Monday, October 31, 2011

Bet You Can't Watch This Without Laughing

Me? I have to laugh to keep from crying.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Show and Tell...

Lindy Chaffin Start - Decatur, GA

Red as Jesse from Toy Story - 2010

The always fabulous Headless Horseman (here he looks ghostly)

There are some terrific pumpkin carvers out there, but Screamer was by far my favorite jack-o-lantern last year. Something about him "screamed" CREATIVE!!!
Happy Halloween, Y'all!

* * * * *

Pam Asberry * Dacula, GA

Nathan, October, 2005
I know it's a cliche, but they really do grow up too fast.
I am 5" 2", so when this picture was taken, I towered over my little guy.
My, what a difference six years makes!
My advice? Treasure every chaotic moment with your precious little trick-or-treaters this year.
Your big ones, too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ghosts of Halloweens Past and Writers LiPP Costume Contest!

Of course I was a big fan of Halloween when I was growing up. What kid in her right mind wouldn't love an excuse to put on a crazy costume and go door-to-door begging candy from the neighbors? My brothers I used to come home with our pillowcases stuffed full of treats. But whereas all their good stuff (that is, the chocolate) was gone within days, I rationed my treats out and make them last nearly until Christmas. I've always been good that way. So why is it that there's always more month than money?

But I digress. I don't have any pictures of myself in costume back in the day, but my all-time favorite was Casper the Friendly Ghost. I remember sweating behind the mask, but I dug that shiny white robe.

By the time I got to high school, I determined I was too old to go trick-or-treating (my, how things have changed!) and I don't remember Halloween being fun again until I had kids of my own. I used to stay up until the wee hours sewing costumes for them

Josh and Casey
doing seasonal crafts with them

and taking them to pumpkin patches and corn mazes.

Nathan and Casey
 I firmly believe that these activities helped them grow in wisdom.

 Even Karma gets in on the action sometimes.

And now for the moment you have been waiting for.

Yep, it's really me. October, 2006.
Now, it's YOUR turn! Please send a picture of yourself dressed in your Halloween finest for a chance to be featured on Friday Show & Tell AND win fabulous prizes, including an exclusive Writers Li.P.P. t-shirt. Send your entry to May the best costume win!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Open House and Costume Contest! Come and Play!

Me and Red - Halloween 2009
Halloween is a favorite of mine. Not only do I love a good haunt, but the memories that surround this special day linger in my mind like summer hangs on in Georgia.

My friend Kate who was 96 when she died some years back, used to open her home to all us neighborhood kids on Halloween. She would dress like a movie star straight from 1930s Hollywood and serve up yummy treats to the kids and parents that wandered by on Trick-or-Treat rounds. Wassail for the grownups, hot apple cider for the kids. Homemade popcorn balls decorated with chocolate bars to make them look like jack-o-lanterns were a staple along with spiced cookies - Kate's specialty. 

Trick-or-Treating the full length of our neighborhood all by ourselves was something special and not getting home until 9:00 PM on a school night. The best part was being with the host of friends I grew up with. The Moseley's, Rob, Hunter and Jay, Amanda, Audra, to name only a few, were the usual traveling pack when we were younger. We would inevitably run into other friends and the group would grow until it took us a full ten minutes to get through the passing out of candy at each house. Great fun. 

In my twenties, and don't I wish I could've found this pic for you, the only Halloween party I attended was with my first husband and we dressed as Frankenstein and his bride. He came complete with stilts that made him seven feet tall, and my hair was almost as tall as his stilts. Scary! 

But the best Halloweens I have ever experienced have been with Red. Her first Trick-or-Treat was 2009. We traversed the neighborhood and collected candy from every house with it's front light on - in the icy cold rain. She loved every minute and so did I. Yes, that's me, the Too Sexy chef up top. In 2010, she dressed as Jessie from Toy Story and I dressed for warmth and walking. This year she is destined to be Daphne from Scooby Doo and so am I. Yes, she has asked me to be the "Mom Daphne." *laughing* I like purple, so why the heck not. 

This week isn't all about us though, its about you too. Pam and I want you to e-mail us your favorite Halloween get-ups from the past. We'll choose a winner, or two, and post them for Friday Show and Tell. We'll have prizes for best costume too! 

Pam's on Trick-or-Treat deck next! Have a great week and send me your photos -

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Show and Tell

Pam Asberry * Dacula, GA

Do you ever feel this way?
The coffee mug says it all.


Lindy Chaffin Start * Decatur, GA

Emerge Unstoppable!
After ten months of struggling through the pain of divorce, I still did...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Where Do You Draw The Line?

In Lindy Chaffin Start's blog post Monday, she detailed conversations that decisively ended relationships. I was impressed. Me? I seem more like our reader Denise, who commented:

Oh, you are so not alone. I always see the good and write the bad off to just a bad moment. I will forgive just about anything.

Here are some examples from the past.

Me: "I am thinking about going to University of Colorado and getting my Ph.D."
Serious Boyfriend: "Go for it. But I can't promise I will be waiting around for you when you are finished."
Stunned silence. Eventually, I give up my dream of getting a Ph.D. and marry the guy.

Me: "So what's this big secret you want to tell me?"
Friend: "I am having an affair with John Doe."
Stunned silence. John Doe is married and all of our mutual friends know it. I don't approve, but I keep her secret, lying for her when friends ask about their relationship. 

Me: "What just happened?"
New Boyfriend: "You're just not as slim and slender as I originally thought."
Stunned silence. I am 5' 2"; at the time, I weighed 105 pounds. My confidence is shattered, but we talk it through and I end up in a four-year relationship with the guy.

Denise went on to say:

I do have a line or two and am drawing more. There's just so much a girl can put up with, right?

I like to think my learning curve is also improving. I am learning to speak up for myself. I divorced the husband. I broke ties with the friend. I ended the four-year relationship. And here are some examples from more recent history.

Me (on a third date): "So tell me more about your situation with your ex."
New Boyfriend: "Well, she isn't exactly my ex. We aren't exactly separated. And she doesn't exactly know I am seeing other people."
Great balls of fire! I don't date married men! Please take me home!

Me: "That's a great idea. I would love to spend Valentine's Day in the mountains with you."
Boyfriend of Six Months: "I'm going to have to cancel our weekend reservation. My mom is expecting me at her house for Sunday night dinner."
I hope your mom will also keep you warm at night! Bye-bye!

I don't know why it's taken me a lifetime to figure this all out. But the good news is that am no longer willing to spend five minutes with a man who diminishes me in anyway or puts me at the bottom of his priority list. Nor am I willing to keep dirty secrets for a friend or put up with any kind of abuse from anyone--whether it's directed at me, at a minority group, or anyone else. At this stage of the game, it's about being true to myself and treating others the way I want to be treated.

If that isn't true love, I don't know what is.

Where do YOU draw the line?

Author: Pam Asberry

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Exorcism Factor: Things I Heard and Swore I Would Never Repeat

"See ya!"

5 FINGERS© Nithi Chungyam |
It’s funny how we perceive others.  When it's someone we care about it's hard to see that they may be flawed to the point that we need to cut ties. This post means a great deal to me because I am essentially outing people I have known without revealing their identities. For these purposes, let’s call it an exorcism. This is my way of writing the note and lighting it on fire so that I can finally let these folks go. All of these people I have known well, shared intimate conversations with, and completely disconnected from once these statements were uttered. You ready?

Me: “So, why the name change?” 
Friend: “There’s a warrant out for my arrest.”
Me: “For?”
Friend: “My ex is after me for back child support.”
Refrain from slapping. See ya!

Me: “Girl, you look great! How did you lose so much weight?”
Friend: “Well, did I ever tell you that cocaine is my drug of choice.”
Head tilt. Huh? See ya!

Me: “I really appreciate your help this weekend. Is there anything I can do to repay you?”
Friend: “Didn’t you tell me once that the doc had given you Xanex for your panic attacks?”
Me: “Yeah. Why?”
Friend: “I’ll buy them from you.”
Are you kidding me? See ya!

Me: “You said that you wanted to have your children raised in church. What happened?”
Friend: “I just said that to try to get in your pants.”
Whole host of expletives resound in brain.  See ya!

Sadly, I am naïve enough not to pick up on the warning signs like most. Believing in people is what I do. Seeing the good, refusing to admit the bad until it smacks me across the face – WHACK! Gratefully, I am well aware of when to call a friendship quits.

What about you? Is there something you’ve heard from a friend that has ended a relationship? Something you swore you would never repeat?

Pam is up next. Until Friday Show and Tell I bid you a good week.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Show and Tell

Lindy - Decatur, GA

The neighbor's mailbox-eating tree...
9-1-1 Operator: "9-1-1. What's your emergency?"
Neighbor: "OMG! Send and ambulance!"
9-1-1 Operator: "Sir, what happened?"
Neighbor: "My tree ate my mailbox!"
* click *

* * * * *

Pam - Dacula, GA

I dream of living someplace warm enough to wear tank tops, flippy skirts and flip-flops year round,
because as soon as the temperature dips below 60 degrees, I reach for my fuzzy socks.
This is probably as close as I'm going to get to flip-flops for a while.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fall Recipes: Black Bean Soup

My blog sister Lindy believes that perfection can be found in pork tenderloin. That may be true for you carnivores out there but, as far as I'm concerned, perfection can be found in a simple pot of homemade soup, like this recipe for black bean soup, adapted from my 1981 edition of Laurel's Kitchen. Yes, I have been dabbling with vegetarianism for a long, long time.


1 1/2 cups black beans
1 1/2 quarts water
2 heaping tablespoons VegeBase
(or substitute 1 1/2 quarts vegetable broth for the water and VegeBase)
2 tablespoons oil
1 carrot
1 onion
1 potato
2 stalks celery
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Pinch garlic powder

Wash the beans, place them in a pot along with the water and VegeBase (or vegetable broth) and 1 tablespoon oil. Cover tightly, bring to a boil, and simmer for 2 1/2 hours or so, until the beans are very tender.

Chop the onion and saute in the remaining oil until soft. Chop the celery, including the leaves; dice the potato and carrot; add celery, potato and carrot to onion and cook over medium heat for several minutes, stirring all the while.

Add the vegetables to the beans, along with the seasonings, in the last hour of their cooking. Bring the soup to a boil and lower the heat to simmer until the beans and vegetables are done.

Makes about 9 cups. Great served in a bowl topped with hot sauce and a dollop of sour cream and a side of cornbread, or leftover on a bed of rice and topped with salsa and grated cheddar cheese.

Click the links below for some of my other favorite fall recipes. Enjoy!

Spicy Pumpkin Muffins
Apple Streusel Pie
German Chocolate Pie

Author: Pam Asberry

Monday, October 10, 2011

Best Things These Li.P.P.s Ever Tasted – Fall Recipes

Do you ever have that feeling like your hands are in control? It’s the craziest feeling – they have to be doing something. I often say in these instances that “my hands are bored.” There is nothing like cooler days and a tinge of color on the leaves outside my window to inspire creativity. My bored hands are at the ready to do some busy work. So, I give them something to do.

Flavors of fall are especially important to me – freshly harvested apples, root vegetables like parsnip, carrot, sweet potato and Brussels sprouts all lend themselves to a heartier, cool-weather plate.  At the center of this plate is perfectly roasted pork tenderloin. Yes, perfect. I know I said in my post last Wednesday that perfection was unattainable but perfected is possible. Well, perfection may be found in pork tenderloin.

Let’s build our plate and then I will give you the super secret, super easy recipe:

Imagine if you will a beautiful 10 inch dinner plate with elegant branches from a wintering dogwood filled with red berries stretching from corner to corner. In the center of the plate is a simple sweet potato mash made with a drizzle of honey, salt and pepper. In the seven o’clock corner there is a luscious mound of sautéed spinach with slivers of shaved garlic. In the one o’clock corner there is a nice showing of roasted root vegetables – carrots and parsnips – roasted in olive oil and rosemary. In the 11 o’clock corner, half of a Granny Smith apple and sharp provolone cheese are cubed and tossed together.  Sound good so far? Now, we need our focal point.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin
  • 1 split baby tenderloin, fat trimmed
  • Emeril’s Original Essence
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Simple. Simple. Simple.

Place the tenderloins in a gallon Ziploc bag. Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat (a couple of tablespoons) then pour, not sprinkle, Emeril’s  Original Essence into the bag atop the tenderloins. Zip the bag then squish the tenderloins around in the bag until they are nice and orange all over. It’s the spices, I promise. Heat a nonstick sauté pan, should you have one available, on medium-high to high heat. Sear the tenderloins on all four sides, each side will be a nice crisp brown - not black. Turn the tenderloins onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Take the meat out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

This is the simplest pork tenderloin ever. I perfected the method while building a home in Juliette, Georgia. Every weekend we would commit to work through so I would pack the cooler with things that were easy to prepare with very few ingredients. This tenderloin, some cheddar cheese, Texas Pete, and flour tortillas made for a great lunch straight from the grill.

Fall conjures up so many flavors for me. I suggest you start your day with pecan pancakes and maple syrup. Have an enjoyable light lunch that might be a twist on Waldorf salad and whole grain toast or crackers. Finish your day with the ultimate fall dinner (above). No autumn weekend is complete without it.

Life, and menu ideas, in Penned Perspective by Lindy Chaffin Start

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Show & Tell

Pam Asberry * Dacula, GA

This little guy shows up outside my kitchen window every single night.
I know he is looking for bugs but I like to think he is just peeking in to say hi.
Regardless, I admire his steadfastness and tenacity.

* * * * *

Lindy Chaffin Start * Decatur, GA


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Pondering on Perfection…

The very best thing I’ve read in the last few days truly made me think on the topic of perfectionism. This is a point made by Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book, Simple Abundance - A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. She points out, “Upon completing the Universe, the Great Creator pronounced it ‘very good.’ Not ‘perfect.’”

Life is rarely perfect therefore we will never achieve perfection. Sounds fair. And, who would want to? What fun would life be if we all achieved our goals the minute we set out to? I figure we’d all be left standing around until one of us screamed, “What’s next?”

Pam’s post on Time Management this past Monday drove this point home to me. In there she asks, “Are you fully engaged in the one or two pursuits that bring you sheer delight? Would you be happy doing nothing but what you are doing for the rest of your life?

Funny thing about it is, when you are doing what you love, there is no need for perfection. Uh oh. What did I just say? Seriously. Look at it this way - yes, manuscripts have to be as perfect as perfect gets. Hello, that’s what editors and proofers are for. Work can be flawed, but people must still be served, events must still take place, the daily grind must still go on. Here’s my question, would you rather be sitting on the couch writing surrounded by poignant reminders that you have an active family (aka. a messy living room) or would you rather be expelling all of your energy perfecting your living room in a blind effort to make a peaceful space to work? If you spend your time cleaning to find the perfect space, then what do you do when the kids get home from school and want their fair share of quality time with you? After dinner, as everyone bathes and dons PJs, will you find time to write like you had planned earlier in the day? Can you forgive yourself and try again tomorrow? Sure you can. BUT, will tomorrow look like today?
© Aje |

It doesn’t take long to see the same pattern we all face. Lisa Bloom speaks about this in her book, THINK: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World. Find the time that you need to do the things that fulfill you. Let the kids take part in the cleaning and, in my humble opinion, do it before bed so you can have a semi-clean house when they leave for school. When they get home, allow them an hour of “free time” to do what they want in their space. This will allow you an extra hour to do what you want. Try it.

Stop looking for perfection. Find balance.

Until Friday Show and Tell this is Life in Penned Perspective by Lindy Chaffin Start.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A new perspective on time management

After spending the summer eating frogs, being a total slave to a stack of arduous to-do lists, I am trying a new approach, which seems to be working for the always brilliant Danielle LaPorte. I recommend that you click HERE and read every word of this recent blog post of hers. Here is my favorite part.

Time management systems are tricky beasts. They may help us be more productive, but not necessarily less stressed, or more fulfilled, or more in touch with our true nature. We may look freer with our priorities all tidy, but too often, time remains the master and we get "given" time for obeying the system.

I'd rather be fulfilled than obedient. And it turns out that when I'm fulfilled, I'm...fulfilled--whether I'm productive or not. And that gives me plenty of energy to be more focused on what matters most, which makes me truly productive.

My way isn't working. My daily to-do list is physically impossible to achieve, so I wake up every morning stressed and anxious, knowing that I am going to fail before I even get started. Is this any way to go through life? Obviously, the answer is no.

I love Danielle's suggestions for putting time management in its place. I already "batch and chunk," so that one is a no-brainer. I am super excited about trying some of the others. Like NOT keeping a detailed  to-do list. Asking myself every morning what it is I really feel like doing. And, arguably most important for me, focusing on the one or two vocational pursuits that really excite me.

Here is my breaking news: I am finally ready to admit that I cannot do it all: teach piano lessons to 40 students each week--a full-time job--while simultaneously building both a handcrafted jewelry business and a writing career AND taking care of my family. Something has got to give. And over a tear-filled breakfast a couple of weeks ago, my friend Denise helped me realize what that needs to be.

Her question went something like this: "If you designed a piece of jewelry that became so popular that making jewelry could be your sole means of support--if it went viral and you could no longer meet the demand for it by yourself and you got to run a factory to manufacture it--would you be happy doing nothing but that?"

I didn't even hesitate. The answer was easy. "No."

Music and writing are my passions. I enjoy making jewelry and hoped that my Etsy store would provide me with some extra income during this slump in the economy and buy me time to hone my skills as a writer, but the truth is that every penny I earn selling jewelry goes right back into supplies to make more jewelry. And sales haven't been great the past few weeks. I expect that will change as the holidays approach, so it makes sense to stay in business through the first of the year, but after that I plan to liquidate my remaining stock. I still enjoy making jewelry; I will probably keep my store open with a handful of select signature and seasonal items, and do special orders upon request. But I will keep my focus where it needs to be. On my personal development as a musician. On teaching my students every week. On honing my skills as a writer, both of fiction and nonfiction.

The relief I have felt as a result of this decision tells me that it is a step in the right direction. Wish me luck.

Are you a slave to your to-do list? Are you fully engaged in the one or two pursuits that bring you sheer delight? Would you be happy doing nothing but what you are doing for the rest of your life? If you don't like your answers to these questions, what are you going to do about it?

Author: Pam Asberry