Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Toll Booth Mania

If I get a ticket in the mail from Dallas, I want everyone to understand. I am not a toll booth runner. I pay my tolls. When a very young driver living in Massachusetts and traveling the Pike, I learned exactly how to toss coins into the basket when passing through a toll booth. I come to a full stop. Really.

So why is it when on the way home from the ACFW conference book signing in Dallas, I get an evil toll booth? It happened like this:

On the way to the hotel, we had no change. CJ rode shotgun (he will not drive in Dallas, and I don't blame him). He'd pull dollar bills from my purse every time I drove up to a "Change Made" toll booth lane. I'd hand the real, live attendant a dollar and get change back. No problem.

Just over two hours later, we were on our way home. I think I was giddy after just being with my writing friends for that short a period of time. Anyway, I was babbling about who I saw and what we talked about, and reminded CJ of this one and that one I'd introduced him to, and told him sorry for forgetting to introduce him a few times, when it happened. I found myself too far from a "Change Made" lane. No problem. We had quarters, plenty of them. I knew it.

So I stopped at the toll basket, and CJ handed me three quarters. I chucked them into the basket and waited for the light to turn green. Nothing.

All during our trip up and back on the toll road, we'd seen signs reminding us that we were being monitored electronically. Translated: "Run a toll booth or speed, and we'll getcha!"

Then I noticed a lit-up sign above the basket: Coin Reject.

Good grief. I grabbed a few more quarters and chucked 'em. No green light.

I panicked. "More quarters!" I flung more into the basket, and repeated this a few times. I lost count of the quarters. By now traffic was backing up behind us.

"Go, Honey, just go!" CJ yanked my purse away. "They're not going to get you!"

"But the light's not green!" I squealed.

"You put in at least twice the amount for the toll."

Saying a frantic prayer, I jammed on the accelerator and submitted to my husband.

But no, I'm not really a toll booth maniac. The funny part is, every time CJ tells this story of his wild-eyed wife at the toll booth, the amount of money I tossed into the basket increases. Just like a fish tale.

I sure missed the whole conference experience this year. But next year, I'll be back. And maybe the toll booths will be fixed.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My Cooking Smells Like Farts

I love to cook and I think I've got quite a flare for it, although my hubby is the more famous chef around here.

One of my favorite dishes is a family recipe for French Meat Pie. Until this year, I've reserved this recipe for the time around Christmas and New Year's. Meat pie is hearty and delicious, ground pork and beef seasoned with minced onions, sage, nutmeg, and cinnamon, thickened with instant mashed potatoes and baked in a double crust, then served up with lots of brown gravy. Yeah, it's that good.

Today I decided to buck tradition and make it for supper. I was at the stove, stirring the filling concoction on the stove, when I heard EJ, one of our 2-year-old day care care kids.

"Bella farted," he told my husband.

"No, EJ," my hubby replied. "Miss Lynette is cooking." I heard peals of laughter from children.

So that is why my cooking smells like farts.

I finished a synopsis for a historical novel proposal tonight. We'll see what happens with that. Right now, I like how it feels and where the hero and heroine are right now. I have so many other little writing-related projects to complete, critiques to return to friends. I think I need more time. Got a spare hour or two?