Science Fiction or a Cozy Read?

shot glassI like unbelievable characters. Perhaps that is why some of the characters in my books seem unbelievable to some people.

I recently received a review of someone that  liked my book, Granny Hooks A Crook  and gave it a good review but weren’t sure about the reality of the characters. They felt that the main character, Granny possibly belonged in a science fiction book. Perhaps she does. She would find that a lot of fun. I can just see her battling King Kong or the Lochness Monster or the future space invaders that may come to our earth. She would figure out some way to get the aliens behind bars. I find that fantasy in fiction can be fun if the reader relaxes and enjoys the ride.

Perhaps it is a quirky part of my personality that likes books that make life into an unbelievable fantasy. Don’t we have enough reality in our world today? We need to relax and let our imaginations take root. Perhaps that is why I like the Harry Potter Series so much. When I watch the movies and read the books, I marvel at the creativity of the creator, J.K. Rowling. What was supposed to be a kid’s fantasy quickly turned into being loved by adults too. We loved I Love Lucy and she was as wacky as the Granny in my books. We loved the Golden Girls who got themselves into some unusual antics too. Let’s not forget about Granny of the Beverly Hillbillies. We watched because we wanted to laugh and watch the unbelievable. And maybe those of us that are older wanted to shed the expectations that were put on us all of lives and have fun with what is left of it.

There is a little part in many of us that would love to be that character in the book or on the screen because they are having so much fun. Are the antics of the silly characters in our books and television series actually so off the mark or do we not let the antics that are inside of us out because we want to be accepted by society?

Recently there was study done on  longevity and it found that the seniors that could also belong in a science fiction movie. It is a fictional town that makes a little fun of the rules that govern our real communities. It makes fun of the rules and regulations that we need to make society work, but that occasionally are carried too far and stifle community. Fuchsia doesn’t conform and neither do it’s residents. What holds Fuchsia apart and together in the midst of the lackadaisical rules is the fact that the quirky residents accept each others flaws and unique personalities and lets them embrace their differences. Who wouldn’t like that in the real world?

Fuchsia has it’s flaws, and it has it’s crime but the residents come together always supporting one another. They live, they love, they laugh, they get in trouble and they embrace different.

I do quirky things. I can have coffee and donuts and ice cream in the morning if I want. I forget where I parked my car. I get scared. I have been known to drop to the floor on occasion and start exercising to make a point for something. I can do the unexpected. I come from a family of quirky ladies and I like it. I wish I would have let it show sooner. You might have met Granny earlier.

But if you are wondering if Granny is going to shed the science fiction or fantasy label in her next book I will tell you, she is not. I will also tell you that you will see why Granny is the way she is. Granny will reveal why she has a sense of humor and what makes Granny hurt, cry and love. She would want you to know that before she kicks the bucket. Stay tuned.

 

I Cook Like Lucy Ricardo!

Column: Something About Nothing, by Julie Seedorf Published in the Albert Lea Tribune, January 20, 2014

I am hooked. I am hooked on cooking shows. My son made me watch “Chopped” on the Food Channel, and now I watch “Chopped” and any other cooking show that I can find while my eyes are still open as I lounge on my couch. HGTV does not have exclusive rights to my eyes anymore.

The problem with watching these cooking shows is that at times I think I can do some of the crazy things that they do, such as coming up with my own recipes from weird ingredients.

I identify most with the sloppy cooks that have ingredients flying all over. I remember watching “I Love Lucy” when I was younger and laughing at her kitchen antics especially with flour. In my old age I think I am the “Lucy” of my household. The past week was a perfect example of my Luciness.

My family loves hot chocolate. For some strange reason I decided that for our Christmas this past month I was going to gift the kids and my son in law with homemade marshmallows. I bought the ingredients and set them out on my kitchen counter to start creating my fluffy creations.

I love my big stand mixer. Am I challenged by it? Absolutely! You should see how my potatoes whip around the room when I have the spin cycle on high. I put the gelatin and water in my mixer and mixed them up.

I needed to boil my other ingredients. The first oops was dropping the open bottle of corn syrup on my kitchen floor. It flew out of my hands. I had to grab my cats and give them a time out in the bathroom before I could clean up the corn syrup or they would have been sticky icky. With that out of the way I wiped up the corn syrup, but of course my slippers wanted to stick to the floor so I had to scrub that part of the floor.

I melted my corn syrup, water and sugar on the stove and kept stirring with a spoon. I propped the spoon on the stove to get my thermometer to measure the heat. I didn’t have a clip-on one so I used a different one. As I put the thermometer in the liquid, my spoon knocked out onto the floor.

As I picked up the spoon my thermometer fell out of the pan and rolled against the flame. You guessed it, it cracked. As all of this was happening I thought perhaps it was a sign from up above that I wasn’t supposed to do this. But I persevered and got the ingredients into the mixer and mixed. There were no problems this time with the mixture.

The recipe called for lining the pan with cornstarch and powdered sugar. I love using my hands to sprinkle this. As I was reaching for something else the powdered sugar bag fell onto the floor and sprinkled powdered sugar all over the wood floor. At that point I hollered to my husband, “Don’t come in here.” I knew he was planning on doing this because he was hearing the plops and I knew he would be appalled as he is a neat cook. This time I swept the floor and then scrubbed it because the crevices were filled with white. I must admit I looked like Lucy covered in flour but the difference was the powdered sugar. If you lick it off your face it tastes better than flour.

I am happy to say my marshmallows were a hit with my family.

Fast forward to the next week where salad was my contribution to the meal at a Bible study. I decided to try a new recipe that I could substitute mayonnaise for a gluten-free kind. I haven’t mentioned that I am having trouble with arthritis in my right hand and holding something tightly or slicing with a knife is hard. Since my better half was not here to help me I pulled out the knives and started chopping away at the cabbage. This time I had not yet given my cat’s time out. They were very interested in what I was doing at the table and tried climbing on the stools to see. Some of the cabbage flew on the floor as I quickly tried to drop the knife and grab the cats to put them in a bathroom time out. I didn’t want to have sliced or diced cats. I left the fallen cabbage on the floor as I knew I would make more of a mess while creating, and I could clean it up later. My theory is to clean it up once.

It was time to julienne the carrots. Remember that I watch all the cooking shows so I think I am a chef too. I positioned my carrots and started chopping. It was going well until I got a little to close to the tip of my thumb which shouldn’t have been there and I tried julienning my thumb. The color red would have added some color to the salad but I didn’t think the others would be fooled if I said it was strawberry juice since there were no strawberries in the salad. I bandaged myself up, finished the salad. adding a couple of ingredients that were not in the recipe. That was in honor of The Food Channel cooks. I looked at the floor and thought I must live in a garden as it was so green.

After I cleaned everything up I thought about my messiness. I had such a good time making the marshmallows and the coleslaw. They both turned out great and so I forgave myself for my messiness. After all, I made sure everything was sanitary as I was doing it. It was the aftermath that didn’t look so good. but I am a creative person and I felt that creativity while I was cooking. I realized I can’t create in any orderly place. I thrive in the chaos of messy. It makes me happy because out of chaos many times comes a creative product.

The moral of this story is: Try something new, be yourself and let it be OK to do things the way that works for you. Your creative messiness might be the gateway to happiness for you or someone else.i love lucy photo: i love lucy ilovelucy.gif“>”>

Listen And You Shall Hear?

Column: Something About Nothing  published in the Albert Lea Tribune and Courier Sentinel week of January 13, 2014

My granddaughter got a cellphone for Christmas. She is 11 and a very responsible young lady. I was excited because now I could text her and actually call and talk to her directly. I didn’t have to wait for the right time and for her to be with her father so I could talk to her.

My other granddaughter got an iPod with texting ability for Christmas. I was probably more excited than the girls were, because I didn’t have to rely on their parents anymore for communication with my granddaughters. Since they live hours away, I don’t have the joy of being a grandmother where my grandchildren can drop in for a visit on a whim.

I make sure I send a text in the morning wishing my granddaughters a good morning and I also send one at night. I always receive a response. Occasionally I add a cute little saying. As I was pounding out a message on the keys of my cellphone one day I thought about my childhood and my kids’ teenage years. I wondered how our young people today would tolerate the kind of communication that I or my children had.

I was a chatty child and I still am a chatty adult. My friends would call or I would call when we were in grade school. We only were able to talk for a few minutes before a neighbor would come on the party line and tell us they wanted to use the phone.

If a neighbor or an operator didn’t break in on us when we were having a long conversation we would become suspicious and listened for the clicks to see if we could hear anyone listening in on our phone conversations. We didn’t want to say anything that we didn’t want anyone else to hear.

That didn’t mean we didn’t think it wasn’t fun to pretend to hang up and be very quiet so we could listen to what are neighbors were saying. I know we are concerned now with our privacy, but back then there was no privacy either because everyone was snooping quietly on the telephone line.

I was lucky. I was an only child and the only people I had to compete with for wanting the phone were my parents, but in households with many kids and especially teenagers, they all had to compete for time on that one phone.

When my kids lived in our household we may have had more than one phone in the house but we didn’t have caller ID, so we didn’t know when the phone rang who the call was for. I still remember all the hollering up and down the stairs calling the person to the phone. We also were tethered to the phone. We did have the convenience of long cords, but we didn’t have the convenience of cordless phones. Now I can’t stand being tethered to a wall phone.

With cellphones, everyone in the household each seems to have their own. We can call, text, Facetime and whatever, without the others in the household knowing we are on the phone. We can get in touch with our kids wherever they are, if they answer the phone. Many times when I call my kids they don’t answer, but they answer their texts right away. When my grandchildren are teenagers and go out and about, my kids will be able to be in touch with them.

I can imagine the sleepless nights my parents had when I missed curfew. Maybe I can imagine my parents worry because I had kids that missed curfew or weren’t where they said they were supposed to be when I checked on them. Not only could I not check on them unless they were at a house that had a phone, I couldn’t look them in the face and give them the look to get the point across like we can do now with Facetime or Skype.

What about the wife that used to go on the day long shopping trip and didn’t want her husband to know what city and what shops she was in?

I think of the commercial that is out now for Fleet Farm and the Big Boys Toyland. The husband is going ice fishing and the wife is going to the spa. They could have tracked each other’s cellphones and not be surprised to find each other at Fleet Farm instead of fishing or the spa.

In the olden days that didn’t happen. I wonder how many bartenders back before cellphones wanted to rip the phones out of the wall to keep the wives from calling their husbands to come home. Now those wives have a direct line. Of course, it doesn’t mean the husbands answer or that the wives on a shopping trip don’t turn off their phone.

Life has gotten easier to track people down. We don’t have to wait for busy signals because now we have voicemail. We don’t have to lose our voice calling our kids to the phone and reminding them to get off of the phone because we need to use it. We don’t have to listen in on our neighbor’s phone conversations because they are probably having that conversation on Facebook, and they forgot to set their privacy settings so we can still snoop but with less of a chance at being caught. I must admit the phone game was still kind of fun back in the days.

Communication has gotten easier. I for one hope to use the texts I send to my grandchildren as a time to send them some positive vibes that may make their day a little brighter.

I wish I would have found the following positive quote earlier. I would have used it on my parents when they wanted the phone.

“Talking is always positive. That’s why I talk too much.” — Louis C.K.

Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every