Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Making Plans

Chapter Sixty-Six
“You cannot go back to Italy,” Morgan said. “You need to be where we can control things.” We all looked at the detective’s earnest face. He had to be around 30, and yet often he seemed so much younger. And he obviously took his job very seriously.

“Look, Detective, I understand your concern, but so far we have dealt with police departments here, in Wichita, in Laguna Beach, and in Italy,” Adam said. “You have all done a lot and shared a lot of information with each other. I’m sure that with the proper information this can continue to be the case. This isn’t a choice we have; the film is too far along to stop at this point, not without millions of dollars being wasted.” Adam saw Detective Morgan start to speak, but he held up his hand to stop him. “Yes, I understand a life has been lost; I understand that I and possibly others are in danger. But you cannot realistically expect us to walk away from this. What we need to do is share as much information as we can and take every possible precaution, but we do need to finish what we start. And on a personal note, I will not put my life, our lives,” he said, looking at me, “I will not put all that on hold for this. We will not sit around in fear; we will carry on normally as much as is possible.”

“Look, one of the people working on this film is likely a murderer. The murder was committed in this jurisdiction; we need to keep them here. I understand that is frustrating and costly, but we really don’t have a choice,” Detective Morgan said.

“And who is the murderer, do you know, do you even have any suspects?” Adam asked. Detective Morgan shook his head negatively. “You can’t hold an entire project up because we think someone is a murderer.”

Lyle was very quiet while Adam spoke, listening to him and trying to see if there was an alternative. I could understand this; it seemed cold to just go on after Rachel’s death, but Adam was right; they had come too far to just disregard all the work and money that had gone into this film.

“I hate to admit it, Detective Morgan, but Adam is right. We have to wrap up this project. The simple truth is that we have stockholders and production companies that we answer to, people who have invested in this movie; we must finish it. So you need to help us figure out how to do that with the least risk for Adam and everyone else on this film.” Lyle said.

Detective Morgan closed his eyes for a moment and then shook his head. I think he understood what Adam and Lyle were saying, but that didn’t make him happy with it. “Well, one of the obvious ways is to get some security for you, Adam, private supplemental security, and we could even provide a more stepped-up police presence. We couldn’t shadow you, though, as private police could.” He looked at Lyle and said, “This stepped-up security should be upheld on your set as well. Mr. Richland, since you have a cell phone, we can probably set it up for GPS tracking. That way, if something should happen, we can find you.”

“Aren’t they all set up for that?” I asked.

“Most are nowadays, but take it to your service provider and have it checked to make sure your phone has that feature. And I’ll be happy to provide you with names of some private security agencies.”

“You mean like bodyguards, don’t you?” Adam asked, a distasteful look on his face.

“Yes sir, I do. There are several agencies out here that provide top-of-the-line security, and they specialize in working with people of means. I’m sure you will find their services very useful.”

Adam’s body posture was rigid; he hated this. He doesn’t like to have any attention drawn to him; he would rather just blend into the crowd. He sat there at the table thinking all of this over, and his fingers drummed a flat staccato on the wooden table as he thought about it.

“How am I supposed to do my job with someone watching over me constantly? And what about everyone else? They don’t know what has been happening, and it will be a little difficult having bodyguards around me without them wondering what is going on, and I am assuming that you wouldn’t want them all to know?”

“That’s right, Mr. Richland; they couldn’t know.”

“Except that someone will,” I added.

“Yes, Ms. Marcus, someone will. And it might make them slip up,” he told us.

“I could hire some extra best boys,” Lyle said. “That way they could always be around and no one would question it. Then you would only have to worry about someone on your time away from the set.”

“Best boys?” Morgan questioned.

“Yes; they are technicians that help set up things – equipment, furnishings, lights, mics, anything that gets moved around on a set. We always have lots of them, and no one would question it,” Lyle told him.

“Wait a minute,” I interrupted. “After what happened to Rachel, don’t you think everyone might actually be a little more relaxed if you just said you were hiring some extra security because of that? It seems to me that the most direct approach might be the best here.”

All three of them looked at me like I had just suggested a cure for the common cold. It obviously hadn’t occurred to any of them that they might just be upfront about it. Men! I thought.

“She’s right,” Adam said, looking at Lyle and Detective Morgan. “Absolutely right. Hide in plain sight, so to speak.”

“It could just work, actually,” Lyle said. “You are right, Sarah; everyone might be much more comfortable with extra security around. Rachel made it plain what had happened at your house, and then she was killed. They may not realize that it is more for your protection, Adam; they would just see it as protection for them all.”

“Yes, I think this could work. In this instance we could probably use plainclothes officers since we would be out in the open about it. They are better trained than most private security and have the added advantage of being able to carry weapons. Mr. Richland, we will still need to get you extra security, though.”

Adam nodded his head in agreement. “Yes, we can manage that, I believe. Detective, do you think my boys are in any danger? Should I make some arrangements for them?”

“Well, of course I can’t say for sure, but it seems like this person is more interested in you than anyone else.”

“Maybe, but they did kill Rachel,” Adam pointed out.

“Yes, but she somehow stumbled onto something, I believe. I don’t know what it was, but something she did or said sent up a warning sign.”

“That is the point, though; we don’t know what triggered this, so how do I know the boys are safe?”

“It’s certainly up to you, but I don’t think it is necessary. I can contact Laguna Beach and speak with the Detective there if you like, to see what the situation might be.”

“The boys live in Huntington Beach, actually. My house is in Laguna Beach,” Adam clarified.

“Alright, I’ll speak with Huntington Beach as well. Now, I think I’ll go and get started making arrangements on some of these things. I will be in touch later today about plainclothes officers.” He nodded to us and left us sitting in Lyle’s office, staring at one another.

It was almost 10:00 and time for the general meeting. It was Tuesday and I remembered that I had a doctor’s appointment in Wichita tomorrow. I was sure I wasn’t going to be able to make it.

“Adam, I need to call Dr. Crandal’s office. I have an appointment tomorrow and I need to cancel it. I don’t really want to leave here now.”

“Yes, that’s probably best. Was she just doing a check up?”

“Yeah, that’s all. I’m sure it can wait, because I’m not having any problems.”

“Lyle,” Adam began. “What do you anticipate doing as far as production goes?”

“I don’t think we will resume shooting this week. Everyone needs some time. That will leave us 3 weeks to shoot until Thanksgiving. I’d like to have a week off for that, and then we’ll be back here for one more week. Then we’ll be off to Italy, I’m afraid, for at least a couple of weeks. How long all this will actually take will depend on how we decide to handle the parts that still need to be filmed with Rachel.”

“Well, let’s go get it all figured out, then. Sarah, do you want to call the doctor and then join us?”

“Yes, I’ll do that. See you in a few minutes.” I dug through my purse until I found my phone and realized how low my battery was; the call would have to be pretty quick. Dr. Crandal’s office didn’t give me any problem about canceling the appointment. I told them I would call again as soon as I had a time I would be there. I realized I needed to call Mom and Dad and Cassie too; I’m sure they were all wondering what is going on, and Mom and Dad were going to pick me up from the airport. It would have to wait until the phone was charged, though, because the whole time I was speaking to the doctor’s office the ‘low battery’ tone was signaling me.

Out on the set a large group of people were gathered, cast and crew alike. Chairs were drawn up near a long table. There were several people I didn’t recognize sitting near Lyle; Adam later told me they were producers and studio executives.

They were talking about Rachel’s funeral arrangements when I joined them. Adam had saved a chair for me and I sat down next to him; he draped his arm around my shoulders protectively.

Grayson Alberts, one of the producers, was standing up and talking about the difficulty they had in finding any relatives for Rachel, and I thought that was very sad; it also explained so much.

“Ms. Tomlinson’s sister was finally located in Leeds, England this morning,” he was saying. Adam raised an eyebrow and pursed his lips; he had thought her sister was dead.

“Unfortunately, she has no desire to have Ms. Tomlinson’s body returned to England; in fact has no preference at all about funeral arrangements and is unable to attend the services. We have arranged for Ms. Tomlinson to be buried in Beverly Hills. The services will be on Friday. We will arrange for a jet to be chartered for any persons wishing to attend the service. I certainly hope that many of you will.”

As he spoke people looked around at one another shamefacedly; not a single person spoke up about attending the service. Rachel hadn’t been nice, and even though she was dead, they evidently weren’t about to forget or forgive that.

“Yes, well, just speak to myself or Lyle after the meeting if you are interested. The flight will be a one-day trip, out for the funeral and back again on the same day.”

He sat down then, and Parker Lindstrom stood up to talk about the movie. Parker was from the studio and spoke about the need to get the picture back on track, after the proper mourning period, of course.

“I know this seems rather callous to be speaking of this right now, but we do need to make these decisions. We,” he said, indicating himself, Grayson, Lyle, and several other men at the table, “Thought it best if everyone had some input on this since it involves all of you.”

I was rather amazed at this purely democratic approach to the problem. But as I sat and listened, I quickly realized that thought was mostly an altruistic ideal on my part. They already had it figured out; they just wanted everyone to think they had a say in what was happening.

“There were 7 more scenes that Rachel would have been involved in filming. 5 of them can be rewritten without her with no detriment to the film’s continuity. However, the other two are critical; there is simply no way to write them without her in them.” The room gave a collective groan as they heard that, and people started whispering quietly about what was likely to happen. Parker continued, “There is no way to do it as the film is written now. However, by rewriting and then filming some new scenes, we can minimize some of the necessary changes to other scenes. We think this is the best option. It would involve 4 weeks more of shooting here in Dallas and then a partial cast and crew location shoot in Italy. Our schedule would go as follows: 3 weeks here, a week off for Thanksgiving, and then back here for one more week. At that point, a partial cast and crew group would go back to Italy to re-shoot the necessary scenes there. We anticipate 2 weeks there in Vicenza, and if everything has gone according to plan, we can then go to edit. What does everyone think about this?”

There were murmured discussions all over the room. Adam said nothing; he realized it had already been decided and I sat there quietly next to him, trying to hear what everyone was saying.

Jerry Weinstein, one of the electricians, spoke up then with something that they had all been thinking about. “What about what happened to Rachel? How do we know that whoever did this isn’t going to come after the rest of us? We don’t even know what is going on except that something weird happened at Adam’s place and then he was gone and Rachel was dead.” He looked at Adam then and added, “No offense, Adam, but we are all pretty damn concerned about the safety of this shoot.”

Lyle stood up and cleared his throat before holding up his hand. “We spoke to a detective from Dallas PD right before this meeting. We will be having some extra plainclothes officers here on the set. We do not know what all of this is about, but we have no reason to believe that any of you are targeted. But certainly having the extra security should keep things safe here on the set.”

“What about when we go to Italy? What do you have planned for then?” Sondra Middleton, one of the makeup artists, asked.

“Security will be provided there as well, Sondra, at all times, until we discover what is going on.” Lyle looked around the room at everyone, trying to instill some sense of confidence in them.

“Look, the police talked to every one of us and they couldn’t or wouldn’t even tell us what is going on. I don’t think I feel particularly safe on this set now, and I don’t care how many police officers you get here. What happened to Rachel didn’t happen on the set and whatever happened at Adam’s didn’t happen here either. I frankly don’t think the problem is here, it’s when we go out there,” Sondra said, pointing in the general direction of ‘outside’. “How are you going to protect us then?”

Which was a good question. How indeed? I didn’t think they had any answers for that question.
“The police are working on this situation with a regard for everyone’s safety, I assure you,” Lyle told them.

“Somehow, Lyle, that’s not a particularly comforting thought,” Ricky Milton said. “It doesn’t make me feel a damn bit better, and it won’t make my family feel any better either. No, Lyle, we need some assurances that we will be protected or I’m walking – and I doubt I will be the only one.”

“Ricky, I can no more give you an assurance about that than I can that you won’t be run over by a truck or blown away in the next tornado. I can tell you a couple of things though – we have no reason to believe that any of you are proposed targets, absolutely nothing. And the police do not know for a fact that what happened at Adam’s house and Rachel’s death are even related,” Lyle told them.

I watched their faces as this sank in. Lyle had told them the truth, as far as it went anyway. But how much of that would they realize, I wondered?

“Don’t you think it seems likely?” Ricky asked.

“I think it seems like a strange coincidence right now, but we cannot assume anything about the relationship of those events. There simply are not enough facts yet to know about any of it for sure. Let’s give the police time to figure it all out, okay? In the meantime, you are all off until next Monday, and I would hope that we will have some answers by then,” Lyle finished hopefully.

“Adam,” Sondra spoke up, “What did happen at your house? How do you feel about continuing on with this film?”

Adam looked at me and then at Lyle; I knew he was at a loss as to what to say about it all. The truth is that usually speculation is far worse than reality, but if he told them the whole story it would likely freak some of them out. “Someone broke into the house, actually. It was a pretty simple thing, although no less frightening for us. Yes, we left for a few days, and yes, the police talked to Rachel about it. It seemed an impulsive act and she was very upset after that last day on the shoot with me. It was rather logical for them to question her.” He paused for a moment and looked at all the faces to observe how they were taking what he had to say. He must have felt they were still with him, because he continued then. “As far as the film goes, I believe in this film, that it is a good film and deserves to be finished. I am completely confident that with the proper security measures we can get it finished.”

“So you think we need security then?” Ricky asked.

“Certainly; we don’t know why these things happened or even if they are related. It only makes sense to take proper precautions until we do, don’t you think?”

There were many nods around the room as people started to think about it all a bit more logically. I could only hope that it would be okay, that no one else would get hurt, or even worse, die.

Lyle used this opportunity to stand up again and say, “All right then. Do we have any more questions? If not, please let me know if you will want to attend Rachel’s funeral so I can make arrangements. Otherwise, please report back here next Monday morning at 7:00 am. Dismissed.”

No one asked anything else, and most people stood up and started filtering out of the room in small groups, undoubtedly talking about what had been said. I noticed that only a few people from the crew approached Lyle about the funeral, although it looked like all of the cast was going to the funeral.

After telling Lyle that we would be going to the funeral and that we would be in touch, Adam and I left the studio. As we got into the car he said, “I think we will go to my service provider about the phone. And love, I believe we need to get you a different phone. Yours isn’t internationally compatible, is it?”

“No, I didn’t purchase that service when I went to Italy. We can buy the card for that, I think.”

“I was thinking more like changing my plan to include you on it and getting all the service problems taken care of. I want both of our phones to have the GPS service set ups and anything else we might want, okay?”

My breath sort of caught in my throat. Phone service together. Such a simple thing that seemed so monumental – so huge. It’s only a phone, I told myself, but my heart was slamming against my ribs with every beat. This is a commitment, I kept telling myself, and then in the next breath I reminded myself that I had decided I was okay with commitment.

Am I ever going to get over these fears?

“Okay,” I told him before I had the opportunity to talk myself out of it. “Yeah, that’s probably a good idea. My contract runs out next month, so it’s a good time,” I told him, trying to make it all sound so normal. Except it already was normal to him; only to me was this a huge hairy deal.

“Okay, then, phone shopping we go. They have these new phones that take videos; I have a mind to have one of them.” He looked at me out of the corner of his eye as he said that. His dimples flashed me briefly, and I realized how absurdly happy it made him to do this.

So Mr. Non-Technological wanted a camera phone? Yes, it would make perfect sense, I thought. It had to be an actor thing. He doesn’t know two things about computers, but I bet he could tell me all about cameras and video. I laughed and told him, “Okay, camera phones it is. Let’s go!” 


The trip to the cellular store was great. We got these fabulous phones: Blackberries that not only had camera and video capabilities, but could also check my e-mail from anywhere, which really impressed me. They both had international settings on them so we could receive calls anywhere we were, and while it was an expensive service, I found after the initial shock of how much extra it cost, I completely forgot about it. And they both had GPS tracking systems on them, which was the point, I supposed.

Since Adam and I both had the same service provider, we arranged for my service to end and my calls to be forwarded to my new number. I wanted to keep my old number, but that takes about 3 weeks to switch over, and I wanted to use the phone immediately, so a new number it was. I decided it would be a fun evening calling and e-mailing people that my number had changed.

We stopped at a Whataburger and had lunch before heading home. Then we spent all afternoon playing with the phones. Adam was impressed when I showed him how to change his ringtone and even how to purchase new ones and set different ones for different people.

“This way, you can always know when it’s the boys calling or Aidan or me or whoever.” He giggled like a child when I showed him all of this, completely enthralled by it all. But I had a few things to learn about the camera and video part.

Adam didn’t really know too much about how those particular features worked, but he did know how to get the best pictures out of them. And he was very fascinated by the video part.

“So, you don’t have to take them to be developed anywhere?” I shook my head no. “Like those digital cameras you told me about?”

“Yes, Adam, like those. But remember, you have a limited amount of memory on the phone, so it won’t hold lots of video. See,” I told him pointing to a page in the book, it can only take 3 minutes at a time. Now if we wanted to send them to my computer, we could do that.”

“How would we do that?” he asked.

I spent the next 15 minutes explaining wireless connections and the ether net, and I lost him somewhere along the way; I could tell by the dull look in his eyes.

“So any picture we take we can send to the computer and then print out? Is that right?”

“Um, yeah, but it really won’t work well for taking, say, pictures for vacations because of how time-consuming it would be to take and send so many pictures. That’s why a digital camera would come in handy; those are saved onto a card and you just up link them directly to your computer. And, I wouldn’t feel too secure sending too many pictures out over the ether. They can end up on other people’s computers that way; it isn’t particularly safe to do it that way.”

“So the pictures we take and send through the ‘ether’, anyone could view?” he asked.

“Technically yes, although it’s not quite so easy. But since they are sent through satellite connections, they could certainly be intercepted. You wouldn’t want to send anything personal or private over a wireless connection, that’s for sure.”


“Yes, wireless means there are no physical connections. It’s all just sort of floating around out there,” I told him, waving my hand around my head vaguely. He was quickly beginning to ask questions that I had no answers for. I only knew the basics of this stuff, things that up until now I assumed everyone knew.

“So wireless means satellite?”

“Not exactly, but if something is wireless it indicates that satellites are involved in some way, I think.”

“But if we just took the pictures and kept them on our phones, no one could intercept them, is that correct?”

Suddenly everything started to snap into place. I knew what he was trying to ask. I giggled inwardly at it all. He certainly has a wonderfully dirty mind, I’ll give him that. But I decided to just play dumb for a bit longer and see what he could come up with.

“Yes; if they just stayed on our phones, they wouldn’t go out into the ether.”

“Mm hm,” he said, leaning across the table to kiss me. His hand crept down to the front of my blouse and I felt gentle fingers start to unbutton it. About as subtle as a herd of elephants, I laughed.

“Why are you laughing?” he asked, frowning at me.

“You. I know what you are thinking about, Adam Richland!”

He pulled back and looked at me for a moment and then pointed to his chest and uttered, “Moi?”

“Yes, you!” I pointed at him, laughing hysterically now. I also picked up my phone and stood up. “Race you upstairs,” I told him with a saucy grin.


Hope said...

Happy Hump Day!

It's another lovely day here in Wichita, the temps should be in the high 70's and the skies are blue, blue, blue!

I'm getting excited for my trip to the zoo on Monday with Lynne and the grandkids. I still think that we are crazy to have 3 adults and 7 kids under 10, but it will be fun! What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right?

Tomorrow, please consider posting a simple, one-dish or casserole type meal. MJ has a sick neighbor and wants to make some dishes that could be frozen, so keep that in mind. Let's see how many recipes we can come up with!

catrina said...

Great post, Hope! She finally realized their commitment over cell phones, huh? Sounds just like us women! :-)
I'll come up with a recipe for MJ and post it later today. Please keep my hubby in your thoughts and prayers. He's having problems with a bone infection, and we're meeting with a surgeon tomorrow to discuss amputation of his thumb.
Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Hope said...

Oh Catrina, we'll certainly keep your family in our thoughts. The very best wishes, prayers and thoughts to you.

Val said...

Hey Hope, and fellow Hopies!

I enjoyed reading the post today, cell phones, HAHA! I love my cell phone, it's not a Blackberry, but it's a pocket PC phone, and it's pretty durn awesome. I don't take a lot of pictures with it, but it's because I have no talent with photography. My hubby takes some pretty awesome pics though.

Anyway, I'll try to find a casserole dish I can post tomorrow, most of mine are Weight Watchers. :)


Anonymous said...

Hope, I leave for Italy next Thursday (10 days) and hope I can find a way to read this blog!

Engbunny said...

Oh Catrina! I am so sorry! What have they done so far with regard to the infection? I'll pray that it all goes well.

Hope - I love that the cell phone made Sarah realize the commitment between her and Adam. I think one of the best things about this story is that while madness goes on around them, Sarah and Adam still act and function like a true couple.

Hope said...

Thanks Engbunny. Yes, even though things are crazy all around them, they are still in the process of just getting through the ordinary day-to-day stuff. And of course, Sarah is still just a bit skittish! I have faith in our girl though!

Okay, now who is going to Italy?

Lynne said...

Catrina, Ive been where you are going. I had part of my jaw removed as a result of osteomyelitis. I suffered for over a year, and the antibiotics played hell with my body.
My immune system basically shut down. I was so tired. You and your DH are in my thoughts and prayers. If you want/need to talk, im here. You can email me at Take care and may god be with you. Lynne

Kristin said...

Good Morning, Hopies!

Thinks are coming to a rapid conclusion, it would appear. First a shared cell phone bill, next comes... (smile) Looking for clues left and right is driving me loco!

Catrina and MJ- my prayers are with you both for your loved ones and friends. And MJ, my culinary challenged self with definitely pull out one of my one dish wonders from my bag o' tricks for you Thursday!

Hope - You are woman, hear you (and the rest of the zoo crew) roar! You are amazing!

Is it lunch time yet??? I have my Margarita Bowl ready and waiting for the first fill! LOL

Becky said...

Catrina & MJ - both my prayers and good, positive vibes are being sent your way.

woo=hooo are you all going to step up and have that shot of tequila they are giving to everyone who wants it?? Remember all you have to do is put your head back and open your mouth and someone will pour it in! I think I'm going to follow that with some incredible nachos and of cours, what else in Margaritaville but a margarita - make mine mango! They are incredible (nachos & margarita both). Mmmmmmmmm


catrina said...

Wow---thanks for all the thoughts and prayers, y'all! It's great to be a "Hopie!"
Lynne, osteomyelitis is EXACTLY what we're dealing with!! He had his FOURTH surgery on his thumb last month. He had a PIC line a couple years ago for two months for the infection. It goes away for a while, then comes back. His last surgery was removing the nail and nail bed (as a possible source of infection), removing the tip of his thumb, and pulling what was left over where the nail was. He'd already had the supporting bones removed in past surgeries. So what he has now is a very swollen and shortened thumb with no nail, a lot of incision sites, and excruciating pain! He's at the doctor as I write this, so will keep everyone informed. Now, off to find that recipe for MJ!

kmorales4 said...

Catrina, I'm so sorry about your hubby. I'll have him in my prayers. I can't join you girls (and guys) for lunch today. Some of us are taking off early from work today to be with a co-worker who lost his 22 year old son on Monday. Basically we've had a crummy atmosphere here at work. It was just so sudden. Anyway, on to the post: Wonderfully portrayed, Hope. I love that commitment can be shown in something as basic as a joint cell phone account. I think that those blackberries may take some photos/videos that might help in the lead to the crimes. Maybe, I'm just guessing. Maybe I'm watching to much CSI.

catrina said...

Instead of searching for recipes, I'm going with my favorite---
1 (16 oz.) pkg. mostaciolli
1 jar prepared spaghetti sauce
1 lb. hamburger
1 c. diced onion
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 aluminum baking dish from store

Brown hamburger and onion; drain and return to pan. Add brown sugar and spaghetti sauce. Season with garlic power, salt & pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, bring pasta to a boil. Drain and return to pan; add two spoonsful of the sauce to the pasta and mix well. Put two spoonsful of sauce in the bottom of your store-bought pan, add a layer of pasta, a layer of sauce, and a layer of cheese. Repeat once, ending with sauce and cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. In the last 20 minutes throw a loaf of garlic bread in, and pull a dinner out of the oven! YUMMY

Jo said...

Ooh, my tummy's growling! But first...

I loved the "joining of the cell phones" too. Yes, just one step closer to the big M-word. I'm thinking once all this stuff is over, Adam'll be popping a certain question. :-)

While it's making me a little nervous, I can hardly wait to see what happens next and where! Hopefully, it'll all be solved before Thanksgiving so they can all relax and enjoy the holiday.

Hm, but I'm thinking our dear Hope will not make it quite to easy for her readers! LOL Just teasing, Hope. ;-)

Catrina, I'll keep you and your DH in my thoughts and prayers.

MaryJane, what a nice thing you're doing. But, trust me, you don't want any recipes from me. I don't know my fillet from my flambe'.

Can't wait for the next installment! But now, the boss is out and it's time for eats! Bring on the margaritas!

tita said...

I love this post sooooo much, I can hardly wait to know what's coming next.
Catrina, i really hope your hubby gets better soon,

Lynne said...

Catrina, I understand . My entire face was swollen for months. I had Ct Scans, and blood tests, and Pain killers that only took away a small percentage of the pain. I narrowly avoided the portacath the first time, and by the second relapse they had a newly approved IV strength drug that thankfully worked for me. If he does lose his thumb, has he thought of a toe implant? It takes the place of his thumb, allowing him up to 90 percent of his previous movements.
Anyway, It is not an easy thing to battle, and almost impossible to control. If you think about it, it's alot like cancer. It spreads like wildfire and is very stubborn and hard to get rid of, and as dangerous. I hope and pray that this is the last time he will have to deal with this. Let us know how the dr goes! Lynne

Hope said...

My Gosh! What a morning this has been my dear Hopies!

Hardly had time to take a breath, but I'm ready for tequila!

Mouth opening wide here! =D

Cindy said...

I just started reading this blog and I love it. The post today is great. You know what I have been thinking if this blog was turned into a movie who would play Sarah and Adam?

Hope said...

Welcome Cindy! I'm delighted you enjoy the story! Please feel free to jump in anytime with comments. We are quite a little family here and welcome new comers! Please join us in Mexico at Jimmy Buffetts for lunch.

Kristin will be the one under the table. And I may join her today!!!

Lynne said...

Mj, I have a very easy recipe for you.

Sausage and Pepper Ziti bake.

Prep time 15 min. cook time 30 min.

You will need:
1lb of Italian sausage.(Mild or Hot)
1lb Ziti pasta
2 each of red and green bell peppers.
2 to 4 cloves of garlic( depending on your taste.)
1 lg Lemon
1 cup non fat milk
1 lg package of shredded cheese.
The six cheese flavor with mozz, parma, romano, asiago, etc works best for flavor.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.
dutch oven
throw away metal pan for baking.

Time to cook:
Preheat oven to 425
Fill dutch oven with water and salt. bring to boil and add pasta. Warning here! Do Not Overcook pasta, it should be almost Al Dente, but not quite.

While the pasta is cooking
mince garlic and coarsely chop all peppers. Slice lemon in half and juice one half.

When pasta is done, drain and then run the strainer under cold water. The idea is to stop the pasta from continuing to cook. Set aside.

In the same pan that the pasta cooked in, heat the olive oil until it lights bubbles/pops.

Add sausage and brown. Be sure to break it apart well.

Add Peppers, garlic, and lemon juice. Cook until peppers are tender, but still firm.

Turn off heat and stir well. Pour in your milk and add half the package of cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and everything is combined.

Time to Layer:

In the baking pan, put a layer of pasta. Top it with Half your meat and cheese mixture. Add last layer of pasta and top with remaining Meat mixture. Spread the rest of the bag of cheese evenly on top, and put in oven. Bake for 30 min or until cheese is browned and bubbly.

Cut remaining half of lemon into smal wedges.

Serve your pasta and top with a slice of lemon. YUMMY!

Kristin said...

KNOCK, KNOCK! (sound of Kristin rapping on the table top above her head)

Hey, will somebody pass another bottle of tequila down here? Hope is hogging it all! LOL

catrina said...

Just heard from hubby! They lanced the one-month-old incision, and drained a lot of pus (can you say infection??). He had xrays, blood work, and thumb-numbing. (BTW, he was in the doctor's office for a total of 2 hours and 10 minutes!). Doc didn't prescribe antibiotics; just told him to soak his thumb in peroxide twice a day.
Lynne, I liken osteomyelitis to cancer, too. So far, it's been localized to his thumb, but I can't help but wonder if it could be elsewhere and just hasn't affected him yet.
OK, I think I'm ready for my favorite--queso flameado and a mango margarita....OLE!

Hope said...

Kristin - KRISTIN!!!

Give the bottle back!

Kristin said...

Hey, its getting crowded underneath this table! Hope, is that the Delicious Pirate Richland singing a drinking ditty in my ear? LOL

Hope said...

Silly girl! He's singing in MY ear!

Kristin said...

You wish.... Can't you hear him?

Oh, drinkin' with the Hopies is so much fun!... Tequilla, Margarita and lots o' pirate rum.... but if I had to choose me my favorite one, I choosin' Kristin whose girls have been kissed by the sun!!!! LMAO!!!!

Kristin said...

For those who don't know, the reference to the sunkissed girls is to my heavin' bosoms that got a killer sunburn this past weekend. LOL

Anonymous said...

Hi all! Here is a very simple (and delish) casserole I make all the time: Chicken in a Golden Sauce

What you need:
Chicken Breasts
( I get boneless, skinless, but that's a personal preference) Cut into thick strips.
1 can Cambells Cream of Mushroom
1 can Golden Mushroom
1 box or bag of seasoned rice
(I like Rice-A-Roni Chicken and Mushroom) most brands of seasoned rice have a Chicken flavor or Mushroom flavor version - you can use either
butter or Margarine I use Promise Heart-Smart Spread, which works great

Preheat your oven to 350. place the chicken strips in a glass caserole dish, and place 3 or 4 pats of butter or margarine in several areas in the bottom of the dish. One reason I like the Promise spread is the spread is soft right from the fridge; I usually roll the chicken around in the spread until all the pieces are covered - it keeps them from sticking to the dish. If you DONT use a soft spread, another way to keep from sticking is heat the butter in the oven for a few seconds to melt it first, then add the chicken and roll it until all pieces are wet. Cook the chicken at 350 for about 6-7 minutes. Don't worry if the chicken doesn't look "done" - it will cook more later. Prepare the rice according to the directions on your stovetop. Once the rice is done, stir in both cans of soup into the rice. Then dump the whole pot of rice/soup into the baking dish with the chicken. stir it all up good and put back into the oven for 20 minutes.

It's simple, fast and freezes beautifully. This was one of the first things I learned to cook as a child, so you know it's really hard to mess up. The main thing is to not overcook the chicken in the first step; it tends to get a little tough if you do that.

Cara in Denver

Hope said...

Honestly Kristin, he's singin' to me! He's telling me he wants to settle down!

Ive been a wild rover for many a year
Ive spent all my money on whiskey and beer
Now Ill save up my wages, keep money in store
And I never will play the wild rover no more

Kristin said...

Methinks we are giving our rogue pirate a swelled head (in more ways than one)! Listen to him now....

... the wenches are a fightin', and I havin' a ball.
Since I can't choose one, I'll have em' all!!!!
But if they are determined to make me be choosy,
I'll take the one with the heavin' bosom over the one who is a floozy..... HAHAHHAHAHAHA!

Kristin said...

What a great bunch of recipies! I'll be printing out today's comments for addition to my WMHD recipe folder! YUMMMMY!

Hope said...

Kristin! How could you say such a thing! A floozy!!! I'll have you know I'm just a sweet innocent lass.

Richland, really I am. Hey where are you going? We're harmless, really we are!


Jo said...

Hm, I always tend to leave the WMHD site either hot and bothered or really hungry.

Kristin said...

Methinks his skull and crossbones g-string was becoming stretched sorely thin! LOL And I meant doozy, not floozy, truly I did! I know you are pure at heart!!!!

Hope said...

Why yes - my heart is as pure as yours is my dearest Kristin!


Kristin said...

Yup! Proverbial bloomin' angels we both are!!!!!

Hope said...

Yes indeed...

Jo, so which way are you leaving today? hehehe

Kristin said...

Guess what? Rich (one of our front desk personnel) is selling massive chocolate covered strawberries! Anybody want some? YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMY!

Hope said...

You know, that reminds me that it's time to check in with Cero's and see if they have any yet!

Kristin said...

Plant City (one of Tampa's surrounding subarbs) puports to be the strawberry capital of the world. They just had there annual Strawberry Festival last week, and the leftover strawberries are a steal!!!!

Kristin said...

duh... the chocolate and Richland have made me giddy! I meant suburbs not barbs.... lol

Hope said...

Ahh, I think it was the tequila...

mary jane said...

Great post today. I love the way Sarah feels ablut the phones being her commitment.
Thanks to everyone for their recipes and prayers.
Catrina, your family is in my prayers also.

Kristin said...

Yup, you're probably right (hiccup)! Richland is gonna pop a cork when he figures out that we kept the good stuff!!!!

Lynne said...

Wenches both ye be, but please, the man is after me. Oh my sweet Pirate Richland, I've got the biggest strawberries you will ever see, If you try them I guarantee them to be sweet. Dip them in chocolate if you wish, Then they'll be a better dish.

(Just had to be trouble! lol)


Hope said...

That's my child!

Kristin said...

I thought there was somebody else under this table!!!! LOL

Anonymous said...

It seems that Adam, or probably more likely Sarah, should have been on searching the faces of the cast and crew while they were discussing the funeral, security and future filming schedule. Somebody might have had a smirk on their face when noone spoke up about attending the funeral. They already didn't look around when everything blew up the first time. Learn your lessons! Anyway, LOVE this blog and the story. I've NO idea who did what but I'm anxious to find out more! Kudos, HOPE!

Tigger said...

Boy I miss all the fun stuff! Tigger is a bit under the weather today and that sucks because it is beautiful here today! And I'm stuck inside!

Great chapter Hope. You've helped to brighten my day alot!

Becky said...

Sorry wenches (Hope, Kristin, Lynne, and all). I have sat here quietly biding my time (sneaky wench that I am), sipping my mango margaritas and waiting for you all to pass out under the table and NOW the Wickedly Delicious Pirate Richland is MINE ALL MISNUBE/111 - oops guess I drank more than I realized - musssht a been the tequila shots..ooooh, the lasa few WERE body shots off guess who's delich body!!!!! hahahahahah

THe devious wench Becky

Hope said...

Hey Becky, you GO girl!

Tasty, isn't he? ; D

Hope said...

Oha and Tigger, sorry you are under the weather! Hope you are feeling better soon.

Matt said...

Excellently done Hope!

Can us guys be 'Hopies' too? If so, count me in.

And do you girls really take things like cell phones so seriously?

Engbunny said...

Hey all! I just made it back here after an horribly busy day here at the office. Now I am hungry for Mexican food. Catrina - I had a PIC line last summer after I was diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis. (Let me tell you that putting that sucker in was the WORST experience of my life! Having a sub-clavian IV into the heart wasn't that miserable) This is not a virus or anything like that. It is a disease where your immune system decided to kill your liver for no reason. I also have diabetes. At the time I diagnosed, I was told I was probably going to need a liver transplant because no one who was as sick as I was lived without one.

The reason I tell you this is because one year later, I am still here with my original liver. The Dr. says I am pretty much a miracle because I never did need the new liver and the damage to my old liver seems to be minimal. My diabetes stayed in control and i am here to tell the tale. I am praying as hard as I can for your husband. I believe in the power of God and I know it will be ok. *HUG*

By the real name is Laurie.

Becky said...

Engbunnie - Laurie, Wow! What an incredible story. Your are one amazing woman. Just goes to show there is a lot of power in faith. Go girl!


Hope said...


Thank you so much for sharing your story! All my best hopes and wishes go out to you.

Maybe 'Hopies' are more than just Hope fans, but an attitude about life!

As much as I enjoy writing this story, it is nothing compared to the wonderful group of people I have met, so thank you for being one!

Catrina, what good news for your husband! Keep us updated on how he does!

mary jane said...

WHEW!! I finally caught up pn all the comments. You guys are soo funny.
I can not believe I missed all the fun yesterday.

Sorry my comment was so short yesterday, I actually felt rude for it being so short.

Thank you for all the fabulous recipes, I will be cooking up a storm this weekend. My friend shpuld come home on Saturday if all goes as planned. Thanks for your prayers as well.

Catrina, I am praying for a very speedy recovery for your DH.I know how frightning it can be when they are ill. A couple of years ago the dr. gave my husband a medication he was allergic to, and when we got him to the hospital palpable BP of 40 and kidney failure, it was very scary.

Laurie, you keep the faith girl and all will be well. I believe in prayeranf positive thinking. It truly does work.

Thank y'all for being there for each other. We have a great thing going here,I love it. After what I have been through the last year I am so glad I found out that people you don't know realy do care.
Have great day and I am looking forward to tomorrows post

Hope said...

Okay, here is my recipe contribution for today!

These freeze really well and can be frozen before they are baked or after. I make them hot, but they can be made quite mild too. I usually use reduced fat cheese as well.

3 Cheese Chicken Enchilada’s

2 cups cooked, diced or shredded chicken breast
½ cup diced green onions
½ cup diced red pepper
1 – 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced fine (optional)
3 oz softened cream cheese
1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 16 oz jar of picante sauce (I use hot) divided use
10 flour tortilla’s, fajita size at room temperature

Preheat over 350 degrees. Grease "7 x "11 inch baking pan.

Mix the chicken, green onions, red pepper and jalapenos together. Add 1 cup of picante sauce and stir well. Add the cream cheese, 1 cup of cheddar and 1 cup of Monterey Jack and blend well.

Dip each tortilla in picante sauce. Put ½ cup of filling into each tortilla and roll up.
Place into the baking pan and repeat with remaining tortilla’s and filling. Pour remaining picante sauce over enchiladas and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until browned, around 10 minutes more.

Anonymous said...

I loved the post Wed and I am loving all the recipes. Thanks for sharing. Also I just wanted to send thoughts and prayers to those going through a rough time right now. Virtual hugs to you all.


Jaime said...

I haven't commented in a while, but decided to say hello to everyone! I love these posts, almost as interesting as the story!!
Anyway, here is my recipe, it's a breakfast casserole, but hey you have to have breakfast food too!

Sausage, Egg & Hashbrown Casserole

1 lb sausage
1 lb southern style hashbrowns
1 tbsp minced onion
6 eggs
1 can cream of potato soup
dash of salt and pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 ozs Velveeta cheese

Cook hashbrowns and onions until well browned. Brown sausage and mix with hashbrowns in 9 x 13 pan, add soup and beaten eggs, salt and pepper, mix well. Top with cheeses. Bake 45 - 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Enjoy!!

I make this up the night before and cover and put in the refridgerator overnight. You can take it out while the oven is pre-heating and then bake it. Very delicious and simple!

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!
MJ & Catrina, both are in my prayers, hope everything gets better with time!

Hope said...

Oh my Gosh! You all are so funny. I just realized that I mispelled the word Sixty in the Chapter Sixty-Six thing at the top and no one called me on it! Too kind, you all are just too kind! LOL

And I didn't even have any tequila before then!

kmorales4 said...

The chapter number was misspelled on Monday's post as well. I dare speak for everyone when I say that we don't get on your case about it because well, nobody is perfect. Not even Adam.

Hope said...

Hey Karen,

Was I at least consistent?

Kristin said...

Hey there Hope and Crew!

Here is my tried and true feeling blue recipe for MJ! Its amazing what comfort food can do to lift my spirits!

Classic Tuna Noodle Casserole

Prep: 10 min - Cook: 25 min

1 regular can of Cream of Celery or Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup milk
1 cup canned or frozen peas
2 Tbsp chopped pimiento (optional)
2 6 oz cans tuna drained and flaked
2 cups hot cooked medium egg noodles
2 Tbsp dry bread crumbs
1 Tbsp butter OR margarine, melted

PREHEAT oven to 400 degrees F.

MIX soup, milk, peas, pimiento, tuna and noodles in 1 1/2 quart baking dish.

BAKE 20 minutes or until hot. Stir.

MIX bread crumbs with butter. Sprinkle on top. Bake 5 minutes longer

Makes 4 servings

I'm having potato leek soup and a big old fat oatmeal raisin cookie from Einstein Bagels for lunch. Not as YUMMY as yesterdays liquid lunch with the Delicious Pirate Richland, and that other wench that was under the table with me, but it'll do! HAHAHA! Have a great Thursday, Everyone!!!

Jo said...

Wow. Yesterday, I commented that I couldn't decide whether WMHD leaves me hungry or hot and bothered. Today, I come in to comments about eating food off a pirate!?!? So I guess the answer is both! 2 birds, 1 stone and all that jazz.

Thanks to all for the recipes. Like Val, most of mine are Weight Watchers. I hope you all don't mind if I take the liberty of substituting a few ingredients here and there to make them more diet-friendly.

Hope said...

Substitute away, Jo. As I said, in the 3 cheese chicken enchiladas you can easily sub light or reduced fat cheese and it's got picante sauce and veggies, so it is very diet friendly.

Val said...

Sorry I'm so late with my recipe, this one makes a HUGE casserole that you can make once and eat all week. That is IF you don't have a giant family like mine with two huge teenaged boys. Anyway, enjoy!

Layered Mexican Chicken
POINTS® Value: 6
Servings: 12
Preparation Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 30 min
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

* 1 sprays olive oil cooking spray
* 2 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
* 30 oz canned black beans, rinsed and drained
* 3 cup fat-free sour cream
* 2 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, or Mexican-style cheese blend
* 8 oz chopped green chilies, two 4-oz cans
* 2 tsp ground cumin
* 1/2 tsp black pepper
* 12 medium corn tortilla(s), cut into 2-inch strips
* 1 cup salsa, mild, medium or hot

# Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a lasagna pan with cooking spray.

# Place chicken in medium saucepan and fill with enough cold water just to cover chicken. Set pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes; drain. When chicken is cool enough to handle, cut into 1-inch pieces.

# Transfer chicken to a large bowl and add beans, sour cream, 1 cup of shredded cheese, chilies, cumin, and pepper; mix well and set aside.

# Arrange half of tortillas in bottom of prepared lasagna pan, overlapping pieces to cover surface. Top tortillas with half of chicken mixture, layer with remaining tortillas and then top with remaining chicken mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese.

# Bake until filling is bubbly and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing into 12 pieces. Serve with salsa on the side.

Sometimes I substitute kidney beans for the black beans (reduces but not eliminates the gasbag effect afterwards) and I'll also substitute two bags of the baked tostitos for the tortillas because I like the crunch better and it doesn't affect the points value.

My family loves this recipe, and it is a big hit at covered dish things at church too. People don't seem to care if it's low points either. Enjoy!