Thursday, December 27, 2012

So. Maybe DWTS is a little out of touch for me....

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

Anyone had a dingbat moment? I just had a whole weekend. Not known for my gracefulness, I exceeded my own expectations.

Everything started well. I bounced out of bed Saturday morning—okay I drug myself out of bed with a mission of cleaning out closets and getting rid of clothes (for real this time) to take to Salvation Army.

I left a huge wood box of books because I didn’t think Salvation Army would take books of a spicy nature.

I made dinner of scrambled eggs, sausage crumbles (did you know you can buy those already cooked and crumbled?) and hash browns. I balanced the plate of goodies, a diet coke and napkin and headed for the computer room. Max was bouncing along beside me.

I usually go straight to my chair so I didn’t turn the light on and therefore I’d forgotten the huge box of spicy books----until I tripped and dived over them head first into my chair, which thankfully, was facing the disaster in the making.

My dinner was in the chair; Max was dancing and yipping around my feet. I must add here I’d recently visited Doc Jolly with a toe so infected he wouldn’t touch it and was on mega antibiotics.

Max was uncaring of my poor bloody toe while I was screaming bloody loud. He was uncaring I put a huge knot on my other leg. He had food on the brain.

I must have really good bones because I never break anything except my pride.

Max feasted while I hobbled to turn on the light and move the spicy box. I wanted to kick it it to the corner but didn’t dare.

If that wasn’t enough Sunday before church I put a roast, potatoes and carrots into the slow cooker for dinner. Around 4 I checked and it wasn’t where I thought it should be. I touched the cooker; it was cold. I told husband I needed a new cooker.

Rather than give me the benefit of doubt he asked if it was plugged in. I would love to tell you I need a new cooker; instead all I’m saying is we are having roast for tommorrow night's dinner.

Daughter’s friend suggested I get a light clapper.

I’m wondering if there is a multi-task clapper for lights and keys and cookers. Maybe even flash drives!

Husband said they would be clapping all time.

I get no respect.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Shopping this time of year? Of course !

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar        

Daughter was here for a week sans kids and husband. It was very nice to have her to ourselves for a couple of days.

I’ve gotten spoiled to shopping online. It’s easier because I don’t have to fight traffic, grabby hands, and crabby people.

This time of year only intensifies those feelings.

Daughter likes to physically shop, touch everything and dig for bargains. I think we hit every store. I also think she learned from the best. Me. She is in the height of her bargain ability and it passed me two fake knees ago.  

By the third day I was wondering if her guilty pleasure Star Bucks was putting triple or quadruple espresso in her coffee. She was like an energizer bunny.

When she started to pack it became apparent we were going to need another huge duffel bag. All I can say is if they checked her luggage completely they would find no one corner or space in those two huge duffel bags.

She likes to buy Christmas presents here because there is no winter in Phoenix so the late summer and fall clothing doesn’t mark down as they do here.

One of our stops was a huge cosmetic store. I have never seen so many things for anti-aging. I was nearly sure there was a Botox shoot up in the back. Most of the sales ladies looked like mannequins they were so fake. The sad thing they were young and not even trying to regain their youthful good looks. They just took away from their natural beauty.

I browsed around in all the anti-anti stuff when daughter came over with several bottles of nail color

“Did you know for $75 dollars a fourth oz. me and my skin will look twenty again?” I glanced over to check her reaction and because of it added, “Yeah, I thought truth in advertising too.”

I noticed the nail polish colors she carried and two were gray. It was a new concept for me; I’d seen almost every other color on her, some of which should be banned as colors for nails.

I do buy lots of polish, but I only paint my toenails.

With nail polish in sack we left the store to conquer another store.

We had to take the polish to the car first. Jingling bottles aren’t safe the way she shops.

By the end of the day, I’m pooped, but in a good way.

Oh, I did buy the gray nail polish too.

I figure what’s good for her nails are good for my toenails!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hearing - or not......

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

I’ve talked many times about getting older.

I’ve spoken about arthritis often because that’s my thorn in flesh so to speak. I have never touched on hearing because that isn’t one of my problems.

Though I always thought husband had selective hearing, I realized too late in the game he really couldn’t hear.

He finally gave into the ego and price and along with his insurance paid a nice sum for a pair of ears.

They work so well I have to be very careful what I really don’t want him to hear.

It’s been an adjustment for him as well.

I didn’t understand he could hear, but everything was extremely distorted. I don’t know how many times I repeated the same thing over and over and over until I thought I’d scream.

Okay, I’ll admit. I did scream.

I just didn’t realize how helpless he felt.

Until the ears came into the family and it was then I realized how much he’d missed. Not just TV, but interactions with people.

I can’t even imagine what it would be like to not hear someone directly in front of you. I wondered why he often let his gaze drift, thinking how rude that must seem to the person speaking to him.

Husband is a researcher of everything, especially if it concerns money. If I have the money and I want it, I buy it. One of the many reasons I drive him crazy.

Not him. Apparently unbeknownst to me, he’d been secretly researching hearing aids. Not to get into a hearing aid dispute, he chose to go with a company that had a representative in town and not the local one who sent weekly pamphlets in the mail.

For him, it was a good choice because he felt he had the upper hand in the transaction. It’s also not much fun to sell to a person who knows more about the product than some of the salespersons.

Luckily for husband they clicked. The representative enjoyed the fact that husband knew intricate details to discuss.

Many dollars later, it’s still the right decision.

This is not to say it’s been easy. Hearing aids are an adjustment like anything else and I’ve watched him go through many.

However, tenacity and will have won and overall he’s a happy camper with his purchase.

So am I.

I don’t scream near as much.

I do whisper though. J

Monday, November 12, 2012

From 2009

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

When I began a Veteran’s Day remembrance for 2009, I wasn’t planning on changing what I’d started. Because of the senseless massacre last week at Ft. Hood, I changed my original thoughts.

It’s come to me that we, as Americans, were taught well the manners bestowed us by our heritage and upbringing, no matter what religion, ethnicity or politics within each family.

We’ve become so “nice” that we’re the breeding ground of someone telling us we can’t discipline because it might hurt someone’s feelings. We can’t play certain sports because so-in-so isn’t able to play and feelings might be hurt. We’ve changed grading in schools because we don’t want to hurt feelings.

I want to interject something—my feelings are hurt.

I get a form of waterboarding every time I go to the dentist. Sorry but that’s what happens when you have a cavity. It stands to reason that a cavity of society could withstand water. We have to be “nice” and now there’s a chance those who terrorized our country on 9/11 may be out amongst us. What? Cavities need to be fixed, not let go to rot further.


I cannot begin to express the concern and sorrow I feel for the gentleman who took it upon himself to take out a few of his fellow soldiers for whatever reasoning he possessed at the time.

Our soldiers at this time are put into harm’s way when deployed to war torn countries to defend the freedoms we take for granted. We now desperately cling to those freedoms slipping one by one.

Veterans and current military are supposed to be safe on base. They are supposed to be able to mill about and take care of business and their loved ones. They are supposed to be ready to go and take care of America’s welfare.

They are not supposed to be blindsided on base by one of their own.

I only know what I’ve read about the person who decided fate for others. For me, it’s come to a point that religion, ethnicity, and politics are kaput. These soldiers and civilians deserve justice.

Not everyone will agree and that’s okay. We’re Americans. We’re still free.

Thanks to all military branches, past and present. I love the right to write what I feel and am grateful to those who’ve gone above and beyond to preserve an America I love.

Coming to an understanding----

 A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar       

          I worked for a research program housed in a regional VA facility. I ventured into a room to buy coffee and found not-friendly veterans. Eras and wars have distinct markings. Vietnam often wears disillusionment - like an old glove, one-size-fits-all, misshapen, frazzled, well worn-yet durable and still used. Eyes warily observed me. No hearty welcome while thoroughly examined. I turned to leave and noticed the dollhouse.
          Elegant and magnificently built, trimmed to perfection, brimming with exquisite furnishings, it perched on a pedestal-like table. Drawn to its beauty, I commented on its craftsmanship, immediately evoking animated conversation concerning its history. A man walked me in every room. Pride was evident and excitement contagious. I’d been too busy to create for the joy of accomplishment.
          Seeing multiple crafts in varying degrees of completion, awareness unfolded - I was in the craft room. Veterans weren’t too busy. They were rebuilding lives in a restorative manner with construction of this dollhouse.
All wars carry scars and emotional blemishes. Many left home innocents, joining to make a mark and came home changed - and forever labeled. Especially Vietnam.
          My own mark lay heavily within my soul, burdening my spirit.
          I’m not a veteran. I found myself to be a label maker. I strove for understanding.
          I’d sought in a quest for understanding of why some served without question while others balked to the point of denouncing the very citizenship and freedom others fought to maintain.
          It took getting lost in that craft room of the VA hospital for knowledge to come full circle. These veterans began to open doors. Faces brought names. I wanted what they sought – acceptance--to give back what I’d taken by labeling.
          The dollhouse became a symbol of what it’s about. Home. America. A right to be; to stand; to be beautiful; to be free.
          Finally, I understood.
          It is not a right.
          It is a privilege, often abused.
          In my case I simply didn’t look further than the end of my nose.  
          Thank you seems too trivial and comes out of mouths so easily. There’s no way for those of us who aren’t veterans to know what you’ve given and given up.
          Since then, I’ve verbally thanked every person I’ve seen in a cap or uniform with a “thank you for your service to America.”
          Our privileges are many and blessed because you served.
          Thank you cannot be said enough!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Quit sending me for plumbing supplies!!!!

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

Early June marked my 67th year to be in this wonderful and amazing world. After the weekend, I wasn’t sure if hubby was going to make it to his 68th in August. I also realized, again, that we’d never make it in a mom-n-pop business.

It’s called plumbing.

We’re having a houseful of company over the next month and our townhouse is going to be covered over each square foot with adults, teenagers, a toddler and Max, the weenie dog.

The faucet leak in the guest bath needed repair.

What does husband do? He takes off to Western Swing world in Snyder. Fine with me, I can do a lot when he isn’t there to “help” but buying faucets is not my thing.

As much as I shop at Wal-Mart I was so sick of them by the time our project was finished I’m not sure but what they had greeters on the lookout for me to warn the faucet area.

I picked a faucet but forgot the hook-up hoses. I asked husband why he didn’t tell me about those.

He didn’t know I didn’t know.

Do I look like I would know?

After four hours of spewing water, wet towels, and words I can’t repeat, husband realized the faucet was at default.

Oh really? Clues?

He put the old one back and no spews at the hoses, still dripping. He was sure the faucet was the defect, or the hose, or me for picking both.

I’d bought tickets to The Flatlanders which was my birthday present to me.

We met friends for dinner before the concert and I very nearly ordered a bottle of Tequila, but settled on two margaritas. One at a time of course.

The Flatlanders were the best ever. However, lurking in the back of my mind was the leaky faucet.

I’m sure the return clerk at Wal-Mart wished she’d not asked “why” – because I told her.

At a large home improvement store, I never dreamed a bathroom faucet could be so competitive.

I remembered the hose and added putty stuff, a putty knife, WD-40 (that’s good for everything).

I did ask first and come to find out the hoses were wrong. I was reading the wrong end or something.  Good grief.

In less than an hour the sink’s completed. No leaks. No spews.

He will make it to 68 after all.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

BIg Mac and Fries?

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

Stephen King says of himself “I am the equivalent of a Big Mac and Fries.”

When I first read that I laughed because that man cries all the way to the bank, right?

I am fascinated by his works and when I really want to scare myself, I read one of his books.

Before I allow myself to be frightened, I wonder how this man created such horror. He is sorta scary looking but from all accounts he is relatively normal. Whatever "normal" might be.

He was asked once why he wrote such terrifying stories to which he replied “Why do you assume I have a choice?”

Being somewhat a writer I do understand “muses” and while mine generally just amuses me, I do wonder how he and other horror writers can see such intensity. I visualize every word I write and read.  In fact I am making a face as I type trying to see into their minds.

My favorite book by King is “The Stand” because it’s something I can actually imagine happening.

Once my dryer was on the blitz and I had taken all our clothes to the laundry and took up eight washers and five dryers.

During the wash and dry cycles I read The Stand.

When I read-- I’m in the book. When I’m at the movie-- I’m in the movie.

Stephen King is extremely descriptive. Lost in the book I was surrounded by rats and all alone because everyone had been eliminated. It was then I screamed bloody murder.

Some poor child had accidentally fallen into to me.

He cried. His mom immediately went into mama bear mode. I tried to grab my book which was flying through the air.

He’s really that good.

I see King more of a big bowl of Fritos with hot spicy chili pouring through the nooks and crannies with cheese melting between the two and a big plop of onions on the top.

You know, extremely appetizing but indigestion lurks slowly; you just don't know when it will strike.

It made me wonder what kind of writer I am.

I thought of a Whataburger with cheese. I love Whataburger,

Then I decided depending on the genre I could be Blue Bell Vanilla Bean with chocolate syrup melting down the sides into swirls of cream and caramel.

Or I could just be a writer.

Or better yet, just try to be.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dancing With the Stars Wannabe. That's me.....

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

I have always accused husband of selective hearing. I think I have it also.

A co-worker and I went to a business expo where vendors give pens and note pads to advertise their product.

I tend to get lost so co-worker became my “person.”

Person was talking to a nice looking, well dressed young man. I thought he was one of our students. As it turned out he was Person’s daughter’s boyfriend.

I really know how to make an impression. At least an impression which left him thankful Person was his girlfriend’s mom and not me.

He represented a dance studio in town. I told him husband and I dance, but husband was interested in only Western Swing and I didn’t know if I could get him to take ballroom dancing.

Dancer said that his studio taught many different types which included Western Swing, country and ballroom. He went on to say the ballroom dances were foxtrot, waltz, tango, Latin, quickstep and samba.

“Excuse me?”

“Yes?” He answered expectantly.

“Did you say lap dance?”

The very minute it came out of my mouth and I saw the look on Dancer’s and Person’s face I knew I’d not only misunderstood but probably insulted the Ballroom Society of the World, should there be such an organization.

“No ma’am.”

With that “ma’am” I immediately recognized I’d misspoken – just like politicians today, I had my foot in my mouth and I was feasting heartily on it while wondering where in the world I’d gotten lap dance.

“I said Latin dances.” Dancer replied and by this time he and Person were laughing and I was beet red with embarrassment. Hard to believe I was embarrassed, but I was mortified.

I’m not supposed to know what a lap dance is, right? I hadn’t even seen Magic Mike.


After we laughed and Person explained to Dancer I was relatively harmless he decided to teach me the foxtrot.

Right there.

In the middle of the floor.

With people watching.

It was really fun, after I sort of got the hang of it.

As a Dancing With the Stars addict, for one fleeting moment I had myself on the show, dancing with Maks (only he had a shirt on), doing the foxtrot thinking I’d win the mirror ball trophy.

Dancer was very nice and told me I did a good job. Person was still laughing, so I’m not sure.

I really don’t have a place for that mirror ball trophy anyway.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Forgetting is not an option-----

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

Have you thanked a military person today?

In many ways we thank our military men and women. They’re not always on foreign soil, but are ready for deployment. I can’t imagine a life of never knowing – especially in the world we live in today.

It is easier to thank those still walking amongst us as we know many who have family or friends in that “ready to go” mode or are already there.

Memorial Day is much more complicated…or it is to me.

How does one thank those who’ve died? Some many years ago in eras long gone and far removed, especially from today’s generation. I was born at the end of WWII. I’ve lived through everything that’s happened since and have an understanding through study, the ‘why’s and how’s’.

The realization finally hit me that studying and knowing is not the same as remembering and honoring.

Many of us have friends who’ve served through one or more wars. While I may readily thank them, I don’t understand what they experienced. They’re also still around. I tend to forget.

It’s with that reasoning I came to understand why Memorial Day should be a bigger deal than it is. We forget sometimes because these men and women are gone.

Abruptness of seeing those graves in stark white symmetry in D.C. visually reminded me these and so many more are buried across America and elsewhere.

Yesterday, a lady in church related a story of how her brother lost his life during WWII and was buried in Holland. She said there is a group there who have buried our men and women and through the years have handed down the honor of maintaining these sites because that is the only way they knew how to thank America for all they did for them during that time.

I sat with tears of shame. I love the military and all it stands for yet felt shamed because that country honors our dead every day and has for years done what we do one day out of a year.

Life is a blessing and often taken for granted. An extra blessing was given us in freedoms granted by service men and women who've served and laid down their own lives.

America is beautiful because of the fallen.

It remains so because of our present soldiers.

Never forget – then or now.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Technology is Wonderful!

Note: Last year's Mother's Day article!

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

I hope every mother had a wonderful Mother’s Day. I had a particularly good one because I got to “see” my kids even though one is in Arizona and the other in Istanbul.

Granddaughter’s been after me to download Skype, a program to make video calls and it’s free.

Bree and Speedy visit their son in Brazil on Skype, but it took granddaughter wanting me to meet her boyfriend to get myself in gear and download it. She’s convincing.

The first person I “saw” was granddaughter and boyfriend. I have to hand it to him, he’s very brave to meet Nana and Pop via cyber airwaves; between the two of us we teased beyond what one should upon first meeting. He fielded all the probing questions well. I suspect he’s a keeper.

That evening daughter was on with granddaughter and once again we had fun talking and seeing each other.

What amazing technology.

On Mother’s Day, son and daughter-in-law in Istanbul visited via Skype and it was wonderful!

Why did did it take so long to download this wonderful program? We’ve kept up on Messenger and email, but not seeing them for a year made this Mother’s Day special for me and husband.

They are having their first child this summer. Already excited, the thought of seeing her when she is first born is beyond excitement! I’ll meet her in person come September when I travel to Istanbul. Content with that, I couldn’t help but be pre-excited about Pop and I seeing her earlier.

Her Auntie and family in Arizona are equally exited.

This new baby symbolizes all that encompasses Mother’s Day.

A new life brought into a family, on both sides; eager to nurture, teach and yes, spoil.

I’ve learned over the years, a child teaches me. Anyone who takes the time can hear and/or see happiness and sadly, distress.

By texting, I know when grandchildren are happy, sad, or angry. Technology allows me to converse and hopefully shield by offering love and support.

I’m thankful to be a mom.

Moms through adoption or foster care are a special favor upon children who are gifts from God.

Moms of special needs children are just special. 

Love comes with many tests and though some are tested greatly, a mother’s love is a blessing.

May all children be blessed by the nurturing love of a mother.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

My Lyrical Mind......

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

There’s a song by George Strait that is awesome. It was written by Hank Cochran who recently passed away. It’s called “The Chair” and basically George walks into a dance hall and starts crooning to to some woman by saying “Well excuse me but I think that's my chair.....”

I am a lyrics person. I rarely listen to George Strait although I do admire his Wrangler ads. The only reason I know who Mr. Cochran was is because after playing 20 questions the other day with husband, I learned he wrote one of my favorite songs which happens to be by George Strait.

When we lived in Temple and would drive anywhere, husband would stick his CDs in the car player (at that time he didn’t have an MP3 which I have since remedied for his ears only) this song came up. He asked me to listen. I was immediately drawn in as he knew I would be.

I had this guy's chair it seems. No I wasn’t with anyone, oh you either? Yes, I’d love to dance. You get the message of this song?

When it was over I was really quiet.

Husband asked “So, what do you think?”

“Who was that?”

“George Strait.”

“The guy in the Wranglers?”

He’s laughing by now but placated me and said yes.

I remained quiet. I mean how do you tell your husband that within the realm of what? Five or less minutes I was in a dance hall, apparently alone and this guy lumbers over to me and insists I’m sitting in his chair and we strike up a conversation, dance and then I let him take me home!

It took me awhile to figure out that George is the only one in the song that talks and “I” answered every question! What a clever song and sneaky way to entice a lyric person like me.

I remained quiet but he pressured me. I knew it was because he knew exactly what I’d done (in my mind) because he knows me so well and I write romance fiction!

I didn’t budge.

“So….what did you think about that song?” He just wouldn’t let it go.

I tried to decide how to let him how my overworked, over creative, crazy and visual mind works.

Finally I answered. 

 “So how much do you like George Strait?”

He laughed because he does know how my mind works!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Writer Workshop in Lubbock with Jennifer Archer

Penning the Pitch-Perfect Proposal

Are you tired of sending your book proposal out to agents and editors and hearing, “Thanks, but no thanks?”

In this 6 hour workshop, you’ll learn:

·         What a synopsis/query should be, as opposed to what you probably think it is

·         The # 1 thing agents and editors look for in your proposal   

·         How to write a query and synopsis that will make agents/editors want MORE

·         The importance of structure in a proposal

·         How to find your hook – or the “hot premise”

·         The importance of conveying the tone of your book in your query/synopsis

·         How to use turning points to structure your synopsis

·         AND MORE….!

            Bring your current query and synopsis if you have one . . . or just your story idea. Bring paper and something to write with. Bring an open mind and a willingness to learn! I will use as examples the proposals that sold my books THROUGH HER EYES (currently available in hardback and ebook) and ONCE UPON A DREAM (currently available in ebook at Amazon for Kindle and for Nook). It will be helpful to you, although not mandatory, if you have read at least one of these books prior to the workshop.

Jennifer Archer has written eleven novels and three novellas, as well as numerous non-fiction works. She has been a finalist twice for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart award, and in 2006 was a finalist for the prestigious Rita Award and a nominee for a Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Award. Her debut Young Adult novel, Through Her Eyes, was an April, 2011 release from Harper Teen.  Archer has taught creative writing and has presented numerous talks and workshops for educators, students, writers' organizations and bookstores. Visit her website at

Saturday, April 21, 2012 from 9:00 to 3:00

Room 209, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Texas Tech University

(email for directions)

$25.00 per person (mail check or money order to below address) (limit 25)

Alisa Dollar

PO Box 98376

Lubbock, Texas 79499


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bullies are not cool.....

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

On Facebook one leaves a status relaying a message to anyone allowed as a friend. Several messages lately are reminding students ready to start classes to be mindful of those alone or being bullied or both.

It used to be perfectly okay to knock the soup out of someone who tried to bully or make light of clothing or hair or brains or societal standing. It was okay for someone to knock the soup out of said bully in someone’s stead should they be unable to stand up for themselves. All metaphorically speaking- - of course.

It was okay for a teacher to send someone to the office for discipline which may or may not include a swat on the “brain” of a person who finds satisfaction in being habitually cruel to a peer or a teacher.

It was okay for administration to administer whatever discipline was needed in order to teach said person respect while on school grounds. Most times, isolation is a fantastic deterrent.

There’s something inherently out of balance when society seemingly creates a situation that a bully is protected more than a victim of said browbeater.

What’s happened when some parents think their child can do no wrong and other parents who think their child can do nothing right; and a school where teachers are afraid to speak out for fear of losing their job or worse yet, losing government money?

Far from believing corporal punishment is the answer, I do believe a strict policy should be in place for students who can’t follow rules or are abusive to other children or teachers.

As communities, peer, teachers, administration, we need to pay attention to what’s going on. Most of us think “it doesn’t happen here” or “my child would never ignore the “fill in the blank” going on around them.”

The fact is: it happens everywhere.

Be aware. There are usually signs.

Kids out there, don’t be a wuss and fall into being a part of something you know is wrong just to be in the “in” group, or worse yet, not noticed.

Be noticed!  Take an active role in reporting physical abuse and befriend those being treated poorly by taunts.

Bullies, be mindful behind your back the whispers flourish. You’re not cool. Own it.

I’m thinking maybe send those rebel-rousers to parents’ homes or offices.

Bet they get sent back with halos……very quickly.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My favorite!!!!!

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

There are many ways to get a meal on the table. Some use recipes. Others have long used recipes in their head and many creatively cook.

I’m a use the recipe type. If the recipe says I should jump up and down three times, turn around and do a little tap dance then stir; I do it.

It takes all kinds.

Daughter is a creative cook. It amazes me at some of the recipes she comes up with that are really good. I’d never have the nerve to try.

In Turkey, daughter-in-law uses yogurt for a lot of dishes; I never would have thought of that either.

Friend Kay is a Paula Deen fanatic. Her boxed macaroni and cheese is really good, but Kay actually uses recipes and cooks elaborate meals. I’d be jealous but she reads cookbooks. You heard me. She reads cookbooks. You have to love a person like that.

Bree is a tweener. She seems to bounce between recipes mixed with old favorites that are embedded in her very organized and clean mind….and kitchen. My kitchen is a mess before and after; she should be a TV show. I mean really, if I didn’t love her I’d be disgusted.

Prof and Mr. Prof are fun to watch. They cook together and are never in each other’s way while they are doing it. Husband always is right where I need to be and doesn’t seem to notice.

Little Debbie is the funniest cook. When she makes candy everything is laid out or nothing goes right and if you try to move something around she panics.

Watching people work their magic in the kitchen is fun. I’ve actually forgotten key ingredients even though I was following a recipe to a tee. I’ve also put sugar instead of salt and vice versa. I’ve cooked too long and not long enough. I’ve also nearly burned down the kitchen.

Needless to say I’m not the one to come to when quick and easy meal is needed.

Over the years I’ve found instead of making dumplings, strips of flour tortillas make wonderful dumplings and there’s no mess.

Already cooked bacon is easy to do in the microwave and there’s no chance of a pan fire because you forgot the pan of grease was heating. Maybe I should say overheating.

Everyone has a method.

Mine gets easier and easier every year.

Better late than never!

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

The church youth had a Valentine Banquet last Saturday. It’s always nice to see the youth and parents preparing and serving a meal to us “older folk”.

Everything was great until the Newlywed Game.  We were chosen as one of the couples.  Five couples sat side-by-side and rather than one leave the answers were written to save time. Afterwards I realized it was part of the entertainment.

We proved people can be married for 44 years and not know much about the other and stay married. Either that or husband decided to be a comedian. I’m convinced it’s the latter.

One question was “What is your favorite dish…..” and before the youth director could finish husband blurted aloud and very clearly “Farrah Fawcett”. Everyone laughed. I reminded him she was dead and he said “What’s your point?”

After everyone quit laughing, the director ended the question “that your wife prepares for you”.

I really took this seriously. I haven’t cooked that much since the kids left, so I was hard pressed to come up with a good answer; especially after the Farrah Fawcett fiasco.

I finally answered chef salad. I know that sounds lame but I really do make killer salads. I waited for husband to show his answer and I suppose my gut level reaction was funny and that’s when I decided he was indeed being the comic relief for the “show” because he had written pumpkin pie.

I make a killer salad and I also give a killer look. The one time I made his favorite pie a few years ago, he asked if I went to another grocery these weren’t as good-- what had I done. I told him nothing much, just made them is all. Of course the audience didn’t know this, and husband was enjoying my reaction as much as they and poor me--I couldn’t hold back and he knew it.

I blurted out loud and very clearly asking if the preacher was available for marriage counseling after the show.

Needless to say we lost. We missed our calling as entertainers though.

Maybe we proved the ability to tease and laugh together is a much a part of a relationship as crying or yelling during a bad time.

Unconditional loves comes in many ways.

Laughter is one. It works.

Hope your Valentine’s was full of love and laughter.

Monday, January 16, 2012

To 2012.....

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

Another year is here and I’ve had my black eye peas and cornbread. That means it’s going to be a good year. I don’t know how that idea came around, but I’m not about to disrupt the notion it brings good luck.

I must still be in the Christmas spirit, I’ve been buying bags and tissue and ornaments half price. I just hope I can find them next year.

As I reflect over the past year, I realize I have the best of the best. Husband and I made it to 44 years of marriage and we are alive, well and looking forward to our 45th anniversary in November.

My two kids are in their world of parenting and experiencing those things they are sure “we” never did.

Daughter has two teenagers so you know what they say about payback. And yes, it is fun to watch. Son has a six-month old daughter, so his trek has just begun. Again, fun to watch.

Good thing they both have spouses who help them along the highways and byways of raising kids.

I have great grandkids so there should never be a problem. All they have to do is put Nana on speed dial. Wait, I don’t think people even use speed dial anymore. Whatever, I’m available. Always!

My two sisters and their respective families are all doing well and even though I get chewed out periodically for not checking in, we have a good relationship and keep up. I think with our parents and brother gone, we know we are the only ones left who can pass stories along to our children and grandchildren. I have a few on my sisters, but I’ve been paid to not relate them. Actually it’s more threatened.

Lastly I have an array of friends I’ve been blessed with over the years, many of whom I’ve known since childhood. If you’re counting, that is a very long time. We can bicker like sibling, but we make up and keep those special bonds that reach back to a time that keeps us grounded in our roots; the beginnings that formed who we are today.

I look forward to another year of continued success in my personal life.

Through times that another day seems impossible, it’s my family, friends and faith in God that make those bad days pass faster to a better tomorrow.

Happy 2012!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sweating is not fun!

A Dollar’s Worth
By Alisa Dollar

It’s already into the New Year and I’ve broken a few unwritten, unspoken, but thought of resolutions.

I gave up writing promises to myself years ago. It's just better to break them when not written.

Usually it takes me longer than 10 days to start my downhill treadmill of shame.

I’ve lost 12 pounds since the first of December and my new year was to begin gym without complaining.

The good thing is I’ve started back to the gym. Carefully because I have two fake knees and a faulty shoulder, but I’ve started going.

The bad thing….I have an aversion to sweat. Thus, I complain.

You’d think with two unwritten, unspoken, thought of resolutions I could make it further into the year.

Not so.

I don’t understand why other people look good in sweat and seem to revel in those droplets drooling down well toned and flexing biceps on bodies to die for.

Men and women alike flex, stretch and bend to perfect reflections of themselves in the mirror.

What’s this obsession with mirrors? In a gym…sweating.

There are many more similar to me at the gym; it’s just hard to see them lurking in the shadows. They too are hovering in cynical reaction of the Bodies’ Beautiful and as far away from the mirrors as possible and still work out.

Bodies’ Beautiful all have the “right” clothing and shoes. Not only do they sweat prettily, they look pretty while doing so.

Spandex is queen (and king) in a gym these days.

No way am I dragging myself to the gym in clothes that take me more time to put on, much less take off with the added sweat.

I suppose if I really cared what I looked like while torturing myself, I’d wear prettier and newer sweats and t-shirts.

Since I don’t care, I wear the baggiest I can find with t-shirts just as baggy and seldom the same color. Plus all my t-shirts have something on them.

The last one I wore was Kinky Friedman. The one before that was Willie Nelson. It’s somehow comforting they sweat it out with me.

I’ve mentally added another resolution for the husband’s safety.

That being to not hurt him when I come home hot, tired, mad and sweaty and he looks at me and says, “Did you have fun?”

He just can’t seem to stop himself.