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Math—who needs it?

I saw a guy wearing this T-shirt, and I laughed. I’m definitely in the latter category, as anyone who has seen me pull out the calculator to do a simple raincheck, will testify.

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I like to think that we are all either math people or word people, but really I’m just trying to make myself feel better. I’m sure many people are good at both. Are you?

Link to Playing House

About Tammy Patton

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Score: Diet O Pie 3

The plan was to have one piece of pie on Thanksgiving. I wasn’t counting on the pie coming home with us. But it happened. How could I not have a piece on Friday, with the leftovers? And another on Saturday, with more leftovers? And I might have had another nibble or two, but not a whole piece I swear—so that doesn’t count right? Especially since I ate it while standing up, and everyone knows that doesn’t count. But the holiday is over now, and it’s back to healthy eating and working hard on my book!

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Yum

 

Hope you all had a great weekend!

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Dreaming of Ice Cream, and other Diet Disasters

 

Chocolate-Toffee

I dreamt that I was walking through the store eating chocolate ice cream out of a half gallon carton. I walked blindly through the produce department, oblivious to all the healthy foods, the ones I’ve been centering my diet around for the last four months. Head bent, I furiously scooped the melted deliciousness from the edges of the big hunk in the center, as I made my way to the checkout. It was downright heavenly.

And then it hit me. The carton was 3/4 empty. I couldn’t bring it home this way and have Jim see the evidence of my binge! Oh, the shame of it! I considered throwing the remains away, but that would be worse. Such waste! There was really only one solution…

I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.

Thank goodness it was only a dream. I have this fear, that if I break down and give in to dessert, the 12 pounds so recently departed, will instantly reappear. Intellectually, I know it doesn’t work that way. It’s more likely to be a slow slide… that starts with a spoonful of melty, gooey, chocolate… No! I must remain strong.

I feel so much better when I’m eating only healthy, unprocessed, food. More energetic, more focused, less moody. Better.

A compromise for the holiday? One piece of pie on Thanksgiving? That’s reasonable, right?

 

 

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Bra Shopping: A Mystery

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Has this ever happened to you? You try on a bra, and it fits fine and feels comfortable—until you get home. Or worse, until you get to work. And find yourself twisting around in awkward positions, resisting the constant need to adjust it. And when you do finally manage to duck down out of sight and make the adjustment, it doesn’t do a bit of good. No matter how many times you contort your body and tug on the straps, it just isn’t right. It might even make you wonder if the clerk pulled a fast one and switched bras while you were focused on the card reader.

Or, as in my case, she might have made the switcheroo while engaging me in an asinine conversation about how many times one should wear the same bra before washing it. Only once, according to her boyfriend, who can’t stand to see her wearing the same bra two days in a row because it’s ‘gross’ like wearing the same underwear again. To this, I replied that no, it really isn’t the same. Only later, did I wish I’d suggested it might be less hassle to find a new boyfriend than to go through the whole process of trying on and purchasing, new bras. But maybe she doesn’t try them on. Maybe it’s all a part of the conspiracy. She keeps the good bras, the ones her customers tried on, for herself. Yes, I think that must be it.

I must get revenge. I know, I’ll find out the name of her boyfriend and tell him she’s wearing pre-worn bras, which, is, of course, far grosser than the wearing her own two days in a row…

Or maybe I’ll use her boyfriend in a story. He could be one of my protagonist’s odd, ex-boyfriends. Yeah, that’s it. Now, I’d better head back to my fictional world, where I belong…

 

 

 

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Strange Things Indeed

I’m kind of hooked on Netflix now. With my work schedule being wonky I’ve never been able to follow a show from week to week. Watching a continuing show is almost as fun as getting lost in a particularly good novel.

We just finished Season One of Stranger Things. I’m glad I waited to watch it. This way it will be fresh in my mind when Season Two Starts. My favorite part was the boys, who, it seemed to me, actually talked and acted like real middle -school- age boys. I just read in the Oregonian that they’re older than they look, which makes their acting, even more impressive. Or maybe not. I guess 16 is not too old to remember what it was like to be 13 again. But in the eighties. Those high-waisted jeans bring back all kinds of bad memories! Those of us without waists could never find any jeans that fit properly. I had to buy boy jeans, which wasn’t all bad. I have fond memories of my shrink-to-fit 501’s. I can’t say I miss eighties hair. The Mom in Stranger Things is a good example of some strange hair…

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Oh, No! Not Another Health Nut!

When we moved a year ago, I got rid of the old bathroom scale. It wasn’t accurate, took up too much space, and collected a whole lot of hair on the bathroom floor. I was tired of cleaning around and under it. That was my excuse. I also got rid of the full -length mirror. It had been in my daughter’s room and had stickers on it, not to mention a layer of grime, from me never bothering to clean it. Both choices seemed logical at the time. No scale, no mirror, and a long dreary winter spent watching Netflix in the new leather recliner while drinking screwdrivers was not exactly a recipe for good health.

I could ignore the weight gain—no mirror, no scale remember—but an increase in forgetful moments and general spaciness began affecting my writing, as well as my real life. “Why yes, Honey, I did put the trash in the recycle and the recycling in the trash. Oops. Sorry.” So I decided to make some changes. Better food. Less food. More exercise. I even gave up my nightly glass of red wine with dinner. I know about the studies that claim red wine is good for you, but I think cutting it out is making a difference. Fewer incidents of saying the wrong word, or walking into a room and drawing a complete blank as to why I’m there. My brain is important to me. I’ve decided to take better care of it.

Since cutting out processed food I’ve discovered just how good ‘real’ food can taste. I’ve been cooking from scratch and while it can be time -consuming, I’ve been enjoying the process. I’m not naturally a good cook. I’ve always been lazy about dinner, rotating between a few favorite meals that don’t require a recipe or buying premade stuff. Now I’m looking up recipes, trying new things, and enjoying it. My daughter is a good cook. I’ll happily wash the dishes after she’s fed me. For Christmas, Heidi gave me a copy of her favorite cookbook, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It’s far more than a collection of recipes. It’s about how to eat, and why. Sally never fell for the low- fat diet craze, not even when our government endorsed it.  (Yes, margarine is low in fat, but it’s not real food!)

I’ve found that I can eat delicious, satisfying food, not starve, and still lose weight. Yay! I even bought a full-length mirror. And a scale. The scale is light and compact and fits in a cupboard—very cool.

Here is a link to the cookbook:   https://www.amazon.com/Nourishing-Traditions-Challenges-Politically-Dictocrats/dp/0967089735

(Not an affiliate link, just me sharing.)

 

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Strange Dreams Indeed

So, a few nights ago I dreamt that I was having one of those home parties, the kind I vowed to never have again because I’m not into the whole ‘persuade your friends to buy stuff’ thing, only this party was a bit different. The woman who came to my house was selling baby food and fancy marijuana joints, that looked like jewelry. I selected the blue and silver joint, but passed on the baby food—it wasn’t organic.

And then there’s last night’s dream. I was working, though it didn’t resemble my store, and Flo from Progressive was supposed to be making a delivery but no -one would open the back door for her so she left a dozen fifty -pound bags of granulated sugar outside. I was assigned the job of bringing them inside. It was about this time that I woke up with a deep ache in my lower back. I’m thinking there was a connection. It should also be noted that five weeks ago I gave up processed sugar. Do those bags represent all the sugar I would have eaten in the last month? If so, my subconscious mind was exaggerating a bit. I’m not that bad of a sugar addict! As for Flo, that explanation is simple; we watch too much television in the evenings.

It occurs to me that the mind is a strange place. Mine might be a little stranger than most. Lately, it has needed a whole lot of rest and relaxation. I’ve eased up on computer time and even on writing time, in the last month or so to focus on taking better care of myself. I think we can all benefit from unplugging now and then and spending more time in nature.  A walk in the woods can greatly improve your outlook on life. Same goes for reading a good book, or two, or ten.

Happy Eclipse-apocalypse everyone! And remember, don’t look directly into the sun. It will make you go blind and grow hair on your palms. Or was that something else? Um, nevermind.

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The Cool Thing To Do

So, I’ve been reading a book of short stories by B.J. Novak. It’s called One More Thing. I’d never heard of the guy before I picked up his book in one of the free library boxes in my neighborhood. Turns out, he wrote, directed and produced The Office, which I’ve never actually watched. I’ve been enjoying his stories, though. Well, most of them anyway. A few have had me scratching my head thinking, “Huh?” My favorites have made me laugh out loud. Julie and the Warlord, was funny. It was a different story that really got me thinking.

This one is about the mathematician who came up with a story problem about trains that was then used in every math book in every math class all over the country. Math is not my favorite subject, by any means, but the idea of the story is that most everyone is known for something in their lifetime. According to the author, it really is only one, or maybe two things in our life. For some reason this made me think of a girl I went to grade school with. Her name was Jackie Crapser. She was an ordinary looking girl with blonde hair. We weren’t close friends and if it wasn’t for the ‘one thing’ she did, I doubt I’d remember her at all. (Though such an unfortunate last name is hard for a child to forget.)

This was back in the days when the kids who were differently abled or mentally challenged, were all thrown into a class and labeled simply as, retarded. On the playground, these children either went off alone or stuck together. They had to, as they were either targeted for teasing and tormenting or else, simply ignored. One day, by the tetherball, Jackie changed everything. She started a game of tag with the kids from the special class. It was a daring move, or so I believed at the time. Wasn’t she afraid the other kids would make fun or her? Obviously, she wasn’t. It didn’t take long for others to see that Jackie was having a good time. Pretty soon, other kids joined in. Our playground, for a time, became a place where inclusion, rather than exclusion, was the ‘cool’ thing to do. All because one little girl dared to be kind.

That’s how I remember it anyway.

If you’re still out there somewhere Jackie, I want you to know that at least one person remembers you for something positive. (I sincerely hope you are alive and well, and will be remembered for many other good things.)

As for me, I’m writing about a schoolyard bully who grew up to be a sociopath and is seeking revenge on his favorite victims— the ones who once dared to fight back. Now, I’d better get back to torturing my imaginary friends… um, I meant writing.

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When the Real World and the Fictional One Collide

Every once in a while I’ll see someone, usually a customer, and think, hey, he/she looks exactly like so and so. And then I’ll remember that so and so is a figment of my imagination, and worry that maybe I’m not normal. Then I remember that normal is boring and go back to daydreaming about my story and my imaginary friends.

Recently, I had another experience where my imaginary world collided with the real one. I’m working on a series of suspense/psychological thrillers that take place in the fictional town of Grandville. The town is modeled after my hometown in Oregon. We lived a few miles out of town on a country road and some of my friends owned horses. While my attempts at horseback riding usually involved me hanging on for dear life with my eyes shut I still enjoyed being around the beautiful animals.

One of the two main characters in my work in progress (Current title: A Convincing Accident) works as a Ferrier. While I knew it was the perfect occupation for him, I also knew I should do a bit more research on the subject. So, what happens? Only weeks before visiting our daughter in Colorado, she tells me about her new friend, who happens to be a Ferrier. Not only was he willing to talk about his job, and answer questions, he invited us to come along and watch him shoe a horse. (Thanks again Isaac!)

The experience helped me to know my character better. When you write about someone who is quite a bit different than yourself, you need to know as much about them as possible. I’m a firm believer that what a person does for money does not define them, but obviously, it does matter. It’s also important for plotting purposes. I now know that if he’s late for a job, no one will be shocked. (Of course, no one is shocked when I’m late for work either, but that’s a different story. Smiles sheepishly.) Waiting for the Ferrier is kind of like waiting for the cable guy or the plumber—you’d better leave the whole day open. (On the positive side, there will be no visible butt cracks for your viewing displeasure. A Ferrier is likely going to be wearing Wrangler jeans, which actually fit properly.  Admission: I may have had a crush on a cute wrangler-wearer once upon a time, but he never did ask me out. Hm. Maybe this where my cowboy character originated.) Anyway, I also learned that the job is even more physically demanding than I suspected. Muscles required. (Always good to have a reason to put muscle on a male character. Not like those romance heroes who have them for no particular and not once is it even hinted they might actually go to the gym and work out.)

There was another, even stranger, almost spooky coincidence during my trip to Colorado. We spent one night at the ranch where my daughter did a work-trade the summer before. It was a fun experience (we slept in a yurt, my daughter in a teepee.) We were invited to dinner by our hosts. Not only was the food delicious, the conversation was interesting, even when they discussed religion. I kept my opinions to myself, not surprisingly. When there are more than three people in a room I tend to go into listening mode. (In the eighth grade my homeroom teacher named me “The Silent Observer.” It’s still appropriate in certain situations.) Anyway, one of the women who works on the ranch told a story about her son. When he was fourteen he got into a fight with another boy. Unlike the movies where pounding the bully to a pulp will earn you praise from everyone—including the adults— in the real world, (at least in modern times) it gets you assault charges and possibly a conviction that can hang on and haunt you for years.

Well, it just so happens that this is exactly what happens in my book, to my Ferrier guy. In fact, the whole story is hinged on this event. A fight, at fourteen, has a profound effect on the rest of his life. Turns out, the bully who received the (arguably) well-deserved beating is not the forgetting or forgiving type. He’s seeking revenge, many years later, in the form of inflicting “emotional destruction,” on the boy who hurt him, and the girl he was defending. So, there you have it, the premise for A Convincing Accident. Does it sound intriguing?

Why did you let me go on for so long anyway? I should be writing the book!

Oh, and by the way. (Imagine me smiling modestly.) My Tammy J. Palmer books received a glowing mention from Sarah Raplee, on a popular romance blog. Her Amazon page and books are here: https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Raplee/e/B014XDP5NG

Thanks again Sarah!

You can read it here: https://romancingthegenres.blogspot.com/

Have a great weekend!