Monthly Archives: June 2008

Natural time clock

All summer it’s like this. EVEN if I have little sleep the day before, at 10, I wake up and I can go all night. I don’t have to go to bed at all. BUT dang it messes with my days. I’ve always been a night owl. Of course tonight’s lack of sleep might have something to do with being excited!!!!!!
I hope I get good muse material while I’m in Europe.

London, Paris, Rome oh my!

The first time I said I wanted to go to Paris I was 14 in French class in high school so excited about the photos our teacher was showing us. Then in college, my professor told us story after story of her time in France. She lived there for years and when she spoke, I listened with rapt attention. Tomorrow I FINALLY make it to Europe and I can’t wait!
If I can update once while I’m gone, I will, but if I can’t, I’ll be back at the end of the month.

Dear Dad

When you returned home from your tour of duty during the war, Mom tells me I didn’t recognize you. The story goes that one morning I was on a wobbly chair in the kitchen grabbing Cheerios out of a cabinet I couldn’t reach when I saw him. Later I asked Mom who that strange man was.
You made sure that changed.
You tried the “play catch” thing, but when the ball smacked me in the face, that ended. 🙂
You turned a huge fridge box into a playhouse. You introduced me to air guitars and Steve Miller’s Fly Like an Eagle and Swingtown. You told funny stories about outhouses and bears and Minnesota nights. You made me go to church on Sundays and Wednesdays. You worked hard all the time so we could make ends meet. That time, when I was 17 and you left me at home and I had a party and then thought I cleaned everything up but you found the strawberry wine cooler top, you held me accountable (and then some). You taught me to make the best rolls in the world, but they still don’t come close to yours. You showed us slides of you on an elephant in Southeast Asia and told us stories abut crazy drivers and evolution. Men going into the jungle and coming back as monkeys, NOT the other way around. When I got a ticket the first day driving, didn’t pay it, had a warrant issued for my arrest AND then came home with the highway patrol following lights on, you came outside looking ready to kill and then made the officers explain what was going on and then convinced them to let me clear things up Monday, and you did it all with quiet assurance, even though you’d been laid off that day in the first tech bubble burst. You let me make you and Mom breakfast in bed even though I was way too young to be using the griddle. You didn’t yell that time I caught the new carpet on fire lighting candles for y’alls anniversary. You stuck by my side through some of the hardest times in my life, but if those hard times were brought by my own bad choices, you didn’t let me off the hook. You didn’t pick up the pieces, but you held my hand while I did, and I’m a better person for it.
I love you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.
Papa and Katie

recipe: Enchiladas

If you read this blog, you know I can’t cook. It’s funny, really, how often I try, but I can’t do it. I can bake, but cooking’s a whole ‘nuther story. HOWEVER, every once and a while something clicks and presto magico I have a winner. My enchiladas really come from my friend Debbie B. She moved at the end of this year to the Metroplex. 😦
Enchilads:
You’ll need
1 pound ground beef
1 large sweet onion
cheddar and muenster cheese
flour or corn tortillas
enchilada sauce

If you want to use corn tortillas, dredge them in hot oil so the soften up first. To dredge, sink them in and pull them out fast. You don’t want the tortillas to crisp. The oil needs to be hot or the tortilla won’t soften up.
If you use flour tortillas, you don’t need to dredge them.
With corn tortillas, after you dredge them, dip them in the enchilada mix and then let them rest on a plate.

Cook the ground beef with half the onion. Season to taste. I use cumin, salt, pepper and garlic.

spoon ground beef in middle of tortilla and roll.  Top with enchilada sauce and cheese.
Stick in 350 oven for 30-45 minutes.

For cheese
Mix the cheddar and muenster and spoon into middle of tortilla, add chopped onion if you’d like onions.
Fill 9*13 pan with enchiladas, cover in enchilada sauce and cheese or ground beef or both. 🙂 Cover with foil. Cook at 250 for 45 minutes

I like to have both for people to eat and I make half the cheese without onions for those finicky eaters.

Sides: Refried beans, rice, pico de gallo and guacamole.

Pico recipe: One large sweet onion finely chopped, three finely chopped roma tomatoes, 2 seeded jalapenos (keep the seeds if you like lots of heat), 2 tbsp. oil, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, 1/4 c. cold water, salt to taste.

Guacamole recipe: 3 small avocados, garlic, white pepper, salt, 3 roma tomatoes finely chopped, 1 small sweet onion finely chopped, lemon juice.
Pit and skin the avocados  (I just use a butcher knife to pull the pit and spoon to remove the avocado from the skin) and mash into pulp. Add garlic and white pepper to taste. Add the tomoto (once you add the tomato the guacamole browns faster), add salt to taste, add onion. Spray with lemon juice to keep guacamole from browning. Stir and serve. You can put the avocado pit in the guacamole to keep it from browning as fast also.

Enjoy!

Tim Russert

I’m so sad. I didn’t know TIm Russert, but after so many years of watching his political coverage, I felt like I did. I don’t know what I’ll watch Sunday mornings now. I hope the young journalists he mentored learned the lessons he taught.

How?

Did I lose TWO pairs of glasses when I haven’t been home all that often in the last week?
I had both and now they’re gone.
Wah.
Thankfully I wear them for eye strain and not because I can’t see without them.

Before DD goes to school in August, she has to read Affluenza, a book about the dangers of our consumerism society. At orientation the dean suggested parents read the book, too. Several first year assignments will come directly from the reading. Sounds interesting. I can’t believe how much college has changed. My freshman year Party 101 was a standard extra-curricular course. If you were caught, you got a smack on the wrist coupled with a nudge, nudge, wink, wink and off you went. No more. Today’s underage students are put on notice. Party and get caught? The consequences are severe. Counseling to expulsion depending on the type of partying taking place. Granted, my freshman year was 21 years ago and the drinking age had only shifted to 21 two years before. Don’t drink and drive was a relatively new concept. In fact several of my friends were caught drinking and driving, and the police who stopped them just handed back their keys and said get home safely.
Another change: Dorms. Back when I was in school a dorm was fun but not exactly comfortable. The rooms were tiny and the bathrooms for the entire floor were in one location. DD’s dorm has suite style bathrooms. If she gets upgraded, she’ll have a kitchenette and living area IN HER DORM room. Crazy.
Then there’s the gym. It puts the Y to shame. And when we toured, the place was packed.

Except for our 10 days in Europe, we’re making DD live off her own money this summer. Clothes, gas, makeup, movies, incidentals…if she wants it, she uses work money to buy it. I know a lot of people make their kids learn this lesson early on, but dd worked on yearbook and newspaper all the time she was in high school, so I didn’t. Now she has three months to learn how to live like a broke college kid. ACK!

BUSY

Sometimes you just want to drag your feet like a cartoon character and yell SLOW DOWN!!!!!!
I’m there right now. But I can’t slow down. I have too much to do. YIKES!
I go to Europe in a week (I CAN’T WAIT!), and then it’s camp after camp after camp.
Three of my favorite people left my school this year, and I’m soooooo sad.
This really is a turning point for my life. It’s kind of freaky, but it definitely inspires me to write more.

So Much!

DD’s university orientation was this weekend. Whew. Talk about a whirlwind trip PACKED with information. I’m excited for her, totally freaked out and sure I will cry a million more tears before all is said and done.

THEN
My local chapter’s mini-conference was this weekend and it was AMAZING! Jill Monroe, Gena Showalter, Linda Goodnight and Jordan Dane spoke and inspired and excited us all. I bought $60 worth of books. 🙂

It Just Hit Me

We’re leaving for dd’s college orientation in a few hours and it just hit me that in three months she WON’T HAVE A CURFEW, and she won’t have to check in with me or ask permission. I think I’m freaking out.
ACKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!

Direction

Summer is so liberating, but all this time often makes it more difficult to actually focus.
I have four books out in the cosmos right now. Two in contests (one done, one not), one with an agent, one with an editor. PLUS I have two new ideas brewing. With so many different directions to choose from, it would be easy to sit in the middle looking all around and not get anything done, especially with the big Europe trip coming up. But if I do that, I won’t get anything done because my July is packed with advising duties, so I have to choose.
I love the emotional intensity and creative freedom in my women’s fiction. The new one is a little Steel Magnolias, Gilmore Girls. Eileen Goudge-y with an inspirational slant. I love the emotional intensity and I like the idea of writing books that don’t put God in a box, books that say God is much more about LOVE and redemption than thou shall not, anger and hellfire and brimstone. But this book scares the crap out of me. It’s BIG. It’s intense. It’s draining.
My YA makes me laugh and readers laugh too. It’s fun to create a story that embraces its campiness. 🙂 My heroine’s all time favorite character is Daria. She thinks cheerleaders are devil’s spawn. Her mother advises publications at a high school. For all its camp, and even with the paranormal aspect, the protagonist is real. I think I do a good job making the YA world come to life since I spend so much time there during the school year. 🙂 Plus, the story reminds me of early Buffy and I LOVE Buffy.
My new category want to be could spin into the ST side of things. In my mind it’s more SSE or Super, but right now I haven’t given it enough writing time to gel. The conflict is superficial and I really only have one scene in mind, BUT this is the story I dreamed about.
Now I have to decide.