Category Archives: weirdness

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop: Cynthia Gail and Favorite Christmas Song


Welcome! First, let me remind you to enter the rafflecopter to win some fabulous prizes!

Now, let’s welcome Cynthia Gail (see, I always start with the exciting stuff first).

She’s the author of Winter’s Magic, which I have read, and I loved. And y’all know I don’t often offer free endorsements. (Oh, and look, I figured out the problem with the pictures. It’s that my Mac loves me, and my PC hates me)

CYNTHIA GAIL

 

Untitled

Amazon: http://amzn.to/12ysNRp

Website: http://www.cynthiagail.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CynthiaGailBook

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CynthiaGailRomance.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6564818.Cynthia_Gail

Heat level 3.5

Owner of La Bella Vita, a five-star day spa nestled in the affluent suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee, Beth Sergeant knows her elite clientele first hand. She attended their private schools. She was even engaged, although briefly, to one of their most recognized bachelors. But she never fit in to their social-elite world.

After losing his parents to a car accident at a young age, Nick Chester was raised by his grandfather, the wealthiest man in Nashville. When he chooses to socialize, he has a never-ending list of exclusive events and beautiful women vying for his attention. Yet he never lets himself forget that everyone has an agenda.

Beth can’t resist Nick’s charm and accepts an invitation to dinner, despite her deep-seated insecurities. She proves she’s nothing like other women Nick’s dated and learns to trust him in return. But just as the last of their resistance crumbles and true love is within reach, challenges from Nick’s past threaten to destroy everything and force Beth to reveal her most guarded secret.

***

So, favorite Christmas song.

When I saw this theme, I just about had a conniption fit. I turned to husband and said, “Am I a grinch? I don’t like Christmas music! Oh no, I’m a grinch. All these years, and I’m a grinch. A grinch with children. And I’m ruining their holidays because I don’t like Christmassy things!” (Except my tree. I really do love my tree. Other forms a decoration? Meh.)

It’s true enough that I put a red light district in my mother’s Christmas Village when I was 17, and I kept one in my own Christmas Village when I got one. Actually, last year, a dragon perched on top of  the castle (courtesy of my son… He put the dragon there, and I left it, because, well, it was awesome), all my son’s storm troopers were coming out of the now traditional red-light district (which we call the “emergency district” because it’s right next to the police station, and my children have no idea what a red light district is, and I’m not going to tell them), and Darth Vader had a battle with Luke Skywalker in the town square. I thought it was the most fabulous Christmas Village ever.

But I digress.

Christmas songs.

I thought about it. A lot. Then I came to the conclusion that I actually do like Little Drummer Boy, and I like Stille Nacht, though that’s mostly because I know all the German words. But then, as I was bemoaning the fact that I am a grinch raising children, and ruining the holidays for all time, husband pointed out that I actually really like Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas is You, even though I’m not an MC fan (it could be because I love, love, love the movie Love, Actually). And no Christmas is complete without Feed the World, maybe because it’s from the 80s, maybe because it has Bono from U2, and maybe because it’s an emo enough Christmas song to appeal to my inner grinchiness.

Then husband pointed out the following: the last three nights when he’s come home, the kids and I have been singing Christmas carols really loudly and really off key as I make dinner. Maybe I’m not a total grinch, after all.

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12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop: Sophia Kimble and Finger Food Recipe


Hi Everyone! Don’t forget the rafflecopter!

Today’s installment is from Sophia Kimble!

SOPHIA KIMBLE

Protect Her on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1u6bWf5

www.sophiakimble.com

Blog: http://sophiakimble.com/blog/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SophiaKimble

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiakimbleauthor

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/SophiaKimble

 

Heat level 3.5

Golden Alexander is trapped in a nightmare.

Trying to flee her hallucination of a demon, she runs heart first into the brooding alpha male she’s been dreaming about for years, and then her nightmare really begins.

Kris Pietka is done with women…he’s broken. But when he meets Golden, an overwhelming need to protect her tests everything he thought he knew about himself, and the paranormal.

A bond forged centuries ago thrusts them together as they search for a way to break an ancient Druid curse prophesying their demise. Racing against the clock, they travel from Vermont, to the Carpathian Mountains in Poland, and the Scottish Highlands in search of answers and a way to break the curse.

But something evil watches—it covets, and time is running out.

Will fate allow love to prevail against unbeatable odds, or will Golden wake to find it was all a delusion?

**********************************************************************

This one is rather like yesterday’s: I don’t really do finger foods, any more than I do appetizers. I’m a chips and dip kind of girl.

I do, however, like dolmas. I’d post that recipe, except that they’re the thing I don’t cook: I buy them from the Greek restaurant in town. I get the vegan kind, because I like them,  but you can get them with lamb, beef, etc. And I do love them.

So… dolmas.

Don’t make them. Buy them.

What’s best about this? You’re not spending a boat load of time prepping them. For instance, I go out, buy some fancy olives and some dolmas, put them on a platter with some stinky cheese, and I’m good to go. I’m a busy girl, so sometimes, it has to be all about convenience.

Huh. Now I feel like  a massive curmudgeon. Like, “I don’t do finger food or appetizers. Bah humbug.” But I don’t really like many finger foods. Just watch. Like I rebelled against my mother by being able to make just about any kind of soup imaginable, my daughter will rebel and become Captain Appetizer or something. Being honest, I wouldn’t put it past her to have her own cooking show devoted entirely to appetizers. I can see it. I really can. After all, the girl hates soup.

Let’s Have Dessert First!


In the spirit of the season, we’re posting dessert first on the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop. But first, here’s a tidbit from Heather Miles!

Oh, and don’t forget to check out the rafflecopter to win those fabulous prizes!

HEATHER MILES

 

Heather miles

My web address for my blog is: www.heathermiles.net/blog

Facebook: Heather Miles
Twitter: Heather Miles (@heathermmiles) | Twitter

Heat level 8

Kasey Blakely doesn’t know that her date is anything more than incredibly hot. It’s after things have moved past friendship, that she learns her new lover is also slated to be her partner in a corporate merger. He knew it all along withholding his identity to have her.

Self-assured, future CEO, Kasey Blakely stumbles into Joshua Crawford, leaving her breathless and momentarily senseless. Taken with her, he learns she’s more than just a beautiful woman, she’s slated to be his partner in a corporate merger. Never feeling as smitten or intrigued, he’ll do anything to have her, including, not revealing his last name. After a passionate exchange and the prospect he could lose her, does he come clean with his identity. Always confident, Kasey, struggles with her growing love for a man who has claimed her heart and changed her world, but should be forbidden. She’s all in…then all out. Despite the warnings not to mix business with pleasure, Kasey and Joshua risk it all. Committing to return to California with Joshua, Kasey’s world unravels. Were her fears right, or can they manage the MERGER of their hearts and their future partnership?

Find it on Amazon! 

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And now, for my posting on dessert…

Ah, dessert, elusive dessert. Dessert has always been the bane of my existence. Mostly because I love it so, so much. I love baked goods, but I never really made them. Let’s just say that I learned to cook at a young age as a survival skill,  but baking seemed beyond me (probably because, like Lemony Snicket, there was a series of unfortunate (baking) events. Though these incidents did fuel my love of firefighters. They’d all show up in their turnouts, and I would hide somewhere with a good view while someone explained about the rolls. Or the bread. Or the popcorn. Or how the back wall of the kitchen just happened to catch on fire. Twice. And I swear, by all that it good, that I wasn’t the one doing this. I have my own baking mishaps, but the fire department never came to those).

In any case, I was a box cake, buy it at the store, kind of girl.

And then I became allergic to eggs. My first baking episode post diagnosis looked like this:

My super awesome disaster

Yes, that is an actual picture of a real cake I sort of made. I keep it because it’s both funny AND sad, which always makes for a great story. Apparently, without eggs (and using a baking soda egg replacer), a box cake will turn into, at the slightest touch, chocolate dust. This was five years ago, for my son’s second birthday. And yes, I squished it together with a mixture of willpower, upper air strength, and frosting. It held together long enough to take this picture, sing Happy Birthday, and look at it sideways. And then, it was frosting-covered chocolate dust.

It was horrible (tasted OK, as I recall, but it wasn’t pretty. Boy child didn’t seem to care, but then, he’s boy child. He’s not picky, unless it’s green).

In any case, shortly thereafter, I discovered that I also have celiac disease, so welcome to a wheat-free lifestyle. At the time, I thought I’d never eat dessert again. It was depressing.

I discovered, after a while, and reading many, many blogs, that I can bake. It’s just a matter of being creative. And using pumpkin. I’m an expert on using pumpkin these days.

So,  here is my recipe (and yes, it’s pumpkin.). It’s an adapted version of one that I found in Sunset magazine. The original is a two layer cake, but it was too much, and everyone felt over-full and sugar comaed (yes, I just made up a word) afterward.

Gluten free praline pumpkin cake

1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 c butter

3 tbsp plus 3/4 c whipping cream

1 c chopped pecans (this I kept, because, well, pecans are fabulous)

2 flax eggs (to make a flax egg, combine 1 tbsp flax with 2 tbsp water. Normally, recipes call for three, but I find that with pumpkin recipes, it needs to be thicker, or you’ll never get it cooked through)

1 c granulated sugar (because this cake is so stinking sweet)

1/2 c vegetable oil

1 c canned pumpkin

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 c flour (I had a mixture of 1/2 c gluten free all purpose baking mix, and  1/2 c sorghum flour. The all purpose tends to be made with garbanzo bean flour, which in baked goods isn’t awesome unless you really overdo the sugar. Sorghum is sweet and delicious, but doesn’t rise very well without some complicated mixture involving arrowroot and tapioca and xanthan gum–all of which I have, and have made before, but it’s complicated, and I didn’t want to have to think too hard on Thanksgiving. So here you go)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or you can make your own with ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Which I did this year because I ran out on THANKSGIVING DAY, but I added ground cloves because I like cloves. If you don’t, just leave it out).

1/2 baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 c powdered sugar

So… Now that you have all the ingredients, here’s what you do with them:

Preheat over to 350 degrees

Butter one 9 inch cake pan and line with parchment.

Over low heat, mix the butter, 3 tbsp whipping cream and brown sugar together until melted and blended. Pour the mixture into the pan and sprinkle with most of the pecans (reserve some for the topping)

In a bowl, mix the flax eggs, granulated sugar and oil until well blended. Stir in pumpkin and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients (omit the powdered sugar; that’s for the frosting)

Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet stuff (I’m being totally specific here… I harp on my students all day for using non-specific language, and here I go, doing the exact same thing). Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. At higher elevations, decrease the heat and extend the cooking time. It just works better. i’m not at a high elevation, but I cook as though I am because it just seems to work better for me. I think I live at that funky “in-between” elevation. Let it cool in the pan for a bit, then invert onto racks and remove pans and paper. Let cool completely.

For the frosting (topping), take your remaining whipping cream and the powdered sugar and mix until soft peaks form. Once the cake is completely cooled, then you can put the cream on top. Top that with the remaining pecans.

It is a pretty cake, and it tastes fantastic, even for people who are accustomed to wheat cakes with eggs (which are admittedly a whole lot easier to bake). This cake came out super moist, and sure, my cakes don’t rise like a normal cake, but it was delicious. This is very, very rich, though, so you only need a small piece to be satisfied. I’ll admit, I wondered if Husband’s blood sugar would ever be normal again.

I wish I’d taken a picture. But since I don’t Instagram my successes (only my dismal failures), I didn’t take one.

Happy eating!

 

 

 

 

A Totally True and Completely Accurate Story


Sorry for the last post, where I was a grumpy gus. I’m over myself now.

So, to spare you from my maudlin-ness (I’m pretty certain this is NOT a word, but that’s okay. I’m alright making up words), I will now tell you a totally true and completely accurate story about my children.

Actually people, what’s really sad is that I am not making any of this up.

Back several years ago, we took our kids to get baptized at the Lutheran Church we were attending. At the time, Monkey was having these monster fits–she’d scream her head off like a crazy person for hours. Hours. And no, that’s not poetic license. I start shaking and rocking just remembering it.

So anyway, there we are, sitting in church, waiting to go up to the baptismal font. it was summer time, and the sky was dark with a rather freakish summer storm, and it was so stinking hot outside that you could see the heat rising off the asphalt just outside the door. Monkey was throwing a fit about something; I don’t even remember what. There she was, in her white, eyelet lace dress, throwing herself on the floor and shrieking like a banshee. No, really. I was surprised that the windows didn’t shatter.

Suddenly, there was a loud crack. The power went off. The air conditioner died. Monkey abruptly stopped wailing to look around. And no, she wasn’t upset. A couple of old ladies screamed, by my two-year-old? She was totally fine with it, like, “Oh, what was that?”

I turned to M. “Did the church just get struck by lightning?”

M said, “I don’t know, but she stopped screaming,” as if that was the important thing. Because I was thinking, Of course. Why wouldn’t lightning strike the church now? Of course.

Chewey took that moment to begin wailing in my arms. M was the one who had been wrangling the slippery eel that was Monkey. Seriously, who knew a little kid could be so slippery? When Monk was little, it was like wrangling an octopus, all arms and legs and no bones, and I swear she had more than four limbs. In fact, I’m pretty certain she looked a bit like this:

images

 

M and I exchanged a look. You know, the parent look. The one that says, “I’m so sorry we’re in this together, but hey, we’re in this together!”

Then he said, “My mother always said my child would be the antichrist. Hi five.”

We high-fived, because if you can’t laugh at it, it will break you. (And in this case, “it” can mean anything. Mother-in-law issues? Yup, “it” can be that. Trouble with a boss? Yes, “it” can be that, too. Unexpected STDs… Uh, no. Sorry, you’re on your own there)

“If this is a sign, one of them will spontaneously combust.” I looked down at my shirt, and my flailing son, who was so upset that he dribbled snot all down the front of my blouse. “I like this shirt. Putting out flames will ruin it, if Chewey doesn’t do it first.”

M laughed, like he always does when I think I’m being funny.

I am happy to report that the rest of the baptism went without incident. Sure, Monkey asked for cake through the whole thing (hey, she was two, and we bribe when we have to), but that worked out. She got her cake without throwing another fit. And Chewey finally stopped screaming when the lady holding him accidentally clocked him on the head walking through a door, so there is that.

So the next time you look at your little bundles of joy, just remember, it could be worse. Lightning could strike the church.

Romance Weekly: Heroes and Heartbreakers


image001 Welcome back! This week’s questions are from Kim Handysides. I’ve never met Kim in person, but every time we have an online chat, I like her more! Be sure to check her out. If you’re here, hopefully you came from Steven Mitchell’s site. His books are a rollicking good time (I do enjoy my paranormals. And my historicals. And my contemporaries. Ah, heck, I just like books).

So, here are Kim’s questions:

1.What’s your ideal: alpha or beta and why?

It depends. I like to read about alphas. I prefer my men, as characters, to be strong and capable and in charge. Not because I want them to control the women in their lives, and not because I want the hero to constantly save the heroine. I just prefer strong characters.

In real life, I dated (for the relatively short time I actually dated) betas: calm, gentle boys who said the right thing and were just overall really likable. I also liked to be in control–it’s a failing, I know. Alphas terrified me, especially those in very alpha-like professions. Cops, for example. Every time I got near a police officer, I’d get so nervous, I’d do something dumb. My “I do dumb things in front of cops” thing was like a disease, which is probably why, when I was young, I was so terrified of the law that I wouldn’t even speed. I drove like an 80-year-old woman. But it was because I learned early on that, if anyone in my group was going to get caught doing something wrong, it was going to be me. And I’m so stinking honest that I confessed to everything. EVERYTHING.

I still haven’t figured out when to shut up.

So, what did I do? I married a cop. Most decidedly an alpha. In my defense, he was a computer programmer when I met him. Safely geeky. Then I went to Europe, and when I came home, he’d morphed into some sort of gun-toting cowboy. And despite my terror of all things law enforcement, I married him anyway.

2. Do you have a male buddy or mate you use for confirmation or inspiration when crafting your heroes?

I usually run them by the husband. Especially if I’m working in a genre that’s interesting to him (he had a huge hand in the fight scenes in Jessie’s War, and I ran Luke’s character past him. A lot. And I have to say, I freaking loved Luke. He’s got an awful lot of my husband in him).

3. What does any hero have to do to win your heart?

I’m pretty lenient with heroes. I fall in love with my book boyfriends pretty easily. I can forgive a man for being an a**hole in a book (and, really, in real life, too), but I have a hard time forgiving them if they’re mean to the heroine. I have to believe, on some level, that the hero in them will win out, that no matter what face they present to the world, they’re good guys underneath all that.

So, sometimes it’s the little things. She’ll catch him looking when he thinks she’s not watching. It will be in the way he looks at her, and in how he treats her. I don’t always fall for what a man says; I look at the actions of the character. Though, honestly, I have to not hate him in order to give him that chance. If I hate him too early on–if he’s too nasty, or I can’t buy into the book–I’ll put it away and not give him the chance to prove himself.

Well, I suppose that’s it for me! Why not head over to Rhenna Morgan and see what she’s up to!

Romance Weekly: Research


image001

Let’s get down to it, shall we? This week’s questions are courtesy of Dani Jace.

1. What is the most unusual thing you’ve ever done in the name of research for a book?

I’ve gone to a museum dedicated to Victorian-era prostitution in the Old West. Talk about a niche market, there. 

Actually, the museum was fascinating, though I will admit that some things shouldn’t be seen, and once seen, can’t be unseen, but whatever. It is only unfortunate that I was the only sober person in there (Hubs had the kids at the ice cream parlor). That was actually the awkward part.

2. Name a nonfiction book you’ve read for research that you wouldn’t have read otherwise.  Not including writing craft books.

I just finished Scotland: The Story of a Nation by Magnus Magnusson. It was pretty good. My non-fiction reading is usually reserved for the day job, so this was refreshing.

3. If you could travel anywhere to do research for a book, including back in time, where would you go?

I’d love to go back in time to Scotland. I mean, it probably smelled bad, and lord knows I wouldn’t be able to eat any of the food with my allergies (I’m a huge fan of Amazon Pantry, just because they have almost anything a girl could want. Somehow, I doubt 12th century Scotland carries gluten-free flour and other specialty products. It would be all, “Here. Have a steak, some eggs, and a piece of bread. Would you like a side of Death with that?”). With this in mind, I suspect 12th century Scotland would go something like this:

Me: Hey Scotland.

Scotland: Yo.

Me: What’s that smell?

Scotland: Hey, don’t hate. I haven’t a bath since last summer.

Me: Gross. Is that lice?

Scotland: Yes. Here, have a staph infection. Don’t forget, no antibiotics yet, so good  luck with that.

Me: Um, no thanks. I think I’m going home now.

And then I’d return to my century and spend all my time in the library, reading about centuries I can never visit because, well, I’ll die. Small things, right?

Also, I’m not sure why, in my head, Scotland sounds like a 20-year-old college boy, but it does. Some things are unexplainable.

Let’s go see what Mishka Jenkins had to say on the topic. I’m pretty certain her answers weren’t as ridiculous as mine. 🙂

Here’s another link, because I’m cool like that: https://awriterslifeformeblog.wordpress.com/

Land of Milk and Honey… Oh Wait, That’s Not Right


So, we have a stomach bug going around my house. And it’s wicked. Horrible. The can’t-keep-anything-down-barfing-every -40-minutes type bug.

So after doing this overnight with Monkey, I decided to call her doctor for some Zofran. They wanted her seen, which okay fine, I get. Her normal doc wasn’t there, so we agreed to see one of his partners.

After waiting another three hours, during which Monk threw up another five times, once while walking into the doctor’s office (she had a bucket…and tough kid that she is, she kept walking while throwing up).

Then the doc came in, and here’s where things got weird.

Initially, she refused to give us Zofran, saying kids should “be made to tough it out.”

The look on my face must have been, “Are you out of your mind?” because she went on…

“I’m old school. Kids should have to just deal with the vomiting. It’s like giving too many antibiotics.”

I wasn’t asking for antibiotics. When the kids have a cold, I don’t take them to the doctor. I keep them home, give them Tylenol and lots of fluids. If it gets bad, we see a doctor, but I don’t ask for antibiotics. I know about MRSA and C-dif. I also know that antibiotics won’t work for a virus.

So I don’t ask for big meds. I wasn’t even asking for anything to make her well. I was asking for something to make her feel better.

Because I don’t believe in needless suffering. And I don’t understand why you would refuse to give someone a drug that will ease their suffering just because she’s a kid.

In any case, she went on to explain that children need to wash their hands, and they need to learn to do it effectively. The tone was…different. Almost like she was blaming Monkey because Monkey got sick. Like if my child learned her lesson, she wouldn’t have gotten sick in the first place.

At that, I said, “She’s diligent about washing hands. She’s very conscious of that.”

She countered with the notion that children are notorious for not washing their hands.

I could have told her that this is a kid who reads food labels to make sure everything that goes with her to school doesn’t contain peanuts, because a boy in her class is allergic. She coughs into her sleeve. And she sings “Happy Birthday” two times when she’s washing her hands, because she doesn’t want to make anyone sick.

But I didn’t have to. Because Monk looked at me, picked her her bucket, and threw up.

The doc looked at me and said, “I’ll write you a script for Zofran. But only a couple. I don’t want her having it for several days. I’m tired of people over-medicating. They hand these things out like candy in the ER.”

I wanted to make a smart remark, but I was getting what I wanted, so I thanked her instead.

Then Monk threw up again.

“I’ll give her one now.”

“Thank you.”

After what was probably one of the weirdest doctor’s visits, we came home. Monk has been fine since that initial Zofran (because it’s a miracle drug, I’m telling you).

Only now, Chewey has it.

This is not the land of milk and honey. That much I’m sure of.

I Didn’t Do It!


Five tons of Nutella was stolen the other day. I swear, I didn’t do it.

Deutsch: Ein Glas Nutella-Nussnougatcreme
Deutsch: Ein Glas Nutella-Nussnougatcreme (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sure, I rented a storage locker, but sheesh. Can’t a gal rent an empty storage locker and not have people get suspicious? And sure, I got addicted to Nutella in Germany. To this day, there is nothing better than that hazelnut/chocolate goodness. And it’s gluten-free.  Woot!

M

Join me on my blog tour. Today’s blog has a review. If it’s bad, well, we’ll just pretend I didn’t mention it.

April 9:  Review Must Read Faster <http://mustreadfaster.blogspot.com/>
April 10:  Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and
Interviews<http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/>
April 10:  STOP 2 Review  My Devotional
Thoughts<http://mydevotionalthoughts.com/>
April 11:  Words of Wisdom from The Scarf
Princess<http://wowfromthescarfprincess.blogspot.com/>
April 12:  Simply Ali <http://www.simplyali.com/>

The Hotel on the Corner of Assault and Battery


As you may know, we recently got back from vacation, and I’ll post pictures of our trip to the coast maybe tomorrow. Or Monday. Or, more to the point, whenever I get around to it.

But today’s post is dedicated to our final hotel, where we stayed on our visit to Six Flags. Maybe the title tipped you off, but it’s wasn’t exactly The Ritz.

Here’s the thing: I am not a hotel snob. My favorite hotel/motel, where we stay every time we go to the coast, is solidly two star. Sure, it has cracked bathroom tile and no internet or cell service, but the towels are clean, the housekeeping crew vacuums every day, and it has a balcony that has an ocean view and easy beach access. There’s a pretty good Thai restaurant RIGHT THERE. Not to mention, it’s cheap, and cheap is good.

Did I mention no internet or cell service? Yeah, I’ve finished two books in that hotel.

So I didn’t think much of staying in a two star in Vallejo, especially since it was a brand that is usually pretty decent. You know the tier: high enough to have national exposure and advertising, but still cheap enough to be affordable for a family of four on a tight budget.

Except when we pulled in, the hotel looked a bit…murdery.

Maybe it was the chipped paint and the black smudges on the stucco. Maybe it was the fact that, when we walked in, a uniformed police officer was escorting a woman to her car in the parking lot, while she explained, in an embarrassed fashion, that “This is not normally the type of place I stay.” Perhaps it was when, as we turned to go, the hotel clerk said that the front lot–which was not the closest lot to our hotel room was “the safest place to park.”

Um…

Our non-smoking room reeked of tobacco, was dim and a little grungy. Okay fine. The bed was lumpy. Okay fine. The wrought iron fences that were supposed to fence in the downstairs patios were broken. The pool had more security than my room did. At least it pretended to have security. Sure, those gates weren’t locked either, but at least it had a gate that wasn’t unhinged. It could pretend to be secure, if it had to.

Okay, fine.

At one point, I looked over at Husband and said, “I think I got VD just walking in the bathroom! Do we have any penicillin handy?”

He was less than amused by my assessment. Hey, it’s not like we didn’t pick the place together.

In any case, we went to Six Flags, and it was really fun. We went to dinner at Applebee’s, which was good. (See, we’re big spenders. I actually really like Applebee’s). Then we came back to the hotel.

Once we went to bed, there was this blasted tapping noise in the ceiling–and we were on the top floor. It wasn’t steady enough that I could ignore it. I rolled over toward Husband and said, “Hey, someone’s Tell-Tale Heart is going off. Someone needs to shut that thing up.”

He snored in response.

The tapping… the tapping… the infernal tapping!

So I was already (still?) awake when someone tried to get into our room at 2:05 AM (yes, I checked the time. I figured it might be handy for the police report. You know, if I lived.)

Anyway, I woke Husband up. After all, he’s supposed to be the monster bait, and he was sleeping right through monster time! What good is monster bait if it isn’t actually bait?

Eventually, he got up, pounded on the door, and told them they needed to move along. In his best cop voice. They did.

Kids slept through it, though Chewey did remark on the tapping in the ceiling that went on “all night long”. Which then prompted his parents to break out into a sleep-deprived Lionel Richie rendition that made Monk groan and beg that we turn on the radio.

But, that being said, we survived the night, went to the park, went on many rides, and then drove home. Overall, a nice vacation. If you don’t count that final night in the Hotel on the Corner of Assault and Battery, a great one.

Next time, I think I’m staying in the Marriot.

M

The Recurring Nightmare


I’ll admit, I have a recurring nightmare, but it’s super weird. No, really. I don’t pretend to think I’m not quirky, but this dream… well, the whole thing creeps me out.

In this dream, I’m back in high school. Now, I’ll be honest, the high school years weren’t my best, but they weren’t awful, either. I was happily nerdy, had a core group of friends and a crush on a different boy each week until Junior year. Then I maintained a crush on the same guy for about a year. The whole thing was completely unrequited, and I even knew it at the time. What can I say? Hormones.

In any case, in this dream, I’m back in high school. In Advanced Algebra to be exact, a class I hated with the fire of a thousand suns. No, really. I HATED that class. Every day, I had the poop scared out of me as I walked in that room, because it made me feel stupid. In fact, I thought that if I stayed still and small and quiet, my teacher wouldn’t notice me, which is why the roof leaked on my desk for almost an entire year and I never said anything. (In my defense, it’s really dry here. Not too many rainy days = not too many days of a wet desk)

Anyway, in my dream, the teacher looks at me and asks me a question. I stare back at him, which, honestly, is what I did IRL in that class.

But here’s where it gets weird: I know the answer! I go to tell him, because for a change, I don’t look like a) an idiot or b) a selective mute. Only…nothing comes out.

Everyone is staring at me, but not because of my sudden case of mutism. I’ve also mysteriously turned into a giant cheeseburger.

I’ve got my legs and my arms and my head, and I’m unfortunately wearing parachute pants. Oy. On top of that gloriousness is beefy goodness, topped by American cheese, pickles, onions, lettuce and tomatoes. There’s some ketchup there, too. My head sits atop a sesame seed bun, and I’m wearing the coke bottle glasses I ditched two years before in favor of contact lenses.

I’m pretty certain I look delicious.

I try to stand up, but I can’t. My giant cheeseburger body is stuck in the goddamn desk.

My Algebra teacher (who I won’t name here, in the interest of protecting the innocent) says, “You know, Ms. Connors, there is only one way you can solve your problem.”

I look up, but I can’t answer. After all, I’m a giant hamburger.

“I’ll have to eat you.”

Sweet mother of God, this is SO, SO not in a good way.

I start screaming, but no sound comes out. My classmates (including guy-I-had-a-crush-on) are looking at me hungrily, and again, it’s not in a good way. I am not awesome, I am not prom queen. I am lunch.

My teacher leans in to take a bite, and… I wake up.

Now, I’ve had this dream at least once a year since I was fifteen, which means it’s been awhile. Every time, I wake up a little sweaty and creeped out. Until I remember that I am not in high school anymore (yay!) and I don’t have to take Algebra ever again (double yay!). Then I lay back and wonder: what does this mean?

I can guess what Freud would say, but if you knew my Algebra teacher, you’d realize it’s not that.

Is it some version of the “I haven’t studied for this test” dream? Because I’ve had that one, too, but I don’t think it’s as awful as the “I just turned into a hamburger, and my Algebra teacher is going to eat me” dream.

I would think it’s just a fluke, because, well, I have weird dreams. Except I keep having this dream, and it seems so…so crazy.

What about you? What crazy dreams do you have? Care to share? Come on, I can’t be alone in this… Can I?

(Heh. On a related note, WordPress thinks I need help. Its recommended tag for this post? Psychology.)