Category Archives: life

Holiday insanity strikes

I suppose I could say the insanity strikes again, because it does strike every year–but this year’s version just hit last week.

I was running around frantically trying to get ready to go accompany parents to the doctor’s early last week, and be ready for my RWA chapter party on Tuesday, when someone reminded me that the meeting was the third Tuesday, and therefore this week (tonight) rather than last.

It wasn’t that I got the dates mixed up. I knew it was the third Tuesday. I just thought last week was this week. So, in my head, I acquired an extra week for Christmas stuff. I didn’t actually get an extra week, but it felt like it. So with “all” that extra time, I went shopping.

I have to go back to the parents’ tomorrow, so I picked up presents for all the folks who live there. I got them wrapped last night–even the ones with unwieldy shapes and sizes. Go, me! I got presents for the Pittsburgh folks–except the grandson still needs toy(s). Granddaddy is taking today off from work to go shop for toys. He likes to shop for toys. He is also having to shop for some of the ladies in our lives (like his mother and sister-in-law). He struggles with their gifts, but always comes up with something brilliant.

Anyway, after all the shopping, the Christmas party deluge struck. We had one (potluck) party Friday night, two parties Saturday–one of them was actually a birthday party (Happy Birthday again, Ian!)–two parties on Sunday, and–no wait. That was all. Till the party tonight. And there’s two parties at pretty much the same time on Thursday. One starts an hour earlier than the other, so we’ll hit that one first, then slip out to the other.

Some of the parties have been potluck (took sour cream mashed potatoes to one, homemade salsa and tortilla chips to another, and may take salsa & chips to the third, depending on how I’m feeling when I get back from the ‘rents’). Some call for White Elephant gifts. I couldn’t think of anything else, and I’ve been wanting to get the paints out again, so I painted pictures. If I ever get any time at home again any time soon, I’ll try to get them posted so y’all can see them.

Writing? I’d like to get some done, but I haven’t been able to hold still long enough to get my brain unfolded. And I haven’t even started cooking yet–except for the salsa.

BTW, I will be the guest blogger at Whipped Out on Thursday, blogging about my homemade salsa. It’s good stuff. Y’all should go over there and read about it. :) On Thursday. I’ll try to remind you then…

Grandboy visits

The daughter and her boy came to visit. For two weeks. It was wonderful. :)

They came to see us, and to let his dad get some work done on his dissertation so he could get it finished. So I didn’t get a whole lot of writing done while they were here. Partly because the first week they were here, my parents, sisters, brother, spouses, some nephews and a niece came to visit, and stayed in a beach house out on the west end of the island. We had to visit them as much as we could.

One of the nephews was just back from a Navy tour in Bahrain. He and the son went out one night. When the son came back the next day, he informed us, “I am never going drinking with a sailor again. Ever.” Oh well. Oh, and the day all of those relatives left, a nephew from the other side of the family–one of the fella’s brother’s boys–came to visit for 4 or 5 days. That was fun too. But again, didn’t get a lot of writing done. Did get a lot of swimming done. (Yay!)

The grandboy is six now. He likes to take pictures with his mom’s camera. With my camera too, but he took a picture of his nose with Mom’s. This is the boy with autism, and allergies to all dairy, as well as gluten. (The dairy is related to his autism, the gluten is related to his granddaddy.)

He had a few adventures with Dolly the granddog. She’s a pretty frisky, playful dog–she’s about 3 years old, and still has lots of energy, especially when meeting new people. Which scared the little guy. But it was too hot to be playful for very long, and she quickly learned that if she moved–if she even looked at him, he would run away. So she would just lie there in the shade and let him come to her.

Within a day or two, he approached her. Then he touched her feet. Then he patted her back. The next thing we knew, he had hold of her tail, had the white part in his mouth, biting it. (Don’t think he actually bit down, but…) It was rather traumatic getting him to calm down enough to listen to Granddaddy and understand “Don’t bite Dolly.” By the end of the visit, he was pulling up her lips trying to put dogfood in her mouth, and she would just turn her head and walk away. This picture of Dolly is about a year and a half old. She’s filled out quite a bit, looking very “pit bull.” It really is all in how they’re raised…

So, yeah. It’s been pretty crazy. But a lot of fun. :)

And I am writing. Really!

I DID take pictures

Yes, I really did take pictures. When I was in Washington, I went to the National Zoo, and took a picture of the panda. See? It was sleeping, but the camera did a really good job of zooming in on it. :)

I have other pictures, but I think if I insert them without taking up some of the space with text before I put the next picture in, they will try to overlap or something. So I shall blather on about nothing–or whatever I can think of–until I can put up another picture.

I am now on my hiatus from the dayjob to work on the book. Am I writing? Well, not RIGHT this second. I’m putting stuff in the blog. But I did work on it this morning. I got all my cover pictures up at the website. I’m not sure when I’ll be posting my excerpt–probably in October–but that’s not too far off. And I always post it to the newsletter folks first, so you know, if you want to read the excerpt, make sure you’re signed up for the newsletter.

Now for picture #2. My older son and his boys were here when I got home from D.C. and stayed for a week. They went out in the gulf to fish, and caught angelfish. I think I told you, but here’s the proof–the Big Guy with his angelfish. They’re striped when you eat them too, and they’re darn good eating.

The guys have been doing a lot of fishing lately. Earlier–at spring break, I think–they went out on a long boat trip and caught a bunch of vermilion snapper. The fella caught a HUGE red snapper, but had to throw it back because it was too big. Or maybe too small. I don’t remember. I do remember he had to throw it back. but not after he got a picture of it!

So there. I have shared pictures of the guys and their fish. (The oldest grandboy has a few speech issues–he has trouble with soft consonants, so “sh” tends to come out as “tch” and “f” tends to come out as a “p” or “b”. So he was in WalMart with his dad one day, in the pet section, and asked Dad to buy him a fish–except it came out with a ‘b’ at the front and a ‘tch’ at the end…)

Enough about fishing, and enough about the guys, right? You want to see a picture of ME, right? Even though they’re prettier than me…

So–I made this picture big, because it’s a pretty impressive fish–if you’re the type to be impressed by fish, which means I need to fill up more space. I also need to put my travel receipts into the accounting program. 😛 But it needs to be done. I have this bad tendency to save them up for 3 or 4 months and then do them all at once, digging them out from the wire basket on my desk, or the depths of the side pocket on my purse… I should do them right away, I know, but…

And I did have one last picture I wanted to share with you. I don’t look so hot in it, but my friend Rosemary is the star of the picture, because look at the pretty statue she’s holding. Yes, Rosemary Clement-Moore won the RITA award for Best Young Adult Novel at the RWA National Conference awards ceremony. She even let me rub RITA’s head for luck. I think she hand-carried her home to Dallas, for fear her feather pen would break off.

I have more pictures, and now that I am home for a while, I’ll try to get some of them posted with the blog, instead of a huge bunch with no art at all, then one blog with a bunch of pictures. I’ll space them out. I hope. If I remember to do it. You know how my memory is…

NEW BLOOD is in the bookstores!

Yes, THE BOOK IS OUT! I haven’t seen it in stores yet, but I am reliably told that it is there. AND, it got a really great review at Sarah and Candy’s blog. I’m tickled about that. Y’all should go read it. I think they’ve cut off the sign-up for the book giveaway, but I’m giving a book away at the RWA published author chapter blog: To Be Read–So Many Authors, So Little Time… next week, so if you go by there and comment, you might win a book.

Um–what else is going in my life? Not much. I’m busy revising The Book Formerly Known As Old Spirits, and writing back cover copy for it, and writing articles, and doing blog interviews. (I’d post a link to the interview, but I can’t find it–the wonderful person who interviewed me e-mailed and told me where it was, but now I can’t find her e-mail… Sigh.) I’ve received some other very nice reviews. They’re in my e-mail–and out and about. I’ll put a couple on the website. I’m just hoping lots of people will buy it, and like it.

That’s about it. Went to see the parents last weekend. Have to go back again soonish. To work. (sigh) But I have a friend I haven’t seen in AGES who will be coming by and we’re planning a visit. It will be fun! I also want to get my Waco buddies down for a visit, but don’t know when… Lots of stuff coming up. Not so much going on now.

Valentine’s Mardi Gras

Galveston celebrates Mardi Gras. Not quite as big time as New Orleans–but it’s not nearly as large a town. Even before Ike washed away about half the population. So you wouldn’t expect it to be quite as wild, or as big. But it’s plenty big enough for me.

Saturday was Valentine’s Day, but we mostly did Mardi Gras. There were three parades on Saturday, all down the seawall on Seawall Blvd. One at noon (Krewe of Aquarius, I believe), one at three (the Firetruck Parade) and one at 6 p.m. (Krewe of Gambrinus), complete with fireworks over the gulf at the 37th St. Pier. I was invited to ride in one of the noon parade entries–a convertible, not a float–and throw stuff at people. We had candy, beads and college promo freebies like keychains and rubber bracelets to throw.

There was a time I could throw a softball or baseball pretty well. But that was a LONG time ago, and I wasn’t sitting in a car while doing it. Now–I basically suck at throwing. I have no arm, and I’m a klutz anyway. So I took on the job of throwing bracelets. I had to take each bracelet out of its little plastic zip bag, because if you threw them in the bag, they would plummet to the asphalt about a foot from the car, but if you took them out, they had a chance of flying a ways out, at least to a spot safe to pick it up. However, you must take into account the fact that I was throwing them.

Some of them flew right to the folks I was aiming at. Some sailed over their heads. Some sank like a rock. Some hit the balloon tied to the side mirror and went in strange directions. Some went practically behind the car because my arm got all contorted into a crazy side-arm sort of throw… Anyway, the bracelets were very popular, perhaps because they were different. Not your usual bead.

Saturday was a rainy day on the island. It sprinkled lightly while we were waiting for the parade to kick off. It cleared up right as we were heading out (we were about 30 minutes into the parade). Then it started sprinkling again harder when the parade was almost over. We ran out of stuff about 54th St. The parade went to 59th. Oops.

We went back to our house afterward–at about 2:30–to have lunch and warm up. It wasn’t that cold out, but when wet–I had hot chocolate. It was wonderful. :) And while we were eating our homemade soup (I didn’t burn it!) for lunch at 3 p.m., just as the firetruck parade was starting, the sky opened up and the rain POURED down. It rained really hard for about 20 minutes, then just rained for another half hour or so.

And after a little nap, we went back out to watch the evening parade and fireworks. We walked. It’s not far from our house to the seawall. But we walked all the way down past 45th St. so we could see the fireworks. The rain had stopped, but it was still foggy and cloudy. I thought they were going to do the fireworks after the parade, but they started shooting them off before the parade reached us (which admittedly, was an hour and a half after the parade started). They looked very cool lighting up the clouds. We walked back to 45th St., met some friends and their kids and grandkids, and watched the parade with them.

The floats were fabulous, the people all dressed up on them, and I caught a lot of beads. Or rather, I picked up a bunch from the ground in front of me. I actually caught one strand. But I had beads up almost as high as my ears… And I danced with a member of one of the bands marching by. As former band members, we were hollering and cheering for the bands, so when this one–North Forest High School out of Houston–stopped right in front of us, and the tubas and drums took over the music, the kid took my hand and we boogied till he had to march off again. It was hilarious, and no, the fella did not get the camera out of his pocket fast enough to get a picture. (Thank goodness!) But it was fun. Then we went over to our friends’ house for a glass of wine and some stuffed grilled jalapenos. Yum.

We have pictures. I’ll try to remember to download and upload them when I get home.

We also finally found and ordered a sofa to replace our old ratty white one. We’ve only been looking about 2 years to find something we liked. It will be a while before it arrives, but not another year, which is probably how long we’d go before trying to shop again… We still need lamps and end tables and recovered chairs and… Lots of stuff. But not today.

I’m up to p. 33 on the book. Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, right?

Countdown to Deadline

I’ve cut it down by 7 pages. Only 93 more to go. (ACK!!) I’m going to have to cut more stuff out. Lots more. But what???

I’ll figure it out.

I’ve gone through to p. 358, and I’ve put in stuff up through–maybe p. 100? I don’t know how many pages I have on the floor. I worked on it all morning, putting revisions in the computer and shortening things up. Pages that get put in get dropped on the floor. I’ll go back to going through ms. pages tonight.

I’ll save what I’ve done, ’cause I may have to start cutting out huge chunks of stuff I’ve already gone through.

Have to go buy dog food on the way home. Hoping the boy will take the hint and cook supper, but… At least I remembered to go to the bank today. I have $$. :)

Lights, tunnels and trains

One party down, two to go. Then things may actually slow down up to Christmas. Maybe. Last night was my local RWA chapter party. Good eats, good company, good fun. I even came home with a new handkerchief and a silver-plated Christmas ornament. A pretty one. We’re having Christmas caroling at our house tonight. Tomorrow night is the Lion’s Club party. That requires another White Elephant gift. Since it’s the fella who’s a Lion and not me, I have placed him in charge of the elephant.

Today, I drafted the boy (okay, I bribed him with lunch out at Shrimp n’ Stuff–I had the 10-shrimp lunch special, and got Twelve shrimps!! Bonus!) to help me cart four boxes down to UPS to get Christmas presents shipped off to various Texas locations plus Pennsylvania. So that’s done. The fella wrapped presents and boxed them to ship while I went to the party. He’s a good guy like that. Then he cleaned up all the wrapping paper. What a guy! I did have to vacuum and clean bathrooms, but he picked everything up. We are now ready for the party tonight. I even made copies of the words to Christmas carols, so hopefully people will sing. I know at least one other person will sing, so I think we’re good.

I need to call the parental units to see what their schedule is and when they might be able to visit, but other than that–and figuring out what to get the man who buys for himself everything he wants–I think we’re done till the holiday arrives. The grandboys will come on Christmas day, so That’s when things will get busy again. I’m at the edge of the tunnel, if not out into the sunlight…

Which brings us to the writing tunnel. I can see the light. The end is there–and I write and write, and it doesn’t seem to get any closer! Days like today do not help, when I write for a couple of hours and realize that the pages don’t take me where I need to go. I can use some of the stuff I wrote, but there are too many people present in the scene. I know what’s wrong and how to fix that part, but I’m not sure how to set up the scene I need to write instead. Ugh. But I don’t have to bake anything or clean anything or shop for anything or mail anything (hmm–may have to mail–we’ll see) the rest of the week, so maybe I can figure it out and Get It Written.

I am coming up with some ideas for the next book, which is helpful, since it’s due in September. But dang, I got to get this one finished! Wish me luck.

Help! It’s December!!

And I haven’t done any shopping! I’m not ever sure WHO I need to shop for… I need to call a sister. Or the brother. Or somebody–and figure out what we’re doing. And then figure out when I can shop.

In other news, I am Closer to the End than I thought I was! I started the black moment this morning. I still have to resolve it and fight the big battle and stuff, but We Have Reached The Black Moment. YAYYYYY!! I really might actually, maybe, sorta, (crossing fingers and knocking on wood) get this book finished on time.

Of course, as I type things into the computer in my second draft, I am discovering all sorts of driveling crap I need to cut out. Some of it I’m able to cut out as I type in. Some of it is going to take printing out and laying pages out next to each other to see what I need to keep and what has to go. And it may not be as much too long as I fear…

Thanksgiving was good. We had a house full of family and friends. The boy’s girlfriend’s sister and roommate got to come. (The girlfriend came too.) The other boy’s girlfriend got to come, but only after the grandboys had to leave. We did get them for a few days. They got to play in the COLD water at the beach. Unfortunately, their father took them to the beach in their good clothes, not remembering in time that boys + beach = Wet Boys, no matter what they’re wearing or how cold it is. (The air wasn’t too cold, just the water.) We ate lots of yummy food–all the dishes that have become traditional musts in our family (sweet potatoes with honey-lime glaze, turkey and cornbread dressing, green beans and carrots with bacon and garlic, buttermilk pie and cheesecake)–and lay around a lot. It was wonderful.

And now, Christmas is upon us. The boy’s last final is tomorrow, and he’ll be home soon, will start classes in town next spring. So he can take the granddog to the vet. Dolly the granddog has probably just strained her leg with all the running and jumping she did while the grandboys and boys and girlfriends were here, but she’s still limping more than a week later, so I’d like to get her checked out just to make sure there’s nothing else to worry about.

I had to go buy her a sweater/sweatshirt, because she won’t come in the laundry room to get warm. She’s too afraid of getting in trouble. And her fur is too short to keep her warm. The store had Harley Davidson sweaters and camo sweatshirts, but they were all too small to fit a pit-bull mix dog. The only sweatshirt they had that was big enough, the one that I got, is bright pink. She likes her sweater too. The first time I put it on her, she had that “What are you doing to me?” attitude. The third night I went out, she sat down and put her head in it herself. She’d figured out it helped keep her warm. It doesn’t freeze here–or hasn’t–but it gets darn cold. When I get my computer back from the shop (or get the new one), and I can download pictures again, I will post a picture. A brindle pit bull in a bright pink sweater is tres amusing.

Now, I just have to figure out what to get for the people in the family. Help! I have a book to finish and I have not shopped!


The writing is going better this week. (Knock on wood. I sure don’t want to jinx anything by saying so.)

Yes, I only got 2 pages written yesterday, but I finished a love scene, and those Always take me longer. And today, I got 6.5 pages written. Aftermaths are always easier.

I was limited to 2 pages because I had to take the computer in to the shop. (There is a “spare” in the boy’s room.) All the places on the island that I knew about got flooded, but a Computer Geeks shop on the mainland sounded good, so I carted it in (they even do housecalls, but I wanted to take it in) and left my baby in their hands. They’ve already called me to discuss what the problem probably is, so…maybe I’ll have it back soon. I’m contemplating getting it upgraded. We’ll see how much that will cost me.

And on the way back, I got to drive across the New Side of the Causeway. The southbound lanes are finished and I drove across. It was pouring rain, the wind was blowing really hard, so I was having to concentrate on staying in my lane, rather than looking around. I have a high profile vehicle, so the wind can really catch it and blow me around–and it did. But it was nice to have lots of room, normal width lanes, emergency lanes, and all that. It’s really going to be nice when it’s all done.

Today, we were supposed to have a 70% chance of rain, but all the rain must have fallen yesterday. It’s gorgeous outside…

And I’m driveling. So I’ll stop.

One Step Forward, Two–Sideways?

The traffic light at Ave. O has gone out again. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.

I’m excited because I can go pick up mail more often, now that they have trailers with P.O. boxes in them at my post office. Of course this new substitute mailbox is so tiny, we have to pick it up often… I am waiting on books (no surprise) and meds, so I hope they get here soon. Soon-ish.

And the causeway is almost done! I think the southbound lanes, which have been under construction since long before we moved to town, have already opened. It will be another few weeks while they re-stripe the northbound lanes (both north- and southbound traffic have been traveling on that side) to give us emergency lanes and shoulders, but it is almost finished. I am not the only person who will be happy. The causeway suffered no damage in the storm–except for some newly planted palm trees that got smashed down and a busted up sign or two. The roadway–even the part under construction–was just fine. Okay, it had a lot of boats and sand strewn all over it, but once they moved the boats, no problem. (They were still moving boats early this week…) (Lots of boats on the causeway.)

I’m in a good mood. I got 6 pages written today. Doesn’t sound like much, but that’s my “usual” number (especially considering I only wrote 1.5 yesterday)–though I’m still striving to get more, even with the interruptions. The switch from Daylight time falling at the same time as returning from New York’s Eastern time has me waking up early, so I get to work earlier and can get more done.

Also, I went to get the new LKHamilton book, Swallowing Darkness, the day it came out, as well as J.D. Robb’s Salvation in Death, and am happily devouring same.

Life. It requires laundry. And groceries. And people who cook food. I had better go take care of some of those things.