Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Meme For a Friend

A meme isn't just the name of the evil secretary on "The Drew Carey Show" that wears lots of eye makeup and delights in making Drew's life a living hell. Oh no.

A meme is kind of like a chain letter in the blogosphere, where someone starts with a list of questions and passes it on to a list of people who have blogs and they answer them in their posts(on their own blogs, of course) and pass them on to other people. It's fun, it's informative, and it helps everyone market themselves by giving them exposure. Cool, huh?

So, my friend and fellow writer, Sandy Lender, came up with this meme and I am passing it along. It's all about getting away, like on spring break or on vacation, which all of us are sick to death of winter.

In honor of spring break and all things travel-oriented, here we go!

Getting Away With It

1) If you could live for a month in one world or time period from a novel you've read, which would you choose?

In Onweald, the world created by Sandy Lender in Choices Meant for Gods, so I could meet Amanda and Nigel and the other characters in the book (except for Jamieson Drake!).

2) If you could be one character from a comic book or fiction series, who would it be?

Nancy Drew, from a fiction series, or Wonder Woman from a comic book.

3) Where (in the real world) is your dream vacation spot?


4) Name a celebrity or TV personality whom you would like to have lunch with.

Stephen King.

Wow! That was cool! Now I'm passing it on to the following blogs. Check out their answers by clicking on the links below!

Jon Hassler: A Minnesota Treasure

I was notified by Beth Erickson through one of our writing groups that Jon Hassler passed away on March 20, 2008.

For those of you who have no idea who Jon Hassler was, here's the link to find out about his life and body of work.

Those of us in Minnesota know him to be a local treasure. He captured the simple beauty of small Minnesota towns, with their characters and quirks and left a legacy of wonderful stories including "Staggerford".
He was also a teacher at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. Beth's mother was one of his students, as were many in the area, and they admired and loved him. He also had the most beautiful eyes, the color and sparkle of blue that reminded me of my Grandfather, Bud Crawford, who passed away when I was fifteen.

Jon Hassler's greatest legacy was not just his body of work or his teaching, but he taught all of us you can live with a terminal illness with dignity, grace, and a sense of humor. And he did it with acceptance without complaint. He also had a perserverance that all writers must have if they are ever going to make it in this world.

Mr. Hassler was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a Parkinson's like disease. He lived with the disease for fifteen years and in that time, he lost the ability to write by hand, see and hear, and finally, to walk. Through his tenacity, he "typed" his final novels, by hitting the keyboard, and then "translating" back to his wife, Gretchen, the "words" he wrote, and she would then type them up. According to the article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, he finished his final novel "Jay O'Malley" a few weeks before his death.

Now, writers, what do we have to complain about?? Is there any reason, ANY REASON AT ALL why we aren't writing?! THERE ARE NO MORE EXCUSES EVERYONE, AND THAT INCLUDES ME!

This is a man, who kept going and going, in spite of his pain, his daily struggles to see and hear and write and walk, and once robbed of all those things, HE STILL FOUND TIME TO WRITE!! He wrote NOVELS!! It boggles the mind, and yet, you know deep down that we are all guilty of the the laundry list of bullshit reasons we "don't have time to write." Throw the list away, kids. It's time to get to work.

My only regret is never meeting the man in person, to thank him for all he's done for our state, our country, and our profession. And for giving us all something to aspire to.

God Bless you Jon Hassler, and your family. May you all find peace.
And thank you for inspiring us all.

Movie Endings Suck!

Ok, that should explain what I'm going to rant about today. But I'm sick and tired of Hollywood trying to be "clever" or "artsy-fartsy" by coming up with these endings to movies that have nothing to do with the plot, or whatever, or they just end. Like that.

Here's my argument, your Honor. I sat down and watched two movies that were promoted like crazy, one has this year's Oscar winner in it for crying out loud, and the other was directed by a former Oscar winner and starred his brother who also happened to be nominated this year (but for a different film). One movie was "No Country for Old Men" and the other was "Gone Baby Gone". With street cred like that, you would ASSUME that both films would rise above and capture your imagination, right?

They did. I sat and watched each one, became invested in the characters and the plot, sitting and wondering what was going to happen next, etc. I was anticipating a logical conclusion, instead...both endings sucked!! Like a black hole in space, they sucked.

I'm left here wondering why I invested 2 hours or more for each film of my life that could have been better spent writing or cleaning my oven, or cleaning out my toenails. Anything! I feel cheated! And I'm sick of the media portraying movies and promoting them so you literally foam at the mouth to see them, and then this: total disappointment at the endings. If you haven't seen the films yet, I won't ruin the movies for you, but I'm saying beware of the ending.

And by the way, I've decided I can write better than that, so I'm going to be writing my own screenplay. If Diablo Cody can win an Oscar her first time out, then I have a shot too!

And MY endings won't suck! I promise.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring Is Here and...Happy Easter!

Spring arrived this week to the relief of the residents of Minnesota. We spent the first day of Spring in Duluth, driving all the way to Grand Marais, Minnesota, which was still covered in snow and Lake Superior still had ice and snow in some of the bays. But the snow and ice were melting, and with the warm temperatures (it was a balmy 30 degrees ABOVE zero), and the bright sunshine, it was the perfect time for QH and I to run away from home.

We left on Wednesday, and came home on Friday morning. Two days away up at the North Shore will renew your energy, recharge your batteries, and make it really hard to leave to go home. If you look at the picture above, you can see why. We daydream of when we will be able to retire and move up there. We scout out places to build a home or find homes for sale that we wouldn't mind moving into. Driving the Skyline Parkway which is way above the cliffs of Duluth at night, then watching the city and the harbor light up like Christmas is breathtaking, and not just because if your brakes fail on the car, you have a sheer drop to the bottom. Nothing like a little adrenaline to keep things exciting!

We stayed at the Black Bear Casino & Hotel in Cloquet, just a few miles outside of Duluth, which was a good thing since I had no idea the Women's Hockey NCAA Frozen Four Tournament was taking place this weekend! Thursday was the first set of games and Wisconsin beat Harvard (ranked #1), and the Bulldogs (University of Minnesota-Duluth), beat New Hampshire. I have no idea how the rest of the tournament is going, but I was happy to hear that much of it!

We aren't very good gamblers. I spent about $10 and QH spent about $4 on the slot machines. We got bored and went back to the room to watch TV. I found $50 lying on the ground in the entrance to the casino on Thursday night when we were returning from dinner, so we came out ahead anyway!

And of course, in true Minnesota fashion, we returned in the middle of a snow storm. I was wishing that I would have taken the day off when I came into work last night, and really wishing it when I left to go home and had to scrape the snow and ice off my car! Oh, well, Spring is here!

To everyone traveling (or not), I hope you have a safe and Happy Easter weekend. It snuck up on me this year, like the Daylight Savings Time, by coming early. I'm used to Easter being either on my Dad's birthday (April 12), or right around it, so for Easter to be in March really throws me off a bit. It also reminds me that time flys faster than we realize.

Everyone say a prayer for one of my dear loved ones. My great aunt, Aunt Mary Kerzmann, suffered a stroke earlier this week. Aunt Mary is the oldest sister of my grandmother, Ellen Crawford. They both live across the hall from each other in an apartment complex in Garrison, North Dakota.

Grandma was very upset when she called Wednesday morning before we left for Duluth, but the latest news is Mary still has her speech, some of her memory is still foggy, and she has been affected on her right side. Mary is 91 years young, but she is not completely out of the woods yet, so please, any prayers and blessings and good thoughts for her recovery will be greatly appreciated. I thank you all in advance.

For those of you who need a good laugh for Easter, stop on over at my friend, Sandy Lender's blog, Today the Dragon Wins and check out her Cadbury Creme Egg "Eggsperiement". It's a riot!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

This is one holiday that I look forward to every year. It's a celebration of my Irish heritage, and for people who don't have a smidge of Irish DNA in them, it's a great excuse to party!

Also, in two days (the 19th), QH and I will be celebrating 13 years of being together. We met on March 19th and had our first date on March 25. We were set up on a blind date by a friend of mine at work and her husband. So, ladies and gents, don't think that blind dates don't work. Sometimes they do!

I have a hard time believing it's really been that long. There are times I feel like we just met and are just getting to know each other, and other times, I can't even remember what my life was like before we met. It's been a great time in my life, and yes, we have had our arguments, we have had our rough times, but we have come through them together. I feel like this is going to be the year that all the good things we have worked so hard for will be coming into our lives. I'm excited and exhilirated at the thought that the LOA is working and we will have a banner year together.

To celebrate, we are leaving town to have a couple of days together. We both really need it, and it will be nice to just have some time and reconnect. Who knows what might happen while we are away? It could be lucky!

A quick update on the home front, my son Alex, has been accepted by the United States Navy and he will be leaving on June 19th. Most everyone who knows me thinks I should be crying and grieving and carrying on. Not so. I am happy that he has finally gotten what he has worked so hard to achieve and that he is on the way to make a life and a career for himself. I am extremely proud of him and all the things he has accomplished in these last few months. I will miss him, I will cry, but I won't fall apart until after he leaves. That would not be fair for him, and he is not responsible for my happiness or my unhappiness. I don't want to make him feel bad for leaving. I want him to know I love him and that no matter what happens, he can always come home.

My last post was rather sad, about the death of Jeff Healey, a great musician who brought joy to millions of people through his music. Today I want to celebrate a new life. On the celebrity front, Halle Berry and her life partner, Gabriel Aubry, welcomed a beautiful baby girl. It's the first child for both and there is no news on the name yet, but I'm sure they both are happy and feel truly blessed. There is nothing on earth like holding that tiny person in your arms for the first time. The love that flows from you to them and back again is beyond words. Congratulations to both of them!

I also want to give a shout out to my friend, Sandy Lender, who has just returned home from a business trip to my birthplace, Las Vegas, Nevada. You can read all of the hilarious details at her blog.

If you haven't picked up her book, Choices Meant for Gods, get on over to Barnes & Noble or and order it. The second book in the trilogy will be hitting the shelves soon. Today she has a fabulous contest going on, so check it out at her blog,, and get all the details. Who knows, it's St. Patrick's Day! You just might get lucky!

Kiss someone Irish today, or just kiss someone, whether they are Irish or not. And if you drink too much green beer, then please take a cab home or have someone drive you home. Stay safe, and have a very lucky day!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Sad News at the Polebarn: Jeff Healey died this weekend

Jeff Healey was a unique musician. Blind, he played guitar on his lap and sang with a bluesy voice that was unforgettable. I was shocked this morning when I saw the news that he died yesterday at the age of 41 from cancer. To read more, click here:
I bought the album, "See the Light" (pictured above), when I first saw him in a video for "Confidence Man", one of the songs on the album, and then when I listened to it, I fell in love with his song, "Angel Eyes", along with everyone else.
It was inspiring to see him play. QH and I had that privilege a few years ago when we went to the Bayfront Bluesfest in Duluth, Minnesota. It was the last Bluesfest we went to, and Jeff Healey was the final act that Sunday. We stayed until he played "Angel Eyes" and I cried, finally being able to hear him sing it in person and to share that moment with QH, the love of my life, my own "Angel Eyes." I had hoped to see him perform again, but it never happened.
My condolences to his wife and two children, his band mates, and his fans.
May he be at peace. We'll all miss you.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Goodbye, February!

Wow. I didn't realize it's been well over a month since I posted. Oh, well. I have a laundry list of reasons why it's taken me so long. I'll just give you all the highlights since you are all so busy, busy, busy! So, here goes...

First, February may be the shortest month in the calendar year, but it's always been the worst for me. Bad Karma usually hits me in February, no matter what, and if it doesn't hit me in February, then it's just as March is beginning. This year is a leap year for crying out loud, so let's prolong the agony, shall we???

There is some good news, or some great news to report though, I won't bring everyone down into my personal pity party.

First and foremost, QH did very well this year on Valentine's Day, complete with a dozen of the most unique roses I have ever seen. Great card (he created himself), and of course, he got me DARK, DARK CHOCOLATE! YUMMMM! Instead of going the usual I-waited-until-the-last-minute-and-got-you-a-stupid-dancing/singing-hamster, I decided the QH deserved to have a kick-ass present. After all, the gifts I gave him for Christmas this year were so LAME! (What did Dad get? Dad got hosed!) I should be punished and sent to bed with no supper for that, so I wanted to make sure I got him something he A) wanted and mentioned he wanted, not something I thought he wanted, and B) was something he would be able to use and enjoy.

No, folks, no Harley Davidson full dress Electroglide just yet. I need to sell some organs and a whole forest of manuscripts to get going on that.

No, I bought him a cool new digital camera. The plan worked, I knocked his socks off! He said he wanted the "cheapie" one, but I know deep down that he would just love the higher up model. The one I bought him was fabulous, and we got the opportunity to see what it could do at a wedding that very weekend. Congratulations to Chad and Missy and baby Isabel Grace. The wedding was beautiful and I blubbered and cried, and we had a great time!

The thing that still gets me, is QH keeps asking why.

Well, Duh!

I won't go through the whole list of things this man has done, still does, and I hope will continue to do, not just for me, but for my son as well. Everything from washing the dishes, doing the laundry, helping Alex work on his car, being there for him to encourage him and guide him on his embarking on his life's journey, to supporting me (and kicking me in the ass when I need it) with my writing and just being HIM! I also feel that it's a small way of showing how much I appreciate him and all the things, big, medium and small he does for us every single day we spend with him. He deserves so much more. I just have to keep working at delivering a lot faster! And get those "multiple streams of income" flowing and growing!

This month also brought with it the knowledge that even though I got my flu shot, I still can get sick. I have been battling a sinus infection for about a month now. The pressure in my head was so bad (how bad was it??), my glasses were imprinted on my face! I couldn't breathe, hear, taste, smell or talk (I hear you all clapping out there!). Then everyone else got it. My Mom got it and it turned into bronchitis. Cannon got really sick with this too.

I've been stoned on Theraflu and DayQuil for the last few weeks. There went my gym classes, and my writing. I did break down and bought a neti pot and it has been such a lifesaver. If you suffer from sinus anything, go get one, but most important, USE IT!!

Last but not least, it also brought an Oscar award to a writer whose work I admire, and to two brothers from Minnesota who make these films that stay with you. They were all so deserving, I would like to congratulate Diablo Cody for winning her award for Best Original Screenplay for "Juno", and for the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, for winning Best Picture, Best Directors, and a slew of other awards including an Oscar for Javier Bardem for his chilling portrayal in "No Country For Old Men." Both are films I am anxious to see, and kudos to all of them. Minnesota kicked ass at the Oscars!

Now, it's off to bed. I have some major life shifting going on, and will be purging and cleaning this weekend to create a few vacuums and get some energies flowing positively in the right directions. If you haven't picked it up yet, read "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle. It's Oprah's latest pick for her Book Club and I believe it will be changing not only MY life, but the lives of so many others, not to mention, our own planet.

"Be the change you want to see in the world."~Gahndi