Happy Meal, Happy Writer, Famous Author – Part I of my Book Signing Fun

I woke up on Friday with a list going through my brain. Tomorrow would be my book signing. Today would be errands – Post Office, Target, Lowe’s, Costco. It was going to be a run-around day. By the time I crossed the first two places off of my list, I knew I needed to get lunch before braving Costco. You can’t always depend on those samples to see you through.

Since my obsession with Chick-fil-A (click here for an explanation), I have been very neglectful of McDonald’s. And, seeing as it’s right across the street from Lowe’s and Costco, and since I had heard that Snoopy is in the Happy Meal, I stopped in.

At this point I need to tell you our family secret and our great family shame. Read the full post »

Family Game Time and The Streak

Game-player genes are strong in my family, especially on my mom’s side. My childhood memories are full of badminton and croquet in the backyard and epic Monopoly games complete with outlandish trades. As I grew older, Scrabble was added into the mix. My mom was always part of those games – well, maybe not Monopoly. What homemaker has time for a board game that becomes a three-day event?

There are no other people in the world that I would rather play games with than my family. We are a competitive bunch, and this month as we gathered together to celebrate my mom’s 90th birthday, she led the way to the game table. She loves to play Scrabble and she plays to win. It is from her that I get my love of words. As a matter of fact, during one game my mom received a phone call and continued playing as she talked. Without batting an eye, she managed to accumulate two triple words while we just stared in disbelief. She is amazing.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

This trip, most of those Scrabble games were played with Mom, my sister and brother-in-law, and myself. We played a lot, and everyone was victorious at least once, except for me. It was getting embarrassing. Not because I couldn’t win, but because I couldn’t stop winning. I was on fire. I hate to toot my own horn, but since none of them have a blog, I am left with no other choice. Not only that, I don’t think my brother-in-law is talking to me.

Seriously, I was one with the tiles. The letters seemed to rearrange themselves on the tray and lift themselves effortlessly onto the scrabble board. Two games in a row I used all seven of my tiles. In the next game, my mom did something I had never seen before when she got a double/double word. It was amazing and we knew she would win the game, until once again I used all seven of my tiles and chalked up another victory.

I knew I was in trouble, but I was on some kind of bizarre scrabble streak and, even though I felt a little bad about it, I was loving it. I also knew it wouldn’t last. Streaks are made to end. The real challenge was to get them to keep playing and not lock me out of the house. The last several days of our time together were spent at the beach, where I continued my reign of terror. After my last victory there, everyone got away from the table for a little while. I didn’t know what to do. I thought I’d leave them a note to let them know that my heart was heavy and that I felt bad, but I didn’t want to sound condescending. Plus, we were almost out of paper, so I improvised.

I’d like to say they graciously accepted my apology, but they just reinforced what I already knew – Scrabble is not for lightweights.

Loss and New Obsessions and Why I’m Going to Dayton

I am gearing up for a trip of a lifetime – this is bucket list kind of stuff. On April 5, I’m going to Dayton, Ohio, for a long weekend. DAYTON! I know you’re envious, but I have dreamed about going to Dayton in April for sometime. Something very special happens there every two years. Something worthy of the trip. It’s the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton, her alma mater. Read the full post »

DST – It’s Not a Disease

Every spring it’s the same thing. DST arrives and it messes with me. It sounds like a disease. Yes, I am experiencing Daylight Savings Time even as you read this.

To be fair, switching back to standard time also messes with me. I am easily messed with, just ask my children. Every time after the time change, it takes me a few days to get in the swing of things like a weird, non-travel jet lag. Read the full post »

Postpartum Post

My baby book is one month old now! I thought I’d give you a little update.

The gestation period was extremely difficult and terribly long and drawn out. Sometimes I wasn’t sure I would deliver a healthy book. The last few weeks before the birth were sprinkled with anxiety, and I had trouble sleeping. There was so much on my mind. Would everything go okay? How was my life going to change? Had all of the characters developed properly? Read the full post »

My Calendar is Driving Me Crazy

I live with the constant realization that I have the capability of messing up my calendar – writing in the wrong date or forgetting to write something down. That is why I use both my iPhone and a paper calendar which hangs on my kitchen wall. They back each other up. Or do they?

When I looked at this week and saw that on Friday, I have something on my iPhone calendar that I didn’t enter, it made me wonder – am I keeping my phone too close to my bed at night? Maybe I did enter something and I just totally messed up the entry? Finally, it came down to the big question: Who or what in the world is Holi?

Yep, “Holi” is listed as an all-day event for this Friday. If I’m supposed to participate, I sure don’t want to miss it or her or him. What if he, she, or it is important? What if they are relying on me? What if the fate of the entire free world lies with me participating in this?

What if I take it down a notch and use google? Of course, the answer is always right in the palm of your hand. And this time the answer is: my phone is trying to convert me to Hinduism. Holi is the Hindu holiday known as the Festival of Colors which is observed in India and features colored powder covering everything and everyone in celebration, I believe, of spring, among other things.

I’m not sure why my phone thinks I’m open to converting to other religions. Maybe I haven’t had enough Christian events on my calendar. Maybe it doesn’t recognize the initials that I use, like CG for our church Community Group or Peggy means Bible Study (don’t try to figure that one out). Maybe I confused it by going to see The Book of Mormon last year. I don’t know.

Next in my investigation I picked up my phone, clicked on the event, and discovered that Holi is part of US Holidays. What? Now I’m really confused. When did this become a US holiday? Is this simply some app-maker’s idea or could it be part of a larger iPhone plan to unify the world? I don’t know. Maybe it’s due to the fact that my phone was made in Southeast Asia. What I really want to know is – who included this day as a US holiday? And, more importantly, do they know how that messes with me?

It wreaked havoc with my week. I was afraid to plan anything for Friday in case there was something I had forgotten – had to keep it open for Holi or whatever I really meant to enter on my calendar. So now Friday is just a blank spot – nobody to see and nowhere to go. A veritable waste!

Wait a minute, that’s a win-win for me. Now I have a free day to do whatever I’d like! That’s awesome! I need to celebrate. You know, do something colorful and festive – go all out – pretend it’s a holiday! Want to join me?

This is the color I enjoy!

Cherish is the Word

Do you remember this song by The Association? If you do, you’re going back to the year 1966. I loved the song, especially the first verse:

Cherish is the word I use to describe
All the feeling that I have hiding here for you inside

New Marriage Book Available Now

Well, that was 52 years ago. At that point I didn’t know what cherish meant. Maybe it’s a fuzzy word for you. Either way, let me introduce you to my friends, Tom and Debi Walter, who write a wonderful blog dedicated to caring for your marriage. The Romantic Vineyard, their blog, started ten years ago, and it has helped cultivate strong marriages around the world.

This week they are releasing their new book, Cherishing Us. It is a wonderful resource and full of inspiration to keep your marriage healthy. In fact, it is all about a healthy marriage, offering 365 healthy marriage tips and a whole lot more. Won’t you consider ordering it today?

Here’s a link to their blog so you can read more about it – simply click here to read their blog. Or, just click this link and go straight to Amazon to order on paperback or a digital version. #cherishingus

Amazon is Trying to Ruin My Valentine’s Day

I just returned home from a solo trip to North Carolina where I was visiting my daughter and her family. I wanted to make sure I was home for Valentine’s Day because, well, you know, I had a hair appointment. They are kind of sacred.

Bob and I don’t make a huge, big deal about Valentine’s Day. We blame it on the commercialism and crowds – the 2 Cs. But we do not ignore this holiday. Ignoring it is tantamount to romantic suicide. We feel free to make light of it, but we always recognize it in some way. We’re not stupid! You don’t stay married for over 42 years and not learn a thing or two!

For instance, when I was in North Carolina I ordered something for Bob. Over Amazon. The account which we share. Which means that there are no more real surprises in life!

Of course, I forgot to tell Bob that something was coming. Something that I would like him to set aside without opening, and while he was at it, please keep his eyes off of the Amazon app on his phone – at least the orders section.

My mistake.

So, when I got home last night I noticed the opened gift on his dresser. Of course, he apologized.

It was really no big deal. None at all. But then I got to thinking.

Me: I was wondering why you opened the mysterious package that arrived while I was away.

Bob: It was addressed to me (they all are). I didn’t remember ordering anything so I figured you did.

Me: But why did you open it?

Bob: I wondered what it was.

Me: So, you didn’t think it was for you.

Bob: Right.

Me: Why did you open something that you thought was for me?

Bob: I wanted to find out what it was.

Me: So, it didn’t really matter who it was for, you were opening it.

Bob: Now you understand.

It’s hard to argue with that kind of logic.

So, a big HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY to Bob and to all of you, too. May your day be filled with scintillating conversation.

Flowers from Bob, waiting for me when I got home. He’s so sweet.

Bob and the Fob

Time for a Fob Story

We have two cars in our family, but mine is clearly the favorite. It’s newer and has more safety features than Bob’s does. For instance (in the newer category), I have a push-button starter. I leave my key fob in my purse. You can also start the car remotely, which has been helpful in keeping good attitudes when it’s 95 degrees outside so we can enter our car with the AC blowing. I have used it for the heat once, but if I lived up North, oh baby, that would be a desirable feature.

But initially there was a very minor, oh so small, downside. I hesitate to mention it because I know by now you think of me as a technological genius, but here goes:

The adjustment to the key fob was fraught with problems for me. You see, I’m a checker. With this newfangled thing, you simply have to have the fob with you for the door to unlock or lock. A pass of my hand over the “lock” and it locks. Or does it?

With my old car, I would yank on the handle to make sure I locked the door. Now, with my fob in my pocket, I would yank on the handle and the door would open, like it’s supposed to. How in the world was a checker like me ever going to be confident that her car was locked? It was mildly traumatic. For a few weeks I would dig my fob out of my purse and manually push the lock button, like someone would do way back in the year 2013. Embarrassing. Even I knew this was ridiculous, so I engaged my handy-dandy engineer, Bob, to help trouble shoot this enormous problem. (As I’ve told you before, always have an engineer around. They come in very handy. I’m so glad I had the good sense to marry one.)

Bob indulged me by keeping the fob in his pocket, locking the door, and walking away. I’m not sure if he walked away for the test or just to distance himself from me, but either way it worked out because I could pull on that car door handle until the cows come home and have proof positive that the car was locked.

Now I hardly ever doubt myself (at least when it comes to locking the car). I am a confident door locker – I thought you’d be happy to know that. I can pass my hand over the handle and walk away.

But Bob has his own fob problems. He has trouble with the unlock feature – his hands are not as delicate as mine, so sometimes it takes a couple of tries for him to register the unlock feature when he puts his hand around the door handle. Another problem with Bob and the fob is that he loves the remote start. Often on a cool evening he will use that feature and when we enter our car, I’m greeted by an AC blast. Well, that drives me crazy, but Bob is so happy to start the car from far distances, I’d hate to end that kind of entertainment for him. Then one day I realized that I always have a fob in my purse, so I can get in the car first and shut off the air. I tell you, my life is complicated.

While on the subject of riding in the car with my husband, I’m wondering if anyone else goes through a scenario like this one. It’s getting slightly warm in the car, so I open my window. Things are perfect for about two seconds, then Bob realizes that he, too, is warm, so he opens his window. Of course, I become cold and wind-blown, so I close mine. Bob becomes aware that I’m uncomfortable so he closes his window. It’s the cooling cycle of life, I guess. We finally give up and turn on the AC with the dual control feature.

Yes, there are a lot of things to overcome in our modern world, but as long as we laugh with each other about them, I think we’ll be okay.

So, Now I’m Famous(er)

I am overwhelmed by the love and support I have received from you, my wonderful readers and friends. You shared my post about my new book over 20 times, and I have received an enormous amount of encouragement from you in my comments and on my Facebook feed. Thank you!

I have to say, I’m having the time of my life. This is a dream come true for me. It is made possible by my friend and writing mentor, Rob Swanson, who is the creator of Prevail Press, the micropublishing company that has walked me through the entire project to create this beautiful book (illustrated by Anna Kester). Rob has a vision to enable good writers to publish good books. He knows the challenges of traditional publishing and the time involved in that pursuit and realizes that it won’t work for everyone – actually it won’t work for most of us. I love his business plan. You can check it out here and see what is going on in these beginning stages of Prevail Press, as well as meet their other authors.

In addition to all of this, I am now a YouTube star! I know what you’re thinking – it was just a matter of time. Please check out my video explaining why I wrote the book. Filming it was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done, but you have to give the public what they want!

https://youtu.be/NWygNFDc0BE

Thanks again and remember, just in case you haven’t ordered it already, ALWAYS LOOK FOR THE MAGIC is available through Prevail Press and on Amazon in both print and electronic versions.

Click here to order on Amazon.