Wednesday, December 31, 2008

fussen bavaria

Hi all...this will be short as European keyboards are set up different than US keyboards and I'm having a heck of a time trying to type!

Fussen is beautiful...and indeed this part of Bavaria is just breathtaking. The Alps are amazing and loom over the town like silent guardians. The town itself is so pretty. Pastel colored shops on narrow cobblestone streets that wind through the town. The homes are mostly white with red tile roofs, maybe with blue shutters.

We saw the two closest castles yesterday, Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein. These buildings inspired Walt Disney....They were breathtaking as were the views from that height.

The bread here as well as the meat and cheese is to die for. I will be forever spoiled....and the wine prices are dirt cheap.

We are off for Zutspitz tomorrow....the highest peak in Germany. We will ride trains and then a gondola to the summit. Should be quite the adventure.

Bye for now! Auf Wiedershin...I think I spelled that wrong!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


We are home from Paris! 

The train ride from Kaiserslautern on the ICE to Gare de L'Est was wonderful. The States are really missing out on modern train transportation...this is the way to travel. Amazing.

We got into town, hailed a cab and went to our hotel at Place de la Republique to drop off our bags and set out. First up, the Louvre. We navigated the metro without too much trouble once we got our bearings. The Louvre is huge. Bigger than you can even imagine if you've never been there. When people say it would take a week to see it all, it might even take two.  We hit two wings, the Denon and the Sully. We saw a lot of Eygptian  artifacts and then took a break for lunch. We had a picnic on the floor in the food court. We then went to find the Mona Lisa, which we saw from an angle as the depth of the folks in front was about 50-60 people deep. No lie. It was incredible. We saw some amazing art....everywhere.  From the Lourve we went towards the Seine and took the advice of Anne's granddaughter and booked seats on the river cruise...Bateaux Mouche...for a night tour.  Tickets in hand we went towards the Eiffel Tower. Had a bit to eat in that area then went back to the boat. The tour was neat. To see the sights all lit up from the river is very fun. The Eiffel Tower twinkled at us as we came down the Seine. So romantic!!

We were exhausted at that point and went back to the hotel.  Breakfast there came with our room and we ate our weight in croissants and baguette.  Energized again we set out for the Musee d'Orsay. This was by far my favorite museum. I'd heard that from several other folks and they are right. It is much more manageable in size than the Lourve and the art is more recognizable. I love the Impressionists and I just walked through the rooms with my mouth open. Lovely beyond belief.  After we enjoyed the d'Orsay we stopped in a pharmacy and picked up some French soap and chatted with the pharmacist. He gave us a lunch recommendation that was one of the highlights of the trip.  We walked down Saint Dominique past the Polish Embassy, yes we took a photo, to this real French restaurant. We were the only tourists in the place....had an incredible lunch and the other diners were so friendly and interesting to watch. The restaurant came equipped with a cat, their mascot...she sat by us as we ate...too quaint. Other diners brought their dogs! We loved it!  We took our time and enjoyed every bite.  From there we went towards Notre Dame and saw nightfall on the cathedral. We had some hot chocolate and found Shakespeare's Bookstore....I bought two books!  From there we caught the metro to the Arc de Triomphe and strolled down the Champs E. in the sparkling blue light...yes, the trees were all lit in blue.  We stopped in Louis Very cool street, so BIG, so CROWDED, so pretty.  You could see the ferris wheel at Concorde on one end and the Arc at the other when you stand in the middle of the street..which you have to do in order to cross all the lanes of traffic.

That was a full day so we went back, picked up a crepe on the way, we are all addicted to Nutella now, and fell asleep.

Today we got up early, had breakfast and went to Notre Dame for Mass. We actually arrived early enough to catch the homily and second half of the 8:30 mass so we stayed for that and then remained for the lauds service to honor the Feast of the Holy Family before the Gregorian chant mass at 10:00. Beautiful and so spiritual to attend mass in that famous cathedral. The incense floating up from the altar as it has done for centuries and centuries.  The huge organ in the back filling the air with sound. The beautiful voices chanting responses. The Latin words that are so universal. It was soul filling.

After mass we walked around the cathedral and soaked up the history. We then caught the metro from Cite to the Marais district which has shopping on Sunday. We strolled and found a place to stop for some coffee and cocoa and then did a bit of shopping before we hit a boulangerie for lunch. Delicious bread yet again, we are so spoiled.  We wound our way back to the hotel, got our bags and went to the station to catch the train home.

We have tons of pictures.....tons of them!  Even a few of hot French boys that the girls took...they are always on the lookout!!

We are off to Fussen and Innsbruck tomorrow.  If I have the chance I will update from there...

Au Revoir mon ami!!!  

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

My sister in law and I headed over to the base to do some shopping. So, I'm now officially in the DOD database...I even was fingerprinted and have a plastic ID card. Wow.

We hit the BX and then the small Christmas market there. I found some real treasures. I've always wanted Russian nesting dolls and Patti introduced me to Svetlana, a Russian gal whose family paints them. I bought for Christmas and one for year round. I love them. I also picked up some neat.

The commissary was wild...tons of people picking up things for the holiday. We came home with our purchases and proceeded to get ready for the rest of the day. We attended Mass at Landstuhl in the chapel. My nieces and nephew were in the children's program, so cute, and Mass was wonderful.

Came home and had our traditional wigela dinner, which is a Polish and Slovak Christmas Eve meal of mushroom soup, fish, potatoes, peas and assorted other interesting foods and traditions.  

So, now the wait is on for the Santa man......we are tracking his progress on NORAD!!

Merry Christmas to you all.......the next post will be from Paris:)  


We took two cars into Strasbourg. With six children and four adults, it was the best way to travel. We started on the autobahn and then detoured into the countryside for a bit, even stopping in a small town for a potty break at a local grocery store. What a window into daily life grocery stores can be!  But, let me back up, I had an amazing chocolate croissant with a hazelnut topping for breakfast yesterday...even German pastries are to die for!

So, we made it into town, and I've decided I couldn't drive here. God bless my sister in law for her navigational skills and steely nerves. Narrow streets are beautiful, as long as you aren't driving on them!

The cobblestone streets, the oh so cool huge wooden doors, the had the five of us rubber necking all the way to the cathedral and the Christmas market around it.  We had lunch once we got to the stalls. Pizza....but French pizza!  Very good, hot and yummy in the cool air. The kids had theirs with chorizzo and Scott and I had mushroom. Then we went through the cathedral. It was such a treat to see the looks of amazement on my kids' faces and the sheer excitement in Scott's eyes. If you weren't aware, my husband is an architect.

Notre Dame de Strasbourg is a beautiful church. We walked in, blessed ourselves and walked around in silence soaking up the history inside that building. The tapestries are incredible...the pulpit is incredible, the astronomical clock is incredible. We all had different favorite aspects. We took loads of pictures inside, but I haven't uploaded anything yet. When I go into an old church like that a few things cross my mind. It makes me feel my Catholicism in a different way, a connection to the past that spans the globe. I think of all the people who have been in the church and their stories. I always wonder as I walk around, who else walked here? Why were they here? What were they feeling? The building is so awesome, the stories that happened within it are for me just as appealing.  

After the cathedral we visited all the Christmas market stalls....even bought a small handcarved angel for Matt. She thought we were German...not American....pretty funny. Guess my brother's warnings about how to dress were spot on.

We had some vin chaud as we looked at all the stalls and their handicrafts. Saw some neat street performers and Julia scoped out the French boys. She is on a mission to have a picture taken with a hot French boy! Her aunt and I  found one, but she was too shy to ask for a photo with him!    

Abbey wants new clothes, her green North Face jacket screams that she is not French, and ever the clothes horse, she wants a new wardrobe now! Black coat, black boots and tight black jeans with an awesome scarf....she may sneak out before we head to Paris to buy new things for herself. I told her I liked the green coat as I could spot her a mile away!  

Matt's eyes were as big as plates all day...he just keeps telling me how cool everything is. "Mom, we're in France, this is so cool!"

Scott said he could have stayed in the church for three days and still not inspected everything. 

I just keep thinking about how fortunate we are to have been able to give this trip to our children and to ourselves. In one day, the kids have seen somethings that many people never have the chance to see.  And we've just started!    

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

day two

Good Morning from Germany....

So good to have comments from Anne and we are off for the Christmas markets in Strasbourg, France. It is about a 90 minute drive.  We were going to hit Luxemburg, but they've decided to go back the original plan.  No hurry to get there as the market is more lively later in the day.  I can't wait to spend some euro on neat Christmas things.

Slept like a dream...not sure if it was the melatonin I took, sheer exhaustion, or that glass of good red wine I had with dinner.

Scott slept well also and the kids are still in bed, so I think we will not have any jet lag issues.

Enjoying a great cup of coffee this morning from my brother's fancy coffee maker, that he can't bring back to the states as it runs on different hertz....he already has a buyer for it!

The countdown to Christmas is on! Hugs to all, Liz   

Monday, December 22, 2008

we are in Germany ya'll

We have arrived! After a fairly uneventful flight, except for the hollering toddler a row ahead of us, we landed in Frankfurt on time with all of our luggage in tow. The drive from the airport to my brother's was neat....the autobahn is amazing. Talk about fast traffic. I don't think I will complain about Memphis traffic on the Nonconnah every again.

We freshened up and went out, all ten of us, for an authentic German meal at Ramsteiner Hof...excellent food. We had schnitzel and boy was it delicious. Scott had an amazing pork dish, more like medallions that were awesome. Then we had apple strudel for dessert...boy oh boy was it good. Had a wonderful red wine with dinner and an excellent cup of coffee after. Perfect place for our first German food experience.

The town where my brother lives is so picturesque...hard to explain. The houses are built to last 200 years and are close to the street. Everything is so clean and well just sparkles. Their house is three levels with a winding stair case...tile floors, but heated in some spots...really nice.

So far, the trip has been amazing! Hugs to all, Liz  

Friday, December 19, 2008

last post before europe

Next time I write, I should be in Germany! We leave Sunday evening and will arrive Monday afternoon in Frankfurt. My brother is picking us up at the airport and taking us to their home in Schwedelbach so we can freshen up before he hauls us out to Kaiserslautern for the rest of the day/evening. He is determined to keep us awake so we can avoid the jet lag issues that falling asleep too soon would bring.

The excitement level is running pretty high around the house. Suitcases litter the floors of every bedroom...laundry is piled on too many flat surfaces to count and lists are taped to the fridge.

I have a few errands to run today and then we all head into hubby's office for the big holiday luncheon.

Happy weekend before Christmas! I'll catch ya from across the pond next week!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

all in good time

I'm a firm believer in the idea that you can't force things to happen. Everything happens in its own good time.

A good time has come for my friend Kim Smith. Today her first book debuts today through Red Rose Publishing. I first read snippets of "Avenging Angel" a few years back. I knew that Kim had found her voice and that this story would be the One.

Congratulations to you, Kim. You never quit. You took the lemons that the writing life can hand out and turned them into one big old pitcher of some tasty lemonade.

You go girl!!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

the elves

When my girls were small Christmas couldn't arrive fast enough for them. They would sneak under the tree, knock ornaments down, rattle packages, whine and beg for clues etc. You get the picture. Hard to resist a four and three year old and their quest for Christmas.

So, I invented the elves. The elves visit good children who leave the tree and the things underneath it alone. The elves leave a small gift in each stocking for the seven days prior to Christmas. The gift could be anything from a new toothbrush to a pack of gum to a new pair of socks.

One year Abbey decided to leave the elves a note. She was in first grade and took great pains to write a short letter to the elves thanking them for the gifts they left. Of course, the elves left her a note back. She was quite excited to see the spidery handwriting on a very antique looking piece of paper. She was more impressed with the tiny 'footprints' in the ashes on the fireplace hearth.

Unknown to me, she took the note with her to school that morning and proceeded to hunt down Mrs. Samuels, the gifted/resource teacher, and show her the note. After Abbey left her office, Mrs. Samuels called to let me know of Abbey's visit, her excitement and the downright cuteness of the whole elves, letter, footprint story. Pure Christmas magic she told me, the best gift she'd received was the excitement in Abbey's eyes as she told the story.

I had spent a bit of time figuring out what to write, finding just the write paper to write it on and making the edges look old....however, I hadn't left any footprints on the hearth. So, I hung up the phone and hightailed it over to the fireplace. Sure enough, tiny footprint like marks were there...left from when my husband had swept the hearth clean and small little 'prints' were left on the stones. When you want to believe, the mind can convert brush markings to elf tracks.

The elves just made their first delivery mitten ornaments. No notes are left any more and our fireplace in this house burns gas logs not real ones, so no soot to be swept away or footprints to discover. But, I like to think the magic is still there for them each morning. I know it is for me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

the snow day that wasn't

The kids were hoping for a snow day today, or an ice day, or some reason to sleep in and not go to school day.

It didn't happen. As predicted earlier in the morning, before the self induced weather frenzy set in amongst the local meteorologists, the ice stayed north of I-40 and we missed the bad stuff.

Now, snow days in Indiana were a regular occurrence when I was growing up. They were a rarer happening when my kids were in school. In fact, during the winters of 78-79 I missed over a week of school due to snow. When you open the garage door and a wall of snow greets you, there is a great chance that the buses aren't going to run. That blizzard was amazing. We had front end loaders going down the street trying to dig us out as we lived on a snow emergency route...yep, they have such street designations in South Bend, In. One of the ancillary benefits of living in a lake effect snow region.

I remember after they somewhat cleared the main road, a neighborhood dad with a huge truck came and picked up the moms from the area and hauled them to Martin's grocery store. My mom came home with some powdered milk and a few other things. She said the only vehicles they saw were snowmobiles. A neighborhood lady had to be taken to the hospital on a snowmobile so she could deliver twins...I later babysat for those kids.

The neat thing about that snow storm was the way the drifts surrounded our house. While we had a wall of snow in front of the garage, the side yard was bare to the grass. We could go out the side garage door and over to the neighbors and not step in any of the white stuff. I spent some time next door with Carla making chocolate chip cookies while her husband Mike helped my dad dig out the driveway. She and Mike didn't have kids and as the whole city was shut down, it was a great time to just hang out.

My husband talks about that blizzard as well...he was one of the guys driving the snow mobiles around. He said they raced up and down Michigan Street in downtown South Bend with other guys from all over the town. He said it was a blast.

They don't have weather like that in South Bend anymore....not sure if it is climate change or what, but for all the danger extreme weather can bring, it also brought some amazing memories and a sense of community that is unique to such a shared experience.

Monday, December 15, 2008

holiday memories

Just a few things on my mind as I contemplate packing for our trip. This Christmas is going to be a very special one, but then I've had plenty of special holidays over the years.

The Christmas in Pennsylvania the year before my grandfather died...I sang in the choir loft with him and my cousins, Cindy and Andrea. It was magical to look down upon the church full of people at midnight mass.

Another Pennsylvania Christmas memory was repeated on every visit. We would arrive and Grandma would send me down to the basement to bring up baked goodies. She would have filled the entire picnic table top with kolacz, kieflies, cookies, rolls, breads etc. She had enough baked goods down there to last for months. Wonderful.

The first Christmases with each of my three children, just so magical when the are so little.

The Christmas we took the kids to Florida and Disney World. We wrapped up their park hopper passes, a new Disney sweatshirt and a map of the parks in three shoe boxes. Those boxes were the last gifts they opened, and oh boy the looks when they did! We packed up in the car and left for that vacation just an hour later. We had Christmas dinner in a hotel room..I packed food to cook in the suite in the microwave....a bit sparse, but nothing tasted better as it was seasoned with excitement.

Just a few of many memories....I wonder what this year will bring in Germany!

Friday, December 12, 2008

is it all gloom and doom?

I spent some time yesterday reading a variety of agent/editor blogs. The majority of them had several common themes regarding the layoffs, slow downs, mergers, freezes in publishing. Not all were gloom and doom. Some were more gloom and doom than glitter.

I found one entry that said children's books are still being acquired. I found one blog that stated after this time passes, publishing may well be a faster moving machine. I've always wondered at the 18 mo-24 mo time frame for some books to hit the shelves. I also found entries that proposed how much more difficult it will be to break in to the published world.

Change is hard. I think an evolution is happening in how books come to be and how they are sold.

I was in B&N last week picking up a few gifts for Christmas. I walked out $75 lighter in the old checking account, but I bought only one book. Yep, the rest of the purchase was comprised of a puzzle, a nice pen and two daily calendars. Granted, it is Christmas, but the big displays weren't for books, the space was allocated to 'stuff. ' Heck, even Vera Bradley has product in B&N now.

I'm sure bookstores like B&N sell all the extra things as they might make more money on them than on books. Plus, the store becomes more of a one stop shop. B&N has become a place to shop even if you are not a reader.

I'm no expert on how the publishing world works. I do spend some time reading about what other folks know on the subject. I read about the struggles writers have to craft that catchy query, get an agent, have the book shopped, have it go through the whole publishing process.
I sense a note of change in posts from writers....seems more of them are open to small presses and other alternatives to NYC houses. It appears they are revisiting the reason they write. The experienced ones know that the chance of getting rich is slim to none. They just want to share their stories and maybe the road to that goal isn't through New York.

Viable small presses may flourish as better books come their way. Downloads or e-books may become more popular as a less expensive way to try a new author.

Change is happening, an evolution is under way. But, the best advice to keep in mind is to write the best book you can, don't take rejection personally, remember timing has a lot to do with success and all that is needed is one 'yes.'

Thursday, December 11, 2008


The five of us spent a bit of time in Target over the weekend looking at Christmas cards. Since my mom had her accident, I've been trying to send her funny cards. We found three good ones and I sent them out on Monday. She called yesterday and was still chuckling. Laughter is the best medicine.

I also spoke with my brother. His three kids are getting as excited as mine for our upcoming 'excellent adventure' to Europe. He has changed our itinerary a bit and instead of going to Strasbourg and Triere, we are going to Luxembourg City....a whole NEW country on our visit. They've never been there, but have heard it boasts a marvelous Christmas market. Triere's market is already closed by the time we arrive and they decided against Strasbourg as we are going to France a few days later. He has also sketched out our trip to Bavaria and rattled off a list of towns and castles he is taking us to.

I just know those two weeks will fly by and I'm determined to savor each and every moment. Christmas is just two weeks from today!

My brother's family will be coming back to the states shortly after we come home from our visit. It will be nice to have them closer...only a day drive away in Florida.

I need to find a book to take on the trip. I'll scout the bookstore today when I'm there to stock. Have to have something to read on the flights.

Our rainy weather has turned cold. For a moment yesterday, I really thought it could snow. Brrrr. I guess I better get used to those temps! I hope the glow of excitement keeps me warm in Germany, Luxembourg, France and Austria!!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

mid week

Yesterday was a lovely day full of getting stuff done. I put together the genealogy binders for my mom, brother and grandmother. I finished wrapping all the presents I had to wrap. I listened to Christmas music, drank some homemade Chai and watched it rain outside my kitchen window.

I'm not sure what today will bring. A group of us had tentative plans to head down to Olive Branch for pie. Yep, I guess there is a really good pie shop there and we decided to check it out. I need to make some phone calls and see if we are still going.

I've enjoyed having the library closed...because I've been able to stay home. But, by tomorrow I'll be ready to head back over and restock the store.

Better go stir my oatmeal.....enjoy Wednesday, two weeks from today is Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I'm wrapping Christmas presents today. I love to receive a beautifully wrapped package and one of my favorite things about the holidays is that I get to wrap several boxes and embellish them with ribbon and ornaments and sometimes even candy!

It has to be the craftiest thing I do. I can't operate a glue gun to save my life. I can't do needlework of any sort. I can't sew beyond a straight line. It is a challenge to replace buttons on shirts. But, I can wrap a mean package and curl ribbon with the best of them.

Needless to say, I usually restock my supply box the day after Christmas. I will go toe to toe with all the other post holiday shoppers at Target and Hobby Lobby to buy discounted paper, ribbon, tissue etc. I won't be able to do that this year...I'll be in Paris (aww...poor Liz:)) but I think if I watch the sales I can score some new fripperies next year after Thanksgiving.

So, rainy day go ahead and try to get me down, I'm wrapping today!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

the not quite a year in review

My buddy Kim asked the question and here is the answer. So far I've read 62 books this year. Yep, more than one a week. I try to read a variety of books, but as my love lies in the fantasy/paranormal genre, the list is tilted in that direction.

The thing I haven't done this past year is work on my Maddy Blue WIP. This past year the intent was to finish tinkering with that story and move on to the next. It didn't happen. I realized I needed to junk the entire last quarter of the book and I stopped working. I couldn't come up with an alternative ending. I've resolved the issue in my head, but I haven't stirred up the energy to tackle the rewrite, or in this case the new write.

Two weeks from today I will be setting foot in Europe! I can hardly believe it. I rec'd a delightful email from a friends' granddaughter with a list of recommendations for us regarding Parisian things to do and see for a family of five. It was perfect. I'm relying on my brother to be the tour guide for our time in Germany/Bavaria.

The bookstore is closed for the next three days as the library is closed while new shelving is installed. It will drive me nuts to see those brand new half full shelves over the next several months. I hope they ramp up their ordering!

It will be nice to be at home for a few days without feeling the need to head to the bookstore. Maybe I will read a book....or maybe, I will open a long neglected Word file and actually create something.

Friday, December 5, 2008

the host

As promised, here are my thoughts on Stephenie Meyer's "The Host." I mentioned yesterday the beginning of the book was slow going and in fact I seriously skimmed pages trying to find a place where the storyline engaged me. The book became a better read the closer I got to the last third of the story.

Okay, Earth is invaded by a species of creatures, 'souls', who need host bodies in order to live off their native planet, the Origin. After several lifetimes on other planets, Wanderer, finds her way to Earth and is implanted into a young woman named Melanie Stryder. Melanie had been hiding from the 'parasites' and was only captured when she ventured into Chicago looking for her cousin.

Usually after an implantation the human consciousness winnows away as the 'soul' takes control. Melanie, however, fights to stay in her body and eventually a give and take relationship develops between Wanderer and Melanie. This relationship propels Wanderer to look for Mel's love interest as well as her younger brother.

And true to Meyer's style, there are multiple love interests going on at the same time once Wanderer reaches the group of free humans. She does love the whole love triangle, or in this case, square, as there are four characters involved.

The book improves when more action involving Wanderer, dubbed Wanda by the humans, is out doing raids on her own species. Then true to Meyer's themes in her vampire series, the whole self sacrifice/martyr for love character arcs kick into play.

The book was okay. Not great, not horrific, but I can't really recommend it. Your time will be better spent with another story.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

my reading curse

I finish a book once I have started to read it. It could be the worse thing ever written and I still trudge through the pages until the final one. I just can't put it down and step away. I keep hoping, maybe it will get better. Or I think, maybe I'm missing something here, some deeper meaning and message. Then I wonder if maybe I'm too distracted at the moment to appreciate the book.


This curse has set in after a fashion with the latest book gracing my living room end table. Nope, it didn't make it to the night stand. When I was at the bookstore on Tuesday, one of the volunteers was carrying a recent library discard title. It was Stephenie Meyer's "The Host." Now, I had wanted to read the book to see how it compared to the 'Twilight" series. I came home with the novel and began reading it yesterday afternoon. The story premise is interesting, but I am putting forth way too much effort to turn those pages. I will admit to skimming a huge section at one point. As of page 183, I feel this book landed on the bestsellers lists due to the coattails of her teenage vampires. At this point in the story, I just don't think it would have ever been published without the other books taking the YA world by storm.

I will finish the book. Maybe my mind will be changed. I'll post again once I reach the end.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

coming up next

Today I have a self indulgent appointment to keep which means I will miss our monthly Friends meeting. Never fear, I have emailed my thoughts on the 'hot topic' for today's meeting to several people and have asked our treasurer to give the bookstore report, so all is covered.

Later this week I have to finish the Christmas shopping. The older I get the more I hate the mall, yes, even our super nice new mall here in town. I just don't enjoy shopping, unless it is in Barnes and Noble. So, watch out those of you on my shopping list, your gifts may have a very common theme and place of origin. I could just say I'm doing my part to keep the publishing industry afloat for when I finish my book, get an agent and the book sells to a major New York house in a hair raising auction.

No, the cocoa at the square last night wasn't spiked.

Speaking of the square, we missed the tree lighting last year and my Christmas spirit suffered because of it. I was determined to haul the kids plus one of the kid's friends to the center of our historic district and see Santa turn on those lights. It is a magical thing to behold. The looks of pure joy and excitement on the little children's faces are so incredible. They glow just as brightly as that huge fir tree beside the gazebo. I'm in the spirit now.

I spent most of yesterday going through all the historical records I've found for my family tree project. This weekend the hubby and I will head into his office to make copies. I can see the end of this phase of the project. It will never truly be done, but I picked a stopping point and am going to stick with it so I can get these presents out the door. I can always add to the books as I find more information.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

filling the well

We all have 'wells' in our lives. They are the spots from which we pull the passion and energy to pursue our interests. For quite a while, the writing well in my life has been just about dry.

A few years ago, one of the published authors in our area presented a talk on filling the creative well. She talked about jolting your system and stepping out of your comfort zone. Lots of cliche terms in a row, but the general idea is a good one. Monotony is a killer and will drain your well.

Even my duties at the bookstore can become a drain at times. I have to work to keep the passion level up. Swapping out inventory yesterday helped as did putting together a sale cart. Both are new things for the moment and will give me a push through year end.

My upcoming trip is going to be a huge opportunity to fill my creative well. Now, what follows is a really 'uh-duh' statement, but a simple truth. It is so much easier to write about places you have actually been to...uh, duh. It is also so much easier to get fodder for characters when you are given the opportunity to people watch on such a grand scale as an airport, airplane, big city etc. Traveling tweaks your world view, which is an added bonus to the whole concept of vacation.

As December slides away in the rush towards the holidays, I'm really looking forward to benefiting from the added bonuses in this trip. Which means, I hope to come back with an overflowing creative well. Then, what excuse will I have??

Sunday, November 30, 2008

timing is everything

I juggled dishes, ingredients and family members in order to complete all the cooking for the holiday weekend. I always set an ambitious menu. I never rely on only tried and true recipes. I have to sprinkle in a fair amount of new dishes, just to keep me on my toes and to make the whole endeavor more of an adventure. Luck held out for me and the four new recipes I tried turned out well.

Timing is everything when I take on the task of Thanksgiving weekend meals. I started cooking on Wednesday and wasn't finished until our guests left yesterday. Hubby did help with preparing the Friday night meal as I was at the movies with the kids and the in-laws. Which, by the way, don't bother seeing Four Christmases with Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon. Horrible movie and even their acting skills along with the skills of Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek and Mary Steenburgen couldn't save it. Oldest daughter gave it two thumbs down.

This week is going to be a busy one, but I have to finish the Christmas gifts for my mom, grandmother and brother. Those genealogy trees are getting done, printed and stuck in the binders I bought two weeks ago.

I'm also going to jot down some story ideas I've had of late. It is better than nothing and if I can't plant my butt in the chair long enough to edit Maddy Blue, I've got to do something. This is getting ridiculous and I'm totally at fault. Liz, thy name is lazy-butt writer.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Avenging Angel is almost here

When I moved to the Mid-south over five years ago, I joined the local RWA (Romance Writers of America) chapter. Through them I met a wonderful and talented woman named Kim Smith. Kim and I have journeyed down the writing life path since then. I've sort of stopped to pick daisies alongside the road, but she has been so dedicated and persistent. Her devotion has finally paid off. Kim's debut cozy mystery, Avenging Angel: A Shannon Wallace Mystery" is going to be published by Red Rose Publishing in December.
I remember when Kim gave me the first few pages of this book. I read those words and just knew. She had found her voice. This was the book she was meant to write, it was magic. I can't wait to have the opportunity to buy this e-book format and then in print.
I'm so darn proud of her. She is my inspiration, my B&N coffee buddy, and my friend.
By the time came to bake the pies it was close to 7:30 and I was too tired to start. I did however get a bunch of other things prepared for the next two days. Today I'm hauling the kids to the doctor's office so we can all get flu shots. Then we are coming home so I can cook and they will clean. Just another exciting day in my home!

I don't plan on blogging over the next four days. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

this and that discoveries

As I am blogging today, I obviously survived the trip to Wally-world yesterday. I arrived at 8:50 and was out of there by 9:15. The site to store service area was easy to find and the items we ordered, three rolling duffels for the kids, were in and quickly loaded into my cart. I'm not a fan of this store, but the service was good and pickup was convenient. So, if you need to shop online and want to save yourself the shipping cost, thumbs up to this option of site to store free delivery.

Other things I discovered yesterday.....bread is way more expensive at Wally-world versus Schnucks. Unreal.

Butternut squash is hard to find this time of year, but I'm determined to make the roasted squash soup my neighbor served a few Thanksgivings back. It was yummy. I found one squash at Wally and one at Schnucks.

After I talked with my mom yesterday, she passed along the fact that her father mentioned he wondered if his cousins were still around. These folks would have been the children of his father's brother. So, I looked up my Grandfather's uncle, Ezra Self, and found his tree on A few short clicks later, I had a phone number for my Grandfather's cousin, Marcia Ann. Gave her a call and spoke with her for a good twenty minutes. Hung up and called my Grandfather and passed along her number. He's over 90 and she is in her 80's and they haven't spoken in decades. They were both thrilled. I hope her daughter calls me as she has grave marker rubbings from some of the Selfs buried in Missouri. What a fun and productive good deed to do.

Tang is hard to find. I love to make what I call Friendship Tea out of Tang, lemonade, instant tea and spices. I drink gallons of it in the winter. I found only one small container of Tang yesterday. Bummer. Is Tang going away??

I'm procrastinating on coming up with a plan for Paris. I've looked at the online two and three day self guided tour recommendations and I just can't settle on an approach. Yikes. It is overwhelming because I just keep thinking, what if we never get to go back and I miss seeing something? Yes, quite unreasonable because I know I can't see it all, but that thought keeps lurking in my head and stopping me from making choices on how best to spend those hours we are in Paris. Arghhh.

I'm off to the bookstore today then home this afternoon to start preparing for the big feast. I think I may do some pies tonight as well as start chopping up other ingredients.

Monday, November 24, 2008

a trio of book bits

B&N knows how to suck me into a store and part me from my money. They sent some great coupons last week so while I was out hunting for boots, I ventured in and left with a hardcover and a paperback. I proceeded to read both over the weekend plus finish the paperback I'd started earlier in the week.

Up first....Laurell K. Hamilton is a wonderful writer and storyteller even though I wish she'd infuse some of her stories with more out of the bedroom action. In the latest Merry Gentry novel, "Swallowing Darkness," I'm happy to say that the bedroom takes a back seat to the other developments in the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Merry is finally preggers with twins, fathered by I think 6 different men....don't ask, this is a fairy tale. Of course she is in danger and all sorts of magical attacks, defenses and happenings occur. My favorite aspect of this book has to be the vision Hamilton creates of the courts and the Sluagh. The details and descriptions of the settings and the way she develops such interesting character personality facets is really amazing. I loved the ending and while it appears that the books could be complete at this point, Hamilton has blogged that more Merry stories are to come. I'm glad as one of my favorite characters returns at the end and I must read more about him.

Next, Charlaine Harris had a mystery series she did in the mid 90's called the Aurora Teagarden books. The basic premise is a small town librarian becomes an amateur sleuth. I found books two and three at our last book sale and then purchased book four at B&N. 'Roe' is out to solve the mystery surrounding "The Julius House." The house's former occupants just vanished almost seven years ago. As the house is her new home, a wedding gift from her hubby, who is quite mysterious in his own right, she wants to learn what happened. These stories could be called 'cozy mysteries' but I think they have a bit more grit to them than some of the cozies I have read. Good easy read for a cold winter's day. Roe is a delight and Harris knows how to plot a book.

Finally, I finished "Carpe Demon" by Julie Kenner. This was the demon hunting soccer mom book I wrote about last week. Well, of course, no soccer is in this book which is a bummer for this soccer mom. Instead the teenage daughter is a cheerleader...what?! All in all, the book was okay. I won't read another one as I just don't care for the whole mommy-lit genre it seems. It was cute, but I finished it more because I started it than because I was entertained. Just not for me.

The finale of HBO's True Blood was good. I was glad they wrapped up the murder mystery in the first half hour and then spent the next half hour setting up season two. My favorite scene had to be when Pam and Eric dropped Jessica off at Bill's. That was too funny. The new season will start in the summer. Alan Ball has said that he would veer from the books at this point, but from this finale, it seems that several plot lines may continue forward. My hope for season two is to see more of Eric. I just have a thing for tall, blonde undead Vikings.

Speaking of undead things, demons, evil fairies and murder....I have to walk into Wal Mart today....if I don't blog tomorrow, you'll know what happened!!

By the way, I bought boots at the Clark's store and also a pair of walking shoes. Merry Christmas to Liz from the hubby for the next few years! Pricey, but my word are they comfortable.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

the Twilight teen movie phenomena

The oldest daughter and I hit the theater by 6:10 for the 6:40 movie. Young girls were already lined up for the 7:20 show, which was sold out.

The best way to describe the movie is 'squeal.' They squealed at the start of the movie. They squealed when Edward came on screen for the first time. They squealed when Edward and Bella looked into each other's eyes. They squealed and then shrieked at the first kiss.

It wasn't the three teens I was with doing the squealing. It was a whole lot of preteens doing the squealing.

The post movie review from the girls I was with: cheesy, Edward had major bad hair, they loved the casting for the other Cullen kids, good scenery, the kid who played Jacob wasn't a good pick, Edward and Bella were way too awkward/stilted with each other either due to bad acting or poor direction.

The adult reaction was pretty much the same although my neighbor added that unless you'd read the books, the movie didn't make sense in parts. She found herself filling in information 'voids' from her knowledge of the stories.

All in all, it was a fun night out with my daughter., but unless you are a hard core fan, save your money until it comes out on DVD and then rent it. Or if you are in need of hearing hormonal young women squeal, shriek and swoon...go see it this weekend.

Friday, November 21, 2008

off to the movies

I've blogged a bit about the whole Twilight book phenomena and how when I was working at the library (and getting paid to do so) I ordered the book and read it before I was even allowed to put it out on the floor. When the system works right, the library would receive books before they were actually allowed to be sold or circulated.

I'm a sucker for vampire novels...pun totally intended. I read Anne Rice when I was in high school and moved on to read any fang driven story I could find. I read Twilight and enjoyed the teen angst in the novel. Was it the best vampire story I'd ever read? No. Was it the worst? No. Was it the best written book I'd ever read? No. Did I think the YA girls would love it. YES! It was Romeo and Juliet with a paranormal twist. Forbidden love is one of those universal Joseph Campbell-esque themes.

As I continued to read subsequent Meyer offerings about Edward and Bella, I slowly became disenchanted with her characterizations. I borrowed the last book from a friend and was glad I did. Because it wasn't mine, I didn't pitch it across the room and damage the wall or the book. Some of the themes in the books are disconcerting. Teen marriage and pregnancy should not be glamorized. The age gap and the control issues surrounding the protagonists should give a mature adult pause.

My oldest daughter and I have enjoyed lengthy discussions about the characters in these novels, how they act and react, their emotions and their thoughts. She succinctly stated at one point that Bella needed a spine; she was a total drama-mama.

So, why then would we fork out the $20 to see the movie. Well, she decided she wanted to see it and I decided I would go with her to see it. The opportunity to talk with her about relationships, feelings, emotions, boys etc. is important. More important than my attitude towards the themes in the story's arc. I have no doubt that the books and the movie will be cafeteria fodder for weeks to come. She will want to join in this conversation and needs to be able to speak in an informed fashion about both book and movie.

With that in mind, we are off to see the 6:40 show with two other moms and their daughters.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

the trip to europe

Sort day at the library again, but that isn't what is on my mind.

The weeks are flying by as I try and finish buying what we need for our trip. Hubby and I ordered luggage yesterday. We've never purchased a set before, just used handed down pieces from our parents and a set of fabric pieces I bought at a warehouse sale. We both wanted something more sturdy and on wheels for this trip. Now the trick will be packing. I want to pack fairly light as we will have access to a washer/dryer at my brother's house. My idea of light and the hubby's are usually two very different things. Then add the kids into the mix, well let's just say I hope to have the suitcases packed well before we leave!

I do hope to blog from over there. I know I will have access at my brother's, but not sure on free computers while in Paris and Fussen. I don't mind paying a bit, but we are trying ot stay on budget during this trip. So, posts might be more of a bulk nature instead of a daily diary.

I'm still on the hunt for boots. The pair I ordered from Lands End didn't fit the way I wanted the to. My left foot is a bit longer than my right. If I move up a size, they would be too wide. Bummer. They were nice looking boots.

Procurement day went well. The pantry is full again and I should finish up today at Schnucks after I'm finished at the library.

Got a good coupon in the mail from Barnes and Noble...I may have to check out what I can use it for online. I love giving books for Christmas and each year I give my children a new holiday themed book. We have quite the collection....three books times nine a few I've picked up just because they looked cute and were on sale.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

mid week procurement day

Well, I managed to get my 'to do' list finished yesterday except for dusting and moving the store stats into the excel sheet. I got sucked into and didn't resurface until the oldest arrived home from high school.

And once she arrived, all bets were off. You see, she came home and then two of her friends came over so they could work on their honors geometry together. Uh huh. More gabbing went on about boys than about congruent shapes.

Today is procurement day. Yep, I'm off to the big three: Aldi's, Costco and Schnucks.

I even managed to read a few pages in the Carpe Demon book. It isn't doing it for me...I want to love it and I'm just plowing through. Maybe the premise of the mommy demon hunter just isn't enough of a 'stretch' to be entertaining!! Hits too close to home and as I read to be taken away from my reality....well, it feels like I'm reading a diary:) Although my demons don't have bad breath and they aren't trying to destroy the world.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

randomness run amok

Of late my life has lacked cohesion. I've been running from one random task to another and unfortunately it is going to continue today. I'm going through daily routine withdrawal. I can feel it in my bones.

In no certain order, I must get the following done today.....

Clean bathrooms
Make new bookstore gift certificates (done by 10:06)
Work on my genealogy project
Do a load of dark laundry (done by 10:06)
Make dinner
Get the girls to their scrimmages ( they may be playing each other, oh my, not good at all )
Get bookstore stats transferred into my excel spreadsheets
Contact the White House Historical Society about why I haven't heard from them on our Garden books (done by 10:06_

I know I'm forgetting something and no, it isn't my writing. I haven't written in the Maddy, Lani or even the untitled twin sisters story in so long I'm not sure I could anymore!!

Like my grandma says...."I've been runnin' around like a chicken with its head off." She'd know about such things as she grew up on a Missouri farm back in the day.

Monday, November 17, 2008

training day

I will be training new bookstore volunteers today. I believe three ladies will show up as two canceled late last week. I don't like to train more than five at a time, the smaller the class the more time they each have with the cash register.

Doing the laundry was the main focus for yesterday. When I have a busy Monday, I have to get ahead on Sunday and I managed to accomplish that.

I've started reading a new book....Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner. The blurb on the cover says the book is about a demon hunting soccer mom. Tickled my funny bone to read that and I commented to one of the volunteers in the store when I found it, that the book was about me! Not that I've been hunting demons of late, but I have done so in the past:) I have the soccer mom thing down pat.

This afternoon it is back to my genealogy work. My uncle emailed me today with a copy of a WWI draft registration card for one of my great grandfathers. I hadn't stumbled on that gem in my research, so it was a nice addition to my online collection of govt. forms.

I also need to run the vacuum today. The dog hair-fur balls are threatening to take over the house. The change in weather has really ramped up Duke's pound hound is putting on his winter coat.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

a rare beast

I don't usually post on Saturday, but I'm up way too early for the weekend and the newspaper isn't at the end of the driveway yet.

So, a rare beast it is.

Kristi...the werewolf book is by Karen McInerny and is called "Howling at the Moon." It is set in Austin, TX. and is the humorous tale of Sophie Garou, a young woman who is an auditor as well as a half breed werewolf. When her gypsy-witch mama ends up in the slammer on a possible murder rap, Sophie sets out to prove her innocence. Of course all sorts of complications ensue including the arrival of a hunky full blood werewolf who sets her heart racing even though she's in a relationship with a very hot very human attorney. This was a very fun read and I'll probably look for the next book in the series when I'm at B&N again with Miss Kim.

When I was shopping yesterday I realized that Turkey Day is swiftly approaching and I'm not ready. Hubby's mom, sister and her family are set to arrive so I need to meal plan for several days and make sure that I'm not in the kitchen the entire time. Although, at times that is the best place to be! I sketched out a menu and need to make the grocery list so I can make one trip with those meals in mind.

I did pick up a few more things for our trip yesterday including a nice pair of black cords, a new black belt and assorted cold weather undergarments. Watch, Europe will have a warm spell and we won't see a flake of snow!

Off to check on driveway. The dog is sitting at attention by the front door. Maybe he heard the paper arrive.

Friday, November 14, 2008

comfort zone

I can be such a creature of habit. My husband says he can tell time by my morning routine. I remember when I was in banking how our security officer would lecture management on the importance of driving to/from work via different routes and arriving/departing at different times. I tried to follow his advice, I truly did! But more often than not, the car and I were on autopilot. I have some major comfort zones in my life.

Last night my oldest had her soccer banquet. She can be such a confident and collected girl, but for some reason she has struggled with keeping her head up on this team. There is a visible difference in how she carries herself when she takes the field for practice or a game now that her competitive league season has started. She looks more relaxed and more at ease. But at last night's event, she slipped back into that more timid girl. We talked about it after we got home.

It boils down to confidence and comfort zones. I don't think she felt like she deserved to be on the high school team. And then once she made the team, she never felt like she fit in with the other players.

The thing is, she realizes all of this. She is a very mature young lady and she has already decided to work on making her comfort zone larger.

If I can encourage in her that life skill, one that I often struggle with, I will be happy and she will be better off for it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


After I got home from taking Abbey to her orthodontist appointment and delivering her to school, I made a cup of tea and fired up the laptop. I managed to finish inputting all the genealogy information I had culled last spring. Now comes the fun part...putting together the binders. You see, I'm giving this information to my mom, brother and maternal grandmother for Christmas. So the next few weeks will be spent printing, sorting, plastic sleeving and binding.

I still have hopes of finiding a Revolutionary War vet in those branches, but haven't discovered anything so far. I need to keep digging. The problem is when I begin to work on this project, three or four hours whiz by and then the day is gone. It consumes me.

But first, I'm off to the library for sorting day. Then I'm debating about going to Starbucks with the crew. I seem to get cornered when I go there and a session of Q&A ensues. Not sure if I'm up to that today....the whole laptop fiasco is starting to wear thin.

Gray skies all around us today. I'd give a major whoop if the sun decides to break through. Three gray days in a row is more than enough. Makes me feel like I'm back in the Hoosier State when we'd have three months of gray skies and I'd slowly start to lose my marbles!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

chatter and the big squeeze

Went with the hubby to the board appreciation shindig last night at our town hall. Glad I did. It is always a good thing to listen to what people are saying and watch who is talking/mingling.

What I did hear was that the budget will be tight this next year, just like in so many households around the country. Sales tax revenue is down. Building permits are down. The list goes on and on. As a result, town spending will be slimmed to meet the smaller revenue stream.

Of course I've known the Library has been asked to turn in a possible budget cut list. Interesting to me that in a time when library usage may increase, library services and staff could be squeezed.

So, keep using your public library....stats don't lie and they will insure that the appropriate piece of the pie is served.

Of course I'm involved with an amazing Friends of the Library group who make the money to provide the icing on the cake for our library. We may be asked for more in the years ahead.

I had a ball yesterday in the store. Lots of little readers as school was out for Veteran's Day. It is always fun to see what folks buy. I sold a Madeline 'big' book...I have two of them at home. Ones I purchased for my girls when they were very small. We were, and in some ways still are, all about the little girl in Paris who did everything in two straight lines! One of my girls even has a Madeline tee shirt she purchased at Delia's!

I also found a book to read....about an urban werewolf in Austin, Tx. So far, it is quite humorous. I managed to pick up the Stephanie Plum books 2-6 plus one of the 'between the numbers' titles to ship over to my Mom. She is still recuperating from her leg/ankle break.

It was a good, informative and full day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

international relations

Took the kids yesterday to Old Navy and stocked up on a few items for the trip. My brother has repeatedly warned me about how to dress while in Europe. No sweatshirts with tennis jeans for adults...on and on and on. I think he believes we are going to get off the plane sporting Cubs ball caps, Chicago Bears sweatshirts, acid washed jeans and white Nikes yelling, "Hey ya'll, watch this!"

I wouldn't wear that here at home...why would I dress like that overseas?? My favorite colors are black and chocolate brown.

But, I am on the hunt for a good pair of walking boots that are somewhat slushy weather proof. I came close to ordering a pair from LL Bean and have tried on a pair over at the mall, but I haven't found the 'ones' yet. I'm the only one left who needs footwear. All other feet in the house are equipped.

Hard to believe we are coming up on T minus 30 days and counting.

Monday, November 10, 2008


The kids are off today and tomorrow in honor of Veteran's was nice that yesterday before Fr. P started his homily that he explained Armistice Day and the meaning behind it. So many people are unaware of history...and as a result we seem to keep repeating it!

So, in honor of the holiday, the kids are required to help me clean the house. I've already finished the downstairs bathrooms and Julia is dusting. Matt has been working upstairs, which will need an evaluation at some point. He tends to not do a very thorough job, but he is learning. No gender bias in this house!

Today's music lesson was called off due to a new baby arriving on the scene. Our teacher's daughter in law just had baby boy number two. She sounded elated, tired and frazzled all in one.

Better get back to supervising the work force!

Friday, November 7, 2008

something fun

My oldest jumped on the bed last night after she got cleaned up from keeper practice and started to tell me about a couple of her friends. I guess they both think that I am the coolest mom and they just can't talk to their moms like she talks to me.

Now, I guess that means that she is relaying some of the conversations we've had. Or it means that in talking about her home life, these girls have an impression of our relationship.

I've never thought of myself as a cool mom or that my daughter's friends would think that. I don't dress cool...I'm pretty well stuck in the cable sweater and penny loafer mode. I don't have any uber cool hobbies, beyond reading which is of course the coolest.

I do like to watch some of the same shows as she does. What is not to love about the guilty pleasure that is Gossip Girl?

Maybe it all comes down to communication. My daughter and I talk...a lot. Nothing is forbidden. I ask and she spills. She asks and I offer my ideas or opinions. Not that the level of communication hasn't evolved, because it has. There are times, I'm sure, when she thinks I am the most uncool mom on the planet.

But, for her to tell me that revealed a pride she has in me, which is something fun for today.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

up next

Stayed up way too late on Election Day to see the results coming in for our local race. Glad to say the mayoral candidate hubby and I supported won on the first vote...we could of had a runoff as three men were on the ballot.

I have to say, watching Obama's speech in Grant Park was spine tingling. I love Chicago, perhaps because that is the big city I was raised around and spent many weekends over the years visiting. Just neat to see the Windy City getting positive national attention on such a huge scale.

Lots of library stuff this week. I haven't been doing a very good job of balancing all the library, bookstore and home work.

No writing and in fact, no reading this week either. Hard to believe it is Thursday already!

Monday, November 3, 2008

monday monday

The count down is officially on for the big trip to Europe. The hubby actually beat me to the list making and yesterday he and our youngest hit the stores to purchase a few necessities for the trip and a few things that were definitely not necessary. That is the danger of letting a man loose at any store...they always come home with more than what was on the list. I never let him go to the grocery store, the budget would be blown for months.

I'm still not finished with the Strongbow saga books, hence no review on that trilogy. I think I have less than 50 pages to go. I really should try and knock that out today. Maybe after I get home from stocking the bookstore. I stopped in there yesterday after I dropped the oldest off at the game she was assigned to referee. Our stocking closet is in a meeting room and it was occupied, so no way to fill the store shelves. I did manage to get quite a bit of 'housekeeping' things done, which will make my job this week much easier.

I also picked up a book called "The Aviary Gate" by Katie Hickman. So far so is a historical novel set in 1599 and the present. Lauren Willig employs this time jump tool in her books also.

Busy week ahead with two soccer games, three practices, three meetings and then all the usual stuff.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

bookstore news

I spent yesterday organizing my bookstore stuff. I cleaned out my binder, printed off some missing reports and tallied numbers. The store is officially over a year old now. Our anniversary was the week we closed for our big fall sale, but we are having our celebration this week. Cookies for customers begins today and repeats on Saturday.

Some of the numbers I tallied were amazing, even though I knew we were darn close to hitting the mark. Yep, the store raised $35,011.25 in our first year. That is gross sales...but even adjusted for the taxes we had to pay and the few supplies we had to purchase, it is a HUGE number. Our set up costs were under $12,000. We sold a lot of used reading and listening materials.

Our profits are rolled back to the library to buy everything from books to programming for them. What an amazing first year in business.

Monday, October 27, 2008

the week ahead

I have so much stuff to do this week that I need to make a list. I'm afraid I'll forget something if I don't! Also, the hubby had a touch of some sort of tummy bug yesterday and I feel a bit off my game today. Not a good way to start a busy week.

Friday, October 24, 2008

weekend dead ahead

Took the youngest offspring to his school open house last night. We ended up having to park down the street and hike through the woods, umbrella overhead, with puddles all around. It rained all day yesterday. So, yet another Thursday's soccer game was canceled. Back to the open house....they always have a book fair at these events and I always let the kids buy books. Scholastic sells them for less than I can get them at B&N, even with my discount. The kid came home with two titles, one being the City of Ember. He wants to read the book because he said the book is always better than the movie and he liked the movie.

Another odd ball week. I didn't work on my genealogy like I needed to. Next week will be some marathon sessions with my family tree maker program. I did manage to do three 10 minute writing prompts. I had lunch with the hubby and we acquired our international driving permits for our trip to Europe this Christmas. One of the oldest kid's friends asked her if we were rich...she said no, my mom and dad have been saving a long time for this trip. Darn tootin'....I think saving up for something special has become a distant memory for too many folks.

I'm almost finished with the third Strongbow book and when I'm done look for a commentary on YA books for boys. They are a rare breed. So much YA chick-lit stuff, not so much boy driven stuff.

Speaking of books, next time you are in a bookstore look for a book from an author you've never heard of before....the midlist writer is suffering in the publishing world and readers need to spread the wealth, to borrow a popular comment, and read books from folks who may not have the big display, the huge adverts or a blurb from a famous author on their cover. Nora, John, James etc have made their millions and then some....look for some fresh talent. It is out there and I guarantee, you will fall in love with a new voice!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

up next

My three hour adventure at the polls was a lesson in personality. A string of candidates lined the side of the drive. After voters parked their cars, the only way down to the sidewalk was past this gauntlet. My candidate was with me the whole time, which made my job easier as I just had to say good morning/afternoon, ask them to support my candidate and then thank folks for voting as they left. How the voters responded which was so interesting. Some smiled and made eye contact. Others acted like you were invisible. Some even gave the whatever 'hand'! Most were gracious, took the literature and moved along. Civility reigned among the various candidates on hand.

Today is book sort day at the library. The store will also need stocking. Then I am headed east over to the hubby's office. We are going to AAA to get our internat'l driver's permits and do lunch.

Tonight, if the rain holds off, middle kid has a soccer game. Youngest kid has his school open house. I think the oldest has the night off!

I've been able to do three of the writing exercises now...pretty neat how a prompt can stick a whole scene in my wee noggin.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

new stuff

I'm in for a new experience today. The hubby and I are supporting one of the three mayoral candidates in our fair town and I've been asked to 'work' the polls for him. From 10-1 I will be stationed the legally required number of feet from the early polling place so I can offer my personal endorsement and hand out stuff all while sporting a very stylish campaign tee shirt.

My buddy Kim just rec'd some fabu news from her publisher, Red Rose Publishing. Not only did they scoop up Shannon and Dwayne's first adventure, "Avenging Angel," they are also going to include her in an anthology about love the second time around. How cool is that?? I'm so proud of you, girl!

I've taken the same lady's advice and started to use the ten minute writing prompt exercise to prime the old creative well. It is helping. I've allowed myself to get into a bad spot with my writing and I needed a way out.

Judson Robert's second Strongbow book is just as good as the first in this series. I'm also finished with it, a very quick read, and am glad I checked out the third book while I was at the library.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ancient Eygpt and Vikings

I finished Michelle Moran's "The Heretic Queen" yesterday. Good thing as it is due back to the library today! I really enjoyed Moran's first book, "Nefertiti" and her new novel was just as entertaining. Moran has a gift for taking the ancient and making it feel so contemporary. The political struggles, the relationships, the tough decisions ancient people experienced are really no different than modern society encounters. I enjoyed reading about the relationship between Ramesses and Nefertari. By all accounts, they truly were a love match. I also found it interesting how Moran wove the Moses character into the storyline and the author end notes on Moses and his story were fascinating.

My only disappointment, and this is probably just a 'Liz' issue, I didn't feel the connection with Nefertari like I did with her mother, Mutnodjmet, the heroine of the first book. I liked "N" and felt sympathy for her, but "M" just spoke to me. This isn't a criticism of the novel, again, it could just be a circumstance where certain characters really find a way into your head and others don't quite talk to you in that way.

From ancient Eygpt, I am now moving forward in time to begin reading a Viking story. Judson Roberts has put out a YA trilogy about a young Viking set in 845. I devoured the first book in the Strongbow Saga, and the second one is starting out just as good.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Had a ball visiting with Kim yesterday at B&N. She never fails to offer me some nuggets of wisdom, some encouragment and more than a few good laughs.

The oldest rocked it out on the field Saturday afternoon and stopped a PK late in the first half, which kept the other team scoreless, which then allowed us to clinch the JV cup. You go, girl.

The youngest went with his dad to hawk Tootsie Rolls for the K of C and did an awesome job.

The middle kid learned a move at skills camp yesterday allowing her to fake out defenders in a
new way.

I'm over halfway finished with The Heretic Queen. Amazing how Ms. Moran can bring ancient Egypt to life and make it seem so contemporary while keeping it so authentic.

The pantry is getting really bare, so I need to do some grocery shopping. I'm supposed to train volunteers for the bookstore today and hope no one shows up so I can get that errand done.

I'm also going to take Kim's advice and start 'priming' the creative well with ten minute writing workouts. Hope I can clear out some of the rust and get back to the clear, crisp word flow that lurks somewhere inside, I hope.

Friday, October 17, 2008


This has been a very weird and disjointed week. Lots of ups and downs, plans changed or canceled, good and bad all rolled into the past seven days.

I got this via an email and had fun playing with it.... click on various items in the photo and watch what happens. The door out of the room is my personal favorite.....

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

drawing a blank

The article about Charlaine Harris is in our local paper today and I am quoted, but the hour long interview boiled down to one small sentence. So is life......I need to email the reporter and compliment her on the article. It was well done and the cartoon of Ms. Harris was adorable.

I'm off to sort books, run errands and such today. Beyond that I really need to get back to writing. I miss it. I miss the time to create. I miss my characters, because I sort of like them. So maybe today when I get home, before the kids start rolling in and we have to get ready for two soccer games, I can open at least one of those word documents and rediscover my stories.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

tightening the belt

The bookstore was busy yesterday. I actually had a customer who thanked us for opening the store. She is a cancer patient and said that we've helped her cope. She couldn't afford a regular bookstore price for books and was reluctant to take library books to the doctor's office for fear she'd leave them. In three hours we sold $75 in used books...that is a lot of books. And the great thing is many of those books will come back to us so we can sell them again, and again.

Went to the debate last night between the aldermen candidates and the three mayoral candidates. Find it so curious that several of them mentioned going to our state capital and DC to get money for our town. Okay, these same people rail against higher taxes and the 'pork' laden bills that leave Congress. Hello? Is anyone home? Where do they think that money comes from, the national money tree?

I finished the latest Betsy Taylor, queen of the vampires, book. With so much going on in my family life right now, I read this book pretty fast and didn't take the time to savor it. It took me away from my thoughts for a bit and on that basis alone, I'd give it a thumbs up.

Up next, The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

okay, you can stop now

Whatever little black cloud has decided to settle over my family and send down you I say ' can stop now.'

My mom is back in the hospital. She is having complications from the swelling around the break site. Not good, not good at all.

My aunt, the RN, has been to see my Grandma and although the antibiotics are helping her rally, her congestive heart failure is bad and the stroke they saw on the MRI may be an older one. So, for now, she is awake and able to eat, but the CHF is a major concern.

So, yesterday was a mixed bag. Cautious news on Grandma and bad news on my mom.

On other fronts, I managed to read a bit of Mary Janice Davidson's latest. Interesting developments in that story arc. The cover of this books is substantially different than the rest of the series. This is to reflect a different direction for this new book and the next two. She is doing a trilogy within the series. Pretty nifty idea.....

After I finish this one, I'll start Michelle Moran's latest book. Then after those are returned to the library, I will need to check out a YA series that I asked to be ordered. It is a series aimed towards boys, something that is difficult to find. They are set during Viking times and are chock full of action, tension and a bit of history. More on those to come....

Monday, October 13, 2008

fall break

Fall break is underway for the offspring. We returned from the soccer tournament in decent shape. Just a mild injury, received after the darling middle daughter was given a yellow card. She got far worse than she gave.

Also, I finished the second Aurora T. book I found at the book sale. It is the third book in that series. Now I am hooked and will have to find the rest of those stories.

Bad things always come in threes and after my mom's injury two weekends ago, I learned yesterday upon arriving home that my 94 year old grandmother is in the hospital intensive care. I spoke with my aunt for a while and grandma is showing a bit of improvement today, but it could still go either way. When you are 94, you are living the last moments of life daily. I'm hoping for the best. That may mean telling her goodbye. She is a vibrant woman and often told us she didn't want to live to see 100. She may decide it is time to go.

So, I'm sad but in a weird way, happy for her. She may get to go out on her own terms. For a lady who raised six kids on a coal miner's pay in the foothills of Pennsylvania, she's done well in so many ways.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I don't have a problem throwing out or recycling old books. Some folks, however, will keep a book even if the pages are yellow with age, the spine has lost its glue and mold is growing on the cover. In our Friends group you either fall into my camp or you fall into the 'keep it all' camp. Makes for interesting days at the library when we sort donations.

I spent yesterday working on sorting guidelines after I composed a press release for the store's first anniversary.

Even though I checked out some new books, I had to finish the Aurora Teagarden book I started. I just thoroughly enjoy Charlaine Harris' writing and these cozy mysteries are such a treat.

Today I need to finish cleaning. My mother in law flies in this afternoon. I need to pack for the weekend's soccer tournament. I need to grocery shop for a few things so the hubby and the kids who are staying home can eat while I'm gone.

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

all the news that is fit to print

First off, my mom is doing better. Yeah. Doesn't look like they need or want me to come and help. For now, the two of them are tackling this injury in good form.

My family tree maker software arrived while we were gone last weekend and I spent the last two days learning how to use it and have started to input the information I had discovered last spring. Looks like I will get the Christmas presents done after all.

Still no writing, but I was in the library yesterday to drop off kids for the teen board and discovered they'd just set out a new shipment of books. Wahoooo. I found Michelle Moran's "The Heretic Queen" and Mary J. Davidson's "Undead and Uneasy." Add those two titles to the bedside stack, but I better read fast, they are only 14 day checkouts.

No writing or editing and for now, that is just fine. I do have to knock out a press release for the Friends and the bookstore. The store is one year old this week and we are celebrating our accomplishments.

Seems the rain has moved out and sunny skies are in the forecast, in more ways than one.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

today's agenda

Mother Nature has finally provided some liquid nourishment. We needed rain and I hope it keeps coming today. Bone dry around here.

Speaking of bones, my mom is home and resting. The next 8 weeks will be hard for her and my dad. He will be the care giver and while he has many wonderful attributes, domestic talents are not included. I've offered to fly out for a bit, but she wants to see how the next several days go before we set something like that up. She knows how chaotic our family's schedule is and I think she is reluctant to take me up on the offer.

My family tree maker disk/program arrived and I really need to start inputting all the information I compiled. This is the Christmas present I'm planning to give my side of the family.

I haven't written in the wips in so long I think I've forgotten how. They are always grumbling in my head, but I don't have the creative juices at the moment or the energy to tackle either of them. This fall has been so hit or miss. Not at all what I expected, hoped, planned.

Last night I started one of Charlaine Harris' mystery books featuring Aurora Teagarden, the murder solving librarian. I found books 2 and 3 at the book sale and brought them home. I'll have to go back and read book 1 at a later date.

Monday, October 6, 2008

weekend update

The soccer team lost one and tied one.
My mom broke her leg.
Not the fun weekend any of us had planned.
The book sale brought in over $6500.00 for the Friends.

That is about it. I'm off to the library today to move our stashed inventory back into our storage closet. I'll be waiting to hear from my Dad about my Mom.

Going to be a rough week.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

see ya next week

So, I watched True Blood episode four again today while I folded laundry and is the actor who is playing my fav vamp, Eric the Viking....yum!

Going to take a short hiatus from my daily blog entry as between the book sale and the soccer schedule, I just don't have anything to blog about right now except the book sale and the soccer games!


Monday, September 29, 2008

book sale week

This week is all about getting ready for our big fall book sale. It starts today with the store, which is closed this week, and swapping out inventory. Going to be a busy four days for me.

Watched episode four of True Blood last night. Darn that Alan Ball...only had a few minutes of Eric on screen. Quite the smoldering, powerful Viking vampire, and I hope next week's episode has him on screen longer.

Speaking of Sookie and co., the interview last week went really well. The reporter and I talked for an hour. It was fun. She interviews Charlaine Harris on Tuesday, so the article should be in the paper later this week. I hope it runs before I leave with the family for the soccer tournament this weekend. Guess I can always check it out online.

No books in the tbr pile. Although I never know what I will find when we start unpacking the stuff for the sale. Sometimes a treasure or two gets stashed away.

Friday, September 26, 2008

a bit of this and that

After I got home from the library, I tackled flower beds. I managed to get the front of the house done and started on the back. Before I began, I greased up with my anti poison ivy lotion and donned some oh so attractive elbow length gloves. You see, I fell victim to poison ivy about three years ago after weeding one of my backyard beds. Now I am hyper sensitive to everything that is green with leaves. Shortly after I bagged up the last of the 'stuff,' I noticed small red bumps on my arms. Yep, the clear sign I needed to quit for the day.

Into the shower I went and then the antihistamine lotion was applied followed by a benedryl. So, the rest of the afternoon was spent in front of the TV.

I still have two more beds to clean out for fall. They will have to wait until next week now. I like to do yard work on trash day so the stuff doesn't sit and stink for a week. Next week is going to be cooler, so I can wear long sleeves and the gloves and be more protected. I hope.

Now, for the fun news. One of my reporter acquaintances emailed me yesterday about an article she is writing. She landed an interview with Charlaine Harris and was looking for me to hook her up with a devoted reader or book club. After I raved about all things Charlaine, she decided she'd found her devoted reader. So, I'm being interviewed this morning for the article. How totally awesome is that??!!

Tonight is girls night out for a few of us. Off to the deli and the movies. We may see either Ghost Town or Eagle Eye. I'll post my thoughts after the show.

Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

telling stories

Last spring I got sucked into the world of genealogy. I spent hours each day sifting through in search of my 'roots'. It was a blast. It was a compulsion. It finally faded. Until now....I just ordered family tree maker 2009 from the website. I do have a plan, you see. I'm going to organize all the information I gathered and put it in this program, print it out and give it as Christmas gifts to my parents and brother. I've only worked on my side of the tree, but I do plan on working on the hubby's side at some point.

Beyond telling family stories, I also need to get back to my fictional stories. Hasn't been a good week for that. I've not been home for any significant length of time. Perhaps today will be better.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

what is up with that?

Sometimes I just have to shake my head and bite my tongue. Other times I can't help from saying 'what is up with that?' I'm not really asking a question, you see, I'm usually commenting on the totally inane activity, position or quip I've heard or seen on the tv.

The latest is Palin's remark about Tina Fey's 'spot on' performance on SNL, which she watched, but had the volume turned down. Yep, 'wtf.' Oops, yes, I meant 'wiuwt.' Oh, heck, wtf is shorter and that is what I really mean.

Of course the whole bailout mess my grandkids will be paying for is another example of wtf.

To totally switch gears, the oldest kid's team, the Dragons takes on St. George's today. How funny is that! Most likely George won't be slaying a dragon today. Middle kid learned her character, Patty Simcox, has more lines in Grease than Frenchy, the character she originally wanted. Youngest kid is getting ready to do a cereal box book report. Let's not teach kids how to write, but gluing is all the rage.

I'm in a really weird mood, so I better stop while I'm ahead. wtf.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

and so it goes

I spent two hours yesterday training some new folks on how to run the register in the bookstore. When we were done, I knew I had two good workers and two who will never get it. That is usually how it shakes out. The soul is willing, but the mind just can't give the right directions to the fingers. I counseled those two to be 'seconds' to a veteran volunteer; which means they bag up the sales, straighten shelves and chat with the customers.

Once I got home, I finished reading "Masquerade" by Melissa de la Cruz. The book was entertaining, but not as good as the first novel in this series. The teen vampire theme is still going strong because when I was at the library yesterday, the YA gal was stamping a cart full of teen vampire themed books. Think I will stick with my evil faery motif for the YA wips.

Today the store is open for business and I will be manning the register along with one observer who needs to brush up on her skills. Always good to have company for those three hours.

Monday, September 22, 2008

things to do

I wound up taking an eight mile bike ride on Friday. It was the perfect way to sort through the noise in my head. The weekend was really calm. No madcap rushing from one event to another. Just what I think we all needed.

I finished reading a trilogy of books over the weekend. "The Faerie Path" books by Frewin Jones started off pretty weak and although they did get better, these books are more geared towards J-fic instead of YA. After reading such YA fantasy titles from O.R. Melling and Holly Black, these three books just didn't hit the mark for me.

On the nightstand right now is the YA vampire book "Masquerade" by Melissa de la Cruz. It has been a while since I read the first book, "Blue Bloods", so I struggled a bit to recall the world de la Cruz built. But, I'm humming right along now and enjoying the story.

This week I have bookstore training to present today, a shift to work tomorrow and then I may finally get around to painting some trim in the house. Three windows need a coat as well as the baseboard trim in the kitchen.

I'd also like to get back to the wips and perhaps clean out the flower beds.

Just a real assortment of things to do in the next five days.

Friday, September 19, 2008

sis bah boom

My head is filled with so many oddball thoughts today. It sounds like a middle school band warming up. Nothing is in tune. Nothing has any sort of melody. The week was sort of like that. So much going on, but everything seemed disconnected and random. And today is Friday and I wonder just how I got here. The house is clean, the laundry caught up, the kids were delivered and picked up, writing was even thrown into the mix.

I think I need some quiet, sit outside and listen to nature time. May have to sneak over to the park today and just veg. Too much noise in my head and not enough clear thinking.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

sort day

Thursday is the day the Friends group meets at the library to sort, shelve or box the donations. I'm always interested to see what titles are donated to the library. Of late, our nonfiction donations are outpacing the fiction donations. Self help is the biggest nonfiction category we receive. I guess we have lots of people out there trying to fix themselves.

After self help, we receive a lot of books on religion/inspiration. Not sure if that is a reflection of where I live, the buckle of the bible belt, or another larger trend.

We do receive a fair number of professional/trade books. The how-to sort of stuff ranging from computers to management. Quite a few medical books as well.

History books, political science books, travel books etc are also usually represented. We do receive more fiction books than these last nonfiction categories.

I'm not a nonfiction book reader. I read to be entertained, to be taken away, to escape the humdrum day to day routine. Apparently, more folks out there read nonfiction. Or, do they just hold onto the fiction titles and collect them? Right now we need romance books for the store....and for our big book sale coming up in a few weeks. Guess those romance readers are reluctant to part with their books.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

something is in progress

Something is in progress, which is better than nothing in progress. Not sure if I would label it 'work', but I did open MB yesterday and ended up spending a few hours in that world. I began real revisions. I cut passages, created a new document and plopped the deleted scenes in there. I began to think about beefing up one plot thread I'd neglected. I nudged, tweaked, polished and massaged four chapters.

Then as a treat to myself, I started something brand new. A new story came to me, all fresh and shiny. I'm stuck with the Lani story and am not sure how to fix it, so I began something totally different. I even took the laptop with me to the soccer field so I could work in the 45 minutes before the game kicked off. I've never done that before. Not sure why, but I tell you what, I enjoyed sitting in the van with the laptop balanced on my knees while I typed away.

Yep, something is in progress.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

the trip to europe

I checked out Paris for Dummies yesterday at the library. Yep, we have our tickets to Germany and we have a hotel lined up for Paris. My brother is taking care of other details of this trip for us including the leg of it we are spending down towards Salzburg.

So our itinerary is such...arrive in Frankfurt, collapse. Get up the next day and visit Triere. Collapse. Get up again and visit Strasbourg, come home and collapse. Enjoy Christmas. Get on a plane or train and head to Paris. Paris, Paris and then back home. Get in the car and drive to Garmish, Salzburg, Neuschwanstein etc...have New Years...get back home. Rest and repack. Catch a plane back to the States and resume normal life. We will be gone exactly two weeks on this trip and I'm already thinking of how to pack, what to pack etc. I feel like I'm coordinating a small military campaign. I've read Rick Steves travel blog boards until my eyes crossed.

This is the trip of a lifetime and I don't want to blow it! Good grief, why do I put so much pressure on myself to make sure everyone has a spectacular time??

I'm sure I've spelled the names of the town wrong...I need more coffee.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm not here, I'm here

Check out today's blog entry over at Murder by 4....a very cool blog run by some very cool writers.

Have a good one!

Friday, September 12, 2008

the week that wasn't

Nothing like a vicious virus to trash plans. I didn't do anything I wanted to do this week and settled for accomplishing what I had to do. Not much to recap as a result.

I feel much better today. The cold is a lingering annoyance at this point. The oldest has a soccer game at 3:00 and she and the middle kid referee tomorrow one game a piece. So, our soccer activities will be lighter than normal.

I intend on hitting B&N today and getting the Sookie book I'm missing. I also need to keep an eye peeled for the latest from Michelle Moran, "The Heretic Queen." Her first book, "Nefertiti" was an excellent read and I have confidence this new one will be just as good. You know me and historical fiction...after the Tudor dynasty, give me some ancient Egyptians or Romans and I'm a happy girl.

Speaking of reading, my favorite hardcore urban fantasy author, Lilith Saintcrow has put up a serial book on her website. It is all about Selene and Nikolai, the nichtvren from her Dante Valentine series. Scrumpdillyicious reading indeed.

No post here on Monday. Instead check out and my debut there....all about how libraries order books.

Good weekend ya'll

Thursday, September 11, 2008

oh crap

I'm missing one of my Sookie books. I can't remember if I loaned the book out, never bought it or have it stashed somewhere other than my bookcase. Yep, I'm up to "Definitely Dead" and it is definitely not with the other Sookie books.

So, I may be hauling my mending body over to B&N to purchase it. Good thing a discount coupon arrived in today's email. I do love my membership privileges:)

I know my mom has the most recent Sookie as I took it to her this past May. She is returning it in October when we meet up at the oldest kid's out of town soccer tourney.

Kim, I'm still working on the library book ordering post. I promise. I just can't sit for too long and think in any sort of coherent manner.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

loitering viruses

Kim, bring on the chicken soup, babe. This cold is a doozy. I can't remember the last time I've been down for three days with anything!

Whatever virus found its way into my body, it has decided it really likes the place and is staying for a spell. Current place of residence, my throat and upper respiratory tracks.

The only good thing I've done, other than slog through my three hour shift yesterday, is to reread all the Sookie books. I'm on book four as of last night. That series is such a joy to read. Makes me want to write again....if I could stop hacking, blowing, sniffing.

Which reminds me, I need to disinfect my laptop. Lysol wipes, here I come.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

half full

Slept like crap last night between blowing and coughing. The cold has morphed into a constant tickle in my throat and a dry cough. Argh. So, I'm tired right now, but over all I do seem to have improved some over night.

I'm off for the bookstore today to work my shift. We have a rainy day thus far. I guess I must have missed that forecast. If it keeps on raining, the store will be slow.

I haven't had that first cup of joe this morning, so I'm calling it an 'entry' right now.

Monday, September 8, 2008

head full

One of the more lovely things about the kids going back to school is the germs they bring home. Yep, it never fails that within a month of school starting the cold germs infect all of us. It was my turn this weekend and although I feel better this morning, I still have a head full of gunk. My nose is a lovely shade of red and very sore.

Beyond the cold, I had a decent weekend. I finished reading Alison Weir's book, "The Lady Elizabeth." What a good historical fiction read. Now, I truly enjoy reading about Elizabeth's early years, so this book wasn't a hard sell for me. Weir did a great job of exploring the inner thoughts of the future queen from her relationship with her father to the involvement she had with her final stepmother's husband. She took some literary license, which is to be expected in a novel, but everything was very plausible. Thumbs up on this one.

I also watched True Blood last night on HBO. I'm a huge Charlaine Harris fan and own every Sookie book published. When I heard this series was in the works, I didn't go back and reread the first few books. Best to watch a TV treatment without a fresh memory of how the books unfold. I enjoyed episode one and got to hand it to Alan Ball for leaving us all hanging at the end of the show. I've enjoyed the actors cast as the characters and can't wait to see Eric brought to life by young Mr. Skaarsgard. You know where I'll be every Sunday for the next several weeks.

Not a short week this week, but a busy one with three soccer games, a cub scout meeting and assorted other stuff. I do hope to get some editing and writing done, if my nose stops dripping and I can type without blowing every few minutes!

Friday, September 5, 2008


Short week with the holiday, but a very busy one. The oldest kid won both soccer games and as a result of the lopsided competition was able to work on receiving drop passes from the defense and putting the ball back into the field of play.

I read a couple of books and started a new one, "The Lady Elizabeth" by Alison Weir. So far so good, but I'm a sucker for historical fiction.

Didn't do any of my own fiction writing, but I did manage to get a few more words down on the column for Kim.

Made multiple meetings for the Friends with the final one coming this morning. I also get to read to the youngest kid's class today.

Up for the weekend, more soccer of course...going to be a good one weather wise as Gustav is long gone and is now dumping rain up in our old neighborhood.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

best to be prepared

Once I learned that my library successor would approach our Friends group to appeal for funds to purchase gaming equipment for the YA department, I started researching. I learned a lot.

Did you know that 100 years ago kids weren't even allowed in libraries? Or that fiction books were not shelved in libraries because they were viewed as entertainment? Or that the Library of Congress catalogs video games? Or that the ALA has endorsed gaming in libraries?

Boy, things have changed. And I'm happy to say that my research did not have to be used to convince anyone, only to reaffirm what many of the ladies had already decided. We need to get those teens in the library and if it takes a Wii or a guitar hero game to do it, then so be it.

On other fronts, I need to finish my article for my friend Kim about how books get onto those library shelves. Haven't forgotten about you, girl, just been swamped with meetings and such.