Geri's Take on...
Where Geri's insights on life, love and living may provide a clue as to how a U.S. Naval Academy graduate became a romance author. She's lived it, now she writes it.
January 19, 2012 – 10:57 am
A short note and cool photo to remind everyone (myself, mostly) that it’s okay to be who you are. Look at these frost crystals that formed on the railroad bridge near my home. They are spectacular just as they are. And I could have missed them if I’d stayed in my warm cozy bed instead of getting up and going for the cold walk with my husband and dog. Enjoy your day and remember to keep it simple and just focus on the next thing you need to do. It will all fall into place.
January 1, 2012 – 2:50 pm
Each New Year’s for several years (maybe even a decade) I’ve picked a word or phrase to inspire me. I’ve made out a list of goals and intentions. I’ve created 10 yr, 5 yr and 1 yr plans and back-stepped to figure out what I needed to do each day to achieve said objectives. Today I’m happy to sit still and be. “Be” as in sipping some great tea out of my Russian porcelain tea mug that I purchased last year while still a Moscow resident. By simply “being” I’m able to be overwhelmed with gratitude that my family has made the transition back to the USA and we’re each thriving in our little corners of this earth. Our family had a major loss this year with my father-in-law’s passing, and as with any family loss it’s triggered moments of sorrow, laughter and reflection. Am I living my life to my fullest? I’m in the midst of re-reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I’m struck by how he captured the present moment that he lived and wrote in. That’s my one professional goal this year (okay, besides hit the NYT and make gazillions of dollars in royalties)–to write in the spirit of capturing the moment that my characters are living in. Because in that moment, I’m living “there” with them. And I need to hug each breath, each thought, each second. They are all precious.
November 21, 2011 – 9:17 pm
Sounds like a Wheel of Fortune “before and after” puzzle doesn’t it? The only reason I am thinking of Wheel of Fortune is because I’ve spent the better part of a week with family members who adore Wheel of Fortune. Me, I’m more of a Jeopardy girl. I’m getting ready for Thanksgiving and the past few weeks it has hit me that yes, I’m part of the Sandwich Generation. I have children still at home, or in college, and aging parents. I’m not alone. There are millions of us. I am blessed. My parents and my in-laws have wonderful insurance and any help needed from the kids is relatively minimal. Yet as I prepare for Thanksgiving (eldest son’s first time back since leaving for college!) my mind goes to all the adult children taking care of their elderly adult parents. How are they doing it? How are we doing it? One day at a time, one meal at a time, one doctor’s visit at a time. When faced with what can be a heartbreaking road, I’ve learned that gratitude is the best antidote for me. Not Pollyanna “all will be swell” crap. It’s the simple stuff. So in light of this week and our national feast of the yummiest dishes native to the USA, here’s my gratitude list. Feel free to add yours! I am grateful for: 1. My health 2. My family–no matter their age, political preference, state of health or mind, lack of boundaries or too many walls to climb over. We are family. 3. My friends who keep me sane and laugh with me on this journey. 4. Great recipes, the funds to buy the ingredients and a comfortable kitchen in which to cook them. 5. Is there anything else worth mentioning? Happy Thanksgiving!
September 14, 2011 – 4:05 pm
In a blink, summer’s giving way to autumn. Today’s most likely the last hot day we’ll see in the Northeast. I’ve been away from the blog due to a global move and associated tasks. Fancy speak for I’ve been overwhelmed by life.Great news–I have a new book coming out in June 2012 with Harlequin Superromance, set on Whidbey Island, Washington. Details will emerge as the publication date gets closer. I already have two events planned for June which is the precise reason I’m so thrilled to be back in the States full-time. There’s nothing like connecting with dear readers in person. No matter how crazy it gets, I try to eek out at least a smidgen of serenity each day. My dog Misha is often the source of this. Sometimes it’s Ripley the Fearless Parrot. What’s your serenity source?
June 5, 2011 – 5:14 am
March 10, 2011 – 9:10 am
February 28, 2011 – 5:08 am
I went to Scotland. Castles, mountains, wool, history galore. A writer’s heaven.As a kid in Western New York I loved winter and faced total confusion as my grandparents complained about the cold and snow. As long as I could make a snow man, ice skate, or even better, go sledding/tobogganing, I was thrilled. The years have blinked by and now I “get” what they meant. It’s tough to drive in ice and snow, and worse to walk in it, especially in Russia where the ice can be inches thick on the sidewalks. If it’s hard for me and I consider myself in okay shape, how hard it must be for the elderly who need to walk to get to the kiosk that sells their favorite (most affordable) fruit or bread. My children get a week off at the end of February for Winter Break, and we used the off-season prices to afford a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. Friends and family in the States thought we were crazy–Scotland, in the winter? It’ll be cold, rainy, miserable! Nope. It was chilly the first few days, but a relative heat wave to us. And the last couple of days were downright balmy. In the 30′s at night, but 40′s, maybe even 50 during the day. Enjoy the photos–if you’re still in the grips of Father Frost, wherever you are, I hope they give you hope for the coming Spring. By the way, it’s 9 degrees Fahrenheit as I write, -2 wind chill.
January 12, 2011 – 12:06 pm
Belorusskaya Train Station is across the street from me as I write this. You know it; it was made famous in Dr Zhivago. I never pass it or stop in it without my mind seeing Lara and Yuri under the layers of fur in their dacha. As a kid I wondered how they slept under such weight but as an adult and romance novelist I think of other things now.John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas” is on this Starbuck’s stereo. Yes, it’s January 12th—Christmas and New Year’s last longer in Russia thanks to the Gregorian calendar and Orthodox Tradition. I’m probably the oldest person here. Not the oldest looking, as the hard life that Moscow offers often prematurely ages folks and I’m always surprised to find out someone I think of as ten-to-fifteen years older than I is indeed the same age or younger. But chronologically I’m sure I’m one of the “senior” people here. Moscow is a young person’s town and it reflects in the clientele. There are of course the usual smattering of super-model-thin, tall, blonde girls. They are most certainly younger and better dressed than I am, even in the new sweater my dearest gave me for Christmas on December 25th, American-style. Yet I’m content, serene. The skies are so bleak and the snow dirty and slushy. It’s a tough time of year when the sky is still pitch dark at 8 am and never quite gets bright with the nonexistent sun. All daylight is gone by 4pm or so, adding to the anxiety that I’m not getting enough done in a day. I make a cup of green coconut tea (another nice gift, this one from Sally) and I remind myself I still have 6-7 hours of the day left to be productive. Ah, productive. That used to mean getting more and more things done, writing another chapter, revising another manuscript. Today it means I’ve completed my writing day and in the evenings I’ll enjoy my family as much as possible with two teens who lock themselves into homework after dinner. I may knit or play with our new puppy or play with my Weight Watcher points to see if I can fit in dark chocolate M&M’s or if an apple is a better choice tonight. I’m learning that I’m most productive in the old sense and the new when I just am.
December 3, 2010 – 10:31 am
Honest, I’m not going to bore you with my transcendental journey while sitting in lotus or laying in corpse pose yesterday at yoga. Probably because my journey was more of a muscular nature, as in my lower back cramped up so badly I thought for sure I’d be laid flat and told to “take it easy, rest, eat whatever you want for the Holidays and no more hard work outs.” Yet the class continued. Somehow I got through each pose, at times sweating out the discomfort. My lower back has been my nemesis ever since college, and of course being a runner for so many years didn’t help it. I’ve learned to balance my exercise–heavier on walking, lifting (resistance), stationery bike, etc, and I only run for fun occasions like a road race I want to do. I know that to keep the back pain away I have to work out–hard, especially on my core. It’s just part of the I-want-to-be-healthy-and-strong gig. Still my lower back and I have our moments when I’ve been doing all the right things, and it still fusses and gives me grief. My inclination is to take an anti-inflammatory and rest. Yet if I work through it (carefully, not abusively) the spasms ease and I enjoy another long period with negligible pain. Hmm…sounds like the same prescription for writing relevant, real, touching prose. If I ignore my craft and blow off my regular morning pages and daily writing, I start to feel like crap. And then when I do get back to the page, I’m writing, well, crap. It takes a lot longer to produce a great dialogue or to insert a much-needed metaphor. Writing regularly, practicing anything that’s our vocation on a regular, consistent basis, is tough. At all the writer’s conferences and workshops I’ve attended or given, no one has ever stood up and said “this is so easy! I write whenever I want and I’m a successful New York Times bestselling author!” The most successful among us are either quiet and listening carefully to glean new insight into their craft, or they’re not there because they’re at work—writing. The yoga instructor is Russian and when I first started her class I thought “great, Soviet gymnastics-turned-torture.” But while her style is different from what I’m used to, it’s not bad. Just different. She has us hang indefinitely in painful poses so that we get past the pain. So that my muscles finally trust. Relax. Take in more oxygen. Hang in there. Don’t beat yourself up. Enjoy the peace and joy this season is meant to bring. Soak in the beauty of a brightly lit Christmas tree, sigh in delight as another Menorah candle is lit. Breathe. Relax. Let your true vocation come through.
November 15, 2010 – 7:15 am
Do you ever feel like you’re swimming against the tide? Okay, maybe not against the tide but instead of flying in the current of life it’s tossing you around a bit, maybe leaving a few marks? I’ve felt like this for a while now and I can’t put my finger on when it started. When we were evacuated from Moscow this summer, due to the smoke from the peat fires? When our stay in the States turned from 4 to 6 weeks and I was out of my routine for too long? When it hit me that life is constantly moving by whether or not I “hop on?” It really doesn’t matter what caused this type of funk. And I feel guilty even saying it’s a funk. I enjoy life. I took myself and my laptop out into the city today to write this blog–I don’t know many people who can say they took their office out for a trip. Of course, they probably make a lot more money than I do, but that’s another blog (the I’m-not-defined-by-my-royalty-statement essay). It’s 55 degrees Fahrenheit in Moscow Russia on the 15th of November and I’m out here to enjoy it, for heaven’s sake. Maybe when I was younger I wasn’t as aware of the fragility of life, the reality that we all get older if we’re blessed to live long enough. And getting older means saying good-bye to some youthful pursuits. Self-pity and self-centeredness top my favorite things to say “so long” to. I must say I love the confidence and sense of knowing myself that maturation brings. It’s liberating and thrilling. The younger me would be horrified to know that indeed, my body can weigh the number of pounds it does–that my figure hasn’t stayed reed-thin and my clothes choices too often fall into the “comfortable writer” category. But the younger me had no clue as to the joys of raising children, dogs, novels, marriages (just one so far, Thank God). The younger me didn’t notice she was swimming through jam. I was spinning my wheels too quickly to even note if I hit a speed bump. Today I feel the speed bumps and heart palpitations. But I’m not afraid of any of it–it’s okay, it’s life, and I’m happy to be here. And that means accepting when I’m treading in thick, syrupy jam. This too shall pass.