pho Pho

The Bug and I have well…a bug; a spring cold as it were. Runny nose, cough, the works. Though he is in good spirits and sleeping ok (thank you Vicks!), I think I’m suffering the worst of it. Mom of course isn’t able to get enough rest so it hits her harder. Such is the life of a mom.

My favorite thing when I am under the weather is warm bowls of noodley goodness in the form of Pho or Ramen. And when I can’t get to our locale Vietnamese joint for the Pho and since we don’t have a good Japanese Ramen place, I turn to my own kitchen and cook up what I call pho Pho.

  • 3 cups of chicken stock (preferably my own, but store bought is good too)
  • 1 cup cooked chicken
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dash of cumin
  • Package of chicken top ramen soup
  • 2 chopped green onions
  • A few cilantro leaves
  • 2 slices of jalapeno
  • 1 slice of lime

 

Place the chicken stock, salt, pepper and cumin in a small pot and bring to a boil. (Note: don’t add too much cumin. A little goes a long way!)

Add the ramen noodles. Sprinkle a little of the ramen noodle packet onto the noodles (both sides) before the noodles start to soften. Don’t use the whole packet.

Add the cooked chicken, chopped green onions and jalapeno slices and simmer until noodles are soften.

Pour into a bowl; add the cilantro and a couple squeezes of fresh lime juice.

It’s that simple!

The broth will be flavorful and a bit spicy, great for a stuffed nose.

Enjoy!

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Bullet by Laurell K. Hamilton – A review

I just finished reading Laurell K. Hamilton’s book, Bullet.  This series has seriously jumped the shark.  Her main character, Anita Blake is now more or less immortal and can do no wrong.  That makes for a lousy character.

Let me break it down for you:  At the beginning of this series, Anita Blake was a vampire executioner/zombie raiser.  Her ‘day’ job was raising zombies for paying clients to answer questions such as, ‘Where did Aunt Lucinda hide the family fortune?’ or for widows/widowers to have some closure on the sudden death of their loved one.  By night she killed rogue vampires that had run amok and were killing humans. Every book held a mystery that needed to be solved. She worked along aside the police department and eventually was made a Marshall due to her vampire hunting needs of crossing county and state lines and such. Anita’s internal struggle was that she feared she would become one of the monsters. It was well written and entertaining.

As her storyline progresses she goes from being a hunter to being a lover of vampires and shapeshifters alike and gaining all sorts of powers by sleeping with them.  No one seems to be able to defeat her as every time they try, she fucks another man and gains more power. No more mysteries to solve, no more raising the dead and no more vampire hunting for the vampire hunter. She is now, Anita Blake, vampire vamp.  She sleeps with no less then two men in her bed at any time and has frequent ‘everybody jump in the pile’ moments with them.  Even when visiting a new city she some how ends up sleeping with some stranger to keep the bad guys away.

The book, Bullet, is almost completely set in the underground lair of the Master of the City below his nightclub, the Circus of the Damned.  She never leaves it.  This is after the first 3 chapters were at a dance recital, focusing on the complex nuances that are Anita’s love life.  Relationships can get complicated when you are in one with more then 6 different men after all.  No wonder she doesn’t raise the dead for a living any longer, she has no time.

At this point we have a human who has a three way relationship with a vampire and werewolf, another three way relationship with another vampire and a wereleopard, a vampire that she is master of like a vampire (even though she is human), several were-animals that are hers to command like a vampire (even though she’s human), and all sorts of other were-animals that are metaphysically part of her, yet she does not shape shift.

This is ludicrous!

The entire story line for Bullet revolves around her having to hand hold numerous men in her life because she’s having sex with so many of them and is in love with most of them and has to deal with various hang ups all while trying to figure out how to defend against a big baddie that they already took out in a previous book but some how has managed to survive.  Also she has to kill one of her lovers because he didn’t want to share?! WTF?! And they never did deal with the big baddie that was coming after them…again.

The Anita Blake series has lost it’s mojo.

It’s sad to see because Laurell K. Hamilton is a talented writer. When she first brought the erotica into the Anita Blake series I was disappointed.  If I wanted to read that kind of book, I’d be perusing the Romance section at Barnes and Noble, not the SciFi/Fantasy section where her books are.  I didn’t give up though and continued reading. When Hamilton started writing the Meredith Gentry series and it was the same sort of erotica I thought, ‘Great! She’s found an outlet for this so maybe Anita Blake will go back to a more normal tone.’ No such luck.  She kept up with it and made it worse.

Where’s the mystery? The problem to be solved that doesn’t revolve around her sex life? The adventure? Whatever happened to Edward?  That was a good character.  Shrouded in mystery him self, he was an enigma.  Would love to see her do a spin off series on Edward, but she seems too wrapped up in the erotica.

Anita’s biggest fear was that she would become one of the monsters.  It seems as if she has become a succubus. I guess that’s kind of a monster…isn’t it?

 

 

I did not fall off the face of the earth.  So what has happened in the past couple months? Summer happened.  Between trips to the park and the zoo and trying to tend a small but busy garden as well as maintain a household, I got busy and lost track of posting here.  My sincerest apologies.

More recently, I’ve been busy with little craft projects that I’ve gotten an itch for.

I recently started collecting candle holders and wall sconces from thrift stores and restoring them to something that speaks of me and my love of gothic fashion and décor. A can of spray paint and some silver rub-n-buff and I have a few candle holders that are very much me.

Candle Holders

I have also decided to make some Halloween props that can be used every year, though I may leave them out all year long.

Halloween Flowers

So I’m looking forward to crisper air, warm sweaters and unusual socks. Pumpkins and apples and warm cider. Owls are a favorite this year for me as well. Of course it isn’t too cool yet, but I’m still getting into that frame of mind.

…and there it is

So my plan to get back to writing this past week didn’t work out so well. After Father’s Day and my husband’s birthday, I started feeling a bit under the weather.  Not sick really, just not good.  I was tired a lot more then usual and slept whenever I got the chance. I’m trying to pull myself out of it, but it’s hard to be creative when you’re under the weather.

Part of it may have been due to the fact that my best friend from 7th grade all through high school and even after past away about a week ago.  She died in her sleep.  She had been diagnosed with diabetes when we were in high school and this past year she has been having a lot of health issues.

A month ago they put a steel rod in her leg. The doctors said the bone was starting to grow and they were optimistic. Unfortunately she became septic and well…that was that.  She left behind a 14 year old son.

I’m heart broken. Not only at the loss but that I wasn’t there for her this past year.

I moved away about 20 years ago and moved back to the area about 5 years ago.  I found her through Facebook and we reconnected and had lunch once. I haven’t seen her since.

Our friendship always seems one sided to me after we got out of high school.  She had a rough life. Parents who were never really together, a step mom that never seemed to want to be a mom, a mother that hadn’t been in her life while growing up then suddenly reappears during high school; she leaned on me constantly to see her through a lot of crap. I never really needed her like that but when I did, it seemed like she wasn’t around. I think there were times when I let the friendship fade because I didn’t want to be bothered with all the drama. It took too much effort to be a friend to her when I didn’t feel it was being reciprocated.

I always hoped that she would call me up and say, “I miss you, let’s get together.”  She never did. I still wonder if I should have reached out to her and kept the friendship going on both our behalf’s.

I’m not one to pick friends lightly. I am not an overtly social person.  All the social butterfly genes went to my brother. I have let people get close to me and been hurt too many times. I also hate to be the one to have to carry a friendship.  If they want to be friends, then they’ll reach out too.

I probably shouldn’t feel so bad about not being there for her this past year. She knew where and how to find me. All she had to do was call.

But she didn’t…and now I feel bad…and there it is.

Life Continues

So this will be a short post.  I’ve been busy lately and the writing is suffering unfortunately.  I plan on remedying that problem this week though.

My in-laws are on holiday in Europe for three weeks and we are dog sitting their dog.  A little Snorky (Schnauzer/Yorkie) named Katie with a bad under bite and a Napoleon complex (think piranha with fur).

She’s a very sweet dog but she is used to being the Queen of her castle and our dog Molly (who is a Border Collie/Terrier) as well as our Tortie cat Chloe’ both have told her in no uncertain terms that she is not the queen here.  It’s humbled her quite a bit.

So between keeping the peace and trying to get ready for Father’s Day and my husband’s birthday coming up, I have not been on the computer much.

My garden is not doing great.  The beans seem very happy.  The carrots are small, but we’ll have a few.  The cucumbers are not doing much at all.  We’ve had lots of rain and I’ve watered in between.  Not sure what else I can do for them really.  I definitely have not inherited my mother’s green thumb. My patio tomatoes are growing like weeds at least and we’ll have lots of grape tomatoes.  The boy will love that as he loves tomatoes.

Other then that, life continues. I will get back to working on my current short story this next week and hope to make some decent head way with it.  I’m still not sure about this one, but I will see it through, even if it sucks at least I’m writing.

Duct Tape and Diapers

So my two year old little Bug is at that wonderful toddler stage where stripping off all clothing (plus diaper) is a great and wonderful pasttime.  Except for mom, who has to put it all back on and possibly clean up any accidents.

So far we only do this in our crib at night (sometimes during nap), because we aren’t ready to sleep yet. Also, we have been lucky that the ‘accidents’ have been pee related only (very grateful for that!).

This is a stage that a lot of children go through.  Some take it as a sign the child is ready to be potty trained, but that’s not necessarily so.  We started the potty training. There isn’t an incentive out there that he cares enough about yet so, we aren’t ready.

He understands that if he uses the potty chair he’ll get a star sticker. He thinks this is cool because he likes stickers.  But if he doesn’t get one…oh well. He couldn’t care less.

But potty training isn’t what this is about.  No, it’s about how to keep the diaper on the toddler at night (or during nap time).

See I had a VERY frustrating evening the other night where I went in and put his diaper back on (or a new one if the old one wasn’t usable any longer), 5-6 times.

He does it because he’s bored, not ready to sleep and it’s fun. That night I actually googled, ‘Can I duct tape a diaper onto my toddler’.  Interestingly enough I found this:

http://www.kveller.com/potty-solutions-can-i-duct-tape-my-kids-diaper/

After reading this poor woman’s situation (and her’s was WAY worse then mine), I felt better because A) I wasn’t alone in wanting to do this and B) There were alternatives.

One of the ideas someone gave her was to cut the feet off footed PJ’s and put them on backwards so the child can’t unzip it.  This was genius!

I went out the next day to a child’s consignment shop and bought two pairs of lightweight footed pj’s for around $8 total.  I bought a 3T and a 4T because I wanted to make sure they’d be big enough on backwards.  It’s summer here in Indiana and he has been sleeping in t-shirts and shorts or light weight pajama bottoms that I made for him.

Once home, I took my seam ripper to the feet.  If I had cut them off, I would have cut through the zipper so I decided this was the best solution.  I plan on hemming them in the near future.  I also took the sleeves off so he wouldn’t over heat. He likes to sleep with a blanket and that’s not going to change.

After I was almost done seam ripping the first pair I remembered I had a Sleep Sack with foot holes that I bought him last winter that he wouldn’t leave on.

I could put this on backwards! Why didn’t I think of this before!

That night I tried it. I put him in a nighttime diaper and the sleep sack on backwards.  It worked! He played in his crib like always but couldn’t strip!

I have completely removed the feet and sleeves on both pairs of pajama’s that I bought and will use these as well.

This is a great solution and way better then duct taping the diaper on.

I hope this article finds other desperate parents and helps. Try the sleep sacks or go the pj route.  It is a great solution and will help save your sanity!

Weekends…

I remember a time when I lived weekend to weekend.  I worked 8-5, Monday through Friday at an office job hoping the week would go by fast just to be able to get to the next weekend so I could do what I wanted to.

By the time 3:30-4PM rolled around on Friday, I was in better spirits.  I only had to get through the next 1-1 ½ hours and then it was all about what I wanted to do.

I would leave work at 5pm on Friday, stop by the store for…whatever, go home and make myself dinner, then head to the computer.  My husband would get home around 9PM, I’d feed him and he’d join me.

We’d be up til 2AM as he wouldn’t have to be to work until 10-11AM on Saturday.  When he didn’t have to work Saturday, we’d sleep in, then get up and ‘go do something’; shopping, eating, whatever.

I remember how I always thought I was wishing my life away always looking towards the next weekend and how I didn’t care because worked sucked and it was a means to an end.  Something you did because you had to pay the rent and feed yourself.

It was my only release from an otherwise stressful and mundane job.

Now I stay home.  I care for a two year old little boy. The days run together. I go shopping on weekdays instead of weekends because the shops aren’t as busy.  When the weather is bad during the winter months, we go to the grocery store once a week and that’s it.

Now that it’s nice out, we get out more. We go to the zoo, the park.  We go into our own backyard and chase bubbles even if it is only for a few minutes because it’s better then being cooped up inside. We are still somewhat limited as we are on one income and pennies need to be pinched.  There are a lot of things I want to do with him that I can’t. I pick and choose.

It seems like yesterday I as pregnant with him.  I want to make the most of the next few years because it won’t be long before he’ll be in school…and I’ll be living weekend to weekend again when we can do stuff.

Darkness

Darkness…

It folded itself around her and held her like a lover.  It’s gentle caress soothing and comforting her.  The darkness swallowed her and left her wet and wanting.  The air electrified, sending her senses soaring.  She left herself in that moment.  Floating up and outward…drifting.  Her body was no more.

Apogee…

Her body rose and ebbed as the oceans tide; the water breaking only to repeat its previous course.  The sensation threw her forwards violently, the darkness closing in around her only to bring her again.  Her back arched as light erupted around them.  Her pulse quickening as lighting flashed and thunder rolled up off them; reverberating off the walls and bouncing into the night.

Halcyon…

Her body soften; falling softly from its heaven and settling into a tranquil state of presence.  The previous exuberance now subsided with a silent reverie of subtle bliss.  A sigh escaped her lips; and she stretched out to the sky towards the Goddess herself.  The moon smiled back with full, pouty lips and kissed her sweetly.  The taste of honey graced her lips as the wind began to dance through the green.

Storm…

As your love tears into the sheath of my pain so I am yours forever.  The wind blew softly through her hair;  lifting up strands and blowing them gently across her face only to settle on her bare shoulders.  She smiled as she slipped back into the Darkness that gave her comfort.  The tide began again, the thunder drumming through her veins as it always had. Lighting danced in her azure eyes and her tresses floated around her in the great abyss.

Perdition…

From once we came, now we shall return.

Trains and Turtles…

Took Bug to the Heston Steam Train Museum today where we got the chance to ride a narrow gauge steam train through a very scenic woodland.  It was a beautiful day for it.  The little guy has been big on Thomas the Train lately so his eyes were very big as he took it all in.

Trains were never something I ever thought about before this little guy came into my life.  It wasn’t an interest that I held nor did anybody I knew really.  My father liked trains a bit, buy not extensively.  I was in high school when he bought a toy train to go around the base of the Christmas tree, but that was all.

It’s not until we have children of our own that our likes and dislikes really change and it’s amazing to me how much influence this little guy has had on mine now.

Turtles became a big thing a year ago when I bought him a Tranquil Turtle to replace his mobile.  He was tall enough that he would have eventually pulled it down so I worked on transitioning him to something else.  At first he didn’t like it at all. Then he learned how to say turtle and he fell in love with it.  Especially when he figured out how to turn it on and off by himself.  He’d go into his room and get it to show to whoever came to the house.  We named him Toru (Japanese for sea), and he’s been one of his best friends since.  We have added several stuffed turtles and a stuffed Squirt from Finding Nemo as well as other turtle things in our lives.  It even prompted a trip to the Aquarium in Chicago a few months ago.

Until his love of turtles began, I never paid that much attention to these animals.  Now I get excited when I see cute baby turtles on the internet or anything to do with turtles.

We understand that it is our job is to care for and grow our children. Nurture them and give them the tools to be successful adults one day. Nobody really talks about the influence their kids have on them though. I see the world through a toddler’s eyes now. When he stops to pick up a handful of dirt, or a rock, I take it in too.  When he sees something interesting at the park or in a store, I stop and look too.  It’s through our children that we grow a different direction then the one we were headed in and see the world differently. It is an incredible thing and I am looking forward to the many other things my child will introduce to me as he grows.

Destiny

She sneaks up on you.  Then one day when you’ve stopped looking for her.…KAPOW!  Right out of a Batman and Robin episode, she hits you full force.  A freight train knocking you unconscience.  You wake up to find her staring you in the face.  You can’t imagine how you’ve lived your whole life and have never seen her before.  Her beauty and grace envelope you like a warm blanket on a cold day.  She dances around you as every answer to every question suddenly makes sense.  A whirlwind of information descends upon you in a million wings, lifting you off the ground.  You float for what seems like forever before crashing back down and being left with more then your brain can handle at once.

She comes with her price. You realize not all the events in your life led up to this moment.  That you yourself made decisions that neither the gods nor the fates themselves had anything to do with.  The result can cause nothing but anguish and you shake your fist in impotent rage at her as she laughs. Fear of change, of pulling yourself out of your comfort zone to embrace her can be too much. Some rather stay in their mundane lives and ignore her as she runs around them like a child trying desperately to get a parent’s attention; never admitting that they ever saw her.  If you, however, struggle frantically to sort out the mess you’ve made of your life, you can set things right and dance with her in the rain.

Trust in her, embrace her, she will soar with you in the clouds and not lead you astray.  She will lift you higher then you thought possible and never let you fall. Destiny can be yours.