Thursday, April 13, 2006

Birthday, Holiday, Chocolate, Oh My!

Yesterday was Daughter #1's birthday. She's now officially closer to 30 than 20. Yikes! Where did the time go??

Twenty-five years ago, yesterday, she took her first steps, but it seems like just last week. We've gone through braces, glasses, middle-school drama, the whole learning-to-drive thing, first boyfriend, first broken heart, and first job.

Hubby and I took her out to dinner last night. Greek food, one of her favorites. As usual, she ate half and took the rest home. I think that's the secret of her staying so pencil-thin.

At home, we had carrot cake, her favorite, before we called it a night.

Now, she's talking about having Easter Baskets. We used to do that when the girls were kids, but now? Double-Yikes! The thought of that much candy in the house, available at one time, gives me the heebie-jeebies. I just have no control when it comes to chocolate. I have to strictly ration myself or before I know it, I'm as drunk as Templeton, the Rat, at the end of the State Fair.

What I am going to do, though, is make a nice dinner. I have this recipe called Silence of the Greek Lambs. Basically, roast lamb shanks, with potatoes, and I'll saute some spinach and crumble some feta cheese to go along with it.

So, what are your plans for the holiday weekend?

Monday, April 10, 2006

She's Baa-aack!

Dear Reader,

Please accept my apologies for my extended absence. I was all ready to write an update last week, when I got a call from one of my cousins that mybeloved 91 year-old uncle was in the ER over in Huntsville.

I didn't think, I just packed some clothes, a book and my knitting and jumped in the car and sped over there. Thankfully, after a week in the hospital, he's much better and was sent home last Wednesday.

While I wasn't running back and forth to the hospital, I spent my time out at "The Ranch" with my cousins. Cousin Jon is the owner of Coneflower Farms, a wholesale plant nursery. Unfortunately, he's too busy to bother with a website, or I'd have an URL for you to go visit. Anyway, I arrived just in time for the Spring Crunch. This is when they really start moving in the greenhouses, getting plants ready to sell, taking orders, etc...

I spent several days working from early in the morning until afternoon popping "plugs" (newly sprouted plants in sectioned trays) and putting them into 4" pots. I did this for a couple of reasons, 1, to help out Jon and Cassie because one of their laborers is currently away at college and the other is in his senior year in high school and was slaving away on a term paper. 2, I wanted to “earn” plants. They’ve always been super-wonderful about loading me up with plants to bring home, but at this time of year, there are no “extras”…only mother plants and plants to be sold. I figured if I worked hard, asking for no pay, only plants, it would be easier to for them to part with some of their stock. :-)

One night, Junebug, the official Ranch Dog, began barking and wouldn’t stop. Turns out we had a visitor. This little guy/girl (I didn’t get close enough to check the gender) was snuffling around under the kitchen window for bugs, their favorite food. For those of you who don't know what this critter is, it's an opossum, North America's only native marsupial.

Cousins Jim and Bill have been building an A-frame cabin half-way up the ridge from the bottom of the property. I tease Jim it’s his “doghouse”, but I think it’ll mostly be used for camping out and as a place for Bill to crash when he comes out to visit from California.

Speaking of Bill, let me say for the record that he's a maniac behind the wheel. Nobody, repeat NO-BODY in their right mind drives 55 mph down a country dirt road in the springtime.

Brother Jim made the grave mistake of allowing Mr. I-Need-More-Caffeine to be the one to drive the us home. The four being Jim, his wife, Genie, Bill and myself. It was late, we were tired and I was staring at the road ahead and there in the headlights---a deer. A cute little Bambi. Dumber-than-dirt Bambi. Instead of fleeing across the open field, like any sensible animal, when confronted with a ton of minivan traveling in excess of 50 mph, this doofus deer takes a flying leap straight at us. The end score: Minivan 1-- Deer 0.

But I still love you, Cuz, even though you killed Bambi. ;-) I know it wasn't totally your fault.

So, I am home now, and have been writing feverishly. This past weekend was our monthly GRW meeting and we had a very special guest, USA Today Bestselling author, Leanne Banks. She spoke about maintaining emotional and sexual tension in your writing.

Afterwards, we had a booksigning at Barnes & Noble. In the picture, you can see from left to right, my critique partner, the famous Miss Mary, Leanne and myself.

If you click the link to my website, you’ll see that it’s undergone a facelift. Please go to the comment page and let me know what you think! I love the sunflowers!

Many thanks to Michelle Moore and Liz Ramsey for creating this wonderful site and to Liz and her buddies Dave and Coop for hosting.

Until next time...