Dark days...

Most of you know that I'm a huge Gilmore Girls fan. Even now that it's off the air I continue to enjoy the reruns. Well, one of the episodes recently featured Luke's dark day. This was the day every year that he retreated from society and mourned his father. It was the day that he allowed himself the chance to feel the pain and show respect. For me... this is my dark day. Four years ago I lost my mom to colon cancer. I can't really believe that it's four year because I feel like she was just with me yesterday. I mourn her, I miss her and I keep going... that's what she would have wanted. You've seen me post this advice before, but I'll continue on as long as there is breath in me... make your life an example of being kind and generous to others. Pay it forward, commit random acts of kindness and just listen... whatever you feel is appropriate. But most of all, hug your mom... because you never know when you might not get another chance.

Get in the Pink

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month...

Yes, I know it's not October yet, but it doesn't hurt to be proactive when it comes to your health. This year was a big year for me... not only did I have my second colonoscopy, but I had my first mamogram. Neither were half as scary as people believe. The mamogram took seconds and didn't hurt at all. The best part of it was the peace of mind that comes with the knowlege from proactive.

So, with October so close... here are just a few things to keep in mind and I got these from the pages of Shape Magazine and an excellent article entitled Your Healthy Brest to-do List by Ginny Graves, a freelance writer. I would highly suggest checking out their October issue on the stands now with Cheryl Crow on the cover. It's a fantastic issue filled with information and ways to support a great cause...

1. Do your self examination... and do them often. The more often that do them the more likely you are to notice small changes before they become BIG problems.

2. Know your family history... forewarned is forearmed and never more so then when it comes to cancer. But I would add that just because it doesn't run in your family that you shouldn't worry about being checked. It has to start somewhere. As someone who lost her mother to colon cancer I can tell you from experience that there was no family history of the cancer. It wasn't until my Uncle developed the cancer that my mother got checked... and at that point she had already developed several polyps. My Uncle was lucky enough to fight it...my mom unfortunately wasn't as lucky.

3. Get screened... As I said at the top of the blog post... I got screened for the first time this year. I'd always heard from my mother that it was uncomfortable, but I really found the whole thing to be just a necessary inconvenience. It took seconds and when handled professionally is just another doctor's visit.

4. Share the data... in the case of Shape Magazine, they suggested that your digital mammogram inforamtion go into a warehousing at the National Digital Medical Archive (ndma.us). It's a free service and keeps your information for easy access by any doctor. I would also say that you should share your information with family members. Gone are the days when medical problems should be a secret. I'm not suggesting you tell every little detail, but I am saying that you should share diagnosis so that others can be tested. If my Uncle hadn't shared his diagnosis my mother would never have been tested... and I would have lost her a lot sooner.

5. Support the cause... Ford, Reebok, Lean Cuisine... they are all national supporters of breast cancer health and research and they offer great deals for those interested in the PINK stuff. But, I would also add that there are many very good local organizations whose work is incredibly valuable to cause. Here in Maine we have the Maine Cancer Community Center which supports both the patient and their families and helps them to have a better life, despite a tricky diagnosis. MCCC holds an auction in October to support their center activities. It's online and there are some great finds from across Maine. They can be found at http://www.cancercommunitycenter.org/

6. This is my own addition to the great list... Appreciate those around you and take comfort and support where you can. Proactiveness, Prevention and Positiveness... these are what I consider to be the three steps to fighting cancer of any kind.

As writers, it’s our nature and our job to sit back and watch… to become a memory tape of sorts. We record events for emotions, responses, causes and effects and we infuse those reactions with our own to create work that will touch the very core of others, to make them live and experience, and in some cases re-experience, life.

This post started out as a way for me to retell my experience that morning on September 11, 2001. But as I started I realized that my emotions can not even begin to mirror those of the people in New York, Washington or Pennsylvania or at the loved ones at home across the country on that day and the days that followed. I am humbled by the sacrifice and bravery and heart that was given and received by those involved. My heart goes out to the families of those lost...

In honor of The Pink Heart Society's Male Monday...

And since they were so RIGHT to pick Gabriel Byrne as their choice for today's Male Monday recipient... I'm posting some of my favorite Gabriel pics...
The first time I really noticed him was when I saw Stigmata. Stigmata is one of those movies that you're not sure you want to watch because you know it's not a lighthearted movie, but if you watch it for just a moment you are sucked in until the very gorgeous last scene in the garden.
You definitely see a side of him that is tough, but vulnerable and defiant yet loyal. So, of course... he became Sullivan, my hero, in the book that I'm working on now. He just has that ability to play characters that straddle the line between good and bad and that is just what I wanted to portray in Sullivan. Someone who on the outside looks bad, but then you glimpse the bit of him floating in the undercurrent and realize that there is a much deeper man there then first thought.

I've mentioned this little none film before, but if you are a Gabriel fan then you should check out This is the Sea (1997). Set just after the 1994 cease fire, it also had Richard Harris in it. You've got to love Richard Harris. He was so eccentric he could have been a Mainer. Anyway, I digress, but this story was one that I've searched for over the years. Unfortunately, the cost has put it a bit above my price range, but I remain ever vigilant on eBay for a copy I can afford.

So, until then... I'll leave you with this incredibly great pic of him for your enjoyment.

Books I wish I'd written...

I know that there have to be other writers out there who have experienced this... you buy a book, you stay up all night reading it... and then you wish you'd been the one to write it. Well, this week I went to Borders to use my trusty $5 coupon they had sent me and I picked up my much wanted Eloisa James book... on the way out I spied The Forever Summer from Suzanne MacPherson. Now, the cover was cute, but for some reason I found myself drawn to the book. I picked it up... read the back and found it to be quite funny sounding, plus it had a ghost whisperer and a mystery and a romance... all my favorite things. So, despite being unfamiliar with Ms. MacPherson's work I picked it up and headed for the counter. It wasn't until I sat down on my lunch break to find that from the first page I was completely hooked... by first page I mean the acknowledgement... she had dedicated it to the checker chicks and guys at Safeway and suggested that a party was due on aisle 9.

Now... For those of you who don't know... my day job is working for a grocery chain here in the Northeast. In particular, I spent a lot of years being one of those checkergirls and I have a true appreciation for anyone who does the job. So, of course, I was sucked in immediately to the story. But alas, lunch breaks are never long enough and even if I'm a speed reader (which I hate) I didn't get as far as I'd like... so I was left with the opening image of a all-around-grocery girl in charge of tasting who'd given a customer a sample of Cheez Whiz on crackers with olives and said customer had promptly "cashed out" in the produce department. Well, I went right back to the front end and told the cashiers that I'd found a great new book. For days they haven't left me alone. They want me to finish the book so they can get their hands on it. Well, I'm finished, but tough luck... it's a keeper and it's mine! If you don't like it you can bag your own groceries girls and guys! I'm keeping it for another reread and maybe to highlight the really GOOD parts!

If I had a rating system Ms. MacPherson's book would be at the top. Instead, she has to settle for a makeshift 5 out of 5 fake cheese in a can rating. Oh yeah, for those in my area of the country? The party is in aisle 10!

Road Trip! Party On, Dude! Excellent!

Road Trips!
I love them! Always have! And for those of you who don't know... my family and I went to DisneyWorld this summer. Yup, we were those crazy Mainers who went in August during that spike of 95+ degree weather. And to make matters much more interesting we did it as a road trip! It was Maine to North Carolina the first day from 2am to 6pm and then 6am to about 4 the next day to Orlando. A very long trip, but it was a fun one! So, just to pass the time we started making a list as we went... I thought that I'd share it with you all...

The Best Breakfast: This was at the Waffle House in Fayetteville, NC. Many thanks to the ladies and they were wonderful to a bunch of haggard Yankees who showed up.

The Biggest Toll Booth: There is some debate, but we believe that it was actually on 95 between Delaware and Maryland. It looked like an airport it had so many lanes and was a collosal huge building... of course, I couldn't find the camera in the mess around my feet to take picture.

By the way, Delaware also had...

The Most Expensive Tolls per area travelled: It was Three dollars in and three dollars out for the smallest state travelled. They have to pay for that toll booth.
The Most Tolls: This honor, however, goes to New Jersey... but that's not really surprising. It is coupled with most confusing highway interchange at the end of the New Jersey Turnpike.

Most Billboards: Hands down... this was in South Carolina and the overall winner was South of the Border! You can't miss 'em. They're everywhere!

Cutest Truckload: This was a load of baby pigs that I once again couldn't get a picture of because we were (a) going too fast (b) couldn't find the camera in the clutter or (c) both... pick C. Because my kids whined so much and pouted, DH did however pull over so that we could pass them again and take a picture.. (yes, we're Mainers and they do weird things like that), but unfortunately it was a wasted effort as they had pulled off somewhere else.

Best Rest Stop:
Santee, SC! Clean, beautifully landscaped and did I mention clean?div>They had palm trees and a wonderful fountain with a seating area that was inscripted with great quotes. Of course, I did get a picture of this since I could them paw through the mess to find the camera. Did I mention it was clean? Oh, and here are the palm trees...

The last two are unofficial categories...

Wildlife seen: A flock of geese (not really just a flock a whole barnyard full) that were hanging out in the green section of a exit ramp in the middle of New Jersey and a baby deer that was spotted beside the road in North Carolina... he even had spots...

And the last unofficial award goes to my hubby...

Best Catch Overall: For his single-handed catch out the passenger side window of my vinyl windshield protector (you know those things you sqeegee on to help eleviate the sunglare?) while I was driving at... ahem?! EXCESSIVE speed through South Carolina and just a mere nanosecond before it disappeared forever.

Again, the camera was lost in the junk on the floor... you'll have to take my word for how good it was!

Anyway, I'm leaving you with my favorite shot taken in Florida. I wanted desperately to see a flamingo (not the rare plastico-maine-lawn species), but the real life variety. BTW, did you know that they HONK! Anyway, here they are courtesy of DisneyWorld....

Where I'm going to be?

September 21st ~ Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library~
Literary Luncheon with yours truly Click here for more info!
Please come and enjoy lunch with me!

October 6th ~ NJRWA Literacy Booksigning ~ Iselin, New Jersey
I know it's a hike... but it's a hike well worth it. I've been attending this particular conference for several years and it's well worth the drive. The booksigning never fails to showcase the best authors across all genres of Romance.

Soon to be announced... Rhode Island Romance Writers. They've asked me to come and speak with them about how to create the perfect Anti-hero!

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