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Showing posts from July, 2016

Guest Post: Reflections

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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 furth…

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: Rememb…

Love Your Spouse Day 3

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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 …

Love Your Spouse - Day 2

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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…

Love Your Spouse 1

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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 …

Recipe: Herbed Pork Roast

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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 …

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...

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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…

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?? S…

Happy Proposalversary

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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.


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, a…