Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I Married a Leprechaun!

          Well, the results are in for St. Bob’s DNA and he’s about 1/3 Irish!  Granted, they group Irish, Scottish, and Welsh together, so it’s a mix, but still.  This means I should get free Lucky Charms cereal for life I do believe.
          I am also now able to legitimately celebrate St. Paddy’s Day, make green eggs and ham, find four-leaf clovers, and expect to find a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow.  By marriage, of course.
          A few years ago Bob took our daughter, Nicole, to England and Scotland on a connect-the-dots trip of castles where his various ancestors have been born, ending with Hylton Castle, and they posed for this photo, unaware just how Scottish and Irish they really are.  Well, except for Bob’s obvious luck of the Irish in marrying me.
          He’s also almost 1/3 Scandinavian, which probably accounts for his height and coloring.  Oh, and his Viking daring-do. 

And the rest is “Western European.”  So, kind of a vanilla result with no shocking surprises or intriguing mysteries. But it was interesting that Ancestry.com also included a map of the U.S. where hundreds of near genetic matches are, and they’re all grouped in Mississippi and Louisiana. All this without knowing that Bob grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  With crawfish climbing up through his front lawn. 
But that’s another story.
Speaking of stories, did you know I have 25 published books you could be enjoying?  All kinds—literary fiction, action adventure, romance, comedy, chick-lit.  Check ‘em out here!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

10 Things I Will Not Do on My Next Summer Vacation

  1. I will not let the family comedian ride by the window where he can motion for the drivers of semi trucks to honk, thus scaring the rest of us out of our wits.
  2. I will not park a motorhome next to a gathering of people who are still mourning the death of Jerry Garcia.
  3. I will not allow a Boy Scout to navigate, just so he can get a badge.
  4. I will not allow a Boy Scout to navigate, just because he GOT a badge.
  5. I will not allow any chorus of children to sing songs about finding peanuts.
  6. I will not stay on a working ranch that doesn’t realize the word ‘working’ is just a figure of speech.
  7. I will not engage in any activity that involves oars.
  8. I will not go to a ‘cook your own food’ restaurant (isn’t this what we went on vacation to escape?)
  9. I will not wear knit pants on any ride that bears the sign: You will get soaked.
  10. I will not participate in hula stage shows if video cameras are present.
  11. I will not sign up for the city tour on a bus that also transports chickens.
  12. I will not buy musical replicas of national monuments.
  13. I will not pack any shoe with more than a one-inch heel.
  14. I will not allow shells containing live creatures, to be packed up and brought home.
One thing you can safely do is take along a beach read-- may I suggest one of my books available here?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Berry Surprising

          It’s summertime.  Okay, it’s summertime in the northern hemisphere.  And that, for many people, means strawberries.
 I’ve told you before that I live in the most productive area of the world when it comes to produce.  Farmers’ markets abound, and you can find juicy, gigantic strawberries red to the center.  In fact, California produces 75% of all of these luscious gems.
But did you ever wonder how they got that name?  It’s been around for a thousand years, before they were even cultivated, when they still grew wild. So the idea that the name came from the careful placement of straw under the berries to protect them, is out.
That leaves just two other theories.  One is that the little flecks on them (called achenes) are the color of straw.  
Pretty weak, if you ask me.  You could just as easily call them wheat berries.  Except wheat berries already exist.
          So the last theory is that it comes from “stray” or “strew,” describing the tendrils and runners that seem to spread across the ground. Maybe that’s the best fit, but we’ll never know conclusively.
          However, we do know several cool things about strawberries:
1.      They’re the first berry to ripen in the Spring (and maybe we should say the early bird gets the strawberry.  Or the worm gets the strawberry.  I don’t know.  Whoever’s up first.)
2.    They have about 200 of those little seeds on each one.  And they’re the only fruit with their seeds on the outside. (And each “seed” is considered its own separate fruit!)
3.     They aren’t really a berry at all, but members of the rose family, an “accessory fruit,” which stand to reason in my book, because they do kind of look like purses.
4.    One cup of strawberries contains just 55 calories—and more vitamin C than oranges—which is not cancelled out just because you served them with shortcake and whipped cream. Or dipped in chocolate.
5.     Like most fruit, strawberries taste sweetest when served at room temperature rather than chilled.
6.    They can actually whiten teeth, because the acid in them removes stains.

          So there you have it—enough information to entertain your friends as you serve up a delicious STRAWBERRY CREAM PUFF or STRAWBERRY DUMPLING—two of my prize-winning recipes you can find here.  Yummers.  You’re welcome.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Oh, That Surprising Ancestry!

           Last month, for Father’s Day, the kids gave St. Bob one of those DNA testing kits that reveals you are actually your wife's third cousin. Okay, maybe not.  But it tells you the nationalities that make up your ancestry. 
          He immediately sent it in, and now we are waiting for the results.  I, of course, cannot resist speculating and if “pirate” or “clown” were actual nationalities I can see a big slice of that pie chart bearing swords and red noses.

          We’ve traced his genealogy (back to Adam on several lines, actually), and it’s mostly from the British Isles.  But it dips in and out of Scandinavia, too.   His family—many of whom came to the U.S. in the 16oos before it even was the U.S., also harbors a rumor that someone was married to a Cherokee woman, so we’re hoping for some Native American percentage, as well.
          Of course I cannot resist making a game of this, and I invited our kids to join the guessing game.  When the results finally arrive I plan to gather everyone in a big conference call, the way people in our church do when someone opens their mission call.
          Meanwhile, they are to send in their guesses. Second son Brandon’s is “1/3 English, 1/6 Scottish, 1/3 Scandinavian, 1/6 French (since Bob is from Louisiana), and the rest is probably extra  terrestrial.”
          I texted right back, “Yes!  I’ll bet you anything he’s an alien from outer space!  I may change my guess to at least half that.”

          Brandon said, “Ha ha, exactly.  If the results get delivered by men in black, you’ll know you were right.”
          So stay tuned.  Meanwhile, visit my website and watch some of my YouTube Mom videos or buy my books.  It’s summertime and you need a break!