Short Story #04, February — Well (pt i)

The challenge prompt that inspired this story was, “Write a paragraph or two with vivid descriptions and leave me hanging and dying to find out what happens next. Maximum 250 words.”

If you like what you read, like it on TheProse.com as well! 😊

Continue reading “Short Story #04, February — Well (pt i)”

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Recipe: Nectarine & Blackberry Mini Pies

I love to bake, but it’s been a while since I truly experimented. On a whim I bought some blackberries at the store, and by the time I got home I’d decided I wanted to bake something. It didn’t happen that particular night, but there was a display of delicious looking nectarines at another grocery store a day or two later… And this was born.

2017-02-17-23-06-23Because there was always an apple tree in our back yard growing up, I started out by making apple pies. Then my parents planted sweet cherry trees in the front yard and I was faced with a new challenge. You need tart cherries for a pie, like the kind grown in states like Michigan, New York, and Utah where the air has a cold snap to it during the winter  — otherwise the pie will end up sickly sweet and weird. But tart cherries don’t grow so well in California, so we make due with cheats like adding pureed plum to the sweet cherry filling to give it that tartness.

Knowing that and adding orange juice for the tartness is what made this “cup-pie” experiment so successful, although I might do some tweaking in the future. If you try this recipe at home, let me know what you think! Continue reading “Recipe: Nectarine & Blackberry Mini Pies”

Sunday Gratitudes #45

What are you grateful for this week? I’m grateful for…

🌹- Valentine’s Day!

🌹- Remembering to get a card well in advance AND remembering I had it and where.

🌹- Getting a reservation at our favorite restaurant at the last minute.

🌹- Posting about it on Instagram and the restaurant commented and was super happy, heh.

🌹- How nice the cop that pulled us over was. He even made suggestions about the best way to approach the DMV about fixing the problem. (Which is basically that they never sent me new registration tags after I renewed.)

🌹- Sitting next to a table of guys talking about cider, and I was brave enough turn around and give them a card from the cidery I work for. (They were talking about cider and Amsterdam, we were seated with our people.)

🌹- Reaching a compromise with my boss about which half of Friday I could take off to go to the DMV. Even though she got the better end of the deal.

🌹- Finally getting all that DMV crap taken care of, including updating my address. It only took a couple hours and $20.

🌹- Experimental baking. I took lots of pictures and wrote down the recipe as I made it up, but I made the cutest little mini pies on Friday after the DMV. The crust is my go-to recipe, which is always the best, but the filling was an experiment with two nectarines, 6oz of blackberries, freshly squeezed orange juice, and whatever else I had in the kitchen. It turned out well, though it still needs some perfecting.

🌹- My new purse. I wasn’t planning on getting one so soon, but my partner saw it, ran it by me to see if I liked it, and bought it for me as a three-months-early birthday present. I love it. And it was only $45!

🌹- Meeting more of my partners family. An aunt and uncle were visiting, and we joined everyone in the city for dinner with a view of the ocean.

🌹- The opportunity to give each couple at the dinner a mini pie to take home. It made me feel like a good lil baker. ‍

🌹- Waking up covered in cats.

🌹- Tampons. Also, Tampax has changed the color design on the Supers from light green to vivid real and blue swirls. Very fetching.

🌹- Lazy sunday mornings spent reading and commenting on WordPress posts.

🌹- Rain. I mean, I hope we don’t get too flooded, but the sound is nice to wake up to.

Short Story #03, February — Driving

The prompt for this was, “Lets shed some reality on mental illness. It’s not cute, it’s not a joke and it’s not an excuse: Write about a panic or anxiety attack.”

I just want to add the disclaimer that it’s not a good idea to drive while having an anxiety attack. If you’re prone to them (mine don’t strike all that often) it might be best to have a built-in plan for what to do if you need to get off the road, even if it’s just to pretend you have a sudden burning desire to stop for Starbucks or something.

If you like what you read, feel free to like it on TheProse as well!

Continue reading “Short Story #03, February — Driving”

Recipe: Orange Glazed Acorn Squash

This was a few weeks ago, but I am still deeply proud of myself. I remember my mom, in one of her few acts of cooking that doesn’t involve the microwave, making acorn squash with a brown sugar glaze when I was a kid.

I adapted this from a Bobby Flay recipe that I found on the Food Network website. Again, half the point was to make something delicious and the other half was to use up the box of oranges my parents have given me. Technically I was supposed to grill the squash but I don’t own a grill.

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The “before” shot.

Instead, I used a cast iron grill pan that will probably never forgive me, although by now I’ve cleaned it as best I can.

Anyway, this recipe wasn’t difficult and the results were very tasty. Acorn squash prepared this way tends to be a cross between side dish and dessert, but with the orange it was nicely tart as well as sweet.


Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed
  • 1/16 cup melted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

    2017-01-31-20-51-32
    Slightly burnt but still yummy. Also, I’m not sure I reduced the glaze down quite enough, but oh well.
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/8 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 whole allspice berries
  • 1 stick cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Brush or spray the cut side of the squash with the butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place squash, cut-side down, on a baking sheet and bake until almost tender, about 30 minutes.
  4. While the squash is baking, combine the orange juice, brown sugar, allspice, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Cook over high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, stirring often. 
  5. When the squash is done, place cut side up on a cast iron grill pan and brush with the orange glaze.
  6. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn over with tongs and cook for 5 more minutes, or until tender and glaze is caramelized.
  7. Remove from heat and pour the rest of the glaze into the “bowl” of each squash half. Serve warm.

Tell Me All About You

Inkbiotic recently invited readers to answer some personal questions. Feel free to answer them too if you want. 😊


If you are a blogger, how would you describe what you write about? Are there specific themes you stick to or a style you use? (feel free to add a link)

Mostly I write about writing, but one of my New Years Resolutions was to post more of my creative writing.

Do you write driven by inspiration or do you struggle to find things to say?

A little of both. When I started out, I tried to hold myself to weekly posts — Monday Musings, Words of Wisdom Wednesdays, etc. It didn’t work very well. Now I just sort of ramble for a bit, then go back through and make sure it related to writing in some way.

I struggle more with getting stories written. The challenge prompts from TheProse and prompts from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie have been very helpful though.

Which kinds of posts do you most like writing? Do other people like reading them?

I don’t really have a favorite kind of post, I just really like the ones where I had an idea of what I wanted to write and got all of it down before it went poof. As for whether people like reading them, I’m quite pleased with every like and comment I get.

What wouldn’t you ever write about? Why?

There are details about my personal life that I wouldn’t write about. For one thing I like the relative anonymity of the internet, and for another I know that once you put it online it never really goes away. And besides, not all details that are part of my daily life are really mine to talk about.

What’s your favourite post that you’ve written? (again, add a link if you like) What did you like about it? Did other people ‘get’ it?

Right now I’m most pleased with Gender & Writing because people definitely got it, I can tell from the comments. And that makes me happy.

What’s your favourite post that someone else has written? What about it caught your attention?

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but the most strikingly memorable one I can think of at the moment is “The logic of emotion” by Nimue Brown. The title alone caught my eye because in college I wrote a 42-page psychology/biology paper on emotions in Vulcans, which included watching Star Trek: The Original Series for credit. Writing that paper was so much fun, and I learned so much while doing it. This blog post was a really good read because it put something in a way that I’ve never thought about it before: “Emotions are like weather systems – not always good, or useful, but a physical reality caused by complex influences. There is a logic to them.”

Do you keep a blog because you want it to lead somewhere? Or do you just like writing?

I like the writing and I like the practice I get at putting myself out there, including reading and commenting on other blog posts. When I started this blog I wanted to write more, even if it wasn’t necessarily fiction. It’s been over a year now and I’m finally starting to ease naturally into writing stories.

What sort of blogs do you most like to read? Personal? Stories? Factual? Pictures?

Mostly I like reading writers writing about writing. I also like reading other people’s personal experiences and what they take from it. Plus, it’s fun to read book reviews and add new things to my “Want to Read” shelf on Goodreads.

What kind of posts put you off reading? Is there anything else about a blog that puts you off (eg fonts, popups)?

Not going to lie, I am put off by reading along and suddenly it gets religious. Everyone is free to believe what they want, but I have a lot of pent up exasperation towards evangelism and… my parents for calling in the smarmy, condescending pastor to talk to me about how, when he was my age, he went through an atheist phase as a teenager too. It’s just a thing, no offense meant by it.

Also put off by homophobia, transphobia, pro-life at the expense of everyone else’s choice, pro-Trump, and racist sentiments.

When do you write and read blogs? From work? On the toilet? Inside a volcano?

Yes, all of those.

… Fine, not the volcano. Don’t judge me.

Sunday Gratitudes #44

What are you grateful for this week? I’m grateful for…

☕️ – Meeting my January writing, blogging, and walking goals so far.

☕️ – Baking some delicious gluten free orange spice cakes on Sunday evening. From a baking mix, true, but I drastically altered the recipe to include orange and chocolate.

☕️ – Having a great lunch break on Monday. Even though my boss sent me on errands that were all an hour plus of driving apart, I ended up taking my break in a gorgeous spot.

☕️ – Watching the season five finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with my baby.

☕️ – Sleeping in. Even if I only got to do it because I felt crummy and took a sick day.

☕️ – Being able to take most of the week off due to being sick. It’s a luxury that my bank account will be crankier about it than my boss.

☕️ – Getting a bunch of dishes washed. Accomplishment!

☕️ – Feeling not-sick enough to scoop the litter boxes. They really needed it. Plus, getting all the bags of old litter thrown away! (The trash-pickup can we share with our landlord has limited space.)

☕️ – Signing petitions. It seems like demonstrations of complaint will have more effect on this president than any that have come before.

☕️ – Realizing my health insurance is all set, and that even though I haven’t gotten my card in the mail I can call it up on my phone via an app. Now I can get my prescription refilled.

☕️ – A wine tasting Sunday funday. We found some great local places that only have a $5 tasting fee, too!

☕️ – Feeling hilariously superior. Have you ever, at work, been sent a list that you yourself made as if it were new information?

☕️ – Payday.

☕️ – Meeting up with one of my college buddies in the city! It was a huge deal to me because almost none of my east coast friends have visited me in California, and I haven’t seen him in six years. Also, he was the one who helped me set up the OkCupid profile that lead to my current relationship, and he finally got to meet my partner.

☕️ – Debates with my partner. As a rule I don’t really enjoy these things, but although we didn’t agree and we’re both rather annoyed that neither of us came around to the other’s point of view, we did reach a good ending point. Eventually. And I know it makes them happier to have these sorts of intense conversations than it does me, so that’s good for somebody at least.

☕️ – Screamin’ Mimi’s ice cream.

☕️ – Realizing in time that the weird brown thing next to my pillow when I woke up was a tiny nugget of cat poop and not touching it. (Lol thanks cats.)

☕️ – How happy the dogs were to see us when we came down for a visit.

☕️ – Being able to squeeze in time with my friend and his gf, my partners friend and her bf, my partner’s parents, and my family all in two days. Efficiency!

☕️ – Taking a pic of a chocolate sale to support a local art program. Because I also work for a local parenting magazine, I was able to post it to twitter and Instagram where people might actually see it and stop by. I hope it helped.

☕️ – The Sebastopol Starbucks. It’s just our favorite. The baristas there actually bother to read my name on my gold card instead of just asking and inevitably misspelling it. It’s a tiny thing, but it shows consideration and, idk, common sense. That’s what having your name on the card is for, right?

☕️ – Waking up to warm kitten snuggles. (Probably the same one who pooped by my pillow but whatevs. When I get up she’ll roll off my partner into the spot I just vacated and be all “WhaT?!” That will be my revenge.)

The Tale of Alderch of Treath

musingtopieces

Hey followers! Please check out my entry, The Tale of Alderch of Treath, for this week’s #ProseChallenge and let me know what you think.

It is a short side story (maybe full length someday) to a novel I am currently working on, set in an alternate universe with some supernatural ongoings.  I hope you enjoy it!

– Jasper

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IWSG Post #06

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FEBRUARY QUESTION: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

I think the biggest impact is in my book choice. A lot of my reading happens via audiobook in my car, and if there’s a particular story I’m working on I tend to queue up books that (a) I’ve read before and (b) fit the subject, general theme, or ambiance of what I’m trying to write. It puts me in the right headspace for what I want to do… or at the very least doesn’t yank me out of it.

For example, when working on Growing Magic I tend towards books where I really admire the world building, or the rules of magic, or if it just has a really cool adventure plot that vibes with what I want my characters to experience.

Audiobooks also help me de-stress after work. I like to think of it as holding harsh reality at bay so that I can go home and write rather than go home and lay on the floor experiencing existential crises.

When a person is lucky enough to live inside a story, to live inside an imaginary world, the pains of this world disappear. For as long as the story goes on, reality no longer exists.

Paul Auster