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- Stranger Than Fiction (Real Life)
- Teresa Reveals the CONFESSIONS OF A TRUE ROMANTIC
- CHRISTINA DODD HAS A TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY
- Christina Dodd Exposes the Glamour of Booktour
- Christina Dodd Treats You to an Extra Excerpt of IN BED WITH THE DUKE!
- GIRLFRIENDS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN Contest!
- Connie Brockway Posts Incriminating New Video
- SPOIL ME! BY CELEBRATING THE GOLDEN SEASON’S PUB DATE, TODAY!
- Teresa Says It Loud and Says It Proud: I WRITE ROMANCE NOVELS!!!
- CHRISTINA DODD SAYS “IT’S CHRISTMAS! DUCK!”
- Teresa Needs Your Help to Choose the SEXIEST MAN DEAD!
I’m fascinated by fathers.
It’s inevitable. My father died before I was born, and never have I had a father in my life. Please don’t express your condolences to me. To my mother and my sisters, for sure, but a person doesn’t miss what they’ve never had, and since I never knew my father, he’s nothing but a picture in a frame and a few second-hand memories. So I write books about fathers who are absent — TROUBLE IN HIGH HEELS and TONGUE IN CHIC are part of a series featuring the sons of a father who stole a fortune and disappeared. I watch fathers and daughters, and listen to what women say about their dads, with total fascination.
My husband is the father of our two daughters, and when the girls were tiny, he announced his daughters were going to have tools. Not just any tools — Craftsman tools, and they would know how to use them, by God. From the time they were in footed pajamas, every Christmas morning, our kids would wake up to find a socket set or a selection of allen wrenches or — glory hallelujah! — a twelve-volt cordless drill under the tree.
Talk to my daughters about what fatherly wisdom their dad passed on to them, and the oldest says he told her:
a) Always keep a first aid kit in the car
b) Always check your tires before a road trip.
The youngest informs me she remembers her dad’s advice about men:
a) Don’t order an expensive meal and not eat it
b) Don’t get mascara on a guy’s white shirt, it doesn’t wash out
Geralyn Dawson remembers her father saying, “When a man comes home from work, he needs ten minutes of peace and quiet and half a beer before anyone complains about anything.”
Kristin Hannah’s father’s big saying was, “Who ever told you life was going to be fair?” He also told her, “Never date a guy who won’t come to the door to pick you up.”
Brockway’s father said:
a) A grudge is ‘til death
b) Anyone over seventy who isn’t clinically depressed is an idiot
c) Suck it up, buttercup
(Personally, I think this explain a lot about Connie.)
Heather MacAllister’s father told her, “Your mother is never wrong. She may not always be right, but she is never wrong,” and “Buy quality and maintain it.” (Are these two related?) He also never told her anything about boys or men, but she hadn’t had a boyfriend by the time she was 16, he gave her the book, HOW TO GET A TEENAGED BOY AND WHAT TO DO WITH HIM WHEN YOU GET HIM by Ellen Peck.
Heather says, “That was it. I slavishly followed the directions and by the end of the year, I was dating Andy. It was such a lot of work that I married him.”
What conclusions can I draw from all this?
Men are weird.
But besides that, they teach their daughters stuff it would never occur to most mothers. Useful stuff, most of it.
I know when it came to tools, my daughters indulged their dad (“Thank you, Daddy”) until they went away to college and discovered they were the most popular girls in their dorm. Nothing speaks to a college guy who wants to hang a poster like a Craftsman Easyfire Electric Staple Gun.
So tell us — what bits of wisdom did your father impart to you? What tools did he pass down to help you fix the “things” in your life?
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TOYS R US
This is going to be a very short blog because (like many of you, I would guess), I have some last-minute shopping to do. I’ve actually done almost everything, except for the two most important: my children’s “big” gift. We don’t do electronic games, so thankfully I have that rule to assuage my guilt over not getting my son a Wii. But teenage boys are very difficult! Do I try to be Educational? (Honesty forces me to admit that he specified: No Books). Musical? (I’m considering a guitar—hey, he has long hair maybe he can be the next Rolling Stone and support us in our old age). Fun? (what is fun for a tween?).
And then my daughter! Her letter to Santa only asks for two things. Fairy Dust (she asked for this last year, and Santa didn’t come through, but she’s still holding out hope) and a baby who: drinks, pees, and says Mama and Daddy. I made an initial foray yesterday and unless I buy some sort of robot doll I’m in serious trouble!
So wish me luck! I’m off into the crowds, the tinny music, the smell of peppermint, the crunchy noise of wrapping paper…
What have you got left to buy? Let’s check in with each other and commiserate!
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We’re closing in on Thanksgiving Day and my thoughts have turned to traditions. I used to like traditions. I liked the Flower Power turkey centerpiece my aunt painted in ceramic class in the sixties (and I won’t even speculate on what she was smoking before she went to that particular class) I liked the smell of food baking all afternoon, the Annual Paper Bag Hat Competition, karaoke with Bing, the down and dirty Penny Ante Post-Pie Poker Tournament, and the deafening babble of people completely unaware of anything but the sound of their own voices in what has come to be known in our house as a “Holiday All-Talk.”
I liked traditions until somewhere along the line I woke up and found myself suffocating under a mantle of matriarchy someone must have thrown over me while I was sleeping because I never remember actually saying, “Hell, yes! I’ll be the Keeper of the Family Traditions! You can count on me, kids!” But that’s what happened.
(me as Queen of Traditions-- Lisa isn’t the only one with a tiara, you know!)
The thing with traditions is that while we cling tenaciously to the good ones we cling even more tenaciously to the bad ones. In my unasked for role of Gatekeeper, I have tried bucking tradition by surreptitiously replacing Bad Ideas with Good Ones. Take for example Corn Casserole with Crunchy Ritz Cracker Topping, a traditional accompaniment in our Thanksgiving Feast. The thing always way overdone, the sides pulling away from the antique Corningware casserole, the top split and oozing some watery corn liquor that is soaked up by the crunchy (but soon not to be crunchy) Ritz crackers. No one likes Corn Casserole with Crunchy Ritz Cracker Topping. Oh, sure everyone takes a spoonful but no one eats it. I know. Last Thanksgiving when I was scraping dishes, compelled by some hitherto unsuspected scientific bent, I fitted together all the corn chunks left on all the plates and lo and behold I formed one complete corn pudding casserole—except for a single serving I suspect my father of having passed to one of the dogs (don’t ask—dogs beneath the table are traditional, too) beneath the table.
And yet… and yet when I propose that we replace Corn Casserole with Crunchy Ritz Cracker Topping with, say, Delicious Corn Bread Muffin Mix Muffins or, better yet, forget the damn casserole altogether and stick with what works (and we all know that’s Green Bean Casserole with Mushroom Soup and Durkie’s Fried Onion Topper) and you would think I suggested that we all get in our cars and run down small kittens in the driveway. The wailing is deafening. “But we ALWAYS have corn pudding! We ALWAYS have it!”
There’s only one choice. Wait ‘em out, which is exactly what my Grandmother Ruth did about the Lutefisk Problem. My Grandmother Ruth was a strong-willed firecracker of a woman who ruled her household with an iron fist. But she was also in love with my Grandfather, a second generation Swede who loved his family’s traditions—especially lutefisk. Before she could stop herself, being in love and all, my grandmother had promised to make him lutefisk every Christmas eve and she did. After he died, when my mom was going through Grandma’s recipe box looking for traditional recipes and asked her where it was, she replied with perfect equanimity, “I buried it with Archie.” I think she did, too.
So how about you? What family traditions do you love and which ones do you wish someone had buried with an ancestor?
and while we’re at it, have you bought HOT DISH yet? Christmas is coming up and we all know that books by Connie Brockway are traditional Christmas presents, right? Right.
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