1 in 150

I wonder what

they thought

before the doctors

began to diagnose

autism? Were there

just a bunch of

anti-social,

rainman-type,

idiot savants who no

one knew were

really just simply

autistic, blocked

from so-called

“normal” forms of

communication?

How many child

prodigies were over-

looked, genius

unfulfilled?

Then South

Park resumes, and I

let the idiots

entertain my numbed-by-society

brain.

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Today I Saw Chickens Penned-In On The Side Of The Road

 

It’s foggy tonight.

 

sometimes i think

it’s the coming rain,

or sorrow,

or pain,

or simply my brain,

the years of smoking too much

or drowning my fear

in gallons of beer,

tumblers of whisky

on the rocks.

 

other times i think

it’s just my life,

the listless minds surrounding

me, my craving need

for something

anything

more than this

inconsequential existence.

 

or perhaps it’s only

the full moon rising,

the pink-blue sunset,

the bitter wind, as i walk down

the street, away from

you and you and you.

 

And I give the world the proverbial finger.

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A Thread of Grace

Excerpt:

This is what everyone would remember about his mother: her home was immaculate. Even in a place where cleanliness was pursued with religious zeal, Klara’s household was renowned for its faultless order. In Klara’s mind, there was no gradation between purity and filth.

She had sinned as a girl, made pregnant by her married uncle. Adultery stained her soul black, and God punished her as she deserved. Her sin-child died.

So did her aunt, and Klara became her uncle’s second wife, dutifully raising her stepchildren, keeping them very clean and very quiet, so her uncle-husband would not become angry and bring out his leather whip. Her husband was no more merciful than her God. Her second son died, and then her small daughter.

Soon after she buried little Ida, Klara became pregnant again. Her fourth child was a sickly boy whose weakness her uncle-husband despised. Klara was ashamed that her children had died. She hovered over the new baby anxiously, told him constantly that she loved and needed him, hoping that her neighbors would notice how well he was cared for. Hoping that her uncle-husband would come to approve of her son. Hoping that God would hear her pleas, and let this child live.

Her prayers, it seemed, were answered, but the neighbors were bemused by Klara’s mothering. She nursed her little boy for two years. He’d squirm away, or turn his face from her, but she pushed her nipple into his mouth regardless of what troubled him. She fed and fed and fed that child. Food was medicine. Food could ward off numberless, nameless, lurking diseases. “Eat,” she’d plead. “Eat, or you’ll get sick and die.” It was immoderate, even in a village where mothers expected children to swallow whatever was put before them, and to clean their plates.

In adulthood, Klara’s son would have nightmares about suffocation. He would suck on a finger in times of stress, or stuff himself with chocolates. He was obsessed with his body’s odors and became a vegetarian, convinced this diet reduced his propensity to sweat excessively and improved the aroma of his intestinal gas. He discussed nutritional theories at length, but had a poor appetite. He could not watch others eat without trying to spoil their enjoyment. He’d call broth “corpse tea,” and pointed out that a roast suckling pig looked “just like a cooked baby.”

Whenever he looked in a mirror, he would see his mother’s eyes: china blue and frightened. Frightened of dirt, of her husband, of illness, and of God. Her son, too, was frightened. Frightened of priests and hunters, of cigarette smokers and skiers, of liberals, journalists, germs and dirt, of gypsies, judges, and Americans. He was frightened of being wrong, of being weak, of being effeminate. Frightened of poets and of Poles, of academics and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Frightened of moonlight and horses, of snow and water and the dark. Frightened of microbes and spirochetes, of feces, and of old men, and of the French.

The very blood in his veins was a danger to him. There were birth defects and feeble-mindedness in his incestuous family. His uncle-father was a bastard, and Klara’s son worried all his life that unsavory gossip about his ancestry would become public. He was frightened of sexual intercourse and never had children, afraid his tainted blood would be revealed in them. He was terrified of cancer, which took his mother’s life, and horrified that he had suckled at diseased breasts.

How could anyone live with so much fear?

His solution was to simplify. He sought and seized one all-encompassing explanation for the existence of sin and disease, for all his failures and disappointments. There was no weakness in his parents, his blood, his mind. He was faultless; others were filth. He could not change his china blue eyes, but he could change the world they saw. He would identify the secret source of every evil, and root it out, annihilating at a stroke all that threatened him. He would free Europe of pollution and defilement–only health and confidence and purity and order would remain!

Are such grim and comic facts significant, or merely interesting? Here’s another: the doctor who could not cure Klara Hitler’s cancer was Jewish.

 

“No matter how dark the tapestry God weaves for us, there’s always a thread of grace.”

Published in 2005, this novel is a fictional account of WWII and specifically, the war that raged in the Italian countryside. Ironically, the first chapter is the only one that mentions Hitler himself, concentrating mostly on the Italian peasant revolt against the fascists. Mostly what you see is a portrait of the people: some hiding, some local, some Germans.

It’s poignant. It’s heart-wrenching. It actually made me cry.

Even the Germans.

Through this distinct illustration of the humanity, not only of the victims of the Holocaust, but of the Germans serving the Nazis, you begin to see just how this atrocity could happen. People are merely people, following orders, not questioning the validity of their leader’s arguments.

In a nutshell, this book is an amazing portrait of survival, in a time when not many survived.

I read Ms. Russell’s The Sparrow many years ago, and was excited to read this novel.

They are completely different, but her style of writing is eerily similar.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone. It’s not necessarily depressing, for there are moments of joy and retribution.

 

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Chicken Burritos

At Casa Christel, we love burritos of almost any kind. So tonight I’m sharing our dinner…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced

4 flour tortillas, burrito  size

1/2 c. diced red onion

1 small can green chiles

Rice-A-Roni chicken flavor

1/2 env. taco seasoning

1 can black beans

1 small tomato, chopped

2 green onions,chopped

Now that the ingredients are out of the way…saute your chicken with a little oil or butter for a few minutes.

Add the red onion.

Throw the rice in there, and let it brown. Mostly you just follow the directions on the package, adding your own stuff.

Add the water & spice packet from the box of rice, and the taco seasoning.

Add the green chiles & black beans.

Cover & cook on med-low for 17 minutes.

Go smoke, have a beer, whatever…

It smells pretty good in your house now…

Grate up some cheese if you want…

When the chicken/rice stuff is done, squirt lime juice on it. Yum…

Viola! Burritos!

Garnish with the tomato & green onion.

Add some salsa & sour cream.

I’ve got salsa from The Original Taco House, and Daisy sour cream.

I like Daisy. There’s always random saying on the label inside.

Anyway…enjoy. Now I’m starving and have to go eat! :)

 

 

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Heroes ‘Til Curfew

Cover Art by Robin Ludwig

All Joss wants is to be left alone—with Dylan. But as more Talents are imprisoned by the government, everyone’s looking for a leader. Some look to Joss, some to Marco whose new criminal plan threatens Joss’s family and friends. Joss wants to stand up to Marco, but Dylan’s protective instincts are putting him in harm’s way. Can Joss find a way to embrace both the boy and her hero within?

This review is long overdue.

I’ve been a die-hard fan of Susan Bischoff for years, and this second book was a long time coming, yet definitely worth the wait. It took Susan almost a year to release this novel, after the initial release of Hush Money, the first book in the Talent Chronicle series. Of course, this book was much longer, and obviously a beast of burden for the author. Like me, she’s a perfectionist, at least when it comes to writing. As writers, we are wont to published anything that feels unpolished or unfinished. We stew. We edit. We critique ourselves constantly.  But is it worth the wait? Most definitely! Luckily, there was a short story included in an anthology, which expanded on the Talent Chronicle characters, and kept my impatience slightly abated.

Miraculously, she finally published this book, and I read it immediately, with promises of a prompt review.

Um yeah.

Forgive me, Susan. Life has been chaotic, as I’m sure you can understand.

Anyway, enough with my waxing on and on…

Go check out the book! Besides the minor blurb up at the top, Susan has a preview posted on her website. <—–click me :)

You can also view all the other various perks she’s incorporated. Trust me. You will love this. Susan’s created a whole new world for her characters, and is working on the third book as well!

I love YA books! Okay, so I’m in my mid-thirties, but whatever?!

The thing I love the most, that Ig et from numerous YA authors, is the strong female protagonists. Susan delivers Joss to her readers with a punch. I adore her. She’s a tom-boy. She’s outspoken (sometimes), and isn’t afraid to stand up for her friends and her beliefs. To me, this is admirable, especially in the Twilight-era of moody, wimpy chicks in YA literature. (Bella: Joss could kick your butt!) Joss is a  great role model for teenage girls, as she’s a bit of a recluse, but through the first novel (Hush Money), she grows as a person, and by the time we see her again in this novel, she’s strong-willed, take-no-prisoners kind of gal. And I love it!

Joss’ relationship with Dylan (her kinda boyfriend) is truly brought to life in this book, and who doesn’t find the bad boy turned good thing a bit sexy?

I also greatly enjoyed the levels that Susan added to Joss’ family dynamic in the second book. (No spoilers!) For me, it helped me to understand a bit more of Joss’ background, and sympathize with her father’s plight in a way I’d never have guessed. Way to shock me, Susan!

So if you like YA, and even if you’ve never tried it, go check out this lovely second installment in the Talent Chronicles! Strong females, government conspiracies, super powers! What more could a girl ask for?

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White Chicken Chili

 Ingredients:

2 chicken leg quarters

1 c. dried white beans

1 medium onion

2 cloves garlic

1/2 c. cilantro

1 small can green chiles

1 can corn

2 tea. hot sauce

So, I had these dried beans, frozen chicken, and a huge bunch of cilantro to use.

Plus, my avocado had ripened.

Hence, I “invented” this recipe.

Not really.

I simply adapted to the ingredients I had on hand.

Anywho…take your thawed chicken, throw it in the crock pot, and season it up with salt, pepper, cumin & oregano.

Dump in about a cup of water. Turn on high and walk away.

Smoke break, blog reading, job hunting, whatever…

Meanwhile, take the beans you soaked last night…oh wait…forgot to mention that. Yeah, I’m cheap, so I use dried beans. Anyway, soak ‘em & then boil them over medium for about an hour and a half. White beans cook faster.

Chop up your garlic & onion, dumping them all over the chicken in the crock pot.

Smoke again…or make some muffins. That’s what I did. :)

When your chicken’s done-ish, yank it out, and let it cool off before you get all the good parts off the bone and throw it back in.

Then add your beans. They should be done by now…

Add the green chiles, hot sauce and cilantro.

Turn your crock pot down to LOW, and go make the most of the next few hours…stirring occasionally.

When you’re ready to eat, slice up an avocado, chop more cilantro, and grate some cheese.

People can garnish however they want.

Yum.

Plus, there’s usually some left to freeze.

Enjoy! :)

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Forever Nocture: October Issue

I just wanted to pop in and say “HELLO PUMPKINS!”.

I was published today in the October issue of Forever Nocturne! Go me!

Anywhosit…I also wrote a post over on my other blog today, so you can check that out here.

Blessed Samhain, everyone! :)

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