7 Quick Takes about rattlesnakes, books, and holidays that should be more fun than they are
Happy All Saints Day! In theory, Halloween and All Saints Day are some of my favorite days of the year. I love how Halloween brings neighborhoods together and you get to mingle with people who live near you whom you might not otherwise meet. I love the candy, the costumes (well, most of them), the cool weather, and the festive spirit. I love that the next day is one of prayer and holiness, going to Mass, and sometimes attending events where children dress as amazing servants of Christ who have gone before us.
And then the actual days roll around. And I realize that we need Halloween costumes and saints costumes (which I have yet to figure out how to combine because it takes brain cells I do not have) and we forgot to get candy and bags of candy now cost $10 and I have to fit in dinner with trick-or-treating and there aren’t any saints who were known for wearing shorts and t-shirts and I have to find a way to get six young children to Mass and gaaaaaaaaahhh!!!
At this particular point in my life, the “actually liking”-to-”wanting to like” ratio of Halloween and All Saints Day celebrations is very, very low.
I had visions of delighting the kids by dressing up as a Minecraft character or Strawberry Shortcake for Halloween. Instead:
I was a blogger. Again.
It’s all I got, internet.
My dad wrote a book! It’s called The Last Mission, and he’s been working on it for years (I guess we have some sort of gene for that?). It’s a Tom Clancy-style military thriller about a Special Forces team that must undertake a clandestine mission to take out an oil refinery in the jungles of South America during the Cold War.
My dad was a HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) and demolitions instructor in Special Forces during the Vietnam era, he’s an engineer, and he grew up in Mexico, so he’s pretty much the perfect person to write a book with this plot. He’s also really big on accuracy in fiction. Like, we would be watching the final scene in Star Wars as a family, my mom and I breathless and on the edge of our seats as we watched Luke Skywalker race toward the Death Star and heard the explosions of laser rays that crashed near the hero. And I’d look over at my dad who would say under his breath, “There’s no noise in space.” So I assure you that if you want to know precisely what it would be like to be on a secret Special Forces mission, this is your book.
A few of our friends and relatives have read it, and Joe and I keep getting emails saying, “Hey, that was actually GREAT!” He’s selling it as a $1.99 ebook on Amazon, so check it out if you’re looking for a good read!
Last week a neighborhood friend found a rattlesnake on a local road:
My dad’s cousin saw the picture and had a wise reply:
And to think that I was sitting here feeling all ungrateful for a house full of scorpions! Perhaps we should make this a state motto: “No matter how horrific your infestation, it could always be worse!”
Joe and I recently had this random inspiration that we’d love to spend a few months living in another country one day. (Okay, it wasn’t totally random. I read Design Mom and started feeling like all bloggers with six kids could use some time in a French chateau. Anyway…) We realized that there is an entire industry of companies like HomeExchange where you can arrange to trade your house with another family. Some of these places have been in business for decades and have an excellent track record of customer satisfaction.
I started wondering aloud where we might want to live, and Joe immediately said that we’d have to go to Durham, England because that’s where our (“our” meaning his and my son’s) favorite cricket team is. When I wondered aloud if perhaps there might be other locations we should consider, he looked at me like I was the type of person who would exchange houses with someone who lived near a bad cricket team.
Anyway, this is not something we’d do any time soon, if nothing else because it made me look around our house and realize that we’d have to search in war zones to find someone who would find living here to be a fair trade. But it is an interesting idea, and I keep thinking about it.
Do you know anyone who has done a home exchange thing? Did they have a good experience?
I’m short on time, so how about a gratuitous baby picture?
How sorry am I that I didn’t buy a matching baby banana costume? VERY.
THE COVER FOR MY BOOK IS FINISHED!!!!! (I saved it for the last take so I’d seem all detached, but since I’m utterly unable to speak about the subject without using caps lock I guess that gig is up.)
My publisher sent it to me yesterday. The designer, John Herreid, also did Simcha Fisher’s cover, as well as a bunch of others I like. So while I knew it would be good, I was still nervous since different folks can have such wildly different tastes with these kinds of things.
When I received the email, I took a deep breath and closed my eyes before I clicked on it. And when I looked, I couldn’t believe what I saw. It is perfect. John Herreid didn’t hit the ball out of the park, he hit it out of the stratosphere. It’s so right for the tone and content of this manuscript that I already can’t imagine my book with a different cover.
I should have the green light to share it next week, and I assure you that I’ll post it within approximately 1.75 seconds of being told that I can. I CANNOT WAIT to show it to you. Of all the agonizing delays I’ve been through in this process, this one is requiring the most heroic patience.
. . .
Happy All Saints Day! Have a good weekend!
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