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.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Revelation #2: I'm A Perfectionist

I'm not proud of this character flaw. It's made me do things. Things I'd rather not admit. But I will, because it's you. And I promised I'd give you some revelations.

This defect routinely shows up when I'm learning something new. Like learning to sky-write or paint a wall, or learning this new job I just started. (Just kidding about the sky writing, but that does sound like fun.)

I like to do it right. NOT wrong. Where does this phobia come from? My sordid past as a child neurotic.

Yes, I admit it. As a kid, cold sweats, mysterious ailments and stomach aches were routine. I would wheedle out of all kinds of pressure situations if I thought I would somehow fail. School, tests, and ohmigod, ballet recitals.

The crazy thing was, I loved dancing. At eleven, I went so far as to audition for a big Syracuse University production of Carousel. And, crazily, I got the part! (This picture is not us. But a representation of us. Only probably better.)

I don't know what I was thinking. I had terrible stage fright. But I desperately wanted to be an actress someday. I was so scared that when it came time for the real performance I curled up in a ball and told my father I couldn't do it. I would absolutely barf!

His answer? He drove me to the theater, CARRIED me in the back stage door, dumped me on the floor and turned and walked out. (Seriously, right now, I can smell that dusty, black-painted hardwood pressing against my nose.)

Now this may sound a little...harsh for today's politically correct standards. For years, I even thought so. But that opening night, I had no choice but to go on. And I made it through. I even had fun. My dad was in the audience, clapping for me.

Turns out, he did me a big favor. See, I'm still a perfectionist and my own harshest critic. But after that day, I quit stopping myself from doing those things that scared me silly. I did them anyway. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I make it through. Sometimes, I surprise myself. But I'll give almost anything a shot.

So...Thanks, Dad, wherever you are. Just so you know? I needed that.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

An Award and a story

Debra at She Who Seeks--one of my fave blogs--has left me a lovely Kreative Blogger Award on her post. Thank you so much, Debra! I'm honored that you would include me in such great company!

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.

So I liked the way Debra did this, posting one revelation about myself at a time and since I'm a little on new-job-overload, this will work well for me. So I hope you can bear with me while I do this. Then, I'll nominate a few of my favorite bloggers to recieve this award.

REVELATION #1: I', clumsy.

For example:

A few years ago, while running to answer the ringing phone (Who knows who that was?) I got my toes tangled up in the fringe on my Oriental rug and the afgan I had wrapped around me and did a flying, face plant on the hardwood floor! WHAAAP! My arms, still clutching the blanket, remained stubbornly at my side. (No time to react? Striking for better wages? Hunhhh. I had a serious talk with them later. They agreed they'd been unecessarily negligent.)

Now, all this would have been bad enough, but as I sat alone on the floor cradling my poor broken toe and crying "Ow-owowowow!" my normally docile cat, Sylvester, whom I had only recently adopted (a closeted neurotic)F-R-E-A-K-E-D OUT, came running over to me YOWLING and HISSING as if I've suddenly morphed into this alien creature that was about to eat him. It was so out of character that he was actually yelling at me for breaking my toe, that I couldn't help, but crack up. So, there we sat, facing off, me laughing/crying, and him hissing/yowling for a while until we both got ourselves under control. Then, he licked his fur and removed his neurotic self back to his chair.

Somewhere around the same season, I sprained my ankle. I think I was walking on a flat sidewalk (There might have been a prickly, round Sycamore seed pod involved) and BAM! Down I go. It was pretty ugly. So ugly, I figured I'd possibly broken it. So I decided to get it X-rayed just to be safe.

(I should mention here, that some 6 months before all of this drama, something happened to my heel. It was VERY tender for a long time, and I really couldn't pin point any particular incident when I'd hit it, kicked it or otherwise abused it, so I figured it was possibly the result of my DH inadvertantly kicking/bruising my heel by walking too close while I was wearing sandals...something he had a maddening tendency to do, not recognizing my personal foot space. Now? I cut a wide berth around him and keep my eye on his feet. He's always like, "What?")

So I get my ankle X-rayed. The Doctor comes back with the picture and slides it up into the light box.

Doctor: "Your ankle's just sprained. But what's this?" He points to a suspicious-looking shadow on my heel.

Me: "Hmmm."

Doctor: "That's a healed fracture."

Me: "Wow. Really? Well, it did hurt for a while, but-- I broke it?"

Doctor: (eyes narrowing) "You don't remember breaking it?"

Me: "Well, I-- Not exactly."

Doctor: "I see. Do you often hurt yourself and not remember how you did it?"

Me: What? No. I mean I might remember how I did it, but I'm sort of guessing."

Doctor: Leaning conspiratorily closer. "Do you frequently lose time, ma'am? Experience blackouts?"


I tried to keep a straight face as I hobbled out of his office. He watched me go, shaking his head pitiably, sure I was either 'Sybil' or a closet, black-out drinker.

Here's what I wanted to know: Where's that damned cat when I need him?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


So, it's been many, many, many moons since I went to an office on a daily basis and sat behind a desk. I've been a writer/actress/mommy for so long I forgot what it really was like to keep a schedule.

I used to fantasize about it when I'd feel a little stir-crazy, wondering what the real people out there in the world were doing. Always walking fast down the street in their business clothes, with somewhere to be.

What would it be like if I did that? Would it cure me of my restlessness? Would I finally feel like I was a contributing member of society??

Not that I wasn't contributing with writing books. At least, I told myself that someone must be enjoying them. I got royalty statements. Royalties, even.

I reassured myself that if people were actually slapping down money for something I wrote, then I couldn't be a total loser. Right?

Mind you, all of this internal-kvetching started after my mommy-role took a back seat to watching my kids fly off on their own. As I found myself less structured, I also found myself missing self-imposed deadlines. Which is bad when you're your own boss. Very bad.

What I needed was more structure. A framework, if you will. More face time with real human beings. Less time with my cats.

Moral of this tale: Be careful what you ask for.

All this is merely a preamble to the real topic of this post, which is--

I got a job.

An 8:30-5 real, sitting-behind-a-desk, legal-freaking-secretary job. (Did I mention I'm completely unqualified for this sort of work? The learning curve is daunting.) My friend, the lawyer, is in dire need of help (translation: someone who can write) and I need the work, so it's all worked out perfectly. Sort of.

Except now I have structure and less time to write and blog, and visit blogs. Which is all my way of saying that if you've noticed my absence on your blogs, (Okay, so you didn't notice. But I did) this is why. So I apologize that I'll be here a little less obsessively, er...often. I will get my working legs under me and figure out how to make all of this work. In the meantime--I'll try to sneak a peak between Production of Document demands and Special Interrogatories.

Because I miss you already!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Little Monday Diversion...

Because I'm in a weird mood, and because I love you all, I thought I would share a few more photos of my Paris trip a couple of years ago.

Because let's face it. Paris rocks!

This is an illicit photo I snapped of the astonishing Marc Chagall mural on the domed ceiling of the Paris Opera a few year ago when I was lucky enough to go to Paris. Illicit because they don't let you take pictures of it. (I plead the fifth.)A few seconds afterward, a security guard was wagging his finger at me with a threatening look in his eye and ushering us out into the hallway from whence we'd come.

I hope you can see some of the amazing detail there. I stood there, staring at it, realizing that like all of the amazing artwork I'd been gazing at around the museums of Paris, this was the work of genius. On such a huge scale. (If you click on the picture, you can enlarge it and really see the detail.)

For some reason, they did not want people taking pictures of it. Why? I wondered. Why keep this only for those who are fortunate enough to stumble upon it? It was in this dark theater, that seriously, I had to open a door to find. And there it was. Oh, it's probably in a book somewhere on Chagall. But I'd never heard of it. It's full of angels.

We took the train out to the French countryside to Versaille, the palace that Marie Antoinette lived in with King Louis XVI. That was another mind boggling place.

During the revolution, after they took off the heads of the Royal 'we', the people stripped the palace of everything valuable, down to the tapestries on the walls. For years--centuries--it stood virtually empty, until a Concervancy came and decided to restore it. They purchased back pieces like this bed that belonged to Marie Antoinette (ostrich plumes and all) from the people who had taken it for a LOT of money.

There were fabulous pieces that they had collected a little at a time, all gilded and ornate like desks, chadeliers, mirrors, etc... From the very people who stole them- Families of the once poor peasants. Now isn't that ironic?

Here are the gardens of Versailles. (Click on this one too to see the perspective.)This has to be one of the most symetrical, gorgeous, archetectural gardens I've ever seen and what you're looking at is a mere fraction of the grounds and gardens they have there. Wow.

And here is the last wierd photo I'll share with you today. Don't ask me how this one happened. But we were standing under the Eiffel Tower and there were these soldiers with AK-47s etc...standing guard against...well, terrorists.

But as I snapped this picture with my little point and shoot, something wierd happened. Someone was either walking through the frame really fast or... or...who knows who that wierd blur is.

But I thought seeing the soldiers near the Eiffel Tower with big guns was a little crazy. And interesting.

Just a little taste of Par-ee for you on this Monday morning.... Hope you enjoyed this little diversion. Have a wonderful day!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Something Special

Sarah, my sister, left me this beautiful, special award. Somehow she always know when I need a little hug and she sent it in the form of this beautiful hand-drawn Mental Duck to Mental Swan Award. This isn't one to pass on. She only hands them out once in a while. I'm in great company, too with her other friends she's bestowed it upon.

I just want to say, if you don't know Sarah, you should get to know her. She's a wonderful artist, a wonderful friend and a wonderful person. Oh, and her blog is pretty amazing, too.

Thank you, Sarah. So glad we're sisters and even if that did have just a little to do with giving me this, I'll take it anyway. Luv Ya!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Aww. My sister, Sarah, was sweet enough to send me this new award. Thanks, Sarah! Considering it's her BIRTHDAY WEEK, I'd better do as she says and accept this award and forward it on to those bloggers who have inspired me! :p)

So, here are the rules for this one:

Copy and change the answers to suit you and pass it on. It's quite tricky to use only one word answers! Once you have filled it out be sure to pass it on to 6 of your favorite bloggers. Alert them that they have been awarded! Have fun!
One word answers have got to be the hardest- but here goes:

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Your hair? Blonde
3. Your mother? Missed
4. Your father? Missed
5. Your favorite food? French
6. Your dream last night? Sleeplessness.
7.Your favorite drink? Water.
8. Your dream/goal? NYT
9. What room are you in? Livingroom
10. Your hobby? Gardening
11. Your fear? Poverty
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Comfortable.
13. Where were you last night? Class.
14. Something that you aren't? Timid.
15. Muffins? Blueberry
16. Wish list item? Pool.
17. Where did you grow up? NY
18. Last thing you did? Wrote.
19. What are you wearing? Yogapants.
20. Your TV? On.
21. Your pets? Cats.
22. Friends? Love'em.
23. Your life? Unbalanced.
24. Your mood? Hopeful.
25. Missing someone? Grandson.
26. Vehicle? Jetta.
27. Something you're not wearing? Shoes.
28. Your favorite store? Marshalls.
29. Your favorite color? Blue.
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Sniff!
32. Your best friend? Husband.
33. One place that I go to over and over? Neighborhood
34. One person who emails me regularly? Laura.
35. Favorite place to eat? With friends.

So I'll forward this award onto six bloggers who make me smile and whose blogs are OVER THE TOP!! Please stop by these wonderful blogs and say hi!

1. Bonnie
3. Snap
4. Janna
5. Claire
6. Kathryn