Monthly Archives: July 2006

So Much To Tell You… So Little Energy

I have pics. I really do! I justhave zero energy to put them in right now. We came home to 100 degree plus temps and the AC won’t keep up, so I am mostly justtrying to stay cool.

Some higlights of the past week, to be shared in photos soon:

Wall Drug (whoo hoo, as if that is exciting, but I think there’s a law somewhere that says if you live in the state more than 10 consecutive years, you must visit Wall Drug)

Mount Rushmore (way cool, actually, even if it is a tourist cliche)

Crazy Horse (could have lived without the kid getting sick there from the heat)

Oh, and then there was this cool little old restaurant in Keystone.

Cheyenne Frontier Days (of which we did extremely little since I’m a native and find the whole think a PITA… but the Thunderbirds’ flight pattern is right over my folks’ backyard and since my brother the Lt. Colonel did them some sort of a favor… well, the kids loved it)

Denver Zoo (way hot but way worth it… sorry I missed you, Kira!)

Oh, and then there was that cool little restauraunt in Dever that I have loved since I was a kid… and Casa Bonita, which involved just way too many bratty kids. But hey, it’s been on Unwrapped!
I lived through Denver traffic at rush hour on Colfax. Maybe only Kira will undetrstand that one. And while we’re on the subject, what was with the RTD bus that almost took the right side of my car off? Colfax is way too narrow to be three lanes!

But we’re home, we’re hot, and today we have two fillings and a cleaning at the dentist’s office. I have my first cavity after nearly 35 years, can you imagine?

None of this making sense? It will, on the next episode of…

Wait. This isn’t SOAP. Let’s just say stay tuned, because I will explain it all.

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Gonna Party Like It’s 1899

Off on vacation, folks. Will be back in a week, though I might get to stop by here and there to give you scoop on the Black Hills, Denver, and my folk’s place. Stay tuned!

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No Blog Today

Nope. Fresh out of ideas, so I decided not to “blog” today. So why am I here? I like beating my head against brick walls.

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away (known as Syracuse) a buddy of mine and a buddy of hers invented something called the Choppy Thought. Several of us picked up on it and, well, frankly, plagiarized it, so today’s collection of crap is brought to you by Lani and the Choppy Thought.

Kid’s Got Game

Let me clarify right up front that I am not anti-sport. However, I am pro-intellectual, so when one of my kids turned out to be sporty, I said I’d go along with it as long as he devoted ample time to intellectual pursuits. I am SUCH a snob.

I needn’t have worried. Son #3 is not only a smart little cookie with an amazing memory, but it’s turned out he’s darned good at sports. Tee BallIn particular, baseball. He’s been doing T-ball for some time now, but hasn’t needed the tee. In fact, he’s hitting off pitches pretty routinely. Yesterday, though, he really showed his prowess.

He was playing first base, which usually makes me cringe since it is such an important spot. Lo and behold, the kid caught a pop fly and made an out. next play, the ball was hit to the pitcher, who grabbed it off the ground and threw it to first. Son #3 caught it, touched first base, and was whipping it off to second for a double play before anyone else realized what was happening. The crowd went a little crazy, which pleased the boy very much. Me, too, but I was sitting back quietly giving son #2 a geography quiz (because he wanted me to… talk about an intellectual) behaving like I had no idea who the kid at first was.

Come play number three, he ran out to get the ball as it rolled past the catcher, and then tagged the runner. Did I mention this kid is 6? I wouldn’t have thought of these things at 6. Hell, I wouldn’t think of these things now!

This is when he gave me away, running over to me before he went to the bench for the lineup. “Did you see that catch, Mom?” he asked. I assured him I had, gave him a high five and sent him on his way to bat.
“Wow! He’s your son?” a lady asked. I tried not to interpret that as, “How could an enormous cow such as yourself give birth to such an athletic child?” I just nodded and told her yes, he was my youngest, and he was playing very well.

“Well?” she said incredulously. “That kid’s got game!”

I’ll try to hold off for a few years before I call the Yankees. See’s, he’s also ambidextrous.

Title Trouble

As some of you who know me may recall, I am terrible with titles. I thank the oh-so-lovely (and tall!) and talented Miss Alesia Holliday for helping me come up with MURDER IN F MINOR as my latest title. It had been THE FLAUTIST’S FINALE. Talk about a terrible title!

But today, I was letting my mind wander during swimming and T-ball practice, and it wandered onto book number 2 of my Symphony Series. Not that I’ve finished book number 1 yet, but you know…

In MURDER IN F MINOR, I introduce Isabelle Ashford, a violinist with a small symphony orchestra. When she finds the flute soloist (flautist, for those of you who did not grow up going to violin lessons twice a week) murdered, she weasels her way in with Detective Rex Isely and plays Miss Marple to help solve the crime.

In the second book, I’m thinking a huge benefactor of the symphony is going to be killed at a fund-raising gala for the symphony. Isabelle will, of course, help investigate and may even find the poor, unfortunate man. Who knows? I haven’t gotten that far. But I do need a title. So far, all I have for ideas are A GRIZZLY GALA, which may bring to mind bears, or A LITTLE NIGHT MURDER, which is a play of words on A Little Night Music, which no one but music geeks like me would get.

Any ideas? Click the contact me link and lemme know.

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A Double Life

My husband is living a double life. Well, more like a second life, I guess would be more accurate. No, there’s no other wife or kiddos on the side. He’s not an agent for the CIA… as far as I know… and he’s not having a second childhood. He’s just living his second life.

Confused yet?

I met my husband when I was straight out of college at my first teaching job. First and last, as it turned out, but that’s another tale. He had a few more years experience on him– like 20. He was the mysterious older man, who could teach me a thing or two about…

Okay, even I can’t lie like that with a straight face. And I’m a fiction writer.

He was the only other single teacher in town, so in order to socialize, he and I kinda paired up. Who knew? Up to that time, he was firmly entrenched in bachelorhood and, while he wouldn’t have minded marrying, just never found the right girl who could coax him from his bowling, pool and beer at least three nights a week. Or the right girl who wouldn’t care that there was bowling, pool and beer at least three nights a week.  He was a bit of a party animal, you see, but was in his early 40s and was thinking that slowing down might not be the worst idea.

I was in my early 20s and looking to get into trouble. I’d led a repressed childhood (sorry, Mom, but I had) and had just discovered the joys of — look away now, Mom — S-E-X. He was a single guy. I was a single girl. Neither one of us were looking to get entangled, so it was a match made in heaven, right?

Except we both got stuck. He propsed to me less than a month after our first date, and I said yes, though I will swear until my dying day that it was because I was sick as a dog, feverish with pneumonia at the time. Which is true. God knows if I’d had my faculties about me, I would have never agreed to marry a man I’d known for less that six weeks!

But we did it. My party animal soon-to-be-hubby stopped partying. He apologized to me one night as we sat watching a video, sure I wanted to be out dancing until 3 AM. I was never a dance until 3 AM kinda girl, though, so the fact that he wanted to slow down and stay in was fine with me.

Our first child was born a week before our first anniversary, and ever since, my husband has been fully entrenched in being a dad. He quit teaching, as did I, because there was too little money in it for the nightmarish headaches it offered. He works in manufacturing, now, and is a very proud papa of 3. Not that one would have guessed it looking at him at 40, but he hardly ever drinks, and when he does it’s a beer or two instead of a six pack at a time.

But does he have some stories!

I honestly don’t think I would have liked my husband had I met him when he was younger. Oh, he would have been fun to get into trouble with, which was what I was looking for at the time I met him. But a life long commitment? No way, Jose.

So when his old teaching buddies called him a week ago out of the blue — a week before his 55th birthday — I got to see a glimpse of that party animal kid he used to be. Which is fine. I don’t mind glimpses. But I’m glad I’m with the grown up; the stable, calm guy I know. It turns out I was never one to get into trouble with anyone, anyway.

So today my husband turns 55, although the rat looks younger than I do. What’s up with that?  A lady from my mother’s church told me once it must be nice to have an older man to take charge and lead me through life, to which Ron and I both laughed. We both know who wears the pants and is the tyrant in this relationship. and we both know who let’s me do it without complaining. People who know about our age difference sometimes give me odd looks, but then they get to know us.  I think it takes a little more stable, settled man to put up with me, to be honest. And I didn’t have to reign in a child other than the ones I gave birth to, which suits me fine. Well, I don’t have to reign in the husband as a rule, but he is a guy.

But I’m glad he had that first life. The life without the complications of a wife and children, the life of staying out too late and drinking too much. And I’m glad I get to glimpse that once in a while. Because I think he appreciates more what he has in his family because of it. And, to be honest, I wouldn’t appreciate him nearly as much, either.

Happy birthday, honey.

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Questions That Make The FBI, CIA and William Peterson Tap Your Phone – Part Deux

Writing a mystery has so far been a blast. I’ll admit it. I’m loving it. Whether or not it’s actually good remains to be seen, but I am still in the first draft so I’m in the embrace your crap” phase of it. Polishing comes later.

The trick in my first draft, however, is how to kill people. This is something I rarely think of, having generally lived my life with the Judeo-Christian ethic that Thou Shall Not Kill. But that doesn’t extend to literature, right? In literature, I can go on a freaking Texas chainsaw massacre and that’s okay. (Insert evil laughter here.)

Don’t panic. I’m not actually killing that many people off in my book. One or two only. But the question is not how many but is instead how.

I was walking from the parking lot into my office one day in April or May, shortly after I started the book. These lovely ladies were walking past, smiling and chatting as they took their morning constitutional. As they passed, they smiled and waved at me, wishing me good morning as they passed. This isn’t unusual on campus, and this is a small-ish town, so people tend to smile and wave a lot, even at people they don’t know.

I wonder, though, if they would have smiled and waved if they knew what was going on in my head at that moment:

What does a person look like after they’ve been strangled? Would his eyes be bulging out of his head? And his throat was cut. Would the blood be oozing if he were recently murdered, or would he have exsanguinated quickly enough that it would be pooling? I bet it would pool, and I could make it slightly sticky so that Isabelle would be extra grossed out! How much pressure would it take for the garrote to cut the throat? Bet that would be a nasty wound. 

If they had known that was what I was thinking, I bet they wouldn’t have smiled and waved, but turned tail and run.

I had a friend staying with me for a couple of days this week and she asked me how I come up with my ideas. I didn’t really know how to answer. I mean these things just come to me. Then I have to work out the details, of course, but the grain of the idea just pops into my head. But as I stood at the top of my ladder (yes, I made it up there!) the other day, I heard what could only be described as a blood-curdling scream from the apartment building next door. There are a lot of odd noises that come from that place. Hearing this was not necessarily upsetting. However, it did get me thinking.

What if someone were murdered next door? And they knew I heard it. They could kidnap me. What would happen if Isabelle were locked in the same room with the murderer and another victim? How would she keep herself alive?

And thus I had the ending for my book. Kind of. Again, no details yet, but the grain of an idea. So this either means I truly have the brain of a fiction writer, or I’m certifiable. Or both. Hey, whatever.

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Apparently, I’m a Snapdragon

I am a
Snapdragon

What Flower
Are You?

Maybe that’s why I have so many out on my back patio.

Thanks to Barb for the link.

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What I Did On My Summer Vacation

So I’ve had a week off from the Evil Day Job, since it’s summer and all the kiddos are out of school. I admit, the first few days I took off. Well, as off as my kids will allow. But then, I decided to start the summer project.

House 2 Yes, I’m painting the house. These pics were taken after stripping the first four boards, but before I sanded and did the upper boards. I’ll post the after pics when I get brave enough to go out there and actually paint. See, in order to do that, I have to get on the ladder again.

I have a terrible fear of heights. Always have. Which is part of my whole fear of flying problem that will become more of a problem as I approach New Jersey in the fall. But the fear is great enough that it affects me when I climb ladders to get to the top boards on my one-story little ranch house. I am such a wuss.

That being said, when we first painted this house ten years ago (yes, a decade… I’m a lazy wuss) I wasn’t even able to get up to that fourth or fifth rung of the ladder necessary to get to the top board of the siding. Now I can do that without too much stress. There’s some stress, trust me. I’ve pictured myself falling face first off that ladder more than once. But this afternoon, in a fit of bravery, I not only climbed to that fifth rung on the ladder, but actually turned myself around on it so I was facing away from the ladder to get a particularly difficult chunk of siding. I am freaking Superman, baby.

Remind me one day to tell you the tell of how I jumped off the roof. Seriously.

House

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