Monday, November 5, 2012

Mary's Been Busy

Good grief, you'd think my creator, Mary, would have enough to do keeping up with all my, well, "activities." She actually writes about things other than my scheming, comical behavior. (Clare, did I hear you say erratic?) 

I mentioned in my last post the humor piece she had published in the current Not Your Mother's Book anthology. Not only that, she's had another humor essay accepted at Working Writer, another at Long Story Short, and another shortie for The Saturday Evening Post's Post Scripts section.

That gal knows how to stay busy!

Be back later to fill you in on more of Mary's latest news. 

Meanwhile, have a good laugh today. They say for every fifteen minutes of laughter you add almost a year to your life. Clare and I should easily make it to 100!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book No. 3 Almost Ready

I know, I know, it's been a while since you've heard from me. But hey, I've been out doing good deeds. You see, Clare and I are trying to figure out how to get into this blasted online dating site in our pursuit of an online bad boy. Trouble is, neither of us knows much about computers. I think we put the "duh" in "dummies." At any rate, you can read all about our, um, comical experiences in "The Message," Book Number 3, coming out soon. In it, my creator, Mary Berger, explains how I got involved in this online scam mess in the first place.

Would you believe, ever since I penned a letter to the editor of our local newspaper, several women's clubs have called and want moi to talk to their groups. All because of that letter. Clare (actually I could refer to her as "my secretary" but she'd probably blow a gasket if she heard me say that.) Anyway, Clare's been manning the phone for me. OMG! By the time I get to my aerobics class, golf lesson, etc., and try to figure out how to get to that online dating site . . . well, there's not much time left.

So I held one of these speaking get-togethers here at home with some of my friends. And you wouldn't believe the oddball thing that happened afterward. It's all in the new book. You'll have to check it out for yourself because it gives me the weebers just to think about it.

Besides all this extracurricular activity, I always make time to talk to my main squeeze, Jed. He should be back home soon from all his legal work up in Ohio. I really miss that man—and all his, ahem, "qualities."

Gotta run. Clare says hey. She had a hot blind date with a stock car driver and had to head down to the Pickens Race Track. But before I go, there is one other item: My creator, Mary Berger, tells me one of her humor articles, "Die-Hard Eager Beaver," is coming out in the Publishing Syndicate book series, Not Your Mother's Book . . . On Being a Woman, due out nationwide on October 9. Check out their website at to see what they're all about.

Have one good laugh today.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mattie's Still Going Strong

Hi all you Mattie followers. Hope you didn't think I'd just up and disappeared off the face of our planet. I haven't, I can assure you. I've only been doing some serious thinking about the next situation my slave-driver creator, Mary, has gotten me into. What will that woman think of next?

If you'd like a little teaser, here's one for you: Mary has Clare and me working in a local thrift shop, of all places. People drop in, people drop out—all bringing items in for our inventory, or purchasing items to take home. That is, until one mysterious gal, and I do mean mysterious, comes by the shop looking for a computer she dropped off. Now she wants the darned thing back. Her suspicious actions are all it takes to get my curiosity flying off the Richter scale
. . .

I'd better stop right now before I give away the whole plot. Keep reading here for future updates of my (and Clare's) antics. Mary informs me that the whole story should be in print before long. Stay tuned! 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Penne for your thoughts

Normally, I’m a pretty focused and organized kinda’ gal, who can multitask with the best of them. Heck, I make up my grocery list by aisle, put together detailed packing lists before any trip and have spreadsheets galore to track and analyze stuff. But in spite of having these OCD-types of habits, when I am really focused on trying to solve a problem, I become a bit like the Absent Minded Professor and get a bit forgetful.

The days leading up to making this recipe for me and Clare were crazy for me, mostly because there were some knotty problems to be sorted out for one of the volunteer groups I’m involved with. With my head awhirl with trying to come up with possible solutions, I forgot to buy one of the ingredients for this dish, namely the Portobello mushrooms.

They were on my grocery list; right there under the heading of produce. But in my Absent Minded Professor state, I just walked right by them. Seriously, how more bone-headed could I get? Well, apparently quite a bit.

In spite of not having any Portobellos, I did have the dried porcinis and everything else on the ingredient list and decided to forge ahead. As you’ve hopefully noticed in prior posts, I try to link to the recipes I make whenever possible. This one -- Penne with Mushrooms, Spinach, Rosemary and Tomatoes -- proved to be a challenge. It comes from the September 2005 issue of Bon Appétit, but it’s nowhere to be found online. That being the case, here’s the run-down of the ingredients:

  • 2 T. butter

  • 2 T. olive oil

  • 1 lb. 3-inch diameter Portobello mushrooms, stemmed, gills scraped, sliced

  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 2/3 c. beef broth, divided

  • 1 c. chicken broth

  • ½ oz. dried porcini mushrooms

  • 1/3 c. dry white wine

  • 3 large plum tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 lb. penne pasta

  • 1 6-oz. bag baby spinach leaves

  • 1 ¼ c. coarsely grated Asiago cheese, plus additional for sprinkling

The recipe serves six, so I cut it in half for the two of us. First up was getting my prep out of the way. I chopped up the fresh rosemary, minced up the garlic and measured out my beef stock.

If you are a brilliant shopper and remembered to buy the Portabellos, you would need to melt the butter with the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the Portobellos, garlic and 1 tsp. of rosemary. Saute until the mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a medium bowl.

Because I forgot the ‘shrooms, I melted the butter with the oil, then tossed in the rosemary and garlic and let it sauté until the garlic just turned golden.

Now it’s time to add 1 cup of the beef broth and the chicken broth to same skillet the Portobellos were cooked in. I then added the dried porcinis, put a cover on the pan and let that simmer over medium-low heat until the porcinis were tender, about 12 minutes.

Once the porcinis are ready, add the Portobello mixture and the wine and simmer away for about 5 minutes. Add the remaining rosemary and tomatoes and continue to simmer until the tomatoes are tender and the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. The aroma of this sauce was just amazing.

While the sauce was simmering away, I cooked my penne and, when done, drained it and returned it back to the pot. I added the spinach and remaining beef broth and gave it all a good toss to wilt the spinach. Then I stirred in my mushroom mixture and most of the cheese, using the remainder to garnish the plate.

Now normally I would have a shot of the plated dish. But because I am an IDIOT, I forgot to take the final shot. So you’ll just have to imagine what it looked like. Please trust me that it looked beautiful – the red tomatoes and the wilted spinach just glistened in the sauce. And the irony was that even without the Portobellos, this sauce rocked! The porcinis added an earthy richness and provided wonderful texture. The wilted spinach was also a nice touch and a different way to work some greens into the meal. I should have examined the stems on some of the leaves a bit more closely, though, because there were a few long ones that gave off a slightly bitter taste. But all in all, this is one recipe that will definitely grace our table again and maybe even include Portobellos!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Working to put the “fun” in dysfunctional

So here’s a handy tip for any of you wanting to volunteer your time to some worthy organization: Keep your mouth shut. Seriously, if you speak your mind, offer suggestions, and lend a helping hand, the next thing you know, you’ll end up running things.

Yup, that’s what happened to me with our local Garden Club. Somehow, I ended up being elected President of the danged organization. For some unknown reason, Jed and Clare were not at all surprised.

“You’ve complained for months that this group needed some shaking up,” said Clare. “From what you’ve told me, everyone likes to sit around at those meetings and whine about everything that needs to be done, but no one raises their hand to make things happen. I know you Mattie, that’s not your style. Don’t have the slightest idea why you’re surprised they want you to lead things.”

“Honey, you’re the type of gal that when you see something that needs doing, you go do it,” said Jed. “Someone needs to be the leader of the pack, why not you?”

Why not me? Well how about the fact that this is probably one of the most dysfunctional groups I’ve ever encountered? Or the fact that some of the older members have their heels dug into the dirt and are totally against trying anything new? And can I just tell you about the politics and backstabbing that goes on with some of these folks?

But both Clare and Jed were right. I’m not the type of gal to sit idly by and say not a peep. So you can imagine some of the uproar I caused suggesting ways to get more members and bring some well needed media attention to our little group. That in turn led to some rather animated discussions, but, at the end of the day, the group decided to try some new (and dare I say fun) things out to see what could be accomplished.

And we saw success. Our membership started going up, and our club’s name started getting recognition through a media blitz that we put together.

So as one thing leads to another, the next thing I know is that the woman chairing the Nominating Committee gives me a call and tells me the group would like to see my name on the ballot, as president, for the next election. She even had the nerve to pull an “Oh pleeeze, Mattie?” on me. Sigh. I was done for.

So there you have it folks. Open your mouth, raise your hand, offer to help and before you know it, you’ll have the opportunity to be a leader and figure out ways to put the “fun” in dysfunctional.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Weight and See

So as you may recall from some earlier posts, I finally got Clare to start going with me to aerobics. Getting her there was something close to waging strategic warfare with a very cunning enemy, but I’m stubborn and insisted she give it a try.

Turns out, she really got into it and, lo and behold, has kept up with it after all these weeks. To keep us motivated between classes (and to help burn off a few extra pounds I just knew we would put on over the holidays), I bought her (us) a Wii system for Christmas, along with the balance board, Wii Fit and Wii Active discs. If you could have seen her face when she opened that box! It was clear she was hoping for something, well let’s just say, more like a huge box of chocolates.

We tried out the Wii Fit routine for the first time the day after Christmas (hey, I’m not that much of a Grinch that I would make her do it on Christmas Day, but I really tempted to try it on my own). One of the groups of exercises center around different yoga moves. While we both were pretty good at doing things like the “Sun Salutation” maneuver, we still have some work to do with others, especially the “Downward Facing Dog.” Man, I thought I was pretty limber, but that one is a killer. Clare was cursing up a storm because she couldn’t get her weight distributed evenly between her hands and feet. Sort of messes up the whole Zen-like mode, you know what I mean?

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on how we get on. In the meantime, breath in, breath out, and say “Ommmmm.”

Monday, January 23, 2012

Murder and Mayhem

Hi Gang,

A quick note to let you know about a book review Mary just received. Todd Fonesco runs a site called Review My Book On Amazon and was kind enough to give Mary's latest book, A Trip to the Water's Edge, a read. And guess what? She received four out of five stars!

Here's an excerpt from his review:

Trip to the Water’s Edge – Murder and Mayhem Mattie Mitchell Style!

Rating: 4 of 5

"For those who like a light hearted humorous murder mystery, check out “A Trip to the Water’s Edge”. The characters are a hoot and you’ll wonder what Mattie and Clare will get into next!"

Read Todd's full review on
his website.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Save the Date!

Just wanted you all to know that my instigator, Mary, will be participating in the Spartanburg Library’s Local Author Day event on May 9. Come on out and meet Mary, chat about her books, and maybe even buy one (or two, or three). More details to come as we get closer to the date. You can also get info from the library’s social media options of Facebook and Twitter.

Speaking of libraries, be sure to check out Mary’s latest musings on her volunteer efforts with the Henderson County Library. Can’t think of a worthier cause.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New Year!

Don’t know about you, but 2011 just flew by. And from Thanksgiving until now, well, I feel like I barely caught my breath. Between hosting out-of-town visitors, holiday parties, shopping for gifts, and ringing in the New Year, it has all felt a bit overwhelming.

Guess part of it has to do with the fact that I’m the kind of girl who likes her routines. Whether it’s going to aerobics, my garden club, or homeowner meetings, there’s a certain comfort in the predictable. Ever feel that way or am I just a crazy woman? At least now that all the festivities are over, I can jump back into doing all the things I really love. And one of those things is posting to this blog.

I know, I know, I said I would be better at sharing all the news going on around here, including the latest exploits with Clare and what’s going on with Scotty and Jed. But believe me, even though I’m not one to making a bunch of resolutions, this is one thing I feel strongly about.

So, I hope you all are ready to do some serious reading in the days and weeks ahead.


I mean it.

You can take my word for it.