Monday, December 20, 2010

Publication on Kindle: Middle Grade Novel

It's here! After lots of hard work, The Ghost In Me is available for purchase here as an ebook from Amazon for the Kindle and most other electronic platforms. The paperback will be ready in about 2 weeks. Amazon hasn't uploaded the book's description yet, so I've typed that at the end of this post.

My hopes are high for 2011. The publishing world has been changing so quickly in the past five years. With the ease and accessibility of formatting for digital platforms and the internet making it possible to connect with other businesses in the industry around the world, I've decided to go for it on my own after working/writing within this business for 15 years. Thus, The Ghost In Me is the first title to be launched by "Essemkay Company Productions." A few more books and products are scheduled for release in the months ahead.

Because I've learned much on this road, I'll be blogging about tips I can share in order to help put other writers ahead in their own journeys. If you're interested in learning what I've come to know, I've added a button for anyone who might want to follow me on this publication highway. Aside from publishing and writing, I also blog about life, love, and funny things that happen along the way; so if anything, maybe you'll find some of those topics entertaining.

Thanks so much to my friends and family for all your support and encouragement. You are all incredibly wonderful, and I'm blessed to have you in my life.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Blue Bonnet Margerine Update

Good news! The good folks at ConAgra foods, who make Blue Bonnet margerine, are working hard to correct the issue of the apparent shortened sticks. Apparently, the graphics/artwork on the wrappers are not correct in depicting where each tablespoon begins and ends. Rest assured, they assured me via email that the problem will be corrected henceforth in margerine stick production. So, we can all sleep a little easier, knowing Santa will get the correct calories and texture per cookie on Christmas Eve night.

Amazing to think I may have made the world better one stick at a time! Or maybe a whole bunch of them, all at once.

On a lighter note, I am looking forward to seeing Voice Male in concert at the Ecceles Theatre on Saturday night with my son. Can't wait to be filled with a little holiday spirit.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Poll for Teen/Pre-teen boys

Author Ken Baker is hosing a poll on what boys like or don't like to read. It's quick. Visit his site to participate.

http://www.kenbakerbooks.blogspot.com/2010/11/do-teen-and-pre-teen-boys-like-to-read.html

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Consumer warning! Users of Blue Bonnet margarine

First of all, this product does not come with batteries.... Just thought you should know....

Secondly! Details matter. Writers are told this all the time: get the facts, the details, the little things about your character, your setting, your plot right, lest your reader be thrown into a mild attack of panic, should he happen to pick up on your error. Panic could lead to heart palpitations, which could lead to cold sweats, or gasp,...lawsuits!--none of which are pretty (remember James Frey's A MILLION LITTLE PIECES?--superbly written, btw, just a bit murky on facts). Which is why I feel inclined to share the following warning--which doesn't have anything to do with writing.

It has to do with baking. Another hobby of mine where details matter.

Attention Bakers! Both New and Experienced! If you happen to be a user of Blue Bonnet sticks of margarine, then BEWARE! Santa's cookies are at risk! As well as any other goody you happen to be baking for the holidays. Because after months of cafeful observation and monitoring, I have come to the undisputable conclusion that sticks of Blue Bonnet margarine don't appear to deliver what we, the consumers, are led to believe we're purchasing. Each stick appears to be a tablespoon too short. Rather than 8 tablespoons, each stick seems to have a 1/2T cut from each end, leaving you, the baker, with only 7 tablespoons.

Thus, if you're baking your favorite batch of cookies that call for two sticks (i.e., two cups), and you blindly dump those two Blue Bonnet sticks into your batter, then you will end up Two TABLESPOONS short.

 And what does that mean?

Dry Cookies!!!!!

Dry Cakes!!!!!

Dry Pastries!!!!!

Dry! Dry! Dry!

Take heed, my friends. I want you all to have a happy set of holidays. ;)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Farewells


My grandmother passed today. Tipped her hat off to the world after 94 years. It's amazing to me to think that she lived nearly a century. In the little time we shared, I barely touched a part of her time spent on this earth. But when I was a part of it, we shared a lot--much in the way of conversation.

Talk,...yes, she could talk. She'd talk of dress shops, and farm trucks carrying vegetables, and huge sides of beef hung to cure in the upper room of her mother-in-law's farmhouse. She'd talk of walking across fields in winter for Thanksgiving dinner with friends on the other side of town, meeting the man who would become her husband, and boast of a sharp wit and accomplishments that only a woman of strong will and spirit could have done. I'll never forget the day she took me on a jaw-dropping tour of the place she worked in the capitol--all during a time when few women worked outside the home. She had a quick temper that she wasn't ashamed of, an equally quick laugh, and a fondness for pretty clothes, hats with attitude, and dinners out on the town.

She loved traveling, especially to see family and research her roots. Being a tall woman, she owned a big car. And I believe it tickled her fancy to travel in it with her sister, her aunt Kate, and other friends up and down the East coast. Her eyes sparkled when she reminisced her various adventures, especially if they involved moments when she had to stand up for herself--take a stand on being a woman, if the situation demanded it. And some situations did demand it. After all, she grew up and out of a time when the ideas of womanhood are different than they are now. At one time, she said she slept with a gun, and if she needed to, she wouldn't be afraid to use it.

She was a woman of the road, so to speak--molded out of a period of history that saw the progression from horse and wagon, to Model T, to Chevy Bel Air. I can only imagine how she must have felt commanding her own auto, making her own way, captaining her own freedom. Among the other women in my life, she was definitely a source that fueled my own drive, my own courage, my own strength to move out and into the world to find my way simply through her example of what it means to take hold of something and go with it.

She was also a bit of sleuth, and took pride in uncovering the family history--discovering secrets that old city files and libraries held for those that possessed tenacity and perseverance, like herself. She had a laugh that rang like jingle bells.... Well, maybe not quite,... but its sound definitely made you want to inch closer and find ways to hear more.

We shared a fondness for sweets, and we both had a weakness for Devil's Food chocolate cake. She was proud of her own recipe. Even her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Shade Kennedy, had recorded it in her own cookery diary. ...At the moment I'm at a loss for what else to say. I know that after what she went through in the past few years, she is in a better place. I'm glad she was a part of my life, and I'm thankful for all she taught me--both from the good and the bad. She lived what she knew. And I will miss her.


******************************************************


Gina,


You definitely left this earth too soon, but not without having touched many lives. Some of the best memories I have were created with you, my friend. It's strange to think how deeply those fresh, young experiences shaped who I would become. Because of that, they have been, and always will be, part of who I am. Now that your eyes are looking down from heaven, mine will be looking up, hoping to catch hints of that beautiful smile that could light the world.

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Olympic sport!!!!!



Yo-yo-ing spiders.

As in, yo-yo action.

Yes, you heard it here first, folks! See it first, too!

Real, live yo-yo manuveurs featuring such tricks as ...

Walk the dog.

Round the world.

Loop D loop....

Pictures to follow. Complements of an adventurous young son.

Check back soon.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Signs

There are so many different types of signs.


Stop signs.
Street signs.
Warning signs.

Signs of love.
Signs of hate.
Signs of the times.

Good signs.
Bad signs.
Hand signs.
Plus signs.
Reading-between-the-lines signs......................

It seems to me that there should be a rule that when you come across one--at least, a really important one--then, some sort of instructions should come with it. Kind of like a sign with the sign. An interpretation. An explanation. A footnote.

Because I've been told SO many times that the Lord, and Fate, and Karma, and WhoKnowsWhatElse work in mysterious ways. And usually, those works are shown in signs. The Trick is knowing when you're getting one, or seeing one--a real-live, relevant sign from some other Power That Be. It all seems so nice, doesn't it? So comforting. So-glad-to-know-someone's-looking-out-for-me.

The problem is, that throughout the course of the day, or the week, or the month, or the year, I'm bombarded with signs. Some of them I follow. Some of them, like this one, I shouldn't (long story). But I worry that most of them--the ones that might be worth noting--I probably just miss. And the ones I do come across, I don't know what what to think about, or if I should think about them at all. Like the crystal blue forget-me-not found on a bench, or the flying 50-pound chimney cover that missed my head by an inch.

I guess it shouldn't matter. Some signs are easier to follow than others. And if someone IS looking out for me, planting signs, some of which I see, and eventually, I end up in the places I'm supposed to be, then maybe I don't need those directions with the signs, afterall. Maybe I'll just settle into being comfortable, bumbling along, enjoying what it means to be me.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mark Twain....

has not

lost his touch

with the ladies....


I guess it's only fitting that these latest escapades happened while I was at a writer's retreat deep in the mountains somewhere near a place called Wolf Creek. Obviously, Mr. Twain was not in attendance given his current occupation in attending to other distractions.....


Stay tuned. More details to follow, as they become available....

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Through a child's eyes

Recently, my son and I were having some sort of discussion centered on what we would do if we could do anything. Our ideas were far-flung. Learn to fly like a bird. Swim like a dolpin. Sail the world. Eat a billion gallons of ice cream.

Then, of course, I got silly and decided to dream smaller. More tiny. Focus on something I could nearly pinch between my fingers. Rather than wish for something as grandiose as sailing the world, I'd just get one freckle removed. Specifically, I'd get rid of the small blotch above my right eye. An age spot I seem to have acquired after finding too many ways to have fun outside.

My son looked at me like I was crazy. "Why would you want to do that?"

I asked why he was concerned--if he was worried I might actually get rid of it. If he'd miss that freckle when it was gone.

"Well, it's in the shape of a heart," he replied. "I like it."

In all the times I've spent looking in the mirror, getting ready for work, or wondering how I might lighten that blotch, I never realized there might be something good about it. Something to like. In that moment, as simple and trivial as it may seem, I actually felt better about myself. Some say I wear my heart on my sleeve. I never thought I might being toting a tiny bit of it above my right eyebrow.

Later, I began thinking about the pure and beautiful outlook kids have for the world.... What if more people made the effort to see things in a better light? Find the good in bad situations? Find the good in others and then share that opinion?

What if we didn't assume people whom we care about knew all the good things and reasons we have for liking them? What if we voiced those thoughts? Wouldn't that goodness go forth like a ripple?

I like to think it would.

Maybe life really does come down to the little things. Maybe changing the world for the better or helping people heal inside and out doesn't really take so much effort. Maybe it just starts with something as simple as telling someone you like that divet in their forehead, the curve of their smile, or that constellation of agespots streaming their way over their eyes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Power of Pink

Recently, I tasted the color of pink, thanks to a frosting from Pillsbury. Although the flavor was called "pink vanilla," it was definitely heavy on "pink" and light on vanilla.... Life just gets fuller all the time, doesn't it? Because where would I be without the opportunity to contemplate the power of pink?

After reviewing the facts, I've realize I haven't given PINK the respect it deserves. More so, I've totally underestimated it.

Not only does pink have it's own flower,

it has its own fragrance from Victoria's Secret. Want to know what PINK smells like? Check it out at your nearest VS or Bath & Body Works store. This shower gel is one of my all-time favorites.









And who doesn't know what this pink ribbon stands for?


Or who owns this car?






Or, what a "pink slip" means? (Yikes!)


Pink even has its own celebrity musician.
If that isn't enough to show pink's new-found power in the world, then take a look at this...................................................
Pink construction equipment!

Whoot!

Now if only I could find myself a pink lawnmower. Or even, a pink hammer. Or, a pink power-drill. Surely, this world has room for one of those, if not all of them. Connections, anyone? Because I'm tickled pink at the thought.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Names!

What's in a name? A lot. Ask any parent who has looked at their baby for the first time. Or, any author who has chosen a name for a character. Names can say so much. Who can forget Severus Snape? Or, Ember's Doon? Or, Roald Dahl's Charlie Bucket?

Which is why I had to laugh when I saw the names on these football uniforms at a recent game. Who can't believe in the skills of players with names like Killer, Fat Boy, Sweetness, and Magic? Turns out this team can. According to parents of players who have gone against them, this team is dominating the Wasatch Front Football League in Utah. ...Something to think about, or at least chuckle over.



Friday, August 6, 2010

Living, Loving New Hampshire





I've been back in Utah for a while now, land-locked, but adjusting to life without Lake Winnipesaukee out the back door. The week in New Hampshire was finished off with a few more "firsts."















First time handling the sailboat in strong wind for a couple hours without handing the reins over to dad.

























First time water-skiing for daughter (woot!)


First time attending church on Bear Island--yes, we had to get there by boat, then hike the half mile to the church at the top of the hill.

First time water-skiing back home from church.

First time I actually considered the merits of lake-front property in the form of a rock. A rather large, unoccupied rock that sat on the wooded lakeshore. Any other rock in any other old place might not have value, but this one, I'm guessing is special.... It has a view. It offers a solid foundation for a house. It probably is available. The only problem is, it probably won't be mine unless I can dig up a sweet mill or two. You see, rocks--particularly those lakeside, or even within the lake, are prime real estate. Plenty of houses have been built on rock, like this one that happens to be its own island.... I'd like that. Some fine day.... Heck, if I had my rock, I'd be happy with a hammock--two poles sunk in the granite with a net strung between them. That'd be enough for me. For a while anyway. With a boat moored off-shore a wee bit away.


It's amazing that after going to the lake for so many years, I can still find so many firsts to experience.


























As for the rest of summer, it's back to tackling projects--finishing up some old ones (hoping to get those manuscripts out the door) and jumping into some new ones. Haven't had much time to fish lately, but maybe I'll find a bit of time on the rafting trip next week that my school administrators are hosting. Idaho! Here we come! Sorry, kids, I think you'll enjoy a day of school without us. The sacrafices teachers have to make every now and then.....


Happy days!



Thursday, July 15, 2010

New experiences

Vacation has been absolutely incredible. The weather is perfect and events of the past week so far have proved that we're never too old to experience new things. Some of my "firsts" are:

-- seeing five loons swimming on the lake together in front of our cabin

-- watching a big turtle climb up on the deck at the back of a boat to sun himself

-- taking a ride on dad's new sailboat....awesome! Love it.

-- finding out I really do know how to sail a boat, despite the doubts of all my years

-- witnessing the look on dad's face as my daughter cast his new rod and reel into the lake after he'd just taught her how to use it.... the only thing he forgot to tell her was "to hold onto the rod"...

-- fileting first pair of fishes, thanks to the idea of sons who want to eat what they catch

We'll see what the rest of the week brings us.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Signs of Summer

The official list.....

1. It may not seem possible that flip-flops on snow could be listed as a sign of summer, but for me, it is. After enduring an unreasonably long, cold, wet spring, my daughter and I found both sun and snow in Colorado over Memorial Day weekend. With a free day to do whatever we pleased before the soccer tournament, we headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park where they had plenty of snow and 90 degrees of heat--which is why we were wearing flip-flops.


It worked out great, actually, because I'd never hiked on snow in a pair of flip-flops before. And I never would have thought I'd enjoy it. But I did. Not only was it refreshing, but it tickled my feet, which made me laugh as I ran through it on tip-toes....all the better in my opinion.




2. Being chased by kids for a car wash....not that they had the wash-thing down--just the sign, which they found in a nearby field.


3. Boys on rope swings on the Blacksmith Fork River. Oh! to be young again.





4. Baseball......and more baseball. 4 days a week. Need I say more?














5. Movies! All the good ones are coming out. Prince of Perisa was fun. And so was Shrek. And Iron Man 2.

Which leads me to my next topic. I'll be brief....

Titles.

My daughter's friend recently commented that he went to see the movie, Killers. Based on the previews, he thought it was going to be a romantic comedy. Not having seen the previews myself, I thought he was kidding. Afterall, the movie was called, Killers. But no, he was serious. "Everyone wound up getting killed, in all sorts of horrible and different ways," he said. "It was bad. Not what I expected."

?!? Not what he expected !?!

Okay. So maybe the movie delivered what it promised. You can't be any more clear with a title like Killers. But in support of our seemingly clueless friend, I did see the preview after our conversation, and it really does look like the movie is going to deliever lots of laughs. So, until I see the movie myself, I guess I have to give him the benefit of the doubt and accept his surprise. Because it's funnier that way.

And besides, as I've discovered, there are movies that do seem to offer different content that what you would assume you're going to get.

For example, 1408 is not a historical drama (it's a ghost story). And The Secret Life of Bees is not a documentary.

Silly, I know.

One more thing....If America is missing the Statue of Liberty, I saw her in the back of truck on Highway 7, heading south, near Boulder. ... Just passing that information along, in case anyone was wondering.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rambling, Again

A copy of In Black Bear Country arrived last week on my doorstep (yes--it was actually put there by the postman), and I must say, it looks great. I'm so excited to think it may soon be reaching kids in classrooms. Thanks so much to the editors at Richard Owens Publishers for giving this book a chance. I tried getting my camera to upload a copy, but it's a no go at the moment. Agch technology!

It's been a while since my last post. I've gotten a new manuscript written--which could be a creative nonfiction companion to In Black Bear Country--and am now going through the critique-group route with it. I'm hoping to have it sent out to an editor or agent by the end of summer.

In the meantime, Rick and I are keeping our fingers-crossed on a new manuscipt we wrote together at our last retreat. The whole process of writing it was so hilarious and fun, it almost still makes the waiting game bearable. Almost................

Twiddle, twiddle, ...let's see if that chunk of chocolate cake I just ate for a near midnight snack will kick in and spark some sort of imagination into these ramblings.... Sugar rush, anyone? Maybe not such a bright idea for one who has not slept much the last week. I still need to get up and work tomorrow. New quarter starts for the kids at school.

As for being mom to my own kids, I took my youngest to the dentist to check up on a tooth his brother yanked out this past winter....(they wanted cash from the toothfairy, who tends to be a bit of a slacker in this household and who doesn't seem to be too worried of threats to have her replaced...). Anyway, seems the boys loosened and yanked a tooth they shouldn't have. That tooth they plucked wasn't really ready to come out for another 2 years or so... SO, youngest will have a gaping hole in his smile for another 2 years. Poor guy. His brother wasn't too remorseful. Played the big brother part to form by laughing while reminiscing their whole foolish adventure.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

(Nearly) Hot off the Press!

I admit, I can be a glass-half-full sort of person. But I also know I am quite capable of completely filling that glass up. All it takes is allowing myself to get into one of my chipper, carefree, no-worries-in-the-world kind of moods.... And a little bit of good news is more than helpful in putting me there. Like finding out that after more than 7 years your book is finally going to be published. Plus the fact that you've actually just seen the layout of the pages and are actually making final proof edits. Yes, that is more than a little helpful in filling my glass up for the day. Or the week. Or the month.... And if I can tie all this into a few good days of fishing, it could definitely last longer than that.

In Black Bear Country is going to the printer on Wednesday. It's being published by Richard C. Owen Publishers of Katonah, NY, for the educational market, and my editor expects that they will have books in house on April 9... just in time for my birthday a few days later. (I won't tell you what year I'm celebrating.) This has all come as quite a shock over the past 24 hours, since I thought the books weren't going to be ready until April 2011. Suddenly, it seems like all sorts of exciting things are happening. Although really, to be honest, not all that much is unfolding here on my end of the spectrum, but it's neat to think that a flurry of activity is happening somewhere out in the broader world that is linked directly to something I did.

I'm especially excited that this book is going to be published for a lot of reasons. One, it will show kids, teachers, and parents an aspect of black bear ecology they probably don't know about. Two, it may rekindle or strengthen an interest in the the protection of black bears and preservation of their habitats, which include much more than a cave on mountain in the woods, which seems to be the limit of what most young kids know. Three, it shows how preservation and protection has been accomplished for one area in Vermont. Four, did I mention 7 years? Yes, it's been a long wait. Good thing I'm patient. Although, in truth, I didn't expect publication would happen at all for In Black Bear Country, because 4 years ago I'd been told the project had been dropped. It wasn't until 3 months ago I received a letter telling me it'd been picked up again. So, here we are--sitting on a small, yet happy, mountain of news.

To celebrate, I'm heading out to enjoy the sunny, blue-sky weather with my dear friend Kristen and kids. They'll soak up the sun, and with a little luck, I'll hook a finny or two with a lucky cast on the fly.

Enjoy the day, everyone.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

March Madness and Other Things

Believe it or not, I'm actually taking part in March Madness. Not the basketball stuff so much--although I will watch a good game when I come across one--but another kind of madness I've never actually done before. Writing madness. In public, that is. I signed on to participate in a writing marathon set to run Thursday thru Saturday, as hosted by the wonderful ladies who blog at Throwing Up Words. Since I'm working, I won't be able to write round-the-clock over these 3 days, but I have set a goal of putting down 5,000 words on a new novel. We'll see how it goes.

Other than that, I have a question. What is up with Hollywood these days and the apparent lack of ability to write a good ending to a movie????? Recently, I watched THE BOX, and this movie rates as one of the worst I've seen in a while. My daughter put it right up there with the ending, or lack there of, for DEAR JOHN. And then there was PREMONITION, which my daughter and I watched last night. Another let-down, because apparently, after waiting and wondering all through the movie how Sandra Bullock was going to beat Fate and save her husband from a horrible death, she didn't. Fate won.

...Well, fate can be good and bad. I know this. You probably know this, too. But I don't necessarily like being reminded of the fact that it can suck big time. Especially after you're hoping the heroine of your movie will work it out somehow. Authors are supposed to do that. Find amazingly brilliant ways of working it out in the stories they write, leaving the rest of us with the hope that we can work things out in our own lives, too. Maybe even apply some of those brilliant ideas we've read about or watched. Sheeesh. I felt significantly cheated.

...But on to other things....The weather is warming, the snow is melting, and I'm looking forward to brighter days. Which reminds me. Today is daylight savings. And I have no idea what time it is, although I realize I just lost an hour. And there's still a lot of work to be done....Yikes! Signing off. Until next time.

Ciao!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Beauty Tips

For attractive lips,
speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes,
seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure,
share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair,
let a child run his fingers through it once a day.

For poise,
walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, even more than things,
have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed;
never throw anyone away.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand,
you will find one at the end of each of your arms.

As you grow older,
you will discover you have two hands;
one for helping yourself,
and the other for helping others.

--Audrey Hepburn

Monday, February 8, 2010

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to all my friends and family...

Yeah, I know this post is early, but the week is a busy one, so I'm taking time now to send this one out; ...because I'm truly thankful for the sources of love in my life that flow like fountains.

Here are some favorite quotes.

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." -- Anais Nin

"I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you." -- Roy Croft

"A single rose can be my garden...a single friend, my world." -- Leo Buscaglia

"Friendship isn't a big thing--it's a million little things." -- unknown

"Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own." --Robert Heinlein

"A hug is worth a thousand words. A friend is worth more." -- unknown

"A good friend is hard to find, hard to lose, impossible to forget." -- unknown

"If I could reach up and hold a star for every time you made me smile, I would have the whole night sky in the palm of my hand." -- unknown

"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light." -- Helen Keller

"Love, actually, is all around us." -- from the movie, Love Actually


And because I enjoy writing and reading stories, I'll list some of my favorite books/movies touching on love and friendship.

Tristan and Isolde (James Franco)

Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth)

The Lake House (Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves)

The Proposal (Sandra Bullock)

Titantic (Leonardo DiCaprio)

While You Were Sleeping (Sandra Bullock)

Love Actually (Hugh Grant)

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Jane Eyre by Jane Austen

Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

52nd Grammy Awards and 2nd Bear Lake Retreat

Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?

A productive and fun writer's retreat at Bear Lake was capped off with the 52nd Grammy Awards. My favorite performance of the evening was Pink's "Glitter In The Air." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dls0GznlQeE

Despite the fact that an offer to publish a project that Rick and I had been working on was withdrawn right before our retreat, Rick and I managed to pick up my spirits and co-write another fun manuscript. Hope blooms eternal! We were also treated to Randall Wright reading the first 10 chapters or so of his next novel, which he co-wrote with Carmen Deedy. I can't wait to see this manuscript in print. It's sooooo good. I know my kids will love it!

All in all, the company and time spent together, along with the impromptu guitar-playing and late-night conversations, were fantastic. And to think I managed to get through the weekend this time without fainting, proving it was not Rick, nor Mark, who have that effect on people. Plus, having an unexpected foot and a half of fresh powder for me to ski in at Beaver Mountain before I headed back down Logan Canyon served as icing on the cake!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bucket List

It's amazing how surprises and kindred connections can pop up in the most unlikely of places.

Last night I met with my writing group in Mantua, which happens to be one of my favorite spots in Utah. Not only is it beautiful--a small town sitting at water's edge--but a feeling of peace always seems to envelop me when I visit.

As a group, we always set goals for each other that need to be met during the two weeks that follow. While doing so, I mentioned one of my goals that I'd set for 2010, which was to learn the ins and outs of sailing. Turns out, going for a sail is on Claudia's bucket list for 2010, too. (She doesn't want to learn; she just wants to be a passenger enjoying the ride, which is all good.) And, to top that, Karen's neighbor has a boat and loves, loves, loves to take people out on it.

So, we came up with a 2010 bucket list for our writing group as a whole.

1. Go on writing retreat to Idaho cabin

2. Go sailing ... Mantua works! Time to look into boat rentals and such....Or, neighbors.

3. Go for a hot air balloon ride ... Park City, here we come!

4. Publish a book ... one for each of us!

It's a short list. Nothing too daunting, right? All we need is perseverance, and we'll get her done.

Monday, January 18, 2010

MLK Day

With a child sick in bed today, and no new snow in which to go play, I am feeling like those 2 kids in The Cat in the Hat. But there is work to be done. Chores. Recipes. Driving the other kids to their activities, so we'll stay out of trouble. At least until we decide to make some of our own.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2010 Goals

So,... here we are in 2010. Rather than make resolutions, I'm making a list of goals. Things I'm planning on for the next few months. Things to look forward to and work toward.

1. Weekend with fellow writers at Bear Lake in January, where we'll get that next cookbook done! Hurrah! Hurrah!

2. Lots of skiing with kids in February....We should have more snow, right?

3. Weekend in Vegas with daugther in March. (Why Vegas so much? Vegas is far from my favorite place on the planet, but it's funny that I'm running out of fingers to count the number of times I've been there. I owe it mostly to soccer. And books, I guess.)

4. Get back to water. Fishing should be geared up in April.

5. Spend week helping friends build their yurt as soon as the snow melts. That power drill handed down from a friend should come in handy, so long as the tape holding the battery holds up.... Make mental note...bring tape.

6. Here's a resolution... learn to sail with confidence. I mean, really learn to sail, by reading books this winter, so that when I take the tiller with my dad this summer, I can get rid of that nagging fear that I'm about to knock everyone overboard. (Because I've been there, done that,... in Boston Harbor, while crossing the finish line in a sailing race. It wasn't pretty.... And although it was many years back, some things you never forget. And although I've sailed a boat many a time since then, I've never really thoroughly enjoyed it because of that nagging doubt that I don't know what I doing. So, for 2010,...here's to conquering self-doubt!)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Trials and Tribulations of a Loose Tooth


Okay, so living through the experience of loose teeth has never been dull in this household. From dealing with a daughter who would not pull or tug on any of her teeth until they were hanging by mere threads to coping with a son who would rip them out with fingers, or pliers if needed, at the first signs of them being loose, I'm now left with shielding the youngest of the three from their antics.

I've always hoped for a happy medium with him. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll get that. Since the older brother no longer has teeth to lose in his mouth, guess who he's turning his teeth-ripping skills on?

You guessed it. And said young son has fell victim in the past. And right now, that son has a loose tooth. And although he would very much like it out of his mouth, the memories of loosing his last tooth still burn a little too brightly in his mind. And mine.




I mentioned pliers. And I was totally serious, although my olders son's fingers have served pretty well without them as a pair of vice grips when it comes to pulling a tight tooth. This son has also resorted to other adventureous tactics--tying strings to the bathroom door, then slamming it shut with his foot (it worked on the second try--although why and how he would have repeated this feat a second time after a failed first attempt, I have no idea). And those strings remained until the doorknobs were recently changed out. There have also been heavy objects launched off the top of the stairs (tied to his tooth, of course). And who knows what else. His younger brother's fingers, I think.

Anyway, I mentioned the last tooth extraction of my youngest son. He'd had a loose tooth, and his older brother found out about it. An older brother, who knows the ins and outs of the capitalistic advantages of the tooth fairy. So, when the youngest complained about his loose tooth, he said, "Let me get it out for you."

At first, his younger brother refused, but after a bit of prodding along the lines of, "You want money, don't you? Then lie down on the floor and let me pull it out!" he finally agreed to have some help. Help that began with him lying on the floor and offering up his mouth, while his older brother straddled him and started pulling.

Yes, he pulled. Pulled and yanked and pulled some more. And he didn't stop, even though his brother writhed in pain and screamed for mercy.

Finally, the tooth yielded. My older son held it up with pride, asking, "Did I get the right one?"
The younger could only hold his mouth, and nod, and hope that he had.
"Then, that'll be a buck, please."

Yeah. The older, magnaminous brother charged his younger brother a buck. A fee for his services. Which could be paid after the tooth fairy's visit.

How much does she usually leave? A buck.

Ah, my enterprizing young sons....

We'll see what happens this time. Since my youngest has come to me many times in the past 24 hours about his tooth, I kind of get the feeling that he wants me to take care of it. He probably thinks I won't charge him.

Good thing I got that new tool kit from my folks this year. I might have my first opportunity to dig into it.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Yes, Happy New Year.

I won't tell you who's in this picture, but I think it says it all, as I'm sitting here staring down the dawn of 2010.

So, I've found that I like snow again. All it took was getting outside to enjoy it by doing something fun. Like skiing at the local Beaver Mountain. All the locals have been complaining there wasn't enough snow, yet--including some folks I know who work there--but wanting to get out of the valley for a change of scenery and better air, I went.

At first, I was going solo. Daughter was sick, sons were at a sleep-over and were not interested in leaving friends behind. But by the time they got home, saw me packing up, heard me talking about 6 inches of new powder, they decided to come along. Which made the day so much better. It's more fun to ski with someone else, especially a couple of boys who know how to tear it up on the slopes. And I was able to keep up, thanks to the fitness training my daughter has kept me working at for the past many months as she's worked to stay in shape for soccer. It was a great day. We found plenty of untracked powder, and even the numerous branches sticking out through the snow weren't a problem. We just turned around them.

Cheers to more of that fluffy white stuff.

Happy New Year!