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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Friday, July 31, 2009

Q&A Friday!

We say goodbye to the month of July and our "Summertime and the Living Is Easy" theme today by sharing a favorite summer memory.

One of my favorite summer memories relates to fireflies or lightning bugs. I recall my dad poking holes in the lid of a mason jar, and my sisters and I racing around the backyard in the twilight capturing the small bugs to make a lantern.

What's one of your favorite summer memories?

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Everybody Dance Now!

Summertime makes me think of dancing. Perhaps that is because the Romance Writers of America conference is during the summer and there's always a big party Harlequin sponsors for their authors and friends. Everybody dances and nobody cares how they look!

(The photo here is from this year's party, Harlequin Historical author Michelle Willingham, who is a great dancer!)

Dancing is joyous. So for no other reason than to make you smile, here are some joyous dancing moments.

1. We all saw clips of this Wedding March Dance on the news, but you really should watch the whole thing. I love this; it shows the joy of a wedding. I applaud the bride and groom and their bridal party for letting go of inhibitions and dancing their way to the altar. Click HERE

2. One of my very favorites: The T-Mobile Liverpool Train Station Dance (It was filmed in January, but it has the spirit of summer)

3. Not only ordinary people can find the joy in dancing. Watch Mikhail Barishnikov join the Chorus Line. I imagine he loved just being one of the dancers in the chorus.

I think part of finding joy is releasing inhibitions and allowing yourself to do what you feel. That's dancing!!

What is your favorite dance memory? Either your own dancing or one you watched. What was the most joyous?

Visit my website and enter my new contest.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I'm writing this Tuesday night because tomorrow I'm going with my CP to take her baby for another pre-surgery appointment for his eyes. Some of you may know about this little fellow- he was born in March, weighing just barely one pound. Now he's home, and passed seven pounds a few weeks ago. Because he's so fragile and I tend to pick up infectious illnesses easily, this will actually be my first time meeting him. So I won't be home till sometime late in the afternoon.

So I thought I'd just show you some of my research pictures from our trip to the Mediterranean last fall. Notice, these are research photos, not the magnificent and sensational views the usual tourist takes. I'll tell you about the Mediterranean from a tourist point of view another time, but my purpose here is to demonstrate the arduous and sometimes grueling business of researching.

Barcelona was an excellent place for research. Its recorded history goes back through Roman times, and its medieval history is what really attracts me.

Inside Barcelona Castle, toward the upper castle yard In order to study the centuries of building and evolution of the castle, it was necessary to walk over the entire grounds, view the buildings and walls, watch a medieval circus,listen to drum bands, and observe the gardens below from the outdoor cafe on the grounds.

There's an incredible collection of weapons in the armoury, from ancient times through medieval, the early modern era, all the way through recent times. Naturally I meticulously recorded as much of the collection as I could. In order to see this magnificent collection of swords, pistols, muskets, rifles, pikes, helmets, cannons, and other weapons, it was necessary to fly across a continent and an ocean, take rooms in a tiny Spanish village by the sea, take the train into Barcelona, and ride first a tour bus then a tram to the top of the mountain where the castle sits above the sea. And that's not saying anything about all the steps.

This is Count Raymond Berenger, 1035-1076. As Count of Savoie and Provence, he also governed Barcelona. If he's who I think he is, he is known to have established an order of lady knights. You'll find him in one of my future books.

Researching contemporary European music at Barcelona Castle. This is Houba. I worked especially hard to get an accurate recording of their music, but the sound quality was poor. Fortunately, you can hear them here:Houba
(Okay so the link doesn't work. I'll have to do that in the morning so I don't wake hubby. See what I mean about research being arduous?)

Plaster over brick column construction at Pompeii. You thought they were all stone, didn't you? Of course my arduous research determined the Romans went to great lengths to hide the brick underlying their great buildings. A true researcher pays attention to these little details, rather than to all that touristy stuff.

Researching contemporary cruise ship French cuisine.

More research in Rome. The Coliseum, that is, not the centurions. Although constant and consistent attention to detail did confirm my hypothesis that there is no such thing as an ugly Italian man.

My husband insists there are no ugly Italian women either, but I was not interested in researching that subject.

All in all, it was an exhaustive study. You can see why I find it necessary to limit such efforts to once a year.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Beautiful Nepal

I just got back from fifteen days in Nepal. What an experience! What an adventure! My older sister wanted to meet up with her son who had been in Bangladesh and asked me to join her on a trip of a lifetime. I packed my bags and we were off! I returned home with a bacteria that had me bedridden for a few days, but more importantly I returned home with SO many wonderful memories. After an 18 hour plane ride from Los Angeles to Bangkok, we flew another three hours to Kathmandu where we stayed for three nights at the Kantipur Temple House, walking distance to the Durbar Square next to the old royal palace. We took a smaller flight around the Himalayas and took a short trip to Bhaktipur where we visited the monkey temple.
We saw the tallest Buddhist temple in Nepal, watched a dance performance where different schools were competing, visited the Bodnath stupa and ran around the prayer wheels. We drove to Bandipur, a medieval city nestled in the beautiful countryside, spent three nights at the Fish Tail Lodge in beautiful Pokhara and then went on to spend a night in Tansen where we played Frisbee with the kids and ate with the locals in their quaint Newari village.

After little sleep we were off to Lumbini, the foothills of the Himalyas, where we sat under the bodhi tree where Buddha was born. Despite being monsoon season in Nepal the heat was almost unbearable. Somewhere along the way we rode the Manakamana cable cars to a tall peak where sacrifices were made (don't want to embellish on that). We spent two nights in Chitwan National Park where we were chased through the jungle by a wild elephant that had only three weeks ago killed two locals.

I’ve never been so scared in my life! Every night in Nepal the lights would go out and we would have to find our way back through strange towns in the dark. The day after we were chased through the jungle we rode friendlier elephants in the river and played in the water while they sprayed us and rolled over, tossing us off their backs. I think that’s where I might have picked up a few parasites. We visited twin elephants at the breeding area. The babies drank from our water bottles and were so cute and loving. We saw a one-horned rhino and crocodiles. Nepal was incredible.

So, how about you? Ever been whisked off by a friend or a loved one unexpectedly? Have you ever taken a family trip that you still think about? Please tell all. Curious minds want to know where to go next!

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer Swimming

By Debra Holland

I was a competitive swimmer until I was 20, then worked as a lifeguard and swim coach into my twenties. I know I’m happiest when I’m in the water. Near it is good, too-- either on it in a boat, or looking at water from a house or restaurant.

Three years ago, I started dating Don, who has a beautiful lagoon pool in his backyard. It’s private, surrounded by tall pine trees, and bushes cloak the fence. I loved being able to stroll out the door, and step into the pool, with or without wearing a bathing suit.

Although at first, I encountered a few problems. It was impossible to take more than a few strokes without hitting a rock. So I adapted. I found the dog paddle actually is more strenuous than I thought. Really works the triceps. I also like hanging on a rock and doing scissor kicks. Or, I’ll tread water, then float on my back, head up (to miss the rocks) and using my arms in a finning motion.

This summer, we’d had workmen fixing a hidden leak. Don also changed the “beach” so instead of a step up to the water level, it flows to the edge of the sidewalk. That meant, all summer I couldn’t swim. I missed the pool SO much!

FINALLY, yesterday the water was back in the pool, cleaned, and ready to use. I skimmed the leaves and flowers off the surface, then plunged in. I wish I could put in words how peaceful it is to swim in a lagoon pool. Water trickles off the rocks of the jacuzzi into the pool, sounding like a musical meditation. The breeze plucks bougainvillea blossoms off the overhanging bushes, tossing them into the water, then sets them floating around me. I feel like I’m on a tropical vacation, a perfect get-away from stress.

Yesterday, I also discovered something new ... lying on the “beach” either on my back or stomach made for perfect lounging. I was partially submerged, so my body stayed cool, and I was very comfortable. As I rested, soaking up the sun, I really tried to focus on being in the moment and letting my head clear. Sometimes, I actually succeeded!

Oh, the joy of being in the water.

How about you? Do you like the water?

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

This Week on the Wet Noodle Posse

Celebrate the last week of July with us by reading the following noodlers' blogs:

Monday, July 27th: Debra Holland TBA
Tuesday, July 28th: Theresa Ragan TBA
Wednesday, July 29th: Delle Jacobs How Not to Do a Research Vacation
Thursday, July 30th: Diane Gaston TBA
Friday, July 31st: Q&A: What’s your favorite summer memory?

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Q&A Friday!!

One of the hardest things to do in the middle of summer is work when it seems like everyone else is vacationing, lounging by a pool with a great book, or going to the movies. But writers write, summer, winter, fall and spring. What can make our job as writers easier--no matter what time of the year it is--is to make our editors' and agents' jobs easier.

How can writers make their editors' and agents' jobs easier?

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Night at the Drive-in

When I was young and still living in my small hometown, we had a drive-in movie theater on the edge of town. During my youngster years, it was fun to get there early and play on the playground at the foot of the big screen before it got dark. And then it was fun to watch the cartoons that played before the movie. I have vague memories of seeing Woody Woodpecker cartoons there and at the movie theater that operated in town when I was really young. It's been gone a long time. I think it's an accountant's office now.

As I reached my high school years, the drive-in kept people coming in with $5 a carload offers. I drove a large boat of a car (ugly, but roomy), and we'd see how many people we could shove into it. I remember pulling into a spot far enough back that we could all get out and sit on top of the car without being in anyone's way. I can still see the yellow lights that skirted the edge of the cinder block concession stand where we'd buy Cokes and hot dogs.

Sadly, that drive-in has gone the way of many others -- either torn down or overgrown with weeds like kudzu. Some still operate, and they're billed as nostalgia entertainment. Every once in awhile a new one is built, though it's news when they are. I love going to the theater to see movies, love seeing the films on the big screen, but drive-ins had really big screens. Plus, it was nice to sit outside and enjoy the summer night air. You could kick back in your lawn chair or on a blanket and not worry about if you were encroaching on the space of the person next to you. No one's cell phone was interrupting the movies.

About the only thing I didn't like about drive-ins was when the mosquitoes decided to snack on me while they watched the movie. :)

Anyone here a drive-in fan? What are some of the movies you remember seeing at the drive-in theater? I remember seeing ET and Spaceballs. I know there were others, but those are the two I remember.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Favorite Days of Summer - RWA

My favorite days of summer include the Romance Writers of America Conference. I'm just back from there as of Sunday July 19. This year it was at the Marriot Wardman Park Hotel in Washington DC, or about 20 miles from my house.

Here's a nice article about the conference, with quotes from fellow Noodler, Colleen Gleason.

Favorite Parts of the Conference:

1. Seeing old friends
I love walking through the hotel and greeting people I only see at conference. I've been attending since 1999 and I've managed to meet so many people and so there are lots of friends to greet. I loved seeing our Noodlers at the conference. Anne Mallory had her darling baby with her and Jennie Lucas always looked so strikingly pretty. We were unable to all get together like in past years, though.

2. Making new friends
Every year it seems I meet someone new. It might be a new writer or it might be a new published author. This year I got to know Miranda Neville better. We'd met years ago at a New Jersey RW conference, but this time we had time to chat. She even helped me with a plotting problem! I also met All About Romance Sandy Coleman's sister at a dinner and found we had lots in common.

3. Spending time with dear friends
I never have enough time with my local writing friends and the conference gives us the chance to just hang out together, especially after the hectic conference day is over. We hung out in Mary Blayney's room one night, which was just the respite I needed after the Harlequin Party.

4. Spending time with colleagues
It was a treat to spend time with the other Mills & Boon authors and the Harlequin Historical authors, and to exchange information with them.

5. Seeing the industry professionals
The Mills & Boon editors seemed very visible at this conference. In fact, all of Harlequin had a big presence, from providing the tote bags with a vintage Harlequin cover on them, to giving workshops and attending parties. I had the pleasure of having a drink with Karin Stoecker, Mills & Boon editorial director.

Mostly, it is a unique and wonderful experience to be around so many people who love what I love--Writing Romance!

If you attended RWA, what did you love about it? If not, where have you gathered with friends this summer?

Check out Diane's new contest!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How short can short shorts go?

This blog is a reprint of one written three summers ago. Since I was discussing the shortness of shorts yesterday with my walking buddies, who have seen rises at all time lows, I felt my sentiments were still dead on. Please enjoy this golden oldie!

I like to think I’m a reasonable person, and most people will tell you I’m pretty level-headed except perhaps when it comes to neighbors’ dogs pooping in my yard. But a couple of days ago, I took my soon-to-be sixth-grade daughter shopping for shorts. She grew several inches this year, so last year’s shorts didn’t fit. She didn’t want Bermudas or anything that looked like something I or her grandmother would wear. I didn’t take offense. She has capris that do fit, and she informed me they weren’t shorts. Apparently, when you’re close to twelve, you must explain the obvious to your mother because, as we all know, mothers become brainless wonders who understand nothing until their daughters become mothers. But I digress.

In the car we agreed that a mid-thigh length short was acceptable. I thought we might actually have a frustration free shopping excursion. After all, we weren’t looking for bathing suits. The problem, you ask? The shorts in the Juniors’ departments throughout the mall were either Bermuda length or far, far shorter. I’m sorry, but shorts that start three inches BELOW my daughter’s navel and require a Brazilian wax aren’t what MOTHERS of Tweens (who pay for those shorts, might I remind you) are looking for. And if the extremely low waist band wasn’t enough to give me a brain hemorrhage, the way these denim shorts barely came past her butt cheeks certainly were. I don’t want my daughter to look sexy. I even said it out loud, so loud that the salesclerk and several other shoppers looked at me as my daughter and I returned the shorts to the display rack.

I don’t understand the disconnect. Why don’t clothing manufacturers and buyers for department stores understand that many children today go through puberty at earlier ages than their parents did? These Tweens cannot fit into children’s clothes, but the Juniors’ departments’ clothes are often much too sexy for girls aged eleven to fourteen. Some of what I saw I wouldn’t even want my daughter to wear at twenty-one! I want her to look fashionable, but I refuse to buy supershort shorts. Do you hear me? Give me modesty, or give me a sewing machine! I don’t want to resort to sewing my daughter’s shorts, but I have a sewing machine and I know how to use it.

My on-the-spot solution for the day—athletic clothing. The shorts were an agreeable mid-thigh length. They covered all parts that should be covered. They were comfortable. And she liked them even if they weren’t on the cutting edge of fashion. So mothers of Tweens unite. Refuse to buy “bootylicious” shorts for your daughters this summer. Let your voices be heard.
Do you think shorts are too short?

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Euterpe: Muse of Music and Queen of the Road

by Guest Blogger Rachel Goldsworthy

The best part of sitting in the back seat is singing. The bonus for weighing enough to get the front seat is having the CD or tape collection within arm’s reach.

Spilling CDs out of the glove box and fumbling them from their cases and into the player only to discover that someone put Big and Rich where Patsy is supposed to be…well, that is a drawback for the driver. Other than that, music on the road is pure pleasure whether I’m heading for a family reunion, a campsite, or hard bleachers in hot sun.

In the summertime, I flash back to the joy of the kids rocking out to We are the Champions on the way home from a baseball game, of belting out Me and Bobby McGee along with Janis on a solo road trip, of my husband trying to find the notes – any notes – of Money for Nothing.

Now that so many of us have iPods and our cars have docks for them, we can assemble special playlists, soundtracks for life that make summertime road trips even better. Miley Cyrus and Queen for the youngsters on tournament weekends. Queen and country for the middle ages any time. Chopin and Van Morrison for romantic getaways. Jann Arden’s Where No One Knows Me and the Ennis Sisters’ It’s Not About You when the trunk and back seat and passenger side are loaded with boxes of dishes, crates of books and plastic bags full of clothes.
It’s fun to flip through the jukebox of my mind or the list on my iPod to come up with the perfect song, and I seem to do it more when the sun’s shining and the roads are dry. Summertime. When the singin’ is easy.

I love lip syncing Fred Eaglesmith’s Mighty Big Car when I’m stopped at a light next to a guy in a huge shiny pickup, or Nancy White’s My God My Mom if it’s a minivan loaded with shopping bags and teenagers.

Are there tunes that reach out of the car stereo and make you croon? Please tell me I’m not the only one on the road who can’t resist singing along with Honky Tonk Woman – even when the windows are open.


Rachel Goldsworthy writes underappreciated funny women's fiction. Somebody's going to get it one of these days. You'll find her commentary on life at

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

This week on The Wet Noodle Posse

Join us as noodlers and their guests continue exploring Summertime and the Living Is Easy theme with the following blogs:

Monday, July 20th: Guest Blogger Rachel Goldsworthy Euterpe: Muse of Music and Queen of the Road
Tuesday, July 21st: Karen Potter
Wednesday, July 22nd: Diane Gaston
Thursday, July 23rd: Trish Milburn/Tricia Mills Drive In Theaters
Friday, July 24th: Q&A

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Q&A

Certain foods, like Strawberry Shortcake ice cream bars, and certain smells like wild honeysuckle make me think of summer. Songs can also create an association with a certain season.

What song says "Summer" to you?


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blockbuster Movies

Yesterday was the opening of another summer blockbuster, the 6th movie in the Harry Potter series. Since the ds is at college orientation, I haven’t seen it yet. We’ve seen all the other movies together, have gone to the book release parties together, so it wouldn’t be right not to wait.

This release had me thinking about other blockbuster movies.

“Jaws” was considered the first summer blockbuster. I was 9, so my mom didn’t let me see it.


“Star Wars,” we saw. All three of them. I think my mom even went to “The Empire Strikes Back.”

“ET” we saw in NJ when we were on vacation. I remember watching with my cousin who later was my maid of honor and my son’s godmother. We ate Reece’s Pieces. I don’t think I knew what they were before that.


“Raiders of the Lost Ark” we saw 4 times. It was when my uncle was living with us after his divorced and he LOVED that movie. We did, too.


“Jurassic Park.” My friends and I had read the book (I was already teaching, so I was in my 20s.) We were so excited about this movie. I remember they showed the T-Rex on GOOD MORNING AMERICA the morning the movie was released. I went to buy tickets for the evening movie at 11 AM (this was before Fandango) and the line was SO long! Then we met up to go see the movie, and loved it. I remember Denise snatching her legs up onto the seat when the little girl fell through the ceiling, and I remember standing outside the theater rehashing our favorite parts afterwards, and lamenting the parts that were left out of the book.


“Batman” with Michael Keaton—Prince on the soundtrack made this a win. Michael Keaton was no one’s pick for Bruce Wayne, but he was awesome. This was the first movie we bought on VHS.

“Ghostbusters 2”—I loved this movie. I was just married and we all went to see the late showing after work, my boss, my co-worker and the dh.

“Independence Day” Will Smith was GOLDEN. Jeff Goldblum, too. Who knew he was buff? Okay, I liked him in “Jurassic Park” but there was no muscle shirt involved. ANYWAY. Exploding landmarks, dogfights with aliens, and terrific dialogue. I know the resolution was iffy but it was so much fun. I can watch this movie over and over.

“King Kong” with Jessica Lange. Okay, it wasn’t a summer blockbuster but it’s the first movie I stood in line for. The line wrapped AROUND the theater. Again, before Fandango. Loved this one, too.


“Pirates of the Caribbean” HAD to see this one. HAD to. I remember it came out the week before we went to NYC for RWA National the first time I finalled in the Golden Heart. We saw the movie twice before we left, then bought the bootleg in Chinatown and watched it again the night we got home.

“Godzilla” I think this one released the last day of school one year. I remember being so excited about going to see it, because I LOVED “Independence Day” and the same guys did it. I HATED the movie. HATED.


“The Mummy Returns” We didn’t see the first Mummy movie in the theater, though I wanted to. But when we did see it, we loved it. So when the second one came out, we were there on opening night. It wasn’t nearly as good, but boy, did it have action. When we came out of the theater, it was storming, and we ran to the car through the flooding parking lot. We said we were like Rick, Evie and their son. My son loved the movie so much that we went to go see it at the IMAX before we left for New Orleans for the RWA conference. (Yes, the movie is that old.) I remember tricking him that we were going to see an “educational” movie, and we saw “The Mummy Returns” again.


“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” wasn’t a summer blockbuster either. I remember being awed by how true to my vision Chris Columbus made the world. I went a second time with my step-dad and my brother and from the first strains of the theme, I was happy.

“Lord of the Rings”—I was dragged to this one, and was shocked at the cliffhanger ending. LOVED the second in the trilogy, though my son, in middle school at the time, had nightmares about it. Saw the third four times in the theater.

What blockbuster movies have you loved?

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Three Ways to Unwind Mid-week!

By Diana McCabe

It's Wednesday. That means I'm sort-of-to-the-weekend-but-not-quite-there-yet! So I need a little something fun to keep me going. Here are a few ideas to keep you sane and chilling out!

Get a body-melting massage for $25 an hour

OK -- I have had a zillion massages so I was very skeptical when I ran across this little place called Pure Sole, tucked away in a corner of a shopping mall on Beach Boulevard in Huntington Beach. But, after reading the great reviews, I decided to check it out. It is awesome. Yes -- it's kind of like chair massage but better! You start by placing your feet in a wooden bucket of warm water. Then, you're treated to a wonderful head/neck/shoulder/arm massage. Next -- you lie face down and any other knots, kinks, sore spots on your back, shoulders, legs are worked out. They'll work on your feet, too! I've been several times and I've felt like melted butter after each session. If you don't like a lot of pressure during a massage, let them know. Wear loose and comfy clothing. The best part: On Wednesdays the cash price is $25 for an hour. (On Tuesdays -- if you bring another person -- it's $20.) Check it out at or read the reviews

Hydrate healthfully

Yeah, yeah, yeah -- sounds boring but I just bought one of those pitchers that has an "ice stick'' in the middle so it keeps your water nice and cold. I noticed lots of salons have these and they add slices of lime/lemon/orange and cucumber. So, I've been doing that and drinking a lot more water. Love it when it's ice cold. Makes it nice to have around during this heat wave. (I bought mine from Bed, Bath & Beyond for $19.99 (2.5 quarts), but other retailers, such as Target, sell something similar for $9.99.

Read a book and get the author to sign it!

I'd snuggle into bed with BLUE MOON, the latest from New York Times best-selling author Alyson Noel. And then I'd have her sign it Friday at 6 p.m. at the Barnes & Nobel in Orange!

Diana McCabe writes full time for Chapman University. In her spare time, she helps with blog posts for financial columnist Liz Pulliam Weston. And she has her own hobby blog about paranormal romance books, news and author interviews at

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blueberries—The Easy Summer Berry

Blueberries are touted for their anti-oxidant properties, but they’re fabulous for reasons other than the good things they do for your body. In my humble opinion, they’re actually the easiest of all summer berries. Here’s why:

1. They’re easy to grow in most climate zones if you pick the right hybrid. If they can grow in heavy clay and survive days on end in the 90 degree range in my backyard, they can pretty much grow anywhere. Cranberries require a bog. Strawberries prefer a loamy soil.

2. They don’t require a lot of fuss other than netting to protect your bounty from being eaten by birds and watering if you haven’t had rain.

3. They’re easy to pick. Blueberry bushes don’t have thorns like blackberries and raspberries, which scratch.

4. They’re easy to eat. There are no tiny seeds to get between tooth and gum, like strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Maybe those seeds don’t bother you, but they bothered me so much as a child that I refused to eat berries. Of course, the fact that I didn’t eat them made me the best berry picker in my family.

5. They’re easy to cook with. If your yield for the day is low, toss them in your cereal. If your yield is a cup or so, make muffins or pancakes, or a nice syrup (a little sugar added to the berries in a sauce pan over low heat) for ice cream or cheesecake. If your yield is high (four to six cups), bake a blueberry crumble. See below for my husband’s favorite dessert made with our blueberry bounty.

Blueberry Crumble
Serves 8
Preheat oven to 400° and spray a 9x11” Pyrex pan with non-stick spray.

Cornstarch Mixture (to prevent soupiness):
In a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to ¼ cup of water and 2/3 cup of granulated sugar. Cook over low heat until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved and the mixture thickens.

Berry Mixture:
Rinse and remove any stems from blueberries. Mix the following ingredients in a large bowl:
4-6 cups fresh, rinsed blueberries (2-3 pints)
¼ cup sifted all purpose flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
Cornstarch/sugar/water mixture.

Once berries and other ingredients are mixed, pour into pyrex pan. Wait 15 minutes before baking, so that the cornstarch mixture can marry with the rest of the berry mixture and thicken.

Crumble Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup natural turbinado sugar
2 ¼ cups of all purpose flour
2 ¼ sticks of salted butter (Do not use margarine!)

Mix sugar and flour together, then cut in butter until butter is thoroughly combined and crumbles form. I use my hands, but you can use a pastry cutter. Sprinkle crumble over berry mixture as evenly as possible.

Place Pyrex dish on top of cookies sheet to catch drips. Bake in a 400° oven for 35 minutes or until crumbles brown and berry mixture bubbles. Check at 20 minutes to determine if the crumbles need to be covered with foil to prevent over-browning. If they look like they’re a nice golden color, cover with foil for the last 10-15 minutes of baking.

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

What's your favorite summer fruit? Why is it your favorite?

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Five Things NOT to do This Summer

1. Forget to reply sunscreen after a dip in the pool. Between the chlorine and the towel that you rub yourself dry with, you have less coverage than you think. Case in point, my daughter, who has received many a lecture on skin cancer prevention, didn’t reapply during a recent trip to the pool. Where did she burn in the two hours she spent at the pool? Nose, forehead, cheekbones, and a band of skin two inches above her bikini bottom, where I suspect she wrapped her towel. The burn could have been avoided by reapplication.

2. Use any soap product, body spray, or lotion that has the word “sugar” in its name, such as Sugar Cookie body spray or Evenly Gorgeous™ exfoliating beauty bar with Burnt Brown Sugar and Karite Butter. Of course, you might enjoy a good blood-letting and mosquito welts. Yup, I own up to doing this. By the way, the soap is fantastic as long as you stay inside.

3. Slice your finger with hedge trimmers then refuse to go to the Emergency Room for stitches because a)you’re a man b)it’s a holiday weekend and c) you prefer to spend the rest of your weekend complaining that you cannot feel the end of said finger and that the jagged slice is oozing despite the glue you begged your wife to put on the torn flesh to avoid stitches. Can you tell my sympathy is spent? Yes, that was how my husband and I spent Fourth of July weekend.

4. Make plans for a family outing to the water park without checking the extended weather forecast. Guilty. Due to thunderstorms, my daughter and I went to a movie and dinner instead. My husband stayed home, nursing his sliced finger. Yes, also this year’s spectacular Fourth of July weekend.

5. Walk down the ice cream aisle at the grocery store if your clothes are a little tighter than you’d like. For some reason ( I suspect behavior that must be Pavlovian and ingrained in me as a child), summer is synonymous with ice cream. Do I need strawberry shortcake bars, fudgcicles, and ice cream sandwiches? No. But the will to keep them out of my shopping basket ebbs to its yearly low in July.

I’ve given you my list of what not to do in summer. Can you add to it? Or would you like to offer a “should” for our consideration?

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

This Week on the Wet Noodle Posse

Noodlers delve deeper into this month's theme Summertime and the Living Is Easy with the following blogs:

Monday, July 13th: Maureen Hardegree Top Five Things NOT to Do This Summer
Tuesday, July 14th: Maureen Hardegree Blueberries—The Easy Summer Berry
Wednesday, July 15th: Guest Blogger Dianna McCabe
Thursday, July 16th: MJ Fredrick Summer Movies
Friday, July 17th: Q&A: What’s Your Favorite Song that Evokes Summer?

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Q&A Friday!!

This week we've dished on what we love about beaches and which ones we like the most, we've shared pool games and a mojito recipe, and we discussed how to balance writing research and vacation time.

Today, we'd like to pose this question: What story came easiest to you as a writer?


Thursday, July 09, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation...

It's summer. The road beckons. You really need a vacation. But you have this idea for a book, too, that needs a bit of research.

So which will it be? That well-deserved vacation, or a research trip?
Why not combine the two? You can save some money, and you can take at least part of the trip off of your taxes (if you're earning at least some income from your writing, anyway.)

Or maybe you travel for work, as my husband and I often do. Again, you can combine the day job with some research if you plan ahead. There are a few things you'll need to pack to make the most of your trip: a camera, a journal, a good map, and a sturdy pair of walking shoes.

Recently my husband and I had to make a trip to California. I'm working on a book that centers around a Native American tribe that descended from the ancient Pueblo dwellers, and I really needed to do some research. We left a few days early for the trip and took a detour through Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. Our first stop was Durango, Colorado, where I've decided my heroine will live and own her business. One night in Durango was all I needed to soak up the atmosphere, get a feel for the town and the type of business she might have there, and to get details such as street names, local hang outs, restaurants, etc.

Thirty minutes down the road took us to Mesa Verde National Park. Oh, the ideas I got there! I figured out where her tribe lives now, where they fled to when threatened by outside enemies. We spent a full day exploring the park, took hundreds of pictures, and challenged ourselves by hiking down to one of the cliff dwellings for a tour. The experience was something I couldn't get by reading a book, searching online, or even from talking to someone who had been there. I had to experience the breathtaking heights, the heat, the grueling hike for myself. I needed to sit and imagine my characters in this place.

From there we took a short fifteen minute side trip to the Anasazi Cultural Center where I learned so much about my characters' ancestors and how they lived. I even got to see a restored Kiva, where these people gathered for their religious ceremonies.

The rest of the trip was a drive to the Four Corners, which took us through Indian reservations, and then it was on to California. On the way, I got to see and feel the desolation and isolation (as well as growing furious with our government for what they did to such a proud people by banishing them to lands no one else would want).

Now I had motivation, I had conflict, I had emotion to go in my story, as well as details. All for a total cost of about $250, including gas, food, and lodging. To me, it was a priceless experience.

I hope everyone gets to take a vacation this summer. You need it. You deserve it. But try to include some research on your trip, or at least take notes on your destination in case you want to use it in a future book. It will be well worth the effort.

Have any of you taken memorable research trips? Tell us about them!

Happy Travels!