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There are three reasons why this candy, from Schimpff’s in Jeffersonville, Indiana, is totally the best.

orange1First, it looks disgusting. Here are pictures of it whole, in which it looks like something that came out of the wrong end of a cat, and split, in which it looks likeOrange2 something that came out of something that came out of the wrong end of a cat.

Second, the outside is dark chocolate. Mmmmm…dark chocolate! Good for you, and decadently delicious.

Third, the inside is candied orange peel. Mmmmm…candied orange peel! Packed with Vitamin C and sugarsugarsugar.

Fourth — Oh, um, I meant to say there are four reason why this candy is totally the best…. So fourth, nobody else likes it very much. That leaves more for me, me, me!

The down side is that it’s somewhat expensive, since it’s sold by weight, and it’s rather weighty. Still, it’s worth it for a treat once or twice a year. And you really don’t need much of it. There are only so many times you can bear having your pleasure center pop and sizzle with a megadose of dark and golden joy.

Getting set to go to Corydon with Southern Indiana Writers to sell books at Halloween on the Square. Come on down and see us!


writing prompt: What’s something you love to eat that nobody else you know likes very much? If nothing, invent something for a character. Pickled herring? The fat on their steak? Tofu? Raw lemons?

The Southern Indiana Writers Group will be at Corydon, Indiana’s Halloween on the Square this Saturday (October 24th) from 1:00pm – 7:00pm at Magdalena’s Cafe on the Square. We’ll be selling our spooky books, like GHOSTS: ON THE SQUARE…AND ELSEWHERE…. and THERE’S SOMETHING UNDER THE BED-TIME STORIES. We may or may not be reading from the books at the First State Capitol building–still waiting to hear for sure about that. We will be wandering the square, handing out coupons for discounts at Magdalena’s.

Drop by and see us! We’ll be the ones inside behind the table of books, laughing and yakking and swilling coffee treats the way The Blue Brothers Band swills beer.


writing prompt: Write a ghost story.

I was busy as a bird dog. I was busy as a one-armed paper-hanger. I was busy as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.unsavorypast100209

Friday, Joanna Foreman, Ginny Fleming and I represented the Southern Indiana Writers at Corydon’s Unsavory Past. We had copies of our books GHOSTS: ON THE SQUARE…AND ELSEWHERE…. and THERE’S SOMETHING UNDER THE BED-TIME STORIES for sale. Joanna had her GHOSTS OF INTERSTATE 65 and I had my GIFT OF MURDER anthology. We mingled and schmoozed with the attendees, sold some books, learned some lessons about marketing and venues and had an all-around good time. Didn’t get home until after eleven. Thought I was going to turn into a pumpkin.

Saturday, Mom and I got up and went to the farmer’s market (nothing for me–we have green beans, potatoes and green tomatoes, and I still have the sweet potato and turnip I bought last week). Then we went to the art show, a retrospective of our late friend Violet Bruner Windell’s work. She was a fascinating and multi-talented person, and a good friend. We both miss her a lot.

As an additional treat, there was a Boer goat sale at the fairgrounds, and I took Mom to that. For some reason, she’s obsessed with goats. I said, “Okay, let’s go look at them, but let’s not smell them.” She said, “Too late.” Once we got to the building, she decided she’d rather stand outside and look in rather than walking in amongst the pens. The goats were all BMWAAAAAAAA! and ngngngngoat! BMAHHHHHHHH! and hoofing at the ground, nipping at each other and shaking their horns. I was like, “Oh, yeah–I sure want a couple of those in my yard….”

Then we came home and got some lunch, picked up Charlie and went to an organizational meeting in favor of “health insurance reform”. We were like, “Health INSURANCE reform?? What happened to health CARE reform? Where did that emphasis go?” Came home from that and had the evening off lalala.

So today I needed to drive Mom to her church (St. Peter’s Lutheran) because her regular ride wasn’t available to her today, then went to my own church, Corydon Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I won’t critique Marc’s sermon today because, if I did it every week, and if he knew I critiqued him every week, it might make him self-conscious and that wouldn’t be nice. He always has a challenging message, whether I agree with him or not.

Today is a free day again–lots of writing projects, but that’s my joy.

Good day today. I’m aching all down my back and both legs into my feet. I spend too much time in my head. Aching makes me aware of my presence in my body, my presence in the world. It makes me notice my physicality and the physical world around me, and that’s a very good thing.


writing prompt: Describe the world around you RIGHT NOW.

Today was the first day I performed my Deaconess duties solo and, except for one minor mishap, all went well.

Church was all about me, today. I was Deacon AND Deaconess (the titles are task-specific, not gender-specific). If I’d also been Worship Leader, I might have staged a coup. Good thing, huh?

I put the little crunchy bread pillows in the wafer trays and put them on the altar. I put the communion cups in the communion trays and filled them with grape juice and put them on the altar.

juicedHere is one of the juice trays with the cups in it. No, I am not anal retentive. Just because I put the cups into the trays in a pattern and did all of them EXACTLY THE SAME, I am not going all Adrian Monk at church. No, I am NOT.

I clearly remember the first time I took communion at my new church. I had just come down off of being Catholic for umpty years. Took the cup, bowed my head, communed with the prayer, tossed it back and choked. I didn’t spew it out all over the woman in the pew in front of me and I just BARELY managed to keep myself from croaking, “It’s freakin’ GRAPE JUICE!”

Okay, back to today. I got the show loaf out of the freezer. I don’t know if it has an official name, but I call it the show loaf because nobody eats it. The preacher holds it up and breaks it, then holds up the chalice (empty) and talks about the Last Supper and the institution of communion. So I got out the loaf and nuked it so it would be soft and cut a cheat slit in it so it would break more easily, and it’s a darned good thing I did. I seem to have over-nuked it. Though it was soft when I took it out of the microwave, by the time Marc uncovered it, elevated it and demonstrated how Jesus took the bread, blessed it and broke it…. Well, when he broke that bread, he broke that bread. Crumb shrapnel flew everywhere. Added a fillip of drama to an already impressive service.

Marc (our interim minister) has a stepson who hopes and plans to go into the ministry. He just graduated from high school, but ours is the third church he’s preached for. An excellent sermon, on the meaning of Christian love and what it means to lay down your life for others. He said it simply means, no more and no less, than putting another person’s or other persons’ well-being above your own. We can do it by letting somebody else have the best parking space. We can do it by letting somebody else go ahead of us in line at the grocery. We can do it by lots of small acts, as well as by truly large and heroic acts. I told him that we’re currently searching for a new minister, but he insists on going to college first.Candle 2Candle 1

Oh, and I also checked to make sure the candles were in order. Here is a picture of one of our beautiful and impressive perfect candles and THE TRUTH REVEALED–an exposé you won’t see anywhere else! That silver bit at the bottom of the little candle rests on a spring. I made VERY CERTAIN I screwed the cap on tightly. The last thing I wanted was for the little acolytes to come up and snuff the candles at the end of the service and jiggle the cap loose and have a candle launch itself into outer space. Maybe a little too much drama, although Marc is a space fan.

Then I had to stay after church to clean everything up and put everything away, which was fun because Carol came back and talked to me about her Jane Austen Ball she went to a couple of weeks ago. She is so cool.

I’ll post pictures of World on the Square in a couple of days, whenever I get to town to use the high-speed internet. I’m doing this on dial-up, folks. Pray for me.


writing prompt: Write a scene where something embarrassing and amusing happens in church during a service.

Hitting the farmers’ market this morning for a couple of things for self and Mom and then cooking my dish for World on the Square family fair (see earlier post). Going there about 12 to help get ready for the International tasting buffet that opens at 4, when the fair opens. Naturally, today is the hottest day of the year so far. The buffet is in the basement of a church, air conditioned, which is why I’ve been banished there instead of my former post with Mom at the Passport booth. I kept getting heat stroke, so they finally said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get into the kitchen.”

All the kids (and adults who want to) can pick up “passports”: little booklets with questions about various countries. They take the books to the information booths set up on the square, ask the questions, get the answers, and get their books stamped. When they have at least a certain number stamped, they come back to the Passport Booth and claim a prize–like a Chinese fan or a fiesta bandana or a friendship bracelet.

And there are “door” prizes, too, which you don’t have to be present to win! Mom and I are among those who solicit donations. I don’t know what anybody else scored, but we got a HUGE basket of baby gifts from Butt Drugs, gift certificates from lots of downtown merchants, a wine basket from Turtle Run Winery…. Great stuff, this year. Makes me wish I were a guest and not a worker.

Oh, yeah, except that I’ll be in the kitchen with all that food….


writing prompt: If you were called upon to make an ethnic dish, what would you make? I’m making bratwurst and cabbage.

August 8, 2009 — THIS SATURDAY — is the 10th annual World on the Square family festival in Corydon, Indiana. Here’s a little of what the web site says:

2009 is Community Unity’s tenth year hosting Harrison County’s festival celebrating the cultural diversity of our region! Come join us to enjoy the many forms of cultural entertainment, the booths with info about nations and cultures, and taste samples of delicious ethnic foods.

World on the Square is … FREE!FREE!FREE!

Admission to World on the Square is open to all and without charge. Some tables may sell refreshment items, T-shirts or small novelties for a reasonable fee — but vending is not a major purpose of World on the Square.

The international food samples are free for as long as they last, but the samples are not dispensed in meal-sized servings, nor are the samples intended collectively to be a substitute for a complete meal.

That last had to be put in, because a lot of visitors pile their “sampling” plates high, then throw away masses of food that they decide they don’t like or want, after all. Then the later visitors have nothing to eat except chips and salsa, which is disappointing for them.

I always take a dish to the international sampler. I think I’ll take bratwurst and cabbage this year, since I have lots of both. I bought two packages of brats at the store before we got off onto veg and organic meat, so this will be a good way to unload it. –Er, I mean, share it.

Come join the fun. It’s always a blast, and the music is great!


writing prompt: Go to a community event and take note of the people, the vendors/presenters. If there is none available to you, what kind would you put on, if you were going to?

Sometimes I have so much minutiae going on, I don’t know where to start.Colokial

Mom and I met our friend Ardis by arrangement at the Colokial last-Friday-of-the-month party. Colokial is this way cool shop in Corydon that specializes in art and gifts from Latin America. OH, such beautiful things! They have pashminas–rectangular scarves–and square silk scarves and silver jewelry and rosaries so beautiful it makes me want to go back to Catholicism. I do miss that, by the way, and, even though I was born a Baptist and raised a Lutheran and am now Disciples of Christ, I’m starting to wonder if it might not be true that “once a Catholic, always a Catholic”….

Anyway, Colokial had this party. This month, the country featured was Panama. We had empanadas (fried meat pies), chicken and yellow rice (saffron? turmeric?) and sweet plantains. All good, but the plantains were particularly intriguing. Sort of banana, but firm. I’m going to get some sometime and try my hand at them.

Colokial gentlemanThis young man is one of two brothers who go to the church where my precious late grandfather used to go. Because he and Mom and I went to three different churches (Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic and then DofC) and because of service schedules, after he gave up his driver’s license I would take him to church, go to mine, and pick him up after his. These young men would watch for him and hold the door for him, always with a smile and a “Good morning, Brother George.” If I have my town genealogy straight, these young men are the stepsons of the Colokial owner.

Today, I got up and went to my beloved Saturday farmers’ market. Got there a bit after 8 am and it looked like ants at a picnic. I got mom somefarmers market 815am ripe tomatoes and a green tomato. I had serious doubts about the red ones. Nobody’s tomatoes are ripening on the vine this year. The coolish, wet weather is great for a lot of things, but tomatoes are not among them. Lots of tomatoes, but they aren’t ripening. Got some broccoli, some corn and OF COURSE some peaches. Hale Havens, this time, since the July Albertas are over, alas.

One kind gentleman let me taste a tomatillo, also known as husk tomatoes. He peeled back the split husk and told me to just take a bite. It was kind of sticky, a residue of the husk. He said it wouldn’t hurt me, to just go on and bit it. I did. It was much firmer than a tomato. Had a slightly tomato taste, but also a little sweet. I decided to get some and a little box of his cherry tomatoes. He had other customers to take care of and, by the time he got to me, the aftertaste had begun to set in. I say “had begun” advisedly: One of the Southern Indiana Writers hates it when you say somebody began to do something or something started when what you mean is that somebody or something DID something. But this aftertaste wasn’t just something that happened, it’s an ongoing thing. This aftertaste has taken on a life of its own. This aftertaste is like having schizophrenia of the tastebuds. A little like cilantro, just a touch of heat. I can imagine people really liking it, because it’s strong and distinctive. I’m not altogether sure I don’t like it, but it sure is a presence in my life.

I ended by not buying the tomatillos or the cherry tomatoes, but I might actually get some next week and some sweet onions and make some salsa fresca. Won’t get any hot peppers or cilantro,fmbounty because the tomatillos supply all of those notes I care to have, thanks all the same.

So, all in all, it’s already been an adventurous weekend, and it’s not even noon on Saturday.


writing prompt: Have two characters try a new food. Have one love it and one hate it. Describe their reactions to the food, detailing how the food impacts all their senses, including their memories.

Sounds like the world’s most boring race… Although one might disagree that such a race would be boring, if one had read my story, “On The Rocks”, at that. At any rate, Turtle Run is actually theturtle run shed name of a winery near Corydon.

Mom and I went there the other day, and I took some pictures. This is a storage shed. In case you hadn’t noticed, I like pictures of things that have weathered the years. NO! STOP LOOKING AT MY SELF-SNAP! I WAS NOT TALKING ABOUT THAT PICTURE!! Okay.

We usually buy our Turtle Run wine at Butt Drugs, but sometimes we drive out there. They’re very civic-minded, and donate a door prize every year to World on the Square. They also allow non-profit groups to come work harvesting grapes in the fall, then they donate what the groups earned in wages to the charity of the group’s choice. So we end up going out to the winery a few times a year.

turtle1Since it’s called Turtle Run, it’s not surprising that there are turtles everywhere. I snapped a few. Does that make them snapping turtles? haha i crack myself up oh me oh my.

Turtle Run makes a great Vignoles, better some years than others. It’s best (IMO) when the grapes get frosted on the vine. It turtle2makes what they call an ice wine, that’s naturally sweet but not TOO sweet. This time, though, I bought the Catawba, which they told me was lightly sweet–thought I might as well try something new. Mom got a red wine, but red wines (except my beloved Chianti) give me the headache, so I’m sticking with the whites or roses.

turtle3They have some gorgeous Rose of Sharon bushes or, as we call them around here, Rose o’ Sharon. Because of that pronunciation, I used to think it was a Rosa Sharon bush, andRose of Sharon I always wondered who Rosa Sharon was.

When my mom lived in Corning, NY, we used to visit a winery called Bully Hill. One of their wines was Love My Goat. I’d rather drink turtles, quite honestly.

Well, a daughter just came to visit, so I have to get off. See you tomorrow!


Writing prompt: Invent a winery. What would its mascot be? Give its wines odd names. Enjoy.

Mom and I went to the grocery today, and ran errands, as always. One thing we did differently: Ozzie’s was having a sale, since Linda and Christine are offpalmshawl buying new merch, so we went to Ozzie’s. I got a present for #2 daughter’s birthday coming up, and a sarong/shawl for me. I love these things, and I’m coming to have quite a collection.

notabutterflyIt’s only the first part of July, but some leaves turn and fall now. Here is one I thought was most particularly beautiful. It looks like a butterfly, but it’s a leaf. Tulip poplar, I think.

I went to the coffee house yesterday, and I saw Diane, Charlie S., Dan, and Roni (twice). Today, I saw Indigo, Callie (twice) and Sandi and Mom saw Maxine. That’s one of the things I like best about living in a small town: you meet people you know all kinds of places, not just places you plan to meet them.

Charlie went picking blueberries with our #3 daughter and her #2 son this morning. We ate up just about all our blueberries this morning–blueberry and pecan pancakes.

Not sure what I’m going to make for supper–just got back from the grocery, and shopped the farmers’ market yesterday, and some of the garden is coming in, so we have an embarassment of riches. #4 daughter is coming to visit and will probably stay for supper, so I think I’ll wait until she gets here and we’ll plan something together.



writing prompt: Does the first changed and fallen leaf make you happy, sad, nostalgic, or what? Write a brief poem or paragraph about it, then another from the pov of someone with a different feeling/attitude.

I’m running sideways to keep from flying today. Mom and I worked at the Friends of the Library Book Box (book sale room) this morning. We went to the farmers’ market first–still only three vendors. We hope it’ll pick up as the season goes on. I was disappointed not to find any lettuce or spinach or other greens. A friend showed up and got some turnip greens as a byproduct of turnips, but that was about it.

We got some green tomatoes and green beans and I got a little head of broccoli. Hope there’ll be more at the Tuesday market.

Then we came home and programmed our route into the GPS for the open house we’re going to tonight for a couple of friends’ renewal of marriage vows.

Now we’re going to our #1 daughter’s to visit with some friends from Louisville.shawl

shawlbagYesterday evening, we went to Colokial, where they had music, food and lots of company. The food wasn’t free, but it smelled divine. We had expected snackies, so we had already eaten, but we visit with our friends who were there and, of course, shopped. Mom bought me a gorgeous embroidered thingy–like a shawl, only a long rectangle. I told them I didn’t need it in a bag, but they insisted. So here is a picture of the bag as well as a picture of the shawl.

They’re working on a website, but don’t have one yet.

Now I have to go and do some doin’s.


writing prompt: What’s embroidered on your main female character’s shawl? If she doesn’t wear shawls, give her one from somewhere or other.


Here is where I ramble on about whatever happens to fall through my mind. I also have a professional site, where I post about my books, stories, news and appearances. Every month, I post a “Hot Flash” there–a story or prose poem of about 50 words. I hope you enjoy your visit. –Marian Allen

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