BOO!

Scared ya, didn’t I?

Happy Halloween, everybody! 

May your night be filled with unspeakable frights and unmentionable horrors.

Turn & Face the Strange

It’s been a crazy week.  Consequently… I’ve not had time to blog, really.  The specifics aren’t relevant to this blog, so I won’t go into details, but there have been some life changes in the past week that I’ve had to cope with.  I was initially worried, but I’ve become a little more optimistic about the new direction.  There’s potential for some good things to arise from an otherwise unenviable circumstance.

Anyway, the recent changes have largely consumed my time and resources, and will likely continue to do so for a few weeks, yet.  So, expect my posting schedule to be even lighter than it has been, unfortunately.  After things settle back down, I’ll have a better idea when and how blogging will fit back in my schedule.  In the meantime, if you’re really dying to know what I’m talking about, drop me a line (or leave me a comment) and I’d be happy to share the story in a non-public forum.

A Halloween Treat

So, I’m still fillling in temporarily over on Serial Central, but I decided to offer a little Halloween Treat… What I’ve posted there today isn’t a reprint of a story I’ve already posted here, but a brand-new tale set in the same world as one of the earlier stories posted there.

The story is themed for Halloween, so it should be fun!

But, I’ll be honest… I didn’t have a lot of time to write this story.  Other things are still, unfortunately, much higher on my priority list right now (and will remain so for the foreseeable future), so those things come first.  Consequently… this story is not quite up to the quality standards I usually set for what I write.  In the nomenclature I use on my Stories & Scribblings page, this one is a “C-“.

At this point in my blogging career – I’d rather not even post a story that hit’s a “C” grade on my own quality standards… but at the same time, right now, that means I’d not be posting stories at all, because I don’t quite have the time to scrub my ideas and my prose to get it up to quality level.  Still, I hope you’ll check it out, and that you’ll enjoy it.  It’s the first of three relatively short pieces under the title:

“On the Night When the Spirits of the Dead are Unsettled in their Graves”

Maybe that got your attention.  And maybe this as well: my prose may not have been up to spec… but I  had some great little ideas peppered about in this piece that riff off some very Halloween-like concepts.  Enjoy…

Applebutter!

A few weeks ago, Dear Wife, B.T., Shasta and I took part in an annual Watkins-family tradition.  We hopped in our car and drove about two hours outside of town into the foothills of the Appalachians, to apple country.  Dear Wife and I have been apple picking every year together since before we were married, and we enjoy it a lot.  About a week after we went apple picking, I started work on another Watkins-family tradition. Using an old “family recipe” passed down to me by me cobbling together different pieces from other recipes found on the internet and then adding in my own concoction of spices, I spent a good chunk of the following Saturday, and most of Saturday Night, making applebutter.

Applebutter (or two words, “Apple Butter“, if you prefer, but I like it as one word), for those of you who’ve never had the pleasure, is a bit like an extra-thick, sweet, dark, spicy applesauce. It can be used as a spread in the same way as jam or jelly or preserves. When I was growing up, I always preferred applebutter over jam or jelly to go on my peanut-butter sandwiches. Or to go on fresh, hot toast. Or just about anything really. Applebutter is just great stuff.  (I highly recommend you try some.)

But I started to notice, a few years ago, that it was getting harder and harder to find applebutter on grocery store shelves. And often, when you could find it, it wasn’t very good quality applebutter. I had learned somewhere along the way that I sometimes like to cook – especially when I’m cooking for a non-singular number of eaters (which is to say, for more than just myself; it’s too boring to cook for just myself)… so I decided to start making my own applebutter!

I didn’t know much about it, at the time, so I looked up some recipes and got some good ideas. This gave me the place to start.  I needed a recipe that I could safely prepare and store in jars for the coming wintry months, and I needed to know a little about “home canning”.  But there was something missing from those recipes. So I added a little additional flavor to my “secret” recipe.

But deciding to make applebutter is not for the faint-hearted.  It can take hours to do the necessary slow cooking that reduces and caramelizes what starts, essentially, as applesauce into that thick, dark, rich goodness.  Frankly, it’s just not something you’re bound to do unless you were already an applebutter addict, like me. 

Genuine, Homemade Watkins Applebutter

Genuine, Homemade Watkins Applebutter

This is the third year I’ve made applebutter, now. I missed last year because I was too busy with school, but Dear Wife and I missed the applebutter so much we decided I’d just have to find the time to make it this year.  And I made an extra big batch, to make sure it would last through the year. It took all day, about 30 apples, 18 jars of various sizes, and Dear Wife’s new Canning pot and tools, but I’ve tasted it, and the results were worth it! Here’s a glamour shot of the finished product, with a few of the apples we picked (whose cousins ended up in the pot).

Weekend Assignment: No Mountain Too High…

Weekend Assignment time:

Weekend Assignment # 340: How Far Would You Go?

Some people travel hundreds of miles (in extreme cases, thousands of miles)  to see a concert by a favorite performer, or to meet their favorite writers at a convention, or to attend some other kind of public appearance by someone they especially admire. Other people don’t even bother to go downtown to take advantage of such an opportunity. How far would you go to meet one or more of your favorite writers, actors, musicians, comedians or other artists, and to attend a performance by him or her or them?

Extra Credit: What is the farthest you have ever gone in a similar situation?

I’m going to start this time by answering the Extra Credit, first.  Let me tell you the thrilling tale of the great lengths I went to to meet my favorite author.  I had to cross mountains, tread through the burning desert, and swim an ocean… Continue reading

An Ongoing Non-Serial

Until the Fine Folks behind Serial Central find a new author to fill in with a new Serial Story on Mondays, I’ll be filling in with some non-serial stories.  This week marks the third time a story that you may have first seen here has popped up on Serial Central, but maybe you should head over there to take a look anyway!

One may suppose that I’ll have something popping up on Serial Central next week as well… when that happens, I’ll post about it here, too.  And while so far I’ve been reposting stories that were posted here first… I’d keep my eyes open for an impending Halloween Surprise as well.  News forthcoming.

A Little Linkage – A Creepy Tale

Sometimes, when you’re out there on the internets, doing your lunch-break thing… you encounter a little buried treasure.  Human decency compels you, then, to share the love a little with your fellow man.

This is one such time.  Here’s a site that’s been around since 2001, so some of you may have encountered it before. But this week was my first time. 

As a bit of background from my own experience relating to the story on this page, I’ve been caving once before.  It was a unique experience.  I hope someday to go again.  But there is something inherently creepy about being in a cave.  It’s hard to describe – someday I may do so in a regular blog post.  But that one experience (in a large group, mind you) left me with enough of an impression of what it’s really like deep in the bowels of Mother Earth to get totally creeped out by the events described on the link I’m about to give you.  This isn’t a story like what you’ll see on my page, with the usual trappings to safely transport you into the fictional world… no “Imaginary title here” by: Author’s Name Here.  Instead, you are left to wonder at the truth of the events described (howbeit, I did a little further research, after the fact, to learn more…)  But I was captivated in a most peculiar way.

Therefore, I present to you, a link to the creepy tale of “Ted’s Caving Page“. 

You’re welcome, and Happy October 😉

Weekend Assignment: Last Day

A little late to the punch, again, but I haven’t forgotten the latest Weekend Assignment:

Tell us about the last day of anything: the last day of school or a job, your last day as a smoker, the last day before you moved or got married, the last day before you got that car you always wanted, or even the last day of a particularly memorable vacation. Here’s the catch: I’m looking for happy memories here, happy endings rather than tragic ones.

Extra Credit: What happened the next day?

I honestly struggled with this one, for a while.  And then I remembered my truly quintessential “last day”, the anniversary of which is actually right around the corner.

In October of 2006 I said good-bye to my home-town of ten years (though it was never my true home town; military brats don’t have the luxury of a true home town) – a place I like to call V-town.  My destination: the “big city” of the South, Atlanta Georgia. Continue reading

Another Monday Substitution

I’m filling in, again, over on Serial Central with another “reprint” .

Check it out.  You know, if reading things is something you do.  Especially if reading awesome things is something you do.

Milestones

Most friends and family have already heard the latest news, but I thought I’d share some updates on B.T. with the blog community.

B.T. was always a great sleeper – from about five weeks of age he started sleeping straight through the nights.  But a little over a month ago he started waking up at nights, growing restless and moody at nights.  Partly this was because he got sick.  Partly it was because this was apparently normal at this age.  And partly, we believed, it was because he was teething. Continue reading