Archive for July 2009

Some Peope Travel

July 26, 2009

Some like me, stay home and write.

Picture 134However, I’ve been to Alaska several times since my son and his family live up there.  Anytime I can view photos or hear about someone’s recent trip there, I tell them. “Fire away.”  🙂 

Recently, my neighbor returned from a long trip up there. 

 She started out in Fairbanks, took the Alaskan Railroad to Denali National Park, got on the train again and traveled down to Whittier where she boarded a ship and cruised and did day trips on land to points south.  She flew home out of Vancouver. 

Alaskan Travel

Alaskan Travel

So today, I’m giving you a photo glimpse of her 21 day trip.  Enjoy.  Like I did.






Paddle boat Chena River

Paddle boat Chena River



Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park

Alaska from the air

Alaska from the air

Humpback Whale pod

Humpback Whale pod

A Whale's Tail

A Whale's Tail

Waterfalls Near Ketchikan

Waterfalls Near Ketchikan

Vancouver Airport Sunset

Vancouver Airport Sunset

Family Reunions, Reminiscing & Writing

July 19, 2009

Imported Pictures 380Yesterday, I went to a Zero picnic.  In actuality, we were honoring my uncle who turned 90 this year.  Got it?  The zero concept?  But he’s NO zero in the lives of us who were there.  

Others there had a zero in this year: our anniversary year ended with zero; one of his son’s entered another decade—that zero again.  I think a few cousins had done the same since always my aunts would be pregnant about the same time.  His children kept telling my uncle we were celebrating all those milestones since he’s not one to was a “fuss.” 

We all agreed this was the best way to get together.  It’s been funerals over the past several years—if we’ve seen each other at all. 

We represented several states what with the four generations that were there.  The furthest—Washington. Our grandparents, I’m sure, were looking over the gathering and saying to each other: “It’s about time they all got together.” 🙂Grandpa H & Uncle Gene

My uncle makes a great draw.  A WWII vet who served in Alaska, a US border that actually came under attack a few times.  A postal worker until he retired, and during that time he worked a second job.  He raised a large family and he and my aunt brought them up well.  When he retired, he started another career working in the maintenance department for our local school system.  Even now he putters around his home to keep things in tip-top shape. 

He was always around to help.  Family members, friends, organizations, and church.  He had a reputation for enjoying his meals.  My brothers always wanted to be around him at large gatherings because he was near the front of the line and always knew what foods were  tastiest. My grandfather once remarked we should set out plates for us and a platter for Gene.  Yet he remains tall and wiry. 

Uncle Gene First CommunionHe knew all the stats for golf, baseball, football, and who knows what else.  I remember coming into his home at times and he’d have two radios going with different games while the TV had a third.  If the weather allowed, he’d get us kids outside to play some kind of ball.  Since I was such a klutz, this wasn’t my favorite activity, but everyone else loved it.  I helped with dishes or kitchen work and learned lots of family history and gossip that way. 

I talked and listened yesterday.  Everyone was “remembering when” in their conversations.  We should have recorded those talks.  When I looked around, I saw such strong family resemblances within my cousins and their families.  Why?  Because my uncle married my mother’s sister, his sister married my mother’s brother.  

But it wasn’t just the facial structures that contained similarities through the generations.  Mannerisms, speech patterns, so much of what I observed reminded me of relatives no longer with us. Uncle-Gene-blog

All this boils within me today.  Perhaps someday a tidbit from yesterday will serve to create a scene or the idea for a character.  Even if not, yesterday and the man we were celebrating will always remain in my heart.

From A Stay-at-home

July 12, 2009


Many writers I know are packing their bags and checking their tickets.  Like pilgrims seeking knowledge of their faith, these writers are heading to their knowledge source.CB060002

This week the Romance Writers of America™ will be holding their annual conference in Washington, D.C. 

And I won’t be there. 😦

I know many of my colleagues will be and I intend to enjoy the conference and mine their new wisdom once they return.  On Saturday evening, the huge awards ceremony will be held.  This is the “Oscars” for our organization where the best of the best of published romance genre novels are awarded the Rita™ and the unpublished best are recognized with the Golden Heart™.

 Of course, I’m sending all my positive thoughts toward DC that my dear friend, Virginia McCullough will win the Golden Heart in her category.  If for no other reason, I wish I were there if/when she wins.  🙂 

But conferences are so incredibly energizing and draining at the same time.  Being around writers and industrial professionals for several days lifts writers who tend to be solitary individuals to a whole different world.  Everyone knows what we’re talking about and feeling.  They get it—since they have had the same feelings and experiences. 

I hope all the conference attendees get so much more from this conference than they hoped for.  May the workshops you attend inspire you and answer your questions.  May the networking you do lead you to new options for placing your work, using your talents, or promoting yourself and your work.

CB045645And finally, may your travels be safe and hassle-free.  Those of us not there with you physically will be with you all in spirit. 

Have a great conference.

Independence Day Memories

July 5, 2009


 July 4th. Hotdogs and chips. Parades. Fireworks. Beach parties and backyard picnics. Good times always.

 Celebrating July 4th involves that and much more for me.

Fireworks 2 Watching fireworks from a hospital room is one. My second son, John, whom I’ve written about before in the December 2008 post “Remembering John,” was born a few days before the 4th.  Those were the days when a birth meant five days’ stay in the hospital. So I watched the fireworks light up the sky above the Lake Michigan shoreline—from three stories up, holding my beautiful brown-haired baby boy in my arms. First time I ever saw fireworks from anything other than ground level.

 Since John is no longer with us and the holiday falls so close to his birthday, I especially grieve for him and remember him on every 4th. Growing up, he so enjoyed the fireworks and the outdoor fun surrounding this holiday.

 Independence Day and fireworks also played a big part in another major memory I have.

 Maine, July 4th.  I was sitting on a hillside overlooking the peaceful and scenic Boothbay Harbor. My husband and I were visiting my friend Stella over the holiday. We settled into our seats to watch the fireworks light up the harbor.j0441011

Boy did they!  Something went wrong and all the fireworks went off at one time. The noise threatened ear drums. We felt the shock waves while seated on the hill. In a cacophonous ninety seconds ablaze with myriad patterns and colors in the inky night sky, we watched the most awesome fireworks display I’ve ever seen.

More amazing and better? No one was injured or killed. A miracle, really. I still think of that spectacle every July 4th.

 A third memory really involves several. A few years after my youngest son’s accident which left him very disabled, one of his nurses, a young man asked permission to do fireworks here so my son could enjoy them safely. We live on a lake and our neighbors agreed. So each Independence Day we host fireworks which our son organizes with great enthusiasm. Over the years his friends, nurses and their families have gathered along with our neighbors, their friends and families to watch the “fireworks” from our own yards.

Fireworks 4What all these memories reinforce for me the link of love and friendship with a July 4th celebration. Those are the greatest gifts we can give to another, especially when we are free and independent to do so. For a true friend, a life-long love, a family love nurtures independence within each other as well as a positive dependence for each other.

 I guess this is why I, for one, will always carry my memories and reflect upon them during this holiday time. It’s also why I write what I write the stories I do.  I see those themes come through with each book.Moss Rose for Gram

 Those are also the qualities I hope people will remember these qualities about when I no longer watch fireworks and celebrate Independence Day.

 Do you have a special memory tied into Independence Day?