11–18 of 18 entries from the month of: August 2014

Beaches and Bunny Boomerangs

August 12th

Southern California

Southern California

Southern California

Southern California

Southern California


Kindness is a bunny boomerang — send a bit out in the world, and watch it come back in droves. A good friend is spending some time in Europe with her family. She offered months ago to let me stay in their home, near the southern California coast, while they were away. As such, I spent the weekend with my sweetheart and a couple little ones playing in the sand, soaking up foggy mornings and bright, windy afternoons. Watching the lifeguards run through the shallows. Shooing away pesky birds from our pile of chips and crackers, crumbling in the salty air.

Southern California

We cooked. We played countless hands of Apples to Apples. We ate carne asada burritos and marveled at how everything tastes better when eaten outside. We slept with the windows open, dreaming for far too many hours, lounging as the sun came up. We watched Rio 2 and giggled at the dancing birds. We spent a few days doing nothing other than loving each other and our surroundings. It was wonderful!
Southern California

We could have done some of this from a hotel, but the comfort of a home made the trip luxurious. A kindness I won’t soon forget.


Posted in
CAOK, Travel
Comments (Comments are off for this post)

Welcome to Writing School

August 8th

I’ve written two novels. I self-published the first, and am in the process of doing the same for the second.

(I’m waiting on edits, and to finalize cover art. The back cover will include, “Best selling author (to friends and family) of Under the Same Moon. Because I am nothing if not self-deprecating.)

$1.50 transformed

The third book is in limbo. I have two ideas:

1. A lifestyle book including recipes, sewing and knitting patterns, and gardening ideas with a desert southwest touch

2. A female detective series set in Phoenix with a science fiction thread

A Book on Writing Letters: Must have

Here is what I know for certain:

1. I want to write full time as a novelist. Like, as a career. I would like to make up stories and have people pay me enough to live on it.

2. I don’t write enough to do this.

3. I don’t read enough to do this.

4. I need to be more disciplined.

5. I need to not let my insecurities about not having the talent, luck or contacts to make it big in publishing. There are rather awful things published daily. You’ve read them. I’ve read them. We’ve all picked up that book and thought, “The verbs don’t agree! How did this get published?” Which, sadly, soon seems to be soon followed by, “Wait! They are making a movie out of that utter nonsense?” (Only to then be followed with, “Gah. Of course it broke attendance records. Of course. Just of course,” as I hold my head in my hands.)

Tattered Cover

So, I’ve created a plan:

1. Every Friday until I get my butt in gear, I’ll write a blog post about writing. The topics will vary, but I hope to connect with more authors online and share writing routine tips, great resources, books we should all be reading, etc. Language is fluid. We can be good storytellers if we aren’t throwing ourselves into the magical, fantastic world of prose.  #writerschool

2. I will read at least 200 pages a week.

3. I will write at least 5000 words a week. This includes both blog posts and book projects.

4. I will connect with authors online.

5.  I will schedule  a writers’ retreat in Arizona with other friends working on being published. I have a fantastic group of women in Denver I got together with weekly for more than year. We shared our projects, edits and passion. We kept each other accountable. I sincerely miss this group for all of these reasons. I’d like to create something similar in Phoenix, and have everyone get together once a year at a long weekend retreat in the mountains where we share our stuff, including those ever elusive secrets of being published and the joy of finding your book on a stand in an airport. Or at Changing Hands. Or, who are we kidding: Costco.

Llamas or alapacas?My newest novel is set here: Bolivia. And you’re going to love it. Stay tuned.


The only way this plan will work is if I bear down and get after it. It would be even better if you’d participate too. Leave a comment if you are a budding writer. Tell me what you are struggling with, and share your successes. Tell me what you are reading. Tell me what you’d be interested in reading about around here.


Future Best Selling Author — to More than Just Friends and Family,


P.S. Min, this post isn’t entirely for you — but I hope Writer School is the nudge you need. You are one of the funniest, most poignant writers I know. We are all waiting on your book. And God knows if I can do it, you certainly can — and with more sarcasm and panache.




Posted in
Writer School, Writing
Comments (9)


August 7th

A few things I’ve saved from Instagram lately that I simply love:

august 5 014


Turning an old piano into a hutch? Oh, yes. I just love this.


august 5 012


This is my friend, Jen. She is such a creative, and I love her quilting skills. I’m trying to talk her into a weekend here where we can quilt and I can learn these basics.

august 5 011


Grilled salad? That sounds interesting.


august 5 010


Next backyard party I host — this is happening. So cute. (And I have that table!)


august 5 001


A way to easily entertain me for hours? Searching for “Fox Terriers” on Instagram. Nelson has relatives globally who are doing adorable things. And they all crack me up.


august 5 013


Just yes. Yes.


What’s inspiring you this week?


Posted in
Comments (1)

Walks with Nelson

August 6th

A few photos from recent walks with Nelson in the neighborhood:

august 5 018

august 5 029

august 5 031

Love the early, golden mornings this time of year.


Posted in
Arizona, Community
Comments (1)

About those pencil pouches…

August 5th

august 5 026

They are in progress. All 20-plus of them. I love this sort of piece work, but it is time intensive. I’m also newly assigned to a big project at work (yay!) and am preparing for a long weekend on the beach (double yay!) So, I haven’t forgotten y’all. Hang in there with me.

august 5 025


I am giving this project an hour a day — to keep it fun, and something I’m looking forward to. Also this week:



Posted in
CAOK, Heirloom Hacienda
Comments (4)

Jamboree (Because Jellyboree is just ridiculous.)

August 4th

I invited a few friends over this weekend to turn cactus into jelly. Seriously. (Or, for long-time readers: again.)

Prickly Pear Party

Prickly Pear Party

Prickly Pear PartyPrickly Pear Party

Prickly Pear Party

Prickly Pear Party

Prickly Pear Party

Prickly Pear Party

Prickly Pear Party

Prickly Pear Party

Prickly Pear Party

Prickly Pear Party


We made 40 jars of syrup and prickly pear jelly using this recipe from one bucket of pears. It took a few hours, and I was so grateful for the help — especially those who came with extensive canning knowledge. It was a lot of fun to see the few friends who had never canned before watch us transform cactus into something delicious. Pantry alchemy at its best!

Next up: onion marmalade. I’ve got a list of recipes to can. This holiday season will be full of handmade foods as gifts — because cooking for those I love makes me happy.

What’s your favorite thing to preserve?


Posted in
Arizona, Domestic Art, Heirloom Hacienda
Comments (2)


August 2nd

July Instagrams

For those needing a Willie Nelson Mandela fix: good news — the rascal is still as adorable as ever.


Posted in
Comments (Comments are off for this post)

Lake Pleasant

August 1st

Last weekend, we went to the lake. We boarded a fast little boat, skipped across the water, and dropped anchors in a shady cove. Everyone dove overboard, where we bobbed in the cool water for hours.

July Instagrams

At one point, I got cold. COLD! And had to pull myself into the boat to warm up. There was also a bit of cliff jumping, which is about as risky as my behaviors get. The rush!

July Instagrams

A delightful way to spend a hot, summer day in Arizona.


Posted in
Comments (Comments are off for this post)