Posted in Education

The End, Finally

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I just typed “The End” on another school year. Wow. That one went by fast. It seems like we were just at our welcome back breakfast, and settling into the routine of the new year, with new teachers, new students, and new challenges.

Yesterday we said goodbye to our Fifth graders. This class will have a special place in my heart because I started as a staff member with them in Kindergarten. I’ve watched them grow up as a class and I’m proud to have worked with them from when they were just learning how to write their name, on through their state reports. I helped them sound out -at family words and listened to them read aloud from Old Yeller. One girl was so timid in first grade she wouldn’t read aloud or spell phonetic words until she watched what the others responded with. I had her in my small reading group again in second grade, and finally in third. But the end of third grade, she started reading with confidence and expression and by fifth grade she really shines, academically and as a kind, thoughtful person.

I can share similar stories about many of these kids, how they were quiet (or not), timid five and six year olds when they started, and are now confident, smart, funny, caring, and not so-quiet ten and eleven year olds.

I worked with a lot of third graders this year, too. For many of them, their biggest challenge is to not rush through and guess. I call them my auto-correctors. I tell them they are smarter than an iPhone, they don’t have to guess after the first two letters of a word. They can look at the whole word, break it down, using the tools we’ve been working on all year long. And slow down on the hard words.

I’ve got two more years with those kiddos.

We also said goodbye to our Principal. She was my sons’ teacher before leaving us and then coming back to replace our former beloved principal. Her son was also a teammate of my younger son’s in Little League, so we sat through many practices and games together rooting for that team that would not be named. As Giants fans, we just couldn’t say the team in blue’s name aloud, but we cheered like crazy for each kid on the team.

Now it’s time for summer. To rest. For me, I will work on my next book series, and hopefully get a few projects done around the house. And before I know it, it will be August, and the start of a new year, with a new Principal.

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Posted in Adventure, Romance

24 Years and Counting

It’s my anniversary. My husband and and I are celebrating 24 years of happily ever after. When we were newlyweds I often joked that we would never make it as a Romance novel couple. Not enough conflict.

That is true some of the time. But trust me, we’ve had our share.

But we’ve also had our share of romantic moments. I’ll share the ones my kids won’t be embarrassed by.

Our first date was to the grocery store. No, really. We’d been hanging out, getting to know each other for about a month, but we always had at least one of his fraternity brothers around. And the fraternity’s dog Buttkiss. So the first time we were alone together was when we made a dash to Albertsons to grab some Diet Coke and ramen between our morning and afternoon classes. I left the soda in his room at the house, planning to go back for it later. And maybe a kiss.

Our first trip together was a long weekend of rafting on the Tuolumne River with his older brothers and their wives and friends. All three of the Mathews brothers were raft guides, and my then boyfriend was trying to impress me with his manliness. He was so cool, he didn’t even need a tent. Which was a problem when it rained the entire weekend. But it was still a lot of fun, and I quickly became hooked on the sport. So much so that he bought me a life jacket long before he bought me jewelry.

Actually, I can’t think of a more romantic gift. It showed he wanted to protect me and join him in an important part of his life. He bought me a new life jacket a couple of years ago, and we’ve been spending more time on the river now that our kids no longer have baseball games on the weekends.

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20 years later our love is still afloat

Our oldest son is off on a training trip with ARTA, the company my husband and his brothers worked for. Several of the guides decided to raft a stretch of the American River that isn’t usually runnable, but with all the water this year, it’s got some big rapids. Really big rapids.

My husband wanted to go up and take pictures along the way. My son was annoyed that we were stalking him. No one else’s mom showed up. And I’m not sure he’s told everyone his dad was a legend in the 90s. So they went down the first run, I shot a short video, and they looked good. Then they hit a gnarly hole. My son is the one in blue.

We ended up taking the kayaks in our truck and making sure everyone made it the rest of the way down.

We’ve had our share of adventure together. Adventure, sports, and romance.

Here’s to many, many more.

Posted in Adventure, Teenagers

Every Day Is Mother’s Day

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Forget Breakfast in bed, flowers, or a card that costs more than all of my eBooks combined. I’ve never been one for traditional gifts. And the men (my kids are teenagers and bigger than me) in my life know that. Forget jewelry, sweet raspberry topped breakfast foods, flowers that will die and I’ll have to clean out the smelly water in a few weeks when I finally discover “what is that smell?”

Sleeping in, having the coffee ready when I finally decide to get out of bed, and letting me watch old movies while I sip such coffee and write are more my style. I wouldn’t mind if my boys plant the bulbs we bought for my youngest’s debate team fundraiser. I enjoy flowers in their natural habitat. My front yard is a nice little oasis, and when it warms up just a bit will be my summer office.

Motherhood is a job but it’s also an adventure. And the rewards can’t be put in a card. I’ve had many moments in my 19 years of motherhood that are more rewarding than jewelry, flowers, or even a good night’s sleep.

Here are a few photos to illustrate why every day is Mother’s Day.

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Posted in Adventure, Teenagers, Uncategorized, Writing

Spring Break Is Here

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I think this picture sums up this Spring in Northern California perfectly. After years of only getting winter from 6-10 am, this year’s winter is lingering. Yet, signs of spring are everywhere (especially my truck, it’s covered with pollen and tiny flowers that blew off my maple tree).

As an educator, I’m ready for a well-deserved and much-needed break. But I’m also a writer, so I’m hoping to make this a productive vacation. I have some research to conduct for a new series, and then I really need to make some progress in drafting the first book in the series.

You’d think that by my eighth book, drafting would become easier, or at least more efficient. Not so much. I’m trying to outline more, and in some ways it is easier. I know what needs to happen, but there’s still a lot of writing that needs to be done between plot points.

I took two days to go skiing with my family. I’m the last one to get into the sport, despite having gone to high school in Tahoe. The rest of them started young. I still remember taking my oldest up to Mt. Shasta when he was about three. At the time they still had a rope tow and he couldn’t get the hang of it, causing a major meltdown. Not good for the snow conditions. So my father-in-law took him back to our cabin and had him ski down the driveway. After a few runs, he was a skier. It’s taken me thirty years to get the hang of it. But if I’m going to spend time with my teenagers, I need to do what they enjoy. And trust me, I’m much better at skiing than video games.

This was from a few weeks ago. My kids don’t actually ski with me. But they’re more than happy to join us for lunch. If we’re buying.

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This is the view from the top. You can see Lake Tahoe, always a beautiful sight, especially when the lake is full.

We’re expecting another storm later in the week. Which will make the last two weekends pretty spectacular.

Then we’ll look forward to spending the summer on the river. We’ll catch a few baseball games. Hopefully we’ll spend some time at our family cabin near Mt. Shasta. And the cool part, is that all of this can be considered research for my books.

 

 

Posted in Baseball

Longing For Little League Madness

You basketball fans think you have a lock on Madness in March? Try being a Little League parent. With two kids and two teams with practice or games on two different fields, life got pretty crazy. Throw in typical Spring weather, and the question of game or no game tonight? For eleven seasons, we spent from late February to mid-June schlepping our boys to baseball. Some weeks we had a practice or game every single day.

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Until it stopped.

The kids grew up. Went on to high school and other sports.

No more mad dash to get the uniform clean. “Where’s my other sock? My hat? My cup?” No more scrambling to get from one game to the other on the other side of the county.

No more snack bar sign ups. Or dinner at the ballpark.

No more sunflower seeds in the laundry.

No more heart in throat when my son pitched. Or soaring above the ballpark when he got that hit. Scored that run. Won the game.

No more warm summer nights at Rotary Park, under the lights. No more freezing cold nights at that same park hoping the weather holds off one more inning.

No more picture day. No more double headers. Or post-game snacks.

I walked into Big 5, the sporting goods store where I bought numerous cleats, gloves, socks and belts. The baseball equipment was displayed up front and my heart did a funny little lurch as I walked right past it to look at shoes for myself.

Yeah. I miss it. Even the craziness of living in the car with the bat bags rolling around in the back. The cups under the seats, and no, not the ones that hold soda or sunflower seed shells. Those cups. The ones they would take out the minute they got into the car.

We spent some of the best springs and early summers as a family at the ballpark. Hopefully my boys will carry on the tradition when they have kids of their own. And you can bet their grandma will be at as many games as she can.

Posted in Baseball, Writing

Baseball Is Back!

I’m listening to baseball on the radio. It doesn’t matter that it’s only a Spring Training game. It doesn’t matter that by the end of the game, I won’t recognize many player names. It doesn’t even matter who wins or loses. Sure, I hope my team wins, so I can feel really good about their chances this year. But if not, it’s only Spring Training. It’s only the second game. There’s still a lot of baseball left.

There’s a lot of baseball left in the season. As in all of it. Excitement, struggle, romance. And there may even be a few tears along the way. No offense to Tom Hanks, but there is crying in baseball. And chills. And thrills. And disappointment. And hope. Always hope.

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Kind of like in a Romance novel. Each book starts out with the hope of a happily ever after. And for the author, hope for a bestseller. Oh, there will be struggles along the way. Can’t make it too easy for the characters, and it’s never easy for the author, despite what you see in the movies. There is no such thing as an overnight success. Just hard work, perseverance,  practice, coaching, mentoring, and a little bit of luck.

But like baseball, writing is something I can’t imagine living without.

Posted in Baseball, Books, Romance

Free Baseball (Books)

Great News!

Pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training. Teams are gearing up for a new season. Baseball is coming. And BETTER THAN PERFECT, the first book in the More Than A Game series is now being offered for FREE! It’s like extra innings for your eReader.

Get ready to fall in love with Johnny Scottsdale and his Goliaths teammates. They’re willing to give it their all on the diamond and in love.

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Johnny “The Monk” Scottsdale has won it all on the baseball diamond. He’s even pitched a perfect game. Known for his legendary control both on and off the field, his pristine public image makes him the ideal person to work with young players in a preseason minicamp. Except the camp is run by the one woman he can’t forget…the woman who made him a “monk.”

Alice Harrison once traded her dreams so that Johnny Scottsdale could make it to the Majors—and then everything fell apart. Now here comes Johnny back into her life, just when she’s ready to finally step up to bat. This time she’s not letting up, even if she has to reveal what she’s kept secret for too long from her son and Johnny. She can’t be sure how things will turn out, but she’s not leaving until she swings for the fences…

Available at the following retailers:

Amazon

Apple

Google

Kobo

Nook