Friday Photos–A Rock Garden

Rock Garden (new)

Photo: P. Booher

My mother enjoys tending flowers, whether inside or out. This spring, after the threat of frost ended, she transplanted these begonias. Although she placed the rocks for the practical reason of deterring possible erosion in case our area received heavy rains, to me, the rocks add to the beauty of this little spot.

A note about these begonias: I used to think of begonias, since they are generally considered houseplants, as not being particularly hardy plants. However, these begonias and the others my mother has, are transplanted back inside for the fall and winter. Due to lack of space downstairs, the begonias live upstairs in the winter. We do not heat the upstairs; the only warmth these plants receive is from the morning sun and the heat that rises through the floor. We have been doing this for the past several years, and despite some extremely cold days, have lost only three or four plants, at the most, each winter. When I go upstairs on a cold January day, I get a lift as I see the begonias blooming cheerfully, as though there was no chill in the air.

 

©P. Booher

 

 

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The Abby Chronicles–Die Fleas, Die!

abby-ready-to-write

Here I am, ready to write my story!

Chapter VI

Yesterday the younger human did something she hasn’t done for awhile–she combed me.

She picked me up off the kitchen rug and took me into the living room. I saw a basin of water and a flea comb on the coffee table.

She put me in her lap. I purred as she petted me for a little while. Then I felt the comb on my head, going down my neck, back, and side. From time to time she lifted the comb up, took loose hair and a flea off. She put the fleas in the water, and said, “The water’s not hot enough”. She snatched a flea that was crawling up the basin, pinched it between her fingers and put the now-dead flea back in the water.

The younger human said to the older human, “I need a drop of dishwashing detergent in the water–just a drop. That changes the tension of the water surface so the fleas can’t swim; they’ll drown.”

The older human said, “I’ll heat the water in the tea kettle and bring it in.” The older human disappeared and the younger human kept combing me. I kept purring.

The older human returned and poured steaming water in the basin. She put a couple drops of dishwashing detergent in the water.  The younger human took a flea off the flea comb and put the flea in the water, where it promptly sank to the bottom of the basin. The younger human sighed with satisfaction. “There. That takes care of the fleas.” I purred with satisfaction. Die fleas, die!!

Caution: The younger human made sure I stayed away from the water basin. (For my part, I wasn’t even thinking of leaving–her lap was warm and comfortable!) If you use either of these methods–boiling water or water with dishwashing detergent added–to kill fleas while combing your cat, please keep your fabulous feline away from the water.

 

©P. Booher

 

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A Memorial Day Thank-you to Those Who Remember and Honor

Yesterday I read an article in the local paper that touched my heart. The article was about a man who traveled to Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial in France to visit the grave of his brother who was killed in World War II. Many people, most of them strangers to the man, helped him pay for his trip to France.

What touches my heart and is the reason for this post is that French citizens take it upon themselves to take care of the brother’s grave and some other graves. There are other things those people could be doing with their time, rather than go take care of graves of soldiers they didn’t know, soldiers who came from thousands of miles away and who died a long time ago.

I don’t have anyone in my family buried in a foreign cemetery, but I thank people, like those in France, who set aside part of their busy lives to remember and honor American soldiers who died and are buried far away from home.

P. Booher

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Job Search/Support Ideas

I want to start a job search/support group in my local area. By job search/support group I mean a group that meets to help each member find jobs, or to help people deal with the jobs they have. Some people say there is a need for one, but beyond that, don’t give ideas. While I have ideas of my own for the group, I appreciate more feedback. So in this post, I am throwing out questions for anyone who has looked for a job, or is looking for a job now.

Please note: I welcome any respectful suggestions that indicate some thought has been given to them. However, any sarcastic comments or any comments containing language I deem offensive will be removed.

1. Have you participated in a job search/support group before?

2. If so, how long did it last? How many people participated? What did you like about it? What didn’t you like about it?

3. Were there any topics not covered you wish would have been included?

4. If you haven’t been in such a group, but think it would be worthwhile, what would you like a job search/support group to have? What topics would you like included?

Thank you.

P. Booher

 

 

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–Writer To Writer

divers-underwater-ocean-swim-68767.jpeg

Photo Credit: Pexels.com

As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”–one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

Writer To Writer, subtitled Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing, by Cecil Murphey, is based on Mr. Murphey’s blog. Each of the book’s entries is short, one page in length, so the information is easy to digest. Mr. Murphey discusses using proper grammar, confusing words (which/that, for example), displaying professional behavior in interactions with other writers, editors, agents and publishers, following writing guidelines, dealing with writers’ block, handling rejections, having work edited, and many other facets of writing.

Mr. Murphey points out that if a person really wants to improve his writing, there are many ways to do it, such as books, blogs, classes, and conferences. He also points out that it takes time to learn to write well.

Comment: I hesitated buying this book; for me, it was a bit on the pricey side. However, I am glad I bought it. I refer to it often. One downside: my paperback edition published by OakTara doesn’t have an index, which in my opinion would have been helpful. However, there were several blank pages at the end, so I made my own customized index, listing answers to questions that repeatedly come up.

P. Booher

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Recipe–Marbelized Squares

1/2 cup butter (or oleo)

6 Tablespoons sugar

6 Tablespoons brown sugar, firmly packed

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or vanilla extract)

1 cup sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1  six ounce pkg. chocolate pieces (or chips)

Beat butter until light; add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla to mix thoroughly.

Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda and add to first mixture. Stir in walnuts. Spread in greased 13 by 9 by 2 inch pan. Sprinkle chocolate pieces evenly over top.

Place in moderate oven (350 degrees) for one minute. Remove from oven and run a knife through dough to marbelize it. Return to oven and bake 12-14 minutes. Set pan on rack to cool. When cool, cut in two-inch squares. Makes approximately two dozen bars.

Note: This is a sweet treat.

P. Booher

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The Abby Chronicles–My Beauty Sleep Interrupted

abby-ready-to-write

Here I am, ready to write my story!

Chapter V

As a cat, I need a lot of beauty sleep. You’d think humans would know that, don’t you? Especially since I have been living with these humans for some time now.

But no–these humans don’t get it!

I was lying on a kitchen chair dreaming of catching a fat mouse, when the oven door right across from my chair opened with a bang. That did it for my dream. The younger human said something about “making marbelized squares”, made a lot more noise taking things out of the oven, and then closed the oven door with another bang.

I thought, “How rude! Here I am sleeping, and she wakes me up! She has no consideration at all.”

The noises continued–banging of doors, clanging of tableware–as the human got whatever she needed to make the squares. I kept lying there, wishing the human would leave and let me go back to dreaming of the fat mouse. Things got worse, though, because the other human came in the kitchen. Now there were two of them making noises. I heard some strange noises on the table above me, then the oven door opened, closed, opened again and then closed again. Some time later the oven door opened, the human took something in a pan out, closed the door, opened it again, and this time left it open. Hot air came wafting over my way. Just when I thought I’d get up and let the humans know how undesirable all this activity was, they walked out of the kitchen.

Phew! I’m exhausted from listening to all their work. I’ve got to get my beauty sleep!

P. Booher

 

 

 

 

 

 

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