Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fires licking at my heels...

The strangest thing happened to me yesterday (Wednesday). This weird warming sensation struck my posterior area. Not sure what was happening, but it had something to do with the fact that November is quickly slipping away from me. The date December 2 held special significance in my mind. Hmmm.

December 2...

Ass on fire...

Word counts...

Holy crap, I have just over 2 weeks to get my entry ready for Romance Writers' of America's prestigious Golden Heart contest. Picture my heart melting into a puddle of electrically charged goo rolling in a somewhat forward motion. Got to ... get busy...

I've enrolled, paid my $50, and now I have to have the book finished and all the pertinent copies and paperwork ready and in the RWA Houston office by Dec. 2.

Being a compulsive 'how-many-words-do-I-have-to-write-every-day-to-get-this-done" sort of person, I immediately burned 2 or 3 perfectly good hours figuring that out. Happily, I'm all caught up with my critique partners on their stuff, so I should be able to concentrate on mine full time.

I'm having a great week, comparatively (last week of chemo cycle which is generally good), but next Tuesday is a new treatment and a new cycle. Hopefully I can get a reasonable amount of writing done this week and next. Ugh!

Love you guys - happy writing - make your dreams happen!


Saturday, November 07, 2009

Everything's a Trade-Off

Well, yes, I'm on the upswing for this cycle and many things are feeling quite normal. Unfortunately, I don't get a "Get-out-of-jail-free" card. I got the "Now's-the-time-for-pain" card. Yesterday was the most excruciating day I've had since I went to the hospital and found out the cancer had spread to my liver.

I called the doctor on call, and she upped my pain meds quite a bit. Luckily, I have a ways to go before I hit the ceiling on those types of meds. Not much interesting on the left side.

I'm quite sleepy, however. Another boost to today is that my daughter and son-in-law are in town along with my west Texas aunt. I can't get everything going my way at once, but I also *don't* have everything going wrong either.

Love ya!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Throw Your Arms High in the Air..........

..........'cause today has been designated CHEMOCOASTER DAY!!

I woke up feeling pretty darn good. My appetite was close to normal and food tasted more like it should. I had forgotten how chemo distorts the taste of food. I ate the biggest breakfast (2 pcs of toast) since all this started.

Then I found out my cell phone had died in the night. I bought it less than a month ago, so I was hoping I could just call in and get it taken care of. If I were able to run around, the phone option would have been fine, I'm sure.

While I thought about what to do, I decided to make banana pancakes. Unfortunately, by the time I got them made, I was too tired to eat. My appetite was gone.

I laid down for a while, then called Sprint to deal with the phone. We tried to reset it but no luck. She said I had to take it in. I asked her if she could just do the return and sell me a new phone, she said I should take it in so that if they could fix it, I would have service while I waited for the new phone to come in.

So I called my mother-in-law who was kind enough to give me a ride to the Sprint store. They couldn't get the phone working either. They processed the return. They don't carry the phone I want, the HTC Touch Pro 2 in the store, so they got my phone-before-last working and instructed me to call from home to order the TP2.

Yes, I'm back at the house on the phone. This time, however, it all works and my purchase is complete.

My pain, unfortunately, is spiking and my novel is calling my name. I'm loving the plot and characters. *sigh*

Two of my critique partners and I signed up for the Golden Heart this year, so NaNo has another dimension of importance to it. Got to get the ms done for the contest.

My granddaughter just visited me, so it looks like I'm ending the day on an upbeat. She brought me a beautiful necklace and a cake she picked out for me. She has great taste! Nothing like family, is there? And truly great you!

Love ya!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Sunshine and Peppermints, NaNo Day Three

Day 3 of NaNo, 1 day 'til birthday. All in all a good day today. I got 8 hundred-something words, not my highest ever but decent.

I'm convinced I'm on the sunshine side of the chemo cycle. Food commercials are no longer revulsive, I don't wish I were laying down everytime I'm sitting up or sitting up everytime I'm laying down. My eyes feel clearer, my attention span longer. Little things that add up and multiply.

Need to go give the dogs their pills and shut down all my little projects around the house. About that time, it'll be my time for bed and meds.

Get ready for another day of writing all, rev up those engines. We are off!


Monday, November 02, 2009

NaNo Boo Boo

Halloween was pretty darn cool this year. Quite a few kids moved onto the block this year, so we gave away most of the candy we bought. I love seeing the kids' costumes. My stepdaughter has moved back in with us for a while, so I got to see one of her costumes and a picture of the other. She and her friends are so cute all dressed up.

Opened NaNo on Sunday morning with 745 words. Not a great start, but I discovered I needed work on my GMC's and got that out of the way. Used one of my favorite resources, Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain. WARNING: His is an advanced book for those who've mastered the beginning principles of writing. If you don't get what he says now, keep coming back as you learn more and his principles will make better sense.

Hope to get more writing done today if I can get to feeling better. Had a hard time getting out of bed. Four more days of bad before the body starts to bounce back. Ugh. Been a long week. Two of my buddies got around 2500 words done yesterday, so that's got me really encouraged. I've got to catch up! :-)

I can't believe I'm only on Day 6 of my treatment cycle. Yesterday I told Mom I just wanted to go by the hospital and get one of those mega-painkiller shots. *sigh* Today is the same as several issues conspire to get me down. Cancer in liver kills the appetite, pain meds stall digestion, chemo causes mouth irritation (feels kind of like invisible canker sores). I had forgotten what chemo was like, but I'm thinking I'm doing better this time than last, espcially since I'm not doing 'speed-chemo'. We'll see how the second half of the cycle does. Looking forward to losing hair probably in about 4 or 5 weeks.

Well, off to drink the lemony wonder that is magnesium citrate! TTYS.

Friday, October 30, 2009

NaNo - And Everything Else - My Way

I've been writing down all non-scheduled meds in a date book, and last night's entries were quite numerous. Not a lot of sleeping done but I feel pretty good nontheless. I have a feeling nights are going to be my enemies in the foreseeable future.

Got my NaNoWriMo launch email today (squeal!). For my non-writing friends, NaNo is National Novel Writing Month held at this time each year ( Participants strive to write a novel from scratch during the month of November. No editing - only fresh rough material.

I'm excited and want to start *now*. Known for being a rebel (quit laughing all you out there!), I'm doing a slightly different take on NaNo from the straight and narrow. Funny, because this is my first year to do it 'officially' signing up on the website and all. You'd think I'd follow the rules...LOL.

Anyway, I'm revamping a previous work of which I've saved a few scenes, the title, and the names of the characters. During NaNo, I'll be completing the rough draft of the main part of the book. Technically, you're supposed to start with nothing more than an outline and plot notes. I'm super-excited about this book, tho, and can't imagine working on anything else.

I'd better get busy organizing my stuff. Only today and tomorrow left until writing begins. Woo hoo!!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NANO, Chemo, and Clinging to Our Dreams

I actually meant to write this post yesterday, but I felt good enough to move around and be active. Today, I don't feel so great, but I'm going to squeeze this sucker out anyway.

I had an acquaintance, once upon a time, who told me the story of her breast cancer. Years ago she had a double mastectomy, chemo, and the rest. Another friend pointed out that this person had let her illness totally derail her writing dream. As far as I know, she's never bounced back either. Other than the breast cancer, this fellow writer and I have little in common. I never see her anymore, but I owe her a great debt that I would like to pay forward to others in my situation or who may someday join me.

As I listened to her story, so long ago, I never dreamed I would receive my own cancer diagnosis several years later. In Dec 2004, I found a lump in my right breast. It reminded me of other 'come-and-go' little lumps that appeared from time to time through my cycle. Instead of disappearing quickly, though, it stayed. It was minorly painful, so I thought maybe it was an infection with inflammation. My doctor prescribed a round of antibiotics that did nothing. The tumor, however, grew *fast*. In mid-to-late-January, my doctor sent me for an ultrasound which led to a biopsy which led to a diagnosis of breast cancer.

The first thought in my mind after the shock wore off was, "I will NOT let this derail my writing career." I'm a slow enough learner as it is. I can't let external issues slow me down even more.

In early March of 2005, the surgeon removed a tumor 11 centimeters in diameter, an almost unheard of size for the time period it had to grow. I went through 8 cycles of dose-dense chemo and a couple of months of radiation. No cancer was detected by any of the post-treatment scans, but I knew my doctor suspected we weren't done with this disease.

I could only hope......and write.

In August 2006, the breast cancer metastasized to a few small spots in my spine and pelvic bone. No chemo or other treatment to do as studies have found it ineffective in this situation. Very small, very slow growing, and utterly incurable. Fortunately 'boney disease' as they call it can be lived with for a long time.

Three years passed, and I've now received a third diagnosis. The breast cancer is in the liver. I remember my doctor saying "...not *if* but *when* it spreads to the liver..." I surely hoped I would have more time, but we play the hand we're dealt. With the grace of God we win, sometimes in very surprising ways.

I have a dual purpose now - send this cancer screaming out of my liver in terror and write like my hair's on fire and my ass is catching. My first chemo treatment is done and accelerating downhill toward mid-cycle where I will then struggle back up to enough strength to take the next one.

I invite you to take this journey with me (the writing part anyway :-)), but I accept no wimps, no excuses. As my good friend Heather said recently, "If @donnellepperson (who encouraged me to Nano) can do chemo-again-I think I can finish a draft during November w/o whining." Heather, you inspire me.

The rest of you: Comment here and let me know how your writing is going whether you're doing Nano or not. Let's inspire each other. Let's get that rough draft done despite the odds against us.

Talk to you soon!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Let There Be Peace

Got the following from Focus on the Family regarding teaching our children conflict resolution (and you don't have to be a Christian to appreciate it). My friend Betty and I are on opposite sides of many (most?) political and religious issues and we've been discussing lately how both side feel embattled by the other. I think it's because we aren't using good conflict resolution practices.

A second reason this article appealed to me is that I've come to realize that the only Christian example some people have seen is negative, such as the Kansas congregation that protests at veteran's funerals and condones violence against those different from them. The news rarely reports Christian efforts at peacemaking or to promote the love of Jesus toward those who don't believe the way we do.

Here's what FOF's article says:

Here are 12 principles you can teach your children to help them resolve conflicts among themselves or with their friends.
by Ken Sande

You can teach your children how to resolve conflicts among themselves or with their friends and other people they know. Imagine how much better life could be for you and them.
Here are 12 key principles that young peacemakers need to learn:

1. Conflict is a slippery slope. Some children try to escape from a conflict, while others try to solve it by going on the attack. Few naturally try to work it out.

Escape Responses: These responses are used to get away from a conflict instead of trying to resolve it. They delay healing.
Denial — Pretending that a conflict does not exist or refusing to do what we can to work it out
Blame Game — Blaming others for the problem, pretending we did nothing wrong, covering up what we did, lying
Run Away — Prolonging the problem by running away from the other person

Attack Responses: These are wrong attempts to win a fight rather than resolve it. They damage a relationship further rather than repairing it.
Put Downs — Attacking others with harsh and cruel words, stirring up anger in others
Gossip — Talking about others behind their backs
Fight — Using physical force to get our way

Work-It-Out Responses: These are the only good ways to respond to a conflict.
Overlook an Offense — Dealing with an offense yourself by simply deciding to forgive a wrong
Talk-It-Out — Going directly to the other person to talk out your disagreements
Get Help — Asking a parent or teacher to help you decide how to handle the conflict you are involved in

2. Conflict starts in the heart. The choices we make to get our own way are deliberate. We decide whether to be obedient or disobedient, wise or foolish, caring or unloving.

3. Choices have consequences. For good or bad, the choices we make will affect us and others. Conflict is often the consequence of a choice we have made.

4. Wise-way choices are better than my-way choices. Selfishness is not smart and will not lead to happiness. The wise way is to obey authority, make right choices, seek godly advice and respect others.

5. The blame game makes conflict worse. It doesn't work to point the finger at someone else, cover up one's own bad choices or make excuses.

6. Conflict is an opportunity. By handling it right we get a chance to glorify God, serve others and become better people.
Conflict is not necessarily bad or destructive. Even when conflict is caused by wrong-doing and causes a great deal of stress, it can lead to good. You can use conflict to:
Glorify God (by trusting, obeying, and imitating him)
Serve other people (by helping to bear their burdens or by confronting them in love)
Grow to be like Christ (by confessing wrong and turning from attitudes that promote conflict)
These concepts are totally overlooked in most conflicts because people naturally focus on escaping from the situation or overcoming their opponent
Therefore, it is wise to step back from a conflict and ask yourself whether you are doing all you can to take advantage of these special opportunities.

7. The "Five A's" can resolve conflict. These simple steps will almost always lead to peace.
Children, like adults, can learn to confess their wrongs in a way that demonstrates they are taking full responsibility for their part in a conflict.

Admit what you did wrong. Include both wrong desires and bad choices.
Apologize for how your choice affected the other person. Express the sorrow you feel.
Accept the consequences for your wrongdoing without argument or excuses.
Ask for forgiveness.
Alter your choice in the future. Think over and plan how you are going to act differently next time.

8. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. By forgiving someone, we are making four promises.

False Ideas about Forgiveness
You need to feel like forgiving before you can really forgive. (Wrong. It's a choice you make, not a feeling.)
Forgiveness means forgetting about what someone did to hurt you.
Forgiveness excuses the other person's sin.
Forgiveness depends on getting a guarantee that someone won't do the same wrong thing again.

Four Promises of Forgiveness
I promise I will not dwell on what you did wrong. I will think good thoughts about you and do good for you.
I promise I will not bring up this situation and use it against you.
I promise I will not talk to others about what you did.
I promise I will be friends with you again.

9. It is never too late to start doing what's right. You can always stop doing wrong, then think about a better way and plan how to pursue it.

10. Think before you speak. Or before you act. Or before you confront someone.

11. Respectful communication is more likely to be heard. This includes the words we speak, our tone of voice and our body language (making eye contact and avoiding bad gestures, facial expressions or posture).

12. A respectful appeal can prevent conflict. Learn how to make one.
Stop yourself from choosing to say or do something that will cause conflict.
Think about why you want to appeal and about what words to use.
Appeal (Ask): Using "I" messages and questions, communicate your appeal in a respectful way.
Respond respectfully whether the other person answers yes or no.

From Peacemaking for Families by Ken Sande, a Focus on the Family book published by Tyndale House. Copyright © 2002 by Peacemaker® Ministries. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used with permission.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

There's a Scale in My Hotel Room Bathroom

What is up with that? This is Vegas! I thought the pounds you gain here stay here.......

I get the feeling God is tough-loving me into behaving, culinarily speaking, of course. Which is why He should have shown me the scale BEFORE I scarfed down 1/2 orange cranberry muffin and a croissant. You know, I really wish He'd just make me immune to calories. Unfortunately, He's got this thing about free will and self control. If you don't work for it, it's not worth having or some crap like that (LOL).

It's just after 9 where I am, and my body thinks it got to sleep until 11. Very happy.

I mistyped the resort where we're staying's name (was that real grammar?). It's Green Valley Ranch in Henderson NV. Very beautiful, but the casino is mostly slot machines (and not too many of the really cool ones. Lane was disappointed there were so few gaming tables. I saw my first craps table - don't know why it's the first (except from afar). That game is way too complicated for me. May try a little Blackjack if Lane goes with me. I know, I'm a horrible chicken about doing things unfamiliar to me. One minute I can be facing down the guns and the next I'm begging someone to hold my hand while we walk by those big bad card dealers and floor bosses (whatever they call them - they all look scary and mobsterish to me).

There's great shopping here on the resort along with a movie theater and arcade. Talk about self-contained. There's something like 12 restaurants. My favorite place is still The Golden Nugget.

Lane is a Randy Couture's gym (yes, THE Randy Couture) working out. Last time he worked out with a guy he'd heard of on UFC. Very cool. This time it's someone he hasn't heard of, but he was pretty excited just the same. Jiu Jitsu is such a fit for him.

Gotta tell a funny on the grandaughter. She's at that boundary pushing stage when they're transitioning fully from toddlers to school kids. Grandpa wouldn't call her Caroline (which is *not* her name, btw) and she told him she was going to spill her Gatorade all over the floor if he didn't.

I'm in the kitchen at this point with my back to them and all I hear is about spilling the Gatorade and then the sudden affirmation "I won't Grandpa! I promise I won't!" She'd gotten The Look. You know the song about not spitting into the wind or messing around with Jim? You should also consider not messing with Lane. Brooklynn still tried to push her position but she never got Grandpa to back down. I have to admit I found it somewhat amusing because it was like watching the little pea and the big pea facing off in the family pod.

Plan for today? Write, shower, lunch, gamble, nap, work on SS lesson, dinner, read more of THE DARKEST WHISPER and zonk out - with or without Lunesta remains to be seen.

By the way, THE DARKEST WHISPER is awesome. It's the first of Gena's novel that I didn't get to see at least part of during the writing stages, and I can't believe she pulled off such an awesome read without me - just kidding. Seriously, I'm loving it. Gwendolyn the Timid has to be my fav character of Gena's so far.

Life is good.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Writing and Dieting

Two major focusses of my life right now. Either can be excruciating or euphoric.

Right now the writing is euphoric. Just got back from my RWA chapter's annual writing retreat with 14 other fabulous Outlaws. Our guest speaker is a reader for a major agency, and she let us send in a chapter and synopsis ahead of time and made *very* thorough comments on them. I'm telling you, this gal went above and beyond - aided, I must say, by another favorite OKRWA member (you know who you are and how we love you!!)

They set up the openings of each submission and we read them as a group, and it was really eye-opening to see how each individual element (Title, first line, first paragraph and first page) were perceived by each reader. Plus we learned that we're a very talented chapter. I want to finish all the books we read the first page of.

I also love the book I'm currently working on. It's a paranormal historical, and I've decided to do it in first person, which is weird because I've never had the desire to try first person. Will let you know how that goes.

The diet front, however........*sigh* I'm starting over again with a vengeance. Trying to lose 20 lbs by Thanksgiving. Yes, that's a very ambitious goal, especially considering my dismal failures of this year. What am I doing differently? Extreme calorie control (not extreme restriction). I'm eating cereal and 1 fruit for breakfast; protein bar, 8 oz 1% milk and 1 fruit for lunch; and, a Healthy Choice entree and 1 fruit for dinner. For my flat-belly MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid), I'll have 6 semi-sweet chocolate morsels with each meal. Drink 64 oz of iced water. Let's see....what else.....oh yeah. Exercise. Bleh!

For my exercise, I do Wii DDR (Dance dance revolution) 1 hour 4 times per week, Yogilates starting with 15 minutes and working up to 30 minutes 3-4 times per week, and weight training twice per week. All of which I need to do today since yesterday was crazy.

Gotta get busy now....exercising and not writing, darn it!

Good luck to us all!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Ultimate Love Scene

I'm sure we all wish we'd thought of this scenario...

WICHITA, Kan. - A tender moment in a trash bin went all wrong for a couple who found themselves being held up at pocket knifepoint. Police said two 44-year-olds had climbed into a dumpster to be alone just after 6 p.m. Saturday when two men interrupted them and demanded their belongings. Officers said the man and woman were engaged in "an intimate moment" when they were robbed of their shoes, jewelry and the man's wallet.

Police said one of the robbers was a 64-year-old man who egged his 59-year-old companion on during the robbery.
The Associated Press

Rasen Frasen....

I need more time, people!

For example, today is Leave For Writers' Retreat day. I did not need a flat tire (thanks, pothole - I felt like I was on that commercial). I need to go to the grocery store and find my converter so I can use my computer in the car to read my critique partner's chapter (I promised!).

I need to blog more. Loving Twitter and Facebook, and the creative folks there are inspiring me. Like this chick: Love her page and want to spend more time there!

Ugh, gotta get dressed before the wrecker guy gets here to change my tire. (Then take my tire into the shop to be fixed or replaced, wait............wait...........wait.)

Fortunately, it's National Sound Like a Pirate Day, so I can say ARGH! without blushing in embarrassment.

Have a great day, ya'll!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Man with Spears Tattoo Steals Earring-Wearing Dog

WILTON MANORS, Fla. - A man with a tattoo of Britney Spears' name on his arm or neck allegedly stole a Chihuahua with pink earrings from a South Florida gay bar. Brian Dortort, 48, said Thursday he has spent weeks searching for his 4-month-old pooch, named Hudson Hayward Hemingway. The dog, about the size of a softball, was in a specialty pet bag.
Dortort said he let a man hold the Chihuahua for a moment during a friend's birthday party, then both of them disappeared. The Associated Press

This amuses me on so many levels.

Is it the fact that the thief has a Britney Spears tattoo? Britney? Really?

How about that he was willing to risk stealing a dog WEARING EARRINGS. Let me say that again. The DOG was wearing pink earrings. Was the thief channelling Paris Hilton?

Which brings us to the dog's owner who actually PIERCED a dog's ears.

The poor dog not only has to endure the pain and aggravation of having her (his?) ears pierced, he also looks stupid. We could hope the thief intended to relieve the dog's situation, but with Britney on his arm (or neck), there's not much chance of that.

But what do I know? I'm a spyder with a pink bow on my head.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Getting Back on Track

Have you noticed that I spend a lot more time off the track than on it? Seems like every post is of me getting "back on track" lol.

To that end....I got an hour and a half of writing in this morning - yay! I'm working on the rough draft of the paranormal historical. Having trouble getting the heroine down right. It's really hard for me not to write them uber confident and *so* together. I want Jacena to be sweet and child-like but with an uncanny wisdom that pops out every now and then. Every new scene I have to go back and take out all the too grown-womanish parts. My hero, Greylond, is reserved and brooding. In his world, the imperative is to gain honor and avoid shame, even if that means making dangerous choices. He rushes into defense of his lands and subjects no matter what the odds. And, of course, he always wins .

I'm really loving this book.

Did I mention I finally got my friend Christy to do the dogfood promise? What's the dogfood promise, you ask? She has to revise 5 chapters by the end of the year or she has to eat a can of dogfood of my choosing. Yeah. Let that soak in for a minute.

People think that's really crazy, but trust me, a person will do *anything* not to eat that dogfood, including find time to write. It is the ultimate motivator.

On the health front, I'm clinging to a recent 2 lb weight loss (making a total of 4 so far). I've lost and regained these same lbs about 50 times over the last 6 months. No more. Went to Zio's the other night and guess what I had - iced tea. That's it. I had a protein bar before I left which saved my butt. Otherwise the smell of fabulous Italian would have been my undoing.

Arg! Time to go work out. Today I'm working toward 45 minutes of Wii DDR (I was up to an hour before my last surgery) and 20 minutes of bendy yogilates (yoga and pilates mixed). Did I mention that I'm not at all bendy? About like a dry stick. *sigh*

Wish me luck!

Monday, June 15, 2009

In the Summertime, dee-dee-dee-deet-dee

What a great weekend and Monday I've had. I'm tired but very happy. It's been a week with no insomnia (I say that cautiously, hehehe). I guess the good part actually began on Thursday when I got the results of my used to be quarterly CT scan. Still no growth in any of the cancer spots - yay! In August, it will be three years since I got the recurrence diagnosis. I get to wait 4 months for my next scan which is about as good as it gets in my situation. Still on the Zometa every 4 weeks.

Thursday night my buds and I went shopping and had a great time. I got a yummy black cocktail dress for one of my functions at national conference in July.

Friday evening and Saturday I went to Lay Speaking Training which is a church thing. I really enjoyed it and learned about some fabulous resources for my church committee. Can't wait to share them. Saturday evening I finally found a long gown for my national conference in July. Had to get it since there's virtually no hope of losing enough weight to get into any of my old ones. *sigh*

Saturday night and Sunday until early afternoon, I was pretty nauseated. A little hiccup in the UC I think but it went away. I lazed around most of Sunday until the two youngest grandkids came over. They are sooooo much fun. We all went to bed around 10 and they went right to sleep. Brady woke up wanting his mamma and cried for a little while around 3:30 but I got him settled and back to bed not long after. Earlier today, I sneezed in the car, and 2-year-old Brady said, "Bless you." It was the cutest thing!

We all went to eat with Lane who was headed to the airport after lunch. He'll be in DC for a couple of days. After that we headed to my house and the swim instructor met us here at three to teach the grandkids, Alec's little brother Ashton, and the next door neighbor boys. 6 kids in all. She's a brave soul. The two youngest will be dropping out of lessons this year because they're just too small yet. They made a good effort, tho. The rest did really well. My neighbors are super nice and Karsen and Jake are fun to have around. Alec and Karsen are close in age, so they really have a great time. Jake and Brooklynn are the same age but he's way too boy and she's way too girl for them to buddy up. :-)

My friend Di called and we'll be going to lunch tomorrow. Sheila might come over tonight to soak in the hot tub if she can get her parents squared away. Alec's stepmom might come back after the game if they're not too tired. We've become really good friends and I'm really grateful. She truly loves Alec, and that eases my mind. He seems to be getting along with his stepdad better, and I'm glad for that too. He's such an easy going boy. It's hard not to love him. Yeah, that's a Nana speaking. :-)

I need to go clean up my nasty kitchen and put away all the toys the kids dragged out. Then I'm going to kick back with some popcorn and watch TV until someone shows up. Gotta love summer!


Saturday, June 06, 2009

Week of Good Times

Just got back from my mom & dad's in Texas, and I miss them already. We had a great week. She made my favorite meals (tacos and fried chicken) and we went to Taco Villa and Rosa's. Mmmm. We also made Hello Dolly cookies and went to Red Lobster, so I probably have my 3 pounds back to lose again. Hopefully no more than that!

My four girls and Sean will be glad to know I worked hard on the recipe/scrapbooks and got a lot done. I'm about 2/3 of the way done and have all the photos sorted. I'm going to print pics of Lucas for Melanie's book.

We got Mom's new TV all set up, and it's working great.

Watching fights tonight (joy, joy) with my hubby. It was soooo good to see him and my doggies. Hope all my loved ones are doing well tonight. Get well soon, Lucas!!


Friday, May 22, 2009

Factoid Friday

Found some interesting things this week in the mags I thought you guys might enjoy/benefit from.

For those of you taking Ginkgo for memory - you can stop now. According to an eight-year study done by Steven T. DeKosky, M.D. of the Univ. of Virginia School of Medicine, of 3,000 older patients, those who took ginkgo biloba were just as likely to develop Alzheimer's as those who didn't. *sigh* You're better off working puzzles or learning a new language or an instrument. So far I think the studies are looking good on the efficacy of keeping your mind sharp through activity.

For my worry wart friends (and you know who you are, Sheila and Betty), Susan Crandell wrote a very interesting article in this month's Good Housekeeping magazine called The Worry Cure. I didn't read all the way to the cure (as I wouldn't know a worry if it came up and bit me on the...but I digress), but I found a couple of nuggets to pass on to you guys. Number one:

"Toxic worry" is what Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., author of Worry has dubbed chronic worry which leaves your mind revisiting the same issues over and over, with no solution in sight and no exit ramp, the infinite web of 'what if'. [As I love to can't live your life on 'what if' LOL!]

Number two: "...the sneaky thing about chronic worry, says Alan D. Keck, Psy. D., director of the Center for Positivey Psychology in Altamonte Springs, FL, is that it can masquerade as constructive action "When you worry, you think you're doing something productive," says Keck, "but you're not; you're just spinning your wheels." [and using up energy that could be better used otherwise.]

I liked the sidebar comment: "It's not the cause of your worry but your confidence that you'll handle it that counts." So the next time chronic worry crops up, think of solutions. If there are no solutions, pray for acceptance.

Looking forward to a busy weekend with a wedding, a birthday party, PPV fight party, and church. Oy! Hope you all have a great weekend.

Love ya,

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thoughts on Thursday

This was Max as a puppy. He's always been a big rocker, and he's very disappointed Adam didn't win last night.
Hehehe! Just kidding.
Speaking of TV series, did anyone watch the 24 season finale? It was kind of blah for me. I predicted most of what happened (it helps being a writer). Still a good season tho, but I'm worried they're running out of material.
Lots of my favs got cancelled after the writer's strike and more this season. *sigh* Loved Pushing Daisies. They've promised to air the final three episodes and finish out this last season beginning May 30 on consecutive Saturday nights.
Almost time to pick up the grandkids - yay! so better run. Love you all!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

Today has been a great mom's day. I got my mother-in-law's quilt done - yay! (After 2 years or so - sheesh!). I started with two pretty fabric panels and designed the quilt around them. Talk about a risky venture, but the end result wasn't half bad if I do say so myself. I'm wrapping up several projects at the moment, and I'm so relieved to have time to work on them!

My housekeeper called today. She's out of town visiting a nephew whose wife miscarried last week. She called to tell me that I'm an inspiration to her. Me. Wow. You know, 10 years ago that's the last tag I'd have applied to myself, and I'm not sure I truly deserve it now. After all, it's not me who has all this strength and courage. It's the fact that, no matter what happens (including death), God's got my back. Like Paul said, to live is Christ but to die is ultimate gain. Not that I'm ready now, you understand. LOL!

My friend who was so terribly ill in the hospital is home now, and miracle of miracles, she's still on the list for donated lungs. I'm telling you, only God could have pulled that one off! Lane's assistant who suffered a brain aneurysm a couple to weeks ago went through a risky, experimental surgery which was a success. She's getting to where she can talk now and is making good strides back to normal. Her right eye won't open - that's where the aneurysm was - behind that eye, but she's able to feed herself now and all kinds of stuff. A couple of weeks ago, the doctors predicted she'd die within minutes.

My oldest daughter is coming from school for a short stay next weekend. I'll get to see my mom twice this month! Once when Laura and I go see my niece's new baby next Sunday and again for my regular visit at the end of this month (or first of next). I'm hoping to get a lot done on the kids' recipe scrapbooks. That's one project I *really* need to wrap up!!!

My son's on the way over. He's stopping by McAlister's to pickup sandwiches and broccoli cheese soup (in a bread bowl, of course!) and then we're going to play Samba (a form of the card game Canasta). Life truly is good.


Smiles to all you moms

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Spyder's Got the Blues

Just got a rejection from Nocturne which is kind a mixed blessing. I really wanted to sell to them, but my dream agent doesn't represent series (Harlequin/Silhouette), and she liked this one (at least the first chapter which is all she's read so far). I know, I'm talking in circles. Not a good day today. Suffice to say, I was having trouble keeping the word count down anyway, so I'll be turning this into a single title. Hopefully my agent of choice will continue liking it all the way to the end.

The rejection from Nocturne was that the premise is good but a couple of major aspects don't fit with the Nocturne line. I'll just have to keep reading them and see if I can shoot within the target with another book later. For now, I'm going to develop some aspects that my critique partners mentioned during the readings that will deepen the storyline.

Not today, though. I've been in a weird mood all day, and I'm going to give into it while trying to get some laundry and grocery shopping done so the day's not a complete wash. I'll snuggle with my doggies, regroup, and start again tomorrow.

Love you all!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What happens in Vegas...

...has been really fun this time. More so than normal, I mean. It started out a bit rocky on Sunday night when the slot machines were ravenous and ate 1/2 my money in less than an hour.

We're staying at Mandalay Bay, and I haven't left the hotel since we got here Sunday afternoon. We ate steak and onion rings to die for Sunday night at a place called StripSteak.

This morning, Monday, I met my cousin Kenneth and Aunt Leota at the buffet here for breakfast. I can't believe we were all in Vegas together! The buffet was scrumptious and I ate like there was no tomorrow. It was so good, Lane and I ate supper there.

The gambling was awesome. I stretched my first hundred for several hours. I'd be way down and all of a sudden I'd win 35, 50, 60 dollars on a penny or nickel machine. I played several cat machines in honor of my bf Sheila, and they were very good to me. I also played a Green Stamps machine because I remember saving green stamps with my mom. It had some pretty good bonus features. At my last machine, I kept getting bonus spin after bonus spin and then special bonus spins until I'd racked up $282. Not bad from a $0.40 bet!

After that, Lane took me to a blackjack table. I'd been practicing online but was still too bashful to go play. We were betting $25 a hand, and I held my own for quite a while before ultimately loosing most of my chips. I had a blast.

We fly home tomorrow, and I'm ready to go home. Wednesday is critique night, and I'm ready to see my buds. Oh, btw, I also got about 2 hours worth of work done on the plane out here. Hope to do similar on the way back. I'm ready to get the current WIP done and get on with the next one.

To finish out the good news, my friend in the hospital has been taken off the ventilator - yay! She should get to go home soon, I hope. The sad thing is that it doesn't look good for her to get a lung transplant. It's doubtful she could survive the surgery. That really limits her days and In can easily imagine what that must feel like. I intend to support her with prayer for as long as she has.

Hope you're having a great day as you read this!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Taking the Good with the Bad

April is a reall iffy month for me. The first notice I receive that it's arrived is that very exciting talk begins of my granddaughter' s May birthday. She will be 5 this year. Another little granddaughter turned 5 today but I don't get to celebrate with her. For reasons I can't honestly savvy, I' m not all sure of why she's been denied me. Or why I've been denied her. So as with all other things I cannot understand or really effect, I've turned this heartache over to the Lord.

Then April comes around, and all my good intentions fly out the window. Despite my strict diet, I ate pizza today and cheese sticks and a chocolate cupcake and chocolate donuts. I cried when I learned a friend is in ICU in life-threatening situation. Day before yesterday a lady who works for my husband landed in ICU with a brain aneurism.

Then the rest of the grandkids show up, and I have a respite from the world headed-for-hell-in-a-handbasket. Now alone at the end of the evening, my emotions feel more confused than anything. Kind of twisted together and wrung out with an iron fist. But soon, maybe tomorrow or next week, the world will begin to knit itself together again, and I'll feel fine again until the next trigger.

Sorry to be so melancholy today, but a spider's got to do what a spyder's got to do...

Love you all,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Friend is a Hit!!

My friend, Gena Showalter, has been bouncing around for a while on the New York Times bestseller list, she's been interviewed on local television, and now she's made her national television debut on Nightline. Follow the link below to see Nightline's piece on romance novels (very interesting how romance sales increase during stressful times like now) including Gena's interview.

What am I up to? Well, first of all, I'm terribly excited about Laura coming to town in mid-May. We're going to Dallas for a day to see my niece's baby (Laura's seeing him for the first time). She also has a new nephew here, who arrived in April. My mom and dad will be in Dallas as well - yay!

Secondly, I'm also terribly excited because at the end of May, I make my sort-of-quarterly sojourn to west Texas to see Mom and Dad again. We always have a great time and I generally get a lot done on whatever crafting project I have going on. This time I'll work on the scrap-recipe-books again.

Today I'm going to do some writing, yard work (yay!), and various and sundry chores. Yes, I really love yard work. I have several flower beds to level and a paver path to create, and I'm very excited about both projects. Lowe's delivered my retainer wall bricks and pavers a couple of weeks ago, but the weather and my obligations have not cooperated until now.

BTW, I'll also be participating in a Write-a-thon this weekend to benefit Susan G. Komen For the Cure this weekend. If you'd like to donate a penny a word (will end up costing you anywhere from $25 to $63 depending on how many words I write) or a flat amount of at least $5, you can email me or comment on this post. I'll be starting a new book with the Write-a-thon - yay!!

I'm also making my bf, Sheila, a surprise but I won't say what it is on here because she reads this blog. I'm only mentioning it to make her crazy - hehehe! love you, girl!

Well, daylight's burning, as they say, and I need to get busy. Hope to see you all soon!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Dreamin' in Dallas

My buddies and I went to the DARA conference in Dallas this past weekend, and it was better than ever, I thought. They've always put on a great show, but this year seemed extra good. It was really hard deciding between the workshops.

Roxanne St. Clair was the kick-off speaker, and she did a great job. I wish they'd recorded the speeches and the workshops, but alas... This was the first time I'd met 'Rockie' as she's called and I'm totally in love with her! I have a couple of her novels in my TBR pile, and they're moving to the head of the line. Also got a free one at the conference (signed, of course!).

Vicky Lewis Thompson did the luncheon speech and was great, of course. We made sure we each got a different book of hers so we can trade and read all three. :-)

Bob Mayer did a couple of workshops I attended, and oh my gosh were they awesome. I learned several key things that will really help me. I can't wait to share them with my OKRWA friends.

I met Tessa Woodward of Avon, and though she didn't request my ms (they're not doing straight contemps right now), she did give me an excellent idea to strengthen the beginning. Plus she's a really nice gal.

I'm feeling really good this week. I slept much too late this morning, but when I do that, I feel so good all day. Truly rested. I wish I could sleep less and still feel that good, but it's not in the cards. Yesterday we were all really worn out because we drove to Dallas Friday night and came back late Saturday night. I didn't sleep much on Friday night, but I caught up yesterday and today. Now I'm feeling great which is important because I'm working out with my husband this evening. I asked him if I could so I can judge how much the workouts I'm doing on my own are helping me. I figure if I can hang with him, I'm doing super!

Getting down and dirty about the diet this week. I'm doing the low-carb kick off week of a diet I found in first magazine. 20 grams of carbs or less per day which means meat and salad all week. Then I start a regimen of high carb, low carb, and medium days (it's a lot easier than it sounds) to keep burning fat. I hate deciding what to wear every day because I've gained so much. It's time to get busy! Yeah! (oh crap!) hehehe!

I'm headed to Dallas again in mid-May for a pleasure trip. My daughter will be down from IN and we're going to spend the day with my mom, dad, sister, BIL, niece, nephew-in-law(?), and their beautiful new son. Cannot wait. Then on Memorial Day, I head down to west Texas to spend a few days with my mom and dad at their house. Love that time. We don't do a darn thing except work on our latest craft projects and watch movies. Ahhhhhh. Love it.

Love you all,

Important Prayer Request

This arrived from a friend in my email this morning, and I think it's a great idea.

Chron. 7:14




One person added the following: Let me just add a quote from Ronald Reagan - "If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." I truly believe this is why the United States of America is in the shape we are in today. Most people have forgotten that we are ONE NATION UNDER GOD! Let us as Christians stand up and remind people of this. ~ Have a Blessed Day!

Echoing the prayer for all to have a blessed day - love you all and don't forget to pray for our country and leaders every day for the next 30 days.


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wow, has it really been almost three weeks since I've posted? You guys should string me up in my own web - hehehe!

I'm glad for spring to be almost here. I say almost because we had snow just a couple of days ago. Yes, snow. It didn't stick, but it was really pretty falling. Except it wasn't pretty because IT'S SPRING!

Lane and I ordered a bunch of lawn stuff (pavers, retaining wall bricks and mulch mostly) to work on leveling our flowerbeds and laying a path where the dogs walk through one of them frequently. It's already arrived, so now I need to find time to get out there and work on it. Good luck, you say? You've got that right!

Got to close now - I'm bushed. Love you all!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sunsets and Sanity

Life is good when you can look out your back door and see such a drop-dead gorgeous sunset. I especially needed this today as I've been even crankier that yesterday. The last couple of days have featured messed up sleep (last night I didn't fall sleep until around 4:30). The night before wasn't much better, so tonight is definitely a Lunesta night. Anyway, I ended up in the line from hell at WalMart. The girl was training and none too smart to begin with. Then the b*t@h, I mean chick in front of me wrote a check - Who (other than my elderly mother) writes checks these days? Holy cow!! Total time spent in line: 45 minutes. Yeah, I called and complained. Evidently I threw a big enough fit that the experienced cashier helped the girl catch the line up after I left.
On a positive note, I'm loving doing Dance Dance Revoloution for my cardio. I've upped my calorie burn as I get better and better at the game. It's tons of fun. I also got wrist weights since I've reached a plateau on my Wii tennis. *That* upped the difficulty factor (and messed up my score a little, but I'm catching back up).
My Wii tennis and weight workouts on my arms have paid off. When I went for my treatment last time, the nurse who did my bloodwork found a new vein that accessed super easy, and the next day the treatment IV slid effortlessly into still another new vein. Thank goodness because we were doing 4-5 sticks per visit, including very painfully digging trying (unsuccessfully) to make some of them work.
Also, I'm really glad Megan and Anoop didn't get kicked off of Idol. I thought Jasmine was a bad choice for wildcard from the start, but I thought Jorge would do better. What do they say? Song choice, song choice, song choice!! My favorites though are Adam, Danny, and Alexis (I'd forgotten all about Dirty Diana - kudos Alexis) - this week anyway. Can wait to see how next week goes.
Even cranky, I love you guys!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Just finished reading PRIDE by Rachel Vincent

It was everything I expected, but now I have to wait for PREY coming in July 09. *sigh* Not too big a deal because now I can catch up on my Jordan Dane novels. What's next in line?


This will be my second Jordan Dane, and after loving the first, I'm greatly looking forward to this one. Her new series has already begun coming out, so I'm eager to catch up.

Anyway, back to PRIDE. It was everything I'd hoped it would be. Action, plot twists, tender moments that had me on the verge of tears... There are few authors I can read these days without being in writer critique mode. These two authors and others have managed to turn me back into a reader and have returned that simple pleasure to me. I highly recommend them both.

Well, I had a rough night last night. Some friends came over and we wrote all day Saturday, then stayed up and watched movies until about 1 am. I was so sleepy and went straight to bed, but did I go to sleep? Oh no. Around 2:30 I broke down and took a Lunesta (I hate to take them so late because I sleep really, really late). Tonight I took one tonight at 7:30 to make sure I'm asleep around 9 to start the week off right. It's so much easier if I'm up by 8:30 am, and that's hard to do if I fall asleep later than 10:30.

Enough about the insanity of my sleep rhythms. Happy reading everyone and have a great week!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Strange Days

What a weird day today. It started with a crazy night of nightmares and weird dreams. It was like all the crazy dreams I've ever had rolled into one continuous depressing mess. I couldn't find my car or if I did it was torn up. I left my purse laying around and it got stolen and I was upset because my PDA was gone. I also couldn't get anywhere I needed to go. I did figure out I was in Branson MO instead of at my mom's house where I was supposed to be. If I did manage to end up in mom's house, I had too many clothes to fit in my suitcase.

I had forgotten to buy my airline tickets for national conference. Then I was at the conference hotel and had lost my key. The guy at the desk went to get another key but never came back. Then I couldn't remember my room number.

I talked about being in a purple funk a while back, but this was the worst ever.

Then the grandkids came over and all is sunshine and light. God did good when he created grandkids!! Also my new housekeeper is coming tomorrow and I'm so excited!!

So goes the rollercoaster of my life. Hope yours is going well!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's Here!!

Too tired to say much, but I had to shout out that my copy of PRIDE finally arrived today - woo hoo!

Love ya,

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Monday All!

Listening to Heart's Bebe Le Strange - gotta love it!

Got word that my copy of Rachel Vincent's PRIDE has finally shipped so it should be here any day now - yippee!!

In the meantime, Maureen Child's VANISHED was well worth the read. If you don't have a copy, I highly recommend it. The ending was somewhat predictable but still satisfying.

Also in the package with PRIDE is Jordan Dane's lastest. I still have to read NO ONE LEFT TO TELL and the other 'no one' book - man, my memory is the pits these days. They say chemo can't pass the blood brain barrier, but I think that's bullcorn. I used to have such a great memory and now I can' hardly recall my name on some days. Well, it's not relly that bad...

Tonight is my youngest's 21st birthday, so I'm taking him to Cattleman's for a steak dinner. He's going to college about 60 miles away and is doing really well. He's had a rough start (of his own making), so he's had to do the last year or so on his own, and has been successful, I'm proud to say.

Had dinner at the bff's yesterday - yummy! She's a great cook which is probably why her in-laws are always dropping in to stay whether they would admit it or not. They're kind of you-know-what holes.

Well, it's time to go write for a while. Love ya!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Great day today

On the trusty MP3: The slow version of Eric Clapton's "Layla"

What am I reading while I wait for my PREORDERED copy of Rachel Vincent's PRIDE to come in (even though Walmart has tons of copies - I'll never trust Amazon again!)

Vanished (Silhouette Nocturne)
by Maureen Child

Now this book fits my definition of a grabber. I've hardly been able to put it down since I started it. The hero is the height of sexy and the heroine is independent without being TSTL (too stupid to live). She does manage to get herself into trouble and need rescuing, but in ways that make perfect sense. Ms. Child's demons are less like the modern version (which so often end up being heroes) and more like the demons of old. The only thing that bothers me is that the author keeps repeating that the demons can't be killed in this dimension. I'm wondering why she chose that particular rule. She mentions it in almost every demon confrontation, so it seems very important to her that the hero doesn't kill them. I'd just as soon he dispatched them for good.

At any rate, the issue isn't enough to distract me from the excellent story. I love a book that lets me be a reader instead of an ever-critiquing writer. That's a rare quality indeed.

I designated today as a writing day since I didn't get much done last week due to an overabundance of medical appointments. I got a ton done on the WIP - yay! Tomorrow is errands day and catch up on some housework, and then hopefully I can devote the early part of Thursday to writing again.

I'm eager to see how Vanished ends, so must sign off now. Love to all!


Friday, February 06, 2009

Laughter for the Weekend

Sending you into the weekend with the funniest video I've seen in a long time...

Love ya!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Hi, I'm Pinkie, and I'm a Facebook Addict

I absolutely love Facebook. It is the number 1 waste of time ever! What a great way to keep up and learn more about your friends.

Today is a good day. I met with my CP's last night and that's always a big boost to the mood. If laughter helps you live longer, they've added at least 10 years to my life so far (and I need all I can get!!) For those that don't know, my breast cancer metastisized to the bone and is now incurable. Don't worry yet, though. It's been 3-1/2 years since we found tiny (barely enough for a definitive biopsy) and there's been no growth. God has my back and my friends keep me young. My family loves me no matter what, and my husband is devoted like no other man will ever be. I go to a wonderful church and *love* my family there.

Because of the cancer, I was able to quit work and go on SS disability. Now I pursue the things I love most - writing, church, family (esp. kids and grandkids!), and my household. I'm not a great housekeeper, but I love what I do. As Rick Warren says, God never wastes a hurt!

Speaking of housekeeping and writing - I need to get busy. How is it I never get caught up???

Love ya!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Purple Funk

I've always loved that expression: purple funk. It's so descriptive of the dark clouds of dissatisfaction that periodically shadow our lives. For me, it usually means that someone in the periphery of my life is not behaving as I wish they would. *sigh* Darn these people for having their own opinions and thoughts! hehehe!

Not too much else going on. This is oncologist week as well as treatment time. I also have a visit to the GI specialist tomorrow. I've been doing well keeping up my weight training so hopefully the veins in my arms will be more accessible than last treatment. While I was in the hospital they all decided to run and hide, and can you blame them? I've also regained my PRO status in Wii Tennis (just barely!). I've worked my way up to playing 45 minutes now, so I'm doing good.

Yesterday was my last day on the steroids, and the side effects are already starting to disappear. I wasn't sure if it would take time to get them out of my system or not. Thank goodness.

Better run and get my last tasks done before time to sleep!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Forgot this part...

What am I reading while I wait for my pre-ordered copy of PRIDE by Rachel Vincent to arrive?

Darker Masques
An anthology featuring Ray Bradbury, Graham Masterson, and others

Is it really the end of January already?

WOW. October, November, and December gone. It's hard to believe I was that sick that three months slipped by me. January has been much better. I'm about to get caught up around the old web.

My Silhouette Nocturne is officially on the editor's desk after three tries. Naturally I forgot to include the synopsis in the package, but she was sweet and let me email it. I heard from an agent I'd queried months ago requesting a partial on my contemporary so woo hoo!!

Not much else going on. I'm about to settle into work on the WIP and then various housecleaning activities. It's still icy outside, so no going into town for me today. Hopefully it'll melt off tomorrow. The high today is supposed to be 35, but I don't think it'll be above freezing long enough to melt much. Maybe, if the sun stays out.

I'm feeling fabulous these days albeit now 30 lbs overweight instead of 20. Darn those steroids!! This is my last week on them. It's not supposed to be my last week, but I'm making it the last. I'm tired of the moon face, night sweats, and appetite from hell.

I have a new little nephew and he is sooooooo cute! Got to go see him briefly last week. Got to love those babies. My granddaughter and I had our first "Nana and Brooklynn" day week before last and we had a ball. We have enough Barbies to pilot a battleship but not as many Kens - isn't that always the way? Today or tomorrow I plan to put together a dollhouse-shaped bookshelf to go with her Barbie Disco Ball house (or whatever they call it) for more furniture room. We have three Barbie cars too.

The dh and I are officially empty nesters. The last child moved out a couple of weeks ago. We sure do miss her.

I'd better get busy now. I'm also on Facebook now, btw. That is so addictive!

Love ya,