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I just joined the FaceBook group for my high school class. What a wonderful trip! I loved high school, but my high school and its class was so different from others I’ve heard of then or since. MyIHS class was the first graduating class. Maybe it was because we didn’t go into high school as underclassmen, didn’t get harassed or diminished by upperclassmen, so didn’t pass that around and down. There were the usual groups–smart kids, artsy kids, tough kids, jocks–but people belonged to more than one group and we were all friends. When I got to college, I didn’t understand the “snotty cheerleader” jokes other girls told, because our cheerleaders were really really nice people. Anyway, here’s a dreamy picture of Little Me from high school. My #3 daughter scoffs at pictures where the girls look like they’re wearing low-cut dresses, not understanding that these were not wardrobe choices but accessories called “drapes” that were provided to us. Weird, but true.

LancastersMy mother and I went to Lancaster’s in New Albany–not Tommy Lancasters, but Lancasters. It’s on Main Street, not far from the Y Aquatic Center. It’s a cafeteria, either run by or featuring former South Side people. Same great food, understandably priced a bit higher than South Side’s was. Times change, everything costs more. But worth it–definitely worth it. We were like NOM NOM NOM! Now we need to cook up some more errands to do in New Albany so we can eat there again without wasting gas to get there.

Speaking of New Albany, the fabulous Destinations Booksellers has a new cafe inside it, The Dueling Grounds. I haven’t been there yet, I don’t think it’s open yet, but you know how I am about coffee…and books…. I’m definitely going to have to schlepp down there once the DG is open.

My mother said, “The back seat of the car isn’t the best place to carry your books.” She was talking about the Toys for Tots anthology. I said, “Yeah, but it’s hard to sell them out of your car if you don’t have any IN your car.” And today I sold two copies because I was talking about the benefit and two people said, “I don’t guess you have a copy of that book with you for sale…?” and I did! So I rummaged around and got a little box to put them in to keep them from sliding all around in the back seat. I sell them for the retail price of $15. I deduct what they cost me to buy and give the rest to Community Services.

Folks, there is a food pantry or a clothes closet or a Community Services in your area. For less than $10, you can pick up some stuff when you go to the store and drop it by. Or clean out your closet or your pantry and get rid of stuff you don’t really want or need. Diapers, peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, potatoes, apples, canned goods–a little goes a long way, and I’m sorry to say it has a long way to go. Mom and I have more fun shopping for bargains to see how far we can stretch a dollar for our Community Services donations! Have a shopping party with your friends or ask people to bring a couple of canned goods or something to your next meeting or party. People are hungry all year long, not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and babies don’t stop pooping just because there aren’t any diapers around.

Here’s hoping it’s bright and sunny and colorful where you are, as it is outside my window today.


writing prompt: What was high school like for your main character?

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?

Mom and I had a full day. We left about 10 this morning and ran some errands in town–Butt Drug Store ( am not kidding), checking to see if Southern Indiana Writers needed to bring table and chairs to our signing on November 28 from 9-noon (need table, not chairs), library, bank, UPS Store to run off copies of Community Unity newsletter.

Then we went to PC Building Materials to order Mom’s carpeting–Now that her elderly Border Collie is no more, she’s replacing the carpet and buying a new couch and chair. I love PC. I LOVE PC! I would like to pack a suitcase and take a vacation in there. They have so many beautiful things. I could just stand and stare at their flooring or wander through their kitchen displays as through a garden. *sigh*

We had lunch at a New Albany landmark restaurant which I shall not name, because it isn’t very good anymore. 😦 Sad. Sad.

Then we went to Kroger, Ben Franklin’s, Big Lots and Dollar Tree. I was looking for monofilament thread to sew pretties on my purse with, and found it at Ben Franklin’s. I was also looking for Plexiglas display stands for posters for book signings, and found them at last at Office Depot. Hurrah!

Before we got back on the expressway, we turned off at Furniture Liquidators in New Albany (ask for Julie) and ordered Mom’s new couch and chair.

THEN we came back to town and finally went to the grocery!

I didn’t get home until five. Hungry. Wanted supper.


I popped a frozen chicken breast in the grilling machine, putting nothing on it but a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper. Made some cornbread stuffing-in-a-box, using half the recommended amount of butter and a splash of garlic-flavored olive oil. I had bought some steam-it frozen Brussels sprouts and nuked them. Supper in 15 minutes, and it was GOOD!


Writing prompt: Your character has to order new carpet and some furniture. What does he/she choose and how and why and what sort of experience is it for the character and for the salespeople?

No, I’m not channeling Ray Milland, and I’m not finding bottles of booze in my light fixtures, I’m just saying I didn’t get any work done this weekend. Busy all day yesterday, all day today.

This morning, the guests got up long before the crack o’ dawn and Charlie and I made breakfast. We had eaten all the canned biscuits–which Charlie prefers above all others–so I made buttermilk biscuits (recipe follows). Then our company left. I must say, I didn’t look forward to a houseful of guys, but this was a wonderful visit. The only thing that would have improved it would have been if one of them liked football.

Yesterday, they all came in town for my signing, then we went to Olga’s Mexican restaurant on the square and then they went to a piano concert in Louisville, meeting our #2 daughter and her husband and another friend there.

It’s good to have our house and quiet back, but I sure wish they lived closer so we could all get together more often. So much good talk, so much good spirits, so much friendship–it was a weekend to treasure.

Anyway, then I went to church and then I went to MOM’S church, for their Thanksgiving fund-raiser turkey dinner, which couldn’t be beat.

Mom and I went to Destinations Booksellers in New Albany. They’re having a birthday, and were giving discounts on anything bought this weekend. I got some books which I’ll list tomorrow. They’re carrying DYING IN A WINTER WONDERLAND, so I also checked to see if I needed to bring any more in or pick unsold copies up. We were copacetic, so Mom and I moved on. On consideration, we skipped a couple of other errands we had contemplated and went home.

I don’t know what she did, but I flopped on the couch and napped for two hours. Another big day tomorrow and another on Tuesday, but I have good intentions of getting back in the groove and chugging out some good words for NaNoWriMo. I’m WAY behind on my word count goal now, but I believe I can catch up.

Oh–the recipe:

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS (free today–special reference for R&B fans)

  • 2 cups all-purpose (regular) flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 450F. Mix dry ingredients. Cut butter into dry ingredients until the mixture looks like meal. Stir in almost all the buttermilk. Add more if necessary. Dough should be soft but workable. Put flour onto a board and knead dough lightly 20 to 25 times, about 1/2 minute. Roll 1/2 inch thick. Cut with floured biscuit cutter. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Top with dots of butter. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.


Writing prompt: Three of your characters spend the weekend WITH YOU. What do you do? What do you talk about? What do you eat? If you go somewhere, where do you go? How do you feel about each and all of them when it’s all over?


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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