Stella’s Visitor – Act 4

meteorite-landed-4-by-steph-abbott

Stella had fallen asleep. She was laying on the floor in the moonlight. She didn’t realize it, but she was also curled next to the meteorite that had mysteriously broke through her dining room window earlier in the day.

Breathing softly, Stella dreamed of vast flowing landscape. She saw hills of green sand dotted with strands of purple reeds. Looking up, she found no sun but watched as a gaggle of speckled orange geese glide past.

She listened as the geese discussed the timing for their next stop. The geese were planning to stop in northern Nevada. She understood the geese. They were going to Reno.

Stella looked down to find a blue cat staring up at her. The cat asked her, “Where are you?”

“I don’t know,” replied Stella.

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Today’s post is the fourth part from the continuing saga about “Stella’s Visitor.”

I composed this post last night while watching TV in bed before I created the image using the ArtRage app on my tablet.

Let’s go, #NaBloPoMo!

Stella’s Visitor – Act 3

meteorite-landed-3-by-steph-abbott

“Seriously, mom. I think this thing is a meteorite, and it’s sounds like it is singing.”

“Well, Stella, sounds to me like you’ve got a mess,” countered her homebound 81-year-old mother.

Well, mom, it does look wet. And I think it is starting to stink,” replied Stella as she leaned toward the thrumming rock lodged into the floor of her dining room. She stepped back and winced as her nostrils began to burn. “Yep. There is a definite funk in the air.”

Her mom took a deep breath before making the curt proposal, “Stella. Can’t you just pick it up and throw it back out the window?”

“Hmm,” considered Stella. “I think I smell something like snips and snails and puppy dog tails. This odd odor and the sounds emanating from the meteor make me feel light-headed. Perhaps, I’ll take a nap…”

Her mom was having none of it. “Cut the crap, Stella, and roll that thing outside before it starts growing hair.”

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Today’s post is the third part from the continuing saga about “Stella’s Visitor.”

I composed this post last night while watching TV in bed and before creating the image using the ArtRage app on my tablet.

Let’s go, #NaBloPoMo!

Stella’s Visitor – Act 1

meteorite-landed-by-stephabott

Stepping into the house, Stella heard strange noises.  And they were not emanating from the grate of the garage door or the rumble of the air conditioner.  Grasping the edge of the door, she gently slid her key out of the lock and quickly pocketed it. 

She stood still in the pantry and cocked her head to listen.  Listen to what Stella heard >>

Stella’s mind raced as she heard a rustling, a rat-a-tat, and a clinking.  

She wondered to herself, “Is an injured bird bird fluttering around the dining room?  Is my husband rooting through his desk? Is a rodent of unusual size scampering from the closet under the stairs?”

Her curiosity piqued, she decided to investigate.

Warily, Stella entered the kitchen.  She looked around to spot a broken window over in the dining room.  Her gaze traced a trail of scorch marks and shards of glass to find a smoldering mass lodged in the floor boards of her dining room. 

Befuddled, she muttered out loud, “Huh. Look at that.”

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Today’s post was inspired by the following prompt: “When she returns home, your character finds the window broken and a meteorite burning a hole in the rug.”  See Writing.com at http://www.writing.com/main/writing_prompts.

I composed this post last night while watching TV in bed. I created the image using the ArtRage app on my tablet. Then then I recorded the sound effects by holding my mobile phone in one hand and stirring a bowl of popcorn, a TV remote, and the stylus from my tablet with my other hand.

Let’s go, #NaBloPoMo!

A Problem of Overthinking

What’s my problem? I think too much. I may not know much, but I sure do overthink about what little I do know. So much so that I have developed a compulsive behavior. It’s not smoking, drinking, or drugging. Nor is it bad grammar, yet now that might become a possibility. It is overthinking.

short-attention-span-brain-by-steph-abbott

When does it happen? When I am faced with a decision or a deadline, my mind starts cataloging all the data necessary (and unnecessary) for my consideration. I get sucked into exploring too many options. For example, an overflow of data happens regularly during my day job where I am tasked with the layout and design of a professional periodical publication. How will I manage to fit 52 pages of content into 48? Which content can be bumped to the next issue? What’s the shelf life of the news item? I know the content will be stale, yet will there be relevant, historical value upon publication? Will the author ever forgive me if their content is edited for length or even dumped? Not to mention the constant e-mails, phone, calls, and other tasks that battle for my attention throughout the day.

How do I know it’s a problem? My mind races around non-essential tasks. When I’m in the drive-thru at Starbucks. Should I order the iced passion tea (no sweetener) or the flat white? Will the lack of caffeine today really provide me with the energy to focus and get the 48 pages layout finished by the deadline?

Why is it a problem? My thoughts begin to circle into a compulsive need to explain actions. Actions by me or others. My god, I feel I need to provide an explanation for anything, everything, and nothing. I turn molehills into mountains. Left unchecked, my simple concerns might evolve into unreconciled anxieties. Each decision-making paradigm turns into a decision-making paradigm.

Why should I care? Because I have a soul. I am (too?) empathetic.

How do I stop from overthinking? I breathe. I watch (too much) TV. I read. I write. I doodle. I walk. I think.

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I drafted today’s post after considering the writing prompt, Hyperbole, by the folks over at Daily Post. You might recognize the  image of the brain shown above. It’s from a previous post, My Twelve Minute  Brain.

Campaign Contrived, Segment of Voters See Red

solareclipsebystephabbott
A segment of voters are seeing red after realizing a contrived campaign may have been made by a major political candidate.

The alleged controversy seems to involve the natural effects of a solar eclipse. The eclipse has passed, yet the candidate continues to distract voters. See below for a summary of the exchange between the candidate and the voters.

“You won’t believe this!” exclaimed the candidate. “The sun is gone!”

Rolling their eyes, the voters commented, “What’s the big deal? The moon is simply…”

“Wrong! And I don’t care about the moon’s position, ” snapped the candidate.

Taking umbrage, the voters retort, “Well, have you considered…”

“I don’t have time. You need to come with me. We are all going to die.”

Appalled, the voters parlayed, “Perhaps we can work together to find a remedy…”

“No!” interrupted the candidate. “I know all about this,” the candidate insisted. “I think I can find the sun. I can use my flashlight. Believe me, I’ve got the best flashlight.”

“Really?” the voters replied, “What kind of flashlight?”

A segment of the voters have reported to be seeing red after staring into the flashlight’s strong beam before realizing they have only been distracted by the candidate.

With the election just days away and many voters having yet to respond, the affect on the campaign remains unclear.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016. This story is a work of fiction, an exercise of artistic expression, and meant for entertainment purposes only. The next solar eclipse isn’t expected until February 26, 2017. I doodled the image using ArtRage.  I wrote this story with my tongue in cheek. Silly? Yes. Offended? Laugh it off.

Silver & Blue Bourbon Balls – A bit of Nevada spirit

Spent the day with my mom. We relished yesterday’s meal, drank smoothies, folded laundry, and considered the pending Nevada v. Boise State football game. My folks are big Nevada fans. Best of all, we made Mrs. B’s fabulous bourbon balls. (We doubled the recipe and used what my husband had of some old bourbon. The rest was straight rye.) In the end, I tickled my mom with the fancy toppings in her team colors—silver and blue crystallized sugars. Go Pack!

Mr. & Mrs. B’s Bourbon Balls—a recipe for fun and friendship.

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Growing up, I remember all the yummy, tasty gifts that would arrive during the holiday season. You know, trays of treats and canisters of confections that friends of the family would deliver while spending some time visiting with the folks. One family in particular, the B’s, always brought over Panettone and bourbon balls.

Those bourbon balls were legendary in their power over the palate (and senses)! As a distilled confection, my mom would store them in glass Mason jars in the freezer. She would break them out after dinner on special occasions to be enjoyed by all the adults. While my sister and I were only allowed one during the holidays, we would pilfer those jars throughout the year!

As life started to pass by, I realized my love of those bourbon balls had endured through boys, sign-language courses, several jobs and a cat. A food-memory if you will. I associated them with a wonderful time and fabulous friends. I started to crave these goodies and share their distilled deliciousness with my friends.

I put in a few calls and ended up on the phone with Mrs. B. She waited patiently on the line while I scrawled her recipe on a scrap of paper. I think she was tickled with the request. I’m not sure whether it was because her family tradition had made such an impression or simply that the recipe was not all that secret. I know it was a bit of both. I was giddy from the gift of friendship from the 90-proof confections!

While I’ve already told the tale of how this spirited treat has infused my dreams, I am happy to report that I have found that scrap of paper. So, while you (and @MagicBartender) may already know the recipe, here is the one that has had my mind marinating for a while now:

Mr. & Mrs. B’s Bourbon Balls

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups vanilla wafers

1 cup walnuts

2/3 cup good bourbon (I’m partial to JD and counsel away from the bottled bird. Otherwise it’s your game.)

1 cup confectioner’s sugar (that’s powdered sugar for the Gen-Xers)

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Various toppings, confectioners & crystallized sugars to roll the balls in for the presentation.

Directions:

Pulverize wafers with a mallet (or use a food processor) and put in a big bowl. Grind walnuts (use a food processor this time) and add them to the wafer crumbs.

Blend the remaining ingredients (except the various toppings) for 10 minutes and add to the crumby bowl.

Mix all the ingredients well. This step can be fun yet messy using your hands or quick and even using a big bowl mixer or a food processor. Either way, lapping up the sticky mixture is quite the treat. Tip? Think of the end-user. Hands only for the solo hoarders. Mixers for mixed company.

Then, let it all sit and stew. Both the mixture and you. Drink a few shots and shoot the breeze with your family, friends, or the cat. However, don’t get carried away and don’t throw darts. You’ve got to get all the mixture rolled into balls and rolled again in any toppings.

Turning the strong-smelling chocolate mess into handsome balls of fun takes quite a bit of time. You’ll need to prep a clean flat surface (waxed paper on cookie trays or your husband’s recently-cleared desk).

Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls. Scoop out the thick, sticky batter with a spoon or one of those nifty cookie dough scoops. Come to think of it, cookie dough scoops don’t work all that well. The batter will get stuck inside the scoop, and you’ll have to use your fingers to dig it out. Use a teaspoon and the palm of your hands to roll into balls. Yes, this is messy. Use some of those plastic, food service gloves. Place the balls on the waxed paper.

Roll in the topping(s) of your choice. Gaze at your work and decide who deserves them enough to receive as gifts. Divvy them up and store them in airtight containers for at least 24 hours before serving or delivering them to the lucky ones.

If delivering past the porch, please do not eat these balls and drive!

Special thanks to Mr. & Mrs. B for all the special memories and that beautiful, ball-shaped, crystal serving dish!

Sent from my iPad

Oh! I dream of southern-fried chocolate balls.

Oh_balls_flat

With the holidays just around the bend, I’ve been planning the production of plenty of chocolate balls. I’ve actually been dreaming of balls.

While the store-bought truffle is fine, I prefer the densely rolled, moist, caked-but-not-baked confection rolled in sugar, cocoa, coconut and other yummy dressings.

Of all these spherical splendors, I’m partial to the bourbon ball–especially my spherical lyricals infused with cocoa and a more than a splash of Kentucky spirits.

I have a simple, no-cook recipe that rocks the palate in almost a “southern-fried” way. With a bit of cocoa and a bite of bourbon, down a few and you’ll be singing about gravel roads, dogs and women. Hazardous to your health, my bourbon balls are best served in moderation and in accordance with the territory’s liquor laws. As such, I now only make them for special occasions (or the month of December).

Best part? They will not stale, and given the high proof, they can be stored in the freezer and noshed on throughout the year.


Sent from my iPad