Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Furniture Makeover: A Tale of Old Clothes and Quick Fixes







Why was he staring at me like that? I didn't like it...

I shifted my seat on the deflated couch, trying to turn my gaze away. Frowning, I began typing once more. I didn't get very far before I felt his gaze dig holes in the side of my head. I glanced once again in his direction, his stance solid, determined.

I grumbled. "What do you want?"

He said nothing, just stood there in his stupid green outfit that did him little justice. It was an outfit he'd gotten in the ninties, and it showed.

"I'm aware that you hate what you're wearing! What do you want me to do about it?"

He sat silently, showing me what he wanted by the decor that surrounded him.

"You want to wear black? What, are you goth now?"

Another stoney stare.

I sighed long and hard, shutting the computer on my lap and placing it on the bookstand beside me. With him staring at me like this, I was never going to get any writing done. I stood and marched up to him, his four friends surrounding him with their stubburn, spindly legs. His friends came from all over - Pottery Barn, and of course garage sales. They glared at me the same way, all except the Pottery Barn group - they were confident in their clothes.

"And I suppose you want new clothes too, huh?" I addressed two of his friends that were wearing a horrid pumpin pattern.




They gave me the same lip, and it drove me to give in.

"Fine! I'll do it, but beware that I cannot guarantee a good outcome, but I'll try my best."

I marched to the door where I grabbed my keys and purse. When I came back, I had new fabric, and of course a quart of black paint. He was still staring at me. With a clenched jaw, I removed all his jewelry - the vases, candles, bobbles he wore excessively in his attempt to look more modern. It looked trashy instead. I then flipped him over on his back...




...and I removed his friends pumpkin clothes.




He giggled with happiness and I brushed him with a new coat - first a layer to cover the green, then another to cover streaks, then a third to make his new clothes shine like a leather jacket.

His friends watched anxiously, the pumpkin duo patiently awaiting their turn. While he was drying, I took the pumpkins and rehabed their October look. I drove staples into their flesh, but they didn't seem to mind - they were seasoned plastic surgery patients - I could see the two previous scars of old changes on their undersides.

when I was done I sighed, seeing it was almost time for dinner. My day was a waste as far as writing went, but I was glad to see that He and his friends were happy.

"How's that?"

they all stood with pride and thanks.

it felt good to help out...



Monday, May 24, 2010

The Quail Egg and The Garden: A Story of a King







Growing impatient, Egg fell from the nest, rolling downhill until it came to a rest in a patch of soft grass.

Mother shrieked as she saw Egg roll, fluttering after Egg as branches and vines slapped against her face. "My egg!" she cried. "My egg!"

Father heard Mother and quickly ran from the lawn where he had been snacking, following Mother's voice.

"Mother! Mother! What happened?" Father came upon Mother, the white speckled skin of Egg resting on a bed of old pine needles.

"He rolled right out of the nest!" She screamed.

Father gasped. "But why?" Father then noticed the disturbed Earth around him, the small forest of sweet smelling shoots growing in a precise pattern of rows.










Mother and Father looked to Egg, it's crown still fastened upon it's head. "You found a garden, Egg."

Egg said nothing, sitting there with pride.

"But, Egg, you are too young to claim your first kingdom!"

Egg stood stubbornly on the spot.

Father fluffed his wings in thought before leaning close to Mother. "Mother, shall we allow him to become the King of his own garden?" he whispered discreetly.





Mother's eyes were filled with apprehension, but what could she do? She did not posses the use of opposable thumbs, she could not possibly push egg back up the hill to the nest. Egg's future was already made. "I don't think we have a choice!" she murmured in a harsh, shaky tone.

Father looked back to Egg. "Then the Kingdom of Garden is yours, Egg."

Egg remained silent and proud.

"King of the Garden," father whispered to himself. "I'm so proud."

Mother and Father left Egg to fend for himself, walking back up the hill where they were greeted with a cold, empty nest.










Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bread Crumbs: If Only Hansel Had Listened To Gretel, Vol. 3

© Copyright Abra Ebner


In the woods, father led us in a direction we’d never been in before. We weaved over broken land and fern filled valleys where trails did not exist. When we’d walked for close to two hours he set us to work gathering kindling while he walked a ways back with his axe in hand. “I will be cutting over here.”


I waited until Father disappeared, not able to concentrate on the task I had been given. I heard his axe—Chop. Chop. Chop—the sound cooling my nerves.


He hadn’t left us.

 
Hansel set to work, collecting a large pile of kindling, but as night fell, Father’s chopping never ceased.

 
“Hansel, something’s wrong,” I at last announced, hearing a wolf’s cry not too far off.


Hansel stopped. His pile of kindling was so big I wondered how he proposed he’d ever get it home. This hadn’t made sense from the beginning, and it angered me that Hansel hadn’t questioned Father as I’d longed to. Why would Father take us two hours from home to collect wood when we could barely haul that wood two hours back? The mule had been sold, and the cart long since rotted.


“Nothing is wrong, Gretel. Keep collecting,” Hansel urged.


Something was definitely wrong, and I refused to let it slide. “No, Hansel. I think we should check on Father.” Dread lingered in the pit of my stomach like the the pebbled that led our way home. I would not quit until Hansel would listen.


Hansel sighed. “Fine.”


He huffed past me, taking big steps in the direction of our father’s axe.


Chop. Chop. Chop.


It was just as steady as it had been all day.


When we came upon the source of the sound I was horrified to see that Father’s axe had been tied to a branch with a yard of rope, the wind knocking it against the trunk until the tree had almost chopped right down.


“Hansel! It was a trick!” I admitted, seeing the obvious.


Hansel’s face crinkled. “No. No. No, Gretel. You’re wrong. Father likely grew tired and tied his axe here until tomorrow. He probably saw us working hard and didn’t want to interrupt, figuring we’d find our way home when we grew hungry.”


My stomach grumbled, but it did not shadow my doubt. Why couldn’t he see it? I rolled my eyes. “I don’t believe you. You’re being na├»ve,” I claimed, but Hansel had already made his way to the pebble trail and did not hear my objection.


I followed, wondering what his next excuse would be, and what the look on my Step Mother’s face would be like when we showed up—alive.


“Let’s hurry before it gets to dark,” Hansel added.


“We’re going to die,” I mumbled.


Once home, I saw Step Mother and Father through the window of the cottage, already eating dinner.


“They’ve started without us!” Hansel grumbled.


“I doubt they even expected us,” I added.


Hansel gave me a mean glare before opening the front door and we bounded in. Step Mother’s face told no lies. She was horrified. My father on the other hand looked far too relieved, but still, Hansel did not see it!


Step mother rose from her chair and ordered us to bed with no dinner, claiming we deserved none because we hadn’t hauled the wood home.


Yeah, right.



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Paco Gets a Haircut...



Two years I've been growing this Purple Clover, and Paco finally gave up.


He turned to me and said, "Seriously, the cats keep eating me and my leaves are so big I can no longer hold them up! I think it's in our best interest to cut my hair and save the cats their digestive discomfort."


I touched my finger to my chinny chin chin and thought for a moment. "But, Paco, what if your hair doesn't grow back? You came from my grandmother who brought you all the way from Switzerland. You're not an average clover, you're Swiss!"


Paco laughed, his accent really coming out now. "Aft! I am strong! I survived a ten hour flight and a few hour layover in Heathrow, in coach none-the-less! If I can survive that, I can survive the haircut!"


I took out the sharpest sheers I owned, my lips pressed together as I gazed upon the blades. "I promise to cut fast."


He shook his withering petals. "Danke gleichfalls."


I held my breath and cut fast, taking his extra hair and saving it in a vase.


Over the next few days I kept a watchful eye on Paco - he had been silent. Day and night I brought him water, day and night I whispered sweet nothings upon the severed stems, until finally, a single petal emerged and Paco whispered to me...


"I feel much better now..."



Friday, May 14, 2010

Hansel and Gretel: If Only Hansel Had Listened to Gretel: Bread Crumbs Vol. 2


I looked at Hansel, nervously crumbling the bread between my fingers. "Are we going to die?"

Hansel gave me a half grin. "No, Gretel. We're not going to die."

I ventured my gaze into the looming forest, a set of hungry eyes staring back at me. I wanted to believe my brother, but I couldn't. We were definitely going to die, but I didn't need to tell him that. He may be my older brother, but I was the brains here, not to mention the only rational one of the duo. I dropped the doughy ball of bread on the ground, looking over my shoulder as I saw a fox run across the path, snatching the pieces up behind us - this was pointless, but Hansel refused to listen.

"Um... Hansel?" My voice was shaky as I tried again to tell him.

He hadn't heard me, stopping abruptly. "Look!" He yelled.

His finger was pointed before him, his eyes so wide that I thought for a moment he'd seen our death, if not for the grin decorating his cheeks. I followed the angle of his thin finger, seeing a clearing up ahead. It was dark, and in the middle sat an oddly shaped gingerbread house.

"We're saved!" he yelled.

I pressed my lips together, thinking that this didn't look like 'saved' to me. There was a waterfall of blood, the stench of burning flesh in the air, but all Hansel could see was the candy canes and sugar - a perfectly set trap.

"I don't know, Hansel..."

Again, Hansel hadn't heard me as he took off at a run, the lust for food fogging his already damaged judgement. If only we had eaten the bread, then we wouldn't be in this predicament.

I sighed. We were definitely going to die now...


Well, my bread baking experience yesterday turned out perfectly. If I were that fox, I wouldn't have hesitated for this bread! My first successful home-made loaf!!

Bread Crumbs... I'll keep them for myself.


yum.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bread Crumbs...

I used to be a baker but for whatever reason I can't seem to get it right when I bake bread at home. Because of this, I've decided to dive deeper into this world of crumbs, disecting just what it is that always wants to make my bread taste like raw flour. Dense. Rather bland...  

     spew...

At the organic bakery where I worked, we used to have a big foamy pot of living yeast that had been hanging around in the fridge for twelve years...

     TWELVE years...

Maybe that's what made it taste so good... Fermenting masses of yeasty-beasties dancing about with a litle sugar and malt....

    malt... yum.

Well, so today I'm experimenting with new flours and I'm going to attempt to make ciabatta bread.



I've never made it before and I think that's a good thing. I found this great website called:


Check it out for yourself, it seems awesome, and the bread looks amazing...

Off I go to get crumby!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I.O.U. Greek Salad Recipe: A Parody About The Economy





After a satisfying italian meal on the deck last night, my husband turned to me and said:

"Man, I'm craving a Greek salad, and not just any Greek salad, but an I.O.U. Greek salad."

My brows stitched together. "What's an I.O.U. Greek salad?" I asked.

A half smile crept across his face. "What, you don't know?"

I shook my head, feeling dumb for asking.

He sat up, placed his plate on the table and took a sip of wine. "Well, First you take over 100 billion American Tax-payer dollars and put it in a I.M.F. blender and blend until you can't tell its American Tax-payer dollars anymore. Then, you mix it with a couple billion European Tax-payer dollars and you sprinkle it over a mound of Greek I.O.U.'s with feta, tomatoes, and cucumber, then garnish with a toasted pita." He sat back, rubbing his tummy and licking his lips. "Sounds good, doesn't it? Sure to be a global blowout."

My eyes grew wide. "It does! But... it sounds a bit scandalous."

He chuckled. "Well of course. That's what makes it so tart and delicious, but I should warn you, though it looks healthy, it's crammed with fat."

I frowned. "Well, okay then. I'll make it, I suppose." I rubbed my tummy, not wanting to gain the weight of it.

He chuckled again, this time in a darker tone. "It's not like you have any choice."


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Death to Dandelion



The smell of fertilizer taints the air of my front yard, and where I hate the smell, I love that it will kill the hundred-plus dandelion's that have flourished there. It's always too cold to fertilize before the grass begins to grow, so every year we end up with this less than beautiful bed of yellow flowers - definitely not the romantic bed of flowers I was hoping for.


Pre-season herb-o-cidal bouts come in the form of a gas powered Honda, going about the yard like the Queen of Hearts and chopping their heads off while I smile with murderous delight...


I even hear they're edible... but for this bunch, not anymore.


Shrivel little yellow hat ladies... feel the acid burn.


On a better, less herb-o-cidal note, the unnaturally trained apple by my front door is blooming! I bought one that was grown on wires so it looks like a grape vine. It matched the twenty foot tall one in the back yard that has the same flowers all over it.


Massive pink. Massive Hummingbird utopia.


Monday, May 10, 2010

A Chocolate Mousse Kind of Afternoon...

I love chocolate mousse, and what I love better is homemade chocolate mousse. Its a wonder I still venture to eat it after the butter and cream that goes into it, but when you're looking to indulge, why not? Besides, it's not like I'm going to saddle up to the whole bowl!

I was at the grocery store and saw that Jello came out with the fake sugar 60 calorie B.S. plastic cups of chocolate mousse, and let me just say, what's the point??

For me it's all about the experience! A fancy glass, a good show on tv, and a tiny tiny spoon (or cookie!) to eat it with...

Here's my favorite recipe:

Dark Chocolate Mousse
Courtesy Bobby Flay


Ingredients

5 1/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

14 ounces cold heavy cream

3 large egg whites

1-ounce sugar

Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish, optional

Shaved bittersweet chocolate, for garnish, optional

Directions

Place chocolate in a large bowl set over a bain marie or in a double boiler at a low simmer. Stir chocolate until melted. Turn off the heat and let stand.

Beat the cream over ice until it forms soft peaks. Set aside and hold at room temperature. With a mixer, whip egg to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until firm.

Remove the chocolate from the bain marie and using a whisk, fold in the egg whites all at once. When the whites are almost completely incorporated, fold in the whipped cream. Cover the mousse and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour or until set. Serve in goblets topped with more whipped cream and shaved chocolate, if desired.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What Came First? The Jock... or the Jock Strap...

That's what they're wondering...


Ha ha.


Well, yesterday I was doing the laundry, and my husband (plays city league baseball) left his Jock Strap on the floor and I almost died tripping over it (I know, ew.) Needless to say I then stood there for fifteen minutes rubbing my toe (which I'd hit against the bedframe) and wondering what came first: The Jock, or the Jock Strap.


Don't ask me why I thought this, but I just did.


Did they name the Jock Strap ofter the Jock, or the Jock after the Jock Strap??


So then last night at bowling I posed the question to my two friends and one of my friends husbands, who is a Sports Equipment Manager at Washington State University.


Needless to say we couldn't formulate a good answer without giggling... Though I did bring up the idea that it came from Jockey, like the underwear brand...


Today, the question still haunts me, so I decided to do some research and here's what I found:


Info Courtesy Wikipedia

"The word jockstrap has purportedly been in use since 1897, a likely contraction of 'jockey strap', as the garment was first designed for bicycle riders, or 'bike jockeys'. The Bike Jockey Strap was the first jockstrap manufactured in America in 1874.[1][2] Jockey itself is the diminutive form of the Scots nickname Jock (for John) as Jackie is for the English nickname Jack. The nicknames Jack and Jackie, Jock and Jockey have been used generically for 'man, fellow, boy, common man'. From the period c.1650-c.1850, 'jock' was used as slang for... (I cut this part out, you get the drift...)

The more recent slang term 'jock', meaning an athlete, is traced to 1959 and is itself derived from 'jockstrap'.[3]"


Ha! There was my answer! So Jock Strap did come first... good to know.


As a woman, it is nice to know that one more mystery of the male world has been solved. Thank Goodness!

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Little Love ♥ A Little Luck ♣

Here is a new review of my book Knight Angels in case you haven't seen it!


Then you should, ya know, go read it! And improve my luck of becoming a best seller!



Windowpane Memoirs Review



"If by any chance you ever had your doubts against self published books, Knight Angels Book of Love will make you forget them. Knight Angels narrates the story of: Jane, Emily, Wes, Max, Greg, Erik and Sarah. This circle of friends and family is bound by supernatural forces and the secrets among them. The chapters are narrated in different POVs where each character's "voice" shines for their singularity and contrast. Even though the Angel Theme has been recently explored in young literature, Knight Angels breaks the stereotype not only on narration format, but also in the story's structural format that results a little bit darker than what's being considered commercial at such moment. What's interesting about the story is that it is composed by a supernatural world where human characters are key pieces in the story. Angelology in the story is not that complex, but more conventional. However, regarding the mystery where the forces of heaven, earth and hell collapse, it's certainly elaborated. Abra Ebner is an author not afraid to explore taboo topics like drugs, sexuality, hate, among others and I consider this respectable. It's worth pointing that her storytelling skills are excellent. Story's romances are certainly different and maybe one of them a little controversial. Knight Angel Book of Love is the first chapter of a promising series where as a reader you'll be able to look with different eyes self published material and where the supernatural world is not only inhabited by angels or demons, but much more … and way beyond."


Check out other stellar reviews on Goodreads, and let the fans speak for themselves...

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