Monday, December 30, 2013


Tomorrow is the last day of 2013.  This has been a very - insert adjective here - year for me.  (Yeah, I couldn't decide - strange, weird, difficult, interesting.... so I'll let you pick).

The year in recap:

I weigh myself every Monday and record the weight. This year, I weigh 2 pounds less today than I did on the first Monday of the year.  I've been as high as 9 pounds higher than today and as low as 4 pounds lower. I am happy that the year ended up as a minus there for me.  But, I stopped working out and need to get back to that in 2014.

I lost my mom.  Enough said.

My husband Lonnie was in and out of the hospital, had eye surgery a couple of times, and is now is great health.  Whew, on this.

We tried several churches, from Unitarian to non-denominational to Baptist.  We attended one non-denominational church pretty regularly, but eventually stopped going.  I refocused my spiritual search where I feel it belongs, the same one I'd started over 30 years ago, and was able to find comfort in my mother's passing.  

Lonnie and I became volunteers with Legacy Boxer Rescue.  We helped nurse a nearly dead, sick and starving dog from 27 pounds to 52.  We picked off over 100 ticks, treated her for Erlichia and got her adopted - only to have her returned as she has kidney disease.  In the meantime, we'd taken another foster dog in and adopted him, so somehow we ended up with 5 dogs.  Which is Way.  Too.  Many.

We also evaluated dogs in shelters, transported dogs from shelters to foster homes or to vets, and did home evaluations for prospective adopters.  I joined the Shelter Committee and quit, as I wouldn't have been able to write.  I then joined the Foster Committee and during the weekend before Christmas, helped get 8 dogs pulled from shelters to foster homes!  We made and delivered holiday baskets to two local shelters, and assisted at fund raising events.

I got a new 8 book contract and then, as I was in the middle of the first book for this, was offered yet another contract for a Continuity.  I now have too much work, which is a good place to be when self-employed.

My husband and I not only took our third week-long cruise, but spent a few days in Vegas.  Due to the foster dog situation, we didn't get to go to our lake lot at all this past summer, which has never happened.

We've hung out with family, eaten a lot of good meals, and heard some good music.  I finally learned how to make a decent margarita at home, and cooked many new and different dinners.

I don't make resolutions anymore, but in 2014 I hope to get my day schedule better nailed down.  It's difficult when your husband is retired and there with you, and I tend to waste a lot more time than I should.  I want to map out time for exercising, as well as time devoted solely to writing.

And that's it for me.  How about you?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's Over (Whew!)

Christmas is over and I woke up still exhausted this morning.  Christmas Eve was different - Lonnie and I went and visited my mother's grave.  He gave me privacy and I sat on the bench by her - so close I could reach out and touch the granite.  My brother had bought a little Santa ornament and hung into there with a stick-on hook.  I brought some holly and silver ornaments and put them with the Santa.  I'd also gotten two scratch off tickets since she'd loved them so.  I talked to her awhile and scratched them off and left them for her (they didn't win.)  I cried.  Christmas Eve has been, for a very long time, a time we spent together.

Afterward, Lonnie took me to McAlister's Deli for lunch and then we went on home.  I cooked all the sides for the next day's Christmas dinner.  My daughter came over and we all went to eat at Cristina's Mexican Kitchen.  It was enjoyable.  Here's our tree on Christmas Eve, loaded down with gifts.

And my daughter and our newest Boxer, Peyton.

Finally, I set a beautiful table - which again made me miss my mother, as she took such pleasure in the fancy table.

The day itself was busy, but nice.  I still had the ache inside though.  I made cinnamon roles like I always do. We had coffee and Lonnie put Amaretto in his, like he always does.  Steph came over and I made maple bacon, another tradition.  We opened gifts.  I got Boxer earrings, a boxer tote bag, a custom made boxer blanket, a new purse, sneakers, pj's, and a surprise gift - Garth Brook's boxed set  - Lonnie must have listened when I was complaining how I couldn't buy his stuff on I-Tunes!  I'm listening to it as I type.

Later, my Dad, my brother, and his girlfriend and her daughter came over. She's seven. It was a delight have a child again at Christmas.  We all ate a big feast of ham, scalloped potatoes, cheesy spinach casserole, and glazed carrots.  I'd made pear and apple cobbler for desert along with Bluebell homemade vanilla ice cream.
The once again, we exchanged gifts.  I got a bottle of tequila.  My brother seemed to love his leather motorcycle jacket!  And the little girl appeared to like all her stuff - barbie, tea set, stuffed frog, new jacket.

Everyone was relaxed and happy.  It was a good day.

By the time everyone went home and Lonnie and I cleaned up, I was beat.  Today, I'm back to work, working on the synopsis for the Colton's of Wyoming book - Dead River Danger!  It's fun.  And a welcome distraction.  I still need to finish up on The Long Wait, which is now due February 1st. (Dead River Danger is due April 1st), so I'm going to be super busy.  That should help.

One other caveat - in the days leading up to Christmas, Legacy Boxer Rescue, where I volunteer, was super busy.  I think we had 11 dogs pulled from shelters or from owner surrenders in the days leading up to Christmas. Lonnie and I even transported one, a cute little female named Tierney.  Made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday, full of family and friends, good food, and gift giving.  Hold that family close, as I can promise you that you will miss them when they're gone.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Liberty Belle aka Libby

Today I'm doing a post about my only Brindle Boxer, my baby girl Libby.  She is at the vet's right now, having surgery, and I'm worried that she might have a particular nasty form of cancerous tumor.  I'm a bit weepy and praying like crazy and I thought this might help me feel better.

I bought Libby over the internet, from the daughter of the breeder from whom I purchased Mac Macadoo.  I selected her out of a litter and paid a deposit.  The breeder sent me frequent pictures and finally, when Libby was 8 weeks old, Lonnie and I drove all the way to Pryor, Oklahoma.  It was something like 10 hours each way, so I had to have my daughter come stay with my other dogs.

We picked Libby up on 9-11-11, thus the name Liberty Belle.  Her sweet nature was immediately apparent, as she gave us kisses and nub wiggles.  Here she is the day we got her.

Libby's wonderful personality continued to shine.  She was a typical Boxer puppy - in other words, crazy.

Here she is, winning over my grouchy bear Mac Macaddo.

Even as she grew, she still considered herself a puppy!

Here she is when she learned to swim at the age of eleven months.

Here she is at one year of age.

And now she's two. Her birthday is July 19th.   She has welcomed every foster dog into our home, winning over Katniss and making her a BFF.  She is also Besties with our new dog Peyton, and they run and play together and sleep together and clearly love each other.

I'm praying her surgery goes well and that what the vet found is NOT a cancerous tumor.  After just losing my mother to cancer, even the possibility of this is really rough.  I keep telling myself not to worry until I know for sure, but it's hard.  I love my Libster so much.

UPDATE:  I spoke with the vet last night and it was NOT a tumor!!!  Thank God.  It was a golf-ball size impacted thing full of what looked like dirt, the vet said.  The only problem is that it was so large, he had to cut very close to her rectum.  He kept her overnight and I'm going to call in just a minute and see if/when I can pick her up today.

Answered prayers.  I'm so happy.  I love my Libby girl.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

So Much

I have a lot of work to do, and this is the worst time of the year for my concentration.  With Christmas a week away, there's a lot to do, and my daily word count suffers.  I'm also a bit melancholy as this is the first Christmas without my mother.  Sure, the last two (2011 and 2012), she was too sick to leave her house, so we went there.  One year we ordered Subway, and last year I think we had cold cuts and sandwiches.

Before she got cancer, it was a big deal with us.  She and Gloria would come over on Christmas Eve and I'd cook a huge meal with a Honeybaked Ham.  I'd decorate (still do) and set a festive table.

 In 2009 we had a rare (for Texas) Christmas Eve snow.  That was the best Christmas Eve ever!

Christmas 2010 was the last one where she was healthy.  The difference was unbelievable.


Last year - 2012

She's been gone nearly 3 months and I find myself missing her at odd moments.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Iced In

This has been the most exciting couple of days.  We've had an ice storm - the kind that, according to the TV weather people, only happens every 10 years.  It's been COLD - the low was 18 last night.  And frozen.  Frozen roads, frozen yards, and a sloped driveway that I had to shovel a path in to get in the garage on Friday.

Here are a few pics.

My backyard.

The icicles from our patio cover

My backyard again

The greenhouse - with two heaters keeping our plants warm

The squirrel feeder.

So we've hunkered down.  I made some beef stew and sourdough bread.  I've been enjoying hot cocoa and a fire in the fireplace.  As have my dogs.

And I've gotten some writing done.

Most of all, this has made me feel more in the Christmas spirit.  I've started my shopping!!!