Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Augut 31, 2010

Ah, the last day of August. Labor Day is looming, which means summer should be over. I say "should be" because in Texas, we continue with the 90's through September, and the 80's through October. I can deal with 80's. Definitely. We usually can swim in our pool through October.

In honor of the theoretical end of summer, let me post some pics of my dogs enjoying the summer and the pool.

Mitchell on the raft.

Mac, doing his famous high dive

And Daisy, just chillin'

Mac swimming with his favorite toy in the world - his frisbee

And one more of Mac's dive

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Night 8-29-10

I took some amazing clouds pics at the lake over the weekend with my camera phone (I forgot to bring my camera). For a little bit, I thought we might get rain.

As the sun set, it illuminated the clouds and it was awe-inspiring.

Can you believe those clouds?

No rain, just some amazing sky-scapes

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A long time ago, when I was five years old and lived in Woodstock, NY, I had a best friend. Her name was Jessica. We stayed friends all through elementary school, and even when we went to seventh grade at the big, scary junior high school. Right after that, my dad got transferred to Poughkeepsie, which was about 60 miles away. Still, we kept in touch, engineering visits when we could.

9 months into our new town, my dad's job transferred him again. This time to Boulder, Colorado. In the middle of 8th grade, we moved clear across the country to a new state, a new school, and a new way of life. Jessica and I wrote each other, but after awhile the letters tapered off, became less frequent, then finally stopped all together.

I went to High School, grew up, moved to Texas, married, had a child, divorced, lived as a single mom for five years, then remarried. I never forgot Jessica, and often wondered what had happened to her. Had she graduated high school, gone on to college, married, had kids, had a career? I made numerous attempts to find her, Googling her name, looking for her on Facebook, even checking out the reunions of the high school she would have gone to.

Yesterday, I found her. She lives in Rhode Island, is a successful business owner, and has two kids. She's been married, divorced, a single mom, and now has remarried. We both used to love to sketch and she went on to get a degree in fine arts. I was supposed to go to a school of the arts in Missouri, but life got in the way. Instead of continuing with my sketching and painting, I express my creativity in writing. She still paints and actually owns an art gallery.

How cool is that? Reconnecting with the past. Awesome.

Monday, August 23, 2010

August 23, 2010

Well, today is supposed to be the hottest day of the year. Not sure why, but on the news last night they are stating the official high today will be 107. Yikes! After this, it will hopefully cool down, but only into the upper 90's. That's not cool. Not to me. Where I grew up, in the Catskill Mountains of NY state, it would be starting the slow slide into autumn, which has always been my favorite time of the year.

Ah, the crisp air, the changing leaves. I love sweaters and boots and just about everything about autumn. Even if we often had to wear coats under our Halloween costumes.

I still struggling on writing the book. But it's taking shape, albeit slower than I'd like. I wrote an article for my Romance Writer's chapter, then debated asking them not to publish it, as it made me feel too... exposed. Vulnerable. Ah well, I'm going to let them publish it, assuming they want to.

Other than that, life is good. I'm ready for what passes for fall here in sweltering Texas. Ready for the temps to go from hellish to relatively normal. Ready to camp and light campfires at night, to get up in the morning and have to put on a jacket to let the dogs out. Bring it on.

Today's random photo - my female Mini-Schnauzer Daisy in her Halloween costume

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I think I might have been visited by a ghost.

The weirdest thing happened on Saturday. Saturday was my husband's birthday and he was kind of bummed because no one in his family bothered to call and wish him happy birthday (mine did, but not his). We were sitting outside by the pool in the dead still hot air, and the backyard swing starts swinging. Not just swinging, but the kind of jerky swing a little kid would make who is trying to swing it with too short legs and not enough strength.

Immediately, I told him his mother (she died in 1994 at the age of 95) was here to wish him happy birthday. Ok, first I walked up there and stood and stared at the swing, looking to see if there was some other, rational reason it was moving. It kept doing that for maybe 20 minutes, then just stopped. Lonnie finally went and sat in the swing - even though he kind of looked at me like I was crazy for saying it was a ghost, he couldn't find any other explanation either.

I really think his mom might have paid us a visit.

The swing in the backyard (not swinging - I didn't think to run and get my camera)

Monday, August 16, 2010


I have an old blog that I can still read, but you guys can't see it. I am posting one of the old posts from 2008, as it still touches me as deeply now as it did then.

Today is my Mitchell's 9th birthday. Here is his birthday pic


Now for the post

Sunday, April 13, 2008
Not for the Faint of Heart
Interview in an Animal Shelter!

As a journalist, I decided to go to the animal, and interview some of the “inmates”. I wanted to know what it was like in there from their perspective. What follows is not for the faint of heart.I entered the building, and one of the workers accompanied me to the holding area. This is where dogs are kept before they are allowed up for adoption. IF they are allowed up for adoption. If the dogs are found to be aggressive in any way, euthanasia is employed. Fortunately, if “fortunately” is the word to be used here. In this establishment, and they use lethal injection, not a gas chamber.

The shelter worker led me past a big steel door that says “Employees Only”. “What is in there?” I asked. From the look he gave me, I knew that this is where dogs go in, and never return.We moved on to a row of kennels. The dogs were barking loudly, there was the acrid smell of urine and feces, and a feeling of despair seemed to permeate the room.

“Go ahead,” the worker said. “They’re all yours.”

PETE:I looked into the first kennel, and saw only the back of a medium sized dog who was curled up in the corner of his kennel, shivering. He was mostly white, with some black spots. “Hello?” I said. “May I come in?” He lifted his head, as though it weighed more than he could bear. When he looked at me, I could see he was a Pitbull. His eyes were gentle, but filled with grief.“Enter,” was all he said.I stepped in, closing the gate behind me. He put his head back down, facing away from me. I crouched down a few feet away.“My name is Pete. Petey my Master called me,” he said, still not looking at me.“Why are you here Pete?” I asked.“I am here because Master cannot afford to move. I am here because someone with power said I am vicious, and a killer. Someone who never met me. Master took me for a walk one day, and some lady started to scream when she saw me. I got frightened, and barked at her. The dog police came, and they took me away. I have been with Master for 10 years. The last time I saw him, he just held me and cried. He kept telling me he was sorry. I worry for him. Whatever will he do without me?” Pete shivered even more.A tear slid down my face. I am supposed to remain objective, but this was wrong. So wrong.“Thank you Pete.” I said. He said nothing as I got up and left his kennel.

POPPER:The kennel next to Pete’s held a very young looking dog. Pure Border Collie by my guess. He stood on his hind legs, looking at me through the gate.“Hello. My name’s Popper. He tilted his head. “Are you here to take me home?”“No, I’m sorry,” I replied. “But I would like to talk with you.”“Sure. What would you like to talk about?”“Popper, how did you come to be in this place?” I asked.Popper dropped down from the gate, with a perplexed look on his face. He walked to the back of the kennel, then back to the front. I noticed he had one blue eye, and one brown. He was quite beautiful. His black and white coat was shiny and thick.“I am not certain WHY I am here. I think maybe my family will come back for me. They bought me when I was only 6 weeks old. I remember they said how smart Border Collies are, and how it would be so easy to train me. They were very excited at first. The little ones played with me all the time. But the trouble with little Masters is, they refuse to stay in a group. I constantly had to nip their heels to keep them together.” He looked confused. “Why won’t they stay in a group?” he sighed. “So I did what I thought I should do. I am not quite sure why the little ones screamed when I did my job, but they did, and the Masters got very angry at me. They also got angry when I had to relieve myself, and did so in the house. I am not sure where they expected me to go. All they said was that I was the smartest breed in the world, and I should just KNOW better. Then they left me in the yard for a month or so. I got bored a lot, and I dug holes in the grass. The next thing I knew, the Masters brought me here.”Popper jumped back up on the gate, his white paws protruding through the links. He looked at me with his lovely eyes, and asked “Will you please let them know I want to come home? Please tell them I promise I will be good?”“I will Popper,” I said.

SPARTAN:My heart was breaking. I was beginning to regret coming here, but their stories had to be told. I moved along. The next dog I saw looked to be easily 100 lbs., a Rottweiler . He was handsome indeed, except for the scars on his face and back. He tilted his head, and looked me right in the eyes.“Hello. Who are you?” he asked.“I am a reporter,” I replied. “May I speak with you for a little while?”“Most certainly. My name is Spartan. You ca n come in, I won’t bite,” he said.“Thank you Spartan. I will.”I entered his kennel, reached out and stroked his giant head. He made a loud grumbling noise, and closed his eyes.“Spartan, why are you here?”Before he could answer my question, he was suddenly in the grip of a nasty coughing spasm. It sounded painful.“Please excuse me,” he said when it passed. “Kennel cough. It seems all of us who come in here get it. “Why am I here? Well, about two years ago, I was born in the backyard of some person I can’t even recall. I had 11 brothers and sisters. I recall a day when a big man came and gave that person some money, and took me away from my mother. They had to chain her up, as she was very angry that he took me. They chained her and beat her. I came to know the man by the name of Jim. I overheard him telling his friends that I would grow up to be big and mean like my mother. But as I grew older, all I wanted to do was play and be friends wit h everyone. Jim said I needed to be taught how to be mean, so he chained me up in the yard. No more house for me, he said, I was too spoiled.When people came by to visit, I was so happy to see them. I wanted them to come and play. But that made Jim angry, so he beat me with sticks and chains. When he came near, I would roll onto my back so he would know I wasn’t a bad dog. That made him beat me more.” Spartan’s eyes clouded with grief. “Then he brought me here.”I reached out and stroked Spartan’s massive gentle head once more. “I am so sorry Spartan. Some people are just plain evil.” I gave him a kiss and left his kennel.As I walked away, Spartan called out, “What will happen to me, nice lady?”I shook my head. “I can’t say Spartan. Maybe someone kind will come and get you. We can only hope.”

PATSY:I walked a little further down. I could see a shape moving at the back of the next kennel. “Hello?” I called out. Suddenly the shape lunged at the gate in a fury, barking and gnashing its teeth. I stumbled backwards, and crashed into an adjacent kennel. The other dogs began barking loudly and jumping at their gates.“Don’t go near her,” a small female voice came from behind me. “She’s mad.”I gathered myself back together, and saw a little Jack Russell Terrier behind me.“Thanks for the warning,” I was still trembling. Across the way, the other dog, apparently a Husky and German Shepherd cross, was glaring at me, lips curled back revealing brown stained teeth. Her ribs and hips showed through her dull, matted grey coat. The little dog invited me into her kennel, and I gladly went in.“Who are you?”“My name is Patsy.” The little brown and white dog held a paw up to the gate in greeting.“My owner surrendered me. She said she wanted a cute little dog like the one on the TV show, Frasier. She didn’t bother to look into the type of dog I am.” Patsy heaved a sigh.“I suppose she expected me to just lie about and only need a short walk each day, just like Eddie , but my energy was so high that I needed to run and play.” She glanced at her surroundings. “Now I am here. I suppose it could be worse. I could be like.her.” Patsy looked towards the still growling dog across the way.“What happened to make her so vicious?” I asked.“From what we could gather,” she replied. “she was found tied in a back yard. She only had a three foot chain. Some days there was no water. Rarely was there any food. One day a nice neighbor came by and brought her some meat. By then it was too late. She was already mad. She broke off her chain, and bit the poor man badly. We know she will be going behind the steel door. I am sad to say, I think it will be best. Perhaps then she will know some peace.”Just then, the door at the end of the building opened, and a woman stepped inside. All the dogs began to bark wildly, then one by one, they went quiet.I whispered to Patsy, “Who is that? Why have all the dogs gone quiet?”Patsy breathed deeply through her little nose, and closed her eyes. “SHE is a Rescuer. Can’t you smell it?” she asked.“Smell what?” I was confused.“Compassion. Love. Sorrow. It emanates from her pores. She is here for one of us, but nobody knows who just yet.” Patsy looked hopeful.

The Rescuer moved from kennel to kennel, looking at each dog. I sat quietly watching. I could see tears in her eyes as she made eye contact with each one. She stopped at Spartan’s cage and spoke quietly to him.“No more beatings my man. No more. You are coming with me. From here on in, it’s all going to get better.”The Rescuer produced a leash, opened the kennel door, and took Spartan away. As he walked beside her, his little stubby tail wagged with delight.Patsy sighed again. I could see the disappointment in her eyes, and it grieved me. They all had the same look, as they watched The Rescuer depart.“I am so sorry Patsy,” I said in a whisper. “But you are a little dog, and everyone loves little dogs. I am convinced you will be rescued soon.” Patsy’s brown eyes twinkled at me, a little bit of hope returning.

I had heard and seen enough. I needed to tell people how it was for these unfortunate creatures. They were all here through no fault of their own. I stood to leave. I passed by many other dogs I did not interview, looking at each one, wishing I could take them all home with me and give them the love they deserved.

I stood by the door taking one last glance back, when it opened, and one of the pound workers came in. His face was drawn and sad. He walked by without a word, and stopped at Pete’s kennel. I heard him take a deep breath, then he paused, and opened the kennel door.The words were muffled, but I am sure I heard him say “I’m sorry old boy.”He came out, with Petey in tow. The old dog’s head hung down in resignation, and they both disappeared behind the big steel door.
I’m not sure who wrote this or where it originally came from but I have come across it before and no matter how many times I read it, it brings me to tears. If dogs and animals actually could talk, imagine the stories, the heartbreak. There are so many dogs and pets that need homes, desperately waiting in shelters. Hundreds of thousands every year are led behind that ‘big steel door.’ Do you have room in your heart? Do you have room in your life? Think about saving a life! Adopt from a shelter!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday 8-10-10

Tired. Yep, that's me. I seem to spend a lot of my life being tired, spent, exhausted, and worn out. Sure, I had a fantastic weekend, got lots of sleep, etc. etc. But Monday night, after getting up at 4:30 am, I went to see American Idol Live. Fun, fun, fun. Except I didn't get to bed until midnight. And I had to get up at 5am. Again.

So yesterday, I was seriously dragging. I even sent the receptionist to Starbucks to bring me back a venti latte (which helped, really!) Because - cue menacing music - I had a scheduled personal training session and that trainer is sadistic!!!

By the time I finished working out with her and doing my cardio, one hour later I dragged my aching butt home and managed to eat dinner and collapse in the recliner in front of the TV. I went to be early, turning off the lights at around 10pm.

So of course my Boxer decides to wake me up at 4:30am by vomiting. Uh-huh.

If I had my way, I'd go back to bed. But I need to write and at the EDJ I have a meeting with a marketing guy from one of the General Agents. So.... I'm here. Planning to inhale 4 cups of coffee.

Ok, camera phones don't take great concert pics (I forgot my camera), but here is one of Lee Dewyze from Monday night.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thursday August 5, 2010

It's almost here, quietly lurking around the corner. Friday, my favorite of all the workdays, not only because it's the end of the week, but because we eat lunch out.
Back before the economy went south, my husband and I would go out to eat a nice lunch, letting the employees handle the office for an hour. These days, it's fast food, eaten in the break room. But still, we eat together. For that reason alone, I love it.

All week long I've been suffering pangs of jealously. The RWA National Conference ended Sunday and everyone is back home and posting pics on Facebook and their blogs. I didn't think I would mind not going as much as I actually do! I'll get over it eventually, but next year (NYC), I am so there. No matter what!

Life and the day job have all been crazy, but I got my line edits done and back to my editor. I'm back to working, albeit easing slowly into writing again. But the story is taking shape nicely and I've been reading my friend Cindy Dee's Silhouette Romantic Suspense - she won a Rita for it - The Soldier's Secret Daughter. Awesome book - it reminds me of why I love writing for SRS. Pick it up on Amazon if you can. It's worth the price and the hero is my favorite type - wounded.

Here is today's random photo: My kayak on the lake!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesday August 3, 2010

I'm back. It's hot here and I'm cranky. I always get this way in August, which is my least favorite month. Here in Texas, we get lots of triple digit temps, and they are talking about breaking records (108, 110? Seriously? Come on, folks!)

Last weekend we went to the lake and spent a lot of time in the boat,which was nice. But it still was HOT! Though, as my friend Anna pointed out, the days are getting shorter and that's got to mean relief is on the way, right? Of course, first I've got to slog through August and part of September before it starts getting cooler, at least here.

All of my writer friends are back from RWA National in Orlando. I've enjoyed seeing the pictures and reading the posts about the conference. I almost always go, but not this year. Next year, I'm so there - it's in NYC, one of my fav places to visit.

I've got line edits I'm working on for the January 2011 Nocturne, so I'd better get back to them.

Here is the picture of the day today. This is the view out the back window of our camper.