Monday, April 25, 2011


     My family will tell you (in unison and at the top of their lungs) that I am not a domestic person. I despise housework...I am not married to a house, thank you very much; I do not enjoy cooking; floors do not look dirty to me unless there is actually mud on them and dishes piled to the rafters look sort of artistic if they are piled neatly on all available counters.
     It is ironic that the only award I ever won when I attended high school was when I entered and won the Betty Crocker Homemaker of the Year award for 1956.  Actually the only reason I won was that it was a written competition and not one that involved cooking, sewing or anything physical. All I had to do was memorize a few lines, write them down and then throw them out, never to be remembered anymore.
     What I was good at was reading, writing and painting.
     In short, I'm a lazy cuss.
     When my kids were little, each Sunday we would load up the car and grace one or the other of our parents' home with our presence for dinner. Since we were each the oldest of several children, we were welcomed. It seemed the natural thing to do and the babies were heartily hugged by each grandma and grandpa and lugged around by aunts and uncles not much older than themselves. It never occurred to me that actual cooking might be involved and I got by with drying the dishes after dinner each week. I would jokingly tell my children to enjoy themselves because, I assured them, I was never planning to cook Sunday dinners for them when they were grown.
      And I've carried through with my promise. I do not cook Sunday dinners. I don't even cook holiday dinners if I can get out of it. Nor not often birthday dinners.
     I hate cooking. I would go out to eat in a restaurant or a fast-food joint three times a day if I could get by with it.
     It isn't that I'm not a good cook. I can cook well if I put my mind and my back to it. Of course it takes me days to recover and I moan and groan for weeks afterward.
     Anyway, to make a long long story a bit shorter, I will admit that now and then I do cook. On Thanksgiving. On Christmas (in fact I have an e-nor-mous dinner at Christmas time with all of my very very large family as guests spread all over my very very large house over a very very loooonnnnng day), on Easter, and sometimes around Independence Day. Not often but now and then. The food is wonderful, the camaraderie is better, I feel virtuous for three days and I hurt for a week but by golly I've earned my Betty Crocker Homemaker of the Year Award all over again.
     My family heads toward home, bearing gifts of leftover homemade hot rolls, hams and salads, sliced berries and pies, shaking their collective heads in relief that it is all over (its hard on them all too).
     And so, since I couldn't very well weasel out of it (and really, I didn't want to after all) we came together in the dining room of the old home place. Several extras were gathered there also with only three missing and one of those came in later. Two were about 6000 miles away but, thanks to Skype, and holding hands by holding onto the computer, they were included in the blessing on this rainy Easter afternoon.
     We had a wonderful day, even if I did have to cook.
     And I didn't burn a single roll.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


     Send up fireworks! The first thing I did this morning was send off a short story ms that is due by the end of the week. So I'm feeling very professional. Congratulations, me.
     Actually, I did have a bit more time than that. The editor had one copy but had asked me to add a couple of little things so it had been easy to put it aside . . . not professional . . . and I simply hadn't done it. Anyway, it's finished now, so onward and upward.
     I'm putting the final touches on the juvenile novel now. Junkyard Bones is finished and the editor is waiting for it but I had problems with my word processing programs and it has screwed things up royally. I originally wrote the book in Word Perfect and when I got ready to submit the finished ms (after final approval) I decided to transcribe it to Word 7. It was a good thing because Word Perfect decided to give up the ghost and die completely.
     Guess what? Each letter 'b' in the ms turned into quotation marks. Well, fine. I started to manually correct them. (I haven't mastered Word 7 at this point. No, don't try and tell me . . . I only get more messed up.) That was bad. So I tried 'find and replace'. That really changed the whole ms around. On top of that it didn't allow me to change my mind. Ooooooo!!!!! I'm gnashing my teeth and stomping my feet and tearing my hair.
     Anyway, to make a long story short, I hauled the whole computer to MWG and got help and now things are good again. I've gone over half the ms to make sure everything is good and I have half of it to go and then I'll e-mail it to my editor (also a good helpful friend) and it will be good to go. I'm really glad because I'd sure like to have it in time for the school year. Well, we'll see.
     Made arrangements for another writer's conference today (first of June). I'm entering the Trash to Treasure book in several contests (it won an Honorable Mention in the Best Book Award at MWG last week) so I've got to get that done. I have a list of probably twenty things writer-related to do over the next week or so and it is over-whelming . . . a suggested article for a quite well-known periodical, a script to study for a local cookie-cutter conference (they're putting on a mystery and I'm the star!), book signings to arrange .  . . yeek.
     And my poor dear husband still has the shingles. He hurts so much and there isn't a thing I can do for him. He decided yesterday and today that he HAD to do some work (first mowing of our e-nor-mous yard . . . not lawn, yard) and three hours just about killed him. I think it proved to him that he just has to wait it out even if it takes a month. Daughter came over and mowed and mowed and mowed and one of the teen-agers did a lot of trimming. Tomorrow I should be able to find time to finish up (I hope) and maybe he will stay indoors and take it easy, even it it about kills him.
     I finally get the chance to boss him around a little and I can't even enjoy it. Dern.

Monday, April 11, 2011

In the Groove Again? Hmmm...

     I'm hopeful that my readers get a bit of enjoyment out of reading about my chaotic life...when I finally get around to sharing bits and pieces of it! My apologies, but that's the only way I manage things lately.
     Sometimes I think I need a camera anchored on the top of my head documenting my day-to-day existence. No one can believe the reality of my life. If I were to write an on-going story listing all the things that go on in this household, every editor I've ever encountered would laugh herself/himself silly and throw me out in the street so fast it would make my head spin. Of course, there are those who believe I'm dizzy anyway but I pay them no mind.
     I've no intention of going over everything that's happened since the last post. Suffice it to say that I'm still waiting on the last piece of income tax info (damn the poky US government...and you don't want to know what I think of them) to come in. How many days do I have left? Yeah, that's what I thought. And I was told (automated, natch) that it would be here by the 7th of April. That should certainly leave plenty of time, right? Well, tonight is the bottom of the 11th and I've not seen hide nor hair of any documentation. GRRRR.
     Darling Life Mate has been in and out of the hospital and is suffering (and I don't use the word lightly) from a severe case of the shingles. This has been ongoing for most of the past month and shows no sign of letting up. This man is the one who never gives in to pain of any sort, the person who once snapped a tendon in his calf completely in two and simply strapped his boots tight and kept on working through the summer as it repaired itself (there was nothing that would ease the pain at all). But this one has just about done him in.
     My advice is: if you can afford it at all, go and get the inoculation to protect yourself. Shingles is a horrific problem. Anything that can bring my husband to his knees would kill a lesser person.
     The yard (and I use the term loosely) has reverted to pasture and we've not yet pick up trash and sticks from the winter. We live in the country, forty acres, and there are trees and bushes everywhere. I've not raked the fallen walnuts or hickory nuts for the past couple of years due to the knee problem, so with all the trash everywhere there is no taking a mower over it without something being done about it first.
     Oh, yeah, I can just see that happening, the two of us out there bending and picking up. Now and then I actually do feel like I'm more than a youngster these days.
     The tax and the shingles were enough to ruin the month, without even mentioning a dozen other family issues, so I've been a wee bit busy, I'll admit. Then I turned over the calendar page and realized  I had committed to a major writer's conference and it was almost on top of me.
     Well, by golly, I decided, I wasn't missing it. And DLM insisted it would be all right if  I went away and left him at home to suffer alone.
     So, off I sped all the way to the other side of the state for three action-packed days of learning more about writing and net-working, only to discover that, even though I've been at it for quite a number of years, I'm doing everything wrong...well, at least the net-working.
     For instance, this blog. Evidently, I'm really being a little too personal here and not showing my professional side to my readers. Urk. And all along I was hoping to pick up an editor here or there.
     Oh, well, for the time being, until you are all caught up, I'm going to keep right on writing in manner I'm doing. I've got umpteen chapters to relate to my loyal readers before I can retire and go on to another subject, don't I? I haven't even got back to the trip to Paris and to the Czech Republic and that was waaaayyyy back in February! (Where does the time go? And I'm having so much fun!)
     And I have to tell you all the wonderful stuff about the new book, Junkyard Bones. Oh, yeah, and try and get you to buy the old ones, too! Uh-oh, I forgot...I'm supposed to be more subtle about sales and not hit prospective customers over the head with it.
     Sheesh...I try and try to learn. Oh, well, I get a little of it now and then.
     I'm gonna do better soon, though. I swear it.