Monthly Archives: August 2013

August 17th, 2013

When Words Fail

For a long time, when my boys were little, I preached to them “Numbers are absolute. Words, on the other hand, will always fail you.” It was easy to find examples. 2 + 2 always equals 4. Tram #8 here in Basel always turns the corner at the Schützenhaus stop, and so on. They understood what I meant with “Numbers are absolute.”

Rather more difficult to illustrate was that business about words. Sometimes, they quickly learned, “No” really meant no, but other times they could turn it into a yes. Sometimes someone would yell at them, and then they might hear something like, “I didn’t mean I don’t love you. What I don’t love is when you throw your spaghetti at the wall.”

In time, the kids grew up and learned to tell jokes and see the irony in situations. They learned three languages, and made friends, and defended their rights and campaigned for new privileges. None of this happened with numbers. They mastered the use of words.

Every relationship depends on your ability to use words. Numbers are so very unimportant in relationships. Words are everything.

Now, does this ever happen to you? I often find myself having to judge whether someone is just thinking aloud, and nothing is to be taken at face value, or is this an important pronouncement, and I had better not forget a single word?

Day after day, in every relationship, we are tested. We have to recognize the meaning behind the words, the weighting we should give them, when to laugh it off and when to pay attention. The kids have mastered all this, of course. As for me, sometimes I feel like I’m back at square 1.

Some of the humorous moments in my first book, Doing Max Vinyl, came from simple misunderstandings between two characters. I think I could learn something from my characters. The words you say may well not be the words I hear because of the filter I use to process all the incoming stuff I hear. I might have one filter for you, and a different one for another person. It all seems pretty hard, leaving me with a question. When words fail, what can we do?

August 12th, 2013

Win $500 in Prizes By Reading Doing Max Vinyl

Fewer than 100 entries in the Doing Max Vinyl weekly trivia contest. That means your chances of winning are excellent, when you consider there are two ways to win: 1) submit the right answer in the weekly contest to trivia@frederickleebrooke.com and have your submission chosen – you win a $5 Amazon gift card; or 2) out of all the right answers submitted over 30 weeks, three grand prize winners will be chosen at the end, and they will win $50, $100 and $200 gift cards respectively.

It’s summertime, and people are at the beach. What better way to while away a few hours on the sand than reading a few chapters of Doing Max Vinyl for free in serial form on the Venture Galleries website?

Now bring on Question 3, already, you’re saying. Okay, here is the trivia question for Week 3: How high are the walls at the Indiana State Prison?

I can hear you groaning … well, that’s why it’s called trivia, right? You will find the answer smack in front of your nose in segment 8, 9 or 10 on Venture Galleries. So go to it, and let me hear from you by the deadline of Sunday, August 18 at midnight PST. Good luck one and all!!

Send your mail to trivia@frederickleebrooke.com cause otherwise it doesn’t count.

Have you ever won anything? Well get in on this contest, cause with this many prizes everyone could be a winner!

 

August 11th, 2013

The Dream You Make – Bestseller Book Review

Now one of the real strengths of this story is the realistic feel of the adoption battle. From her bio I know that the author adopted children herself, and so she knows all the ins and outs of the process as well as all the emotional ups and downs that go with it. I loved learning about it.

As I read The Dream You Make, I discovered it’s one of those books where you need to prepare your tissues in advance. Annie McDaniel is struggling to find happiness in a world where she’s lost most of her family — her sister, mother and father. When Annie’s sister is murdered, Annie is given temporary custody of her orphaned son, Dillon. 5-year-old Dillon quickly wins Annie’s heart, and she realizes that her happiness depends on finding a way to keep him.

So many obstacles fall in Annie’s way, sort of like life itself. The Baltimore couple vying for custody of Dillon have a legitimate claim on him and they have money – loads of it. For Annie, money is a big problem. The greenhouse and nursery her father left her when he died barely scrapes through, and she can’t pay her own bills let alone Dillon’s dental work and the child psychologist. Annie’s best friend counsels her to apply for a job as IT specialist at the marketing firm where she works, where she will earn a good salary and get benefits.

Extremely intelligent and heart-stoppingly beautiful, Annie is a self-taught computer expert. Having been dismissed from her interview by the moody, sultry big boss, Michael Rowe, she is accosted on the way out by the desperate computer department intern, who begs her to stay and fix the problems. An hour later, with the computers humming along again, Annie is hired on the spot, and her money problems seem to be on the way to being solved.

Bestseller Author Christine Nolfi

Voila! Flamboyant lead artist Terrance, with rings on every finger and tantrums every time the computer crashes … weak-stomach Bill, the leader copy writer, whose stomach churns at the first sign of confrontation … another great strength of The Dream You Make is the colorful group of people Annie works with in this office. Throw in company owner and CEO Michael Rowe, a tall, dark-haired, sultry 36-year-old who happens to be single AND have a floppy-eared irresistible dog, and you’re beginning to see why this book is a real page turner.

Often there are built-in elements of romance novels, as here, that made certain plot elements predictable – like the budding and then unstoppable fire between Annie and Michael.

Leaving that aside, I absolutely had to know how they would get around the rules. It all makes for a gorgeous interlude in the lives of some unforgettable characters. The shattering ending was a complete surprise.

Let’s just say The Dream You Make is a triumph of hope, love and redemption.

August 6th, 2013

Macaroni & Cheese Classic

Tell everyone that when I’m feeling blue, I go to town in the kitchen. Well, mac & cheese isn’t exactly going to town.

U feel like mac & cheese, what do you do? Look in the fridge, and see what you’ve got.

Taking some tasty Gruyère cheese in the grater, I then added a bit of parmesan out of the bag.

Whenever I can I use mozzarella — I’m a mozzarella addict — I chopped up a mozzarella ball and added that too. It got sort of half-melted.

Even with all the cheese flavors you’ll need some chopped green olive, tomato and raw onion. Add salt and pepper, and you’re ready to go.

Hey, I went back for thirds! What’s your favorite mac & cheese recipe? Share it in the comments?