Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Fate of an Old Portrait

Photographs were rare at the turn-of-the-century. I am certain for this young lady being photographed was an event. She looks to be in her late teens perhaps, and she probably came from an affluent family. She wears a stylish hat and roses. Surprisingly enough, her small smile actually reveals some teeth. Rarely did the photographer's subject smile much less part their lips. 

You have to wonder what she was thinking of as she posed for this picture. Probably hoping she would look pretty in the photograph. This might have been an engagement picture or one celebrating a graduation or eighteenth birthday. 

We will never know.  Just as we don't know her name or what happened to her in the course of her lifetime. 

However, I do know that this young lady probably never in a thousand lifetimes thought that her portrait would end up hanging over a toilet at a country-style restaurant in Alabama.  I have seen her many times because I eat at that restaurant often when I'm passing through. One time I had my camera with me and decided to take a photo for my blog. 

The fate of this portrait really represents what happens after a couple of generations pass away.  I'm sure this was probably sold off at an estate sale like most pictures of people who no longer exist, not even in memories of their descendants. They are used for decorations especially in stores and restaurants.  I've always loved to look at the ones in Cracker Barrel and wondered who they were and what kind of life they had.  I'm the same way about all the old stuff they have hanging from the walls and ceilings.  Old toys and cooking utensils.  You know they once belonged to and were used by someone, who left them behind in this world. The same is true of the girl's picture.

It is true of us as well.  There will be things we have, our treasures, that will someday be antiques. Our laptop computers may one day decorate the interior of a restaurant along with our portraits.  So be sure to smile and look your best when you have your picture made. A hundred years from now, you may be smiling over a toilet!

She needs a name?  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Apple Sweet Rolls for 2

From Pillsbury's Cooking for Two: 
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
1 tablespoon whipping cream
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh apple
2 Pillsbury® Grands!® frozen cinnamon rolls with icing (from 17.5-oz bag)
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 2 (6-oz) custard cups with cooking spray. In small bowl, mix butter, cream and brown sugar; spoon into custard cups. Top with chopped apple. Place 1 frozen cinnamon roll in each cup; place cups on cookie sheet.
Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and rolls are no longer doughy. Immediately run sharp knife around edge of each cup; turn each upside down onto serving plate. Slowly lift cup from biscuit, releasing biscuit onto plate. Spread any remaining apple mixture in cups over rolls. Divide 1 icing packet between hot rolls, drizzling evenly over rolls. Cool 5 minutes before serving.  Yummy!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Time for Six Sentence Sunday!

Back again with my characters from my 1950's comedy, Laid To Rest. Richie (the narrator) and his sidekick, Tommy Ray Petty. are in the process of trying to steal gas out of the mayor's Cadillac while he is visiting the town prostitute, Darlene. (During sex with Darlene, the mayor has passed away).  The two hapless rednecks are offered $5000 by the mayor's brother to make it appear he died in a respectable car wreck. Previous posts:

Today's post adds the mayor's brother, Albert, who is the bank president.  Trouble is brewing for Richie, Tommy Ray and Darlene!

Albert Stroud gave us a hard look. I realized, right then and there, that you don’t mess around with him. "Let me assure you that if anyone does find out what happened here tonight, the three of you will regret the day you were born.”
Trying to dress a dead man in a hurry ain't easy.  "We've got to get him in the Caddy before he stiffens up,"  I said as I buttoned the mayor's shirt. 
"Richie, I don't want to regret the day I was born,"  Tommy Ray whined.
Check out the other Six Sentence Sunday writers at
Also, don't miss your chance to win a free book at Romancing The Past.  Just stop by between now and the 29th, leave a comment about your favorite hero and you might win the book which has a hero to your liking.  While you are there, you can read Darlene's post, Real Men Don't Wear Ruffles.  It's a guaranteed hoot!

Friday, March 25, 2011

And The Winner Is

 Taryn started this competition after reading Darlene Higginbottom's post, Real Men Don't Wear Ruffles, over a t Romancing The Past.  The choice was between the very alpha well-built Hawkeye (Lewis) and the less well-built and beta Mr. Darcy (Firth) 
Darlene didn't see how there could have been any contest. Guys who looked like they just came outta Sally Mae's Cut 'n Curl salon are just a little too gay for her.

That all being said, neither of these guys ended up the favorite.

Sean Bean was the winner!  He's British and he's bad!  He has chisled features, a husky voice and great eyes. 
Darlene was thrilled. She loves the beard and the hair and any man who can use a sword like he does is welcome at her house any time.  And, mine too!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tightwad Thursday

This Thursday is dedicated to the tightwad in all of us. Coupons are a great way to save money. Now if I could only get in the habit of remembering to take them to the store with me or even remembering that I've got them with me when I check out.  The times that I have used coupons for groceries I did save money. But, I tend to shop on the run and without a list.  I'm a coupon-cutter's worst nightmare. 

What about you? Do you clip and save?

If you want to give this a try, here's a link to Pillsbury's website. They have printable coupons for everything from Cheerios to Scrubbing Bubbles.
To be successful at this, you need to have a list, which includes your coupon items clearly marked, and if you really want to save, you will know in advance which items are on sale at the store where you are shopping. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

From Laid To Rest: Darlene Higginbottom's Real Men Dont Wear Ruffles

Darlene is over at Romancing The Past, blogging about her favorite hero. 

Stop by and see what she has to say.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: Laid To Rest

This Sunday's snippet features Darlene from my short story, Laid To Rest.  Richie (the narrator) and his sidekick, Tommy Ray Petty. are in the process of trying to steal gas out of the mayor's Cadillac while he is visiting the town prostitute, Darlene. (During sex with Darlene, the mayor has passed away).  The two hapless rednecks are offered $5000 by the mayor's brother to make it appear he died in a respectable car wreck.

      "Tell us what happened, Darlene," I said.
      "I was just lying there thinking about that pretty pink sundress I saw down at Shainberg's while Mayor Stroud was moaning and making funny faces. Why, I thought he was just enjoying himself and the next thing I knew he went limp and I mean all over! And, then, his eyes rolled back in his head!"  She flung her arm across her face. "I ain't never gonna be right again."

Visit the other writers participating in 6 Sentence Sunday:

Check out other Laid To Rest posts on my blog.  Have a happy day!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ready for the Weekend

I'm sharing a photo I took Saturday while at the lake. I would love to live on the lake and just sit around and watch the water. Such luxury is not mine to have.  I am taking a little break this weekend and heading to Nashville with my friend, Beverly. I felt I needed to take a weekend off. Let my book and my brain rest a little.
The best part about today was that I went shopping after work. I haven't been shopping in a while and I did find a couple of great deals at Belks.  I got a pretty jacket that fit great for $7.99 on clearance. Tag price was $66. And I found a pair of pants for $4.99. They don't call me the Clearance Queen for nothing!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Six-Sentence Sunday: Back by Popular Demand, Richie and Tommy Ray

I decided to bring back Richie (the narrator) and Tommy Ray from my short story, Laid To Rest, set in the 50's in Mississippi. They are in the process of trying to steal gas out of the mayor's Cadillac while he is visiting the town prostitute, Darlene. (During sex with Darlene, the mayor has passed away)

(The photo from O Brother is my inspiration for Richie and Tommy Ray.)

Tommy Ray spit out the hose and said, “Ain’t no gas in there.”

“Hell, there’s gotta be gas in the mayor’s car.”

All the sudden, Darlene Higginbottom bolted out her front door and into the yard. In a shiny red robe, Darlene commenced to calling on God while waving her arms in the air and Tommy Ray said that was how Aunt Lula Mae acted when she got the Holy Ghost one Sunday night.

I ducked behind the Caddy's big fins and I figured Tommy Ray had enough sense to hide, too. I shoulda known better.

Go to Six Sentence Sunday:
This a link to the first snippet: 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mardi Gras King Cake

Since it is Mardi Gras season and I'm working on a book set in old New Orleans, I will share the story of King Cake. The tradition of the king cake in New Orleans dates back to its earliest French settlers. The king cake was baked weekly between the Twelfth Night in January and Ash Wednesday. The cake was shaped into an oval to resemble a crown and covered with candied fruit and decorations. The modern-day King Cake is decorated with traditional King of Mardi Gras colors: green for faith, gold for power and purple for justice.

A bean or tiny china doll (representing the baby Jesus) was baked into the cake. After the cake was ready, a king cake party was held. When the cake was served, the person who received the slice with the doll became king or queen for that week and they had to provide a king cake for the party the following week and another king or queen was crowned for the week. This lasted until Lent. This tradition became a custom in many families and businesses as a way to celebrate the coming of Lent.

Below is a short video on the making of a King Cake.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

O, Death

I love the song, "Oh Death".I first heard it on Supernatural. I think it'd be the perfect song to play while killing off a character! I found two terrific videos featuring the song. The first one is for Supernatural fans and the second one has some great paranormal artwork!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: Laid To Rest

This Sunday I am posting the first six sentences of a short story I am writing entitled Laid To Rest.  It is humorous fiction set in Mississippi in 1954 about two good ol' boys who end up trying to make the mayor's death look accidental.

   Mayor Clifford Earl Stroud, the Third died the way no politician wants to die—on top of a woman who was not his wife.
     Trouble was me and Tommy Ray Petty didn't know Mayor Stroud was having a heart attack while we were siphoning the gas out of his brand-new 1954 Caddy.  The white Fleetwood gleamed in the moonlight like a beached whale as I removed the gas cap and threaded a piece of a rubber hose into the tank.
     A match flickered in the darkness when Tommy Ray lit up a cigarette.  Momma always said he wasn’t quite right.
     "Tommy Ray, it ain't a good idea to smoke and steal gas at the same time."

If you would like to participate, more info here:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Romance Reviews Grand Opening

Lots of fun stuff is going on over at The Romance Reviews.  Click on the Grand Opening ad and find out more about the prizes.

I am going to devote March to my book, Lady Silver.  I am hoping to have the revisions finished by April.  I can't wait to get home from work today to finish up a scene I started this morning.  It is set in old New Orleans and that is my favorite setting. I love everything about it!

Hope everyone is having a great day! 

Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Outlaw and The Schoolteacher Contest Re-Post

This is a re-post for the Romantic Reviews contest question.
She was a schoolteacher.  A pretty brunette who graduated from college in 1872 with a degree in literature and science.  She came from a well-respected family and she could have married well.  Yet, Ann Ralston eloped with one of the most-wanted outlaws in America.

He was not a handsome man and he shunned the publicity showered on him. Bookish, he was an avid reader and he could quote Shakespeare at will.  It was said he always had novels with him.  Even when he was busy outrunning a posse, his saddlebags contained books.   Is it any wonder Alexander Franklin James fell for a girl with a degree in literature?

The details of how Frank and Annie met and secretly courted remain elusive.  In June of 1874, Annie convinced her parents to let her go visit a relative in Kansas City.   She actually met Frank in Kansas City and went to Omaha with him where they were married.  She sent a note home to her worried parents:  Dear Mother, I am married and going West.  Annie Reynolds.  Her parents had no idea she had married the outlaw, Frank James, until much later.  When her father found out, he disowned her. 

The unlikely marriage would last for 41 years and, according to most accounts, it was a happy marriage.  Frank and Annie got along well   They lived under aliases in Texas, Nashville and Baltimore.  Their only child, Robert, was born in 1878 while they were living in the Nashville area.  After Jesse’s assassination in 1882, Frank turned himself in to the governor of Missouri and Annie wrote her husband a poem called Surrendered.   Frank’s trial earned more publicity than that of the man who killed President McKinley.  He was found not guilty of the charges against him, and he spent the rest of this life as a law-abiding citizen and loving spouse.  “No better husband ever lived,” Ann said of him.

In their later year, Annie and Frank lived on the James farm where Frank sold tours for twenty-five cents.  When he died, he wishes were to be cremated and his ashes stored in a vault until he could be buried with Annie.  She would continue to live on James farm until her death in 1944.  She was 91 when she died. 

Now, the schoolteacher and the outlaw are together again, resting peacefully beneath a simple grave marker.  Frank would have approved.