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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Meet Midnight

Now, for all you extreme animal lovers,you probably won't want to read this posting.

Meet Midnight, the cat that recently adopted us. I didn't name her - a relative visiting from out of town, who shall remain nameless, gave that name to the cat.

It was early last Monday morning. I was headed for the toolshed to find a replacement coupling to fix a broken hose.  A car-load of family members had driven in (two hours, one way) to give my husband and I a hand with yard chores we hadn't been able to keep up with. Chore of the day were the huge piles of deadwood gathered beyond the pines to be burned. When I released water to the connected hose extended to the burn area, it broke.

I spotted a solid black cat nearby as I approached the toolshed. Thinking it was our current resident, I called out a hello to Sammi. But when it rose and stretched, I saw my mistake. Sammi came to us as a rescue kitten with a stub tail. I never knew the circumstances of that deformity. This cat was smaller and had a long luxurious tail. It followed me back to the group where the cat-lovers there made a big fuss over it. In fact, it followed me everywhere that day, dogging my footsteps and causing me to stumble a couple times.

Now, I knew adding a second cat to our household was a no-no. I tried to ignore it even though it showed much affection toward whomever allowed it in their lap. All day long, that cat remained the center of attention.

Company left at the end of the day, but not that cat. It was right there at my back door the next morning, and the next morning, and the next morning. Entering my house became a battle because that cat was swift to take advantage of the slow-closing screen door. A couple times it slipped past despite my efforts. Then I had to catch it quick and put it out before I opened the door to the main part of the house.

Meanwhile, Sammi, who usually asked to go out and would be through the open door in a flash, got the surprise of her life. When confronted by this strange cat just outside the door, its hissing intimidated our cat who tucked tail and retreated. We resorted to Sammi exiting by the front door until this cat figured that out and managed to play keep-away there also. Would you believe it became necessary to distract the stranger at the back door while my husband let Sammi either in or out at the  front door?

Anyone who lives in the country knows dropped-off animals are a regular occurence - all of our pets over the years have been rescued strays. Don't feed it and it will go somewhere else...right? By Thursday I couldn't stand it any longer...I opened a can of cat food.

For the past three days of steady drizzle,that cat has remained just outside the back door. It perches on top of the wooden box covering the faucet, protected by the roof's over-hang. A whole week later, Midnight is still making its presence known every time anyone approaches the back door. Today an empty box has been set up in the corner for additional shelter.

Please,someone, take this cat home with you.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Thanks-giving Post


Could not let the day end without sharing some of the things I'm thankful for. Many of you have been blessed to spend this day and share a meal surrounded by family and/or friends. For as many years as I can remember, it's been my husband and my custom to drive a hundred miles to be with extended family on this special day.However, this year is different. Because of diminishing health, my husband can no longer make the journey. 

This year we spent our day and enjoyed a simplified Thanksgiving meat at home, just the two of us. Over the years, I've reduced the effort required to prepare our meals. I no longer browse cookbooks or collect recipies. 

But, today I went the extra mile. My day started with the making of a sweet potato pie, using a fantastic recipe given to me years ago by a dear friend from Georgia. Earlier this week, I'd purchased a Cornish hen as a substitute for turkey knowing it would be ample for the two of us. A cup of stuffing made with bread crumbs and an assortment of seasonings filled the cavity to fullness. It provided just enough stuffing for two.

Next came a dish of peas and carrots swimming in Bernaise Sauce. Actually, the sauce was a left-over from a previous meal but made the vegetables just a bit more special.

When I check the pantry shelf, I was disappointed not to find a can of jellied cranberry sauce. This is a staple in our household; we eat it all year round.

I thought about rolls - always keep some on hand in the freezer - but decided it might be a deterrent to dessert.

And so, with a half-glass of wine to wash it all down, we sat and enjoyed our Thanksgiving meal. 

As the day comes to an end, I've come to the realization that attitude is everything. I could have made myself miserable and my husband feel guilty because of changed circumstances. Instead I chose to do what I could to make the day pleasant...and enjoyed myself doing so.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

On Its Way

Well, it's official. My latest work is finally in the publisher's hands. I've chosen to send it toWhite Bird Publications, a mid-sized publishing house that has done such an excellent job on several of my recent releases.

Titled Not Bound By Blood, this novel is about two girls with totally different ambitions who connect in high school and despite sometimes being separated by continents, maintain a life-long friendship.

As is normal for me, this novel doesn't drop easily into a recognizable genre. So it will probably be categorized as women's fiction. Those familiar with my work know I am not a "genre"author. My stories are driven by ordinary characters who experience extrordinary circumstances in their lives.

Also in the early developments is a children's story/coloring book. More about that later.

With Not Bound By Blood on its way, I can now concentrate on a historical figure who captured my attention some months back. Right now I'm in the research stage...no words on paper yet. But soon will come that excitng time when I set about recording the extraordinary life of Belle Boyd, A Confederate Spy. I'm including a link to http://www.biography.com/people/belle-boyd if I've peaked your interest.

Belle Boyd, A Confederate Spy will be the third  fictionalized biography in my series for Young Readers. She  accompanies George Washington and Harriet Tubman...both already completed. Pretty good company, if I say so myself.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

My Choice of Drink


I get teased a lot about my penchant for coffee. I'm one of the lucky ones that can start my day with a cup of hot brew, drink several cups a day, and like to end my day with a steaming cup with none the bad side effects many people experience. Not to defend myself, but only to satisfy my own curiosity, I took a few minutes to look into the product that is such an important part of my life.

Caffeine, I found out, is a naturally occuring drug that is found in coffee, tea, and drugs. Colas have caffeine added to give these drinks a little "zip." Decaffeinated coffee have some of the caffeine removed; they still contain at least 2%. The first decaffeinated coffee was Sanka, a contraction of the French term sans caffeine. A cup of brewed coffee contains up to 180 mgs of caffeine. Instant coffee (which I drink at home) contains roughly two-thirds as much, and teas even less. Noncola drinks such as Mountain Dew contains 53 mgs.

Did you know caffeine is used in aspirins and acetaminophens to enhance their painkilling abilities? When ingested, caffeine's full effects are felt within fifteen to forty-five minutes and leaves the blood stream after five or six hours. The British have it right. The best time of day to have a cup of coffee or tea is at the traditional "tea time." Your body's internal clock is peaking around 4:00 p. m.

Recent medical research has touted some of the health benefits of caffeine. I won't go into the details; you can go to this site if interested: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270202.php Coffee may be protective against type 2 diabetes. Coffee may help control movement in people suffering from Parkinson's; coffee consumption can lower the incidence of cirrhosis of the liver; and drinking coffee in moderation protects against heart failure. 

Now, excuse me. It's time for my nightcap...coffee, of course.