He and me

Goethe, The Literary Outpost cat-thanks to Sheila Brownlow for the image!

Goethe, The Literary Outpost cat-thanks to Sheila Brownlow for the image!

Me: We should get a cat and a dog.

He: What?

Me: We should get a cat and a dog.

He: Why?

Me: Because. I want a cat and you want a dog.

He: But I hate cats.

Me: I know, but that’s not your fault (he really does have some valid reasons for this from childhood which I will not go into here). And I love cats.

Me: (Smiling winningly)

He: If you get a cat, I’ll kill myself.

The End


Telling our story

scarfI was at a craft show a couple of weekends ago. The weather was awful–freezing rain coating the icy snow on the ground that fell overnight. As soon as I got through the door, I stopped to shake it off of me. The first thing I saw was a table of scarves and hats, and the small dark-eyed woman standing behind it caught my eye.

I took a minute to look at the items on the table. I noticed a black and white scarf  that I knew would make a great gift for a number of the people on my list.

I asked, “How much is this?”

“Fifteen dollars,” she replied, “and you can pick a free cookbook from the box,” she added, hopeful, hands clasped in front of her.

I looked down. The ‘cookbooks’ were some old cooking magazines from 2008.

Well, all-righty then.

As she was wrapping it up, I was looking through my bag for my checkbook (note to self: Clean this damn thing out!).

I asked, “Did you make these?”

“Yes. Well, me and my daughter did. And then after she died, I made some more myself,” she told me.

What? Oh, no.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” I told her, and suddenly found myself hugging her. “Yes, it was hard,” she said, and proceeded to tell me about how her diabetic daughter who couldn’t feel her feel very well had a blood sugar drop that caused her to get into a car accident. “She went through the windshield and died instantly, the…the….” she trailed off.

“Medical examiner?” I offered.

“Yes! Yes, the medical examiner said. She didn’t feel anything, he said, and that made me feel a little better, but I was still pretty sad. Until my birthday,” she said.

This is what happened on her birthday: She and her husband were having lunch, feeling the feelings only parents who have lost their child feel. Suddenly, her glass of water slid across the table. About four inches. By itself. “I said, ‘Did you see that?’ to my husband. “‘That’s her wishing you a Happy Birthday,’ he told me, and we both teared up. Then I felt much better. I knew she was okay.”

Sometimes, people just need to tell their story.

Even if they aren’t writers.

Tranquilize your (winter) writing

IMG_9996We need to take care of ourselves while we are spending endless hours writing at our computers. Just because the NaNoWriMo has officially ended, if you’re like me, you have much writing still to do to get your project ready to see the light of day. We need to do things to keep our thoughts tranquil (OMG! My shoulder is killing me! I don’t have enough time! I’m frikkin’ starving!!) and our anxieties (OMG! I’ll never finish! This is garbage! I have to start over again!!)  at bay.

Here are some ideas for tranquilizing winter writing:

  1. 1. Get an swesome flannel sweater vest at Old Navy  that is as comforting as a BLANKIE.  :)
  2. 2. Have you seen those microwaveable body blankets? Grampa’s Garden sells them. They are pricey but worth it. Zap for 7 minutes in the microwave and cover your desk chair with it (or slip it under you or over you if you are writing on the couch). You will LOVE it.
  3. 3. Get a Himalayan Salt Lamp. They create a nice atmosphere and ambiance when you are writing, reportedly purify the air around you (to counteract all the curse words you may be saying or writing!) and make a handy little night light if you need nap. :)

Every bit of heat and comfort helps, don’t you think? Does anyone have something to add to my list?



Thanksgiving dinner for one

IMG_0089It so happens that I will be working Thanksgiving (as is the majority of my family) and therefore I will be a Party of One for Thanksgiving Dinner.
I also plan to continue my NaNoWriMo efforts and so will have very little time for cooking and such. I do, however, love food. And, you know, eating.
So, here’s my plan for a traditional-ish Thanksgiving Dinner for one:
  1. Rotisserie turkey breast. Okay, full disclosure: I am buying it (precooked) on Wednesday (they are cheaper if you get them cold vs hot at Hannaford’s). It takes 6 minutes in the microwave but if you have a crock pot you can stick it in there on low 2 or more hours ahead of time and it will be ready (and moist! NOT DRIED OUT AT ALL!) when you want to eat it.
  2. Instant mashed potatoes: the Idahoan brand Buttery Homestyle is the best! Very fast: 3 minutes and 30 seconds in the microwave. Hint: put 1 3/4 cup of water rather than 2. You’re welcome.
  3. Quick turkey gravy: I think the McCormick Turkey Gravy packets are pretty darn good. You can pour the drippings from your turkey breast container (if there are any) into gravy. Ready in 5 minutes or less.
  4. Stove Top Turkey Stuffing. I forget how long this takes. I might make it the day before.
Now, everyone has their one thing that they must have on the table or it’s not Thanksgiving-Butternut Squash is mine. This will need to be made ahead of time: roast or boil a small squash (I always get it prepeeled and also precubed if I am really feeling lazy) until soft, mash with a potato masher, add 1-2 tablespoons each of butter and brown sugar, sea salt to taste.
Interesting Trivia: I’ve heard (I think it was from Clinton Kelly on The Chew last week) that the general rule of thumb for the number of Thanksgiving side dishes is this: you must have one side dish for every person coming to dinner. Right. So. That would be one. And done. :)
I made bread dough (recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Herzberg and Zoe Francois) today and put it in the fridge so now I just have to bake  it off that morning. I can make a roll or two or a whole loaf and-OH! I almost forgot the cranberry sauce!!!
Which reminds me of and is a nice segueway to that song Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses:
“I’m spending this one alone,” he said
“Need a break, this year’s been crazy”
I said, “Me too, but why are you?
You mean you forgot cranberries too?



Mental health break

IMG_0012I took a two-day break from Nano writing and went away overnight to celebrate my husband’s birthday (and, you know, to take a break from sitting! At the computer! Writing! OMG! I haven’t been able to feel two of the fingers on my left hand for a week!).  We had supper at Nolita,  a new-ish Italian restaurant in York that we like.

I felt a little bad that he hadn’t had a cake on his birthday and gotten to hear the sweet strains of the “Happy Birthday to You” song wafting toward his ears on his day, but so be it. We wanted to have the cake with the entire family, and that couldn’t happen until the following day.

When we arrived at the restaurant, my husband had to run back to the car to get his reading glasses (he is so not into my rendition of “This is what’s on the menu” that he’d rather run back out into the 27 degree cold dark night that to listen to it).

That’s when the waitress came over and I mentioned it was my husband’s birthday. She said, “Does he like tiramisu?  We give a free tiramisu for someone’s birthday.”

Now, Bill does not like tiramisu, but oh my God! I love it!  But, it was his birthday after all, so I asked if there were other dessert options and she said they have gelato. As (my) luck would have it, I’m pretty sure the only thing he dislikes more than tiramisu is gelato.

“Yes, he does like tiramisu! Bring that!” I said, conscience clear.

What I hadn’t realized (and in fairness to me, I was halfway through my Italia Margarita at the time) was that said tiramisu would be accompanied by, um, fanfare. And I’m pretty sure that if there is one thing Bill dislikes more than gelato and tiramisu, it’s fanfare. In our 26 or more (we can’t agree on this) years together, he has never, ever seen a cake coming toward him with a gaggle of servers singing the birthday song to him.

And yet, I lived to tell the tale, so it’s all good.

Also, that tiramisu rocked!




Yoga for writers


Are you dying of pain from a week of practically nonstop NaNo typing? I woke up Saturday morning, let the chickens out, fed them, and carried a bag to my car and suddenly was in severe pain in my left shoulder.

Really? Really? I thought, THIS BITES!

It’s like adding insult to injury, right? I mean, shoot, we managed to type our frikkin’ brains out to try to meet our personal word counts and now we are crippled.

As always, we have only ourselves to blame! But we also can help ourselves.

Check this out:

Seated yoga positions that you can do at your desk will help!!**

Here are a couple that you can try at home now (please note disclaimer below!):

  1. Sit or stand. Bring your right arm across your body with the palm facing you and hold it with by bringing your left arm up to make a “T” (see picture above). Hold as long as you want to get a good stretch through your shoulder. Repeat with the left arm, bringing it across your body with the palm facing you and hold it by bringing your right arm up.
  2. Sit in a chair. Place your right palm under the right side of your butt, facing down and pointing to the left. then sit on it. Let your head drop to the left, but DO NOT FORCE IT, just enough to get a good stretch. Repeat on the other side: place left palm under the left side of your butt, facing down and pointing to the right then sit on it. Let your head drop to the right, but again, DO NOT FORCE IT.

I learned these stretches from my friend, yoga teacher, and fellow writer Kristen. Check out her blog here.

**DISCLAIMER:  If you have any existing injuries, illness, or weaknesses in muscles or joints, please discuss these exercises with your doctor to see if they are appropriate for you before trying them.



Perfect day

IMG_9927My daughter has this interesting project at school. As I understand it, these are the rules:
  • Part 1: They have to write their perfect day, if money was no object, from the time they get up until the time they go to bed.
  • Part 2: They have to write what they think their day would be like if they had a baby while they are in high school.
Wow, right?
So that got me thinking: it might be fun to do the something similar myself. The Part 1 would be fairly easily accomplished, I think. But Part 2 would need to be changed up since, you know, I’ve already had two kids so I know exactly what those days are like…but I digress.
Since I am steeped in NaNos right now, I’m thinking my Part 2 could be writing what my day would be like when I finish NaNoWriMo this year, publish my book, and become a bestselling author.

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