Archive for December, 2008


speedwayweb1speedwayweb2speedwayweb3hatwebWe love traditions in my family, but every once in a while it’s fun to try something new. Even though we have lived here for 6 1/2 years, we have never visited the annual Bristol Motor Speedway – “Speedway in Lights” extravaganza. So, this December we bundled up the little ones and drove to Bristol… only about 30 minutes from our house.

I must say, they certainly know how to do a light display… it was pretty awesome, everything from John Deere tractors to dinosaurs (???).
Ainsley and Anastasia loved it, and the grown-ups thought it was fun as well. You start outside the speedway and wind around several acres of light displays. Then you actually go inside the Speedway and get to drive on the famous track!! Way cool!

In the middle of the track there is space to park, and you can get out of your car to see Santa, buy funnel cakes, or take a miniature train ride.

It was definitely worth the $12 per car price tag. The money goes to Speedway Charities which helps all kinds of children’s organizations in the area.

I don’t know if we’ll make it an every year event, but it was fun to say we put the pedal to the metal on the world’s fastest half mile. 🙂

I have a jillion Christmas pictures, but this was one of my favorites – the two little ones modeling their new hats.

Happy New Year to all of you, and may 2009 be filled with health, happiness, and unexpected blessings.


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Merry Christmas to me!

Howdy all!!

I’m going to make this one fast as the Sunday before Christmas is busy for everyone.

It’s Christmas and time for prezzies. Sooo, to get something I truly wanted, I bought myself a Christmas prezzie.

I have dish fettish. I looove pretty china. I’d probably have a set of dishes for every season and every holiday if I had the room to store the things.

When my hubby was here I tried to consider him in decorating so I have lighthouse dishes. That worked, I like lighthouses, he likes them, we sail. Even chartered on the Chesapeake and Lake Erie with some really great lighthouse.

But now it’s just me and the lighthouses are looking a little faded. I’ve had my eye on Villeroy and Boch dishes since forever. They cost the earth and lets face it a dish is a dish, you eat off it and it goes in the dishwasher. Done.

Except these are such beautiful dishes. The kind that make your heart sing in the morning when you pour out your coffee and eat your poptart. When I get tired of writing late at night I’d go to Macys online and visit my dishes. I think I need therapy.

Wanna see my dishes! 

Anyway, Linens and Things is going out of business and had close-out prices on my dishes, the French Garden Collection. So, one night late I bought my dishes, some of them. Even at close-out prices they are a bit much.

I did it. For the first time I bought myself a Christmas present. Anyone else buy themselves a Christmas present this year? What was it??

And for your efforts and because you all are the best I’ll give away Star Quality and to one lucky winner I have Hunk Of The Year Calendar. It’s so neat. You’ll love it. Not as much as I love my dishes but it is sweet!

Merry Christmas!
Hugs, Dianne

Love Actually

Love Actually

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The question…

crossed posted my personal blog…

more animals

It’s a bad thing when an author runs out of author copies…especially when she really needed one. Or two. It’s even worse when it’s in the middle of a bunch of slush and goop (not quite snow, not as pretty) falling from the sky.

And during the middle of the Christmas shopping season?

Sigh. Although seriously, a trip to the bookstore is always good, right? Hit three of them, found the books I needed at the first one, but since I was in the area, figured I might as well sign stock.

One of the cashiers at the first Borders I stopped at mention he did some writing himself.

Then he asks… THE QUESTION. The question…the one that no author can answer the same way, I don’t think.

So how hard was it to get published?

I went thru my little spiel, I kind of slipped in through a back door…got into EC right before it took off in a big way, I was in the right time, the right place, doing the right thing…

Then I shrugged and told him really, it seems like most published author stories have that in common. Having the right story, getting it in front of the right editor, at the right time. Things that were selling three years ago aren’t selling now (or as much) but things that weren’t selling three years ago are selling. So much depends on timing, so much depends on the story…and so much depends on the editor who sees your story.

I had a number of editors pass on one particular book that was very important to my career and if there wasn’t one editor who looked at it and saw something she liked, I don’t know if I would been doing what I’m doing right now.

Lots of luck. Lots of timing. Lots of persistence. Because unless you’re really lucky and you’ve got lots and lots of good karma-type energy piled up, just waiting for you, I don’t know how likely it is that the very first story will sell to the very first editor. Yeah, I think it’s happened, but it’s one of those things that doesn’t happen very often. So persistence comes in handy.

Because if you’ve got a good story, then you have to keep getting out to people. That’s the only way it’s going to get in front of the right people.

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im-your-santa2I was watching the OC. My daughter gave me season 1. (I think that’s Orange County and IMO they should have just called it the Seth show because this character is the only one who can act. But that’s another blog).

Anyway there’s a mom who celebrates Christmas and a dad who’s Jewish so the son, Seth, created Chrismaka (Christmas and Hanukah) to embrace both holidays. Brought the best of both together under one roof. Whereas some of the OC is lame, I love this idea. United the family instead of dividing it.

My question is, have you ever partaken in a celebration of a culture or religion of which you are not affiliated? I’ve gone to Episcopal weddings, Jewish wedding, even a Greek Orthodox wedding. Loved ‘em all. IMO this is like eating at an Italian or Mexican or Chinese restaurant. You don’t have to be Italian or Mexican or Chinese to enjoy the experience and it enriches your life. You experience something new.

So, fellow bloggers, what celebrations out of your normal sphere have your attended? What did you enjoy most? I love the Greek wedding food and you should see me dance the hora. 

I’ll give away a copy of Star Quality from the answers.
Have a good Sunday.

Dianne Castell

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Hope everyone had a fun and relaxing Thanksgiving. We were in Chattanooga at my sister’s house. We were missing my nephew and his new bride… they were in Orlando with her family. My older daughter and her crew weren’t there as well, because she had to work. News doesn’t take a day off. 😦 But it was a great meal, nevertheless.

Friday we headed north with our younger daughter and her hubby. Caroline (the older one) had Friday off, so the eight of us rendezvouzed in Pigeon Forge along with our son-in-law’s sister.

This you should know about me – I absolutely love to get a great shopping bargain. But nothing, I repeat – nothing (shopping related) can coax me out of bed at the crack of dawn. I love to sleep more than I love to shop. 🙂

So – without retail therapy on the calendar for Friday, the nine of us headed for Dollywood. Charles was given four tickets back in April that we had never used, and our son-in-law’s dad works at the big “D” in the summer, so we were covered in the pass department.

The weather was perfect, chilly, but not too cold. The crowds were maneagable… and the Dollywood folk were charming and friendly. As one guy said to us, “how can you not have a good day with smiles like that?” (He was looking at Ainsley.)

We rode the ferris wheel, the cups and saucers, the scrambler, the carousel, the flying elephants, and best of all, the big train that goes all around the park. The little ones behaved beautifully, and it was a really fun day all the way around.

So, my Friday was a success, but I still have to take care of my shopping list. That’s okay – I know I have 24 more days to go!

Hope your Monday is smooth sailing !


The photo – L to R… Anna (in school at Vandy), my hubby Charles, Ainsley 2 3/4, Anna’s hubby Chris with Anastasia (just turned 5) above him, me, Caroline (mom of the 2 little ones), and her hubby Jamie. Chris’s sister took the picture for us.

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