Challenge: Thrifty Words – Tell a story in 50, 100, or 150 words, sometimes based upon a prompt. I write more stuff like this at https://julieranson.medium.com/
Favorite Cooking Hack: Sheet Pan Meals
I love to cook. I also enjoy saving time in the kitchen. How would you like a complete meal with one easy baking step? Sheet pan meals offer the comparable ease of crockpot cooking. Instead of a wet, brothy meal, a sheet pan meal usually offers crispy vegetables and well-seasoned meat.
Another benefit for my husband and me is we can get two dinners out of most sheet pan recipes. #winning
Caution: Faster cooking meats like shrimp and fish require step two because they are added when only five minutes remain in the vegetable cooking. Knowing cooking times of various ingredients matters, but doesn’t that apply to every meal you cook?
I’m a voracious consumer of books. I even read the author’s acknowledgments from start to finish and any reviews featured on the back cover or inside.
Recently, I opened a debut novel and found a review of that story by J. Courtney Sullivan, the author of Maine.> I loved that book and several others she wrote. Her back catalog isn’t huge; she’s no James Patterson. Ahem.
My immediate thought was, “What has she written lately?”
Found it. Requested it from my local library! I’ll have that collection of lovely words in a day or so.
Apparently, it was a book club selection, too.
Am I the only one who gets excited about a new story?
Thrifty Challenge 100 Words: Things Lost
Kitty litter, that is.
My young kids got a kitten. Sebastian was her name.
When I remarried, our new home had 4 cats inside, 4 cats out, 2 dogs, and 4 birds. Sebastian wasn’t having it with the dogs, so she lived upstairs.
And she slept with me. She literally spooned me. I’d never slept with an animal. Ever.
Around age 16, she got sick and I sadly let her go.
Hubby’s last cat crossed that mythical Rainbow Bridge in 2019. No more cats! No litter boxes to clean. No more gritty litter sprinkled on floors.
It’s a good miss.
Wine Friends: I’ll Drink To That
Word Prompt: Happiness
Over ten years ago, a neighbor invited some women to experience a wine adventure.
Then, I liked whites and one sweet red. My palate changed considerably. I love Syrah, Zinfandel. What’s not to love about Cabernet?
I love this adventure with these spectacular women.
Wine plus friendship = sustainable happiness.
Snow Day: The Cold Scent of Freedom
Word Prompt: Winter
Snow day. School’s out.
I got the text message. Permission granted by management to do nothing but mainline cocoa or wine.
Wait. I’m management. I still have to work on my budget documents? You want to talk to me about what?
I’m taking a mental health day. Peace out, bosses!
When I taught (middle school, high school, college), I loved a snow day. To wake to the chill silence on the other side of the window glass created a visceral response, an excitement about freedom. As a college administrator, I merely worked from home. Now retired, I help walk the dogs and it’s bloody cold out there in the pre-dawn darkness. Ugh.
Joy to the World
Microfiction inspired by songs of Three Dog Night
Grandma opened the stereo console.
“Christmas carol time!”
The teenager handed her a 45.
“Duh-duh-DUH. Jeremiah was a….eerrrkkkkk.” Grandma jerked the needle off the black disk. She angled her head to read the spinning label.
“Joy to the World?”
“All the boys and girls now.” The kids chanted.
Just an Old-Fashioned Love Song
Micro-fiction inspired by songs of Three Dog Night
She looks across the room. A strange old man sits in her husband’s recliner. He rambles on.
Her husband was her one great love. He wove stories of tenderness into their union.
They listened to the radio together, listening to love songs only about them.