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.