My own craziness, Randomness, Recipe

MmmmmMonday ~ Quinoa Patties

It’s Monday again and this week, I’m going to share a recipe that I’ve only made three times: Quinoa patties.

Ingredients:

1/2 C Quinoa (rinsed)
1 C water
1/2 crown of broccoli–chopped
1/2 medium onion–diced
1/4-1/2 C shredded cheese
1/4 C breadcrumbs
1 egg OR 1 flaxseed egg if preferred it works the same
1-3 TBS of olive oil

Directions:

1. Cook quinoa according to package (1 C of water in a frying pan, when bubbling, add Quinoa and let simmer for approximately 10 minutes). Set aside.

2. Sauté the chopped broccoli and diced onion together  (either with olive oil or if you’d rather use less oil, I’ve found that water sautéing works just fine). When onions are translucent take off heat and mix with Quinoa.

3. Add in all other ingredients and mix well.

4. Form into quarter-cup size balls, then flatten into a patty and cook one of two ways. A. Fry each side for 7-9 minutes on the stove top (2 of these patties fit in a standard frying pan), just make sure you put the olive oil down or they might stick; or B. press them onto a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 375 for 9-12 minutes, then flip and bake them for another 9-12 minutes. I prefer the cookie sheet (or you can even do something similar on an ungreased griddle if you’d rather). The reason I like the cookie sheet is that not only do I not have to use the oil, but I can only get two of these into a frying pan at a time and if they each need 7-9 minutes on each side, but the time the second batch is done, the first batch is cold. So with the cookie sheet/griddle method they’re all done and the same temperature at the same time.

The above portions make 6 patties and I’ve doubled the recipe with no problems.

I’ve served these as just a patty with corn and potatoes and I’ve served them on buns with lettuce, tomato and onions (like a hamburger). I’m attaching a picture of my latest attempt at them, but I have to warn you, I tried to flip them after only five and a half minutes and messed up their shape. But they still tasted good so that’s what’s important.

20140130_174448

 

In case you’re wondering what a flaxseed egg is, I’ll quickly do my best to explain it. Take 1 TBS of flaxseeds and stir it into 3TBS of HOT water. It doesn’t have to be boiling water, but warm won’t work quite as well. You’ll need to let your tap run for a few minutes. Then stir it together until the water is dark and there are no clumps of seeds. Then you pour it into your mix. I’ve used a flax egg while baking many things and haven’t noticed a difference. Well, except for scrambled or fried eggs, then it’s not quite the same but for baking and cooking, it’s a very straightforward and healthy alternative.

Behind the Scenes, My own craziness, My readers rock!, Writing

What do you expect at the end of a book?

Besides happy emotions and a grin that splits your face so wide the muscles in your cheeks hurt, what do you expect (or like to see) when you reach the end of a book?

In the back of mine, I have the following sections:

Ways to share and recommend my book if you enjoyed it

Books Coming Soon (complete with a short link to be added to my “new release” newsletter list)

Books Already Available

About the Author

Currently I have 14 books available, not counting the bundle I have of an entire series. I don’t normally count that one. So I have 14 different stories floating around the ether, which also means in the back of every single book, I have 14 one-paragraph “blurbs” for that book and all the others I’ve written. At first, this wasn’t a problem. I had only one series or possibly two and there were about seven books listed and explained. As I’ve written more, there are more blurbs. That’s the way it goes.

In January, I plan to go through and update ALL of my books to reflect this upcoming Regency Series. That means 6 copies of all 14 (actually 15 since I have to update the bundle) will be updated to include the three new books of my upcoming series, plus that first book will also be updated. Which means every book will then have 17 blurbs. I think that borders on madness and I’m starting to doubt anyone will read them all.

So…

I’m thinking to revamp, but only if I need to, and I want to do it in a way that will make my readers happy, so my question today is: what do you look for in the back of books? Do you want to see 17 one-paragraph blurbs (about 3-5 sentences), 17 quick one-sentence descriptions (which I have NO idea how I’ll manage this, but I shall try) OR are you one who’d prefer to just see a list of each of the books in the series? It would look like this:

Scandalous Sisters Series:
Intentions of the Earl
Liberty for Paul
To Win His Wayward Wife

Groom Series:
Her Sudden Groom
Her Reluctant Groom

etc all with hyperlinks that lead to more information about the book.

I don’t want to bog the back of the book down with advertisements for my other books, but at the same time, I don’t want to not give enough information and not have people be interested in the other books in that series or that I’ve written.

OR do you just not even read anything past the last line anyway?

I’ve created a poll and I hope if you get a chance that you’ll take a few seconds to give me your answer.

Thanks! Have a  wonderful Boxing Day!

I'm the victim of myself, My own craziness, Randomness

MS-150–not for those who nearly die from giggling!

It’s been two weeks–a VERY busy, hectic, emotional two weeks, nonetheless–and it’s time, PAST time, I tell you all about my recent experience on the MS-150.

To start with for anyone who hasn’t had the lovely experience of hearing me drone on about this and not-so-discretely ask for donations by way of selling a certain book, every year my local multiple sclerosis chapter hosts a bike ride of 150 miles along the Mother Road (Route 66) as a benefit that raises money for MS.

Last year was my first year to participate and my husband and I had a ball.

The same can be said for this year, too. But for a totally different reason.

I should probably start by mentioning that my husband informed me the Wednesday before that he had two tests the next week. One on Monday and one on Tuesday so he wouldn’t be able to ride on Sunday and we needed to give it our all on Saturday.

So we did.

First, because of his need to study, we didn’t even leave to go to the camp we were to pitch a tent Friday night until close to dinner time. Just as we’re about to get out of Tulsa, we realize that we don’t have any blankets! No worries, right? It’s been in the 90s all week. Yeah, during the day! Night time, not so much. We found a Target and bought two very light “team” blankets that a college student might put on his dorm bed. Classic.

Then we drove to the place. Only we couldn’t find the place! We drove around this little town podunk town for half an hour trying to find the fairgrounds. Then Bob has an epiphany: it’s by the high school, he says. I remember that from last year. Alrighty then, I get out his phone and do a search for high school because apparently fairgrounds isn’t recognized. We find the high school only to realize that across the street is a cemetery. Call me crazy, but I’m NOT sleeping in a cemetery. Half an hour later and we’re onto something! Never mind that this is the way I told him to go originally. I’m just thrilled we found it. Now, if only we can find a gate that’s open…

No worries, it only took 15 minutes to find an unlocked entrance. Then it was time to navigate Tent City in our station wagon. I have to admit this is how I envision Woodstock. There were people and tents and clothes and scantily dressed people everywhere. In tents, laying on the ground, walking around, drinking, smoking (yes, really), blaring music, just chillin’ in their lawn chairs. You name it, people were doing it! Then there was Bob and me, trying to locate our team in the darkness then erecting our tent in the moonlight.

Tent went up, car was unloaded, mattress inflated, mattress deflated… As luck would have it, there was not one, but two sizable holes in the bottom of our air mattress. Naturally.

Fortunately we’re surrounded by hundreds of bicyclist and all good bicyclists have one thing in common in their bike bags: tire patches. One of the men from our team whipped his out and using two tire patches and an unhealthy dose of glue that took only 15 seconds of exposure to make me think EVERYTHING was hysterically funny, the mattress was healed!

While it was great that the mattress was in usable condition at this point, I should mention the blankets we’d purchased were AWFUL. Even before crawling into bed, we knew they weren’t going to be enough. It wasn’t just nippy or chilly, it was downright cold!

Me, being the most awesome packer/planner ever, didn’t wear socks and I had only one pair: the ones I wear with my biking shoes. To most this wouldn’t be a problem, just wear the socks to bed. But I couldn’t. See, I have this awful habit of removing my socks in the night–then not being able to find them the next day. I know, I know, it’s a small space there isn’t anywhere for the sock to go. Oh, dear reader, do NOT underestimate me. I’ve lost I cannot tell you how many socks in a tent. I have no idea what I do with them, but I couldn’t risk getting a huge blister on my heels in my clip on shoes. So I opted to not wear socks to bed and instead proposed a most shiver-ish idea to my husband: he remove one of his socks and I’ll wear it, then we’ll each have one warm foot! Alas, he didn’t go for that. So instead, I wrapped my frozen phalanges in the bottom of the blanket and prayed for the best.

I honestly think the cold would have been more tolerable had we been able to sleep. But there was this dog… This loud, yapping dog who barked all. night. long. It was awful. Absolutely torturous. I swear I slept more the night the cougar was outside my tent/car than I did that night. It was that annoying.

So shivering together, my husband and I did what we do best: chatted through our chattering teeth until morning came and we were completely exhausted in time to ride our bike! Awesomeness.

Really it wasn’t so bad. Even though sleep had been elusive, I think the excitement of the whole thing crackled in the air and gave us all a boost! The wind chill helped with that, too, and after a breakfast of champions, it was time to go get on our tandem…

There was only one issue: the dew from the night before had rolled off the top of the team tent and right onto our foam seats all night long! Our poor seats were positively soaked with water. Cold water. I *promise* my grimace was minimal as I sat upon my throne and away we went!

The first ten miles, I couldn’t feel my hands. Or my feet. Or even my derriere.

At the first rest stop, I ate my fill of pickles then went to the pot-shot and was serenaded by a man in the next stall singing about how badly he needed to poop but couldn’t… (I tell you I am SERIOUSLY a magnet for the strange.)

Once we got going again things improved. The sun came out, Bob and I weren’t stuck in a crowd, but things were more spread out, allowing us time to talk and sing or just be. To me, that’s what biking is about: spending time with Bob outside, being active and not worrying about beating anyone else’s time or looking like a fool.

I know it seems nuts that Bob and I talk SO much, but we do. We talk a lot and when we don’t, it feels very awkward, very void. So like we do, we started chatting and the miles just rolled by. Literally.

Then, a very serious topic came up.

And it’s at this time I ask anyone who knows me personally (church, our kids to to school together, etc) please stop reading! Thank you. To sum it up, everything went well and we had a good afternoon.

Back to the post…

To some, this serious discussion would mean something like: the kids, or the decision to or not to have more; or something about money or jobs; or moving. But for us it went something like this,

“Come on,” my husband grunted as we were pedaling up the this steep hill.

Gritting my teeth, I’m pedaling as hard as I can. “I’m trying,” I practically snapped.

“I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to the bike.” He pauses for a moment as we power up the hill, then when we crest, he says, “You know, we never gave the bike a name.”

Silence. Pure unadulterated silence envelops us. He’s right. We never named our bicycle. I have to say that is VERY strange for us because we name so many of our things. All of our cars have had names: The Stud, The Sonicmobile, Sadie, Cameron, etc; our computers: Puter, Charlotte, Mac, and so on;  Kenny the Kindle; Ivan the iPad; Warm and Toasty our winter quilt, Comfy and Cozy our summer coverlet; Cattywompus his hand built kayak, and many, many more things (one of which I cannot post on here–get your mind out of the gutter, it’s not time for that yet). We’re weird, we know. It’s okay. But somehow we’d overlooked naming this huge bicycle.

“Okay, so he needs a name,” I concede.

“No, she needs a name.”

“She?”

“Well, the bicycle is red…” He added on another reason, but I shan’t scandalize anyone by posting it.

“It can still be a he,” I argue.

“No, this bicycle is most clearly a she.”

Huffing, I snarl at the back of his head “Okay, how about a unisex name so to you it’s a she and to me, it’s a he?”

“Fine.”

We we each ponder a moment.

“Aaron,” I suggest.

“No. How about Alex.”

I started, nearly jerking the bike off balance with my sudden movement. “Absolutely not.”

“Why? I think it’s a perfect name that can be for both a guy or a girl.”

“I’m not naming the bike Alex! I can only imagine how my readers will react when I casually write on my blog or on Facebook that I rode Alex that afternoon or that I plan to ride Alex later.”

“So, what’s the problem. They know you’re weird. They won’t think anything of it if you tell them you’ve named your bike.”

“They will if I name it Alex!” Exhaling and shaking my head, I mutter. “You’re clearly having your own Alex moment.”

And that’s when he got it. “Oh, that’s right, I forgot you named one of your heroes Alex. That settles that, we’re not naming the bike Alex! That could be very awkward–for both of us.”

“Good. I’m glad you came around to seeing reason.”

A few beats pass by…and then we went from having an “Alex moment” to a “Liberty and Paul moment”.

“Nothing says it has to be a human name,” Bob says.

“Okay…. Hmmm, well…” The bike is rather butch, weighing about fifty pounds and longer than most. It’s a Sun Tandem Recumbent so it’s definitely not something that can easily be missed. “How about Big Beastie,” I teasingly suggest.

“Big Beastie?! Absolutely not. We’re not going to name our bike Big Beastie. That has to be in the top three names men give to their penises.”

I don’t know if it was the heat, or glue from the night before, or exhaustion, or if his words were just that funny, but I dissolved into a fit of giggles that made me incapable of pedaling and nearly knocked us off balance. Good thing nobody was around because I’d have hated trying to explain our way out of that!

The next hour was uneventful as we just rode down the road and had another pit stop. But as they say, there’s always a calm before a storm and in this case, our storm came in the form of a huge dog that was chasing us!

Not only was this Big Beastie (sorry, I couldn’t resist) chasing us, but he caught us. He was so close, I could feel his breath on my leg as he ran next to us and was snapping at my heels. Meanwhile, Bob was pedaling his heart out and I was screaming like a crazy lady!

Fortunately, we did survive with no broken bones or punctured skin and only one mechanical issue–a thrown chain in the middle of a huge hill.

But we survived and I was on the list for a free massage.

What I didn’t know about this massage was that it was practically a full body massage–just a handful of areas missed, no pun intended. And that’s all I’m going to say about that!

Just like last year, I had a great time and it was all for a great cause. Whether you’re an avid cyclist or not, I cannot say enough about the good time I always have doing these rides. You not only get to have fun with your friends and make new ones back at the camp, but it’s all for a good cause and nothing is better than that!

Again, thank you to all who helped support my team by either giving direct donation or by buying a discounted copy of Her Sudden Groom. 

My own craziness, My readers rock!

Do deep thoughts lead to headaches?

This post today is totally unrelated to my books so you can all heave a sigh of relief.

Instead, I just had a really neat experience that I wanted to share.

Most of you know that other than write and publish books, I wear a few other hats: mom, wife, youth leader, school board vice-chair, etc. One of my other roles is that one night a week, I go teach a group of kids ages 10 to 14 life skills. This is a ministry through our church and we help the kids understand and learn discipline as well as do crafts, hobbies and learn practical or sometimes just plain fun skills.

Right now, we’re concentrating on bicycling and for the past few weeks my husband and I have been teaching these kids proper bicycle safety, how to change a bike tire, what to bring in packs when going on a bicycle trip, etc.

Now, I have to admit, that while all of this sounds like fun, sometimes it isn’t. In fact, a few weeks ago, I nearly resigned because I was so tired and frustrated. It seemed like the last few months things had been on a decline. The kids weren’t listening, and instead being really mouthy and back talking, refusing to do what I asked, and disinterested in following any kind of instruction. I just felt like I was done. Maybe I wasn’t the best person to be in this role. But I had committed so until I either found a way to reach the kids better or I found a replacement to be the leader, I felt like I NEEDED to be there–even when my heart just wasn’t in it, which is easy to have happen when you think what you’re saying is falling on deaf ears.

Then, out of nowhere it happened… I was minding my own business writing about a certain wedding between two particular characters living in Fort Gibson when my phone lit up.

I meant to tell you. Last week Alexander and Willie were outside playing and decided to repair a bike tire. (Side note these kids are 10 and 11.)
Willie: “Let me try.” *gets tire off wheel*
Alexander: “Great!”
Willie: “Now, how we gonna fix it?”
Alexander: “Get some DUCT TAPE! It’s just a small leak.”

Of course Bob and I showed them how to use real patches to fix leaks, BUT, I’m thrilled to pieces that they knew how to get the wheel off the bike and the tire off the wheel, then back on again . Will the duct tape hold? Probably for a while. Although she mentioned nothing about what happened when they went to re-inflate the tube…

What’s the point?

This got me thinking–something I try not to do too deeply. We all have skills, no matter how obscure or underdeveloped they are. We all also have struggles, myself included. Sometimes it’s easy to walk away or hold back because it feels like nobody appreciates us or cares, but believe me, there are people who do–they just don’t always know how to show it–once again I’m included in this.

After I got past the face value of this set of text, I really got myself in trouble with some deeper thinking. Over the past two and a half years, I’ve received so much encouragement from my readers–Facebook posts/shares, personal emails, comments, reviews, and so much more and while I don’t often draw attention to some of these things, they are all appreciated. It’s hard sometimes to put yourself out there in the world to invite public criticism and be made into an example, and I know without question that I wouldn’t have had the courage to come along this far had it not been for the AMAZING readers I have.  So if I’ve never called attention to your review or shared your post on Facebook, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t appreciated it. I have and I want to thank you ALL for being so awesome and supportive!

(Now, that I’m done, I can say, nope, deep thoughts DON’T lead to headaches–although sometimes NOT thinking things through can.)

Covers, Just for Fun, My own craziness

FLASH POLL: Is it time for a cover makeover?

As most of you know, I now have four different series out and three of the four have matching covers with text in the same places and a bar or something to “tie them together”. My original series does not.

I’m *thinking* (and fortunately I didn’t hurt myself too badly during such a strenuous process) that maybe I need to change the first three covers to look more like they belong together to a series. Some people do this with their books, others don’t, but I need some input.

Here are the covers as they are and below is a poll. If you have a few minutes, I’d appreciate it if you’d vote for your opinion.

 

 

Intentions of the Earl

Liberty for Paul

To Win His Wayward Wife

 

 

So what do you think? Should I leave them (it has been 2.5 years so it’s not like I’m trying to present these as new books), keep the picture but change the lettering/positioning or have them completely re-done.

 

I'm the victim of myself, Just for Fun, My own craziness, Randomness, Uncategorized

Anyone hearing a T-Rex calling???

Yesterday I took my kids to an amusement park in Oklahoma City called Frontier City. This park is decorated with an “Oklahoma” theme through and through. Some dates back to the “old days” of adventure–such as a reference to a “hold up” at the end of a ride called Silver Bullet or the decoration theme throughout where it looks like an old west town (even some of the restaurants are named to support this theme). Then there’s the ride appropriately named “Tornado” to celebrate what we’re known for. And it doesn’t end there. There is also the “cowboy” theme that goes on with rides like: Dodge ‘Em (bumper cars), Rodeo Round-Up and Steel Lasso. Truly, it’s a fun place to go.

One other thing that makes it so fun to go is the staff members. I blogged a few months about about Silver Dollar City just outside of Branson and mentioned how the staff are dressed in costumes, some of which are costumes that reflect themes for the rides they’re operating. At Frontier City, you get a little of that, but not as much. The ride operators are dressed in a uniform shirt and nice shorts or slacks. But every once in a while you’ll see an old west “Cowboy” walking around, such as I did when we first walked into the park.

Now, to back up a bit I don’t live that close to OKC, it’s a bit of a drive. But yesterday was the last weekday it’d be open until next year so it was my final chance to take my boys (I don’t do weekends as those are usually busy days). So not wanting to waste one precious moment, I got them up and out the door, only to arrive 45 minutes before the park opened! This was my fault as I misread the hours on their site. Anyway, we waited for a while, then they let us in, but only into the very front of the park. To keep us all from wandering around, there was a thick rope blocking off the main walkway.

Naturally, my son picked THAT moment to inform me he had to go to the bathroom. Always a mom-of-the-year candidate, I start looking for one only to deduce there isn’t one on my side of the rope. Of course. With a silent prayer my son could hold it (this is the child who denies he has to go until it’s nearly too late), I dig into my pocket to remove my phone and check the time.

Just as I look up, this handsome fellow dressed as a rugged 1800s cowboy walks up and asks my kids if they’re here to have fun.

“Yes!”

He grins. “Where are you guys from?”

I rattle off the name of my no-name town, then further explain its proximity to a larger city that I’m fairly certain he’s heard of.

He nods. “Oh, I graduated high school not far from there. Say, would you boys like to be famous?”

“No,” Eddie says meekly, hiding behind the pillar.

“What abut you?” the cowboy asks my youngest.

With a jump and a grin, Henry excitedly says, “Yeah!”

“Great! Come with me! You guys will be part of our Morning Show.”

With a shrug and what I hope to be an encouraging smile to my oldest, I give them a little nudge forward.

“Oh, you, too, Mom,” the guy said. “Say what’s your last name?”

“Gordon,” I choked as instantly my mind filled with TONS of uncomfortable possibilities of what might be in store for this “Morning Show”. None of which sounded very exciting for me, but hey, they’re little boys and the day was about having fun with them so I force myself to walk forward.

“Great. You guys wait there a minute then I’ll bring you all out in front. You boys will have fun, I promise and we’ll embarrass your mom.”

Grand. Just grand. Hey, I write romance novels that even people at my church read, I can’t embarrass that easily, can I?

Yeah, I now know that I can.

So this fellow goes up and starts off with telling everyone that he’s the sherif of this city, but the mayor has run off and a new one is needed! Quick! So in good ‘ole Frontier City fashion, it’s time to vote. Right now, on the spot. Then he gestures for the three of us to go join him up front so he can explain the voting procedures. Apparently there’s some law saying “He who had the best pig squeal is mayor”. However, in Oklahoma the only place most people like pigs is on their plate, so…his way of deciding on a new mayor was to have the three candidates (me and my children) do a T-Rex calling.

He then goes onto demonstrate the proper form and technique to such a thing:

First one must jump forward into a squat with bent knees, elbows pulled back and hands perched forward because T-Rexes have small arms. Then you bare your teeth, move your head around and squeal!

Once he was done with his demonstration. He looked at the three of us and said, “Mom, you’re first.”

Between trying not to laugh at the absurdity of it all and die from mortification. I jumped forward with my elbows back and half-squealed, half-giggled as the crowed chuckled, howled and giggled at my awful attempt.

Henry went next. Animated child that he is, he put his entire heart into the ridiculous act before looking to his brother to do his part. Though Eddie doesn’t like being up in public nor to be made to act silly, he surprised me by not cowering behind me and giving it a try.

But the torture didn’t end there, it was then time to vote by applause.

Like you see on shows where the host holds his hand over one of the contestant’s heads and the crowd votes. That’s what we did. I, of course, was out after the first round (not unsurprising at all), and after a few hand movements, my youngest Henry was awarded the position of Honorary Mayor of Frontier City for the day and I got asked by more than one park patron to call a T-Rex again.

Truly, I am a magnet for the crazy and sometimes embarrassing, however, I live by the theory that it’s things like this that keep you young and help build the memories (oh, and that make great content for books should I ever write a contemporary).

I'm the victim of myself, My own craziness, Randomness

Perhaps I should have considered a career in public speaking…NOT

Let me preface this post today by saying, there are a few things in this life that really I’m not the best person to take charge and do. I know that’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

Okay, enough sarcasm. The honest-to-goodness truth is: the words Vacation Bible School make me want to crawl under a chair, throw a blanket over my head and hide.

I know, I’m a wimp. However, a group of dozens of wild, screaming, energetic kids under the age of 10 scare me. It’s true.

But alas, one of the many things that have come up this year that I just couldn’t say no to was VBS or VBF as we’re calling it this year: Vacation Bible Fun!  Yeah, it was fun all right… For the little monsters! Only kidding. It wasn’t bad, nor did it go smoothly by any means, It was…different. Challenging. Overwhelming. And makes me want to run away and change my name just so I don’t have to keep going back all week. But I committed to it, so I will.

If anyone here has ever run such a chaotic program, take heart, I now understand your stress and why so many of the leaders look stressed and are singing the hallelujah chorus come Friday. Trust me, I get it now.

Yesterday, if there was any type of thing that could have gone wrong, it did. That’s where my wonderful public speaking skills (and improv) came into play.

See, to start with, we couldn’t get the  projector to work so cramming all four of us into the cab of my husband’s Dodge Dakota, we had to drive to and from the church in 100+ degree temperatures several times to pick up something else that I thought just might work. Now, why were we all crammed in there you ask? Don’t ask. It’s another long story. But in simple terms: I had a flat, our jack wouldn’t work, we had to call a tow truck to help us jack the car up and put on the spare. We got the car to the tire shop and what do you know, they don’t have the tire or any that will fit. So it’ll be a few days while they order it. Oh yay!

Only 30 minutes before the program begins, we get the projector to work…oh, but the mouse isn’t working! Not only is the mouse not working, but I left the CD that has the lyrics to all the little songs at home in my laptop, which was the first machine I tried to hook up to the projector.

I was able to call someone about the mouse, but still no lyrics. That’s okay, VBF songs are supposed to be fun and catchy, surely we’ll learn the words after a verse or two. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. First off, in all the worry over getting the computer to work with the projector and a mouse to play the CD with, I forgot to even think about speakers. Seriously. So while someone is on the hunt for speakers I have to sing. Now, everyone can sing, but should they? Absolutely not. I’m one who can but probably shouldn’t. Nonetheless, I belted Jesus Loves Me like there was no tomorrow. This wasn’t done, however, to help encourage the kids but to block out their screams at my awful voice.

We get speakers and sound, but no lyrics. Nor a catchy song.  Zap. The music ends, I read from a script paper and start singing again!

Fortunately, no technical errors happened with the next part, nor the games. Unfortunately, someone who was supposed to do an act wasn’t there…and they had the script so there wasn’t a way I could just grab another adult and read it. After much fear and calling a slew of people from the church who might have their telephone number, I got in touch with them just as they were pulling into the church parking lot. Perfect timing.

The entire night of leadership and program guiding was chaos on my end, giving me a whole new respect for teachers and people who’ve done this kind of program for year. As for me, I shall flee the scene the next time I see someone headed my way with a VBS flyer in hand. Coming up with things to talk about on the fly, singing songs at the top of my lungs and being asked how Adam and Eve’s kids had babies by a ten year old (seriously) is not my forte.

I do have to give credit where it’s due, however. Though there was A LOT of last minute changes in plans going on, the kids did really well moving from activity to activity and not going nuts in between.

How about any of you? Have you ever agreed to do something not realizing how much work it was only to have chaos ensue?

Just for Fun, My own craziness, Randomness

Mother’s Day treats–A few pall mall pictures included!

Here in the US, last Sunday was Mother’s Day and with such a high profile holiday comes lots of attention, and well, gifts.

This year, I got quite a variety…

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA
From my oldest son…
GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA
From my youngest, a gift that’s just as prickly as his mama… (I do believe he had a little “direction” from his father on this one.)

The day’s activities consisted of me reading a knock-out book while my husband cooked brunch. Then we went on a hike, ordered unusual shakes from Sonic Drive-In then while I went back to my book, Bob set up a pall mall course in our backyard.

(Before anyone asks, there is NO pink mallet.Supposedly, when I bought the set, I got the set of six, not eight, so there is no pink mallet. However, it was the first thing I mentioned too as we walked outside and before I could even finish my sentence, Bob informed me, there was no pink mallet. Now, whether this is all true and I did in fact buy the smaller set or I did have the set with the pink and purple and he discarded them, we’ll never know as all tags and pictures were gone from the bag the set came in…)

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA
Bob got the red, it was the closest thing to pink we had…
GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA
Notice you don’t see a green ball in the picture? That’s because I’m waaaay ahead. I had two really good shots right off. This lead did not last long, however. Second, notice how my children’s clothing does not match? Yeah, they get their sense of style from their mama!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Once again, I’m just as ordinary as anyone!

Just for Fun, My own craziness

Writers are ordinary people after all–believe me.

I’m sure this week for those who attended, they’re talking about all the wonderful things about RT and what all they got to do. Well…today, I have three stories that happened to me while I was there (or shortly after I came home) that will make you shake your head and wonder why life is so unfair that I get all the weirdness and you don’t.

As a disclaimer, this has nothing to do with RT itself, just being there and on a trip.

A few months ago we moved into a house that had room for me to have an office. It’s wonderful. I no longer have to type at the kitchen table or on the bed. Unfortunately, with the market conditions around here, we can’t sell our house. So we’ve decided to make it into a rental. It was our first house and to two people at 19 and 20 it seemed like a castle when we bought it. A 950-square foot, dirt brown and slightly shaggy carpeted, green, orange, eggshell painted mixed with paneling, castle. Now, of course every castle has its flaws. About two months before we decided to look for a new house, I was sitting down to my desk to write, moved my foot and immediately felt my sock grow wet. Upon further inspection, the carpet was saturated. My first instinct was that we had a plumbing leak, but just to make sure it wasn’t that one of the kids spilled water, I just soaked up the water as best I could with old towels and interrogated them…

Turns out it WAS a slab leak. One that they couldn’t even work on until we were out. But a slab leak wasn’t the only thing that was wrong with the house. No, they had to redo a good portion of pipes, faucets, and other things I don’t really understand. Well, while we have people in the house doing repairs (repairs that would have to be done whether renting or selling), I suggested we hire an electrician. One thing is for certain when two “kids” go shopping for a house, they have no idea what the heck they’re looking for. It wasn’t until after we’d moved in and I went to use the hair dryer that I realized there was NO electrical outlet in the bathroom. Who looks for this sort of thing before buying? It’s a room and the house was built a few decades ago, not a century ago. Electricity comes standard, doesn’t it. Apparently not in the bathroom. So for more than six and a half years we’d have to run an extension cord from the bedroom to the bathroom to use a razor, hair dryer, curling iron, etc. So why not, let’s put an outlet in here for whoever moves in next.

It’s funny how such a simple thing turns into something so complex.

The electrician came over on the Sunday before I left for Kansas City and was supposed to be done that day so imagine my surprise when I get a call Tuesday night as I’m having dinner with a friend I hadn’t seen since last year at RT and the voice on the other end of the phone says, “Good news, the electrician will be done tomorrow. Your house almost burned down, but it was contained in the attic so you can’t see anything and everything is okay now. I gotta go, bye.”

Huh?!?!

As it turns out, the people who lived there before us had made a few repairs themselves. In the attic, they’d run all the ceiling fans off a series of extension chords that plugged into the same outlet. The exterior lights were added after the house was built and were wired with speaker wire… Most of the light fixtures had wires that weren’t covered and were just “taped” together. Around this heating element we had in the bathroom, all the insulation in the attic was charred where it had apparently caught on fire once or twice and put itself out on the insulation. The ceiling fan in the living room wasn’t even mounted correctly. Anyway, it was counted that there were at least 5 major fire hazards and the electrician was thoroughly surprised the house hadn’t burned down. What a blessing! It wasn’t a cheap repair, but it was a necessary one as so many old wires were replaces and fixed and up to code. We used to burn through light bulbs constantly. Now, I know why.

(The next two stories are more perky, I promise.)

Well, actually, I can’t promise that. This next one isn’t as scary as the last one, but it’s not rainbows and lollipops, either.

At 7am on Friday,  I got a text from my husband that read:

“I’ll go ahead and tell you now, Rhett (our dog) puked on your pillow this morning at 4am.”

Um excuse me what? How is that for a morning greeting?

I’ll be honest, I do not like the dog sleeping in our bed. In fact, when I’m at home, I don’t allow it. My husband, however, loves it so I wasn’t exactly surprised to learn the dog had been in the bed, but to have vomited on MY pillow. That goes too far. I once again, had to get on the phone, and get more details. Details I could have lived without, so I’ll spare you. Instead of ending the call with I love yous, it ended with me saying, “That pillow had better not be there when I get back” and his reply of, “Oh, you can’t even tell where it happened…”

Third less than flattering story is probably the most humorous, but it didn’t really happen there so much, more of when I got back.

I’m a procrastinator. I waited until the day before to pack and load my car. One of my essentials is: Megapurse. If you’ve ever heard me talk about Megapurse she’s more than just a purse, she’s like my right-hand woman. This purse is gigantic and can hold a few notebooks, my laptop, pens, loose papers, books and all sorts of other things and still close. She’s great. Bob calls it my mobile office. Anyway, I take Megapurse on all trips. Recently I took her with us to Houston and Galveston for my brother-in-law’s wedding reception. Another object that often travels with us is EneMan.

For anyone who hasn’t subjected themselves to my craziness for very long, I’ll scandalize you now when I say that EneMan is a stuffed, plush enema. Basically a stuffed animal, in the shape of an enema… It’s green, has an orange tip, and wears a cape that says EneMan. My husband worked for more than half a decade in colorectal surgery and was given this by a Fleet representative. Of course, it’s not exactly something you want your kids snuggling up with at night, so Bob decided to hang it from the rearview mirror in my car. Thus, it began traveling with us. As a joke, we started putting him in our family pictures (while on trips, not professional/Christmas photos, although…). Anyway, as the years have passed, he’s just become part of the travels.

And apparently he traveled with me to Kansas City. As a disclaimer, I didn’t even realize he was there, he purse is THAT big.

So I took him out and left him in the room as I carted Megapurse around the conference. I surely didn’t want that thing to be found. Then, it came time to leave. Though I didn’t think I’d acquired a lot of stuff and I did think I’d given tons of stuff away, I was wrong. I had tons of things to cram into my suitcase and boxes. It wasn’t until I got home and began unpacking that I realized I didn’t see EneMan…

Laugh all you want, but panic started to build as I tore through my suitcase and Megapurse, then to my swag boxes and he was nowhere to be found. How on earth would I explain to my husband and kids that I’d lost EneMan? By Wednesday, I was defeated. I’d searched high and low. He wasn’t in the car, he wasn’t in with my clothes, he wasn’t with my swag or the books I’d brought back. He was nowhere and I knew what I had to do: call the hotel.

Now, this isn’t an easy call to make in my opinion. How exactly do you word this, “Pardon me, sir, did one of the maids turn in a stuffed animal in the shape of an enema?” or “Has a fellow who goes by the name of EneMan been spotted around your hotel?”

Seriously, what kind of response am I going to get from the chap on the other end of the line? Is he going to laugh, be aghast, actually page the maids to ask if they’d seen a plush toy in the shape of an enema, hang up on me?

I pondered how to handle this for like two hours. I know, I know, I’m a mom so I’ve had my lady parts on display for the world as my son was born and I’ve had all sorts of bodily fluids on me at some point, I write romance books with intimate scenes and I even rode home with a tape measure with the words: Pecker Checker etched into the side. But, I just couldn’t swallow enough pride to call and ask the man at the front desk. But neither could I disappoint my boys (all three of them) who I hadn’t told yet.

I was in desperate need of some chocolate.

I’d brought a bag of assorted chocolate with me to RT (which no one except me and my roommate ate…), so I walked over to the bag where I’d put it and+ lo and behold as soon as I lifted the bag of candy out, what was looking back at me (and dared to be grinning) but that blasted stuffed enema!

I tell people all the time, I might write books, but I’m still an ordinary person. My house isn’t perfect, my dog vomits on my pillow and like most parents, I’d force myself to call a hotel to retrieve a lost toy–even if I’m the one who lost it–no matter how embarrassing it is to explain!

Well, on that note, I have a couple out in the middle of Indian Territory who are in need of some romance, so I’ll be off! Have a great Friday!

 

Happenings, I'm the victim of myself, Just for Fun, My own craziness, Randomness

Live Chat Tonight 8 EST/7 CST

Just a reminder that tonight I’m doing a Live Chat (which makes me super nervous, by the way).

Details are below. There is NO limit to how many can join in, so come on out!

Live chat image

WHEN: Tonight May 9, 2013

WHERE: On my website. Follow this link or click the graphic above.

WHY: Just because! There is no predetermined topic, so bring your questions, thoughts, or just come to lurk.

TIME:  Starts at 8 pm EST  and will go to 9 pm EST.

This is a come-and-go event, you do not have to be there at the beginning and stay to the end. Drop in whenever you’d like and stay as long as you’d like.

Looking forward to seeing you there!