Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Road Trip

My dad and I just completed a 1,500 mile road trip, from West Newbury, Massachusetts on the northeastern seaboard, to North Port, Florida. My folks have a beautiful home there, and normally they would drive down together in October, but my mom recently had a hip replacement and was not given the doctor's okay to drive so far. So she flew down on Friday morning while we drove the van. In the back, nestled in amongst the luggage, was their 13-year old golden retriever, Reilly. We traveled west, through the Berkshires, and then south through New York and Pennsylvania, where we hit lots of icy snow and fog in the Scranton area. No fun. But we got through that and by the time we hit Virginia, the roads were clear, although it was frigid cold and everything was covered in snow and ice. But we made it through the bad weather and the rest was more or less clear sailing. We spent the second day driving through North and South Carolina to my cousin's home in Georgia. He and his wife own a sprawling horse farm in the countryside, with two horses, two ponies, five dogs, two cats and a parrot. It was so much visiting with them, and their home was so beautiful that I didn't want to leave! Here is a picture of Jodi with the ponies:

And here I am with my cousin, Mike:

We reached Florida by dinnertime on the third day, and although I'd been looking forward to the warm weather, the temperatures were only in the 20's. Many of the trees and bushes had to be covered that night for protection from the severe frost, and my sister and her husband were protecting their beehives by wrapping them in heating pads and heavy blankets.

I spent the night at my sister's house and then flew back the next morning, so not much of a visit, but I really enjoyed spending the time with my dad. Would I do it again? Ask me in the spring.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Dreaming of Ireland

I've been dreaming about a trip to Ireland for several years now, and this year it may finally become a reality...if the airfares come down just a bit! Right now, the roundtrip fare is running about $900 per person, which is a little steep considering there are five of us. I initially wanted to go at the end of August, but since my niece, Colleen, will back in school by that time (and we really want to bring her with us), we're now looking at going in June.
Just before the holidays, we watched the movie, Falling for a Dancer.

This a wonderful love story which takes place during WWII on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland. If you haven't seen it, I recommend that you go out and rent it. The movie stars Liam Cunningham and a young Colin Farrell, and both do a terrific job. The scenery in the film was so breathtaking, I knew we had to visit there.

So my itinerary has us flying into Shannon and renting a cottage on the peninsula for a week so that we can spend some time exploring the area, like the town of Dingle, below.

For the second week, we'll rent another cottage in County Cork...

...but for now I'll continue to plan our itinerary and watch the airfares.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Let it Snow

It's been snowing more or less steadily since Friday night, but we've only received about six or seven inches of total accumulation. But the winds have been tremendous and I didn't think I'd be able to sleep last night with the windows rattling and the ice on the river creaking and breaking. We drove up to Derry yesterday afternoon and delivered a cooked ham to John's dad, and the road were very slick and icy. I was glad to get home.

John found a tractor/snowblower that he bought from a gentleman in Ipswich yesterday. He spent a couple of hours clearing the driveways, the sidewalks, and then the neighbors' driveways and was happy to get up this morning and do it all again.

Here is a picture of the river from my kitchen window. It's not completely frozen over, since the rain we had last week melted most of the ice, but you can see the slush beginning to form on the surface. If the temperatures remain this low, the surface will begin to freeze once more, especially where it backs up at the bridge.
We went to breakfast yesterday at the Fish Tale diner, and the water was higher than I've ever seen it in Newburyport harbor. We saw two men paddle a canoe under the Rte 1 bridge toward the ocean, with no life preservers, maneuvering their way through the ice floes. There's stupid and then there's stupid. If that canoe overturned, they'd never make it to shore before they'd succumb to the frigid waters.

We're off to a surprise birthday party today for the husband of a friend, at the Ale House in Amesbury, so that should be fun. Maybe later we'll meet up with some friends for coffee or a drink in Newburyport, before we go home and watch the Pats game. A perfect Sunday!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

I can't believe it's already 2010! Where did the last year go? Worse, I can't believe I haven't updated this blog since March...

My New Year's resolution is find a new webmaster for my website (sadly, my former webmaster is pursuing a new career), and to stay current with my blog, if only for family and friends.

My daughter, Caitlin, turned sixteen last week; I love this picture:

And here is a picture of our tree, which sadly comes down today since it is now bone dry:

So what's new for 2010?

I have a book coming out in July, part of a Blaze anthology entitled BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY with two of my favorite authors, Jill Shalvis and Rhonda Nelson. My story is entitled Packing Heat and tells the story of Matt Talbot, a Marine sniper who returns home a hero, but finds his new status seriously messes up his love life!

I have another release in September, tentatively entitled Hot-Blooded, about a special ops soldier who believes women have no place in combat, and is unprepared for the female civilian who is assigned to his remote outpost.

I'll also be working on a third book, for release sometime in 2011.

But for today, I'm happy to sit curled in front of the fireplace with my laptop, working on my next book.

Happy New Year!