Friday, May 29, 2015

Flashback Friday: Left Behind!

May 2005:
I'm not exactly sure why I was left off the 'guest list' for this year's Indy 500, but we took one y/o Youngling and the other two to the family gathering at my husband's cousin's house.  The race was on, so I spent the majority of my time in front of the telly.  With five laps to go, the daughter found me and announced Grandma was ready to go home.

"Can't she wait a few more minutes?  The race is almost over."

"I'll go tell Dad."

The excitement in the living room was electric when rookie Danica Patrick went around the leader.  I was moaning; I had sooo wanted to be there if and when a woman ever won!  But Dan Wheldon passed her....the a wreck caused the yellow light.....and Dan Wheldon won, Danica finishing 4th and becoming Rookie of the Year.  After watching the celebration in Victory Circle, I got up and went to find my family.

They were gone.

Gone?  How the hell was I going to get home?

When I called, all the spouse said was, "We told you we were leaving.  Find your own way home."  Click.

Fortunately, I was able to get a lift back to town an hour later with cousins on the other side of the family, but I was pretty steamed about the spouse's attitude!  I also resolved to never miss another 500!

Present Day:
I'm dealing with a medical issue.  Last Monday, I discovered I was having vertigo spells, and feeling nauseated.  I tried sleeping it off, but while the nausea subsided, the dizziness did not.  Wednesday morning, I had another dizzy spell while drying my hair and body, and bending over to do laundry.  I decided to call the doctor, but they couldn't get me in.  So, I went to the ER.

A CAT scan showed I did indeed still have fluid in my ear canal and also behind my mastoid bone.  More antibiotics were prescribed, as well as some anti-dizzy pills.  They make me sleepy, so I haven't had any today, since the dizziness has not bothered me since yesterday.

'Promotion' At Church:
I've been asked to be the summer time Cantor at church, so today I practiced for this Sunday's service.  My choir director will do the Gloria, Reponsorial Psalm and Alleluia, while I do the hymns.  Next week, I'll probably do the Responsorial, then turned loose on the congregation June 7th.  Hoooo boooooyyyy....hoping my ability to read doesn't desert me, as it sometimes does in practice, ha ha!

Today I also learned how close I need to be to the mike.

Last Week:
I decided I could go for two hours, so sang the following:
Home Sweet Home Slightly wobbly
Never Been To Me Nailed it, except for the spoken bridge:  the words didn't light up.
I Found Someone Nailed it:)
I Will Be Nailed it:)
Automatic Did well:)  Think I'll sing this one again either at Bottom's Up or Burton's 2.

I Need To Know (Marc Antony)
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (Neil Sedaka)
I Want To Know What Love Is (Foreigner)
I Will Come To You (Hanson)

Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Flashback Friday: Rebellion

May 1995:
I'd spent an enjoyable evening with my coworkers, but the spouse was furious.  By the time our 4th anniversary, we were barely speaking to each other, and on Mother's Day, I was thrilled when our boss passed out corsages to all the moms working for him.

One of my coworkers had a crisis one evening, having a bad breakup with her boyfriend.  A bunch of us went out after work on Friday, to cheer her up, and we snuck her into one of bars.  Nobody drank; we simply listened to her and offered advice.  Imagine my shock when I suddenly heard 'Last Call!'  It was 2:30 am....surely the spouse would forgive this lapse?  No......he continued to gripe about it for the next several days, stating a mom with two kids had no business staying at a bar until all hours.  He wanted me to quit, since he was called back to work, but I insisted on working the weekends, in order to help out during Race Month.  He wasn't happy, but I had my way.

The boss was happy I was going to stick around for a while also.  Nobody wanted to work the back section, but I loved it.

The 1995 Indy 500 was very exciting, and Jacques Villeneuve won.

Present Day:
I'm getting ready to head north for the weekend, and attend the 99th running of the Indy 500:)  I'm looking forward to seeing my Uncle Bill, Cousin Will, and my cousin Harold and his son Carter.

No karaoke for me on Saturday, as I'll be making sandwiches and going to bed early!

Was able to sing karaoke last night at Old Town/Burton's 2:
Gloria:  Nailed it:)
Never Been To Me:  I'm sooooooo happy Brower had this!  Several people applauded....I think.  It could have been the birthday party going on....anyway, I think I did well:)
How Can We Be Lovers:  This was okay; probably the only time I'll sing it.
All Cried Out:  Nailed it:)  Sang both parts.
Come Sail Away:  Nailed it:)

My dentist was walking up the stairs as I was leaving, and one of the 'kids' stopped me:

"You have a really nice voice, and I've enjoyed listening to you sing tonight."

Awwwww.....thank you!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

"A Howler Monkey, A Stingray, And A Dead Fish..."

Last night, Mike, dubbed 'Howler Monkey' by Shirin at the final Tribal Council, won the 30th season of Survivor:)  He was the last standing blue collar tribe member, and with his back against the wall, won 5 Individual Immunities in a row, forcing the six allied players to turn on themselves.

Caroline, aka "Momma C' and dubbed 'Stingray' (see above), was definitely a contender in the final, since she had most of her allies on the jury, but only won one Immunity, and went on most of the rewards.  In a tie with Rodney at the final 4, she was able to make fire and burn through her string ahead of Rodney, who made fire first, but was unable to maintain it.  She became the last standing white collar tribe member.

Will, aka 'Dead Fish' (again, see above!), was lousy at challenges, until the Loved One Reward challenge.  Seeing his wife finally put some fire in his soul, and was running in 2nd or 3rd place, but was unable to keep his balance while carrying puzzle tiles on the end of a machete.  Mike's mom got to come back to camp and spend the night, as well as being able to practice for the blindfolded Immunity Challenge.  He thought he'd wasted his thirty minutes, but he managed to find all of his medalians AND make his way to the Immunity Necklace.  The ONLY reason Will, the final standing member of the No Collar tribe, made it to the finals was because everyone knew he would never win a challenge, and was never a threat.  To my knowledge, Rodney was the only one who voted for him in the final.

Rodney, who'd whined ever since he didn't get to go on the reward on his birthday, was given a cake by Jeff at the Reunion and everyone sang Happy Birthday to him.

I was soooooo thrilled when Kelly (Borneo), Spencer (Brains, Beauty, and Braun), Kass (BBB), Joe (WCBCNC), and Keith (BBB) were chosen as contestants for next season's Second Chance:)  Unfortunately, Coach and Troyzan were not chosen.

See you next season!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Saying Goodbye

Sept. 2009:
We received a phone call.
"Remember telling you about my friend's black Cocker Spaniel, Roxie?  I just discovered they've left her tied up in their back yard and aren't taking very good care of her.  I'm going to go rescue her."

Next Day:
"I managed to get her, but there's a problem.  She's so food aggressive, she's not getting along with my dogs.  Can you take her in?"

We talked it over and agreed to take her on a trial basis.  "As long as she gets along with Lucky (our black Lab).  If not, she'll have to go elsewhere."

My daughter and hubby went to get her, and this is what she looked like.

After 3 hours with the clippers, our little wooly lamb turned into a sweet dog!  She quickly made friends with Lucky, who was so good-natured she'd probably get along with anyone, and tolerated the presence of the two caged rats.

Over the years, she grew less aggressive toward the food bowls, learning there was food all the time and plenty of it, as well as a water bowl which was filled on a regular basis.  A trip to the vet confirmed she was maybe 8 years old, and cateracts were developing.

In 2010, we had to put Lucky down, due to her incontinence.  Six months later, the daughter adopted a two year old 'German-Rott-Bull-Chow' named Cheyenne.  The rats, meanwhile, succumbed to old age.

When the summer of 2012 rolled around, a grandchild joined the family, followed by a Pit Bull the next year.  Roxie was now nearly totally blind, and getting hard of hearing.  She had her little 'nests' around the house, and would lay on anything soft, even a stray sock.  She loved pillows and blankets more, though.

Last year, she gave us a scare.  She managed to get loose from her chain in the back yard and had made her way over to one of the kennels five blocks from us.  How she managed to navigate her way across several busy streets, we'll never know, but she was soon home again.

Being so quiet in the house, she's had the misfortune of being kicked across the bedroom floor in the middle of the night, stepped on when I get out of bed, or even being in the way as she tries to remember where the doors are located.

She scratched so much at our back door, she wore a hole in it.  Last week, when we had a warm spell, apparently someone neglected to close the inside door, and she managed to sneak out through the hole.  The spouse reports closing the inside door around 1am, when the temperature began to drop.  At 9 am, we received a phone call from the animal shelter, asking if we were missing a dog.  A quick survey revealed Chey and Dexter (Pit Bull) were indeed inside, but where was Rox?

"OMG...ROXIE!  Is it a black Cocker Spaniel?  OMG, OMG..." I went into panic mode.

We drove over to get her, after convincing them not to microchip her, flea dip her, or anything; we couldn't afford the $45 fee to pick her up.  I was in tears; my baby had been outside in the 55 degree weather, and she didn't do well in cold, having arthritis.  The worker told me she'd been in the outside pen all night, and was shivering, barely able to walk.

We brought her home, confusing her more when she came in through the front door, and it took her several trips around the house before she 'knew' it again.

We knew last year she was coming to the end of her life; we often joked she had Doggy Alzheimer's, since she would often go out to do her business, then want out again 5 minutes later.  She's gotten lost in the house and had to be led to the back door or even her water and food bowls.

After getting her rabies shot last year, the vet confirmed she was elderly, and as long as she stayed warm and seemed to be getting around, she was okay.

Recently, we've observed her having mini seizures in her sleep.  She'll twitch, unlike while dreaming.

She's forgotten how many steps it is to the back door and has fallen down the last one.  Conversely, she has to sniff her way to the wall on the way in, and avoid the door at the top of the three steps.

She can't pull her chain free when it gets stuck in a crack, or the edge of the concrete.

She waited too long one day to let us know she needed outside and emptied her bladder in the kitchen (a blessing; thank god it wasn't on the carpet!).

Cheyenne has been caught 'bullying' her; pushing her aside and preventing Roxie from getting a treat, or even blocking her food bowl.

With a heavy heart, I made the call on Monday, and arranged for her final trip to the vet today. I had to do this five years ago with Lucky, and I've done nothing but cry for the past three days.  In fact, I think I've gone through an entire box of Puffs as I try to write this!

I know this is the best thing for her, and so she doesn't suffer.  I get that.  It's just so hard to let go of a pet who stole my heart five and a half years ago.

Roxanna Marie, you've been a wonderful companion and I'm happy we probably gave you the best years of your life.  Enjoy hunting rabbits with Lucky, Keisha, and Shadow.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Flashback Friday: Bad Decision and 1st Indy 500:)

May 1985:
After spending two weeks with S and finding out the pitfalls of having access to one's boyfriend every night, I was rather heartbroken when he returned to California.  But I had finals to pass, my fourth of the dorm room to pack up, and find something to do during the summer, once back under my parents' roof again.

Rebellion and boredom soon set in.

I did not have access to a car.  I didn't have my license yet, but was encouraged when a possible job at the YMCA became available.  I would join the karate class, and help out.

I earned my white belt, and the instructor discovered I was willing to photograph the kids.  My only problem was transportation:  I could ride in with Mom, then catch the bus.  But this grew old after a while, and I guess the instructor and I didn't communicate well, because nothing more was ever said about it.  I spent the next two weeks buying books and cassette tapes, and frustrating my father when my checkbook wouldn't balance.  Turned out Mom would tell me an amount, and I'd take her word for it, when it was off a few dollars.

My HS boyfriend, K, called, and against my better judgement, I went out with him.  Mom questioned me when he revealed he was dating two other girls, and it would not be 'my turn' with him for another week.  I brushed it off, saying I was fine with it.  It was male attention, so I put up with it.

During Time Trials, my sister and 'other sister' walked around the track and watched several cars qualify, even track records being broken.  I was excited; this would be my 1st race.  I'd formed a crush on Kevin Cogan, and looked forward to cheering him onto victory.  Didn't happen, but there was always next year!

Danny Sullivan was the winner of the 1985 race, and I was thrilled:)

We'd parked in the Coke Lot that year, and since my sister had been to the race before, she showed me how to get to our seats.  This involved a trip down Georgetown Rd, right past the house where guys had posted a sign, 'Show Us Your Tits!'  We ignored it, of course, but I always wondered if any women had lifted their shirts!

Present Day:
I'm still writing....the month is half over and I'm still nowhere near finished with SaLie's story!  I'm just over the halfway point.  I've got to finish this soon, then start on Heart Song.  Already finished one of my two antho submissions, and am about 2K from finishing the other.

I was able to attend a rare Thursday night karaoke at another bar, and sang three songs:
Separate Ways (Journey)- Did well:)  A stranger asked if I was singing, and when I revealed I'd just finished singing this, her eyes widened.
"That was YOU?  WOW!  That was awesome!"
Magic Power (Triumph) Nailed it:)
Bleeding Love (Leona Lewis) Was unable to hit the high note on last chorus.

Tomorrow's Karaoke Songs:
I Wanna Dance With Somebody-Whitney Houston
Black and White-3 Dog Night
I Want It That Way-BSB
I Want To Come Over-Melissa Etheridge

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

"Turn The Page When Tinkerbell Waves Her Little Wand Like This..."

Show of hands.  How many remember the Disney Read-Along books with the record?  I 'read' Jungle Book, Robin Hood, Cinderella, Snow White....and was thrilled the day I realized I could read them myself and not have to wait for the trilling of Tinkerbell's wand:)

Whenever we'd go to any of my three grandmothers' houses, I'd beg to be read to.  Grandma G had Little Golden Books and the four Disney Collection books; Great-Grandma G had a tiny cabinet full of books, plus one great big book with stories (I loved the Solomon Grundy poem!); Granny M had two whole shelves full of children's books, and didn't mind my sister or I perching on her lap, listening to her read to us.

My mother remembers me checking out 'Eddie Spaghetti' in either kindergarten or 1st grade; it was my favorite book, and think it came home with me twice a month!

When my mother was pregnant with my sister, I remember her reading 'New Brother, New Sister' to me, and me getting a red truck, just like the kid in the story:)

What's YOUR earliest reading memory?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

HDH #6

Yes, I realize I should be on #18 or so, but case you haven't noticed, the fact I'm even posting an HDH is kudos to my participation!

In honor of the month of May, and the fact this is one of Open Wheel Racing's biggest months, here's a snippet of Arbor U #3, Forbidden Love:

In this snippet, Keri, who's been working at the track for three weeks, invites Kyle up for the second weekend of Time Trials.  They have a sweaty reunion in the back of his truck, then they return to the garage area to see how Keri's team's car is doing.  One of the guys, Jon, decides to tease them a bit.

"Say, your hair's all wet, Keri. Been a long time since you've seen him?"

"Jon!" Keri whacked him in the arm.

"Watch it! Tell me where you went so next year I'll know where to take my girl." He grinned and sidestepped her.

"If you have one by then."

"Me? I can have any woman I want. They're standing in line for a 'Jonny joyride'."

Keri rolled her eyes. "Yeah, I see the huge line around the building. Give me a break. What do you do, cruise the Snake pit, looking for naked women?"

"Wait a minute." Kyle's eyes lit. "Naked women? Snake pit?"

"Yeah, man. Inside turn one. Drunk, naked women, all the booze you can drink, rock-n-roll city."

Forbidden Love can be purchased here.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Flashback Friday: End of 3rd Grade:)

May 1975:
Typically the month of May is full of end-of-the-year stuff, and this year was no exception.  First there was my Brownie Fly Up ceremony, where yellow wings were taped to all 2nd-year Brownies, and one by one, we crossed the tiny bridge to shake hands with our leader.  I don't remember much about the actual ceremony, other than the fact I was terrified I'd slip and fall while crossing the toy bridge (yes, I was very uncoordinated and clumsy, lol!).  I did make it safely across, and turned to look in my mother's direction as she snapped the picture.

The end of 3rd grade meant I'd also be able to check out books from the 'Big Kids Library' again, and I looked forward to rereading all the books I'd missed out on this year.

I also learned my crush, BH, was being held back, which was the end of that crush.  After all, anyone not smart enough to pass the 3rd grade was not worth my time, right?  I also hoped I'd get the better of the two 4th grade teachers, as I'd heard horror stories about Mrs. V.

I looked forward to another fun summer of riding bikes, climbing trees, and reading:)

Present Day:
I'm hard at work on Kenzie's Book #3 of The Chosen series:)

We were hoping to attend my nephew's graduation party tomorrow up in Indy, but finances aren't allowing it.

For Mother's Day, I have to sing at the 8:15 service at St. Thomas as part of the Community Choir, then attend the 11am service with my family.  I'll probably end up taking a nap, ha ha!  Hubby plans to cook on the grill.

Karaoke Songs:
I Still Believe In You
Bleeding Love
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
I Touch Myself

Have a Happy Mother's Day!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Did I Just Write My Academy Award Speech?

How did I know I wanted to be a writer?  Actually, I didn't.

In elementary school, I devoured books, and even dreamed up 'sequels' to books or movies while playing with my dolls.  In the 2nd grade, I tried my hand at 'writing a story', but the person in charge wanted us to talk through it.  My mind was blank, and all I remember saying was trying to work the word 'embarrass' into a sentence correctly.

By now, you've all heard the story of how I learned the concept of Creative Writing, so I won't bore you with it.  All it did was show me I could write down the stories in my head, and I dreamed of one day having my own book of fairy tales.

I learned to keep a journal in the 7th grade, and it became my outlet.  I poured my dreams, frustrations, and daily life into notebook after notebook, even after making the fatal mistake of taking it to school and having it passed around.  Nevertheless, I could NOT stop writing.

My first year of college, I decided to try to write something longer than a term paper or short story, and my first manuscript was born.  I've since cannibalized it, since it is definitely a cringe-worthy story with several plagarized scenes from various books and movies!  I still have it, as a reminder of what NOT to do.

When I found myself on bed rest with my 1st pregnancy, I found three separate stories I'd written, one nearly completed, and decided to combine them into one series.  Eight years later, I finished four of them, and was letting friends read my work.  After being bombarded with 'why the hell aren't you published?', I decided maybe it was time to see if I had any talent, and began attending conferences.  I uploaded Love Is Sober to the iUniverse site and sent them $160.  Four weeks later, on New Years' Eve Day, my little book was on Amazon, and ten days later, not only did my hubby have heart surgery, but my ten free author copies arrived, and I did what every self-respecting author does:  Sold them to friends and family, and even to the nurses in the hospital.

I still had a great deal to learn though, and thankfully through sheer determination, attending conferences and getting over my shyness in certain situations, I managed to network my way into meeting the authors who helped me get where I am today.  In no particular order, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the following ladies:

-J. Andy Murphy, for putting on the WriteStuff Conference;

-Tracy Devore, who got me involved in the online community (Yahoo groups);

-Kelly Kirch, whose success I followed and worked up the nerve to read the blogs she followed, including commenting!

-Anny Cook, who encouraged me to kick my heat level up a notch, and wanted to read more of my 1st attempt:)

-Brynn Paulin, who invented four brothers who have since corrupted one of Kenzie's aliens (LOL!);

-Cindy Spencer Pape, who showed me that shapeshifters, dragons, and steampunk were worth reading;

-Bronwyn Green, who also encouraged me during my first online chat;

-Dakota Rebel, who showed me vampires do not have to be scary creatures of the night, or boring, sparking, brooding men;

-Marci Baun, who took a chance on a fledgling author and liked what she saw, publishing my 1st Kenzie title;

-Mary Martinez, Desiree Holt, Cindy, and Regina Carlysle, who formed the Novel Sisterhood and whose monthly workshops I devoured while honing my craft;

-Sandy Sullivan, who helped me get the 2nd and third one published, as well as taking an interest in the Arbor U series (or simply tired of hearing me talk about it??) and published everything I've written so far;

-Jean Joachim, whose marketing-strategy knowledge I continue to absorb.

Thank you ladies, from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, May 4, 2015

May Reading Schedule and Goals

Where did April go?  I realize I was gone nearly every weekend, but still....WOW it went fast!

April's Goals:  Attained all:)
-Double Madison sales from last year Check:)
-Attend Indpls MWW Convention Check:)
-Find a ride to Day with Authors or take truck Check:)
-Add words to SaLie's story  Check:)
-Promo NiKoh's Blog tour  Check:)

Books Read:  6
Kindle is still MIA; I've not seen it since before the Madison trip.  Hope it returns soon!

Health:  Managed to put 7 pounds back on, boo!

Songs Added to Karaoke List:  2, but then again, only went to karaoke at Bottom's Up twice.  I don't debut songs at bars where I've not sung before.

May's Goals:
-Add 10K to SaLie's Story (or even finish it)
-Get Youngling through his classwork
-Promote more
-Start gathering promo for Sept (print books, promo booklets, etc)
-Attend Indy 500 Check:)
-Write 10K on Heart Song

May Reading Schedule:
My Beautiful Suicide-Atty Eve  So-so...I was surprised by the ending.
Perfectly Matched series-Maddie James LOVED this!  DRR!
The Nun and the Narc-Cathy Castle  Good story:)
Legal Ease-Lori Ryan  Very good!  RR
Ever Hopeful-LR Wonderful story!  DRR
Griff Montgomery-Jean Joachim  Loved it!  DRR
The Good Luck Charm-Leanne Tyler  Very enjoyable!  RR
Doctor Me Up-Sandy Sullivan

Karaoke Songs:
Breathe-Breaking Benjamin
Don't You Wanna Stay-Kelly Clarkson/Jason Aldean
The Climb-Miley Cyrus
Consider Me Gone-Reba
I Need You-Leann Rimes  Bleh...very rough.  Haven't looked at video, but probably go on the 'never again' list.
I Still Believe In You-Vince Gill  Verses too low, but chorus good and people danced:)
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For-U2  Nailed it:)
I Touch Myself-Divinyls  Not bad, but will be a looooong time before I sing this again, ha ha!
I Wanna Dance With Somebody-Whitney Houston DNH
I Want It That Way-Backstreet Boys Bleh.
I Want to Know What Love Is-Foreigner  Verses-too low, but did okay over all.  Still, putting it in the 'don't-ever-sing-again' category
I Want You To Want Me-Cheap Trick