What to do when a Blizzard Turns into an Ice Storm with a Bonus Power Outage

In case you missed the news, the east coast was abused and assaulted by snow, ice and high winds Monday night into Tuesday. Power in my area went out at around 7:30am and didn’t come back on until about 6:30pm. Some people in the region were still without power this morning.

In between my four naps yesterday, I had some time to think about things I could have done to be better prepared and entertained while waiting for the power to come back on. Here is my list. (In no particular order…):

  1. Layer up – Wear two or more pairs of socks, heavy sweat pants, long sleeve t-shirt, heavy sweatshirt and hair bonnet (to keep head and ears warm). Gloves, optional.
  2. Stay out of the fridge – As much as you can, keep the fridge closed to prevent food from spoiling.
  3. Take a cell phone picture of the contents of the fridge – so you won’t have have to keep opening the door to see what’s in there.
  4. Use your phone for emergencies only – Curb your usual daily usage habits! Don’t take a lot of pictures, stream video, etc. Trust me, you can live without social media for a few hours!
  5. Use protection – Do I really need to spell this one out? Ô_o
  6. Purchase room temperature edibles before the storm – Most people go for milk, bread, and eggs to make it through the storm. But consider purchasing things like: bananas, oranges, apples, bread (still makes the list), chips,  and peanut butter. Don’t forget about the packages of jelly you swipe from your favorite greasy spoon. They come in handy at times like this!
  7. Make sure the heavy comforters and blankets are clean – You may need to layer up in bed as the temperature drops overnight.
  8. Books – Real books. Paperback, hardcover, any genre, any topic that tickles your fancy. Curl up under the layered blankets and read your heart out!
  9. Make lists – That’s what I did while waiting fro the power to be restored. Try it. It’s quite therapeutic!
  10. Talk – If you live with other people, this is a great way to pass the time and get to know each other better! If you live alone, talk to yourself. (I’m being serious!) It’s a great way to problem solve or brain dump!

What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Snow Day
Snow Day by Nike Writes

Due to Inclement Weather…

There will not be a story posted today due to inclement weather and other unscheduled fun activities. I’ll be back tomorrow with an interesting lesson I learned while driving through snow and foolishness.

But if you are REALLY fiending for something to read on a wintery day, you may want to grab a warm beverage and back-blog and binge on these posts:

Enjoy your evening!

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How to Not Sleep Effectively

As you may have noticed on the previous blog post, I got absolutely NO sleep last night. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Big ol’ goose egg. None. I didn’t fall asleep until about 5am. I have been dragging all day long. A similar thing happened to me a few months ago and I took to social media to share my thoughts on “How to Not Sleep Effectively.” (Because in this century, oversharing is the new black.)  Here is my list. (Feel free to add to the list.)

  • Be “dead dog” tired.
  • Play FreeCell on your phone until 2am.
  • “Powder your nose” every 30 minutes to an hour because your bladder is not accustomed to being up so late.
  • Acknowledge that you understand why babies cry when they are tired, because you are on the verge of tears yourself.
  • Read Facebook posts from two days ago.
  • Adjust the fan so it’s blowing right in your face and drying your eyes out.
  • Write down those new story ideas that usually pop into your head as you are about to slip into REM sleep, but tonight they are showing you mercy by appearing prior to REM.
  • Look out the window to see if the Sandman travels by reindeer like Santa.
  • Look for DIY videos on YouTube.
  • Cry. 😢
Victoria Crying
I now know why babies cry when they are tired.  Photo credit: Tostadophoto

 

Time for a Change!

So, what does one do when she can’t sleep even though she has a mile long list of things to do the following day? Why, she changes the theme on her blog, of course! (Duh!)

While I liked the colors on the previous theme, this one feels brighter and happier. It says, “Come on in! Take your shoes off (I just vacuumed)! Sit down, have some tea, stay a while! I insist!”

I moved the menu to the top so you will be able to find other pages and links a little better, and the slide show will show you the most recent and featured posts!

Isn’t change good? 🙂

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Throwback Thursday

Yes, it’s still a thing! 😀

The Post-A-Day Blog Challenge is almost over and I am patting myself on the back for keeping up with it! So, just in case you missed it, I am going to recap and list what I’ve posted so far.  Here goes!

  • I started this challenge a day late with my first post in 3 months, Back To Life.
  • If you are into Science Fiction, you might enjoy Ripples. (I plan on continuing this story! Part 2 is coming soon!)
  • I’ve been trying to write a story to the picture featured in this post for AGES! It finally came together! If you are into Women’s Fiction, Sound Sleeper is for you!
  • I shared a link to a vlog about a saddening incident that occurred in my community. It’s worth hearing what this vlogger has to say about being Black In America.
  • If you have a writer, painter, singer, or artist of any type in your sphere, you NEED to understand how to care for them! They are fragile creatures! Take a moment to read The Care and Feeding of Your Creative One, then apply the lessons learned. They will thank you.
  • I haven’t written a poem in a while. Step by Step was inspired by a scripture that says, “don’t despise a day of small beginnings.” Take a read! Be inspired!
  • The Painting is a story about a budding romance. The image selected was the inspiration for this story.
  • So far, Hell Hound, is my favorite post in this challenge! I let my hair down and let my twisted sense of humor come out to play! 😀 This was inspired by two writing prompts. Take a read if you are looking for a laugh!
  • Another post inspired by a writing prompt that asked a simple question: When was the last time you said, “I love you.” You may need a Kleenex for this one.
  • I needed to vent. So this post is about how Tired I was. I was having a challenging existence and you all are great listeners. Thank you for being there!
  • Dear Vonnie was last week’s Throwback Thursday #TBT post. It’s a snippet of a larger story. In this tale, a mother is seeking forgiveness from her estranged daughter.
  • Peace is a post that is all about you. Protect your emotion space, friend.
  • 20 is a reflective post about my daughter crossing the threshold into a new decade.
  • It’s Not My Time is my philosophy on being content with the season you are in. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this piece!
  • Carry My Burdens Away was inspired by another writing prompt. This story touches a lot of things: The danger of keeping traditions of tradition’s sake, sacrifice, shunning, assisted suicide…
  • And finally, The Most Wonderful Time of The Year…no…not Christmas, but the first day of school! Congrats to all you parents who survived the summer!

The Challenge continues! Be sure to tune in tomorrow! I have NO IDEA what I am going to write, yet! But I’m sure I’ll come up with something interesting! Until tomorrow, good night!

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

The end of summer is upon us! Not the weather, necessarily, but having the children return to school! Parents are celebrating all over the country!

The end of summer no longer has the same impact on me since my daughter is now a college student. But, I do fondly remember the joy that came with dropping her off at the school and then peeling out of the parking lot to come home and crawl back into my warm bed to catch the remaining portion of my 40 winks. Good times….goooooooood times!

So, I raise my coffee mug to you parents who are getting prepared for (or whose children have already had their) first day of school! Happy 2016-17 school year!

 

 

Hell Hound

Today’s post was inspired by the daily post prompt and the words in caps below (link provided). The Daily post prompt word is: Joke

I was in the market for a dog. I always wanted a dog, but could not settle on a breed. Since I downsized from a four bedroom house to a two bedroom cottage, I thought a smaller dog, like a poodle, might suit me well. I’d placed calls to a number of sellers, but hadn’t met my “match” yet. So when I heard a knock at my door and opened it to find a well groomed, brown Cavapoo sitting on my front step, I considered it fate! We took to each other like tea and scones!

There was a note attached to the dog’s collar that read: WEEP AND TREMBLE! FOR I AM THE EMISSARY OF DOOM AND DESPAIR, COME TO BEGIN THE FINAL CLEANSING OF MANKIND! It was such an odd note to attach to such a cute and friendly little pooch! Surely, it was joke! I took the time to check for any outward appearances of disease or neglect, and to determine the gender. Finding no signs of illness, or boy parts, I named my new friend Lola. She seemed to like the name.

“Well, Lola! How about we get you something to eat? Hmmm? Would you like that, sweetie?” Lola barked and wagged her tail at the mention of food. I already had a steak marinating in the fridge for my dinner. But it wasn’t big enough to split between us. I had some meatballs that I cooked and placed in the freezer for future meals, and decided to give her that until I was able to get her proper dog food later on. I warmed up the food and placed it in a plastic dish. I fixed my dinner while she ate. I made a six ounce sirloin steak with sautéed onions, potato wedges and steamed broccoli. I could not wait to dig in! Lola had finished her meatballs and was sitting near the kitchen table, waiting for crumbs to rain down on her. I sat down at the table and said grace. I heard Lola growl a little bit as I said, “Amen.” Maybe she was thirsty. I got up to get her a bowl of water, and to grab the A1 Sauce out of the fridge. When I looked back at my plate, the steak and potatoes were gone. I scolded her. At least she had the decency to look ashamed. I decided that I might as well go to the store to buy some dog food, since she seemed to be a bottomless pit and I needed to buy myself some take-out and a few other essentials.

Since the pet store was next to the burger joint, I made that my first stop. I got her food, a leash and food bowls. I also made an appointment to get her shots done and to get her chipped the next day with the in-house vet. I ordered my burger and fries, and gave her a warning death glare as I got in the car with my dinner. She understood my meaning and looked out the window on the car ride home. In order to prevent her from stealing my food again, I let her explore the back yard while I ate. Ten minutes later, I heard barking, snarling, whimpering and whining. I ran to the back porch to see a hole Lola had dug under the fence between my and my neighbor’s yards. I ran to the fence and saw Lola chasing Rex, my neighbor’s Rottweiler. She managed to catch him and clamp her jaws on his leg and she wasn’t letting go. Rex’s owner, Bob came out to his back porch and started wailing and flailing his arms about before grabbing the water hose and spraying Lola with the hardest setting. It worked. She yelped in surprise and let go of Rex long enough for me to jump over the fence and tackle her be for she went for his jugular.

“What the hell is that,” Bob screamed.
“I’m so sorry, Bob! This is Lola. I just got her today. I’ll fix the hole under the fence. I promise! Is Rex ok?”

Rex was cowering behind Bob, whimpering and squealing. His eyes were rolling around and he was baring his teeth and backing into the wall behind Bob.

“NO!! He’s not ok!!! Look at his legs! That rabid animal of yours just about took the flesh off his bones! Look there! His skin is dangling! You’ll be hearing from my lawyer!” When Bob threatened to call his lawyer, Lola went wild. She broke free of my grip and charged at Bob and Rex. Now, they were both crying and screaming on the porch. Without taking his eyes off of us, Bob scrambled to open his back door so he and Rex could slip inside and put a barrier between them and Lola. Lola stood at the foot of the porch and growled and barked so hard, her body bounced. Once he was safely in his house with Rex, he pointed an accusing finger at Lola and screamed, “That animal is possessed! Get that thing off my property! I’m calling animal control!” And with that, he slammed his door shut and Lola stopped barking. She turned around, grabbed Rex’s rawhide bone between her teeth, and happily trotted back to the hole under the fence. She kicked some of the disturbed dirt into the yard with her hind legs before disappearing under the fence with her spoils. I hopped back over the fence, and followed her back into the house.

Within the hour, Animal Control arrived at my house. I let them in and explained how I came to have the dog. I assured them I would be taking her to the vet in the morning to have her checked out. They watched as she ran around the living room, happily barking and rolling around on the carpet. Every now and then, she would trot up to one of the officers, place her paws on their leg and force her head under the palm of their hand to get a little scratch behind her ear. They thought she was cute and friendly, if not a little hyper. They issued me a warning, wished me a good evening and went on their way.

“That was close!” Lola yapped in agreement. I took a look at her and noticed she was quite dirty after her backyard adventures. So I decided to give her a bath. She loved it! She tried to eat the bubbles, and she splashed in the water like a toddler. There wasn’t a dry surface in the bathroom by the time we were done. Lola settled down to play with her recently acquired rawhide bone, while I cleaned up the bathroom, then showered. I came out to the living room to check on the puppy to discover that she had pooped on my white Corinthian leather love seat. I took a deep breath and counted to 20. She was an innocent animal. She didn’t know any better. She wasn’t housebroken, I repeated these words in my mind over and over as I gathered supplies to clean up the mess. I placed a plastic bag over the dustpan, and another over the broom and slid the steaming mound of poo off the love seat. I had to hold my breath because the mound, which was almost as big as the dog’s head, had a strong sulphuric bouquet. It made my eyes water. I noticed it was melting the plastic bag and dustpan, and a charred hole in the loveseat. Even some of the bristles on the broom began to curl. I wasn’t certain if that was because of the odor or the heat coming off of the mess. I didn’t think stool from any living being was supposed to be so noticeably hot. I quickly found a glass jar and tried to save a stool sample to have the vet examine it in the morning, but while I was trying to clean up the melting dustpan, the glass holding the sample shattered.

“I give up, ” I muttered. Lola whined apologetically. I gave her another death glare and she quieted. I decided to quickly sneak the plastic, the broken glass and the brimstone poo into the hole under the fence in the backyard. Hopefully, Bob wouldn’t notice and I could deal with covering it before he saw it.

The rest of the evening was calm. Lola slept in the bed next to me. She snored like a full grown man and her breath smelled like an open grave, but she wasn’t terrorizing animals three times her size, or leaving a trail of combustible excrement around the house, so it was a good night over all.

The next morning, she was quietly and patiently laying next to me, waiting for me to wake up. I got out of bed, gave her a fresh food and water, showered, dressed, and took her for a quick walk. (I brought my kitchen fire extinguisher with me, just in case…) We returned to the house from an pleasantly uneventful walk. I was certain that this day would be a better day. I had a quick breakfast and took my shower. As I was doing my hair in the bathroom, I heard Lola barking and growling in the bedroom. I poked my head in to see what the fuss was about. She was looking at herself in the full length mirror on my closet door. Lola, once again was barking hard enough that her entire body bounced, but her reflection was not! As a matter of fact, her reflection barely resembled the cute little puppy I was standing behind. The dog in the mirror had matted brown fur, blood red eyes, and long teeth that looked like pointy, white needles, and it was snarling and growling at Lola! I stifled a scream and tossed my bathrobe at the reflection as I leaned down and scooped up Lola! I ran out of the house without my purse or shoes, and drove five miles to the dog pound. They could figure out what was wrong with her! I pulled up to the building, jumped out the car, ran inside and placed Lola on the reception desk.

“Her name is Lola,” I shouted as I ran out the door.
“But Miss,” I heard the receptionist call behind me. I didn’t stop to hear what she had to say. I flung a trash can and toppled a fake ficus as I ran out the door. I sped away from the curb before she made it out of the of the building. I don’t think she was able to take down my license plate number, and I did run at least two stop signs, but Lola was out of my life!

When I got back home, I removed the mirrored closet door and set it out on the curb for trash collection. I called the landscaper to fill the hole in the backyard and went in search of the card that was attached to Lola’s collar. I found it on the console table by the front door. I read it again. “Fear and tremble,” it said. Silly me, I should have paid attention to that line. I turned the card over and noticed an additional note I’d missed in my initial excitement. I read the note, drew my blinds, turned off my phone, hid in my room and began to recite The Lord’s Prayer. The note said:

P.S.

HER SISTER IS STUCK IN QUARANTINE AT THE AIRPORT, BUT WILL BE DELIVERED TO YOU WITHIN 48 HOURS. WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.

GOOD LUCK!

Ella_the_Cavapoo_puppy

 

B is for Books

home-library2
Photo by Maegan Tintari

How cool is that library? Look at all of those books arranged in rainbowbetical order. (Rainbowbetical is a word. My daughter it made up. I’m using it with permission.) I would LOVE to have a space like that, one day. (I think I’ll turn my daughter’s room into the library, once she gets her own place! 😀 )

Speaking of books, I wanted to point your attention to a page I’ve added to the Nike Writes blog, recently. If you look over to the left side of the page, you will notice an option on the menu called, “Books.” I know…simple, right?  You already know that Nike Writes blog posts, but you might not have known about books I’ve written or anthologies in which I’ve been included. I don’t want you to be kept in the dark about these things! So go on, don’t be shy!  Click on that menu option! The link to each book leads to Amazon.com. You can get a jump on building your summer reading list, today! 😀

At Nightfall

It has been another busy week in my world! I missed posting my Flash Fiction Friday piece on time, so I’m posting it as a “Sorry it’s so late Short Story Sunday” piece. Sometimes, you have to make these things work for you!

The inspiration for this piece was the picture below.  I really struggled with creating a story around the scene, but it all came together at the 11th hour! Enjoy!

At Nightfall

We belong to this place. It is our ancestral home. We returned to it to build our homes and raise our families, but they chase us away. All we want to do is live. Is that too much to ask? We want to feel safe and secure in our homes, just like they do.

Are we so different? We have old traditions. We live together – great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, children, siblings – in the same house. We share everything. If one finds food, we all share the bounty. That is the way it should be for everyone. They have their traditions, and expect us to honor them, why can’t they do the same for us? We like to eat many of the same things. Why don’t they share among themselves and with us? We don’t ask for much. We don’t mind eating what is left over. We like what they like: bread, eggs, bacon – we LOVE bacon, fruits, and vegetables. We will even clean up the kitchen after we eat.

Instead of giving coexistence a chance, the humans slaughter us without thought or reason. I’ve had many wives, many children, and lost them all to habitual extermination rituals of the People, as have many of my brothers.  So, my brothers and I have decided to evacuate, temporarily. We have moved into the nearby woods. There, we hide and plot our revenge. We do not take the slaughter of our families lightly. There is no justice for us. Their laws ignore our kind, and they don’t acknowledge us as a valuable and significant life form. We will take matters into our own hands. We decided that our absence will lead them into a false sense of security and give us time to reproduce, increase our numbers and then dominate the murderous humans. They will acknowledge our presence and power!

We have observed that they receive a visit from their fellow humans once a month. They bring plenty of food and drink. We see the headlights from their vehicles when they arrive from our hiding place in the woods. We will quietly make our way into the house. We’ve mapped out all the unprotected, unguarded openings to the home. We will strike at nightfall, after they have all fallen asleep. We will occupy the kitchen and bathrooms and only reveal ourselves in quantity to devastate the women and children, as they seem to fear us most. We’ve recruited other groups who have also been victimized by the humans to aid us in our quest for favorable coexistence. We understand the risks. We don’t want to do this by force, but they leave us no other options. There will be casualties, run ins with aggressive pets the humans have trained to attack and kill us, but we will prevail! We, the Vermin and Pest Brigade will win!!

Pest

Zucchini Day

Me. Holding a Zucchini while talking on the phone.
Me. Holding a Zucchini while talking on the phone on National Zucchini Day.

 

I love food holidays…mostly because I love good food! Among my favorites are, National Donut Day, National Pancake Day and National Coffee Day. A few years ago, I discovered that August 8th is National Zucchini Day. I like zucchini, but I didn’t think there was a day devoted to that particular squash! It amused me when someone actually left a bag of that wonderful squash in my door! We feasted that night!

Now, to celebrate Zucchini Day, you just don’t go out and buy and eat zucchini. No, that is just the wrong way to celebrate zucchini! You are supposed to sneak a zucchini into your neighbor’s door. Yes, sneak. Why? I don’t know, but stealth gift-giving is always fun. I can testify that surprise gift-receiving is also wonderful fun…especially receiving healthy, useful gifts like zucchini! 😀

So, what do you do if you are on the receiving end on National Zucchini Day? Cook them, of course! I love them sauté them with onions, garlic and diced tomato. But here are a few recipes you can try in the event you are blessed with zucchini on August 8th!

(P.S. May 11th is National Eat What You Want Day. You may want to try some of these recipes on that day! You’re Welcome! 😀 )

Zucchini Bread (you can add carrots and raisins for extra flavor)

Grilled Zucchini

Zucchini Fries (great substitute for French Fries)

Veggie Stir Fry