First mow of the season revealed this handsome fellow.
He’s a very angry racer snake. Not poisonous. Definitely not as happy to meet us and we were to meet him. I shared the teaching moment then let him return to his business.
Same day, my daughter fell and broke her right wrist in two places and sprained her left wrist while carrying the baby’s highchair back into the house.
My poor baby is the mother of three, including my youngest granddaughter who is only 1-year old. Try explaining to a one-year-old that Mommy can’t pick her up because her arm hurts. 🙁
But on the UP side, my friend Teresa Hill has put together this fun collection of heroes from books that currently are FREE or 99¢. Take your pick from Donna, Fasano, Lisa Mondello, Patricia Keelyn, Kathryn Shay, Judith Arnold, Patricia McLinn, Teresa Hill and me. You can’t go wrong–on the hero or the books. Here’s the link: ValentinesHeroes.
In LOVE, AFTER ALL – West Coast Happily-Ever-After #5, Arley, the hero in the meme above, is a great guy with a big heart. (He’s also a trust fund baby who is a bit bored and a little lost.) His current windmill-worthy mission is helping a sweet old woman fight the Powers That Be to keep her pet pig, Cuddles. Arley’s “1%er” parents aren’t amused. And they’re even less pleased when Arley is photographed kissing his attorney, Gwyneth–the woman Arley knows is his one and only true love. But convincing Gwyneth they’re destined to be together might be the biggest challenge of his life.
I hope your VALENTINE’S DAY is delightful–or, in my case, less eventful!
In two weeks, I’m going on my first cruise. A beginner cruise: four days, two stops, Baja. No problema, right?
OMG! I can hear the vast majority of you inhaling a shocked gasp. Everyone’s been on a cruise, right? Well, not me.
Here’s my list of excuses….ahem…sound and valid reasons for not going on a cruise.
1. I’m a reclusive artist type. Sharing a confined space–the ship is 856′ long– with 3, 450 other passengers doesn’t exactly call to me.
2. I’m a bit of a health nut. And, recently, I saw an allergist who tested me for food allergies. Guess what? I’m supposed to avoid: wheat, rice, goat milk, onions, honeydew melon and…wait for it…coffee. What do most people do on cruises? I’m told they eat and drink. Fact: most alcohol–including my fave: beer– is made from grains, such as wheat. Humph!
3. Germs! The flu is big news. I’m one of the few who’s doctor advised not to get a flu shot. The ship could be a giant petri floating dish. I’m already stocking up on hand sanitizer.
4. I love routine. I function best with routine. Sleep and exercise are my friends. I have a feeling my friends are going to stay home this time. 🙁
So…you’re asking yourself, why on earth has Deb signed up and paid good money for this cruise? Two reasons: snow and cold.
It’s neither of those things where I live. Here’s what my weather looks like right now.
But this isn’t about me. My brother-in-law, Don, lives and works in Sioux Falls, SD. A beautiful city…in summer. Here’s what his winter has been like: cold, snow, wind and more cold.
So, I’m going on a cruise for Don. For my family. And because it’s time to try something new. Plus, the first stop is Catalina, where I’m setting at least part of my next book. I also have a whole bunch of great books loaded on my eReader and I can drink “potato” vodka. 😉
Any cruising TIPS you’d like to share with a virgin sailor?
PS: Valentine’s Day is next week, and I have a special release price on my new novella, Love, After All. (Click on image for the buy link of your choice.) Or: Books2Read.
1. Don’t believe everything you read on a Hallmark card.
JUDY: “Two months before I filed for divorce, my hubby bought me a dozen red roses, a heart-shaped box of chocolate and a beautiful card that said some smarmy sentiment like: “Honey, I’m so lucky to have you in my life. I love you. Yadda, yadda.” Pretty words that lost their meaning when I got the credit card bill the next month and discovered the charge was double what it should have been. Yep. You guessed it. He sent the exact same thing to his girlfriend, too.”
2. Snails, duck liver and fish eggs are even less sexy than they sound when they come back up after swallowing them.
Judy: “My first Valentine’s Day date after my divorce was with a really terrific guy who considered himself a gourmet cook and possessed strong convictions about what constituted a romantic meal. I’m the kind of girl who will try anything once. His pate de foie gras was rather tasty. In hindsight, I may have let my need to impress him with my worldliness get the better of me. I’m pretty sure I ate too much of the rich delicacy because my tummy was already tad…unsettled…when I tried the next course: a tiny shriveled object (day-old chewed gum, perhaps?) swimming in butter and garlic. Or maybe it was the disconcerting visual of fishing said object out of a shell that looked very much like the ones I stomped on in my garden. Either way, I stopped at two and drank an extra flute of champagne hoping the carbonation would work like Alka-Seltzer. It didn’t. A bead of sweat broke out on my upper lip when he delivered the piece de resistance: Smoked Salmon and Caviar pizza.
Did I mention he had white carpet?
Such a shame. I really liked him, too.”
3. Good hair does not a good guy (or Valentine) make.
Judy: “Remember Barbra’s leather gloved hand lovingly touching Robert Redford’s gorgeous locks in The Way We Were? Of course, you do. You’re a woman. Unrequited love gets us every time…because we all have that one-who-wasn’t-meant-to-be.
Mine was Richie Mason. Sixth-grade heartthrob. The guy I wasted my hard-earned babysitting money on buying my first-ever special friend Valentine. I had such a crush on Richie. His sandy brown hair was forever falling in his eyes. I probably lost a thousand hours daydreaming about brushing that dog-tongue of bangs off his charmingly freckled forehead…until that fateful V-day when he opened his cache of cards and discovered one that was not your standard-issue type. His brows arched under his shaggy curtain of locks as he ripped open the well-glued V (maybe I included a dozen or so stickers for affect).
As I waited for his reaction, my cheeks burned, palms dripped and heart thumped so loud I was certain it could be heard outside our classroom walls. His gaze bounced over the sentiment too quickly to have read the words and went straight for the signature. Mine. His chin angled a tiny bit to the left so he could sorta see me at my desk two rows over. Our gaze met–for a millisecond. Then he shoved the card to the bottom of his decorated shoebox and opened the next card. Not a smile. No acknowledgement of any kind. Not so much as a bleeping hesitation. I was crushed.
A week later, during a group art project–the last time our class ever did collages, I believe–my scissors slipped. Somehow a hunk of Richie’s hair wound up in my collage. I got an F on the project, but I learned something interesting: Richie wasn’t all that cute bald.
4. A heart-shaped pizza is flour, oil, tomato sauce and toppings–it’s not a sign he’ll love you forever.
Judy: “Some relationships are meant to last. Others…not so much. Figuring out the difference between the two is tricky. Don’t let pizza get in the way of those tough decisions. I’m pretty sure my ex extracted two additional years of marital servitude from me simply by showing up on February 14th with a heart-shaped pizza, a six-pack of beer and the aforementioned sappy greeting card. Listen to your head, Peeps, not your heartburn.”
Deb here: Hopefully, none of you have V-Day memories as bleak as Judy Banger’s. Luckily, Judy finally met Mr. Right. In fact, I asked her for an update, and here’s what she said:
“Age is a matter of opinion, and in my opinion, age doesn’t matter. If you find someone who makes you laugh when the world expects you to cry, then grab hold with both hands and have fun.”
A sentiment I totally agree with since I’ve been celebrating Valentine’s Day with my Mr. Right for 4+ decades:
HAVE A GREAT ONE, MY FRIENDS!
And don’t forget, we have a wonderful new Valentine’s Day book in the Love at the Chocolate Shop series now available. Sit back with a little chocolate and enjoy THE VALENTINE QUEST!
After a week in paradise, it was really hard to step back into the real world. First, a cold gray drizzle greeted me in the Bay area, then I had to face the sad headline: Whitney Houston Dead at 48! Where’s my mai tai when I need one? Sigh.
But I did have a great time. And with apologies to my host and hostess for “outing” their treasured secret island getaway, Kauai was gorgeous. Even though we had to dodge some wind and rain a couple of days, we enjoyed every minute there. I promised not to bore you (or maybe I threatened to bore you) with a bunch of pictures, but here’s my personal fave.
This shot was taken right before hubby and I went snorkeling in crystal clear water where we encountered more varieties of fish than in most aquariums. Just gorgeous. And when we got out, we were treated to a whale show. Amazing!
One fun adventure involved renting beach bikes. I somehow managed to take a video of this. If it looks a little shaky, remember, I’m on a bike. LOL. http://youtu.be/hCdMd2EQv9I
Thanks, Mar, for a week full of great memories.
And because this is Valentine’s Day and I love my friends, here’s a decadent dessert Mary served us in Kauai. Oooh, yum, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Serve warm with vanilla icecream.
Lava Flow Cake
Preheat oven to 450.
Grease 6 ramekin cups.
Melt in microwave: 10 T butter, 6 – 1 oz. squares of semi-sweet chocolate (or 6 oz, semi-sweet choco chips), and 2 – 1 oz. squares of bittersweet chocolate.
Add to chocolate and stir well: 1 1/2 C confectioner sugar, 1/2 C flour