Mama Hen’s Scratchings: A is for April A-Z Challenge

How many times have I written about wanting to post more regularly? *Sigh.* In yet another attempt, I’ve signed up for the April A-Z challenge. As you know, this entails posting every day except Sunday for the entire month, with each successive one based on a word beginning with the next letter of the alphabet.

Trouble is, these posts are all supposed to be on along some theme. I’ve tossed around several themes: Little House/Ingalls; Texas; local flora and/or fauna; Freemasonry; heroes…. But honestly, how many people want to read about any of that, or any one thing, for an entire month? Only the fans of the topic, who’d probably know more than I do about it anyway.

So here’s what I decided: my theme will be “Mama Hen’s Scratchings.” Mama Hen is me, of course. I’m going to scratch out a post about whatever strikes me for the day.

There will undoubtedly be days I miss, but I’ll do my best.

Oh, and let me just give a heads-up: on days I have extra time [hahahahahaha…okay, picking myself off the floor to continue writing], I’ll probably write some posts ahead and schedule them. (I’m actually writing this on March 27.) The danger with doing that is that the info might become outdated; but it’s a chance I’m willing to take.

Guaranteed to Make You Laugh

After a week like this was, we all need a laugh. I dare you not to while reading this post.

The following  are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts: Actual Quotes, Word for Word, from Real Court Proceedings by Marcelle Boren. I can’t imagine being the court reporter and trying to keep it together while these exchanges were actually taking place. I’d have been rolling in the floor.

ATTORNEY:  This myasthenia  gravis,  does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what  ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You  forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

ATTORNEY:  Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t  know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the  bar exam?

ATTORNEY: The  youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He’s twenty,  much like your  IQ.

ATTORNEY: Were you  present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you kidding me?

ATTORNEY: So the date  of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And  what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Getting  laid.

ATTORNEY: She had  three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were  boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your  Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new  attorney?

ATTORNEY: How  was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by  whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a  guess.

ATTORNEY:  Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the circus was in town I’m going with  male.

ATTORNEY:  Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie  there.

ATTORNEY: Doctor, how  many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of  them. The live ones put up too much of a  fight.

ATTORNEY: ALL your  responses MUST be oral, okay? What school did you go to?

ATTORNEY: Do you  recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started  around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS:  If not, he was by the time I  finished.

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you  check for a
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood  pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for  breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the  patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my  desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been  alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been  alive and practicing law.

Have a fun weekend.

German Potatoes

I was editing a scene in my WIP in which a character was cooking potatoes with greens and sausage, German style. Made me hungry.

I like sausage, but don’t eat it anymore (you know what’s in that stuff, right? Ugh.).

But the potatoes and greens—that’s yum. Here’s how my German family makes potatoes.

  • Scrub 2 pounds potatoes and boil in salted water until just tender; drain and allow to dry about 15 minutes. Peel and slice into ¼” to ½” rounds.
  • Fry 1 pound bacon until crisp; remove from skillet.
  • Sauté 1½ cups onions with 3 tablespoons flour and 1 tablespoon salt in bacon grease until onions are tender.
  • Add ⅔ cup sugar, ⅔ cup vinegar, and 1¼ cup water and bring to a boil.
  • Crumble bacon on top of potatoes.
  • Pour sauce over potatoes and bacon. Stir gently.
  • Optional: sprinkle chopped chives or parsley over the top.
  • Serve hot. (We usually made the potatoes first, and kept them in a warm oven while preparing the rest of the meal. That way the potatoes get a little more tender, and they’re good ‘n hot when served.)

How do you like your potatoes?

What They Should Be Asked

You know the kind of questions I wish moderators would ask candidates at town halls and debates? Some practical things that show how much the candidate actually knows about our country and the world. Such as:

  • What is the population of the US? Of the world?
  • How many people immigrate to the US each year?
  • What is the median income of US households?
  • What is the GDP, and how does that compare to the GDP of 2 or 10 years ago? How does it compare to that of China/Mexico/(country)?
  • Who is the current president of the UN?
  • Who is the president/prime minister/etc. of (country)?
  • Show world map with one random country highlighted:
  • What country is this, and what countries border it?
  • Is this country an ally?
  • What is our greatest import and export with this country, and how much per year is each?

Personally, I think anyone wanting to run the largest economy and (arguably) greatest power in the world should be able to easily answer this kind of question.

One more wish: turn off the mic of every candidate who’s not supposed to be talking.

Copper Plate

“I’ll do my best, but I can’t write as beautifully as Mary does. Her writing is just like copper plate,” Minnie said…  from Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

When I was a little kid, I wondered what in the world a copper plate – or any kind of plate – had to do with handwriting. When I got a little older, I realized it had something to do with printer’s plates, but still didn’t know why a copper one would produce writing more beautiful than any other plate.

The beauty of it actually has as much to do with the nib and technique of the writing as the copper plates. Copperplate Script uses a sharp, pointed nib held at a 55 degree angle. The sharper nib and that particular angle enables a more precise line to be drawn than most “fancy” (calligraphic) handwriting, most of which uses a flatter nib.

Copper, due to its particular elemental properties, allows cleaner lines in engraving than other metals; thus, when engraving plates to make handwriting copybooks for student to copy from, copper plates were preferred. The font derives its name from these plates.

It is interesting to note that because of the clean etching properties of copper, documents requiring a royal seal were historically inscribed on copper; this link to royalty is another cause of the popularity of Copperplate Script in the Victorian era.

My own handwriting can be more closely compared to a doctor’s prescription. Perhaps that’s because copper plates were no longer used when I learned to write.

FREE Today and Tomorrow

What does it take to survive when the Triad wants you dead? 

Zoey McFarland’s massage therapy business is thriving on referrals from local physicians. So when a new spa offering massage opens nearby, she isn’t concerned—until she sees a young girl crying outside the place.

Investigating the girl’s plight, Zoey uncovers an evil hiding in plain sight. But city officials won’t believe a human trafficking ring exists in their town, and law enforcement accuses her of trying to eliminate competition.

Then, taken by the ring and immersed in the very nightmare she’s fighting, Zoey discovers the true fate of the victims is more sinister than anyone imagined.

Can Zoey pierce the veil between good and evil, and find a way to survive?

This thrilling novel of hope and courage is inspired by true events.

And it’s FREE on Kindle today and tomorrow! Get it here.

Interview with Marilyn Read and Cheryl Spears Waugh

I recently had an online interview with Marilyn Read and Cheryl Spears Waugh, the authors of the inspirational Women of Monterey series. 

This historical series has elements of romance, western, and mystery woven into stories of forgiveness and redemption.

Q: How did the idea for Anna’s story come about?

An inspirational biography about Friar Junipero Serra set Marilyn thinking about the setting: Spanish California. Missions, friars, powerful ranchers, hunters, and native people.  Soon we began wondering what the lives of women must have been like in the male-dominated setting and began to research. We couldn’t find many fictional accounts of the time. It seemed to beg for a romantic story about a Spanish aristocratic woman and a Native American, both influenced by the dedicated friar. They faced very different challenges, but with a similar outlook: to do what they must to survive in a man’s world, guided by the precepts of God.

Q: Why did you select 1780s Monterey as your setting?

The beauty of the countryside was an appealing factor, and the pivotal events in that period of California history shaped the story of Westward Expansion in the United States. Only the strong thrived in early Monterey—men and women. God is the giver of strength to accomplish whatever He asks of us.

Q: What truths from Seek a Safe Harbor do you want readers to walk away with? 

God has a plan for each human life. In living out that plan, we find fulfillment. Fray Serra sold out to this idea early in his life and God enabled him as an ordinary man to accomplish extraordinary achievements. He was sixty-five years old when he walked from Mexico to California.

 Q: What truths from Dawn’s Light in Monterey do you want readers to walk away with?

The obedience to the call of God in life settles us into His plan. He can bless our lives as we obey the voice of His Holy Spirit. Aurora and Pia demonstrate how unexpected consequences can occur.

Q: What did you learn about yourselves from writing this story?

We saw more clearly the hand of God in events of our life as we searched for truth in each character’s life. Both women obeyed God’s plan and found deeper meaning for their lives. Our journeys with God are adventures, given significance in the lives of others He entwines into our time on earth. Through Him, we are given power to bless others.

Q: What life lessons do you hope to impart to those who read your books? 

Trust in God and obey His precepts as He gives us to understand them. Prayer and study are essential to growing in Him.

Q: What are some of your favorite quotes from Seek a Safe Harbor?

  • Prayer is where our fears go to die, Anna. We drag them out one by one and stand them before God. Courage does not panic—it prays.
  • God equips the called, but not until they are in the midst of the fray.
  • Suns set in our lives and darkness may prevail, but in God there is always a new day.

Q: Give readers a glimpse of what they can expect from your next book.

In Beneath the Texas Sky, Print English is a Texas cattleman bent on building a Texas Longhorn empire. First the Civil War interrupts his dream and then a feisty, auburn-haired lawyer’s daughter, Julie Denton, decides that God intends her to be the woman who shares his life. She convinces Print to marry her, but his headstrong ambitions precipitate a crisis with organized cattle rustlers and a crazed thief who has murdered one girl and sets his sights on Julie. Can Print allow God’s solutions to prevail?

About Marilyn and Cheryl:

Marilyn Read and Cheryl Waugh are Texans with a deep interest in history. God led them to work together in 2006, after the deaths of Cheryl’s mother and Marilyn’s daughter.

They write about strong women in the old southwest to inspire women of today in their journey with God.  Seek a Safe Harbor and Dawn’s Light in Monterey are the two books of their Women of Monterey series.

Please visit them at Inspired Women of the Southwest.