Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Best Part of "Sleepover" ...

... is "over."

To be fair, the boys were actually very good. And we shortened the living room invasion by taking them to a ball game first. Even better, the home team won. 9-1. Woo-hoo, High Desert Mavericks!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Preparing for Home Invasion

You read it right. I'm preparing for a home invasion.

In a few hours, my house will be overrun by four extra teen boys. My son turns 14 on Monday, so it's time for his third annual birthday sleepover.

Hold me.

When my husband and I started this now-ingrained tradition, it sounded like a welcome relief after all the years of Chuck E. Cheese parties. (May I add that it was HIS idea?) But every year, the boys get a little bigger, and we become more aware of what to expect.

A living room laden with sleeping bags, soda and popcorn. Sounds of explosions from Naruto Ultimate Ninja, Transformers and James Bond. While my husband and I hide in the bedroom, and my nine-year-old daughter huddles with us, looking at me piteously for her share of the attention. The grinding of our teeth when the video game marathon stretches past midnight. The agonizing over where to draw the line on this semi-supervised anarchy.

Could be worse, you parents of older teens are probably saying. At least we know where they are.

Oh, YEAH, we know where they are.

And right now they're still polite to us. I should be counting my blessings. But I've figured it out. They know that putting up with dorky adults is a necessity. At least until they're 16, and big enough to get their hands on the car keys.

Will there be a 15-year-old sleepover? I'm not sure yet. But when I think of what happens when he hits sixteen....

Hold me.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sibling Rivalry

This photo sort of sums up the relationship between my two dogs.

I'm trying to take a picture of our old girl, Taz, wearing my Colorado Rockies t-shirt. Then, new boy Bela butts his head in.

For the record, I don't usually dress up my dogs in people clothes. Or even dog clothes. But we gave Taz her spring haircut last week ... and then it turned cold again. She shivered around the house, giving us pleading looks. So I donated my treasured, but weathered, Rockies shirt. I think it looks good on her, don't you?

It does appear to have given her self-confidence a boost. Bela still butts in when she's getting attention -- he answers to her name far more quickly than to his -- but she's standing her ground more these days.

Just like any good ball player. Even at fourteen and a half, she keeps on sluggin'.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Uh-oh ... I'm not THAT Sierra Donovan!

I was Googling myself yesterday and nearly fell out of my chair when I read this:

"In Southern California, Sierra Donovan is stunned by the photos she just received of her naked except for chocolate syrup...."


The fact that I live in Southern California added an extra, bone-chilling element. Did some cyber-stalker sneak a webcam into my house, spot my emergency stash of Hershey's kisses, and get the wrong idea?

Peering nervously over my shoulder, I read on. Turns out the piece is a review of an upcoming Harlequin Blaze novel by Tawny Weber. And the fictional Sierra Donovan isn't any more of a chocolate eclair than I am. Those nasty photos in the story were doctored up by some bad guys who are out to blackmail the heroine.

But how'd the heroine get my name? If she had red hair and an addiction to Spider Solitaire, I might start hunting under my bed for that webcam.

So I contacted author Tawny Weber to ask how she ended up turning me into a dessert. (We've bumped into each other on author websites a few times, but let's just say her name is more recognizable than mine.) She explained that when she was looking for a last name for her character Sierra -- named after her dog!! -- "Donovan" sounded right. She just didn't realize it was the ring of familiarity.

Hey, I've always been pretty partial to the name myself. And I know what catch-alls our writers' brains can be.

Since the book is coming out in black and white next month, I can look on the bright side. It's always nice to see my name in print. And I can certainly think of worse fates than being rolled in chocolate. It couldn've been Crisco. Or peanut butter. Or killer bees. (Although, come to think of it, where there's chocolate, the bees might not be far behind....)

If you're curious about Tawny's book, you'll find an excerpt here. You'll find that her Sierra Donovan is a smart businesswoman (dark brunette, by the way). As a Blaze character, she may be a bit more adventuresome than my heroines ... but a truffle she's not.

So here's to Tawny, who put me in print without my having to lift a finger. Can't ask for better publicity than that!

Although, fair warning, girlfriend: My sister once had a golden retriever named Tawny....

Saturday, April 04, 2009

GUILTY PLEASURE: Beyonce's "Single Ladies"

"If you like it, then you shoulda put a ring on it...."

I admit it: I can't resist this song. I love that big hook line. But the lingering feminist part of me can't help feeling guilty.

On the surface, it's a gal celebrating her freedom, because she got away from some guy who wouldn't commit. In your face, commitment-phobe!

Why I feel guilty:

1) A single lady shouldn't think of herself as an "it" -- a piece of property to be branded if a guy wants to keep a hold of "it."

2) Single ladies are now putting their hands in the air at some club to advertise that they're up for grabs. (We're not really supposed to believe they're just there to dance with each other, are we?) Seems like they're in an awful big hurry to find some other guy....

3) Single ladies should know this is EXACTLY how they're most likely to meet up with ANOTHER guy who's not gonna put a ring on it.

But man, it's catchy.

Bet you a quarter: In less than a year, there'll be a romance on the shelves with a title based on that hook!

Thursday, April 02, 2009


I haven't been around for a little while, partly due to illness. No, I haven't been sick. Just half of my four-person family. My husband had strep throat, my daughter had an unidentified virus, and we were watching my son like a hawk.

Me? Nothin'.

It occurred to me that I can't remember the last time I've been incapacitatingly sick. Not that I'm Wonder Woman. In fact, I'm quick to whine about the lousiest little symptom: "Honey, I've got a sore throat. I think I'm coming down with something." My husband has learned to take these complaints with a grain of salt, because the illness never seems to materialize.

Hypochondria? Or is it possible I've defeated a hundred different maladies before they really hit?

Last week, I would have been a prime candidate to become a germ farm, with all the time I spent in close quarters with my husband and daughter. Sure enough, this Monday -- after both of them were out of the woods -- I piped up with, "Honey, my throat feels funny...."

You guessed it. Nothin'.

I've concluded that moms acquire a natural immunity, because someone's got to take the temperatures, dispense the Tylenol and keep those fluids coming. Maybe I should be worried. What if all those bugs come back at once, after the kids are grown up and out of the house?

I think I'll polish up a little silver bell to ring my husband for room service, just in case.