Archive for May 2013

Shivery Memorial Weekend

May 26, 2013

Loons on Plummer Lake

Loons on Plummer Lake

Memorial Day weekend and here in Wisconsin—at least in this corner—we’re wishing the weather were a bit warmer so we could get outdoors and enjoy what’s supposed to be the unofficial opening weekend of summer.

We aren’t even close around here. Some of us still have our furnaces on especially at night since the temps drop low enough to think the calendar is stuck on March not the end of May.

So, since dear hubby and I are home and caring for our disabled son, I’ve had time to remember other Memorial Days and times we were able to be celebrating the holiday somewhere else and with people and loved ones not around here today.

Take for example Memorial Day 1993. My first trip to Alaska and on this particular day we visited the Portage Glacier, saw a pod of whales in Turnagain Arm when we traveled the highway from Anchorage to the Glacier. We also saw several mountain goats up close and personal as they picked their way around the steep sides of the mountains not 15-20 feet from the highway’s edge.

Wouldn’t see that in too many places.

Reflections on Plummer Lake

Reflections on Plummer Lake

Or Yosemite Valley riding a bike on a beautiful trail again getting up close and personal to some of the most beautiful acreage ever. I spent more time getting off and on that bike to take photos and since the bike was quite decrepit and didn’t have very good brakes—well, let’s just say the day was memorable for great scenery and a bike ride I never want to repeat.

Yosemite? Absolutely—and we have returned—but no bike ride for me.

Plummer Lake at sunset

Plummer Lake at sunset

Or we’ve had a few Memorial Day weekends up north at my sisters’ cabins. Those were fun weekends mixed with the work of opening cabins, doing clean up and landscaping to prepare for many more summer weekends. The one that I remember most vividly was maybe 2002 or 2003. My husband and I had a trailer hitch on my escape so we were elected to haul a trailer filled with furniture for the cabin my one sister had purchased. Beds, mattresses, kitchen appliances, living room furniture, kitchen set, lawn furniture, you name it. I was so proud of my Escape for handling that hauling job well, not to mention dealing with that holiday traffic.

Memorial Day means many things to different people. But the reason for the holiday is to remember those who gave their lives in service to their country. Before that became officially a holiday, about this time of the year families would trek to cemeteries to clear away winter debris from family plots and graves and leave flowers or some token of remembrance. That custom predated the Civil War—our bloodiest one with the highest body count. As a result the current concept got rolled into the family custom.

Last years' flowers on Memorial Day

Last years’ flowers on Memorial Day

Two great reasons to celebrate the day not only with preparing for summer but also for remembering those we’ve lost in war or just because…

I’ll be doing that also over this weekend.

I hope your weekend is a great one. That you have time to celebrate the promise of summer along with remembering those you miss in your lives.

See you next week, probably a day late as I’ll be at the Wisconsin Romance Writers Conference. Wish me luck. Three of my books are up for awards. Whether they win or not, the weekend will be great to learn more of my craft in the workshops and visit with writers for two days.

Dreams Do Come True

May 19, 2013

From Alaska son

From Alaska son

Last Sunday was Mothers’ Day. Since I am a mother, I made a decision to treat myself to a day when I did nothing. Well, I did things with my hubby. We took the day to visit, take a drive, eat out. Just do whatever we felt like doing—together.

I visited with my sons, two at the cemetery near my mom and dad, one by phone as he’s in Alaska, and one in our home as he lives with us. I sat in my living room, thought about the next book that’s cooking in my brain, watched the lake, and started reading a new book. I enjoyed the home made key lime pie my hubby made for me. I admired the lovely flowers I received from the men in my life who love me.

From youngest son

From youngest son

It was a marvelous day.

A vacation day if you will.

Something I don’t take as often as I should.

But since my last post, I’ve accomplished something I never thought would happen. Three of my books finaled in three different categories of the same readers judged contest, The Write Touch Readers Award. The winners will be announced on June 1st—just a few weeks from now. The books were as follows:

An Island No More—romantic suspense. (This book took second place in the Bean Pot Readers Choice and has finaled in the 2013 Award of Excellence contest.)

Better Than Dessert—mainstream.

Seasons of Wine and Love—single title.

From hubby

From hubby

I got the call one evening when I was exhausted. I’d been caring for our disabled son who lives with us and been up for 40 hours straight. I’d just showered and gotten into my jammies and was on a path for bed when the phone rang. I ignored it instead crawling into bed.

But my hubby walked into the bedroom and insisted I take the phone. Of course, I figured the call couldn’t be a good one. (I tend to get negative when overtired to the tenth power.)

I picked up the phone and said hello. Hesitation colored my voice I’m sure. That didn’t last long.

Of course, I was beyond excited at the news. (I’d hoped to final with one book but when she continued with number 2 and 3, well, I was flabbergasted.) However, I was also half asleep. I’m sure I didn’t make any sense during our conversation and I’ll have to apologize when or if I see the woman at the awards luncheon—yes, I’ll be there for that.

Those lilacs brought spring into the room

Those lilacs brought spring into the room

After the call I fell asleep and slept for maybe nine hours. When I woke the next morning to coffee, I sat in my chair and looked at my husband. Then I said to him, “I had the strangest dream last night.”

“You did?” He set the paper down and turned to me. “What was it about?”

“You woke me up and insisted I take a call. The caller told me three of my books finaled in a contest.”

Dear hubby chuckled. “Honey, that wasn’t a dream. That happened.”

“Don’t tease me.”

“I’m not. I listened in on the other phone. You really did.”

Well, let me tell you hearing my dream really wasn’t a dream made my day. My week and ever since. Writers always dream of getting calls such as that one—ones that bring news of success because finaling is special. It is another measure of success. However, I’m so glad this is one dream that wasn’t a dream, but real.

I wonder–have any of you “slept through” a moment of success?

Yellow roses were the first flowers hubby sent me--delivered to my classroom.

Yellow roses were the first flowers hubby sent me–delivered to my classroom.

P.S.  Today is hubby and my 34th anniversary. Our romance started with another phone call. His to me. Sort of asking me if I dated. I answered “not really.” He asked why. I answered “No time and more importantly no one’s asked.”

I’m so glad he asked.

When A Pitcher Lives With Hoarders

May 5, 2013

So close to the lake no leafy trees yet.

So close to the lake no leafy trees yet.

I’m not quite willing to say winter has truly decided to leave us and spring has arrived. But maybe it’s happening. I hope. At least I’m more optimistic than I’ve been though we did have some cold days and nights early last week.

It could have been worse. Areas of Wisconsin got over a foot of heavy snow, so much schools closed down for at least a day. When I heard that I was thankful for the dreary skies and sleety rain.

However, what has happened in the past few days allowed my hope to spring forth. Thus you have the photos of the few plants that have filled out and/or bloomed in the past day and a half. Aren’t they lovely? I had to take photos of them and post.

But to keep this in perspective our trees are being stubborn as you can see from these other photos. Sure the evergreens are green but they don’t count. We still have BARE LIMBS visible. We’ll need more than a few days of warmer temps and sunshine to have these trees leaf out.

But they're trying...

But they’re trying…

A few miles further inland the trees are now in leaf. In fact the magnolias are blooming. Ours has barely budded. I checked on my walk around.

What I also noticed which I guess is a sign of spring is the dandelions are out in full bloom and spreading fast. So are the weeds which are abundant. Why is it those nuisancey, nasty bits of vegetation manage to survive the worst of weather? (Okay, I’ll admit it…the only dandelions I ever loved were the ones my sons picked and gave to me before they learned how much work it was to get rid of them in the lawn.)

Yes, even in the plant world the forces of the “Evil Empire” rule far too often. 😦

Upon opening my garage door this morning...

Upon opening my garage door this morning…

While I’m on a rant of sorts, this past week made me face the fact I’ve been trying to avoid. Both my husband and our disabled son are hoarders. I finally bit the bullet and cleaned out the refrigerator. It took all day—mostly because my husband hoards leftovers in there and then he forgets about them. So a found many disgusting life forms gelatinous or furry and of varying putrid colors. I’d have to take breaks just from being on a sensory overload of horrid derivation. I lectured. He smiled and ignored all I said, I’m sure.

But that task did prepare me for dealing with my son’s living area.

As a vent dependent quadriplegic, my son is able only to move his head. Which means his caregivers and family must do everything for him. So if he hoards, that means we all contribute to it. So I guess I must count myself among them.

However, I’ve been on a rant about that. And it’s not easy to be on a rant against someone in his condition. Here’s the backstory. His living area needed new flooring. That meant I spent the whole week cleaning up, packing up, and finding places to put his “stuff.” (Think in my roomy living space because I’m not a hoarder).

For example, I uncovered 5 keyboards—none of them in use. Pieces of electronic equipment he doesn’t even know what he used to use them for—once upon a time. 1000s of CDs, DVDs, video tapes, cords, power cords, things I can’t put a name to because I don’t know what they are or what they might belong to. Neither does Steven.

In my garden. Just buds yesterday.

In my garden. Just buds yesterday.

Can I get rid of them? At least the duplicates and/or triplicates?

“No,” he answered.

Think broken stuff, unused clothing and old tennis shoes. Old magazines, file folders, cards. Just piled up.

So I asked again, “Can I get rid of this stuff?” and got the same answer. (Sorry, it’s going…and that will be another long and sullen day together.)

I know this is a control issue since he has no control over his body or his life. But still. From the dust on most of what I’ve moved around and carried upstairs, and eventually now to the dumpsters, he’s never looked at this stuff. In years. I mean major dust bunnies. Most of them as frightening as those alien life forms I found in the fridge.

Coral Bells made it through winter...

Coral Bells made it through winter…

I also know he’s inherited it from his father. So you understand this is a constant battle I fight.

Also you know what I’ll be doing next week. It will likely take me that long. I’d much prefer writing the beginning chapter/s of my next book where my main characters won’t have this flaw, though maybe a secondary one might. I’ve certainly got a lot of material to work with now.

Hope you have a great week.

I''m thinking spring and planting next...

I”m thinking spring and planting next…