Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Ghosts that We Knew – Chapter 3, Meet Stewart

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Chapter 3: Stewart

Meet Stewart

My first encounter with Stewart Jameson was much different than that of Elinor Lewis. Stewart is what his mother Annie often referred to as a “whoops”. He had beaten the odds during her pregnancy and was born a healthy nearly eight pound baby. This was not the result of the way she had cared for herself during pregnancy. Annie was twenty when she got pregnant with Stewart. It wasn’t her first pregnancy, it was at least her third or fourth. She’d lost count. To say that Annie was addicted to drugs would be an understatement. She’d do anything for a fix, including selling her body. She had no idea who Stewart’s father was. It was only when she was no less than seven months pregnant and could feel the baby wiggling around for most of the day, that she decided to get off the streets and move back to her parents for a while. Continue reading

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Front Door Makeover!

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I think I’ve done at least 5 front door makeovers in the last 20 years.  Almost every house I have lived in I have repainted or restained or freshened up the front door.  It’s such an easy DIY and can really make a difference.

Here is where we started at the beginning of the weekend:

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And the above pic is after planting our spring flowers! ha!  Our door has pretty much remained the same since we moved in last year.  It’s been on “the list” of things to do but I just hadn’t gotten around to it.  I was really wanting to paint the door a mint or fern green but the more I thought about it, the more I felt swayed to just go with a classic color.  Here’s what needed to be done:

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The trim on our door made no sense to me.  We have a nice window above which lets in great light but the door frame and window didn’t even line up.  And they were completely separate, so I came up with the idea to add a few boards to chunk up the frame and tie in the door with the window.  Matt measured and cut them and screwed them on – 3 boards for less than $10 and it didn’t even take him 20 minutes.  I primed and painted them white and voila, better already.  I also removed the old kickplate and prepped the door for painting (deglosser and some light sanding).  Progress:

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It’s a subtle difference with the trim but it I love how it turned out.  And I chose to paint the new trim and existing frame white because I really wanted the door to pop.  It’s a good tip if you want to fancy up your front door!

Then next day I put 2 coats of paint and replaced the kick plate with the new one we purchased

I added a wreath I got on sale at target and picked up a super cute doormat at the same time.  These two things (in addition to the spring flowers and the fern) sorta give me that green color I was wanting.  Yay!

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I love it so much!

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And a before and after comparison.

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I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

P.S. I used the Modern Masters front door paint that you can get at Lowes.  It’s pricey but is guaranteed for life and is supposed to withstand weather and beatings.  I didn’t even use a fourth of it so I’ll also have plenty for touch-ups or even to paint another exterior door if I want!

Book Review (s) – The Best of Me & The Longest Ride

I read both of these Nick Sparks books a couple of months ago.  I was going to review something I’ve read more recently but then remembered these.  I had the opportunity to interview Nick Sparks a few years ago when he wrote The Last Song.  I loved chatting with him about writing and the whole process and how he became so successful.  I was interviewing him because of the movie that was made based on the book starring Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth.  I also got to interview the rest of the cast – it was a fun weekend in LA to say the least.  Matt interviewed him most recently for The Longest Ride and also the cast from that movie.  (Hello Scott Eastwood – swoon!).  This will be a short book review but I’ll also put some links at the bottom to Matt’s movie review and interviews if you’re interested….

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The Best of Me – I did NOT like this book.  It had a sweet premise and I liked the characters but the ending was awful.  WAY too unbelievable and it just tried too hard to be something it wasn’t.  By the end I was like “this is ridiculous!”.  I have also heard from several people that the movie is awful so you may want to skip this one.

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The Longest Ride – I liked this book.  I enjoyed the characters, they were easy to like and relatable.  I appreciated the bull riding aspect and know more about bull riding now than I may ever need to know in this lifetime.  I also really enjoyed that it was a dual romance (2 couples in love decades apart).  I did think the end (again…) was a little unbelievable.  I didn’t like that everything was wrapped up in such a perfect bow.  I was excited to see this movie tho.  Matt and I even went to a special press screening of the movie and Nick and Scott Eastwood and Brit Robertson were there…

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I don’t want this to turn into a movie review but I did not like the movie at all.  I’ve had a few friends say they enjoyed it and I’m like “did you see the same movie as me?!”.  Anyway.  We didn’t even stay to talk to Nick or the cast… I was ready to go home.  Matt had scheduled time with them the following day so it wasn’t a big deal.  In a nutshell… Read the book, I enjoyed it!  Make your own decision about the movie. 😉

Matt’s Reviews & Interviews: Click Here

The Ghosts that We Knew – Chapter 2, Meet Elinor

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Chapter 2: Elinor

Meet Elinor

Elinor Lewis is a complicated woman; her obsession with order can sometimes hinder her ability to, if you will forgive my cliché – “live in the moment”. There is one thing I can say about Elinor though, and it’s the reason I’d like to tell you her story. She gets it. She knows life is not a guarantee. I believe the reason for her outlook stems from the first time we met.

It was the winter of 1984. She was eighteen years old and home from her out-of-state school for winter break – it was her freshman year at university. Elinor’s parents would spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s away on a resort vacation every year. Elinor had decided not to go; she wanted to see her friends, “hang out” she’d said. Several of her friends were at her family home one Friday evening. Most of them drinking, laughing, remembering funny stories from their pasts and sharing new stories of their college adventures. Continue reading

Spring Updates

I was asking Matt last night if it was a sign of getting old that I REALLY notice and appreciate the change of seasons now.  He said he hasn’t noticed more than normal as he has gotten older and we all know Matt is OLDER than me so I guess my theory is wrong.  Anyhoo, I am especially noticing springtime this year.  It may be because I have been going for more walks on our neighborhood trails and you can’t help but notice the bright green buds popping up and the blossoms on every limb.  (And-plus-also everyone in our family is really struggling with allergies but that’s not real positive so I’ll concentrate on the fun part of spring!).  My two favorite new things in my breakfast area:

1.  This vintage scale that Matt bought me for Easter (he won it in an online auction).  After cleaning it with a magic eraser, it’s in almost perfect condition!

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Right now there are Easter jelly beans in that bowl on top. Once they are all eaten, I’ll probably put some lemons or oranges in there. I love it!

2. This hand-lettered verse that Gage’s girlfriend Alyssa drew for me while here on Spring Break!  I’ve said it before, she is super talented and this is just perfect in our breakfast nook.

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In other news, this past weekend we spent a whole day doing some spring maintenance in our backyard. We trimmed trees, re-mulched the flowerbeds, planted flowers.

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And finished our vertical garden!

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Matt has been working on it for the last couple of weekends and we finally bought our seedlings and planted them!

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The top row is strawberries, the middle row is tomatoes and the bottom row is a combination of peppers, cantaloupe & squash.  I’m so excited for these little plants to grow!  The only downer is that since the middle of last night we have been getting heavy rain…torrential rains.  I hope all of our newly planted flowers/garden don’t float away.

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You can tell these two are not thrilled with the flooded backyard and prefer the springy warm days!  I know the sweltering summer will be here before we know it though, so I’m content with whatever the weather decides to do. 😉

The Ghosts that We Knew – Chapter 1, Meet Death

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Chapter 1: An Introduction

Meet Death

Death can really muck up your plans. Or so I’ve heard.

I generally go about my day, doing my job, meeting new people, checking names off my “to do” list. Today should not have been any different, but I decided to take control of a situation I had no business being part of.

It’s the end of January and I’m standing in the lobby of the cancer center at one of the nation’s leading research hospitals – we’ll get to my reason for being here in just a bit. Deceptive sun floods through the double door entry and glassed ceiling above. I say deceptive because I know the temperature outside to be at least ten degrees below freezing.   Near me is a friendly receptionist stationed at the information desk. Her perfume smells sweet, almost of spring flowers, which is odd on such a cold wintry day. Middle-aged with big hair, dangly bracelets and an ill-fitting blouse that causes a battle between her cleavage and shirt buttons, she kindly gives first-time visitors directions. She smiles each time and often comments on the weather. She compliments them on their jackets or scarves or shoes; it’s her way of easing their stress. I conclude that she must not be a native of the city. She speaks a little too loudly and with a trace of a rural accent. This is a good occupation for her, she performs well. Continue reading

An Update on the Ghost novel…

After speaking with a few agents and getting similar feedback from a couple of them I’ve decided not to pursue publishing Ghosts that We Knew at this time….  I just can’t bring myself to change some of the things I love most about the story to make it more commercial (and I don’t want to go the self publishing route).  It was the first novel that I finished (note I did not say started… ha!) and I think there is something special about your first completed manuscript.  Most authors agree that the first novel they wrote is rarely published.  Most are dreadfully embarrassed by the writing, etc because let’s face it, we all get better with practice!  So for the sake of prosperity, I have decided to just publish several chapters here…if you’d like to read the rest of the story, I’m happy to send you a copy.  My plan is to put a chapter in once a week or so.  Meanwhile, I am still moving forward with the plan to secure representation and hopefully publish my second novel (The Healing Solution).  I am also well into writing my third novel (Robin’s Imperfect Nest).  I hope you enjoy the story!

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