Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year

I love Christmas but I also love the fresh start of a new year. Yesterday I put a few decorations away and reclaimed my kitchen table from elves, cherubs and holly. Still I have 2 trees up, a Christmas village and a twenty-year collection of Santas.

In another week I will lovingly wrap up all these decorations and clean house. I'm looking forward to 2009 and wishing you all peace, joy, good books to read and a few to write.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Well, did y'all have a good Christmas? Santa bring you everything you wanted? Eat so much you have to let your pants out? I can't complain. I didn't over eat this year though, because I didn't cook at my house. Guess what, it makes a difference! LOL I did miss the left overs. Turkey salad sandwiches and turkey noodle soup. I did manage to bring home some pecan pie. Oh and, for the first time in my life I tried sweet potato pie. Wow, it's so much better than pumpkin.

I received this picture of my granddaughter in my Christmas stocking. The girls and I did our thing on the 23rd. We had a great time and just like I said before, they laughed and joked over the first aid kits. I spent a couple nights and of course Alivia had to sleep with grandma. She's a little bed hog but I got even by snoring.

A couple cute stories to share.

My dad smokes and I taught Alivia to do the shame shame thing with her fingers whenever she saw him smoking. The other day my daughter took her shopping and she saw a woman smoking and said shame shame to her. Michelle said she was so embarrassed but the woman just smiled.

Then, the other day we went out to Longhorn's for lunch. Before we left the restaurant I decided to go to the ladies room. We've been training Alivia to go potty on the toilet. Michelle said after I left that Alivia announced, quite loudly, that grandma's going potty on the big potty. So when I came out of the bathroom I got an applause:)

Thought you might enjoy a recent picture of my three little kitties, too. Woofy is the gray tabby, Gin Gin is the calico and Jezebel is the black one. They luv each other:)

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you all.

Christmas Day is so special. I was out early this morning, we have weak sunlight and it is fairly mild so I walked to Church and back again. There is something lovely about Christmas Day, when you are outside the silence wraps itself around you, which is a blessing in itself. Town was very still and peaceful, just the occasional swish of a car passing by.

The lights twinkled at peoples windows and I wondered what was happening inside their homes. Doubtless, the homes that have children are filled with lots of happy cries and the sound of crisp wrapping paper being torn asunder. Then, there are those who will be sad, perhaps shedding a tear in rememberance of a Christmas past when things were better.

I so admire those people who give up their Christmas to look after homeless people, that to me is the true spirit and essence of Christmas. Giving is far more rewarding than receiving after all, which is something we all sometimes forget.

Whatever you are doing, wherever you are Christmas Blessings to you all.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008


With Christmas right around the corner I was just wondering, what's your family tradition? We all have them. Mine is that my daughter, niece and I always get together one night very close to Christmas. We hang out, have dinner and exchange our stockings, which are really large gift bags. Like overgrown kids we sit around the tree and take our turns pulling gifts out. Making a big deal out of the new toothbrush or floss. LOL I can just hear them now, when they pull out those first aid kits.

Of course, there's some good stuff, too. Like the snow baby I get for my daughter every year to add to her collection.

We started this about the time I divorced my first husband. My daughter was being pulled all different ways because she had two sets of grandparents, her dad and me, and Christmas for her was spent trying to make everyone happy. She spent more time on the road trying to divide her time up between us because we all wanted her with us. So, to try and be considerate of that and help ease the stress of what should be a great day we decided to do our thing before Christmas.

My niece has always been like my second daughter so it was only natural she be included.

We've been doing this about 16 years now:)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Busy, busy, busy...

...but it's all good. I imagine a lot of people are scurrying around this week, trying to get all their last-minute holiday bits and pieces done. Me? I'm one of those annoying people who had the gifts made, bought and wrapped weeks ago. Last week's ice storm and its aftermath have kept me from posting all the packages but they're addressed and waiting by the door to go out as soon as we get the chance to head out to the post office. (Something that today's predicted twelve inches of snow isn't going to encourage anytime soon!)

Still, I find myself busier than usual. I've been baking and cleaning, making phone calls to people I don't speak with often enough through the year and answering holiday notes while the inspiration is upon me.

I love this time of year. What about you? How is everything going in your world? I hope you're enjoying your December. Hope you have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Spanish Lies

Hi Everyone, Kathy will not be posting today and so asked me if I wanted to use her spot. I am doing so, as life for us all is pretty hectic at the moment. I am attaching a cover of my latest novel - Spanish Lies and also a blurb.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Remember this Christmas Tree?

Thought y'all might like a trip down memory lane. We had one when I was a kid, something like 40 years ago. Ours was decorated all in red and I can remember how beautiful and different it was. I don't remember how many years we set that tree up before it was replaced with a green tree.

Anyway, Christmas is right around the corner. Are you done with all your shopping? I just finished up this past Friday. Good lord, I spent a small fortune on stocking stuffers. I usually buy the girls, and by girls I mean my daughter and niece, the same stocking stuffers every year. They look forward to body lotions, toothbrushes, purse size hand sanitizers, nail polish and various other personal items. Of course they get candy, the good stuff, and my daughter gets a can of asparagus. She loves the stuff but it's so darn expensive. Gee, it was almost $3 a can this year.

This year I bought my son-in-law a few things for the stocking, too. He loves Red Lobster so I got him a gift card. He gets a jar of olives. I know it's weird but it's our funny tradition. Michelle has received a can of asparagus for Christmas every year for as long as I can remember:)

The girls always get a kick out of the practical gift I usually come up with. One year it was one of those car window breakers for just in case they get into an accident and end up in a lake. They can also use it for cutting the seat belt strap. Then another year I got them something that inflates tires in case they get a flat somewhere, they can at least make it somewhere safe to get it repaired.

This year I bought them first aid kits for their cars. Well...I have a little granddaughter now and my niece commutes back and forth to college every week on the turnpike. You never know when a band aid will come in handy. I also got her Triple A for peace of mind.

I'm not paranoid. I just like to be prepared. Anyway, they'll roll their eyes over the first aid kits and laugh, but it's all in fun. They expect something like that from me:)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Winter in the Northeast

I never post the same thing here as I do on From the Heart but today is an exception. I fear that if I don't post quickly I won't be able to post at all, so please forgive me for the double post.

We are in the middle of a monster storm. Yesterday we had ice and sleet fall all day and through the night. The roads in the county are all closed to anything but emergency vehicles but of course there's always an idiot who decides he "has" to go to work. I just saw one slide sideways past the house. It's ugly out there but also beautiful. Everything is coated in ice and sparkles. If it wasn't so treacherous underfoot I'd go out and shoot some photos but I'm staying inside, and on my feet.

I'd best go and get some work done before the power fails. We are supposed to get a foot of snow on top of the ice and that's going to make everything very interesting.

Hope you are warm and dry, and that you have a wonderful weekend!

Me? I'm going to dig out candles and flashlights, and make a hot cup of tea before it's too late. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Be Careful of Envy

Yesterday we are off to the countryside on one of our jaunts. This one was special because we were having our Christmas lunch at a really swanky hotel. A friend was waiting at the stop for the coach and started to tell me about what she was doing on Friday. She was only flying to the Bahamas, where she was catching a cruise ship, and would spend three weeks cruising the Carribbean. Was I green with envy? Do dogs have tails?

It has been 4 below here, we have had ice on the pavements, unusual for I live by the sea, frost on sand is not a pretty sight, I don't care what anyone says. I am a sun person, why I am in this freezing hole, I mutinously thought, all the while smiling at my friend, but I was honest to admit to her that I was jealous.

On the walk through frost laden fields, over stiles and by the river, even the bright sunlight making the countryside sparkle did not lift my mood. I was so resentful that I have to be here. Laughing and joking with my friends, but it would not go away,it lay there at the pit of me in an unpleasant lump.

We struck out on the pavement and someone at the back slipped and fell really hard. We all rushed to see if we could help. It was my friend who was off to the Bahamas, she went down really hard, and with that all my envy dissipated into pity and worry that she would have to cancel. I really mean that, I felt so mean that I had envied my friend and now she had had an accident.

We walk home together, so I was able to ascertain that she was all right. Very shook up, as you are when that happens, and her wrist hurt but it was not broken. She looked as sparkly eyed as always - this lady is 71 and looks 50 without any help of a surgeon's knife! She assured me she was okay and I went into my home.

It was lovely and warm, Eddie was curled up on John's knee, I had been with friends and felt very fit from the walk. I was lucky. My cruising friend would go home, have to put on her heating and as a widow, look out for herself. I did not realise just how lucky I am.

Still...three weeks in the sun would be....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Notice to Pets

The following was found posted very low on a refrigerator door.

Dear Dogs and Cats: The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort, however. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, s tretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years - canine/feline attendance is not required.

The proper order for kissing is: Kiss me first, then go check out the other dog's or cat's you-know-what. I cannot stress this enough.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A friend sent me a picture the other day and it reminded me of when I was first introduced to a computer. I didn't post it here in case someone found it offensive. It's a cartoon and posted on my blog if you care to look.

It's only been ten years since I put my hands on a computer for the very first time. I was terrified! Sure I would do something to make it blow up or something. People, or co-workers I should say, got a good laugh at my expense every time I was introduced to something new about it. And I hated the computer classes I was signed up for because I always felt so frustrated and inadequate.

The first thing I had challenges with was the mouse and learning how to control the cursor. It seemed to have a mind of its own and trying to zero it in on what I wanted to click on was nearly impossible. But alas, I mastered the technique fairly early on.

Then challenges came with the mouse pad. It wasn't big enough. The mouse would be at the very edge of the pad but the cursor wasn't any where near I wanted it so I would have to pick up the mouse pad and move it beyond the mouse. One morning I came in to work and a co-worker, so called friend put his desk calendar, the kind that covers most of your desk, under my mouse and wrote Debbie's mouse pad on it. Ha! Ha!

Now let's move on to the CD player. Did you know that it works perfectly as a cup holder? Try it. At first I didn't know that's where you insert those little records. But wow, now it provides two services so you really get your monies worth.

Speaking of money, why are computers so expensive when they're only good for a few short years before they become slow and outdated? I'm on my second desk top and first lap top, which by the way, is the way to go. I doubt I'll ever buy another desk top.

I've learned a lot over the years and can't imagine not having a computer in my life. For sure I wouldn't be a published author.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday Baking

I bake a lot all year long, but in December I bake an awful lot. My husband enjoys warm-from-the-oven cookies, so I bake up a new batch every few days. Yesterday I made very simple cream cheese cookies, one of his favorites. I thought you might enjoy making them at your house.

Do you bake more frequently during the holidays? If so, do you have a favorite cookie recipe you use? I'm very curious!

Have a great weekend. :)

Cream Cheese Cookies

1 cup butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1½ cups sugar
1 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla
½ t. almond extract
1 egg
3½ cups flour
Beat butter and cream cheese
with an electric mixer until well blended.
Add sugar, baking powder,
vanilla and almond extract and continue mixing.
Add egg and flour.
Chill dough for 2 hours.

Roll dough to desired thickness
and cut with cookie cutters.
Place on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake in 375-degree oven for 10 minutes.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Substitute Bride - Review

Five Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies, www.romancejunkies.com

"Margaret Blake's novel The Substitute Bride brings a unique flair to historical storylines that readers will relish. Bess and Edward don't exactly seem like an ideal couple at first, but it soon becomes obvious that they balance each other out perfectly. Bess's naivety and inner strength in the face of Edward's stringent attitude provide plenty of memorable scenes to keep you imersed in the story. I really empathised with Bess as she agonised over what Edward's reaction would be if he were ever to find out about the deception. Now if you're wondering about Beth's sister's real story, well you'll just have to pick up a copy to find out the story behind her "fear" of marriage.

"At her older sisters insistence Elizabeth Mary agrees to take her sister's place as the Substitute Bride for Lord Hinchcliffe;. He's never seen either of the sisters so he wouldn't know he's being deceived. Lord help them all if he finds out because Edward abhors liars above all else!"

Chrissy Dionne - Romance Junkies.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


For the first time in years I'm not writing nor do I have big project in mind. I'm at a juncture and taking a break to read, read, read. Every ten years or so I have to step back and decide where I'm going with my own work.

It's frightening to not be busy but exhalirating as well -- because anything is possible. I'm inspired by writers like Ann Patchett who are so versatile. I just read Bel Canto and The Magician's Apprentice and now I'm switching from her novels to her biography, Truth and Beauty.

Soon I'll be back to work on something and I'm enjoying the process of discovering what that something is.