Monday, September 30, 2013

If I Could Cast Good Ground the Movie

Casting for Good Ground the Movie
It is fun to imagine what my book would be like as a movie. If I had any say in casting a movie based on Good Ground, these are the actors that I would choose for the characters in my book.
      Jim Hooper                                                   Edith Hooper
 Sam Worthington                                               Ellen Page
                Dr. Fielding                                                  Mrs. Fielding
               Dallas Roberts                                             Embeth Davidtz
         Ellis Hooper                                           Clairey Hooper

 Obviously Joseph Gordon-Levitt!!!                   Shailene Woodley 
       Fergus Bayard
     Jay Baruchel or if he were only younger Jeremy Davies
 Elvira Bayard  
  A Camilla Belle look-alike or Lily Collins
Clairey's Mother                                      Joe Davenport    
Beth Grant                                            William Hurt

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A True Love Story

What constitutes a true love story? In the beginning you meet someone, have an attraction or a common purpose and the relationship grows. While many of us experience that chemical reaction of seeing someone that you are drawn to because of physical appearance, you general move past that into meatier substance when you “fall in love”.
I think of my parents who have been married now for forty-four years. Would my mom say that she thought my dad was dang fine? Sure. My grandparents who spent a life time together had their beginnings in a horseshoe game. My grandmother swore that when she saw the back of my grandpa’s head she knew that was the man she would marry. My own marriage of sixteen years began with a double take when I saw my husband for the first time walk by and I thought, wow he is really good looking.

But then I think of the rest of the story, and I realize that these relationships may be steeped in infatuation but they moved on to bigger and better things. I do not profess to be an expert on love, but I will share with you what I believe love is.

My grandma and grandpa lived in rural Tennessee. Grandma Ruby was the only child of Frank Amonette. Frank was a professed bachelor for a good portion of his life and when he finally settled down and married my great- grandmother he was growing older. When my great-grandma Mary died of breast cancer, his fear then was of being alone. He asked my Grandma Ruby to promise him that she would never marry. She would not agree to it, because even as a young woman she knew that it was a promise she couldn’t keep.

Her father did not approve of my grandpa Douglas, for various reasons (I’m sure some of them good reasons). While my Grandpa Douglas was a good man he was human, had his weaknesses and made his mistakes. But she loved him anyway. Because my great-grandfather Frank would not give his blessing, they decided to elope. At one point, on their journey to exchange vows, grandpa Douglas carried my grandma Ruby through a stream so that she wouldn’t get wet. Doesn’t get much more romantic than that does it?
But here’s the ever after part. They went on to have children, six of them. At one point my grandma Ruby experienced a very traumatic and difficult miscarriage. The two of them struggled to make ends meet on their tobacco farm while raising their family. The work was hard, the days were long. One of their sons as an adult was involved in an accident and consequentially became a quadriplegic. My grandparents lovingly took care of him until they died. They had many ups and downs throughout their fifty-nine years together.

   Similarly, my parents met, fell in love, and were married. Went on to have eight children! During that time my father worked hard to support his family. My mother worked hard to keep the house in order and provide meals for her family and make things stretch as far as they might. They worked together to raise us children and to do the best they could with what they were given.  They lost their first grandson shortly after he was born, a constant heartache, even now after nineteen years, for our family. They had another grandson diagnosed with autism. I have seen firsthand their struggles and the lengths they would go to in order to take care of their own.

My own marriage has not been without its problems. My husband and I now have four children of our own. Our second, a son, was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. Finances and the stresses of work and family have been difficult at times. What is my point in telling you all of this? I guess it is to say that I believe true love happens after the happily ever after. It is grounded in joy and sorrow, in work and play, in pleasure and suffering, in passion and temperance. It is facing hard times and working through them together. We are older and weigh more and are wiser and more experienced. I still think he is sexier than ever and sometimes we still make love like it was the first time. I know him and he knows me, the good, the bad, and the ugly. And yet, despite the imperfection, we are solid. We love each other. We love each other enough to work through the moments that are truly bad, because we know that there is still good somewhere in the future.  This, for me, is a true love story, hanging on and hanging in with the person you have made promises to and choosing to stay in love despite the odds being against you.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fashions and Hairstyles of the 1930s

Many women of the 1930s did their best to stay in fashion by making over clothing they already had. The depression was a tough time and money was scarce. They might shorten a hemline or change the sleeve to make it more presentable. Of course women of Hollywood played a big role in fashion as they always have. Emphasis was put on the shoulders, with square cuts and broad shoulder pads. Skirts were fitted at the waist with a subtle A line flair.

Clairey Hooper lived in the rural south, where fashion was probably a good decade behind the times. A simple farmer would not have owned an evening gown or anything frivolous or impractical. Her wardrobe would have consisted primarily of house dresses, something practical and easy to work in. Many of the ladies used cottons and calicos with floral or geometrical prints in simply cut patterns for their day dresses. During the depression anything usable was utilized, including fabric from flour sacks, which came in a variety of patterns. Women made good use of these fabrics by making dresses and quilts from them.
A rural farm girl would most likely have made many of her own dresses, although store bought dresses were more the norm everywhere else. Zippers began to be traded out for buttons. An apron was an important part of a housewives wardrobe to protect her dress and make laundry easier to keep up with. The fabric dyes were not the best quality. A woman avoided washing her dress unless it was absolutely necessary because once the dress was washed the dye faded considerable.
The popular hairstyle of the day was the bob with finger waves or curls.  Hats and gloves were a must have staple for accessories.

The following are some examples of dress patterns from the 1930s, which also show lthe trends in hairstyles as well. This would have been the sort of clothing and hair that would have been fashionable in Clairey's time period. 



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

FREE Ebook

Good Ground is free in Ebook form on Amazon September 3-6. Here's the link!

Grandma and Grandpa Shared a Spoon

Thought I would share this video of my grandma and grandpa. They spoke extensively about their courtship, but this little segment is about sharing a spoon. For those of you who have read Good Ground you will understand where I got the inspiration for a certain scene. Enjoy!

Grandma and Grandpa Share A Spoon

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Book Signing Make Over

I recently had a book signing at Barnes and Noble. In order to prepare for it, I got a new sweater and shirt and my friend Elvia Butz did my makeup. One of my dear friends Kathy Summers says that buying a new outfit is like getting a new set of armor. I totally agree with her. There is something about looking good that makes you feel confident. So I am really putting myself out there on this one.
The Before, that's right NO MAKEUP

Elvia took some before and after shots. So, folks, you get to see the real me, the me that looks like a dead corpse before I put my make up on. One of Elvia’s tips was to make sure that you are exfoliated and moisturized before you begin putting makeup on. Elzia is a professional makeup artist who once did Alyssa Milano’s face. She offer’s her services for photographs, weddings, television (she did my makeup for my television appearance on Fresh Living a couple months back), theater, and film. You may contact her through email or by telephone to book your own session with her.
The Afters

The Book Signing

With one of my biggest supporters Linda Sneathen
Book Signing Barnes and Noble August 3rd

Elvia's Contact Info:

Elvia R. Butz Mobile Beauty Services

Saturday, July 20, 2013

My New Project

Ever read a book and get the image of a person or celebrity as you are reading about one of the characters?

Didn’t start out this way, didn’t write with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in mind, but it turns out that after much thought and consideration, I really think that he would make the perfect Ellis Hooper.

If you think so too, don’t be shy! Sign the petition J

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer Madness

What has become of me? With summer in full swing in the midst of an intense heat wave, I have fallen into bad habits. Aside from showering, I have done little else. No make-up, no dress up, barely do my hair and that’s to brush it back into a ponytail.  Not like me at all…

I have been busy though.

I wake to my autistic son's begging to go to the zoo every day. He doesn't give up either. He thinks that if he writes what he wants to do on the calendar that it must be so. Therefore, ever square on my calendar is now filled with his favorite activities. But it is too hot to be out and about! And then there's the laundry... I had a shameful moment when I realized that I had become just like a woman that I knew when I was a kid. You know the type. You go over to their house and have to move a two day old, stale PB&J to sit down on the couch. Well that is me (Minus the PB&J. No food allowed outside of kitchen or dining room. I do have some standards, people!)

Anyhow, the laundry has grown to epic proportions. I, therefore, have been doing load after load all day long for several days now. I also came up with a schedule for the children so they wouldn't be sitting and watching television all day long. They have get up and move time, reading time, craft time (which has left my dining room looking more like a dumpster than a place to eat, what with paper scraps, glue, tape, etc scattered about).

But the thing I am most pleased with, is that I have some time to write. My long lost trilogy got pulled out and dusted off. I am completely immersed in all things Civil War right now. I have been editing and writing, and it feels good. More than anything, I wanted to see if I was capable of writing a trilogy. Seems like a huge accomplishment. I have finished with the first and am about three-fourths through the second. Verdict is still out on the third. Haha
I have also been really caught up in Good Ground’s release. Just a week and a half now, my friends. I will be glad when it is finally over. I have all sorts of anxiety over it. It is difficult to sleep at night, because my brain just can’t seem to shut down. Excited? Yes! Scared beyond all reason? That too!
All part of living the dream, right???

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Press Release

PRLog (Press Release) - Jun. 21, 2013 - DALLAS -- Dallas, TX: Omnific Publishing is proud to announce the upcoming publication of Good Ground, a 1900's historical romance. "Omnific is pleased to have acquired a new novel from author Tracy Winegar. GOOD GROUND is a touching story that marries the need for family with the need for survival in depression era country mountains, as two people find themselves thrown into a family by chance and by social custom. Tracy's writing style will transport readers to those lean times and have them both reaching for the tissues and cheering for the characters from beginning to end," says Lisa O'Hara, Acquisitions Director.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Growing Old

I feel that I should fight old age, tooth and nail. It wasn’t such an issue for me when I was younger, because I never worried about it then. I guess most people don't picture themselves past thirty. But now, well, now I notice the wrinkles around my eyes, and the white hairs sprouting, and the thicker middle, and the whiskers that grow on my chin that I pluck obsessively, and I know it is upon me!

I really don’t mind being older. I mind looking older. There are actually some great perks to being more mature. I am much more comfortable in my own skin these days. There is something to be said for aging. Suddenly I have become the sort of person who sings while in the car ( And I mean I belt it out, people. Like really getting in to the groove in a major way!) This is something I have always enjoyed, but remained self conscious over. Now I do it without a thought as to what the person next to me is thinking, or that they are laughing hysterically, or that they are recording it on their phone so that they can show others how hilarious the lady in the minivan was on the way to work.

Not only am a lot less inhibited, I am also more myself.  It’s like I know who I am now, where as when I was younger I had a difficult time making decisions or taking chances. I feel the inevitable ticking of the clock, and I think don’t waste your time!  I noticed a shift in my thinking a few years back, when I had to replace a chest of drawers. I told my husband, “I am not going to make do this time and just buy the cheapest one. I am going to wait until I have the money to buy something that I really love.”
Since then, I have tried to not only buy things that I completely and totally adore, but also things that are quality and that will last. I spend my time in the same manner. Of course there will always be things that are “have to dos”, but why squander your time on things that you hate and you just do because it is expected? I have begun to cut out things that are not necessary and that I can live without. I have learned that the word no is not a bad word.

The other day I went to a dance with my son L. My husband and I were marveling at how happy and genuine the children were as they danced like mad. They were all special need children and they were all smiling and laughing and having the best time. They simply did not care what they looked like or what other’s thought of them. They were just living in the moment and enjoying every minute of it. How liberating is that? I thought this is my chance. I will do the same thing. And it was like that song, I danced like nobody was watching. I had the best time, dancing with my son and all of his friends.
Here is the funny and ironic part. There were a number of peer tutors (typical kids with no disabilities) mixed in with that group. They were there assisting and supervising the children with special needs. One of them approached my daughter B at school and told her that she met her mom at this dance. And then she told B that I was cool!!! What the heck? Who knew I could have been cool years ago if I had been willing to make a fool of myself way back then?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Good Ground Trailer

I am so excited to announce the release of my book trailer for Good Ground!  I am so pleased with the final product.  A huge thank you to Jared McBride, Erin Nordberg, Suzie White, Tytan Thurgood, James McBride and Ben Winegar (the best looking "doctor" I've seen!).  And a special thanks to Sean Lamb for all your videoing skills, directing skills, editing skills.  Wow, you have a lot of skills! Please feel free to share this with all your family and friends.  Really, I don't mind.  Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Choir Concert

Look at my son singing with the boys choir at the school performance. He was so cute when he came out onto the stage, he waves at me and says, "Hi, Mom." I really didn't know if he would do it, but he sang, and as you can see, got down with a little boogie too. My husband and I had ear to ear smiles on our faces. We were so proud. I was very grateful to his peer tutor standing to the right and the choir teacher that let him perform with everyone else. It was a great night for us.
There were times that we thought he would never make it to this point. In hindsight you can always see the miracles in life. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Best Sugar Cookies

Seriously the best sugar cookie recipe I’ve ever found. I make these, put them in individual baggies, freeze them, and then use them for lunches. Way better than the store bought version. No preservatives!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Up, Up, and Away


Can hardly believe I did this!!! I really do not like heights, but I figured it was a once in a lifetime chance. So I went up! Gotta say my knees were shaking, I was a little frightened, but wow the view was incredible. Probably should have worn something more appropriate for climbing. Had to tuck the dress between my legs as I was getting in and out of the basket. Maybe I will use the experience in one of my novels some day.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Cover Reveal

Hey, everybody!
Join my book reveal and blog tour schedule to keep updated on all the goings on for the my new book Good Ground coming July 30, 2013!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My New Love

I am in love!  . . . a long legged, compact beauty, with elegant flare. My parents came to visit all the way from Tennessee for my daughter’s birthday celebration, and when they came they had a wonderful surprise for me! Packed carefully in the back of my daddy’s truck was a vintage 1920s stove in perfect working condition.  Because I don’t have a gas hookup and because my kitchen is so small, I put her in the dining area. I was telling my husband that I should name her. What do you name a sleek little model that’s nearly a hundred years old that has still kept her function and her looks? He suggested Audrey. I will think about it and see if it feels right.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Shabby Chic Party


My baby turned 8! This is a huge milestone for us. So in honor of her big day we threw a party for a few family and friends. Though I would have liked to do more, money was tight, so we made do where necessary. For instance, the lace table clothes were actually plastic. I used a few of my own vintage table clothes over the top of the plastic ones to dress it up a little. My friend d helped me make banners and swags out of paper with her excellent scrapbooking skills.  I used my great-grandmother’s depression glass and my sister found the cutest paper plates that I couldn’t get in the USA but she could get in Canada. My daughter was delighted that it was all desserts. I think that even though it was simple it was also very sweet.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Yippee! I Got My Hair Done



I know they say the middle part is coming back, but I think the side part is way more complementary to my very round face. Thanks, Harmony, my go to gal! I couldn’t trust my crazy hair with anyone else.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Our Responsibility to Children

I think a lot about children, my own, my children at school, the children I teach at church. I am surrounded by them! The hardest thing about working at a school and establishing a bond with these little ones is to me knowing that some of them live very sad lives, and deal with some very heavy things for such small people. Sometimes the only happy times they have are when they are at school. I get very emotionally invested.  My natural inclination is to step in and help. That is not always possible, and the best that I can do is be kind to them when I have them.

So there have been nights that I have cried over these children. And it leaves me to wonder, as a society where are we headed? The other day my husband and I took our two younger children to lunch. We came in and sat down in a booth, were served our chips and salsa and drinks, and were contentedly waiting for our meal. Another group of adults came in, and out of all of the tables available to them in the restaurant they chose the one right next to ours. As their conversation progressed, a woman was growing somewhat heated in her recounting of her struggles at work and began to use some rather harsh language.

At this point I was looking at my husband and he was looking at me with surprised expressions. You know, raised eyebrows and mouths shaped in like Os. I can’t say that I have never cursed. As a matter of fact, when one is really upset or angry cursing seems very therapeutic and the natural thing to do. However, I am able to control my mouth when around young children. So I can understand why she may have been dropping a few explicatives here and there. At this point I grew somewhat uncomfortable wondering if I should say something or just try and ignore it. But being the loud mouth that I am I turned to her and as politely as I could, explained to her that my children were with me and I asked her if she would watch her language. I said thank you and then tried to go back to eating.
The woman was good enough to do as I asked. I will say that she and the party at her table looked at me as if I were from outer space, but she complied. I had a similar situation arise when I took my oldest to the park for a run. As we rounded the corner on the trail and were running past the parking area, a group of men who had come to play basket ball were blaring some music that was full of base and bad lyrics. Is it just me or does one really need to use the F-bomb several times consecutively in order to communicate one is displeased?

I felt apprehensive in approaching them, but no one else seemed willing. Again, I tried to be polite, but I pointed out that they were at a park full of children. I asked them if they would turn down the music, that the language was not appropriate for little one’s ears. They seemed very surprised and even laughed at me, but they turned down the music.
Which leads me to this question: Have we as a society, gotten to a place where we no longer care for the sanctity of childhood? What are we saying and doing in front of them that should be reserved for a time when they are not around? Are we taking away their innocence by behaving in such thoughtless ways? I think as adults and as a society, we owe them the gift of common decency. They deserve to have uncluttered, carefree lives. They should have the chance to be childish and naïve and lighthearted. They should be able to feel loved and secure. We have that responsibility.

A woman, even if she does not have children of her own, has the gift of motherhood, a responsibility to nurture and protect those around her. I will do that for your children when you are not there, and I hope that you will do the same for mine. Just asking you to think about it.     

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Inside Out Cupcakes

It seems that I am always looking for ways to cut corners or save time. One of the things I have learned is to use the freezer! So when preparing meals, or trying to do deserts, etc. for school lunches I employ my good friend the freezer quite often. I freeze homemade roll dough (kinda like Rhodes), sugar cookies and inside out cupcakes for lunches, waffles for breakfast, meatballs when I make a large batch of them, and anything else I can think of that may save me time. I love that they are homemade, without all of the preservatives you get form the store bought stuff, yet just as quick and convenient.
For my inside out cupcakes, I discovered that when you pack an iced cupcake, the icing gets everywhere. By the time you pull it out to eat it, most of the icing ends up staying in the baggy and you have a messy cupcake with very little icing with which to eat. That is when I came up with the idea to pipe the icing into the cupcake. Just like a hostess cupcake, but no icing on top so that it doesn’t get everywhere.

I make a whole batch of cupcakes, pipe the icing into the middle, and then put them in individual baggies and freeze them. When my children are packing their lunches in the mornings, they grab a cupcake, stick it in their lunch bags, and by the time lunch comes around the cupcakes have thawed.
Just one more way that I have found to make my life a little easier.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

League of Utah Writer's Workshop

Just returned from a writer’s workshop that was sponsored by the League of Utah Writers. It was very enjoyable to hang with my ladies from my readers group, but it was also very informative and got the fire started again. I think that my biggest problem is feeling like a phony when it comes to my writing. I always think that I am not a writer I am just a wanna be. It made me feel so much better when Paul Genesse admitted to feeling the same way. I got a chance to speak to him and not only was he really cool, but a normal joe, just like me.

So here are a few of the things that really struck me. John Simmons spoke first. He said that when writing the story needs to start from a memorable place and move to an even more memorable place. Your writing needs to matter to you or it won’t matter. He also talked about balancing writing with the rest of your busy life and making it a priority.

Paul Genesse was the next speaker. My friend Kathy raved about his Iron Dragon Series. He had a great sense of humor and I enjoyed his presentation very much. He believes that characterization is the most important part of writing. If you don’t like the character you won’t like the story.  He also said that discipline and determination are imperative to writing goals. He suggested making time to write by cutting out things that are not important. For instance the internet and television can be pared down so that you can use that time to be productive.
I enjoyed his ideas on characterization very much. He recommended using situations in which characters must react to something or make a decision to show who they are and what they are about, instead of adding pages and pages of back story. He said to stay away from “info dumping”.

They also had Daniel Coleman speak. He talked about taking old ideas and making them new. His latest novels are based upon characters in Alice in Wonderland. He has just gotten published through TM Publishing with his Hatter and Jabberwocky books. Made me wonder, do I have an old story that I love enough to make new with a fresh idea or new spin?

So, while I do not write in the same genre as the gentlemen, I feel that I learned a great deal and I felt the creative juices flowing. I think I will go work on my newest project now!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Busy Streets and Strangers with Candy

I am so grateful for all of the people in my life that care so much about me and my family. We recently had a very funny mix up that showed me just how much my friends and co-workers have my back. I work at Lincoln Elementary as a school librarian. The people I work with are the best! I see them, day in and day out, working tirelessly with children who rarely acknowledge or thank them for the services they provide, because they are children and don’t understand just how much goes in to taking care of them.

At any rate, a friend called me at work and told me that she saw my son L walking down the street alone. His junior high school is only several blocks from where I work off of the main street that is very busy as far as traffic goes. So in a panic I took off in my van to try and catch him. I didn’t see him. I thought perhaps I should verify that he was missing, so I tried to call his school. His teacher did not answer the phone. This gave me more cause for panic. Was she not answering the phone because she was out looking for him?

It wouldn’t have been the first time that L has wondered away from school. When he attended a certain school for autistic children in North Salt Lake several years ago he left. We had the police out looking for him, and I distinctly remember the sick feeling that churned in the pit of my stomach as I drove down to aid in the search. Luckily we found him about a mile and a half from the school in the Maverick bathroom.
At any rate, I drove all the way over to the school to check and make sure that he was indeed missing. I walked into the lunch room and there he was looking very surprised to see me. Feeling ever so relieved, I drove back to work. Now here is where the story gets good. My co-workers were concerned after the way I had left in such a rush. They discovered that L may be out on the loose, drifting down a busy street and they were concerned too.

Suddenly they spot him across the street from the school. Armed with nothing more than a hand held stop sign, they sprint through the parking lot, hold the sign aloft as they dash across four lanes of traffic to the sidewalk on the other side. All the while they were yelling L’s name. But he did not seem to be responding. That is not uncommon for L who sometimes is in his own little world. But they did not give up. They continued to chase him, shouting out that they had candy and he could have some if he would only come with them.
Just as they reached him, he turned and was startled that two grown women were following him. That is when they discovered that it was not L after, just a kid who had a similar body build and hair color. Luckily he had his ear buds in and did not hear them enticing him with candy.

I was very grateful to everyone who was involved, because I knew that they cared and that they were willing to help me if need be. Yes, someone will always have an eye out for L to make sure he is safe. I just worry about the other kid. Where was someone when he was being chased down the road? Who called his mother when he was nearly lured away with promises of sweets? Haha! Just the mental picture of it makes me laugh all over again.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fresh Living

Had a great time on Fresh Living today. Although my hair was in my face the entire segment, I don’t think I did too badly??? I was lucky enough to have a friend do my makeup for me. Thank you Elvia Butz! She has done professional makeup for some time now, including her stint in California when she worked on the CNN set.
I have to say that it was really all a blur. I had a three minute segment about autism, and there was so much that I had to say. For those of you who know me, I can talk endlessly. For those of you who don’t know me  – I can talk endlessly! So three minutes went by in the blink of an eye.  I am hoping that I got some good information out there to parents that have just discovered their child has autism.
Casey Scott was really cool, even taking time after the segment to chat with little old me. Overall, it was a good experience. I would love to know what you think. If you liked it, leave comments on the Fresh Living website!

Monday, April 15, 2013

What to Wear?

Perfect oxford shirt

So I am trying to decide what to wear for my television spot. I did a search on the computer and discovered that you should absolutely, under no circumstances, wear black, white, or red. These colors will wash you out, absorb light, etc. Well, there goes everything that I have in my closet! It said that the best colors to wear are blues, greens, and purples. I don’t think I own anything purple. And I have lots of blues and greens but nothing that I would wear on television.
Finally in desperation I began to look on the web for something that would be simple but make a statement. I believe I have found it. I purchased a shirt from the GAP website.  They were having a 25% off sale so I did not have to pay full price. Score!!! I love finding deals and I love getting things on sale. Nothing better than finding something majorly discounted on the sale rack. I think this shirt is a very versatile piece that I will be able to use again and again. Hopefully this will work for my spot on Fresh Living. What do you think?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Rite of Passage

I took my little girl to the mall today, to get her ears pierced. She turned eight on Thursday and we told her that that was the magic age in which she would be old enough to decide for herself if she wanted to get her ears pierced or not. At this point in the story, I will tell you that it is a long standing tradition for the girls in my family. When they turn eight they get earrings. My oldest daughter got her ears pierced when she was eight. I got my ears pierced when I was eight. As the woman in Icing said, it is like a rite of passage.
Today I took my youngest, my daughter to receive her rite of passage. We went to the mall just as it was opening. We passed storefronts as metal gates were being pulled up in preparation for conducting business. Straight to Icing jewelry store we went, where we began to fill out the paper work in order to get the “procedure” done. Another sweet little girl had gotten there just before us and was getting her ears pierced too.

At that point the smart thing to do would have been to leave the store, go look around and come back. But I figured it would be over quickly and we could have our turn. Unfortunately, we stayed. The other little girl cried and screamed and said it hurt so bad! As they finished, my daughter looked up at me with trouble eyes and said, “I am so scared.” I assured her that it would be over quickly and reminded her that it was her choice.

Now the other little girl was done, crying and saying that it hurt as her mother tried to console her. My daughter sat in the chair, wringing her hands in nervous anticipation. She told me then that she was not sure she wanted to do it. I again told her it was up to her, though secretly hoping that she would decide to go ahead and do it. Finally, she told me that she no longer wanted to get her ears done. We walked back out into the mall without the earrings.
I looked down and saw that she was crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said, “I can’t believe I didn’t get my ears pierced.” We sat on a bench and she curled herself up on my lap and I held her like I did when she was a baby. On the way out we got some caramel popcorn because she thought it would make her feel better. I realized then that some rites of passage really aren’t worth the trouble. So my baby is still my baby with unmarked earlobes.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Aunt Momay's Chicken Pot Pie

Aunt Rosemary is often lovingly referred to as Aunt Momay in our family because when my sister Jessica was just a child she could not pronounce her name. Anyhow, Aunt Rosemary is not only a witty and humorous person that is endlessly entertaining, but she is also known far and wide for her culinary skills. Don’t know if it is in the genes or what, because my grandmother was such an awesome cook and so is Aunt Rosemary. She worked in the restaurant industry for many years and has picked up a good recipe or two in her day. One of my all- time favorites is her chicken pot pie. It is very simple, but tastes great and I always get compliments when I make it for others. My neighbor who is from the Philippines barters fresh egg rolls in exchange for a chicken pot pie every now and again.

Aunt Rosemary’s recipe calls for canned Veg All, which I only use in a real pinch, because I prefer fresh or frozen veggies over the canned stuff. I have omitted her hard boiled eggs and I use onion powder instead of onions. Also, I have used her simple crust recipe as a cobbler topping as well because it is that versatile. I love the crust so much that I make one and a half batches for the top so that it is nice and thick. So the following is her recipe with my revisions. Hope it becomes one of your favorites just as it has become one of mine.

Aunt Momay’s Chicken Pot Pie
 2 ½ lbs cooked, cubed chicken
1 medium onion or 1 Tbsp onion powder
2 cans Veg-all, drained or preferred frozen vegetables (I use boiled, cubed potatoes, sliced carrots, and frozen peas but you can use whatever you prefer.)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery
2 cups chicken broth
1 ½ cup self-rising flour
1 ½ cup milk
1 ½ cup butter, melted
Mix cooked vegetables with soups and onion powder and place in 9x13 baking dish. Mix topping  so that it resembles a batter and drizzle over the top. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 1 hour.