Part One

I wrote a short story to go along with my latest Jazzi and Ansel novel, The Body in Someone Else’s Bed. This is a shameless promotion to interest you in the new book. I wrote a FREE short story featuring the main characters. It has 4 parts, and I’m loading one a day.

Ansel was happy to go on a fishing trip with Jerod and their friends until Jazzi had their baby, Toby. He’d like to back out of the trip, but Jerod would never let him hear the end of it, and Jazzi assures him that Toby won’t forget him if he’s gone for four days. So, off they go to Michigan to fish when the salmon are running. And this time, when there’s a murder, Jazzi’s not there to help solve it.

Fishing For Clues

Part One:

Ansel didn’t want to go.  Last year, he’d promised to join Jerod, Walker, Thane, and Radley for a fishing trip in upper Michigan.  In early October, the salmon were supposed to be running in the Manistee River.  Jerod drove up there to fish every year, filling the freezer in his basement with plenty of Coho.  He hunted deer every fall, too, and had plenty of venison.  He’d tried to get Ansel to join him a few times, but this year, he’d rented a cabin, and all of the husbands were going together for a Guys’ Getaway Four-Day Weekend.  Ansel had been excited about it until Toby was born.  His baby boy was only two months old.  He didn’t want to leave him. 

“Toby’s not going to forget you in four days,” Jazzi assured him.  “And the first floor of the warehouse we’re converting is finished.  Fazal and his mom have moved into the two-bedroom condo, Fazal and Elspeth have opened their bakery, and a family moved into the big condo across the hall from them.”  Their share of the profit from those sales paid off the extra they’d put in for Fazal’s condo so that his mom would babysit Toby.  “When you come back, we’ll start working on the second floor.  It’s a perfect time for you to get out of town and have some fun.  Besides, if you don’t go with Jerod this year, he’s not going to be too happy with you.  You promised you would.”

She was right.  He’d only be gone four days, and he’d promised.  If he tried to weasel out of the trip, he’d never hear the end of it.  All four guys would give him grief.  With a sigh, he packed his bag, and when Jerod came to pick him up on Friday morning, he gave Jazzi and Toby a last kiss, then got in Jerod’s truck.  He turned to watch Jazzi wave as they drove away.

“Pathetic,” Jerod told him.  “It’s not like you’re going overseas and won’t see them again for a year.  What’s in the big cooler Jazzi sent?”  He’d helped Ansel load and secure it in the truck’s bed and knew a cooler meant Jazzi had cooked for them. 

“Four huge foil pans, a meal for each day.  Lasagna, scalloped potatoes with ham, corned beef and cabbage, and chicken enchiladas, along with lots of muffins and a coffee cake.  She didn’t want us to starve.”  

“No salad?”  Jerod grinned.  “She’s letting us skip our vegetables.  Gotta love that.  I like fresh salmon but not every day.  I’m inviting you all the time if she sends food with you.”

Not a surprise.  Jerod loved her cooking.  Not that Ansel could blame him.  Franny was learning to make different dips, and Jerod was handy in the kitchen, but no one cooked like Jazzi.

Jerod turned north onto the highway, then clicked on the radio.  “You might as well lean back and get comfortable.  It’s a five-hour drive to the cabin.” 

Ansel moved his seat back and stretched his long legs to relax and enjoy the passing scenery.  In half an hour, they left River Bluffs behind them.  The farther they drove, the more pine trees he saw.  When they reached the Michigan border, the pines made up most of the forests bordering the highway.  After a while, they even grew in the meridian between the south and north two-lane roads.  Ansel pointed.  “An eagle’s flying to that one.”

“You’re going to see more of them.  I see a few every time I’m here.”

The road stretched for miles with no traffic.  Ansel turned to glance behind them.  “I thought we might see Walker’s truck once we got this far.”

“They got a late start.  They’ll be an hour behind us.  Walker had to wait for Thane to drop the baby off at his mom’s house first.”  When Olivia got pregnant, and Thane’s parents learned Olivia and Jazzi’s dad was going to watch Kate every Tuesday, they left Phoenix to move back to River Bluffs so they could babysit, too.  “We missed our family,” they told Thane.  “And our old friends.  We’ll take care of Kate on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays while Olivia does hair at the salon.”

Ansel watched a deer walk to the edge of the tree line.  He pointed it out to Jerod.  “I was surprised when Thane told us they were moving back, but we’ve all gotten lucky.  We all have babysitters we can trust for our kids.”

“And it’s still hard to pry any of you away from your new babies.”  Jerod slowed down as the deer got nervous.  It finally darted back into the trees, and he sped up again.  He cracked his window and breathed in deeply.  “I love the smell of the air, so clean and piney.”

They drove another three hours before they reached Manistee.  The river was dotted up and down with vacation rentals and houses, but Jerod turned away from town and Lake Michigan and stopped at a rustic cabin a small distance away, near the river.  Trees hid neighboring rentals, giving them privacy.  He parked in the gravel driveway, and he and Ansel unloaded the truck and carried things inside the log house.  It had one great room with a kitchen, three bedrooms, and one-and-a-half baths.  A stone fireplace stretched on the outside wall.  Two of the bedrooms had two twin beds and the master bedroom had a queen-sized four-poster with a heavy quilt. 

“I call this one,” Jerod said. 

“That’s only fair.  You arranged the entire trip.”

Jerod’s stomach rumbled and he opened the cooler.  “But Jazzi sent all the food.  What do you want to eat first?”

“Your pick.”

“Then I’m heating up the corned beef and cabbage.  She has potatoes and carrots in it, too.  A full meal deal.”

Ansel put the three other meals in the refrigerator while Jerod slid his pick into the oven.  Wolfing down a muffin, he tossed his duffel bag on the floor of his room.  Ansel did the same near his bed. 

“I’m not bothering to unpack,” Jerod said.  “I only brought another pair of jeans and a few sweatshirts, some underwear and pajamas.”

“No tux?” Ansel quipped.

“The fish don’t care what we look like, and that’s how we’re going to spend most of our time.  I’d like to go out for a sandwich later tonight and maybe a few beers, but we don’t need to dress up for that.”

While the food warmed, the two men went outside to look around.  The air was so crisp and clean, they kept taking deep breaths to enjoy it.  A huge stack of logs was piled in the backyard. 

“Bet they lose power up here when the weather’s bad,” Ansel said.  “Have to keep warm by the fireplace.  It even has a hook for a cooking pot.”

“There were kerosene lanterns lined up in the utility room.”  Jerod walked to look inside a shed.  It was locked, so he had to peek in the windows.  “That’s one serious looking ax.  I wouldn’t want to have to cut that much wood.  There’s a lawn mower in there, too.  Whoever owns this place keeps a tidy ship.”

A stream ran through the back of the property.  It really was a beautiful setting and close enough to the river, they could walk there if they had to.  They decided to cross the street to check it out.  Fishermen were staggered up and down its banks, but the five of them wouldn’t be crowded like the people fishing closer to town.

By the time they got back to the cabin, Walker was turning into the drive.  Thane and Radley got out of his vehicle to stretch their legs.  Every single one of them was tall, Ansel the tallest at six-five. 

Jerod held the cabin door open and yelled, “We’re just getting ready to eat.  Hungry?”

The men followed him inside and sniffed. 

“Oh, boy, that smells good.”  Radley set a box from Elspeth’s bakery on the table.  “Jazzi sent the food, and my wife sent us lots of cookies.”

“I’m renting a cabin every year,” Jerod said.  “I usually eat jerky and salmon for a week.”

Thane grinned.  “Olivia had me buy two cases of beer and five frozen pizzas.”

Jerod helped him load them in the fridge.  “Our women don’t trust us.  They don’t think we’re going to catch anything for suppers.”

“Works for me,” Walker said.  “The more to eat.  Didi sent sandwiches and all kinds of chips for snacking.”

They sat at the round kitchen table and finished off the corned beef and cabbage, then grabbed their fishing gear and headed to the river.  The day was sunny and crisp, not cold, but not warm either.  Ansel wore a long-sleeved T-shirt under his gray hoodie.  By seven, the air was getting cooler, and they’d each caught their limit of five salmon a day.  They brought them to an outside sink and garbage can near the stream.  Perfect for cleaning scales and gutting.  By the time they’d finished, they washed up and headed to a bar and grill they’d seen on the outside of town.  When they walked inside, it wasn’t packed, but it was busy enough. 

The special for Friday night was a cheesesteak sandwich.  Smart.  Everyone who came here probably had plenty of fish to grill.  When the waitress came, they all ordered the special and a beer.  They were making small talk, relaxing, when a man stalked to their table, looked at Thane, and growled, “You should have kept your hands off her.”  He swung and would have punched Thane except that Walker caught his fist and held it.  He stared the guy down.  Thane and Walker had been friends since they were kids.  If anyone picked on one of them, he had to deal with the other one, too.

Thane stood, heavier and three inches taller than his attacker.  “Hey, man, you’ve got the wrong person.  I just got to town a few hours ago.  Whoever you have a beef with, it’s not me.”

The guy glanced back at his table of friends, and they stood and started toward them.  Ansel, Jerod, Walker, and Radley stood, too.  The friends looked at their size and muscles and slowed down.

Jerod said, “We’re tourists.  Came for the fishing.  We didn’t get here until this afternoon.  You’ve got something wrong.”

The guy who’d thrown the punch frowned, confused.  “How many men are there with wild, auburn hair pulled back in a ponytail?  That’s who Sam saw her with.”

Thane shrugged, raised his left hand, and pointed to his ring finger.  “If I played around on my wife, I could be dead.  Not worth it.  Besides, she just had my baby.  I’m nuts about both of them.”

The townsmen looked at each other.  One of them said, “If these guys just rolled in to fish, it can’t be him.  There’s got to be another redheaded womanizer trying to catch salmon.”

Walker let go of the man’s fist.

He shook his head.  “Sorry, mister.  I thought it had to be you.  My wife’s a fine-looking woman, and she works here some nights.  A stranger made some moves on her and got a little rough.  I don’t take kindly to that.”

“No one would,” Thane said, “but it wasn’t me.”

“Sorry,” the man said again, then went back to his table of friends.

The waitress came with their food, and they put the incident behind them.  A case of mistaken identity.  And if the guy who’d hit on the man’s wife was smart, he’d already left town.

The guys didn’t stay up much later when they got back to the cabin.  They wanted to get up early in the morning to fish.  But Ansel had trouble falling asleep in a twin-sized bed, his feet hanging over the end, with no Jazzi beside him.  He tossed and turned.  Just when he was starting to drift off, he heard a noise outside and went to the window.  A mother raccoon and three babies were scampering across the yard. 

“Everything okay?” Radley asked from his side of the room.

“We have to tie the garbage lids down when we toss fish bones and entrails into the bags.  Raccoons found them.”

“I’m going back to sleep.”  And Radley was out again.

Ansel lay down and finally fell into a deep dream.  He was back on his dad’s dairy farm, squaring off against a man with crazy, auburn hair.

The sun woke him.  It filtered through the crack in the heavy curtains.  He tossed on his clothes and stumbled out to the kitchen.  Jerod and Radley were already drinking coffee and eating muffins. 

“Morning, sleepyhead,” Jerod teased.

Ansel rubbed his eyes.  “I had trouble falling asleep last night.  Heard a noise and saw raccoons running to the tree line.”

“I remember now.”  Radley cut a slice of coffee cake.  “I heard something, too, but then fell back asleep.”

Jerod drained his coffee and went for more.  “After the long drive, I didn’t hear anything.  We’ll have to be more careful with our fish scraps, though.  There are bears up here, too.  I didn’t think about it yesterday.”

Ansel went to fill his mug and glanced out the window over the sink.  He frowned.  “Where did you find the key to the shed?” he asked Jerod.

Jerod came to stand beside him, looking out the window, too.  “I didn’t.”

“Then why is it open?  It was locked yesterday.”

“Not a very sturdy lock.  Just enough to keep animals out of the shed, but raccoons shouldn’t be able to open it.”  Coffee in hand, Jerod started outside.  Ansel and Radley went with him.  The big, heavy ax wasn’t leaning against the wall anymore.  It was buried in the back of a woman’s skull.  She sprawled, face down, in the grass. 

Jerod reached inside his jeans pocket for his cellphone.  He called 911.  Then they waited for a law officer to show up.  One did with a team of crime scene techs. 

“Let’s talk in the house and let the guys get to it,” he said.  “You don’t want to see more than you already have.”

He was right about that.  The three men returned to the cabin.

Here’s What I’m Working On

I’ve talked about Not A Ghost of a Chance so much that a few people are curious about it. I sat down on Monday and went through the questions I use when I write a mystery to get characters and motives straight in my mind. It made a BIG difference. I can see how things are lining up now. I’ve listed the questions I use before, but here they are again in case you missed them. They help me. Might not help you.

Things to Think About For a Mystery:

1.  Who is killed (at least, the first person) or what is the crime?

2.  Who commits it?  And how?  (step by step so no holes or confusion)

3.  WHY Is it committed?

4.  Who are the suspects and why?  (At least two, more’s better)

5.  Any witnesses?  Does someone see something that looks suspicious?  Any innocent bystanders?

6.  What’s the ending?  (I always know this before I write)

7.  Any special clue or red herring?  Any alibis or fake alibis?  Accusations?  False arrests?

8.  A subplot (something going on with a character other than the crime)

9.  A smaller subplot.

Fun if you can add:

1.  Someone who lies.

2.  A strong antagonist.

3.  A really interesting villain.

4.  Something that LOOKS like one thing but is another.

Anyway, the plot finally fell into place for me. But I thought it would be fun to share the first chapter with you to see what you think about it. So, here it is:




Chapter 1

Loretta Thomas sipped coffee at the small table in her kitchen that overlooked the backyard.  She watched a squirrel scamper down the maple tree and cross the grass to the bird feeders.  She’d filled a net feeder with unshelled peanuts and watched him pry one out to eat—a pleasant distraction from the horrible newspaper heading on the front page.  A retired police detective had been shot to death in his own driveway.  Criminals were so brazen these days.  The roaring twenties were over.  Mobsters didn’t run the streets.  Who’d go to a former cop’s house and shoot him while he was walking to his car?  It was disgusting.

She finished her coffee and started upstairs to get dressed for the day, admiring Ira’s art collection as she climbed the steps.  Her husband had loved impressionist painters, and he was rich enough to buy some of the best of the day.  She missed him, bless his heart.  But then his heart was the problem, wasn’t it?  It gave out on him.  They’d come home from a cocktail party two years ago, and he’d died climbing the stairs to the front door.  Just keeled over. 

Sighing, she walked down the long hallway to her bedroom.  She was going to attend a meeting for the fine arts today.  That would make Ira happy.  He believed the arts enriched a community.  Should she wear her silk shift or her linen pantsuit?  Decisions, decisions. 

Ira had left her extremely well off.  He’d always sworn that he trusted her business insights more than most of his associates’.  He said she had a natural acumen to make a profit.  The dear man.  He thought everything she did was wonderful.  And she thought the same of him.

She sat on the bed to pull on nylons.  She couldn’t get used to the idea of bare legs with a dress.  That’s what the young girls did these days, but at sixty-three, she didn’t want to.  She stood to yank the hose over her hips when suddenly, something shimmered in front of her, started to form, then faded, then shimmered again until a translucent man was standing in front of her.

The nerve.  How rude.  “Excuse me!”  Her grandmother had been a spiritualist, and she’d assured Loretta that ghosts couldn’t harm the living, but that didn’t mean she wanted to bother with one.  “What are you doing in my bedroom?”

The man looked flustered, then cleared his throat.  “I’m so sorry.  I wasn’t paying attention.  I was concentrating on trying to form.  I’ve wanted to make myself known to you for a few hours.  I’m new at this, couldn’t manage it downstairs.”

She tugged her robe over her slip, then raised a dark eyebrow.  Her lush, shoulder-length hair was still shiny and black.  She had a few lines around her eyes but no serious wrinkles yet.  She’d been praised as a beauty.  That’s what caught Ira’s eye, and she was still attractive.  At least, that’s what men told her, but she didn’t pay much mind to their compliments.  Her heart had, and always would, belong to Ira.  Hands on hips, she demanded, “Who are you?  And why are you here?”

Even as a ghost, the man was rumpled, not tall and elegant like her late husband.  Probably five-ten and stocky, he looked like he’d been tossed in a burlap bag and rolled about.  His salt-and-pepper hair was thinning, and his chin and jaw jutted out, reminding her of a bulldog.  “I’m Detective Deadeye Harrison.  I knocked on a building’s door to question someone, and the man who opened it shot me.”

She frowned.  “I remember you.  You were the star of the city’s police force, solving more cases than anyone else.”

“Until someone murdered me.  Don’t know who.  I looked at the gun instead of the man’s face.  And now that the cops are reopening the old case my partner and I were working on, someone killed him, too.”

“The retired detective who was walking to his car?”

Harrison nodded.  “That’s when I was called back.  One minute, I was in bliss.  I can’t remember where or what I was doing, I just know I was totally happy, worry free.  And then I was standing over Jorgenson’s body in his driveway.  His Ruth was crying, and a cop was standing with her, trying to comfort her.  The scene of crime guys were already working, and neighbors had come to stand in their front yards to watch.  But no one could see or hear me.  And then I was here.”

Loretta stared, confused.  “Why here?  I don’t know you.  Did you know my Ira?”

“Ira.  That must be it.  When I stared down at Jorgensen, I remembered Ira Ransburger was the last person I talked to when I was alive.  I came here, to your house, to question him about who was on his board of directors.  I left to follow up on what he told me, and I died at your husband’s office building.”

She took a deep breath, her brows furrowed.  “Do you think one of the men on Ira’s board of directors shot you?”

Harrison held up his hands in surrender.  “It could have been a janitor, for all I know.  I don’t remember that much about the case we were working on.”

She pursed her lips in thought.  “Whatever it was upset Ira.  So did your death.  He wanted to know if someone he trusted killed you, and he tried to talk to your partner, Jorgenson, but that didn’t get him very far.  He even hired an outside person to go over the company’s books, but they were in good shape.  He finally gave up.  He couldn’t find anything to connect the company to your death.”

Harrison floated aimlessly around the room.  “That means no one was skimming the books.  What else could connect someone who worked for your husband to my murder?”

She gave an unladylike snort.  “You’re asking me?  That’s what Ira used to do, come home and brainstorm.  Let me think.  My husband did a lot of imports and exports.  Maybe someone was using that for nefarious purposes?  Illegal drugs?  Arms?  Information?  A spy?  Human trafficking?  Oh, please don’t let it be that.  Ira would just die.”  She paused.  “I mean, if he wasn’t already dead, but that would be the lowest of the low to him.”

Harrison smiled, listening to her.  “You had a great marriage, didn’t you?”

“One of the best.  He wanted me to be happy, and I wanted him to be happy, too.  He was a wonderful husband, but more than that, he was an honorable man.”

Harrison grew quiet, thoughtful.  “I remember that about him.  When I questioned him, I knew he was telling the truth, and I knew if someone was misusing his company, he’d want to ferret out who it was.”

“And then someone killed you.”  She glanced at the clock on the nightstand.  “Oh, lord, I have to go!  I have a meeting in half an hour.  We have a security system for the house, so you shouldn’t have even been able to get in.  But then…”  She paused.  “Cameras must not pick up ghosts.  Go watch TV or whatever ghosts do when people can’t be with them.  I have to get dressed and leave.”

His image flickered and he looked uncertain.  “I don’t know what ghosts do.  I’ve never been one before.”

“Sorry, but you have to figure that out on your own.  Get out of here so I can get dressed.  I’ll be back late this afternoon.”

“Can I come back, too?”

She sighed.  “If you must.  Ira wouldn’t be happy if I left you hanging.”   Then she had to laugh at herself.  “But that’s what you do anyway, isn’t it?”

He gave her a deathly stare.  He was too new as a ghost. 

She yawned.  “Not very impressive.  You need to work on that.”

Darn woman!  She wouldn’t give a ghost a break.  “I’ll be going now.”  And he blinked out of the room. 

She wasn’t sure where he went, but she didn’t have time to worry about it.  She pulled the silk shift over shoulders, patted on a minimum of makeup, and hurried out of the house.

Oops, I did it again #NewBook

Happy Book Birthday to Craig Boyack!

Entertaining Stories

Well, I’ve gone and done it again. This has been a weird year for me. We had a small family emergency, and my workplace kind of went crazy, along with the need to dedicate some time to my daughter. There hasn’t been much time for writing in the mix. Fortunately, for me, I had three finished manuscripts to deal with.

One of these is book-one of an intended trilogy, so I’m holding it back for now. One is a new story about Lizzie and the hat, that might come out near Halloween. This brings me to one of my solo titles. This book is called “Once Upon a Time in the Swamp.”

It’s about a farm wife trying to live her best life. Mari is performing one of her regular chores when the book opens, and I tried to allow her to find some joy in it. Great place to…

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Rainy and Cooler

I’m not sure why, but when it’s a cool, rainy day, it puts me in the mood to cook. I wrote a lot yesterday. I’m playing with a new idea and wanted to write a few chapters to hear the characters’ voices and the tone of the book. It’s a bit whimsical, and so far, it’s been fun to write.

I tried to sit down and pound out plot points for my next Karnie mystery, too, but I had to write a few chapters of that for the same reason. I’m a plotter, but ideas don’t flow until I’ve written three or more chapters to get a feel for the book. Then I can start thinking of scenes, the cause and effect, ebb and flow. These two books are SO different, it’s going to be fun to write each of them.

But early this afternoon, my keyboard didn’t call to me like it usually does. My pots and pans called instead. I made one, old favorite recipe–Nigella Lawson’s meatballs. At three, I’m going to visit my sister to see some new knickknacks she’s bought, and she loves meatballs or meatloaf, so I made some to take to her. And then I made a recipe that’s new that interested me. HH loves pasta but isn’t a big fan of pasta salad. But pasta salads make a quick, easy lunch. On the Foodnetwork’s Delicious, Miss Brown, Kardea Brown made a pasta salad with albacore tuna and lots of seasonings. HH loves tuna, so I gave it a try, and he loved it. Yay! Something new to serve for lunch.

I’m having so much fun working on Not A Ghost of A Chance that I’m going to let myself play with that this week, and then I need to get back to Karnie. That’s the book I meant to be working on. I have all of the big events stuck in my head. But sometimes one writing thing yells at me more than another, and Not A Ghost wanted me to at least start it, so I did. Hopefully, it will calm down and wait its turn on my schedule. And yes, I’m the author, but books don’t always do what I tell them to do. Just like my kids:)

Harder Than I Thought

I know reading and writing are subjective, but I didn’t realize how subjective until I agreed to judge a writing contest for a friend. Her local paper offers a writing contest once a year for short stories and poems. The contestants can win first place, second, or third in each category. My friend asked if I’d judge the entries since I’ve been writing for a long time.

“Sure,” I said. There weren’t going to be tons of entries, and I HAVE been writing for longer than I care to think about. I could handle this and encourage some new writers. And then I got the entries.

Judging is HARD. Some stories were free of any mistakes but had little emotional impact. Some hit me hard with emotions but had so many mistakes, I tripped over them. Some writers went straight for angst with stories about cancer or tragedy. A few had subtle humor that made me smile. How do you judge between lemons and strawberries?

I’m no expert in poetry, and I struggled with that even more. I thought about all of the manuscripts editors must get and decided I’d never want that job. Who do you say yes to, and who do you turn down?

I finally decided the only thing I felt good about was to pick the stories and poems that I liked the best, overall. If there were so many mistakes I couldn’t ignore them, that story wasn’t a winner. If I kept thinking about it after I read it, it made my final cut. And eventually, I decided on my top three in each category.

If someone else had read the entries, the outcome might be entirely different. But all I can do is be me. I’m sure the same is true of editors. What one likes, another might reject. We have to remember that. Everyone’s different. What I like, someone else might toss aside. And vice versa. That’s not even considering the business side of writing. What’s trending? What’s glutted? Then things really get dicey.

I doubt I ever volunteer to judge a contest again. It made me think too much:) But it was refreshing to realize that writing is hit and miss. It’s that subjective. And a rejection might only mean that your story’s fine, but the person you sent it to likes something other than what you write.

Jazzi 10 is finally up!

I meant to be more organized for this book. But everything took longer than I thought it would. Both of my critique partners were swamped with their own things. Then I wanted a stronger ending, so I monkeyed around with that. Then I fiddled with it some more. And now I feel good about it. I wanted to load #10 on Amazon in the second week of March. It didn’t happen. It’s the second week of April, and I got impatient, so I just did it. I loaded it and pushed “publish.” Don’t do what I do. Be prepared. Have plans. But right now, I’m just happy to set the book free and let it out in the world. If you read it, I hope you like it.


Happy Easter!

HH, my sister, and I are driving to Indianapolis to celebrate Easter. My grandson and his wife invited us for the day BEFORE Easter to see all of the improvements they’ve made to their house. On actual Easter day, they’re going to Ty’s wife’s family celebration since her family is big, and our family is….pretty darn small. Lots of people come together for his wife’s celebration, so we try to work around it, because…there are so few of us….we can.

I’m taking the entrees, and no one wanted ham since they were going to have ham on Sunday. I gave them suggestions of things I could bring, and they chose salisbury steaks where I substitute cube steaks for the hamburger. And I’m bringing BBQ ribs, a sweet potato casserole, and…(they chose) fruit pizzas. It’s not a menu I’d have ever come up with, but I don’t really care. It’s all about family and fun.

My cousin is in a nursing center, so she can’t make the trip anymore. We’re taking her out to eat on Good Friday. The truth is, we’ll see her on Friday, cook tons of food, then see the kids on Saturday, and then we’ll probably be home and recuperate on Easter Sunday. And that sounds like a great way to celebrate to us. It’s not about the day anymore. It’s about the people.

I hope whatever you celebrate, Easter or something else, you have a wonderful time!

Great Entertainment!

My daughter kept bugging me to try the Netflix series Wednesday. Every time I wanted to click on it, HH fussed, but HH loves Tim Burton. He still didn’t want to try it, so when he went to the American Legion he belongs to on Thursday night, I tried it myself. And I loved it. HH came home and listened to how much I liked it, and then HE wanted to see it. So I watched it again. And it’s awesome! I love dark, quirky humor, and this series delivered! Now HH is hooked on it, too..

We hardly ever go to a movie theater anymore. I know. I’m sort of ashamed of myself for that, but movies are expensive anymore, and if you want popcorn and a drink, you’d better have the money budgeted. $9 for a SMALL popcorn–which is NOT small, but still…. Anyway, we wanted to see Dungeons and Dragons, and so did my sister, so we went together. And it was WONDERFUL!!! So much action, wit, and humor. All three of us were glad we saw it on the big screen.

And then, before bed, I’ve been reading William Kent Krueger’s TRICKSTER’S POINT. OMG. It’s brilliant! Every character is well done, the mystery is complex, and the ending surprised me (which doesn’t happen that often, and isn’t always necessary for me, but I loved this surprise), and it had TONS of emotional depth.

Anyway, I had a trifecta week of great entertainment. TV, movies, and reading. What could be better? I’m a happy camper!

The Sunday Paper, No More

HH loves reading the morning paper. We’ve had it delivered for over fifty years. For a long time, he’d read our local paper, then head out to buy a Chicago Tribune from Barnes & Noble. A while ago, that paper was always gone when he wanted it, no matter where he went. Then the bookstore moved to a new location and a smaller spot. Starbucks never had it. Neither did our southwest Kroger or Fresh Market, and he gave up. I went online and ordered the Sunday New York Times to be delivered with our local paper on Sunday mornings. And he was a happy camper again.

BUT, a month ago, our local paper decided to quit delivering on Sundays. Instead, they do a Weekend Paper and deliver it on Saturdays. Great, except now, HH doesn’t get the local paper on Sundays OR his New York Times. It comes on Monday.

I know papers are having a hard time, but this means that we pay the SAME price for 6 papers a week, plus a $5 deliver- to-your-porch fee that didn’t used to exist, instead of the 7 we used to get without a delivery fee. And HH doesn’t have ANY paper to enjoy on Sunday. That was his favorite day to enjoy sitting in his recliner and reading page after page of news. We still get the paper, but it’s gotten more expensive for less when people are starting to drop buying it. I don’t understand the reasoning, except that I know with fewer customers, they’re probably suffering. But to charge the people who DO hang on more money for less? It’s sort of a bummer. And I wouldn’t care except that now, HH’s papers don’t come until Monday. When people are busy. It stinks.