Are you one of the brave, perhaps crazy few signing up for National Novel Writing Month this November? Have you embarked upon the challenge of writing 50,000 words in one mere month and need quick nourishment to keep you going?

Or perhaps you’re just hungry and want an easy, yet delicious sandwich.

Either way, check out what I threw together so I could get back to writing. I write for work and I write for pleasure. So sandwich-making time must be quick and healthy.

1. Toast a whole wheat sandwich thin.
2. Add some spreads, such as hummous, guacomole, or Branston pickle. (I added all three without any regrets!)
3. Add a little cheese. I sprinkled some goat cheese.
4. Add some veggies, such as lettuce and tomato.
5. Fry an egg and add it to the sandwich thin.
6. Close up the sandwich and eat!

It was quick, easy, and delicious. In fact, I think it might belong in the running for BEST SANDWICH EVER!

As you can see, you can vary what you add depending on what you have on hand. I plan to experiment with different variations. Let me know if you come up with similar healthy concoctions.


When I travel, I hardly ever shop, preferring to either A. explore the area until I get lost and then cry trying to find my way home, or B. finding a little café to read and write the time away. On my trip to England, however, I went with my mom and aunts to walk around the shops in Bridgwater. My aunt works in a bakery there, so after she showed us the way, we were left to our own devices.

We wandered around the bookshops, gift shops, and second-hand stores. I found multiple little jewelry trinkets for my daughter, while it was much more difficult to find something for my son or husband. You can’t go wrong shopping for a 7-year-old girl.

My mom said, “Cards are much less expensive in England. Make sure you get a bunch. I always stock up.”

Cards? Who goes to England to shop for –cards?

Oh yes, I remembered trips to England when we were younger; she’d pick up a bunch of giant-sized cards, which were a novelty at the time as we hadn’t seen them elsewhere. I picked out some cards—I’d be a fool not to partake in the deal of the century!

We stopped by the supermarket to get some chips for our fish and chips. Branston Pickle was on sale for a pound. A mere pound, I say. In the States, I paid five bucks for the little jar and here it was only a pound for the Big One. My mom said Get one for me. It’s the small curd, even better for sandwiches!

We spent the next couple of hours buying random crap. On the walk back, we meandered all the weird twisty walkways and public paths, trying to retrace my aunt’s steps. My mom and aunt argued about which way to go when we ran into unfamiliar territory.

“Now you know where you get your bad sense of direction from.”

“Now I know where I get my bickering gene from, too.”

We’re going back to town to get some more, um—cards. Maybe we can sell them on the black market back home where hopefully, there’s a huge demand for cheap foreign cards.

Living on the edge, baby!

Or what they call me mum.

As I put on my sneakers (or trainers), she asked me, “Buggering off?”

My mom has never asked if I’m buggering off. She’s never told me to bugger off. I’m not 100% sure what buggering off means so I look at her strangely.

“If you mean am I going running now, I suppose.”

See, my mom hasn’t lived in England for 40 years, but the second she gets off the plane, she gets back into English mode. What I mean is she uses the English colloquialism that we don’t often hear in our daily interactions in the States. Sure there’s the occasional “blast” or “bloody hell.” A few years back she said the chair was “wonky,” which made us do a double-take. But generally we can understand what this lady with the English accent is trying to communicate to us kids.

We’ve been in England for three days now. Twice my mom tried to translate English to English for me, only her expressions are now stuck on this side of the pond. My aunts and mom were discussing going somewhere and my mom tried to translate: “It’s a car boot sale.”

“What the heck is a car boot sale?” I asked.

“Like a flea market. You know, but they sell stuff out of the boot.”

Blank expression.

“Their trunk!”


For the record, nobody sold anything out of a boot. It was what we call a flea market.

I wonder how she explained to my aunts what a flea market is.

I have to share this super easy and healthy recipe for kale chips. Whenever I make them, they rarely make it out of the pan because well, I’ll admit it; it’s me. I’ll walk in the kitchen while the chips are still cooling and say, “Ooh, kale chips,” and take a handful. Next time, I return — same thing. Nobody else in my family has this compulsion to return to the kitchen repeatedly to see what treat awaits upon the stove. But, it’s healthy, and better than eating regular potato chips.

Now on to the easy recipe:

  1. Rinse a bunch of kale and tear leaves into smaller pieces; discard stems.
  2. Let the kale dry completely. You may want to dry it faster patting the kale with a clean dish towel. I emphasize this step as I impatiently try to hurry things along and not wait, but the chips get much crispier if you let them dry.
  3. After the kale is dry, preheat an oven to 300 degrees.
  4. Spray a baking sheet with Pam or lightly coat with olive oil.
  5. Put the kale on the sheet and spray lightly with Pam.
  6. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and/or other spice.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until desired crispiness.

When I first tried it, I thought, “these are weird, but good.” One recipe described it as crack-like. Try it and see.

This recipe is so easy and so good, I have to share.

Chop one avocado and one mango and combine in a bowl.

That’s it! It’s now ready to eat on its own or you can add what you like.

Some options I like include flax seed or wheat germ for a healthy, nutty taste; almonds; feta cheese or goat cheese.

If you try it and find new things to add, add them here!

To get into a writing mood, you might want to consider setting up a routine. For instance, when I was on deadline to finish a book, we’d get the kids to bed and then I’d play Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black CD while nursing a Disarronno Amaretto.

Now that I’m trying to get back into a daily writing routine again, I’m trying to add a little spicy chai in the afternoon. Here’s the recipe:

While steeping black tea (regular, Earl Grey, etc.), add any/all of the following:

  • A splash of vanilla
  • A couple of cloves (or sprinkle of ground cloves)
  • A dash of pepper
  • A dash of cinnamon
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • A dash of allspice

After 3-5 minutes, remove the tea bag or loose tea and add milk. If you use sugar, add some as well, but this is tasty on it’s own.

Do you have any routines you use to get you in the writing mode? A hot cup of coffee? A specific CD?

{June 10, 2011}   INSANITY ASYLUM – Game Day

Some co-workers and I often get together at lunch and try INSANITY and P90X. Instead of having a leisurely lunch, we move until we’re worthless piles of sweaty, breathless flesh agreeing with Shaun T. that “We’re in it to win it.”
Now we’ve moved on to the next phase — THE ASYLUM!
Game Day was 61 minutes of intense, heart-pumping madness. This was one of the longer workouts; the others were around 45-50 minutes. Basically, you go through a series of sports training for a few minutes or so – track, basketball, wrestling, swimming, baseball – you get the point. Unfortunately, I’ve never good at team sports and baseball will stick in my mind for a long time. I don’t know how to pitch a ball so the whole raise front leg movement threw me into an uncoordinated collection of flailing limbs.
At one point, there were some pull-up or chin-up variations. It looked like fun and intense, but we didn’t have the pull up bars so we went for the alternate — push-ups. I love push-ups, but trust me — there were a LOT.
So what do I think? It’s challenging as hell, but also fun. I hated it. I hated [translation = loved] it so much that I was thinking I need an ASYLUM tank top for the next workout.

{May 26, 2011}   So many books…

It was the town-wide yard sale and I came home with more books. My husband will be overjoyed — he’s declared “No more plants and no more books” on several occasions. Since I’m not a good listener, I added to the collection of books I’ll never have time to read in this lifetime.
What should I start with? If you’ve read any, let me know what you think. Mucho thanks, you voracious readers, you!

  • Wicked – Gregory Maguire
  • Dry – Augusten Burroughs
  • The Weight of Water – Anita Shreve
  • A Woman’s World – Traveler’s Tales
  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
  • Eat, Pray, Love
  • Julie and Julia
  • Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion, and Betrayal
  • Tao Te Ching
  • Sonnets from the Portuguese – Barrett Browning
  • Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman
  • Dharma Bums – Jack Kerouac
  • Prayers for Rain – Dennis Lehane

Women in the Marines, fighting Afghanistan insurgency | PRI.ORG.

I love articles like this one that show how female Marines are making a difference in Afghanistan.

{May 17, 2011}   Swallowing my words

I swore I’d never blog. I have too much to do, too much to write, I said.

On a whim, I went to WordPress and here I am.

I’ll probably write about the things I tweet about: books, the military, travel, fitness, recipes, gardening, the various short jokes I hear (I’m five feet tall), so stay tuned.

Now I’m going to finish my Sookie Stackhouse novel, Definitely Dead. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest awaits.

BTW, I think I look like that girl on the right – on a Saturday night – after I’ve had a few drinks. Don’t ruin my delusion, ha ha!

et cetera