Hello folks . . . gosh, I miss you all. Let me bring you up to date on what is going on and why the Military Blog Police are looking for me.

In the 45 days since my dad came down with pneumonia, I’ve been away from home for 30 of them. I embrace change, travel, and diversity in my life, but right now I crave stability, home, and a routine.

This post will be like a Christmas letter from Mrs. I. M. Annoying. You know the kind I mean . . . she tells you precious Johnny received straight “A’s” in his Housefly Wing Removal class and precocious Susie won her preschool’s Gold Medal in the 500-meter macaroni necklace-making contest. She goes on to tell you Grandma Lucy delivered a litter of puppies. You hope that Grandma Lucy helped the dog deliver the puppies and didn’t actually give birth to Schnauzers herself.

We are moving Dad to a nursing home in Portland on Monday to be near my sisters and a boatload of other family members. I am headed to San Jose on Friday, one last time, to help with the transition. The cruel, yet at times merciful hand of Alzheimer’s Disease has made it so Mom doesn’t remember how frail Dad is.

Our daughter, Amanda, finished Basic Training and is now at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey where she is learning Arabic. I had one more of her letters from Basic to share with you, but at this point, I’ll just give you what she wrote about your letters to her Platoon:

“I got your package of letters on Friday, Madre. It was the coolest thing ever. We spent personal time reading the letters out loud. Everyone was so nice and sincere. It really made us feel important. It also reminded us why we are here . . . the letters gave us perspective. After eight weeks in Basic Training, that was very important. Please thank your blog readers on behalf of all of us.”

A couple of weeks ago, my husband attended a conference in Las Vegas and I tagged along. Freightliner Truck invited us to their annual customer appreciation party at the Bellagio. They host a party that blows the doors off all other parties. Knowing I hit a rough patch in the road, Keith Urban, the kind soul that he is, volunteered to be the entertainment so he could cheer me up. Wasn’t that nice of him?

My buddy, Keith Urban

Last weekend was the Writers Digest conference in Los Angeles. The speakers covered the craft of writing, pitching your book, and the rapid-fire changes in today’s world of publishing. The experience was fantastic, and in a future post, I will share snippets of what I learned.

In the “Pitch Slam” session at the conference, twenty literary agents sat at tables around a conference room. We attendees lined up for the opportunity to give a 3-minute pitch of our book to as many agents as we could during the 90-minute session. The tension in the air was electric. Bottom line . . . I pitched my book, In Search of Beef Stroganoff, to two agents and both asked me to submit partials of my manuscript to their agency.  I am thrilled beyond thrilled.

I hope that by next week I will be able to return to my blog . . . and to yours . . . and peace will return to the land.

Take care . . . Robin