Sunday, July 27, 2008

A 30 year class reunion

Last night, I attended my high school 30th reunion. Wow! Where did the time go? To say this group of adults from the Class of 1978 were all molded by 70’s music like KC & the Sunshine Band or the music blasting from Saturday Night Fever, and have lived through women’s liberation and freedom from the Vietnam War, is a lot. We had mood rings or pet rocks. We drove around in decked out Chevy Vans. We said things like “Here comes the judge” and knew what Michael Jackson looked like before plastic surgery. We watched the Sonny and Cher show or Carol Burnet and didn’t own any type of mobile phone. Color television and cable were introduced in our time and thank goodness someone out in California decided to condense the size of gigantic computers so we could eventually own them in our homes to fit upon a desk. We saw a man walk on the moon and just knew that we could do anything we chose too if we just put our hearts into it. Our theme song was “Come Sail Away” by Styx and when we left the halls of Temple High School, we were headed for destinies unknown, to sail across an ocean uncharted.

So to gather again thirty years later is one major accomplishment. We were survivors. However, we did reflect on former classmates who could not attend because their time came way too soon. Our homage to them is a reminder on how much life is very precious and should never be taken for granted. At our age, this is a poignant point.

As I cruised through the crowd with my camera in hand, I really could care less if anyone thought I was a bit psycho. I think we’ve grown to inherit that sort of attitude in some way or another. Why? Because we’ve endured much to get to this point. Each has seen our shares of sorrows and has witnessed times of joy. We’ve had good marriages and bad marriages. We’ve had some failures in our careers right along with those successes. Some of us are graying and getting rounder, while some of us still look “pretty damn good!” (For those of you that do, I’m envious!) Still, as I went from person to person snapping pictures, I felt very comfortable saying hello, even to those who didn’t know me well back in school. At any rate, the majority took my hand and conveyed that look, “What the hell” and smiled when I aimed the camera.

Yes, by the Grace of God, we’ve reached a pinnacle point of our lives.

There were many classmates that I’ve not seen since high school, even if I had gone to our 10th reunion. How evident to see how we’ve grown and changed. I learned so much just in random conversations. I enjoyed meeting the spouses and listening about your children, and with a few, the grandchildren. I shared pictures of families, heard about the events going on in your lives. In everything, we could relate.

So our 30th reunion is in fact a major celebration of the milestones we’ve reached through the years. It is a celebration of whom we once were and who we are today, as we approach the Big 5-0. I’m glad I attended and I do look forward to the next gathering. I think our generation is very “young at heart” and we will slide into our golden years with ease. As I sat on the balcony, feeling a balmy breeze at the Dead Fish Grill overlooking beautiful Lake Belton, I felt in wonder to watch all the camaraderie, the hugs, the lively conversation. To be a part of this only left me great exhilaration. I do think on this happy occasion, our class song seemed most appropriate. Let’s all sail away, to more happy times, and the next phase of our lives.

(Pictures are posted on sidebar)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ross Kelly, a near perfect man

I don't really elaborate much about Ross Kelly, a main character from my book Hostage to Her Heart, but I should. For one, he's the best friend to my leading lady, Tara Reese. He's a guy who grew up right along beside her since they were babies in a cold state facility. You can imagine such a place: gray walls of cement or stone, where others in the same boat use any means to survive. A girl like Tara would need someone strong, like Ross,to endure such hardship. A friend that is steadfast, honest, and true. But to Tara, that's what he is and no more, and Ross would do anything to shine in her eyes as she sees other men, who he thinks are flawed or naive in some way. Will he ever win her heart?

Now in writing about him, I wanted to show that Ross does possess honest qualities and that he's human in the choices he makes to improve his lifestyle. He is also a man possessed with musical ability and is, as one of my daughter's friends puts it, "is way too cool!" because he can play guitar and sing. The descriptions I give away in the book basically tells you that he has dark features (dark eyes, jet black hair) and that he transforms from a skinny aloof teenager to a muscular young man. I guess any girl could drool about him as they read along, but I wanted him to shine for women too. So any man with a sensual smile, a humble demeanor, and a sexy body could make a woman melt with just that kind of fantasy in her mind. And his sexual prowess had to match that look, as he takes his time to undress his lovers and explore the many ways to bring them pleasure in his bed. He's not in any hurry there and what woman wouldn't appreciate someone giving them that great of attention?

So while reading Hostage to Her Heart, we see Ross grow, both on the inside and the outside, and as his world changes from poverty to prosperity and then down again, we see how his trials and tribulations also makes him a better man- nay a near 'perfect' man, one who we can befriend, fantasize, and appreciate like a loved one in our own mundane lines. Ross is a hero of sorts, someone bigger than life, and even if he does or does not win the girl, he has won the hearts of my readers forever.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Well, this weekend, after I tended to my mother's needs, I finally had some time to catch up with my errands at home (laundry, shopping, cooking, etc) and I got about three hours fishing yesterday, but didn't catch anything worth keeping, but it was fun and I needed the break. Its too hot these days to do much outside, so I usually find myself propped upon my chair in front of the computer, browsing websites and catching up with my own blogs. Lots of times, I listened to the music posted there to promote my current book, Hostage to Her Heart. I actually love the music selected. A favorite example is by Clay Aiken.

Isn't he gorgeous here? It's really a most current picture and I think he's very handsome with his hair that way. I don't care what some people think about the guy. I've been in-love with him and his singing since premiering on American Idol way back in the 2nd season! In fact I voted for the guy versus Ruben- and look, he's still around! It's ok if Clay came in second. He's doing ok on his own and when his CD came out, A Thousand Different Ways, I had to buy it right away. He's suppose to have come out with a new CD. I'll have to check on amazon to get me a copy too. So there! On A Thousand Different Ways CD, most of the songs were stuff already done by other artists, but he takes them and molds them into his own style. When I want to relax, I listen to him sing. That natural southern accent flowing in his tonation is just gorgeous to hear.

One of the songs from this CD I really liked off the bat was "Broken Wings." There is a narration done within the song by Erin Taylor:

We are in this life together, even when one moves without the other. Different pages from the same story. This aching is familiar. It's something I remember. We Can't touch without feeling. Can't heal without healing. Only the young could fall so hard. Could be so careless and ignore the scars. So we will move out of the way this time, making room for each other. One without the other. We are broken, but we are moving still. A thousand different ways.

When I first heard them, I wasn't sure what she meant, but when you put these words against the backdrop of what Tara and Danny goes through in my novel, Hostage to Her Heart- OMG! It just hits the nail on the head! So since I had lots of time this afternoon, I dug out some images and tried to put the words strategically along with the story line. Although just a tad bit out sync, it still works, or at least gives you a good idea of the internal conflict this couple feels as they try to sort out their marital problems and affairs- and I mean affairs quite literally. Enjoy the video. I had lots of fun doing it. (Don't forget to turn off music button at bottom of page to hear the video without conflict) And please comment to let me know what you think of it too. Thanks.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My mom had a bad fall

On Sunday, July 6th, at about 4:30 in the afternoon, my mom attempted to go into her house, carrying a carton of eggs, newspapers from the lawn, and had climbed up three steep steps. She was about four feet off the level of the ground below. My mother reached for the door handle and totally missed it, sending her body to lose balance and tumble backwards straight down upon the sidewalk. Her hip struck the bottom step. The back of her head hit the concrete and she laid there sprawled out.

My stepdad hurried down as fast as his 85 year old body could go. He tried to help her up and panicked, looking around for help, but unfortunately, the nearest neighbors were not outside or at home. My mother, in a daze, somehow got up and managed to get into the house. I don't know how she did it. Confused, she tried to think of my phone number. After a few moments, it came to her and she dialed the number, but got my answering machine, as I had stepped somewhere and did not hear the phone ring. I think I was outside. When I came in side I saw the flashing light and almost let it slide, as sometimes my kids friends call to leave messages. Something made me check it and I heard "Chriss.... I need you. I fell. I'm hurt" Not my mom's usual strong voice. So I called her back in a hurry and she answered, very confused, and told me what happened and that she felt sick and dizzy. Not a good sign.

Let me back track about 45 minutes before this incident. My son was on his way to see his dad in another town. His tire blew out. he called to say he was stuck on the highway with no spare. So my hubby, his step-dad, headed out to give assistance. And I thought he had taken my car to get there.

So when I talked to my mom, she even thought he had taken my car, because she had stopped by my house to let me know she was in town. She was there when my son's call had come in. So thinking I had no transportation, she told my step dad to come get me. So he was on his way. By this time, I had stepped outside and saw my car, but it was too late to change things. For five minutes I waited for him. The man gets easily confused. His eyesight is challenged and so is his memory. I was sweating bullets, but he finally showed up. Thank God! I switched places with him and rushed to my mom. I knew he clutched the door handles as I drove 55 miles down 35-40 mph lanes, but I needed to get to her! I didn't care about speed limits.

When I got there, my poor mom was sitting on the pot in the bathroom. She had the urge to go for some reason. One end had done it's business while the other was upchucking, and the room was small and it reeked! But we can't help what comes out of our bodies- from either end. I had to clean her up, find something to put on, as she was so dizzy, nauseated, and confused, I had called 911. I knew she would be greatly embarrased if found with no bottoms on, so I scrounged around and found a pair of emergency Depends she keeps whenever her bladder doesn't cooperate. (When you get old, that can happen.)

The EMTs arrived fairly quickly. By that time, she was hitting another round of nausea. I called my hubby to let him know what had transpired, and five minutes later, as the EMTs had brought my mother to the living room and going over her medications, he appeared. Apparently, he didn't care about speed limits either!

The EMT'S and the fire dept had both responded to the call. The big firemen picked up my mom sitting on a chair like a throne and hoisted her outside to the stretcher. It was just easier to get her outside than getting that long stretcher into her tiny living room. They whisked her into the ambulance and in the meanwhile, me and hubby loaded up my stepdad into the car and we flew to the hospital. We beat the ambulance by twenty minutes.

After several hours, she felt slightly better, after the morphine kicked in. No over night stay was needed as the xrays didn't reveal any broken bones and her confusion had eased up. My mom went home, we tucked her into bed, and she managed to sleep. The next day, we could better assess the damage: her buttocks had major wide bruising extending across from her left buttock to her right, almost a blackish blue. She had bruising on her elbow and on the back of her shoulders. She had bruising on the back of her neck and big bump and abrasion on the back of her head. OUCH! Two days later, her right eye swolled up and then turned bluish. The doctor said it could have been an after affect of veins popping. It looked like someone socked her in the eye!

Between my children, and my aunts visiting, we have managed to care for her needs somehow these last few days, but it's been very tough for me. I could have requested time off from work, but I was sorely needed there and the timing of this was just bad, but I was able to take off half days and take care of my mom in the afternoons until the evening.

I've cooked, served meals, done dishes, swept floors, taken out trash, and divied out medicines, not just to one parent, but two! Luckily, as it's finally Thursday, my mom is moving around a bit better. A person came by today to get us started with getting short term homehealth until we can qualify for longer term overall. My mom really needs this. She's always been the caretaker for my stepdad, but now she needs assistance. All I know is that this week has been a bit overwhelming. I've barely kept up with my kids, my house, and my errands. My laundry has stacked up and so has the dust bunnies under my bed - but this will be dealt with over the weekend once I can bark out commands to my hubby and kids.

However, there's nothing I wouldn't do for my mother. I'm just grateful that nothing worse has happened to her. I guess you just never know what each day can bring forth, so thank your blessings for the normal ones. And as for my son, his car is running the roads again- with a brand new tire. And he was a good grandson on Tuesday and came over to fix his grandmother bacon and eggs. I'm glad he likes to eat because his talent in cooking sure did come in handy!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Road trip to Brenham Texas

After all the festivities and fireworks on the night of July 4th, Saturday sort of slid in a little ho-hum. We were tired from barbecuing and socializing with family, but we just couldn't sit at home and vegitate. I had a box ready to mail/or Federal Express to The Corner Gallery in Brenham. I could pay the same amount of money to mail out or put into my gas tank to actually visit the town. We voted on a road trip.

So hubby and I, along with a close friend, took a two hour trek along Hwy. 190. We passed through Rogers and Cameron, which we are very familiar with, as we have family and friends there. We drove into Caldwell and it seemed like a very busy area. My mom was born in Caldwell, so one day I hope to make a real visit there and get to know the place.

We went into Somerville and finally reached Brenham, with it's little shops up and down the streets and some tourists milling around.

A quaint historical little town that seemed so pretty. We drove up a bit, but found that some of the roads were blocked as they were setting up early for an evening concert, a part of their Hot nights, cool tunes concert series. One of the local people say that this brings in lots of people from the surrounding areas. They have it right in their historic downtown square.

The afternoon sun bore down on us as we looked around. There were clouds blooming in the distance. The wind picked up a bit, but it didn't discourage the town folk getting things ready. We also couldn't help but notice the wonderful aroma of barbeque in the air. Oh gee! It assaulted our nostrils and made our mouths water! Too bad we were still full from a late breakfast! Next time, we'll try out the food.

However, our mission was to find The Corner Gallery, who have waited patiently for copies of my new fiction romance novel, Hostage To Her Heart. A minor misunderstanding on my part, I wasn't aware that they were waiting on me to send my books over in the latter part of June. I had waited on a go-head after I signed an agreement with the store. No matter, we found the place about two blocks from where I had parked. Unfortunately, they were closed. Oh, how I wished there was a number to call to let someone know I was in town, but I didn't want to spoil someone's day off. This trip was totally spontaneous on our part. But my book will be available for purchase. Just stop by when they are open.

So anyway, I had this box and thought about finding the local post office. How silly it seemed to send it by mail after driving to hand deliver it in person, but then I got an idea. Across the street, I saw the sign for JR's Antiques & Collectibles, located on 207 East Alamo. We went inside and met the proprietor right away, Glen Vierus, an extremely gracious kind man, who listened to the reason I was in the area, offered to assist, and took the box of books off my hands to deliver later to The Corner Gallery. Thank you so much, Mr. Vierus! I appreciate you!

He has a wonderful shop inside, full of all sorts of antiques, candles, dishes, and much-much more!If you are in need of something for a birthday, wedding, or anniversary, this place should be on your list to shop. And if you do visit, please let Mr. Vierus know that you read it here on my blog. We had a nice discussion about his work, about Brenham. This business started off as sort of a retirement hobby and just bloomed from thence on. Nowadays, he's so wrapped up in what he does, he doesn't have time to work the internet. So with my blogs, I don't mind giving him a good nod for his pleasant professional mannerism and kind heart in my time of need. If he treats a total stranger in this fine way, I'm sure he is exceptional with his customers! Do visit his store, located on 207 East Alamo.

I wanted to take a picture of him, but my camera batteries had failed me. So we exchanged information and I promised to come back to visit. We left and trotted down the streets to find the nearest grocers and obtain fresh batteries. However, a storm seemed to be brewing to our east and we knew we had to hurry along.

I snapped a few pictures afterwards and with these, made up a short video of my experience, where you can watch on the link I posted on the sidebar. This application does not show up within this blog as there is a glitch to this program. (Sorry about that!)

The mini-road trip was extremely fun and I learned something new about the area. There are plenty of bed-&-breakfast places here, lots of neat shops, and nearby Somerville has a lake with campsites and a RV park. This place is also known for the Blue Bell Creameries! I learned from Mr. Vierus that Brenham is known for being the "Birthplace of Texas." This is where our independence was signed. Such a picturesque and historical place indeed. I will make it a point to come back to stay longer. You should do the same very soon.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July

I hope that everyone has a safe 4th of July holiday. I'm sure communities everywhere are gearing up for some type of celebrations over this long weekend, be it carnivals, rodeos, parades, kid booths, food booths, music, and much more. Of course the biggest event of the day hits in the evening, with fireworks. I have always loved watching them, the big ta-boom, and fiery colors filling the dark sky. Beautiful. Best to remember why we can sit at leisure to watch such a show, because some brave men fought for our freedom and gave us liberty. So I salute those souls of our past and pray for the brave men and women everywhere today serving our country. We just don't give them enough kuddos, do we? They deserve so much for what they do. If you have a loved one serving in Iraq or Afganistan, I understand the worry you feel for their safety. However, they make us proud for all of their sacrifices. I also salute the vet who has come home again, or not, and have earned his spot in heaven and in our hearts.

So fly a flag proudly in your front yard, mom, dad, sister, brother, or child! I know that I am!