Clarissa Johal: August 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Frightening Friday-Cool Things

I found these really cool things on eBay. They're Japanese Netsuke figurines and about 1-1.5" tall. My daughters think they're scary, so here you go--my Frightening Friday post.

If I had the money I would be tempted...

Cool thing #1 $399.00

Cool thing #2 $680.00

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday-Volunteering for the Cause

Photo courtesy of ckaiserca via Flickr
If you're looking for a way to make a difference it doesn't always take money. Your time is extremely valuable to those in need. Dumping a bucket of ice water over your head to raise awareness for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is great but how about volunteering your time? Many non-profit programs need volunteers to assist in helping those debilitated with ALS. Typical assistance might include helping with minor household chores, a friendly visit, walking the dog, running errands, or escorting the person during outings. Wearing pink for awareness? Training for the Susan G. Komen Race? There are breast cancer centers in dire need of volunteers to drive woman to-and-from their treatments and provide companionship for the experience. Do you like to cook? Preparing meals for the family so these women don't have to worry about dinner after treatment is always appreciated. Are animals more your thing? I can't name one animal shelter that would turn down volunteers to help with dog walking, cat litter scooping or cleaning in general. These aren't glamorous jobs and they aren't always fun--but they're crucial.

If you don't know where to start VolunteerMatch will match your interests to a cause. Most causes are flexible and will work with your schedule. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#Paranormal Wednesday-Catacombes de Paris

Photo courtesy of Vlastula vis Flickr
The Catacombs of Paris (Catacombes de Paris) are underground ossuaries located in Paris, France. South of the former city gate, they house the remains of approximately 6 million people. The network of caverns and tunnels run more than 300 kilometers under the city. In the 12th century, offering burial in their cemeteries was a source of income for the churches. As a result, they often took in more bodies than they could house. To combat this, mass graves were dug. When the remains had decomposed, the bodies would be exhumed and relocated so new bodies could be buried. The bones were moved to underground limestone quarries and stacked neatly in rows where they remain to this day.

Photo courtesy of skidder via Flickr
Paranormal researchers have captured strange EVP recordings as well as photographs of strange, unexplained lights and misty figures. Visitors report feelings of sadness and some report hearing voices and of being touched. Ghostly figures have been seen roaming through the passageways and some tour groups report seeing large groups of figures walking behind them as they go on the tour. Some tours have even been cut short because of a growing sense of unease. Paranormal activity is routinely captured on film.

Photo courtesy of van Van Es via Flickr
When I was looking through photos of the catacombs it was overwhelming. Thousands upon thousands of human bones, some carefully arranged--heart-shaped outlines crafted from the arrangement of skeletons, pillars made from human leg bones, and fountains crafted from skulls. I can't imagine the energy housed in such a place.

Tour and historical information can be found on the Les Catacombes Histoire de Paris website

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tangled Tuesday-Chaos, Writing and Malfunctioning Televisions

Didn't get much sleep last night. I'm working on the ending to THE ISLAND, my work in progress, and trying to figure out how my protagonist is going to get out of her "situation." My two demon antagonists are running rampant in my head, the television keeps turning itself on to a religious channel that I don't watch (which is kind of creeping me out) and my dogs are asking to be let out every minute to bark at the yard. I guess that's about as "Tangled Tuesday" as you can get!

Have a good one, folks.

Monday, August 25, 2014

#MeatlessMonday-Butternut Squash Muffins

Summer break is officially over--my oldest starts high school today. With my other daughter in middle school, I'll be shuttling my kiddos between two different schools. It should be quite chaotic! BUT it means I'll be getting back to working on THE ISLAND with plans to finish by December. That's the plan and I'm sticking to it.

Photo courtesy of trpnblies7 via Flickr
So, fall is just around the corner (she said stubbornly) which means there will be lots of squash and pumpkin around. Both are great vegetables for hiding...I mean using in recipes if you have veggie hating teens like I do. Here's a great recipe for breakfast on the run. You can easily substitute pumpkin for the butternut squash if you'd prefer. Enjoy!


Butternut Squash Muffins

1/4 pound of peeled, seeded, and cubed butternut squash

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/3 cup plain yoghurt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup oil 

Boil squash for about 20 minutes until tender. Puree--you should get about 1 cup of pureed squash.
Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and spices
Mix squash, milk, egg and oil and fold into dry ingredients 
Fill lined muffins tins 3/4 full

Bake at 400F for 20 minutes
Makes 12 muffins

Friday, August 22, 2014

Frightening Friday-The "Real-Life" Case Behind The Exorcist: Fact vs. Fiction

Photo courtesy of Michal via Flickr
There was a lot of conflicting information concerning the "real life" case and inspiration behind The Exorcist. The general (compiled) story goes something like this:

Roland Doe (a pseudonym) was born 1935 into a German Lutheran family. An only child, Roland depended upon adults in his household as playmates. It was his Aunt Harriet who introduced him to an Ouija board and it seems they used it on numerous occasions. When Roland was thirteen, she died of multiple sclerosis. Several reports suggest that Roland tried to contact her spirit with the Ouija board. Eleven days after her death, supernatural events began to occur--marching feet, strange noises, and household objects allegedly flew or levitated. After being placed near the boy, a container of holy water smashed to the ground and a picture of Jesus rattled on the wall, as if being hit from behind. When hearing of the numerous Ouija board sessions, the family became convinced that evil had possessed their 13-year-old son and consulted with Father Albert Hughes of St. James Catholic church for further assessment.

Roland was observed overnight and it was reported that in addition to scratching sounds on the wall, a pallet of blankets moved across the room and a heavy armchair tilted and tipped over on its own. The boy went home the next morning only to have the activity worsen. Scratches and sometimes words began to appear on his body, a kitchen table turned over, and objects flew around the room. At school, Roland's desk vibrated across the floor and he was sent home. Father Edward Albert Hughes decided to perform an exorcism. During the exorcism, it was alleged that the boy escaped from the restraints and broke off a bed spring from under the mattress, using it to slash the priest's arm from wrist to shoulder. As a result, the exorcism ritual was stopped. The incident reportedly had a traumatic effect on the priest and Father Hughes went into a long seclusion.

The family sought further help from Rev. Raymond J. Bishop and Rev. William S. Bowdern. The priests claim the boy had an aversion to anything sacred. Strange welts would appear on his body and he would speak in a guttural voice. They also claimed that objects flew around the room and the boy's bed would shake. Bowdern sought permission from the archbishop to perform an exorcism. His request was granted with the requirement that a detailed diary be kept. The exorcism was performed at the psychiatric ward of the Georgetown University Hospital. The priests stated that during the exorcism, words such as "evil" and "hell," along with other various marks, appeared on the boy's body. Outbursts, including cursing, spitting, urinating, vomiting and the use of Latin phrases, were also reported. The exorcism ritual was performed thirty times over several weeks. When the final exorcism was complete, witnesses reported loud noise going off throughout the hospital. Afterwards, the boy went on to lead a normal life.

That's the story you'll get on various sites concerning this case.

Author Mark Opsasnick tells a different story. In his meticulously researched article for Strange Magazine Opsasnick states that "Roland Doe" was actually Rob Doe; a troubled teen growing up in an overly strict and religious household. Rob and his best friend would continually try and "outdo" each other when it came to pranks and other shenanigans. The best friend states that, "(Rob was) smothered by his obsessively religious mother and grandmother who held deep interests in spiritualism and Ouija Boards; shunned by his classmates at school; prone to tantrums and even violent outbursts towards his family and his few friends; exhibiting cruel and at times even sadistic behavior towards other children and even animals." Mark Opsasnick's research uncovers that there was indeed an exorcism, though most of the activity reported in the "real life" case behind The Exorcist wasn't confirmed by any of the priests involved. Father Hughes was never attacked with a bed spring, nor did he experience a breakdown due to an attack. Father Halloran states the boy mimicked their Latin rather than spoke it fluently, and with no guttural changes in his voice. There was no vomiting or urinating, and the scratches were questionable. The list goes on.

If you're interested, I encourage you to check out Opsasnick's article. It's quite fascinating. What do you think? Was Rob Doe's behavior a result of demonic possession...or merely a troubled teen acting out? 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday-The V-Word

Photo courtesy of epSos .de via Flickr
...and no, it's not what you're thinking. Naughty.

Two things happened this week that led to this post. I don't usually blah, blah about being a vegetarian because seriously, who cares? But for lack of anything else to write about today...

The first was at the grocery store. The check-out person noticed my wacky food and tofu products and asked me about them. Here's how the conversation went.

"Are you one of those...you know...vegetarians?"
"I am."
"Yeah? What do you eat?"
"Everything but meat and fish."
"Don't you get hungry?"
"I've been a vegetarian for about 25 years or so. I haven't starved yet."
"I don't eat much meat. Maybe four or five times a week. Sorry, I can't help myself."
"Um...okay."

We chatted a little longer before I thanked him for my groceries and left. I can't tell you how many conversations I've had like this. Seriously. Usually, it ends with the person making apologies for eating meat. It's weird.

The other thing that happened this week was a nasty Twitter argument that erupted (in my feed) between a hard core vegetarian and a meat eater. *sigh* Seriously people. See #9 in the "10 Don't's of Twitter."

I'm going to chat a bit about being a vegetarian. And relax, I won't be standing on a soap box. Heights are scary.
I like to say that I'm a Functional Vegetarian. One of my daughters eats chicken and fish, the other eats only fish, and my husband eats everything. And it doesn't bother me a bit. Everyone makes their own choices. You know what bothers me? Preachy Vegetarians. You know what I mean. "Don't eat meat! Eat organic! GMOs are bad!" But everyone has an opinion and this is mine:

There are many different people in the world. I've lived in several countries and experienced many cultures. When I was a kid, it wasn't uncommon to be offered caribou, moose or bear in one place we lived. Further north, that varied to include seal and whale. That's what was available. Fruits and vegetables were extremely pricey and scarce.
I now live in an area where I can choose to be a vegetarian. This is a huge privilege. Organic foods are also a choice--an expensive one. And GMOs? There are people starving in the world and technology can help. You don't have to like it but I'm willing to bet you have the choice not to purchase. There are people that don't. Here's their choice: Crops resistant to insects and disease vs...nothing.

I share vegetarian recipes here on #Meatless Monday because that's how I roll. If you like the recipes--awesome. If you want to adjust them to fit your tastes--also awesome. To the hardcore vegetarians that feel the need to condemn others for their choices--mind your own beeswax. You won't get people to understand where you're coming from by preaching on your soapbox. Ditto for condemning people for their religion, sexual preference or anything else that floats their boat.

I'm going to end this post on a silly note because you can't take life too seriously. 
Have a great Thursday



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#Paranormal Wednesday-Robert the #Haunted Doll

Photo courtesy of Susan Smith via Flickr
More creepy dolls, just what you wanted, right? Guess I'm on a creepy doll kick. Here's one on eBay I would purchase if I had the money. There's just something about it...and I don't even like dolls.

The doll pictured here was owned by Key West painter and author Robert Eugene Otto. It's said to be possessed by evil spirits and has become the subject of urban legend and Creepypasta. It was difficult to separate fact from fiction when researching this post. I do think that Robert Eugene Otto experienced mental illness and poured a lot of energy into this doll. Energy which may have something to do with the issues surrounding the doll today.

In 1906, a Bahamian servant gave the doll to 6-year-old Robert as a gift. One story claims she was skilled in black magic and voodoo and was displeased with the family. Other sources say it was a gift of love and the 40" doll, stuffed with wood wool known as excelsior, was meant to be a replica of the boy. Regardless, Robert (nicknamed Gene) took an instant liking to it. He named the doll "Robert" and would often dress the doll in his own clothing. His parents would hear their son talking to it and answering himself in a changed voice. Later, as the family began to feel there was something eerie about the doll, they claimed it was actually speaking to him. Gene blamed the doll for mischief he would have otherwise gotten in trouble for...but he and the doll were inseparable.

When Robert "Gene" Otto married, his wife tried to convince him to store the doll in the attic. He wouldn't hear of it. He insisted the doll needed its own room where it could see out the window. The doll ended up in the Turret Room of the house where Gene would spend countless hours painting. The Otto's marriage was a rocky one. Gene would go through extreme personality changes and fits of rage (oftentimes directed at his wife) and blame the doll for his behavior. 

When Gene died in 1974, the doll was left in the attic. Stories of the doll’s strange behavior became commonplace. Tenants heard footsteps in the attic room above them. A plumber heard giggling and claimed the doll moved across the attic on its own. The house was eventually sold to Myrtle Reuter. In 1994, Myrtle donated Robert to the Fort East Martello Museum. She also claimed the doll was haunted and moved around on its own. Myrtle died a few months later.

Today, the doll is on display at Fort East Martello. People taking a photo of Robert must ask permission first. Those who don't, experience camera malfunctions and other misfortunes. Guests claim to have seen Robert's expression change right before their eyes. To appease his spirit, peppermints are left in the glass case where Robert sits, only to have them gone in the morning--wrappers discarded and laying off to the side.

If you're interested, here's a short video:


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tangled Tuesday-10 Don't's of Twitter


Feeling snarky today. Uh-oh.

Thought I'd take a stab at my list of Don'ts regarding Twitter. It's a small list. See if you agree.






1. Don't send a direct message with something like, "Thanks for the follow. Like my FB page!"

Can I get to know you first? An important tip for authors--the "liking?" That usually comes after someone has read your books (or if they know and support you). Not before and not when you've just met them. It's worse when an author sends a DM like this to another author. Hey, here's an idea--how about you like my FB page?

2. Don't try and pick someone up on Twitter and don't send naked pictures of yourself. That goes for Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, pretty much anywhere on the internet. Tacky as hell.

3. Don't over hashtag or @. It's annoying. Tweeting something like:
"#Like #vampires #romance #action #scifi #medical #thriller #memoir? #Buy my #awesome #book @bestwriterever @amazon #like my #FBpage."

Sorry, You left me at #romance and my mind wandered.

4. Don't ignore people that mention you. It's rude. Would you do that in a face-to-face conversation? Hopefully not. But maybe you're just socially inept and need to get off your computer.

5. Pay it forward. I retweet if somebody retweets my stuff. It's polite. For the people that don't, I always wonder what their relationships are like. Ditto for what goes on in the bedroom. Yeah, I'm kind of twisted like that. Sue me.

6. Don't announce how many people you Followed or Unfollowed. Seriously, who the #*%* cares? Ditto for what you ate for breakfast. Unless you're clever about it.

7. PLEASE pin a tweet to the top of your page if you want a decent retweet. If I'm returning a retweeting favor, don't make me go through your feed for something relevant. I don't have the time.

8. Be mindful of the profile picture you post. Selfies in the bathroom, duck faces and boob shots make me think twice about following you. They also make me wonder what you're selling.

9. Don't starts fights or get personal. In fact, here's a Golden Rule: Say nothing online that you wouldn't say face to face. Don't be a coward and hide behind your computer. There's this weird thing called a reputation. Just because you're online, doesn't mean you don't get one if you act like an a%%..

10. Maybe it's a writer thing but please spell check your tweets. Please. It makes you look oh-so-much smarter if you can spell correctly and manage a sentence.

Now...go tweet something. Or better yet, go outside and enjoy the day.


Monday, August 18, 2014

#Meatless Monday-Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Photo courtesy of Muy Yum via Flickr
I hate, hate peas. With a passion. But for some reason, split-pea soup is okay. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

16 oz. dried split peas
6c. vegetable stock
¼ c. soy sauce
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
Handful of spinach, chopped fine
1T garlic
1tsp lemon pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp basil

Rinse peas.
Add 4 cups stock, vegetables, onion, carrots, spinach, garlic, lemon pepper, cumin, and basil.
Simmer on medium heat for about 30-40 minutes. Add 2 cups vegetable stock as needed until peas have dissolved.
Blend in blender until smooth.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Frightening Friday--Isla de las Munecas (Island of the Dolls)

Photo courtesy of Esparta via Flickr
Dolls. I've never been a big fan of dolls. I think they're creepy. Their blank stares, frozen expressions, predatory smiles...yeah, it's creepy.

Just south of Mexico City and between the canals of Xochimico, there is a small island known as Isla de las Munecas (Island of the Dolls). As if one doll wasn't creepy enough, here you have a whole island of decapitated doll heads, arms and bodies; weathered by the elements and home to spiders and everything else. Oh, and did I mention? The dolls that populate the island have been put there to appease the spirit of a dead little girl and are reputedly haunted.

Don Julian Santana Barrera was a hermit who lived on the island. The story goes that he witnessed a little girl who drowned and was unable to save her. Seeing a doll floating in the canal, he hung it in a tree as a way of showing respect for her spirit. Shortly thereafter, Don Julian claimed he was haunted by the little girl and began hanging more dolls in an attempt to appease her. After 50 years of collecting dolls and hanging them around the island, Julian was found dead, drowned in the same spot where he found the girl. 

After Don Julian’s death in 2001, the island became a tourist attraction run by his family members. Local legend says that the dolls move their arms, heads and open their eyes. Some witnesses claim to hear the dolls whispering to each other, while others say the dolls have lured them to come to the island. 

Here's a short video to get an idea what the island looks like now. A trip to la Isla de las Munecas is not on a regular tourist route. If you want to visit, you'll have to hire a private boat at $15 USD per hour, prices vary. A trip to the island takes about two hours. Any takers?


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday-The Waverly Hills Sanatorium and Disrespect for the Dead

Photo courtesy of Kris Arnold via Wikipedia
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium located in Louisville, Kentucky is believed to be one of the most haunted locations in the world. It operated as a hospital for tuberculosis patients from 1910 to 1962. Later, it reopened as a nursing home before finally closing its doors in 1982.

New owners, Charlie and Tina Mattingly, hold tours of Waverly Hills and host a haunted house attraction each Halloween. The proceeds are being used to renovate the building into a hotel, after which they will continue to host paranormal enthusiasts. They have been quoted as stating, “People won't come here just because they need a room. They're going to come here because they want to have an experience for the weekend.”

My raised eyebrows aren't towards the fact that they're making use of this building. I understand the value of land. However, touting it as a "haunted hotel" is not only asking for trouble, it's disrespectful to the people who died (records estimate an average of 100/year when it was a hospital) and whose spirits supposedly remain. Several paranormal investigators have suggested that the spirits at this location aren't at rest. I'm not sure they need to be bothered by hotel guests looking for an "experience for the weekend." Instead, it may be the obligation of the living to help these spirits move on--not exploit their suffering. 

I leave you with 1931 Government Tuberculosis film featuring The Waverly Hills Sanatorium. A slice of history involving real people in what must have been a terrible situation. 



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

#Paranormal Wednesday-Black Hope Cemetery

Photo taken at City Cemetery in Raleigh, NC
The Black Hope Cemetery was a 19th century African-American burial ground located in Crosby, Texas. There were as many as 60 people buried there, including former slaves and those buried in pauper's graves. The last burial was recorded in 1939. The land was originally owned by the McKinney family. When slavery was abolished, the McKinney family allotted a portion of their land to their former slaves. An entire black community was built; including schools, churches, and a cemetery, until a fire demolished the area. Eventually, the land was sold to the Purcell Corporation for the purpose of building housing developments. One of the developments, the Newport subdivision, was built over the existing Black Hope Cemetery. 

In the early 1980s, Sam and Judith Haney were one of several couples who purchased homes in the Newport subdivision. When Sam decided to dig a swimming pool in his backyard, a local grave digger warned him that he was about to dig up human remains. Sam continued with the dig and unearthed two pine boxes. An official exhumation was conducted and revealed the remains of Betty and Charlie Thomas, who died during the 1930s. Most of the bones had turned to powder, save for some fragments. Two wedding rings were all that remained.

The remains were reburied but the dead would not rest. The Haney's sliding door would open and close as if someone was there, unplugged clock radios would turn on in the middle of the night, and shoes would vanish and turn up inexplicably beside Betty and Charlie's old grave site. The Haney's weren't the only ones experiencing unexplained phenomena. A dozen of their neighbors reported pockets of ice-cold air, strange lights, televisions and water faucets turning on and off, toilets flushing on their own, unearthly sounds, disembodied conversations, and shadows and supernatural apparitions. One of the neighbors, Ben and Jean Williams, reported that sinkholes would appear in the unmistakable shape of coffins near their flowerbeds. They would fill them in, only to have them reappear a few days later. Jean, a long-time gardener, couldn't get anything new to grow on the property.

The Haneys attempted to sue the developers for not disclosing their home was built over a cemetery. They were awarded $142,000 for mental anguish, but a reversal ruled that the developers were not liable. The developers claimed there was no proof that the cemetery existed. The verdict was thrown out and the Haneys were ordered to pay $50,000 in court costs. The Haneys moved, filing bankruptcy. Other residents attempted to sue and were awarded a large cash settlement by a jury, but the judge set aside the decision and none of the residents of the Newport subdivision received any money as compensation.

The cemetery and many of the bodies are still located beneath the Newport subdivision today.

Read more about Sam and Judith Haney's experience in:  The Black Hope Horror: A True Story of a Haunting

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tangled Tuesday-Making #Art

Several of my friends are on Etsy. They are all very talented and create very different art. My hat is off to all of them. I am not an artist--unless you count words. I can draw a stick figure, I can glue Popsicle sticks together in semblance of...something. But I am not an artist.

If you're looking for something unique as a gift or for yourself, please peruse their shops. Etsy is a treasure trove of talented artists.


NewCroneCraftworks
Meg Kempert of Albuquerque, NM

Favorite Materials: Recycled paper and glass, beads, wire, glass cabs, seed beads, copper and brass.

About:
"Welcome to New Crone Craftworks. We offer handmade jewelry and craft kits using recycled and upcycled materials such as paper, wire and glass. New Crone is also on Facebook"

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SoleilEtCiel
Carly Johnson of Huntington Beach, CA

SoleilEtCiel is also on Instagram @soleiletciel
Carly is also co-owner of peachygirlz on Etsy

About:
"In luv w/ fruit, glitter, 90's style, candy, clothes, music, & the ocean!!"

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PortiasArtfulEye 
Portia Baum of Raleigh, NC

Favorite Materials: Ferrous and Non Ferrous Metals, Pearls, Diamonds,Stones, Cotton Fabric, Silk Thread

About:
"I am an Artist, Mother, Wife, Thinker, Creator. I care very much about the world around me, be it my home, hometown, homeland, home planet or beyond. I am like a Raven and get very distracted by shiny and interesting things. It took me a long time to figure out where I am to be. It's perfect, though, because without the Journey, the destination means nothing. I have had a very interesting and educational Journey so far and it has prepared me well for where I am right now.
I love to observe and study and collect. Everyone says it, but it holds true - Nature is an endless source of beauty ingenuity & inspiration. My life, my training, is in Fine arts. My thought process and expression tend to be structure oriented. Figuring out and understanding the way things are put together, or even how they fall apart help me establish my place in the world. So here I find myself combining several life-themes - rocks, structure & a love of beautiful things. Jewelry. The perfect Storm. Enjoy."

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If you're connected via social networks please spread the news. In writing this post I was saddened to learn one of my artist friends had closed her shop. Not because her art wasn't awesome, but because she hadn't made a sale in a couple of months. It's very difficult to "get the word out" and reach buyers when you don't have a physical shop--things get lost in the virtual world of the internet. YOU have the power to change that with a little lip service.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 11, 2014

#MeatlessMonday-Thai Butternut Squash Soup & Peanut Butter Banana Oat Milkshake

I had my wisdom tooth out last Friday and everything went well. I skipped Frightening Friday and spared you the gory details because I was playing Skyrim all day. You know, important "post wisdom tooth removal" stuff.

So, I'm still on "soft foods" per my dentist's orders. I hadn't realized how much of my diet is in the "crunchy food" category until now. Raw carrots, red peppers, almonds, pumpkin seeds...sigh. I've been told I can have mashed potatoes, pasta, Jello, which is yucky because I really don't like any of those things.

When I was trying to find healthy recipes that go beyond the mushy food group, I was reminded of my pregnancy days. I experienced morning sickness 24/7 for about 8 months during both my pregnancies. Yay me. There was a period around 2AM where I could eat without seeing it again. During the day, I walked continuously because it made me feel better and tried to nibble. Good times. But it was worth it--both my girls are the light of my life.

This milkshake was my mainstay back then. And since nausea isn't the issue now, I'm living off soup as well. The soup recipe is a new one. I've tweaked and adjusted to fit my tastes and it's really good.
Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Banana Oat Milkshake

1-1/2 cups milk
1 banana
2T peanut butter
1/4 cup oats

Blend with ice cubes. Serves 2


Thai Butternut Squash Soup

1T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 piece fresh ginger (1 to 2 inches), peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1T red curry paste (such as Thai Kitchen)
1 can (14.5 ounces) light coconut milk
4 cups vegetable broth
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
1 tsp pepper
3T lime juice
1/3 cup peanut butter

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add ginger, garlic and curry paste and cook for 1 minute.

2. Add coconut milk and vegetable broth; stir well. Add squash, salt, chili garlic sauce and pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook 15 to 20 minutes or until squash is tender.

3. Puree soup until smooth. Stir in lime juice and peanut butter.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday...

After years of nagging by my dentist, I'm finally getting a wisdom tooth removed tomorrow because it's getting too cozy with one one next to it.  My only thoughts on this Thoughtful Thursday are of escape and denial. And possibly a little screaming. I've never had a cavity nor have I had any work done on my teeth so I guess my time has come. Stupid wisdom tooth.

Not sure about a post tomorrow on Frightening Friday--maybe I'll tell you the gory details after it's all over.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

#Paranormal Wednesday-CREEPYPASTA

CREEPYPASTA is quite popular with the middle school/high school crowd--my kiddos included. Basically, you can submit your paranormal and short horror stories to be published on the site. There is a submission period (currently open until August 20th) and no guarantee your story will be accepted. Nor do you get paid. But with writing prompts, discussions, feedback, ratings, and a section titled "CRAPPYPASTA" (a collection of shorts "where the author has (given) their express permission to publish...if deemed not quite right for the main creepypasta archive") the site is a perfect venue for the budding horror author.

Please check it out if you have the time!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tangled Tuesday-My Random YouTube Videos of the Week

Because I tend to wander while thinking between scenes...

My top paranormal giggle this week. Look out! It's a demon-chicken.

"Demon Caught on Smart Phone"



Not a fan of the music but the concept made me laugh. I don't think he's uploading anymore, which is unfortunate because his recipes are pretty good.

"Vegan Black Metal Chef. Episode 1: Pad Thai"




Animal escapades. This made me laugh more than it should have. No idea why this person has lion cubs but I can only hope they are rehabbing them to go back into the wild.

"Sneaking Lion Cub Gives Dog a Fright"

Monday, August 4, 2014

#Meatless Monday-Rosemary-Garbanzo Bean Soup and Saffron Bread

Photo by vanillaechoes
Rights purchased through depositphotos
Yes, yes. I know for a lot of you it's hot days and soup is furthest from your mind. I'm a soup addict no matter what time of year. And it's cold...somewhere in the world. So, here you go. One of my favorite super-quick and easy soup recipes. Feel free to add more veggies; zucchini, potatoes, red peppers, whatever strikes your fancy. Enjoy!


Rosemary-Garbanzo Bean Soup

2T olive oil
1 small onion chopped
2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups veggie broth
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 carrot, diced
Handful of fresh spinach, chopped


Sauté onion, rosemary and garlic in olive oil. Add veggie broth, garbanzo beans, chopped tomatoes, diced carrot and spinach. Cook through until carrots are tender.

Serve with your favorite bread. I usually make saffron bread in my bread maker. Saffron is usually expensive but it you purchase it at an international market, the price drops considerably.

Photo courtesy of Maena via morgueFile
Saffron Bread

1 egg plus water to equal 1-1/4 cups
2T olive oil
3 cups bread flour
1-1/2 tsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp saffron, ground
2 tsp yeast

Cook on basic bake cycle

Friday, August 1, 2014

Frightening Friday-Dead Man's Chair

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
In North Yorkshire, England of 1702, Thomas Busby was convicted for the murder of his father-in-law, Daniel Awety. The two had been arguing over petty counterfeiting activities. When Busby showed at the local pub, his father-in-law was sitting in his favorite chair which prompted yet another argument. Later that night, Busby bludgeoned Awety to death with a hammer.

On his way to the gallows, Busby asked to stop at the pub and have a final drink. When he finished, he cursed the chair saying, "May sudden death come to anyone who dare sit in my chair." Busby was dipped in pitch and left in a gibbet before the townspeople finally hung him at Sandhutton crossroads, right outside the pub. 

Busby's stoop chair or "Dead Man's Chair" as it's been called, is said to be responsible for the deaths of many people.

In 1894, a local chimney sweep and another man left the pub. The chimney sweep decided to sleep on the roadside. The following morning he was found hanging on a gatepost next to the old Busby gibbet. Locals report that even though the death was determined to be a suicide, the man had been sitting in Busby's chair the previous evening.

During WWII, crews from the Royal Canadian Air Force would frequent the pub. It is rumored that airmen who sat in the Busby chair never returned home.

In 1968, Tony Earnshaw took over as proprietor of the Busby Stoop Inn (as the pub was later renamed). Mr Earnshaw initially dismissed the Busby curse but later reported several fatal incidents which concerned him. One incident involved two airmen who dared each other to sit in the chair. Later that day, their car hit a tree and both men died on their way to the hospital. Another incident involved a group of builders who dared a young laborer to sit in the chair. He obliged but after returning to work, the laborer fell through a roof to his death. It was after this incident that Tony Earnshaw moved the chair to the cellar. However, the curse continued.

In 1978, a delivery driver made a delivery to the cellar. He told Mr Earnshaw how comfortable the chair was (after sitting in it) and suggested that it should be moved into the pub. Hours later, the delivery driver drove his vehicle off the road and was killed instantly.
Earnshaw sent the chair to the Thirsk Museum where it now hangs from the ceiling to prevent occupancy. 

The Busby Stoop Inn closed in 2012. Outside, Busby's noose still dangles from a gallows arm.

Photo courtesy of Google Maps












Is this just superstition and happenstance? There are several details that didn't quite add up when I was researching this story. But would I sit in this chair and tempt fate? Probably not.