Archive for June 2011

Prada Found in Lake and Other Snippets

June 27, 2011

Breaking News Racine Wi. Sunday June 26…..  From my neighbors, Bob and Jeanne


Glasses found

After dropping her $$ designer Prada sunglasses overboard a week ago while watching jet ski races off Racine’s North beach, Lindy OBrien figured they were gone for good.

However due to the quick thinking of her Dad Cap’n Bob, the story had a happy ending.

Cap’n bob managed to store in Gps coordinates at the time of loss. This allowed him and admiral Jeanne (the shout lady) OBrien to come back to the site of the sinking a week later.

Cap’n bob was quoted as saying ” if Ballard can find the titanic in the Atlantic I sure as hell can find the Pradas in Lake Michigan””

The weather was terrible most of the ensuing week keeping any recovery from taking place. However the weather broke saturday morning. After a failed attempt saturday afternoon Cap’n bob and Jeanne came back to the site early Sunday am. Conditions were excellent for searching. Calm water, clear skies and light wind were key in the recovery.

We ran a search pattern grid until we spotted them in 9 ft of water off north beach. Pretty close to where they were lost.

The end.

Leaden sky over Lake Michigan

Thursday proved another gloomy day, cool and showers off an on. However, my friend and I bundled up and braved the weather to attend the Mayor’s Memorial Brick laying ceremony. The Viet Nam vets presented the colors and did a 21 gun salute at the end. The threatening clouds over the lake and the white sails of sailboats in the background made the evening more haunting. And of course, the location, as “Jimbo’s rock” is very near. That’s the rock he always fished from and I pictured him out there in spirit his, poles dipped in the water.

Of course, he heard his name called and the ship’s bell rung for him. And how fitting that Jimbo’s brick was placed next to my life-long friend Sandy’s hubby who died a few weeks after Jimbo. Like their bricks, Sandy was next to me that evening.


Beth with me at booksigning

Thursday was also an important day as it was the day my niece, BETH, finished her residency. She will now be located in Madison and affiliated with the University of Wisconsin’s hospital. This has been a long journey for Beth. She knew from a very young age she wanted to be in the medical field. By her senior year in high school, she determined she wanted to be a doctor.  Her last decision was what to specialize in and that was fairly clear early on in medical school.

I’m so proud of Beth. It’s been a long journey for her and one where she’s often had to make difficult choices between the immediate fulfillment and ultimate goal. I wish her much success in this next phase of her life.

No headline here, but finally as of yesterday I have all my flowers planted. Two beautiful sunny days in a row really helped. Now, of course, it’s back to leaden skies. And writing.

Mallard Ducks, Inspiration & a Dad

June 19, 2011

Finally, warmer weather

A writer friend of mine wrote a blog this week about how to find inspiration. I had to copy down one of her statements because it packed a powerful message for me.

“Inspiration is born of observation, but it is nurtured with action.”

Wow—I’ve mulled this over every day since. Now she relates it to being a writer ever in search of inspiration which prompts the action of writing. I definitely agree with her.

But being a writer is so much. At least for me. My writing is the sum of all my parts: woman, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, professional career person, board member, neighbor. You get my point, right? All of those elements make up my own perspective on life and what I see. Those elements also impact my vision for my characters and my stories and in part will determine if I can create a story that will appeal to others. Or help them. Inspire them. Or allow them to slip the daily bonds into a different zone while they read.

I also realized as I considered my friend’s statement and her complete blog that we all can look around us for inspiration and find it if we allow ourselves to open up to even the littlest bits of the world around us.

For example, yesterday as I neared the end of edits for yet another novel, I glanced out my window toward the lakeshore. What caught my eye? A mallard duck family—mom taking a break by swimming in the gentle waves and dad doing duckling watch to the five little ones toddling in the sand. If four of them were behaving, one was duck waddling away from the pack and dad was chasing after.

That made me think about today—Father’s Day.

Thirty-four years ago, I got a phone call in the evening. I was harried. I was teaching 3 classes in summer school session, I’d been single parenting 3 sons for several years. Put the emphasis on the single. Those sons were now in their teens and testing their limits. Money was tight. My oldest son was driving and used my car at night to go to his job as a cook at a drive-in. And this phone rang and a guy (a widower from our parish with a 2 year old son) with a great voice gave me his name and asked if I’d like to go out with him sometime. I knew who he was but I thought the whole thing was a joke and said so.

He was determinedly serious. I told him I didn’t have time to go out. He asked about a different night. I told him I was babysitting my nephew. He asked if he and his son could stop by then. I said “maybe” and “goodbye” and hung up. I figured that would be the last I’d see of him.

Not so. He was persistent, charming, romantic, very intelligent, my sons loved him (and they were teens—you know, don’t much like any adults at that age—how weird was that?), even worse my mother adored him! My oldest son told me I better marry him because he was a great dad. Sometimes it pays to listen to your children. 🙂

Oh, Happy Day...

Of course we married and blended our sons into one family. My sons got a father, a real one, in the trenches with them during the difficult times, on the mountain peaks of their lives during the highpoints. My dear hubby with the great voice, his romantic heart (still gives me flowers just because), stood with me through all the difficulties we’ve faced as a couple, a family, as parents. We were a dual career couple with high stress, multiple commitments and over-booked lives but he was the rock that pulled it all together. He was the one that our sons turned to. So did my siblings. So did my mom.

I’ve been very blessed as a result of that phone call on a warm June evening. It was a very small item in the scope of that day and in the whole of my life. However, it has impacted my life and those I’ve loved ever since.

And this is how a family of ducks and a simple but powerful statement inspired my choice of topic today and to finish my novel’s edits last night. I hope something within these paragraphs does the same for you.

My hubby

Cough, Kah—choo, & Dripping Nose, Too

June 12, 2011

My Constant Companion

You know what’s coming right?

Add a throbbing headache, earaches, and a sore throat?

All the result of 3 days of record breaking heat after two months of chilly wet weather. Then a 50 degree drop in temps late in evening of day 3 when the strong winds switched to the north.  My frazzled immune system gave up.

But that’s life is Wisconsin. On Tuesday evening, my outside thermometer lakeside, east side of our home still registered 102 degrees. The next morning the temp was barely 45 degrees. The skies were overcast and rain pelted us most of the day, and the next day and the two days after that.

My coughing and use of tissues increased each day, but the thermometer never did.

Late yesterday afternoon, the clouds tried to break up, but drizzle continued most of the day. Wonder of wonder, this morning I woke up to sun but that thermometer remains stuck between 40 and 50.  My cough isn’t any better. My brain is drumming a heavy metal riff inside my skull and I’m on my fourth box of tissue. I think my hubby may have to make a drugstore run for more cough syrup and OTC cold medications.

What has weather and health issues meant for me?

  • 1. No bedding plants in the pots or soil. Since it’s almost mid June, I’m thinking silk may have to suffice this year. Well, maybe not on the balcony as I love watching the hummingbirds flit around the blooms seeking their nectar.
  • 2. A major weeding job once I feel better or my perennials will be choked into oblivion.
  • 3. I read a couple of books–one of them, Left Neglected by Lisa Genova, is a thoughtful WF about a mid-30s very successful career woman, a wife and mother, who suffers a traumatic brain injury because of an auto accident and she’s left with a situation where her brain doesn’t register any input on her left. It’s a fascinating story and offers a cautionary tale for anyone who tries to “do it all.”

A Remedy or Two

Now just because I’m feeling miserable and coughing like a long-time smoker doesn’t mean I’ve been lazing around. On Tuesday I sent off my edited book to my editor. Here’s hoping I have more news about that soon. The rest of the week I’ve worked on an edit for another manuscript and am more than half through it. Of course, since no one wants to be around me, I’m pretty isolated in my office while I punctuate my work with sneezing, coughing, and blowing my nose. 🙂

What about you? Any of you dealing with a summer cold so we can share our misery?

Can’t Live Without ‘Em

June 5, 2011

Love Is Brewing Conference logo

Since Thursday I’ve been gone to the Wisconsin Romance Writers Conference in Brookfield, WI. I got home about two hours ago with my head brimming with thoughts and ideas from the great workshops. On my way home, I dropped my friend Deb at the Milwaukee airport for her trip home. These last four days where I was surrounded by writers writing in all genres is something I look forward to every year.  But it’s also very exhausting.

Thus, this post may be short. Or not.

After I dropped Deb at the airport, I thought about this post and an idea kept nudging my brain cells. Susan Wiggs, a best selling author and one of my favorite authors, made a comment during one of her presentations about how she blogged or tweeted recently about the two best recent inventions/items in her life that hadn’t even been on the market five years ago. Her point was sometimes items creep into our lives that we all of the sudden wonder how did we ever get along without them. Or we realize that our lives are so much different or easier because of them.

My basket donation for literacy: Hearts & Flowers

Her items were not ones that I’d find as needed or useful, but then I’m a different person with different needs. We are all, right?

Anyway, I kept thinking about what I have in my life now that wasn’t there five years ago. That kept my mind occupied for the rest of my return trip home. I couldn’t come up with anything at first. So I thought maybe it didn’t really apply to me, but that’s not likely since I responded to the little idea Susan Wiggs mentioned almost as a throw away item in her speech.

So what would be the two items not in my life five years ago that I wouldn’t want to be without?

My Kindle because it’s so light and I always have a new book to read. My hands don’t get cramped holding it. It slips into my purse without adding bulk or weight. Getting books is so much easier so I buy more which should make all authors very happy, right?

And flash drives or thumb drives. You know those little thingees you use instead of all the more cumbersome objects we used to use to save data. I love these things, especially if I can find them in my favorite colors! They don’t take up storage space and I can keep them in my pocket if I’m switching between my desktop to my laptop or vice versa.

My favorite things

So those are my items I wouldn’t want to be without now that they are in my life.

What about you?