Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stretchy Pants

For ninety nine percent of my life, I behave. Honest. I eat what I supposed to eat. I don't snack. I don't eat candy. I don't eat chips...

And then, there's that one percent. You know that one percent. It's the stuff that you only get to eat on special occasions. Stuff like warm chocolate pecan pie with vanilla ice cream. Or warm peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Or Chocolate Thunder from Down Under (pecan brownie, vanilla ice cream, and hot fudge) from Outback. Now that's a guilty pleasure.

Of course, sweets aren't the only guilty pleasures. There's pinto beans with cornbread, (lots of butter) and fresh spring onions. Or my mom's scalloped potatoes. Or my cousin's homemade pierogi. Yum. And of course that special pecan-sweet potato pie we have at Thanksgiving.

But for me? My downfall is homemade honey-oatmeal bread, fresh from the oven with butter and honey. The aroma is floating all through the apartment and the bread melts in your mouth. Pretty soon you notice that half the loaf is gone... Oooops! I guess you can figure out why I only make it once in a while--mostly for holidays.

Otherwise, I would need my stretchy pants every day!

anny

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

On the Grammar Road...

Have you ever started something with good intentions and ended up way off the beaten path? Well this blog is just that way. I was going to write a nice little blog about my ups and downs with grammar so I went looking for an appropriate picture to go with it. Then I found this one. And after I spent fifteen minutes reading the comments the misspelled word engendered... well. I couldn't go on. For an informative and amusing discussion on Yoda's syntax click here.

As for my own struggles with grammar, I think they must not be bad. Except for my editor who spends a lot of time trying to explain my mistakes to me. Alas, I have a hard head. Or maybe it's because an old dog really is difficult to teach new tricks.

anny

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Job Longevity

Back when I was a very young woman, most men searched for a job with lifetime potential. Such potential was more important in the beginging than wage or shift or even benefits because if you were with the company long enough, those other things would come in time. The house hunk will soon have thirty nine years with his company. There are quite a few of his co-workers who have a similar number of years with the company.

Many of the men and women who have been laid off in recent weeks are in somewhat the same situation. Young people are a bit more accustomed to the idea of changing employers and having job interviews, but imagine the adjustments an individual must make when their last job interview was thirty-five years ago.

In the new economy, companies not only will seek to hire new employees for a much smaller wage. They'll inevitably be seeking a younger healthier candidate. And without some type of bridging program, we will face a nation of fifty-plus workers with no place to go and no retirement or social security to bridge the gap. In effect, we face a new group of poverty bound seniors.

Young workers are resentful with the older workers because they don't retire, but in the current economy, they cannot afford to retire. Many, many have suffered significant losses to their retirement funds because of recent economic issues. So where exactly are they supposed to go?

I don't know. But it isn't any wonder that most hope and pray that they can hang onto their jobs just a little longer. Just a little longer.

anny

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oldies by Goodies

I spent the weekend reading. Not new books, as my book money allowance for this month has run dry. No, I read oldies. Actually, about ninety percent of what I read is books that I've already read not just once, but several times.

I really like books that can be read multiple times. Several blogs I've read recently have discussed such keepers, but almost all of them have referred to one or two books. I, on the other hand, have about two thousand keepers in print, with maybe another thousand in digital format.

And when you have a library that size, you always have something to read. Depending on my mood, I can read Regency or historial romance, sci-fi, fantasy, action adventure, westerns, spy thrillers, or mysteries, both old and new. Then there are the classics and non-fiction books.

I confess when I buy a new book for a series, I read the entire series beginning with the first book... every time. So when a series has say, twenty books, then I'll anticipate the newest entry by starting the month before on the older ones. It's amazing how many details you forget over time.

A lot of my friends and acquaintances say that they just don't have time to read and that's something I really don't understand. How can you not have time to read? Of course, I might have to multi-task to fit in a book or two and this has in the past occasionally been the reason for a scorched dinner or two. But I can't imagine life without the capacity to read.

This last weekend was a reading marathon. I read fourteen books and enjoyed every one. How about you? Any other voracious readers out there?

anny

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Parenting

If you're a parent, you've probably been in this position at least once in your life. If you have more than one child, then it's likely happened several times. The little one screams all night with sore gums, finally falls asleep... and you don't dare move because you don't want to wake 'im up.

There are a lot of in the middle of the night crises where the baby drops off to sleep and you hold your breath just in case. At the time, they seem never-ending. Then suddenly, your child is past that point and you're looking back with just a tinge of regret because those times are gone.

Parenting is an odd occupation. It's a series of "oh my gosh, will this ever be over" events combined with "I wish I could keep things just like they are today." On the one hand you enjoy the precious moments. On the other, you strain not to kill the kid when they do something incredibly stupid.

Such is life when your a parent. It doesn't change when they get older. You just aren't responsible for their triumphs--or their tragedies.

Someone once asked me if I would do it all over again... Yeah. Hopefully better. But yeah.

anny

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Socks

Yesterday was my mom's eightieth birthday. I suppose you're wondering what her birthday has to do with socks. And really it has nothing to do with her actual birthday, but it does have to do a lot with her.

Many young women clash with their mothers when they leave the parental home and start their own. My mom and I made a pact when I married. Each of us would be a guest when we visited the other. It was a way that we could have a mini-vacation. Her life as a pastor's wife was extremely busy and stressful. My life as a mother of three preschoolers was equally busy and stressful.

The problem with the pact was that Mom really didn't know how to relax. She needed to be doing. After some further discussion, we agreed that whenever she was visiting, she could do the laundry.

Now you know how I feel about the laundry. It's second only to grocery shopping on my list of least favorite chores. So I was thrilled that she chose the laundry from the list of possibles. Over the years it was a wonderful boon to me.

As our family added another child to the group and I worked outside of the home, the laundry inevitably piled up. Whenever my parents would arrive for a visit, there was always a mountain of clothes waiting. And she would dive in, almost before her coat was hung up. That washer and dryer ran non-stop from the time she crawled out of bed in the morning until she crawled back in at night.

But you need to know about the socks. Over the years, socks disappeared, as socks do. The boys especially would start out with fifteen or twenty pairs of socks that rapidly dwindled down to six. So when Mom came to visit, one of the benefits was the restoration of the sock pile. She hunted for the socks.

Every once in a while, we would hear an "Ah-hah! I found another sock!" as she unearthed it from the floor of the closet or under the bed. When she left for home, she always left behind a couple laundry baskets full of clean, matched socks.

So it got to be a joke in our family. The kids would call her up and say, "Grandma, it's time for you to come visit. We don't have any socks!"

A couple weeks ago, I went to visit my granddaughters. In the way of kids, their room was a mess. Most of it was laundry. As I stood in the doorway, shaking my head, their Mama told them all about her Grandma and the sock basket. My granddaughter called me a couple days after I came home. "Grandma, you need to come back. We can't find the socks!"

anny

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dust bunnies and other stuff...

Recently the house hunk's hours at work have been cut down to 32/four days a week. He and his work partner made a deal where they have alternating four day weekends. Now any woman who has spent very much time with her significant other underfoot can pretty much figure out what comes next.

The hunk and I have had discussions about my need to work--even if he's home for four days in a row! Day before yesterday he took a notion to clean the bedroom. Now I suppose I should make it clear that the bedroom is his room. His office, his closets, his workshop, etc. All that I do in that room is sleep...and the "usual". My clothing, computers, belongings are all in other rooms. So I really don't have much input about that actual room.

Anyway, he decided to do a deep cleaning and rearranging. It took him most of the day. It was fine. He was entertained and I actually, almost had a chance to write--except for one thing. He had to show me every little pea-pickin' thing he came across that belonged to me.

Chapstick. Dirty sock. Single slipper. Bag of cough drops. You get the idea.

A prudent man would collect everything in one place and then drop them off on my desk. But as we know, few men are prudent. They work in a more linear fashion. So each item necessitated that he interrupt my work to deal with the very important item.

The second problem with his cleaning program was that he piled everything on the bed so he could vacuum. As I mentioned earlier in the week, my life comes to a screeching halt every day because my brain takes a break. Normally I deal with this disconcerting problem by taking a nap. I take a nap on the bed. That very same bed that was piled high with clothes hampers and other junk.

When I don't get my nap, I tend to get cranky from fighting to stay awake and reasonably coherent. By six o'clock, I was exceedingly cranky. You may imagine my reaction when he announced that he was done with the bedroom and would like to discuss which room he would begin on next.

Fortunately, he went back to work yesterday. Otherwise I might have had to bury him in the back yard. That would have been tough. It was raining all day and there was about three inches of water in our backyard "lake". Most inconvenient.

As a precaution, I drew up a "honey-do" list for the next time he's home. I figure if he's short-listed for another month that the house will be spotless.

anny

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Body parts...

I confess that much like the kitty, I find most kissing scenes in the movies embarrassing. I'm not quite sure why. But I admit that I share the feelings with the young boy in The Princess Bride... "Oh, no, not kissing!"

I suspect that it has to do partly with the female vs. male outlook. Most men would rather have a visual scene to look at while females tend to enjoy a written scene more. I could read about kissing all day long--or even more sensual stuff, but pictures or movies don't do a thing for me.

I was talking with a friend one day about nudity in films. Both of us admitted that mostly it just makes us want to giggle and I'm nearly positive that isn't generally the intention of the film maker or photographer.

In young people, the allure of the forbidden might provide some of the impetus for any titillation they receive from the visual, but I'm a woman heading into my sixth decade and quite frankly, it's a body, it's a body, it's a body. Male or female, we pretty much have the same parts as all the others that share our gender. And with limited variations in size and color, those parts are all alike.

For whatever reason I received an e-mail extolling the virtues of labioplasty. I admit I couldn't quite wrap my brain around any reason for having such a surgery, but as with most things, I wanted to make an informed judgement so I researched it. And... nope. My parts work just fine so I have to give this particular procedure a pass. What struck me while clicking through the before and after pictures was the overall sameness. To put it in cliché terms, once you seen one, you've seen them all.

So why the fascination? I have to revert back to the idea of the forbidden. At one time the glimpse of a feminine ankle was enough to send a young man into shock. In some cultures today, such a glimpse might be enough to result in the woman's death. Where the line is drawn in each culture determines the effect on the opposite sex.

In our culture, we've pretty much reached the limit. There's very little left to reveal short of total nudity. Perhaps there will be a huge backlash similar to that in the Victorian days when sexuality is totally repressed to the point of denial. And even the word is forbidden.

What would the movies, television, and books look like then?

anny

Monday, April 20, 2009

Nap attacks

Each day around four o'clock, I have a nap attack. I generally crash for a couple hours and then life begins again. My doctor says it's my biological rhythms that are in force. All I know is that when it's nap time I can't keep my eyes open for anything.

When I was young--very young, of course--naps were an accepted part of the day. And then as I grew older, naps were rare events that only took place when my body was over tired from such things as traveling or working.

Then when I was pregnant, the afternoon nap became part of the ritual again. I used to nap with my kids on the living room floor. We would start out "resting" while we watched a Chicago Cubs game. Soon we'd all fade out for a while, waking later in time to watch the last couple innings. I kind of miss those days with my little kids asleep all around me.

Now I have the luxury of time to nap. When I get too tired for the old brain to function, I wander into the bedroom and crash. Sometimes when I have a plotting problem to work out or some other similar puzzle to deal with, I'll wake up from my nap with the answer as clear as crystal.

It seems a shame that our culture has become too hurry-scurry to take time for the nap. Maybe in the midst of our current economic revolution people will find the benefits of the occasional nap attack.

anny

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Female of the species

I wonder where the idea came from that we are the weaker sex? Is it because we are smaller and therefore easier to injure? Is it all about the physical aspects? Or is the belief wrapped up in our emotions?

I wonder if men believe we are the weaker sex because we foster that idea? Would they just as contentedly go off to work everyday if they knew we were not the weaker sex? Or does that have something to do with the fact that we are generally the caregivers in the family?

What about emotions? Are we the weaker sex because we cry more readily? Because we're more likely to wear our heart on our sleeve? Because we're more apt to show tenderness and more willing to comfort?

Have a nice weekend... anny

Friday, April 17, 2009

Passing on knowledge

Most of us have had the experience of explaining something in detail only to have the "explainee" award us a blank look and a huh? I used to teach adult education classes in another life. Actually, I taught the beginner-beginner computer course. We called it Computer Boot Camp and the course included things like using a mouse and turning the computer on and off.

I'll never forget the woman who arrived the first night of my class, buttonholed me right inside the door and announced, "I may have to take this class to keep my job, but nobody can make me touch little furry animals!" I might add that when she received her certificate at the end of the class, she and her mouse were best friends.

Explanations and teaching are close kin. Both require the ability to break down knowledge in its smallest component parts and then share that knowledge in such a way that the receiving party can reassemble the parts into a harmonious whole. The only way for the teacher/sharer to do that is to have the ability to remember the time "before."

Yes, I know you wonder what I'm babbling about. So... something simple. How to change a diaper. After the first million or so, you can do it in your sleep with both eyes closed and one hand tied behind your back. But if you're going to pass on that knowledge, you have to remember back to the first time you changed a diaper. Remember how nervous you were? How you were sure the kid was gonna break?

That's what you have to do to effectivly pass on that knowledge. Make no assumptions about what your target might know. Simply start at the beginning.

Writing is much the same way. In every book I write, I find a place where I forgot that my reader doesn't live in my head. Then I have to go back and clear that up. Recently, I had Final Line Edits on a new release. My editor pointed out a fairly lengthy passage and said, "They're actions make no sense. Explain."

In trying to justify what I'd written, I realized that the editor (and reader) had no idea what was happening because I'd failed to start at the beginning. Instead of beginning my instructions with place the baby on a firm surface... I was racing ahead to wipe the baby's bottom. And my hapless student was left with a diaperless baby.

Planning a book is much like building a lesson plan... step one, step two, step three. To avoid confusion, start at the very beginning.

anny

Thursday, April 16, 2009

That kind of day...


We all have them. The kind of day where it seems no matter how hard we try nothing quite seems to work out.

It rained all day... the gloomy, gray misty kind of rain that says "all day" when you get up and keeps its promise.

Didn't quite accomplish what I hoped yesterday, but today is a new day and the sun is shining. And today won't be "that kind of day".

anny

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Perceptions



Ah, look at the wonderful trailer my fellow author, Fran Lee, did for my book, Love Never-Ending! I was just blown away. Fran, thank you so much!

What I find very interesting is how the trailer changes the perception about the book. All along, I've been promoting the romance of the book. She chose to point out the mystery. Between music and words, she totally changed how the reader will look at the book and showed me something about my book that I missed.

Last night I was working on Final Line Edits for my next release, Rescuing Clarice. Once I sent them off to my very patient editor, I tootled around on the web while I waited for her to check the changes. I came across a devastating review for Magnolia. The woman positively hated it. And then I looked at the comments more closely and it was clear that it wasn't only the book itself but the entire genre she objected to. Why read a book in a genre you hate? I have a hard time understanding that. Life is too short to read a book you don't enjoy.

PS: Fran Lee has invited me to guest blog today at the Examiner. Please stop by and check it out.

anny

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Susan Boyle--Dreaming the Dream

Yesterday, I worked my way through the blogs I usually read, never expecting the blessing I found on Amarinda Jones blog. She posted a link and very brief note. Curious, I clicked on the link and found myself confronting and considering the dreams all of us hold in our hearts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY

If you haven't watched this short video, I urge you to do so... from the very first word, to the last frame.

There is a lesson in the video, other than the obvious ones. Ms. Boyle is everywoman. We sit in our homes dreaming dreams, never expecting to make them come true. We put them off for many foolish reasons. We're too young. We're too old. We're too fat. We might look silly. We're afraid.

I admire her so much because she leaped out there and seized her dream. Too often, we fail to seize the dream. I almost passed my own dream by. And then at fifty-seven years old, my dream came true.

But it takes great courage to seize that dream in a public forum. It takes immeasurable fortitude to step out on a stage and listen to people laugh at you. Yet with incredible graciousness, Susan Boyle stepped out, opened her mouth and sang her heart out. It's my earnest prayer that all her dreams come true.

anny

Monday, April 13, 2009

Smiles...



Well, Easter is over and it's back to the rat race. Kids are going back to school. Spring will inevitably arrive. Flowers will bloom. Allergy season will choke us nearly to death.

So today I thought I would post fun stuff and good news.

This video is guaranteed to make you smile. Keep a close eye on the expressions of the spectators. They're wonderful.
http://video.yahoo.com/network/100000089?v=4816051&l=100022574

Last Thursday a tornado struck a small town in Arkansas. My son lives there. In a mobile home--which as most of you know is particularly vulnerable to tornadoes. I didn't hear from him for a more than twenty four hours. The power was out and that meant there were no phones. But he finally called to say that he was okay.

He talked about standing in the yard watching the sky as the tornado approached. It traveled around the area where he lives, destroying much of the town on either side of him. But the small area where he lives was untouched. He said there was incredible destruction in the town. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost lives, loved ones and property. But I'm so thankful for my son's safety.

Early Easter morning the phone rang. It was the grandkids yelling "Happy Easter, Nanna!" Um, yeah. Of course! Who would mind waking after four hours of sleep to that? Not me.

There's quite a brouhaha over Amazon's decision to play censor for their clientele. If you would like to know what it's all about, click on the link. http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/

In a related story, after reading the post, I went to check out my name at Amazon. After perusing nearly the entire page, I scrolled down to the bottom to check for new reviews. Near that section, there's a place that says "readers that bought Dancer's Delight also bought..." and there's also a "buy this book and this book for $XX.XX..." Well, I almost fell off my chair when I saw that my book was paired with a Jayne Castle aka Jayne Ann Krentz book. Then I looked down at the stellar choices recommended below that. Wow.

Does that mean that more of my books will sell? I have no idea. But it did give me a smile. And that's what this post is all about, right?

anny

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter


Have a blessed Easter and a good weekend. Travel safely. Enjoy visiting with friends and family.

anny

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Soulmates...

Do you ever wonder if there are true soulmates? And if there are, how do they know they're soulmates? What are the requirements? How do they meet them?

I've recently read several romances with soulmates/heartmates and wondered what the difference is between them and any other couple in love. What makes their relationship so special?

What do you think? Are they out there?

anny

Friday, April 10, 2009

Killer Smile

Yesterday I went to the dentist. I am dental phobic. An extreme case, I admit. Partially, that's because most of the "caine" derivitives are ineffective. The two or three that work take a long time and many shots to deaden the area the dentist is planning to work on. And then just about the time the dentist really gets to going, the shot wears off.

Since my mouth is probably the most sensitive place on my body, this is not good. Yesterday the dentist began with the first of several deep scaling treatments, sans anesthesia. After an endless period of torture, she hopped up, announced that she hoped I had a nice holiday, and reminded me to make another appointment.

Sigh.

When we left the dentist, we went to the Barnes and Noble where I received my "big girl" reward for being good. I acquired several beautiful replacement copies for my worn and tattered Georgette Heyer collection. And I found a calligraphy text for my calligraphy collection.

And then we went to eat dinner before my mouth really started hurting. That usually occurs about three hours after I leave the dentist when all the highly insulted tissue swells up and gets really pissed off.

Ate dinner and headed home. As I was driving along, flicking my tongue around all the sore spots... I discovered that I was missing part of a front tooth. It's a mostly false tooth that was repaired about a million years ago so I wasn't particularly shocked. But I have a sneaking suspicion that I swallowed it with the potatoes.

The other thing is--this is a holiday weekend so I suspect that the dentist office hours are going to be very limited.

And?

And I don't want anyone touching my mouth for any reason until next week. I'm not planning to go anywhere. I'm not planning to see anyone. And quite frankly, I really don't care if someone sees my tooth or not. My comfort is more important than any dubious beauty I might or might not have.

So for the moment, I pretty much look like the tiger. And that's okay.

If you're home for the holiday, have a blessed one. If not, travel carefully.

anny

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Nanna in a Cape

When I was a very young woman, I was under the impression that parents were only responsible for their children until they reached adulthood (otherwise known as eighteen). In my world, parents didn't pay for college. If you wanted to go to college, you got a job in highschool and saved your money. And then you worked your way through school.

As it turned out, my kids weren't interested in college. They could barely wait to graduate from high school. And that was fine with me. I was involved in attending college myself. As I barely had the money to pay for my own classes, their lack of interest was okay with me. One went into the Navy. Another went to work in a warehouse where he's been employed for twenty years. Another one has managed at various McDonalds for nearly twenty years. And the last one manages a billing department in a doctor's office.

For all of that, they all struggle in today's economy. And there is still that niggling feeling as a parent that I should help out. I have an idea that feeling never goes away.

Oh, we've done our share of outright support, but not for quite a few years now. I'm not at all interested in going back to that. But I also know that there are material things they do without because money is short. And as a parent and grandparent I have to stand down. The way I deal with it is simple. I remember where I was in my life when I was their age. And then I remind myself that I would have found it humiliating if my parents were constantly giving me stuff. That's an indication that the parent doesn't believe in their kid. So yeah, I stand back.

Much the same thing happens when the grandkids get into things that they shouldn't. It's hard to stand back and let my daughters struggle with parenting issues. Even as I know that they are the responsible parties, there's a yearning to "help" ease things. But I take a deep breath and shut my mouth. We all have our responsibilities to bear. I've done mine.

But you know? The heart doesn't quite understand that they're not my babies anymore. Nope. When I'm in my eighties and they're in their sixties, they'll still be my kids. I'll still worry about them. I'll still wish I could make things easier. Though I suspect by then, they just might be supporting me...

anny

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Grump

Some days it's better to hibernate, right? Be back tomorrow.

anny

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This and That

Well, my royalty check came yesterday and I spent a couple hours having a pity party. Oh, I know there are some people who believe I'm always cheerful and never disappointed, but they're wrong. So I spent a while muttering things about never writing again and stuff like that. And then I pulled up my socks and really studied the statement.

The new book didn't sell well, for whatever reason... the economy, or it wasn't one of the popular genres or whatever. It's nearly impossible to figure out what will sell or not sell so I just have to let that go. On the up side, the older books sold quite well--actually better than they've sold in months. So, what's up with that? Tough to know what to do. It was particularly puzzling as the reviews have all been fives (five hearts, five roses...) so it's nice to know that the reviewers really like the book!

After my little hissy fit, I checked the news on the internet and discovered there are more important things going on in the world than my pitiful royalty statement. Sadly, in Italy there was a terrible earthquake with many dead and injured and thousands homeless. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to that?

On a different note, this link http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/null/136610 explains a scary privacy issue in the UK. At least I find it darned scary. According to the article all e-mails--even by private citizens--will be monitored and filed. The article does a much better job explaining it than I can, certainly. Shades of Big Brother watching you!

Winter has returned to the Midwest and East coast. It's supposed to be in the low thirties in Baltimore tonight. Brrrrrr. So think springy thoughts!

Until tomorrow.

anny


Monday, April 6, 2009

Dead tired...

Hah. We're home. As always, after traveling, I'm dead tired. Why does traveling make us so tired?

Of course, there are the usual suspects... unfamiliar bed, food, and schedule. Unusual activities. Staying up late. But I am often more tired when I drive that last day home, than the entire time I spent on the road.

We travel the same route each time we go, so we're very familiar with the sites and sounds. We know which exit to take for the Perkins restaurant, which exits have Wal-Mart Supercenters, where the MacDonalds is located that has picnic tables outside, and which exits have "clean" gas station restrooms.

I noticed today that an old building was gone at one exit. At another stop, a new construction project was finished. It's interesting how much we observe just traveling the same route over and over. We've even met the same service people multiple times--enough that some ask us how the grandkids are and how the weather was in Baltimore when we left.

How about you? What stage of traveling do you find the most tiring? Have you made "travel friends" in your treks around your neck of the woods?

anny

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Kiddie Crafts

Well, we're on the road again... on our way home. Lots of fun but dead tired. The kids made the Easter crafts we brought for them. They did an excellent job and then drew pictures for my friend, Jane.

We watched movies. We had our girls day out. And finally we had a quiet evening with my son, daughter, and the girls.

Today, we're heading home in sunshine! Yay! So tomorrow I'll be back on track. Today, I hope you all have a great day!

anny

Saturday, April 4, 2009

On traveling...

Today we're off to have a girl's day out. My daughter and the mini-chicks will hit the closest manicure salon for pedicures for Nanna and Momma and manicures for the mini-chicks.

As forecast, we drove all day yesterday in the rain. Monsoon rain. As in total-lack-of-visibility rain. I have a few suggestions for those who drive in monsoonal rain.

One: If you insist on driving twenty to thirty miles per hour slower than everyone else, please stay in the right lane. That way you'll lower your chances of being rear-ended in the rain by fifty percent.

Two: Don't take your life in your hands by zipping from lane to lane. I can't see you even when you stay in one lane, let alone two.

Three: TURN ON YOUR LIGHTS! I'm not worried about whether you can see. But your brake lights just might make the difference in whether I rear-end you in the rain. Or your headlights in my mirror could prevent me from pulling out in front of you and getting us both killed.

Four: If you're afraid of driving in the rain, or the visibility is that poor, GET OFF THE ROAD. The time you spend having a cup of coffee or just relaxing may save your life.

We arrived safely and had a nice evening with the family. May you all have a wonderful weekend.

anny

Friday, April 3, 2009

Road again...

Yep, we're on the road again today. I believe the weather forecast is rain. My friend says that when I travel it's guaranteed to rain. Maybe I should go to southern Australia. I hear they're having a drought down there.

Anyway, we're going to spend the weekend with the grandkids. It should be interesting. We haven't seen them since Christmas. Hopefully the trip will be peaceful with minimum of traffic. Drivers are so crazy--especially when it's a weekend. Where are they all going? And why are they in such a hurry to get there? I sure don't know.

The hunk did his one day of jury duty. The clerks finally told everyone to go home--after they sat there for several hours. So he's done for this time around. I was quite selfishly hoping that he wouldn't have jury duty today as our trip would be delayed.

So we have a full tank of fuel. The oil's been changed. The car is packed and we're ready to roll. Y'all have a wonderful weekend!

anny

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Getting to the roots...

Like a lot of women my age, I color my hair--hair that is silver on top and multi-hued over the rest of my head. Choosing a color is difficult. I used to be fire-engine red, but as you age, those brilliant colors start to look harsh.

So now I color it a soft blonde called amber. It actually is pretty flattering--if anything can be at my age. That's one of my projects for today. Color my hair. Pack my bags. Make sure a bunch of stuff is ready to mail. And race through the apartment with a vacuum cleaner.

What is this all in the aid of, you ask? Well, I'm off to see my grandchildren this weekend. Originally we were going to visit them over Easter weekend, but I have a dental appointment on Thursday before Easter. I don't do well with the dentist. And knowing that my mouth will be sore and throbbing like a rusted muffler, well... I decided that it would be best to stay home.

I like to be miserable in private.

So we'll go off to see them for the weekend and no doubt find all sorts of interesting things to keep us entertained. But first, I have personal maintenance things to do and hair coloring is one of those things.

It's amazing how far you can splash hair coloring when you do it yourself. No matter how careful I am, I end up dripping it on that shelf that sticks out from my chest, and down my neck. The house hunk has jury duty today, but if he just happens to come home early, I'll bribe him into helping out.

For one thing, he does a much better job than I do. And for another, I always think of really good bribes. In forty years of marriage, I've found that bribes work very well when I need to motivate him to do something.

Besides, if he colors my hair, it won't take nearly as long. I don't know why it works that way, but that's the truth. Now, if I could teach him how to pluck my eyebrows...

anny

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

On being blue...

Believe it or not, that was one of the things I had to consider when I embarked on my Mystic Valley series. What color does a woman turn if she blushes? What color does he turn if he's angry?

When a character is a different color, every emotion is exhibited in a completely different range of shades from what we are familiar with. Body parts that are normally darker--such as nipples--cannot be described as pink or cinnamon or strawberry because that just doesn't compute when the rest of the character's skin is some shade of blue.

As the author, I had to get creative. Blushing was more of a lavender shade. If someone went "white" in shock, it was icy blue. And, ahem, body parts were various shades from light blue to midnight depending on the skin shade on the rest of the body.

I once read a book with green people. I noticed that the author had a similar problem. So that's always a consideration when I think about characters that have other than normal human skin tones.

I also discovered (well after my series was established) that there really are blue people. Apparently a mineral deficiency of some type makes the skin blue. There's a reasonably large family in the Appalachian mountains that carries the gene. So, there really is nothing new under the sun.

anny