November 29, 2015

Peeper's Fruit Elixir-Fixer Recipe & Goodbye Lie Excerpt

If you know Peeper, the grandmother in my Goodbye Lie series, who adopted the Dunnigan family living on Amelia Island, Florida in the late 1880s, you know she has a remedy for just about anything.  She calls them her elixir-fixers.  With her permission, of course, she proudly lets me share another of her recipes with readers of her stories. (Peeper likes to call The Goodbye Lie series HER stories because without her, she points out, "There'd be nothin' but lots a mystery and romancin'.  If it tweren't fer me, and my special way of worryin' Aunt Noreen like I do with my neddlin', well how else would ya be gettin' folks ta laugh whilst they's areadin' all them words ya wrote, Jane Marie?")  

Peeper's Peach Elixer-Fixer
  (Again, with Peeper's permission, I have changed the sugar to natural sweetener, her fresh fruit to frozen, if fresh is not available, and, for easier measuring, her chopped ice to ice cubes. -jmm)

You'll need:
1 cup peeled peaches, blue berries, strawberries or raspberries
7 ice cubes
1 cup all natural non-fat strained plain yogurt (Fage brand)
1/2 cup water
3-4 packets of Truvia natural sweetener, to taste

Beat in blender until smooth.  Makes 3 cups. This makes a meal in itself or a great snack, too. (If you don't like yogurt, fear not.  The natural Truvia sweetens it up so you won't know you're drinking anything healthy.  The kids won't know either.  Or your mate, for that matter!)

The Goodbe Lie- an excerpt

     "Grammy? Peeper? It's me. You both all right?" Breelan called out as she pulled open the screen door that formerly possessed wooden scrollwork in diagonal corners. Now, it sagged on its hinges, plain and broken.
     Grammy was hastily drying the tears on her cheeks, and Peeper was sprinkling wood ash on the bristles of her toothbrush.
     "How often do I have to tell you, Peeper?" scolded Grammy, "If you don't stop brushing your teeth every time you get nervous, you'll polish the enamel clear off of them."
     "Quit pesterin' me. I don't get nervous and a girl's teeth can never be too white," the old woman responded, unconsciously forgetting she was up in years. Turning to Breelan, Peeper answered, "Yes, child. We're fine. We're just a little tuckered is all, except for this big toe a mine. It's all swole-up like a poison pup." Setting aside the dentifrice, she said, "Think I'll be a needin' one a my elixir-fixers afore long. Gram, I know we got plenty a borax and bran for a foot soak, but did I see ya use up the last of the iodine?"
     "You know well and good I did. I poured it across that scratch you got from the chicken wire. Although it wasn't much of a scratch," Grammy explained to Breelan, "Peeper insisted I use all that was left in the bottle. If she'd have let Clover mend the cage when he wanted to, she wouldn’t have gotten hurt in the first place." Turning back to Peeper, "And you can't remember anything from one minute to the next. You'll be asking me what your name is any second."
     Breelan watched Peeper reach for her clay pipe as she pulled one knee toward her ample chest to caress her aching appendage. It amazed the girl that a person of seventy-two years was capable of such physical agility. Peeper was the family's resident character, a true hypochondriac enjoying some fifty years of bad health.   
     "I forgit sometimes and so do you," Peep defended. "Just the little things. I remember what's important. Don't be telling me I don't."
     Breelan ran to Peeper, encircling as much of the dear woman's large girth as she could reach in a hearty hug.
     Breaking away, she crossed the small kitchen to embrace her grandmother. "You okay, too, Grammy?"
     "Yes, dear. I'm too tough to let a little old twister get me down."
     Breelan knew her grandmother well though, and realized this last episode had scared the pea waddin' out of her. "Everyone's fine up at the big house."
     "Praise the Lord and amen," prayed Peeper.
    "Daddy has a cut to his forehead," continued Breelan. Alarm tensed the elderly faces and she wished she'd said nothing about it. "But Mama's tending him and he'll be fine."
     "All the same, I best be for goin' up and aiding your ma," insisted Peeper. "My treatments is knowed for miles, ain't they, Bree?"
     Peeper unfolded herself and waddled over to the animal regally perched on the second shelf beside the store of canned tomatoes. Monstrose, the playfully malevolent, no-tailed marmalade cat was grooming himself in a most undignified position. Teetering on her good foot, Peep picked him up cautiously, since it was not his idea, and carried him to Grammy for petting.
     "It's nigh onto dark now, Bree, so wait 'till tomorra ta run over to your cousin's," Peeper told her. "If'n their place is a shambles, won't do no good ya seeing it tonight. All I can say is that it's a good thing your Aunt Noreen and the family is out a town in Savannah or else we'd be alistenin' to her wailin' all night long. I could turn a deaf ear ta her silly sufferin', but I don’t like it none when somethin' worries your Uncle Clabe and the children. He's a good man. Smart, too. I even like that handyman, Joey, he hired last winter. Joey don't take no guff off'n your aunt. Heck, he'll have their place back in shape afore ya know it. Anyhow, go check on our animals and help Clover if'n he needs it."
     "And invite that sod-soaked fellow waiting outside to supper," Grammy suggested. "He looks as if he could do with some of your mother's cooking."  
     At Breelan's hesitation, Peeper urged, "Go on. Do as we're atellin' ya. I'll look after Grammy. We'll be up ta the big house shortly."
     "The devil you say!" Grammy fired back. "No one need watch over me. Why, the way you two hover, you'd think I was some wild phlox and you were a couple of humming birds. Now git, Bree! And get out of those wet clothes quick as you can or Peeper'll be spreading one of her fiery mustard plasters on you, and then you'll know it!" counseled Grammy. 
     Monstrose let lose a soft suffer-sound, not appreciating a second disturbance when Grammy stood up and he landed on the floor. Grammy went to the unbroken front window, lifting it for air. When the sash slammed down, she fetched a wooden spoon to prop it up.
     "Make room for me, too, old lady," whined Peeper as she elbowed her way beside Grammy. Then two curious faces peered out of the opening after Breelan and Breelan's companion.

November 25, 2015

Million Dollar Moments

Because I  attended a ladies' luncheon, I will never look at M&Ms the same way again.  The favors included individual cupcake papers filled with colorful M&Ms, which represented Million Dollar Moments,  the theme of the guest speaker, Clara Thompson.  By that she meant, tiny things that you witness, participate in, enjoy, or experience can touch you so deeply, you will remember them forever.  She mentioned her sleeping grandchild's hair in her face while they cuddled in bed, as one of her Million Dollar Moments.  I remember holding my father's hand as an adult while walking in the rain. That was one of my Moments.  We all have so many, if we slow down and think about them.
Clara Thompson
So this Thanksgiving, or any time, you list what you are grateful for, think of the smallest perfections that have blessed your life.


November 22, 2015

Pennsylvania Town

Living in Florida, it has been a while since I've seen the leaves turn.  On a visit to Dillsburg, a small town outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, I was lucky to do just that. 

We always like to visit an old church when we go out of town.  This time we found
St. John's Franklin Lutheran Church.
The friendly folks there told us it was built in 1847.  It is one of several Lutheran churches in the area because Germans settled there. Surrounding this church, and all over the area, are cemeteries.  With Pennsylvania being one of the original American colonies,  many of the graves date back to prior to our  independence from England in 1776. 

The congregation was collecting canned goods to share for Thanksgiving.  They shared their kindness, as well. A special thank you to Vicar Micki Kautz for being so welcoming.  Her sermon was interesting, fun and a blessing on all.

The people in Dillsburg  know each other and help each other and are as all-American as they come.  It is a place of charm.  Thank you  for being so kind.  Pull out the blankets and parkas and stay warm.  It's turning cold in that part of the country. But then you're the experts on how to deal with cold. 

The insane person who made our flight reservations, I will not admit we are related, had us flying out at 6 a.m.  That meant we had to rise at 4 a.m.  Perhaps my photos below of the Harrisburg airport floor might be better if I hadn't had those pesky toothpicks holding up my eyelids. Yes, they are painful, but they work. 

No, not Ben Franklin.  Where are his specs?  It's William Penn, the man for whom Pennsylvania is named.  Sylvania means woods, Penn's woods.

 I saw a road sign in Dillsburg reading: Gettysburg, 26 miles.  Sadly, we hadn't the time to play tourist.  I have been there as child, but would appreciate the significance of the history so much more as an adult.
Center of a huge  Harrisburg International Airport Seal

You're looking at the bottom of my worn out suitcase sitting atop our recycle bin.  The wheels collapsed and as I dragged it over the rough cement and through the hotels and airports, I expected to see a trail of my items, personal and un, behind me.  As our daughter, Barbra, commented, "Mom, have you noticed there is usually a bit of a  nightmare that goes along with your adventures?"  My reply, "Well, yes.  So long as it's just a bit." 

November 15, 2015

Joan Baez Sings A Song of Peace

I heard Finlandia, the Finland hymn, today.  It is a beautiful song of peace. Please take a moment and listen to Joan Baez sing it. (The lyrics are below.) Then say a prayer for that peace.


This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine;
this is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine:
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine:
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"This Is My Song"[1] is a 1934 hymn written by Lloyd Stone (1912-1993) using the Finlandia Hymn melody composed by Jean Sibelius.  It is sometimes called "A Song of Peace" which is taken from the second line of the song.[1

November 12, 2015

The Yen

My love is not a beauty-bright,

Statuesque in the steaming night.

She cannot come to me, free will.

I seek her out, beyond the rill.

My love appeals to many men.

Some think her dead, most have
 the yen.

My jealousy does not exist,

For share her, yes, I must insist.

Of many parts, she is well made,

To sooth, excite and richly shade.

I separate her from the curd,

My love, a gift, the written word.

                                                                                       - Jane Marie

November 5, 2015

Table Mining

misleading photo to lure you into reading this post
    What is the difference between unorganized and disorganized?  I looked it up. Unorganized means you have never been organized.  Disorganized means you once were organized, but no longer are.  And so my tale of woe begins.  One male person, with whom I am married, let’s call him -hmm- Bruce, once was organized.  So much so, his shirts hung in the closet, sectioned off by color and style and their  fronts all faced left.  It was a thing over which I often teased him. The teasing has stopped.
     I heard a long time ago that the only permanent thing in life is change.  And so it is with regard to Bruce’s organization. Shall we focus on papers? Yes, let's do! His organization of papers is, pretty much, non-existent.  Don’t get me wrong, he pays the bills on time and gets to his board meetings on the correct date.  It’s just that his papers are in scattered piles on my dining room table.  On second thought, I can’t really call them piles.  It’s more like a random order of irregular stacks.   Can anyone explain why he can tell me where my shoes are, but he can’t find any of his own stuff? Worse yet, he blames it on me.  Example:  “Where is the folded paper with those phone numbers on it?  I know YOU moved it.”  Of course, I didn’t move it.  I have enough of my own junk to not covet any of his.
     So currently, we are at the stage I refer to as table mining.  This is the condition where there is so much of his--his crapola, that’s a technical term, on my table, it is threatening my good will and making me feel much less gracious than one should. In order for us to have dinner at the table, I must shovel the papers, phone book, notebook, magazines, cell phone, watch, snail mail, eye patch, folders, whatever, into a bag only to have him dump it back on the table the next morning, when he’s one again open for business.
     It’s not as if he has no area of his own on which to put his stuff.  Why, I personally have dusted a 10" x 11" space on the top of the marble-topped antique dresser in the bedroom, exclusively for his use.
     It seems the only solution to my dilemma, definitely my dilemma, since he has no issue with the cluttered table like I do, is to have him try desk mining next.  Once his rolltop desk in our home office is cleared and he unearths  the abacus*, slider-ruler and crank telephone buried there, making room, my hope is he will transfer his dining table piles to said desk.  I have tried nagging and tears to make this happen.  So far, only negative results.  Withholding the TV clicker is next, me thinks…     
*For anyone unsure, an abacus is an old-timey Chinese calculator. You manually move beads up and down as you count.

November 1, 2015

Rarity Arrives!

I first heard a whinny, sharp and clear.  I looked around for a horse pulling a tourist buggy.  None in sight.   My attention turned back to my book signing at Sea Jade, the best souvenir shop on Amelia Island, perhaps in the world, or so a passerby said.  Then  came a second whinny.  This time, I thought it was, perhaps, a toy pony.  I've seen such in magazines.  "Realistic sound," the ad had read.  Back to my books, again.  A third whinny and then I saw it, a unicorn standing directly across from me, on Centre Street, in historic downtown Fernandina!  How utterly sweet!  They call her Rarity, a living version of the tiny horse from My Little Pony.  She crossed the street, led by her owner from Savage Beast Farms in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Posing in front of my table of historical fiction books, it is the perfect fantasy come to life for a writer.  Thank you for visiting, Rarity.  You make everyone smile!

Jessica Savage Forbes, part of Rarity's family, is prepared for clean-up duty, just in case. (Jessica runs Retail Therapy on 8th Street in Fernandina - 904 277-1248)

For more info on Rarity and Savage Beast Farms with exotic birds and more miniature horses, call 904 557-1083.