Saturday, October 22, 2011

An Ode to the Renaissance Woodbridge--and Two HUGE Complaints!!!!

The wall in this lounge was glitter, people!!!! 

Let me preface this by saying I've been to a lot of hotels.  I LOVE hotels!!!  I write better, my hair looks better, I'm sure I'm thinner, and in general life is sublime.  While this hotel in no way compares to say a fancy schmancy resort hotel, for a conference hotel, I was blown away!!!  Anyone who knows me, knows I'm at heart an interior designer wannabe and the designers of this place should win a MAJOR award!!!  The theme?  Mod chandeliers, traditional chandeliers,crazy Willa Wonka oversized furniture, bowls with floating mums, wild floral motif carpet done in hot pink and red and purple and blue.  Sounds like a hot mess, but it's so right, I can't stop gasping!!! 

Interestingly enough, I mentioned my wonder and joy of the decor to the fab Renee Ryan who also writes for Harlequin and she said she didn't like the decor.  She's from Savannah and found it all a tad too much--you know, how a true Southern belle would say?  She's so stinkin' gorgeous and gracious and talented, I have to love her even though on this issue we disagree.  My roomie Winnie Griggs hasn't shown much opinion at all, other than standing patiently while I take pics to send to daughter Hannah.

Now, on to the complaint section . . . Only one mirror in our room--and that's in the bathroom.  Um, Mr. Marriott, I might wear sweats and have icky hair 341 days  a year, but at conferences, I want to look good!!  Since there wasn't a mirror I could stand next to in order to apply mascara and eye make-up, I had to sit on the commode lid using my powder mirror set up on the vanity!!!  Not very elegant, but it got the job done.

Second complaint . . . Not enough outlets.  Mr. Marriott, I travel in packs of romance writers.  We schlep laptops and cell phones and hair dryers and hot rollers and straighteners and curling irons and netbooks--all of which utilize this amazing thing called ELECTRIC!!!!!!

Okay, rant over, time to go ooh and ahh over more pretty light fixture--oh, and we're giving a workshop today, too!!   

Monday, October 17, 2011

Breaking Up is Hard to Do . . . RHONJ Style!!

 The Real Housedogs of Casa Altom after they'd just shredded something . . .

I'm putting it out there--I'm a Real Housewives fanatic.  Any city, any time--except Miami.  (That one didn't so much much work for me.)  The New Jersey season just wrapped and even the morning after the reunion, I'm sad.

I've watched RHONJ since the first episode and last night was the start of a train wreck of MAMMOTH proportions!!!  I've always been a huge Teresa fan as she's everything I'm not.  Thin, big hair, fun sparkle-fur clothes and never afraid to loudly say what she feels.  I'm a huge Caroline fan because she's most like me.  Not flashy, wears sweats while preparing Christmas dinner and is a lioness when it comes to loving/protecting her children.

These two have been allies against common enemies for years, so to see them last night attacking each other was jarring.  Thank my lucky stars, knock on wood, turn around three times and howl at the moon, but so far I've only experienced the total annihilation of one close friendship and it still makes me sad.  Last night's show brought back those icky feelings I have no wish to revisit.

My plea to the housewives is to play nice!!  Life's too short for this level of animosity!!  Teresa--apologize!!!  Caroline--calm down and don't take yourself so seriously.  Obviously, I don't know these people, most likely will never meet them, yet they enter my home on a regular basis and for whatever odd reason, I care about all of them.  And as much as I love it, I wonder if reality TV is the devil?

Wonder if anyone's done documentaries on these people as to how being part of a reality show has hurt/helped their lives?  Like the lottery winners who think their every dream has come true only to discover winning brought nothing but pain.

Have sooooo much to do today that in no way involves RHONJ, but because I didn't fully believe what I was seeing last night, I watched it again and sure enough, Teresa has been voted off the Jersey "island" due to a couple of lines in her new cookbook.

I also blame her editor/agent/publicist for getting her into this situation.  If I say anything that could remotely be construed as objectionable to anyone my editors have always urged me to reword or delete.  My agent catches things before they even hit any editor's desk.  I'm assuming the lack of editing done in this case was more about the almighty dollar than anyone caring about these families.  Teresa, girlfriend--call me.  I'll hook you up with genuinely caring people who have your back!! 

If there's anything to be taken from this sad situation that I can use in my own daily life, it's that from now on I vow to never write in one of my books that a character is only 1/16th Italian!!!  

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Harley and a Girl Named Gypsy . . .

Sweet Pea, who at the ripe old age of 98 dog years is the senior citizen of our family!!

Happy Friday!!

So excited for a mini-road trip to Arkansas I'm taking today with my kiddos and Daisy to meet a new family member--Gypsy!  But before I tell you who Gypsy is, you have to suffer through the back story of how this 9lb baby entered our lives . . .

The last book in my Buckhorn Ranch series, A Baby in His Stocking, is released next month.  UPS brought my author copies yesterday and I got all misty over the dedication.  (I turn in books a good six months or more before they're published, so a lot of times what the dedication is has nothing to do with my current life, but was meaningful to me when the book was turned in.)  We're a dog family, so I dedicated this story to Noodle, my parents' dachshund who lived to the grand, old age of eighteen.

When you think about how much happens in our lives over eighteen years it's mind-boggling.  Our kids grew from infants to college, I think we've had three presidents, MTV stopped playing videos, cell phones are now postage stamps instead of bricks and TVs are flat as stamps!!  Raise your hand if you remember how exciting seeing your first big screen TV was!! 

Noodle the Wonder Wiener was there through it all, most importantly the passing of both of my grandparents and my favorite great-aunt and uncle. . . . Here I go again, making myself all weepy.

Losing Noodle was crazy hard on my mom.  I think if she'd had her way, she'd have gotten a puppy right away, but my parents do a lot of traveling and Dad put the kabash on getting another dog.

Fast forward more than a few months and Dad is out riding his Harley--yes, you read right!!  Mom loathes it, as the helmet musses her hair, but she does have all the latest Harley fashions that she sported for Fayetteville's Bikes, Barbecue & Blues.  (I cannot keep that name straight, so sorry if I got it wrong.)  Anyway, Dad's on his bike and sees this little dog weaving out of the weeds on the side of a country road.

He was in a fairly desolate area, and since it looked like a dachshund, he got off his bike to investigate.  Sure enough, he'd found a starving, dirt-covered wiener!!  Mom reports her being skin and bones, but still wriggling and kissing in true dachshund style.  They asked all over Farmington if anyone had reported losing a dog, then took her to a vet for a check-up and to see if she had an ID chip (those weren't around when Noodle was born, either!).  With no chip and my mother already in love, the vet urged them to give the dog a new home.

Mom called to discuss names and decided the usual Heidi and Pretzel wouldn't do.  Dad refused to stand in the front yard in his robe yelling for Cupcake or Cutie so I suggested they name her something that told the story of how they found her.  A few hours later, Mom called back and made the formal announcement that our new family member shall be christened Gypsy!!

Welcome anyone to your family lately?