Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Poem

I am swamped so this is going to be quick - just the poem I wrote for Jill. Enjoy...

This is a special day
not only for you
but for me, too.
It is the day God made you for me,
the day you were born
to fulfill my dearest dreams,
the day God made for me
to celebrate you.

Your life is my dearest treasure,
your happiness, my only goal,
your love, my sweet reward.
I love you, I do,
and on your birthday,
I wish you the same joy
you have brought to me,
and I thank God
for leading me to you.

Happy birthday my love.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Lite Beans, please

Crazy Train (of thought)

On the one hand children complain you don’t spend enough time with them, and on the other they are rushing you to get home because the new TV season begins in 20 minutes. This is why all good parents eventually turn to alcohol. It’s better to be confused and numb than just confused.

A guy at a utilities company stopped me and asked if he could review my account to see if I’m getting “the best deal” they had to offer. “So in other words,” I responded, “you want to make sure I am paying as little as possible for your services, is that right?” “Not exactly,” he said. Just what I thought.

It’s kind of flattering when your fans call and complain if you don’t post everyday (hey Deb!). So in case I don’t post in the next few days, it’s because I have a failing monitor driver and need to take my PC to the computer hospital.

I had to go to the store to buy more shampoo. As I stood there I realized why it is call SHAMpoo. Shampoo for bouncy hair, colored hair, thinning hair, weak hair, curly hair, sensitive hair, blonde hair (that label had pictures on it whereas the others simply gave directions for use), static hair, there was herbal and citrus shampoo, organic shampoo, anti-allergy shampoo, etc. I wonder, rather than make me stand there dazed while weighing the ramifications of more or less body, why don’t they just give the stuff simple names, like Hispoo and Herpoo? On second thought, never mind.

Marital Bliss

Today is my Jill’s 40th birthday. I can’t leak the details yet, but I’ve been planning something for her for weeks. I’ll give the scoop tomorrow. I can say, because she has already begun to find them, I gave her 40 birthday cards. They are scattered here and there for her to find all throughout the day, each signed in red, her favorite color, with a message of love. Happy Birthday my Beloved!

Kid-bytes

Linley came to me and asked, “Can we go to Target?”
“What do you need to buy?” I asked.
“Nothing, I just want to look around.”
“In other words, you want to find something to spend money on.”
“Must you insist on putting it that way?”
“I thought you already spent all of your allowance.”
“Can I have an advance?”
“Your mother and I don’t believe in advances. It defeats the purpose of learning how to live on a budget.”
“Can I apply for a grant?”
Kids; where do they get this stuff?

And then Meagan and I were going out for a daughter-dad dinner…

“Where do you want to go?” I asked.
“You decide.”
“Sushi?”
“Nothing weird, please.”
“Pho?”
“Something light.”
“Like what?”
“Dad, you decide.”
“Sandwiches?”
“Something very light.”
“Salad?”
“How about barbeque and baked beans?” she asked.
“I just hope you pick a place where they serve beer,” I conceded. See what I mean?

Book Report

While at lunch with a friend I was told about a day when she attended a motivational speech given by a wheel-heeled fellow of some local fame. Apparently this gentleman stood before a paying crowd of hundreds of people and told them about a book that changed his life. Guess which one it was – Why a Daughter Needs a Dad. I’m delighted to get the free advertisement, sure, and pleased the book continues to touch so many lives. But I do have just one question. Why didn’t they pay me to give that speech? I happen to know a lot about it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Tailgating

Crazy Train (of thought)

The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.

Who really cares whether or not Paris Hilton will copulate in the next year. I’m just hoping she doesn’t reproduce.

Jill, Laura, Allison and I spent some time together in a cozy little lodge on a lake where the kitchen served free spicy shrimp and grits at the bar during happy hour. I guess there was a limit to how much you could eat, ‘cuz they eventually told Laura to sit down and let others have a chance to stick their heads in the pot.

Jill navigated us to the lodge in her customary talented way, as in “Exit here,” a direction given to me at the last possible minute. I made the exit without sliding too far into the grass and rolled to a top at the end of the ramp. After a pause she looked at me with some irritation and asked, “Aren’t you turning?” “Right or left,” I asked. It seemed to be a relative question.

When watching the Bama game Saturday with Leland and Kristen we were told it was a low-key event. Reckon why every time Bama had the ball Leland was jumping up and down and hollering for Jesus to leave a stool sample?

Jill’s birthday is just around the corner; she’ll be 20-20. When I asked if she had any wishes for how to prepare her party, she made only one request. “Please get Princess a new dress.” I thought it was asking a bit much of me.

Marital Bliss

Saturday morning was Heaven with a scoop of ice cream. Jill and I slept late, had breakfast served in the room by room service, enjoyed a chilled bottle of champagne while reading the morning paper in bed, then sat a while in comfy robes on the balcony overlooking the lake. At one point she turned to me and said “Thank you for the life you have given me.” Jill, I thought it was you who gave it to me, hon.

Kid-bytes

Meagan went to the GA game in Athens with a few friends Saturday. It made me nervous, her driving with other teens in all that traffic for 50 miles to get there. I made her call me along the way to make sure they were still alive, a requirement she probably won’t understand until she has a teen on the road herself. Eventually they arrived and intended to have a pre-game tailgate party. Now at UGA that means anything and everything to eat - with beer, so I was somewhat concerned until I learned she was actually tailgating with my Uncle Stanley, a loyal season ticket holder and a responsible, law abiding adult. And then it occurred to me – it was Stanly who taught me at age 14 that fried chicken tasted better with beer.

Book Report

Early reports on sales of Simple Acts and Why We Are Friends are good. You should be able to find both in your favorite book store now. If you like them, please leave a review on either the Amazon or Barnes and Noble website. Every little bit of encouragement helps!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

This 'n that

The Whole Foods experience was at once epicurean euphoria and barely managed chaos. It seems everyone in town heard Laura and I were going to be there so they all showed up too. After much pushing and shoving we were finally able to get into the store, and I swear it was Organic Heaven. Laura was all a giggle in the wine department (the sommelier thought she was flirting with him but I knew better – she was working on her quantity discount) and I nearly wet myself when the butcher told me he had hanger steak. I bought lots of small bites to make Jill and Laura a tapas meal last night. Here’s what we had:

Mixed salad greens with raspberry balsamic vinaigrette
Roasted baby purple carrots
Grilled asparagus
Parmesan potato cakes
Mixed olives
Baby gherkins
Roasted pearl onions
Jumbo white fava beans in smoked tomato puree
Dilled shrimp
Smoked salmon
BBQ’s pork short ribs
Thai chicken satay
Gingered pork satay
Mediterranean lamb sausage
Hanger steak
Herb and oil marinated mozzarella cheese
Whole wheat baguette and garlic-pepper tapenade
Blue cheese
Bosc pears
Fresh figs
Caramelized walnuts

Speaking of food, the other night at Laura’s dinner party she put some twisted knot roles in the oven but soon forgot them. After a few minutes she remembered and pulled them out, only to find that the little knob at the top of the knot had turned a nice brown. We now call it nipple bread.

Seems I’m not the only one who knows a woman that likes to run around naked. I recently heard of someone who likes to dress only in her stilettos, grab a baton and then do her majorette best around the house. Now there’s a sight.

Jill, do you have a baton? Do you still have those high-heeled boots I got your for Christmas?

Early this morning Jill was restless – thrashing and flopping around and woke me up. “If you’ve got excess energy, I know what you can do with it,” I said. Suddenly she threw the covers back, jumped up and started taking her pajamas off. Now that’s what I’m talking about, I thought as I grinned lustfully. Then she reached in her dresser for her gym shorts and under the bed for her running shoes. Oh well, maybe next time.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Twilight Zone

Crazy Train (of thought)

The only way to have a friend is to be one.

Today is the grand opening of Whole Foods! Laura and I aren’t yet sure if we are renting a moving truck or just taking our own cars.

As I was driving back from an early morning photo session yesterday I saw a little worn out and almost falling down shed on the side of the rode at a stop sign. It sported a crude hand lettered sign that read “Fresh Homemade Biscuits.” Everything about this place said fire hazard and health department flunky, but I was hungry and I love biscuits, so I ventured in. I pulled open the screen door and passed under an old Coke sign to enter. I smelled old coffee left too long on the burner and saw rickety dining tables scattered about a worn tile floor. I expected to find an ancient black woman with hands gnarled by arthritis or a toothless white granny in a hairnet and a snuff stained house dress to emerge from the kitchen. Neither. An itty-bitty Asian woman in a flour dusted apron came out to greet me. I suddenly had a flashback to a time when I walked into a black hair salon and found out too late I was the first head of Caucasian hair the stylist had ever touched. I cautiously ordered one biscuit, and she bowed and returned to the kitchen. Moments later she returned with a tinfoil covered something the size of a softball. I paid my two bucks and carried it outside, not wanting to show my displeasure to the nice cook if I hated what she had made. Once in the car I peeled back the foil and a buttery steam rose up and intoxicated me. Inside was the biggest, flakiest, best cat head biscuit I’ve ever tasted. I’m taking Jill there this weekend, even if it is in the Twilight Zone!

I wish somebody made wasabi toothpaste.

Whatever happened to email etiquette? Would you let someone speak to your face but then turn and walk away without responding? If not, answer your damn email!

Marital Bliss

During a recent get together someone remarked about how obvious it is that I love Jill. “You just want to eat her with a spoon, don’t you?” “If I could, I would use a straw instead so it would last longer,” I responded. All the women went “awwwwwwwhhhh.” Yep, I’m smooth.

Kid-bytes

I have been calling Meagan for two days and she hadn’t returned my calls. Wanting badly to talk with her I decided to send a text message that I thought would surely get her attention. I hit send and in less than five minutes she was on the line with me. My message? “What size shoes do you wear?”

Book Report

Yahoo! I’ve taken the last photos for my next book! Now on to writing it!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sassy Pants

Crazy Train (of thought)

Please visit my new website, www.gregoryelang.com.

Treasurer Peter Costello of Australia recently said: "This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.’” Can we get him to run for office in the US?

Linley and her girl gang were singing in the car on the way to church the other day - some song with urban lyrics about dancing your booty off. As I pulled into the church parking lot Linley quickly turned down the sound and looked at me in the most serious way. “I can’t believe you let me listen to that stuff,” she said, “its corrupting me.” When all were out of the car they held hands and skipped merrily into the church to attend an evening youth program. Yep, I’m corrupting her alright. Gonna do it some more, too.

It cracks me up when I get those “free” writing skill evaluations to see if I’m talented enough to enroll in a writing course. I finally responded and sent in a little poem, something about rocket's red glare and bombs bursting in air. I wonder if I’ll get in.

Faults are thick where love is thin.

Surely I’m not the only one who sees the rich irony in the outraged radical Muslim’s call for the execution of the Pope after he referenced a quote that asserted they were a violent people. Now think hard on this – do you really believe we can “just get along” with folks who think like that? Not me, not for a heartbeat.

I have a friend who is a multitasker. She likes sunbathing and keeping her yard neat, so she drives her riding lawnmower in the nude. No joke.

Marital Bliss

Last night at a dinner party this woman kept flirting with me, making come hither gestures with her eyes and moaning and grunting at me in highly suggestive ways. Jill just stood by and watched, unperturbed at the scene this lady was making. With my wife listening, this woman even became bold enough to begin whispering of what she would do to me if she could get her hands on me. Seeing that my wife could not care less about this woman who was practically ready to take me right there on the dining room table, I asked my aggressor if she thought she could teach me a thing or two. She smiled sassily and assured me that in her seventy-two years she had learned plenty, quite enough to shake me right off my foundation.

Kid-bytes

Our girls are not with us this week; it is the time they are with their other families; it is the time Jill and I miss them so much. It is the time I replay my favorite interactions with each of them in my head to keep me smiling and laughing, like:

Meagan spending her morning snooze minutes sitting in my lap, head on my shoulder.

Linley rubbing my head like a lucky charm before going into whatever competition awaits her.

Meagan making dinner for me from scratch for Father’s Day.

Linley and I dancing the tango in the kitchen in our socks, only to slip on the floor and land in a pile.

Meagan’s first driving lessons.

Teaching Linley how to make funnel cakes (big mistake!).

Meagan and I crying together as we watch people get baptized.

Linley’s broad smile as Jill and I watched her cheer during half-time.

The look of sheer delight in Meagan’s eyes when I took her to NYC to see The Beauty and The Beast.

The look of sheer delight in Linley’s eyes when I let her talk me into a Caramel Mocha Frappacino with extra whipped cream for breakfast.

The tears in Meagan’s eyes the first time she read Why a Daughter Needs a Dad.

There are so many. I love being a Dad.

Book Report

Another email about “Why a Daughter Needs a Dad” I received recently from a loving father:

“Your book is amazing. My daughter has a Daddy Box she made that she looks at every week when I travel. If not for your book that I read each week when I fly, I would feel like such a loser being away from my daughters. I just have to explain to every passenger that sits next to me why I am crying. It’s a good cry though. I thank you for putting into words my daily feelings.”

I feel his pain. I remember the days living in a hotel and praying the plane would get me home on time. I’m so grateful to all of you who have purchased my books; it made it possible for me to leave the corporate world and stay home to take care of my family.

Monday, September 18, 2006

A Dawg Day

Crazy Train (of thought)

Please visit my new website, http://www.gregoryelang.com/.

The trouble with stretching the truth is that it’s apt to snap back and getcha.

Humphrey Bogart’s last words - “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.”

Yep. Statistics show that the people who have the most birthdays live the longest.

During the fire last week we were unable to enter the neighborhood and those already in it could not leave, thus Laura was trapped and needed to get out. I loaned her my SUV which was sitting in the parking lot across the street. The next day as I drove it, it took me hours to make the perfect seat re-adjustment. I finally realized she raised the seat to see over the wheel, which confirmed one horrible truth for me. I’ve got a big butt.

Whole Foods opens on Wednesday; it is their corporate showcase store and Laura and I cannot wait to enter. I asked her if we should drive or walk (it is just down the street). She thought we should just hold hands and skip. Looks like scrambled eggs for lunch!

Marital Bliss

I had lunch with a female friend the other day, sat on the porch one night and had a glass of wine with Laura, and am meeting a fellow photographer (female) for camera help tomorrow. Meagan remarked she would be suspicious if her boyfriend hung out with so many women and asked Jill if she was bothered. “No,” she said, “I have a good husband. I trust him.” I was so pleased she said that so quickly. Trust is the essential ingredient for permitting freedom in your marriage. Jill and I are free to commune with our friends without fear of causing trouble in our marriage. We both know that we will take our clothes off only for each other and our doctors (mine is a male, BTW). Why am I writing this? I want Meagan to understand that the right man can be trusted. She need not keep him under constant surveillance unless he has proven it necessary. And she should have the freedom to enjoy the company of whomever she wants, as long as she does so in a manner that does not betray her husband. Marriage should be a safe harbor, one where trust stills the waters, not a prison.

Kid-bytes

We went to a UGA football game this weekend; Jill and I were treated by the college in recognition of the scholarship fund we have created. We sat in a skybox and the girls were given club level tickets, but they were able to spend the second half in the box with us. I mingled with the deans and dignitaries, Jill dug her nails into the palms of her hands as she sat on the edge of her seat, face pressed against the glass and heart racing as she watched every move on the field, Meagan watched occasionally between typing text messages to all her friends telling them she was in the box, and Linley made about 100 trips to the dessert buffet, which she called heavenly. Life is good.

Book Report

I’m sure someone out there thinks I promote myself too much, that I exploit other’s email as a way to shine a favorable light on my work. Sure, I sell books; it’s what I do for a living. But as a human, I tell stories that impact people; I desire to have an effect on your life. Do I succeed? You decide – I got this email over the weekend:

“My father passed away yesterday and after he was gone I thought of your books. Last year I gave him "Why A Son Needs A Dad" on his birthday. My Dad died of cancer after fighting it for 3 months. I wanted to let you know that I have found relief by reading the book. I love your photographs and the feeling I get when I look at them. Next week we are having a celebration of life party for my Dad and as his son I need to say something. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to say, but I wanted to let you know that I will use your books in helping write that speech.”

Every day I say thanks for being used as a means for such work.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

An honor

Crazy Train (of thought)

There was chaos in the neighborhood last night as a home down the street burned; my house is about four hours off schedule because the streets were blocked and we couldn’t get home. As a result, the post today is short. I’ll catch up tomorrow.

Please visit my new website www.gregoryelang.com and tell me what you think.

I’ve eaten so much sushi this week I think I’m growing gills.

I was cranky yesterday morning and sent this letter to the editor of a photography magazine: “I am so tired of these whiners who complain about having to learn how to use a computer. Digital photography isn’t real photography, they say. Let me ask – is a manuscript less of a book because it was printed from word processing software instead of a typeset printing press, is food less of a meal because I went to the market instead of growing the vegetables myself, is this email less of a letter because it was delivered via the Internet rather than by mail? Grow with the times or get left behind. I prefer to start my car with a key, not a crank. How about you?”

Book Report

It is a great compliment to me when someone tells me of how one of my books has been used in a manner for which it was not planned, but for which it works so well. Whether it is a gift for a soldier in the battlefield to remind one of the love waiting back home, used in a marriage proposal, to announce a pregnancy, or even bridge a gap in a broken relationship, the personal stories of my readers warm my heart and make me cry, as this one does:

“Rarely do I thank an author for the ability to use one of their books in a personal way; most books don’t present themselves with rare opportunities to impact someone’s life. My grandfather, or “Gramps” as we call him, has been slowly declining in health for the past year. For years he’s been nearly deaf making a conversation sharing how you feel about him next to impossible. My sisters and I consider “Gramps” our hero as he depicts every one of the fruits of the spirit with class. As a result, I am sending “Why I Love Grandpa” to them to write their thoughts and then we are hoping to get it to him before he passes. I know this would mean a great deal to him, and additionally, being able to share you deepest feelings for someone before they pass leaves one with no regrets and a gift you cannot buy. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for writing “Why I Love Grandpa.” You’ll never know just how much it has come to mean to me.”

Sometimes all I can do is pause and say thanks to my Father for allowing me the honor and opportunity to write.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Lifeblood

Crazy Train (of thought)

Laura is so afraid I’m going to go to the new Whole Foods without her; I had to promise her I wouldn’t cheat on her.

Yahoo – my new website is up! It is just being propagated so every search engine may not find the new one right away, but by the end of the week you should be able to hit it every time. I hope you enjoy it! Just click the link under my photo on the right…

While we were at the beach my in-laws took care of the mutt. In their house she is Queen, indulged in every way. Now that she’s back here she is just moping around dejected and depressed. I’m leaving sharp objects on the floor just in case she gets suicidal.

I had to replace our shredder. I don’t have that many important documents to destroy, but we do get a lot of crap in the mail offering vacation homes and credit cards. I’m voting for the first guy who promises to outlaw junk mail.

Meagan’s computer died and I’m having a new one made for her specific needs. As I told her of its disk space and RAM, processing speed, bundled software and the automated backup and recovery feature, she had only one question for me: “Is it pretty?”

Marital Bliss


When kids are here Jill and I don’t get to see each other as much as we like because of all the running around we do to make sure they get to church, school, football games, friends get taken home, emergency trips to Target for the last minute rush to complete a forgotten school project that is due in seven minutes, etc. So we text and email as we can during the day, steal a few minutes in the garage each morning as she is getting ready to pull away, and make every effort to be in bed by 10 PM so we can claim an hour at the end of each day for a little personal time. It is our magic hour, the time when we compress all our customary sweet talk and affection into just sixty minutes. Without it, I don’t know how I’d sleep. I love my wife – she is my lifeblood.

Kid-bytes

How much Dad had to kick in at the last minute to help Meagan reach her fundraising goal: $180
How much Dad needs to shell out for the hair coloring Meagan MUST have: $90
Cost of the sushi dinner we had when all this was dumped on me: $60
The statement given to me by our waitress - “You can just look in her eyes and see how much she loves her Daddy,”: Priceless

Book Report

I received this kind email last night:

“I just sent your book ‘Why A Son Needs A Dad’ to my husband who is in Iraq. He and I have two sons, ages 5 and 2, who have been missing their Daddy very much since he was recalled a month ago back into the Marine Corps. The book has really helped my husband to cope with this unexpected situation and it has helped my boys and me to remember that “a son needs a dad who is willing to make sacrifices for his family.” Thank you so much for your words of wisdom.”

There are many situations that move me, none more than situations like this, when someone uses one of my books at a time when heartfelt gestures are needed most. I am proud to have written something that reminds those defending our lives and freedom of the love that awaits them at home.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Never too old to party!

Crazy Train (of thought)

Let us not forget what happened five years ago today, or the innocent lives that were lost. Let us not become complacent and leave ourselves vulnerable to something worse.

What do you think of George Washington? He was a great leader, a hero, a warrior, perhaps? Yes to all. And it was he who said, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace. Go George W.

Impatience reveals a selfish and mean spirit, while patience is an act of kindness.

I had a book-signing in Hilton Head Island, SC, over the weekend and got a chance to meet some of my groupies. For most of my young adult life I wanted women to throw themselves at me. Little did I know I’d get my wish. I wish now I had thought to specify “young women,” not retired librarians, grandmothers and scrap bookers with an agenda.

Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.

I love oven roasting fresh beets but when they’re done and then you peel and cube them, you look like an ax murderer for about three days.

I lay sleeping on the world’s best sheets in the finest bed next to the most beautiful lady Friday morning. The sounds of the surf and fresh, salty morning air filled our room and the light of a new sun passed through the shutters and fell across Jill’s hair, making her look like a redheaded angle asleep on a cloud. I stretched and thought, what a wonderful start to my day; could it get any better than this? And suddenly it did. Someone thought they were turning on the speakers only in their own room, but instead the whole beach house thundered, rattled and rocked to Donna Summer singing the money line of “Last Dance.” That’ll make you wet your britches.

Marital Bliss

Jill and I took a long, long walk on the beach in South Carolina Saturday morning. Holding hands, sometimes not; talking in depth about matters of consequence, sometimes not; planning our day, planning our lives. It just doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing, we always get along so well, are always happy to have one another. It is a charmed life to have this chance to live with such a wonderful partner; I count my blessings and say thanks for her everyday. And I squeeze her booty, too, when I can get away with it.

Kid-bytes

I saw my sister Sunday. She is helping raise someone else’s children, and I have to give her credit and kudos – she’s doing a great job. Never having a child of her own, you wonder how the parenting talent came to her in her late 30’s. I think it is something that comes natural when there is love in your heart, and my sis, well she’s got a lot of love in her, and it shows.

Book Report

I’ve announced in recent posts my newest book, “Why We Are Friends” is coming out at the end of the month. This weekend I was reminded of why I wrote that book in the first place. Jill and I spent three nights with thirteen good friends in a beach house immersed in fellowship. We wined, dined, served one another, swam, slept in the sun by the pool, roamed the sand dunes, played golf on the beach, raced one another alongside the tide, finished a jig-saw puzzle (did you know if you hammered it real hard, you can get a mystery puzzle piece to fit just about anywhere), danced to YMCA and similar hits, took turns waiting on each other in the kitchen, joked, teased and laughed until we cried, cooked meals for one another, drank mimosas, brought gifts for one another, sang (sometimes badly), pole danced on the kitchen counters, hugged and kissed, told storied about our lives, napped, made major announcements (a baby is coming), shared in the cleaning up and packing, reassured one another, complimented each other, saw each other in our pajamas, bathing suits and with bed hair, poked fun at one another, taught each other a thing or two, didn’t argue once, got closer to one another and generally had a real damn good time. We’ve already begun planning the event for next year. Thank you Laura, Allison, Scott, Samantha, Reggie, Teresa, Skip, Nancy, Lisa, Karen, & Jeremy, for being our friends! Oh, yes, and Tazz and Moxie, you, too.

P.S. Nancy and Skip, please delete those pictures of my tatoo.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Green Globs

Crazy Train (of thought)

If you were given a nickname descriptive of your character, would you be proud of it?

The Independent Book Publishers Association has a Best-selling Books Hall of Fame, a list of the 425 best-selling books from independent book publishers that have made the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, or USA Today bestsellers lists in the past twenty years. Guess what? Two of mine are on the list! Thank you Ron Pitkin and the staff at Cumberland House for all you do to get my books into readers’ hands.

I’m going to a location for a shoot tonight, so no post tomorrow. Have a great weekend and see you Monday!

Marital Bliss (and the things you’ll do, or endure, for your beloved mate)

There is something sweet about me driving Jill to work now and then, as I did this morning. There is something manly about redlining the tachometer of your Porsche on a winding back road with the top down, as I did this morning. There is something in it for your ego when at a stop light you look over and a pretty young thing winks at you, as one did this morning. There is something emasculating when at that moment, Princess pops her head up over the door and sneezes a big green glob onto the side mirror. The temptation to toss her out right then was nearly overwhelming.

Book Report

I received my copies of “Why We Are Friends” yesterday and I love it. It looks just great! I’ve already had some fun handing out copies to my friends that posed for it, and am dropping more in the mail today. Look for it in stores soon; it should be available by the end of the month. Here’s two paragraphs from the introduction:

“Some friends are the kind of people you are happy to spend time with, with whom you exchange pleasantries and share stories and events of your life, but who have a place in your life only along a particular period in time. This period may be long or short, marked by fun and laughter or a common pain and struggle, yet it proved to be the bond on which a friendship grew. These times are important to you, memorable for the special circumstances that emerged and made that person a friend to you. Even though your lives may have taken different paths, this person, this friend, remains a lasting memory in your heart and mind.”

“What makes someone a best friend is, I think, a unique decision for each of us. No two best friends are just like any other two. For some a best friend can only be a same sex companion, but for others a best friend can be of any sex or age. Some would claim a sibling, a spouse or even a parent as a best friend. What is so special about the best friend relationship is that there are no criteria for it; it is simply a matter of personal choice, a choice based on personal matters. In fact there may be nothing in common about best friends, but no matter, because no one you claim as your best friend can be proven otherwise. They are your best friend.”

As Jill is mine.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Trouble in the bubbles

Crazy Train (of thought)

Jill and I went to the Toby Keith concert the other day. Or was that a Ford truck commercial?

There’s no place darker than a life without insight.

A pint of example is worth a barrelful of advice.

Here’s a hint: If you want not to be glared at while dining at a restaurant, don’t let your kids play hide-n-seek among the other diners’ tables.

Live your life in a manner such that the preacher won’t have to lie at your funeral just to say something nice about you.

As we arrived to church Meagan and I went straight to the restrooms. “You two always do that,” Jill teased as we reached for the door handles. “Is there something about church that makes you two need to pee?” “It’s preventative urination,” Meagan explained. Yeah, that’s it.

Meagan is pestering me to get her oil changed even though she has hardly driven her car 1500 miles since the last change. “The sticker says to change it by 6/6/06,” she explains. “That’s just a marketing ploy,” I said, “ignore it.” “I can’t,” she pushed back; “it’s the mark of the beast.”

Marital Bliss

I’m working on a book about romantic love and it will have lots of photos of couples in various poses suggesting intimacy. I wanted to take one of my and Jill’s feet sticking over the edge of the garden tub. To create the “set” I lit some candles, poured in the bubble bath, put on a jazz CD and opened a bottle of champagne. We got undressed, climbed in and squirmed around to get in the right position. We ended up all close and personal in order to frame the shot like I had envisioned it. It took me nearly an hour to take that darn picture.

Book Report

I got two nice reviews from readers recently:

“My step-daughter gave me your book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, for my birthday. I have A LOT of books (hundreds and hundreds!) but this will always be my favorite. It meant a lot to me, and it means a lot to her that it means a lot to me.”

“I first saw you book Why We Are a Family and purchased one for myself. I enjoyed it so much that I showed it to my daughter. She immediately wanted her own copy, so I had to buy one for each of my four children and one for my grandson and his fiancĂ©e. However, when I went back to purchase them, the store shelf was bare. It is a beautiful book that echoes the way our family feels about each other and things that we do. I plan to write alongside each picture about our family traditions and put a picture of the family member it brings to mind. I highly recommend the book to families who are close, loving and make sure they know each others' business at all times.”

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Turbo Flush

Crazy Train (of thought)

Meagan called the other morning just before school to tell me she had forgotten to take her medicine. I reassured her it was okay, but to no avail - she was nearly frantic. Finally she said, “I don’t want to die.” No, honey, I don’t want you to, either. But they are just vitamins….

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a gift to be enjoyed. In fact, everything you have is a gift. Be grateful.

There are some things that happen in life that seems as if it should be in a movie. Like the day last week when Jill accidentally erased the homework assignment from the dry-erase board in her classroom with her breasts.

This Internet thing is pretty cool. An old friend I haven’t seen in 26 years found me by email. Wonders abound!

I told Laura recently how much I liked her big copper stock pot. I must have sounded covetous – she called a moment ago and asked me if I wanted to come over and fondle it.

Marital Bliss

I wrote this for Jill one evening while snowed in at a hotel in Dublin, OH, two years ago. I’m so glad I don’t have to travel for work anymore – now when I have a longing my wife I can just go to her rather than wait for a business trip to come to an end and then hope the plane lands on time. Life is good to me now, I’m so blessed. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little love note:

If I could give you everything
I would bring to you each day
a bundle of cream-colored roses,
and just before they should wilt
I would sprinkle the soft pedals
to make a lush bed for you.
If I could give you everything
I would cause the murmur
of a steady rain and distant thunder
to lull you toward an evening slumber.
At the light of day I would pour
a bath of jasmine and lavender for you,
and I would sit and read
a tender love poem I had written for you.
If I could give you everything
I would lay a carpet of new grass
beneath your feet for you to sit upon
and daydream in the shade of a tree
that always gave you the colors of fall.
If I could give you everything
I would bring you the relaxing waves
of the ocean and chase the harsh rays
of the sun away from you.
If I could give you everything
I would capture a full moon for you,
and I would pray you always know
I wished I could give everything to you.
But if I could give you only one thing,
I would give you my devoted heart -
for it is filled with love for you,
and giving it to you is something
I really can do.

Kid-bytes

I sat up until 1:00 AM Friday night with Meagan and a friend of hers from school I have known since they were in the third grade together. We talked, laughed, shared and generally had a great time. The good news is a dad and his teenager can have spontaneous conversation that ends with a good-night kiss and “I love you,” in front of friends no less. The bad news is the conversation went a lot like this:

“Jill is asleep, so don’t flush your john. Use a bathroom downstairs,” I said.
“Okay,” Meagan said.
“What?” Chelsea asked.
“She has a power-assisted turbo flush toilet. It sounds like a jet taking off in the middle of the night,” I explained.
“Yeah, they advertise it can flush 25 golf balls at once,” Meagan bragged.
“Who poops golf balls?” Chelsea asked. “Seems like that’d hurt.”

Book Report

More reader commentary I lifted off a blog entry:

“Things are going good with my parents. I got major kudos from my Dad for his Father's Day gift. My Dad and I share a graduation year; me from high school, him with his first Associates Degree. My Mom took a picture of the two of us in our regalia in our old backyard. For Father's Day, I got that picture enlarged and framed. I also got him a book called ‘Why A Daughter Needs a Dad - 100 Reasons’. The inscription I put in the front read ‘A daughter needs a dad to teach her how to drive, the difference between a Philips and a flathead, and to teach her when to fight her own battles, and when to ask for help.’ I've had my Dad wrapped around my little finger since I squeezed his with my whole hand, but I’ve never seen he become a big puddle of Daddy goo like he did when he read it.”

I have no idea if you enjoy what you do for a living, but I hope you do. I certainly do. It is a great feeling when you realize something you have done made a difference in someone else’s life. That’s why I write the kind of books I do, they are an extension of a longstanding desire to help others (remember when we all said that in our youth?). Why do I still have this desire when I’m in my 40’s? Because I know I’ve caused more heartache than I want to admit to, and I’m trying to make up for it now.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Potty Mouth

Crazy Train (of thought)

I’ve been sick all week with the worst cold; sorry for not being at my witty best.

Laura had dinner with us last night and we laughed until our diaphragms hurt. That woman is a hoot! She’s particularly good at imitating people. She says I have a woman side and a man side to me. I’m just wondering, which side does she imitate when I’m not looking?

If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.

Love sees through a telescope, not a microscope. It’s the lack of love that makes you pick someone else apart.

You know you love someone when you can have a completely normal conversation with them through a bathroom door.

Marital Bliss

Some have written and asked to see more poetry, so here’s another one I wrote for Jill:

I touched your hand
and you then gave me
a smile that enslaved me.
You pressed your lips to mine,
and I yearned they be pressed together again.
On my heart you laid your hand;
I felt its loving warmth.
On your eyes mine did gaze,
over your heart my hand then strayed,
and this verse I humbly prayed -
Never shall we part,
not hand from hand,
nor heart from heart,
for one is both and both are one.
May our love remain forever strong,
this tender love that makes us one.

I love my wife – she is like air to me.

Kid-bytes

We had a bit of a lecture around the table last night about which hip-hop songs Jill and I want the girls to erase from their iPODs. Of course they protested loudly. Linley kept insisting I used to listen to suggestive and corrupt songs when I was a teenager. Her example – Wasting Away in MargaritaVille. Meagan, in her best attempt to support Linley’s position, kept chiming in, “Yeah, and you cuss, too.”

Book Report

I found this post on someone’s blog. He’s such a Dad at heart:

“Missing Father's Day was a bummer, but I got a couple of nice Father's Day gifts that were waiting for me when I got home, including a beautiful book from my mother-in-law called "Why A Daughter Needs A Dad." Maybe I was just tenderized from the long ride home, or whatever, but my guard was down and I read it in one sitting and cried and cried. This week, I'm going to spend some high-quality daddy time with Harmony, and hopefully the weather will be nice so we can go to the park and play on the slides and swings. Harmony is my constant reminder why I do all of the driving, striving and working that I do, and she's worth every minute.”

It warms my heart that the little book that started my writing career four years ago is still working wonders in other people’s lives.