To Swim or Not to Swim

This summer, I was going to go swimming, whether my husband wanted to go or not. Since my town has two pools, and it wasn’t a weekend, I figured it wouldn’t be too crowded. He still said, “Have fun and be back by three-thirty, so I can drink afternoon coffee with my friends at McDonald’s.

Swimsuit, – check, flip-flops, – check, two towels (one to keep car seat dry when I drove back), check, Kindle with books to read, – check, and driver’s license to prove I lived in the town, – check. I was ready.

I parked under the shade of a tree, well the front of the car was shaded, but I later regretted parking so far to walk back.

After shedding my bag and flip-flops by a lounge chair, I walked on very hot cement (It was supposed to reach 106 today and probably did.) and grasped the railing at the side of the pool opposite the diving board. The pool was twelve feet deep everywhere with no steps to walk down. Oh, well. I’ll jump. When I hesitated, the lifeguard looked at me kind of funny, but didn’t say anything. I jumped in and got a noseful of water. I swam to the side and rested until I could breath easily again.

When I began to swim, a lady walked over. “You’re not supposed to swim in this pool. It’s only for divers.” She pointed to the winding five-foot-wide channel full of kids in giant plastic inner tubes, all moving in the same direction.

Ready to swim

Circling channel pool

 

 

 

 

It was only three and a half feet deep. I could swim in that depth. After hurrying across the hot concrete again, I found steps and descended. When there was enough space in front to swim, I started doing the breast-stroke in earnest, but couldn’t go anywhere. Then I realized there was a current, and I was trying to swim in the opposite direction. I turned around and tried again. Periodically, I had to stop swimming so I wouldn’t bump into kids.

I’d swum for awhile when I realized I’d forgotten to put on sunscreen. I ran back across the burning concrete and plopped on the lounge chair. I slathered on sunscreen and ran back over the burning concrete again to the circling channel.

I swam some more and braved the hot concrete to reach the lounge chair. My feet still hurt, but when I stuck out my legs, the metal on the edge of the woven chair burned my legs. I made a quick grab for a towel to put under them. I chatted with the couple sitting next to me, who were there with their grandson. After pulling out my Kindle, I read while I waited to dry off enough to get back in my car.

It was a long trudge back to the car in the hot sun, and my feet still hurt from walking on the hot concrete, but I felt refreshed. Maybe next time I’ll try the city’s other pool. I hope it’s still the standard type it was the last time I was there, because I really want to swim more than I want to float on an inner tube or sit in the sun.

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Making Ice Cream

I had almost as much fun as the kids I helped tutor at Hurst Village Library, a tutoring program sponsored by Mission Central. We made ice cream. Each kid held up a pint Ziploc bag for us to pour in the ingredients: 1 cup half & half, 2 Tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Then they sealed the bag and put it into a quart-size bag with 1/2 cup rock salt and half full of ice, then sealed the bigger bag. For five to ten minutes they shook the bag vigorously. The director, Lola Nelson-Spay, played music for them to dance to. One kid got so carried away, he handed his bag to a volunteer to shake while he danced with arms and legs gyrating in the air. Then the director asked if I wanted to make some, and of course, I did. It tasted delicious.

 

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SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK AND A RECIPE

Shakespeare in the Park is one of my favorite things to do in June and July. My husband and I decided to see The Comedy of Errors about separated twin boys and the confusion they caused. I baked my favorite Mint-Frosted Brownie recipe and fried some chicken. Wary of current construction, we started off early, bought some potato salad at Albertsons grocery store, and drove from Hurst to the other side of Dallas to the outdoor theater in Tenison Park.

Everything went fine, we got there early, and they let us in even though we were not subscribed members. We’d brought a ten-dollar donation for each of us but were lucky to get a senior citizen discount for seven instead. We enjoyed our fried chicken and potato salad. I was eating my second scrumptious brownie when they announced the play was Taming of a Shrew, which has been adapted into a movie called Kiss Me, Kate. We’d already seen the play, but we’d driven all the way here and didn’t want to skip a show, so we stayed.

We watched Kate stomp and beg when her new husband took away her food, insisting it wasn’t good enough for her to eat. She adored the new dress her husband had made for her, but he refused to give it to her, saying it wasn’t good enough for her.

When they argued whether it was the sun or the moon that was shining, she finally decided to agree to call it whatever he said it was.

Then he boasted to his friends that his wife would do anything he asked. Each called his wife, but all were ignored except Kate’s husband, Petruchio. When he called, she came right away, so he smiled and said, “Kiss, me, Kate,” which she did.

Now our plan is to see The Comedy of Errors, on Tuesday night, so even though we’re starting a diet this week, I’ll cook fried chicken and make Mint-frosted Brownies again.

I took a picture of the set but wasn’t allowed to take photos of the players in action—Equity Rules, they told me.

 

 

For fried chicken, I used the following recipe.

1/3 cup Unseasoned Breadcrumbs
1 tsp. Lowry’s Seasoned Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
3 Tbs. Grated Parmesan Cheese
Canola Oil, enough to cover bottom of pan
4-6 pieces of chicken legs and thighs

Directions

Mix first four crumb ingredients. Coat chicken in crumbs, brown on both sides in heated oil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook until done, about ten minutes. If one side gets too brown. Turn it over. I use a deep pan, which doesn’t leave much splatter.

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Flying High

While Tutoring in the Summer School Program sponsored by Mission Central in Hurst, Texas, I got to help kids make rockets, using two-liter bottles, cardboard box pieces for fins, and a lot of colorful, wide tape. Yesterday, the kids waited excitedly in the hot sun as another tutor, Donald Culberson, shown below, filled them half full of water and set them up to take off. One flew to the top of a tree, another landed on a roof, still another flew 50 yards away to crash into a wall.

DSCN1306_1180

Afterward, I helped a nine-year-old girl from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who spoke French and English, read about the history of the first fourth of July. I showed her on a map where the thirteen colonies were and where the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. Of course, I had to show her where the DRC was also.

Tonight, I will fry chicken and bake brownies to take for a picnic supper when my husband and I go to see The Comedy of Errors at Shakespeare in the Park in Dallas. The brownie recipe that follows is the one used by Heather McKinley in Romancing the Doctor.

Carolyn Rae’s Mint Frosted Brownies
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
½ cup margarine (1 stick, softened)
¾ cup cocoa (or 4 squares baking chocolate)
1 cup flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
16 chocolate covered peppermint patties

Beat eggs until thick and foamy. Add sugar about 2 Tbs. at a time, and continue beating until all sugar is beaten in. Add softened margarine. (You can soften margarine with beaters, but don’t do it before you beat the eggs, because the eggs won’t rise as much with margarine on the beaters.) Sift in flour and cocoa. (If you use baking chocolate, melt over medium heat with the margarine and add before the flour.) Add vanilla and nuts and mix well. Pour into a greased 11X 8 or 9 x 9 pan and bake 40 minutes at 325 degrees. When done spread 15 or 16 peppermint patties on top and return to oven for about 3 minutes. Remove from oven and spread patties around to cover top. Cool and cut in 16 squares.

Anyone interested in buying my novel, The Royals of Monterra: Holiday with a Prince can order it until July 15th. After that, Amazon will cease publishing Kindle World books.

Until then, I will be busy writing the sequel to Romancing the Doctor, called Romancing the Vet. The doctor’s brother, Thomas, will help a woman rescue a retired racing greyhound and flee drug lords who sewed drugs into the dog’s abdomen.

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Diet – It’s an ugly word

Sure, it’s tied in with getting and staying healthy, but it makes you feel restrained. In a country where most people have access to all the food they want, it’s hard to think about limiting yourself.
Several times a week, I try to be content with eating soup without crackers and cheese, but I haven’t been able to make it a habit. Then there’s the low-carb diet, which supposedly lets me eat all I want, as long as I severely limit my carbs. And I do love bread, and desserts of all kinds. Luckily, strawberries and sometimes blueberries and blackberries are plentiful, reasonable in cost, and good for you. With a little Cool Whip, berries make a healthy, low carb dessert.
My husband has admitted his pants are getting tight, and he should lose weight. If a doctor tells him that, he is likely to change doctors, even though he is overweight. So, I try to serve only low-carb vegetables, but I get tired of the ten we both like. And then there’s a sale on Blue Bell Ice cream, which he dearly loves. Since he has a low-functioning heart and may not live many more years, do I want to deprive him of small joys?
Unfortunately, snacks add calories to those of healthy meals. Somehow, an apple doesn’t seem very satisfying. I’ve read nuts are better snacks, so I keep some mixed nuts on hand to discourage us from eating graham crackers and Ritz crackers. (Luckily, they are not as tasty as cookies, so we are not tempted to eat more at one time.)
But then I read a report from Dr. Rand McClain from LCR Health stating the best nuts are Macadamia (which are expensive) and Almonds, but Cashews are not so good because they have anti-nutrient compounds. His sources are the science departments of the University of Memphis, Florida State University, and University of Toyama.
Even then, it’s not wise to eat too many nuts because they are high in fat and calories and some kinds may cause digestive problems. And while exercise helps, it all boils down to eating less carbs and less calories, because studies show people who eat less calories live longer.

Here’s a recipe for Apple Whiz – a quick low-calorie dessert:
1 Apple
Mixture of Cinnamon and sugar or Sweet ‘n Low
Cut the apple in quarters and remove seeds and tough parts around them. Slice thin (about 1/8th to 5/16th inches thick). Spread on a plate and sprinkle with the cinnamon mixture. Microwave for 2-3 minutes and serve with toothpicks. Serves two.
Recipe from There Is Life After Lettuce by Pepper Durcholz, Alberta Gentry, and Carolyn Williamson

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Amazon Plans to stop publishing Kindle World Novels

With Kindle Worlds, I have enjoyed writing some novels as part of other writers’ story worlds. In July Amazon plans to stop publishing Kindle World novels. However, they will still be available in June. You can obtain any of my three Kindle World Books on Amazon.

The Royals of Monterra: Holiday with a Prince is one of my novels set in the imaginary kingdom of Monterra. Mario Fiorelli is the king’s nephew and a star player for Monterra’s soccer team. When he encounters a distraught traveler, who has arrived after the gate to board has been shut, he uses his influence to get them to open the gate and get her and her friend a first-class seat on the plane. She is bowled over by his attention but can’t hope to compete with all the beauties he must date.
She is thrilled to accompany him in his private plane to fly to visit Mt. Etna where they narrowly escape being threatened by an eruption. He takes her to visit the pyramids, but when he flies her to Florence to see the Uffizi, the famous art museum, his plane crashes. She spends the night sleeping next to him in a cave but stays aloof because he says he’s decided to marry a former girlfriend.

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Royal Wedding Cake still available in June

Another of my Kindle World Books is Royal Wedding Cake. Reporter Danielle Dawson is excited to cover the wedding of Monterra’s Prince Dominic II and his bride Kat MacTaggart. She enjoys meeting the royal family and especially his handsome cousin, Prince Armando Fiorelli. However, after a bomb derails the reception and two of the princesses are kidnapped, she helps Armando find them, but will the dashing Armando ever consider settling for one woman?<a

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