A Real Life Captain America

In this day and age it isn’t often that you can find someone you truly admire and look up to. There are very few heroes like there used to be and we tend to look to our imaginary superheroes of film or television. Captain America of Marvel fame is quite popular. Embracing the values that made our country great, it’s easy to see why we look at figures like this in awe and respect.  Personally, I’m a huge fan of Captain America.  He embodies the good looking, clean cut, clean life, God fearing, country proud man of the era of WWII, which is obvious since that is his time period.  This is my idea of an ideal man. He had the right qualities, and oh look, he knows how to treat a lady as well.

captain-america-wallpaper-chris-evansBut there are very few men like Captain America. Very few men whom our boys can look up to and have a role model.

Except for maybe one man.

Noah Galloway.

It’s not often that you can look at a man who is ballroom dancing and say, oh, that is someone to admire, but in the case of Noah Galloway, I think he is truly someone to admire. Taking Dancing with the Stars by storm, he has taken the ballroom to new heights and surprised, impressed, and made us all cry.  Who would have ever thought a man missing the limbs on his left side could ever do what he has done every week?

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 10.37.26 AM_0Here is a man who was lost out of high school, who saw the two towers being bombed, who decided to sign up to fight for our country.  Who lost his limbs and what was the life he knew in one moment. In one flash everything was gone. He gave his arm and leg for our country. He served our country and fought for our freedom and lost something so personal.  How could anyone who has not been in combat even come close to knowing what this man has gone through.

And yet week after week he danced his heart out, bringing us to tears with his amazing work ethic and self motivation. Here is someone who respects hard work and pushing one’s self. Never giving up even when there were downsides to the dancing. Even though he has never received the highest scores.  Caring for his partner, Sharna Burgess,  in a way that all men should care for a woman, be it friend, mother, sister, lover, etc. He respects women. You can see it in how he treats Sharna.

Here is a man that embodies Captain America.  Who says we need Marvel with a fake hero?  We have a hero right here at home is showing the world what he can do. Pushing himself beyond the boundaries of modern dance.

...... Or the fake shield?

…… Or the fake shield?

Whom would you rather have? A real man like Captain America?......

Whom would you rather have? A real man like Captain America?……

Showing us all that pushing ourselves does get us somewhere.

You want a man for your young son to look up to? Show him Noah Galloway and you are showing him the real Captain America.

I know which captain I would take.

Kate

On the Verge – Prose Poetry

I’m on the verge of being two persons, a little girl with no idea where I am going, but then He says I have attributes that in history, men would start wars over. And I think to myself, how could he not want me with words like that. I am a queen of desire and His words make me that way. Words that make me feel delicious, as he says delicious after I send a glimpse of more than he should ever see. And I wonder if I have become the naughty temptress that revels in her femininity while He stokes fires of longing deep in my belly, my spine tingling with awareness as he prods just a little more and I give in to his suggestions. I’m wicked and good and sexy and sweet. I’m so many things swirled around together to create someone I don’t even know myself. Yet He seems to get me in ways He shouldn’t. He tempts me in ways that are dangerous waters for my heart. I want more and more and more. I want to give in. I want to beg. I want to demand that He give it all to me. I want to whisper his name and toss myself at His feet in supplication. Delight me, demand from me, form me into someone I am not. Turn me from angel to demon. Let me be a *daydream dressed like a nightmare. Let me be woman, let me be Empress to you, my King. Let me sit on the golden throne of someone else and be far more free and alive than I am alone.  He gives me life I never knew and I crave more as he pushes me far more than ever I thought possible. I want to be on the verge of more than I am.

A personal experience brought on this prose. I can’t explain it all and it’s rather personal, but I couldn’t keep it in. I feel I could go on more, but I like the brevity of this.

*Courtesy of ‘Blank Page’ by Taylor Swift

Kate

Dutch Pancake – Flash Fiction

Updated 4/26/15, for Sunday breakfast

Updated 4/26/15, for Sunday breakfast

“Can I get you something to drink? Coffee, tea, water, beer….” Phil trailed off as he watched Emma inspect his bookshelf.

“You drink tea?” she asked as she looked back at him over her shoulder.

He shrugged.  “Sometimes.”

“I’d love some coffee,” Emma answered and pulled out a book with a red spine.  “Do you happen to have eggs, milk, flour, and a skillet?” she asked as if inspired by something.

“Uh…. What?” Phil stared at her dumbfounded as he pulled coffee from the freezer.

“Do you have all of those things?” Emma asked again, enunciating each word carefully as if he was a child.

“Yeah. I do. Why?”

“Excellent.  How long does your coffee take to make?”  Then she noticed he had set out a stove-top percolator.  “Oh, at least fifteen minutes, yes?”

“Um. Yes.”  She was worrying him a bit with her cavalier manner and random questions.

“Good. Pull out the skillet and let me work.”  She seemed all business as she pushed up her sleeves, metaphorically since she was wearing a sleeveless top over tan chinos.

He fixed the coffee, putting it on his gas range to perk while he watched her rummage in his fridge pulling out eggs, milk and butter. Then she was pulling out bowls, a whisk and mixing flour and sugar while beating eggs and milk in another bowl. The butter went into the skillet which in turn ended up in the oven turned up high.

She found his small bottle of vanilla hiding amongst the salt and pepper in his ‘spice’ cabinet.  He ignored her muttered comment about ‘men and their lack of proper cooking spices’.  He was rather mystified by her mixing.

When everything was combined, she yanked the skillet out of the oven and poured the batter into the pan, popped it back into the oven and set a timer.

“That’ll be ready in no time. Do you have jam or powdered sugar?” at his negative shake she frowned.  “Maple syrup?”

“Yes.”

“That’ll do.”  She rinsed everything then wandered back to his bookshelves.

She was rather a conundrum in his mind.  She worked outside most of her day in dirt and soil, but she wore diamond drop earrings.

“Just rhinestones,” she corrected.

She wore sturdy pants and a chambray sleeveless top; riding boots.  But he caught a hint of lace hiding beneath the shirt.  Why would someone getting dirty outside wear lacy lingerie underneath?

She was prim and proper with her attitude and spoke without cursing, though she did let a swear word out as she commented about something she hated.  She read naughty books but liked to write clean and elegant poetry.  She admired his Varga paintings, and liked some of his more ‘risque’ books, but she looked like she stepped out of a Norman Rockwell.  Or something that would be considered ladylike.  A study in contradiction.

She was gleeful when the timer rang and she opened the door to the oven, shielding the contents from him.  Then he was utterly surprised at the giant puffed up pastry, or whatever she had made, that was practically escaping from the pan.

“It’s a Dutch pancake,” she answered his minor shock.  She directed him to get plates and forks while she cut the pastry and the whole thing collapsed.  The doused their halves of the pancake with the fake syrup in his cupboard and carried their plates and cups of coffee out to the deck, sitting in the mid-afternoon sun overlooking the mountain lake.

His first mouthful was pure decadence. Not too rich or sweet, but oh so satisfying.  He caught her grin as she bit into a dainty bite of hers.

“I moaned, didn’t I?” he asked.

She giggled.  “You did, but I’m glad you like it.  It’s my specialty.”

“Well you do a damn fine job of it.”

“Thank you.”

“I may have to keep you around,” he said as he devoured his piece.

“I may let you,” she teased.

The thing was, he wasn’t teasing……………

Ah, flash fiction…. sometimes it comes out perfectly.  This was inspired by a recent thought and my new love of Dutch pancakes that I make almost daily for my family. There is something so magical about eggs, milk, flour, sugar and butter that puff up to something so ooey gooey yumminess.  For those interested, I highly recommend King Arthur Flour’s recipe but up the sugar. I don’t use lemon, but it’s a personal thing. I really suggest you try it.

Lemon Puff Pancake with Fresh Berries

Or try this one that I think might be better.

Dutch Baby Recipe

As of 4/26/15, I have modified the recipe using both of the links I shared and so, play around with it. You want it to climb and not sink, like my image above.  So much goodness in such a simple thing.(I should add, I do gluten free, so even better)

Kate

Dear Romance – Writing 101 Day 14

Dear Romance,

You spend your days hiding amongst the pages of  trashy novels or delightful love stories. You are the hero in the white knight costume. You are the heroine rushing to save the hero. You are the candles in the dinner or the music on the front porch. You are light, you are dark, you are not around for me.

I read about you in all things and I see you as I look at films.  The sweet romance of two tree swallows. The burning desire of Darcy and Lizzy.  You are in all things.

But you run from me.  You have left me. I have not seen you in years. You don’t cross my path. You flirt and tease me with your presence, just lingering on the fringes of my life,  but you never deem to enter and present yourself.

I’m lost and alone without you. I am left trying to find you. Hunt you down. I write about you and I dream about you for my characters. I plot out how you will enter or disappear. But how do I write about you when you don’t exist in my life?  How do I create a nuance of little moments that come together into what makes you so desirable?

You are so wanted by all women. You are what makes romance novels sell. You suck us into your sweet fragrance of kisses and love. Of roses and pink. Of candlelight dinners and walks on the beach. Though I must say, that is not what I really think of as romantic. That is for others. For me, I want a swinging bench with a man. Or maybe a night to stargaze and dream. With said man.

To each woman, You mean something different.

But to me, you are not there.

 

Sincerely,

Lost and lonely

 

 

So for Writing 101’s  Day 14 assignment which is:

Today’s Prompt: Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What’s the first word that jumps off the page? Use this word as your springboard for inspiration. If you need a boost, Google the word and see what images appear, and then go from there.

Today’s twist: write the post in the form of a letter.

 

I picked up Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and the first word that hit me was ‘Romantic’. I chose to go with more romance than romantic and I wrote a letter.  I love epistolary stuff… I.E. letters, but this didn’t turn out quite as nice as I wanted. I need to come back and try it again, I think.

I’m still having issues sitting down and attempting any writing assignments, so followers will have to just take what i post. It’s a crazy time with the growing season and I’m still spending more time reading than writing.

 

Kate

Fog Wildfires – Short Fiction

This last month my local valley libraries had their annual writing contest.  I decided to enter their theme of Wildfire Summers and ended up placing third.  Down from second two years ago, but I sort of half-assed it, writing it two days before the deadline.  But still, I placed…. amongst 5 people. Ah, small town.  I have to laugh.

But I thought I would share. I don’t think it’s good enough to ever submit to any literary magazines, but who knows. Once I publish it here, I wouldn’t dream of submitting anyhow.

Enjoy

Fog Wildfire

She called the summer wildfires ‘Fog Wildfires’ after the way the fog of smoke would sink down the mountains just like the fog rolling into San Francisco Bay. However, unlike its counterpart, this kind of fog was hot, dry and smelly. The golden disk of the sun was no more than an amber colored stone, and it gave the land an eerie sepia tone like she had stepped into a western film. Or an aged photograph. Still air with not even a hint of movement made the smoke and heat push down on her. It made her feel anxious and restless.

Days like this, where the smoke was a thick as fog you could cut it and call it marshmallow, except for the nasty, noxious smell of it, which marshmallows were not, was when she wished for the foggy, coastal-like mornings of early January. She loved the cool, winter fog. The kind of fog that was so wet you could see each individual droplet hanging in the air; a fine curtain of silk. The kind of fog that dripped off the eaves and made the earth and trees smell like she was in some exotic damp forest. The kind of fog you find on the coast where you can breathe as deeply as you want and it never hurts because the mist was like a balm to your lungs. Today she wished it was fog instead of smoke.

She had hung her laundry under the porch eaves as ash sifted down like shavings. Ashy pine needles, fragile as talc, floated to the ground in shades of grey and white. Easily crushed under foot. Sifting down like snow, except a whole lot less pretty in her mind. The air was dirty. When the wildfires were at their worst, like today, the sky was obscured by thick, dirty, grey smoke. But of course smoke was dirty. The day so hot you could melt, but then not hot enough as the smoke, thick grey would hide the sun enough to cool it down. And amber sun was not warm.

Stagnant air. Smelly air. Smoke filled air. The air perpetually permeated with the acrid, sharp tang of burnt trees; thousands upon thousands of wilderness burned to a crisp of blackened giant’s toothpicks. Nothing left.

She missed the days that would clear up to blue sky, but only when the inversion lifted. That was always nice because she could breathe again, filling her lungs with fresh mountain air, warm from the summer sun and smelling of fields of grass and wheat. The resin of pines and firs a spicy sweet scent that she could never get enough of smelling. But the lifted inversion meant that the fires would worsen, the blazes having more wind to ignite the downed debris. Then a plume would form, one that you could see for miles, and by late afternoon, the smoke would settle in again, thickening the air, and obscuring all of the scenery.

The laundry had taken forever to hang as she tried to find places around the porch to clip clothespins and hangers. Doubling up clothes on the line she had strung around the eaves. The sheets hung, folded twice to make room for everything. Socks hung double by one clothespin. One couldn’t walk around the porch without something wet hitting them in the face. However, because it was so still, the dampness hung like its own cloud under the roof. Step out from under and she was assailed by the heat and dry smokiness. Step back under and it was a step into the south; damp, muggy.

She couldn’t win. She wanted that misty day where she could sit in her favorite window, the fire warm and dry in the stove as she sat sipping a cup of tea. She didn’t want to be figuring out the best spot to dry her favorite shirts, knowing that they would still smell like smoke for days once they were dry. She was tired of the heat, the smoke, and the incessant smell of it permeating every nook and cranny of her life. Tired of having to sleep with her windows closed because the smoke was so thick she couldn’t see her neighbors.

Every year it was the same thing. Every year there was a wildfire that set up a blaze that lasted months. Every summer she dreaded that first hint of chlorine in the air; her first indication of a fire started in the mountains. Every year she had to make due with hazy days and always smelling like smoke.

She sighed as she took down the burnt smelling sheets. Maybe it was time to invest in a new place to live. Maybe she needed to move to the actual coast. Fires were rare there. Maybe she could find herself a little cottage near the water and breathe mist all day.

She smiled to herself, almost a little giddy at the thought of never having to deal with the wildfires again. It made her bounce around and hum to herself as she took down the laundry. Yes, that’s what she would do. She would live on the sea and have foggy mornings every day. She would never smell smoke again.

Just as she was about to call her cousin who was a realtor she stopped and frowned. If she moved to the coast she would never have the summer heat that she loved. She wouldn’t have the snowy winters and the autumns that were like a storybook waiting to explode in perfection.

Darn it! She was going to have to deal with the smoky summers if she wanted all her other favorite things. She sighed again. Well, at least she could dream of her misty mornings that came in January, and remember them when the smoke was too thick.

Like right now. It was time for another night of closed windows, a stuffy house, and her hair smelling like the burning pine needles. The fires would finally go away, the skies would be blue, and the world would be clean and fresh again, like the mountains should smell. She just had to get through the next few weeks in this foggy kind of smoke.

Such was the life of living where wildfires were a common enough thing every year.

Kate

My Character’s Home at 12 – Writing 101

I have been struggling with the writing prompts for the Writing 101  today’s day 11 was no different. I don’t want to write solely about myself. Not that I won’t since half the time I’m dabbling in random thoughts.  However, I have been taking an active interest again in my ‘novel’ (I’m titling it Picture Me Country at this moment) So instead of today’s’ prompt of

Today’s Prompt: Where did you live when you were 12 years old?Which town, city, and country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or foster home? An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?

Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences as you compose your response about the home you lived in when you were twelve.

I am going to use this as an opportunity to write some of my character, Phaedra Quinn’s back story.  Enjoy.

 

I have spent almost all of my life in the small town of Oakdale, California. It is considered “The Cowboy Capital of the World”; that is it’s motto anyhow.  I’m half Irish and half Croatian, and country has never been my thing, but my Da has always loved the country. So we moved here when I was 5 and that is still where Momma and Da reside. It’s this cool, older ranch style home.  Columns frame the front door and there is brick everywhere. I hated the brick when I was younger, but now it’s so pretty and antique-y. It fits my parents to a T and I can’t see them anywhere else.

The front isn’t very exciting with the lawn, brick path, and basic shrubs that everyone plants for landscaping. My da doesn’t have much of a growing thing in him, so he keeps it simple and low key. A few juniper shrubs and Momma plants daffodils wherever she can.

But the backyard is nice. Da put a patio out there with brick and he likes to grill in the summer. Because Da likes to work with wood, he built me a swing set when we moved in. I used it for years, swinging long hours by myself with my Barbies, or when I would have Coco over. Then, when my sister was born when I was ten, the swing set became hers. It’s still there and on summer afternoons when I drop in for the weekend, Olivia and I can still be found giggling over boys and college and life as we sit opposite each other and sway.

Da built Momma planter boxes and a few benches to put around the yard and a whole dining set. Like I said, he likes to build. The yard is our haven away from life.

And like a typical ranch style home, you step into the house and are right into the living room. The kitchen is at the back and the dining room off to the side of both the kitchen and the living room. Go down the hallway and there are three bedrooms. First mind, then Olivia’s, and finally my parents room. There is one bathroom, oh, and an office right across from my bedroom. 

When I was younger, my room was in shades of pink and totally girly. As I got older and hit my teenage years, I slowly started removing bits and pieces of pink, replacing it with more blues and greens. But in in the time of 14-18, I had this fascination with anything rose scented. I used rose perfume, oils, creams and potpourri. I think the rose scent permeated the walls and everything because now, even though all of my stuff is gone from the room and it’s just a guest room, there is still a hint of rose that escapes into the air like a fine mist. The room is still my room even though I only sleep in it about once a month.  Thankfully Momma loves rose otherwise we’d have trouble.

Downtown Oakdale, California via (Joellen Chappell Real Estate )The house is homey and warm. the living room has this ‘hideous’ bright orange velvet velour  sofa that is a relic of my great-grandparents. Momma hates it. She tries to dress it up with bold throw pillows, but it’s kind of hard to disguise a bright orange velvet couch!

And as for Oakdale, well when I was growing up it was a lot smaller than it is now, but even so, it’s still a rather cool place. I used to go with my girl friends to the Hershey’s plant on weekends, but it was bought out in ’08 by another company. It’s rather sad since I remember it all of my growing up years.  The town is famous for it’s rodeos and country life, but I never took much interest in that except for dating Kevin Hart who was a country boy at heart. No pun intended. Kevin and his brother Jesse run Broken Harts, the bar their daddy started years ago. But that’s about as country as I get,; going to the bar.

I always loved that Oakdale was near the mountains and in the summer, Da would drive us all up to Pinecrest Lake for the day. Only an hour and a half away, it was the best way to leave the heat of the Central Valley and foothills of CA and get up into the cool mountain air. It still has some of my best memories.

So, there is my home that is still my home, when I was 12. I love that it hasn’t changed over the years and I can always go home if I want to.

 

 

So, there is my character, Phaedra’s, take on her home at 12, written in her style, or hopefully her style and not so much as mine.

Kate

Words To Dream On – A Review

_225_350_Book.1502.coverThere is nothing better than going to bed with a wonderful story lulling you to sleep. With the children’s book Words to Dream On: Bedtime Bible Stories and Prayers by Diane Stortz , there are 52 wonderful and sweet bedtime stories from the Bible. Written for children ages 3 to 8 there are full page illustrations in pleasing colors compliment each story that includes the verse where the story takes place in the Bible, a story, a ‘Sleepy-time Prayer’ at the end of the story and a blessing.  The prayers are nice and simple, but reflect what the story was about, giving children a basis for prayer (since at that age, I remember it was very hard to come up with a good prayer). The illustrations are charming, set in gorgeous shades of purples, yellows, blues and greens, and everything else, though those 4 colors dominate. The pictures are reminiscent of Disney, especially the story of Daniel and the Lions Den where the lions could have been taken right out of The Lion King. (This is a good thing in my opinion)

The stories are simple enough to start a child off learning about the Bible, but lack the depth and ugly parts of most of these stories. They keep to a more uplifting and cheerful aspect which is great for a young child, but a disadvantage for older children. But as a beginner’s bedtime book, I think this would be a good starter for any child.

The back of the book has some great ideas for parents wanting to establish a routine of reading before bed. As someone who grew up with this, I think it’s great for parents and a little extra advice on how to start a routine is really nice.

I found this book to be incredibly charming and sweet with illustrations that made me want to just keep the book for that reason alone.  The stories are simple, but powerful and encourage children to want to learn about the Bible.  As a child (and even an adult) I would have loved this book, especially the pictures. I could never get enough pictures when it came to the Bible. There is a cute ‘stage play’ feel to the illustrations having the moon and stars drop down on strings like you would at a school play, and I love this specific detail. The illustrator, Diane Le Feyer, is brilliant at capturing the charming side of the stories.  The colors she uses are incredibly appealing to me and make it incredibly hard not wanting to keep the book.

I would highly recommend this book for parents with young children. I think reading before bed is one of the best patterns parents could install in their children’s routine. My parents read to me and my sister for years and I believe this is one of the reasons I enjoy reading so much and learned so much about the Bible as well. Five out of five stars.

This book was provided to me free of charge from HarperCollins Christian Publishing and BooklookBloggers for my honest review and opinion.

Kate

A Bit of Dialogical Debate

“Coffee all the way.”

“No! It’s like the worst ever!”

“But it’s so smooth and rich.”

“No. Coffee is like so bitter. Tea is way more smooth.”

“Only if you add milk and sugar. Plain, it’s rather sharp.”

“That’s so not true. . . Well, it could like be sorta brisk. . . but that’s why you ad the milk and sugar.”

“With coffee you don’t have to add milk or sugar. So you don’t have any calories to worry about.”

“Calories, schmalories. Who cares if it tastes like dirt?!”

“Dirt?! And what would you call tea? Leaves stewed in water!”

“Oh yes, coffee is sooooo superior.”

“Well there’s no need for you to get sarcastic.”

“Well, you don’t need to act like you are so much more superior.”

“Fine. Drink your tea, but leave me alone about the coffee.”

“I didn’t start this in the first place. You made a fuss when I said I was going to have tea!”

“So, have your tea.”

“Fine. I think I will.”

“Waiter!”

Okay, I love both tea and coffee and actually both of those are arguments I use for either…. Hopefully you can feel the different change in speech. I’m not sure. I usually use the ‘he said, she said’ moments, but I kind of wanted to try going without that.  Enjoy.

Now let me drink my tea.

Kate

A Real Character Study

Jamie is my sister’s nurse. She’s this bouncy brunette with an amazing personality that makes me want to hug her, laugh with her, and pull her into my life.  She’s like your best friend in her girlish manner as she tries to be as mature as she can be. She’s a perfectionist.

She’s a single mom. She’s an independent woman. She’s cool.

Long, silky brown hair, with hints of chocolate low lights and honey high lights, that she keeps in large , loose waves. She cut her bangs in winter and looked uber cool, but now they have grown out. Eyes are not something I have ever paid attention to, but I can say her facial features remind me of Catherine Bell.  This cute, pert nose, and the way her cheekbones sit and how her lips rest when she’s not talking. How do I explain the look? Because while she looks like Catherine Bell, at the same time she doesn’t. She’s all Jamie with her repertoire of scrubs that are fitted half the time and in various shades of brown, pink, green, black (my favorite), black and white patterned. She used to come in different outfits, but now she’s in these cool scrubs.

She’s plump and curvy, the kind where when you hug her, she’s just the perfect size to wrap your arms around and have this cushy hug. Since she’s my height, we are the perfect size of fit. Not too tall, not too short.

She has these nails that always look amazing, always done super nice and in shades and patterns I can only dream about as I try to do my own manicure. (Turns out, they are her own nails that she has done every three weeks for a steal at $10! Gel nails! Ten bucks!) It’s her one splurge.

She needs a splurge since like I said, she’s a single mom of three. A daughter that’s 20, and then two more girls that are 8 and 12, I think.  Jamie’s my age. (I know what you are thinking and that math isn’t good if you think about that, but you are wrong… like I was) The 20 year old girl is adopted. 

She’s insecure, she’s confident, she’s childish, she’s mature. She’s several things all at once. Next to her I feel like a little girl sometimes and other times, like she’s like a younger sister.

I get excited to see her. My sister get’s excited to see her. We love her. I wish she was a close friend that I could spend time with. She’s cool.

 

I haven’t done too many character studies, actually only one that I can think of and that person wasn’t real. I’m not even sure I know what I’m doing.  So….. it’s an attempt. I think I need to work a little more on this.

Kate