Monday, June 14, 2021

Coffee Cup Ramblings and Ridiculous Poetry - Romantic Breakfasts

 


Now that I've snagged your attention with that mouthwatering breakfast picture, good morning! I hope all of you are well and that you're gearing up to have a great week.     

At the moment, a pot of coffee is brewing and the idea for my Monday morning Coffee Cup Ramblings and Ridiculous Poetry has been decided. It was a toss-up between kitchen goddess (which I'm not) or a romantic breakfast. Guess which one I'm going with? 

If you picked breakfast, ding - ding, you're a winner! Your prize? This post. *That's as cheesy as the Colby topping those eggs.*

So a romantic breakfast...

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and when I don't have to cook it, life gets even better. 

Does breakfast in bed come to mind when I say romantic breakfast? Some will give a hearty yes. You can't see me, but I'm shaking my head no.  

In movies, breakfast in bed looks glamorous. In reality, (at least for me) it would be a train wreck. Did I mention I'm not the most coordinated person in the world? If hubby brought me a tray with food and a flower in a small vase, first of all, I'd faint. Secondly, I'd be searching for the napkin because I would've just knocked over the vase. I cringe at the thought of taking a bite of scrambled eggs and half of them landing on the sheets or a sausage link going end over end on the comforter. While I'm poking fun at myself, the scenario is darn accurate. LOL

Don't get me wrong, I still associate romance with breakfast, just in a different setting; one that involves a waiter or waitress and fancy-smancy coffee cups. 




I'm a coffee cup fanatic. If I had room in my kitchen, I'd have cupboards filled with them. Since we also need plates and bowls, space is limited. I digress.

Back to romance and breakfast. For me, breakfast at a restaurant is a special time because hunky hubby and me have great conversations over cups of coffee and plates of eggs. At home, it's hard to tune out the things beckoning to be done and we inevitably hop up from the table for one reason or another. At a restaurant, even a crowded one, we settle in and enjoy each other's company. Sound mushy? Yep, it sure does, but it's also awesome. We drink coffee, focus on us, eat some incredible food, and once in a while play footsie under the table (mostly by accident). What could be more romantic? (Okay there are other ways that are considerably more romantic, but you get my drift. Right?) 

Breakfast with its simplicity and one-on-one time with the love of my life is romantic to me. Is it the same for you with yours? 



    

Here's what you've been waiting breathlessly for...some really good poetry (cough)...  


A table for two, my heart's all aflutter,

when we sit across from each other with biscuits and butter.

Sometimes it's pancakes and bacon,

but it's eggs we prefer that they be amakin'.

Small talk and romance, as simple as can be,

for me it's breakfast, what is it for thee? 


Did you roll your eyes at the poem? I did. 

I'm working on two different writing projects so I'll be in the writing cave most of the week. Wish me luck. :)

Stay cool and find joy in the little things...like eggs!

Virtual hugs all around,

~ Jan

 

 







 









 

  

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Keeping Kylee - book #2 Texas Boys Falling Fast Series - excerpt


I love this scene from Keeping Kylee. It made me laugh when I wrote it and made me laugh just now as I contemplated posting it.

Kylee's working in a bar and is on a three step ladder. She makes a wrong move and the ladder kicks out from under her. Quinn Randel is there and saves her from hitting the floor. After a few embarrassed moments for Kylee, Quinn gives her space and treks to the coffee pot to pour himself a cup. Kylee goes to the table where two women are celebrating a birthday....


"You ladies ready for a refill?"

One gal grinned from ear to ear. "You okay, hon?"

"I'm fine. I had a klutzy moment. Luckily, I didn't break anything."

The second woman chuckled. "Chantel is just being nosey. We witnessed a whole lot of yummy going on between you and..." She pointed to Quinn, who had his back to them.

"His Royal Highness?" Kylee giggled.

"He's royalty?" The woman's eyes widened.

Kylee smirked. "He thinks he is."

"Ahhh. One of those." Chantel's brown eyes danced with amusement. "We've been burned by a prince or two, haven't we Gloria?"

"We sure have," Gloria jiggled with a laugh. "Be careful, sweetie. He might seem like he's all that, but at the end of the day, he burps and farts like a commoner."

Their wicked senses of humor were exactly what Kylee needed to lighten up. "I love you, ladies."

Chantel patted Kylee's upper arm. "Hate to leave ya alone while his princeliness is here, but we're doing a pub crawl by way of the bus. If we're going to make the next one, we have to get moving." She slid from the booth. "Be on your guard, doll. That prince has too much going for him. Yowza! He has a sweet body." 


*I wanted to make you aware that this story is sweet with romance, but there's also a little spice.* 

If you're interested in reading Keeping Kylee you can find it on my website or on Amazon. 

Jan's website

Keeping Kylee on Amazon


Thank you for popping in to read the excerpt. I hope you enjoyed the humor in the scene. 

~ Jan    

Monday, June 7, 2021

Coffee Cup Ramblings and Ridiculous Poetry: Weeds

 Hello, All...

Monday morning means another Coffee Cup Ramblings and Ridiculous Poetry post. You were rubbing your hands together in eager anticipation, right? (Humor me and say yes!)

πŸ˜‚

While enjoying a cup of hot, steaming, liquid love I pondered what to write about and weeds came to mind. What can I say, I'm a nature geek.   

 


  

So weeds...

I think they get a bad rap. They've been called undesirable, aggressive, wild, invasive, annoying, and other words with a negative connotation. Most of the time those descriptors are well deserved, because let's face it - we don't want them in our vegetable gardens, yards, farm fields, and growing willy-nilly around the house. And those who suffer with allergies, weeds can cause all kinds of issues. 

In the proper setting though, weeds can be beautiful, beneficial, helpful, medicinal, and more.    

They're a misunderstood gift. That's what I'm going to key on in this post. 

One overlooked plus about weeds is that some are a seasonal food supply for seed-eating birds. 

Regarding medicinal help, dandelions are edible and can help support liver function, balance hormones, and more. (You can even make wine with them)



Ground ivy is edible too, has anti-inflammatory qualities, and are high in Vitamin C. Once used to treat scurvy, these days you can make an immune boosting tea or tincture.  

Plantain seeds and leaves can be eaten. They're full of vitamins, and  have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory qualities. The leaves can be crushed and used to heal small injuries and insect bites.

(Disclaimer: Do not eat any weeds until you research them. Some weeds are not people friendly, some are not pet friendly.) 

I could list a lot more weeds and their benefits, but I don't want to turn this post into a weed documentary. I just wanted to share my fondness for some types of weeds and highlight their good points.

In the ditch on the north side of our property, I found these beauties. They're called Star of Bethlehem. Cool, eh?




Last but not least, here's something that my neighbor's probably said if they saw me with a spade out at the ditch, "What's she up to now?"




I recently dug out a few milkweed and transplanted them in one of my flower and bush gardens. It's been hot in Ohio, so I probably should've waited for cooler temps to move them, but once I get something in my noggin there's no stopping me. lol  

Butterflies love milkweed. That's my objective - to feed the butterflies once the milkweed bloom. I also have a butterfly bush that's actually a weed. The butterflies go gaga over it. Here's a picture of it from last year, since it hasn't bloomed yet this season.



Before I get to some silly poetry, I wanted to tell you to do a Google search for Strawberry White Clover Cookies recipe. The cookies look tasty and simple to make. I'd love to share the recipe here, but I didn't ask for permission to do so. I may give the recipe a try. If I do, I'll let you know how they turn out.   


Now onto the goofy poetry...

I'm such a geek,

a real nature freak.

I love me some weeds,

and all their seeds.

Flowers and weeds can co-exist,

the mindset that they're a bother we must resist. 

Nature replenishes, even through drought.

If we try to subdue them, they'll find another route.

Give them a chance,

in your gardens let them dance. 

Don't snub your noses at weeds,

in the toughest of times they could supply all our needs.


Another thing to share...

In Keeping Kylee, book #2, page 135 in my Texas Boys Falling Fast Series, I mentioned milkweed. Quinn, Kylee, and friends are at a resort in the Texas hill country. Here's what I said - A few monarch butterflies that hadn't migrated north, congregated on a patch of purposely planted milkweed. 

* See, I even put my fascination for weeds in my stories* 



 

I'm getting kind of wordy with this post, but I wanted to leave you with one last thought - In some ways we're all a variety of weed: strong, resilient, stubborn, independent, a survivor, helpful, and an often misunderstood gift. 


If you have a moment and want to check out my website, click the link:  Jan's website


Until next week, take good care!

~ Jan

   


Monday, May 31, 2021

Coffee Cup Ramblings and Ridiculous Poetry - The Lake Effect

Hello, All...

First and foremost before I get to rambling, today is Memorial Day and I want to take a moment to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country. 


Okay, on to the post...

It's Monday morning, which means another episode of Coffee Cup Ramblings and Ridiculous Poetry. I know you've been on the edge of your seat waiting for this (or maybe not...ha 😁 ) As with the first segment, this is not a well-thought-out post. I'm winging it, folks! 

Here goes...

I recently made a trip to Grand Lake St. Mary's to write and read. So while I indulge in a steaming hot cup of java, I'm going to reflect on today's topic:  The Lake Effect




In our part of the country, lake effect usually means the weather goddess picks up moisture from one or all five of the Great Lakes and proceeds to turn it into downpours or a snow plow's nightmare. For me though, the term has a more positive impact. When the creative gnomes in my frontal cortex start to mutiny, it's time to head to my happy place to give them what they need.  



Our digs at the campground aren't fancy by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't need fancy. I just need an occasional change of scenery. 

This particular visit was relaxing and productive. I sat outside with my laptop and an insulated mug of steaming hot coffee. The laptop wouldn't connect to the internet, so I MacGyver'd my manuscript with an old-school technique. 



   

Creative gnomes must love the soothing sounds of tree birds and honking from geese because my manuscript now has a few new chapters. Of course, the gnomes were kept bug-eyed with caffeine so they had to do something.

I love being home, but I love being at the lake. If I had to choose one over the other, the lake would win hands down.

We all have a place that speaks to our soul. Where's yours?

⛾⛾


On to some really bad poetry... 


Without a writing and laughing gnome,

my thoughts go here and there, they like to roam.

Those red capped, bearded elves inspire,

if they don't I perspire.

They reside in my frontal cortex,

or maybe in a cerebral vortex.

It's a well-gnome fact,

without them I'd be sacked.


LOL...I did warn you it would be bad!



  

If you've made it this far in the post, it means you didn't click out. Thanks for hanging with.  

Until next time, take good care and try your hand at writing some bad poetry. 

If you'd like to see what else the gnomes inspired, check out my website: 

Jan's Website




Monday, May 17, 2021

Coffee Cup Ramblings and Ridiculous Poetry - Monday Mornings

 Hello All...

Welcome to my new Monday morning blog post series that will include topics of all kinds and some ridiculous poetry. 

I'm not sure how this is going to go. Is this post well-thought-out? Nope. I'm just going to drink coffee and ramble (I promise to keep it short-ish). However this turns out, I'm glad you're here.

My kickoff topic is none other than -- Mondays!

While I sit here enjoying a cup of medium roast coffee and wondering what to write about regarding Mondays, I'm watching the day come to life with the sun breaking through the clouds and birds visiting the feeder outside my kitchen window.




Mondays -- love 'em or hate 'em? 

I'd say the poll results on that question would show most folks rank it as their least favorite among the other six days. Some view Mondays as the train wreck to their week. Sometimes the work week starts off on the wrong foot -- literally, because you can't find your shoes. Or because you vowed on Sunday to begin your diet on Monday, and by the time ten o'clock rolls around you've already had two donuts and a half bag of sour gummy bears. (It happens) You might've sloshed coffee on your clean shirt. You're not mad at the coffee stain, but rather, that you wasted a precious sip of the hot, rich, aromatic beverage you counted on to help you get through the day. (You get the idea. LOL) 

Do any of you view Mondays as a fresh start? 

I'm one of the rare goofballs who love Mondays and I generally have a slay-the-day mentality. I started today by making my bed and brewing a pot of coffee. Neither will change your world, but it will change mine; albeit in two small ways (microscopic ways, teeny-tiny ways, itsy-bitsy ways). <--I did promise to ramble. Promise kept. Ha! 

Notable things that have happened on a Monday:

Hershey Kisses were first manufactured on a Monday

Olympic gold medalist, Jesse Owens won his first gold medal in the men's 100-meter dash in Berlin on a Monday

YouTube became a reality on a Monday

My son was born on a Monday

* You should pour more coffee, because some really bad poetry is about to take place. *

⛾⛾

Shuffling to the kitchen in my tattered robe,

one eye open, the cup I tip 

to take my first sip.

The steam fills my nose,

readying me to write some prose.

I drink the bean nectar, hot and black,

to get my creativity well on track.

Caffeine jolts, every cell awakens,

the story in my head loudly beckons.

I put it on hold to enjoy another taste,

afterward, to my office I make haste.

With my cup full, I drink to keep my brain from turning to cotton,

and to jot down my thoughts so they won't be forgotten. 


✎πŸ“š

I would be remiss not to mention that I'm currently working on book number two in my Coffee and Dessert Series. 

If you'd like to check out book one and my other books, you can find them on my website, at:  Jan's Website


πŸ’–πŸ™‹

Take good care. I bid thee adieu until the next post of Coffee Cup Ramblings and Ridiculous Poetry.  




 


  


Sunday, January 17, 2021

The things you learn about your characters... (recipe included)

One of the fun things I like about being a writer is learning things about my characters as my stories unfold. Some authors know ahead of time everything about their characters before they ever start a new story. I'd like to give them a high-five. I'm in the group of writers, however, that doesn't nail all the quirks, habits, flaws, likes and dislikes, etc. right away. I have the basics down pat, but I can't seem to know them 100% until certain things happen within their adventure. I have been surprised more times than not by the things I've discovered along the way. A good example is Danna, the main female character in book number 2 of my Coffee and Dessert Series, that is currently underway. I knew ahead of time that she was going to be quirky and eccentric, I just didn't know to what length. I have to tell you, she's made me laugh and shake my head a few times, and I can't wait to share her personality with you when the story is finished. I'm hoping it will be sometime in the first quarter of this year. 

Anyway, here are some things that make Danna, Danna. She's fearless in most things, loves colorful clothes, hats, and purses, and she can't seem to live without cheese and anything made with pumpkin.



In one of the scenes, she talking to her cat about men, while she's making pumpkin-chocolate chip-pecan snack cake. 


Here's the recipe:

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Spray 9" x 13" glass baking dish with cooking spray. 

1 and 1/2 cups sugar

7 and 1/2 ounces of pumpkin puree

1/2 cup of oil (you can substitute 1/2 c. applesauce for the oil)

1/3 cup of water

2 eggs, beaten

1 and 3/4 cup flour 

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon of nutmeg

1 teaspoon of baking soda

3/4 teaspoon of salt

1 and 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

You can also add dried cranberries, a 1/2 cup or more

(This is not an original recipe. I found it online about 10 years ago and modified it to my taste.)


This is what the finished product looks like...






Now that I've made this cake and given you some insight into Danna, it's time to get back to writing.

Have a great day!

~ Jan



 



  





Friday, January 15, 2021

How to Stay Motivated during this Pandemic by Jude Haste

Jude Haste is here with a great post about staying motivated during this pandemic.

~ * ~

Let me introduce myself; Jude Haste born in London, UK and I write comedy quick reads for those living fast-paced lives! I write in a chatty and informal style to engage my adult audience. Thank you, Jan Romes, for letting me be a guest on your blog.

During this pandemic, I have become acutely aware of why others state that your Mental Health is just as important as your Physical Health. In the UK we are now in Lockdown 3, morale is low and the hospitals are overflowing. Children are being schooled at home. Life feels upside down.

For a comedy writer trying to be creative during this period has been a struggle with too many distractions going on around me. But having faced lows in my life before, I feel equipped as I know that I have to stay motivated or negative thoughts will threaten to overwhelm me.

In my case, if I am not writing, I read or take an online course. Escapism that comes from fiction books allows you some time-out. Your thoughts are engaged in worlds of others for a short time and then you can come back to the reality of your own world, refreshed.

Responding to the pain that exists around all of us, we need to restore some faith in ourselves to handle the challenges we face. A healthy mindset and communication are essential to help reduce our anxieties when we face problems in our lives.

In the fictional quick reads I write, characters have to overcome adversities. The pandemic is an adversity for all of us. Mental Health Awareness is something that we all need to be tuned in to. When we eventually come out of this devastating situation we will need to heal. Kindness matters. Empathy matters.

I understand that our mindset is key to getting us through.




I was inspired to write Toxic when my mindset was in a negative place. Through writing the story, I was able to highlight the issue that was affecting me - workplace bullying. The first draft of all my stories tends to be a saddle up and ride off into the sunset affair, with my chapter titles being plot points. It is a mental health journey in itself writing the book, not even I know the ending, except that I want it to be satisfying which includes having a feel-good factor.

I write comedies because humour is essential in our lives. It feels good to laugh and that gives you mental strength to keep going. 

We all face problems and issues in our lives. It is how we react to them that ultimately decides their outcome on our mental health and to take responsibility for it. Motivation is the key that drives you forward. Your mindset, therefore, needs to be in good shape.

I wrote Don't Shout it Out because my colleagues and I were feeling very demotivated in our roles as high school teachers. This profession has changed dramatically over the years. Schools are meant to be creative spaces not databases. I became a teacher to inspire young people to be creative as creativity in itself helps you to express yourself, which is therapeutic. Expressing yourself helps your mindset and anxiety levels, allowing you to cope with the battles you come across in your journey. The ultimate goal is peace of mind. We are all in this together. 




I feel very privileged that I was able to be creative. It was therapeutic and the issues I touched on were challenging. One of the hurdles I had to overcome was, in order to write a realistic scene with a bullying boss in it, I, as the writer had to become that bullying boss. I had to write his dialogue and describe his mannerisms, take on his mindset.

This experience did leave me exhausted and reminded me that those with the loudest voice do not not necessarily win the argument. The shouting and aggressive actions, body language, I described, in the character of the Boss, would make most people tune out not in. It left me with a headache! Shouting and having the loudest voice is not a sign of strength.

Why is highlighting bullying an important issue? The answer is simple. It affects your mindset both in and out of the workplace, impacting those around you. The boss is a leader, meant to inspire and empower you. To be told you have to deal with colleagues in a clinical manner or else, was at odds with my mindset, which is why I felt the need to tackle this issue. Bullying does not end on the playground.

During this pandemic, I am trying to keep a healthy mindset because others are dependent on me. A decade ago, it was fashionable to hold a positive mindset, but I have noticed over the years that people are manipulating the positive mindset theory to promote their own ideas, push through their own agendas, to the detriment of fostering open, critical debate.

The rhetoric is, 'I feel positive hence positive things will come my way, so be like me and you can have what I have.' Personally, I do not want a golden toilet, just a clean one that flushes will suffice. This mantra has become distorted/hijacked even for some in power, to mean "It's my way or the highway," and "Shape up or ship-out," as mentioned in my novella Jaywalker.    



Feeling good about yourself is vital, but it also includes allowing yourself to be a critical thinker, which is equally important as it also encompasses the needs of those around you -- including the planet, which currently is screaming out to us to let it breathe, to stop the pollution.

Motivation does not mean "put yourself first" to me. It is about looking after my mental health so I am fit to look after others. I wear a face mask to show I care for others during the pandemic, as well as reflecting not to take the simple things in life for granted. 

To end, I wish everyone safe travels on their own mindset journey. Give yourself a break if you aren't feeling positive. Right now, who can? But stay motivated. The pandemic has meant we have had to reflect. Life is about the journey. My mindset will dictate how I respond to the challenges I encounter.

Do your daily walk, with your headphones on, listening to music. Read fiction daily at home, to energize your thought process and keep up your healthy mindset. Your legacy to your children is the memories they will hold of you from the mindset they develop in life. Being motivated drives us all forward.

We are all being productive in our own households by staying motivated! 

We can do this.

You can check out Jude and her awesome books at:





A note from Jan...

I met Jude on Twitter. She's sweet, supportive, and funny. I've read and enjoyed two of her books so far and I look forward to reading even more of her work.