Monday, May 28, 2007

Honoring Those Who Have Fallen

My father-in-law, Archie Payne 1923-2005

My father, Charles Maeker 1927-1998

These pictures are indicative of where my thoughts are today...

I don't personally know anyone who died while in service to our country, but I have been priviledged to know many who served our country with honor--some still living, some having passed on. My oldest daughter served in the Coast Guard, my father was a Merchant Marine during World War II, my father-in-law was in an Army tank division during that same time. A friend's husband served in Vietnam and my brother-in-law was a Sea Bee. My nephew served time in the Navy and is thinking about signing back up. I have a number of friends whose children are in Iraq or who are preparing to return.

My prayers today are thanks to those who protect us, prayers for safety to those fighting wars overseas, and prayers for our leaders to find a way out of this war that is costing so many young lives.

My wish for those serving is that our government would realize how great the sacrifices are that you make, and that your families make. I think it's appalling that one soldier I know of has to sell his truck to be able to come home to see his four year old son before he deploys back to Iraq. I think it's appalling that our soldiers don't have enough ammunition, don't have proper safety equipment, often don't have enough food. That their families are many times destitute because their pay for fighting is so much lower than their civilian pay was.

The least we can do, as Americans, is say thank you. Send a card to a soldier today. And if you can, include a $20 bill, a phone card, a book--something to let them know you care.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

We've quit celebrating a lot of holidays around our house, at least in the sense of not wasting money on gifts for what we call "Hallmark Holidays." I don't want my kids wasting their hard-earned money on presents just because someone somewhere decided this should be a gift-buying day. For the last two weeks we've been inundated with commercials on television implying that husbands and kids should be spending thousands of dollars at Zales buying diamond necklaces and earrings for Mom, or buying iPods or cellphones at Best Buy, clothes or dishes at Marshall's, etc.

Yeah, I like presents as much as anyone. But the greatest gift to me is having children who are kind and loving, who are honest and hard-working, who don't drag me out in the middle of the night to bail them out of jail, who don't keep me up nights worrying that they're in trouble, who don't break me financially because they need drug rehab, and don't steal from me to support a drug habit. My greatest gift is four fantastic, wonderful, awesome children.

The oldest has two of the cutest little boys on earth. She's smart, funny, has a good job that lets her support herself and the boys, owns her own home, and she comes to see us several times a year even though it's inconvenient and tiring to make the trip after working all week. The second oldest lives far away, but he makes me proud when I see how he treats the ones he loves. He makes more money in a week than we do in two or three months, but he doesn't spend it on high living. He helps his family when they need it, helps his girlfriend when she needs it, puts some back for a rainy day. Oh, and he sent me flowers for Mother's Day. I can't remember the last time I got flowers, but I'm pretty sure the last ones also came from him.

The second oldest is just about to finish college. One more semester to go. He's held a 4 point average in all but one class, works part-time in the computer lab, comes home for the weekend when I need him to or when there's a family gathering so he can be part of it. He's at an age where a lot of kids pull away from their families, but he hasn't done that. I'm looking forward to the day when he finds that special someone and she knocks his socks off. I just pray she's kind and gentle, like he is.

The youngest is our rebel. She's opinionated and very vocal about her beliefs. But like the others, she's a damned good kid. She's beautiful and smart, a killer combination. We're still watching to see where she's headed in life, but I know, without a doubt, she'll make a difference. And she'll make us proud, as her brothers and sister have.

As for me, I tried to send my mom flowers but I waited too late, apparently. FTD's website and 800 number wouldn't take orders, I tried 1-800-Flowers, Teleflora...all busy. My mom is 800 miles away, so I can't pop by and take her a bouquet from the grocery store. I should have sent a card, but I was so busy helping the third child move home from college and working on my books, I forgot.

So I called her today to wish her Happy Mother's Day and reminded her of the hard backed book I gave her last month in case I forgot this month. Hopefully, like most mom's, she understood.

My kids haven't gotten together for a group photo in many years. Here's one from nearly 15 years ago.

Yeah, I've been blessed.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 11, 2007


Okay, Wild Blue made it right. The tech guy came by on his way home from another install, on his own time, and got us up and running. For some reason, the dish had moved slightly, probably from the storm, and it wasn't getting a signal. Now we shall wait and see if it happens again. But for now, I'm a happy--and fast--camper.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Faster than the speed of...huh?

Got Wild Blue Satellite internet yesterday. I was looking forward to being able to actually watch video trailers and upload pictures. The dh was excited about finally being able to surf the web without my computer activity slowing him down.

Well, all we did was build ourselves up to a huge disappointment. $300 for equipment, $50.00 a month for service we're tied into for a full year, and I'm still on dialup. The Wild Blue worked on my computer (way slower than advertised) for about 4 hours. Then the clouds moved in and that was that. No more connection. Can't get it back up. Don't know when the technician can get back out here (he's 2 hours away). I was lied to about having back up dial up service (only the most expensive package has that, and only 10 hours a month). I was told it would be as reliable, if not more, than my Dish Network satellite service. Sorry, Dish is on, Wild Blue is not.

I'm so mad at myself for signing up for this. I'll be out nearly $1000 for something that doesn't work. And I'm still crawling along like a turtle at 12.0 kbps at the moment.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I've been tagged!

Denise Patrick has tagged me to reveal 8 random things you didn't know about me.

Honestly, is there anything left I haven't already revealed on this blog? Well, I'll give it a shot, but I may be repeating myself.

1. I spent 20 minutes backstage with Garth Brooks in 1992. I won a contest on the radio for a limo ride to the concert and two backstage passes, plus great seats up front at the concert. It was my oldest son's 15th birthday and he was a huge Garth Brooks fan, so it was a great birthday present. And Garth was great. He autographed a bunch of stuff for us, showed us the pictures of his first little girl (we were one of the first to see them), and he treated my son like an adult.

2. I graduated from college at 35, after I'd already had four kids. The youngest was just a year old when I started back to school.

3. I used to be an avid scuba diver. The best place I dove was off the coast of Hawaii. Nearly killed myself, though. We'd been at 70 feet for nearly an hour, the deepest and longest I'd ever been down. The water was so clear, it looked like we were only 10 feet below the boat. When the dive master signaled me to ascend because my air was running low, I forgot to do a decompression stop and went straight to the top. Luckily I remembered at that point and descended back down to 15 feet and stayed there for a while.

4. I have a huge Beanie Baby collection I don't know what to do with, thanks to my mom.

5. I'm a pack rat. A huge pack rat. This is my year to clean up my act. Started clearing out my bedroom closet this week.

6. I make pets out of all of my animals, even the cows. They're all named, and they come running when I whistle.

7. I'm a night owl. I don't even start writing until around 10 p.m. and usually don't go to bed until nearly 3.

8. I'm hooked on 24, House, Jericho, CSI: Las Vegas. I hate reality shows, don't watch American Idol, Survivor, or any of those. Don't like sitcoms. I don't like reading books where the author writes in short, choppy sentences. Love thrillers.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Statcounter and Mother's Day

I love Statcounter. It lets me see who's visited the blog, how they got here, what entries they read, how long they stayed, how many times they've visited (1st timer or repeat visitor).

I also hate it. I obsess over it. I keep the log open all day, refreshing it every hour or so. Who visited from New York? Was that an editor? An agent? A friend? Or a bored secretary looking for romance who was led here from Google? Was that really a prisoner, or a clerk at the prison? (Note to prisoners...hubby has a riot gun and knows how to use it.) How do people from China, Brazil, Egypt, Israel, and Chile find their way to my blog, and what do they think about what they read?

You could easily drive yourself crazy with all the unanswered questions. So my challenge is this...after you read this post, leave a comment telling me how you got here, where you're from, and what you think.

On Mother's Day...I'll only have one kid here for Mother's Day, for the first time in a long time. Should be a quiet, peaceful day--because I intend to make sure the hubby and kid take me out to lunch instead of making me cook! Maybe we'll go see Next while we're out, too.

Speaking of Mother's Day, on the Wet Noodle Posse e-zine, some of the Noodlers talk about their mothers. Check it out at

I still have some submissions out with a couple of agents, and one with an editor that I've given up on. It's been two and a half years and the editor who had it is no longer taking submissions. I have no idea if she's even still there. She never responded to my follow-up letters. But that's okay. I'm getting ready to send it to another editor who does answer my emails and seems to like my stuff. Yay!

Don't forget. Mother's day is May 13th. Do something nice for your mom. She's done a lot for you.