TMI Tuesday October 22nd, 2019

I’m trying a new feature. The TMI Tuesday Blog offers weekly questions for bloggers to answer and post on Tuesdays. My answers to this week’s questions are below.

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Can you handle the truth?

Yes.

A couple of October holidays are coming up. Do you participate in Halloween or Dia de los Muertos? How?

Not being of Mexican or Spanish descent, I’ve never participated in Dia de los Muertos. I no longer observe Halloween.

When my late husband Bill was alive, he enjoyed watching me hand out treats to children who came to our door. After two strokes partially paralyzed him, he could no longer do this himself. So, every year, I bought a huge bag of Halloween candy. At most, we got four kids, so he ate the rest of the candy. Now that he’s gone, since I’m not a candy fan, I no longer bother.

Do your parents/parent like your significant other?

Both my parents and significant other are gone. By the time Bill and I met, my mother had passed. But Dad loved Bill from the start. When I told him about Bill’s marriage proposal, he said, “Well, I’ll be damned. You should think about this, honey. He’s a fine fellow.”

Right now! What do you need most love or validation?

It would be nice to have both, but there are worse things than not having either.

You are singing in the shower. What song do you want to belt out?

I rarely sing in the shower, but when I do, I practice songs I’ll perform later, either with my group or on my own, at nursing homes and other venues.

Bonus: What’s your damage?

Now that’s an awfully broad question. I could write pages and pages about the damage Bill received as a result of his strokes, the damage to my lap top computer after I accidentally dropped it, the weather damage to my roof, etc. But I’ve already mentioned that in past posts. So, I see no reason to re-hash it.

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If you’d like to participate in TMI Tuesday, click here. You can learn more about Bill and me by reading My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Wind Beneath My Wings #Monday Musical Memories

Last Friday, October 18th, my late husband Bill would have been 76 years old. He was my hero, the wind beneath my wings. If not for him, I might not have quit my day job and started writing full-time. Without his love, encouragement, and feedback, I might not have published my first two books. Without his inspiration, I might not have five books under my belt with a sixth on the way. He made me who I am today.

After his strokes, I often sang him this song. He always cried when I got to the part about walking a step behind. That was how we always walked together before the strokes, so my white cane wouldn’t hit him, as I arced it back and forth along the sidewalk. He placed one hand on my shoulder and the other on his support cane. You can read more of our story in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

Now, six years after his passing, I still can’t sing this song without losing it. I’ve tried, but I can’t do it justice, at least not yet. So, I’ve given Bette Midler the honor of performing it for us today.

 

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

Memoir Offers Escape to Childhood Innocence #Thursday Book Feature

I Love You, Miss Huddleston: And Other Inappropriate Longings of My Indiana Childhood

by Philip Gulley

 

With a lot of humor, this author’s memoir talks about his life growing up in the 1960-s and 70’s. Born the son of a bug spray salesman, he starts by talking about his childhood, sharing memories of how he delivered newspapers, did extra trick-or-treating around Halloween, created home-made bombs from his father’s bug spray collection, and engaged in other antics with his friends. He also explains how he fell in love with his sixth grade teacher, hence the title.

After that, he describes his adolescent years: how he worked for the Youth Conservation Corps, then as a stock boy in a grocery store, and other jobs. Having been raised a Catholic, he discusses his experiences with and ideas about religion. He describes how he met and married his future wife and touches on how he became a Quaker minister.

I was born a couple of years after Mr. Gulley. So, some of his stories brought back memories of my own. I remember story math problems involving trains that I could never solve and how much I hated showering naked in front of others after gym class. Of course, I never engaged in any of Mr. Gulley’s antics, but I wouldn’t have put it past my brother to have done so. In a world of violence, corruption, and hatred, this book offers an escape back to a time when the only thing you had to worry about was what would happen when you told your teacher your dog ate your homework.

 

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

Birthday #Poetry

To commemorate National Poetry Day, here’s a poem from My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. This Friday, October 18th, my late husband would have turned 76. I wrote this on his 70th birthday during the last month of his life after he moved to a nursing home when I could no longer care for him at home. Click on the poem’s title to hear me read it.

BIRTHDAY

 

Gray hair against white pillow,

lips caress my cheek,

his good arm encircles my shoulder.

The odor of peanut butter

scent of his shampoo comfort me.

Seventy years old today, he says he loves me,

kiss soft against my cheek,

as we hold each other,

for who knows how long.

 

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

That’s Amore #Monday Musical Memories

When I was little, I didn’t like pizza or any other finger food. But by the time I was ten, my taste had changed. Mother often heated frozen pizzas for my younger brother and me. I liked the large pies she cut into triangular slices. Until I was an adult, I didn’t eat the crust unless it was soft, which it often wasn’t.

Those frozen pizzas weren’t nearly as good as those we ate at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor. In 1974, after my family moved from Tucson, Arizona, to Sheridan, Wyoming, a restaurant in that chain opened here. This establishment had a stage with a piano and a microphone. But unlike in the one in Tucson, nobody played it or sang until one night when my family ate there.

By that time, I was twelve, and I’d started playing the piano and singing at home. I don’t know whose idea it was, but I found myself at that piano. After Dad walked me up there and made sure the microphone was working, I began. At first, I was nervous, but after a bit, it was as if I was in our living room with only my family listening. Apparently, others in the restaurant were also listening because I received plenty of applause. I played several songs before returning to our table.

When the manager came over, I thought he was going to kick us out. But instead, he presented me with a pitcher of Coke. Thus, my singing career began, such as it was.

My late husband Bill also liked pizza. But unlike me, he was finicky about what went on it. He only wanted meat, cheese, and maybe a few mushrooms. I, on the other hand, have always enjoyed pies with everything on them except for anchovies and jalapeno peppers.

When Bill and I often ordered pizzas delivered from Domino’s, we got a medium-sized half and half pie with one half meat, cheese, and mushrooms, and the other half with everything. Because of my limited vision, I sometimes got the two halves confused. Bill would take a bite of a slice I gave him and say, “Ooh, this is your half.” You can read more about how I became Bill’s caregiver after he suffered two strokes in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.

Now that Bill is gone, I rarely order pizza from Domino’s. Another establishment here in town called Powder River Pizza delivers personal pies, so I occasionally order one of them.

I also like frozen individual pizzas from Schwan. I realized that the pizzas Mother prepared were cooked in the oven too long. So, I heat one Schwan single-serve supreme pizza for only two minutes in the microwave. Some might find the crust too soggy, heated this way, but for me, it’s just right.

The song I’ll sing for you today compares love to pizza and other things. I didn’t know it when I entertained at Shakey’s, but it’s one I’d sing if I ever had another chance to perform in a pizza joint.

That’s Amore

 

How about you? What do you remember about pizza growing up? What do you like on your pie now? October is National Pizza Month, so I hope you’ll have an opportunity to enjoy some this month.

 

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

Thursday Book Feature: Campbell’s Rambles

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In the book I reviewed last year, the author describes how her guide dog became a source of unconditional love while she was in an abusive relationship. Patty is rewriting this book and will make it part of a trilogy about her life experiences. It’ll be exciting to see how this turns out. Meanwhile, read the original.

 

via Thursday Book Feature: Campbell’s Rambles

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

My Books

My Amazon Author Page

Facebook

WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.

Visitation #Fiction

With Halloween just around the corner, here’s a short story that was published in the 2015 fall/winter issue of Magnets and Ladders. This is my submission to blogger Stevie Turner’s October Share Your Short Story Contest. Enjoy!

 

VISITATION

 

Carrie was fourteen years old and lived in an apartment with her mother in New York City. A year earlier, her father wandered into traffic one night while drunk and was killed by an oncoming bus.

He hadn’t always been drunk. Carrie remembered many times as a child when he picked her up after school while between jobs and took her to the park where they flew homemade kites, and he pushed her on the swings and waited for her at the bottom of the slide. When she joined a softball league at school, he bought her a used glove, ball, and bat and showed her how to pitch, catch, and throw. He occasionally took her for ice cream.

As she grew older, his drinking bouts increased in frequency. He rarely took her places after school and was hardly ever home when she went to bed. She often found him sleeping on the couch in the morning.

Her mother, Dianna, constantly berated him. He kept saying he was sorry, that he would stop drinking and get a job and keep it. He never quit drinking, and he never kept a job for long.

Dianna worked as a secretary at a Baptist church. Carrie was used to getting by on the meager salary her mother received. Most of the time, it was their only source of income, barely enough to pay the rent on their small, shabby apartment, let alone buy food.

On the night Carrie’s father died, when he didn’t come home for supper, her mother packed his clothes and other items in a box that she left outside the apartment door with a note. He never claimed his belongings.

During the following year, Carrie and her mother were forced to move to an even smaller, shabbier apartment, and Carrie had to switch schools. Dianna threw herself into the many projects at the church to help those in need. These took up a lot of her time, and Carrie was often left to fend for herself when she wasn’t in school. She didn’t attempt to make friends because the squalor where she lived embarrassed her, and she never kept in touch with kids she knew from her previous school.

One day after school, she boarded the bus, resigned to yet another evening alone with the cockroaches and leaking roof. She hated riding buses, since her father was killed by one, but on this cold Halloween evening, it was getting dark, and she didn’t want to walk alone at night. As she’d done many times, she’d stayed after classes to study in the library where it was warm. Now, as the sky gradually darkened, she found a seat in the back of the crowded bus and stared out the window at people and buildings, as it bumped along, stopping every so often to pick up and drop off passengers.

Someone sat next to her. A hand fell on her knee, and a familiar voice said, “Hey sweet pea.”

She jumped and turned to see a man who looked just like her father, wearing baggy blue jeans and his favorite plaid shirt, the clothes he wore the day he died. She detected no acrid stench of booze but a whiff of the cologne he wore when he was sober. Thinking he was just another pervert who happened to look, smell, and sound like her father, she turned back toward the window. “I know you don’t believe it’s me, princess, but it is,” he said, taking her hand.

Princess, that was one of the many names he called her. “Leave me alone,” she said, jerking her hand away and moving closer to the window. People turned and stared, and she wondered why.

“Honey, nobody can see me. I’m a ghost.”

“You’re nuts,” she said, turning back to him.

“So are you,” said a man across the aisle.

This couldn’t be real, she thought, as her face grew hot, and she stared at the man sitting next to her. She shook her head and blinked several times. “Carrie, you’re not going to get rid of me that easily.”

She turned back toward the window. She was nowhere near her stop, but she had to get off this bus now. Without a word, she reached for the bell to signal the driver to stop. The man’s hand shot up and grabbed hers. “You’ll have a long walk home if you get off now, bug-a-boo.”

How did he know where her new home was? This was ridiculous. “Besides, sweet pea, you really don’t want to go back to that fucking apartment with those god damned roaches, do you?”

Carrie smiled in spite of herself. She always thought it funny when her father used such colorful language when talking about things that didn’t appeal to her.

“Now that’s what I like,” he said. “a smile from my little girl.”

She looked around, wondering if she could move to another seat, but they were all taken. “Honey, I know I haven’t been the best of fathers lately, but I’m clean now. I haven’t touched a drop of liquor since last year, and I won’t ever again. I’m going to make it up to you. From now on, we’re going to have the best of times, just you and me.”

Just you and me? What did he mean? Was she going to die right here and now? She remembered something her mother said. The preacher at the Baptist church believed that people like her father went to Hell, a place that was always on fire, where there was wailing and gnashing of teeth. Was that where her father was taking her? She pictured herself being consumed by ugly, yellow flames.

“No, I don’t want to go to Hell,” she screamed, trying to stand and pull herself away from him.

He squeezed her hand. “It’s gonna be okay, honey. Daddy’s right here.”

He said those exact words the night her appendix nearly ruptured when she was seven, as she lay in the emergency room, tears streaming down her face, gripped by pain. He told her everything would be all right, and it eventually was. It was one of few kept promises.

A squeal of breaks brought her back to the present. She felt a jarring crash, then nothing.

 

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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My Amazon Author Page

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WebsiteImage contains: Abbie, smiling.