Friday, January 25, 2008

Dane, I found this picture of you from when you were in Kindergarten. It makes me smile. I wish you weren't sick right now, and I wish I were there to cuddle with you and take care of you and play Fusion Frenzy. I miss you.

I also miss you, Aubrey -- and I can see you behind Dane in this picture! I can't wait to see you and cuddle and play Polly Pockets with you, too. I had fun talking on the phone with you for SO LONG.

Just a few more days, darlins.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Are You Up For A Review?

I received this email from a fellow Writing Mama who has joined the competitive world of novel publishing. If you feel like playing the game with her, read her novel excerpt (an download that will cost you $0 -- yes, zero) and write a quick review. It doesn't have to be splashy.

Here's her email:

Good news - my novel made it to the semifinals in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. The selection for the next stage will be based on public reviews. It's cool to get a page on Amazon, and see the power of the online community. I got my first review from a book lover who's interested in China. I'm tickled; she found my book among the 420 mainstream entries.

I'd love it if you have a chance to read the excerpt and write a review. It's a fast read, and I could use your support. Grand prize is getting PUBLISHED. (Let's hope we all get a piece of the publishing pie this year!)

The reviewers get to win prizes, too. Check out the main contest page at

To download In the Lap of the Gods, chapter 1:
* Go to my page at
or search for the title on Amazon under Books ("official ABNA entrant")
* You can download the excerpt easily after signing in. It's free.

* Go back to the bottom of my page to post a review.

One hundred finalists will be selected by **** FEBRUARY 19th ****

BUT - it's probably best to post your review in the next ten days, since somebody has to *read* them all. Gotta love those deadlines!

-Li Miao Lovett

Friday, January 18, 2008

Gramps died at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. His service is Saturday in Yakima; I'll stay at Soapstone but I'll be thinking of him and the rest of his/our family in Washington, California, and, of course, Texas. Peace.

Peso Penguin - by Dane

Purple Girl, Purple Tower - by Aubrey

Boy, I miss these kids! Don't get me wrong: I'm loving life here for these two weeks at Soapstone, but I definitely think of my family often. Mick's plugging away at school; Dane and Aubrey are having a fabulous time with their Grammy. I can't even imagine all the reading, drawing, snacking, and singing going on there.

I'd better get back to work now...

Monday, January 14, 2008


My flight arrived in SF from Sea-Tac this morning at 8:30; I went straight to work at 10; I've spent the afternoon packing and playing tennis with the family (the kids got new rackets from Santa!).

I leave for Oakland at 5:30 tomorrow morning to fly to Portland at 9, and then on to Soapstone from Portland. DON'S BROTHER AND SISTER-IN-LAW, DEN AND SUSAN, ARE LOANING ME THEIR VAN! Not only that, but they're meeting me at the airport. I am SO grateful.

I'm also grateful that Grammy Jan accepted our ticket south to help out around here for the two weeks that I'm gone. That'll help Mick stay focused on school -- and allow me to spend two weeks away knowing the kids are having a happy/safe time.

Check out Soapstone at, if you haven't already and you're curious.

Check out to see my housemate. She's published books on autism and is currently working on a novel. We've corresponded via email; she sounds terrific.
A Goodbye

My final time with Gramps is still too fresh to write about, so, maybe I will later, maybe not. He's still in hospice care.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Loving Act

Gramps is dying. My mom called last night to give me the most recent news. After months of dramatic decline, her father is back in the hospital and it now looks as if he’ll never return to the life he once knew.

My Gram, after 65 years of marriage, has had to make a heartbreaking decision: “I hope you’re not going to hate me,” she whispers to my mom on the phone. Gramps is back in the hospital with a lung infection after his food has been going down the wrong passageway, and, given the other complications of his health, the only way to sustain him now would be to use a feeding tube, and that doubles him up with more pain. “I’ve decided he should not have the tube,” Gram says, her voice breaking.

My mother’s been thinking about Gramps’ suffering for months now. “This is a loving act, Mom,” she chokes out. “You’re honoring his life.”

Thankfully, my mother’s siblings agree. Besides, this is in keeping with Gramps’ living will – that no extreme measures be taken to keep him alive should his body start to shut down. Like this.

She’s honoring the life of the family man, the soldier, the salesman, the farmer, the roofer (even into his eighties, much to Gram’s chagrin). She's honoring the life of the boy who was forced to leave home at twelve to live on the banks of the Salmon River, the man who could tell stories as long and meandering as that river.

So, tomorrow I fly two states away and return the next day, hopefully with my goodbyes rightly said. I bring with me images of a tire swing in the carport, whittling on the porch with our pocket knives, and waiting for fish to bite in a little boat in the middle of a lake on a black night.

I also bring knowledge of a body now weaker, morphine for pain, and an uncharacteristic inability to speak. Because Gramps, after all, is dying.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Aw, Willow Creek...

Here's a video of Dane's class singing at their Winter Concert. If anything, stay tuned for the Bellybutton song, destined to become a timeless classic.

Aubrey's class sang "Grandma, Grandma, you aint sick / all you need is a peppermint stick! / Hands up, shake, shake, shakey shake / Hands down, shake, shake, shakey shake/ Turn around, shake, shake, shakey, shake..." Don't have it on video yet.

Monday, January 07, 2008

We returned from our winter trip north Thursday night to A STORM a few hours later. (Think 1 a.m. wind and rain tossing everything about and pounding the windows all through the night and into the next day...) We didn't get power for 36 hours, not bad in comparison to some in Marin -- but our luggage, opened in the dark, contents strewn about the apartment, was not pleasant come Saturday afternoon. When I download my personal pictures, I'll update more on that personal experience. For now, here's a little blurb on the local experience.

(from the Marin Independent Journal)

MARIN COUNTY was all but paralyzed Friday as a spectacular storm walloped the county, pounding the region with hurricane-force winds and torrential rains that closed key thoroughfares.

Highway 101, Interstate 580, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, Highway 1 and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard were all closed for a time Friday, leaving thousands idling in gridlock as their cars swayed in ferocious winds.

Winds reached hurricane strength on Marin's highest peaks, gusting to 83 mph on Lucas Valley's Big Rock Ridge and 78 mph on Angel Island. Truck traffic was banned after winds gusting to 70 mph rocked the Golden Gate Bridge.

Golden Gate Transit bus and ferry service was suspended at the height of the storm.

Some 42,000 Marin residents were still without power Friday evening, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. reported. The biggest pockets of outages were 6,000 customers in Sausalito, 3,300 in Mill Valley and 2,900 in Fairfax, said PG&E spokeswoman Jana Schuering.

The storm dumped more than 4 inches of rain in San Rafael and Novato, and forecasters said light rain is likely to continue through Wednesday.

The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge was closed about 8:30 a.m. Friday after five big-rigs tipped over due to wind.

But it was the closure of Highway 101 at Interstate 580 after debris flew off the new flyover that really wreaked havoc in downtown San Rafael.

With the freeway closed in both directions, traffic was forced onto city streets, where high winds and power outages had taken out traffic signals at key intersections.