An 80s Moment

Yes, I know. It’s been a while. Don’t start with me, I’m already having an 80s moment. Okay. Fine. It could also be defined as a PMS moment. Or a Last Week Was the Week From Hell moment. Really, you choose.

My dream job is now my day job, so as usual, feel free to go out and gift any of my books to all your friends and family so my new day job (freelance writer, editor, and author) could become my retirement. Loving the new day job, although I have to get it going a bit more, so see previous comment.

But last week, after returning from Snarky Daughter’s graduation present of a trip to Disney World – and how lucky am I to have a kid who wants her mom to go with her to Disney World after high school and before she’s forty – I came home to have to replace… the washing machine (which was as old as my daughter), the well pump (older than my daughter, and the mattress (nowhere near as old as my daughter). Just hush about why I needed to replace the mattress.

The mattress arrived yesterday and I got my first good night’s sleep in about four years. Which meant that this afternoon, all those purchases made while lacking a closet full of corporate clients or New York Times Bestsellers (mine, not the ones I buy), hit me full force.

I did what every sane woman does in such a moment. I looked for chocolate. Apparently Scout Son ate that while I was gone. I’d complain, but he also painted the barn and took care of the dog, so if it cost me some Hershey’s Kisses, oh well.

Digging in the pantry got me nothing… except a Trader Joe’s Pound Plus bar of premium chocolate. If you haven’t seen it, it’s exactly what it claims. Over a pound of really nice chocolate that I use for baking.

And then I remembered this…

Which led to me doing this…


Yes, really.

Reese’s does it better. Actually, Trader Joe’s does peanut butter cups really well. For the record, it’s probably better to get in your car and drive into the 80s, or at least to the nearest store, and get something created by a trained professional. Because while I can make Irish Cream Truffles that you’ll beg for, and I can write a romance novel that reminds you that happily ever after is something to strive for, I seem to lack the basic chocolate and peanut butter skills found on the average street corner in 1985.


Stress Baking aka I Need to Move

So, I’m standing in the kitchen ready to kill one of my children because, you remember when I said, “Don’t eat these Kisses because I’m going to make Peanut Blossom cookies with then”? Yeah, clearly one of them didn’t remember that either because I notice I’m short on Kisses (in all ways possible), and while I totally agree that Hershey’s is screwing with me by making smaller packages, I don’t think it’s all on them, Scout Son.

Not that I’m naming names.

And usually this wouldn’t piss me off, I mean, I’m not a chocolate Nazi. We currently have, no lie, about 100 oz. of chocolate chips in the house, along with 3 pounds of chocolate to make truffles later this month. As long as I have 2 cups of chocolate chips to make cookies at any given moment, we’re good.

Stress baking, mom?

photo of Peanut Blossom Cookie
I suppose the good news is that I don’t want to eat them. Of course, that’s not good news for Sarcastic Roommate, who announced this morning that she was beginning a healthier living plan. Sorry.

Yes, Snarky Daughter. Go back to enjoying your weekend with your father and leave me alone.

In my kitchen. With my Kitchen Aid Professional. And a glass of wine.

You know that scene in Under the Tuscan Sun, where she ends up looking at the movers and saying, “So, um, two boxes,” and she pockets the blue vase? I think she got the better end of the deal, because I’m pretty sure this mixer is my blue vase, and hers was a lot lighter.

I didn’t get up planning on baking. I got up planning on painting my nails and chaining myself to a chair and finishing the story I’m working on because I’m on deadline. And then I was going to finish a cover design for someone and then I was going to rework my resume so I could discuss it with my step-mother and find a job.

But instead I opted to read for a few minutes hours. The problem here is Lani Diane Rich and The Fortune Quilt. I started it one night a few days ago. I thought I was picking up a light, humorous romance. But the Universe is not done sending me messages, because while there is a romance in this story, this is a story about a woman who is an emotional wreck, has been laid off and runs away from home to lick her wounds and start over.

Do you have any idea how badly I want to do that? I so seriously want to take my kids and go sleep on someone’s couch and just start over, I can’t begin to tell you. I keep trying to do what’s best for the kids and stay here, near my Ex, so he can see his kids, because that’s the responsible thing to do, and while I don’t want to be married to him, he’s a pretty nice guy and a good dad. And Snarky Daughter can finish high school where she’ll get two years of college credit free. But then Scout Son wants to apply there this year, so really, it’ll be four more years here, and I’m beginning to think paying for two years of college would be emotionally cheaper than what I’m going to pay for Four. More Years. Here.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that staying here is killing me. Unfortunately, here in Non-Fiction Land, I have about $20 in savings, and after I pay the bills, about that much in my checking, and unless my lottery numbers were good on Tuesday (and I think I’d have heard something on the news by now if there’d been a big winner), that’s not enough to start over with.

So I’m pretty much stuck right now, trying to figure out how to get unstuck, and wishing like crazy I had an artsy, Bilby, Arizona to run away to, where I could work in an art supply store while I found myself for a couple of months and then got the job of my dreams, the guy of my dreams, and the quirky cottage of my dreams.

With a kitchen big enough to hold my Kitchen Aid, and some shelves for my books. And no guilt for dislocating my kids because for once, just once, I could put my needs before everyone else’s. And everything would work out fine.

In the meantime, I’m moving on to Ginger Snaps.



April Reading Challenge, Easter Chocolate and Monday Chaos

Hard to believe it’s Monday again. As usual, I start Monday with the list of stuff I was supposed to finish over the weekend but didn’t, like write this blog. The list is really long today because it’s really a bunch of stuff I was supposed to do last week. But I did finally find decent chocolate bunnies, so Easter was good. And I introduced Snarky Daughter to Cadbury Crème Eggs, which means I have to share, but they’re so good!

So the list is long this week because I finally had an aha! moment with one of my prescriptions. I take it one week a month and this is the first time I’ve taken it since the day job went away. About halfway through the week, fighting all sorts of signs of depression except being depressed — just tired but can’t sleep, no energy, etc — it occurred to me to check the side effects of the medication. Bingo! Of course, I thought of that on Saturday, the last day I had to take it. But now I know, so maybe coffee is allowed the week I take it.

Sunday came along and BOOM I was back to my crazy, how many things other than writing this blog and paying the bills can I get done today? Well, turns out I can do 4 hours of yard work, including cutting down a 10′ dead limb from a tree. OK, halfway through Scout Son wanted a crack at it, so he finished it up. I can burn all the dead leaves that had the audacity to fall after we burned the leaves in December. I can weed a small part of the garden for fifteen minutes (hunger and teenager mutiny ended that one), strip wallpaper for two hours, do four loads of laundry, change the sheets, watch Iron Man 2 and Tangled with the kids (hey, the Easter Bunny brought them), and finish up the Boy Scout reports for the upcoming Court of Honor.

I probably could have done more, but if you read through that list again, you’ll see a bunch of stuff that probably isn’t so good for back/hip injuries. But that’s the way I get on weekends. Did I mention I got rid of a 2′ stack of old bank and insurance statements? Well, I needed to start the fire somehow!

So, I’m writing this blog about the cool Reading Romance challenge a friend put me onto last weekend. You got that from the first four paragraphs, right? Not seeing it? Well, it’s Monday and I can’t have coffee so it’s sort of free-range blogging today. Which reminds me, I might need a couple of goats… Anyway, when she first mentioned it, I thought, it’s not a challenge for me to read, it’s a challenge for me to put the book down. See Thursday when I read all day. Yes, really.

But the deal with this challenge is that each month there’s a different theme. The rules are at the Reading Romances Challenge site, and you can sign up for April’s challenge here.

The best part is that she gives you choices, so if you can’t find something you like in the first option, no problem, move on to #2. But here they are for April:

TOPICS: Alternate Realities Month!

1) Read a contemporary book where something is different in the world than what reality reflects. (vampires, magic etc)

2) Read a book set in the future or  a historical with an alternative reality (i.e. steampunk).


3) Read one book that was nominated for the RITA or Golden Heart award!


4) Read an LGBT book, a book with at least 3 of the 7 colours of a rainbow (violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red) on it’s cover, or a book with a title that includes the word: dream/s, wish/es, or rainbow.

5) Read a book with an accountant/book-keeper character, or due to a shortage of funds, read a free or borrowed (library, friend etc) book.

You can read as many as you want. So, I’m tackling Lothaire by Kresley Cole. It’s part of a series and I’d been holding off on reading this one because, well, once you start Kresley’s books, you might as well call in sick for the day. I may also tackle a book that was nominated for the RITA, although to be honest, I forgot to check out the list when the nominees were announced. But you can find them on the Romance Writer’s of America website. Reading a Golden Heart finalist is a little harder since they’re unpublished manuscripts.

I may also tackle one of the special events because Snarky Daughter keeps talking about the Jenny Crusie books she’s stealing from my shelf, and Bet Me is about an actuary, which in my mind is an accountant of sorts.

We’ll see what shakes out since it’s April and I’m being called to work in the yard. It sounds like I’ll be too busy to read, but usually I end up getting hurt working in the yard by, you know, walking or something equally taxing, and then I’m laid up for a week reading and writing.

Happy Spring! Go out and plant something heavenly, and then sit by and watch it grow, while you read a good book, of course!


Cookies are Evil

I need to start packing my lunch. This is highly amusing since I’ll be packing it to go to… the living room. I thought working from home would mean that I could lose weight. After all, I’d be able to work out every day. And I have.

But there are cookies.

Yeah, there were cookies and ice cream and Mexican food and omelets and lattes and bagels… OMG. There was a ton of good food at the day job. But I could ignore a lot of it. Well, some of it. And I could ignore the vending machines.

Here, the cookies sit on the counter. Under the microwave. And they call to me. They’re really good. And evil. I can mostly ignore the Wallyworld fake Oreo’s. Well, I can stop at one. But then there are the chocolate chip cookies that I made. With butter. They’re really good with a glass of chardonnay. Just saying.

It seems I don’t work out enough to cover a lunch of chocolate chip cookies. Which is a bummer. But I’m not planning on working out a lot more than I am now. Heck, I went from twice a week to daily. That should say something. And it should be affecting the number on the scale. Or is that effect. Agh. Verb, noun, you know what I mean.

But the numbers aren’t moving. They were. And then the cookies called.

So I’m seriously thinking of packing my lunch. If it isn’t in the bag, I can’t eat it. Is it crazy for me to move a dorm fridge into my living room?

On the up side, I feel stronger, feel like I look better, have less stress and ¾ of a book plotted. Now, if the dog would stop walking by happily – very happily – and rearranging scenes until I can get the final plot figured out, it would be good.

And worthy of a cookie. Or two.


The Recipe Challenge

Scout Son once said there could never be too much chocolate. Today, he recanted.

I love to cook. My ex-husband would question that, and to be fair, there was a 10 year period when I hated to cook. But really, when every meal is met with “Eeeewwwww! Nnnnnoooooo!” by the short people in my house, who would want to cook?

But those years of child torture paid off, and now I can cook again. Which is good since during those years I collected a lot of recipes. Like, inches of magazine recipes. Here’s the thing. I never make those recipes.

I’m like most of you. I have maybe 10 go to recipes. You know the ones I mean. You’re on your way home from work and you need to make something for dinner and you decide on spaghetti because you know everything that goes into the sauce because you lived off of it for those 10 years when you weren’t allowed to cook anything challenging.

The problem is that half of my go to recipes are desserts. What can I say? Come to my house, I can whip up a cake from scratch. Dinner? Um…

So last week I challenged the kids. I dumped all the recipes on the table and said, “Pick two each, one real meal, one dessert. I’ll make them this week.” And going forward, we’re picking a couple of recipes every other week to try, until we work through the pile. Keepers actually get hole-punched and put into the recipe binder.

Linguine with Four Cheese Sauce
Linguine with Four Cheese Sauce

Scout Son immediately picks up Rotini and Cheese (Cooking Light, November 2010). And I think, really? Glorified mac and cheese? That wasn’t even the recipe I had wanted to try on that page! But as I was lamenting the lack of challenge, Scout Son and Snarky Daughter came through. Linguine with Two-Cheese Sauce (Cooking Light, July 2011). Brown Sugar Soufflé with Crème Anglaise (Cooking Light, June 2011).

Yeah, if you think Cooking Light is non-fat, non-taste food, go back. They’ve changed. Now it’s healthy, low-fat awesome stuff. Recipes with bacon, butter and sugar. In moderation.


Anyway, Scout Son still had a dessert to pick. And he didn’t

Too much chocolate? They are a bit rich.
Too much chocolate? They are a bit rich.

disappoint, although once again, not what I had pulled the page for: Double-Chocolate Profiteroles (Real Simple, December 2010). Puff pastry with chocolate ice cream and dark chocolate sauce.

These are what have my son decided might have too much chocolate. They don’t really, but quantity is key here. Three is too many because these suckers are rich. But if you’re having a bad day, or need something to go with a big red wine, buongiorno profiteroles!

I made three out of four. The soufflés will have to wait, mostly because I don’t have the right pans.

No awesome new recipes this week. Tomorrow, in honor of fall, it’s Butternut Squash Soup with Cider Cream ( It’s not one of the 10 recipes yet – I forgot the leeks and will be headed back to the grocery store tomorrow – but it’s a family favorite.

And sometimes, favorites are more important than trying new things.