Catch My Products

Catch My Products
Click on the image to visit Catch My Products.

My humorous thoughts about life.

"My Humorous and Helpful Thoughts About Teaching / Educational Resources for Your Classroom / Music and Random Fun"

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

3 minute Cake-in-a-Cup

This recipe belongs to Shallee at It looked so wonderful that I had to copy it to my blog so that I wouldn't lose this cool idea. My daughter is putting her mixture in the microwave right now! Uh oh, rising. She needs a larger coffee cup. It oozes upward then sinks down.

And . . . it's . . . a . . .homerun! (With a little Hershey's syrup squeezed over the top). Yeah!

3 minute Cake-in-a-Cup.

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
1 dash vanilla
1 dash salt (optional)
1 dash baking powder (optional)

Mix all ingredients and microwave for three minutes, and voila! Cake in a cup!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Teachers Rally in Nashville

Yesterday I drove to Nashville to experience democracy in the works. Thousands of teachers ascended on the rainy Tennessee state capitol to protest six bills all aimed to punish teachers for voting against the Republican Legislators. These bills have nothing to do with helping kids and everything to do with harming those who are responsible for making sure students get the best education possible. It's like fixing crime by harassing police officers.

These toxic bills are aimed at destroying our teacher union through forbidding payroll deductions, removing collective bargaining, not allowing association literature to be distributed in teacher mailboxes or email accounts, making it against the law for us to contribute to a political candidate's campaign, removing a teacher from the retirement board, and ending tenure. These six bills are just the beginning. Fourteen more are in the works.

In other words, teachers would have no say in their working conditions, salary, or benefits. These bills and the obvious disrespect for teachers will no doubt discourage young people from entering the teaching profession where they work ten hours or more each day for less pay than what they could receive in the private sector and now decreased benefits.

In terms of the political donations, TEA donates to the candidates who support education no matter the political party; however, most of our strong education supporters have been Democrats and the offended politicians are Republicans. We'd donate to their campaigns too if they'd only support us.

I have questions on the legality of this proposed bill. If businesses are allowed to make donations, how can one outlaw professional organizations from doing the same. Maybe it should be against the law for everyone organizations and businesses included to make donations. That would hit these legislators in the pocket book!

I believe there is a strong misconception of what tenure means. It does not mean that a bad teacher cannot be fired. It means that one cannot be fired without due process or telling the teacher why they are being fired. Is this such a bad thing? Governor Haslam wants to increase tenure from three years to five, and some have suggested a period of ten years. How long does it take a young person in the business world to be considered competent in their job? Six months?

The biggest sock in the jaw is the rudeness of the bills. Last year, TEA worked tirelessly to help Tennessee gain funds through Obama's Race to the Top. Without teachers working with legislators, we never would have gotten this huge sum of money to help education. Furthermore, this money means that all teachers will receive four evaluations a year and have to work harder to meet new standards yet none of the money will be used for teacher salaries or benefits. So, we will be working solely for the children. Look at the thanks we are getting.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chain Letters

Tonight my sister sent me another one of those messed up chain letters. It was about July having five Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and that's supposed to have something to do with money. Send it off, and you'll get money, don't and you'll lose it. Who writes these things? Do they not have enough to do?

Fine. If someone can make up horse poop about July, I'm going to write lies about March. Let's see, hmmm. March has four Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. That must have something to do with monkeys. If you send this little known fact off to five friends by Friday, no monkeys will swing through your house, but if you don't . . . Gilbert the 900 pound Gorilla will escape from the nearest zoo, break into your house, and eat all of your bananas. Chain breakers beware.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Funny Scenes in Every Day Life

After I ventured into the restroom at Cosco, I headed out with a great new idea for a comedy scene that I've since added to my work in progress (WIP). It all began when I stuck my hands into the automatic hand dryer, and I thought what would that goofy kid Slater do with this device? Next I knew, I was laughing out loud at my keyboard.

The $1,000,000 question: Do you think my scene is funny?

“Cool, Knob! Look at this.” He pointed to an automatic hand dryer with two silver slabs that faced each other. The top part had a section that curved outward to allow room for a guy to stick his hands inside. A bright yellow line did a crappy job at trying to make the machine pretty.

Slater lowered his hands into the drying machine and caused a deep swooshing sound to fill the bathroom. The motor yelled so loud, I could barely hear him speak.

“What if a guy’s hands don’t fit in this thing? I mean if he weigh six-hundred pounds or something, his fat hands ain’t fitting in here!”

“Not many people weigh six-hundred pounds.”

“But what if he some sumo wrestler or a super hero? Some guy with big old hands that wrestle alligators; he gots to dry his hands too!”

“Maybe there’s a way to push these panels out.” I patted the bottom of the machine for some sort of lever but didn’t find anything. That wasn’t good enough for Slater. He lifted his hands out, leaped onto the floor, and nosed up under the dryer. I couldn’t help but think of all the dirt on a bathroom floor.

“The floors filthy. Get up.”

Slater ignored me. “Here it is.” He flipped some kind of switch and the panels spread outward.

“I need it to dry my hands. Hope it still works.” I lowered my fingers into the dryer. Even though the panels were further apart, my hands got dry. I just had to move them around more. After I pulled them out, I rubbed the back of my dry hands.

“Hey, Knob. Watch this.” Slater lifted himself to his knees and put his head into the machine. The engine roared and noisy air shot out of the panels. The skin on Slater’s cheeks wiggled back and forth like a bulldog shaking loose jowls. As Slater giggled, he must have hit something because the panels moved inward and snapped. Slater tried to move his head out of the machine.

“It stuck, Knob. I is stuck!” As Slater opened his mouth, the dryer caught his spit and sent droplets catapulting across the bathroom floor. The inside of his cheeks ballooned out wide enough to use his face as a parachute and his eyes squinted to keep the air out. A smoky smell filtered from the machine. “Find a knob, Knob. Get me out of here!”

“Let me get help.”

“No-o-o! Some manager dude come in here and he yell!” Slater must have shouted so he could be heard over the roaring motor. “Look below! There a lever down there. Pop it!”

As much as I hated being on that dirty floor, I got on my knees and looked around for the lever. Finally I found it and freed Slater. When he stood up, his cheeks glowed red and his once centered Mohawk had shifted to the left side so that it shot out of his head like a one horned elk. Singed hair lined the tip of his Mohawk.

I hope someone will find this scene funny; but if not, I had a blast writing it!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Teacher's Unions

When I was a little girl, a teamster broke my uncle's leg and caused him to carry a cane for the rest of his life. Note I said, "Carry a cane," since he rarely leaned on it as he'd race through the family furniture store. See Uncle Melvin was in business with my father, and he made the mistake of crossing a picket line. As a result, I grew up surrounded with tales about how horrible unions were and how much trouble they caused.

As a child hearing about the cursed unions, it never dawned on me to ask, "Why were they picketing?" or "What did they want?" These were adult type issues that weren't discussed with kids. Of course I have no doubt that these men were not "nice" people. After all, the picketer attacked a business owner, but I'd like to hear his side of the story. Today all the players are gone, and I'm suddenly left to wonder what exactly happened. Especially when I find myself in a union that is being unfairly targeted by politicians out for pay back.

Tennessee Education Association (TEA) has consistently funded those who support our concerns, mostly Democrats but not all. Now that Tennessee has been taken over by the Republican party, congressmen are out to destroy teachers with highly punitive measures.

For example:

House Bill 130/Senate Bill 113 would repeal the Education Professional Negotiations Act and make any bargaining by teachers in the state illegal.

House Bill 159/Senate Bill 136
would prohibit payroll dues deduction for public employees thereby making it more difficult for teachers to maintain membership in their chosen professional organization.

Senate Bill 102
would prevent the election of the teacher representatives on the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System Board of Trustees and instead make them political appointments by the Speakers of the House and Senate. I think this bill has already passed. :(

House Bill 160/Senate Bill 139 would make it illegal for the Association's political action committee to make contributions to any candidate, thus prohibiting teachers from helping to elect/re-elect legislators who have worked to improve and protect public education.

This is just a sampling of the bills floating through Nashville; there are more. As someone with an anti-union upbringing, I'm finally seeing the other side of the coin and wondering what caused the Teamsters to picket. I plan to march too.

I promise I'm not going to break a congressman's leg, but I will wear red and head to Nashville come March 5th to rally the capital. We'll be meeting at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and marching at noon. If you are able, please join us. We will be less violent than the Teamsters of the 1960s, but we will not stand quietly.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Finding Your Trademark Character

Kurt Vonnegut introduced us to Diana Moon Glampers—the ugliest, stupidest, and meanest women on Earth—who often made cameo appearances in several of his novels. In “God Bless You Mr. Rosewater,” Vonnegut writes:

The client who was about to make Eliot's black telephone ring was a sixty-eight-year-old virgin who, by almost anybody's standards, was too dumb to live. Her name was Diana Moon Glampers. No one had ever loved her. There was no reason why anyone should. She was ugly, stupid, and boring. On the rare occasions when she had to introduce herself, she always said her full name, and followed that with the mystifying equation that had thrust her into life so pointlessly:

"My mother was a Moon. My father was a Glampers."

My favorite role of Diana’s was as the button pushing general who would scramble the thoughts of intelligent people by causing plane wreck noises in their ears. If you’ve never read Vonnegut’s short story, “Harrison Bergeron,” check it out.

Although I’m no Kurt Vonnegut, I do have a character—or rather a group of characters—who will often make appearances in my books. I’m referring to my fictitious, metallic rock band, Leaf Jet 8. This group acquired their name by me randomly tapping computer keys then shuffling the letters around for a name that grabbed me. I’ve found success with this technique many times.

I delight in putting the band into each of my books, whether it’s something as mild as a song on the radio or as the main character’s girlfriend’s infatuation making her run off with lead singer Dallas Quinton. I’ve also had a good old time making up song titles to fit various scenes. Among the band’s greatest hits is Jenna’s Jugular, which was named after the lead singer’s ex-girlfriend Jenna who dumped him for a woman. Other hits include The Hellivator and Hold Up Baby.

Leaf Jet 8 may never make it onto a real stage, but they provide hours of entertainment as I enjoy cameo appearances coming to a radio near you. So what pops into each of your stories?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Country Bob

I just entered to win 2 bottles of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce! - @rantsnrascals @countrybobs

You can enter too by heading to, but hurry. The contest ends tonight!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Leaving Gee's Bend - My review

I first met Irene Latham and heard about her book, "Leaving Gee's Bend," at a Midsouth SCBWI Writer's Conference. Although Irene is a nice person, I honestly had no desire to read a book about people stitching quilts in the south. Boy had I misjudged her book! I thoroughly enjoyed Irene's delightful tale of Ludelphia Bennet, a poor African American girl from the 1930s, who only wanted to save her dying mother by traveling to Camden to bring Doc Nelson to her mom's bedside. I found myself quickly engaged in this book and wanting to read any chance I got. Ms. Latham also captured Ludelphia's voice as if she herself had lived this life. I would highly recommend "Leaving Gee's Bend."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Stomach Flu

It's interesting how the stomach flu creeps up without warning yet leaves a path of destruction. It all happened Tuesday night around nine o'clock when I decided I didn't feel great--not awful or sick--just not great. I washed up and climbed into bed even though the weather report would soon be posted, and I had to know about the approaching snow storm. I turned off the TV before the ten o'clock news had even started.

Around eleven, my world came crashing in as a sickening light-headedness kept me from laying still. I felt like I'd pass out any moment, and maybe did, yet knew there was no place to go since I was already lying down. Poor Millie dog got bopped on the head by my exorcist-controlled flailing arms. The dizziness left suddenly, so I think I'd awoken from being unconscious but am not sure. Then came the gross part that no one wants to read about, and the entire scene repeated at one AM.

I've been blessed with a wonderful husband who changed the sheets while I draped my head over a plastic bucket and my other half on the porcelain thrown.

I didn't eat much on Wednesday--a few bites of applesauce and some broth from soup. The thought of eating anything tomato based scares me to no end. Luckily, I kept everything down on Wednesday, and so far today. My stomach is not one-hundred percent; I can tell, but I'm much better than before. I've eaten mostly liquid but did eat a small piece of cheese pizza at lunch time. Maybe a mistake, but I haven't seen it yet, so hopefully not.

Thanks to the internet for all of the stomach flu advice from BRAT diets to warm lemon juice (that took up half my tea cup). I've also downed quite a bit of Gatorade in the last two days.

I hope y'all stay well. This is a situation that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.


Monday, January 31, 2011

Author's Notebook

I always keep pen and paper next to my bed just in case I wake up with a brilliant idea or unique dream that might prove book friendly. After all, something about sleep often brings about plotting solutions or new ideas.

Last night, my mind painted an odd scene that could easily become the back drop to a fantasy novel. Of course I've never written a story about other worlds, but I jotted down the scene just in case. This vivid and original world may one day house a troubled teen running from mobsters, a lost kid, or a team of nasty girls. Who knows what I'll be writing in the future--floating moons in reddish-pink skies? You never know.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Budget Cuts in TN

I've heard the most dangerous spot in a children's novel is to be the dog. In Tennessee, it's to be poor, and the treatment of these two groups is similar. I read with horror that our new Republican governor plans to fix our budget by putting an ax to TennCare, our low-income health provider. This $300M cut will limit doctor and hospital visits for poor people. So if you're indigent and need a doctor, tough luck. It won't matter if the person is a child, elderly, pregnant, disabled, or needs a hospital visit--you may be sick for eight days. If you need physical therapy or a podiatrist, just buy a wheelchair because TennCare won't help you with these problems... oh wait, you're poor and can't afford one. Folks won't treat a limping dog either. They shoot it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Challenger Explosion

Twenty-five years ago the world mourned the loss of seven bright explorers who boarded the Challenger. We watched Christa McAliffe prepare to be the first to teach a lesson from space and even envied her for being the one chosen. Folks tuned in to cheer Christa along with her shipmates Francis Scobee, Michael Smith, Judith Resnik, Ellison Onizuka, Ronald McNair, and Gregory Jarvis as they waved to the cameras and headed toward the shuttle. This moment-we'd all waited for-morphed into the moment we'd all dread when the ship exploded in front of crowds of people and television cameras.

Today's news reporters have asked us to remember what we were doing when we learned of this disaster. It's not tough for anyone who lived through this news story. The memory took root in my mind twenty-five years ago and is still as vivid as ever.

My husband and I were in an airport returning home after a visit to my sister's house. As we stepped off our plane, the airport buzzed with stories from travelers deplaning one gate over. They'd witnessed the Challenger explosion first hand when the pilot came over the intercom and told everyone to look out the window to see the Challenger taking off. The passengers watched in horror as the O ring separated causing the shuttle to burst into flames. The pilot did not speak to his passengers again.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Between Shades of Gray

I know I haven't posted in a while, and my last blog discussed the colonoscopy, but something new and wonderful is upon us come March 1. Ruta Sepetys will be releasing her first book, "Between Shades of Gray," and it's already proving to be a winner. Check out Kirkus' review:

I'm talking about a beautiful and heart-wrenching story about Lina, a Lithuanian teen, thrust into a brutal environment by the henchmen of Joseph Stalin in the 1940s. Between Shades of Gray is a story of survival and love found in overly harsh conditions. This book reminded me of a classic like Anne Frank and is destined to go far!

Stalking the Bookshelves is giving away an ARC of this book at

Thursday, November 11, 2010


My big bother sent me a detailed report of the extensive cancer in our family. He wants to have my mother's cancerous remains genetically tested to see if she had the "cancer gene" and may have possibly passed it down to us. Although I see a lot of value in this, it's a scary proposition. After all, the infamous they says, "Ignorance is bliss."

Not that any of us have ever enjoyed blissful ignorance in our family. I have always visited my doctor and suffered through medical tests at the recommended times. The problem, the typical five year span for a colonoscopy may not be enough. If we exhibit this gene, we should be tested every year.

For those who have not had the pleasure of a colonoscopy, let me enlighten you. First, one must restrain from eating solids while drinking chalk and visiting the toilet to expel more manure than anyone thought the human body could hold. Next, one's dehydrated body is wheeled to the hospital to have a needle inserted into a flat vein. It's nighty night while a doctor inserts a scope through the anus in search of polyps. These bugabears are instantly clipped and tested for cancer.

Luckily, I have been polyp free after each test but am also under fifty. In our family, the fun begins as we age.

So in conclusion, my big bother wants me to go through this delightful test more frequently . . . and why does he want this? Because he loves me. Colon cancer is one of the most easily preventable diseases; however, many fail to have the necessary test. If you are over fifty or have a family history, get moving to your doctor for some probe fun.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mocking Jay

On August 24, Mocking Jay will be hitting the bookstores, and I'd love to win it. Would you believe I actually met Susanne Collins? This was before she was a best selling author. I didn't even get her autograph. Sigh. But now she's written an amazing series that began with Hunger Games and continued with Catching Fire. The final book, Mocking Jay, will be out soon. By posting on a blog and advertising this contest, one may get additional entries, so I'm all over it. Here's what you need to know to enter:

Go to the following link and spread the word . . . but not too much because I want to win. ;-)
Under the Fairy Dust

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Most contests

Don't you love a contest? You can win multiple books by entering the contests at Paranormal & Romantic Suspense Reviews.

Cara Elliot, Surrender to A Rogue

Robyn DeHart, Desire Me


Saturday, June 26, 2010

About Contests

Awe,gee. It looks like someone might actually read my blog, so it's past time to post. I do indeed win a lot of contests, and here's why. I enter them. It's an odds game, plain and simple. If you enter four contests a day, sooner or later, you're going to win something. So what are you waiting for? Search the internet and enter them.

By the way, I recently won an autographed copy of Eric Luper's, "Seth Baumgarten's Love Manifesto." What a great book! I also won an autographed "Red Pyramid" by Rick Riordan. Of course he has his own little fan club and doesn't need me to tell you his book is great. Actually, I wouldn't know because I've yet to pry my daughter's fingers off of my prize. I'm looking forward to receiving my next win by Sarah Ockler, "Fixing Delilah Hanniford." If I love it, I'll post an Amazon review.

So folks, I'm not overly lucky. I'm overly persistent. Just ask the agents who keep finding my queries in their inboxes. Sooner or later someone will say, "Yes!"