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Friday Fare: 12/18/20

One of the most enjoyable interactions I had this week on social media had to do with a text my mom sent me:

As I state in my post above, my kiddos are kinda strange about what they eat. My oldest hates ice cream and frosted cakes, but if I haul out one of my great-grandma Florence’s recipes that includes things like molasses and walnuts, he’s all in. Of course, my youngest is the polar opposite and will eat EVERYTHING unless it has raisins or nuts. But when I let them take a bite of pecan pie this week, they were both fans.

So I texted my mom for her favorite tassie recipe and she came through with a picture and a text with an old Lutheran church cookbook recipe. In case you can’t see it on the post, here’s the recipe from Mrs. Clarence Sivesind:

Prize Tassies

1 c. butter (room temperature                                           2 c. sifted flour
2 (3 oz.) pkg of cream cheese

Cream these ingredients together. Roll into balls and press into mini muffin tins. Fill tin/dough balls 3/4 full with the following filling:

3 eggs (slightly beaten)                                                       Dash of salt
1 1/2 c. brown sugar                                                            1 tsp. vanilla
2 T. butter (melted)                                                              1 c. pecans, chopped

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool before lifting out with a fork.

Happy eating friends.

One of my friends left a comment on Instagram asking what tassies are. I basically think of them as miniature pecan pies, but according to the Interwebs, tassies are Scottish in origin and are miniature pies or tarts. I’ve always associated tassies with my Norwegian relatives (and the cookbook cited above comes from a VERY Scandinavian congregation), but apparently, I’ve been wrong about that for 40+ years.

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Reading: I finished Laura Lippman‘s “My Life as a Villainess” (fantastic) and am still reading Kate Baer‘s “What Kind of Woman.”

Writing: A lot of people have talked about how challenging it is to be creative during a pandemic. I don’t think it’s necessary to add my voice to the fray, except to chime in that it’s been HARD. 🙂  But what I’ve been doing is taking advantage of opportunities to listen in on various writing-related webinars. But in writing … I have a project that I need to finish before the end of the year with a couple of my dear friends. I am going to be querying Dragonfly in earnest starting Q1 of 2021.

I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel called 2020 and I’m hoping it’s not an oncoming train. But … be kind, be gracious, wear a mask, and don’t snap at grocery store workers, USPS/FedEx/UPS personnel, or any of those folx who are just doing the best job that they can under weird-ass circumstances.

AND … since the next couple of Fridays coincide with Christmas and New Years, I’m going to wish you my very best and will pick up Friday Fare on January 6, 2021!

– Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Friday Fare: 12/11/20

I have three friends … THREE! … who have books that came out this week. And I’ve said this on social media and I mean it – if I’m ever at a point in my life where I’m not in AWE of the collective talent of my friends and acquaintances, I’ve become too jaded for words.

So, huge congrats to my mentor and my beer drinking buddy Jerry Johnson for the release of his latest anthology of essays: Coot Dogs – An Anthology of Dog Stories by a Crazy Old Coot. I always tell Jerry that when I read his essays, I feel like he’s eavesdropped on every holiday conversation my father and his brothers have ever had. Ergo, Jerry’s work is the perfect holiday gift for that hard-to-buy-for male in your life. (And in this case, anyone who’s ever loved a dog.) Books are currently available on Amazon, but he’ll also have signed copies at Dragonfly Books in Decorah, Iowa.

Also – set down your coffee or whatever you’re drinking right now and click on this post from Jerry. This one was a balm in this dumpster fire of a year.

I had the absolute joy of beta reading Priscilla Paton’s latest book Should Grace Fail, book two in her Twin Cities Mysteries series. I adore the relationship between her main characters Detectives Deb Metzger and Erik Jansson. This book also has a memorable cast of minor characters. Signed copies of Paton’s latest will be available at Once Upon A Crime Books in Minneapolis, books are also available on Amazon.

Anthony W. Eichenlaub is a beloved friend of my family and one hell of a writer. His e-book Of A Strange World Made was released this week and is available through Amazon/Kindle. From his blog post: “… Welcome to the world of Sky, where the colony of Edge lives at the forward boundary of humanity and science. Ash Morgan doesn’t have a problem breaking rules, but things are getting ridiculous and she might not know where to stop.”

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Listening: This clip has been a favorite constant over the past couple of months. I know that I’m a few decades behind the times, but I am OK with it.

Reading: I’m still working my way through Laura Lippman‘s “My Life as a Villainess” and Kate Baer‘s “What Kind of Woman.”

Writing: … locusts? Ha!

Wear your mask. Wash your hands. If you’re in a spot where you can buy local or give money to organizations who are helping others, please do so. Be kind to everyone you meet. – Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Friday Fare: 12/4/20

(Whispers.) It’s December.

I think we’re all on board when it comes to the reality that 2020 has been a brutally long year. And while I am not one to wish time away, the dawning of this decade can go eff itself.

Anyway … it’s December. I don’t have much to add to this, but if you head on down to my recap below, you’ll see that I haven’t totally been just moping around and drinking beer.

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Miscellany: I’ve had two things happen recently that made me think “I want to blog about that!”  One is that we bought a treadmill and I’ve been trying to get into podcasts while I’m walking. Right now I’ve started Dana Kaye’s “Branding Outside the Box” podcast. Dana’s a publicist that I’ve gotten to know through the mystery world and it’s to the point where if I know she’s going to be facilitating an online class or conference, I’ll sign up. She’s just a fantastically organized human being. I’m two episodes in so far and I’m enjoying it.

Also, I finally finished all five seasons of watching “Boardwalk Empire”. It was well-acted and written, it was fairly violent, but it was a great distraction over the past few months.  Hubs and I also have made a Friday night date where we catch up on Disney’s “The Mandalorian” and watch a few episodes of “Schitt’s Creek.”

Reading: It took about two months, but I finally finished Cal Newport’s “Deep Work.” I will revisit it at some point to solidify what I read, but there was some good lessons there that could be applied to a non-pandemic world.

Also, a very strange trend in 2020 reading has been the number of vampire novels I’ve been consuming. I discovered Christine Feehan’s books – they were OK, but Jeanene Frost and Chloe O’Neill were the standouts of this genre.

I am also reading Laura Lippman‘s “My Life as a Villainess.” It’s a fantastic collection of essays that I’ve been savoring with my coffee.  Same with Kate Baer‘s debut collection of poetry “What Kind of Woman.”

Writing: … you can insert the sound of crickets here.

Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Get takeout from a local restaurant. Be kind to everyone you meet. – Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Friday Fare: 10/23/20

My week can be pretty much summed up in the following Tweet:

I think our family’s experience is probably replicated in other families: One child kicks ass at math and apathetic at reading while the other abhors math and is a reading rock star. So … flashcards. The rest of the Tweet … WIG (Wildly Important Goals), 4DX, etc., well … that’s one of those ferrety wormholes that my brain went down earlier this week. I really love the idea of being an efficient workhorse and a brilliant business mind, but …  yeah. It hasn’t happened in my previous 42 years, I’m not holding my breath for a midlife miracle.  But it’s a hobby: Some people listen to true crime podcasts, I like reading business blogs and am sucked in by productivity articles.  (Wishful thinking, perhaps?)

Anyway, enough about those pipe dreams. My neck of the Minnesota woods got its first dusting of snow. My children have learned how to email me, which is equal parts hilarious and has blown any of my dreams of “inbox zero” to smithereens.  (Trust me, though … it’s worth it.)

On the cooking front, I made this soup from Giada DeLaurentis. It was fantastic and only got better on subsequent days.

Other links I adored:

“I saw this very gazelle-like creature leaping through the traffic in a rather dangerous way,” Cadell told me, “and the next thing I know, she’d leapt over the wall and was sitting beside us. And I was so impressed — with her exuberance and her folly all at once. I thought, ‘This is an interesting woman.’” The New York Times had a fascinating profile on Sigourney Weaver.

I also adored this New Yorker piece about Mandy Patinkin. (It went well with coffee and a lazy Sunday morning.)

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Listening: I still buy my albums on CD, because I have a CD player in my mom-mobile. And this song gets played regularly:

Reading: Remember what I was saying about how I like to read productivity books?  I bought Cal Newport’s “Deep Work” and am achieving productivity nerd nirvana. (And yes, if you’re wondering, the concept of “deep work” right now in the midst of a pandemic with every member of my household present … it’s pretty impossible. But this is my nerdy nirvana.)

Writing: I’m still trying to achieve peak nerd nirvana on my writing goals. I’ll keep you posted on that one, ‘kay?

Email someone you love, but don’t talk to often. Wear a mask. Encourage a friend to vote. And if you’re inclined/able, think about donating to a local food shelf/charitable organization that does good in your community. – Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Friday Fare: 10/16/20

Not much to report this week. Mostly because my kiddos have a long weekend away from school and we’ve been hitting up local apple orchards like they’re my favorite microbreweries.We also took advantage of our time off by getting our flu shots. Woot! And necessary!

I also baked up a storm (because we saw my kids’ former nanny. She’s now a new mom and her husband is a farmer. Ergo, he has a metabolism that I can only dream of and he likes it when I bake.). Applesauce bread and butterscotch pudding cookies.

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Watching: I don’t watch a lot of TV or movies and am usually about a decade behind trends. To wit, I am currently working my way through HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” courtesy of the DVDs from my local library. I am about to start the last season and it’s been a very interesting distraction (albeit violent one) from Covid life.

Reading: This week has been quiet on the reading front, but I did do a couple “bookish” things. One of the most enjoyable ones was a Zoom call with authors Jeffrey D. Briggs and James W. Ziskin.

Call someone you love. Be kind to everyone you meet. Vote/make a plan to vote. Wash your darn hands and wear a mask if you’re able. – Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Friday Fare: 10/9/20 (Never been a better time …)

It will come as no surprise to people who know me, but I have a lot of quirks that I’ve developed in adulthood. My least favorite is a constant sense of time. Let me explain … if I’m sitting down with my morning coffee and scrolling through social media, I’ll notice the time. If it’s 8:06, I’ll tell myself that I can scroll until 8:10 and then I need to go about my day. Same thing with writing – I like to start when the clock is showing 0s or 5s, maybe the better for my reptile brain to be able to say “oh, I worked for 30 minutes” or “yeah, I clocked in 55 minutes of activity.” (Because it wouldn’t be as tidy in my mind if I started working at 4:28 … 32 minutes of progress? Shudder.) But because I am me, I just roll with it, because … well. We’re in the midst of a pandemic. There’s only so much self improvement work that I can do when I’m holding a full-time job, doing a full distance learning schedule with my kids, trying to be a good wife and cat mom. (Let’s not talk about the endless dishes because they are … endless.)

I mention my weird penchant for time, because in a perfect world, I was going to kick my blog off again on October 1st. You know … new month, new blog post. (Symmetry!) But October 1st came and went and I hadn’t wrote that first of month, “hey, I’m back!” post. Hmm … did I want to wait until November 1st? That, at least, is a Sunday. First of the month, beginning of the week. (Moar symmetry!) But no, I remembered a Post-It I kept on the edge of my computer monitor when I was a rookie reporter at my first job. The lyrics of a Red Hot Chili Peppers song where the lead singer says “Never been a better time, than right now!” That was a weird little mantra I’d chant to myself when I had to make those awkward phone calls that were constant as a cops and courts reporter. (Let me tell you how fun it is to call the county sheriff at home right after supper. Same goes for grieving parents or “important” folks who are going to get their names splashed on the front page for being baaaaaad.) The mantra worked and as I was procrastinating … erm, plotting … my latest blog post, I realized that there’s never a perfect time to restart something that you abandoned, so … I’m back.  Kinda. I love to blog, but I love my sanity even more, so if life gets busy (which it’s gonna!), this baby falls to the back burner.

But hey, let’s get this train back on tracks and you know … do this blog thing.

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Listening: I love sad 80s country songs. Sue me.

Reading: I crushed my Goodreads challenge during the first quarter of this year.  Everything else has been garnish. 😉 But just recently I finished a pair of damn fine books. Raymond Chandler’s “The Long Goodbye” and Megan Campisi’s “The Sin Eater.”  As a mystery writer, I should be embarrassed that it’s taken me so long to read Chandler, but man – that was just something I think I appreciate more that I’m older.

Writing Life: Well, I started querying in September and that’s been a slow process. Slow because I need to finish writing my synopsis for my book. But … it begins!

Call someone you love. Be kind to everyone you meet. Vote/make a plan to vote. Wash your darn hands and wear a mask if you’re able. – Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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On an extended coffee break …

Oooof … I go back and read my recent (ha!) Friday Fare posts and wow … who is that person?  Did I really write those posts? Can I go back to February and hang out with my dear friend Anderson and re-watch John Waters at The Parkway Theatre?  I remember talking vaguely about COVID-19 with her, but yeah … anyway.

So, briefly … my family has been blessed with our health. We’ve been spared the impact of job loss (so far). All of this togetherness is taking a bit of a toll (more on the kids than the parents at this point), but we are luckier than most and we try to be mindful of that.  (Even as my kids are in the next room fighting over the remote. Oh children, you are lucky you didn’t grow up during the 80s. You’d be SOL with commercials, limited to three channels on a good day, and you’d have to WALK to change the channel.)

But, as COVID continues to spread and as we await to see what the State of Minnesota recommends for the next school year and with everything else that’s going on, the space and time for creative thought is a rare unicorn in my household. So I’m going to take an extended coffee break from the blog until I have the capacity to keep that plate spinning up in the air with everything else that’s going on.

If you’re reading this, I hope that you are healthy and in decent spirits. Until the next time, wash your damn hands, wear a damn mask (if you are able), be kind to your grocery clerk, and just be kind in general.

– Shelley

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Friday Fare: 4/3/20

 

My gratitude list (in no particular order):

1) Springtime sunshine to help dissipate cabin fever.

2) Ina Garten.  She’s a gem.

3) Dolly Parton … and seriously – there are so many artists and creators who are donating their time and talents to help comfort people during this time.

4) Text check-ins with friends.

5) Coffee.

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Link Love:

I feel exceedingly fortunate that I grew up with a mom who insisted on teaching me how to cook, even when it involved the detonation of kitchen cleanliness. This bread recipe from King Arthur Flour is a real MVP and absolutely delicious.

This was a fascinating article about a photographer who was in the South Atlantic when the COVID-19 pandemic started to hit America and his very lonely and surreal journey home.

Cowboy Tim is the social media expert we all need right now.

Listening: A friend of mine tagged me in a social media challenge the other day – listing 10 favorite albums in 10 days.  The album that he mentioned when he tagged me was from none other than Tom Waits.

Reading: I have a ton of books on Kindle and on my shelves right now, but I haven’t read much this week.

Writing Life: I don’t know if I’ve mentally hit a wall or what, but this week has been more about sleeping and treading water than reading and writing. I need to give some serious thought about what I *can* accomplish when it comes to the various tracks I need to tend now … work, distance learning for my shiznits, trying to maintain sanity, etc. I wonder if I may need to table writing during the week and catch up on weekends.
Call someone you love. Be kind to everyone you meet. Wash your darn hands. – Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Friday Fare: 3/27/20

 

My gratitude list (in no particular order):

1) Grateful for the fact I’ve worked from home for the past 9 years and don’t have as steep of a learning curve as others who are getting used to a new normal.

2) Fantastic co-workers – I’m on a text string with two people I work with directly and I’m grateful to be part of a trio of working moms who are KILLING IT when it comes to our work life. Also, I unexpectedly got an email from a co-worker the other day that had some resources for keeping my kids occupied. It was so unexpected and so kind that I nearly cried.

3) My immediate family. My husband started working from home this week and took over my home office. So he helped me set up a new one in our spare bedroom. Our kids are also taking all of this isolation like little champs. I literally couldn’t do this without the three guys in my life.

4) The real MVPs of our world right now – emergency workers, medical personnel/scientists, and (yes) grocery store workers.  (I know that I’m probably missing people, but those are the three that come to mind.)

5) Technology … so far I’ve had a happy hour via Google Hangouts and attended my son’s piano lesson via Zoom.  It’s been a great tool in these weird times.

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Link Love:

Great writers on the power of music … I believe this, absolutely.

The deep metaphorical power of a good cup of coffee … and this is gospel, too.

Daniel Craig in GQ … read for the article, stay for the photos.

The amazing Cheryl Head wrote a fantastic piece about the evolution and the future of the private investigator in fiction. She even mentions my favorite PI Cass Raines.

And something I made last weekend – Stewed Lentils & Tomatoes.  I’ve really appreciated how cooks/chefs have been devoting social media posts, etc., to foods that use everyday pantry items.  I made this and it was delicious. (+ it is by my queen Ina Garten.)

Listening: This song always reminds me of Iowa gravel roads. Specifically driven in a pickup truck.

Reading: I keep harping on shopping local.  I try to practice what I preach:

Writing Life: I got some FANTASTIC news this week that the Peter Lovesey contest was extended to June 1st.  I was ready to hit the April 1st deadline, but man – this was welcome in my new world.

Call someone you love. Be kind to everyone you meet. Wash your darn hands. – Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.

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Friday Fare: 3/20/20

Holy shit … what a week. My life is turned on its ear right now, so I can only imagine what it’s like for everyone else. My husband and I are lucky … both of us have jobs that are fairly flexible and we have steady paychecks. We are continuing to count our blessings and are trying to help out our friends who run small businesses.  Now’s a good time to throw this out there … SHOP LOCAL.  The big box stores and the Internet retail giants will survive this, if you’re looking for a good book to read – most indie bookstores are online and ship. A lot of restaurants are adapting by going exclusively to delivery or pick-up, drive-through options.  Not really feeling like getting out? Buy gift cards.

Rosanne Cash Tweeted the following ^^ over the weekend. And while I’d love to tell you that I’m up to my ears in books and ideas during this time of “social distancing,” that’s not true.  At this point, I can probably sing the “My Little Pony” theme song in my sleep and I think I’m going to re-read some of my most favorite smutty paranormal romances, but something on par with King Lear?  Likely not. In fact, a lot of my creative friends are struggling right now and it reminded me of this article I found last fall and bookmarked to share here.  It’s about “writing under duress” and persevering creatively while under pressure.

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Listening: This song always brings me peace and joy.

Reading: I read “The Impossible First” by Colin O’Brady, a non-fiction about a man’s solo attempt across Antarctica.  It was a really good read.

Writing Life: I’ve flirted with getting up early and writing at 5 AM a couple of times. But those were times when I didn’t need to be up so early or when I wasn’t on an ambitious deadline. Considering that I’m working, basically homeschooling my children, AND have an April 1st deadline, I have my electric kettle in the downstairs bathroom to make a cup of tea (or instant coffee) and am trying to get an hour of editing in before my hellions get up and my husband leaves for work.

 

– Shelley

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What is Friday Fare? As a recap, on Fridays I post link love to the various bits of arcane shiz I discover on the Interwebs.  I liken it to a glimpse into my mind, but without the 80s song lyrics or mental cobwebs.