Thursday, November 02, 2006

Homecoming, Halloween and Birthdays, Oh My!!!

What a fun, but crazy time we've been having!! Friday afternoon, I picked up Hubby from his Connecticut trip. As luck would have it, I was finally on time in picking him up, only to have his plane be an hour late!! After lunching at Olive Garden, we headed home, and still had a couple hours before the kids got home. Seeing how Hubby would be on hand should the Fed-Ex man appear or the phone ring, I headed to the tub to work on Dancing With Dalton edits. How's that for the ultimate decadent romance writer behavior??!!!! LOL!!

I'd gotten about ten pages done, when Hubby comes in, and says I need to get out as we have company. I rolled my eyes and said, hah ha, you're so funny. Now leave me alone!! These edits are due Monday!! A few minutes later, he reappeared, this time with a squirming dog in his arms--Noodle, my parent's beefy wiener!!!

Surprise!! My parents were in town furniture shopping and stopped by for a quickie visit!! They just bought a new house, and needed a kitchen set. I'm soooo jealous of their granite counters!!!

Friday night was homecoming, and though our team lost, we still enjoyed the festivities.

All day Saturday, Daughter was at a cheer clinic for middle school girls, teaching them cheers. I helped out for a few hours, helping another mom man the snack table.

That night, we had our second annual Halloween party. My pal, Dixie, helped me chaperone, as well as a few seniors from the cheer squad. I was very careful from the invitation stage to only invite kids I knew weren't likely to knock holes in our walls (remember last year??), so aside from one set of crashers who showed up with an electric guitar and amp, the evening was trouble free. In the past, I've done fancy virgin blender drinks, but Dixie and I let the kids handle their own beverages while we relaxed, keeping an eye on the pizza rolls coming out of the oven.

Sunday was Hubby's birthday!!! While the kids slept, we snuck out for a romantic birthday breakfast of cheesy hash browns at Cracker Barrel, then strolled in Tulsa's rose garden. It was a GORGEOUS morning, with just a little nip in the air. That afternoon, Hubby vanished to the guitar store where he spent his gift card on a new guitar. It's pretty, but I don't see that it sounds much different than the old guitar!! LOL!!!

In between getting opening chapters of D w/ D to my new editor, attending football games for Son #2, Halloween, and teacher conferences, I've been working up new proposals. I've had some VERY exciting news from my agent, but nothing's remotely settled yet, and I need to do edits on that work. Trouble is, I'm not clear on what the editor wants, so Michelle's promised to translate!! Cross your fingers for me that I finally figure it out!!! LOL!!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I Knew Life Wouldn't Stay Calm Long!!

Was it really me just a week ago bragging about how wonderfully calm life's been? BIG mistake!! LOL!!

Heading the trauma train, last week, Daughter's boyfriend of the past year broke up--totally out of the blue. (This is the same guy who gave her the Tiffany's necklace for her birthday.) He then admits he's been doing pot, and that he no longer has time for her!!!! :-O Daughter was initially a sobbing wreck, then things really got interesting when all these other guys started calling, asking if she's really and truly single!! Last night she got an invite to the Holly Ball, their school's Christmas formal!! Um, it's Halloween!!! Anyway, she's doing much better!!

But to insure she keeps smiling, we're hosting a Halloween costume party. Am I a glutton for punishment, or what?? Sunday, we made invitations and stuck them in goody bags with little glow-in-the-dark skeletons for name tags. They turned out super cute!! We then hand delivered most, seeing how I only let the kids invite kids we know. Meaning, I know their parents, so if there's trouble I know who to call!!! LOL!!

Hubby got home from Ohio, only to turn around and head to Connecticut. He said the leaves are amazing! MUCH better than anything he's seen around here, or even in Arkansas where they have a beautiful Fall. Speaking of Hubby, Sunday's his birthday, which reminds me that I need to go shopping!!

Our new sort-of adopted son (we'll call him Son #2--long story!!!!) has been sick with a cold. Bless his heart, he stayed home yesterday, looking miserable. He's on the freshman football team, and I'm sure he wasn't helped by being out in the cold for two hours Monday night. Now, I've got it and would just as soon sleep, but seeing how much I've loafed lately, I seriously need to work!!

I haven't heard anything new from Harlequin American, but when I do, I'll let you know!! ;-)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Weekend Update & Editor News!!

Whew, it's been a crazy-busy weekend, but fun! Daughter's cheer squad won 1st in their category, then we had fun at Frontier City, riding rides and eating waaaay too many forbidden foods!! I screamed so hard on the Wildcat rollercoaster that my chest and throat hurt!!!

Hubby jetted off for a sales thing in Ohio this morning. As usual, I'm not sure what he's doing, but he seemed excited as he wouldn't have his usual workload at night in the hotel. I hope he has fun!

Meanwhile, I've got plenty to keep me busy. I got edits on my anthology, and whew--they're nice and light!!! Drum roll, please . . . I also have an official new editor, Ms. Johanna Raisanen. I've not yet had the pleasure of meeting her, but have heard she's VERY sharp! According to Kathleen, she's been with Super for the past four years. I love reading Supers, so hopefully I'll also love working with a Super editor!!

Kathleen put me in the hot seat, requesting anthology titles ASAP. Usually, titles are fairly easy for me, but this one just isn't coming. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!! Seriously!! LOL!! The story is set at a class reunion being held on 4th of July. Overall themes center around fresh starts. My fave so far is Sparklers and Smooches!!

In other news . . . Granny Sylv has lost her glasses again. I've searched EVERYWHERE!!!! They're seriously gone. Maybe she flushed them?? Considering the fact that she doesn't go that many places, I can't imagine where they've gone. She didn't have them when we dropped her off at the rest home, so I know they're not there. She usually doesn't wear them anyway, it just bugs me to not know where they are!!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Blessed Dullness!!

Ahh . . . It's been wonderfully dull around here lately--knock on wood!! LOL!! I've written 22 pages this week, and I think I might've lost one more pound. (I'm weighing in today instead of our usual Saturday morning, and our scale doesn't even remotely match up to WW's, so it's always a crap shoot as to whether or not you've lost!! )

Yesterday I had the BEST surprise in the form of an impromptu coffee meeting with two dear friends I haven't seen in ages. Karen Crane, who's a star of the Harlequin American line and also writes under the name of Karen Toller Whittenburg was a mentor to me before I'd sold to Harlequin. One of the books she helped me with was Santa Baby. The early drafts we played with never made it into the final version, but she helped me a lot with tightening and learning to not being afraid to cut my work. Amy Lillard was also in attendance. She's sold confessions and a wonderful book to a small press that sadly went out of business before her story went to the printer. She's a fighter, though, and I expect to see great things from her soon!!

Rounding out the fun, Thursday night was our bi-monthly critique meeting. I haven't seen the gang in ages, so it was awesome getting together with them, too!!

Today I'm thinking will be crazy busy. Due to our leaving town at seven tomorrow morning, and not coming back till late, I'm taking Granny Sylv to her home away from home. It's a rest home, but set up in a private house. It's a pretty cool alternative to some of the depressing retirement homes we've seen. Getting her out of the house is a MAJOR ordeal. In the past, we've just split up (Hubby and I) rather than move her, but caregiving is taking a toll on the whole family, and we think it's worth the effort to try getting back into somewhat of our normal family routine.

When I read the stats on how the folks caring for Alzheimer's patients are actually worse off the patients, I'd have to agree. It's a horrible disease I wish they'd hurry up and find a cure for. In the mean time, Hubby and I are consciously trying to make the best of this tough situation.

On a lighter note, Daughter's cheering at a big game tonight, so that'll be fun!! So far, our poor team hasn't won a regular season game, but I'm thinking (praying ) tonight's their night!! LOL!!

In other fun news, HOW AWESOME WAS SAWYER AND KATE'S KISS ON LOST???!!! Whew!!!! Daughter and I have been watching it over and over on AOL's TV Pick of the Day. Love, love, LOVE that show!!!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Whirlwind Update!!

Well, after sickness, famine (with Weight Watchers me and Hubby are both down 12 lbs!!), school angst, book deadlines, and two Chinese exchange students, I'm back!! If anyone's still out there reading--thanks!! ;-)

It's been a seriously crazed few weeks, but I'm hoping things will now settle back into a somewhat normal routine.

In a whirlwind update, my anthology is done--yay!! But my editor was laid off. Boo!! Jen was super sweet and I hope she finds another editing gig soon. I'm now working on a project called Dancing With Dalton, which doesn't yet have an official title, but is a little like Dancing With the Stars, only in a small town setting, minus the stars. LOL!!

Our exchange students were a hoot--even more so since neither spoke much English. There would be lots of times in the car when they'd be chattering up a storm in the backseat, and my son and I would just look at each other like how bizarro is this??!! NEVER have I experienced such an action-packed week. There were activities planned all day every day. The week before, we cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. The Saturday they arrived was like the perfect storm of kid events. Daughter had her first cheer competition of the year, at which I worked, starting at 7 AM. We were there till 2 (or driving back and forth, running last minute errands), then went to fetch the China kids from the airport, then went to a big China party that night. On paper, it doesn't look all that tough, but in real life, it was hellish!!! LOL!!!

That Sunday, we hosted a barbecue for FIFTY!!! That was pretty hellish, too, but fun. Everyone seemed to have a great time. Never have I seen so many cameras. The visiting teachers got a kick out of our house, and did lots of posing on my office balcony while more visiting teachers took pictures of them from the street!!

Literally hours after putting everyone on planes bound for Washington DC, I came down with a nasty something. I'm wondering if it's the dreaded e-coli, as I'm the only one who had it. A week later, I'm still not a hundred percent. I just thank God it held off till after everyone left.

This weekend, Daughter has another cheer competition. This time, it's at Frontier City on OK City. Should be fun--at least I hope so, as we're taking the whole crew!! ;-)

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Tree's Winning!!!

Tree 15, Altoms 2. Well, Hubby, Son and I started out Saturday on a fairly confident note, sure in our ability to take down the last of the tree. HA!!!!! With Daughter at the OU game, the three of us ended up neck-deep in scummy pond water, trying to get our footing while stepping on hidden branches and mud that'd suck you down to your knees. I've got bumps, scrapes and bruises in places I didn't know I had!!!

The last straw was when Hubby and I were trying to tackle one of the last branches still over the water, and the chainsaw got stuck. By jacking up a portion of the main trunk, we managed to remove the chain, so at least the actual saw was salvaged.

Sunday, we headed out to buy a new chainsaw, figuring we could cut out the old one's chain, then have two, so both of us could be cutting at the same time. Great plan, but seeing how we did start Weight Watchers, we were both too weak from starvation to tackle much of anything beyond unloading our $200 worth of fat free, sugar free, taste free groceries!!!!

This morning, we'd planned to get back to it, but it's raining. Thank God!!! LOL!!! Poor Hubby has developed some kind of itchy rash on his legs, and is wondering if he's caught a bizarre pond scum allergy. I guess if he isn't better in the morning, he should probably go to the doctor.

In other news, I was saddened to wake this morning and hear Steve Irwin had died. When the kids were smaller, we never missed his show. I thought it especially odd as to the way he died. Hubby and I have played with stingrays, and never thought anything of it. They've always seemed like such gentle, harmless creatures. I'm having trouble even picturing how something like this could've happened. Anyway, my thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. I'm sure he'll be deeply missed.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Misc. Rambling!!

Ahhh . . . Finally, a delightfully slow week!! Not that I haven't been busy, madly trying to organize and paint and clean for our exchange student, but it's made for a nice change in my usual routine.

Hubby's due home from Canada tonight, and tomorrow, we're planning Attack of the Downed Tree Part Two. It's so ugly, I've been tempted to tackle at least part of it myself, but the chainsaw needs sharpening which is a tad out of my realm of expertise!!

Last night was the first regular season football game. It was neck and neck, with our team down in the last quarter. At 58.6 seconds, we got the ball, then started making crazy-beautiful passes. At 3.3 seconds, we were a foot away from a touchdown, the crowd was going nuts, my baby was jumping and cheering, when splat. The try bombed, and our fans just sort of sat there, stunned that we'd lost. Oh well, it was seriously fun almost getting that miracle!!

Son (who'd painted his face red and blue--joy) had a friend over to stay the night, so while Daughter headed off with the cheer girls for ice cream, Son, friend and I drowned our sorrows in late night Taco Bueno. YUM!!

Which brings me around to my failed diet!! LOL!!! In the grocery store the other day, I bought this book called Fitness over Forty For Dummies. I've got a couple years till I actually get to forty, but I figured what the heck? I feel ninety most days, so why not give it a try? Sadly, it said pretty much what I already know, which is to stop eating and exercise. Ugh. Why, why can't science develop an anti-fat pill???? LOL!!

Anyway, Hubby and I are backsliding Weight Watchers, and lately, we've been getting tons of coupons to join back up. Today, I even got an e-mail!!! Is nowhere safe?? Hubby doesn't know yet, but I'm thinking maybe before we start on the tree in the morning, we should mosey on by a meeting.

Meanwhile, Daughter is heading off for a fab weekend of football and tailgating at an OU game, then on for more fun at her friend's lake house. I want her life!!!! LOL!!!!

Monday, August 28, 2006

I'm Back--and Still Hot and Grumpy!! LOL!!

What's more depressing than working, working, working all week, then spending your weekend chainsawing a dead tree and deep-cleaning? Doing all of that, then waking Monday morning to find Hubby spent half of his weekend at Niagra Falls!!!!! Then lounging in his fabulous Toronto, Canada hotel!!!!!

Here's an excerpt of his e-mail hotel description, so you can be sick along with me:

"The hotel is really nice. I'm on the 10th floor, and it is sort of like a suite. I have a separate living area and bedroom. The bathroom has the same marble that our master does, only it is gray instead of tan. There is even a vanity mirror with lights all around it next to the closet that you girls could use to preen if you were with me. And there is a live Bamboo tree next to my bed that is probably at least 10 feet tall." --Hubby

Instead of waking beside a lovely, ten-foot bamboo tree, I had two dog butts in my face, and a nest of wild Daughter hair!! LOL!!! Anyway, I am glad he's having fun, but sad for me!! LOL!!! Since my Harlequin editor's in Toronto, we talked about me going, too, but decided to be responsible and save $$$. Aren't there days you just hate being a grown-up??

Oh--with all his Gold-Club-Flying-Bonus-Wonder-Boy Points, he got to fly First Class, too!! If I'd didn't love him so much, I'd seriously hate him!! LOL!!!

Nothing much new to report. The tree in front of the kitchen window died and fell. Swell. As did another in the pond. I'm starting to feel creepy about all the tree deaths around the house--like the Tree FBI may come for a visit!! LOL!! Seriously, the one by the pond was pretty much a dead, leaning trunk when we got here. It has a few straggly branches and used to sport a bushy poison ivy vine before Hubby sprayed it. The tree in front of the kitchen was an odd, straight, TALL, branchless oak that has looked half-dead for the past year. I glanced out the window Sunday morning and noticed it'd tipped. Like it'd broken off at the base. Very odd. Not sure how to tackle removing it, as it's leaning against another tree.

Daughter had her first football game to cheer at Thursday night, so that was fun!! Despite the kick-off temp of 105, she looked amazingly perky!! I, on the other hand, felt--and no doubt, looked--amazingly bedraggled!! This was a pre-season tournie, and since our team won their first game, we stayed for a second game that didn't start till 9:30!!! We didn't get in bed till close to midnight!!

Knock-on-wood, but both kids seem incredibly happy and well-adjusted to high school. I'm talking so happy, there's been virtually no angst at all. I'm not sure what to make of this, but am sooo happy that for once, they're happy!!!

What's not happy is that I'm already getting a stomachache from worrying about getting the house clean enough for our Chinese exchange student who will be here on September 30th. Figuring he'll want to e-mail his parents, I'm starting with my office. Seeing how due to heat, this space has been abandoned for the past month, the cat has taken it over. There's cat hair EVERYWHERE!!!! I don't know what she's been doing up there, but it's nasty, and needs to stop!! I did get quite a bit done, but there's still a lot to go. I going to paint this morning until it gets too hot, then work on my anthology.

I talked with Editor Jen about the anthology's opening chapters on Friday morning, and she said it's off to a good start, so that was cool news!! She also extended my deadline to October 1st. That's nice, but seeing how I'll be cleaning 24/7 the week before our student gets here, I need to finish by the 18th--which was the original date.

It's my week to carpool, so guess I'd better find some shoes . . .

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Just When You Think Things Can't Get Worse . . .

Well, one crisis averted, only to get slammed with another!!! Cocoa's home, healthy, and feisty as ever. Hubby devised an anti-tipping gizmo for the trash can, but Son sat down on the floor with her, and showed her how head-butting it in just the right place now tips it even easier than it used to!! Hmm . . . wonder if there's any way to get Son sent to college early--and take the dog with him?? LOL!!

After narrowly surviving family angst too icky to get into Monday & Tuesday, Hubby and I were out drowning our sorrows in vodka and a split cheeseburger, when Daughter calls Hubby's cell. "OH MY GAWD," she screeches. "HAVE YOU SEEN THE BIG TREE IN THE BACKYARD??!!"

As a matter of fact, yeah, I'd just seen it a few hours earlier, hauling laundry up the stairs, and it was fine. This oak is ancient and MASSIVE and the showcase of our backyard. It's on the pond bank, and our pride-and-joy cushioned swing sits in this gorgeous tree's dappled shade.

Long story short, the tree is gone. I guess rain from the previous night's storm must've weakened it, then an ant colony in the core finished it off. Fallen, it stretches half-way across the duck pond, and obliterated the swing.

After shelling out $400 for Cocoa's vet bill, I shudder to think what this will cost to have removed. I'm guessing $1000--at least. The branches are thicker than Hubby's chainsaw blade is long. The trunk's easily half a VW Bug!!! Our babies are wanting to go school shopping, but judging by the Altom Calamity Meter, they'll be sporting the latest in Adam and Eve Leaf-Wear!!!! Ugh. I'm just sick, sick, sick.

Meanwhile, more edits--this time on my April book, are making me even sicker. Fortunately, health-wise, I'm much better. Margaret and I were commiserating last night on a variety of topics, and turns out she had the same symptoms I did. Chest pain, sweaty, tired and blah. Seeing how we both came down with this mystery ailment Thursday--the day after our lunch and movie outing, we're thinking it must've been some bizarre food poisoning.

I do have some happy news--alas, not for me, but Margaret, so I'll borrow it!!! She just got a new, three book deal from Steeple Hill!!!!! YAAAAAYYY, MARGARET!!!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Scary, Fun & Wacky News!!!!!

Yikes--I think I liked it better around here with no news!!!

Starting with the scary, yesterday morning, Hubby and I got home from taking my edits to Fed-Ex to find that Cocoa had dumped the trash. No big deal, right? She does it a couple times a day!!! Well, Son and his pal had eaten turkey legs the night before (it's a guy thing--makes them feel medieval to chow on them while immersed in a video game they play!!). The busy day wound on--more about that
later--and Daughter and I were recovering from heat stroke, watching Overboard, when we noticed Cocoa breathing funny.

We watched her for about an hour, and when it didn't get better, and her stomach now seemed swollen and tender, we took her to a vet. Figures, our regular vet didn't answer their emergency number, so at six on Saturday night, we scrambled to find one!! Turns out my poor baby has pancreatitus (sp?) from eating too much turkey!!! She has a fever, and is having to be hospitalized and put on an IV till sometime on Monday!!!!!

Pet ailments are like a double whammy emotionally, because not only are you sad to see your baby sick, but sick over how much treatment is going to cost. Luckily, the vet assured us she'll be fine, but last night wasn't much fun without her. She's literally my shadow, so not having her constantly by me is disconcerting and blah.

Okay, on to fun news . . . Part of the reason we were so busy yesterday is that Daughter had her first Varsity football scrimmage to cheer at!! One of the crazier parts of the event, was when the football players played bowling with the cheerleaders and plowed down a pyramid!!! The scene was captured on local TV!!! Luckily, no one got hurt, and Daughter got great coverage, gasping as the trauma unfolded!! I taped it for posterity!!

She's stressed over their next performance--putting on a mini-show for Thursday night's 9th grade orientation!! Someone please remind me to find a red satun hair ribbon by then!! Usually, bows are ordered as a squad, and are big, fancy affairs, but I guess in high school, bows are more low key. Anyway, I hope she and the squad do great in front of her peers!! I especially hope they don't get *bowled* over again soon!!!

Moving on to wacky news . . . This report also involves Daughter. Her longtime boyfriend is moving to a town about thirty minutes northeast of here. (This is the same guy who bought her the Tiffany's necklace for her birthday.) Thursday night--10:00--I was laying in bed, certain I was having a heart attack (I still feel wretched, but wasn't able to get a doctor's appt. Friday), Daughter runs into our room, shrieking "Mom--you'll never guess what Boyfriend just said!" She rambled on about how they'd been in a fight, and she'd commented she never got to see him, when he says, he'll be right over!!

I rolled my eyes and said, no, he won't, but if he did, I'd take him straight home. He lives at least three miles from here, and would have to travel some fairly busy streets. Not only that, but we're under our first thunderstorm warning in months, and the wind was blowing like crazy!! She danced off to call a girlfriends, and I continued watching Seinfeld and hoping I wasn't dying!!!

Twenty minutes later, I hear the security bell chime on the front door. Figuring it's Hubby communing with the storm, I didn't think much about it. It chimes again. And again. A few minutes later, Son comes running in. "Mom, Mom! Sister's down the street with Boyfriend! I bet they're kissing!" Swell.

I added a bra and sneakers to my PJs, snatch up the car keys, then head out into the night. I'm not sure where Hubby was during all of this. I'm thinking downstairs, practicing guitar. Probably, just as well.

I find Daughter and Boyfriend, sitting in an empty field near the house--no kissing going on. They looked sweet, but my parent-alarm was going nuts!!! With Son in the front seat beside me, thrilled to have Sister in the hot seat (usually, it's him), I hollered out my window for the two lovebirds to get in the car. Underway, I asked Boyfriend if his parents knew where he was. He said, no, they were at a lodge meeting, but his brother did. He'd asked permission, and the 17 year old brother endorsed the mission. Double swell.

Just because I felt someone needed to, I lectured him on the dangers of skateboarding across town at ten at night, during an approaching storm. He said he skateboarded all the time, and didn't think it'd been any big deal. Excuse me, but I thought it'd been a VERY big deal, and if it'd been one of my kids, they'd now be in Mom Jail.

I got home to find Hubby in bed. He opened one eye, then asked, "Where've you been?"

I was going to share the events of RWA Friday, but after rehashing the last three days, I'm exhausted--and hoping things calm down in a relaxing way!!!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

August Blahs and RWA Thursday

Ugh. It's over a hundred every day here in Tulsa, and I'm mired in edits. Can you guess what kind of mood I've been in? GRRRRR. LOL!!! That said, there's not much to report in the way of new news.

Yesterday, Margaret and I did a last lunch and movie of the summer. I HATE it when she goes back to her day job!!!!! Having no one to lunch with is a serious bummer. We saw My Super Ex-Girlfriend which was very cute. Plus, the theater was nice and chilly!! We had time to spare before the movie, so she dragged me to this super-fabulous new florist/home decor store. Very, very mean of her!!!!! I could've dropped an easy $50,000 in five minutes. Seeing how after Atlanta, there's approximately $4.87 in checking, all I could do was drool!!!

Back to conference news, here's Thursday . . .

Thursday was one of those days that was so good, it makes up for all the icky stuff that sometimes makes writing feel similar to ditch digging on the fun meter!!! LOL!!! As usual, Margaret was off first thing in the morning, while I lounged in bed, reading. I think I finished my Janet E. book, as well as the cappuccino cookies I'd bought at Ikea--YUM!!!! I took my time getting ready, then headed down for the Harlequin American booksigning.

The signing was held in the Harlequin suite, which had been decorated with about fifty red, white and blue helium balloons. They touched the ceiling, and had a couple yards each of curling ribbon flowing down, so you walked through this party-forest to reach the head table where we sat. Way, way, fun and festive!!! I also heard there were awesome snacks, but I didn't get any!!! What's up with that???

Anyway, Pamela Britton was at a NASCAR race, so it was just Marin Thomas, Debbie Macomber, Ann Defee, and me!!!!! The signing began, and droves of people showed up!!! My editor, Jen Green, acted as my *handler*, handing me pre-stickered (with autographed copy stickers) books that were already open to the title page. The whole thing was quite surreal, and aside from my blechy hair, made me feel like Jessica Simpson at a CD release party!!! Oh--I think I have a couple hundred pounds on her, too, but we won't discuss that!! LOL!!!

From the signing, we piled into cabs to go to a restaurant called, Canoe. It's on the Chatahoochee (sp?) River, and super elegant, while at the same time, being not so elegant that it made you feel uptight. We sat at a round table, and I had Paula Eykelhof (Executive Editor) to my left, and Kathleen Scheibling (Associate Senior Editor, American Romance) to my right!!! How's that for cool company??!! To Kathleen's right, was Marin Thomas (Code name, Brenda!! ) She is so much fun!! Kind and gentle and all around cool gal--and taaaallll!! I'm so jealous!! Next, was Jen Green (Editor, American Romance), Ann DeFee (double Rita finalist!!!). Ann's also way fun with an infectious laugh!! I very much enjoyed her company!! Next, Loriana Sacilotto (Executive Vice President, Global Publishing & Strategy), then--taa daaaa . . . Debbie Macomber!!!!! I had a creamy potato soup appetizer and salmon--double YUM!!!

Back at the hotel, I was late in meeting with my agent, Michelle Grajkowski, so once I found her in the lobby, I yanked her up to my room for girl talk. We were supposed to be discussing the State of the Laura Marie Altom Union, but Michelle's so fun and giggly, whenever we meet in person, we never seem to get much done!!

From this quasi-meeting, we had to settle down and meet with Jen and Kathleen to further discuss me!!! By this time, I could tell my editors were pooped, and still had appointments to make, so I kept my questions brief, and seeing how much by this point in the day, I was LOVING my job, I certainly had no complaints!!!! From here on out, whenever I whine about how hard writing is, I'll just think back to how much fun the results are!!!

Okay, so like this wasn't already enough partying for one day, Margaret and I met up with my Winnie and Beth, and headed to the PASIC, Editor of the Year party. From there, we went to KOD's Death By Chocolate party. And from there, quite near death from exhaustion, we went straight to bed!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

RWA--Wednesday/Current Home Stuff

Good lord, it's tough coming back to reality after having been gone a week!!!! All that stuff I didn't do the week before RWA? It's come back to bite me with a vengeance. Anyway, I'm ticking stuff off my To Do list, and this morning am heading halfway to Arkansas to pick up Mom and Dad's dachshunds. Combined with our two--yes, that makes for FOUR wieners for the next four days!!! ARGH!!!! :-O Fortunately for us, M & D's dogs are better behaved than ours!!! LOL!!!

In other current news . . . Daughter got 4 of her 6 cheerleading uniforms!! CUTE, CUTE, CUTE!!!!! I told Hubby that it'd be much cheaper if we just bought her the fun costumes from the start, then skipped coaching fees, tumbling fees, pep club fees, etc.!! I can't wait for the first game. Since she's on varsity, even Hubby's excited about watching *real* football. I just watch my baby!!

Okay, back to RWA . . .

Wednesday, while Margaret chased around at the crack of dawn, getting ready for her mini-conference, I lounged in bed, reading the latest Janet E. (LOVED IT!!!), then got ready for the big trek to IKEA.

I met Dream/Danica in the lobby, where we waited for her friend who had the car. CJ Lyons is a doctor and just sold her first book to Tor ( I think). We stood outside the store that I'm pretty sure occupies an entire city block, waiting for the cafe to open. While waiting, a cute redhead runs over--Staci Wallace. Danica, CJ, and Staci are all part of an online critique group and had plenty to talk about. I kind of felt like I'd crashed their party for a while, but once we started chomping on our yummy .99 cent breakfast, I began feeling like more of the gang. After eating, everyone exchanged biz cards. Staci had cellophane-wrapped cookie panties attached to her card!!!!!! She had them professionally made, and I was seriously jealous!!!

(**Secret Confession Time*** I'm still not all the way unpacked, and while pilfering through my stuff, looking for candy, Daughter came across the panties. She thought they were cute, too, then set them on top of the suitcase. That night, I hear rustling beside the bedroom door, only to find the panties in Cocoa's mouth!!!!!! Apparently, she also liked them??!!! We rescued them in time for them to only be partially mutilated!!)

Back to IKEA . . .

CJ and Staci are IKEA regulars, so this was no biggee for them. Danica and I, on the other hand, were virgins, so we wandered around oohing and gaping. TONS of cute things for kids!!! I could've filled a whole suitcase, but since the mean, airplane people only let me take two, and they were already full of shoes and purses, I had to show restraint!!! I ended up getting a few cheap organizer-type-thingees for my office and cookies. What more could a girl need??

Got back to the room, intent on napping, only to find the maid there. Ugh. Dumped my stuff, then headed to deliver my Bookseller Tea goodies. Denied. Some woman not from RWA--can you imagine???? LOL!!!--stopped me and said in a very grumpity tone that the room was her company's till 3:00 on the nose. O-kay.

Went back to the room. The maid was gone, but Margaret was home!! Yay!!! We swapped stories about our day, then got ready for the tea and big booksigning to be held that night.

Just after 3, we went to the bookseller thing, but it was seriously crowded and hot and we found no booksellers!!! I ended up heading to the goody room and handing out sunglasses in person to anyone who wanted a pair under the condition they had to wear them and have fun!!! LOL!!!

The big event of the night was the literacy booksigning. I loooove hosting yard sales because of all the fun folks you get to talk to, and this is like the granddaddy of all yard sales, only everyone stopping by your *sale* is a friend!!! VERY cool, only every year, the As are stuck staring at a wall. Just once, I'd like the As to be in the middle. I know it makes no sense alphabetically, but it would be more fun!!

After the signing, a huge gang of us tried to go out to eat, but everything was packed. We ended up buying sandwiches in the lobby, then taking them back to our room. I know--boring, but as it was already pushing ten, what're you going to do???

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

RWA Atlanta--Part One

Whew--I'm back from Atlanta, and still EXHAUSTED!!!!!! I'd planned to add a few entries while at the conference, but alas, was too cheap!! When given the choice between buying Internet access or purses/jewelry, I'll take the latter every time!! LOL!!

Here's a daily rundown:

Monday--Had a wonderfully uneventful flight in. Checked right into our pretty room on the 6th floor of the Marriott Marquis (GORGEOUS place!!! 47 stories and it was all open in the middle w/ glass elevators!!), then, while Margaret napped, I watched Y & R!!! Doesn't get any better than that!!

We unpacked, then checked out the mall attached to the hotel. Had a strange nacho-like lunch in the food court, then shopped!! Picked up a great pink and white polka-dot purse everyone in the elevators always seemed to love!! Oh--I also snagged a new pair of sneakers at Naturalizer, as I'd failed to pack a single pair of comfortable walking shoes!!!!

That night, we met up with my Winnie and her roomy, IM author, Beth Cornelison, at a sports bar. I was still reliving the black beans from lunch, so I just ordered soup, then snagged one of Winnie's chicken strips!! YUM!!!

Tuesday--Woke up at the crack of dawn to tour the Georgia Aquarium. You have to make reservations, and ours were for 8AM. Good thing, seeing how once the 9AM crowd showed up, the place was too crowded to even see any fish!!! I HIGHLY recommend seeing this place, but only if you go early. They had whale sharks and beluga whales and a gazillion sharks. Gorgeous, gorgeous, but seriously overcrowded.

From here, we schlepped back to the hotel to drop off gift shop purchases, register for the conference (no more fun ribbons to attach to our badges. BOOOOO!!!!!), then took the Marta (subway) to the Atlanta Underground where we basically lunched and tore through a Dollar Store finding goodies for the Booksellers' Tea. I signed up for it, but didn't know we were supposed to bring party favors.

Seeing how I'd made simple business cards with a beach scene and my web site, I tied those with curling ribbon to kid party sunglasses. They turned out darling!! Took the rest of the afternoon to make those. While Margaret napped, Winnie and I had an assembly party in her room while watching Airplane (but a space shuttle version I didn't even know existed) and eating peanut M & Ms. We were supposed to have our goodies downstairs, so we schlepped them all down, only to be told to come back the next day at 2.

Sixish ( I think), we went to the general meeting for the Kiss of Death chapter. The free dinner was a great enticement, as was the evening's speaker, Suzanne Brockmann (sp?). Her speech was wonderfully inspirational and made me vow to quit whining!!! (At least for thirty minutes, or so!! )

From dinner, we headed to one of the hotel bars, where we met lots of cool people!! I'm going to butcher names, but here goes . . . We originally sat down with my Winnie, Beth and Margaret, but then snagged Cynthia Cooke and Nina Bruhns (LOVE them!!). Next, Dream/Danica from wandered by, as did Margaret's friend, Dana. (LOVE them, too!!!) Nora Roberts was seated a little ways down!!! How's that for cool??!! We didn't get back to the room till late, but had fun catching up!!

Margaret was speaking the next morning at a mini-inspirational writing conference that Winnie would be attending, meaning I had no one to play with on Wednesday!! I mentioned this to Danica, and she invited me to IKEA. Having always wanted to go to one of these supersized houseware stores, I agreed to meet her at 9 in front of the concierge desk.

To be continued . . . Time to take Daughter to cheerleading!!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Butchered Hair & Snoring!!!

Well, finally, the last pair of shoes are packed and I should be sleeping, as the alarm is set for 3:45. Alas, Hubby's snoring REALLY loud, so I'm up, too excited to sleep!!

What an AWFUL time it's been, though, to get to here. Remember how I was joking about my hairstylist being mad at me? Famous last words. I gut butchered!!! My hair was well past my shoulders, and is now above my ears!!! Not only that, but it's crooked!! And onIy curls under, when I flip it up!! I called the salon owner to get a new cut, but she said I'd have to pay $40 for it, as each of the stylists are independent contractors. GRRRRR. $115, and I'm miserable. This morning, I took matters into my own hands and snipped two-inch chunks off the bottom where it stuck out past the shortest part. Once I finished that, it was obvious that the left side was shorter than the right.

This afternoon, in between shopping for toiletries and a last ditch attempt at a new bathing suit cover-up (non-existent in this town!!), I got a fresh cut at a mall salon. After fooling with it myself, I still think it's a tad crooked, but better.

I tried making new business cards, only the template didn't fit the design, so they'll all have to be hand cut. Of course, after one sheet, I ran out of ink, so a cheap, thirty minute project ended up costing just over a hundred bucks and three hours. Double GRRR!!! LOL!!!

Anyway, I think I've got everything handled now--knock on wood!! Hopped out of bed the first time to launch a mad search for my badge pins!!! Important stuff, you know!!!

This afternoon we went to see Lady in the Water. BIG disappointment. It was okay, just didn't match up to the hype. Margaret was wanting to see My Ex-Superhero Girlfriend, and I wish we'd done that instead!!!

I suppose I should get back to at least trying to sleep. To those of you I'll soon see, can't wait!!! To those of you stuck home, if I manage to get my laptop hooked up to the web, I'll try posting at least a couple times to catch you up on any fun gossip!!! Safe travels!!! ;-)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Three More Days . . .

Oh, the trauma!! To acrylic nail, or not??? It must be almost time for RWA, as any other time of the year my nails always look like crap and I don't care!!!! LOL!!! Seriously, as I haven't been getting any writing done this week, I have been pondering the issue of what to do with my nails.

I've seen so many pretty, pretty French manicure acrylics lately, I'm wanting some. Trouble is, I've got a TON of writing projects due in not a lot of time, and if the nails turn out too long, I'm afraid I'll have trouble working on my laptop. Thursday's my only booked day in Atlanta, and Margaret and my Winnie will no doubt be busy little responsible, workshop-attending beavers the whole week, abandoning me all alone in the room with the room service menu, so I figure while I'm eating, I also might as well be working. Another potential pitfall to acrylics, is what to do with them after I get home?? Am I willing to take the time out to get them filled? I had them once, and was so tired of sitting in the salon every week, I learned how to do them myself. But it's a hassle even worse than sitting and letting someone else apply them!!! Ahh . . . How lucky am I to have such minor trouble, huh?

On the kid front, Son has finally gotten grounded. He's a freakishly social creature, while Hubby and I are cave-dwelling hermits!! Son LOVES sleepovers, but is seriously bad about going from the house he's supposed to be at, to the pool, or I-Hop, or another friend's house, etc. without letting me know. Nothing sets me off faster than calling him on his cell, only to get his voice mail. Nothing, that is, other than driving 20 minutes in 105 degree heat to fetch him, only to have him not be there!!!!! This happened today, and he says he and his friend were wrestling with the friend's little brother and they didn't hear the doorbell. Or the phone? Funny how if my name were Carrie, Cassie, Kelly, Kimmy, etc., and I weighed 100lbs soaking wet, he has no problem answering the phone!!! GRRRR!!

Anyway, his phone's mine for a week. His next offense? While Hubby and I took Daughter to tumbling, he was supposed to have taped Big Brother. He forgot. This wouldn't be such a big deal, but he's forgetting a lot, lately. One day last week, he was being generously paid to feed Granny Sylv lunch, when he forgot that, too. Double Grrr. As there are a few other infractions, he's now lost all electronics and sleepovers for a while, and is pouting in his room.

Daughter's boyfriend's leaving on a week-long cruise, then spending another week in Florida, so she's also pouting--which is why I have the computer all to myself at 10:30 at night!!! LOL!!!

In other conference prep news, I get my hair done tomorrow, but the hair dresser's mad at me. She called at 3:30 today, asking where I was. I said, "Home." She said, "You're supposed to be here for your appointment." Huh? My appointment was for Friday at 3. She says in a grumpity tone that the receptionist must've written it down wrong. I'm now being squeezed in with an elderly woman's wash, curl and fluff. If I show up in Atlanta with an orange poodle perm, you'll know what happened!!!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Uncooperative Son, Dogs & Atlanta!!!

Ahhh . . . The kids' birthday is officially over for another year. Seems like we've been doing something birthday related for weeks--but wait, that's because we have!! LOL!! Yesterday, my folks came over from Arkansas to spend the day with me and the kids. Hubby had to work--probably a good thing!! Daughter was lovely, but son woke at 6:30 AM--a freakishly rare and bizarre thing--expecting piles of gifts, cash and a trip to I-Hop for funnel cake!!! When I nixed that idea, and told him he wasn't opening gifts till his father got home that afternoon, he pouted, then rebounded with a new demand for me to cook a full-on breakfast. This, I did, after which, he went back to bed, leaving me to clean the wreckage of my kitchen that'd previously been sterile in anticipation of Mom & Dad's visit.

Son didn't roll out of bed until around eleven. Then, only because I made Daughter go get him. I asked him to take a shower--no. I informed both kids of our plans to see Superman in 3-D at Imax. Daughter says no. I asked Son again to take a shower and change clothes. (To be ready in a heartbeat to attend impromptu pool parties, Son lives in his fave Abercrombie bathing suit--seriously!! ) A fight erupted between Daughter and Son. Mom and I left to pick up their cake, leaving Dad to referee. When we got back, Son looks at the cake with disdain and says, "Only one cake?" After a couple days earlier having tossed mounds of uneaten individual cakes left from their party, it was all I could do not to throw it at him!!!! LOL!!! Can someone say spoiled rotten????? In hindsight, birthday or not, I should've sent Son sent to his room. Oh well, next time.

It's been HELLISHLY hot here in Tulsa. So hot, we've all become mole people, dashing from air-conditioned tunnel to tunnel, and by this time, Mom, Dad and I were sick of Son's attitude. To stay cool, Mom suggested renting a movie and having pizza delivered. Of course, both kids couldn't decide on a mutual movie, so Son got one, and Daughter got one. Daughter picked The Ringer, so Dad and I watched that with her in the master bedroom, while Son and my mom watched Bad News Bears in the downstairs TV room. (The living room DVD player broke!!) Anyway, in the end, a lovely time was had by all.

Last week, I went nuts, alternately shopping for Atlanta and finishing the anthology partial due Friday. I'm generally happy with it, but fear I've overstated the conflict. I read it for critique and no one seemed to pick up on it, so maybe it's just me. It's funny how different editors you work with like it different ways. Tina Colombo was heavy on the conflict being repeated often. Paula Eykelhof, rarely wanted it stated. My current editor, Jen Green, is in between. The trick is figuring out how to fit with each editor's style, while staying true to your own vision of the story. Apparently, I'm not yet there!!

In fun news . . . Last night, my friend Lynne called and asked if Daughter could attend the Red River Shoot-out in Dallas in October with their daughter. (OU/Longhorn football game.) They're flying and staying at a ritzy place, so it should be great fun!! Also, my boyfriend (Matthew McConaughey) historically attends this game. (He's a Texas fan. Unfortunate, as Razorbacks--like myself--and Texans typically don't mate, but as yummy as he is, I'll forgive him!!!! LOL!!!)

Anyway, while talking about Daughter's fun, Lynne mentioned her mother--a seriously, world-famous portrait photographer whose name I'm totally blanking on--got a kick out of my July book!!! Just so happens, it was dedicated to Lynne and a bunch of other fun folks, so Lynne's been passing it around. Being hard up for excitement of the variety that doesn't involve bad kids or doggy stains on my carpets, I thought this was cool!!!

This week, in between more Atlanta wardrobe prep, though I should get started on edits for my April 2007 book, I've got a paranormal idea I've been itching to play with, so I may mess with that in the afternoon, when it's too hot to shop!!!

Oh--one Atlanta/Gone With the Wind complaint . . . Margaret and I are flying in on Monday, planning to have fun Tuesday, touring antebellum homes. (My Winnie thinks she's going on an educational trip to a firing range, but I'm kidnapping her instead!!) Sounds fun, huh? Only one problem, after searching online for three hours, I've reached the conclusion that Atlanta has no antebellum homes. Grrr. Well, wait, they're plenty of homes, just not mansions. The only historic places I've found are perfectly nice, but not take-your-breath-away gorgeous. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Gone With the Wind specifically mention many, many mansions built specifically for my viewing pleasure?????? LOL!!!!!

PLEASE, if anyone out there knows of freakishly gorgeous Atlanta homes to tour, let me know!!! Otherwise, our one day off will be spent wandering. In the past, where Margaret, Winnie and I are concerned, this may or may not turn out so great--or safe!!!! LOL!!!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Naked Dreams & Party Update

Well, after narrowly surviving the kids' party (more about that later), I'm now playing catch-up in getting ready for RWA in Atlanta. I was supposed to have lost a hundred pounds, but seeing how that didn't happen, I've been squeezing myself into the stuff I wore last year and haven't been overjoyed with what I see!! LOL!! One impulse buy I grabbed last year at the Reno Macy's with Margaret before the big booksigning, I'm thinking I want to have tailored. The pants are way too big, but the shirt's too small. Weird, huh? Anyway, I just got a new shirt--again while shopping with Margaret--that I love, but I think it's too big. Oddly enough, the big pants are a perfect match with the big shirt, so we'll see what my fave sewing guy Thu can do!

In the mean time, after getting a surprise check in the mail from my Harlequin editor (God Bless you, Jen!!!!), Daughter and I hit the shopping trail. Why is it that when you actually have a few bucks to spend, you find nothing, yet when you're flat broke, everything looks and fits amazingly great??!! Anyway, I'm now having dreams of showing up naked at the conference, which isn't a good sign as to the level of my wardrobe preparedness!!!! LOL!!!

On to the party . . . Dear Lord!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Those kids were soooooooooo bad!!! Evil, evil teens that will NEVER be invited back!!!!! We've had big parties lots of times before, but I don't remember the kids having been quite so wild. Running and chasing and screeching. I was on food replenishment duty while my pals Dixie and Debbie bartended. (We bought fancy, plastic margarita glasses and made virgin margaritas and pina coladas with umbrella and fruit garnishes.) Hubby manned the Jupiter Jump and deck area. (Oh--the deck is finished save for the expensive trim pieces. Hubby and Son did an AMAZING job!!!) Daughter wasn't happy with the usual cake selection at our fave grocery store, so we got her one from a wedding cake designer. Not only was the cost double, but it was supposed to be ready at 4 Saturday afternoon. Then 6. Then 6:15. By 7, me, with my hair still dripping from the shower, along with Daughter and her friend, were sitting on the sidewalk outside the closed cake shop, just praying someone arrived with this cake we'd already paid for!!! They finally showed, then we dashed back to the house to finish doing helium balloons and cooking.

Around 11 that night, Daughter's long-time boyfriend presented her with a GORGEOUS Tiffany's necklace. The thing came in that distinctive, robin's-egg-blue blue box in a blue suede pouch, along with an engraved card. I shudder to think what it cost, and my father apparently thinks she should give it back. (I got this news from Son, who was instant messaging with Pee-Paw Monday afternoon.) Hubby and I thought about it, but looking back, when I was 15, I had a boyfriend give me a gold drop necklace with his initials--this was all the rage back in the early eighties in small-town Arkansas!! It had to have cost well over a hundred bucks, which, considering inflation, would about equal out. Dad didn't make me give that back, so I don't know why he's upset over this. I consulted with my pal Winnie (crazy-talented Americana historical author, Winnie Griggs), who felt that making Daughter give it back turned the necklace and the boy into a forbidden fruit kind of thing that had the potential to make her rebel. My Winnie's raised five perfect kids, and Dad only had me, so I'm following Winnie's advice!!! (And if by chance my father ever reads this, I am sooooo grounded!!!! LOL!!!)

Anyway, by the time Hubby and I got in bed around one Saturday night, my feet and back hurt so bad, I just laid there wondering how it was possible to hurt so bad and still be alive??!! Finally, I got up to take sleep assistance in handy pill form!!!

On the writing front, I've got the partial for my anthology due the 15th, so I've been steadily stealing moments to work on that. It's cute, but my people won't stop kissing!!!! At the end of Chapter Three, I'm putting them both on opposite sides of the town!!!

Also, my July Harlequin American, To Catch A Husband, just hit the stores, so it's been fun seeing it while running errands!! I LOVE the cover!!!!! Thank you, Cover Gods!!!! LOL!!!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Ghost Addendum!!!!!!! :-O

OH MY GOD!!!!!!! Okay, so I'm sitting here commenting on all the ghost comments, thinking, boy I'm glad the d*mn thing went away, when an empty pop can on my desk wobbles back and forth!!!!!!!! I've got chills!!!! There's a fan on, but even when I aim it directly at the can, it won't wobble. Also, I tried shaking my desk, and it won't wobble. (I mean like teetering back and forth, making a chirpy little clang!!!)


I'm going to hide in the dining room, which doesn't suddenly sound too bad!!!! LOL!!!!

The Birthday Beast!!!

Does anyone out there want to take over the planning of my twins' birthday??? LOL!!! It's grown into a monster I'm fearing will get worse before it gets better!! Thank goodness the ghost has laid low for the past few days, because I've got enough on my plate without having to deal with a haunting!!

First off, I had a SUPER rough time getting my kids into the world--six months bedrest, lots of close calls where we almost lost them, etc., so I've always tended to go overboard on their birthday, just because I'm so thankful they were safely born. Well, birthday thrills used to be easy, but now that they're reaching the ripe old age of fourteen, it takes a bit more pizzazz to wow them.

This year, each kid is inviting 25 guests. The theme is pirate (in large part due to last year's theme having been a luau, and we have lots of cute tropical decorations left over!! ), so for invitations we made cute little message in a bottle thingees with sand and shells in the bottom that I brought back from the Bahamas. For the girls, I added cheap gold rings, so it looks like there's buried treasure. For two hours yesterday, we drove and drove and drove trying to deliver them all. If I ever again have the bright idea of hand delivering fifty invites--PLEASE, someone conk me over the head!!!! We still have half to go today!!

In the mean time, we had to think of entertainment. Last year, one of Daughter's friend's brothers (that sounds so grammatically wrong, but hopefully you get what I mean?? ) brought his band. I thought they were great, but very loud. Son said he didn't want to do that again, so we had to think up new entertainment. We're going with a Jupiter Jump, that due to our sloped lawn, I wanted to put in the street (very quiet--maybe two cars a day!!). Hubby said the city won't let me. I said I'm doing it anyway, but to appease him, I spent an hour on the phone with various city officials. Turns out, hubby was right. Grrrr. I hate it when that happens!!!! Anyway, after staring at the backyard, there is a sort-of flat area I think will work, so the Jupiter Jump guy arrives at 6:30, and we'll have it from 7-11. The party's from 8 to 12, but this way I get a turn!!!! LOL!!!

All of which brings up another dilemma--the deck. The unfinished, butt-ugly deck. Now, plainly, the deck will be gorgeous once it's done, but in the mean time, we can't very well send fifty, hormonal teens racing across the back yard, leaping from this half-finished deck, so I've graciously agreed to use my conference clothes fund to finish the deck. If any of you see me at RWA in Atlanta wearing sweats, now you'll know why!!!!! LOL!!!

Anyway, after doing party, party, party, Hubby, Daughter and I went to a party last night at a friend's lake condo. If any of you are familiar with Oklahoma's Grand Lake, Arrowhead Yacht Club put on its fireworks show and it was SPECTACULAR!!!! Hundreds of boats filled the harbor in front of our friends' condo, and it was gorgeous with all the running lights!!! Except for the loooong ride home late at night, we had a great time.

Daughter's staying with them till Thursday, at which point, I'll drive out to pick up Daughter and her friend, so they can help with the rest of the birthday party, which is Saturday night. Daughter also has mandatory tumbling Thursday night for cheer, which I didn't think was very nice, seeing how they were supposed to have July off from practice, but I suppose it makes sense not to totally stop just when they're getting good. (Did I mention Daughter got her back handspring?? I think that's what the flippy things are called. Anyway, it was pretty exciting!!)

Okay . . . so while Hubby works on the deck, I'm tackling the horrific job of clearing out the dining room of all the office clutter I stashed in there while painting my office. Only I never finished painting my office, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all the crap!!!! Give me a holler if you have any spare room at your house, and I'll be right over!!!! LOL!!!!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Get Out the Twilight Zone Theme Song . . .

It's baaaaaaack . . .

Like we haven't had enough fun this week, what with Daughter not being very *cheery* at cheer camp, and me holed up in my hot office with line edits, plus ALL day Wednesday being devoted to Granny Sylv getting her hair cut and a new perm (loooong story!!!!), the ghost is officially back.

Okay, for those of you just now joining the Altom household who aren't familiar with the ghost, check out my earlier blog on It should still be archived in the blog section. At the bottom of most entries for a period of maybe a month or two around October, you'll see a paranormal log that'll catch you up to speed.

We live in an ultra-modern house built in the seventies. Lots of tall ceilings, sharp angles and glass--not the kind of place most folks would associate with a haunted house. During the height of the *haunting* last fall, we had a friend of a friend who's psychic come over just to see what's going on. (We had lots of electronics go on and off by themselves, books flying, other small objects flying, ironing board falling, weird lights, etc.) She told us Granny Sylv is going into deep trances because of her illness, during which, she's having *visitors*. Like dead visitors!!!!!! :-O

Around that same time, unbeknownst to us, Granny Sylv was way sick and could very well have been unconscious at times we thought she was sleeping. Initially diagnosed with heart trouble, we took her to a specialist who said it wasn't her heart. Based on her weakness, he suggested taking her to the ER. There, they gave her two quarts of blood, and she's been awesome ever since. (There was a problem with her blood not carrying nutrients.)

Anyway, since the time she's gotten better, all weird stuff stopped. A week ago, however, it started back up with Daughter being alone in the master bathroom when the TV popped on. Next day, Hubby was alone in the living room when the master bedroom TV popped on. Next day, Son was in his room when his radio popped on--to a classical music station!!!! He likes rap!!!! We had a three or four day lull, when this morning I get up to hear son and Hubby having a pretty heavy talk in the master bathroom--at 6 AM!!!!

Son NEVER wakes before noon, and is a mini-version of my engineer Hubby in that he's practical, calm, and doesn't put much stock in the paranormal, so to have him upright and fully alert was a sign of trouble. Turns out, he's been up all night. Hubby and I went to bed about eleven, then Son settled in for a video game marathon, only he says he'd been playing for an hour when the couch moved--liked someone sitting beside him. He ignored that, then seriously cold air hit him. At which point, he said he ran upstairs to my office, which was, as usual, nice and hot. (He said during this whole time, the A/C didn't kick on.) Next, he said the computer started making hissing, crackling noises, then my office got cold. He now went back downstairs to his room to try going to sleep. The minute he got in bed, he said it felt like someone snuggled up against him, and put their arm around him. He said he laid like that for an hour, too scared to move!!!!

Poor kid has finally fallen asleep in our bed. I asked him why he didn't come get us, and he said because he wanted to see what would happen next. That's my little scientist!!! He said it was seriously creepy, but interesting.

Yeah . . . interesting as long as whatever it is stays away from ME!!!!!!!

In other news, Margaret and her hubby left today for Kauai. She doesn't get back till next week Saturday!!!!! :-O

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Mansions and Ice Cream!!!

Okay, I admit it, I'm an AWFUL summer blogger!!!

I have no excuse, other than that there's just too much fun stuff going on to be in front of my computer!!! Oh--plus, my office gets too hot in the afternoon, so any writing I have to get done, usually gets done first thing in the morning, and then after that, the kids are up and I want to play!!

Speaking of which . . . Thursday, my gal Margaret and I went to the Parade of Homes. They were pretty and all, but it blows my mind that a $2,300,000.00 dollar home wasn't THAT big. I mean, first off, that's more money than I can even conceive of. The payments are over $15,000 per month!!!! At 6000 sq. feet, utilities are probably going to add another $1000, if not more. Yes, Tulsa's a big town and all, but how many folks around here make that kind of money???? And the reason I ask that, is because Margaret and I take this tour every year, and every year, they put up more and more of these financial giants, yet I haven't seen new multi-billion dollar businesses coming to town that would need appropriate CEO housing!!!

Now, the reason I describe the home as a financial giant, rather than palatial estate is that while, yes, given all the toys like the pool and theater room, I'd move in today, but the home was by no means a palace--I know, because I look!! LOL!!! Remember how I said one of my ultimate dreams/wishes/goals is to buy an old castle and renovate? Well, for 2.3 million, that'd get me a GORGEOUS European castle with a 1000 years' history. I just can't fathom spending that kind of money and having neighbors right next door!!!

Midway through our tour, Margaret and I needed a bathroom break, and other than those outside porta potty things, the nearest bathroom is Braum's. YUM!!!!! If you're not blessed with Braum's ice cream stores in your part of the world--sorry!!! Really!! Because they serve up all kinds of sinfully good treats from ice cream cones and sundaes to double cheeseburgers!!!

While ordering, because my purse had been stashed in the trunk while touring, I pulled out my cell to check messages, and had four. One, from Son wanting to know when I was coming home to take him to the pool, and three from Daughter, telling me my agent had called. Hmmm . . . Always an interesting development.

Trouble is, seeing how my agent's the ultimate Jerry McGuire in female form, this call could have been good or bad. She calls often with phone hugs!!! I LOVE her!!! Anyway, so I called Michelle, (Michelle Grajkowski of Three Seas Literary Agency) and asked what's up? Turns out, the call was great in that Harlequin was offering a new quickie contract for a dance-themed book and an anthology based on a Fourth of July class reunion. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The party was short-lived, though, as the next morning, Daughter woke with a 102 fever. Seeing how she NEVER gets fevers, I called the doctor. But remember how we no longer have a doctor? Well, we had to switch to another woman in the office, who was very nice, but it was weird seeing someone new. I've been battling MAJOR sinus headaches and congestion, etc., so I asked the doctor to look up my nose, too. Daughter had strep, and I had a massive sinus infection. No wonder, I've had the energy of a dead slug!!!! Anyway, we're both now on antibiotic and seem to be slowly perking up. A good thing, seeing how Daughter leaves for cheer camp at 8am tomorrow morning, and she hasn't even started to pack!!!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Picture Experiment . . .

Chrystal--if this works, you're a goddess!!!! (Even if it doesn't, thanks a bunch for trying to teach me new tricks!!!)

Seeing how I'm thinking it just might work, these pics are of the eighth grade formal you all got to hear me grumble about. Seeing how pretty my babies turned out, I think the effort was worth it!! (Notice how when the kids are cute and polite, they're mine, but otherwise, they're all Hubby's doing!!! LOL!!!)

Trading in Hubby's Kids for Duck Babies!!!!

Happy Father's Day!!

Hubby and I are always on the hunt for a reason to celebrate (translation: go off our diets!!!!), so, like Mother's Day, we did the day up in style. First off, was a trip to Cracker Barrel for breakfast--YUM!!!! If you've never been to this fab little restaurant--go now!!!

We discovered this chain when the kids were babies while on a road trip to North Carolina. I told Hubby to buy stock, but alas, he didn't listen. Anyway, back to why this place is so great, they have Southern cooking that tastes just like you've been slaving for hours over a hot stove. As a bonus, they also have country stores attached with all kinds of cool vintage food items, clothes, housewares and gifts. In the winter, they have a gigantic fireplace with a crackling fire making the place feel way better than home!! LOL!!

Now, ordinarily, Hubby and I have a delightful time, because we make it a point to go without HIS kids. (I'm not sure where they came from, but as bad as they've both been lately, I had nothing to do with their creation!!! LOL!!!) Yesterday, being Father's Day and all, we thought it would probably be a nice gesture to take the kids with us. WRONG!!!!

Hubby leaves for work by 6:30, and there are lots of mornings I'm up working by 5:00, so to avoid the holiday morning rush, we figured why not go early? If, say, you moseyed in at ten, there'd be a forty-five minute wait. Okay, so at 6:45, I round up the kids, Hubby tramps off to feed the duck babies (more about them later), and we agree to rendezvous back at the front door in ten minutes.

Lucky me, both kids must've stayed up till 4 AM, as they both seemed to be in comas. I finally got them upright and dressed, but they weren't pleased. As for wishing their dad a happy day, all he got were a few grumbles.

At the restaurant, Son perked up nicely, but then he'd just given Hubby a new video game. Coincidentally, one that he'd (Son) very much wanted. Hubby and I later had a laugh over that. Well, the fact that Son had a gift and Daughter had forgotten, sent Daughter into a classic teen hissy. From then on out, the meal rocketed downhill!!!!!

Hoping to steer the conversation in a lighthearted direction, I introduced the topic of their upcoming birthday, for which we always have a blow-out party. (My pregnancy with them was HORRIFIC--including seven months of TOTAL bed rest, plus, I seriously damn near died delivering them, so considering how hard I worked to get them here, we always celebrate the day they finally popped out in grand form!! LOL!!!)

We talked party themes. Luau? Nope, did it last year. Pokemon? I got double sets of eye rolls. Strawberry Shortcake? Stone silence. Cowboy? Double glares. At this point, I switched to the topic of guest lists, and how this year, seeing how they have such different friends, I plan to introduce the veto rule. Daughter may auto-veto two folks on Son's list, then he will have the same right with hers. Oh, that went over real well.

From here on, while the kids launched WWIII over potential guests, Hubby and I consumed as many calories in white gravy, butter and cheese as humanly possible, yelled at the kids for not touching their meals that'd cost $40.00 bucks with all their fancy side-orders, then packed up the kids and ran!!!

Next stop, naps!!

Around one, we faced a new dilemma . . . Neighborhood pool or movie? I balanced the checkbook, and seeing how aside from snacks, the pool's free, we went that route. Only again, the troops dissented, as neither kid wanted to go. In the end, we forced them into the car. They both pouted and glared for a good thirty minutes, but Son then had two mystery girls fawning over him, so he perked right up, begged cash for a Coke and Frito Chili Pie, then we never saw him again. Daughter slept while listening to her I-Pod till it was time to go.

Oh--but she did briefly wake to again discuss party themes, and we got one!!! Toga! Toga! Toga!!! Seeing how Hubby and I met at his fraternity's annual toga party, I concurred.

Back to the duck babies, behind our house is a huge pond (I think there's a pic posted at my old blog), and all year we wait to see if we get any babies. This year's been dismal, until last week, Hubby said he'd spotted two. Sure enough, I finally saw them, too, and they're DARLING!!! The size of fluffy tennis balls!!! If Hubby's kids continue on their hateful streak, I'm thinking we should boot them out of the house and adopt the ducks!!! LOL!!!

P.S. Does anyone know how to post pics? I followed what I thought was the procedure with formal-wear pics, but they vanished!!!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Work-out Woes & Jaws

Okay, I've been SERIOUSLY working out since last week Friday and have gained three pounds!!!!! I tried on my too-tight jeans, fully expecting them to fall to my knees, and guess what? They were even tighter. I'm not sure what kind of cruel trick the Body Gods are playing with me, but do they realize I'm at least trying??? Would it be too much to ask to at least lose a token pound or let my jeans zip???

I bought some of those miracle belly fat shrinking pills, but am afraid to take them as it says on the warning label that they're not intended for folks under forty. What the label doesn't say is what, exactly, will happen if you take them and haven't yet reached that magic number? Do you blow up? Break out in hives?

I had planned to ask my doctor, but just got a letter stating she's leaving what I'd assumed to be a fairly lucrative general practice to work part-time at a midtown free clinic. Huh????? Granted, life isn't all about the money, but I wish she would've consulted me in this decision!! I've been with the woman for ten years and feel betrayed!!! Abandoned!!! Adrift!!! I'm not sure why this news is bugging me to such a degree, but it is. Maybe an ice cream bar would help??

In other news . . . The neighborhood pool is teeming with sharks. Girl sharks. Gnashing, meanie, slit-eyed girl sharks who have suddenly decided Daughter is not fit to look at, let alone speak with. I'm talking girls who have been friends since third grade!!! The whole thing's very hurtful and disheartening. I guess I was lucky in that I really can't recall any mean girls in my high school circle. Or was I flying so low under the radar, as to not warrant this kind of behavior?

Seeing how I'm hardly an expert, my only advice to Daughter has been to try not to let them get her down. She's smart, talented and gorgeous and should enjoy her true friends and forget about the rest. Okay, so now that she's doing great, having a ball with high school cheer and meeting new friends, why don't I feel better about the situation??? Hmmm . . . Maybe another ice cream bar would help??

Speaking of cheer, I just learned the high school coach is a fan of romance!! I promised her a *shout out*, so Heidi Weber, if you're out there, thanks for being such a fun coach and role model!!! Daughter and I both adore you!!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A MAJOR Thrill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't know about other writers, but for me, I have a secret list of must-reach goals before I'll be happy. Big goals include driving a brand, spankin' new Jag, traveling first class to Tahiti, Monaco, Switzerland, England, Easter Island, etc., having one of my book babies debut #1 on the NYT Bestseller list, be invited on one of those "Read At Sea" cruises as a special guest author, go on a publishing house sponsored booksigning tour, buy and renovate an old castle--you know, the usual stuff dreams are made of.

Well, in addition to the Big Boys of dreams, I also have more immediately attainable ones. Selling a YA novel, hitting any bestseller list, selling a new paranormal novel, losing 5 lbs (Okay, I'd be thrilled with one!! LOL!!), being invited to be part of a continuity series, selling an anthology, seeing someone reading my book on a plane or poolside.

Imagine my surprise when--taa daa!!!! Saturday afternoon, Hubby, Daughter and I were schlepping our stuff to our fave neighborhood pool chairs, and had just gotten set up when I got the biggest thrill!!! Setting up right alongside us was a women carrying my April Harlequin American, His Bonus Baby!!!!!!!!! For about 2.2 seconds I was going to play it cool, but around the 2.8 second mark, I blew!!!!!

"Sweetie!," I cried to Hubby, jabbing his six-pack abs (not an entirely accurate description, but I have to live with the guy!!) , "She's reading my book! Look! She has my book!!" To the woman, I cried, "Not to be nosy, or anything, but this is such a special moment for me. I've always dreamed of being out and about and seeing someone read one of my books." At this point, she looks around, no doubt checking to see if she's on Candid Camera or Punk'd. "This book?" she says, holding out my baby. I beamed and nodded and in general made a fool of myself!!

Turns out, she was lovely and gracious and had a friend who was interested in trying her hand at writing romance, so I told her to have her friend send me an e-mail if she had any questions, and that was the end of my encounter. Aside from sitting there, broiling in the sun, stressing over whether or not she liked the book or found it just so-so. Some day--soon, I hope--I will learn to take any given moment for what it is and be happy!!

In the mean time, now that I've met that fun goal, I'm ready for another. I'm thinking the castle thing would be super!!! ;-)

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Big Fun at the Not-So-Big Neighborhood Pool!!!

Oh boy, got some sleep and I'm back!!! Although the reason I got sleep is because my supposed best friend roped me into signing up at a new health club. I stayed two hours, trying out all the gizmos and gadgets and man, am I feeling the burn!!! I was zonkered by 8:00 last night--even missed all my fave Friday night ghost shows!!

BIG excitement at the neighborhood pool!!!!! Daughter has always been pretty, but all of the sudden, she's blossomed into a Victoria's Secret model!!! Even dressed in a perfectly acceptable bathing suit, she has, er, assets I've only dreamed of!! So anyway, we're (Daughter, her friend, and myself) broiling, eating M & Ms and basically bored because none of us are liking the books we've brought, when this teen god of a male strolls up.

This kid was so freakishly good looking and muscular and tanned and gorgeous, I was momentarily stunned!! So anyway, he and the girls start talking. He's two grades ahead of them, but knew them from school. He wants Daughter to go in the pool. Daughter's lazy and says no, she's tired and doesn't want to get wet. (Or, she may just be far more adept at flirting than I've ever imagined!! LOL!!)

At this point, Freakishly Gorgeous Guy picks up Friend's water bottle and squirts daughter. Shooting her this melt-worthy grin, he says, "Now, you're already wet. You have to get in." Daughter giggles and says she's not going to. At which point, Freakishly Gorgeous Guy scoops her into his arms, then carries her halfway around the pool!!!! I'm gaping, Friend's gaping, we're all gaping!! I expected Freakishly Gorgeous Guy to toss her in the pool, but apparently his momma taught him better as he gently set her on the edge of the pool, then gave her a nudge. Whew!!!!! This kid's got game!!

Yesterday, while my ex-best friend and I did lunch and a movie (see above for why Margaret's now my ex!! LOL!!!) Daughter headed back to the pool with another batch of friends. I asked if she saw Mr. Freakishly, and she said, "No, but an even hotter guy showed up and wanted to exchange cell numbers." Sigh. Oh to be fourteen again, only this time around to look like her!!!

Back to the movie Margaret and I saw, I'm still livid!!!! We went to The Break-Up with Jen A. & Vince V.. I hooted and howled and thought consistently, this is a FANTASTIC movie!!! Then, three seconds before the end, I was left with the most disgustingly sour taste in my mouth and wanted to toss popcorn at the screen. But alas, I'm on the pre-conference diet, so I didn't have any. It was the stupidest, most horrific ending for a romantic comedy I've seen since that Sandra Bullock/ Ben Affleck (sp?) flick about the two of them getting stuck in all kinds of bad weather. Darling, right up until the end. At which point, you just kind of sit there, thinking, huh?

What doesn't Hollywood get about the fact that we don't shell out big bucks to go to the movies to be depressed by a film advertised as being a feel-good movie? Stupid, stupid, stupid. I hereby predict that had this movie had a satisfactory ending, it would've made millions, but will now tank. Have I mentioned the ending was stupid???????

Happy Saturday!! I'm off to the neighborhood pool!!! ;-)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

No Sleep, But Plenty of Orange Hi-C!!!

Sorry about the vanishing act!!! But seriously, this has been one of those periods your momma told you about--you know the one . . . Goes a little something like if you don't have anything nice to say, keep your mouth shut!!!

Thank goodness summer's here, kids are out of eighth grade and we've finally gotten a new batch of rain!!

Nothing much to report news-wise. The kids have been busy. The neighborhood pool opened last Saturday, so Son's there everyday and Daughter spent four days with a friend at their Grand Lake condo. They both turned out beautifully for the 8th grade formal. Not sure how to get photos posted on this site, but I'll sure try!!

I'm thinking part of my blah mood problem is lack of sleep. I'm exhausted, yet the minute I put my head to the pillow, my eyes pop open and I start worrying!!!! When I think of the horror that was going on at this time last year (we still hadn't yet sold our old house and had double house payments, etc.) I've got nothing to be worried about. Generally, lots of little things. Like each worry is a mosquito, whining around my head!!! Get five or six going and you have a problem!!! LOL!!!

Speaking of worries . . . Did anyone see Oprah's show on Bird Flu? Boy, oh boy, that looks like something to look forward to!!! And then there's the new Al Gore environmental film. Just watching the preview makes me want to puke!!! What was so striking to me was the photo evidence he presents about global warming. I'm thinking it was Mt. Kilamanjaro (sp?) he showed a pic of from like forty years ago, topped with snow, then now, with hardly any snow--ever. I'm hoping that the film doesn't just scare, but tell folks what to do to help on a personal level.

For years, I laughed at the whole global warning thing, but with the weather so odd lately, the issue very much concerns me. Here in Oklahoma, compared to when we first moved here ten years ago, our entire climate has changed. Rain used to be common, now it's something to pray for!!!

Okay, didn't mean to get a downer vibe going here!!! There are lots of things to be happy about!! Healthy, pretty, smart kids!! Darling dogs!! Handsome, smart Hubby!! (If he ever reads this, I'll catch hell for putting him after my puppies!!! LOL!!) Oh--and as of late, the number one thing to be thankful for, McDonald's french fries and Orange Hi-C!!!!! Don't ask how my pre-conference diet has been going!!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Corsage Shopping and All That That Implies . . .

Knock on wood, but aside from edit stress, things have been remarkably calm around here!!!

Tuesday, Daughter and I got Son's date's corsage ordered for the formal. We're picking out flowers in the cooler of a fairly swanky florist along with a pretty, pearl wristband holder-thingee when I asked Daughter if her boyfriend had asked what color her dress was so that he could get her a corsage. She said, no, but that the dance was no big deal and she didn't want one. Besides, it was too expensive. I said we'll manage if she really wants one. She again said the dance is no big deal. I said, if that's the case, why'd we spend a whole day picking out your dress? Silence.

I suggested she call her boyfriend to ask if he's getting her a corsage. (They've been *dating* a year now and his family lives in a great neighborhood and I'm pretty sure they aren't on food stamps, so I didn't see that this would be too awfully rude.) She looked at me as if I'd asked her to spend the weekend on Mars. I suggest she have one of her friends call him to see if he's getting her a corsage. That was equally as bad. Daughter then tells me her boyfriend's for sure not getting her a corsage. I asked how she knows. She said he would never think of it. I reminded her that we were out shopping for her brother. Seeing how her boyfriend has a perfectly fine mother, wouldn't it make sense that maybe she would help him? Silence.

Fast forward fifteen minutes down the road to the grocery store. Daughter hops out of the car and says that anyway, she'd much rather go on vacation this summer than have a corsage. I said, trust me, barring a financial miracle from the great Harlequin Office in the Sky a summer vacation is probably not in the cards and a corsage isn't the deciding factor. She said, oh.

We're shopping, shopping, picking out taco-fixings and misc. mushy treats for Granny Sylv when we pass the florist stand. It's here Daughter points to a certain flower she loves and asks the name. I don't know right off hand, but I tell her to ask the florist lady. Calla lilies. Daughter decides these are what she wants in her corsage. I said, I thought you weren't getting a corsage? She shrugs, then turns her attention to picking which line we check-out in. This is a highly technical teen process depending upon not which line is shorter, but which line has the hottest checker/bagger guy!!! Alas, only the express lane has a stud, and we have just shy of eight-thousand Granny Sylv snacks!!!

Waiting in the grocery pick-up line, Daughter says, "Yeah, I really like Calla Lilies. Those would be pretty with my dress." Okay . . . I said, Sweetie, if you want a corsage, Daddy and I would love to get you one, but please, tell me now before we get all the way home.

Yes--she wants one, but with calla lilies. We get back to the florist with about thirty seconds to spare before they close. We inquire about the lilies, but alas, they have none. They will, however, by Friday, receive a shipment of white, baby orchids. Daughter perks right up. Did someone say, orchids?

All of which brings me around to the question of why is it so hard to just come right out and ask for what we want?

In other news, yesterday, Hubby left for Atlanta. He returns home tonight. ;-)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Is Monday Morning too Early For a Nap?

After an amazing weekend--which I'll get to in a minute--I should be smiling, right?

Well . . . I guess this is a sign I take my reality TV a tad too seriously, but I'm still boiling over the Survivor outcome!!!!! Hubby's name is Terry, so naturally, hunky, gorgeous, smart Terry on the show was the guy for me!! I wanted him to win soooooo bad!!!! GRRRRR!!!!! LOL!!!!!

Okay, guess it's time to let his loss go, but I fear I'll never truly recover from the pain!! I love you, Terry!!!!! You, too, Hubby!!! LOL!!!

Moving on to other business, after a mad dash of printing tags for promo goodies, then packing, I finally made it into Margaret's gorgeous, but itty-bitty car Friday afternoon. Whew. (If you're late chiming in, Margaret Daley is my best writing bud. She writes for Harlequin's Steeple Hill line.) Anyway, first thing out of the house, she yelled at me for having too much stuff!!!!!

Now, I'll be the first to admit to being a high maintenance girl, but all I had was Hubby's icky-foo, teeny-tiny, black overnight bag. We have lots of pretty luggage with matching carry-ons, but I took the boring stuff, because it's smaller. Did Margaret pat me on the back for packing lightly???? Nooooooooooo!!!! Thirty minutes down the road, I was still catching flack for the rest of my stuff--all of which was work related!!!! Next trip, I'll just bring my hooker hair and clean underwear!!! ROFL!!!!! (My hooker hair is this great hair extension I wear for parties. I suppose it would also work for not washing my hair on weekends. Just slick dirty hair back and clamp it on!!!) Margaret, sweetie, if you're out there, you know I love you, right??? But I've got to have my pillow and hair stuff!!!! LOL!!! ;-)

Okay, so four hours later, we were standing outside Whataburger in Breckenhookenwokkaville (sp?), Texas to meet our Red River Romance Writer escort, a woman named Debbie Calloway. I believe she blogs and writes as Debra Calloway, but wow, what a neat, sweet, talented, gorgeous woman!!!!! We followed her into Wichita Falls--a good thing because Margaret and I tend to get lost. Oh--we figure it out eventually, but like the time we wound up at the Shreveport City Jail at 2:00 AM, our detours aren't always so pleasant!!! LOL!!! But back on topic, having safely and uneventfully arrived at a beautiful historic bungalow, we met our hostess for the night, another equally beautiful, smart and talented woman named, Jackeye Plummer. Shortly thereafter, we met many more cool folks!! Darese, Mary Beth, Sue, Ardella, argh--I know I'm leaving people out!! It's calorie-overload!! Those Texans know how to feed company!!

So Friday night, we had a delicious potluck, then Saturday morning, Margaret and I woke to a beautiful spread by Jackeye. She'd set a gorgeous table!! I'm talking juice glasses, water glasses, tea cups, etc., plus biscuits with three kinds of jam. Yum!! Next, we met up again for RRRW's chapter meeting where Margaret and I gave our speech on "Falling in Love Without falling Into Bed".

At the meeting, we met up with a writer named Karen Kelly. I've been thumping my head, trying to remember where we've met, and then it hit me. She's a Gemster!!!!! Online, I've known her forever!!! To be a Gemster, you have to have sold a book to a line of romances Kensington published, called Precious Gems. Anyway, I'm thrilled to have solved that mystery. Just wish I'd've remembered sooner so we could've reminisced!!

After a yummy, deli-style lunch with our new friends, then the long drive home, Margaret dropped me at my front door. Whew.

On to Part Two of the weekend--Mother's Day. Greeting me on the front porch was a waaaay pretty, bird bath fountain I've been wanting!!! I yelled at Hubby and kids for spending too much, but it's gorgeous!!!

Sunday morning, after Hubby served me delicious breakfast in bed, then I had a nice, long chat with my mom, the kids gave me more great stuff!!! Son had made a giant card out of a scrap booking kit's photo album. He filled it with lots of goofy-fun pics and quotes. Way, way cool. Next, Daughter had made me a coupon book. I now, at any time, whine-free, get her to clean for an hour, give me a hug, feed Granny Sylv, do her cheer stretches, cheerfully give up the computer, etc.. I can't wait to start putting her to work!!! LOL!!! Both gifts made me teary. I love my babies!!!!

After a leisurely morning, we headed out to see Poseidon. Josh Lucas was HOT!!!!! The movie was so-so, but he was HOT!!!! Hubby was ticked that the hot girl he liked croaked. Sorry, hon!! LOL!!! Have I mentioned Josh was HOT??!!!

From here, I planned to garden, but instead lounged in bed with Daughter and Cocoa, watching more movies while Hubby and Son worked on the deck. The Fog turned out to be way better than I'd expected and Shopgirl left me sad. I agreed with the ending, but it put me in a melancholy funk. A couple hours later, the Survivor finale left me devastated!!!!

Whew, and here we are, back at Monday morning. I'm exhausted!!!! But in a good way!!! ;-)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Formals & Fed-Ex

All right, as the realities of the hell otherwise known as 8th Grade Formal set in, my gigantic grin has somewhat faded!!! ;-)

There should be gold medals awarded for moms who survive teen formal-wear shopping!!!! After pounding the mall ALL day Saturday for Daughter's dress, she found a pretty black and white polka-dot summery cotton frock for a great price. I was thrilled. That night, we went to the cheer party where she discussed dresses with her friends. Turns out a girl who was not at the party reportedly had the same dress. The horror!!!!! Daughter whined and moaned and Sunday, decided the dress must be returned. She had a new one already in mind. Oh? I asked. Which one? The one that cost double the price of the original, of course!!!

Okay, so we get the pretty pouffy white confection home, she parades around the house in the dress and my shoes--which I politely suggested she wear to help defray some expense--Hubby approves that the new dress isn't too low cut. Whew, crisis averted, right? WRONG!!!

Now, Son chimes in that it's not fair that his sister gets a fancy new dress and he doesn't get anything. I'm sorry, but at this point, seeing how the girl he'd asked had turned him down and he was going stag, I failed to see why he couldn't wear the nice slacks and shirt we bought for his China trip. Especially in light of the fact that the previous weekend, he'd left his cell phone in his jeans pockets and Hubby then washed it!!! And the cost of his new phone will be soon appearing on my cell bill!!!!

I was all set to stick to my guns on this issue, then, the girl who'd turned him down instant messaged him that she did want him to take her. ARGH!!!! That changed everything. Now, we have family pride involved in that I can't send the boy out in rags to do the whole corsage thing, etc. Yesterday afternoon, I took Son to the mall for a new outfit and--are you sitting down for this??? His cost more than Daughter's!!!!! He did chip in, though, with a chunk of his chore money, seeing how I'm still miffed over his phone getting washed.

Speaking of which, even though I was home all day, recovering from the walk I'd taken that morning, I zig-zagged through the road crew and sprinkler crew and dirt delivery crew to the mail box, then, on the return trip found a Fed Ex tag on the front door. I never even heard the doorbell ring!!! Assuming it's Son's phone, at 8:00 PM (the time the tag said to go), we head to Fed-Ex to pick it up. You wouldn't want him to be without a phone any longer than necessary, right??? LOL!!! Can you believe it? Fed-Ex is packed!!!! I'm talking, the little lobby was so full one lady had to stand outside!!!

We waited a good twenty minutes--maybe more, the stuffy heat and blaring prison-based talk radio show had me a tad woozy. Yes, from what I could gather, the show was being broadcast from prison!!! The topic was some guy named Sweetheart, and if it was emotionally healthy for him to visit with men from other cell blocks!!!!!!!!! :-O

But I digress . . . After waiting and waiting and waiting, we were told the driver hadn't yet returned, and so therefore, it will be delivered to our house again today. I tried explaining that we'd gone that route with no success, but judging by the thunderous expression of the guy behind me who was no doubt Sweetheart's recently released cousin, I flashed the guy a faint smile and left.

Next stop, Lowe's, where I picked up a gallon of Laura Ashley Apple 6. My beige office walls are closing in on me, and seeing how when I read my swamp book at critique Thursday night, it was politely suggested I restart, I figure I'd much rather paint!!!! LOL!!!

Oh--and as the cherry on top of the whole formal saga . . . Turns out the girl didn't have the same dress as Daughter, after all. Grrrrr!!!! :-)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Color Me Over-The-Moon Happppppy!!!!!!!!

Gimme a Y!!!

Gimme an A!!!

Gimme another Y!!!!

What's it spell? YAAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!!!!!!!

Daughter made her new high school's varsity cheer squad!!!!!! Whew. It's funny how when you have kids, your own rejections still hurt, but nothing like the pain of when your kids get rejected or hurt. The forty minutes it took to waiting to see the results be posted felt like eight hours!!

We didn't get out of uniform fittings till 8:30, then to celebrate, a group of us met up at Olive Garden at 9:30. We didn't get home till nearly midnight!!! Driving home we heard Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, so then, we of course, had to stay up watching Wayne's World for the famous head-bobbing car scene!! I zonked out pretty soon thereafter, but for once, happily!!!!!

Today, we go spring formal dress shopping. It's pouring, so I'm assuming the malls will be insanely crowded, but at the moment, even that's not going to get me down!!!

I know, any of you regulars are probably near falling down in shock at this point that I have nothing to whine/gripe/complain about, but sorry, my smile's just too darned big!!! ;-)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ant Invasion!!!!!

It's Wednesday.

Midway through cheer week.

Between waiting for my May royalty check, waiting for my editor to read my newest batch of proposals, waiting for the eight-thousand concrete trucks to leave our road and waiting a little longer still to see if Daughter has a happy weekend or is yet again thrown into a pit of despair, my stomach's on FIRE!!!!!

To counteract the fire, plus fit into summer conference clothes, I've walked the three-mile trail in a nearby park for two days. That's all well and good, but I'm so exhausted afterwards, I've pretty much done nothing but sit and stare glazed and sweating at the computer.

Last night, it was time for bed, and still fretting, I couldn't sleep. ARGH!!! I did finally get some writing done, though, on a hot new proposal. So at least something positive came from the wreckage that's become of my mind!! ;-)

Oh--and my desk has ants!!! Just my desk. Have I mentioned how much I despise my family's habit of eating and drinking at my desk, then flitting off to do their thing, leaving their food and drinks and candy wrappers and various other flotsam???? Does Nora Roberts have to share her desk??? I think not!!!

On a lighter note--anyone out there watching 8th & Ocean on MTV? My lord, what a good looking bunch of youth!!! A couple weeks ago, Daughter and I were pacing the mall, waiting for an opening at the pedicure place when we saw Britt on a Gap poster. I hereby predict, if she ever gets over her thing about not being too sexy, she'll be crazy-famous!! Oh, and the twins, Kelly & Sabrina, are in a contact lenses ad. I'm so mad at Kelly for not giving sweet Sabrina her messages I want to spit!!!! And Vinci. Whew. I want to spank the boy for bad behavior and just plain throwing away a BIG buck career!!!!! The child's criminally hot, but his attitude sucks.

In other news, my folks just bought back a lake house they sold like ten years ago. Mom celebrated her birthday. My grandfather was in the hospital for a mystery illness he now seems to have mostly recovered from, but is having more tests. And Son got new rubber bands at the orthodontist that are so tightly woven through the brackets, he literally can't speak. His teachers will be thrilled!!!!! (Assuming he wears them, which I highly doubt!!!) During my parental update at the orthodontist, they praised his brushing and wearing of rubber bands.

We left the office and I said to him, "You haven't worn a single rubber band since your last appointment--and you NEVER brush without me screaming."

Skipping with joy, he grinned and said, "I know! Isn't this great? Someone Upstairs must be smiling down on me!"

Don't you just love teenagers??!! ;-)

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Hiding from the Gigantic, Medieval-looking Corkscrew Device!!!

Whew, the book's gone, the play's over, Mom and Dad went home and after being gorgeously, top-to-bottom cleaned and polished, the house is once again trashed and I feel run over by one of the steam rollers parked in front of the mail box!!!!

Seriously, I've got the energy of limp and sticky overcooked pasta!!!! Now, on any ordinary weekend, this wouldn't be an issue, but on this particular weekend, Hubby's got a ten-pound bee under his bonnet. Ugh. Seeing how our backyard is a mud pit (dust pit if it hasn't been raining for three days!!), we're all wanting a deck. This is a pricey, labor-intensive goal I'm willing to wait five or six years for. Hubby, however, wants a deck NOW!!!!!!! Like today!!! Well, actually, he wanted it yesterday, but after he'd spent his Christmas Lowe's gift card on posts and concrete, then rented some gigantic motorized corkscrew thingee for digging post holes, it poured. No--it didn't just pour, freshwater lakes fell from the skies in gushing torrents.

In Hubby's defense, he had just watched the Weather Channel, and it looked as if the rain was moving out, otherwise I'm sure he would've tabled the project one more weekend.

But seeing how my goal for the day was hiding in my office playing my new Sims 2 expansion pack, I was loving the rain--that didn't move eastward, but stalled directly over our house. Pouring and pouring. At which point, Hubby paced the house, rumbling and grumbling about how much the medieval-looking, gigantic corkscrew thingee was costing and how was he going to ever get it back in time, etc. etc. Never have I been gladder to have a son, as the two men of the house stayed out there working until lightning started. At which point, Hubby stormed back into the house to scowl. He did perk up after a trip to the grocery store for cheeeezzzzy-potato and grilled burger fixings. YUM!! Meanwhile, Daughter, Cocoa and myself tried hiding as much as possible!!

Now, I thought once darkness fell, I'd be safe from toil. Wrong! Both kids had parties to be picked up and delivered from. Plus, Son's party was a birthday, meaning I had to go get cash to hand out to kids I've never even met!!! Hubby, meanwhile, had collapsed somewhere in a muddy heap. Poor guy. He did look beat. Plus, I'm pretty sure he broke his toe, but is too manly to go to the doctor. Speaking of his manly ways, he looked sexy wielding that massive power tool!!! LOL!!! ;-)

At eleven, rain still falling, it was time to pick-up the kids, plus one extra who needed a ride home. He had the sniffles REAL bad, and I'm praying it was allergies and not a contagious head cold, seeing how I've got another stress-filled week ahead. Will this school year ever end????

In the mean time, I've got to go find a new hiding place!! Hubby's got the medieval corkscrew thingee till noon, and I can't chance getting caught, then roped in to help!!! I'm a girly girl!! I decorate decks, not help build them!!! (Snort!! In my dreams!! Actually, as an only child, I spent many loooong weekends acting as my dad's *son*!! I know my way around tools a little too well!!!) ;-)