Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgivings Past

That's me on Thanksgiving 2010 with the two turkeys I roasted in the oven for the usual crowd. The oven died afterwards. It roasted those two turkeys with its last gasp.

I have a twenty pound turkey in the refrigerator at the moment. I hope all goes well on Thanksgiving.

When I was growing up in Cliffwood Beach, my mother went all out for Thanksgiving. She missed her family out in western Pennsylvania on holidays. There was one Thanksgiving when Dad drove us all out in a snowstorm to see my grandparents in Canonsburg, PA. On our arrival, my grandfather told us we were crazy. :-)

Most of the time, Mom cooked the special feast just for six--my father, my sisters, my brother, me and herself. However, there was one memorable Thanksgiving when my brother invited four of his classmates from college to join us. They came from India. One of them was a Muslim, so turkey was fine with him. However, three of them were Hindus and vegetarian. They wound up eating a lot of biscuits.

My mother's preparations for Thanksgiving started off a day ahead when she made three kinds of pies. She made only one mince meat pie for my father, which no one else would eat because nobody else liked mince pie. She also made apple pies and pumpkin pies--all from scratch with her own pie dough. (Rolled pie crusts had not been invented yet.)

My brother, my sisters and I were all Mom's apprentices. Each of us had specific jobs to do. I usually got the job of making the cream sauce for the cauliflower. My brother usually chopped up celery and onions for the stuffing.

Our feast consisted of mashed rutabaga, cauliflower with cream sauce, and onions with cream sauce, too. Having grown up in a house with five brothers, Mom always cooked enough for an army. There was not just the stuffing that went into the turkey, but another pan of stuffing as well. We had corn, sweet potatoes, and mashed potatoes. And biscuits, of course.

It was a lot of work.

I've cut down on the work by cooking fewer vegetables. We will have sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and broccoli with cheese sauce. If someone brings something else--and they usually do--we'll put that on the table, too. Daughter #3 is bringing pies because I asked her.:-) Someone else is bringing bread.

I bought a bottle of Pinot Grigio today. If someone brings another bottle of wine, so much the better.

What are you cooking for Thanksgiving this year?


Friday, November 22, 2013

Old World Solution for Thin Hair


Yes, that's me--the pathetic, little bald-headed toddler. I look like a refugee. My brother is in the background with his thick head of hair.

My mother had glorious hair. All her siblings had the same amazing hair--and her parents, my grandparents, did, too. Because my grandparents did things as they would have back in the "old country," when my mother worried about my thin, fine hair my grandparents told her to shave my head. They believed that would solve the problem. They insisted it would grow in full and lush afterward.

My head was shaved. My hair grew in--and it was okay, but it was never as thick as my mother's hair--or anyone else's hair on that side of the family. Evidently, I took after Dad's side of the family. Such is life. The genetic toss of the dice.

Fortunately, that was the last time my head was shaved. However, mom never gave up trying to make my hair look abundant and luxurious. She permed it when I was six (somewhere I have a photo of that, too). She tried setting it in pin curls, rags, or on rollers. If my hair wasn't permed, the set would not last long--even using various hair setting products.

Then hair spray was invented. It solved my limp hair problem!

Even better, I married a man with a thick head of hair. My daughters have lovely hair. They got lucky in that genetic toss of the dice.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

DADDY WANTED--$.99--LIMITED TIME ONLY!


Tomorrow at Ereader News Today, DADDY WANTED will be on sale for $.99! It's an amazing bargain. This cute, sweet romance has received some wonderful reviews.

There's a long review at Romance Junkies, a Five-Star Review at PRG, and there's at least ten reviews at Amazon. Hey, it's worth your time and it's certainly worth $.99. (It's $.99 at Amazon, too.)

If you own an ereader, you should definitely go to Ereader News Today's Facebook page and LIKE it.  There are incredible bargains everyday--and some free books, too. Discover new authors! 

Just remember, this is a limited time offer. So don't wait! 


Friday, November 08, 2013

A Story My Mother Told Me

My mother with her friends from art school. Mom is the second from the left in the photo.
Tomorrow would have been my mother's 92nd birthday. She was the best mom ever--and everyone in the family still misses her. She was quite a storyteller--just like the rest of her siblings. They didn't make up stories so much as they embellished them.

There were some stories about her young life my mother repeated over and over--many of them because they contained object lessons for me and my sisters. Eventually, my sisters and I called them "The Little Irene Stories." At one point, I made up a website and posted some of those tales, but I later took it down at Mom's request--though I printed out all the stories. :-)

So, in honor of my beautiful mother, I will share one of those stories, told just as Mom told it to me.

My First Job

In high school, I followed my sister, who probably was the smartest kid in school which meant that I was supposed to be a genius, too.

However, my brain was better at other things. Still, people expected too much from me. I was shocked when a teacher suggested that I run for class president.

I liked high school, particularly getting to act in plays. That was fun! But I was upset when they wouldn't let me play on the basketball team. Being chosen as the artist for the newspaper and as a teacher's aide helped ease the hurt, as did playing the violin in the orchestra.

The school was in a neighboring town and I had to walk three or four miles each way in all kinds of weather. My father didn't have a horse or buggy then or even a tractor.

The day after I graduated, I went to the coal mine company's general store in town, seeking a job. For the interview, I wore a little light blue plaid dress. Since I couldn't find a belt, I had to make-do with a piece of store string. I wore shoes without stockings.

The manager, who knew me and the rest of my family, hired me on the spot. I worked very hard in the store and was constantly busy. I knew everyone in town and their comings and goings.

My mother always wanted to know the latest gossip. In a little town, everyone knew instantly if someone stepped out of line. No secrets there.

Men swooned over me, probably because of my red hair, but there were bigger fish in the pond. I had places to go and things to see and do.

When I thought I had enough money, I  enrolled in art school in Pittsburgh. My sister Grace had gotten a job as a copy writer in the city, so we rented a room with kitchen privileges. We soon discovered that carfare and food plus rent was too much to handle on just one salary.

I found a job as an usher in a movie theater, even though I was underage. All went well until the day the manager told me I had lost a customer's umbrella in the hat check and had to pay for it. He said it cost $5, a huge amount at that time. I denied losing the umbrella and refused to pay for it.

He started to chase me around the room like a crazy man. His face seemed like it was on fire. I managed to get to the door and ran out of the theater.

My next job was babysitting two little boys in exchange for room and board. Unfortunately, the lady of the house thought her husband liked me too much. Somehow he learned that it was my birthday and presented me with beautiful black lacy sexy lingerie, which I refused.

I was surprised, but his wife was much more surprised. When she came  home, she wanted to know why I had not bathed one of the sons. I told her the boy was coughing and didn't feel well so I kept him warm and put him to bed.

She kept complaining, so I finally told her, "I'm leaving in the morning."

I didn't have any money for carfare home, but as I was leaving, the well-to-do husband gave me FIFTY CENTS for carfare. When I got to the art school, the other students heard of my plight and managed to collect enogh change so I could take the train home.

After that experience, I decided to live at home, commuting the 20 or so miles to Pittsburgh by bus, train, and shoe leather.

Happy Birthday in heaven, Mom.
 

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Where Did That Idea Come From?

When hubby's parents first retired they left Brooklyn and moved to a home in Greenville, NY--upstate as New Yorkers say. Compared to Brooklyn, it was rather quiet. However, there were things to do. Next to them was a small resort complete with a small lake where we would go boating. Not far away, was the Catskill Game Farm where our daughters enjoyed feeding and petting the animals. (The Catskill Game Farm closed in 2006.)

Most interesting to me was the town of East Durham, an Irish enclave. In the evenings, hubby and I would drive to East Durham and enjoy the entertainment at the Shamrock House. During the daytime, we browsed through the small Irish shops where I found books on Irish legends.

That's where the idea came to me for PRINCE OF THE MIST, which is set in the Catskills of upstate NY. In Ireland, the Sidhe are the human-sized fairies of legend, but there are other countries in the world with similar legends. Why couldn't human-sized fairies live in upstate NY?

The misty Catskill mountains made the perfect setting for my story and Wildon became THE PRINCE OF THE MIST.  I had a great time writing this story. It makes me long to go back to the Catskills! :-)



Sunday, November 03, 2013

Sunday Scenes: PRINCE OF THE MIST


PRINCE OF THE MIST  is the story of Tia. Escaping a carjacker,  she tumbles into the Sifrahome of the fairies--and wakes to find herself wedded to a Sidhe prince. While insisting their marriage is not valid, she cannot deny the passion she finds in his arms. 

Wildon, son of the Sidhe king, must stop Tia’s mother, a state senator, from voting for a nuclear plant that would be built above the Sifra. In marrying the senator’s daughter, he can get close enough to prevent the senator from voting. However, falling in love with Tia is not part of the plan.

In the following scene, Wildon brings Tia home and meets Tia's mother, Angela Glenmore...


“You are, to use another human expression, light as a feather, dear wife.” He leaned closer to her lips. He watched her lashes flutter down against her cheeks. His senses, drunk with desire could hear nothing but the pounding of his heart.

Then someone grabbed his arm.

“Didn’t you hear me! Put my daughter down, you big oaf!”

Wildon turned to see Angela Glenmore. He had seen many glamorous photographs of her with a bright smile, but she was not smiling now. She reminded him of a volcano ready to blow its top.

“How do you do, Mother Glenmore.” He smiled as wide as he could but his misgivings concerning the imperious senator increased as he saw the orchid on her lapel vibrating.

“Don’t you dare call me Mother! Put my daughter down this instant or I will call the police!”

She shouted in such a stentorian voice that Wildon winced. He gently placed Tia on her feet, but she swayed a bit so he held onto her.

“It’s okay, Mom. He saved me from a carjacker.”

“A carjacker! When? Why didn’t you call me? I spent all night worrying about you. You didn’t call last night and I knew something was wrong.”

Angela Glenmore tried to snatch her daughter away from Wildon’s supportive embrace, but he refused to let Tia go, especially since her legs continued to wobble.

“I couldn’t call because my cell phone was in the car.”

Wildon felt Tia take in a deep breath before she went on.

“And I--I passed out. Wildon revived me and brought me back here.”

When Tia glanced up into his eyes, Wildon felt the delicate thread of desire binding them ever closer together.

He also caught the way Angela Glenmore narrowed her eyes and glared at him, measuring him from head to toe.

“Well, I suppose we owe him our thanks.”

Wildon noticed the way she pursed her lips. He knew of a charm that would make her lips stay in that pose forever, but he restrained himself from casting the spell on her. He had--as humans liked to say--more important fish to fry. However, the thought occurred to him that if she did not look so appealing in photographs maybe some people would not vote for her.

“It has been my pleasure to care for your daughter. I’ve never met such an attractive woman. That’s why I married Tia. I’m sure you’ll want to be the first to wish us much happiness.”

At that point, it sounded like Angela Glenmore was choking.


Friday, November 01, 2013

Forever Love



Our elderly friends are suffering. Failing health and faulty memories are draining all their joy, but drawn into the concrete sidewalk some fifty-five years ago, a symbol of their forever love remains.

It makes me sad. :-(