Thursday Thirteen

IMG_4077I do think it’s important every once in awhile to take stock of one’s life. To really look at what’s going on. Sometimes it’s to re-evaluate and make adjustments to the course of my life. But this week I just want to share some of the things I’m truly grateful for.

1. The hubster – He drives me insane. He makes me laugh. He leaves his laundry laying around. He understands my needs like no one else on earth. He’s me best friend and I love him with all my heart.
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Maine is the lobster capital of the world! (Well, Mainers believe that anyway.) But the recession has hit the market hard … very hard. So my thirteen this week is about the spiny creature of the sea–the lobster. I’m not sure if it will encourage you to have lobster at your family get-together, but at the very least, I hope it will give you food for thought. hee hee

1. Lobsters are part of the order of Crustaceans, which means, like insects, they have their skeleton on the outside.

2. Lobsters are generally a dark green to black color and turn red only after cooking. But sometimes nature “burps” out color variations.


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With the re-release of GRAPES OF RAPTURE right around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about fruit. With a little research I’ve put together a list of 13 of the weirdest fruits I have found. I want to thank the Fruit Emporium that provided the bulk of the information. Someone much braver than I tasted these fruits.

1. Cherimoya Also known as the ‘custard apple’. The cherimoya is a large pear shaped fruit, but with a green ‘mottled’ surface – which upon opening reveals a white avocado-type center.


2. Tamarillo – Also known as the “tree tomato”.


3. Dragon Fruit – The kiwi fruit’s evil twin brother. Imagine if you will – rice pudding, but without the nice creamy flavour – and all the sugar taken out.


4. Mangosteen – milky/transparent colour of the fruit is weird enough, but the taste is quite… unusual – and delicious! Just like a tangerine, each mangosteen is comprised of numerous ‘mini-segments’.


5. Granadilla – The inside ‘membrane’ jelly substance is similar to the passion fruit, and the taste isn’t bad – kinda like a cross between a watered down kiwi fruit, fermented grapes with a hint of ‘bubble gum’ flavor too.


6. Starfruit – There are two main varieties of the Starfruit (also known as the ‘carambola’.)


7. Lychee – This small fruit contains an extra-added unique flavour on top of an ordinary grape.


8. Physallis – Also known as the ‘Caped Gooseberry’ or ‘Goldenberry’. Tasting like a cross between a cherry and a peach with a slight hint of cucumber.


9. Pawpaw – ‘Paw’ by name – poor by nature. It is in fact even more boring than a watermelon if that’s possible. Suffering from the same problems that plague other fruit, it basically tastes… a bit like a vegetable.


10. Rambutan – Looks a little like a lychee that’s suddenly decided to de-evolve and grow hair.


11. Persimmon – A tomato shaped fruit except it has a yellowy golden colour to it. Taste is ummm…. sorta subtle peach taste, and quite a bit of the bland ‘cucumber’ taste, but saltier.


12. Tamarind – This fruit consists of a sticky, dry, pulpy fruit which is ‘contained’ in a long, dull brown ‘pod’. (Looks a little like dog pooh, IMHO…)

Fresh Tamarind with leaves

13. Kiwano Horned Melon – The horned melon … is a vine of African origin, grown for its fruit, which looks like an oval melon with horns, and is very decorative.


Okay … so tell me … who’s tried some of these? Stand up and be counted. I want to hear all about it.   

When my son wanted to buy his first car many moons ago, he was pretty amusing to watch as he tried to find something juuuuust right. It was a long process and needless to say the learning curve was steep. This post originally ran in 2008 and since I’m in the middle of finishing the last book in my XTC resorts series and this list STILL cracks me up (mostly because he did all of these things) … I had to share an encore!

1. You might have a problem if the car is parked at a house that appears to only be inhabited by parrots.

2. It probably isn’t a good buy if the seller has to empty out boxes, small appliances and various other crap so you can test drive it.  

3. You might have a problem if you stand looking at the car for ten minutes and the seller only peeks at you from behind the kitchen curtain, but never comes out.

4. You probably should walk away if you ask the seller where the title is and they say “the what?”

5. It might not be worth buying If you have to tow it to get it to the mechanic to check it out.

6. You might not want to pursue it if the For Sale sign has no phone number listed.

7. Remember — leather repaired with duct tape doesn’t mean luxury.

8. If the seller won’t talk to your mother you might have a problem.

9. You probably shouldn’t bother if when you mention the year of the car to your friends they say their grandparents aren’t even that old.

10. You might really want to walk away if you do pursue it, by googling the yellow pages with the address where the car is parked — and they say there’s no phone number available.

11. It’s not a keeper if you walk around the rear of the vehicle and one side of the back bumper is propped up on blocks and they say “It’s no problem, the spare tire’s in the trunk”.

12. There could be a problem with it if the inspection sticker is three years old. 

13. It’s probably not a good idea to buy a car if the seller tells you the odometer no longer works, but it only broke last week.

And just to make the car buying easier on every woman, I think more cars should come with this kind of option!

Since convention season is in full swing I thought I’d share with you 13 things I learned at my first writer’s convention in 2008 …

1. When in the presence of such authors as Susan Wiggs or Suzanne Brockman … it is rude to drool on their shoes.

2. NYT Best sellers don’t like you rubbing against them to see if their greatness actually transfers.

3. Sleep is overrated.

4. Always call for the guaranteed wake-up call, that way when you don’t receive it … your room is free.

5. If your roommate unpacks more little bottles of liquor than panties … you picked the right roommate!

6. When you go out to lunch, make sure the restaurant is young and trendy and you sit in the section with the cutest waiter.

7. Always set your cellphone alarm. (See #4.) Breakfast begins at 7 am even if you’re still in the shower.

8. Wine and lack of sleep are a baaad combination … especially in the presence of a hunky waiter.

9. Bring an extra suitcase for all the books everyone gives away.

10. Only bring half as much promotional material as you think you need. Remember … they’re all authors looking to promote their books too!

11. Authors always have a storyline on their mind … erotic authors should remember not everyone takes kindly to you sharing it with them. Okay, so this guy has nothing to do with that … but he’s pretty sexy and I couldn’t resist sharing him.

12. Agents and editors are only human. No matter how they glow or appear to walk on water … they are not demi-Gods … they want to contract writers with good books (and you have a good book) … Repeat this mantra as many times as needed to get through your pitch.

13. Whatever happens at the convention … stays at the convention … even if it isn’t in Las Vegas! (Refer back to #8.)

This blog originally ran in December 2008. But I love it so much (and I’m really trying to get some writing done) I thought I’d share them with you again …

I got these little ditties in an email from a friend. I laughed so hard I couldn’t resist sharing them with you. (And I even added a few of my own to make a round thirteen.)

1. He said, “I don’t know why you wear a bra, you have nothing to put in it.
She said, “You wear pants, don’t you?”

2.  He said, “Shall we try switching positions tonight?”
She said, “That sounds great! You stand by the dryer while I sit on the couch and fart.”

3. He said, “I did the dishes!”
She said, “It was take out.”

4. He said, “What have you been doing with all the grocery money?”
She said, “Turn sideways and look in the mirror.”

5. He said, “Why don’t women blink during foreplay?”
She said, “We don’t have time.”

6. He said, “How many men does it take to change a roll of toilet paper?”
She said, “I don’t know, it’s never happened.”

7. He said, “Why do women complain they can’t find men who are sensitive, caring, and good-looking?”
She said, “Because they all have boyfriends.”

8. He said, “The kids are in bed and there’s nothing good on tv … shall I entertain you?”
She said, “I always find it amusing when you use the vacuum cleaner.”

9. He said, “Why are married women heavier than single woman?”
She said, “Single women come home, see what’s in the fridge and go to bed. Married women come home, see what’s in bed and go to the fridge.”

10. He said, “You know, I was a fool when I married you.”
She said, “Yes, dear, but I was in love and didn’t notice.” 

Love: Aroma — French perfume
Lust: Aroma — Brut aftershave
Marriage: Aroma — “The baby needs changing. . .”


Erma Bombeck
Because I’m in the middle of packing my house I’ve decided to run an oldy but goodie Thursday Thirteen that originally ran in April 2008. But I STILL love Erma and her quotes never get old …

Erma Bombeck (1927-1996), I love the woman. She was a magician with the written word. With a couple quick strokes of her pen she could have me crying or laughing. So I decided to find 13 of my favorite quotes (and I had a hard time whittling it down to 13). Some of these things she said, some she wrote in her books. If you’ve never read one of her books … treat yourself. My favorite has to be “The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank”.

So here’s what I’ve come up with …

1. Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.

2. Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.

3. It is fast approaching the point where I don’t want to elect anyone stupid enough to want the job. (on the US presidency)

4. Mothers have to remember what food each child likes or dislikes, which one is allergic to penicillin and hamster fur, who gets carsick and who isn’t kidding when he stands outside the bathroom door and tells you what’s going to happen if he doesn’t get in right away. It’s tough. If they all have the same hair color they tend to run together.

5. My theory on housework is, if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch on fire or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one cares. Why should you?

6. All of us have moments in our lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with white carpet is one of them.

7. I don’t know why no one ever thought to paste a label on the toilet-tissue spindle giving 1-2-3 directions for replacing the tissue on it. Then everyone in the house would know what Mama knows.

8. There is nothing more miserable in the world than to arrive in paradise and look like your passport photo.

9. People shop for a bathing suit with more care than they do a husband or wife. The rules are the same. Look for something you’ll feel comfortable wearing. Allow for room to grow.

10. I remember buying a set of black plastic dishes once, after I saw an ad on television where they actually put a blowtorch to them and they emerged unscathed. Exactly one week after I bought them, one of the kids brought a dinner plate to me with a large crack in it. When I asked what happened to it, he said it hit a tree. I don’t want to talk about it.

11. I never leaf through a copy of National Geographic without realizing how lucky we are to live in a society where it is traditional to wear clothes.

12. Everyone is guilty at one time or another of throwing out questions that beg to be ignored, but mothers seem to have a market on the supply. “Do you want a spanking or do you want to go to bed?” Don’t you want to save some of the pizza for your brother?” Wasn’t there any change?”

13. Have you any idea how many children it takes to turn off one light in the kitchen? Three. It takes one to say, “What light?” and two more to say, “I didn’t turn it on.”

Mr. Nina is in the middle of looking for a sparkling new job. His job search is taking us all across New England which means there’s a very real probability that I will be moving. I wasn’t born in Maine, but I moved here when I was 3 or 4, which means it’s my home state. So this week I thought I’d re-post (from Jan 2009) 13 very special facts about Maine.

1. Living in a town for several decades doesn’t necessarily mean you can call it home. It’s understood that your parents and probably your grandparents should call the same town home before you can be considered “coming from there”.

2. We don’t drop our r’s … we just move ’em to a better word.
You have a yard … I have a yahd
You have lobster … We sell lobstah
You wear a toga … I wrap up in a toger
You live in an area … but here we have ari-ars
There are plenty more examples, but you git the idear.

(No, this lobstah is not diseased … it’s alive. The-ah only red when the-ah cooked. Ah yuh.)

3. Moose are the largest member of the deer family and hitting one with a car is not recommended. Statistically some 700 vehicles collide with moose (only taking out the legs and sending the body of the animal through the windshield) Out of that approximately 160 people are injured each year and 3 crashes result in fatalities.

(This is a full-sized chocolate moose found at a candy shop in southern Maine.)

4. It is the least racially diverse state in the country. (Mostly because it lacked the jobs to attract immigrants in the late 19th century.)

5. The oldest European settlements in New England are in Maine. But of course the French colony in Calais (1604) and England’s Popham Colony in Phippsburg (1607) both failed after the first winter. Go figure.

6. Maine has the second lowest violent crime rate. (What hardened criminal would suffer through a Maine winter …see above.)

7. Quaint fishing towns were actually built by the fishermen to do work like lobstering and shrimping. Not by the chamber of commerce to make pretty postcards. 

8. Lubec’s West Quoddy Head Light is the easternmost point in the continental US but during the fall and winter sunlight actually touches Mars Hill mountain first. (And that’s just down the rud from he-ah). Of course Guam has them all beat by 14 hours … but that’s just a territory.

9. The first successful trans-Atlantic balloon flight took off from Presque Isle, Maine. (I think they were trying to go home.)

10. Up until the early 80’s, Maine frequently finished last or nearly last in the country per capita income. (The Governor’s mansion…)

11. Mainers suffer through long winters and hours of boredom can make us a little stir-crazy. Mainers have used the quiet hours of winters to invent ear muffs, Moxie (a soda … sorta like Dr. Pepper mixed with gasoline), the combine harvester, and the common mouse trap. Really … it gets dark early in Maine in the winter. (Oh, and there is that entertainment.)

12. We have the towns of Bangor (pronounced Bang-gore not Bang-grrr) and Calais (which, despite being settled by a frenchman is pronounced Ca-liss, not Cal-lay), and Saco (pronounced Sah-co not Say-co) and of course the town where I live Presque Isle (which means nearly an island and is pronounced Pres-Kyle not preskee iz-el … which is what I get most of the time when I order something over the phone).

13. When someone says they’re going “down east” it actually means they’re traveling north along the coast. This term refers to the tack ships had to take to navigate north along the Maine coast. They had to tack down and east to travel to the more northern ports.

Oh, and I don’t want you to think I forgot to add just a little heat



I wouldn’t do that to you …




it’s been a long time since I shared …



So how about a nice bed warmer for those loooong Maine autumn nights? 

Since I’m on vacation I decided to resurrect some of my favorite posts. This is a thirteen list of things that went wrong at Little Boy Blue’s prom. He’s no longer dating this young lady who has come to be known in our family as “dead horse girl”. Please, read on and you will understand why…

So the last two weeks the Pierce house has been in prom hell agony mode. Little Boy Blue attended not one, but TWO proms at two different schools with his girl friend. And let me tell ya … they were BOTH an adventure! Here’s the top 13 things (yes, I had to whittle it down for you) I wanted to share with you about prom …

1. Flowers are a VERY important detail when you’re going to prom.


2. GQ is missing it’s cover model.


3. Limousines are mighty spacious for just two people. (And wicked boring as Little Boy Blue found out.)


4. Sequins can unravel VERY easily from a dress and a needle and thread make things worse and kudos to whomever invented glue sticks…they work miracles! (Hope we remembered to take that out of the LBB’s tux pocket.)


5. Bugs love hairspray


6. Choosing to go to the prom parade in a buggy is really bad if the horse gets sick and … well let’s just say there are some Amish who are buying a new work horse this week.

7. Sometimes teenagers are happy the police stop by. (Side note to new police officer who didn’t understand one must sit in the prom parade line for up to 90 minutes to deliver teens to prom. Guess what? According to the town manager who called you, it can’t happen while you’re on duty.)


8. Being abandoned before the prom parade begins by a well-meaning police officer who didn’t know kids can’t ride in the police cruiser and having to walk the length of 60 cars is really hard in high heels.


9. When things are at their worst, you’ll find out who your friends are when they let you jump into their sweet Cadillac ride so you can still be in the prom parade.


10. Probably the limo would have been a safer bet for the SECOND prom. (Why didn’t mom think of that? Oh right, all TWO of them available in Northern Maine were rented that night.)


11. Prom hairdoes are ruined by torrential rain which often times brings lightening which is a really bad combination for hundreds of parents and grandparents with umbrellas.

12. Only in Northern Maine is it considered cool to arrive at prom in farm equipment.


13. No matter what Little Boy Blue went through, he kept smiling!


So the little ghost, goblins and vampires will be showing up at the doorstep in a couple of days. When my children were little we lived in a wonderful neighborhood where everyone made Halloween night a social event. We had so much fun. We’ve moved into a new home and the evening has become a quiet night at home with very few trick-or-treaters showing up at the door. Which is just fine with me now that the kids are all out of the house. In honor of the holiday this week’s list is thirteen interesting facts about All Hallow’s Eve …

1. Pumpkins are fruits not vegetables.

2. Fifty-one percent of all American adults believe in ghosts. Nine percent of Americans claim to have been in the presence of a ghost during their lifetime.

3. It’s illegal to sell a haunted house in New York without informing the buyer.

4. The word witch comes from the Saxon word Wicca, which means “wise one.”

5. In France, more than 30,000 werewolf cases were tried between 1520 and 1630.

6. Phasmophobia” is the fear of ghosts.

7. According to superstition, you will see your future spouse over your left shoulder in the mirror at midnight on Halloween.

8. Ninety-nine percent of pumpkins sold in the U.S. are used to make jack-o’-lanterns.

9. According to studies, the smell of pumpkin pie is the most arousing to women, followed by lavender, cucumbers, baby powder and Good & Plenty candy.

10. Americans consume about 20 million pounds of candy corn each year.

11. There is a poisonous mushroom called a jack-o’-lantern. These mushrooms are a bright orange-yellow in color and on rainy nights they appears to glow in the dark.

12. Pennsylvania was the first colony to legalize witchcraft.

13. The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,469 pounds. It was weighed in on October 1, 2005 at the Pennsylvania Giant Pumpkin Growers Weigh-Off.