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MomGoth Sparks o’ Joy, that is.

First, these guys popped out. They’re hyacinths, in case you don’t recognize them. Hyacinths always remind me of this poem by Medieval Persian poet Abū-Muḥammad Muṣliḥ al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī, also called Saadi:

If of thy worldly goods thou art bereft
and from thy slender store
two loaves alone to thee are left
sell one and, with the dole,
buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.

And, while you’re at it, how about a beer to go with that loaf you have left? Here is my favorite beer. I first had Killian’s Red at a science fiction convention where a couple of Canadians were throwing a bid party in hopes of having their Canadian town selected to host a Deep South Con. They pointed out that their town was in the deep south of CANADA. They also pointed out that purists could just travel south until they crossed Antarctica and the Arctic Circle and came back around south of the Arctic to Canada. They didn’t win the bid, but they won friends, and Killian’s Red won a lifetime fan. I like it the way I first had it–at room temperature.

On Saturday, Mom and I went to Destinations Booksellers in New Albany, Indiana and its café, The Dueling Grounds, for soup, sandwiches and literature. They have the BEST FOOD! Mom and I split a CheddarCot(tm): white cheddar cheese and apricot preserves. YUM! They must do something else to it than just that, because it’s sheer heaven. I bought Wendell Berry’s BRINGING IT TO THE TABLE, a collection of his essays about farming and food, a must-read for the locavores among us.

Sunday was Easter, of course, and Lori had an awesome message about not trying to take the Bible literally and getting tied up in knots over the disparities between Gospel accounts. She said the Bible isn’t about information, it’s about transformation; it’s about bringing ourselves to it to transform our lives and our relationships with God, others and the world. I’m so glad she came to work with us!

As always, getting together with Charlie’s family for their monthly gathering was a total joy. 🙂 Dolores made this wonderful spread/dip (I loved it, anyway–so much so that she sent the leftovers home with me–*danse-danse, danse-danse*).

Dolores’ Awesome Spread/Dip

Mix and nom.

I’ll be blogging tomorrow at Echelon Explorations and Fatal Foodies, so not sure if I’ll be here. But I’ll be there and there. So.


writing prompt: What did the Easter Bunny bring your main character for Easter?

We’ve got so much snow, I keep expecting to see Yuri Zhivago bringing the mail. Last month, I was taking pictures of spring greenery, and now everything’s winter whitery. Bah. Bleh. Meh.

So poor old MomGoth had to look for some sparks o’ joy.

Back when I could get out of my driveway, I stopped by the square and took this picture of the Frank O’Bannon monument. I’ve been forgetting to take pictures of him: last fall, he was wearing a hunting cap, then he wore a Santa hat for the Christmas season. Now he’s sporting a blue knit toboggan. Anybody could be doing this, but I suspect his granddaughter, and she knows who she is.

Now I’m snowbound, but I’ve surrounded myself with joyful sparks. Here’s a lineup from the kitchen. My mother gave me the sweet tiny rosebush for Valentine’s Day. The cactus was a gift from Charlie’s aunt–yes, really–Charlie’s Aunt Ora Mae. The cactus was about the size of my thumb when she gave it to me. I’m very proud to have nurtured it to be so big. I can’t remember who gave me the critters hanging onto the sides, but they were people who love me. One is a hedgehog and the other is a turtle with a baby turtle on her back. I think Mom may have given me the hedgehog, or maybe our #1 daughter, and maybe #4 daughter gave me the turtle. Pat, my “bestest pal”, gave me the fabric apples in the bread bowl. She made the bread bowl herself. Pat is a writer pal whom I met at the Midwest Writers Workshop over 30 years ago. We’ve been corresponding ever since, first by snail mail and now by email. At the back is a gorgeous copper tea pot with a place underneath for a heat source. Sort of a samovar kind of thing. I never use it, just look at it. Mom and I bought it, I’m pretty sure, at this yard sale a guy in the old neighborhood used to have every so often. We got lots of good stuff from him, until his neighbors shut him down.

So happy snowy day, and don’t forget to enter my contest, announced yesterday and continuing until March 1.


writing prompt: Who does the snow make you think of?

Not guns or anything lethal. Well, they COULD be lethal. I write and read mysteries–just about anything could be lethal, really. But these are not intentionally lethal. They speak to the other side of my Goth nature, the side that goes squeeeeee over cuteness.

This guy may not look cute, but he is the cutest guy ever! That’s because my youngest grandson is letting me keep him at my house, even though he’s just about his favorite guy. He (the guy, not the grandson) is a Megazord or a Bionicle or a Transgizmo or something. His whacking big sword is flashing, in case you can’t tell. It is an awesome privilege to have the keeping of this guy. I am instructed to play with him and to make sure he gets enough to eat and drink. I call him Guy.

This little lady came free with my latest can of Aussie hair mousse. Gotta have mousse, if you want your spikes to stick out or your hair bits to look exactly like you want them to look like you don’t care how they look. You know what I mean. Anyway, there were two cans of the stuff, of equal weight and price, and one had a kangaroo taped to it and one didn’t. So which one would I buy? Come on–get real! Something free? *snort* No contest. So Ozzer came to live on the toy shelf (I am not immature! I am NOT! *stamps her little foot*). The ferret took up residence. I think Ozzer is charging him rent.

Today, I hope to get to work doing rewrites on a short story I’m submitting to WARRIOR WISEWOMAN. The deadline looms, it looms….


writing prompt: Have a child give a character a treasured toy and insist it be cared for in a certain way. Does your character do as the child orders, even if the child is not there to see? Refuse to do it, even though the child IS there to see?

We lost phone service on Monday afternoon (the 5th). The Verizon “help” lady said we’d probably be reconnected by the 16th.

I came into town today with a tone of work to do, and Mom called me on my cell phone to tell me that…the phone lines were back up.

If nothing goes south by tomorrow, I’ll post something.

Meanwhile, here is a Spark o’ Joy: flannel sheets. 🙂


writing prompt: If you lost phone service, how big an aggravation/panic would that be? What would you do?

BIG spark–almost a conflagration: #4 daughter and her husband are safely back from trip overseas. They had a great time. I worked really hard on not worrying. It helped that she called me every couple of days. I expected to live in constant grinding anxiety the whole time they were gone, especially during travel time, but I managed to distract myself and to concentrate on all the lovely things she was telling me about the trip. I also medicated. Mr. Benadryl and Mr. Lexapro are our friends.a&w

Here are some edible sparks. My mother and I make a supply run every so often to a larger town (most towns are) for things we can’t get in Corydon. We usually eat out while we’re at it. The last time we went, we at at the Long John Silver and A&W combination. After a summer of excellent fresh produce, we were in the mood form something massively unhealthy, and I think we chose wisely. Pictured here are a chili dog, chili cheese fries and root beer. Mmmmmm! BAD 4 u!

Another one is new and old. Charlie loves tomato sandwiches. He says he learned to eat them at J. B. Atkinson Elementary, where we each went to school. In my day, I don’t remember tomato sandwiches. In my day, they gave us peanut butter on buns. So, this year, I finally got hooked on tomato sandwiches. Just slices of tomato between pieces of toast slathered with mayonnaise. Charlie’s a purist, so he just has it like that. I like slices of dill pickle on it, too. It is SO GOOD! It’s very fresh and bright, light and yet filling. Leaves a happy taste in your mouth.

chinese1The last spark of the day isn’t edible, but it has to do with food. I love Chinese food, but I love Chinese restaurant decorating maybe even better. We have one, the Hong Kong Buffet, in town–we have two or three Chinese restaurants, but this is the one with the winning decor. They have a big aquarium in the frontchinese2 with this HUGE koi in it, and the acquarium is cleaned regularly, which is already a happy thing. But look at this. They have glass panels etched with animals and plants and birds. Look at these crazy rabbits. I like sitting in the rabbit booth. 🙂 And there’s all this red and gold stuff to warm your heart, and tassels to tickle your fancy. Not to mention dragons. How can you not be happy, when you’re looking at a paper dragon? A red-and-gold paper dragon? with tassels?

Hope your day is happy and anxiety-free.


writing prompt: Make something very small and unimportant a source of joy for a character–good guy or, maybe more interesting, bad guy.

It’s been a long time since I posted one of MomGoth’s li’l sparks o’ joy. MomGoth is me–mostly because I’m chemically imbalanced (all right, okay, keep it down, quit laughing) chronically anxious and depressed, in spite of a characteristic tendency toward delight and optimism. Can we say “Libra”, boys and girls?

clematis 1Anyway, when the going gets tough, I look to my sparks o’ joy and Feel Better Fast!

Mom has this clematis growing up the side of her porch and all over a latticework arbor she keeps by the rail so her orange cat can get up onto the roof, where he naps on the chimney. I wish I could take a picture of how this smells–it’s divine! Every year, we think it isn’t going to do anything. The clematis with the large blooms come and go, and this one has these weedy little straggling vines. Then this one takes off, butclematis 2 still just string-like vines and tiny leaves. “At least the foliage is pretty. Kinda pretty,” we tell each other.

Then, about the middle of August, when we’ve given up on it, These gorgeous star-like blossoms pop out in frothy profusion, and the scent is heady.

Mom always says, “Enjoy this while we can–it doesn’t last long.” It doesn’t last long in

clematis 3

Dinosaur Years, and each particular bloom may not last long, but it goes on blooming for a couple of weeks and continues to be amazingly beautiful. If we could only have one blooming plant between us, this might be the one we would both choose.

One more picture of this:


writing prompt: Ask your main characters what one blooming plant they would have around them, if they could only have one. If more than one character choose the same one, is that surprising or is it natural?


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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