The Best-Worst Thanksgiving Ever ~ Turkey Trot Blog Hop

Thank you all for “hopping” on over here today as part of the Turkey Trot Blog Hop.

turkey-trotbl-2

This year, I am most thankful that I survived LAST Thanksgiving.

Last year, Thanksgiving was more like the Fortunately, Unfortunately Game.

My day started early–very early, with the release of my first official Mail-Order Bride book: Jessie: Bride of South Carolina. 

Jessie_BrideofSouthCarolinaTired of living under her father’s iron thumb of control Jessie Wilcox decides to do the unthinkable: run away to Montana as a mail-order bride. The only obstacle in her way: the one hundred miles between her home in Williamsburg County and the train depot in Charleston.

Joel Cunningham is in utter disbelief when the girl he once loved beyond reason is on his front porch asking him to disobey her father’s wishes and drive her to Charleston. Logic and reason scream no; his lips, however, say yes.

Will the one hundred miles ahead of them be enough to overcome the five years of painful regrets or will Jessie follow her dream for a new life in Montana?

This book is ON SALE for 99 cents from now until Nov. 28, 2016

Amazon ~*~ Apple ~*~ Barnes & Noble ~*~ Google ~*~ Kobo

After getting up at 2 am, my time, midnight PST, to make sure this released without a hitch and all the formatting looked great, I went back to bed for a few hours. Got up and made all sorts of goodies for Thanksgiving including: potatoes, a relish tray–complete with sliced turkey and a delicious from-scratch pumpkin cheesecake. I had it all out on the counter (uncovered of course) and ran up to my attic to get grab something from my attic i just HAD to have. Then this happened…

img_6410

Yes, I feel through the attic. Fortunately, I was able to grab a hold of one of those beams and my legs just dangled. But still.

Then I came downstairs to find this:

img_6411

Insulation had “snowed-in” my kitchen…covering all of my freshly baked/cooked goods!!

Fortunately, I was safe. Yes, my food was ruined and yes, this was going to be a costly repair, but I didn’t fall. Had I fall from my 12′ ceiling onto either those counters or on my concrete floor, I probably wouldn’t be able to write this today. So, I am so very thankful for that.

A little stirred–okay EXTREMELY shaken up–I went to Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house and as I was relaxing just enough while watching Home Alone, I started drifting to sleep, envisioning I was falling through the attic again! Good times.

After going home, I realized insulation was still snowing down (I’d cleaned it all up before I left) so I decided to go get my drill and a ladder to screw the ceiling back together. (No worries, I didn’t fall from the ladder–thank goodness.)

For whatever reason, last time I went to my climate controlled storage unit, I was working on some project and left my drill there. So I hopped in the car and drove over and my code wouldn’t work to get past the security gate. I tried the code over and over and over and finally I called the number on the keypad. Thinking I was about to get in, I was in for a rude awakening when the lady on the other end of the line said “You didn’t make your last payment.”

“Impossible!” I scoffed. “My debit card is attached and you guys–like clockwork–suck my payment straight from my bank account.”

“Well, it didn’t happen this time. You don’t pay, you don’t enter.”

Just then I remembered…A few weeks before I had to get a new debit card because someone had stolen my number and was trying to create dating profiles for a dating site somewhere in Africa… So, no, indeed, I hadn’t paid and though I offered to write her a check for double what I owed if she’d come let me in, she was unwilling to leave her family and drive those two miles to come let me in. (I bet she was really down at Wal-Mart waiting in line to get it for Black Friday sales! Just a theory.)

And at that moment, I had the oddest sensation: burning eyes and moisture on my cheeks! I’m not a cryer, but I was just then. It was like the flood gates opened.

However, in retrospect, I am so thankful all of this happened because I had no idea I had missed that payment and as it turned out, if I had reached Dec. 5th without payment, they’d have auctioned off my storage unit which was full of all of my swag, books, costumes, props for trade tables, and all other sorts of “Rose” things. Things that aren’t easily replaceable. Nobody would want them, but I wouldn’t want to not have them.

So in a way, it was the best-worst Thanksgiving ever and I want to thank all of my loyal readers for always being there for me. The ones who who have read this story before and the ones who sent me good vibes and thoughts.

Okay, okay, enough emotion, please leave a comment below telling all of us about a time when something great came from something you thought was so horrible to be entered to win a copy of Jessie: Bride of South Carolina.

Then please click the following graphic to go hop on down the list. Please remember, the more blogs you visit and comment on, the more chances you’ll have to be entered into the grand prize drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card. 

turkey-trotbl-2

Advertisements

Crafting it MY way

I don’t usually discuss my crafty side because well, I really don’t have one.

Don’t get me wrong, I try very hard to be crafty, but alas, I belong on one of those “pinterest fails” websites.

Lately, my DIY itch has involved a cheese grater. Yes, a cheese grater. I’m weird.

This is what I had in mind:

IMG_5310

I’ve seen these all over the Internet lately and they look just weird enough for me.

The problem is, NOBODY has posted a DIY tutorial for this. I know, I know, you can just look at it and get a basic idea of what to do, but the question to me was: what is holding the cheese grater to the board? Did they hold the drill just right to screw screws at an angle through it? Did they thread wire or zip ties through the little holes in the back then drill two holes in the wood and just make the wires/zip ties THAT tight so it would hold?  Nobody shared how they did this, so I’m going to. I’m sure in the next 24 hours I’ll have 15 people email me to let me know that they did a step-by-step DIY tutorial on this or they found one on xx site. Well, I hate to tell you this, but you might want to tweak your SEO because I’ve looked tirelessly for about a week and couldn’t find your site.

So…here goes.

What you need:

1 Cheese Grater
1 Board–size depends on how much you want it to show around the grater, I’d use at least 1/2″ thick
6 1/2″ screws
Paint or Stain if desired
Drill
Drill bits
Jute String or ribbon (optional)

Steps:

  1. Clean your cheese grater–nobody wants come over and see dirty food hanging on the wall!
  2. Find a board:
    I grabbed a piece of scrap wood from the corner of the garage.

    I grabbed a piece of scrap wood from the corner of the garage.

     

    3.  Paint or stain board if you wish:

    IMG_5291

    I used “antique white” so it wasn’t too bright and I just quickly brushed it on, I didn’t want the store-bought look.

     Also, I didn’t think to snap pictures until about halfway through so my holes are already there. 

    4.  Put holes in your cheese grater–no, little zip ties do NOT work. Don’t ask how I came to this conclusion. Just take my word for it. For this you could use a drill with a wide drill bit or if you have one a cropadile. Who knew.

    This is a Cropadile. They're sold at all major craft stores. My parents bought me one for my birthday or Christmas years ago to use for scrapbooking and I've used it for all sorts of things. The thing can cut through just about anything--even cheese graters.

    This is a Cropadile. They’re sold at all major craft stores. My parents bought me one for my birthday or Christmas years ago to use for scrapbooking and I’ve used it for all sorts of things. The thing can cut through just about anything–even cheese graters.

    If you don’t have one, I don’t know that a regular hole punch would work since this thing is “spiked”, but it might. I’d use a drill with a 1/4″ drill bit if you don’t have a cropadile. 

    You can’t really see my bottom set of holes, but there are two in the top and two in the bottom.

    5. Put the grater on the dried board and mark where the holes are:
    IMG_5299
    6. Remove grater and drill pilot holes:
    IMG_5300
    7.  Screw grater to wood:

    IMG_5301

    I had to use a screwdriver to do this as my drill was too big to get close enough to screw the screws in straight.

    8. Decide how you want to attach it to your wall. You could either screw it straight into the wall/cabinet as it is (but I would use screws longer than 1/2″ to do so). I opted not to screw the board into my cabinet because my few years as a realtor makes me cringe when I see things screwed into anyone’s house. In my state, anything screwed in is now considered part of the house and when it comes time to sell…it goes to the buyer. If you do unscrew it and set it aside before showing the house, you’ve just created some nasty holes. The other option is to hang it from a nail. Here’s what you do:

    9. On the back screw  one of those 1/2″ screws about half way in, then tie a string, ribbon, chord, wire, etc, around the screw, then screw it the rest of the way down, making sure to screw the ribbon down with it. Repeat on other side.

    Yes, I did foolishly think to cheat and use a staple gun on the jute string to keep it down. Trial and error. (And yes, Mom, I removed the staple.)

    Yes, I did foolishly think to cheat and use a staple gun on the jute string to keep it down. Trial and error. (And yes, Mom, I removed the staple.)

    10. Hang it up!
    IMG_5309
    Now, I can hear the grumbling already, that is one ugly dish towel rack, but it does have some other function:

    IMG_5311

    Put a small jar inside and let it hold fresh flowers. (Or in my case, grab some fake ones and some tissue and shove it in there.)

    Or…


    Again, put a jar or something in there to hold them or they’ll all tumble out the bottom. 😳

Generation Gap o_0

For those who don’t know, I was 19 when my eldest son was born. What a surprise he was, born almost exactly 10 and a half months after Bob and I eloped! Being such a young mom (20 when my youngest was born), I’ve always had plenty of energy to “keep up” with my kids. When they were little, I was right there on the floor playing cars or Legos or boardgames with them. As they’ve gotten older, however, I’ve noticed it: the generation gap. Nineteen/twenty years doesn’t seem like that big of a generation gap. But it is for those of us born in the mid-80s when microwaves hadn’t quite yet become a common household appliance. I remember when I was about five my dad carrying this massive box into our apartment and how excited my mom was to have a microwave!

Last April while at parent-teacher conferences, my son’s teacher asked me to come and talk to her fourth and fifth grade English students about writing and help them with their biographies.

Oh boy!

I must admit, I’ve talked in front of hundreds of adults at conferences. It’s nerve-wracking. I don’t like being in front of people. It just makes me awkward. But kids! Oye, talk about a tough audience. Thankfully she scheduled it for only a week out so I only had seven days to agonize about what I’d say to a gaggle of children. Any longer than that and I’d have had a full-blown panic attack.

Part of what I explained to these kids was when describing their person in their report, talk about their childhood: did they go to a one-room school? Did they have a private tutor? What were their hobbies? This helps the reader have a better idea of the standards of the time period that they’re writing about.

Somehow, and I’m not 100% sure how because this is just how I roll, this launched into me explaining what MY childhood was like:

I learned to type at age seven on a computer that was a black screen with green letters because computers were becoming “all the rage” and had to learn binary code (a code written by a series of 0s and 1s) to write a simple program my first year in high school.

I didn’t have the Internet in my home until I was 11–and it was AOL (America On-Line). They were fascinated by how the Internet used the phone line and you had to buy minutes. Oh, and that SOUND! I’m a sound effect gal and did my best attempt at that keypad dialing followed by the ear piercing squealing and then the screaming bear trapped in a washing machine as it finally connected.

While they were amazed at how the Internet worked, one couldn’t wrap his little head around what I meant by it used the phone line and made the phone unusable. These kids didn’t understand a LANDLINE!

Here my little 29 year old self stood in this room and my jaw was unhinged in disbelief. Even when my boys were little we had a landline. They don’t remember it, but it was there.

Of course this launched into an explanation of a phone that had a handset and a curl chord that plugged into the base and if you could afford it you’d get a cordless phone so you could take the handset in your room and talk. This brought about more confusion. “There wasn’t a phone in every room?”

Um, no. There were like two in the house and it was rare for anyone to have more than one line.

And then came the question of how would you send a text?

I left that room feeling like an antique after explaining that texting is fairly new, only gaining popularity fifteen years ago and cost per text sent and received. Which of course caused more disbelief and an explanation of why acronyms such as LOL, RU not to be confused with “ur”, and TTYL came about.

My question is: where the heck are these kids’ parents?! Are they too busy playing on their own phones to explain the “olden days” to their children and leave it to the poor sap who agreed to come talk about writing? I know I’m not the oldest parent of the class. Good grief and I thought the biggest hint of a generation gap between me and my kids was that when kids come over here they always want to compare the size of the TV with theirs (we always lose–I’m not a TV watcher) and when I was a kid, the first thing my mom asked me when I walked through the front door was: whose house is cleaner–theirs or ours? (This always had a definite winner, too. You could do surgery in any room in my mom’s house.)

That’s my thought for the day as your kids are starting to go back to school. Educate them at home, too!  Describe to them that awful noise that rent the air while connection to the Internet followed by those words that made you dance with anticipation: you’ve got mail. Describe how great they have it with the ability to talk on the phone AND send a text AND look at Facebook all at the SAME TIME.

In the words of the sign on my front porch…

In the words of the sign on my front porch…

To those in the US have a great 4th of July. Please be safe and don’t forget to take time to remember the meaning behind today–Independence Day. So many brave men (and women–women were spies, offered medical help, harbored patriots, sewed uniforms and flags, and so much more that isn’t always remembered during that time) who fought for our freedom in the Revolutionary War and in many, many since then.
As a bonus, here is some useless trivia for ya, when George Washington have orders for what the militia uniform should be, he specifically asked the women to make the men tan shirts of lawn materials with very long shirt tails. The reason? Because the breeches were made of a scratchy material and when it got wet it very abrasive and he wanted his men to be focused on fighting off the Redcoats and not distracted by their itchy or chaffing groins! 😇 You’re welcome for that tidbit.

What I’m working on

What I’ve been working on…

…and no, it’s not the railroad (although I do live waaaaaay too close to the train tracks, but that’s another complaint for another day).

I’ve been a little silent the past few weeks. It’s been busy ‘round here. The end of the school year is swiftly approaching which means track meets, awards banquets, photos, talent shows, auctions, spring colds, the list goes on and on.

Then there’s the writing front: Finished The Wooing Game! Writing full-force on Passions of a Gentleman. Nearing that “make a mad dash for the finish line” point. As soon as it’s done and in the editing stage, I’ll put it up for pre-order.

And once again, my blog has gone dead.

But I have an idea. Character interviews have always been fun. A few years ago, I did them on my early books and I think it’s high time I repost them as I had literally about 10 people reading them back then, so maybe a few more can enjoy them now. Also, I plan to intersperse some interviews from different authors/books so I don’t bore you all too much!

I’m sorry, what?!

I personally do not like being sung to for my birthday by a whole restaurant (or anyone for that matter). However, my kids, like most kids, do. I have all sorts of pictures of my kids at various restaurants wearing sombreros or crowns or holding a scepter or some other trinket to signify they’re the Birthday Boy.

Recently it was that time of year again and I was a little (okay, very) disappointed I didn’t get to go to dinner with my baby this year who is entering into his last year of single digits! (Yes, I’m officially old.) Instead, my parents took him and his brother out and sent me a picture of him with a cookie about as big as his face–no joke.

When he got home, I realized it was fate’s working that kept me from being able to attend because I’d have made an ass out of myself had I been there.

“Mama saw that huge cookie! Did you eat it all?”

“Yep, every bite,” boasts the child as he bounces off the walls.

Great. Now he’ll never sleep. “Mimi just sent me a picture of the cookie–” shows him the picture on my phone– “was this when they sang Happy Birthday to you?”

“No.” Shakes his head wildly and bounces around a little more. “They didn’t sing to me.”

“They didn’t?!” I purse my lips and give him a look that I’m sure of disbelief. This kid LOVES attention. “Please, don’t tell me you didn’t want them to.”

“No, I wanted them to. They just said they they don’t sing to kids for their birthdays because it makes all the other kids in the restaurant jealous and they get upset.”

Excuse me, what?!?!?! Had I been there and the waiter/waitress had said that to me, I’d have spouted some very unkind words. That is utterly ridiculous. Life isn’t fair. We all have one birthday a year. The other 364 days of the year are NOT ABOUT US. Deal with it. For a place–a family pizza parlor at that–to have instated such a policy is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I mean, seriously? I hate to tell on myself, however, I think in our efforts to validate everyone’s feelings about every little thing, we’ve neglected not only common sense in some situations, but are taking away the very things that will  help our future generations learn how to function in a society.

This just amazed me and not in a good way.

Are you man enough?!

Eddie aka Kindergarten Casanova is now in 4th grade!!! Crazy how time flies, huh? 

Well, as it would happen he has a gal pal again this year. Shocker! He is quite smitten with this one and is always asking to invite her places. In turn, she is always extending invitations his direction, too. 

We first knew love was in the air when she came to his 10th birthday to play laser tag. Since then, it’s skateboarding on the bike trail. Weekend showings of Disney movies. Picnics at the parks. You get the idea.

On Friday they have a field trip and he reallllllly wants to sit next to her on the bus. I mean this attraction is so strong he’s strategizing four days out how he’s going to pull this off. I suggested he ask her earlier in the week and secure their seating arrangement. His solution was just to stand real close to her at line up. Bob suggested what we were all thinking, “if you hold her hand while lined up, you’ll definitely not be pushed out of the way.”

To which he replied, “I’ve already proved to her I’m man enough to hold her hand!”

“Huh?!” I couldn’t contain my curiosity. 

“Yeah, she held out her hand said I could hold it if I was tough enough to and I did.”

Oye. 

As I write this I have one child cackling as he tries to read it over my shoulder and the other one threatening if I post this on the internet he’s going to lock himself in his room and not come out for 100 years! 

Ahhhh motherhood!