Monday, August 13, 2018

Thrice Blessed

Actually, the count in my title is probably low. It also starts with a bit of bad luck.

Knowing both front and back lawns needed cut, I offered to do one if SO would mow the other. The choice relinquished to him, I got busy out front around eight or so this morning.

Just as I made the last few short passes to finish (blessing number one), a sharp pain struck the back of my head. I ran, pushing the shut off mower ahead of me, and flung off my glove to feel the spot below the back of my baseball cap.

Having worn a hat is the second blessing.

I don’t always where a head cover, and that might have protected me from further injury. When I turned around wondering if my shrub poked me, the culprit came into view. Well, its compatriots. It’s a true blessing I wasn’t stung multiple times, perhaps this being a less aggressive form of wasp or hornet. I’m not interested in a positive identification, not if lawn mowing is enough to trigger an attack, mere warning or not.
See the Nest at Center?
It would be easy to count on and on my good fortune, since the sting occurred in a less sensitive spot on my body, the colony didn’t attack as a murderous group, and I’m not suffering an allergic reaction. Racing a few feet away precluded pursuit, though I wasted no time coming inside. My glove, I think, got stuck in the mower blade as it came to a stop.

We plan on going out toward sunset with, sad to say, an eradicating pyrethrin spray. I despise killing these pollinators. But we have to stay safe. At least the entrance is pointed in a convenient direction.

Thank Heaven for Zoom Lenses!

Do you think I'll find my heavy duty glove in one piece?

-

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Rainbow Snippet for August 11th and 12th



It’s another weekend, time to share a bit of LGBT related story alongside several lovely authors at Rainbow Snippets on Facebook. Please check them out for more six sentence tidbits. Here, I am relating an early, early scene from my hoarded “BloodMoon” series.

Snippet:

Watching the extra swish to her hips I slapped my laminated menu down hard enough to make the Formica sing. Nickolas acted oblivious to my discomfiture. Shrugging back shining locks he leaned into the table, a relaxed grin on his face. I supposed fawning and jealous females were commonplace as oxygen to a burgeoning rockstar.

Once we were alone I focused on how to continue. How could I make small talk with someone like Nickolas Gravan, his perfection so far beyond angelic as to be godlike?

~

Though trust me, it waxes and wanes in dramatic fashion, do you think there is too much hero worship going on here?

#rainbowsnippets

_

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Case of the Stubborns

In case you are unaware, my title comes from an old “Tales from the Darkside” television episode. A young Christian Slater (!) and his mother are mourning the death of her father-in-law… except… there’s a problem. Grandpa is too stubborn to let go of life! Hilarity ensues, enhanced by a quirky reverend portrayed by the delightful Brent Spiner (famed as character Data from TV’s “Star Trek: Next Generation”).

Christian Slater Dressed for Grandpa's Funeral
The teleplay came to mind today because I’ve been dead set against carrying a smart phone. I just don’t need or want that kind of Internet and social media connectivity. When I attend writing events with local friends, it’s a joy to stay busy writing while watching others distracted by their email or some Facebook announcement.

However, some smart phone conveniences have become all but mandatory requirements. Take concert tickets, for example.

I saw a reminder upon Facebook, of all places, that tickets went on sale today for November’s Palaye Royale concert. Awesome! And my ticket cost less than $20, believe it or not. I expected a lot more add-on fees. But this ticket seller bombarded me with ‘free trials’ at the end of my order placement. Perhaps they make more money with business partnerships these days. Who knows? I declined them all.

The only problem is that I would have paid a good chunk extra for the delivery of said ticket. And what if it got lost in the mail? Ugh… As a result of my decision to save money, I’m left with a digital ticket.

It’s a good thing SO carries a smart phone. As arranged last March, we will trade devices for the evening. In an ironic twist, I did not need the phone to gain entrance last spring. I used a printout of the scanner code. But this time I can’t access that image, so wish me luck I don’t fumble too much using our smart phone come fall.

In retrospect, I’m amazed to recall a childhood in which my family not only shared one home phone number, but our entire neighborhood utilized the same line! In the case of an emergency, one neighbor might ask another to please end their call. Thank heaven, that changed by the time I came of dating age. Otherwise any eavesdropper might have gotten an embarrassing earful.

Cover Art for PR Album 'Boom Boom Room: Side B'
Did you ever hear of, let alone have a party line in your lifetime?

-

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Eyeglass Update

Yesterday I returned my old eyeglass frames for new replacement lenses. These are for computer use, complete with a coating meant to reduce eye stress from electronic devices. I don’t know how that will work, of course, but the ease with which I’m reading this laptop screen is astounding.

Re-purposed Safety Glasses from Prior Employment
(Removable Side Shields Discarded)
Wish me luck on the long distance/driving glasses with bifocals. Those lenses have not yet come into the optical center. Unsure how they will work out, I can tell you the lenses are so large in those big vintage frames that I don’t imagine any problem with dizziness wearing them. We shall see (no pun intended).

I should have gotten an eye exam long ago. Oh, well. At least this prescription should be good for many years. And now you can guess why I use such a large font for my blog.

~grin~

Have you ever regretted procrastination, wondering why you waited so long to do something beneficial?

-

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Rainbow Snippet for August 4th and 5th




Here it is another weekend already. Once again I’m joining some very talented writers gathering on the Rainbow Snippets Facebook page. I hope you’ll pop over to check out other LGBT related works from all sorts of genres.

As usual, my tidbit is from the racy shapeshifting side of writing, from a WIP called “The Cat Who Ate the Canary”. While there is no intimacy in this scene, we find Jackson Bordeaux invited to a whole new level.

Are his new lover’s parties what he suspects? Is he ready to meet her shapeshifter playmates when he’s barely acquainted with his hyper-sexual inner tiger?

Snippet:

Jackson debated his next step with care, not sure what would be expected of him if he stayed. He decided to ask an unanswered question from earlier, the one which prompted her to act elusive and hang up without a proper reply.

“Why did you invite me to dinner when you had other plans?”

“I think you’re worth inconveniencing a few people.”

“I’m flattered.”

“You should be, as I think you would fit in well with the rest of my local… acquaintances.”

~

Would you stay to play or run screaming?

#rainbowsnippets
_

Friday, August 3, 2018

A Day Well Spent


I drove out of town shortly after ten o’clock this morning, heading east after the most brutal morning sunrays slanted higher. My drive took us around four hours to reach an old familial cemetery plot. As planned I took seashells to my mother’s gravesite in lieu of flowers or a United States flag, another consideration due to her lifelong patriotism.


As for the silk flowers in the photo, I’ve no idea who left them. I hope these seashore memorial offerings will hold up well. She and I gathered shells together on the North Carolina shore many years ago. Any that blow away will in the future, I hope, not just puzzle but make other visitors smile in curiosity.

Mom Loved Windmills
A nearby neighbor waved as we left. How Nice is That?

-

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Rash Decision

Our cucumber plants continue producing two or three pounds to harvest every day. This morning I almost put on my jacket due to the weather before changing my mind. There was no rain falling, after all.

At first this seemed a wise decision. I would have overheated wearing another layer in the breezeless humidity. However, as you can see below, I had to dive in deep to reach a few cucumbers and the spiny plants scratched me up to the point I’m postponing plans to clean aquariums. It seems wiser to wait a day than take chances with my health.

But I Retrieved Those Cukes!
Did you know tropical fish water can transmit disease through broken human skin?

-

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Worst Slogan Ever

SO likes to watch “American Pickers”. Sometimes I sit in. A recent episode featured a heartwarming story of a man who collected fire station related memorabilia. His voice broke recalling the death of his grandmother in a 1940’s era (!) fire.

That is a horrible way to die, but it surprised me he still got choked up. Anyway, this noble character went on to become a firefighter and progressive chief of his small town station.

This actually led to an unexpected (if slightly horrified) laugh when we saw a real antique fire truck. The name of the business?

Same Day Fire Co.

No kidding. This was in the automotive industry’s infancy, and roads were no doubt more like wagon trails. So having someone respond to your house fire the same day it started was both a novel idea and actual marketing tool.

I have no idea how anyone reached them. I suppose telephone service existed at the time. History has never been my strong suit.

What is the worst marketing ploy you can recall?

-

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Change in Plans – Much Needed Rain on the Wrong Day & A Giggle (And Happy Tuesday)


Today is the anniversary of my mother’s death. Hard to believe it’s been a year. Anyhow, my husband told me about a Jewish tradition of visitors putting pebbles on top a monument.

I decided to put my own spin upon things. Instead of leaving two tiny rocks, I’m taking a box of seashells we collected together from the North Carolina shore many years before. Not only will it have meaning, I’m taking enough to cover a fraction of the people who loved her. Placed upon the wide base of her monument they should look nice and be trouble free for cemetery caretakers.

Meanwhile, as for the change in plans and rain, I’m not driving across the state in these torrential downpours covering the region. The weather is nice for sitting on my back patio with this laptop. But freeway driving? Not so much.

I’m sure my mother would not only understand but approve. So now, here is a giggle as promised. I laughed out loud right here in this chair upon finding the following:

On Facebook someone posted:

How are unicorns fake but giraffes are real? Like, what's more believable, a horse with a horn or a leopard-moose-camel with a forty foot neck?

Someone else replied:

We have horned horses; they call em Rhinos, and the horses kicked ‘em out for being bad tempered. So, they got all sad and grey and angsty.

Did you ever believe in unicorns?

-

Monday, July 30, 2018

Dill Fever

This morning I warned SO over canning so many dill pickles. So far he has surpassed fifty pint jars. “Just don’t become dill-usional,” I said. After a good laugh he walked out of the kitchen, muttering, “Sh*& my wife says,” his standard response to my most outrageous one-liners and/or worst puns.

Meanwhile, we went to the cucumber patch this morning and picked another four pounds. This one I photographed below has alarmed me. Are the plants now producing twins? The last thing we need are eight pounds a day. Or maybe this one was just happy to see us.
Both Sport a Spent Bloom Tassel
Do you like dill pickles?

-

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Rainbow Snippet for July 28th and July 29th


I almost didn’t post a snippet today. It’s been a trying week and I wondered if staying off social media for the day would be advisable. But then I remembered how friendly are the other writers in the LGBT genre who gather on the Rainbow Snippets FB page. And so many other bloggers have been super kind, too, so here I am.

This is actually a fanfic crossover with my original character (I really wasn’t kidding about a crappy week, so when inspiration struck I ran with it to boost my word count for Camp NaNo). Of course, this would not make it into my vampire free series, but I hope you enjoy this little scenario in which werewolf Nickolas is hoping to be dominated by an antiquated undead male (or two, as he just learned!) in some playful power exchange.

Snippet:

“He is everything Nathaniel said he was.”

“Oh, mon ami,” the scarred blond purred, “Nathaniel said many things.”

The implication wrapped in that velvet delivery raised the hair on my arms further than the undead brunette’s magical appraisal of me. I’d been in the scene long enough to appreciate mental manipulation, had employed it from both sides of the spectrum. But two master vampires? I stayed silent and still as possible, willing my heart and lungs to slow down.

~

Making sure to mention no names here but a common one, I can’t help wondering if anyone recognizes the vampires. Have a great weekend!

#rainbowsnippets
_

Friday, July 27, 2018

What a Week – & Trying to See the Upside

A few days ago I found out why my father stopped talking to SO and me. There was a vitriolic misunderstanding between me and some friend of his following a group text message thread. This person, whose name I still don’t know, singled me out and bluntly asked, “Who are you?”

I should have ignored it. Instead, I tried to explain about Internet and communication security – why I wouldn’t answer. Well, somehow I insulted this person, who complained to my father. My father then tried to jab at me with two cryptic text messages after letting all my calls go to voicemail. I didn’t even understand what he meant at the time. At least he called the night before last, but I’m struggling with feeling hurt, plus not knowing what the future holds.

Worse (Dad has pulled these silent treatment stunts before, after all), two of my favorite rock and roll performers are struggling. Marilyn Manson (AKA Brian Warner) became ill somehow and had to cancel one of his shows with Rob Zombie. Apparently, some fans are being total jerks about it. I hope everything turns out all right for him. I’d be so sad if he had to quit performing.

Similar ugliness has been visited upon the delightful members of Palaye Royale. It seems some entitled brats get upset if they don’t get exactly what they want, when they want. According to guitarist and big brother Sebastian, these turds arrived two and a half hours late for a meet and greet before posting nastiness online about PR not caring about fans.

Lead singer Remington is so distraught I fear they decided last night to disband after touring this fall. Their second album hasn’t even been released yet. I’ve been trying to do little things to boost spirits. The best recommendation I could make is for them to stay off Twitter and Instagram, maybe other social media platforms, at least for a while.

So I’m trying to find a bright side to this week. Well, if I’m honest, there’s more than one. First off I’ve been writing, writing, writing. Also, I got a long overdue eye exam today.

SO kindly went with me, driving me around after my eyes were dilated (good thing, too! Blurry vision ensued for hours). We went to Sam’s Club and I ordered new lenses for two nice pairs of eyeglass frames I already own. One will be for long distance with bifocals for really tiny print. The second pair will be for computer usage. I’m really happy and can hardly wait to get them.

I ordered all kinds of neat coatings. Those long distance/close-up reading lenses are going to replace my bulky sunglasses with a reactive transitional ultraviolet blocker. My new computer use lenses should reduce eye strain by blocking some of the blue light emitted by electronic devices.

We paid for all this using an HSA card. That’s a tremendous blessing. And my eyes are healthy!

How did your week wrap up?

-

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Experimentation in the Kitchen

Ever Heard of a Water Oven? No? Let me start over…

I married a scientist. The fact he went with computer technology signifies his fascination with new tech, which computing used to be, way back when. ~grin~ Now in retirement, SO’s interest has shifted to the garden and kitchen.

Lucky, aren’t I?

The latest addition to our appliances is a sous vide oven. I’m told that is French for ‘vacuum sealed’. This photo shows the heating element controls.

High Tech

Next is the third and latest 29+ hour (!) project. Those chartreuse lumps, by the way, are peponcinos because we like the tartness they impart to meat.

No, We Aren't Cloning Anything
If it looks like a science experiment, that’s because it is one. Pictured left above is the heating element. To mid right (distorting view of the floating contents) is an external handle on the rectangular water bath.

Research began with a search for the perfect pickle. SO learned that low temperature pasteurization leads to crispier pickles. From there he cooked a pork loin. It is tender, though I’m not sure about the marinade. We can work on that. Meanwhile, here is what the beef roast in the above photo looks like ready for searing in cast iron.

As You Can See, I'm Not the Best Photographer
If you ask me, a slow cooker taking eight hours is plenty enough wait time. And you have to dirty a pan? Ugh...

Reusable, Which is Good; Also a Pain to Wash
My main issue is that if he gets to have a water tank for food, shouldn’t I be allowed to get a third aquarium for an axolotl? Oh, well. At least we have dinner plans.

No. This Is Not Dinner. Who Can't Love That Little Face?
Do you experiment with cooking?

-

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Quite a Pickle

Our garden is producing so many cucumbers that SO needed to get more dill pickling supplies. Among them, the all important dill seed. Well, it seems our neighbors are in the same… um… pickle.

Sorry. I suppose you saw that on the horizon, though. Eh?

Anyway, the store was out of their generic branded seeds. Desperate, SO bought the only other option available at the moment.
$5.99! I don't think so...
An online search, fortunately, turned up a less expensive option. He paid less than twice the price of that little jar for a one pound bag! We have the receipt for the unopened bottle, so he plans on returning it, fibbing that he bought the wrong spice.

Grown in India and Shipped to Our Door
Would you be honest to the clerk about McCormick's outrageous price?

-

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Rainbow Snippet for July 21st and 22nd


Welcome to another installment of Rainbow Snippets. A friendly and talented bunch of folks writing in the LGBT genre gather here on Facebook every weekend, so please click on the link and check them out.

Today’s tidbit is banter between shapeshifters from this month’s Camp NaNo project. I’m just writing whatever the mood strikes and this angst popped up toward the end of yesterday’s endeavors. I hope you enjoy.

Snippet:

“Don’t push me away. Not unless you want me gone for good.”

“I don’t know what I want. Don’t you get that?”

“Can I just tell you what I want? I think all of you will like it, both the primitive and the…”

“I don’t think I have a civilized side.”

“I was going to say lascivious.”

~

Do you think I should include a wry grin in a dialog tag with that last line?

#rainbowsnippets
_

Friday, July 20, 2018

Living the Life of Kitty Luxury & My Ongoing Struggle (And Feline Friday!)


Thanks to Pam Jackson at the Whimsical Way for prompting me to blog after a bit of an impromptu break. ~grin~ Since I’m so busy with a writing challenge I decided to go for an easy topic – felines. After all, our cats never cease to amaze me. Just when I think a piece of their furniture (and they have lots) will never be used again, one or the other pops in for a nap.

Take the basket in the photo below, for example, which I haven’t seen used in years. Jezebel usually prefers the top of one of the (three!) tall cat trees or one of the purr pads on either a couch or her queen size so-called ‘guest’ bed.
I See You; I Just Can't Keep My Eyes Open
It was a surprise she stayed so still to photograph. She normally is a blur in my photos, always on the go. I guess she was too sleepy here.

She is not young as she looks, having moved in the spring of 2003 on the cusp of adulthood. Jezzy went into heat about a week after we got her. SO likes to call that a great prank upon us by the friends who found her in their yard a few neighborhoods away. They dumped her in my lap during a game night visit and she went home with us that very evening.

Meanwhile, we estimate Tilly to be at least seventeen years old. I found her through the Humane Society as a young adult in 2001. She is very sweet but not at all a typical cat. For one thing, she never grooms. People have surmised she didn’t get a proper lesson from mom. We’ll never know.

It seemed she was going bald about a year ago. I was sort of relieved, as taking her to the groomer puts stress on her. But as you can see in the photo below, a trip can no longer be postponed. I’m afraid the knots will soon begin to pull on delicate skin.
Tilly AKA the Briar Patch
Unfortunately, I cannot get through to our usual groomer. I’ve left two voice mails and an email. This isn’t the first time, for whatever reason. Renee seems to like me just fine and we never quibble over the price. She and/or her husband dote over Tilly whenever we arrive for our appointments, too. So why I struggle to make appointments is a mystery.

I am putting SO on the case as of today. For whatever reason, he never has a problem getting through.

Have you even seen a shaved cat? Hopefully, you will soon.


-

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Rainbow Snippet for July 14th and 15th



Wow! It’s almost mid July but feels like August with this heat. At least the vegetable garden is happy. We’ll be making fresh salsa later this afternoon. Yum.

Thanks to the lovely Facebook writers of Rainbow Snippets being so welcoming and encouraging, I have another bit of LGBTQIA+ oriented prose to offer this weekend. I hope you’ll check out some of what these other great folks are sharing, linked here.

In this scene, two platonic friends are on the verge of becoming more. Intimacy and erotic power exchange are implied, so please be warned. I hope you enjoy.

Snippet:

I stilled, crouching in the middle of the floor a safe few feet from him. A purr erupted from my chest followed by his growl conveying a very important message.

I cleared my throat, saying, “I need you to say the words.”

“I want you,” said Johnny, a teacher’s pet in his linebacker’s body.

Some of the most powerful people, from every walk of life in this world, needed to relinquish control now and again. Telling myself Johnny Wainwright needed it I recognized my able willingness to take responsibility over my friend’s will and fulfill his needs.

~

How is your weekend shaping up?

#rainbowsnippets
_

Friday, July 13, 2018

Darla’s Discoveries – Home Maintenance & Patience, Patience

It’s hard to believe we have lived in our home for over twenty years. The experience has been good for the most part. A huge perk is not having loud, obnoxious neighbors stomping around over our heads. Home ownership also requires upkeep on a scale I never understood as an apartment dweller.

The constant effort to keep everyday weather, especially rainfall, from wrecking our southwest Ohio home has proved daunting. We considered brick infallible thanks to three misleading little pigs. We were wrong. Tuck pointing and sealing require regular maintenance. Otherwise, believe it or not, your home may not be blown down by the big bad wolf but can turn into a rocky sponge.

So, for this Thursday’s discoveries I’d like to recommend finding someone you trust to work on your home. Today there are countless websites where you can read service reviews. Back when our walls needed fresh paint, my art framer recommended a former classmate. Lucky for us, that fellow does all kinds of work and knows many skilled specialists.

Regardless how it happens, after you find a reliable contractor treat this person with respect and listen to suggestions. Our man Dale has a company motto: Persnickety by Nature. And he is. That means jobs get done right.

As a result, these contracts can also take a while to fulfill. Hence I mentioned patience twice. Before restoring the interior aesthetics of our cellar Dale has waited for months, wanting to verify that our exterior was sealed against future damage, every bit of resulting mildew eradicated, and inside surfaces remain dry to his specifications.

Work in Progress
This once waterlogged cellar nook supports our main floor fireplace and the chimney. Restoration included not only sealing a huge crack (the grey line is the sealant) but ripping out all damaged materials, resulting in a damaged drop ceiling track as you can see above. It's been a solid year since repairs began. Today all that remains is replacing the removed carpet. If it weren’t for limited resources, I would insist all the basement carpet be removed. It’s been nothing but a nuisance through multiple floods and leakages. ~sigh~ At least I can (literally) breathe easier.

Once Flooring is Laid, I May Install Display Shelving
Have you ever suffered flood damage or mold issues?

-

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Summertime Woes

I’m beginning to think that winter is preferable to summer in numerous ways. Sure, it’s nice not dragging around a winter coat. But the outdoor chores seem never ending and I hate sweating buckets over them.

Of course, some of these efforts bring food to the table. We’ve been harvesting chard for quite some time, finding new recipes and finally just blanching the leaves to freeze for later use in place of spinach. The first tomatoes are ripening, too.

Meanwhile, the cucumbers are going crazy. We check every morning for ripe ones and they still grow out of control when missed, doubling in size overnight it seems. Around 11:30 yesterday SO started pickling the five or so pounds of cucumbers harvested over the previous two days.

The process took three hours. Today we harvested more.

This is Just the Beginning
Aren’t I lucky to have a gardening buddy willing to slave over a hot stove making pickles?

-

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Rainbow Snippet for July 7th and 8th



Welcome to another round of Rainbow Snippets. Please visit our group’s Facebook page. There are a number of talented writers who gather to share bits of their LGBTQIA+ related works. Many of these folks are deservedly published or soon to be, and I’m honored they let me join their ranks.

This weekend I’m sharing something a little different. Alex sometimes has thoughts that are a little overdramatic. I hope you enjoy.

Snippet:

At last I understood what my father meant about God residing in each of us, and how we couldn’t find salvation in religious dogma. Would my quashed leopard have comprehended these truths sooner? Instead I dragged my rather reluctant parent into this or that church over my formative years, never to find what was lacking. Later, sex gave me a flavorless taste of what I thought was spiritual joy, like sips of stagnant water from a drying well.

This man’s radiance cleansed my soul. My heart would stop beating if Nickolas asked it to, and restart at his command.

~

Have you ever put a significant other on too high a pedestal?

#rainbowsnippets
_