Saturday, June 30, 2012

My Heroes... Julia Child...

I know, many people will question my choice. I chose Julia Child because she changed my life. Maybe not in big ways or even particularly significant ways, though it depends on how you look at it.

I love to cook.

Julia was a pioneer in the cooking industry. She and the Galloping Gourmet were the two cooking shows I remember growing up. GG cooked with a lot of wine, so I didn't find him particularly helpful. When he returned years later, he was cooking healthy but using spices to cut the fat. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to pepper. Any kind of pepper. I'm able to cheat a little bit, but not much and not often.

I'd grown up hearing that only men could succeed in cooking. All the great chefs were men. Except Julia Child. I was deterred from pursuing cooking as a career, but no one could stop me from cultivating it as a beloved hobby.

Experimenting is part of the fun. I remember having three recipes for Angel Biscuits. I tried all three, at the same, and taste tested. I kept two of the recipes, noting one was savory and one was sweet. I would have explored a lot more if things had been different, but they weren't.

Because of Julia Child, I always cook with unsalted butter. Always. A corner of my freezer is stocked with butter. It freezes very nicely. I learned the importance of quality ingredients.

Granted, there were a lot of her recipes I knew were beyond my means to prepare. I'm practical, or try to be, most of the time. I have been extravagant a time or two.

Watching Julia with Jaques Pepin, I finally learned how to flip vegetables in a pan. Now, whenever I cook zucchini, I think about the lesson they taught as an aside while they were preparing some side dish together. I don't even remember what they were cooking, but I use the jerk and flip technique on a regular basis.

As particular as she was, she also excelled at being flexible in the kitchen, or at least I learned to accept things didn't always turn out perfectly. She made mistakes as an expert. It was okay if I made mistakes as an amateur. I also learned there were many ways to do the same thing. There were very few "only way to do it," but there were ways she preferred to do it. I learned it was okay to choose my own preferred way.

She loved food, preparing it, creating with it, enjoying its flavors and textures and aromas. That part of her lives in me. I might have explored cooking regardless, but her enthusiasm for what she loved and her choice to live boldly are things I want for me.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Chamomile and lavender...

The I woke up and felt like my head was clearer. Is it really this simple?

The 23rd and I only had 3 hours sleep last night. I'm tired, and I know I'll need to take a nap later, but at least I feel like I have a brain... Is it feeling like I have a brain? Or is it a reduced anxiety level...

The 24th, and I had echinacea tea last night, since I'm short one for the chamomile/lavender. I'm feeling tired, today. I'm not surprised. I slept almost eight hours last night and woke up to weird dreams. I did meet the deadline, but it wasn't easy. Giving myself the day off, today, sort of. :-D

The 25th, and back on the chamomile and lavender. No dreams like the night before. I'm having a difficult time believing this little bit makes such a huge difference. Making it through the day, with my head clearer than I'm accustomed to...really. A little scary, when I think about it.

The 26th, and the weight is going up. NO! However, my sleep is good, but not enough. The deadline is this Saturday night. I'll sleep, that isn't an answer. I have to figure out something else.

The 27th, and again last night I planned to go to bed earlier than midnight. It didn't happen, but I did make it by midnight. I woke up okay. I'm feeling stressed. Time to talk to someone about one of the things bothering me.

The 28th, and I woke a little fuzzy, but my head is a little stuffy. Even so, I managed to finish my scheduled work. I'm madly editing: finding words I use too often, cleaning things up.

I prefer life with chamomile and lavender tea. Definite addition to my daily routine.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Week Fifty-Three of REAL...

Reminders: REAL - Reduce stress Exercise Adequate sleep Lower caloric intake

What Navy SEALs are required to do to make it into BUD/S:

Important note: SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy was killed seven years ago, today, in Operation Red Wings. May God bless those who serve and their families. Never forget.

The 22nd: weigh in: 234.6 lb. Wait...what? What is going on? I haven't felt safe this past week. Does it really make that big a difference? Apparently. SEAL puppy rep. Two-mile walk. SEAL puppy rep.

The 23rd: weigh in: 234.4 lb. Three hours sleep last night, not because I couldn't sleep. Deadline is today. I can sleep next week, after the second deadline is met. Two-mile walk and physical therapy.

The 24th: weigh in: 235 lb. Grrrrr...okay, being nice to myself. I hit the deadline, last night. I'm stressed. I have another deadline at the end of the week. First time for everything, and it always stresses me. I'll do better with practice. Having slept only 3 hours the night before last didn't help either. I slept 8 hours last night, but they were exactly a restful 8.

The 25th: weigh in: 235.2 lb. BAH! I've been feeling under attack, clearly. I hope this week is better. SEAL puppy rep. Two-mile walk. SEAL puppy rep.

The 26th: weigh in: 236.4 lb. Double BAH! I'm still in battle mode. How do I get out of this? One-mile walk. Physical therapy.

The 27th: weigh in: 237.2 lb. I want to sit down and cry, but that won't help. I know this is directly related to me feeling my boundaries have been trashed. I'm trying to re-establish them. They will come back healthier. SEAL puppy rep. Two-mile walk. SEAL puppy rep. Eating better, today, and shifting the way I think about some things.

The 28th: weigh in: 236.8 lb. Waist circumference: 39". Better. One-mile walk. Physical therapy. I'm feeling better on every level.

Inspiration, at least to me:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Itty-bitty exercise tip...

Starting 11 June:

As a rule, I don't watch reality shows, except Chef Ramsey.

Having said that, I watched Extreme Weight Loss, the other night. Wow. I liked the premise, taking a full year to recover her health.

Wow... she lost in three months more than I need to lose in total. I actually found it encouraging.

Of course, there was the usual eat whole grains. Great. Ignore that and move on.

What could I take from this?

It can be done, in a healthy way.

I took to heart the trainer's advice to focus on the stretching part of my exercises instead of the crunch part. Wow... do I feel a difference.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Out of Left Field by Morgan Kearns...

We'll start with planning to buy the book. I first heard Morgan Kearns talk about
Out of Left Field at the Glendale Chocolate Affair. I hadn't read a single book by her, yet. I took one of her pretty little book cover cards, with chocolate attached, and didn't think too much about it. I was busy. Then I started seeing her on Facebook. She posted her cover for Out of Left Field, and hey! It's Jimmy! Enough said.

Yes, I have purchased the occasional book for the cover alone.

On facebook, she started talking about having the books at Arizona Dreamin'. I thought, "Why not?" Then I thought, "It's the third book. You might want to read the first two." I did. I knew I wanted book three. Arizona Dreamin' had a bookstore, with books at a discounted price. I was on a budget. I allowed myself to buy one book.

I loved Out in Left Field! Xavier captured my heart, and Frankie is so sweet. Jimmy on the cover is a bonus. :-) This is the third book in Morgan's series "Deadlines and Diamonds." Each book is capable of being a stand alone read. I enjoy seeing characters from other books make an appearance. It's comforting to see old friends. Morgan's books are on my must buy list.

One of the things I love about Morgan's books: You cannot read one and think, "They're all variations on that." Each book is completely different. There are underlying similarities, as should be, because a book reflects an author at the very core of who they are. I don't mean settings or how steamy a book is or isn't. I mean things like honor, do-or-die, courage. I'm so looking forward to reading Morgan's other books. Wish lists are wonderful things.

From here on out, it's spoilers:

I fully expected to dislike Xavier. I did. He was a jerk. I wondered how he could possibly be found hero worthy. However, I now know Morgan's style well enough to know she'll work it out in a satisfying manner. She did.

The toy hunt is adorable.

Taking the Freedom Walk with them was an unexpected and enjoyable treat.

I wasn't surprised to learn Xavier's history. I was surprised by Frankie, and I loved it! I kept thinking it wasn't possible because nobody writes heroines like that. I know there are plenty of people who probably thought it was unbelievable, but not me.

I'm so glad Frankie held out for what she wanted in the long run and didn't settle for what she wanted right now. It really was a refreshing read.

I'm still smiling just thinking about it. Well done. Or is that home run? :-)

This is a book I'll be rereading, though I may need to buy a second copy so I don't wear out my autographed one. :-)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Carpe diem... NASCAR Sonoma...

NASCAR ~ Carl came in 21st. Ouch. Not his best track, ever. He's still 11th in the Chase. He needs a win. Go Carl!

Today, what absolutely positively must be done?

Laundry. Definitely.

Yea, editing. Manuscript is due at the end of the week, along with the Cover Art Request.

Deep breath.

I will do this.

Update: Then again, maybe not. I've done a little editing. Laundry is done. I worked on the Cover Art Input. It's almost finished. A few more boxes need to be filled, but I need to finish edits first. This is actually a really huge accomplishment. I'm feeling more comfortable on my second book. Practice, as they say. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #108...

~Casting Crown's Voice of Truth with scriptures
With lyrics:

~Final edit is in. I have no idea how it is. Please God, let it be okay.

~Thank God for friends who are supportive and make me laugh.

~Books that make me laugh, cry, and think, and leave me feeling uplifted, and wanting to be a better person.

~Yummy P.Croissant, and good company.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Heroes... SEALs...

Yesterday, I read Evin's blog and found myself tearing up. I featured Evin in my blog when he started his journey across America. Every day he honors a different SEAL lost

Yesterday he honored Thomas Ratzlaff. God bless him. Evin also briefly shared the story of a SEAL who survived and IED, Elliot Miller.

It takes incredible courage to sacrifice your life for what you believe in. It also takes incredible courage to continue to live your life in the face of odds that others would consider insurmountable.

I want to be brave enough to be willing to die for my convictions. I also need to be brave enough to live for them.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chamomile and vanilla tea...

Friday the 15th, I woke at 2am and was able to go back to sleep. When I dragged myself out of bed I wasn't feeling quite as energized, but I wonder how much of that has to do with the "let down" of finishing the rewrite.

Saturday the 16th, and I went to bed last night about 11. I woke at 4am, but was able to go back to sleep. A little trouble waking at 5:30am, but I'm still not sure how much finishing the rewrite has to do with, since editing, especially heavy editing, is very taxing. We'll see how the week goes. I had dreams, but they weren't scary, just odd and disjointed, my mind simply sorting out the previous day.

Sunday the 17th, and I was in bed by 1am last night. I woke at 6:30am and let myself go back to bed, but ended up rolling out of bed at 7:30am. Bad day. Editing took a nasty turn. I discovered Yahoo -- when they updated their calendar, this past week -- deleted all my birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions, birth and death dates of dear friends I wanted to remember. Everything. Woke up restless, with dreams, not so pleasant dreams. I'm not sure I'm going to make the whole week without going back to the chamomile with lavender. Took a three-hour nap and woke up still tired.

Monday the 18th, and I woke up tired after sleeping six hours. I'm not liking the chamomile and vanilla blend very much.

Tuesday the 19th, and I slept five hours okay. Feeling worn out.

Wednesday the 20th, and I'm back to my usual sleeping habits, feeling tired, my guard is down. This is not going well.

Thursday the 21st, and I'm more stressed than I've been in a while. It very well may have nothing to do with the tea. I'm looking forward to going back to the chamomile and lavender blend, tonight. Ended up taking a nap. No surprise after only three hours sleep last night. I'm looking forward to sleeping better, tonight, I hope.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Week Fifty-Two of REAL...

One Year Mark

Time to reflect. How am I doing? One year ago, I started this plan, June 23rd. At the time, I was bouncing around 240 lb. Sometimes higher, sometimes a little lower. Waist circumference was 42". I walked two miles on Saturdays, with my sister. I did 30 reps of my basic physical therapy exercises (three upper body exercises), with no weights. I started with one 1 rep of my SEAL puppy, though I added quickly, but we're looking at how I started. I mean I did one push up, one crunch, and one count of flutter kicks. Really. I had to start somewhere. I couldn't kneel, at all.

Reminders: REAL - Reduce stress Exercise Adequate sleep Lower caloric intake

What Navy SEALs are required to do to make it into BUD/S:

RIght up front: Never in a million years could I do what is required. However, I needed to start somewhere. Considering how fit the SEALs are, I figured it was a good place to start. So my SEAL puppy reps consist of girls' pushups, crunches, and flutter kicks, a SEAL training basic. I started with doing one of each. I'm maintaining my 33 reps but working on holding the extensions.

The 15th: weigh in: 232.6 lb. SEAL puppy rep. Two-mile walk. SEAL puppy rep.

The 16th: weigh in: 232.2 lb. Three-mile walk. Physical therapy.

The 17th: weigh in: 232.2 lb.

The 18th: weigh in: 232.4 lb. SEAL puppy rep. Two-mile walk. SEAL puppy rep. I know it looks like I'm at a plateau. I'm not. I've been stressing, and that makes it difficult to lose weight. In part, I need to get over the idea of dropping below 230 lb. I'm still struggling with thinking in terms of not hiding behind my weight. I'm not there yet, but I'm not giving up.

The 19th: weigh in: 232.2 lb. One-mile walk. Physical therapy.

The 20th: weigh in: 233.8 lb. What? Oh. I'm stressed. I haven't been eating every few hours, instead when I'm hungry enough to distract me from working on the edits. Also had a bit of a temper tantrum. Today I did my usual routine: SEAL puppy rep. Two-mile walk. SEAL puppy rep. I'll be more aware, today.

The 21st: weigh in: 234.8 lb. Waist circumference: 39". One-mile walk. Physical therapy. Yes, I'm stressed. Really stressed. Today. It ends. I will figure out a way to find peace.

So, a year later: I'm 10 lb lighter, bouncing around 230 lb. I walk 2 miles on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and 1 mile on Tuesday and Thursday, and 2-4 miles on Saturday. I do 33 reps of my SEAL adapted routine 2x on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I do 33 reps of my physical therapy (6 upper body exercises) 3x Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, with 2-lb weights. I'm able to kneel by myself and rise by myself. I am able to lay on my right side without sciatica pain. Not for every long, but it's more than I've been able to do since before 2004.

Inspiration, at least to me (Feb 2012):

The above picture was taken June 1st, 2012. Can't wait to see the next picture with Jimmy. :-)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Exercise encouragement...

Yep, I need it.

Exercise is not something I enjoy doing; it is something I must do in order to stay healthy.

John Bingham's website:

John Bingham is the one who said: "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."

I used to play outside, all the time. I ran around, a lot.

What happened?

Hormones. Yep. Dreaded hormones. My body made my life miserable. I could find no relief.

Eating was a nightmare all its own, and I'm not going there today.

I loved walking with my dog.

I'm getting ahead of myself.

In high school, I discovered dancing. I didn't take any dance classes because I figured I was too graceless. I grew fast in a short amount of time, and I truly was pretty clumsy. Not a big deal. I went to the school dances, and my boyfriend would take me out to dinner at places where they also had dancing. We went for the dancing.

When I was 18 years old, I tore all the ligaments in my ankle. It should have been put in a cast. It wasn't. By the time I took myself to the doctor, he informed me, with a shake of his head, that there was nothing he could do. He also sadly told me I'd have trouble with it for the rest of my life, and it would eventually lead to back problems. I could never wear high heels again or go dancing ever again. Eighteen years old and my life was over as I knew it. Hey! I was eighteen. I knew how to do dramatic.

I thought it was terrible at the time. Now, with a whole lot more wisdom, I'm able to look back and thank God for what happened. It changed my life forever, for the better. I just didn't appreciate it for a long time.

Different therapies were tried: Cortisone shot (never, ever again), a cast, and physical therapy for my ankle. The cast was a major mistake. The doctor realized it had allowed all the scar tissue to stiffen up. The pain was excruciating. The physical therapy could only be done in the office, and the fee wasn't cheap.

Walking became the one thing I knew I could do that would keep the scar tissue limber enough to avoid pain. My ankle still looks perpetually swollen, 30 years later.

As predicted, the scar tissue twisted my foot out, and threw me off balance. It was only a matter of time before my back gave out. It did in spectacular style. A herniated disc in my back. That's a whole story by itself. I landed in physical therapy, again, but this was completely different.

My new physical therapist was amazing, Craig Galbasini. He gave me exercises I could do at home, and he expected me to do them. I did. Faithfully.

The kicker? He taught me an exercise that straightened out my foot. It's fast and easy and painless. I only had to do it a few times, and here it is years later and my foot is still straight.

With my back trouble, I knew I'd be married to my physical therapy for the rest of my life. That didn't mean I liked it, only that I promised to stick to it, no matter what.

My commitment to my exercise wasn't stellar, until I started the REAL program.

This month is the one-year anniversary. What a difference a year makes.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Reading list and a little more...

Heart of a Desert Warrior by Lucy Monroe ~ Whoohoo! I love Lucy Monroe. She is on my Must Buy List, and I tend to put everything else aside to read her newest book as soon as it arrives. Her characters are vibrant and her stories interesting.

Four Times the Trouble by Tara Tyler Quinn was printed originally as Jacob's Girls. It's a delightful story of a radio celebrity with triplet girls and his radio co-host. Tara is also on my Must Buy List.

I honestly do not know what I would do without all the amazing friends with which I've been blessed. Life happened and wonderful friends showed up from all over, one way or another, ie, facebook, emails, and phone calls. Thank you, God, for all the angels.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Carpe diem... NASCAR Michigan...

Congratulations to Dale Earnhardt Jr. for breaking a four-year no-win streak. Carl came in 11th, and currently sits 11th in the standings.

What needs to be done, today:


I'm feeling a bit out of sorts and rough around the edges. The temperature is hot, and my body simply doesn't handle the heat well. Tummy isn't happy. Not sure what to do about it. Right now, my impression is: I was doing better on the chamomile and lavender tea. I'll give myself the whole week for the experiment. It may be a rough week. Live and learn. Reminder to myself: Once I know, then I'll have one more tool to help me be healthier.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #107...

~Chris Tomlin's Indescribable I needed the reminder.

~Amazing people who share what they learn, changing my life forever for the better.

~Characters that practically tell their own story, if I'll get out of the way.

~A/C in miserably hot weather.

~Burn Notice season 6 is now available on Hulu. Whoohoo!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Heroes... Texas Dad...

Maybe you've heard about him. Maybe you haven't.

The information has been sketchy to protect the identity of the little girl. I'm perfectly okay with that. I've never been one who needed every last detail.

What is important to know:

A Texas Dad caught a 47-year-old man molesting his 4-year-old daughter. He dragged the criminal off and beat him to death.

I don't condone killing, but I confess: I cheered.

I'm far from alone in my sentiment.

To all my male friends who agreed they'd have done the same thing to protect their daughters... it's a comfort to know I've surrounded myself by men who believe protecting innocence is worth fighting for at all costs.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Chamomile and lavender tea...

One of my blogging friends mentioned the benefits of blue chamomile for those of us who have trouble sleeping. I had chamomile and lavender tea sitting in my cupboard. It isn't exactly what was suggested, but I thought, "What's the harm?"

Friday the 8th, I woke up feeling all right, and had slept over five hours without waking. Not bad.

Saturday the 9th, I woke feeling pretty good, and had slept five hours without waking. Interesting.

Sunday the 10th, I slept 10 hours, though I woke after 5-1/2. However, it's important to note I was able to go back to bed and back to sleep. Most important: No nightmares. No dreams.

Monday the 11th. I was in bed by midnight last night, though I'd only been awake for just over 12 hours. I was able to go to sleep with relative easy, and woke up without too much difficulty.

Tuesday the 12th, and I was in bed by eleven last night. I woke just before five, without my alarm clock. The important thing is that I woke up feeling rested. I'm not quite sure what to think of all this. I find myself slowing down in the afternoon, yawning, having trouble focusing, slipping into the sense of not being able to stay awake, so took an hour nap.

Wednesday the 13th, and I'm feeling a bit tired. I slept over six hours last night, but woke to dreams. At least they weren't nightmares. Funnily enough, I was simply dreaming of the harem's pictures from Arizona Dreamin'. I'm praying I don't come down with the cold one of my roommates shared. So far so good. I did take an allergy pill this morning, and that seems to have helped with my breathing a bit.

Thursday the 14th, I was in bed by 11pm. I woke at 2am. Shoot. What was different? I went right back to sleep. Cool. Feeling a little rough around the edges, and yet more alert than I have in I don't know how long. I was able to complete my transcribing work and my editing. There wasn't any time for a nap, but I did close my eyes for a bit twice.

So far so good.

Next, I'm trying Chamomile and vanilla to see if there's a difference between the two, besides flavor.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Week Fifty-One of REAL...

Reminders: REAL - Reduce stress Exercise Adequate sleep Lower caloric intake

What Navy SEALs are required to do to make it into BUD/S:

RIght up front: Never in a million years could I do what is required. However, I needed to start somewhere. Considering how fit the SEALs are, I figured it was a good place to start. So my SEAL puppy reps consist of girls' pushups, crunches, and flutter kicks, a SEAL training basic. I started with doing one of each. This week, I increased my reps by 10%, up to 33.

The 8th: weigh in: 232 lb. SEAL puppy rep. Two-mile walk. SEAL puppy rep.

The 9th: weigh in: 231 lb. Two-mile walk. Physical therapy, with two-pound weights. Go me.

The 10th: weigh in: 231 lb. Slept 10 hours.

The 11th: weigh in: 231.8 lb. SEAL puppy rep. Two-mile walk. SEAL puppy rep. I'm slowing down my reps. Wow... tough. Keeping it up.

The 12th: weigh in: 231.8 lb. I'm actually not particularly unhappy about this weight. It isn't where I want to stay, but though it isn't moving, my walking capris are much looser. How my clothes fit matters more. One-mile walk. Physical therapy.

The 13th: weigh in: 233 lb. SEAL puppy rep. Two-mile walk. SEAL puppy rep.

The 14th: weigh in: 232.4 lb. Waist circumference: 39". One-mile walk. Physical therapy with two-pound weights. Doesn't look like much as changed, but I know my clothes are looser. I also admit I'm still trying to convince myself I don't need to hide behind my weight. Old habits die hard.

Is it a matter of trust? Not my strong suit. God excels at making weaknesses strengths. Oh. Laying it in His hands, and doing whatever I'm able to do my part.

Inspiration, at least to me:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Changes in this blog?

Ladyhawkhollow is my first blog and now one of three. I always knew it would be where experiments took place. Of late, the posts I've been planning are geared more toward improving my health. I'm trying a few new things.

I've been looking at my REAL program, and a lot is lost in my musings there, so I'm streamlining.

Thursday is accounting day for weight and workouts.

Friday, for the next week or two or three, I'm experimenting with sleep. I've used sleep deprivation as a tranquilizer for years. It was the only way to keep the nightmares at bay.

Saturday will remain my day for heroes. I need this. It's my heroes who help me to look to something better, to rise above, to reach deeper.

Sunday is my gratitude day, same as always. TGIS. :-)

Monday will remain Carpe Diem because I need a reminder to seize the day, especially on Mondays.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays will vary between books I've read and miscellaneous topics. I want to make my reading a higher priority. It's part of my career. I need to recognize it as such. Every once in a while, I need to do a brain dump, and this is the place. I'm discovering I don't need to do this as much as I used to, which I find fascinating.

Yes, I've actually been following this pattern for a while now. I needed to write it out, organize it, see it clearly. Taking the next step to becoming the person I want to be, or perhaps have always been but hadn't allowed myself to be. No matter. What matters is I am becoming complete.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book list for this week....

I read Morgan Kearns's Fade to Black. I did enjoy the book, by the time I reached the end. Yes, you heard a qualifier in there. I don't find infidelity sexy or admirable or hero/heroine-worthy. The hero and heroine are both in relationships when they meet. In fact, they're both in relationships with narcissists, one of which is actually a psychopath. I'm a strong believer in walking away from a relationship before starting a new one. I was in a relationship with a narcissist, long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away. I needed to change myself before I considered another relationship. His narcissism was not my fault. My attitude about how others could treat me had been honed by others. I couldn't change him, but I could change me. If you don't take the time to change yourself, then you're going to repeat history. Someone who is willing to cheat on their significant other, even if the other person is a rat, is sacrificing their personal honor. I did end up liking the hero and the heroine and happy for them. Another reason I love this kind of book: It makes me question my personal beliefs. Do I really disapprove of infidelity? Some people think it's sexy and exciting. Nope. I don't. Not at all. Morgan gives plenty of page time to the guilt they feel, so neither does she. She explored a human problem. She also gave me the opportunity to explore why I believe what I do. I don't believe in having a fall back answer like "It's against my religion." (Which it is, but it isn't the point.) I'm sorry, but that is a lame answer. You're using your religion as an excuse, a crutch. Grow a backbone. I don't like it because it's dishonorable. It dishonors every person involved and those whose lives they touch. It dishonors the personal relationships and the ideas embodied by those relationships. I'm glad Morgan wrote the book, and that she redeemed her characters in the end. It's a keeper.

Note: I had the opportunity to ask Morgan why she'd decided to write something so risky. I was right: she doesn't think infidelity is okay. Her reply that her characters had lead her there was one I definitely understood. Characters have a way of taking you places you never planned on going.

I loved Morgan Kearns's In It To Win It, the next in the series. It qualifies as steamy, with some drama. The hero was hero worthy, and the heroine found a special place in my heart.

Out of Left Field, the third book in Morgan Kearns's "Deadlines and Diamonds" series, is on the top of the TBR pile. The first two books I own on Kindle. This one, I bought the paperback. Yep, Jimmy Thomas is on the cover. :-) It was the one book I wanted from the Arizona Dreamin' Event. I almost didn't work up the courage, but at the last, I asked both Morgan and Jimmy to sign it.

At the conference, Morgan talked about upcoming books. I'm looking forward to them. (muttering under my breath: write faster) :-D

For the record: I've read several other books. Some simply aren't worth noting. Some I wanted to throw against the wall. I really, really hate stupid heroines. A few were okay but only because I skimmed. My keepers are not about being okay: I have to love them, or they're gone. I only write about the keepers.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Carpe diem... NASCAR Pocono...

Carl came in 11th. Not bad, but hoping for better next week.

Needing to be done today:

Laundry. No surprise there.
Transcribing a speech. I hope it's done today, but I'll only block and hour for it, then it's on to editing.
Editing ~ rewriting. I'm happy with the changes so far. No dawdling allowed. There isn't time.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #106

~Hillsong United The Stand

~Good friends.

~P.Croissant... yummy

~Fantastic editors.

~My sister called, this morning, and we chatted while she walked. I was already home from walking. Miles didn't matter. :-)

Here's the official picture from Arizona Dreamin' (Jimmy doesn't take a bad picture. Me, not so much.):

Saturday, June 9, 2012

My Heroes... The Harem...

I've been interacting with this amazing bunch of women online for quite a while. We laugh and sigh and swoon over Jimmy Thomas together. (Yes, I write historical romance.) We have fun. We're also supportive and encouraging and hurt for each other. I'm so honored to be included in this amazing circle of friends. I've never laughed so much in my life. I've never been hugged so much. And I've never felt safe quite like this. I'm so looking forward to seeing them all next year at Arizona Dreamin' 2013.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Happy Dance!

A Promise of Possibilities is now a Final draft, headed to the Editor In Chief. It looks like a book, a real book. I'm still trying to convince myself I've done it.

I'm exhausted. I've started the re-write of Luck In Love.

Brain is fried.

Took an easy day, yesterday, and hoping to dive back in, today.

Something funny, because I need the smile (thanks facebook):

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Week Fifty of REAL...

Reminders: REAL - Reduce stress Exercise Adequate sleep Lower caloric intake

What Navy SEALs are required to do to make it into BUD/S:

RIght up front: Never in a million years could I do what is required. However, I needed to start somewhere. Considering how fit the SEALs are, I figured it was a good place to start. So my SEAL puppy reps consist of girls' pushups, crunches, and flutter kicks, a SEAL training basic. I started with doing one of each. This week, I try to increase my reps. I've worked up to 30, like last week, but slowing it down.


The 1st: weigh in: 231.4 lb. SEAL puppy rep. Two-mile walk. SEAL puppy rep. What is the significance of the following picture? Aside from being with the harem and my sheik?

Look at where I am.

A similar picture was tried back at the Chocolate Affair, in February.

I couldn't kneel down by myself, and I definitely couldn't make it back up by myself.

In this picture, I made it down myself and up again. Myself.

Do you know how long it's been?

Hint: I herniated a disk in my back in 2004.

Thank you, God for my REAL program that is working for me.

The 2nd: weigh in: Didn't happen. I packed my weights to Arizona Dreamin', so I did my physical therapy. Go me! I didn't realize how bad the dehydration was. I'll be more careful next year. I also tried to be careful about food choices.

The 3rd: weigh in: Again, didn't happen. Laughed, a lot.

The 4th: weigh in: 231 lb. Not bad. SEAL puppy rep. Two-mile walk. SEAL puppy rep. Still have a bit of a headache, but it's improving.

The 5th: weigh in: 230.8 lb. Physical therapy with 2-lb weights. Amazing what five hours of sleep in a cold room will do for me. That and moving past that time of the month. :-P One-mile walk alone, and then a two-mile walk with my sister. I'm definitely feeling better than I have in a long time.

The 6th: weigh in: 230.6 lb. SEAL puppy rep. Two-mile walk. SEAL puppy rep.

The 7th: weigh in: 231.2 lb. Waist circumference: 39". One-mile walk. Physical therapy.

Inspiration, at least to me:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Update for myself...

Today's post is for me. I need to remind myself I am accomplishing a great deal.

This past weekend and Monday, I received back the edits for two books. One is due before the other, and it's more than half done, as of this morning. I intended to email it back, completed, today. Then I'll start the other.

One of my editors popped by, and it was great to chat with them. It helped to talk through their thinking, clarifying changes I need to make, not because they're smarter than me but because they were right in their assessments. I could see it as soon as they pointed out the problems. I'm so grateful for the clarification. I've learned how to accept changes and how to keep what I feel shouldn't be changed, usually by rewriting it so my perspective is more clearly stated. It makes a difference.

I enjoyed walking with my sister yesterday, and spending time with her. We chatted and laughed.

My regular work was started, though not finished. I'll do it, today. Really.

Funny side note: I stopped at my credit union and noticed the flags. Old Glory looked wonderful. The state flag made my head tilt. I couldn't understand why I felt "wrong." I asked the teller if I was wrong in thinking the blue field was supposed to be on the bottom, not the top. Nope. I wasn't wrong. As I left, the flag was being righted. All was right with the world again. LOL!

Picked up something for a friend. Now I need to figure out a way to mail it.

Chatted with my BFF in Florida.

Chatted a little on facebook but tried to watch my time so I accomplished what I needed to by the end of the day.

Wow... accomplished a lot.

Today is another day of pushing through things that need to be done. Pretty much an extension of yesterday. We'll see how I do.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Playing catch up...

NASCAR ~ Carl came in 26th and is currently 12th in the standings. Rough season, so far. Spring season is over. Summer season is next.

Yesterday was laundry day. I was nodding off and on all day. I managed to work on some of my transcribing. I also tackled editing. Round 2 is almost finished. Book 1 of Series 2 needs a lot of work, but then I knew it. The advice was helpful. I will make it the best I'm able.

Today, I hope to be back on top of things. There's so much to do. I don't have time for being under the weather. I'm feeling impatient with myself.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Arizona Dreamin'...

...A Romance Reader Event.

It was fantastic!

Start with the whining: I crashed. Everything that could go wrong, as far as my body is concerned, did go wrong. Under any other circumstances, I would have sent myself to my room on Friday, curled up in bed, and stayed there until Sunday or today. Not sick. A bit dehydrated, though I tried to stay on top of that, allergies, etc. This weekend, giving in was not an option.

Now, for the fun stuff: Picked up, "A", one of my facebook friends, at the airport. (Keeping names private, unless sharing a link to a professional site.) Checked in, and helped with stuffing goody bags, which included books, bookmarks, trading cards, a CD or two, anything a book industry person wanted to donate.

With the time I had before the wine and cheese party, I worked on backstory for Mark, who's been modeled, in many respects, after international cover model and businessman Jimmy Thomas. Jimmy is on over 3,000 book covers. He created his own book cover company, making professional covers for a wide variety of romance genres. Recently, he added Romance Novel Center, a site for connecting authors, cover artists, models, editors, publishers, etc. I'm learning the importance of connecting with others in the industry. I've already had the opportunity to share information as others have shared information with me.

"A" kept the schedule straight, and I learned to let go of the need to be right and trusted her. We arrived on time to the wine and cheese/meet and greet. Unfortunately the A/C was out, so the hospitality suite was incredibly warm. As reserved as I tend to be -- or believe myself to be -- I was amazed at the number of people I knew and with whom I felt comfortable chatting.

Gail and Jenifer, from Desert Breeze Publishing, were there. They were surprised to see me because I hadn't mentioned I was attending. My excuses: I was busy worrying about the Desert Dreams Conference, editing, writing, and more editing. The truth: A part of me didn't believe I was worthy of being noticed. I'm working on it. I know it's all in my head. Long-held habits are difficult to break. Learning to be honest with myself is a start.

I enjoyed chatting with Gail and Jenifer and look forward to working with them. They're funny and made me feel very welcomed to the Desert Breeze family. Jenifer wisely brought a fan and generously shared the breeze.

My main reason for attending? To meet some wonderful friends I've made online, amazing, incredible women. I'm so grateful for the privileged to call them friends. (Meeting Jimmy again wasn't a bad reason either. *g*)

Jimmy had joined the party, and yes, he remembered meeting me at the Chocolate Affair and didn't wait to give me a hug. The man knows how to hug. Charming and personable, as always.

I'm not one much for parties, but for the first time in my life truly wanted the evening to never end. We moved the party to one of our rooms. It was such a pleasure to chat face to face. Rhonda Plumhoff, who writes cookbooks Literary Chocolate, shared some of her decadent truffles. Dark chocolate truffles -- melt in your mouth deliciousness.

Sleep beckoned, I thought. The first night, I couldn't settle. Made it to bed by 2am; woke at 3am, and again at 4am, and gave up. Feeling wide awake, I continued to work on my current WIP until breakfast time. "A" was up early as well. Biscuits and gravy for me. Eventually we were joined by others. Registration started at 10am, where we were given our goody bags, schedule for the day, and signed up for author workshops. I was feeling a little rough around the edges, so left myself plenty of time, I hoped, for being down. Good thing. At noon, there was "speed-dating" with the 20 authors with the 95 participants. The authors would move from table to table giving their "pitch," helping attendees decide which six authors with whom they wanted to share a half hour workshop. I went to my room and crashed. I set the alarm for 1:30pm. When it sounded, I felt like I was swimming through quicksand to the surface of wakefulness.

At 2pm, pictures with Jimmy started. I hung out with my friends and watched, and yes had my picture taken with him. One was taken Friday night and shared on his Official Fan Page at Facebook. This one was the official Arizona Dreamin' backdrop. Sitting and watching the photo shoot and chatting with friends was a joy.

My friends made sure I attended Deena Remiel's workshop. I know Deena from Desert Rose, and she writes paranoormal romance. It's been fun to watch her writing journey.

Time for dinner, and the readers sat with their favorite authors who would set up their own table. I was honored to be sitting with my friends at Jimmy Thomas's table. I want to be an author at next year's Arizona Dreamin', and he's set a high standard.

The Man of Our Dreams contest: The four men, JP, the winner, Ron, Andrew, and Ryan were all delightful and played to the crowd of mostly women with enthusiasm and good humor. They took pictures afterward with anyone who wanted one, again with a donation to a charitable cause (HDSA). They were great sports.

Again, my friends took me to another workshop. This time it was Morgan Kearns. Her passion for writing was catching, and I'm looking forward to more of her books. I was able to ask a question I'd been holding every since I read one of her books. I was definitely there as a reader. :-)

More socializing in the hospitality suite, ending the event where it began. Though there was now A/C, there were lots of people, so it was pretty warm. By 10pm, my eyes were starting to do the blink, blink, blink, can't stay open much longer routine. I took myself to bed, reluctantly.

I slept a little better, but still woke at 5am, without the alarm. I readied myself for the day and went for a short walk outside to enjoy the sunrise. I sang a few hymns to myself, amused by how little voice I had. I hadn't realized you could lose your voice from laughing. I also realized something else: Last week, I'd been struggling with this path I've chosen. I asked God for a breadcrumb. Yes, He did it again: He sent a whole loaf.

A breakfast of biscuits and gravy quickly turned into a feast of laughter as we gathered one more time. And then it was done. Not truly over because we all plan to attend next year, but done for now. This time, my sister took April and Sonja to the airport, so we had a little longer to chat.

What else I realized: I often don't feel like I fit in anywhere. As I shared this weekend, I was amazed by how comfortable I felt and how much I felt a part. I was a part of a group, several groups, where I belonged in one way or another. What was different about these friends? I realized it applied to all of the friends I've met online: These are the people who accepted me from the beginning, not because they knew me or my family, not because of the way I looked or how successful I am, not for what I do or for my standing in the community. We share a common interest, and they accepted me because they believe me. They believe I am the person I try to be. They believe I am worth knowing and worthy of notice. I feel the same way about them. More? In a world where identity theft is commonplace and con-artists (spammers et. al.) abound, we each have chosen to practice a remarkable level of trust. I'm honored by the trust they've shared with me.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #105...

~Matthew West's Strong Enough

~Late posting this because I had an awesome weekend at Arizona Dreamin' A Romance Reader Event.

~Meeting friends I've been associating with on facebook, and they still like me. :-)

~My sister for playing chauffeur, to and from the event. She didn't attend, but enjoyed sharing it through my babbling.

~My physical health nosedived. Anything that could go wrong did go wrong, but I was still able to participate for the most part.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My Heroes...

This weekend, I'm blessed with the opportunity to associate with writing friends and friends who love to read romance as much as I do, many of whom I've only known from facebook. We're meeting face to face.

Several of us have expressed concern about fitting in, but not one of us has crawled back into our shell, refusing to take the risk. How awesome is that?

So here's to all those who do the scary things, risking rejection but hoping to strengthen friendships and create a few more.

We tumble forward like puppies, hoping for the best.

Reminding myself to "wag my tail" to show I'm friendly. In people talk, it's called a genuine smile. Like any puppy, I find myself hoping they like me and want to keep me. :-)

Friday, June 1, 2012


I'm making a lot of changes in my life. I'm trying to live more healthfully. I'm trying to be more aware. I'm trying to schedule my time better. I'm trying to make what matters to me more of a priority and less of a "if other things don't interfere."

I'm looking forward to meeting friends, this weekend, and scared, too. The visit will be short, and I'm not particularly good at short. I need time to observer and get my bearings, so to speak.

A part of me wishes I'd added an extra day away, for writing. I have a good start on the WIP. I'm taking my writing material with me.

This is another doing-it-for-the-first-time, so be brave.

Thanks to Funny Cat Photos widget. Yes, I need this: