Family

I just couldn’t let the milestone of Little Boy Blue’s high school graduation go by without showing some of the pictures. This week I’ve got some words of wisdom I knew an 18 year old male could really appreciate. (And no, these aren’t mine, I found them from some anonymous person on the internet.)

1. If you’re too open minded … your brains fall out.

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2. If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.

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3. No man has been shot while doing dishes.

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4. Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.

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5. Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.

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6. Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused.

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7. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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8. If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you’ve never tried before.

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9. A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.

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10. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you a mechanic.

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11. You’ll love deadlines…especially the ‘whooshing’ sound they make as they fly by.

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12. Junk is something you’ve kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.

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13. By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.

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Last weekend we celebrated Beautiful Girl’s college graduation. It was tiring and amazing and long and wonderful. So this week I thought I’d share thirteen things about graduation.

1. Getting to the football stadium 2 hours early guarantees you both good seats and a wicked sore butt!

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2. Beautiful Girl should have stood on the OTHER side of her veeeerrry tall friend.

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3. Teenage boys really have only three wants. a) A refrigerator. b) A toilet. c) Space of their own. None of which Little Boy Blue had allllll weekend.

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4. Pictures don’t really tell the whole story of how edgy six people get in a hotel room. Just saying …

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5. Friends are the best part of college.

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6. Receiving the college insignia medal isn’t the same as getting a signed diploma (which we haven’t seen yet).

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7. Graduating from college doesn’t guarantee you can follow the directions “1 … 2 … 3 … jump”, no matter how many times you try.

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8. There really is nothing to do in a hotel room for three days.

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9. College Education – $80,000
    Family trip to graduation – $1,000
    Meeting the families of your daughter’s best friends – Priceless

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10. My kids really do love each other. (Though the position of Baby Girl’s arm is a little questionable.)

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11. School mascots don’t have to watch their hands. (Your right hand is where Mr. Minuteman?)

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12. 2009 is a very good year.

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13. Even at college graduations there’s eye candy. (Okay so he wasn’t there, but it was really hot …)

So it’s May. This is good. The snow is actually gone in Northern Maine and the flowers are pushing up through the warming soil. Yes, I’m happy. Yes, I’m pulling my hair out. I HAVE SOOOOO MUCH TO DO!

I am pleased that I managed to finish my shifter/menage manuscript and with a couple of revisions totally fell in love with it and sent it off to my editor. Now that’s a matter of waiting on that. With all the personal stuff going on in my life I’ve decided to cut myself some slack during May. If I manage to get some writing done … yay! If not, well, then I don’t. I’ve got a couple of stories I’m chipping away at, the next in my shifter/menage series, a firefighter story (because I totally fell in love with my vampire firefighter) and then there’s another new paranormal that has an opening scene. So I’ve got a couple things in the pipeline.

What I haven’t figured out is how to be a mom, wife, housekeeper, personal shopper AND a writer with writing and marketing responsibilities. Spending time at the computer means less time focused on laundry, dishes and cooking. Urrrr… sometimes I have to pull myself away and reconnect with the people living with me! LOL!

Added to the usual stuff going on … Beautiful Girl is graduating from college and Little Boy Blue from high school. Major milestones that require my attention. Having MS makes the planning even harder. I have only so much energy to give to cleaning and preparing. Which means I’m starting now to get the house ready for company in the beginning of June. DH is great, but let’s face it, men just don’t see messes the way women do. *sigh* I know my family won’t care if the house isn’t perfect, but I care.  Of course me stressing about it is making it worse.

So, do you have any hints on how to juggle life and writing? I know this is something all writers struggle with.

Whew! So how are you doing? The last week and a half has been a whirlwind of food, new clothing, boxes, food, wrapping paper, car trips, food, store receipts, family, and food… did I mention food? I’m sure, regardless of your holiday celebrations your head is dancing with the same images!

I hope it was all wonderful and blessed with happy times to add to your book of memories.

And now, the end to the holiday season is nearing. Whew. It’ll take my poor destroyed house weeks to recover, but in between all the picking up and taking down of Christmas decorations I’m going to open up that WIP of mine and finish my shifter story. My characters have been waiting in the wings only quietly mumbling that they are being ignored. But I woke up this morning with Zane, my newest cougar shifter, whispering in my ear that perhaps I could get my butt in the chair and allow him the opportunity to hit on that shifter heroine (oh, I am soooo not telling you her name 😉 ) he’s been quietly falling in love with.

Okay, Zane you get your wish! Oh, and just to give you a little taste of what I’m talking about. Here’s the hottie who’s inspired my latest hero …

Oh, yeah! Zane, I’m on my way ….

Thanks for stopping by and I’m sorry I’m not here to chat with you. This weekend is the monthly meeting of the Maine romance writers, a chapter of RWA. Awesome group of ladies (and one gent)! But they meet so very far away from me. I literally have to take the whole weekend to go to the meeting. But I lubs them a lot. So it is sooo worth it. And this month I get to meet one of the other authors at Liquid Silver Books, Elaina Huntley. w00t! w00t! I am beyond excited.

And beautiful girl is coming up from college and meeting us at her grandmother’s house. Yay! I haven’t seen her since June! She’ll be getting lots of TLC this weekend.

Monday is another interview with a fabulous author and editor at Wild Rose Press. So come on back and check out what’s going on the beginning of the week!

Today’s blog has nothing to do with writing, but everything to do with where I live. Aroostook County, Maine … potato country.

This is the time of year when everyone’s focus is on the weather and the fields. Months ago, the potatoes were growing in the sun. The scenery was beautiful.

But a few weeks ago the farmers began killing off the top plant of the potato (since it’s a tuber grown in the dirt) which allowed the skin of the potatoes to harden. (In days before chemicals they let nature and a hard frost do this job for them.)

On Friday all high schools in Aroostook County will close for three weeks allowing the students the opportunity to help harvest the potato crop. Really.

I didn’t grow up here and I hear stories of the years before automation that nearly every business closed and families went into the fields to harvest potatoes by hand. (Check out the picture below) Diggers tilled the potatoes to the surface. Then workers would pick them by hand, filling up the basket with a handle and transferring the load to the larger barrel. A card with a number was shoved into the slats to identify the picker who filled the barrel. Each barrel earned a person $.50. Yes, that decimal point is in the right place. Barrels were collected on flatbed trucks and hauled to the potato house for storage.

It was long hours of back-breaking labor. Now there are havesters.

The potatoes are dug out of the ground and transported on conveyors to the body of the harvester where young people stand and cull out rocks, dirt, and plant material. Then the conveyor deposits the potatoes directly into the bed of potato trucks that haul them to the potato house.

With the automation of the harvest, children can no longer help with the harvest. Workers need to be at least 16 to be on a harvester. And this is where my children come in. We have a dear friend who is a potato farmer. (I worked for him one season yeeeeaars ago when my children were young. It was a wonderful experience. Of course I didn’t grow up with it so I found it fascinating. Hard work, but educational. Sorry, I digress…) Anyhoodles … they work on the harvester from 6 am to 7 pm. A veeeery loooong day indeed. 

But it’s only for three weeks. I figure you can do anything for three weeks. And they get paid very well for their labor. So all my children have worked throughout their high school years. I am proud that Little Boy Blue will once again be one of a handful of students from his high school actually working the harvest. The tradition of students working for farmers is waning. With so few teenagers working, I suspect within the next decade there will no longer be a harvest break at the schools.

This will be our last time dealing with the harvest in our house. Early hours, praying for rain (to take a day off), praying for sun (so you don’t freeze your butt off on the harvester all day), cleaning Wally World out of Little Debbie snacks and work gloves, doing laundry every night so the potato dirt covering four layers of clothing doesn’t spread further than the back door to the shower, reheating dinners for exhausted children, and all the other stuff that goes with the season.

I’m pleased my kids have had this experience to take with them into their work years. I suspect there will be few jobs they will work that will be as labor intensive as harvesting potatoes. I hope the lessons they learn from their years in the field will be carried with them for a long time to come.

So now, I have to ask you. What have you done, either that  you loved or hated … that when it was over was a life lesson you’ve kept with you? 

Wow, not sure how Monday came zooming in so fast. I could have sworn it was last week not an hour ago! This is a crazy time for me with all the traveling. Of course I’ve been to Massachusetts to see Beautiful Girl and then the weekend after that to the Highland Games in Antigonish Nova Scotia. Which was an absolute blast!

I got a new camera just before our trip to MA, but haven’t slotted the software into the computer to learn how to download the pictures. *sigh* I know it’s not a big deal, but it’s just finding the time to do it … ya know?

Anyhoodles … the games were wonderful and I’m going to force myself to download pictures so I can share them with you this week … I promise. I never  rarely mostly always follow through on my promises … so be looking for some more info on the wonderful time coming soon this week.

I know I owe you the last installment of Test Drive and I had every intention of posting that as well, this weekend, but time just slipped away from me. I’d like to say it was because I was away from my computer, but that wasn’t the case. In fact, my wonderful husband looked at me Friday morning as I hauled my packed bag into the kitchen, every bit drained and worn out with my MS acting up and he forbid me to get in the car and travel again. Mwah. I had been vacillating anyway because all the travel was wearing me out, but to have him make the decision for me was a Godsend. So off my family went to Acadia near Bar Harbor to do some hiking (which I can’t do anyway) and walking in the woods (umm, that’s another no) and spending time with our extended family (which I’m totally sad I missed out on).

But I babysat the dog which was another whole issue and sat at my computer and worked on my firefighter story. I’m happy to say it’s half way (or a third depending on how often my characters decide to get jiggy) and I’m really cruising on it. So that’s good. Which is why I didn’t blog this weekend and why I didn’t finish writing Test Drive … which was a very bad thing. But you’ll have it this weekend even if I have to stay up until the wee hours of the morning!

So, now I have to really push ahead and finish my fireman novella (which has a new and wonderful paranormal twist in it) and do all the mom stuff like laundry and cook dinner (silly family … not sure why they have to eat).

Little Boy Blue is at engineering camp for students going into their senior year, trying to find out if it’s something he’d like to study in college. He’s been to basketball camp for three years, so the whole dorm/roommate thing isn’t new to him, but I always hope he makes new friends and has a good time. He’s at the University of Maine and they do give them rec time to swim and stuff. I’m such a mom … I just hope he enjoys it. I go down Wed. morning to see their competition and to pick him up. Hopefully, he’ll only have good stories to tell.

This week is also the National convention for RWA in San Francisco. LOTS of authors I know are going. I’d love to be there with them, but it wasn’t in the cards this year. Next year it’s in DC, and I can drive. So I’m setting my sights on going then. I hope everyone has a wonderful time there too!

So, that’s what I’m doing right now. But I really need to focus on Reese and Alexandra … my two new characters. They’re both hoping I’ll find a little more trouble for them in the next couple of chapters. And who knows what that villain’s up to!

Later all!

I don’t know how many people are swinging by to check out my short story, Test Drive. It’s nearly finished … and I don’t mean to disappoint, but this week my “test drive” is going to Massachusetts to see Pretty Girl!

If you’re reading this on Saturday, DH and I are winding our way through western Massachusetts enjoying the mountains and a wonderful (and impromptu) visit with our eldest daughter. (See, we figured out this is the last available summer weekend before she goes back to her RA job at the University in August … that’s soooo sad our summer is that booked!)

It’s so hard when they move out. Seems we always have to go to her. She rarely finds time to make it home to northern Maine. (And if you’re wondering how I’m still posting my blog when I’m not near a computer … well that’s advanced magic … and you’re security clearance isn’t high enough for me to share it with you! LOL!)

If you’re reading this on Sunday, I’m spending the day at a butterfly garden and tonight we’re staying at a wonderful bed and breakfast! I love road trips! (I’m ignoring the gas bills …)

Next week should bring the conclusion of Test Drive and save poor Margo from the wretched predicament she’s found herself in!

Stop by the beginning of the week … when the magic posting continues. Mwahahahaha …

This week I’m organizing what’s left of my summer. I’m so sad the first month is nearly over. So here’s a list of 13 things I need to do this summer.

1. Attend my chapter meeting of RWA. Out of the whole summer I only get to make it to one monthly meeting. 🙁 That makes me so sad. These authors lift me up and recharge me. I’m so happy I can at least stay in touch over the Internet.

2. Go to the fireworks. I wouldn’t miss them. I’m like a little kid. I love the sparklers and I oooh and ahhh at every single one of them. My favorite fireworks by far were the year I got to see them in Washington DC.

3. Finish edits for my novella, Blue Moon Rising, in the Furry, Fluffy and Wild shifter anthology from Liquid Silver Books.

4. Attend the Highland Games in Nova Scotia. Oh, yeah! One of the few weekend trips we’re taking that don’t involve family at the other end. And who wouldn’t want to spend the day watching men in kilts throw, chop, and muscle things?

5. Take an online writing course. I always enjoy learning new things about writing. There are so many good ones out there, sometimes it’s hard for me to choose. But this particular class promises to push my writing to the next level. Well … only if I work really hard.

6. Spend time at Sommes Sound near Acadia National Park. The Maine coast is beautiful and there is nothing more peaceful than Sommes Sound early in the morning when the fog is hanging just over the surface and lobster boats are meandering their way to the ocean. *sigh* Just right for finding my writing muse. I may not be able to hike the mountain trails any longer, but swimming in the ocean and lazy on the rocky shore is just what I need to recharge my batteries.

7. Drop Little Boy Blue off at Engineering Camp. He is so excited to give this a try. It’s for those going into their senior year who are trying to figure out which type of engineering is the right avenue for them.

8. Visit my sister and her family at the beach. (Are you sensing a theme here … my family loooves the ocean.) I am so excited. For a month my older sissie comes up from Maryland to stay in Maine. I heart my sister. She’s one of my very best friends. I can’t wait to see her! And the answer to your unspoken question … no I didn’t always like her. She got me in trouble A LOT!

9. Visit husband’s family at the lake. We have the best time staying up late playing cards and having bon fires. Drinking too many margaritas and just plain hanging around having fun. But this will be a short visit due to number 10.

10. Getting Little Boy Blue off to school. Here in northern Maine the kids start high school when most teenagers are still making the most of their summer. This is due to a three week break they have in September to harvest potatoes. For real.

11. Finish the sequel to Blue Moon Rising.

12. Visit my mommy. She lives really far away from her children. So she spends a month in the summer here in Maine. I love visiting with her. Of course it doesn’t hurt that she lives at the beach when she’s here!

13. Relax and enjoy the season. Riiiiight!

Mother’s Day. I love this holiday.

I have a trunk full of all the cards and little goodies my children made for me when they were little. My son’s hand pressed in plaster hangs from a pretty ribbon in my bedroom, right next to the clay mask my daughter made of her face when she was in second grade. My bureau is strewn with the gifts of weaved baskets, clay pots, and a wooden treasure chest … all gifts my children made and gave to me on Mother’s Day. They are more precious to me than all my gold jewelry.

Now that they’re older, my children give me gifts of words. Hallmark cards scrawled with a little note at the end, loving words from the heart that make me cry.

Today, I will call my mothers. Now that I’m married … I have two. One who gave birth to me and another who called me daughter long before the ink was dry on the marriage certificate.

And as I age I appreciate their experience and wisdom more with each passing year. These women make me realize that being a mom doesn’t stop when your child walks out the door and marries another. It just means your joys–and worries–are doubled. I live very far away from both of them, so the flowers and cards have already been sent. The hugs will just have to wait until the next time we are together. Though I’m terrible with the phone calls, I hope they both know how much I miss them, especially on a day like today.

This holiday also marks the anniversary of when my husband, sexy college jock, with nothing but a car to call his own, asked me to be his wife. It wasn’t the proposal of news programs… but it was sweet and romantic and is one of the best days of my life.

We told my mother-in-law she was finally going to be a grandmother on Mother’s Day.

And my first ever agent call came on Mother’s Day. Though it didn’t work out, I will always remember the incredible feeling of talking with an agent for the first time.

I am truly blessed.

This day won’t be about gifts from the store, but the gift of time and love from my family. And I wish for you a wonderful mother’s day … one that will be filled with love and family. I hope you will get to spend it doing something you truly enjoy  … and that this day will be one for the memory books.  

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

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