Monday, May 4, 2015

Back to the Grind - Summer Style


I spent the weekend off grid, well not completely I had running water and like a house and everything, but no internet. I needed the down time and more importantly I needed the sun. It was in the mid-seventies here in Michigan Saturday and eighty on Sunday. No way was I sitting in the house. It was gorgeous and I enjoyed it to it's fullest. It's a little chilly and rainy this morning but memories of the weekend are the inspiration for today's yummies. ~Enjoy~

Cranberry Lemon Tea
Makes 6 cups 
  • 6 cranberry herb tea bags
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 9 packets Sweet'N Low granulated sugar substitute
  • 1 1/2 cups orange juice

    Directions

  • In a large pitcher, pour the boiling water over the tea bags. Steep 5 minutes; remove the tea bags and discard.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and Sweet'N Low until the Sweet'N Low dissolves. Mix in the cold water and orange juice.
  • Refrigerate until well chilled.
  • Pour over ice in tall glasses.

Red Wine Sangria

  • Ingredients
    2 bottles red Spanish table wine
    1 cup brandy
    1/2 cup triple sec
    1 cup orange juice
    1 cup pomegranate juice
    1/2 cup simple syrup, or more to taste (equal parts sugar and water, heated until sugar dissolves, cooled)
    Orange slices
    Apple slices
    Blackberries
    Pomegranate seeds

    Directions

    Mix all ingredients together and let stand in a tightly sealed container or pitcher for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

    Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay

    Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/red-wine-sangria-recipe.html?oc=linkback

Friday, May 1, 2015

My Office Organization Fail but workign on it!

My New Year's resolution was to get more organized in 2015. I started out doing really well. I bought a new larger desk, hung the hooks and calender. Printed To-Do list's and hung them with bright little clips. It looked really good for a couple of weeks and now....


Papers stacked so my laptop no longer has a place of it's own. I have plenty of lower shelves but everything seems to end up on top of my desk and each day the mess and mayhem grows. *sigh*  
I spent a little time this morning looking at other ideas that may help my perpetual messiness and I found a few great tips I'm going to incorporate into my resolution and thought I'd share them with you. 

We all have power cords and if you're like me throw them in a drawer or they are hanging from every outlet in the house. This is a simple and great idea to keep them organized and close at hand. 

A lot of the paper mess on my desk begins collecting mid-month. The dreaded BILLS. I pay a lot of mine on line but there are some that I can't so they collect on my desk until it's time to pay them. I love this simple clothes pin idea. Instead of marking them with the days of the week, I plan on marking them as Bills, Correspondence and Whatevs.



These are two examples of wonderfully organized areas and what I strive to achieve *sigh* one day.

A lot of people tell me they simply don't have the room to be organized or even have a proper office. For those peeps who like me strive to be organized (one day) here are a couple really cute small office ideas that work even in the smallest of places. 



 If you have an great tips I'd love to hear them!

~Hugs~
Jo

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Throwback Thursday-10 Stupid Questions to ask a gay guy - Zathyn Priest

For TT this week I thought I'd share one of my favorite older posts. This post was originally posted back in 2012 and I thought it was worth a re-post. I asked the same questions of Joel Skelton, Kage Alan, Tom Webb, Tj Klune and Dorien Grey and I'll post those at a later time. All the responses were priceless and worth revisiting. But today it's Zathyn Priest day to shine :) Enjoy!


This has been an awesome feature this week, thanks for stopping by and all the great comments. A special thanks to Joel Skelton, Kage Alan, Tom Webb, Tj Klune and Dorien Grey for answering the questions and giving us some giggles. I wanted to end the week saying, while some of these questions are down right insulting, and should never be asked, especially of a stranger, if you have a "genuine" questions EVERYONE of those who have posted would have very different answers. I think Zathyn said it perfectly, "Ignorance is what causes intolerance" so ask your questions to learn not to be insulting or "stupid"

I'll shut up now, Zathyn Priest says it much better than I do!!!


1. How do you know you’re gay/bi?

It depends how this question is asked.  If someone is genuinely trying to understand something they want to learn more about, I don’t mind talking about it.  Ignorance is what causes intolerance.  When it’s asked in a derogatory manner is when people get upset.  When someone believes you only ‘think’ you’re gay because you’ve never slept with a girl is when it’s a stupid question.  To those people the logical reply is, ‘How do you know you’re straight if you’ve never slept with the same gender?’ or ‘How do you know you’re not into bestiality if you’ve never shagged a dog?’  

2. Were you born gay or did you just choose to like dudes?

I guess the answer to this is very similar to the previous question.  Sexuality isn’t a choice.  For some gay people, sexuality can take longer to come to terms with and therefore, to an outsider, may seem like someone decided to like men later in life.  Especially if a man has been married, raised a family, lived as a straight guy for a large part of his life.  Again, it’s ignorance on behalf of the questioner.  Depending on how it’s asked dictates my reply.  

3. You aren’t attracted to me right? It’s going to creep me out if you’re always drooling over my ass.

This I could quite honestly reply with a resounding NO!  Not just because it’s a stupid question, but because I’m very difficult to please.  Chances are hell would freeze over before I looked at any random guy with pure lust.  To these people I’d say, ‘Get your hand off it, I’d rather be straight than shag you.’   
  
4. OMG! Will you be my new BFF? I’ve always wanted a gay friend.

‘Gay’ isn’t a personality, it’s a sexual preference.  This is right up there with one of the most annoying, ignorant things someone can ask.  Saying you’ve always wanted a gay friend is like saying you’ve always wanted a pony.  We weren’t put on earth for straight people to parade around with in the same manner they want to show off a new handbag.  If you want a new friend, my advice is to pick one your personality is compatible with and don’t base your choice on who they sleep with.

5. So, who’s the guy and who’s the girl in the relationship?

Sure, this one is annoying, but I feel it’s perpetuated by media and misrepresentation in movies and TV.  No one has asked me this question, though more than likely they’ve thought about it.  In a gay male relationship, both are guys.  If we wanted a partner to be the ‘girl’ we’d date girls.  Perhaps what people are really asking is who is the most effeminate partner and, in many cases, one is more effeminate.  In my relationship with my husband, I assume people would paste that label onto me. In some ways it’s true, in other ways it isn’t.  People are probably also really asking, ‘Which one of you bends over?’  The facts are: Some guys top exclusively, some guys bottom exclusively, some do both, and (shock horror!) some don’t do either. What gay men feel comfortable doing in the bedroom is as varied as what straight people feel comfortable doing.   

6. Want to go shopping?

Most guys, gay men included, would rather saw off their arms than accompany a woman on a shopping expedition.  Of course there are gay men, and straight men, who love hitting the shops to give their credit card a workout.  So I’ll point out again; Gay is not a personality.  There are times I am in the mood to shop, but truthfully, I’d rather do it online.

7. Maybe you just haven’t met the right girl. I know this chick that’s sex on a stick, want me to hook you up?

Excellent!  I’ll take you up on that offer if you agree to go on a date with a guy I know who can pound your arse until you can’t walk for a month!
Yes, stupid question.  It’s actually quite amusing to see the expression on people’s faces when I say I have been intimate with women.  It leaves them with no place to go and me with a smirk on my face.  The next question is generally, ‘Did you like it?’  Yeah, sure, I did like it.  But, I prefer being intimate with men.  I’m not the only gay male who has made out with girls and slept with them.  It doesn’t mean I’m bisexual, it simply means I’ve been experimental in my time.  At the risk of revealing more shocking news, men are sexual creatures.  Most of us don’t have to be completely smitten, or even terribly attracted to someone, to get down to business with them.  In some cases, that also includes being able to ignore gender for the sake of… well, for the sake of getting off.
I probably sound like a nobhead now!  My point is, don’t always assume gay men haven’t been with a woman.  You may be very surprised just how many have.  And psst… while I’m on the topic, you may also be surprised just how many straight men have slept with a guy!

8. Aren’t you worried about AIDS?

Since most intelligent gay men are well educated in regards to STD’s they’re also well-educated in safe sex.  Of course STD’s and AIDS is a concern, but it should be a concern for everyone regardless of sexual preference. Considering the number of unplanned teenage pregnancies throughout the western world, it’s a good indication the safe sex message isn’t getting through to the straight community in the same way it has in the GLBT community.  I’m married, in a monogamous relationship, and trust my husband in the same way he trusts me.  So no, for me personally, STD’s aren’t a major concern for either of us. 
I was once asked by a friend – who knew I’d been celibate for quite a few years after the death of my late partner – if I had regular blood tests for AIDS.  Huh?  Her question was based on my sexuality, in spite of the fact I hadn’t had sex with anyone.  What was laughable about this, and extremely annoying, was that she regularly engaged in unprotected sex with men she hardly knew and had never been tested.  Hmm… STUPID!

9. It must be cool your relationships are based solely on sex?

I’m sure it is cool for some guys who want relationships based solely on sex.  Straight or gay, if that’s what suits them, I’m sure they love it.  My marriage isn’t based on sex and never has been even during the time Sam and I dated.  Our relationship is based first and foremost on friendship.  I wonder how many couples can honestly say they married their best friend. Without a doubt, I can say that and so can Sam.
Gay men are capable of falling deeply in love and building a life together.  If it was only just about sex, why bother getting married?  Gay couples aren’t fighting constantly for the right to marry just so they can have a certificate to f*** each other.   

10. Do you ever wish you were “normal”?

Be still my palpitating heart!  God no!  My sexuality doesn’t make me, or anyone other gay male/female, abnormal.  There are plenty of other things about me that make me abnormal.  None of them I’d trade in. 
I could’ve answered the question with a reply along the lines of, ‘Do you ever wish you weren’t an idiot?’  Then I thought about it and realized they’d probably be horrified to trade in stupidity for enlightenment.  Enlightenment would mean knowing you’re an idiot.  What a frightening thought for them!   
 



Zathyn Priest is an Australian writer of gay fiction and digital artist.  His books include The Curtis Reincarnation, The Slayer’s Apprentice, Liquid Glass, Left of Centre, One of Those Days, Emrys Amara, and The Statue.
http://www.zathynpriest.com
http://zathynpriest.com/brokenpencil

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Writing Tips with the Turtle - Adjectives and adverbs

Commonly confused words, part 2: Adjectives and adverbs



I know, I know, two weeks in a row on the same topic. But I’m traveling and sitting in conference sessions all day, so, well…

This week’s focus is mainly on adjectives and adverbs. While there are plenty of arguments out there as to whether or not they even belong in your writing at all, in truth, they are never going to disappear entirely. Given that they serve to provide additional color and richness, it is especially important to get them right because although sometimes a mistake just looks like bad writing or editing, sometimes using the incorrect word can change the entire intent of your sentence. These are all commonly confused word pairings involving an adjective or adverb I have corrected in the previous week.

adverse: (adj.) unfavorable
averse: (adj.) tending to avoid or spurn

bare: (adj.) uncovered, unadorned
bear: (v.) to move while holding up

chic: (adj.) fashionable
sheik: (n.) head of an Arab family

discreet: (adj.) secretive or hidden
discrete: (adj.) distinct, individual

eminent: (adj.) respected
imminent: (adj.) about to take place

farther: (adj./adv.) additional physical distance
further: (adj./adv.) to a greater degree or distance
Note: there is some argument in the literature as to whether it is acceptable to use further for physical distances as well. Depends on your dictionary and house style. Consult your editor if you are unsure.

formally: (adv.) conventionally
formerly: (adv.) previously

loose: (adj.) not tight; (v.) to let loose
lose: (v.) to misplace or to not win

respectfully: (adv.) with respect
respectively: (adv.) in that order

stationary: (adj.) still
stationery: (n.) writing paper

taught: (v.) past tense of teach
taut: (adj.) tight
Muscles are not “taught.” They are “taut.” Well, unless they’ve been to school recently.

wary: (adj.) watchful, cautious
weary: (adj.) exhausted in strength, vigor, or endurance

And weary is what I am right now, so I will bid you adieu for this week. Happy writing! 


Erika Orrick wanted to be a writer when she grew up, but detoured into computers when she realized she actually wanted to eat. Financial stability established, she eased her way back into storytelling by fixing other people’s words and discovered she had a knack. An admitted geek, she is constantly distracted from resuming her quest to be a writer by all the shiny. Luckily, since she hasn’t yet grown up, no one can say she hasn’t met her goal. She has tried (and failed) to escape Texas twice and in fact now lives on the north side of Houston, less than 100 miles from where she started.
Erika can be found on Twitter at @erikaeditsbooks or email at erikaeditsbooks@gmail.com.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Back to the Grind - A day late *sigh*

A day late and a dollar short seems to be my theme these days. Okay, not just today but most days. However, you can bet your patootie I didn't miss out on my coffee yesterday or any other day. Here in Michigan it's still the in between stage which I refer to as Springter = Spring with a Winter cling on. I hate winter so this is a slightly better time of year but still cold in the mornings and thus the perfect time to curl up with a good book and a hot cup of coffee to start your day.

Today is all about the caramel, because seriously who doesn't love caramel!

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 c. half-and-half 
1 tablespoon caramel ice cream topping
3/4 c. hot brewed coffee

Stir brown sugar into half-and-half until dissolved. Whip with a milk frother or small whisk. Pour coffee into a mug, and stir in caramel sauce until dissolved. Pour frothed half-and-half into coffee, and serve.
 (recipe via -  http://allrecipes.com)

Or if you're really handy in the kitchen you could make your own caramel flavored syrup


Makes 1 cup. Serves 8.
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water, divided
1 teaspoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
In a small, sturdy pot, combine the sugar, 1/4 cup of the water water, and the corn syrup. Stir over low heat until dissolved.
Once the sugar has dissolved completely, turn the heat up to medium high, cover the pot, and let boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the cover and stir vigorously as the caramel continues to cook. Stir over heat until mixture is a light amber color.
Remove the caramel from heat. Carefully pour in the remaining 1/2 cup of water. Be very careful when stirring the water into the caramel as it can splatter. Stir in the vanilla and a small pinch of salt.
This syrup is best if you let it cool completely before use. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of syrup to flavor 8 ounces of coffee. The syrup will keep beautifully in the fridge for a few months.

Recipe Notes

  • Caramel-making can be a finicky thing, even an easy recipe like this. If you cook it too long, it might burn or if you don't cook it fast enough then the liquid will evaporate before the sugar caramelizes and it will solidify in your pot. Don't get discouraged if you mess up a batch!
(recipe via http://www.thekitchn.com)