Ormie the Pig Redirect

Ormie the Pig Redirect

It’s been a rough week. I have the flu and my deadline for the WG2EP Valentine anthology is tomorrow. A week ago, my rough draft sucked and I couldn’t envision how I was going to meet the deadline OR manage to revamp and rewrite the story into something marginally interesting. I felt like Ormie the Pig, in an impossible situation with no hope of success.

Somehow, thanks to a timely bit of inspiration and one of my incredibly patient critique partners, Kreseda Kaine (twitter handle @KresedaKaine), the story will be finished on time.

And I love it. It’s funny and heart warming and today while I rewrote the final chapter, I had tears in my eyes. So stay tuned for The Valentine Grinch, coming February 1, 2012 in the Viva La Valentine anthology.

In the meantime, since misery loves company, feel free to share one of your recent struggles — writing or non-writing related — and let’s laugh at our troubles together. 🙂

(Originally posted at Women Unplugged.)



Blog Scavenger Hunt! Win A Kindle Mini!

This week, Samantha Warren is counting down to her 30th birthday with a Blog Scavenger Hunt. Participants could win – along with some really great prizes – a Kindle Mini!

The hunt starts today so pop on over to Samantha’s blog where you’ll find all of the questions. Prizes will be awarded daily and random bloggers – like me – will be offering prizes all week long.

For the full details, check out Samantha’s official Scavenger Hunt page. And enjoy!

Poppycock: A Family Favourite Recipe

Poppycock: A Family Favourite Recipe

This week marks the second anniversary of my Dad’s passing so I’ve been thinking about him a lot. And thoughts of Dad always lead me to memories of his sweet tooth, which he kindly passed down to his kids. Inspired by Myndi Shafer’s recent blog, and in honour of my dad’s memory, I’d like to share with you my recipe for Poppycock, which I used to give to him every Christmas.

Sheila’s Poppycock Recipe

1 cup pecan halves

1 cup whole un-blanched almonds

8 cups popped popcorn

1 1/3 cup brown sugar

1 cup margarine

1/2 cup golden corn syrup

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

1/2 tsp. soda

1 tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Spread pecans and almonds on an ungreased cookie sheet and toast lightly. In a very large unbuttered bowl, mix nuts and popcorn together.

In a small heavy saucepan, combine the brown sugar, margarine, corn syrup and cream of tartar. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water, approximately four minutes. Note: if you like your poppycock less chewy, then cook until the mixture forms a hard ball when dropped into cold water, approximately five minutes.

Remove from stove and stir in the soda and vanilla. Be careful because the addition of the soda makes the mixture foam up.

Pour over the popcorn and nut mix. With a wooden spoon, stir until evenly coated. Leave in bowl until the poppycock is partially cooled but make sure you stir it once in a while to keep the mixture from forming into one hard ball.

When the popcorn and nuts have cooled some, dump it on to the countertop or on large cookie sheets and continue to stir occasionally until fully cooled. I usually leave it out overnight and every time I walk by, I stir it to break it apart. Someone will no doubt sneak a piece or two but that’s okay because it’s easy to make a second batch.

This makes a wonderful Christmas gift. I like to put it into jars and tins to give to family and friends. Enjoy!

(Originally published at Women Unplugged.)

Location Location Location …

This past weekend, my siblings and I took our mom shopping. No, we didn’t head down to the mall. Nothing that conventional. And we didn’t hit the grocery store, either. Far too boring.  Instead, we headed to the local cemetery to buy a plot of land.

For those of you who haven’t been following this blog, on November 28th, 2009, my dad passed away. My mom, unable to part with him, purchased a beautiful urn-for-two which she keeps on her bedside table so she can talk to him at night. But now my mom has decided it’s time to pick out their final resting spot.

And it’s all about location.

Of course, there’s criteria to be met. Dad had mentioned – repeatedly – that in the afterlife, he didn’t want his feet wet. Because he was an early riser, Mom thought the plot should face east. And finally, it was important to live in a neighbourhood with a few of Dad’s friends and co-workers close by so he would have someone to visit.

For an hour, we wandered through the cemetery, reading names and dates on headstones, with Mom pointing out the headstones belonging to people Dad knew. When we’d seen who lived in each neighbourhood, we got down to the nitty gritty of the landscape. Slope of the land, view from the plot, and the general appearance of the surrounding area.

In the older neighbourhoods, the ground had settled and several of the headstones were crooked. Now, to give you an idea of how exacting my mother is, my BIL once claimed that my mom said to my dad: “Don, move the house. It’s a quarter of an inch off center.” Which meant we kept on browsing until we found a lovely section with a sidewalk-like foundation for the headstone to stand on.

Bingo. We’d found the right neighbourhood. Now all we had to do was pick the site.

At this point, we decided it was time to check on availability and price. While we were pleasantly surprised by the cost of the plots, the lack of availability indicated this was a tight market.

In the end, we narrowed the choice down to a beautiful area with a park bench for visitors, flowerbeds filled with trees and bushes, good drainage for heavy rain or melting snow, and even some wildlife nearby … a stone statue of a deer at rest on the ground.

It promises to be a quiet neighbourhood filled with old friends – and I imagine – quite a few new ones, too. It will be handy to the children, an important consideration if you want frequent visitors. And above all, when both of my parents move into the great unknown, it will be the last piece of land they will ever have purchased.

If you had to pick out your final resting spot today, what kind of location do you imagine you would choose?

(Originally posted at Women Unplugged.)

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