Southwestern Egg Rolls

Southwest Egg Rolls

(Note: I wrote this entry in September of 2015. I’ve been planning this comeback and merging my two blogs for a while and then got side tracked. I still remember this guy and this day. I decided to post the entry as I wrote it. This is one of my and Lex’s favorite snacks. Enjoy!)

It’s been a while. Did you miss me? My last entry was in December of 2014 for the Christmas cookie swap. I’ve taken a hiatus of sorts. It happens. I have wanted to get back to blogging for a while now, but apathy overtook me. It’s hard to believe that at one time I posted an entry every week day, usually 4 recipes per week and links on Friday. I’m not sure how I had the energy for that, especially with a young child.

Now that I’m back, things might be a little different. Dianne’s Dishes is and always will be primarily a food blog, BUT from time to time I’ll be posting musings and antidotes that might not be related to food. I’ve decided to combine my food blog and my personal blog, because well it’s my blog, so I can. 😉 That means today you get this recipe for Southwestern Egg Rolls and my little drive by friendship with an according to him “grumpy old bastard” because it’s two for the price of one day!

So let’s talk about Mr. Grumpy Bastard…

I’ve mentioned before that I suffer from depression from time to time. Lately I’ve been on a down swing; I’ve been tired; no more than that, exhausted, down and more than a bit grumpy. The past few days have been particularly bad, but I put one foot in front of the other and get on with it, because what can you do?

This morning I had to go to Wegman’s to get some cucumbers. Alexis and I seem to go through cucumbers like most people go through water, and a weekend without cucumbers would be a bleak occurrence. While perusing the produce section I saw a very tall elderly gentleman, and trust me if someone is tall to me, they’re actually tall, my father is six foot nine, I know tall. I automatically smiled at him because, I appreciate the tall people.

He smiled back and said, “You have a mess of hair young lady.”

I wasn’t sure what to say to that, because well I do, I have a lot of hair. I’ve always had thick hair and when it’s freshly curled, like this morning, it looks bigger. I’m ok with that, so I smiled at him and said nothing.

“I didn’t mean that in a bad way,” he told me. “Your hair reminds me of my daughter’s hair. She had thick hair.”

“Had?” I asked hesitantly.

“We don’t talk these days,” he told me with a shrug.

“I’m sorry. Might I ask why?” I asked him carefully. I didn’t want to be nosy, but for some reason it seemed important.

“Because I’m a grumpy bastard,” he told me with a sad smile.

Now I don’t go hugging complete strangers…ever, but this guy needed a hug, so I hugged him. I hugged this complete stranger, just because he looked like he needed one. I wasn’t a long hug, but it was a hug nonetheless and he hugged me back, when I pulled back, he patted my shoulder.

“What was that for?” he asked me with a smile.

“It’s Hug a Grumpy Bastard day and I thought I wouldn’t get to participate,” I told him a bit sassily and he laughed.

“Thank you,” he told me a bit choked up and he cupped my cheek and kissed me on the forehead.

I blushed, because well I always blush, I’m the queen of the easy blush, and gave him another smile.

“I think I needed you today,” he told me and he gave me another smile and wandered off.

I realized after he walked away that I needed him today too. It’s funny how that works, like the universe knows what you need and sends it to you. In this case it sent me a grumpy senior citizen, who needed a little affection, and in the process it made me feel a little better about mankind at the same time. Drive by friendships can be just what you need, just when you need them. He and his daughter might have issues, and he might really be a grumpy bastard, but it doesn’t make him any less human, and in that moment he was extremely nice to me, and in the mere minutes we spent together, he made me really smile. Smiling is good. I needed to smile and I think he did too.

Now let’s get on to the egg rolls!

I’ve had this kind of egg roll at various places over the years, and I had always thought it would be fun to come up with my own variety. I had meant to make these for years, but today I felt like experimenting, so I did. I love how they turned out! Alexis really liked them too. We’ll definitely be making these again.

What You’ll Need:
Olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
Roughly 2 cups of cooked chicken, chopped (Note: A little more or a little less won’t make a difference.)
1 – 15.5 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of frozen corn kernels
¼ cup of flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
A generous pinch of sea salt
½ to 1 teaspoon of black pepper (Note: More if you like pepper, less if you don’t.)
¼ teaspoon of cumin
2 teaspoons of chili powder
A dash of cayenne pepper
Egg roll wrappers
Oil for frying (Note: I used peanut oil.)

Southwest Egg Rolls

In a very large skillet sauté onion in a little olive oil, until slightly browned. Stir in chicken, black beans, corn, parsley, sea salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder and cayenne to mix. Heat through for 2 minutes or so until mixture is warm. Set aside.

Heat oil for frying. You can use whatever kind of oil you usually fry with. I like to use peanut oil for things like egg rolls. As always, be careful when you’re dealing with hot oil. Make sure you know the smoke point of the oil you’re using, as well as the flash point, and keep a close eye on the temperature. Don’t let it go too hot.

While the oil is heating, assemble the egg rolls.

Place an egg roll wrapper on a flat surface and spoon some filling on to the middle of the wrap:

Southwest Egg Rolls

Next fold up the edges:

Southwest Egg Rolls

Then fold the bottom toward the back:

Southwest Egg Rolls

Wet the back edge of the wrapper:

Southwest Egg Rolls

You can do this with your finger or with a brush.

Then finish rolling the roll:

Southwest Egg Rolls

Place the roll aside and repeat the process until you run out of filling:

Southwest Egg Rolls

Once the oil is heated, gently place the rolls in the hot oil, flipping once, when the edges are browned:

Southwest Egg Rolls

When the other side is browned, and this doesn’t take long at all, just seconds, place them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain:

Southwest Egg Rolls

It usually takes less than a minute to fry the entire egg roll. Repeat the frying process until all your rolls are done. I like to place them seam side up first, and then fry the non-seam side second.

This recipe makes 18-22 egg rolls.

Notes: If you want to make this recipe vegetarian, you can add a second can of beans and leave out the chicken. Serve with sour cream and/or salsa.

Happy 10th Birthday Alexis!

It's Your Birthday Baby A!

Dear Alexis,

Yesterday you turned 10.

10.

How is that possible?

I normally write a little letter to you on each of your birthdays and post it on my blog. One day you’ll read them all, and I hope you’ll understand how much I love you, how much I have always loved you, how much I will always love you, and what you truly mean to me. Yesterday however, we were out having birthday fun and I didn’t get to write my little missive. Today I’m diving right in!

You got money from various people for your birthday as people tend to do and you couldn’t wait to go buy things. But first you wanted to make sure that you helped others before you spent anything on yourself. When I asked you what you wanted to donate to you replied, “Children and wildlife!” You have such a big heart. I love that about you.

It has been a long year. 2013 hasn’t been good to us as a family, and quite frankly I’m ready for 2014 to roll on in. We started out on January the 2nd with your aunt’s breast cancer diagnosis, we moved, school got all shuffled around, Pop had a heart attack, and that’s just a mere summary. But through it all you’ve kept good spirits. You look for the good, even when bad things happen around you. I hope that you can continue to do this as you grow older. It’s a very good skill to have.

Before you were born I would hear people say you didn’t understand love until you had a child. I used to think that was complete bollocks. I knew children I loved dearly. I loved your father. I loved family. But they were right…the minute I looked at you I was hit by a wave of emotion I had never expected. I loved you instantly, and I thought I had loved you before you were born, but I had no clue what love actually was. You were love.

You want to grow up so fast. I always tell you, “Slow down. Trust me, you’ll grow up all too soon and you’ll wonder where your childhood went.” I wonder where mine went. At 39 I can’t figure out where the time has gone. At 29, when you were born, I thought you’d be small for a long time. 10 years is a long time in some ways I suppose, but it has gone by so quickly! My beautiful baby girl has grown in to my beautiful young tween. Slowing down time is like trying to hold water in your fist…you can try, but it just runs out. And no matter how much I might want to keep you as my little girl, time has other ideas. Enjoy life. Make the time matter. Make the time count.
The Birthday Girl!

Keep your amazing spirit. Keep your love of all things and people around you. Keep being cool. Because you really are cool kid. Really, really cool. And I’m so glad out of all the moms in the world, you picked me.

Love,
Mom

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

First off let me say thank you for all the prayers, good thoughts, emails, etc. that you sent to me for my father. We really appreciate all of you. It meant a lot.

Let me give you a little update….

Daddy ended up having to have a defibrillator inserted in to his chest. The unsettling thing about everything that happened was they could never tell us exactly what happened and why. One thing they were adamant about though was, if it happened once, it would happen again, and we needed a safeguard in place to deal with what may come. Daddy’s slowly regaining strength now that’s he home and allowed to get up and move around. I stayed in Tennessee for the week he was in the hospital and the week after to help out mom and then headed back to Maryland. Alexis and I will be going back to Tennessee in late July/early August to check in. Again, thank you for all the thoughts and emails. Again, they really meant a lot to me.

And now let’s discuss some cinnamon rolls!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls: Ready to Eat

One day when I was at Mom’s house I was watching the Food Network. I’ll admit it…I highjacked the TV because I was tired of hearing the tripe on Faux News and needed a break. One of the shows in my little marathon Food Network block was was Alton Brown’s.

I love Alton Brown. Most of the time anyway. There have been shows where he’s told you things to do to make the best whatever that I totally disagreed with, but that’s a rare occasion, and as always it’s always good to remember it’s OK to disagree. For the most part he amuses me. His humor and quirky wit are fun to watch. On this day he was making cinnamon rolls. I mean who doesn’t like cinnamon rolls? I’m sure there are those out there who don’t, but I’d say they’re hard to find, and really do we want to do all that searching?

No. Not me!

Anyway…

These cinnamon rolls were amazing to look at. It was one of those times when you wish you had smellavision so you could smell them baking. There’s something so settling and satisfying about smelling cinnamon (or even just dough for that matter) when it’s baking. They were big, fluffy, absolutely awesome just to look at! I found the recipe online and left it open in a window on my iPad browser. I had to make these and yesterday I started the dough.

The dough is made the day before, rises and then you roll the dough out, fill it with the goodness of brown sugar and cinnamon, roll, cut, and put in a baking dish, cover it, and let it rise in the fridge overnight.

Easy peasy.

The next morning you let them rise for 30 minutes in an oven with a dish of boiling water underneath them for 30 minutes, remove and preheat oven to 350 F. Put them back in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, ice and eat.

Seriously, what’s not to like about that?

And when they come out of the oven, they’re browned and gooey and perfect!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls: Ready to Ice

Even the icing loves these rolls! Don’t believe me? Take a look at this heart Alexis found on hers:

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls: Even the Icing Loves These Rolls!

How cool is that?

Try these cinnamon rolls. You’ll love them!

You can find the recipe here.

Pick a Side

Mom and Daddy

Since daddy has been in the hospital all of his tests except for the heart catherization have been in the gray area. The heart cath yesterday showed that there were no blockages in his heart, which while very good news still doesn’t tell us what actually happened. None of the tests have shown the reasons behind what occurred so the only option at this point is a defibrillator being inserted in his chest to give us some of an insurance that next time, if there is one, this would be harder to happen . His doctor teased him and said, “Dude. You’ve got to pick a side!” We all laughed at that. His doctor is awesome.

After we got home I started thinking about picking a side. As we go through life we all have sides..Christian, non-christian, Buddhist, Atheist, Democrat, Republican, one side, the other, up and down. There are sides, and we as humans divide ourselves into categories, with nice little labels that “define” us. (I’ll get in to my thoughts on what defines us at another time. Trust me that’s a long rant, but right now that is irrelevant.) We are each individuals, yet we long for a side.

So I’m going to pick some sides…

I’m picking the side that is against 2013. I’m not sure what side that is yet, maybe I’ll have to make a side myself, but that’s the side I’m picking.

I’m picking the side against my sister having breast cancer. That one is self explanatory.

I’m picking the side against heart problems.

I’m picking the side of puppies and kittens, sun and warmth, ice cream and chocolate, bunnies and chipmunks, oceans and seas, and most definitely any side that keeps my entire family healthy. All of us. That makes us a side too.

I’ve picked my sides.

Have you?

Sometimes Life Throws You Curve Balls

UT Hospital Lobby border=0

Sunday afternoon I got the call I had been dreading for quite a while….

“Hi, it’s mom. We think your daddy had another stroke.”

Pit opened, free fall begin now.

They were at a church potluck. When daddy returned to the table he was carrying the entire pan of brownies from the buffet line and two pieces of cake and Mom knew something wasn’t right. She asked him what he was doing, but he had zoned out like when he had his TIA in November of 2011 and didn’t know what she was saying. My mom went over to a nurse in the room and asked her to come take a look at Daddy. By the time she looked over, Daddy was on his way to his heart stopping and not breathing. Another nurse in the room saw what was happening right as the other started rushing to daddy and they went to work immediately.

The next few hours were an adventure that none of us ever wanted to travel.

Daddy’s heart stopped.

He stopped breathing

CPR was done.

Daddy’s skin turned gray.

He was intubated.

The ambulance came.

He was taken to the local emergency room to be received by an arrogant, incompetent doctor (who will be dealt with at a future time) that acted like my father in fact hadn’t been dead for a few minutes. He wouldn’t listen to my mom…he wouldn’t listen to the paramedics…he wouldn’t listen to the people who were there, that saw what was done. He said nothing was wrong, daddy merely passed out, he never stopped breathing, his heart never stopped. He acted like he hadn’t been intubated or ever in dire straits.

But he did stop breathing, and his heart stopped beating, in a room full of witnesses with two nurses who immediately went to work.

Mom told the doctor she wanted him sent to UT hospital. His response was that UT was full and refused. When he was actually transferred the nurse told us here they never refused patients.

Monday morning came and we got a new doctor. He looked at daddy’s EKG and told mom right off the bat, “He had a heart attack. There’s no way you can look at this and not see that. We’re going to transfer him to UT. We can’t care for this here.”

Monday morning I drove down to Tennessee not knowing what would await me when I got there, but I was determined to get to my mom. At the same time, this week was my sister’s last big chemo treatment and I had planned to be with her to help out. She and I talked about it and decided she had enough friends that could help her if needed and that I needed to go ahead and come help my mom. So I did.

It is 547 miles from my house to my parents. I left at 7:45 Monday morning and got to their house at 4:30 that afternoon.

Sometimes life throws you curve balls and you have to catch them whether you want to or not. 2013 started out on January 2nd throwing us the first major curve ball of my sister’s breast cancer diagnosis. Then we got to move. Now daddy’s having heart problems.

I’m not so fond of 2013 I must say. How about you?

Still

Home Sweet Home

We’re moving.

Still.

It’s been three weeks and even with all the stuff we’ve gotten rid of, and hiring some moving guys, we’re moving crap.

Still.

I teased Jamison the last time we moved and told him if we were moving again he’d have to have get people to come in and have everything packed, moved and cleaned. Granted we did have some moving help, both the hired guys and some very wonderful friends, and the cleaning service is going to clean the other house, but I’m exhausted. I started packing and going through stuff more than 2 months ago. So in moving math that’s almost 3 months of moving.

Moving.

Still.

This time I’m not so much joking…if we move again there will be complete packing and moving service. Heck, I might even have them unpack on the other end. If we move again. And quite frankly folks, that’s a big IF as far as I am concerned, because did I mention we’re moving?

Still.

I finally got to cook a meal in this house on Monday. I had baked Jamison his gluten free peanut butter muffins he eats for breakfast, but we’ve been shuffling back and forth between this house and the old one when he gets off work a lot, and considering he doesn’t get home until 7, there hasn’t been a whole lot of cooking.

I even went wild yesterday and baked banana bread. I swear the banana’s made me do it…they kept whispering, “We’re perfect for banana bread!” and “You really should make some banana bread!” How could I not listen?

On top of all of this I’ve fallen behind in school because there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done, because…you guess it…we’re moving.

Still.

But all in all I love the new house. I love my view. I love that my desk is set up to look out over the water. It’s calming to me. Alexis loves it too. Having a lake in the backyard is a novelty that isn’t fading with her. She’s a water child, just like me.

With all of the boxes still here and there, and the unpacked things, and the general chaos, I have moments of complete despair. I don’t function well when things aren’t ordered, and I can’t get it ordered fast enough. We’ll return to regularly scheduled programming soon. I have to find my kitchen in all the boxes and moving minutia. Despite all of that though, I really do love it here.

Still.

Pardon the Prolonged Absence

New House

Pardon the prolonged absence…we’re in the process of moving and I haven’t had time to sit down, let alone blog. Believe me this process seems as if it takes a billion and two years, instead of just a few weeks or months. The clutter and chaos that are synonymous with a move are really wearing on me. I don’t like disorder, it makes me grumpy and nervous.

Anyway…that’s neither here nor there. Where we we?

We’re moving from one mountain, over to another, this time with a lake in our backyard. I’ve always wanted to live next to a lake (or an ocean) as I really am a water girl at heart, so this is a huge thing for me. I’m beyond excited.

The house we’re moving to is much smaller than the one we are in now, but it has an open, old world cottage feel to the house, and it’s just perfect. It also gave us the perfect, much needed, excuse to evaluate what we had, what we actually need, and what we could get rid of. Goodwill has loved us the past few weeks, the things that weren’t worth keeping were handled by renting a large dumpster. I’m really looking forward to a much smaller, less cluttered existence, and of course a lake in our backyard!

New House: Lake in the backyard

I’ll be back soon with recipes, or food in general, I’m not sure, but soon. Jamison and I have also been discussing a complete revamp of Dianne’s Dishes, so we’ll see what the future holds. Until then, I wish you all hope and light.

Did I mention the lake?

New House: Lake in the backyard

I see a canoe in my near future. I might just have one all picked out on my Amazon Wishlist. Maybe, just maybe. 😉

Cancer Comes to Visit

Cancer Comes to Visit: How My Sister's Breast Cancer Diagnosis Has Renewed My Passion For Real, Whole Foods

My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer on January 2nd and it wasn’t a happy new year and over all this definitely isn’t the way you want to start out any year, especially the one that is unfolding before you. 2013? So far I’m not impressed with you! My sister will spend this year fighting mutant cells at the age of 37. She did everything right, yet it just goes to show that sometimes doing the right things doesn’t seem to matter, or in layman’s terms cancer is a bitch. Our environment, our processed foods, it’s all contaminated and a big change is needed, even if it means corporate food comes tumbling down.

Since Katherine’s diagnosis I’ve been doing a lot of research on the healing powers of food. I’m a food blogger; I love food; food is what I am good at; so why not see what food can do for us? It gives me something to obsess about and keep the negative ideas that want to pop into my head at bay. All of us at some point have most likely heard the term “superfood” and I wondered if there was anything to these ideas. If you think about it, it makes sense, the more colorful, less processed, more whole the food is, the better that food is for you. It isn’t difficult to comprehend; in fact it’s really a part of our primal intuition and intuition is rarely wrong.

While looking in to the healing properties of food you come across all sorts of interesting things. For instance there are various foods that can help in homeopathic ways; artichokes can help calm your aching stomach, dandelion greens help both mood and liver function, components of eggplants actually consume free radicals, sweet potatoes have anti-inflammatory properties, chard helps vision, watermelon helps with weight loss and pumpkin seeds can help lower cholesterol, just to name a few. I’d much rather go natural instead of chemical, it just makes better sense.

But what about the foods that help with cancer?

Broccoli and broccoli rabe have compounds that have been shown to neutralize carcinogens. The sometimes hated Brussels sprouts can too. Cabbage in particular, both red and green, helps in terms of breast cancer, the one that is particularly of interest to us at the moment. Carrots also have some anti-cancer properties, as do all the leafy greens, the darker the green the better, horseradish has components that actually have been shown to slow the growth of cancer, mushrooms, particularly the Shitake variety in particular, are powerful in the fight against cancer and this is just the tip of the iceberg and doesn’t even begin to touch on herbs, roots and spices.

As time passes we’ve replaced whole, real foods, with crappy processed foods that are more chemical, than actual food. You can even find organic processed foods, which completely defeats the purpose. There is this erroneous idea that eating real, whole foods is more expensive than eating the crap that lines our store shelves and it isn’t; it’s actually cheaper, but big agriculture doesn’t want you to know that because their crops (mostly corn and soy, and increasingly GMO varieties at that) are what is taken and made into those processed products that kill us from the inside out. Is it easier to eat processed food? In some cases yes, but easy doesn’t make it the proper path, plus there is also a preconceived notion that cooking is hard. It’s not.

But what to do?

First buy the least processed things you can. If you just have to buy a processed food look for ones that have ingredients you can pronounce and recognize at first site. If there are chemicals in the food, you know you want to avoid that. Fruit and vegetables are your friends, especially if they’re fresh and local, and organic, fresh and local is even better. Fresh and local are your friends. Organic is too. Some people say there is no difference, but take a look in to biomagnification and you’ll see that is anything but true…in short if you put pesticide on your food, it stays there. If you put it on food that is given to animals, it ends up in their products. It’s that little word known as science that sadly so many people these days seem to shun. Also the fresher the food, the more nutritious it is. Avoid farm raised fish, find a local source for as much of your food as possible, kick those chemicals to the curb, sodas need to go, green tea is a miracle and apples really can help keep the doctor away!

Cancer sucks. You know that, I know that. But you take the hits as they come and you come out swinging. As my sister takes this horrid journey, and we her loved ones come along by proxy, I hope to learn more about the healing power of food and going backward in food history and eating real food instead of crap is but a stone on the path, a path we’ll come to the end of and move on to a happier, brigther tomorrow…together.

Cross posted at Daffodil Lane.

Time Marches On

Time marches on.

No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, time does what time does and that means moving always forward, never backward.

You can’t stop it, you can’t slow it down, you can’t do anything but move with it, and sometimes this is easier said than done.

On Thursday I will turn 39. I’ve always prided myself in embracing my age and gracefully accepting the fact that I am what I am, but I have to admit I’m not too happy to see 39…she’s a little too close to 40 for my taste.

How is it possible I’m on the doorstep of 40? I remember turning 21 and it seems like yesterday that my roommate at the time took me to a liquor store so I could buy my first bottle of rum. Turning 25 seems like mere minutes before. Turning 30 seemed like it was just moments ago and turning 35 was nanoseconds before now. Alexis was born when I was 29…In June she’ll turn 10. Where in the hell did all this time go?

So to be honest all this is just making me snarky. I’ve been snarky all week, and I plan on being snarky right up to the instant I turn 39 and then I’ll gracefully accept the change and move on, because as Alexis told me, “it’s the circle of life” and I just needed “to get on with it already”! She’s a smart one my girl, an old soul trapped in a nine year old body, and she speaks logic on a regular basis. And as straight forward as that all seems it also has me thinking…

Two years ago I finished up my first novel. I’ve got story after story started that I need to finish, but this story hit me and kept at me until I got it all down on paper. I let Darlene read it as I went along and she encouraged me every step of the way; Jamison’s mom read it and enjoyed the story; and my dear friend and tattoo buddy Leann read it and was on board too. I wrote it, but despite that blaring flaw, it’s actually a good story. I promise. It’s called Different Dishes: A Life Undiscovered and here’s the general idea:

Have you ever felt lost?

As Emma Morgan sits on her front porch in the middle of the night on her 39th birthday she knows that something has to change. She doesn’t know what she is looking for, but she knew it wasn’t this. She never expected to still be sitting on the side of the mountain she grew up on so many years later, never having traveled and seen the world as she expected. She wasn’t living life, she was simply existing.

She had left her dreams behind when she married her husband Michael, with whom she was now having a lot of problems. Emma had made his dreams a reality, while she shoved her own to the back burner as women often do. Michael had wanted a staid life without excitement and adventure, while Emma dreamed of traveling and seeing the world. Emma was certain her life would always have a spark. That spark was lacking.

On the doorstep of 40, sparked by her realization that her life was not what she wanted it to be, after years of doing what is expected of her, Emma decides to stage her own little rebellion to find out what she is missing. With the help of her best friend Delia Drake, her substitute grandfather Henry McClellan, her sons Jackson and Christian, her photo blog and friends she makes along the way, she begins a journey that she never thought she would travel. Emma starts doing things she has always wanted to do and one of the first things she does is make an overdue trip to see Delia in California.

With her instant friendship with a very British William Halstrom, who saves her from a delusional stalker in an airport after an unexpected layover in Colorado on her way back from seeing Delia, her life begins to shift. William gives her the opportunity to travel and take pictures as she has always wanted to do. Along the way William not only is her friend, but when her marriage to Michael ends with his admission he has been having an affair with a woman in Portland, the relationship between Emma and William begins to change. They are finally free to explore feelings that are no longer forbidden. But will it last?

A mystery sends William back to London and Emma is crushed. She decides to travel to Ireland where she immediately feels at peace. She meets people during her journey that help to shape her new views on life. While part of her heart is breaking, another part is awakened. She decides that sitting around waiting for William to explain his absence is not in her best interest. As she meets new people, and loses some of those close to her along the way, she learns that in order to enjoy life you have to simply go out and take chances.

How does William’s seeming betrayal turn Emma’s journey upside down? When William comes back and explains why he left will she forgive him? Should she listen to her heart or should she run away?

So what’s that got to do with me?

First off Different Dishes will be coming to a Kindle/E-reader near you in the near future. This story is supposed to be out there, I feel it in the marrow of my bones, so I’m releasing it myself. I’ll tell you more about that as it comes along, including specifics and my new writing webpage and such, but it should be in the next few weeks and it would be a fun Christmas present for that woman in your life who is looking for her own path. (Hint. Hint. Wink. Wink. Nudge.)

Anyways….

There’s a lot of me in Emma, or maybe a lot Emma in me, like the parts about not being where I thought I’d be and being disappointed in some of the turns in my life and I myself am hitting 39 in a few days so here’s what’s going to change…

There’s going to be a lot more doing, and a lot less thinking about doing in my life. You only live once…I’m tired of sitting around waiting for things to happen, so I’m going to make them happen!

I’m putting out my novel. I’m traveling to Ireland before I turn 40 and I’m taking Darlene and Alexis with me (and maybe Leann too if I can convince her!) I’m going to finish up my Master’s degree and then I’m going to go wild and get a PHd just because I can. I’m going to get Botox on my forehead because I want to. I’m going to bury my toes in the sand more often and have a few more mai tais while I’m there. There will be more manicures and pedicures, more girl’s nights out, more everyday adventures and less everyday doldrums. I’m going to kick depression’s ass, start swimming more, worrying less, living life. I’m going to enjoy the world and stop watching it pass me by. They say art imitates life, well in this case, life is going to imitate art! Emma has nothing on me!

So all of that to say…

Watch out world…I’m coming…and you’ll never know what hit you!

Originally posted on Daffodil Lane.

I’m Pretty Sure I Know How to Spell My Own Name

“I was looking for you on Facebook and I couldn’t find you.”

“That’s weird.”

“Then I realized you spelled your name wrong.”

“My name isn’t spelled incorrectly on Facebook.”

“Yes it is, it’s spelled ‘D*i*a*n*n*e’ instead of ‘D*i*a*n*e’.”

“That’s because my name IS spelled ‘D*i*a*n*n*e’!”

“It is? Are you sure?”

“Perfectly sure. I have been spelling it now for 30 plus years.”

People really are idiots!