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Thursday, July 24th, 2008
Lemons: Yellow Sunshine

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about LEMONS

This year our lemon tree has produced heaps of fruit. Our fruit bowls are full of them. They’re a bright sunshine color and remind me of summer, despite the winter gloom outside.
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Thursday, July 17th, 2008
Packing For Travel

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about PACKING for a Trip

With my trip coming up soon, packing is looming…

1. Make a list a few weeks beforehand of the things you think you’ll need to take with you.

2. Lay out the clothes you think you want to take, along with toiletries, shoes etc.
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Saturday, July 12th, 2008
Crunchy Lemon Muffins

After a solid week of edits, I’ve decided to have a lazy weekend. I’ve just made a batch of one of my favorite muffins and thought I’d share the recipe with you. It’s taken from New Zealander Alison Holst’s Marvellous Muffins recipe book, and it’s one I make often.

2 cups self-raising flour (I didn’t have any so I used 2 cups of flour and 2 teaspoons of baking powder)
3/4 cup of sugar

75 grams butter
1 cup milk
1 egg
grated rind of 1 large or 2 small lemons

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar

Measure the flour and sugar into a bowl and toss to mix. Melt the butter, add the milk, egg and lemon rind and beat well with a fork to combine. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and combine only until the dry ingredients have been lightly dampened but not overly mixed. Divide the mixture evenly between 12 medium-sized muffin pans. (I used paper muffin cases since I hate both greasing the tin and cleaning it afterward!)

Bake at 200 degrees C for 10 minutes. (I find the time depends on the oven. I cooked mine for 10 minutes and found they needed a couple minutes more)

Stir together the lemon juice and sugar without dissolving the sugar and drizzle this over the hot muffins as soon as they come out of the oven. Leave to stand in the pan for only a few minutes after this since the syrup hardens and sticks to the pan when it cools.

Notes: As always I improvise. I use mainly white flour but add a little wholemeal as well. These are also good served with a little fresh fruit and Greek yoghurt. Yum!

I really like muffins. Blueberry are my favorite. I like these lemons ones and also another recipe I make with raspberry jam in the middle and a sugary cinnamon topping. I’ll save that recipe for another time. Strangely, chocolate comes down the list for me, that’s unless it has lots of chocolate chips inside!

Do you like muffins and if so, what is your favorite kind?

Monday, June 23rd, 2008
Handbag Security

This might seem a random topic to blog about, but last week, not far from where I live, a woman was killed during a handbag robbery. Most women carry their lives in their handbag. I know I’m guilty of carrying way more stuff than I need. I thought a refresher of some commonsense rules wouldn’t go astray.

Here are a few things we can do to keep both our possessions and ourselves safe.

1. Be aware of your surroundings. When exiting your car in a carpark look to see who is around.

2. Walk with confidence and display positive body language.

3. Avoid walking in badly lit or isolated areas, especially if you’re alone.

4. Keep your bag close. Zip it shut and be wary of anyone who tries to distract you. Don’t leave your bag unattended. e.g. in a supermarket trolley.

5. Keep your car door locked while driving, and avoid leaving valuable items in your car when you leave it, if possible. Secure valuable items in the boot (trunk) before arriving at your destination.

6. Have your keys in your hand before you reach your vehicle. Secure your handbag first before your shopping.

7. Watch your handbags while in restaurants, public toilets. If you’re at a club and dancing have someone you know look after your bag. I’ve done a lot of traveling and I know how quick thieves can be. When I’m traveling I have my hand on my bag at all times. Sitting on the seat beside you is not a good place to keep your bag.

8. Keep your bag in front of you or in your hand while you’re at the bank or a ticket counter.

If you have any other suggestions please let me know.

Thursday, June 19th, 2008
Yes! We Have No Bananas!

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about BANANAS

I had no idea what I was doing for my TT this week. I thought about it while eating my porridge. I glanced around my kitchen and my gaze lit on it–inspiration in the form of one lonely banana. I hereby dedicate my TT to the humble banana.

1. Bananas are originally from Malaysia, but they have spread throughout the world and grow well in tropical areas.

2. Bananas plants are not trees but are actually herbs.

3. Bananas are high in potassium. They also contain protein, Vitamins A, B & C and have trace elements of iron and zinc. In other words, they’re good for you.
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Friday, June 13th, 2008
Goals, Motivation and Conflict

A good romance needs conflict to make it memorable. Our characters need motivation and goals, otherwise why are we bothering? For a beginner writer, conflict is often a difficult thing to grasp. It’s more than mere bickering.

The turning point for me came when I read Debra Dixon’s book GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict. I don’t read a lot of craft books, especially when I’m writing, since I start to second-guess myself. However, this is one of the books I found really useful. Here’s the link to the book.

Debra does charts and talks about internal and external conflict. I still use her method, but I also answer the questions below.

When I’m writing, I always work out the GMC of my two main characters and any important secondary characters before I write a word. Often I’ll layer in more conflict as I write, to strengthen my story, but the basics are in place before I start.

If I can answer the following five questions about my characters, then I know my story is workable, and I’m ready to start.

1. What do my characters want?
2. Why do they want it?
3. How do they plan to get it?
4. What’s standing in their way?
5. What will happen if they don’t get it?

I try to arrange the answers to the above questions so that my hero and heroine want the opposite, and during the course of the book, I try to make things worse. I throw in road blocks, and the characters need to work out another way to get what they want or buckle under the pressure.

How do you go about working out your goals, motivation and conflict for your characters? Do you have any favorite how-to books that help you in this area?

Thursday, June 12th, 2008
All Things Shopping

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about SHOPPING

1. In ancient times, there was no money. People bartered or traded goods, that they had produced themselves.

2. In the past, customers were served by the shopkeeper, who would retrieve all the goods on their shopping list. Shops would often deliver the goods to the customers’ homes.

3. This changed to self-serve shopping where customers selected the goods, retrieved them off the shelves and packed their own goods. Customers deliver their own goods.

4. These days many of us shop on the internet, our goods are packed by the shopkeeper or his staff and delivered to us. We’ve come a full circle!

5. Sylvan Goldman invented the first shopping cart in 1936. He invented the first shopping cart by adding two wire basket and wheels to a folding chair.

6. The first shopping mall was the Country Club Plaza, founded by the J.C. Nichols Company and opened near Kansas City, Mo., in 1922.

7. At the start of the nineteenth century a form of mass produced clothing developed. It was of a simple basic style, mainly for ordinary men and women and unsuitable for the high fashion market of the upper classes. The only acceptable ready made items for the wealthy were free size garments like mantles, cloaks and shawls.

8. The American, Gordon Selfridge, invested in building a huge store in Oxford Street, London in 1909. Staff were hired months before it opened. They were trained in selling the Selfridge way. Shoppers flocked to the store when they heard of the delights inside such as make up and perfume. Clothes departments sold all manner of goods and hard to find items. Music greeted the shoppers and browsing there could be an all day experience. Shopping there was intended to be a recreation.

9. A Philadelphia pharmacist named Asa Candler invented the coupon in 1895. Candler bought the Coca-Cola company from the original inventor Dr. John Pemberton, an Atlanta pharmacist. Candler placed coupons in newspaper for a free Coke from any fountain – to help promote the new soft drink.

10. The first patent for bar code (US Patent #2,612,994) was issued to inventors Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver on October 7, 1952.

11. Shopping can be a disease – Compulsive shopping or spending can be a seasonal balm for the depression, anxiety and loneliness during the December holiday season. It also can occur when a person feels depressed, lonely and angry. Shopping and spending will not assure more love, bolster self-esteem, or heal the hurts, regrets, stress, and the problems of daily living. It generally makes these feelings worse because of the increased financial debt the person has obtained from compulsive shopping.

12. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping. ~ Bo Derek

13. Shopping is a woman thing. It’s a contact sport like football. Women enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, and the ecstasy of the purchase. ~ Erma Bombeck

Extra: Shopping is better than sex. If you’re not satisfied after shopping you can make an exchange for something you really like. ~ Adrienne Gusoff

Do you prefer to shop online or do you like to shop in person at a department store or mall?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
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Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about RELATIONSHIPS

This week I read about a British couple who have recently celebrated eighty years of marriage. I think this is amazing. Their story inspired me to search for ways to make a marriage last through the years.

1. Spend at least 10 minutes a day focused on one another without the distraction of your kids, the TV, the phone etc.

2. Say I love you. My hubby will ring up and tell me just out of the blue. It always makes me feel good.

3. Affirm something your spouse said or did and say something nice.

4. Laugh together.

5. Don’t criticize your spouse.

6. Kiss your spouse in the morning, before leaving the house, when you go to bed, and several other times during the day and evening.

7. Do a few things together, like working in the yard, taking a walk, watching a favorite movie or planning and cooking dinner.

8. Fight fair.

9. Be willing to forgive.

10. Plan and have a date with one another.

11. Don’t try to change your spouse. Note – it doesn’t work! He can’t change me either. :grin:

12. Don’t expect your spouse to be a mind reader and don’t try to be a mind reader.

13. Accept that there will be some small issues that you two will never resolve and that it’s normal in successful marriages.

I’m sure there are heaps of other things I haven’t mentioned. If you have another suggestion, please add it in the comments section.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
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Wednesday, May 21st, 2008
Life and Transport in Cairo, Egypt

All The Way Home by Jenyfer MatthewsMy guest today is Jenyfer Matthews who writes for Cerridwen Press. Her recent release, All The Way Home recently received a Golden Blush recommended read from Literary Nymph Reviews. The reviewer said, “In my opinion, a book as beautifully written, heartfelt and sweet as All the Way Home truly deserves the Golden Blush Recommended Read award. It just makes you hope that Ms. Matthews keeps writing with the tenderness, understanding, and compassion that she showed here. Brilliant!”

Today Jenyfer is talking about life in Cairo, Egypt and in particular transport.
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Thursday, May 15th, 2008
When I’m Feelin’ Blue….

Today’s Thursday Thirteen is brought to you by the color blue. (because it’s my favorite)

Thirteen Things about BLUE

1. Blue is my favorite color. I like it because it’s calming. There’s nothing better than looking at the sky on a day when there are no clouds. The clear color just makes me smile. I also have blue eyes.

2. Pantone has selected the color Blue Iris (PANTONE 18-3943) as the 2008 Color of the Year telling us: “Combining the stable and calming aspects of blue with the mystical and spiritual qualities of purple, Blue Iris satisfies the need for reassurance in a complex world, while adding a hint of mystery and excitement.”

3. In Iran, blue is the color of mourning while in the West the something blue bridal tradition represents love.

4. Blue conveys importance and confidence without being somber or sinister, hence the blue power suit of the corporate world and the blue uniforms of police officers. Long considered a corporate color, blue, especially darker blue, is associated with intelligence, stability, unity, and conservatism. From the site.

5. Blue is a favorite color of both men and women of all ages. However, men have a much stronger preference for blue than women. It may be the calming effect of the color blue that makes it a popular color for both men and women or it could be the association of some shades of blue with authority figures, intelligence, and stability.

6. You can feel blue, which isn’t a good thing. My Oxford dictionary says blue in this context means nervous, depressed, melancholy, dismal.

7. In Australia you can have a “blue” which means you argue or row with someone.

8. Once in a blue moon – a saying that means scarce or hardly ever or a rare event.

9. Blue moon can also mean an extra full moon in a year. Generally there are twelve full moons per year, one per month. Every two or three years there is an extra full moon due to the eleven extra days in each year.

10. There’s a song Blue Moon. Here’s the 1961 version by The Marcels.

11. Blue gemstones promote peace and are used to calm ragged emotions. They are used to provide relief to people who have difficulty sleeping or who have nightmares. They offer inspiration and enhance the quality of communication. Check out the meaning of other colored gemstones here.

12. What color are you? A quiz – surprisingly I was yellow :?:

13. Something can happen “out of the blue” meaning the something happened without warning. You can be “between the devil and the deep blue sea” which means you’re in an impossible situation.

Have I missed any common blue sayings or things? Oh, I just thought of something blue – The Blues Brothers. Man, I love that movie.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
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