Tag Archives: misc noms

Creature Features & Jigsaw Puzzles


I have a clear memory of watching Creature Features with my mom in the basement of our townhouse in Illinois, which she had turned into a rec room with a ping-pong table, TV, stereo, etc. It was Illinois, if you missed that in the preceding sentence, 40 miles north of Lake Michigan, where it got so cold that if you dropped a record on the floor it would shatter like a dinner plate. (This actually happened.)

I’ve always said I remember putting giant jigsaw puzzles together with my mom while we watched scary movies, and generally, but I was trying to call up a specific memory of this and it’s not working. It actually doesn’t even make sense. The only table we had in the basement large enough for a 1000-2000 piece puzzle was on the side of the room that didn’t have the TV. The stairs were in the middle. Right in front of the stairs was a little storage type room my dad used as a darkroom for photography. On the right side was a TV, sofa, coffee table, etc. On the left side was an old dining room table, another sofa, and the stereo system. We would have had to use the old dining table for the puzzles. So how would we have been watching Creature Features at the same time? Memory fail.

Even though I enjoyed these campy horror movies at the time (because mommy was there), I’ve disliked horror since. Pretty much the entire horror film genre falls into the dislike pile, but I do reserve some exceptions for books, Stephen King in particular. It’s not because the movies themselves are all terrible; it’s because I don’t enjoy having my emotions manipulated to that extent. Now you’ll say I don’t mind the same thing when it happens in the romcoms. And I’ll just shrug. Because people are inconsistent, and I’m a people too. Shockeroo!

The two Creature Features that stayed with me all these years I dub “Coconut Sea Monster” and “Alpine Beheader.” The first was about guys on a military submarine who kept getting murdered brutally cuz one of them had morphed into a monster due to radiation exposure. We didn’t see the murderer until the end and he looked like he was covered in coconut. It was really freaky! The otter one was about peeps trapped in a ski resort during a blizzard and some snow vampire kept grabbing one at a time and ripping off their head. Icky!

You know, this could very well be why I dislike both sailing and skiing. A-ha!

Still love coconut though. Nothing comes between me and a coconut donut.

As far as jigsaw puzzles, still love doing those, but don’t have room for them in my current place, can’t isolate one from the kitty anyway, and they seem sort of time-wastey when I have so many otter projects I want to finish as far as writing and needlework and staring at the walls. Someday though… when I retire maybe, bring on the jigsaw puzzles again! Hey, I wonder if they have Creature Feature puzzles? That could be a thing.


The Daily Prompt: Creature


The Superb Owl


So, I watched the big sportsball game yesterday. Yes, me. I did. It was fun! I watched with some friends, at their house, and they had a new puppy. Omgosh, I love puppies! And it turns out you can make poppers without jalapeños, and they are delicious, which is good to know, since I hate jalapeños. But roasted peppers and cream cheese? Noms.

I knew nothing about the game itself, but my friends explained it to me, and though it was very complicated, I think I understood it a little bit. I began by hoping the Patriots would win, because it seemed like everyone on Facebook was rooting for the Eagles, but it turned out there was a good reason for that, so I switched allegiances in the middle. Yay! The commercials were great, especially the one with Tyrion from Game of Thrones. Of course I liked his the best, not that I even remember what he was selling. Spicy chips, maybe.

All in all, a very fun time. I am still puzzled how people who are not connected to the financial aspects of sportsball games get so wrought up about them however. I get that the players, their families, and the people making/losing money from the events will get emotional about the outcomes, but I don’t get the audience mania. It’s still very strange to me. I’m trying to work it out. It was great to hang out with friends, but it would have been no matter what was on the TV. I guess it must be one of those things you grow up with that I didn’t have. My dad always read newspapers and books on weekends. My mom was always puttering around with plants or crafts.

But I do get that it’s a bonding experience with peeps and if you make a habit of getting together to watch the sportsball games, like anything else, it’s simply another way to connect and maintain your friendships. Nothing wrong with that, except please avoid setting cars on fire.


The Daily Prompt: Puzzled

The Meta Conversation

Boston Creme

Or what we talk about when we talk about talking. [hat tip to Raymond Carver]

Some people dislike “small talk,” the meaningless howareyas, haveaniceweeekends, coldenoughforyas watercooler type of chitchat. I never minded it. To me, it’s part of the please and thank you polite currency that smoothes over the transactions of our workplace relationships. Are we merely pretending to care about each other? Maybe. Maybe not. Do we always care that deeply about the answers to all the questions we pose to our friends and family, or is some of that merely filler as well? I don’t even mind when strangers ~ cashiers, waiters, neighbors ~ say this stuff to me. So what?

Why is filler conversation bad? Filler can be delicious, like the custard in a donut (mmm donuts). I’m part of a group where the leaders ask many “meaningless” questions, some of which I skip over, and some of which I reply to. I read other people’s answers when I have time, and often they’re interesting ~ first jobs, favorite writers, hobbies ~ and occasionally one of those poasts inspires me to write a longer piece myself, such as this one, or even a pome later on. Some of the group questions aren’t filler, but too personal to answer and I ponder them silently. I admire the brave folks who do reply. If I can think of a joke or a response that isn’t too revealing, I’ll put that. It may appear as though I’m an open book, but perhaps that’s just sleight of hand. You’ll never know, will you?

I’ve told you everything you know about me, but I haven’t told you everything I know. [hat tip to General Boris Alexandroff ~ yabbut rando site says so]

Most convo though is like shadows on the cave wall. We create definitions of words so we can communicate (table, cat, apple), but the whole endeavor quickly gets so tricky (love, loyalty, patriotism) that we assume a shaky base of mutual understanding in order to proceed, and often our assumptions turn out to be false. Oh, that’s not what I meant by love. Hah, fooled you! Or people can say that’s not what they meant even if they did mean it, and this becomes a totally legit way of squirming out of something because we all know conversation is just like this, even when it isn’t.

How conveeenient!

Now we make a new friend, bonding over shared heartbreak. Two people who’ve been burned by others deliberately (or so it seems) misunderstanding definitions miserably commiserate. Isn’t that nice? But wait…


The Daily Prompt: Conversation



We’re told to eat boldly colored veggies, but the modest mushroom is packed with vitamins and low in calories. Well, until you do things with it, that is. My kids used to dunk fresh ones in vats of Ranch dressing. My mom sautéed several types together and served them over a salad of wilted greens. I have a fabulous recipe for mushrooms baked in a casserole with butter and breadcrumbs and Italian seasonings. One of my favorite sandwiches is the Portobello mushroom served like a burger with all the toppings. Mushrooms: clever little vehicles to take you to Butter Town.


The Daily Prompt: Mushroom

Twelve Years Gone By

Please excuse my lack of bloggery… I was busy attending my daughter’s wedding. ❤

I seem to be out of writing mode, which will change shortly as I’ve rejoined a great prompt group that meets weekly, plus September always motivates me. I’m a student at heart. New school year, crisp notebook, let’s go!

But in the meantime, I wanted to say something, so I decided to turn to my trusty old Ultrablog archives. Apparently I said nothing 10 years ago (hard to believe), so I went back 12 (I don’t like elevens). Twelve years ago I was married, had two children living with me, and for some bizarre reason went to see the Dukes of Hazzard movie.

Now, if you had asked me point-blank an hour ago, Paula, did you ever see the Dukes of Hazzard movie? I would have said no and I would have probably even denied knowing there existed a Dukes of Hazzard movie. But archives do not lie! And if Google Drive says I saw a movie, then I saw it. I suppose in the scheme of things that forgetting the Dukes is no great loss. I hope I don’t forget anything important however, such as a subthread from Game of Thrones.

I said I liked the movie except for Burt Reynolds being miscast as Boss Hogg. I also said the TV Roscoe was funnier and I was disappointed that “Boots” played over the credits at the end and we didn’t get to see the sexy car wash scene. I have no idea what I meant by that. The Nancy Sinatra song? Wha? I suppose I could look all that up, but someone will know, so I’m not going to bother.

I really miss when my online writing friends blogged instead of blopped on Facebook. FB is junk food for writers ~ and not even the good junk food like tacos or Oreos, but the worst junk food like those skinny yucky pretzels. You can sit there for hours and eat a million of them and you’ll never be satisfied, only thirstier and thirstier.


My Inner Daenerys

As some of you may know, I’ve been both reading the Game of Thrones books (finished Book 4 yesterday) and also catching up on the HBO episodes (halfway through Season 5, as of this bloggery). Enjoying it very much, though I’m getting a bit burnt out on all the blood and gore. My favorite characters have always been the Lannister siblings and their witty, cutting banter, and also the gorgeous, dramatic Daenerys Targaryen and her dragons, which are now grown and uncontrollable. That’s the thing with dragons ~ they’re cute when they’re first born, but then they get huge and hangry. And burny.

I know the show is affecting me a bit, since I’ve been binge-watching, but I didn’t realize to what extent until the otter day. I was very busy at work when a man barged into my suite with a cart of boxes. Hey, he said, I have some steaks for you.

What? Steaks? No one here ordered steaks.

He was jabbering on an earphone thing and writing on a clipboard at the same time, all distracted, or pretending to be. He said to me, hey, my boss said for me to offer you guys these steaks for practically nothing because your friends next door couldn’t take them all. Three bucks and you get this entire box of frozen steaks! It’s like I’m giving them to you for free!

I was so mad. I knew it was just another stupid scam. In the past, I might have called for my coworker to come out of his office to help me, or threatened this guy by telling him I was going to call security. But the night before I had watched Dany demand that Jorah Mormont GTFO of her sight or she’d behead him for spying on her.

I interrupted the steak man in the middle of his sales pitch.

“Please leave,” I said. “Now.

He stared at me for a second and then packed up and left, muttering about how people are usually happy about cheap steaks bla and bla.

I felt good about all that, but too bad I didn’t have a real dragon who could have breathed fire on the steaks and cooked them right there. LUNCH!


High Tea

I’ve always loved tea, and one of my most treasured memories is when my eldest took me to high tea in Pleasanton at The English Rose in 2015. Everything was so beautiful and perfect. We had the most lovely time together. Here are a few photos from that day.





The Daily Prompt: Tea

Since You’ve Been Gone

Stephen King has a short story in Bazaar of Bad Dreams called “Ur,” which is centered around the notion of an experimental Kindle with an extra menu feature that gives access to alternative literary realities. Forex, say you type in a random number… in this world of words Shakespeare lives five more years and writes a couple more plays. You get to buy, download, and read these plays on the new Kindle. It’s addictive, as you might imagine, for you could spend day after day checking random numbers and writers to see if your favorites appear in parallel universes with new works to read.

But it’s also comforting to know that the authors we love will continue writing in their familiar styles in the alternate realities. If we search for Ray Carver, we don’t want to find vampire romances. We want what we expect. Most of us anyway. That’s why when I go to a vegan restaurant and order a lush looking dish of macaroni & cheese I’m invariably disappointed ~ it appears so beautiful and cheesy, but it never tastes as expected. I’m always better off with a salad where the veggies taste the way they’re supposed to.


I dream about my mother frequently. This month is nine years since she was diagnosed; next April nine years since she’s been gone. In my dreams, she just goes on as she ever was ~ present, helpful, sometimes annoying. Nothing super dramatic. In the last one, we were at a table with a bunch of other people (I don’t remember who) discussing an arts & crafts project. At one point, I turned to my mother and complained that my pantyhose kept getting runs in them the first time I wore them, sometimes right out of the package. She commiserated. I don’t remember if she had any advice, but it’s almost certain she would have. Because Mom.

This was a comforting dream. Mom was being Mom.


In the King story, the protag next discovers that the experimental Kindle feature also has alternative reality newspapers. Some of these are funny, especially King’s election ideas. And then our protag finds his local future newspaper. ~ doo doo doo doo ~

I am highly enjoying Bazaar of Bad Dreams.

My Creative Mommy

When I was a kid, I didn’t think it was anything special that my mom single-handedly remodeled our homes. No, I don’t mean she went shopping and had furniture delivered, hired men to paint, and found contractors to install new flooring. I mean she stripped wallpaper, put up new paper, painted walls, redid floors herself, built shelves, planted gardens with fences, created fancy dollhouses for me out of moving boxes, etc. Didn’t all mothers do these things?

I spent a lot of time walking with her through hardware stores, yet for whatever reason she seemed to avoid teaching me to help her. I’m not sure why this is, but I suspect she didn’t want to impose her interests on me because she wanted me to find my own. While she was busy with her DIY stuffs, I would be reading or drawing doggies or making bead necklaces or embroidering a denim shirt… not that there’s anything wrong with that.

In New Jersey, she experimented quite a bit with recipes. We had a large garden and the typical zucchini megacrop. That was fun. She also went through a homemade soup phase and a Jell-O mold phase and a DIY ice cream phase… and of course a breadmaking phase. We also had a summer of candlemaking. I wish I had photos. See, if I’d made candles with my kids, that would definitely have generated a scrapbook spread, but my mom didn’t do scrapbooks, and photos were mostly taken on vacations. I have no tangible evidence of our candle phase, except the memory that it was fun. I know I made a few colorful mushrooms that could have festooned a set of Alice in Wonderland. There was also at least one frog and possibly other woodland flora and fauna.

Later on, whenever I was interested in something, my mom found a way to help me with it, if she could (or if I would let her). I didn’t appreciate this so much at the time, but isn’t it a nice quality of someone who cares about you? I appreciate that now, when a friend offers the gift of their time unexpectedly. It’s such a generous thing to do. I’m trying to be more that way myself, remembering Mom and what a kind, caring, generous person she was.

I will always miss her.

IDOJ Trivia Quiz

My good friend LHD made a trivia quiz just for me! It’s not just any old trivia quiz either ~ it’s a very special one, all about I Dream of Jeannie. The reason for this, I think, is because when we go to a pub quiz I often grumble when the questions are about sports, or obscure history facts, or anything really, and say I’d do great on a quiz limited to IDOJ questions.

Ha ha ha ha!

I don’t think I did that well. First, the questions were not limited to trivia about episodes themselves, but silly logistical things about the show, and some cartoon I’ve never seen, bla bla bla. But even so, I was stumped on a few obscure questions regarding the eps. Fair enough. I printed out the quiz yesterday and answered in pen, but then I had to prepare for a beach day… yes! I went to the beach. I know, right? But it is true. I have photos. Well, one anyway. And I put my feets in the ocean and ate a s’more, so I’m good for the year as far as the beach goes.

When I got home from the beach it was late and I was tired from all that sitting and staring and thinking about nothing. Plus I had to shake the sand out of my shoes. So, this poast had to wait. Today, things happened and poasting became unavoidably delayed. But here we are. I think the best thing would be for me to link you to the quiz, so you can take it yourself if you want to, and then I will poast my scanned answer sheets in a day or two, at which time the quizmaster himself can weigh in.

If you take the IDOJ quiz, please keep your answers to yourself, until we discuss them in comments after I poast mine. Thanks muchly!


************ MY ANSWERS ARE BELOW ************

Well, poo. I took a photo of my answer sheets and emailed to self, but they won’t biggify when I poast them, so there’s no point because you can’t see anything. I’ll just transcribe the answers. Bummer! (Had to re-edit because I forgot one. Grrrr!)

Part 1 – General

  1. The Brass Bottle.
  2. Movie genie was male.
  3. Jeannie’s belly button!
  4. Ugh! Cupcake. No wait – BRUCE! (inside joke)
  5. 1965?
  6. 200 (wild guess – 40/year x 5 years?)
  7. Djinn. (Another wild guess. Never watched the cartoon.)

Part 2 – Jeannie and other Genies

  1. Persian, like the cat.
  2. When Tony said, “I wish you could speak English!”
  3. Jeannie Jeannie.
  4. Sister.
  5. Barbara Eden.
  6. They can’t be photographed.

Part 3 – Major Nelson and other mortals

  1. Captain.
  2. Cocoa Beach, FL.
  3. Two.
  4. Because he was in the Army.
  5. Amanda Bellows.