Saturday, June 21, 2014


first of all, i am supposed to be enjoying miss mamie's crab cakes right now and visiting w/ my friend, michelle.  however, the skies decided to open up & provide quite the gully washer, and i wasn't comfortable driving across town & across the bridge w/ it raining this hard.  and i really, REALLY didn't want to drive back across the bridge & across town in the dark if the storm didn't let up before leaving dinner to come home.  SO!  i'll reschedule.  i miss michelle!!  : )  

i've been home from nashville for a bit & i still miss it!  what IS it about that town??  it's just so... i think i love nashville more than chicago.  not just the city, but the whole surrounding areas.  it's just... idk.  i just love it!  

i also loved having two days to rest up, because i knew getting back to work was going to be C R A Z Y.
i was not wrong.

i don't want to write a lot about it, because things happen & ppl make mistakes & _I_ make mistakes so i totally get it.  i'm not mad, just disappointed.  *laugh*  anyway, i finally feel like maybe i'm catching up a little.  that's right - i was gone from work for a total of 4 work days, and it's taken nearly 7 to feel like i MIGHT be catching up.  *groan*  *laugh*  still, TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!!  :D  

anyway, last weekend i got to hang out w/ leyton & mom for a bit, so that was fun!  : )  

 why hello there, aunt carrie!  

 yes, i am 7 and my feet are the same size as yours, aunt carrie! 


 LOL  : )  

 he set it all up for us to pay yahtzee!  : )  

 hey may have also got gramma in the funny bone...

 this ball was cool.  you guide it w/ your hand and ... air?
it's like levitation magic.  LOL 
or science.  whatever.  

phil's 6'4 or 5" i can't remember
leyton's TALL!  *grin*

and this week, i got to SEE mr c three times and ACTUALLY TALK TO HIM twice.  seriously, i sometimes go a month w/o seeing anything more than his car or an occasional glimpse as he goes to lunch or gets back when i'm reading in my car.  *laugh*  so, to see him and actually have two conversations in person two days in a row... yeah, it's worth a paragraph.  LOL  

anyway, i also WON some books!  *bounce*  i got swag in the mail from Kylie Scott, i won a release party prize pack from Cambria Hebert, and i won a signed paperback of Sweet Temptation by KC Lynn (check it out, i LOVED this story!!)!!!  *bounceclapbeam*

just the Lick stuff - other stuff is on its way to me.  
: ) 

love love love!  

btw, angel is still having issues, but she's using the loo properly now, and she's not in any pain or anything.  i think she just needs to lose some weight so she can properly clean herself...?  idk.  i've had to stop letting her sleep w/ me, tho, because even when i wash her, she then pees in the night & then my bed smells like pee, and seriously, that is GROSS & i just can't do it.  i can't wash my blankets every day, that's a lot of water!  so, i cuddle w/ her a bit & then i have to shut my door & then listen to her scratch at it & talk to me through it.  i talk back to her, telling her it's okay & i love her.  i know, i know.  but short of shaving her butt... 

anyway!  poor kitty, but i love her!  

i think that's it for me for now.  next book is Chelle Bliss's Throttle Me.  i've been sharing a lot of books w/ sarah lately - she loves Fighting Temptation by KC & i just sent her Sweet Temptation after i finished, so we'll see what she thinks.  *grin*  i love being able to share & love these books w/ a friend!  but also - dang, she reads fast!  LOL  and i don't have THAT many kindle books!  then a break from that genre to read Night's Master by amanda ashley, and then maybe Hook Me ... or Ten Tiny Breaths - not sure yet!

this weekend, i was just ready for a rest!  i did meet mom & the boys for lunch at margaritas (yum!) & while there anthony mentioned he had a ticket for rock the district, but jake (his best friend) had to work & so wasn't going to be able to go & he didn't want to go by himself.  i said i couldn't afford a ticket or i'd go.  mom generously offered to buy my ticket.  so!  it looked like i was going to see three years hollow & chevelle!  woot!  

but then anthony called later & said jake got off work early & he still wanted to go to the concert & could we pick him up?  i said sure, and - since it's an outdoor concert & as much as i wanted to see both groups & as much as i LOVE live music... i didn't want to stand out in the heat w/ a huge group of ppl for 5 hours.  so, since jake was now available, i just picked him up & dropped the boys off in the district & let them hang out.  i came back home to read.  : )  waiting for the text to go pick them up... : )  

next week is another busy one, and i need to relax before it.  LOL  it'll be fun, too, tho.  :D


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

nashville 2014 - the return home

so, my plan was to finish Rock Chick Rescue, get packed up & get to the Parthenon before i headed out of nashville.

i finished RCR, got packed up (after a beautifully relaxing shower), and headed out.  but it was rainy & i was an hour later than i'd planned, and altho i LOVE the Parthenon, i wanted to get home before dark for once!  

the drive home was fairly normal.
- cute, tattooed boy at gas station.  check!
- cute, tattooed boys at rest area.  check check!
- cute, possibly tattooed boy hanging out of a passing truck window after honking, giving me a thumbs up.  check?
yeah, that happened.  i am still trying to figure out what that was about!
but whatever, it was funny!  :D  

oh yes, and there were coffee drive thru runs to both panera & starbucks... LOL 

there was good music.
i sang along & car danced.

there was construction.
that was a little irritating.
but there was this cool trucker who was blocking ppl from zooming around the line of cars at one point.  i know if you're the person behind that truck, it's annoying, but the speed limit is 55 or 45 to help protect those men & women who are working, and unfortunately, when ppl speed through the "open" lane just to get to the end & expect ppl to let them merge... well, they tick me off.  it's different if both lanes are being engaged at the same time - then the ppl who don't let in the cars are jerks.  every other car, ppl!  

MOOOOVING on... ; ) 

there were okay snacks.
oh, except a really stellar stick of colby jack cheese.

i rolled into the QC around 8, i think.  i stopped at mom's before going home.

: ) 

oh, and i stopped at steak & shake for a bacon cheeseburger & some cottage cheese cuz i hadn't eaten dinner & was HUNGRY1  heh.  

and i got my mail on the way to the house - beautiful gifties awaited me:

i won a couple contests on FB recently - signed Freefall & swag from Tess Oliver & a signed copy of Therapy.  yay!  and the books that UPS couldn't deliver on saturday because of the rain were waiting in the package box as well.  woot!!  :D  

sadly, when i walked into my house, my good mood took a nose dive.  
my house smells like cat pee.  :(  
G R O S S!

i think there might be something really wrong w/ Angel.  :(  she pooped & peed all over the dang place.  phil was over to feed & water & clean her litter, and he said he was here at 3 & it didn't smell.  so... i've no idea, but it's gross.  i ended up tossing the sheet that was on the guest bed, it was so bad.  and i've been febreezing the shit out of the house as i clean what i find, but i can still smell it.  UGH!  i cleaned angel, as well, but i know i didn't get it all... 
and now i am up (it's 3AM) & i've been reading, but my main focus has been laundry.  i have two comforters to wash...

so, tomorrow phil is going to help me take angel to the vet.  i don't have a cat carrier & i know i can't take her by myself.  i'm worried that there's something really wrong that i won't be able to afford to fix.  i mean, i know she's 11, but other than this peeing/pooping in inappropriate places, she seems fine... and she's going in her litter, too, so idk why she's going ELSEWHERE.  
it makes NO sense to me!  :(  

*sigh* again.

so, there you have it.  my suck & sweet for my return home.
i hope y'all are having a good start to YOUR weeks!!  


Sunday, June 8, 2014

nashville 2014 - COUSIN TIME!

and a happy dance!  and a happy dance!
while the author event was exciting, it was also a source of anxiety.  it was worth it!  
but equally as awesome about this trip... 

i have a new cousin, and her name is olivia, and she is adorbs, and she is a month old which means she was mostly sleeping when i saw her, BUT on the car ride back to the hotel today she was up & looking at me & listening to me & i LOVE when babies listen.  i love that my voice can do that.  i know i'm super sensitive to tonal quality & so i try to keep my voice as normal as possible when talking, or using "story voice" when talking to babies.  they seem to react well to it.  : )  

so!  last night after william dropped me off, i texted brandee & she, boo & olivia came to pick me up.  we had a DELISH dinner at chuey's (spelling?).  it's texmex, which means CHIPS and DIP and y'all know how much i love my chips & dip.  *grin*  they have jalepeno ranch dip, too, which brandee was 100% correct in saying is amazing.  YUM!  actually, i could go for more of that... and they have a pick up area... hmmm.  (no, i will likely order pasta or something delivered, or run out quick to mcdonald's.  i'm not terribly hungry, but i know i need to eat before it gets too late & i don't want junk food.)

anyway, it was awesome to hang out w/ boo & bran & chat.  olivia is such a sweet baby & watching the girls w/ her was just... swoony, really.  to see how much boo loves her daughter & how much bran loves her niece.  *swoon*  i would have pictures, but, as mentioned in the NAE post, my phone was DEAD!  *sniffle*  i thought i'd charged it enough to get a couple pictures, but no such luck.  they posed really cute, too, before that discovery!!  *laugh*

other mentions about last night - CUTE valet guy at the restaurant.  AWESOME lightning happening in the sky, but thankfully no deluging rain until i got back to the hotel.  the parking lot was packed, but we prayed for a space & on the next pass around, a super-close space opened right up!  God is GOOOD!  : )  AND there was only a 15 minute wait, even w/ the packed lot.  *happy dance*  oh, AND AND they played pharrell's "happy" soon after we sat in our corner booth.  *bounce*  happy times!!  

then, today.  today i discovered a starbucks w/ drive thru right around the corner (practically) from the hotel & i had a headache from my lack of caffeine yesterday, so i was up & at the bux by 7.  heh.  i vegged out here for most of the day, reading Rock Chick Rescue & one-clicking some new books on the amazon (they were free or 99cents... mostly... )!  : )  

bran texted a little before 4 to see if i wanted to hang out w/ them a bit & i said YES!  so they picked me up (nate was driving this time & i didn't know his car.  LOL).  cousin hugs!!  hugs are the bestest!  
we met blake at the mall & just walked around for a bit.  boo & bran needed pants from forever 21 & blake needed a phone from sprint & i needed more coffee... LOL  

it was a short visit, but it was FUN and there were HUGS and baby time & i just love these guys so much.  AND bran & i discovered that we like a lot of the same things/have the same pallet.  that was a pretty cool discovery for me cuz - and this might be weird, sorry if it's weird - even tho they're younger than me, i really admire my B's (and nate) a lot.  i kinda look up to them sometimes, and even tho we don't get to hang out a lot, it's just so NICE being w/ them.  

so, yeah.  
: ) 

oh, and then blake's phone thing took so long that the mall was all closed when we were leaving & we missed the elevator, so we had to get a little... creative... to get back to the car... 

the hill wasn't TOO steep!  ; )  

all in all, it was a very fun day, relaxing & nice & full of love of many things!  : )  

and now, tomorrow... back on the road!
please pray for safe travels (and no rain) and that angel isn't too terribly pissed off at me when i get home... 

nashville 2014 - Nashville Author Event

yesterday, i fought many a battle against panic.  i won more often than i didn't, so yay me!  : ) 

i'd been having anxiety about driving in downtown nashville & trying to find parking.  everyone assured me there were plenty of garages, and i have my handy dandy gps for finding things.  but i was still anxious.  then, someone on the event FB page posted about Lyft - this nifty car service that is not a taxi company, is affordable, and fast.  AND they included a $25 coupon code.  i looked up the website & did the math & saw that the ride would be free w/ that code, and less than a taxi for the ride back.  then i began to weigh the amount of anxiety caused by driving myself against the amount of anxiety from catching a ride from someone i don't know.  twice.  

i decided to give it a shot, because at least that was only one anxiety instead of a variety.  lesser of two evils as it were.  my stomach was still in knots & i really was praying hard.  but i hit the little button & ordered a ride.  two seconds later, my ride called me to say hi & let me know they were on their way.  that was pretty cool.  

lisa showed up & she was super friendly & her car was clean (& had that nice clean car smell!).  i was instantly at ease & we chatted the whole way to the musicians hall of fame.  even tho the gps tried to take us somewhere else... LOL  thankfully, i saw the marquee at the venue & was able to direct her over there!  : )  if you're in need of a ride, check out their website & see if they're available in your city.  and if you're in nashville & need a ride, you can use the code pictured above for the same free ride i took!  :D  

once at the venue, my nerves kicked back in.  but i ran into some nice ppl & the ppl around me in line were super nice!  the girls behind me were very friendly & from kentucky (okay, jackie lives in kentucky but is from california.  heh) & SUPER fans of tina reber.  they were even tweeting or instagramming w/ her while in line, and when they got to her table, they got big screams & hugs.  it was cute.  : )  

since we got in line around 11, we were pretty close to the front.  not RIGHT at the front, but i think we hit the registration table at like 12:45 or so, so it wasn't bad!  and like i said, the line was FUN!  (but hot - they were having a/c issues i think just because of all the bodies in the space.  some of us definitely took advantage of flyers to use as fans!)

by the time we got to the authors, i was pretty manic, but cora carmack commented on how happy i was (she even mentioned it in her signature in my notebook!) & she was super bubbly & sweet!  her friends/assistants were as well.  she was a good one to have first (convenient since they went in alpha order)!!  oh!  AND she complimented my Inspire notebook that i brought for signatures.  : )  love love!

jay crownover was a treat!  she writes the marked men series (Rule, Jet, Rome, etc.) which i just ADORE even tho they can be highly emotional.  *laugh*  and her tats are super stellar in person!  also, she had the cutest green dress on... and some really neat swag.  pens (you know i love pens!) and stickers & i think keychains altho i didn't grab one & now am wishing i would have.  i didn't do anything fun for my photo, but other ppl were & she was going right along.  she's just one of my favorite ppl.  *laugh*  

jillian dodd wasn't there, so i didn't get to see what her books are about.  i may yet check them out on amazon, we'll see.  

rebecca donovan had some killer jewelry & used a pink highlighter to sign, which i thought was super cute. :)   her friend/assistant also had some really neat earrings.  i always notice earrings because i wish i wore them, but i never remember to put them in!  *laugh*

colleen hoover... i feel like i know her because she posts all the time on instagram & everywhere - she has a very big social media presence, and her videos are always SO FUN that they always make me smile!  which i shared w/ her & that made HER smile & then i felt like i'd won the lottery just by giving out a compliment.  which is sorta why i love complimenting ppl!  : )   i finally was able to complete (so far) my collection of her paperbacks by purchasing Hopeless.  YAY!  

i loved her dress, btw.  :D  

heidi mclaughlin was the author i was most looking forward to meeting - not only do i love her writing, but she's always got some neat stuff to say via FB.  unfortunately, a combination of things (nervousness & melting being high on the list) made it so i'm not even sure i got to tell her / thank her properly!  (heidi, if you ever see this, i'm sorry!  i meant to gush at your amazing writing & fun FB posts... and take a picture w/ you!  but i was so flustered i forgot that bit, as well!)  she had her models w/ her & i do remember teasing them as the young man reminded me of bret, but i'm not sure my teasing came off as familial as i'd intended... that is the one section that just made me so nervous!  but i was so happy to get to meet her, too.  oye.  (i can't think about it too much; it's giving me residual anxiety...)  

okay, so then we had tina reber!  i love her books, as well.  and she was super fun & later fanned us while we waited for the griffin peterson concert to start.  heh.  

jenn sterling was probably the biggest surprise for me.  she was just out-there-amazing, and i haven't read her books yet, but bought Seeing Stars as it was one that i'd been looking forward to.  oh, and her friend/assistant had AMAZING make up!  like, if i wore lipstick, whatever color she had on would be what i would want to wear.  it was just a really neat color!  : )  and jenn was super fun & dancing around & stuff.  

the final author, K.A. Tucker, was also one i haven't read yet, so i bought Ten Tiny Breaths to give her series a try.  she was very chatty & nice.  everyone was so nice, it was really a pleasure to meet them & get to chat for a couple minutes, even if i was melting all over the place!!  : )  

after i was through the line, i wasn't sure what to do, but needed some quiet time, so i took a tour of the museum (pretty neat!) & then sat in the cool, dark theatre for a bit to decompress & get my head back in a space to be around all the ppl again for the concert.  God was looking out for me (always) & i timed it just right to end up sitting against the wall w/ two cool gals from NC, tabitha & lauren.  we hung out through the concert & they were just really a lot of fun & helped to keep me calm in the sea of ppl.  

and the concert!  OH MY HECK IT WAS AMAZING!!!!  griffin & the band did a GREAT job & i always love live performances anyway, but this was really neat.  oh, AND!  before they started playing, murphy (colleen's sister?  i'm not sure... but she's fun) did a raffle & i won a maybe someday CD!  *bounce*  

sorry, these are super blurry.  

the plan was to get it signed after the concert, but by this time my phone was nearly dead & i still needed it to make sure i got a ride back to the hotel!  so i pulled a chair over to an outlet & charged it enough to order a ride, from william this time.  he had a little trouble finding the place (because GPS wanted to take him wherever it tried to take lisa!) but when he arrived it was all good.  : )  he was a really nice driver, too, even tho he did attempt to take me home... (LOL  -  he lives in the same town as my hotel, and i think he was on autopilot while we were talking, so he was heading home.)

so, it was an amazing day!!  the event was so much fun, and i am so grateful for this opportunity to meet everyone, and SO GRATEFUL for all the prayers & everything that helped me fight off the overwhelming nature of anxiety.  *HUGS*  you are all WONDERFUL!!!  : )  

okay, i'm off to write up the next post all about hanging out w/ my wonderful cousins & meeting my newest little cousin, olivia.  ttfn!!  

Friday, June 6, 2014

nashville 2014 - the trip here

with as much as i travel, you would think i have everything down pat.
and you would be right when it comes to packing - i have a system, and very rarely do i forget anything important.
but when it comes to the actual trips... i usually get turned around at some point because i go off on some sort of adventure off the beaten path.  normally it's for things like, "ooh, look, a monument!  i want to see that!"  and then said monument is so far off the exit that i begin to despair of ever actually finding it!  sometimes i give up & turn back around to the interstate before i find it.

today i was following the directions & didn't intentionally go off script until i had a small, embarrassing wardrobe malfunction.  i'm pretty open to sharing things, ya know, but i think i'll just leave this one at that.  suffice it to say, i'm grateful to WM, but if anyone sees me on that stupid website, you'd better A) never EVER tell me and B) just know that i didn't walk in there like that on purpose.


so, after 1/2 an hour or so there (cuz, while i was there, i might as well pick up a few things) i got back on the road, only to have my gps take me ... i don't even know where!  i eventually got back on a road i recognized, but it took for-flipping-ever!  :(  i'd planned to arrive at the hotel by 7 at the latest & i didn't get here til after 9.  *sigh*  my goal w/ getting here by 7 was to avoid having to navigate the crazy parts of nashville traffic in the dark.  i hate that road in the dark!!!  the speed limit is 55, but of course everyone goes 80.  i don't mind going w/ the flow of traffic, except when i do there, i always miss my exit & end up someplace weird.  so, this time, i stayed in the right lane & just muddled my way along, not caring that ppl probably thought i was a snail!  LOL  

it always seems to rain at some point while i'm on that road, too, which is no fun when my windshield is covered in bug guts that want to smear... :|  eep!

BUT!  i made it safely here, and other than the detours, it was quite a nice drive.  :)  
once i got checked in & tried to log in - which i've never had a problem w/ here before! - i got some weird error.  so i went down to the front desk to ask about it, and ended up bringing my computer down for brittany to look at.  and she fixed it!  yay!  

i also needed to get change so i could grab something to eat, because by this time i was ready to just stay here & didn't want to go back out!!  *laugh*  she mentioned that i could get pizza to deliver (they deliver til 3AM!!) but i said i didn't want a whole pizza, but that would be cool if they could just deliver a slice!  LOL
so, there was a guy at the counter who had been talking to brittany when i came down, and he was like, "hey, i'm hungry.  i'll buy the pizza & give you a slice."  i was like, uhhh...okay!  :D  i'm not above accepting free pizza.  : )  well, first i said he probably didn't want to do that because i'm boring & just like sausage & he said that was fine.  so brittany called it in, i went back up to my room to get my computer, dude went to his room to make a gin & tonic & then we all hung out at the front desk for an hour or so!  

*laugh*  it was fun.  and after thanking him, and him mentioning there were "no strings attached" (which, since i'm not the ... kind of person guys think about in that way, it didn't even occur to me that there would be any "strings"!  which i told him.  *laugh*) and we headed back to our rooms, i realized - we never actually introduced ourselves.  LOLOL  that just struck me as funny.  i'm here for 3 days & he's living here while on a job, so i'm sure we'll run into each other again & i'll rectify that.  i mean, i should at least know the name of the guy who bought me dinner, right?!  i really was grateful for it, and if i hadn't been unfettered, i would have hugged him!  (altho, since guys don't think of me in the "strings" kind of way, i probably could have hugged him unfettered & it wouldn't have made a difference... and yes, i do run around the hotel unfettered.  i do not care.  except when i end up running into guys who are buying me pizza, at which point i briefly rethink my comfort level.  and then i go back to i do not care.) (much.)

SO!  anyway!  : )  i got to chat w/ bran on FB IM for a bit & i think i'll get to hang out w/ them tomorrow night after the signing.  YAY!!!  :D  

oh, the signing... i am having anxiety, no doubt about that.  i'm trying really hard not to focus on it.  but i'm also kinda fighting sleep, because once i go to sleep, the next step is waking up & then i will have to find the venue & find parking & ... 
my plan right now is to go super early & then wander around the museum or walk around after the signing until the concert.  my other option would be to go at like 3 but i don't really want to give myself time to freak out any more than i am, so earlier would probably be better. ... *prays*  

i know there was another story i was going to tell about the trip out here... oh, i chatted w/ some bikers at one of the rest areas.  and a lady complimented chloe's color!  :D  

and at another rest area, i got a phone call from someone who needed to vent, but they really shouldn't have vented to me because, altho i love them, they were venting about someone else i love.  and i don't want to be in the middle!!!  :(  *sigh*  but, i just pray that my listening helped a little, i guess.  the whole situation is such a crapstorm.  meh.

but, God is good ALL THE TIME, even when crap happens.  
still, if there could be only good things for the rest of the trip, i would be much appreciative... 


Sunday, June 1, 2014


remember when he was so little?  he's 7 now.  i hung out w/ him for a few hours yesterday & after he played hockey on the game system, he wanted to play payday.

i told him to set up the board, and he got whiny, immediately saying he didn't know how much money to put out & whatever.  i said, "you're 7.  read the instructions."  he wanted to give up w/o even trying.  "i can't, i don't know what they say, it's too hard!"  he hadn't even looked at the instructions to TRY.  so i told him to TRY, and if he needed help, i'd help him.  but he had to TRY first.  

he grabbed the instructions & was trying to be whiny again, and i just looked at him & smiled & told him not to whine & he smiled & laughed.  he brought the instructions over to me & sat on my lap & tried to whine his way out of reading, but it was like fake whining.  *laugh*  like, testing.  how much whining will aunt carrie take?  answer: NONE, buddy.  ;)  

so, we find the place where it tells how much of each denomination to set out & he starts reading.  he is a REALLY GOOD reader.  he only stumbled on two words (denomination being one of them) & his little voice was so clear and smart!  : )  even missing his two front teeth.  *grin*  

we played payday & i won by a couple thousand dollars & then his dad got home so he hung out w/ him for a bit.  and then gramma got home & we played a game of yahtzee.  :D  

leyton won that one!  

it was a good night & i'm glad i got to hang out w/ my little man, since i'd been sick all week & hadn't hung out at any of my other plans for the week!  

and now it's less than a week til NASHVILLE!  i'm super excited, super nervous, but i did this before w/ sherri so i know i can do it again.  and there will be the parthenon and meeting my newest little cousin to boot.  yay!  : )  

and now, back to The Gamble.  this puppy is HUGE (644 pages) & i have like 140 pages to go.  : )