Foodie Pen Pal for May!

Guess what time it is?! Yes, it’s Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day! Hooray!

The Lean Green Bean
First, some details. Click on over if you want to sign up, but you have to be sure and get your info in by June 4th!
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

My Pen Pal this month was Lorna! This is the entire spread she sent me. I was so incredibly spoiled I can hardly believe it!

First things first were the drinks! A box of black tea and a malt soda from Russia. I’m really interested to try the soda because I’ve never thought of what local drinks there might be in other countries except Japan, and I’ve drank most of those already.

These look really good – sprouted sunflower seeds! They’re a lot less sodium-filled than you’d think too, which is exciting. I love nuts and seeds. Mister E is interested in trying the kasha. We’re thinking of baking some apples and making them into a breakfast cereal.

Tiny goods! More nut butter packs, which makes me happy because the others were so good and these are two new flavors. I’ve never tried the hazelnut butter, and the other almond butters were plain and maple. I ADORE Stretch Island fruit leathers and promised Mister E he could have the one with the mango. I already consumed the apple and apricot ones. Ahem. Also, already consumed the chocolate bar up there. It was freaking delicious. Tasted like a Cadbury Creme Egg with a hint of caramel.

Finally (and these didn’t make it into the other pics for some reason) but not least, pretty dark chocolates! These are fancy-looking and from her favorite chocolate store so I’m looking forward to trying them.

There were also supposed to be some kale chips but she said she burned them. No fear, though, she sent me the recipe! I’m not usually a fan of kale but I’m always up for trying something new. Thank you SO much, Lorna, for the wonderful package and for the recipe! It was awesome and I hope you got as spoiled as I did. Also, thank you Lindsey at the Lean Green Bean for putting together another great month of Foodie Pen Pal goodness!

Week 29: Decay

The Trifecta Challenge is to write anything, in whichever form, that is between 33 and 333 words based upon a word and definition given. This week’s word is “decay.” My personal challenge is to weave the entries into an actual story. Word count verified by Written? Kitten!

***

“Perjury, Sahara. Do you know what that word means?” Dean shoved the last suitcase into the backseat and shut the door.

“Doesn’t that only count if you’re under oath?” She shrugged and went around the back of the car to the driver’s side. “It’s filling out a bunch of forms, not sitting on a witness stand.”

“It counts on your taxes, and filing for unemployment is the same thing. I think it even says ‘under penalty of perjury’ on it somewhere. If you keep this up, you’re never going to make it onto the witness stand.”

“Oh come on, Dean, there’s never been even the slightest hint of a problem,” said Sahara, nettled, then added “Yet.” She slid behind the driver’s seat. “Despite your constant dire warnings, I doubt I’m in any danger.”

“I’m talking about from me.”

“Do you think I like this?” Sahara slammed the door hard enough to make Dean’s ears ring for a moment. “Do you think I like the name Karen? It’s a stupid name. Why couldn’t I have picked my own name?”

“Really? We’re back to the name?” There was an ugly, metallic clatter against the door as he shut it and Dean grimaced. “Oh, goddammit.” He flung the door open again so he could remove the seatbelt from it. “You bitch and moan about your own name all the time.”

“I would have picked something better than Karen.” Dean looked up at her warningly as he bent over to untangle the shoulder strap from the door. “My least favorite aunt’s name was Karen. She was a zealot.”

“Hey. Hey you kids.” Before Dean could answer, the homeless man tapped him on the shoulder and grinned, displaying a picket fence of decaying teeth. “You gotta—”

There was a collective inhale of breath from the crowd on the sidewalk, who scattered in a screaming cacophony a moment later when Dean pulled the gun out of the waistband of his pants and turned it on the homeless man.

Three Years and Counting

Today is Mister E’s and my third anniversary!

Last year’s present, matching Zero Punctuation ink. Yes, we’re dorks.

Three years ago today, we found each other again.

We met when we were teenagers. I was sixteen, healing from an emotionally draining relationship; he was nineteen, celebrating his birthday and Spring Break all at once. Neither of us had a very good track record with love. M introduced us and we were instantly crazy about each other. Love at first sight and all that sappy stuff that I refused to believe in until the moment we met.

Because we were stupid teenagers, things happened and our relationship only lasted eight months. I was the stupid one, breaking up with him for reasons that, now, when I think about them, make me want to crawl behind the couch with the special needs cat. I couldn’t bring myself to stay friends with him because it made me think of all the times I failed him.

Over the years, we got in touch with each other a couple of times; there was this undercurrent of romance that neither of us seemed willing or able to acknowledge. All my exes knew his name because I was always talking about the things we did in high school or how I regretted breaking up with him.

Then, fourteen years later, I found myself alone in Chicago and was just starting to let myself think about a new relationship after some mishaps in the romance department. I knew what I wanted and knew I wasn’t going to settle for anything less.

I was on the bus when it happened. It was a friend request from Mister E on Facebook and it took me all of thirty seconds to hit “accept.” Ten minutes later, we were messaging each other. By the next day, we were texting. I got a terrible haircut and he called to console me. Hearing his voice again, it was like no time had passed. We could have been just across town from one another instead of across the country. I was happy and relieved to discover that he had not only forgiven me for everything, he didn’t blame me and was still in love with me.

Understandably, we were both nervous when I moved back to Texas. Fourteen years had passed; I’d gained sixty pounds since the last time we saw each other and was the proud survivor of two breakdowns.

But the minute he showed up at my door, it was love at first sight all over again. Since that day, we’ve only been apart when it was absolutely unavoidable. I don’t think we’re afraid of losing each other again so much as we want to make up for lost time.

I treasure this so much.

When we finally found each other again, decided to throw caution to the wind, and resume being stupid-happy after several extremely prolonged but wonderful conversations, he said that he hoped it doesn’t bother me but he started wearing the ring I gave him again. I, of course, thought it was absolutely cute and very sweet and said of course I didn’t.

What I didn’t know was that he had gone to James Avery in Texas to see if they still made that ring I gave him with the intention of buying a similar one for me, and found that it had long since been discontinued. However, the people who helped him were so touched by the story of two drunk kids falling down the stairs that they gave him the address of Chris Avery, the current president of the company. E proceeded to write him a letter about us, how we were together and drifted apart and then somehow found each other again, asking if he would consider reproducing one piece of this long-since-gone piece of jewelry. After a week or so, E got a letter back from Chris Avery saying that although it’s their policy not to sell discontinued pieces, he would be willing to have just one more made. For me.

I had never had anyone do something so thoughtful, so romantic for me as this. That he cared enough to not only go look for it, but to not give up when they said it was discontinued and convince the president of a company to make one just for me? I didn’t even have the words. If there had been any doubt in my mind about whether or not he was the perfect guy for me, this would have erased all of them.

Might not have a top hat or a unicorn, but it’s pretty fancy.

Now we’ve been back together for three years and living together for a little under that long. We’ve had some really rough times, things that would make some people break up or fall out of love, things that would send lesser couples shooting into the opposite direction like the balls when I play pool. Not us. We’ve fought for our love and we win, every day. Every day I think about how lucky I am, and every day I love him more.

When we were teenagers, we used to lay on the lawn of the modern art museum and look up at the stars; we talked about how we would get married when I turned eighteen. Next year, we’re finally going to realize that dream and spend the rest of our lives collecting cats and driving each other crazy.

Happy anniversary, Mister E. I love you.

Advice!

Regular readers, new readers, people who lurk…I’m breaking the fourth wall, sort of. I need some advice. An Advice Hot Dog, even.

You see, there is a small indie publisher who may be interested in my work. Very small. Like they just started up six months ago and are trying to build their catalog.

I’d have to do some of my own promoting and it would be e-book only, but I’d have their support as far as covers, editing, formatting, etc. They’d distribute, promote and basically do whatever it is publishers do but because they’re very new and indie I’d have to help them with it. That’s okay with me, at least for the time being.

My other option is to send out queries to possible agents to see what they think of this book. I’ve already sent out a few but it’s not very encouraging, as the majority of them say they only get new clients through recommendations from others. I still have a couple out, though.

This is where the advice comes in. What should I do? Should I go with the indie and get my foot in the door? Should I wait to see what the agents say? By the time the agents come back, there’s the possibility submissions will be closed for the indie (they don’t have a huge staff, so that happens in order for them to catch up) and I’ll be screwed from both ends. Of course I’m going to ask Mister E about all this but I’d really love your take on things too. Leave any further advice in the comments also, please!

Thank you! I really appreciate your help!

Blankets and a Holy Carp

Today’s dose of happy is brought to you by complete strangers.

You see, I can’t afford my meds. Hell, we can’t afford our rent or utilities with me not working much less $125+ for medications. Anything else has also gone up in smoke, like enjoyment or goodies that don’t cost more than $5 (Mister E bought me a Fluttershy, and NO I AM STILL NOT A BRONY).

To try and make a little money, I put one of my baby afghans up for sale on Ebay. It’s my favorite out of all the ones I’ve made, actually. I was a little afraid no one would bid because people don’t usually like to buy handmade things on Ebay because they can go to Target and get the same thing for about $10. However, something even better happened.

One of my Twitter friends said she had friends who are lining up to buy this blanket directly from me and that she has others who would like to order custom blankets. I already sold the peach blanket and shipped it out, and have two confirmed orders once the people involved know the sex of the baby and/or the parents’ color scheme. I have warned them about my slowness because of my hands and they are not only willing to be patient, they’re also paying me what the blankets are worth. HOLY CARP.

Art by Nelli J.Vandenberg. It’s PERFECT.

So now I’m potentially in the business of making blankets for people to support myself a little. I’m back to being able to give a little bit of money to the family account and I’m using my art to do it. I can’t begin to tell you how happy this makes me, in spite of the medication situation, being suddenly disabled, and broke.

What is YOUR dose of happy? Hop over and visit my Bandmates at Band Back Together and see what theirs are!