Death By Chocolate Pudding – Flash Fiction

He was found floating; face up with a telltale smear on his cheek. He would have been fine

Jell-O brand chocolate pudding

Jell-O brand chocolate pudding (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

had he not tried to eat the whole vat.

 

Sometimes flash fiction comes from collaboration. Surprisingly this came from Mr. B and DB last week when I made chocolate pudding for breakfast. (it was on top of a dutch pastry. Don’t judge…)

Kate

Late August Mornings and Looking Ahead

Rugburn, taking a selfie.... Okay, I held up the camera, but it looks like he is.

Rugburn, taking a selfie…. Okay, I held up the camera, but it looks like he is.

I’m up early this morning, and while 8am isn’t the crack of dawn, when you go to bed after two, 8 is early. My puppy, a 12 year old puppy mind you, has an unusual growth under his eye, the same eye that I had a cyst removed from back in June.  So it required calling the vet first thing this late August morning.  (and while I have to wait till Wednesday for a visit, I’m stressing. I mean, I don’t know what I would do without him)

It’s one of those mornings where it smells like almost fall.  Not quite there, but almost.  I feel like fall might come on a bit sooner this year because everything else seems to be coming on so fast.  Yet looking back, it I remember everything falling into place at its normal time. In July we had our massive heat spell, then out of nowhere, it broke with two weeks of rainy sort of coastal weather. Suddenly, Boom! There was that first hint of fall in the air.  I always hate when that happens because I actually like the summer heat and smells.  Okay, I can’t really handle anything above 95 and feel really good, but that’s beside the point.  I like summer. It’s usually the season I’m feeling the best.

You know it's late summer when the wild clematis is sending out it seeds.

You know it’s late summer when the wild clematis is sending out it seeds.

So here we are at a week from September.  Today is the first day of school… No really I just pulled up the School District and there it was. No one in my family could remember.  So it is like officially fall, in that pre sort of way that it happens a month before it reads on the calendar.  Truthfully though, after reading Liza Dalby‘s East Wind Melts the Ice, where she says how the seasons actually start before the date on the calendar, I never look at the dates on the calendar as accurate. I think about fall almost a month before it happens, while mentally grabbing a hold of ‘summer’ that is and trying to dig my heels in.  I want to wear shorts and summer camisoles as long as I can. I want to feel warm when I walk outside.  And gosh darn it! I want to keep my tan which is so pale since I have this super pale FinishGermanWelshIrishWhatnot skin. My tan is like what a normal person gets in one week of the summer.

I’m hoping though with the cooler weather (ha! right. considering it was 90+ degrees yesterday) that I might be able to settle down and write more. I have pretty much given up doing much major writing over the summer because it was hot, I was tired, there was so much to do, I was reading…….. excuses. Except for the fact that I just got a letter from Susan Wooldridge who said she wasn’t writing a lot either.  I need cooler weather to write. Granted, I have dabbled in some poetry. I have a couple marvelous ones that I’m happy with and some that I have half finished and various starts. Eventually I hope to have them finished.

I never know what to do with my poetry. Do I post it here? Do I try to publish it? I have this Coral flushed series I’m doing that sort of relate to Boris… Okay, fine, they are technically just for Boris, but in my opinion they are good. So what do I do with them?  I really like dabbling in poetry because it’s something ‘small’ but I can take it anywhere with me.  I have my little book and pencil, because I seem to like to write poetry in pencil unless I’m out and all I have is a pen and several pieces of scratch paper or the back of my library book receipts.(those are actually fun to write on)

Fiction is sometimes so BIG in feeling that I feel like I have to really sit down to write it. But poetry is really something you can take with you, even down to having a small Moleskin or Field Notes and pencil (or pen) in your back pocket You don’t have to take hardly anything with you. It kind of makes it this perfect thing to write, because even if you don’t really do poetry, everyone has a poem in them just from how they might describe a flower they just saw.

And now I’m starting to ramble off on a tangent that is far from what I was thinking when I sat down on the couch on the porch waiting for the coffee to finish perking and listening to the Stellars Jays…… Oh wow does that sound so good to me.

What I wanted to say was that I am going to be doing a 31 Days in October again.  This year the theme will be ladies, femininity and all things girly. Or relating to me since I’m a girl. I have to keep a few options open just in case I can’t figure out a post or two.  I need to start working on posts and plotting out some ideas a bit more, along with deciding what I want a button for the  challenge to look like and a place for all these posts to go. I didn’t like that I have a header tab that is for last years listing. Maybe I can add under that or something. I clearly did not thing about it at the time.

So, new stuff for October is coming…. along with three new book reviews this month. I received a book last Monday and by Wednesday, I was done.  Okay it was lightish reading, but still I flew through it.

And now I am at 900+ words. Wow, I really just let it all fly out. I should stop.

Until I write again at some random point. Happy Monday, Dearies. (September means OUAT is coming soon! Yes!)

Kate

Haying Season

I wrote this back in mid June when I happened to be waiting for my dachshund to have eye surgery. Then life got busy and I did not finish posting it. I still have it in my notebook. So, finally, after a month and a half and here we are in August, is my post on haying season.

It’s haying season here in Norcal. The air has a perpetual haze and an ever present ‘green’ smell that you don’t even really notice is the scent of freshly cut alfalfa or grass. Personally, I feel the alfalfa has a more green smell than the grass. I would know as we have a few alfalfa bushes growing in our yard and I cut the plant for compost, feeding chickens, or in the past, rabbits. I know green smells. I live with them year round.

Haying is an essential commodity in a farming community. Here, because we are in the mountains, our hay/alfalfa is supreme. Because of the mountains, shorter growing season,and probably other factors I don’t know about, we only get three cuttings versus the seven to nine that come from, say, the Central Valley of California. Farmers here don’t use their own hay for their cattle, instead purchasing hay from outside the area and selling their own hay for a higher prices for other outside areas. Inf fact, our hay is so rich and nutritious that it is used in racing stables for high end horses. So it is worht it for the farmers and ranchers to sell the hay they grow for a high price, then ship in hay for their own livestock.

Right now we are in the first cutting. There is something so base and primal about seeing the land produce a crop so critical to life’s function. I get a set of chills when I see the cut alfalfa or grass laying in neat rows. Seeing the outer parts of the field cut first, maybe three rows and all the inner field still tall, is perfection. Then there is the turning process, or combining the cut rows into larger rows ready for baling. I have only seen hay baled by a very small operation, but seeing bales coming out of the back end of machinery is amazing. But the best part about the haying process is seeing the bales in the ‘zen’ fields. Pure perfection. Neat, compact rows of tight, green rectangles following a neat grid.

Depending on the rancher, bale size and placement differs. The H ranch has bales that are the sixe of four regular bales, while just down the road are messy, non-uniform bales. Over the hill and down into another small valley are the neatest, most uniform bales I have ever seen. Like soldiers lined in a row……. No, more like bricks. Row upon row.

I have tried to capture the magic i feel seeing the hay, but it defies me and unless you experience and have an emotional connection to the land, you won’t get it. The same chills I get listening to a symphony or watching our military fighter planes take off or having wind in the pine trees, hit me when I see the haying process. I can travel up the twelve mile long  valley and see every stage from green fields, to cutting, turning, combining, baling, and finally stacking. Big, beautiful stacked rows of hay. And lastly, the large trucks hauling the green bales down the valley to be delivered elsewhere.

This is a very big ranching and farming community, and while for the most part I don’t like most ranchers, I have such a  personal connection to the land. There is magic in growing. There is the amazing opportunity to see God’s hand at work. I never had much feeling for the farming life, but I hold it in high regard, especially since living here for fifteen years.

Having Boris in my life has made me take a closer look at the life as well. I don’t think I’ve ever told him what haying is to me. Which is funny because he grew up on a Kansas ranch and still owns and runs it. Ranching/farming is half his life.

I have dreams of seeing a field of Kansas wheat then seeing it cut and baled. The sky of blue and golden waves. There is John Denver’s song “Matthew” and it talks about those two things.

Gold was just a windy Kansas wheat field,
blue was just the Kansas summer sky.

Himmel licht (Sky light)

Himmel licht (Sky light)

I can see it in my mind, but I’d love to see it in person.  That is a hint to Boris…..

For me hay season is magic season. Just don’t get me started on my allergy complaints……

Kate

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest – A Review

_225_350_Book.1586.coverThe Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson is a ‘Medieval Fairy Tale” taking the themes of Robin Hood and the Swan Princess and weaving a story of intrigue, romance, deception, and redemption.  Odette is a young woman bound and determined to help the poor orphans of Thornbeck, sneaking out at night to hunt in the margrave’s forest. She is a poacher.  Jorgen is the margrave’s forester responsible to maintain the woodland animals for the margrave, but now he has to hunt down a poacher who is taking much more than should ever be taken. Not to mention his father, the previous forester, was killed by a poacher.  Jorgen doesn’t know Odette is the poacher he is hunting, but he does know she is one of the most amazing maiden’s in Thornbeck and he longs to be with her despite their differences in station.  For Odette is the niece of a wealthy merchant and Jorgen is just a forester.

Sinister forces are at play, trying to drive these two lovers apart.  There is another who desires to marry Odette; the son of the Burgomeister, Mathis.  But he is not all he appears, nor is Odette’s uncle, Rutger, who says all he wishes is for Odette to be happy.

So is the dilemma of a beautiful maiden, an honest man, and forces trying to tear the two from each other.  What will happen when Jorgen discover’s that Odette is his poacher? Only you who is willing to pick up the book and find out.

 

I was hopeful that this book would be all it was described to be, what with it being a ‘fairy tale’ and mixing Robin Hood and the Swan Princess, as those are fairy tales I love.  Unfortunately, this was about as fairy tale as any historical fiction…. meaning it lacked what I would term a fairy tale.  A remake of two classic stories, but not really magical in any way.  I also found it dragged on for three quarters of the book and I was left wondering what all the point of anything was. Finally, the deception and intrigue made sense three quarters through and I was interested enough to scan through the rest of the story, but I was left fairly bored.   While I enjoyed Ms. Dickerson’s “The Captive Maiden”, a retelling of Cinderella, this one left me dragging my heels to finish it.  I felt that all the proprieties that would be for that time period thrown out the window to the point of it being almost ridiculous, and there was a point at which I thought historical fact was also tossed by the wayside… Mostly in the description of a wound that was septic. While the word is ancient Greek, I’m just a little skeptical about its usage.  That’s actually fairly minor in just the plot of the story not having enough of something to keep me interested.  As a historical novel, and I stress that term, not fairy tale, it’s not bad. I think many people would like the simplicity….. which is not actually a compliment. I thought the character’s thought processes were enough to make me bang my head against the book. And it was written too simply for my taste. I could say this is great as a young adult novel, but definitely not enough meat for an adult story. I just can’t say this one story was really my cup of tea.  Unfortunately I have to give it only 2 out of 5 stars.  Which I hate to do.

 

This book was provided to me free for my honest opinion and review. I have been in no way compensated.

 

Kate

Whenever You Come Around – A Review

_225_350_Book.1585.coverWhenever You Come Around : A Kings Meadow Romance by Robin Lee Hatcher

Charity Anderson grew up in Kings Meadow having a crush on Buck Malone through high school, but then she went to college, partied, and made some big mistakes that she has kept from everyone, even herself. She grew up and became a semi famous author. A flood forces her to leave her Boise home in the hands of contractors for massive repairs, so she relocates back to her parent’s home in Kings Meadow for the summer while they are off in Europe for a vacation of a lifetime. She’s there to write her new novel, a romance story she really hasn’t ever written before. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Buck Malone is her parent’s neighbor. When a fluke accident with Buck, Charity, and Charity’s dog, Cocoa, leaves Buck with a broken ankle and wrist, Buck is left having to rely on friends, family, and Charity to help him get through this time. A time that will be tough since he is a back country guide, and now his business is at a complete standstill.

But matters of the heart are at stake as Charity and Buck grow closer, despite Charity’s past coming back to sink it’s claws into what could be a marvelous relationship.  Meanwhile, Buck is struggling with the fact that he’s been a bit of a lady’s man in Kings Meadow and he doesn’t want to settle down.  Or does he?  Will Charity’s sweetness work on him, softening him up?  Will Buck’s strength give Charity the ability to tell her secrets she’s kept from everyone?  Will Charity stay or go home to Boise?  Will Buck heal and go back to his guide business?  Only time will tell in this short, sweet romance.

I was in the mood for a ‘western’ themed book when I selected this.  It is part of series of stories Robin Lee Hatcher has set in King’s Meadow. The struggles are real, and I really like the fact that the heroine was a writer/author. I have a penchant for those types of stories.  The writing was really good and I loved how Ms. Hatcher brought in touches of modern things, like Pinterest and cell phones and various other things that I find a lot of authors leave out of books taking place in our current time.  The mistakes Charity had made in the past and kept secret were real, and how she kept them a secret was part of what made her a woman who found it hard to trust other people

Spoiler Alert Highlight to Read

Charity partied in college, got drunk, slept with a former high school classmate, got pregnant, then the baby miscarried

For the most part, this was a pretty romance. Nothing spectacular, though I did like how Charity and Buck were immediately affected by their first kiss. I just thought the story dragged out a little longer than needed and added bits of information left me wondering where I was in the story and how it fit.  It’s not so much that they didn’t fit, but they needed to fit a little better so the moving from scene to scene flowed better and I wasn’t left wondering how something moved the story forward. There are some aspects I was left scratching my head over.  And I felt the ending was a little too long in coming.  It really wasn’t until the last three pages that the whole story and issues were solved and BOOM! story is over.  I think an epilogue would have been helpful because I felt like I was left hanging in the middle of the story.

I’m curious about trying more of Ms. Hatcher’s books. I would give this a 3 out of 5 stars.

 

This book was provided to me free from BookLookBloggers and HarperCollins Christian Publishing for my honest review. I was in no way compensated for my opinion.

 

Kate

Unmotivated Me

It’s not that I don’t have things to write about. It’s not even that I don’t have the time…. Okay, well time is limited right now. But I’m just not motivated to write.  I have a two book reviews I need to post, a book I need to finish reading before I can write a review, letters to friends, ideas for writing, a blog post on haying season, pictures….. The list goes on and on.

But right now about all I’m interested in doing is daydreaming and reading. I haven’t even written much of anything. Okay, that’s not true. I did write a poem just this last week titled “Elephants”. I should type it up and share it because I’m kind of proud of how it turned out.

I have been dabbling in a new piece of fiction which was inspired by ASMR and The French Whisperer over on Youtube. I seriously suggest if you are interested in ASMR to check his channel out. The tingles this guy can put up my spine….. Whew!  Magic. Puts me to sleep every time I listen to him at night.  Recently I listened to his take on the History of the Palace of Versailles.  That was really interesting for one, and really relaxing for another.  And I’m going off on a different tangent.

My reading has consisted of a bit of poetry; Rumi, Billy Collins, Rilke; an Emilie Loring, a few random fiction books, and the desire to read A Farewell to Arms and The Great Gatsby.  I have failed to finish anything nor get very far in anything.

One major reason for all this lack of motivation is right now the farming is in full swing.  What with watering, picking, and the heat….. well there isn’t a lot of down time. I am getting to the point of the season where I can spend two to three hours picking blueberries. Not to mention a few hours watering, oh and I cook two meals a day and do the laundry and pick up the house… Okay the house is kind of a joke right now.  There is way too much dust in all spots and I would NOT want anyone to come over.  Some places make me want to scream.

California is in a serious drought so watering is a conscious effort to not waste water.  Lawns? Pshaw! Those are going by the wayside except for where there are fruit trees because anyone who knows anything about gardening knows that fruit tree roots extend beyond what you think.  So the lawn around the trees gets watered.  And because this is a very dry year, the spider mites have set in.  On the positive side of things, the spider mites are the reason we have had burnt looking leaves on several plants for several years.  One would think it would be crazy to say that was a positive thing, but now I know that it wasn’t my fault in how I watered. Okay, indirectly it was because lack of water leads to the mites coming in, but it wasn’t like I wasn’t watering good enough, it was more that it wasn’t quite enough to deal with the infestation.

So, as you can see, it’s rather busy.  I hope to get a book review for a Christian romance up this week. And also Persephone Books let me read their book The Homemaker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher.  Marvelous book. I have been a bit behind with getting that review written as well.  And lastly, my post on haying season with pictures…..

So, hopefully soon this blog will be back into ship shape…. Excluding my random pages that need a serious updating.

I need a maid.

Le sigh, as Jules says.

 

Kate

Things That Confuse Men

I started thinking about this subject after  my father looked at me and said my hair is always slightly rats-nest-y.  I told him it was controlled dishevelment.  I’m not sure he believed me.  And watching the Bachelorette this last week where guys had to explain puberty and feminine products and such, in such a hilarious manner…. and recently this marvelous ad for Carefree liners…. oh the things guys just don’t get.

 

 

So, things that I find confuse men….

curled hair

My hair today which was actually right how I like it. Not like I have just done my hair but slightly relaxed. Great isn’t it?

1. Hair styles that are controlled dishevelment.  For instance, I dry my hair straight, then curl it, pinning up the curls with hair clips… guys don’t get that and why you have to dry it first, or why you have to curl it before you put your hair up….. After I take out the hair clips, I fluff and tease and spray with magic hair spray.  Then the curls look so natural it’s like you didn’t even do anything.  That. Is. The. Point.  To not look like you were even trying to curl your hair. Like hair just naturally falls that way.  Trust me, guys do not get hair routines.  They do not get why you have to put the hair gel on just so and just right and in such and such an order. But guys, it’s worth it. Does your sweetheart look amazing?  Then trust me, she has probably done some backwards method to get her hair that way.  But it works.

 

2.  Nail polish and various colors and glitter and creams versus frosts.  Nail polish is nail polish to a guy.  Yellow is yellow and if it just so happens to match your outfit, great.  But why do you need three greens?  Or five sparkle ones, or why do you need this black when you already have a black and honey, don’t you think your collection is large enough?  For me, I can never have too many nail polishes.  Right now my father has indulged me with them, and I have a serious collection that matches all my summer shirts. But he doesn’t get nail polish. He really doesn’t get why I ooh and ahh over the new sparkle polishes filled with glitter.  Men don’t get glitter.  Obviously they have never paid attention that women like shiny things. Glitter is the cheap way to have lots of shine.  And for me, since I can’t indulge in my true passion, shoes, nail polishes work…. which leads me to Number 3…..

 

3. Shoes.  I still don’t understand why guys are still confused by our love of shoes.  For one, they always tell me that I look good in heels and I have met a lot of men who are legs men. They love to look at legs in a pair of nice heels. So, if that’s the case, um, you need shoes. Duh.  And I’m sure they wonder why you need three pink shoes, but hey, if it’s summer then you need the strappy sandal or the cute kitten heel.  Wedges (which I don’t do) platforms, heels, flats, pink, blue, silver, green, black with stripes, black with zebra print, and various boots with heels, or not or…. I love shoes, I really do. I love to wear them around a guy. I love that they make me a bit taller than my 5’4″ frame. They make me feel sexy. Heck, they make me sexy.  Shoes bring confidence and a feeling of accomplishment. They are what make women sexy.  So why a guy wouldn’t get a woman wanting to be sexy… blows me away. Granted, yeah, they can make our feet hurt, but still… in pain we are still sexy.

 

Okay, so those are my three things so far that I know confuse guys.  They will shake their heads at certain things and if you discuss it, you can see the blank stares starting. It’s rather funny.

 

I am curious though, does anyone else know of things that totally confuse guys?  Things that make us uniquely women?  Things that they may like we do, but seriously do not get?  Write me and tell me….. Which means, comment below. :)

 

Kate (in the glittery pink nail polish)

 

Right For Me – A Poem

472622366Back over my birthday and the week prior I met a darling boy/man, and I was still dealing with new feelings about Boris.  Recently my emotions have gotten the better of me as I watch The Bachelorette and drool over gorgeous men, at the same time dealing with Boris and possibly someone new in my life.  (Online dating can be a whirlwind in it’s own way)

I have had poetry and romance and kisses in my head to the point where I have this perpetual knot in my chest.  I can’t write it all down enough and I am getting stuck and lost in my mind more and more. Fortunately, I was able to capture some of what I’m struggling with in a piece of poetry.  I am titling it ‘Right For Me’ because I’m not sure what else to call it. I think my birthday….. no, pardon Neeko, was the catalyst to all of this.

 

 

 

 

Right For Me

I’m too old for you
Too young for him
Just right for me

I’m too close to there
Too far from here
I’m just in between

My words too long
The story too short
The plot just right

I’m looking back
I’m plowing forth
Just standing still

I like you a lot
I love him a little
I’m happy with me

I wish on you
I hope for him
I dream for me

 

Just a little something to express myself.

 

Kate

 

Poetry from Poemcrazy Workshop

Here are three poems from the workshop with Susan Wooldridge.

Using word tickets, word pools, post cards, stolen words and pure magic.  All of these poems here brought tears, full of raw emotion and feelings.  I do hope you enjoy.

I Remember by V. Krueger

I Remember
Hewn stone
Hopscotch on the kitchen floor,
Blue sky, full moons
Strange surprises and early spring
I remember
Frail old people, laughing children
Rambunctious conversations over dinner
The smell of a warm stove and coffee

I remember
Enchanting, silly, lost little girls,
Plates stacked, silver, really?
Dark, dank, scary, stairs to the cellar
I remember
Cold winters, pancakes and syrup
Important dreams
Steaming milk, the smell of diesel.
I remember
Shaggy horses,
The delightful smell of cows,
swish, swish, swish , milk in the pail, a warm barn..



Amnesia, I Have Forgotten What I Was by Katie Lyn Branson

I am Life the dishsoap in the
Spanish home disembodied as my
Mother stands at the kitchen sink
Singing to my sister about shortning
Bread
The sweet, sweet, sweet smell of chocolate
Chip cookies, the chlorine as she cleans the
Sink
Sewing up shadows of compact berries
I remember the expression, No problem
Knocking full of neon light-script
Nom Nom she says, yes yes I’ll have
Another song
The language of the north hand calls me
And I’m the dishes as I set the table
Come back to me potato chips
Crunchy with mustard, sour, salty
Honey tastes, not dainty
Amnesia, I have forgotten what I was
Encounter me in Monaco, a glittering
Firebrat, stunning as a Japanese Geisha
Three lovely syllables form me
Mira, headlights Wildfire
I am leafless trees of burnt umber
Dancing and sensual,
I am a cactus prickly when you prod me
I am a Victorian lady, proper and prim
Every moaning lover calls me home
The agony of eternity’s with them
An ocean full of squares, sharp
The softness of a waterfall full of leaves
Beckons me to the bloodroot of me
The Swamp Dewberry, earthy and sweet
I am so many things knocking at myself
As I chain-smoke my words on paper and
Become a lurking mask of myself
sewing up shadows of a bubble

Ball on the Green by Katie Lyn Branson
I feel like the endless golf ball on the
green, lonely and waiting to be hit from
the club
The luminosity of the sun shines on my
white surface in a desert of green
The rain hits the umbrella, plink plunk thunk
The feather boa around my neck is soft
Tickling my chin
I feel like wearing red and dancing on the
green. The green velvet lawn in July
as you take the weekend to burrow yourself
away and forget what I said to you in a musical moment.
I feel lost waiting for the hit to come
from you sending me spinning and reeling
towards the hole.
Another point for you as you score a
Par four and write it with your little
pencil of grafite
I could erase your marks and write
in my own.
I win! I shout at you.
For once I have the upper hand
Your stalking Jaguar-self won’t scare
me this century
Photograph me as I dance in the rain
over cobblestoned streets, my silken skirts
An Oriental Poppy of endless movement.

Kate

All poetry is copywrited 2015 by V. Krueger and Katie Lyn Branson.  Do not use without permission.