Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wrestle Mania

I went with my sisters and three year old niece to watch my nephew, Adam, wrestle last night. We paid $4 a person (a little pricey in my opinion) and found seats while the teams warmed up. I think wrestling is the only manly sport that you absolutely can not look cool while playing. They all wear these horrible little spandex suits that none of them would touch with a ten foot pole in any other environment. Then they strap on head gear that would make a brace-face cringe with sympathy. To top it off they get out in front of a crowd and put themselves in positions with other guys that they would never dream of off the mat. How can you look cool or manly doing any of that? However, I have to give them props, because despite their non-cool look they definitely work hard for their sport and that IS cool.

I haven’t been to a wrestling match since I watched my older brother wrestle for the same team eighteen years ago. (OMG!) I have to say, it wasn’t any more impressive this time around. I admit I don’t know a lot about the sport. I only have a vague knowledge of the way they earn points in a match, but I DO know when you’re pinned and down for the count.

The first few matches were the big boys and they move much slower, grappling like bears and only going down for a few seconds at the end of the match. Then they brought in the skinny boys and man do they move fast. They were more fun to watch simply because they’re flipping each other like flapjacks. Through all of this, the three year old is cheering and clapping and more or less suffering toddler anxiety attacks through each match. I think she was more animated then the entire cheerleading squad put together.

Adam finally came up around match six. Now, this is his first real match. He’s trained hard every day and he’s just killed himself in the gym for an hour before the match to lose a pound and a half so he’ll make weight. He gets in the ring, makes his move – and gets pinned in the first thirty seconds.

I felt so bad for him, but he handled it well. He shook hands, walked off the mat and said ‘Guess he was ready for that move.’ I guess what makes me proud of him is that he didn’t let it keep him down. I know he’ll stick with this. Plus, he’s only a sophomore. He’s spent months working out with the team and wrestling his teammates. His first practice match with a senior, he told me he ‘got his butt handed to him.’ That may be but, I know given time, he’ll be the one handing out butts to the other team.

Go Adam, you rock!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

It's Snowing!

Brrr! It’s freezing outside! I am not ready for snow. I know, there’s only a dusting and it’s only sticking to my deck, but it’s SNOW. Don’t get me wrong, I love a white Christmas – but that’s it. After that it’s just a pain in the proverbial tushie.

The glare of sunlight glancing off the snow’s somewhat brown surface as it lines the streets nearly blinds me. Not to mention the slippery streets that bring out the best of the worst drivers in town. There’s nothing like black ice hidden so innocently by the fluffy white stuff to tie up the highway like a double knotted pretzel. Then there’s the scraping of the windshields and the shoveling. I hate shoveling. Good thing I have a nephew that likes to earn a few bucks. He can shovel to his little hearts content.

Really, the only way to enjoy a good snow is at home, curled up in front of the picture window with a good book and a cup of cappuccino. I’m even okay with the electricity dropping for a short time, as long as I don’t have to go anywhere, but that seldom works out. I work in the caves and I’m only minutes away from work. If the electricity goes at home, it’s still on in the caves and since I’m closest, I still have to go to work. That means no curling iron, hairdryer or hot water. YUCK! However you can’t turn back weather anymore than you can time, so I simply bide my time until spring when I can get prepared to complain about summer.

Yet - despite all the things I hate about snow - I'm still awestruck by the amazing beauty, originality and science displayed in each tiny flake. They may be wet, cold and miserable, but they're also fantastic displays of the depth God put into His creation. It didn't matter to Him that you had to use microscopes to see the intricate parts of His work. He didn't care that most of us would never see that far into the depths of His creation. But when you do, when you have a chance to look deeper, you'll find that even the minutest part is a masterpiece of beauty. From the inner workings of a molecule to the far reaches of space to the everyday snowflake.

Here's to skipping the whining and taking a deeper look.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Surviving the Holiday

Well, I survived the holiday. It’s funny how a four day weekend can make you more tired then a solid week at work. I had more fun then I would at work though, so I gladly opt for caffeine this morning.

Thanksgiving ended up being a fairly small affair this year, we only had eight for lunch. The food was great and I only had to handle the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy. Everyone else brought the sides and pies. However, I was left with a mountain of dirty dishes that I am just now climbing out from under. (Mostly because I procrastinated horribly Friday and Saturday - terrible, huh?)

Friday was a recovery day. I was REALLY lazy. I absolutely refuse to shop on Black Friday. I hate the crowds and the violence. (Mostly mine, because by the time I’ve fought traffic, parking, crowds and rudeness, I’m ready to get violent.)

Instead I went with my two sisters to see “Just Friends”. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I actually liked it a lot. Ryan Reynolds was adorable and it was very funny and heartwarming. They use a lot of physical comedy, but everyone needs some of that occasionally.

Saturday was another lazy day; the only thing we did was watch movies. (I have mini-TVs for eyes now. I watched SO much TV this weekend with my family.) I went with Angel to see the new “Pride and Prejudice”. I LOVE IT! I’m a big Jane Austen fan, so I’m always both excited and wary to see Hollywood take on one of her stories. But I think this one turned out really well. It’s definitely going into my DVD collection. I think Donald Sutherland was an inspired choice for Lizzie’s father. I wasn’t sure about their choice for Darcy when I saw the previews, but he was actually a perfect fit. He’s very swoon worthy.

Sunday I spent with my nieces and nephews and cleaned up the major mess in my house from hosting Thanksgiving. I also installed a new writing program and finally feel the itch to write again. I’ve been too busy and distracted to focus on my novels, but the bug is back so maybe I’ll get in the groove again. At least until Christmas interrupts me. Thankfully I’ve got most of my shopping done already.

Hears hoping you survived the holiday,


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, it's nearly one a.m. and I'm still up cooking for tomorrow's lunch. My brain is getting fuzzy and I get slap-happy when I'm this tired, so all that's coming to mind is this cheesy little poem I wrote. So read, laugh or shake your head and groan, then go have fun with your family.

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving again – Hurray!
Time for turkey and dressing,
And more food than we can endure.
Yep, it’s Thanksgiving morning.
I baked the turkey all night
And now the scent fills the house.
And before it hits the table
We’re snitching bites by the ounce.
We’ve got homemade mashed potatoes –
(Not yams, not even candied.
Angel detests them you know,
So the yammies got whammied.)
We’ve got seven layer salad
Cranberry-orange salad too.
Then there’s the dinner rolls with butter
I’m running out of room – Whew!
Hold your horses, here come the pies.
Do I want pumpkin? Pecan?
Do I want whipped cream or ice cream?
Mmm-Hmm, pile it all on!
I feel just like that stuffed turkey
I’m too full to even move.
That’s when I stop and remember
How my family has improved.
They’re the best, couldn’t ask for more.
Then God sent us little kids,
And their parents soon joined them.
He blessed our family, God did.
It’s on days like Thanksgiving
That it’s easy to forget,
The reason for the Holidays -
It’s not the food that makes it.
It’s the love and the warmth we share,
Spending time with our loved ones.
It’s the thanks we feel in our hearts
For all the things God has done.
So Happy Thanksgiving to you,
To everyone of your kin.
Give Thanks to God for everything,
Then let the eating begin.
I told you it was cheesy! Now go eat more turkey!
Happy Thanksgiving,

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Rocking the Goblet

I may be 28 now, but that hasn’t stopped me from being a huge Harry Potter fan. Well, not as huge as some, but I do love the series. Goblet of Fire is my favorite so far, so I’ve been looking forward to the movie immensely. Last night I made it my birthday party and six of us girls went to see it. (I say girls but we range in age from 23 to 39.)

I loved it. I liked the first two movies, they were fun. The third was even better, but Goblet of Fire just totally rocked. Of course there’s a lot of stuff they couldn’t really cover due to time constraints, but I was impressed by how well it flowed despite all the omissions. It was hysterical and yet creepy in all the right places and even sad. (I’ll admit it – I cried when Harry brought back Cedric Diggory, both when I read the book and when I watched the movie.)

The actors have really grown with the film series and they’re rolls are really becoming quite rounded. I love the chemistry among the cast, I honestly couldn’t name one person I would cast differently, and that’s pretty rare for me. Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort was pure genius.

If you haven’t seen any of the films, give them a chance. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read the books (although I highly recommend them.) J.K. Rowling’s characters are anything but flat. You’ll be amazed at how much you find in common with a young wizard in training.

I’m already dying to go back and see it again on the big screen, despite the price gouging. I’ll fork it over for Harry any day.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Another year older...

As of 6:20 tonight, I will officially be another year older. It feels strange to be 28, but more in the sense of actually saying the number than feeling any older. To be honest I don’t really feel any older than I did 10 or even 20 years ago. Does that seem strange?

To me it seems like our souls are born one age, and no matter how old your body is, your soul always feels and sees thing from a certain maturity. I’ve been told I have an old soul, and I guess in a way that’s kind of true. I have always been ‘mature for my age’ as so many like to say. But at heart I think I’ll always be 17. In fact, I’m more of a teenager now, then when I WAS a teenager.

I did the responsible thing in school, got the 4.0, did Student Council and never tee-pee’d or forked anyone’s yards. (Although I know a few who did.) At the time I would have been terrified of getting caught, terrified that I would disappoint someone and be thought of badly. Somewhere along the line, after I graduated, that suddenly didn’t seem like such a big deal. I mean, I don’t want to disappoint my loved ones or be thought of badly, but I suddenly don’t care so much about image. I freely admit to being a boy band lover – especially N’Sync, I’ve seen them in concert five times in five different states. I like being silly and spontaneous with my friends and I don’t censor every thing that pops into my head before I say it. (That may or may not be a good thing, but it’s the truth.)

In short, I let myself have fun. Safe fun - but fun none the less. I’m more daring now too. As a kid, I always chose truth over dare, but now days; I might just take that dare.

I think what changed for me was my view of life. I suddenly saw it for all its exciting possibilities and experiences. Opportunities that had to be taken or lost forever. I discovered that fear should be a motivator to change, not a shackle to contain. That pushing beyond your fears and expanding your horizons is exhilarating and fulfilling beyond belief.

I still have all the same emotions and feelings from 20 years ago, but if anything, these years have given me a different perspective on life. Here’s hoping it only gets better.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Walk The Line

I saw “Walk the Line” with my girlfriends this weekend and I loved it. I admit I’m drawn to movies about musicians more than most, but “Walk the Line” is right up there with “Ray”. It’s just a great movie period.

I knew some of Johnny Cash’s songs going in. The big ones, like “Ring of Fire”, “Walk the Line” and “Folsom Prison”. I didn’t however know anything about his personal life or the rise of his career. It was very moving. As love stories go, it’s got all the right stuff, but it’s really so much more than a love story. It’s moving and funny in all the right places and yet still gritty where it should be, too.

Besides being a really personal look at the life of a legend, it was a great slice of history too. I tend to forget, that Elvis and Johnny Cash, June Carter and Jerry Lee Lewis, were peers. They were all rising stars at the same time on the same Sun label. It was so cool to watch their interaction in the film and to realize that they all became incredible legends, each one in their own right.

The acting was well done too. Joaquin Phoenix is one of my favorite actors. I think he’s one of the best in Hollywood right now, but he really outdid himself as Johnny Cash. I think he and Reese are both looking at Oscars this year. It was nice to see Reese in a more dramatic role. She has a great deal of talent as well. It was amazing how well they both handled the musical aspects of the film. A lot of movies the actors just lip-synch, but Reese and Joaquin not only sang, but they sang WELL.

I think this one will definitely end up in my DVD collection. Be sure and check it out.


Friday, November 18, 2005

A new addiction

Ah, the ballet. For many, The Nutcracker is a holiday tradition. But I had only seen it once, in high school, performed by a student troupe. It was rather lackluster. Last night changed all my preconceptions about ballet.

Angel and I had front row seats to see Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. It was a one night only engagement and I loved it. First of all, just being in the grand old theater makes me feel special. (Don’t laugh, it does!) But when the curtain goes up and the music begins I feel energized.

The dancers are truly amazing. The strength and grace that they exhibit is truly inspiring. Now, I’m not a dancer. Not even a ‘dance-when-nobody-can-see-me’ kind of girl. I can’t do it. I don’t know how to dance and I have two left feet. However, I know that the work and commitment professionals put into their craft is immeasurable. And it showed last night. The dance of the Russian couple was incredible and the Arabian dance couple was so graceful, even sensual in a way.

What surprised me even more was how well they actually told the story without words. It’s really cool how just a small gesture or movement can express an emotion so clearly. The Magician was quite funny and really lent a comedic relief to the art that I hadn’t expected.

So now that I’ve experienced a real ballet, I’m addicted. I want to see Swan Lake, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle…. I had no idea that I would be that entranced by ballet, but I was and I think I’ll be seeing men in tights in a whole new light from now on.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Unanswered prayers

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like, if you had received something you’d longed for terribly? I heard Garth Brook’s song, Unanswered Prayers on the radio and it really caught my attention. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered about some of my own ‘unanswered prayers’. (And let me be clear, I believe God answers ALL prayers, sometimes it’s just that the answer is ‘no’. Let me also say, that He has answered YES more times than I could ever count. So, please don’t think I’m complaining.)

As I thought back on the things I had pleaded for and didn’t get, I realized just how different my life could have been. The first thing I really remember wanting was a certain boy I knew to like me. In fact, for years I thought someday we would finally fall in love and get married right out of high school. That didn’t happen. Am I sad about that? NO. He’s a wonderful person and good friend, but my desires were childish and naïve and we would never have worked out. In fact I’m downright thankful now that it never came true. What blows my mind is how very different my life would have been if I had been married at 18 rather than still single at 28.

The second thing I’d hoped for was to go to college and become a doctor. From the time I was five I knew that’s what I wanted to be – then my senior year came along and suddenly I didn’t know what I wanted to do. All those years of praying to be able to afford medical school and now I was just confused about my future career goals. I ended up passing on a college degree all together. My friends went on to college and I stayed home and got a job. I took a few classes, but somehow I just knew college wasn’t right for me. Thank goodness I discovered that too, because instead I had the opportunity to take in and help raise three of the most beautiful babies in the world. I learned what it was (to a small degree) to be a single mom. I still had my parents to help, but I shouldered their care and financial support. Now their family life is more stable and they don’t need me in the same way, but I wouldn’t have missed those years for anything. If I had gotten my desire to go to college I would have missed that joy. Now that I know myself better, I realize I could never have been a doctor. Although I love to help people, I couldn’t have handled the stress and pressure. I don’t have the right personality.

What amazes me looking back however is although I missed out on what I thought were really necessary and important desires, I actually ended up gaining life experiences that were worth way more. Things I didn’t even know to hope and pray for in high school and yet now am so thankful for.

I still find myself hoping and praying for certain things to come true, but I’ve learned that life doesn’t end with the death of a dream. New dreams are born in their place. I suppose some dreams may never die in me. I still hope to someday meet Mr. Right, but for now I’m just grateful that “some of God’s greatest gifts were unanswered prayers”.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Music for your ears

Yay, I have new music! I look forward to the little brown packages on my porch, probably more than anything. I do most of my music shopping online, so the boxes always signify something exciting.

My most recent purchases, have included some classical, a little rock and roll and a whole lot of country. I have a pretty broad taste in music, but I think these selections could be enjoyed by a lot of you, so I thought I’d share them.

Top of the list is Il Divo’s newest release. You may have heard of them on Oprah last year when Simon Cowell introduced them as his newest group. Their first CD was incredible. They have amazing voices and their harmonies are outstanding. Best of all it’s a classical sound without being overpowering. Even opera haters will find something to like here. Their latest CD is a Christmas album and I love it. Everyone else in my office seems to like it too. (Which is a good thing since it’s going to get played a lot.) They cover O Holy Night, Ave Maria, Silent Night and lots more. You can hear samples of the album at:,,3147734,00.html

The next on my list is Dierks Bentley’s new album, Modern Day Drifter. Dierks has a great voice, the kind that slides through your veins and makes you feel warm all over. Best song on the album in my opinion is “Come a Little Closer”. Gives me chills. There are lots of good tracks though from the funny – “Domestic, Light and Cold”, to the upbeat and catchy “Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do”. He’s definitely a rising country star. You can hear Dierks Bentley at:,,3204244,00.html

Next is Bon Jovi’s Have a Nice Day. Their newest release is fun, catchy and feel-good. The title track is my favorite, but all of them are worthwhile. I especially like the duet “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” with Jennifer of Sugarland. They rock together. In fact, they did a show together for Crossroads on GAC. Watch for the replay, it’s well worth it. You can hear Bon Jovi at:,,3405460,00.html?src=search&artist=Bon+Jovi

Last but not least is the Soundtrack from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. The music is very moody and classical, yet in no way depressing. It was written by Jocelyn Pook and features the voices of Hayley Westenra and Andreas Scholl. This is the kind of music you chill to when you want to relax or just need to think. You can hear the Merchant of Venice Soundtrack at:

So, what are you waiting for? Go check these out and tell me what you think. I’d love to know if others enjoy these as much as I do.

Happy Listening,

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A foggy kind of day

Wow, time flies when your having fun… or at least when you’re really, really busy. So, I got way behind on my postings.

Let’s see over the weekend I held my annual girls overnight – basically an old fashioned slumber party for those of us that are still teenagers at heart. It was a lot of fun. We stayed up ‘til all hours of the morning talking and being girls. I should have napped on Sunday, but instead I had an idea for a board game and I’ve spent the last three days creating a mock up.

I work a 40 hour week in front of the computer, you’d think I would avoid the computer like the plague when I’m home, but no, I get lost in what I’m doing and completely lose track of time. So not only did I lose sleep over the weekend, I’ve been completely sleep deprived every night since then.

All that time in front of the computer and I still haven’t worked on my book re-writes. I know, I know, I’m procrastinating. The game was a good distraction – I’m good at finding distractions. I’ll buckle down eventually and get something done.

I had a migraine today from the storm front moving through, so I’m kind of in a fog today. Since I’m not thinking clearly today, I’m going to forego any kind of cleverness or creativity in my post. Maybe tomorrow will be better.


Friday, November 11, 2005


Have you ever wondered about the catch phrases people use? There are hundreds we use every day without ever knowing the original meaning. Like, ‘So cold it could freeze balls off a brass monkey.’ Now, who would guess where that really originated? Don’t you have strange images dancing through your head now as you try to figure it out? I did.

Until you hear the real story. Years ago, so I’ve been told, ships needed a way to store there cannon balls on board. It had to be space efficient and convenient, yet secure. Common sense says to stack them, but they’re round and bound to roll everywhere with the pitching of the ship, so what to do? Someone came up with a brass plate with holes that fit the cannon balls. The bottom layer rested in the holes securing the top layers that were stacked in progressively smaller layers. They called it a brass monkey (who knows why, maybe because it was fun to say.) Great! Worked like a charm – until it got cold. Brass shrinks at certain temperatures. When it did, all of the cannon balls would pop loose and roll everywhere. Hence, ‘It’s cold enough to freeze balls off a brass monkey.’

Makes sense now, doesn’t it? But what about all the ones we use today. We take for granted things like, ‘Do not pass go, do not collect $200.’ Or ‘I’ve got a get out of jail free card’. You and I know these are Monopoly-isms. But fifty years from now, will anyone remember? How about ‘Where’s the Beef’ from Wendy’s or ‘Can you hear me now?’ from Verizon? There are hundreds of phrases we’ve adapted from the pop-culture around us. Will someone years from now be explaining them to their kids as historical trivia tid-bits?

I suppose there are some that may never make sense, like ‘knee high to a grass hopper’ or ‘sucking hind tit’. (My Granny’s favorites, the latter meaning she’s in last place like the runt of the litter getting stuck with the last tit. She’s hillbilly if you hadn’t guessed.) Or maybe somewhere someone still remembers where those originated. Even though I understand the intentions behind the phrases, their origins are already dim.

What other phrases do you find yourself using day in and day out without realizing their origins?

Peace out,

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A night at Music Hall

Last night Angel and I went to see Les Miserables for the third time. It’s my favorite play. As we settled into our center aisle floor seats about twenty rows back, I actually felt anticipation zinging through my veins. As the orchestra opened with the theme, goose-bumps popped up all over my skin. I don’t care how many times I see or hear it, I am moved beyond words.

Victor Hugo, may have been wordy beyond belief in his novels (trust me, the unabridged version trudges through chapters of battles that have no bearing on the actual plot.) but in the end, I believe he understood humanity and was able to portray it better than most people. Each character embodies a facet of humanity that is plain to see in the world around us, as well as within ourselves. Not only can we say, “I know someone like that.” But we can exclaim, “I am that person.” His works are truly classics.

However, it was the overwhelming talent of Alan Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg and Herbert Kretzmer, that gave us the musical – and it’s the music that gave Jean Val Jean to the masses.

“Who am I? Can I conceal myself for evermore? Pretend I’m not the man I was before? And must my name until I die, be no more than an alibi? Must I lie? How can I ever face my fellow man? How can I ever face myself again?” As Val Jean questions whether to accept responsibility or take the easy road, you suddenly realize that this man is you. Who hasn’t asked those questions at some point in their life? Forget that I’m not a middle aged convict on the lamb. I am Val Jean. And I feel for him as he struggles to shine light in a very dark place.

“I dreamed a dream in time gone by, when hope was high and life worth living.” Fantine’s fall and death is tragic, yet so full of hope as well. She lived a terribly sad life, but her love was one thing that could not be crushed or stolen. And that in itself is a beam of light to all those that see and know her. Her hope and strength gives Val Jean the courage to face his past again.

Eponine’s life was short, yet we are left with the image of one who was strong and brave, but also tender and vulnerable. She is a real woman. One who has been shaped by life, but not destroyed by it. You know where she’s coming from when she sings, “On my own, pretending he’s beside me. All alone, I walk with him ‘til morning. Without him I feel his arms around me, and when I lose my way I close my eyes and he has found me.” You know she’s in love, and heartbroken that Marius doesn’t really see her for the woman she is, but she doesn’t let that crush her. As she dies in her love’s arms she sings, “You’re here, that’s all I need to know. And you will keep me safe, and you will keep me close, and rain will make the flowers grow.” Hope still beats strong within her despite the fact that she is bleeding to death.

In fact, that is the underlying message throughout the story. We watch four key characters die and several more during the resistance, and yet despite the tragedy, you feel only hope. There are those in this world, like Javert, that refuse to believe that change is possible. That forgiveness is required. They will stand staunchly in their self-righteousness and condemn those around them. But even they can not be completely untouched by the light of those who would prove them wrong.

It only takes one man, one moment to change a life forever. The old priest bought Jean’s soul for God. Through his trust and love, he changed a convict’s life forever. Each one – Fantine, Val Jean, Cossette, Eponine – they each touched a life and changed the world around them. One life at a time, they brought hope.

“One more dawn, one more day, one day more.”


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Five for Lunch

I was hanging out with Lindz and my sister, Angel the other night and the question was asked, “If you could choose five people alive today to have lunch with, who would you choose?”

Of course we started joking about inviting all the good looking men in Hollywood, like Tom Welling or Oded Fehr. But after we really started discussing why we would invite people, it really got interesting.

Angel’s choice was to have all men with accents – Keith Urban, Oded Fehr, Sean Connery, etc. I thought she was joking. Nope. She just wants to sit and listen to them talk to one another. I can see her point to some degree. I’m a sucker for a good accent, too. But, if I only get to do this once I my life, I want to choose people I can really talk to and pick their brains. Lindz kind of felt that way too.

My first choice would be Dee Henderson, because she is an amazing writer, super intelligent and I find her really interesting. Plus, she is my all time favorite author. (If I was doing writers only, I could name off a lot more, like Janet Chapman, Kathy Tyers, Karen Marie Moning and Terry Blackstock. But for this exercise, I’m limiting myself to one author.)

My second guest would be Rob Thomas. Not because he’s cute (although he is), but because he is an amazing song writer. His talents both on stage and in the studio amaze me. I want to just soak up the creativity that seems to overflow his veins.

My third guest would be Oprah. She has excelled at everything she puts her hands to. She’s had an incredible life, overcoming some really bad stuff, and yet she is so positive. I would love to really hear about her life in depth and find out how she keeps it all together.

My fourth guest would be Steven Spielberg. There is another man who just oozes creativity. Every project he takes on becomes a legend in and of its self. Maybe he didn’t do Lord of the Rings (and trust me I love Peter Jackson), but his longevity in the industry is quite a feat and I love his films.

Last, but not least, my fifth guest would be Dick Van Dyke. I know his is not the most prominent long running career in Hollywood, but I find him truly legendary. He’s had a phenomenal career and continues to work hard even in his older age. He hasn’t won Oscars, he doesn’t choose gritty films, but he’s consistent and he makes me laugh. What he does choose is guaranteed to be good just because he’s such a hard worker. I suppose there are a lot of actors I could choose, but his career interests me the most. Plus, he’s so much fun.

So there’s my guest list. I don’t suppose it’s very likely that it will ever happen, but a girl’s gotta dream. Maybe someday, if I wish on enough stars…


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

If I could be a Super Hero

Okay, no whining today. I’ve got it out of my system and we’re on to something new.

I was watching TV with my 3 year old niece the other night and she insisted we watch Spiderman cartoons. Now I don’t have anything against Spiderman, he’s a great superhero, but it struck me as an odd choice for a 3 year old girl. I didn’t figure she’d pay that much attention, but she was glued to it. Which made me think, if I was a cartoon superhero, who would I choose to be?

I had a lot of favorite cartoons as a kid. I remember the Justice League. I thought Aqua man was cool, but being able to fly like Superman would be awesome too. Then there was Cat Woman, but after Halle Berry’s movie you have to wonder whether she was Super Hero or Super Model. (Not that I would be opposed to looking like Halle Berry.) The Fantastic Four were cool too. I think Mr. Fantastic or the Invisible Girl would top out there. The Wonder Woman series wasn’t a cartoon, but she’s was really cool in both the live action show and the Justice League. So she’s at the top of my probables.

I was also a fan of He-Man, but NOT She-ra. There was the X-Men. Storm was pretty cool. Then of course there were the Teenage-Mutant Ninja turtles. Never wanted to be a turtle, but April, their journalist friend was cool and we shared a name. Captain Planet was kind of lame in retrospect, but I liked the show at the time. I know Power Rangers became big at one point, but I hated the show with such a passion, that just seeing a commercial made me gag.

I watched the Incredible Hulk faithfully too. He rocked. However, as much as I love the color green, I don’t want to be green. (It’s not easy being green…) Plus, it looked painful to transition and I don’t enjoy pain. So the Hulk is off the list.

I loved Scooby-Doo and even though none of them had super hero powers, Velma’s brain power and ability to deduce clues was pretty cool. Jinkies, I wanted to be like her!

It’s a touch decision. Climb walls and swing through the air like Spiderman? Cool, but I’m terrified of heights, so a slender strand of webbing isn’t likely to feel secure enough. In all honesty, I’d probably rather date He-man than be him, so he’s off too. Susan Storm as the Invisible Girl would rank pretty high, if it wasn’t for the fact she has to be naked to be invisible. That kind of nixes it for me. However Mr. Fantastic’s stretching would be very cool. I’ve done the journalism thing, and as much fun as it is, it’s not a superpower, so that boots Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well.

I really think it comes down to a toss up between Superman, Wonder Woman and Mr. Fantastic. I mean other than the green rocks, Superman’s pretty indestructible. As a kid, I always thought Superman should choose Wonder Woman instead of Lois Lane. Just imagine if they had kids, now there’s a super-hero I’d want to be. Wonder Woman however is beautiful, charming and has Amazonian strength, speed and agility. Plus, she never ages and can change her clothes by twirling. I don’t think even super-stretchy can beat that.

I think I’d have to go with Wonder Woman. She’s definitely my favorite. Even her invisible plane and lasso and truth are awesome. Plus, she got Steve and he was quite the hottie.

So, if you had to choose, what Super Hero would you be?

Power On!


Monday, November 07, 2005

The Monday morning blues

I’m bored! (Insert WHINE!) It’s Monday and it definitely feels like one. And am I bored because I have nothing to do? NO. I’m bored because I have plenty to do – it’s just the same thing I’ve done everyday for the last 9 ½ years. How do people last until retirement? The thought of being in this job for another 37 years makes me ill.

I have a good job. I’m grateful God blessed me with it, but days like today I have to keep telling myself that over and over.

I do accounting. Me - accounting. The girl who only made it through advanced math due to a lenient teacher and a couple of really smart classmates who were nice enough to tutor me. The girl who wanted to teach high school English, and become a famous writer. Where did accounting ever figure into that?

I’m not dumb - I’m actually really good at my job. As long as I’m not dealing with Geometry or Trigonometry, I do just fine with numbers. It’s just sucking all the creative life out of me. Weekends are where I cram all of my creative activities. Writing, photography, reading – whatever, and it’s just not enough.

What I really want to do is stay home and write. I know, I had all weekend to do that and I read instead. But reading is part of the writing process. Feeding my creativity is just as important as expressing it. Even Stephen King designates certain hours of his week to keeping up with the latest releases and his favorite authors. I’m just following a bestseller’s example. I went through two book over Sat and Sun. So now I’m ready to write.

I have several projects in the works. I’ve finished a suspense novel and I’m just tweaking it before I start shopping it around. I’ve got two more novels in the beginning stages. One’s a chick-lit and the other is more of a comedy/romance. I also have a children’s book I’m tweaking before it goes into the shopping rounds as well. And that’s just what I’m currently working on. Ideas are one thing I am not short on. Who knows if I’ll ever have the time to write all the books I have outlined.

I haven’t sold any of my novels yet… but I will. And when I do, you can say you “read me back when”. Of course at this rate it could be a while, but if I’m anything it’s determined. I’m a procrastinator too, but somehow it still works out. I guess my drive to succeed generally outweighs my fear of rejection. (Go figure, I chose the one career where I’m guaranteed to be rejected consistently.) But I have to say, as hard as it is to hear no, I’d still rather be pursuing that, than crunching these numbers day in and day out. It’s a good thing I can carry on a full fledged day dream without missing a number. It’s the one thing that saves my sanity. That and the music I play all day, but that’s a whole different post.

Happy Monday,

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The new me

You may have noticed I changed the picture that pops up with my bio. Frogs are some of my favorite creatures. I love them. However this frog seems to embody my personality a little better, seeing as he looks how I feel a good portion of the time - Barely hanging on. :)


Lazy Days

Today was a lazy Saturday. I had big plans last night when I went to bed, but somehow they all went down the drain upon rising this morning.

I had intended to clean my house, organize some of the junk I still haven't unpacked since I moved in a year ago, and I was going to work on my latest novel. That was just my morning and afternoon - I fully intended to go out for dinner and a movie tonight.

What I did do, was wake at 9am. I let my dog Jack out and decided I was still kind of sleepy. I picked up Karen Marie Moning's 'The Immortal Highlander' (the story of Adam Black, known to some as Puck), crawled back into bed and picked up where I'd left off the night before. That was apparently my undoing. Karen's books have a way of sucking me in faster than most (and that's saying a lot.) I realized two hours later that I hadn't done a thing.

By now though, I'm truly feeling sleepy, so I napped. When I woke up an hour later I again opted for Adam Black. I didn't stop reading until 4pm when I'd finished the book.

Now, some of you may be laughing in disgust at my penchant for Romances, but I'm addicted through and through. I love suspense, I love mystery and fantasy, but Romance is just guaranteed to make me feel all 'glowy'. As a writer, I should probably be more cynical of the 'Happily Ever After' syndrome. But I'm not. I love a happy ending and despite the critics who would try to sour the whole world on them, I think most people enjoy a happy ending.

Karen Marie Moning has the Happily Ever After down to an art. The characters usually face insurmountable odds and suffer greatly for being loyal and brave, but I don't think you can say her happy endings are formulaic. I find them very satisfying. After 300 some pages of wanting the Hero and Heroine to finally reach a place where they're safe and in each other's arms for good, it feels incredible to read that perfect Happy Ending.

So I didn't clean house, I didn't organize anything and, other than this post, I didn't write a single word. But I did have a happy ending. I went out with friends to an Irish Pub and watched 'Cut Throat Island' while eating tiramisu cheesecake. What better ending could I have asked for?

Besides, tomorrow's another day. I deserved a day of laziness after the week I had at work. My list isn't going anywhere. Yes, excuses one and all - but in the end it all comes down to one truth. I'd rather live a day in one of Karen's novels, with a bigger than life Scottish man that could squash the annoying people in my life with a flick of his sword and then carry me off into his castle to play Cinderella.

Yep. That's way better than cleaning my basement. Sweet dreams, ya'll. I have another book calling my name...


P.S. Check out Karen's books at her site...

Friday, November 04, 2005

It's Finally Fall

I’m so happy that it’s finally fall. I looked out into my backyard this morning, and the entire lawn is covered in yellow leaves. My front yard is spattered in orange and gold. I suppose, as an adult, I should look at this and see all the work it will take to rake them. But, lucky for me, I’m only an adult by age. The kid in me sees a fairy land and I’m leaving my leaves where they are.

It seems like the last few falls just haven’t been as colorful, too wet and windy maybe for good foliage. But this year everything is beautiful. I especially love the sugar maples that turn shades of pumpkin and red delicious. The bark looks almost black against the color infused leaves, making them all the more fantastic.

If you haven’t guessed yet, autumn is my favorite time of year. It brings back happy memories faster than anything - collecting leaf bouquets when I was little to hang on our front door, hayrides with our church youth group, followed by bonfires and hot cider at the apple orchards. Fall brings memories of past birthdays and Thanksgivings, visiting the grandparents and shopping for the holidays. It also brought the beginning of a new school year, and that in itself was a thrill all its’ own. (I was one of those weird kids that LOVED school.)

Even more than the leaves, I adore the weather that comes with the season. There’s a smell of earth and frost and dried leaves, mixed with rain and sunshine - and sometimes wood smoke - that permeates the earth. The air feels more alive, like a creature that has just awakened and can’t wait to come out and play. To shake the leaves free so they can chase wild and free through town.

Autumn’s magical. Not in the witches and wizards, kind of way, but in a fabulous sense that creation is alive. It’s as if fall is the last big hurrah before nature goes to sleep for the winter and the leaves are the confetti being tossed about.

So I invite you to lock away your bossy adult and let your inner child free. Make yourself a mug of hot cider, go out and enjoy this weather while it lasts. And if you must rake the leaves - be sure you jump in them first.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Scots in me

There’s something about knowing where you’re from that makes you feel more connected with the world around you. I find it fascinating the lengths many people will go, to trace their heritage. Not to knock it, I’ve worked our family tree for years. But what’s interesting is how we pick and choose what part of our past to claim.

My family is pureblooded mutt. I don’t doubt that a lot of other people’s are too. My ancestors are German, Swede, English, Native American, Scotch and probably other stuff I’ve yet to track down. My last name, however, is Scottish. Now, I find all of my heritage interesting, but what I claim the most is the Scotch. I find my soul identifies with the Celtic blood the most. Everything about it fascinates me. I love the music, the lore and legends, the history and poetry. The accent makes me feel warm and fuzzy (especially when spoken by a good-looking man - Hello Sean Connery!). I have never set foot in Scotland, and yet that is where I most long to go. I want to see and smell the highlands, taste the salt in the air around the coasts.

Sadly, the chances of me going to Scotland any time soon are pretty slim. That hasn’t stopped me from pursuing a regular Scottish fix, though. It started with historical novels set in the wild lands of Scotland and Ireland. Then, through a friend I was introduced to The Scottish Highland Games. Those are a blast. I love to watch the muscle men in kilts tossing the caber (You know the telephone pole things.) Who knew that there was actually a skill and logic involved in that? I always thought it was just a bunch of hard heads betting on who was stronger, but it turns out there’s a whole lot more to it than that.

It was while we were at our first games, that I was introduced to the CIA. They were so fascinating I joined up immediately. Now I’m a dues-paying member of the Clan Irwin Association. (Surely you didn’t think I meant spooks?) Turns out my last name has been spelled over 250 ways over the last ten centuries, and they’re all linked to the same ancestor- Duncan Erinvine. In fact, ours was a royal blood line (I always new my dream of being a princess wasn't completely delusional.) Eventually that Duncan’s ancestor, Prince Duncan was made King of Scotland, where he ruled only a short time, until his cousin, MacBeth, murdered him. Yep, Shakespeare has immortalized us. Lady MacBeth’s wails of ‘out damn spot’ stemmed directly from the death of my ancestor. (The only time I use that phrase is when I’m doing laundry, but still I feel connected none the less.)

Jump ahead a few hundred years and another grandson of the long dead Duncan is fighting for his rights to the Scottish throne. That’s right, Robert the Bruce was also a descendant. I find that the Irwins were quite involved in his battle for the throne. We already held the Bonshaw lands, when Robert faced and beat the English in the battle at Bannockburn. But due to William de Irwyn’s protection of the Bruce during one of their many battles, Robert granted de Irwyn Drum Castle. The Barony of Drum is still held to this day by the Chief of the clan, David Irvine, 26th Baron of Drum.

Now in reality, that is but a tiny portion of my heritage, and a lot of ancient history. I am first and foremost AMERICAN, an amazing heritage in and of itself. But when I see my fellow Scots at the games, or read a historical novel and recognize part of that as MY history, I feel like I’m part of something bigger. Something meaningful. Forget politics, even those within the same family often disagreed, but the sense of family and clan is something that resonates well with who I am. And I find that it resonates well with a lot of people. There’s nothing like being greeted warmly by a ‘cousin’. You may have never met before, but to a Scotsman - you’re family, and that’s something everyone could stand to have a little more of.

Slán agus beannacht leat (Goodbye and blessings with you.)


P.S. Want to check out some cool Irwin/Irvine/Erwin sites? Check out or

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Amore del libro…

I have a raging love affair with books. It’s the only long-term romance I’ve had in my life – sad, I know, but true. I love my books.

When I told my sister that the other day she shook her head dismally and said “That’s really sad, April.” I guess it is. I mean she loves to read as much as I do, but she’s never formed a bond with her books like I have.

I have a rather large library, because I can’t bear to part with any of my old friends. Once, in a burst of spring cleaning and organizing, I forced myself to pare down my bookshelves. After I donated them to the used bookstore, I felt like a traitor. My roomier shelves seemed to look at me with distrust, as if I had turned traitor. Since then, I find room where I can. In fact, I’ve spent the last few years tracking down the titles I loved the most just to restock my collection. So now, they’re categorized by genre and author and the shelves bow with their weight.

My books talk to me. I love to sit in my library and just look at the spines lined up across the shelves. I look at my favorite titles and instantly I’m lost within that world. I relive the romance, the terror, the suspense, the drama and surprise. Each one makes me feel like I have lived a different life.

Beside the old titles are new ones I’ve yet to read (because I can’t walk into a bookstore and not walk out with at least 5 new books). When I see them, I get an adrenaline rush, a jolt of anticipation at the world yet to be entered.

I love the way they smell. New books are crisp and fragrant. Old books are slightly musty and evoke a sense of timelessness. Their weight is reassuring in my hand, a heavy promise of fun and new adventure. (My nephew doesn’t share this love. He helped me move my library into my new house. I think he actually considered my death or dismemberment after the 20th case.) I however, love the way they feel.

My books make me feel secure and safe. They fulfill me in ways few would understand. They’ll never abandon, reject or hurt me (short of them falling off of the overloaded shelves and landing on my foot, anyway). How many relationships can be described that way? They are consistent and faithful and I happily pursue the only Earthly romance that will never fade.

Happy reading,

Feeling my way through

Okay, I admit, I'm doing this completely for myself. I'm curious about the whole world of blogging. What kind of people air their laundry, spill their guts and rant in a public forum? Oh yeah, pretty much everyone. I guess I'm included in that now.

You'll probably see that most posts will not have any bearing on previous posts. I'm winging it.

As a way of introduction, I spend my days in Accounting Hell dreaming of the day I can drop-kick this job in favor of traveling the world and becoming a famous author. Most days, I tolerate my job and am thankful for the pay it provides. But there are other days, when I fantasize about pulling my own "9-5" plot like Dolly Parton and the girls in that old movie. I'm sure if my bosses were hidden somewhere, no one would ever know the difference. They could live out their lives in obscurity while the rest of us actually ran the company in a way that made SENSE.

When I'm not working or complaining about my job, I write or spend time with my family and friends. I have a lot of nieces and nephews that are absolutely adorable. I'm also an avid reader, music lover and movie-goer. Who knows, maybe I'll discuss those too. I have eclectic tastes.

As for Romance... . What's that? I only attract Freaks, Geeks, Losers and Users. And trust me, I'm not that judgmental. (It may sound that way, but really, I'm not.) My problem is I'm too nice and I can't ever be mean to these guys. So they think they have a chance, when really I'm cringing. I've yet to find the man that is as interested in me as I am in him. Therefore, Valentines day and every other would-be romantic days, are simply dates in my calendar.

So, in a nutshell, there I am. Take me, leave me, love me, ignore me. Or stick around and maybe you'll find a few laughs along the way.

A. - Dream Big. Be Bold. No Fear.