I may be a self-proclaimed techno-idiot, but I did manage to make it through college. And I do spend my days working on my computer. But the truth is, I’m not a gadget kind of gal. I have no desire to have phones that play music and games or find the newest fusion restaurant. I’ve just recently learned how to text. Seriously. It’s just not something that appeals to me. But I’m being forced into the 21st century and I’m less than pleased with this development.

It’s my computer. *sigh*

I’ve had this desktop for nearly 10 years. That means I’ve watched operating systems come and go and I’ve been pretty smug that mine has never crashed (and I’ve had no desire to get the biggest, fastest or newest). I know exactly where the buttons are to do any operation on my computer. My hard drive could be compared to a doctor’s office … various rooms filled with file cabinets overflowing with files filled with documents.

But … the little men in my computer are totally overwhelmed. When I ask them to retrieve something for me, they roll their eyes, give me that “are you serious?” look, shrug their shoulders and run into the bowels of my file rooms to retrieve whatever it is I’ve asked for. What this means is it can take a reeeeeeaally long time to pull up a picture or a document. And if I ask them to do two things at once … well they have an apoplectic fit, create a committee to discuss it, make decisions on how they’re going to split the duties THEN they head and out actually perform the multiple tasks.

So I knew it was time to replace my old friend. I’ve been talking about it for over six months. Mr. Nina finally got so sick of me complaining about the speed of my computer that he took me by the hand, drove me the three hours to the big city and pushed me kicking and screaming into Best Buy and made me tell the nice salesperson, Ryan, what I do for work and what I wanted my computer to do for me.

Mr. Nina didn’t talk much, except when it came to bytes and ram and caches. That’s where I get lost. Not because I don’t understand, but mostly because I don’t give a s**t. I mean the truth is, I don’t understand the difference between tera, mega, giga-thinga-ma-bobbers. And it’s only because I’m a visual person. I understand centimeters and how that relates to kilometers, but I can see them. Memory isn’t something you can “see”. (Watch my blog for the next installment of this computer discussion at the end of the week.) Anyway, I digress.

After we’d gotten it down to two or three models, the two of them decided which computer was the best bang for the buck. About three hours later, after they’d added my email program and the office suite … because Microsoft is looking to squeeze out all your pennies by not including the things everyone uses … we walked out of the store. And if Little Boy Blue hadn’t been home this weekend it would still be in the box two days later. As it is, it’s temporarily set up on the coffee table in my office. The thought of trying to transfer 10 years worth of stuff onto the new computer is just too overwhelming.

Not to mention I have some programs that are throw backs from the early 90’s that won’t transfer over. And these are programs that I love. My bookkeeping program that holds both personal and business expenses and income, a photo program and a card making program that I use for my promotional material and now, the new Windows 7 doesn’t have the movie maker program I use to make book trailers.

Yeeeeah, I so don’t want to do this. I know. I know. Give me this week, I’m working myself into it very slowly.

It’s been a couple of years since I sat here on a Sunday morning and chatted about our snowmobiles. Why is that? Weeellll … let’s see, TWO winters ago when I went for a ride with Mr. Nina on what we affectionately call “sleds”, he 1) Got me lost on the top of a mountain and it took nearly 3 hours to find our way home. 2) He took me in the middle of the woods and dumped us sideways in a stream … which of course got us stuck … which meant he had to leave me ALONE in the woods for nearly 40 minutes while he walked out for help. And 3) On a gorgeous day he went screaming across a field and didn’t see a logging road and … well let’s just say that one landed me in the emergency room and a leg brace for ten days.

Okay now that you’re caught up, let me tell you about my ride on a snowmobile for the first time in two years. I know you’re wondering why I bothered, but here’s the reason …


Yep, it’s a brand new shiny sled. We picked one with all the bells and whistles. There’s a seat warmer and hand warmers and a big new comfortable seat. You see, there are no more children here to ride with Mr. Nina. So I thought … I really do enjoy touring through the forest on a beautiful winter day … it would be a nice way to spend weekend afternoons in the winter.

Okay, so yesterday was gorgeous in northern Maine. Sun shining and temps hovering in the mid teens. Yay! So after some maneuvering we got managed to get me geared up and on the sled. (Just a little reminder here that I have MS, my body has some special needs … but we don’t mind. Both Mr. Nina and I are used to dealing with that stuff. Anyhoodles …) Off we go. And you know, I’m loving this new sled. It’s more stable. There’s these cool rubber wind blocks for my hands and hand warmers in the handles. Ohhhh, I like.

Though at one point as warmth spread across my bottom I thought I had bladder issues, turns out … there’s a seat warmer too. I’m loving this. Riding through the forest on the sled is the only way I get to see the beautiful scenery of the deep Maine forest. And the trails were awesome! Man, was I enjoying myself … for about 2 hours.

As you would expect, I was getting a little stiff. I mean, it had been 2 years since my body had been bounced and jostled. Trust me when I say, sledding is great physical therapy. Anyway, we stop on the trail and get off the sled, stretch and walk around a little bit. I mention that perhaps we should be working our way home. Yeah, yeah, we’re just going to curve up here pick up some gas, sled down this way to a restaurant and grab some lunch then head straight home.

I should have known something was up as Mr. Nina lilted his voice up, flashed his million dollar smile and said “besides, I need to put some miles on the new engine”. Yeeeeah … I should never have gotten on that sled.

So we bounce and jostle our way to the gas pump and then to the restaurant, where thankfully I’ll get off, stretch my sore muscles and rest my hips which are now aching joints of fire and nourish my empty stomach. But noooooo …. the restaurant was closed. No rest for the weary. No food for the hungry. And we climb back on the sled and head straight home. Only, it turns out, home is now two hours and many miles of bumpy trails away.

By the time Mr. Nina gets me home I can barely function. As he gets me in the house he just looks at me with a lopsided smile and said “perhaps that trip was a tad long”. Ummm … you think??? Yeah, FIVE hours may have been a bit much for me.

To make up for his idiocy he made dinner, did the dishes and even whipped up a batch of my favorite toll house cookies. Ya know, I’m sitting here a big bundle of aching muscles. No doubt it will take me a couple of days to completely recover. But that’ll be just in time for next weekend and another sled ride. What can I say … I love the man.

This week I’d like to share with you 13 of my favorite moments from my latest trip. Mr. Nina had a conference in Palm Springs and we stopped over in Arizona for a few days as well. Unfortunately we brought the winter weather with us when we went. No shorts or swimsuits for this sun goddess (thank goodness).

1.  Pink Jeep Tours in Sedona. They drive all through the rock formations. Amazing.


2. Wes our amazing tour guide (along with my neice and her dog). Of course I managed to find out enough about him that I’m thinking he’d make a great hero in a story.


3. Sunset in Sedona … it’s beautiful beyond words



4. AirTram in Palm Springs – I’m not sure how much I’ve told you I love Mr. Nina. He really doesn’t do heights very well. Yet he knew I’d love to take a gondola through the clouds …



5. And up in  the mountains where there was snow. Yeah, I didn’t like the snow part so much. (It reminded me too much of winter waiting for me at home.)


6. Lunch at the “Tilted Kilt” … we stopped at a new pub for a beer, but Mr. Nina was the one leaving with a smile!


I got left in the dust …


7. A field of windmills. Wow, I understand they power most of the valley.


8. Palm Trees they’re everywhere and I LOVE them!


9 Christmas when it’s warm. The hotel was festive with all it’s decorations. I just love Christmas decorations.


10. Visiting Joshua Tree National Park this is one of the coolest places on earth. It’s like visiting another planet. It had these cool cacti called Cholla (choy-ya) …



11. and Joshua Trees


12. And cool rock formations


13. JW Marriott Hotel has a golf course and beautiful grounds.




I wasn’t sure where to start with the trip because there’s so much to tell you. But I thought I would share all of it, so I’m starting at the very beginning. First of all, I must say … it was wonderful. Exhausting, but wonderful. Mr. Nina and I had a wonderful time. 10 days of just us … well sorta. Besides the 200 other people at RomantiCon, but for the most part—us.

We started out trip with two days in Niagra Falls, Canada. We’d been there before, but just for a quick visit. This time we actually got to hang around and do a couple of things. First of all, I’ve got to tell you, Mr. Nina fussed and futtered over the hotel reservations. For weeks. I mean weeks. He wanted a hotel with the view of the falls. This is what we got…



I know, not bad at all. Only Mr. Nina complained both nights because they’d built a new casino attached to our hotel and it obstructed our view (see the night falls lit up to the left?).


No, I don’t think it’s bad, but it’s all I heard about every time I opened the curtains to admire the view from the 22nd floor of the Hilton. Next time he’s gonna stay in the casino hotel. Not that he can stand to look out the window … since he hates heights. Which brings me to our anniversary dinner.

We ate at one of the hotel’s restaurants on the 33rd floor. It was beautiful. They have floor to ceiling windows and tiered dining so every patron can see the falls. Really cool. Our table was in its own little alcove up about 3 stairs and I sat facing the falls and all the beautiful lights. Mr. Nina? He white knuckled the table the whole dinner because the heights were making him lightheaded. (After two glasses of wine I caught up with him, but still loved the view. *g*) But the food was wonderful and the waiter an absolute doll. A young man who was on a Canadian hockey team and traveled the world. (We got other details, but I won’t bore you with them… suffice to say we know what he’s naming his first baby due in February.)

The next day we headed downtown. (After a looooong debate about whether to get the car from valet parking–because it costs money and you have to tip them and then pay them to put it back and you get the picture–or take the hotel shuttle … umm, car thank you. Especially since Mr. Nina had rushed me the night before and I’d left a bunch of important stuff in it … like the bottle of wine.) Anyhoo, we headed out. The day was overcast but not rainy.




We decided to try “Journey Behind the Falls” where you walk these tunnels to see behind the falls. Cool, right? Did I mention the WALK part. Yeah, you can see where I’m going with this. Anyway, Mr. Nina and I do fine for a little while, but the tunnels were very long, slippery and crowded. By the time we got to see “behind the falls” Mr. Nina was practically dragging my sorry MS butt down the tunnel so I can see this…


Whatever. Live and learn. There was a closer observation deck at the end of one of the tunnels so I did get up close and personal with the falls and saw this view …


So it wasn’t all for not. The falls absolutely amaze me. The power of the water. We could hear the rumble of it even from our hotel room. I’m just in awe. I could stand and just stare at it for hours.


We also spent time in the casino. We’re BIG spenders. We play the $.25 machines of slots, roulette and poker. Mr. Nina wanted to play poker at a table, but the betting was a little steep for our wallets with a $15 minimum bet. LOL! Anyway we had a really nice time.


The second night we ate at their Venezualian restaurant with an “all you can eat” cold buffet and meats brought around on skewers by “Gouchos”. And no, don’t fall over backwards, but I didn’t get a picture. We rolled out of the restaurant and didn’t need to eat until we hit Ohio.

Which begins the next part of my story …

Oh my! I know everyone says the same thing, but I’m going to be that tired skipping record …. WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE????

Next week Mr. Nina and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. This week 25 years ago I was living with my mom, waiting for my sister to arrive from Alabama and completely sweating all the details of my wedding. The dress was steamed and hanging at my brother’s house where I would get ready. All the bridesmaids were on their way and Mr. Nina was studying for exams. Yep, he was in his last year of college. (And the stories that come with being newlyweds living in a dormitory are very interesting … but fodder for another day!)

Anyhoodles … fast forward 25 years. We’re actually planning a sort of second honeymoon and I’m spending this week getting everything ready. We leave next week for a ten day trip to Ohio. What? You didn’t know Ohio was the honeymoon capital of the world? Pshaw. Of course it is! Well, okay, maybe it’s not, but please don’t tell Mr. Nina. 😉 Our actual destination is Ellora Cave’s first ever convention … ROMANTICON! Yep, there will authors and readers and cover models, oh, my!

We leave next Monday and will spend 2 days in Niagra Falls. We’ve been there, but only for a day to visit. We’re going to play it by ear, but I have a feeling there will a casino involved and if I have any say about it … some adventure in Maid of the Mist. (You know, the crazy boat that goes into the falls.) But you never know with us. We usually figure those things out as we go.

Then we head out to Ohio. It looks like Mr. Nina’s going to take in a college football game and perhaps the football hall of fame while I schmooze with author friends that I only know from online. Of course there are some awesome workshops being offered … it is a writing conference after all. Then the book signing and author hours where readers get to speak directly with some of their favorite EC authors. (I’m going to be a total squee-fan girl as I get to meet some of the amazing authors!) Of course there’s rumors that the cover models will be walking around and keeping things warm! It promises to be a very busy four days!

On the way home Mr. Nina and I are taking a more southern route and swinging through the Poconos. We’ve never been there and are looking forward to our first visit. Though it may become a quiet in the hotel, rest kind of day. But I don’t think we’ll be suffering too much if the hotel room looks anything like this …

I’m excited and just a little nervous. Mr. Nina and I have never taken a trip like this. Not that we haven’t traveled because I’m very fortunate to say we have. It’s just that we’ve never been in the car for ten days. Yeeeeeaaaah … this could be interesting.

Sorry about the lack of blogging over the weekend. You’d think I could find 15 minutes to jot a little something down. I mean yesterday I was remiss in not giving a shout out to my mothers! I love them both.

My own mom is amazing. She raised 5 kids, ( I really wanted to say “wonderful”, but that seemd pushing the boundaries just a little. 🙂 ) she survived a divorce from my dad, which wasn’t very pretty, but in the end our family stayed strong, loving and close and then the death of her second husband. She takes care of her mom-in-law who also happened to be her mother’s best friend. Yeah, she’s amazing and I love her with all my heart.

My mother-in-law is just as amazing and I feel so fortunate that the man I married comes from such a loving family. We’ve been together 33 years this fall (and yes, we were just kids when we got together) and his mom is just like my own. I love her dearly.

Two amazing female role-models in my life. And I am so blessed to call them “mom”.

On to other news. I didn’t blog this weekend because this was the ONLY weekend in 8 that the DH and I were/will be home together. Yeah, that sucks the Big Kahuna! I totally depend on him to help me with the shopping and cleaning … he’s amazing that way. So between Little Boy Blue’s track meet, dinner theater and spring cleaning the family room, I really didn’t have a spare minute.

No, I haven’t seen Wolverine. No, I didn’t get to see Star Trek this weekend. I don’t want to talk about it. Although I can’t name the serial numbers of the Enterprise and I don’t know how many Romulans it takes to change a light bulb. I am a HUGE Star Trek fan from a young age. I can watch about 5 secs of an episode from the original series and tell you which story it is. So yeah, I’m bummed … and I REALLY don’t want to talk about the fact that Little Boy Blue went and didn’t drag his mom along. (Who cares if I had another obligation, he still didn’t ask … just sayin’)

And marketing … oh, I’d like to go on about marketing and selling books, but it’s just not a good idea. I’m in one of those “between story” funks where I really should avoid talking about all things writing. It’s just not going to be productive. LOL!

This weekend I’m off to see my homegirls at a writing conference for the Maine chapter of RWA. Wonderful group of ladies and gent. Very supportive. I totally wouldn’t be where I am today without them. And I just need to know think about everything that needs to get done before Friday. I mean, it is only Monday!

Have a great day!

Okay, the fact is, I love doing research for my stories. I’ve talked to retired FBI agents, a detective, an architect, and firefighters. I’ve visited police stations, newspaper offices, and fire stations. It’s amazing the places I get to see when I explain I’d like to use the information in a book. I love it.

Then there’s the research that takes me places. And this one took me high, high, high! If you haven’t figured out from the picture clues …

I went in a hotair balloon!


It was my maiden voyage. And I loved it! But what’s not to like? Of course I was very nervous. Not about flying (I’ve been skydiving) … but about my MS. My legs are so weak. Though I can walk, standing for any amount of time is difficult. So they put me in a balloon with seats. Yay!


Of course getting into that big old basket began the adventure. You’re supposed to do it really fast. So as the balloon fills and the basket lifts, I grab the side of the basket and push with my arms, lifting my leg as high as possible. The pilot, Wild Bill, reaches over the side, muckles onto it, pulling it over the edge while my DH lifts me up from behind, pushes on my butt and basically throws me in. All the while its lifting off the ground from its side to a standing position. Then two young ladies jump in (quite gracefully I might add) and off we go.


We had the good fortune of being the first one up so we got to see the other balloons fill and lift. Beautiful. I make jokes about living in northern Maine, but it is breathtaking here.


For an hour we floated over the landscape. No noise save for our voices and the whoosh of the blow. (What they call the push of fire to lift the balloon.) Peaceful. The pilot was a gentleman my age and of course I flirted shamelessly. He was teaching one of the young ladies how to fly so listening to him was so much fun. And it won’t surprise you when I tell you I discovered Wild Bill’s dossier because I am fascinated by people’s life stories.

The flight was wonderful. Breathtaking! Everything you would expect it to be.


Landing … um … yeah well, that was interesting. Bill told me he wanted me to go down with the basket. I’m all good. I knew I couldn’t jump out (which is what the other two passengers did!) So I settle onto the seat, curl into the corner of the basket, holding onto to one of the rope handles. We bump along the ground and the ground crew grabs the basket, the girls jump out and help the crew guide it along until it settles down. Then it tips over sideways with me still in it. One of the crew says “What do we do with her?” Bill replies “Leave her.” I just start laughing. He was right. Tucked there in the corner of the basket. I’m out of the way! LOL!


When the balloon is mostly deflated, a couple of the crew show up to help me out of the basket. But my legs had gotten really weak. So getting up was difficult. Bill, being the sweetie that he is … walked over, grabbed me by the waist, lifts me with little effort and sets me on my feet. I just giggled. He was so understanding about my disability. They were all wonderful!

Never let people tell you that you can’t do something because you’re disabled. My multiple sclerosis rarely ever slows me down! And if you ever have a chance to fly in a hotair balloon … take it. It was outrageously expensive, but we’ll eat macaroni and cheese this week … and I’ll always have the memories.

That evening they lit the balloons up …


*sigh* I love research.

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 …

So, I made it home today! Exhausted and refreshed all at the same time.

The New England Writer’s Conference (NEC) was everything I hoped it would be. Writer’s, agents, editors, learning, networking, brainstorming and FUN! (And if anyone hears that I was naughty and a little wild on our “off” time… don’t believe ’em!) Everything I needed to perk me up and help me to push through to the end of my novella.

The keynote speakers at breakfast and lunch were Susan Wiggs and Suzanne Brockman. Both, incredible writers and awesome speakers who were very inspiring. There were so many successful writers at this convention that beyond these two women, I couldn’t possibly name all the wonderful writers who took time to do workshop presentations that were both informative and confirming for my own writing journey.

And okay, I’m going to admit this … I find some of it a little, well … daunting. No matter where you sit or who you speak to at meals, there were writers who have made the NYT best seller list.

Not every writer wants this … some are truly happy simply sharing their stories. That’s not the case for me. I want to write. I want to publish. I want to sell … A LOT … I want to make a living from my writing … and I want to be on the best seller list. And I want it … NOW!

But of course I am reality oriented. Very few writers have the joy of overnight success. Almost all talk about the difficult years of carving out writing time … of the numerous rejections before publication … or the horrible sacrifices they made to get their book published … and even now, when they’re well known … the rough patches they hit and still push through. Building a career takes time.


So, I’m sitting here counting the minutes until DH’s plane arrives (because it’s been a loooong week without him). Then it’s off to bed for a good night sleep in my own bed snuggled up to my man! And tomorrow I’ll type until my eyes cross and then pick up Little Boy Blue.

At that point I can happily proclaim “we all survived hell week”! and focus my attention on my writing and meeting that deadline.

Wish me luck!

UPDATE: Everyone’s home. Suitcases litter our front hall and clothes are piled high in the laundry room. My fingers are flying over the keyboard and my novella is unfolding. Now, if I can sneak in a couple naps and catch up on some of this sleep… all would be good!

To the Emergency Room we go! Sing with me! Oh yeah!

So, the story starts (as it has for the last three weeks)… The weather was beautiful; a balmy 20 degrees F with the sun hanging in a cloudless cerulean sky, fresh snow powdering the evergreens and DH says “how about a snowmobile ride?” How could I refuse with those baby blues batting at me?

Several minutes of negotiations later we’re heading out on the marked trail to a destination even I know and oh what fun!

30 minutes in we slam through a foot and a half deep ditch someone has snowblown in a field on private property. (It’s private… they can do whatever they want.) Somehow (and neither of this can figure out how or why) my body compresses really weird and my knee turns into a flaming ball of pain. 2 seconds. The whole thing was over in two seconds! Of course DH is unscathed and for one stupid moment, as I’m standing on the side of the trail… I think, I’m  fine, let’s keep going. But as the knee gave way when I put more pressure on it we both think… nah. Home it is.

And you guessed it. Home means back on the sled and through the woods (now a 45 minute drive because he can’t go fast).

Can’t go to the ER and have someone looking at the backwoods winter wool of hair on my legs so I hobble into the shower and do a quick shave. Shampoo my hair (and yes, at this stage in the game forego the usual styling and makeup routine) and head off to the hospital.

3 1/2 hours at the ER, x-rays and lots of waiting, we find out there are no broken bones, but a severe sprain that requires a knee immobilizer for at least the next week. Which also means hobbling around the house with a walker. (Now standard equipment in my injury arsenal.)

I know. I’m sitting here thinking the same thing.

Next time… just say NO!