Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Another Chain Restaurant – or – A New Culinary Adventure

On a little adventure the other day trying to find an open Indian restaurant, my partner and I saw a place called Arepas and Co. The place claims to serve Columbian comfort food, including the famous namesake, of which there are countless variants depending upon region (including Venezuela).

Arepas Image From Wikipedia Article
The SO has longed to try the food since that day. I’ve been postponing, trying to get back into the swing of workouts and swimming while maintaining a happy, heavy writing schedule. Today is the day, though. I cannot put it off any longer. And as the blog post title attests, this is not a mom and pop kind of place.

I’ll try to have a positive attitude. Heck, even chain restaurants start with a few stalwart folks trying to support a family. And as they go, this one serves something a little different while also not being a worldwide conglomerate. So maybe purchasing their wares won’t fund a proxy war in some unsuspecting nation. ~sigh~ I know, be positive. And I’ll probably like it, even if I feel the bloat afterward.

Have you eaten Columbian cuisine?


Monday, January 22, 2018

Positive Sparks Monday - Music to My Ears

To quote Annie of McGuffy’sReader, the bright spirited blog where she created Sparks Mondays, “I believe we are meant to be lights in this world. If we allow our light to shine, we can see where we are going. It is then that we can begin to truly see each other clearly. Together, we can light up the entire world!”

I don’t know why, but the band Bon Jovi tends to be put down by folks a lot. They’re sort of like Nickelback that way. And I’m sorry, but I’ve enjoyed concerts by both groups. That said, I decided to follow my ongoing theme of inspirational quotes by musicians and go with one by John Bongiovi (see what he did with his name there? And yes, I’ve been an obsessive music geek since grade school).

Thanks again to Brainy Quote. The image is my own.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Excited? Or Neurological Condition?

I’ve noticed in Jezebel an increasing oddity. Usually it happens when she’s looking out a window, so we are assuming she vibrates out of excitement.

Have you ever seen an animal act like this?


Friday, January 19, 2018

Leftovers Taken to a New Level

I adore Indian and Indo-Chinese food. But nothing I’ve managed to cook up from packaged sauces compares to what some of our fine restaurants serve. So the other day my partner and I went on a bit of an odyssey to satisfy my craving.

First we ordered online from our local place Indian Rasoi (I understand that rasoi translates to ‘kitchen’ in one dialect). At first planning to stay home and write, I decided to drive at the last minute.

And good thing.

Upon arrival my partner found a locked door and a ‘temporarily closed’ sign and I decided it time to move onto plan B. While I eschew owning a smart phone, having one in the car proved fortuitous. At my urging we located a place a few miles down the road called Indian Chaat Café.

After we were headed home with our yummy orders, we received a phone call from a Indian Rasoi employee. As it turns out, there was an accident resulting in injury. They were forced to close without notice and rush their family member to the hospital. My SO had the kind presence of mind to say we would be coming by sometime in the near future once they were up and running again, and we wished everyone well.

Fast forward to several days later. The chicken vindaloo is gone, as is the paneer tikka masala. Well, except for the sauces. So, what’s for dinner tonight?

My Photo Probably Doesn't Do the Food Justice; Still, Yum...
I thawed a frozen chicken breast, sliced it into cubes, browned them, and added both sauces. Hopefully, that’s not sacrilege. But it smells delicious.

Do you like leftovers?


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Jezebel Strikes Again

Our two cats are aged, as mentioned the other day when I shared an image of Tilly staring at me. Jezebel, however, does retain more of a playful nature. She reserves it for the middle of the night mostly, however.

(big shock, right, fellow cat lovers?)

One thing she’s taken to doing is opening a drawer built into our recliner couch. I have witnessed her during the daytime, lying on the floor and digging her nails into the upholstery to drag it open. I can only imagine she discovered the delightful reaction by accident, and find the evidence walking by with breakfast in hand.

That said, for a while Jezzy had fun dragging off a stringed stuffed mouse toy tucked into the top of one of their cat trees (three! All built by my dad, whose a dog person, I might add). I’d get up the next day and have to look for the mousie, setting up her challenge for that evening.

That activity kind of went the way of the dodo, though she still climbs those carpeted towers now and again. But I want to encourage her play, stimulate her mind a little. And catnip mostly seems to bore the girls now for some reason (perhaps diminished senses?).

So I decided to move the toy and try this:

How's It Hanging, Mr. Mouse?
As you can imagine, she has not played along the way I imagined. If the drawer is open, the mouse might remain dangling there like a hangman’s victim. At least I caught her in action, as you can see in this series below.

"What's This?"
She Works Fast Sometimes
"Eh, I'm Done."
"Time for a Nap"
Getting Comfortable
"Almost There... What?"
How do you like to play?


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Breaking Convention

Since childhood I've had a tendency to buck convention. It didn’t matter if the cool high school kids talked during study hall. I preferred to have my evenings free for more interesting pursuits like blasting Ozzy Osbourne or sneaking out to see my boyfriend.

(I blame you, dear Liz A., for the remembrance of my school days. Thanks for sharing your stories of substitute teaching and more)

Nowadays I might leave my Christmas tree up an extra month or so because I got it set up late. This year, I had a Halloween display on my mantle through New Year’s because those things made an appearance just days before October thirty-first. Don't blame me, though, I asked for help bringing up boxed decorations and got none. Then puppy dog eyes at mention of putting my haunted house away set the tone.

All that brings me to now. My kitchen island is home to a vintage cookie jar and another oldie-but-goodie, an aged ceramic turkey. Yes, I have had the little guy out for a few months. To my credit, I only got the piece this year after my father cleaned out the old homestead before selling.

Things got moved around a little the other evening to make room for the deep fryer. And then, thinking I should wrap up and store the turkey, I saw this:

Don't the Kittens Look Wary Observing the Bird? Cracked My Simple Self Up
What unwritten rules of the adult world do you like to break?


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Silly Me Strikes Again

I tend to go into anything with the best of intentions, like saving paper. Tired of fiddling with the often broken down ActivTrax kiosk at my local YMCA, I thought printing workouts at home using both sides of the sheet the way to go.

This has been going on for a few weeks now. You’d think I would have it down pat, knowing which side of the printed page should face up inserted in the paper tray. You would be wrong. The other night I ended up with this:

Weirdly, the Last Workout Remains Pretty Legible Here
Thus, I wasted ink by having to print it again. But by golly, I got it now. And I’m probably more certain to remember in future. Right? One can hope.

Flipped Over It's Less Useful Than the Workout the Kiosk Spit Out en Español
 How often do your good intentions backfire?


Monday, January 15, 2018

Positive Sparks Monday - Another Musical Note

To quote Annie of McGuffy’sReader, the bright spirited blog where she created Sparks Mondays, “I believe we are meant to be lights in this world. If we allow our light to shine, we can see where we are going. It is then that we can begin to truly see each other clearly. Together, we can light up the entire world!”

Today I’m going with another musician, one who I adored as a child. The world was a better place for having you in it, John Denver.

Thanks once again to Brainy Quotes for this. The photo is my own.
Do you know any of John Denver's music? 


Sunday, January 14, 2018

I've Got My Eye On You

Why do I feel like someone’s… Oh.

Excuse Me, It's Time to Get On the Couch
Can you believe Tilly is somewhere around her mid teens? Those eyes are still so clear, as you can see. And somehow, some way, her wispy fur (guard hairs thinned by hyperthyroidism or its medication, maybe?) has regained its former wooliness.

Unfortunately, she has never been a good self groomer. From the back she looks like a field of high brown grasses beaten down every which way by heavy rain or snow. If it wouldn’t distress the old girl so, I’d shell out money to get her groomed like we did multiple times a year for the better part of a decade.

Have you ever had a pet that needed professional grooming?


Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Silver Lining

I am very blessed. Don’t ever believe me if I say different. But aging has increasing irritants, perhaps especially since my mother's passing drew my attention to mortality.

For one thing (two, I guess), the hair on top of my head is thinning while strays on my chin are multiplying. They’re light colored, at least, but that also makes them harder to spot until long enough to darn near braid. ~sigh~ And the few measly pounds shifted around from weight lifting have left a wattle under my chin.

My reading glasses need replaced, too. With true fine print I’m better off without them, label pressed near my nose. I’m wearing them as I type, though, since the prescription works better than what my driving glasses have. At least both are adequate for that task.

Yesterday I developed a rare headache which was written off to said glasses. Going from reading in bed for an hour to the computer for several more has consequences, after all. Then I realized it was more than that when my laptop screen got really dark at the bottom, staying bright on top so it was bifurcated.

The light show indicated I was suffering a migraine, albeit a minor one. Thankfully I can say this pain and sensitivity didn’t send me diving under the bedcovers with a pillow over my head and bandana like a tourniquet in a crazed effort to ease that throbbing left temple. Perhaps foolish, I turned down the brightness of my screen and continued writing. Another blessing is they were never frequent, unlike what some folks I’ve known have endured.

My software teacher years ago spoke of driving to work sometimes and not recalling how he’d gotten there, migraines outnumbering his sick days. A former coworker went so far as to get medication she could inject into her leg. Considering them, another thought occurred to me.

Besides being lucky to have survived young adulthood (some of my youthful stunts are legendary acts of stupidity), nearing middle age saw a decrease in all types of headaches. I just needed to wait this one out. Ultimately, a couple of naproxen sodium tablets before an early dinner helped.

The Protagonist in This Dark, Delightful Flick Knew PAIN
How are you feeling today? Have you seen the movie "Pi"?


Friday, January 12, 2018

Just for Grins

Yesterday I took a look at book eighteen (“Dog is my Copilot”) of my BloodMoon series and feel like the chapters are starting to take shape. It put me in the mood to share my title list, for… you know… grins. I hope you enjoy the silliness.

Blood Moon
Bark at the Moon
Cat’s Meow
It’s Raining Cats and Dogs
Kennel Club
Nine Lives
This Vacation Photo Doesn't Really Fit This Story, Sad to Say
My Characters Are Nowhere Near the Sea
Wolf’s Bane
Man’s Best Friend
Letting the Cat Out of the Bag
Dog Days of Summer
The Wolf at Your Door
Scaredy Cat
Obedience Training
Top Dog
Leopard Print
Cat Nap
A Leopard Can’t Change Its Spots
Dog is My Copilot
Chasing Cars
Biting the Hand That Feeds
Dog Catcher
Dog License
Dog With at Bone
Cat Got Your Tongue

I am happy to say that many of the twenty-four titles aren’t strictly American English sayings (some adapted from other cultures, I’m learning, which is cool). Most tie into the storyline. For example, “Dog is My Copilot” features an airplane crash which skilled, dedicated pilots kept from causing any fatalities. Well, almost. My hero… well… never mind.

Do you have any more animal based sayings to suggest in case I need more?


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Staying Warm or Staying Cool (Under Pressure)

Reading a Facebook discussion about crazy weather reminded me of a saying learned in childhood. “Don’t like the weather? Wait fifteen minutes.” And then I remembered an awesome video from several years ago. This weather announcer really ran with it when the computer went haywire showing area temperatures.

Check this out:

Would you stay so cool under pressure?


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Teasing Taste of Spring

I know it’s still January. Thanks for that Facebook reminder, Bernadette. ~grin~ I think that made today all the sweeter, in part because I didn’t have to think about mowing the grass.

Not a Sight Seen Today, But I Know Goldfinches Await in the Fields
Dressed in their Drab Winter Garb Yet Still Adored

With temperatures nearing sixty degrees F today, I got to enjoy my back patio for the first time in months. The sun came out, cardinals were singing, squirrels raced across the neighbors field. I even found a friendly visitor in the little cat that likes to wander through (I’m ninety nine percent certain the healthy looking tortie has a good home).

Of course it didn’t last. Clouds overtook the sun and winds kicked up. Still, I wrote almost an entire chapter of my latest WIP before the chill chased me indoors. That makes me very happy.

How are things where you live?


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Feeding Time!

This post is thanks to Pam Jackson. ~hugs~ I've been meaning to write this up and you inspired me to take a few moments away from fictional storytelling.

We started using paper plates to feed our cats their canned wet food, repeated servings set out on the same ones so as to cut down on waste. I’m not even sure how the trend started. But my partner liked my solution for storing an opened can and the habit stuck.

They Love Their Chicken Soup for the Soul Weight Management Formula
What’s funny is they used to eat off china plates. Literally. I bought the set while still living with my parents. In the real everyday world, sturdier dishes replaced breakable plates. Which, in hindsight, may be why we switched to paper after getting stone flooring.

Tilly Demonstrates How to Hold the Plate Steady with One Paw
Either way, the cats don’t care. And Jezebel finally learned Tilly’s trick of stepping on the plate.

The Plate Stays More Still Than Jezebel!
She finally slowed down for me to snap decent images. I liked how the multiple overhead lighting shadowed her ears here.
Jezzy Eats Fast While Somehow Looking Delicate
If you have such a pet, how do you serve dinner?


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Meet Ms PacMan, the Rudest Fish in My Tank

Clown loaches are really fun fresh water fish to keep. Their apt moniker is displayed daily by clownish activities like lying atop one another on their sides or balancing on tip of tail. My eldest, Ms PacMan (named for the way she goes after their Tretra Min tropical crisps) will do the latter with her belly facing the front of the tank.

And these loaches make periodic clicking noises, hers being much louder than the smaller males, Frick and Frack. What’s especially funny is that they sometimes do this to get me out of bed in the morning. They know a feeding will soon follow.

The other day she got so loud I half feared that the glass would shatter. And her trigger was both surprising and hilarious. She reacted to my car on the other side of the bedroom wall.

My 2016 Chevrolet Volt runs on both electric batteries and an internal combustion engine. When home, we keep the vehicle perpetually plugged in to the garage charger. This allows the vehicle to draw power when extreme cold or heat trigger a conditioning cycle meant to prolong battery life.

When the cycle completes, the vehicle emits a sharp pop. Yesterday, I am sure that signal sent Ms PacMan into her raucous 6am fit.

Have you ever kept tropical fish, either freshwater or salt?


Friday, January 5, 2018


In case the title is misleading, this post isn’t about state of mind. It’s about food, marketing, and my ongoing failure to eat healthier (with another nod to my blessed existence thrown in for good measure).

While I’m trying to cut down carbohydrate consumption, my partner insists on bringing home things like tortilla chips, pasta, and cereal. Hey, at least I don’t always have to tag along. That’s a true blessing.

Pulling one package out of a sack, I wondered who on earth boxes flat snack chips. Then I read the label.

Does This Look Appealing to You?
The contents were far different than imagined. Oh, I didn't eat any of it by the way, and found the empty box on the counter this morning.

Cereal? Are You Kidding Me? Even Potato Chips are Smaller...
Do you think muesli needs ‘enlarged to show detail’?


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Weighing in on the Weather

Winter Moon
I tend to like winter, especially not needing to sweat buckets mowing the grass every few days. This cold weather is a bit extreme, though, if for no other reason than we’re going to have a high electric bill maintaining the house at 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lucky me doesn’t need to go out much but even indoors the chill keeps my nose perpetually cold and wet, making me feel like it’s official and I’ve turned into a housecat. I don’t nap, though, too happy writing.

These two adorable bums don’t have a care in the world. They have no clue how blessed are their lives.

I've No Clue Why Tilly Chose One of Her Paper Bags Over a Cozy Cat Bed
As You Can See, Jezebel Owns This Corner of Our Sectional Couch
What’s your preferred way to weather the cold, or heat, for those of you in warmer climes?

January Moon at Sunrise

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Review of "After Terra: Year 200" by Daniel Coldspring

Sometimes taking a chance for our heart’s desire brings us more than we bargained for. Matthew Garrison is about to learn that in the most unexpected ways.

“After Terra: Year 200” is a wild adventure across the reaches of space. But it’s also much, much more. Unlike so many of today’s movies in which characterization takes a back seat to phony CGI nonsense, Daniel Coldspring’s story focuses on character.

And this book has characters aplenty. I’d introduce you, but I think it’s best you meet them for yourself. When you do, say ‘hello’ to Matthew, Jessie, and the gang for me. Now I need to go buy the sequel.

You can get your copy here at Amazon in either e-book format or paperback. I hope that you do and tell me what you think.

Great Synopsis in Mr. Coldspring's Own Words
What are you reading these days?


Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year with a Sparks Monday Jolt

To quote Annie of McGuffy’sReader, the bright spirited blog where she created Sparks Mondays, “I believe we are meant to be lights in this world. If we allow our light to shine, we can see where we are going. It is then that we can begin to truly see each other clearly. Together, we can light up the entire world!”

This sparks Monday kicks off a new year in the Gregorian calendar. Personally, I think resolutions are just resolves we should tackle on a day to day basis. That said, here is my spark:

 Thanks go to Brainy Quote
Do you have any exciting plans for 2018?