Life in a small town can be pridictable, but sometimes that’s a good thing. Every year on Memorial Day, our Veterans of Foreign Wars post holds a ceremony to honor those who have lost their lives in the service of our beloved nation.
The VFW Commander reads some material that I am guessing is supplied by the national organization. There is always an honor guard in uniform, very solemn as they march in carrying flags. The past couple of years, there has been one woman as part of this honor guard. This makes me very proud somehow.
Since it is so hot around these parts, the beginning of the ceremony will be held indoors. Then those who are able follow the honor guard outside for a three gun salute and Taps. I confess I am moved to tears whenever I hear Taps. Our post uses a recording, not a live bugler, but it gets me every time anyway.
At the conclusion, everyone goes back inside for a luncheon. It is a potluck, and the tables are always overflowing with yummy dishes. I am planning to bake a cake later today to take with me tomorrow.
Whatever your plans are for the rest of this holiday weekend, I hope you will take some time to remember what the day is really about and offer up a prayer of thanks.
Last October, I organized Indie Author Day at a weekly outdoor market held on the grounds of an arts center. It was a beautiful day and about two dozen authors showed up, but not many sales were made. The patrons were more interested in vegetables than they were in books.
This year, I am working with my county library system to hold the event again, this time in a library. I’m looking for some ideas. As a reader, what would attract you to such an event? I’m thinking having authors talk about their research or the locales or themes of their books would be appealing.
Or should an Indie Author Day be targeted at writers or wannabe authors rather than readers. Or a bit of both?
What do you think? Which would you attend?
Mother’s Day is always difficult for me. I lost my mom many years ago and of course miss her still. Above is a work in progress as I experiment with acrylics. I am using an old photo of my mom, on the left, and her life long best friend, Tootsie, as a reference. They grew up in rural West Virginia. The photo was taken when they were teenagers.
My mom subsequently moved to Pittsburgh where she lived for the rest of her life. Tootsie married an insurance executive and lived in Chicago for a while. Eventually, she and her husband ended up in Georgia. They came to visit us a few times over the years and never failed to send a Christmas present.
After Tootsie passed, her husband became a novelist. Below is one of his books. The heroine was obviously based on his beloved wife.
If you are lucky enough to have your mom with you today, give her a big hug.
Did you watch the Kentucky Derby yesterday? There was more drama than usual when the winning horse was disqualified and an extreme longshot ended up the winner.
My husband and I have actually been privileged to attend the Derby thanks to a very good friend of his who lived in Louisville for many years. It is every bit as fun as it looks on televison. The celebration lasts for a whole week prior to the race with parades and the like. Alas, I did not wear a fancy hat when I went. What a missed opportunity.
We invited that friend as well as my husband’s brother and their respective spouses to our place for a mini party before the televised race. I put together several appetizers, so we could munch and watch the preliminaries at the same time. Although I have a quantity of mint growing in my back yard, I did not serve mint juleps. Nobody really likes them too much.
The horse I had my eye on ended up coming in third. I picked him because I liked the silks his jockey wore. Very scientific, right?
Did your horse win?
My husband’s youngest grandchild went to the prom last night. She wore a fairytale princess dress and looked absolutely lovely. I must admit, I’m envious. You see, I never went to my own prom. I was that nerdy girl with the glasses who spent time in a band uniform instead of a glamourous gown.
On my little island, the local Kiwanis has organized what they call a senior prom the past two years. Sadly, I haven’t gone to that either, although nowadays I do have a date. Maybe next year I’ll finally get to experience this event. In the meantime, I included a senior prom in the third book of my Calusa Town Tales, Island Dream.
Did you go to your prom? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments.
If you haven’t read the third book in my Calusa Town Tales series, it is on sale today for 99 cents. Some other clean romances are also on this after Easter sale at victoriapinder.com/category/blog.
I am a big fan of the Food channel, so I incorporated some of what I’ve watched into my novel, Island Dream.
“Zumba teacher Isabella Ramos moved from Miami to quirky, small town Calusa to open a restaurant. Luc Girard arrives on the Florida island to become a painter, or so he says. The attraction is instant. But the secret he’s keeping threatens to deflate their relationship like a fallen soufflé. It takes the right mixture of ingredients for dreams to come true.”
Here is a recipe from Food Network’s Ingrid Hoffman that Isabella might make although to lighten it up, she might substitute ground turkey and use cooking spray instead of the olive oil. It makes about 6 cups.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 pound ground beef or combination of beef chorizo, and pork
1/3 cup dry white wine or dry sherry
10 cherry tomatoes, chopped or 1 (8-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/3 cup chopped pimento stuffed Spanish olives with 1 tablespoon brine from jar
1/3 cup raisins
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and bay leaves and saute until onion is soft, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes.
- Add ground beef to skillet and cook until browned. Once the meat is browned, carefully away from the flame, tilt pan and remove excess fat with a large spoon.
- Add the white wine and stir for another minute. Then add the chopped cherry tomatoes, tomato paste, pimento stuffed Spanish olives, raisins, dried oregano, cumin and cayenne pepper. Simmer over low heat for another 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve warm:
- As a filling for empanadas or tacos
- Over white rice with fried plantains or black beans
- With a side salad and black beans
- To make Picadillo soupier for serving over rice, add additional wine, chicken or beef stock.
If you decide to buy my book, I’d be really grateful if you would post a review on Amazon or Goodreads.
Are you a Peeps fan? To me, Easter would not be complete without these little critters. I currently have a package in the freezer, so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat them ahead of time.
I didn’t hard boil any eggs this year, but I often pull these out for table decorations on Easter.
The two on top in this basket are actual uncooked eggs with the insides blown out before decorating. The others are wooden. No, I did not make any of them myself. I am nowhere near skilled enough to achieve such an artform. These are known as pysanky. This is a Ukrainian custom using wax, similar to batik, to create the elaborate designs.
I’d love to hear about your traditions. In the comments, tell me how you celebrate this holiday.