Today is the anniversary of my dad’s passing into the great unknown. It’s been three years since he left us, so in honor of his memory, I’m reposting one of the first blog posts I wrote.
This photo was taken during our last family vacation in January 2009.
I inherited my nose from my dad. I also inherited his calves, his easy going personality and his love of reading. He died in 2009 but my all time favourite picture of him shows him sitting on the beach in a lawn chair, a book in his hands with the sun shining down on his head.
The first book I remember holding was a beautiful hardcover copy of Cinderella, filled with strange words I couldn’t read and beautiful pictures I adored. Once I learned to read, I worked my way through Dick and Jane, on to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, and in between, the back of every cereal box my mom ever bought.
When I ran out of reading material, I would sneak into my dad’s book stash, which he wisely kept in the garage, and read his Harlequin romances. He also had some racier novels there, stories with – gasp! – sex, and if my mom knew I was reading those books – heck, if she knew my dad was reading those books – she would have banned them from our reading material.
My youngest son restored an old cat that he thought his grandpa might have used back in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s. When the restoration was complete, he took his grandpa out to “unveil” it. My dad was so excited to see this piece of machinery, he scrambled up on it in about 2.3 seconds, quite a feat for an old guy with a bad hip and leg.
These days I’m allowed to read whatever I want and I want to read a lot. In fact, I want to read more than I have time for. Favourite authors include Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Barbara Samuel (O’Neal), Ann Voss Peterson, Linda Style, Susan Vaughan, Virginia Kelly, Joshilyn Jackson, and Lisa Lutz, just to name a few. And with the arrival of the e-reader, not only is my to-be-read pile contained within one small device instead of all over the office floor, but I’ve discovered indie authors like our own Women Unplugged bloggers Dianne Venetta, Christy Hayes, Patricia Yager and Sharla Lovelace. If you haven’t read their books yet, run to your nearest e-reader and download them now. I’ll wait ….
Shortly before my dad died, he gave me the book Volcano by Richard Doyle. When he told me I had to read this book, there was a tone in his voice that I recognized so well. It was awe and wonder for a can’t-put-it-down story, emotions I too experience whenever I fall in love with a story or an author’s voice. Although I have yet to read the book – I’ve become more of a love-to-laugh-out-loud reader – Volcano will forever remain on my keeper shelf because it was the last time my dad shared his love of reading with me.
This is how I will always remember my dad, with a book in his hands and another waiting to be read. This is, hopefully, how my children will remember me, too.
So who did you inherit your reading gene from? Who are some of your favourite authors and books?
You may have noticed the revamped logo at the top of my website … or not. This week, we’re celebrating our 37th wedding anniversary. It makes me sound old, doesn’t it? But we were young when we got married, practically babies, and because of that, we had to grow up together. I’ve learned a lot from my husband:
1) How to wash clothes: The washing machine was THE ONE THING my mother didn’t let me touch. So when I moved out of the house, I didn’t have a clue how to wash clothes. Fortunately, my husband – at the time he was my boyfriend – knew a thing or two. He taught me how to wash clothes, mixing colors all together so I can run through as few loads as possible. It was years later that I discovered this wasn’t how women washed clothes but it was too late. I was hooked on the fast, easy method. Yes, sometimes all of the white socks in the house are pink but at least they’re clean.
2) How to cook a roast: Although I could bake anything, my pre-marriage cooking skills were limited. My specialty was chili, fire hot chili. My brother used to say we could eat my leftover chili without bothering to heat it up. Needless to say, the first time I wanted to cook a roast, my husband had to show me how. For years I struggled. My roasts were so tough, they were like chewing leather. I resorted to cooking them twice and our kids actually grew up believing everyone cooked their roasts twice. Eventually, I left the roasts for my husband to cook and every time, he would patiently instruct me on his method. Frozen roast in the pan, a little water in the bottom, 300 degrees for 3 hours. How hard could it be, right? I finally caught on that it’s all in the direction you cut the roast. My roasts still aren’t as tender as his and I still have to confirm with someone that I’m cutting it the right direction, but at least I no longer have to cook them twice.
3) How to build almost anything: Okay, so I’d never actually build anything on my own because it would be terribly crooked but my knowledge now covers a wide area. After building two houses on our own, after years of always living in a house that’s under construction, I’ve learned enough to get me by. In a pinch, I can even change the bathroom taps, although they might leak a little … I’m just saying.
4) How to commit to one person: When we got engaged, his father told us that there were a thousand and one people out there who were right for us, but it was our responsibility to make sure we found THE RIGHT ONE. Years later, I finally understood what he meant. Our dreams, desires, and values mesh. My husband may have a trait that I can’t tolerate in another person but in him, it makes up the whole of who he is and I love all of his good qualities and bad.
Happy anniversary, babe! May the next 37 years be as wonderful as the first 37!
I love to laugh … which is a really good thing because we all know that laughter keeps us young and healthy. But sometimes what doesn’t seem funny at first turns out to be one of our most memorable moments.
So here are some more family meddler stories from the Beach Book Blast authors. Of course, some of these are more about crazy family members, but that’s okay. They made me laugh and I hope they make you laugh too.
Stacey Joy Netzel: Not much meddling going on in my family—honest! However, we do have fun. Laughing with each other and even picking on each other. God forbid I say the wrong thing or trip over my words when we’re all together at the lake cabin. I get razzed about it all weekend—especially by my brothers-in-law. But it’s all done with love and I wouldn’t trade a moment.
L.C. Giroux: In my family there is not a single boring member, every single last one is a serious character (I’m not excluding myself in there) but the most insane would have to be my father. Two words -Two-headed Cow. Seriously, he wanted to buy some farmer’s two-headed calf to display at State fairs. It didn’t happen so no cows were injured but really when a story like that is just one of many how can you compete?
Janice Lane Palko: My family is pretty good about staying within their bounds, but my late great grandmother was notorious for checking the hamper to make sure you were keeping up with the laundry. She’d go into the bathroom and you’d always hear the hamper lid slam while she was in there supposedly going to the bathroom. She was a real stickler for doing housework.
Sheila Seabrook: My family is full of meddlers and number one on the hit list is my Mom and Dad. One winter, we went to visit my in-laws for the weekend and left our house key with my parents so they could check on the place. When we returned home Sunday night, I went to grab something from the freezer for supper and discovered it had been unplugged, left open and was totally empty. My mother, in one of her meddling moods, decided our half full freezer was wasting good money. So she made my dad empty our freezer and drag all of the contents over to their house where they somehow stuffed it into their very full freezer. Needless to say, we spent the evening moving frozen food from my parents’ freezer back into ours. We never gave them our house key again!
Remember to pop by the Beach Book Blast website where you can enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a Kindle Fire and more great prizes. Plus, visit the individual author sites for a chance to win more great prizes. All contests close at the end of Saturday, August 18th.
And here on my own blog, I’m giving away two ebooks to one lucky winner randomly chosen from those who comment on my posts from the BBB launch date the end of the BBB event. Thats August 15th to August 18th. You could win two ebooks: Wedding Fever and Soups For All Seasons!
But wait! Just like yesterday, there’s more fun stuff!
The Beach Book Blast is on right now and runs till August 18th. Be sure to check out the site for a full list of the prizes which include a grand prize of a Kindle Fire!
As well, join the BBB authors tonight (August 16th at 8 to 11 EST) at the Facebook Party. We’re sharing excerpts and more from our newly released books and giving away some great prizes. Lots and lots of prizes! Ebooks galore! 🙂
Before you head off to visit either site, let me introduce a few of my fellow BBB authors.
Since my family is filled with funny eccentric people who love to meddle in my life, I asked my fellow Beach Book Blast authors to share their humerous tales of their own family-meddling situations.
Tamara Ward: My mom is big into snooping in drawers and notebooks when she visits my house. She has no qualms writing in my journals or on my calendar, either. So I’ll open my calendar to a new month or turn a page in my journal and see that “ma luvs u.” While the calendar writing is fine, I do try to hide financial statements and personal papers well before she comes!
Natalie G Owens: Most of the funnier stories of humor I remember concern my paternal grandfather. I wish I knew him better because he was such a hoot. He’d tease family all the time…he was what you’d call a loving, fun disciplinarian. A bit contradictory, but that was him! One story I remember well is when he went out without his dentures to rile my grandmother up. When she got pissed off, he grabbed her and kissed her soundly. My father’s cousins were also a bit prudish. So, if he caught one alone he’d go and whisper a “bad” word in her ear. It wouldn’t be so bad by today’s standards but then things were different (It may have been something like “pee” or “fart”). One cousin in particular would start screaming and go to her mother to tell on my granddad. She still remembers it and laughs about it. 🙂
Alicia Street: Whenever I brought home boyfriends my father would offer them a beer at the picnic table in the back yard, then interrogate them on their knowledge of carburetors. And as a special bonus, he’d toss in a little arm wrestling.
Roy Street: It was a somewhat different scenario in my household. Whenever I brought girlfriends home, my dad would sit them down in the den, bring out his violin and play excerpts from Scheherazade. My brother and I dubbed these impromptu recitals as his Manhattan serenade in honor of his favorite cocktail, of which he usually had at least three prior to showtime.
Stay tuned for more funny-family-meddler-tales when I return with Part 2 tomorrow.
Remember to pop by the Beach Book Blast website where you can enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a Kindle Fire and more great prizes. Plus, visit the individual author sites for a chance to win more great prizes.
Here on my own blog, I’m giving away two ebooks to one lucky winner randomly chosen from those who comment on my posts from the BBB launch date the end of the BBB event. That’s August 15th to August 18th. You could win two ebooks: Wedding Fever and Soups For All Seasons!
And remember to join the BBB authors tonight (August 16th at 8pm to 11pm EST ) at the Facebook Party. We’re sharing excerpts and more from our newly released books and giving away some great prizes.
While Christy faces The End of Summer, up on the Canadian prairies, we’re smack in the middle of our summer season. And it’s been a hot, humid summer with temperatures close to 90 degrees F (30 C).
I know. Some of you are laughing at me right now. But to this Canadian, the 90 degree temperature is as bad as minus 40 in the middle of a winter blizzard.
This year on Seabrook’s pond, there’s no time to dilly-dally and hide from the heat. We decided to spruce up our duck pond by adding a fountain.
Except we discovered the trees we’d planted 19 years ago blocked our view, so we needed to move them. The man with his head in the tree mover is my husband. His self-assigned job was to ensure no branches were lost in the process.
Then we figured we needed a viewing area, somewhere closer to the pond than our back deck, a place we could sit and watch the ducks and their ducklings without frightening them into their hiding spot in the trees. We filled in the tree holes, built a wooden border, and started digging.
The plan had grown from installing the fountain and moving two trees to visions of flowerbeds, benches, and a tiny gardening shed surrounded by cedars and shrubs.
Sometimes in the middle of summer, when the temperature and humidity are soaring, and I’m standing on the top of a ladder sweating my butt off, I really miss winter.
So what do you dislike most about your favorite season that makes you long for the days of your least-liked season?