Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Can't even buy fish right now

I was just discussing my "nightmarish" dreams with my tour coordinators and thought I'd share them with you so that maybe you can find some insight into all this, but for the last week, I've been having these dreams about Christmas.

Only, it wasn't anything Norman Rockwell about them. They were horrible. You get up Christmas morning and you forgot to buy presents. That's the sort of dream you'd have as a kid, isn't it? You run downstairs and there's nothing underneath because Mom forgot. Ever have those dreams where you're walking down the middle of the school corridor in nothing but pajamas? Sort of along the same line.

I'm still recuperating from this cold thing so maybe that's behind these crazy ass dreams, but I woke up again this morning at 4 a.m. after having another one. I went to the bathroom and prodded downstairs. Prod. How do you prod? Past tense - prodded. Well anyway, so I'm prodding downstairs and it's still dark out so you turn on a light switch and grab yourself something to drink. You forgot to find those little lightbulbs for the candles in the window or you wouldn't have had to turn on a light that blinded you so, so you're squinting and pouring, hoping it's making it into the glass.

Skylar is asleep downstairs in front of her princess play tent but none of the other doggies are awake so it's me and a princess sleeping dog.

I go back upstairs and turn on the computer for a little while, thinking I'm not going back to bed and just maybe will have to get a nap sometime during the day but you know damn well that's not going to happen because I have so much to do.

I did go back to bed around 8 and slept until 9:30, but when I jumped up, I knew I had the solution all figured out. Get the damn Christmas shopping done and these damn nightmares will go away.

It's not like I haven't started and really I could end it with what I've gotten but I have so trained myself to believe it's never enough. Why do we do that to ourselves? I have cut back and perhaps I'm feeling guilty and my real self is trying to fight with my frugal self.

Frugal Self: You're foolish.

Real Self: How so?

Frugal Self: You know the kids don't care what you give them. Your son has told you he wants nothing and your daughter tells you there's nothing out there anyway, so why do you keep banging your head against a wall over this?

There must be a happy medium, but that's how it feels inside - both selfs are fighting against one another and I have a cold on top of that.

So, today, I'm going uptown. Now...you'll get a big laugh over this or I will just in writing it but where I live in a resort, you would think there would be shopping malls and all kinds of things out there to buy someone but...it's a summer resort so you know what that means. You can't even buy fish right now.

But...there are still a few shops open so maybe....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The snow gods listened

It's 5:30 in the morning. Didn't sleep well although I was full of nice goodies that are supposed to make you sleep and keep you there. I think about 3 a.m. Cassie and I went downstairs (guess she couldn't sleep either) and finished off the crab cake dinner Melissa and I had gotten at Bill's for dinner. I was too sick to go out so she picked it up on the way back from the store.

There's snow on the ground but I'm almost certain it's not but a sheet of ice. It started icing yesterday, then turned to snow, then temperatures dropped so I can't imagine what a mess it is out there.

I've still got this humdinger of a cold. Feel like crap. Sneezing, coughing, aching...I could be a poster child for the common cold. I just have to watch it so it doesn't turn into bronchitis.

I'm usually really healthy but come winter, there's always that chance that I'll get stricken with the B word. Really gotta cut out the smoking.

5 more days until Christmas. Just have a few last minute stuff to get. I didn't go all out this year like I did last year, but I think they'll be happy. They're not picky anyway. Both are grown and both feel rather annoyed I treat them as kids when it comes to Christmas so let's see how much they like it I listened to them this year, lol.

Well I'm going back to bed and try to get in another couple of hours. Hope you all have a safe weekend and don't eat the yellow snow unless you're starving...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Are the snow gods listening this year?

It's one minute before 5 a.m. I knew I was coming down with something - what was the big mystery - and now I know. I think. I have. The Cold.

I feel miserable.

Anyone notice how colder it is this year? Cold windy blasts of air coming off the ocean isn't unusual on the island this time of year, but if I can remember right, last Christmas we had the windows on the kitchen side open.

And get this...they are calling for - are you sitting down? - SNOW. Not until tomorrow and there's only a chance of it but it could get ugly.

Pfft. If it does, then I'll eat the biggest piece of yellow snow out there when it happens and I'll even take a picture of it to prove it to you.

See, the snow gods tease us every year until you get to the point where you just do not believe it's ever going to happen. We had a slight slight slight dusting last year, barely noticeable. No bundling up to take the dogs romping in it. No snow cream. No getting out of work because the roads weren't passable. Not even one bit of yellow snow. By the time the dogs peed on it, it had disappeared.

I blame the fact on global warming as I don't have any other excuse. I'm not a weather woman and I haven't bought a Farmer's Almanac in years so I don't know what it's going to do from one day to the other, but I do know we have not had a decent snow in years.

I am a snow bunny. Give me a pair of plastic shopping bags tied to my legs and I'm set. I don't need any fancy boots. In fact, we don't buy them here because it never snows so all they'd do is sit in the closet and take up room which we don't have that much of as far as storing things we don't need.

I'll have to ask someone here on the island if they remember it ever snowing here. Maybe I won't have to and it'll snow 3 feet and I'll thank the snow gods for listening to my prayers. Or, I'll be eating my words and wish for summer back.

We had an interesting day yesterday. My daughter is just now getting over food poisoning so we thought it would be safe to venture to the mall to try to find some Christmas gifts. Now...come closer and really understand this question - does anyone notice how ugly the clothes are this year? I mean, are they buying Walmart rejects, slapping a price on them and think that the buying public is going to see through it or maybe they're thinking the buying public will have no choice?

Me? I buy from QVC. You haven't lived until you have spent hours upon hours watching what great deals you can get. And they're name brands and you're more than likely not going to return them because they are so perfect and....you don't have to get into your car or truck or snow mobile to get them.

I love QVC.

Anyway, so we're out and about yesterday trying to find SOMETHING to give to my son who wants nothing. I ended up settling on a shirt in Macy's he'll probably hate. I bought a couple of gifts for co-workers at Boscov's and some lotion at Victoria Secrets for another co-worker and I was done. All that way for that.

But my daughter who knew the mall would have nothing decided to buy something a little different. See that picture to the right? That's Skylar with her brand new princess play house. I guess when you don't have kids, you buy silly little things like that for your dogs.

Well Skylar loved it, then later we found Max camped out inside it and when Skylar went to reclaim it, Max lunged at her. Melissa had to grab Skylar and fling her back, causing the both of them to land flat on their backs.

Max ain't messing around when it comes to princess play houses.

Anyway, I'm going to try to go back to bed. Feeling a little better but I'll never be able to go into work after getting up at 4 a.m. Hope you all have a good day and hope it snows!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Guest Blogger: Single at Christmas: The Best Holiday of Your Life by Barbora Knobova

We have a special guest today. With Christmas right around the corner, everyone's thoughts are on joy, happiness and spending the holidays with their special someone. Or are they? What about singles who don't have significant others? Are they doomed? Not so, says Barbora Knobova, author of Tales for Delicious Girls. Barbora offers tips to have the best holiday of your life no matter what!

Single at Christmas: The Best Holiday of Your Life
by Barbora Knobova

At Christmas a couple of years ago, I found myself in a faraway country, shortly after a bad break-up, unable to go see my family. But what seemed like a complete disaster turned out to be one of the best Christmas Holidays of my life.

Maybe you are in a similar situation this year. You are single and surrounded by happy couples. You are far from your dear ones and cannot spend the Holiday with your family. You are lonely and sad, and you feel like skipping Christmas altogether. But why should you do that? You've always loved Christmas, right? So don't let the circumstances ruin it for you and make this Christmas the best Holiday you've ever had.

1. Don't let people make you believe that Christmas is only for couples and families.
Christmas is for everyone. When someone looks at you with sorrow and says: "I'm so sorry you're alone at Christmas, it must be very sad," just smile and say: "Actually, being alone at Christmas is wonderful because you can really absorb the spirit of the Holiday without stress and shopping frenzy. You should try it too."

2. Celebrate Christmas the way you want.

If you love traditional Christmas, buy the biggest Christmas tree, the fanciest decorations, fill your house with lights, sing carols, bake tons of Christmas cookies (you can always give them to a homeless shelter and make someone's Christmas just a little bit nicer). If you have always hated traditional Christmas and the way your family, your husband or boyfriend made you spend it, why don't you celebrate it your way this year? It is your Holiday after all. You can explore Christmas food and traditions of other countries and cultures and really experiment with various ways of spending Christmas to make it unique and truly yours.

3. Buy yourself presents. Lots of them.
No unwanted, awkward presents this year. Why couldn't you have a pile of lovely presents under the tree and in the stockings? Buy everything you like, everything you wish for, and yes, splurge. Have your gifts professionally wrapped in the mall - this way you won't know what's hiding in the packages and you'll be excited to open your presents on Christmas morning.

Christmas is a wonderful holiday and it belongs to all of us, not only to married people or big families. Make Christmas your own holiday, celebrate it and spend it the way you have always wanted to. In a few years, when memories of long-gone Christmas Holidays have faded, this will be the Christmas you will always remember. In a good way.

Barbora Knobova is a writer, relationship coach and expert in Delicious Life. A world traveler, she is one of those rare world citizens who live everywhere and nowhere. Barbora is a firm believer in female friendship, loyalty and bonding. She writes hilarious, sharp-witted, caustically apt, ironic, moving, true books for strong, independent, smart, fearless women. Barbora has also written several self-improvement books and teaches women about the importance of self-love in relationships and life in general. Barbora speaks eight languages and has found her home away from home in New York, London and Milan. She is always on the move, accompanied by her beagle Brinkley, the nasty dog from Tales for Delicious Girls. You can visit her website at www.barboraknobova.com.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Humorist Pat Snyder "The Dog Ate My Planner" giving away book tomorrow!

Humorist Pat Snyder, author of The Dog Ate My Planner, will be at Pump Up Your Book on Friday, December 4, taking your questions and comments. Leave a question or a comment, along with your email address (very important), in the comment section anytime between now and 8 p.m. tomorrow night and you could win a free copy of her book!

The winner will be selected at the end of tomorrow night and announced on Monday, Dec. 7.

Find out all about writing humor from one of the most talented humorists!

Click here to enter now!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dogs, Dogs, Dogs

I feel really bad not keeping this blog updated so I made a pact with myself to keep writing in here on a daily basis if not for therapy but to let everyone know how I'm doing.

It's. Been. Crazy.

I don't know whether it's the holidays but it seems that when the weather changed, my life has become even more chaotic. Business is going great and I shouldn't even complain as it sure does beat my "other" job, which really isn't too big a deal since it's only on the weekends, but still.

Anyway, Thanksgiving was great and I believe the major stressors set in around then. My seven-year-old cocker spaniel, Max, has an awful ear infection. We've been taking him to a doctor here on the island but the infection just wouldn't ever go away. He's had it a long time. The pills he gave me to give him would work to the extent you couldn't smell the infection but little did we know, it was eating away at his ear canal and we didn't even know it.

Over Thanksgiving, he ran out of pills. I called the vet but no one was in the Friday following Thanksgiving so we had to wait it out all weekend. I didn't want to take him to the same one as it was getting us nowhere.

Dr. Nickol's is great, only he's about an hour away and that's why we went from him to this other one when we moved to the island since the one on the island isn't but 3 minutes away. Seriously. If it's nothing major, he's great, but obviously he's not good with ear infections as the dog has had one for maybe a year now, off and on.

So over Thanksgiving, the dog was getting worse. He smelled like dead carcass, I'm serious. He had leakage out of his ear and his eyes. The once happy running-all-around dog didn't want to do anything but hang his head or sleep or shake his head.

We finally got an appointment on Monday. Dr. Nickol's said that his one ear was so bad, bone had grown over the ear canal and there was nothing short of an operation that would allow him to hear out of it again. The other one is getting near that point but there was still a little passageway.

We had to muzzle him and a good thing as he wanted to take everyone's arm off. The doctor shaved on the inside of both ears and put some kind of medication on it and told us to bring him back in 2 weeks. He gave us 2 kinds of medication to put in his ear, a wash of some kind and some pain pills. The pain pills are the only thing I can get in him as he tries to bite my hand off when I just go to put the muzzle on him, so I can't do it myself.

I was waiting for my daughter to get back from taking her Sheltie to the vet (to the tune of $180 for a skin ailment) to help me put this medication in Max and I'm waiting now for her to finish lunch so we can do it. And I'm dreading it.

Stressors, stressors, but I need to save the dog. I love him so much that when he cries out in pain, I cry out, too.

So that's the extent of my morning and what I've been going through. It seems the ill health of anyone you love takes a lot of out of you, but I do what I have to do and pray for the best.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Holiday Memories: The Many Essences of Christmas Past by J.W. Nicklaus

Today begins a month long extravaganza at As the Pages Turn with guest posts about holiday memories from authors all over the world. Today Jeff Nicklaus, author of The Light, The Dark & Ember Between, kicks off our first day with a lovely story, The Many Essences of Christmas. Click on title below and you'll be taken right to the story.

The Many Essences of Christmas Past by J.W. Nicklaus

"A small boy sits in a living room, awash in the low-tech fidelity of late 1960’s television. The CBS Special Presentation intro plays as his five-year-old eyes soak up what will become in his world, and many others, one of many Christmas season classics. Warm pajamas and blinking lights upon the tree don’t prevent the night from ending, but rather allow all the senses to coalesce into the makings of a wistful childhood memory...."

Read the rest by clicking on link above!

**Special Note**

J.W. is giving away a copy of his book today at Pump Up Your Book! Click here for details.

J.W. Nicklaus is the author of The Light, The Dark & Ember Between. Visit his website at www.avomnia.com.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How To Be The Perfect Diner

In the "You're the Boss" section of the New York Times yesterday, a fellow by the name of Bruce Buschel wrote an article titled, "100 Things Staffers Should Never Do." It seems he is opening a seafood restaurant and posted this list to his real-time staffers.

While it was a great list, it reminded me of a humor column I wrote back in '02 titled "How To Be The Perfect Diner" written completely tongue-in-cheek, but after 25 years waiting on tables, you'd understand...and while you're reading it, hum the theme song from "Cheers" to yourself for effect...

How To Be The Perfect Diner

Attention Ladies and Gentlemen, Children, and Others:

I am your server. I am paid to tend to your every wish, get your meal to you on time, and clean up after you. I am paid way below minimum wage, but your tips help me pay for my brand new car outside. I have a family to feed and depend on you to help with that.

I am courteous, friendly, and go that one more step above and beyond to make your dining experience a happy one. I enjoy my job, meeting new people and having a roof over my head.

There are only a few rules I ask you to go by:

1. When you come into the restaurant, abide by the sign at the door that says, "Wait to be seated." It's very hard for me to find you if you have seated yourself. Do not be rude when I finally come to you.

2. I know you are hungry or have driven long distances, but please do not shout at me.

3. When I take your order, please do not stare out the window, talk about the latest party at Ralph's to your partner, or ignore me.

4. Do not expect me to know what you want. I am not you. I do not have the same taste buds as you.

5. Please refrain from calling me, "Hey You!" I have a name as my name tag clearly points that out for a reason.

6. Do not yell at me if it is the kitchen's fault they lost your ticket. I can't be everywhere at one time.

7. Do not blame me if there is hair in your food. It is not mine. Honest.

8. Do not allow your kids to take the straw wrappers and make spit-balls out of them.

9. Do not allow your kids to run around the restaurant, jump up and down in the seats, and make loud farting noises with their armpits.

10. Do not bring a sleepy, tired, cranky, well you get the picture, child in the restaurant because you couldn't find a sitter.

11. Do not bring your kids.

12. If I am very busy, please don't annoy me with your pleading for refills. I will get to them when I have time.

13. Do not call me from across the dining room if I am waiting on another table. I have special talents that you wouldn't want to find out.

14. Don't try to talk to me if another server has emotional problems and needs my shoulder to cry on. This could get ugly.

15. Do not make me do a million things for you and tip only a dollar. Or nothing. I will follow you out of the restaurant and write your license plate down. I have friends in the Mafia.

16. Do not call the 800 number on me. I will swear it wasn't me.

17. When it is time to leave, tell me how much you enjoyed my service and will ask for me next time. This will save you from buying new tires after you leave the restaurant.

18. Don't take me personal when I say, "Have a nice day."

© Dorothy Thompson 2002

Mr. Buschel, am I hired?

How OK! Magazine taught me a thing or two about book promotion

I'm guest blogging today over at Tony Eldridge's blog, Marketing Tips for Authors!

How OK! Magazine Taught Me A Thing Or Two About Book Promotion By Dorothy Thompson: http://bit.ly/49x2rF

See the magazine cover on your left? Look to the right and you see a picture of Jennifer Aniston? I was called by the editor of OK! Magazine to give my opinion of the Jennifer Aniston l Vince Vaghn relationship. My quote appeared in this very magazine in '04.

Seems so long ago. I had put together a book of soul mate stories - true soul mate stories - called Romancing the Soul, and I knew there was a vast untapped online market out there to get me and my book in front of. The thing is, I had to try this, try that, and what happened really became the backbone of my company, Pump Up Your Book Promotion and now, it's wonderful new counterpart, Pump Up Your Book.

One of the great things about newspapers going bust (I don't mean that in a negative way of course) is that what's happening is that they're concentrating now on online measures to get their news out - more so than ever before Back in '04, newspapers were still thriving but the journalists had discovered how to cut a few corners and that was to find what they wanted over the Internet.

If you concentrate on building up your author platform, present yourself in a professional way (great website), write until your fingers fall off about your expertise...someone is going to find you and present an offer you won't believe such as I did the day OK! Magazine's editor called me for a quote.

I can't stress enough how important it is to find an author platform you would be comfortable with. After all, if you can't talk the talk when you walk the walk, people will see right through you. I knew my stuff. Putting together an anthology of true soul mate stories where more than half of it was written by other writers, that's not enough. To make my book stand out, I divided the questions into three sections - Twin Souls, Companion Soul Mates and Karmic soul mates - and through my expertise, I could tell which story fell in which section. As it turned out, it wasn't just a collection of stories, but a lesson in finding and keeping your soul mate and learning why certain people come into your lives.

So, there was my platform. I became the soul mate expert, then gravitated to relationship expert.

Define your author platform, use those key search words in everything you send out. Who knows - there are journalists, magazine editors, book publishers, agents, ect. out there looking for the next big thing. Or, at least a quote. And, believe me, that quote is like getting a gig on Oprah. It could be your big break, open a few doors, or make you believe in miracles.

Monday, November 2, 2009

#7 Hallopalooza Contest Results!

And...we have a winner!

dlodden at frontiernet dot net won a copy of my book, Romancing the Soul!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Here's your Hallopalooza Scavenger Hunt Clue!

Boomer Chick – post #7 http://www.overthehillchick.blogspot.com/

"That's with a Z, and my last name is Barrymore, like Drew, who's a cousin of mine on my father's side."

Milla would have bet that it was Lisa with an "S." Liza Barrymore swore she was related to Drew, but judging from the accent, the only Barrymore this dame knew was Barry Moore from the old neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Milla guessed that Liza, or whatever she called herself, was about 55, but according to the police report, the woman copped only to 44. She had listed her job title as makeup artiste – although that might also mean she spritzed perfume on unsuspecting shoppers at Bloomingdales. She was wearing a black sweater over a red silk flapper costume.

Liza was hired for the party by Diana Trent, who was the host's ex-wife. "She wanted me to make her look like Cleopatra. Hell, I'd have made her look like the snake just to get in this joint."

"Diana Trent hired you just to do her makeup and provide touchups during the evening?"

"No. She had me do hers and then offered up my services to anyone else at the party who wanted a professional touch. I set up in a room near the ballroom. There were a lot of fancy costumes here tonight, but most people hadn't thought much about their makeup. Diana is very generous. I think she always hired someone for the Halloween Ball when she still lived here, and just continued the tradition. Mr. Howard seemed pleased.”

"Did you do Carla Jordan's makeup?"

"The Sunflower? Sure. I did hers. She didn't give me a tip. Lucky for me others appreciated my efforts. Those tips are going to pay next month's rent. You should have seen them. Not everyone likes masks, you know. I did some of my best work last night. Of course most people have changed out of their costumes now and my hard work's been washed down the drain."

Milla glanced at her watch. It was noon.

Next Clue Location - http://sarahlynn.blogspot.com/

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hallopalooza almost here!

There's some serious fun coming our way at the end of this month! The Stiletto gang has teamed up with 20 author blogs for a humungous online scavenger hunt where readers can go blog to blog gathering clues to solve a mystery. Lots of great prizes are going to be given away along the route.

Now you know Boomer Chick just had to accept their invitation to be part of this, didn't you?

Now here's the fun part. We're going to have lots of readers stop by but...if you'd like to win a copy of my book, Romancing the Soul, you'll just have to leave a comment for poor ol' Boomer Chick on that day, you hear?

Everything starts the end of this month...more details soon!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Guest Blogger: Carol Sue Gershman, author of The Jewish Lady, The Black Man and the Road Trip

I have a guest blogger today! Carol Sue Gershman, author of the memoir, The Jewish Lady, The Black Man and the Road Trip, is joining us as part of her virtual book tour for Pump Up Your Book Promotion!

Finding Love After 50
by Carol Sue Gershman

I personally have had more love affairs after 50 than ever before. In fact, love started pouring in after 50.

How can I explain this...

As a 14 year old teenager I fell in love with a guy. I knew the moment I saw him that I wanted to marry him, and while I did date, I was more of a lady in waiting for him to come around. Yes, I did win him over and we had many, many happy years together and are dear friends to this day.

However, we ended up separating after all, and I began to date.

I had the opportunity of going back to when I was 19 in spirit, the age that I married and re-living those same years. It was at the time that the younger man, older woman came into focus so I had a slew of potential dates.

I travelled all over the world and met men; in fact I probably enjoyed the company of men in most countries of the world. Please do not get me wrong as I was not promiscuous. I was making up for my teenage years and having experiences.

I had shorter term relationships as I did not want anything close to marriage, but as I grew and got older, my relationships got longer. I can honestly say that fifty is fabulous, sixty in sensational and seventy sizzles all with passion and all by dating. My theory is to keep yourself in good shape, keep yourself healthy and stylish and stay up with the times. If you do that, it makes no difference what so ever how old you are.

I think on line dating is terrific. When I put up a great picture and smile and write something clever I am inundated with responses. I might do that for a month at a time, stopping and later picking it up again. I have met some great guys on the free sites like Craigslist, Google; there is no need to sign up for expensive sites that lock you in.

I imagine it is good to set your goals, rich man, poor man, handsome, charming, etc. but I am an independent woman so good companionship is what I look for. I also have no qualms about sharing expenses with a man. Unless if he is very wealthy, I am sure he is watching his money as well, and I do not take advantage. At this point of life men usually have a ex-wife or kids to think about, so sharing is fine with me.

There is nothing wrong with calling a man, in fact setting it up that way is a blessing. Nobody likes waiting by the phone.
The next time you are attracted to a man ask him for his card immediately!. How often have I made that mistake and sometimes the opportunity passes...

Love after 50 or 60 is more passionate than back then. And with the right partner it can be a lot more fun. We know the tricks.

Carol Sue

Constantly reinventing herself, Carol Sue Gershman attended the Miami Dade College memoir class and decided that she would turn her two and a half page “Adventure in Love Story” into a book. Never having written before, it was passion that drove her each day to write.

After spending 25 years in New York City, she was one of the first to arrive into the new phenomenon of Miami Beach (South Beach) She is presently writing her next book while working on laws to ban smoking in residential buildings.
Now at 73 she will take her completed book back on the road re-living the cities and states visited on the road trip. You might just see her driving her hot yellow mustang convertible packed with books, hats and what it takes for life on the road.

You can visit her website by clicking here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Man killed by sharks at Kill Devil Hills

Man, did you all read about this? A tourist found a man dead at Virginia Dare Road and the autopsy revealed...a shark ate him!

It seems I just got back from the Outer Banks just yesterday....oh I miss it so much (maybe not the shark part but thank goodness I didn't know about the possibility of becoming someone's dinner at the time).

I remember Virginia Dare Road...just trying to think if it was the road we needed to take to see something or the name just stuck in my mind. I had no idea there were sharks in the water, but this proves it!

While I have you on the subject, I've got...taddddaaa...pictures! I've got so many, I think I'll divide it into 3 parts.

First, the Outer Banks is beautiful. If you want to see miles and miles of beach, this is the place to go. Our plans were to stay over at Nags Head and use the rental to drive to other places. I knew I wanted to see the Cape Hatteras lighthouse which was an hour away and I knew I wanted to see the Wright Brothers exhibit, plus there was the biggest dune on the east coast there in Nags Head and I wanted to see that. Plus, eat. Eat and eat. We did more eating than anything else, I think.

So anyway, since we were only staying a couple of days, beach houses were out as you could only rent them for a week at a time, plus this was a last minute trip and it's nothing like trying to plan a vacation in a few days so we opted for the Ramada Inn. Here's what it looked like:

Thought I had a better picture of it, but this is as we were sliding into the parking lot. My daughter said Nags Head wasn't what she pictured. She pictured more like here on the island but instead it reminded her of Pigeon Forge, TN. because of all the tourist shops.

Anyway, we unloaded and when we got to the room, how do I want to put that. They weren't impressed. For one thing, it was small. We had two double beds for 3 people which I knew when we signed up for it but there was nothing else available (might I add we made reservations the night before so pickers can't be choosers).

I made the best of it and started unpacking while the kids were sitting around looking kind of let down. Granted, it looked nothing like the hotel at Myrtle Beach. But it was a room and I tried to keep up their spirits.

We had a balcony which overlooked the ocean. Again, nothing like Myrtle Beach with the palm trees, pool below, wide open beaches, but this is what it looked like:

I guess it's not that bad, but nothing like this:

Or this:

Or this:

Those last pictures were taken at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, a few hours south...now that was a beautiful place.

But this hotel did have a few perks. We were tired and hungry so instead of searching for a restaurant, we decided to eat in the hotel's restaurant. Well, it came with entertainment. While we were waiting for our overly high priced food to arrive, it seems there was a line dancing class in progress. Yehaw. Take my word of advice. Order take out.

After that exciting adventure, we rode around to the different shops and bought t-shirts. It was getting late so we headed back to the room. I'll be back tomorrow with pictures of the Cape Hattaras Lighthouse, the Wright Brothers Museum and the tallest sand dune on the east coast which I climbed. Believe It. Or Not.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pump Up Your Book Promotion Nominated Best Blog Tour Group Award

It's official! Pump Up Your Book Promotion has made the short list at BBAW for Best Blog Tour Group!

Book Blogger Appreciation was started by Amy Riley of My Friend Amy in an effort to recognize the hard work and contribution of book bloggers to the promotion and preservation of a literate culture actively engaged in discussing books, authors, and a lifestyle of reading.

The first Book Blogger Appreciation was observed in the fall of 2008 and occurs every September. The week spotlights and celebrates the work of active book bloggers through guest posts, awards, giveaways, and community activities.

We are honored to be on their short list for Best Blog Tour Group and would appreciate everyone''s vote. All you have to do is visit http://bookbloggerappreciationweek.com/index.php/awards#pd_a_1964022 and look for the "Best Blog Tour Group" poll.

We appreciate your kindness! Polls end on Saturday just before midnight so cast those votes early. Thank you!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mytle Beach Vacation '09

Okay, okay, stop yelling. I was coming! Would you like to see pictures of our vacation in Myrtle Beach now?

I had never been, never ever. I'd been to Florida so we passed it to our left, but never did we even think about going to Myrtle Beach until someone blogged about it. I must write to the North Carolina tourism people and tell them how valuable blogging is.

So it was BF, his 14-year-old daughter and I. My kids stayed home and watched the doggies (I promised them a trip to the Outer Banks this upcoming week as a matter of fact...always vacationing, that's the way to do it). I had a very relaxing time...spent most of the time in the pool or on the beach. I thought it was kind of strange there wasn't much else to do right there and that you'd have to drive a few miles to see anything, but maybe next time when we have more time.

The hotel was BEAUTIFUL. Here it is right here:

Here it is when you walk across the street:

And here is the back of it:

We were on the sixth floor and if you look directly to the middle, you can see our room. It was a really gorgeous place to stay. Inside (I forgot to take pictures of this), there was an indoor waterpark, slide and everything...I felt like a little kid again!

Now this one above is when you stand on the balcony and look down. I used the zoom on this because it wasn't that close, but you can see how we got to the beach from the hotel. To the left of that wooden walkway were rows of chairs you could sit on but it was too hot. Everyone either was at the beach or in the pool.

This is below our room. If you click on any of the pictures, btw, they'll get larger and you can see them better. This pool was the bomb. What was really neat was all I had to do was look out from the balcony and I could see if there were a million people in there or two or three. The best time to go was 9 a.m. and 9 p.m...barely a soul then, but in the middle of the day, you better be prepared.Get a load of those palm trees!

One of the beach scenes. One thing that is confusing the heck out of me is where was the sea gulls? I'm so used to having sea gulls everywhere, especially at the beach and all I saw was one. Don't know whether it was the fact it was too hot or what but that was really strange. And...no shells...I guess they were there but no good ones. I still loved it, though.

Ahhh, the beach. Nature's playground. Fun in the sun. It was PACKED.

Oh yeah...I'd definitely do it again....

Friday, August 7, 2009

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina '09 Vacation

I'm back from my mini-vacation at Myrtle Beach, N.C. I. Had. A. Blast.

And...It. Was. Hot. Man, I'm telling you, there were sweat beads on top of the sweat beads. But it was really fun once you got used to the heat.

On the way, we stopped off at South of the Border. I hadn't been to South of the Border since I got married about 35 years ago. We were spending our honeymoon in Ft. Lauderdale and there were all these freaking signs for the place which made you have to see it to see what all the commotion was all about. It had really changed by leaps and bounds...it was spread all over the place. Had a blast there.

We got to Myrtle Beach around 3:30. Didn't have too much trouble finding it. We stayed at the Dunes Village Resort Hotel. Really really nice. Pool and ocean off your balcony...just yards from it. You could get up and see how many people were at the beach or the pool before you planned on going down there. I wish I had taken a picture of the monster cock roach that was walking along the patio wall, though. They really need an exterminator for that, but I remember living in Ft. Lauderdale years ago (that one honeymoon did it for me; I was hooked on the place) and they were really bad. I mean these suckers were at least 2 inches long. And didn't run. The regular house roach, they'll fly practically whenever someone gets near them but this baby wasn't scared of anything.

Anyway, despite that, the hotel was beautiful. It had an indoor water park which actually was geared more toward the kids but that didn't stop us from getting in and flying down the water slide.

I think the best part of the whole experience, though, was sitting on the patio and watching the people on the beach and in the pool below. I wish I had the guts some of those kids swimming had...they were like little fish.

And the people coming into the hotel - we met one couple from Virginia - Fredericksburg - and lots of others were from Virginia, too. I didn't see anyone else from up north judging from the license plates but I'm sure they were there somewhere.

Waits at the restaurants in the area ranged from walk right in and get a seat to an hour long. We ate out the whole time we were there despite the fact we had a stove in the room. I don't cook here, I sure as hell wasn't going to cook in a hotel room, lol.

Anyway, got lots of work to catch up on. I'll be downloading pictures and talk about the trip more tomorrow, but yeah, I'd do it again and again!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Two Days After Chincoteague's Pony Penning '09

The ponies are gone. I missed the auction but what ponies that didn't sell were taken back to Assateague today to run free and wild as nature intended. I'm sure a few of them if not all were a bit shaken up from the experience and I'm hoping they are very adaptable.

Tourists are still here, but they'll weed out in another week and it will be almost like it was before summer tourist season started.

I talk about tourists like they're the most annoying things but I guess there must be some good points of having them here. I would say for the local businesses but if you look really closely, most businesses are owned by people who cater to the tourists because once the tourists leave, the shops close up which is confusing to me. It's like they don't care about the locals or maybe it's a money thing.

There are a few that stay open - the local grocery store, the post office of course, a few convenience stores. Dollar General stays open as do a few restaurants like Bill's (my favorite). Bill's Restaurant is located on Main Street and maybe my taste palates are different from yours but that food is the bomb. I can get a pound of large steamed shrimp for $11.00 which I often take home and eat out on the deck. There's a McDonald's of course and there's a pharmacy and maybe a few other businesses but the surf stores all close down.

AJ's stays open all year round but I honestly can say I've never been there. Oh yes, Don's is open all year round but it's been a long time since I've been in there, too. I stick mainly to Bill's. You can't go wrong.

When summer ends, the island reverts back to the locals. We have a few tourists that try to get in one last vacation trip before school starts and of course there are the bird watchers who descend upon the island in the fall.

But, it's great. No more sharing your dock. I can walk the dog in peace without kids yelling from the balconies, "Here doggie doggie!" Pfft.

It goes back to being paradise.

I'm sitting in my office right now. It's on the 3rd floor of our condo and a room all my own. I cut the air off for a little while and opened the window to hear the thunderstorm slowly making its way across the island. You can hear the thunder in the distance and the rain pellets dancing in the marsh weeds. The smell you wish you could bottle up forever.

It's peaceful.

I have a few more pony pictures to show you that my daughter and son took before they sent the unsold ponies packing, but I want you to see these beautiful creatures. This is after the ponies arrived at the carnival grounds and before the auction.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chincoteague Freman's Annual Pony Swim '09

Well I haven't posted much all summer because of work commitments, so I thought I'd get back on track. Yesterday was the Chincoteague Fireman's Annual Pony Swim and I was right there in the middle of it as usual. Last year was my first time since moving to the island and I thought I'd sit this year out but I couldn't ignore the excitement passing by my door!

An interesting thing is how I can tell if they have swum the ponies as you really don't know when it's going to happen unless you're listening to the radio. But...if you're living where I'm living, watch the water. When you see the boats flying by toward where they're going to swim them, you know you have probably a couple of hours because not only do they have to rest them in between swims but they have to rest them once they get them to Memorial Park before they run them down Main Street. If the boats are flying back toward Main Street, you know you've probably got another 45 minutes to an hour.

At 8:30, the boats were flying toward where they were going to swim them (from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island) so I knew I had a little bit of time but I was curious to see how the crowd was. They boast in the Eastern Shore News every single year about 30,000 people descending on this tiny island and that is so not true. I would give a rough guestimate at about 3,000 but I could be off maybe 1 or 2,000. And it probably wasn't even that many although...there were certainly a lot of people here.

At 8:30, though, the crowd was nothing. People were starting to bring out their chairs in preparation of the long wait until the ponies were run through.

And I guess you're wondering why they run the ponies through. Each year, the fireman's department raises money for the fire department for new trucks, etc., but auctioning off these ponies which, btw, is probably happening as I speak and I'm stuck on the computer. I might sneak a few minutes in and go take a few more pictures later.

So anyway, the tradition is...these "saltwater cowboys" gather the herd over on Assateague and swim them across the water onto Chincoteague Island where they rest at Memorial Park before running them down Beebe and onto Main Street for the crowd to ooh and ahh.

LOTS of tourists. Most have been here before if you take an informal poll and they just keep coming back.

After biking down Main to see what was happening at that point, I came on back to the condo to find my daughter waking up and fixing her daily Strawberry Toaster Strudel. She was hesitating going with me to watch the ponies run down Main toward the carnival ground where they are auctioning them off today because she feels it's inhumane (I'll blog about this tomorrow) but she said she was curious and off we went.

So we dig out the scooters and head on down Main and grab some pictures. Enjoy and I'll have a followup tomorrow...

This is part of the crowd. It was hot, babies were crying, kids were cranky....

And here they come!

The firemen, dubbed "Saltwater Cowboys," lead the ponies down Main Street.

Closer view of one of the Saltwater Cowboys as they try to keep the herd in a line and not trample onto the people standing to the side of the street to get a closer view (me!)...

More ponies!

And more ponies...

And more ponies...

I thought this little one was so cute!

This is how the carnival looked BEFORE the pony swim...it grew in size afterwards!

And...another picture of the carnival before the real crowd got there.

And here they are...those beautiful wild ponies ripped away from everything they ever knew and waiting to be auctioned off today.


Video footage of the ponies swimming from their home on Assateague to Memorial Park on Chincoteague where they will rest, then run through the streets, then on to the carnival grounds: