Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ten Writing Commandments

A friend gave these to me several years ago. I have no notion who first penned them, but I appreciate the effort.

1. Thou shalt not procrastinate.

2. Thou will honor all thy writing. Even if it is terrible.

3. Thou shalt have faith in your creative ability.

4. Thou shalt keep an open mind.

5. Thou shalt slay negativism.

6. Thou shalt not fear rejection.

7. Thou shalt be kind to thyself.

8. Thou shalt cultivate happy thoughts.

9. Thou shalt place thy posterior in thy chair.

10. Thou shalt finish thy book.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Memoir Monday ~ The Best Meal

Apple Pie ala Mode

The Pilot Guy and I had just sat down to a casual Sunday evening supper of baked brie with almonds and garlic, crackers, sliced avocado, and a glass of wine when the Food Network advertised a show titled, "My Best Meal Ever.' Instantly, I thought what a cool topic for memior Monday. We love to eat around here.

What's the best meal (or food) in your memory?
Was it a fancy sit down affair or a casual picnic?
Where were you?
Was the food cooked by your own hands or someone else's?
Who ate with you?
What about the meal made it memorable?
What meals emerge from your childhood memories?
Any fun memories of your own children's food preferences?

It's all things food today...have fun!

One of my favorite meals was in Oban, Argyle, Scotland while we were waiting for the ferry to take us to the Isle of Barra. Our B&B hostess had recommended a local fish and chips eatery for our lunch before we caught the afternoon ferry. I can't remember the name of the place, unfortunately, but it was a little take away shop with a bright yellow front. And busy. We arrived just as they were opening for the day and already there was a small crowd. We ordered and our hot fish came wrapped in paper. We stepped out the shop and strolled down the street to sit on the wall surrounding Oban Bay. There, we unwrapped our treasures. Hot, flaky, freshly fried fish fillets, dusted with salt and splashed with a malt vinegar and surrounded by fries (or chips as the English and Scottish call them.) The warm sun, a cool breeze, the lap of waves and the cries of sea birds...the smiles of my sons and the happy chatter of our conversation made this meal one of our finest. We've had fish and chips since - in fact, The Pilot Guy and I had some terrific ones seaside in Vancouver last summer--but none will ever beat that moment.
PaJo's Fish and Chips, Vancouver, B.C.

A meal that has become a family 'legend' happened in France. We were in the burgundy region staying in Beaune. (Pronounced 'bone.') I really wanted to have Boeuf Bourguignon while in it's home of orgin. We didn't travel with too many dressy clothes, but we scrubbed up to the best of our ability and donned our travel finest, all the while impressing on our 15 year old and our 9 year old to be on their their very best manners. The inn we were staying at helped up locate the "Cheval Blanc' restaurant (white horse-and yes, that's one of the reasons we picked it.)

The restaurant was gracious and not as fancy as I'd feared. The Pilot Guy started his meal with escargot. I don't remember my starter. I think I was too fascinated by the escargot. Yes, I did steal one. Me, eating snails. Who would have ever believed that! Our 15 year old had something as well. Our little guy didn't order an appetizer. The restaurant graciously brought him a lovely slice of smoked salmon so he wouldn't be the only one not eating. I'm pretty sure it was the first time he'd had salmon. He enjoyed it.

After our meal of Boeuf Bourguignon, the cheese cart came around. It was a good sized cart with a huge assortment of cheeses. The Pilot Guy chose three or four to try. One he was familar with and the rest were best guesses. One particular selection was cut into one inch cubes and covered with herbs. It looked like something soft. However, when he tried to cut into it, it slipped from under his knife and shot away just like that funny scene in Pretty Woman. The cheese bounced off the wall behind him. The boys' eyes grew huge and I thought giggles would swallow them whole. Here we were trying our best to be on our best behavior in a French restaurant and Dad is throwing cheese against the wall. I'm pretty sure the 9 year old almost slipped out of his seat because he was trying not to laugh so hard. To hear the guys tell this story makes it even better.
Coffee from the original Starbucks in Seattle. Apricot Croissant from French bakery

I'm lucky enough to have had lots of great meals to choose from. Fried chicken dinners at my Mamaw's house. Brisket and homemade ice cream at my in law's home. Campfire breakfasts with my family. Some super suppers right here in our own home. Lots of memories are made around the table.

Is it time to eat yet?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


This morning I earned my first Jamba Juice reward of 2010.

If you remember, I reward myself with a (Peach Pleasure) Jamba Juice for every 10,000 words I write. The year to date total is sitting pretty on 10,010 at the moment. Ten thousand words that weren't born into this story thirteen days ago.

WooHoo! This is getting the year started off right.

How do you reward yourself for a job done?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Trench Coat Mentality Part 2 Or Randomness Ahead

Beware--randomness ahead....

A real life friend pointed out that trench coats don't have to be boring beige. What do you know--She's right! Just today I saw a bright yellow trench in a magazine ad. Then I saw a bold red one. Okay, maybe trench coats aren't all the same. You can rest assured if I found one in a deep purple, I'd try it on.

In the comments section of the last post, Joanne reminded me pairing a hat with a trenchcoat gives off an Ingrid Bergman vibe ala 'Casablanca.' Nothing wrong with that at all.

Then, Jan, bless her, pointed out what a split personality I can be, yearning for unity in one post and daring everyone to be stand out individuals in the very next one.

Yes. Welcome to my world.

My son has a t-shirt which tickles me when I see it. In big letters across the front....

I am Unique
Just like everyone else
There's times lately when I feel life is squishing me into conformity. Other days, I feel downright invisible. On still other days, I feel life is an adventure and I'm sitting right on top of it.
For some reason the old saying 'every path has it's puddle' comes to mind now. Life is a path...and it's often a muddy, messy trail, but the farther down the path you go, the farther down the path you can see.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Trench Coat Mentality

You won't find a trench coat in my closet.

This is despite reading list after list from fashion 'gurus' who insist every woman in America needs a trench coat in her closet. Tim Gunn, Oprah's style guy, those folks from Bravo...all list the trench as a must have.

Trench coats are boring in my humble opinion. I've never needed to pretend I was a spy in post WWII Europe.

I actually did own a camel London Fog in the middle eighties during my "Dress for Success' phase. (Talk about must have lists!) If you knew me then you'll remember I dressed in power suits a lot. In those days I was running a small company where young me had to ask older dads and moms to trust in my abilities. It was necessary to dress with authority, or so I thought. So I wore a trench coat, sensible closed toe heels, power suits, and pantyhose. And, quite often, a hat. Fortunately, my photography spoke volumes about my creative soul and provided a terrific outlet.

Then there was the day my friend, Susan, came into a room wearing a red wool coat. It was stunning, beautiful, and powerful. It made my creative soul lust for that same panache, flair, and color in my life.

So, here's the lesson I'm still learning 25 years later, 'to your own heart be true.' Don't wear it, buy it, use it, or try it unless you really want to. On the other hand, be alert to the red wool coats out there in the world. Don't be afraid to grab one when the opportunity presents itself. And you know I'm not just talking about clothes or coats here, don't you?

Make a statement.

Do it your way.

Listen to your heart.

Go For It!