Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Mama Hen’s Scratchings: T is for Time

Well, I obviously didn’t meet the April blogging challenge. Time and chance happen, and did in a big way this month.

Not gonna wallow in excuses or even apologize. It was beyond my control.

And now I’m so far behind in real-world stuff that I’m tossing in the towel on this challenge now. I’ll be back when I can. See you then.

Mama Hen’s Scratchings: M is for Movies

Let’s talk about movies since we’re all stuck inside! From the FB post going around now:

Copy, paste, and change your answers. You can’t say the same movie twice.

Favorite movie: Anne of Green Gables; Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken; The Road Home (Chinese, subtitled)

Movie that makes you remember your childhood: Old Yeller and Rikki Tikki Tavi

Favorite Tom Hanks movie: That he was the star of? Forest Gump. That he acted in? Catch Me if You Can and A League of Their Own. That he produced? Too many to list.

Movie that makes you cry: Martian Child; The Art of Racing  in the Rain; Return to Me

Favorite 80’s movie: Back to the Future

Favorite B&W movie: Sergeant York; Adam’s Rib; Arsenic and Old Lace

Favorite comedy: The Jerk; Mrs. Doubtfire

Favorite sports movie: The Natural; Seabiscuit; Jerry Maguire

Favorite courtroom movie: 12 Angry Men; The Winslow Boy

Favorite “teen” movie: The Outsiders

Favorite gangster movie: Public Enemies (I admit I haven’t seen many gangster movies)

Favorite horror movie: The Village; Sixth Sense (Do those count as horror?)

Most overrated movie: Fargo; The Big Lebowski

Movie you can watch over and over: Stepmom; Ever After

Movie with the best soundtrack: Footloose; Lion King; O Brother, Where Art Thou; Dirty Dancing

Movie you’re embarrassed that you love: ? Can’t think of any.

Favorite Halloween movie: The Crucible; any Good Witch movie (Hallmark)

Favorite Christmas movie: Meet Me in St Louis; The Holiday

Favorite sequel: The Bourne Supremacy

Favorite musical movie: Mama Mia!; The Sound of Music; Brigadoon

Favorite war movie: Hacksaw Ridge; Shining Through; 1917

Favorite western: The Hostiles; 3:10 to Yuma (2007 version)

Favorite romantic comedy: The American President; Pretty Woman

Favorite sci-fi: The Martian

Favorite comic book movie: Batman Begins

Best movie you’ve seen recently: Ford v Farrari and Little Women


Today’s post is number 15 in the A-Z challenge.

Mama Hen’s Scratchings: G is for Guest, Edgar

Have You Earned Your Tomorrow

By Edgar Guest


Is anybody happier because you passed his way?
Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?
This day is almost over, and its toiling time is through;
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?

Did you give a cheerful greeting to the friend who came along?
Or a churlish sort of “Howdy” and then vanish in the throng?
Were you selfish pure and simple as you rushed along the way,
Or is someone mighty grateful for a deed you did today?

Can you say tonight, in parting with the day that’s slipping fast,
That you helped a single brother of the many that you passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said;
Does a man whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?

Did you waste the day, or lose it, was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness or a scar of discontent?
As you close your eyes in slumber do you think that God would say,
You have earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today?


This post is part of the A-Z Challenge.

Mama Hen’s Scratchings: E & F = Editing Fiction

A line in the movie Serialized struck me like a snake on a mouse. Three set-up lines first, then the zinger:

Publisher: We don’t pay advances anymore.

Author: Then how is an author supposed to make a living?

Publisher: Most of our clients teach creative writing.

Author: So in order to make up for the fact that it’s virtually impossible to make a living as an author, you want me to take money from other people by teaching them how to not make any money, too.

Ignoring the bad grammar, that is, sadly, all too true.

I know a LOT of authors. Big-name authors, even. NYT-bestselling authors.

And virtually all of them—I can think of only two exceptions—make money from other jobs in addition to their writing.

Most of them teach creative writing. Some tutor or teach related subjects like English or work as editors (as I do). Others do other things. The point is, they work at something in addition to writing.

(Or they did until retirement and now receive a pension/ss/etc. in addition to their writing income. And a few have a spouse/partner who earns enough income that the author doesn’t need to earn any.)

Want to be a writer? That’s great. Society will benefit from your voice, as it does all voices. But be prepared to work at something else as well. You might be one of the lucky exceptions, but best to be ready for the likely alternative.

‘I wrote what I know. It’s about a frustrated author being rejected all the time.’

This post is part of the A-Z challenge.

Mama Hen’s Scratchings: D is for Dandelion

What is it people have against these little yellow flowers?

Once considered among the most desirable of herbs, today the dandelion is widely reviled as an obnoxious weed. But it’s a valuable plant.

Dandelions are actually good for your lawn and garden.

  • Their wide-spreading roots loosen hard-packed soil and help aerate the earth.
  • Their taproots bring up nutrients for shallow-rooting plants.
  • They help fruit to ripen by attracting pollinating insects and releasing ethylene

Dandelions are good for wildlife.

  • They’re an important nectar and/or pollen source for many early-emerging pollinators, including honeybees and several butterfly species.
  • The seeds are an important food source for certain birds.
  • Many other animals eat the plant.

More importantly, dandelions are good for YOU. The entire plant is edible and nutritious.

  • Dandelion greens are a rich source of vitamins A, C, and K, and also contain moderate amounts of calcium, potassium, iron, lutein, inulin, and manganese.
  • The raw flowers contain diverse phytochemicals, including polyphenols and
  • The roots contain a substantial amount of the prebiotic fiber inulin.

Humans have taken advantage of these nutritious plants for millennia. Dandelions were used by ancient Egyptians, by the Greeks and the Romans, and in traditional Chinese and Native American medicines:

Hand-colored print in A Curious Herbal, 1737, by Elizabeth Blackwell

  • as a diuretic;
  • to improve liver and gallbladder health;
  • to boost the immune system;
  • to support healthy hormone levels;
  • to address warts, acne, and other skin inflammation;
  • to improve digestion and overall gut health;
  • to support the health of people who have cancer;
  • to relieve headaches, menstrual cramps, backaches, stomach aches and even depression.

No wonder that from ancient times through the nineteenth century, people pulled the grass from their yards and gardens so dandelions could grow!

So, how can we take advantage of the many benefits of dandelions?

  • Be sure any you pick have not been sprayed with pesticide, insecticide, or any other poison!
  • Wash them well.
  • Use the greens in salads or quiches, on sandwiches, or sautéed as a side dish—anywhere you’d use spinach or other greens, dandelion greens (both leaves and stalks) can be used. The younger and smaller they are, the more tender and less bitter they’ll be.
  • Put the blossoms (before seeding, for best results) in salads, or fry as fritters.
  • Wine can be made from the blossoms.
  • Dry and roast the roots to make root beer or coffee-type beverages.
  • An internet search will yield many tasty recipes.

Note: Dandelion’s strong diuretic activity makes it an inappropriate choice for someone with low blood pressure or excessive urination.

Non-food uses:

  • The yellow flowers can be dried and ground into a yellow-pigmented powder and used as a dye.
  • The latex, or sap, from the dandelion stems can be used topically on warts or other skin issues. Apply several times daily for best results.
  • The latex produced exhibits the same quality as the natural rubber from rubber trees. Scientists have developed a dandelion cultivar suitable for the commercial production of natural rubber.

And, of course, you can make a wish before blowing a seed-blossom. Who knows; maybe it’ll come true.

Best of all: you can probably find plenty growing in your own and neighbors’ yards, free!

This post is day 4 of the A-Z challenge.

Mama Hen’s Scratchings: C is for Chips

Classic Lay’s potato chips have been my favorite all my life. You can keep the fancy rippled or kettle chips and the artificial flavors. Give me a simple light, crisp chip every time.

And that “every time” is important. All my life, I could count on a bag full of chips just like that. Light, crispy, salty goodness.

But for the past several months, something’s gone wrong:

What happened to my nice, light chips, @LAYS? This is ridiculous. And it’s bag after bag after bag.

So I’m looking for a replacement. What do you recommend? Let me know in the comments, and maybe I’ll send you my other bag of Lay’s. 🙂


Today’s post is day 3 of the A-Z challenge.

Mama Hen’s Scratchings: B is for Blind

The subject of blindness came up at one of my writing groups, so lack of sight has been on my mind.

The sightless do miss much. The face of a lover. The smiles of their children. The beauty of nature. They also miss some of the ugliness in the world.

Despite what they miss visually, I wonder if they might see deeper than those of us with sight.


If we were all blind

There’s much we’d miss

The smile of a child

The sneer of a bully


Beauty and fashion

Would count for naught

All attraction would be

To the person inside


If we were all blind

We’d never see color

On flowers or birds

Or peoples’ skin


How would we judge

If we couldn’t tell

Whether they wore

A cross or a burka


If we were all blind

There’s much we’d miss

But without eyesight

We’d look with our heart


Today’s post is day 2 of the A-Z challenge.