Sunday, November 29, 2009

My First Love

Okay, you knew this was coming. I want to write about another "first." Since I'm a romance writer (with suspense and humor thrown into the mix), let's talk about our first love. My first true love was in high school. Alan and I dated for two years. (I'll spare him the embarrassment and not mention his last name.) He was two years older than me, tall, with blonde curly hair. He had a chevy van with a bed in the back. It was the 70's... Boy, did my dad ever hate that van. I honestly was a good girl throughout high school (I truly was) so dad needn't have worried but he probably got quite a few gray hairs over that van. Alan and I loved to camp and would go with my parents, sister and brother to a place called Jellystone Park. I was only interested in getting a good sun tan so Alan would swim with my sister, Alison, who was a lifeguard. We'd cook outside at night and then kiss in his van until Dad yelled at me to come inside the tent. Did I mention Alan was a great kisser?!! We'd also go to Central ballgames (he was the quarterback), school dances, eat Shaky's Pizza after every game and play fooseball. We also liked going to concerts and movies. Alan was a really sweet guy and a great first boyfriend up until I cut my very long, brunette hair. Soon after, he broke up with me. BROKE UP WITH ME. While staring at my shorter hair and remindng me it used to be past my elbows, all he could mutter was, "You cut your hair." Astute observation, Alan. I was a senior in high school and he started dating a girl who had a big house, a pool table (and long hair). Well, I certainly couldn't compete with that, so it was o-v-e-r. We did get back together the summer after I graduated (he was already in college) but it didn't last long. I almost literally ran into him at a local hospital last spring. It was interesting to say the least. He looked good and seemed happy. It was a little awkward but he could tell I'm happy and we had a nice conversation, so all's well. Wonder what he thought about my now-blonde hair?!! How about you? Who was your first love? Please, do tell.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cooking My First Turkey

I remember cooking my first Thanksgiving Day turkey and inviting my entire family to dinner. I was a nervous wreck and was just 24 years old. My husband had to help with the turkey because it gagged me to get the stuff out of the inside. I just couldn't do that (still can't). Then, I called my mother to ask all sorts of questions like how long to boil the potatoes and at what temperature to cook the turkey. I tried my hand at making cinnamon apples (and have never made them since) because my head was stuck in the oven spooning sauce over those apples for what seemed like hours. When my parents, grandparents, sister and brother arrived for the big meal, everyone thankfully brought food to help out. My daughter was a year old, and I can picture her little high chair beside the dining room table. She was and still is an angel. After we sat down to eat and gave thanks, I remember my grandfather, Monroe, said something I'll never forget. "I bet the president of the United States doesn't have a Thanksgiving meal as nice as this." That made all the effort worthwhile. Every year, I think of him and fondly remember that statement. Thanks, Grandpa, for the sweet memories. Wish I could cook for you and Grandma again. May you both rest in peace. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My First Car

Let's continue on with "firsts." What was your first car? I remember mine very fondly. My first car was a beautiful 1968 red Camaro. It had a black vinyl top and a black interior which got very hot in the summer. It also had a fancy schmancy eight-track tape deck. Unfortunately, I sold all of them at a garage sale. I wish I had at least one eight track to show my daughter! My Camaro was gorgeous and could really hug the curves. I loved it. My dad was a skilled, artistic, perfectionist of a car painter, and when a little rust appeared, he painted the entire thing. It looked brand new and was very shiny. I wish I had never sold it. How about you? What was your first car?

Monday, November 9, 2009

My First Job

Everyone remembers the first time they had a real job and received an actual paycheck--that all-important, grown-up feeling of having a boss, co-workers, a schedule and responsibilities. My first job was great fun and perfect for a high school kid. I worked in a movie theater downtown in both the concession stand and box office. I much preferred the concession stand because I could eat all the popcorn I wanted, drink soda and interact with customers. I only had to pay for the candy I ate. Other perks included watching the movie after everyone was seated and doing my homework once the movie started. Our uniforms consisted of a very short, navy, one-piece dress. My boss's name was Mr. Schnaible (I never knew his first name). He hired me when I was just 15--three months from turning 16. He told me to keep my age quiet after I told him I really wanted a job and needed the cash. I was saving for a car and was a total clotheshorse (still am). We sometimes had midnight movies and Disney premieres where moviegoers would line up around the block. I remember The Love Bug was a huge hit. We had to make bags and bags (trash bag size) full of popcorn beforehand and then mix it with the warm stuff. I remember the big, clunky cash register didn't add up the totals. It was very old--sort of like a manual typewriter. I became very adept at adding quickly in my head. Once, a guy angrily challenged me and said, "How do you know that's the right total?" I smiled sweetly and said, "Because I do. I can add in my head." If someone had a huge order, I would pull out a napkin and pencil and add the total on that. Of course, we had to be able to count back change (unlike today) but I digress. Several of my friends who were also in the Kiltie Drum Corps started working at the theater so we often had scheduling conflicts with games and parades. Many times, we had to be off at the same time but Mr. Schnaible never complained and would even take a shift himself. What a great first boss. My hourly wage was $1.10. Can you beat that? Let's hear about your first job.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Are You a Writer, Author or Novelist?

I've always loved writing and have considered myself a writer for decades since I've written non-fiction work-related articles, expository essays, television scripts, annual reports, short stories or my new love--novel writing. When I finished my novel this summer, my husband referred to me as a novelist. I stopped dead in my tracks. I really liked the sound of that. The delightful title had not occurred to me before he uttered that wonderful word. Novelist. Sigh. It sounds romantic and mysterious, doesn't it? And very artistic. Somehow that single word makes the two years of hard, solitary work worthwhile. Thanks, hubby. Happily, I wholeheartedly agree with him. When a writer finishes a big piece of work (i.e., over 300 pages) and there's a story full of compelling characters and plot twists with a true beginning, middle and end (woo hoo for the end), I believe they have become a novelist. As for author, though, I won't proclaim that title until I'm published. What do you think? Do you consider yourself a writer, novelist or author?