Monday, February 25, 2013

What's Better Than That Gold Statue?

I love the Oscars. The glamour. The dresses. It’s really the only time I act very girlie, watching all the actresses glide down the red carpet, draped in beautiful couture, stunning diamonds adorning their wrists.

My favorite part? Fantasizing about what it would be like to win one of the writer awards, either Best Original Screenplay or Best Adapted Screenplay. I like to think that without the writers, none of this would be possible. This is not true, of course, but a woman can dream, can’t she?

My oldest son came home from college Saturday night for a quick visit. His brother and I picked him up from the train station, while my husband orchestrated a sushi dinner for us to enjoy upon our return. Since there are no sushi restaurants in his western Illinois college town, it was a nice treat for our freshman.

It had been about two months since we’d all been together, the longest we were ever apart. The four of us got caught up on each other’s lives. We heard about his classes, his radio show, his suite mates. We played our favorite games until midnight, pausing too many times to count for anecdotes and laughter.

Sunday morning passed, lazy in our pajamas, with several cups of tea, coffee for my husband, and episodes of our oldest’s favorite television show. More laughter. More conversation.

Even errands were fun simply because we were together. An excursion to the Morton Arboretum on a lovely winter day rounded out our time, and all too soon, he was on the train back to school.

I was having such a great time, I almost forgot about the Oscars.

I returned home from the train station and turned on the TV in time to see some of the red carpet arrivals, but somehow the spectacle had lost its luster. Sure, the dresses were pretty, but my heart just wasn’t in it. I actually went to bed before the best actress award was even announced. I’d see it in the morning.

When I closed my eyes to fall asleep, I could still see my sons roughhousing in the family room just like they did when they were kids. I saw the smile on my husband’s face when he welcomed his oldest home. And I felt the love the four of us are so fortunate to share.

Hollywood can have its red carpet, media barrage, and size 0 actresses.

I’ve already received my reward.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Love Seat Diaries

Random Musings of the Congested Mind

My family has been ill with wicked sinus infections for the past two weekends now. My son started it off last week, I continued the trend on Thursday, and my husband succumbed on Saturday. Per usual, my husband is already back to work today, while I have not moved from my sickness perch — the love seat in our family room.

My head has been too congested to read or think, something that is usually required to do one’s job, so all I have been able to do is watch television. Thank goodness for video streaming. It has saved me from afternoons of daytime talk shows, Bravo reality series, and reruns of The Brady Bunch, the same reruns I used to watch when I was home sick thirty-five years ago.

So I present to you today a faithful account of my days stuck on our mini-sofa — The Love Seat Diaries.

Day One

Get son to school. Not wanting him to get soaked by torrential rain after just getting over his own sinus infection, I drive him. Eat breakfast and settle into the love seat, happy to be tucked inside. Realize I did not make lunch for him, nor did I send cash with him to purchase said meal. Drive back to school with lunch money envelope.

A zombie, I return home again and set myself up with tissues, a garbage can, every remote in the house, my phone, and a cup of tea.

Watch go-to sickness films Something Borrowed (no, I never read the book) and Becoming Jane (nope, not that one either). Seeing John Krasinski’s character prompts me to check how many hours until my son comes home and we can watch The Office. We have been doing an Office marathon for the past month or so, one episode every day after school, but when he was home sick that number quadrupled. We’re on Season 8!

Briefly ponder the character progression of Michael Scott, then blow nose.

Started on love seat sitting up, but gradually sink into it more each hour. By the time husband comes home, am completely horizontal with a swollen face, red, leaking eyes, chicken hair, and am breathing from my mouth. Lovely.

Day Two

Am only able to check Facebook, my lifeline from the love seat. Receive a message from a friend. Her daughter will be visiting London. Do I have any ideas on what to see?

Fuzzy mind clears briefly to suggest some of my favorite things in that great city. Yearn for the British Isles. Watch way too many travel videos to ease the pain. Bore even myself.

Contemplate stealing older son’s stash of Walker’s shortbread cookies. He’ll never know, he’s at college. Don’t have the motor skills to open the box. Resort to slashing at it maniacally with scissors. Box looks like Freddy Krueger attacked it. Give thanks for tape.

Back to love seat.

Day Three

More of The Office. Yeah, Pam and Jim!

Despite his own illness, husband plows through some errands. I waive goodbye to him from the love seat. Today brings an extra treat. Now when I get up, my head spins. Wish I had a penis, so I could urinate into a two-liter bottle the way I see guys do in comedy movies.

Husband eventually joins in on the sickness fun. A movie marathon ensues. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (intense and interesting, didn’t read the book, starting to see a disturbing pattern here). Son returns. Frankenweenie (good, love Tim Burton) and Get Smart with Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway (love them both).

Fall asleep on the love seat.

Day Four

A special Sunday morning The Office mini-marathon almost makes sickness worthwhile.

Still no energy, although not as congested. Wish I had bolts in my neck so I could be powered up by electricity like Sparky the Dog in Frankenweenie.

The Office theme song runs on continuous play in my head, somehow finding a way to nestle itself among the mucus. Start referring to Kevin and Phyllis like they are my co-workers. Begin to plan what cake I want for my birthday party in the conference room.

Watch the Grammy Awards. Tape Downton Abbey to save for a clearer-head day.

Know I’m not all there, but wonder what the heck a demented circus has to do with Taylor Swift’s mean never ever ever song. Wish Florence + the Machine opened the show. Realize I have a girl/artistic crush on her. Take it personally when she neither wins anything or gets to perform.

Learn that Mumford and Sons is British, which makes me feel better liking their music. I was scared to enjoy their folk songs when I thought they were American. I mean, who was I turning into? Breathes a sigh of relief, happy I could actually breathe through my nose. Hurray!

Enjoy Jack White’s performance. Wish there was more rock on the show.

Day Five

Heard something about the Pope resigning for the first time in six hundred years? Head must be more clogged than I thought.

Writes blog so doesn’t look like a fool leaving Super Bowl post up from last Monday. Still in pajamas. Head in a moderate haze.

Have exhausted all take-out venues for dinner. Must cook tonight. Must go grocery shopping.

Only five more hours until the next episode of The Office.

Must get off the love seat.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ravens Win!

Did you know I started out writing sports way back in the day in high school, covering basketball for the school newspaper? It was fairly easy since I was already one of the stat takers, you know, the people at the table keeping track of how many points, assists, fouls, and various other things that happen for your team.

I knew basketball pretty well, but my real love was football. I was actually Captain Stat sophomore through senior year, no cape or costume though, just a football jersey, which I wore while supervising the other stat takers on the sidelines, teaching them offense, defense, and special teams.

I got hit in the head with players’s shoulder pads on a regular basis and almost got pummeled as the play came my way out of bounds. My head was down recording the opponent’s pass to the left flat, so I had no idea what was coming. Fortunately, one of the players on the sidelines picked me up and moved me out of harms way.

This morning, I am basking in the glory that combines both of my loves ― football and literature ― which is very rare. Last night, the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, 34-31.

For those of you who do not know, the Baltimore Ravens are named for the great Edgar Allan Poe who had made his home in the city.  An NFL team with a literary mascot ― pretty cool, right?

The game had all of the drama football fans yearn for in the biggest game of the year. Two opposing coaches, who happen to be brothers, battled it out for bragging rights. The first half was all Baltimore. The second, mostly the 49ers. A freak power outage dimmed the stadium resulting in a bizarre thirty-four-minute delay. Would the teams be able to get back into the groove after such an obstacle? San Francisco sure did, but when it came right down to it, it was Baltimore’s night.

Tension. Intrigue. High emotions. All of the hallmarks of a great story.

And besides, I get to use the line I have been chomping at the bit to write since the playoffs began.

Quoth the Ravens to the 49ers, "Nevermore."

Congratulations, Baltimore.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Last Day to Purchase UNTIL for 99¢

Happy Friday, everyone!

Just wanted to let you know that this is the last day of my two-week "Beat the Winter Blues" sale. Until My Soul Gets It Right is only 99¢ for Kindle and Nook until midnight tonight. The novel has been getting great reviews and has a  4.5-star average on Amazon, 4-star average at, and a 4.5-star average on Goodreads .

Until My Soul Gets It Right (The Bibliophiles: Book Two)

"Until My Soul Gets It Right is another winner...Five stars"
— BigAl's Books and Pals

"I read it entirely in one day, I just couldn't put it down! Catherine Elbert inspires you to go out and do the things you want to do."
— Goodreads review

"This excellent addition to the series will endear readers to the Bibliophiles indefinitely!"
— Lovey Dovey Books blog

You can't run away from yourself.

Catherine Elbert has never been good at making decisions, whether it was choosing an ice cream flavor as a small child, or figuring out what she wanted to be when she grew up. The only thing Catherine knew for sure was there had to be more to life than being stuck on her family’s farm in Wisconsin.

While watching a PBS travel show, Catherine becomes entranced by Portland, Maine. The ocean. The lobsters. The rugged coast. Nothing could be more different from the flat, nondescript farmlands of Burkesville.

Despite her parents threatening to disown her and her brothers taking bets on how many days until she comes home, Catherine settles on Peaks Island, off the coast of Portland.

She is finally free. Or so she thought.

Ultimately, Until My Soul Gets It Right is a story about growing up, making peace with your past, and finding a little love along the way.

On sale for Kindle at Amazon and for Nook at It is also available in paperback, although not for 99¢, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, Books-A-Million.