Thursday, September 22, 2005

Here we go again.

It hit me like a ton of bricks as I was driving to Wal-Mart this morning. In less then twenty-four hours a potentially fatal hurricane will reak havok on Texas, I thought. The thought of this deadly intruder ripping through my state was almost more than I could stand. Just last month we had been put through the gut-wrenching episode of Katrina in Louisiana, now Rita; now in Texas.

Texas. The place of my birth, where I was raised, where I reside, and where I will someday die.

Wal-Mart and HEB food store were both scenes of complete chaos. The shelves in both the stores are almost completely barren, and stores from Waco to San Antonio are running out of bottled water, tuna, bread, peanut butter, and candles. It's crazy. People are actually fighting each other over jars of peanut butter. I got my stuff and got the heck out of Dodge.

I feel like we'll be pretty safe; we're 2 hours away from the coast, and the hurricane is veering more to the east.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Yesterday, I received the strangest email from my friend, Anna. "Use one word to describe me," she wrote. It sounded simple enough.

After fifteen minutes of laboring over this one request, I was mentally exhausted. I couldn't believe how hard it was to describe her using just one word. Talk about a humiliating writer's block! Outdone by one little word. I felt like a "two-bit hack." Finally, it came to me. Taking a deep breath, I typed "KIND," and clicked on the send button. I was elated. I had the feeling I get after finishing a manuscript, a feeling of intense satisfaction.

Within a few minutes after sending the email, the phone on my desk rang. I glanced at the time on my computer screen. Eight AM. Hmm. It can't be the school, I reasoned, Seth just left to meet the bus. Cautiously, I picked up the receiver. It was the pleasant Southern twanging voice of my friend, Anna. "Tell me again what you do for a living?" She asked mischievously.

"I-I. . .excuse me?" I stuttered. I hadn't had my coffee yet, and things were not making sense. "I asked what you did for a living. The word that you used to describe me reminded me of some gereatric person sitting on a park bench." I smiled to myself.

Anna was far from being that tame; though she was several years old than I, she could still out-do me in every physical task that I could imagine. "I just meant that you were a wonderful friend, and one of the kindest, most considerate, people I know." I said a quick prayer silently. Even though I meant every word, it sounded fake, even to me. I was sure that Anna would pick up on it.

"Well," she sniffed, "since you put it that way, I guess I can accept that explanation." I sighed in relief; for the moment, ruffled feathers had been smoothed. "Well," she snapped. "Don't you want to now how I see you?"

"Do I really want to know how you feel about me right now?" I asked wryly.

"Smart-alek. I think that you're 'ALIVE.'"

"Really?" I took a sip of coffee and allowed the bold rich flavor to linger on my palette. My early morning fog was beginning to lift from my brain. "Must be after I have a couple of cups of java."

"No," Anna said patiently. "What I mean is that you're FULL OF LIFE. You enjoy every second of every day, and live each moment as if it were you're last." She paused, and I heard the sound of her sniffling in the background. "Now, if you would please excuse me," she said. "I have to go be KIND to something. Maybe I'll go sit on a park bench and feed the pigeons.

"Anne wait," I said. This whole conversation is really grating on my nerves, I thought. "What I meant is that you're such a humanitarian. You would give your last bit of food to a starving person, and the clothes off your back to someone shivering in the cold. That's a better word for you, humanitarian."

Anna was content with my explanation, and after a few mor eminutes of idle chit-chat, we said our good-byes and hung up.

As we pass through this world, opinions are formed and labels are stuck on us. What is the one word that you want people to see you as?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

It's here!

I thought that my day couldn't get any better on Friday. As the day was winding down, I opened the blinds in my office, sat back in the chair, and stared blissfully out the window. A frosty can of cola sat on the desk by my elbow, the room was filled with the mellow sounds of a Jim Croce melody playing on my CD player. Occasionally, I heard the plink, plink of the video game that my two sons were playing in the next room. A mockingbird, unmindful of my presence, lit on the ground beneath the window and began searching through the grass for insects. Absently, I reached for the cola as I watched the bird struggle with a worm. I savored the acid bite of the cola as it trickled down my throat. I sighed contentedly. Ah. Who could ask for a more perfect afternoon, I thought, licking my lips.

My day got even better when John got home. Wait, before you say "aw, how sweet," there's another reason that I was happy to see him. Tiredly, he handed me a book-shaped cardboard mailer. My hands trembling, I tore the top of the box off and peaked inside. I gave a squeal of delight as I pulled a book from the package; it was my contributor's copy of Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul. Carefully, I opened the front cover and scanned the table of contents. There it was, the first story to head up the second chapter. My children and I grabbed hands and jumped around excitedly.

I can't take all the credit for the success of this story; I have several to thank. I have to give all the credit to God, without Him, none of this would have happened. I want to thank my family for putting up with me. Hmmm. This is sounding like an Emmy award speech (LOL). Please know that I am sincere in all my thanks.

I deeply appreciate the support and advice of my online writer friends such as Big Dave, "Judts" and others. Big Dave is a talented writer whose blog contains thought provoking, and often hilareous entries.

"Judts" has been my friend since the very beginning, and like most of my family members, has helped me pick up the pieces when my "train" derailed.

Thanks again to everyone.


I had company most of the weekend, and it was a welcome distraction. My mind has been buzzing with everything I have to get done in the next few days.

I have been so absent minded lately. This past Saturday, I buzzed around the house like a nervous bumble bee, trying to clean it for the company arriving that day. My house has to be "just so:" I buff my hardwood floors until I can see my reflection in them.

This can also be hazardous to my family's and my health. When the floors are waxed and buffed, it's like walking on ice. John swears that I must have a monsterous insurance policy out on him. Each of us has busted our rears on these floors more times then I care to remember.

Needless to say, on this particular Saturday, I forgot, in my haste to greet the guests at the door, that the floors were freshly waxed. I was wearing socks, and well, I guess you can imagine what happened. My feet flew out from under me, I landed flat on my back and slid to the front door. Nimbly, Seth hopped over me and opened the door. My guests were treated to the sight of me still laying on the floor.

"Umm. Are you okay?" They asked.

"Yep. Just taking a break," I replied calmly.

Oh well, that's what I get for being a neat freak!

Friday, September 16, 2005


I can't begin to explain how I feel right now. As you already know, there is now less then two weeks until the Chicken Soup book hits the bookstore shelves. I still have so much to do.

The press releases will not be emailed until next week, so I decided to work on the book signings with bookstores. Because of the price of gas, I can't afford to travel too far. The first store that I called was Hastings; I was very pessamistic.

Yeah right. A large chain store like that will really want me, I thought as I dialed the number to the store. I was so nervous, I felt sick at my stomach. It was just the opposite. They want me for a book signing. Yeah!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Busy, busy, busy

I wrote in an earlier entry that this all seems like a dream to me; it still rings true. When I was a child, I was a dreamer.

"I'm going to be famous someday," I announced to any adult that would listen. The adult would smile, pat my pigtailed head, smile, and walk away. I was cute when I was small, but as I grew older, that phrase drew scorn and criticism from my elders. I was not "little girl cute" anymore, and my practical thinking community had little respect for dreamers.

"You should just be content to be a good mother and wife when you get married. Don't chase rainbows, and dreams never come true. You'll never amount to anything." This was the views shared by several people in my community, but not my parents.

Both Mama and Daddy constantly stressed the importance of education and the fact that I could do anything that I put my mind too. They told me "aim high" for my goals and that no star was out of reach. I spent many late afternoons riding on my Palomino, Dewdrop to a hill on my family's ranch. There I would watch the sun sink beneath the horizon and get lost in my daydreams. I had dreams of notoriety, of being a "somebody." I wanted desperately to prove the people who doubted me, wrong.

I wrote "Some Snowballs Don't Melt" in 2002 as a tribute to my late daddy and his beloved dog. On a whim, I sent it to Chicken Soup. Yeah right. Like they would accept a MS from someone like me. I was delighted when they told me I was accepted.

Tonight as I took my walk, I paused to gaze into the setting sun; as in days of old I began to daydream. This time it's different. My daydream: Slowly I walked through the tall grasses of my father's pasture. In the distance, high on a hill, is a girl seated on a fiery Palomino mare. A quail breaks the silence of the evening by chirping Bobwhite. After reaching the hill, the mare is alerted of my presence and snorts contemptuously as I approach. She knows no master other then the tanned brunette sitting on her back. The mare's rider stares at me with the same contempt her mount showed. Slowly I approach and gaze into her dark blue eyes.
"You're going to be okay. You'll have some rough moments, but you'll find that eventually. with hard work, your dreams will come true."

By the way, I've created a website for my story. You can see a copy of the bookcover on my site.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I have so much going through my mind right now I don't know where to begin. Well, first things first. . .

Chicken Soup for the Soul contacted me this evening with the PR packet. I am so pumped! They are contacting the respective media with the press releases. They said that several of the media has been calling them in reference to the release of the books and interviews with the contributors. I feel like I'm in a dream; I was hyper most of the night, and got on John's nerves because he was trying to watch the football game. There's so much to do, and I have no clue where to start. THE BOOK COMES OUT SEPTEMBER 27,2005. I feel like I'm dreaming!

I have to admit that I'm a little nervous about the interviews on the radio and on the television. It's been a very long time since I spoke in public. The last time I spoke in public, I was in drama in high school; that was over--gosh I hate to say this--sixteen years ago. Ugh! Thinking about how long it's been put a bitter taste in my mouth. John, who is usually "my rock in the storm," isn't really helping matters.

"Oh gosh! You're not going to cry on TV are you?" John asked. He turned back around in his chair and continued to watch the football game. He knows what the story does to me, but at the moment, that's not what I wanted to hear from him. I thought about throwing the TV through the window; it's a bigscreen, and the only thing I would get out of it was a strained back and a trip to the ER.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The best birthday present

Three years ago yesterday, I received the best birthday present ever; my son, Robert, was born. He has been my ray of light, my muse, and one of the main reasons I keep trying. As you can tell, I adore the kid.

For most of the day Robert and I played together. Anyone peaking in my living room window would have assumed that I went insane. I did crazy dances to toddler songs, made car sounds as I made the cars "fly," and played "Ring-around the Rosie until I thought I was going to be sick. I haven't had that much fun in a long time.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Day of relaxation

Yesterday I was treated to a day of relaxation and pampering. To begin with, my wonderful hubby treated me by making breakfast AND cleaning up the kitchen. My pre-teen son added to my bliss by volunteering to clean up his room. I was in shock; I felt like I had been zapped into some weird episode of the "Twilight Zone." I half expected Rod Sterling to be standing in my living room and introducing the episode I was in. Not true though, my family was just being the wonderful.

After breakfast my Walkman and I took an hour-long uninterrupted walk. Even in the morning hours, it was scorching. I emerged back at the house a melted lump, and was pleassantly surprised to see that a full scale house cleaning had been launched in my abscense. The heavenly aroma of a cake baking wafted into my nostrils and caused my stomach to growl hungrily. John was baking a cake for me!

John is a WONDERFUL cook, and is definately the chef in the family, but he long ago declared me the baker in the family. I was touch at his attempts to bake me a birthday cake. Getting back to John's talent though. . .
He has spoiled me with his culinary masterpieces, especially his Italian food. I thought my mother could cook, but John has her beaten by a mile. I can't go to many Italian restaurants anymore; I think that the food is substandard. Yes, I know that sounds snobby, but that's how good my hubby's cooking is. Even my spaghetti sauce cannot compare to his. I allow mine to simmer for 8 hours, he allows his to simmer for 12. The difference in the taste is night and day. Anyway, back to the cake.

The cake was wonderful! It was super-moist and had a wonderful taste. For supper I was treated with grilled marinated turkey breast, grilled stuffed cabbage, potatoes baked on the grill, and marinated olive salad, and a glass of wine. Needless to say I was stuffed. THEN my darling family cleaned up the kitchen
John and I have been together for over 13 years, and it seems like just yesterday when we were married. Sometimes I don't see how he puts up with me. Through the years we have been through a lot togther; but through it all he has been my rock, my cheerleader, a shoulder to cry on, and my best friend. I don't know what I'd do without him.

Monday, September 05, 2005

What I realized

For the past few weeks I have been moaning about the day of doom: my birthday. I have dwelled over the fact that I am not as young as I used to be; I can't stay up till all hours of the night anymore, and my three year-old toddler wears me out. My knees pop loudly when I kneel, and my son refers to the 80's as the "olden days."

Today I turned 35. Thirty-five, ugh! First thing this morning I jumped out of my bed and looked anxiously in the mirror. I expected to see a head of gray hair and a face full of wrinkles; I looked the same as I did when I went to bed last night, except my hair was a mess. It looked like a mass of melted milk chocolate. (Try saying that five times fast!) I know that I'm being extremely silly. Studies have proven that a person does not reach full maturity until they reach the age of thirty. Still, my loving hubby pointing out last night that I have five years until I reached middle age, did little to console me.

I took my much needed cup of coffee and settled onto the couch. Half-asleep I turned on the television and settled back to watch the news. Reality slapped me in the face as I saw images of the hurricane ravaged Gulf Coast.

Most of those people had lost everything they had, including family members. The sounds of pots and pans clanging in the kitchen let me know that the rest of my family was up. Quietly, I crept to the kitchen doorway and peeped in. My hubby and son were not only preparing breakfast for me, they were also secretly baking a cake.

I was ashamed of the way I had felt over the past few weeks. I was so fortunate; I had my health, a room over my head, food to eat, and family and friends that loved me. Suddenly, turning thirty-five didn't seem so troublesome anymore. Unlike some of the hurricane victims, I have a chance to live and enjoy life.

It's still not too late. Please donate to the American Red Cross.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

I can't believe it!

I can't believe it; it's every writer's worst nightmare. On a whim, I did a search on myself and found my name name on an unusual website. Hmm. That's interesting, I thought. Imagine my horror when I found out that I had not submitted an article to that site, that someone else has used the story without my permission.

I was a little flattered that they liked the story good enough to use it, but they should have asked. Everything on my homepage is copywrited. The unthinking person gave me credit for the work, but I still feel violated.

I emailed the webmaster, explained the situation, and asked that the story be removed from the site. We'll see what happens next.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

I am amazed

I am amazed and overwhelmed by the genorosity that fellow Americans are showing to the victims of the hurricane. On Friday, my local television and radio channels raised close to over $250,000 in one day; people were also completely filling huge 18 wheelers with items such as water, peanut butter and tuna for the victims.

It is still not too late to donate. The American Red Cross, in partnership with Goodwill, has begun accepting donations of items such as clothes, sheets, ect. Please take these contributions to your local Goodwill.

Even a monetary donation of as little as $5 helps to feed a family of 4. Please help.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I was just there


I was there just last month. The happy sounds of people laughing and of jazz music still ring in my ears as I stare at the pictures on the television. The French Quarter and most of New Orleans is now underwater, and the air is now eerily silent. It all seems so unreal to me, so much like a bad dream that I can't wake up from. "Hurricane Katrina" is thought to be one of the worst natural disasters to to touch American soil. Thousands of people have lost everything, including loved ones; still many more people are missing.

There is a way that you can help.

1. Monetary donations to organizations such as the
Red Cross, Salvation Army, Mercy Corps, and Catholic Charities USA. Your donations help to meet the critical needs of the victims by supplying items such as food, water, and medical supplies that are needed. Any amount that you can afford is greatly appreciated. At this time, these organizations are unable to accept "in-kind" donations such as water, used clothing, hygiene items, ect. Please click here for the reason why.

2. "In kind" donations are accepted by some organizations such as the
Lone Star Equine Rescue.
Lone Star Equine Rescue is an organization from Texas that is taking steps to provide assistance to the equine victims of "Hurricane Katrina."

Volunteers from Texas and Oklahoma will attempt to extract horses, donkeys, and mules, and transport them to the Louisiana State veterinarian Office where they will receive medical attention.

According to the LSER website, they welcome anyone with equine experience who wishes to join the effort. They are also accepting "in-kind" donations of lead ropes, halters, buckets, hay, feed, fencing materials, trailers, and medical supplies. If you wish to make an "in-kind" donation, please contact Rose Westover. Financial donations can be made at their website .

The Humane Society has launched animal disaster teams to attempt to save as many animal as possible. According to their website, the Humane Society has already saved and transported over 300 animals to special adoption programs in Texas. According to an outside source, the rescued animals are also being transported to animal shelters in the major Texas cities such as Austin, Houston, and Dallas. These shelters accept monetary and "in-kind" donations such as food, bedding, ect. The rescue of these animals is huge and costly, you may make a monetary contribution at the Humane Society website.

Several generous privately owned businesses, such as October Photography, are donating proceeds from sales to charities benefiting the "Hurricane Katrina" relief effort.

Several of the human refugees are seeking shelter further inland here in Texas. Upon speaking to my local shelter, they stated that they were taking "in-kind" non-perishable donations such as peanut butter, tuna, water, diapers, ect. Please contact your local shelter for information for your area.

Above all, what is needed the most? PRAYER. Please pray for the rescue workers, the ones still missing, and the survivors.

On this blog I have listed several ways to help with the relief effort. Please do not ignore this situation, these people need our help. They are all someone's mother, father, child, grandparent, ect.

GlennÂ’s roundup post