Eclipse 2017 in Montana

I wasn’t going to get all into the eclipse like most of the country, I’m glad I did a little. We didn’t travel to see it. We just stayed home. We didn’t get the glasses. 

I looked up on the NASA website about how to make a pin hole viewer.

I used a cereal box and some tin foil and tape.

My friend who lives next door came over and we made a few more for her kids too.

They are goofy looking but they worked.

If you looked in the top end you could see the tiny little dot that was the sun. 

We stood outside looking in our boxes when her son said the library was giving out glasses down at the park. He took off on his bike and came back with one pair.

I tried to take a picture with my IPhone and the eclipse glasses. It didn’t really work.

Pretty soon most of the block was outside and came over to see what we were doing. We were passing around glasses and boxes talking about how we remember seeing the one when we were kids.

It got chilly and a little dark, but not much more than when the wildfires had filled the air with smoke. 

My son loved it. He was so excited about the eclipse. Autism didn’t get in the way this time. He looked in boxes and used the glasses just like the rest of us. He was great and didn’t even throw a fit when it was over.

We got to goofing around and tried the “finger waffle” method of seeing the eclipse. It didn’t work too badly.

We were really lucky to have completely clear skies to see the eclipse. Unlike my poor hubby, who is in Salina, Kansas right now. He only got a short glimpse because of the clouds.

After is was all over, we came inside and watched the coverage on tv. It was cool to see all the people coming together across the entire nation in wonder for something like this. If you’ll forgive the pun, this event has eclipsed the strife that has been so prevalent in our nation for too long. It is a good reminder that we can be one people after all.

Taco Pizza Pocket Recipe

I wanted tacos but I didn’t want the tortilla. I wanted bready stuff. One of those weird cravings, you know. So, I made up a weird version of tacos.

Ingredients:

Chopped tomato                     ground beef

                chopped bell pepper              taco seasoning

       chopped onion                        shredded cheese

pizza dough

Cook up the ground beef until brown, throw in the onions, let them cook for a bit, then add the bell pepper.Cook just a little longer then add the tomatoes. Add taco seasoning until it tastes right. (I used a big can and kept shaking, but I’m sure a packet would be about the right amount. I didn’t really measure anything, was in a ‘seat of my pants’ mood.)

Grease a cookie sheet, spread out the pizza dough. (I used the Pillsbury pizza dough in a tube.) Spread out the above mixture in the center of the dough.

Sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Fold it over and press the seams closed. Bake at 375 degrees until it’s browned. 

Sprinkle with cheese again and put it back in until it’s melted. 

And wallah! Taco Pizza Pocket. Good hot and cold! 

I was thinking that next time I might try and add some refried beans under the meat mixture to make it a little more like a burrito. We’ll see.

Writing Prompt: Washed Away

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The writing prompt: She walked into the rain and disappeared and that was the last anyone saw of her.

Washed Away

She walked into the rain.

I knew right then I should have said yes.

She turned to say goodbye as the downpour saturated her clothing. Then the rain began to wash her away. I had never seen anything like it. Every drop that hit her skin took away a little more of her.

Her eyes held mine as more and more of her dissolved. She didn’t seem to be any pain. The peace in her eyes was tempered with sadness as she slowly dissolved.

Every second that passed I regretted more and more not agreeing to go with her. We could have traveled and seen so much. We could have been happy. Regret forced my feet forward until I was running toward her ready to go.

I blinked away the rain that poured into my eyes. And just like that she disappeared. I was too late. That was the last I saw of her, that was the last anyone saw of her. I just stood there staring as the midnight sky continued to cry.

As usual 15 minutes of writing. Post it in the comments or just add a link back.

Have fun!

Writing from a picture prompt: Breath of life

This was the picture prompt. We had fifteen minutes to write something.cloud breath

Please feel free to write a flash fiction based on this picture and stick the link to it in the comments.This is what I wrote.

Breath of Life

It had to be replenished, but it would hurt. They were already hurting. Slowing. Breathing their last. Life was just about extinguished. She sighed. Too long had she wandered the universe. She had left them alone for so many centuries and they had forgotten. They were to live with, not off the life of the planet.

Too late.

It would take nearly everything she had now to revive the dying world. Was it worth it? Long ago she had spent almost all of her life force creating the planet and literally breathing life into the dead world. It had been her greatest achievement. They had thrived while she recovered. Now they expired while she thrived.

She shrugged causing solar winds to puff out across the galaxy. Perhaps this is how it is always supposed to be. A balance: life for life. They would thrive again and she would recover, provided the damage wasn’t too extensive. She shook her head. No. It had been a dead world then now it was just injured. It would be easier this time.

She filled her lungs with the energies of the universe then bent low nearly kissing the surface of the planet and exhaled.

A torrent of wind and water rushed toward the ground then exploding through the crust and into the core. The planet sucked life into it like a dehydrated raisin returning to its previous life as a grape. The song of life exploded out from the center as the planet took its first real fresh breath in centuries.

 

 

A Writer’s Platform.

I have been working on this blog for a while now. I started because “writers must have an online presence” and a blog is something that is top on the suggestions. It was supposed to create a habit of writing and allow a place for readers to get to know me. Well…

I’m not really sure what I thought was going to happen. I know that a lot of people use blogs to promote work or to advocate for something in particular or just to vent the unfairness of life in general. I had no idea what I was going to write about, just that I was supposed to do something.

Well, write what you know. I know a lot about nothing. I am a mom with an outdated theatre degree. The only thing I’m good at is making do with what I’ve got. So I have been blogging for two years this month. I started out with a quote. “Not all those who wander are lost.”  I hate to admit it, but after two years. I’m still lost in the blogging world.

I have had some success with a few posts, but mostly I think the only people who see my posts are family. lol

I want this blog to be something else. Something more.

I have been getting closer and closer to getting published. I have written three books and I’m still trying to get someone to take them. I have hundreds of stories circulating through my head. I feel like I’m spending too much time trying to figure out what to write for my blog than actually writing. If I have to keep a blog rolling I want it to be more writing-centric.

I want to try something different. Our writing group has a little free writing session every meeting. We pick a writing prompt and write for fifteen minutes. So far I’m digging what I’ve come up with. I’ve never really bothered with writing prompts. I always had enough story ideas that I didn’t think I needed them, but they are kind of fun. So starting in March I will be doing a little something different.

I intend to post the results of any writing prompts that I work on. I hope that this will help my actual writing career goals. I know some bloggers who have segued into books just from their fiction pieces in their blog. I hope this will also start a readership of my brand of storytelling.

I can’t promise great works but I will guarantee that they will be from the ridiculous and crazy land called my head. From time to time I might still post about my family or other pressing bits of inspiration. I hope you will all stick with my on this new adventure.

Thanks to all of you for reading so far.

Autism Volcano

No I’m not referring to a meltdown. I talking about an actual volcano.

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My son is in 4th grade and they are learning about earth sciences. A page came home saying that each child was to create a model of either a volcano, landslide, or earthquake. Then they had to stand up in front of the class and give an explanation about their project. I wasn’t sure how this was going to go. My son is Autistic and he is still getting a handle on his speech.

I was thinking that an earthquake would be easier for him to understand and explain, but dad was home and two boys together means explosions, the gooier the better. Dad and son sat down to look though YouTube videos and my son got really excited about volcanos.  (I’m sure dad didn’t have any influence there!)

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So out came the newspaper, flour and water. Paper mache here we come.

With a newspaper base held together by tape, the volcano started to take shape.

My son spent a lot of his time trying to get the paste mixture off of his hands even licking his fingers at one point. He doesn’t like sticky things so this was a real challenge for him.

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A couple of days later the paper mache was dry and it was time to paint.IMG_7394

He was very particular about what color he wanted the mountain. I couldn’t be gray. It had to be brown and dark brown.

He painted the whole thing by himself with dad’s guidance.

Dad IMG_7385helped him drizzle some red, yellow, and orange paint around the topto IMG_7387make it look like lava.

Then of course they had to add some dinosaurs. What’s a volcano without dinosaurs?

Finally, dad sprayed the outside with a sealant because we didn’t want the volcano to melt the very first try.

While waiting for the paint to dry, our intrepid scientist began practicing their lava techniques.

IMG_7410They filled my sink with blue foaming IMG_7412lava and then orange foaming lava.

Who know vinegar, food coloring, and some baking soda could be so entertaining?

Once they had the formula right, dad mixed up a handy portable version for or son to take to school. We wouldn’t be there to help him. He was going to have to do it all by himself.

All that was left was for us to find a way to explain how a volcano worked. Dad came to the rescue again. He broke down the whole process on the whiteboard. Our son eventually got the idea. There’s a balloon that’s filled with lava in the earth and it goes pop and out comes lava.

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I know that is not scientifically accurate but my son understands the general principal and he was able to tell us the steps of how a volcano erupts in his own way. I’d say that’s a win and all thanks to dad.

 

 

 

The Christmas tree of our Lives.

I know that Christmas is over and done and its onward with another year but I feel like there is a lesson here that can be applied to the New Year and beyond.

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A week or so ago, I posed about my son’s homemade ornaments. They were just paper circles with yarn on them but they are hanging front and center on our Christmas tree.

It wasn’t because he’s Autistic and  interest in his own creations is a new step in his development. It was because my son made something and he was proud of them.

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When I was little, my school had a tree in the lobby by the office that they wanted each student to bring an ornament from home to decorate it. My mom had a lot of very old glass ornaments and she wasn’t willing to let me take one. I didn’t blame her, knowing my school it probably wouldn’t have survived. So she sat down and made me an ornament. It was a mouse made from black yarn, felt and some string, It has become my all-time favorite ornament. It has a place of honor at the top of our tree every year.

IMG_6983 When my son was in Kindergarten, they needed moms to help with the IMG_6984Christmas party. They wanted us to have crafts for the kids to take home.  I had no idea what I was doing but we ended up with foam-paper snowmen. They were really cute and my daughter gave her’s a little puff ball pet. They also grace the tree every year.

 

IMG_6989My daughter’s class when she was little, made Popsicle stick reindeer. Poor thing is about to fall IMG_6990apart and only hangs by his tail now. It’s had to be repaired with more tape every year, but it makes it to the tree along with the story of its creation as told my my daughter with sparkling eyes and a sweet smile.  She also made the painted glass ornament. One year we sent a bunch of these glass DIY painted ornaments to my mom for her tree too.

The point to all this is that our Christmas tree is made from memories not just from ornaments. Even the angel on top is a memory. She has graced the top of the tree every year that we have been married. We bought her together in our first year of marriage.IMG_6987It’s messy and a bit lopsided but every year our Christmas tree is a testament to our lives. It is every hope and dream and memory that we have lived. Year after year we add bits here and there.

It’s like building your character or personality. You start out with just a plain tree. You add lights, the spark of your life that glows and sparkles. It shines through the night making a home out of a house. Then you start adding the shiny bits and the goofy laughs. The happy memories and the stories, not just of one life but a whole family. You fill the bottom with presents of love and thoughtfulness. Then you gather around and celebrate the life you have created together.

It stays there until the New Year begins. Yes, you take it down to start a fresh year but it is still standing on New Years Day, so all those memories and stories are there as the foundation for the coming year to be built on. So I say decorate your tree like you choose to live your life. Stay away from just decorating with whatever is “in” this year. Make it a Christmas Tree of your Life!

Autism and Christmas decorations

Recently we my son, who is Autistic, brought home these little cut out circles from school. They were in his folder in the “Keep at home” pocket.  Each one had bingo marker dots and a little Christmas sticker on it.IMG_6977

I asked him what they were and he said, “Ornaments.”

I said, “Okay, do you want to hang them on the tree?”

“Yes,” he said.

So I got out the hole punch and he picked the orange yarn.
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With much shaking and deep concentration he punched a hole in each one.  Then he tried to thread the yarn through the hole. I had to help him a few times but he kept insisting, “I do it.”

He was very particular about which order they went in.

It took almost a half and out but we managed to get a string of paper circles tied at intervals ready for the tree.

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He was very proud to hang his ornament garland on the tree. I was very proud that he stayed on task and did so much of it himself. He is very interested in Christmas this year and I’m happy that he is really wanting to be involved.

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Sometimes it’s the little accomplishments that are the biggest.

Garam Masala Lamb Pockets

This recipe was something that I cooked up (pardon the pun) on the fly the other night.

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My friend, Lisa, had given me some grass fed lamb from her ranch,  The Land of Grass. I didn’t know what to do with it at first. I’d never cooked lamb before. When I mentioned it to my daughter she requested Indian food. And although my daughter loves the spicy curries and things, my son and I have a hard time eating spicy food.  So I compromised a bit.

I had a tin of Garam Masala from The Silk Road. It is a combination of coriander, cumin, black peppercorn, black cumin, ginger, cardamon, clove, cinnamon, and bay leaf. I know it sounds a bit spicy but it really wasn’t. It smelled amazing when I opened the tin but I didn’t follow the recipe on the back.

I improvised!

I fried up the ground lamb with some garlic and chopped spring onions until they were nice and browned. Meanwhile I cooked up some Basmalti rice. I added the Garam Masala then tasted the mixture. It was kind of bland. So I started adding things. I threw in some ginger and then some tumeric. Every thing turned yellow (as it always does with tumeric). That was a good sign, right?

Still needed something.

My daughter said it needed salt and more garlic. So I threw in some garlic salt. Then she said we needed raisins. She loves raisins in her Indian dishes. I also threw in some slivered almonds just because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

It was tasting pretty yummy by now.

I mixed in the rice and stirred it all up. Then took some crescent rolls and laid them out in squares. (Two triangles pressed together along the seem will give a rectangular dough shape) I spooned the rice and lamb mixture into the center and folded the dough closed creating a “pocket” then pressed the seams closed. Baked them at 350 degrees until they were  golden brown.

My daughter was happy because we got to have Indian. My son was happy because it was not spicy and it was in a bread pocket that was easy to eat without having to wrangle rice on a fork. I was happy because everyone else was happy!

I saved the left-overs  for another day but my daughter ate it the next day with a spoon. Ah well, at least she liked it.

SO here is the finally ingredient list. Sorry there aren’t measurements.

ground lamb                           basmalti riceIMG_6782

spring onions                         Garam Masala

minced garlic                         garlic salt

 olive oil                                   raisins

ground tumeric                     crescent rolls

ground ginger                        slivered almonds

bake at 350

 

Enjoy!

Elementary Candle making

Long time ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, I was in 1st grade art class and we made candles. We melted our old crayons in a metal coffee can, yes they used to be metal. And we very carefully made candles with paper cups, paper clips and string.  I love to find ways to reuse or recycle old things instead of just throwing them away. So I thought what the hey, let’s do it again.

So I had this old peach mango candle that was so burnt down that only the metal of the wick was showing.

I popped out the metal piece with a spoon.

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Then I found an old smaller candle holder, a giant paper clip and some string. Made a cool thingie to hold the new “wick.”

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Microwaved the old candle at 30 second intervals because I really wasn’t sure how long it would take to melt the wax. Then poured it into the new candle holder. I missed a couple of times and managed to knock the wick into the glass but I just fished it out again.

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I let the hot wax sit for a few hours and it had solidified into a lovely new candle. I managed to get a new glass jar out of it and a new candle. Not bad for something I learned in art class a million years ago. Guess it pays to keep the Arts in schools.

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