Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Friday, June 29, 2012

Recipe Friday Falafel

 Ever feel like something a little exotic?

This is one of The Guy's favorite things. It isn't nearly as complicated as it looks; it just has a lot of stuff in it. Double, or even triple, the recipe and freeze the patties on a cookie sheet. Once they are frozen, drop them in a plastic bag. Then just take out what you need. No need to thaw before cooking.

Serve with couscous,  tabouli, or cucumber salad.


Falafel With Tahini Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 15.5 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • ¼  cup safflower or canola oil

Directions

1.    Place half of chickpeas in food processor and pulse a few times until chopped, transfer to a large bowl.
2.    Place remaining chickpeas in food processor with garlic, onion, herbs, spices, baking soda, salt, and lemon juice. Pulse to a thick, chunky paste, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl with chopped chickpeas.
3.    Add egg and sesame seeds to bowl and stir to combine. Cover and chill batter in fridge 30 minutes.
4.    Make mixture into 2 inch patties.
5.   Heat 2 T. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, turning once, until deep golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat.
6.  Serve falafel with pita bread, sliced tomatoes and red onion, romaine leaves, and tahini sauce.
  
Tahini Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 1/2  cup of water

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor or blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy. If sauce gets too thick as it sits, stir in a little more water or lemon

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Vincent Van Romance Writer

I’m rushing towards the end of my work in progress, Bending Rivers.  Because of that, today's post is short and sweet, but fun!  (I'm ALL about the fun!)  And by golly I’m going to finish this book before I leave for RWA Nationals  if it kills me and then I can have even more fun in Anaheim!  YiPpEe!

My youngest, Vz Gogh, shared this video with me and it made me think of writing a book…the assembly of the story, the arrangement (and rearrangement) of the details, the looking at it from every possible angle and reworking it until it flows and falls in the right directions…all the way up to “The End”.  Plus on the heels of Kathy publishing, I have to say  that even in dominoes…. you just never give up.   If you dream it its worth doing it.  And if you do it then you believe in it until the thing works.  And when you finish the story, then you sit back and watch its beauty unfold from every direction.  Then when someone else enjoys all the pieces of your dream unfold, well, there’s just nothing in the world like that feeling of accomplishment.  It gives you the encouragement to do it all over again on a new story, a new work of art, a new dream.

So enjoy this little video while I go back and regroup a few of my own dominoes.  Be sure to pay attention all the way to the end for the different views.  And tell me…. are you as amazed by this artists work as I am?  Would this be something like a NYTBS Domino-ist?  :D


 

Vincent Van Dominogh

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Fangled Things


         I am of an age that I can look back to see all the changes that have happened in the world and wonder how we got along without all the gadgets.  I remember a simpler time where there were no computers, no cell phones, no social networking, no email.  There was nothing vaguely electronic in our lives except maybe a transitor radio which I guess wasn’t really electronic.  Oh well…

         These things have become a part of our every day lives.  We take for granted inventions that would have been a wonder for us in the seventies.  I remember my first Texas Instrument calculator (which replaced the slide rule we used in chemistry).  That piece of electronics changed my view of math ( ha, still didn’t make me like it).  I also remember the first air conditioner we hung proudly in our window, cooling the living room when I was five.  Ah, lying there in utter contentment and not sweating.  I remember the first color television we bought, a clunky small thing but oh so fascinating!  And cable television!  Wow, we could get more than three channels!  I was grown and working as an attorney when we bought our first PC – another clunky slow thing but such a wonderment!  And the first brick phone!  I felt like Mudair, secret agent!  Sounds silly, doesn’t it?  Considering the waves of technology engulfing us every day.  You buy a phone or a computer and it’s already old, replaced by newer faster technology.  Kind of makes your head spin.

         But to me the greatest invention was the post-it note.  I cannot live without my little yellow sticky notes.  I write messages to myself, stick them places and wah-lah I can remember what I am doing.  Yes, I know, my cell phone can do reminders but nothing can replace seeing that yellow sticky note on my dashboard reminding me to go by the grocery store and buy milk.  I will hold onto my little yellow pads, a comfort.  I praise the inventor, whoever he or she is/was, because that little yellow piece of paper has kept me on time and on task for years.

         What is the greatest modern invention in your opinion?  What has helped you the most?  What could you not live without?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Let the Good Times Roll

Just when you think that life can't get any better... it does!

Jean's Precious Angel is finally getting his chance to fly.  My grandsons are home!  (Believe me, this Mimi is thrilled!)  And as of today, I've got all my children in one place, except for my oldest son.  Sadly, he's deployed right now and won't be home until later this year.

In spite of this small set back, I'm having the time of my life these days.  Not only do I share a fabulous blog with four other marvelous writers, I now have a publisher for my book DUKE BY DAY, ROGUE BY NIGHT and a tentative release date... October 29, 2012! 

I'm extremely grateful to Jennifer Lawler at Crimson Romance for giving me this opportunity to bring Percival Avery, Marques Stanton and Lady Constance Danbury's story to life.

While I prepare for the whirlwind publishing will bring into my life this year, and the RWA Conference in Anaheim next month, I'm revamping my website with the help of my fantastic daughter, D2, who's in her senior year as a Graphic Design Major.  She's got fabulous ideas that will rock readers' socks off!  And I'm especially brimming with anticipation to see the kind of online playground she'll create to showcase my professional life as an author and help me promote my books.

So much to do, and I've got grandsons to hug. My edits will be arriving in a few weeks.  On top of that, I'm back to work on DBD, RBN's sequel, THE CAPTAIN'S PRIZE.  And, with an invitation to host my first table at the Southern Magic Readers' Luncheon on November 3, 2012, I've got swag to prepare and a career to promote.

A successful ascent up another rung of the ladder does not mean the climb ends.  We must never look down at the broken, brittle wood below.  And above all, we must never give up, no matter how obscure the dream or the goal. 

Jean's Precious Angel wants to fly.  I'm high in the clouds.  Where are you?

















Monday, June 25, 2012

Don't Blink

This is the part where you think you have plenty of time.

This is the part where he walks away but you know he will be back soon because after practice, after his date with the girl of the moment, after his final exam, he's going to need some macaroni and cheese.

This is the part where those grownup things start setting in.

And he thinks sitting in a tank is really nifty.

Then someone tells him he's pretty good at sitting in a tank. "Look! An award! A uniform! And guess what? We are going to have dance where you can march that girl of the moment through swords." Girls love to walk through swords. Trust me.

Then somewhere along the way, tank sitting doesn't seem nearly as nifty as airplane flying.

And with that comes a Colorado Springs state of mind.He was fortunate enough to have his choice of West Point and the Air Force Academy, but in the end he opted for Rocky Mountain High.

This is the part where there is no time left and only your head saw it coming..



Godspeed, Precious Angel. I've got my ticket. I'll see you in six weeks. I know we've never gone even six days before, but we'll be fine. No. I'll be fine. You will be amazing. Like always.

And for all of you who haven't gotten to that last picture yet, don't blink. Don't miss a thing.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Recipe Friday: Love Ice Cream? Meet My Milk Punch

They (meaning people who ought to know, who I looked up on the Internet) say milk punch goes back to Colonial times. Though it is still commonly served in New Orleans for brunch, it's a little passe for the rest of us--which I don't understand because it's delicious. I have also never understood why it is considered a Christmas treat. The milk punch in my life is partially frozen and is more like ice cream that anything else. I declare it fit for summertime. 




Milk Punch

  • 1 gallon of whole milk
  • 1 pound of confectioners' sugar
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 fifth of bourbon
  • Ground nutmeg to taste
Mix milk, sugar, and vanilla in a large container until sugar dissolves. Stir in bourbon. Freeze overnight. Serve partially frozen. Sprinkle each serving with nutmeg. 

 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cow Songs and Guit-fiddles


The cows are bored with my song selections.  They’ve turned their backs on me lately.  So I’ve decided it’s time to new it up a bit.  That’s exactly what I did this week while I was recovering from being broadsided by my characters.  (They’re not playing nicely with me at the moment, either.  Buggars!)  And if you know me any bit at all, you know somewhere deep inside my soul lives the heart of a gypsy woman.  I do love me some gypsy music, wagons, dancing, etc.  Oh!  And travel.  Let’s not forget the traveling parts!  

Anyway, in my music wanderings I landed on Youtube at this guitarist’s recordings and I think I may have found a kindred soul!  I LOVE this man’s work (Minus the Beatles.  I may be the only living creature on earth that doesn’t think the Beatles are King. :/)!  Back to my new musician love, Mr. Adrian Holovaty.  Oh that my fingers would imitate his manipulations of the strings.  Alas....I'm content with my voice dancing around the finger pickings and strums.  Sigh.  Yes, sadly, I am musically codependent.  : /  

Here’s a song by this wonderful gypsy jazz guitarist for you to enjoy.


This singing gig of mine goes back to when I was a kid.  Eventually in high school my Driver’s Ed teacher told me to go to Nashville.  He said I had the boobs for it.  (I know, right!  Totally PI!)  Anyway, I never went to Nashville until I moved to Alabama a few years back.  And though I could sing a country tune as easy as anything else, it’s not what makes my heart beat, leap or jump.  But give me some Hoagy or Lena or Ella or Louis and I am in my own musical universe!  Well, and Adelle, Jason M, Kelly C, Emmy Lou, oh and we can’t leave out   Allison K….loVe her voice!  And Ray or Cat or….well, I just love it all I guess.  But my voice tells me ….and my heart agrees….sing a song that moves the soul and all will be well.  Like Mr. Carmichael said, Never play anything that don't sound right. You might not make any money, but at least you won't get hostile with yourself.   Music.  It is my heartbeat.  

In celebration of Kathy’s book sale this week, I’m adding an old favorite Norah Jones tune to my playlist for the girls (cows).  Here…..you enjoy it, too.  This one’s for you Kathy!  (Everyone lift your glass and toast her book sale!  WooHoo!)



To close, y’all help me out here, will you?  If you could sit and enjoy a song or two over drinks with your friends, what would it be?  What would you want to hear playing while you and you’re honey danced in each other’s arms?  What song would you celebrate life with?  Most importantly, what songs do you think the girls will mosey on over to hear at the banks of the river while the fireflies light the stage?   

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bloodsuckers


         Summer is the time for outdoor fun and the time for bugs.  This year because there wasn’t a really cold winter I seem to have an over-abundance of ticks.  I never gave the little buggers much thought but recently I have been going through some strange symptoms that the doctors now think are a result of Lyme Disease.  Ick!  I had two ticks attach to me while I was out trimming bushes and I gave no thought to it, pulling them off and continuing with my work.  A few weeks later, various joints started swelling then going down then the next day a new one would swell.  The pain has been intense and some days I just don’t feel like moving.  I am on medication now but my research has shown me that sometimes it lasts a long time, even years.  Not good news but I am hopeful this antibiotic works.  I am not sure that is what I have but we will know soon when the blood tests come back.  For now we are being pro-active.

         My advice to all of you out there is that if you have a tick on you, don’t pull it out haphazardly.  It must be removed so that the entire head comes out and the body isn’t squeezed (injecting more of the bacteria into the blood).  The carrier of the disease is a deer tick, although there is some research that other related ticks are now carrying the bacteria.  If you have one attached and you remove it, be sure to identify the type of tick.  If a bulls-eye rash develops on the spot you have Lyme Disease.  Get to the doctor quickly.  The sooner medication is administered, the better your chances are of defeating the infection.  I didn’t have the rash (fifty percent of people don’t) so I became more infected without knowing it.  There are multiple symptoms, some so horrible I don’t even want to think about them.

         In my research I found that there is a lot of controversy surrounding Lyme Disease.  There is a movie “Under Our Skin” that will soon be playing on PBS.  If you have Netflix you can watch it.  The movie is also available on Hulu.com but there are commercials.  This movie scared me so badly.  I had always thought Lyme Disease is not that bad.  My mistake.  One pathologist has linked the bacteria to Alzheimer’s Disease.  Other links have been shown to ALS, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis.  This would be a break-through for the causes of these diseases if there is a connection.  Watch this movie.  You should educate yourself about this growing risk.  It is incredible what a tiny little tick bite can cause.  The problem is that the CDC does not recognize long-term Lyme Disease and there are a lot of people suffering from it.  There is an estimate that 420,000 people a year are infected, with only 32,000 cases being reported.  It’s actually an epidemic. 

         So please, please, if you are out enjoying the woods or even your yard be extra careful about the little bloodsuckers.  It’s in Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa. We have Lyme disease in just about every state in the Union.  And, just to throw another wrench in it – your dogs can get Lyme Disease too.  Protect them and yourselves!

         Have you ever heard of Lyme Disease?   Do you know someone who’s had it?  What’s your take on the little bloodsuckers?  I, for one, am now horrified of any tick within a mile of me!

         

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes



"All dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." Walt Disney

A long time ago, when my youngest was 1 year old, we got our first computer.  I had a love/hate relationship with that machine, but in spite of my limited understanding of how to use it, I decided to write my first book.  You see, I'd been writing poetry since my teens.  Words had always been my friends, and I had stories to tell.  And so, like anyone with a mission, I dug into research, plotted my story and typed the words that would, from that time forward, define me.  But unlike Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, no one came when I built my magical world, word by word by word.  Except Jack.  ;)

"If you can dream it, you can do it."  Walt Disney

Years passed.  My children grew.  And with this new freedom, I had more time to devote to writing.  I worked harder and sent out my finished work to agents and editors, ever hopeful someone would see my genius.  It was a hopeful time - a lonely time.  Especially when rejections came swift and true.  But even steel must be tempered.  I kept this in mind as I began subsequent books and connected with my writing chapter as a lifeline. 

"Throw another buoy!"

"You don't build it for yourself. 
You know what the people want and you build it for them."  Walt Disney

Herein lies the dilemma.  As a reader, we know what we like to read.  But as a writer, how do we access that passion and harness it, mold and scuplt our worlds in such a way agents/editors/readers can relate to them?  For the past two weeks I'd been grappling with this very idea, especially after some bad contest results.  As a result, I began to ask myself serious questions about my future.  I was nearing another birthday, the deadline for publishing I'd given myself years ago.  How long did I want to keep at this?   How far was I willing to go to bring my world to life?  (Even the gold pirate in Cozumel refused to answer.)

"Get a good idea and stay with it.  Dog it and work it, until its done and done right." Walt Disney

A week ago, I left work and ran some errands.  Because I hadn't had time to eat, by the time I got home, I was ready to plunder a ship for grub.  Once I'd gotten my rations, I put my feet up for a bit before going to my computer to trigger mayhem in the 1800's.  Before I did however, I peered at my phone at 3:00 p.m. and decided to peruse my e-mail.  That was when I saw it!  Standing out like a flame was a message from Jennifer Lawler at Crimson Romance.  Thinking I'd just gotten another rejection, I opened it.  But it wasn't a rejection this time!  It was an offer to publish my book, DUKE BY DAY, ROGUE BY NIGHT!!!!  I spoke slowly and steadily to my mother, as if hearing the news aloud would make the reality that much clearer.  Then when no cannon fire resulted, and after a hushed silence, Mom and I busted out with loud SQUEEE's and hugs. (Take that Pembridge Scholars!) 


"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." Walt Disney

I've done what was said was impossible.  I met my personal deadline and am now celebrating an exciting future with Crimson Romance.  Thank you, Jennifer Lawler, for taking a chance on DUKE BY DAY, ROGUE BY NIGHT!

If you've ever partied in this half of the hemisphere, you'll know no partay is right unless Jack comes along.  The two of us have dipped into the Rum keg.  BYO to the partay!

What's the biggest surprise you've ever gotten in an e-mail?  Was there Rum involved?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pamper or Torture?


I am not fond of a pedicure. I don't like to be messed with, plus I am ticklish. So usually, I do my own. However, one needs at least a couple of professional pedicures a year if one is going to wear flip-flops and sandals. And one is. I mean I am.

This week I had a pedicure and my first routine baseline colonoscopy. The pedicure was worse.

With the colonoscopy, people buzzed around me, patting and assuring me. The nurse brought me a blanket that had been warmed. When she couldn't get my IV in, she called for a more proficient person. If not for The Guy, I might have fallen in love with the anesthesiologist.  He looked at my chart and said, "Well you are so healthy, you are just boring." And he winked. I love winking.  Then he told me when it was over, to go home and do nothing. I love to be told to do nothing. "You are dehydrated," he said. "A smart girl would just go home and kick back with a glass of sweet tea." Oh, he was playing my song. Do nothing and consume sugar.

The doctor told me they were going to take care of me the same way they would want to be cared for. Then there came the drugs in the IV. I didn't even have time to count backwards.

Then, presto! The nurse was waking me up and telling me I had a perfect colon. The doctor said come back in ten years. 

The Guy took me home. I slept a while and then he fetched me some Kentucky Fried Chicken, which ordinarily I would not even think about, let alone eat, but it had been 48 hours since I'd had anything but chicken broth.

Two days later I got a pedicure. I am pretty sure he almost cut my toe. Then he brought out sandpaper and a cheese grater. It was not pleasant. And let me say, my feet were not even in bad shape. I work on them with a pumice stone regularly. I know what you are thinking: Go to someone else next time. Who? I've been to everybody in the county and it's no better. Which makes me think, it's me, not them.

I guess my definition of pamper isn't the same as everyone else.

How about you? Is there anything that others generally find pleasant that you dread?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Recipe Friday--Shrimp and Grits

A couple of years ago, my book club posse needed a break so we went to Heart Breaker Soul Shaker's lake house. Unlike when we go to the beach and Godson's Mom and I always end up in the beds shaped like airplanes, I slept with Precious. Neither one of us moved all night long. We weren't sure why, but we blamed it on the amount of shrimp and grits we ate the night before.

"Hey," she said to me recently. "I need that shrimp and grits recipe."
"You do not," I said. "It in the Junior League cookbook."
"Mine is packed up," she said. "And besides, I know you didn't follow the recipe."

True on both counts. Precious is in the middle of a massive renovation. She, Mr. Preicous and the two Precious dogs are living in the guest house. Also, I don't make my grits like the original recipe says. It calls for long cooking grits. I don't do that. Some say no self respecting southerner would use quick grits.

Well. I have plenty of self respect, but not an hour to cook grits. Besides my mama and my grandmama did it. They had self respect too. And I defy anyone to say I'm not southern.

Some shrimp and grits has a red barbecue sauce. It's okay, but not as good as this.


Shrimp and Grits

For the Grits:

  • ½ cup of quick (not) instant grits
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1.4 cup of butter
  • 1 cup (or more, to taste) sharp cheddar cheese
  • A little whipping cream.

Bring the broth to a boil. Stir in grits, reduce heat, and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Add butter and cheese. Thin it out with a little cream. Add pepper to taste. It's not going to need any salt. Probably.  Keep warm.

For the Shrimp:

  • 1 pound of medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • ¼  t. salt
  • 1/8 t. ground red pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 3 T. melted bacon fat
  • 2 T. flour
  • ¾ cup chicken broth.

Combine shrimp, lemon juice, salt, and red pepper in a small bowl. Cook onion and green pepper in drippings in a large skillet over medium high heat until soft—about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

Sprinkle flour over the mixture in the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes or until flour begins to brown. Add shrimp and broth. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until shrimp is pink and gravy is thick. Add a little more broth or water if it gets too thick. If you have cooked bacon to get the drippings, may as well crumble that up and throw it in.

Serve over grits.

Serves 4


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer Ten


Summertime presents us with things to do or enjoy that are particular to the season.  I tend to appreciate the snow much more than the heat of summer myself.  But I do have a few things I like to enjoy that are only available during the warm season.  So without further adieu…….



My Summer Ten Favorites 

 10.  Drive In Movies  or Movies on the Lawn (Dr M got me hooked when I
        was four years old.)
  
   9.  Swimming  (At the beach makes it even better!)
  
   8.  Frozen Margaritas and Sister’s Spicy Black Bean Salsa (It just doesn’t
        taste right in the Winter.)
  
   7.  Going Barefoot  (In St. Augustine Grass is the best!   
        Ing (my pedicurist) has a come-to-Jesus with me every time I see
        her.  Well!  : /)
  
   6.  Serenading the Cows (MooOOOoooo!)  Well, this is an all-time
        favorite.  Y’all know that!  : D
  
   5.  Cooking Out on the Grill…Yum!  (I love to put apple wood in my grill
        for that  little somethin' extra, too!)

    4.  Picking Blueberries (….and fresh
         fruits and veggies from the garden)
  
   3.  Fireflies or Lightning Bugs (Another
         joy from my childhood I’m thankful
         to give to my own kids.)
  
   2.  Sleeping in (No school bus pickup 
        at 6:25am! YiPpEe!!!)
        
         And the #1 Summer Ten Favorite is…         
       
AIR CONDITIONING!!!  (Well!  It’s the South, people!  It’s HOT!!!)

So, do you love or hate summertime?  What are your favorite things about the season?   

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Great Escape!


            I have a wonderful new lady who helps me clean the house.  She’s a good friend who went to high school with me and she does an excellent job of cleaning Casa Crisona.  However, she has a large fear of dogs, especially big ones, so I lock Mason, the Doberman, and Jessie, the Sheltie, in the pet room every time she comes.  For the sake of anonymity I shall call my friend Susie Q.

            The last time (and it may very well be the last time) Susie Q came to clean I had locked the dogs up as usual.  Now, Mason has learned to open doors by twisting the doorknobs or flicking them with his nose.  The door to the pet room is a pocket door, one I was sure he could never figure out.  I had to go to Huntsville that morning with my sister to find some things for our father for Father’s Day.  I told Susie Q that she could just lock up when she was finished.   I felt secure that Susie Q was safe from the dogs; although my dogs are not vicious I still did not want ninety-five pounds of Doberman causing Susie to faint. 

We left and made it to the south end of Huntsville when my cell phone rang.  Susie Q was calling.  I thought maybe she needed some cleaning supply or something so when I answered the phone and heard hysterical screaming I nearly rammed my car into the car in front of me.  Now, Susie Q is a Southerner, born and bred, and her accent is rather thick, hard to understand when she’s calm, impossible when she’s screaming.  All I got out of her was “Do you know your dog, the Doberman?”  Well, I wanted to ask sarcastically, of course, he’s my dog.  But I could sense this question had a deeper meaning.  I said yes.  Susie Q proceeded to tell me that he had escaped and she was hiding in the study.  She held the phone out to allow me hear some pretty awful snarling and growling.

Gee, was that Mason?  I asked.  Yessss, she screamed, telling me that I had to come home right now to rescue her.  I heard pounding which meant Mason was launching himself at the door.  As calmly as I could, I told her that I was at least forty-five minutes from home.  That did nothing to settle her nerves.  Susie Q insisted that someone had to come and get her RIGHT NOW.  Mason is a good boy, never bit anyone, so I told her to crack the door and talk to him nicely.  She did and all I could hear was ferocious barking and a blood-curdling scream.   My first reaction was to tell her to close the door and lock it (Mason can and will open doors).

My sister, ever perceptive, had picked up on the dilemma and she suggested that her boyfriend could come to the house and let Mason out.  Her boyfriend is well loved by the dog and has always minded him.  Good plan, I told her, call your guy.  But how was he going to get in?   The hidden key!  I told her to call him and tell him where I hid the key that I constantly needed because I am always locking myself out of the house.

Sis called her boyfriend, only to discover he was on a conference Skype with his big bosses in California, some top-secret stuff.  Being the kind of nice guy that he is, her boyfriend talked to her while his bosses listened.  Everyone was wondering if the dog was going to kill Susie Q and how was the boyfriend ever going to get the dog out.  After a round-table discussion, it was decided that the boyfriend needed to go rescue the housekeeper, security secrets could wait.

Great, now we had a rescuer.  All I could do was pull over and talk to Susie Q to keep her calm.  My sis talked her boyfriend through the intricate hiding place of the key, the top shelf on the left side of the green house (one wonders sometimes…).  Finally he had the key.  All this time, while talking to Susie Q, I could hear Mason barking, going wild and not sounding like the lovable doofus that he is.  Horrible thoughts of him eating boyfriend’s face crossed my mind (I am sure my sis would not appreciate that).  I urged caution to the boyfriend – open the door slowly and call Mason.  It worked!  Mason bounded out the back door, jumping and excited to see the boyfriend.

Whew!  I told Susie Q that the boyfriend was walking the dog to calm him down and for her to stay put.  Did she listen?  NOOOO!  She headed out of the study immediately only to run into boyfriend coming in the back hall with Mason.  Susie vaulted back to the study, slammed the door and commenced screaming at me.  Sis told boyfriend to lock Mason in the master bath, then lock the master bedroom door.  Surely two layers of defense would protect Susie!  Boyfriend proudly reported “Mission Accomplished!” and rescued Susie from the study.

Exhausted and unable to think I heaved a sigh of relief, now wondering if I was, again, in the market for a housekeeper.  The only thing Susie Q could say was she needed to finish the floors.  I asked if she was going to quit and she said, why no, all she needed to do was get to know Mason better.  Go figure:  one minute she’s terrified and the next she’s planning a meet and greet session with the dog.  I hung up the phone and told my sister – “Rednecks, you gotta love ‘em!”

Have you ever had to handle a catastrophe over the phone?  Giving simple orders can become monumental when you aren’t there to direct.  Tell us about your experiences!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The End of the Tail

For two weeks, I've been blogging about my journey to LeBlanc Resort, Cancun, Mexico.  LTC and I made the trip for our 30th Wedding Anniversary and had a fabulous time chill-axing poolside, watching the water go on forever as the Infinity pool appeared to seamlessly stream into the ocean in the distance. 

Palm trees swayed in the breeze.  Black Birds cawed, flying to and fro.  Pelicans dove into the water very close to children (Ack! scaring me half to death), as did Jonathan's Living Seagulls.  Occassionally, we'd see a Heron or two fly by, for effect.

In the ocean, we saw one particular sea fish, about 2 1/2 feet long, zooming along the shoreline in search of little bitty fishies.  Speedy Gonzales was mas rapido, mio amigos!


We also saw Komodo Dragons/Chameleons sunning themselves on the lawn beneath our hotel window, jerking their heads up and down to an imaginary beat, climbing bushes to eat the fresh leaves off the top.  Once, LTC and I decided to walk around that side of the building to try and get close to them.  One particular dragon (this one had horns down his back like Godzilla) was sunning on the sidewalk.  We got about 5 feet away before he decided he'd had enough of us.  (Pirate!)

But hark, there was a creature even bigger within this shangrila... waiting... hoping we'd fall into the water as we walked out that first night onto the peer leading to the middle of the Lagoon behind LeBlanc.

Doesn't this look ominous?


Fade to darkness.  White lights illuminated the railing and gazebo.  The two of us began the walk over this rough walkway and got about 10 yards onto the peer before something caught our eye.  The object swam slowly toward us, head practically submerged, and then curved alongside the walkway to stare at us.  Its beady eye flicked to LTC and then to me and back.  Suddenly, I knew what Captain Hook must have felt in his gut before his hand was diliberately snatched.  (This must be where the term clocked came from and I didn't want a hook hand.  Muahahahaha!)

Who or what do you think appeared?  It wasn't Santa and his reindeer.  Oh no, my pretties!


It was DINOCROCK!!!!!!!!!!  (Notice his uber long teeth.  The better to eat you with, my dears!)

Have you ever had an alligator stare you down?  The minutes ticked by like hours as he eyed his prize, US, then... deciding we weren't falling or jumping in, he submerged again, swimming beneath the walkway.  All the while, the movie Dinocrock flashed before my eyes.  I knew at once, the walkway would be destroyed and I would be thrown into the water as an American sacrifice.

Thankfully, that wasn't to be.  As we moved to the other side of the railing, we viewed the alligator swimming off, slowly descending into the murky depths.  His legs were as big as my thighs (and that's saying a lot).  I guestimated Dinocrock must have been 9 ft long.  And quickly wanting to be rid of him, I asked LTC to get me the hell outta Dodge.  (Behold my lightness of foot, I say!)


Shangrila + Dinocrock = a B-rated SciFi movie with an unwilling cast.

In spite of my imagination, Cancun was a wonderful experience and a perfect way to celebrate 30 years of marriage.  LTC and I are hoping for 30 more.  The wonderful people at LeBlanc are too. 

Behold the special way the staff at LeBlanc helped make our anniversary uber special.




Couldn't have asked for a better way to be pampered nigh onto giddiness.  And so, after 3 weeks of sharing our adventures in Cancun, that, dear ones, is the end of the tail.  Quite literally.

Have you ever been eye to eye with an alligator?  Or have you imagined a character with similiar characteristics?






Monday, June 11, 2012

Bonjour and Say Cheese

 I am going to Scotland. Soon, depending on your definition of soon. Not tomorrow. I don't really go on the World Wide Web and broadcast my schedule. Call me crazy. Call my paranoid. I call me someone who has never been robbed.

Anyway.

When traveling, The Guy spends a lot of time taking pictures. He has a pretty good camera and an artistic eye. Once when we were somewhere that I can't actually remember the name of, he took pictures of a castle at about four different times of day. He left me snoozing at the B&B to get it again at first light.His pictures look like postcards. People ooh and ahh over them. They should. This medium does not do them justice. I swear he once took  pictures in Hastings at Battle Abbey that had ghosts in them. The air was green with it. That was before we had digital cameras I can't show it to you without scanning and carrying on. But here are some of his more recent shots.
Sweetheart Abbey, one of the Scottish Border Abbeys. The Guy cares a lot about lights and shadows.




Eilean Donan Castle at night. This as opposed to the 147 other pictures of Eilean Donan taken at different times of the day.

View from Jedburgh Abbey







Somewhere. He would know.
 I have my own camera. It's not fancy but it will fit in my pocket. I take a lot of pictures too, mostly of us standing in front of things. I do not have an artistic eye, nor do I put a great deal of energy into holding still. I point, shoot, and hope for the best. Oldest Friend doesn't like it when I take pictures of us eating in restaurants. She says it makes us look like tourists. Well, duh. I don't care. I do it anyway and, so far, she hasn't been able to stop me. I didn't like it when she took a picture of me all lounged out in my hiking boots on somebody else's bed. It was not attractive. I got her back but even I am not mean enough to post that picture here.

I am also pretty famous for flagging down strangers who can't speak English and trying to ask them to take group shots of all of us.

I also like to make people put things on their heads.

Stephanie at Pike Place Market in Seattle
Lesia in Orlando. I am shocked people are still speaking to me.

Stephanie, me, Kathy in Orlando. I am pretty sure Stephanie hates me in this particular moment.






David and Oldest Friend hiking up some hill somewhere in Scotland. I am taking him back and not in a good way.

Oldest Friend and me on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh .

A crystal mailbox at the Waterford Factory. Apparently I could not get anyone to stand beside it. I threw it in because I like it. I would like to own it. It's five feet tall. See? If someone had been willing to stand beside it, I wouldn't have had to tell you that. .

The Guy and me on a ferry in the Highlands. That's Oldest Friend in the background. Some stranger was taking the picture. I am not wearing a scary hair hat. That's just my hair. .

Oldest Friend at a Greek restaurant in Glasgow. She is thrilled.
The Guy at self same restaurant. That was before he cut his hair. .




This is what I think our picture taking says about us. The Guy is all about what he is seeing. I am all about who I am seeing it with. Oldest Friend is all about punishing me and making me look as bad as possible because I have made her put stuff on her head. 

What is your travel photography style?



Friday, June 8, 2012

Recipe Friday--Bacon Tomato Cups

A few weeks ago, I made these for the plotting retreat Stephanie and I had with Jan Kenny and Lynn Raye Harris. They were a hit, and how could they not be? Mayo, bacon, cheese. Oh, the bad list just goes on and on. None of us eat like that on a regular basis, but every once in a while, it just has to happen. Make these to share. You will be popular. I promise.







Bacon Tomato Cups


  • 8 slices bacon, crisply cooked
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 3 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 - 10 ounce can refrigerated flaky biscuits (the kind that have the layers to separate)

Preheat oven 375° F. Chop bacon, tomato, and onion. Mix together. Separate each biscuit into 3 thinner biscuits. Spritz muffin pans (the little ones with 12 per pan) and fit biscuit layers in the cups. Fill cups with bacon mixture.
Bake 10-12 minutes until golden.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ta Da! No Wand Necessary


I was recently at a Celebrate-Someone’s-Life-Event when my long-distance friend, Dancing Beauty, questioned me about wearing tiaras.  She questioned that I would wear one, that I have a whole collection of them.  And so I had to prove to her that it is in fact true.  I love, Love, LOVE tiaras!!!  

So here’s how the tiaras play out in my life.  My very first tiara ever was a lovely Cinderella Tiara that came with a Halloween costume when I was about four or five years old.  I recall wearing that costume and feeling like royalty for realz!  And of course, I wore that costume as a nightgown until it was threads.  I think the color was a bit off and instead of Cinderella Blue it was Periwinkle Blue.  Maybe that’s where I get the Periwinkle Obsession from?  Hmm.  I never thought of that before…..

The second tiara is one I bought for a Mommy-Daughter Dance that I took Clair to as a wee one.  It’s not very big, just enough to fit around a bun.  It’s not really very fancy either, but it has lovely memories attached to it.  I think I was tiara shy at this point in my life, scared somebody might see the real me.

Then there’s the Ya Ya Tiara that my sister-in-law (Golden Child) gave me when we went out for girls night.  It’s paper and totally childish, but wow was it fun to wear that night!  We got lots of attention!  I recall adult beverages.

Next is the Daisy Tiara which is again, small and simple but it stands high enough to make a statement.  And what a statement it makes!  Golden Child gave me this one too.  It’s the Daisy Tiara and she gave it to me when V was a toddler.  She said I had to wear it on bad days to remember who I really was.  I’m pretty sure V had spent a long weekend with her just before she gifted me.  V’s a bit high maintenance.  

But my favorite of all is the lovely Swirls Tiara which I wore for the beauty pageant.  I was Miss Kentucky.  Not really.  It was the Murder Mystery Beauty Pageant with the HOD girls.  But let me tell you!  When I put that tiara on, I AM a Queen!  I don’t know what’s so special about it, but it makes my inner Queen Lesia come out and have fun!  Finally!  I have found the right tiara for me.  This is the one I wear when I write “The End” to celebrate.  This is the one I wear when I need that something special like when we all honored Beverly Barton with our bling. It is my Harry Potter’s Wand, my Golden Ticket, my Glass Slipper.  It makes me feel like the real me!

There may be other tiaras in my future, I’m not sure.  But for now I am happy and content with the bling I have.  I keep them in my office to remind me that beautiful dreams DO come true.  And my beautiful dreams involve Heroes and Heroines!  Every Heroine should have at least one tiara, don’t you agree?  And we’re each and every one of us the star of our own story!  

Have you found your right tiara?  Does your tiara make you feel like the Queen you are?