Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Be My Guest: Valentine Candle Stamping

I wish I had started blogging when my kids were little, there were so many fun projects I would have shared. Including my love of scrapbooking and stamping. A neighbor in our first home got me into scrapbooking. It's a great way to preserve memories with personality. I look at those books now and see not only my boys' childhood, but my own personality in how I chose to decorate the pages, comment on and share the pictures.

I stamped as well, it was a fun way to personalize stationary, birthday invitations, and thank you notes. Stamping has come a long way since my days. Projects are so much more sophisticated.
Today I'm sharing a craft project you can adapt for any season or reason, perfect for decorating your own home or for sharing as a gift. Welcome to the latest in my Be My Guest series of guest posts.

Be My Guest, a series of guest posts by multiple bloggers | Presented by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #blogging

Let me introduce you to Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiments. Melissa is a long time Close to My Heart consultant and she's agreed to share a Valentine's Day tutorial. She's created easy to follow step by step instructions for how to make a stamped candle for Valentine's Day.

DIY Stamping on Candles, pictures and instructions for a fun and beautiful Valentine's Day project by Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiments | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com | #DIY #ValentinesDay

From Melissa:

Did you know you can take any plain candle and decorate it as you desire, to fit any home decor, theme or color preference?

DIY Stamping on Candles, pictures and instructions for a fun and beautiful Valentine's Day project by Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiments | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com | #DIY #ValentinesDay

This candle (on the left) was purchased from the Dollar Tree for $1.  Altering it as you see on the right, makes it a handmade treasure for your gift recipient and only requires a few tools.

To decorate your own candle, follow these four steps:

DIY Stamping on Candles, pictures and instructions for a fun and beautiful Valentine's Day project by Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiments | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com | #DIY #ValentinesDay

STEP 1: Using the "Adore You" stamp set from Close To My Heart, the heart image was stamped on a white piece of tissue paper. Black ink was chosen for this image to allow for coloring it in. However, any color of ink can be used to suit the theme or your preference. Be sure to use scrap paper underneath the tissue paper as the stamped image will bleed through.

DIY Stamping on Candles, pictures and instructions for a fun and beautiful Valentine's Day project by Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiments | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com | #DIY #ValentinesDay

STEP 2: Color your image as desired (still using scratch paper). You can use markers or colored pencils, being careful not to tear the tissue paper. The image does not bleed when colored in although it may appear so here because of my close-up photo.

Once you have finished coloring the image, trim around it with scissors. The cut does not have to be precise but the closer you get to the image the better.

DIY Stamping on Candles, pictures and instructions for a fun and beautiful Valentine's Day project by Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiments | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com | #DIY #ValentinesDay

STEP 3: Gather the supplies needed to melt the image into the candle which includes: image, candle, Craft Heater (can be purchased from Close To My Heart or craft stores), wax paper, and adhesive.

DIY Stamping on Candles, pictures and instructions for a fun and beautiful Valentine's Day project by Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiments | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com | #DIY #ValentinesDay

STEP 4: Use a small amount of adhesive, on the back of the image, to place it on the candle. This will help hold it in place and allows for accuracy of placement. Then take a piece of wax paper, big enough to wrap around the candle, and hold it securely where the image is located. Allow the craft heater (which does get very hot) to warm up and then wave it over the image quickly. You will be able to see as the tissue paper and image melt int the candle.

Do not hold the craft heater over the stamped image, nor the candle, for too long or it will melt more than desired. Do so just enough for the image to set into the candle.

Once you think you have melted the image into the candle, carefully remove the wax paper. If you did not heat set long enough, you can wrap it back up and apply more heat.

DIY Stamping on Candles, pictures and instructions for a fun and beautiful Valentine's Day project by Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiments | Featured on www.BakingInATornado.com | #DIY #ValentinesDay

When you are finished you will have a decorated candle that looks much better than the one you started with, don't you think? You can add ribbon or bling to pretty it up. Isn't this too fun? It istruly this easy and took me about 5 minutes to decorate this candle.

I hope you have enjoyed learning how to stamp on candles. I would love for you to follow me on social media where I can show you how to use various papercrafting products to create other beautiful homemade projects that you and others will enjoy.

About the author:
Melissa is a Texas wife, Professional Development Trainer, and has been a Close To My Heart consultant for over 18 years. She enjoys scrapbooking and stamping with friends and sharing her artistic adventure with others.

For more great project ideas, see her blog: My Heartfelt Sentiments 
and her website Melissa Robinson Close To My Heart
be sure to follow her on Facebook: Close To My Heart Independent Consultant,
on Pinterest
on Twitter,
on Instagram,
and join her VIP Group.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Funny Friday: Thar She Blows

Today’s post is this month’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

Funny Friday: One picture, Five Captions | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Dawn of Spatulas on Parade:

Funny Friday picture challenge, one picture 5 captions. | Picture by Dawn of Spatulas on Parade | www.BakingInATornado.com | #humor #funny

1. Cop to no one in particular: Thar she blows. I always wanted to say that. Somehow it's not as much fun as I thought it would be. Maybe I needed an audience.

2. Cop to himself: how much you wanna bet I get blamed for this?

3. Cop, yelling out loud: Hey kids, grab your bathing suits, it's a hydrant party!

4.Water utility worker to himself: Now what page in the manual tells me what to do about this?

5.Water utility worker to himself: Damn, I was hoping that would be oil. I always wanted to be Jed Clampett.

And now for something yummy: 

Crockpot Pork Roast with French Beans and New Potatoes, an easy slow cooker full meal for any night of the week | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #crockpot #dinner
Crockpot Pork Roast with French Beans and New Potatoes
Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:

Spatulas on Parade 
The Bergham Chronicles
Southern Belle Charm  
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy 
Cluttered Genius


Baking In A Tornado signature/logo | www. Baking In A Tornado.com | #MyGraphics

Crockpot Pork Roast with French Beans and New Potatoes

3 - 4 medium sized new potatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced
2 1/2# boneless pork sirloin roast
salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder to taste
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
2 TBSP soy sauce
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
8 oz cleaned and trimmed French Beans 
*Spray your slow cooker with non-stick spray. Place the potato slices in the bottom. Cover with almost all of the onion slices.
*Clean and pat dry the pork roast. Sprinkle all sides with slat, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Place on top of the onion slices.
*Mix together the vegetable broth, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and red pepper flakes. Pour into the crockpot. Top the roast with the remaining onions, sprinkle with paprika and cover the slow cooker.
*Cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce temperature to medium and cook for 4 hours. Flip the meat over. Add the French Beans along the side of the roast and cook for one more hour or until the roast is fully cooked.
*Slice the roast. Serve with the potatoes and vegetables. Lightly drizzle with the sauce.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Take Aim. Chapter Three: Disarm

Welcome to Take Aim, our latest progressive story project. Each time I start one of these projects I'm like a kid on her birthday. Each time the story returns to me is like opening a gift. I tear the wrapping off with anticipation and thoroughly enjoy each submission.

But I am also aware, as we work our way down the list of writers and through the heart of the story, that the end is coming. It's met with both anticipation and a bit of melancholy. Because I fall in love with these stories, these characters, and their journeys.

But today is that day. Again.

Progressive Story Project, one piece of fiction written by a group of bloggers, each contributing to but not controlling the story | Presented by www.BakingInATornado.com | #blogging #collaboration #MyGraphics

Take Aim, like the other of these projects, took on a life of its own. That's the point, after all. Distinctly different voices come together and ultimately compliment each other in pursuit of one simple goal, to share a story. Today it's my pleasure to share the finale of Take Aim.

Take Aim, a Progressive Story Project, one piece of fiction written by a group of bloggers, each contributing to but not controlling the story | Presented by www.BakingInATornado.com | #blogging #collaboration #MyGraphics

Before you start, be sure to read 
Chapter One: You Can Run 
Chapter Two: Clear Sightlines.
And now on to Chapter Three.

Take Aim.
Chapter Three: Disarm

The interview with Mike went surprisingly well. Despite having creeped me out at first, he seemed like a genuinely good guy. He obviously had a solid business model going at the cafe. They served breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch on the weekends. They stayed open on the nights that coincided with big sporting events. The place had a family friendly atmosphere, and from what I was able to gather, the staff was like a family. This could be just the job I needed in my life. Of course, there was no telling for how long I would be here.

Over the last five years, the shortest time I had spent at a new "home" was under a week, and the longest was just over six months. As much as I hated moving, I prefer staying no longer than three months. Usually around the third month, my sense of safety was all but gone and I started sleeping poorly. My (justified) paranoia would be on high alert, and my friendships with those around would begin to suffer. It was when this started happening that I always felt it best to move on.

The hardest move had been from Westwood, Massachusetts. That was the place I had stayed for a bit over six months. There, I had lived in a nice home, renting a basement apartment from a wonderful lady named Rosemary. Around the third month, I had opened up with her a tiny bit about my past. Not enough to put myself (or her) in any danger, but enough to give her an idea of why I was the way I am. Leaving her behind had been hard, but it had been necessary. I had gotten a glimpse f Matthias as he was heading into the hotel down the street from the small bookstore I had been working at.

I had excused myself from work, claiming I was sick, and I had gone home and packed. I was gone from Rosemary's home within the hour. I hope she realized how much she meant to me, and how much I had enjoyed our time together. She had been a fabulous landlord, and a friend.

I shook my head, returning my thoughts back to the present. I was waiting for Mike to bring out some paperwork for me to sign. He mostly needed help for the dinner shifts, especially on the nights where they featured sporting events in the bar area. I had gained a lot of experience waitressing over my years of studying at Berkeley. Over these past five years, I had gained more experience, and even gained some bartending experience.

As I sat looking around the warmly decorated cafe and bar, I felt myself relaxing. Yes, this was going to be a good fit. At least for my time here in Aspen. How long that would be, I had no clue. As I glanced toward the back of the house doorway, I saw Mike emerge, a stack of papers in his hand. He really was a handsome guy. He looked strong and solid. I bet his wife was grateful to have such a strong man at her side. Hopefully she never felt the brunt of his strength. I shivered slightly and plastered a smile on my face.

"Okay," Mike said, as he sat back down next to me. "Here are all the papers I told you about. now, I pay in two ways. You can receive a computer generated check once every two weeks, or I can pay you in cash weekly. Now if you take the weekly cash pay days, it is entirely up to you to keep track of your earnings and pay your owed taxes. Tips are another thing entirely. You will keep any cash tips you are given. Any other tips you are given, whether they be added on to debit and credit purchases or they are shared between you and a co-worker, you will receive in cash weekly. Again, it is your responsibility to keep track of them."

I nodded my head and smiled. This was going to be perfect. If I was able to be paid in cash, that would be less of a paper trail leading to me. Maybe I could even manage to stay here for six months again. I listened intently as Mike continued on explaining exactly what each paper was, and what was expected of me. 

For two weeks, work at the cafe went without incident. Each day I came in, put on my apron, and smiled at the customers. Many were regulars, but several were just "pass throughs" visiting the town for tourism. It was a breath of fresh air to be Rachel, unknown to anyone else, and to create a new persona for myself.

Harriet and Mabel had even begun to grow on me. They continued to bring me goodies while jabbing each other in the ribs. I continued to throw them out but looked forward to the giggles their interactions with one another would create.

As the days wore on and I began to settle into routine, I found myself feeling more and more comfortable with Mike. He was kind and strong. He made me laugh, and I could tell that he didn't worry about my pasted. He was interested only in my arrival to work on time, my ability to wait on customers, and my willingness to come back the next day. That's why, when he said it, I wasn't prepared.

"So, uh, Rachel," he stammered, "any chance you're gonna let me take you out this weekend?"

I was shocked. I was certain he was married. As stable as a guy that he was, he was bound to already have someone laying claim to him. But he was so handsome. And so kind. I couldn't resist.

"I would really like that," I said, eyes focused on the floor. "Where should we meet?"

"I'd love to pick you up," he offered. "Can I come to your place and get you?"

This caused me to pause. Coming to my apartment would mean potentially running into the Dizzy Duo or the judgemental British couple. I shook my head.

"No, lets just meet here. I think that'll be easier. My neighbors are - um - a bit meddlesome."

As expected he didn't argue. Just smiled and nodded with an "OK then. Let's meet here Saturday at 9. You aren't working that night, but I do need to close up."

The next few days actually dragged. I felt flutters every time I saw him, but he didn't make things strange. He went on with a business-as-usual attitude (which really made me like him more). I found myself daydreaming instead of listening to customer orders. I stumbled a bit if I caught Mike's eye and almost dropped trays of food. I couldn't believe I was letting myself behave this way.

Finally, Saturday night arrived. I quickly swiped my eyes with mascara, put on a basic but classic pair of jeans and blouse, and pulled my hair into a ponytail. There was a knock at my door. I knew he wouldn't just wait on me at the cafe.

I pulled the door open quickly and with a laugh said, "Mike! I told you I'd meet you at the cafe."

But Mike wasn't the person in the hallway. It was Donny Donut, and he wasn't holding flowers.

Kimberly of When I Grow Up

I closed my eyes and shook my head quickly. Was I dreaming again? Did I dream up the fact that Mike was interested in me? How was this possible. When I opened my eyes, Donny was still standing there, holding a pipe wrench with both hands. I was ready to let out a scream, when he sopke.

"The Gambinos said there's a leak up here."

I could feel the color draining from my face. There was some big misunderstanding here and I wasn't sure I could talk my way out of it.

"I, uh, am not sure . . . " is all I managed to get out.

Donny pushed his way in. "I'll just have a look-see then."

I flinched, sure that the pipe was going to be connecting with my head, but to my surprise, Donny walked past me and headed to the bathroom. I stood dazed for a moment, then curiosity got the best of me and I went to peek in the door. Donny had his head under the sink, then abruptly stood up. "We have a situation here. I'll have to shut off your water until it's fixed.:

"Oh," is all I managed to squeak out. Then I started to laugh. Donny looked at me rather oddly, but I couldn't stop.

"It may be a few days," he said. "You won't have any running water in the apartment. I can talk to the landlord about pro-rating your rent so you can stay somewhere else."

"Thank you!" I said, a little too enthusiastically. "I thought . . . never mind. That a very kind of you."

Donny left and I realized the time. I was more than a half hour late for my date with Mike, it was almost 10! I called the cafe but ther was no answer. We had never exchanged cell phone numbers. We had no other way to reach him. I hurriedly grabbed my purse and headed out the door, hoping that he would still be there.

I got to the cafe and it was dark. I stood out front for a moment, wondering what I should do next. I turned to head home when I heard a soft, "Hey, Rachel." I turned and Mike was there. "You made it."

"Yeah, sorry I'm so late. My super showed up about a leak just as I was about to leave. I was so afraid -" I stopped, thinking of what Mike might think about me if I told him the rest, how I thought my apartment super was a Mob hitman. Then it occurred to me, the man with the pipe was too familiar. Where did I know him from? I would have to ponder that later.

"Afraid of what?" Mike asked gently.

"That you wouldn't have waited." Well, that was true too, but not a truth I really wanted to share right now. Then as the thought struck me, "You waited almost an hour for me to show up?"

Mike shifted uncomfortably, "Well, not exactly. You see I live here." He pointed to the windows above the cafe. "I saw you standing here through the window. Are you still up for going out? I don't think anyone is still serving food, but we can get a drink."

"Sure," I said and we headed down the street.

and me!

Yet again I find myself frantically packing my boxes. 

It was bound to happen. It always does. Interrupted is my new normal. 

But this was fast. One dream of a threatening man wanting to take what he thinks is his due is usually enough, but I pushed it this time. I stayed. I hoped it was not a premonition, just fear. But seeing "Donny Donuts" in the super? I didn't have time to think about it last night. Or this morning as I went to work pondering where I could relocate temporarily until the water was back on. But I know now that Matthias really was close, my subconscious knew it. My subconscious was screaming it.

Did I really see him out the window of the diner this morning? Doesn't really matter. My instincts are now demanding that I take action. There will be gossip, no doubt about it. In mid-shift I walked out the kitchen door, through the alley and cautiously made my way back here. Relieved to find my apartment empty, to be able to pack without having to explain myself to the super. Pack. Run. Send for my belongings and send them from one place to another to mask where they're ultimately going . . . when I decide where that is. 

My nerves, once again on edge, I take a last look back as I open the door to my tiny apartment and I jump back, startled. There in the tiny hall is a wall of people. My neighbors Harriet and Mabel, Mike and all of the staff of the cafe, the chief of police, the sheriff, the district attorney, all of whom I'd gotten to know at the cafe. There is my landlord, the owner of the hardware store. The whole town standing at my door.

"Dear" begins Mabel.
"It stops here" Mike continues.
"We're small town people but we're smarter than you think" Police Chief Jacoby this time, "there's a young man in town asking for Julia . . . "
County Sheriff Marco: "but he's describing you."
"Whatever brought you here, whatever is making you run, it ends here." District Attorney Harbor.

My mind returns to that dream. Matthias is not actually Donny Donuts and wedding vows or not, my life is not a debt I owe to him. And yet, exactly like that dream about Donny Donuts, Matthias is a real danger. Not just to me but to all around me.

As I look at them all I know something else too. It's been 5 years, countless towns, no relationships, no connections, no meaningful life. No one can take aim at my life unless I let them. I can continue to be the silhouette on that paper or I can stop being a target. Only I can disarm the hunter.

"Come in" I find myself saying to more people than could comfortably fit in my tiny living room. And when what seems like the entire town is standing shoulder to shoulder in my apartment, I shut the front door, lean my back against it, look at them all and finally, finally, speak my truth.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

PS: Domestic violence is not fiction, it's a fact. That stark reality left a personal mark on my heart this past year when, for the first time ever, I feared for people I knew. Safety should not be a goal some of us must strive for, it should be something we can all take for granted. If you are in a compromised situation, there is help. There are hotlines and shelters and legal clinics. It's free. Leaving may be hard, may even be terrifying but please reach out within your community. Trained professionals are waiting to take your hand. Be safe.

I'd like to thank again the talented bloggers who worked so hard to make this cohesive piece of fiction come together. I highly recommend you visit their blogs and see what else they have to share:

Diane of On the Border
Rena of The Diary of an Alzheimer's Caregiver and The Blogging 911
Tamara of Confessions of a part time working mom
Dawn of Spatulas on Parade
Sarah of Not That Sarah Michelle
Jenniy of Climaxed
Jules of The Bergham Chronicles
Lydia Cluttered Genius and Simply Brilliant Studio
Kimberly of When I Grow Up
and me!

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Like He Doesn't Even Know Me: Fly on the Wall

Welcome to a monthly Fly on the Wall group post. Today 9 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 | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

I was working in the kitchen but had the TV on in the den. I had been watching a show called Flipping Boston. Hubs comes upstairs and is walking towards the kitchen when he stops.

Hubs: Sign a penis?
Me: What?
Hubs: What the hell are you watching?
Me: It's a house flipping show based in Boston.
Hubs: Why did that guy just ask that couple if they wanted to sign a penis?

I walk over to see what the heck is going on. Then it dawns on me that the Real Estate Agent was talking to buyers.

Me: P&S. Not penis. He wants them to sign a P&S, purchase and sale agreement.
Hubs: Oh, OK. Carry on . . .

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Seems Hubs doesn't really know us at all, PurDude and I. Both PurDude's BMW and my Acura are part of that giant airbag recall. We've been waiting forever and I honestly don't like the idea of PurDude's car being unsafe. We got a notice from our local dealer that they had a replacement part for PurDude but Hubs had to call the dealer in Lafayette as that's where the car is. He assured Hubs he could get the part, but every time PurDude called to make an appointment he got the run-around. So I had Hubs call again.

Hubs: OK, they have the part and I made an appointment for Saturday at 10:00 am. Let PurDude know.
Me: Seriously? 10:00 am? On a Saturday? He doesn't get up before 2:00 pm. He's not going to make that.
Hubs (exasperated): Then tell him to change the appointment himself.

Hubs calls me back 20 minutes later to tell me he called the Acura dealer and they have the part for my car too. He made me an appointment for 9:00 am Friday morning. Really?

Seems I may get a teensy bit sarcastic when I'm aggravated. Now I've got to call the service guy back too.

Me: Yes, I hope you can help me. I'm calling because my husband made an appointment for me at 9:00 Friday morning. Really! Nine o'clock! In the morning! I mean, it's like the guy doesn't even know me.

And when the service guy finally stopped laughing, he changed my appointment.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

While PurDude was home over holiday break, the whole family spent one evening watching a Purdue basketball game. 

I feel bad for PurDude, he's a huge football fan but for the three years he's been at Purdue, their football team has sucked.

But basketball's another story. And when your team is good, they're so much fun to watch.

We were watching and PurDude didn't like a call:

PurDude: What the fuck?
Hubs: Hey, watch your language.
Me: Yeah, don't use any of those words your mom uses on a regular basis.
Hubs: I'll tell you to watch your language too.

So he doesn't know me AND he doesn't hear me.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

While we were watching the game, there was a commercial for Purdue. Towards the end of the commercial was a professor.

PurDude: I had that professor. I liked him.
Me: Oh? What did he teach?
PurDude: Discrete Math.
Me: Descrete math? What's that? Like as opposed to indiscreet math?
PurDude: Yes, like relationships. You know, math and sex.
Me (blinking furiously, or maybe twitching, hard to tell): You're kidding me.
PurDude: No, I took Discrete Math. I had to for my major.
Me (mumbling to myself): I need to cancel payment for next semester. This is not what I thought I was sending him to school for.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

College Boy and I were doing an errand and I was happy because I finally had the radio back in my car. We'd had a new battery put in and when I went to turn the radio on, it insisted I needed to give it my code. I didn't have one.

Hubs found the code and I had my music back. An Evanescence song came on. I love Amy Lee's voice and hadn't heard one of their songs in a long time. I was, of course, singing at the top of my lungs. 

I look over and College Boy was making an "I smell a fart" face.

Me: What?
College Boy: You are stinking up this song.
Me: Gee, thanks.
College Boy: I wasn't going to say anything.
Me: And yet you did.
College Boy: Don't you put this on me. You asked. 
Me: Well, you were making a face.
College Boy: I couldn't help it. Ever heard of involuntary muscles?

Cinnamon Cheesecake Snack Squares, cinnamon cereal coated with a nutella cheesecake mixture, dusted with cocoa and powdered sugar for a delicious snack | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #snack
Cinnamon Cheesecake Snack Squares
Cinnamon Cheesecake Snack Squares, cinnamon cereal coated with a nutella cheesecake mixture, dusted with cocoa and powdered sugar for a delicious snack | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #snack

Once I'd stopped singing in the car I noticed that, in tiny increments, College Boy's window had been going down. It's winter and it's freezing.

Me: What are you doing? Trying to freeze me out of the car? I stopped singing.
College Boy: My new med seems to me making me a bit gassy.
Me: Well look whose turn it is to make an "I smell a fart" face now!

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

I hate finding spiders in the house. Especially in my bedroom because those things are stealthy and I sleep in that bedroom.

I was half asleep early one morning when I got up to go to the bathroom. There I sat when, across the room, I see a black spot on the bathroom floor. Panic.

I finish up rather quickly, grab a piece of toilet paper, pounce and snatch up that piece of sock fuzz like a champ.

I hate that I'm getting older and my eyes suck. Almost as much as I hate finding spiders in the house. Real ones, that is.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

It was New Year's Eve and we were all in rare form. I'm not saying it was the champagne, but that may have had something to do with it.

I kept saying to myself "I need to remember this for Fly on the Wall" and "oooh, another good one for Fly on the Wall."

Then I realized that there was no way I'd remember it all. I'm not saying it was the champagne, but that may have had something to do with it.

My laptop was sitting across the room so I thought I'd pop over and type out a few words that might jog my memory when there was less champagne making my brain float.

I opened the laptop, put my fingers on the keyboard and . . . nothing.

College Boy looks over and sees me there. Walks over to me and whispers "I know exactly what you're doing. And exactly why you can't do it. And champagne has nothing to do with it."

And since I know him as well as he knows me, it was clear he was making a crack about my age.

On New Year's Day did I remember any of those funny conversations? Nope. Did I remember College Boy's commentary on my age? Yup!

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

PurDude was offered a summer internship by Honeywell. I was and am both proud and heartbroken. It's 5 hours further away from home.

While he was home this past month, we had to discuss his work schedule. They told him to let them know when he'd be available. Over the holiday they emailed him asking for his dates. We worked out a start and end date that would allow him a short break after school ended and before school starts again.

Me: Did you email Honeywell your schedule?
PurDude: Yes.
Me: Did they respond? Are the dates OK? 
PurDude: It'll be quite a while before she gets back to me.
Me: Really, I assumed when they emailed you asking for your dates that they were anxious to set it up.
PurDude: She sent me an automated response saying she'll be out of office until Jan 3, 2917. So she should get back to me in about 900 years.

Fly on the Wall | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Over Chanukah the boys were asking me about my menorah, wanting to know where I'd gotten it. I had bought it in Israel.

They were telling me that they had seen a couple of menorahs for sale at Walmart. I was shocked. I've never seen Walmart carry anything related to a religious holiday that isn't Christian.

College Boy: There were 2 different menorahs. I saw the boxes. The thing is, one was correct, with 9 candle holders. The other one only had seven.
Me: The one with seven was a Kinara for Kwanza. 
College Boy: But the box said it was a menorah for Chanukah.
Me: I'm guessing Walmart had their menorahs made in China. 
College Boy: Or maybe they were being considerate. Chanukah for people in a rush . . .

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Cinnamon Cheesecake Snack Squares
Printable Recipe
6 cups Cinnamon Life or Cinnamon Chex cereal
1/3 cup nutella
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 TBSP butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 TBSP baking cocoa
1 tsp apple pie spice

*Microwave the nutella, cream cheese and butter for 30 seconds. Whisk. Continue to heat and whisk at 10 second intervals until the mixture is completely smooth. Whisk  in the vanilla.
*In a large bowl, pour the nutella mixture over the cereal. Mix gently until the cereal is covered. Put the cereal into a sealable plastic bag. 
*Mix together the powdered sugar, baking cocoa and apple pie spice.
*Pour the powdered sugar mixture into the bag, seal, and gently manipulate the bag until all the cereal is covered with powdered sugar.
*Lay the cereal out onto parchment paper on the counter until dry.
*Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Take Aim. Chapter Two: Clear Sightlines

I want to welcome you back to our latest Progressive Story Project. Take Aim, our fourth project, is another single cohesive piece of fiction written collaboratively by a number of bloggers. Each writer takes a turn, building on what's been constructed by the authors before them and adding their own voice and perspective to the story. Sound like fun? It is. Both to write and to read.

Progressive Story Project, one piece of fiction written by a group of bloggers, each contributing to but not controlling the story | Presented by www.BakingInATornado.com | #blogging #collaboration #MyGraphics

I started this story having no idea where it would go. Each time it returned to me, I read the newest submission with awe. It has taken on a life of its own. With twists and turns the story is coming together. The protagonist is taking on a persona. The story is building.

As always, I've identified the writer and provided a link to their blog before each section. Be sure you stop by their blogs and see more of what they have to share.

Before you start today's chapter, be sure to read Chapter One: You Can Run. And now on to Chapter Two.

Take Aim, a Progressive Story Project, one piece of fiction written by a group of bloggers, each contributing to but not controlling the story | Presented by www.BakingInATornado.com | #blogging #collaboration #MyGraphics

Take Aim.
Chapter Two: Clear Sightlines

"So this is where you are trying to tuck yourself away? he began. "I thought I made myself clear the last time we spoke! You can run, but you can't hide. Time to pay up, honey!"

Holy crap! I honestly thought I'd gotten rid of the mob for good after my plastic surgery last year. My face looks completely different, I have cut and dyed my hair. I lost 20 pounds, and not only did I modify my appearance, I changed my name! How could they have tracked me down this time?

"Let's not do this here" I said. "I was just heading out, so walk with me!"

There was no way I was going to invite that man into my apartment, and I was definitely not getting into a fight in the staircase. Especially not in this building!

Just as I was grabbing my keys, phone and purse, I heard steps approaching from the lower floor. I felt trapped, but something told me the welcome wagon was the least of my problems right now.

Donny Donut walked down a few steps ahead of me so he was the first to encounter my other neighbors, an elderly couple very elegantly dressed, British as it turned out judging by their accent.

"My, our landlord didn't tell us there would be a boyfriend" they started. "We do hope your intentions are serious and you will make an honest woman out of her. We do not approve of ever changing fellows coming to our house!"

If only they knew about Donny and his fellow gangster's intentions . . .

A truck in the alley below backfired and scared the beejesus out of me. I almost jumped completely out of my skin, and did jump off the mattress on the floor. Good land! What a nightmare. So much had happened since moving to this tiny place, add to that the weirdos in the building AND that meatball sub mixed with the 1920's gangster movie late last night had had an adverse effect on my subconscious.

Yes, I had lost weight, cut my hair, changed the color and even changed her name, but owning the mob money?! Never! I was much too frugal and sensible for that nonsense.

I walked through the den of boxes and found a towel and my shampoo and was heading to the shower when my cell rang. Who the heck? No one had this new number . . . oh wait, I had put in some applications so maybe, just maybe, it was a job interview.

I answered the phone, "hello, Rachel speaking." That still sounded so strange. The voice on the other end said, in a much too cheery voice, "HI Rachel, so glad to have caught you, this is Mike over at the local cafe. You came in yesterday, remember, of course you do" he ran on, "so I was wondering since you look like you might be a regular if you'd be interested in a job?

Wait . . . what? "How the hell did you get my number?!" What are you, some kind of creepy stalker?!

The line was silent. Mike cleared his throat. Ugh. I apologize. That, well, no I'm not a stalker, but I am friends with your landlord and I kinda asked a few questions about you. SO the cat's out, I need help, you're new to the area and need a job. With that being said, are you interested?"

I started to hang up, but I really did need a job. I cleared my throat sighed and said "you know what Mike, I'm sorry, I'm a little on edge. I tell you what, I'm about to hit the shower so let's say I'll come over and talk to you about this "job" in . . . let's say an hour?"

Mike responded much too quickly "YES! Ugh I mean that will be fine, thanks and I'll see you in an hour." he hung up.

This may not be a good idea, I thought as I stepped into the shower but I needed something and it was a start.

I walked into the cafe an hour later, fully expecting the worst. I needed this job in the worst way, but I couldn't shake this feeling that something big, something major way about to happen. The feeling of uneasiness is something I've become familiar with, but one I was anxious to kick.

Stepping up to the counter, I asked the young lady if I could speak with Mike. From the kitchen area came a man who looked so familiar I forgot how to breathe. Standing at just over 6 feet, with dark hair and features, he was shockingly handsome. There was something about him, something  . . . mysterious yet familiar.

"Rachel! Thank you so much for coming and I apologize for the confusion," Mike said with a rich, baritone voice that held just a hint of an Italian accent. It sounded so familiar, the memory drifting to my mind from the dream last night. Donny Donut! That must be why I dreamt of an Italian mobster last night! I heard his voice yesterday when I came in or dinner.

Shaking his hand, I felt all of the tension and nerves from earlier drain away from me.

Jenniy of Climaxed

I went through the motions of the interview in a daze, my emotions in chaos. Mike could have passed, at first glance, for the man I was runnning from - the man that I had fallen so hard in love with in my early 20s and who had, over the years almost killed me. Even now I can feel how badly my body aches to feel his arms around me even while knowing that if he had a couple of months, couple of weeks, even just a few days, we would be back in that cycle. Honeymoon phase, abuse, apology, rinse, repeat. Over and over and over for years until I finally got the courage to admit to myself what was happening and, no matter what he said, I deserved better.

Five years ago now. It didn't seem like it, but I figured that was a side effect of always being on the go, of moving, running, changing all the time. I've lived a handful of lives over those years, and I don't imagine I will ever stop running unless Matthias finally gives up. As of yet, he hasn't. Five years and he still searches and chases and gets too close for comfort, forcing me to do it all over again, Five years later and he still controls the direction of my life. So I'm resigned to a life without the degrees I earned, without much work experience, without references and a plan for the future. I live one day at a time, one life at a time, and so far it keeps me safe.

The problem, really, is that even thought I know he will eventually kill me (and I do know that), I don't trust myself to not give in, to not let him. I've given up everyone I have ever known except random contact with family and I am just. so. tired.

All the nutty but well-meaning neighbors and hot, accented bosses can't change the life I'm living, and part of me is absolutely ready for someone to save me from it by any means necessary. I keep telling myself that line of thought is bullshit. But is it?

~  ~  ~  ~  Be sure to come back a week from today for chapter three of Take Aim  ~  ~  ~

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