The other night Gerhardt and I watched a new TV reality series called "Brooklyn D.A." One of the cases involved a woman who, at 51, had gone in for liposuction and wound up dying from the procedure. (If you want all the gory details I'm sure you can find the episode on line.) We the viewers were showed pictures of this woman and she was lovely. It made me sad to think that she lost her life over a bit of dimply fat. I have no idea how often this happens, but if it even happens to one woman that's one too many in my opinion.
And it made me really sad to think that so many of us American women as we age feel the need to go to extremes to fix and repair our looks. Of course, we all want to look attractive. I get that. And I have to admit, I'm not happy about the dirty tricks Mother Nature keeps playing on me as I get older. (I thought we women were supposed to stick together!) But, no matter how hard we fight it, eventually, we will age. None of us at fifty looks exactly like she did at twenty. But do we need to? And to what lengths are we willing to go to try? And why? Why are we so horrified to look in the mirror and see an older face?
I blame it on our sex saturated, age-biased culture. I think, for the most part, America is not a country that venerates its older people. We often make jokes at our senior citizens' expense or we ignore them. Old people. What do they have to offer? Other than a wealth of experience and wisdom and a listening ear? Gosh, I guess not much.
Would I like to be young again? Well, yeah... if I could know as much as I know now. Do hate wrinkles? You bet. But I can think of so many more worthwhile ways to spend my money than a face lift. So I'm just going to keep trying to age gracefully... and healthfully. And be thankful for each new day and each new life line that proves I'm living my life well.
Memorial Day at the ocean kicked off garage sale season and, in spite of the rain, we were there to help with the kicking. As many of you know, I'm a big fan of garage sales. I have this theory that, if you wait long enough, you can get anything you want or need at a garage sale. Over the years I've seen everything imaginable for sale from cars to laundry soap. And boy, have I found the bargains: brand new Victoria's secret powder, new clothes with the tags still on, Gucci sandals and purse, a sofa, a gorgeous solid wood cabinet for our TV.
From the coffee table to the beds in the guest room to the kitchen appliances, our beach place is almost all tricked out with garage sale finds. When we were putting our son through college one of the ways I earned tuition money was by picking up cool items at garage sales and selling them on eBay. Boy, did I love doing that. I have to admit there were a few items I wish I'd kept, like the adorable Harry and David cookie jar shaped like an ice cream truck. You opened it up and inside was a little Popsicle laying on the floor. It was so cute. What was I thinking? Oh yeah, I was thinking I had to pay that tuition bill. I still think wistfully about that little cookie jar, but I'm sure it went to a good home.
If you're on a budget shopping this underground economy is the way to go. At garage sales you'll find play clothes for your kids and maybe even some work clothes for yourself. You'll find games galore and that espresso machine you've been wanting. You'll find pots and pans and small appliances, mugs and dishes and enough candles to get you through a whole winter of power outages. And you'll find fun decorations. The summer centerpiece you're seeing is made up of garage sale goodies I've picked up. Later this summer that little pitcher will be full of little flowers.
I have now reached the point where there is nothing I need. But that won't stop me from checking out garage sales this summer because there might be something I want. (Heehee.) What about you? Will you be out
And the winner of the gift basket it... Irene!
I had a great time today at the Barnes & Noble in Lakewood, WA. This was my final event celebrating the release of "What She Wants" and it was a great way to bring this season of Sheila sightings to a close. A big thanks to some of the ladies from the Round Table Readers Group who showed up to make sure I wouldn't get bored. These women support their authors, let me tell you. And tha one of the reasons I love being a writer. I get to visit bookstores and meet wonderful ladies like these!
What a sweet group!
With the Royal Ladies in front of this year's float
I had a fabulous Mother's Day weekend up in Leavenworth, Wa, the inspiration for my fictional town of Icicle Falls, this weekend. In addition to getting to hang with my daughter and her family I got to meet readers, make new friends and hang out with local celebrities like Heidi Forchemer, this year's 50th Royal Lady of the Autumn Leaf Festival and my friend Pat Rutledge, a former Royal Lady and owner of A Book for All Seasons. (Pat was the inspiration for one of the characters in the series.) Goofing off with my daughter at A Book for All Seasons
Every day should be a celebration and every celebration should be unique. Between the parade fun and our girl time on Saturday afternoon making high heel cupcakes with the granddaughters I'd say we accomplished that. What do you do to make your celebrations special?
Traditional alpenhorn serenade at the Enzian Inn.
Sheila & Kathryn Falk.
Last week was my first visit to Kansas City and my first time at the wildly popular Romantic Times conference sponsored by Romantic Times Magazine, affectionately known as RT. I had a fabulous time and met a ton of wonderful romance readers and writers. I also met some of the movers and shakers in the industry like the legendary Kathryn Falk, who is the founder and CEO of the popular magazine (loved her!), and her managing editor Liz French, who was so very nice.
Let me tell you, romance writers are not only creative and friendly, they're also very smart businesswomen and I came away inspired and energized. Well, mentally energized. Today, I'm pooped! It was a busy time, with workshops, parties and the big blow-out author signing party on Saturday. And I almost did it all. Missed a couple of parties and didn't get my picture taken with any of the gorgeous male cover models who were strutting around. Maybe next year ... because I'm for sure going next year! I have a few pics here on the blog page and you'll find more over in the photo section. I love what I do for a living!
With Liz French, managing editor or Romantic Times Magazine
Margaret Marbury and Paula Eykelhof, two Harlequin legends. I'm so blessed to be able to work with them!
Everybody out of the pool! Oh, never mind. You're having too much fun.
I love being a grandma. Of course, when Nanahood first found me I wasn't ready. I was way to young to be a grandmother! But now I'm glad I became a grandmother at a young age because I have (well, almost) enough energy to keep up with my granddaughters. Every year we take some special grandmother-granddaughter time together and call it Nana Camp. (An idea I shamelessly stole from my friend Debbie Macomber.) This week during spring break we were off to the ocean. The weather wasn't the best, but here in the Pacific Northwest we never let a little thing like the weather bother us. (As you can see by the smiling faces at the community pool.) In addition to swimming and cookie baking and playing games, we also had a short morning Bible study. That was how the days began and they always ended with a movie. I can now say that I have seen "Hotel Transylvania". Ah, life is good. And even more fun when Gerhardt can join the party, which he did on our last day. Then it was time for more company. And more rain. But hey, all that moisture is good for your skin, right? Right!
A studious moment!
A little rain never hurt anyone! But the wind is hard on umbrellas! Our friends Casey and Vera, right before the wind turned the umbrella inside out.
This year's cake was ringed with peeps.
I love Easter! I love the message of salvation, resurrection, and hope. For years I was in charge of the music at church and then getting the family Easter dinner pulled together. But we moved and now are at a new church where all I have to do is show up. And the same goes for dinner. My longsuffering son-in-law has taken over that particular holiday dinner. Now all I have to do is bring the cake to decorate and the candy to hide. And not only do I get out of having to make the meal, I get to take home the ham bone for split pea soup. How cool is that?!
One of the highlights of the afternoon for my daughter and me is hiding those eggs. We not only hide them for the kids. We hide them for the big boys, too. (The guys have their goodies tucked inside "dinosaur eggs" - bigger, natuHere are Gerhardt and my son-in-law proudly displaying their girlie baskets full of goodies. My daughter and I love watching two grown men running around the yard looking for plastic eggs full of candy. But we also like to hunt for goodies, so we've decided that next year the boys are going to have to hide some goodies for us.
How about you? Do you have a fun Easter tradition?
I'm usually pretty good with words, but it's hard for me to describe how I feel when one of my brain babies hits the shelves. Thrilled? Yes. Proud. Absolutely. Nervous? For sure. (Will readers love my brainchild as much as I do? Will reviewers trash it?) Excited. I can hardly wait to talk about this book and the idea behind it with readers! So, today I didn't win the lottery, I didn't achieve world peace, I didn't even get invited to be on "Dancing with the Stars" but I'm still one happy camper because I'm celebrating a birthday of a new book that I love. So happy birthday WHAT SHE WANTS, which is officially for sale today. I think I need to make a cake! Hmmm. What kind should I make?
Hiking in "Icicle Falls" (Leavenworth, WA) with the girls.
I just had the Game Girls over this last week and it got me to thinking about how rich I am. Game Girls? You may be wondering what I'm talking about. Let me explain. This group has been together for eight years. Originally there were eight of us. We'd meet once a month, have lunch and then spend the afternoon playing games. After our first couple of years together we started taking a yearly weekend girls' trip in April, which we dubbed "Enchanted April". Now, sadly we're down to five. Two have moved away to other states and our dear friend, Rosemary, made a more permanent move to heaven, just this last month. We miss them all! These friends have been there for each other through all of life's ups and downs, and I love them dearly. When my friend Jill Barnett or I have a book signing they show up to support us, wearing their fancy boas.
I also have my church friends who pray with me when I'm going through hard times, my lifelong friends from grade school with whom I have so many memories, my dancing buddies, my foodie group, my old college gang, and my pals in the neighborhood. Then, of course, there are my writing buddies. We've seen each other through more career ups and downs than I can count! So many amazing women who make my life special!
Chocolate festival at Moclips, WA.
I think, sometimes, guys don't get the importance of girlfriends. They don't tell each other everything the way we do. They don't get why we all must go to the ladies room together. They don't understand why we meddle in each others business. But we get it. And we need it! So, here's to the girls. If you've got girlfriends, you are truly rich!
What about you? What special things do you do with your girlfriends?
With my neighbor and good buddy Liz at our Something for Nothing club's jewelry swap
The college gang. We all met through our crazy college job as singing waitresses.
3 of the Game Girls all dressed up for Halloween. Best-selling author Jill Barnett is on the left. Pretty bewitching trio, aren't they?
Bliss, showing us how to make chocolate truffles.
Pit stop and puppy-petting break.
Oh, did I have fun this weekend at the Washington coast! The town of Moclips sponsors a yearly chocolate festival, and this year I hauled down some girlfriends to help me get a good dose of "Vitamin C" (And if you need that explained to you you're not a true chocoholic!)
We enjoyed sampling the wares of several chocolatiers and saw demonstrations on how make truffles, chocolate soup and chocolate churros. Yum! Here we are on the road.
My friend Jan wore her "chocolate" shirt in honor of the occasion.
Can you tell we're having fun?! Notice the sign in back of us. Non wonder we're all smiling.