Saturday, July 27, 2013


Photo Credit: Stephanie Karfelt

Inexpensive ways to entertain other people’s kids.

·         Music. Loud. Free. This covers a multitude of sins. Are those kids arguing in your car? Louder.
·         Carwash. Camera. Really.

·         Public Fountain + Swim Suits + Not a Town I Live In = Cool Aunt Points

·         Big kid in shopping cart. (Use the math/logic side of your brain here. Not too big! Though I’ve seen college kids in there. We don’t want anyone to tip out.) This serves the dual purpose of entertaining and corralling.
·         Truth or Dare outside. You’ll want a place where you can send them cartwheeling over several acres. Make sure you always pick truth when it is your turn! ALWAYS. You’ll just have to spill the beans on the kid’s parents’ secrets (you know you want to anyway). The kid will always take the dare. This game ensues they will be tired and sleep nights. “I dare you to hop on one leg, while barking, to the swings and back.” Trust me and report back.
·         When entering any store, arm the kids with a pad and pencil to make you Birthday/Christmas lists. This way they don’t ask for a single thing today, and you can run your errands.
·         Alternate who gets to be boss each day. The boss gets to plan the day. Oh. Caveat. Boss has to pay.
·         Purchase an assortment of foreign sodas for a taste test. Japanese won hands down btw.
·         Ice-cream with sprinkles. Every. Single. Day.

·         Eat everything with chopsticks. Just not the ice-cream if it is eaten inside your car.
·         Alien invasion. This game involves foil hats and kids hiding while you read hunt for them in the manner of your favorite invading alien.

My name is S. R. Karfelt and when I'm not entertaining other people's kids (and sometimes while) I'm writing. My first novel, Warrior of the Ages, will be out on August 15, 2013. Check it out on Facebook or check availability on the website. There are no invading aliens in the novel, but there is one amazing immortal warrior and a host of characters I think you'll enjoy spending time with. 

Sadly there are no sprinkle cones, maybe the next book!

Want to add anything to my list of entertaining other people’s kids?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Wee Purse

Once I carried a striped cloth bag (that I purchased for $2 from Target) as a purse. I used it until the handle started to tear from the weight of being over-stuffed. Another time I used a mini hand-tooled leather backpack, I spent what I consider quite a bit on that (meaning more than $2). I’ve never really bought into the designer handbag hoopla. I don’t much care what is cool, and anytime I approach an accessory with a large price tag I can hear my Bohemian Grandmother in my mind, “That’s a sin.” She used to say that whenever she found something highly over-priced. Like $2.99 for spearmint jelly leaves.

We never discussed handbags, but I can hear her just the same. Though once on a trip to a city with the initials NYC I did purchase a few fancy bags from a guy with a walkie talkie. Apparently Dooney & Bourke and Coach bags mean something to someone, because the recipients of the bags were pleased and I never mentioned they were $10. Cash only. I just wanted to know what it was like to buy something from one of those vendors that yank the metal doors over their shops whenever the cops drive by. Don’t judge me. Writers need to know this stuff. 

Normally my handbag criteria is all about function first. Is there a place in the bag for my phone so I don’t have to root for it? You so do not want your phone blasting a Vampire Weekend ringtone while you dig for it during Vespers at the local monastery. Not that fashion never comes into play. I like fun stuff too, or a pretty bag now and then. But every single time it has led to the dreaded buyer’s remorse. The most expensive purse I ever owned was purchased on impulse at Macy’s. It was made of buttery soft leather, and once I touched it I was lost. For at least a week I enjoyed that beautiful bag. It fit beneath the seat in front of me on the airplane too. It fit into the hotel safe even. I lifted it out of the hotel safe. It had absorbed the black paint inside the safe, so that the leather now had black markings over it. I flipped it over. The bottom was now blue, the color of airplane carpet blue. That buttery soft leather was apparently blotter paper. I should have returned it to the store. Like I keep receipts. (Not entirely true, I keep them all, it is locating them at will that I have trouble with.)

So for some time I’ve been more of a bargain pocketbook hunter. I found an excellent black and silver bag that met my under the airplane seat/hotel safe/fits on the console of my time travel jeep criteria. I carried it for ages, and this spring I spotted a lovely bright bag and picked it up. It performed very well while traveling, though I did notice that the airplane had an unpleasant odor. Not to mention the hotel. It wasn’t until I returned home, and spent several days cleaning my room, and randomly throwing clothes back into the laundry to re-wash that I realized that the odor haunting me was coming from the new handbag. I tossed it into my closet (because I couldn’t just THROW IT AWAY, my Bohemian Grandmother would haunt me for pity’s sake!) and went in search of a new bag.

An Actual Wee Purse
Perhaps I should not admit that I went through racks of purses at TJMaxx sniffing them, but I did. This was just hours before I was leaving on a trip into the Canadian wilderness. Dear Hubby couldn’t fathom why I had to have a new bag to spend two weeks holed up in the bush beneath mosquito netting. It wasn’t the bag! I couldn’t take the 13 hour car ride with stinky purse. So I made an emergency trip to pick up a new bag. Scored a pretty awesome gold bag too, stuffed more things into it than would fit, forced the zipper shut, tossed it into the truck and we were off. A few hours into the trip I started. “Do you smell something?” To which they both replied that they didn’t. I picked up the new bag. Sheesh. Faint, but the same smell. “Smell my purse,” I said. To which my son replied firmly, “No.” “Oh, don’t be a little girl, smell my purse.” “No.” Dear Hubby had to. He married me. I have to go on fishing trips even if I don’t fish. He has to put up with random purse sniffing demands.

Dear Hubby said my new purse smelled just like a new purse. Man. They don’t smell it…maybe it’s allergies. Maybe I have some weird allergies where it makes things smell bad. Maybe it’s migraine…maybe it’s something else, what is inside the bag that might smell? Cue me rooting through every item in the bag and then vehicle searching for the source and returning to the new handbag. “You really can’t smell anything?” To which they both replied, “Nope. Nothing.” “Well, I have a cold though,” admitted one. “Yeah, my allergies are bad. I can’t smell a thing lately,” said the other.

Wee Purse II
Let me just add this caveat. You do not EVER want to be on a fishing vacation with two guys who can’t smell anything. A few days into the trip the propane refrigerator died. With fish in it. “Um…do you guys smell something?” “Nope. Nothing.” “Well, I have a cold though…what does it smell like?” “Um…sorta like DEAD FISH!” But I digress.

During the entire vacation I kept my new purse inside several plastic bags to contain the smell. Frankly after the dead fish in the refrigerator it seemed a small thing. Once I returned home and started unpacking, I let it air out inside my closet – to dissipate the scent somewhat. Determined to live with it, I’ve been carrying it around in my hand. You know, as opposed to over my shoulder? Further from the nose. Yesterday I had other women in the car with me and stinky purse and someone said. “What is that smell?!” This actually thrilled me! They could smell it! “What does it smell like?” I asked innocently, hoping against hope for some validation. One of them blurted, “A dirty hamster cage.” THANK YOU! I’d been thinking wet diaper, but same thing.

Needless to say I am once again in the market for a new handbag. Any suggestions? I’d like to offer my wee bags free to you, but mailing them would be a pain. Am thinking I’ll just post this blog on a local free cycle page and see what happens. As my guys proved, not everyone can smell, right?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Welcome Warning

Luna Moth

Things you should know if you’re going to be a houseguest.

·         I take my writing very seriously.
·         Not house work.
·         Time is just another number to be ignored here.
·         Dear Hubby Vs. The Groundhog means nerve shattering shotgun blasts with no warning.
·         The doorbell, like the phone, is just white noise when I’m writing. If your hand gets sore knocking, you might try a foot.
·         I was raised to lock doors. See above if you step outside for any reason.
·         We’re not sure how many people live here. They come and go like they belong so I just roll with it.
·         If you see a giant on the premises there is no need to panic. I mean, well, don’t turn your back on him or anything, but he responds well to bacon.
·         Make yourself at home. Seriously, while you’re here you’re part of the family. Feel free to get yourself a cold drink and root for snacks whenever you like. After that get to your chores. This is your week to vacuum and do laundry.
·         Remember what happened to gremlins if you got them wet or fed them after midnight? That happens here if you try to get all morning person on us.
·         Bedtime is before sunrise.
·         Mealtime is whenever you feel like cooking it.
·         Don’t forget to do the dishes after you cook.
·         My house is in the woods. Luna moths, lightning bugs, and baby birds sometimes act like they own the place. We practice catch and release.
·         Spiders and hornets are always in season. Feel free to search and destroy. Spare me the spiders are beneficial insects spiel. I’m allergic. Beat them until their legs fall off and I'll tell you where I hide the chocolate. 

Can you live with those rules? Anything you'd need to add?

Monday, July 1, 2013

When Harry Met Sally and Other Conundrums

The Perfect* Healthy Lunch
*Perfect when paired with the dessert below

You know those scenes in WHMS when Sally orders in restaurants and she wants salad dressing on the side, and her pie heated, but the ice-cream separate, and make it strawberry instead of vanilla, and if they don’t have strawberry just whipped cream if it is real, but nothing if it isn’t? I really don’t get why that is either amusing or annoying. Those things matter. If you don’t like your lettuce floating in dressing like soup, or your pie drenched in melted ice-cream, speak up. She was thorough. You’ll be glad I’m thorough if you read my novels. Okay, maybe not so much if I’m ordering with you in a restaurant, but do you like salad soup either?
Paired with Cheesecake Factory dessert* and an awesome read.
*real whipped cream, Sally
What did you think about the singing scene in The Hobbit movie? It thrilled me. Remember the book had so many songs in it? Hobbits sing a lot. I adore when a movie is true to a book. When I saw the first Harry Potter movie I was determined not to like it. How could it possibly be as good as the book? Nothing is as good as the book. Yet those movies were adorable. It was delightful to see the books come to life on the screen. I think the readers forgave the slight differences as ransom for the visual, and occasional scraps of information not in the books.

I wonder if people sing less now than before the invention of reproducible music. A couple hundred years ago one might have gone their entire life without realizing just what a lame singer they were compared to the musical greats. Maybe without radio, iPods, and television we’d devote more time to honing our own signing voices. I know mine could use it, though I also doubt it could pass in any century without someone letting slip it sucked.

Speaking of conundrums, did you ever watch any Star Trek? Remember in TNG episodes where people would get hit with a Phaser and disappear but not actually die? They’d kind of be invisible and trying to get back? Running around the ship they’d try to drop hints that they were there, but if they got too close to the walls and went through them, they’d be lost in space and die for real. Cynics used to say what about the floor? If they went through the walls, wouldn’t they drop through the floors. I say don’t be ridiculous. They’re on the Enterprise, there are many decks, they’d just drop to another deck. They only die when they accidentally pass through the wrong walls. I’ve spent time pondering this. Speaking of Phaser guns, don’t they look like glue guns? 

Right now I’m working on a book called Time Travel Jeep. Time travel is rife with conundrums. I have this entire story ready with one slight problem. In the opening scene Lizzy accidentally ends up in the past and plays Scrabble with her dead Grandmother. Spoiler alert right here, but I simply must tell you this. When she accidentally comes back to the future, she’s got Grandma’s dog with her, a nasty rat terrier with a penchant for gnawing on the Jeep interior. Now there is someplace Lizzy wants to go with her Time Travel Jeep, but she doesn’t have the most cooperative time machine. Throughout the story Lizzy, and me, are stuck with this rat terrier and we’re both trying to figure out how the heck to get it back to the past where it belongs! What I’d really like to do is take it back to its past and let it be its own grandpa. That would explain some of the inbred wickedness in that dog. I am open to suggestions, though. What would you do with that rat terrier? Perhaps I worded that wrong. How would you suggest getting that dog back to where it belongs?