Monday, December 31, 2012

Rose Bowl Bound!

I have an early morning flight to California. I'll be meeting friends in San Jose and driving down to LA with them. On the 1st, we'll be at the Rose Bowl to cheer on Stanford. I can't wait.

I won't be updating the blog until I return on the 2nd. I've got a flight home from LAX while my friends will drive home to San Jose. I'm not taking my MacBook Pro with me. This is a short trip and all about having fun. No work allowed! I am bringing my Kindle Fire HD so I can read!

I hope you have a very Happy New Years!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Flash Hockey Fans Goodness

This clip came across my Facebook newsfeed last night from Buzzfeed who termed it The Best Marketing Stunt of 2012. But it's so much more than a Marketing Stunt. The expressions on these beer league hockey players says it all. See for yourself...



Here's the background on how this happened...



Pretty awesome, don't you think?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day


I went out shopping this morning to stock up on wrapping paper, bows and gift tags. I also bought myself a cute little ornament. I love birds and this one was a bird in a next with two blue eggs. So cute.

I hope you had a Merry Christmas! We had a very nice day. Santa was good to everyone!I received a hard cover copy of my favorite author's newest book, The Panther by Nelson DeMille and a military nutcracker from Rose. I also got a wallet from Finn and an awesome red (fave color) North Face jacket from Mackenna!

What was your favorite present?


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Jesus!


Wishing you a very Merry Christmas! I hope you have a wonderful day!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Christmas To Do list almost complete! I can't wait until I can say Mission Accomplished but that won't happen until tomorrow.

At least the Grinch kitty can't keep Christmas from coming. I had my doubts with everything I needed to do, but it all worked out. Having the kids gone helped. Immensely.

I finished up the decorating around the house. All the groceries for Christmas day was purchased. As well as a couple of last minute presents. I also bought stockings for the newest four-footed members of the family!

I spent Saturday wrapping while watching Christmas movie after Christmas movie. I kept switching between the Hallmark Channel and USA. Needless to say there are finally gifts under the tree. That means the animals have to squeeze around the presents to nap.

This is Cato before presents. He sure likes it under there. If he's not there, you'll find Beauty and Yoda. I wish all three would nap together, but so far that hasn't happened. Maybe I need to touch of Hood Hamlet Christmas Magic for that to happen!

The kids returned from my parents house in time for Finn's soccer game. They won! He scored two goals. I was thankful it was indoors not outdoors in the cold and rain!

Last night we made our gingerbread house. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. But our tradition is to do 12 Days of Christmas so we really don't do much celebrating until now. And this helps me since I need all of Advent to get ready. I'm always behind due to writing and life!


The angel finally went on the top of the tree last night. We had to wait because it was Finn's turn (we rotate each year) and we weren't completely finished decorating the house. The angel is the last thing to go up. 

The tree doesn't have decorations on the bottom branches because of Cato. The puppy is having a grand old time with the garland which I strung too low this year. Oops! Lesson learned.

We kept the breakable ornaments off the tree once again. This is for Cato's sake on the lower branches but mainly for Beauty who likes to climb through the center of the tree and cause havoc. It doesn't look too bad. I miss seeing the other pretty, fragile ones I've collected over the years, but oh, well... I love my animals. I did hang two Radkos on the top shelf of our great room built in on ornament hangers!
 Well, I have to finish getting ready for our annual Christmas Eve brunch with my side of the family.  I got up early this morning to make chocolate covered strawberries! One of my nephews loves them and no matter how many I make they are the first thing gone each year!

Growing up I had dreams of these big family Christmas celebrations since there was always just my parents and sister every holiday. You know the kind you see on TV, not perfect but loud and full of laughter and food. But everyone has their own idea of how they want to spend Christmas day and evening as well as Christmas Eve, so a few years ago we decided a family brunch would be a good compromise. And it has been.

Do you have a big get together with friends and family to celebrate Christmas?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Almost Christmas!

Yesterday was a full day. I was running around town trying to get a lot of things checked off my Christmas Prep To Do list.

First up on my list was a trip to the mall to see Santa. My 14 yo did not want to go. But the two youngests were game. My 12 yo said he didn't want to see Santa, but he changed his mind after he walked around a bit and then joined us in line.

My 9 yo was so excited. She loves Santa, and couldn't wait to tell him what she wanted for Christmas—a Justin Bieber Cardboard Cutout. She'd already written him a letter telling him this, but she wanted to make sure he knew this was the number one item on her list!

My son debated on what he should tell Santa he wanted. Number one on his list this year is the LEGO Death Star set. But he decided that was too big to ask for so he told Santa he wanted the second item on his list instead—Call of Duty Black Ops, an XBOX game.

After Santa, I surprised Rose by having her ears pierced. She's been asking and asking. I figured this was a good time. Hubby wasn't so sure, but I reminded him that Mackenna was a couple months younger than Rose when she had hers done. I think that surprised him. We always think of our youngest as the baby. Needless to say Santa and ear piercing made her day!

We grabbed lunch at Burgerville. Egg nog shake, yum! Then had a few minutes home before we headed to Crossfit. While the kids worked out, I wrote letters. I had some packages I needed to send out later. Then it was back home.

The kids left for my parents (I have a kid free weekend to finish up Christmas stuff) and I headed to the Post Office, Bank and Outlet Mall, specifically Harry & David. I realized baking just wasn't going to happen (at least not beyond what my family will want for Christmas) so I bought our neighbors Moose Munch. Even hubby agreed this was the best way to go this year so that was a big relief.

I'm up early for a Saturday in order to get stuff done. Wrapping is first up on my list, and then I'll go from there. The only thing I'm not sure of are cards. I'm coming to the realization that picture Christmas cards are a pain in the butt for me to deal with. I've been asking for pics for three weeks (they aren't on my computer) and it's not happening. I still have my Happy New Year cards from last year with our annual Christmas letter all done because the family never sent them out for me (plan was I make card, they address and mail them because I was too busy with a book.) So I think I'm just going to do regular Christmas scene cards from now.

What are you doing today?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Scrooged

Pretty much every four-footed McClone has been trying to steal Christmas this year. We haven't even finished decorating, yet!

We've got unbreakable and kid made ornaments on the tree. Again. It's pretty, but I stare at the two ornament boxes with the other ornaments longingly. But both Beauty and Yoda are captivated by the tree and always around it. So far not up it again, but I have a feeling that's only a matter of time.

After seeing what Cato can do with a paper towel or the newspaper, I'm afraid to put the presents under the tree. Someone suggested we put the X-Pen around the tree to keep the puppy and the cats away. But I don't want to do that. I guess I'll just keep the water bottle handy. Though Cato seems to enjoy getting wet.

The kids believe the Nativity scene we put under the tree will be toast due to the puppy. It's not out yet. We just put the tree skirt under the tree. That's now become Cato's favorite napping spot.

Okay, I must get busy. More Christmas decorating to do, some writing and I'm heading to Church in a bit to try and organize our office for the Good Shepherd program I teach! My co-teacher and I were over there yesterday getting the movable shelves we use to make the Atrium environment. Now to get the fixed shelves in the office looking all neat and tidy! They've become our catch-all for the past few months and it's not good!

Hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Indiana Jones Mystery Solved

Last Friday, I blogged about the mysterious package received by the University of Chicago Admissions office. The mystery has been solved. Go here if you want the explanation of what happened.

Anybody else hoping there was more to it than that?

I know I was!

Hope you have a great day!!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Oh, Christmas Tree...

The saga of Beauty and our Christmas tree continues on. Big sigh...

For the past two weeks, our tree has been up. We didn't put any decorations on it to see what Beauty would do. Well, after her not doing anything but sleeping under the branches, I figured we were good to go.

Yesterday I hung the wood bead garland. The entire time Beauty sat on the window sill next to the tree watching. She likes to watch us do things so I didn't think much about it. I finished hanging the garland, stepped back to see how it looked and...

Whooosh.

She flew into the center of the tree like a bat.

I screamed.

She started to climb like a monkey.

I yelled for hubby.

And grabbed my iPhone.

The little devil decided to stop her forest expedition to pose for me and hubby, who grabbed his camera, too.

No glass ornaments on the tree this year. Again.

Of course, a few hours later, Cato pulled part of the garland off the tree.

Not a good day for the Christmas tree. But at this rate I'm going to have a pretty good collection of yearly shots of my little black cat in the tree!

Hope you have a wonderful Tuesday!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Proposal off!

I emailed my proposal to my agent around midnight. I love this story. I feel the same way about it as I did all the other Hood Hamlet ideas, but it's a touch bittersweet since this will wrap up the mountain rescue series. I always knew Paulson's story would be the last one.

Though even though this is the final book, it's not quite writing itself as I'd hoped! I had the wonderful idea yesterday to rewrite Chapter 3. Okay, not just rewrite, but start over. I didn't like what I'd had. Not the best idea given it needed to be sent later that night. Oh, well...

It's off.

Now I can work on the rest of the story and get the house ready for Christmas. The kids didn't want to do anything without me. Which is odd because they decorated for Halloween and Easter without me. Guess Christmas is different. Tonight, we're making a gingerbread house, too!

It's time for some puppy pics.

 Cato is really growing. He's getting better with the potty training, but still not quite there. We've moved him from the X-pen to crate training, too. Lots of barking and sleepless nights. This is the longest we've had a puppy. I'm waiting for it to get easier!

But Cato really is a cutie!

Rose dressed up the puppy in a costume. He didn't seem to mind too much unlike the cats who act like the end of the world has arrived and they will kill you. Yeah, dogs and cats are very different.

I love the picture to the left of grandma Chaos and her grandson Cato. The two don't always get along that well, but they're doing pretty good. Chaos will keep the pup in line and she's oh-so-patient with the nibbling and climbing all over her.

On my To Do list for today:

1) Post office visit
2) School with kids
3) Vet visit
4) Decorating house

What do you have going on?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

There are no words...

This week I attended our parish's Advent Mission and the priest giving the talks, Father Wade Mendes, mentioned evil. Evil exists in the world. What happened earlier this week a few miles south of me at Clackamas Town Center and what happened yesterday in Newtown, Connecticut proves that.

I can't imagine what those parents and families are going through. I don't want to because losing a child is my worst nightmare. It's the same for every parent out there. All I can do is keep praying for the children, the staff and their families.


A Prayer To The Holy Innocents

Holy Innocents, you died before you were old enough to know what life means, pray for all children who die young that God may gather them into His loving arms.

Holy Innocents, you were killed because one man was filled with hatred, pray for those who hate that God may touch their hearts and fill them with love.


Holy Innocents, you experienced a violent death, pray for all who are affected by violence that they may find peace and love.

Holy Innocents, your parents grieved for you with deep and lasting sorrow, pray for all parents who have lost young children that God may wrap a warm blanket of comfort around them.

Holy Innocents, those around you certainly felt helpless to prevent your deaths, pray for all who feel helpless in their circumstances that they may cling to God for courage and hope.

Holy Innocents, you who are now in Heaven, pray for all of us that one day we may join you there to bask in God's love forever.

Amen.



I found this picture and prayer via The Catholic Church Facebook page. No copyright infringement intended.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Indiana Jones Mystery


A link came across my Facebook newsfeed yesterday, and it's just too cool not to share. Click here to go to the University of Chicago's Admission blog and read the post. I really hope they figure out what's going on and do a follow up!

And just so you don't think the University isn't taking this seriously, here's what they say at the end of their blog:
We know this sounds like a joke/hoax… it’s not (at least, from our end).  Any hints, ideas, thoughts, or explanations are appreciated. We’ve been completely baffled as to why this was sent to us, in mostly a good way, but it’s clear this is a neat thing that either belongs somewhere else— or belongs in the halls of UChicago admissions history.
Internet: help us out. If you’re on Reddit (we’re not) or any other nerdly social media sites where we might get information about this, feel free to post far and wide and e-mail any answers, clues, ideas, thoughts, or musings to indianajonesjournal@uchicago.edu  (yes, we did set up an email account just to deal with this thing).
So feel free to pass this on so the mystery can be solved for all of us nerds and geeks!

Any ideas what you think might be going on with this?



Thursday, December 13, 2012

Harlequin Holiday Open House

Join me and other Harlequin Romance authors at a Holiday Open House today at Harlequin.com. We're talking about our fave Christmas movies and other things. There are also giveaways throughout the day. Click here to join in the fun!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday Links

It's strange how you read about things happening elsewhere, like the shooting in the movie theater in Colorado Springs, and think to yourself how lucky you are to live somewhere safe where that will never happen. Well, it happened yesterday at the Clackamas Town Center.

This is the mall we go to. Most everyone I know goes there. Rose has celebrated her birthday at the Build-A-Bear. I was even thinking of going down there yesterday to finish my Christmas shopping. Something like this really shakes up your safe little world because you realize it CAN happen anywhere. I'm praying for all affected by this.

A few links for you today:

I have a guest blog up called Crazy Animals at the Harlequin Readers' Service Pet Corner blog. Click here.

I was interviewed at Jo's Sanctuary. You can read that here.

Terrible Minds has a humorous blog about 25 Gifts For Writers. A couple of them are spot on. You can read that here.

And I saved the best for last...

If you have a minute, go here to Soldiers' Angels and send a virtual Christmas card to our troops. It's free and a great way to support the men and women who serve. Thanks!

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Weekend Recap

It's been a dog-filled weekend (i.e. we attended a dog show on Saturday and Sunday.) Plus watching Cato, the puppy, is a full-time job if he isn't in the X-pen.

A good thing Cato's so cute. That little guy is living up to his name (named after the Career Tribute from District 2 in The Hunger Games.) He has no fear of anything, including the cats!

I feel sorry for them because the LOLcat to the left pretty much sums up the weekend the felines around here had! We had to be on guard all the time! But I must admit I'm impressed by the cats' patience with the puppy under the circumstances. I owe them all some special treats.

Cato and Mackenna
But we made good progress in potty training thanks to implementing a bell. A couple of friends recommended that and you should have seen our excitement when he actually rang it yesterday. He also had a bath. Not sure what he's been getting into, but that sweet puppy smell was being overpowered by something none of us wanted to smell!

I've also been working hard on my new proposal. It's due in one week.

While the girls and I were at the dog show, hubby and our son got more lights up outside. It looks so nice, but our son thinks we need more. He wants to decorate everything so I guess they'll be at it again as soon as they have some free time.

The boxes of Christmas decorations made it into the house, but between the dogs and writing, I didn't touch one of them. It didn't help that lights on two of the branches went out. I think Cato may have had something to do with that!

In other news, I gave my first quote on a book. Kissing Kendall is being released today by Entangled Bliss. Jennifer Shirk who writes "sweet" romance like I do asked if I'd give her one. You can see what I said if you click on the cover pic.

This is book two of a series, but it's very much stand-alone. I'd never read book #1 and had no problem jumping right in. You can read an excerpt of Kissing Kendall at Amazon to get a taste of her voice. Just click on the Look Inside near the cover. If you like the kind of stories I write, check her out.

Well, the puppy is barking. Chaos is pacing. The cats are sleeping. The kids are out of the house today which means I'd better get writing!

Hope you have a nice Monday.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Christmas Romances!


I don't have a new Christmas book out this year, but I thought I'd tell you about my past Christmas stories in case you're new to my writing.

I have a series of Christmas books from Harlequin Romance that feature a group of mountain rescuers who live in fictional Hood Hamlet. The stories are set on Mount Hood, about an hour and a half from where I live and a place I love. Each book is standalone, but characters do reappear in the other stories.

The first book is called RESCUED BY THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS.

I never intended to write a series about mountain rescuers. This was more of a book of a heart. But after I got to know a couple member of Portland Mountain Rescue, who helped me with my research, and local climbers who got me climbing, I wanted to write another and another and...you get the picture!

Here's the back cover blurb for that first book:
Carly Bishop hasn't celebrated Christmas for six years—not since icy Mount Hood claimed her fiancĂ©'s life and left her a widow before she was a bride.

But this year, handsome Jake Porter is determined she'll enjoy herself. Jake is a mountain rescuer, big-hearted and courageous, but Carly is too scared of loving him in case she loses him. In a whirl of festive fun, sleigh rides and snowball fights, Christmas starts to weave its magic. Though it's Jake who is melting Carly's heart.
Then there's SNOW-KISSED REUNION, a free eight chapter on-line read at Harequin. It's not set at Christmas time, but pre-Thanksgiving. Here's the teaser for that story:
Cocoa Marsh had resigned herself to giving up her dreams. She might never be a competitive snowboarder again, but at least her job as a designer for Hughes Snowboards gave her the opportunity to ride whenever she wanted. And as for that pesky hope of a happily ever after…well, the love she'd felt five years ago for snowboarding superstar Rex Billings hadn't been real, anyway. He'd proven that when he'd left and never spoken to her again.

Until now, that is. Because Rex Billings was back, and looking more devastating than ever. Not that she was going to let herself fall for his charm and knee-weakening smile again. Even if he seemed more grounded, more committed, more…like a dream that might actually come true….
If you'd like to read the novella, click on the title above or here. This story reintroduces mountain rescue team leader and hero of the next book in the series, Sean Hughes.

That book, CHRISTMAS MAGIC IN THE MOUNTAINS, is also my Romance Writer's of America's 2011 RITA® finalist Book in the Contemporary Category Romance category. Here's the blurb:
When snowboard designer Sean Hughes sees Zoe Flynn hitchhiking at the bottom of Mount Hood he recognizes a free spirit—much like himself!

They hit it off, and Zoe ends up agreeing to pose as Sean's girlfriend at his family's Thanksgiving. But following an accident and a misunderstanding they're soon stuck with each other for the Christmas holidays!

Zoe's girl-next-door looks make Sean wish their charade was a romantic reality, but Zoe is hiding something…and he has until the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve to discover her secret!

FIREFIGHTER UNDER THE MISTLETOE came out last Christmas and features the lone woman on the rescue team. She also happens to be a firefighter paramedic. This is the blurb:
Christmas magic in Hood Hamlet...

For Leanne, infuriatingly charming firefighter Christian Welton is out of bounds. Not only is he too young for her, but his trail of broken hearts is legendary. Leanne's fought hard to be one of the boys, and won't let anyone see that Christian's smile makes her want to melt into his arms!

Christian wanted to discover the softer side of the tough-talking paramedic, but hasn't counted on how much the real Leanne affects him. He's vowed never to settle down, but under the mistletoe it's certainly the season to be tempted.…
I'm not finished with the series, either! In March a new Hood Hamlet story, WINNING BACK HIS WIFE, will be published, and I'm currently writing another Christmas book in the series!

What is your favorite Christmas themed novel?



Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Tree Again


I saw the above LOLcat on my Facebook Newsfeed. All I could think about was Beauty! Of course we have a new Christmas tree issue.

Cato, the new puppy, has been trying to eat it. Okay, he's probably teething and using it to chew on in spite of having toys for that. I'm wondering if the family would mind just having a natural looking tree with lights, wooden bead garland and maybe candy canes.

I have a feeling they're going to say no, which means I'll be saying no to the puppy and the cat until Epiphany!

Busy day since it's one of my crazy Wednesday. The good news is hubby is home this week. That really helps! Hope you have a good day!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Meet Cato


The lolcat about is a typical scene around here these. The cats aren't sure what to make of the puppy. That doesn't deter the pup in the slightest. He misses his brothers and wants to play. Surely these cats will play with him.

Insert bop puppy's head by cats here.

Cato - 10 weeks old
Yes, lots of head bopping going on around here. I must admit I'm surprised the cats are as patient as they are. Not as much hissing as they did with red puppy. No claws extended.

 Meet Cato. His registered name will be Janor's Tribute. His name comes from The Hunger Games. He was named after the career tribute from District #2. Mackenna picked the name.

He has a much different personality than red puppy. He's not afraid or timid (though he's not sure what to make of hubby at times.) He loves to be held, carried, cuddled. He'll even nap with the kidlets. We're working on the potty training.

Naptime
This morning the barking started at 5:40 am. Guess we don't have to worry about setting our alarms for awhile! It was my turn to get up so I took Cato outside. The temperature wasn't that cold, but everything was wet. I had my Croc slippers so my feet stayed dried, but after Cato took care of business he decided it was time to play...with me. I was in a nightgown (won't be wearing one again when it's my turn) and a fleece jacket. By the time we headed inside, the front of the nightgown was wet from his little paws.

I tried to go back to sleep, but then the alarm went off for real. I have a feeling a nap is in my future this afternoon!

Hope you have a great day!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Advent!


We are trying to avoid the above LOLcat. Our tree has been up sans decorations. We're waiting to see if Beauty decides to camp out in the branches.  Remember these pics from last year...

The garland (wooden cranberry colored beads) will go up next, then we'll decide if we stick with the unbreakable ornaments this year again.

My glass/breakable ornaments have not been on the tree in a few years. I miss seeing them. But we weren't sure what Yoda would do with them. Then Beauty arrived. She was the first cat who climbed the tree. And, of course, she preferred the top half of the tree to rest!

She's been sitting under the tree and very curious about the branches. But so far no climbing.

Of course, this year we're adding in a new element. A puppy. Another Norwegian Elkhound puppy arrived yesterday to be socialized. I'll have more about him tomorrow! But I can only imagine what a puppy could do to ornaments hanging from the lower branches.

Yesterday was the first day of Advent. I was ahead of the game this year and had everything I needed. Surprising, isn't it?

But I can't take all the credit. Hubby was on the chocolate Advent Calendars this year. He didn't want a repeat of last year when we waited too long to buy them and they were sold out. We ended up with some not-as-good ones.

I also decided to do a little gift type calendar for each kidlet. I found this great fingernail polish Advent Calendar for Mackenna. Finn got a LEGO Star Wars one. Rose has the LEGO City one. All three are very pleased.

We lit a purple candle last night and read the First Day from a book called Jotham's Journey, a story for Advent. A very nice evening. Not to mention fun with the puppy running around!

How was your weekend?

Saturday, December 01, 2012

November Giveaway Winner

Another full weekend ahead. The two youngest kidlets swim in the morning at a meet while our oldest swims in the afternoon. That means hubby and I will be two ships that pass in the night. Actually two cars who will pass on I-5!

Making progress on the proposal, but it's slow. I was deterred slightly by a rescue that happened on Mount Hood. The climbing forum I belong to was and has been discussing it.

The climber posted his situation on his Facebook page. Turns out he belongs to the climbing forum, too. Thankfully he's safe and made good choices while stuck up there. Kudos to the friend who told him to stay then drove from Bend to Timberline to be there when he got down and to the rescuers from PMR who got him down safely. The climber wrote a very detailed post about what happened and his decision making progress. Very interesting!

This month's winner of a $10 gift card to either Amazon or bn.com is Quilt Lady. She commented on my post "Happy Thanksgiving." Quilt Lady, please use the Contact button on the menu bar above to send me your email address and which gift card you want. You have seven days to contact me or I'll choose another winner. Thanks!

What do you have planned for this weekend?