Thursday, July 30, 2009

Heat, New Jobs and Alibi Junior High

After a winter with the biggest, longest snow fall Portland has ever seen, we have one of the longest, hottest heat waves we've ever seen. Here in Tigard, we've reached 110 degrees two days in a row. Our house has been dark for so long, I could have giant dust bunnies getting ready to attack and I wouldn't know it. Pretty bad when today it's going to cool down... to 100! Watering our plants and keeping them alive has turned into a full time job.

Speaking of jobs, I scored TWO in the last week. One teaching in a brand new afterschool program and another stocking at JC Pennys. Don't ask me how I am going to get any writing done, but I'm sure it'll all sort itself out. The stocking job ends about the same time the other begins, which works out nicely.

Now check out this book! I love boy books and will be sure to pick this one up!

Thirteen-year-old Cody Saron has never lived in one place longer than a few weeks, and has never attended a regular school. Growing up on the run with his father, an undercover agent for the CIA, Cody has traveled the entire globe; he speaks five languages, and he has two black belts. What Cody isn't prepared for is...junior high.

When the danger surrounding Cody's dad heats up, Cody is sent to stay with the aunt he's never known, Jenny, in her small Connecticut suburb. Cody has no idea how to fit in with other kids, how to handle his first crush, or how to make it through a day of classes.

As Cody struggles to adapt to the one thing he's never experienced -- a normal life -- he starts to fear that his father's world has followed him and no one he loves is safe. Greg Logsted weaves together action, humor, and heart, building to a surprising revelation about what Cody has always believed to be true.

Friday, July 24, 2009

GCC Presents Jennifer Banash

(How did I miss this series? Where was I? Check it! )

Life in the Big Apple for Midwesterner from ‘Normal’ is definitely ‘no place like home’

Long Beach, CA, May 1, 2009 - Third and last in The Elite book series – Jennifer Banash brings us more adventures from the spoiled, rich teens in Manhattan who nearly ate Casey McCloy alive when she first arrived in the Big Apple from her small town of Normal, Illinois. Casey learned very quickly after she moved in with her grandmother at The Bramford, the most exclusive luxury apartment building on New York’s Upper East Side and got into the prestigious Meadowlark Academy on a full scholarship, that it’s not who you are but who you know!

Simply Irresistible (Penguin) brings us a whole new set of adventures now that Casey has had a big city-haute makeover, courtesy of her classmate and neighbor Madison Macallister – part teen icon and part queen diva-bitch. Wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and meeting the right people, has given Casey the look and the attitude – she’s “in” and loving it! Much to Madison’s dismay, her rival is climbing up the social ladder in a big way and could end up just as popular as Madison now that the two are set to star in their own TV reality show, “De-Luxe.” Yes, showbiz came knocking on two of The Bramford’s most illustrious doors and, as much as Madison thrives on the attention the show brings, she’s not thrilled about having every bit of her life of privilege caught on tape. However, fame comes at a price and Madison is one chick who is willing to pay anything…especially if it means becoming the next reality “it girl.” Casey, on the other hand, is realizing that Reality TV can sometimes beunreal, causing her to wonder if she even knows who she is anymore. With her relationship with Drew, Madison’s ex, currently more off than on, she can’t help wondering if everything i n her life is really just an illusion – and how much longer the illusion can last….

Although The Elite series is obsessed with fashion and glamour, Branash does an impressive job of examining real issues that teens face, such as cutting, divorce, infidelity, and drug addiction. Having personally attended high school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan provided the author with the background for her ample insight and imagination portrayed in The Elite Series.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summer of Accomplishment

Just in case you all thought I was in a deep blue funk from my summer of fail, I decided to list the things I managed to get finished the last couple of months. And no, unfortunately, it doesn't include a book, though my fabulous CP did manage to finish her book in the time it took me to write two chapters. Go Kerensa!

1. Boat pad. By utilizing the joys of Craiglist, my husband and I managed to gravel in a boat pad for the boat, as well as the quicksand in front of the woodshed for FREE. SCORE!

2. A drainage trench. Our water box was always full of water and, (after several threatening notes from the city of Tigard,) we put in a french drain. Again, due to Craigslist, we managed to get the gravel for free and the pipe (with sock) for 15 bucks. Another SCORE!

3. The unsightly stump in the front patio is GONE, thanks to a group effort from myself, our son and my husband. It is also filled in and ready to be graded and the flagstone laid. That means no lake in front of the home this winter!

4.The back patio, which was two slabs of unsightly concrete has been stained a beautiful warm shale and coated with four coats of wet look sealer. It now looks like something out of a magazine. Seriously, I should get an award for this.

5.Garage is cleaned out. If I had before and after pix, you would be amazed at just what a hurculean task this really was. It's a huge load off our backs, both literally and figuratively.

6. Bark dust is finished, weeds are gone, lawn has been weeded and feeded, new flowers planted and formal rose garden is almost ready to be dug out. (Will plant this fall when it is safe to move roses.) Our yard has never looked more lovely.

So you see, I've done TONS this summer and feel pretty darn good about it!

Note to those who didn't really get the "That SUCKED" comment from my blog on motherhood... Actually, I LOVED raising my children. They were some of the greatest years of my life and are now two of my best friends. But motherhood, just like every other worthwhile venture, is COMPLICATED. And I use humor to deflect the painful parts and it IS painful. Loving human beings that much hurts sometimes. I'm just saying.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On Motherhood and Curses

As I near the end of my Mommy years, I've come up with a few thoughts on the process that may help young women. (Or send them screaming into the night.)

1. Drugs and partying are wasted on the young. Moms need it more than anyone. In fact, it's the only sane response to motherhood. Don't be afraid to get a sitter and tie one on. Two tips: One, make sure the sitter stays overnight so you don't have to get up in the morning and two, don't drink and drive. Undoubtedly, you have at least three appointments for each child the next day and who is going to drive them if you lose your license?

2. Children are a strange mix of egotism and insecurities, but that's the human condition and there's nothing you can do about it.

3. You can't stop genetics or curses. I thought if I just worked at it hard enough, my children would have none of my bad traits. But I've learned if you have two parents who have to get in the last word and love to argue, chances are, you WILL NOT have a child who meekly does everything you ask with no verbal response. In fact, I think that children end up combining everything bad about you and your spouse into one person. Remember that curse YOUR mother whispered fervently at the kitchen table? "I hope you have a child just like you?" Your spouse's mother said the same thing. That's a DOUBLE MOTHER CURSE, and as such, you are DOOMED. This goes all the way back to ADAM AND EVE.

4. No parenting book in the world is going to give you perfect children, (see number 3,) so you might as well just burn the books and roast marshmallows over the coals. The best you can hope for is that they will leave the house as fully functioning human beings and DON'T MOVE BACK IN WITH THEIR CHILDREN. If you manage that, you have done your job.

5. Make up with the man you married around the time the kids get old enough to vote. They're going to be leaving alone you ALONE WITH HIM soon and you might as well be friends when they do. Don't worry about being friends with him while the babies are young, he did this to you, after all. And the middle years are when you realize that old adage you learned in Kindergarten is true-- boys are dumb. But when the kids leave the nest, you discover that he still has the same traits you fell in love with, albeit less hair and more belly. ( And God knows, you don't look the same either.) So it's time to kiss and make up--might as well, you both survived the same shipwreck.

6. Work for that guilt free retirement. Be the best Mom you can be so when they leave, you can ride off into the sunset with a bigass margarita, saying, "Wow that sucked!" And you won't feel guilty about their choices. Save all the pictures, vacation memorabilia, museum brochures and event programs you can, so that if they do end up screwed up, you can reassure yourself that it wasn't anything you did or didn't do.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A tribute to my dad

My dad turned 93 on Friday and the family celebrated by having a large family reunion on Saturday. My brother Jerry put together an amazing collage of my dad's life and I was wowed by it.

Imagine for a minute living 93 years. One of my nephews who is packing as much adventure in his life as possible said, "I'm modeling my life after my fantasy of Grandpa's life. Look at how many phases of life he packed into one." Looking at the pictures, I got what he meant. He was in the 3C's during the depression, a Corporal in WW2, worked in the canneries in Alaska, worked picking fruit in Eastern Washington during the dust bowl years, became an executive at Boeing when the 747's were just coming out, bought a farm in central Oregon, opened his own auto parts business and volunteered as a park ranger at Lake Mead. (Not to mention adopting me when he was in his fifties and married my mother!) What an amazing full life he had. Here are some pix. Can you tell during which phase he was called the Clark Gable of Alaska? LOL

Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Summer of FAIL

So you all know that the hubby and I are redoing our yard. We've been digging, pruning, weeding and graveling. Because of our renewed interest in having something besides a jungle surround our home, the fates have decided to play small head games with us. It all started with water in our meter box which precipitated the drainage trench in our front flower bed. Things just escalated from there, both inside and out.

1. Car Fail. From knocking to backfiring to flat tires, all of our cars have had something wrong with them this summer. My son's Honda left him stranded after he went and picked up his best friend from camp. My husband's truck inexplicably had the mysterious loosening spark plug. The Suzuki is STILL in the shop after 16 days due to a ghostly whining coming from the transmission!

2. Garbage Disposal Fail. It took two trys to fix this one. And without the disposal, you can't run the DISHWASHER!.

3. Dog Fail. After ten years of being skunk free, my Scrappy Doo has been hit by a skunk twice... at three am.

4. Health Fail. Had to take darling daughter to the doctors yesterday after a night of uncontrolled vomiting and found out she has Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome. Huh, well, that explains a lot. Turns out CVS is related to her motion sickness, migraines and fainting spells. And we thought it was just because she was a diva. (Okay, she's still a diva, now she just has more to diva about.)

5.Washing Machine Fail. This oh-so-important piece of household machinery failed five hours BEFORE my dog got skunked. Wonerful, wonerful.

6. Coordination Fail. This summer, I have fallen, hit myself with the butt end of a shovel and wrapped a rose vine around my bare calf. Yesterday was the ultimate in coordination fail when I dumped a Starbucks with a faulty lid down the front of my shirt. In public.

6. Soap Fail. My left hand still smells like skunk.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Best Fourth Evah

Had kind of a neighborhood block party. An impromtu one, which is the best kind. Made a pitcher of Mojitos. (As an aside, a fifth of rum is too much for a gallon jug of mojitos. I'm just saying.)

We started the evening at my house, moved to the street for the fireworks display put on by neighbors, then went across the street for a spur of the minute jam session, (my dh still has it). We then ended the evening in another neighbors hot tub. (Note to self: score hot tub.)

I'm really overjoyed that I'm in my forties and can still have the best day ever. YAY!

Oh, also had a garage sale over the holiday weekend. Very profitable, and my poor OCD husband got his garage back. My daughter and I started cleaning while he was at work last Monday and the poor guy had a full blown anxiety attack when he got home. It was like we had entered and defiled the Holy of Holies. The amount of stuff he managed to squirrel away in the past ten years is incredible! Who needs thirty cleaned out butter tubs? Magazines dating from 1997? After three ten-hour days of cleaning, organizing and THROWING AWAY, we had a huge garage sale and got rid of even MORE stuff. Then my dh, who never tosses anything, actually loaded almost everything left into the truck himself! BREAKTHROUGH! He LOVES being able to move around. I am SO PROUD OF HIM! He's like a recovered junk .... well, junkie.

Of course, I had like five hours of sleep, which is not enough to run the day on, but it was worth it. Hope everyone else's fourth was as fab as mine was!!!