BRA BURNING? It's been four weeks since shingles struck. I'm getting better since the second nerve block, but where the shingles attacked is right where my bra would go on my back and wearing one is out of the question. I went to church last week without one and it was not a pleasant experience. When I saw that I looked like in the mirror, I wanted to climb back into my sweats and refuse to leave the house. I looked fatter, more matronly, all blocky with no shape. I put a sweater on and layered another shirt over it then forced myself to leave the house. To say I was self-conscious was an understatement. I kept my arms crossed most of the time and put my coat back on as soon as possible. My er lack, even kept me from fully enjoying being back to church after four weeks--which I've sorely missed!
A bra is such a flimsy bit of stretchy fabric, but it's amazing what it does for a woman. What are the women thinking when they say they want to burn the bra? Have they looked at themselves in the mirror when they are braless? Or are they all women with great pectoral muscles? LOL
I'd always wondered what gives me confidence. Now I know. It's a bra! And I intend to gain back my self respect as soon as possible.
Our baby girl was home with her fiance and her dog Parker so was a fun time, especially since Davy and Donna have a new puppy, Jake. The Jakester and Parky had a grand time! Happy New Year to all our blogger buddies! Your presence in our little community has blessed me beyond measure this year.
Don't know where my blogging partners are, but girls, feel free to shut me up! It's like a blank page here, I can't let it go!
Today I went to the funeral of my college roommate's dad. What a great man he was -- I just saw him when we went to Barry Manilow this month and he looked great, so it was a shock.
Anyway, the priest spoke about TRUTH and he was hilarious (my friend's dad was a GREAT , FUN man and his funeral was a joyous celebration of his life.) But it dawned on me why I have such a hard time in the Christian faith while at the funeral. I was raised Catholic. Catholics are usually Italian or Irish (at least the ones I grew up with) and they hold nothing back -- not emotions, not a good debate. They say what they think.
This is my background. I say what I think. Honestly, I don't ever remember this getting me into trouble as a Catholic, but there is so much culture immersed in Christianity that a difference of opinion is often judged as "sin". Ie., I knew Catholics who drank the hard stuff, Catholics who never touched a drop. Catholics who curse like sailors (including some priests) and sweet, little women who covered their heads in Mass everyday.
I'm not saying all Christians are like this or that, I'm saying for me, it's been a very hard transition to fit into the Christian culture. To be told when you're sick with MS and can't take care of your kids that it's sin in your life causing your illness??? That was incredible to me. Why is this Christian culture so jumpy to tell everyone how they're sinning? I grew up Catholic, trust me, we know when we're sinning. We are nothing if not guilt-ridden and needing a good dose of absolution each day.
To tell you the truth, I feel redeemed going to that funeral today. I will miss this wonderful man, but if you could have heard engineer after engineer get up and tell how this man changed the course of their life, maybe you might not have seen his lifelong smoking habit that eventually got his lungs as "sin", but as human weakness. We all have it, why can't we extend each other a little more grace in the church? Just a question to ponder. Kristin
Well, it’s the end of another year and as I reflect, I wanted to remember the best of 2007. Okay, and some of the worst, because I am Kristin and that’s fun too!! So here we go…feel free to join in with your favorites/not so favorites:
Best Movies of 2007:
I don’t get to adult movies that often – haven’t seen The Kite Runner or Atonement yet, but plan to soon!
Waitress (I could not identify with the pie thing at all, and still loved it!)
The Ultimate Gift (Even if my friend Cheryl McKay didn’t write the screenplay I would still love it!)
Amazing Grace – BEAUTIFUL movie!
The Last Sin Eater – It’s Francine Rivers, what more needs to be said?
Becoming Jane – Even if it wasn’t true, imagining Jane Austen is just as fun!)
Dan in Real Life (A writer movie I could have sat through again right away.)
Enjoyable Movies of 2007:
Music & Lyrics. Loved the pop-up video at the end! For every former lover of Wham! who still remembers Andrew Ridgely.
The Simpsons – okay, I watched that skateboard scene over again and it made me laugh every single time. As a mother of three boys, you know what I’m talking about. I have not seen this show on television in at least a decade, but enjoyed the movie for a few laughs.
Meet the Robinsons – I have to admit, I cried when Rob Thomas sings “These Small Hours” at the end.
The Bee Movie – painful and exceptionally LOOONG!
Best of TV:
Ugly Betty – oh my gosh, the Wicked episode was fantastic!!
Monk – I cannot get enough of my favorite OCDer.
The Biggest Loser -- my whole family is addicted.
Worst of TV:
Bachelor – could we find a man without commitment issues AND who has the ability to recognize what he’s looking for? I mean, is it too much to ask?
Grey’s Anatomy: I understand you’re trying to send a message, but without Isaiah Washington, you’re missing a significant amount of conflict necessary for us as viewers to care. And please, George and Izzy? YUCK!!! And can we get another plot twist besides so and so going in the broom closet with so and so. It’s like they’re all high on testosterone at Seattle Grace. Bring back Isaiah and give us more of great characterization and less sleeze doctor show, K?
Best Reads of 2007 (and sorry if they didn’t come out in 2007, this is when I read them):
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
I haven’t had this strong of a feeling for revenge since reading “The Count of Monte Cristo”. Wooohooo!! Great read!
Marley & Me by John Grogan
Even if you don’t have a dog, this is a must-read! It’s about loving family no matter what!
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Young adult done so well, my sixth-grader read it, my fourth grader and when they were done, Mom grabbed it!
Yeah, I didn’t finish any of them, so I can’t say.
Best Decision of 2007!
To get my family a dog! Welcome Fiona!!
Worst Decision of 2007:
To buy a house before the old one sold. : ( Welcome to the housing crisis.
May you celebrate Jesus' birthy with family and friends surrounding you and remember to be grateful for all, the good and the bad!
The Trophy Wives Club, Available Now from Avon Inspire
Split Ends, Available Now from Thomas Nelson Publishers
Over the new few weeks, For Better or For Worse will be arriving in bookstores everywhere!
Here’s some of the back cover blurb:
“She’s a wedding coordinator. He’s a divorce attorney. She begins marriages. He ends them. How could these two possibly find common ground?”
The first five people to email me (email@example.com) with their addresses will receive a free copy of the book. Please note that I will not be able to mail the books until after the first of the year (especially since I don’t have my copies yet!) *g*
I ask only that if you read it and happen to like it, please post a kind word or two—remember, I had a bad lung—on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and/or christianbook.com.If you don’t like it, kindly sweep it under your bed and forget all about it. Unless you’re like Denise and you actually clean under there. In which case, you won't be able to forget it, and you'll have to put it in the Salvation Army box.
I think Murphy's Law should really be called Billerbeck's Law because if it can go wrong at my house, it WILL go wrong.
I came home yesterday from the grocery store. I HATE to go to the grocery store, so I was feeling all proud of myself for doing something housewifey, that my kids would eat, etc. When I get home the garage door won't open. Okay, I think, the power must be out. I walk into the house and I hear something pop downstairs. So I freeze. I think someone's down there.
Then I notice the fish tank filter is going on and off. More popping sounds like Champagne corks and now I notice that my red couch is smoking. Then, I see more smoke by the computer. I call my husband. There's smoke!! I can't find the source! I've been downstairs, more smoke, but no fire. He tells me to calm down. "I am calm! I'm just narrating!" Downstairs, the house smells worse. The electricity is coming on and off. I call PG&E and they tell me to shut off the main line. I do so. Then, call the fire department!
So I relay the popping sounds, the smoke, no source. Blah blah blah. Soon, I hear the entire Cupertino Fire Department coming up the hill. And when they get here, it IS the entire Cupertino Fire Department, and I feel like a total idiot standing on the porch.
When the fireman gets out, and of course, he has to look like a Hollywood Fireman. I really want to live a bad jr. high dance at this moment. I tell him, "I'm a writer. Was I too dramatic?" But he explained they have to do this when they don't know the source. So they try the electricity. Same problem. More smoking.
Here's a word of advice. You know how your mom told you to wear clean underwear in case of an accident? Clean your house for the same reason. Or when you have the entire Cupertino Fire Department in your house, you will regret it. They keep the power off and tell me to call my electrician.
I do. He looks at everything, but we're getting too much power from the line. Here's another Billerbeck moment. We have a transformer that's bad that's serving...US. No neighbors. Just us and our private bad transformer and line.
It blew out our heater. So I'm here with a space heater. But the computers are okay for now. Haven't checked the appliances yet. We got power back at 3 a.m. thanks to some hard working PG&E folks. Would someone please take that kick me sign off my back?
SELF RESPECT There's something about living in a flannel nightgown that does something to a woman's self respect. Hey, nothing pinches, so eat the whole box of chocolate-covered graham crackers. I can still fit into the flannel gown after. No need to put on makeup because I'm just in my nightgown. The hair can go an extra day without washing. It's not like anyone is going to notice. If someone stops by, they won't get past the fact I have a red plaid flannel nightgown on.
Most of you know I've been felled by shingles. Yeah, the disease left over from chicken pox. And it's a bear to deal with. But dealing with living in a nightgown is hard too. I can't stand to put on a bra or have anything around my waist so I've been slouching around in two very big flannel nightgowns my mom got me. I've been stuck in the house for 2 1/2 weeks in this garb. Count 'em, that's 18 days and counting! I'm about to go nuts. Even now, my poor Christmas tree reproaches me. I put up the bare minimum lights on its branches. And there are no packages wrapped yet to put under it. Oh, I've got the shopping part done, thanks to the internet, but I haven't had the energy to wrap them.
I had another nerve block done yesterday with high hopes. Would you believe that thing only lasted until early this morning? At first I thought the pain's return was just the skin affected by the injection. But um, no. My old friend has returned. What do I have to do to show him he's not welcome here anymore? Put out a sign?
So I looked at myself this morning in the mirror. You look disgusting I said to the pasty faced woman in the mirror. You're going to get dressed today even if it hurts. You're going to wrap presents even if it hurts. You're going to do your hair even if you cry. You will write today and not take the mind-numbing Lyrica. Waiting around for it to just go isn't working so maybe just taking charge will at least give me my self respect back. And if a girl doesn't have that, what does she have?
It's that gift-giving time of the year, and I'd hate to speculate how many gifts I've given and received over the years. Even worse, how many gifts do I actually remember? Kids' toys are the worst. Cheap plastic things that are lucky to be around a year later to be given to the Salvation Army because they've outgrown them.
Some gifts are more special, though, and remembered years after their receipt. Kevin gave me a ring after the birth of each of our sons that had their birthstone in it. I'm not much of a jewelry lover, but I still treasure those ruby, saphire, and opal rings. (Incidentally, I tried really hard for an April birth, but no luck.)
I remember a life-sized Ragedy Ann doll I received when I was nine and jewlery box with a ballerina that twirled to the music. So what about you? What's the most memorable gift you've ever received?
What gets you "stuck on stupid"? My son is currently obsessed with watching Monty Python's Holy Grail on YouTube and then repeating, in full Brit accent the lines -- as if we haven't heard them enough as he watches them again and again.
But it got me to thinking -- and that's a scary thing. What gets you stuck on stupid? What can you watch again and again and just laugh -- even though you know it's ridiculous and you're sort of embarrassed to laugh at it, but you'll still watch it and laugh again. I love a lot of physical comedy in this sense. Why is watching someone fall so funny? And wow, what did we do before YouTube had our favorites taking a dive?
There was this old Nancy Reagan tape. If you're old enough to remember, she used to fall all the time, and she was made of nothing, so for some reason this used to crack me up. I know! I know! I'm not proud of it. But there was one where she was standing behind an 18" stand, and one minute you saw her, the next you didn't. An old lady falling? What the heck??? Okay, but this was also at the time she was consulting psychics and really more strange than thought of as a fragile old lady. (Does that make me seem less cruel? No?) LOL
So here's a round-up of my favorite stuck on stupid tapes, if you're bored at all today. Watch one and see how truly childish I am.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=3RlFPI5jYRc Seinfeld's Date with Man Hands
http://youtube.com/watch?v=tjTpj3l1KoI King Tut -- Steve Martin -- I was like 12, what can I say, it still cracks me up.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=g5vnZec964c&feature=related Sputnik -- Mike Myers Making fun of his kid's fat head.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=8shdlcJjAJ8&feature=related Noodle Salad "As Good As It Gets" -- Dysfunctional Life Fun
So the reason I was thinking about this is I saw my former editor Angela last night. No one can make me laugh like Ang, she is seriously the funniest person I know, topped only by her own mother. She grew up Muslim in Montana. I imagine that gives one a warped personality. She is BRILLIANT and now she is agenting and she's representing Bonnie Brown who wrote Giigle about her life experiences becoming a millionaire massaging at Google. She was here signing the book last night. And I'm half way through it. FUN< FABULOUS read and you will be so happy and rooting for her because she just has fabulous joy that emanates from her.
Bonnie's been on Ellen this week, she's been profiled on the front page of the New York Times and much more is to come. See her site at www.GiigleBook.com
Go have a fun Thursday and tell me what makes you laugh!!
I’m totally serious here. You remember I had surgery four weeks ago? Well, the incision was superglued. That’s right. My entire left side—okay, so the incision was only about six inches—was superglued. Who knew those kindergarten classes could be so valuable?
There is something very humbling about being held together by glue. It makes you feel, oh, I don’t know, vulnerable. I mean, think about it. One good sneeze and your kidney could end up on your neighbor. Definitely a social no-no.
It's just all rather frightening, don't you think?
The good news is there are no nasty sutures or staples to take out. Not only that, but the scar is already starting to disappear! Can you believe that? If I wanted to wear a bikini—okay, that’s a word picture none of us needs before breakfast, so forget I brought it up.
As you probably guessed, I couldn’t think of a thing to write about today, but I do think that whole glue thing is pretty amazing.
Next time your preschooler works with glue, take extra care in watching him/her. You just may have a surgeon in the making.
I’ve been waiting two years for it to happen. Not that I’ve been eager for it. In fact, dreading would be a better word.
Two years ago I awoke to see that my right eyebrow had slid down my face, gathering the loose skin under it into a tent over my eye. Not a pretty picture. I wondered (after I got over the horror of it all) why only one eyebrow fell. It changed the way I applied makeup—more eyeliner on this side, a little extra eyeshadow in the crease to make it look like I have one.
But no worries now. My left eyebrow has followed suit, taking a dive down my face, as if my forehead muscles simply could not hold that puppy up another day. I place my fingers above my eyebrows and push up. Yep. That’s where they used to be. So this is why people get face lifts. But my face is rather attached to my muscles—literally—and I kinda like it that way. A face lift is so not in my future.
And I know those eye creams don’t work. I’ve had two years to experiment with my droopy right eye. So, I guess I might as well face this aging thing head-on and look at the bright side. At least my eyes are symmetrical now.
A SHINGLE EXPERIENCE Shingles. No, not the home construction type of thing. This is the illness that comes from the hibernating chicken pox virus. I'd heard about it--but it happens to OLDER people. If anything has brought home to me that I'm no longer a spring chicken, it's being laid low with shingles. And hey, I'm on an anti-aging protocol so what's up with that??? Shingles is a painful rash, not diarrhea like my sweet new daughter Donna thought. LOL I think she might be remembering the old adage of you-know-what on a shingle. LOL She had no idea what I was going through until about Thursday or Friday.
But I'm going to give you the scoop on it so you're more prepared than me. Folks tell me it's from stress, but I'm not under stress. I love my life--I love writing and having deadlines. So I've rejected that explanation. What I've read also says it can be from a trauma or surgery and I had a bad fall at Kara's house where I drove my head into her door like a battering ram. I'm thinking it shook loose those viruses and they did their dirty deed. But whatever causes it, look for these signs FIRST before the rash comes:
A very bad pain that doesn't go away and comes for no reason. In my case, I'd had severe shoulder pain. I hadn't done anything and it came after a book signing with my friends Cara Putman and of course, Denise Hunter. No strain there to cause my shoulder to freeze up. The pain can mimic a heart attack or a gallbladder attack. So suspect shingles if something like that happens for no reason.
Two days later the pain moved lower and a half dollar size rash popped out. I thought then it might be shingles but decided to go to the doctor the next day. Um, I didn't make it. The pain was so severe I got Dave up about midnight on Monday night and he hauled me off to the hospital. The nurse took one look and said, "Oh honey, you've got shingles," in this sympathetic voice. I thought, okay I have shingles. I've got a high pain threshold. I go straight to pain pills and don't take shots or morphine after major surgery. Before my hormone migraine therapy I'd dealt with daily migraines for years. I could handle it. Wrong. You've never felt such pain as this. It's NERVE pain that shoots through the muscle and makes it ball up and is UNRELENTING. I didn't sleep from Saturday night until Friday night. I'm all broke out from my spine around my side to the ribcage on the left, just to give you the full picture. LOL Aren't you glad?
So if you get this disease, here's what you do: Get it diagnosed EARLY and get on an antiviral within 72 hours of the rash coming. I'm on Famvir. Normal pain pills do nothing other than knock it back a TAD. I had to take two to even be able to lay down but still couldn't sleep. Get on Lyrica, a pain pill that targets nerve pain. But be aware it takes about 3 days to kick in. Ibuprofen worked on knocking the pain back some better than the Lortab they gave me at the hospital. Take 4. Use ice on the pain. Mine hurts on the front and the back so I stay encased in ice. Take the following supplements:1000 mg lysine 3x a day, 20,000 IU of vitamin A, 5000 mg of vitamin C taken throughout the day, 50 mg zinc, 200 mg DHEA.800 IU vitamin E, B complex, 1 packet daily Proboost Thymic Protein A Use a TENS unit when the pain is severe. It was all that saved me before Lyrica started working. My sister in law Teresa came through for me and loaned me hers when I was about to go insane from the pain. Lidoderm patches help some. Take cimetidine (Tagamet) 200 mg 3 x a day and 600 mg at bedtime. I know it sounds weird but look here: http://search.lef.org/cgi-src-bin/MsmGo.exe?grab_id=0&page_id=2440&query=shingles&hiword=SHINGLE%20shingles%20
My rash is clearing up without turning to big blisters and breaking open. I think it's the Tagamet.
Additional helps. Get hovering parents who run to help out in any way they can. Lean on a strong husband who tries to take any burden from you. A wonderful agent who calls to see if she can order in groceries. A great thought if I lived in a city. Wouldn't that have been nice? :-) But it was the thought that made my day. A great publishing house who is quick to ask what they can to do help.
And prayer. Lots of prayer. The girls came through for me and they saturated me with prayer. They called when I was crying and depressed from the suffering, just to encourage me that the end of this would all come.
The bad thing is that I have no idea how many weeks this might last. Even when the pain is under control, it feels like my ribcage is encased in a tight girdle.
And the worst of it? I CAN'T WRITE!! Even with the pain halfway controlled, the drugs make me loopy. I stagger when I walk and I stare at the screen dully when I try to write. It's driving me crazy! . My husband suggested I dye my hair blond. LOL
So that's been my week. Pray you never get this, friends! it wouldn't hurt to start taking lysine when you turn 50, just to make sure you don't get this. And don't go falling into any doors. LOL
Hi all! Allow me to introduce a fabulous writer, Angela Benson. She's here as our guest blogger today. Make her feel welcome! Kristin
I've been thinking a lot about siblings these days. I only have one -- a brother -- though there were many times growing up when I thought there were six of him. The boy was a holy terror, sometimes without the holy.
I have the funniest memories of him growing up. Though he's three years younger than I am, when he was around five or six, he used to beat me up. He did it because I'd never hit him back. Well, I woke up to that pretty quickly, and accidently socked him one day. Guess what? My brother's love of hitting his big sister suddenly faded.
My brother used to torture me with dessert. Like a normal person, I would eat my dessert immediately after the meal. Not my brother. He'd save his for later that night when I had none. Then he'd sit in front of me eating his, waiting for me to ask for a bite so he could deny me. I wish I could say I never asked, but I always did.
As we grew older, I seemed to get the upper hand on my little brother. My mom worked two jobs when we were kids, so when I was old enough, she gave me cooking chores. My first dish was fried chicken. How hard could it be? I'd seen my mother cook it often. So I fried this chicken. It's looked golden brown on the outside but I wondered about the inside. I didn't know but I knew how to find out. I served my good-looking chicken to my brother. As I watched him take his first bite and saw the streams of blood flowing out, I concluded the chicken wasn't quite done yet. Guess what? I never had to cook again. Why? Because my brother refused to eat anything else I cooked. That bloody chicken ended it for him.
To be honest, I didn't lose any sleep about not cooking. What kid wants to cook? What kid wants to do any chores around the house? Not me. I soon figured out how to evade all chores: pretend I was reading or doing homework. You see, my mom was a strong proponent of getting a good education. Unfortunately for my brother, he never figured this out so he did a LOT of chores. SOmetimes I felt sorry for him and wanted to clue him in on my chore evasion strategy, but I couldn't trust him not to tell mom. So I watched him cook (yes, he cooks), clean, and iron, while I pretended to study.
As we grew older, things got a bit more serious. I remember an incident that occurred when I was off at college and my brother was still home. He called me to share a secret about a problem he was facing. He made me promise not to tell our mother. Of course, I promised. Unfortunately, as soon as we hung up the phone, I dialed my mom and told her the secret. Now I love my brother, but there was no way I could keep that secret. To this day, I don't remember what the secret was, I just remember feeling that it was too big for me too handle. It took my brother a while to get over this one and share another secret with me, but he did.
One of the dearest memories I have about my brother is the day I realized he'd become an adult with deep insights to share to help me with my problems. I remember pulling the phone away from my ear and looking it, while thinking, "When did my little brother become a man?" A very preciuos moment indeed.
I cherish my relationship with my brother, as you can probably tell from these stories. Because we live 13 hours apart, we don't see each other often, but we talk several times a week. There's a richness to our relationship because it has its ups and downs and because it seems to grow stronger and deeper through those ups and downs.
I like to read about relationships that remind me of me and my brother. I love to read about people caring for each other, through the good times and the bad. The bumps on the relationship road only make the relationship more dear. I like to think that I'm a relationship writer. In my latest book, The Amen Sisters, the primary relationship is between twin sisters, Dawn and Fracine Amen. I enjoyed watching those women love, fight, grow and love again. They argue and make-up in much the same way that my brother and I did, and still do.
Siblings. Mine's a keeper. I hope you know yours are, too.
Angela Benson is the author of The Amen Sisters ($13.99, Grand Central Publishing). "The Amen Sisters tells the story of sexual sin and the far-reaching consequences of that sin.. .Ms. Benson aptly captures both the passion and pain that folks bottle up in their lives, and the importance of dealing with situations as they arise. Kudos to Ms. Benson for dealing with one of the last remaining taboo topics in todayís church in such a straightforward and compassionate manner." -FallenAngelReviews.com
You can find Angela on the web at http://www.angelabenson.com
Yesterday I was at Starbucks (a lot of my stories start this way, I realize that -- writing from home my water-cooler chat time is limited) -- and I've been working out. I've lost some weight and well, I was just feeling confident/full of myself, you be the judge.
So I'm in Starbucks and this guy keeps smiling at me. I start looking at the coffee mugs for sale because I don't have my wedding ring on, and I'm thinking, gosh, I am just so hot and this poor guy is going to think there's a chance because I don't have my wedding ring on. (Do you see that I actually feel sorry for the guy not getting a chance with my hot self? How do you spell delusional?)
So I grab my coffee and walk towards the door and he grins really wide at me. Outside, I look into the window at myself and I kid you not, my hair is sticking STRAIGHT up off my head like Pippi Longstocking. I seriously have a TAIL on my head. Okay, this sends me into bent-at-the-waist laughter. I mean, I'm in front of Starbucks cracking myself up. I have to hold my coffee up. Now I'm like a homeless weirdo with wild hair, laughing to myself in public!! Hot? Maybe not. Ready for the straight-jacket? Probably. But I did entertain myself.
I just got home from San Francisco where I saw Dorothy Hamill, Brian Boitano, Victor Petrenko and others skate to the live music of Barry Manilow. THAT was fun!! Absolutely perfect night in the City. Barry looked younger than the last time I saw him, and I do believe that was around 1981 or so! He was fabulous, as were the skaters.
The picture is of my new puppy -- we're calling her Bridget or Fiona -- and she'll be joining our family around the 20th. Isn't she a doll? She's half Pomeranian/half Yorkie.
Colleen and I participated in the best booksigning this past Saturday at the Carpenter's Son in West Lafayette, IN. Those people know how to do a booksigning!
Adding to the excitement, Cara Putman was signing her first novel, Canteen Dreams, and sold out--she didnt even have a copy left to sell me. And I thought we were friends.
Colleen, who had many readers coming around to meet her, hand-sold tons of copies of Surrender Bay. I would've sold about two without her unbridled enthusiasm. Authors Brandt Dodson and Jamie Carie also participated and it was wonderful to meet them.
If you've never been to a booksigning, I encourage you to go next time a favorite author is in your town. The retailers usually offer a nice discount on the book, you get a signed copy, and you might even make a few friends in the process.
I have a past. I’m not proud of it, but it’s there, big as you please. This time of year always serves as a reminder to those dark days. It went something like this.
Mom would go downstairs to work on the laundry. I would then creep over to the Christmas tree. Then with all the skill of an Ocean’s 11 star, I would unwrap the ends of every one of my presents till there was absolutely no doubt in my mind what the present was, then I tidied up, putting everything back into place.
I’m not proud of it, okay? It’s something I’ve had to live with all these years. But it’s not like my mother didn’t know—though she said nothing.One year I tore away at a package only to find another layer of newspaper wrap.
She was on to me.
But the worst of it was knowing how to respond on Christmas morning. You know, do I gasp with wide-eyed surprise? Form a perfect “O” with my mouth? Scream? Smile and say, “Thank you”? What? Mostly, I broke out in a cold sweat.
It’s something I had to deal with. Every. Single. Christmas.
So now you know. I hope this doesn’t change things between us. And for the record, I considered therapy at one point, but the good news is it must have been age-related because I never do it anymore!
LIVING IN A CAT HOUSE I had the BEST time in Phoenix with my baby girl. One thing that that was really fun was observing the interaction between her four cats and her dog Parker. I've only ever had one cat or one dog at a time. Parker is a lovely Golden Retriever. Very submissive, very sweet. He's a medium sized dog, weighing around 65 pounds. MUCH bigger than the cats. Wouldn't you say he would rule the roost? Um no.
Euphrates, a big black cat who looks like a small panther, takes that honor. My husband Dave loves to play with the cats with a laser light. We found out Parker loves that light as well. Dave and Parker were having a grand time playing with that light until the "warden" decided someone had to get that dog in line. LOL He could be in the office and hear the ruffle-duff going on in the great room. He'd come streaking from the office, fix his green eyes on Parker and utter one hiss and Parker would back down. The dog would be practically dancing with his desire to chase the light but he wouldn't move a muscle with Euphrates staring at him. It was just hilarious to watch!
My daughter thought I was sadistic to keep wanting Dave to play with the cats so I could see Euphrates become the warden. LOL Another thing is the cats seem to have racial issues. She has three black cats and one white one, and the poor little white cat Tigris gets picked on all the time. You wouldn't think cats would pay attention to outward appearance. It was very interesting to watch!
In honor of Parker, I have to share this hilarious video. If you knew my daughter, you would understand why she adored this video. She watched GREASE so much when she was young that when our house burned down we refused to buy her another video of it because we were so sick of it. But see this Golden dance with his owner to the music. It's fabulous!
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.
Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.