Scarlet Letters

The not-so-private thoughts and rants of Elizabeth Donald, journalist/author and founder of the Literary Underworld.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Guest Post: Reflections

Note: Tonight your guest blogger is my husband, Jim Gillentine, on the anniversary of his mother's death. 

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A year ago on this day, my mother died.

It was by far the saddest day of my life. My mother's health had been declining over her last year of life and it had gotten to the point that she had gone into kidney failure. I remember the call I had gotten from my sister Theresa that she was sick and it wasn't looking good. They were trying dialysis to clean her body of the impurities that her kidneys couldn't take care of. But it was too late. Her body was so weak and frail that her heart stopped twice when they were doing the procedure on two separate occasions.

So my mom made the hard choice, and decided to stop treatment and let nature take its course. I went down to see her, knowing that it would be the last time I would be able to talk to her. I had to take the bus ride from hell because the A/C had gone out on the bus, and then had to get a ride even further the hospital where my mother was. Thanks to a cool guy named David Norah, one of the many people that we know because of MidSouthCon, I got down to Jackson, Miss. to the hospital where she was staying.

My son Noah came with me so he could say his goodbyes as well. We both were able to see my mother's smile one last time. I was in the room alone with her, telling her how much I loved her and thanked her for all she had done for me. I promised her that I would stay in college, do my best to get as many A's as I could get, and I was going to get my degree and keep writing books and stories for her. She told me I will, because I always could. Writing is something that has always called to me.

Two hours later, she was gone, and passed on to whatever you want to believe comes after we shed the physical body. We were able to arrange the funeral, and so many people came to celebrate the life of a woman that did so much for so many.

She kept this family together. Her strength was amazing. She raised ten children, and so many grandkids and great-grandkids that I have lost count of them all. We all miss her. I think the hardest part for me has been that every time I got a good grade, I wanted to call up my mom and tell her I had gotten another A. Then it would hit me that I can't anymore. I can't call her and tell her how I am doing. It has gotten better as the year has gone by. The pain is still there - lessened, but still there.

I guess it is a pain that will never fully leave, but the burden has been eased by the love of my wife and children. By the love of my family, that today we all take the time to remember our mother and the grandkids all remember their Nanny, as she was called. W

We love you, Mama.

I love you, Mama.

Let me tell you, Mama: I made the Dean's List! In two years, I'm going to be walking across a stage wearing the funniest hat ever to get a college diploma, and I know that you will be looking and watching. See you then, Mama. Your son will always love you.


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Friday, July 29, 2016

Snippets: The Return of Boy

Man, it's been quiet around here. I might have fallen into a habit of talking to myself. Since Jim works the night shift (seemingly FOREVER) and Boy has been off paddling with the Scouts for two weeks, each night it's been me by my lonesome. On the one hand, I'm booking words with the new novel. On the other... well, talking to myself.

Boy actually returned to civilization on last Wednesday, at least within texting range. Last Thursday was his last day of travel back to steamy Illinois.

BOY: I'm gonna be in town around 1pm
ME: We'll buy milk *moo*
BOY: Can (BTG) be there when you pick me up? I have a present for her as well.
ME: Yes. Ooh ooh do I get a present do I?
BOY: Today is a gift. That is why it is called "the present."
ME: Smartass.

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For the purposes of this one, you need to know that Ted Mitchell is our insurance agent. We passed his office while driving in the car.

Boy: Ted Mitchell. You so confused me about him.
Me: What? How?
Boy: Remember there was that billboard on the road going out to the old storage facility, and we'd pass it and I'd ask who is Ted Mitchell, and you said, "The guy who takes our money."
Me: I never said that.
Boy: Yes you did.
Me: I have no memory of this.
Boy: So I grew up thinking he was like our banker or did our taxes or something. 
Me: But I like our insurance agent. They always worked hard for us and we get great rates.
Boy: I grew up confused because you were such a jokester. Remember the bag of Jack Daniels barbecue wood chips?
Me: The ones that took us forever to get through.
Boy: Yes. I asked you who Jack Daniels is, and you said, "He was a very great American."
Me: I did not.
Boy: Such a jokester.
Me: Did I really?
Boy: So I thought Jack Daniels was some kind of great American hero.
Me: Well now, to be fair...
Boy: I was so confused.
Me: It could've been worse. You could have been raised by a mom with no sense of humor.
Boy: Yeah, but at least things would've made sense.

-----

ME: Hey, you remember your little cousin Maddie?
BOY: Yeah. She's what, ten?
ME: Um. She just got her driver's permit.
BOY: Whaaaaat.
ME: That's what I said.
BOY: And I still don't have my license. Stare.*
ME: Shut up! I suck.
BOY: You do suck.
ME: You'll get your license someday. Probably.

Note: the reason Boy does not have his license yet is twofold. One: Illinois requires 50 hours of practice with a parent in the car, and I am so crazy busy (and so nervous with him behind the wheel) that we have barely gotten any practice time. Two: we can't afford the insurance hike. So he has a state ID instead of a license. For now.


* He actually said the word "stare." Smartass.

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Love Your Spouse Day 3

Do you know how much guts it takes to go back to school when you're 47 years old?

Jim's intelligence struck me from the first, regardless of his education. When he graduated from high school, seventh of ten children, there was no money for college. He never even took the college entrance exams, because college was for those who had money. Instead, he served his country in the Air Force, and then worked on loading docks and in factories for decades - until he was laid off.

And then we realized just how hard it is to find a job when you don't have a degree. The warehouses and the factories weren't hiring. He worked perma-temp jobs, where the warehouse farms out staffing to a temp company, which can lay them off at will. That's when he was kneeling on a concrete floor for hours on end, and brought home a pittance of a salary because of course the temp agency got its cut.

Getting a job as a janitor at the university got him off the concrete floor. But there was still a worrisome cloud on the horizon. He was in his late 40s, with a bad knee. All it would take is a fall, or lifting something with his back instead of his legs, and doing his job would become impossible. What does a manual laborer do when he cannot labor?

Without a degree, there was a paper ceiling right over his head. 

That wasn't the only reason to go back to school, but it was a compelling one. He wanted the freedom to be able to apply for different jobs if he became physically unable to keep doing manual labor jobs. He wanted options, so that he could earn more money to help support our family. But there was more to it than practicality. 

Jim has a wonderful mind, a natural intelligence and creativity that he had already explored by writing his early books. There were stories in his head, and he learned as he went without the benefit of writing workshops and mentors. His talent was raw, and it needed shaping. We often insist that the only way to learn to write is to write, and that is true. But endless navel-gazing on a blog (ahem) or writing short stories for an online audience that always applauds will only develop your talent so far. 

Still, it was a year after he started working at the university before Jim applied for admittance. And yes, I pretty much had to put him into a headlock to do it. He had it solidly ingrained in his mind that he wasn't smart enough for college, that it was for rich people and geniuses. I reminded him that I made it through college, and I am neither rich nor anywhere near a genius.

I had made it through, and I knew what it takes. I knew he could do it. It took some convincing for him to figure it out, too. So I put him in the headlock, and he applied. He was accepted. And he began college in the fall of 2014, only a few months before we were married.


Go froshy.

Halfway through that first semester, something happened that told me I'd done the right thing by kicking him. He had a literature class in the early afternoon, and often would take the bus home afterward so we could see each other however briefly before he had to return to work. This night-shift/day shift stuff is for the birds.

I was up in my office, saving the world for democracy. He came in through the front door, flung my office door open and yelled up the stairs, "Mother of God I love school!"

I couldn't stop laughing. He eventually explained that they'd had a lively, fascinating debate in his literature class about... an allegory of something or other. He was participating in the discussion, sharing ideas with fellow students, learning from them as well as teaching them what he knew. It's the excitement one feels when sharing a passion with others of a like mind. 

He's taken to school like the proverbial fish to water, his fondness for literature expanding into his newfound fascination with philosophy - and thus two minors added to his English major studies. He walked into classrooms full of kids out of high school, kids whose early Spanish and basic math classes were only a year or two in the past, whereas his Latin studies and high school algebra belonged to the ancient history of 1985. He refused to be intimidated. He relearned how to learn, and it opened up whole new worlds for him.

Jim has finished two years of college now, with summers added on. He continues to work full-time while carrying twelve hours of classes each semester. Each day he gets up and dives into studying and writing for hours before he takes the bus to school, attending classes sometimes all afternoon. Then he punches in at six o'clock, and spends the night cleaning the very classrooms he attends by day. 

He comes home at two in the morning, long after Boy and I are in bed. Sometimes we truly are ships passing in the night, and when he's juggling three term papers and midterms and I'm up to my eyeballs in some murder trial, we might find that texting is our primary form of communication.

And he is on the Dean's List. 

People keep asking him, "What are you going to do with your degree?" As if the only reason to pursue an education is what you're going to get for it. His education is a reward in and of itself. It has improved his writing by leaps and bounds, opened his mind to new things, and if it means that he might be qualified to apply for a job he likes better in the future, that's a great thing. But it's not the only thing.

I couldn't be more proud of the work he's done, because only part of it is in the classroom. Before he could defeat quantitative reasoning and the works of Kafka, he had to defeat the little voice inside that said not for you, that's for the Special People, not good enough. All of us have that voice to one degree or another, and watching someone fight it down so they can achieve their goals.... that's inspirational. 

I can't wait to watch him walk across the stage wearing the world's silliest hat, knowing what it took him to get there.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Love Your Spouse - Day 2

I'm a terrible wife. I try to think of a week's worth of photos to share of my beloved husband, and all I can think of are the ones he'd really rather I not share.

Not like that. Pervs.

Like the time he had oral surgery and had his mouth stuffed full of gauze with devices sticking out of his mouth. Hey, he actually let me take the picture. It's his own fault. Or the historical artifacts like his high school yearbook photo, his Air Force portrait, his martial arts pic from the nineties.... wait, I already shared those.

There was that time he shaved off his beard and looked so unlike himself that I called him Dale (his middle name) until the beard grew back. If he tried to kiss me beardless, it was just weird. So I insisted, "I don't kiss Dale, I only kiss Jimmy."

As I've explained to him on multiple occasions, he was foolish enough to marry me. That meant a lifetime of torture. It's in the job description of "wife." If you don't think he's got stuff on me... Well. Never mind.

Since I am in a puckish mood, I think I shall share my "JimFear" collection. Somehow I seem to have acquired a number of pictures of my poor husband in a state of terror. We often joke that Jim lived under a giant rock until I met him, and I see it as part of my wifely duties to introduce him to new experiences.

This is Jim riding in my dad's boat. To be fair to Jim, my father learned to drive on the freeways of Los Angeles in the 1960s. He drives his boat in a commensurate fashion.


Eventually I got him to the front of the boat, as long as he could sit on the floor.


This next one took place the day Jim proposed to me in the Magic Kingdom of Disney World. Now, if you follow us on Facebook, you know that Jim has a deathly fear of heights. Naturally, after he made me face my greatest fear (commitment), I made him face HIS.

I think he got off easy.

The Garden of the Gods is a glorious vista happily accessible by a very easy hike. There's nowhere else I know where you can see such incredible heights without climbing something very tall. This was not a chance I wanted to miss.

He was very brave.


Unfortunately, I was not able to get him to parasail with me and the boy last summer when we went to visit my folks at the lake. It's too bad; the view was spectacular. On the flip side, he still owes me a hot-air balloon ride. A promise is a promise. I told him I'd let him out of it if he rode that rollercoaster at the top of the Stratosphere in Vegas.

What.

Hey, we all have to face the things we're afraid of. This is the stuff that scares him. For some reason, this didn't. 

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Love Your Spouse 1

Supposedly it's Happy Marriage Week. And there's this "Love Your Spouse" thing circulating where you post nice pictures of your spouse for a week.

This is not my strong suit. If each couple has one that is the romantic, he's elected. Fortunately he is also exceedingly patient, and I do try. So here goes: Day One.


I can't for the life of me remember which convention or signing this was. One of many halls where we set up the folding tables and lined up the books. Someone was taking photos of the authors, and we posed together. It could be last year; it could be four years ago. It's not this year; he's still got the dashing goatee instead of the Riker beard he's currently sporting. My hair is a wreck, but so what else is new?

Though technically Jim and I met many years ago, briefly introduced by a mutual friend, we re-met years later when Jim first went on the book tour and we kept ending up at the same events. Books made us into Us, or at least got the ball rolling. It was something we had in common, the first of so many things.

He looks so dashing in this photo. Even if he insists on always wearing black to signings. You should see him in green. It really brings out his eyes.

Let's see, what can I torture him with tomorrow....

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Recipe: Herbed Pork Roast

Today on the Food Network, Chef Elizabeth Donald. Shush. Let me have my delusions of adequacy.

By request, the herbed pork roast recipe I experimented with on Sunday. I've tried to do pork roasts many times, and always ended up drying them out unless I used the crock pot and drowned them in liquid.

Now, that works perfectly fine if you're aiming for pulled pork. That's easy: slice an onion into rings and put them in the crock. Put the roast on top of the rings, and insert a half-dozen whole cloves into the flesh (more or less to taste). Toss more sliced onions on top if you want. Pour in two or three cups of water. Set the crock pot to cook on low 8-12 hours - the longer the better. When it's done, pull it out (as best you can; it will fall apart if you did it right) and discard the water, onions and cloves. Shred the meat like crazy and dump it back in the crock pot with another onion, diced. Pour in a full bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce (I strongly recommend Corky's of Memphis) and let it cook on low another half hour to one hour. Voila.

Here's how I finally managed an herbed roast without turning it into a bouncy ball:

Set the oven temperature at 300 degrees. Trim fat off the roast if you wish, though I prefer to keep a healthy layer of fat to season the meat as it cooks and render crackling skin.

Season the roast all over with your preferred rub. My standard go-to is 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt flakes, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, a dash of white pepper, and paprika, rosemary, tarragon and coriander to taste. But I like it salty. For this round, I added a dash of a seasoning blend from a little tourist-trap restaurant in Nowhere, Tennessee where I had the best pork chops of my life. My supply is getting low; I really need to make sure to stop by there the next time I swing through middle Tennessee.

You can use whatever seasoning rub you like - jerk seasoning for spicy, or add brown sugar for a sweeter taste. A Montreal rub would include paprika, black pepper, kosher salt, garlic and onion powder, coriander, dill and crushed red pepper flakes. Emeril's Essence Creole seasoning goes like this: 2 1/2 tbsp. paprika, 2 tbsp. salt, 2 tbsp. garlic powder, and one tbsp. each pepper, onion powder, oregano, thyme and cayenne pepper. (I omit the last from my Emeril seasoning because I'm a spice wuss.) This makes about 2/3 cup of the mix, enough for several recipes - it's great on beef.

Be sure to measure your seasoning out into a small bowl and mix it up, then begin the rub on all sides of the roast. Discard any leftover seasoning if your hands have touched both it and the meat.


Place the roast in a large roasting pan, fat side up. Use a roaster liner if you cannot trust the coating at the bottom of the pan - you want to be able to use the drippings. (My roaster has decided to shed its lining, so we bought a roaster liner while we wait to magically save up enough for a good stainless steel roaster.) Use a roaster rack to keep the roast up out of the drippings. You can also use a rack in a lasagna pan, but make sure whatever you use has high sides to hold those drippings.

Pour enough chicken broth in the bottom of the pan to cover the entire bottom at about half an inch deep. Put it in the oven uncovered.

Plan on 40 minutes per pound to start, but anticipate much longer. You’re aiming for a minimum of 160 degrees internal temperature, up to 180. I cooked a 7.5-pound roast for nine hours, and it could have gone longer. Check every 30 minutes, and if the liquid in the bottom evaporates, add more chicken broth, enough so that it goes back up the sides of the pan. You want all the liquid you can get, and you don't want your drippings to burn on the bottom. Your house will smell like yummy seasoned pork all afternoon. 

When the roast passes 160 degrees, keep roasting until it seems nicely loose and tender. This is more a matter of feel than degrees. When it feels softened and tender, remove the roast from the pan and put it in a covered container to rest for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the drippings into a fat separator and let the fat rise to the top. Scrape browned bits into the drippings. If some of it is baked on, pour a cup of water into the pan and deglaze it - you want all that nice browned stuff at the bottom in your gravy.

Melt 4 tbsp. butter in a saucepan (or you can use fat from the drippings, if you wish). Mix in 4 tbsp. Wondra flour a bit at a time, whisking constantly. You can reduce or increase the amount of butter, but then be sure to reduce or increase the Wondra as well. (I always use Wondra for sauces and gravy; you can use all-purpose flour if you must, but Wondra is nicely fine and makes a smoother sauce.)

Add in the drippings and the deglazing liquid, measuring all the way. You want a total of 3 cups of liquid going into the gravy. If you don’t have that much juice, add chicken broth for the rest. Taste as you go - if you used a lot of salt on the roast, your sauce might come out salty. In that case, use water instead of chicken broth to get your 3 cups. Simmer until it thickens. Add a half-cup of milk if you like a creamier gravy.

If you don’t have a nice, crispy crust, you can sear it at this point: Raise the oven temp to 475 degrees. Put the roast in a clean pan or on a baking sheet and put in the hot oven for 13 to 17 minutes. The outside should turn nice and brown and the fat crunchy. I have found this happens anyway if you let it slow-roast long enough - I skipped this step and still had wonderfully crispy layers on top.

Carve and enjoy! We did.


Pictured in a Pampered Chef roaster; this sucker did not fit before it was cooked, just sat in it to rest. If you have a smaller roast and a rack to keep it up off the bottom, by all means, use a PC roaster! They're awesome.



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Friday, July 15, 2016

Snippets

MAN: (from downstairs) Yes! Yes! Yes!
ME: ...
MAN: *ascends stairs*
ME: What.
MAN: Finally! *places his laptop in front of me*
ME: *reads* They finally fixed your pension information?
MAN: We're finally married again!
ME: Dang. *starts to remove rings*
MAN: Stop that! You have to wear them now!
ME: That's what you're so excited about? What you shouted about and came up here to interrupt me? Your pension beneficiary information?
MAN: It only took four tries.*
ME: Shoo. I'm working.
MAN: We're married!
ME: *snaps fingers*
MAN: *descends stairs* Mean...

------

ME: It's time to play "Good News, Bad News!"
BOY: Oh no what.
ME: The good news is, the evil phone insurance from Verizon does cover cracked screens.
BOY: Thank God!
ME: The bad news is that the deductible applies.
BOY: What's a deductible?
ME: It's the fee you pay to be able to use your insurance. Most plans have them, like cars or medical, etc.
BOY: What's the fee?
ME: Your deductible is $199.**
BOY: Aaaaaaaaargh.
ME: Yeah. The deductible in this case is actually more than the cost of repairing the phone.
BOY: Can we just pay it, please? I'm begging you.
ME: WE? Oh no, dear spawn of mine. This is on you.
BOY: Whaaaat?
ME: I am not paying to repair your phone after you used it for a hockey puck.
BOY: I didn't use it for a hockey puck, someone at church made that joke and you thought it was hilarious.
ME: It was hilarious. It perfectly describes what your phone looks like after whatever you did to it. Your screen looks like a hardboiled egg after you roll it around in the pan.
BOY: *moans in pain*
BFG: *consoles* My sister got the same response when she cracked her screen.
ME: See, I have had two smartphones and I have never cracked the screen.
BOY: Because you don't do the things that we young people do.
ME: Oh, you mean juggling my phone over concrete? You're right, I just use it to, y'know, call people.
BOY: *ignores* We run around, play outside...
ME: And what does that have to do with your phone?
BFG: *to Boy* I think you're losing.
BOY: *facepalms, stares at phone*
ME: Your best bet at this point is to research around for a service that will replace your glass for less than $199. And then start saving.
BOY: *moans*

For the record, the phone works, it's just annoying. Also: If you locals can recommend a place, Boy would be greatly appreciative. Also also: I am totally canceling that insurance.

------

BOY: *delivers coffee* Courtesy of Jimmy.
ME: Coffee! Thank you. It is his husbandly responsibility.
BOY: Oh really.
ME: Yes. It says so in the Bible, in the Book of Hebrews.
BOY: *sigh* Did you come up with that one all by yourself?
ME: Mean! I'll have you know people who don't live with me think I'm hilarious.
BOY: They must have low expectations.
ME: Get out of my office.

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ME: I'm anticipating that Ian's registration fees will be $350 this fall.
JIM: Ouch.
ME: Yes, they increased the fees, so it's $125 for orchestra, $125 for theater, and $100 for textbooks. I don't want to tell him he can't do theater because we can't afford the fee, but...
JIM: There's my financial aid.
ME: *sigh* I know this town is generally richer than we are, but there must be other people in the same boat with us. They can't all be able to just write the check.
JIM: You've got to think, if a family is making $100,000 a year...
ME: Yeah, the Scouts all had the $100 boots, except Ian in the Army surplus boots. I guess for them, they can just write the check.
JIM: How much is that a month, out of sheer curiosity?
ME: *taps on phone* $100,000 divided by 12... Holy....
JIM: How much?
ME: $8,333 a month.
JIM: Yeah, I think they can afford it.
ME: Their taxes would be higher than ours.
JIM: Yeah, then they might bring home $6,000 a month.
ME: Curse me with such problems.
JIM: So yeah, they can probably afford the school fees.
ME: *sigh* I hate being poor.
JIM: I'm working on my degree.
ME: *eyebrow* Wait a second, mister. Who says it's up to YOU?
JIM: I don't know that I'll snag a job that pays $100,000 with a bachelor's, but -
ME: We'll jump off that bridge when we come to it. Back up to the part where you assume that if we're poor, it's your sole responsibility to fix it because you at the possessor of the penis?
JIM: Yes.
ME: So I'm just the helpless, dependent female.
JIM: Uh...
ME: Get out of my office, Cro-Magnon.
JIM: *pitches voice low* Yah, yah, me man, earn money for woman, yah yah
ME: *pretends to throw pica pole at retreating man*
JIM: *keeps talking Cro-Magnon down the stairs*



* We have been trying to get his pension information sorted out since we married. In November 2014. Four tries is just the number of times we've had to re-send our marriage certificate, birth certificates, etc.
** For reference: Boy made $15 a month working in the church nursery until recently. $199 might as well be $19,000.

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Snippets, writing edition

Last night's editing session found the use of the word "suddenly" nine times in one scene. Just to be sure, I did a find/replace and found a handful of other uses, most of which were decidedly superfluous to the book. My writers' group is still teasing me about my suddenlys. This will become relevant...

ME: What is with me and the -ly adverbs in this book?
SELA: *looks*
ME: 'Sam said confidently.'
TICIA: 'Sam said with conviction.'
ME: 'Sam said, confident.' Or to hell with it. 'Sam said.'
SELA: 'Sam said. Confidence colored his words.'
ME: *gags* Bleeeeeeech.
TICIA: *stares in disbelief*
SELA: I like it!
ME: Don't make the soup come back up, please.
TICIA: *gestures to Sela* Romance. *gestures to me* Not romance.
ALL: *guffaw*
SELA: I like my fluffy descriptive words.
ME: 'Sam said.'
TICIA: With conviction!
SELA: Confidently!
ME: But he said it suddenly.
ALL: *loses it*

ME: Oh my god. What is the matter with me??
SELA: What now?
ME: Colin said quietly. Sam said confidently. Quinn said earnestly.
TICIA: Ow.
ME: Die die die. Is there any attribution where I didn't use an -ly adverb?
SELA: *stares at her own book* Oooh, she nodded firmly.
ME: No.
SELA: I can do it.
ME: No you cannot.
SELA: Yes I can. 
TICIA: Romance.
ME: How else would you nod? Hesitantly? *attempts to nod hesitantly*
TICIA: Suddenly.
SELA: I get one. 
ME: One per scene, no more.

ME: Honestly, the best advice I can give is to go to Imaginarium. The panels, the networking, the workshops, the number of small presses who attend and are actively looking for writers... 
SELA: I'm really excited about it.
ME: Actually, I think Jimmy was going to approach you about doing something about writing in romance. Because he writes romance -
TICIA: Whenever he posts about you on Facebook.
ME: *sporfle* I married the World's Sappiest Man.
SELA: Yes, you did.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Happy Proposalversary

Okay, I know that's not a thing. And if Hallmark suddenly starts printing cards for "Proposalversary," you have my permission to blame me, because I totally made that up.

But on this day four years ago, Jim tripped on something and fell down to one knee. I tried to help him up and got my finger caught on a ring. And we've been stuck with each other ever since.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

If you want to know all the gory details, we already wrote that up. In fact, we detailed the entire engagement, the wedding planning and all the attendant silliness on our joint blog, Dancing Toward the Castle.



We went back to it on our first anniversary, though we haven't yet figured out what to do with that blog now that we're actually married. Maybe turn it into a book, maybe just let it rest. Save it for my memoirs or something.

I'll just tell you this: Last week, when I was actually writing this blog entry, I had a rotten day. Jim chose the worst possible moment to stick his head in the room, and I completely bit it off. I apologized right away, because I knew he was absolutely not to blame for my foul mood and terrible day, and I could tell I'd hurt his feelings.

So what did he do? He went and made dinner, bringing a plate of chicken, pasta and peas up to my desk so I wouldn't be so stressed after work. I pretty much lucked out in the husband department.

Eventually I need to finish the wedding slideshow and scrapbook. Any day now, just as soon as I catch up my scrapbooking from Ian's fourth-grade play, which is pretty much as far as I've gotten. 

In the meantime, we have photos and memories, and so far, he hasn't regretted tripping on those paving stones in front of Cinderella Castle. At least, not that he's admitted!



It was the perfect day, and the perfect memory. Including the part where I never actually said yes, but he slid the ring on my hand anyway - claiming he was hedging his bets. I can't imagine why...


I love you, babe.

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