Another Kevin Look-Alike :)

Okay, so last week I posted a photo of Timothy Dalton on my Facebook page, and my friend, Julie left this comment:  “I think he looks similar to Kevin so I understand why you prefer him!”

I TOTALLY smiled out loud when I saw Julie’s comment, because…well…here’s the story:

I had never even heard of Timothy Dalton until about 1991.  Well, that’s probably not exactly true…I had heard of him…being that he’d won the role of James Bond for two Bond movies made in the mid-late 1980s when Pierce Brosnan.  WAIT!  Back up!  I just remembered something else!!!!

Okay, you know Pierce Brosnan, right?  Well in the mid-1980s he was up for the role of the new James Bond…BUT he had an iron-clad contract with the producers of a detective show called, Remington Steele.  I was initially very upset that Pierce wasn’t able to do the James Bond gig (even though I wasn’t a real 007 fan).  But I liked Remington Steele, so I was okay.

Furthermore, in the early 1980s, during the height of Remington Steele’s popularity on TV, many, many people commented to me and my husband Kevin, about how much Kevin reminded them of “Remington Steele.”  (They never really said Kevin reminded them of Pierce Brosnan…just of Remington Steele.  Hmmm.)  In truth, I could see why they thought it…Kevin had the same hair cut as Remington Steele, the same tall, dark handsome looks, you know?  So in the early 1980s, people gave up teasing Kevin looking like Rick Sringfield (don’t know if you saw THAT Facebook post or not), and started telling him he looked like Remington Steele.  I couldn’t really find any great Remington Steele vs. Kevin photos…but this 1986 photo booth picture of Kevin and me  right next to one of “Laura Holt” and “Remington Steele” might kind of give you a little idea of why people thought what they did about Kev and Rem:

Not a GREAT example, but the best I could do…and besides…I always wanted to look like Stephanie Zimbalist!  I think she’s so cutsie/pretty, you know?

Anyway, so one of Kevin’s look alikes, Pierce Brosnan did NOT get the mid-1980s gig as James Bond (though, as you know, his day would come, right?).  Instead, the roll was given to some guy I’d never heard of at the time, Timothy Dalton.

Fast forward now to 1991.  Kevin and I returned home from church one day, and he asked me, “Do you know who Timothy Dalton is?”

I shook my head and answered, “No.  Why?”

So Kev proceeds to tell me that there was this little boy in church who kept staring at him all through the meeting.  Kevin said the kid was wide-eyed and astonished-looking, kept staring at Kevin AND that the kid’s Mom had a terrible case of the giggles…that every time the kid would start staring at Kevin again, the kid’s Mom would just start cracking up.

Kevin said, that once the meeting was over, the kid’s mom came up to him and explained, “My son thinks you’re Timothy Dalton.  He apparently told all his friends at school that James Bond goes to his church!”

Naturally, Kevin thought it was funny…but did he fess up to the little boy?  No!  In fact, he walked up the little boy, offered the kid his hand and said, “Hello.  My name is, Bond…James Bond.”

I guess the kid about fainted with pure delight and astonishment!  With proof tucked under his cap, he went to school the next day and reiterated to all his friends that James Bond went to his church!

Well, the story doesn’t end there (although that IS the funniest part of it).  The next week the kids’ mom walks up to me and asks me if she can have a photo of Kevin to hang in her laundry room!  (I wasn’t an author yet…therefore, I wasn’t used to women asking for photos of Kevin yet, ha ha!)  I forced an amused laugh and asked her why…because of the James Bond thing with her son?  She shook her head and explained that she wanted the photo for herself…because Kevin DID look like Timothy Dalton and she LOVED Timothy Dalton in the 1983 BBC version of Jane Eyre!

As you know, I’m a Jane Eyre connoisseur.  (Winky wink!)  I was horrified that I had never heard of this BBC version of Jane Eyre!  Naturally, the kids’ mom lent me the VHS version.  (We only had VHS back then…or Beta.)

Well, needless to say, I fell in LOVE with that 1983 version of Jane Eyre!  I know that many other versions have hit the airwaves since then…versions that are far more beautiful cinematically, have gorgeous soundtracks, and way more homely Mr. Rochersters…but Timothy Dalton is my FOREVER favorite Mr. Rocherster and Zelah Clarke is my favorite Jane!  That version just captures the true essence of the book!  It’s got the gypsy scene and so much humor that most movie versions skip over!  Besides that…oh my heck!  Timothy Dalton DOES look like Kevin sometimes!

Naturally, I felt the need to watch the two Timothy Dalton James Bond movies after that, and cha ching!  Even though Kevin was and is much, much younger than Timothy Dalton, I could see why that kid was mystified!  Again, I couldn’t dig up the photos of Kev and Tim that I wanted, but from the same photo booth strip in 1986, here’s a photo of Kevin (and his two Bond girls, me and my BFF, Sandy), compared with a couple of Tim as James Bond: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I said, not the best…hmmm…let’s see what else I can find.  How about this one of Tim from Jane Eyre:

 

 

 

 

Or maybe this one that I posted on Facebook that started the whole thing the other day anyway?  It’s from the 1970s movie version of Wuthering Heights:


Either way, I think you get the idea, right?  Hmmm…when Pierce Brosnan was finally able to be contract-free enough to play James Bond…I wonder if that kid thought James Bond STILL went to his church!  I mean, apparently in the from 1987 through 2002 when Timothy Dalton and then Pierce Brosnan were James Bond…trillions of people that passed Kev in the street must’ve thought that James Bond either “went to their church” or lived in their town!  Right?  Ha ha!

Ahhh…I love little funny stories like this…they make me smile!  Though I still can’t believe Kevin introduced himself to that kid as, James Bond.  🙂

Now, with all this Kevin/Timothy Dalton stuff coming to the surface again, I think we need another movie contest, don’t you? 🙂  So, leave a comment here or on my Facebook and next Monday I’ll pick someone to receive a DVD copy of either Timothy Dalton in Wuthering Heights OR Timothy Dalton in Jane Eyre!  Remember, they are older movies, so you probably better be an old movie fan, or at least be able to settle in to a movie that doesn’t have all the WOW effects we have now if you really want to enjoy it, okay?

Thanks for taking the time to read my pointless, trivial blog.  And I feel like I should mention…I am NOT a Wuthering Heights fan! 🙁  It’s soooooooooooooooooo sad…too sad for me!  Of all the versions…the Timothy Dalton one and the Laurence Olivier one are the only two I’ve watched in their entirety.  I just can’t take the sadness! 🙁

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 21 Comments

Klopeks, Decaying Bodies and Misdirected Text Messages

Before I begin, I feel the need to make a “Mission Statement” or something—to explain a ‘way of thinking’ I possess.  I’m not sure exactly how to put it in plain words (my ‘way of thinking), but I’ll try to elucidate (I’ve LOVED that word (elucidate) ever since the moment I first heard Bing Crosby/Brom Bones sing, “Just gather ‘round and I’ll elucidate on what goes on outside when it gets late,” in The Headless Horseman song from Disney’s animated version of Sleepy Hollow!).

Anyway, as you know, life can be pretty demanding of our time, emotions, physicality, etc.  In truth, we spend most of our time trying to make a living to provide for our physical needs (i.e. food, shelter, clothes, Jane Austen movie DVDs, Reese’s Minis and other important necessities).  We worry about our children, our parents, our spouses, our friends…work hard cleaning the house, serving others, etc.  It can get be very wearing.  And that’s exactly why that one scene in While You Were Sleeping is so very insightful.  You know the one I mean:  The dad is up early in the morning, sitting in the quiet stillness of the house, enjoying a peaceful moment and a bran muffin.  In comes Jack, his younger son, with a box of donuts in tow.  The dad’s eyes light up and he swaps a donut for a bran muffin.  The next few lines of conversation between the dad and Jack are profound to me—inspirational and explanatory of life in so many ways.

After swapping out his bran muffin for a donut, the dad and son talk for another moment.  And then, sitting there together with a box of donuts and the peace and quiet of early morning (which I love), the dad sighs and says:   “Life is a pain in the ass.  I’ll tell you.  You know…you work hard, try to provide for the family and then…for one minute…everything’s good.  Everyone’s well, everyone’s happy…and in that one minute you have peace.”

As life goes, Jack then responds, “Pop…this isn’t that minute.”

As you know, Jack has come to tell his father that he does NOT want to take over the family business, etc.  But it’s the father’s insight into life…that it seems there is more hardship than peace that resonates with me.  It resonates with me in this way…we have to thoroughly relish those moments of peace in life!  They’re what get us through the hard times.  Funny family stories, enlightening experiences, minutes or moments of laughter are so very, very important to us…to our souls!

We’re doing our children and grand children an enormous disservice by not sitting around the family dinner table, or lounging in the den on the sofa with them and telling them humorous or sweet, tender memories of parents, grandparents, and friends.  Not only are there so many important life lessons to be learned from the experience of others, but those funny stories that circulate in families…the kind that humanize and bring to life those ancestors or friends our kids will never know are invaluable.

We have to laugh!  Our kids need to laugh…and they to have something to laugh at something to share and laugh about besides the vulgarity that the world offers as humor.  Don’t you agree?

So, even though my ‘way of thinking, or opinion is that we have to hold onto those peaceful, light-hearted moments life offers as our life-preserver (i.e. sanity-preserver), I’m not blogging to be a Debbie Downer about it.  I just want to give you an example…and example that spans over twenty years of addendums…an example of one of those things in a family that endures through at least 3 generations (so far) in our family, as something to laugh about that brings that ‘one minute’ of peace we so desperately need.

Klopeks, Decaying Bodies and Misdirected Text Messages (Part I)

And so we begin…with references to one of our family’s favorite movies ever—The ‘Burbs.  The ‘Burbs is one of those movies that just resonates with our family to our very cores!  It’s one that we make sure we watch at least once a year.  It’s one that we all regularly quote lines from.  It’s one that, as I watch it with my family now, I find myself thinking, “Why have I so terribly neglected doing more Kegel exercises?”  (You ladies out there know exactly what I mean, I’m sure.)

For anyone who might not be acquainted with the move, The ‘Burbs, here’s a little synopsis for you I found on IMDb:  “The story takes place in a typical American neighborhood, when some new neighbors come to live in the house next to Ray Peterson (played by a youthful Tom Hanks). These new people are really strange; nobody has ever seen them, their house is a real mess, and during the night you can hear weird noises from their basement. The only thing they know is their name: Klopeks. One day Walter (an old man of the neighborhood) suddenly disappears and everyone starts to suspect the Klopeks…”

In the movie, there’s a part when one neighbor tells a teenager from the neighborhood about a guy who worked at a soda shop like 30 years before.  The man from the soda shop went crazy and murdered his family.  The murderer buried the bodies in the basement, but when the heat of summer began heating things up, the smell of the decaying bodies tipped off the neighbors and police.  Consequently the characters in The ‘Burbs begin to suspect that their neighbors the Klopeks are killing people.  The great part about the movie, is that, eventually it turns out that the neighbors were right!

Now, the reason I mention this movie and our family traditions involving it will become apparent a little later.  Just keep in mind, we’ve loved it forever…which means Kevin and I have loved it ever since our kids were babies…since 1989 when we first saw it at the theater.  We quote it, it makes us laugh, and brings us some of those moments of light-heartedness we all so desperately need.

Klopeks, Decaying Bodies and Misdirected Text Messages (Part II)

Now I’m going to skip a head a bit to the year 1991.  I’ve written a little blog or something about this before, so I’m just going to paste it here:

“In the spring of 1991, the cannibalisticly gory movie, The Silence of the Lambs, was the big entertainment news.  A few months later, The Silence of the Lambs gossip, had given way to conversation concerning the discovery of a current cannibalistic murderer—Jeffrey Dahmer.  This kind of horrifying stuff seeps into your brain, preys on your fears, and gives you nightmares.  But one just has to go on living life, right?  And so one does.
It was a particularly hot day in August of 1991 and my dad and I had been sitting in the front room visiting with this boy who had a crush on my sister (Luanna). He’d dropped by to see her but she wasn’t home and Dad and I are always willing to entertain. We visited for a while and then the afternoon sun began beating down on the dry Albuquerque desert. Luanna’s friend admirer for home and Dad and I continued to sit in the front room and chat about this and that would-be romance.

As we sat discussing casual things such as this boy who had a crush on Luanna, the new flavor of Pringles potato chips, and the sunny, warm weather…we began to notice an unpleasant odor seeping into our nostrils.  The unpleasant odor was, at first, faint, barely discernable.  But it wasn’t long before it began to grow stronger, more putrid…morphing quickly into a violent stench!

“What is that, Dad?” I asked at last.

“I don’t know,” Dad answered, wrinkling his nose as he always does when he smells something he doesn’t like the smell of.

A few more sniffs, however, and Dad and I looked at each other with eyes wide with realization.  What we were smelling—the odor, the sour, rancid stink—was in truth, the very stench of death!  Of rotting flesh! The stench grew stronger and stronger with each passing moment, until Dad and I thought we might start throwing up if it didn’t dissipate somehow.  I seriously cannot explain how foul, fetid, horrible and it was.  Fairly quickly we realized that the swamp cooler (a common way to cool a house in summer here in New Mexico, and it works by pulling fresh air over wet filters and into the house) was drawing the stench into the house. It was gross!  I literally began gagging.  Dad, too.

Dad and I knew that turning off the swamp cooler wasn’t an option. It was 103 degrees outside and turning off the swamp cooler would make the house miserably hot.  It seemed like the only option was to endure the stench…the hot, rancid smell of decaying flesh.  But we weren’t sure we could do that.

Finally, I just asked, “What could be rotting outside to cause this smell?”  I mean, I knew a dead dog or cat wouldn’t produce such a strong odor of decay.

Dad shook his head. “I don’t know,” he said at first.  He sat thoughtful for a moment.  Then his brow puckered and he muttered, “You know, the people living next door at Mr. Brown’s rental house butchered a pig a while back.  Maybe they left the parts they didn’t want lying around outside or something.  But still, that’s been weeks ago.”

Mr. Brown owned the house to the west of my parents and had rented it out to some very shady characters of late. They had indeed butchered a pig weeks prior, but Dad was right…the pig stuff had been long gone.

Dad and I sat speculating, going over the possibilities. A dead horse in the field behind us?  More than one dead cat out in the street somewhere? None of it fit. The stench was too powerful and too close.

“Well, something’s dead,” Dad said. “It’s absolutely rotting flesh that we’re smelling.”

And then, like a bold of lightning, it hit us.  I would’ve been willing to swear that we both had comic strip thought bubbles over our heads with little light bulbs lighting up in them.  Yep…simultaneously and all at once, we knew.  As the hairs on the back of our necks prickled with revulsion, Dad and I both realized that the stench of death and rotting flesh was coming from Mr. Brown’s house to the west…and we knew exactly what it must be!

“When’s the last time you actually saw those people renting Mr. Brown’s house?” I asked my Dad.

He shook his head and asked, “When’s the last time you saw them?  I haven’t seen any body moving around over there for more than two weeks. Their car hasn’t even budged.”

We knew for sure then.  Dad and I knew that someone had murdered our neighbors and that their corpses were now lying over there in Mr. Brown’s rental, rotting in the heat of the sweltering Albuquerque summer!

“Maybe you should go over and knock on the door,” I suggested.

“Maybe you should go over and knock on the door,” Dad suggested.

“I’m not going over there!” I exclaimed.

Yet, it had to be done. As the odor being drawn into the house via the swamp cooler thickened like the Grim Reaper’s gravy, we knew we had to do something.

“All right,” Dad grumbled at last. “But if I’m not back in five minutes…call the cops.”

“If they don’t come to the door, peek through the windows,” I suggested.  “Maybe whoever killed them left the bodies where you can see them through the window.”

Dad nodded and left.

It may have been 103 degrees, but I was shaking like a leaf in an autumn breeze as I heard dad leave the house by way of the back door. All was quiet…deathly quiet.  As I waited for Dad to return, the stench of death settled ‘round about me like a heavy cloak of terror.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.  Finally, I heard the back door open and Dad walked in.  He was chuckling and shaking his head. He wasn’t wearing his dental partial that fit on his left upper and I fancied how I always preferred when he didn’t…for the space left at the side of his smile by his missing tooth added to the mirthful quality of his expression.

“What?” I asked, confused at why he appeared so amused.  What in the world could be amusing about finding your neighbors dead, rotting corpses lying in the house next door?

“You know those 80 fish Kevin and his buddy caught a few weeks ago?” he asked.

“Yeah?” I raised my eyebrows…having no idea what relevance the fish had to my parents’ dead, rotting neighbors next door.

“Where did Kevin put the fish heads and stuff when he and your mom finished cleaning them?” he asked, still chuckling.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged.

“I’ll tell you where he put them…out behind the shed in a black garbage bag! He must’ve forgotten to put it out with the trash on garbage day. It smells like (insert colorful metaphor) out there.”

It seems when one leaves fish heads, tails, skin, bones and various other fish guts lying in a plastic bag in the hot, summer temperatures of the North Valley in Albuquerque, the stench of the remains of 82 rotting wide-mouth bass can closely resemble that of an assortment of murdered neighbors.

Now, Dad’s not much of a Sci-Fi fellow, but he does love a good and gory mystery. Though he was somewhat disappointed that it was just dead fish and not rotting neighbors stinking up the house, the task of disposing of the putrid fish remains still fell to Dad. But don’t worry…Dad’s not one to let an opportunity pass him by!  Although he vomited three times during the course of his errand, he was finally able to throw the bag of rotting fish flesh into the back of his pickup, drive it over to his boss’ house and toss it into his boss’ dumpster.”

Clearly, this story of Dad and me and the dead, rotting neighbors, has been one our family has enjoyed telling over and over.  We always laugh at how our family’s imaginations go wild.  We never think of the normal options to a situation.  We never think, “Oh maybe there’s just something extra gross in the garbage.”  We jump right to, “Obviously the neighbors have been murdered and are decaying next door!”  Still, our family has laughed over this story for years.  I admit to giving you the short, less dramatic version, because I figure you’re already thinking, “What is the point of this incredibly long blog?”…but believe me…it’s a funny story…especially when you’re sitting in the room listening to it be told.
Thus, my parents have laughed, Kevin and I have laughed, and my children have laughed at this amusing little adventure that took place with my Dad and I in 1991…three generations and over twenty years of laughing.  It’s awesome!

Klopeks, Decaying Bodies and Misdirected Text Messages (Part III)

So, a couple of weeks ago, my son, Mitch, and his gorgeous little wife, Mallory, adopted a dog named, Punchy.  She is the sweetest little dog!  I mean, she’s not little at all…she’s a 3 year old Australian Shepherd/Retriever mix and weighs 75 lbs.  She’s got the sweetest little temperament, and is as patient as Job.  We all love her.  Of course, she’s a little bit excitable yet…being that she has new, and very groovy parents, and a whole bunch of other new people to love her, too.

Now there are a couple of things about Punchy that you need to know…she doesn’t hardly ever bark (even though she can) and she’s very timid sometimes…especially around other dogs.  However, she’s as gentle as a spring breeze and so loving.  We all just adore her!

Well, two nights ago, around one or two a.m. Mitch was awakened by a very unfamiliar sound…Punchy barking!  Instantly knowing something must be the matter, Mitch leapt out of bed, raced down the stairs and out into the back yard. There was Punchy and she greeted him with unusual exuberance (considering the time of night).  It turns out that a young cat (not a kitten, but not an adult cat either) had apparently fallen from the 10-15 foot cedar block that back’s Mitch and Mal’s yard.  🙁  The cat was injured, but as Mitch began to move toward, Punchy raced over and picked up the injured cat in her mouth.  Sadly, do to either Punchy’s late night exuberance or her natural instincts against a natural enemy and would-be burglar, Punchy killed the cat as she bounded back to Mitch.  (We figured its back was broken.)

You need to understand that Mitch is a really sensitive soul.  Oh he’s very tough and masculine, but he does have a tender heart for things.  (Once when he was a little boy, he unwittingly dropped his tube of Carmex somewhere in our church parking lot, and since he kept repeating, “But, Mom!  We have to go find my Carmex!  It’s been so good to me all this time!  We can’t just leave it out there to get run over by a car!”…eventually, our entire family could be found scouring the parking lot (in the dark) searching for Mitch’s lost Carmex.)  Mitch felt so badly for the teen-cat Punchy had either intentionally or unintentionally taken the 9th life of, that he put Punchy back on her cable, placed the cat in one corner of the back yard and out of Punchy’s reach and determined he would have to bury it the next morning before going to work.

Well, morning came and Mitch found himself with no spare time to bury the cat.  Therefore, yesterday mid morning, he called me and told me what had happened to the cat.  He asked if would go cover it up until he got home, because he didn’t want some little girl looking over into his back yard and seeing her dead cat lying there.  He’d checked the cat for name and/or owner address tags, or a pet license, but there was nothing to identify it.  He didn’t want to simply put the cat in a bag and toss it in the trash—that was too cold-hearted (plus it might be against the law…I’m not sure).  He wanted to bury it, so that it could go back to nature in as much peace as possible.  I told Mitch that of course I would go cover up the poor little thing until he could get home.

Thus, I hurried out the door and drove to Mitch and Mal’s house, determined that it looked as if the cat’s spine and/or neck was definitely broken, put a box over the it, piled some heavy rocks on top of the box so the wind wouldn’t blow it off, and went back home.

By the time I returned, Kevin was back from working out and asked me what was up.  I told him what had happened with Punchy and the cat, and that I had put a box over it so it wouldn’t be or messed with until Mitch could bury it.

“Why doesn’t he just throw it in a sack and put it in the dumpster?” Kevin asked.

I explained that this was our son—the one who use to worry about his Carmex tube being out in the dark alone or getting hit by a car.  Kevin smiled and nodded with understanding.

But then he said, “Well, tell him not to let the neighbors see him burying it.  It might upset someone if they owned the cat.  He doesn’t want to have problems with his neighbors.”

It was a valid point.  If Mitch went around telling all the neighbors that his dog had inadvertently killed an injured cat that had been trapped in his yard…well I don’t really think I need to elaborate on all the negative possibilities.

I said, “Good point, Kevin.”

Quickly sent a text message to Mitch at work that said, “Daddy says don’t let any neighbors see you bury it 🙁  .”  Then I tossed my phone somewhere and went about my day.

Mitch worked late yesterday.  So it was dark when he dropped by at 8:30 p.m. to borrow a shovel.  Again Kevin asked him why he couldn’t just toss the cat in a dumpster.  Naturally Mitch explained that he didn’t want to do that.  That it wouldn’t be kind…that he felt like he should’ve been able to save the cat, or stop Punchy from killing it somehow and that that was bad enough…he certainly wasn’t going to just heartlessly toss the poor little thing in the dumpster.

Kevin smiled and understood.  “Just don’t let the neighbors see you out there burying it,” Kevin added.

Mitch’s handsome brow puckered a moment with puzzlement.  Then I saw understanding wash over him and he nodded.  I thought it was weird though (that he should pause when Kevin said something about not letting then neighbors see).  After all, I had texted Mitch the same suggestion from Kevin that morning.

Kevin smiled with at Mitch then and asked if he wanted some help burying the cat…and even though Mitch said he could and would do it…Kevin recognized that sometimes it’s nice to have your dad help you bury a dead cat…even if you are a 23 year old adult and perfectly capable.

“Let me get my shoes on,” Kevin said.

Mitch nodded, then looked to me and smiled saying, “We’ll be like the Klopek’s…out there digging graves in the backyard at night.”

I laughed and we made a few more references to The ‘Burbs.  Then Kevin and Mitch walked out into the night to take care of the sad business at hand.

That was when I went in to sit down on the couch, and finally found my cell phone that I’d haphazardly tossed somewhere earlier that day.  I had several missed calls, including one from my friend Karen and two from my dad.  I knew that by then it was too late in the evening to return phone calls (especially to my dad, since he and my mom go to bed even earlier than I do).  I’d talked to my dad first thing that morning and all was well at that time…and he hadn’t left a message on my voice mail, so I just decided to call him in the morning.

Once Kevin returned home from helping Mitch with their Klopek-ish task, I went to bed and didn’t think about it again….until about eight a.m. this morning when my cell started ringing and I saw it was my dad.

“Hi, Dad,” I answered.  “I missed some calls from you yesterday.”

“Well, I was just wondering, what the hell that message I got yesterday was about,” my Dad kind of grumbled.  “What’s going on down there?”

“What message?” I asked (having entirely forgot about Punchy and the cat for the time being.)

“That damn message I got on my phone yesterday!” he repeated.  “What are you burying out there that you don’t want your neighbors to see?”

Instantly realization washed over me!  Quickly checking my outgoing text messages from the day before…yep!  I’d sent the text to my DAD…not Mitch!

“Daddy says don’t let any neighbors see you bury it 🙁  ”

Ah ha ha ha!!!  I mean, roaring laughter, right?  My poor dad!  Ah ha ha ha!  Pushing 80 years old this year and spending the whole day yesterday wondering what we were burying that we didn’t want our neighbors to see!  Ah ha ha ha ha!  I thought about Mitchel’s remark…just before he and Kevin left to bury the cat…“We’ll be like the Klopek’s…out there digging graves in the backyard at night.”  I thought about the summer my dad and I decided the neighbors had been murdered and were decaying in the house next door…and as I told my dad the simple story of Punchy and the poor little cat—as we laughed about it—as I then called my sister and told her the story—as she was wishing as badly as I was that she’d done more Kegel exercises—as I thought about it all, I realized it was one of those moments—a story we’ll tell our grand kids one day—about the day their great-grandfather spent a whole night wondering what his kids and grand kids were having to bury that they didn’t want the neighbors to see.

It’s those moments—those memories that get us through the mundane things in life.  They offer not only experience, but humor and an insight into how nutty we all are.  The dad in While You Were Sleeping hit the proverbial nail right on the head:  “You know…you work hard, try to provide for the family and then…for one minute…everything’s good.  Everyone’s well, everyone’s happy…in that one minute you have peace.”

Yep…for one minute you have peace.  Or else you have a good laugh…which is kind of the same thing!  Klopek’s, Decaying Bodies and Misdirected Text Messages—those are the things that get me through the tough times.  How about you?

Just for fun, here’s one of our favorite moments from The ‘Burbs (we often yell, “Yo,  Rumsfield!)

And to this day, one of my daughter’s greatest ambitions is to one day own a cat named, Rumsfield! 🙂

Now, if you’ve never had the opportunity to watch The ‘Burbs, here’s your chance!  Well, even if you have had the opportunity to watch it, just post a comment here or on facebook and Monday I’ll pick one lucky winner to receive a DVD copy of The ‘Burbs, okay?  It’ll give me a chance to see if anyone really makes it through reading this whole blog post!  Yikes it was long! 🙁

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 18 Comments

My Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes (As requested) :)

Last week, my friend (Kyla P.) asked me to post some of the recipes I use for Thanksgiving…being that it would be easier to have them all in one place, instead of rooting through my books looking for them!  (Good idea!)  So, in case anyone else is interested, I figure this is the most accessible place to post them, right?  So here goes!

Keep in mind that these are all based on my mom’s original recipes.  I just added to them and changed things per my own preferences.  AND I totally believe in sharing old-fashioned recipes…otherwise they end up lost to the ravages of time and technology.First of all is one of my favorites (and my kids wouldn’t know what to do if it wasn’t on the table at Thanksgiving)…Cornbread Stuffing!

Cornbread Stuffing

Cornbread:
2 c. Cornmeal
2 c. Flour
½ c. Sugar
2 t. Salt
6 t. Baking Powder
1 t. Black Pepper
4 Fresh Sage Leaves (finely chopped)
1 t. Rubbed Sage
2 Eggs
½ c. Oil
2 c. Milk
*Note:  If fresh sage is unavailable, use 2 t. of rubbed sage.

Combine ingredients and bake in greased 9×13 glass baking dish at 400 for 20-30 minutes.  Allow to cool and then crumble cornbread into large bowl and set aside.

Stuffing:
1 Onion (Finely Chopped)
5 Celery Stalks (Finely Chopped)
Leaves stripped from 15-20 Fresh Thyme Branches (or 2-3 t. dried Thyme)
Leaves stripped and chopped from 15-20 Fresh Rosemary Branches (or 2-3 t. dried Thyme)
10-16 Fresh Sage Leaves (Finely chopped) (or 1-2 t. Rubbed Sage)
1-2 t. Dried Marjoram
Water or Warm Turkey Broth to consistency desired.  (*I prefer water.)
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Add Marjoram into crumbled cornbread.  Next, sauté onion and celery in butter.  When onion and celery have sautéed a little, add the fresh herbs and finish sautéing.  (If using dried herbs, do not sauté them.  Instead, add dried herbs directly into crumbled cornbread with marjoram.)   Once vegetables and herbs are finished sautéing, mix them into crumbled cornbread.
(If necessary, add salt and pepper to taste—but be careful with the salt.  The herbs are strong enough to add flavor and it’s easy to over-salt.)  Mix in add ½–1 cup of water (my preference) or turkey broth until stuffing is moist but not soggy.  (I find turkey broth can cause the stuffing to taste too strong and overpowers the flavor of the cornbread and herbs.)

Place stuffing in glass baking dish or bowl, cover and heat thoroughly before serving.

Note:  My mom (Patsy C. States Reed) always made cornbread stuffing at Thanksgiving.  I’m not exactly sure what her original recipe was, but it was very similar to this.  I think I just add a lot more herbs (specifically fresh ones).

*Second we have what my mom always called, “Candied Yams!”

Marcia’s Candied Yams

Ingredients:
3-5 Yams (parboiled, with skins removed) *Note:  I boil my yams until they are softened, but not overly soft.  Then I dump the water out of the pan, let the yams sweat in the pan for a while, then just peel off the skins with a butter knife.
¼ to ½ c. Butter
1 c. Water
½ to 1 c. Brown Sugar
A pinch to ¼ t. of Ground Cloves

Slice parboiled and peeled yams into sliced and or pieced at least 1 inch thick.  Melt butter in large electric skillet.  Add water, brown sugar and cloves.  Heat mixture until bubbling, and then place yams into skillet.  Simmer yams and syrup for about 15 minutes, gently moving yams around occasionally.  Turn yams after 15 minutes and cook at a low simmer for another 15 minutes.  (Syrup will be really thick by the time they are finished.)  Keep yams warm until ready to serve.

*Note:  My mom (Patsy C. States Reed) makes Candies Yams this way.  I’m not even sure how anyone else even makes them, since these are so good that I’ve never tried anything different!

*Mmmmm!  The most important recipe of all…Pumpkin Pie!  (Thanks to my daughter, Sandy…because I didn’t have this one typed up in my computer, but she did!)  Also, if you have a really delicious pie crust of your own, us it!  Mine is VERY basic!

Marcia’s Pumpkin Pie

Pie Crust Ingredients:
2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
2/3 cup Butter
7 tablespoons Ice Water

Pie Filling Ingredients:
1 large can Libby’s Pumpkin
3 Eggs
1 cup Sugar
½ cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
5 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 ½ cans Evaporated Milk (Equals 2 ¼ cups.  I finally measured it one year!)

4 tablespoons Flour

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix dry dough ingredients together well then cut in butter.  Add water, one table spoon at a time until dough leaves sides of bowl easily.  Separate into two equal balls.  Roll out each one until two inches larger than an upside down 9inch pie pan.  Carefully put rolled out pie dough into 2 (9 inch) pie pans, cut extra dough off, then fold edges under to form a smooth crust.  Style as desired.

In a new bowl, mix pumpkin, eggs, and sugars well.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Separate equally into the two pie pans. Cover with foil tents and bake for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 350 and bake for 45-60 minutes or until knife comes out of the middle of pie clean.

*I prefer my pumpkin pie cold and served with fresh-whipped whipping cream (I add sugar and vanilla extract to mine when it starts to whip up) OR the kind that comes in the can that you can spray right into your mouth!

*Note:  I am VERY persnickety about pumpkin pie!  In the end, that’s why I fiddled around until I came up with one that was as close to my mom’s recipe as possible, but measured up to my persnickety-ness.  Hope you like this!  I’m always nervous when I share it…just in case someone else is as persnickety about pumpkin pie as I am!

*And finally…if you need a snack later Thanksgiving night, here’s our families favorite…Nacho Cheese Doritos with my infamous Sixty Dollar Avocado Dip!

Sixty Dollar Avocado Dip

Ingredients:
1 8oz. Package of Cream Cheese (softened)
4-6 Medium Avocados (peeled and mashed)
½ c. Finely Chopped Onion
2 T. Lemon Juice
½ – 1 t. Garlic Powder
½ – 1 t. Salt
2 c. Diced Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
1 – 3 t. Tabasco Sauce (basically “to taste”)

Combine softened cream cheese and avocados and mix well (sometimes I use an electric mixer).  Stir in lemon juice, onion, garlic powder, salt and Tabasco Sauce.  Gently fold in tomatoes.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Serve with Nacho Cheese Doritos.

*Note:  The original recipe for this family favorite of ours came from a guy in the neighborhood we lived in while I was growing up in the North Valley.  His name was Paul Lopez.  The recipe as it stands now includes some subtle changes I made over the years.  It has endured as a family tradition and holiday favorite since before I was married.  *In the summer of 2011, my friends Danielle Jessen and Lesa “Weezy” O’Driscoll came to visit.  Danielle wanted me to make my “famous avocado dip”—and so we went to the store to purchase the ingredients.  Danielle insisted on paying for the ingredients, and when we got to the register, her total was over $60 because we’d bought so many other things as well.  Thus, my avocado dip became known to Danielle and Weezy as “The $60 Avocado Dip.”  I think it makes a much more interesting title than just plain ol’, “Avocado Dip” so I’m titling it “The $60 Avocado Dip” from here on out!

Hope these are the ones Kyla wanted!  I do have a few more…my Mom’s delicious dinner rolls, etc…but these are the things that probably make our traditional Thanksgiving dinner truly ours!  Hope you enjoy them!

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 2 Comments

One Classic Latin Lover, Please-Excerpt to Brighten Your Day!

Okay!  Because I am soooo grateful for your friendship, support, and encouragement… and because we all need some extra reasons to smile today… here’s a delicious little excerpt from my new book One Classic Latin Lover, Please!  It’s one of my favorite scenes, and I promise it will be shipping soon and available in e-book form asap, to lend some beauty, home, smiles and romance to your November days!

“Now apparently your brother has a bridal shower gift for you, Tierney,” Tierney’s mother said, snapping her attention back to the festivities at hand.

Tierney smiled as she saw Aubrey and Tiffany pushing a very large box toward her. The box was on a roller platform and was wrapped in red shiny paper and embellished with wide, black velvet ribbon and a large black velvet bow. The box looked to be about seven feet tall and four feet wide, and Tierney giggled again, wondering what Alec could have sent her.

“There’s a card with it,” Tiffany said, offering a red envelope to Tierney.

“Read it out loud,” Aubrey suggested.

Tierney’s smile broadened as she read the front of the card aloud. “A special day demands a special gift…a gift sent with loving intent. Therefore, for you on your special day, I present to you…” Tierney paused long enough to open the card and then read, “One Classic Latin Lover with a very special message. I love you, baby sister. Alec.”

As fast as she could, Tierney tore the wrapping paper on the front of the tall package to reveal a plastic handle attached to the box with the words, Pull this, written nearby.

Pulling on the handle, however, Tierney gasped as the front of the box broke away to reveal Alec’s gift—one classic Latin lover!

There inside the large box stood a man—not a cardboard cutout man but a real man. And, oh, what a man it was! Tierney’s mouth hung agape as she studied the man standing in the box. He was literally tall, dark, and incredibly, incredibly handsome! Dressed in a high-end white shirt, black tuxedo, and black bow tie, the man owned black, loosely swept back, Antonio Banderas hair that gave him both the short-cropped look of a refined gentleman and yet the “just raked my fingers through my hair” appearance of a man who could seduce a woman with simply a smile. His short, dark whisker growth was perfectly manicured—a goatee and mustache, with a not-too-thin and not-too thick beard line that followed his perfect square jaw from his goateed chin to his side burns. His eyes were dark and smoldering—the perfect complement to his Latin complexion. His cheekbones were set high, and his nose was as straight a nose as Tierney had ever seen. Broad shoulders, long legs—the man was gorgeous!

“Hello, Tierney O’Brien,” the man said, stepping from the box to stand right in front of her. His voice was low and smooth like crème brûlée and sent goose bumps popping up all over Tierney’s arms.

He was so close to her, so close she could smell the faint scent of him—of some masculine shower gel or cologne—and it was overwhelming to Tierney’s senses. She began to take a step back, but the man reached out, taking hold of her arm, pulling her close to him and into ballroom dance position.

“I hear you tango,” he said.

Tierney nodded and managed to whisper, “A little.”

The man smiled, his perfect lips perfectly accenting his perfectly white teeth. “Well, then,” he said, and from somewhere the music began.

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 10 Comments

Caramel Apples/Caramel Dip

Thanks, Linda…for reminding me that I had wanted to repost this recipe!  Yikes!  Hope I’m not too late for everyone to enjoy it this year!  Mmmmmm!  So good!

Caramel Ingredients:
1 c. Sugar
¾ c. Light Corn Syrup
1/8 t. Salt
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
¼ c. Butter
1 t. Vanilla

In a saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and sweetened condensed milk.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly to very, very soft ball stage (for dip).  Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.  Serve with sliced apples.

Caramel Apples will also require:

10 Medium Apples (Washed and dried, of course.)
10 Popsicle Sticks
Waxed Paper
Sugar

Begin by inserting Popsicle sticks into center of apples and set aside.  Place a length of waxed paper on a cookie sheet, butter it and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and sweetened condensed milk.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly to soft ball stage.

Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.  Working quickly, cover apples with caramel and place on buttered/sugared waxed paper.

Note:  Another fabulous recipe from my mom (Patsy C. States Reed)!  There are so many recipes of Mom’s that I cherish.  This is definitely one of them!  I have yet to taste a yummier homemade caramel dip or caramel apple!

 

 

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 5 Comments

Losing My Mind (a.k.a. Great Advertising)!

Do you ever have moments when you just think to yourself, “Okay…I am a total dingbat!” and think that you’re really finally losing your mind?  Well the other day I had one of those moments.

I had decided to take a few minutes to just relax—you know, chill out and kind of reboot, right?  I don’t do this nearly often enough, and maybe that’s part of my problem.  But anyway—I sat down on my office floor, reached for an old magazine I had lying around, and began to leaf through it.  There was a TON of interesting stuff in the magazine, some awesome recipes and ideas for homemade gifts, right?

One little ad in one corner of one page suddenly captured my attention.  It was for a booklet on little craft projects and stuff to entertain children.  Wonderful, right?  The little ad read:  “We will send you without cost a booklet of 48 pages, illustrated in colors and black and white, telling you all about how to make a dollhouse and hundreds of other interesting and amusing things; about delightful stories, fascinating games—instructive entertainment which will keep little children busy and happy every hour of the day.”

Wow!  Seriously—wow!  Sounds right up my alley!

And so I thought to myself, “I should order this!”  Yep—just sat there with that magazine laid open on the floor and thought, “Yeah…I really should order this little booklet.”

It probably took me ten or fifteen seconds to realize that the magazine was almost 100 years old!  It was a December 1925 Modern Priscilla magazine!  Ha ha!  I mean, you gotta give the ad company some credit—they still hooked me after 87 years!  Crazy!

I laughed out loud at myself—at how thoroughly I had become engrossed in the old magazine—enough to think I needed to actually orders something out of it!  (Sigh) Yep—sometimes my brain burps like that.

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 5 Comments

The Kiss (by Harrison Fisher)

So I’ve been working on redecorating one of our bedrooms.  Kevin has done all the manly work (the painting, etc.) and then I get to do all the fun stuff (choose the bedding, the furniture, the lighting and stuff to hang on the walls).

Well, one day while searching for just the right things to have framed for that room, I came across a vintage postcard of “The Kiss” by Harrison Fisher.  Naturally I fell in loved with it the moment I saw it!  (I’m sure you can see why, right?)  I purchased the postcard and it’s in the very capable and talented hands of the custom framing girls over at Michael’s.

I loved “The Kiss” so much, that I thought I might be able to find a couple more Harrison Fisher things to frame for that room (which I did).  However, imagine my excitement/surprise/frustration when I found that the postcard I’d purchased featured only part of Fishers painting!

 

 

 

 

Yep!  While searching around for other works by Harrison Fisher, I came across THIS image!  I LOVE the entire painting best, but it is TOTALLY out of print!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!  The only thing I found was a black and white copy of it in an 11×7 size that cost a mint!  Shucks!  (Heavy sigh.)

But, fear not…for I have accepted the fact that a large, full version of The Kiss by Harrison Fisher is out of my reach.  (BUT if you ever see one in good shape and at a decent price, snatch it up for me, okay?)  The one the girls at Michael’s are framing for me will just have to do…for now.

Meanwhile, I procured a couple other Harrison works for that room.  I managed to get hold of a copy of “Caught Napping” and “Behave”…so that gives me three images to display in that room.  (You know how I am…I have to work in odd numbers when placing knick knacks around…especially 3s!)  Still, I’m always on the look out for great Harrison Fisher images (postcard size or larger), so DO let me know if you find any, okay?  I LOVE those vintage, romantic images!

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 9 Comments

New Covers? Untethered? What’s Up With All That?

Has anyone noticed that a lot of my books are getting new covers?  (Har har!) OR that my newest book, Untethered, is way later in being released than initially anticipated?  (Har har triple-har!)

Well, I figured that, along with a new random contest for this week (1st week in April!  Hallelujah!), I’d do a little explaining.  And we’ll start with Untethered:

Here’s what happened…stress, pressure, more stress, the Winter Blahs, and me needing to reboot!  Those are some of the reasons that Untethered was delayed.  I had hoped to see Untethered finished and released last autumn, but it just wasn’t flowing out of my mushy brain the way I wanted it to.  I didn’t want to rush it, and I was.  🙁

I really, really, really love this book!  It’s in the same genre and ‘feel’ in my soul as The Visions of Ransom Lake, Dusty Britches, Weathered Too Young, etc. and when I began to dread working on it, I knew I needed to let it go for a while.  So I set it aside and waited until I thought I was back in the swing.  But then I found I was still forcing it.  For some reason, I just couldn’t find my rhythm with this book!

To be honest, it freaked me out quite a bit!  I started thinking, “Oh no!  I’m lost it!  I’ve lost my groove!  What if I never recover it?  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!”  And obviously, those are not great thoughts to be having when one is writing!  So I stepped back again…waited a little while, and then tried to return to writing Untethered.  But, just like before, it wasn’t happening!

You see, I had the story in my mind…the whole thing!  But putting it on paper seemed such a daunting task, that I just couldn’t do it!  I couldn’t find my stride.  And I confess, this went on for several months…which of course caused me to begin panicking…which of course kept me from being able to write…which of course stressed me out…which of course made me unable to write…which of course kept me up at night…which of course caused me to be sleep-deprived…which of course stressed me out…which of course caused me to pack on the hard-fought 10 pounds I’d managed to lose…which of course stressed me out…which of course kept me from being able to find my stride…which of course….So you’re getting the idea, right?

Well, one night, my darling super-hero husband, was trying to talk me off the ledge, so to speak, and suggested we rearrange some things to ease up my time.  What he suggested, simple as it may have seemed to him, hit me like an epiphany!  I felt the stress begin to swirl down the drain and immediately began to feel free, inspired and motivated.  The 10 pounds was still back on, but I felt like I’d lost 50!

I went to bed that night feeling refreshed, hopeful and with some peace of mind I hadn’t had in forever!  And when I woke up the next morning, I sat down at my computer, pulled up my Untethered Master Doc and decided to start to read through the book starting at the very, very beginning.

I read the copyright page, then went on to the dedication.  That’s when I realized that, although I’d put in WHO I wanted to dedicate the book to, and some buzz words for what I wanted to say…I had never fully written out the dedication!  Hello?  You know how, that unless I have the title for a book chosen, then I can’t hit my stride?  Well, it hit me in the face that the same was true for Untethered where the dedication page was concerned!  I mean, does the word “Duh” mean anything to you?

I decided then and there, that if I got nothing else written that day, I needed to get that dedication in my mind and heart.  So I sat there for a brief 3 minutes and wrote the simple, short dedication.  WHAM!!!!!  Whoomp there it was!  That was all I needed!  The last little piece of the puzzle to pull the trigger on the starting gun had been put in place…and as I began to reread Chapter One of Untethered, I began to find the rhythm of my stride once more!

Wow!  It was like magic!  As I reread the first chapter, the book as a whole began to come together again!  What had once been in pieces (part of a chapter here, and part of a chatper there) began to knit together perfectly!  I LOVED my book again!

Believe me…Untethered has been a hard book for me to write…for several reasons…but I LOVE it!  And I’m hoping you will, too!  And I’ll tell you this…the hero is one of my all-time favorites!  I’d put him neck-and-neck with Ransom Lake or Mason Carlisle!  THAT’S how much I love who he is and what he does!  He’s an awesome kisser, too!  (Just in case that helps you to favor him.)

Now, the other thing I wanted to talk to you about is the cover redesigns that have been taking place over the past few months.  Though 99% of the responses Distractions Ink (or myself) has received have been wonderfully positive, understanding and supportive, I have received one or two questions as to “WHY?” the covers are changing.

The answer is simple…sort of.  Way back in the olden days (2001, 2002, 2003), scenic covers were ‘in’ and I pulled a lot of weight where their concept was concerned.  I even chose the cover concepts for my first four published books.  However, once the “Love Notes” collection began to come out from another publisher that I’d agreed to work with, that was the end of my choices.  AND that’s when I began increasingly unhappy with my covers.

The other hurdle I had to leap (and you know that I haven’t run track meets in over 30 years) was that I couldn’t get hold of the cover artist I’d always dreamed of having, Sheri Brady.  I had known from day one that Sheri was who I wanted to do my covers.  But she was unavailable at the time, and so I limped along with covers that were either chosen for me, or that were not what I’d dreamed Sheri Brady could do.

Then, miracles of miracles, in 2009, Sheri’s schedule finally opened up and I was able to beg her to squeeze Marcia Lynn McClure covers into her business.  The timing was right, too, because I was beginning to regain control of all my titles…winning back the printing rights from another publisher, etc.

Sheri knows me VERY well, and she started off carefully easing me to a different direction with Weathered Too Young…the silhouetted cowboy image!  From there, she began to empower me with the realization that I was the author of these books…and that not many author’s can choose what they want for covers…but I could.

Since the day we met in 1995, Sheri has been one of the greatest forces for helping to buoy me up and encourage me to stretch and be strong!  (Kevin had been the only one who could do that up until I met her, and I’m sure he was glad to finally have an ally!)  And as I finally let go of the fear of redesigning covers and the reaction readers would have, I felt liberated!

I loved the covers of those early books…11 years ago, I loved them.  But times have changed, and with the advancement of e-books and the changes in reading culture, my books all needed a face-lift.  I’d wanted them to have that chance FOREVER, and even though I know some of us will always cling to those old covers, the new ones inspire me!

The McCall Trilogy is a perfect example of how those three stories FINALLY have a cover I can be proud of, smile over, and sigh with contentment!  I LOVE the new An Old-Fashioned Romance cover, too!  And did you just nearly faint when you saw what Sheri did with The Prairie Prince and a photo of Kevin?  Ahhhhhhhh! I LOVE IT!

The new cover of The Visions of Ransom Lake was probably the one that freaked me out the most while Sheri and I were working on it.  I mean…HANDSOME RANSOM LAKE!!!!  I wanted it to be perfectly what I envisioned!  And thanks to Sheri “The Miracle Worker”, graphics design QUEEN…it is!

And that brings me to the upcoming re-release of Shackles of Honor.  Yikes!  I’m not sure whether it will premier this week or next week…but YIKES!  The new cover is GORGEOUS, of course!  But my teeth are chattering all the same!  This is a nerve-wracking process, you know!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!  We’ll just have to wait and see what you think when it releases.

But…I suppose I’ve rambled for far too long…just judging from the length of this blog!  Yuck!  Sorry about that! 🙁

So let’s get down to brainless business, shall we?  This week’s contest!  Yippee!

So last week was the Michael’s Gift Card…and the winner is…Jessica Spafford!  E-mail your snail mail address to me at marcialmcclure@cs.com, Jessica and I will get your gift card in the mail to you!  (Psst…thanks to my Customer Framer Friend, Jaclyn for chiming in!  I feel so special!)

As for this weeks contest…hmmm.  How about…the DVD edition of Little Dorrit (starring Matthew Macfadyen!)?  Yep!  That’s it!  Leave a comment on why you like Matthew Macfadyen, period drama movies, or anything somehow related, and you’ll be entered to win!  Fun!  Do you need a little video clip to whet your whistle?  Ooo!  Then here’s one (below)!  Love it!

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 40 Comments

Or Course Kevin Didn’t Know! (And Contest Stuff, Too!)

Since the release of the beautiful new edition of The Prairie Prince, (or should I say handsome new edition), I’ve been riddled with the question, “Did Kevin know he was going to be on the cover?”  Well, the answer to that burning question is, “Of course Kevin didn’t know!”  What?  Do you think I’m crazy?  He probably would’ve axed the idea before it was even all the way out of my mouth if I’d told him ahead of time.

Nope…poor Kevin didn’t find out that HE was the image of The Prairie Prince (as of course he always has been to me) until the moment I showed him the announcement on the website!  His reaction was a mixture of horror, surprise, being flattered, embarrassment, and incredible understanding and patience toward his wife (me)!

I asked him what he would’ve done if I had asked his permission first, and he confessed he would’ve moved heaven and earth to change my mind.  But now that it’s done…he understands that I love him sooooooooooooooo much and is flattered that I think of him as handsome even though he doesn’t see himself that way or as worthy to be on a book cover.  (That’s part of Kevin’s charm…the fact that he doesn’t see himself the way the rest of us girls do!)

And so…there you have it!  Nope…he didn’t know before hand!  And YES…I LOVE the new cover!  I have a ton of stories to share about all the new covers, but I’m kind of squished for time today…so I’ll save those for later!

Meanwhile…I’m soooooooo behind on my random contest stuff!  The winner of the FTD Spring Bouquet Arrangement is Sally Timmons!  E-mail me your address at marcialmcclure@cs.com, Sally…and I’ll get that ordered for you!

As for a new contest…hmmm…let me think.  Ooo!  How about this…a $25 Michael’s gift card (Michael’s the craft store, of course)!  Does that sound fun?  I have all my custom framing done there, and usually end up picking up a few other things!  So…pop in a comment below about your crafty projects for Spring (or for any other reason) and you’ll be entered to win!  My friend Jan sent me a Hobby Lobby gift card for Christmas and I used it just the other day to purchase some crafting supplies I need for a project!  (Thanks, Jan!)  Gift cards are so fun, right?

Posted in Marcia's Blog | 34 Comments

Rebooting, Refinding, Refreshing! (AND Win a Spring Bouquet!)

Well…the time has come, once again.  Throughout my life, I’ve found that there comes a time (several times, in truth) that I have to stop…or be stopped.  Yep.  Stop.  Last week I hit the wall.  I’m sure everyone knows what I mean:  You go along, run along, then trudge along…and one day you wake up and you’re feeling like you can’t trudge alone anymore, right?

When “the wall” jumps up in front of you and slams you in the face, the typical result (at least for me) is being knocked down and finding yourself sitting on your sitter staring up at “the wall” and thinking, “How am I going to tear this sucker down again?”  Right?  I know you know what I mean, so I won’t go into gory details.  Suffice it to say, I needed to reboot, refind, and refresh myself!

I tried several different things over the weekend to reboot:  put some things in the Goodwill box so I felt like maybe I was de-cluttering a bit, tried not to stress (and failed), tried not to obsess about weight-loss (and failed-which, I might add, resulted in a BBQ Pringles, Cinnamon Poptart and Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookie incident that we won’t go in to)…and being that I was suffering with allergies and insomnia, I decided to take a dose of NyQuil on Saturday night…BIG mistake!  I don’t know why I never remember how completely that stuff loops me out until it’s too late!

Anyway, nothing helped…even sniffing my Pumpkin Butter Wood Wick candle!  It seemed all I could do was dwell on negative stuff…you know?  And that is soooooooooooooo not me!  But it was this past weekend!  Until finally…my hero stepped in and carried me away!

Yesterday, Kevin finally just sat me down and pointed out that I haven’t been spending any time being ME!  He explained that he knows that I’m only happy when I’m flitting around sprinkling the world with sugar, enjoying entertaining conversation and/or being silly with one of my closest friends, etc.  He said he’d noticed that I’m never able to chill out anymore…that I put too much stress on my job…and when it came to that…that I needed to make sure I’m writing what my heart tells me to write (my friend Shannon confirmed the writing thing to me as well in a conversation she and I had yesterday) and not what I feel pressured to write.  Kevin told me I needed to pull back…to settle my mind and reboot myself to get back to myself.

Oh, I’m a great one for telling everyone else to do exactly what Kevin was telling me to do…and I always think it’s so weird that I can never figure that out for me!  And my hero was absolutely correct!   I have hit the wall (again) and need to reboot!

Thus…I’m on it!  I settled myself right down on the sofa and began by missing my friend Gina and wishing she was there to watch Hoarders with me!  Well, she wasn’t there…so I turned on the TV to flip channels…and VOILA!  Hoarders was on!  A brand new episode!

You see…Gina and I love watching Hoarders…but mostly together!  It’s one of our ‘things’, you know?  We sit there on her couch and watch episode after episode, feeling such deep empathy for the people who have the disorder, and with her constantly reassuring me that I’m not a hoarder (even though I do tend to hold on to things like my kids’s toys, all their little school papers, etc.)  Naturally, we both leave an episode feeling as if we need to go clean out our garages and stuff.  But anyway…the point is…I sat down, turned on the TV to find a new Hoarders episode was on, and instantly felt like Gina was just in the next room or something!  It was helpful to my rebooting!  (This morning, Gina texted me and told me that snow had mangled her primroses…which she was counting on to get her through gloomy old March…and suggested that perhaps we could watch Hoarders together while we’re on the phone!  What a great idea!  She lifts me up, that Gina!)

After Hoarders, I came upstairs and called my friend Sheri (who you know as both my close friend, AND the incredible graphics designer that does my covers now)!  She and I purged some discouragement, made some rebooting plans and giggled over a little secret surprise that we have going for YOU!  That helped me, too…just to hear Sheri’s voice and some of her incredible on-liners.

Yep…I’m rebooting, refinding and refreshing myself.  Though I’m not really sure I can lose 50 lbs. before the Ticket Holders Event next week…I CAN pull back, sniff my pumpkin candle, find some fun, random, and in-secret things to do for others (I did manage to hang a new hand-tuned wind chime on our neighbor’s empty wind chime hook a couple weeks ago…I left a little note with it that said, “Surprise!  Have a great day!”  But I haven’t done anything fun like that since.)…watch some Anne of Green Gables, start my Christmas list, and rewrite a couple of chapters in the book I’m working on to better fit my soul.  And that’s what I’m doing!

I have a note sitting here on my desk that Kevin had me write:  It says, “Chill Out, Be Yourself and Sprinkle Sugar”…that’s what he told me to do…and that’s what I’m going to do!

Every so often we all need to hit the wall…it’s necessary for our survival!  It’s what pulls us back, settles us down, and helps to re-prioritize and realize that we are who we are for a reason.  The things that make me the most happy are sprinkling sugar (i.e. thinking of others first and doing things for them to lighten their load), being myself, laughing with friends, just plain silliness, and writing to make the world a better place.  So that’s what I need to do.  That…and sniff my Pumpkin Butter Wood Wick candle more often through these late winter/early spring blahs I get!  Right!

And so…let’s do a contest!  Just for the sake of silliness!  I need a good silly thing today!

The winner of the Applebee’s Gift Certificate is…Christina Taylor!  E-mail me at marcialmcclure@cs.com, Christina, and I’ll get that gift certificate in the mail to you!  (LOVED Christina’s random thought!)

As for this week’s contest…hmmm…we need something silly…OR at least refreshing!  How about this!  YES!  That’s it!  A Spring Bouquet Arrangement from FTD!!!!  YES!  That’s it!  Leave a comment with the subject concerning what helps YOU to reboot, and you’ll be entered to win a Spring Bouquet Arrangement from FTD…delivered right to your door!  Yes!  I LOVE fresh flowers!
Meanwhile, I’m off on to take my ‘morning constitutional’…to breathe in some sunshine and fresh air!

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