Tag Archives: Nano Poblano

Art du Jour 20

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I am kind of ridiculously happy with the outcome of this one. White and black on coloured paper. Not bad for a first go using this technique.  I will get a better blending white pencil if there is such a thing and more coloured paper.  This was fun.

Had to abandon an earlier attempt at a baby face which was turning in to a grumpy old man with wispy hair.  They can’t all be masterpieces, right?  When it starts to get either frustrating or simply hilarious, time to let it go.

Well……here we are on the last day of a post-crazy month.  I’m thrilled with all the new blogs and amazing people I’ve come across during this endeavour and with WordPress telling me my site is generating more interest than usual.  They wouldn’t lie to me, would they?  The stats became suspect to me when some fluke in the system indicated my best day having over 800 views.  The average here is probably 50. Unless I mention Johnny Depp.  And that day I didn’t.

The only (considerably less than exciting) news I have today is that I’m going to make Apple Crisp so that I have an excuse to turn the oven on.  The floors are cold and so are my feet.

We’re having ourselves one of those quiet lazy Sundays,  staying in out of the cold.  Watching the daylight disappear.  Along with November.

Thank you Team Pepper for letting me be on the team, even though I didn’t necessarily know or understand or follow all the rules or have much of a clue what game we were playing.

Did we win?

nano

Art du Jour 19


This is what happens when you can’t make up your mind about hair colour.  There’s only so much blending you can do with pencil crayons and then they just refuse to do it anymore.

Eyes that are a foot away from my nose while I’m drawing them tend to look very different at a further distance.  I will just say I’m doing portraits of strabismus patients.

The snow is done falling for now, and the temperature has dropped to 30 below Celsius according to our thermometer which is just outside my “art studio” window.  W was kind enough to let me know this morning how many days it’s been since I left the house.  Who keeps track of these things?  Well obviously he does, and needs to find another hobby.

When I went to work I’d say my fresh air time was two minutes a day tops.  From the house to the warmed up car, car to the workplace, then back to the car and into the house.  I can’t say I’m missing my time spent outdoors at this time of year since it was previously pretty much non-existent.

How long will it take to develop cabin fever?  Well there’s a little project to work on while I’m working on all my other little projects.  Stay tuned for enthralling updates on that.  Plus a perfected recipe for guacamole as soon as I can work out the amount of garlic that is not likely to add its pungent odour to the entire house.

It’s candle season!  Yay!  Last night the living room was a raspberry garlic scented paradise.

Yeah, maybe I do need to get out more.

nano

 

Art du Jour 18

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Brown eyed girl. Pencil crayon on sketch paper. Kids always have lopsided hair, so maybe I meant to do that.

This is definitely a day for staying inside and looking out at our huge dump of snow, which rivals the other huge dump of snow we got yesterday.  We’re not breaking any huge snow dump records here of course, but that never stops us from shaking our heads and our fists and our shovels at it. There are a lot of retailers in Canada who have jumped on the Black Friday band wagon, and I need a new printer,  but I’m having second thoughts about venturing out on the roads today,  just to end up getting stuck in a parking lot or a line up at the checkout or some horrendous thing like that.

This crazy post a day month is almost over!  I have been doing some kind of “art” work every day, so I think making it all the way up to 18 post-able results is a good start at 365 of them.  It’s good for retirees to have goals, right?

Here’s to two more contributions to the Team Pepper project, whatever they may be.  I’m feeling all smug and successful.  And warm and cozy.  And ready to take a stab at another face.  But not literally.

nano

 

Balls

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Last night W wandered into the living room and asked me what I was drawing.

I said balls.

Looking at my sketch book page, he said what is that, an orange, or a peach or what?

I said, it’s just a ball.

He laughed.

I thought, are balls funny?

These particular balls, not amusing to me no matter how hard I look at them, are simply my experiment in colour blending and shading using pencil crayons.  They ended up looking like unfunny balls.  Mission accomplished.

However, after that, the very idea of balls kept me awake last night.  I imagined teaching everything about balls to people learning the English language. This could be funny for the teacher, but probably much less funny for the students.

Consider this comprehensive list, and then you decide how many ball lessons might be required to master all the concepts.

1.  She entered the ballroom wearing her ball gown to dance at the gala ball.  Everyone could see she was having a ball.

2.  At the ball game in the ball park, the pitcher often throws more strikes than balls.  There are fair balls and foul balls and the umpire must have the balls to stand by his various calls.

3.  What do the words tennis, golf, cannon, meat, ping-pong and basket all have in common?  Bingo.  They are all balls.  There are also bingo balls.

4.  He crumpled the paper into a ball.

5.  A football is not the same thing as the ball of your foot, both of which are larger than the ball of your thumb.

6.  The accountants found his financial records to be all balled up.

7.  Yarn and candy and cotton can all be balls.

8.  If you think something is bull shit nonsense, it’s more polite to call it bolus or balls.

9.  You can carry the ball, run with the ball, drop the ball, start the ball rolling,  keep the ball rolling, and just generally be on the ball.

10.  Does a snowman, made of balls of snow, have snowballs?

It’s enough to make a bald man bawl.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.  May there be sufficient left overs for turkey balls tomorrow.

And just to remind you that balls can be hilarious, here’s a classic to start off the holiday coming up next.

nano

The Nano Poblano Oddly Specific Gratitude Blog Hop

The Nano Poblano Oddly Specific Gratitude Blog Hop

Thanks Kim at Drunk on Life for tagging me to continue this rather impressive list of gratefulness.  I’m happy to have discovered so many new blogging friends, especially the ones who are drunk on life.  There is no better way to be.

Here are the rules:

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  1. Add to the list with your own oddly specific bits of gratitude. Add as few or as many things as you’d like. Include a picture or two if you’d like… but you certainly don’t have to. Put your name at the top of the list to see where yours started and the next blogger’s begins.
  2. Tag the post with the usual pepper tags and oddly specific gratitude. 
  3. Tag another pepper to add to the list by linking to their About page, but there’s a catch! When you tag the next blogger, be sure to include a bit about why you’re grateful to be in the same blogging world with them.:) (Try not to tag anyone who has already been tagged that way more people get to join in the fun.)  The List of Oddly Specific Gratitude

Nerd in the Brain:

1. the smell of wild onions when I mow the lawn
2. coffee makers (having the coffee already prepared in the mornings is magical)
3. the way my crazy dog barks likes a vicious beast at the horses across the road, but then cowers behind me like a needy wimp whenever a horse actually comes close
4. hearing my husband talk on the phone to the rest of his team at work… it reminds me that he’s not just my silly, sweet, awesome husband… he’s also my competent, responsible, highly skilled husband
5. opening a blank lesson plan book and imagining the possibilities to come
6. sausage balls
7. watching Grace’s enthusiasm for all things musical
8. the way I can hear a smile on Olivia’s face whenever we say hello or goodbye on the phone
9. knitting with really soft, squishy yarn

Not a Punk Rocker

10. Getting a random text when Matthew is in cell-signal range. (“Hi”)
11. Awesome stuff in the mail, including Legos and letters from friends, making me smile when I need it the most at the end of a long day.
12. Cherry chapstick.
13. Somebody found my blog by searching for “deadpool talks about political social issues” yesterday.
14. Skype and chat for keeping me in touch with friends in “real-time” when one or the other of us needs it the most.
15. Finding new blogs to read and follow through this challenge!

Jackie P (tobreathistowrite)

16. Having friends like I do here in the blogging world. You all make my days brighter.
17. My dog Sam. He loves me unconditionally, wish more people could love like that. Plus, he makes me laugh daily.
18.Coffee. Without it the world would be a much sadder and thirsty place. And I would be a much harder person to deal with.
19. All the bright and cheerful colors around. Something about bright colors makes me happy. The gold of the sun, the cerulean blue of the sky, the wonder of a rainbow, they never cease to make me glad I’m alive.
20. Books…… you all know what I mean.

Fish of Gold

21. Spell check. Even though it did just strangely try to correct my horribly botched spelling of “another” to “Antoine.” I don’t even know anyone named Antoine, spell check.
22. I’m grateful to myself for being the sucker who couldn’t walk away from my dog’s cage at the animal rescue. My failure to do so has converted 70 dog pounds into a metric ton of joy and unconditional love.
23. Male’s hilariously failed attempts at sexting.
24. My sense of humor. I wouldn’t have survived this long without it.
25. To the Peppers for continuing my harebrained Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story idea and turning it into something unexpectedly awesome. Go Team Pepper
26.I also second #18.

Knocked Over by a Feather

27. My aunts Oreo truffles. They are addictive.
28. Finding my comfy spot in bed.
29. Receiving a spontaneous real hug from my daughter, which rarely happens.
30. Watching stupid TV with my husband.
31. Hearing my mom call me sweetie or something similarly saccharine sweet on the phone

Mental Mama ( Mental in the Midwest)

32. the world’s best tiny mommy
33. Evie and Sissy Cats
34. lithium, depakote, and gabapentin
35. the world’s most amazing support network
36. good dark chocolate, preferably with cherries
37. the jumbo margaritas at Romeo’s – lime, on the rocks, extra salt

Mark Bialczak

38. My dear wife Karen for buying me two season tickets for Syracuse University football six years ago, going to every game with me (but one when she went on a cruise) since and turning home game Saturdays into Happy Happy days win or lose. 39. That Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle usually looks like this on the end of the living room couch and her specially covered ottoman daily come 10 p.m. after a day of enthusiastically ruling our Syracuse city home we call Little Bitty

Ellie B

40. That Karen talked me into going to the Paws for the Cause rescue dog event that March day four years ago when we saw Ellie marching around in her orange “Adopt Me” vest.
41.That my daughter Elisabeth was smart enough and confident enough and brave enough to go back to school this fall to get her associate’s degree and New York State certificate to become a physical therapist’s assistant, 2 1/2 years after getting her bachelor’s in biology.
42. That writing every day on markbialczak.com since Oct. 27, 2013 has turned out to be so much fun.
43.That Sheena Not a Punk Rocker talked me into hosting Nano Poblano this year, allowing me to meet so many interesting new bloggers! Wait. I want to add two more exclamation points to this one!!

Coulddoworse (Rachel or Lundygirl)

44. The park that I walk through four mornings a week

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45. Iced fingers

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46. Crochet and blogging; though never at the same time

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47. making something beautiful

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48. flowers

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49. Hot toasted sandwiches with my family on a very rainy bank holiday.

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50. beauty that you see in the detail

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51. Great memories to mull over and enjoy.

SAM_0116

Notes Tied On The Sagebrush

52. I am grateful that I was able to copy this whole list with pictures and get it pasted on to my post without messing it up at all, I hope.
53. I am grateful for my kids xoxo, and my husband xoxo
54. I am grateful to read good books, and watch good films
55. Good food, good wine and good friends
56. That I live in the state of California, USA
57. Discussions with my blogger friends and getting their support for my writing

Linda G. Hill – Life in Progress

58. That moment when I’m not aware that I’m falling asleep.
59. The one Smartie (candy-coated chocolate) that tastes slightly different than every other one in the box.
60. #18 – on this list, not the number eighteen.
61. That my children are alive.
62. Whatever it is that compels me to write; specifically to tell stories.

Idiot Writer ~ Idiot Writing :

63. Poetry (obviously) – mostly my poetry – I need it – lots to say things I cannot say any other way.
64. The Sun – when it shines in the UK.
65. The cheap chocolate bars I found! (and so do not feel guilty buying)
66. The fire-place – though I hate the smoke it emits.
67. Figuring out how to pump the tyre on my car yesterday.
68. Internet – SPEcifiCALLY – finding WordPress.
69. Saturdays – Cos I do not drive on Saturdays. Usually.
70. The sound system in my car – and my teens choice of music…it COULD have been – so so – not good.
71. I nearly forgot about SALT. Salt has so many uses! I am eternally grateful that salt – AND potatoes exist.

Last but not least...or rather first

72. Last but not least…or rather first – EVER so, very grateful – that Linda has wine.  😛

Doobster418

I’m grateful for:

73. The 11 bloggers who came up with 72 oddly specific items for which they are grateful, leaving me to really stretch to come up with anything new or different.
74. That said, I wish to second, third, or fourth (I’ve lost count) #18. COFFEE!
75. God, the almighty creator of everything and everyone, for granting in me the wisdom to…oh damn, the devil made me write that. Never mind.
76. Those rare days when I’m able to sleep later than 6 a.m.
77. My wife, for being a wonderful mother who stayed home to raise two great kids while I was off doing my worky-thing.
78. San Francisco weather, because it never snows, never gets below freezing, and never gets really hot and muggy.
79. My health, except for my vertigo, tinnitus, and my current lameness due to plantar fisciitis. But otherwise, my health is pretty damn good.
80. My blog and the fellow bloggers I interact with on pretty much a daily basis.
81. iTunes
82. The Oxford comma and those who use it.

Lucy at the Excessive Gardener 

I am grateful for :

83. I am so grateful for Evernote. Those of us who use and cherish it know why life is so much better. I am really grateful that I spend the few dollars each month for the premium version.
84. Golden Retrievers. My Golden, Roger, died years ago and I still miss him. I live with a Golden, my roommate’s, and he is a joy and a pain to live with but he is proof that if you know one Golden Retriever, you know them all.
85. My new knee. How wonderful it is to walk without pain. I can hardly wait to have the other knee replaced.
86. The drug Avastin. The FDA withdrew approval of the chemo drug for breast cancer, which means insurance companies won’t cover it, and it is not cheap.  I was lucky and got in on clinical trials for Avastin. It saved my life.
87. That I live in Florida, right where I want to be: minutes from white, sandy beaches and warm Gulf waters and only 2 hours to Disney World.
88.  Better World Books.  If you know it, you know what I mean.
89. Quad Core.
90. Defensive gardening. There’s nothing more satisfying than out-smarting a bug or an animal.

Now my list:

91. I’ll start by saying what goes without saying but should be said anyway:  I’m grateful for my husband Mark, my family, and my friends.

92. I’m grateful that I live in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul) of Minnesota. We have an amazing combination of abundant cultural opportunities, a highly educated and literate population, PLUS endless amounts of parks, lakes, bike trails, you name it.  We need the horrific winters to keep out the riffraff.

93. I’m grateful for having a job that provides me opportunity for (partially) subsidized travel experiences.

94. As everyone else said, #18 (coffee!)

95. I’m grateful for books! So many books!  So many writers with so many words!  As long as I have the capacity to read, I’ll never be bored.

96. I’m grateful that my husband has the best hobby ever: in his spare time, he makes furniture out of wood in our garage.  He loves doing it and I love the furniture he makes for me.  Talk about win-win!

Mark made this for me!

97.  I am grateful for the internet, which provides me with the opportunity to blog and to meet all of you amazing bloggers. I’m particularly grateful for the Nano Poblano Peppers for the sense of community y’all have been providing this month.

98. Cats! I’m grateful for my kitties Tennessee and Zelda for being such cute and cuddly pains in the butt.

Tennessee and Zelda

Me – Who Am I

I’m grateful for:

99. Warmth! When it’s -10 outside, I’m grateful for a heater that works.
100. We made it to 100! I feel privileged to be the one who fills this one out.
101. My son. He shows me the world in a way that no one else can.
102. Fellow bloggers and the wonderful community we have here.
103. Today I’m grateful for today; a day that I may not have had.
104. Fruit. Fruit does a body good.
105. Sleep, finally! Insomnia is terrible.

Me Next – Chatter Master

106.  Not having a body temperature of 94 degrees.

107.  Fat baby cheeks that split in to super wide grins and smiles with various numbers of teeth-when they see me.

108.  That moment at the end of the day when I know I’m done “doing” all that I am going to do for the day and there are those peaceful few minutes of quiet and relaxing with my husband.

109.  Saying “I love you” at the end of phone calls and visits and not feeling awkward about it.  And knowing my kids don’t either because I raised them with it being easy to say “I love you”.

110.  Remembering a song from childhood and thinking no one else in the world knows it, only to Youtube it and there it is!

111.  People.   Good people.  I’m so very thankful for good people.

Pssst!  It’s me, Ann Koplow, from The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally, trying to let go of judgment and add my list of oddly specific gratitudes, starting with #112, which is a number I have no particular associations with:

112.  Numbers and other things I have no particular associations with, since I love seeing things in a new light, letting go of baggage from the past.

113. Numbers and other things that I do have particular associations with, since I love things that have been in my life, up to this point.

114. Even though #112 and #113 cover everything in the universe (at least the way I think), I am also oddly specifically grateful for the way I think.

115.  Everybody who had ever read my blog or anybody else’s blog, which may seem oddly general instead of oddly specific, at this point.  (I’ve been in a very feisty mood lately, so I would like to see ANYBODY give me a difficult time about how I’m choosing to participate here.)

116. My cats, including Oscar, shown here moments after he accidentally accessed Siri — the alleged “personal helper” on my iPhone —  having about as much luck getting help from her as I usually do:

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117. My keyboard (pictured) and my fingers (not pictured):

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118. Photos I take accidentally with my iPhone, like that one directly above.

119. People I meet during the day who are willing to engage in an authentic, open way, even if only for a moment, like Kenny

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who stands guardian at the parking lot where I get my medical care, where I’ve been needing to go to several appointments lately because nobody knows what the hell is going on with my health.

120.  My memory, which allows me to quote, accurately enough, dialogs I have with people like Kenny, such as:

Kenny (obviously using the memorized script he has to say to every driver who enters the parking lot since, apparently, people are parking there who shouldn’t be): Do you have an appointment here?  Are you a patient?

Me (making an exaggerated sad face, because I REALLY DON’T WANT TO BE GOING TO A MEDICAL APPOINTMENT and then nodding “yes” slowly, saying nothing).

Kenny: (after a brief pause) Oh.

Me:  Do you believe me?

Kenny: No.

… which cheered me up considerably and resulted in my Literally Laughing Out Loud.

121. My memory, which allows me to recall another thing Kenny said to me, after I Laughed Out Loud: “You have a good day, sweetie.” (Yes, I know this is supposed to be a list of Oddly Specific Gratitude, not Oddly Repetitive Gratitude, but please see #115, above.)

122. The room to have all my feelings, including sadness, humor, fear,  disappointment, annoyance, gratitude, etc. etc. etc.

123.  The opportunity to end lists (at least my portion of them)

_____________________________________

After I published this post, I realized I forgot to include something, for which I am NOT oddly specifically grateful:

Michael’s cooking. On what planet would it be odd to be grateful for that?

 

Kim at Drunk on Life

Not sure if I start with “123.” or “124.” if I include Ann’s postscript?
I’ll go “124.” so…

124. My warm, fuzzy Sasquatch slippers

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125. Sunsets from the terrace at my loft.

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126. A fire in the fireplace on chilly Sunday mornings, especially if accompanied by #127/#18

127. #18 (Coffee ) even more so with an upgrade (a little Bailey’s Irish Cream)

128. My sister-cousins Patti and Christa.  Let me be clear that “Sister-cousins” are not a weird Southern relationship like an “Uncle Daddy.”  It’s merely cousins that are more like sisters and mine are a wonderful part of my life.

129. Making jewelry.  I don’t do it much anymore, usually just for gifts around the holidays, but I like working with beautiful materials and the soothing feeling you get while working with your hands (and letting your brain go wander).

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130. That awesome feeling when you get “your hairs did” as we say in the South.  Going to the salon, getting a shampoo with a scalp massage, a glossy new cut and color and the fabulous super-shiny blowout that makes you feel like a rockstar for the rest of the day until you sleep on your glorious new “do” and wake up in the morning looking like a haystack (i.e. back to normal).

131. The good things about Christmas (not the commercial, mass media stuff). Christmas music, candles, Christmas trees and all the sparkly holiday decor, parties, party dresses, cookies, old movies, feeling festive…most of all being with friends and family and the stuff that’s all still a little magical.

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132. Nano Poblano and Team Pepper.  The support and comments and community are wonderful and I have greatly appreciated being a part of it.

Grandmalin at Breathing Space

133.  My little library, which doubles as a spare bedroom, so when you sleep over at my house you can stay up all night reading.

134.  The Kindle I have now, which is not the original one (I have gone through 4 of them).  They just keep getting better.  I could read on my I-Pad or my I-Phone (if I wanted to go slowly cross eyed) but Kindle was my first love for downloaded books.  If I find a book there that I really love, I just might go out and buy the real thing to add to my library to tempt visitors  to stay up all night reading  borrow them.  Yes, it’s a lending library as all good libraries should be.

135.  Just to be oddly specific about my love for coffee, I am grateful for my little Tassimo which brews one hot, fresh, delicious cup of coffee at a time.

136.  The specific spot on the love seat in the living room where I sit every morning to read, and every evening to draw, and a whole lot during the day to do a whole bunch of nothing much.  The arm rest is a perfect spot for my I-Pad to perch to blat out Netflix movies, there is a little table for my coffee and my jar of pencils, room beside me for my sketch book, and a view of the outside world straight ahead out the living room window if I choose to ever look up.  The butt print you see there?  Yes, that is mine.

137.  I know saying “family” is not very specific, so here’s the short list – husband, adult children, five grandchildren, siblings and their families.  The long list includes relatives too numerous to mention, except for a special two who are both estheticians and do great pedicures on these ugly old lady feet.  Which then turn out to be not so ugly after all.

138.

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This weird guy. My alien giraffe. You cannot be unhappy when you look at this face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The List of Oddly Specific Bloggers

Nerd in the Brain
Not a Punk Rocker
To Breath is to Write
Fish of Gold
Knocked Over by a Feather
Mental in the Midwest
Markbialczak.com
Coulddoworse
Deborah at Notes Tied on the Sagebrush
Linda at Life In Progress
Idiot Writer
Mindful Digressions
The Excessive Gardener
Booking It

Me – Who Am I.

The Chatter Blog

The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Drunk on Life

Breathing Space

I am tagging willowdot21 who has been a faithful Team Pepper participant all month, and whose blog I have followed for a long time.  Her “If We Were Having Coffee” posts are delightful.  I wonder if she’ll say she’s grateful for coffee…

Art du Jour 17

imageHere I am with my nano post for the day, just before the day is over.

It’s the  same model I’ve used before but now she’s having a bad hair and make up day.  She also needs braces.  This is what happens when I watch a video on pencil crayon art.  And think it looks easy.  And spend a better part of the day showing myself it’s not.

And then because the daylight is gone, the photo doesn’t make it look participularly better or worse, just different.

The artist on the video said to be bold with colour!  Use red!  So I did!

Chalking this one up to experience.  But I can see the possibilities and it was a lot of fun.

nano

 

 

Art du Jour 16

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I fought a killer urge to make that ear into a pointy elf one.  You have no idea.

There are several people in my family who have delicate little points at the tops of their ears.  Not that I think we have elf ancestors exactly, but there’s definitely a pointy ear gene.  My ears are round and boring I’m sorry to say.

And why is that picture so blue?  Because I edit my photographs to make them sharper and bring out the details and also I don’t notice the blur at the bottom until later and I’m too lazy to fix it by starting over.  And sometimes blue happens.  On a blue Monday.

A few days ago a fellow Team Pepper person (I think!) posted Celtic Tree Astrology information and I can’t for the life of me find it or remember who it was – so if you’re reading this and it was you, please let me know so I can give you credit for inspiring me to imitate you.  Anyway, you can find this astrology information  here at What’s Your Sign.  It’s all very interesting and credible because…..I am………..

……TA DA!!  THE ILLUSIONIST!

Hawthorn signs in Celtic tree astrology are not at all what they appear to be. Outwardly, they appear to be a certain persona, while on the inside Hawthorn’s are quite different. They put the term “never judge a book by its cover” to the test. They live seemingly average lives while on the inside they carry fiery passions and inexhaustible creative flame. They are well-adjusted and can adapt to most life situations well – making themselves content and comforting others at the same time. You are naturally curious, and have an interest in a broad range of topics. You are an excellent listener, and people seek you out as an outlet to release their burdens. You have a healthy sense of humor, and have a clear understanding of irony. You tend to see the big picture, and have amazing insight – although you typically won’t give yourself enough credit for your observations. Hawthorn signs match up nicely with Ash and Rowan’s.

Well, I must have Celtic roots too. Those Celts are smart cookies.

What’s crazier than a cold Monday in November?  I don’t know the answer to that one but if there is an answer, it would make a good riddle for a cold November Monday.

nano

Junk and Treasures

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Before bed she watches her grandma scurry about the house making preparations for tomorrow, putting what appears to be worthless junk on the kitchen table, although she knows her mother considers these things priceless family treasures and will be thrilled to have them.

In the  morning she is still disoriented and exhausted after her long flight across the ocean, the drive to the farm and her restless night in yet another strange bed, with nothing better to look forward to now than a two-day road trip on her long journey home.

With a defeated sigh, she throws her things back in to her travel-worn bag, wishing she could stuff her bad mood and all her worries in there right along with them.

Once she gets everything downstairs she simply can’t stop laughing at the sight of her funny little grandma, giant fork under one arm and enormous spoon under the other, declaring herself all set and ready to go.

And just like that, all the irritation disappears.

Five Sentence Fiction  is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. This week’s word: IRRITATION

Lillie McFerrin Writes
…and…
nano

Art du Jour 15

imageGood Morning!  It’s Elf Day at Breathing Space.  Anyone besides me remember when you made the big switch from black and white TV to glorious colour?  If not, this is what it was like.  After drawing the first elf, I decided he could do with some brightening up.  Which is like smartening  or cleaning up, but more colourful.
imageThis one was done last night under artificial lamp light on top of a textured piece of mixed media paper or something.  He could use some work too, but I lost interest and fell asleep.
image
This guy held my interest a lot longer.

There are big fat fluffy snowflakes falling today, and our neighbour is out shovelling both our driveways!  Can we pick a neighbourhood or what?  W often does his driveway and sidewalk with the snow blower, so I guess he’s feeling obligated to reciprocate.  Anyway, it’s appreciated.

Have an Elf-ishly happy start to your weekend!

The Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story

I was tagged by Colleen at Silver Threading to continue the Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story.  I contributed to this in the early stages, way back before Hank was murdered.  A lot has happened since then.  My part at the end is the purple part.  Happy reading!

The Blog Hop Rules are simple:

1. Add a new post on your blog with these rules, the story so far, and who’s been tagged.
2. Title and tag the post as Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story.
3. Add at least two sentences to the story.
4. Pick another Pepper to tag. (Preferably one who hasn’t already been tagged).
5. Add a link to your chosen Pepper’s About page to the Tagged list below.

The Original Story Was Started by Fish of Gold

Edward walked into the hotel lobby just as the sun began to light up the city. He dragged a large, heavy trunk to the reception desk and rang the bell.

As he waited for someone to answer the bell, he tried to calm his breathing and wiped his sweaty brow with his coat sleeve. He heard a soft thud fromy the trunk and jerked his head towards it. His eyes had just a touch of fear in them as he listened for any other sounds. He never meant for things to go this far.

When the concierge emerged for the door behind the registration desk Edward stood up straight and tug on the lapel of his coat and says, “Er.” The concierge huffs and says, “Yes, may I help you?” Edward clears his voice and stutters out, “Mr. Maddox told me to deliver this trunk here for him.” Before the concierge could respond Edward abruptly turns and quickly runs out the door.

“What the …,” the concierge half-yelled as Edward cleared the door and ran down the street of still-waking businesses.

The concierge, Randy, was now more than a little put out. First, he had been interrupted while playing Candy Crush at the end of a dull night on the desk. Now, he was having to deal with miscreants leaving junk in the lobby. He hoped his boss didn’t walk in at that moment and chew him out for it.

Well, Randy thought, “I guess I can prop my feet up on this at the desk.” He slowly, but carefully as not to ruin the flooring, started to drag the trunk into the office.

As Randy dragged the Victorian-era trunk with brown leather-bound maple paneling and shiny brass studs nailed into the trim, he noticed that the weight wasn’t distributed evenly. Grunting when he tried to lift the heavy luggage over a snag in the office carpet, he finally maneuvered the large object into position. This would be perfect for resting his tired feet, so he plopped his posterior into the cushy high-backed chair and threw his feet up into the light side of the trunk.

Still bitter about his Candy Crush high score getting interrupted, he decided to pull up Plants vs. Zombies instead. Circulation returning to his legs, he vowed silently that no zombies would eat his brains tonight. He’s seen “Walking Dead.” They weren’t getting him or his sunflowers. Maybe it was thinking about zombies, perhaps it was thinking about how immobile he was if the zombie apocalypse hit, it could have even been the soup he made for dinner, but something didn’t sit well with him.

And then he heard and felt a thud coming from inside the trunk.

He whipped his feet off the trunk so fast, one of this shoes went flying across the room, knocking over a coffee cup. Dregs oozed out from between the cracks of his boss’s favourite mug.

“Damn it,” Randy exclaimed momentarily forgetting the sounds from inside the container. And then the screaming started.

The day clerk, Hank, had just entered the hotel lobby when he heard the screams coming from the office behind the reception desk. He ran fast as he could into the small office and saw Randy slumped in the cushy office chair, wide-eyed and breathing heavily, and wearing only one shoe. Randy’s face was ashen gray and he was literally shaking.

Hank saw the large, antique trunk, its lid open and some sort of thick liquid inside. “What the hell, Randy?” he asked. “What was all that screaming about? And what is that trunk doing here?”

Randy extended a shaky hand toward the open trunk and pointed. All he could say was “something.” He said it several times, his eyes filled with fear.

Hank looked carefully at the trunk and then walked slowly closer to it. That’s when he noticed rancid smell and a trail of dark liquid leading from the old trunk out of the office and into the hotel lobby.

At precisely the moment that Hank’s addled brain (which, franky, was a rather slow-moving machine in the smoothest of situations) caught up to the reality of what he was witnessing, the sounds of pandemonium crashed into the ears of both men. Screams seeped in under the doors. The metallic crunches and thuds of cars unwillingly having their shapes rearranged filtered through the lobby windows. Hank imagined that he heard bones snapping and blood dripping amidst the chaos, but certainly that wasn’t possible. Was it? Hank locked eyes with Randy, both faces reflecting terror to the other. What had been in the box? More importantly, would they be held responsible? Given his usual weasel-like demeanor, Hank made a brave decision: He would go have a peek at the street to get a better idea of what he had gotten himself into. Inhaling deeply for courage and balance, he shifted his foot to begin the short walk back to the lobby doors. And that’s when he noticed it … he was standing directly in a puddle of the sticky fluid from the trunk, and it was working its way through every opening of his shoe.

All of a sudden, both of his feet started to burn like he had just finished walking on hot coals. He certainly was getting paid enough to deal with such crazy shenanigans. He should have been a lawyer, just like his mother wanted him to be.

A quick detour to the mens room appeared to be in order, and whatever lurked outside the lobby doors would just have to wait. Leaving a trail of shoes and socks and rancid ooze behind him, Hank pushed through the washroom door, noticed that the cuffs of his pants were ruined and decided to drop those too.

He hopped up to the counter, turned the taps on full blast and plopped both of his burning feet under the gushing, cooling water. It immediately turned a sickly greenish purple. One of the cubicle doors opened and a stunned person stopped dead to take in the sight of a disheveled boxer-clad day clerk effectively occupying two of the sinks, decided against washing his hands just this once, and hurriedly scuttled sideways to the exit. Hank heard the door open, he heard the door close, and in between over the thudding of his own heart, he heard the muffled sound of chaos from the streets.

Outside the hotel, meanwhile, Detective Dick Richards swore loudly and then crammed into his mouth the last third of that cream-filled donut that had distracted him enough to slam into the school bus stopped in front of him, causing the city bus following too closely behind him to make an unmarked-car sammich.

All the school kiddies looked fine, but they were bellowing on the sidewalk outside the hotel, the same joint that he’d been casing undercover for weeks now, waiting for those clerk clowns Randy and Hank to take the trunk from that middle man Eddie. Cripers. Those clerks watched so much HBO they probably thought that trunk held zombies or vampires or something. Dick Richards wanted to clean up this mess outside so he could get back to his binoculars and watch for the next player in the game to show up.

Detective Richards was squirming out the passenger side window and was hanging upside down as Detective Sargent Beverly Hills approached his accordioned vehicle. Dick would know those gams anywhere. Bev had the best legs in the Department, although Andy Highwater on bicycle patrol came in second with his long, tanned….

“What the hell are you doing Detective Richards? You are required to stay put while the fire fighters use the “jaws of life” to remove you from this mess.”

“I’m fine, Bev.”

Dick lost his purchase on the car and dropped like a stone further out the window, slamming his head on the curb, effectively knocking himself out. Meanwhile, a HAZMAT Team showed up to contend with the dark ooze that trailed from the hotel. An uniformed officer ran over to Beverly and informed her that a dead man had been found in the men’s washroom of the hotel and he appeared to be one of the desk clerks. An EMT was tending to the revived Detective Richards, so the Detective Sargent followed the Officer into the hotel and to the washroom, relieved to leave the pandemonium outside. Beverly stopped in the washroom doorway, stunned by what she saw.

It was not possible, was it? Given her line of work, she had seen many corpses. But this one was different; this corpse was her ex-husband Hank. “Oh, Hank. What did you get yourself into?” she moaned softly to herself. Despite their divorce, she had no hard feelings toward Hank. He had always been a nice man. He was just so…dim-witted. Ending up as a murder victim in a hotel bathroom was proof, as far as she was concerned, of his general ineptness.

The hardest part of this job was never knowing when you would meet a corpse you recognised.

Slim chance, but there was Hank, with his pale cheeks pressed up against the mirror. A noticeable crack in the glass, overshadowed only by the putrid stench of…what WAS that in the air?

Beverly began to step closer, instead turned away covering her face. A ringtone echoed, and she fumbled for her phone. As she accepted the call, she realised it was not her ringtone but, ‘Everyday I’m Shuffling’, Hank’s favourite song when they were still together.

She hesitated, ‘…Hello?’

‘Hello Bev…you never read my poem’ – the call ended and a text came through.

Beverly sank to her knees frantically trying to open the text with her now trembling fingers, the officer wondering what this idiot woman was doing, tapped her shoulder. Beverly glanced at him and gestured to the phone, ‘It’s from…him’, she mumbled – pointing at the corpse of her ex, ‘I can’t read it, we must read it!’

The officer – being a gentleman – read:

‘You held me with my fears
With a gaze of distant years
Your face reflected in the glass
I breathed in, the scent of arsine
You tried to help me stand,
Then I saw within your hand
Your axe about to thwack
The mirror will expose your crack.’

Heads down, engrossed in the text, they almost didn’t see the dark reflection in the mirror. They looked up just in time to dodge the large axe that seemed to be heading straight towards them. When they turned around, the black cloaked figure was rushing out of the restroom, laughing maniacally saying “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear”. Bev and the officer looked at one another quizzically, was it a clue? What seemed most odd to Bev was the voice of the cloaked man. It sounded just like Hank, but how could that be when she was looking at Hank’s dead body, laid out on the bathroom counter before her? It was becoming clear that this wasn’t a normal murder scene and they were dealing with a lot more than contaminated ooze.

Bev’s face felt cool like a slither of ice had been brushed across it, crimson fingertips rose to wipe away a slick of almost slimy sweat from her brow as the other grasped the mobile. Legs weak, trembled like a baby doe as she attempted to rise not initially noticing the officer’s thick hairy topped hands that went to aid her. His greedy digits apparently needed to slide under one ass cheek, stealing a squeeze before hoisting up as the other paw wrapped around her slender upper arm brushing rather too keenly against freshly starched cotton covered breast.

Though Bev was in shock, she detested this Officer, his actions causing a reaction akin to touching an electric wire as delicate hands rose with purpose, palms flat slamming in to his portly chest, pushing with determination and anger. Neat little heals slipped amongst the acrid slime on the floor as shrill voice shouted “Get your grubby hands OFF me Officer you dirty DOG!” as whhooooooosh, feet went out from underneath the enraged patron of order.

Slender body crumpled and bent like a piece of old parchment as limbs flailed in attempt to block the obvious conclusion of her action. The accused Officer did as instructed, moving away, only to see the saucy morsel crash to the floor, raven locks billowing over slippery floor as a ‘CRACK’ of skulls echoed over the tiled floor.

“OH BOLLOCKS” could be heard loudly from the restroom. “SHE’S DEAD THE SILLY BITCH” followed with a tone of indignance at the inconvenience of it all. He crouched down just to double check, muttering “what a waste.” Thick set knuckles tugged the mobile from her grasp, standing to stretch as leisurely as a rise from a good nights slumber, cracking a few joints before proceeding to leave.

“FORENSICS” he bellowed, doing a quick dart back of body avoiding being face slammed by the opening bathroom door as a group of officials rushed in. “WATCH THE FLOOR” he yelled, tucking the mobile in to his trouser pocket, leaving and murmuring “you know what to do”.

Heavy footsteps slowed a moment as a “buzz buzz” was felt against his hip. The phone gyrated like a limber pilates teacher as sweaty fingers lifted it out, swiping to open the message “I am watching you, you filthy pig faced man, don’t ever touch my ass again!”

The Officers mouth resembled a breath starved goldfish momentarily as he turned, retreating to pop his head back in the restroom.

“She is dead isn’t she?” he asked the gang of forensics.

“Oh yes man, head split open like a melon” one geeky spotty male answered.

A sigh of relief escaped stubble ridden lips as he turned to leave feeling a slither of cold, as cold as ice pass his face.

Blinking repeatedly, a form appeared, floating before his eyes; it was Bev as if made of glass, or water, shimmering almost ethereal like, turning and advancing towards him. He glanced entranced by the pure beauty of what was before him, oblivious as she opened her mouth as if to scream. A sound not heard by others catapulted through his brain, as if splitting it in two, eyes burning and bulging as hands pushed either side of his head as if to hold it together.

Time slowed, everyone slowed, sounds of voices became blurred, movements merged one in to the other as the silhouette of glassy form left.

“This is officially the worst migraine,” thought the officer.

He looked in the mirror in order to fix his hat. It felt tighter than usual. Funny things happened to him whenever the migraines made their presence known.

As he adjusted his hat, he caught a glimpse of Bev’s silouette in the mirror. By the time he saw the hammer in Bev’s hand, it was too late. He was right though. This was the worst migraine the officer would ever have.

Hours later, Detective Dick Richards knelt just outside the restroom door and put a hand over his nose to try to stifle the thick stench of blood emanating from the room. Now there were five bodies in the restroom, and a trail of bloody foot prints leading down the hall, into the lobby, and out to the street.

Richards took out his cell phone and dialed an old, familiar number. It only had three digits. All of them were the same.

“Yesssssss?” a voice hissed on the other end of the line.

“The plan’s been foiled again. The contents of the trunk are… missing. At least five people are dead. Five good people.”

“And you think I care about thisssssss?”

“No, of course not. But it’s my job to keep you informed. What’s my next move, boss?”

“Since the contents of the trunk have been misplaced, His Excellence will not be pleassssssed.”

“Clearly.” Detective Richards fidgeted, wondering what exactly His Excellence would come up with as punishment this time. Another trip into The Pit? Richards shuddered to think of the time he accidentally misplaced the twelve virgins to be ritually sacrificed.

“Don’t worry, Richardsssss. The Great and Powerful Cortoogoo has wonderful plans for you. Now, it is time to move on to the next step. You must acquire The Key.”

Tiffany Van Helsing, Demon Hunter, hated early mornings with all her heart. She especially hated really early mornings. She also hated cold weather and field work a whole lot and when all three combined as they had this morning, it was extra-special annoying.

She supposed it was all part of paying her dues as the youngest member of the infamous clan of Van Helsings, who had been running a wildly successful Supernatural Critter Disposal company for the past 100 plus years, since Old Gramps Van Helsing first took a cross to Count Dracula in the 1890s. It still wasn’t fair, though. Her older sister, Morgana, not only got the the Van Helsing raven curls, height and slender but super-humanly strong build, but she got all the plum assignments too, tracking only the highest-level VIP demons in their swanky jet-set, private club and Monte Carlo yacht environment. Tiffany got five feet of ordinariness, mousy hair, a tendency to put on a few extra that time of the month, and all the crappy jobs. Oh yeah, and she inherited Grandma’s ability to see ghosts. Big whoop.

She had brushed past five spirits already as she gingerly picked her way through the fragile dawn light over the loose branches and slippery leaves of the deserted forest. Damn it, she hated the 5-inch heel over-the-knee platform boots she had to wear on hunting expeditions too. “I mean really,” she bitched to herself for the umpteenth time, “who the hell tracks demons in a boots and a leather mini skirt when it’s 40 degrees outside?” She’d been pushing to update the mandatory uniform for years, but Morgana loved it, and Morgana always got her way. What she would give for some tennies and warm fleecy sweatpants. “Oh well,” she sighed, absent-mindedly tugging the skirt leather over her exposed butt cheek. “Once I corner this evil detective, stop him from opening a portal from the underworld and releasing hellspawn on the unsuspecting populace, I should have time for a Pumpkin Spice Latte from that new Starbucks across from the office.”

She reached the top of the hill, and crouched suddenly, cursing under her breath as her stiletto heel snapped a twig in the chilly silence. She could see her target, Detective Dick Richards, below her in the faint light, all dolled up in the Standard Issue Robe and Pointy Hood, etching a pentagram in the loose dirt of the hollow. He had already set out a bunch of candles and she could smell the stench of burning incense. Looked like a basic Key Invocation to her; shouldn’t take long to wrap this up. Then she could get on to some warm pumpkin-spiked goodness and much more comfy shoes.

Tiffany was so taken by the thought of it, she could almost smell the intoxicating combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and corn syrup in the air. “Soon enough,” she thought.

Upon completion, Detective Richards rose and began to walk the perimeter of the pentagram. Once. He still couldn’t shake the stench of the hotel bathroom. Twice. The blood. The weird black slime in the sink. Beverly. Poor Beverly. He’s always liked her. Why did she have to get all caught up in this? It was almost enough to make him turn in his black robe, for good. “Damn it!” He’d lost count again. It had to be perfect, or it wouldn’t work. He fell to his knees, quickly erasing the pentagram in the dirt with his hands.

Tiffany, seeing her golden opportunity, agilely leapt to her feet. She took a solid step backward for momentum, a little too solid. Her right stiletto pierced the ground, lodging itself firmly in the mud. Tiffany didn’t hear the leaves crunching behind her as she struggled to free her boot. It came loose all at once with a jolt. She spun, struggling to regain her balance, and found herself nose to nose with Edward and the unmistakable smell of cinnamon. “It’s your favorite,” he said coyly.

The psychiatrist looked at the strange child before him. He had been referred by the school guidance counsellor. Several dolls lay in disarray with a tiny trunk at the side. Blood, blood, blood he said. Was this possession? That was the last thought before he was thumped on the head by a toy hammer and bludgeoned to death.

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This was the portion written at peacelovegreatcountrymusic.
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“He was odd from the moment he was born,” his tearful mother blurted out. “I knew the whole time I was pregnant that he wasn’t gonna turn out right.”

“I watched for all those warning signs I see on Dr. Phil but nothing ever happened. One night, I woke up to check on him and he was standing over my bed whispering. When I tried ushering him back to his bed, he said he only took orders from the shadows.”

“I slept with my door locked that night.”

My left temple was on fire and I knew I should have turned my phone to silent. This was going to be one long-ass day and the flask in my pocket was bone dry. I put on my badge and checked my holster.

_________________________

This portion was written at Liz’s food for fun

First things first. I refilled my flask using the larger bottle of Jim Beam tucked away in my bottom desk drawer. After stashing the flask deep into the pocket of my coat, I left the office for the parking lot where I climbed into my rusty 1997 Honda Sedan. The short distance was covered quickly and soon I pulled up in front of the small house on Maple Lane where a good man had been brutally murdered. Even from the outside, there was a stillness. A sense of dread. Nothing good could come of this visit. I took a swig from the flask and reluctantly left the car to walk the front steps and ring the doorbell.

____________________

This  portion is written by Deborah at Notes Tied On The Sagebrush

Tiffany looked at Edward blankly for a minute as he stood there with her Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte. “What are you doing here Edward?  I’m busy following that warlock you see over there etching his pentagram in the dust and I don’t have time for a latte.”

” Cool!” snorted Edward, ” Can I watch?”

Just then they both heard a rustling sound and looked toward the place where Dick Richards had been busy with his pentagram. But Dick wasn’t there. He was standing right in front of them glaring with glowing red eyes. He made a growling noise. Were those fangs bulging out of his slobbery lips?

This is getting pretty freaky , Edward thought, just before Dick sunk his teeth into his neck.

____________________

This portion is written by Colleen from Silver Threading

It was all over in an instant and Edward slumped to the ground in a heap taking Tiffany’s Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte with him.  Dick slowly turned towards Tiffany smiling wickedly as blood dripped down his chin.  Some of the spiced coffee had splashed onto his robe.  The spots smoked as if the spices were burning holes into him.  Dick tried to smooth over the burning holes with his hands.

“Damn it Tiffany,” Dick said.  “Why did you bring that idiot with you?”  “He burned holes in my robe with that spiced coffee.”  “What the hell?”

Tiffany just stood there looking ravishing in her 5-inch heel over-the-knee platform boots staring at Dick like she had never seen him before.

“Dick, why did you have to kill Edward”, she asked.  “I thought you had better ways of taking care of your urges than this,” she said angrily.

Tiffany stood over Edward’s body.  She could see the two perfect holes in his neck where Dick had feasted.  His body was limp and his skin white from the blood letting.

But worse than that, she was out of coffee.  And it was this stupid Dicks fault.  She clenched her fist behind her back and then in one fluid motion decked the unsuspecting Dick Richards with a powerful right hook to his left jaw.  He was down and out long enough for Tiffany to turn on her pointy heels and rummage through her Gucci bag for her phone.  She quickly punched in a search for “Disposing of Warlocks and Vampires”. Then she added “portal keys” to that.  What came up was a confusing list of possibilities.  Green smoke, black magic, curse of doom, gates of hell.   All of it was giving her a colossal headache, but Richards was beginning to stir and she had to do something fast.  She dropped her bag and her Starbucks gift card fluttered to the ground at her feet.  Caffeine!  Yes, that was the solution!  She stooped to pick the card up with a happy smile.  Then her face hit the dirt. 

____________________

Fish of Gold
To Breathe Is To Write
Silently Heard Once
Not A Punk Rocker
Amusing Nonsense
Inspiration In Progress
Mindful Digressions
Nerd in the Brain
Knocked Over By a Feather
Breathing Space
Mark Bialczak
Lucy at the Excessive Gardner
Debra at Booking It
Idiot Writer at Idiot Writing
Storm Chaser At Parenting A Teenage Tornado
Eclectic Odds And Sods
Destino at Chasing Destino
Cheney at Blog Apocolypse
Drunk On Life
Love Marriage Worms
galesmind
food for fun

Notes Tied On The Sagebrush

Silver Threading

Breathing Space

Have all the Team Pepper people been tagged already?  It’s getting hard to find somebody new.

So I am tagging Fish of Gold to continue the story.  Because she started it.