Still Window Shopping

She strolled the congested streets of her cluttered memory. She recalled plenty of perfect places to shop for the holidays. Her mind hummed with a variety of concerns as she browsed through windows.

“Should I bother to brave the crazy crowds of the big box store to shop for the holidays? Where in my area are there small shops to browse to find a unique item? Will I choose a trite trend or a brilliant gift?”

Suddenly, the house hushed. She looked up from her keyboard to find herself sitting alone. Her family had just departed to get shit done.

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About this post: I am creating something every day this month as part of a personal challenge and the NaBloPoMo Revival group on Facebook. This morning, I wrote “Still Window Shopping” before getting ready for a day of errands on the last Saturday of November. I limited the length of today’s story to 100 words upon inspiration from a piece of flash fiction posted at Failing Haiku. See https://failingathaiku.wordpress.com/2018/11/23/vengeance-ff/.

Years ago, I created this doodle of how I like to remember the small frontage of the vast cavern of a popular bookstore in Berkeley. (It doesn’t look anything like my doodles.) If you can’t pull away from your computer to shop small businesses locally, consider shopping a small business like Lynn Cobb Silver or Moe’s Books online. See my past posts related to this particular image (or Moe’s Books) as follows:

#NaBloPoMo18 #Create30 #SmallBusinessSaturday #lynncobb #moesbooks

————–©2018 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved

Surviving Family

Family expands and contracts throughout our lives. Some members saunter in as if they returned from running errands; others choose to leave forever without the courtesy of an explanation. Each member infusing life for us to accept, appreciate, and love. To embrace each other regardless of our current circumstances provides a relative rhythm for surviving family.

Surviving-Family-by-Steph-Abbott

About this post: I created this sloppy sketch of family using my finger on the glass of my mobile device using ArtRage app while sipping coffee this morning. I am creating something everyday this month. I created “Surviving Family” from a prompt I provided to the NaBloPoMo Revival group for November 23: “Tell me what you want but only focus on what you need.”

#NaBloPoMo18 #Create30 #FamilyDay

————–©2018 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved.

Living Life Thankfully

Thankfully, my hearth and heart are full. Full of a life dramatically spiced with savory memories and biting privilege, my heart chuffs to awakening and prophetic dreams. Dreams for my family, friends, and those less fortunate to realize, prepare, and savor, are mine to share but ultimately their own to fulfill. Fulfilled for the beat, I am living life with gratitude, thankfully.

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About this post: I am participating in a challenge to create daily during the month of November. This is my post for November 22, which also happens to be celebrated as Thanksgiving Day here in the USA this year. My inspiration today comes from the holiday, my hopes for humanity, and our curious use of language. The doodle is one that I created for a post two years ago. See Heartfelt: https://stephabbottsays.com/2016/11/14/heartfelt.

#NaBloPoMo18 #Create30 #openheartsurgery #survivor #bleedingheart

©2018 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved.

Holiday Meal Plan Portal

Planning the holiday meal remains one of my annual aspirational goals. I dream about cooking up a wonderful meal for my ravenous den of giants. I have even sketched out a plan with dishes they would inhale. Then, out of nowhere, some freaky portal from hell opens and sucks all my culinary skills right out the kitchen.

I live in fear each year. This year, I have secured a reservation at a local restaurant. My minivan might be our bolthole. #fingerscrossed

————–©2018 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved.

About this post: Several years ago I planned our meal, as the photo above will tell (from 2010). #NaBloPoMo18 #Create30 I am participating in a challenge to create daily during the month of November. This is my post for November 19. I was inspired by the writing prompt: “It’s the Monday before Thanksgiving! Share a planning tip or two for the upcoming holidays – is there a particular trick or strategy you use that helps minimize stress and keep you on track?” courtesy of Kathleen in the NaBloPoMo Revival group on Facebook. Check out her more practical post on the topic via this portal: https://www.kathleenhowell.com/nablopomo/holiday-planning/.

Season’s Greetings, Harold

This is doodle of Harold. He was a marionette. I built him with the ever expanding imagination of a five year old. Though I may have been six at the time (Thanksgiving, 1972-ish). Regardless of my age, I found Harold to be the perfect gift for my mom that Christmas. We didn’t have much, so learned to create my own presents.

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“Season’s greetings, Harold” by Steph Abbott.

Harold was fashioned out of left over bits of purple, brown and yellow felt, pipe cleaners, some glue, a few pieces crazy amount of masking tape, styrofoam balls, bright red carnival feathers, and googly eyes. He looked great, but he still needed to walk. I strung him together with light blue yarn from my mom’s crochet basket and fastened the whole kit and caboodle to a set of cheap chopsticks. (My creation was inspired by my favorite book, Harold and the Purple crayon, a rare evening of take out dinner, and a recent showing of the timeless movie, The Sound of Music.)

Harold was one of my favorite things that year. He brought me joy, and I believed my mom would delight from my unique creation. Seriously, who want to take a break from a long day to break out in joyful song and dance about the house with a brightly colored bird and their child?

————–©2018 Stephanie Abbott. All rights reserved.

About this post: I created this sloppy sketch of Harold using my finger on the glass of my mobile phone while half asleep last night. So, I truly appreciate your creative imagination. I was inspired to doodle and write from this prompt: “What was the ONE holiday gift that shaped your life or at least a few years to follow. The memory of a fantastic one and the story it spun.” #NaBloPoMo #Create30

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 presentation.

Directions:

Pulverize wafers with a mallet (or use a food processor) and put in 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 (use a spoon or one of those nifty cookie dough scoops). [Note added after original post: Cookie dough scoops just won’t cut it. 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 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