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I’m finally getting around to posting pics I took the last time I went to Louisville, and some, as the cool kids say, “awsomesauce” pics of the potting shed out back.

We went to the Java Brewing Company and I got some kind of highly caffeinated and insucrated drink and it looked like this. I mean, how can you resist ordering something that’s going to look like this? It was verrry tasty, too.

Then we went to the Shalimar, the best Indian restaurant EVAR!!!! and I took this snappie of my story. Yes, my brag is true: I do have a story “published” on the wall of an Indian restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, and this is it. We got chicken korma and chicken tikka masala (I am not a vegetarian at the Shalimar!) and had enough to take home for two more meals each! Anyway, here is “Rose of Kashmir” on the wall in the waiting area. How cool is that?

So we got up one morning and the sun was hitting the top of the potting shed, and I had to take a snappie. This is one of the many reasons I love living in the country. It isn’t that mist doesn’t rise in the city, it’s just that I never looked at it in the city.

Please don’t forget to listen to Sheri Wright interview Joanna Foreman and me on “From the Inkwell” at 1-2pm EDT on 1650 AM in Louisville’s Crescent Hill neighborhood, or live-streamed at (soon to be archived).


writing prompt: Have a character notice something that happens all the time and have the character be wowed by it.

First, I’ll vent my spleen, then maybe we’ll all feel better.

The service area receptionist told me–the same one I went around with on the phone–when I went back to see if they’d had time to look at the car, that my problem was that I had turned the floor mats upside down and the accelerator pedal was getting stuck on the floor mats. I’m like, “I don’t think so.” She was like, “That’s a safety hazard.” I’m like, “Then why did the material that came with the car ADVISE me to turn the floor mats upside down to protect the flooring in wet weather?” I’m like, “Try again.” I’m like, “BUZZ! BRAAAK! Wrong! Thank you for playing.” So she called the Service Manager and I told him what had happened–and almost happened–on a busy interstate repeatedly until he got tired of hearing it and said he’d keep the car and drive it to see if he could get it to repeat. I’m like, “Better you than me.” I’m like, “If you’re up to it, you can take your life in your hands and ride with me and I’ll get it to repeat.” So I’m currently without a car, but my husband has a truck so I’ll manage.

I feel much better now.

So I went to Louisville on Wednesday (and came home REAL FAST). I was glad I always carry my camera, because I saw so much cool stuff. Here is a chain next to a stone stanchion in front of a car lot. I think it’s supposed to be fastened to another one, in order to keep the cars from driving out at night and dancing in the street. I thought it looked very artistic.

Somebody I think I would like has planted beautiful things in the tops of the stanchions, making them decorative as well as utilitarian.

A restaurant we can’t afford and which is only open for dinner affords us joy with its urban landscaping.

A good crop of fungi at the foot of a tree. Don’t know what kind they are, but they look distinctly squidgy.

A deliveryman for some place or other. He was going too fast for me to catch who he was delivering for, but the caution sign on the back says Soup On Board.

I also took a great picture of some koi in the aquarium of a Chinese restaurant, but I’m using that on the cover of the book I’m working on for Kindle and Smashwords publication. It’ll have all stories with animals in. Not like James Herriot, I’m telling you. The lead story is “Lonnie, Me and the Hound of Hell”.


writing prompt: Have a service person irritate a character. Write a service person who has a customer get irritated with him/her.

Busy day coming up. Delivering fund-raiser meals for the Leora Brown School.

Had a great visit yesterday with #4 daughter and her husband. Had a great traveling writers’ conference.

Had a couple of fabulous coffee drinks. The first was at Java Brewing. It’s called a beekeeper, and has honey and cinnamon in it. Isn’t it beautiful? The artist is Chuck Korson, and the coffee was as good as it was beautiful!

The other was “something good” by … Jacob? By that time, I was so tired I forgot to take pictures or names. That was at Heine Brothers’ Coffee.

After Heine Brothers’, I went to dinner and then to the Southern Indiana Writers meeting. Nobody had any work, so we schmoozed for a couple of hours. Saw this in the parking lot and had to snap it, it was so pretty. I’ve seen lots of these guys before, but I’ve never seen a pink one. Maybe they’re all pink, and I just never saw them before they browned up. Anyway, I thought it was pretty.

Enough stalling. I need to go do the doing.


writing prompt: Go find another writer and talk story.

Last Sunday, Mom and I went to a reception for the Kentucky Opera Association. I took some pictures of the interior of the Brown on Broadway, where the productions have moved, but my PHD camera couldn’t handle the lighting. I’ll try harder next year. I think if I get the right distance and angle, I can get some nice snappies.

The pictures outside came out well, though, I think. Here is a picture of the top of a clock at 4th and Broadway, proclaiming it to be the Magic Corner. I don’t know about magical, but it’s certainly the windiest damn corner in creation. The clock is wonderful, though.

We were very early, having left time in which to be late and not having needed it. (There’s a sentence to diagram, if that’s your idea of a good time.) That gave us time to stroll along Broadway and see what was new and what was old. Here is a picture of a fine old building with a “new” building in the background. That high-rise trimmed in blue (or maybe green–a wee bit colorblind, you know) is The 800 Building. When I was in school, umpty-ump years ago, that was brand new and all the latest crack–condominiums!

Here is a picture of the Heyburn Building, I think. Check out the doo-dahs decorating it. Way cool.

And here are what we thought were random sculptures, but turned out to be bike racks. How cool is that? They’re all up and down around 4th and Broadway. We didn’t see one bike, but it was Sunday afternoon. There are probably a lot of them during the week, or on Friday and Saturday night. Way cool, we thought.

The reception was delightful. Jessica Schaap and Rebekah Bortz Hardin sang while we nommed sammiches and stuff. David George accompanied them on keyboard. Later, they presented arias and a duet from the fall season’s productions: Cav/Pag, Elixir of Love and Madame Butterfly. David Roth talked about the move to the Brown, which I love. He said the Kentucky Opera is the 11th oldest operating opera company in the USA. Go, Lou!

A fine time was had by all.


writing prompt: Write or outline a story prompted by one of these pictures.

Costume 3Here is a closeup of the pin at my throat. It’s Jiminy Cricket. My costume is, insofar as I am aware, totally unconnected with Walt Disney and all his works and all his ways.

Keep guessing–the contest will continue, even if someone guesses correctly, and all correct guesses will be put into a drawing for the prize at the end of the month (just a couple more days, now!).

cravecreamJane and I went to Crave again. They have the best soup and sandwiches! I guess their salads are good, too, but even I can only eat so much. I mean, as it is, if I gain any more weight, the government will declare me too big to fail. Anyway, my soup was country ham and corn chowder and my sandwich was Pimp My Cheese–SHARP cheddar, pimento cheese and chopped nuts (pecans, I think). Mmmmmmm…. I ordered coffee, which they brought in a mug the size of an Olympic swimming pool–just the way I like it. I forgot to tell them I didn’t want cream. This is usually not a problem, because the “cream” is usually a non-dairy product in a sealed container. Here, they brought me a double shot in a double shot glass. I had to take a picture, because it took me back. When I was wee, my mother and grandfather would order coffee at restaurants; the cream would come in little stone crocks or glass pots, and they would give it to me to drink. For a picky eater (would that I still were!), this was the highlight of going to a restaurant. So they brought me this great white memory yesterday, and I had to put cream and sugar into my coffee. I had to, don’t you understand?!!1!?

I think I’m over-thinking the story. I need to simplify. Simplify.


writing prompt: Come up with a childhood memory connected with eating at a restaurant or at someone else’s house.

Before I went to meet Jane, I had to go to Carmichaels’ book store to pick up the Southern Indiana Writers and Dying in a Winter Wonderland books they didn’t sell. No hard feelings–we sell enough of them at our own signings that we’re glad to have them back. 🙂shopexterior

I was thrilled and delighted to see that the shop across the side street from the parking lot was OPEN at last! I’ve always been there when the shop was closed, and I’ve been pining to look inside. Seeing the interior was both a disappointment and a happiness: It’s very different inside from what I thought it was, but it’s super! From the outside, especially from across the street, it looks very like a place I’ve dreamed about. Inside the shop in my dream, shopinteriorthough, everything is all junky and dusty and jumbled, and inside the real S. Bayly Boutique it’s clean and bright and beautiful and it has dogs in. The one I used to dream about is part of a run-down beach-front collection of ramshackle buildings called Rat-Trap. The shop is about in the middle of the row, and it’s run by a tall thin old man with white hair and half-glasses. He might have a cat–if so, it’s a big tough one–but not a cutie little pup like this one.

I got stuck waiting for a train to pass, but eventually Jane and I met at Shiraz and had a lunch that couldn’t be beat. She gave me some birthday presents that are so neat, they’re going to get their own post.

As usual, we went to Java Brewing for coffee. When we got up to the counter, The Amazing Cody popped up and asked, “Do you want me to leave room for water in this?” I always wanted to be recognized in public, but not so much for being a goof. Oh, well, you takes what you gets, right? Of course, right. He suggested the Pumpkin Spice Latte, which I ordered, along with a couple of biscotti to split with Jane. Cody put a beautiful feathery design on the top of my latte–I would have taken a picsh of it, but he had a can of whipped cream in his hand, and I didn’t want to interfere with that. A schplootsch of whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and heaven came to earth. Mmmmmmmm….

An excellent day.


writing prompt: Write down everything you can think of about a place you’ve dreamed about. Invent ten additional things.

Jane and I met at Crave, as we have been lately, where I got a MOST delicious veg sandwich.sammich

A fabulous sammich. A fab sam. As I told Jane, time was I would have said, “Cold, raw vegetables? I don’t think so!” But now I love a good cold, fresh veg sandwich. This one had lettuce, avocado, red bell pepper, cucumbers and Benedictine (cucumbers and cream cheese). Also had onion, but I pulled that off. Bleh. I should have had whole wheat bread, but I had sourdough. As Snoopy says, life is just too short not to live it up a little.

artAlso at Crave, I saw this gentleman worker with super art. He very kindly posed for me, but I forgot to get his name. HEY, GUY–IF YOU READ THIS, ADD YOUR NAME IN THE COMMENTS SECTION.

Across the street at the Java Brewing Company, where we retired for afters, we saw another gentleman (I did not photograph his art, alas) who was also fabulously bedecked. Among other artwork, one arm was inscribed with a poem in Turkish, which had been written by his Turkish wife. He was kind enough to answer my questions about how his tattooing was done (an electric needle machine that pierces the skin very quickly and repetitively and injects the ink into the epidermis). He said the range of colors of ink is, theoretically, infinite. He said that sometimes it hurts (the one he had done on his rib hurt a lot), sometimes it bleeds. He said it scabs over and, once the scabs heal and fall off, there’s your tattoo.

Jane got coffee, as usual, but I thought something cold sounded good, so I got vanilla cream soda. Guess what? It has CREAM in it! Java’s cream soda is cream, soda water, and flavoring. Oh my dear lord IT WAS GOOOOOD! If you’ve never tried this, I do most highly recommend it. Same thing as an egg cream, which is cream or milk and soda water. I have a new favorite drink at Java–AND they still punch your frequent buyer card, even though it isn’t coffee. Can’t beat

Jane has had to buy a new (used) car, a KIA, of which she is understandably proud. It’s a gorgeous little chariot, good as new. Here is the proud owner.

After the deluge of yesterday, today was beautiful. Perfect temperature, not too muggy, and the sun even came out. We had no damage, ourselves, and there was no damage in the area where Jane lives or in the area of Frankfort Avenue where we met.

Oh–the coolest thing–Charlie and I met some friends for breakfast, and a cousin of Charlie’s was at the next table with her husband and a couple of friends. We got to talking to one of the friends. He was a big, hefty Bubba of a man, with a sport cap and dirty jeans, who started by telling us he was working on Bill’s driveway. As we talked, we found out he is also a Professor of Developmental Psychology at Vincennes University. I do so love it when people defy, outrage and otherwise stoogify stereotypes.


writing prompt: Talk to someone you think you have pigeonholed. Talk long enough to tell if he/she does or does not fit the pigeonhole you had picked out and furnished. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Write a character who doesn’t fit his/her apparant stereotype.

Jane and I met at the Irish Rover. She had lamb-stuffed cabbage roles (ick! but she loved them) and I had fish and chips (yum!). We each ordered aIrishRover different beer, gave each other tastes, decided we liked our own better and, when the checks came, discovered we had been served each other’s beer by mistake. Shows what we know. The Rover had its outdoor tables set up, but we KNEW if we went out there would be glaring sunlight or rain or buzz-bomb bugs or something so, out of consideration for our fellow diners, we ate inside.

JaneThen, as usual, we went to the Java Brewing Company for coffee. We did sit outside there, under the canopy in front of the fireplace (which wasn’t lit, of course). This fireplace is so cool–it’s a double-sided one, warming the inside and a little bit of the outside, when it’s lit. We snagged the rocking chairs in front of the fireplace and got wonderful breezes. This is Jane. If you look closely, you can see my reflection in the fireplace screen, snapping the picture. If you look closely at Jane’s wrist, you can see one of the fantastic woven bracelets she designs and makes.

And here is a picture of Cody, a barristo supremo at Java. I mean, here’s how good he is:Cody

ME: I’d like a small Mocha Java, please. For here, in a real cup.

CODY: Would you like me to leave room for cream?

ME: No, thank you. Oh–would you leave room for some cold water?

CODY: Sure!

The boy didn’t blink, didn’t hesitate, didn’t roll his eyes. Didn’t say, “You old fool–What’s the difference between leaving room for cream and leaving room for water?!?” No, instead, he told me very sweetly that his Grandma also put cold water in… her…. His Grandma…. Hmm…. Maybe I don’t like Cody quite as much as I thought I did….

Anyway, here is a snappy of a very weird, crazy-go-nuts vine that’s growing all the bejeezus over the place, turning a framework next to the awning into a living awning. I know it isn’t a grapevine, and suspect it may be wisteria.


So we had a perfectly lovely day.


writing prompt: Write something about this plant, or a scene with this plant in it. Coffee is optional.

Mom and I had a full day yesterday. We went to the library and checked out SERENITY, the movie follow-up to the series Firefly. Did NOT like. Two thumbs down, although Jayne was great, and the River berserker scenes were better than Bruce Lee.

Anyway. Mom bought a GPS, so we used it to navigate to a place to eat in Jeffersonville, our first stop. Unfortunately, nobody told the GPS people that the restaurant is CLOSED, so we followed the old pioneer method of driving around until we found a place open. It turned out to be a coffee shop called Perkfection that also has soup, salads and sandwiches. We each got a “pick two”, half a sandwich and a cup of soup. Amazingly, the sandwiches were actual, normal-sized sandwiches and the cup was an actual small bowl. We’ve gotten used to a half sandwich being as big as our heads (well, as big as Mom’s head. MY head is bigger.) and a “cup of soup” being big enough to bathe in. This was just right for lunch. The coffee was REALLY GOOD, too.

It just so happened, by an astounding coincidence, and quite by accident, through no design of anyone in the car, Perkfection is practically next door to Schimpff’s Confectionery, the best candy shop/factory this side of Wonkaville. I bought Mom her usual cream roses and she got Charlie and me dark chocolate-covered orange peels. Oh! There is heaven on earth! We didn’t have time to watch them make cinnamon red-hots, but we did watch a woman coating coconut bars with chocolate. I was like, there’s the job for me. Then I realized I would be licking my fingers all the time, so it might not be such a great job for me to have, if I had to do it where anybody could catch me at it.

After Mom’s eye doctor appointment, we went to New Albany to make sundry purchases not available in Corydon–like 100% juice in other flavors than orange, grape and grapefruit.

Then we gave the GPS voice a hissy fit by telling her to take us back into Corydon and going a different way than she wanted to take us. She was all like, “Turn right. … Turn around at the first opportunity and turn LEFT.” Then she pouted, and wouldn’t talk to us at all for a while, but she got over it.

In Corydon, we went to the drug store to get Mom’s prescription filled. We have all our prescriptions filled at Butt Drugs. No, really. It’s such a cool place! The front part of the store has cards, gift items and liquor you can’t get most places, as well as Turtle Run wine (Turtle Run is a local winery that makes the most fabulous ice wine, when the harvest weather is right. If you like a sweet wine that is not too sweet, sweetened naturally by the grapes being chilled on the vine, the Vignoles is the wine for you–if I leave you any.). They also have a soda fountain.

I grew up drinking cherry phosphates, and one of the reasons I was willing to move from Louisville to Corydon was Butt Drugs’ cherry phosphates. No place (that I knew of) in Louisville still made them, so I was delighted to find that wonderful taste again. Kelly makes them just right. Cherry syrup (and don’t be stingy, baby) and soda water, then stir it up just right, so you mix everything together but don’t flatten the soda. Oh, man.cp completed

cp in processKelly said I could take her picture mixing the cherry phosphates. I got one for Mom and me to split and one for Charlie. It may look like Big Red, but it’s SOOO much better (IMO). Mom said, “Too bad it’s too early for supper. You need a fish sandwich to go with a red soda.” Who does she think she’s kidding? The KIDS always had red soda on Friday, when we got fish sandwiches from the St. Cecilia’s fish fry, but the grownups had beer.

At last, at last, we came home. Charlie enjoyed his cherry phosphate and we all enjoyed our treats from Schimpff’s.

But Mom and I did NOT enjoy the movie SERENITY, except for bits. Meh.


writing prompt: Are there any special food pairings or food/drink pairings you remember from your childhood? Different between kids and grownups, like our red soda vs beer? Different between various schools of thought, with debates as to which was better?

One of my Twitterpals, @claritynow , does urban shelling. I think it’s brilliant. It’s picking up stuff off the street, arranging it at home, photographing and inventorying your daily collection and posting it to his blog.

I met Jane for lunch in Louisville on Friday, but we went where we’d been before, and nothing particular happened, so I had nothing to report. I did, however, get my feet metaphorically wet with a little urban shelling. Two differences, though: I only brought one thing home, and I didn’t collect everything I saw; I took pictures of things that caught my eye. Here everything is:

squirrel bottletop chain box

Squashed stuffed squirrel, green bottlecap, rusted chain, bright blue box

Guess which thing I brought home?


writing prompt: Take a walk. Bring home or photograph whatever catches your eye. Not what you think SHOULD catch your eye, but what DOES. AFTERWARDS, maybe you can figure out why.


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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