Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cocoa the Incredible Blind Flying Wiener!!!

Just when I think Casa Altom can't get nuttier--it does!!!  LOL!!!

As I have only fifteen or so minutes before our contractor arrives and I'm forced to run and hide from drywall dust and/or the tooth-rattling growl of the Sawzall, I'll keep this short by sharing only the freakiest, truly most unbelievable moment of the week.

We're undergoing MAJOR renovations on our decrepit old house and one change is replacing the deck off of our dining room.  This second story deck is a doggy favorite.  High in the trees, squirrels frolic there and anytime the magic door's opened, our three dogs charge past me, hot in pursuit.

I was under the impression that only part of the deck would be replaced, but by Tuesday afternoon, the whole thing was GONE.  After the contractor left, Hubby, son and I stood at the door, gawking at the mess.  Son was horsing around and decided to open the door to do a mock walk-out and fall.


That lone support beam is all that's left of our old, second-story deck!
Cocoa, our 12 year old blind wiener, heard that magic door open, just knew she'd finally catch an evil squirrel and bolted--RIGHT INTO THIN AIR!!!!

I screamed and cried, Son tore down the stairs to reach her, with me running after him.  I was crying too hard, certain poor Cocoa had died from the fall, to even know what Hubby was doing.

Here's the odd part--we all get downstairs to Cocoa and she's fine!!!  Like not a scratch, not spooked, no broken back or legs, but 100% awesome, smelly wiener dog!!!  I hugged her for a good hour, then kept a close eye on her all night, afraid she might have internal ouchies.  Two days later, she's doing great!!  Still chasing evil squirrels and growling when anyone gets too close to her Dingo bone!!!

Cocoa in her usual lounging position!!

I consider this a full-on miracle.  Our pets are part of our family and with everything else going on right now, the thought of losing Cocoa is unthinkable.

How about you?  Have any great pet miracles to share?      

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Time Sucking Broken Eyeballs!!

Since The SEAL's Surprise Baby is due the 15th, I thought it might be fun to look at all the ways fate has messed with me during the crucial last days before I finally type, The End.  In speaking with my author friend, Winnie Griggs, she also claims calamity strikes most when deadlines loom.  While I don't have time for an in-depth study of every author in the world, I thought it might be interesting to at least look back over the ridiculous amounts of things that've happened to me lately to keep me from writing:

Tuesday 11/6--Election day!!  Hubby and I decide to vote first thing in the morning to avoid long lines.  Wait 30 minutes at our usual polling place, whip out IDs, told our polling place is now no longer located at the nice, peaceful church it has been for 10 years, but Food Pyramid.  We head that way only to discover a 40 minute line snaking through the freezer section!!  Prime early morning writing time shot--albeit for a good cause.

Hubby in voting line!!  Yes--that IS a grocery freezer section behind him!!
After a brief Y & R break, I get back to work.  Son pops in for a visit.  I ask if he's voted.  He has not.  Off we go to his polling place.  2 hour line!!   Daughter brags she had no wait at all!!

Day's Page Count--4 out of my goal of 10
 
Wednesday 11/7--Fairly productive day save for Lowe's and the plumber and the counter guy calling at least three times each.  Get mail.  Daisy, our demon Yorkie, decides to run away.  I'm forced to walk the street barefoot, wagging a tempting slice of "cheezy cheese" to lure her home.  She warily takes cheese, but before I can grab her, bolts.  Can you say bad dog?!?! 

Day's Page Count--7 out of my goal of 10

Thursday 11/8--Plumber here forever.  They leave, I nuke soup.  UPS man arrives.  Dog eats soup.  Attempt to start writing, but counter guys show up.  I bought the wrong faucet for new sink.  Emergency run to Lowe's.  Back at home, lungs BURNING from counter glue fumes.  Added bonus?  Son and super-sweet girlfriend I REALLY like are breaking up--AT OUR HOUSE!!!  By the time Hubby gets home, we escape for dinner.  Fumes no better when we're done.

Day's Page Count--0 out of my goal of 10

Friday 11/9--Get comfy on the couch to begin what will surely be a great writing day, stretch backwards and knock my freshly opened Sprite over my head.  My hair, face, and sofa are now dripping with sticky Sprite.  By the time me and the sofa are clean, plumbers arrive to connect new sink.  They notice book covers on the wall and request signed copies.  By the time I'm writing anything other than my name and a check for extra parts, a huge chunk of my writing day is gone.

Day's Page Count--11 out of my goal of 20 

Saturday 11/10--I don't work weekends.  Hubby's off at his day job during the week, so I look forward to spending Saturday and Sunday with him and/or our kids.  That said, with my deadline perilously close, I HAVE to work this weekend.  Too bad the "simple" errands we need to run last a huge chunk of the day.

Day's Page Count--14 out of my goal of 20 

Sunday 11/11--Surprisingly calm day, but we have an Oilers game at 4:00.  We like to get to games an hour early to eat Billy's onion rings and watch the players warm-up.  That means getting to the BOK Center by 3:05.  That means my in-desperate-need-of-cutting hair needs to be tamed starting by 1:30.  Lots of writing time shot like a puck!!

Day's Page Count--16 out of my goal of 20

Monday 11/12--If you've been keeping track, you'll notice I just now made up my page count for the whole day I missed last Thursday.  Had those been the only days I missed, I wouldn't now be feverishly making up for those other bizarre days my page count was 0.

With my deadline being Thursday, I'm now in fevered-writing mode.  Got six great pages done when daughter calls.  After the free skate at Sunday's game, boyfriend accidentally elbowed her right eye.  She reports it's swollen, hurting and her vision's blurry.  Whaaaaat?!?!  All writing stopped to run her to the eye doctor.  

Day's Page Count--19 out of my goal of 20

Tuesday 11/13--Sit down to write and Hubby's lost his shoes and belt.  Since I'm in deadline mode, house is a MESS.  I help look.  Hubby leaves, I'm back to writing.  Thirty minutes in, Hubby calls.  Have I seen his work phone?  Stop writing to look.  Text Hubby--Found it!  Start writing, Hubby texts if he missed calls?  I don't know!!  And I'm not getting up to look!!  Day progresses in much the same fashion from here.  Lowe's lady calls.  Am I happy with our counters?  Slimy telemarketer tries selling me vitamins.  Daughter calls--her poor eyeball still hurts.  Her boyfriend's elbow owes me a $40 specialist copay and lost writing time!!! LOL!!!

Daughter and super cute Boyfriend's elbow before elbowing incident!!

Day's Page Count--23 out of my goal of 20

Wednesday 11/14--Overall, despite a gazillion interruptions, I've managed to get work done, but not nearly enough.  Today, I'm still writing feverishly, trying to make up for all the other little things that somehow crop up when a book's due.

Cross your fingers!!  This one's going to be a squeaker!!

How about you?  Do you find that the more you have to do, the more gremlins appear to divert your attention?



Saturday, November 03, 2012

Attack of the Not-so-Killer Raccoon!!

Every Saturday morning, Hubby and I head out for breakfast.  I'd just put on my shoes and somewhat tamed my hair when he walked down my office stairs, shaking his head.  "Sorry.  Looks like we'll have to postpone I-Hop."

We've had so many calamities lately, my mind jumped from one of the kids or pets being hurt to the car not starting to something catastrophic having happened to the house.  Instead, Hubby had good news!!

Let me back up a little by explaining that a few weeks back, our neighborhood committee declared war on the lovely nature reserve across the street from our house.  They cut and chopped and cleared, driving all the critters from their homes and straight into ours.  When Cocoa, our wiener dog, refused to leave my office stairs, then started digging the floor, we called Critter Guy.


The hole in the side of our house!!
Critter Guy performed a 15 minute inspection, announced our home was in dire trouble and said for the low, low price of $9000--yes, that's three zeros after the 9--he would repair the coon damage, but if we wanted to actually catch the coon, that would run an extra $450/week until the critter could be trapped.  I cried and went to bed.  Hubby got mad.

Critter Guy said insurance pays for this sort of thing, so Angela, the nice insurance lady, came right over to check it out.  She said no way was there anywhere near that amount of damage, and regardless, Farmer's wasn't paying.  We had a contractor here working on another issue, and he advised we try trapping the coon ourselves, then he'd give us a quote on fixing the hole.  Sounds like a plan, right?

We headed to Atwood's for a live trap.  REALLY fun store I highly recommend!!  They have candy, bling belts, and baby chicks and ducks!!!!!!  I could live at Atwood's!!!!  But I digress . . .

Fuzzy chicks at Atwood's!!

Back to trapping, here's how it played out:

Attempt One--Peanut butter and dog food.  Untouched.

Attempt Two--Canned tuna.  Raccoon reached right in, had a nice meal, then skedaddled!!   

Attempt Three--Fancy kitty food.  Wild caught Alaskan salmon with wild rice.  Yahtzee!!  Turns out we have a gourmet!!

Those eyes!!!  He says, "Please let me back inside!  I promise to behave!"
Considering how much time, money and stress this guy has cost, I wanted to be mad at him, but he was so cute, once we drove out to a pretty wildlife area, I was a little misty to let him go.  When Hubby first opened the cage, the coon just stared at me for a few seconds--pretty sure by this time we'd bonded.  I wanted to pet him, but Hubby said, "NO."   

Moments later, the raccoon darted from the cage and that was that.

The blur is the coon running away!!
Daughter saw the pictures and worried what if he has a family?  I assured her we will set the trap again--just in case.  If there are more, we'll let them loose in the same place.  Hubby and I hope our coon was a bachelor stud, and is now speed dating at his new home all the way across the Arkansas River!!

Our coon's new home!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Jane Goodall & Brushing Teeth

That speck at center stage is Jane Goodall!
Had an interesting date night last Friday with Hubby and my Mom.  We'd heard primatologist and conservationist, Jane Goodall,would be speaking at Barnhill Arena at the University of Arkansas and couldn't resist.  My dad had heard her back in the sixties at Western Michigan University and thus chose to stay home.

I wasn't sure what to expect.  Ms. Goodall has fascinated me forever, but Barnhill's a mighty big place.  It was a rainy and cold night.  What if no one came?  I would be mortified on behalf of my alma mater.  Ha!  As is with most of my worries, this one was unneeded as the place was filled to the rafters with people who genuinely seem to "get it".  By that, I mean people who care about animals and our environment and the "golden rule".

I'm hardly the poster child for our planet.  I loathe washing all of our trash for recycling and am incapable of brushing my teeth without running water.  I don't use my own cloth bags for groceries, but Hubby did convince me to switch to those fancy new low energy light bulbs.  When I hear about what's happening in the rain forests, it's depressing.  And so I choose not to think about it.

Ms. Goodall made me rethink a lot of things.  Small in stature and extremely soft-spoken, she somehow managed to clobber me over the head with uncomfortable, not popular ideals that should've maybe even angered me, but instead called me to action.

Much better photo courtesy of: http://www.kait8.com/story/19743223/jane-goodall-to-lecture-at-university-of-arkansas
As I sat in the arena where I'd accepted my high school diploma nearly twenty years earlier, she unwittingly forced me to assess a lot in my life--not just where I truly stand on environmental issues, but other more personal areas, as well.  In the anonymity of that crowd, I was able to give myself a report card and came up with a solid C.  I do all right in most areas, but have the potential to do so much better.

Three-quarters of the way through the lecture, I received a highly upsetting call.  Hubby and I had made plans to be out of town for the rest of that weekend, but instead went home.  The call acted as an emotional bungee cord, snapping me back to what I know is the most important part of my life--family.

But back to the environment, whereas I have been cursing the City of Tulsa's exhausting new trash rules, I now see them a little differently.  Ms. Goodall made a simple request for all of our families--do better.  If not for ourselves, for our children and their children.  Our families.

And so lately, I've been faithfully washing jars and plastic take-out containers and tin cans.  It really doesn't take that long.  As for brushing without hearing running water?  I'm working on it . . .   :-)   

Friday, September 14, 2012

Mayhem Magnets & Chillaxing!

Unglamorous me, trying to snap a pic of Daisy who just came from the doggy salon!   












































































































































Some people write super duper informative writing blogs or insightful political rants or even offer up fab cooking tips.  Sad to say, pretty much all I have to offer the blog world is sharing the oddball occurrences of my life.  Alas, since the kids have returned to school, I've noticed a dramatic downturn in all things strange.  Does this mean that after 20 years of me thinking I'm the weird one, turns out I'm actually fine and they're the problem?!  Hubby says YES!!  LOL!!

Actually, two out of three kids visited yesterday and I even got a bonus kid when Terry's new girlfriend popped in to watch a movie with us.  Color me happy!!

But back to my theory about the kids being mayhem-magnets, now that I think about it, Hannah and I did have one thought-provoking encounter yesterday.  The new Tulsa Oilers hockey season is fast approaching and since Hannah's going to be an Ice Girl again, she noticed yesterday that her tummy is fifteen shades lighter than her tan tights.  Off to the tanning salon we went.

Remember the whole "Tanning Mom" scandal?  (Not sure if I'm allowed to post a pic, but if you're unfamiliar with the Patricia Krentcil case, it's all over Google)  Anyway, as Hannah was entering the salon, a woman exited who was darker than dark.  Neither of us had ever seen anyone as dark as her--maybe on TV, but certainly not in Tulsa.

I'm curious about what motivates people to do what they do and as I had a few minutes to sit and ponder, wondered what could be going on in this tanner's life?  I'm guessing she was around my age.  She had a great bod and hair.  Didn't notice if she wore a wedding ring, but she seemed to be in good spirits.  As for motivation, my best guess was that she's from a sunny state and grew up tanning.  Tanning makes her feel youthful and happy.  She's been tanning for so long, that what may read normal-tan to her is beyond-normal to others?  But then who am I to say her "normal" isn't anything other than perfection?

All of that could be a crock and probably is, but it does bring up a theme that's been running through my week--loving yourself just the way you are.

Mom called Monday to tell me a couple of our fave Y & R stars would be on The Talk.  Well, not only were those stars on, but they didn't wear their usual glam hair and make-up--neither did Julie Chen or the show's other hosts or guests.  At first, the shock of seeing these familiar faces "naked" was jarring, but then they became exceedingly lovely--not unapproachable daytime divas, but women I could see hanging out with.  They became "real" in the truest sense of the word.

Yesterday on Facebook, a friend of a friend of a friend (Love FB's new lax privacy policies, don't you?) posted an incredibly powerful piece on self-esteem.  Today, an old high school friend posted a nice bit on not sweating the small stuff.

With the benefit of hindsight, I see "Someone" has been sending me subtle reminders to chill.  It's been a rough week.  My word count has been atrocious.  A person I respect wasn't nice to me.  A certain unnamed insurance company makes me crazy.  I've slipped off my diet.  My bangs need a trim, eyebrows resemble Santa's and I refuse to even talk about the horror of my nails.  But you know what?  NONE OF THAT MATTERS!!!  Taking a step back, how blessed am I to even have time for such petty worries to enter my head?

If you've made it this far into my ramble-a-thon, stop reading now to give yourself a hug!!!  Love yourself--fat, skinny, tan, great hair, bad hair?  Doesn't matter!!!  Love yourself as you are, right now, and keep that love flowing outward to others . . .  :-)   

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I'm Banning Myself from Disney!

Since so many sweet friends and readers have been kind enough to ask how I'm feeling, after yesterday's--I hope--final diagnosis, I just had to share.  In the past two weeks, I've been poked, prodded, and sucked by blood-drawing vampires all with no results.  I'm fine, my doctor's nurse kept calling to say.  In the meantime, whenever I strayed so much as five feet from my big green chair I started hurting.

My bestie Margaret is super smart and a tad bossy (in a loving way ), and told me to stop talking to the nurse and make another doctor appointment.  I did.  And we talked and talked and talked about possible causes for this mystery pain.  She carefully palpated my upper right quadrant.  (How's that for fancy med talk?!?!)  It hurt MORE!!!!!

She sat on her rolling stool, crossed her arms and confessed, "Laura, I've got to tell you, I'm stumped."  We talked more and she asked if I've been lifting anything heavy or been hit in that area.  Since I reported the pain started during my California trip, she wanted me to try remembering any kind of bodily trauma I might've suffered . . .

Our entire room's adverse reaction to Friday night's Bananas Foster aside, I did remember an awful lot of motion sickness at Disneyland.

The famous Teacup ride would've sent me to the hospital with nausea!!  LOL!! Brave and fab authors, Margaret Daley, Camy Tang, Danica Favorite, and Caroline A. Godin appointed me official photographer!!
Even with Dramamine, Space Mountain made me want to hurl.  Me and the Matterhorn didn't have such a great time, either.  It's a roller coaster with a fairly violent whipping action.  When we finally--thank you, Jesus--climbed off of this torture device masquerading as fun,  I remember telling Margaret I felt like I broke my back.  The ride HURT.  I took some Advil, more Dramamine and went on with our day.

The dangerous, Matterhorn . . .
Back to yesterday, I described to the doctor how the ride's safety bar hit me right where my pain is.  She shook her head and faintly smiled.  Then tells me she suspects I broke or bruised a rib, and since the tests haven't been looking for anything like that, it never showed up.  She said these kinds of things take a loooong time to heal, but gave me steroids, explaining that if this is what's causing the pain, I should start feeling better very soon.

My favorite ride--It's a Small World!!!
While I'm thrilled for this downright "Goofy" diagnosis--ha ha, get my Disney humor?!--I'm miffed we canceled our trip when odds are I'll be fine by the time we'd have left.  Sigh.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mini-Vacation--Skinny Butt Required!!

Me and my fab agent, Michelle Grajkowski at the Harlequin party!!
Hate being a Debbie Downer, but ever since returning from RWA I've been sick.  After lots of tests, my doctor suspects a kidney stone(s), but progress in fixing the issue is moving as slow as our horrible Tulsa traffic.  Anyway, I'm not in screaming agony, but I sure don't feel up to doing much of anything.

This wouldn't be any big deal save for the fact that Hubby and I have been planning an amazing trip to Belize since January.  We were to leave in two weeks.  Belize isn't an easy destination.  From Tulsa, takes two days to get there, and pretty much anything you do in the country requires a tiny plane or boat.  We were excited to explore caves, ruins and reefs.  Scuba and zip line.  Considering the fact that lately I need a rest stop every five feet, no Belize for us.  I canceled our international and domestic flights, our romantic luxury hotel and then pouted.  And pouted.  And pouted.

Because of other issues too ghastly to even discuss, it's been a seriously crap few days.  In the midst of our general Altom Crapstorm, my sweet, amazing, handsome hubby took me on a mini-vacation that lifted my spirits.

I was surprised by how small the plane was.
Loving anything vintage, when I saw that a restored DC-3 was on display, I wanted to go!  Now, for hubby, it was all about seeing the plane.  For me, it was about the people who flew on the plane.  I wanted to imagine how elegant air travel used to be.  Even as a kid, I remember my grandmother buying me a new dress to fly in.  The plane we toured is said to have carried only the mega-rich and travelers were dressed just short of Black Tie.  We flipped through photos and the most fun of all were the stewardesses.

Me at the controls!! 
I know, I know, they're now called Flight Attendants, but back when I wanted to be one more than anything in the world, I told everyone I was going to be a stewardess--sounded MUCH more romantic!! Back in the day, there were strict requirements.  From the pics, they were all roughly the same height, had perfect figures and hair and resembled living Barbie Dolls.  From the vintage photos, the glamor factor looks off-the-charts!!

Our tour literally lasted only ten minutes.  Me and my overactive imagination had conjured images of this massive luxury liner complete with a walk-up bar, lounge and huge comfy seats.  I couldn't have been more wrong!  The seats were so narrow, no one on the plane with us even fit in them except for a few little kids!!  Your butt would have to be ridiculously skinny for you to be comfortable!!!  LOL!!  The plane held 21 apparently emaciated passengers, two pilots and a lucky stewardess.

Check out those narrow seats!!! But plenty of leg room . . .
Sweet Hubby bought me a T-shirt and that was my big hour out of the house.  Back home, I was happy for a nap, but at least instead of pouting over our lost trip to Belize, I now had fun dreams of me being a stewardess who only works the routes to Paris and Rome!!

A SEAL's Secret Baby--finally in stores NOW!!!
P.S.  The first book of my new Operation Family SEAL series, A SEAL's Secret Baby debuts this month and should now be in stores nationwide!!  Happy Reading!! :-)     

Saturday, July 14, 2012

It's Hard Being Lazy!!!

This year's PJ Party T-shirt selection!!
Tonight, I'll have a big wedding to talk about, but this morning, for once in a very long time I'm looking at a whole day filled with nothing but FUN!!  All manuscripts and proposals are in, AAs and line edits are done.  The house is fairly clean.  Of course, there's still Mt. Laundry to summit, but it'll wait.

So here I sit, contemplating one of the greatest gifts of all--time--and realizing it's actually a little daunting figuring out what to do.  When I'm in deadline peril, I can always think of a gazillion things I'd rather be doing.  Reading someone else's book, crafting, sewing, gardening, watching a movie, playing a video game (Fallout's my current fave!), lunching with family and friends.

While all of that does sound fun, as busy as the past few weeks have been, what sounds best of all is just, plain sitting!!  LOL!!

In other news . . .  The annual Romance Writer's of America (RWA) conference is fast approaching and as usual, I have NOTHING to wear.  I was supposed to have lost 200 lbs by now, but only managed 30.  Bleh.  Better than nothing, but left me in size limbo.

The one item I have found is the above T-shirt for me and my roomies, FAB authors Margaret Daley and Winnie Griggs, to wear to the eHarlequin.com PJ party.  I'm not sure how the tradition even started, but at least ten years ago, Margaret and I decided it might be fun to match.  We used to get actual PJs, but they've gotten REALLY hard to find.  When Winnie started rooming with us, we were gracious enough to include her in our tradition--a very high honor!!  LOL!!

Since I'm getting my nails done for the wedding, maybe I'll do more conference shopping, too?  Or should I take a nap?  Decisions, decisions . . .

What are you doing with your precious Saturday?

Sunday, July 08, 2012

My Magic Fork . . .

My magic fork . . .
 Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE my collections.  For me, antique shops, thrift stores, yard sales and even beaches all hold the thrill of the hunt.  I'm always on the lookout for exquisite, long-forgotten needlework, crystal balls, oil paintings and silver.  Oh--and Limoges figurine boxes.  But the day I find a piece of Limoges at a yard sale or thrift store, you'll hear me shrieking all the way from wherever you happen to be!!  LOL!!

I'm in between contracts and using the down time to play--which means FINALLY repainting my office and cleaning closets and sorting the treasures I've spent all year accumulating.  In one of those bottomless flotsam boxes that seem to be junk breeding grounds, I came across the best bag.  On the outside, it wasn't much.  Just your ordinary white plastic grocery sack.  But inside, I found treasure!!

Sand-filled cups from our visit to Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke, BVI.  (www.soggydollar.com)
Shells, bits of coral and sponge, sea glass and dried anemones.  Best of all, a heavily tarnished, barnacle-crusted fork.  I LOVE silver--but not just any silver.  It has to be antique--preferably from either romantic bygone-era passenger trains, historic hotels or just, plain real old.  See?  I'm not all that picky!!

How I forgot having that fork, I'll never know, but dropping all other projects, I immediately grabbed my silver cream and went to work.  After an hour scrubbing, I unearthed gorgeous, engraved filigree on the handle. 

Heart racing, I scrubbed and scrubbed, but saltwater had taken a toll.  Remembering an old trick my dad taught me, I drowned the poor thing in ketchup, then went on with my day.   

While driving to Lowe's for unromantic caulk, I daydreamed.  What if my fork turned out to be not just silver, but legit silver--like from shipwreck silver?!  What if it was royal silver and I looked it up online and found not only the pattern, but a reward for its safe return being offered by The British Museum??!!

Sigh . . .  Can you tell I write romantic fiction for a living?  LOL!!

By the time Hannah and I got home from running errands, the ketchup on my fork had turned black--a good sign in silver polishing world.  I scrubbed and scrubbed, beyond excited to find the silver mark.  Just how old would it be?  A hundred years?  Four hundred years?  I scrubbed faster!!
I saw something written on the back, but with my stupid over-forty wacky vision, my glasses had to go.  Tossing my glasses, I held the fork an inch from my eyes . . .

 . . . And then, my heart sank to see in very modern lettering, "Crusader Silver Plate".  Ugh.  So much for me being flown to England to be personally thanked by the Queen.

By this point, most sane people would've thrown the stupid thing away, but not me.  What do I do?  Make a fancy undersea arrangement with my fork at the center.  Why?  Because even though my fork may have been ordinary to the rest of the world, to me, it represented a little bit of magic.  How cool was it, that even for an afternoon, that barnacle-crusted fork held the power to transport me from brown, HOT Oklahoma to the heavenly British Virgin Islands?  And beyond that, Windsor Castle?

I love my fork.  I love my shells and coral.  I love my quirky life and not-quite-normal collections, and the fact that when I dream, I dream BIG!! 

What've you dreamed lately? 
     
     

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's Raining Men--Again!!!!

Haven't had a blog-worthy day like this in a while!!  LOL!!

Daughter's headed off on a romantic weekend, and I'm stuck home weeding, or cleaning baseboards or closets.  In preparation for her trip, we got the oil changed and found free donuts in the dealer waiting room!!  Doesn't get much better than that, right?!

Just wait--our next stop was Hancock fabrics.  In my office I have an ancient piece of furniture leftover from our EARLY days of marriage I fondly call my "grundunza"  It's a truly hideous old-school office credenza I picked up at a used furniture store for like ten bucks.  The fun thing about this piece is that once it's covered in fabric, it's not only cute, but I can hide LOTS of boxes of books under it. 

Since we're in the midst of summer-sprucing, I figured it's time to recover the grundunza.  Hannah and I must have circled Hancocks ten times when we finally stumbled across this truly awesome fabric!!

Architectural Digest wouldn't like it, but I think it's tacky FUN!!
Can you imagine this being perfect in any room other than a romance writer's office??!!  It's not exactly the elegant sophistication I had in mind when we set out, but hey, me and elegant have never really been synonymous . . . :-)

Okay, so even though I know it's hideous in a wonderful way, I bought $50 bucks worth of hunky guy fabric, then, as if angels were applauding my decision, they sent me this:

Seriously?  Is it even fair for a guy to be this HOT??!!

Like the good writer girl I am--stop laughing--I actually wrote quite a bit this morning, and as luck would have it, my new SEAL had a shirtless scene.  Now, lest you think me a full-on creeper, any guy running around like this is just asking to be used in a romance novel.  Lucky for me, I got dibs on him first!!   
 


   

Friday, June 08, 2012

Seether, Bush, Nickleback & BOK Lady

In March we bought tickets to see Seether/Bush/Nickleback in concert and last night it was finally time for the big show!!  After fours hours of singing and dancing, then another hour getting out of the parking garage, I'm one tired puppy--but in a good way!!  Here's a timeline for how the night went down:

5:00--Hubby shouts from video game lair, "You ever check the time on the tickets?"  I assume it's seven or eight like most concerts, so tell him to chill.  He actually gets up to check and crazy ensues!!!!!  Concert starts at six!!!!!

5:04--Looking beyond crappy with nap-hair, no make-up and wearing my faded Tool T-shirt, I hover at the door while miffed daughter throws camera at me.  She wanted to go REAL bad.  We offered to buy her and a friend cheap seats, but I think she was hoping at the last minute either me or her dad would get freakishly sick or suffer an alien abduction, thereby landing a ticket in her hot little hands!!!  LOL!!!  (As if mere aliens could keep me away from Gavin Rossdale??!!)

5:05--We enter the hellish world otherwise known as Tulsa traffic.  During hockey season, we routinely make it to the BOK center in ten minutes--fifteen max.  On this night, we encountered everything from mini-van drivers going thirty mph under the speed limit to construction to too many red lights to count.

5:34--Patted down for weapons and was mortified when told by security lady to, " . . . move all that junk so I can see to the bottom," of my purse.  Relieved "junk" distracted her from finding the AK-47 in the zipped side pocket. 

5:40--Hubby and I fight over whether to get T-shirts, Billy's onion rings or find our seats.

5:41--I win!!  T-shirt line . . .

5:52--Hubby wins--food line . . .

5:59--Charging through crowds at BOK to find our seats!!  Music has already started!!!  OMG, if I miss Bush so Hubby could have onion rings, the night's going to get UGLY!!!

6:03--Reach seats, only to get snapped at by BOK Lady who should be fired--more on her later . . .

6:04--Hubby forgiven when band playing is someone we've never heard of.  I take this opportunity to steal a smooch and half of Hubby's onion rings!!!

6:30-ish:  Seether takes the stage.  Hubby and I were both excited to see them, but sadly, the performance wasn't all that hot.  A blinding light pointing out at the audience pretty much stopped us from ever seeing the band, and the base was so loud my chest ached.  On two side screens flashed bizarro black and white pics of clowns with their mouths sewn shut and offensive dead babies.  I scream in Hubby's ear that they should've used those screens to show close-ups of Shaun.  Because of my love for this band, I assumed lead singer, Shaun Morgan Welgemoe, must've overdone it on the world famous Billy's onion rings, and was under a bit of gastric distress that rendered him temporarily incapable of putting on a good show.  Seether, I still love you, but next time you hit Tulsa, you owe me a better show!!

6:45-ish:  Remember the snippy BOK lady I mentioned earlier?  After barking at me to take my cup off the rail, a crew of four drunk guys stumble into the seats next to us.  Not only are they allowed to rest their eight beers on the rail--no joke, they had two beers each--but there's lot of hugging and flirting with BOK lady.  One of the guys asks her for a wrist band to get on the floor, she gets all blushy and tells him she couldn't possibly give him one.  Ha!!!  More on this later . . .

7:00-ish:  Finally got my first real-live look at Gavin Rossdale and pretty sure my heart stopped.  My second book--it's so old I don't even remember the title--was written with his pic over my keyboard.  Every stroke was lovingly dedicated to him.  I'd loved him for a looooong time even before that.  When "Everything Zen" came out, the twins were two, and they're now college juniors!!!

The screens flanking the stage were finally put to good use when Gavin's beautiful face and trademark man-curls were flashed big and gorgeous just for me.  By the time they played "Everything Zen", pretty sure I cried.  The song doesn't even make sense, but it strikes a chord in me that makes me want to dance and be naughty--with Gavin!!!!  LOL!!!!  Oh--and did I mention how sexy his arms were while wielding his guitar??!! 

Sadly, BOK Lady's drunk friends wander in and out of the seats next to us during Bush's entire performance.  Before this, we got the impression they didn't even have tickets for these seats, but she was doing them a favor by letting them sit there.  They sloshed beer, hugged me--not in a fun way--stepped on my toes, spilled my diet Dr. Pepper, and in general pissed me off.  This was a seriously special moment for me and between them and the five-thousand folks streaming by, I was unable to fully enjoy the show in the way God intended.

video
"Glycerine"

Midway through Bush's performance, the crowd went NUTS when Gavin leaps off the stage and starts running through the crowd.  We were on the first row of the seated section, so when he ran around the floor, it looked like he was coming straight for us.  He was within ten feet of ME when he veered up into the stands and never came back our way.  Color me still pouting . . .

8:30-ish:  During intermission, really nice lady sits next to me and says, "Do you know if those drunk guys even have tickets to sit on this row?"  I tell her we guessed they do not.  She goes on to say they spilled beer all over her and the floor, and that if we wouldn't mind, they'd like to sit beside us for Nickleback.  BOK Man comes over, and she repeats story to him.  And how BOK Lady seems to be all buddy-buddy with these guys, letting them do pretty much whatever they want, while the rest of our row has to behave.  Much whispering amongst the BOK People ensues.  BOK Lady GLARES in our direction, but then gets flirty with a leather-garbed lady rocker.           

8:35-ish:  Nickleback takes the stage and all I can say is, DAMN, can these boys put on a show!!!!!!  I was initially shocked by Chad Kroeger's short hair, but once he started singing, I forgave him.

Nickleback's stage set was AWESOME!!  Chad's in the center.


Chad with his short hair.  I still love you!!!
Chad with his short hair and eyes open!!  LOL!!  
The pyro show blew my mind!!!

video 
"Figure You Out"

Fireworks and lasers accompanied plenty of great tunes and playing with the crowd.  I got my close-up shots when the band climbed into a mini-stage in the arena's center.  At one point, Chad stopped a song to ask a guy if he was actually talking on his cell.  He takes the guy's phone and proceeds to have a conversation with whoever was on the line.  At another point in the show, the band lobbed red Solo cups filled with beer into the crowd.  Once I got past thinking how relieved I was to not have beer in my hair, I had time to note that flying beer + lasers and smoke is/are actually quite pretty!!  LOL!!!

Wonderful, wonderful show!!!!!

Only as we were leaving, guess who we saw stumbling off the floor, proudly wearing neon green floor pass wrist bands??!!  ALL FOUR OBNOXIOUS DRUNK GUYS.  Next concert, I'm flirting with BOK Lady!!!!  

After the show, the haze from the fireworks was so thick, you could hardly see across the arena.

 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fried Mushrooms and an Accidental Movie!

 Hannah, Granny Sylv and Hubby!

Happy Mother's Day!!

I know it was yesterday, but I had so much fun, I'm still thinking about it today!  We have a long-standing tradition of going to the Muskogee Renaissance Faire, but with Little Terry stuck working, we didn't feel right going without him.  We'd planned on lunching at the restaurant where he works, but it was too crowded to get a table!  Great job security for him, but that meant no Little Terry for me.  Flanked by my other two sweeties, Hannah and Russell--Hubby, too--we accidentally hit an early showing of Johnny Depp's Dark Shadows.  We thought we were seeing The Avengers in Imax, but just as we got to the front of the loooong line for tickets, the Imax guy announced it wasn't showing.  I LOVE Imax, so we stayed and ended up loving it!!  Funny and a little spooky and even had a dash of romance!!

From there, we decided Hideaway Pizza wasn't a traditional Mother's Day hotspot and we were right.  No waiting for a table!  After feasting on fried mushrooms dipped in ranch and delicious sausage and mushroom pizza, we headed to see Hubby's nearly 92 year-old grandmother, Granny Sylv.  She has Alzheimer's, but oddly enough, far from her condition being sad, she's super spry and has mentally reverted back to when she was in her twenties.  She's always been a flirt and now has a new "husband" she introduced us to.  When I asked when she got married, she winked and said, "Oh, he's just the live-in kind.  I like those best."  Hannah and I took that to mean she might be temporarily "living with" Tom, but is keeping her options open in case someone hotter comes along??!!   

From there, I needed a nap before starting the second part of our day.  Earlier in the week, my sweet, gorgeous, funny flight attendant friend, Nancy, and her hubby, Randy, invited us for dinner and a glamorous night out at our performing arts center to see Fiddler on the Roof.  It was SO GOOD!!  Although, it'd been years since I'd seen it--with my friend Robert in the cast--and had forgotten the ending isn't exactly joyous, but kinda deeply thought provoking.  Nancy has been in it two times and softly sang along--she missed her calling!!  Hope Delta appreciates having a Broadway star on their flights!!    

Maybe it's the writer in me, but whenever I'm at a live performance, my mind wanders to the cast.  What are their stories?  How long have they been on the road?  Where are they staying?  Who's fooling around with who?  People watching at the theater is the BEST!!  So many real life characters paraded out for me to see!!

By now, you're probably wondering where this is going, and as I'm still pooped and have a tough day of revisions in front of me, probably nowhere profound.  Just an observation about my Mother's Day gifts.  Best was spending time with my awesome family and friends.  And I always love homemade cards and store bought cards with heartfelt messages and gorgeous flowers.  But as someone who spends her life dreaming up stories that hopefully entertain, sitting back, relaxing and being entertained is a great luxury.  From start to finish, my Mother's Day was perfection!!  What did you do?              

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Critters, Babies and Mid-Year Resolutions!!

 Hubby and I at Easter dinner . . . 
In Los Cabos, because Little Terry was working as the waiter!!

What a week!!!  Let's see, in the past seven days we've done taxes, had a super sick kiddo (thank goodness she's now on the mend), discovered a new critter gnawing his or her way into our house, had a prom to find a suit for, celebrated Easter at a Mexican restaurant, got Daisy trimmed for warmer weather, discovered our two-year-old stove is breaking and four-month-old fridge is on the fritz, said some pretty major hellos and goodbyes, toss in a sprinkling of family drama, and in case that wasn't enough, today, on what was supposed to be me and Hubby's fun afternoon casino date, we both left the Osage as big sad losers.

In the midst of all of that, I managed to squeeze in some writing, but not nearly as much as I'd've liked.  Part of being a writer is tackling lots of questions--where do I get my ideas?  How long does it take to write one of "those" books?  Are you rich?  And the one I struggle with the most--how do you summon creativity and romance on demand?

Each New Year's Eve, when I'm trotting out my tried, true and often failed resolutions, along with losing bunches of weight, I always vow that this will be the year I don't let outside issues interfere with my writing time.  Why am I bringing this up now instead of back in January?  Because it's only April and here I am, already sweating the little and not-so-little things that take up valuable space in my mind!!

Meanwhile, poor Tristan needs me to help him come to grips with his ex's remarriage and cross-country move with his son.  Then there's Brynn--feeling thirteen months pregnant while single-handedly raising a sullen six-year-old and dealing with the fallout of her murdered superstar baseball-playing hubby having hidden secrets more devastating than she feels capable to bear.  Their problems make mine seem silly, so why can't I put their issues front and center?  Why does yet another squirrel or raccoon dining our house take center stage in my head when Brynn's baby is due any second??!!  See?  I must learn to set priorities, people!!

Okay, so I'm taking a deep breath and vowing that next week my fictional characters are going to feel far more real than the usual chaos ruling our home.  If an appliance breaks, I'm not going to let it get a rise out of me.  If anyone has drama, they'll need to make an appointment!!  As for all those pounds I'm supposed to be losing, I'm already down twenty . . . should I go for twenty-five? :-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

V-Day Fairy vs. Fixing the Hot Water Heater


Hubby's sweet gift came early with this hot pink Oilers 
jersey from one of my fave players, Jeff Terminesi!!!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Funny, how over the years the day's meaning and/or events have changed.  When I was a kid, Mom and I couldn't wait for Dad to get home.  He'd always have one or two tin-foil-wrapped gifts for each of us.  For me, sometimes as simple as a teen magazine I'd been wanting and a big candy bar.  In my teens, I usually got a special piece of jewelry--my favorite, a tiny mouse set atop a gold ring.  He even has ruby eyes!  Mom and I were just talking with Dad about how much we looked forward to seeing him, guessing at what surprises he might bring.

As a teen, of course the big day was all about romance!!!  The year I received a bouquet from my boyfriend, one from my parents and another from my ex-boyfriend's mother who I'm pretty sure still wishes we were back together, was a super exciting year!!

In college, the day became less about what I got and more about what I could give.  Back then, the University of Arkansas choir sold singing telegrams for five bucks!  God bless Whitney Houston, as her songs were the best for wooing and landed my hubby!!  Music holds the power to transform all of us into time-travelers and for me, her voice and lyrics transport me to those special college times.

Fast forward a few years and the twins were introduced to the Valentine Fairy!!  I was always Little Terry's Valentine and hubby was Hannah's.  The Valentine Fairy always added a little extra sparkle--a Barbie or Pokemon cards.

Now, Hubby and I are pretty content lounging in our PJs in front of the fire and romantic gifts usually consist of fixing something broken around the house!!  LOL!!

This year, however, Hannah will be doing her Ice Girl thing at tonight's Oilers game, so we'll romance over a shared order of Billy's onion rings at the BOK Center!!  Wish the hot pink jersey we won at auction Saturday night would be ready to wear, but alas, it's still being fumigated!!  (Hockey players might look good, but wow, do they work up a sweaty funk!!  LOL!!)

What phase of Valentine's Day are you all in?  Whichever it is, hope you're surrounded by LOVE!!!