Monday, January 14, 2013

Over the River and Through the Woods...Not


Coming March 1, 2013

 Maybe I should title this, "When it rains, it pours."  Or even, "What I did on my holiday vacation."

When I first signed up to blog today, I'd planned to share pix and talk all about the highly anticipated Christmas visit with my mom.  Since my dad's passing, she's spent the holiday with each of my brothers, but not with us--because we get the crazy winter weather here in Nebraska, and she's pretty leery of traveling in bad weather.  Who can blame her?  But I digress...

Nothing about the last couple of weeks of December and New Year's was what I'd planned for or expected.  I'd cleaned my house within an inch of its life.  I'd decorated like I haven't in years.  I planned menus.  Scheduled travel dates.  Planned my writing schedule so I could have 2 weeks to just enjoy the time with my family.  Now as a Girl Scout, a teacher and a mom, I know that life rarely goes exactly as expected, and that I should be prepared for anything.  But, I will confess, the chaos and emotional upheavals of my holidays this year got to me.  At first, I was depressed.  There was anger in there along the way--frustration, too.  Finally, I just had to laugh.  And count my blessings.

So let me share some of the highlights of my holiday.

1.  Traveling down the highway on my way to Missouri to pick up my mom in Kansas City and bring her home to Nebraska, my car died.  Didn't just get a flat or pop a hose. The engine was completely blown and my faithful vehicle died at the intersection of two highways.  Fortunately, I could get off the Interstate. Fortunately, there were many wonderful people who helped me that day.  I was completely safe.  But my car...?  Rest in peace.


2.  After getting back home, making arrangements to borrow a generous friend's car to make the journey (hubby needed his truck for work, and the shop didn't have a verdict on fixing my car yet), and reassuring my mom that I could get to Kansas City safely... we got hit with a blizzard.  No one was going anywhere for a couple of days.

3.  Plan C (or maybe we were on F or G by now).  The dealer who was trying to repair my car said there was nothing they could do but put in a new engine for several thousand dollars. At that price, we figured we'd take the plunge and invest in a new car (it was nice not having a car payment while our son is in college, but we needed a vehicle).  Highways clear.  New car ready and prepped to go. Mom's visit will be much shorter, but I miss her and want to spend some time with her.  So, of course...

4.  My mom went into the hospital with symptoms of a heart attack. I can't tell you how frustrating and frightening it is to live so far away from a parent who needs you. Fortunately, she was already in Kansas City, visiting friends, so she got treatment right away. Plus, my younger brother lives in the area, and he got there pronto and kept us all informed on Mom's condition.  Thankfully, it turned out not to be a heart attack, but with all the tests the hospital ran on her, they diagnosed two conditions that did need treatment, and she is home and well and getting stronger and sassier every day.  But, as you might guess, Mom never did get up to Nebraska to spend the holidays with us.

I talk to my mom nearly every day, and count my blessings even more often.  So I didn't get my big Christmas. My mom is safe and being well-taken care of. My guys and I had a quiet, fun Christmas Day. No one if my family had any problems with the weather.  And I have a spiffy new (to me) car.

But times like that does wreak havoc on one's emotional equilibrium. I found it practically impossible to write through all that, and I have a deadline. So now, I have to knuckle down hard this month. I have to remind myself that writing books is a job.  And like any other job, I may not always want to do it, but I must do it. My family, my editor, my readers and my own sense of accomplishment are depending on me doing that job.  Fortunately, I can let my characters take over and tell their story until I can get on my creative and emotional feet again.

And should I mention that our furnace broke down during the cold weather? It's still gerry-rigged to run until a replacement part arrives.  I'm a writer, and I can't make this stuff up.  Sigh.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.  And please, count your blessings!


Accidental Bodyguard plus a Bonus story--ebook only
Tell me something you did over the holidays.  I'll give away a Kindle or Nook copy of my current release, ACCIDENTAL BODYGUARD (digital reissue this month) or a print copy of my upcoming release, TACTICAL ADVANTAGE, as soon as my author copies arrive, to one lucky poster.

Happy Reading!
Julie Miller

36 comments:

  1. Life happens!!

    I had a wonderful Christmas with family. It's kind of a big deal in our family, so it's heaps of fun. Plus there are a lot of us, so catching up means late nights & lots of cups of tea.

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    1. Ain't that the truth, Mary? ;)

      Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas.

      My guys (3 of us) played games and had a nice dinner. Hubby got a Star Trek Monopoly game. Plus Clue and Scrabble. Opened some presents, of course. Watched It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve. Son was only home for 24 hours. But Christmas Day itself turned out to be nice--all of my adventures happened right before or after.

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  2. I was stuck in the kitchen whole day for Christmas. It was nice to be with family. My sister is moving to Australia so as its her last one with us here for a while I went all out, with decorations and Christmas shopping.

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    1. That's nice that you could spend some quality time with your sister before she moves. I don't mind being "stuck" in the kitchen when there's a house full of family around me. (Although, I do love it when someone else in the family steps in to do the dishes afterward!)

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  3. Wow! Had a quiet Christmas also. My mom is in the nursing home after falling in the fall and breaking her femur. She's still rehabbing from that, but we were able to bring her home Christmas Day and just had a quiet Christmas. Thank goodness the weather was nice and not too cold in Minnesota.

    DeniseB

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    1. Glad you could have your mom with you for Christmas, Denise. Hope she continues to heal smoothly and quickly.

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  4. Hi Julie,

    What a hectic time. I am praying for your Mom. So glad it wasn't a heart attack.

    We have been passing around the same cold, so my daughter was sick before Christmas, I was sick right after Christmas and my husband is sick now. We did drive to Washington DC after Christmas to see some old friend and sightsee. That was hectic but fun.

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  5. Oh, no--being sick over the holidays is no fun! But it's nice that your family shares.

    What's DC like in the winter? (I've only been in the summer a few times) Lighted up and pretty, I hope?

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  6. That does sound like a rough holiday. Glad that your Mom is doing better. The best laid plans of mice and men . . .

    Are you going to Kansas City for Romantic Times? I'd like to go, just to see the city that you write about so much.

    Here's to a smoother 2013.

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  7. When something minor happened to my daughter's car over the holidays and she was whining, I had to tell her that bad luck doesn't take a holiday! Sorry to hear about your troubles, Julie but glad that everything is working out now, especially that your mom is on the mend. That's the most important thing! Happy that you got a new car too! I know you will make the deadline! The book will be fantastic, as usual, it always is....

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    1. Thanks for all the support, Valri! I'm glad your daughter's car problem was minor. Mechanical breakdowns are never fun, but at least it wasn't major.

      And you're right, my mom's health was the most important thing in all this. Trust me, other than being fatigued (she's resting lots), she's as ornery and funny and wonderful as ever. ;)

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  8. I was sick with a cold, but kept working because it was Christmas
    and people were buying books at B&N. However, on Christmas we had dinner with my Uncle Howie who has been laid up since Sept.5, when he broke his ankle. We were hoping he would have home by them, but
    he got sick and other setbacks. My aunt and a family friend and
    I, took hime a homecook meal and carrot cake(his favorite) and spent a guiet yet enjoyable day with him. As Mary our friend said she wanted to enjoy the day doing something special and said being friends who have been their through the good and the bad was the best way to celebrate the day. She was right because we had a great time . Now we hoping to have Uncle Howie home soon.

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    1. Edna, that sounds like a wonderful celebration. Being with people you care about and who care about you is the best part of the holidays for me.

      Hope you're on the mend from your cold!

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  9. We had such a wonderful Christmas!!!! Christmas itself was quiet with our son's family. Grandkids were sick so was glad that we planned it this way. Then the weekend following Christmas we had ALL of our children together, and ALL of our Grandchildren for the first time in so long. It was great. Then we spent New Years with friends and family playing Quelf. For those of you who may not have played this game, check it out. makes for loads of laughter and good times!

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    1. Quelf is a wonderfully fun game, Lilsis. Lots of laughter and silliness (wink-wink). I know the gathering of friends I spent time with on New Year's Eve really helped me feel better about the holidays. I know your son and daughter-in-law really appreciated having you there over the holidays to help with the kids.

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  10. I went out Christmas shopping right before the holiday, got home to do prep work for the family gathering, fell and bruised my knee cap. I spent Christmas Eve in the ER and Christmas Day in the good company of my Schipperke and Beagle, and the narcotics. God is omnipresent and certainly was in those narcotics. I may skip Christmas next year and celebrate a low-key Yule on the 21st. Happy New Year, everyone!

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    1. Oh, no, Diane! Hope you're on the mend. I've met your doggies and know that you were in good company.

      Happy New Year!

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  11. Oh my goodness! What a time you had... I really dislike times like that... one mess after another! I am glad things have calmed down and that your mother is alright.
    Christmas was the norm for my family... time spent with family... dinners, presents... the only new thing was my sister's boyfriend came over. Lately though, a nasty cold bug has been running around my family.
    Best wishes for 2013 for you and your family!

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    1. Yikes, Colleen. That's no fun when everyone takes turns getting sick. Hope everyone is on the mend.

      I know times like that happen. I pray. And I thank God for my generous friends and family. And I just try to keep moving forward.

      Happy New Year!

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  12. Oh my gosh, Julie! What a crazy, emotionally taxing holiday you had!!! I can't even imagine. It'll take you a month just to recuperate!

    We were all sick over the holidays. Bad. My husband got it the weekend before Christmas. My son got it the night before Christmas and lasted a few days. Thought we were clear, but on New Years Eve, I got hit, hard, and was sick for six days straight. And my daughter got it while I was down with it... My best friend was a bottle of Lysol and Lysol disinfectant wipes. We're all much better, but we didn't get to celebrate with all the family this year. It was a bit of a bummer kind of holiday, and Christmas is my favorite holiday of them all!

    Good luck with your deadline :) Will be thinking of you!

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    1. Sorry to hear that, Niecey. That's no fun for everyone to be sick. Hope you get some fun family time soon.

      Thanks for all the good thoughts!

      And hey, when does your debut book come out?

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  13. Hi Julie,
    Our holidays were thankfully stress free and quiet. I went to Christmas brunch with my cousin before the big dinner.

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  14. Glad to hear that your mom is ok and that it wasn't a heart attack. I went through that with my father and my mother died of cancer. After they passed away I would spend Christmas with my older brother. Unfortunately he passed away before this Christmas so I spent it alone. So I spent Christmas alone.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear that, Ellen. Maybe you could find a good friend to spend Christmas with. Or a church or other group. Take care.

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  15. Ellen,

    So sorry you lost your brother and you had to spend Christmas alone this year.

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    1. Ellen ~ sorry to hear that your brother passed away. Sending cyber hugs your way.

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  16. Laura AKA Loves 2 Read RomanceJanuary 14, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    Glad to hear your mom is doing better Julie. Bummer on the car.
    Ellen sorry to hear that you spent Christmas alone since your brother passed. *Hugs!!*

    It sounds like some family member of everyone here got sick for Christmas. What a bummer. We saw the family briefly during the Christmas holidays. My Aunt was down with her family but left a really early Sunday morning instead of late that afternoon because she was getting sick. She spent 5 hours in the Doc in a Box near her home. We got to see everyone else too but because of schedules we weren't all together at the same time. So parts were quiet.

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    1. Wow, Laura--that's a lot to keep track of with so much going on. I hope everyone is feeling better and enjoying the New Year.

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  17. Hey, gang--I'll post the winner here tomorrow. So please check back in.

    (Need to get some shut-eye!)

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  18. And the winner is... Edna!

    Congratulations! Maggie nosed your name out of the stack of entries and selected you as the winner of yesterday's blog post. If you'll send me an email with your choice of ACCIDENTAL BODYGUARD ebook or TACTICAL ADVANTAGE print book, along with contact info, I'll get your prize in the mail or delivered online ASAP.

    Thanks to everyone for blogging with me. I'll be back here next month (and around Facebook and the Harlequin boards in the meantime). Have a safe and successful 2013!

    Julie Miller

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  19. Julie ~ At least you have a clean house, a new to you car and your mother didn't have a heart attack. I hope your furnace gets fixed soon.

    Our car died much the same way last spring. We really did not plan on getting a new to us car at that time. Car payments are the pits.

    My brother was on call on Christmas Day so my husband and I spent it at home. Boxing Day is the big day in my sister's family and 25 of us celebrated at her place. It will probably the last celebration as her husband is aging quickly and may not be around next year.

    Yes I'm counting my blessings more often and phoning a few people just to talk to them while I still can.

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  20. That's the right attitude, Kaelee. I agree, count your blessings. I know I do.

    Boxing Day sounds like it was fun for you.

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