Friday, April 3, 2015

Overheard: VIP's talking Smoothies

I'm at it again

I'm at the Starbucks in the hospital lobby during R's weekly wheelchair Pilates class.

Ten minutes ago, a group of people, five women and two men, flocked in. They pulled four little tables together, stole chairs from all over, and started a big, important meeting right next to me. Crap. I might as well put on my Intrepid Eavesdropper persona because this teeny little coffee shop only has these few tables; there is nowhere else for me to go. Besides, they took all the chairs.

Clearly, these people are VIP's from Starbucks. (The company is based in Seattle; my friend years ago was a nanny for Howard Schultz...) The execs are discussing their new product, just released a couple of days ago: smoothies! Oh, they are so excited! The barista has just delivered a tiny plastic cup of each flavor to each VIP and I hear:

"The customer doesn't know what we have unless they SEE it."

"500 a week. That's being conservative."

"A year. We could send that...we could expand that...a pretty good estimate."

"They could request blueberries."

...And so on.

Anyway, I'm going to try to tune them out and go back to my writing. "Try" is the operative word here...

I rather wish they'd offered me four tiny plastic cups of smoothies too.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Eavesdropping, Again

I Should Have Been a Sleuth

You never know who will be sitting at the next table at the coffee shop! Today was especially productive because the man and woman at the next table are talking so loud that it doesn't even seem like eavesdropping.

They are planning some huge event, something they take SERIOUSLY. They've got different-colored Post-it notes with names written on them in black Sharpie marker, and they're moving them around in little piles all over the table, representing the people who will be sitting together at their event (WHAT is it??) The notes get shifted back and forth to group people in baffling ways, then shifted again, and then all over again. They're never satisfied with the groupings.

The blue Post-its belong to celebrities. Steve Martin and Brad Pitt and Katie Someone-or-other (I missed her last name.) There were more names that I didn't catch, also some celebrities that turned down their invitation. The man and woman call the blue Post-its the "Important Ones".

The pink Post-its are for "Presenters" - whatever that is!

The yellow Post-its have the names of "Unimportant People" written on them. Yep. They've even set a few yellows aside for "Uninvited Unimportant People", so that they'll know what to do with them when they show up to the big event.

Apparently, the "Important" ones will stay put at the tables and the "Unimportant Ones" and the "Presenters" will move from table to table at pre-determined intervals. This is getting odder and odder! Is this a Hollywood-style Pitch Session? Food does not seem to be involved with this particular event.

Are the man and woman event planners? Agents? Fund-raisers?

I've never heard/seen anything like it before. What's especially galling is that I (a decidedly "Unimportant" person!) am left with no answers whatsoever. Sometimes eavesdropping is so frustrating...

Five minutes later: The man just left a bunch of crap on their table, used cups and napkins and pastry crumbs. The woman left five minutes ago...

Seven minutes later: I just cleaned up their table. There were two crumpled-up pieces of paper. Of course I flattened them out and looked. One said: "Execs??" The other piece had a rough sketch of what looked like a floor plan, and the words "Flow Plan" at the top. I missed my calling! I should have been a sleuth.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Good News!

Good News for a Rainy Winter Day


I just found out that my erotic novel, "Inn on the Edge" has been selected as a finalist in the EPIC book awards...and I am so excited I can hardly stand it. I have checked the website several times in the past hours, and - YEP! - THERE IT IS! - Gail Bridges, finalist in the Erotica category.

A Link to the page: EPIC Finalists

The Novel
It will be on 50% sale during March through Amazon and other outlets

I didn't find the news by myself; it turns out the announcement email they'd sent me went to my email's "spam" account. Who knows when I would have found the notice? Or if? I was lucky - a writer friend saw my name on the EPIC list and sent me a congratulatory note. I read her note in disbelief, then I staggered around with my head in the clouds and my toes barely skimming the ground for an entire day.

Self-portrait of me, being all excited

Now, it seems that the next step is to wait until March to find out who the winners are. According to the EPIC finalist's page, it looks like I am up against three other finalists in the Erotica category.

Good luck to us all!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Krumkake and Memories

(Recipe Below)

I made Krumkake this morning. I love these delicious rolled-up Norwegian cookies that are as pretty to look at as they are to eat. Oh - the choices! Do I fill them with whipped cream goodness? Or do I leave them as-is (I choose to leave them alone.) Do I take a bite of the cookie in its rolled-up form? Or do I carefully break off pieces with my fingers or my teeth and delve toward the center slowly, a layer at a time, as if I were a cookie archaeologist?

Right now, as I'm sitting at my laptop at the kitchen table, my fingertips are still smarting from handling them. My back and feet ache from standing in one place for over an hour because I had to make a double batch even though I knew it would take forever to prepare the entire platter full of cookies! It was worth it.

 The Krumkake Iron

Let me tell you about the first time I ever saw Krumkake. It was all due to Ruth Hansel, a widowed neighbor and a member of the church I attended as a child. Ruth was very tall. She was thin. She spoke with a mild accent. She had a great, loud, huffing laugh that made me want to laugh too. I remember thinking Ruth was strong-looking, as in a squared jaw and large hands and a no-nonsense manner about her. To me, Ruth was a kind, generous, fascinating 'old lady' - looking back, I imagine she was some eighty years old.

My oh my, could Ruth make Krumkake! She invited me over to help her make them one December when I was nine years old. I showed up at her door with the apron my mother had stitched for me. "Come in, Honey!" Ruth called from the kitchen, "I can't leave the iron."

Her kitchen was small, with scant counter space. But every inch of that counter space was filled with teetering stacks of white rolled cookies, hundreds of them, thousands of them (at least to my eyes.) Plates and platters and cookie trays held rows upon rows of them.

"Krumkake!" Ruth hollered. (She always hollered.) "Come in! Wash your hands! Take over for me at this iron, would you? I'll show you how."

And she did. Ruth taught me how to put the perfect amount of batter on the iron, how to let them cook until the steam stopped seeping from the edges of the iron, how to lift the cookies with the edge of a pancake turner, how to roll them up - QUICK! QUICK! - on the handle of a wooden spoon.

Quick! Quick! Before they cool!

My cookies weren't as pretty as hers. How could they be? She was a master who made untold numbers of them every year of her long life (I imagine!) Gradually, my attempts became better-looking and Ruth allowed me to stack my cookies alongside her perfect ones.

Best of all, I presented a platter of Krumkake to my family at the end of our afternoon together.

I now have my own Krumkake tradition, thanks to Ruth Hansel. I bought my own Krumkake iron ten years ago. I found a recipe that seemed close to Ruth's. I practiced my rolling technique, and soon I was making stacks of the cookies.

The batch of Krumkaka I made today are destined for a cookie exchange my husband and I are going to tomorrow. It always pleases me to offer a type of cookie that one doesn't see very often - I admit, I enjoy the "ooh's and aah's" and the excited faces as people reach for a cookie. And I think of Ruth, who taught me to make them.


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon fresh powdered cardamom
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
6 Tablespoons water


Cream together the butter and the sugar. Scrape the bowl. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping the bowl each time. Add the vanilla and the cardamom. Add the flour. Add water until batter is the consistency of a thick cream sauce.

Spoon approximately one Tablespoon onto ungreased preheated Krumkake iron. Cook about one minute until lightly golden brown. While warm, roll around a wooden spoon handle.

Friday, October 31, 2014

My Cat has Devil Eyes

In honor of Halloween: Smokey with the Devil Eyes!

Scary, aren't they?

I took this picture of him in July, when we were going through some boxes that needed sorting. Pretending to be a true cat, Smokey-the-devil-cat jumped into a just-emptied box. But I caught his true nature! (No photoshopping - the green flash of his eyes looked just like this when the flash went off. Weird!)

*** A Halloween Challenge ***

Out of nowhere, this Devil Cat jumps up in front of you, hissing and growling! You must fend him off - but the only thing you can use is whatever happens to be to your immediate left.

For me, it's a banana. Good luck to me!

What's to your left?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Aliens and Cinnamon Rolls

Aliens and Cinnamon Rolls: What do they have in common?

Yes. It tastes just as good as it looks.

It's been more than a month since I've posted here, which is hard to believe. Life has thrown hammers at my head, and wrenches, and an anvil also (might as well throw in the entire tool box!) - but now I'm tentatively putting hands to keyboard and getting back to writing and blog-posting. It feels so good to get the creative juices flowing again.

I've been working on "Drawn to Scale", a new, just-for-fun sci-fi short story. I'm already more than seven thousand words into it (that translates to about 24 pages). Maybe it will grow into a Novella? I don't know, and I don't really care. I'm enjoying the writing.

The main character in Drawn to Scale is an alien linguist who has come to Earth as a Happiness Corp Volunteer (think Peace Corp). She has just experienced an unexpected "togetherness moment" with her Earth man counterpart ... but she's horribly embarrassed and upset because no one bothered to tell her that on Earth it is appallingly rude to mash up cinnamon rolls between your hands and lick off the resulting goo.

As you can see, I'm having fun with this story.

I am currently at the Starbucks in the hospital lobby while my husband is at his Yoga class. I'm eating this surprisingly delicious cinnamon roll in honor of the pastry in my story. Research, you know... although I'm not eating it the same way my character would!

The drink is a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Oh boy, I think I'm going into sugar euphoria!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cool Vintage Album Covers - Downsizing, Part Four

They Sure Had Fun With These!


...And so did we. Yesterday, as part of our summer downsizing effort, we dug out Richard's collection of record albums. He has kept maybe a hundred of his favorite albums through the years, and through many moves. He is now ready to part with most of them. He and Micah and I spread out in the living room (again) to look through them and admire the covers. Micah couldn't bear to part with a good number, so they'll be living on in the family. Heirloom record albums!

They're heavier than they look.

A good number of these albums are from, shall we say, before my time. I know of most of these bands and albums, but I can't say I am very familiar with the music. Others, such as Pink Floyd, were still going strong when I was in high school. (I graduated in 1982) Still others, I recognize and like the songs, even if they were considered "old" by the time I was interested in listening to them.

I couldn't help myself. I took pictures of some of the best covers, they're so cool and weird and colorful. I thought I'd make a little gallery of them to share with you - so sit back, get comfortable, and take a walk through history with me.

 After much deliberation, I chose this one as my favorite.
Micah said it reminded him of "Where the Wild Things Are".

How cool is this?

Micah likes it too.

 This one has nifty little windows cut out for the faces. 
I wonder, how much extra did that cost them?

Woodstock! I didn't know there was an album.

It looks like an illuminated manuscript.

This blog post is bringing up some fun stuff. As I'm sitting at the kitchen table, putting this post together, the three of us are talking about the albums. "Do you know As Tears Go By, by the Rolling Stones?" asked Richard. I knew it, but Micah didn't. It's beautiful, I'd discovered it on my own years ago. In no time, I brought the song up on YouTube. Here is the YouTube link to the great live performance we just watched:  As Tears Go By   And now, back to the Gallery of album covers!

I have no idea who this band is, but the cover art is cool!

Yikes. Was someone high when they designed this one?
I like it, though!

This one has an amazing center.

Neil Young...weird...
he looks like he's carrying a puppet of himself on his back.

...And Bruce! 
We went to see him in concert years ago, with some good friends.

That's all for now. I don't know how much more of our downsizing project we'll get to this summer - seeing as how summer is over, but we've made substantial progress. It's been a lot of work, but I know we will thank ourselves later. Thanks for reading, as always!