Posts tagged with: Jeanne Adams

HAPPY HALLOWEEEEEEEN!!!!

jack o lantrnTrick or treat!!!  Are you ready for, or already having a fabulous Halloween?

I hope so!  I hope your day’s been wonderful so far and continues to be so.  I hope it’s a “treat” for the Halloween day.  Grins.

Speaking of Treats…I was reading an interesting post on the web yesterday.  It was from a food blogger.  She was talking about comfort food.  (Bonnie Taub-Dix, ( http://bit.ly/1wLZyWG )

Of all things, the post is about oatmeal and all the health benefits of a daily bowl of oatmeal.  My husband ADORES oatmeal.

I?  I do not.  It’s kinda like the whole Green Eggs and Ham thing….I will not eat it in the rain, I will not eat it on a plane, I will not eat it here or there – not even at the Starbucks! – I will not eat it anywhere.

What Bonnie Taub-Dix did at the end of the post, however, was talk about comfort.  About…well, Treats.  The surprising, sometimes amazing, but often just simple treats that come in life.  Things we appreciate, but don’t always celebrate.

Ms. Taub-Dix called that appreciative moment a “Ratatouille Moment”   I LOVE that concept and I totally get it.  A Ratatouille Moment according to Bonnie is that moment, as in the animated movie Ratatouille, when you sit down to a meal or have a bite of something that takes you back, that gives you that “Oh! Yum! Ah!” feeling of comfort, of familiarity.RatatouillePoster  Whether from childhood or a great moment in your adult life, or as you feed your own kids, where you feel comforted, fed both physically and spiritually, just by having THAT food.

And those moments–those treats–are just wonderful.

I forwarded Ms. Taub-Dix’s tweet yesterday and enjoyed a brief back and forth with the author herself.  Why?  Because I totally identified with that idea, that Ratatouille Moment, JUST as I did when I watched the movie.  I got it.  I recognized it.

For me, it was one of those “family memories” that just hits you.  It hits you emotionally and, when it involves food, physically, in just the right way.

Whenever I came home from college or whenever there was a celebration of something I was involved in, my mother made my favorite meal.  Ham with pineapple slices.  Sweet potatoes.  Green beans with ham in them for flavoring.  Fruit salad.  Homemade biscuits. Sweet iced tea.

I have three words for this:  Nom. Nom. Nom.

Now THAT is comfort food.  Grins.

It was a treat, for me, the way candy is a treat for some.  If I ate ham like that all the time, it would pall…wait, what am I saying?  No it wouldn’t.  Like some of those who eat oatmeal every day, I could probably eat ham every day.  Hahaha!!

Still, it was a treat.  I love treats.  And I love ham.  My DH joked the other night that I would want ham in my trick or treat bag.  Grins.  He’s probably right.  Ham! Ham! Ham!

I sure wouldn’t want oatmeal.  I’ve TRIED to like it, I really have.  Bandita Cassondra likes it.  I know other Banditas like it.  Heck, like I said, my DH adores the stuff.  Sigh.

overnight-apple-cinnamon-oatmeal-R126019-ssNope.  I wouldn’t want it in my Trick or Treat bag.  Sweet potatoes?  Oh heck yeah.  Asparagus even.  Grins.

KitKats, Tim Tams and pretty much anything chocolate?  I’m so there.

Now, my sons are going to be dressing up tonight and going trick or treating.  They are ALL about the candy.  In some ways, its more about the hunt – how much can they get – rather than the quality or type.  Ha!  Some people are like that about treats.  They want lots and lots of them (quantity) rather than a select few that are really outstanding.  The general rats in the movie Ratatouille are like that too.  Trash? Cheese? Scraps?  Bring it on.

But not Ratatouille, the rat.  He wants to create food.  He wants the joy of creating meals and events and experiences all around dishes that just make you feel comfort.  Home-iness.

Reading is kind of like that too, don’t you think?

Some books are treats – the ones you savor after you’ve worked, the treat for finishing a project, or your own book-work, or the delicious novella you get to devour on the train home from the dreaded day job’s work-work.  (BTW, my Deadly Delivery – a short Thanksgiving suspense novella –coming out in the next few days, if you need some reading on the train….)

Alas, some are tricks – they promise a great story, but they don’t deliver.  Got a couple of those recently.  Had some BIG ones of those in my time…the 1100 page monster of a book that had such great writing and such wonderful detail…and never ended.  No conclusions drawn, no resolution for the main characters, no solving of the mystery.  Just a sort of Gallic shrug and the “conclusion” that life is a mystery and we are never truly satisfied…  Fall_leaves

Bullfeathers.   Gotta admit that was one of the few books I’ve ever actually THROWN.  I threw it across the room.  It made a heck of a dent in the wall too, as you can imagine.  But I felt tricked.  Terribly tricked.  I’d given those 1100 pages my attention, my brain power, and a LOT of my hours.  I felt cheated and tricked.

I so despise it when authors do that.  I hope no reader of mine ever feels that way, although I know it’s impossible to please every reader.  I hope that for most, my stories bring entertainment, excitement, laughter, and the comfort of a story well told to its HEA conclusion.

Good books, and great books, no matter how simple or complex, if they’re crafted well, with genuine skill, are treats to savor just like a fine wine or a great bowl of well-cooked, happily adulterated oatmeal.  They’re comfort food.   Just like great food, (perhaps a well-prepared Ratatouille?) is a treat, no matter how common the ingredients.

To those of us who are avid readers, we’ll take comfort food over the flash of a celebrity chef (or her bio), the brief flaming fame of an actor or books of that ilk, and we go for the solid, delicious comfort food.  We go for the stories of family and friendship, of the bonds of the brothers of war, like Bandita Tawny’s SEALS.  We go for the families, no matter how quirky, from Bandita Caren’s Cross Springs, or the mother and daughter bond, as in Bandita Trish’s Living in Color.

DeadlyDeliveryfinalWe go for the treats like the final Nora Roberts O’Dwyer Cousins book (Just out!!).  Or the treatsy-tricksy-thrill of Hank Phillipi Ryan’s Jane Ryland series (Third book just out!).  We go for the deep, soul searching of our own Bandita Anna Campbell, or the fun of Susan Sey, or the edge of your seat thrills of Jo Robertson, Suz Ferrell or Nancy Northcott.  (All three of whom have great books out!)

Like Ratatouille, we want to give you an adventure, as well as comfort and cheer.  We want to transport you to OUR corners of the world and show you that no matter how many Grimms and ghosties and ghoulies and goblins there might be out there, there’s always the sweet – even if it’s only oatmeal in our heroine’s bowl when she sits down to breakfast and the story begins.

Now, I know this was one of my wandering posts, wrapping from one stepping stone to another, slightly different one.  Grins.  I guess it’s my version of Trick or Treat for Bandits and Bandit Buddies!!  Hahahaha!!  (So, I guess that makes my forthcoming novella a Treat too, right?  Grins.)

So what about y’all?  What’s your comfort food?

Have you ever had a Ratatouille Moment when eating a great meal?  A moment that takes you back to childhood, or a favorite event?

Is there a book you’ve thrown across the room, that you felt was a trick at the end??  (Don’t name names, okay?  Let’s not diss anyone…but if you want to give the general outline, okay)

What’s the best treat you’ve had this October?  Have you treated yourself, or someone else this month?  What kind of treats???

What’s your comfort “go-to” treat? Pumpkin Pie? (A personal fav)  Mini sized Kit-Kats?  Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks?

Do you like to play pranks/tricks?

What are you dressing up as this Halloween?  If you have young kids, what are they going trick-or-treating as?

(All photos are either mine or from Wikimedia Commons or Yahoo Open Source)

What’s So Funny???

snl_bee

Some days, you just need a laugh.  I mean, seriously.  Have you had one of those weeks?  I have.  It’s been gloomy and rainy, and it SHOULD be bright, blue-sky October!!  My favorite month!  Instead, its been raining so much here in DC that I haven’t set up my usual amusing paranomral extravaganza in my front yard for the Halloween season.  Hasn’t been a day that I could!  Yikers!

So, I was a weeee bit glum.  Heavy sigh.  I decided I needed some cheering.  Whenever I really need a laugh, I have friends that I call who can invariably make me laugh, or snork, or snigger about SOMETHING.  I made some calls.  No one home.

Harrrrumph!!  Whadday mean being out of pocket when I need a laugh?  Harrrrumph, I say!!!

I had to turn to the internet for help.  It’s okay, they know me there.  I have some seriously fun “go to” places for humor when I need it.  My first 640px-Jeff_Dunham_and_Achmedvisit is almost always to YouTube and Jeff Dunham.  If you have NOT seen Jeff Dunham, please, stop right now and go here, to YouTube and see the man. Warning: go to the bathroom first.  He will make you pee your pants laughing.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppwETopHZwI

Second Warning:  Jeff Dunham, Achmed, and Walter are equal opportunity offenders.  Absolutely NOTHING is safe from their pointy, pointy humor.  Not Klondike Bars, not the Washington Monument, not even eco-friendly Priuses.  You could spend several hours watching Jeff and his band of merry puppets and your face, ribs and back will HURT from laughing long before you stop watching.

Now sometimes, my son comes up with stuff to make me laugh.  His latest attempt – very, very successful, I might add – is to introduce me to a comedy duo named Key and Peele.  Now Eldest Son is very well aware that I am a HUGE football fan.  He’s lived with this since birth, so hey, he knows.  So he says, “Mom!” he says…”You gotta watch these guys!!”  And thus the immese chucklefest that ensued over “The East-West Bowl”

As Comedian Larry the Cable Guy would say, “I don’t keer who you are, that’s funny!”

So if I’m not on YouTube, and have more time than www.DamnYouAutocorrect.com takes (though I highly recommend that as well!), then I go for a movie.

There are some memorable movies that have made me laugh so hard I’ve actually pulled a muscle.  Yes, I’m serious.

Young Frankenstein.  (When Terri Garr says, “OH, he would have an enormous scwhanschtuker!” I lose it.  Every time.)

Blazing Saddles.  (“The Sheriff is Near!” “Let’s us read from the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and…DUCK!” “The name is HEADLY Lamar.” “Somebody go back to town and get a shitload of dimes.”)

The-private-eyes

Reaching WAAAAAAY back, I’ll cite Private Eyes, with two of my favorite comedians, Tim Conway and Don Knotts.  Frankly, just saying either of thier names makes me grin.  They are SO FUNNY.  In Private Eyes, Lord Morley is murdered and missing.  Two hapless American detectives come to Scotland yard, for no apparent reason, and are given the case.

They do solve the “murders” but there are two running gags through the movie that have stuck with me.  When Winship (Knotts) and Tart (Conway) head for the manor, they get into an argument about “Wookalars” – legendary creatures which are abnormally strong, and man-like but with a pig face. Supposedly this scene is entirely an ad-lib between Don and Tim.

The other running gag, is that as they find each successive member of Lord Morley’s staff dead, the bodies have a note containing a poem which rhymes all the way until the last line.  The “Whaaaaa…?” of each poem gets successivly funnier with each body.   And yes, boys…there are Wookalars!  SNORK!!!

Of course, you can’t think about Conway and Knotts without thinking about other great, fabulous comedians.  Carol_Burnett_Vicki_Lawrence_Dinah_Shore_Carol_Burnett_Show_1977

Carol Burnett, Vickie Lawrence, Tim Conway and Harvey Korman in the Carol Burnett show.  OMG.  Just THINKING about them can brighten my day.  The “Mama’s Family” skits.  The infamous Went With The Wind skit.  Lyle Waggoner trying to keep a straight face as Carol and Tim riffed on the politics of the day.  Oh, dear heavens, I can laugh about it right now.  Ha!

And what about the fabulous cast antics of Saturday Night Live?  OMGosh!!  When I can, I still tune in and ROFLMAO with the whole crew.  Some of the funniest though were the joys of John Belushi and Elliot Gould and the Killer Bees.  http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/the-killer-bees/n8622   Weekend Update with Jane Curtin and Chevy Chase.  Weekend update with Seth Myers.   Tina Fey doing Sarah Palin.   The Land Shark.  Cheri Oteri and Will Ferrell as The Spartans.  Weekend Update where Barbara Walters roasted herself.

Then there’s the infamous late-night muppets…King Ploobis and Scred…  SNORK!!!!

Speaking of Muppets.  That word, right there, can make me laugh.  Muppets.  Muppets.  Muppets.  (Kind of like the Sanderson Sister’s Amok! Amok! Amok!)

What a great concept!  What a great show!  What great movies and specials!!  From Muppet Christmas Carol to Muppets Take Manhattan to the original Muppet Movie and Rainbow Connection.  Grins.  It’s ALLLLLL funny.  Sly, witty, funny and clean.

640px-Jonathan-Winters_1986Now there’s another twist on the topic.  Clean humor.  There is NOTHING funnier than a good stand-up comedy routine.  If you need a laugh, go on YouTube and call up any of these guys and gals and you are SURE to have a laugh.  It’ll be good CLEAN fun!

Bill Cosby (G-rated)

Ellen DeGeneres (PG-13)

Bob Hope (G-rated)

Jonathan Winters (G-rated)

Jolene Roxbury (PG-13)

The Fluffy Guy (PG-13)

 

And then there’s the not so clean, but wickedly funny humorists…

George Carlin (R-Rated) (1o things you can’t say on television)

Michael McIntyre (PG-13 with flashes of R) (Parenting is actually clean….)

Steve Harvey (R – Rated)Blackadder_the_Third_cast

Robin Williams (R-Rated) 

Chris Rock (R-Rated)

There is a comedian for every taste.  Go on, have a laugh!  Now, for those of you who’ve see Hugh Laurie in House, or the Stewart Little movies, if you REALLY want your head to spin around, catch him in the British comedy, Black Adder.  Black Adder, by the way, is played by none other than Rowan Atkinson.  (AKA Mr. Bean – YouTube HIM and you’ll just die laughing!!)  Y’all have heard me mention this one before, but it’s never far from my list of Laugh-a-Minute stops.

If you prefer a female comedian and you’re going British, check out Dawn French in The Vicar of Dibley.  Virtually every episode is on YouTube.  And again, you will laugh SO FREAKIN HARD!!  If you go for this option….make sure you wait through the credits for the funny bit at the end of every show.  Grins.

I found this one when I was searching for what other things the delicious Richard Armitage had been in.

See, one day I was procrastinating (imagine that!) and was toodling round on IMDB because I had realized dear Richard was in Captain America.  I decided to see what else he’d been in that I didn’t know about.

Imagine my surprise when I found comedy!  What do you mean our darling, brooding bon-bon of sexiness has done comedy???  I was shocked, I tell you!

Richard is so brooding as Guy of Gisbourne in Robin Hood.  So flinty, solitary and stiff in North and South.  But yes, dear friends!  He’s deeply funny as the straight man to Dawn French’s A_Fish_Called_Wanda_DVDfabulously bouncy, mercilessly funny Vicar in The Vicar of Dibley.  After glomming all over this and laughing fit to bust a gut, I went on to YouTube Dawn French’s other work to get yet more good yuks.

So darling Bandits and Bandit Buddies, I could go on and on, but I won’t.  Grins.

When you’re down, what makes you laugh?

What’s your “go to” for changing your mood with humor?  YouTube?  Facebook? Pinterest?  The movies?

What’s the funniest movie you ever saw?  (Have to say, Fish Called Wanda, may be the funniest I’ve ever seen…)

Who is the funniest comedian you’ve ever seen?

Did you ever see the Bob Hope Specials when you were growing up?

Despite the recent sad news of Robin Williams’s passing, I found him to be terrifically funnny.  Did you ever see Mork and Mindy, or one of his stand up routines?

Have you seen Billy Crystal’s recent 700 Sundays stand up show on HBO?

Let’s have a laugh!!

 

A Coke and a Smile….

Coca_Cola_Billboard Do you remember that slogan?  Coca-Cola drags it out now and again in an ad campaign here and there, just to remind us that they have it.  Of course, they have so many clever ad slogans at Coke that they’re beating pretty much everyone at the soft-drink-selling game.

They happen to be my favorite – in Diet Coke form – so I’m a bit partial.  And yes, I CAN tell the difference between Coke, Pepsi and a store-bought-cola brand. Now I have friends who sweat by Pepsi.  Won’t drink a Coke unless forced.  I feel that way about my Coke to a certain degree and prefer it to Pepsi, but hey, if Pepsi’s all you’ve got?  I’ll go there.286px-Mountain_Dew_logo.svg

The only Pepsi product I’ll really seek out though is Mountain Dew.

Ohhhhh….Mountain Dew.  The original slogan, when Mountain Dew was released in 1940 was “Yahoo! Mountain Dew will really tickle yore innards!”  I looooovvvvve that stuff.

Alas I don’t drink it much anymore since it has a near-nuclear amount of caffeine and unless it’s Diet, which tastes funny to me, it’s got enough sugar to send you immediately into insulin shock.

And speaking of insulin shock… When I was growing up, visiting the general store in my very, very small hometown of Boomer, NC, it was RC Cola.

OMGosh the whole “RC Cola and a Moonpie” was total sugar overload, even for a kid who could burn it off in about two seconds.  Ha!  And to tell you the truth, I preferred Coke even then. But I drank RC 1920px-Moon-Pie-Singleand ate Moonpies.  That’s a Moonpie, over there in the picture.  Cookies with marshmallow filling, all wrapped in chocolate-y goodness.

I also drank what most considered the most awful softdrink invented, Tab, which my beloved Uncle adored.  He would share with me on the sly, so hey, I had to drink it and even semi-acquired a taste for it.  It was forbidden fruit, in some ways, and since Beloved Uncle was sharing it on the sly….yeah.  I liked it in spite of not liking it.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  This blog is probably making it sound as though I drank this stuff all the time.  Au Contraire!  My mother restricted soft drinks to a couple a week.  This whole bit of more-than-one-soft-drink-a-day is a recent, adult development.

My mother is probably spinning in her grave at my soda consumption, to tell you the truth.  Then again, under her rule it was water, tea, milk, coffee or maybe, possibly, a soft drink.  In that order.

Her addiction was coffee, so hey…pot/kettle.  However, they still have yet to accuse coffee of the multitude of sins they’ve heaped on soft drinks so she’d probably tell me that, gRccolauslogolare at me and tell me to not drink quite SO much Diet Coke.  :>

As I got a wee bit older and began visiting other relatives and friends, I was introduced to an odd assortment of other people’s favorites, some of which I’d never even seen or heard of.  At all. Soft-drink adventures!

Take Barqs, for instance.  This was a root beer – still is a root beer – but it used to be that Barqs was also a famous maker of creme soda.  I’d never had a creme soda.  There was a local soda producer, long gone now, who made Birch Beer, and we had that.

The first time I had a root beer from Barqs or A&W?  Wow!  I still don’t like the creme soda much but, again, wow!  Different!

And then there was Ne-Hi. Grape, Orange, Strawberry, and NeHi Wild Red (which tasted like cough syrup to me).  Oh….the flavors!  Orange soda was such an odd concept, but I liked it!  I particularly liked it when I had the flu and Mama would give me one over crushed ice as I was recovering.  It served to get sugar and hydration back in my system, so she’d let me have a LOT of Orange NeHi when I was sick.

I still can’t taste or smell orange soda without thinking about being sick with the flu.

Now, as a cure-all for whatever ailed you, my mother believed in Vernors Ginger Ale.  This was issued at the first complaint of a tummy ache.

Trust me, this ginger ale is so sharp, so “stout” if you will, that you got better in pure self-defense.

Vernors is actually the oldest surviving original ginger ale brand in the US, (dating to 1866) and was created in Detroit by a pharmacist.  Thank you, sir, may I have another?  Every now and again, I get a craving for Vernors.  It’s hard to find in DC, but…I have my Vernorslogosources.  Grins.

I’ve always thought of it as the Guiness of Ginger Ales.  Tall, Dark, Brooding, Spicy.  Yum.

As I said, thought, I’m a Coca-cola girl.  LOVE me some Coke.  It was born in Atlanta in 1886 and was a supposed recipe for a soothing tonic for the nerves.  Ha!  Still, it’s good to this day and it’s crisp, refreshing taste is something I truly enjoy.

As to Pepsi, “The Taste Born in the Carolinas” – New Bern, North Carolina, to be exact – I don’t like it very much, as I said.  It too was originally a digestive aide, and is and has always been a fierce competitor for the Cola Business.

I have a dear friend – and Kathryn Anderson, you know who you are – who swears by Pepsi as much as I swear by Coke.  Ha!  I accused her once, on a road trip, of trying to lure me to the Dark Side by only having Pepsi in the car.  Bwahahahah!  It didn’t work!!

Last but not least  – and right there with Vernors, Orange NeHi and Coke in little glass bottles – was the miracle “medicine” of Seven-UP.

My mother stocked this, right along with the Vernors, as a surefire remedy for post-flu-malaise, for upset stomach, and for anything that might need a little boost of sugar and/or carbonation.  Like the Orange NeHi, I can hardly drink a Seven-UP without remembering being sick.  201px-7-up_Logo.svg

Kinda ruins the moment, you know?

I did go through a Seven-UP phase, however, back in the late seventies, when the divine Geoffrey Holder became the spokesperson for Seven-UP and did the famous “Cola Nut, or UnCola Nut” commercials.  Do you remember those, or have you seen them on YouTube?  OMGosh, I had SUCH a crush on Geoffrey Holder.  First of all, that VOICE.  I could listen to that man read the phone book.  Twice.  LOVE his voice. Plus, it was just so entertaining to see him waving around cola nuts and uncola nuts.  Cracked me up.

And now, gentle readers….I’ll admit it…yes, I DO give my kids Seven-UP or Orange soda over crushed ice if they’ve been sick.  I do resort to Ginger Ale as a tummy tonic.  I don’t restrict the soda as much as my mother did, but I do restrict it – my boys are still growing and building bone and muscle, so it’s kinda the same list my mom had, in a different order:  Milk, water, tea, lemonade (not something of which my mom was fond, so it didn’t appear on her list!), with soda and coffee coming in dead last as possible beverages for the boys.

Hypocritcal of me, since I drink soda?  Yes.  But…healthier.

For you healthy ones, I HAVE cut down on my soda consumption.  I also no longer have a six-can-a-day Mountain Dew habit.  I had to give that up when Eldest Son was on the way.  Faaaaar tooooo much caffeine!  Lord-d-dee, one of those and neither I nor the baby would sleep, so I gave it up.

That was a while ago, and I’ve not taken the habit back up, which is probably why I’m not doing the “Orange is the new Black” bit.  I’m really energetic anyway.  Hopped up on caffeine?  Whoa, baby.  Grins. Also, I decided since I was restricting the kids, I had to set a better example than to always have coffee or a soda in my hand.  Sigh.

I do still drink a LOT of iced tea though.128px-Dr_Pepper_modern.svg

What about you, Banditas and Buddies?  

Soda or no soda?

Coke or Pepsi?

Store brand or Name Brand?

Do you have any odd brands that are totally “IT” in your part of the country or world?

YES THERE IS A REASON I DIDN’T MENTION DR. PEPPER.   I am deeply distasteful of anything with an artificial Chery Flavor.  (I hear Bandita Nancy laughing now….)

But if your preference runs that way….Dr. Pepper, Mr. Pibb, or Cherry Coke?

Have you ever had a Vernors?

Did your Mama or Grandmama use soft drinks as a cure/medicine?  Or did they have some other “cure-all”? (Don’t even get me started on the joys and pains of Vicks Vapo-Rub!)

(All pictures of logos are from Wikimedia Commons and are not in any way intended as a copyright infringement)

A Generosity of Spirit…

wrong-girl-240hWomen, as Rudyard Kipling once observed in his poem The Female of the Species, can be deadly.  They can be mean (a la Mean Girls), they can be just as much bullies as boys or men.

They can.

But, most of  the time, they aren’t.

Most of the time, they will breathe their last breath before they let someone else go hungry, ill-clothed, ill-shod or unloved.  Women will literally take the shirt off their backs and run around, embarassed, in their underwear, if it means they helped someone, as many did in the aftermath of the Boston bombing. Humans, men and women, have a generosity of spirit that overarches the petty concerns of the everyday.

Now, that’s not just in grandiose, flowery prose that comes with tradgedy and loss. It’s in the everyday.

Writers are this way too.  Especially romance writers.  Now, I started to say women writers, but I don’t personally know many women writers who AREN’T romance writers so I realized I shouldn’t say that.  Most of the writers I know either are Romance Writers now, or they were before they branched into mystery or horror or thrillers.

Now, why the heck am I rattling on, and on, and on about this?51YgKUr-MKL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Well, this last weekend was the annual Nora Roberts Writing Institute at Hagerstown Community College in Hagerstown, MD.    The “official” theme – if you could call it that – was COME LEARN TO WRITE!  The unofficial one was HEY, YOU’RE NOT ALONE!!

People from all over the country come to the lovely small town of Hagerstown for this.  From Washington State and Colorado, from Philadelphia (2 hours away) and North Carolina (6 hours away).  To learn.  To get the basics.  To hear authors who’ve “made it” say, “You can do this!!” And they do say that.

Authors like Jana DeLeon talked about how they made it, and how “making it” is an everyday job.  Yes, there are things you can do to enhance your progress – if you ever get a chance to take a class about promotion with Jana DeLeon, regardless of your business, DO IT!  The woman is brilliant.  But Jana shared more than the nuts and bolts of writing and promoting what you’ve written.  She shared her time.  Her precious writing time (because when you write, time is the one thing you always feel you don’t have).  She shared her experience and more than anything, she encouraged. Longshot-Thumbnail

The guys did too, don’t get me wrong.  I’ll say the same thing about John King, former faculty member at Hagerstown CC.  If you can get him to do a class on police procedurals for you? OH. MY. GOSH.  DO IT!!  He was born to teach, and to teach about how the police/cops/mounties/etc. work, think, hurt, believe.   And he too was incredibly generous with his time and energy and knowledge.  And he came all the way from Provo, UT, back to Hagerstown, to teach us.

Then there were the very well known and highly thought of and totally cool Keynote Speakers.  That would be the internationally bestsellers, Sylvia Day and 01f8205dc6f90a900484df.L._V359400092_SX200_Hank Phillipi Ryan.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve been to conferences where the keynote whisked in, spoke, shook hands with folks who were brave enough to come down to the stage, then whisked off again, into the ethers, never to be seen.

Not these ladies.  Sylvia and Hank were present and answering questions throughout the weekend.  They took the time to talk to these beginning writers, to encourage at every step, to hug, to mug for the camera, and to share.  To generously share their journey.  They shared their trials and tribulations.  They shared that the work STILL has to get done, by you, the writer, even when your last book was on top of the bestseller list in 40 countries and translated into 41 languages.  :>

Sylvia still has to sit down and write the next book. Every writer does.  Hank does.  Susan Donovan does.  All the Romance Bandits do.  These writers reminded us all that glamorous as others think our job may be, we STILL have to sit down, grumpy and rumpled or coiffed and heeled, and WRITE THE NEXT BOOK.

Hank Phillipi Ryan, who’s been a guest on the blog several times, is one who’s usually still in her work suit from her job as an investigative reporter, when she snags some writing time.  Hank is funny, delightful, insightful and yes, generous.  I’m diving into her latest THE WRONG GIRL and already anticipating her next book,  TRUTH BE TOLD.  (October) SylviaDay-001

Our own Bandita Donna MacMeans was a speaker, as were NYT Bestseller Susan Donovan, Gail Barrett, Agnes Jayne, screenwriter Jeanne Ford, historical writer Dennis Frye, media savvy Leigh-Anne Lawrence and Laura Reeth, and military historical writer Dr. Robert Savitt.

Every single one of them were wonderful, took the time to talk to and encourage new writers and pay it forward. They talked about how to stay in the chair with your hands on the keyboard and just DO IT.  They talked about their own struggles and foibles.  The audience learned that some are strictly regimented, and some take time to play.  Some write at night, some early in the morning, and some whenever they can fit it in around their day job.

Some plot the whole book out before they begin to write.  Some just fly by the seat of their pants.  Some “brew and spew” as PC Cast would say.

All of them, as writers, remember what it was like to be one of the audience at a program like this, and so they share what the journey is like going forward.  Time, energy, stories about editors and agents, about going solo, about when a story stopped on them, or fell flat in the middle.  They shared it all.

That’s a generosity of spirit, of time and energy and life, that I’ve seldom seen outside the writing world.

What about you, Banditas and Buddies?  In your field of work, do people share information?

Are your colleagues and co-workers generous with their time and energy and ideas?  (And what field do you work in?)

If you’re a writer, what successful writer would you like to hear talk about their journey?  Who do you want to hear?  (Living or dead)

If you’re a reader, whose journey would you like to learn about?  

Which of your favorite authors would you like to hear speak?

If you had your fav author in front of you, besides “When is the next book out!?!?”, what question would you like to ask? (And no, I didn’t learn when the next Crossfire book will be out…sorry!)

As a last note, I’ll say you haven’t lived until you’ve heard Bandita Donna read from The Whisky Laird’s Bed.  Grins.

Exclusive Excerpt from THE TENTACLE AFFAIR

TheTentacleAffaireFINALDon’t miss out on the exclusive members’ only excerpt from Jeanne Adams’ latest THE TENTACLE AFFAIR! Here’s the link: http://romancebandits.com/exclusive-excerpt-from-jeanne-adamss-the-tentacle-affaire/ If you’re not a member, why not become one. Great exclusive material and prizes and a fun Bandita newsletter every month. Just click on the Members button above and it will take you to where to sign in.

Exclusive Excerpt from Jeanne Adams’s The Tentacle Affaire

TheTentacleAffaireFINALSetup: Cait Brennan is the Slip Traveler (think alien hunter a la Men In Black). She’s in DC to catch a lost interplanetary pet that’s been dropped into the Potomac River or the Tidal Basin. This pet happens to be a cross between a squid and an octopus, six or seven feet long and pink/green/clear. It’ll eat just about anything, including people, and it has to go…

Magical Adept (Highest level practitioner) Aiden Bayliss is assigned as the regional magical Enforcer for the DC Metro area. Aiden’s suspicious of Cait since she’s just moved into his building, he can’t read her magically, and he’s trying to figure out who-or what—she is. He’s gone to the canal in search of an energy anomaly he’s sensed with a magical scan. He needs to find what it is and determine whether it’s dangerous.

And here’s what happens…

Aiden had been on the C&O Canal towpath for about an hour when he spotted a familiar figure.
“And there she is. And people wonder why I don’t believe in coincidences,” he muttered, slowing his pace to a more sedate jog.   He’d been stopping every so often along his run to send out feelers, trying to detect the disturbance. No luck on that score.

Now he sent out another probe, a different type, trying to feel Cait. He got the same “not there” wall from her as he did from her apartment.  His slowing steps brought him alongside where Cait was thigh deep in the water of the canal, and he stopped.
“Boo,” he said, then smiled at her when she startled. Perversely, his grin widened at the surprise and consternation on her face.  Interesting that he liked poking at this woman, seeing her reactions. He hadn’t actually meant to startle her, but…  “Hello, neighbor,” he said with a two-finger salute. “Fancy meeting you here.”

“Indeed. How are you this afternoon?” She looked professionally competent and more like a geologist in her khaki trousers, waders, and a dark jacket zipped over a lightweight shirt. It didn’t diminish her femininity one bit, something his libido noticed even if he refused to think about it otherwise.
“I’m great,” he lied. But he found himself wanting to pull the words back, wanting to not lie to Cait Brennan. Something about her compelled honesty.  And that was also suspicious as hell. Maybe she was an Otherworldly creature, a magical construct or one of the Lesser Fae who sometimes crossed the barriers between worlds to live among humans. That would explain his inability to scan her and the pull he felt today, just like the first time they’d met.
Either way, she was unclassified. And he needed to have a heart-to-heart with his hormones.
“It’s a beautiful day. How’s it going?” He gestured to the bottles she was filling.
“It’s going,” she said with a smile and a shrug. “Are you out for a walk?”
“A run. Had to get away from the desk. Clear my brain. You’re working too,” he said, to judge her reaction. “I should let you keep at it.”
“You work from home?”
“Sometimes. I’m a software troubleshooter. Computers and major systems. My clients call when they’ve been hacked or their data compromised. I close the back doors, restore the systems, and when I can, turn the hacker over to the authorities.” The definition served for most people.
“A geek then.” She smiled at that, as if it were some secret joke, proving she wasn’t most people. “A high level one, if you live in our building.” Her grin took the sting from that assessment, and made it friendly.
“Do you specialize in government, corporate or non-profits? Or are you a generalist?”
Definitely not most people.
“I specialize. I’d tell you but then I’d have to…”
“Kill me. Right. Very delicate stuff,” she said, and he saw that she was suppressing a laugh.
“Very.”
“Smart policy,” she said, nodding at his answer. “Not telling people. If you have to off them, it’s so messy.”
Shit, she was funny. He couldn’t stop his responsive grin, and he couldn’t take his eye from her either. Shit.

“I needed a good brain-clearing run before I got back to it.” He squatted so they were at eye level, with her still standing in the murky water.  All the better to See you, my pretty. Again he went for a needle-like magical probe. Again, he got nada.
“What about you?”
“Me? Oh, I figured I’d get right to work. I’m doing a research project sampling both the canal and the river for contaminants.” She held up a series of bottles strung together like a bandolier.
“Upstream of the city or down?”
“Both.”
A woman of few words. Damn. Just the sight of her in the waders should have turned him off, since he didn’t usually go for the outdoorsy type. Between that and the shadows in her background and his inability to penetrate her defenses, he should be running the other way.  Instead, he found himself admiring the play of light on her hair, thinking that the nut-brown color didn’t suit her as well as blonde hair and green eyes she’d had in his dreams and visions.
“So what about a break? Have you had lunch?” The words were out of his mouth before he could censor them.
“Lunch?”
“Yes, as in mid-day meal,” he managed, recovering quickly. “You want to eat?”
“With you?”
“Well, if you want to eat with the president, it’s too early. He’s not back in the country yet.”
Damn. He was flirting. Actually flirting with a person who might not even be human. Stupid. He’d long ago compartmentalized his life. No work/play combos for him. Not that she’d said yes, but his biggest rule was, don’t date someone you can’t read.  He was pulled back to the moment when she laughed, a full, merry sound, and he smiled in return.
“Out of the country is he? I hadn’t been keeping track. With Congress in session and the president out of the country…we’re doomed.”
“Ha! You got it. So, lunch?”  This time her smile warmed her eyes. He saw her humor again and, lurking back in her gaze, a whole boatload of sadness.
“Thanks,” she said, “but I brought some with me. I wanted to get a lot done today. Maybe some other time.”
“That would be fun,” he said as he rose, knowing that CEO, Adept or regular guy, “some other time” was girl-speak for get lost, buddy. “All right if I ask again?”
Once again she seemed surprised. He should be glad, since it meant she was buying his surface presentation of Harmless Normal Guy. He needed her to see him that way until he could find out if she was a danger to his city.
And if she was, take her out before she realized that he could.  That bleak though popped into his mind and he felt the joy at sparring with her fade out. There were screaming neon signs with arrows that said she wasn’t what she presented to the world, any more than he was.
“Sure, I’d like that.”
“Excellent.” Her answer surprised him out of his dark thoughts. He’d expected her to prevaricate, or flat-out turn him down. “I’ll let you get back to it. Have…fun?” he said it with a questioning inflection and was rewarded with an even wider, flashing grin. She had a dimple on one side. He felt his gut clench. He loved dimples.
“Thanks. You too.”
He waved as he walked back down the trail. Halfway to his car he stopped in his tracks. He’d been whistling. He quit, but still, it resounded inside his head, a happy tune.
Cait Brennan. PhD. Geologist. Mystery Woman in Waders. Hiding enough sadness to drown a person twice her size. She got more intriguing by the hour.
He couldn’t let his attraction take him down that road. Truth was though, no matter how he tried, he found it hard to think of her as a dark construct, or even a half-blood elf gone to the bad, or one of the rare a Lesser Fae. As rare as they were, it would be far more rare for one of the Lesser Fae to go to the darker paths.
Of course, he reminded himself, she could be all the more dangerous for that very reason.
“All the better to fool you with, Bayliss,” he repeated aloud. Somehow, it still didn’t change his mood, and he whistled all the way to the car.

“OH, Yeah, baby!” an Ode to One-Liners

SM“I do not think that means what you think it means!” (Princess Bride)

“Stop rhyming and I mean it!” “Anybody want a peanut?” (Viceni to the Giant – Princess Bride)

“Say hello to my little friend!” (Scarface)

“My Captain! My Captain!” (Dead Poets Society)

“I’m not angry, I’ve just been in a bad mood for 40 years!” (Steel Magnolias…I’m not sure I’ve got the quote exactly right on this one…)

“I’m pretty sure the answer to that one is going to be “I Am Groot”” (Guardians of the Galaxy)

“Take off the shiny suit and what are you, huh?” “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.” (Capt. America & Iron Man – The Avengers)

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” (Gone With the Wind)

“Buehler?  Buehler?” (Ferris Buehlers Day Off)

Ah! The snappy, witty come back.  The throw-away, one liner that ends up being the quote of the month/year/decade.  I love it!!

I saw Guardians of the Galaxy this weekend and I have to say that I immediately wanted to queue up and see it again.  It’s fun, it’s funny and OMGosh, the witty repartee!!  It was fabulous!!  And, OH!, the one-liners!!  There are so many, I’m going to have to see it again just to catch them all.JAWS_Movie_poster

One of the things I adore most in a book or a movie is wit.  Seriously, don’t you love it?  The snappy comebacks, the clever banter.  Great writing that translates on the page as brilliant back-and-forth between characters on the screen?  Fabulous!  I know I’ve mentioned before that we still snicker and snork over so many lines from The Princess Bride that it’s almost cultish.  (I’m not saying I want to build a summer home here…)  Same with a friend of mine and the unscripted line from Jaws, “I think we’re going to need a bigger boat!”  And with a college friend, it’s Monty Python.  (“Fechez la Vache!)

Sometimes they become a part of the lexicon.  A generation’s language, a shorthand of global proportions, comes from movies that become iconic and nearly universal.  “Life is like a box of chocolates.”   “Run! Forrest, Run!” (Forrest Gump);  “Yo, Adrian!” (Rocky)’  “Stella!” (On the Waterfront); “Heeeeeres Johnny!” (The Shining/Johnny Carson show)

And some are just between you and the person with whom you saw the movie like my sister and I, when things get heavy duty and more expansive than expected:  “Muah-dib, we have worm-sign the likes of which even God has never seen!” (Dune – terrible version of the book, but oh! Patrick Stewart!)

Guardians of the Galaxy is, I can tell, going to be one of those movies.  The quotable ones.  The one-liner-becomes-lexicon ones.  Yep, it’s that good.

It’s also really, really fun.  There are elements of the serious hero movies like Superman and the Avengers, Iron Man and Capt. America – hey there’s even the usual cameo by Stan Lee – but the flat out, don’t-take-yourself-too-seriously humor of it is just impossible not to love.   The moment you expect to be poignant is cracked by a joke.  The moment you expect to be a joke, suddenly becomes poignant.

6119c9ff591fc215015594162ed92301.w980.h290._CR0,0,980,290_Now don’t get me wrong, there are PLENTY who are already panning the movie.  “Too slow!”  “Too flippant!” “Too cerebral!” (Seriously?  This movie couldn’t be cerebral if you spanked it with a spinal column!!)  But, for me, it’s so incredibly well done, and so carefully “timed” in terms of action vs. repartee, pathos vs. blatant laughs, and seriously clever humor (“Metaphor!”) that as I said, I want to see it again.  Grins.

What about you, Bandits and Buddies?  Answer a few or answer them all….

Do you love a good wit in your movies?  That humorous banter that just calls out to be used in everyday conversation?  (“Amok! Amok! Amok!” – Hocus Pocus)

Or do you like that more subtle insult wit like Cap and Tony Stark?  (“I’ll draw your blood for that sir!” “Tis I am the leech, yet you would draw my blood? I think not!” – Colonial Gov to Capt. Blood – Capt. Blood)

Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet?  (No spoilers!)  Or are you going to see it?

Do you like your humor mixed with other things – humorous action movies like Marvel – or straight up, as in Austin Powers, or Robin Hood Men in Tights?

Do you like the witty in those fab English Historicals?  Having recently read Donna’s Whisky Laird, and Christina Brooke’s Wickedest Lord Alive, I’m REALLY enjoying the wit of the English.  My pal Barbara Devlin is also a past-master at the witty repartee in her heroes and heroines.  I have laughed so much at some of the things Lady Rebecca managed to say without being “caught” at it in her My Lady the Spy!  Ha!  And our own Anna C’s books are packed with wit and sly innuendo.  I must confess that I have sometimes not even captblood1caught the best of them on the first read, they’re so clever.  Go, Anna!  Ha!

(While I focused on the historical here, each of the Bandits has that wit – sharp and pointy!  I love it! – in and of themselves and in their various characters.  I ADORE blogging with them for that, much less reading their books.  Ha!)

What’s the wittiest book you’ve enjoyed?  What book can you think of that has that great back and forth repartee in the dialogue?

What’s your favorite movie for great innuendo and wit in the dialogue?  (Thomas Crown Affaire!!  The whole movie is a study in repartee between the Renee Russo character and the Thomas Crowne character!)

What’s your favorite movie and book for one-liners? (Movie – Princess Bride; Book – Elizabeth Peters’ Crocodile on the Sandbank where Amelia Peabody and Radcliffe Emerson verbally spar whilst running for their lives!) )

So….what about YOU???

Conference Craziness!

Jeanne's I Phone 405It’s here!  Conference season!

Today (Wednesday) is the start of the huge RWA Conference in San Antonio, Texas.  Many of the Banditas are there, promoting their books at tonight’s Open-to-the-Public Literacy Signing!  They’ll be meeting up with old friends, new fans, and getting a start on learning what’s new in the writing biz.  Yay, Banditas!!  (That’s me and Nancy from last year’s Rita night….aren’t we snazzy?)

Virtually every field has a conference.  Most have one or two, depending on their size or location.  Miners have conferences, dentists and dental hygienists have conferences (Right Terry Brisbin?), doctors, morticians, romance writers, rodeo riders, cops, and probably robbers too.

Most fields have a group get-together to network, share new ideas, educate members on tried-and-true knowledge and, of course, to have a little fun.

I love conferences.  I feed on all that people energy and adore meeting new writers, new readers, and people of all walks, talks and ilks.  Grins.

I’m not in San Antonio this year as we were on vacation last week for Eldest Son’s last baseball tournament before he becomes a high school player.  It was huge fun, but I didn’t see how I could manage going to Myrtle Beach for a week, then turn around and head to the hottest corner of He…I mean San Antonio, for RWA.  Isn’t that a gorgeous view from our balcony?beach

Now that doesn’t mean that I’m not conferencing!  Oh, no!  I most assuredly AM!  As many of you know, I had a blast at Barbara Vey’s annual Reader Appreciation Luncheon in April.  If you’re anywhere near Milwaukee, you would LOVE this event!  It’s in April.  Check out the website here: http://barbaravey.com/readerluncheon/  2015’s keynote speaker is the fabulous Tess Gerritson.

The pictures of me with Sylvia Day – could we have picked worse tops to put together for a photo? – and with the lady herself, Barbara Vey below, were from the 2014 event.  Yes, I DO have alien head bobbers on my head.  Your eyes do not decieve you.  :>

sylThis year’s Nora Roberts Writing Institute (Aug 8-10)  is coming up as well.  This amazing weekend event is a brilliant way to give your writing a kickstart, especially if you’re new to writing, or you’ve been away from it for a while.  The keynotes at NRWI this year are the AMAZING Sylvia Day and the equally AMAZING Hank Phillipi Ryan.  Hank’s been on the blog with us a number of times and she has a new book out too!  Bandita Donna and I will both be presenting at the NRWI as well as the fabulous Jana DeLeon, Susan Donovan, Gail Barrett, Jeanne Ford, and Agnes Jayne (also a fab blog guest!!)

I’m really looking forward to NRWI this year, even more than last year, because I’ll be in the company of fabulous writers and great creative energy.  You should come, it’s going to be great, great FUN.  (Check it out at http://nrwi.org/ )

Since I won’t be at RWA (*sniffle*) I’m going to milk NRWI for all the energy and booksigning mojo I can get.  Ha!

(Nora’s bookstore, TURN THE PAGE BOOKS www.ttpbooks.com  is doing the signing on Sunday if you’re in the area of Hagerstown MD on August 10!)

I know Banditas Nancy and Trish will head, along with my WRW Pal, Jean Marie Ward, to Atlanta for DragonCon here before too long, and Comicon, Balticon and others will be rolling around in the fall.

What about you, Buddies and Banditas?

Do you love conferences, or do they just wear you out?photo

Is there a major conference in YOUR field?  Do you go?

What about regional ones?

I know our Bandit Buddies Helen and Barb are fixtures at the Aus Romance Writers conference, and Banditas Christina and both Anna’s have been….Anyone else?

Ever had a conference romance?  (Harder at Romance conferences, since there’s so few men…hahah!!)

What’s your favorite “It happened at a conference…” story?  Mine’s about a logging demo….me, 300 loggers, some Caterpillar heavy logging equipment, jello….yeah, that was fun.

Tell all!!

Did you ever see….?

100074_gal Did you see The Butler?  The movie, that is.  What about White House Down?  Or it’s equally ridiculous, but fun counterpart, Olympus Has Fallen?

What about Taxi?  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?

Or Princess Bride?  Or that perinnial favorite around our house, Robin Hood, Men in Tights?

Have you seen How To Train Your Dragon?  Kung Fu Panda? (1 and 2!) Or, what about Hotel Transylvania?

Two of my (nearly grown) nephews were here this weekend, one with his fiance, and we ended up in a fabulous discussion of movies and books and ranged out from there.  It was huge fun.  It was great to have company, and to have so many fun, funny discussions.  I totally enjoyed it!

There was grilling.  There was LOTS of baseball (Cubs vs. Nationals!  WOOT!!) and there were outstanding Fireworks.

Yay and hooray for the 4th of July!RobinHoodMeninTights_Poster

As to the discussions, we vociferously discussed who was the best Bond (Sean or Pierce? Lazenby or Nivens?), who was the best Captain of the Enterprise (Piccard allllll the way!)  and was there a difference in Cary Elwes character in Men in Tights vs. Princess Bride?

(Consensus was that Mel Brooks felt Robin/Elwes should be very Wesley-like to cash in on the popularity of Princess Bride).

There was even a rousing chorus of “We’re men!  We’re men in tights!”  Snork!!  The testosterone was almost more than I could stand.  Grins.

That led us to stories about movies – for instance,  The Piccard Manuver is what the crew called it when Piccard would pull down his uniform shirt.  It started because the original costume was too small.  That took us to The Red Shirt Phenomenon.  (If the landing party from the Enterprise has a red-shirted crewman, he’s the one who dies)

I really had the most fun with the book/movie discussion.  One of our nephews said that he’d re-read a book that had just baffled him in high school.  “Back then” it was required reading.  He decided that he wanted to give it another shot and see what he thought.  I understood this – I’ve done it – and so I asked him about the book.  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  He said that the first read was just to get through it and get the paper written for class and he didn’t understand it at all.  He made a decent grade (more probably because he at least tried, as much as for what he wrote, he admitted)

31nqYwGSzgL._SL300_ Now, however, on re-read, he said he got so much out of it.  The layers of the book.  Philosophy.  Fiction.    Motorcycles.  Life.

Yep.  He said he’d have to stop every few chapters and just absorb all that new thought processing.

What book did he hate?  Watership Down.  (I LOVED that book!  Kehar get you mudders!!)

Hubby liked most of those depressing things – Seperate Peace, Grapes of Wrath, etc.  But we totally agreed on To Kill A Mockingbird and being absolutely outstanding.
MV5BMTkzMDgyNjQwM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTg2Mjc1MDE@._V1_SX67_CR0,0,67,98_AL_

I detested A Seperate Peace (as y’all have heard me whine), but the nephew, on the other hand, had loved Seperate Peace on first read, but agreed with me on the adult read.  That nephew likes Chekov and wants to read The Brothers Karamazov.  Hmmmm….

We also got into the total political incorrectness of some of our beloved favorites, such as Tarzan of the Apes (1914), The Bat (1920 and the origin material for Batman), and my all -time favorite, Silver Chief, Dog of the North.  OMGosh, to our 21st century sensibilities, these are wince-able in their prose demeaning servants in general, African-america servants in particular, Africans of any ilk, the Irish, the Italians, any immigrant from anywhere….you get the idea.

Then there were the movies.  OMGosh, the fun!  One nephew hated Taxi, loved Cockoo’s Nest.  The other just the opposite.  The Shining.  (Heeeeeres, Johnny!)  We all universally loved The Princess Bride – which then kicked off a virtual marathon of quotes, rebuttals, and ripostes.  Grins.

This also occured with Men in Tights, and the guys got into it with 21 Jump Street and some of the sillier “guy movies” that weren’t my cuppa.  (The Hangover.  Weekend at Bernies II.)  A favorite quote from Men in Tights –  “Henceforth all toilets in England will be known as Johns!”  Grins.

So what about you, Banditas and Buddies….

11819_galWhat book that you hated as a kid, have you re-read and liked?

What about the opposite?  Loved as a kid and either hated or winced over as an adult?  (You should have heard me verbally editing Tarzan as I tried to read it to Eldest Son!  Gave up.  Seriously, just gave up.)

Is there a book that “everyone loves and reads” (or at least finds deeply meaning ful) – Catcher; Misery; The Stand; Charlottes Web; Animal Farm – that you detest?   Have you ever tried to re-read it and see if its different as an adult?

What about movies?  Was there one that you loved that you quote all the time?  (Amok! Amok! Amok! – Hocus Pocus)

Did you love the Princess Bride?  What’s YOUR favorite quote?  (I’m not saying I want to build a summer home here, but the trees are really quite lovely…)

Is there a family/sister/best friend movie that you just LOL over and watch every time?

Is there one you quote to your children, or spouse or BFF?  

(Eldest son and I – Thanks for nothing, you useless reptile – How To Train Your Dragon; BFF – Have Fun Storming the Castle? Think it’ll work? It would take a miracle! – Princess Bride; BFF – Honestly, you should be the heroine of your own life – The Holiday; Hubby – I’m not a witch, I’m your wife! – Princess Bride)

And what did your school make you read that was “standard issue reading” when you were in high school?  (Illiad and Odyssey for me as well as Catcher and Flies)  Did you love it or hate it?  (Loved the Homer, you obviously know how I feel about the rest!!)

Can you even believe that there are people who are grown up, that haven’t read a book for pleasure since HIGH SCHOOL?  OMGosh, what are the doing??  Grins.  

Last but not least – who’s the best captain of the Enterprise?   Kirk Shatner; Kirk Pine; Piccard (Stewart); Janeway (Mulgrew); Archer (Scott Bakula)

The Joys of Chocolate!!

Trufa_de_chocolateHey gang!  You thought you were rid of me, right?  Snork!

Cassondra had technical difficulties with power outages in her area, so her blog didn’t get posted for today.  Instead, you get MEEEEEE!!!  Bwahahahah!

So, let’s talk chocolate.

I just read an article that said that people from other parts of the world think we here in America have terrible chocolate.  Having been in Hershey PA for a baseball tournament recently, and going through the neat-o presentation they do on making chocolate, I’m thinking we use waaaaaay too much sugar for most people’s taste.  Grins.  (This from a woman who loves sweet tea more than anything…)

Europeans, the article said, want their chocolate dark and with a slighlty bitter edge.

Asian countries prefer a milk chocolate, but not nearly as sweet as we like it.

And yet, somehow, M&Ms are universally loved.  Go figure.Candy-Peanut-MMs-Wrapper-Small

I’ve tasted some very high-end chocolate from Switzerland, and I know Caren has had that too, having visited the Swiss.  It ISN’T that sweet.  It’s very chocolate-y but, to our sugar-jaded American tastebuds, its bland.  I’ve also had some very dear chocolates from a famed New York chocolatier who was called upon to provide chocolate to the Queen last time she was in the US.  (One of their claims to fame!)  It too was not sweet, but it didn’t have that slightly bitter aftertone that some of the Swiss chocolates did.

What about you, Bandits and Buddies?

Have you had Chocolate from other parts of the world?  

How did it compare to our Sees, Whitmans, and dime store chocolates?  Too bitter?  Too sweet?

Do you love M&Ms?  I believe the green ones assist in the laborious editing process.  (They are far better for editing than the yellow ones, let me tell you!)

What’s YOUR favorite color of M&M?

What’s your favorite chocolate brand, and DO tell us the good brands from outside the US!?

Do Americans use too much sugar?

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