First, here are the contest winners who should have been announced on Monday. (Bad Linda! Bad!) Or not.
Congratulations to Garen L. Herd and Jessie R, who will both receive autographed copies of my most recent release. For obvious reasons (see above), I didn’t formally announce a contest for this week, but guess what! We’re going to choose random winners from the week’s comments anyway, because that’s how we roll, Ms. Jenni and I. Winners will be named on Monday (please God) and a new round will begin. Rules are always the same: comment, and you’re entered. Two winners will be chosen and notified, and they too will received autographed books.
What a week this has been! I’ve been writing like a crazy woman–I’m really rolling with NORTH OF EDEN–and have to tear myself away from the computer every day. I have to watch my tendency toward perfectionism; because this book will be published in hardcover initially, with considerable splash, I catch myself thinking, “This has to be really, really good.” That, of course, is a recipe for creative paralysis. My hardcover editor, Kathy Sagan, who is wonderful, by the way, keeps telling me to Just Write. I can revise later, after all. Still, I love, love, LOVE to play with words, and I can get pretty carried away describing things and people and places–and to a certain degree, that’s good, because I’m out to give you the best story I possibly can. On the paperback side, my long-time friend and editor, Paula Ekelhof, recently retired, and now I’m with Margo Lipschultz, whom I also love. Margo and I worked together briefly some time ago, and we’re simpatico.
Mom, now 87, went in for an eye exam on Wednesday. You can bet I was worried when the doctor called me in for a conference after her checkup. Turns out, Mom has macular degeneration, which, of course, is not the best news. She has the “dry” kind, as I understand it, which means there is no effective treatment (yet), but the condition isn’t likely to get any worse, so she can still read and watch HGTV, two of her favorite things to do. Mom is still sharp as can be, but she can be a little foggy sometimes (hey, so can I), so I had to explain that she’s among the fortunate; she won’t go blind. The “wet” version of macular degeneration is, evidently, somewhat treatable, but it still results in vision loss. So, convoluted as it sounds, there’s an entry for my gratitude journal. (I’m up to day 208 now, well into volume 4.)
Yesterday, I had a mammogram; nobody’s favorite thing to do, but just think about the number of lives this test saves every year! Now, they even have a 3-D version–God bless those geeky types who wear their baseball caps backwards and keep coming up with amazing new technology. I’m reminded of something Bill Gates once told a bunch of high school students: be nice to the geeks, because you’ll probably end up working for them. Love it.
All this and writing, too. Plus keeping up with Mowgli and Tule, my pound puppies, who are a constant delight, the little outlaws. I think, like babies, God made small animals cute so we wouldn’t kill them. (No inflammatory emails, please. I’m just kidding!)
I’m happy to say that I’m finally back on track with my Weight Watchers plan and exercise. It was dicey for a while there, and I gained back some of the 50 pounds I lost, but now I’m back on track and, as always, that feels great. When Jenni and I signed up again, a couple of years ago, we promised each other that we wouldn’t quit going to meetings, no matter what the scale said. Listen to the long-time members in WW, the ones who’ve reached and maintained their goals, and you will hear that advice again and again. Keep coming back. Eventually, things will click, whether for the first time, or the seventy-seventh. The lifers also have lots of good ideas, like boiling up a bunch of vegetables and then using a stick mixer to puree them. Freeze, add soup stock and spices later, and voila. Soup, satisfying and healthy. I’m having a lot of fun with that one–I love vegetables, and I love soup, so it’s a winner. Since I tend to be one of those obnoxious people who buy a lot of fresh produce, stare at it until it wilts, and then dump it into the compost pile, this is an excellent solution for me. And holy delicious, Batman, sugar-free peanut butter is a power food! Who knew??
As always, I’m reading/listening a lot. I’m listening to TRIALS OF THE EARTH, by Mary Mann Hamilton, a true story of a pioneer woman and her courage in the face of adversities that would buckle most of us under. I’m reading MINDSET, a really excellent book about the importance of choosing our attitudes. Fascinating stuff. I’m a great fan of TED talks (I’d love to give one someday), and I recently discovered another treasure, 1000lifehacks.com. GREAT stuff!
In closing, there’s good news about my stepmother, Edith Lael. You may remember that she broke some bones in her neck several months ago, and she’s been in rehab ever since. Guess what? She got to go home! She’s an inspiring lady, full of pioneer spirit. Thank you for your prayers and good wishes along the trail, my friends. Finally, I’m attending a retirement party Saturday evening, for my dear friend Gail Mackie, who has done such a spectacular job running Spokanimal all these years. It was Gail who brought three of my beloved house pets into my life, Button, aka Buttingo, aka Tingo, who is a 21 year old cat and still peppy, plus Mowgli and Tule (aka Tim the Toolman Taylor).
I warned you. I just can’t resist playing with words!