Sunday, August 31, 2008

MORE Birthdays!

Happy Birthday to the Sweet Boy Father and Son Team! Loved the cake. (I'm not allowed to say how old they are.)

(Four down and one more to go...)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Notes From The Swale

This photo (courtesy of my friend, Deena the Poet) was taken at the Chic-fil-A restaurant here on Wednesday when the remnants of Hurricane Fay came through. We had close to 10 inches of rain in all -- that's six-lane Innes Street behind them, not a lake.

The dh and I had some tense moments because, when the water suddenly began to rise, our grandbaby was visiting her other grandparents at the motel between this Chic-fil-A and the interstate highway you can see in the background -- where the deepest water is.

I'm happy to say the water has receded and all is well -- and my granddaughter now knows a lot more about floods and their precipitous nature than she did on Tuesday.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

World Traveler Update

The nephew is finally feeling well again. Fingers crossed that henceforth he'll by-pass those menu items that are "questionable."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Writing Thing

This is me -- happy to learn today that my orphaned book, The Marine, is an orphan no more. It, along with my other orphan, The First Boy I Loved, are to be released in a 2-in-1 volume trade paperback in August 2009. I am very happy. And so are my creditors. Likewise my non-deductible dependents. (Please start saving your pennies now, okay?)

This is also me -- with a heart and soul book proposal "out there" in the Land of Rejection, Angst, and Bona Fide Waiting Heck.

(What? Surely you didn't think it gets easier?)

Things That Go Bump

Being a child is having a Scary Things List that is constantly changing. Come to think of it, that's pretty much the situation for adults, too.

In any event, you will no doubt remember the "Scared To Sleep In My Room, Not Scared to Sleep In Your Room" thing. I have a five-year-old grandchild who is in that phase at the moment, and as much as she loved the movie, Monsters, Inc., it didn't help when the nighttime monsters moved to the top of the list. Bedtime became a royal hassle, and one of her brothers was dutifully camping out on the floor by her bed in an effort to help. Even so, it was clear that a Plan B was needed.

As a nurse, I specialized in maternal-child health, and I remembered a workshop dealing with the things that go bump in the night and three-to-six-year-olds, specifically, using their highly developed imaginations to their advantage. The solution: Monster Spray. Or in this case "Extra-Strength Sweet Dreams and Anti-Monster Mist."

What I didn't remember was how to make the concoction, so I had to scout around for the recipe:

3-4 drops of lavender oil in 6-8 ounces of distilled water.

Actually, I used a little more lavender than that (hence the "extra-strength") because I thought being able to detect the fragrance of the spray would be helpful.

The dh went on a quest for a spray bottle, one a fancy label made with a Print Shop program would stick to. (He assured me later that this was not as easy as it sounds.) After a dedicated search, he eventually found one sized for the new airline regulations. It was perfect for little hands and for the personalized label.

The finished product looked very official, and I made the presentation, complete with instructions for proper use, about ten days ago. Then I made sure not to do any follow-up -- I didn't want to make this any more of a Big Deal than it already was.

Yesterday, her brother -- the one who wasn't camping out on the floor but who could see the writing on the wall and his turn coming -- very happily reported that she'd been sleeping in her room without distress ever since she got the spray, the moral here being, pay attention in workshops. You never know when even wacky-sounding information might come in handy.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Memory Keeping: Recipes: Watermelon Preserves

More from the 1950s church ladies' cookbook.

I'm proud to say I grew up among women who could make something edible out of just about anything alive. (You've seen the persimmon pie recipe.) With that in mind, I've selected as today's recipe: "Watermelon Preserves."

Actually, the name is a bit misleading. The preserves aren't made from watermelon per se. They're made from the rind. (Yes, the part you don't eat.) Here's how to do it -- word for word, directly from the cookbook, as before:

Watermelon Preserves

1 watermelon (rind only)
pinch alum
2 lemons (sliced thin)

Peel and cut into slices the rind of one watermelon. Soak slices in weak salt solution overnight (1 Tbsp. salt to 1 qt. water). Drain, then parboil rind for a few minutes in water, containing a small pinch of dissolved alum. Drain again and make heavy syrup, using three parts sugar to 1 part water. Add lemons and spices, if desired. Put rind in boiling syrup, boil slowly until tender. Pack in hot jars and seal.

I remember eating watermelon rind preserves on several occasions when I was growing up, but I don't remember them having any actual flavor -- not like apple or blackberry or damson. They were sweet, and that's about it. They worked just fine on a hot buttered biscuit, though.

Till next time...

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Big 2-0

He's turning 20 today.

Happy Birthday, Other Sweet Boy!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Worrying From Afar

My nephew is still sick and in a foreign land. Latest word is that he was seen at a clinic (again), one that the language school recommends, and was given more medicine. Please feel free to jump in and help me worry at this time...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Comfort Food (As In, I Need Some)

Why, you may ask? I would tell you specifically, but I have resolved not to whine. Okay, maybe I'll whine a little bit. Let's just say I've been at war with technology and some companies that use it.

Double billings from one of them. Talk about unsettling.

And private and personal information for thirteen people (THIRTEEN!) sent to me by mistake from another. You have no idea how difficult it was to return these to a haywire computer, one that can be blamed, but not held accountable for this bad, bad thing, especially when you can't reach a human being no matter which number you punch. There is no automated choice for this kind of situation. There are only time-consuming, ringing telephone extensions that go unanswered.

Which, speaking of phones, brings us to the new cell phone I'm apparently going to have to make into a necklace or some kind of lawn art because my area code has no telephone numbers left. Who knew? Did I ever realize this could be a problem? No. I did not. I don't even like cell phones -- or I didn't until I found out I couldn't get one.

And my nephew is out of the country until Christmas. And sick. Again. He is many time zones away and about to have a birthday. Bless his heart, he probably needs some comfort food, too. His old war horse nurse aunt thinks he really, really should stop eating things that are -- as he puts it -- "questionable."

On the plus side, I did finish a book proposal today, i.e., graphics, character sketches, synopsis and the first thirty pages. This one has been a long time aborning. Murky, it was. In the middle. The beginning was strong. The end was strong. But oh, that vast wasteland in between. I rather like the finished product, though, if I do say so myself, despite knowing it's probably not going to "fit" anywhere. Everything about it feels "real" to me. The people. The places. The emotions. Now, all I have to do is bite the bullet and mail the thing to my agent. Then I wait. And wait. And wait some more.

As I said. I need some comfort food...