Newsletter Signup and Books by Carolyn Rae

If you sign up for my newsletter, I’ll send you a free short story, A Hot Time in Dew Drop, Texas. Send your e-mail address to carolynrwilliamson@charter.net and put “want free story” in the subject line. You’ll get updates on my new books and short excerpts from the next one coming out. The next one has excerpts from Romancing the Doctor.
CLICK HERE to browse my books on Amazon.com.

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November in North Texas

Fall is in the air, and so are pumpkins. Below are pictures of pumpkins painted by two students I tutor at the Village Library, part of Mission Central, which serves Hurst, Euless, and Bedford. The first was painted by Daniela, a teenager who celebrated her birthday the day I took the picture. The second was painted by another girl, who writes very well, but has to work at math. After lifting hers, I discovered how heavy it was and volunteered to carry it to her mother’s car.

A boy asked how to make pumpkin pie from the pumpkin he painted. I told him you had to cut off the outer skin, scrape out the seeds and stringy stuff, then cut the pumpkin into pieces and boil them. Then you have to mash it before you can make pie with it. I did it once and decided I prefer to use canned pumpkin.

 

 

 

Today I dressed warmly as there was a nip in the air. From nine to eleven I handed out food to people from Hurst, Euless, and Bedford. We didn’t have many volunteers, so I was handing out huge cabbages, cantaloupes or honeydew melons, spaghetti squash (a foot long and six inches thick), carrots, and bags of potatoes. I tried to bag the carrots, but couldn’t always keep up. Luckily, I had a helper part of the time. The carrots were big too. Some were over a foot long, and others had divided into two or more lower protrusions. I’m sure they would be tricky to peel, but taste good in soup. Below is a picture of me on a warmer day handing out potatoes.

 

A few days ago, I had business at the Hurst police station. Walking out, I saw a little something flopping around on the floor. Imagine my surprise when I looked closer and discovered a baby bat trying to fly.

 

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HALLOWEEN AT DFW WRITER’S WORKSHOP

DFW Writer’s Workshop celebrated Halloween with scary stories, costumes, and a  potluck dinner. We had Darth Vader, the Devil, an angel, and someone in a skeleton T-shirt. Fried chicken, meatballs, potato salad, fruit salad, cupcakes, chocolate brittle with M & Ms, and other goodies filled the table. As they do, every Wednesday at seven o’clock, the writers of scary stories and other stories read out loud for 15 minutes and received 5 minutes of constructive critique. This has helped our members get over 310 books published during the forty years the organization has been in existence.

 

 

 

I read from my work in progress, Romancing the Vet, about a vet who finds drugs sewn into a retired, racing greyhound and his girlfriend, the dog’s owner, who are being chased by the drug dealers.

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TRAVEL MEMORIES AND WRITER’S RETREAT

I took time out to visit my son and his family in Seattle. My granddaughter’s favorite thing is riding horses, so I took a picture of her taking a lesson on an appaloosa horse. She told me she had to learn how to brush a horse and muck out a stall as well.

I also watched her play soccer on a field that looked as big as a football field. That makes for a lot of running as she followed the coach’s instructions to stay with her player from the opposing team. She also got in a few good kicks. Promised a treat at a local frozen yogurt place if they won, the team persevered and trounced the opposition 3 to 1. I joined them in adding nuts and other tidbits from a buffet of things to sprinkle on top. After setting my cup on a scale to have the price figured, I joined the happy team members.

As my son and my grandson played catch, my grandson explained how he signals the pitcher to throw different types of pitches.

My son took me up to top of the Seattle Space Needle. We stood on the revolving glass floor and got a panoramic view of Seattle and Puget Sound with mountains on the opposite shore. Looking down on a building roof, sporting huge spiders, complete with shadows, we argued about whether they were painted or three-dimensional figures, but the shadows were not consistent with the time of day, so they had to be painted.

Down on the ground again, we ate Scottish meat pies. After taking a bottle of strawberry soda to the table, I was appalled to discover it had 74 grams of sugar. I knew I should have chosen water instead, but it was a refreshing accompaniment to my beef pie on a warm day.

Two weeks later, I took a different kind of trip, to a house in the Texas countryside for a writer’s retreat with a dozen other writers. I took part in several writing sprints of twenty minutes and my best total was 555 words, over two pages. During the rainy weekend I managed to crank out thirty pages on my next book, a sequel to Searching for Love. Now comes the hard part, the editing. I’ll let it cool while I finish editing Romancing the Vet.

Below, Sandy, Virginia, and Gina are hard at work writing.

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From the mouth and hands of an artist – beauty and wonder

I visited Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum in Seattle and viewed wonders made by Dale Chihuly, born in nearby Tacoma, Washington. I loved the foot-wide flowers hanging from the glass “greenhouse” that glowed in the sunlight with shades of orange and yellow.

   I marveled at the eight-foot tall sculptures with so many blown pieces in differing shapes. I thought about the artist, standing on a ladder carefully assembling them and marveled at his patience. 

One exhibit, featuring items assembled in boats was inspired by Chihuly’s experiments with glass balls in Nuutajarvi, Finland, where he worked at the famous Hackman Glass Works. He tossed glass balls into a river to see what would happen. After seeing teenagers in rowboats gathering the balls, he made an exhibit with balls of different sizes and colors in a boat. Inspired by fishing boat floats, he called this Niijama Floats.

The other “boat” held glass forms of different sizes, shapes, and colors resembling stems, reflected in the black mirrored surface below. He called that Ikebana after Japanese flower arrangement traditions.

An exhibit of various forms and colors, some resembling swans, longer than my thirty-foot living room filled one whole room. Another room held flowers three feet across in different colors placed six feet high.

Outside, I walked past tall, slim cylinders in blue or red, resembling candles, and a tall yellow green glass bush. Set among natural foliage, it looked like a real plant. I guessed it was from ten to fifteen feet tall.

Not long after my arrival back at DFW Airport, I had an appointment with my oncologist and again saw Chuhuly’s orange and yellow creation at UT Southwestern’s Seay Biomedical Building in Dallas. The sculpture consists of 1,100 hand-blown glass elements, flown from Seattle and assembled in the lobby of the building. And best of all, I have pictures on my camera and my phone and will add three to this article.

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Lunch Disaster

Tired of soup and sandwiches for lunch, I decided to try a new recipe for baked eggs. Since it’s still summer in Texas, I decided I’d use the microwave oven.

The recipe called for chives, parsley, and tarragon. Well, I had parsley, and I thought I had tarragon. I know I’d made a type of Hollandaise sauce with tarragon once, but I couldn’t find any tarragon. Maybe cilantro would do. For chives I substituted paprika to add color. Carefully, I measured out ½ tsp. of each and mixed that in a small bowl.

I put one pat of butter in each little ramekin, but didn’t want to add all the herbs and spice, so I divided half the amount among the four dishes and put them in the microwave for ten seconds to melt the butter.

I managed to crack each egg without breaking the yolk. I sprinkled each dish with pepper, added a tablespoon of milk and sprinkled a tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese over each one. Somewhere I’d read you should break the yolk before microwaving, but with all that stuff on top, I didn’t think it necessary.

The recipe said to bake twelve minutes. I have a 1250-watt microwave, so I set them to cook for half the time and started setting the table. I kept hearing little pops. When I opened the microwave door, I saw bits of herb crusted egg all over the oven and groaned.

To make things worse, the herbs tended to concentrate in spots, making some bites too spicy. I’m glad I hadn’t used all the herbs. My husband, bless his heart, ate his and said, “Please don’t try that again.”

After lunch, I gave that microwave a good cleaning and resolved to try a different egg recipe next time.

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Great Place to Travel

While doing research for Royal Wedding Scoop, I found the Santa Maria Montserrat Abbey, nestled high in a multi-peaked mountain in Catalonia. The nearby caves would be a good place for the kidnappers to hide Princess Patricia’s two sisters.  The abbey is about thirty miles from Barcelona.

I have pictures and memories of visiting the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s marvelous temple in Barcelona, Catalonia.

 

 

 

According to Wikipedia, “Catalonia declared independence on Friday 27th of October 2017.

In pictures I found (Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey)  the view is fantastic when riding cable cars up to the top. There is a trail you can walk. Or you can take the Rack Railway train. The abbey is an active Benedictine monastery, with many rooms to tour, but to visit the museum you need to buy a ticket.

However, you can see the black virgin for free. The statue is carved of wood, and over the years its varnish has turned black from lantern light and candle light. Many people visit it, believing it has miraculous healing power.

 

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Appreciation Is the Key

The slip of paper in my fortune cookie said, “Appreciate the caring people who surround you.” Little did I know that advice would be brought to my attention four days later.

Waiting my turn at the doctor’s office, I perused the magazines. The headline on Time magazine said, “Hate in America,” and the one on Family Circle said, “Feel the Love.” The choice was easy.

The article, Five Ways to Improve Your Marriage, by Andrea Syrtash caught my eye. The ideas presented could enrich any close relationship, so I took note of them.

The first was to take a positive inventory of what I appreciated about my partner. The second was to mention one of those to him. I thought of the compliments he’d made to me. Had I said enough to show how I appreciated him?

Then the article encouraged me to visualize what a good relationship looked like by writing down adjectives like caring, appreciative, helpful, laughing with me, and humoring my idiosyncrasies.

The fourth recommendation said to touch each other more. Apparently, that releases oxytocin, which is often called the “cuddle hormone.”

The fifth and last suggestion was also important. Get over the idea of perfection. Well, I’m not perfect. Why should I expect my partner to be? Hoping for him to change into someone I would consider perfect is not going to happen, so why even think about it? That frees me to be happy and content with who he is and appreciate his good points.

Here we are celebrating the publication of 

Searching for Love with a glass of wine.

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