Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Howling Good Time"

Happy Halloween everyone! Candid Housewife--sweet lady--is hosting me as a guest blogger on her site. Swing on over and check out the wonderful recipe she posted, and take a peek at the story I have there.

I'm off to Wally-World for some last minute party items, and who knows, I might hurl a few cans of cream corn if the mood strikes. LOL.

See ya over at Candid Housewife's!

Friday, October 27, 2006

I had a whole different post typed out, but it got erased. Ahhhhh. Calgon take me away!!!!!

I borrowed this from Much More Than a Mom.

A is for age: Which is a state of mind. In my mind, I'm still a kid, but in real life, I'm 36.

B is for beer of choice: I don't touch the stuff. I'm snobby with what I drink, I drink wine.

C is for career right now: writer

D is for your dog’s name(s): Blue

E is for essential item you use everyday: toilet, computer, and shower, but never at the same time.

F is for favorite tv show at the moment: Bridezillas For the record, I'd like someone to invent a show called Writers Gone Wild. It would feature overly-stressed people, like me, standing on top of the cream corn display in Wal-Mart, and hurling cans at other shoppers. No, I don't do that.

G is for favorite game: Play: Soccer Watch: Football

H is for Hometown:

I is for instruments you play: clarinet, oboe, tenor sax, alto sax

J is for favorite juice: Grape

K is for whose butt you’d like to kick: My own for erasing that story. Hey, that'd be pretty interesting to watch someone kick their own butt.

L is for last place you ate: Sitting on the couch

M is for marriage: Aw, that's awfully sweet for you to ask, but I'm already happily married.

N is for your name: Debbie

O is for overnight hospital stay: Two C-sections, and a car accident

P is for people you were with today: My family

Q is for quote: Live Like You Were Dying from the song performed by Tim McGraw. I know it's not a quote, but I like the philosophy.

R is for biggest regret: Not telling Dad I loved him for the last time.

.S is for sport: Football

T is for time you woke up today: 4 AM

U is for current underwear: White. Pretty darned boring, huh?

V is for vegetable you love: Eggplant

W is for worst habit: Sarcasm and stubborness

X is for x-rays you have had: Wrists and knees. C-SCAN when I had my car accident

Y is for yummy food you ate today: Homemade veggie chili

Z is for zodiac: Virgo.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Aiming high and tripping over my tongue

This afternoon, GoofyJ wrote about misplacing things. I think I can "one-up" her; you see, a few days ago, I lost my brain.

Last week, I decided I was stuck "in a rut" with my writing. Sure, I've gotten a few things published, and I love what I do; but I deduced, if I want to "go anywhere" in this career, I'll have to start going for the bigger markets. Highlights magazine was my first target.

I read Highlights when I was a small child, and just the thought of submitting something to them made my heart race faster than a herd of spooked wild horses. Everything has to be perfect, I thought. I went over my favorite children's manuscript with a "fine tooth comb," making sure every " 'i' was dotted, every 't' crossed". When it got to the point I was so sick of the story, I wished an ill fate for my main character, I tortured my hubby by making him read it. He really wasn't interested in helping; but his mind changed when I threatened to hide the cheesecake brownies I had just removed from the oven. Chocolate, in the right hands, is a very powerful weapon. Finally, I felt the manuscript was ready.

I double-checked the submission guidelines on the website, and wonder upon wonders, saw that they took phone queries, meaning you could pitch your story to them over the phone. There was a lump in my stomach the size of Houston as I dialed the editorial number; to my surprise, the phone was answered on the first ring.

"Highlights," chirped a sunny female voice, "can I help you?"

I drew a blank; my mind was a blank slate. I couldn't remember the pitch I had rehearsed, and for one panic stricken moment, I couldn't even remember my name. .

"Highlights magazine. Can I HELP you?" the editor repeated, obviously agitated.

I couldn't speak, couldn't ever whisper. The only thing I could do was breathe heavy into the receiver, like some sicko. "Umm. . .yes sir. . .I mean madam. I-I wanna pitch a phone query." What the heck is wrong with me? I wondered. I had given speeches before, acted, and was never a loss for words. Now I was doing good to remember who I was.

"Okay. What's the title of your book."

"I'll tell you when I remember," I answered glibly. "I think my coffee has worn off and it's affecting my brain."

"I hear that," Editor replied, laughing softly. "Just take your time."

The floodgates to my brain opened, and sounding like a chimpmunk on a caffeine rush, I spouted off my query. Well, I botched that up. "I honestly write better than I talk." I babbled.

"You did great; wonderful for your first phone query," Editor replied soothingly. "I like your story idea. Send it in and we'll consider it."

I couldn't believe my luck. The next day the entire manuscript was on its way. Haven't heard anything yet, but I'm thinking positive.

After a weekend of vegging out, my brain is back to normal, or what I consider to be normal.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Tail end of the weekend

I have numerous reasons to be happy this weekend:

1. I had my coffee this morning. Yay for me and for everyone within a ten mile radius around me.
1a. Hubby just stopped by to pick up his baked ziti for an office party, and surprised me with a pumpkin pie spice latte from Starbucks.

2. There's an invigorating chill in the air this morning, signaling the arrival of Fall (we rarely get cold here) and of the holiday season. In just two glorious months, my house will be flooded with family and friends, all who will be here to celebrate Christmas.

3. I thank God every morning my sweet toddler wakes up without an ear infection. He's had a history of ear infections in the past, and it breaks my heart to see him in so much pain; not to mention I worry myself sick about potential hearing loss.

4. We went to the Fall festival at Seth's school last night. Ever the escape artist, I dodged getting thrown in the pretend jail. Hmm. . . If they ever need a female to play the role of "The Fugitive", I'm their gal.

There was a "hair salon" booth there, and giving Seth an argument a used car dealer would be proud of, I convinced him neon-colored hairspray would not show up well in my dark hair. Thank goodness he didn't see the dark neon blue spray. Ever try to wash that stuff out of your hair? Almost impossible. Last time I did that, I sprayed my hair green, it took several washing to get that dye out. I'm really surprised a cow didn't try to graze on my head.

5. Tomorrow I'll be so busy I won't have time to think. Early in the morning, we'll be participating in a fun run for Drug Free week; later in the morning, I'll be in a parade; in the afternoon, I'll be at a Pet Festival. At all three places, my Malamute/Husky, Blue, will be with me. This will be interesting to say the least, because he's never been in the truck. Cross your fingers for me.

6. I'm happy to be alive, period. As they say, "Yesterday was the past, tomorrow is the future, today is the present." Every second of every day is precious; enjoy it and live it responsibly as if it were your last one.


For my coffee drinking friends:

Coffee-Mate creamer has released new flavors for the holiday season. They are: Peppermint Mocha, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Eggnog, and Gingerbread. I've tried all but the Eggnog.

Peppermint Mocha-- Refreshing, pepperminty

Pumpkin Pie Spice-- The spices are a bit overpowering at first, but the flavor grows on you and is comforting

Gingerbread-- A toned-done version of the PPS; a little too sweet.

The website has interesting articles, recipes, and most important, coupons! The special go for around $1.58 at Wal-Mart here, and with the $1 coupon, that makes the total price just $.58!

Have a wonderful weekend

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Quick Trip

Saturday morning, on the spur of the moment, we decided to attend the Italian Festival in Houston. With visions of chicken Marsala and canoli dancing in our heads, we eagerly wedged ourselves into the Jimmy. Always the obstinate one, the truck refused to start.

"Well, so much for that idea, unless," John said, "Enterprise has a car we can rent."

Luck was in our favor, and we rented a Dodge Magnum for the weekend. Let me be the first to tell you, this is NOT your classic station wagon. To begin with, this fire-engine colored creation had a Hemi engine, which John was extremely excited; very patiently John explained a Hemi was an ultra-powerful engine, very seldom seen in a car. With a "that's nice dear" expression plastered on my face, I "oohed" and "ah ed" in all the right places as he went on about pistons and cylinders. I do well if I can change a tire, check the fluid levels, pump the gas and find the radiator; anything else about cars is over my head and is completely uninteresting to me. The front end resembled the muscle car, the Dodge Charger, and the rear end looked like the George Jetson version of a space age station wagon..

John took me for a spin before we left on the trip. Needless to say, I haven't been in anything so powerful since my younger, single days when I had a sports car.

As soon as we reached the festival, we were greeted by the mouth-watering aromas, and joyous live Italian music. I wanted to see the arts and crafts first, but being a minority in this family, I was out-voted and we looked at the car exhibit instead. The were Lamborghini and Ferrari of all different colors; I have to admit, it was kind of exciting to see a car that costs more than my house. I didn't dare even breath on them, for fear a drop of saliva might escape my quivering lips and drop on a hood marring the finish in some way.

I was relieved when we entered the pavilion, and visited the food booths. I was just sitting down with a mouth-watering bowl of chicken Marsala, when , onstage, the MC announced a Trivia Contest. The winner would receive a CD of Italian Festival songs. Too bad I can't win that. I never win anything.

They gave the question, and wonders upon wonders, I called out the right answer and won. I felt like I was walking through oatmeal as I walked past numerous sets of curious eyes on my way to the stage. I still couldn't believe my good fortune until the MC handed me the CD, still tightly wrapped in cellophane.

"Hey, that was almost too easy for you," a man sitting by our table joked. "Maybe they should've had you sing for it."

"Oh hell no!," John blurted.

Jerk, I thought as everyone around us burst out laughing.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with carnival rides for the kids, and grape stomping, which we watched, and more wonderful music. Finally, as the sun began to bid farewell for the day, we loaded up and came home. We hated to leave, but after the long trip, it was good to be back home.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Something to warm you up

The cold is beginning to nip at your nose and "Old Man Winter" looms just around the corner. Here's a recipe to warm your tummy.

Minestrone Soup

6 1/2 c. marinara sauce
2 c. beef broth
1 c. red wine
1 med. onion, chopped
1/4 c. celery leaves, chopped
1 c. chopped celery
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 1/2 c. chopped cabbage
1 (14-16 oz.) can kidney or great northern beans (drained)

Combine the sauce and broth and heat until it reaches a low boil. Add veggies, cover the pot, and simmer for 25 minutes or until all veggies are tender. Add the beans and simmer for 1-2 hours. Serve over pasta and top with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Wonderful with garlic bread.

I had a wonderful weekend, and will try to post about tomorrow. How was your weekend?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Eye exams can be dangerous for my mental health

My boys. . .my heart

Here's a picture of the culprits. . .er. . .I mean my boys. The little one looks like me, the big one looks like his Dad.

Most people can go to the eye doctor without incident, not me. Maybe it’s the soft fluorescent lighting, or the soul-soothing music; whatever it is, the moment I step into the office and catch a whiff of the vanilla-scented air, my mind becomes a bowl of Jell-O.

“Oh, that’s an interesting last name, a new front desk attendant chirped as I signed in. “Are you Roman?”

I was only listening with half my mind, the other half was intent on watching Robert, and making sure he didn’t indulge himself by breaking a pair of designer glasses on a rack. “Huh? Oh no, I’m not roaming. I’ve lived here for almost fifteen years,” I replied absently as I grabbed Robert’s inquisitive hands.

There was silence after my statement, then the receptionist burst into giggles. “That’s a good one,” she chuckled.

“Umm. . .thanks. Did I say something funny?” I asked, giving her a blank look.

“You, you weren’t trying to be funny?” she stuttered, turning as red as a tomato.

“No. You asked me if I was roaming, and I told you I’d been living here for fifteen years.”

The receptionist burst into laughter. “No sweetie; I saw your last name and asked if you were Roman.”

It was my turn to blush. “Oh,” I laughed uncomfortably. “Well, the last name is Italian, but its origin is more Sicilian.” Why’d she ask me that anyway? No one has ever been that specific.

During the rest of our conversation, the reception revealed she had just returned from her honeymoon trip to Rome; she thought I looked Roman.

After the receptionist regaled me with her honeymoon adventures, I sunk into one of the comfy chairs and Robert played happily with an office toy. In a few minutes, a handsome young eye tech game to the door and called my name. “Is it okay if we take the toy into the exam room?” I asked, glancing anxiously at my son playing on the floor. “Cause if we don’t, there’s going to be a flood of tears.”

“I don’t see why not,” the tech replied.

I MEANT to say, “Come on baby,” to Robert; instead, I looked at the tech and said “Thanks baby.” The young man gave me a strange look as he ushered me into the room.
Before I leave here, they’re going to think I’m a blathering idiot.

In a short time, Dr. “H” breezed into the room. “It wonderful to see you again,” he said, patting my on the shoulder.

Yeah, you wouldn’t say that if you knew what I thought the last time I was here. Thankfully, the exam was completed without incident. I hope that by the time I return next year, they’ll have forgotten everything that happened this visit. Hopefully. . .but I doubt it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It pays to GOOGLE yourself

If you remember, a few years ago, people were illegally downloading and distributing popular music. Many of the musicians sued and won against the violators; I, like many others, thought the "pirating" was wrong, but didn't think it was any big deal. Funny how my attitutude changed shortly thereafter.

One lazy afternoon, about this same time last year, I was happily sitting at my computer, sipping on a glass sweet, and surfing the web. On a whim, I ran a search on myself using GOOGLE. I almost choked on my tea because of what I saw; my name was linked to an undesirable website. No way, there's no damn way I could be on this website. Yeah right, like there's just tons of people running around with my name.

Morbid curosity got the better of me, and I clicked on the link. As it turns out, someone had taken an earlier story of mine from an ezine I submitted to, and posted the story without my permission. I couldn't email that webmaster fast enough. Bless him, he responded immediately, apologizing profusly for what the person posting the story had done, and removed the post.

Two months later, ran another search, same guy stole another one of my stories and posted it on the same forum. Again I emailed the webmaster, again he apologized, removed the post, and sent me a copy of the email he sent to the member, threatening to terminate his membership.

Here's where it just gets to funny for words (I'm being sarcastic). The creep who infringed on my copyright, emailed me and said I should be honored he liked my story and I should stop picking on him. He violated me, and I'm picking on him?

A few weeks ago, I ran a search on myself. There, on another undesirable (when I say undesirable I mean very undesirable) website was the same story taken a year ago, posted by the same guy. Once again, I donned the "armor of self-justice," and contacted the webmaster of that site, politely asking him to remove my story from his. Weeks past, and he ignored my numerous requests; finally, I contact the US copyright office and the Texas Attorney General.

I sent one last email to the webmaster, telling him of my actions. This morning I got a very explosive email from him. Basically, --I'm cleaning up the language--he said he didn't give a rat's behind, and didn't see what the big deal is; that even though my story was under copyright protection, it wasn't violated because he made no money. He grudgingly agreed to take it down though.

He couldn't be more wrong.

According to the Copyright Office, from the very first second you put words on paper, your work is copyrighted. Reguardless if you pay a fee or not, it belongs solely to you, and no one may use it without your permissio; it is protected. However, you cannot sue an individual unless the work is registered with the Copyright Office.

I honestly didn't want any money, it was for the moral principal. Over reacting? Maybe; but I know now exactly how those musicians felt; violated.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Halloween Ideas

Thanks to everyone for your warm wishes. My back is tons better and once again I'm searching for adventure.

Autumn has arrived for most of you, but here. . .well. . .we're as dry as a forgotten raisin in a backpack. We need rain, badly. Anyway. . .Halloween is lurking around the corner. Have you decided what you're going to do? Here are a few suggestions for an enjoyable and memorable Halloween..


"What can I be for Halloween?" Ah yes, the "million dollar question"; unfortunately, there's not a "million dollar" answer to go with it. Scores of expensive costumes line the racks in department stores, but they all look the same, they have no "voice" of their own. Here are a few original costume ideas I hope you find useful.

Puppies for sale (toddler)(quick and easy)
1 cheap DALMATIAN or any other puppy costume (Yeah, I know I'm being a hypocrite, but you can usually find these very cheaply either at a thrift store or a dollar store)

1 cardboard box (big enough for the child to sit comfortably in, and the sides low enough so the child can be seen )

I children's wagon

Assorted stuffed toy puppies

Double stick tape

On the sides of the box, write the words PUPPIES FOR SALE, then place the box in the wagon. Put the child in the box, then using the tape affix the puppies to the inside of the box so that the heads and the front paws of the puppies are dangling just over the rim.

Basketball goal
This took me about 5 minutes to put together, and it won Seth "most original" at the city costume contest.

I large circular clothes basket

pair of white warm ups

1 pair of suspenders

1 or 2 nerf basketballs, depending on the size of the child or the basket. Also you can vary the size of the balls

face paint

Dress the child in white warm ups.

Paint the child's face with black face paint. Using any other color, put an H on one cheek, the score beneath it, a V on the other cheek, and a score beneath it.

Carefully, cut the bottom out of the clothes basket, making sure there are no sharp edges. Slip the basket over the child, and secure with the suspenders. Put the balls between the rim of the basket, and the child's body.

*This costume is awkward if riding in a car.

Morning Person (adult)
This was my costume one year and I loved it.

coffee cup
fuzzy slippers

Just put all the above clothes on, mess up your hair, and go have fun!


After the kids are trick-or-treated out, we huddle together on the couch and watch our favorite classic horror movies and pig out on snacks. Here are a few recipe links we use.

Kitty Litter cake

Brain Surgery Salad

Putrid Punch

Ants on a log
Peanut butter
8 celery stalks (leaves removed)

Cut each stalk into two pieces and fill with peanut butter. Top with raisins

Bloody hands
Frozen bread dough (thawed)
spaghetti sauce

Form the dough into the shape of a hand, and bake according to package directions. Cool slightly and drizzle with spaghetti sauce. For added creepiness you could stick a plastic knife into the bread once the bread is baked.

Rabbit's Treasure (carrot sticks)

Tuna Spook Sandwiches

Have a "howling" good time!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Take Two Hemorrhoids and Call me in the Morning

Sunday, the Fall Cleaning bug bit me, and in a moment of weakness, I decided to clean Seth's room.

"Need any help, babe?" John asked, never taking his eyes off the football game on television.

If I say yes, he'll just keep peeping around the corner into the living room at the game; he won't be focused on what we're doing, I thought. "No that's fine. I got it covered." Armed with an arsenal of cleaning supplies, I journeyed into Seth's bedroom and prepared to attack my first enemy, the bed. There are stories of brave peanut butter sandwiches and school papers journeying into the void underneath the bed, never seen again.

I dropped to my knees, and as cautious as a cat, lifted the royal-blue colored dust ruffle and stared at the hodge podge of cars, blocks, and other toys strewn recklessly about. Looks like a toy factory exploded under here.
The only way to really get rid of all the junk under here is to move the bed. Yeah right; famous last words of a fool. As I lifted the heavy oak frame, an excruciating pain, almost as bad as labor pains, shot through my lower back, taking my breath away.

As gently as I could, given the circumstances, I lowered the bed and hobbled to the couch in the living room. "Are you in pain?" John asked innocently.

"No, I just walk this way naturally, of course I'm in pain!" I spent the rest of the day propped up by pillows on the couch while my sweet hubby took care of me.

That was two days ago, and this morning I was still so sore I could hardly move. "Hey Mom," Seth asked, looking in the fridge, "could you find the butter in the fridge for me?"

Grumbling, I sat my coffee cup down on the kitchen counter and knelt, my knees popping like a bowl of Rice Krispies, in front of the fridge. "Oh crap, my back hurts," I moaned.

"Why don't you get a doctor to give you a couple of hemorrhoids to take so you'll feel better?" Seth asked.

Surely he didn't say what I think he said. "What? "Repeat that again."

"Hemorrhoids; you know, what the body builders use." Seth repeated impatiently.

"No baby, that's steroids, not hemorrhoids!" I sat on the floor and laughed till tears poured out of my eyes and my sides ached. As Seth helped me up, I noticed my back was feeling better. I guess the old saying is right, "laughter is the best medicine."