Monday, December 31, 2012

Flued & Looted

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

How was your Christmas?  Hope it was all Holly Jolly and Very Merry. Let’s chat awesome swag folks. The flu tried to interrupt my Glitter Globe Christmas, but it came just the same. My family gathered around the tree on Christmas morning, flu cooties everywhere. Our buddy Zeus sat at the edge of the group, perfectly healthy. He said mortal flu cooties slide off giants like fiery cannonballs off castle walls. Loved ones said other things, but due to the coughing and merriment and the fact that I was rolling around in a new pile of books, I missed most of it. Did you get books for Christmas?  Friends, that is like getting a vacation wrapped inside a virtual reality ride. It’s the best. What thing can top Mr. Darcy?  Or a safe journey aboard a pirate ship?  Most especially if it comes with chocolate.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Karfelt
Check out my new jacket…can you imagine? 
Photo Credit: Stephanie Karfelt
And you’ll never believe that I’m actually a minimalist, what with the Epic Slinky Dogs and what Santa put in my stocking this year. I fainted a bit.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Karfelt
Do you think books make spectacular gifts?  If not, what does?  What thrilled or chilled you this holiday season?

Flued
And Looted

 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It’s The End of the World as We Know It…again.




Got your running shoes on?


Once Upon a Time…I worked with a guy who was flat out certain that the end of the world would happen within months. He saw all the signs, and the then President had some telltale mark. During the workday while I designed power point presentations, he’d whisper about the Seven Signs of the Apocalypse. Let’s call my old work buddy BM for short. I have my reasons. Whenever I couldn’t take it anymore I’d make bets with him. “BM?  Betcha it doesn’t end by Friday.”  “You’ll see and then you’ll know I was right.”  As if that is how it would work, as if my first thought (last thought?) as the sun exploded would be, “Golly, BM was right!  Silly me!” 
Perhaps I should be ashamed to admit I took advantage. At the time I considered it to be a perk for listening to the clap trap. Once BM had to shell out for chocolate cake for our whole group if the world didn’t end by his latest date, apparently he’d had a glitch in his calculations, so he paid for the cake and moved the date. When that date came and went he ended up having to treat those who sat nearest him to dinner, at an exclusive restaurant that none of us could afford. (He didn’t mind, because since the world was ending, he didn’t have to worry about money.)  Wonder what he’s doing now…and I hope he hasn’t spent all the time since, worrying.

Then there was the Y2K glitch at the end of 1999, when all the computers on earth were going to blue screen (or was it green screen then?) and throw us into the Dark Ages. By Dark Ages I suppose they meant something like the ‘80’s, back to the days when paperwork involved paper. The scariest part about that was if the hairstyles came back too. I remember asking friends I considered computer experts how badly computers would be affected. The answer I received was, “You might want to stock up on pickles and beer.” I pretended to understand that, but did neither. I consider myself blessed to have friends and neighbors who worry even less than I do. They tend to not sweat the small stuff, like my love of dandelions.

Now it is the Mayan calendar (coupled with the pop culture phenomenon of bringing tidbits of information that few of us really have any clue about) that creates something new to stress over. This is one of those things I just don’t worry about. What is the point in worrying about things nobody on the planet can control?  Though, I admit I did use it as an excuse not to clean my attic this fall. Dear Hubby just rolled his eyes. (Note to self:  Come up with another excuse for spring.)  Recently a frustrated, professional worrier said to me, “What will you do if the world ends and you didn’t even know it was coming?!”  Really?  That is kind of my game plan.

Still it brings up some interesting philosophies. If the world was going to end, what would you do differently?  Since everyone’s world ends eventually, I figure it is a question to consider. Is there something you’d really like to change in your life?  Right now the only thing that I would do differently – if the world was ending tomorrow – is to eat an enormous diabetes-inducing pile of Christmas chocolate. After that I’d spend my last minutes on earth nauseous. Nauseous would make the ending easier to take I think. That is my theory anyway. What’s yours?

***

I'd like to hear your theory or philosophy.  Epic Slinky Dogs will be randomly awarded to two people who leave comments. Be sure to follow my blog to be eligible.  (And check back to see if you won, it's really hard to find "Jiggly Puff" and "Anonymous" on the Internet.)
Epic Slinky Dog Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tasty Tidbits

Glass Candy! Photo by Stephanie Karfelt


Pop Quiz - Glitter Globe Style


1.      State your birth order. (Oldest)

2.      Do you think the above matters?  (My twenty month head start has imbibed me with vast knowledge. You can never catch up.)

3.      If you could be any animal in the world, what would you be?  (My Mom’s dog.)

4.      If you could be/marry any character from Lord of the Rings, who would you be/marry?  (I’d be Rosie and I’d marry Samwise.)

5.      Favorite dream job?  (Writer/Captain of the Enterprise.)

6.      If you could excel at any sport, what would it be?  (Gymnastics.)

7.      If you had to incorporate one food into every meal for the rest of your life, what would you pick?  (Crispin Apples. I’m the Bubba Gump of Crispin Apples. “Apple oatmeal, apple slices with peanut butter, apple pie, apple crisp, apple turnovers, apple stir-fry, caramel apples, apple ‘n squash soup, apple with quinoa, apple ice-cream, apples…”)

8.      What is your favorite cake?  (Cake!)

9.      Frosting or not?  (Yes.)

10.  If you could bestow one gift on mankind, what would it be?  (Enough.)

11.  One curse?  (Tails.)

12.  Best technology ever?  (Writing.)

13.  Worst technology ever?  (Television.)

14.  If you could institute one rule that everyone had to follow forever?  (Listen more than we talk. You learn an awful lot.)

15.  Do you believe in naps?  (This can be a deal breaker in relationships. Naps are the key to world domination, my cat told me that. I think in smaller doses they’re the key to happiness.)

16.  Do you like cats?  (No, but it’s okay because they don’t like me.)

17.  Do you like dogs?  (Yes.)

18.  Do you like armadillos?  (Yes, but they kind of creep me out face to face. I think they look like pill bugs.)

19.  Would you rather be a brilliant dancer or singer?  (Singer. I can pretend I’m a brilliant dancer; I don’t really care what you think. But I can hear myself sing.)

20.  Have you ever committed a felony?  (Not in this universe.)

21.  In general, do you think men and women think differently?  (Yes, but we’re not supposed to say it out loud.)

22.  Do you say things out loud that you’re not supposed to say?  (Yes.)

23.  Do you like snow?  (If it never snowed where I am, I might consider a long distance friendship.)

24.  If you could do it all over again, would you?  (See me at the end.)

25.  What is your favorite age?  For yourself. (Now.)

26.  Do you like sitting beside children on airplanes?  (Yes, and I answer all their questions. You might not want to sit by us.)

27.  Do you lie?  (Yes. I figure if I say no that is probably a lie. I try not to.)

28.  Can you be trusted to guard a child’s chocolate Easter rabbit?  (Dark or milk? Okay, fine, no.)

29.  Do you like cars?  (No. But my Time Travel Jeep is fun. Did you know people who drive Jeeps wave at each other on the road?)

30.  Do you like to garden?  (Hypothetically.)

31.  Are you neat?  (No organizational skills whatsoever, it never mattered because I used to have a great memory. It matters now.)

32.  Do you like to shop?  (Hate. It.)

33.  Do you like books?  (Unnaturally.)

34.  Do you like gadgets?  (It is a love hate thing. Far more hate involved.)

35.  What is the key to happiness, in your opinion?  (Low expectations.)

36.  Deciduous or coniferous?  (Yes.)

37.  Do you like naked trees?  (Yes.)

38.  Do you like jewelry?  (I like sparkly things in a box on my dresser. I don’t like them to touch me.)

39.  Personal Kryptonite?  (Paper cuts and mice in the garage.)

40.  Is the glass half full or half empty?  (It’s actually more than half full because you wouldn’t fill it to the very top, it would spill.)

41.  How do you feel about apathy?  (I don’t really care. Joking!)

42.  How do you feel about reptiles?  (They should die. Except frogs.)

43.  What is your superpower?  (I write fiction.)

44.  If you could have any superpower what would it be?  (If I can only have one, I’ll stick with writing fiction, if I can have two, I’ll go with flying.)

45.  What is your favorite game?  (Water spit-tag. You will do everything in your power not to get tagged out.)

46.  Do you believe confession is good for the soul?  (I did it. I’m sorry.)

47.  Do you hold the door open for the person behind you in public?  (No. I slam it shut and hold it so they can’t follow me in.)

48.  Do cemeteries creep you out?  (No. I like them immensely.)

49.  If you died right now, what would you want your headstone to say?  (You’re next.)

50.  If you were to accidentally cremate yourself trying to light a childproof lighter, where would you want your ashes scattered?  (Sequoia National Forest next to the tree called President. Or tossed off the top of a Ferris Wheel. Either is good.)
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt
 
I do all the talking around here. How fair is that? I'd like to take a peek inside your sparkly head too. So I came up with this in-depth questionnaire. You can answer any of the questions that you want to answer, or all of them,* or none at all. That's the way we roll here in The Glitter Globe, rules shmules, tests optional. I'd just like to get to know you. (You likely realized my answers are the ones in parentheses.) If you do answer, feel free to color outside the lines. I know I sure do.
 
*The first two people who answer ALL the questions will win an Epic Slinky Dog.  Just be sure to leave me contact information. (And follow my blog, please!)
 
Epic Slinky Dog (ESD)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Must Be Santa

Another $25 Barnes & Nobles Gift Card Giveaway!

 
 
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

 

Is the quest to keep things simple for the holidays, Grinchy?  Because I was going for meaningful. I went to a local glass studio and made blown glass ornaments. (With my own two hands and hot air.)  They’re really beautiful, fun to make, and I thought being handmade would keep in the spirit of the season. What I hadn’t thought about, what slipped to the back of The Glitter Globe, was the fact that I have to mail this stuff to far off lands. Maybe next year I’ll opt for something really simple to wrap and mail, like bowling balls.
 
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

This morning I tossed on my running clothes and thought, I’ll just wrap this stuff and get it ready to mail first. Then I’ll run. Six hours later everything is wrapped, packaged, and ready for transportation to the post office. Thanks to the Epic Slinky Dog giveaway, I go there quite often. I hand the post master the familiar puffy envelopes, with that telltale Epic Slinky Dog rattle, and he weighs them and asks the same question, “Any liquids, perishables, or flammables?”  And I answer, “Only inasmuch as the expected methane emissions of your average Epic Slinky Dog during transport.”  Kidding, the USPS doesn’t joke around. I say, “Fragile”. Then he slams the big red FRAGILE stamp down on ESD with a bam, and Slinky is on his way. Tomorrow I expect to pretty much spend the day with the postmaster, filling out customs forms. Imagine his face when I drag this lot in. I have a consolation prize for him in my purse. Yes, his very own Epic Slinky Dog. Don’t you think everyone at the post office needs one this time of year?
 
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt
 
How are your brilliant holiday plans working out?  ‘Iceland’ has been inundated with a rash of those slightly disturbing glorious sunny days. It’s December, there’s usually snow. I feel almost guilty basking in perfect jogging days, when the wonky weather changes have wrought so much damage. Jogging to my latest favorite running song (“Kill Your Heroes” by AWOLNATION) a text interrupted me. How inconvenient. Had to close my Facebook app (right in the middle of an Instant Message conversation) to read the text. It was from BFF and read…
“Christmas songs that should never have been – Bob Dylan singing “Must Be Santa” accompanied by an accordion. Yes, really!...”
I resisted the urge to open iTunes right then and there. I was jogging, and it’s very difficult to punch in your password properly when you’re running. So I texted back…
            “Lol Timnin”
Which we all know means I’m laughing out loud, while texting and running. BFF is used to such responses. Of course I hit YouTube to check out said video and this is what I found:  Must Be Santa by Bob Dylan
It made me laugh, and I appreciate that. Thank you Mr. Dylan (or Sir or Knight or whatever it is). What do you think about the accordion accompanied song?  And of all the holiday songs that are out there right now, which ones do you think should have NEVER been?  And now I’m going to go run, at last. Just as soon as I get this blog posted.
***
This is the part about the fun and games and giveaways. If you leave a comment (and “Join this Site”) you’re eligible for your very own Epic Slinky Dog/giveaways. I’m planning to give away at least two ESD on this post. Since it is Christmas, I’ll also be keeping in the spirit of the season by giving away another $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble. After this post hits 25 comments (spam doesn’t count), I’ll randomly pick one winner from the comment section for the gift card. Be sure to check back to see if you’ve won. (If I can’t locate a winner within 48 hours, I will choose another.) 
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt


Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Shieldmaiden's Admonition


A Glitter Globe Christmas Carol Tale

Perhaps Dickens would understand...



It’s almost 2:00 a.m. and I’m supposed to be rewriting the last chapter of my current WIP. Instead I’m snapping the bubble-wrap that I use to wrap Epic Slinky Dogs in. Was hanging out on Facebook but it gets really quiet in the middle of the night. Seems like a perfect time for a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past. The Dickens Curse was handed down to me for my Bah Humbug post, and I’ve been waiting for these visits so I can blog about it. I think I know what is wrong. It is amazing how these things become clearer to me with lack of sleep. How would I even know if The Ghost of Christmas Past showed up?  She might be here showing me the past right now. How scary can that possibly be for a writer?  It would look exactly like what I’m always doing, typing with really bad posture. Of course I quit writing sometimes, but what are the odds the ghost has time to hunt through years of me typing, to look for me standing in the kitchen eating peanut butter out of the jar?  It is kinda scary though, I’ll give you that. Sit up straight!  Shoulders back!  There, much better.
Ph
Here comes the Ghost of Christmas Present. I notice her. She drags me away from the computer to show me my daughter decorating the tree all by herself. Nooooooo!  I suck! Hold up. My daughter might be doing this just so I can’t put all the Epic Slinky Dogs on the tree as I’d planned! No, you're right! That doesn’t matter!  No one should decorate the tree alone! I turn on a Christmas movie and help. The tree is now all silver and blue, very festive. The Ghost of Christmas Present glides through the kitchen and we have a look around. She makes me clean up my spinach smoothie mess, and take the trash out. I don’t think she’s a ghost, I think she’s a witch because she gets all up in my face about doing laundry, and opening mail. Give me a break!  Who opens their mail every single week?  What do I look like, Superwoman?  I grab a quick dessert (Redi-Whip straight out of the can, don’t judge me, these ghosts already are) and return to my writing. I have a deadline. I need to finish this entire series in this lifetime, AND write a few more.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come looks freakily like my chiropractor. Let’s call her GCYC for short. She says the turtle neck from straining towards the computer screen is now permanent. Apparently I should have jogged a bit more and not sat fourteen hours a day either, because even though it is the future they don’t make pants shaped like THAT. Looks like my Christmas tree is up though, hmmm, it looks exactly like the one I just put up with my daughter. What?  You mean it is the same one?  I never took it down?  Now there’s an idea, why didn’t I think of that years ago?  GCYC says she doesn’t like my attitude and to take a look at this. Well, thank goodness Dragon Naturally Speaking has advanced, because it looks like my future writer self has to use it. Both her hands are in casts from carpal tunnel surgery, and she’s got a bit of a hump. At least she’s still writing, right?  I sneak a peek over her shoulder to see what she’s working on. How many novels has she written?  What series is she working on now?  My heart's all aflutter, this should be good!  My future-self’s hair is dark with grey streaks, so she’s either much older or there is no hair dye left in the world. Leaning forward I see that she is busily editing a novel called BLANK. That’s the exact same thing I’m editing in the present. No!  No!  Oh Dear Heavens!  Noooo!  Oh the humanity!  I’ll change!  I swear it, I’ll change!  Anything but that!  Noooooo!

***

This story genuinely creeps me out. Just to prove I am a changed woman, I slithered into the holiday spirit and made this video. It is all those things that scare me about the holiday, rolled into one fun video. Leave a comment and tell me what scares you about the holiday, and one of you will win a $25 gift card from Barnes & Noble, and at least one of you will win an Epic Slinky Dog. (See?  Like Scrooge the morning after, I’m giving stuff away!)  I’m going to pick the gift card winner based on your epic comment. Be sure to follow my blog to qualify!  And check back to see if you won in order to collect your prize! 

An Epic Merry for Ye... 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bah Humbug


Photo credit:  asterisk.apod.com

 
How did this happen?  When did I become a Christmas Scrooge?  There are times during the year when I make up something to celebrate, and order a cake to make it official. There is the The Guys Went Hunting The House is All Mine – Mine Mine Mine cake. There is the Company’s Coming and I Haven’t Seen them in Weeks! cake. Easter always involves baskets, ceramic bunnies, and spring flowers. Even though I live on top of Spooky Hill and nobody comes here, I always have glow sticks, Play Doh, and candy for Halloween. Yet sparkly red and green ribbon, Santa at the Mall, and “Jingle Jingle Jingle...I am old Kris Kringle, I’m the King of Jingle-ing” wafting through the grocery store just ticks me off. I don’t mean a little tick off. I mean I want to yank out my spiked thigh-high boots, my pleather jacket, rub on some fake tattoos and black lipstick and go stomp through the mall. What’s that about?
This is possibly a shock to my unicorn-loving friends, but I’m not even sending Christmas cards this year. That will be the first time since I used construction paper and crayons, and hand delivered them to family members sitting across the table from me. Let’s be perfectly honest here, I adore honestly, it saves so much time. The reason I’m not sending Christmas cards this year is I don’t want to. Not sure what I’m going to do with the four books of beautiful holiday stamps I already bought. Nothing is wrong. I still love you. Stop by and we’ll have cake.
Last week while standing in line to exchange a pair of jeans, I spotted a display of gift cards. So, it isn’t the pressure of coming up with gifts that put the bee in my bonnet, because I’m done shopping. Yay. Surprise.
 
Photo credit:  Stephanie Karfelt
 
Haha, just kidding. Mostly. Of course I will suck it up, hide the attitude, and if necessary produce some live reindeer on Christmas Eve, and play the part of a sheep during a reenactment of a live nativity if it is called for. But I’m all Joan Jett Punk Rocker about it inside, and don’t you forget that part. There would be a picture of my black-leather bad-self costume right about here, if the act of googling such images hadn’t frightened me terribly. Some things cannot be unseen, and I’d rather play Christmas Consumer Sheeple than go there. Just remember though, Hermie doesn’t like to make toys.
 
Photo Credit:  TheLetter.co.uk
 
How about you?  Are you all over the holiday season like twinkle lights?  Or are you ready to sign my petition to have it moved to every other year?  What is it about the holidays that crawls up the back of your shirt with sharp toenails?  Or what is it that thrills you to the tips of your Charlotte Church Christmas CD? 
***
Epic Slinky Dogs will be awarded to the most moving tales on either side. Be sure to follow my blog to be eligible.
Photo credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

Monday, November 26, 2012

Time Travel Jeep - The Castle

The Time Travel Jeep is an Urban Fantasy series I'm writing, and sharing in short-story installments.  Lizzy is in town for her Grandmother's funeral, when her Jeep starts jumping through time - S. R. Karfelt


It’s hardly a castle, just a shell of one. Most of the leaves are off the trees, their trunks twist, bare branches vein against November sky. My tires bounce over bumpy courtyard stone. I park my Jeep, and a rear tire juts higher than the rest. It feels like I’m sliding forward into the open entryway. Blowing leaves swirl, settling thickly. My first real kiss happened inside that empty castle. It looks the same, except a historical plaque has been mounted near the entrance. I already know the story. Back in the 50’s, an Earl, or a Count or a Squire had it shipped stone by stone from the Carpathian Mountains. He had it reassembled right here in Norman, Ohio, for his love. The story goes that she disappeared and he never finished it to search for her. Teens sneak in the park after hours and build campfires inside it, and graffiti their names on the walls, and fall in love.
That’s what Jon and I did.
It is a long drive home and I should probably leave. Instead I sit and stare at the castle, fiddling aimlessly with the radio. Not aimlessly. I know exactly what I want. I want to hear Bon Jovi on the radio. I want to hear our song. I want to time travel into the past and see my husband again. Most of today has been useless attempts at forcing myself into the past, but this one I want too much to give up. My finger spins the dial. A Temper Trap marathon sounds from my favorite station. Light silhouettes the trees, and I sit back and sip on a chai latte until only cold dregs remain, planning what I will say when my Time Travel Jeep cooperates and takes me where I want to go.
Static and piano music crinkles faintly from the radio, pulling me from a fantasy involving Jon and a summer night long ago. Automatically I reach for the dial. My brain catches up and I shiver, the day vanishes and I’m plunged instantly into darkness. It worked, but I don’t think this is where I want to be. I flick on the headlights. A long black car, resembling a hearse, is parked just inches from my Jeep. There is a door in the castle, and glass now glints in the windows. Thick snowy evergreens tower over the stone walls, and for the first time I’m genuinely afraid of where the Jeep has taken me. This is definitely not Norman, Ohio.
“I can get back,” talking out loud makes me feel braver. I open the Jeep door and slam it shut again quickly. “Once more, and I’ll return.”  I open the door, but someone grabs it, stopping me.
“Come out,” A heavily accented, Count Chocula voice murmurs. The door is pulled wide open. “I command you to obey me.”  Inexplicably I obey. Automatically nabbing my car keys, I slide out. Instead of landing on leaves, my heels hit paving stones and slushy snow. The dome light reveals a small dark haired man wearing a horribly outdated suit and an actual cape. Eyebrows half-way to his slicked-back hairline, he’s staring wide-eyed, not blinking. It reminds me of my cat when it wants inside.
“Vladimir vants to suck your blood,” he whispers, exaggerating each word and apparently referring to himself in third person. He’s a very tiny man. Clutching his cape in a fist, he’s peering up at me over the crook of his arm. “I vant to, I vant to, okey-dokey?” A faint snort escapes me. Disapproving eyebrows almost meet his smooth hairline. Eyes widening ridiculously, he moves his head slowly back and forth in what I suspect is his idea of a hypnotic gesture. There is not a community theatre in the country that would have him. I bite the inside of my mouth, hard, determined not to laugh at him.
“Vy you not listen to Vladimir?  Give me bite.”
“Um, I have some chocolate in the car if you want that,” I offer.
The little freak actually hisses at me, head and eyes still rolling, reminding me oddly of my cousin’s pet Pug. I reach inside the Jeep and tug my purse towards me, fishing inside. Vladimir starts slowly waving his hands at me, old vampire-movie Bela Lugosi style. I expect him to hiss, “Open Sesame”. I produce the chocolate bar, Norman Ohio’s claim to fame, dark with a touch of sea salt. I’d almost rather get bitten than part with it. I hold it up.
He straightens, hands falling to his sides. “Vy you no afraid of Vladimir?”
“Where I come from vampires aren’t so scary.”
“Vot?” He puts hands on narrow hips and bares his teeth at me.
“21st Century vampires are kind of buff, and good looking, or at least sparkly. Would you please stop doing that?”  Grimacing, he opens and closes his mouth a few more times. There are definitely creepy fangs in there. I hold the chocolate bar towards him. He sighs dramatically and nabs it from me.
“Vot is buff?”  He unwraps the bar.
“Fit, muscular.”
Sucking in his stomach, he looks affronted. “Vladimir buff!”  He takes a big bite of the chocolate and glares at me. The paunch slowly expands as he chews. He takes his time eating the chocolate, bug-eyes traveling rudely from the top of my head to the tip of my booted foot.
“Who you?”  It comes out sounding like ‘voo-yoo’.
For some reason I admit my first name. “Lizzy.”  A gust of icy wind blows over him. His cape swirls, but his hair remains slick against his head. The wind blows my hair back, cutting through my sweater. It rocks the Jeep and the driver door slams shut, almost taking my fingertips as I reach desperately for it, a shout of protest dies in my throat. The dome light vanishes and I know the Jeep will return to my time without me.
Then I’m simply back inside it. Once more it is daylight in my own time, and I’m staring at the shell of the stone castle through the windshield, my icy fingers clutching my car keys. Once my heart stops thundering inside my chest, I brave opening the door and slide out on shaky legs. My feet slip on damp leaves littering the paving stones. I trot to the empty archway of the castle and read the plaque.
Convoy Castle was transported from the Carpathian Mountains in 1950, by Squire Vladimir Convoy. Convoy’s intended bride, the Lady Lizzy Buff never arrived, and the castle was never completed. Vladimir founded the Norman Chocolate Company, in honor of his lost love.
Racing back to the Jeep, I twist my ankle but keep running anyway. Climbing inside, it takes me three tries to shove the key into the ignition, and I’m afraid to look around. By the time I reach the state line, I’ve received two speeding tickets. No small feat driving a Jeep. I don’t believe in vampires, but I do believe in creepy stalkers. That is what I tell myself, but just to be safe, I’m never going back to my hometown.
***
This installment of The Time Travel Jeep finds Lizzy on her last night in Norman, Ohio, after her Grandmother's funeral.  (Click on "Grandmother" to read that story.)  I'll post more of Lizzy's adventures as time allows.  Let me know what adventures you'd like to see Lizzy have.  If you had a Time Travel Jeep, where'd you want it to take you?  



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

On A Roll

 
Photo Credit:  Lahoma McMillion
 
Aren’t those candy turkeys adorable?  Fellow writer Lahoma McMillion made them. She said it took her six hours to make thirty of them. The Awesome Thanksgiving Mom Award goes to Lahoma!  Are you making something special for our national feast day?  I did not go to Lahoma’s lengths, but I am preparing to host the traditional meal at my house. I don’t like to waste time cooking. By nature I think I’m the person who should be coming to your house for the holiday, but since that never happens (hint), I have to suck it up and cook and bake. And this is how it goes.
There is an entire cupboard devoted to random recipes and I root until I find the pumpkin roll recipe. I lose interest right about here and start calling people to chat while I work, while piling ingredients on the counter. Pumpkin Rolls require tea towels with lots of powdered sugar sifted onto them. I like this recipe, very messy. It also involves chopping nuts, again, hugely messy. It even involves lining cookie sheets with waxed paper, then vegetable oil and flour. Awesome stuff.
 
Since this will involve a mess that might require me to move afterwards, I decide to make four pumpkin rolls. Now it involves fractions. So I get off the phone and realize that I am one egg short – and I don’t mean metaphorically. I call a neighbor and ask for an egg, drive to her house (I live in the country) and pick up the egg, she thinks it is funny. Back home I mix the batter and get back on the phone. While on the phone, I pour the batter into the prepared cookie pans. It looks too thin. Shoot – I forgot to add the flour mixture. Multi-tasking has never been my thing, I get off the phone. Using a spatula I scrape it back into the mixing bowl and add the flour and do it again, without redoing the waxed paper. As mentioned previously, I lost interest in this – well, technically before I even started it. So I’ll take my chances, besides now I’m checking out YouTube videos (Did you see Dumb Ways to Die? I hope I never do any of those). I bake the cake, which is the shell of the pumpkin roll. While it is baking I mix up the filling. This involves sifted powdered sugar (Baking Tip:  Easily done over a large measuring cup with a small wire strainer and an egg beater – now I’m on Facebook), real butter, cream cheese, and real vanilla. Since I’m into healthy eating, I mix myself up a spinach smoothie for lunch. To even out the healthiness, I lick the beater with icing on it.
All this awesome baking has attracted the attention of my friendly neighborhood giant, Zeus. The pumpkin cakes smell wonderful as I take them out of the oven, and Zeus comes into the kitchen and plops down on a chair. He leans his giant head on his giant hand and checks out the powdered sugar all over the counter and tea towels. “What are you doing?” he asks. I cross the kitchen with the cookie sheets, and warn briefly, “You might not want to sit there.”  Then I thump the cakes onto two of the tea towels. A cloud of powdered sugar goes FOOF all over Zeus. He takes it like the big manly giant he is, and says, “You did that on purpose.” “Yes,” I admit. Let’s face it, if Zeus wanted to grind my bones to make his bread, he’d have done it long ago. I’m starting to like this baking stuff.
You peel the waxed paper off. Then roll up the tea towel, and place the cakes on a wire rack to cool.  After it is cooled, you unroll and toss the sugary nutty tea towels into the sink scattering both as you go. Now you spread the icing evenly.
Then just roll it up again. Then you cool it in the refrigerator a bit, until it firms. After that you cut the ends off, to make the roll look prettier, and you give the ends to your giant as a peace offering. To eat you slice it neatly. It really is yum. Recipe below if you like to make huge baking messes and would like to make your own!
Will you be feeding any giants this holiday season?  Or perhaps a horde of beloved friends and family?  Share your baking trials and tribulation (or epic fails) with The Glitter Globe. The best story will get an Epic Slinky Dog. (Just follow my blog and leave a comment below.)
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Pumpkin Roll
Cake:
Powdered sugar
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned (or cooked fresh) pumpkin
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Filling:
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 ½ tsp. real vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375F. Grease 15x10-inch jelly-roll (or cookie tray). Line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar. (Use a wire strainer to do this, easiest.)
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched (and isn’t sticky). Turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off waxed paper and roll cake and towel up together (starting at narrow end). Cool on a wire rack.
For filling beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake, remove towel. Spread mixture over cake evenly (to edges). Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. (Double wrap in foil to freeze, freezes well.)  Slice to serve.
 
 
 






 



Friday, November 16, 2012

It's Tradition

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt
“So what do you want to do for Thanksgiving?” I ask my family. “Because I could really go for Thai food, and I’ve always wanted to see Bangkok. Delta is running a special.”  Once again they decline my latest holiday plan and opt to go the traditional route. That is why my kitchen is covered in a fine coating of powdered sugar, and my freezer is already filling up with baked goods that involve pumpkin and cranberries. Twice this week I’ve forwarded emails advertising gourmet Thanksgiving buffets at posh hotels, but they ignore me. I hate to cook, but they know I can do it. My Bohemian Gram and my MIL taught me everything you really need to know about cooking and baking. Make everything from scratch and use butter. So you see I can do traditional and old-fashioned, with a small dash of Glitter Globe style. Are you a traditionalist?  Or are you faking your way through the holidays too?
Photo Credit: Stephanie Karfelt
 
“Hon?  Where are the tents?”  I searched all morning, between chopping ten pounds of walnuts and working on a scene in my novel. It is my philosophy that overnight company needs their own space to hide in, especially kids. There are not enough bedrooms, so I use tents. String up some fairy lights, a pile of pillows, blankets, flashlight, and good books that I subtly tuck inside – then everyone has their own space. Indoor camping is hardly traditional, but it is fun. Have you ever left something out of place for so long that it became invisible?  Like a pile of tents by the back door, waiting to be put away?  For ten months?  “Never mind, Hon!  I found them!”
 
Photo Credit: Stephanie Karfelt
 
Food and shelter aren’t enough for a good old-fashioned Griswold Family Vacation. Entertainment must also be seen to. We opt for traditional games like, “Can you do this?” which is fun for all ages, and my MIL kicks butt at. Not only can the woman tie a cherry stem into a knot with her tongue, but she rocks at somersaulting. If you know the family personally, you did not hear this here, and if you don’t – no we do not drink. Hard to believe, but true.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Karfelt

Music, dancing, baking, crafts and storytelling are also part of our tradition. Sometimes we’ll toss something new into the mix for the kids. Last year we arranged a small plane ride for them. I’m almost surprised they’ve agreed to come back to my house this year. I guess nausea passes. It was sweet though, the way they clambered out of the plane and kissed the runway. It was sweeter the way everyone got along too. Family time, life just doesn’t get any better than that.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Karfelt
 
What are your Thanksgiving plans?  I hope you have the day off!  Are you doing the cooking?  (If not, how do you get out of it, email me explicit instructions.)  Are you a traditionalist or a non-conformist?  Is company coming or will you be the company?  And have you ever set up a tent in your house?  (As always, if you follow my blog and leave a comment you will be eligible for an Epic Slinky Dog!  Winners will be based on epic Thanksgiving tales, so give it your best shot.)
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt
 






 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pity Party

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt
Did you hear that crash at the Glass Museum? Don’t worry, it wasn’t your child. It was me. I dropped my phone on a display of glass balloon animals (taking blog photos, I hope you feel a bit guilty since I did it for you). Vertigo is one heaping bowl of sucks. Miraculously nothing broke. Is there special multi-tasking insurance for clumsy people? Though blundering is not just a human condition. This week Sandy, my pet butterfly, got the tip of his wing caught in a bit of dried honey and flew off without that bit. It was the same day that I hit a rabbit driving home in the dark. Mother Nature’s disappointment in my nurturing skills is vast, a given being a part-time vegetarian who dreams about hamburgers. At any rate I decided to throw a pity party. You’re all invited and encouraged to share your tales of woe. We’ll even have pity party prizes.
My entry into the pity party hall of shame is the allergic reaction I had to…(wait for it)…allergy shots. How pathetic is that? It wasn’t a horrible anaphylactic shock reaction (thank God). I specialize in those freaky little reactions that doctors toss nonchalantly into the ‘side-effects’ category. “Does the incessant itching bother you, Mrs. Karfelt?”  “Not at all. I’m wondering if I could get a prescription for one of those cones? You know the kind Vets use on dogs that won’t stop gnawing on themselves?”


My invisible poison ivy-like side-effect goes to the back of the bus when compared to Lauren Hewell’s tale of woe. The recent college graduate shared her story with The Glitter Globe. Lauren’s in the job market by the way. 


So what’s your story? Have you ever been thrown out of Walmart because your child screamed that loud? Did you sign up for NaNoWriMo* and then remember that Thanksgiving is in two weeks, and you’re hosting company and the family gathering? Did you have to get in a car with an infamous stray dog known to have once eaten an entire goat? Today’s pity party day, and we’re all here to commiserate with you. Keep in mind the goal is to laugh at ourselves, and there are prizes for the best-worst story. (Follow my blog to be eligible for a prize, and leave a comment below. Feel free to suggest what you think an excellent prize would be, but be prepared to accept an Epic Slinky Dog, chocolate, or shards of broken bits from a glass balloon animal. Just kidding. They did NOT break. Really.)

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt


*NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. When inspired writers take on the challenge of writing an entire novel the month before Christmas (and risk alienating their Thanksgiving company, again).