Back

I'm back in the saddle again. Let's see how long I can stay aboard. :-)

It's been so busy for me for the last six months that finding time to write so much as a shopping list has been a challenge. The ideas for blog posts and my next novel don't stop, just because I'm too busy to write.

Tonight, I started sketching out my idea for this next novel. While I'm still interested in writing a fictional account of my grandparents' epic lives, I do believe I'll shelve that idea for now. Another idea is pressing on me and that story is shouting to be told. It's a great departure from my previous work and I'm fascinated by where the story can go.

Isn't that just the most delicious part of the writing process? Having a story that wants to be told?

Snapshot

Yesterday afternoon, I saw two young boys walking along and showing each other how well they could spit.

My sons used to do that, too: showing off their ability to spit. I've always wondered why boys take such pride and pleasure in spitting.

Anybody? Explain?

Too Much

Sometimes, there's just too much.

Too much going on in life to be able to do everything on your list.

Too much to do to think very much about what is going on in life. It's a vicious cycle.

I started a new job about 10 days ago. It's a huge change for me. Getting ready for my last day at the old job was two weeks of working in double-time. I don't like to leave a mess behind me if I can avoid it. It was also two weeks of preparing to part with close working friends. I really, really miss those awesome women.

The new job presents a whole new set of challenges. For one thing, I need to learn a new "language". I speak plumbing. I speak insurance. I used to speak restaurant but that's been a while. Now I need to learn to speak propane! New people, new software... new new new!

And then.Then.

After 13 years of struggling over the title of "Dominant Female", the race ended. We had to put down our old O.C.D. Australian Cattle Dog, Ruthie. That was a difficult day, I must say. We discussed her downward spiral often and wondered if the day was coming when we would have to make that tough decision. Last Friday it was no longer a matter for discussion. The time was clearly at hand.

Our young dog, Chloe, keeps checking Ruthie's favorite napping spots. When she's convinced that Ruthie isn't here, she lays down abruptly in what looks a lot like a teenager throwing herself on the bed to cry.

I understand the feeling.

Give me a little time to find my new stride, and I'll be back to posting regularly. Meanwhile, give your dog a hug.

Ruthie. 1999 - 2013



Clean

I wanted to do something a little different with the third and final book in the series.

Each of the three books, A Gathering of Light, A Light in the Mountains and the newest, The Light of a Fire Opal is a complete story that is not dependent on the other books in the series. There is a common thread that unites the three stories, but it isn't necessary to read the first one in order to comprehend the others.

Someone commented that, as much as she liked A Gathering of Light, I should have omitted the profanity. OK, I get that. Of course, I think the profanity is entirely appropriate to the situations in which it occurs. I challenge anyone whose hand is being crushed while he's being stepped on by a mule to NOT swear, but that's beside the point. The nature of the attack on the heroine of the story, and the two instances of profanity made the story somewhat less that CLEAN.

In the second book, A Light in the Mountains, there is an instance of premarital sex. Yep. Even in the late 1800s, people did sometimes take the lid off the cookie jar before they were "supposed to". There are also a few scenes of conjugal bliss that are a little descriptive. Nothing in any shade of gray, mind you, but there they are.

For the final book in the series, The Light of a Fire Opal, I wanted to write a story that would be compelling and yet clean. I ran into a little trouble there. I tried, I really did, but I just couldn't quite leave out all the profanity. I used the word "tit", which isn't exactly profanity, but there is one part of the story where the only word that works is ..... shit. All together, the story contains one "hell", one "shit", two "damn"s and a "tits".

I guess I'm incorrigible.

28

Twenty-eight years ago, I said "I do."
Twenty-eight years ago, he said "I do."

Twenty-eight. 28. Two decades and eight years. 336 months. However you say it, it's an astonishing length of time. I've learned so much and grown so much over those years, and I am happy to report that I am even more in love with my Sweet Hubs than I was on the day I promised to love him forever. I would love him even if he couldn't rescue me from disaster the way he does. I would love him if even he didn't get my heart pounding the way he does. That he can do these things is fantastic and adds an element of fun, hot and WOW to our relationship. So, what did I learn over the last 28 years?

  • Lingerie works. You don't have to look like Jennifer Lawrence (who has uneven boobs. I heard her say so). Trust me. Ditch the granny panties and the industrial-strength bras and go sexy. Mom told me that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. She. Was. Wrong.
  • Clubs and barrooms are no place to nurture a marriage. One thing that almost every divorced couple I know has in common: a lifestyle that included regular "going out"s. Going out with the girls, going out with the guys, going out with other couples, going out on a Saturday night. Good things never come from it.
  • Never throw the word "divorce" around carelessly. Words have power, folks. If you whip that "D word" out in every argument, it will become the sword that kills your marriage. Keep bringing it up, and it starts to sound like a good idea. So just don't say it.
  • It is a mistake to put the children before the marriage. Your loving marriage is the greenhouse in which to grow healthy, happy, balanced children. The children are there because of your love, so don't let the children upstage that same love. 
  • Love is a chameleon. Your love doesn't look like ours. Ours doesn't look like my parent's, and nobody's love looks like what you see in movies, novels or television. You have to see your own relationship on its own merits and quit comparing it to anything else.
  • Treat every parting and every homecoming with the respect it deserves. I think about the parents who sent their child to school and never saw them again. I think about a colleague of mine whose husband died of a heart attack at work one day. I hope they kissed goodbye that morning.
No one can do everything they should do all the time. If we could, then we'd be perfect and no one could stand us. It's still worth striving for. My husband is my heart. He has seen me at my best and my worst and all the shades in between and loves me anyway. If nothing else, 28 years has taught me the value of that.

Tragedy Averted

I was making Oatmeal Molasses bread....kind of like the bread they serve at Stuart Anderson's Black Angus.

My beloved, trusted friend, my Kitchenaid Classic, was working along beautifully, just like she's done for the last 25 years. POP!!! A big noise, and the mixer no longer has a slow speed.

Tears filled my eyes.

I kneaded the dough the rest of the way on the counter, sniffing the whole time.

Sweet Hubs came inside and I told him what had happened. A little while later, he grabs a screwdriver to take a look inside my dear Kitchenaid.

And he FIXED it!!! He said something complicated about a nut and an armature or something. I don't know. All I know is, he FIXED it!

God, how I love that man.


Mindful Moment

I woke up about 3:00 am, for no good reason. As I snuggled in my bed and tried to get back to sleep, I finally decided to try to meditate my way out of insomnia.

The sheets, warm from my body heat, felt silky soft against me. The air in the room was chilly, but the bed was perfect.

Just the right number of blankets to keep me warm without being too warm. And exactly the right weight. I like the weight of blankets on me: even if I'm just taking a nap (a rare thing), I need to have a blankie.

The night was nearly silent. I could hear the hum of the refrigerator and the snuffling of my Chloe dog, who may have been sniffing out rabbits in her dreams.

I thought of my Sweet Hubs, camping out in a wilderness area on his deer hunt. I was sleeping on his side of the bed, so my head rested on the same pillow where his head rested the night before.

Gradually, dreamily, I drifted back to sleep, feeling the softness of my warm bed and feeling my heart near my husband.

Huh???

Two things I saw on the interwebs this past weekend. Both of them made me say, "Say WHAT?"

"Hes taken you for grannit."

"Supper Deal! Supper fast 1969 Chevvy Camera for sail"



My own sweet hubs never takes me for grannit, granita, granite OR granted.

And a supper deal? Like a blue plate special? Or a supper fast? Isn't that an oxymoron? I never knew Chevrolet built cameras, anyway, let alone for sailing on a blue plate while starving yourself.

Oh. My. Gawwwwwddddd.

A Lesson From Mom

Mom at about age 4 or 5 -- sorry, I don't
happen to have a picture of her 10
My Mom was 10 years old, a platinum-haired, scabby-kneed tomboy of a Dutch girl, when the Nazis bombed Rotterdam. The Dutch fought back, but in only a short time, they had to surrender and the Nazis occupied the strategic seaport of my mother's home city. It was spring of 1940 and the life she had known up until then ended that day.

Under Nazi occupation, the family faced starvation and terror. They witnessed heinous acts of violence, lived through a multitude of bombings, lost friends and family and neighbors. Mom was about 14 when she was smuggled out of the city to go live with strangers for a year, because she was dying of starvation. Rotterdam was being squeezed to death.

I asked her once, how she ever learned to forgive and move past all that had happened then. She told me a story.

Their apartment was along a main street of Rotterdam and only a short way from a warehouse the Nazis had been using as one of their headquarters. On Liberation Day in 1945, Canadian soldiers marched rows of captured Nazis out of the area. Mom and her older sister threw rocks at the Nazi soldiers as they were being marched away.

I think I said something about how good that must have felt, to get a little even.

But Mom said, "No. We felt ashamed of ourselves afterward."

"Why? After all they had done to you and the other people?" I asked.

"Because we had behaved just as cruelly as they had, and we should have been better than that." She replied.

It's probably been 35 or 40 years since Mom told me that, but I have never forgotten the lesson.

A Writing Prompt



The writing prompt: Choose a moment from your personal history and mine it for sensory detail. Describe it to us in rich, evocative details. Let us breath the air, hear the heartbeat, the songs, feel the fabric and the touch of that moment.

April 20, 1994

The room was quiet. Only his halting breaths and the distant, low voices at the nurse's station brought a soft murmur to my ears. The blinds were closed and the midday light was a soft, creamy glow at the window. 

His outline seemed so small, almost insignificant, beneath the white sheet: a mere shadow of the man he once was. That sharp, almost gasping breathing punctuated the air. I sat by his side and held his hand, just in case he knew enough to know someone was with him. His fingertips were still rough from his years at the jeweler's bench. Diaphanous, parchment-thin skin, prickled with black hair covered the back of his hand. It was so unlike the powerful, capable, hard-working hand I had always known.

Those halting breaths were bitter, adding to the smell of disinfectant and dying in the air. I thought of other days. The smells of campfires, jeweler's rouge, family dinners, sawdust, trout streams and Old Spice. I thought of my little boy who would be losing his cherished grandfather that day: a little boy who was, at that very moment, sharing his dinosaur birthday cake with his kindergarten class. How would I explain this?

A sudden, ragged, stuttered intake of air. A sharp exhale. The breathing stopped. And my father was gone.

Mindful Moment

I sat at the table
a cup of sweet coffee warming my hands as I enjoyed its flavor and fragrance.
Sweet Hubs makes the best coffee.

My emotionally needy dog gently puts her front paws in my lap
and tries to lick my face, which I don't allow but appreciate the gesture.

And the sky turned pink with the rising sun.

Cosmetics Salesgirl from Hell

I was striding through an upscale department store, on a mission and in a hurry, when a gravelly young voice calls out to me.

"Would you like to try this redonkulously overpriced new cream for your crow's feet?"

What is up with young girls using that gritty, creaking voice that is supposed to come with extreme age?
If I did, indeed, have crow's feet, would that have worked? Would that have shamed me into trying her overpriced cream, made from the foreskins of circumcised baby pandas, or wherever it comes from?

As it was, I just shook my head and smiled at her in that motherly look that says, "Oh, dear. You're such an idiot." and went on my way.

Cosmetics counter salesgirls of the world, take note: shouting to me that I have crow's feet will never work. If I don't have them, you just made yourself look nearsighted and silly. If I do have them, I'm probably not proud of them and don't want it broadcast over the loudspeaker.

What's next? Are we going to see Little Miss Sunshine at the drugstore, shouting out to the shoppers, "Hey, come get a sample of these less-visible incontinence pads!"