Monday, December 31, 2007

2007: A Look Back...

Still reading: View from the Fortieth on Ch 6...

Jan: Slightly depressed, because we now had waaayyy too many toys for the baby and was either going to have to get one child her own apartment or put more stuff into storage. Guess which choice won? Also screamed myself hoarse when my beloved Colts won the division title and not only played in the Super Bowl against Chicago, but won! Way to go, Manning:)

Feb: Found out about an online writer's group, which ultimately led to the website being built and the courage to keep writing and pursuing the publication of my 2nd book.

Mar: Finally did something for my hair cut and highlighted, boosting the self-confidence. Also talked hubby into paying for the upcoming WriteStuff Writer's Conference. Began my 'single-parent' duties when he went back to work.

Apr: Wrote non-stop for about 3 weeks and ended up adding roughly 100 pages to a WIP that's still unfinished. Attended conference and had my ego stroked as I hobnobbed with some local celebrities (I had my picture taken with a few!). Also encouraged other writers to pursue their dreams and me other authors who encouraged me to keep going. Most importantly, I reconnected with an old and dear friend.

May: Attended the Indianapolis 500 and was thrilled when my favorite new performer, Daughtry, sang "It's Not Over" right in front of us!

June: Attended my first local arts fair and started getting the word out about Book#1, Love is Sober, to the local community. Met a local gift shop owner who offered to sell a few copies on consignment. With this encouragement, I made the rounds at other stores, with mixed reviews. Barnes and Noble in Evansville hosted a signing for me, and I began the publishing process with AuthorHouse.

July: Hubby found out about A/H and was furious, but acknowledged I'd been wanting this for quite a while, and cooled off. Spent the weekend with him and surprised the kids with Harry Potter tickets.

Aug: "Met" several more authors online when I worked up the courage to email them with praise for their work, or what I had read on the blogs. Got involved with my first online chat and anxiously awaited the 1st day of school, including the toddler!

Sept: Met more people in the community when toddler entered Head Start. Was extremely encouraged by the request for books, and the offer of a signing in November. Started this blog, at the request of people who could not comment on my site. Also wrote Wild at Heart in 4 weeks.

Oct: My galleys arrived; signed off on the cover immediately and had to make corrections to the MS. When the second one arrived, a few mistakes were still there, but ones I could live with, as I needed the publication by Nov 17th.

Nov: Love Finds a Way available on Nov 7th! Happy dance:) NaNo nearly killed me, but my daily word count inspired others to stretch...

Dec: Learned a valuable lesson: Not everyone shares my sense of humor.

Goals for 2008?

-Submit, submit, submit #3, Forbidden Love and Wild at Heart.

-Attend Midwest Writer's Conference in July.

-Set up signings, at least one per month.

-If the time comes, or the opportunity comes, re-enter workforce and try 'part #2' of the Single Parent Test.

-Whittle down the 'stuff' in basement and storage.

-Remember to do a few things for myself, like skin care, hair cuts, new glasses, doctor appointments, dentist trip, etc. Dakota mentioned "taking better care of myself"...I think I'll join her in this goal!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Some Assembly Required...

Currently Reading: Finished The Gabriel Hounds...had part of it right! Started on Theodore H. White's The View from the Fortieth Floor. Am on page 16, and so far it's holding my interest:) Also, this completes another box of books in the basement. Have no idea what the next box will hold!

E-book: Will be purchasing one of Brynn's on payday, whether it comes this week or looking forward to it!

Father Dave got me again.

He quietly reminded us that relationships require work in order to maintain balance and maturity. How did this little statement 'zing' me? It reminded me of how I've been feeling this month.

I'll admit; I got careless and a little over-confident. Blame the praise I was receiving with the release of LFAW. Blame the sales. Blame my steadily inflating ego. Blame the exhaustion of my creative juices from NaNo. Going into week #3 of my favorite season, I was suddenly dealing with shock, the sting of resentment, hurt, anger, depression, and I was afraid to open my mouth or even sit down at the computer. Every word I did manage to write had to be severely edited, as my resentment decided to manifest itself in a form of sarcasm I wasn't proud of and certainly did not want it made known. I literally forced myself to be calm, neutral, and unoffensive. I prayed about it constantly.

About 4 days into this pity party, I recieved word that another friend of mine was also in pain, and since I was tired of the 'poor me' attitude, I decided to quit focussing on myself and concentrate on her, my ailing MIL, and my aunt. And changing my selfish heart into a serving one, I discovered my resentment fading.

Some assembly required...

Yes, relationships take time to build. And unfortunately, one stupid or careless word, act, or even thought can destroy months of work. It's not just the relationships we build with our families or loved ones; we build relationships with our readers, our characters, and friends in cyberspace. Some are professional; others are more informal. And it is not all "What can you do for me" but "What can I do for you" that helps us maintain our good relationships.

And two words to help rebuild?

"Forgive me."

Some assembly required...

I propose for the coming New Year, let us also remember to say these words:

"I'm sorry."

"I love you."

"I forgive you."

"Thank you."

Pick up the pieces of friendship and remember...

"Some assembly required."

Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Routine...

Currently Reading: The Gabriel Hounds, by Mary Stewart. I think I've got the mystery figured out, but I'm not sure.

E-book: Finished Deal of a Lifetime, by Barbara Huffert. Excellent! I wanted to throttle the hero starting in about chapter 3, but he redeemed himself in the end...Will definitely be one that I will reread again!

I've moved my hubby back into the house:)

This statement may sound weird, since you all know I'm married, but since March he's been working up north and living in a motel during the week. I've joked with him about his four extra wives...the one who makes sure he gets the room with the fantastic water pressure and supplies him with tissues and toilet paper; the woman at the truck stop who feeds him breakfast and sometimes dinner; the other two servers at two other of his favorite restaurants.

But now he's home for the winter and we have to get used to living together again! And this means limited amounts of computer usage for me. He doesn't object when I get on and check the bank account, or read the blogs, but I'd better be prepared to get offline at the drop of a hat. And that means no typing until later. And since I got up with only a half hour to spare before my weekly 90210 show, I decided to wait to post.

Big mistake.

We had postponed Operation Clean-Up because he and the kids were tired yesterday. So while I was downstairs, immersed in the only TV show I seem to watch anymore, he and the kids were upstairs cleaning. And at noon, after I'd showered, I stripped the bedding and did laundry, and instead of packing his clothes back into his duffel, I had to find space in drawers, closets, and any place we could stuff, hang, or store until next March.

And he's not objecting to me sitting down now, because all the chores are finished and we're eating ice cream. Almost time for the toddler to go to bed, and I'll read to him before we snuggle down.

I'm also back from a 2 1/2 hour shopping spree. I returned the coat my mother had gotten me and bought 5 new sweaters, a turtleneck, 2 picture frames, a pair of earrings, a snowflake pin, and a new bra. All on SALE! And still had $$ left over:) Not a bad spree!

And then went to the grocery and spent the same amount of money on restocking my depleted refrigerator and pantry. The kids are thrilled there is something other than leftovers to eat!

So for at least the next few months, I'll be posting at night, instead of first thing in the morning. Hubby was a bit put out when I poured myself a cup of coffee and went to the computer instead of joining him in the living room.

He'll get over it; I just need to humor him for a week or two, to 'retrain' him, ha ha!

If you want to be as stunned as I was, by a critique of romance novels and the authors who write them, go to and click on the link Kelly provided. This other woman needs to do her research a bit more thoroughly before lumping all romance books into the same category! And then swing by and see if she's recovered from her insect bite. And don't forget to congratulate Anny on her 'Best Author' nomination at LRC! Leave her a congrats at and find out when and where to vote for her!

Friday, December 28, 2007

'Tis the Season...

We're only on Day #2 of the vacation and already I've developed two bad habits.

1) I slept until 10 am, completely missing my morning news and had to check the internet to see what the weather was going to be like today...hahaha...turns out all I had to do was look out the window! It's raining, and the dog refused to go outside.

2) The house is a mess. Toys scattered; the tiny fragments of forgotten wrapping paper under chairs or peeking out from under cushions. The dishes piled in the sink. I had to go searching for a coffee cup on a top shelf (the ones my hubby refused to be packed away, even though they've not been used in over a year) because the pretty ones I use are still in the sink.

So today is the massive Operation Clean-Up chore. No, the decorations won't come down until next week, but my SIL is due to arrive sometime today, and I'm tired of tripping over the baby's toys. As I'm typing, the dishes have already been washed and put away (Thank you Kyle!) and as soon as I drink one more cup of coffee I'm getting dressed and motivating the troops to get to work.

The bright spot in all of this? I found my TBB list! It had gotten folded inside my 'bragging rights' newspaper clip when my oldest had his picture in the local paper! And I was of Brynn's is next!

And who knew? We went all over Terre Haute yesterday, looking for the PS2 guitar. Sold Out. We come home; my son pleaded for someone to take him out to our tiny Walmart, and....there it was! Go figure...the 'big city' had none, and what he wanted was in his figurative back yard (or in this case, the front yard??) the entire time...

Also on the to-do list: Update my website. I've not copied any blog posts in the last week, and any readers who don't go to this site are out there scratching their heads and saying, "Uh, Molly? Did you forget to post? How was your Christmas? Did you forget about me?"

Okay. Maybe that's a little egotistical. But I promise to do better in the coming weeks!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It's Return Time...

Stayed out of the stores yesterday, to avoid the crowds. I did consent to take my teens last night at 9 pm, and thankfully they were in and out of Walmart in ten minutes, and even remembered to get their dear old Mom a pack of Polar Ice chewing gum.

Today, however, is THE DAY. My son received the wrong guitar for his Guitar Hero game; the one he received is for the computer, not the PS2. I received a winter coat that is too tight. Thankfully, those are the only two items to be exchanged this year! And since there is not Toys R Us in this town, we will be driving to Terre Haute, seeing my best friend, and finally giving her kids their long-awaited birthday/Christmas gifts! Oh...and also received gift cards to the Olive Garden...guess where we're going for lunch?

My SIL is dropping by tomorrow, so either before we go or after we return, it's a whirlwind cleaning session for the entire family. I also have two more Christmas cards to send, as I ran out of stamps on Saturday.

Spent an hour last night, copying all my e-books to floppy disk, and discovered on some of them I could only get two per disk. And yes, I matched them up by authors:) Now if I could just find that list...another goal today is to clear the piles of paper on my desk. I know that it has gotten shoved somewhere; it is just hiding from me until payday:)

If you're still on the road, travel safely and enjoy your time with family!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What To Get an Author for Christmas...

For some reason, everytime I click on certain sites, my computer freezes up. I'm hoping theproblem corrects itself soon. I have read most of my friends' sites, but for some reason won't let me comment. So let me send out a blanket "Merry Christmas" to everyone...

2:00- My mom is being treated for pneumonia, and for the moment is doing well. We are headed to see the MIL and check on her status in about an hour. I've gotten the toys unpacked and everything tucked away temporarily until after New Years! And still can't find my master list...forgot to mention...I also received a box of 3 1/2 floppies to store my e-books on until I get an e-reader or external hard drive:)

7:00-MIL released from hospital:)

A huge box of paper and four new ink cartriges:)

Blue Colt's pj pants, pink Peyton Manning (#18) t-shirt and jersey, blue Marvin Harrison (#88) jersey.

Bright red fleece sweater, black jeans, and a pair of black dressy velour pants.

Chocolate, in the form of Bailey's Irish Cream drops; peppermint patties; old-fashioned cream drops; milk chocolate Santa; and of course, the traditional Ding-Dong in the stocking:)

Gift certificate to the Olive Garden.

My teens got Go phones, a PSP, and Nintendo DS, in addition to Guitar Hero and whatever else their grandparents showered on them.

The baby got two toy cell phones, a toy cash register, and his own toy laptop, plus a train set, remote-controlled car, and several outfits.

The day ended with my mother being taken to the ER with an asthma attack, only to be told her atrial fibrulation was involved, so they kept her overnight. Hopefully later today we will get more news, and I ask respectfully that you keep her in your prayers.

Today is the where-the-heck-will-we-put-everything day...and my daughter received a huge stuffed tiger and baby which will probably require its own tiny room!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Jesus:)

Merry Christmas everyone:)

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord..."

Luke 2:11 (RSV)

Monday, December 24, 2007

"Mom...Where Did We Celebrate Christmas?"

Christmas 1997. We had only been in our new home for 3 months, so Christmas was celebrated at home. And when the pictures arrived a month later, I looked at them and wondered, Where are we? With the continued unpacking, the room where we had opened gifts had changed on practically a daily basis!

I probably won't post tomorrow. Our plans are still up in the air; the MIL has been admitted to the hospital with a slight case of pneumonia, and right now it's undecided if we will even travel this morning, or if the kids and I will make the trip.

Merry Christmas everyone:)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Just a Short Post...

Currently reading: The Moonflower Couple, by John Fairchild. I'm halfway through it.
E-Book: Still reading Swift of Heart by Janet Davies. I'm on Chapter 8...if two of my kids are still running fevers tomorrow, we're staying home instead of traveling. Maybe then I can curl up with my computer and finish it!
10pm: Just finished both...Great job! Next up in the rotation...Ok...panic time. List has disappeared! I think Brynn's was next...I'll search for it and come back.

7:30 pm: The presents are wrapped, all the baking finished, and all that remains is a quick trip to the grocery store for some coleslaw, so I can make my 22-second salad for Christmas dinner!

Christmas 1994. My daughter was 5 months old; my son had just turned 3, and the baby was 10 years in the future, not even thought of at the time! My beloved grandmother had been diagnosed with esophogial cancer and not expected to live much longer. We packed up our gifts and flew to Florida.

My sister was home from her stint in the Peace Corps, and had taken a job at a local nursing home. She checked on Grandma daily, and visited with our mother, who had taken a leave of absence from her job to be my grandmother's hospice nurse.

Christmas was rough. Grandma could only come downstairs for a few minutes, but she wanted Christmas morning in the living room, not up in her bedroom! After watching my toddler ripping the paper off of his presents and yelling exuberantly, and my baby girl content with the boxes, Grandma gathered her gifts, kissed us all, and made her way back upstairs.

My uncle and his family arrived from Naples, Florida, and we took turns sitting in Grandma's room and talking to her. Grandma was on a feeding tube, but she enjoyed watching the rest of us enjoy the food my mother had prepared, and reminiscing about past years.

One month later, Grandma left us. And the sad thing is, all the video we shot during Christmas morning is lost. Something was wrong with the video camera, and it wasn't discovered until a couple of years later, when my mother finally felt strong enough to watch it. But we've got our memories, and my diary of that last Christmas in Florida.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm Dreaming of a Hot Christmas

Christmas 1987. My grandfather had passed away in '85, and my grandmother decided to pay for our plane tickets to come spend the holidays with her in St.Pete Beach, Florida. The year before, the temperature was -1 degrees when we left Indiana, and we laughed at the Floridians when we landed, for 50 degrees felt wonderful, and they were bundled in coats, shivering! In 1987, however, it was a wonderful 80 degrees, and after opening our gifts, my mother, sister, and I donned our swimsuits and hit the beach.

The water, however, was freezing! I have three wonderful pictures which perfectly describe my sister's brave plunge. In the first, I am standing ankle-deep in the surf, and she is heading out, up to her knees and looking doubtful. In the second, I have retreated so my toes are barely being dipped (I don't do cold!) and she is up to her waist, with an I-don't-think-this-is-such-a-good-idea expression. I am not in the third shot, as it is a close-up of her face as she dipped her body and went in up to her neck. The expression says it all: AAAKKK!

My grandmother's church was giving bus tours of the Christmas lights, so we boarded on later that evening and it seemed strange to see these wonderful displays without snow around them. And a week later, we went to the Boat Parade and watched the boats slowly going down Tampa Bay, all decked out with colored lights.

It would be six years before I would return to the Bay area, and I would love to go back again:)

On the To-Do list:
-Kick the family out of the house so I can wrap!
-Laundry, as we will be gone Monday and Tuesday. No rush to get it done; I can do some more tomorrow.
-Take inventory of the cookie situation and make more if necessary. Otherwise, make fudge, Magic Cookies (1 batch without the coconut and walnuts!), and brownies. Still haven't made any, as we were devouring birthday cake the past two days.
-Make arrangements for the neighbor to feed the dog while we're away.
-Straighten the house so we don't come home to the baby's toys scattered all over the place!

Sommer took inventory of her writing accomplishments yesterday. While my list is not as impressive as hers, I'm pretty proud at what I've accomplished in '07:

25 queries sent (and rejections received)
2 books written
1 book published
3 writer's groups joined
20 books sold (or more...won't get my statement until March)
3 successful signings (would have been 4, had the car not broken down, but was needed somewhere else!)
15+ new encouraging friends, both in person and online
2 author's and this blog

With that said, time to let my prancing dog outside so she can do her business and head downstairs for my weekly dose of 90210. Have a great day:)

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

Finished the Tontine, and discovered when I opened it there is another book somewhere, for this one begins on Chapter 10! Don't know if it's in another box somewhere, or if I'll have to look it up. The book was good; just made me want to read the first 9 chapters...think of it this way: Reading Gone with the Wind, only beginning at the Reconstruction after the war...
E-book: Am starting Swift of Heart, by Janet Davies today!

Christmas 1977. The year of the blizzard. We had our traditional Christmas morning; opening our stockings hanging above our brand-new fireplace; consuming Ding-Dongs as we opened up tiny gifts. The area above the mantle was still bare; the paneling hadn't been placed around the chimmney yet. My mom had strung garland through the wall studs and draped it quite nicely around the silver chimmney and the bare mantle.

Our Christmas tree was in the living room, so it was our next destination. Mom and Dad sat on the couch as my sister and I pulled presents from beneath the tree, reading the labels and tossing them to whoever's name was on the gift. We had to be careful of the tree that year, because earlier in the week, the wind had shook the house so badly our front door had been blown open and the tree had fallen over. Dad had put a nail in the wall behind the tree and anchored the tree to it, but he wasn't happy with his makeshift plan and was already thinking of improvements.

After all the presents had been unwrapped, the paper thrown away, and whatever breakfast had been consumed, it was time to get dressed and leave for Grandma's house.

We started on the hour-long drive, and about forty minutes later, it became apparent there was something wrong with the car. Dad was able to baby it into the truckstop in Zionsville, and my sister and I were sent into the restaurant to get something to drink while Mom and Dad discussed their options.

A gentleman noticed my dad checking under the hood and offered his assistance. Soon, my mother joined us to thaw out her own cold body and told us Dad would have to leave the car there and fix it in the morning, when he could have his tools with him. She called my grandmother and explained why we were delayed.

The same gentleman who had helped my father figure out what was wrong happened to be traveling in the same general direction as us and offered to take us the rest of the way. So after another telephone call, we loaded up the bags of gifts into his truck and he generously drove us to Indianapolis.

That night, my grandmother gave us her car to drive back to Lafayette, and the following day, we set off for the truck stop again.

My sister and I had a wonderful time, drinking hot chocolate, wandering through the toy displays, and playing some of the arcade games. We talked to several patrons, and I remember running out of quarters and another gentleman fishing several out of his pocket so my sister and I could continue playing pinball.

When Dad finally had the car running again, he came inside for a sandwich and Mom told my sister and I we could choose one of the beautiful dolls to take home. To this day, mine still stands in my old bedroom, her long pink dress a little dusty, her golden ringlets still draped prettily over her right shoulder.

And a month later, the Blizzard of '78 struck, and we spent many happy snow days playing in the drifts which had reached the top of our roof; covered the cars; and created the two snow forts complete with tunnels.

So if anyone is traveling this weekend, be safe, be careful, and if you happen to stop anywhere along the way and see another family in distress, remember you could be the angel sent to help this holiday season.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fond Memories

If anyone is interested, my son found a great website to test your vocabulary. Go to and enjoy:)

Over dinner last night, the topic of Christmas traditions was discussed. One of my favorites growing up was the Advent ceremonies we held every Sunday night during Advent. Our church passed out these little red booklets to every family or Sunday School child, and my sister and I eagerly looked forward to the ritual every year.

My mom would make the Advent wreath; 4 white or pink taper candles on a circle of craft styrofoam, with a purple one in the center. Every Sunday, my sister and I would take turns lighting the candles, reading the Scripture verses, reciting the prayer, and then leading the rest of us in the chosen Christmas Carol. I don't know if those booklets still exist or not; it's something I wish I could share with my own children.

Bought the last of the presents on my list yesterday. Saturday, I plan on wrapping everything. Hubby will disappear with the kids for several hours; I will turn on my favorite Christmas CD and hopefully remember where I hid everything! One year, I lost half of it, and so we had an extended 'Christmas in July' when the rest of it was found! I've already warned my sister that her box will most likely arrive in January...and my BFF and I haven't been able to arrange a time to meet halfway between our houses, so I'll probably end up mailing hers as well. The good news is, all my Christmas cards are finished; I just have to stamp them and drop them in the mail:)

Today, I'm baking more banana bread, brownies, and fudge. And we were so stuffed from dinner at Garfield's last night, we didn't even touch my cake! I drank a chocolate martini; ate potato skins, chicken alfredo, and the server brought me a huge chocolate sundae and a slice of their 7-layer chocolate cake. I was so stuffed, I didn't even order the Mudslide.

And then we drove to the park to see the Christmas Light displays, and came home. Drank one of my White Russians at 10, as I promised Sommer, and went to bed.

Only 2 more days of school left! I can sleep in next week!

And learned that 2 more people have bought copies of Love Finds a Way:)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

2nd Most Important Day...

Or did I say favorite day of December? I can't find my own comment! (Yesterday, I called it 'important', but I know there's another comment out there, somewhere...)

Anyway, I have a somewhat good day planned. I have some final Christmas shopping to do, and then the baby and I will grab lunch on the way home. I also have to run to the Post Office for more stamps, as I cannot mail my Christmas cards without one! I'm also going to pop in one of my DVD's that I've not seen yet, and when hubby arrives home, we're going out to eat. And then it's the traditional Christmas lights display at our local park, and a drive to a couple of the more spectacular displays around town. Finally, ice cream and cake. I'm getting a Ratatouille cake...that's right...2 Disney rats sitting on a giant mound of chocolate. Sounds appetizing, doesn't it?

I'm also buying Janet Davies' books, Swift of Heart and Last Man Standing.And Mother Nature gave me a wonderful present...the snow and ice is melting! I didn't have to worry about falling down this morning when I took the kids to school.

Have a great day, and go over to and read her interview with Kelly, and buy AJ's new book that was released today:) Or, if you're like me, you entered the 12 Days of Christmas contest and hope you'll win it:)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Currently reading: Just finished The Practice, by Stanley Winchester, and am now starting The Tontine, by Thomas B Costain. Enjoyed The Practice.
E-book: Started reading Coming Together for the Cure, a collection of stories relating to breast cancer, and the proceeds all go toward the Foundation. Also reading Golden Angel, by Claire Thompson.

It's cold outside. 24 degrees, to be exact, but the good news is, it's on the rise!

Got a surprise yestereday; hubby arrived home in the early afternoon. They had only worked for four hours and he decided to come home and see us, rather than check in to his motel room!

Can candles cause upper-respiratory problems? I had purchased a candle labeled "Angel Food Cake", and lit it yesterday. Later that evening, hubby came down with the sniffles, and so after I dropped K off at scouts, I picked up some Advil Cold and Sinus and medicated him. I also blew out the candle after I returned from picking up my scout, since I was settling in for the night. 30 minutes later, hubby announces he's feeling better....

So...was it the candle, or the medication? I'll burn it again the next time he's home and see if his symptoms get worse.

Tomorrow is the 2nd most important day of December around here, so I'll be busy finishing up my Christmas cards, cleaning any 'hot spots' (flylady lingo) in my house so I don't have to worry about the housework tomorrow, and going to the Christmas party tonight at the nursing home. Santa is putting in an appearance, and I'm going to try to get the MIL and my 'aunt' to take a picture with the kids and I with Santa. So I don't have to cook tonight, nor tomorrow either:) And if anyone is hungry afterwards, there are plenty of leftovers in the fridge.

Is everyone ready to submit their answers for the 12 Days of Christmas contest? Only one more day...Good luck to all participating, and a big 'Thank You' to the authors who made it a good hunt:) This was fun!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Todd Won!

Who would have thought? Watched the Survivor finale last night, and after Thursday night's episode, my money would have been on Amanda. Going into the vote last night, it looked like Courtney was the favorite. But Todd, whom Denise, Courtney, and Amanda all thought had made too many enemies on the jury, had the last laugh.

Now I'm just waiting for a good excuse to sit back and watch all the earlier episodes I missed...

And the next season looks fantastic; Fans Vs Favorites! Wonder if Rupert will be back???

In sadder news, Dan Fogleberg died yesterday. I love several of his songs; "Longer"; "Same Auld Lang Syne"; "Leader of the Band"; and my favorite, "Run for the Roses".

We are slowly digging out from under the snow and ice over the weekend. The temps are supposed to start rising by Wednesday, which makes me very happy! I still have some last-minute gifts to buy, and plan on doing my shopping on either Wed or Thursday. The teens get out of school on Friday, which means Saturday I will kick everyone out of the house so I can wrap everything. My sister's box arrived; nothing is wrapped, due to coming from Canada. And the toddler unwrapped the presents he picked out for me, so nothing can go under the tree until after he goes to bed Christmas Eve!

Today, I have more laundry to do. My oldest cleaned his room from top to bottom, and tossed every item of clothing he found on the floor down the chute. The deal is, he keeps the room cleaned up; a clear path to the chute in his closet; he can get his license next month. His room had had a mystery 'voice' for the last week; it turned out to be a watch that had something heavy on top of it, setting it off at random intervals.

Stay warm:)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Busy Day...

Yesterday, did 6 loads of laundry; baked 3 dozen oatmeal raisin cookies (yes, I finally learned how to spell 'raisin'!); sorted through the presents I bought and made a list of things I still need to get.

It's a short list, thankfully, and if the weather cooperates, I will get it all done on Wednesday.

In honor of the professional chastisment yesterday, I'm quoting myself:

Every time I get over-confident about my abilities, something happens to knock me rather sharply back to reality. So one thing I have definitely learned is to never take any success for granted. Tomorrow it may be gone.

I need to remember this.

Today's chores are to finish the last load of laundry, visit the MIL, and fix a good meal before sending hubby back to work. I may start on the candy items; I may wait until tomorrow.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Heart-felt Apologies!!

I sincerely did not mean to offend anyone with the Adam Sandler clips.

Just learned they have offended some of you. My most sincerest apologies. I deleted the section.

Which Version is Better?

I thought I'd do something different today. I've had a hormonal week, and my ramblings yesterday gave me this idea.

Here is an excerpt from book #3 in the Arbor U series, Forbidden Love. I decided the best way to judge which version is better is to post the same scene, first in its original 1st person format, and then again in the 3rd person.

To set the scene, Keri and her love interest, Kyle, are at a beach party, with several of his friends and hers. It's only their 3rd official date. Kyle is 30; she's 19. Enjoy, and let me know what you think, and which version flows the best.

Darkness fell. Larry and Christy went back into the water; Carol and Sid started kissing and cuddling. Lance and Stephanie were talking and getting acquainted, and Kurt and I began telling jokes and funny stories when we noticed headlights, then heard a shriek. Moments later, Kyle appeared, holding a corkscrew and laughing.
"They're skinny-dipping, and I kind of interrupted them," he said. "Hi Keri. I forgot this earlier." He handed me the corkscrew.
"Well, I think I'll head back,"said Gretchen, gathering up her towel and slipping on her shoes. "Steph? Coming or staying?"
"I'll make sure she gets home," Lance said, draping an arm around Steph, who winked.
"Okay," sighed Gretchen.
I stood up also. Kyle, who hadn't sat down yet, looked surprised. "I'm just going to walk her to the car," I said. "My sandals are still in it."
"Oh. In that case, I'll come also."
The three of us walked down the hill to Gretchen's car.
"I'm not sure about leaving Stephanie here," said Gretchen worriedly.
"Relax." Kyle put his hand on her shoulder. "I'll make sure she's not pressured into anything, and if things get out of hand, we'll bring her back."
His words reassurred me that I wasn't going to be taken advantage of, either!
"Well, okay." Gretchen got into the car and handed my I.D. pouch and shoes to me. "Have fun!" She drove away.
"Larry and Christy must have found a private spot." Kyle smiled at me and reached for my hand. He took my shoes and put them on the sand, then gathered me in his strong arms and really kissed me, the way he had at the park. His hands slid up and down my back, tracing the contours of my spine, and slid down my denim shorts to feel my backside. I giggled self-consciously and kissed him back, liking the feel of his hands on my bare skin.
He drew away and took off his white t-shirt. "Go for a swim?" he suggested.
"Sure," I said. I turned my back and pulled off my shorts, grateful for the darkness that his my face. I turned back around and could just barely see Kyle. He held out his hand and entwined our fingers, then we walked into the still warm water.
I dove under the water and slicked my wet hair off my face, then swam out into the deeper water. Kyle followed me and chuckled as I treaded water while he stood with his head and shoulders still exposed. He reached out and encircled my waist with his arms and drew me towards him. My breath caught in my throat; I wasn't sure what he had in mind. I wrapped my arms around his neck, but I didn't know what to do with my feet, so I continued to tread water.
"Relax," Kyle smiled. He leaned forward and gently kissed me, his tongue searching for mine. My nervousness slowly disappeared; our kisses grew more and more intense. Gradually, Kyle's lips travelled all over my face and down my neck. Slowly, he moved his hands up my ribcage until they rested right under my breasts. One of his fingers lightly stroked the underside of my right breast, and I froze. Instinctively, I backed away, my eyes wide.
"What's wrong?" Kyle asked.
I bit my lip. "N-nothing," I said, rubbing my arms.
He swam over to me. "Am I going too fast?" he said. "I know we've only known eachother for a week."
"Well," I said slowly. "I-I've never done anything like this before."
"What do you mean?"
I had hoped he'd take the hint. "I mean...everything. I-I'm still a v-virgin, Kyle."
"Oh," he began, but before he could continue, I cut in.
"So I understand if you think I'm a baby, but I was raised to believe it is a special thing between two people, and should only be done in matrimony, or two people who love eachother, and..."
Kyle kissed me to silence my rambling. "It's okay," he said. "I won't pressure you. Actually, it's refreshing to see someone who hasn't hopped in the sack with everybody she sees!"
I opened my eyes. "So you're not mad at me?"
"Does it look like I'm mad?" he smiled and hugged me close. "I'll take it slow, and won't do anything you don't want me to do. Deal?"
"Deal," I replied, hardly believing we were even having this conversation. What had possessed me to blurt out the truth like that?
"I guess this means no skinny-dipping," he chuckled.
"You can, but my suit is staying on," I shyly offered.
"No, woman, I don't want to scare you off," he said.


Darkness fell. Larry and Christy went back into the water; Carole and Sid started kissing and cuddling. Lance and Stephanie were talking and getting acquainted, and Kurt and Keri began telling jokes and funny stories when they noticed headlights, then heard a shriek. Moments later, Kyle appeared, holding a corkscrew and laughing.
"They're skinny-dipping, and I kind of interrupted them," he said. "Hi Keri. I forgot this earlier." He handed her the corkscrew.
"Well, I think I'll head back," said Gretchen, gathering up her towel and slipping on her shoes. "Steph? Coming or staying?"
"I'll make sure she gets home," Lance said, draping an arm around Steph, who winked.
"Okay," sighed Gretchen.
Keri stood up also. Kyle, who hadn't sat down yet, looked surprised. "I'm just going to walk her to the car," she said. "My sandals are still in it."
"Oh. In that case, I'll come also."
The three walked down the hill to Gretchen's car.
"I'm not sure about leaving Stephanie here," said Gretchen worriedly.
"Relax." Kyle put his hand on her shoulder. "I'll make sure she's not pressured into anything, and if things get out of hand, we'll bring her back."
His words reassured Keri that she wasn't going to be taken advantage of, either!
"Well, okay." Gretchen got into the car and handed Keri her I.D. pouch and shoes. "Have fun!" She drove away.
"Larry and Christy must have found a private spot." Kyle smiled at her and reached for her hand. He took her shoes and put them on the sand, then gathered her in his strong arms and really kissed her, the way he had at the park. His hands slid up and down her back, tracing the contours of her spine, and slid down the denim shorts to feel her backside. Keri giggled self-consciously and kissed him back, liking the feel of his hands on her bare skin.
He drew away and took off his white t-shirt. "Go for a swim?" he suggested.
"Sure," Keri said. She turned her back and pulled off her shorts, grateful for the darkness that hid her face. She turned back around and could just barely see Kyle. He held out his hand and entwined their fingers, then they walked into the cool water.
Keri dove under the water and slicked her wet hair off her face, then swam out into the deeper water. Kyle followed her and chuckled as she treaded water while he stood with his head and shoulders still exposed. He reached out and encircled her waist with his arms and drew her towards him. Keri’s breath caught in her throat; she wasn't sure what he had in mind. She wrapped her arms around his neck, but not knowing what to do with her feet, she continued to tread water.
"Relax," Kyle smiled. He leaned forward and gently kissed her, his tongue searching for hers. Keri’s nervousness slowly disappeared; their kisses grew more and more intense. Gradually, Kyle's lips traveled all over her face and down her neck. Slowly, he moved his hands up her ribcage until they rested right under her breasts. One of his fingers lightly stroked the underside of her right breast, and she froze. Frightened, she backed away, eyes wide.
"What's wrong?" Kyle asked.
Keri bit her lip. "N-nothing," she said, rubbing her arms.
He swam over to her. "Am I going too fast?" he said. "I know we've only known each other for a week."
"Well," she said slowly. "I-I've never done anything like this before."
"What do you mean?"
Keri had hoped he'd take the hint. "I mean...everything. I-I'm still a v-virgin, Kyle."
"Oh," he began, but before he could continue, she cut in.
"So I understand if you think I'm a baby, but I was raised to believe it is a special thing between two people, and should only be done in matrimony, or two people who love each other, and..."
Kyle kissed her to silence her rambling. "It's okay," he said. "I won't pressure you. Actually, it's refreshing to see someone who hasn't hopped in the sack with everybody she sees!"
Keri opened her eyes. "So you're not mad at me?"
"Does it look like I'm mad?" he smiled and hugged her close. "I'll take it slow, and won't do anything you don't want me to do. Deal?"
"Deal," she replied, hardly believing they were even having this conversation. What had possessed her to blurt out the truth like that?
"I guess this means no skinny-dipping," he chuckled.
"You can, but my suit is staying on," Keri shyly offered.
"No, woman, I don't want to scare you off," he said.

So....which one did you like better? Leave a comment, or email me at and let me know where I need improvement!

AJ's taking on the Santa Clause is Coming to Town carol today; here's my hubby's version of Jingle Bells:

Jingle Bells, Santa smells, Easter's on its way...
Oh what fun it is to ride in a beat-up Cheverolet...

Well, it's time for me to head downstairs and watch 90210, shower, dress, and start my Laundry Goddess duties. Don't know what just happened, but I lost half of this post a few minutes ago! If I remember what I wrote, I'll come back and redo it later. Stay warm everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fun Facts:)

I have 2 fans:) They have both read my 2nd book, Love Finds a Way, and now can't wait to get their hands on Forbidden Love, Keri's story! Good news? It's written. Bad news? I'm trying to decide which version I like better...the 1st person, where the reader is inside Keri's head, or the 3rd person...reading just like the others. Other bad news? I don't want to self-pubb this coming year, and so am shopping around for an e-pubb, if still no interest from New York.

1. What is your occupation? Published Author
2. What color are your socks right now? Black, with red and green candy canes
3. What are you listening to right now? Big Big World kiddie show
4. What was the last thing that you ate? Chocolate chip cookie
5. Can you drive a stick shift? Yes
6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Yellow
7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Daughter's friend, asking if S was around.
8. How old are you today? 41
9. Favorite drink? Sweet iced tea
10. What is your favorite sport to watch. Anything except curling!
11. Have you ever dyed your hair? Do highlights count?
12. Favorite reality TV show? Survivor
14. What was the last movie you watched? Started to watch “Over The Hedge”; caught part of “Transformers”; too long to know! I've got DVD's from last Christmas I haven't even watched yet!
15. Favorite day of the year? When everyone is gone and I can write without interruptions!
16. What do you do to vent anger? Scream; write venting emails; kill off characters, ha ha…
17. What was your favorite toy as a child? Books, music, dolls
18. What is your favorite fall or spring? That’s a tough one. Kids go back to school in the fall, but hubby goes back to work in the spring!
19. Hugs or kisses? Both!
20. Cherries or Blueberry? Blueberry
21. Do you want your friends to email you back? If they want to.
23. Living arrangement? Rented house; hubby’s here on weekends
24. When was the last time you cried? Saturday, a few tears were shed. An honest cry? Thanksgiving weekend.
25. What is on the floor of your closet Everything I don’t want the baby to have!
26. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending this to? Erica, if she reads this!
27. What did you do last night? Relaxed; watched TV...Survivor night:)
28. Favorite smells? Candles and cookies baking
29. What inspires you most.. Uplifting stories of success
30. What are you afraid of? Failure; falling; dying before I get these stories out of my head…
31. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburger? Plain hamburger with regular mustard is as spicy as this palate gets!
32. Favorite dog breed? Labradors
33. How many years at your current job? Domestic Engineer: 17 years. Pubbed Author: 5 years. Writer: 30 years. Serious writer: 22 years.
34. Favorite day of the week? Monday…hubby goes back to work!
35. How many states have you lived in? 1, unless my 'summer home' in Florida counts...visited every year for 11 years...god I miss it!
36. Ever driven a Motorcycle or heavy machinery? No.
37. Who's your favorite NFL team? The Indianapolis Colts; Dallas Cowboys
38. Do you have a house phone that is NOT cordless? yes
39. 10 inches of snow or 100 degree weather? 100 degree weather

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

And come again another day...

Saw on the news we've had nearly 5 inches of rain the past three days, with more to come today. That's okay; I'll take 5 inches of rain as opposed to 4 feet of snow! And we may get 2-6 inches of that mess starting Saturday...Time to fire up the private jet and head south...

Oh, wait. I don't have a private jet. Or even a fireplace. Guess I'll have to be content standing on my register when the furnace is on!

The good news is, the toddler's last day of school is today, and my other kids get out a week from tomorrow. And hubby is still working! That in itself is a miracle...God is looking out for our finances:) But it doesn't look as if I'll get to do what I want next Wednesday...the person I want most to spend it with has to work. And hubby may actually come home and take me out to dinner...if the weather doesn't throw any curve balls our way! So Erica, if you're reading this, I guess I'll have to put your present in the mail...was hoping to deliver it in person!

Today on the to-do list:
-mini pumpkin loaves
-oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip (didn't make any yesterday)
-take W's teachers their goodies and one to Marlene, my FSW, and 'bribe' her for a job??? Do I really want one? With hubby coming home next week, sure! As long as I can get by with starting at 10, and maybe only putting in a few hours a week? Think she'll go for that? If not, I'll adjust...discovered last night I've passed half of the 'single parent' test. Now can I do it and hold down a full-time job as well? Past history says no, but that was when I was trying to add 'wife' (slave??) to the list of duties...forgive me...this lack of sleep has made me cranky (see Dakota's list of attitude levels!).

Stay warm and dry everyone! AJ, I'll send a few gallons of precip your way for your rain need it more than I do at the moment!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Random Thoughts

Had several thoughts running through this sugar-soaked brain of mine this morning.

While I accept the fact that there are different attitudes and lifestyles out there, I just could not get a certain scene out of my head last night. In the E-book I finished last night, the young girl (21 yrs) goes to her mother and states she wishes to date both young men (twins) whom the small town generally frowns upon their special relationship with each other. The mother's response? "Sure...just go to the clinic and get all three of you checked out, and you on the pill."

What? No warnings? No, "I-don't-approve-but-I-can't-tell-you-what-to-do" speech? I don't think my mom would take it that calmly, nor do I think I would react that way.

Where does morality play into this? Yes, we should be tolerant of other people's choices. Yes, we should accept others as they are. But don't parents have the right to express their misgivings? I've been taught that we should love the person, and if we don't agree with their choices, make it known once. End of subject.

On my To-Do list:

-Bake banana bread
-Snickerdoodle and oatmeal raison cookies
-Take the donation bag to St. Vincent de Paul, so toddler will quit trying to wear his old shoes!
-Take summer clothing bag to storage, so the above child will also quit pulling out his sandals that he will be able to wear next year!
-Make a detailed list of all gifts bought so I can see which child I've short-changed this year...I have a sneaking suspicion it is the daughter...

I bought myself a gift yesterday. It was more ink for my printer! Now, when I print out my holiday newsletter, my websites will actually print, as Word caused them to be blue:) Oh happy all I need are more stamps! Too bad we can't print those out on the computer...hmmm...counterfeit stamps. Anyone else have that idea??

And lastly, got a call from a friend out in California last night. He said in southern California, the temps are dipping into the 30's at night. When I had asked how cold and he had hesitated first, I laughed after he told me and said, "If you had said 60 or 70, I was going to reach through the phone line and smack you!"

Speaking of the weather, we may hit 40 today. Quite a shock from our 62 yesterday...

Is anyone else having a good time with the 12 days of Christmas contest? I am:) And have already fired off my answers in the Christmas Carol contest:) The last two drove me crazy for a couple of hours, and then all of a sudden the rest of the lines came to me! And if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, go to for the 12 days info, and and scroll down for the What's the Name of that Christmas Carol contest! Some of them I recognized right off the bat; others I had to search my memory.

And please, no hate mail for the lifestyle comments...I do have gay friends and love them dearly in a platonic way:)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Who Raised My Body Heat?

Currently reading: Rule Britannia, by Daphne du Maurier.
E-book: Finished Garron's Gift by Carol Lyn. This was good, and now I wish I'd started with the first one in the series! Who knew this one little town had so many people exploring different lifestyles? Also bought Twin Temptation, (same author!) and I'll probably get to it by Friday. More Christmas cookies to make this week! The next ones in the rotation will be Swift of Heart and Last Man Standing. I'm trying to not play favorites here...the next one was actually a book that is part of the contest, so am hoping to win it:)

9:00 pm- Finished Twin Temptation...found it a little disturbing that the acceptance level was so calm/high. Don't know if I would be as open-minded if one of my children came to me with the announcement of "I'm dating both..." On the other hand, it made me want to read both Sonny's and Rawley's stories!

Okay...this is getting a little out of control.

I understand that menapause brings hot flashes and night sweats. But why doesn't it hit me during the day, when it is cold outside, and I'm running around doing errands wishing it was at least 70 degrees? (I'll even settle for 60!) hits me when I'm finally warm, bundled in my fleece pj pants and cotton T-shirt, with my long fleece robe and fleece slippers. I turn off the lights, irritating my daughter who 'just wants to read one more chapter' in my fascinating newly published book, and return to my own solitary king-sized bed. I snuggle in, relishing the thought of a good night's sleep, and BAM! Suddenly I'm so hot, I feel I could set the bed on fire.

So I throw off the covers...hey, I'm alone, and there's no hubby to piss off...and settle down again. Suddenly, my teeth are threatening to chatter, I'm so cold. So its back under the covers again, and sometimes I try to leave one leg out.

Four hours later, I wake to discover my dog is panting in my ear, wanting to go outside, and I'm on my back, lying on top of the covers again. Why am I not cold? The minute I sit up, the heat is back. I pad to the back door and welcome the chilly night air as I snap Lucky on her chain. I stand outside for a few seconds and go back inside. Fortunately, sleep comes quickly.

The alarm wakes me up, and as I shut it off, I discover I really don't want to leave the warmth of my bed. But finally, I have no choice. My son can't drive himself to school yet, and even if he did, I'd have no transportation! So I drag myself out of bed, drink a cup of coffee and watch the weather. Today, it's good news: The rain will stay to the north of Indianapolis, and hopefully hubby will work until the hurricane/typhoon gets here on Thursday. And we're going to be in the lower 60's again! Okay, today's not the day to make it for Thursday.

I get everyone to school (on time; daughter knows she'll be grounded from everything techno if she's late again!) and return home. My basement is cold; I need to wait for it to warm up a little before I go down and shower. I'm drinking my 2nd cup of coffee and typing this slightly sarcastic post, and fighting the lesser flashes of heat that threatens to invade my body.

I'm barely over 40...I thought I had at least 8-10 years for this to happen! Although...when W made his tiny enbryonic self known, I was praying it was the onset of the change. No, not quite. A change, yes, but not that one!

Speaking of which, when will that delightful symptom appear? Since we've had the same box of condoms for 8 months now, and only half are gone, I'm no longer panicked when I run slightly late. Although hubby will return next week to stay until at least March, maybe we'll actually start on the 2nd box (when he ended up staying with me at the conference last April, I made him buy a box!).

I guess there's something in the air, er, blog or cyberspace. Everyone's cranky this week! Dakota's sleep-deprived; Kelly vented her frustration on poor Emmaline; AJ's looking for a job to hold her until her royalties can support her Tim-Tam habit; I'm having hot flashes. For a calming influence, visit and take deep, cleansing breaths. And enjoy her trips down Memory Lane:) And if I have any new readers, check out the blogs to the right and enter the '12 Days of Christmas' contest going on. I'm not part of it, but there are 6 books that I would definitely like to win:) I've already purchased some of the others...I'd be happy with even 2nd place!

So in the meantime, I hope I get a hot flash while I'm in the shower. It will help the tiny space heater keep me somewhat warm once I shut the water off. Have a great day, and pay no attention to the above ramblings of a woman whose body heat thermostat has suddenly gone crazy!

Monday, December 10, 2007

How To Drive a Teenager Crazy on His Birthday...

K ordered his class ring last year, before we had to move. And it's been a struggle to find the money to pay for it. So over the summer, I chipped away at the balance slowly, and in September, finally paid it in full. The package arrived on a weekend he happened to be on a BSA outing.

We decided to hide it and give it to him for his birthday.

Friday, I took this small black velver box, wrapped it in its original mailing envelope, wrapped a layer of newspaper around it, and topped it with a layer of 'Happy Birthday' wrapping paper. I then padded a clothing box with additional newspaper, loosely bundled the item in more paper, folded the tissue paper over it, and placed the lid on the box. I then wrapped the entire box, and had him open it last.

He liked his new pairs of cargo pants, the telescope, and the money he received. And was especially choked up by his grandmother's loving message in the card. And he laughed at his 'Driver's License Picture' card we gave him (picture of a monkey inside...double meaning, as his nickname from birth to a year was 'Monkey'!). But he was especially surprised when he finally unwrapped that box to find a smaller box, and no, it wasn't keys to a new car, but his long-awaited gold class ring. It's not left his hand all weekend. And he's got the Colt's emblem on it, the year they won the Super Bowl.

His other nice surprise was that his cousin Josh, who is a Senior in HS, showed up at the laser tag place and brought 3 friends with him. A good time was had by all; the baby and I didn't play, but he had a great time 'playing' on the arcade games! Hubby sat out two games, and the kids squared off in two teams of 4, and were extremely tired after 5 games!

Met my parents and my sister-in-law at the Lone Star Steakhouse and enjoyed cheese fries, the Awesome Blossom/Bloomin' Onion/Onion Petals/whatever it's called there; steaks; and a huge chocolate sundae for the birthday boy that was so huge, it took 3 teens and the toddler to eat!

And the everyone but hubby and I was asleep before we left Terre Haute!

Had more birthday cake later in the evening, and my son said this was the best birthday he'd ever had.

I'm still finding it hard to believe it's possible I have a 16-year-old! But I have a good one, and I'm very proud of him. Now if he'd hurry up and get that Eagle Scout award...

Sunday, December 9, 2007


I can't believe I actually drew a blank on my favorite whimsical Christmas song! How could anyone forget this?

"I want a hippopotomus for Christmas...
Only a hippopotomus will do...
No crocodiles, no rhinauserouses...
I only like hippopotomuses...

And hippopotomuses like me too!"

And then there's one I discovered a couple of years ago...

"Lacey dreams, the wife is missin',
didn't ask for her permission...
I'm wearin' her clothes, silk pantyhose,
walkin' round in women's underwear.

In the store, there's a teddy,
with little straps, like spaghetti,
They hold me so tight, like handcuffs at night,
walkin' round in women's underwear.

In the office there's a guy named Melvin,
he pretends that I am Murphy Brown.
He'll say 'are you ready', we'll say, 'Whoa, man!
Let's wait until the wife is out of town!'"

(Obviously, there's another verse, but I can't remember it at the moment!)

I also love Amy Grant's version of 'O Little Town of Bethlehem' and 'Emmanual'; TranSiberian Orchestra's carols; and Manhein Steamroller. And nothing beats Gene Autry's 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'!

And the first song I ever learned to play on the organ, including foot pedals? 'The First Noel'. And my piano specialty? 'Do You Hear What I Hear' and 'The Little Drummer Boy'!

Okay, time to get in the shower and get ready for church! Got to redeem myself for quoting 'Walkin' Round in Women's Underwear', ha ha:)

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Since today is K's 16th birthday, and we're headed an hour north in a little while, here are my answers to Bron's survey:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper, unless I get tired and then it gets stuffed in a gift bag.

2. Real or fake tree? Fake. I hated decorating our real tree growing up; the needles were sharp!

3. When do you put up the tree? A day or two after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? Right after New Year’s Day.

5. Do you like eggnog? I’ve never tasted it. Tried an eggnog latte at Starbucks, but didn’t like it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Probably any or all books and music.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Toss up between my Mom and my cousin’s children.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Again, toss up between hubby and the baby!

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever got? My paternal grandmother is notorious for buying me clothes I don’t like. However, in the past five years, she’s redeemed herself!

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Definitely mail, although there are a few email ones I will probably send this year:)

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Prancer and the original Miracle on 34th St.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Normally I start about September, but the past few years that has been impossible. Probably the first week of December…

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Christmas cookies; my mom’s deviled eggs

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Colored

17. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night; Santa Clause is Coming to Town; Chipmunk’s Christmas Song

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Depends on the weather. Usually, we’re always traveling to someone’s house, but since we’re 3 hours away from my mom’s house, it will depend on the weather. Last year, we had our family Christmas at my aunt’s house in Indianapolis on Christmas Eve and then went to Mom’s and spent the night.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? You bet!

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Whatever we’re in the mood for; we have both. This year, it’s the star.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning!

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Icy roads and heavy traffic.

23. What I love most about Christmas? The love that surrounds us every year and watching my kids’ faces when they open their gifts!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Let the Celebrations Begin!

9:00 pm- Tah dah! I parked myself in front of the computer after dinner, and finished AJ's book! Suffered my own camping flashbacks while reading it, ha ha...As I said, I'll have to reread it all the way through after the holidays:) And I liked the ending, and can hardly wait to read the next one!

Still currently reading: The Goddess and the Ghost. Have reached Ch 7:) At this rate, I'll be finished by next week...every time I sit down to read it, either my kids interrupt me, or hubby gripes about the computer usage...he and W are down for a nap, and that's all I heard while posting this am..."When are you getting off that damn computer?"

Why am I not reading? I've got cookies due to come out of the oven at any given...yup, there went the timer. Bye!

Drum roll...cymbal clash, please! My oldest is kicking off the holiday season with his 16th birthday tomorrow:)

Which means Mom's job today is to get everything ready.

Laundry: I've neglected it for the past 3 days, since I've been at a funeral and have baked cookies the last two. So today, I need to get it all sorted and washed.

Baking: We have finicky cake eaters in our house. K likes white cake, and has also requested a Dairy Queen cake. S likes the homemade ones, either white or chocolate. I happen to love chocolate, red velvet, and yellow, and love the store-bought cakes. Hubby and W don't have a preference, although W is in the I-only-like-the-frosting stage of his young life! So today, I'm making K a white homemade cake; tonight, I'm picking up his store cake with the Teen Driver decorations (white cake with whipped cream icing); tomorrow, there will be a DQ cake.

Food: We are meeting one of his friends from Martinsville in Spencer tonight and bringing him down here for the weekend. And I'm letting my daughter have friend over as well. The teenagers have requested pizza tonight, from K's favorite local pizza parlor. Tomorrow, its off to Terre Haute to play laser tag, and then meeting Grandma and Grandpa at the Longhorn Steakhouse for presents and a birthday meal:)

His main gift is coming in a month: He'll get his driver's license in January. No car, but he'll be able to drive himself to Boy Scouts on Mondays. I have to wrap his other gifts today...there's a chance he'll see this, so I won't tell you what we got him...and hide them until tomorrow morning. It's our custom to have them on the table when he wakes up in the morning.

Next week, his scout troop is scheduled to go to Wright-Patterson AFB; I don't know if he'll be able to go; depends on the weather and whatever holiday celebrations are going on next weekend. My birthday falls in the middle of the week, so don't know if my parents will include mine in the festivities tomorrow, or if it will be the traditional family Christmas/Molly's b-day party which usually happens anytime during the week before or a couple days after Christmas. Just depends on when everyone can get together!

In the meantime, hubby came home yesterday due to the snow up north, and won't return until Monday. Which is actually a good thing; we were hoping he wouldn't have to work on K's birthday! So last night for dinner, I made homemade beef stroganoff, and I didn't have to go out into the cold to take the kids to school this morning:)

Still no snow down here; just rain.

If I get to it today, I'm making butterscotch chip cookies. The kids are consuming the M&M cookies at an alarming rate...thank God I made 11 dozen! And have more chocolate chips and M&Ms in the freezer, so can make more if necessary! But first, it's the butterscotch and hubby's favorite, oatmeal raisen. Anyone else have a request? We'll have a baking party:)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Winter Mess

Currently reading: This Side of Innocence, by Tayler Caldwell
E-books: The Goddess and the Ghost, by Amarinda Jones. I'm on Chapter 3...I keep getting interrupted! Maybe when I get home from taking the kids to school, I'll sit down and read it, before I start my chores!

There's a Scrooge loose in Indianapolis.

Yesterday morning, my hubby braved the 2 inch snowfall to go collect his two-hour show-up time on the jobsite, only to discover that someone had stolen his license plate right off the car! Screws and all...

The incident cost him $9 at the BMV; loss of his show-up time (unless the boss counts his stopping to talk to the boss on his way to the BMV); and $5 at the hardware store for new screws. And had it not snowed, it would have been at least half a day's pay.

Thankfully, we didn't get any down here. Just the bitterly cold wind. I dropped a pork loin in my slow cooker and made cookies all afternoon. Kids walked in the door at 3:30 and it was, "Oh, Mom...something smells soooo good!"

Yesterday: 8 dozen chocolate chip.
Today: 11 doz M&M and 4 doz PB chip.

Good News: Son came home and announced he passed ISTEP! 581-English (need 551) and 675-Math (need 560):) He can now happily graduate in 2010 and not have to worry about passing the ISTEP anymore....just the SAT's...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tribute to an Elegant Lady 1935-2007

Keep checking...I'm going to post a wonderful tribute to Mrs. G later, written by her granddaughter. It says it all.

I'm off to get dressed for the funeral. Don't know what time I'll get this posted today, so I'll leave it up for tomorrow as well.

Still waiting for the letter to hit my inbox, so here's a loving tribute from her 4 kids.

Our Mom most assuredly had the gift of giving. And we were the constant recipients of her and Dad's self-sacrifice. We'll never forget the memories she and Dad created through their generosity: great family vacations in Florida, rich holiday traditions, birthday parties, dinners they would never let us pay for, and the lasting investments of time and energy made in their grandchildren.

But Mom's generosity wasn't limited to her family. She loved to find needs and meet them, whether for a missionary on the other side of the world or a friend nearby who needed encouragement. She understood that it is truly "more blessed to give than receive." She made generosity a way of life. God's kingdom is surely advanced because of her giving spirit.

If there is one common family trait that we all received, it was her sense of humor. She led the way and showed us how to laugh with one another and at ourselves. She found a great balance between the serious and the lighter sides of life. She loved to 'ham it up', play jokes on others, do impersonations, and told funny stories in a way only she could do. Even in her last days when her physical health was so diminished and frail and the discomfort greater than ever, her humor never ceased.

Because of her cheerful disposition, most people have only a small understanding of how much she suffered most of her adult life. But she bore this cross with such immense courage, rarily drawing attention to her pain and constantly thinking about others. The path of suffering, though it often seems to make no sense, is not without purpose. God's ways are perfect despite our inability to fully understand. Even now, we don't understand why she had to walk this path, but one day we will. But now, as she stands in the presence of her Savior, she knows His purpose in all of this. She knows now what Paul meant when he said, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." She ran the race that was set before her with endurance and perseverance. And we are all the richer for her example.

If she were here, she would want you to know her faith is what sustained her through it all. When she was in the hospital for the last time, she recounted at least 19 surgeries that she endured over the years. Of all those, none was as significant or as life-altering as the surgery God performed in her heart 30 years ago when she chose to turn her life over to Him. That is what enabled her to never lose hope amid such great adversity.

Today we celebrate her life, both past and future. There is so much more that can be said. It is both sad and joyful at the same time. For today, she is in the presence of her Maker to worship and enjoy Him forever and ever...which was what she was made to do.

We thank God that he chose to give our Mom to us and for making our lives so profoundly meaningful as a result. The lives of many people in this room are also richer because of her. We will miss her terribly, but we will see her again.

Monday, December 3, 2007

His Mysterious Ways...

God really works miracles.

Who knew one would come in the form of a frozen brake cable?

On Saturday, I was all set to travel to Muncie, to proudly display all seven copies of Love Finds a Way and twenty-one copies of Love is Sober, and possibly make a little Christmas spending money:) And then my hubby sent me to the auto parts store for a quart of oil. I got the quart, poured it into the car, and then tried to leave.

Car refused to budge.

I called hubby; he and the guy from the auto parts store check it out and discovered the brake cable was frozen. So hubby took me home; collected his tools, and went to fix the problem.

I spent the next two hours hanging out with my daughter and toddler, watching cartoons and anxiously watching the clock. I called the gentleman who was in charge of the venue and explained the car problem and told him it looked as if I was not going to make it. I then looked upwards and said, "Lord, if there's some reason you don't want me to go to Muncie, I'll accept it. I'll be disappointed, but I'll accept it."

Five minutes later, hubby walked in the door and said he didn't understand it, but the cable retracted, and everything was fine. But, he was concerned about the weather and he was sorry I was missing my event. And then the phone rang.

Remember my 'second mom', who nearly died last October, then rallied and was able to go home? God called her home yesterday about the time the brake cable retracted.

My best friend, in tears over the death of her mom, pleaded with me to come get her and drive her to Evansville (she has no car, and the closest relative is in Chicago). Hubby handed me the keys and told me to go.

So I drove to Noblesville, picked her up, and we drove back to Evansville. For those of you not familiar with Indiana, I drove 3 hours north, and then 4 hours south. I was exhausted, so spent the night with her in her parents' home and drove home the next morning.

The funeral is tomorrow, and provided I can get a sitter for the baby, I'll be there. Otherwise, I'll get in the car tonight and go to the showing. Evansville is an hour south of me, and with the time change, I'll get down there the same time as I left, but it will take me 2 hours to come home!

I've also contacted the gentleman at the Author Showcase, who assured me he'll welcome me back next year.

In other news, Evil Kenival died last Friday. The man inspired many people to challenge their limits, and inspired me to keep my feet firmly on the ground.

Have a good day and stay warm!

Saturday, December 1, 2007


What a month...I wrote furiously, yelled at everyone, was on Cloud 9 and higher when Love Finds a Way came out, and crashed into a funk which lasted almost an entire week and nearly turned me into a Scrooge befor Thanksgiving! But thankfully, I was able to accomplish my goal. My certificate is being printed out at my Mom's, because I have no color ink in my printer. And I couldn't figure out how to download my 'winner' icon...but I know I've done it. No need to gloat all over cyberspace:) And what a relief to wake up this morning and know that all I had to worry about was the weather behaving for my trip. No deadline to meet; I sipped my coffee in total relaxation this morning:) Now for my 'insightful' post...


-When you go out to dinner at a new restaurant and you think, "that could have been plated a bit better..."

-You take a bite and notice your ravioli is tough around the edges, but the center has great flavor;

-When preparing the evening meal, you notice you're carrying a running monologue in your head about the spices used and why;

-After the food is prepared, you plate it for everyone and expect applause;

-You ask for a score of 1-20 on taste, appearance, and should this dish be added to the normal lineup?

Yes, I've become somewhat of a Food Network addict...especially the Food Network Challenge, Iron Chef, and certain episodes caught while visiting the MIL...Giada, Paula, Emeril, and Sandra Lee. And love Dinner: Impossible.

And those ArcaMax recipes? Everyone's palate for leftovers wasn't disappointed this year! Made homemade Turkey Tetrazzini, and it is still being raved about! Made a simple Beef Tips over Rice the other day, and since it was Survivor night, I dumped the rice into the beef mixture for easy cleanup. My daughter pouted, but when they started eating, they couldn't get enough of it! How to tell when the meal is good? NO LEFTOVERS! Hubby was disappointed when he came home last night...but finished off the meatloaf from Wednesday:)

Anyway, must get off of here and finish getting ready for the trip north. AJ's got a hilarious story about worms on her site, I laughed so hard, I nearly fell out of my chair! And Anny's got a wonderful Christmas story on hers; Kell's not posted yet, but check hers out also, And Bron, Brynn, and Dakota are battling snow right now. Check out their blogs to the right and send them warm thoughts...esp Dakota...she's with me in the snow-hating department! But she's also relaxing this morning with the knowledge she accomplished her goal in NaNo as well! Way to go any others who did it, and to those who didn't, you tried your best and hopefully you have a good idea started and will continue to write until it's finished! Everyone's a winner in shows you can create something out of the imagination! Next year, I think I'll challenge my daughter...