Thursday, December 31, 2009

What We Did On Our Christmas Vacation


Yes, I know it's been a long time, (if anyone noticed) but like so many of you, I was off doing the Christmas holidays with family. I hope your Christmas or holiday was wonderful.

This year, for the first time EVER, we were not at home for Christmas. No waking up to our little tree packed with presents. No, this time we hit the road to meet our daughter, grandson (for his first Christmas!) and son-in-law and at his family's digs in New Mexico!

We drove (very unlike us!) and managed to get our other grown son, (Brian) to come along. It was a blast! So I thought (for part one of this post)  I'd give you a taste of what we saw along our way. These amazing windmills cover several hillsides of Southern California. Like for miles. They're 100 feet tall and generate a lot of power for us, apparently.

(Please inform So.Cal Edison. Thank you.)

The desert is so beautiful. So stark. So serene. We passed these giant boulders poised atop one another as if someone was playing Lincoln logs with them and lost interest. (Please ignore the reflection in the window. No, that's not actually a GPS holder in the sky.)

For those who've ever been to Disneyland, (or Disney World), don't they remind you of Thunder Mountain? Maybe the designers drove through  these parts and thought, 'Hmmm. Wouldn't they make a terrific rollar coaster ride?'

We stopped for the night at my sister, Anne's house on the way out. She lives in beautiful Arizona and has all kinds of fun stuff to entertain us. Thank you, Anne! We had so much fun.

There were mule-drawn wagon-rides to see the Christmas lights!

How fun was that?

These two stood patiently as we all oogled them.

"Try to ignore them, Wilber. They're tourists...."

And beautiful light displays.

Then, there were Anne's horses, who were much more friendly....

Here's me and Smokey getting reaquainted.

He was kind enough to let  us city slickers ride him.

That's me, giving Smokey's mom, Hershey, mixed signals with my knees: Run! What? NO!

Hershey: "Make up your mind, will ya?!"

Here's my honey, David,  and Anne.

Please take note of the posture difference. The wild flailing arms  glee on one side, the relaxed 'this is fun' posture on the other. Yes, those horses were patient with us. Paticularly Smokey, the calm one. We all got to ride and it was wonderful.
Then, my son got to do this:

That's right, baby. He drove Ann's hubby's vintage tractor! He was set for the trip after that. He couldn't stop grinning.

And because I know you have trees to dismantle, parades to watch and hours to kill doing more important things, that's all for now.

Part duex of our BIG CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE to come next!

Happy New Year! To all of you.
I hope (and I  sincerely mean this) that 2010 is a MUCH better year for all of us! See you in the new year!
Love & Hugs

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas, my friends

 Merry Christmas to all of my wonderful blogging friends!  

You all have been one of my best and most surprising gifts this year.  Wouldn't it be fun if we could all get together and  have a Christmas cookie or two?

But in lieu of that, let me just say that you are, each of you, so special to me.  And I thank you for sharing a little piece of your precious time with me.

                  Have  a safe, wonderful, joyous  holiday!

                                      Love, Barbara

PS. - Be back soon!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

For Renee


This Christmas Angel is for you, sweet Renee.

Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

If you want to visit Renee and add to the hundreds of wishes rising up

please follow her link and leave a message. She can use all of

our prayers. And if we all shout, maybe someone

will listen to reason.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Be Kind To Yourself

Do you make resolutions? New Years or otherwise? How do you feel about them? Do you find yourself let down at the end of the year when you don't achieve your goals? Or does your list make you work harder to accomplish things? Do goals set your direction for the next year or do you drift along waiting for fate to find you?

I'm a believer in goals. But I've never been a writer of  lists-- mostly because I inevitably lose them, and then I feel like an idiot for doing it. I keep my lists in my head. (Although, I confess, that is a less and less efficient system considering C.R.S has set in. (Can't Remember, uh, Stuff.) Or maybe it's system overload. "The hard drive is temporarily inaccessible." Whatever the reason, lists are starting to be more appealing. And according to Oprah and the other 'experts' out there,  the very act of writing a goal down imprints it into your psyche or shoots the request out into the Universe to be fulfilled by the Wish Gremlins and... yeah, never mind...

Maybe it's too early to begin thinking about  goals for next year, but today, it occurred to me that (thankfully!) 2009 is wrapping up.  And just as I began to feel depressed about the time wasted this year, the things left undone,  I began looking back over the year I realized that I actually accomplished a lot this year.  I:
  •  graduated from Grad School
  • rewrote my screenplay 4,391 times. (okay I may be exaggerating that a bit. It just feels like that.)
  • published another book
  • welcomed a grandson into the world (while that was a deam of mine, my darling daughter did all the work on that one...)
  • learned to Skype.
  • survived the horrid economy (Yeah,...that would be me on the right.  Should've seen that one coming...)
  • got a full time (office) job for the first time in 30 years.
  • and have managed to survive 3 months of crazy law office stress.
  • realized that everything (including this job) comes for a reason and I'm learning a lot.
       I guess we all tend to be hard on ourselves this time of year when things haven't gone as planned. But making this list of accomplishments made me feel better than looking at the things I'd left undone. And it gave me a starting point for my next year's list.

Oh, there will be things on that one, too, that will go undone. But next year, I'm gonna write another list of the great things that happened and not beat myself up too much for the other stuff. 

Hope you all have a wonderful, blessed Holiday, however you celebrate it,  and I wish you all bright 2010 with lists of dreams realized.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wrecking Ball Dreams

Tap, tap, tap...


Knock, knock, knock...


Higher Self: Hello?? Is anyone in there?

Lower Self (er, me): Oh. You talkin' to me?

Higher Self: Uh, actually, yes. I've been trying to get your attention.

Me: Wow. How long have you been standing there knocking?

Higher Self: A while.

Me: Sorry. I've been a little busy.

Higher Self: Yeah, apparently you didn't get my message the other night either.

Me: Message? Uh, no, I--

Higher Self: In the dream, the dream! You know the one where you were in the roomful of babies?

Me: Babies? Well, maybe there were babies. Hey, you're not suggesting--

Higher Self: No, no, nothing like that. You're being literal.

Me: Oh.

Higher Self: So you remember, in the dream, how your boss kissed your forehead, smiled benevolently and said, "You should do that." (indicating the babies)

Me: (Eyeing Self-Righteous Higher Self suspiciously) I should become a nanny?

Higher Self: Try to focus.

Me: Okay. I'm focused. Like a laser beam. Just spit it out, will you?

Higher Self: The babies. They're not...babies. They're ideas. The birth of something creative. You remember creative...right?

Me: Creative.... Uh, huh.... Those 'babies' don't come cheap, you know? And like I said, I'm a little busy right now.

Higher Self: Hey, I'm not concerned with minutae that blocks your path.

Me: Path, schmath... I'm getting a regular paycheck. I don't have time for "babies." (grandson excluded)

Higher Self: (Smiling pitiably at it's lower common denominator.) If the knocking's not loud enough, I can arrange for a wrecking ball...

Me: Is this all about that finished novel manuscript I'm not submitting? Because I'm not scared if that's what you think. I'm not. Of rejection.And ego battering "this was really close for me" letters, or reminders about how hard the publishing biz is these days. And when I say'finished' that's merely a figurative statement. It needs a 5,365th rewrite.

Higher Self: Two words: Minutae, excuses. That's all I have to say.

Me: Well, thank God you're done. I'm sure all the people out there reading this are glad, too.

Higher Self: I'm gonna keep sending the baby dreams.

Me: I know.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

On Blooming

This was my day yesterday.
This will probably be my day today.
But, hey. Someday, that damn flower has to bloom to give me somewhere to sit.


Peace, Barbara

Thank You!

To all of you who have sweetly stopped by my DH's blog (see below) and/or became a follower, thank you so much! I love you guys! You really made his week.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I just have to go wrestle the computer away from him. :p)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Did You Know?

Are you a STAR WARS fan? Or maybe your significant other is. Or your son. All I know is that pretty every man who's lived in the last three decades has been touched by George Lucas's Ode to Joseph Campbell's HERO'S JOURNEY in one life-altering way or another.

For some, it's like an answer to all questions, like THE GODFATHER is to others. Funny, huh? I mean, I loved STAR WARS and everything, but never totally understood the fanaticism that went along with it.

However, when my son was young, he began watching it like so many others: A LOT! We had pretty much every new version of the series that came out, from video tape to DVD with Special Features. He loved them all.

But somewhere around the time when he was almost 7 or 8, my husband casually mentioned that he had played a part in STAR WARS. He'd done a voice of one of the stand-out minor characters.

I remember my son just staring at his dad blankly, like WHAT???!!! How could you keep this from me??

So we played his part back and, for the first time, my son heard his DAD'S VOICE COMING OUT OF THIS STAR FIGHTER'S MOUTH!

To say it was a happy surprise would be an understatement and thereafter, our son's friends would drift in with disbelief.

Later (much later) we would learn that there are whole websites devoted to this character on the Internet, fan sites, etc... A few years ago, my husband began doing celebrity signings at STAR WARS Thirty Year Anniversary conventions, and Comicon shows, traveling to London and Japan among other amazing places. He's had a lot of fun with it.

This is all to say that if you're interested in that world, or in the world of Hollywood, (My husband's other love) I'm so happy to say that he's started his own BLOG!! It's called Speaking of Hollywood. Please tell your Star Wars fanatics to go say hello and maybe learn something they didn't know about STAR WARS, or the crazy world of Hollywood. Hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


My honey and I are cozying up, baking pies, turkey and the fixings. (The cats? They're just cozying up...) But wanted to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving before the day passes us by and to let you know how thankful I am to have you all in my life. I hope your day is full of love, family and yummy food!

Blessings to you and your family.

xoxo Barbara

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's In The DNA

Ask anyone. We're the theater family. My kids were going to theater long before any of their friends. They, in turn, have dragged their friends into that wonderful fray, and even some family. Our daughter’s sweet sixteen birthday was a “Beauty and The Beast” (the musical) extravaganza!

The first time we met our soon-to-be-son-in-law, we dragged him to his very first musical, "Wicked!", which was premiering in San Francisco (where our daughter lived at the time) before making its run to Broadway. We saw the original cast.

It was awesome. That was a good start. Our future son-in-law left the theater a little dazed by it all, unsure what he'd just gotten himself into. He was a musical virgin no more. Since then, he's even become enthusiastic about going when we drag him along. It's pretty cute.

My husband grew up in a family of actors. His parents were part of the original Pasadena Playhouse, stage actors and film actors, too. So, his transition into that world was almost a foregone conclusion. He became an actor, for many years, then a sit-com writer, finally a talent agent.

One of the [few] perks of this job is HOUSE SEATS, BABY!! That means the cast has a certain amount of tickets they give out [or sell] to family, friends, agents... that are usually somewhere around 6th row center.

We're totally spoiled. Even on Broadway, we can mostly get these choice seats. If we are ever forced to buy from the box office and sit in the balcony [what??], we whine a little bit. Because, we're...ya know, a little dramatic.

It's in the DNA.

Last weekend's "Big River" was an example of this whole [free] house seat thing, with the actor playing Jim hoping to go with my husband's talent agency. A kind of audition. He liked him!

Last weekend, too, we went to the red carpet opening to see this guy!

It’s the Christmas season and what’s that without a little Dr. Seuss? Of course, they don’t let you take pictures inside the theater, but you can see a bit of this monument to Art Deco in the background of this shot. It’s amazing. The Grinch was great. Fun for everyone and the cast, amazing.

But this weekend, we went to see this gem! Mary Poppins!

Oh, that plucky Mary Poppins! It was much of the original cast from both London and Broadway, including Mary herself and Bert, [who happens to be married to one of the other cast members, who is my husband's client!] So we got to schmooze backstage afterward with him. He’s totally British and is digging the California Sunshine! So adorable.

I’ve seen a lot of musicals, but Mary Poppins has to be one of my all-time faves. There’s this moment, when she’s singing this song, “Anything can happen if you let it!” and she sprinkles this sparkly light out over the audience, as if she’s giving us that gift. It was, well, magical.

Now, close your eyes, say those words to yourself three times, imagine some twinkly lights tripping over you. And let some of Mary Poppins magic rub off on you, too.

Because, "Anything can happen, if you let it."

Be kind to yourself, Barbara

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Moment

Have you ever read Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn? Or Tom Sawyer, for that matter? That Twain was a genius, of course, doesn't need saying. He had his finger on the ironic pulse of America in the mid-19th century.

A few years ago, a show called "Big River" made it to Broadway. It was a musical, with music by Roger Miller, and the 'book' was nearly lifted directly from the Twain novel, "Huckleberry Finn."

We went to see a small theater production of "Big River" this afternoon in Hollywood. It seemed strange that they would choose this relatively BIG production to do in a small theater and we were curious as to how they'd manage it. Well, it was a terrific, theater-in-the-round experience.

For those who don't remember the story, it's the continuation of the old Tom Sawyer/ Jim story that came before it, but this is Huck's adventure with Jim (as a runaway slave) up the Mississippi River.
Of course slavery is the theme, and even Huck's struggle to be free of civilized convention. But by the end of the show, (this was the final performance of an extended run) half the actors were in tears and so were we.

What was so amazing though was that after the performance, they did a "Sunday talk back" after the show, where audience members can stay and ask the cast questions or comment on the show. There were the usual comments, nothing much too interesting.

And then...

This old black woman raised her hand. She was 87 years old and she said she'd been raised by her grandparents who had been slaves in the 1850-60's and when she was a girl, they would tell her stories about slavery and "those days" on the front porch of their house. You could hear the emotion in her choked voice as she said how much the play had moved her and made her remember all of those days, and stories, and her grandparents. And she thanked the cast for the experience.

We were all tearing up, in awe of this moment. Because I never imagined I'd hear an eye witness (once removed) account of slavery in my lifetime.

How near we are to losing the last surviving hearers. To learn from the source what went so awfully wrong in our country so long ago. 87! And her grandparents grew up as slaves.

The cast unanimously burst into tears at her words. The producer, already emotional, literally sobbed. Later, the young black actresses who'd played slaves, sat beside her and held her hand.

It was a moment I will never forget.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Few Sound Bytes.

Joycee, from Granny Mountain, left this sweet award on my site the other day.

Thank you, so much, Joycee! Or, Joy C. Oh, heck...she's great, whatever name she uses! I love her blog, and her beautiful mountain. Go and take a look at her website and while you're there, say hi from me!

So the rules of this one are to tell you seven things about myself you may not know.

Some of you may recall(okay, painfully recall) my drawn out list of seven things you might not know about me from a few weeks ago, so I'm gonna keep this short and sweet.

1. I read milk cartons. Yes, it's true. I love reading. I'm a little compulsive about it. And when nothing more substantial is around as I eat breakfast, I'll resort to milk cartons, labels, fliers, my husband's hieroglyphics, ...albeit, when I can locate my glasses. (If I can't, I stare at my strawberries sadly and my day is a little less colorful.)

2. I love to bake. I don't mind cooking, but baking...yes, that's my thing. Apple pie is my personal fave. Someday, I'll post about it. Because we sisters are sorta well known for pie. We all learned at the knee of our Mom, who was secretly proud of how people gasped when they tasted it. She would do little happy dances inside.

3. I miss her.

4. I love a good challenge. Just don't tell me I can't do something. Unless you want me to figure out how to do it. Reverse psychology was always my downfall.

5. I've been married thirty (30!) years to the same sweet man. (The one under the sink, cursing.) And yes, I was twelve when we got married. (Just kidding.)

Stop it. Don't do the math. No seriously.

6. I'm a dog person.
I'm a cat person.
I'm a dog person.
I'm a cat person.

Okay, I'm hopelessly in love with both. I can't pass a dog on the street without talking to it. (Often to the chagrin of impatient owners who just want to keep walking.) I may have to get another one, soon. My cats will just have to deal.

7. I love Taylor Swift and I don't care who knows it. I love her imperfect voice and her originality. (And her SNL monologue.) She's representing for all of us girls on the fringe. And despite our age differences, sometimes, I still feel like she does...just a little outside the curve.

And most days, I'm okay with that.

So, thanks again, Joycee! I enjoyed this. And since I just passed this along a little while ago, I'm only gonna pass it on to a couple of new friends I'd love to know more about. Kelly Lish at Love is My Religion. And Sherry Byrum at Byrum Art.

photo credits:
Sisyphys cartoon © 2002 The New Yorker Collection from
milk carton:
dog and cat:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

We're Missing What?

Home Repair Code: 1192-79333 al (a) Except as provided in this section and in Sections 1193,1194, and 1195, evidence of a(any)minor home repair taking less than two full weekend days, fourteen trips to home repair store (including returns of parts that are missing parts, wrong parts, forgotten parts, or any combination, thereof...) is unsubtantiated and dismmisable as a fluke, or otherwise, as Divine Intervention. Proof of such, unless videotaped, is inadmissable as evidence in Homeowner sanity hearing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Long, Long Time Ago

This is what happens when you clean out drawers. You find pictures like this, lurking at the back.

Yes, that's me behind that beach towel. You might be asking yourself, what I'm doing hiding behind that swath of terrycloth. I'm trying to breathe. You see, I'm standing at the edge of a volcano. In Hawaii. 30 years ago. On my honeymoon. My DH took this one. "That's right, honey. Just a little further back. No, one more step."

Just kidding. He didn't really want me to fall into that sulfer-laden, magma pocket of fascination. He just usually doesn't take the shots. See the fish eye lens? You don't see those around much anymore.

The reason these photos (and more) were hanging around in a drawer, half-forgotten, is because they were slides. Slides I always intended to turn into wall art someday. But just never got around to it until now. Because I always loved the shots I took that trip. I used an old Yashika reflex film camera. And while they're not, like, totally great shots, I just loved this one. That bird was actually sitting on that horse's rump seconds before I snapped this. Symbiosis. Or loneliness. I could never be sure which.

Finally, I'll leave you with this one. Taken just after an afternoon rainstorm.

I'm picturing myself back there right now.

Be kind to yourself, xo Barbara

Sunday, November 1, 2009


While I was in Texas, we bundled up for my first ever air show at Alliance Air Field in Fort Worth. Instead of paying $$$ to park in the muddy field outside the airport and lose a little bit of our hearing, we parked at the side of the access road (Texas Style--Try to imagine getting away with that in LA...)with the rest of the watchers. The show was across the way, in the airfield, but we had great seats.

There were stunt pilots doing death-defying loop-d-loops, Waldo Pepper Outside Loops and stalls until they disappeared at the horizon and you thought they were moments from crashing, only to pull up and zoom skyward again. But here's how my pictures of those crazy stunts turned out.

See the smoke? Now, imagine you can actually make out the plane where that little black dot is. Yeah. You had to be there.

But then, the Blue Angels appeared. These guys are the elite fliers/goodwill ambassadors for the Navy and Marine Corps.

I kept pointing my camera at the blue, Texas sky, zooming in on the jets that were flying overhead. Even here, the shot's not so good, but you can get the feeling of the speed and proximity of the jets, tearing across the sky like maniacs.

These two were solo pilots that did that Top Gun, parallel, over/under move. But it was too far away to catch. Besides, I was too busy gasping to catch it.

They kept zooming over our heads, rumbling over the fields with a heart-stopping sound, literally inches apart.

If you click on the picture their Delta Wedge actually becomes visible.

Finally, after many misfires, I got this shot.

Their wingtips are literally inches apart. You can almost see the pilots in this shot. I kept thinking about their mothers, holding their collective breaths as their sons and/or daughters threaded the needles of time and space.

All I can say is, "Wow."

And, next time an airshow comes near, I'm going.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Oh, Dear.

Is there ever a wrong time to go visit your grandchild? If so, I please don't enlighten me. Especially when Halloween is in the air and every holiday is a first.

Luckily for me, last week I was able to drop everything (including work for a few days) and fly out to Texas to see my sweet daughter and Little Boo.

He took this one just for me, because I call him Little Boo.

We were simpatico, Boo and I. Because we Skype on the computer a few times a week, he remembered me when I first saw him and he gave me that little melt-your-heart smile. And never worried when I reached for him (read: snatched him out of his mother's arms!) for a cuddle.

Or to share a little snack. (Sorry, a little macro setting problem in this shot. But still...)

[On a side note: Is it wrong of me to feel some small grandma-happiness that when strange women koochie-cooed him and told him what a cutie he was, he looked to me when he burst into stranger-danger tears? Oh, my gosh. It was so adorable.]

He waited until I came for his first roll-over. Which was really, really sweet of him, considering it's hard to intersect those big moments from 1500 miles away.

Baby hugs and kisses. Oh, my.

Sometimes, I even let him sleep.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Revelation # 7-- Imitation of the White Rabbit or...

I'm late! I know. WTH?? Almost a week since my last post! (I'll explain later. It was for a good and fun reason!)But now, since even I am completely sick of talking about me (and I'm falling waaaay behind in this whole business)I'm going to end this 7 things you ought to know about me with this:

I'm very grateful to have met all of you. Who knew what would happen once I started blogging? I mean, maybe no one would have even stopped by? Made a comment...Gave a fig.

But as it turns out, I have met some really fantastic women who I feel like I sorta know after all of this blogging business. Women who, should we meet in real life, I would love to spend time with, share a glass of wine, smell the roses. We have gotten to know each other by revealing ourselves in these interesting little blogging ways. What you share here both make me smile and touches my heart.

I'm in awe of the courage you have and what you share. I'm wowed by your lives and your talent and your friendship. I so appreciate all the kind things you've said to me, all the precious minutes you've taken from your days to leave me a comment of support or just a hello.

So, what I want to say is "Thank You!" for making me feel welcome here. I am so honored to be part of your world.

Thank you so much to Debra from She Who Seeks for giving me this award!

Just to recap, the "official rules" of this award are as follows:

1. Thank the person who gave this to you.
2. Copy the logo and place it in your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.

Because I don't want to overwhelm the same people I have recently passed an award to to,(and my giving pool is still kinda small) I will pass this award on to only a few special ones:
1.Sarah at Cottage Garden Studios
2.Holly at Your Mother Knows But Won't Tell You
3.Alicia at Boylerpf
4.Anne at Aging Lite

All of these ladies are inspiring and supportive and fun. Please go and visit their blogs and let them know you did. You won't be sorry!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Revelation #6--I Need Sunshine

I grew up in upstate New York, where there were probably 45 days of sunshine all year. The rest were clouded up with some kind of weather or other. Mostly rain or snow. While that led to summer greenness, it also made me long for somewhere else to be where warmth could seep in and sunshine would make me tip my face toward it on a daily basis.

In college, Joni Mitchell's song, "California" would play on an endless track on my stereo. I guess it was my soul speaking to me. "Californ-i-a...Ohhhh, California I'm comin' home." I knew I had to get there somehow.

I moved here when I turned 26 through a lucky twist of fate. That was many years ago. I never looked back. Sure, California has its problems. Traffic, smog, a busted economy. Oh, and earthquakes.

But, hey.

You can't beat the sunshine. It makes me happy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Revelation #5--English Lit Is Underrated

"Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Words to live by.

I probably heard them the first time thirty five years ago. Did I listen? No. Am I now? Yes. Do I wish I had then?

[See above.]

Be kind to yourself~ Barbara

[Edit: PS.- I should have said, American Lit, since Emerson was one of the great American writer/philosophers of the 19th century. But he (along with Thoreau, and Whitman) was existential, I just lumped him in there with the cool British ones. For fun.You're buying that, right? Good. I can just hear my comp. 101 Lit. teacher tearing at his Norton's Anthology now...]

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Revelation #4-- Writer, Know Thyself.

When I write books, I write them from myself. Thematically speaking, they're about what I care about. And even though they're romance novels, about two people who fall in love, or overcome terrible odds, or odds they've stacked against themselves, their struggles are mine in a strange way. Struggles I've been through in one way or another in my life. Things, I am still working out for myself.

They say to write what you know. I know this: the things that have happened in my life are the sum of me. That equation is what makes me write books, because, like you, like all of us, sometimes those equations don't add up in our lives.

My themes (and after writing ten books, I can clearly see them) are about injustice, about redemption and about the healing power of love. Pick up any of my books and if those themes speaks to you, you will probably enjoy them and find them between the covers.

What I have learned: As I work through these things in the pages I write, I heal. I get stronger. I have gotten stronger. And while I may not have completely figured out all I should know about these things, I understand myself better than I did once when I imagined myself as a writer of books. I know who I am.

And for that, I am grateful.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Revelation #3: It 's Sew Barbie

Yes, I'm actually old enough to have had one of these penitentiary striped beauties. (Whose idea was that look??) It was my first Barbie and this is what she came wearing.

A bag. And some kind of wierd bathing suit.

No frills, no sparkles, no...shuuushh! So being a fashionista-in-the-making, this is where my allowance money went, toward Barbie clothes.

I bought this one. I loved this one.

And this one. Very Marilyn. Sparkly!

Apparently, I had a powerful, Cinderella fantasy going on.

But all these Barbie clothes were expensive and I was...well, eight and broke. Besides, I'd seen the patterns in the fabric store where my mother loved to shop. I had a sewing machine of my own. Of course you had to hand-crank it and it was seven inches tall, but that didn't deter me. Did you have one of these, too?
I decided to learn to sew so I could outfit my Barbie appropriately. Or at least economically.

And that's where it started. My love affair with sewing. Many little, eensy seams later, (Hey if you can sew an eensy seam on a Barbie pantleg, A-line skirts in Home-Ec are a piece of cake.)

I got a bigger machine. Clothes, though, were never my thing. I'm more crafty. I made baby quilts later when my kids were born, then little blankies for every baby I knew, long before they were the thing. This one I made for my first-born, my daughter, and in a few days, I'm giving it to her first-born, my grandson.

As my daughter grew up, I graduated to fabric purses and made a ton of them, just before they were coming into vogue. I gave them away.

Then everyone started selling them. Everywhere. I was behind on the selling curve. But I love figuring out how to make something complicated.

Then, because I was still broke and I began apologizing for my perfectly good-except-for-the-way-it-looked couch, I bought yummy Italian Chenille in downtown L.A. for dirt cheap, and a big, flannel sheet and made myself a pattern. I thought, how hard can a slipcover be?

Uh, it had me slapping the floor crying "Uncle!" by day four.

But here it is in all its flawed glory. It required quantum physics and jigsaw puzzle expertise--neither of which is part of my particular wheel house. That it actually fit the couch in the end was something of a miracle. But at least it feels delicious to sit on!

I'm not an artist like my sisters, so I have to settle for construction. But I've learned to live with my artistic limitations. I'm not sure what I'll try next, whenever I have a minute. But I'm sure I'll come up with something to drive myself temporarily crazy.

Do you sew? I know its a dying art, but I know you're out there! I'd love to see what you create.