With great delight, I’m happy to announce my own Red Hats Chapter, #701501, Willie’s Red Hat Women, has reached 1 dozen members making us The Divine Dozen ROSes! And in appreciation for each of my chapterettes, I’m starting a ROSe of the Month drawing. Each month I’ll draw a name from a (red, of course!) hat and that person will get a small gift!
Did I mention Willie’s Women expands 3 countries and 2 continents?! We are spreading joyful sunshine all over the world!
Considering the mental state I was in 2 years ago, I am in a much better place now. Two solid pillars of which are 1. Staying creative and 2. Staying social! With the pandemic, being social took a dreadful hit, but thanks to videochatting we’re able to make MORE friends all over the world. So that is the silver lining in the lingering pandemic cloud.
I accept that my creativity wanders. I know so many want me to get to work on Book #4, but the Muses refuse to cooperate on that front. Instead, they lead me in different directions, like this sporadic blogging (hey, it’s still writing, right?). They (the Muses, I mean) whisper, “order some sparkly yarn/sequin fabric/feathers,” and I utilize them in fun creative ways. And therein lies such a source of joy for myself it can’t help but spill over into the lives of others.
Almost a month into 2021, and I happy and grateful. Stay well and safe, my friends!
I have learned, in the course of 34 years of marriage, to always allow Dave to serve himself FIRST when we’re having anything in a pot like chili or soup.
Because always, without fail, he will leave approximately 2 tablespoons of said chili or soup in the saucepan.
Being raised by Depression-era parents, it was ingrained into my young psyche early that one does not waste food ( full-fledged member of the Clean Plate Club. To this day I still hear Dad command, “Finish that now; don’t let it go to waste.”). So I have a full-blown neurosis about wasting food, to put it mildly.
Unlike Dad, however, I don’t mind if Dave leaves uneaten portions on his plate; that’s fine. My issue is leaving—and I reiterate—2 tablespoons in the saucepan. Why? Why not be sure to get the dregs in the pan? If it’s to fuel my longstanding neurotic tendencies about food, then bravo dear husband! You’ve succeeded.
But, like with everything else (except my joints and bladder), I improve with age. I learn to work around my neurotic triggers, like being sure to empty the saucepan only after Dave has taken his portion.
Working out little solutions like that is what keeps our marriage so happy and my neurosis in check!
Did you know that until the mid-1800’s, there was no differentiation between left and right shoes? This seems odd, especially if you’ve ever carelessly, without looking, slipped a pair of shoes on “the wrong feet.” You can immediately feel the discrepancy.
Not true with socks. You can grab a pair of socks in pitch blackness, thrust your feet into them, and you’re good to go.
Unless you’re my husband.
One morning I watched my new husband dress for the day. He carefully flattened a pair of socks out on the bed, and I asked him what he was doing.
“I’m find which is right and which is left,” he explained.
“But they’re socks,” I pointed out. “There is no left or right with socks.”
“Yes there is,” he insisted.
“But when I do laundry I just grab a matching pair without checking. What if 2 lefts are paired up?”
“I go through the drawer til I find a right,” he said.
I”m not the only to find this odd because, as coincidence would have it, Ann Landers wrote a column about this very thing shortly after this (circa 1986-87). I wish I had saved that column. I was happy to know I wasn’t the only one with a spouse whose socks must go on the right feet.
I was reminded of this recently when I got a free 3-pack of socks (one pair pictured in this post) with words printed across the toes. Now THERE is a case to be made for socks on the right foot, since I’m just neurotic enough that, to switch them out, would drive me nuts.
We all have our own proclivities and idiosyncrasies. They’re what make us unique. Without them, life would be as boring and uncomfortable as wearing shoes on the wrong feet.
And in the case of some people, the same goes for socks.
C. P. Hoff is an author from Alberta whose novel West of Ireland was lsted as one of the Top 100 Indie books of 2020 by Kirkus Reviews! Read on to learn more about this Canadian author.
Where do you get your inspiration? I’m not sure I can say I get inspired from any one place. It can be a line in a song or a poem. It might happen on a walk or when I’m drifting off at night. Inspiration is weird that way. Poetry, though, is probably at the top of my list. It can distil the most complicated feeling in a few words. Breathe a little life into almost any story. 2.How would you describe your writing style? I try to blend dark humour with a wide array of picaresque characters. In the process I tiptoe on the edge of believability. 3. Where can your book(s) be purchased? My books can be purchased on Amazon, Kobo, Apple and Nook. 4. What can we expect from you in the future? Right now I’m working on a story about a little girl raised by her grandmother after being abandoned at the hospital by her parents. It seems to be the right match to carry me through Covid. Keeping my imagination sparking and filling my days with unusual but lovable characters.
C.P. Hoff lives in southern Alberta with her husband, and the child who has yet to fly the coop. She has written for the local paper, which might be impressive if she lived in New York, and if anyone read the local paper. Hoff is presently writing two series. Her novel, A Town Called Forget, was longlisted for the Stephen Leacock Medal For Humour.
Veronica Patterson is the author of the brand new novel, A Family Divided. The blurb reads;
This is a story that lifts the veil and shows you a glimpse of what an Irish family underwent as immigrants. Aspiring to live the American Dream, rivalry between a father and son find themselves on divided lines, fighting for the beliefs and foundation of a country they view from different perspectives and hard truths.
I’m excited to introduce you to Veronica and her debut novel, as she is a distant cousin of mine. Read on to learn more about her and her writing endeavors!
1. Where do you get your inspiration? I got my inspiration as a child. I remember the moment clear as a day. I was very into history and old movies- classics and music. In fact I even had vinyl music ( in the 90s) and I was pretty consistent on listening to classical music and some oldies. I spent my youth waiting to go to the next antique shop, car show or heading to the museums. My Father walked into my room one day and I had hundreds of papers on the floor. He inquired as to what I was doing and I advised I was writing the sequel to ” Scarlett”. I remember he opened and shut my bedroom door a few times. However, his eyebrow went up in the amount of papers I had all around the room. I was one of those kids that academics came easy but my interest was always elsewhere involved in history. Within days my Father bought me a used set of encyclopedias and a typewriter ( I cherished). My Mother got me involved in the museum as a volunteer and we became re-enactors of many era’s. However, I was more interested in the generals of the Civil War and the soldiers and their thinking. In fact, historically I wanted to know everyones thoughts. I loved attending events and talking to the public on battlefields. And I enjoyed reading journals of soldiers and biographies. Well, my Mother ran into some unique family research. My family members moved here from Ireland and after immigrating found themselves on divided lines ( father against son) during the Civil War. I knew very well the conditions immigrants came into. My own family witnessed signs that said ” Irish need not apply”. How hard it was for them to become viewed as citizens. I was quite taken back that a father and a son found themselves on divided lines in such a huge war after the hardships of immigration . It was then ( around 9 years old) in my Mothers presence as she explained the story of our own family, that I decided to write a book based on the hardships of an Irish Immigrant family . And there I was , prepared- typewriter, knowledge and my Mother guiding my interest in history. I wanted to make them proud ( my ancestors) in some fashion that their efforts and what they went through would not be forgotten. That the obstacles they faced to become viewed as citizens would be known. The perfect way to accomplish this was by writing a book- So, I made my own story line to an Irish family I created. It lifts the veil and shows you a glimpse of what an Irish family underwent as immigrants . Sometimes, it takes a story to depict an event in history for people to connect too. Hopefully it inspires people to learn simply from another view.
2. How would you describe your writing process? Disciplined? Sporadic? My writing I would like to believe is pretty disciplined. I know a lot of historical aspects of the way of life during this time. However, since I created the story-line I believe it does become sporadic. I wanted the aspects and perspectives of the time to be known in the book. My Mother always stated ” we need to learn from history so we don’t repeat past mistakes”. Learning about history includes the people of that time and how they viewed things. It’s easy to remember a date something was signed ,or a date a war began or ended. But to define the morale of people in this era is unique and most intriguing. I think it sheds a new light on the immigration that the Irish underwent and obstacles they had to endure.
3. Where can your book be purchased? My book can be purchased on Amazon, Walmart, Barnes and Noble as well as Esquire Publications.
4. Can we expect more books from you in the future? My goal was a novel and it was completed. However, I may turn a page and try my hands at another one. I can’t make any promises but I may focus on the Roaring 20s. I have immense feedback on people interested in this book and it has made me change my own perspective on accomplishing a goal vs. applying your talent to something meaningful in life. History being told is important. In fact it is vital to move forward. If I can inspire one reader to view something in a different light then I made an impact. That is a good feeling. And I may just turn the page to do it again.
My friend Brenda is a true ROSe! She recently told me about a Facebook group she enjoys; Allegheny County Rocks. These nice folks paint a variety of images on rocks then leave their artwork for others to find. Read on to learn about Brenda and her rock-painting.
How long have you been painting rocks and why do you do it? I have only started painting rocks in last 2 weeks. I used to paint rocks years ago, but quit when moved. It makes me feel good to pass along something that may make a person smile or feel good.
Tell me about the rock group you’re in. I joined Alleghany Rocks on Facebook a few weeks ago when I found my 1st rock at the Cancer Center with a pink breast cancer symbol on it. Made my day finding it. Decided then I wanted to pass the joy along.
Are there any specific qualities you look for in the rocks you select? Small, maybe the shape, just what feels right at the moment. I do know not take rocks from rivers & streams. It is illegal. Messes with the habitats of animals. No stealing rocks from landscaped areas. There are plenty of free, usable rocks.
What sort of paint do you use? Acrylic or some use paint markers. I have even seen magic markers used. It is a good idea to seal rocks with a sealant to preserve the artwork.
What do you hope someone feels when they encounter one of your painted rocks? I hope it brings joy, a smile. Some keep the rocks, some rehide them.
I started the year off creating red roses from glitter-infused felt as part of my Be A ROSe! campaign. I’ve got all sorts of plans for how I’ll utilize them, and I was feeling pretty good and, dare I say hopeful, for 2021.
Then, less than a week into the New Year, insanity broke out.
Then, less than a week into the New Year, insanity breaks loose in our nation’s Capitol.
As precarious as a positive mindset can be for me to maintain, this sent me into a gray haze of depression, especially after witnessing divisive communications between some of my own loved ones. I was heartsick.
But no, I won’t engage in polarizing political discussions. I refuse to participate in it anymore because it’s pointless; trying to persuade someone to understand one’s point of view sometimes proves impossible.
I’ll adorn anything and everything I can think of with my roses! I’ll send rose-y cheer to others with an unexpected gift. I’ll happily do my part to be a ROSe for someone else.
So I’m done. Done with negativity. As I take up my sparkly red felt, I remember who and what I am and put everything positive— love, hope, joy and laughter— into each perfect rose 🌹!
I would enjoy cooking and meal prep a lot more if Dave and I could both eat whatever we wanted without risky health consequences.
And if we had a decent kitchen.
Now, far be it for me to start of 2021 complaining, but I have every reason to, as you’ll soon discover;
Despite having to wear masks and social distance and all that jazz, I still enjoy grocery shopping. I befriend the employees and enjoy talking to them. I like trying new products, especially if I have a coupon.
In 34 years of marriage, I have developed a post-shopping system. The most time-consuming part is prepping ground meat (preferably turkey breast) in an electric skillet whilst simultaneously steaming kale and/or spinach. While the steamed veggies cool, I drain the browned meat into a colander positioned over an old quart-sized Tupperware liquid measuring cup.
Here’s where my frustration comes in;
I have NO counter space. Admittedly, I WOULD have SOME, were I not the disorganized slob that I am. But that’s not entirely my fault because my kitchen is horrendously designed.
There’s a lot of wasted space that is too small to serve any purpose other than to rest a folding step-stool in. On either side of my sink jut ancient Formica “countertops” as narrow as 3.5 inches. The remaining 50 inches of counter space is too low and not at an ergonomically proper height. Additional counter space (and cupboards) can be found in the dining room, but it’s awkward to have to go back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room for food prep. The only decent height is the stovetop, so I often place a cutting board on top and do any chopping there.
With that image set up, picture it; Here I am, standing with the colander in the sink, balanced over the 1-quart measuring cup. Experience has taught me that this is the most advantageous way to drain meat.
Carefully I poise the meat-filled skillet over the colander and gently spoon out the browned turkey breast.
But then it happens; a large chunk of browned meat falls out of the skillet, upsetting the half-filled colander. A good portion of meat falls into the sink, ruined. Not only that, but watery turkey juice (at least it’s not hamburger grease!) splashes onto the 3.5 inch “counter top).
That’s when I scream, for the kajillionth time in the 30 years we’ve lived in this house, I HATE THIS KITCHEN!
Salvaging what meat I can, I now have to place my food processor on the dining room table (because, you know, I have no counter space) and proceed to puree the steamed veggies. While the meat cools I bag it up along with a cup or so of pureed veggies, in about 6 or 7 individual freezer bags. After that, it’s clean-up time. There’s no room for a dishwasher in this poorly-designed kitchen, so I wash the dishes in phases by hand.
I hear you ask, so why don’t you remodel? My reply is, I think it’s hopeless.It would have to be completely gutted and re-designed and that would be just too much trouble. I’ve lived with it for 30 years and as long as I can let out my frustrations once in awhile, I can tolerate this stupidly-designed excuse for a kitchen.
So if in the distance you hear a woman scream in anguish about how she hates her kitchen, it’s probably me after a bowl of spaghetti has fallen off a counter top that’s only 3.5 inches wide!
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