Friday, February 22, 2013

It's 82 degrees

and I sent texts to my kids with pictures of the temperature on the car's dash. I am a bad, bad mother. Just wanted to rub in the warmth and sun, yes, SUN that broke through the clouds as we hustled into Florida on our way to Daytona and the 500.  One child had ice to deal with today, and the other was hit by flurries. I want to say I'm sorry we went South, but that ain't true. I am not sorry, not one wee little bit.

We're getting excited for the race. This new car has the drivers excited, and it sure looks as if you can't win by hanging in the back, then making a last lap move.

Tomorrow we hit a fav restaurant, Your Place, for breakfast. Then on to some great thrift store shopping. The SPCA sponsors the best one in Central Fl. Love their book selection.

I'm going to try to restrain myself  from taking pictures of the white sandals I'll be wearing

Monday, February 18, 2013


The weather looks promising, Danica has the pole, and we're tired of cold weather. I know, the South is nowhere near as cold as north of the Mason-Dixon line, but it's been a bear recently for those of us wondering what's happened to the forsythia. So my beloved and I are loading up the headphones, the race scanner, and sunscreen, and heading farther south. Hope to get some good pix, hopefully of my fav, Bad Brad, in victory lane.

It's been a while since we've sat in the stands. Every race we tried to attend last year was cold and miserable, and we didn't see the end of even one of them. Rain was the culprit. I can take cold, I can take wind, but throw in the wet stuff, and I'm gone.

I'm planning on quiet time on the way down to Florida, so I can re-read what I've written and get a handle on the story. Sometimes I'm just too close to it, sitting at my desk. I feel as if I need to keep plowing onward, when I really need to step back and see the story with different "eyes." So this break comes at a good time for me as a writer and as a race fan.

Let the sun shine, the engines roar, and every word I read be a winner. I don't ask for much, do I?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day

My Beloved amd I long ago gave up trying to go out for dinner on VDay, so we came up with a new tradition - having a VDay breakfast. For a while, we'd cook special breakfast goodies at home, but these days, we splurge on a restaurant. Eggs and bacon cooked by someone else just somehow tastes better. This year we headed for Shoney's, where I love the fresh fruit and grits on the breakfast buffet.

After stuffing our faces, we decided to run an errand or two, which somehow mushroomed into an all day trek to the beach. I know it makes no sense, but believe me when I tell you that the GPS on a Toyota is insane. It saved our hides in D.C. last Christmas when we had to meet our daughter unexpectedly, so we'd begun trusting the little devil. Such foolishness.

I guess because the GPS is in a Prius, it feels it can squander gas. For this hour and a half run to the beach to pick up a new gas cook top (exactly the one I wanted and couldn't get at home), the GPS decided we needed the scenic route. As in, a three hour scenic amble through residential (and not) areas miles from our destination.

We knew we were being had. We also knew we were hopelessly lost, so we had no other choice but to follow the commands the GPS snapped. When we finally arrived at our destination, we knew the $/@&-$ had jerked our chains, but good. There, a hundred yards from the store, was the interstate. We could have been there in less than ninety minutes going the direct route.

As my DH said, buying me a chicken wrap at Burger King, he really knows how to show me a good time. Shoney's and BK, all in one day. And the best part about this VDay (mis)adventure? We got to spend it together.

I guess I should thank the stupid GPS.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

TAG Grants and Virginia Independent Colleges

I suppose if you're the money-person for a county, city, state, or school district, you know to the penny how much you're spending per pupil. I remember being amazed when my children spent a few years in public school at the dollars spent per pupil, until it was explained to me that this average included providing services for those with disabilities and special needs, as well.  Then the money made sense.

Getting a child through the higher education hurdle is not for the faint of heart. The money required is astounding.

Today's college graduates are almost universally burdened with a debt they'll never pay down until they're quite a bit older.  I wonder how they'll ever afford a house, a new car, insurance, food, etc., without help. Even the Obamas said they spent years paying off their student loans, and they graduated back when tuition wasn't as high as it is now.

I was asked recently to support a slight increase in the TAG grants Virginia provides its students attending private colleges and universities. You bet I do, and I emailed my legislator to say so. One of my children received a TAG grant, and every little bit helps when tuition is close to $40,000 a year.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Can we learn from the past?

A writer friend has been studying the old Perry Mason books and encouraged me to do the same. I started one, and realized I was reading a master. Maybe not War and Peace ( which I have never finished, I confess, maybe because I was reading it in a French translation), but the hand of a master storyteller is sure and steady. Earl Stanley Gardner is teaching me a lot, and I'm an old hand at this game.

A few quick impressions---

1. Quick character descriptions: sketches that give you a nail on which to hang your assessments.

2. A fast hook to reel you in as a reader. Prospective client, a man we know is wealthy and accustomed to getting his way, to PM: "I want you to find a gold fish." Okaayyyy....I'm intrigued, ecen if Mason isn't at first feelin' it.

3. Short, snappy dialogue. Elmore Leonard-esque.

4. Short chapters, one leading swiftly into the next. Back story is brief and cuts to the chase.

5. The whole book isn't too long. No leisurely, beautiful sentences. No artistic exposition. Just the story, ma'am, just the story. (Where did that come from? Dragnet?)

More later. . . .

Monday, February 04, 2013


The Super Bowl was pretty durned good. Thought the 49ers had a shot, but the Ravens just weren't going to roll over and play dead. That's what makes a champ. There's no quit in their vocabulary.

I have listened to Jimmie Johnson over the years, and now Brad Keselowski, talk about winning a Nascar championship. The talk is about how tough it is, how you need great people around you, etc., etc., but the proof of what makes a winner shows up when something  goes wrong. When a part breaks and they're twenty laps down. Do they hop out of the car and head for the motorhome?  Not Jimmie Johnson, not Brad Keselowski. They keep their tail feathers in that car and get whatever is left, out of it.

Remember Kyle Busch doing leaving his broken car when he drove for Hendricks? Dale Jr. hopped into it to finish the race after repairs had been made, just for fun, he said, since his car was wrecked. And before you could go "hmmmm?" Kyle was out at Hendricks and Dale left his father's team to drive for Rick Hendricks.

 I've  seen Kyle Busch lay down at Gibbs, just get totally furious at something that happens to the car and check out mentally. In interviews, he wonders why, if he's such a great driver, as he's been called by others, he hasn't won a championship.

I know why. It's pretty obvious to anyone who follows the sport. I wonder why no one has ever told him the truth.