Monday, September 26, 2011

Fall Change

Last week officially launched the fall season...though we still had warm weather here in the Pacific Northwest (almost 90 degrees). Cooler days are coming though, and the idea of changing weather makes me smile. I can't really exercise in the heat, so taking a walk when there's a slight breeze is definitely more appealing. Of course, that phase of fall only lasts a short time in my neck of the woods. Winter brings ice, snow, and 50 mile an hour winds. After Halloween, no more outdoor walks for me...which got me to thinking.

How am I going to lose the extra weight and inches I've put on over the last year? Don't get me wrong, I exercise and eat right...just not on a consistent basis. Something always throws me off track and I struggle to regain my healthy motivation and rhythm. Then I saw an infomercial (insomniac here, remember?) for The Firm workout.

The idea behind the program intrigued me.Three workouts a week, 20 minutes per workout...and eating healthy is a must. The workouts change each time and increase in difficulty. Duration stays the same. Kind of reminded me of P90X, just not as intense...which is a good thing because I can't do sustained cardio for long (congenital heart condition). Sucks, but giving in is not an option. 

I've been doing  Pilates and Yoga...and I LOVE the stretching and strength training, but I need something to help keep the weight off as I age. Have any of you seen that commercial that says a woman over forty needs to work out an hour a day just to maintain? (Yeah, I fantasized about lynching the messenger of that bad news, let me tell you!)

Anyway, I bought the program. Just waiting for it to arrive. I really hope it gets here by October 1. I'd like to start at the first of the month and track my progress. Program promises weight/inch loss...if you commit. My two youngest daughters and I are committing and are even excited to start. Hopefully, I'll have good news to report at the beginning of November.

Until then, I'll keep on keeping on. You do the same!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review: Stay With Me by Gwen Campbell

Life throws some nasty curves, and sometimes surviving them is all about finding a safe place to lick your wounds.

Charlotte Allen is ready to start over. After a messy divorce, followed by the death of her mother, she figures a hundred acres of peace and quiet in the Northern Canadian wilderness is just the place. She can reclaim her independence and finally write her next novel…as soon as she finds someone to build her home.

She discovers a contractor, David Hadfield, in the quaint town of Barry's Bay. He's got experience, references, and wow is he gorgeous…even though she's not going to think of the younger man as anything other than eye candy. That's easier said than done when David makes it all too clear he's interested in her.

David Hadfield has been looking for his soul mate for centuries. He's read all of Charlotte's novels and feels like he knows her. When he meets Charlotte, he knows. She's the woman he wants to spend forever with. Now he just has to make her fall in love with him, accept that he's a vampire, and show her how wonderful their life together can be.

I don't usually read contemporary novels, but the paranormal aspect of this story drew me in. Who wouldn't fall for a gorgeous vampire that is looking for his one and only—especially when he wants real love with a real woman? I don't know about you, but I certainly identify with a middle aged, curvy heroine!

And then there's David. When this 250 year-old vampire uses every sexual skill he possesses to claim his true love's heart (oh, what skills he has!), the reader takes note. My heartbeat raced right along with Charlotte's. When it's revealed that our aged vampire serves as a protector of Barry's Bay by dispensing vigilante justice, David is all the more appealing.

But no relationship is without its problems. Charlotte and David must each deal with issues from their past (including an ex or two) and overcome insecurities that plague every couple.

STAY WITH ME is definitely about the journey. Getting to the destination in a story is important, but the conclusion can make or break the rapport an author creates with a reader. In this instance, Ms. Campbell doesn't disappoint. I turned the last page with a smile and a satisfied sigh.

Rating 4 Stars

This review originally written for The Romance Reviews.

Monday, September 12, 2011


A couple weeks ago my husband pulled me onto his lap and gave me a hug. Now, he hugs me all the time just because, but this time was different. Sadness flowed off him. When I asked him what was wrong, he said, "Five years from now, everything will be different."

He was referring to our two youngest daughters. They'd both be out of high school and most likely out of the house. That realization makes me a little sad, but mostly I'm excited. My husband and I dated and were married after eight months.  We had children right away. I'm personally looking forward to our time together as just a couple again.

He's having a harder time with it. He explained. "We've always had children in the house. When they're gone, things will change." That made me a little worried. He smiled and tightened his hug. "Change isn't bad...just different. And I wouldn't want to be here with anyone but you."

It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what had triggered this line of thought. Our youngest daughter started high school the last week of August and celebrated her 15th birthday this last weekend. What a milestone. I took four girlfriends out to dinner and a movie. They all stayed the night. Everything we talked about was ghost stories and boys.

Though the weekend was exhausting (good grief do teenagers have unlimited amounts of energy!), it was fun. Our daughters are typical teenagers: one foot edging toward adulthood and one foot planted firmly at home. I was able to reassure my husband he didn't have to worry about things being different just yet. As much as things will change, some things always stay the same!

Friday, September 9, 2011

I'm Baaaaack!


Yep, it's quiet out there. That's okay. I understand. I've been gone awhile. But as I've already stated, I'm back.

What a crazy last six weeks it's been. Occasionally my work life overruns--well--everything. The entire month of July was spent transcribing a 1,000 page appeal due 8-4. I worked all day in court, all evening on transcript and lived on four hours of sleep a night. That was a seriously long month. I met the deadline and survived.

August had better appeal. I spent two weeks on vacation with my family. Let me just say, the 17-hour (one way) drive was long but worth it. We got away from everything and everybody...and I discovered hubs planned it that way.

We stayed with one of my sisters in law for most of our trip. She has a beautiful home on the river outside a very busy, large city. Amazing view...and no internet. Yep you read that correctly. That meant no writing work for me either. The first two days I spent in withdrawals. I had email to check. Social networking sites to update. Blogs to read. I was missing sooo much.

And then I relaxed. The world wouldn't end if I stepped away from technology. Everything would be waiting for me when I got home. So I spent my days hanging with my family. We went to the beach and played in the waves after hunting for shells. We took a tour of Hearst Castle. (OMG that place and the art and history it contains is incredible...and it boggles my mind every time I think about somebody LIVING in it as a home!)

Then miracle of miracles happened. My sleep pattern improved. No stress equals 7-8 hours of straight sleep a night. I was amazed at how great I felt. The physical and creative energy came rushing back. Since I couldn't write, I plotted...and plotted...and plotted.

And when I got home, anxious to share everything, Blogger became my nemesis. I know you get me. We've all been there. I couldn't access my blog. I tried everything I could think of for three weeks. Finally, after throwing questions out on every email loop and social networking site I belonged to I got some helpful suggestions, and one finally worked.

So here I am, pledging my weekly post to you again. If I can keep to the schedule, maybe, just maybe somebody will be amused by my crazy stories and I'll make some new friends. Hey, if I can bond with someone over chocolate, anything's possible!