Follow by Email

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Abundant Love and Crosses

Luke 15:7-Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.


One at a Time
Eve Gaal

Imagine my bewilderment at coming across this
collection of crosses probably made in China.
The cynic in me laughed--
maybe my dark side.
While the best in me hailed it as an achievement
here in our egocentric
capitalistic society.
A display of blatant commercialism
necessitated by
those who thirst for life.

But does it matter?
If even one human being
perhaps while making these crosses,
painting them, packing them, stacking them
begins to believe?
If one sailor on a
giant freighter crossing
through the Panama Canal
lifts one of these boxes and peeks inside.

They’ll decorate walls,
lonely  halls or
the side of roads where hate may have raged.
One mind that reconsiders,
forgives—
a family kept together--
a marriage saved.
A tribute to the fallen--
a comforting memory,
a marker of love.

If only one,
eye rests on the symbol and prays?
If one teenager who loses a friend to drugs
takes a tearful gaze
at the commemorative cross
reflecting on ‘why’.
If one life is saved,
from the clutches of doom—
the fire and fumes--
and one heart has turned toward God--
He will rejoice and be glad.



Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”

Monday, June 12, 2017

Social Media Hearts--(A Poem)


Look at the world,
where varied types of hearts commingle.
Some seem fully oxygenated,
gassed up
ready to whirl over others like a lawnmower.
Delete key overload,
parental controls,
a pack of unfriended hearts--
who had once made us smile.
Adult supervision lingers as
spiritual guidance,
legal representation,
group administrators,
and an authoritative boss.
Assisted living pulls hearts into
managed care and hospice.
One end is another beginning.

Wary hearts meekly gasp for air,
a word,
perhaps a meal.
Some are fearful and alone--
they kick--
act embarrassed—
ashamed of the past.
Sad hearts often find themselves mortified to be human.
They feel the species is regressing--
it does sound rather depressing.
And science invented a pill,
increasing serotonin--
flowing with emotional  dopamine
numbing like legalized cannabis.
Look away, look away, look away Dixieland.
Watch the news—hear the fire and the missiles--
see handsome soldiers break their mother’s hearts.

There are evil hearts that stab with knives made of sarcasm.
Sometimes they crawl into the recesses of their ventricles
pushing their own bloody convictions
behind an alias,
a nameless heart.
Cowardly hearts that prey
without a spine.
Waiting for a payoff?
Or simply inebriated?
Unattached and disloyal knights
who don’t care about anybody’s heart.   

Courageous hearts peacefully march for rights.
They proudly protest unfairness.
Stomping out bad hearts with vocalizations,
banners and communal prayer.

Like a roller-coaster—hearts can skyrocket at the medical center.
Hearts come and go.
On foot or carried on a stretcher.
Some have stitches and stents--
some turn to God and repent.
Wild ones twirl like overjoyed ballerinas.
Some people paint dreams around their heart like a picket fence.
They weave through clouds on multi-hued fantasy creatures,
and sing or write poetry about grateful hearts.   
Some are volunteering,
rescuing, knitting or putting out fires.
Millions of magnificent hearts connect into a loving tapestry.
But can honest hearts keep the good from unraveling?
Can we manage the truth behind our limitations,

while guarding innocent hearts?
In Time of Harmony by Paul Signac 1893


#
by Eve Gaal

Monday, June 5, 2017

Can I Be of Service?




Whether blogging or posting anywhere on social media, today is a good time for me, and all of us in fact, 
to ask these all-important questions:

You know I'm experienced
 if I still have this on a shelf!










Who will listen? Who cares?
How do I reply? 
Am I too harsh? 
Repetitive?  Too boring?   
How can I make others care? 
Do I sound immature or unprofessional?
Is spelling important?
Can I be misconstrued?
What are my intentions?
Is there a better way to reach my goals?

Top Seven Questions.
1.       Am I making a difference?
2.       Am I being original?
3.       Am I being honest?
4.       If no one reads my post, will I be upset?
5.       Have I helped anyone including myself?
6.       Is my message or comment important?
7.       If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it fall or not?
 Of course it did. So if no one is listening or buying, does it mean you're invisible?
I don't know, are you? 

Find out more at: http://evegaal.com
Need help communicating? Want heartfelt ideas and descriptive posts that create action? Maybe what you need is more humor and wittier tweets with fewer typos?

I have written ad copy for major newspapers selling every type of product from automobiles to multi-million dollar homes. I have award-winning sales experience coupled with a background in creative writing, a degree in English literature and also a graduate degree in Human Behavior.
 My words may help your business sing and achieve revenue growth!
 (Reasonable flat fee—retainer style pricing available)


Contact Eve Gaal, M.A. at Desert Rocks Creative Media to clarify and simplify your messages, your advertising and everything you need for social media today! (evegaal@gmail.com)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ten of The Best in Five Months of Reading

 Catching up on my reading....




Serenity by Craig A. Hart


Serenity is the first book, in a series of crime dramas, taking place in a lovely forested setting in Michigan. The main character is Shelby Alexander who reminded me of James Garner in The Rockford Files especially when speaking to his daughter Leslie. Shelby is tough but he’s not the law. He plays hard, drinks harder and basically takes no prisoners. But he has a softer side like the time his daughter sent him a coffee maker and he wanted to read the instructions about descaling. His friend Mack is a retired Detroit cop. He doesn’t mess around either-- at least when it comes to drinking. The story takes place in ice-cold weather and the author pulls you in next to a crackling fire or into a warm bar before sending us out ice-fishing or tapping maple. In other words the descriptions, the trees, the barn, the snow, the bullets are skillfully mapped out to take us into the deepest, darkest part of Serenity’s wooded areas. “All the shooting and corruption aside it’s rather peaceful,” says Mack. It’s a place of contrasts; of heavenly beauty and unimaginable pain. Your senses will feel the cool morning air because Hart has us peeping, as if we’re outside balancing on the wooden deck of a cabin, ogling this wild, Eastwood-type character almost voyeuristically. We get into Shelby’s mind, into his heart and into his personal life through many twists and turns while reaching a satisfying ending. I enjoyed reading the book but Hart cleverly made sure there’s that small dangling detail about Sheriff Wilkes. Did he, or didn’t he, have something to do with all the drug smuggling in Serenity? Good thing he wrote those sequels.

The Last Train by Richard Alan


The Last Train took me by surprise because I don’t like books about possessed people, demons and zombies but I do like books about angels. Near the end, Alan ventures into possessed people at a mental facility, but by that time, he had me hooked. “You have been all too human,” my favorite line spoken by Soujouriah, who seemed to understand why Jake had to go after his wife when the train they were riding on for their 25th anniversary, ran off the track. To me, it seems The Last Train is a man’s romance. Is that a genre? The writer makes the point of view clear from the beginning, letting us listen to Jake’s thoughts, while taking the reader on a fascinating journey. There are battles and road trips unlike any I’ve ever read, while all throughout, there’s also an underlying warmth, heart and true desire for the lovely Bernadette.
Strangely, we just happened to cancel our own 25th Anniversary rail trip; in fact, we were supposed to leave yesterday, the day I finished reading this eBook and now I’m wondering whether my beloved husband would have gone through all the trouble Jake went through. If you like books about Heaven, filled with various types of angels, embark on The Last Train, because you’ll like it.

Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander, M.D.


The author, a neurosurgeon from Massachusetts describes his life in the first few pages, building credibility and convincing the reader that this experience he had during a six-day coma, on the other side, really happened. As the book progresses I’m waiting for more specific descriptions but he gives us a general overview of what he calls an Earthworm’s Eye View, the Gateway and the Core, where time stretches in various directions and lights, shadows and butterflies have spectacular, clear definitions. Most of his tale he spends defending himself--worrying about how it would look for a doctor to say things about God--or against science. It's like he's tangled in a web of knowledge that has a stronghold on everything in his world--except for that one week he lived to write about.
My favorite part of the story is learning about his family life, his wife Holley, his sons and his sisters and how they handled the stress during those trying times. Proof of Heaven has a bold title and I’m sure that Dr. Alexander isn’t kidding when he says that “describing what it felt like is challenging in the extreme,” due to our” linear language” and our “general flattening of experiences” while we’re in our bodies. Which sounds like it means that the dimensional aspect is so awe-inspiring that there are no words to describe it. Sadly, towards the end, he decides to use his medical knowledge to ramp up the believable factor by bringing in past experiments in quantum mechanics, higher consciousness and sleep-learning. By page 159, I had lost consciousness myself. Fortunately, the next chapter and a wonderful quote from Einstein brought me back so I could hurriedly finished reading his story--a story with a deep, heartfelt message but not enough information for my inquisitive mind.

With A Twist by J. A. Konrath


The problem with reading before bedtime is twofold. If the book is exciting, you might have nightmares and if you nod off before falling asleep, you may miss a plot twist in a great caper. In the past, I’ve had that problem with good thrillers which is one of the reasons I haven’t written a review for bestselling author Konrath before. I had some of his eBooks but this is the first one easy enough to finish in a single sitting. Had I any inclination to nod off, it disappeared as soon as I began turning pages. I loved the Swedish Fish addition and the cute tie-it together plot. There is just enough tantalizing information about the characters to make me want to purchase more in this series, which is clearly the author’s intent. The detective’s name is Jack. Some call her Jackie and her mother calls her Jacqueline—a simple touch but brilliant. Then there’s Herb the mustard-shirted guy—what a crack up. Still, I felt a bit rushed. I wanted to be hungry for Asian food by the end of it or at least sleepy---but instead—it was over—case closed and solved. Guess I’m used to reading longer books and my personal opinion is that the author could have elaborated on so much here to create a full-length novel. If you like super-short mysteries then here’s one you won’t want to miss.

Party to a Murder by Lorelei Bell


I enjoy reading mysteries but usually avoid anything involving blood or murder, because having a vivid imagination, they tend to keep me up at night or give me nightmares. The same goes for television shows and movies, even though I’m well aware they use ketchup or fake blood. Strangely, I have what might seem like an unhealthy aversion to vampire stories and I’m glad Bell, who usually writes about erotic bats and such, decided to change courses for this book. In fact, I really liked Party to a Murder. This mystery novel has two murders. One is a drowning and the other a stabbing. The plot weaves artistically through the Mississippi valley small town, where an amateur sleuth called Lainey decides to help Sheriff Weeks solve the horrific crimes. The characterization is excellent and there were plenty of plot twists, even a tornado, to keep me interested until the end. I could clearly imagine Lainey’s aunt and uncle and her friends, Brett, Wendy, Nadine, Lawson and A.J. Like a great mystery, every one is a possible suspect and as the story unfolds small clues help define the psychological implications inherit in who, what, where and why. And, in case you’re anything like me, it isn’t too gory. The only reason it kept me awake at night was simply because I kept reading and reading and reading to find out what happens next. If you like Agatha Christie and appreciated Nancy Drew, then you want to read Party to a Murder.

The Edge of Winter by LuAnne Rice


There’s not much to say, other than I loved everything about this book. There was however, that annoying problem of going through a lot of tissues, as tears rolled down my cheeks. Rice mingles a fascinating war story with romance, culture and ornithology. There’s a subplot involving relationships between brothers, fathers and sons and a father and his daughter, Mickey. Mickey and her friend Shaun want to change the world by saving the historical and biological significance of Refuge Beach but they are up against incredible odds, red tape and tons of emotional, family baggage. Cole Landry is a Trump sort of developer who wants to raise the U-boat that sank off the coast of Rhode Island. His Teflon-coated son Josh goes to school with Mickey. There’s trouble everywhere—especially when Josh is around. Tim, the Park Ranger has a personal interest in what goes on at Refuge Beach because of his father Joe. And Joe, well he found a way to deal with all his pain by taking care of raptors and sick birds. This metaphorically reminded me that some of us are like raptors, some of us are swans, while others are ptarmigans or prey. Some of us are free and some of us are caged—in actual cells--or jailed by struggles we create. But freedom has a price and there can be victims who become casualties, swept down below, during a raging storm at The Edge of Winter.

The Witch of Portabello by Paul Coelho



As someone who returned to my church and faith after years of soul-searching, I felt strong enough in my personal beliefs to wade through this story about a controversial subject. I love books that take you on a journey, out from the armchair and out of your comfort zone. The Witch of Portobello does exactly that with a unique format of various characters narrating each chapter, creating a sort of soulful alchemy focused on the main character. Unlike the literal excursion in The Alchemist, this is the spiritual path of Athena, and perhaps the author’s own message about non-conformity. As in, there are basically those who obey and those who don’t; a somewhat black and white message illustrated from each of the character’s different perspectives. If you know anything about the 60’s you’ll know it was a time to question authority, a notion gaining in popularity again. Back then, it was revolution or peace and lots of physical love. This book takes place in the 90’s and Coelho explores different types of love, such as that of a mother’s hug, a man’s kiss, Athena holding the hand of her child and the expression of love through silence and dance.
Perhaps this fascinating novel is best summarized with this line spoken by Athena: “When hatred makes a person grow, it’s transformed into one of the many ways of loving.” And that-- in a nutshell-- is precisely what this book is about—taking a forgotten gypsy orphan and showing her through teachers and experience about real love, and how it is always part of our lives. But how, you ask? What is the recipe and how does Athena turn hatred into love? You’ll have to read The Witch of Portobello to find out.

Frozen Time by Peter and Pattimari Cacciolfi


What a great story! 
I kept turning the pages faster and faster because I had to know what happens to Timmy, the son of a renowned archaeologist. One day, Timmy is moving some of the excavated items and finds an amulet that magically stops movement and time. The story begins in Africa and soon crosses the Atlantic to New York City where Timmy quickly learns that freezing time is a lucrative way to make money. He has a plethora of strange ideas to help him cash in on what at first feels like luck but later feels like hell. He travels to Vegas and enters a poker tournament, robs banks, convenience stores and hooks up with the darkest, shadiest drug dealers in the state. His friend Sara visits and wants to know what happened to the nice guy she used to know back in Africa.

Back home, his dad is in an induced coma and the stress in Timmy’s life is mounting.
I’ve given away too much already. It’s an amazing roller-coaster ride that will leave you breathless. Will Timmy move back to Africa? Will the mysterious amulet have other powers? Are Sara and Timmy finished forever or will love prevail? You’ll have to read Frozen Time and find out.

Twisted Tales From the Desert by Mari Collier


Bestselling author, Mari Collier writes amazing science fiction sagas taking place in the old west. These are contemporary stories with unique characters and desert landscapes. Her detailed, descriptive writing is well researched, showing an authentic command of language and a deep grasp about subjects most of us have only heard about, such as ham radio frequencies, shifting harmonics and cruise control. Unusual topics, only the most talented writer can make interesting. In fact, all her Twisted Tales from the Desert are mesmerizing and most will leave you breathless if not shocked. To spin a thrilling tale on a few pages complete with a suspenseful plot in each story is brilliant and in this case, truly twisted.

Whether it’s a story called Forgotten Gods about Native American folklore that had me searching on the floor for the bottom of my jaw, or simply a story about a wife wishing her husband Phil would someday return, in The Kiss, there’s a lot to love in this fascinating collection. In Ghost Town Remodel, Kim wants to refurbish a haunted bordello, in Conversations with the Unknown, Kevin is spending entirely too much time working on a broken radio while his wife Darla keeps nagging that he should stop so they can start a family. The hairs on the back of your neck will rise as Collier pulls you into A Victim of Murder which, along with many of these stories could be made into television movies or full-length novels. If I had to pick a favorite, I’d choose Rest in Peace which is a happier ghost story with a satisfying ending. The combination of ghosts, science fiction and “sweet spring desert air,” makes for some seriously great reading and since these are short stories, you can read one and put the book down until you have time to read another.


Ms. Maxwell & Son by Norma Beishir



Are you looking for a something pleasurable to read that won’t bog you down with literary details but still has a great plot? While it’s nice to read about snow glistening like a broken mirror or the leafy green fingers of English ivy wrapping around a fence post, those cumbersome particulars take our attention away from the subject, like a sneaky magician perfecting his sleight of hand, often making us fall asleep. (For example, do we really care about Mr. Darcy’s shirt being wet or even white? Austen distracted us but we kept reading because we wanted to see love!) Admit it--we want to find out what’s going to happen--especially in a romance! Most books by Norma Beishir are thrillers that weave around the world, pulling
readers into serious adventures but Ms. Maxwell and Son stays comfortably in Connecticut with an entertaining and intriguing plot. Of course, you’ll immediately fall in love with redheaded Katie and her neighbor Jack Spangler who lives with his cockatoo Sam. Katie’s in a pickle and the phone lines aren’t working. In desperation, she turns to Jack who happens to be a composer. He writes music all night long and says he’s about as ‘domestic as French wine’. Not only does this author capture the reader’s attention but she also makes us laugh aloud while pulling on our heartstrings. There’s nothing boring here to sideline or distract us... which makes for enjoyable reading and a great story that will never let you yawn!


What about you? Have you read any great books lately? 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Lady Behind Gourmet Jail Food

Yesterday, as fortune would have it, I attended a meeting of The Friends of the Murrieta Library, where author Louise Mathews spoke about her career and promoted her book titled: Jailhouse Cuisine(From the Right Side of the Bars). I’ve listened to many presentations by interesting authors but this one seemed to be truly unique. First of all, the writer held the attention of everyone for over an hour of speaking, with amazing stories of her career as Chief of Food and Nutrition Services for the
Sheriff's Department in charge of food service management for enormous Prison systems. Feeding over 8000 souls a day had to be a tough job and thankfully, Louise Mathews wrote a book about it.




When interviewing for the top spot, she told them not to hire her if they wanted good food. Challenge accepted, she went to work changing things from old and outdated ways to new and improved ways such as the cook/chill system and no strip searches outside of the kitchen. Inmates benefited from her “laws,” her humor and her family recipes. Her 42 years of experience earning her a Doctorate of Food Service and many awards.








   "I would not recommend going to jail in many of our states 
as some places are better than others if you find yourself incarcerated."
--From Jailhouse Cuisine by Louise Mathews

 The audience at the library was doubling over in laughter when she talked about her lunch that scurried away in the South or the cake that moved. In her book, she even explains why pie seemed to have "magical wings." Overall, I learned so many interesting things that I had to share this information with anyone interested in the truth behind prison food. I found out what Pruno is, and even the unsavory methods male prisoners use to make it. Her broccoli soup recipe, in the book, points out that it's best to use white pepper instead of black pepper because inmates don't trust black flakes in a white soup, something that sounds helpful for anyone raising teenagers. I even picked up a tip about how to use leftover potato chips but I don’t want to give her secrets away. Find out more by clicking here. Her book is chock full of hearty, well-tested recipes and fascinating stories assembled by a hard working and phenomenally brave woman that I had the special honor to meet.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A Happy Mother's Day Thank You Poem


To All the Moms
by Eve Gaal


To all the moms who kissed away tears,
listened to our fears,
taught us how to sing.
To moms who baked pies,
told us white lies--
about how cute we were in bell bottoms.
To moms who scurried off to work,
putting up with jerks,
who talked down to proud women.
To moms who tried to curl our hair.
Braiding or trimming as we sat restless in the chair,
working on her patience.
To moms who tried to make us eat,
our veggies and some meat,
while we made faces and ducked under the table.
To moms who scolded us when we were bad
but reminded us not to be sad,
because if they could do all of this—

then someday--maybe 
so could we. 
To those devoted moms who wait for calls,
from deserts or hallowed halls,
while their child marches to a bugle. 
And....
To moms who planted special seeds,
by having books around for us to read,
prompting gardens of creativity,
filled with mindful blossoms and wildly grateful hearts.  


(I hope every mother has a wonderful day including mothers of fur babies and dads who had to step up to the plate and be mothers too, not to mention us empty nesters and stepmoms who wait for happy calls.May all of us remember our own mother with love, this Mother's Day.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spring Haiku

Took this photo on a walk around the block




Rather than compete
With the lilies of the field--
I humbly stayed home.

 
This should be a fancy perfume. I discovered it around the corner.

The Black Locust tree
Blends white with black forever--
In scented glory.

 
A little breeze and all of a sudden I feel like royalty!



His hands made me Queen.
I walk through strewn rose petals,
in gardens of green. 




Has the snow melted where you are? Is it a lovely Spring? 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Inspired by the President and Hemingway


Our illustrious Commander in Chief has inspired me to try a new marketing campaign for building my platform and increasing followers. Figure I'd jump on the proverbial bandwagon and find out what all the fuss is about. I mean, if he can tweet, then so can I. 
(Take a breath here--because my Tweets won't have anything to do with those tweets.)

 I’ll be sharing uplifting and inspiring quotes written by famous people and since I’m fairly good at writing one-liners, I’ll be sharing my sense of humor through short, silly jokes or witty remarks with the main purpose of making people smile. For free. There' no hidden agenda other than I wouldn't mind having more twittering friends. (And if you want to re-use something I wrote, please give me credit for writing it.)

My thinking is that since Twitter’s all a-flutter with high anxiety--thought I’d try the happiness approach--thereby creating more interest in my writing--naturally generating more blog readers. And who knows? Maybe I will receive some financial gravy as in book sales and writing assignments too. It can't hurt to try, right?

Although I’ve used Twitter for years, it never seemed like a serious place for an author. After all, what writer wants to be limited to 140 characters? Oh wait scratch that-- I guess Hemingway could have posted his six-word bestseller: 
  “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.”


Anyway, follow me at Eve@Eve Gaal for some comic relief. When I can’t come up with anything funny, then it will be a serious quote like the one I just posted on Twitter from one of our greatest Presidents-Abraham Lincoln: “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing."

Do you use Twitter? How does it help you? 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Butter Biscuits & Fairy-Tales



The best part about a fairy-tale is typically the happy-ending. I remember asking so many questions about the prince and his stallion. Where did he sleep when he wasn’t near a castle? What did he eat? Where did the witch buy her supplies? Did she make them from scratch? What do you cook for gnomes? Where do Fairy Godmothers buy glass slippers? When a story mentions red lips, does that mean she wore lipstick? Do the stepsisters grow out of being ugly like the Ugly duckling? What was inside Little Red Riding Hood’s basket? And so on and so on....

 I probably drove my parents bonkers with tons of inquisitive questions but they had to enjoy the fact that they could hold my attention for a short amount of time. Sadly, they couldn’t always answer all my inquiries so I ran to the library to read as much as I could about Dorothy and her friends from Oz, by Frank L. Baum. Inhaling books by E.B. White, Antoine de Saint Exupery or books by Jules Verne and any imaginative author who mingled reality and fantasy. I also often wondered whether Huck Finn really existed and if he did--how he managed to walk barefoot all summer?

But this post is about my mother’s butter biscuits. In Hungarian folklore, there’s usually a boy like Huck Finn or a girl, going on an adventure with their knapsack. It’s the magical way our parents pulled our imaginations into the story, ala The Princess Bride. Parents know that you can't go on a quest without tasty snacks. Most likely, he/she is running away to see the world and that’s where the story begins, because inside of the knapsack are the butter biscuits, which might best be described as a form of hard tack or scones, depending on the talent of the grandmother who made them. These are not soft biscuits, but crumbly ones that can survive a journey. In some tales, they have a coating of protective ash due to the old-fashioned method of dropping dough directly into the fire. 

My mother’s tiny tea biscuits are etched into my fading memories and I couldn’t replicate them if I tried. The following recipe is a satisfactory but easy version, nowhere near perfection. Mom used yeast and sour cream, creating a light, airy dough that once baked, melted upon contact with your tongue. Truly, her Pogacsas were--in my mind anyway--legendary. Of course, Red Riding Hood’s basket contained this type of mouthwatering biscuit, because after all, a buttery, biscuit has to be memorable for it to be in a fairy tale.


Hungarian Biscuits or Pogacsa
11 ounces of Ricotta Cheese-(the small tub is usually 15oz at the store.)
2-1/2 cups flour (plus a bit more for the cutting board)
A small pinch of salt
1-1/4 cup of softened, unsalted butter
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
(Coarse salt or caraway seeds if desired.)
Mix the flour and the baking powder
Knead in the butter, salt and the cheese until you have smooth dough.
Cover it and put it into the fridge for at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Roll the dough to ¼ inch thick and then fold it four times.
Repeat the above step of rolling and folding five or six times.
Using a small one-inch cutter, cut each biscuit and score with a fork.
Brush each one with the egg yolk and place onto a pan sprayed with Pam spray or lined with parchment.
Bake 30 minutes and place each warm biscuit onto a tray filled with either salt, caraway seeds or both.  

Now put on a pot of tea and tell a story! Enjoy. 

Did you like fairy tales too? Do you think you'll ever make these biscuits? 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I Want 007 Pants-(A Fashion Post)



I have a gripe about pants. I figured a blog post is a great way to vent about any politically correct subject as long as there’s at least a semblance of humor involved. So here’s my droll scoop about personal issues with length, fit and fashion.

Length

First of all, I’m tall and most women’s pants have a 29” inseam which is average but 32” would ideally hit me at the ankle. Sometimes I see tall-fitting pants for sale in catalogs but they begin at 34” which would be nice if I wanted to wear high heels all the time with my jeans. Unfortunately, that’s not my style and the tall ones are usually in smaller sizes anyway. Most of the pants I own look like cropped pants or what my old high school ‘friends’ called ‘flood waders.” Basically, I have a love-hate relationship with pants because it’s one of those articles of clothing that an active lifestyle necessitates. Plus, I love adventures. Women wear pants for fishing, hiking, bike riding and campaigning for President. After seventeen years into a new century, modern women don’t even own dresses or skirts anymore. Type ‘wedding pantsuit’ into a Google search and you wouldn’t believe the heavenly white ensembles that exist.
 I think pants can look fabulous on women Ala Katherine Hepburn but they should also be flexible without being tight and uncomfortable. In a warm climate, most polyester blended fabrics are much too hot and in winter, twill or denim isn’t warm or flexible enough. Is it asking too much that I want to look nice while chasing after two disobedient Chihuahuas?

Fashion

Fashion wise, the current trend for women is the skinny look which works great if you’re ah—skinny. Some of these pants are cut so narrow, that they wouldn’t even fit my meatless skeleton. If I can pull them on, there’s a rustling sound with each step. Sadly, unless I want to take up Zydeco and pretend I’m playing the washboard, I also have to forget about corduroy. Of course, there are loose-fitting linen pants that look wrinkled all the time or chinos which are like like a cross between jeans and khakis. If they don’t fit right, then they look like Park Ranger-Government Issue pants. Too tight and you’ll feel like you’re back in high school marching band needing a new uniform after having a growth spurt. For extreme casual wear, there’s the yoga pant that looks good in one color only and that’s black. Same with leggings—have you ever seen beige colored leggings on a heavy-set woman? There are some things I wish I could “unsee.”

Fit

This brings me to how pants fit. Men can get away with wearing khaki pants that are loose and baggy. Modestly covering everything, they look perfect on busy dads who need to be able to move with even busier toddlers. Generally, men want to make sure their jeans are not riding too high and by pulling them lower they are baggier in the thighs and the hem reaches the floor. Problems arise because most men don’t have hips to hold up their pants. This is why they wear belts or should wear belts anyway. When men wear business or military slacks in gray, green or navy, the fit is classic, slightly loose and elegant. And finally, there’s the sophisticated tuxedo pant which reminds us of Cary Grant or Fred Astaire.
Those have to be stretchy pants!
I just had one of those aha moments. Remember how Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and even Jimmy Stewart were dancing in tailored tuxedo pants? James Bond is jumping out of an airplane or swinging from a chandelier in a Monte Carlo casino while kicking the bejeebers out of the bad guys. Jason Statham springs from his BMW sunroof and is punching five guys at once while looking awesome in Armani. The mystery must be a form of Hollywood costume finery just like those used by Jack Black in the movie Nacho Libre. Lycra—also known as spandex, was invented in the late fifties, which could explain some of the magic but still leaves me wondering how Rhett tried saving Atlanta before such obviously awesome stretchy pants were ever created.

 Lucky for me, I’m not a slave to fashion and enjoy wearing dresses too. Perfect slacks? Maybe not for my body-type but I can dream, while wearing an old-fashioned skirt. 

Any ideas about what kind of fabric goes into one James Bond suit before it's shaken and stirred?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

We Have a Leak!


We’re Not Quackiott, Duckyatt, Billton or Even the Web-foot Inn.

The ducks are back and Fiona’s not happy about it. I’m writing this upstairs and can hear warfare in the yard. I hear her tiny growl perhaps saying, “What a bleeping mess you make all over my warm stones.” She hates them and treats them like terrorists even though they look like they outweigh her by a pound or two. “Be gone you dastardly, disgusting creatures,” she squeaks. Or maybe she’s displeased because they interrupt her beauty naps, so she responds with a Garbo-esque bark that means, “I vant to be alone.”

The fine-looking ducks swim a few laps and as soon as Fiona noses over to where they are drying off, they rustle up, into the air, over the fence, landing with a splash in someone else’s pool--but not before quacking loudly--voicing their obvious displeasure at such a lack of hospitality. You’d think a rescued pup would have more manners!
I'm scared to bother her so I took this picture from inside.
The sun is setting but she's still on watch


 Maybe, I hopefully surmise, Fiona is working with the pool-cleaning company to make sure the water stays sparkling clean. I wouldn’t put it past her to take a bribe now and then. There’s probably a method to her madness and she doesn’t really care whether I’ve figured it out. After all, one of my nicknames for her lately has been “Special Ops.” While our other dog Pinky, is an exemplary example of a Secret Service type who would take a bullet for his/her management team and pounces out of bed in the middle of the night if someone is within ten feet of our home, Fiona prefers secret spying gigs, sleeping soundly under the blanket all night, perhaps gathering information telepathically from wireless, unnamed sources. Pinky worries about rabbits, but that’s another story. I guess Fiona saves her energy to fight the radical ducks.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Dealing With Distractions



They won’t leave me alone. If you’ve ever written long stories or novels, you probably know what I mean. They whisper in your ear. They laugh and giggle. The nasty ones sneer or even kick you while you’re down, trying to sleep. It’s super annoying and I can fully understand why many authors decide to murder them. Of course, I’m talking about my characters from Penniless Hearts: Penny, Dan and that helicopter pilot Darin. They won’t bugger off and jump out of a plane with a bad parachute, although that’s a supreme idea, but they continuously needle me to finish writing more about their
This is the third cover.
Do you like it? 
escapades. Two years ago, I began writing Penniless Souls and one third of the way through, my life took a turn into some crazy medical-infused territory. We all have our challenges but this depravity feels like a family curse that needs more than the economy version of an exorcism. So, on top of my family problems: phobias, funerals, aches, surgeries, therapies and numerous pains; (thankfully not
I made this hat
and wear it to bed.
all mine—it’s never all about me—thank goodness.), these character trolls are nagging me to finish what I started. I’ll never forget the time Penny had her hands on her hips before she raised an arm to throw something at me. Yes me--her creator. John is patient and rarely shows up but Dan is awful and I’ve already written some chapters to shut him down. Now Tina wants in and she wasn’t even supposed to show up in the sequel. Recently, I began wearing a soft, brimmed hat to bed thinking that it would help block them out but no such luck.


The new setting is Vegas baby and I was under the false impression that what happened in Vegas stayed in Vegas. Trust me, it doesn’t. You’ll meet Penny twenty years later. Her daughter Lani is all grown up and John is still doing carpentry but the economy is taking a nosedive and the only place to find construction work is Vegas. Penny and John decide to move temporarily to Sin City where they live in a high-rise off the Strip. She doesn't work for the newspaper but a famous artist hires her to paint murals for his lakefront resort. Meanwhile, hazel-eyed Lani is living with John’s sister where she meets a good-looking guy called Peter. Darin’s out of jail and has changed his ways and Dan? Well, like I said he has been dealt with. Now, I had better get back to writing another chapter before Penny and Tina throw me on the ground and start kicking and pulling my hair. Ingrates. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Have You Seen the Garden Fairies?

Garden Fairies in Early Spring
Eve Gaal



Mortals rarely see
               them.
(We’re too important--
 too mature.)

They swing on tall grass,
hide in tangled roots,
complex like innuendo,
jokes that fly over our heads.
They swirl in the underbrush--
painting spring--
stylishly spraying--
dipping—
creating
a catwalk of colors.
Decorating webs with glitter
pushing around windblown petals
and giggling softly in afternoon rain.

What’s more important than that?
Sit and listen.
Tear your eyes from your phone--
fold away the rustle--
pause--even the crunching of food.
Stop competing with nature.
Wait for it.
The hum of traffic will dim

There!
Have you seen them? 
Dodging under a mushroom
fluttering in a breeze
perhaps holding in transparent wings--

until we step away.