Finger Paint: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

It’s the winter doldrums. The kids no longer want to go play in the snow. You are tired of them either being underfoot or want them off of their electronics. What to do?

I downloaded this graphic years ago and though it says Easie Peasie on the bottom, a website search did not reveal an actual link to give you. So, with my apologies to the actual author, enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite craft? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Rain Wet Earth: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Yard River by Randy Cockrell

A monsoon storm blew in. Great dark clouds piled up over the escarpment and filled the sky, spilling down into the valley. Rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightning punctuated the now dark day. The air began to cool—a relief from the heat and humidity.

Rain began to fall. Fat, heavy drops coming one at a time, then the sky opened and water gushed down as though from a fire hose. The gullies and gutters filled and overflowed. I watched from my window, closed against the wind-whipped water. It was over in a few minutes and I stepped out of my front door. The smell of rain wet earth drifted by as the sun broke through the racing clouds and made me want to go camping.

My husband came out and put his arm around my shoulders. “That didn’t last long.”

“Never does. I feel like going camping.”

He nodded. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”

“The camping box is ready. We just need to load it and the tent into the car and get some groceries.”

A grin spread across his face. “No plan? Just go?”

“Yes. A few days in the outdoors will do us both good.”

I got a squeeze. “Sure. Why not. Let’s go camping!”

The still wet pine in the front yard sparkled like Christmas in the sunlight as I turned to go inside to pack. The scent of rain wet earth followed me into the house.

 

Thank You!

243 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

 

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Hassleback Potatoes: Chicklets in the Kitchen Post

hassleback006

This is the time of year for entertaining and while I’m a mashed potatoes kind of girl, once in a while it’s nice to change things up. Hassleback potatoes are named for the Austrian restaurant that developed them. Deceptively simple to make and very elegant on the plate, these are delicious.

Hardware

Cutting Board

Knife

Baking pan (I was cooking for two so I only needed an 8-inch square pan)

Large metal or wooden spoon

Small saucepan for melting butter

 hassleback001

Ingredients

4 whole, peeled Yukon gold potatoes (Other recipes I saw called for baking potatoes (russets) or even sweet potatoes.) The potatoes I used were small so we had two each. Judge your needs accordingly.

1 stick butter

Salt and Pepper

hassleback002

Melt the butter over low heat. To see the rest, click here.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What is your favorite kind of potatoes? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Waiting: Friday Flash Fiction Story

Baby by Randy Cockrell

Baby by Randy Cockrell

I watched the seconds pass on my digital watch, counting the passing of my life. My hands trembled, my mother’s tremors now part of my existence. Better than my brother, though, who developed his tremors in his thirty’s. Mine at least waited until I reached my sixties, when it wasn’t a strange sight to see an old woman’s hands shake.

The nurses scurried through the halls along with the occasional harassed-looking doctor. It occurred to me that a harried-looking doctor didn’t project much confidence. Was harried the step before panic? I didn’t know the precise hierarchy of that sort of thing was. And why were they harried? Were people sicker than they’d anticipated? My mouth went dry. Where was our doctor? I checked the watch again—it continued to count the seconds of my life, my future racing up to me then whooshing by, gone, history.

I drew a deep breath and sighed. A lot of history—much of it faded in my mind. Not dementia or Alzheimer’s, thank God. Just distance. I never was much for dwelling on the past. I tend to live in the present or the future. But to be honest, in my sixties, there wasn’t a lot of future left, given the current standard women’s lifespan. My heart leapt when a doctor stopped outside the door. I waited, breath held, but he checked his watch and moved off. Ne news for me yet, then. I went back to breathing. What was taking so long?

It was November and my mind drifted to Thanksgiving. It was at my house this year, my brother and his wife, my sister, all their kids. Mom was gone two years. I’ll make her recipe for rice pudding, a family favorite and she’ll be present in our hearts.

Another doctor paused outside the door, a nurse walked up to him. I couldn’t hear what was being said, the waiting room TV was blasting a soap opera. I was surprised. I didn’t know any were still running. The nurse nodded and left. The doctor, too, in the opposite direction. I sank back into my seat. My own anxiety level rising.

I dropped the year-old magazine I was holding onto the side table. I wasn’t reading it—I might as well let someone else pick it up to hold.

The air conditioning kicked on and I pulled my sweater closer around me. Why is the A/C on in November? I gave the vent a glare and considered moving my seat but a look around revealed everyone else was as annoyed as I was. So when I heard my name called out, I jumped. “Yes!” I hurried to the nurse in the door.

“Mrs. Johns?”

I tucked my purse under my arm. “That’s me.”

“Your daughter, Jessica, is fine. You have a new grandson.” She smiled at me, the corners of her blue eyes crinkling. “Nine pounds, six ounces. He’s healthy as can be.”

My knees quivered with relief. “Can I see her?”

“Right this way, Mrs. Johns.”

I followed her—already planning the baby’s first Thanksgiving.

 

Thank You for Reading!

513 Words

 

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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Interrupted 2: Friday Flash Fiction Post

Revolution: last book in the Gulliver Station Cover Reveal by Connie Cockrell

Revolution: last book in the Gulliver Station by Connie Cockrell

See Interrupted 6/17/16

She changed her lunch spot from the grocery store because the same guy figured out her routine and began approaching her every day, no matter how often she told him she wasn’t interested. Apparently her appearance was encouragement enough.

So now, even though the selection of lunch items was limited to three pre-made and wrapped sandwiches and two soups, cream of mushroom and vegan vegetable, she spent her lunch hour at Bectie’s Tea and Coffee. It seemed the patrons of Bectie’s understood that someone with a book or working on their pads, were engaged and not interested in conversation.

She settled into the café chair, tuna salad and a slice of lemon cake beside her, Caramel Macchiato at hand, and opened her new book, Jania, Princess of Taria.

Janie yelled as the ship lurched. “Fire all weapons!”

The ship shuddered as all six guns blasted, the gyro’s barely able to stabilize the craft as the gunners complied.

“Princess!” Admiral Rayquil grabbed the back of her command chair. “The Peet fleet is too powerful – they outnumber our ships four to one.”

Jania slammed her fist onto the arm of the chair. He’s right. They’ve already destroyed half of my ships. “Order a retreat.” She could feel the slow burn of anger and shame but it was better to fall back and regroup than be destroyed.

“Fleet!” Admiral Rayquil shouted over the sparking and explosions of the bridge consoles. “Prepare to….”

“Hey there!”

She jerked with the shock of the enthusiastic greeting and the sound of metal chair legs dragging across the tile floor. She blinked as she dragged her consciousness across the galaxies to the reality of Bectie’s.

The guy, twenty-five at her guess, hipster hat on his head and a goatee that needed several more months to actually fill in, dropped into the chair opposite her and settled his clear plastic cup – a latte by the look of it – on the table. He stuck out his hand. “Brandon.”

She resisted her manners in politeness and stared at him. “Do I know you?”

His hand remained suspended over the table. She looked around. Every table had someone at it. All of the other customers were male. Of course. “Why are you here?”

Brandon’s grin fell away with his hand, which grabbed his cup and gave a little salute with it. “Best latte in town.” He glanced at her cup–opaque paper so no real way to tell what was in it. The look was his question as to what she was drinking but she was in no mood to satisfy his curiosity.

“I’m here to eat my lunch and read in peace.” She waved at the other tables. “You should make friends at another table.” She opened her book and stared at the pages, eyes skimming the ink on the page but no reading. Waiting.

He twisted out of the chair, legs scraping, and grabbed his latte. “Bitch.” He stomped out of the shop.

She sighed. She just wanted to read her book and eat her lunch. Was that so wrong? She took a bite of her sandwich—the joy of starting her new book spoiled.

“Don’t feel bad.” Bectie appeared at the table, wiping down the half where Brandon had sat. “Happens all the time.”

That did make her feel better. “Thanks.” She sipped her macchiato and took another bite.

Bectie gave her a wink and went back to the counter.

She reopened her book.

“Prepare to disengage.” The ship was hit with another volley from the Peet.

“Disengage!”

 

 

Thank You!

589 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

 

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Fall Photo Contest: Monday Blog Post

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From October 2009 Upstate NY

Have been traveling to California and back to see my daughter and arrived home after noon today, totally wiped out. So instead of my usual Monday post, how about this. I offer up a contest. Your best fall picture. Yep. I choose from the photos posted to comments. I’ll give you a free ebook if your photo is chosen. I’ll make the winner announcement next Monday (Oct 3rd).

So, to kick it off, I’ve put a photo at the top of the page, just to give you an idea.

Also, just a quick push for my new mug: a halloween one. https://www.gearbubble.com/chihuahuapumpkin2016

Not very scary but cute.

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Tomato Soup: Chicklets in the Kitchen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s the end of summer and I have a glut of tomatoes, especially cherry tomatoes. Fortunately, the variety I chose for this year has that cherry tomato sweetness but isn’t too sweet. What to do with a giant bowl full of cherry tomatoes? Why tomato soup, of course! A few random Amish Paste and Early Girls found their way into the soup as well but it’s all good. The batch ended up making 3 pints of soup. Half a pint made it into my lunch but the rest I froze for future meals. Happy cooking and eating.

Hardware

4 Quart Pot

Cutting Board

Knife

1 or ½ pint freezer containers

Immersion Blender

 

Ingredients

Bowl full of cherry tomatoes, washed

¼ cup sliced onion

2 med garlic cloves, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the onion and garlic. Cut the tomatoes in half.

Click here to see more.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. What do you do with your tomato abundance? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Broken Toe: Monday Blog Post

Early Girl Tomatoes flank a Zucchini plant

Early Girl Tomatoes flank a Zucchini plant

Newest News:

Friday a bag of heavy groceries slid out of the child seat where I’d hurriedly put it and directly onto my right big toe! Painfully I hobbled to the car, loaded groceries in, put the cart in the corral and drove home. Once the groceries were put away the toe still hurt like the dickens. I peeled off shoe and sock and there was a small bruise already forming just below my toenail.

In sandals the rest of the day, I watched as the toe became more bruised and swollen. I couldn’t bend it, touch it, or walk on it. By Saturday I knew—it was broken. WebMD said the doc would just tape it to the next toe. Takes 2 – 4 weeks to heal. So I didn’t go to the doctor. It’s taped, with a cushion, to my next toe and I have bought a larger pair of sandals to wear so I can put a sock on to keep my feet warm.

Why is this important? Because I’ve been doing research hikes for articles for a hiking book the local newspaper is doing. I had planned a hike for Sunday. I had to drop that. I’m also not going to be able to document the regular Tuesday hikes, for the twice per month articles in the paper. I’m seriously bummed. And the toe still aches. I’ll spare you the picture.

Giveaways:

The Spring Into Reading giveaway closes in June. I have links to it on my facebook, twitter, and website pages. This giveaway I offer a free ebook or for second prize, a $5 Amazon card. There are other prizes as well. Over a hundred prizes plus a grand prize. It’s not hard to enter and there are multiple ways to enter. You could easily win a prize. If you haven’t entered yet, please enter today and every day.

Shout Out:

Out-of-Time-Cover

A shout-out goes to my next author interview, Jason Meadors. Jason’s interview will appear on Wednesday, the 25th. Yep! This Wednesday. Don’t miss out on Jason’s interview and a little bit about him. Can’t wait? Check out his site: www.grandpa-tells-stories.com.

Garden News:

The local garden club held a plant sale on Saturday. Hubby, I, and my broken toe hobbled to the sale site where I bought 2 Early Girl tomato plants and a zucchini plant. All are quite large and blooming. That will be a good head start on my veggie season. Yay!

Where Will I Be?:

Mystery Con Flyer

June 3rd and 4th I’m at the Scottsdale MysteryCon, Death and Deception in the Desert. I’m giving a presentation there at 3pm on Saturday on writing a mystery. The conference is just two weeks away! Tickets for both days are only $39. I do hope you can make it to that one. Here’s a flyer telling all about it. Register in advance on the site so we know how many are coming to lunch, then email me or comment here that you registered. I’ll put your name in for a drawing of a special prize on both Friday night and Saturday at my presentation. The prize? A bracelet, hand made by me, with Kindred Spirits as the theme. I’m nearly done with the book marks. I still need to make the bracelets. I’m the last presentation of the day on Saturday in my room, so if you want any of my books autographed, buy them at the book seller and bring them to the presentation. Can you make it? Email me.

July 23rd is the Payson Book Festival, partly funded by the Arizona Humanities. I’ll be at my table all day, ready to talk to YOU! I hope you can make it as we will have over 70 authors attending as well as music, food, author presentations and workshops. It will be stupendous! www.paysonbookfestival.org and click on the Meet the Authors tab.

Want more details about these events? Click here for more information.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up prizes on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. My next newsletter is being drafted so sign up today. Be prepared for fun and contests!

Newest Book Release:

Kindred Spirits Ad

Kindred Spirits released on March 14th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Gumroads  or Chatebooks today! You can also see all of my books on www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s a big help to me in the book rankings each vendor uses to promote the books on their sites. Thanks in advance.

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Jealousy: Friday Flash Fiction Post

Misty by Justchasingfireflies by d2ybmge.jpg via DeviantArt.com

Misty by Justchasingfireflies by d2ybmge.jpg via DeviantArt.com

Edmund hissed.

His slave worried over the device. Enough was enough. The sun inched its way across the sky while the slave fussed and bothered over the machine. Edmund was bored. The slave had forgotten him.

He muttered to the other lord and lady. What is wrong with the slave?

“We don’t keep it busy enough.” Peaches licked her claws as she eyed the others.

“Nonsense.” Edmund rolled over and stretched then lay on his side. His yellow eyes blinked. We must give the slave some time to herself.

“Bollox.” Zaphod’s fur stood up straight as he arched his back. “Too much time on their own projects and they start to forget who’s in charge.”

Peaches rose up from her platform on the scratching tree and sank her claws into the central support, stretching her back into an inverted arch. “I agree with Zaphod. Let them take an inch and they want the whole house. Remember when we were kittens? All that bother about us not sleeping on the bed.” She ripped the carpet from the pillar. “As though the bed belonged to her!”

Edmund shook his head. “The slave uses the device to document us. That’s a good thing.”

“Sometimes.” Zaphod licked his paw and washed behind an ear. “Not often enough. The slave leaves us locked in the house for hours and comes home all involved with the device. What do we get when we investigate?”

“You walk on her controller.” Peaches coughed up a hair ball. “I’ve seen the monitor. All of the pictures go crazy. Your meddling ruined a perfectly good picture of me draped across the chair seat.”

“You think too much of yourself.” Zaphod sneered.

Peaches launched from the cat tree and chased Zaphod around the house. Candlesticks were knocked from the fireplace mantle, the end table lamp fell over and they pulled the curtains from one of the living room windows before they hissed at each other face to face and the slave separated them with tiny treats.

Back on the cat tree, Edmond sneered. “And you criticize the slave.” He rolled his eyes as he sharpened his claws. “Kittens. That’s what you are.”

Zaphod licked his paw and cleaned behind an ear. “Just a little exercise.

“The matter still remains about the device.” Peaches leapt down from the cat tree and stretched on the floor. “Time to take matters into my own paws.”

Zaphod and Edmond watched as Peaches wandered, nonchalantly, into the office. They followed. When they arrived, Peaches had already claimed the slave’s lap. Zaphod leapt up onto the printer. This device shook at random intervals and paper spit out that was easily hooked and destroyed. Edmond was left with the pile of paper in a basket at the side of the desk. Not ideal but paper wasn’t the cold of the glass topped desk, either. Good enough.

The slave did her best to work around Peaches, reaching over and around to the controller. Peaches wouldn’t hear of it. She butted her head into the slave’s hands at every move. The slave tried to remove Peaches. That only ended with the slave’s hand bleeding from Peaches’ retaliatory strike.

The slave set the detested device on the desktop. Peaches left the slave’s lap and approached the device. She sniffed it, then ever so gently, pushed it over the edge of the desk.

The slave leapt up, chair flying backward across the room. Edmond hissed and sprang straight up, paper flying through the air. Zaphod yowled and leapt onto the slave, who shrieked as the device hit the floor.

Peaches yawned and paced deliberately out of the room. Edmund and Zaphod followed as the slave yammered, kneeling over the broken device.

“My work is done.” Peaches eased into her cat bed, curled her tail over her nose and closed her eyes.

Edmond and Zaphod looked at each other. “I didn’t do it.” Edmond swiped a paw across his face.

“Me either.” Zaphod leapt up the cat tree and snuggled into a corner of a carpeted room. “Coming?”

Edmond followed. “Sure, twin. Don’t want to be around Peaches. She’s going to get it from the slave.”

They snuggled down together. “Not our problem.” Zaphod wrapped his tail around his nose. “Let her deal with it.”

 

 

Thank You!

712 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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The Diner: Flash Fiction Friday Post

Cafe001

The local radio station played in the background, a non-offensive blend of modern western music that appealed to the usual customer of the diner. The place was lightly populated this morning when I came in. Usually, you couldn’t find a table, or even a stool at the counter, because of the regulars who knew the names of all the waitresses as well as the line cook and the busser.

I was in for breakfast while my hubby was at the dentist. I enjoyed my alone time, where I wasn’t just half of a couple. Don’t get me wrong. Married for over four decades I was happily married to my best friend. It’s just nice, sometimes, to be my own person.

Across the diner, I noticed a man in a ball cap. Even with my glasses on all I could read from the cap was World War II Veteran. Not a tall man, his face was wrinkled around his goatee with time but his eyes behind the large lenses of his glasses were alert and he noticed everything that went on within the diner walls.

He was alone in his booth, a newspaper open on the table beside him. It looked like he was having oatmeal for his breakfast. I wondered about his life. Had he been Army, Navy, a Marine during his war? Was he in the Pacific or Europe? Had he been a prisoner of war? What happened when he came home? I supposed, like most men of his era, he married, had children, worked in the steel mills or the booming auto industry or went to California and like my now deceased father-in-law, found work in the aerospace industry with one of the big airplane manufacturers. Maybe he used his G.I. Bill and went to college and became a businessman or a university professor, built a nice, middle-class home and contributed to his community.

Dress in our town is pretty casual. You generally couldn’t tell who had money and who didn’t by clothing alone. It was a point of pride among most of the town retiree population to buy most of their clothing from one of the many thrift stores in town. His attire didn’t really tell me anything about him, except for that hat, which looked fairly new.

More people came in—an older couple, a family with two young children. Two young men, boisterous and spouting millennial slang entered and sat in the booth behind me. “Bro” and “Man” punctuated every sentence they spoke in voices that carried across the diner drowning out all other conversation. Too loud and too familiar for my taste I wondered what the man, who I now labeled, The Vet, thought?

I saw the Vet stare at the young men behind me. They talked fast and laughed at their own jokes which echoed too loud across the sparsely populated diner. More people came in, older couples mostly but one young man came in alone. That brought the tally to three of us single diners. He sat alone, head down in the menu, as though he was ashamed to have to appear by himself.

The Vet finished his breakfast and pulled bills from his wallet, dropping a couple on his table. I watched him get up, bringing a portable oxygen concentrator with him. I hadn’t noticed an oxygen tube from my table. He moved the way I did, taking care and moving slowly, giving hips a chance to remember what they were supposed to do. Despite that, he walked to the register easily for a man that would be in his late eighties or even into his nineties. He paid his bill, joked a moment with the cashier, and left.

Through the windows, I watched him walk to a beat-up old Chevy pick-up truck with a cap on the back. The brown paint was dull, faded and peeling in places from the brutal Arizona sun. I saw a small dog leap up on the steering wheel to greet him. So, the Vet wasn’t totally alone. I was glad. I hoped, as he got in and pulled away, that he had family in the area. That he was able to play with his great-grandchildren. I hoped he belonged to the local veteran’s group, or car club, or anything else that allowed him to get out of a lonely house and stay active.

I found myself on the point of tears, worried for the Vet yet wishing him a happy life, whatever he had left of it. My breakfast was done when I saw my husband walk in the door of the diner. He waved and came over.

“Are you finished?”

I smiled up at him. “Yes.” I dropped three dollars on the table and stood up, slowly, my hips had to remember their job, after all and picked up the check. “How was the dentist?”

“Just a little filling,” he told me as we walked to the register. “See anyone you know?”

I smiled to myself. “No, not quite.”

 

 

Thank You!

837 Words

Find more of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Group here: http://www.fmwriters.com/flash.html

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