Happy Aunt & Uncle Day

I was blessed with legions of aunts and uncles. But over the past couple of years, the numbers have dwindled, and that makes me sad. I have wonderful childhood memories because of my extended family–grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Now I’m down to four aunts (one of whom I haven’t seen in nearly 50 years) and a single uncle.

So happy day to Roy, Leona, Janet, Geraldine, and Marian.

Book Reading Bingo: Time Travel Romance

Last month I wrote about how my local RWA chapter is running a year-long book reading bingo challenge.

I focused on the book LEGEND by Jude Deveraux. One of the many categories into which this book could be used is Time Travel.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I love a good Time Travel romance. I recently read a newer one to mark the square off on my bingo card, but I was sorely disappointed in the book.  It’s not that the book was poorly written: it wasn’t. The mechanics were fine. But this award-winning novel didn’t have a plot twist I hadn’t met before.  And I tend to believe the conflict between the hero and heroine needs to be more than “I/You don’t belong in your/my time.”

One other thing: I listen to old RWA national conference workshops all the time. I have a dedicated mp3 play that holds nothing but. I consider my money well-spent when I purchase these workshops (even though I resent having to pay more for them because I can’t afford to attend the conference and conference attendees get a price break).

But I digress. One year an editor lamented that she’s never seen a Time Travel romance in which the time traveler chose to make the trip. The trigger is always an accident.  At the time the workshop was recorded, I was a aware of at least two published Time Travel romance out there in which the heroine made more than a conscious effort to go back in time. And since then, I’ve read at least one other.

So without further adieu, here is my list of favorite Time Travel Romances:

  • WINGS OF THE STORM by Susan Sizemore (1992) (accidental time travel)***
  • AFTER THE STORM by Susan Sizemore (1996) (intentional time travel)
  • LEGEND by Jude Deveraux (1996) (accidental time travel)
  • TWICE A HERO by Susan Krinard (1997) (accidental time travel)
  • SON OF THE MORNING by Linda Howard (1997) (intentional time travel)
  • KILLING TIME by Linda Howard (2006) (intentional time travel)

***This book was a Golden Heart winner…and the reason RWA now requires proof of a completed manuscript for all Golden Heart entries.

Hot Diggety!

It’s National Hot Dog Day.

I love hot dogs. Good hot dogs. Good hot dogs cooked right.

My favorite hot dogs are Hofmann. Yes, they are local, but the company is working to go national. (I do try to support local businesses, too. See my previous post about ice cream.)

But even Hofmann hot dogs need to be cooked correctly. The ball park mostly steams the ones they sell. That. Is. Disgusting. My mom used to boil hot dogs. Ugh! (Although sometimes she boiled them in tomato sauce, and that was good!) A perfectly cooked hot dog will have crisp, somewhat blackened skin. Grilling is the best way to achieve that. I use a grill pan on the stove when I have to.

Some people (TV Stevie) gunk up their dogs with sauerkraut and mustard. Or onions. Now, I’m not opposed to a Texas Hot once in a while, or a chili dog, but for everyday eating a great hot dog needs nothing but the roll.

Happy National Ice Cream Day!

If you follow me on Facebook, you may know that I am extremely upset by the closing of a local dairy store in my neighborhood. It seems the company–a local one–has decided to focus on the commuters in the area instead of the neighborhoods that had sustained them since 1933.

When I was a child, everyone sang their TV/Radio jingle and changed the lyrics from “Chuck right full of vita-mine” to “makes you look like Frankenstein.” We were kids! It’s what kids did.

I am a fan of Byrne Dairy. Their milk still comes in refillable glass bottles. One of my uncles worked for a company that made the machines that seal cartons of milk. He didn’t live in Central New York, and I still remember the shock on his face when we told him Byrne still used glass bottles.

But the biggest plus about Byrne is that their ice cream still comes in full half-gallons. My supermarket has good ice cream, but the cartons are much smaller than half-gallons. And Byrne Ice Cream is phenomenal.

I miss them being around the corner. I remember one day, I was home sick from work. My son did not yet have his driver’s license.  He walked up to Byrne and got me ice cream.  I let him drive me to the doctor’s office.

I frequently stopped in to buy ice cream. Now I don’t know what I’m going to do. None of the supermarkets in my immediate area carry the brand (although there are some in other areas that do). There isn’t a Byrne Dairy store on my way to anywhere–except my parents’ house.  Which is not convenient because I don’t live there.

Simplicity

One of my primary goals in life is to be content. And being content, for me, is not being bogged down by…stuff. Things. Physical belongings. Chores.

But I have a lot of physical belongings. There’s a lot of stuff in this house. A lot of dust, too.

Now that the Chromos are grown and (mostly) gone (although their stuff adds to the disarray), many things have become simpler.  One of the biggest is meal planning.

My children each had their eating foibles. I had to cook nutritious food they would eat, meals that were quick and easy because there was dance, jazz ensemble, religious education, play rehearsal etc. Much of my time was spent planning and executing.

I like to cook, but as I get older I realize I’d rather spend my time on something like writing that will last longer than a great meal. When TV Stevie and I were planning our mutual lives, he told me straight out: “I do not expect dinner on the table every night.” He doesn’t really care about food. Doesn’t like to spend money on “temporary,” which is what he considers food. Dinner on the table every night was something I grew up with. But Mom was a full-time homemaker, so dinner on the table when my dad walked in the door was part of her job description. It was never part of mine.

So now I buy pre-made salads and keep them on hand for quick lunches and/or dinners. On the weekends I’ve gone back to doing what I did when I was single: I’ll make a batch of something, then graze on that throughout the week.  TV Stevie’s work schedule has always been erratic. I no longer wait for him (except on nights when he’s bringing home the pizza) if I need to work at my author life.

It’s simpler this way.