The desk is clean. The office is … better. I switched gears and am now working on an application to my HOA foo make a small change to the exterior of my house. I realize the value of HOA’s, but I don’t like asking for permission either. I suppose you can’t have it both ways.

The holidays are fast approaching. We have two family “do’s” this weekend. After that, I’m chilling out. My goal is to actually get back into the groove of writing. My shopping is done, I sent out the holiday cards, all that’s left is sipping eggnog and listening to the music of the season. I can handle that.

I got my sister’s hospital bill for her 18 days in the hospital. $118,406.00. Tell me there isn’t something wrong with insurance companies being in charge of our health care system. Just try and tell me that. $17,393.00 of that bill was for coronary care. Excuse me. She didn’t have a heart problem, she had cancer. I don’t even want to understand how things have gotten so out of control.

A friend and I went downtown to see the beautiful holiday lights Fort Collins puts up in Old Town. It is simply magical. I am never disappointed. It could only have been better if it was lightly snowing – or – warm enough to get out and walk. It was frigid, but still absolutely magical. So glad I got the opportunity. I don’t like night driving anymore.

Our little bit of snow is gone, only the cold remains. I keep curling up in front of the fire and not getting a whole lot done. Not that there isn’t plenty to do. I could shred documents from now until spring – and it may just take me that long – and then there is the sorting that will have to get done before we can have an estate sale. All in good time, all in good time. IMG_0089

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My condolences to the Bush family. #41 George H. W. Bush was a great patriot, and more importantly, a great husband, father, and grandfather. A man that truly served all of America, he held his head high above partisanship, and I salute his inspirational life and ideals. We can only hope there are more like him to come.

I’ve noticed over the years that Mother Nature seldom pays attention to the calendar. What a slacker, or else she’s actually the rule maker. Officially, we’re still in fall and the cold, nasty stuff is supposed to wait till winter. Not. The cold and nasty has arrived.

I recently worked diligently to clean my desk off. It had gotten a little out of control with all the book events of late. In fact, my entire office is rather a mess right now, there is even a floating dragon hanging about, but I have plans for the room. I just won’t be able to complete them until February, actually March, so for now, I’m going to live with the chaos, something I haven’t done extremely well with in the past. I have a new resolve to chill out and let it be. I’ll keep you posted on that front.

Part of the office mess stems from the fact that I put a lot of mementos in there when i decorated the rest of the house for the holidays. It seemed like the logical place to go with stuff, it was easy and close and I had no plans to decorate it. Now I’m rather regretting the inclination to put it in there. Too late!  I do love how the rest of the house looks, though, all dressed up in its holiday duds.

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The Peak

Whenever I return to the Colorado Springs area, one of my favorite things to see is Pikes Peak. I came down for a book signing at Covered Treasures Bookstore in Monument (a treasure in itself) and low and behold, the mountain was socked in by a coming snow storm and nary a glimpse of it could I see. Then I woke the next morning to a sparkling peak basking in early sunlight. I also got to see old friends whom I cherish. What a blessed trip!

The days are growing shorter, but just think, in only three weeks it goes the other way. After Dec. 21st, the days get longer every single day. That’s one of the thoughts that carries me through winter, that and tons of book work. This year, I get to oversee three extra sets of taxes, 3 final returns. That is rather daunting, but thank goodness, it only has to happen once.

I greatly enjoyed the Christmas decorations at my friend’s house, and it reminded me of when I used to put up five trees in my home in the Black Forest. I’m sorely tempted to get all the boxes out of storage and do it up right. After the holidays, when it all has to come back down is when I will kick myself and wonder “what was I thinking?”  I may rethink the impulse.

What is your favorite holiday tradition? Do you like the goodies? or the lights? or the shopping? I have to say that going downtown to see the lights in Fort Collins is one of my all-time favorite things to do in December. I truly love the music too. Nothing beats turning off all the lights except for the Christmas village, the lit tree and the fireplace. That is the best for me, topped off with a little egg-nog. Of course, a grandchild in my lap, some crunch drop cookies, and a movie are pretty good too.

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A blog. Oh yes, I blog. That means I have to write something. Shucks folks, I don’t know what to write about. I bought Christmas cards today. Actually, I had decided I wasn’t going to send cards this year, and then I decided that was a cop out. I need to keep the tradition going. I won’t send the usual letter of how the year has gone. Too soon. The year was a toss up, though, two great additions, a happy, healthy grand baby and my 7th published book, and two great losses, a mom and a sister. What I do want to do is tell everyone that I love them, that I appreciate their friendship, and how much they have meant to me over the years.

I have another book signing at Covered Treasurers book store in Monument Colorado this coming weekend. This trip will give me a chance to see old friends and catch up. I am really looking forward to it, even if it means driving down I-25 (the absolute worst highway that I hate more than any other).

I got four pieces of mail today. Everyone of them was for my mother or sister. That is depressing. I don’t mind not getting any bills for me, mind you, and yesterday’s mail was chocked full of catalogs that I need like a hole in the head, but come on, only mail for dead people is kind of morbid if you ask me. Sooner or later it has to slow down. Surely.

So what is everyone doing for the holidays this year? I plan a trip to downtown Fort Collins at night to see the lights. The way they light it up is absolutely gorgeous. Beyond that, I have no big plans. We didn’t have much for snow last year, so I hope to get more snow-shoeing in this winter. That’s about it.Rhyaden-Kindle

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The Holidays

The tree is up and decorated. The snow village is on the hutch and lit. The wind is howling outside like it has somewhere important to go. My granddaughter and I are watching a Christmas movie, the first of many for the season, after an afternoon of hauling boxes up the stairs and eating Thanksgiving leftovers. There is just one month left until Christmas. Oh my gosh. How does time do that?

It is not unusual to struggle through the holidays after loosing a loved one. So many times I think of calling Mom. She would have loved hearing about us decorating the tree and how beautifully it turned out.

Thanks to all who have come out to my book events. They have all been loads of fun and a wonderful opportunity for me to meet new people and connect with friends I haven’t seen in a long while. I appreciate everyone’s support. Rhyaden is a great read. I hope each of you gives it a try. Books are a great Christmas present!

Travel safe to those returning home and throughout the coming holidays. 

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The bureaucracy of death is ridiculous. I’ll share one recent incident. I called the hospital in Grand Junction where my sister was diagnosed with cancer in order to have them change the address where they send the bills to, from Mom’s house to mine. I was assuming they wanted someone to actually get the bill. Due to privacy issues – remember, she passed and doesn’t really care about privacy anymore – they could not change the address without my e-mailing her a copy of my POA for my sister. Now, excuse me, but a Power of Attorney is immediately null and void when a person dies, so how in the world does this help them?

Channeling my family’s sarcastic nature, I asked, “You do want the bill to be paid, right?” There was a rather stilted laugh on the other end of the line.

Well, folks, the Post Office ( and we all trust them implicitly) is supposed to forward the mail to me. We’ll see how that goes. If all else fails, I’ll take in the Death Certificate next time I’m over there. I have to assume the woman didn’t understand that my sister died. I don’t know. I just gave up.

It snowed! My granddaughter and I went sledding. A marvelous bit of exercise and fun. The snow was glistening white in the sunshine, the temperature freezing cold – literally – and we followed the sledding up with a hot bowl of home-made chicken soup. What more could you ask for?

“Rhyaden” is flying high, winging it out there on the back of a very purple dragon that everyone can’t help but fall in love with. Thanks to all who have written reviews, shown up at my book signings, and supported me these last months with flowers, cards, and love. You are the best fans, family, and friends. I am ever so grateful.

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Choose Joy

I met a lot of really great people at the Loveland Public Library Local Author’s Showcase. The day started with three presenters, followed by a lovely lunch, and then we set up to meet the patrons and sell books. It was fun to visit with other authors, trade lessons learned, and see the immense amount of creativity from our area.

Tuesday the 13th is the release day for Rhyaden. We plan a fun launch party at Severance Middle School library at 3:30 pm. To help us celebrate, there will be a little dragon running around, plus lots of treats and activities. I have the best job of meeting people and signing books.

The days are growing shorter. It gets dark early now, driving me indoors to curl up by the fire like a cat. There is much I could be doing in the yard, but the weather has been cold, often windy, and not at all inviting for gardening. Whatever still needs to be dead-headed will still be there when the weather turns warm again. There are always stretches of warm weather during the winter in Colorado. I just have to be patient.

In the meantime, the holidays grow closer. Thanksgiving will be a large gathering of close and far away family. Everyone brings their specialty so it will be easy-peasy. My daughter-in-law wrote out each members contribution (that way the only thing I will forget is the peas in the microwave.) Then comes Christmas. We have plans for a family sleep-over, good food, a holiday movie, and stories into the night. You can’t beat that.

My thoughts return often to my mom and sister. Not talking to them during the coming holidays will be another steep hurdle. My cousin recently sent me a beautiful sentiment about the choice a grieving person must make, to sink into the sadness, or to move on and live with the joy that those lost would wish for us. I choose joy. Rhyaden book mark

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