Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Please Pass the Salt

My Mimi Mummy, Still Out Since Halloween
The other day, SO found a new pot roast slow cooker recipe. It calls for an entire packet of dry Italian dressing seasoning, a whole envelope of powdered au jus gravy mix, four tablespoons of butter, and four or five pickled pepperoncinis. Seeing the ingredients laid out on our kitchen island and feeling suspicious, I started reading each packet’s nutritional content.

Holy cow. Agreeing to try the dish before dismissing it outright, I did remark that I feared waking up mummified. Fortunately, the huge chunk of roasted meat came out tasting delicious and I woke no thirstier than normal. In fact, I ate some for lunch the next day.

There is still a lot left. I think it will last us a while for the sake of prudence. Maybe I'll even freeze some servings.

Do you monitor your sodium intake?


Monday, February 19, 2018

Happy Presidents Day!

As SO reminded me, there will be no postal delivery service today in the USA. Knowing me, I’ll forget and check later, anyway. Heh…

For now I’d like to share something cool about President Abraham Lincoln. Maybe you’ve heard about this. It was mentioned on our cat-of-the-day calendar for this date.

When asked about her husband’s hobbies, Mary Todd Lincoln replied with one word. Cats.

Did you know that about Mr. Lincoln?

No Doubt Photoshopped, But I Like It


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Low Tech for the Win!

Of late I have found myself using valuable writing time pouring over and polishing the same words instead of putting down new. Or I’m taking a ‘break’ and nosing about on social media. Yesterday I decided that needed to change.

I set aside the laptop and pulled out my trusty AlphaSmart 3000. Thanks are owed dear friends, talented writers A. Catherine Noon and Rachel Wilder, for telling me about these gadgets. To warn you, their web page is NSFW; like me, they like it spicy. A few years ago I found mine on eBay for under $20! And that included a wall power plug and the cable for transferring data to any computer.

Dead Rechargeable Battery Taken Out, AA's Last for Ages!
Besides not granting Internet access, these babies limit how many sentences you can see at a time. That helps sharpen focus, as well. In fact, I replicate that by shrinking my MSWord and Scrivener document screens as you see below.

Added Bonus, My Inspirational Eye Candy is Visible
By the time SO returned from the grocery store wanting assistance I’d written 1,474 words worth of new story in a few hours. I was one happy camper.

Have you ever seen an AlphaSmart?


Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Rainbow Snippet for February Seventeenth/Eighteenth

It’s time again for more Facebook frolicking alongside the delightful LGBTQ+ writers of RainbowSnippets. Here are six more sentences featuring my pansexual, aspiring rockstar guitarist werewolf. ~grin~ In this scene he takes matters into his own hands after learning his shy friend shares an attraction.

No automatic alt text available.

Story snippet:

Nickolas turned sideways and grabbed Andy’s skull two handed, dragging his head down until their lips met. To Nick’s delight, Andy’s thumbs slid along his jaw, fingers lacing through the long auburn fall at the back of his neck.

Andy tilted his face, mouth opening. Groaning, Nickolas slipped an exploratory tongue inside. They hummed in harmony.

In deepening shadow as the sun set, they nipped and licked at one another's mouths. Nickolas heard a twig snap and jerked back.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Darla's Discoveries - Tips & Tricks for Around the House

Tip #1: Kitchen Cleanup
Mmmm... Lemon Fresh
Welcome, dear reader, to what I hope will be a new and helpful Thursday feature offering various household tips I’ve picked up over the years. Today I will address an aspect of kitchen cleanup.

You are surely familiar with disposable disinfectant wipes. Well, I adore them, and not just for convenience.

You see, during my childhood our mom (rest her blessed soul) wiped down kitchen and dining surfaces using a seldom washed dish cloth. I don’t know if she couldn’t smell the rotten stench (as with skunk, the lucky lady) or was ‘nose blind’. Either way, I didn't refuse the offered cloth when on kitchen duty, for some reason not having the heart to tell her how the thing reeked.

I look back and marvel that we all didn’t die from E. coli or something.

So, years ago this new advancement thrilled me. Of course, in this age of environmental awareness I try to do my part by not cleaning too often and risk flooding our garbage dumps with discarded wipes. You understand; we all make sacrifices for the greater good.

Anyway, containers emptied of cleaning sheets always contain a good deal of liquid remaining at the bottom. I despise wastefulness and subsequently discovered a simple fix you may well already know (my new Thursday feature needed to start somewhere. Heh…).

Anyway, I use paper towels to soak up the remaining solution and continue wiping away. Or, conversely, you can drizzle the liquid directly overtop a large enough countertop so that you don’t have overspill and scrub things up that way.

It feels good getting every last drop out of a product, don’t you agree?


Monday, February 12, 2018

Mixed Blessings and Tremendous Joy

Just to warn my Facebook friends, this has already been shared there. But it seemed worthy of repeating as my busy morning explains why I am not joining in the Positive Sparks Monday blog hop.

Anyway, only I would develop an impacted ear canal during a deadly flu season while my doctor is on vacation. As a result I had to go to an urgent care center. There I spent two hours with a roomful of desperately sick people and had to shell out $100(USD). That stung.

In addition, my social anxiety kicked into high gear again, partly because I was nervous about potentially losing my hearing. Also, I fear catching this flu that is killing my fellow US citizens.

Before leaving I coating the insides of my nose with antibiotic ointment hoping to create something of a germ barrier. Returned home, I washed every exposed surface of skin, put my clothes in the laundry hamper, and sanitized everything I could think of. Paranoid much?

But the staff was great and my ear is better than before (wax was building up for a while, no doubt). I’m ecstatic to be able to enjoy music again. Yesterday and this morning sounds echoed in my head and made me feel claustrophobic.

And now that half my head doesn’t feel stuffed with cotton, my jitters receded. I feel wonderful at the moment, about to get better delving back into my latest WIP. By the way, I write strictly for personal pleasure, which I’ve failed to make clear. So there is no publishing or financial anxiety involved. ~shakes head~ Anyway, I appreciate all the kind words regarding this condition.

Oh, we also have a health savings account (!), meaning the money came from a predetermined, dedicated source. So it could have been much, much worse. The universe is very kind to me, generally balancing out small nuisances with great fortune.

A Random Bit of Hilarity That Cracks Me Up
Back to being serious, I feel bad for all the really ill folks. One little girl in kitty slippers and coughing behind the medical face mask her socially responsible mother put on her made me want to cry.

~raises hand~

Does this influenza bug strike you with fear?


Sunday, February 11, 2018

An Even Better Day

Wow! For the first time in two full weeks I woke with no pointless anxiety. And I believe I have figured out what triggered it. This is probably going to sound strange, but here we go.

My Ongoing Effort to Find Calm
Besides pushing myself too hard to get out every day (though I really enjoyed myself for the most part), I let my joy of writing get carried away. Weird, right?

Let me explain. Thinking of a plot twist, or how a new character fits in the storyline, I almost skip to my laptop sometimes, raising my heart rate with a mild adrenaline rush.

I am certain that what has been termed the ‘lizard’ brain confused my raised heartbeat and perhaps pure intellectual stimulation with a reason to flee. Does that make sense?
My Brain in Plushie Form
In retrospect, creative self help guru Julia Cameron suggests artists channel drama into their creations. Why shouldn’t excitement be the same way? I'll try to keep it 'on the page'.

On a nice side note, I confessed this idea to my SO. Half expecting a scoff, I instead heard, “Oh, no! Writing is the greatest joy in your life!” How’s that for sweet compensation? Meanwhile, I’m gearing up to write today and reminding myself to take deep, slow breaths.

What do you think of my hypothesis?