Better Late Than Never!

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Have been intending to share these photos of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC during May.   It was a great experience and fun to meet other authors and “would-be” authors.  It was fun to meet the people interested in our book, and as you can see by the photos, we had a consistent crowd and healthy line of patient people.   We actually ran out of books!  Of course, we hope they like what they got and spread the word about REAL, and maybe find some inspiration and encouraging from the remarkable people in the book.  Thank you to Ryan, our guide and driver for the trip!  Also to Karen, terrific friend, supporter and literary agent!


NEXT UP: Beach Side Book Signing

Since our first book release, it has been so much fun to meet more and more people who are enjoying REAL.  We love greeting them and shaking these new hands… so many are so willing to show us their hands, ready to tell us a story or two.

We hope to hear from people and even get some photos as time goes on.   Everyone has a story!

So far We have enjoyed three book signings since the end of March.  Next weekend we are hosted by the Friends of Shell Beach Library at the Art in the Park event (Cliff Dr and Shell Beach Road).  This is right on the cliffs above the beach, the most picturesque park in the area.  Here are a few photos from this lovely location…. and also, it is a glimpse of the community in which Terilee and I live with our families.

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“I’ve Got Something to Say”

Another reflection on our book release party.  It was such a joy to share this time with so many people who were a part of the book as well as so many people from our communities of the Central Coast of California.  The noise of chatter filled La Perla chapel for at least three hours. There were lots of new faces and lots of hugs all around.  Two memorable moments were: the screening of the book video trailer on our big screen and when Lloyd stood up and asked for everyone’s attention.  He had something he wanted to say and asked Lynn to give a loud whistle to grab everyone’s attention. Lloyd then stepped to the top of the stage and addressed the crowd with a big thank you to everyone, but then proceeded to share his feelings and concern about the recent tsunami disaster in Japan.  He talked about his love for Japan and its people, and his experience there with the Special Olympics.  We were moved to smile and cheer and even get teary, about the cause, and even more about the passion with which Lloyd spoke, encouraging everyone to care, to be proud of our country, to appreciate each other and how much we need each other.  Thank you Lloyd for being you. 

Kick Off Ends in Home Run!

We are just starting to get up to speed.   Learning all of this is such a challenge to me, as I mentioned in an earlier blog. We truly are so excited about the book release party at La Perla del Mar.  Looks like about 250 – 300 people stopped by to share the joy, and it was fun from beginning to end.  Our book, Real , features about stories of about 65 people that are basically anonymous, first name only, with photos of their hands.  It was really exciting to have most of them at this first party so that they could reveal their identities, only if they wanted to, and also sign their pages in the book. They were like celebrities for the whole night!  Everyone was going about and introducing themselves and sharing stories and getting signatures and just enjoying meeting someone new.   By the end of the night Terilee and I were glad we had set aside books for the next day, because we had another book signing in the morning at a local church!   We really love the support our local community has given us.  Thank you to everyone who made it a really successful kick off !!

A week later we signed at the LA Festival of Books at USC in Los Angeles. More coming up…

Denmark, Neverland, Wine, Lavender, and Horses, and Liberty in Three Hours

The Statue of Liberty, a lavender farm, miniature horses, swedish clogs, danish pastry, split pea soup and Christmas all in a half day!   My old (20 years) brown clogs had finally fallen apart and it was time to either order them online, or make an event out of it.  We decided that latter.  My 90 year old mom has been house bound with a knee fracture for 8 weeks, soon to walk again, and she thought it would be fun to take the ride to Solvang to get the new pair of clogs.   Solvang in itself is eternally charming, with its extraordinarily beautiful Santa Ynez Valley wine country location, Danish architecture, shops and food, and horse ranches. Realizing she would really not get out of the car once she was in it, we planned to take in the lessor known treats in the area.   Going south from Cal 101 we exited toward Los Olivos and then turned left onto Figueroa Mt Rd.  Our friend , Laura, was along and had been hoping to see Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch someday.  After taking some photos at the gate, we drove back through Los Olivos and turned off toward a most wonderful Lavender farm.  The aroma is heavenly, the grounds are heavenly and so pristine.  They do have a sense of humor there with the landmark Statue of Liberty front and center!   It turns out that she is the prop used in one of the Ghostbusters movies.  Time to move on, next was a visit to Quicksilver miniature horse ranch.  It is easy to park next to the fence and see them up close, so for my mom it was perfect.  Tiny new babies were with their mothers on one end, and soooo cute! After five minutes, we moved on to Solvang, clog shopping and pastries.  Just a quick stop, we headed west past the Ostrich Farm to Buellton to Andersen’s where we all ordered the all-you -can-eat pea soup and browse the Christmas Shop!   This was a speed tour/shopping day, in a place where you can see a lot in  few miles and limited time!  It was great to see Eileen have such an ambitious and entertaining outing.  We were all reminded of how lucky we are to live in this part of California.

Hurley Finds a Home

We have always had animals.  Dogs, cats, rabbits, snakes, more rodents, birds, reptiles, amphibians.  Even the ant farms and caterpillar/butterfly kit.  We did not need a farm, but with four kids, it sometimes felt like a farm/ Grand Central Station mix.  Last year we lost our three aging pets, Betty and Sam, sister and brother cats, and our beloved Sunny, the wonderful yellow lab we adopted at age 6.  Within a few months of her adoption, Sunny became severely diabetic.  We immediately conformed to the new routine of proper food and proper times, urine testing (following her when she peed so I could catch it in a soup ladle to test with a strip)  and her twice daily injections of insulin.  Occasionally she required blood testing and hospitalization when the levels got really out of whack.  Sunny was so patient and calm about it all.  She lived with diabetes and us for the next 5 years.   She lost her vision, a lot of strength, and eventually her enjoyment of her last days.  Sam and Betty passed before her, and we did not expect Sunny to follow so soon, but she stopped eating.  It was like she was done.  We have the best memories of this golden girl and what a happy dog she was.  When our house became so much quieter, we thought we would not get any animals for awhile.  That was Christmastime.

Six weeks ago, Hurley needed a home.   His owner had taken ill and was selling his home.  Hurley was needing a place for the next few months.  At first we were reluctant to bring this big black lab home with us.  I was just beginning to enjoy the freedom and was worried he may be too hyper for us.  Hurley is about the same age Sunny was, but a male and much more energetic and strong.  We were happy to give it a try anyway.   This dog has been an amazing blessing in our home.  I forgot what it feels like to have a dog who can walk and play,  each treats now and then, is happy and can get in and out of a car without pain.  He is an absolute joy, and I am so glad he is staying with us.   We are getting used to this big guy who loves either plain yogurt or broccoli and beans on his dog food.  He loves to sleep on the sofa.  Only occasionally but loudly, He BARKS, which Sunny rarely did.  He knows so much more than I ever dreamed he would.  He loves taking care of us.  So for now, Hurley is here at home.  Comfortable and comforting.  He will be ready to go back to his owner when the time comes, and we will be happy to see him happy.   I am very very glad that we said YES  to this great big black dog!

Seriously silly

Tears and doubled-up laughter today.  Celebrating Mother’s Day with Mom, 90 years old and going strong, siblings and two of my daughters and a nephew…

Tears, just from hearing such tender words or reading them on a card… from our grown up children.  Their lives seem so busy and preoccupied with exciting challenges that I did not expect the expressions of love that were around our table today.  Once the precious and very heartfelt moments took their turns, the conversation turned to remembrances of childhood and hilarious memories as they reenacted old skits and scenes from family videos.  The girls slipped back into their 5 and 6 year old roles singing “I just can’t wait to be KING!” with exaggerated roars and body movements. Next they added , now 20 year old, Mer’s extended version of   the “Castle on a Cloud” melody using her own lyrics about her “fingernail and toenail polishes”.  She remembered her imitation of Forrest Gump’s famous quotes, and wondered how as a 5 year old, she even knew them as “that was not a movie for a 5 year old”!  It was such a joy to see how they remembered the freedom to be silly and not worry about who was watching or caring.  It was all fun and all of it was good, with no such thing as embarrassment.  Here’s to times like that for everyone:  times of tears and laughter, to be silly and free, for a moment or two or more… and with a friend or two or more.