Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Many Faces of Basil

My article earlier in the week on Basil received an overwhelming response - thank you so much to all my readers. One reader asked for more information on the different varieties of Basil, so check out my article on the 6 most common varieties of Basil grown in the Bluegrass at Examiner.Com.

Dark Opal Basil

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Death of the Judge Executive

Here is the beginning of a new short story. This story has nothing to do with any person, living or dead. This story came to me in a dream, hence the Alice in Wonderland artwork.

(Art by Ivy Coyote)

Death of the Judge Executive

After many trips to the Merit County Courthouse, Claren had learned the names of several people who held grudges against the County Judge Executive, Hank Leonard Riley, Leo to his friends. Of course, none of them hated the judge more than Claren did, and she had plans to do away with him as quickly as possible, but she had to decide who would pay for the crime.

Of the five people who held grudges against Judge Leo, there were two who had caused problems for Claren – Larry Linkirk, her ex-boss at the Quick and Go convenience store and Karen Manard, an ex-cheerleader from high school whom Claren had always disliked. One of these two people would end up arrested for killing Judge Leo, but which one?

Because Judge Leo lived on a large farm near the county line, Claren knew this one would have to be a long distance killing, probably with a sniper rifle, so this cut out Karen. Karen “the cheerleader” Manard was a prim and proper lady and had probably never shot a handgun in her life, much less a high powered rifle. This meant Larry would finally pay for all the late night hours and sexual harassment he had put Claren through in the two years she worked at the Quick and Go.

Getting the high powered rifle was no problem. Six years ago when she started planning her murders, Claren had broken into her ex-husbands house and stole several guns. As far as she knew, no one had ever been charged with stealing from her ex, Lonnie, which made her use of the guns even more special.

Claren lived in a quiet rural neighborhood just outside the city limits of Harmony, Kentucky, and the major city in Merit County. Although she wasn’t particularly friendly with her neighbors, she did have enough sense to wave "hi" and "bye" – no use drawing undo attention to her if she could help it.

She didn’t keep any incriminated items in her hole, oh no, Claren was much too smart for that. But, if police agents were to discover the underground bunker at the back of her one-acre lot, she would be in a lot of trouble. Claren had bought the house in the year after her divorce. To help her get over the anger and hostility, she started digging a hole in the backyard. It started out as a koi pond, but quickly manifested into something else.

Every evening after work, Claren would go out into the backyard and dig for several hours. One wheel barrel full at a time, sdug and then hauled the soil to the front yard to make raised beds for her flowers. At first she was only able to dig and haul two to three wheel barrels at a time, but every day she was able to increase her work by one or two barrels.

In time, the bunker was 12 feet deep by 10 feet wide – not big enough to live in, but certainly big enough to hide things. And hide things she did: potassium chloride vials and syringes, rat poison, knives of all shapes and sizes, guns and rifles and all forms of ammunition; also duct tape, rope, gas containers and various odds and ends.

The bunker had a trap door and was covered with a piece of artificial turf. The turf served as a platform for a miniature golf course Claren had constructed in the backyard. She had family and friends over quiet often for cookouts and games, and no one had every discovered her little secret. She took great pleasure in flaunting her secret in front of the people she knew.

Now Claren had to decide the appropriate time to kill Judge Leo, and figure out what evidence she could steal and plant to incriminate good ole Larry. This should be fun.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"Birthers" Need to go Back to the Fringe

Eight months after the election of President Obama, the right "fringe" of the Republican party is still claiming he was not born in the United States. I am just about sick of all this nonsense. This myth - and it is a myth - has been debunked by numerous respectable sources, but the fringe keeps marching on.

President Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961 - there is a birth certificate and a newspaper with his birth announcement. Obama was in the Senate for 2 years before running for President - do they really think no lawyers checked him out thoroughly?

Fact Check.Org debunked this myth back in August 2008.

Snopes.Com debunked this myth back in October 2008.

According to the Library of Congress, on Monday, July 27, 2009, the United States House of Representatives, by a 378-0 vote, passed House Resolution 593 stating, “The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, was born in Hawaii." This vote also included REPUBLICANS.


I love Daylilies! Check out my article on Daylilies at

Monday, July 27, 2009

Up and Coming Kaleb Nation

I just got my hot little hands on the most anticipated young adult book this fall: BRAN HAMBRIC: THE FARFIELD CURSE by Kaleb Nation. My advanced review copy came in the mail on Friday, and I have already drived in with both eyeballs!
"In a bustling metropolis where magic is outlawed, a six-year-old child is found inside a locked bank vault. A scrap of paper reveals his name: Bran Hambric. The child remembers nothing of his life before the vault. Only magic could have done this. But why would any mage risk breaking the law to place a child in a bank vault?

Eight years later the City of Dunce has forgotten about Bran. Even his foster parents don't seem to know he exists. But there are those who have been watching, biding their time, waiting to strike, people who know where Bran came from and why he was sent away. And they will do anything to get Bran back, dead or alive…

Welcome to a world unlike any other where the adventure of a lifetime is just beginning." (From Amazon.Com)

Check out the talented Kaleb Nation on his offical blog, KALEB NATION, or on the official website, Bram Hambric.

Book will be available September 9th, but a huge blog tour will beginning during the middle of August. Watch for upcoming reviews and interviews.

What's blooming around the Bluegrass ... ?

... this week it is the Golden Rain Tree. Check out my article on Examiner.Com.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

What's Growing in the Herb Garden

Check out my new series of articles about "What's growing in the herb garden." The first article is about SAGE and can be read at Examiner.Com.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Happy Birthday ...

... I just want to take a moment to wish my youngest daughter a


Christine Nicole was born on this date, 17 years ago at 9:10 in the morning. Even though she was 5 weeks early and only weighed 5 lbs. 10 oz., she has been the love of our life.

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart, we love you bunches!


Friend Has Book Published

Congratulations to my good friend, Tony Sexton, for the publication of your new book, SCRAPS. Tony is the leader of The Community of Mercer County Writers and has lead several writing workshops in the community.
Many writers have said they never knew when an idea or inspiration might hit them and I am no different. Often I find myself considering an idea with no means of jotting it down. Usually I have a pen but, more often than not, I don't have a notebook handy. The only solution, in these cases, is to use what ever I can find; a napkin, box top, grocery receipt or an envelope. The title of this first collection, Scraps, comes from this dilemma. I began writing in the fifth grade when is teacher, Miss Castle, gave me writing challenge using the word “compulsion”. Since then I has spent over 20 years writing, leading writing workshops, which are designed for all ages and experiences and trying to complete her assignment. I am a member of The Community of Mercer County Writers and president elect of The Kentucky State Poetry. You can find my writing in The Journal of Kentucky Studies, Jar and several magazines including Good Old Days. I live in Mercer County with my wonderful wife, Cheryl and their dog, Mercy.

SCRAPS is available from Amazon and Wasteland Press

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jade and the Boarding House

(Photo by Dan Felstead of Wood and Pixels Narratives)


Jade stood in front of the house, her black almond shaped eyes squinting up at the fading yellow siding. 2317 South Olin Drive - this must be the place, she thought.

Since arriving to Earth two weeks ago, Jade had been living in a local motel, a ratty little place out by the waterfront. She had been trying to blend in and not draw attention to herself, but her choice of living accommodations had had the opposite effect. All the Earthlings she had met so far couldn't understand why she was living in such a bad neighborhood in such a bad place.

She had been given the name of a boarding house a few miles away, so now Jade was standing in front of the 3-story house. It was unimposing and actually looked shabbier than the rest of the houses on the quiet street, but she had been assured that Mrs. Maple Mills was a respectable woman with a respectable boarding house.

Jade opened the creaky black iron gate and stepped onto the cracked sidewalk, closing the gate behind her. On the wide front porch, she surveyed the neat flower pots, the wicker porch furniture and the wicker swing hanging in the far corner. Looks like a quiet place to rest and think, Jade mumble under her breath.

Standing before the double front door, Jade rang the glowing doorbell and heard the harsh ringing from deep inside the house. When no one immediately answered the door, Jade rapped on the peeling green door face and then stepped away from the door.

"Just a minute - I'm coming! I'm an old woman - give me a chance to get there." The voice got louder until the front door finally opened.

"Give me a break, young lady! I'm not as spry as I used to be," said the plumb lady in front of her. Jade tried to suppress a laugh. Of all the photographs of Earthlings she had seen during her training for the Earth mission, Jade had never seen such a woman. Coming up only to Jade's shoulders - when Jade had her glamour in full force (without her glamour, the woman would only come up to Jade's belly button) - this petite, chunky woman gave off aura of maternal love. It was oozing from her pores and Jade immediately felt at ease.

"Pretty young thing - you must be Jade. Come in, come in. Hectore Raynes told me you might be showing up." Hectore was the coffee shop owner where Jade had eaten her breakfast every day since arriving to Earth. "He said you were a sweet young thing and I wouldn't be sorry for taking you in. I'm Maple Mills, of course - just call me Maple. What brings you to San Francisco?"

"I'm taking a year off from college to see the world," was Jade's rehearsed reply. She had been given enough Earth money to sustain her while on her 10 year mission, so having a convenient cover story warded off any unnecessary questions.

"And what's brings you to our fair city?" Maple had the eyes of a hawk, and Jade got the impression this woman would immediately know if she were lying.

"I ... I've heard a lot about San Francisco. There's lots of opportunity to observe the arts and try to decide what I want to do with my life." Jade looked the woman in the eyes, willing her to believe the story.

"Hmmm - you're not a street walker, a prostitute - I won't abide by that kind of behavior in my home. No, sir, I run a respectable boarding house." Maple put her plumb hands on her amble hips.

"No, ma'am! I have a small trust from my parents, and I'll be looking for work," said Jade, reciting the cover story. "Respectable work, ma'am - I promise."

"Well, you seem to be telling the truth. But if I find out otherwise, I'll toss you out faster than you can say 'Bob's your uncle'. You got that?" She stabbed a pointed finger into Jade's chest and it was all Jade could do not to recoil in fear.

"Y ... ye ... yes, ma'am. I understand," stammered Jade.

"Good! I think we're going to get along just fine. Come on, I'll show you your room." Maple turned and headed up the narrow staircase, and Jade followed.

This was the being of a long relationship that would last the entire time Jade was on Earth.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blackberries, Blackberries ...

... are coming into season - yummy! Check out my new article on Examiner.Com.

Posie Opossum’s First Day of School

I recently had someone ask about the stories I used to write for my children when they were little. I used to write all types of short stories for the girls, but I hadn't thought about them in years. After digging through file after file, I found one series of stories about a character named Posie Opossum - there are probably 7 to 8 stories I've written about this character. It has been so long since I wrote them, the only copies I have are the original type written pages. I'm now in the process of entering these stories into a computer program. Here is the first story I ever wrote about Posie Opossum - it was for my oldest 2 daughters - my 17 year old had not been born yet!

(Photo by Victor Fowler)

Posie Opossum’s First Day of School

Posie Opossum was a cute little five-year-old opossum who lived in the woods with her mother, father and two brothers, Opie and Larry.

Today was Posie’s first day of kindergarten and she was a little scared.

“Come along, Posie. You need to eat your breakfast before I walk you to school,” said her mother.

Opie and Larry were already at the breakfast table. Larry was blowing bubbles in his milk again. Opie was talking with his mouth full.

“Yeah, Posie, you’d better eat. All you get at school is bread and water. Ha! Ha!” laughed Opie.

Mother looked at Opie and scolded, “Now, Opie, don’t tease your sister. She’s scared enough as it is.”

“Kindergarten kids are such babies!” said Larry. “They’re always crying on the playground.”

HONK! HONK! The school bus pulled up in front of the Opossum home.

“Boys, hurry up! The bus is here. Don’t forget your backpacks.” said Mother as she kissed them both on top of the head.

“Yuck, mom, I’m ten years old. I don’t need my mother to kiss me goodbye,” said Larry.

“Yeah, mom, neither do nine year olds,” added Opie.

And with that, both boys ran out the door and hopped up the steps of the big yellow school bus. Because the boys went to a school across town, they had to ride the bus. Posie’s new school was within walking distance of the house, so she would be walking to school.

Posie finished breakfast, and then Mother brushed her long yellow hair and put a pretty red bow in it. Posie was dressed in her new “first day of school” dress.
Mother and Posie then went out the front door and headed for school. As they approached the little brick schoolhouse, Posie’s tummy began to feel funny. She hid behind her mother’s skirt. As they entered the brightly colored kindergarten room, Posie clung even tighter to her mother.

“Hello there. I’m Mrs. Sally Foxx. I’ll be your teacher. Welcome to kindergarten!” Mrs. Foxx was the most beautiful teacher Posie had ever seen, even if she was the only teacher Posie had ever seen. Mrs. Foxx had pretty red hair and dimples in her cheeks when she smiled.

“What’s you name, sweetheart?” she asked.

“Posie,” said Posie.

“Well, hello Posie. Welcome to my class. Why don’t you and your mom come in and look around. Maybe you would like to meet some of the other boys and girls?” Mrs. Foxx lead them into the room.

There was a little boy playing on the keyboard. His name was Harold. There was a little girl playing fireman. Her name was Susie. Wanda was playing dress-up and Matt was finger painting.

Slowly, Posie let go of her mother’s skirt. She picked up a feathered hat and put it on her head.

“Hi, my name is Wanda. What’s yours?” said the little girl playing dress-up.

“My name’s Posie. Can I play with you?” asked Posie.

Posie and Wanda began to play house. Matt soon joined them, and before long, Posie was having a wonderful time. She had forgotten all about being scared.
Posie’s mother was talking with the teacher. Finally, she gave Posie a kiss on the head.

“Mama,” said Posie.

“What dear?”

“I’ll never be too old for you to kiss me. Will you be here to walk me home from school?”

“Yes, dear,” replied Mother. “I’ll be here when the bell rings.”

“I love you, Mama,” said Posie, and she skipped back over to the dress-up area and began to play with her new friends.

Collecting Seeds ...

.... not only helps your current flowers, but it gives you a jump start on next year's flowers. Check out my article on Examiner.Com.


Sunday, July 19, 2009


This is a new short story I've started sketching out. The working title is Kidnapped, but I'm looking for a catchier title.


Angel looked at the faded newspaper clipping with complete awe and fascination. This could not possibly be right. Who was this little girl? She turned on the desk lamp to see the pale newsprint and reread the words for yet another time.

Returning home from her birthday party, Angelina Cooper, who had just turned 2, was reported missing from her South Beach, Florida home. The child was last seen in the car seat of her family’s 1969 Camaro Convertible which was parked at the 7-Eleven on 5th and Forest Street. Susan Cooper had parked in front of the convenience store on Christmas Eve and went inside for a gallon of milk, leaving little Angelina asleep in the backseat. When Mrs. Cooper returned to the car, the back passenger door was open and the toddler was gone. There are currently no suspects or leads in this case. If you have any information about missing Angelina Cooper, contact local police. The child was last seen wearing ......

Out of everything in Mama's scrapbook, why would she keep a news clipping like this? Who was this little girl? After her mother’s death, it had taken Angel six months to finally have the energy to pack up her mother’s keepsakes, and she had saved the scrapbooks for last, knowing they would invoke painful memories. When she started going through one of the oldest books, the scrap of newspaper had fallen out, apparently left loose instead of being glued to one of the many pages.

Angel looked closer at the paper and blanched when she saw the date: December 26, 1970. If the little girl was two when she went missing, that would make her almost the same age as Angel – they would have both been born in 1968.

Angel thumbed through the other clippings in scrapbook, but there were no other unusual items, only page after page of Angel’s happy childhood. She stopped at a clipping of a little girl of six sliding down the curved sliding board. This had been an ordinary day and her mom had taken her to the park near their home in Springfield, Illinois, which was their habit every afternoon before nap time. This particular day had been the first pretty day of spring, and a reporter from the local paper, The Sentinel Times, had been getting candid shots. Mom had not been happy about having her daughter’s picture taken, but since it was a public park, there wasn’t much she could do. The picture of Angel, without her name, had been in the next day’s paper. Two days later, they had moved to Ohio.

Angel closed the scrapbook and picked up the manila envelope she had found in her mother’s underwear draw. She opened it and pulled out the contents: birth certificate, social security card, and a few other important papers identifying Angel. She held the birth certificate up to the light and that’s when something looked odd. Holding the certificate up closer to the light, she turned it over from front to back several times. There was no watermark on the birth certificate.

Although Angel had been born in Alabama and she didn’t know much about Alabama birth certificates, but she was almost sure that every certificate needed to have a watermark to be legal. Then she started going over the information line by line.

Name, Angel Leeann Whitenack; mother, Connie D. Whitenack; father, unknown. It was true that Angel had never known her father, and her mother refused to even discuss him, saying only that he had left her when she turned up pregnant. Birthplace, Mason, Alabama; birthdate, December 24, 1968.

Wait a minute, mumbled Angel. My birthday isn’t December 24 – that’s Christmas Eve. My birthday is October 6th. This can’t possibly be right.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button ....

.... check out my article on one of my favorite Kentucky native plants, the Button Bush, at Examiner.Com.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


(Photo by Rick Fifer)


“Hello, stranger. Is there something I can help you with?” Martin “Grubby” Holmes was walking up the sidewalk to his home and there was a stranger sitting on his front porch, gently swinging in the old porch swing.

“I’m sorry to intrude, but my legs were tired and I needed to sit a spell. Your swing looked so inviting,” the stranger stood up, “I just thought I’d sit down. I’m sorry to be trespassing.” He stooped over and picked up his backpack.

“No need to run off so quick. Sit back down.” Grubby pointed at the swing and then he took a seat in the old iron chair near the front door.

“What brings you around these parts?” Grubby asked the man.

“Well, I lost my job about six months ago, so I’ve been struggling to live off my unemployment. But when that ran out, the bank took my home. I’ve been walking from town to town trying to find work.” The stranger ducked his head in an embarrassed way and Grubby could tell the man was having a hard time.

“My name’s Martin Holmes; my friends all call my Grubby. Have you had anything to eat today?” Grubby looked at his watch; it was after 2:30 in the afternoon.

“I had a large breakfast at the homeless shelter back in Carter City, but my tank is empty again. I was really hoping to find some work in your town, maybe a hot meal and a place to sleep the night. My name’s Chester, Chester Waterfill. I’m originally from Louisville.” He started turning his ball cap over and over again in his hands.

“Well, Chester Waterfill from Louisville, it’s nice to meet ya.” Grubby stood up and offered his hand to the man. “Come on inside and let’s see if we can rustle up something to eat. My tank’s a little empty, too.”


This is the beginning of a new short story entitled, THE CRYSTAL
(Photo by Dan Felstead of Wood and Pixels Narratives)

Annabella lived in the middle of the bluegrass state of Kentucky with her older brother, Kyle, who was a horse trainer, and his wife, Stella, who was a stay at home mother to two year old twins, Darius and Emmett. Their home was old, built by pioneer ancestors in the late 1880s. Downstairs there was one large great room with a large chimney and hearth, and a smallish kitchen off to one side.

Kyle and Stella had a bedroom downstairs with two cribs for the twins and Annabella was upstairs in the loft. Although the loft was one big open space covering half the depth of the house, Annabella felt safe and there was a colorful crazy quilt hanging from the ceiling near her bed, which offered her some privacy.

Because the house was old, there was no central air conditioning or heat, but there were large ceiling fans in the great room, the bedroom and the loft. During the cold months, a cheery fire was always burning in the fireplace, giving adequate warmth to the family.

When Annabella stood on the wide tin covered front porch and looked around, she could see the thick, heavy woods on one side and the green open pastures on the other. About a dozen horses were roaming in the pasture and the large horse stable was visible in the distance.

The pastures had once resembled the woods, but many years of hard work by ancestors Annabella never knew had cleared away the trees and shrubs to allow grass to grow and sustain the livestock. The lumber from clearing the pastures was used to build the house, stable and barn, which was located behind the house. The lumber was also used to make miles and miles of fencing on the property.

Although she enjoyed watching the horses frolic in the fields, Annabella enjoyed the forest even better. There was always something to do or many treasures to find. Annabella was a collector of rocks, leaves and sometimes wildflowers.

The rocks were her favorite and she had many different kinds, from the native limestone to large round geodes to sparkling minerals that looked like jewels. Here favorite was a sparkly emerald about the size of a golf ball and Annabelle always carried this gem in a pocket of her faded jeans.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Harry Potter Fever

You must excuse me for my lack of words this morning, but Christine and I went to a midnight showing of HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE last night. We must have been mad to venture into the mob at the cinemas - it was showing in all 8 auditoriums at the cinema we went to in Danville, Kentucky.

*****I guess I should say - SPOILER ALERT*****

But it was worth the wait - this was probably the best movie so far. That is, if you can get past all the changes from the book and the unnecessary additions. Oh, and not getting the HUGE fight scene inside Hogwarts at the very end.

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and it makes a great stand alone movie, especially for people who have never read the books - and if they haven't read the book, they must live under a rock. The Weasley twin's joke shop was more awesome than I had imagined in my head and the emotion of Hermione's heartbreak over Ron's relationship with Lavendar was heartfelt. Luna was brillant in the few scenes she was in - you've gotta love Loony Luna. The cave scene was cool, much more scary than I imagined, and the death scene was overwhelming. I didn't think I would cry, but I did.

What I didn't like about the movie was the unnecessary interaction between Harry and a girl working in a coffee shop at the very beginning. Where did that come from? And of course, the Dursleys were totally cut from the movie - Dumbledore picks up Harry at the afore mentioned coffee shop.

And as I mentioned earlier, I was waiting the entire movie for the huge fight scene at the end of the movie. The scene on the astronomy tower was great, but instead of showing the fighting and chaos inside Hogwarts, the action shifts to Harry chasing Snape toward Hagrid's cabin. I wanted more interaction between Snape and Harry, but alas, it didn't come. Now I see why this movie was rated PG instead of PG 13 like the last two, the violence was at a total minimum. Not that I'm advocating violence, but the 6th book was much more violent than the movie.

The one thing I did love was the growing relationship between Ginny and Harry - it was tastefully done and reminded me of how young love is supposed to be. Ginny (Bonnie Wright) has blossomed into a beautiful girl and her loyalty to Harry is amazing. Makes me anxious for the next movie.

Or should I say, next two movies. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS will be cut into two movies. I realize they want to cram as much as possible into the last of the franchise, but was it really necessary to have Part 1 and Part 2? Only time will tell.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think it's time for a nap.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Queen Anne's Lace

Read my article on Queen Anne's Lace at Examiner.Com. This is one of my favorite wildflowers.

Monday, July 13, 2009

One-Minute Writer - DAY

Today's One-Minute Writing Prompt: Day
What day of the week is your favorite, and why?

My favorite day of the week changes with the seasons. During the winter, Friday is normally my favorite day because I get to spend the evening with my hubby after a long work week.

During the spring, summer and fall, my hubby works on Friday and Saturday nights, so Sunday becomes my favorite day. I like nothing more than spending lazy Sunday afternoons with him.

Purple Coneflower - Not Just a Pretty Flower

Check out my article on Echinacea, or Purple Coneflower, on Examiner.Com.


My Empty Nest is No Longer Empty ...

... and my baby is finally back home from the Governor's School for the Arts. Christine is now a 2009 graduate from GSA!

Here is Christine at the beginning of her final performance. She is reading one of 3 letters about "Dan's Beard" - Dan was her DA (disciplinary assistant) and at the beginning of the session, he had a full beard. After writing the first two letters, he shaved his beard and head - so the 3rd letter is a suicide note from Dan's Beard and Hair.

Three new friends - Jordyn Rhorer, Maddey Gates and Christine.

Dan Bernitt (minus Dan's Beard) and Christine.

Christine with another good friend, Nichelle Green

Christine with her Residence Assistant (RA), Rosalynne Duff

Christine with fellow Mercer Countian, Christian Marnon - they were the only 2 students accepted into GSA from Mercer County.

As you can see, Christine made some wonderful new friends and mentors. She tells us she had a marvelous time and learned many new things. Just from the reading she did on Saturday, I can tell she has finally found her voice.

I am so proud to have a daughter who enjoys creative writing as much as I do. With her permission, I hope to be able to share some of her work with you. She published her first chap book, WE'RE ALL MAD HERE, during her time at Transylvania.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Free Flowing Friday

Sorry I've been so absent this week, but I've been under the weather and haven't felt like writing. Of course, with a few extra minutes on my hands, my Free Flowing Friday thoughts have been on the poor family of Michael Jackson.

I truly enjoyed MJ's music when I was a kid - what child growing up in the 60s and 70s didn't? I also realize it was his decision to put himself into the public eye and he garnered fame and fortune by being a celebrity superstar.

But in his family's moment of grief, why can't the media leave him alone? When my sister died 4 years ago, my grief was almost unbearable. If I had been subjected to her presence on every news channel in the world every time I turned on the TV, I would have gone insane.

And now the media is pulling those poor children into this mess! Give me a break! These little kids only know MJ as their father - nothing more. Who cares if they were conceived with a sperm donor? Who cares if the mother gave up her rights? These children didn't ask for this. And to continual roll the footage of his little daughter in her greatest moment of grief - it is despicable. The news channels keep rolling this footage over and over and over.

As for MJ being a child molester, I know the court of public opinion thinks he is guilty, but he was proven innocent in a court of law. I have my own thoughts about his guilt or innocence, but it doesn't matter what I think - a jury of his peers found him innocent. Period.

Now we are being subjected to all his possible medical problems and drug addictions. I personally feel someone's medical history should remain private. As a RN, I know the value of the privacy laws - I just wish everyone would quit speculating on what was wrong with him. We know there are corrupt doctors all over the country who cater to the rich and famous - we've already been through this with Anna Nicole Smith and Heath Ledger, just to name the recent ones.

My point in all of this is to be empathetic to the family and let them grieve in peace. Not matter if your rich or poor, black or white, or male or female - everyone should be allowed to grieve the loss of a loved one without it being fodder to grab ratings.

**Free Flowing Friday is a regular post I do on Rightmyer Rants every Friday. It is normally a collection of my thoughts throughout the week.**

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Laughter is Not the Only Medicine

Besides laughter, what is the best medicine?


The unconditional love of family and friends
My wonderful homemade chicken soup
Quiet evenings spent with my honey
A refreshing 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep
Man's best friend curled up at my feet
A lap full of purring cats
Knowing my children are healthy and happy
A mental health day watching episodes of Dark Shadows
Laying in the middle of the backyard enjoying nature's beauty
An apple a day, a spoonful of sugar and everything covered in chocolate

Monday, July 6, 2009

Yarrow - A Great Herb for Accident-Prone Kids

Check out my article on the many uses of Yarrow at Examiner.Com. This herb is great for stopping minor bleeding problems like skinned knees.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Muddy Boots Cafe

(Photo by Dan Felstead of Wood and Pixels Narratives)


Claudette continued to pedal the ancient bicycle up the tiny incline into town. She had been on the bike since early morning just as the sun came up and it was now well passed the noon hour. She was tired and hot and she had burned off the last of her breakfast energy a few miles back. Hopefully the hole in the wall town she was now approaching would be modern enough to have a McDonalds or Burger King - maybe she would be able to enjoy a burger and rest in the cool air conditioning.

She had taken on the challenge of cycling across the great state of Indiana in an effort raise money for leukemia research. Claudette's beloved niece had been suffering for 16 months with the horrible disease, and the family was losing hope that a cure would come in time to save little Abigail. Abigail was only 9 years old and she had her whole life ahead of her. Even though Claudette was 21, she had organized this bicycle trek with her college buddies at Indiana University.

For months, students pounded the pavement finding research donations all over the state, and when the time came for Claudette to begin her journey, there was $45,000 riding on the trip. The route had been planned out so Claudette would be near a town or city each night in order to rest and recuperate. Although the tiny town of Nashville, Indiana was not on her list of nightly stops, she thought this would be the perfect resting spot before the afternoon ride began.

Coming into town, Claudette was impressed with the two-laned, tree-lined streets and the large homes located along the main drag of town.

"Something tells me I'm not going to find a McDonalds in this town," she mumbled under breath. So much for a quick meal and a cool afternoon rest.

As she came around the last curve leading into Nashville proper, a quaint brick building on the left-hand side of the road caught her attention.
The front porch of the cafe was decorated with corn shocks to celebrate the upcoming fall season. There were large hydrangea bushes on each side of the porch, hanging full with balls of white flowers, already aging into a cream color that found make a wonderful dried flower arrangement. Cute iron ice cream parlor tables and chairs were lined under the front window, and a few patrons were enjoying lunch in the cool afternoon breeze.

But the thing that appealed most to Claudette was the ancient Coca-Cola machine near the front door. She had loved Coca-Cola since she was a toddler and just the thoughts of an icy cold drink, urged her to park her bike and third wheel trailer on the utility strip between the street and the sidewalk. Attaching her lock through the bike's front wheel and the loop of an old horsehead hitching post, she rummaged through the trailer to find her purse and then headed toward the Muddy Boots.

"That machine's more than decoration," said an elderly lady dining on the porch. "75 cents will buy you a nice cold bottle of Coceee-Coooola." Her accent sounded more downstate Georgia than Indiana.

"Really," replied Claudette? "I've been riding a long time, and Coke sounds good right now." She dropped three quarters into the slot, then opened the door and pulled out a bottle. Using the bottle opener on the side of the machine, she popped the top and took a long drink, draining almost half the bottle in one slow drink.

"Oh my! That hit the spot." She pulled her hand across her mouth in a very unlady-like fashion.

"If you're going into eat, the catfish is fresh from a local pond - Benji can fry it or grill it, whichever you like," said the woman.

"And Billy Jean's meatloaf is to die for," said the woman's male companion.

"Thank you, the both sound heavenly." Claudette took another swig of Coca-Cola and then pulled open the door to the cafe.

Inside the Muddy Boots Cafe, Claudette was transformed back in time to the early 1950s ...................

(To be continued ...........)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Jade's First Meal

One-Minute Writer Friday Fiction: Meal
Write a brief bit of fiction involving a meal.


Although Jade had been experimenting with human food for many months before her mission, having to actually eat human food while on Earth was not something she looked forward to. The taste and texture of solid food was revolting and the thought of three meals a day was the one thing she dreaded about her mission.

All the inhabitants of Jadocon received their nourishment in the form of liquid protein, normally only ingested once in a 24 hour eon. Jadocon was a dry, desert-like planet, so growing and raising food had been banned several million eons ago. Jade never realized there was such a thing as "food" until she began training for her 10 year Earth mission.

Picking the shiny red apple off the tree, Jade turned it around and around in her hand. She knew it was an apple, but she was reluctant to bite into it, even though she was running low on protein liquid. The Elders had allowed her to bring several days worth of liquid protein with her, but in order for Jade to blend in unnoticed, she would be required to eat the human food.

She held the apple up to her nose and sniffed. It smelled good, like sunshine and water. Finally she could put it off no longer and she bit into the crispy apple. Working the bite in her mouth, she was surprised at the sweetness and juiciness of the apple. She had been expecting something hard and sour. It took her many attempts to be able to swallow the small bite. When you've been used to drinking liquid all your life, swallowing a bite of apple can be a bit difficult.

For the next 45 minutes, Jade continued to work on the apple, taking small bites and chewing for long minutes. She was surprised to see the pretty white flesh of the apple start turning brown after a few minutes. She had no idea what was making the white turn brown, but she knew it wasn't affecting the taste.

When she was finished with the apple, she felt a little better, a little more energized. She hadn't realized how tired and hungry she actually was. Now, if only her stomach would tolerate the unusual nourishment, maybe she would be alright.

When she stood up, Jade picked a few more apples and put them into her backpack. Then she slung the backpack over one shoulder and headed out of the woods toward the nearest Earth town.


Check out my article on the many uses of Plantain at

Noxious weed or miracle plant? You be the judge.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Today's Picture, Poetry and Prose prompt:

Suggested prompt...Reflections - use it creatively in your writing today.

(Photograph by Lynda Lehmann)


Reflections of my past flow freely through my mind
Happy childhood, miserable teenhood, skittish adulthood
All jumbled together in the melting pot of memories
Never really showing my past by outward means, but simmering slowly in my thoughts and dreams

Rippled memories like the ripple of waves
Skipping across the decades of time
Not unlike a skimming stone as it lights on spontaneous musings and perceptions
With no control over where the cognition begins and the flights of fancy end

Why is it older brains will always reflect the past
While newer brains are only interested in jetting to the future
Don't they know that time is fleeting and you should not wish it away
'Cause in the blink of an eye, the future is gone and all we're left with is the past

One-Minute Writer - Trait

Today's One-Minute Writing Prompt: Trait
If you have children (or plan to have children, or can imagine having children), what trait do you have that you want to make sure you don't pass on?

My horrible, horrible temper! I don't get mad very often, but when I do - Katie bar the door! I've been known to rant and rave, in addition to being a telephone abuser (slamming the receiver down over and over and over again)!

Unfortunately, my two oldest daughters have inherited a combination of my temper and their father's (my ex) temper. They are more like me in that it takes a long time to get really mad - but I've seen them throw some really hellacious fits!

Fortunately, my youngest takes after her daddy (my hubby) and is very easy going and mild tempered. I honestly don't know how the two of them put up with me!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

From the Roadside to the Coffee Pot ...

... chicory is more than just a pretty wildflower. Check out my post at