Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Oh, for the good old days

Remember when folks used to rake their leaves? Now it seems like a quaint, outdated practice. Today everyone owns leaf blowers. We even broke down and bought one last year. I have to say, it makes removing leaves from our river rock edging so much easier.

Today’s a gorgeous day in Colorado, and it’s one of my writing days. The sun is peeking between puffy clouds and it’s 73 degrees with a breeze just strong enough to make the leaves dance. If only the chaise lounge wasn’t in the basement, I’d be on the patio right now. That, and if only my neighbors would rake their leaves.

The electronic buzz of the blowers is bending my brain. Is it too much to ask for a little quiet on my writing days? And how politically correct is it to use a blower? After all, Gary blows some of his leaves to our property, we blow them to Ron’s, Ron blows them to Jack, and heaven help the person at the end of the street.

My husband was out over the weekend blowing our leaves. I noticed there were still plenty left on the front lawn. “What could I do?” said my dear husband, “Terry was outside next door and . . .”

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mama told me they’re be days like this, AKA doggie update and more.

Today is one of my writing days, but life always seems to interfere. This morning we noticed a “spot” on our garage ceiling. Yeah, I figured I would deal with that, but first things first. I had an appointment for a recheck at the vet for Belle (torn ACL).

Seems she’s improving but s-l-o-w-l-y. Ideally, surgery would solve the problem, but Belle’s an old girl—14 ½ years old. We decided on a schedule of doggie physical therapy. As if I need another task in my day. But whatever, she’s our canine family member.

Then I had to deal with that water spot on the garage ceiling. Right under the shower. The plumber has come and gone. He’s convinced it’s a tile problem. He says you should seal or replace tile every five years. That’s news to me. We’ve been in our house 13 years and have never done that. Live and learn. But in our defense, previously the longest we ever lived in one house was three years.

Interesting thing. The plumber is a new writer. He just joined a new writing group that meets at a church in town. We ended up talking about writing for about 30 minutes. One would think that would have cancelled out some of his fee, but no.

What can you do? Some days are just like that.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pass the Sunscreen

My home in Colorado had its first snowstorm of the season. What started out as rain turned to snow and accumulated on the roads and grassy areas. For a while the driving was a bit treacherous.

At least that’s what I was told. I was fortunate. I missed this first storm because I spent the weekend in Arizona. Um, hum. Sunny, hot Arizona.

I tagged along on a business trip with my husband. I was promised that I would have time to write. (Word count, word count, word count!) Anyway, it didn’t work out that way. Sure, I probably could have excused myself and spent time writing, but then I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of visiting with folks, listening to exciting ideas and making new friends.

You could consider it wasted time in regards to productivity. But sometimes that’s just what a writer needs. Time to meet and greet, time to listen to different points of view and time to listen in on conversations that are mostly outside my realm of experience.

I often wish my friends a good, productive weekend. Aside from word count (let’s not go there), that’s what I enjoyed.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Like -- you know

Taylor Mali is so clever. He discusses uptalking and other annoying speech habits. Check out the video in the post below.

The first time I heard someone excessively uptalk, I thought, "What is wrong with this girl?"

Thanks to Kristin Billerbeck for bringing this to my attention.



Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Are there coincidences in the kingdom of heaven?

I think not.

I had a very cool God thing happen this week. It involves my daughter’s best friend, I’ll call her M.

We’ve known M. for over eight years. She was on the same cheerleading team (competitive cheers—not for wimps) as my daughter. Throughout M.’s high school years she frequently spent weeks at a time living with us. She’s even had the pleasure of going on two family vacations with us. When she would stay with us, we would drag her to church, drive her to youth group, include her in our prayers every night.

Praise God! She’s surrendered her life to our Savior and is enthusiastically getting in the Word.

I haven't spoken to her much in the past few years, but this afternoon she called to tell me a story. She said she has a little Bible that she's been using for Bible study and wished she had a bigger one like all the other girls have. (Isn't that sooo 22-year-old thinking?). Anyway she was visiting her Mom to look for something she had stored at her house and came across a big, beautiful Bible. She asked if she could take it home, and her mom said yes. Later that night she was reading through the little Bible and had a question. Then she remembered the larger Bible she brought home.

She said she was stunned when she went and opened the bigger Bible. Inside was an inscription: "May, 2002. God bless you, M. Love, the DiMarias." It made her cry. It makes me cry, too. She said the inscription was in my handwriting. I have NO recollection of purchasing or giving her that Bible.

M. says she can trace the insignificant chain of events that led her to go home to search for something in her parent's house, and she believes it was all a God thing to lead her to that Bible. How cool is that! Praise God!

He knew she would be looking for a neat Bible in 2007, and He had me purchase it for her five years ago.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Little Belle Update

Thank you for the encouraging words and prayers for our little girl. Doesn’t she look like the Princess and the Pea? She loves her pillows and blankets. If someone leaves a throw blanket on the couch, she claims the spot immediately. She’s resting comfortably—most of the time. At night when the family’s home, she’d rather be sitting with us or wandering underfoot while dinner’s being cooked.

The doctor hopes if we force her to stay off the knee with the torn ACL, it will heal without surgery. Belle’s not terribly happy with the situation, but then she’s an active dog who enjoys roaming the house and yard at will.

Don’t think we’re being cruel keeping her confined. She loves her cage and has slept in it since puppyhood. She even puts herself in her cage when she’s overwhelmed or wants some alone time.

Here’s a video of healthy Belle doing one of her tricks. I shot this two years ago when I first got my camera—hence the stupid conversation going throughout the video. (It’s only about 15 seconds long).

Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm an advocate--who knew?

So I took a quick personality test online. Seems I’m an ENFP: The “Advocate.” Look at my chart, I'm not an introvert. Big surprise--not!

ENFPs are introspective, values-oriented, inspiring, social and extremely expressive. They actively send their thoughts and ideas out into the world as a way to bring attention to what they feel to be important, which often has to do with ethics and current events. ENFPs are natural advocates, attracting people to themselves and their cause with excellent people skills, warmth, energy and positivity. ENFPs are described as creative, resourceful, assertive, spontaneous, life-loving, charismatic, passionate and experimental.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Take the test, it only takes a few minutes. Find out what you are.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Read This!

One of the books I purchased last month at the ACFW conference in Dallas is Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee.

As her book’s website says, “Peer into the spiritual realm.” Wow. What a book. Tosca Lee’s debut novel is a doozie.

Pictured is me giving a book report at Words For The Journey last Tuesday. The one picture has my eyes shut, but I decided to include it since I’ve got that Vanna White thing going on. The other is an image of me showing the author's autograph. Tosca is a delight. She signed it Bizarro Megan because I told her that her syle felt similar to mine. Except she writes about demons, and I have fairies in my books.

Also from the website:
One night changes everything.

Recently divorced and mired in a meaningless existence, Clay drifts from his drab apartment to his equally lusterless job as an editor for a small Boston press—until the night Lucian finds him and everything changes with the simple words: “I’m going to tell you my story . . . and you’re going to write it down and publish it.”

What begins as a mystery soon spiral into chaotic obsession as Clay struggles to piece together Lucian’s dark tale of love, ambition, and grace . . . only to discover that the demon’s story has become his own.

And then only one thing matters: learning how the story ends.

Thanks, Tosca. I really enjoyed reading your book.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Oh, goodness . . .

She’s done it again.

My darling little Belle, our 14-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, has done it again—ingested a “foreign object.” She had to spend the night at the vet and wasn’t discharged until late this afternoon. Good news—she’s on the mend, bad news, it wasn’t cheap. The cost was nearly $600. Let me put that in perspective, that’s about ½ week’s worth accommodations at a luxury resort on the Yucatan Peninsula or airfare and the fee for a writer’s conference.

The veterinary technician piled up the supplies, medication, and special dog food on the check-out counter and asked if I wanted her to explain what needs to be done. “After all,” she said, “You should know the drill by now.” Then she laughed. Yeah, it’s an absolute riot to have a dog with an appetite for foreign objects, pound bags of foil-wrapped candy, ¾ pound of (EXPENSIVE) Brie cheese, toothpaste, bars of soap, and prescription medication intended for humans.

Belle’s forearm was shaved to accommodate her meds and IV treatment. To top it off, she was so excited when she got home that she sprinted around the house like an idiot. Not a great thing for a canine senior citizen to do. She must have slid on the tile floor because for the past three hours she’s been walking on three legs. When my husband came home from work I asked him if we should bring her to the vet tomorrow. He just gave me the look.

One interesting thing resulted from this fiasco. I mentioned to the receptionist that Belle and her inappropriate-ingestion problems have been immortalized in my upcoming book. (Yes, marketing is almost always on my mind). Now Belle’s a celebrity at our veterinary clinic, and by association, so am I. I passed out a half a dozen bookmarks and promised to do a book signing the next time Belle was in for treatment after she guzzles down the next foreign object.

**Friday, October 10th, Belle Update:
The poor thing is still gimpy, so back to the vet we go. Sigh

11:00 a.m.: I've returned from the vet, alone. Belle stayed for X-rays. It looks like she might have torn her ACL. Oh, dear. This may be the end for our little canine family member. The vet will call later today.

1:45 Belle update: I just got a call back from the vet. Yes, she’s torn her ACL, which is unusual for her breed. Just a fluke, I guess. I’ll bring her home later this afternoon. We’ve got to restrict her activities for a few months. I can’t tell you what a challenge that will be. She’s a busy little thing. She’ll have to be crated or sitting with someone to keep her still. No jumping, playing, stairs, etc. We have to put throw rugs on the tile which is ½ of our first floor so she can walk without slipping. We even have to put her on a leash to go outside to do her biz because she might want to take off after a bunny or a bird. We have to baby her like this because if she injures her good leg then she’ll be a dog who can’t walk, and that would be disastrous. The doctor wants to see her in a week. If she’s still as lame as she is now, then that will be bad too.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Take Good Care of Yourself . . .

I do!

Sometimes my friends tease me about how kindly I treat myself, although they will also admit that I treat my friends and loved ones just as kindly.

I think it’s all about the little things. Like my vintage cotton tablecloths. I’m never without one in my car. You know, if you stop at an outdoor cafĂ© or coffee shop to enjoy a bite to eat, you don’t want your break ruined by a dirty table. It’s simply delightful to enjoy your repast on a lovely tablecloth. It just feels good. You’re more relaxed and it's more comfortable to rest your arm on a cotton tablecloth rather than a public (ugh!) table.

Pictured is the concrete picnic table outside the office building where I work. There’s something so civilized and luxurious about dining outside with a lovely tablecloth. My friends and co-workers enjoy sitting with me and not having to eat their meals off of a dingy, dirty table. (Of course, depending on how many will join me, I have a larger cloth as well. That one has pretty yellow flowers).

To get back to my lunch—pictured is my lunchbox, Pyrex lunch bowl, a book (of course!), my linen napkin (on the book), and my water bottle. Yes, I’m one of the most well-hydrated women on the planet. In the background is a street, but beyond that is an unobstructed view of God’s Rocky Mountains.

Such little effort goes into making my lunch break a peaceful, restful moment to enjoy my world. Why wouldn’t I do this?

If you want to see a better view of the Rockies, click on the image and it will enlarge.

I know I mentioned in the previous post that summer’s over and the patio furniture is stowed away for the season, but, hey—this is Colorado, and we enjoy unseasonably warm days throughout the autumn and winter. It’s just vastly inconvenient (for my husband) to trot out our patio furniture for those days. But I can still enjoy the golden days of autumn.

How about you? What little luxury do you allow yourself?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Good-Bye Summer

Boo hoo. Summer’s gone. This weekend we put the fountain in the basement and shrouded the patio furniture.

No more sitting in the shade sipping iced tea. No more lunch alfresco. No more hours in the chaise with my laptop and wip. No more morning coffee enjoying the sound of birdsong.

So I’m back indoors. Closed windows, recycled air, the soundtrack of football (Broncos) and hockey (Avalanche). Sigh.

All’s not lost. At least I can look forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, my anniversary, my birthday, Easter, Mother’s Day and then, before you know it, it will be Memorial Day and the beginning of summer. Sigh (of contentment).

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Let the Planning Begin!

My dream of being a published author is coming true!

On March 26th I found out that Tyndale House Publishing was offering me a two-book contract for women’s fiction. My first book, Searching for Spice, will be released in April 2008, and the second book will hit the shelves in October 2008.

Well, since I’ve been waiting practically f-o-r-e-v-e-r for this dream to become reality, we’ve decided to go all out and CELEBRATE in a big way. Today I went to downtown Denver to check out the venue for my book launch party, The Daniels & Fisher Tower! I can’t wait.

Can you see the clock on the top of the tower? The party will be held on the floor above that, and there's an outside observation deck that surrounds the building. The views are to die for.

I’m planning for it to be a gathering of book lovers. In addition to family and friends, I’m inviting local authors, editors, agents, bookstore PR folks, and radio, television and newspaper media. I’m thrilled that my editor from Tyndale, Jan Stob, will try to come as well as my smashing literary agent, Beth Jusino. Goodness, I even introduced myself to the Poet Laureate of Denver and invited him. Since this is my first book launch party, I’m open to suggestions on making it a smashing success. Please leave any ideas in the comment section.

The D&F Tower is a well-known, historic building that sits on the 16th Street Mall in Denver. It is a replication of the famous Campanile in St. Mark’s square in Venice, and was built in 1911, becoming the tallest building west of the Mississippi. The tower originally anchored both sides of a department store that has since been demolished.

And, PS: Yes, the sky really is bluer when you're a mile high.