Tag Archives: The Peppers

The Dust Has Settled

I had no idea when I made a comment to one of my fellow blogger friends that it would stir up such a hornet’s nest of controversy. It turns out many people have an opinion on the subject I had raised. It had to do with making connections with other bloggers when you are a new blogger. And should the more established bloggers reciprocate with their commenters and go and visit the commenter’s blog? and comment? Then this lead to another comment from me about the Big bloggers and how they attract new bloggers to their sites.

Many people weighed in on all my comments. By the end of the day I was still standing or sitting but just barely. 😀  I had struck a nerve apparently. This topic was on many people’s minds and they had a definite opinion about it.

There was some heated dialogue at times. There were many people who disagreed with me. There were many that agreed with me and offered support.

It did open a dialogue between me and the Bigger bloggers. This I see as a good thing. I think we all went back to our blogging corners and thought about it. We saw each other a little more clearly. We saw a bit of the person behind the comments and opinions. The person behind the blog. We were able to see things from each others perspective a bit better.

So I would say on the whole it was a good thing and positive experience. I want to say to you bloggers who are brand new to not get scared off by all this. Don’t be afraid to make comments. Sometimes you probably will stick your foot in your mouth. I know I did just recently when after a day of hearing all the arguments against my opinion,  I misinterpreted someone’s post and left a snarky comment and felt I had to apologize.

I appreciate that some of my more experienced blogger friends offered me some support and advice. I appreciate that some of my fellow newbie bloggers did the same. I really appreciate very much the blogger friends I have made. xo

You see that’s the thing for me. It is the connections I make that mean a lot to me. Thanks guys.




640px-Myosotis_arvensis_ois  Forget Me Nots

|Nano Poblano|


Mixed Signals

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day via the fashionmagpie on creative commons It has been a rough period for me just recently. I think it may be what happens in blogging pretty often but I am not sure. I know it can happen in everyday life as well. The only trouble is when you say things in writing it doesn’t always convey all the feelings behind what you are saying. And when you are blogging you are writing things quickly without being able to give them a lot of thought.

I expressed my frustration of being in a blogging community. Not the whole gigantic WordPress community. But a smaller community that was supposedly set up to promote community between those who were participating. People have said I have unrealistic expectations about that. That even though I signed up to this blogging group I should not have expected it to be a community. Well I guess I did expect that because I thought that is what I was told at the beginning. Oh well, was that mixed up communication again?

I expressed my frustration and probably too personally with another blogger in the group. That they weren’t coming back and reading my posts. I am sure part of this, a big part, is getting used to this social media. You have to be careful how you say things but then when you are trying to write at such a quick pace you are not always choosing your words carefully enough. And sometimes my mouth is speaking before my head is engaged. And I am a person of strong feelings and sometimes I express them, maybe a bit too freely.

I was actually trying to reach out to other bloggers and I guess, with some of them, I made a big mess of it. Then next thing you know there is a whole separate post about it with all these bloggers chiming in on what a jerk I am. Well that’s how it sounded to me anyway.

There have been a lot of supportive people as well. Well you know how that goes, sometimes it is really hard not to focus on the negatives.

I made a snarky comment last night on a post because after reading all these critical comments I thought the person was talking about me as well. Turns out they weren’t.

I feel like Alexander who had a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Has this ever happened to anyone else with their blogs?

*I am a nice person but not perfect and been known to stick my foot in my mouth. I do feel bad if I hurt someone else’s feelings.

|Nano Poblano|

Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story

I was tagged by Liz at food for fun to continue the Nano Poblano Blog Hop Story that was started about 2 weeks ago. If I choose to accept this challenge the instructions will self-destruct in 10 minutes.

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 from 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.

This was the portion written at peacelovegreatcountrymusic.

“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 standingover 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.

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
food for fun

Notes Tied On The Sagebrush

I am tagging Colleen at Silver Threading  to continue the story.

The Coastal Redwoods of California

If you get a chance to visit California there are many beautiful sights to see. One I think is a must see are the coastal redwoods. I was born in San Francisco which is in Northern California. I met my husband there while we were both in college. I was at University of California San Francisco in the Nursing School and he was at Hastings Law School. Hastings is also part of the University of California.

In those dating days we enjoyed all the beautiful surroundings available in the San Francisco Bay area. From the beautiful city itself and all the great restaurants to the beautiful wine country that was not a far drive from The City. When you live around San Francisco you always refer to it as The City.

One area we visited was north of The City, the beautiful coastal redwood forests. There is a new freeway running up there now. But the original highway is still there as well. It is called The Avenue of the Giants. These trees are so awe-inspiring. They are some of the oldest trees on earth. When you drive past them you get a sense of being in a prehistoric forest. The height and width of the trees dwarf you as if you are in the presence of gigantic dinosaurs.

The trees are fire and bug resistant. The last time we made the trip to see them was on our 30th wedding anniversary. A forest ranger told us a sad fact. That the only thing the trees were vulnerable to was the wind that has been created by the new freeway that was built near them. It creates some kind of wind corridor. It is blowing some of them over.

640px-CA_254_Avenue_of_the_Giants  by Adbar

|Nano Poblano|

Beware of the Ego with Blogging

untitled  Auguste toulmouche-vanity wikimedia

“Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief.” –Jane Austen

Blogging can be quite an ego trip don’t you think? It can really give you a fat head. I think anyone who blogs needs to keep this in mind. It is more worthy to maintain our humility.

Nice things we can do for each other as writers is to read each others work and try to be supportive of each other. I have found there are bloggers out there who do this and I really appreciate and admire them.

Give a genuine complement. There has to be something about someone else’s efforts you find praiseworthy.

Vanity is not exclusively a female trait. It applies to both male and female bloggers equally.

images2ZIG53YH  Fop Wikipedia

|Nano Poblano|

The Nano Poblano Oddly Specific Gratitude Blog Hop

My good friend Rachel  has nominated me to add my list of things I am grateful for to this long list of what other folks in the Team Pepper are grateful for. Check out Rachel’s blog Could Do Worse  – to read about adventures in London.

Here’s what to do:

  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

2014-11-04 08.24.10

45. Iced fingers

2014-11-01 10.11.55

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


47. making something beautiful


48. flowersSAM_1167

49. Hot toasted sandwiches with my family on a very rainy bank holiday.SAM_0946

50. beauty that you see in the detailSAM_0819

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

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



Notes Tied On The Sagebrush

I nominate Linda G. Hill because she has always been so gracious to me on her blog site. I really like the way she encourages all the bloggers in her events to read each others posts. It really helps promote community and is very nice for newcomers as well.

|Nano Poblano| among other things.

Our DVD Collection

I love reading books and I love films.

We have quite a library of DVDs we have acquired over the years. We do not buy them as often lately. I borrow many DVDs from my local public library.

I recently purchased some great DVDs from PBS that I thought would be good additions to our collection. They were on sale so I decided to go for it. My husband and I have been watching them the past few days.

A perk of owning DVDs is that you can watch them over and over. If I haven’t watched something in a while I forget enough parts of it that I can enjoy it all over again. Or even if I remember the story, because I love them so much, I don’t care how many times I have seen them. Like re-reading a beloved book. I may even see more of the nuances that I may not have seen with the first viewing.

I like collecting older films or classics. We have a few. One reason I want to collect them is I am afraid that eventually we won’t be able to find them. That they won’t be available anymore. It is like old books that go out of print.

We just finished watching The DVD of Mark Twain by Ken Burns. Very good. It is a 2 Disc set. It covers Mark Twain’s life from beginning to end. It includes many great and funny quotes and excerpts from his books and some great photos.  I really love many of his quotes  and will be using them from time to time. There are interviews with some Mark Twain scholars, Hal Holbrook and Arthur Miller. It has special features that go into the making of the film and more Mark Twain quotes and photos.

The scholars, Holbrook and Miller share their knowledge, insights and impressions of Twain’s writing, motivations and personality. It is interesting to hear about the man behind the writing.

We all like to think that we are revealing our truth(s) with our blogs. Here is a quote from Mark Twain about honesty:

I think we never become really and genuinely our entire and honest selves until we are dead–and not then until we have been dead years and years. People ought to start dead, and then they would be honest so much earlier.

Do you like having your own collection of films? Have you watched this particular film about Mark Twain and what did you like about it or learn from it? Do you have some favorite classic or older films?

|Nano Poblano| among other things.

Day of Rest

Now that I have found my voice I am getting tired of hearing myself talk.–D.

Introverts do not like making small talk. I think blogging daily is like trying to make small talk. I wondered if blogging is for introverts at all. I googled the topic and found an old blog about it. It claimed that introverts like to blog because it is easier for them in that they do not have to talk to someone face to face. That is probably true but on the other hand to endlessly blah, blah, blah is not the introvert way.

So today I am taking a day of rest from blah, blah, blogging. Happy Sunday!

Do you think bloggers are introverts or extroverts?

|Nano Poblano| among other things.

Zombie Fishing in Lake Michigan

When I first saw the headline in the Huffington Post it did pique my curiosity. Oh no! Could this be another environmental disaster? There have been stories about zombie fish. Thank goodness they are not some horrible mutant caused by toxic pollution. The fish become zombies because they are shocked with an electric current so scientists can study their health status. The fish recover and are released back into the water. Although some people argue that being shocked with electricity is not a great experience for the fish.

Another zombie nature story that is not as benign. I was upset to read about zombie bees. There are so many accounts nowadays of the severe environmental stresses on honey bees. Now there is a parasitic fly that has been invading the bee colonies and using the bees as a host for its eggs. As a result of this parasite the infested bee’s behavior becomes very erratic and they demonstrate zombie night-time activity. Fortunately they die right after they begin to act this way.

So when I saw the headline that they were fishing zombies out of Lake Michigan I reluctantly clicked on it. I was relieved to find that it was not about any poor creature, neither human, animal, fish or insect becoming a zombie. Turns out a Halloween barge with a bunch of mannequins dressed as zombies sunk during windy weather. Now they are fishing them out of the lake.

I can see this as being the impetus for a good horror tale. ” Yup, we were out there fishing those zombie mannequins out of the lake when we noticed one of them looked like it had flesh rotting off of it. Then it’s eyes opened and it let out this high pitched inhuman scream……..” Or maybe a new reality TV show like ” Already Dead Catch.”

Huffington Post: Crews Have Been Pulling Zombies Out of Lake Michigan

|Nano Poblano| among other things.