Caught between children not yet gone from the nest and an aging parent who wants his child. Neither lay blame (or even think to do so), but the guilt is there, waiting to pounce in a weak moment. Plus the marriage.
The push-pull of need and the balancing act that is required take its toll. And in a totally unrelated yet totally related way, I miss my mom.
I so wish we all lived together, in one house. Grandparent, children, grandchildren.
But that would undoubtedly bring its own heartaches.
So I take a deep breath and think on my blessings.
All will be well, and all things will be well.
February is Festival Month at my house. We kick it off on Valentine’s Day for obvious reasons; then it’s my birthday (17), wedding anniversary (23), and hubby’s birthday (26). We try to get in a vacation somewhere during this two-week span, in part because prices tend to be cheaper when you’re talking travel.
Four years ago, we came up to Cambria for a week. Rented a sweet little artist’s cottage for much less than it would cost to stay in a hotel, and we made it our base of operations as we explored the coastal areas (Morro Bay to the south and beachy areas to the north) and Paso Robles wine country. So obviously it was time to come back. One of the things we love to do is take photos, so sit back and enjoy!
Morning, 2-15-2014 – Marina Terrace, Cambria
Fabulous place to sit and watch the sea. A great spot to rest during the long Fiscalini Ranch walk.
Sea anemone happy in water. 2-15-14
Waiting for the tide to come in.
Crane! And seaweed. Lots and lots of it. 2-15-14
Moonset at Sunrise, 2-16-14
The above is one of my favorite shots ever. Tom had woken up around 6am and was racing to get his clothes on and find his camera. I stumbled after him, even sacrificing having my first cup of coffee to get to the ocean on time. We barely made it.
Sunrise through the trees. The sky was just starting to turn pink.
But the hassle was so worth it. This is part of the Lampton preserve, all fenced off. Also in the Marina Terrace section of town.
After breakfast, we headed north up Highway 1 to Piedras Blancas, a beach that is also an Elephant Seal preserve. December to March is when they come to this beach, give birth, and start the mating rituals all over again. They are noisy, sweet, funny and aggressive animals and always worth an hour or two. Or three.
A female elephant seal, scratching her chin.
These animals are amazing.
It’s almost always naptime. 2-16-14
It was time to head back toward Cambria, but the ocean sparkled so that we stopped a couple times to take photos.
Bird rock. Because birds. 2-16-14
And then to add to the animal theme…zebras. Yes, zebras.
These zebras are on the Hearst Castle property, and my bet is they are a part of the original menagerie Hearst had kept.
And Hearst Castle…from a distance.
Hearst Castle, as seen from Highway 1. Zebras are off to my right. 2-16-14
It was a lovely day. We went back into town, shopped a bit, had lunch at Robin’s (YUMMY!), went home and napped. Then it was almost sunset, and we had to hit the beach again.
So far this weekend has been magical. Today is my birthday, and we’ll have a slow transition from vacation to home (and taxes). This was the break I needed! If you get the chance, come to Cambria. You won’t regret it.
So, what is one of your favorite, close-to-you and relatively inexpensive vacation spots?
The Los Angeles Times special Olympics 2014 section of the newspaper.
I was brought up watching the Olympics. Winter or Summer, it didn’t matter – we were there, watching, every night or weekend day, celebrating the athletes or commiserating with them. There was national pride, yes, and much joking about the one Ukranian judge who didn’t score appropriately (and I’m making a generalization here, people), but mostly it was a celebration of awesome physical feats of endeavor.
So it is with great confusion that I see people proclaim that they’re not watching the Olympics because of Putin’s policies outlawing homosexuality. I don’t understand that protest.
Yes, Russia is anti-gay. Am I an admirer of that stance? Hell to the no. But not watching the Olympics is, to me, not the best way of having my opinion heard. Not watching the Olympics won’t change Putin’s mind about the policies he’s put into place. Not watching the Olympics will only deprive me of the fun of watching the Olympics.
As a protest, I like what one of my friends is doing. For every day of the winter Olympics she’s watching, she’s donating to the Russia Freedom Fund. What is that? To borrow from their website:
“The Fund is a U.S. tax deductible vehicle for making financial contributions in support of the LGBT movement in Russia and efforts to combat discrimination and violence there based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Now that, my friends, is one way to make your voice heard. I know very little about the Russia Freedom Fund, and as always do your due diligence before donating money to any cause.
But if you LOVE the Olympics and you are depriving yourself of the joy of watching the Games in the belief that it’s going to make a difference in the lives of gay people in Russia, well. Maybe you should re-think your opinion on this issue, and watch some winter Olympics before they’re over for 2014. Grab yourself some of that Olympic joy.
Enjoy Sally as she takes over the blog today. She’s a friend of mine and I LOVE this story! Take it away, Sally!
When romance calls for augers, wax gaskets and shop vacs. (Oh, the places we’ll go!)
When it comes to book boyfriends, could you go for one who is good with his hands? I sure could. (And yes, I know where your mind went, Christine. I like the way you think!) But when I challenged myself to write a plumber hero, I had a problem. Well, two problems.
The most obvious—I knew nothing about plumbing.
The other—I wanted my heroine to flush her ex’s ring in a rage, then need to get it back. And let’s face it, romance fiction is not the place we expect to hear a lot about toilets. Some delicacy would be required.
Between the Internet and the ever-handy juvenile nonfiction section of the library, I learned enough to write my way around Kim’s job, solving the first problem. But to strike the right balance of what to say and what to forgo, I relied on critique partners.
Never shy, they leapt into the fray.
“She hired him to fix a clogged toilet,” said one Critique Goddess, in reference to how Isabelle meets the hero at the start of the book. “Wouldn’t she be self-conscious, worried he’ll assume she’s the one that clogged it?”
A reasonable question. I made the change.
The Critique Goddess didn’t bat a lash at any of my choices in either of the two key scenes in which Kim demonstrates his competence as a plumber,. However, one of them did remark, “He’s so sexy! She should be thinking it wouldn’t be so bad if he flashed plumber’s crack.”
Did I succumb to peer pressure and do it? You’ll have to read Flushed to find out.
But seriously, I take full responsibility for any errors, and also any detail that could be considered indelicate. I can only assure that I strive to deliver an entertaining read.
Preferably, one that will make you run hot. Perhaps even feel…flushed.
When it hits the fan, he’s your man.
Kissing her plumber in the middle of her dinner party wasn’t in Isabelle’s carefully-laid plans. But neither had she expected an ambush by her uninvited ex. So when Kim Martin, plumber to the rescue, charms her guests and poses as her new guy to spare her humiliation, she gets carried away.
At first, being Isabelle’s faux beau suits Kim Martin just fine. She’s hot, intriguing and won’t get in the way of his plans to blow town and build a business he’s passionate about. But Isabelle just isn’t cut out to be a good time girl. She gets under Kim’s skin and into his head—and he’s not entirely sure what to do about that.
Isabelle’s been fooled too often to trust a gorgeous flirt like Kim. Yet the more she tries to fit him into a box, the harder he fights his way out of it. Hot, bothered and more than a little flushed, she’s having trouble keeping her hands—or her heart—to to herself.
An excerpt from Flushed:
She sniffed. “Can you get it or not?”
Kim rolled his shoulders and neck. “Let’s find out.” He squatted on the floor by the toilet and looked up at her. “I’ll start simple. Empty the water from the tank. Unbolt the toilet from the floor and have a look underneath. We might get lucky. It could be stuck in the trap right at the floor.” The down view made Kim appear to be all shoulder and leg. And eyes. Those incredible eyes.
She could break furniture with this man. Definitely. She could swing from the ceiling fan with him. And why shouldn’t she? Sure, he was too good-looking to be trusted, but he’d been matter-of-fact enough about his escapades with Jules, or whatever the gym babe’s name was. That meant he wouldn’t lie to her about his other women the way Steven or Daniel had. That was something.
“If that doesn’t get it, I’ll run a camera down the line and see what we can see.”
He was still talking. She didn’t know why. She’d just decided she would revel in the merely physical—go ahead and take the sex that surely wouldn’t disappoint. “Camera?”
He stood up and she could swear she felt his heat, his energy, brushing hers. She realized her heart was pounding.
“Don’t get your hopes up. It takes crappy pictures.”
The bathroom became quiet as Isabelle stared at Kim’s lips. He was smiling. Her body throbbed in response. “Kim.”
“Isabelle?” His voice had lost its professional edge, becoming fuzzy and less sure of itself. She’d always thought she wanted a dominant man. Why was hearing this uncertainty in his voice as big a turn on as the way he charged to her rescue? This was no time for such thoughts. She didn’t need a man touching her heart, not now, not him. On the other hand, if he wanted to touch anything else—anything at all, she thought, pulse pounding—she was good to go, especially if she went right now.
His breathing changed. The charge between them was building.
Then she realized what he’d said. Crappy pictures. She burst out laughing. “That’s awful,” she said. She laughed some more, the stress of the last couple of days making it hard to stop. Kim began laughing too, which only made it worse. Soon she was gasping for breath, falling back against the sink, stomach muscles beginning to ache, helpless. He took her elbow to steady her. She found herself in his arms. Laughing became kissing, which was just as breath-stealing and far more deliciously physical. She couldn’t seem to stop. He didn’t seem to mind.
Sally Felt writes funny, sexy stories about people who have a thing or two to learn about love. Her mission: write decent-guy heroes who are also dead sexy. She is amazing at starting conversations in elevators and laughing for no reason. If she could be any animal, she’d be an otter, because they play all the time. Or maybe a llama, for their lush eyelashes and ability to spit.
Sally is smart enough to live in Texas, where hot is as much about the men as the weather. Still, she thinks bow ties are cool.
Find Flushed here…
Ellora’s Cave: http://www.ellorascave.com/flushed.html
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1aVvxq5
So glad to have Sally here today. I love this book in part because of her hero’s name – I dated a man named Kim, once long, long ago and before I snagged my man. Do you like the name Kim for a man? Have you ever met any male Kims? Let’s chat!
So, I added a page here at my blog for my brother, Scott Cunningham. If you have photos of yourself with him, or have something you’d like to say about him, please feel free to leave a comment or email me a jpeg of the photo.
Here’s the link to the page… HERE.
Short and sweet post today! It’s been a good day, though. I got to meet Courtney Miller-Callihan today while I was attending the meeting at East Valley Authors, where she spoke. She’s an agent with the Sanford J. Greenburger Literary Agency.
We talked and I asked her some questions that I’d been wanting to discuss with an agent, and I pitched and it went well so I’ve got to get back to work and finish this book.
Hope you are all well and having a great weekend!