Some Days . . .

5d1ba6d8fa2caa94abc305977d65de16It doesn’t pay to get out of bed. Only I had one of those weeks. You ever have one of those weeks where nothing goes right? Where everything you touch turns to $h!t? Where it seems the very forces of the universe have you in their sights, and they don’t like what they see?

That was my week last week. I felt as if a black cloud was hanging over my head like the cartoon character Joe Btfsplk in Al Capp’s Li’l Abner comic strip.

One particular day, Thursday to be exact, my day-job had succeeded in beating me into submission, and at the end of that day I dragged my poor, battered body and my mushy, wasted brain out to the parking garage to finally go home. And wouldn’t you know it — my four-month old car wouldn’t start. I wanted to lay my head on the steering wheel and cry, but frankly, without my AC, it was just too damn hot to wallow in self-pity. After several phone calls, the obligatory hold-time waiting for my roadside assistance program’s “next available customer service representative,” and the wait-time for the tow truck, I finally reached the solitude of my home three hours later (without my car).

The next day, I figured I’d already walked through the fire that was my craptastic day the day before, Friday had to be better, right? Wrong. Thinking the previous day’s beating wasn’t enough, my day-job took up where it had left off and continued to hammer me. In the midst of my nightmare, my husband called to say our non-profit website was down — what should we do? Um, cry? Because that’s what I felt like doing. At that point, I’d raised the white flag. I surrendered. The Force had won.

By Friday night, all I was capable of when I got home was staring at the TV. I’m not even sure it was on. I lost millions of brain cells I’ll never get back. I can’t remember going to bed. I just know I woke up there the next morning. Thank God, that week ended. And so far (let me knock on wood), this week has been better. But there’s still two days left.

How about you? You have any days or weeks like that lately?

 

 

Happy Stories

With all the bad news in the world, from the terror group ISIS and their exploitation of religion to justify their brutality, to the Russian-but-not-Russian invasion of Ukraine, to the never-ending unrest between Hamas and Israel, sometimes I just want to hunker down in my house and bury my head under my pillow.

But there are happy stories out there. Stories that reaffirm my belief in humanity.

Take the story of Ryan Holcomb, a teenager with Down’s Syndrome, who believed thathappy-face-9 just like all of his friends who were graduating from high school and heading off to college, he would be too. And he’d decided that college would be Clemson. Turns out Clemson, as well as some other colleges and universities, has a program for people with intellectual disabilities, and while it is highly competitive to get in, Ryan made it. Watching the video of him reading his acceptance letter made me cry.

Then there’s the story of Michael Brannigan, a teenager with autism who loves to run. He’s so good, more than 200 colleges, many Division One schools, have contacted him about joining their running programs.  His dream doesn’t end there. He hopes to be an Olympic athlete one day.

Or how about the story of Jacen Troxell, whose father is a police officer. He wanted to do something to protect his dad and other polices officers in Indianapolis, so he raised $13,000 for special plates that fit into standard bulletproof vests. The plates will protect the officers from high powered rifles, something that standard Kevlar vest can’t do.

These stories made me cry, but they’re happy tears, not tears of anger and frustration over senseless violence and death. Happy stories are out there, but more often than not, they get drowned out by the noise of all the bad stories. You just have to pay attention to the happy ones. Do you have some happy stories to share?

Dreams of Perfection Release Day

DreamsofPerfection5050It’s release day for Dreams of Perfection, Book #1 in the Dreams Come True Series! Yay! In honor of this momentous occasion (it’s momentous to me anyway) I’m offering a recipe.

But first, a little something about Dreams of Perfection.

What if perfection isn’t truly perfect?

Best-selling romance writer, Darcy Butler, is holding out for perfection in the form of her own carefully-crafted heroes. Once blissfully engaged to be married, Darcy’s post-traumatic commitment phobia is depriving her of the very thing she wants most: her very own happily-ever-after. Now, here she is just six months shy of her thirtieth birthday, and not a Prince Charming in sight.

Successful lawyer, Josh Ryan, is the boy-next-door with a soft spot for the less fortunate, and Darcy’s best friend without benefits. Darcy often comes to him lamenting her love-life, or the lack thereof, whereupon Josh patiently doles out his sage advice. Problem is Josh is in love with Darcy.

But when Darcy finds herself looking into the handsome face of the man who graces the cover of her soon-to-be-released novel, she’s convinced her dreams of perfection have come true. Or have they?

Dreams of Perfection is available now on Kindle.

And now for the recipe. Darcy’s world famous Gourmet Pigs in a Blanket! Enjoy!

Darcy’s Gourmet Pigs in a Blanket

Ingredients:

  • 8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 Italian sausages of your choice (spicy or sweet)
  • 4 tbs. Mayonnaise
  • 4 tbs. Sour Cream
  • 4 tsp. Chopped Parsley
  • 4 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tsp. White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Red Pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

abc_Pigs_in_a_Blanket_rocco_100302_mainLay one sheet of phyllo on a work surface (cover the remaining phyllo with a slightly damp kitchen towel to keep it from drying out). Spray the phyllo sheet generously with cooking spray. Top with another sheet of phyllo. Spray the second sheet of phyllo with cooking spray. Cut the phyllo stack lengthwise into three strips (each strip should measure about 3×9 inches).

Place one piece of hot dog at the end of each strip. Fold the sides of the phyllo in to overlap the edges of the hot dog pieces. Roll the hot dogs up tightly to encase them in phyllo. Place the rolled hot dogs, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet.

Repeat the process with the remaining hot dogs and phyllo. When all of the hot-dog packages have been assembled, spray them lightly with cooking spray, and bake until they are golden brown and crispy, about 16 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise through the ground red pepper, and refrigerate for one hour before serving.

Serve the pigs in a blanket with the spicy mustard sauce for dipping. Yum!