Kitten Wars

For any who wonder why this is starting in the middle, Kitten Wars was started on my Facebook account. I will be continuing it here and possibly combining the two into a cohesive unit at some later date.

6/27/14

I may have adopted an older cat into my household. For those of you who have pets, you know that introducing a new animal can be stressful for all parties until the newest member either joins in with the group or is found a new home. In this case, I am still on the fence. She is a very sweet cat who is 12 years old who was a single pet. Her owner died a while back and her current caretakers needed a new place for her to stay.

Upon entering my apartment, she came out of her carrier, sat on laps, and enjoyed being petted. When Buddy put the Big Buddy NOSE in her face, she did as any cat would do, Teeny slapped it. But being the lady that she is, she restrained from using her claws. She didn’t even hiss. Buddy refrained from getting near her after that. His feelings were very hurt. After all, he has just about raised Cleo, Teeny is only a tiny bit larger than Cleo so, in his mind, is still a baby.

After a few minutes, she left the lap of the person she loved and wandered around on the couch until she began to knead on the couch pillows, making herself at home. She walked on the end table and almost jumped on the piano. Later that night, she wandered around my bedroom and even took a nap with me then jumped to my desk to investigate it when I fired up the computer. I thought all was well.

The next morning, Teeny was nowhere to be found. I searched all over the apartment going so far as to load extra things into storage to make sure I wasn’t missing any areas. The new addition to our family had disappeared in the dark and no one had a clue where she was. Granted if they did, Buddy and Cleo were definitely not talking. Then I looked over and saw Cleo lying down in the middle of the hallway. Slowly she raised her head and gave a very soft almost lazy hiss without moving from her position. Accompanying that, I saw a ball of grey tabby fluff scoot around into the kitchen and out of sight again. I sighed in relief at the thought that at least she was still in the apartment.

She remained hidden for the rest of that day and into the next. When I returned with Buddy from his walk the next morning, Teeny had left a message loud and clear in the middle of the carpet. She absolutely refused to share the litter box. As I bent over to pick it up, I heard a yowl, hiss, and spit come from under the couch. Coming closer, I looked to the corner where the night stand was and saw her perched beneath it. She was not arched, but rather lying there baring her teeth at me. The super sweet kitty had disappeared and we were into psycho kitty for the next few days including when I tried to feed her. Every time anyone came within about 5 feet of her, Teeny’s eyes went wide and the show of absolute aggression began all over again.

Finally, she and I had a come to Jesus meeting where she began to understand that in my house cats do not use such poor behavior and language. She kicked, spat, and tried to bite me during our talk, but no harm was done. Instead, I picked her up and carted her to the guest bathroom where she could hiss and complain at her surroundings to her heart’s content. I showed her where the food was and she knocked it to the floor. With that, I decided to let her have her fit alone. No audience was necessary. With my son gone, there wasn’t a thing in there other than the towels for her to damage. There also was not a person or animal for her to hurt.

I brought her food, water, and a new litter box to find her curled up in the sink. She was happy curled up into a ball there. I had company coming in so I let her be while she calmed herself. When I decided that she had calmed down enough, she and I spoke some more and I opened the bathroom door into my son’s room where she would have free reign between the two rooms to decide that we were OK people. I pet her, scratched her chin, but left her where she wanted to be, in the sink. Later on, she wandered over into his room and laid down behind the futon. My guest spent a great deal of time talking with her as did I. Each time progress was made and she began purring and reaching for the pets she wanted. After a while, she made her way to resting on the futon. She has now chosen to reside on it as her throne and the sweet kitty that I met has returned. I’m giving her a few days of quiet to regain her equilibrium and to become adjusted to the scents of Buddy and Cleo before I open the doors to my son’s room permanently to see if this kitty will integrate gracefully into my family. I truly hope she does.

Simple Pork Roast

Simple Pork Roast

2-3 Lbs of pork roast
3 potatoes peeled and chunked into bite sized pieces
1 onion peeled and sliced (I usually use a sweet, yellow preferably Vidalia)
4-6 carrots peeled and chunked into bite sized pieces
4-6 parsnips peeled and chunked into bite sized pieces
Garlic
Salt
Pepper
Rosemary
1-1/2 C Water

1) Preheat oven to 350
2) Coat the bottom of a 13X9 pan with the spices in a light coat (I never measure these, I simple make sure that there is some a little bit of everywhere)
3) Rinse off the roast, then place it in the center of the pan
4) Place the cut veggies around it leaving out about ¼ cup of onion
5) Coat the top of the roast with the spices, then cover that with the left-over onion
6) Sprinkle the spices over the veggies
7) Bake at 350 for ½ hour, stir the veggies making sure they are not sticking
8) Add water. There should be enough water to rise about a ½ inch up on the pan
9) Return to the oven and bake another 30-45 minutes until the top of the roast is nicely browned (Watch for the top of the roast to crisp up just a bit on the edges. The fatty portions will brown and the rest will turn golden. Also, check the veggies at this time. If they are not done, cover the roast with aluminum foil and put it back in for up to 30 minutes. I had an oven that always read the right temperature but baked slower than slow, so just make sure)
10) Once the top is browned insert a meat thermometer for the desired temperature. (Here I will actually slice my roast to see if it is the color that I desire. I go for a very soft pink inside with no running bloody juices.
11) Take the pan out of the oven, cover with aluminum foil and let sit for 15-20 minutes before serving.
12) The carrots will still have a little crisp to them, the potatoes should be sliceable with a fork.

Variations

1) Sometimes I use broth or V-8 instead of water. Both add a separate richness to the meal. But when I just want the taste of the pork, I use water.
2) I have also used turnips, northern beans, and other assorted vegetables. It truly depends on my mood. They all work, but some will disintegrate and become mushy.
3) Another variation is when I choose to use apples with the onions. Then I swap out the garlic and rosemary for sweeter spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger. I also use sliced fresh ginger.

Quick Snack

This is one of my favorite snacks for after work with some hot tea, coffee, or wine.

Quick Snack

4 pieces of Italian bread for toasting
½ C Shredded mozzarella
3 Oz Softened cream cheese
6-8 Grape tomatoes sliced (about 1-2 per slice of toast you are making)
¼ C Sliced portabella mushrooms (optional)( Onion pieces or another veggie) may be substituted
8 pieces of softly shredded baby spinach
4-8 pieces of shredded fresh basil (about 1-2 leaves per slice depending on the size of the leaves)
Garlic

I use a toaster oven for this, but the same technique can be done in an oven.
1) Spread a light coating of cream cheese on the top of each slice of bread
2) Lightly coat the bread with garlic powder
3) Arrange the veggies on top of the cream cheese
4) Cover with mozzarella
5) Toast for about 10 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.
6) Slice into wedges. Serve hot.

To Ask or Not to Ask #WOEGTTT

“The lilies go next to the curtains over in the right corner!” she directed Thomas, a volunteer at the church, as she placed her own vase on the opposite side of the altar. He placed them where she asked then exited towards the sacristy to get more supplies. Long nights of cutting ribbons, flowers, and sorting out all the details for her grandfather’s service had Kaitlyn’s head drooping. Her back ached from all the work but who was left to tend him while he was dying and now in his death? All were dead. One by one her family had met their ends none in the bed of old age save her grandpa. Sorrow pierced through her but it had to be done. The details, the details, must be followed to the letter according to his last words.

As she placed the brilliant hand-beaten copper bowl filled with holy water beside his head, the wind picked up, branches slapped against the windows threatening to shatter them. For an instant, Kaitlyn swore there was more in that bowl than holy water. Something whirled in its depths drawing her in, but then it was gone as the front doors to the church whipped opened, slamming against the walls.

Shaking her head at her momentary folly, she placed the deep purple, blue, fuchsia and white candles around the bowl in the diagram left by her grandfather. She laid out the herbs he requested then stepped aside to set the braziers alight with the spices at his head, feet, and hands. Sandalwood, cinnamon, and others mixed to create a murky aroma thickening the air around him, cocooning his body. Some of the spices would have been hard to come by in their small town by the ocean had her grandfather not been prepared. As he lay dying, he guided her through secrets in their old house that she’d never plumbed as a child. What else had he kept locked away?

The wind whipped a shutter off the side window bashing it into the stained glass, crashing hard enough to shatter, yet it did not penetrate. The glass, while broken into thousands of pieces remained in place, frozen.

“Miss, Finish It! The ceremony must be done and only you are left to complete it!” Father Eckels took her arm in his leading her to the altar.

Kaitlyn started at his rudeness. Father Eckels had never so much as touched her before and now this? She raised her eyebrows, “But surely Father, this is just a Nor’Easter. It will blow over soon enough. Shouldn’t we wait for the mourners to come?”

“Surely he told you! You cannot be his kin without knowing the reason why he never left! Why your family always searched, save him?” Father’s eyes grew huge as the wind whipped stronger, pounding rain and now hail against the stones of the church. He spun in his robes, his body tense with imminent danger.

Pulling her to him, “You MUST complete the ceremony, NOW!” With a quick swipe of his hand, he cut into her arm drawing it over the copper bowl forcing her blood to drip into its depths while she struggled in his arms.

“No! Are you mad?”Kaitlyn screamed as she pushed against him, shoving for all she was worth, but unable to escape. Kicking out, she lost her balance as he caught her up, taking her into the heart of the incense. She felt her muscles soften as she was forced to breathe in until all she could do was listen. Gently, he laid her down beside her grandfather, connecting their hands together.

He began chanting softly, deeply in a language that she recognized from her grandfather, yet did not know. She felt herself nodding as slowly, slowly the words began to echo. Images flashed through her mind. Defiance, protection, security, strength, and love. Yes, all of these and more. Webbed, intertwined within her psyche and then she saw it. The core, the reason for her family. Floating above herself, she felt his voice take her through the past, through the ceremony to the beginning. To the Promise. Broken all those years ago, it was up to her family to protect, safeguard and she was the last one left. Power unwrapped within her: unleashed, unchained, unguarded.

The window shattered, this time faltering as the wind burst inside sending shards of glass throughout the church. Pierced by spears of colored glass, Father Eckels faltered, falling to his knees.

“Die now knowing she will follow ending her line!” came a voice of beauty formed from glass.

Father Eckels only continued his tale blood welling up, dripping from his wounds. Forcing himself up, he lit the candles deep within the incense and began the chant.

Struggling, Kaitlyn brought herself out of the trance to sit up staring at the horrific scene around her. Fury at this interruption whipped through her. Gripping her grandpa’s hand in hers, she kissed it.

Rising, Kaitlyn turned to face the elemental, the glass sheathed intelligence trying to infiltrate the altar.

Arming herself with new born power, she cried out,“Leave this place!” Shouting the last word the force of her anger focused on the beast. Her hair whipped behind her as she stood, all traces of the incense leaving her.

“I said, LEAVE!” She growled.

A wall of force accompanied her very Will as the wind elemental was pushed backwards towards the window it had burst through. Taking a step closer to the being, Kaitlyn raised her hand focusing her power and began the ancient chant that Father Eckels kept repeating, enhancing it with the strength of her fury. Step by step, she walked the beast out of the church until the window righted itself once more becoming whole.

Stalking back to the altar, she blew out the candles. Taking the copper bowl, she dumped its contents on the old man. Glaring down at her grandfather as his eyes
opened, she growled, “Next time you want help, ASK!”

Master Card and Mistress Visa

(You know who you are…)

Master Card and Mistress Visa
Met on a balcony one day
Said Master Card to his lady
“Fair one, we should go play!
For in the village by the brook
Is waiting a lady fair
And her lord wouldst buy for her
A most cuddle-some teddy bear!”

Mistress Visa nodded once
Then raised her eyes and smiled
Ne’er has there been nor e’er will be
A more handsome man beguiled
For what she knew was something “sweet”
Yet, something all too true
For the lord who wandered in the town
Had a credit card of blue

Said she, “Her loving lord
Shall purchase a soft little bear
And then when he is walking off
Perhaps a bauble for her hair
Then later as he walks this way
And that within the town
He might espy some lovely silk
Of which to make her gown.”

Said Master Card with a curious gleam,
“My lady you are so devious
How could I ever dared esteem
To ever be as mischievous?
You’ve planted ideas in his mind
For an afternoon to buy
Everything within the market
And all without a sigh.”

Said Mistress Visa, not quite coy,
“Dear sir, you accuse my style?
Why sir, it is with efficiency
That I encouraged his country mile.
For in this day he will have spent
What could be the ransom of a king
And at day’s end it all will be
With the purchase of a ring

He won’t know how he did it
He probably won’t care
But in the end with charges many
To look at the bill, he won’t dare
He’ll justify it to his lass
She was worth it all, you see
That is, of course, unless she too
Ends the day with charger’s glee.”

Thai Lemon-Ginger Chicken Soup

Cooking and I have a very close relationship. If a person pays close attention to what I am preparing, they can pretty much tell what mood I’m in and whether I am healthy or on the edge of sick. Overall, my cooking is beginning to lean more and more towards Middle Eastern and Thai. I’ve learned that when I prepare foods from those areas that my body responds better and heals faster. So, now when I fix chicken soup, well, it isn’t the soup I learned to prepare when I was growing up. Here is the soup that I fixed literally the day before I came down with my current summer cold. I think had I paid attention to the ingredient list and what I was making, I might have picked up a few “anti-cold” meds too, lol but even the cook doesn’t always know how the soup will turn out 😉

Thai Lemon-Ginger Chicken Soup
1 3-4 pound chicken (I never cut them up. I just boil them whole until they fall/pull off the bone)
½ large white onion sliced
½ large red onion sliced
1/2-3/4 cup sliced mushrooms (depends on your taste)
1 C fresh green beans broken into bite size chunks
1 large salad pack of baby spinach, gently shredded
½ package of shredded broccoli/carrot/cabbage for salad (not mixed up just the veggies)
¾ C orzo uncooked
½ of a large palm of fresh ginger shredded or diced (I do both depending on my mood)
¼-1/2 C Mazzi’s Thai Sweet Chili Sauce
1 32 oz Chicken Broth
Zest of 1 large lemon (NO WHITE PITH. The pith makes it VERY bitter!)
Juice of the same lemon
3 egg yolks
½ Tbs Lemon pepper (more can be added later if your lemon is not strong.)
½ tsp Cumin
½ tsp Ground Mustard
½ tsp Cilantro
2 heaping TBS fresh minced Garlic (or jar garlic)
Salt to taste (I have actually forgotten to salt it a few times)

1) Take out the inside bag of organs from the chicken. Boil the chicken with the WHITE onion, lemon-pepper, garlic, and a touch of salt for the water. I usually bring the water almost up to coat the top of the chicken then layer the spices thickly on top. This will take up to an hour depending on your stove and how hot you boil things. Where I live, I can’t use “high” or the fire alarm goes off, so some things take a bit more time to cook.
2) You will know that the chicken is done when you touch a knife or a fork to it and the flesh falls away from the bones. At this point I set out a huge bowl with a colander in it. DO NOT throw away the water! You want it to help make the soup! Strain the chicken.
3) After it has cooled, remove the chicken from the bones and put it back into the pot.
4) Add the broth, the veggies (red onion, spinach, green beams, broccoli mix, garlic), lemon zest, and the spices at this time. Simmer/low boil for 1 hour. (Here I put a lid cracked to the side a little to let some of the steam stay inside. Just check it and stir occasionally.)
5) Save out about 2-3 cups of the water you boiled the chicken in a medium bowl. Add the rest of the mix except the fat to the new soup. (Here I use a turkey baster so I’m pulling up from the bottom and avoiding the fat on top.)
6) With the last 2-3 cups, add the 3 egg yolks. Whisk them into it. This you will add to the soup. It will thicken it, giving it a murky depth.
7) Add the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, stir it in well. (You may choose to add more if you want it spicier.)
8) Add the orzo and the lemon juice. Return to boil. Orzo cooks very fast and will retain its shape over time.
9) Taste. At this point you may or may not choose to add salt.

Serve hot once the orzo is cooked.

This makes a nice soup pot for a gathering. It also freezes well for those of us with smaller families who cook big and need to freeze for later 

Buy Me Something Icy

“You’re a god? Right, tell me another one!” That’s usually the last thing most mortals get out before I blast ‘em. Granted, not very godlike, but hey, I’m not half demon for nothing, right? A girl’s gotta have her fun! At least I don’t eat them, well not anymore. Mom thinks she cured me of that a few decades ago. Fact is, mortals just give me indigestion, now.

But, I guess I should tell ya something about myself, huh? I could lie. I mean, I could make my daddy REALLY proud and tell you I’m some svelte five foot ten blonde who goes around in itty bitty shorts who likes to bend over, with super long legs and huge … I’m sure you can fill in the blanks there all of you with the filthy minds! Get your head out of the gutter, puhlease!

After all what’s wrong with me? SO what if my head doesn’t even begin to reach your shoulder blade! I count, too! Well, ok, I’m not even a blonde much less svelte. Yep, bleach is my best friend. Even us goddess types need a little help every now and then.

But then again, I’m only half goddess. You see my parents have this deal with the pantheon. It’s kinda like the one the Greeks had with Persephone, but WAY COOLER than that. You see, my Mom is the goddess of the hunt and my dad is the primo demon of torture. Do ya get it? Yep, half the year I get to hunt stuff with Mom. We have fun, but even that gets a little boring after a while. I mean, Mom’s into this hunt and release mode right now. What’s the point? I mean, she won’t even kill it to eat it anymore. All we do is hunt, hunt, hunt, with no reward. The second half of the year, Dad and I go out to torture the creatures that we hunt. But Dad’s not only about physical torture, he’s also into the emotional kind.

SO, I get to use the skills Mom has ingrained in me in the mortal world with all of you unsuspecting men. I may not be the buxom blonde that you adore, but I can pull you in, just the same. Once I get you into my clutches, Dad’s skills come into play. Did I say play? Oh YEAH! So, come on over, buy me something icy.

The Night Has Teeth

Journey of the Damned “TNHTeeth Challenge”

As the day lingered until it finally succumbed to dark
He waited in the shadows
His coat and frayed jeans hiding him in the depths,
The corners of the life sucking denizens of the city
He knew “It” was out there waiting to strike
Knew with every atom of essence within his dark soul
Knew also, that he had waited long enough
The time had come

Once a long time ago, they knew each other
At one time they had been inseparable
That was until the Hunger overtook their friendship
The Hunger changed them irreparably
Bringing about fits of berserk feeding frenzies in one
While forcing bouts of deepest loathing and depression in the other
Normally, he stayed away, ignoring the feeding
He couldn’t any longer
That life taking feeding had entered his domain
Little did “his friend” know but he had returned
To follow, to stalk, to hunt

Through the dark alleys among the drink- saturated brains
He stalked, wrapping shadows around him without a thought
Only those already damned souls knew he was there
Their greedy hands followed him, begging in remorse
Begging for forgiveness
Only to be snatched back as he
Turned his glowing eyes upon them
Who was he to forgive them that which he had committed?
Who was he to pardon them?
He who had fallen further than they could ever hope to fly
NO, he grimaced to himself
He was no saint, no preacher, no holy man anymore
He was just as damned as they, if not more so

Only one question remained to be asked in his mind
Who was the monster?
The stalker or that which stalks it?

Jon Quinn

Night swept around him coloring the air in dank decrepitude. Standing, looking at the ground where he had just dropped the last of the demons, Jon Quinn knelt, touching his sword tip to the earth. Killing, fighting, protecting those he loved and those who would never know him was getting harder with each year. His body was a mass of scars both inside and out. Scars that would never heal for the promises he had made. His head bowed to the blood soaked demon before him as he made his prayers and released the soul of the lost one to the beyond. Perhaps this one would choose to not return.

As he rose, bones creaking with age, he caught a whiff of sandalwood echoing among the dank graves. No one was with him, he knew that, yet, there it was, that smell that told him it was time. Squaring his shoulders, Quinn walked to the oldest part of the cemetery where the vines drooped from tree limbs covering the ground. The markers had long disintegrated into dust and crumbled stones, the old stone path barely a deer track now, but he knew the way. When he came close to them, the vines breathed of him, waving to and fro gently touching him, then shifted out of the way revealing the most ancient of tombs yet still untouched by age.

The onyx tomb doors were open. Elyan was here. Gripping his blood caked sword in front of him, Quinn squared his shoulders and entered. Candles danced lighting around him as he walked to the center of the tomb, looking but not seeing her, not surprised. He pulled out a single white piece of cloth to wipe the blood from his sword, cleaning it as the fabric absorbed the mess as if drinking the blood into itself, drinking in the evil. Clean again, he raised the sword up with both hands in front of him and knelt samurai style in front of the altar ready for her bidding. He tipped his head back, but not in supplication, but rather waiting for her order, her demand.

“It is time, Jon Quinn. You’re usefulness is up.” Her sibilant voice slid over the marble. He heard rather than saw her scales slide around the columns of the tomb until she was finally before him. Her lovely face before him, stern eyes filled with determination and remorse.

“I see you are ready.”

Quinn’s hands shook as he lowered his sword accepting his fate. His would not question her this time. Gently, he placed his sword beside his leg, ready to complete his task.

“I know, bright one,“ His aged voice faltered as he undid his kimono never taking his eyes off of hers.

“You served our master well, this lifetime.” Her voice cracked and a ripple raced through her scales. Reaching a hand out, she traced his face softly, pushing his long gray locks out of the way. Leaning over she kissed his lips one last time, for this was the moment left to them, then curled her emerald body around him, cuddling his human one to hers trying to alter this never-ending cycle of pain that he had bargained for in order to save her.

“My Elyan, it is as it is” Quinn closed his eyes, nodded then raised his sword. In one quick slice, he ended this life. With his head slumped, he fell over into her arms as she brought him close to her serpentine body. She watched while his life’s blooded drain away, coating her scales, her eyes filled with tears and her scales slowly faded. Moments ticked past into miniature eternities as she became human for the last seconds of his life to hold him as he lay within her arms. Such was their fate.

This time she tried so hard to hold the tears back to not cry, but that too was not to be had and her hot tears came. Tears of sorrow, tears of shame, tears of years, centuries of servitude so that the demon who craved her would never find her. Pulling him closer and closer to her, wishing he didn’t need to do this ever again, but knowing the deal that had been made, she let them fall upon him. Crystal tears of life erasing the scars of age, erasing the lines of years, but never to erase the experiences he had served. With a soft breath, she kissed him one last time knowing this would be the last time she could hold him until the end came again. She said with tears in her voice as she felt the emerald scales begin anew,

“Rise, Jon Quinn, to serve again!”