Friday, October 16, 2009

National Boss's Day

According to Wikipedia…

Patricia Bays Haroski registered "National Boss's Day" with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1958. She was working as a secretary for State Farm Insurance Company in Deerfield, Illinois at the time and chose October 16 because she forgot that the birthday of her boss, who was her father, was actually on the 16th. Four years later in 1962, Illinois Governor Otto Kerner backed Haroski's registration and officially proclaimed the day.

National Boss's Day has become an international celebration in recent years and now is observed in countries such as Australia and South Africa.

Hallmark did not offer a Boss's Day card for sale until 1979. It increased the size of its National Boss Day line by 90 percent in 2007 by creating collections of new and innovative cards.

"If you think your boss is stupid, remember: you wouldn’t have a job if he was any smarter."

"The person who knows HOW will always have a job. The person who knows WHY will always be his boss."

"Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties.
By working faithfully eight hours a day, you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day."

"There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else."

I'm raising a glass of cyber champagne to toast our wonderful "Boss's" at Harlequin American Romance--Many thanks for the time, care and commitment you put into making our books the very best they can be. Happy Boss's Day!

A Cowboy Christmas (Dec 09)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Joy and Wonder of Childhood

As long as I can remember we’ve made an annual jaunt to Galveston Island. My parents took me every summer when I was a child, and we took our boys, and now our grandkids. It’s a family tradition. After this hectic summer, moving, selling two houses along with work and family – I desperately needed my feet in warm sand and salt water. So when we finally sold the second house, my husband and I decided to go see how Galveston was rebuilding after Hurricane Ike struck the Texas coast last year.

There are undoubtedly prettier beaches and fancier resorts, but Galveston Island has character. You can stroll along the Historic Strand with its old shops and horse drawn carriages. You can ride a Duck boat or visit Moody Gardens and the aquarium. We love to ride the ferry across to Bolivar peninsula and back. And no trip is complete without the mandatory souvenir expedition to Murdoch’s, the souvenir shop that extends out over the water.

Today the beach houses on Port Bolivar are almost all damaged or gone entirely. Murdoch’s is rebuilt, but not yet open for souvenir shoppers. But restaurants and hotels are booming and the volcano at The Rainforest CafĂ© erupts on schedule. It’s not quite there yet, but Galveston is bouncing back.

When I was a child and we neared the causeway over to the island, I’d be so excited I thought my heart would jump out of my chest. I’d sit on my feet in an effort to be taller so I could see the water a split second sooner. And at the first glimpse of the bay, I got absolutely giggly. My parents always drove the boulevard lined with old mansions to get to the gulf. I can’t explain how long that short drive seemed for a little girl who had her swimsuit on beneath her shorts, or that feeling when we finally turned onto Seawall Boulevard with the gulf rolling in and rows of colorful umbrellas on one side and hotels and restaurants on the other. Even when it was over 100, we’d crank the windows down so we could hear the surf and smell the salty air.

Maybe these days, I don’t experience that innocent joy and wonder of childhood, but there’s still that little thrill.

Does anyone else have special childhood memories to share? Those experiences that you just couldn’t wait for, like Christmas morning?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Peek into my Doomed Life . . .

Why is it that the more behind you already are, the more things exponentially go wrong? (This pic is of our dog, Daisy. This morning, we look like twins--only I have more dried up spaghetti in my hair!! LOL!!)

I started off the day in great shape. Harvested my Tomatoes on Facebook's highly addictive Farmville game, took a nice, hot shower, and then sat down to call Johanna, my fab editor. The day before, I'd started my AAs(Author Alterations--the last author step in the editing process!!) only to find they'd vanished. Not yet in full panic--even though they're due Friday, I calmly wrote Johanna a message asking her to resend.

This morning, not seeing a note from her, made me look around my computer some more, thinking they might be lost. Sure enough, I found them in an obscure download file I hadn't even known I have. Great, so I'm back on track and don't even have to bother Johanna, right? Ha! I go to open the file, and nothing happens. Strike One.

Son #2 comes running in, demanding to use the computer. Since I'm thinking Johanna must be working out of her office, I dial Toronto, calling for the fab Miz Laura Barth. She knows how to fix anything!

Son #2 is now doing an impatient hop. "This is serious," he says. "I have to do something for school."

Oh--well in that case, I'm thinking, let me stop all action and get the heck out of YOUR chair!! I gave him my patented "If You Don't Leave This Second I'm Taking Your Car Keys" glare.

He scurried off to the scary, dark portions of the house otherwise known as the kids' rooms.

Oh--as for my BFF Laura Barth? I got voice mail. Strike Two.

If you've ever had the chance to call Harlequin's Toronto offices, the receptionists are AMAZING. Unflappable, speaking in ethereal voices that instantly let you know everything's under control. So after pressing zero to wind my way back to one of these angels, I ask for anyone in the office who might know anything about Harlequin American.

She says, "Hmm . . . I could connect you with Johanna Raisanen."

Nope, she's working at home.

"Laura Barth?"

Nope. Straight to voice mail.

"Kathleen Scheibling?"

Yahtzee!! She connects me to Kathleen's line and my new savior picked up on the second ring, knew just what to do and I had my AAs printing within a few minutes. Have I mentioned how awesome the Harlequin crew is??!! They rock!!

Okay, so I'm printing, printing, wondering if I have time to check on my coffee cakes at Yo-Ville--another highly addictive Facebook game when the printer stops. If any of you have ever seen Total Recall, there's a scene where the fans are shut off, leaving the Martian Mutants to a certain death. Well, this is kinda the same feeling I had at this point. Strike Three.

Turned out to be a simple jam. Whew. I'm printing, printing, looking at my friend Michelle's AWESOME U2 pics when the printer stops again--only this time in a happy way. "I'm done," it says. I'm thinking, wow, that was fast. But what did I expect seeing how it had only printed half of the book? Strike Four!

I troubleshoot. I unplug and replug. I stand on my head. I brush all of the cat hair off of the top. Still nothing. As a last resort, I pressed a link for HP's online help site. After sifting through dozens of irrelevant articles, I find the topic I need for when the printer doesn't print. Their suggestion? Turn it on and off, then see if it works. Duh. Feeling like an idiot, yes it did work, and my AAs are happily sitting beside me.

Moral to this insanely long story? I should've eaten chocolate before attempting anything!!! Have a great, strike-free Wednesday!!! Oh--and if you want to waste time with me, join me for cyber-chocolate over on Facebook!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Embarrassing Moments

Embarrassing moments - I'm sure that most of you have been there and done that. Your face gets red, your hands are sweat and you'd really, really like to be somewhere else. Remember the Southwest Airlines' "Do you want to get away" commercials? Yep, that's what it's like. But there are different degrees of embarrassing moments - all the way from a "giggle with your sister/best friend/hubby" to "Ohmigod, just shoot me now." I came up with this topic because I recently had one of those "giggle" moments.

Last week I went to the mall to get my hair cut, and on the way in and out I had to walk through Nordstrom's (notice the words "had to"). And since I was already in Nordstrom's I decided to check out the shoes. For you folks who aren't familiar with the tony department store I'll set the stage. Think a smidge below Neimann's and Sak's but add a guy in a tux playing a grand piano. It's not exactly your run of the mill big box store. As for the clerks - let's just say they could go straight from work to high tea without going home to change.

The concierge summoned a sale's associate who insisted on measuring my foot. I've been wearing shoes for a long time, but hey, if that made her day I was fair game. She was having a hard time deciding on the number - was it an 8 or an 8 1/2 - so she turned over the shoe I'd taken off (supposedly looking for a number) and right there like a neon sign was a Marshall's tag with $29.99 written in 36 point font. I'm surprised they didn't give me the boot (pun intended) right there and then.

Here's an "Ohmigod" moment from my teen years. It was a Saturday afternoon and I was babysitting my bratty brother. I was bored out of my mind so I decided to do a spa day. My hair was rolled in orange juice cans (for you folks without curly hair that's a hair straightening technique). I had cotton balls between my toes and for the piece de resistance I had applied some goopy red face mask that cracked when it dried. Cute, huh? Everything was copasetic, that is until I heard my brother at the front door. Guess what? It wasn't my bro. In fact, standing at the door was a boy that I'd had a crush on forever. One look at me and he was in his car and outta there so fast he fishtailed down the road. Nope, he never asked me out. I wonder why?

And here's another family story that should give you the chuckles. To say my father-in-law was eccentric is an understatement of mammoth proportions. In retrospect this story is funny, but it wasn't at all amusing to my husband who was in junior high at the time - you know what it's like to be thirteen. The family car overheated so his dad pullled into the a gas station. They way my husband tells it, the attendant (and yeah, a long time ago there were people who actually pumped your gas) disappeared under the hood and then came around to the driver's side window and uttered these fateful words, "Hey man, did you know you have coffee perkin' out of that radiator?" Seems my pop-in-law heard that coffee grounds could be used to clean a radiator. Oh, boy!

So now that you know our secrets hop in and tell us your story. But keep in mind that someday you might see it in a book.

BTW - Top Gun Dad comes out this week.

Ann DeFee
Top Gun Dad, HAR, October 2009
Hill Country Hero, HAR, February 2010

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Ten-Minute Pick Up

The Ten-Minute Pick Up

There's nothing that starts out the day worse than to wake up to a house in disarray. It seems to put the whole day into catch-up mode. To solve this, try this time-saving small tip.

Each evening, before calling it a day, spend 10 minutes picking up and straightening the major rooms in the house. Don't make this a major clean-up time, and don't worry about the bedrooms---except maybe your own. Simply look over the areas for items out of place, straighten the cushions, put the day's newspaper where it belongs, and wake up the next morning to a tidy home and a smile on your face.

Anyone care to share their secret quick pick-up tip?

Roxann Delaney