The Big Picture Is Bigger Than You Think

I’m going to be a nerd for a minute. I love astronomy and so do Crash and Bang. Bang looked out of the window at the night sky just this evening and asked “Is that a daily planet?” “Yep. That’s Venus, buddy.” (We might watch a lot of Discovery Channel.) They love the night sky; the stars, the planets, the meteor showers, the Space Station. It inspires a sense of wonder.

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Going Nowhere

Time for Friday Fictioneers brought to us by Rochelle and her weekly photo/writing prompt. Click on the blue frog at the bottom to read more entries. There are some great ones this week!

RR trail

© Dawn Q. Landau

She asked me if I wanted to go. I just gazed at her quizzically before going to lay down and lick myself. I could hear her tell me about the places we’d see, the people we’d meet and the food we’d eat. I didn’t even look up, I just continued to lick myself. I watched her pack her backpack. She misunderstood that for interest because she kept telling me about hiking through forests, taking trains to nowhere, and being free. I was already free. I’m glad she took Dog with her. I am Cat. I don’t travel.

~ I loved reading all the stories told from the dog’s point of view. They were happy stories, sad stories and few funny stories. I tried one from a different perspective all together.

Book Review #6

There were monkeys

In my kitchen

They were climbing

Up the walls

They were dancing

On the ceiling

They were bouncing

basketballs

When I read this, I knew I had to have this book. Never mind that I was going to meet Sheree Fitch. It was about the chaos monkeys love to create. With two monkeys of my own, how could I resist.

Willa Wellowby has a primate problem. Monkeys, apes, chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas invade her house causing a terrible mess. While they begin in the kitchen, they are not contained to the kitchen. They can be found on the lawn, in the bathroom, bedroom, and basement. Willa attempts to contact the RCMP several times for help, but they are slow to respond. She finally persuades the primates to leave, but not before they have created a terrible mess. The ending is left open, perfect for predicting what will happen next.

Though she wrote with her own kids in mind for the monkeys, she has also written in a few other characters. Sheree’s friend is a chimp in red-leather boots. Her sister is a bubble gum blowing RCMP officer. A professor is written in as an orangutan playing the bagpipes.

Imagine the sound (or perhaps you don’t have to imagine it if you’ve actually heard it) of a basketball being bounced on the kitchen floor. Now imagine reading using that pounding cadence. That rhythm is mesmerizing and bound to keep the attention of any little monkey you may read to.  Sheree is a wizard with words, a powerhouse in poetry, and a creative mastermind. This story and art work (by Sydney Smith) is sure to captivate any monkey of any age and I highly recommend it.

Lastly, I’d like to boast for a bit. Our family had the honor of meeting Mrs. Fitch. She was in the area speaking at two local schools and DW was her chauffeur. After her performances DW brought Mrs. Fitch to our house so she could meet our monkeys boys and sign their book. Later that evening, DW and I had supper with Sheree and her husband at a fundraiser. Granted it was with about 80 others. However, we had the privilege of sitting with Sheree and her husband. I can honestly say that Sheree is as spectacular of a person as she is writer.

You can find her here. Happy Reading!

Izzy May I: The Write Shot in the Foot

In response to Izzy’s “May I Write

I should title this “Izzy, may I change the topic ever so slightly?”

So I don’t really have advice for writers. How could I tell others how to do what I can’t? Well, I can write, obviously. But I only blog and I’ve only been doing that for a couple months now. However, I am a parent. I’d say I’m a  pretty darn good one, too, if I say so myself. So here’s my advice to parents. Continue reading

Feeding the Jugheads

Two questions.
1) How much longer until supper?
2) What’s for supper?

Two answers.
1) 4 more hours. You just ate lunch
2) Food.

need supper

With two boys (even if they are only 7 and 3) and a wife and myself to feed, meal times often require some thought. Sometimes. Here are some of our favorite, quick, in a pinch, go to meals.

Hamburger Slop – All you need is a package of burger, mashed potatoes, a can of corn, a couple packs of brown gravy and supper is ready in a half hour.

Chicken and Rice – This is a one dish meal. Piece of cake to make. Piece of cake to clean up. Serve it with your favorite vegetable. It goes with everything.

Baked Chicken Parmesan – A two dish wonder. Basically, cook the chicken in the spaghetti sauce. Serve with garlic bread and you’ll be the hit of the house.

These are just a few simple recipes I like to whip up. My other favorites take longer and involve more prep time. Roasts, slow cooker meals… ooh that reminds me. I want to try those slow cooker frozen meals. The ones you prepare ahead of time in freezer bags or containers. Then it’s just a matter of putting one in the slow cooker to cook all day and then presto, supper’s ready. That requires a lot prep. As in, “I need to have the ingredients written down so I can get them from the grocery store” kind of preparation. But I barely know what we are eating tonight let alone for the next week!

Tonight it’s leftovers. Mmmmmm.

pizz

What’s your favorite meal to cook? 

Lazy Sunday

Not much to report this morning. I’m writing from my tablet which makes me slow. Or at least slower than usual. Rain is tapping on the window reminding me that I’m going run in it later.  Bang is sitting quietly on the floor putting together a new to him puzzle for the 12th time this morning.

image

Crash had a sleepover at his Nanny and Pop’s house last night. This combination makes for an unusually quiet morning and I’m making sure the moment is not lost.

Now I leave you with a bit of Bang dancing to his favorite TayTay.

Hope have (or had) a good Sunday!

Pancake Tuesday + Ash Wednesday = Lent

Pancake Tuesday (or Shrove Tuesday) was this past Tuesday. We had pancakes for breakfast. Or at least the kids did, anyway. That evening we discussed with Crash a bit about Lent and how we give up something until Easter Sunday. Crash did some brainstorming trying to figure out what he’d give up for lent. Screen time? Chocolate? Baths? He settled on chocolate. Determined he could do it, DW and I reminded him that means no chocolate milk, Kindereggs, or chocolate chip cookies and ice cream. His only ray of hope? Sundays. Sundays are freebies. DW is giving up chips because we got into the habit of eating them while watching TV or a movie in the evenings. I’m giving up pop.

Pancake Tuesday was followed by ash Wednesday the very next day. With Crash in religious class, we made sure to attend mass that evening. Crash and Bang were surprisingly well behaved. Until the ashes were applied, that is.  It must have been the ashes because after that the sillies settled in and they were giggly and goofy. They danced their way up the aisle. At communion time, they wrestled their way up the aisle. Fortunately, after communion it was nearly time to leave.

Crash is doing well with the no chocolate. Granted, we’re only 3 days into Lent, but he seems to be of the mindset that’s he has given it up. Though, last night after supper he did go looking in the freezer for the last bit of chocolate frozen yogurt. Sorry bub, that’s chocolate. Wait until he gets home from school to find out Guppie (his grandfather – grampie came out guppie when he was a baby and it’s been his name since) dropped off a Kinderegg (these things if you’ve never heard of them) and some Cadbury mini-eggs. This evening he tried to run off with his Kinderegg until I reminded him that it was chocolate. He wasn’t too happy about it. He was okay with a Nutrigrain bar, though. Crisis averted. He’ll have to wait for Sunday for those eggs!

I’ve given up pop. I love it. I don’t drink a lot of, mind you. But I probably drink more than I should. I know it’s bad for me. The sugar. The caffeine. The coloring. The whatever else they put in there… Anyway, I’ve given it up for the next 40 days. Sundays will be my saving grace. Though I’m going to try to pass on pop on Sundays, too. The key word there was try in case you missed it. I love a good irony, too. Almost as much pop. On Wednesday, my father-in-law asked me go buy 40 bottles of various kinds of pop on sale at a local grocery store (He resells it at the store he and my step mother-in-law run). A dollar a bottle. He came to pick it up today. The irony? On the very day I gave up pop for 40 days I have 40 bottles of it sitting in my living room!

The pop I gave up for Lent

The pop I gave up for Lent

Lastly, I leave you with a quote from Pope Francis quoting Chrysostom…

“No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”

Source of quote here

What have you given up for Lent? 

Measles Is Serious (A History Lesson from My Grandmother)

I’ve been wanting to weigh in with my opinion on the measles outbreak and vaccines when I came across The Science of Mom’s article. She pretty much details everything I wanted to say. In our “post measles” generation we don’t understand the severity of the illness. Here’s a reminder.

The Science of Mom

Measles is back. The outbreak of this highly contagious viral illness that started at Disneyland in December has spread across the country and shows no signs of slowing. As of February 6, the CDC reported 121 cases in 17 states in this year alone, most linked to Disneyland. In 2014, we had 644 cases of measles in the U.S. This is a striking increase compared to the last 15 years, when we usually saw less than 100 cases in an entire year.

measles 2015 CDCI’m sorry that so many people have been sickened in this outbreak and hope that it is reined in soon. This is no easy task given our mobile society and the fact that we like to congregate in places like Disneyland, schools, doctors’ offices, hospitals, airplanes, and shopping malls. Add to that the pockets of unvaccinated people where measles can easily spread, and we have a recipe…

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Making My Millions

crystalsI’m black as ink, darker than dark. Just a smudge on the canvass of night. Quite the opposite of my treasure shinning like a thousand desert suns. I contain its brilliance in a velvet pack the color of coal. I slink into the dark of midnight to vanish without so much as a fingerprint.

When you’ve stolen like I’ve stolen, there is no fear. No guilt.  I’m smarter than they are; they’ll never find me or their precious diamond. Who says crime doesn’t pay?


This is a story in 100 words or fewer for Friday Fictioneers based on the photo above. Click the blue frog to read more stories!

Book Review #5

nowhere to hideThis time I jump out of my usual comfort zone and read a horror novel. I’m going to need some decompression time after this one. My usual reading time is at bedtime. Bad idea for me and zombies to meeting up at bedtime. However, I survived, unlike the zombies.

Nancy King is leading a rather typical single life when a resident in her apartment dies. No big deal until they return to life ready to feast on the living. Nancy flees in hopes of finding safety. She meets people willing to help, to ban together and fight for survival. She meets some who are only out to protect themselves. Who can she trust? In her self-published, début novel, Nowhere to Hide, Tracey Tobin brings us into the zombie apocalyptic world of the gruesome, the slow and persistent stagger of the undead.

This novel kept me guessing, my predictions of what would come next was constantly wrong. Just when I thought they’d found a safe place to wait out the nightmare, they would be on the run again. Just when I thought she’d met the right people, she’d be betrayed and on the run again. Just when I thought it was over…

Tracey does a fantastic job of bringing the story to life. It won’t take much to imagine the zombies that chase her down. It won’t take much to imagine the building and towns she attempts to escape to. Her characters are realistic right down to their decision making processes. You can easily hear panic, uncertainty, relief, and excitement in their dialogue.

Whether you are a fan of zombie novels, female protagonists or suspenseful stories, this one is sure to entertain and keep you on your toes. If you’re anything like me you’ll be telling Nancy to run faster, to not go in there!