Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It’s a Crock

Irving Naxton was a hero, nay, a saint.  To this day I praise him.  He deserves a shrine, and I’ve made him one, of sorts, in my kitchen.  The icon of his greatness, a shining trophy of fire engine red porcelain topped by domed glass, sits upon my countertop.  Next to it is the holy word writ in large print for my increasingly crappy vision.  Ah, Irving.  Blessed art thou among men, for you grant us gallons of goodness.  From you comes the harvest plentiful, upon which we fill our bellies.  It is you who makes the leftovers fresh again, you who brings forth abundance with which to fill my freezer to bursting with sealable containers of righteous flavor.

Thank you Irving for the slow cooker, aka the Crock Pot.
AKA, Mommy's At The End of Her Rope But Will Still Feed You

Mine never leaves the countertop.  I’m in love with my 6-gallon beast, for which I never begrudge all the space it takes up.  How can I?  It sits there and takes all the stuff I dump into it, transforming it into sumptuous stew or satisfying soup.  At least, that’s what I call these things in front of my family.
You have to love the slow cooker. It’s so convenient.  It’s so easy. I empty out my fridge and walk away for hours to do the important things (like surf the ‘net, watch an episode of Stargate Atlantis, or stare blankly into space because my brain has gotten stuck in standby mode again).  Even better, it makes tons of the stuff that I can freeze and then thaw out when I’m too lazy to use even the Crock Pot.
It’s like Saint Irving looked into the future and saw me sitting there with the typical blank look on my face.  I imagine him saying, “How can I make this useless lump even more uselessly lumpy?  She needs more time to drool.”  And lo, the slow cooker was born.
When I do get ambitious, there is my bible – the slow cooker cookbook – to turn me into a domestic diva.  It has actual edible concoctions with real names:  Buffalo Chicken Chili was on today’s menu. 
Made with the finest stuff found at the back of the fridge.
A thought-out list of ingredients, even healthful sometimes, await my crock’s magical touch.  Sometimes there are even two, count ‘em, TWO bits of directions beneath that list.  Yes, I can go beyond dumping chicken, veggies, and herbs into my cauldron and setting it on HIGH or LOW.  Sometimes I get to add a topping after all the rest has cooked into a goopy, juicy mishmash of now unidentifiable parts.  Let the good times roll. 
Turn off the TV, gang, and come into the dining room tonight.  Mom’s been cooking. Sort of.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sunday’s Serving – Lilith


            Alex automatically prepared her usual breakfast by heating a couple of toaster pastries and microwaving a cup of instant coffee.  Nibbling at her breakfast, she stared out the kitchen window, not seeing the abandoned house decaying creepily across the road.  Her thoughts were far from that eerie sight.
            She mused over Colwyn’s strange behavior the night before.  What had he wanted to ask her but been unable to?  To see such a huge, confident man so unsure of himself fascinated her.  In that moment, she’d almost forgotten his demonic side.  Despite the thrum of his presence,        he seemed wholly human and someone she could genuinely like.  His smile softened his strong features and made the granite face attractive.  Seeing him unguarded like that made her wish for ignorance of his ancestry.
            Her thoughts startled her, and Alex almost dropped her cup.  Coffee sloshed onto the tile floor and splashed her bare toes.  She swore at the sudden burn. 
            She grabbed a handful of paper towels and wiped up the spill almost savagely.  What in the hell am I thinking?  He’s a demi-demon for God’s sake!   

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Random Thoughts For No Reason Except I Have Nothing Else to Write About

Fire is awesome.  I love fire.  If I’m near candles or a lit fireplace or a campfire, I can’t help but stare at the flames.  In high school, a friend and I cut up her yearbook and burned pictures of classmates we couldn’t stand.  It was enormously cathartic.  When I saw those people in person after that, I didn’t despise them quite as much.  The moral of the story is:  set your enemies on fire.  Though I’ll admit that sounds awfully immoral to do.

My favorite place to be is at the beach.  Unfortunately, I am fair-skinned and doomed to lobster-ness after 15 minutes in the sun.  I think this is some bizarre repayment for sins in a previous life.  Or maybe karma knew I would one day burn enemies’ school yearbook pictures and brutal sunburns are the retribution owed me.  Pre-emptive karma?  Hmm.  I like that idea.
People are extreme only in their similarities.  I’ve noted when my conservative friends rant about politics, they sound exactly like my liberal friends.  My atheist friends sound just like my religious friends when it comes to defending their beliefs (or lack thereof).  It’s only the names and the dogma that change.  I sit back and watch them snipe at each other with amusement because they don’t know they sound like each other.  Then I catch myself doing the same damned thing and laugh at me too.  We are all such silly creatures.
My favorite song right now is Rammstein’s ‘Du Riescht So Gut’.  You don’t care.  I don’t care that you don’t care.  And you don’t care that I don’t care that you don’t care.  We are together in this and that makes me feel close to you.  Thanks for sharing that moment with me.
Faux-hawks were in the top three stupidest hair styles I’ve ever seen.  Every time I saw a man with his hair that way, I wanted to shave his head so he could never commit that level of hideousness again.  I wanted to run about in a mask and cape while wielding a razor and call myself ‘The Blade’.  But doesn't everyone?
Strangers, please stop coming up to me and telling me to cheer up and stop looking so sad.  I am not sad.  My face just has that look naturally.  Usually I am in a somewhat pissy mood though, and telling me to cheer up makes it worse.  You’re only contributing to the problem.  Contribute to a better cause: if you want me to smile, give me money.
Every time I hear someone say, “This is America!  If you’re going to live here, speak the language,” I ask them how fluent their Cherokee is.  Then I wonder why I have so much trouble making friends.
I want to require everyone to wear shirts with disclaimers/warning labels written by those who know them best.  Either we’ll never speak to each other ever again after reading those, or they will be awesome conversation starters.  I think everyone will finally leave me the hell alone after reading mine. 
Really, I wonder why I have difficulty making friends?
I think if it came out exactly who is running this country, the everyday U.S. citizen would rise up and revolt.  The common man would get off his apathetic ass and demand a true democracy.  Not me though.  I’m uncommonly apathetic.  Plus I’m already revolting by just being me.  I come with a full package of revolt pre-loaded.
Okay, blog written.  There’s half an hour I’ll never get back.  That’s okay; I never liked that half hour anyway.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday’s Serving – Willow in the Desert


“None shall pass.”

Gordon stopped short as he checked the outer perimeter of Freetown’s painfully bright floodlights, arrested by the amused, chittering voice.  His mouth, pursing out in the beginnings of the proboscis it would become, stretched into a smile.  “Join me at Camelot, good Sir Knight,” he invited with a passable British accent. 

His gaze ducked down as Amanda limped out of the darkness.  She’d tripped earlier in the evening and had sworn fit to impress a sailor.  “How’s that ankle, Amanda?”

“‘Tis but a scratch.”  She dropped her Monty Python tribute.  “Okay, enough geeking out.  I’m okay.”

Gordon made himself look her over carefully.  He was the Becomings’ leader after all.  Leaders didn’t duck their heads and refuse to meet others’ eyes.

Amanda looked as resolute as ever, her AR-15 at the ready.  She looked more like an alien gunfighter than any knight.  Much more alien than human.  At least she still smelled mostly human, soft and sweetly fragrant.

He nodded at the gun.  “Armed for mutant bear, I see.”

“I did a lot of hunting back in Kentucky.  My dad didn’t have any sons, at least none he could claim and not get killed by my mom, so I had to stand in as his hunting and fishing buddy.”

Gordon started to kick sand and made himself stop.  “The fun part about you is finding out new things every day.”

Amanda’s smile was lopsided and a bit shy.  It was a surprise coming from the self-assured woman.  He must have been reading her expression wrong, Gordon decided.  She didn’t do ill-at-ease.

Amanda said, “I figure the more gradual you learn, the less likely you’ll run screaming from me.  If I did the big info dump, you probably couldn’t get away fast enough.”

“Dumps of any sort are usually not a good thing to put on someone.”

She snorted.  “What is it with men and potty humor?”

From her grin, Gordon thought she might be teasing him again, not truly put out by his crass joke.  “We’re gross creatures.  I apologize on behalf of my gender.”

That reminded him that he no longer had a gender, thanks to his transformation.  The thought made him nauseous for a moment.  Not human.  Alien. A monster.  All the humor fled.

Available from Amazon, Barnes &Noble, and Smashwords. You can get it in paperback too.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Presenting ... Mom

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone.  It’s a made-up Hallmark holiday, the kind where we all wake up and say, “Oh yeah...her.  the frazzled, frantic woman with the bleary eyes.  The one whose hair resembles Keith Richards’ because of her constant grabbing the sides of her head in an attempt to keep her brain from leaking out of her ears.  That chick.”

Yes, that chick.  And you know the reason her eyes are bleary from lack of sleep.  You know why her hair looks like an attempt gone wrong to emulate the Bride of Frankenstein.  It’s because of THEM.
The children.
Ah yes, our future.  Our delight.  Our pride and joy.  Those tiny little creatures who make us coo until the commencement of projectile puking that smells way too much like Kraft Parmesan Cheese.  The same creatures who grow into hulking teenage grouches who answer our questions with monosyllabic grunts.  Those people.
Mother’s Day. One day a year to look forward to during which we can expect to get something besides moldy forgotten food beneath the bed, socks stiffened with grime tucked in the least accessible corner of the closet, and piles of underwear tossed in the general vicinity of the hamper.  On Mother’s Day we still get all those things, but we get more pleasant items too.  Dinner in a restaurant.  Flowers.  Cards.  Actual eye contact from our kids. 
Presents.  Gifts.
If this is the day that moms can hope for a reason to skip the dishes and collect some doting regard, it’s also the day that strikes terror for men and older children.  What do you get the woman who carried life in her body, who endured a gazillion hours of labor to bring this being into the world, who works and slaves and provides bail money for her progeny when needed?  It had better be more than the sweat that such a question brings forth in bucket loads.  It’s got to be good, because if it isn’t, the guilt will kill you.  I know, because though I’m a mom, I also have one.  You gotta pay that woman for putting up with your crazy childhood (and beyond).  It’s not like Dad, who you can get away with buying a tie for.  Yeah, he’s done some important stuff too, but it’s Mom that can give you that look, that sigh, that expression of martyrdom that makes you crumble in agony.  Don’t disappoint her.
I could see the panic in my husband’s eyes as this last Mother’s Day approached.  Our son is still young enough that butterflies made of painted handprints on construction paper with a shaky “I love Mommy” crayoned across it will make the other 364 days of mayhem worthwhile.  But Hubs can’t get away with such things.  After all, I carried his son, the boy who will continue his name for posterity.  I waddled about with a 9-pound 6 and 1/2-ounce bundle of Re-Pete in my belly.  I underwent a C-section to release this child into the wild, sacrificing pristine flesh in his honor.  That deserves more than non-toxic paint prints arranged into abstract-like art from the man who did this to me.
The responsibility to adequately show his gratitude weighed heavily upon this poor creature.  He finally broke under the strain.
“What can I give to you, O Goddess of mine?” he beseeched with much tearing of hair and weeping of eyes.  For once, he looked like me.
Okay, so it wasn’t like that.  He has never once referred to me as O Goddess.  I sometimes hear him mutter “Oh hell,” under his breath, and he may be referring to me.  I’ve never been brave enough to ask.
At any rate, the question of what I wanted for Mother’s Day was presented.  And even I was at a loss.  My birthday had just come and gone, with all my immediate retail-oriented wishes granted.  What was I to ask for?
I could have asked for shoes.  I love shoes.  I love shoes to the tune of nearly 30 pair already.  The average woman owns 20 pair, I’ve read.  Okay, so no more shoes (even though I really do need them).
Clothes?  Well, I’ve already taken over most of our closet.  I’ve been eyeballing my son’s closet for some time now.  Come on, do my husband and kid really need to have a place to keep their things?  According to them, they do.  No more clothes then.
A fine, expensive wine?  Ah, I love wine.  And I’m a mom, so it does seem to be one of life’s essentials.  But then again, I don’t want booze to become too essential.  Plus we already have several bottles ready for duty as soon as the kid is in bed.  Okay, no more wine.
Jewelry?  Something nice and sparkly to go with my grim visage as I scrub another stain left by spilled juice?  Something pretty that will draw the eye from my standing-on-end hair?  Something for those moments when I'm yelling about spilling-over garbage, something for my husband to point at in mute testimony  as to how much he really loves me?  Something expensive enough to grant him a 'Get Out of the Doghouse Free' card for every little thing?
Bingo.  And to make it extra Mother’s Day special-y, it was a necklace featuring my son’s birthstone.  Crisis averted.  Another Mother’s Day has been successfully navigated in my household, much to everyone’s relief.
Moms, I hope you had a great day too...and that you get more than one in the year to come.  Plus jewelry.  I hope you get jewelry.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday’s Serving – The Willow and the Stone


                A sudden, sharp knock at the door startled both men.  Before Elijah could respond, the door swung open.  Geraldine Short stood framed in the doorway.
                “I'd like a word with you, Dr. Webb,” she announced.  Her eyes, hectic with blue diamond sparkles, cut to Leo.  “In private, if you please,” she added.
                Both men rose.  Elijah didn’t miss the Native American’s grimace of a smile.  “Hello Mrs. Short.”
                “Mr. Black Elk.”  Her eyes darted away from him, but a responding smile twitched at her mouth.  She peered up at him through the fringe of her hair and her tongue peeked out to wet her lips. 
                Elijah’s eyes widened.  Was she flirting with Leo?
                Leo looked at him, his eyes hopeless.  He tried for a casual tone and almost made it.  “Thanks for the diagnosis, Doc.  You've been a big help.”
                “Any time.”  Elijah felt Geraldine's strange eyes boring into him.  “Make sure you stop by again soon.  I'll want to keep informed on, uh, your situation.”
                “Sure.  Mrs. Short.” 
                Leo gave the Rock’s leader a wide berth as he passed by.  He closed the door behind himself, and she stared at the door as his echoing footsteps receded.  She turned to Elijah, who sat back down behind his desk.
                “Is he ill?”
                “Not really.”  He leaned back, feigning ease.  “Just a recurring condition.”
                “What would that condition be?”
                He kept his voice light.  “Now Mrs. Short, I'm sure you've heard of doctor-patient confidentiality.”
                She crossed her arms over her chest and frowned.  “If it concerns the well-being of the Rock, then it becomes my business.  The United States of America and its laws are only a memory.”
                Elijah adopted a professional manner.  “I assure you, Leo is no threat to the health of the people here.  He's not contagious.”
                Geraldine’s eyes narrowed.  “I wonder, Dr. Webb.  You’re close friends, aren’t you?  Unless Mr. Black Elk heeds God’s mandate, I think any association with such a man could be very dangerous to your health.” 

Releasing newly edited version late July.  Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Giggling Over Uranus


My eight-year-old has hit that magical milestone.  Yes, you know the one all boys must eventually reach.  It’s that wondrous age at which one thinks hineys are hilarious.  The butt of all jokes is ... the butt.

It’s become a routine for us at bedtime now.  He crawls under the covers as I search out tomorrow’s outfit (because neither of us are good in the morning for such momentous decisions).  I find his socks, underwear, jeans, and determine which shirt he will consent to wear.  Then I turn around to discover my son’s Hanes brief-clad rear waving in the air.  Happy giggles ensue the moment he sees he has my attention.

“Say goodnight to the butt,” he cheerfully invites me.

Ah, my son.  The wonder of your usual brilliance has been eclipsed by your moon.

I doubt he’ll grow out of finding such things hilarious.  Men rarely do.  Even great geniuses can’t seem to deny themselves the juvenile thrill that is crack comedy.  A trip to the Sistine Chapel will inform you of that.  The great Michelangelo himself could not refrain from having God moon the pious.

 Now that is a divine derriere.

 It’s only beginning.  I await with bated (and absolutely held) breath for the moment when flatulence becomes the height of wit.  It’s coming.  Heaven help me, it’s coming.  He’s a boy.  There is no escaping it.

Fart humor is why women love romance novels, I think.  Because no male in the real world outgrows the glee of contributing such moments with those he’s closest to.  It’s encoded in their DNA.  So we are subjected to husbands’ and lovers’ delight in sharing their gaseous gifts.


We women dream of a world where the masculine half of the species denies his base urge for funny fannies and the wazoo wit they produce.  No romance or erotic fiction hero gives his beloved the Dutch oven treatment.  He usually doesn’t do anything with his bum except parade its sculpted perfection.  It exudes beauty and nothing else.  We sigh with delight and not disgust. 

My son has begun his journey into the world of real-life men, though.  All I can do is apologize in advance to the significant other in his future.  Honestly, I had nothing to do with this. 

Well, except for the giggling at the sight of him waving his butt in the air.  It is pretty funny.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday’s Serving – Lilith’s Return


 Lilith rose from her seat in the study and stepped over to stand in front of the fireplace.  She’d meant to address her audience several minutes ago, but the stupid little demi-demon Lena had walked into a church.  The shock of where the young woman had gone, that she actually crossed the sanctified space’s threshold, was still fresh. 

Lilith had to afford her enemy’s daughter grudging respect for her ability to enter a chapel.  That someone descended from her bloodline, no matter how watered down, could withstand such surroundings spoke volumes about Alex Williams Lasham’s faith.  The Segreto bitch had somehow transformed profane energy into a child who could negate holy power.  Lena’s immunity to the sacred frightened Lilith almost as much as the church itself.

Lilith had withdrawn as much of her consciousness as possible from Lena while still maintaining contact with the girl’s mind.  She had been swept by nausea and pain nevertheless, and it had taken all her control to hide the agony from the others in her presence.  Finally the hateful little bitch had left the chapel.  After another five minutes of collecting herself, Lilith felt strong enough to take center stage before the hearth. 

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