Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Patry Francis Day!



Patry Francis' book THE LIAR'S DIARY comes out in paperback today. But Patry is battling a particularly aggressive form of cancer and just doesn't have the energy to go out and tell you about her book.

Enter 300+ bloggers who are going to take up the cause and do it for her. If you want to know more, join us over at Susan Henderson's blog LITPARK:

http://www.litpark.com/

Let's support Patry Francis. Buy it, borrow it, promote it.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Unleashing my Inner Housewife

I have an article due and I'm stuck in an ice-filled rut. This piece is supposed to have a Spring theme, but it's minus 13C today and I'm having a hard time feeling the green when I'm shoveling three feet of car boogers deposited at the end of my driveway. So I do what I usually do when I'm facing a deadline and I have cognitive impaction.

I bake. And don't listen to those health gurus who tell you carbs are bad. Most of them live in California where it's sunny all time. If you live in a northern climate, carbs are your friend this time of year.

Here is a recipe for a bread to beat all breads. The original came from my sister-in-law, but I embellished it for its own good. It's so scrumpdelumptious, you will want to rip off warm pieces with your bare hands, then slather it with butter, letting it run down your arms and off your elbows until you fall carbatose on to your kitchen floor. It's the Carbobomb. And your friends will be so impressed by your culinary prowess, you will be idolized in perpetuity.

But here's the thing. And we have to keep this between you and me.

It's ridiculously easy to make.

If you can braid hair, you can make this bread. Just don't tell your friends, because then they won't be impressed anymore, and you'll have to do something else, like the splits, and we all know how that can end.

It helps to have a bread machine, because then you just throw all the ingredients in the machine and press DOH! But if you don't, you can mix it by hand as you would a traditional bread recipe (but then it isn't easy any more, which is the whole point.)

I have two bread machines. For one of them, you put the liquid ingredients in first, and for the other, the reverse. Just adjust the recipe to suit your machine.

Best Egg Bread on the Planet

1 cup lukewarm water or milk
2 large eggs
3 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. softened butter
1 1/4 tsp. salt
3 2/3 cups flour
1 rounded tsp yeast (I use bread machine yeast)
sesame seeds (optional)

Throw it all in the machine in the order given, as per your machine (EXCEPT FOR THE SESAME SEEDS!) and use the Dough Cycle. Go read magazines while the machine toils. At the end of the dough cycle, plop the dough on to a lightly floured surface. Form into a rough brick shape, and cut into three pieces. Squish and pull each piece into a long log, approximately 14-18 inches long. (If you want two, smaller loaves, you can cut the "brick" in two, and divide each of those into three pieces, and make logs about 12 inches long, give or take.) Braid the dough like you would your daughter's hair, minus the fidgeting.

Lift the braided loaf and heave it onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment (if you're doing two, leave room for the loaves to rise.) Wet your hands and pat along the top of the bread, and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if you wish. Then lightly spray the loaf with PAM, and loosely place plastic wrap on top. Put the pan in a COLD oven (I use the light to warm it) for 30 minutes or so to rise. Remove the pan from the oven, REMOVE THE PLASTIC WRAP (I know this sounds obvious, but there was an incident with my husband that ended with the words "you didn't TELL me to take off the plastic wrap") and preheat oven to 350F. Bake for 30 minutes. Accept new status as The Goddess of Bread.

I'd post a photo, but my camera is broken.

Didn't I just mention that in a previous post? Why yes, I did mention that my camera is broken. And that my birthday is coming up soon.

Tea Bag I can't post one of this amazing bread. If I DO get a camera, I'll insert a photo. I think blogs are SO much more interesting with photos, don't you?

I'm just saying.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How funny is this?

Hey, I've been a fan of Jerry since he did STAND BY ME. But this parody? Genius.

First watch Tom:

http://tinyurl.com/yre7c6

Then check out Jerry:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Cats, not the Broadway Version

Which do you prefer?

The first video, with talking cats:



Or the translation:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

God Rest Its Rusty Soul

The family van, circa 1992, is parked in the driveway under a mound of snow. Technically it still works, but my son - after using it for his summer painting business and coating the inside with liberal lashes of paint - has left the van to live out its days as a driveway ornament.

This van has been through a lot, what with three kids virtually raised in it. I was in it so often, it felt like a second home. It even looked like a second home, seeing as it was always filled with bits of food and single shoes and the occasional pair of panties thrown on the floor. The Underpants Miscreant paid dearly, because I put the flowered panties on my head and drove through town with the window open, asking passersby for directions whilst my children huddled in the back.

There was the night the neighbour's cat crawled into the van as we unloaded groceries. He was there overnight. And he had a urinary tract infection. And the medication he was on gave him diarrhea. That's when we decided to upgrade, and we gave the car to our son. He was happy to have it, any set of wheels seemed like a good idea for a young teenage boy with a new licence. Until he started dating. Then he realized a family mini-van that smelled like a litter box wasn't exactly a chick magnet.

Then there was the apple I found under the seat. This recalcitrant fruit had been there for some time, through several freeze and thaw cycles. I prodded its swollen, bulging bottom, now resembling a tiny bean bag chair, ever so gently with my pinkie. The interior of the apple had liquified and was held together only by virtue of its tough skin (kind of like Mary Tyler Moore) so I had to be careful. Instinct, and past experience with delinquent juice boxes, told me that if I picked up this apple, there was only the RISK of detonation, but leaving it there meant that with just one tiny bump or sneaker kick, we would be looking at a cider explosion of epic proportions. Suddenly, the paint splotches looked benign, nay, positively Pollockesque by comparison.

Not having a fruit bomb squad at my disposal, I did what any rational person would do. I went out at night, scooped it carefully with a spatula and flung it onto the neighbour's yard. Payback for that car-jacking, incontinent cat.

p.s.

I'd take a photo of the van but my camera is broken.

What's that you say?

Your birthday is next month?

And your camera is broken?

Gosh.

Star Wars Coming to America Ah, HA!

This is what had my teenage son howling this morning. Someone took scenes from Star Wars and then dubbed dialogue from James Earl Jones's character from the Eddie Murphy film Coming to America. Ah, HA! Stupid, silly fun.


Star Wars Coming to America - Watch more free videos

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Oh, that crazy Leo

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them.

They went out and happened to things.

Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, January 18, 2008

MacLust

I have MacLust big time. I want a MacLap Dance. Oh baby, come to mama:



And if you want all the juicy details:

Skating Cowboys or Deep Thoughts

You know, I was wondering what to post today, so I decided to rifle through my Favourites File, the equivalent of that messy junk drawer we all have in our kitchens. I have some lovely inspirational essays and quotes, and I figured it might be nice to post some Deep Thoughts, or a lovely poem, and then I came across this:




Yee haw.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hidden Passageway

I've always dreamed of living in a house with a secret door that would lead me to hidden passages inside the house. It's the basis of some many children's books and fairytales. Now there's a company that will build you one, and with a flick of a candlestick, or the tug of a faux book in a library, you can enter a secret domain. You can write novels undisturbed. Or eat a box of cookies and watch Gone With The Wind without interruptions to check the hockey score.

How cool would it be to have a grandfather clock that lifts up to reveal a doorway to a secret closet, or a set of stairs that hides a complete room?

I want one. Check it out:

http://www.hiddenpassageway.com/

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Contest for Jo!

Hie yourself over to Jen's blog for a chance to win Joanna Bourne's fabulous book THE SPYMASTER'S LADY.

And if you don't win, hie yourself over to your local bookstore and buy yourself a copy, and one for a friend (because you'll be raving about it, and your friend will want to borrow it, but you'll love it so much, you won't want to give it up.)

Trust. It's that good. And when you get to page 80 or so, you'll stop and say out loud, "Hotdingity Do, that Novel Woman was right about this book!" And then you'll hear a giant "Told you so!" in your head, but ignore that and keep reading.

Jen's blog Random Thoughts contest can be found on the list to the right, or go here:

http://jenniferhendren.blogspot.com/2008/01/random-thoughts.html

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Great Read


My friend from the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum, Joanna Bourne, has just had her novel published and I have to shout it out here: GO AND BUY THIS BOOK. I'm only partway through it, but this is a great story, well told. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll want to let your family fend for themselves while you immerse yourself in the tale of THE SPYMASTER'S LADY. I haven't read a romance in ages, mostly because so many of them are poorly written, but this...oh, this is a story told by a master storyteller. I just want to hug this book and roll around on the floor with it, it's that good.

Ode to Jo

There once was a scribe named Jo Bourne,
Who embarked on a fruitful sojourn.
A novel completed,
That achievement, repeated,
Then an agent and deal, blow your horn!

In the forum, she helps each new crop,
without ego or guile, not a drop.
Sometimes semantic,
but never pedantic,
she’s our sesquipedalian cop.


Check out her blog from the list on the right. Then go buy this book.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Another Surrey Success Story

Yet another Compuserve forum friend has landed an agent, an incredibly talented and high-larious agent, the incomparable Janet Reid. There have been some amazing success stories coming out of the Surrey International Writers' Conference. Hands down, the SIWC is the best dang conference of its kind. You'll learn not only the craft and business of writing, but you'll get to schmooze with the best of the biz. Plus, it's a whackload of fun.

If you want to read about Susan Adrian's success story, hie yourself over to The Writer's Tale (link at right) and check it out.

And if you want to attend the SIWC, go to their website and sign up. What are you waiting for?

http://www.siwc.ca/

Friday, January 4, 2008