Thursday, April 9, 2009

Making Lemonade

Hi. Ruthy here, who in no way, shape or form is going to try to compete with her incredibly intelligent, thought-provoking and wonderful Seekers of the week past. Oh mylanta, are you serious??? They had to call a three-alarm fire to put out Julie's post yesterday. Talk about heat!!!

And Tina's never-ending wisdom? Mary's brevity???

Today you get humble ol' me, and a slice of Ruthy-pie. Great in small doses! :)

And now we continue with... MAKING LEMONADE

Did you ever wonder why few young writers achieve long-lived success? They may have a shot at glory, then fizzle like the back end of a roman candle. Very few leave their mark on the reading public.

My theory: They haven’t made enough lemonade. Shoot, they haven’t lived long enough to make enough lemonade. This isn’t their fault, of course. I blame the parents.

(Rule # 1: Always blame the parents)

Real lemonade isn’t as easy as it might seem. We’re not talking Countrytime, here. No Kool-Aid allowed.

To do it right, you’ve got to slice fresh lemons, stew them, squeeze them, then sweeten and chill the result. Sprigs of mint/ fresh fruit and or other garnish may be applied as desired.

Lemons on their own aren’t all that great. (Sorry, citrus belt. Read on.) As an addend to pies, cakes, fresh baked or broiled haddock, lemons provide a finishing touch, the pizzazz needed to complete the taste palate.

But on their own they’re sour, pithy and make my forehead wrinkle and I can only afford so much anti-wrinkle cream. I’d have more money if I hadn’t had so many kids, and then the anti-wrinkle cream wouldn’t be such an issue. Of course if I hadn’t had so many kids, I wouldn’t need as much anti-wrinkle cream in the first place. It’s a vicious circle.

(Rule #2: Always blame the kids)

I’m not negating lemon use. Au contrare, mon petit. (Thought I’d throw in a little French chef here to show I’m multi-cultural. Although my favorite TV chef is the Swedish Chef on The Muppet Show. “Bork, bork, chickee, chickee…“ He’s too cool.)

Real life hands out occasional beatings. With a few decades experience behind you, you’ve lived through those days and survived. (I’m assuming this because you’re here, reading this. Thank you, by the way.)

Those beatings shape us. Mold us. Develop our character. Without the bad times, the good times wouldn’t seem so good. (Snippets of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” are now running through my head… That will last all day. Oy vey.)

Our personal character development is in direct relation to the shaping of our fictional characters. Their subtleties, their nuances, their quirks. The life and times that make them jump off the page and into the readers’ hearts. Or the house next door.

Here’s a scene from Running on Empty, where our hero meets his conscience in the shape of two old women. Cade's ex-wife has returned from who-knows-where and the entire town of Grasse Bend, New York has rallied around their to-die-for good-looking police chief, a man of strong Christian principles with typical over-inflated male ego...

Men. Sheesh.

Cade growled. She’d hurt him, so they’d hurt her. Of all the contrary notions. He swiped a hand across the nape of his neck, annoyed, then tipped his cap to the Pritchard sisters, the harmonic thunk of aluminum walkers announcing their approach. The aging women beamed and Cade paused his walk. “Miss Mary? Miss Martha?” He nodded to the elderly spinsters in turn. “Nice day.”

Mary’s eyes lit as she grasped his hand, her chin angled homeward. “Our mums are quite lovely this year, don’t you think, Cade? Just now coming into their own.”

Cade cocked a brow of interest. “I noticed that right off, Miss Mary. I’m especially fond of the new ones.” His look swept the noble front yard. “Pink and white.”

She squeezed his forearm. “Mauve-dappled-ivory.”

He grinned. “Always the teacher.”

“They are new, Cade.” Her tone said she was happy he noticed. “Come spring, I’ll give you a slip for your place. They like full sun, but a little shade won’t hurt.”

Cade nodded, appreciative. “I’ve got just the spot. Don’t you forget, now.”

“Oh, she won’t, Chief. Her memory’s sharp. Matches her tongue.” A slight thump of Martha’s walker punctuated the assertion.

Mary reared back. “Why, Martha—”

“Don’t ‘why, Martha’ me,” retorted the older sister. “Facts are facts. Weren’t you just saying you couldn’t understand the likes of that girl, running off on a fine man like our Chief?” Martha turned back to Cade, her expression pointed. “I said it’s none of our concern. A married couple needs to work things out for themselves and people should stop running her down.” She glared at her younger sister, her chin firm.

Cade couldn’t disagree. “You’re right, of course.”

“Like she knows anything about marriage,” spouted Mary, her chinks pink. She pressed Cade’s arm again. “Three dates in eighty years. Whew hoo.” Releasing her grip, she fanned herself in mock amazement. “A wealth of experience.”

“Enough to know right from wrong.” Martha’s jaw tightened as she compressed her lips, eyes narrowed.

Uh, oh.

Cade saw no easy way out. Once the old girls got going, they could carry on forever. He glanced at his watch and tipped his cap. “Ladies. Always a pleasure. Enjoy your walk.”

That paused them momentarily. “You have a spot turned for those mums come spring, Cade.”

“I’ll do that, Miss Mary.” He turned and nodded to Martha. “I appreciate your kindness, Miss Martha. All around.”

She looked him in the eye, her expression frank. “A body doesn’t always get a second chance to set things right, Chief. I expect a smart man like you knows that.”

Wise words. Cade met her gaze. “I’ll keep it in mind.”

Mary’s criticism had hit home. Like so many, she pointed a finger at Anne, excusing Cade. He worked his jaw, pensive. A town defending their police chief against a girl. If he weren’t so ashamed, the thing would be downright

I like employing secondary characters to add zest to an otherwise predictable drink. Using them complements the already good mix of flavors. Of course too many quirky characters in one book weakens the flavor of the lemonade, kind of a like an alto section that thinks they sing melody, or a headliner that tries to step back into the chorus line... Some things just don’t work!

Our job is arbitrary. We take the poor widower or angry divorcee or lonely spinster and offer them a new opportunity between the pages of a book. We give orphans new life. We fix hearts and mend marriages, and find sweethearts for the forlorn in a beautiful, faith-enriched setting. At that moment God feels close, life seems good and hearts are full.

But it would all fall short if we’d never faced the scourge of the personal cross through divorce, death or despair. Rich characters come from a wellspring of experience, a depth that only comes from turning your fair share of lemons into lemonade.

Summer’s coming. Hold those glasses high. Drink the fruits of your labor. Use the sweet to soften the sour. Set your shoulders back and embrace those chances to make lemonade.



  1. Good morning, Ruthy! Loved your excerpt!! What a delightful way to start my day!

    Experience at making lemonade out of lemons is a huge help with writing emotion. As is finding the humor in the not so funny. You're a master at that, Ruthy!

    Sadly, too many have had too much experience with lemons at a young age. Hopefully they've found a way to add sugar.

    Where's the food? I've brought coffee. A few grounds got into the pot this morning thanks to my pre-caffeine shaky hands. Just toss the last inch or so and you'll be fine.


  2. Just as I suspected. 98 percent of all writers are writing from the nursing home. I feel much better.

    I brought lemon danish to color coordinate with today's post.

    AND REMEMBER...daily posting this week can get you a prize. See the Clueless Weekend Edition.

  3. Sweet Caroline. I guess that's my the earworm for the day now.

    Takes me back to my youth when I didn't have all this 'experience' showing in the mirror each day.

    Thanks Ruth. Your lemonade and this sunshine are 'just the tonic for these old bones."

  4. Tart as you can sometimes be, Ruthy girl, your post on lemonade was just what I needed to hear -- thank you!

    Quite frankly, I don't like squeezing the lemons, and God knows I've squeezed my fair share and continue to do so. But you are absolutely right (again, oh wise one!) that the sour in our lives only serves to make us stronger (with God's help) as well as making the sweet in our lives all the sweeter. Ahem ... God help me to remember this post when I get that next 1-star review ...

    And I cannot express how much fun it is reading your scene from Running on Empty!! I am blessed to have read the whole book, and just that snippet stirred the story for me once again, making me ache for and long to see those characters once again ... especially the sheriff, a Derek Jeter look-alike, no doubt. :)

    I vote we make a mandatory rule that all Seekers MUST post scenes in their blogs whenever possible so we can enjoy the rich diversity and talent we have here ... and so our blog readership will actually realize that they are not taking advice from a bunch of hacks.

    I'm off to squeeze some lemons ...


  5. Ruth, what a great excerpt! Cade is SO male. :-) Things still feel a little warm... LOL
    Your pic is pretty too!
    Okay, so I haven't made too much lemondade and haven't had too many lemons. No experience. That stinks for me. Grrrrr.

  6. Ruthy,

    Thanks for reaffirming with age comes wisdom for us this AM!

    Serioulsy, it's nice to know that other writer's pull base tension in their books on emotions or situations that's happened to them or someone in their life. Now, I don't mean write "the story/emotion" word for word but just borrow the essense to add to your fictionalized scene.

    I'll add lemon bars to the offering today. YUM!


  7. This reminded me of my ambulance ride a few years ago. My knee dislocated and the stubborn thing wouldn't slip back in place so I was stranded at the side of my car, immobalized. To my embarrassment I needed an ambulance attendant to reset it, but just my luck, I get ones who so carefully wrap my 90 degree splade kneecap to keep it in its excruciating painful position as they transfer me into the back of the ambulance. So no quick fix from them.

    What was so neat about this awfully painful experience is that the whole time I found myself making careful mental notes of this for future reference in my writing. Really, I wished I could pull out a pen and paper, but thought that might be a bit much. I mean, how often does a person need an ambulance, get to ride in the back of one? As a writer, I think we tend to seize every opportunity in experiencing the unexpected--all for future book fodder.

    Much to my daughters dismay, just last year I got to ride in the front of an ambulance for more great fodder. Nothing is ever lost to a writer. And before you think I'm a terrible mother, her knee went out too, but she was lucky enough to get an attendant who reset it right away. The ambulance ride was just to have it checked out. The massive pain was done with.

  8. Hi, Ruthy! Have you ever thought of writing pure comedy? You'd be great.

    I love lemonade. Have you ever mixed lemonade, iced tea and sweetener? It's delicious.

  9. Great post, Ruthy! I loved the excerpt. I could just heard the clunking walkers. :)

    Eileen, I can just see you asking to take notes with your knee pointing the wrong direction! Ouch!! But what a truly writerly thing to do. :)

  10. Ruthy, do you really stew your lemons before you squeeze them? Never heard of that before. In Alabama we just squeeze 'em.

    Very good post. So true. And I used to have a hard time causing bad things to happen to my heroes and heroines, but I've gotten over that.

  11. Eileen said:
    I mean, how often does a person need an ambulance, get to ride in the back of one?

    Mary... Not one word. I mean it!

  12. Oh, mylanta, good morning gals!!!

    Janet, you're so right. Life oftens smacks young folks with lemons.

    The trick's in the simmer: to stew or not to stew??? Eventually ya' gotta strain the fruit, add the sugar and move on, right?

    Thank you for the coffee!!! Dying here. And even with a few grounds, you make great 'joe' for a Midwestern gal.


    Love ya, kid.


  13. Tina, it's actually only 97 percent from the nursing home...

    The rest are posthumous.


    Good morning, my friend, and thanks for the lemon danish. They're totally awesome and the lemon curd is just right... Not too sweet, not too tart and no chemical aftertaste. Don't you just hate that about some bakery products these days??? That weird taste they leave in your mouth from some Poly-bi-carbon-bi-polar-bi-proprionate-nonsense????

    Yuck. Thanks for bringing the real deal. And New Yorkers will know what I'm talking about. Huge difference between REAL NYC baked goods and the other stuff.

    Even we upstaters appreciate that.


  14. Julie, you're a prime example of a lemonade maker. You've taken life by the horns, wrestled the bull and squeezed the lemons when necessary.


    Good ol' fashioned gumption. You've got it, gal.


  15. Deb, ain't it the truth??? Snippets of old songs that stay in our brain for hours...

    Until they're knocked out of the running by another old song. Or cognitive thought of something earth-shattering or mind-boggling.

    Like what to make for dinner.


    Hey, the weather's getting nicer and we're in proximity.

    Lunch date sometime. Or Starbucks. Or quaint coffee shop. I'm that easy.


  16. Jess...

    In the words of Truvy (Steel Magnolias)...

    "If you can achieve puberty, you can achieve a past..."

    Honey, I'm not saying that youth doesn't have its advantages, just that age has different ones. You just get to see more. Not all of it good.

    And I'd give a decade of experience to have your unlined face, no harm, no foul. Are you serious????


    Okay, we earn the laugh lines and the crows' feet, but I'm usually okay with that. Except for the mornings when it looks like the Amtrak special has made tracks across my face.

    Grab some coffee. We'll share our experiences with you.


  17. Lemon bars, Rose!!!!

    Jan Karon made lemon bars famous in her Mitford books, her delightful series about an Episcopalian priest in a small North Carolina town...

    Fr. Tim falls in love with the lovely Cynthia who makes LEMON BARS!!!!

    I've loved 'em ever since. Thanks for bringing them by.

    And I've often thought that part of God's plan for us is to make the most of whatever hand we're dealt, the good, the bad, the ugly.

    Oh, no. Clint Eastwood. Dear heavens, that's my husband's department.

    But I did love Unforgiven. Great Western. Um, I'm digressing. Again.

    So, Rose (love that name. Love it) I agree, we take those exploits, those times, those hardships, those experiences and use them as snippets for characters, plots, etc.

    Hey, these lemon bars are as good as Cynthia's. Seriously.


  18. Eileen, you're hooked.

    Seriously, seriously hooked.

    Anyone who thinks "how can I use this pain-riddled experience to further my writing career" is either seriously demented (join the club, darling) or...

    A writer.

    And to use the inverse? Your daughter's trip with you in the front seat????

    Only makes it better girlfriend! Hey, I've got lemon tarts here, fresh from the fridge. Had to chill them a bit before I could serve them. Don't you love the little lemon curls on top of the whipped cream????


  19. Cara!!!!

    That's actually what Snapple did in their Lemonade/Iced Tea diet Snapple, but yeah, you can recreate it by mixing iced tea, lemonade and either sugar or aspartame...

    I go for the fake sweetener since my sweet tooth in baked goods doesn't allow me to use anything but real sugar, maple syrup, honey, etc. That's got to be the real deal...

    But my iced tea or diet soda? I'm hooked on the fake stuff!


  20. Melanie...

    I do not stew lemons.


    I did find that recipe in a Southern Woman cookbook. And it makes sense, 'cause you get the essence of the peel, etc in the drink if you stew, then cool, then squeeze.


    Confession time...

    I know HOW to make lemonade.

    But I use Countrytime. And Diet Snapple. And frozen lemonade mix in punch.


    That's right.

    I'm a phony.



  21. Okay, RANDOM......

    I just voted on MNBC about keeping In God we Trust on currency...

    alongside was a Rachel Rae ad for weight loss...

    I clicked on it because the girl looks GOOD...

    And found this blog from a young housewife in my hometown here in upstate NY...

    Now you've got to understand Hilton is SMALL.....

    Really SMALL......

    What are the odds of me randomly clicking on something like that???{msnbcnews}

    How weird.

    Okay, back to work.

  22. I love lemonade. Real lemonade, as you described, although I may never drink it again given all the sugar.

    Ruthy, experience does add a dash of flavor to a good brew.

    Jess, no worries. The beauty of youth is first experiences and an innocence borne of purity. You can use that to capture angst and romance. :)

  23. Ruthy,
    What a lovely way to start the day! Your post was excellent as was your excerpt. I love your thoughts on the making of the lemonade. I am an 'older' writer so I understand completely.
    Thanks for making my day!

  24. Excellent post. It made me smile--and ponder. I'm drinking lemon water these days. Just a dash of lemon with the perfect amount of sweetener to make it go down smoothly. After reading this, I'm wondering if I'm missing out on vital nutrients. Hmm.

    Yes, I'm still around, and I pop in at times, quietly. I've taken time off to focus on the craft. It's going well. Good to read you again.

  25. Ruthy -

    LOVED this post, especially the line, "Our personal character development is in direct relation to the shaping of our fictional characters." I couldn't agree more...and so well put, too. So maybe my character therapy is really author therapy in disguise. :)

    Thanks for the words of wisdom!

    And I agree with Julie...including excerpts should be a new rule! :)

  26. You put a character in your book named Mary and she's got a WALKER?

    Oy Vey indeed.

    Of course, I suppose I deserve this. I did have a Myra who died in a nursing home. And a Mrs. Tippens in the same home with a dowager's hump so badly they commented on how she could nearly read her head in her lap...for all that Mrs. Tippens was feisty. (Or was she asleep throughout her scene, can't remember.

  27. I loved that scene, Ruthy. It left me wanting more.
    Nice work.

  28. This puts me in mind of an idea I've been playing notion of where to go with it....but (and it is sort of related to the 'beating' part of your post)... you know how teenage scars, embarrassments, heartbreaks stay with you all your life.
    Are you ever sitting around and suddenly you'll remember some stupid thing you did as a teenager and just cringe.
    Or is that just me???

    I think it's universal. And here's my theory of why teenage pain is so scarring. By the time your my age you've embarrassed yourself so many times that, like all things you practice, you get good at it.
    But as a teenager you're just reaching the age where your so self-aware...or better to think you're the center of the universe. Those scars just go really really deep.
    I think that explains peer pressure and the stupid recklessness of youth and maybe even acne.

    They do beat you into shape.
    So we all have to go through it and the juice gets squished around with very little sugar added. That comes from

    What was my point?
    I guess my point is. I'm with you Ruthy. Life is turning all of us from a lemon into lemonade.

  29. AND (I know you were all praying I'd shut up now)
    Maybe all those years I wrote, alone, in an attic, living on stale bread crusts (it FELT like that) I was really being turned into lemonade.

    Trying to make that help.

    Still waiting.

    Nope, not helping.


  30. Oh, one more thing.

    The comment I get on my blog post this week is BREVITY?????


  31. Ruthy stews her lemons?
    Melanie sqeezes her lemons?
    You know...I used Koolaid Lemonade mix and then use a can of frozen lemonaid and THEN slice up lemons and limes and let them float in the pitcher. It's really lovely.
    Sometimes I'll slice an orange in there, too.
    But then, I'm an artist.

    Actually I'm LAZY and an artist combined. A truly dangerous combo.

    And let me guess, took NO NOTES. Shame on you, girl. A chance like that missed.
    Eileen at least was paying attention...and by the way...ouch.

  32. As for mixing metaphores, Ruthy said..

    >>>You've taken life by the horns, wrestled the bull and squeezed the lemons when necessary.

    Somehow talking about a bull and lemons brings a completely inappropriate vision to mind.

    Sorry I was slow coming over today. Obviously I have a lot to say.

    Oh, and Melanie...that doesn't count as a 'word' does it? Surely not.

  33. Ruthy,

    good post. I was waiting for the old ladies false teeth to drop or something.

    I didn't realize you thought so highly of my posts. LOL Hello Miss Russo

    Actually I was thinking about those lemons and how some people try to tell others how much they love to suck on fresh lemons and how they just can't eat them enough. Only to find that sucking on lemons eats the enamel off your teeth.

    Life lesson . . . I'd say so.
    I've been sucking on a lemon for the last week. Pulled my back out and can't seem to get the muscles to do what I want.

    In the process I let the enamel wear a little, then I decided to take some steps, ya know stretching, (ow) deep breathing (cough)wasn't working fast enough so I let some more enamel wear from my mouth to God's ear.

    Cause you know, He shouldn't have done this to me in the first place.

    Of course I'm the turkey who did it to myself, lifting water bottles like I'm some twenty year old. Never did it good when I was twenty.

    Now, I'm making lemonade. Using the time to rest and get some writing done.

    Like you said learn from the lemons in life, let God use them to create a masterpiece. For some of those lemons it could take years. Thank heavens others don't take so long, my back is getting better.(And Lord knows, I don't want to be resting on this couch for years)

    Make your lemonade, drizzle lemon on your salad or salmon, drop it in your water. Add zest, but don't let the lemons turn you sour.

    Thanks again, Ruthy.

  34. Ruthy girl,

    The secret to great homemade lemonade is to let the lemon zest mingle with the sugar a bit to add flavor. You're the zest. You add flavor without overpowering the lemonade.

    Love your excerpt. The tiny details (the zest) add so much to the story. Thanks for sharing!!

  35. Patricia, I hear you girlfriend. About the sugar and experience. Can't have one if we want to zip the pants and can't get away from the other...

    And did anyone else notice that Kimberli gently removed her pic since she's also incredibly young and beautiful...


    Although I love seeing her pop in, playing along the beaches of Unpubbed Island.

    Anybody got a mango???


  36. Linda!!!

    Thank you for your kind words. You're a blessing, kid, and age aside, we can be kids at heart, right????

    But smarter.



    Hey, Tina slipped me a mango. Anybody want some? It's just right. Not too ripe, not too green. How does she do that???? Mine are always one way or the other.

  37. Kimberli, back to you again.

    Lemon water. A hint of lemon, a smidge of sugar.

    Like homemade Fruit2O, woman.

    I love making you ponder, Kimberli. It's what I live for. :)

    That and chocolate. Oh, and Starbucks. And cookies. Fresh and homemade, preferably.

    Hey, I brought homemade chicken salad (with no disgusting veins or nubs) for lunch. Fresh lettuce, several kinds. Fresh Jewish rolls, amazingly chewy and just enough salt!!!

    Dig in.

    And more lemonade, of course.


  38. Oh, Ruthy, you held your own. These posts this week have been fun and informative. Thanks for the lemonade!


  39. Mary...

    You're picking on me for brevity???

    You're kidding, right? Do you think I even remember what you and Tina said after Julie's post yesterday????

    Didja read it, woman?

    I wasn't even sure you HAD a post this week, that's how cleanly she erased my memory banks.

    Oy vey, indeed! :)

    And I love evoking a passionate response in a reader, not necessarily with passion but with emotion. Any emotion will do. Joy, fear, longing, sadness, surprise, happiness, and yeah, throw in some good old sexual tension in there, too, because love makes the world go 'round.

    Which takes us right back to having too many kids and never enough anti-wrinkle cream.

    And Mary, I'm with you on those teenage perspectives. If more kids understood that 'and this too, shall pass...' they'd never do drugs, get wasted, commit suicide or hurt others because it's just not worth it.

    But you don't see that at 16, 17, 18...



  40. Lisa Jordan, my hard-working and goal-setting little buddy!

    So nice to see you, kiddo...

    And a high school graduation in your future, right?

    Along with your college degree. Busy year for the Jordan clan. Congrats all around, and blessings on all of you. Wonderful stuff. Wonderful.


  41. Tina P.!

    Good afternoon, girlfriend.

    Your back.



    Praying for calm muscles, relieved stress and an easing of pain. But glad you're finding a way to make lemonade out of it. God love you, it's not always easy, especially IN the moment.


    Definitely easier.


  42. You're right about Julie's post, Ruthy. I'd forgotten I posted this week until you mentioned it.
    I was too busy putting out fires here at home.

    You can read that to mean whatever you WANT!!!!!!

  43. Mary! LOL! You're not far from the truth. :) I thought I was getting a dowager's hump! Asked my orthorpedic surgeon father-in-law to check it out because I thought for sure my spine was curving like my grandmother's did.

    Guess what the man told me? That it's just a fat pad!!!!!!! Yes, he really told me that with a straight face.

    I guess I should be grateful it's not spine curvature. But really!

    Missy :)

  44. LOL Missy! You crack me up. Men have no tact.

    Patricia, that was a really beautiful way to write about innocence, etc. Very poetic.

    Who said my face is unlined? LOL Ironically I was just complaining to my mom this morning about my smile lines. Oh well. At least I haven't gotten any grays yet. Steel Magnolias is a great movie.

  45. Jessica:

    We earn those smile lines, darlin'. They're a gift of the angels, kind of a memory spur to help us remember good times.

    And I'm joining you in laughing at Missy.

    Fat pad????

    A fat pad?????

    That right there would drive me to the nearest Curves, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig (I mean, come on, have you SEEN Valerie Bertinelli????), Nutri-system...

    Fat pad.

    I think I just wet my pants.

    I'll be back.


  46. No, grays, huh, Ruthy?

    Me either and mine don't show right after I put on my haircoloring either.

    Blondes have it rough in that department.

    I know it's not something to laugh at, although Missy that fat lump, well . . .

    I can relate, as I told you my mother has cancer, well it's in her back, and when I hurt my back and it didn't heal after ten minutes... that was my number one culprit.

    Why do we do these things to ourselves?

  47. Mary said:

    "I forgot about Julie's post. I was too busy putting fires out around here..."

    Amen, Sistah!

    I mean seriously, girlfriend, fellow farmer and lover of all things bovine, are you kidding me?

    And I still can't get over her cool picture collage. Talk about flame-throwers.

    That's our girl.


  48. Missy!

    Tina P. has the answer. It's not a fat lump/pad...

    It's probably cancer.

    That's got to be better than a fat pad, right?

    Or at least more sympathetic????

    Poor Missy.

    You just make it so dog-goned easy, woman.

    Your friend,


  49. Holy cow! It's only 2pm and there are already 28 comments.

    Now that I've done my dutiful comment, I'm going to go read to see what everyone besides Miss-I-have-to-post-first Janet had to say.

  50. Ruthy, I struggled with concentrating on your post after you got all lemon pie on me. Yum-O.

    Since I'm working on being nice, I shall not comment on ambulances, fat pads, walkers, Derek Jeter, Kool Aid drinking, anything related to turkey basters, and certainly not all the fires burning in Mary's home.

    Could be, though, that my mind is still a-twirl with a bunch a sweet Christian ladies drooling over all the kissing going on yesterday.

    (Rule #3: Always blame Julie, and if she's not around, then Tina 'cause we all know she probably did it and is leaving dear sweet Julie to take the blame.)

  51. Fat Pad?

    You know that doesn't drive me to Jennie Craig...which is a shame.

    It drives me to the local mini-mart and their fried mini-tacos with a chaser of potato chips and a bag of mini-snicker's bars for dessert.

    Not two of those things say MINI so they can't be fat padding me, right?

    Shut up.

  52. Although Valerie Bertinelli does look fantastic and she's not 19 anymore.

  53. All the man it safe to post here today?

  54. Ha! I removed the pic because the director of the NC Zoo referred to a post on my blog. Numbers shot up and I didn't care for people to see my little round face, especially since I lost over twenty pounds since last you saw me, and my face is no longer that round.

    Now it's lined. Seems the fat had filled out the wrinkles *sighs*

    Sometimes Fruit20, sometimes Nestle's version. Usually, a large glass of water with a teaspoon of lemon juice and two packs of Splenda. Hmm, sounds good. I think I'll have one now.

    No mangos, thanks. They have a lot of calories (and I snuck a cookie at lunch. Okay, two cookies :o)

  55. Since I'm posting, I might as well do it up...

    Are you ever sitting around and suddenly you'll remember some stupid thing you did as a teenager and just cringe. Or is that just me???

    Nope, not just you, although I'd like to know how you managed to stop doing those things after the teen years. I still cringe when I think about comments I posted on this blog last year.

  56. Wow, 55 comments and I'm just now getting to the party!

    Amazingly, I'd barely started reading your post, Ruthy, when I swear I could smell real lemons! Is that the power of suggestion or what?

    And would someone please enlighten me about earworms? This is the second place in 15 minutes I came across that word online.

  57. Hi Ruth:

    That’s a great picture.

    Now, about experience.

    After you’ve had decades of making lemonade from lemons you begin to see that experienced can be over rated. An old fool is much more tragic than a young one.

    An opera critic once lamented that Leoncavallo only had one Pagliacci in his pen.

    Many singers were ‘one-hit-wonders’.

    Many writers only have one great book in their laptops Others, who have achieved fame, often did their best work as youths. I think the early works of Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald were their best books.

    Unfortunately, experience also lets a writer glide after he has long run out of gas or anything new to say. Think how many authors’ early work is better than what they are writing today. I can think of many.

    So if you are young and inexperienced but you have the fire in your belly, go with it. Make your mark.


  58. Gina-cakes, a bunch of Christian women drooling over kissing stuff...

    Who'd a thought such a thing????


    Women are such romance lovers. We're so predictable. Unless you're a man in which case we're total mental cases who constantly do the unexpected.

    But obviously we're hormonally balanced, huh??? That should be a good thing at this age, LOL!!!

    Or your age, Cupcake!


  59. Walt, you chicken...

    Come on in.

    The water's fine.



  60. Speaking of men, where's Vince today????

  61. Kimberli is shrouding a svelte, new, to-die-for body (brat) while schmoozing us with waterfalls.

    Mm hmm.

    But I'm loving the lemon water idea. About the only way I drink water. Is there something wrong with me? I mean, water's supposed to be so good for you. Every animal I know goes to the trough or the creek or the pond.

    Of course they also use them for bathing and bathroom facilities so maybe I'm smarter than I look!


    Diet Snapple. All the time. Made from the best stuff on earth.

    Including water. But they flavor it, soak old leaves in it, and add artificial sweetener. Of course it's better than the original thing!


  62. Mary, could we write to Valerie Bertinelli, Rachel Rae, Marie Osmond and anybody else who's lost weight and just tell 'em we liked 'em the way they were before?

    Couldn't that work?


  63. Hey, some smart person pull up all of Kimberli's posts in the last year so we can laugh at her, 'kay??


    I remember a good share of them. You're a goose. Seriously. If we all shot ourselves in the foot for the early days (or had editors do the honors for us), we'd never get anywhere, published or unpublished.

    It is what it is, kid.

    And I don't remember a round face, either.

    Now I'm doubly piqued.



  64. Vince!!!!

    We must have been thinking of each other at the same time. Whazzup????


    They'll start rumors. Bunch of gossipy old women on this blog, you know.


    Thanks for the pic kudos. I figured (after Mary chided me for the two hundredth time, minimum) that I'd remove the kissing puppy picture because the puppy is now almost two years old. Leave it to my friend MARY to point that out.

    Vince, darling, I'm not sure what you said but I'll defend to the death your right to say it. Please don't make me though, okay?

    Seriously, you're absolutely right. Kind of. Some authors do go on long after their day in the sun is up and the same could be said for some rock stars I know who just don't seem to be able to give it up.

    But as long as we have wardrobe malfunctions at SuperBowls, we'll have jobs for the oldies but goodies. At least they keep their clothes on!

    I like your message. We don't want to be too long in the tooth to make our mark, but wise enough to know when to step aside.


    I'm in BIG trouble, Vince.

    Good to see you here today, my friend. Bless you.


  65. Myra!

    Okay, raise your hand if you knew that an annoying song stuck in your head was referred to as an 'earworm'.

    I thought it was a tiny, mechanical listening device that I saw on NCIS.

    Isn't Jethro Gibbs adorable? I like him WAY better on this than when he was the 'McDreamy' gigolo on St. Elsewhere.

    Anyway, Myra-kins, my first earworm experience was at Disney World.

    "It's a small world, after all...

    It's a small world, after all...

    It's a small world after all, it's a small, small world."

    In every language imaginable. I still hear little Japanese dancers singing that in my sleep.

    Great kimonos, by the way. But that's Camy's department.


  66. Woah...65 comments and I am just now getting to yall. (Not really, though...I could have been the coffee maker today, but was a bit hung over from some migraine meds last night and was afraid of what my come out of my fingers!)

    So, 65 comments later, here I am, and thinking that Mary just might need another day of her own to post to get her words out for the day! She was on quite a roll there. ;)

    I must say that for me, the last 3 years have been the kind of lemonade maker that stuffs the lemons in a meat grinder and spews out a slushy mess, seeds, rinds and all. But I've found if you mix in a good amount of sugar and a happy pill or two, you can drink it down nicely. for the teenage angst. I was the dorky girl in the big metal brace like in Pretty in Pink!!! Oh yes indeed! Talk about lemons. I wish at the time I had the nerve to haul off and throw some of those lemons at all the goofy eyed gawkers!
    (Ha...did you notice all my exclamation points?! I must have some issues still....JEANNIE! Where are you! I need some therapy!!!) j/k...It's all good.

    Alrighty then...aren't you glad I didn't post first this morning?

  67. Svelte? Uhhh, yeah, Ruthy, sure *snickers*

    I'm making more lemon water. Would you like a glass?

    Glad to hear others have shot themselves in the foot as well. Let's leave the posts where they are, k? All except the one where I washed up on the shore on Unpubbed island with a piece of seaweed stuck in my muumuu. I like that one.

    Have to run and consume the last calories of the day *sighs*

  68. This comment has been removed by the author.

  69. Teen age angst...oh my. Thank God I didn't have those gawky braces.

    No, I had a wad of what looked like pink bubble gum that I had to wear on my bottom teeth to push out one of my top teeth.
    And I while I wasn't a bad looking kid, I was clutzation personified.

    I couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time, imagine my angst when it was glued to my teeth. LOL

    If that wasn't bad enough, I was a tom boy and all the boys liked me. Just so they could ask me about all the other girls.

    My word, the things we laugh about now when we wanted to cry.

    Like, I was in love, so in love, okay so I thought I was, but I would go out of my way to get the object of my desires attention.

    He might say hi but not much more and he certainly didn't toss me any words of undying devotion.

    My poor heart.

    Then one day, at youth group, he looked my way. My heart nearly hit my throat when he smiled. My knees trembled, my face grew warm, when his green eyes lit and he began to walk my way.

    It had finally happened he was coming to let me know how much he loved me and wanted me in his life.

    Hey Tina, he said and my mouth was so dry I think I choked some eloquent thing back, like. Hey, only it sounded like I had gas or something. I told myself to breathe.

    If kept looking at me with those dreamy eyes, I was going to faint. Hopefully my new beloved would catch me.

    Then he chuckled and said. "Did you know you have bird poop on your shoulder?"

    Needless to say . . . my brush with romance was over.

    Teenage angst, gotta love those lemons.

  70. Tina...

    Bird poop on your shoulder???

    His loss, babe.


    If only we knew then, what we know now, Bill Gates would have been considered a hottie.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    I'll check back in the morning. We had a lovely Holy Thursday service tonight, with veneration following. I didn't quite make it on the church 'rounds'...

    An old custom that has you pilgrimaging to area churches (usually three) to pray. It's a lovely tradition but I pooped out.


    Hey, just so you know: We've got REAL grass baskets on the Island. Tina and Cara wove them. Pam melted chocolate after she gathered cacao beans. It's a bit gritty but not bad for a first go'round.

    Good job, Pammers!

    Who says Unpubbed Islanders can't throw a great Easter/Resurrection Day party??? Palms for Palm Sunday?

    In abundance!

    Life on the Island is what we make it. As long as we've got lemons, we're okay.


  71. You are so right, girlfriend! With a few exceptions coming to mind, I can't see how someone can write about life without living a few decades of it!

    Kids, open your eyes and ears and drink in the elixir that is memories of work, play group, shopping, housework (bleh) and all the other mondane things that happen to us. This gems (or shards, depending on how you want to look at it)make great fodder of novels!

    I've read a couple Ruthy originals and the characters she introduces are so whacky at times, they've GOT to be real!!

    Lemons, I've juiced a few. Thoughts of a new scene are swirling as we speak : )

    Thanks, Ruthy!!

  72. Hi, Ruthy. Loved your post. Did you know that your wise words put you in good company. Pulitzer Prize winning author Edith Wharton said, "Life is the only real counselor; wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become a part of the moral tissue" Fancy words for what you said so brilliantly.

  73. Thanks for all the fun and laughs today everyone! I just now finally caught up on all the comments. :)

    Missy--who's still laughing about the bird poop on the shoulder trauma!

  74. Audra, hey!

    Thank you so much for the compliments. (I pay her handsomely for them.)

    Even so, they make me feel good!

    And of course I'm not saying that young people can never write. That would be ludicrous. But there's a different experiential depth with maturity. I think the task is easier once you've hit thirty and up, because you've had chances at life and love, laughter and loss that most people don't have before then.

    And our buddy Audra is working on Cowboy stuff out there in Colorado.

    And I LOVE cowboys.


  75. Lorna.

    Bless you. Thank you. What a lovely thing to say. I'll smile a little more all day because of your kind words.


  76. Umm, Missy????

    (Tapping foot, staring at watch here in Upstate....)

    A little late to the party, weren't we, dear?

    But if you brought something for a late night snack (which is morning now) then it's actually a good thing. I love a little bit of something to start the day. Got any Southern goodies there? Or a bit of chocolate?????


  77. Easter weekend, guys.

    Despite the vagaries of weather in whatever part of the planet you roam, bless you all. I hope your Easter is flower-filled with peace, hope and love even if the snow swirls around you or rain waters baptize your head.

    It's all good.

    Be safe.


  78. Quote: "We fix hearts and mend marriages, and find sweethearts for the forlorn in a beautiful, faith-enriched setting. At that moment God feels close, life seems good and hearts are full."

    That's just beautiful.

  79. Missy,

    glad you had a laugh. And yet I was so heartbroken. LOL

    I kept the shirt, since he noticed it and all. I put it on display in a glass box for all the world to see...

    Just Kidding.