Sunday, February 28, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Claudia was a wonderful woman I "met" on a stay at home mom's chat on Compuserve. Yeah, that long ago! I think the twins were about 2. It started out simply sharing recipes, child-rearing issues (she was ahead of me on that one), and whatever anyone wanted to talk about during our hour in the chat room. Other members came and went, but always showed up, every Wed, and we soon realized it was because we liked to talk to each other. We started emailing directly, made phone calls, shared more recipes, and both the ups and downs of life over the next 13 years.
Somewhere during that time, I mentioned that I wanted to write a romance. Claudia was so excited, and so encouraging, that I actually sent her the first drafts of my first 3 books. She even had a namesake in number 3. Those didn't sell, and it was before I discovered erotica, but she was damn supportive of that move, too.
I do have one favorite memory above all others. She had a great long-term marriage and one thing she always said was to make sure to set aside a bit of couple time at the holidays by making love under the Xmas tree. She referred to it as "getting tinsel up the nose". One year, as the holidays rapidly approached, I got a manila envelope in the mail from Claudia. I opened it up and couldn't stop laughing. It was stuffed with tinsel.
You'll be greatly missed, my friend.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Now, the really sad thing is that around here, no one actually cares about this character or curling for 42 month at a stretch, then the Winter Olympics hit and the once again the US becomes fascinated. I admit, I began curling 8 years ago when after watching the Olympics I was chatting with a friend who curls and she suggested I give it a try. As it turns out, the very first team I ever played on had this nifty guy named Dan on it - he was also a newbie - and we both fell in love. With curling, and with each other.
So since this precious time, an interesting cycle has begun in my life. Every four years, I go from people looking at me and asking, "you do what exactly?", to a line of people (literally a LINE of people this morning) outside my office door, all eager to ask, "why would you blank an end?", and "what are ends?", and "does everyone sweep?" and "do you fall down a lot?". And I patiently answer with diagrams all over my whiteboard and office notes, with physical demonstations in the hallway and a department-wide search for a 42 lb object to simulate lifting a stone.
The sport of curling (and it is a sport and anyone who says it's not hasn't tried it) is fun because, like golf, you can learn all the physical basics you need in the space of a 30 minute open house at your local curling club. And like golf, you'll have days, even fairly early in your career as a curler, where you will feel like Tiger Woods (the exceptional golf player, not the philandering sex addict), and then the very next day, you'll play the worst game of your life and will spend the rest of the season chasing the moment of perfection. It's a game where anyone of any age, body type, gender and flexibility can find a way to do it well. Bad knees, spare tires, decades of desk surfing won't stop you from playing a decent game and enjoying the heck out of it.
Add to that the second half of the sport, that which you have to learn - the strategy. It's not a requirement, but I would contend that it takes some brains to do this well. And because of it, I'll bet you too will find that curlers are an interesting and thoughtful bunch.
Which brings us to, perhaps, the best part of all. When the game is over, you and your opponents engage in the age-old tradition of "broom stacking", where the winners buy the losers a drink and you settle down in the warm room to enjoy good company.
So I encourage you all to watch curling. To go out and congratulate the curlers you know, particularly if they live in the US, and to ask them all the questions you have. Heck, ask me all your questions and I will do my level best to answer them all. Even better - see if you have a local curling club and give it a whirl - you're going to like it a lot more than you think. Trust me.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Quite soon after New Year's rolls by, I'm ready for spring, for tulips and daffodils and the smell of the Earth renewing itself, but usually I can grin and bear it until April like most good New Englanders.
Unfortunately, this winter has been rife with peril for me. I’m struggling with all of my New Year’s resolutions – most are blown, but I refuse to give up completely yet. I’m stubborn that way. There is a lot going on in my personal and professional life – some good, some not so good, but all stressful.
My usual contented ritual of hibernation has turned into a bad case of the winter blahs. And it’s only the middle of February. Yuck! What to do between now and late March? How do I make sure I don’t lose my marbles while I wait for 60 degree or better weather?
Read, read and then read some more.
This winter I have gone back to basics – to Harlequin romances like the ones I first read as a teenager. Some shrug their shoulders at romance novels, even more shrug at the thought of Harlequin romances. Quick reads with funny titles and clinched covers are outdated and not worth the time, right?
Can you read them quickly – yes, do they have goofy titles and covers – usually, but they are pure, escapist fun meant to entertain. There is something intrinsically comforting about knowing exactly what you are getting once you start reading. It does not matter I know how the story will end – I can simply enjoy the ride.
Men watch sports for the same reasons. It’s a game, with set rules, two opponents, and though there are twists and turns along the way, one team will win and one team will lose. With romance novels, its boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy loses girl, and then boy and girl triumph over adversity and live happily ever after. It’s controlled escapism in a chaotic world. How can that be a bad thing?
So off I go, curled up under a blanket with a cup of hot tea by my side, ready to go headlong into another romance novel. Happy reading! See you in the springtime.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Valentine's Day is right around the corner! I just mailed some cool Victorian Valentine postcards to Mom and Dad, my daughter Natty is dreaming about chocolate every night (well, actually, she pretty much dreams about chocolate 365 nights a year!), and I'm expecting a gorgeous bouquet of flowers from hubby dearest. The best part of this lovely holiday? Reading a lusty, heart-wrenching, super romantic tale. Here are some of The Quirky Ladies' favorite Valentines....
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Brad's Current Look:
Really? Are those braids? Because while I can repect Penny's fascnination with facial hair and the men that wear it well, I consider this "plaited" thing to be over the line. I mean, how much food gets stuck in there? And how long would it take to find it? Why not cornrows instead?
When, oh when will I be able to enjoy indulging in People Magazine again without being in constant fear of turning the page and seeing THIS? (Can you tell I had a bad incident at the gym today?)
Now, let's take a moment to enjoy what Brad's look was BEFORE:
Sigh. Enough said.
(Penny, in deference to you and your love of the beard, I chose a picture where he's got some of that yummy scruff going on)
Monday, February 1, 2010
I used to roll my eyes when women said they were turning 29…again. Then I turned 29 for real. Er, quite some time ago.
I spent a few years in denial. A few more hating every birthday. Then I realized two very important, undeniable facts:
1. There is only one alternative to aging.
2. You couldn’t pay me to go back to being young.
Life is good. I’d rather live it than worry about it. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m going to admit my age anytime soon.
So happy birthday to me. I’ll be celebrating with my family over a sushi boat at my favorite restaurant as I turn 29…again.