Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Intensive

funny cat pictures - For Narnia!!
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The above LOLcat has a reason for attacking—Narnia. Yoda and Beauty, not so much. But that doesn't stop them from jumping on each other and the older cats. I think their reason is—Because I can.

I'm at my RWA chapter's Spring Intensive. I'm staying at the hotel, rooming with my good friend Terri Reed. Last night was the kick-off. After dinner at Joe's Crab Shack, we bumped into some chapter mates so went to one of their rooms to catch-up. I haven't made it to a chapter meeting since I rejoined in 2010, and this is only the second chapter sponsored event I've managed to make, too! It was nice to see people I knew, but most everyone is new-to-me.

We headed over to the conference center to listen to an Editor/Agent panel. It was interesting to hear their take on things. Jenna Bayley-Burke (she, Terri and I went on a weekend writing retreat in the Fall) moderated the panel. She is so funny and very entertaining and more than once posed a challenging question to the group.

Who was there?

Amy Boggs – Donald Maass Literary Agency

Natalie Lakosil – Laura Bradford Literary Agency

Lauren Ruth – BookEnds, LLC

Holly Blanck – St. Martins Press

Heather Howland and Liz Pelletier – Entangled Publishing

Emily Ohanjanians – HQN/Harlequin

Today there are lots of different talks scheduled. I'm looking forward to hearing Larry Brooks' Advanced Writing Workshop!

Hope you have a nice day!

Friday, March 30, 2012


funny cat pictures - Wut kitteh finks uv Hunger Games.
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I'm LOLing at the LOLcat above. This could be one of my cats, okay all of them! Especially last night.

It was the big departure night for my 14 year old daughter's trip east. Earlier in the day, I'd rushed home from my monthly volunteer shift at school to work on my hero. I am still struggling to give him a personality transplant. I'm getting closer, but it's still not there. (Not just according to me, but my editor, too.) I fed the cats lunch a few minutes early so they would stop bothering my writing time. They did!

When the kids arrived home, our normal schedule was completely off. Swim practice had been canceled. Soccer practice, too. We needed to finish the packing and other stuff. I'd also finished Catching Fire (2nd book in Hunger Games trilogy) and got the third one, Mockinjay, from my daughter. The cats seemed to sense something was off because they kept meowing and standing in their feeding spots. But it wasn't time for dinner.

At least not for them. I took the kids to Mackenna's fave restaurant, Gustav's, for dinner. Hubby's been out of town all week and I thought this would be a treat for her even though we were just there for her birthday last week. When we arrived home, the cats acted as if they were starving to death even though this was their normal feeding time. Mackenna did her last chore for the next 8 days when she fed them.

Two hours later we were off to the airport. We saw her through security. (I didn't cry so yay me for not embarrassing her!) Then headed home. This second arrival home completely threw the animals off schedule. As the kids went to bed, I picked up Mockinjay to start reading it.

But the cats were just like the LOLcat above. They wanted to be fed. They didn't seem to care when I reminded them they'd already eaten three times that day.


They wanted food. NOW!

I tried reading. They wouldn't leave me own. They were hungry. Starving. No doubt they would be Capitol kitties, not from any of the districts. I wanted to read so I did something I normally don't do. I gave in and fed them a little snack.

The good thing is I had an hour of uninterrupted reading time until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer and this morning only the dog was wanting me to wake up to feed her. I will have to remember this for the future, even when I'm not reading a Hunger Games book!

Yep! I fixed

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tired Thursday!

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My furbabies definitely felt neglected yesterday. I had two sessions at church to do, an appointment, driving the kids around, etc. That's why Wednesdays are so crazy. I have little to no time at home and even less time to write or for myself. I was so tried when I picked up the kids from swimming I decided Burgerville sounded really good for dinner so I made a quick detour through the drive-thru on the way home.

I'd had so much stuff to do last night: going over some writing kids did at school so I could turn the pages back tomorrow, working on revisions for my proposal, class work for the on-line course I'm taking, reading.

I got two of the four done: the kids' pages and some reading. Then I crashed and crashed hard. I really needed the sleep. I think I need some more actually.

Today is the big day! My 14 year old leaves for her eastern seaboard trip. She's almost ready. I'm getting more nervous by the day.

Not much else to report. I slept in late this morning and it's my turn to drive the kids to class. Better get ready. Hope you have a nice day!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Not Enough

funny cat pictures - Are you out of your cotton-pickin mind?
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This LOLcat cracked me up this morning. You see by the time my alarm clock went off I was surrounded by dog and cats all wanting one thing—breakfast. The meows kept increasing in intensity. The dog got downright bothersome. It was only 6:30 am. You'd think I slept in until noon!

Anyway, I fed everyone. I was downstairs when I heard meowing on the staircase. Spirit. On my way upstairs, she kept meowing and wanted me to follow her into the bathroom (this is where she eats). She stood in front of her licked-clean stainless silver bowl, looked at it and then at me. Her signal she wanted seconds! I'm telling you these cats are spoiled rotten!

But I shouldn't be surprised by Spirit wanting more. Everyone's bowl was licked clean this morning. The reason is I fed them Rad Cat. It's a raw cat food produced in Oregon. They LOVE it, but it's very expensive (wish they sold a bigger size than 24 oz for multi-cat families like mine) so I usually mix it with canned food. But I try to give them an occasional meal of just the raw stuff and they go crazy when I do, even wanting seconds!

On the writing news, I heard back from my editor. My hero needs a personality transplant. I went too far with him so back to the drawing board. I slept on her notes, not literally though near deadline time I have been known to sleep with the manuscript under my pillow, and woke up with some ideas. Now to expand on them!

Hope you have a nice Wednesday. Mine is crazier than ever between homeschooling, kidlet activities and teaching at church later. But it's almost April which means only a couple more months of crazy Wednesday left!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Next up on the TBR pile...

funny cat pictures - Ai noes ai cant reed but gibs meh cwedit for habbing da buk rite side upz.
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Like the LOLcat above, I'll be reading Catching Fire next. It's Hunger Games 24/7 at my house or in the minivan or wherever my oldest will be so I figure I'd better get caught up with the entire series.

Not much to report here. The RITA calls went out yesterday. I entered, but wasn't expecting a call and didn't get one. I've entered every year since 2000 and only been a finalist once (last year). I know the odds! But I'm so psyched for my friends who are finalists. It's a special time and there's nothing like being treated like a princess at the national RWA conference! I hope every romance writer gets to experience that. Here is the list of the finalists from the Contemporary Series Romance category:
A Bravo Homecoming by Christine Rimmer (Harlequin Special Edition; Gail Chasan, editor)

Donovan's Child by Christine Rimmer (Harlequin Special Edition; Gail Chasan, editor)

Doukakis's Apprentice by Sarah Morgan (Harlequin Presents; Lucy Gilmour, editor)

How a Cowboy Stole Her Heart by Donna Alward (Harlequin Romance; Sally Williamson, editor)

I'll Catch You by Farrah Rochon (Harlequin Kimani Romance; Glenda Howard, editor)

A Mother's Homecoming by Tanya Michaels (Harlequin American Romance; Kathleen Scheibling, editor)

Rancher's Twins: Mom Needed by Barbara Hannay (Harlequin Romance; Meg Lewis, editor)

The Texan's Bride by Linda Warren (Harlequin Superromance; Kathleen Scheibling, editor)
I'll be in Anaheim at the RWA conference in July. I can't wait to see who wins!

Hope you have a nice Tuesday!

Monday, March 26, 2012

When mommy's away...

funny cat pictures - RUMBLE IN 5 MILLISECONDS
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...the cats will play!

I know this because occasionally the cats think I've left with everyone else, but I'm really upstairs. Yoda and Beauty will tear around the house with one goal in mind—total destruction of whatever they can find and knockover. Spirit meows, crying until she's certain I'm gone. Rocket will finally venture downstairs. Not sure exactly what he does, but one time I found him inside the china buffet.

And yes, we have come home to something like this...

funny cat pictures - Ai swares,  Da lamp jumped! It was depwessed wif its dark thawts.
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I had no idea that lamp depression was so rampant! We've lost two here.

On the writing side of things (yes, I'm not just a crazy cat lady I do write romance novels, too!), I have a new banner for my Facebook Books page...

Kimberly Killion at Hot Damn Designs! made the timeline banner for me. She's the same person who made my Romance Trading Cards (RTCs), too. I highly recommend her!

This is my day to volunteer at the kidlets' school. I'm there all day, but this time I get to do a little writing stuff. I'll be giving a talk in the morning to 7th and 8th graders about critiquing/peer review. In the afternoon, I'll get to see my youngest give her paper bag book report. I'm really looking forward to that.

I only hope the cats behave. Hubby works from home, but once he closes the door to his office, he might as well be gone. When he's traveling the door is closed, too, so the cats have realized a closed door means they can do whatever they want. I'm hoping when I return I'll find the cats sound asleep and nothing broken.

Have a great day!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


funny cat pictures - Yes, it's a lovely basket.  You bought it just for me.
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All I can say about the pic above is it is so true! The kidlets are currently wondering what's going happen come Easter time when we're one basket short. We've been getting the house in order (Finally!) and found one of the Easter backets that had been somewhere it shouldn't. But before we could get it out to the garage, it was commandeered by the cats. They love it. So it's currently up in my room. I told the kids they cats could survive without it on Easter Sunday!

I'm hosting my family this year so the annual spring cleaning has been going on. The downstairs is looking so good if I say so myself. The upstairs not so much. Oh, well... I still have a couple of weeks!

Have you started your spring cleaning yet?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hunger Games - the Day After

funny cat pictures - You'll see! You'll all see !!!
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I wonder if this is how Cato and the other Career Tributes started out?

So I survived Hunger Games Day, I mean, my daughter's 14th birthday. Though I will have a constant reminder of Hunger Games because my niece got Mackenna a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Peeta.

In the morning, my daughter asked if I would braid her hair to look like Kantniss' hairstyle. I wasn't sure I could do it, but after studying a couple of pictures I managed to do something vaguely similar. My niece wanted hers done, too. I must not have done too bad a job since other girls asked me to do theirs at the theater. With both of them decked out in Hunger Games apparel and accessories, we headed out.

Opening days have always been my favorites. I haven't gone to one in years, but remembered we always got there early so we could get the best seats and hang out with other fans in line. I guess Fandango and advanced ticket sales have changed this. Or maybe it was because we were seeing one of the first shows of the day, but yesterday, we were the first people there. There were no signs where to line up so we asked someone inside the theater. She pointed to a spot. And when they opened the doors to the theater, we were still the only ones there. They just said we could go in even though our show didn't start for an hour and a half. Needless to say we were the first ones in the theater and got prime choice of seats!

I was told going into this that I could not sit with the girls. They choose the back row so Finn and I set in the row in front of them, right in the center. I didn't take Rose. I felt 9 years old was too young to see this film and I stick by that after seeing it.

I purchased the girls candy, popcorn and water. And the wait began! Lots of picture taking and conjecturing about the movie. And Peeta. Lots and lots about Peeta.

People finally started arriving. The audience was a mix of ages (lots of adults as well as teens. I'm guessing there may have been more kids except it was a school day. We homeschool so this wasn't an issue for us!) As for gender, I'd give a slight edge to females in attendance, probably 60%. There was a mom and her two middle-school looking kids sitting to the right of my son so this book appeals to both boys and girls. A friend of my daughter's from school appeared, too. Turns out it was her birthday, too, and she'd found out what Mackenna was doing so decided to come so they could celebrate together!

The previews lasted for-ever. Seriously. The problem with so many previews is you can't remember one from another. There seemed to be a couple of dark ones with spaceships. Some shoot 'em up, blow up big things ones. It's only now that I search my memory banks can I recall one I do want to see—Snow White and the Huntsman, mainly because of Chris Helmsworth. It was funny that when the trailer for the next and final Twilight installment came out a few people actually groaned. (In case you don't read this blog regularly, I'm not a fan of sparkly vampire stories.)

I could feel the anticipation build, however, with each preview. My daughter was practically on the edge of her seat waiting for this, and I heard a sigh of relief when the time finally arrived.

So the movie (will keep it vague so not to spoil)...

I enjoyed it. The girls were a bit stronger in their love of it: "A-mazing!" "No Words." "Best. Movie. Ever."

I have only read the first book. (I prefer the book to the movie, but I always do!) I read it on Sunday night so everything was fresh in my mind. Adaptions are always tricky, but in this case the author Suzanne Collins helped with the script. She's even given a screenwriting credit which is a pretty big deal in my book. The movie story stays faithful to the book.

Don't get me wrong, there are changes, but they make sense when you consider the length of a script vs. a book. I actually prefer the movie's version of how Katniss receives the Mockingjay pin. I love how we see beyond Katniss' POV (the book is first person, hers) to what's going on in the Capitol as well as the Districts, as well as the gamemaker Seneca. I hope the young viewers especially will see that like in the book there is so much more to this story than the games themselves. I will say I much prefer the book version of the cave scenes (book much more romantic though I love the cut to Gale in the movie which I mention below) as well as the ending which I felt was stronger in the book.

I do suggest reading the book before seeing the movie. The film does a good job explaining how things works, but since the movie is so faithful to the book it helped me to know what Katniss was thinking during certain scenes. (i.e. it just filled things in more for me and gave me a better viewing experience.)

I do think Katniss comes across as more likable/nicer in the movie. I'm guessing this has more to do with making lots of money at the box office with a movie series and not really being able to show her internal conflict as well as a book can. She's still a strong, independent heroine. A much better role model for girls than say a wimpy, spineless girl who stares out the window for months after her heart is broken by a stalker and has less self-confidence than a gnat.

As for the violence, I felt the book is more violent than the film. Strange considering the visual aspect of the film, but that was my feeling. I went in believing the movie would be much worse than it actually was. Oh, there's still kids killing kids and as I wrote above my nine year old will not be seeing this anytime soon, but the filmmakers could have taken this a lot farther than they did. Though I'm guessing they were mindful of not wanting an R rating. Will add, I'm rather squeamish so the scenes with visible wounds and burns had me cringing and closing my eyes.

Here's a couple of things that really stuck out to me:

Cinna. Lenny Kravitz is perfect in the role. I see now why he was hand-picked for the role. He is Cinna.

Rue. That was the hardest scene for me to watch and I cried. Lots.

Gale. He wasn't on screen much, but he'll be a worthy match to Peeta. His reaction to seeing the kiss between Katniss and Peeta in the cave spoke volumes. I can't wait to read the next two book to see how this love triangle plays out!

Katniss. Jennifer Lawrence is incredible in the role. Two scenes I thought she did especially well were: when she says goodbye to Cinna right before the games begin and after hearing a canon shot, she frantically searches for Peeta.

So that's my take on things. Did you see the movie? What did you think?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Hunger Games

funny pictures - PARTY  HARD
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Today is not only the opening of the Hunger Games movie, it's also my oldest's 14th birthday. But all she really cares about is the movie. Adaptions of beloved books can be difficult to watch when they don't meet your expectation. I hope the movie rocks for her sake.

Her present from us is a spring break trip to the Eastern Seaboard. Eight days with her eighth grade teacher and some classmates visiting Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. I'm a little nervous about her going, but I'm sure she'll have a blast. She's been breaking in her new Nikes and already wearing her new jacket. I'm waiting for her to tell me what else she needs for her trip like clothes.

I told her not to expect any presents from us on her birthday since she didn't earn the amount she was supposed to for the trip (though she did contribute via babysitting and fundraising) and we had to make up the difference. But no worries, she'll have plenty of presents to open from others. Our hearth is covered with cards and packages from her grandparents, her aunts and uncles and her godfather.

After the movie, we'll be going out to eat dinner at Mackenna's favorite restaurant and then going to her favorite frozen yogurt place for dessert. She's not a big cake fan so I'll have to remember to stick a candle and matches in my purse so we can sing to her and have her make a birthday wish!

It's hard to believe my oldest is fourteen. She'll be going to high school next year! I feel so old! We've finally decided where she'll attend, too. She no longer wants to be homeschooled or attend an alternative program so she'll be going to a private high school five days a week. It'll be a big difference given her schedule these past four years.

What are you up to today?

Thursday, March 22, 2012


funny cat pictures - Get rid of the dog and they're yours
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I thought we might be down a few cats yesterday when I walked in the house and saw the back door wide open. Chaos, our dog, was on her favorite chair, but no kitties were in sight. I ran outside, but didn't see any cats. My only rational thought was the rain may have kept them inside.

The kidlets had already found Beauty. She was asleep in her bed on the hearth. They said she was a little wet. I wonder if that meant she went outside then came back in. She always tries to dart outside when the door opens, but she's never been out. And I mean ever! So I'm glad she was inside and napping when an open door was in sight.

I dashed upstairs and did a quick search. All cats were accounted for. Thank goodness. I know the door was closed when we left. It may not have been locked though. I'm wondering if the wind opened it. That's happened before. But I'm just grateful all cats and dog were present and accounted for!

We have more snow today. School is starting 2 1/2 hours late. I'm hoping I can convince hubby to drive them so I can write. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

San Diego

funny cat pictures - He's slightly bigger than me
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I didn't find myself in Narnia last Thursday, but I was in Southern California. The first thing I noticed when I arrived was the weather. It was pouring rain when I left Portland. I didn't find a clear, sunny sky, but there were patches of blue and I didn't need my jacket. Definite progress from the late winter weather we've been experiencing in the PNW.

I picked up my rental car. I thought I might hit early afternoon traffic, but there wasn't any as I drove north on I-5 then east on 8. It wasn't far to Hotel Circle where I was staying. I checked in, dropped my bags off in the room then headed to my friend's place.

When I'd first looked at how I would get there, I thought I'd have to take the freeway. But thankfully my friend emailed me her way of getting to Mission Hills, the neighborhood where she lives. She said if you know the way through all the canyons you can cut down driving time. No kidding. I was there in a little over five minutes. And no freeway!

As I parked, I noticed all the cute little bungalows and the palm trees blowing in the breeze. All I could think about was the Girls' Weekend in Vegas series I wrote with Myrna Mackenzie, Shirley Jump and Jackie Braun. I could imagine Shirley's heroine, Molly, and mine, Jayne, living here. I easily saw the four of them walking on the sidewalk going out to dinner together at one of the many restaurants or slipping inside one of the shops. It was a bit surreal. I'd wanted to make a trip to San Diego before I started writing my book Wedding Date with the Best Man, but there hadn't been time.

That four book series was about four friends who find romance, three during a girls weekend in Las Vegas and one, my heroine, a little while after that. I was so excited to be in San Diego seeing one of my oldest and dearest friends, Elizabeth. My oldest daughter's middle name is Elizabeth if that tells you anything about what she means to me.

It was so easy for us to get together before I had children, but with each passing kidlet I never seemed to have the time to get away (not to mention nursing from 1998 to 2005!) The last time I saw her was in Disneyland years ago. So we had a lot of catching up to do!

I'm going to be back in San Diego with Mackenna in a couple of months so there was no need to see any sites now. I'd just have to repeat them with my daughter. Instead I spent my time with Elizabeth filling each other in on what's been going on with us and our loved ones, talking about our cats and my dog, reminiscing about things we've done together (Days of Our Lives fan gathering, same time next year trips to Sonoma, etc.) and eating!

Thursday night was a pizza from Bronx Pizza. It's a small, hole in the wall kind of place in the Hillcrest neighborhood, one of those places I probably would have walked right past. But that would have been a big mistake. The pizza was so yummy with a great thin crust that hubby would have given a New York thumbs up to. (He's found few places on the west coast that compare to back home on Long Island.)

Friday lunch was Mediterranean food from the deli. It's the white building on the corner.

 Elizabeth had a Hummus dinner plate. Think two different kinds of hummus, stuffed grape leaves and some sort of garbanzo bean salad that probably has some special name along with pita bread. I had a tossed green salad and tabouli. Yum! That night we ate leftovers.

Since I didn't really see any of the popular sites, I didn't take many pictures and unfortunately waited until Friday, not Thursday when the weather was better. But this is the view from Elizabeth's balcony. I took pics from different spots, but my favorite portion was that of the ocean. It's lovely, especially at sunset, as the sun slips beneath the horizon. During the summer she can see the fireworks from Sea World, too!

Saturday, it was pouring rain, something I hoped to leave behind back home. Oh, well... It didn't matter much since I was going to be inside attending the San Diego RWA Chapter meeting that was being held at the same place I was staying. When I checked in, I was directed to a table that had empty spots. There were lots of new members at the table. All were very nice. I put in a plug for Margie Lawson's on-line classes to one of them. It turns out the empty seat next to where I was sitting was being saved for Teresa Carpenter who also writes for Harlequin Romance. We'd met at the RWA Reno conference back in 2005. A very small world. She was joining another woman at our table, Jill Limber, a past president of RWA who happened to know my friend Elizabeth. A very small world indeed!

The meeting was about digital publishing, a very hot topic for writers these days. The morning session featured agent Kevan Lyon of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency and two of her authors Jackie Barbosa and Anna Randol. The panel answered questions we might have about digital publishing. After lunch, Jackie Barbosa talked about digital self-publishing. Her handout was amazing. A list of everything you might want to know and links. Very informative.

I haven't been to anything writing related since RWA's national conference in NYC back in June. (Not counting my writing retreat this fall with my two friends since that was more casual.) It was great to be surrounded by writers and talk writing. Plus I learned a lot. Writing for Harlequin, my books appear in eBook form without me knowing the whats or hows of it!

My take from both sessions is to do what works best for you and your goals in regards to digital publishing. For some that's self-pubbing. For others that's going a more traditional path (which is what I've done so far.) And there's always a combination of the two.

After the meeting was over, it was off to the airport to return my rental car (I only drove 20 miles the entire weekend.) Unfortunately the rain kept coming down. I don't mind getting wet. If I did, I wouldn't live where I live, but that meant lots of flights were delayed, including mine! But the San Diego airport has nifty seats with plugs on them so I got lots of writing done without draining my MacBook Pro's battery.

So that was my not-quite-two and a half days in San Diego.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Change of Plans

funny cat pictures - Escape Attempt #137
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I had planned to write about my trip to San Diego, but I'm going to wait. Why? Well, I forgot to charge my cellphone and the pics I took are on there. Second, I'm exhausted. My fault completely, but I couldn't help it. Rather, myself.

I finished my proposal last night. Yay! I worked all day on it though I managed to take time off to watch Once Upon a Time. After I emailed the proposal to my editor, my treat for completing it was The Hunger Games. As I read, I knew I should probably go to sleep, but I kept telling myself one more page.


By the time I reached "The End," it was late. Or early, depending on your perspective. Needless to say I'm tired, but it was so worth it. And now I'm ready to see the movie on Friday.

Hope you have a nice Monday. Right now, it's snowing here! I wonder if it's going to stick.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


funny cat pictures - Not in the slightest.
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The LOLcat above fits me today so well! I'm back home (after spending much too long at the San Diego airport due to a delayed flight) with a To Do list a mile long. First up is to finish up my proposal and send that to my editor. It needs to be there tomorrow morning. Then I guess I'll start on the rest of the list. But like the caption above, I'm not really sure what I'm trying to accomplish so maybe I'll just nap. I'm exhausted.

Hope you have a relaxing Sunday! Full report on San Diego tomorrow!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

funny pictures of cats with captions
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If you want to see more funny cat pics, check out this link on BuzzFeed to see 33 Cats Celebrating St. Patrick's Day!

Hope you have great St. Paddy's Day!

Friday, March 16, 2012


funny cat pictures - well of course we threw out some of your stuff! it was in OUR drawer!
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The flight to San Diego was easy. We departed a couple of minutes early and arrived early, too. My longest waits were for the rental car shuttle and then to rent the car. The good news is I finally saw some blue sky. The weather had been awful at home, but it's not raining here. Though it's in the forecast.

The best part of San Diego has been visiting with my friend. I went to her place after I checked in and spent the evening catching up with her. I've known her since I was a little girl, and when I was at Stanford she lived about a half hour away and was like a second mom/fave aunt to me. I'll head back over there later this morning after I get a couple of hours of writing in.

Of course, it never fails when I leave something happens. No one was at the school to pick up the kidlets yesterday afternoon. I'm sure my three were thinking I messed up somehow since I make the carpool schedule, but I knew I hadn't scheduled myself to drive because I was going to be out of town and knew hubby wouldn't have been on their, either, because he always has conference calls on Thursday afternoons. Turns out the mom's kid was sick and she forgot to tell anyone that she wouldn't be picking up. Hubby got off a call and raced up there, but it's a half hour drive each way. They didn't get home until after five which meant they missed swim practice. Oh, well...

Better get writing so I can go see my friend!

Have a great Friday.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


funny cat pictures - Lolcats: She's Nawt Crayzee, She's Mai Hoomin!
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My cats think I'm crazee and I'm theirs. The dog, too. The kidlets would agree with the crazee part. But it was very sweet last night when my oldest told me she wished I wasn't going to San Diego. She mentioned something about me not ever going away. I told her I was away with Finn at the swim meet last month. She said she meant my going away without one of them. The last time was the writing retreat weekend I went on in the fall. I guess they think I'm theirs, too.

I'm hoping I'll have easy internet access so can post blogs while away, otherwise I'll talk to you when I get home Saturday on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Typical Crazy Wednesday

funny cat pictures - You can come out.  The scary part is over.
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This LOLcat made me laugh because if anything scary comes on the TV when we're watching a DVD or a show one of two things will happen.

1) The scared kidlet will cover themselves with a blanket until it's over.

2) The kidlet will run up the stairs and wait for the all clear.

I still remember this happening during Eight Below. I even think I blogged about it back then. But the scene with the Leopard Seal freaked all three of my kids out completely. I've never seen the three bolt up the stairs that quickly. They did not like that at all.

An even busier Wednesday than normal. I need to pack. I'm making a quick trip to San Diego to visit a friend and attend the local SD RWA chapter meeting. I never have time to get to my own chapter's meetings due to all the kid activities we have on Saturdays, so I'm really looking forward to some face-to-face writer interaction.

What's going on with you?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Hunger Games

funny cat pictures - And so the mouse fell in love with the cat...
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All I hear about lately from my almost 14 year old daughter is The Hunger Games. The movie opens on her birthday and purchased tickets for that day when they went on sale. Heaven forbid, she missed seeing it that day though I drew the line at the midnight showing. Neither hubby or I were up for that.

This past Saturday, she pleaded to go to Seattle to some event where the stars were going to be. Her and her friends wanted to go. We reminded her that she had a swim meet. Oh, if looks could kill I'd be six feet under right now. We were such horrible parents for not rearranging everything so she might meet Josh Hutcherson, the actor who plays Peeta. Well, it turns out we weren't the only ones. None of her friends got to go, either.

Last night, The Hunger Games premiered. She begged to be allowed to skip 4H so she could sit and watch the stars walk down the Red Carpet. Surprisingly, hubby said yes. As he walked about with Rose and Astra, the dog we borrow on Mondays for Rose to use, Mackenna sat in front of the computer monitor totally mesmerized by what she was seeing and hearing.

She's not the only one. My 11 year son is doing his paper bag book report on The Hunger Games. He's making a bow and arrow as one of his four items. He can't wait to see the movie My 9 year old only knows about The Hunger Games from her siblings. She's too young for the book as well as the movie (at least until I see it first) but she was quick to point out the new Hunger Games dolls and accessories that are 20% off in the Toys R Us flier that arrived in the mail yesterday. I have a feeling we may be seeing a Peeta doll around here soon as well as posters.

Has The Hunger Games fever hit your house or area? I think this obsession is pretty cute. And I must admit I'm very pleased it's not over another popular book and movie series (see LOLcat above.)

Have a nice Tuesday! We actually have snow outside. The kids will be so happy!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Magic Box

funny cat pictures - jump here
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I think I've posted about our pantry aka The Magic Box. Both the dog and the cats wait for any opportunity they can find to get inside. It's their fave place to find themselves locked in. It's happened with the cats, not the dog. She's too big though she wouldn't complain if it happened to her.

Not much to report here. Still feeling down over losing Crystal. I miss seeing her lying on the lambswool pad (called a Wonder Pad) on the foot of my bed or sitting next to me purring. I have to finish up a proposal I was hoping to work on over the weekend, but that didn't happen so the next couple of days will be busy.

The beautiful sunny days have been replaced with overcast skies and rain. That's probably a good thing because I won't be so tempted to head outdoors. I have no excuse but to stay inside and write!

What are you doing today?

Sunday, March 11, 2012


funny pictures of cats with captions
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I'm sad. We've been fostering a senior cat named Crystal (hubby saying yes to this was my Valentine's Day present!) She reminded me so much of Smalls. Not the way she looked but her personality. Very sweet and affectionate. Crystal became totally attached to me. And I fell in love with her right away.

Unfortunately, Crystal was very sick. No one knew just how ill she was. She stopped eating a couple of days ago and I was syringe feeding her. I thought she might have caught a URI and lost her scent of smell, but it was much more serious than that. Her 12 year old body was ravaged. There was nothing anyone could do. Crystal crossed the Rainbow Bridge yesterday.

The silver lining in all this, if there is one, is that she spent the last few weeks of her life out of the shelter, where she'd been for eleven months, and in a home, surrounded by love. That was my whole reason for wanting to foster seniors. I just thought I would have more time with her.

Hubby and I were with her at the vet. I'd had someone I know make the cats little mice with their names embroidered on them. They arrived on Friday so I hadn't given them out yet. I had hubby bring Crystal's with him so she could at least see it, but she wasn't feeling up to playing. She just wanted me to hold her which is what I did.

RIP Crystal. You weren't with us long but you're already missed sweet girl!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


funny cat pictures - Lolcats: Datz Wut U Fink...
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All I can think about when I see this picture is the scary elves the kids terrorized me with at Christmastime. They went so far as to make the scariest of the elf bunch the background on my iPhone. I didn't know how to set my own, but I quickly learned how to delete one! Grrr!

Speaking of being scared, this video came across my Facebook wall last night. I can't figure out how to embed it so am posting a link to it on FB. It's funny, not scary. Though maybe if you were the dog you might beg to differ. You should have seen Chaos when I played it. She kept tilting her head one way, then another. Enjoy!

Hope you have a nice Saturday!

Friday, March 09, 2012


funny cat pictures - Admit it.  You haven't actually read a book since you joined Facebook.
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One of my resolutions was to read a book a week. I'm behind two weeks (i.e. two books), but I can honestly say that has nothing to with Facebook and everything to do with writing! Next up on my TBR pile is The Hunger Games. I'd started it before, but then one of Mackenna's friends wanted to borrow it. Then Finn wanted to read it. And so on. Finally, it's my turn again. I need to read it before the 23rd because I already bought tickets for us to see the movie on opening day.

How about you? Are you keeping up with your reading? And what's your current book?

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The Good Parts

funny cat pictures - Teh gud part!
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I love the LOLcat above! I'm hoping to have some good parts during my writing talk to a group of twenty third and fourth graders today. I was supposed to do this a week ago, but school was canceled due to snow. I'm kind of glad because I remembered a kids' writing book I purchased, Show, Don't Tell, but never got around to using due to enrolling in K12's Language Arts. So I'm incorporating a lesson from that into the talk!

I'm going to talk about being a writer and the need for revising. A lot of kids don't understand why revising is necessary, my daughter included. I hope they begin to see that it really is important. Fingers crossed!

Have a nice Thursday!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


funny cat pictures - �Iz bringing creepy back, dem  humans don't know 'bout my sneak attack�
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Yesterday afternoon the front door opened. Nothing odd about that except all five of us were already inside. Creepy!

Except the person walking into the house wasn't a stranger, but the kidlets' uncle (hubby's brother) from NY. You should have heard the squeeing! Talk about a surprise. We knew he was going to be in town, but no plans had been made when we'd be seeing him. The kids were so excited. The last time we saw him was in June when we were back east.

Needless to say we had to do a quick shuffling of plans for our Tuesday evening so we could all go out to eat dinner together. Something that never happens on Tuesday due to dance and swimming. (Mackenna decided to skip her ballet class so she could spend time with her uncle and eat with us!) It was great to all be together. Rose wouldn't let go of him, even when she was eating. It was very sweet.

When we got home, the kidlets had great fun showing their uncle how Xbox works, including how they play games with their cousins who live a couple hours away. My brother-in-law slept in Rose's room on the bottom bunk. She and Beauty took the top one. Finn camped out on the floor.

A fun time for all!

Did you have any surprises in your life yesterday?

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Contest Oops!

funny cat pictures - Don't even ask what happened to Chewbacca.
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I totally forgot to pick a contest winner on the first of the month! I don't know what I was thinking. I guess I wasn't thinking at all. Anyway here we go...

The winner of the $10 gift card to Amazon or is Brandy who commented on my post What I Really Do. Brandy, please use the contact button on the menu bar above to send me your email address as well let me know where you want the gift card from. Please do so within seven days or I'll pick a new winner.

Thanks to all who entered! And have a great Tuesday! We have more snow, not at our house but in the area. Fingers crossed we see some white stuff fall here!

Monday, March 05, 2012

50 Years!

lolcats - Happy Anniversary!
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Today is my parents' Golden Anniversary. They've been married fifty years! Quite an accomplishment these days.

To celebrate, my family (parents, sister's family, my family) went to Lincoln City on the beautiful Oregon Coast this past weekend. We'd offered to send my parents on a cruise or wherever they wanted to go, but my dad wanted to go to Lincoln City and stay at the Chinook Winds' Casino Resort. So that's what what we did. We wanted to make the weekend special for our parents so made them a gift basket with lots of goodies in it and their presents and had a cake and favors, too. They seemed to like everything so that was a huge sigh of relief!

The resort portion was right on the beach. This was the view from our room.
The kids had a blast playing on the sand, even though it was a little chilly. I had one kid in sweats and a sweatshirt and another out there in swimming trunks! They also went swimming in the pool and hung out in the arcade. Rose hit a big jackpot and won enough tickets to get a little pillow pal lion. She was so excited! They had so much fun they want to return to the coast with everyone this summer.

Even though my sister and I wanted to take care of everything, my parents had the weekend all planned out from meal times and where to eat to Mass. But we surprised them on Saturday morning with the basket, and then again after dinner on Saturday night with the cake. As for meals, we had big, loud family dinners. We ate only one lunch without my parents because we were with the kids while they were gambling!

I had been to the casino a few times before. If you remember my trip report from November, Jenna Bayley-Burke, Terri Reed and I tried out for the Wheel of Fortune there. I'm not a big gambler, but my parents like to go there. But I had to admit I was surprised to see that my parents know so many people who work there from the the shuttle van driver to the waiter, not to mention dealers and pit bosses, etc.

When I accompanied my dad to the craps table, it reminded me of the theme song from Cheers. You know the line "where everybody knows your name." The name they knew wasn't Norm, but Ross. My dad.

The craps dealers knew my dad well. They knew he has bad hearing. They had his betting strategy down so would remind him if he forgot to do something. I became known as "daughter of Ross" whenever I'd place a bet on the table. It was so funny, and sort of made me feel like I was in Lord of the Ring or something.

After hanging out with my dad, I left him and hubby to join my mom at the slots, which is her game. (My dad prefers craps and blackjack.) She and my hubby made fun of me for wanting to play the penny slots and only wager 9 cents at a time. I had plenty of fun doing that ($20 lasted about four hours on Friday evening), but they thought I was crazy. I kept reminding them I wasn't a big gambler but that didn't stop the teasing about my "high" stakes betting!

On Saturday night, my mom played the machine I'd played on Friday night. She, however, bets the maximum allowed which was $1.80. She turned her $20 into $400. Hubby made her cash out, even though he thought she should call it quits at $200! Me, I was still betting 9 cents at time. So was my sister on the machine next to me. She parlayed her $5 into $17 after about 3 hours sitting at the same penny machine. I lost $6 of my $20.

We left the coast yesterday and swung by the outlet malls on our way out to see if we could find any bargain. Stopped off at the Otis Cafe to pick up a loaf of molasses bread. Then went straight to the kennel to get Chaos. We had a catsitter taking care of the cats. My parents stayed over so they could spent the actual day of their anniversary there.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! Hope you're having a great day and that Lady Luck is smiling down on you!

Sunday, March 04, 2012


funny pictures-ohai... u'r home early...  i iz knitting u a sweater...
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I've been away since Friday. We went to the Oregon Coast. I came home to find the candlesticks that Mackenna had gotten me for Christmas broken. Guess the cats had a grand old time while I was away.

Right now I need to love my furbabies and get some writing done! I'll post a full report on what we did tomorrow!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Legos woes

funny pictures - Animal Capshunz: Even Animals in the Wild Know How Painful That Is
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

I can so relate to this! I broke a toe thanks to a Lego being left on the floor. I've also hurt my feet many times. In fact, my son gave me a pair of Crocs slippers for Christmas to protect my feet from all the things he leaves around the house. I've told him it would just be easier if he picked them up, but it seems there are still Lego pieces everywhere.

I'm spending some time with the family today. I hope to squeeze in some work on the proposal, too. Do you have any big plans?

Enjoy your Saturday!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Returning to Hood Hamlet

funny cat pictures - Anxiety Cat sez dis day iz too perfekt- too serene: sumfin must be rong- . . .SUMWEREZ!
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I must admit to having days like the anxiety kitty above. Everything is going great, but a part of me is waiting for a piece of the sky to fall. I've been doing better with that though!

I've been working on my new proposal. I rewrote Chapter Two yesterday. I finally figured out what was bugging me. Now to get Chapter Three written. The first chapter and synopsis are good to go so I'm almost there.

This story is set in Hood Hamlet and features a mountain rescue volunteer as the hero but unlike my other Mount Hood stories it's not set at Christmastime. I wanted to try writing the setting in a different season. I'll be curious to see what my editor thinks of it.

I've mentioned how I never expected this to be a series when I first came up with the idea for a fictional mountain rescue unit, OMSAR. But whenever I write about Hood Hamlet, it's like coming home. The place might only exist in my mind and on the page, but I love visiting there.

Speaking of Hood Hamlet, the photo below came across my Facebook feed and reminded me so much of Christian, my hero from Firefighter Under the Mistletoe , especially given one of the firefighter related scenes!

Psst.  Don't tell anyone I said this...  But thanks for getting the cat out too.

I've got a busy Friday ahead. What about you?

Thursday, March 01, 2012


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This was the second night in a row that we wore our pajamas inside out. That's what the kidlets do when they want to wake up to snow. It didn't work yesterday, but it did work today! Yay!

This is what our backyard looks like this morning. The schools aren't canceled, but are running a couple of hours late.


Today is one of two days the kidlets attend classes. I stayed up late putting together a lesson on revising for Rose's class. I was supposed to give it this morning during their writing block and my volunteer time. I'm assuming they'll jump right into their science block when school starts. Oh, well... At least I'll be ready when I volunteer next.

I'm going to enjoy the quiet and the snow for a little longer. How are things where you are?

Update: Lots of squeeing at the McClone house right now! Just got the robocall. School is canceled for the day!