Monday, December 14, 2009

It's almost Christmas and so far the Grinch has sent $800 worth of heating repairs, $900 worth of auto repairs, one car sent to the junk yard (we had about $5000 in that), $300 for a new garbage disposal, $600 for Hollyball dress, ties, hair, corsages, and just this morning in the midst of printing my edits that are due the 17th, the laser printer decided it needed a new $100 ink cartidge. Oh--and did I mention we finally got the Christmas tree up and gorgeous only to have it topple over, breaking ornaments we've had for decades? (This month's pic is of Abbey, Russell and Hannah all dolled up for the big dance. Terry was off picking up his date!)

Okay, so while none of that has been fun, I was snuggling with Hubby on the sofa last night in front of the fire with a wonderfully sappy Lifetime Christmas movie playing when it struck me how incredibly blessed we are. When we were first married, that much calamity striking at once would've meant a dreaded call to the folks to beg for money. Now, it just means covering the big, honking holes in the sofa with blankets for a little while longer! Ornaments break, but the memories attached to them will be with me forever.

I'm grateful for family and friends and my goofy, infuriating pets. While I need to lose a few pounds, I'm grateful for the bounty of food always in our cabinets and fridge. The older I get, the more it seems like my favorite parts of Christmas have less to do with gifts and more with the true gifts of family traditions. Playing epic games of boys versus girls Trivial Pursuit on Christmas Eve while watching The Grinch and Christmas Vacation. I love seeing friends and baking and the special hush of Christmas morning when it feels as if the whole world's taking a much-needed breather.

Happy, happy holidays to all!! What are some of your favorite family traditions?

Friday, November 06, 2009

Library Update . . .

I just spoke with my dear friend and fellow writer, Margaret Daley, who was kind enough to point out that our speaking gig is not tomorrow, but Thursday, November 12th. Thanks to Margaret and all of my other friends who keep the dates straight in my head!! Perhaps I should spend less time in my imaginary world, and more time with my planning book?? Groan . . .

Anyway, Thursday, Hardesty Library in Tulsa, 10:30 till 2:00. Be there or be square!! ;-)

Romance in the Stacks!

Love reading romance? Join me tomorrow at Hardesty Library in Tulsa (8316 E. 93rd) for the first annual Romance in the Stacks!

From 10:30 until 2:00, attend a booksigning, meet & eat lunch with Oklahoma Romance Authors, watch a public program for the Tulsa community, compete for door prizes!

Want more info? Check out:

Hope to see you there!!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

I'm Tired!!!

Having not slept a full night in about three weeks, I see the reason for all of the prescription drug ads for "sleeping aids"! Not sleeping is no fun!! If there's a silver lining to the situation, it's that I'm not teaching anymore. Can't imagine keeping up with my Energizer Bunny middle school kids while feeling like a zombie!!

Logically, I would guess not being able to sleep means you have a lot on your mind, but I'm so tired, my brain isn't even active enough to worry!! Bluh.

Anyway . . . On to happier news, the kids had their last, big Halloween party Saturday night. I'm guessing between 30 and 40 showed up. (This pic is of me in my costume!! I wish!! LOL!!Britney Spears in her costume while we were at her Dallas concert.) We had many looks represented from a nun, vampire, Phantom of the Opera diva, doctor, two lumberjacks, Popeye, Strawberry Shortcake, an Underworld Fairy and my darling kiddos who dressed as Hooter's Girls. Hannah looked pretty. (Her shorts and shirt were MUCH less provocative than the real deal.) Terry, hairy legs and all, might've gotten fired!! Surely Hooter's has a leg shaving policy?! Russell was the smart one by getting scheduled to work that night!! Big Terry hid in my office!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

QT Coffee Should Come With a Warning Label!!

Having literally been up ALL night, I'm more than a little out of it. Around 8:30 last night, Hubby announced he was making a Diet Pepsi and ice run and asked if I wanted to ride along. Seeing how I had nothing better to do than the edits I seriously needed to be working on, I was all about procrastination!! At QT (Quik Trip, Oklahoma's version of 7-11), we were bombarded by a junk food cornucopia that I fought valiantly to resist!! The coffee smelled wonderful, so I went for that, figuring that something warm and rich would get my mind off of the donuts, chili-cheese Frito's and hot dogs!! (This pic is of son, Terry, looking as sleepy as I feel!)

I'm wired very strangely in that caffeine has always had a backwards effect on me. I loaded my steaming Styrofoam cup with cream and Splenda and happily trailed hubby to the counter, proud of myself for having resisted the plethora of temptation!!

I drank the whole 20oz by 9:30 and was working up a storm. By 3:30AM, I'd done 15 new pages!! I tried going to bed at least four times, but each time I touched my head to my fave pillow, my eyes popped open. Seeing how Cocoa and Daisy sleep with me, and Cocoa needs lifting, getting in and out of bed is a lengthy process. Finally, I just gave up. The poor dogs were exhausted, eyeing me with accusatory doggy stares for messing up their full night's rest!

So here I sit, needing to write more, pay the electric and gas bills, do laundry, cram something into my growling stomach and yet I'm so tired all I can think is that I need to never, ever again drink QT coffee!!! Happy Friday . . . Me and the dogs are headed back to bed!!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Daughters are Dangerous!

Monday was Senior Skip Day here in our fair town. I'm not sure if this was a school-sanctioned thing--I'm guessing not--but when crisp sunny weather and the Tulsa State Fair come to town, come on, who can stand being indoors?

Long story short, Daughter and her best friend set off for the magical land of fried Snickers and pickles and I and my dog posse settled in for a nice, quiet day of writing. Then I got an e-mail. Not just any e-mail, but one containing nothing but a giant picture. Think pink satin and sparkles and crystals as big as my thumb! Next, comes the phone call . . .



"Did you get my e-mail?"

"Yes . . ."

"Aren't they gorgeous? Like the most awesome shoes EVER!!!!!!!"

"Um, they are very pretty, sweetie, but exactly how pretty in monetary form?"

"Compared to last year's Holly Ball shoes, they're CHEAP!!! Like you won't believe how cheap. Please, Mommy? Please put money in my account? I love you . . ."

I look at the picture, envision my precious cupcake of a child on a day when she does the dishes AND cleans the cat box without whining, and you guessed it. My resolve to ween her from all things sparkly crumpled like the old McDonald's bag I'd found under her bed that morning.

"Please, Mommy! I promise I'll even mow the lawn when I get home."

Uh huh. Just like I promise not to eat cookies or ice cream for the next month! Yes, she got the shoes and they are scrumptious, and next time I will be strong and just say no--to the shoes and the cookies! Lucky for me, I'll have a whole year to practice before the fair comes around again! As for the lawn, what girl in her right mind would mow in hot-pink satin, diamond-encrusted shoes?!?!

Monday, October 05, 2009

My Pageant Debut!

I'm baaaack--again! And this time, to stay. The past few years have been quite a departure from my usual life. Great fun, but teaching middle school doesn't leave a lot of free time for blogging!

Literally, the first day of school in August, I recieved a call from my agent who asked if I would be able to handle a speedy book contract. In short, seeing how I had bulletin boards to assemble, shelves to dust and a supply closet threatening to swallow small sixth graders--no. I'd been having a tough enough time keeping up with current writing obligations, let alone taking on new ones. After a lot of soul searching and long talks with Hubby, we made a family decision for me to return to full-time writing.

While I've wholeheartedly enjoyed working for Tulsa Public Schools, I also seriously love working in my PJs again!! Both of my parents were teachers, and also my grandparents. It's a profession I've always wanted to try, and will always look back upon fondly.

One lesson learned, is that teaching is hard. VERY hard. I went into it starry-eyed and excited to meet my eager students who wanted nothing more than to learn. Ha! Yes, there are a few of those kids out there, but the reality is that there are an awful lot of kids in need. They sometimes arrive at school not having eaten, slept, or even bathed. They worry about not just grades, but bullying and gang issues. There is cyber-stalking and text-hating and even "sexting". Though many public schools in my area have instituted a uniform policy, there are still all too many ways to show status--or a lack thereof--through the latest Nikes or Ed Hardy's.

Though I'm no longer on the front line of education, directly serving children, I'm still keenly aware that there's a serious need for change in this nation. As a former teacher and parent, it is my opinion that never in America's history have strong families been needed more. During our first days of teacher inservice, my building's principal told us that when it comes to student behavior, we should remember, "Fear equals anger."

It was my goal for this school year to model this quote in my every student interaction. There are a lot of angry, frightened, lonely kids out there and while this blog has now taken on the tone of a pageant contestant wishing for world peace, my original intent was to praise teachers and parents and encourage them to keep fighting the fight of raising responsible citizens. Our kids are worth it. When you see a child acting out, sure, he or she might just be pulling a typical teen tantrum. On the other hand, they might have larger issues dragging them down. Don't be afraid to help either through volunteering at a local school, talking to the kids on your street, or being the household where your child's friends feel comfortable hanging out.

Okay, whew, stepping off of my soap box, major smooches to all of you readers who have been with me from the start!! Sorry for my disappearing act!! From here on out, my blog will most likely consist of everything from wacky Granny Sylv stories to conference play-by-plays and of course, the latest gossip on my Hubby and kiddos!!

Until then, there are lots of book excerpts on my web page and if you're in the mood to chat, sign-up to be my Myspace friend!