Random thoughts while driving...

I have a number of customers in rural Kansas and Missouri and I really enjoy that part of my routing.  I like the small towns I have to travel to and through. People are friendly for the most part and I find it interesting how each town has its own unique rhythm and personality. As I roll by, I get to see lovely, bucolic scenery.  And cows.  A lot of cows. And I love cows; they are sweet, gentle, and cute (yes, they are). Recently, I was near Wichita (for you non-Midwesterners, it's in central Kansas. Oh and it's called Wichita because it's the birthplace of Glinda, the good witch and Toto...nah, I just totally made that up! Everyone knows it's named after the wicked witch of the west;). Anyway, it was a typical hot, muggy summer day. All I could see for miles in any direction was pastures and cows and the random tree. I then noticed that every time there happened to be a tree, there was always a flock of cows (yes, I know, sounds like I'm talking about birds…oh, all right, herd). There were these herd of cows all crammed underneath whatever tree was available in their quest for shade. And then as I drove a bit farther down the road, I see this little, spindly tree. The trunk circumference was about the size of a baseball bat and there was this lone cow standing right beside it getting all of one inch of shade. She had such a proud, accomplished look on her face. That was her tree by God and she wasn't giving it up or sharing it with any other cow. It was the cutest and funniest thing I'd seen all morning. I love cows but I have somewhat of a distressing, moral dilemma because I also love steaks. So cows are cute and huggable and then…edible? Give me a moment…hmm, I think I’ll just have to live with this. Contradictions…okay, I have a few but I like to think it keeps me from being predictable:)

I'm currently reading Grant by Jean Edward Smith -- I highly recommend it if you're interested in a different point of view on Ulysses S. Grant, president and the first U.S. four-star general.

On words...There are certain words I like; it's not just their meaning, I simply like how they sound or just seeing them in print...words like Avalon, iridescent, ethereal, aurora...

I needed a new pair of Nikes to work out in which meant I had to go to the shoe store. Uh huh, I love shoes (such a girl thing) but I really do not need any more shoes at all so I resolved to go straight to the athletic shoes and no other section. I found the pair I wanted and then I saw the dreaded Sale sign a couple of aisles over. Well...I was already in the store, there was a sale after all so I thought  I might as well look around just in case I happened upon a pair of shoes which desperately wanted to go home with me. It seriously was the only reasonable thing to do because...shoe shopping! And naturally I found a super cute pair of boots that fit perfect and were on sale and they were RED! So on a hot summer day, I bought me very cool boots.

Love the television show The Blacklist. Reddington "Red" played by James Spader, is brilliant, sexy, and twisted and I find him very attractive...and's like that;)

There are some things I can never have enough of (oops, did I say Victoria's Secret out loud) and I'm totally addicted to Lavanila and Laura Mercier bath and body products.  I bought some for my friend as a gift and couldn't resist buying me some more because just like doomsday preppers, I'm all about stocking up on really important, life sustaining essentials.
(By the way, have you noticed this column is all about me:)

Previous posts

I'm in was love at first sight and it happened suddenly out of the blue random and what an amazingly sweet, beautiful...animal:) We went to the Henry Doorly zoo in Omaha over the weekend and we were walking through an exhibit and there it was: a Klipspringer. Look at that adorable face!
They are native to the southeastern part of Africa and live in areas that are steep and rocky. They're smallish, only a little bigger than Pigmy goats. Okay, I want one for a pet! But I'm not ready to relocate to a rocky, steep area...just can't make that kind of commitment;) And I do still love cute, sweet, obstinate little Pygmy goats too...and lions, tigers, bears... :) Other than stepping in gum (gross) and in animal droppings (gross and stinky), it was a relatively incident free, very fun weekend at the zoo!

Random thoughts on characters...
 was thinking about the relationships we have and what we think for sure we know about someone which brought to mind the characters in my book. There were misunderstandings and disagreements which they had to resolve as they learned about one another beyond what each showed on the surface but fundamentally they shared the same core beliefs. (Wow, just like in real life:) How one views the world and our place in it, our purpose, and faith are just several of these values or beliefs; when you strip everything else away, it is the essence of who the person truly is. When the core beliefs don't match up, this creates dissonance and disharmony (is that even a word? I think is now:) I believe if shared core beliefs are missing in a relationship, it ultimately requires a lot more energy and work to keep it viable and sustainable. But...if she loves fishing and he believes fishing is like a slow, agonizing death on a boat, it's all good.
Anyway, of all I've written, I loved writing about the internal struggles my characters deal with just as much as writing about their external ones.  Actually, I'm all about writing on just about anything. Except work related emails. They just aren't as much fun.  There's a fine line between a direct, to the point business related message (good) and a terse, I'm in a hurry so here's the info type message (bad) so work emails require me to pay a lot more attention to how I phrase things than I really want to.  I mean it's work i.e. not as fun as writing about, oh I don't know, puppies or thumbprint cookies.  But not the jelly kind.  I'm talking about the kind with the yummy chocolate filled print. On a side note, I wonder if it's someone's actual thumbprint on the cookies or if that's just a colorful description not to be taken literally. I'm going with the latter because I don't like the idea of some stranger's thumb on my cookies. I choose to believe that the bakery stranger is wearing gloves and is using sanitized baking utensils to scoop out the thumbprint. There, I feel all better now;)  But lately I haven't been able to find the chocolate variety in the bakeries I've been to. I have found the jelly ones but I don't even bother with those. I know I'll find the chocolate filled ones eventually; I'm good with achieving lofty goals:)

On staying fit
I love sports, especially anything my son's involved in so naturally I have some random sports thoughts...One of the great things about Sunday is -- you guessed it -- football:) Well, the season is almost over which totally sucks but there's college basketball and even the NBA at times...I can step back from the ledge now;)

My son is suddenly very interested in working out with weights. Hmmm...wonder why...probably has absolutely nothing to do with girls or anything like that;) Ha, it does and I'm happy he confides in me and tells me all the 8th grade drama. Drama in the 8th grade you ask? But of course:)

He also created my XBOX avatar for me. What a sweetheart thing for him to do! Or so I thought until I actually saw it. The upside is he gave my avatar a great name but the rest, not so much. But I didn't change a thing. I like his offbeat sense of humor and it's not like I really look anything at all like my goofy, dorky, misshapen featured avatar...wait, what?

Okay, so my sweet child was in the eighth grade play Babes in Toyland and sang a solo part which I've posted so you can hear if you like that sort of thing...and you know I'm all about that sort of thing:) I have no idea where he gets his awesome voice. Oh, I can sing but no one enjoys listening so I love that he didn't inherit my defective singing gene. He played the part of the Master Toymaker (he's the one wearing the long grey beard looking more ZZ Top-ish than Toymaker!). I wasn't able to get as close as I would have liked but the sound is good. He has back up singers:). Feel free to let me know how great he is, I won't mind at all.

And with the back up singers

I've written several books and I'm deciding whether to go the traditional route or self publish.  The traditional route means finding an agent to represent me.  Should be so easy...right!  I may post a few longer excerpts from Glimmer soon so if you like magical realism and an unusual love story, stay tuned!

The use of flowers as metaphors isn’t anything new.  In Glimmer, the Chicory flower in some ways represents Vivienne, my awesome protagonist.  For those of you who don’t know what Chicory is, to some, okay, to everyone but me and maybe children, Chicory is actually a weed.  It’s pervasive in the Midwest, growing in places like along the roadside, abandoned parking lots, in gravelly dirt, you know, verdant, lush places like that.  Anyway, I think it’s way too pretty to be just a weed. I didn’t know what it was called when I was writing my book so I did some research and found that Chicory is more than just your average, no good weed.  Roasting the root yields Chicory coffee which was a staple for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. Young leaves can be added to salads as well as the flower head so the pretty part is edible too.  Good, on our next road trip, I now know what to feed my son when he swears he’s starving to death:).  Chicory also has medicinal purpose as it’s supposed to aid in digestion -- yet another reason to feed it to my son.  I also discovered that Chicory has mythical associations.  Some belief that it can bring good luck, help remove barriers in your life, opening of locks, and receiving favors.  Oh, forgot to mention Chicory is good for curse removal.  I’ll have to keep that one in mind the next time I’m unfairly cursed...yes, it's always unfair and undeserved:)  Chicory is also cited as the likely candidate which gave rise to the perception of the blue flower representing love, yearning, beauty, and the ethereal nature of such things.  I didn’t know any of this when I was writing my book but it fits perfectly.  Now you know too:)

"Of all the noises, I think music is the least disagreeable"  
  Samuel Johnson

This is my current playlist if you like that sort of thing. It's kind of musically all over the place, zero rhyme or reason to it, kind of retro-ish.......

Baby Blue.......... Badfinger    

Just Breathe..........Pearl Jam (Eddie Vedder - thoughtful poetry, deceptively simply music) 

Something..........The Beatles 

Blue Moon..........Beck  

Bennie and the Jets..........Elton John (I always sing loudly and badly, especially the falsetto part, every time I hear this song) 

Dream a Little Dream of Me.........Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

Come a Little Closer..........Cage the Elephant 

Sway..........Dean Martin (love him and his boozy, smoky voice) 

What Kind of Man..........Florence + The Machine (amazing vocals and drums/bass) 

In the End..........Linkin Park (totally guilty pleasure) 

I Stay Away..........Alice in Chains (I think this song is about drugs but unfortunately Layne Staley really didn't stay away) 

Never My Love (feat. Billy Valentine).........Audra Mae & The Forest Rangers (beautiful, ethereal cover of the 1967 The Association original) 

Heroes..........David Bowie  

Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.........The Police  (still the best concert I've been to) 

Crazy on You.........Heart 

Nocturne in C Sharp Minor..........Frédéric Chopin (one of my favorite composers, poignant, ill-fated love, poor health, and utterly brilliant music)

Under the Bridge........Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Vampyre of Time and Memory.......Queens of the Stone Age

Interstate Love Song......Stone Temple Pilots

Someone Like You......Adele 

Lump Sum.......Bon Iver



    "What did you say -- Chica…?” I prompted, wanting to distract him from asking what I was up to.

     “Chicory. That’s what they're called.” He tipped his head towards the flowers.

     “Oh…I’ve seen them before and wondered what they were. They’re beautiful,” I told him as I swung my gaze back to his.

     “Suppose they have some use.  People used them to make Chicory coffee when coffee beans were scarce.  Some still like to drink it.” Brandon explained with a shrug of his shoulders. “But they’re just weeds.”

      “Umm…weeds. They're too pretty to be called weeds.  Maybe there's a fine line between what some consider a flower or a weed, kind of like the difference between a daisy and a dandelion, so...”

      “But weeds typically take over, crowding out other plants.  Intruding where they may not be…welcome.” 

      Were we still talking about weeds or me?


       •  Vivienne and Brandon -- A very short excerpt from Glimmer.


                 Joshua has his own space here...                                                                                         
      Joshua sketched this in about five minutes. And 
      nope, we don't have a pet goat:)


  He sketched this picture of our dog Maggie. Of
  course, I think it's all kinds of awesomeness!

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