i feel like chicken tonight

Roast Chicken

by Brooke C

1 whole chicken
salt
pepper
olive oil
various tuberiffic veggies, randomly cut into assorted sizes to ensure unequal doneness

Directions:

  • find roasting pan at the bottom of cabinet under kitchen sink. Wash out dust.
  • Preheat oven to 450. No, not a reasonable 350 or 325. We want black skin and pink juice.
  • Place veggies (ooh, parsnips!) in bottom of pan, toss in EVOO and ‘herbes du Provence,’ just to say you did.
  • Salt and pepper liberally. This is the only case in which you may be liberal. 😉
  • Pause to yell at 7-year-old to get out of the bathroom: “the bathroom is not for reading comic books!”
  • Gingerly cut away at germ-ridden chicken-in-bag, pinkies out.
  • Wash hands every five seconds.
  • Dump a tablespoon of salt into cavity; cringe and shrug.
  • Massage outer bird with salt, pepper, EVOO. Place lovingly on rack in pan, whispering sweet nothings. Place in oven.
  • Swat 2-yr-old for throwing a giant fit. “You don’t get a snack until you CALM DOWN.”
  • 40 minutes, a load of laundry, and an emptied fridge later: admire the beauty of the browning bird, take temperature (180! great!), then cut into it to find it’s still pink.
  • Proceed to remove bird every ten minutes for another hour and marvel at the Chicken That Never Cooked.
  • Eat wooden shards of overdone meat dipped in pink juice of still-raw meat. delish.
  • Scrape incinerated ex-veggies off bottom of pan.
  • Give up and go to bed.

It’s ALIVE!!…we hope.

Interesting…I learned today on a literary agent’s blog the importance of keeping one’s writing “tight.” The idea is that one should avoid excessive and unnecessary modifiers or dead weight that slows down one’s story. A list of ways to do this (and words to avoid) followed.

Let me stop here and say that I never realized there were so many ‘rules’ to good writing. In the past, I simply read and decided whether or not it was worthwhile to continue.

I suppose one could see a parallel between a written piece and the human body. A good story might be likened to a healthy body, which gets no particular attention except when it is ill.

Whereas a normal person might consider a story ‘good’ and not question why, a writer (one who studies the craft of writing, anyway) discovers that a good piece is composed of a number of systems working together and operating well as a whole. The difficulty, then, is that rather than the existence of one Creator, there are thousands of would-be writers (yours truly included) who may never get their ‘body’ breathing. 🙂

One more testimony to the greatness–the unattainable genius–of God. He gets it right every time.

I’m learning that a good story really means that the reader doesn’t feel as if he/she is reading at all, just experiencing what is written without noticeable effort to plow through thousands of words. This takes talent. In my view, skill alone (that which is taught and learned) is not sufficient.

Let’s hope I’ve got the stuff it takes. 🙂

Breakfasting with VIPs

Today, I had the honor of sharing breakfast with two very important business people. One, a woman of twenty-six who works in sucker acquisitions (more on that in a moment), and the other, a thirty-year-old male creator of websites with a focus on fictional galactic characters.

The scene went something like this:

The attractive blonde sits with a furrowed brow, staring at her computer, alternating bites of applecrunch muffin with vigorous typing spells.

“So, what kind of work do you do?” I ask.

“Well, I go and get money from people, and then I take it to my boss, and he takes it the bank, and the bank makes suckers, and they give him the suckers, and he brings them back for everybody.”

“So, you’re in sucker acquisitions.” I reply.
“Yes,” she says hestitantly, with a modest half-grin.

“Do they make the suckers at the bank?”
“Yes.”
“And how long have you done this job?” I ask.
“For forty-nine years.”

“Wow! You’re seventy-four? You look awfully young for seventy-four.”
“No, I’m not that old!”
“Well, most people don’t get such a good job like that until they’re about twenty-five, after they’ve gone to college.”
“Well….I’ve only worked there for a year.”

Oh, ok. I understand now. “So you’re twenty-six.”
“Yes.” She focuses hard on the small screen of the blue-and-red laptop, which is repeatedly requesting loudly that she type the letter that begins the word “cat.” She responds to the metallic voice, attacking the keyboard with vehement zeal.

I leave her to her pressing task and address my other guest.
“And how old are you, sir?”
He suppresses an amused grin and responds,
“Thirty.”

“And what do you do for a living?”
“I create websites about Star Wars. My website is Anakin Skywalker dot com.”
“I see.”

“This is my computer,” he says, pointing to a small felt change purse the size of a deck of cards.
I am impressed.
“Wow, that’s a small computer.”
“Yes. Here’s my website, see?” he says, deftly typing on the miniscule keyboard.

“So people pay you to build websites about Star Wars?” I ask.
“Yes. Actually, the reason it’s called ‘Anakin Skywalker dot com’ is because I’m him. My name is Anakin Skywalker.”
“Well, that’s very interesting. It’s nice to talk with you, Mr. Skywalker.”
He smiles and returns to his muffin and milk.

My colleague, the fourth member in our distinguished party, has been silent throughout the meal, except for a few unintelligible bursts. Now he is studying the cranberries in his muffin, chewing with his mouth open, still grasping with one hand the spoon that had been in his cereal.
I decide this would not be the appropriate moment to ask him about his work.

All in all, a very interesting meal. 🙂

Honey, I’m Hooooome!

Okay, so I hope neither of my faithful readers take this the wrong way:
I am the exclusive type.

That is, I prefer to read stuff that’s interesting and actually readable: mostly correct in punctuation and grammar. A typo here and there is excusable, I suppose, but what really turns my crank is the correct spelling of “definitely!” Wow, what skillful writing!

Recently I’ve begun wading into the writers/literary agents/publishing blogosphere (yes, silly spellcheck, that IS a word—and don’t you spellcheck me on ‘spellcheck,’ you ironical beast), and for the most part, it’s been refreshingly…correct. I don’t find any gag-inducing misusage of “there/their/they’re,” and the paragraphs are bite-sized and filled with engaging quips and interesting info.

Not only that, but—miracle of miracles—even those writing comments on the blogs (or most of them, anywho) are actually writing in complete sentences! Can it be true? Have I come home? After so many years of wandering through the wilderness of poorly written news stories and illegible forum posts, I may have found my comfy spot.

Hopefully I won’t settle in so much that I develop bedsores.

Yes, I’m aware that by posting this I’m setting myself up for critique. I know this blog is largely a simple monologue in which few readers would have any interest, and I’m so green at this writing bit that I am sure to make a fool of myself often.

But I figure at the very least, I’m increasing my dexterity and typing speed.

To both of you, thanks for sticking around. ?

By the way, if you do wish to comment, please spellcheck and run it by your copyeditor before soiling my blog with literary refuse.

…just kidding. I’m just glad your you’re here.

She can be taught..

Some things I am learning lately:

  • Writers are Readers, first and foremost. I could read all day about writing and never write a thing.
  • If pictures are indicators (which, um, they usually are), many writers appear to be sadly out of shape, which is great news for me! People could just take one look at me and think, “Wow, what a slob! She must be a very successful writer.”
  • Even fiction is composed mostly of truth…you have to start with something you know and launch into the unknown..otherwise, it’s not believable. Duh.
  • Pita and cheese with basil and tomato is a lovely lunch. And somewhat healthy.
  • This one is a bit alarming to me: today’s teen/tween readers are into some gruesome stuff. Vampires, flesh-eating worms, witches, warlocks. This is what’s ‘cool’ to read nowadays. That makes me queasy. Whatever happened to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys? And is this stuff worth competing with? YES. For heaven’s sake, literally. Though I’m not sure that it’s my genre, somebody somewhere, I hope, is writing worthwhile stuff for these kids–stuff they actually want to read.

*yawn*…going to bed now. More to learn tomorrow.

There’s no gold in them thar hills

So, we went for a little family outing Saturday…diggin’ for gold, so to speak, at a used bookstore. It was packed, and the aisle with titles like How to Write and Not Sound Like a Moron and You Can Make Up Stuff that Other People Want to Read and Pay For!!! was crowded with other hopeful miners.

When I finally managed to maneuver my double stroller (yes, double) to the desired spot, I discovered a sadly lacking variety of titles. Only stuff like Maybe You’re Not the Worst Writer and Buy This Book so This Author’s Children Can Eat was left. Also unnerving was the fact that none of these books really looked like they’d been used much. What seemed more likely was that they’d been bought by some hopeful loser who read two pages and gave up, then traded it for a DVD of All Dogs go to Heaven. That person is still on his couch, now watching reruns of “Home Improvement.”

The only shelf I didn’t scan was the bottom one; however, bending down to look would have been impossible: I was hemmed in on every side by oblivious fellow pseudo-intellectuals (“they’re called ‘readers,’ Dad”); the aisle was so narrow, and I’m …not. So while there may have been priceless titles awaiting my perusal on the bottom shelf, they escaped unnoticed.

It was upon my removal from that aisle that I developed my plan: rather than actually writing something worthwhile, and going through all the rigamarole of studying books on how to write, and going to conferences, and getting an agent and all that, I’m just going to self-publish some stuff about a dwarf who has to return some jewelry to a volcano, and cram it down defenseless children’s throats. And I’m going to draw the cover art myself, to save money. And it’s going to be a trilogy, so I’ll make three times as much money on it.

Success and fame, here I come!!

This just in…New Post found on ancient blog..

So, I haven’t really taken the liberty to post to ye olde blog in almost three years. This you know, because you can look at the dates on the posts below and determine that yourself.

“so, this is worth reading so far,” you yawn..

Hey, humor me and stick around. It’s bound to get interesting…you may in fact learn the secret to the cantaloupe loaf that to this point has eluded you.

But first, let’s catch up.
Since November 11, 2006,

  • the economy has gone decidedly south. Since I live in the south, I should be in the right place..;)
  • I’ve moved. Slightly…20 minutes from the last house, but a bit bigger, with a yard this time, for my growing brood.
  • on that note, we added two to our chicken coop. Joel joined us in March of 2007, and Eliza was born in May of 2009. We now are officially a family of 6 who have no choice but a minivan. (that’s ok with me…I don’t do well with too many choices. Now I know the Lamborghini is out.)
  • DH (Wes) discovered he has a brain tumor: to be removed, Lord willing, Oct 14 of this year.
  • I switched to Mac. YIPPEEEEEEEE is all I have to say about that.
  • I’ve discovered I’m a writer. Not necessarily a good one, mind you, but a writer nonetheless (I feel kinda like Bill Murray in “What About Bob” when he claims to be a sailor). And it feels good to admit it. Now just to funnel those random impulses to write into something worthwhile and marketable… A Children’s Picture Book! About a rabbit who learns a life lesson and a hug at the end! Yeah, that’s fresh and unpredictable! And who needs proper grammar for a kids’ book! They don’t know how to spell or punctuate anyway!

…sigh, I’m discovering it’s a bit more complicated than that. And this writing industry takes a bit (or a lot) of effort to break into. Stands to reason: I don’t want any old publisher with ugly pictures producing my book amongst a flood of others destined for the clearance table. Like Hot Pockets–straight to the toilet (thanks, Jim). So, as I figure out how to navigate this lovely field, I shall blog.

Hello, and welcome. again.

“Creak” Goes the Rudder…

…as the ship of American Politics–and therefore the moral direction of our country–shifts dramatically to the left.

In the distance across murky waters, the foreboding silhouette of Hell itself emerges. Dead ahead. (pardon the pun)

The ship churns by a brightly-painted buoy plastered with a cheery sign: “Hell…where everyone’s welcome!”

God forgive those who sit in the crow’s nest (in ‘high places’) and yet allow us to continue forward.

For most of my adult life, it has been a ‘given’ that despite the squeaky wheels like Sheehan and other left-wing reprobates, we still had a conservative majority in America. With a (relative) conservative in the White House and a majority in Congress, I felt that I could still believe in the moral integrity of the average American.

But it seems we have been bought…enough of us to make the difference in this past election, anyway. We have determined that money is more important than human life–or, in the words of this new majority,

“MY life is more important than ANY other’s, including defenseless unborn children”.

A few ear-tickling words from Democrats promising to ‘cut taxes for the middle class’ appeals to that deep-seated greed, and we’re sold. Morals are out the window.
My question here is: what about the so-called ‘Christian majority’ in the US? Where are they? Do they really exist? Or is it the facade of ‘Christianity’ that had us duped? The whited sepulchures that dominated the pew, swaying to the music, nodding and clapping at each crescendo, yet truly hearing none of the words? (see this)

What are the easy-believism preachers thinking now? What good have they done? Bowing to the left, they say that loving your neighbor means allowing him to do whatever he wants…and you automatically have to accept it. And since there is no doctrine left, there is nothing to guide people through lives, or through the polls.

I have to say, this is what we get for being TOO AFRAID TO STAND UP FOR TRUTH. We are too concerned about numbers and pleasing people and padding our pews and making everyone ‘happy’ (despite the fact that only the Holy Ghost can bring true joy), not ruffling feathers, that TRUTH itself has been sacrificed. >shudder<. ..but then, what about the marriage amendment that passed so easily in 10 states (not sure what happened in Arizona)? Dare I hope? Is there yet a flicker of light in the distance? Knowing that Truth always wins, that God’s promises are true, that He holds the future, I am compelled to be optimistic. There must be hope for us yet–otherwise, the Rapture would already have happened. If God sees a reason for preserving our unworthy lives even now, we must find that reason. My hope is that this upset will start a fire beneath all of us to whom morals still matter more than anything…who fear God and strive to keep His commandments.
God help the sleeping ‘conservative majority’…and help us to have the courage to be the Body you have commissioned us to be.

Help us to restore You to the helm of this wayward ship.