Monday, December 31, 2012

Huge, Rockin' New Years Eve CELEBRITY party!!

No, not really. Just a quiet night here at the 'ranch' with Sophia and three of her little friends from church. My daughter and son-in-law own restaurants in D.C., so while Rachael takes one restaurant and Dino takes the other, Sophia comes to Grandma's.

This year I went a step further and asked three little girls (one which is in Sophia's bible class) whose parents just moved to Fort Belvoir from Minot, SD. I thought it would be nice to give them the opportunity to have a night out by themselves.

So. The 'end of year' photos I had planned to post isn't gonna happen, mainly because I am taking a little rest before everyone gets here! I can tell you that every year Sophia waits to midnight so we can call her daddy at one restaurant and say 'Happy New Year' and then call her mommy  at the other and say 'Happy New Year' - then and only then will she succumb to sleep. But with 3 more added to the mixture? Hmmm...I'm not counting on getting to bed any too early.

Can I count this as my number one of our '365 Days of Random Acts of Kindness'? Just kidding. But don't forget! That starts tomorrow.

My only goals for 2013? Nothing big. I'm going to (try) to let my hair go back to it's natural color - gray. And I am also going to give in to'bloggy peer pressure' and start posting an 'outfit of the day'. I love to see those on your blogs but I've always been uncomfortable with me doing it, however enough of you have requested it that I'm going to give it a try.

Happy New Year - my love to every single one of you!

Til Next Year,


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bye-Bye Dixie Red...

She has been a major 'character' on my blog for years.. Our famous ' Southern Living Dixie Road Trips' earned me a gift and thank-you note from 
'Southern Living Magazine.'

My beloved 'Dixie-Red'

She has hauled antiques, junk and new furniture, not to mention horses and dogs. Not only has Dixie-Red carried me safely to book signing and tours all over the South and Mid-west, but she has been my main ride to church, shopping and literally every country club in the DC area (which made for interesting conversation at times).
 She's carried the most precious cargo ever for the past 3 and 1/2 years - my beautiful granddaughter.

                         But all good things must end. 

     It's really not feasible to drive a truck in the city. I don't deal in        antiques too much anymore (stay tuned though for a MAJOR sale this spring) and the gas was getting way too expensive for my road trips. 

When I bought Dixie-Red she had only 600 miles on her. Now? 126,000! She has never caused a bit of trouble. To this day I'd drive her to California and back. But instead, she is going from Virginia (Washington DC metro area) back to the family farm in Southwest Missouri. 

She will get to do that for which she was created - drive through green pastures, carry round hay bales and sit beneath a beautiful sunset while her new owner makes a final check on his herd. 
She will be driven through mud deep enough to spin her tires and force her new driver to flip it into 4-wheel drive - something that literally never happened while she was a city truck.
 She will finally know what it's like to open up and 'stretch' her motor on an open highway every single day of her life. 

Dixie-Red will be going to the land of 
"The Hillbilly Debutante Cafe" 
in El Dorado Springs, Missouri.

She will be now be owned/driven by a true-blue cowboy - not an old washed-up country girl desperately trying to hold on for dear life to her past.

 I swore I 'heard' a sigh of relief as my husband backed her out of our paved city drive for the final time, put her in drive and headed south. 

So long to bumper-to-bumper traffic and horrific road-rage.
Hello to red dirt roads and two-lane highways.

Now, I need your help.
What do I name the new hillbilly debutante-mobile? 

Now, you know I have to have a cute name for my new ride.
 Any ideas? My mind is blank! The only name I will NOT consider is 'the Banana'. Ugh! 

But she really does need a catchy, cute name. So put your creative thinking caps on!
And there just might be a little 'sumpin-sumpin' for you if yours is the one I choose.

And oh! If you ever find yourself in El Dorado Springs, Missouri and you see my Dixie-Red, give her a honk and wave.

And tell her I miss her.

Until next time,

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Will YOU commit to this in 2013?

 Last week was full of heartbreak.
 First Violet. 
One of my best friends a few days later. 

Then add the Newtown, Connecticut event and it was truly the week from Hades for our entire nation.

Instead of memorials, or trying to make sense of all that has happened, I've decided to honor my loved one and the victims of the school shooting by campaigning for my friends/followers/readers to commit to participating in
365 Days of Random Acts of Kindness.

Of course you don't have to wait, you know - and I know a lot of you make this a part of your every day life, anyway!

But starting January 1, 2013 I will leave a short comment of acts of kindness that I know you all have either witnessed from someone else/something you've done, or even a kindness that has been shown to you!

You can leave them in the comments or email them to me.

I will also list some ideas of things we can all do! 

Let's all commit to making this world a gentler, kinder place. That may seem a daunting - even impossible task, but it isn't! 
I'm reminded of how our whole nation's demeanor changed after 
9-11. Road age came to a halt. People held the door open for each other, smiled a bit more, looked out for each other. And trailed off and everyone went back to their old ways. 

Let's not let that happen this time. 
Let's get in the habit of going beyond being kind and actually doing little, special things for people. 

I hope you'll make that commitment to join me in doing this.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

For my 'Violet' fans....

I'll keep this simple.

For 9 years Violet did exactly what she was created to do: 
make me happy.

As you know she'd had some health issues since this summer.

Yesterday she let me know it was 'time'.

She will continue to live on through her character (along with Sally) in 
'The Hillbilly Debutante Cafe' series.
(she was also 'Colette' in my first novel that was based on a true story - 'False Victim')

I haven't made too many appearances but what someone didn't ask me about her.

Sally loves to accompany me and meet fans. Violet never did. She would always snap at anyone that got too close. She was a true, blue mama's girl and never wanted to share.

Thank you for the love shown to her since the inception of this blog and the release of my books. 

Til Next Time,


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Banquet Etiquette Confusion

'Tis the season for holiday parties and banquets. It's always fun to get dressed up, go somewhere nice and enjoy a good meal, however there is one point in this process that never fails to make everyone uncomfortable. 
When is the 'proper' time to start eating?
If you're at an un-hosted table of at least 8 people you may start eating as soon as 4 people have their plates. 
However, let me tell you what happened at a banquet I attended a few weeks ago.
I was seated at an un-hosted table of - you guessed it - 8. As should happen, the servers pretty much set everyone's plates in unison. Except one.
For about five (long) minutes everyone had their food but  that one. If you notice this happening, hopefully everyone will do what my table did and wait since he was the only one without food.
This man, ever the gentleman, told everyone to please go ahead and start, which was the right thing to do on his part. 
(Note: if you ever find yourself in such a situation, please follow suit and instruct everyone to continue so their food will not get cold, then get the attention of your server).
Once, the person gives you permission to continue without them please do so. It's uncomfortable for that person if you don't.
Luckily in our case the server caught her mistake without anyone having to put out an APB on the vittles.
I hope this helps.
 May all your Christmas parties be merry and bright.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dear Miss Merry Christmas 1979,

Savor this moment. You're Queen for the day and all eyes are on you - which will never happen again for the rest of your life.  Enjoy the red velvet dress. You're going to want one very similar for your wedding  and your mother will nix that idea right fast.   

You think you're going to live in this little town all your life but you won't. You know that boy you've got you're eye on? The one you think doesn't know you exist? You marry him.

The two of you will ride off into the sunset and have wild, crazy adventures. You will have dreams come to fruition that you thought were beyond reach. No, you won't run off to New York and become an actress, nor will you be a back-up singer in Nashville, but you will have a great radio career, and you and said boy will have two of the most beautiful children known to mankind.

But right now, you're future is the furthest thing from your mind.

So go ahead and wave to the crowd, blow kisses to the babies and think to yourself that this is the best Christmas ever. You'll find out soon enough that it's nowhere close.

In a few hours you'll remove your tiara and gently showcase it on a mantle never imagining that 30 years from now your granddaughter will be wearing it while trying to balance herself in your too-big silver high-heels, brandishing a foil-wrapped spatula/wand.

You also have no clue that the boy driving your car whom you barely know will 25 years later become delirious in his 'old age' and tell folks that you two had an imaginary romance along with a kiss that never happened. No problem. You will squelch that ugly rumor in December of 2012.

Til Next Time,


Monday, December 3, 2012

Tell me!

'Tis the season for gift-giving and that got me to thinkin'; what's the strangest gift you've ever received?

One year my dear, sweet, Christian, church-goin' mama was gifted with a painting (and not very good one at that) of two naked women riding a horse. Uh....they were each on their own horse so that takes a few points off the 'weird' factor, doesn't it? Kinda? Anyway Mother so graciously thanked the um...artist?... and kept it conveniently in the garage so it could be quickly hung on the wall when the um....artist? came for a visit. Sadly, the artist passed on a few years ago.  And apparently the painting did too as I've never seen it again.

My father-in-law got a Llama for Christmas one year- or was that for his birthday? Heck, I don't remember! All I know is that a Llama miraculously ended up on his door step one day and they became the best of fiends. Until the darn thing tried to kill him. That story is for another time, dear reader.

I, however, think I can win the prize for wierdest gift. Horse sperm.

Yes. You read that correctly. I know...I know. You're thinking "ewww gross!" or "how inappropriate" but I can assure you I was absolutely thrilled!

I had just bought a farm and had planned to move my horses from Virginia to Missouri and when the time was right I would have the vet come out and put the gift to good use. I had planned on having a foal to love and raise the next year. 

But alas, as with life plans change and I stayed in Virginia. I sadly no longer have the horses and the 'vile' was sold to someone else - probably to another lady who'd rather have that than diamonds or furs.

Now, you tell me! What is the weirdest give you've ever received?