Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - The View From My Back Porch

Sitting outside to write on a chill day, I couldn't help be distracted by the view. It's not oceans or mountains, but I still see some fine things. You can't help noticing that many are birds. I only miss my summertime friends, the turkey buzzard.

1. Cardinals

2. A red bellied woodpecker

3. Black capped chickadees

4. Neighbors visiting

5. Starlings

6. My bare Japanese maple

7. A tufted titmouse

8. Sparrows

9. A stalking cat (okay, that was yesterday, but still)

10. The barren "vulture tree"

11. My neglected Eastern Bluebird house

12. Grass that needs cutting

13. House finches


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Vacation Wishes

As I type, I'm looking forward to a vacation. I hope:

1. That I won't be groped too badly by airport security

2. It won't be too hot and humid in Florida

3. Mom and Dad are both well for our two night stay

4. Dad has another good fishing day out his back yard while we're there

5. The Salvador Dali museum is as cool as I hope

6. There are some awesome things to buy at the museum shop

7. The hotel is as swank as expected

8. Beach time is cocktail hour

9. The big cat rescue visit is half as fun for the animals as for us

10. Restaurants are excellent and relaxing

11. Shopping might unearth some fun fashion finds

12. The cat sitter comes in and out without setting off the alarm system

13. I come home with a demeanor other than wanting to bark at everyone at work


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Inspiration from Author Chris Cleave

I make no secret of the fact that I'm an aspiring writer and am participating in National Novel Writing Month. Recently I read on the NaNo website an inspirational message from writer Chris Cleave and decided to share thirteen of my favorite sentences from that message. I can only hope he would approve. Here goes:

Often sheer euphoria at your own brilliance will keep you writing late into the night, and you can hardly sleep because what you’ve written is so damned good. Then you wake up the next day and read it, and you realize it’s a pile of self-indulgent crap. This happens to me two days out of five. Then you get the opposite case, where you beat yourself up because the ideas are coming so slowly and all your dialogue seems timid and pedestrian. A week later you might look back on that day as a pretty solid performance, where your characters were honest with each other and maybe even created a couple of touching moments.

The more I learn about the writing process, the more I suspect that there is no such thing as a bad day at the keyboard. Sometimes you need slow days where you work through a dozen ideas that aren’t destined to fly. It creates a kind of intensity that eventually goads your brain into giving you a good day. Or sometimes, if you keep having slow days, then perhaps the novel really is asking you a deeper question about whether your plot, or your characterization, or your theory about the human heart really is up to scratch. Experience is knowing when you’re having a slow day, versus when you’re having a slow novel.

The good days are when you perform; the slow days are when you learn to perform better. The only bad days as a writer are the ones when you are too cowardly or too lazy to sit down at the keyboard and give it everything you have.

If you can sit down at the keyboard every day in November and give it everything you have, then there is no writer on earth who is better than you.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Thanksgiving Foods

Our family actually celebrated Thanksgiving in the US early. Still, I wanted to pay tribute to the holiday if only in a frivolous way. Here are thirteen foods besides the ubiquitous turkey that have graced the family table:

1. Mixed nuts - from the can, not the family tree, thank goodness

2. Cheese cubes

3. Vegetable tray

4. Green bean casserole

5. Cranberry sauce

6. Rolls

7. Sweet potato casserole

8. Cheese ball and crackers

9. Taco dip and chips

10. Dad's outrageous stuffing full of chestnuts and rice and bread

11. Pumpkin roll - a favorite of mine from my sister-in-law

12. Cherry cheesecake

13. Pumpkin pie and whipped cream, of course


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Images From My Hot Air Balloon Ride

I''ve had these on my camera for a while and it's high time I share.  They're by no means professional grade photographs of the dual balloon flights, but I  hope you enjoy...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Observations on Cats

I grew up having dogs around. We had a cat briefly, but the barn raised animal never did like city living. Eventually, I found myself living with a cat lover. Since I love all furry creatures pretty equally, this didn't pose a problem. Today, surrounded by the three female cats that make our house a home, I decided to share things I adore and some, not so much.

1. Any time you put something in front of a cat's nose, she cannot resist sniffing it.

2. A cat will turn her nose up at you if she's not in the mood for your company.

3. Our cats our almost always in the mood for our company.

4. Last night we had all three kitties and both humans on the love seat in front of the television.

5. Every day I leave is hard because I'd rather stay home and watch their antics.

6. Our cats have more toys than probably exist in some third world countries.

7. Felines don't need to go outside to do their business at inopportune times.

8. Soiled cat litter is no fun to swap out.

9. Fur is soft and fun to caress.

10. Fur balls tossed up on the carpet are not fun to step on.

11. Any human with a cat on the lap is entitled to ask for favors so as not to disturb the creature.

12. They eat better than we do.

13. I'm going to need serious therapy when any of our trio passes away.

What pet(s) do you have, or would if you could?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Sentences from My NaNoWriMo WIP

Here is the opening to what I hope will become a novel for National Novel Writing Month. I hope you enjoy the snippet.


“What am I doing? I’m acting like a teenager trying to impress the boys,” Lita muttered at her reflection.

Her admonition didn’t stop her from further fluffing her short, highlighted hair or adding eyeliner to already large hazel eyes. She might be out of college but she was no old maid.

With a look through her closet, she decided to drive to the party. The cream colored high heels would go well with her outfit but weren’t good for walking the many blocks to Rhonda and Pete’s house. Pale rose and ivory on her matched skirt ensemble set off the fading summer tan from her trip to Bermuda.

She snagged a bottle of wine from the counter along with her purse. A glance at the clock showed she would be fashionably late.

The ringing phone caused her to hesitate on the way to the garage door. She hated to miss a call from her mother, who would be equally happy to hear that her youngest daughter planned to socialize after a slow and agonizing breakup with her fiancé.

A glance at the caller id showed the name of the very friends she prepared to visit.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - My Short Story Titles

To help bring back my muse, I thought I'd share thirteen unpublished titles I've written. Someday I hope to have the courage to present my "Blood Moon" shapeshifter short story series to someone in the business.

Cat's Meow
Nine Lives
Wolf's Bane
Man's Best Friend
Letting the Cat Out of the Bag
Dog Days of Summer
The Wolf at Your Door
Beware the Black Cat Crossing Your Path
Obedience Training
Top Dog
Leopard Print
'Shift in the Wind
Dog is My Copilot

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Moments in My Life

Here are many mundane and a few interesting things I've been up to lately.

1. Working too hard - What can I say? Somehow, the car business that affects my company seems to be booming. I need two of me and should be grateful.

2. Playing Scrabble - It's fun on an android tablet with the automatic scorekeeping and all.

3. Camping - We take an awful lot of gear for supposed "roughing it". Next, we'll have to hire movers. Still, it's a nice change of pace.

4. Paying the Maid Service - Why didn't I do this years ago? Seriously, it's worth the monthly cost.

5. Picking Up Cat Toys - It's amazing how they migrate from the "toybox" during the night.

6. Watching "Burn Notice" - We enjoyed the season ender of this great spy action/drama for a second time after the last quarter hour went mysteriously missing from the recording.

7. Visiting family - A neat reunion of the families was staged by my brother's in-laws. It's lovely to have a wonderful extended family.

8. Eating Out - This guilty pleasure needs to be put on the back burner. There are just so many good restaurants in the area!

9. Not Writing - What a downer this has been. I need to unearth my muse.

10. Getting My Hair Done - This is a much needed item I tend to put off because the two-tone look I like takes a good three and a half hours with cut and styling. It's always worth it when the stylist's done.

11. Sleeping In - Last done while camping, this is much coveted. I'm lucky to have the opportunity most weekends (within reason).

12. Feeding Fish - My two freshwater aquariums require regular attention but are well worth it.

13. Considering NaNoWriMo - Participating in November's National Novel Writing Month takes up a lot of my thoughts lately. I need to consider an appropriate project and commit to writing 1,600 plus words a day for 50,000 for the month.

What's on your agenda? I'd be interested to know.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - My Hairdresser

One of the longest relationships in my life is with my hairdresser. She's really something and, since I need to visit her soon, the lady's on my mind. So, here are thirteen facts about her.

1. She’s a talented stylist

2. Her salon is in her home

3. Her husband and children are a delight to know

4. She enjoys my experimentation

5. Her prices are very reasonable

6. She is very caring

7. She’s as dependable as the sunrise

8. We laugh a lot together

9. Her knowledge of diverse subjects is fascinating

10. There is always some extended family drama that makes me grateful for my life

11. She introduced me to her long-time friends in the rock group Tesla

12. Her opinions are rock solid and never wavering, almost to a fault

13. She loves animals


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Blessings

Today I thought I’d count my blessings. It’s been too long.

1. We have the financial means to meet our needs, obligations, and wants while still donating to charity.

2. I am relatively healthy outside of a sprained ankle (from walking the treadmill!).

3. Both my parents are alive and in my life.

4. My folks love my husband and vice versa.

5. My husband and I still enjoy one another’s company after twenty-two years together.

6. Our pets are healthy and happy; my fish even had babies I hope to raise to adulthood.

7. Well, one cat needs medication but it’s inexpensive and doing the trick when I can get it in her.

8. I own a reliable car and have no car payments.

9. We live in a safe, comfortable neighborhood.

10. My husband asked for a stress test that saved his life.

11. The triple bypass surgery went well and he’s recovered nicely.

12. My husband is in the best health since his Air Force days.

13. I wrote this at a clinic waiting for blood to be drawn but it’s a rare event for a simple health checkup.

May you have reason to give thanks today!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Albums I Own

Out of curiosity, I looked on my iPod to see how many female vocalists are listed. You see, I have a guilty preference for male voices. However, I found thirteen female artists with no problem. Just for the fun of it, here are the woman fronted groups and the albums I own in no particular order:

Flyleaf - Flyleaf

Otep - House of Secrets

Madonna - The Immaculate Collection

The Birthday Massacre - Walking With Strangers

Alanis Morissette - Flavors of Entanglement

Etta James - The Best of Etta James

Cyndi Lauper - Twelve Deadly Cyns

Jem - Finally Woken

Rasputina - Transylvanian Regurgitations

Garbage - Bleed Like Me / Version 2.0 (I like them so well I bought two titles)

Ace of Base - The Sign

Anna Nalick - Wreck of the Day

Ego Likeness - The Lowest Place on Earth


Connie Francis - Christmas Cheer

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - The Color Blue

Thirteen things that are blue; inspired by number 13.

1. The Caribbean Sea

2. Smurfs

3. My novelty pen from a colleague’s trip to Las Vegas

4. The background of MS Word on my company desktop

5. A vintage name patch from Walt Disneyworld

6. Part of a short story title I need to finish writing (“Into the Blue”)

7. The aptly named Blue Jay, a native bird of North America

8. Those distinctive veins in gorgonzola cheese

9. Jugs for our home water cooler

10. Brilliant Irish actor Cillian Murphy’s eyes

11. Blooms of the Heavenly Blue morning glory, a favorite flower

12. The ink on a good friend’s inspirational postcard

13. Tor Cyan, a Genetic Infantryman from futuristic British comic “2000 AD”

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Jet Mykles

In celebration of an interview and contest on my group writer's blog (here: Nightlight), I decided to list thirteen reasons to read Jet Mykles's books.

1. Hot, romantic m/m - what can I say?  I'm hooked

2. "Heaven Sent" - hot rockers with a classic Yaoi feel to their tales

3. Darl Elves - gotta love fantasy

4. "Reverb" - more rock 'n roll with a darker flavor

5. The "Leashed" series - shapeshifters!

6. Threesomes - she makes them seem workable

7. Realistic characters - including side characters

8. World building - she really draws me in

9. Johnnie Heaven - Heaven Sent's sexy front man

10. Lucas Sloane - Heaven Sent bass player

11. Darien - Heaven Sent drummer

12. Brent Rose - Heaven Sent lead guitarist

13. Heller Witting - Heaven Sent keyboard player

Can you tell I'm a fan of the "Heaven Sent" series?


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Flash Fiction - A Short Story Packed into One Chapter

First Date

Marko crooned in stooping to pet the cat, earning him points in Frank’s book. Thumb and forefinger formed an “O” to swipe the circumference of the upright tail to the end. The tip flip flopped encouragingly.

“Male or female?”


“What’s her name?” Marko asked, petting her behind the ears so that she purred.

“Miss Whiskers,” Frank said, feeling his face flush slightly. “My sister and I were kids when we named her.”

“It’s cute. What do you call her for short?”

“It used to be Missy but now I’m more likely to call her Whiskey. It fits her better; she’s a no fuss cat.”

“And she responds to any of the three?”

“Are you kidding? She’s a cat. She’ll respond to a plate of food. The rest of the attention she gives me is icing on the cake.”

Marko stood, swiping long hair from his neck. A grin lit his angular face, softening attractively sharp features to make him look younger than his professed twenty-four. Frank suddenly thought he looked better than any old cake, even one with his favorite butter cream frosting.

“Your bio mentioned two cats.”

“Bigelow is a big fraidy cat. He hides the moment the doorbell rings.”


“He’s huge. Has been since I got him from the shelter. They just called him Big Boy.”

“I hope I can meet him later. Maybe after the movie he’ll be willing to greet me without the doorbell to scare him.”

Frank couldn’t believe he’d heard right. Marko acted awfully sure of this first date. Their eyes met over the silence. Standing about the same height as Frank, Marko seemed to suddenly realize what he said by the slight widening of his eyes.

“Uh, shall we go? We’ll have time to get snacks and watch all the previews if we leave now.”

“Sounds good. We might not catch a cab right away, anyway.”

“I told the driver to wait.”

Frank liked that Marko showed no ulterior motive in agreeing to meet at his apartment. He tested his first dates that way, and most never survived to a second. They usually pushed intimacy too fast for Frank’s comfort

He shut the door soundly on that thought and locked it just as surely as he did the physical door to his New York apartment. He might have needed a shoehorn to move in but it served well as home for the three “people”, as Frank liked to think of his feline buddies.

“Your place is nice,” Marko praised belatedly.

Following on his thought about the size, Frank almost laughed. Instead, he managed to thank the other man with only a slightly self deprecating comment.

“It’s tiny, but it’s home.”

“Who needs a big place when you’re young, anyway? I have a shoebox, myself. I’d rather spend my money on living than a place to sleep my life away.”

“I like the way you think.”

They exchanged good humor at that, their chuckles echoing in the elevator they entered. The pair already knew what movie to see, having decided while communicating through the gay dating website.

Plans changed when they agreed that the movie stunk. The conclusion occurred to Frank early on but Marko spoke up first.

“You’re an old movie buff. What about watching a classic instead of this 3D mess?”

Plan B took shape by the time they returned to Frank’s place. Soon they munched popcorn and sipped beer over a romantic comedy from the forties.


“Much,” Frank agreed.

The clean-cut brunette’s agreement grew when Marko’s hand brushed his in the popcorn bowl. An on-screen kiss led to an admirable imitation on the couch with Marko taking the initiative. He turned Frank, whose fingers tangled in shaggy blond locks. Frank tugged lightly until their lips parted.

“Too fast?” Marko breathed.

“I don’t know.”

“Then let’s just relax and watch the DVD.”

“Okay,” Frank answered.

The coiled heat in Frank’s abdomen protested a shift to again face front from the sofa. Reaching for his beer, he saw Bigelow chose that moment to walk in front of the television.

“Hey, boy!”

The Maine Coon mix trotted to Marko’s outstretched hand. Bigelow sniffed, then batted his forehead against the back of Mark’s knuckles, a sure sign of acceptance.

“I think he likes me,” Marko enthused.

“I’ve never seen anyone allowed to touch him on the first visit.”

“Technically, it’s my second.”

“Oh, yeah,” Frank mumbled. “I guess it is.”

“You’re really cute when you blush. What if I told you I’d like to spend the night and make more of you blush?”

“I’d say we’re definitely rushing things, then.”

“All right. Let’s finish the movie and I’ll go.”

“Really? I don’t mean to be a jerk.”

“Hey, you’re just being honest. I respect that.”

After the closing scene, Marko stuck to his promise. Frank saw him off with a chaste kiss and plans to go out the following day. Nothing specific set other than where to meet, not even a time, Frank found himself unable to sleep.

The doorbell rang about forty-five minutes later. Wide awake, Frank walked to the door in his boxers figuring his neighbor just wanted to talk about her boyfriend trouble. He never should have started offering an ear at all hours. Instead, Marko stood in the doorway with a box of donuts.

“Hey, Frank. I figure it’s tomorrow. I hope you don’t mind.” To the unasked question, he answered, “My uncle owns the pastry shop around the corner. These were just made for the morning rush.”

“They smell like heaven. I don’t know, though. I’m dressed for bed and everything.”

“Perfect,” Marko growled. “Oh, yeah, there’s that red face. Come on, let me in. I won’t go any farther than you want. We can even watch another movie if you like.”

Frank nodded, smiling. Bigelow liked the man, after all, which said a lot. And the donuts would help keep his inner werewolf at bay. It wasn’t meat but, with any luck, Marko would survive the night so they could enjoy getting to know one another.

Mostly, anyway.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Signs of the Times

My partner and I recently went to a bar and grill that struck us as open and inviting. Later, upon trying to recall the name for posterity, I found online the following wardrobe restrictions that seriously opened my eyes. They all seem to relate to gang attire. It sure surprised this suburban girl. What do you think of all this?

-All hats must be straight forward/backward
-All loose neck jewelry must be tucked in
-No men's sleeveless shirts/tank tops
-No wave-caps/headbands
-No bandanas
-No athletic jerseys (except collared jerseys)
-No jump suits/athletic wear
-No baggy clothing
-No exposed men's underwear
-No sunglasses after sunset
-No hoods pulled over head
-Home and Away Jerseys allowed on game day only
-Clothing or jewelry which poses a safety risk to customers or employees is prohibited. You may not modify your wardrobe at time of entry to meet the dress code.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - My Clutter

I surveyed what resides on my desk and thought it worthy to share. Some is mundane but not all, as I hope you'll agree. Here goes:

1. A miniature jar of Play-Doh - this came from a local chapter of NaNoWriMo last November when I joined a great group of people writing a novel in November; it's a great stress reliever for playtime

2. My digital picture frame filled with photos of favorite drummer Ukyou Kamimura (Kami), now deceased member of the former Japanese visual kei band Malice Mizer

3. Logitech speakers for my laptop - a good, portable way to get good sound

4. A paper holder like a miniature paperweight with a curved slit for propping paper at the proper angle for reading at a keyboard

5. Advair 500/50 diskus for my asthma - thank goodness for good health insurance

6. One tire shaped squeeze ball - good to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome

7. A tea bag holder for when I'm done soaking the elixir in my drink

8. CD cases - a slew I need to put away after having downloaded them to my iPods

9. One of four Southpark coasters for my tea or other drink of choice - this is one of Stan while the rest of the guys' faces are strewn about the family room

10. A Red Rock Canyon postcard from precious friends - I should have joined that writing group on their excursion

11. TretraMin fish food flakes for the nearby aquarium - the eldest cat knocked it over out of curiosity and I need to buy more

12. A commemorative coffin shaped desk clock from Japanese rocker Gackt - the thing is so cool that it runs backward with a reverse Roman numeral face

13. Two tickets for a hot air balloon ride courtesy of my parents (!!!) - it's a gift I can use all over the country (where would you suggest?)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - How Much Stuff is Too Much?

I’ve taken to watching a show about hoarding lately. The tales are sad but hard to turn off and make me realize that there are collections in my home that could stand to be thinned out. While my buying isn’t out of control, I do have these things in abundance. Many will probably surprise no one within the writing community.

1. Books

2. Pens

3. CD’s

4. Greeting cards from loved ones

5. Notebooks

6. Clothing

7. Hair accessories

8. Halloween decorations

9. Comic books

10. Cat toys

11. Jewelry

12. DVD’s

13. Mugs


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Father's Day Special

I am probably not alone in appreciating my father for this Thursday's list. I can only hope that you have a special dad with whom to share mutual affection. Here are thirteen cool things about mine:

1. Dad calls me regularly so that we keep in touch even when I get wrapped up in life and neglect picking up the phone.

2. He treats his children’s spouses like they’re his own. Dad (and Mom) basically adopted my husband.

3. He cooks most of the Thanksgiving meal for the whole clan from turkey to pumpkin pies.

4. He employed all of his adult children at various times and did his best to act as a fair boss.

5. He refitted a vintage bicycle so I could ride in comfort cheaply.

6. He graciously trades valuable services for neighbors’ small favors.

7. He loves dogs and all his kids’ various other critters

8. He built a basement underneath our existing ranch house when I was a toddler.

9. He maintained numerous simultaneous jobs so our mother of four could stay home for the full-time occupation of child and household care.

10. He’s built three (!) cat trees for my pets. Those things cost a fortune and each is unique.

11. He used his time, energy, and expertise to renovate our second floor deck. That bought us years before we need to replace the expensive thing.

12. He drove my mom clear across the state so they could both kindly stay with me while my husband underwent major surgery.

13. Last but not least, Dad and Mom left the hospital that recent day while giving me the impression they were heading straight home. Instead, he took the time to mow my lawn so I had one less thing to worry about during my husband’s recovery.

Thanks, Dad, for being you!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Crayon Castles

If you're a parent who has several thousand dollars burning a hole in your pocket, here are thirteen bedroom creations available to purchase from the talented people at Crayon Castles. Even if these might be out of your price range, I must suggest that you check out for smaller accent furnishings and neat ideas.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Thirteen Culinary Terms

I may have been hungry when this topic appeared in my head. Whatever the case, here are thirteen food related terms that double as nouns and verbs.

1. Cook

2. Grill

3. Fillet

4. Roast

5. Milk

6. Rice (as in a potato ricer)

7. Pickle

8. Steam

9. Salt

10. Oil

11. Spice

12. Juice

13. Slice

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thirteen Thirteen - Facts about Tigger

1. Winnie the Pooh’s friend is almost always upbeat and enthused

2. He first appears in “The House on Pooh Corner”

3. Tigger originally introduces himself with a big bounce on Pooh’s doorstep late at night

4. He lives with Kanga and Roo in the books but has a treehouse in the Disney rendition

5. Eeyore gets bounced into the river by Tigger

6. Rabbit disapproves of Tigger’s boisterous ways

7. Piglet is somewhat nervous of the bigger, bouncy Tigger

8. Pooh states that Tigger only seems large because of his bouncing, indicating their other friends in the Hundred Acre Wood think of him as bigger than he actually is

9. Capable of holding a pen, he nonetheless jumps on all four feet more often than not in Ernest H. Shepard’s illustrations

10. While he has his own theme song, “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers”, he is not in the Winnie the Pooh theme song

11. The rather egotistical Tigger tends to get into projects over his head and cause more harm than good

12. He is never mentioned as being a tiger, only ever as a Tigger

13. The proper way to spell his name is T-I-double-guh-err

Friday, April 29, 2011

Amorphophallus conjac

I'm so excited! My Amorphophallus conjac is presenting not one bloom, but four this year! Click below for pictures from last year. I'll take pictures as the show commences in the coming weeks. Hopefully the weather will continue to cooperate with temperatures low enough to keep it from wilting quickly.

Amorphophallus conjac

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Garlic

April 19th was National Garlic Day in the United States, and I’d like to celebrate that fact by sharing some. Thanks to Dilo Keith for letting me know of the obscure holiday!

1. The fear of garlic is alliumphobia.

2. Eating it reduces the buildup of plaque in arteries.

3. Consumption also lowers blood cholesterol levels according to some studies.

4. China produces over 77% of global output.

5. The compound known as allicin from crushed bulbs exhibits both antibacterial and antifungal properties.

6. Phytochemicals in garlic are believed to protect against stomach and colorectal cancers.

7. Eating garlic before mosque attendance is inappropriate according to Islamic views as subsequent bad breath may irritate fellow worshippers.

8. Parsley supposedly provides relief from garlic breath, but the reprieve is temporary at best.

9. The purported protection against evil such as vampires may be well known, but there is also a reverse Islamic myth that Satan’s left footprint sprouted garlic in the Garden of Eden.

10. Another name for garlic is “stinking rose” due to its strong odor.

11. All plants in the allium family can cause allergic reactions that range from the uncomfortable and disgusting to the dangerous, such as anaphylaxis.

12. Korean treatment of fermentation of the cloves within their skin creates black garlic that is soft, sweet, and mild (I recommend and have even snacked on the treat by itself).

13. Dating at least as far back as the time the Giza pyramids were built, garlic’s use as food and medicine covers thousands of years and countless cultures. Since that’s probably no surprise, as a bonus I’ll add that the most coveted type today originates in Syria.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday

Eye of the Beholder

The fight started like many others, with innocent mistake. In this case, Marko backed into a table while playing pool. One of two seated women squealed when a drink splashed her. The man next to her exploded out of his chair.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Feel Good Movies

My partner brought up the idea of listing thirteen movies that always brighten my mood. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it turned out to be.

1. Young Frankenstein - endlessly quotable and forever a favorite

2. Top Secret! - a spoof that barely edged out the classic, darker flick, Kelly's Heroes

3. Clerks II - not really better than the original but I made myself choose one of the two

4. Best in show - Catherine O'Hara is just one brilliant comedic star in this

5. Sean of the Dead - genius

6. Joe's Apartment - roaches are actually cute in this outrageous romp

7. Real Genius - another Val Kilmer project, in it he stole every scene

8. Heathers - dark, dramatic, deliciously funny; a must see

9. Beetlejuice - makes me want a haunted house

10. Willow - while very different, this edged out Napoleon Dynamite on my list

11. Dark City - the surprise ending still blows me away

12. Cousins - the love story never fails to put a smile on my face

13. Dodgeball - this was the best part of the vacation during which I first saw it!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Custom Scooters from Japan

I never dreamed scooters could look so cool.  These machines are so low to the ground that it's a mystery to me how they clear the pavement, though.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Helping the Pet Medicine Go Down

I recently had to start giving my cat medication for her thyroid. What a nightmare. Then the vet said she needed half a pill two times a day! I couldn't believe my rotten luck. The single afternoon event had been stressful enough.

Then the veterinary assistant told me about Greenie's pill pockets. Skeptical, I took the sample offered. I figured my cat would chew the soft treat and spit out the medicine.

Was I ever wrong, and thrilled to be! We haven't had an issue since. I just pop the halved pill in the cup shaped treat, squeeze closed the opening with my other hand (we don't want the scent of the medicine on the outside of the treat), and feed the cat. She gulps them down with a vehement and hearty head shake as if she's killing prey!

They also have them for dogs, and I can't recommend them enough. Here's the link to Feline Pill Pockets.

I hope this wonderful product helps you, too, if you're in the same boat.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - The View Outside My Window

1. Snow - it's falling as I type, though it might not be by the time I post this

2. Squirrels - tails fluffed up against the cold

3. One stubborn leaf clinging to the neighbor's tree

4. A tiny, shabby motel - I often wonder what type of people stay there

5. Life size concrete animals - oddly, the neighbor has deer and cows lined up in a row

6. Grey skies - I don't really mind since we're getting the snow

7. Minivans and SUVs - doesn't anyone drive a sedan around here but me? At least I'm not looking at a parking lot, just a few vehicles

8. The road out of town - it's surprisingly quiet for the time of day

9. A mysterious evergreen tree - I've left the volunteer plant because the shape reminds me of something out of Dr. Seuss

10. No vultures - I really miss our summertime flock

11. The neighbor's shed, barn, and carport - really, how much stuff does one family need?

12. A dense line of bare winter trees - we live near a river that hides just out of sight of the vegetation

13. A cardinal - his plumage is a welcome splash of color

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Supernaturally Charged - Tatiana Caldwell's "The Summoning"

NEW RELEASE: The Summoning by Tatiana Caldwell, from Liquid Silver Books.

Everything comes with a price …

Gailyn Bridges is a psychic who is ready to end her troublesome career as a private investigator. For the last time, she summons a powerful spirit to help her close a final case.

However, the mysterious entity who answers, Malak, is no ordinary spirit. He’s more than willing to help Gailyn save the would-be victim of a violent crime.

But who’s going to save Gailyn when Malak returns to collect payment for lending her his power?

Read a free excerpt and buy the book here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Sensual Read by Portia Da Costa ~ "Far From Perfect"

Far From Perfect
FAR FROM PERFECT - Portia Da Costa

Enduring passion, turbulent emotions, and an engagement of convenience…

Anna Felgate and Nick Lisitano shared a night of passion together four long years ago, and even though the sex was perfect, the emotional aftermath and the estrangement that followed were about as far from perfect as it's possible to be. Both strong willed individualists, they've been keeping their distance ever since - even though they both secretly admit that they're still hot for each other. But the best laid plans of estranged lovers never run smoothly, and a crisis in Nick's family brings the two of them back together again. For the sake of his ailing father, Nick proposes a daring plan - a temporary engagement - and even though she knows she's playing with fire and putting her heart in deep peril, Anna is compelled to agree to it.

Can these two former lovers pull off their deception without tearing each other apart in the process?  And will they manage to resist their mutual desire and keep their hands off one another... or will they plunge headlong into an affair, perfect or otherwise?

Read an excerpt

Read a longer excerpt at Google Books

Read an excerpt and BUY from Samhain

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Childhood Memories

Thursday Thirteen – Childhood Memories

1. There once existed lists of my stuffed animals so I could rotate weekly which ones slept in my bed. We wouldn’t want unfair treatment!

2. Same said stuffed animals were often the imperfect ones found at the store. I wanted to make sure they got a home.

3. I remember having a fit in anger during which I threw a favorite book across the room. Then I cried over the broken binding.

4. In all kinds of weather I used to join our dog on the roof of her doghouse for gentle companionship. She never did like being inside.

5. During my teens, my fingernail polish matched each and every new day’s outfit. I still wish I could get that time back for something more productive.

6. When little, a favorite play spot was the staircase of my grandparents’ home.

7. Eating walnuts in my grandfather’s woodworking shop is another favorite memory from that era. He used to sit and talk with me for hours.

8. Squirrels running around in the trees and power lines entertained me for hours. My grandfather taught me patience to the point we could feed some of the squirrels on the porch.

9. Winters at my other grandparents’ country home displayed a vast array of wild birds visiting for a free feed. The background noise of adults chatting as I stared out the window was a soothing sound.

10. A great flood once allowed us kids to use pool floats in the neighborhood streets. Mom was a dear to let us get away with that.

11. My brother used to drive me around in his car and I still remember the neat park road that dipped below the level of a creek. It became impossible to traverse after a particularly heavy rain.

12. Caring for houseplants and gardening with my grandmother taught me a lot, and not all just about vegetation.

13. Snuggling with my dad on the couch, we would often snooze on Sunday afternoons while watching NASCAR. I never saw the checkered flag as often as the start of the races.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Advice from Author Ann Somerville

I decided to share something I think is really interesting to aspiring authors. Now I need to go back to reading it myself!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Key to My Heart - Chapter One

Kyle surprised me by running out of the apartment building at my heels. He actually panted lightly from the strain of running. Then he held up his hand and I saw what made him chase me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday Thirteen - Japanese Snow Monsters

Once again, the website Pink Tentacle offered some spectacular Asian flavored images for me to share. Here are some of the amazing snow and ice sculptures formed around trees in the northern mountainous regions of Japan: