Friday, October 19, 2018

I Hope You're Cheating: Fly on the Wall

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 4 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house. At the end of my post you’ll find links to this month’s other participants’ posts.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

I was laying down on the couch and wanted to check something on my laptop. I brought my knees up and balanced the laptop on my stomach, up against my knees. 

And, of course it fell. Forward. On top of my head.

And, of course, Hubs walks downstairs into the room while passing through to the basement and there I lay with a laptop over my face.

He doesn't say a word.

Me (removing the laptop from my face: Nothing?
Hubs: Nothing.

How sweet of him not to embarrass me any more than I already am. 

Three seconds later, from the basement I can hear him laughing his ass off.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

My husband thinks I'm nuts when he catches me yelling at inanimate objects (and he may just be right), but some things just drive me nuts.

We've been having trouble with our internet cutting out lately. One morning we didn't have internet and it didn't seem to be coming back on. I called the company, but that always involves long waits, which just serves to further frustrate me.

I was on hold when one of their incessant recorded messages came on telling me that the wait would be longer than usual (funny how it always is) but I could get immediate assistance on their web site, www. . . To which I began yelling "I. DON'T. HAVE. INTERNET."

Sometimes I may be acting crazy, but sometimes I do have a point.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

Sometimes I think my husband is finally catching up, he did finally actually learn how to text, and then sometimes I think he's still in the dark ages.

I was on my laptop talking about some spam I got recently. It claimed to be from my bank but I was saying that the dead give-away is that the email address it came from was a whole chain of letters and numbers. Definitely not the email address on legitimate emails from my bank.

Hubs: There's a way to know for sure if the email is legitimate.
Me: Like the nonsensical email address it came from?
Hubs: No, wave your mouse over it and see if it's an https or not.
Me: That's for a website, I'm talking about an email address.
Hubs: But if it says https it's secure.
Me: You really don't know how this email thing works, do you.
Hubs: Well it works for me.

Okey Dokey.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

College Boy was home for dinner. I've mentioned it before, his absolute favorite meal is spaghetti with my Hearty Meat Sauce. He saw that I was working on Halloween meals and treats:

College Boy: I have an idea, make spaghetti and have it coming out of a head like brains.
Me: Good try but I did that already a few years ago, my Spaghetti Brains. See:

Spaghetti Brains for Halloween | Recipe developed by | #recipe #Halloween

College Boy: Not the best picture mom, I think you should do it again.

Well, he's certainly persistent (and consistent).

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

Does this happen in your house too? Whenever someone wants something, anything, in the pantry or the refrigerator, "looking" seems to mean just opening the door and then immediately yelling out to me:

Where is the (insert item here)?

I can't find the (insert item here).
Do we have any (insert item here)?
What happened to the (insert item here)?
Are we all out of (insert item here)?

But the one and only thing they're not going to do is actually look.   

Jack-O-Lantern Treat Bowls are easy to make and so much fun to fill and share. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #Halloween
Jack-O-Lantern Treat Bowls

Me: I hope you're cheating on me.
Hubs: Huh?
Me: I said I hope you're cheating.
Hubs: I'm sure this makes sense to you somehow . . .
Me: I just did the laundry and there were about 20 long hairs stuck to your work shirt. Either I'm going bald or you're cheating. I certainly hope you're cheating.
Hubs: Is there a "fifth amendment" option here, or just those two?

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

Hubs gets out of the shower on a Saturday morning and, apparently thinking I'm a weatherman, calls to me.

Hubs: Can I wear shorts this morning?
Me: Sure.

Hubs dresses, goes downstairs, walks out front, comes back in and puts on jeans.

Hubs: It's freezing out there. You said I could wear shorts.
Me: Like so many things in life, just because you can doesn't mean you should.

He was not amused.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

I generally have a pretty decent vocabulary but one Saturday afternoon I found myself at a loss.

Me: Be careful if you're going out back, the next door neighbor is arching.
Hubs: Arching?
Me: Archering?
Hubs: Archering?
Me: Shooting pointy sticks out of a bow towards the big target he has back there.
Hubs: Oh, gotcha.

Does anyone know, is there a word for that?

 Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

A couple of nights a week Hubs has late meetings. On those nights I don't cook, but I do leave his a plate of leftovers from earlier in the week on the counter that he microwaves when he gets home. One night the leftovers were something I felt would not reheat well in the microwave so I stuck the food in the oven and just set a plate on the counter for him, not the norm. He came home and I was sitting on the couch with my back to him. At some point I realized that there was silence in the kitchen. I got up and walked in. Hubs was looking back and forth between his empty plate and the microwave, his empty plate and the microwave. 

Hubs: Ummm. I know I must have done something . . .
Me: Dinner's in the oven. 
Hubs: Phew. So I didn't do anything?
Me: Did you?
Hubs: Can I think about it while I eat?
Me: Just for the record, "no" would have been a less concerning answer.

Fly on the Wall, a multi-blogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

The problem with cold rainy Fall weekends is that couples tend to be stuck indoors. Together. All weekend.

Me: Want to go for a walk?
Hubs (puts on his shoes and a jacket, then sees me still working in the kitchen): You coming with me?
Me: No, I'll watch from the window . . .

Now click on the links below for a peek into some other homes:

Menopausal Mother 
Never Ever Give Up Hope 
Spatulas on Parade

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Jack-O-Lantern Treat Bowls

Printable Recipe

NOTE: 6 small balloons are needed for this recipe
1 package candy melts, your choice of color
1 fruit roll up snack
treats of your choice
1 large package gummy worms

*Rinse the balloons and pat dry. Blow them up to about the width (on the bottom) of the bowls you want to make. I vary sizes. Knot the tops.
*Unroll the fruit snacks. Using a sharp knife, cut 12 small triangles for eyes and 6 ovals or strips for mouths. Set aside.
*Melt the candy melts as per package directions until smooth when stirred.
*Place a piece of parchment paper onto a baking sheet.
*Individually, holding each balloon by the knot, dip each one into the candy melts. Twirl around to coat all sides of approximately the bottom half of each balloon. It does not have to be even, they look better when they're not. 
*Allow the excess to drip off and back into the bowl. Place the balloons on the parchment paper and hold for a few seconds until they stick. Allow to sit for 2 - 3 minutes. Before they set completely, gently decorate with the fruit snack "eyes" and "mouths" then refrigerate until fully set.
*Using a pin, carefully poke a small hole into the balloons and once they deflate, remove them from the bowls. Fill the bowls with treats of your choice and top with the gummy worms.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Poetry Wars

I hadn't set out to do it, the day I broke one of the most basic rules of the sorority of sisterhood: do not play with another woman's husband.

Does it matter that she was there, laughing (out loud, literally) as she watched the whole affair unfold? I'll leave that to you to decide.

In fact, it started like any other lazy Sunday in late September. My boys would both be at dinner that night and I had a new experimental recipe on my mind, one to celebrate the upcoming official beginning of Halloween month October.

Pecan Crusted Chicken with Pumpkin Thyme Sauce, a Fall dinner of crispy baked chicken served with a savory seasonal sauce. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

Pecan Crusted Chicken with Pumpkin Thyme Sauce

I decided to take a peek at facebook and that's where it all began.

"Wait", you're thinking, "it's October. You're supposed to post something Halloweeny, something creepy, something scary. What are you doing posting a confession?"

Creepy? Scary? I'm getting there. Bear with me.

Because what I saw on Facebook, the thing that precipitated this whole involvement? Well let me tell you friends, it was mighty scary.

My friend's husband had posted a picture. One, sadly, I cannot un-see. Now I can describe the picture, but it's best, if you want to truly understand how this all proceeded, that you see it yourself. Click HERE. Go ahead, I'll wait right here.

Did you see it? Guy standing in traffic with his bicycle and wearing a thong. Yes, just a thong. Well, a headband on top and socks and sneakers on the bottom but covering the whole rather voluminous middle? Just a thong.

See? I promised you scary.

Now I could have just laughed and moved on. Probably should have just laughed and moved on, but it turns out that not only had he shared the picture, but below it, Darrell (who is an author, btw, you can buy his book HERE) posted a poem:

He wore a thong outside that day,
he wore it to the beach.
When he walked in front of me,
his butt looked like a peach.
Many of you Most of you All of you normal people would still have laughed and moved on. But we all know I'm not a card carrying member of the "normal people" subset. Where yo might see a funny poem, I see a challenge. So I responded:

He wore a thong outside that day, 
he wore it to the beach.
When he walked in front of me, 
I couldn't help but screech.

He wore a thong outside that day,
it seems with no rebuke.
When he walked in front of me, 
I couldn't help but puke.

Poetry Wars, a war of words | Graphic property of | #humor #funny

Now had it ended there we would not be talking about my transgressions. But it seems Darrell and I agree on one thing, a challenge is a challenge. His turn:

His wife joined him in a thong also, 
I had to tell this tale.
His wife came with an ass my friends,
that was bigger than a whale.

Although I'd already broken one cardinal rule of sisterhood, there's a line and making fun of a woman's butt was not a place where I was going (either that or it just hit too close to home, one or the other). So although I did respond, I kept my eye on the prize (so to speak):

His wife saw him in a thong that day, 
and had to tell this tale,
"Didn't realize, in the light of day,
his butt was quite that pale."

But Darrell was not to be diverted:

He saw his wife in a thong that day,
he'd known that she was large.
He didn't know when he went to bed
he'd been sleeping with a barge.

Maybe he should have been diverted because it seems we'd gone too far. Duh, duh, daaaaa, the wife interjected:

This poem is fiction. My butt is not a barge. But . . . his is pale.

To which I had one final verbal tryst, a warning of sorts to my partner in crime:

When writing poems publicly, 
be clear of whom you don't speak.
Or I'm afraid your sleeping arrangements,
for tonight may be quite bleak. 

And from Darrell to his wife:

I was NOT talking about you!!!

Smart guy. Clearly wants to stay married.

PS: Thanks to Dawn and Darrell for a fun Sunday. And for giving me permission to share this story here on the blog.

PPS: Stay tuned, Poetry Wars, the Sequel (yes, there's a part two) is coming up on this blog next week.

Baking In A Tornado signature | | #MyGraphics

Pecan Crusted Chicken with Pumpkin Thyme Sauce

Printable Recipe

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup flour
1 egg beaten with 3 TBSP water
1 stack (about 30 crackers) Ritz crackers
1 cup pecan pieces
1/2 stick butter, melted

1 cup chicken broth
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1/3 cup orange preserves
1/4 tsp dried thyme
dash of nutmeg 

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 X 13 casserole dish.
*Place the crackers and pecan pieces in a food processor to crush, then place on a plate.
*Cut each chicken breast into equal size pieces. I usually get 3 pieces per breast. You may choose to pound the chicken a little first to make the pieces more unified in thickness.
*Dip each chicken piece in flour, then in the egg wash, then press all sides into the pecan mix to coat.
*Place chicken pieces into casserole dish, drizzle the melted butter over the top.
*Bake for 45 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and the crust is browned.

*Just before the chicken is ready, whisk together the chicken broth, minced garlic, pumpkin, preserves, thyme and nutmeg in a small pot. Heat to boiling over medium high heat and boil, whisking, for 2 minutes. Serve beside or drizzled over the chicken.

Friday, October 12, 2018

A True Horror Story: Use Your Words

Today’s post is a monthly writing challenge. If you’re new here, this is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once. All of the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the recipient will take them. Until now.

Use Your Words, a multiblogger writing challenge | | #MyGraphics

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I'm using: glow ~ fall ~ river ~ hit
They were submitted by Jules of The Bergham Chronicles.

I'm from Massachusetts, for those of you who don't already know. Every time I looked at these words, preparing to write my post, all I could see was Fall River, the name of a town in Massachusetts. I couldn't think of those words separately, perhaps because, coincidentally, they were submitted together and in the same order as the name of the town.

Or maybe it's Halloween I have on my mind. Because, it just so happens, that glow and hit work right into the most famous story that comes out of the city of Fall River. Glow, as in ghost. And hit, as in strike.

Fall River is the city where a young girl lived with her sister Emma, father Andrew step-mother Abby and maid Bridget Sullivan. The house where they lived is now suspected of being haunted. As in most haunting stories, it's the scene of a horrible tragedy. But the story starts somewhere else, with a bit of a different cast, some of whom made it to this home, some who did not.

The little girl was born in 1860 to her parents, Andrew and Sarah. They had 3 daughters, Emma, their first, was born in 1851. Their second daughter Alice was born in 1856. By the time their youngest was born (9 years after their first), in the initial tragedy of this story, Alice had died at the age of one from what was then called Dropsy on the Brain but is now known as Hydrocephalus. Just a few short years after the little girl was born, in the second tragedy of this story, their mother died at the age of 39 of uterine congestion (no idea) and spinal disease.

Two years later, dad Andrew remarried a woman named Abby. Emma was 14. Her little sister not quite 5. The family, well off financially, moved to their new home 9 years after Andrew married Abby. It's said that the girls did not like their step-mother, not calling her Mom or even Abby, but "Mrs.", and believing she and her family were conspiring to get Andrew's money.  

In fact, they were so comfortable they had a maid living on the third floor. Bridget, originally from Ireland, was responsible for the dusting, sweeping, laundry and all of the cooking.

On the day of the final tragedy, in 1892, Emma (41 and still living at home) was out of town, and Bridget (who had been living with them for 2 years at this point) was in her room when the younger daughter (not so young any more but at 32 also still living with her parents) cried out. She had found her father dead in the parlor. It's unclear as to whether it was Bridget or the police who then found Abby dead in her room. 

Four months later, the deceased couple's youngest daughter was indicted for their murder. Six months later, with the support of her older sister, she stood trial and was acquitted of the charges in June of 1893. Ordeal over, the sisters sold the family home and, having inherited from their father, purchased another home in Fall River where they lived comfortably for many years.

The family home where the murders occurred is now a bed and breakfast. Where you can sleep in the room where Abby was murdered, and quite possibly see the glow of ghosts late into the night.

Bridget, after being forced to testify but really having nothing of substance to contribute, disappeared after the trial. Rumor had it that she returned, at least temporarily, to Ireland, possibly funded by the sisters. The next we have any inkling of her was 12 years later in 1905 when she married at the age of 35 in Montana (where she had family). It's believed she never again spoke of the sisters or the tragedy. 

And what became of the girls? They lived quite comfortably together in Fall River for many years. This home too may have been comfortable but it also was not a happy home. Although acquitted, the younger sister was thought of as guilty by most of the townspeople and basically shunned by the community. It didn't help that in 1897 she was accused of shoplifting. And in 1905 Emma moved out and, according to legend, never spoke to her sister again. She died in New Hampshire in June of 1927, coincidentally just 9 days after her little sister died in Fall River.

You know who I'm talking about by now, don't you? Heard the story? Perhaps even spoken about it yourself:

Lizzy Borden took an axe,
gave her mother forty whacks. 
When she saw what she had done,
gave her father forty-one. 

Anyone want to go sleep in her bedroom?

Raspberry Swirl Halloween Cake | Recipe developed by | #recipe #Halloween

PS: I always share a new recipe in my posts, but today I just couldn't pass up sharing one I posted a few years ago, my Raspberry Swirl Halloween Cake. It may not be a new recipe, but I'm technically sharing a recipe so let's not split hairs (so to speak), shall we?
Follow the link to the original post to find the recipe.

Here are links to all the other Use Your Words posts: