Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Throwback Thursday: Rust

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Rust certainly equals a throwback in time. Metal, rain, wind, snow, sun, exposure. All combine to wreck havoc on sentimental objects, mellowing newness and transforming it into works of art.

Paint disappears, patina wears thin, and intrigue grows. Who clasped this lock here, tossing away the key, for an eternity of unbroken love? Who was in love? Was the effort in memory of an absent love or did both in love grasp and click the lock to make a commitment?

How many throwback Thursdays have passed since each was locked? How many days, weeks, months, years of weather and life have drifted by like the waves on the shore and gulls on the breeze? How many throwbacks before rust came to visit?

Rust calls me. Not pristine, though new is surely beautiful. But wear and tear, peeling paint, bleed lines of red. Time lends character. But is time kind to the hands who attached the locks as signs to the world, shouting, “I love you!”? Is there still love?

Hope springs eternal. As rust makes for interest, time grows and deepens love. If we but let it. And work for it.

Hope for love.

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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: The 3 Chocolates

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dark, milk, white; horses

of chocolate, graze and grump

nearby. equine friends.

 

The 3 Chocolates by Angie Quantrell

This haiku is inspired by my next-door-pasture mates. Three geldings, only 2 of whom I know names. So I lump them as dark, milk, and white chocolates. My 3 chocolates. Dark is in charge. Dark and milk are highest on the horse pecking order. White comes in last, as youngest and newest to the herd of boys and is always thrust away from attention by flattened ears and threatening postures. He of the white chocolate is the most friendly and curious. He’s always up for hanging out over the fence for a chat and a scratch.

I love them all, my chocolates.

P.S. Not really MY chocolates. A girl can dream…

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Who lives in your next door pasture? I’d love to read a haiku about your neighbors. Or you can just tell who lives next door. No haiku required! Do they make you think of chocolate?

 


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Monday Mouthfuls: Spiced Walnuts

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I know walnuts are one of the healthiest nuts. And we should eat them every day. But I just can’t. It’s not that I don’t like them. I just like them in stuff. So I sneak them in my healthy dark chocolate cookies and muesli (which we eat nearly every day for breakfast), and put them on top of stuff. Mostly, my honey eats them as toppings (on yogurt, toast, crackers, nut mix). I’ve always been a hot fudge sundae without the nuts/cherry/whipped topping kind of girl. Just give me good old vanilla ice cream with plenty of hot fudge.

This recipe really helps me eat a daily snack of heart-healthy walnuts. Maybe they are not as good for you due to the small amount of sweetener, but they are not healthy for me if I DON’T eat them at all. Wink, wink.

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Spiced Walnuts

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Put parchment paper on cookie sheet.

In bowl, whip:

1 egg

1 T. cinnamon (we love cinnamon, another good-for-you spice, so I tend to go heavy-handed on how much I put in)

1/2 tsp. cayenne (more if you want some bite)

1 T. maple syrup (the real stuff)

2 T. (or so) brown sugar

Add and stir well to coat:

5 cups walnut halves

Spread on parchment paper and bake 20 minutes. Stir. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes until dry. Cool. Break apart and store in covered container.

Eat every day.

 

What’s your favorite healthy snack?

You can read more about healthy walnuts here.


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Throwback Thursday: Jimmy Hoffa

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Circa 1983-1984

Meet Jimmy Hoffa.

Not THE Jimmy Hoffa, but my own skin-less, flesh-less version.

One quarter during my junior year of college at Western Washington University, I had the BEST science course! I loved that class. We determined our own grades by the project choices and number of selections we made on a preset list of assignments. Since I was always aiming for top grades, I made high marks my goal.

The final choice (between getting an A or a B) was removing the flesh from a small rodent to expose the skeleton. Actually, there was a second choice, but I don’t remember what it was. I spent many intense moments in consideration as I walked to and fro across campus. Choice A or B? I just had to do that final project to push myself to an A.

As I was wavering on how to get a rodent (rat or mouse) and how I was ever going to ‘kill’ it in order to dissect the flesh/skin/fur from its’ skeleton, I practically stepped on a rat. I was racing to class, when BAM, there was a barely moving rat lying on the pavement right outside my dorm! It was up against Old Edens, a gorgeous brick, ivy-covered behemoth of a building. I think the poor thing fell off and brained itself. Barely breathing or moving. Four feet in the grave.

Should I or shouldn’t I??? Choice A? I had to choose A when the opportunity presented itself. Nearly late, I raced to my room, grabbed a plastic bag, ‘rescued’ the rodent from the cement, put it in the dorm freezer, and headed to class. I really don’t think it was going to come around, so slowly freezing to death seemed pretty humane to me.

Now I was in possession of a full-sized dead frozen rat-sicle. In. The. Dorm. Freezer. (Don’t tell anyone, I’m sure there were regulations against it.) Time to earn that A.

How to Make a Rat Skeleton Display

1. Borrow science tools and remove as much of the ‘not bones’ parts as possible. This was a bit tricky with the tail and tiny toes, not to mention the dull scapel.

2. Attach rat skeleton (in my case, Jimmy Hoffa) to a piece of balsam wood to hold it in one position. I used straight pins.

3. Take rat skeleton to a flesh-eating insect colony. I also had the choice of boiling off the flesh, but ew. If frozen rat in the freezer in my dorm was bad, the smell of cooking rat would have been much worse! Besides, the tiny bones would have fallen apart or dissolved.

4. Let rat skeleton spend a minimum of one month in the insect colony.

Research Tip: I have no idea which type of insects Jimmy really visited, but best guess is a colony of dermestid beetles. Which, according to this post, can pick a skeleton clean in one day. No idea why Jimmy had to stay away from home for a month.

5. So, Jimmy went on a little trip to the flesh-eating insect container. There Jimmy spent a month of so while hundreds, or thousands, of little bugs combed his bones, picking off and eating leftover bits my scapel refused to move. He was almost perfectly clean when I picked him up from the vacation in Bug-Land. After writing an eye-witness account of his travels, I presented Jimmy and his journal to my professor.

Ta-da! I was awarded an A for my work in the science course. And I got to keep Jimmy. Where he lived in a ziplock bag for years until I couldn’t think of anything else to do with him and tossed him out. Poor Jimmy.

There you have it! Should you want to de-flesh a rodent skeleton, just find a colony of those flesh-eating bugs.

What crazy projects did you complete during your educational years?


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: Surprise on Counter

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surprise on counter

wet searching for sustenance

on loan from garden

 

by Angie Quantrell

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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge! I’d love to read your haiku about garden visitors. Just post in the comments. 🙂

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Talk to Me Tuesday: Socks with Sandals?

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See above official Nana bus work uniform when riding the rail between late summer and early fall. Near freezing temps in the morning, lovely 70’s in the afternoon. This is my AM solution, a perfect solution in my mind.

I know, I know. Wearing socks with sandals? A fashion faux pas on so many levels. We used to tease my daddy about wearing socks (white KNEE socks) with his sandals, a haute couture nod to blindingly pale flesh-colored knees and leg skin.

But sometimes, the toes just get too cold. The tennis shoes reside in the trunk, ever ready for a walk when out running errands, the air felt too cold to stop outside in the pre-dawn and put on sneakers, and I must quickly be on my way to perform Nana bus duties.

Socks with sandals won.

So. What’s your vote? YES for socks, NO for no socks. Bonus points if you admit to wearing socks with your sandals.


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Picture book or chapter book?

This excellent post provides great questions to consider if you are writing a picture book that just won’t come together or lends itself to longer text (chapter book). I hope this helps you as much as it helped me!

Thanks, Hillary!

via Is Your Picture Book Actually a Chapter Book? Five Ways to Find Out, by Hillary Homzie


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Monday Mouthfuls: Cast Iron Skillet Breakfast Casserole

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Compliments of my cousin, Melissa, we enjoyed her cast iron skillet breakfast casserole. So mouth-watering, fragrant, and tasty! I can’t wait to play with the recipe when I get home.

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Cast Iron Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients:

1 package tater tots

1 dozen eggs

1 cup diced turkey ham (or your ham choice)

1 cup grated cheese

salt and pepper

butter

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Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Generously butter inside of seasoned cast iron skillet.

3. Line bottom and edges with tater tots.

4. Sprinkle ham over tater tot crust.

5. In separate bowl, whisk eggs until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix. Pour over ham and crust. (Cayenne would be great, too!).

6. Sprinkle cheese on top.

7. Bake in oven. Start checking at 45 minutes by jiggling pan for movement or sticking fork in center for doneness. We like a crispy crust, so ours cooked for about 1 hour.

8. Remove from oven. It will continue to cook for a bit more. Slice and serve while warm. Delish!

Optional toppings: salsa or ketchup (for the youngers, not me), chopped green onions, sour cream, Tabasco. I’d like to experiment with green peppers, green chilis, spinach, broccoli, kale, and cherry tomatoes, though not all at once. Mmm.

Thanks, Melissa! I am inspired to re-season my cast iron skillet and whip up some breakfast casserole!

 


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via Oliver: The Second-Largest Living Thing on Earth by Josh Crute & John Taesoo Kim

Oliver: The Second-Largest Living Thing on Earth

By John Crute & John Taesso Kim

Page Street Kids, 2018

 

This looks so adorable! I cannot wait to read it! Congratulations to John, John, and Page Street!


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1971: Throwback Thursday

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January 1971. My daddy and me, posing in our 70s single-wide mobile home trailer. I just turned 8 years-old.

Purchased brand new, our goldenrod and white 4-mile long mobile sparkled. Shag carpet, wood paneling, avocado/gold/rust colors, 2 bath, 3 bedroom, open concept living room kitchen dining room combo. Family of 6, plus assorted dogs, cats, birds.

It worked, this stylish model. I have so many memories of Christmases, birthdays, meals, chores, crowded rooms. This mobile home was truly mobile, as it moved from the original park in Huachuca City, to Presidential Estates further from town (moved twice while there), and then to the White Mountains. As a kid, it looked fine. But I’m sure the poor thing degraded with every move.

Dad eventually added built-in couches (convenient storage) and a full-size wood stove. Seriously! That stove kept us toasty warm in the White Mountains, come whatever snow and ice and frigid temps the season delivered. By the grace of God, we did not burn up in that mobile.

The girls scored with the bigger bedroom at one end of the trailer, mainly because we were older and bigger. The boys, including baby James, didn’t take up as much room. Both bedrooms connected to a central bathroom. Bunk beds gave us space and plenty of personal area, plus opportunities for causing havoc doing things like kicking up the bed from below or spilling liquids on the lower bunk resident.

One of my favorite memories of the top bunk, besides having Cry (our cat) crawl beneath the covers and sleeping cozied up to me, was looking out one winter night. I don’t remember what woke me, but it was probably coyotes or such. Snow covered the ground and the moon was full. I could read a book in that light! It was gorgeous and I kept the curtains open so I could continue to enjoy the feeling of being right out there in the middle of the night. The windows began just below the level of the upper bunk, so I really was floating out in space.

Others fond memories included my horse, Blaze, wanting to come inside. Why not? After all, the four of us kids, mom, dad, the cat, and the dog were nice and comfy. She just leaned up against the steps, sticking her entire head and neck through the door to see what was what. Whichever animal needed a little TLC was welcomed in. Kids (goats), rabbits, chickens, ducks. Poor mom! I imagine we created a disaster of mud, snow, dirt, footprints, grass, food, poop…

In this picture of daddy and me, he is standing right in front of a painting my parents had done of him. Handsome cowboy! I don’t remember him ever riding a horse – other than the 4-wheeled variety. Engines were his babies. He was a parts man who could rattle off part numbers and outrun anyone else in the department to locate specific items needed to repair vehicles.

Notice our caterpillar (sign of the times) and the record player and complete collection of country western music LPs. We. Were. Stylin.’

What do you remember about the 70’s? Were you even born then? The good old days.