FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from freestats.com

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tomorrow's the party!

My booking manager got me two gigs - a repeat at SUNY Delhi in October and another university in Virginia in February. The February one is going to be for a lot more money than I usually get, so I'm a happy camper about that.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but one of my WHOA volunteers is getting married in September. Her bridal shower is in a couple of weeks in Connecticut and I plan on driving down. I managed to get a Connecticut library association to schedule me to speak the two days before the shower, so I'm getting my hotel room paid for two of the three nights I'll be staying down there, plus my mileage, tolls and food and my lecture fee. I'm pretty pleased about that!

Nothing for August right now. I may go away for a week. I haven't decided yet. I do need a vacation or getaway, so we'll see. I have a friend in Geneva, Switzerland who has been trying to get me out there. I just may do it.

Last night V2 came over and had sushi delivered and drank some red wine. She left early and by the time I hit the sack, I knew I'd have a hard time getting up this morning. I was right. Hangover big time. I haven't had one of those in a looooooong time. Took some aspirin and went back to bed for a bit.

Things have happened so quickly this past week that I'm dizzy! But I have my "mojo" back and I'm ready to move forward. It's funny how things can happen that you just don't expect. I can't get into it more than that. It just made me feel so much better about myself and that I do have a chance for a special someone in the future. No, there's no one now, LOL. Don't know if I'm that ready yet. I've come to the conclusion that if it happens, it happens. I am perfectly happy with my life as it is and don't mind being alone at all. . .well, I'm not really alone, I do have Bandit and Guin, but you know what I mean.

Anywho, tomorrow V2 and I head up to my sister's for my mom's birthday party. We're bringing tarot cards, the magic 8 ball gathering dust on my shelf and a Ouija board and plan on being downright silly.

V2 came by this afternoon and we went to four different furniture stores, looking for a couch for her. She has very good taste - every couch she liked was over $1000, more than what she wanted to spend. I looked at chairs, but didn't find "the one" I want for the living room. I'll know it when I see it.

We got funny birthday cards for my mom, then she dropped me off. I had nice, long bath and am ready to sit on the deck and finish reading a book I've gotten into, Chosen for Death by Kate Flora. It's the first in her Thea Kozak series, which I hadn't read yet. Kate signed it for my mom, so I want to finish it before tomorrow.

Night night y'all!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Photos!

C'mon everybody

One

two

three

"Awwwwwwwwwwwww"




My mom's birthday. We ate outside at this great restaurant and asked our waitress, Chyna (yes, named after the wrestler) to take our photos.

Here I am doing my best Lily Tomlin impersonation. And if you remember her, yes, you are as old as you think you are (ha ha)

My mom is not amused. That's because when my sister and I get together, we're trouble with a capital "T"

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dramatic Look

If this doesn't make you giggle. . .

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Chippy video, Navigator 9, Let There Be Light!

ALERT - ROB PHOTO AT THE END!!

I am nuts about Chippy (pun intended) and bought him a pet dish yesterday to put on the porch. I filled one side with sunflower seeds and the other with water and he has no problem with it at all. He loves it! I've been feeding him out of my hand on the deck chair, but wanted to try something new, LOL. So I brought out the camera this morning and you can see how close Chippy let me get with this video of him. I'm also putting up new photos of the little rascal on his page.

I finally got photos of that weird squirrel - he's the only one Chippy and Julian (and the birds) don't mind sharing the bird feeder with. Plus he's an outcast with the other squirrels. I think he's Chippy's child (ha ha):








Speaking of birds, they are so used to me and Bandit they come right in the yard when we're out there and feed. They don't like Guin, though and scatter when she goes out. Maybe her whiteness blinds them, ha ha. Chippy actually came within inches of Bandit one day and sat on his haunches staring at Bandit. I still think Chippy thinks Bandit is a giant chipmunk.

Let's see - Navigator 9 is the latest version of Netscape's web browser. DO NOT GET IT! It is not only a memory hog, but I hated it's design. I kept getting "virtual memory loss" and finally uninstalled it and reinstalled version 8 and am happy with that. I use Navigator 9 and Firefox. I refuse to use Microsoft's web browser because of the bugs and lack of security. Pfft.

I did a half hour radio show at WGAN in Portland. I've been on the Ken and Mike morning show several times, the latest was last Tuesday on the morning news earlier last week talking about Internet scams. Ken and Mike are the best! If I get a link to the half hour show, I'll post it.

I'm going to have lunch with my mom and sister and her family. It's my mom's birthday. We're doing a big party next Sunday at my sister's - a sleepover and I'm bringing V2. We're going to do tarot cards, the Magic 8 Ball, Ouija and being silly. Speaking of V2, I'm going through withdrawal - I took her to the airport on Thursday morning and she doesn't get back until tomorrow night. It's been a quiet weekend!

I did yard work like crazy yesterday, crashed for three hours (did I mention Guin loves naps?) and then made stuffed grape leaves for a late dinner. Yum!

Rob came over Friday with the new electrician (a guy who works with him at his construction site), John, and in less than four hours, my new office had lights! The guy did it for $100. What a bargain! And he'll come back to finish what the old electrician didn't do for just $25/hour.

Speaking of Rob - ladies and gentleman, here he is after putting in the last piece of the floor in my new office:



Isn't he cute as a button?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Father's Day, bad electricians, more

Father's Day was spent at my youngest sister's house in Dayton, Maine. Dad and his wife were there, my other sister and her husband and kids and Susie and her husband and kids and her in-laws.

I brought a bucket full of bubbles and wands and soon had the kids blowing bubbles with me. We had lobster, chicken and pork (the latter two were done in a smoker that Susie's hubby had gotten for Father's Day) for dinner, then blew more bubbles.

I'm a bad Aunty. I was blowing bubbles so much that one of my nieces finally marched over and said, "That's enough - I'm taking that away from you!" and took my bubble wand. The grown ups thought it was funny (me included). It's pretty bad when you annoy the youngsters, LOL.

I got Dad a couple of polo shirts and he was happy.

I left mid-afternoon, got home and was exhausted. Those kids wore me out!

Rob (the contractor) and I are extremely frustrated with the electrician. The electrician and I had made a deal and signed a contract that he would provide electrical services in exchange for Chris' gun safe for a total of $1500. He needs to come in to finish up the connections for the drop ceiling lights in my new office and turn it all on and remove the old hardware. I called this guy at every number listed on his web site, faxed and emailed him and got no reply.

Rob called him and he actually responded to Rob that he'd gotten "welder burn" on his eyes and would be up this past weekend or this week to finish and made some remark that the work he'd done already covered the safe. I don't think so, unless he charges $100 an hour. He's spent less than 10 hours total here doing work.

Plus, he left floorboards and insulation open in the attic because he was going to finish some work Chris had going. Now I have to ask Rob if he can do that for me.

I tried calling again yesterday and am pissed off. If you don't want to finish the work, be a man and call me back and explain why. Rob is frustrated as hell and is going to talk to a friend of his who is an electrician who won't charge me an arm and a leg.

So, I learned a valuable lesson - when doing a trade, have the work done *first*. Although in this case, I wanted the gun safe out of the house ASAP.

I would never recommend this electrician to anyone - Dan Gilmore dba Northeast Electric out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He not only is unreliable, but when Rob was here one of the times Dan was, Rob complained to me this guy talked his ear off and Rob refused to charge me for the two hours Dan was here.

At least Rob is an honorable guy. Well, he is a Marine after all, and all Marines are honorable.

My Good Morning, America appearance was short, but the segment was well done. I had a friend from Tennessee who knew me in Okinawa email me. She wrote that she couldn't believe I looked the same as I did in Okinawa (over 10 years ago, LOL). I wrote back that I knew she was a good friend for a reason!

I'm doing a local radio show this morning over the phone and am scheduling another appearance on the local Fox Morning News in Portland, Maine.

Phew! I'm busy, busy, busy!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

My Wii and me and GMA Segment

First, you can read the text of the Good Morning, America segment I was in.

Second, I broke down and bought a Nintendo Wii. I have been reading and hearing about it, especially from the kids and teens I speak to. It was one of the best things I've ever bought.

After I finally figured out how to hook it up to play through the TV, I got used to the remote that has a strap you wrap around your wrist, figured out all the buttons on the remote, then tried Bowling. The Wii allows you to play by yourself, which is great for me when I'm bored with TV or am not in the mood to read. I tried Tennis next, then Golf, then Baseball. Then V2 came over and I got her going on it.

We had an absolute blast. You really get a workout from it and I was sweating when we were done. We talked Rob, my construction guy, into playing with us last night. He's pretty darned good at golf.

V2 ended up staying over and it's been a quiet day today. Rob finished the wood floor downstairs and grouting the ceramic tiles in front of the fireplace. Today he's putting up the French doors and will try to put tiles down in the laundry/garden room.

I can't believe how nice my new office is looking!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Hazen Library, Chippy's Stash, Bandit's B-Day

Yesterday morning I drove to Manchester, NH to film a segment about online dating for Good Morning, America Weekend at WMUR-TV. I met one of the producers, who filmed the segment and he asked for my book and said he helped with other major news networks, such as Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc. I mentioned my Fox Maine News gig and he was excited.

Let's see if this works. I've mentioned before how the president of another online safety organization has basically blacklisted me in major TV news. I wonder if this producer will hit a roadblock. Cross your fingers that people will finally wake up and realize she is nothing but a jealous witch with a capital "B" and I am good at what I do. And I do not have a big head. Really.

Got home, had lunch, did some work online, then had to get ready to go to the Hazen Memorial Library in Shirley, Massachusetts for another panel and book signing.

I took Bandit and Guin with me and it was nice and cool for them to stay in the car. I got there early, set up and waited for Margaret Press and Kate Flora, my "Sisters in Crime" (we're members of this organization).

We had a good crowd and I had someone take photos:


Maragaret and me waiting for Kate and debating on pretending to be her, since she is the most famous of the three of us (her latest book, Finding Amy, was nominated for an Edgar Award)


Margaret going "Get me out of here, please!" (ha ha)


"The Last Supper" Sisters in Crime style


It was this big, I swear!

We got a lot of wonderful questions from the audience and I sold some books and got great desserts to take home. The dogs were good, as usual.

Chippy has been stashing sunflower seeds in my veggie garden. I suddenly saw sunflowers popping up in between the tomator plants and didn't remember planting them. So I noticed that there was a hole and lo and behold, seeds! So I put a bunch in a new hole, got up this morning and they were gone. But new sunflowers had popped up elsewhere in the garden. I have to have a talk with that Chippy! He's been playing hide and seek with me when I'm outside. I go out, he races from one end of the yard to the other, waits and looks at me. I'll walk slowly over, he does his cute little sitting up and rubbing his paws together, then takes off to the other side. I realized it was a game with him the fourth time I followed him to the other side of the yard.

He also is not afraid of Bandit. I think he thinks Bandit is a giant chipmunk (all hail Bandit, king of the chipmunks). I'll open up the door for Bandit and he toddles out, oblivious Chippy is there (because he's blind - Bandit, not Chippy). Chippy will sit on his haunches and watch Bandit, and has even let Bandit get really close to him. It's pretty funny. If I can remember, I'll bring the camera with me downstairs and take a photo.

Speaking of Bandit - he turns 15 today! I sang the Happy Birthday song to him this morning and I swear he knows it's his birthday. He hasn't let me alone all morning. He is the most intelligent dog I have ever had. I told him he and Guin get hamburgers in the shape of dog bones and cupcakes tonight for dinner. He yodeled when I said that. He's a nut.

For an old dog, he does pretty darned good. He's sleeping more, but he walks around and finds his way to me, to the bathroom (he loves the rug in there to lay on), to his dish in the kitchen, and when I open the door to the deck, he'll head for that and go outside to sniff around.

I still haven't gotten photos of the "black sheep" squirrel, but will soon.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Good Morning America Appearance

I wanted to let you know I will be on Good Morning America Weekend this Saturday morning in a segment about online dating. I'm the expert, not doing the online dating thing (ha ha).

I don't know what time my segment will appear, so you will have to either watch it from the beginning or tape it. Check your listings for your local ABC station and tune in Saturday morning!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Please do me a huge favor

If you've read my latest book, the 2nd edition of Net Crimes & Misdemeanors, please write a review at Amazon.com and/or Barnes & Noble.

This will help with the big news I mentioned and boost the ranking of my book on both sites, especially Amazon.com. It doesn't have to be a long review, just a nice one would be nice.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A wonderful saying

Got this with my new life insurance policy - the woman who has been my agent knew about Chris dying and she sent me this on the cover letter:

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,

anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending."

- Anonymous


It brought tears to my eyes. I like this insurance agent!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Sopranos "Finale"

WTF?!!!!!!!!!!!!

Silliness.

So a friend and I began talking about Paris Hilton and her going to jail and somehow (don't ask me how) we got to thinking what celebrities we'd date if we were given the chance. Since Alec Baldwin broke my heart when he left the nasty voicemail message on his daughter's cell phone (although he can still read the phone book to me anytime - I loooove his voice), I've got a "shortlist" of celebs I'd date:

Bruce Willis - Cause he'd be fun and he can sing, too
Keifer Sutherland - Just because I think he's cute as a button
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson - Just divorced his wife. He's handsome, strong and intelligent.
Ralph Fiennes - He likes older women, but I may be too young for him (ha ha)
Daniel Baldwin - One of the Baldwin brothers has just got to be normal
Patrick Stewart - I love his voice and his bald little head
Eddie Izzard - I *adore* him

That's my short list.

Now for stupidity. I have some things up for auction on eBay. I get the most idiotic questions. One item is a book called SIP Communications for Dummies. SIP = Session Initiation Protocol. A guy emailed me asking if this book would help him communicate with people better. Sigh. I wrote back that if he had to ask that question, then he doesn't need this book. I put him on my blocked bidders list. A woman emails me this morning about an audiobook on CDs and asked if all the CDs were there. Hmm? I responded that I wouldn't put it up for auction if they weren't all there. Duh. I am tempted to put her on my blocked bidders list as well.

Rob's got all of the floor down except for three pieces. There is enough leftover to do the floor in a small room in the basement that was Chris' paint room. I'm going to us it for storage, but may use it as an extra guest room if needed (I can put the blowup bed in there). Hooray! I picked up the stain for the mantel, doors and other bits and pieces. It's coming along nicely.

Thanks for the purple irises, Deb! (Those are my favorite flowers)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Hmmm. Psychics, Time Warner, Kline's Furniture, more

All right, I'll start with the delivery of the French doors. They're beautiful. Unstained, so I can make them any stain color I want. Rob began laying out the floor and it looks great, plus he put the ceramic tiles down in front of the fireplace. I'm snapping those pics and will post them soon so everyone can keep up with the progress. I'm going to try to get a pic of Rob working.

On Sunday I had two phone interviews to do. The first was a psychic radio show. I kid you not. It turns out the host, Michael Gogger was a victim my organization helped. So he decided to adopt WHOA and me and wanted to promote us. So I was to be on for an hour - the show is called Your Inner Thoughts. I called my sister to tell her she could listen to it online and try to call in. She loves getting readings from psychics and it's free, so what the heck?

Michael and I talked about staying safe online and we were supposed to take phone calls for questions, but he and I got to talking (which usually happens when I'm on a radio show) and soon it was almost the end of the hour. So he said he was going to give me a reading. I could tell he hadn't done a lot of research on me (like some supposed psychics are purported to do). He started off by talking about my "better half" and some minor conflict, then again mentioned that my better half was going to be upset about my traveling so much, but that it would work out. He asked if my husband was upset. I explained that Chris died and he insisted that I would have a better half and he sees me engaged or married within a year. Okayyyyyy.

He then mentioned I was negotiating an agreement or contract and that it would take all this week, then I would begin the work the first week in July. How eerie. That is very true. Then he said someone I know is pregnant and someone was either moving now or would be soon. I'm thinking it's my niece who recently got married. I have to email her now! He said he saw me picking up on traveling after July and I would be busy. And that appears to be coming true. So strange!

Because the hour was up, he couldn't take calls. Then the tech guy said the next guest was late, so Michael announced he would indeed take calls and asked me to stay on the show. A woman from the South came on. I could barely understand her with her accent, LOL. Then the next woman was. . .my sister! I couldn't believe she got on. We laughed at that and I noted that we did not plan this. Michael did his reading of her and told her that she was planning a vacation soon and it would go well and would rekindle her marriage. He also picked up someone moving from her, so I am positive it's my niece. I can't remember all of it, but the show is to be in the archives on the web site soon.

Monday my phones were acting wacky. I could call out, but if anyone tried calling me, they got a busy signal. I was on the phone with Time Warner trying to figure it out and they said to switch out the cable modem (I have the all-in-one Internet/Cable/Phone service). I drove through the rain, got a new modem, came home, installed it and the same thing happened. So they sent this technician out, Mike, to figure it out. He ended up replacing most of the jacks. The wires and jacks were so old (this house is over 55 years old), they just gave out. He was here from 4-7 pm and Rob kept hanging out (I think to make sure I was not alone - what a sweetie).

So, while I was at Time Warner, I asked the women there what would happen if I wanted Chris' name taken off the account. I told them I needed to keep the email address I have. They said that for 24-48 hours I'd have to use a new address, then call and ask for the old one back. But, during that time period, I would lost any emails I received. I don't understand why they can't just change the first name on the account to mine and leave things as they are. I had a copy of his death certificate and it should not be such a darned hard process. I told them I never talked to them. They laughed and at least changed the name on the billing to my name.

On Tuesday morning I was on Fox 23 in Portland, Maine for a half hour with hosts Ray and Ted. We took call in questions and promoted my book heavily. They are so excited with me they are having me back on in two weeks and want me to start a blog on their web site. Hooray! (Now if they'd only pay me, ha ha).

When V2 went with me in January to Kline's Furniture in Portsmouth, NH to pick out my new couch and chair, they'd promised me both pieces by the first week in February. After many phone calls, I finally got the couch in April. I still haven't gotten the recliner and after many phone calls and promises they would call me back with when it would be arriving, I am pissed off. That's almost six months. Either tell me you can't get the recliner and I'll pick something else out or tell me what the frell is up. Don't lie to me, don't say you'll call back and then don't call back. I will never buy another piece of furniture from Kline's again. And Chris and I bought our bedroom set from them when we moved int, plus a sleeper sofa and tables; then I bought my new bedroom set from them after Chris died.

Now I have to go chair shopping. Blech.

I met V2's mom and her boyfriend (her mom's not V2's, LOL). So cute! We had dinner twice and hung out and had a ball. Her mom asked me to put some Annalee dolls up on eBay, which I did earlier this week. I hope they go for a good amount. Previous auctions I searched for showed they averaged $10-$30.

I also put up a bunch of magazines, books, audiobooks and DVDs. I'm starting to put more things on eBay to clear out my current office and some of Chris' things. I have a whole entertainment center filled with DVDs downstairs, as well as those darned books.

One day at a time. Ohmmmmm

Good news - SUNY Delhi wants me back to speak! I was there last year and they loved me so much they're having me back on October 10th. It'll be a road trip, so Bandit and Guin (as long as they're healthy enough) will go with me. I now have two trips booked that month - the other is a Pennsylvania Librarian Conference, so I can only do road trips the rest of that month.

I am definitely taking the week of November 5th-11th off and going away by myself. My birthday is never going to be the same. I am thinking either a cruise or visiting a friend in Geneva. I want to be around people, for sure, but not with relatives or close friends. I know everyone means well, but that week will be hard enough. I don't want a lot of people fawning over me and making it worse.

My veggie garden is coming along very well. I'm pleased. I can't wait to start getting things to pick and eat. Yummo!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Well well well

Very interesting reply to my post about what happened at Greely Middle School.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

News! Canton Public Library, More

Well, I can't tell you the exact nature of the great news until a contract is signed, but it's big! I am so excited and can't wait to tell everyone what it is. The contract should be signed next week (crossing my fingers).

I did a Sisters In Crime "We're not making this up!" panel at the Canton Public Library in Massachusetts on Wednesday night. I'm a member of SinC and did one panel previously and enjoyed it immensely.

This time, it was with one of my favorite mystery authors (and now a friend), Kate Flora. Her Thea Kozak mystery series is a must for anyone who likes good thrillers. She's in the same realm as J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) and Kathy Reichs (the TV series "Bones" is based on her books). The other author, Paul E. Doyle, was on the other panel I'd done. I love the photo on his web site. He's not quite as muscular in person, but is as good looking.

It took me two hours to get to the library, due to the Boston area traffic. I hate driving through Boston, especially during drive time. The panel kicked off at 7:30 pm, so I made it by 7 pm. I brought Bandit and Guin with me in the car because I knew it was going to be a long night. Paul was already there and walked in with me. I grabbed some water for the dogs and went back out and there was Kate! I haven't seen her since Chris died, but we'd talked over the phone and emailed each other. She looked great and we hugged.

The room filled up pretty well. I'd estimate about 20 people showed up. Paul tends to talk too long and Kate and I giggled and teased him and said we weren't going to do any more panels with him. I was surprised that I got the most questions. Which is good, I guess, even though I only sold three books. I don't think Kate and Paul sold many books, either.

One older man, in his 70s, was adamant that a "PC technician I know says that every time you go on the Internet, *they're* in your computer." I was like "they who?" He said, "You know, *them.*" Uh huh. I gently explained that as long as you have antivirus and firewalls in place and keep them updated. . .he was not having it. THEY are always in your computer.

Geez.

I swear, I always get one nutcase at a book signing. This was mine for the night.

So hey, George, you in my computer right now? How's it hanging?

Ha ha ha.

The drive home was faster by a half hour and I swung through Wendy's for a very late dinner. I got chicken nuggets for me and a cheeseburger for the dogs. They were happy. They love it when I give them cheeseburgers.

Went home, ate, watched TV, then crashed.

Got up in the morning to check my email and there was a message with the big news. I almost fainted. I've been working on this for almost a year. The guy wrote, "I guess persistence pays off. . ."

Hooray!

I also got an email from my agent. He wants an outline for a new book. I'm not thrilled with it, but if it sells, I'll write it and do a good job. Money is money and I'm not getting rich on Net Crimes.

I had a friend talk with me over the phone when I was going to Philly and he said I'd make a lot if I could sell a lot of books there. I asked him if he really knew how much authors make. He thought I got at least half of the cover price. After I stopped laughing hysterically, I explained that unless you're a Stephen King or Clive Cussler, you make diddly. After my publisher takes their cut, pays the editor, indexer, proofreader, cover artist, layout person, etc, I make a whopping $1.27 or so for each book sold. Seriously. I have to pay my publisher $14.97 plus shipping for each book I buy from him, so when I resell them at $20 I make a little bit more.

That's why I do the speaking engagements. Those are my "bread and butter."

So support an author and buy my book!

On another note, more of Chris' music equipment sold, so his friend, Bill, is bringing a check for me today. Little by little, it's getting better.

I went out with Debbie (hi Debbie!) for appetizers and drinks at The Lobster Cove on Long Sands Beach. My neighbors are co-owners of the restaurant. V2 couldn't come, she was working. Which is good. She had a slow time and now is crazy busy - I am happy for her! Debbie and I chatted. She's working a wedding today (she works for a banquet center), her husband is buying a new (used) fishing boat in Newfoundland, and her life is busy. Someone she know named George came in with a woman and we ended up talking with them for a while. I chatted with the woman, Andrea, for a while and I think I may have found a new advocate for WHOA!

Debbie brought me home at 8:30 and my sister called and we talked for a long time. I always laugh when I talk with her. Crashed hard and had to get up early because my French doors are coming in this morning. Rob should be here any minute. I am so excited! He brought over the parts for the drop ceiling yesterday and hopes to get that installed, as well as the doors. Then it's just the floor and ceramic tiles and a little more painting and it'll be time to move in. Hooray!