Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Forever Yours: Reviewed

Yahoo! Forever Yours gets reviewed. It's always nice to hear, or in this case, read, what other people think about Forever Yours. Being a first time novelist, the gushier the review the better. But on the flip side, coming from a scientific background, I crave all the details, especially when parts of the story would benefit from a bit of clarification.

For me, writing is just like bench work. I'm always searching for that better word, a tighter plot, well rounded characters. Elizabeth, in her review is correct is stating Jeff is not well explained. Thankfully, with his roll in the sequel, With A Little Help From My Friends, his home life and background are laid out in the first few pages. He's the poor little rich kid, whose father only speaks when the law needs to laid down.

No worries, Jeff, the Cahills live right down the street and you are always welcome to dine at their table.

Elizabeth, thanks for the review.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Minuteman Bike Trail

We pushed off from Meriams Corner, heading for the Minuteman Visitors Center in Lexington. The trail is predominantly smooth packed sand, with a few boardwalks over wetlands. Along the way there are wonderful stopping points with signs giving a bit of history, and buildings to explore. It's not a long ride, maybe an hour one way, but more time is needed for taking in all that happened when a shot was heard round the world.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I saw on CNN this morning a story about an honors student in Chicago that got caught between two gangs and beaten to death. I was drawn to this story because for the past month I have been reading the Freedom Writers Diary. In this book, the Freedom Writers wrote about their fears. They shared they lives full of drive by shootings, murder, domestic violence, drugs, homelessness, and rape. They put out there, each step as they ran home from school to escape the undeclared war that owns their neighborhoods. But their book also shows the way to make a difference. It teaches tolerance and points out the violence on our streets today is no different than the violence experienced by Anne Frank or Zlata Filipovic in Sarajevo. Our children can grow up strong. They can become their dream doctor, teacher, engineer, writer, citizen of the world for peace.

But out there on those Chicago streets one boy's dreams were cut short, and the hands of other boys.

I find it a bit funny, that the Freedom Writers Diary was banned from schools because its language is so graphic. Turning a blind eye won't make it all go away. I want my children to read this book. I want them to see how lucky they are, and to realize tolerance, compassion, sticking up for what you believe, and taking a stand are what are important in life.

Friday, September 25, 2009

As I walked across the parking lot to the Post Office...

I step over this rather large insect. "What the $#&*," were my exact words. Followed by, I didn't know we had insects that large around here.

Waiting in line, I thought about gathering the insect carcass in the ziploc I use for coupons and taking it home to show the girls. After all, in a world where the average large insect is a hornet, this was amazing. My business transacted, I walked back out to the parking lot, gingerly scooped up the unmoving insect and went about on my errands.

Once home, I retrieved my trusty Natural History book, bestowed upon me by an old flame many many years ago, and wouldn't you know it, I found the insect while enjoying a nice bowl of piping hot pea and kale soup. See, the weather here has turned cold and soup for lunch was just the ticket.

My treasure is a Giant Water Bug, and yes I remember them from my undergrad days studying water life ecology.

So I carefully dumped the body out on to the book to get a picture and wouldn't you know it, the insect is ALIVE and revived by the heat from the car ride and house. And if you read the text in the picture, they are able flyers. Which could explain what it was doing out of water and in the middle of a parking lot.

Why are there no dull moments in my life? Still, one is not chased down by a Giant Water Bug everyday.

Where do you get your ah - ha moments?

Just where do you get your ah-ha moments; those ultra creative ideas that are pinnacle? For me, they come at the point where I am almost wake, or when I am in the shower, always in the shower. I'll be applying the shampoo and have a vision. Yesterday it was a stained glass project, complete and in color. With my eyes clenched, I held the image pin pointed between my eyes until I got access to paper and pen to draw it out. The day before I woke up with what seemed like an endless list of possible marketing ideas, and today it was a letter to be fired off to the school.

I find it so amazing how these perfect ideas just come to be. BOOM! and they're there; fully developed, without any conscious effort. Now, if the complete plot of my next book would lend itself to such a moment, now that would be golden.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Times are a changing

Yesterday I said yes to the job. This morning, I fired off an email listing my late night ideas, saying, "I slept on it. Count me in. I'm truly on board." It's a new frontier for me, and Captain Kirk is shouting off to the left somewhere, "To boldly go where no woman has gone before." So here I go...

Now to unwind my life a bit from its commitments. Slowly at first, to see just how much needs to be dropped at life's roadside. Isn't it funny my book commitments are picking up now as well.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

OMG! My book is available on

I never know what to say when people ask me about Forever Yours. Do I get all gushy and go for the killer sale, or do I say, "Yeah, I like the story," and underplay it. Generally I get all tongue tied and people look at me as if I have 12 heads.

What do you say when you are selling your baby? Your own that you have loved, nurtured, spent countless sleepless nights hanging on their every word. I love these characters. They are family, and now they are available on

Of course, I am ecstatic and delighted. But what do you say?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ima Paige Turner

I have a coffee cup with Ima Paige Turner printed upon it. I bought it for me to remind me that, "Yes you are a writer, in good times and in bad." When people support your writing and when they don't. When they want to hire you and actually pay you and when they somehow forget you ever wrote for them. I've been using this cup lately, just to remind myself, yes you are a writer.

I have my first public reading for my book, Forever Yours, this coming Saturday, at Annie's Book Stop. It's a local haunt, but it's the place where my writing started to roll. The place where I joyfully announced my first article being accepted in the TAB and then when I finally got into the Globe. Tucked among the cases of books, I labored over a few Metrowest articles while sipping some of Paul's great coffee. It was there I handed over my eleven years in the making baby novel to my writer friends to read and critique.

Even though my name is on the cover, the Niblets had a red pen in hand for the writing as well. And now on Saturday Forever Yours will presented to the public. It's like watching a baby bird take flight for the first time. You watch, you hope and you pray those little wings can carry it skyward.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


One petite woman, Mother Teresa said:

"The fruit of silence is prayer"--- Teach us to pray.
"the fruit of prayer is faith."--------Help us to believe.
"the fruit of faith is love."-----------Guide us to love.
"The fruit of love is service.'--------Strengthen us to serve.
"The fruit of service is peace."------Lead us to peace.

I heard this at church today. It was presented in the homily, and the line, "The fruit of service is peace," really resonated with me. I firmly believe that we are put here to help those around us. And doesn't it make sense that if you are in the business of helping others that it would be very difficult not to be at peace with them?

I'm reading the Freedom Writers Diary. In these diary entries the students share the horrors of their lives, their dreams and the fulfillment of their dreams. Through their writings they show the reader that nothing, not even tolerance, world peace and understanding, is impossible. And they work towards these goals one person, one family, one neighborhood at a time. It is a must read for anyone who might underestimate the power of one.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Give a little. Get a lot.

Six simple words: Give a little. Get a lot. What does it all mean?

I have lovely children. Great kids, good students, that are champion sibling rivals. The little ones are very good at seeing what the others have, and making sure that their stash, whether it be candy, cash, cozies, is bigger and better than that of their sisters. I must say that this is not so much for the older one, for her measures now press out to friends who will be getting mommy's old car, but the younger set have in their frontal lobes a running tally of what is theirs and to the penny, wrapper, or hug, what is their sister's.

Their haves and have nots are so accounted for, that at times, I forbid them to share. For from the sharing comes demands for retribution and payment. At which point I separate the warring factions and confiscate the booty regardless to whom it belonged.

There is a book in this house, somewhere, about a King who has a castle full of treasure, but he is not happy. He learns about a quiltmaker and demands one of her quilts, stating, "That will make me happy." The woman refuses his request. Or better said, she gives him the task to get rid of all his wealth and when he has done that she will provide for him a quilt. At first he can't imagine parting with his bounty, but slowly he starts and sure enough with each piece he passes to someone in need, the King's heart grows lighter and the dark weight upon his soul is lifted. It's a message to live by.

Just give a little. Pick up the pencil on the floor, instead of stepping over it, explaining, "It's not mine." Carry your sister's clothes upstairs and put them on her bed neatly. Remember someone else has washed, dried, and folded all of them -- for all of you. Clear the diner table, even the odd fork that somehow gets left, and can't belong to anyone. Remember someone else cooked the food and set the table so you could eat. One day it will be your pencil, your clothes, your fork that gets picked up, delivered neatly, or cleared. And won't that be nice to know someone did something nice for you, no payment required. Teamwork really should start in the home.

For in giving a little, you will get a lot.

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's Friday. The third of many this school year. The Girl Scouts are coming over to continue planning their year. It's also Friday folders, a volunteer job I've been doing at the school for 12 years.

We walked at the Boy Scout reservation yesterday. It was lovely to be out hiking under cool clouds. I almost went without my camera, imagine that. Look at what I would have missed: Monotropa hypopitys. Also know as Many Flowered Indian Pipe, and several other common names. It was a great walk. I wish I could walk those woods everyday. And I finally saw Monadnock from Tippling Rock. Monadnock was the first mountain I hiked. Someday I would love to take the scouts hiking on that mountain.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Beat Goes On

Thankfully, after our little trip to the children's medical wonderland in Boston, life has picked up right where it left off.

Last evening the little ones were outside building a fort in the swing set. Over goodnight kisses they mentioned installing a pulley system with some of their dad's hardware and their sister's skateboard. Then they asked it we had any spare plywood so they could put down a better floor and walls. I had to admire their initiative, but I quickly, without requiring breathe or thought, said, "No." Yes, I am great at getting to the hospital, but that doesn't mean I want the route in my autopilot regime.

While the construction was looming outside the eldest was pressed over her AP Stats. Head down, she plowed through the problems with barely a wimper. As a younger person I endured stats for the sake of research. I pray she doesn't require tremendous amounts of assistance with this course. But then again, there is that silver lining, I would surely learn it for real if I had to attempt to explain it, for real.

And me, I was hot on the trail of parish calendar sponsorship. Two hours on the phone and I am half way to having our 2010 full color, full sized, with a center hole calendar fully funded. But it is the first half that is always easy, and the last half of gathering funding that makes you (and me) wonder whatever possessed me to take this project on again.

So anyone out there want to promote your business through sponsoring a month in our parish calendar? Email me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

That silver lining

This morning I escorted my middle one to Childrens for a procedure. And as I was watching my sleepy little girl in the OR (yes they let me watch) I realized there is a silver lining to children and hospitals.
  • I saw how a CAT scan is taken and have medical confirmation that my littlest one has a very big brain.
  • I learned all about MRIs and got to see the inside of my middle one's knee.
  • I got to ride in an ambulance. And they even fired off the sirens just for fun.
  • I was lucky enough to see an ultrasound of the middle one's abdomen. I think it is safe to say I have seen a side of my children not many parents get to see... the inside.
  • If there is a projectile vomiting contest I know I have born a winner with a steady gush pushing over 6 feet.
  • I have laughed with my child as she went under anesthesia. And found out counting softly in her ear calms her fears.
  • I watched the doctors tap a knee and then inject medicines that will make the joint feel brand new.
  • I am very good at driving to Childrens and back. Yes, ptcakes will now venture into the big city, as long as there is Valet parking.
  • We have met some of the nicest medical professionals that anyone could possibly meet. These people run on compassion and caring, and they are so willing to share.
  • The eldest is not immune to ER visits, but thankfully her trips are not nearly as exciting as the other two. Still it is nice to see teens still need their moms, sometimes.
So in the mist of medical ups and downs we have been so lucky.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Let the games begin

It's time to play Schedule Shuffle.

Conversation clipped from the family breakfast huddle: If you have to be there at 4, then I have to pull your sister at 2:15 so I can get you at 2:30. Then it will be off to face the traffic with the hopes of arriving on time and getting back in time for dance at 6:30 in a neighboring town. And the track star will be calling home for a ride, but not until after 4:30, and then there is the pasta party at 6. If the rest of us get dinner, that's a bonus spin and if we pass GO it will be all the better.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Just a picture before bed.

And a fun time was had by all

The picnic is over for another year. Everyone had a rip roaring, side splitting time enjoying everything from the bouncey house, to BINGO, to the Metrowest Facepainters, to Lisa and Friends, to eating their way through a mountain of food and the whipped cream pie eating contests for kids and adults. Ron the DJ had everyone up dancing; burning off the calories from Ed's famous unbelievably great ribs.

Now on to the parish calendar. Anyone out there interested in advertisement space?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I have squash coming out my ears.

I know that is not a pretty picture, but the squash is mighty tasty. I have squashes covering every inch of counter top in my kitchen. Today I am cooking them, and then freezing the flesh for good eating later on in the year and next.

Girl Scouts started yesterday. We had a wonderful meeting. There are big doings stirring -- all being lead by the Scouts. I could not be prouder of them and their enthusiasm.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where were you?

On 9-11 we were in the backyard and I was pushing the middle one on the swing and thinking, after a few hundred more passes, we would go in to watch Cinderella. The phone rang and it was my bro with the news of the plane hitting the first of the twin towers. I'll never forget.

We never did watch Cinderella that day.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Where I would rather be

I would rather be in the woods than in the city.

Today the middle one sees a specialist about her wonky knee. The joint has been swollen since the spring, with no physical problems showing up on MRI or xray, and no pain. She is nervous about having it drained. This morning we have already had tears and words. "I can't promise you, they won't drain it," was my exasperated reply. It's Children's, they should know how to handle the nervous child and the stressed mom. After all I have know their suspicions for months now, and hopefully today we will rule them out.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

You just never know

From the plant that took over the garden we got 10 squashes and the backyard animals got 2. From a plant that came up on its own from compost, we got more fruits than the squash garden we planted for real. Life is like that sometime. Out of nowhere can arise the best treats of all. You just never know...

Parish Picnic

Our patriotic parish picnic is Sunday. Two hundred and seventy-seven people signed up. Our four cooks will be ready for 300. There will be seventy-two bags of red, white and blue candy for the kiddies to win either at BINGO or having fun with Ron the DJ, or at the pie eating contest. There are ten gift certificates donated by local merchants for the adults to win at their own BINGO session, and fantastic door prizes that are accessible to all, but those that work the event. Twenty brave souls setting up, running the event, and then cleaning up. We've been planning for four months.
There will be:
A puppet show
A bouncey house
A lake for swimming
A horseshoe and bocce open competition
A nurse to take care of skinned knees
and one project leader that is praying that it all goes well, and everyone has a great time.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

My Brain Hurts

I'm done for today. Sitting behind a keyboard, figuring and typing, thinking and occasionally pulling my gray roots out. Tomorrow will come soon enough for round two.

Now it back to laundry, cooking tomatoes, gathering the children and getting ready for tonight's last meeting before the parish picnic.

Hi Ho Hi Ho...

it's off to work I go...

Going back to work, it's scary business. The balance between home and job, homework and client communications; I haven't had to seriously weigh in on that for over ten years. And here I am now, dipping my toes back into the pool. I wonder if the waters are warm?

Poised on the computer, I remind myself to breathe. Poised on the computer, laundry and lunches are first and foremost on my mind. But after the loves are tucked behind their school desks it will be otherwise.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

The best weekend of my life was a Labor Day weekend, three years ago. It was a weekend rooted in family. Coming together to love and support each other. There were 32 of us in that little house; laughing crying, loving, cooking, praying, and playing.

This past Labor Day weekend some of us gathered again. Friends and family, we numbered 18. We camped, canoed, fished, cooked over open fires, laughed, sang, loved and remembered those that are not with us.

This Saturday, I also got a chance to meet Tammy from Happenings on the Hill. Over a coffee we chatted. Sharing more of our life stories that we elude to in our blogging. Tammy, thank you for the wonderful honey, eggs and goat hair. Hope our paths soon cross again.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Just a picture today

A lot is going on today: it's the third day of school, camping prep, and I have a job interview. By this afternoon life could be very different, in a good way.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Do you wonder?

When times get tough, I wonder what is this all for? Why am I here? What's the purpose? Generally, I look to my girls for the answer. For they live and breathe for me. They show me the world through young and eager eyes. Get me up into hot air balloons, onto roller coasters, and playing games -- when we all know there is homework lurking in notebooks scattered about the floor, and dishes stacked in the sink.

Life's big picture isn't far from home. It's clutched in little hands, and then sometimes, scraped upon bloodied knees. Like Dorothy, we all need to be reminded that there is no place like home.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

We took a walk in the woods

The kids off to school, we took a walk looking for Mount Monadnock -- or at least the look out a top the Nobscot Boy Scout Reservation. We didn't see it; for the trees have grown. Even so, we had a great walk, enjoying the fresh air and the company, and of course getting a bit turned around. We found a wonderful new lookout tower, that would be a great spot to take our troop.

For two days the little one has been getting her wheels under her; escorting her sister to middle school, then riding on to the elementary school to check out her own bike locking situation. After putting untold miles behind the pedals, she mentioned the little itty bitty orange bike seat on her twice hand-me-down older than her (11 year old, $70 when new) bike was not comfortable. I asked her what she thought she needed. "Something wider," was her answer.

So when the Rig was home with its new ABS sensor, which would now allow the brakes to work, off to the bike shop we went. To be honest, they don't sell a lot of wide comfort these days, but they did have one model, costing almost as much as her bike...) that she was willing to try.

Once home, the girls ate dinner, while I worked on changing out the seat. Knowing they would want to be in on the action I took the old seat off the bike and carried it, and a handful of wrenches and pliers, back to the kitchen table. The young man at the store, offered to replace the seat. Saying that it was tricky and would take patience. (Am I the impatient type?) I did mention to him twice that her bike was old and asked if he was sure this seat without a post would work on her bike. Truly I didn't want to bring something home and get her hopes up for a comfortable ride.

To make this long post shorter, all is well that ends well. The seat attachment was different, but I was able to piece it back together. A quick, before the shower test ride came back with a smile. And today on her first official day of school, she will ride in comfort, if not style.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Look Mom -- No Brakes

That saying: Look Mom! No hands! is quite timely these days, for three reasons.

1. The little one has finally learned how to ride a bike. We are finally able to take bike trips. This pleases me to no end, for I have been waiting for the day when we could take all our bikes to the Minute Man Trail of down the Cape.

2. The middle one has learned how to ride with no hands and she is attempting bike tricks that she sees her cousin doing... Of course, my heart skips a beat with every trick she tries. So far I have held my tongue. After all I used to be a trickster in my younger life.

3. While out shopping yesterday the brakes on the Rig were iffy. I was in a store parking lot when I realized what was happening. Nervous, I called our wonderful mechanic, and told him I was making my way to his shop, and would he be able to give me, the girls and our groceries a ride home.

It's the ABS... something about sensors. Very expensive, but I am so thankful it happened yesterday instead of when we were pulling the trailer, or racing to gather the children afterschool. Of course, the little one is excited. She has a dentist appointment today and will be singing along in style on the back of my motorcycle.

School starts today for the 6th and 9th graders. Then the rest join in tomorrow.