September 30, 2009

Philly Phamily . . .

Last weekend, we had the pleasure of spending time with family and friends in PA and NJ. It was fantastic to reconnect, but went way too fast.

Here are some happy snaps from the weekend . . .

Bro-in-law, Mike's 60th birthday celebration
(I swear it was just yesterday we were celebrating his 40th!)

Gypsy and Rose, hoping someone throws them pizza crust

Leigh and Denny

"The Guys" in religious observance of THE EAGLES. They must have prayed extra hard because their team won. Hallelujah!

Leigh, learning all about dinosaurs from the adorable and brilliant Matt

Baby Charlie, with proud mama, Susan

Someone poked this Eagles guy cake in the eye. Okay, okay. It was me!

Baby Charlie, with Proud Papa, Steve

Nick, Kim and a stowaway -- Baby Samantha is due this January. Hooray!!!

The apt bumper sticker on my dad's wife's car

Dad, 82, with his very own copy of an ARC of my new novel.

Dad and the dudes

Man, it's tough to live 1,200 miles away from such an awesome family!

September 29, 2009

William Safire (December 19, 1929 - September 27, 2009)

I was at a bat mitzvah this weekend. The rabbi said that when a person dies, the most important part of the birth and death dates is the hyphen between the dates, because that represents what the person accomplished during his lifetime.

William Safire accomplished much. Among other things, he was a political columnist for the New York Times. And he contributed to "On Language," a New York Times Magazine column about words and language.

Two things he wrote that I'd like to share are:

1. His "Rules for Writers."

2. His column, "Never Retire."

September 24, 2009

Need a Laugh?

This shouldn't be funny, but it is. And the cute little fellow makes me think of the hamster in my upcoming novel.

September 23, 2009

A Few Things to SMILE About

Yesterday, a magazine editor called to tell me her budget was slashed. Again. And even though she liked my submissions, she's now unable to purchase them.

I thanked her and told her I understood, because I do. Budgets are being cut. Jobs are being cut. And people are being asked to do more for less. I get it. We all get it.

So, instead of wallowing in the negative news, I found a few things to smile about . . .

1. Someone dedicated a book to my husband. Type "Dan Gephart" into the search engine at Amazon and this book comes up. Clifford A Ramirez told Dan he appreciated his guidance and inspiration. Thanks, Cliff!

2. Yesterday, I got separate e-mails from a mother and her daughter, who each read and enjoyed my book. They live where my novel is set -- Tallahassee, Florida -- and the mother told me I got the facts right so she could enjoy the story. Whew! All that research paid off. And the daughter said she wished she could be best friends with my main character. What a day-brightener!

3. And the best reason to smile? Our youngest son GOT HIS BRACES OFF. . . after more than three years.


September 19, 2009

Home Sweet Home

When I was a kid, travel wasn't in the family budget. A day at the Jersey shore was about as good as it got.

Now, as an adult, I really enjoy travelling. I feel fortunate to have done so much of it lately -- New Orleans, Los Angeles and now Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, etc.

Three planes took me to my friend, Maggie's house in Idaho. Here's Maggie . . .

And her dog, Izzy . . .

And the view from their deck . . .

We drove to Gold Creek, Montana to Camp Mak-a-Dream. Usually host to children and teens with cancer, Camp Mak-a-Dream hosts an ovarian cancer survivor's retreat. It was amazing.

We climbed a mountain . . .

And a rock wall . . .

And a million other fun things. We ate like royalty and had a blast in the town of Missoula. But mostly, mostly, we forged bonds of teal between each other.

It was hard to say so-long when the long weekend ended.

But Maggie and I and her daughter, Katie, piled into the car and drove to Yellowstone National Park.

We got up close and personal with elk . . .

And bison . . .

And pools of water that were so hot they boiled . . .

And of course, Old Faithful . . .

Had a blast driving through the Grand Tetons and in the town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming . . .

Then I had to say so-long to Maggie and her lovely family and get on those three planes and head back home to flat-as-a-flapjack Florida.

It's great to get away and experience interesting places and meet new people.

And it's great to be home, too.

September 8, 2009

Off on an adventure . . .

I'll be spending some time in Yellowstone National Park. Did you know Yellowstone was the first national park ever created in the world?

I'm eager to check out the geysers (Old Faithful), mud pools, rock formations, water falls, canyons, etc.

When I return, I'll be sure to post photos . . . unless my camera or me is eaten by a bison, wolf, grizzly bear, black bear, moose (If You Give a Moose a Children's Book Author . . .) or long-horned sheep.

Hope you have lovely adventures in my absence.

September 4, 2009

Fun on a Friday . . . or Saturday, Sunday or Monday

It was creature double feature at a local park last week. My friend and I saw giant crickets, um, mating, turkeys trotting, a blue heron soaring . . . You name a wild creature and we saw it. Except George Clooney. We didn't see him.

Below are a few of the critters we did see, along with a really stupid joke to go with them. Enjoy!

An elephant and a giraffe come down to the watering hole for a drink. They see a turtle fast asleep, basking in the sun. The elephant goes over and kicks the turtle -- whack! -- to the other shore. "Boy, that was cruel," said the giraffe. "Why did you do that?" The elephant said, "That turtle bit a big chunk out of my trunk fifty years ago." "Fifty years ago! Wow, what a great memory," said the giraffe. "Yes," said the elephant, "I have turtle recall."

What are four hundred rabbits hopping backwards? A receding hare line.

And this was the first joke our oldest son came up with when he was little:

Knock knock.
Who's there.
Whoo, who?
What are you, an owl or something?

And on that silly note, I will wish you a lovely, long weekend!

Keep laughing,