Monday, November 30, 2009

I hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as ours.

View from the head of the table into the formal living room.
(The turkey is going to be the centerpiece)

For me, the best part of entertaining and the holidays is the preparation. The anticipation. Making your guests feel special. I love it!!

I like to do a dress rehearsal for the table/centerpiece/place settings the night before. I'll play with it, arrange and re-arrange until I get it just perfect. When I think it looks fabulous, I'll leave it, thinking that's one less thing I have to fuss about. But no, I'll walk past it another half dozen times and 'tweak it', or add more baubles or bling. Never fails. When I walk away and come back, it doesn't matter how 'perfect' I thought it was 20 minutes ago, I always find something else to add. Or take away. Or re-arrange.

*Notice the door behind me? Well, the best part about my house is that the kitchen can be closed off.*

This is the view when you walk in my front door. My guests can smell the heavenly scents coming from the kitchen but they don't have to see the hellacious mess I sometimes create. However, this year I really didn't have to worry about that because Thanksgiving was catered by none other than Mama herself, which gave me extra time to cuddle the grandbaby ( her first Thanksgiving).

See? No distraction from kitchen activity when guests first walk in.

After dinner we 'retired' to the family room and had a family photo taken in between half time of the Dallas Cowboys game! (Go 'boys!)

Here is the star of the show, Sophia, in her Thanksgiving outfit.

Sophia and her sister 'Drexie'. This little dog is absolutely in love with 'her baby.' This shot is special because it was taken when Sophia looked at Drexie and for the first time really saw her and seemed to understand, "Wait a minute. This is a puppy and it's mine."

I am so thankful for all of my many wonderful friends and family. I am grateful to God for my health, my family's health and all the beautiful blessings in my life.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need."
For four long years, my son and I were the victim of a stalker. Not your run of the mill, 'I'm going to follow you everywhere you go and call your house and hang up' stalker, either (although I am not minimizing the terror that I am sure goes along with that type). But a 'false victim' stalker. I know. I'd never heard the term either, let alone know these people even existed. I won't go into too much detail about False Victimization Syndrome. I'll just let you google it. What I will tell you is that only 2% of the stalking population are False Victim Stalkers, in comparison to the majority which are Obsession Driven. It is almost 100% same sex gender-stalking and almost always women. FVS is a very new and complex diagnosis so authorities are still struggling with how to deal with it.
It started as complaints from this one woman (that I knew and thought was a friend) to my son's teacher accusing us of child abuse and neglect. We had only been in the area for about 9 months, so the teachers and school didn't know us all that well which made the situation worse.
After two weeks of panicked, sleepless nights clutching my child, wondering if every car that drove by was Social Services the school dropped the questioning/investigation. Even though Will absolutely did not fit the profile of a child being abused, they have to investigate every single accusation. Yet, when the principal told this woman not to call, visit or contact the school again, she continued to call and write letters.
When that didn't work, i.e. she couldn't brand me as an abusive mother (she literally wanted the school to have my child taken from me) she followed me every where. Sometimes she would just stand in front of my house, staring, waiting for me to come outside. BUT...she would tell everyone else that I was the one stalking her.
The last 6 months we lived there, my son couldn't play outside alone (she followed him around taking pictures and videoing him). I couldn't even step outside by myself. Not to get the mail. Not to walk the dog. Not even to get behind the wheel of my car to drive away. We both had to have round the clock witnesses and protection.
This woman was dangerous. I thought, and I am not exaggerating, I thought she would kill me. Or hire someone to do it for her.
I was literally a prisoner in my own home. The witnesses - and yes there were plenty- who knew this woman was lying - were too afraid to come forward. They were afraid they'd be next.
It was at that point that I knew, I knew that I was totally alone. I will, for the rest of my life remember the pain of listening to a prosecuting attorney trying to convince a judge that someone had done all these terrible things and they must be punished and the realization that the person he was talking about was me. ME!!
You see, that is what a False Victim Stalker does. They need the attention of being a victim. Thus, they make up lies, stories and events that never happened.
It never ends peaceful. Or pretty. You have to completely remove yourself from that person because they will never stop. They become more violent. A lot of times it ends in murder. I'm not being melodramatic. It's a fact.
It was during this time that I learned the meaning of the above statement.
So let me say it again.
"When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need."
There comes a time in your life when you realize it doesn't matter who you are, who you think you are, how much control you think you have; the only thing and I mean only thing you can rely on is God.
This event was my wake-up call.
I can't begin to tell you what I lost during that time. But what I gained is more precious and valuable than gold.
The knowledge of knowing I am not alone.
Oh, and the book deal is pretty nice, too (wink!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chickens in the Road....

I want to tell you about a new blog friend I made today. Her name is Suzanne McMinn and her blog is called "Chickens in the Road". ( or just click on her link to the right).
A friend of mine e-mailed me this morning with the word 'VOTE' in the subject line. When she informed me that a fellow blogger participating in a 'writing contest' needed my vote, I, of course, being not only a blogger, but an author myself, knew I had to help.
First of all before I start giving Suzanne rave reviews as a writer (as if she needs moi), I want to tell you that she is nothing short of amazing! You simply must go over and see for yourself. However, heed this warning label: Do not read if you have Thanksgiving shopping, cleaning, errands, etc. Yep, you'll want to wait until you have extra time to spare and then prepare to be taken back to a gentler, more simpler time.
Now, where was I? Oh, yes. The 'writing contest.' Writing contest? Holy Cow! This is not just some piddly-ante little contest. This is for a J-O-B! With a decent salary! She writing for a blog every single day and getting paid for it. This will be a piece of cake for her if she gets it - she's already a very successful romance novelist!
Don't take my word for it - now scoot! Check it out for yourself.
Good luck, Suzanne, and let us know how it goes!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Last night's conversation. Here's the scenario: Mr T sitting on the plush, brown love seat, feet stretched out on the leopard print ottoman, computer in his lap. Me, on red/beige plaid chair watching Fox News. (First of all, this is not, I repeat, not a political blog, so don't chastise me for watching Fox. Sometimes, I watch CNN. Sometimes I watch wrestling.)
Mr. T: What is up with your blog?
Me: Whaddya mean?
Mr. T: I mean it really sucks.
Me (sarcastic): Gee, thanks.
Mr. T: No, seriously, it's really bad.
Me: I know! I heard you!
Mr. T: Well, you gotta do something about it. These people have followed you for two years. They've left comments and e-mails. A lot of them have friended you on Facebook. You have really let them down.
Me (now feeling lower than a snake's belly): I know it's bad, but I don't know what to do about it.
Mr. T: Well, write something funny. You're a funny girl, that's why I married you, you know. Well, that and the fact that you looked good in sweaters.
Me (sarcastic again): Well, I guess I could go put on my new yellow sweater and you could post a picture. However, I don't things my readers would appreciate it. Most of them are women. Besides that, some things have not 'stood up' well to the test of time, if you know what I mean?
Mr. T: Come on, now, Katheryne (he's the only one allowed to call me that). People will stop reading if you don't give them something they can laugh at or at least relate to.
Me (thinking silently to myself): When did Mr. Politician/Lobbyist/Consultant/I Love All Things Political and I Live For Talk Radio become such a literary genius?
Me: I'm not angry any more! I can only be funny when I'm unhappy.
Mr. T: So, you've been unhappy our whole married life? (bah- dah -boom)
So, that conversation really got me to thinking, which can be a very dangerous thing.
Just so you know, I'll have a new website soon, thanks to my publisher. I'm sure between Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year and my release I'll have something fun to share with you.
However, I will tell you a secret. My manuscript is with a few producers in Hollywood that have requested to see it.
And...are you ready for this? I have a face-to-face meeting this Monday with another producer.
Yes, it's exciting. BUT - there's always a big ol' 'but' in the way, isn't there? - nothing may come out of it. I'm not a 'pride-ful' person. If a movie doesn't come out of this, I'll be disappointed (because I really, really want it), but it won't be the end of the world. I won't be embarrassed that I didn't 'make the cut.'
Besides, the fact that my story has gotten this far is just more than I ever dreamed. It's not every day that producers request to see your manuscript, is it? So, even if a movie doesn't pan out, I still have the book and I can still sit in my rocker when I'm 102 and tell my grandkids about it.
I'm telling you all of this because Mr. T is right (did I just admit that?) You all have been with me every. step. of. the. way. Check back in on Monday night, and I'll let you know how it all went! Have a good weekend. And hopefully, wherever you are it's not raining cats and dogs like it is here in the DC area.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gee whiz! I am stttrreesseed out. First of all, I can't think of anything to write about. I know it took me forever and you all had probably given up on me, but I think I answered most of the questions you'd asked in the last post. Some of those questions had been asked way back in the summer, so my apologies for just now getting around to it. Second of all, when I do force myself to sit down and write it really sucks. Which means my blog is getting worse, not better. That is not the way it's supposed to work, y' know.

Don't think I've been sitting around twiddling my thumbs, though. Nope. Well, maybe I am, sort of. This is the month my novel is going into production. Next month I do final edit and re-writes. (I have 15 days in which to finish it. No pressure.)

I don't know about you but when I get stressed I EAT. Oh, how I wish I could be one of these delicate little girls that 'forgets to eat'. I don't understand those women, but just once I'd like to be one of them. And since I'm not? Well, that's one of the reasons I haven't posted a picture of myself in ages. Let's just say I'm uh...larger than life.

I may be fat...but I'm happy. And happy is a great place to be!!!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

You're questions (FINALLY) answered....

1. How old are you?

I am 47! Yes, I know the saying 'a lady never reveals her age.' Sorry, but I disagree. Society puts too much emphasis on youth. I am proud of my age! I don't let it hold me back from doing anything that I love. As long as I'm healthy I'll be riding horses, riding my bike and dancing the night away until I'm 107.

2. Describe finishing school.

I loved it, although it was a different world for me. Much to my mother's disappointment, I preferred to be out riding, shooting with my Dad, or going to the livestock auction with my grandfather. Going to finishing school forced me to learn how to be a bit more ladylike. We had a very strict dress code. We could only wear dresses or suits, skirts only, no pants. No bare legs. We always had to wear stockings. Absolutely no gum chewing. No crossed legs. Feet flat on the floor or crossed at the ankles. Proper annunciation. I didn't know it at the time but it would prepare me and give me the confidence I would need for White House dinners or state events where I might be seated next to a senator, governor, ambassador or other dignitary. All in all it was a great experience and I think if you have the opportunity to put your daughter in such a class/school by all means do it!
3. How did you come up with the name 'Hillbilly Debutante?'
You know, I've made no secret about the fact that I grew up in a very rural area. I may poke fun of myself and talk about being a 'hillbilly', but actually I have had an amazing life. I would even venture to say 'glamorous'. Sometimes I look around at the people I've had the privilege to meet, my larger than life friends and neighbors (some of whom you've seen on television - that's all I'm sayin') and I can not believe the fun I've had/am still having. I have the best of both worlds. I am a true blue bona fide country girl that gets to enjoy everything the city has to offer, including lots of parties, benefits, i.e. lots of opportunities to dress up! I truly feel like a "Hillbilly Debutante."

4. How long did it take you to write the book?

17 long, hard, months.

5. What is your pet peeve?

Easy. I loathe snobbishness. I simply can not and will not tolerate someone that thinks they are better than others, and treats them accordingly. That is the most valuable lesson my parents taught me and I have been very adamant with my children as well. It doesn't matter who you are or what you have, it is never right to look down your nose at someone else. (Even the Bible states that God dislikes someone with 'haughty eyes.') Prime example: I used to work at a retail shop and one of our customers always treated us like the scum of the earth. She was just awful. One time she even told the manager that she didn't want us 'sales clerks' to speak to her when she came in the store. Imagine the surprised look on her face when she and I came face to face at one of Washington's premier invitation only events. I'm sure she was flabergasted that I was sitting at the table with some of the ladies that frequently have their pictures in the society pages. After that she'd come back in the store and try to be nice. But by then the damage had been done. While I don't hold a grudge, I never forget how someone treats me.

I'm sorry it took me so long to get to your questions. Some of you had wanted to see pictures from my visit to the country a few weeks ago. Sorry! No camera!

But I will be able to post some pictures from some fun things I'll be doing between now and Christmas.