Girls Write Out
Thursday, April 30, 2009

Okay, what's the deal with this swine flu? Should we be concerned? Run out and buy masks? Stop hugging people at church? No more hands on grocery carts? What do you think?

I'm not one to get into a panic these days. I take the necessary precautions and go on with life. I've lived long enough to know what will happen, will happen. But for those of you concerned, here's your tip for the day:

DON'T KISS A PIG!

Okay, maybe there's more to it than that. I don't know. But one thing I do know, never cough in a public place. I coughed yesterday in Walmart and people scattered for miles. 

On one radio station the reports make me think I should board up my house and become a hermit. Another radio station acts as though it's no big deal whatsoever.  

So which is it? 
Diann Hunt  
posted at 6:57 AM  
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This is not your Mama's Prom...

Saturday night I'm going to the prom. Well, first I'm going to a comedy show and then I'm going to prom for research. My new book, called "Perfectly Dateless" is about the search for the perfect prom date. I bought a prom dress magazine, and I am seriously wondering what the kids will really wear, because I had a hard time finding one I would deem appropriate for my daughter.

Am I getting old? What is with giving away all the goods for free? Isn't that adage about the cow still in play? The cow needs to put her udders away if you know what I'm saying. But I'm going with an open mind and willing ears. Hopefully, I will not be mistaken for a cougar on the prowl. : )

As for American Idol, what did you think? I LOVE the old standards, but I'm a big old movie buff. The Rat Pack was ancient when I was in school. To these kids, it must be like studying Abraham Lincoln. LOL I absolutely HATE that song "My Funny Valentine" though, and I was so bummed Matt Giraud chose that one. It was not his best. Actually, I wasn't all that fond of Adam's performance either. I thought it was too much for the song. See prom advice: Show some restraint.

My favorites for the night were Danny, Allison and Kris. Now, it's off to watch "Biggest Loser" for my all-night reality fest. : )

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Kristin  
posted at 12:55 AM  
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A BABY'S CRY
Dave and I went out to eat on Friday night at O'Charley's, one of our favorite places. We'd just gotten our water and were checking out the menu when it gradually dawned on us that there was a baby crying somewhere. Now I'm nuts about kids so it was no wonder that I was craning my neck and looking but Dave was too. The crying was obviously a very young infant and it went on and on. I noticed the more the baby cried, the more agitated we were. Glancing around, I realized others in the restaurant were doing the same.

Dave was getting even more antsy and he said, "Why isn't the mother doing something?" We both realized it wasn't that the baby's cry was annoyed us--it didn't. I wanted to go find that baby and say, "Here, let me have him a minute. I'll walk with him." I wanted to comfort the tiny guy. I suspect others in the restaurant felt the same way. FINALLY after probably ten minutes of this constant crying, the mother got up and carried the baby off. When we realized where she'd been sitting, it was clear the parents had just let the baby cry while the mom finished eating.

Then on Saturday we got to babysit our angel. She was absolutely darling of course but later in the evening she was getting sleepy and I decided to change her diaper before she went to sleep. I laid her on the sofa and she immediately puckered up and began to wail. I soothed her and finished changing her as fast as I could and she was asleep within a minute of hitting my shoulder.

I think we're made to listen and respond to a baby's cry. It made me think about how God hears our cries. His ear is tuned to them. That was SUCH a comfort when I thought about it. When He hears my cry, he immediately wants to comfort me. Such a great thought!

But back to the crying baby. What's your reaction when you hear a baby cry and no one is doing anything?

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 6:50 AM  
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Sunday, April 26, 2009
I'm not a techie. I keep a paper calendar, jot notes in a notebook, and am virtually the last person on earth without an I-Pod. 

And yet. I've been hearing about the Amazon Kindle for at least a year. Never had a desire for one--I like paper books! The smell, the feel, the sound of rustling pages. 

However, over the weekend I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal on E-books and for the first time ever, I was tempted. Tempted to be able to download a book on the spot when a friend recommends a title and tempted to have a small gadget to take on my numerous errands. 

Hardbacks are big and awkward to read on the go, not to mention expensive, and bookstores don't always carry the book I'm looking for. So, I'm curious. Anyone out there have a Kindle or E-book? What do you like about it? Would you do it again? 
Denise Hunter  
posted at 10:33 PM  
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

You did NOT tell me how much work this puppy would be! We have owned Latte for less than two weeks and she is ruining my writing career.

Every single time I try to work on my computer, she attacks my hands! She actually starts at the end of the sofa and takes a flying leap onto my keyboard!! I've tried moving to a table where she can't get to me, but the chair is uncomfortable, so I go back to the sofa with my laptop.  Even as I write this, I am shoving her away from my tapping fingers. It makes me laugh, which, of course, fuels her enthusiasm.  

I don't have the heart to put her in her crate. Instead, I stop every few minutes and let her know I'm aware of her presence and that I love her. She then sinks her teeth into my flesh and she's good for another, oh, I don't know, four seconds.

Okay, so I have three questions for you:

1. How long do the sharp puppy teeth stay in?
2. When will she stop cutting her teeth on our table legs?
3. When will she stop using our entire house as her toilet?

In other words, could someone out there PLEASE tell me how long this puppy phase lasts?????

(Don't worry, I'm still crazy about her, but I have been having dreams of seeing her without her teeth . . . .)
Diann Hunt  
posted at 4:00 AM  
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Prom Night -- Improved

I'm working on my young adult novel. About prom. It seems no one had a great prom night (according to my readers) but if you did, feel free to share. If you didn't, you can relive a happy one in my book. Mine sucked too incidentally. One thing I noticed at my high school reunion is that I was a happy camper in high school. Always happy, always dancing around, giggling, just lighthearted. My son's teacher told me this about him too, "that kid is always happy, always smiling and laughing."

Somewhere, I guess when I started to get sicker with MS, I started to get a little more down, but one ride in my convertible, with music blaring and I was happy again. But I can't afford a convertible now. Too many moves has put us right where most people are in this economy, but you know, I need a lot less to be happy now. In high school, I had nothing and that didn't stop me.

I mean, yeah, the economy sucks, and the world is a bit shaky. But I can't do anything about that anyway, so I choose happiness! In fact, last night my son told me to act my age. That is a TOTAL compliment. I don't ever want to be my age because that would be depressing.

So what are you doing in tough times to remember that you are blessed beyond measure and that God is good?
Kristin  
posted at 2:41 PM  
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

ELECTRONICS GEEK
For an electronics geek like like me, this article about gadgets about to go obsolete was fascinating. Take a gander at what we're about to lose according to a story on Fox

1. Landline phones: Walk into any college dorm room and ask to use a landline. You'll be met with blank stares. With cell-phone technology continually evolving, it seems that these days only a handful of people are still moving into a new house and having the landline turned on.

2. Floppy disks: Storing something on an external device? C'est possible? Considering the state of computer technology at the end of the 1970s, it's no wonder people were astounded by the usefulness of the 5 1/4-inch wide, 360-KB floppy disk. A decade later, the disks had shrunk to 3 1/2 inches and their capacity multiplied to a whopping 1.44 MB — enough for a minute and a half of an MP3-file song. If you still have a few lying around, they make great coasters.

3. Wristwatches: Throwing on a fancy watch may make you look professional, but let's be honest. Cell phones and iPods tell you the time when you're out and about, and virtually every appliance in your home — from your refrigerator to your coffeemaker to your television and your DVD player — has a clock. No one wears a wristwatch anymore, unless he or she grew up with one.

4. VHS tape and VCRs: The Vertical Helical Scan — or Video Home System, depending on whom you ask — met a sad death in 2006 when retailers decided there was no room left on their shelves for the big, bulky cassettes. Digital video recorders gave you perfect-looking "time-shifted" TV shows, and DVDs let you skip the previews on rented movies. Many people still keep VCRs around for when grandparents ask to see that old tape of little Bobby — who's now 22 and fresh out of college — shoving cake into his mouth on his first birthday. And you could always turn your VCR into a toaster.

5. Beepers: Annoying devices designed to beep any and every time anyone felt like reaching you, it wasn't sad at all to see these disappear when cell-phone plans dropped below $50 a month around the year 2000.

6. Film cameras: When Polaroid announced in February 2008 that it would stop selling its famous instant-developing film, people ran out to buy up the remaining stock in order to preserve this unique form of photography. Kodak and Fuji still make film, but they, like Polaroid, are counting on their digital-camera lines to keep them afloat.

7. Typewriters: Once one of the most powerful means of mass communication, the typewriter claimed a spot near the top of the technological food chain for more than 100 years.

8. The Walkman, Discman and MiniDisc player: The multitasker's dream, the Sony Walkman portable cassette player changed the way the world listened to music in 1979, quickly becoming the hottest accessory of the early 1980s.

9. Dial-up Internet access: It's hard to see why anyone would use a phone line to connect to the Internet when there are so many feasible alternatives.

10. DVDs: What's that, you say? How can DVDs be obsolete? Facts don't lie — DVD sales fell off the proverbial cliff in the first three months of 2009, with some retailers reporting a 40 percent drop from the same period a year earlier. The fact is that with broadband Internet, you don't need a disc to watch a movie any more. Netflix and Blockbuster have recognized that by rapidly ramping up their online-download services.

Any of those surprise you? For me, when I saw wristwatch, my eyebrows rose. What the heck? I'm not ever giving up my watch! But then I started looking around and the young ones, um, don't seem to be wearing watches. If you want to see the time, you have to dig out your cell phone so how is that convenient? I still have a landline phone though. And we got a new Blueray DVD player for Christmas that we really like. But the other things--oh yes. I had the nicest typewriter in the attic for years. Once I got a computer, it was by-by typewriter. And I will NEVER go back to dial-up.

How about you? Anything on this list that surprised you?

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Colleen Coble  
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

I have fallen  off the exercising bandwagon. In fact, I've been lying on the ground so long, weeds are sprouting up around me and vultures are flying overhead.

With summer just around the corner, the bandwagon is quietly beckoning. Hop back on, it's whispering. You'll feel so much better. 

Meanwhile, the treadmill is downstairs collecting dust and my tennis shoes still have last year's dirt on their soles. I need to walk. I need to dance. I need to move. I feel better when I do, but somehow . . . I just don't. 

So, all you motivated, energized, and disciplined people, tell me how you do it. How do you shush the inner excuses? How do you motivate yourself day after day when you'd rather, I don't know, eat a Twinkie and read a book? 
Denise Hunter  
posted at 9:12 PM  
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Saturday, April 18, 2009
SARA MILLS INTERVIEW:

We learned that Sara's husband died of a heart attack a little over a week ago. He was young -- 40 -- and we am so grieved for Sara and her children. If you've considered buying one of these books, please follow the links at the end of this post to buy one or both books. Below is an interview she did with Cara Putman.

Miss Fortune and Miss Match are delightful books set in NYC in 1947. Tell us how you got the idea for Allie and these books...

I got the idea for Miss Fortune in the middle of the night, when all good ideas come to me:
One sleepless night I was watching The Maltese Falcon and I started to wonder how different the story would be if Sam Spade had been a woman. She'd never have fallen for Miss Wunderly's charms and lies. She'd have been smart and tough and she would have solved the case in half the time it took Sam because she wouldn't spend all of her time smoking cigarettes and calling her secretary Precious.

The thought of a hard-boiled female detective got my mind whirling.

I paused the movie and sat in my darkened living room thinking about how much fun a female Sam Spade could be. Intrigued but not yet ready to dash to my computer, I changed disks and put on Casablanca (my all time favorite movie ever). The sweeping love story, a tale full of hard choices and sacrifice was what finally made the whole idea click in my mind. If I could just combine the P.I. detective story of the Maltese Falcon with the love story from Casablanca, and make Sam Spade more of a Samantha, I could have the best of all worlds.

These books are so good, I wish I'd written them. How did you set the stage to capture that gritty PI feel without being dark?

I find that a lot of PI stories are gritty and dark, focusing on the worst of the humanity, and while I wanted the Allie Fortune mysteries to be exciting and tension-filled I didn’t want them to be stark and hopeless.

One of the things I tried to do to counteract the darkness was to give Allie a multi-layered life. She has cases, relationships, friends and family, all of which I hope combine to make the stories textured, rich and full of life.

Allie is a character I'd love to have coffee with. What did she teach you while you wrote these books?

Allie was a great character to write. One of the things I learned from her was that human relationships (man/woman, mother/daughter, friends) are complicated and full of unspoken rules and expectations. Allie is a rule-breaker at heart and it complicates her life on a regular basis. One of the storylines I loved most is Allie’s relationship with her mother and how it grows and changes and how it’s shaped her.

Another dimension of Allie’s character that really taught me a lot was her willingness to do whatever was needed to help those she loves. There is no price on that kind of friendship and it’s a characteristic I’d like to see more of in myself. Okay I admit it, I’ve got a bit of a friend-crush on Allie. LOL.

One last question: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would that be and who would you take with you?

If I could go anywhere right now I’d head to Monterey, California (I’m writing a book set there right now) and I’d plant myself on the beach with a notebook, writing my story as the waves crashed. Sounds like my idea of heaven on earth. There’s something about the wind-shaped Cypress trees and the crash of the surf in Monterey that calls to me. I don’t know why, it just is.







469260: Miss Fortune, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #1Miss Fortune, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #1

By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers


In 1947 Allie Fortune is the only female private investigator in New York City, but she's kept awake at night by a mystery of her own: her fianci disappeared in the war and no one knows if he's still alive. Until Allie finds out, she will have no peace. When there's a knock on her office door at four in the morning, Allie suspects trouble as usual, and Mary Gordon is no exception. Mary claims someone is following her, that her apartment has been ransacked, and that she's been shot at, but she has no idea why any of this is happening. Allie takes the case, and in the process discovers an international mystery that puts her own life in danger.

Meanwhile, the FBI is working the case as well, and she is partnered up with an attractive, single agent who would be perfect for her under other circumstances-if only she knew whether her fianci was still alive.







469270: Miss Match, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #2Miss Match, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #2

By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers


FBI agent Jack O'Connor receives a letter from Maggie, a woman he used to love, saying she's in trouble in Berlin. The FBI refuses to get involved, so Jack asks Allie Fortune to help him investigate. Allie and Jack pose as a missionary couple who want to bring orphans back to the United States.

A child finds important documents that everyone in the city - Soviets and allies alike - want for themselves. Maggie refuses to tell Jack what the documents are, saying if things go wrong, they are better off not knowing. Through the course of the search, Allie's past is brought back to her, half a world away from home.

Colleen Coble  
posted at 10:20 AM  
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Friday, April 17, 2009
SUSAN BOYLE DREAMED A DREAM
You probably have heard already about Susan Boyle but if you haven't, you need to watch this:



Susan Boyle Stuns Crowd with Epic Singing - Watch more Funny Videos

and this:


Watch CBS Videos Online

I don't know when something has moved me as much as watching Susan make one last grab for the brass ring--and catch it. It was a great reminder to me of how God has such great plans for us and we often don't have the courage to TRY. I didn't start writing until I was nearly 40 and my first book didn't sell until I was 45 or so--very near to Susan's age--so I SO identify with her. Even now, 12 years after making the first sale, it seems so surreal that God would give me the desires of my heart.

And Susan's experience was such a great reminder not to look on the outside. God looks on the inside and sees just what we're capable of with his help. Susan seemed a very ordinary, middle-aged woman who would have a mediocre voice at best instead of the pure angelic one that poured from her throat. I've watched that video at least 10-15 times and get chills every time. I'll buy her album when it comes out too, and I've never even paid much attention to American Idol and who wins or loses there. But there is something special about Susan. Maybe it's because her voice translates her heart. She cared for her mother for years and never married. God doesn't ignore that kind of sacrificial spirit.

In watching the CBS interview above, it's clear she's uncomfortable with the attention which endeared her all the more to me. She's real, humble and sweet. I bet one of the thoughts she had as the emotions swept over her when it was over was, "I wish my mother were here to see this." She so exemplifies the power of a dream. God bless you, Susan Boyle, for inspiring a world! May your tribe increase.

What about you? What's the dream you haven't followed?

P. S. If you're like me and want to know more about her, here are more interviews:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1170309/Thumbs-Britains-Got-Talent-sensation-Susan-discovers-shes-international-star--18m-YouTube-hits.html




Susan Boyle Stuns Crowd with Epic Singing - Watch more Funny Videos

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 5:20 AM  
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Music has power. 

You ever notice that? When I'm blue, if I listen to something upbeat, it lifts my spirits. If I'm upbeat and listen to something blue, it makes me somber. If I'm worried, upbeat Christian music chases the fears away. I suppose because I grew up playing the violin, chamber music is one of my favorite things to listen to these days. It calms my spirit and allows me to get into the "write" mode. Upbeat music with words distracts me.  BUT if I need to get some housecleaning done, upbeat music is the choice for the day!  I can whip up the kitchen and living room to a sparkling shine before Natalie Grant can finish belting out three songs!

I guess I've forgotten the power of music lately. I haven't listened to it as much as I used to do (which is why my house is dirty). But I'm rediscovering my old friend. Plucking out the old 45s (sad, isn't it?) and beep-bopping around the house like a 16-year-old (though a 16-year-old today would say there's no resemblance).

So what about you? What's your favorite type of music? WHY do you listen to it? Just because or is there a reason? I'm thinking music says something about who we are.  My chamber music not only tells me I'm tired--I think it says I'm old. LOL!

Diann Hunt  
posted at 9:15 AM  
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My kids are gone this week. With grandma. I feel naked. Honestly, it's so weird to have my brain to myself. I can finish a thought without someone interrupting it with, "Mom, he hit me!" or "Mom, there's something wrong with the toilet."

I think I'm a pretty smart woman. That's the thing, you don't know that when you're parenting because you have no brain whatsoever, it's parceled out to kids and what's left for you leaves you feeling dull and whacked. That's why on the left/right brain test, I thought, "Um neither!"

I've read a lot, wrote yesterday, eaten out, cavorted with books at Barnes & Noble, cleaned and it stayed clean. And now, I just want my kids back. I miss their messes and their eating non-stop and even their dirty socks in my car. If only I had more of these brain cells when they were here.

I don't miss the time in the car. Not one iota. What's the best/worst part of parenting for you moms out there?
Kristin  
posted at 12:13 PM  
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

COFFEE VINDICATION
I've had it with people saying coffee is bad for you. They do it with no utter proof either. If something contains caffeine, it must be bad for you, right? Wrong. Several new studies have just come out that prove coffee is actually GOOD for you. Yay! I can have my coffee with no sense of guilt. Click here to see the article on WebMD.

So in honor of this great news, I'm going to tell you how I get the perfect cup of coffee. Number one thing is buy good coffee beans and grind them yourself. HUGE, HUGE difference in the coffee experience. I'm particularly fond of Echo Espresso coffee in Phoenix. I have it shipped here and it's just fabulous. I particularly like their World Blend but all of them are fabulous. I found their coffee through my baby girl, Kara, who lives out there. Happy birthday, Baby Girl!

The grinder I like is a Capresso and I did a lot of research before I bought it. It's quiet and can also grind coffee fine enough for my Rancilio Silvia espresso maker. I put two scoops of beans in for a big mug of coffee. For two mugs, I use three scoops. The next thing is the coffee maker. No, a Bunn is NOT the best coffee maker. You need something that will extract the full flavor of the bean and a Cuisinart CANNOT be beat! It makes the best coffee out there. I've tried them all too. You can find it at Lowe's for around $60. The basic one will do just as good a job as the shinier one and it's even cheaper than the stainless one, I think. I use the natural coffee filters that are brown. The bleach in the white ones isn't good for you OR the taste of your coffee. The final step for me is the creamer. I'm particularly fond of International Flavors Hazelnut but there's a flavor for you. They have tons.

I pour my coffee into a big, thick mug then grab my MacBook to catch up on email while I enjoy the perfect cup of coffee. Ahhh!

What's your morning ritual?

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 6:12 AM  
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Saturday, April 11, 2009

It hit me the other day that I spend a lot of my day in the right side of my brain. What fun! I love being creative and writing is definitely that. 

However, I'm pretty equally right/left brained. I make lists, organize, and am always punctual. Fortunately, these things help me stay on task and write on deadline. 

So, if both sides of my brain are functional (a matter of opinion) why does it hurt my brain to write a synopsis and do substantive (major) edits? Undeniably, these tasks use both sides of the brain, requiring a creative hand in addition to a heavy dose of organization and logic. In other words, the two halves must function in tandem. Well, there you go. Clearly my two halves do not play well together. That's my theory anyway. 

If you don't know which brainedness (new word alert!) you are, take this easy quiz and find out. Or ask the people around you. They'll know.

 http://www.intelliscript.net/test_area/questionnaire/questionnaire.cgi?q=right_brain_left_brain_2
Denise Hunter  
posted at 3:09 PM  
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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Yesterday, I took my puppy, Latte, to the vet. While I was there, a man walked in with his dog and a woman walked in with her cat. They exchanged a cordial greeting and being a writer I thought, Hmm, wouldn't it be cool if two people met at the vet's office and fell in love?  That started me thinking about the different places where people actually do meet and fall in love.

So, I thought I'd get some feedback from you. Where did you meet the person with whom you've fallen in love? Was it a very romantic setting or did you bump into him/her while taking out the garbage? 

And if you haven't met that special someone yet, where do you hope to meet him/her?

I'll start. I met my husband in church! It was one time when I was really happy to have an excuse to welcome a visitor! *g*

How about you?
Diann Hunt  
posted at 7:54 AM  
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Wednesday, April 08, 2009
With the economy so tight, everyone seems to be cutting back in some way, shape or form. Here at the Billerbeck house, it comes in the form of food. We have really pulled back on eating out, and I've become very creative with leftovers. Now you must know that i grew up with London Broil every Sunday, followed by "disguised meat" on Monday -- which was the same London Broil in fake gravy. It was nasty, so I grew up with an anti-leftover view of life.

With two teenagers, extra kids over nearly everyday, I've had to get creative. Chips (especially since I raised my sons without hydrogenated oil, and they will only eat good organic chips) can be expensive. If you haven't done the non-hydrogenated diet, you can taste the bad oil after a short period, so then the hydrogenated stuff becomes inedible, so chips are on a budget. I buy so much snack food and when it's gone, it's gone.

My kids eat a TON of fruit, so now I look at the price of apples and which ones are on sale. We will literally go through six apples a day.

I buy cheaper chicken and cut off the skin and fat with my Cutco scissors, then, I mix up the leftovers with a little curry, raisins and mayo and you have the perfect chicken salad sandwich for the next day. This is well out of my comfort zone, so if anyone has a tips, I'm sure there are many of us who are all ears.

And no, I haven't given up my espresso. A girl can't live on bread alone.
Kristin  
posted at 10:52 AM  
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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

HOSPICE
Since my last post, my dear father-in-law went home to glory. It was a peaceful passing since we took him home with hospice. The funeral was yesterday. I don't know how many of you have any experience with hospice, but they are WONDERFUL! We took my grandpa home to die when he had cancer so when Dad was so sick, I immediately started pushing to do that. Not all the family was onboard with it at first. They didn't understand how easy it is. They thought it was a lot of care but it's not. We had them put up the bed in the living room, and we were all able to sit comfortably on the sofa and chairs. We talked about old times, held his hand, kissed him and told him we loved him. The place overflowed with family and love.

I slept on the sofa the first night then on an airbed the next night since the sofa was so uncomfortable. I got up every hour or so to check on him. I gave him some meds that absorbed through his mouth twice and wet his mouth and lips with a sponge made for that purpose. i sang hymns over and over during those two days and nights. That was it. There is no real care when a person is unconscious and dying. You just love them home to glory. It's a wonderful and bittersweet passing. The hospice nurse comes to check on the patient and can do any bathing or anything else that needs doing. In Dad's case, it was happening too fast and nothing else was needed. The nurses are so caring and sweet. We just loved them. When he was gone at 1:40 am on Thursday, I got Mom and my sister-in-law up then called Dave and his brother before calling hospice. The nurse came right away. She washed and dressed him before the funeral home came. She was so sweet to Mom and all of us.

The viewing was Sunday and Diann and Denise came with their husbands. I realized after introducing them to half a dozen people that I wasn't mentioning their husbands! LOL Poor guys were treated as chauffeurs! They were such an encouragement to me though, all four of them. And funerals are wonderful places to catch up with family you haven't seen in a while. I got to show off my little angel. She showed up in the cutest little red and black dress with a matching beret. I wish I'd gotten a picture to show you. Darling!

Have any of the rest of you had an experience with hospice? If you have any questions about it, just ask too.

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Colleen Coble  
posted at 9:12 AM  
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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Well, it's that time of year again. The weather's warming, the sky's weeping, and the checkbook's frowning. Yes, we did our taxes over the weekend and when you wait until April to file, it can only mean one thing: You owe Uncle Sam.

My husband owns an S-Corp business and I'm a self-employed writer. This is not good. 

We've had the same tax guy for years and from the time I started writing for income, I handled my tax documents in a way that made perfect sense from my right-brained perspective. One envelope for receipts and one for income. But apparently this is unwieldy and time-consuming for our tax guy. Does he not know that asking me to do math is a cruel and dangerous thing? But I pulled up my big girl boots and (gasp!) did the math this year. He was so impressed. Funny, I wasn't so impressed with his numbers. Would he be offended if I asked him to pull out the calculator and try again?

But, I'm hoping things are happier at your house, that you could hardly wait until you got your W-2 to file, that even now there's a juicy check in your mailbox just waiting for your eager fingers.

Just for fun, how about posting a :-) if you're getting a refund and a :-( if you're not? Allow me to start . . .  :-(

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Denise Hunter  
posted at 7:50 PM  
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Friday, April 03, 2009

Okay, forgive me for posting again, but something monumental has happened in our family. We've added a new member!!!

This is truly Kristin's fault. I love the pictures of her dog so much, I just couldn't help myself! Meet the newest member of the Hunt household--Latte. Doesn't that just fit? She is a shih-tzu/poodle mix so they call her a shih-poo. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her.

You all know we lost our last shih-tzu in July. I didn't think I'd ever get another dog. Probably shouldn't have, but when my husband and kids pushed me to look at these puppies, well, I was a goner. 

We can't pick her up till April 11th, but until then, I've got her pictures plastered as wallpaper on my laptop. :-)

Goodbye carpet, hello lifetime friend!

Diann Hunt  
posted at 9:56 AM  
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Thursday, April 02, 2009

One of our favorite spots to visit is located two hours from our house. An Inn there was having a special this week, so I decided it was a good time for me to hole up in the Inn and get some writing done--since I have a May deadline.

You will be proud to know that, though I am directionally-challenged, I made it to the Inn without a hitch--despite a detour.  I wish I could say the story ends there.  But then again, you know me well enough by now to know that, well, it doesn't.

Okay, so I get to the Inn, register with Perky Patty behind the Registration desk, then drive my car to the next building over and take my suitcase up to the second floor to my room. Then I go back out to the car to get my "food" bag.

I'm feeling energetic and independent, being off on this little trip by myself and all, so I decide to throw in a little exercise and take the steps down instead of the elevator. It's sort of out of the way, but I figure the more steps I get in, the better, right?

Well, let me tell you, those steps do not end. Walking, walking, walking. I'm like a hamster in a maze--like an Israelite wandering aimlessly in the wilderness. There has to be a way out! Finally, I find it--a way out, only it's the wrong way. You won't believe this, but I actually end up in a different building. And who do I see but Perky Patty.

We laugh when we see each other and I don't even have to tell her I'm lost. Wonder why? Anyway, she gives  me a map to the building and says something, but I have no idea what. The whole time I'm thinking I wish I'd brought my glasses with me because the map is useless. We say our goodbyes, and I head back into the wilderness. 

By now my feet are aching. I've sprouted two bunions and an ingrown toenail. 

I walk another ten miles and just when I think I'll never see my car again, I stop and ask a sweet little Mennonite woman for help.  She tells me where the elevator is. With renewed hope, I go down it and where do you think it brings me out? Yep, right back to Perky Patty. By now she's convinced I have a serious problem. I do. There's a blister on the back of my right foot, and I think I'll have to buy a new car.

When all is said and done, a kind young man comes out of his office and ESCORTS me back to my destination. I've stayed in my room ever since.

I think my kids are saving up to buy me a handheld GPS. Couldn't hurt, right?
Diann Hunt  
posted at 12:00 AM  
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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Glass is Overflowing!

I've decided to become an optimist again. I used to be a "realist" -- which, come on, is only a fancy way of saying pessimist. Have you ever been around a person who calls themselves a realist? I know, they're depressing, huh?

A few months' ago, I had to go to the post office in the city center because our mailbox had been broken into. We don't actually live near the city center, it's just our address. Everyday I had to wait in line to get my mail. Well, now I had to go yesterday to mail some books and a contract, and lo and behold, the place was PACKED! They had a new counter to line up around and everything. They shut another post office down, and now this is the only one in town. So see? I thought it was such a pain, but really, I'd been blessed with two post offices at the time. I would have wasted an hour getting my mail before that!

CA's sales tax went up today to 9.25%! Ouch. Yeah, that's going to help the economy. I mean, who is going to buy a car/house now? But the optimist in me says YAY, I got a new purse recently. I'm good. The optimist in me says I can buy all the groceries I want because there is no tax on food. Mangia!

So even if you don't know what you have to be grateful for today (like two post offices) I guarantee, there's something. Especially if you have your health -- that's something you can't truly appreciate until you don't have it. Happy Midweek!
Kristin  
posted at 12:29 PM  
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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
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.

www.KristinBillerbeck.com

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

www.ColleenCoble.com

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

www.DeniseHunterBooks.com

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

www.DiannHunt.com

Hannah Alexander

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.

www.HannahAlexander.com

 
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