Monday, December 26, 2016

Potato Enchiladas

One of my family's favorite "special occasion" foods is my grandma's potato enchiladas. Truth be told, they are about as "poor man's food" as you can get, but they are delicious. A few years ago, after Grandma Mary died, I got a wild hair up my butt to make these for our Christmas Eve celebration. They were a big hit, and Jay and I have been making them every Christmas Eve since.

I tried to get to the bottom of where the recipe came from, as it seems that only my family (and friends we have introduced them to) have ever eaten them. The consensus is that it came from either Grandma Mary or her mother, Great-grandma Claudia, in trying to feed all of the mouths in the family. They are made of ingredients that were cheap and readily available. The most expensive ingredient in the dish was/is the cheese, which back then came from the "commodities people" (a.k.a. the food pantry).

However, despite the recipe being invented out of necessity, it is a family favorite and I'm glad Grandma Mary taught me how to make them. Jay and I have cleaned up the recipe a bit, to make it a touch healthier, while maintaining the same flavors as the original.

  • 3 dozen flour tortillas (Grandma, of course, made hers from scratch, but I'm lazy)
  • 5# potatoes (we use russet, but it doesn't matter which you use)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced (optional)
  • 1 c. peas (we use frozen, Grandma used canned)
  • shredded cheese
  • garlic olive oil
  • vegetable oil
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • salt
  • pepper 

Dice potatoes, coat with garlic olive oil, toss with salt and pepper, then spread on baking sheets and roast in a 400*F oven until cooked through, about 40 minutes.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large pan. Add roasted potatoes, peas, and chili powder paste (see below). Cook for just a couple of minutes, until peas are thawed.

Make a paste of chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder. I have no idea of the measurements (remember, this was a recipe handed down from my Mexican grandmother, who measured things by guess and by golly), but it's about a 4:1:1 ratio of chili powder to garlic and onion powders. Add enough water to make a paste.

Dunk a tortilla into the paste, coating both sides, and quick-fry in a hot skillet with vegetable oil (Grandma used lard), drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Fill tortillas with potato mixture, shredded cheese, and raw diced onion (if desired). Roll and place in baking dishes. Thin chili powder paste with water to use as a sauce to pour over the rolled enchiladas. Cover with shredded cheese and bake in 350*F oven for 15-20 minutes.

Look at the mess on the stove from quick-frying and cry, then begin to clean. You have just enough time to clean the mess while the enchiladas are baking.

Friday, August 19, 2016

2016 Writers' Police Academy - Thursday

I managed to get out of the house long before the sun even thought of making an appearance the morning we were to depart for Wisconsin. A quick stop to pick up a friend of mine, and we were off to the airport.

After about a half a day of travel, we arrived at our destination: Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay, Wisconsin. My first impression as we stepped out of the airport was that Green Bay was hot and wet. My Colorado body is not used to drinking its air.

We had a couple of hours of down time before the afternoon "welcome" activities began, so we curled up in a couple of chairs in the lobby and took a nap while we waited for our room to be made available. When gearing up for the WPA, it's important to get rest when you can, because once the festivities start it's balls to the wall.

The afternoon welcome session started off with Show and Tell. My friend and I braved the wall of humidity to go see the Sheriff's cool toys.

I'm not tall, but that door hinge was still 4" above my head!

Getting dressed for work

"Can we go work now, can we, can we, can we?"

SWAT gear was available for us to handle and ask questions about.
I don't know how the LEOs there work in all that gear (even just their every day uniform) with the heat and humidity. After an hour, I was done and I was only in jeans and a t-shirt.

I learned a couple of things from the evening announcements:
  • No videoing! Of course, that's been the rule from day one, so it wasn't a surprise.
  • The bus ride to the facility is ten minutes. Both ways. Yes, someone asked. Many, many times. Guess what? The bus ride next year is going to be ten minutes. Both ways.
  • I'm not sure we ever got a clear answer on what time the pool closes, but I looked it up and it's a 24-hour pool, so no worries.
  • The Goldberg brothers are hilarious. I didn't know who the comedy duo was at the time, but I knew I liked them from the first words spoken.
After evening announcements, there was a session on drones. Drones are more correctly called UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial Systems) and are overseen by the FAA. Capt. Bill Bongle (ret.), talked to us about some of the FAA legalities, such as setting the max altitude at 400 feet. We also learned from an old case (Causby vs U.S. 1946) that 83 feet is the altitude that one can reasonably expect privacy.

There is a current case to keep an eye on, Boggs vs. Meredith, that is seeking to clarify aerial trespass. The issue is that Meredith shot down a UAV piloted by Boggs, which is a violation of a statute that makes it a felony to shoot down or damage an aircraft. Meredith argues that the drone flying over his property is a violation of privacy.

Capt. Bongle was kind enough to bring a variety of UAVs for us to see.

That's not a UFO that we're all looking at - it's a tiny UAV.

This little guy is a Blade Inductrix and retails for about $70 without the camera.

I should have added something for scale - this one is about the size of my thumbnail.
I fell in love with the itty bitty flying machine, and think I need one. The bigger ones are cool, but this miniaturized one is just adorable.

This one can be fitted with a FLIR (infrared) camera.

By the time the drone talk wrapped up, I was exhausted. It had been a very long day and we still had two full days of fun to go.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Question for Readers

When choosing a new book to read, do you read the reviews? Amazon seems to have the most prolific reviews and a lot of authors depend on them.

As a reader, which type of review do you prefer?

One that summarizes the entire book?

Or one that is more along the lines of "I liked it, and here's why"?

I know what my preference is, which is reflected in the reviews I've left. I do try to leave a review for 90% of the books I read - either on Goodreads or Amazon (usually both) - as an author I know how important they are.

I am interested - which type of review do you prefer and why?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Writers' Police Academy 2016

Only a few days before I head off to WPA! This year, I've got a friend and fellow author joining me. I'm unbelievably excited to get to share this event with her and I think she'll have a great experience.

WPA has been described as "Disneyland for writers" and that's about as accurate a description as any. We'll spend almost three days absorbing everything we can from experts in: bioterrorism; law enforcement; fire; EMS; forensic psychology; and crime lab/processing.

I can't wait! If you want to keep up in real-time, follow me on Twitter (@CSWilson_Author), Instagram (@authorcswilson), or Facebook (@AuthorCSWilson). I'll do my best to post every chance I get.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Day 14: My Life in 7 Years

Well, seven years from now Jay and I will have just celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary.

My eldest will be in his thirties.

The horses will be teenagers (and well-broke, I hope).

While I'd love to have our own property and a house we built, I'm not sure of the reality of that. It's a good thing that L.E. loves us and we love her.

I'll probably still be stuck working at a job at which I'm good, but not at all appreciated. I'll probably still be waiting on a raise since my last one was in July, 2011 and the company is in no hurry to do anything about it.

Or, maybe I'll have won the PowerBall and I will have turned into one hell of a philanthropist. That would be okay. Set the kids up with a touch of money, travel with the hubby and the horses, volunteer, and give money to worthy charities. Pat Striker, move over!

Day 13: My Commute To/From Work

I have the best commute. I wasn't crazy about moving out of my hometown, but Jay convinced me to give it a try. His argument was that the scenery on the way into town was amazing. He was right.

It's hard to leave our little slice of paradise each morning, but knowing I get to come home to it each night makes it easier.

We live right off a dirt road, that when dry, is one of the best roads I've ever driven on. When saturated because of rain and snow, like today, is treacherous. Digger has mentioned more than once that Salome is much more of a bad ass car than most of the perfectly shiny 4x4 trucks that run around town. I tend to agree. My poor Salome will get a bath in June to get rid of the mud, and she'll stay mostly clean until September or so.

The morning drive in is spectacular, especially in the spring, when everything is fresh and blooming. The snow-capped mountains set my mind at ease about the potential for wild fires. The years when there is little to no snow visible are the years that scare me. The Rocky Mountains run in my full field of view from left to right and I consider myself blessed that I get to see them each morning.

Just off the highway, to the south, is a piece of property that I just love. I look forward to seeing it each morning, just as I descend the rolling hill by the dump. The property is lined on it's north side by trees, but there is one lone tree (Russian Olive, I think) smack dab in the middle of the property, standing sentinel over the growing crops. For some reason, I love that tree. It stands tall and proud by itself through all the seasons. On occasion, I've seen a hawk hanging out at the top of it, looking for dinner.

As I near the base of the hill and look up past that property, I can almost imagine that there are no houses beyond it. For just a second or two at 65 miles per hour, I can fantasize that urban sprawl isn't intruding. For a short period of time, all I see is the green crop, the sentinel tree, and the great snow-capped Rockies beyond. My heart gets very happy.

More and more houses appear as I get closer to the city and my heart breaks a little bit more every time I see new construction. The rural power company recently put in a huge solar farm and I was ecstatic when I realized that it was a solar farm and not another 100 houses. I'm constantly amazed at how many people city planners will cram into small spaces.

Farms that were "out in the middle of nowhere" are being surrounded by urban sprawl. The people come. They demand HOAs and covenants and rules and the next thing you know, there are no more family farms.

I'm no longer tense and angry when I cross I-25 into the city, but for the first two years I commuted back and forth, the minute I crossed into city traffic my blood pressure sky-rocketed and I became a road rager. I think the anger came mainly from seeing how much the city has changed from the small, agriculturally-based town into Boulder, North.

In fact, I was talking to a friend last night who spoke to someone who was touring "Ag" colleges and CSU was on his list. He came, took a look at CSU and immediately took it off his list - CSU is no longer an "Ag" college. It bills itself as one, but has lost its way, which breaks my heart.

The drive home calms me, soothes my soul. As much as I loved my hometown, there is next to nothing I recognize of it. It's gone and I'm beginning to come to terms with it.

I'm not a naturally poetic person, but living in our little slice of paradise is good for me. It truly does soothe my soul. Jay and I are so blessed to live where we do.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Day 12: A Phrase That Makes Me Laugh

"K, so" is a phrase I'm trying to erase from my vocabulary when I'm teaching. I find I use it a lot when trying to explain something. The thing is, it comes out sounding like "queso". You know, cheese.

I'll be lecturing along, explaining a concept and when I'm ready to move on, I just know I'm going to say, "K, so..." and I'm powerless to stop. I know that it comes out sounding like "queso", so then I think "cheese" and it completely derails my train of thought.

My students at first were confused when I'd say "K, so" and then start to giggle, but I finally let them in on my private joke and now just groan at me.

Hey, if I can't laugh at myself, I shouldn't be teaching :)

Day 11: My Current Relationship

This is a rather timely prompt, as our 7th anniversary is just a couple of days away.

I had to have some oral surgery done on the 10th, which just happened to be Jay's birthday and the dentist, hygienist, and I were talking. I mentioned it was his birthday and then mentioned that our anniversary was coming up on the 14th. They jokingly said, "seven years of wedded bliss, but how much time was not wedded bliss?"

That started me thinking - maybe five days? I mean, it's not like every day is a honeymoon, but for the most part, yeah, seven years of wedded bliss.

We just fit.

We're definitely not the have-to-fight-all-the-time-to-realize-how-much-we-love-each-other type of couple. I know there are a lot of people out there who believe that constant fighting and making up shows passion. I think that kind of "love" requires entirely too much energy to maintain and it's just a hop, skip, and a jump to full-on crazy and/or abuse.

We're also not the all-over-each-other-all-the-time couple. We love each other and support each other, but after that first kiss, we're not so much PDA-type people. We can be overly cutesy at times, but usually only at home. And, I will admit we talk in our own cutesy, short-hand way. But again, usually only at home.

We're more the we've-been-married-100-years-already kind of settled. I don't mean settled in a bad way, either. I mean, we're comfortable, content, and we each know who we are. I think that both of us being older (mid- to late-thirties) when we got married helped. I know who I am; he knows who he is and we accept each other. We don't need each other, but we damn sure  want each other and I think that counts for a whole lot.

Marrying Jay was the best decision I've made.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Day 10: A Fruit I Dislike and Why

Is cantaloupe a fruit? I'm going to call it a fruit since it shows up on so many fruit platters. Also, honeydew melon.

I don't like either of them and I can't really tell you why - they just don't appeal to me. I don't like the texture, the flavor, any of it.

I do like watermelon, if that's any consolation. In fact, at King Soopers you can buy watermelon "fillets", so I do. And then I munch on it all afternoon. It's a great snack. Yum. Now I wish I had some watermelon, darn it.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Day 9: My Feeling on Ageism

I don't know that I've ever put much thought into ageism.

Or any of this -isms, actually.

I know there's a lot of prejudice in the world, and it seems to be getting worse, but I'll be damned if I contribute to it. I'm of a mind that we need to treat people the way we want to be treated. The Golden Rule and all that jazz.

I'm also of a mind that if we spend too much time pointing out the differences between people, just so we can prove how blind we are to the -isms, that we're actually broadening the gap between people.

I don't care about anyone's age, color, gender, religion. I really don't. Whether or not they're a lazy asshole is a totally different story.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Day 8: A Book I Love and One I Don't

This prompt is really unfair for a bibliophile. Seriously, books? Love 'em. Almost all of them, anyway. I read, on average, 125 books per year, so there are a lot of books I love.

There's Robert McCammon's Swan Song, which I've so many times that I wore the binding out. I used cloth athletic tape to hold the book together until the pages started falling out. It was out of print for several years, so I couldn't even replace it. Finally, Amazon turned up a copy. Now you can find copies anywhere, but I really hate the new cover.

In the same vein, I really love Stephen King's The Stand (unabridged version). There have been accusations of one author ripping off the other, since they're both post-apocalyptic novels with good and evil battling it out. I don't see it. Yes, there are similarities, but that's pretty much the formula of the genre.

As for a book I don't love, there is one, written by a distant family member. It's a truly awful book, with poor writing, lousy editing, and even worse formatting. Under Amazon's new self-publishing rules, her book would have been pulled due to errors. If it wasn't for vanity publishing, this book would have never made it to market. I'm not knocking self-publishing, which in my mind is a totally different critter. I'm specifically talking about those publishing houses that you PAY to publish your books. I'm certain this particular distant family member probably paid at least $5,000 to get her book published.

Day 6: Someone Who Fascinates Me and Why

  1. to attract and hold attentively by a unique power, personal charm, unusual nature, or some other special quality; enthrall
  2. to arouse the interest or curiosity of; allure
  3. to transfix or deprive of the power of resistance, as through terror
I can honestly say that there is not one single human being that I am fascinated with. There are a lot of people I admire, and who inspire me to be a better person, but no one fascinates me.

Day 7: What Tattoos Do I Have, and What Do They Mean

I got my very first tattoo during a dark time in my life. It was a year or so after Hall and I had finally broken up and I was battling some serious depression. My dad offered to pay for a tattoo for my birthday and I decided I needed a permanent reminder that things were going to be okay.

So, in my mid-thirties I got my first tattoo - the Chinese symbol for "hope" on my left ankle. At least, I hope it means "hope". Since I don't read Chinese, it probably says something like "eff off white girl".

I love Jay's artistic side and asked him to design a tattoo for me. I wasn't sure what he would come up with, but was pleasantly surprised to get one of this fairies wrapped around a semi-auto. I thought it was a perfect GunDiva tattoo.

After each tattoo, I swear it's the last one, but it never really works out that way. I had Estes' and the kids' brand done after Estes died. I wanted Estes' brand (5 hanging reverse J) to remember her by, and the 3H brand (which is not a real brand) is one the kids and I came up with when we were day dreaming about when we would one day own the Three Heathens ranch.

These are not my favorite tattoos - the sentiment is there, but I think I should have taken my tattoo artist's suggestion to "gnarly them up" a bit.  I am going to have Skeeter's BLM brand added. I was thinking of doing it above the others to help balance them out, but I might end up doing it below. I just haven't gotten around to making an appointment. It's a "one of these days" things that I need to do.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Day 5: A Place I Would Live, But Have Never Visited

This is the dumbest damn prompt I think I've ever seen. Really? If I've never visited a place, how the hell would I know if I'd like to live there?

Maybe I'm too much of a realist (or chicken), but I can't imagine committing to live some place that I'd never even visited. If I'd been in the military, or was in a job that forced me to move, that would be one thing, but to choose to live in a place I'd never visited or know nothing about? Hell, no.

Now that that's out of the way, there are a couple of placed I have visited that I'm fairly certain I could live.

Since we moved east of I-25, I've discovered that I really need to be someplace where I can connect with the land. I always knew I was a mountain girl, but had no idea I was also a plains girl. Basically, I'm NOT a city girl. I don't like being surrounded by people and all that goes with them. Small towns/villages are places I could easily live.

Tuscany, Italy. Rolling green hills, lots of open space and vineyards. Space for the horses. Yep, I could live there.

Cinque Terre, Italy. 5 small villages connected by trains and walking paths. A bit different from Tuscany, but still very in touch with the land. Horses would be harder to keep there, but the riding would be more like the mountainous riding we do here.

Stateside, I'm not sure where else I'd live. I love Colorado and can't imagine living anywhere else.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Day 4: Ten Interesting Facts About Me

I've been mulling this over. I'm not sure there's much about me that is interesting, but I'll give it a go.

  1. I always forget how short I am until I see pictures of myself next to regular sized people. Most people know I'm short, but not how short (5' 0.5").
  2. Growing up, our Grandpa Ed called the four of us "The Indians". He'd never get away with that now, though. In that vein, I call my three children "The Heathi" or "3 Heathens".
  3. Though I've made my career working in medicine and teaching medical specialties students, medicine is not what I wanted to do when I grew up. It's something I'm good at, and I kind of fell into it. What I really wanted to be when I grew up was a firefighter. Or a sign language interpreter. I was interested in medicine, but had no desire to make it my career. I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up.
  4. The very first book I wrote was fanfic before fanfic was even a genre. My best friend and I started writing about the Jacksons (yes, those Jacksons) back in sixth or seventh grade. I still have the four or five 3-ring binders filled with 1,200 hand-written pages tucked away in a box somewhere. 
  5. I have tattoos. That's something that always stuns my students. They've never seen them, because I started in medicine when tattoos were absolutely forbidden, so they're easily hidden by scrubs. I want one of Skeeter's brand and I want to add 'Molon labe' to the one Jay designed for me.
  6. Despite my job being to stand up in front of people and talk, I'm absolutely an introvert. Our place out in the middle of the corn fields, our horses, and books are all I need to be content. It takes me days to recover from social activity - including family gatherings and the huge BBQs Jay and I host throughout the summer. It's easier to interact with people I already know and love, but put me in with strangers and - wow - it's all I can do to keep it together.
  7. Nebalee is pretty certain I fall somewhere along the spectrum, primarily because of my dislike of noise (and my need to touch things - I like textures).
  8. I have confinement anxiety. I don't like small spaces I can't get out of and I don't like being surrounded by a lot of people. I can usually talk myself through situations that require me to behave, but there are times when it ain't happening. Once, I had an claustrophobic anxiety attack just putting on a wet suit. I couldn't get it on past my calves before I started to melt down. I just could not do it. 
I give up - I'm pretty much an open book on here and I can't think of a single interesting thing that you don't all know about me. 8/10 is more than I thought I'd be able to come up with.

Oh! Oh! Here's one: Without exception, every single one of my exes has gone on to marry the very next person they dated. The very next one. And they usually started dating them within days/weeks of us breaking up. No joke. I'm not sure what that says about me, but there it is.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Day 3: My First Love and First Kiss*

*I'm taking some creative liberties with this prompt. Primarily, picking and choosing which "firsts" I am going to write about.

One would think my first love would be my high school boyfriend, right? One might even think my first love would be my first husband. One would be wrong.

I've been mulling this prompt over since I saw it a couple of days ago. It would be easy to play those two off as my first love(s), but that wouldn't be honest. Sure, I 'loved' my high school boyfriend - we were well-suited for each other and dated for over two years, but I'm not sure I ever felt anything more than deep affection for him. I was upset when I broke up with him, but not devastated. His little sister and I were best friends in high school, so I still saw him a fair bit with hardly any of the post-break-up teenage angst.

I married my first husband, not because I was madly in love with him, but because he was the first man with whom I'd had sex. Being a good Christian girl, I managed to convince my eighteen year-old self that I'd learn to love him and that having premarital sex with him was somehow less of a sin if I married him. Five years and three children later, I had to admit that I was not in love with him and that, in fact, it was best for me and the kids to be away from him. In our time together, we certainly developed a love of sorts, because of sharing major milestones together. I was upset over the divorce, of course, because it was a huge life change for me.

My first love was Hall. There's a line in Jerry Maguire that summed up exactly how I was feeling when I met him. Dorothy and her sister were in the kitchen and Dorothy says, "I'm the oldest 23 year old in the world!" (Or words to that effect.) That's exactly how I felt. I got married at 18, had Digger at 20, Ashinator at 21, and Monster at 23, started divorce proceedings at 24. Needless to say, I was old before my time.

Hall taught me to have fun and laugh. He introduced me to my girls, for which I will be forever grateful. I was welcomed into his circle of friends. With Hall and company, I was me. Not someone's mom, not someone's ex-wife, not anyone but me. He saw me and liked me for who I was. My friends and family weren't always fans of his, because he made it very clear that he didn't want children or to be a step-dad. I get it, but I needed Hall just because of who he was. I needed something just for me. I'll admit there were times when I'd fantasize about us getting married, but knew we'd never have the Happily Ever After. That's not to say he never interacted with the kids - in fact, he helped me coach Digger's soccer team for a couple of seasons. He helped haul the kids around to day care and school. He took a very limited paternal role with them and I was okay with it.

Our relationship wasn't always easy. In fact, the last year and a half or so was downright brutal at times. We both knew the relationship had run its course, and we both knew we needed to end it, but it was so hard to do. I truly, deeply loved him and though I knew it was past time to break up, I couldn't imagine life without him. We'd break up, get back together, break up, get back together, lather, rinse, repeat. After five and a half years together, I finally found some balls and made a clean break, which was the hardest thing I'd ever done. It took me almost three years to recover from the break-up. Thank God for Robs, who also went through a hard break-up at the same time. I wouldn't have made it without her.

Surprisingly, my first kiss memory has nothing to do with any of my previous relationships and everything to do with Jay. I would think that I'd remember my first-first kiss, or at least the first kiss with my first love, but I don't. Jay knocked my socks off. I was more than half in love with Jay by the time we met face-to-face. We spent weeks emailing back and forth, getting to know each other before we ever met in real life. Our first date ran more than five hours. I swear he started to go in for the kiss when we parted, but aborted at the last minute. I was slightly disappointed, but happy with the tight goodbye hug.

I spent our next date, a week or so later, plotting ways to get him to kiss me. We had lunch, talked, walked around Old Town, but I couldn't focus. I kept thinking I was just going to shove him up against a building and kiss him, but I lost my nerve time and again. Four and a half hours later, we decided to call it a day. I was beside myself for being such a chicken. Jay walked me to my car and gave me a goodbye kiss. And another and another. My toes curled and I was absolutely breathless. I'd had my share of kisses in my 37 years, but our first kiss(es) were unlike anything I'd ever experienced. All those flowery descriptions of first kisses in romance novels? Yeah, they nailed it. We'd probably still be standing there by my car kissing if it wasn't for someone driving by who yelled, "Get a room!". It was sufficient to break the spell, but in a humorous way.

By that time, I was head-over-heels in love with Jay, even if I wasn't ready to admit it to myself.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Day 2: Earliest Memory

I don't have one specific earliest memory; instead I have multiple little snippets of memories from the first house we lived in.

Our family owned four connected lots. My Great-Grandparents' house was up on the hill, followed by my uncle's undeveloped acre lot. Next in line was my Grandma's lot - she didn't live there when I was little, instead she rented out her property. Last was our little red house.

I loved our little red house.

My dad went away to Texas A&M for the fire academy when I was three-ish and I remember sleeping in my footie pajamas on a bean bag one night until it was time to pick him up. If I recall correctly, I slept in that bean bag frequently once he got hired on as a firefighter at Kodak. Mom would pack Nebalee and me up in the car in the middle of the night to go pick him up after his shifts.

There was something very comforting about feeling Mom pick me up from the bean bag and carry me out to the running car. It took me no time to get comfy and fall back to a deep sleep once we were on the road.

There was a little farm not very far from us, where Mom would take us to buy milk and honey combs. She'd skim the cream off the milk to use with fruit, which I don't remember very well. What I do remember is her love of honey combs. She'd buy one, upend it in a jar and let the honey drain out. Then she'd munch on the comb itself.

We had a white leather couch and one of my least favorite memories is of Mom laying me down in her lap to floss my teeth. I inherited her bad teeth and they were literally rotting out of my head as soon as they came in. Mom put in her time wrestling a very wiggly, angry toddler every night to floss my teeth. The dentist even put me on a sugar-free diet for six months and at my return visit I had a whole mouthful of new cavities. I hate that those are some of my most prominent memories (but probably not as much as Mom does.).

It's funny, trying to write down these memories. I am certain of them when I think about them, but as soon as I type them, I start second-guessing. Was the couch really the white leather (pleather)? What color was the bean bag? (Black, I think). How many of my memories have been "corrupted" by time?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Day 1: 5 Positives of Social Media*

*Original prompt was "5 Problems with Social Media"

I'll admit, there are a lot of things I could complain about with social media. However, without the broad reach, there are people I would never have met.

  1. It allows me glimpses into my children's lives. Now that the kids are grown and out of the house, we don't see each other as often. We can share snippets of each other's daily lives, which allows us to still feel connected. We're all busy making a living and don't always have time to catch up on the phone; Facebook and Instagram make it easy.
  2. It makes the world so much smaller (in a good way). My first foray into social media was MySpace (Whose wasn't? Don't answer that.). I saw that the online world wasn't such a scary place and branched into blogging. Through blogging, I've met and made friends with people from all over the country; friends who pull together when things get tough and celebrate when things are going well. Many of my blogging friendships and morphed into Facebook friendships and I've been lucky enough to meet a handful of them in real life. 
    1. I'm not sure that online dating counts as social media, but without, I never would have met Jay. As you all know, meeting Jay changed my life for the better.
  3. I have re-connected with people from my past. As things change, it's nice to have a connection with people from the past. We grow older, our lives are not the same as when we were younger, but having a connection with someone who shares the same memories is comforting. We may not be close friends as adults, but we still touched each others lives back in elementary, junior high, high school, and college.
  4. Social media, particularly Facebook, has helped me expand my professional network. It allows me to keep in touch with people of similar interests and has introduced me to people I would never have otherwise met. I know #3 sounds a lot like #1, but I'm speaking from an author's standpoint here. I have more professional contacts and a network of people I whose experience I can draw upon.
  5. Social media, when used for good, not evil, offers a platform for discussion. Yes, there is a lot of hatred on social media - it appears that there are a lot of hate-filled people making posts, but if you look past those posts and refuse to engage in them, you'll find a lot of pages that are open to civil discussion. You'll never change anyone's mind or beliefs by yelling and threatening them. Engage in a civil discussion and you'd be amazed at what you can learn about other people and what they can learn from you.

6 Months Already?

Holy cow, it really has been 6 months and a handful of days since I last posted.

Oops, sorry about that. I wish I had a great excuse like I was busy finishing my next book or finishing my horse or something. Nope, turns out I'm just lazy. In an attempt to break my lazy streak, I'm going to attempt a 30 day writing challenge. I'm typically not very good at challenges like this, but I'm trying to get my writing mojo back.

I'll be using the following writing prompts from The Writer's Circle.

There are some prompts that I feel are kind of negative, so I'll probably change those to positive prompts - there's enough negativity in the world, especially during an election year.