Tuesday, July 31, 2012


funny cat pictures - Cats R Nawt Hoomins - dey like different fings
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My cats prefer cheap cardboard boxes to any expensive piece of cat furniture I buy. I'm so happy when they actually use one of the many beds or sleeping pillows I have around the house because then I don't feel like I've wasted so much money!

Not much to say today. Slowly getting back into real life after being away for six days. Unpacking, laundry, napping, writing. I have a feeling it'll be another day or two before I'm totally recovered from conference time. I'm looking forward to my box of conference goodies arriving. I may have to giveaway something different next month rather than the usual $10 gift card!

What are you up to?

Monday, July 30, 2012

RWA Conference Days 5 & 6

funny cat pictures - welcome home  it wasn't my fault!
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Saturday at the RWA conference in Anaheim was a working sort of day. First up in the morning was a meeting with my agents to discuss career planning. Then it was off to the Harlequin author forum to hear about the new lines, reintroduction of older lines, new covers, a new digital only publishing program and a new way for authors to follow sales, releases and other info.

From there, I headed to Disneyland to do pick up gifts for the kids. Outside the entrance were lots of protestors. Inside were lots of police, police cars and K9 dogs. The park was the most crowded I'd seen it all week. I wasn't planning on riding anything. That turned out to be a good thing. I couldn't believe the lines. After checking a few stores, I found the perfect items in the Star Trader store in Tomorrowland.

Back at the hotel, I dropped off the souvenirs at my room then met up some Harlequin Romance authors. After a nice discussion, I was off with my roommate Shirley Marks and her daughter Kim to The Catch for a yummy dinner. Love their Fixe Prix dinner menu! We hurried back to the hotel, changed for the awards banquet and met my friend Sarita Leone in the Grand Ballroom. Sarita had graciously saved us seats.

I remember how nervous being a RITA® Finalist made me last year. I enjoyed Saturday night's ceremony a lot more. I was happy to have Harlequin Mills & Boon authors Sarah Morgan (Presents) and Fiona Lowe (Medical). Sarah won Best Contemporary Series Romance and Fiona won Best Single Title Romance!

The most exciting moment for me of the night was when my friend Barbara O'Neal won the RITA for Best Novel with Romantic Elements. Not only did she win that RITA, but her win qualified her for the RWA Hall of Fame. During her speech, Barbara said she wasn't going to enter the contest. (She's won seven RITA's) which made me a bit misty-eyed. She's such a talented writer with a big, loving heart!

After the ceremony, I attended a champagne toast hosted by the Mills & Boon office then went to a party for a yahoogroup I belong to. Barbara and her two gold ladies were in attendance. I rubbed their heads for luck!

My agents stopped by to congratulate Barbara. (We're both represented by Jane Rotrosen Agency.) I enjoyed seeing how the conference had gone for all my friends and hearing what workshops they'd attended, who'd they'd spoken or pitched to and what they planned on doing writing wise when they arrived home.

This conference seemed so much more positive compared to last year in New York. The industry is in transition, but the word "possibilities" seemed to resonate through everything at least for me. Authors have options, and it's up to us to figure out what's best for our careers. And bottom line, Stephanie Laurens really nailed it during her speech on Thursday when she said (paraphrasing here) that it's really a author's book and the reader that really matter.

Sunday morning, I forced myself up. Another writer friend, Laura Hayden, wanted to go with us and offered the use of her room for our luggage. We were at the park at 8:30. Our first stop was Cars Land and Radiator Springs Racer. That line was long, but the park wasn't that crowded. We rode lots of rides then headed to Disneyland to ride a few more. Then it was off to the airport where we just missed being in a car accident on the freeway and then I left my purse in the bathroom. Thankfully the pixie dust was still in effect and someone turned it in to the police.

Now I'm home! I was so happy last night to see my family waiting for me at the airport. And my pets seem relieved I'm back. I also enjoyed sleeping in my own bed. But I must admit I miss my Pixie Dusters! That's what Jenna Bayley-Burke, Terri Reed and I decided to call ourselves after six days of Disney fun and magic.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

RWA Conference Day 4

funny cat pictures - As much as Glen loved line dancing, he was hopeless at it.
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Friday was all about the RWA Conference. No side trips to Disneyland today. But I still had fun since it was the day of the Harlequin party.

In the morning, I knew I didn't have much free time at all, but that was a good thing since I needed to get serious about conference stuff! Okay, not really, but let's keep that between you and me. But I did attend a few workshops so that counts, right?

First up was a double-time-slot workshop with Michael Hauge. I can't tell you how much I've learned from him over the years. I first learned to plot from a weekend workshop in Berkley I took when I lived in the Bay Area. This was back in my pre-pub days! I'd heard most of it before, but I was glad about that. His process of talking about external and internal conflict makes so much sense to me and really helps with my plotting. It's something I want to become so organic in my writing process I don't have to refer to my notes.

Lunch was fun. I met a few new writers, sat with one of my chapter mates who I was hoping to connect with and also got a chance to chat with RITA® Finalist Fiona Lowe who I know from Twitter! The speech by author Robyn Carr was so wonderful. I almost cried in a couple of spots. Very humorous, touching and motivating.

After lunch, I was back to listen to Michael Hauge for two more hours. This time he was analyzing Pretty Woman. It was interesting to have him play scenes then dissect them per his Story Mastery method. It really pulled everything I'd heard in the morning together in a concrete way.

From there, I headed to listen to Margie Lawson discuss openings. I love Margie's workshop packages. I took my first online class from her back in 2005. I still have my binder and refer to it. I downloaded two more of her classes a few months ago. Good stuff that really improves a writer's craft!

I met Sarita Leone for a quick bite to eat then it was time to get ready for the Harlequin Party. While I was busy preparing for that, my roommates and Sarita settled in to watch the Olympic opening ceremony. I can't believe I missed it, but I'm going to hope I can catch it on-Demand.

 The Harlequin Party is all about dancing and dessert and drinks. It's the time for authors to kick off their shows, forget deadlines and just have fun! My agents Christina and Annelise were there, too!

This year's soiree was at the Hyatt Regency, a lovely hotel. I must admit I was disappointed there wasn't a chocolate fountain. I think this is the first party I've attended without one. But I did splurge on a chocolate eclair. Yum!

Two sips was enough for me!
The same DJ was back again. This time he brought an assistant so he was out on the dance floor more. No complaints about the music and dancing! If you want to see me dancing check out my Facebook Books page! (Hit the f button on the right hand side bar!)

I got lots of compliments on my new dress and my short hair. That was nice! We ended up leaving a little early. All those late nights at Disneyland have finally caught up with me.

Fiona Harper and me
Back at the Marriott, I bumped into Harlequin Presents author and RITA finalist, Sarah Morgan, who invited me to join her, Sharon Kendricks and Melanie Milburne in the bar. I was ready for bed, but I love Sarah (I got to know her last year when we were both finalists in NY) and I'm a big fan of all three of their books so how could I say no! I tried hard not to embarrass myself by being a total fangirl.

Then it was off to bed so I'd be ready for the final day of conference. I have a meeting with my agents in the morning so I wanted to be rested for that. We aren't leaving until Sunday night. That means more Disneyland on Sunday. Jeah! (That's in honor of Ryan Lochte, who is Finn's favorite swimmer!)

Friday, July 27, 2012

RWA Conference Day 3

funny cat pictures - Oh, that buzz!
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Thursday at the RWA conference in Anaheim was a pixie dust kind of day. Lots of things just went my way!

I slept in an extra hour. I decided to skip the opening speaker at the PAN retreat and do a little work instead. I went to the connect/network room where you can access free Wi-Fi and also pick up goodies (aka author promotion items.) While I was there, I met Barbara Vey. She has a great romance novel/industry blog through Publisher's Weekly if you haven't checked it out yet. I also met Sheila Clover English from Circle Seven Productions (great book trailers) and a new-to-me venture called Reader's Entertainment. Our topic of conversation—movies!

I went from there to the PAN Retreat. Brilliance Audio provided refreshments and a free audio book. I got a J.D. Robb one! So look for that to be a prize on the blog one of these days! Then Mark Coker of Smashwords spoke. I learned some interesting things about epublishing. I particularly liked his slide on pricing. $2.99 seems to be the most effective price point for an eBook. I appreciated his not saying ePublishing is the only way. As many authors are learning, you can do both. That is Traditional publishing (as I do with Harlequin) and self-publishing.

 I met up with a friend, Alice Burton, who I knew when we both lived in the Bay Area at the luncheon. We had fun catching up and meeting a conference first timer CM Doporto at our table. She happened to be from Dallas where Alice lived so was filled in on all the writing stuff down there.

The keynote speaker was Stephanie Laurens. She gave a very brave talk about publishing and authors in this time of change and transition. Lots of quotes from her talk were posted via twitter. Just search on #RWA12 or #SL if you'd like to see them. You don't have to belong to twitter to search. I loved her tying it into the movie Flashdance at the end.

During lunch, I realized I'd lost an earring. I was bummed. I'd had these earrings forever. I'd forgotten the back so had taken ones from another pair. They must not have fit as well as I thought they did. I figured they were gone, but decided to check Lost and Found anyway. Tinkerbell had definitely been at the Marriott because one person had turned in my earring and another had turned in the back! I was so happy.

As my friend Mary Strand and I headed back to my room to exchange the earring backs I heard my name. I turned and saw someone I didn't recognize. I looked at the name tag and I'm sure my mouth gaped. It was Sarita Leone who comments on this blog! More pixie dust! We've been blog friends for years, but had never met. I had no idea she was coming to the conference! We exchanged numbers and made plans to meet on Friday!

I hung out with Mary until it was time for the Mills & Boon Meet & Greet (aka open house) for their authors. After an hour of schmoozing with authors and Harlequin people, the editors took the Romance line authors to Cheesecake Factory for the Harlequin Romance author's tea.
We ordered eight different cheesecakes and all took a bit from each. The authors in attendance were Donna Alward, Theresa Carpenter, Fiona Harper, me, Patricia Thayer and Barb Wallace. The Harlequin folks included Lucy Gilmour, Bryony Green, Dianne Moggy and Tessa Shapcott. It was a lovely afternoon filled with conversation and cheesecake!

From there, it was back to the room. I was ready to head to the theme parks again. My roommate's daughter decided to stay at the hotel so I was going off on my own until the others could meet up with me. I decided to text Sarita to see if she wanted to go. She texted back that she had just entered the gate at California Adventure. I told her I'd be right there.

The one ride I hadn't been on at DCA was the Radiator Springs Racer. Sarita was game even though she'd never been on a roller coaster before. We hopped in the Single Rider Line. We ended up in two different cars, but we cut the wait time significantly and was worth it. It was so much fun! Love the ride!

Sarita only had a ticket for DCA so we went on the Monster's INC ride, then I gave her a plan for the rest of her evening there. My Disney crew was on their way so I needed to get over to the Magic Kingdom.

We had two goals for the evening—to watch the fireworks from Main Street and to ride the Matterhorn. We'd been in line two or three times, but either the ride broke or we needed to be somewhere so would have to leave.

While others got snacks, I asked a cast member where would be the best spot to watch from if we wanted to get to the Matterhorn fast. She asked another cast member if the Front Row seats were open then had him escort me to a spot right behind a rope. He told me this would be the best spot to watch. Just then two more of the crew arrived. I sent them into get the others.

As we waited, another cast member came up to see how we were doing. I asked him if our plan to get the Matterhorn ASAP was right. He said yes. He asked if there were any other rides we wanted to go on. I told him we'd tried to get Fast Passes for Indiana Jones when we arrived, but they were all out. He pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket and gave us what is known as a Golden Fast Pass, a coupon all six of us could use to skip the line. More pixie dust.

One of the crew had never been on any of the big rides like Indiana Jones, so this was huge. I asked if I could hug him. He said yes! I told him we were romance writers and he'd be the inspiration for our new heroes! Needless to say, we ended up with a couple more passes! Lots of Pixie Dust.

The fireworks were amazing! Choreographed to music and spectacular. None of my iPhone photos came out well unfortunately.

Then it was off to the Matterhorn! In two hours we managed to ride that, Indiana Jones, Star Tours (one of our group Lynda Aicher was pictured as the Rebel Spy), Space Mountain, Peter Pan and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. It was so much fun!

Half the group left before Peter Pan, but Jenna Bayley-Burke, Lynda and I closed Disneyland again. Third night in a row for Jenna and I. We were dragging a bit, but it was so worth the magical time!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

RWA Conference Day 2

funny cat pictures - Reader Cat not impressed  by author shenanigans
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Wednesday was the official start of the Romance Writers of America conference in Anaheim.  I had breakfast with a good friend, Mary Strand, then headed to Disney California Adventure with Jenna Bayley-Burke, Terri Reed, Kim S. (my roommate's daughter) and Leah Vale.

Our first stop was Soarin' Over California. I love that ride, especially the scents as you fly over the river in the forest and the orange grove. We picked up a Fast Pass for the Color of Wonder show at 10:15 pm and Grizzly River Run, then headed to Tower of Terror. I was so excited to step in line even though it was a thirty minute wait!

A little backstory on Tower of Terror....

Each time one of the kidlets turned five, we took them to Disneyland to celebrate. That's three trips between 2003 and 2008. We haven't been back since. But each time something (usually youngest kidlet) kept me from riding Tower of Terror. The last time in 2008, I even had a Fast Pass that I never managed to use. I was really excited to ride it. But then I got nervous since I have a fear of heights.

Surprisingly, I was fine until the window opens and you see the view of California Adventure park. I didn't want to see that view while I fell so I kept my eyes shut. The falling ride part didn't bother me. Just that and my fear of heights, but it turns out you don't look at that as you drop. I might have to try it again with my eyes wide open!

We checked out Cars Land. So cute. It's like being in the movie. But by then all the Fast Passes were gone for the Radiator Springs Races and the wait was 140 minutes. We decided to pass. We hopped on Ariel's ride (very sweet.) We headed back to Soaring to use the Fast Pass we'd picked up. Then Grizzly River Run was next. We got wet, but it was hot so dried quickly. While Leah and Kim used a Fast Pass to ride the big roller coaster, we got a spot for lunch.

My post-Whole 30 treat for today was a Ghirardelli Hot Fudge Sundae. I used to live in San Francisco and this was my fave thing in Fisherman's Wharf.  So very yummy and worth the splurge food-wise.

We headed back to the hotel. I took off my shorts and put on a skirt. It was time for the conference to really start for me. I met Bryony Green, the Senior Editor for the Harlequin Romance line at Starbuck's. We had a nice chat about the line. Then it was off to the Literacy Signing.

Four hundred authors were signing. I must admit I loved not participating this year. I supported literacy by be a buyer instead. My mom will be receiving an autographed copy of Barbara Freethy's latest release! Usually I sell a couple of books (less than five) and have to sit there for two hours (three this year). This year I got to walk around and talk to all the authors, bump into people and buy books. It was so much more fun!

I dropped off my things at the room, changed from the skirt into a pair of jean capris, grabbed my jacket then headed off to the annual ROMEX party (ROMEX is a loop I've belonged to since 1995.) I couldn't stay long because we had to get back to California Adventure to see Color of Wonder.

Wow! That's all I can say about the show. It was water, lights, other special effects and clips from Pixar and Disney movies over the years. So awesome! I didn't take any pictures because I just didn't think my iPhone 3GS was up to the task!

We had fifteen minutes until the park closed at that point so hopped on Goofy's roller coaster. I thought it would be a silly little ride, but it was actually pretty fun. We then went to Disneyland. The Matterhorn line was too long so we rode Snow White and Buzz Lightyear's Astroblasters again.

By then we needed to get back on the shuttle bus to return to the hotel. Even though the conference started, it was still very much a vacation day. But today I have to buckle down and get to work. Though I will be hitting the parks around six! I want to see the fireworks from inside tonight!

Hope all is well where you are!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

RWA Conference Day 1

Romance Writers of America conference starts tonight in Anaheim! So here's my recap of my first day here. 

It felt like I'd just gone to bed when my alarm rang at 3:15 am yesterday! I was the first of the group of four to arrive at the airport so I used the time to input cell numbers into my iPhone and check email. Jenna Bayley-Burke arrived next. Terri Reed and Lissa Manley were next. Before I knew it we were on our way.

First, I have to say that Virgin America is an awesome airline. Granted the planes are new, but they are so nice and comfy. Each seat has a monitor where you can watch movies, follow the flight on the map, play games! There is a handhold remote to use with the games or you can even chat with others on the plane! Flirting at 35,000 feet!

We arrived in LAX, hopped on the Karmel Shuttle we'd reserved and were in Anaheim faster than we expected. No traffic at all!

Even though we were at the Anaheim Hilton early, we were allowed to check into our rooms. We took a few minutes to freshen up and unpack, met up with Leah Vale then were off to Disneyland. The hotel gift shop sells ART passes, which is the transportation to the resort area so we're set for a few days.

The entrance to Disneyland has changed a little, but there was the same anticipation mixed with excitement in the air. Our first stop was Thunder Mountain to get a Fast Pass, then we headed over to the French Market for lunch. We were starving!

During lunch a jazz band played. Leah was dancing in her seat. She caught the eye of the sax player who was really funny. He made the "I'm watching you sign" then fanned himself with his hat. After lunch, we'd made a bathroom stop. Leah was putting on her lipstick when he walked by. The sax player gave her a strand of gold Mardi Gras beads for being his "inspiration." Leah was blushing every shade of read imaginable. Of course, Jenna and I were giggling so hard we totally forgot to take a picture of the moment!

Disneyland was packed, but we had lots of fun catching up while we waited in line. I had my splurge from my healthy eating/post-Whole-30 by having a frozen banana. I used to eat those there when I was a kid. So yummy!

I really like the new additions to It's a Small World. I remember it closing right after we left the last time we were there (back in '08 to celebrate Rose's 5th birthday.) I don't know if that's when they added in the specific Disney characters but it was so fun to see new stuff in there.

We managed to hit a lot of the big rides in spite of the crowds. We headed back to the hotel to meet Harlequin Romance authors Donna Alward, Fiona Harper and Barb Wallace for dinner. After that we were back on the shuttle bus to the Magic Kingdom. We caught the tail end of the fireworks then after an attempt to ride the Matterhorn which ended up breaking, rode Space Mountain and Star Tours.

I love, absolutely love the new Star Tours! So cool. And you get to wear stylish glasses.

We headed back to the hotel around midnight. I was crashed in bed by 12:17 am! A long, but very fun day.

Today I'm off to California Adventure! I can't wait! What are you doing?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Disneyland or Bust

funny cat pictures - Can I gives you a lift?  I be heading to Kansas!
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Forget Kansas! Today I'm on my way to Disneyland. Well, LAX first. Then the Anaheim Marriott second then Disneyland. I cannot wait! I'm hoping we're there by 10 am! Fingers crossed!

It's conference time again. Imagine fifteen hundred romance authors in Mickey Ears! Okay, I can't quite see that, but the Happiest Place on Earth is the perfect place for a conference. The last time I was in Anaheim for Romance Writers of America's national conference was in 1998. I was a Golden Heart Finalist, had sold my first two books and had my four month old daughter Mackenna with me. Hubby played nanny. That was fourteen years ago. How time flies!

I'll be blogging about the conference this week and posting pics! If there's any romance author in particular you want me to take a pic of let me know in the comment section and I'll see if I can find them at the Literacy Signing on Wednesday evening.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Manic Monday

funny cat pictures - LIARS, LIARS, PANTS ON FIRE!
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This LOLcat made me laugh this morning. After a busy weekend (four days really) where I was away more than I was home, my cats definitely got into some trouble. Not quite as bad as dying a white cat black, but there was some clean up to do.

I'm busy packing for the national RWA conference in Anaheim. I leave tomorrow morning on a super early flight with three writers from my local chapter: Jenna Bayley-Burke, Lissa Manley and Terri Reed. The timing means getting up when it's still nighttime, but that will get us to Disneyland that much faster. Sleep or Mickey Mouse? Easy decision!

I'm not doing the literacy signing this year for a couple of reasons. One, I was thinking it might be fun to just walk around and visit people who I never get to see. One thing about conference is I keep seeing the same people over and over again. Somehow I miss a whole bunch who I know are there, but never end up running into. And two, the deadline for sign-ups came at a bad time. They sent out a reminder but with all that was going on with my friend in San Diego going into a hospice facility and writing, it just slipped by.

My prayers go out to all affected by the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. I don't know about you, but this has hit me really hard. My fourteen year old had been at the movies earlier that night. She and I have gotten into it this past year about her wanting to go to midnight premieres with her friends. I've always worried about what could happen after the movie got out. Never ever considered something would ever happen inside the theater.

Well, I've got lots to do today to get ready for tomorrow. I will be blogging about the conference this week. I still haven't figured out how to sync photos from my iPhone to my MacBookPro, but I can always email them to myself if I can't find my cord!

Hope you have a wonderful Monday!

Friday, July 20, 2012


Funny Pictures - Cute Kittens
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

I love this video. Of course, they're playing my absolute favorite music in the entire world! Enjoy!

Hope you have a joyful Saturday!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Long Course Championships

funny cat pictures - wat hoomin saiz
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This time last year, my son Finn was wearing a cast on his left hand. That meant he couldn't swim at the Long Course Championships aka State. He was pretty bummed because this was the first time he'd qualified to compete.

Fast forward a year. His arm isn't broken, and State begins today. He's thrilled to be competing.

We're heading out early in order to get to Mount Hood Community College for seven o'clock warm-ups. We'll repeat this on Friday, Saturday and Sunday though hubby and I might be splitting who goes where each day. With three kids, it's rare that we can both watch one do something unless the stars align just right or someone offers to take one of the other kidlets to an activity. Not to mention hubby has to work during the week! Me? I'll be taking my alphasmart with me to work on the new book!

What will you be doing today?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

One Thing

funny cat pictures - Your house cleaning antics do not amuse me
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My daughters are crazy about One Direction. We listen to the cd over and over again when we're in the minivan and at home. Needless to say I have the lyrics memorized. And I have a couple of favorites tunes myself #3 and #13 on the CD to be exact.

I had to smile when I saw this parody of their newest song One Thing by Pup Direction. It happens to be the third song on the CD, too!

In case you haven't heard the real song, here it is...

Which one do you like best?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cool Thoughts

funny cat pictures - And you think I, your kitteh, are unreasonable?  Yeesh.
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If you've read this blog for over a year (or longer for a few of you die-hards who I love), you know every summer brings posts about the heat and my lamenting the lack of a/c. But there's been none of that this year. Oh, it's still hot here though we're getting little rain every now and again. But when I was in San Diego in May, we had a heat pump installed.

Best. Thing. Ever.

I'm never hot. In fact, it's taken a bit to figure out the right temperature so I don't have to wear a sweatshirt inside. But it's seriously awesome. I finally put my foot down this spring. Hubby grew up on Long Island on the water and never had a/c. I have no idea how they survived because the humidity is stifling back there. Anyway, he never saw the need. Still boggles the mind, but maybe it's an east coast thing. Or maybe it's just him. But every summer for the past seventeen years (how long we've been married), it's been a battle between my "I'm dying" and his "Think cool thoughts."

I finally won.

Now, he admits he was not wrong (even if I think so) but stubborn. He loves having a cool house more than I do. The kids are happier and so are the fur babies, especially Chaos, our Norwegian Elkhound with all that fur! I like not having to complain about being hot! A win-win for all involved. Finally!

Monday, July 16, 2012


funny cat pictures - Not only will this hurt...  but your dignity will not be spared either...
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I'm late blogging this morning, but I had to run one of my cats, fifteen year old Spirit, to the vet. The news isn't good. Her kidneys are failing. We'll be doing sub-q fluids for her. But hearing the vet say she won't be around much longer was so hard. I still can't believe it.

Spirit on the chair. Beauty underneath.
Anyway, I really don't know what else to say. But I hope your Monday is going a lot better than mine.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Random Saturday

funny cat pictures - Lolcats: I wonder
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Have you heard about Mayor Stubbs of Talkeetna, Alaska? Stubbs just happens to be a cat. You can read about him in this Fox News article.

Rose's 200m Freestyle Relay team won their heat at State yesterday and came in 12th overall. So proud of all the girls!

Have you heard about the new Oz the Great and Powerful movie coming out? I hadn't until I stumbled across this trailer.

I like the idea of a Wizard of Oz prequel, but I think it'll all be in the execution something you can't really tell from a trailer. Is it something you'd want to see?

I finished my Whole 30 and lost 15 pounds. I'll write a post about it all eventually. No time right now.

I was gone for almost 9 hours yesterday driving between OR and WA with three kids all having different things to do. I managed two hours of writing at a Starbucks while my son was at a birthday party, so I'm hoping to get some more writing accomplished today. We woke up to rain so that'll help keep me inside, too!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bow & Arrows

funny cat pictures - Why can't you just read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games like all the other kids?
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Two of my kidlets read Hunger Games. I read the trilogy, too. So what comes after reading the books and seeing the first movie?

Archery lessons.

Last night, the five of us headed to Archery World in Vancouver for a private lesson. The youngest is too young for the Hunger Games, but she  was up for learning to shoot a bow and arrow.

I'd looked into summer archery camps. One looked very cool, but it was quite pricey especially with three kids who would want to attend. I decided a more cost effective way was to do a private lesson. If they liked it I could buy them gear and just let them keep practicing.

Needless to say, they loved it. Not surprisingly, Rose was a natural, but she got tired pretty fast. It didn't take long for the other two to consistently hit the target, either. The instructor also had hubby and I shoot. It was really fun.

We now own three bows, fifteen arrows and a family pass to go shooting.  It's fun to see everyone so excited. They can't wait to go back!

Hope you have a nice weekend!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Life is Good!

funny cat pictures - Yep.
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I love this LOLcat. It's exactly how I feel right now.

It's Friday the 13th and my two black cats, Yoda and Beauty, are chasing each other around the house making lots of noise and having a blast!

The revisions are off. I'm working on my new book. Today is also day 30 of Whole 30. I've almost made it!

Last night, the kidlets and I finally saw Snow White and the Huntsman. I went only for one reason—to see Chris Hemsworth! I really enjoyed him in it.

Tonight the kidlets have an archery lesson. It's the one thing they asked to do this summer. Rather than a summer camp, since I have no idea whether they'll like it or not, we're doing a private lesson. Then we can see if this is just something Hunger Games inspired they wanted to try or something they want to do more of.

Not much else to say! I hope life is good wherever you are!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Computer issues

funny cat pictures - Y call a teknishun  when ur LOLcat can fix it?
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My one hour appointment at the Apple Store in Bridgeport Village turned into three and a half hours. I worked with three different employees during that time, too. Thank goodness I'd brought my revisions. I'd also brought my kids, but fortunately they could play with various iPods and iPads and Macs all they wanted. And now they each want something: Mackenna wants a 13" Mac Book Air, Finn wants a black iPad and Rose wants a white iPad. I guess I need to buy a lottery ticket or write another book!

Finally after downloads and installs and restoring stuff, my MacBook Pro is all updated and working as it should. It wasn't before. It's also now synced with my newly updated iPhone. So yeah! I'm wondering if some of the issues I've had with photos and stuff will no longer be a problem. Fingers crossed.

In other news, I emailed the revisions on my Hood Hamlet book. Crossing appendages once again that this time it's accepted. But you never know!

Today I'm going back to my new project. I had some ideas about it a couple of days ago so am happy to be able to work on it again!

What's going on with you?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hump day randomness

funny cat pictures - As long as u BELIEVE in urself
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The LOLcat above is Yoda's catchphrase if he had one. The smaller the box, the better. And he's not a small cat!

I'm almost finished with the revisions-that-won't-end. I typed in everything and was over 1K words too long. So I've been cutting. Again. But I plan to be finished tonight. Fingers crossed.

Today I have an appointment at the Apple store. When MobileMe moved to iCloud on 7/1, my email went crazy. For some reason I can't upgrade my operating system and you need that to run iCloud. I finally figured out how to access my email, but it's web-based. I sure hope they can help me! I love my MacBook Pro but this has been very frustrating.

Are you a Mac or a PC person?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


funny cat pictures - Kitteh, you had me at W--
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My world is so dominated by my four-legged furbabies it isn't funny. I was up late writing (my afternoon and evening were spent shuttling kids around town to various sports and activities), but up an hour before my alarm was set to go off because of my dog and cats, who were hungry. Of course, I could have rolled over and gone back to sleep, but instead I got up and fed them.

At least now I can get some more revising in before it's time for swim practice! What are you up to today?

Monday, July 09, 2012

Day 26

funny pictures - Cyoot Kitteh of teh Day: Kitteh's Big Climb
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I feel like this kitty! My big climb, if you want to call it that, is nearing the end. I'm on Day 26 of Whole 30 and feel awesome. It's been twenty-six days of healthy eating—meat, veggies, fruit and nuts. So what If I haven't had any dairy, grains (not even gluten-free ones), sugar, alcohol and legumes? I've survived a deadline with no chocolate. Revisions, too! If you're a long-time reader of this blog, you know how huge that is for me.

The funny thing is eating healthy hasn't been as tough as I thought it would be. Just writing that makes me shake my head, but face it. Eating healthy wasn't the norm around here. It was all about convenience and what tasted good. Rather what I thought tasted good.

But the Whole 30 program is so strict you can't say you didn't know what you could or couldn't eat. It's hard to fail unless you have zero willpower. As long as I read the labels, I'm fine. I'm much better at that now. It's amazing what they add sugar to these days. It was even in the minced ginger I'd purchased at New Seasons that remains unopened in the pantry.

I've realized how easy it is for food habits to form. Whole 30 stresses real food over convenience food. I was worried about the time preparing meals, but it hasn't been bad at all. The kids have liked all but one of the meals (and that was one someone had posted on their Facebook page when they asked for slow-cooker recipes rather than one the program provided.)

The best part is how good I feel. I really meant what I wrote above...I do feel awesome. My mood, my energy and no pain in my knee or my shoulder. I haven't taken any ibuprofen this entire time. (It's suggested not to take any NSAIDs and use plain old aspirin if need be.) But I haven't used any which is pretty incredible given the last couple of years! I just sucked it up through the headaches the first couple of days. They call it "Carb flu." I call it sugar withdrawal.

At the end of the thirty days, you start reintroducing foods back into your diet one at a time. It'll be interesting to see what happens. I have a feeling dairy might be the big one for me. Does that mean I'll never have ice cream again if that turns out to be the case? Nope. But it means I'll be choosy about when I do eat it and save ice cream for special splurges.

Of course, I have until Friday still to go with the initial program. I can't wait to step on the scale. (You aren't supposed to do that for the 30 days.) People say I've lost weight. I'm curious to see if I have! I definitely don't feel as bloated. (Weight loss isn't a goal for this program. They believe by eating healthier and making better food choices you'll naturally lose the weight.)

If you want a better explanation about what I've been doing these past 26 days, here's Whole 30's 60 second elevator pitch from the Whole9 blog about their nutrition program:
I eat real food – fresh, natural food like meat, vegetables and fruit. I choose foods that are nutrient-dense, with lots of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, over foods that have more calories but less nutrition. And food quality is important – I’m careful about where my meat, seafood and eggs come from, and buy organic local produce as often as possible.

This is not a “diet” – I eat as much as I need to maintain strength, energy, activity levels and a healthy body weight. I aim for well-balanced nutrition, so I eat both animals and a significant amount of plants. I’m not lacking carbohydrates – I just get them from vegetables and fruits instead of bread, cereal or pasta. And my meals are probably higher in fat than you’d imagine, but fat is a healthy source of energy when it comes from high-quality foods like avocado, coconut and grass-fed beef.

Eating like this is ideal for maintaining a healthy metabolism and reducing inflammation within the body. It’s good for body composition, energy levels, sleep quality, mental attitude and quality of life. It helps eliminate sugar cravings and reestablishes a healthy relationship with food. It also works to minimize your risk for a whole host of lifestyle diseases and conditions, like diabetes, heart attack, stroke and autoimmune.
Hope you enjoy your Monday!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Olympic Moms

funny cat pictures - Er . . . it ' s  a  church ,  right ?
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The girls and I won't make it to church until later tonight. Thank goodness one of the churches around here has a Sunday evening Mass. It really helps when we have stuff going on. The three of us were up at the crack of dawn. Well, five thirty this morning. Mackenna had a dog show with Chaos in Chehalis. Rose had a swim meet, and she had to eat a good breakfast.

Two early mornings have definitely taken their toll on me. I'm ready for a nap. But I had to admit driving to Mount Hood Community College this morning and glancing at Rose covered with her orange fleece blanket and sound asleep made me think of this:

I'd seen snippets of the ad during the US Swim Trials, but had never seen the entire ad until today. Very sweet!

Hope you have a nice Sunday!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Cat beds

funny cat pictures - At least I didn't get a banana.
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This LOLcat made me laugh. This could be one of my cats. I was at Costco and found the coolest cat bed. It's woven like a basket with a circular part where the cat sleeps on a lamb's wool bed that's held up on a matching stand. It's so cute and cozy I almost bought two.

Of course, the cats preferred the big box it came in. They still do. Oh, once in a while I'll find someone sleeping in it, but not as often as I thought.

I keep putting them in it just so they know it's theirs. As if anything in this house isn't there. LOL! So we'll see if they start using it more!

Hope you're enjoying your weekend! Mine's been full of soccer, swimming and revisions. And lots and lots of sun!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Back at it

funny cat pictures - Uh, oh!
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My cats have been anything but silent since we got home last night. Spirit especially is so happy we're home. Either that or she's excited she can now plot my final demise. But she hasn't left my side except to eat or play. She actually played with the laser light last night something she hasn't done in a long time. Maybe I should go away more often!

Of course, we're back to the same old same. Soccer tourney, swim meet and dog show this weekend. Worse, the flames are licking at my heals once again. More revisions arrived on my latest complete. I also have a proposal due which means the delivery date for that will have to be changed. That always wigs me out since I usually have due dates picked for certain reasons that don't always have to do with the writing but life and family.

One thing I learned being away in Sunriver is we need more balance in our lives. Me, in particular. Looking forward to making some much needed changes around here!

Well, after I finish the revisions and another complete ;)

Have a great Friday! I'll be working on revisions and watching my son play soccer today. He has two games that are about ten minutes from our house. (Both his tournaments are super close to home this summer!) I'm really looking forward to seeing him play!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Final Day

funny cat pictures - Hello
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The kittens above are saying hello. We'll be saying goodbye to Sunriver. It's been such a great vacation. Exactly the break that we all needed. Now I have to get everything packed up, the beds stripped and the dishes in the dishwasher!

Our 4th was very nice. A bike ride, sledding hill, geo-caching and a trip to the Sunriver Village to see the 4th of July festivities. They had games for the kids, a dunk tank, a BBQ and a very cool exhibit with local first responders, National Guard, SAR and the Forestry Service. Of course I went into writer mode and asked lots of questions! How could I not with so much right there at my fingertips! We capped off Independence Day with dinner out then driving to Bend to watch the fireworks being shot off on Pilot Butte.

What did you do yesterday?

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Indepence Day!

funny pictures - Cyoot Kitteh of teh Day: Happeh Fourth ob Jooly!
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The sun is shining on this 4th of July! In our neighborhood back home and here at Sunriver, kids are busy decorating their bikes for a parade. My kidlets decided to pass. They'd rather go biking to the river. But we'll be dropping by the festivities later.

One thing they're really missing this year are the fireworks. Our neighborhood goes crazy each night leading up to tonight. It's the dads' Christmas! But fireworks are banned in Sunriver. The two people who are very pleased about this are Chaos and I since I end up having to hold her while she shakes the entire time they are being shot off. There's a fireworks show on Pilot Butte in Bend later tonight so we'll be able to see those.

What are you doing today? Whatever it is and wherever you might be, I hope you have a very Happy Fourth of July!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


funny cat pictures - Bring me a glass of wine, would you?
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This LOLcat has the right idea! I'd settle for a glass of iced tea, some avocado and turkey slices! (Whole 30 is definitely changing the way I see food!)

I am enjoying vacation so much. Relaxing, sleeping, playing. I can't tell you how much we all needed this time away.

Not much to say except I hope those of you affected by the heat are finding some relief and special prayers to one of my blog readers, Quilt Lady, who is having back surgery. I hope everything goes well, your recovery is quick and we hear from you soon!

Enjoy your Tuesday! I plan on enjoying mine!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Happy Birthday Chaos!

funny pictures of cats with captions
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Today, our beloved Chaos turns seven! She's now considered a veteran and can go back into the breed ring at dog shows even though she's been spayed. Mackenna can't wait to show her there, even though they've been doing Junior Showmanship. (They placed 2nd yesterday at a show in Redmond!)

While the cats are at home with a housesitter (and doing well, yay!), Chaos is here with us in Sunriver having a blast. She's been going for lots of walks. We went geo-caching yesterday and she came face-to-face (well, within twenty feet) of four deer. The hunter instinct in her (Norwegian Elkhounds are used to hunt moose) went into overdrive. I've never seen her ears stand so straight or such a perfect stack. It was really cute.

Right now she's on a nice long walk with hubby while the three kidlets do a two-hour trail ride. They've been wanting to go horseback riding for a while now. After an early morning at a dog show, bike riding, geo-caching, walking and tennis, they let me sleep in so I have a nice quiet house all to myself! I'll head over to the stable when they're coming back in, but hubby's been sending me pics of them heading out!

Here are some pics of Chaos from the time we adopted her when she was 2 1/2 years old. She's such a great dog. We really lucked out when I called the PSNEA Rescue Coordinator looking to adopt a Norwegian Elkhound who needed rescueing and we ended up with one of her dogs. But she felt we would be a good fit and it's been a perfect match.
Fresh from grooming

Go find your own to play with!

Not feeling well.
Hiking Mount Hood with daddy
Chaos and Yoda - the early years

It's not staying, right?
I hope you enjoy your Monday! We'll be spoiling our birthday dog with lots of love, treats and walks. Maybe we can find her some more deer to look at, too!