Friday, December 21, 2007

Weird Stuff

You Are Quite Worldly
You've done a good bit of worldly exploring, and you have an international perspective. And you're definitely looking forward to your future adventures abroad. You've got the passport, the desire to travel, and maybe even the language skills. Now all you need are the means!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Appetizer: Make up a word and give us its definition. Squaddle. The waddling motion a short, fat man makes when he's hurrying somewhere. Soup: What is currently your favorite song? Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B. It's my granddaughter's favorite song, so how can I resist? Salad: What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year? For my whole family to be together again. Main Course: Name a scent that reminds you of someone special in your life. Freshly baked bread. The scent reminds me of my mother. Dessert: Who is someone on television that you feel probably shouldn’t be, and why? I can only pick one????? Okay, I pick Rachel Ray. She drives me nuts!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #7

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Thirteen Things from My Life that Begin with "E" (in no particular order)
1. E-mail. I spend way too much time every day reading and responding to it, and yet I'd much rather use e-mail than to have constant interruptions by phone during the day. 2. Easy chair. Absolutely my favorite place to write. 3. Editing. Probably one of the most important parts of writing a book in my opinion. Creating is essential, of course, but the magic happens for me during the revision or editing stages. 4. Enchiladas. Cheese in flour tortillas. From Lorena's. M-m-m-m-m!!!!! 5. Epiphany. An integral part of any book, especially the ones I write. 6. Executive Session. I've been serving on a board of directors for the past three years, so it's become a part of my life. 7. Exercise. Not that I actually do any, but I spend a great deal of time each day avoiding it. 8. Exhaustion. A constant problem, probably because of my outlook toward #7 above. 9. Ex-husband. I had one for many years, but he passed away in 1999. 10. Extortion. Way back when I was about 20 or 21, a couple of idiots decided that my ex-husband and I must have had money. I guess he thought this because my ex's family owned a business that seemed to be doing very well. We received an extortion threat and my daughter and I went into hiding while the police set up a command center in my (very messy) living room. Eventually, the bad guys were apprehended and my daughter and I were able to come home again. Too bad the extortionists didn't realize that my ex's family kept us poor as church mice. It could have saved them 10-15 years. 11. Eyewitness. I was the eyewitness in a hit and run accident a few years back while driving home from a book signing at one of my local bookstores. 12. The Edgar Award. No, I don't have one, but I want one some day!!! 13. Editors. They're a very large part of my life and I've been truly blessed to work with some of the best.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #6

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thirteen Things From My Life That Begin With "D"
in no particular order

1. Deadlines. For a writer, they're part of every day life, and they can be pure hell. Learning the discipline of writing is essential because there's nothing that can kill the muse faster than having to be creative on demand. But you know what they say . . . the only thing worse than having a deadline is not having a deadline.

2. Diapers. For eighteen years or so, these little things disappeared from my life. Now they're back, and I couldn't be more delighted.

3. Daughters. They're my kids and my best friends. They get me when no one else does. For every minute of grief or worry they've brought me, they've given me three minutes of joy.

4. Decorate. When I have the time and the energy, I love to decorate for the holidays. Unfortunately both of the above things have been in short supply the last few years. I didn't even bother putting up a Christmas tree last year -- and that's not like me.

5. Dreams. For most of my life, I haven't remembered my dreams. I suppose I did dream, but I never remembered what I dreamed about except an occasional recurring dream about being chained in a tower in a medieval castle. That dream is gone and now I dream about things like working for my old boss and frantically trying to get to work while something is obstructing my path.

6. Dogs ... of course. There's Angel, my poorly socialized dog with ADHD and OCD. Those of you who hang around here a lot know that I blog about her occasionally. And there's Sammi (no relation) who is my oldest daughter's dog and who currently lives with me. She's a noisy "little" thing (little only by comparison to Angel who, I swear, is part giraffe, part gazelle, and part kangaroo) who barks every time a leaf moves on the street and refuses to take treats when you're leaving the house because ... well, because you're leaving. As if not taking the treat will make you stay, I guess. I'm really not sure what goes on inside her head.

7. Dance. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a professional dancer. More specifically, I wanted to be a June Taylor dancer, but I don't think I ever confessed my professional dance aspirations aloud, and I think they died away somewhere before I was 8. Besides being a novelist, being a June Taylor dancer is the only thing I ever really wanted to be when I grew up.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket8. Dad. I have one, as do all of you :) Mine passed away on October 6, 2006 at the age of 82. He was a World War II Veteran who loved the great outdoors and dreamed of being a Park Ranger when he was a young man. He grew up on a farm and spent so many hours working in the fields, he almost didn't graduate from high school. That near miss bothered him his entire life.

9. Daydreaming. I'm all for it, and I'm lucky. I'm a writer. Daydreaming is my job!

10. Dictionary. In 7th grade, I made a poster that was supposed to read "How To Develop your Mental Abilities." I misspelled two words on that poster, so it ended up reading "How to Develope your Mental Abbilities." Not only did the other kids in my class make fun of me, but the teacher did too -- and this right after she laughed at me because I didn't know how to spell marijuana. (This was before it was a household word where I lived, and I was absent the day we learned what it was.) This all happened the year after I had Mr. Graybill, the world's most obnoxious teacher, in 6th grade. Mr. Graybill made the leather wallet I was crafting for my dad (see above) a public example of how not to do leatherwork. The public humiliation I felt over that stupid poster nearly did me in, but I became best friends with the dictionary that day. After that, I could out-spell almost everyone I knew. Even my Straight-
A Sister -- the one who graduated 3rd in her class -- asked me how to spell words.

11. Deployment. As some of you know, my son-in-law is currently deployed with the Air Force in the Middle East. He's willing to be there because he believes that if we don't fight them over there, we'll have to fight them here on our own soil. All I can say is, war looks a whole lot different when it comes knocking on your own front door than it does when it's an abstract principle.

12. Dishwasher. It's my favorite modern convenience.

13. Down East. Where I wish I lived!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #5

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thirteen Things From My Life That Begin with "C"
in no particular order

1. Curly hair. It's the bane of my existence. My hair is very thick and curly, and while I know some people would love it, I don't. I have made peace with it finally, but for most of my life I have disliked my thick curly hair. The curls aren't curly enough to fit into any style. My hair's too thick to let me do things like wear hats, wear barrettes, use clips, or put my hair into a ponytail. I also can't style my hair because it just does what it wants. No matter how much product I use, the hair just springs back into the non-style it likes best.

2. Cat. When my ex-husband died in 1999, I somehow inherited his cat. My kids couldn't let Vincent go, and I'm a big softy so even though we had two cats already, I took Vincent in. He quickly realized which of us he needed to make peace with, and in short order he became my cat. Vincent was raised with dogs, so when he came to live with me, he didn't know much about being a cat. He couldn't leap onto windowsills and the sound of his own purring frightened him. Eventually he learned a lot about being a cat, but he never did lose his 'fraidy cat nature. This morning, Vincent is missing. He wasn't waiting for me at the back door when I woke up, and that's not like him. I'm starting to worry that he may have gone to join my ex-husband.

3. Car. I own one. I love driving most of the time. Frankly, I don't think there's anything better than a good road trip. Flying is nice, and it's convenient, but if I had my choice and the time, I'd take a road trip over an airline flight any day.

4. Crochet. I don't knit. I've tried, but unless it's a very simple pattern like a dish cloth, knitting just isn't for me. I do like to crochet, though. I don't do things like sweaters and vests and doilies. I like to make afghans. Just afghans. Lots and lots of afghans :) This is one I made for my oldest daughter.

5. Cousins. I have a lot of them. There are 42 of us, to be exact.

6. Candy. I think about it a lot -- not because I have a personal sweet tooth, which I kind of do, but because I need to research it for the candy shop series I write. Really!

7. Christmas. I know it's pretty boring, but Christmas really is my favorite holiday. If it weren't for the cold and having to get out and drive in the snow, Christmas would be the perfect time of year. I don't even mind driving in the ice and snow as much as I mind walking in it. I am not sure-footed!

8. Calendars. I love them. I don't know why, but I'm just utterly fascinated by them. I love having calendars hanging on my walls, love the different pictures each month -- but my love of calendars isn't restricted to pretty ones. I love desk mat calendars, appointment calendars, computerized calendars, purse-sized calendars, thought or word of the day calendars, my mother's old-fashioned two-ring calendar .... If I could have a hundred calendars, I'd try to find a way to use them all. I know. It's sick.

9. Camping. I love to camp. I'm not sure what it is about camping that I love because I don't like to actually do anything once I get there. I don't fish, don't particularly care for nature hikes, don't mountain climb or dirt bike or hunt, but I love the mountains and I love getting out in nature. I even like cooking on the camp stove. I like stringing up the clothesline between the trees and fresh trout for breakfast and campfires. I don't, however, like outhouses without flush toilets, and I don't like campgrounds without trees. When I camp, I have to be in the mountains in the forest. I have my limits.

10. Crawling. Something Abigail and I do a lot of these days.

11. Creamsicles. I'll confess that I'm a fan of the popsicle in general, but the Creamsicle is frozen confection heaven.

12. Computers. I love computers. I don't like to point and click to make the computer do what somebody else has decided it should, I like to make computers do what I want them to. Back in the olden days, when I worked at my Evil Day Job, I taught myself to write programs in DOS and dBase, and I wrote several complicated programs before I quit to write full time. Now, I like to play around with websites, and I'm teaching myself to write in html. It appeals to my creative side.

13. Counted Cross Stitch. I haven't done much of it lately, but I love it. It occurs to me as I write this that all of my creative projects have something in common. I love creating something from "nothing," whether it's the world the characters in my books inhabit, an afghan from balls of yarn, or a picture from a blank canvas, I love turning empty space into something beautiful. Here's one of the items on my wish list at Rebecca's Discount Needlecrafts.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Thinking Back

I was looking through some old pictures today and came across some photos I took on one of the last aimless drives I took with my dad before he passed away. Dad loved to get in the car and drive. After he lost most of his eyesight to macular degeneration, he loved to get in the car and let one of us drive him around. When he was a young man, he wanted to be a park ranger with the U.S. Forest Service. That dream died, and he spent his life doing other things, but he never lost his love of the great outdoors.

While we were on this drive, we marveled at the color of the aspen leaves. Usually, they're a brilliant golden yellow, but that year they were a vibrant orange. Since we'd just been through five or six years of drought, we speculated that the color difference was caused by a lack of water, but I never bothered to ask anyone and find out for sure.

It's very odd to think that a year ago my dad was alive and well -- well . . . relatively well, considering that he was 82 and legally blind and diabetic, with high blood pressure and all the other ills that were plaguing him. He was terrified that he would live to become a burden on his children and, considering how hard he was to contain, being bedridden would have been pure hell for him.

I guess I'll let him find out what made those aspen leaves orange, and I'll wait patiently for the day when he can give me the answer.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings

I say ... and you think ... ? Crook :: I am not a .... Career :: Ah...something I spend a great deal of time thinking about. Freckles :: Angel Kisses Scramble :: (d) eggs. My granddaughter's favorite breakfast these days. Mistake :: Everyone makes 'em. Telephone :: Number. For some reason, I have a really good memory for telephone numbers -- or I used to before the day of speed dial. It used to be that I could hear a number once and remember it for years. Now ... not so much. Thank you :: Card. Something I never, never, ever remember to send. Obstruction :: Blockage. 24/7 :: Hmmm. The first thing that came to mind was the TV show 24, which I'm slowly catching up on, thanks to Netflix. I resisted watching this show for a long time. Now, though I still find things to make fun of from time to time, I'm kinda hooked. SciFi :: Friday. One of my cousins has a husband who regularly hosts SciFri Fridays at his house. He and his buddies get together, eat, and watch .... whatever they watch.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Monday, September 24, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings

Running off to spend the day with my daughter and granddaughter. It's Abigail's first birthday today, so even though we had her party in August before her daddy was deployed, it's still a special day. Since I don't have much time, let's do some Unconscious Mutterings . . .
I say ... and you think ... ?

Singles :: Dance. For years, my church didn't quite know what to do with its widowed and divorced members, so they stuck everybody in a dark room and put on some music. Those dances were horrible things, depressing in the extreme, and filled with men nobody in their right mind would want to go out with. As my Aunt Pauline once said, church dances are where you go to be rejected by the ugliest men on earth. I shudder just thinking about them.

Blaze :: of glory!

Sandwich :: fixins

Outside :: rain. It's raining as I type this, and I can hear the steady drip outside my window, the rumble of thunder in the distance, and the ping of rain as it hits a metal cover on my chimney.

Gooey :: Sticky.

Industry :: executive

Exclusive :: interview.

Warranty :: extended. Are they worth it or not?

Magical :: Mystery Tour. taaa-daaaa the magical mystery tour.

Heels :: Pink. The color of heels my daughter almost wore when we went out last night for her birthday dinner. At the last minute, she changed to black, but the pink ones were lovely :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #4

Thirteen Things From My Life that Begin with "B"
(in no particular order)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket 1. Books have always been a major part of my life. I can't remember a time when I didn't treasure them. In fact, I'm still pretty peeved at my mother for selling my Nancy Drew books to buy my brother a set of Hardy Brothers books which he never read.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket 2. Babies, baby stuff, baby clothes, and baby food were far, far behind me until a year ago when little Miss Abigail came into our lives. She turned my world upside down (in the best possible way.) Check out last week's TT list to see how happy and healthy she is now.

3. Blogging. I don't do as much of it as I'd like to because real life has to get a foot in the door somewhere, but I actually like blogging . . . when I can think of something to say!

4. Book Clubs. I love talking books almost as much as I love reading books.

5. Birthday. September is the month of the birthday in my family. In fact, Ian is the only member of my immediate family whose birthday is not in September. Even Abigail was born this month ... the day after her mother's birthday. It's worse than December on the old bank balance.

6. Brother. I have one. He's six years younger than me. I also have a brother-in-law.

7. Burnout. What happens to writers when they write too much, too fast. Unfortunately, the creative process has to include time to regenerate creative energy and in the quest to make a living too many of us don't build that recuperative time into our schedules. Sooner or later, it catches up with you though. You can't escape it.

8. Balance. The thing I am always actively seeking in my life.

9. Beatles. I'm old enough to remember when they first burst onto the music scene. As a girl, I used to play "Beatles" with my friends. We'd get our mother's brooms and pretend they were guitars and we'd stand out on the street (we lived on a very quiet street) and sing and "play" until grouchy old Mr. Tibesaur came home and tried to run us over for playing in the street. When we weren't actually being the Beatles, we picked boyfriends. Everyone always wanted Paul, but I was a George Harrison gal.

10. Bored. Me? No. Never. (yawn.)

11. Bagel. Probably my favorite breakfast.

12. Bankruptcy. I spent more than 15 years of my life working in the close-knit world of bankruptcy law. I went from being a legal secretary, to an office administrator, to a judicial assistant at the federal court before I finally quit to become a full-time writer.

13. Barbie Doll. I loved my Barbie because she wasn't like everyone else's Barbie. My Barbie had lovely black hair, so I could always tell her apart when playing with friends. She survived quite nicely until my brother (see above) decided she needed to go swimming in a hole dug in the field next door. He wrapped her in Scotch tape (he claims this was to protect her from the dirty water), tied a string around her waist, and dipped her in the muddy water. She's still in my original Barbie case in my garage.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Shout Out to My Kids

Ian is deploying tomorrow, and I'm finding it difficult to think about anything else today. It's amazing how quickly he became an integral part of our family, especially since our little family isn't an easy thing to break into. It's not that we're snobbish or anything. It's just that I've been a single mom for-practically-ever, and it's been the three of us against the world for most of my kids' lives. We've been a team, the three of us, and we share incredibly close relationships.
Over the years, men have come along, stayed a while, and eventually disappeared for one reason or another, and we've either been glad to see them go, or we've quickly figured out we should have been glad!!! Ian is different, and I think each of us knew that from the moment we first met him.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I can honestly say that if I'd been allowed to pick a husband for my daughter, Ian is the man I would have picked. He loves her, loves their baby, loves being a family man, provides well, takes his responsibilities seriously, but he also knows how to turn loose and have a good time. He's patient and slow to anger, and he makes my daughter laugh. Best of all, he recognizes those qualities that make my kid who she is, and he loves her for them.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tomorrow morning, he leaves for the Middle East. Luckily, he's not scheduled for a long deployment, and luckily he's not going to one of the more dangerous places over there. And today, I'm thinking about my son (in-law) heading off to put his life on the line for my freedom, and about my daughter, who is heading in to what will surely be her first stint as a "single" mom, and I just had to tell the world how very proud I am of both of them.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fridays Feast

Appetizer: When was the last time you visited a hospital?

October 6, 2006 - the day my dad died. No, wait! I went back to the hospital where Abigail was born a couple of months ago to visit her primary care nurse from the NICU.

Soup: On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how ambitious are you?

Tough question! I think I'm around an 8.

Salad: Make a sentence using the letters of a body part. (Example: (mouth) My other ukelele tings healthily.)

Tongue: That Ocelot Needs Glue Under (its) Eyes

Main Course: If you were to start a club, what would the subject matter be, and what would you name it?

Well, I have started a club once in my life, so I can answer this question with some authority! I was about 10 years old -- maybe even younger -- and I started a club called AGFA which stood for .... wait for it .... American Girls For Albertsons. Oh yeah. It was a hot, happenin' club, I can tell you! I think there were two or three of us in it, and we rode our bikes to Albertsons a couple of times.

Dessert: What color is the carpet/flooring in your home?


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #3

Thirteen Things From My Life that Start with "A"

(In no Particular Order)

1. Apple peeler/corer. I don't use it as often I'd like to, but it's pretty much the coolest thing ever.

2. Afghans I've crocheted. I don't even know how many there are, but it truly is something I love doing. I make them and keep them, make them and give them away. It's soothing to work on them, I guess.

3. Abigail. There simply are no words to express how much I adore this child. It's like the love you feel for your own children ... and more .... no, not more. That's impossible. But it's different. It's HUGE. An amazing kind of love.

4. Apples -- but not all apples. Only crisp, sour apples. Granny Smith are good. Red Delicious are usually too mealy. Braeburn can be good . . .

5. Angel. I got this dog for my daughter after an illness. The dog was supposed to help her heal. Well, she did her job, and then my daughter got married and moved out, and Angel stayed with me. And now, even though she drives me crazy and still goes bonkers and leaps around the house, and jumps down 5 stairs at a time and sails over an 8 foot fence without even breathing hard, she's still one of my favorite things.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

6. Autumn. It's the time of year when I was born, and I think it's my favorite time of year. I love the cool nights, the moderating temperatures in the day, the leaves as they change colors, the smell of the soil, the sound of leaves underfoot as I walk. I love Halloween decorations and school bulletin boards, and gourds and squash. I just love it all.

7. Answering Machine. It's a lifesaver when I'm working.

8. Anne Tyler. I love her books.

9. Alaska. I went several years ago and had a wonderful time. The scenery is amazing and the people fascinating. I hate the signs documenting how many moose have been killed along the highways. It's sad. Beautiful land. Everyone ought to go once.
10. Arkansas. It's where my dad was born.

11. Austria. It's on my list of places I want to go.

12. Acadia National Park. One of my favorite places on earth.

13. The Air Force. It's not exactly one of my favorite things at the moment, but it's a large part of my life, and I'm SO proud of my Senior Airman son-in-law. He's being deployed in just 4 days, so if you can spare prayers for one more soldier, please add Ian to your list.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday Fun #1

Still fighting to get book #4 in the series finished and onto my editor's desk so here we go with Friday Fun :)


1. School…couldn’t wait or dreaded hell?

Usually couldn't wait.

2. School supplies,… junkie or couldn’t care less?

Absolute junkie! I still am!

3. The locker,… organized or a chaotic mess?

Pretty organized, I guess.

4. Lunch time… bring or buy?

Buy. Nobody brought lunch from home when I was in school!

5. Sports… jock or not?

Absolute dweeb. Definitely not.

6. Music… band, chorus, orchestra, or none of the above?

Band, but only through sixth grade. After that, I gave it all up except what was required. Took piano lessons privately, but no more public school music.

If yes, what insturment or part?

Clarinet (snort!)

7. Report cards… grounded or rewarded?!

Middle ground, I guess. My parents didn't reward, but I never got grounded either.

8. Reunions… a good idea, or thanks, but no?

Thanks, but no. Of course, this attitude could be because my graduating class has never had a reunion, and after this long I don't know anyone, and wasn't close enough to anyone to really want to reconnect, I guess.

9. School friends,…. still have them or grown apart?

Grown apart. Long story. Not pretty, but my oldest friends have only been part of my life for about 15 years.

10. Favorite class?

Creative Writing (go figure!) Ceramics.

Crossing Guard

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #2

Thirteen TV Shows on my Favs List
(in no particular order)

1. Monk. I think Tony Shaloub is brilliant in this show. I don't watch it for the writing or for the plots. I watch it for the characters.

2. Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe. Because I learn something new in every show, Mike is hot, and he's got a great sense of humor.

3. House. Again because of the characters. I've been a fan of Hugh Laurie's for a while now, and I have to say I think he does the best American accent of any British actor I've ever heard.

4. The Office. I had the opportunity to check out some brief previews of this show before it hit the air, and I didn't think I was going to like it. Turned out, I was wrong.

5. My Name Is Earl. It makes me laugh.

6. Desperate Housewives. Yeah, I know, it's SO two years ago. But I still like it.

7. Brothers & Sisters. Wonderfully flawed characters!

8. 24 My daughter got me hooked for season 6, and I've had to go back and rent the previous years from Netflix so I could catch up. I'm just finishing season 4, I think . . . no, maybe it's season 3. Anyway, I'm almost there! So in spite of the fact that the characters can be tortured almost to death one hour and then walk, sit, talk, stand, and fight as if they don't have so much as a bruise the next. In spite of the fact that Jack Bauer can get anywhere in Los Angeles in 10 minutes. On foot. With a bullet in one leg and a rabid dog hanging off the other . . . it's still a must watch for me now.

9. Grey's Anatomy. Again, it's all about the characters. Nobody's perfect. Everybody's flawed. Besides, my daughters are hooked, and it's fun to have a show to watch together, even if we're not together when we watch it. I'm kind of sad that Addison's leaving, though. I thought she added a nice texture to the mix.

10. Deadliest Catch. This show absolutely fascinates me. I'm completely hooked. I think I must be trying to figure out what these men (and the occasional woman) are made of. I mean, sure, the money can be great, but you've gotta know there's more than moolah getting these guys out into the Bering Sea year after year. Whatever it is, there's not a drop of it in my genetic makeup.

11. Mad Men. This is a new show on AMC, just 8 episodes old. Set in the 1960s in the world of advertising, this show brings back memories -- some good, some . . . not so much. It's easy to forget how things were until something comes along to remind you.

12. State of Mind. Another new show, this one on Lifetime. Unfortunately, I can't find any information about whether or not it's going to continue.

13. Man vs. Wild. Come on. A guy named Bear? How can I be expected to resist that?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Adelle
(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, September 03, 2007

I'm frantically trying to put the finishing touches on book #4 in the candy shop mystery series, so I'm not going to take time to blog today. I found this map, though, that I thought was kind of fun. Which Canadian provinces have you been to? I've visited Alberta, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Quebec. create your own personalized map of Canada or check out ourVancouver travel guide

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #1

Dumb Utah Laws

It is illegal to detonate any nuclear weapon. Apparently, you can have them (is this true?) but you just can't detonate them.

Birds have the right of way on all highways. (Which may explain why my daughter used to always yell at me for almost hitting birds!)

It is against the law to fish from horseback.

When a person reaches the age of 50, he/she can then marry their cousin. (Oh my.)

It is illegal not to drink milk. (I may be in huge trouble.)

In Kaysville, you must have identification to enter a convienence store after dark.

In Logan, women may not swear.

In Monroe (there's a Monroe here???) daylight must be visible between partners on a dance floor. Hmmm. What happens if you're dancing at night???

In Provo, throwing snowballs is gonna earn you a $50 fine.

In Salt Lake City, it's illegal to walk down the street carrying a violin in a paper bag. I can't even imagine what would prompt lawmakers to put this one on the books.

In Trout Creek, it's illegal for pharmacists to sell gunpowder to cure headaches.

A husband is responsible for every criminal act committed by his wife while she is in his presence. That seems only fair since so many of them also consider themselves responsible for every good thing their wives do.

It's against the law to hunt whales. So darned inconvenient when you're living in a landlocked state!!!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Give a Busy Person a Job ...

Maybe one of you can explain something to me. Why is it that the busier I am, the more I get done? Doesn't it seem like the opposite would be true? Shouldn't the opposite be true?

I have a deadline in less than two weeks, and no, I'm not ready to send the book to my editor yet. I have every intention of getting there, though. I just may run a bit short in the sleep department before I'm through.

A year ago, I agreed to teach an online class this month, which requires that I post two "lectures" every week and answer questions as they arise. There have been lots of questions this month, and I'm not the kind of teacher who answers briefly. I want to make sure I've explained myself clearly, so I tend .... I won't say I tend to ramble, but I do try to be thorough.

I've had some family issues to deal with. Nothing, thank God, having to do with my kids or the Incredible Miss Abigail, but still troublesome, and they've led to more phone calls in a day than I'm used to taking while I'm supposed to be working.

Two weeks ago, the galley proofs for PEPPERMINT TWISTED arrived on my doorstep with instructions to read the proofs carefully, check for typesetting errors, and return the package to my editor in NYC by last Friday.

I'm heavily involved in the administration of a non-profit organization, and the president is out of town this week, which means that in my spare time I've been drafting statements and approving things I generally don't get involved with on a daily basis.

So why is my writing humming along so well? Why can I write two chapters a day without really breaking a sweat (now that the cooler in my house is fixed and the temperature no longer hovers near 100 inside.) Why do I get so much more done when I have a lot to do?

This isn't the first time I've noticed this phenomenon at work. Years ago, while working at the Evil Day Job 50-60 hours a week, I consistently wrote 3-4 books every year. I was one of the most prolific authors I knew. I wrote through everything that came my way -- family issues, surgeries, moving, kid troubles -- and I never seem to have any real trouble getting a book done. That's not to say that my manuscripts always arrived sharp and crisp on the morning of my deadline, but I wasn't ever far off.

Then (joy of joys) I quit the Evil Day Job to write full time, and what happened? I suddenly developed "issues" that had never plagued me before. With all the time in the world to write, I suddenly found myself spending less and less time at it. A thousand excuses presented themselves every day and, unlike the excuses that came my way when I worked the EDJ, these suddenly seemed Too Important to Ignore.

Don't get me wrong ... I haven't been a complete slug since I quit the EDJ and became a fulltime writer. Every so often, a month like this one comes along and nudges me back on track. But what I don't understand is why it's so damn easy to slide off track again, and why I never feel myself sliding until I'm avoiding my work in progress to catalog my DVDs -- again.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

During the past few weeks, I've been almost completely focused on finishing the fourth book in the candy shop series, so I haven't really lifted my head for much, except to moan about yet another day where the temperature soars over 100 degrees. One thing that has caught my attention, though, is the story of the trapped coal miners who are buried in the Crandall Canyon mine about 150 miles from my house. Six men have been missing since a mine cave-in for the past eleven days, and rescue efforts have met with one setback after another since the beginning. Tonight, they met with the biggest setback yet. Apparently, the mine experienced what's called a "bump" -- an explosion inside the mine where pressure relieves itself. Nine rescue workers were injured. One of those nine has now been reported dead. News crews cut into regular programming at about 7:30 tonight as ambulances and medical helicopters began arriving. As I write this, injured rescue workers are still being transported to hospitals in the area. My heart aches for the families and friends of the miners, for the whole close-knit community that has been affected by this mining disaster, and I watch the news, and I'm torn between natural human curiosity and the revulsion I feel when I listen to the news people and watch the footage on the TV. I was with my kids, standing on the lawn of my ex-husband's house while the paramedics tried to save his life. I know what an intensely private thing these kinds of things can be, and I am furious at the cameramen who are aiming their cameras through the windows of the ambulances so they can get the most exciting shot possible. I listen to news reporters speculating wildly about things they don't know, creating issues out of things that might mean absolutely nothing, and I want to knock some sense into them. Yeah, I know, the public's right to know and all that. But the public doesn't need to watch someone's loved one being given CPR as the ambulance flashes past. Isn't it enough to be told? Can't we allow those injured people some privacy? A hint of dignity? A little respect? And what does wild speculation have to do with the public's right to know? Do we really have to waste fifteen minutes or more of airtime wondering if that was a Colorado license plate and making up stories about what it might mean if it was? So, okay, it's not really about the public's right to know. I get that. I also get that it's about ratings, and scooping the other guy, and getting the biggest chunk of the advertising dollar. And I'm sure I'm just being a prude about it all. After all, I've now just learned that the Mayor of Price, Utah, was eating macaroni and cheese when tonight's disaster occurred, and that's something, I think we all needed to know.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

New Cover

I'm on deadline, trying to get the fourth candy shop mystery finished, polished, and onto my editor's desk by the 1st of September, so I'm trying hard not to spend a lot of time online right now ... but I recently received the cover for PEPPERMINT TWISTED (coming December 2007) and I wanted to share with my readers!

Saturday, July 21, 2007


It's hot where I live. No, I'm not expecting sympathy. I've looked at the maps on the weather channel, and I realize that it's hot pretty much everywhere -- at least here in the States. It's just that I'm not a hot weather sort of gal. I don't do hot, at least not willingly, because I don't do it well. The first thing that goes is sleep. I'm a cool weather sleeper and I'm happiest when the room I'm sleeping in is almost uncomfortably cool for everyone else. Then I can burrow down under the covers, leaving my face exposed to the cool air, and boy! can I sleep then. When it's hot, and I've thrown myself across the bed without any covers (and don't you dare try to put that sheet over me if you value your life!) I don't sleep well. Lack of sleep inevitably makes me cranky. Add that to other cranky makers like the sudden death of my laptop, and I'm really not all that pleasant to be around. Not that I'm thoroughly unpleasant. I wouldn't want to leave you with the wrong impression. The dogs don't run and hide when I walk through the door or anything like that! It's just that I'm much happier as a creature of artificial comfort, and I'm always amazed when I meet someone who loves summer's heat. One of my closest friends lives on the other side of the state from me -- the southern end of the state, to be exact, where the temperatures routinely soar about 15 degrees warmer than they do here at my house. In January and February, I envy her, but by April, when she's already hitting 100 degree temps, I start to wonder why she doesn't just do the sensible thing and move to someplace cooler. That's my game plan, anyway. It's been 100, give or take a degree or two, since some time in June (feels like forever!) I want to move someplace where it never gets about 85. Maybe 80. And where cool breezes, either from the ocean or from a nearby canyon, keep the temperatures moderate. Someplace a little off the beaten path so I never have to deal with traffic snarls, but where the FedEx man still comes and I'm mere minutes away from whatever I might want from the city. Not that I'm picky or anything :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Even a Hole in her Head Can't Stop Her

I know I've raved about my new baby granddaughter before, and I know there's a good chance you're all tired of hearing about her, but I hope you'll indulge me for a minute. You see, it was just one week ago that we found out Abigail had to have brain surgery. As brain surgeries go, this one isn't too bad, I guess. Abigail has a cyst that, so far, isn't bothering her at all, but the neurosurgeon has decided that it's growing quickly enough to be a problem in the future. Last week, he told my daughter and her husband that Abigail needed surgery. Since Ian's going to be sent off to Mississippi by the Air Force for training in just a couple of weeks, the doctor scheduled Abigail's surgery for Monday -- as in this past Monday, the 18th. We barely had time to catch our breath before it was time to check her into the hospital. More than once, I thanked our lucky stars that we live near one of the best children's hospitals in the nation -- maybe even the world. That didn't help a lot when we saw Mom carrying our tiny 16 pound baby down the hall in her hospital jammies, but it was the one thing I had to hang onto. I mean really! The doctor was about to drill a hole in the baby's skull! So we settled in to wait -- but we didn't have to wait long. In fact, the surgery was over so quickly that when we saw the doctor come into the waiting room, we all thought he'd run into some massive complication and had to stop operating. But the surgery went well, he said, and Abigail was recovering nicely. Mom got to go into the recovery room and hold her while she held up. Dad, Auntie Val and Grandmom stayed in the waiting room for a while longer. Then we were summoned and we met the intern wheeling Abigail from recovery to her room. We didn't know what to expect, so when she saw us and smiled, we all nearly fell over. And when she held up her tiny little hand, bandaged up to hold the IV, to her Auntie Val for a high five . . . well, at least two of us lost it. But don't tell Ian. He thinks I cry too easily, for some reason. Abigail was released the following day, and on Wednesday I drove up to the Base to spend my usual afternoon with her. I expected taking care of her to be a little difficult, you know. I thought she might be fussy. Uncomfortable. Even in a little pain. I didn't expect the difficulty to come from the fact that she was running at full power and grabbing, reaching, stretching, pulling (grandmom's hair) and playing as if she'd never even heard of the hospital. In fact, what she really wanted was for me to hold her upside-down, which is one of her favorite games. (I didn't, of course. She might not notice the hole the doctor drilled her in skull, but I can't forget it's there!) All I can say is that kids and modern medicine are amazing!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


I have a new obsession. Well, not obsession, really. I'm not actually obsessed. I'm fascinated by the show "Deadliest Catch". While I could never, ever put myself on a fishing vessel out in the middle of the Bering Sea (or anywhere else, for that matter) I watch eagerly (and a bit breathlessly) while the good captains and their hearty crews risk life and limb every Tuesday night. The show is narrated by Mike Rowe (of "Dirtiest Jobs" fame) and features several ships each season, highlighting their trials with the weather, the hard work, and greenhorn deckhands. I can't say that I have a favorite from among the captains. They all have different personalities and management styles, but I have to admit that I smile at the series of bleeps each time they cut to Captain Phil's boat, F/V Cornelia Marie. Jonathan and Andy on F/V Time Bandit, take their fishing very seriously, but it seems that they also love to laugh at life. Sig (F/V Northwestern) is a hard-nosed Norwegian captain, who runs his ship with an iron fist, but he also knows how to have fun when the time is right. I'm not sure what it is that draws me to the show -- the personalities of the men who put to sea or the never-ending challenges created by the weather. Maybe it's a bit of both. All I know is, it's the one show currently on my "can't miss" list.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Catching Up

It's Wednesday, the day I get to spend with our little miracle baby. The best day of my entire week. So while I'm trying to work past the block in my head that's keeping me from working on the next scene in my current work in progress, I'll do my best to catch up a little on the blog.

I'm ashamed to see that it's been over a month since I last posted, but in my defense, I did have a rough time on the Internet last month. Thanks to ISP issues, I ended up spending over 3 weeks without any access to the Internet at all -- which nearly drove me crazy! Once I finally got reconnected to the world, I discovered that the provider I was using for the e-mail accounts at my website had been bouncing e-mails indiscriminately. I still have no idea what I lost in the process, but I've at least successfully managed to change providers and fingers are crossed that the problem is behind us!

If anyone has e-mailed me in the past month or two and I haven't answered, it's probably because the e-mail got shuffled off into some remote area of cyberspace.

Little Miss Abigail had a check-up yesterday, and she's all the way up to 14 pounds 14 ounces and ready to start eating baby food. She'll have her first taste of food that's not formula or rice cereal this afternoon when her dad gets home from work, and I get to be there. I'm so excited, I went to the market at 7:30 this morning to load up on carrots, squash and sweet potatoes. I'm almost sure there's something a little weird about a grown woman getting that excited about strained carrots, but what can I say?

I'm thrilled to hear that Rosie is leaving The View. Not that I'm a View fan. In fact, I rarely watched it before Rosie joined the cast. Then I watched one day after Rosie came along, and the best thing I can say about it is that I was fully awake by the time the show was over. The only other thing I'm going to say is that it's a very bad idea for anyone in the public eye to start believing their own press and the people they pay to tell them how incredible they are -- something Rosie has obviously done. Everyone's entitled to an opinion, but in Rosie's world it seems that anyone who doesn't share her opinion is evil in one way or another. I don't know, folks. I think she's losing it, big-time.

Anyway, now that she's leaving, I can go back to being a non-watcher, which means I can stop shouting at my television every weekday at 11:00. And that, in turn, makes me feel a whole lot better about my mental stability.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Computer woes

Two days ago, I sent off the revised manuscript for PEPPERMINT TWISTED to my editor, and then I crashed. I'd spent the previous week in NYC, had a rough day of travel getting home, and got very little sleep while I was working on the revisions since I didn't get nearly as much work done on the manuscript while I was traveling as I'd hoped.
It looks like we're still on for a December 2007 release, but I'll let you all know if that changes. I'm delighted to report that we've also agreed to go to contract for at least two more in the candy shop series!
In the middle of doing revisions, I suddenly realized that my wireless network was doing weird things. Before I left home for NYC, the network was humming along just fine. I think it was working when I got home, but I can't remember for sure. I could access the internet from my laptop, but I'm accessing it now and the network is kaput. Or MIA, I'm not sure which.
I don't even know what happened. One day I booted up, and my computer told me it had discovered a new piece of equipment. I clicked on the pop-up bubble and discovered that my computer had found a new router. The one I've been using has disappeared from my laptop. I had the brilliant idea to delete the router and reboot to see what my computer could find, but the router won't allow me to delete it. I even carried my laptop up to my office and sat it on the desk a few inches from my router, but I still can't access my own network, and I'm so frustrated I could scream!
While in NYC, I hooked up to the hotel's wireless network for 24 hours, and now I'm wondering if that network overwrote something on my computer. Anybody out there know enough about wireless networks to offer any suggestions?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

An Ode to E-Mail

I've been thinking a lot about modern technology lately, mainly because Vanessa and Ian keep talking about the possibility that he'll be getting new orders. which would mean that they'd move and take the Wonder Grandchild with them. I've told my fabulous son-in-law that he's only allowed to move away if my daughter has a cell phone and e-mail access so I can talk with her every day -- and I mean it, kind of. Maybe I'm just spoiled, or maybe it's because I've raised my kids alone so we've grown very, very close over the years, but the idea of living any distance at all from them makes me deeply sad. The good thing is, I can write from anywhere, so I guess I could follow them around the world . . . but that makes me feel a bit like a stalker or one of those possessive, obsessive mothers-in-law who ruin their kids' marriages and that's not really the image I'm going for. And it's not as if this is the 1920s and the world is still the way it was when my grandmother got married. She left her home in Arkansas and traveled out west with her new husband, and she saw her parents only twice more in her lifetime. Just a few years before that, people moved away and never saw their families again. That's just how it was. So I'm thinking about modern technology, and feeling incredibly grateful for things like cell phones and e-mail and webcams and all the other things that allow us to stay in touch with one another, no matter where we live in the world. I can let go so my daughter can live her own life, and experience her own adventures, and at the same time, we can stay in touch often enough to keep me from slipping into a very unattractive pity party!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

What's Up With David Caruso?

I watch plenty of television, but I have different tastes than a lot of people, I guess. Back in the 70s, everybody watched Dallas. I preferred Knots Landing. People raved about ER. I was busy watching Chicago Hope. Every woman of a certain age I've ever met was in love with Paul McCartney when she was a girl. I was gaga over George Harrison. The list goes on and on . . . and on.
Anyway. While CSI in its various forms has taken over the airwaves, as of yesterday afternoon, I still hadn't watched a single episode. But last night my daughter and son-in-law introduced me to CSI: Miami, and I have to say, I think they chose the wrong version of CSI to start me out with.
With apologies in advance to all you CSI: Miami fans out there, I'm still trying to figure out why people watch it. The plot wasn't bad. I was interested enough in the storyline to keep watching. Well, and I was holding my sleeping granddaughter, so that probably contributed to my reluctance to announce that "this is [beat, beat] the worst acting I've ever seen in my life," right before flinging myself out of the room. Okay, it's not really the worst acting I've ever seen. I could name a few other shows with much worse . . . but I'd be embarrassed to admit that I watch them.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. The first thing I noticed is that everyone -- and I mean everyone on the law enforcement side of the episode spoke in a hushed voice throughout the episode. It was so odd and unnatural and noticeable, I'm seriously wondering if there's a rule on set that no one can speak louder than David Caruso.
I spent the next few scenes wondering why Caruso wore that pinched gnome-like (strangely reminiscent of Jim Carrey as the Grinch) expression. Was he trying to be a Columbo-esque character? I still don't know if the expression is natural (in which case I apologize profusely) or acting.
But all of that paled after I saw Caruso deliver his first big one-liner. I don't remember what it was, and what he said isn't important. What is important is that he stood perpendicular to the camera, only the right side of his face exposed. The person he was supposed to be talking to supposedly stood where te camera was, while Caruso stared straight ahead. (If you're having trouble following, that means that Caruso is not even looking at the person he's talking to.)
The conversation went on for a couple of lines, and then Caruso delivered a zinging one-liner of some sort before throwing himself backwards out of the shot.
What made this particular episode weird is that he did that not once, not twice, not even three times -- but at least four times in the same episode, and it's possible he did it even more times than that. I don't remember. I think I began blocking them out part way through the show.
I mean, who does that? In real life, that is? Have you ever actually known someone who not only spent multiple conversations not looking at you, but who also repeatedly threw himself backwards to get out of the room? Since I've never watched Caruso in anything before, I'm not famliar with his acting style, so I'm not really pointing the finger at him for being a bad actor. Maybe he's being directed by a really bad director. I don't know. I just know that it was distracting enough to put me off CSI: Miami for good.
In honor of last night's experience, I share with you this video clip I found on YouTube this morning. Enjoy!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Yesterday, it was spring at my house. Sixty degrees, lovely, sunny. Tulips had broken through the soil. This morning, I woke up to this:

The pictures don't really do it justice. First, I took them with a phone camera. Second, the angle doesn't really show that there's at least 5" of snow there at 7:00 in the morning. And third, you can't feel how cold it is!

But it doesn't really matter because I'm celebrating this morning. First, yesterday I finally shipped the completed manuscript of PEPPERMINT TWISTED. To the best of my knowledge, it's scheduled for December 2007 release, but I'll keep you posted if that changes. And second, today I get to spend time with the World's Most Incredible Grandchild for the second time this week.

Now I ask you . . . if you were me, wouldn't you drive through a raging snowstorm to get to that child???

Friday, February 16, 2007

On Monday of this week, an 18-year-old man worked an eight-hour shift at his job, leaving work at five o'clock in the afternoon. At six-thirty, he parked at a shopping mall no more than ten miles from my house and began killing people. He met two people in the parking lot as he walked toward the mall and shot them both. Just inside the mall doors, he encountered a woman and shot her. He made his way a few feet further into the mall and shot five people inside a gift shop. He wore a bandolero filled with ammunition and carried a backpack, also filled with ammunition and carrying a second weapon. An off-duty police officer from a city 40 miles away, just leaving a restaurant after an early Valentine's Day dinner with his wife, engaged the shooter and kept him busy until local police could arrive. By the time it was all over six people, including the shooter, lay dead. Four more were transported to local hospitals in critical condition. Many people around the city have been in shock since this happened, and I guess I'm one of them. I'm not one of those carry flowers to the site, tote my candle to the library and hold vigil types, but I am struggling to make sense of it all. I just tend to ponder these things on my own. Speculation is running wild, of course. It always does when we're faced with a case like this one. Rumors flew as the story was unfolding, and the press reported it all. It took a while to figure out that the "second gunman seen running from the mall, wearing a black trenchcoat" was a figment of someone's imagination. Reporters standing next to each other and sharing a microphone reported conflicting information, making it obvious that nobody was actually listening to what anyone else said. Now, three days after the shootings, the shooter's motives are still unknown. If anyone does know what set him off, they're not talking. Was this young man, a Bosnian refugee, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder? Was he out for some kind of revenge? On last night's news, a woman who had fished the same spot as the gunman in the past recalled that he got upset when he saw someone herding rats. He was concerned that the rats not be hurt because they were living things, and you don't hurt living things. So how does a kid who wants to protect rats from harm turn into a cold-blooded killer? The young man's parents are devastated. The local Bosnian community in the city is in shock. Most people realize this is an isolated incident--one young man with issues--but there are a few who are angry with the Bosnian population of the city, as if they expect the entire group to rise up with shotguns at any moment. I guess situations such as this one make us all go a little nuts, present company not excluded. I just couldn't let more days pass without expressing my condolences to the victims and their families. My heart goes out to them all.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Rainy Sunday

It's a rainy Sunday, and I'm feeling lazy. For the past couple of nights, I've been sleeping like an actor in an Ambien ad -- the one who falls asleep and then wakes up over and over again. I don't have a little lamp bouncing around over my head, but I might as well for all the sleep I'm getting.

I'm not sure whether it's me waking on my own, or the dog keeping me awake. She's been acting out for the past couple of days, ever since my oldest daughter accidentally spilled a little garlic-butter sauce on the dog's thigh. Apparently Angel doesn't like garlic-butter sauce. We've tried washing it out of her fur, but her nose is much more sensitive than ours are, I guess. I can't smell it, but I'm guessing she can. That may be why she nudges me awake once an hour.

Life is finally calming down (knock wood). My mother is recovering from my father's death little by little, and Miss Abigail is doing extremely well. She came home the week before Christmas, and she's thriving. After spending the first three months of her life in an incubator with very little human touch, she loves, loves, loves to be held. By the strangest stroke of luck, Grandmom loves, loves, loves to hold her --which means that the two of us get along very well.

She's a very hard worker, our Little Miss Abigail. You have no idea how long it took her to get that thumb in her mouth, but she never gives up! She's truly an inspiration -- and a miracle.

On top of all that, I even feel as if I'm getting my brain back (yay! It's been a long, foggy time!) so I'm actually able to write again without feeling as if I'm sawing off a limb while I'm doing it. I've had a lot of e-mail asking about the third book in the candy shop mystery series. For those who've asked, I'm hard at work on the book (Peppermint Twisted) even as we speak, and assuming I can actually get it finished in the next couple of weeks, it's slotted for December 2007 release.

So while I'm here, curled up under a blanket on a wet Sunday morning, I want to send out a HUGE thank you to readers who haven't given up on me! It means more to me than I can say.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Beyond the Sea

Okay, so it's been a while since I posted anything on my blog. I knew I'd been quiet for a while, but I didn't realize just how long it had been until this morning. Last time I checked in, I'd held Abigail for the very first time. I don't mind admitting that holding that sweet little bundle choked me up, and thinking about that moment still makes me a little emotional. In the weeks since I wrote that, she has come home from the hospital (yay!!!) and has grown to an enormous 8 pounds 10 ounces. She is, frankly, The World's Most Incredible Baby. Oh, I know that everyone thinks that about their own kids and grandkids, and I guess I'm no exception, but watching that tiny little 2 pound 9 ounce baby battle her way through diseases that would cut larger people off at the knees has left me a little in awe of the kid. Really. She's four months old now and doctors say that technically she's just a month old, but don't tell her that because it would just make her mad. Just after her mom and dad brought her home, mom put on a copy of the soundtrack from "Beyond the Sea," a movie about Bobby Darin. She happened to have that soundtrack handy because her sister (my oldest daughter) is an avid Kevin Spacey fan, I guess. Anyway, Abigail seemed to like the music, which was kind of cute, so mom played it for her a few times It's no great mystery where this story is going. Abigail loves Kevin Spacey singing Bobby Darin. In fact that soundtrack is the fastest way to calm her down when she gets fussy. She absolutely loves the title track, but she also likes "Artificial Flowers" a lot. We've tried playing other music from that era, but she's not having any of it. It's got to be Kevin singing Bobby or nothing at all. We haven't tried Bobby singing Bobby yet, but that's our next step. I have a feeling, though, that Bobby will have a hard time holding up to Kevin -- at least in Abigail's mind :)