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Gone Fishing

Right this moment Sheila would rather be fishing, despite the fact that fishing is about two-million-one-hundred-and-twenty-eight on her bucket list.

Or hanging here.

Or reading a good book.

Or finishing the developmental edits on her upcoming book.

Instead, she’s hanging at the youngest son’s new farm, a paintbrush in one hand, cleanser in the other.

Check out her recent adventures on Facebook, then make her day by popping over to her Author Page to give her a Like.

If the painting and cleaning are finished — which they better be! — Sheila will be back in three weeks. Until then, enjoy your summer!

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When It Rains, It Pours

No, this has nothing to do with the weather, although this summer we’re getting our fair share of rain. No, this post is about family and life and how easily serenity erupts into chaos.

For the last few months, I’ve been peacefully writing away, working on 3 upcoming romantic comedies, until last month, when our youngest son injured his back.

Shortly before the injury, he’d made an offer of purchase on a farm with a possession date of August 15, which gave him lots of time to pack and prepare. Then he hurt his back, and while chaos erupted with doctor appointments, etc, we knew he would need extra help moving, painting, repairs, etc. So we set aside the month of August to help him out.

Family Farm

The farm where I grew up (not the farm my son bought).

Then my in-laws received a call from a senior’s facility. My father-in-law is 95, my mother-in-law is 86, and since 2012 they have rejected 5 apartments in this facility. With a little extra prodding and pushing, they finally made the decision to move in. It’s a good place. They’ll have round-the-clock assistance if needed, and basically everything else like cooking and housekeeping and laundry is taken care of for them.

I think I want to move there too…

With a possession date of August 1, we started to pack up their household, thankful that they would be settled before our son’s move.

But then my mother got booked in for her knee operation. Date: August 7th. Okay, with good planning, we could have the in-laws moved and settled by then. Except my mother-in-law kept procrastinating about calling the movers. I guess she thought that if she ignored it long enough, they wouldn’t have to move.

Needless to say, by the time I said that I would call the movers, the earliest date I could get was August 7th.

While my husband goes one way that day, I’ll be going another. In the meantime, we’re packing boxes for my in-laws, running my mom to last minute doctor, hair, etc appointments, and helping our son get ready for his move.

That old saying “when it rains, it pours” is true. So this may be my last post until mid-September. I’m just saying, if I’m missing in action, you’ll know where I am.

Now tell me, what fun things do you have planned for your summer holiday/vacation? Please share. I want to hear all about the fun things you all are doing! 🙂

I am “The Worrier”

I worry about driving off a mountain cliff and crashing into the ravine below.

I worry about working in the gardens and being attacked by one of the large predators that wander through our yard.

I worry about dying slow and painful instead of dying fast and easy.

WorrierI worry about my mom being alone in her house and having an accident while I’m not there to help her.

I worry about not seeing my siblings when my mom is gone.

I worry about my boys never finding a girl who’ll make them happy or finding one that makes them unhappy.

I worry about my tender new plants getting hit by Jack Frost.

I worry about getting old, gaining weight, going gray, and losing my eyebrows.

I worry I may never finish THIS BOOK or any more after.

I worry about the icy winter roads and the people driving on them.

I worry about the farmers getting too much rain during their spring planting and then again, during their fall harvest.

I worry about the planes passing overhead crashing into my backyard.

I worry about the crickets and frogs in the pond finding their way into my house and <shudder> into my bed.

Frog with boI worry about moving, downsizing into a smaller place, and having to decide what’s necessary and what’s not.

I worry about leaving behind my computer and iPad and iPhone, and not being connected to the world.

I worry endlessly, needlessly, about all things big and small.

Why am I not crazy yet or is that still to come? Or are writers naturally worrisome people?

What do you worry about and how do you keep the craziness at bay?

Flip Flops & Belly Flops

This weekend, we spent Easter at my mom’s. My youngest sister came out for the weekend and brought her two girls. My sister-in-law, after a wonderful vacation in Hawaii and despite three feet of snow still on the ground, showed up in flip flops and a tan. It was warm out, so she was celebrating spring.

I was in charge of the baking. I make peanut butter-butterscotch-marshmallow squares, which happens to be a family favourite. For the first time in years, the butterscotch chips melted on the very first try. I didn’t have to boil the heck out the recipe just to get them half melted. (Thank you, Hershey, for finally improving your Chipits mix!)

Angel Food CakeAfter my success with the squares, I was feeling pretty confident and so I moved on to the Angel Food cake. It came out of a box, not from scratch, so it was a no-brainer. As long as nobody thumped across the floor while it was in the oven, I was guaranteed success.

I only wish I’d taken pictures to show the mess I created …

I pulled out the bowl, the mixer, and my two cup measuring cup, dumped the contents from the cake mix into the bowl and proceeded to measure the water. The recipe called for one and a quarter cups of water, so I carefully measured the water, poured it into the bowl, and mixed it. Very quickly, the mixture threatened to flow over the edges of the bowl. I barely managed to keep it contained, then poured it into the Angel Food cake pan, and slid it into the oven.

While it cooked, I could smell something odd, almost like burned sugar. My oven had been cooking things quicker than normal, so I’d adjusted the time as I didn’t want to overcook the cake. Forty-minutes later, the buzzer went off and I opened the oven door.

My heart sank in my chest. The cake was half the size of the pan. I pulled it out of the oven, turned the pan upside down to let it cool, and the cake instantly belly flopped out of the pan onto the counter. What the heck?

My son and I stood there, staring at the mess on the counter. The top inch of the mix had cooked, but the rest of the cake was a mushy half-cooked mess. What had gone wrong? I had no time to figure it out because I had to head back to the store.

This time, I bought two mixes, just in case the cake flopped again. As I proceeded to begin the whole process over again, I lifted my two cup measuring cup and realized … I’d had one and a quarter cups on the brain, so had filled the entire two cups with water and counted it as one cup. Duh!

The second cake came out perfect (well, except for the part that exploded out of the pan and landed on the oven floor) and after our Easter dinner, we served it with strawberries and vanilla ice cream, the perfect end to a perfect dinner.

Will I ever make this mistake again? You bet. I’ve made the same mistake before, while my mind has been occupied with more important things, like plot holes and wonky character growth and non-existent settings. Hmmm, maybe it’s time to buy a one cup measuring cup.

Please tell me about your cooking disasters because I love to hear how other people make a mess in their kitchen. 🙂

Look who came for a visit!

Recently, Debra Kristi from my WANA1011 class sent her Thor action figure on a world tour. I’m not sure how many days or how many places he’ll visit, but he showed up at my house last week.

I knew he was coming. In fact, for several weeks, I’d been mulling over what we were going to do during his visit. And then the morning after he arrived, just as the alarm went off and woke me from a deep, dreamless sleep, it hit me.

I’ve recorded the event at my site and hope you’ll pop over today. I promise to be back next time with an actual post written specifically for the Women’s Unplugged site. 🙂 Until then, I hope you’ll enjoy:

Dear Debra Kristi — A “Dear John” Letter from Thor.

Special Note: I’m so excited! We have two new members joining us at the Women Unplugged site. For now, let me welcome Kim Boykin and Janna Qualman to our site!!! 🙂 Watch for Kim and Janna to introduce themselves soon.

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