Jamestown another year. Looking forward to your new release. I preordered through Amazon. Your recipes sound very interesting!! Thanks again for sharing!! Are you doing any book signings while in western New York? Take care and ENJOY!!

    • Emilie Richards on June 5, 2019 at 8:27 pm

      I will be signing at the Chautauqua bookstore, Priscilla, on June 28th at 1:00 PM.

      Wasn’t Quilting Around Chautauqua a wonderful event? I know it was moved elsewhere and now I’m wondering what happened to it.

      As for the recipes? Good for a laugh, but while they were up I’m sure hoping nobody tried them.

  2. Marsha Markham on June 5, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    I couldn’t figure out what the picture was until I read about your woes…not fun to walk into but it could have been worse (I’ve found it can always be worse!). You are right…friends/buddies never judge over messes.
    My son Jeff just phoned…he and Chance are driving down tomorrow and will be here until after church on Sunday. I am so excited and will probably get to take Chance to see Aladdin on either Friday or Saturday afternoon. One of Jeff’s best friend’s dad just passed away so he’s coming for the memorial service.
    Have a wonderful time with your author friends…I know you will.


  3. Cheryl Barkdoll on June 5, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    You always amaze me Emilie. I like that you can always see and appreciate the good through the bad. Doesn’t life seem to challenge us with an array of events that can get us down if we let them. It is a wonderful trait to rise above it all. Have a great time with your author friends and enjoy your cottage.

    • Emilie Richards on June 5, 2019 at 9:18 pm

      Well, I always “try,” and I’m so happy when I succeed. But it’s easier today to rise above the little problems because we’ve mostly solved them. When I see your posts they’re always cheerful and kind, and I know that’s in spite of some hard times in your past. I notice and admire you for that every time.

  4. Delores on June 6, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Happier is the person who can look on the bright side instead of only the down! Sounds like a lot of problems, but then there are the blessings. Enjoy your summer!

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