Dear Interwebs

Image courtesy of www.depositphotos.com

Image courtesy of www.depositphotos.com

 

Dear Interwebs,

We need to talk. This has been building for a while and no, it’s not me. It’s you. What? You don’t understand? You thought everything was fine? Well, let me see if I can spell it out for you.

  • No, I do not want to stay logged in.
  • No, I do not want you to send me notifications.
  • No, I do not want you to remember my  password.
  • No, I do not want to chat. Please stop asking every few seconds. If by some chance I change my mind, I know where to find you.
  • No, I do not want to log in using Facebook or Google or any other third party.
  • Yes, I know your site uses cookies. Everyone’s site uses cookies.
  • No, I don’t want to sign up for “email deals” just because I visited your site. Once again, if I change my mind, I know where to find you.
  • Stop with the snarky “No, I don’t want to save money, etc.” messages when I don’t want to give you my email address. It’s not a good look for you.
  • No, I’m not a robot but please stop with the “chose the pictures that show whatever” collages; they’re unnecessarily stressful.
  • I don’t want to have to close several pop-ups and scroll past videos just to read an article on your site. You’re not that special.
  • Auto-play videos will immediately put you on my “never visit this site again” list. Seriously. Why do you think I need to be forced to watch a video on how Himalayan Pink Salt is “made”? It’s salt; it already exists, it’s not being made. On another note, I simply don’t care.

Thanks for listening. I would like to think that you will take my words to heart and change. However, I’m not going to hold my breath.

Signed,

Me

Take The Selfie

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I don’t post many selfies.  First and foremost, I suck at selfies. And second, why? *shrugs*

However, there is one type of selfie I wish I had taken but didn’t and that is a selfie with my parents. Several friends have share selfies they took with their elderly parents and they are adorable. Now that their parents are gone, those pictures mean the world to them. I don’t really have any pictures of me with my parents other than ones that are decades old. I’ve taken oodles of selfies with my grandson since his birth but it never even crossed my mind to take a selfie with my parents So, consider this your reminder: the next time you visit your family, take the selfie!

On another note, who knew I could write such a short post?

Selfie

This is how I feel about most selfies.

Dr. Grant Syndrome

Jurassic Park is one of my favorite movies. When I was a kid, I loved dinosaurs and my secret wish was for an island populated with dinosaurs that I could visit. (Just me – no one else would have been allowed.) Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg brought my childhood dream to life. Jurassic Park is also one of the few instances where I prefer the movie over the book. Why? In the movie, John Hammond is a decent man; in the book, he’s a horrible man who doesn’t seem to care that his grandchildren may be killed by the dinosaurs he and his team brought to life. Also, at the end of the book the dinosaurs get nuked; in the movie, they don’t.

The dinosaur

I always cry when the first dinosaur appears on screen in Jurassic Park.

Oddly enough, it is one of the things I don‘t like in the movie that has become a part of of our family vernacular. In the movie, paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant is at the top of his field but he is also the bane of any and all electronic equipment. All Dr. Grant has to do is be in the vicinity of electronics for them to malfunction. Since my husband seems to have the same ability we say that he suffers from Dr. Grant Syndrome.

My husband and I are retired now but we both spent pretty much our entire careers in IT support in one form or another so we are both extremely comfortable with computers, etc. I find it highly amusing that a man who has spent so many years with computers and electronics has an almost infallible ability to have them malfunction in his presence when at home. If I go to show him something on my laptop or cell phone its pretty much guaranteed that something is going to go wrong: the screen will lock up or go black; he’ll try to scroll and wind up somewhere completely unrelated. It’s not uncommon to have to reboot the device that was working fine before he touched it. I frequently hear sounds of frustration from him when he’s interacting with his phone or computer and have to ask “What’s wrong? Did you Dr. Grant something?” I hope that attempting to put a humorous spin on things helps ease his frustrations.

Have any phrases from books or movies worked their way into your daily life?

 

Check Marks and Smiley Faces

Not long ago, I learned that when my grandson completes his homework, he gives himself a check mark and a smiley face. It was one of those simple moments that left me sitting in stunned silence.

Check marks

Sometimes it feels like we’re expected to do all the things all the time. It’s exhausting. How much better would we feel if, instead of beating ourselves up about all the things we didn’t get done, we gave ourselves check marks and smiley faces for the things we did accomplish?

Check Marks and Smiley Faces

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I find it somewhat amusing that, in order to write a simple post including a list containing check marks and smiley faces I had to:

* Create the list in a Word document

* Save the document as a .pdf

* Open the .pdf with Photoshop Elements

* Save the file as a .jpeg

* Insert the .jpeg into my post

But you know what? For all of that extra work I’m going to give myself another check mark and smiley face.

Check Marks and Smiley Faces

What can you give yourself a check mark and smiley face for today?

Reality TV

When reality TV first became a thing I rolled my eyes and swore I’d never watch. (Yes, I’m old enough to remember when so-called “reality” TV didn’t exist.) I was wrong. True, I didn’t watch reality TV for several years. I have zero interest in shows like The Real World, Big Brother, The Real Housewives of Whatever, etc., etc., etc. However, over the years, reality TV evolved to become more than its beginnings.

Pop Art Woman Watching a Horror Movie at Home. Terrified Girl Wa

Image courtesy of www.depositphotos.com

Over time I discovered that I am a big fan of reality TV shows that fall into two main categories. This first category is: shows that feature a creative process combined with competition. By a “creative process” I mean pretty much any creative process. I was a huge fan of Face Off on the SyFy network. Face Off featured special effects makeup artists in a variety of challenges with one contestant being eliminated each week. I found it fascinating to watch each artist take the challenge from concept to completion. As far as I’m concerned, special effects makeup is like real-life magic. I was greatly saddened when the series ended. Another former favorite was Ink Master. Ink Master features tattoo artists in a competition that tests their tattooing and other artistic skills. If you’ve known me for a while you know that I have tattoos and that I love them. As much as I loved Ink Master, I stopped watching when the show became more about the drama than the tattoos. (Insert eye roll here)

My current favorites are all cooking shows, primarily baking. As a matter of fact, I have Guy’s Grocery Games playing in the background while I type, LOL. My DVR is set to record the Halloween Baking Championship, the Kid’s Baking Championship, Worst Cooks in America, the Holiday Baking Championship, the Spring Baking Championship, Top Chef,  and The Great Food Truck Race. When new episodes aren’t available it’s not uncommon for me to watch reruns of any of the listed shows. Fortunately, this year’s Halloween Baking Championship has new episodes weekly and Netflix is releasing new episodes of the Great British Baking Show every week. Woot!

The second category is veterinarian shows. There are so many awesome shows in this category: The Vet Life, Heartland Docs DVM, Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet, Dr. Jeff Rocky Mountain Vet, and the Incredible Dr. Pol. Even more exciting is that our local veterinarians, Drs. Vernard Hodges and Terrence Ferguson, now have a show on Nat Geo Wild! Critter Fixers: Country Vets just started filming it’s second season. I’m so proud of these guys! What is extra amusing to me is that Dez, one of my cats, enjoys watching TV and he has developed a marked preference for vet shows, especially The Incredible Dr. Pol. He’ll come from where ever he is and watch in fascination.

Dez

Dez watching Dr. Oakley

Are you a reality TV fan? What are your favorite shows?

 

Binge Reading

Like most writers, I’m an avid reader. Among avid readers, I seem to be a bit of a rarity in that I rarely DNF (Do Not Finish) a book; it takes a LOT for me to put a book down without finishing it. I have also become a binge reader; I’ll discover a new-to-me series and read the whole thing back-to-back-to-back. This isn’t too bad if it’s a short series, but it becomes a little more problematic the longer the series. What exactly is problematic about binge reading a long series? Invariably some trait of the stories that probably wouldn’t have bothered me had I read the series over the course of several months (or years) begins to irritate me unbearably. I’m not saying that the trait that irritates me is a flaw because it’s not. So, what do I mean? I’ll give you a couple of examples.

 

Some many books, so little time

Some many books, so little time

 

In one series there was an ex-wife and a new wife. Now, as a writer, if you have an ex in your series of course he/she is going to make at least one appearance. What better way to introduce a little conflict? In this particular series the ex was a master manipulator and excelled at playing people against each other. What became annoying was that all of the pack members (it was a paranormal romance series) knew the chick was a manipulator but continued to fall for her machinations . Every. Single. Time. Then it reached the point that the husband was even siding with his ex over his current wife. Are you kidding me? That’s the point, well, one of the points, where I was yelling at the books. What? Doesn’t everyone yell at books? No? Just me? *shrugs* I was happy that, at the end of the newest book, the heroine stated that she’s not going to be nice to the ex anymore. I cheered. I’m interested in seeing how this plays out as the series continues.

The series I’m currently reading includes a couple of characters that are driving me crazy. I get it. They are the quirky comic relief, which is fine. They are also self-appointed matchmakers. Once again, not a problem; after all, that’s what the series is about – finding husbands for all of the cowboys in a little one-horse town. What gets annoying is that the ladies insist on butting in to everyone’s lives – even when told specifically and unequivocally to Back Off. Just once, I’d like to see them recognize that there are boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed. Or, better yet, to get a long-overdue tongue lashing. Alas, I suspect that’s never going to happen. *sigh*

Are you a binge reader? If so, do you have the same problem with certain things becoming annoying? Please tell me it isn’t just me, LOL.

 

Where Were You On 9/11?

It seems that every generation experiences some event that changes everything – an event of such magnitude that everyone immediately knows the answer to the question “Where were you when…” For my parents’ generation there were two: “Where were you when you heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor?” and “Where were you when you heard about the assassination of President Kennedy?” I suspect that this year’s pandemic and the associated changes will be that life-changing event for current generations. For my generation it is, without a doubt, “Where were you on 9/11?”

Image from depositphotos.com

Image from depositphotos.com

My husband and I were at work; our youngest son was at school while our oldest son was sick and had stayed home. The work day hadn’t even gotten started good before a coworker came into my office and asked if I’d heard that a plane had hit one of the twin towers. Not having any details, I just assumed he was talking about a small plane and small planes hitting skyscrapers is not unheard of so I kind of brushed off his fretting. (This particular coworker was known as the Town Crier for a reason; he was always going to be the first to hear, and blow out of proportion, any and everything.) It wasn’t until the second plane hit the second tower and I found out they were passenger planes that the reality of the situation hit me.  All I wanted to do was pick up my youngest son from school, go home, and gather my family around me where I could make sure they were safe. However, as a civilian employee on a military base, going home was not an option. All military installations had gone on full lock-down – no one entered and no one left. Needless to say, very little work got done that day. A couple of people in the building managed to scrounge up televisions and set them up; I made several trips by during the day to watch the horror unfold. Later in the afternoon the lock-down was eased enough to allow people to start going home even though our departure times had to be staggered to prevent the massive traffic jams that would result otherwise. My husband was in one of the first waves so he was able to pick up our youngest son in a timely fashion. I was in one of the last waves so I didn’t get to leave work until around 5:30 or 6pm. I was a wreck.

My mother called me during my drive home and asked how I was doing. I had managed to hold it together during the day but I told her that I was glad I could finally cry. I’ll always remember her answer – it baffled me then and it baffles me now. She said “Why would you want to cry?” I’m not sure I even answered because I couldn’t come up with the words. The world had just changed forever. Thousands of people were dead, many others injured. Why wouldn‘t I want to cry?

When I got home, I hugged my family and cried some more. Then, I sat down to watch the footage of the events of the day since I hadn’t been able to keep up with all of it at work. It was (and still is) heart-breaking. I remember watching footage of the first responders going up the stairs while everyone else was going down, not knowing that they were heading into, but doing it any way, willing to lay down their lives for others. But, one of the thing that hit me the hardest was watching footage of the shattered towers and wondering what was falling from them – only to realize that it was people. It still makes me cry. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must have been like – to be trapped on one of the upper floors with little to no hope of escape or rescue and have to make the choice of burning to death or jumping. How horrible.

I’ll spend the anniversary as I always do – watching the documentaries and remembering.

S0, where were you on 9/11?

 

The Mousy Mom Who Roared

The best word to describe me as a child would be “mousy”. I was painfully shy and quiet, always careful not to cause trouble or do anything to call attention to myself. Basically, I was a Goody Two-Shoes. There was also lot of conflict in my life and I quickly learned to apologize for things that were in no way, shape, or form my fault. This was my norm and continued to be until I reached my mid-twenties. At that point, my world fell apart (or, more accurately, was destroyed) and my husband and I had a decision to make: were we going to divorce or try to save our marriage?

We decided to save our marriage which basically meant starting over and rebuilding it from the ground up. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and the whole experience is one I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Somewhere during the rebuilding process my inner tough chick came out and she has never gone away. That doesn’t mean the old me is completely gone. I still worry far too much about what others think of me and, to my great annoyance, I still apologize for things that are not my fault. However, the new and improved me is far more willing to stand up for herself than the old me.

Izzy Then and Now

I’m still a quiet person and always will be – that’s just my personality. It always surprises people when I stand up for myself or argue with them about something. I don’t know why. Being quiet doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion or that I’m not strong-willed. True, I’m not willing to throw my opinion on everything out on social media for everyone to see nor is that ever going to change. However, if I feel strongly about something I’m willing to go toe-to-toe with anyone – and have frequently done so. Coworkers, bosses, and even a couple of teachers have faced my ire. (The teachers were an oddity – those faceoffs occurred during my mousy days.) Several years ago when I asked my youngest son when he was going to bring his new girlfriend around to meet his dad and me his response was “Mom, you’re scary”. I’ve got to admit – that hurt my feelings a bit. In my opinion, I’m one of the least scary people you’ll ever meet. However, I can see where someone who has faced my ire on more than one occasion as my youngest son has might be prone to disagree with that assessment. (My youngest son and I butt heads a lot because we’re so much alike. However, it took me until he was 19 years old to understand that that is why he was always able to push my buttons so well.)

Several days ago my husband had a phone conversation with our youngest son. At the time I didn’t know who he was talking to but I could hear him laughing. When he finished the call he tried to update me on their discussion but had to keep stopping to double over in laughter. Our youngest son has a problem with authority nor does he suffer fools gladly – and his definition of a fool is rather broad. It seemed that during their conversation our son was describing an on-going situation at work and his method of dealing with it. (His methods generally entail a lot of arguing.) During the course of the discussion our son said something to the effect of “I do have Mom’s blood running in my veins”. My husband thought this was hysterical.

I found myself thinking about their conversation for some time. I realized that I’d much rather my sons think of me and remember me as the occasionally abrasive, argumentative person I am now than the mousy person I used to be – even if it means they think I’m “scary”.

Cover Reveal for Dances with Werewolves

Dances with Werewolves, the second full-length novel in my Kudzu Korners sweet paranormal romance series, releases on May 27, 2020. This book has been a long time coming and I couldn’t be more excited! I can’t wait for you to meet Sydney and Kain as well as renew acquaintances with other Kudzu Korners residents. I love the cover that Livia Reasoner of Fire Star Press designed; it was Livia’s idea to make the scene a night setting and I think it’s perfect.

Dances with Werewolves INorse

Blurb:

Sydney Hall has spent her life looking for love in all the wrong places. Her world falls apart when the man she thought was Mr. Right turns out to be Mr. Couldn’t-Be-More-Wrong. She needs to make some major lifestyle changes—if she can figure out where to start.

Kain is a werewolf afraid of the vulnerability that comes with life with a pack.  Nevertheless, werewolves are made to protect and his instincts kick into high gear when he meets a bruised and battered Sydney Hall. He is determined to help her see herself as the strong woman he believes she can be.

Friendship grows as two damaged people find hope in each other. Can Sydney and Kain maintain their promise to remain friends without benefits? Or, is love inevitable as two wounded souls learn to heal together?

Excerpt:

Once the door shut behind Maggie, Kain moved to the spot she occupied previously on the sofa. He patted the cushion next to him, indicating Sydney should join him. “Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”

“Questions about what?”

“About your dad. Maggie said he was in law enforcement. Do you remember which branch? State Trooper? Police? Private detective?”

“Wait. I thought you were coming over to check on me and the cats. How did we get on the topic of my father?”

Kain immediately backed down, glad Maggie wasn’t around to see. He was known for digging in when on the trail of something hot, be it a danger to his paranormal charges or an eighties music remix he had yet to hear. Such an abrupt about-face would have Maggie feeling his forehead to check for fever and threatening to call the doctor. He would be the last to admit it but he thought the change was a positive one. Hanging around Sydney was helping him remember the world didn’t revolve around him and that other people have feelings too.

“We don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.”

“No, it’s okay, you just took me by surprise. I don’t mind.” She hung her head. “I don’t get to talk about my daddy often.” She drew in a deep breath and then blew it out. “He’s been gone for years and I still miss him every day. I was only ten when he disappeared. I just remember him telling me it was his job to protect people. I asked my mom for some details after he died, but before she completely lost it. All she said was it was what he was born to do.” Sydney’s brow furrowed and she chewed on the corner of her lip. “No, wait. That’s not right. She said protecting people is what he was made to do, not born. Even then I thought it was a strange choice of words. I still do.” She leveled her gaze on Kain and cocked her head. “Why?”

“I’m in the job of protecting people too. I’d like to think if I disappeared, someone would care enough to look for me. It’s been a long time, and I can’t make any promises, but I’m going to look for him. I think you deserve some answers. Is there anything else about him I should know?”

“What else is there? He was my daddy. He said I was the apple of his eye.” Sydney blinked rapidly, her eyes glistening. “I was his little girl and he loved me. No one has loved me like that since.”

Pre-order your copy HERE!

Outhouse Deliveries

We’re all familiar with the terms “morning person” and “night person”. I’m definitely a night person and my husband is a morning person. (He denies it but that doesn’t change the fact that he is, LOL.) Night is when I’m most likely to come up with a resolution to a story plot that has been bugging me or an entirely new story idea. Odds are good that if I can’t sleep it’s because my brain is running full steam ahead on a story. My husband is the opposite, early morning, usually during that time in-between awake and asleep is when his brain comes up with new projects or solves problems with existing ones. Not long ago he greeted me with the statement “I had the best idea this morning.” His eyes were big enough to be worthy of any cartoon character. Since I had just woken up, I wasn’t sure I was up to the level of excitement such a pronouncement should entail.

Before I tell you his idea, I need to explain a little about where we live. About 2.5 years ago we moved to our rustic dream home in the country; we call our house The Cabin. We both grew up in the country (most would say I grew up in the boonies) and after almost 30 years of living in town we were more than ready to return to our rural roots. Some rural residents set up boxes for use by delivery drivers; most of those residents live in areas far more rural than ours. However, since we have moved when deliveries arrive, there is no telling where they will be placed. On the deck? On the walkway? Under the carport? Left in the rain? Anything is possible.

Now that you have the background, what was my hubby’s fantastic idea? He wanted to build a box for deliveries, but not just any box. He wanted to build the box to look like an outhouse.

Yes, this kind of outhouse.

Yes, this kind of outhouse.

He was kind of crushed that I was not enthused at the idea of having an outhouse in our yard. Honestly, I’m not convinced that we need a delivery box at all – we’re not that rural. In some ways it might be nice so we don’t have to worry about things getting wet when packages are left in the rain but I’m not sure how we’d even let drivers know that there is a certain place to leave packages and I’m definitely not having an outhouse by the road.

What do you think of the outhouse idea? Do you have a special box or location for package deliveries?