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Driving Me Crazy

Thursday Thirteen

I don’t drive very often because it’s not my favorite thing to do. I’m much happier walking or catching the bus or train so I can read or write at the same time. Today I drove to our local town to do some banking and pick up prescriptions. I’m firmly convinced most of the drivers on the road are idiots. I was pleased to get back home in one piece.

In honor of drivers everywhere, both good and bad, here are Thirteen Driving Quotes

1. Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams. ~Mary Ellen Kelly

2. Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you and scorn in the one ahead. ~Mac McCleary

3. A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after. ~Peter De Vries

4. The best car safety device is a rear-view mirror with a cop in it. ~Dudley Moore

5. It takes 8,460 bolts to assemble an automobile, and one nut to scatter it all over the road. ~Author Unknown

6. Leave sooner, drive slower, live longer. ~Author Unknown

7. And I, I took the road less traveled by. I was using a GPS system. ~Robert Brault,

8. I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol. ~Author Unknown

9. Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. ~Albert Einstein

10. Hug your kids at home, but belt them in the car. ~Author Unknown

11. When buying a used car, punch the buttons on the radio. If all the stations are rock and roll, there’s a good chance the transmission is shot. ~Larry Lujack

12. The longest journey begins with a single step, not with a turn of the ignition key. ~Edward Abbey

13. You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive. ~Author Unknown


Am I the only one who mutters a lot when they’re out driving?

The Wonder Grain

Thursday Thirteen

I entered a competition a few weeks ago and yesterday, I received a box of rice and rice products worth $100. It was a real surprise, and now our pantry is full of rice. It’s just as well I like rice. :grin:

Thirteen Things About Rice

1. Rice is a staple food for more than half the world’s population.

2. Rice belongs to the grass family and produces seeds (the rice grains) on long stalks.

3. Rice is either short, medium or long grain. Short grain rice is more moist and sticky, due to higher starch content. Long grain rice is lighter and drier and the grains separate easier.

4. Rice is high in complex carbs. It has almost no fat. It has zero cholesterol and a low sodium content. It also provides protein and is a good source of vitamins and minerals. It’s gluten free and is easy to digest.

5. More than 40,000 varieties of cultivated rice exist.

6. Arborio rice is a short-grain rice grown in Italy. It absorbs flavor well and is used in making risotto. It can, however, be used in soups, rice puddings and paella dishes.

7. Basmati rice is my favorite. It’s a long-grain rice that comes from India and Pakistan. It’s name comes from the Hindi word for fragrant. It has a nutty scent and is perfect with curries.

8. Sushi rice has been grown in Japan for more than 2000 years. It’s sticky and holds its shape due to the high starch content.

9. Jasmine rice is mild and fragrant and is popular in Thailand and China.

10. At a wedding, the throwing of rice originally symbolized fertility. These days it symbolizes prosperity.

11. In China, young girls who are picky eaters are warned that every grain of rice they leave in their bowls represents a pock mark on the face of their future husband.

12. Rice writing originated in Turkey where it was believed that a grain of rice with an inscribed message led to good luck.

13. When hubby and I did an overland trip from London to Kathmandu, I had a stomach upset in Turkey and was toilet-bound for a couple of days. I still wasn’t very well when we traveled through Iran. At first, I ate rice because it was easy to keep inside me. We had problems finding vegetarian food so then I ate rice because I was hungry. It got to the stage where I didn’t want to see another single grain, let alone eat one! I still remember eating a delicious cheese omelette in an Esfahan hotel where we were staying. It was the best omelette ever.

Source: Taste Magazine – January/February 2010

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Place Names That Roll Off The Tongue

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Interesting New Zealand Place Names

I like place names that roll off the tongue. Here are some from New Zealand that I enjoy saying.

1. Paekakariki – means perching place of the kakariki (green parrot). Pronounced pie-ka-ka-rekey

2. Paraparaumu – translates to scraps from an earth oven. Most people pronounce it Para-para-oo-moo

3. Wainuiomata – translates to faces streaming with water. It’s pronounced Why-nui-O-ma-ta

4. Papamoa – I couldn’t find a translation, but it’s pronounced pa-pa-mower

5. Whakarewarewa – it’s the short version of Te Whakarewarewatanga O Te Ope Taua A Wahiao and means The uprising of the warriors (war party) of Wahiao. Locals call it Whaka.

6. Turangawaewae – translates to a place to stand or footstool. (Two-runga-why-why)

7. Waikanae – translates to waters of the yellow-eyed mullet (fish). It’s pronounced Why-kah-nye

8. Waitakere – the names comes from a Maori chief. It’s pronounced Why-tack-ah-ree

9. Horowhenua – I couldn’t find a translation. It’s pronounced Hor-o-fen-u-a

10. Waimarama – Wai means water, marama has a number of meanings from lunar to deity, so it could be moonlight on the water, but I’m not sure of the translation. Pronounced Why-ma-ra-ma.

11. Wairarapa – translates to glistening waters, and it’s pronounced Whyra-ra-pa.

12. Tuakau – I went to school here and remember seeing parcels addressed to “To-a-cow”. No one is sure of the meaning, but it’s actually pronounced to-a-cow

13. Pukekohe – I lived here for part of my life. The translation is hill of the kohekohe (NZ Mahogany). It’s pronounced Pukee-ko-ee

What is your favorite place name—one that you like because it rolls off the tongue?

A Healthy Heart

Thursday Thirteen

This month All Romance eBooks is running a campaign for heart health. Twenty-eight authors (myself included) have donated short stories and all the proceeds go to the American Heart Association. I thought this week I’d cover snippets about heart health.

Thirteen Things About Hearts and Heart Health

1. The heart is a hard-working organ that pumps oxygen-carrying blood through the body. It functions like two pumps in one. One pump controls the flow of blood from the heart to the lungs where carbon dioxide waste is exchanged for fresh oxygen. The other pump sends the blood to cells through out the body.

2. Heart disease is one of the biggest causes of death.

3. It takes about one minute for a drop of blood to travel from the heart down to your toes and back again.

4. The heart pumps around five litres of blood a minute during rest periods and up to 33 litres per minute during exercise.

5. If you have a family history of heart disease, your chances of suffering a heart attack are increased.

6. Some factors such as smoking, excess weight, diabetes, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle, high blood fats, and excessive stress also make a person susceptible to heart attacks.

7. The heart muscle needs to be strong to pump blood around the body efficiently, which is why it’s necessary to exercise.

8. Common symptoms of a heart attack include sudden severe chest pain that may spread to the arm, neck, shoulder or lower jaw; nausea, changed or erratic pulse, pale or bluish skin, sudden perspiration, shortness of breath and a feeling of heaviness or a squeezing pressure around the chest.

9. If you suspect someone is having a heart attack call emergency services (911 in the US – 111 in New Zealand). Make the person comfortable and keep their activity to a minimum. Stay with the person and be prepared to do CPR if necessary.

10. A Dutch study found that eating fish on a regular basis (2 – 3 servings per week) cuts the chances of fatal heart disease in half. The French claim drinking red wine fights heart disease because of the high level of flavonoids.

11. It’s said garlic can not only deter artery clogging but may even heal destroyed arteries.

12. Reduce your risk of heart disease by quitting smoking, exercising regularly, keeping weight within normal limits, maintaining a low-fat diet, learning how to deal with stress effectively and keeping a check on blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. Finally, enjoy a balanced lifestyle.

13. Purchase one or more of the 28 stories in the 28 Days of Heart series from All Romance eBooks. There are a variety of genres available including contemporary, historical, paranormal and gay romances.

Wild Child My story is called Wild Child.

Here’s the blurb:

Seize the day…

Zoë Underwood loved Matt Cantrell from the moment her mother married his father. She definitely thinks of him as more than a big brother and even though he moved away from home the moment their parents got married, her feelings for him have grown stronger, bigger. More. No one presses her buttons like the tall, dark and gorgeous Matt. If only he can get over the eight-year age difference.

Now, Zoë is determined to snare her man. She wants one thing—Matt’s love. It’s time for her to make a move, stir things up a little and take a chance on love.

Purchase Wild Child by Shelley Munro

My husband is on medication to control both his blood pressure and cholesterol and we try to live a fairly healthy lifestyle. Red wine is strictly medicinal :grin:

Do you have a history of heart disease in your family?

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Talking Gingerly

Thursday Thirteen

I’ve been thinking about ginger recently, mainly because in our local reality show, Nestle’s Hottest Home Baker, most of the contestants used ginger when they cooked their signature dishes last week. I like ginger and decided it would make a great topic for my Thursday Thirteen.

Thirteen Things About Ginger

1. Ginger is the rhizome (mass of roots) of a flowering plant which is native to South-East Asia. Ginger has been grown in China for thousands of years.

2. Ginger can be purchased fresh, dried or ground. My father loves crystallized ginger, which is often available around Christmas.

3. Fresh ginger has a fresh citrus-like smell and flavor, along with a little hotness. It’s used in Chinese, Caribbean and Indian dishes. Dried ginger root is used in preserves and chutneys. Powdered ginger is used in cakes, biscuits and cookies.

4. A clever hint – keep your fresh ginger root in the freezer. When you require some ginger in a dish, grate the frozen root and return to the freezer. Hubby and I have way less wastage this way. It really works!

5. Ginger – a slang word for a red-head. A human, characterized by pale skin, freckles and bright red hair.

6. Ginger is considered to have aphrodisiac powers when taken either internally or externally. It’s actually mentioned in the Karma Sutra.

7. In the Phillipines, ginger is said to expel evil spirits. The people chew on chunks of ginger and I presume the evil spirits leave.

8. Ginger is a well-known digestive aid because it increases saliva and digestive fluids. Some people say ginger helps with morning sickness. At the onset of nausea, the mother chews on a piece of ginger root. Some people swear ginger helps with motion sickness as well. I’ve heard some bus drivers hand out ginger sweets to school children to stop them from throwing up. At least that’s what the man at the ginger factory in Australia told me.

9. Queen Elizabeth 1 is credited with the invention of gingerbread men.

10. Fresh ginger is found in the produce section of most grocery stores. Look for smooth skin with a fresh, spicy fragrance. Tubers should be firm and feel heavy.

11. My favorite non-alcoholic summer drink is ginger beer. Ginger beer was first made in England during the mid-17th century.

12. You can make your own ginger beer by growing a ginger plant. It’s not an actual plant but is made from yeast.

13. Henry VIII thought ginger would stop people from getting the plague. He instructed the mayor to use ginger as a plague medicine.

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Do you like ginger? What is your favorite way to eat ginger?

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Thursday Thirteen

I watched a program on the Living Channel this week about some people who purchased a Victoria-era property. The show covered the renovation of the property and also detailed the interior decorating the owners did to keep with the Victorian theme. They mentioned mirrors and hey, presto I had a topic for my Thursday Thirteen.

Thirteen Things About Mirrors

1. A mirror is basically a sheet of glass with an aluminiun or silver coating, which produces a reflection.

2. The history of mirrors is an old one. Early men saw reflections in water and thought they were evil spirits.

3. Most ancient mirrors were sheets of metal, usually in a round shape. The backs of the mirrors were often highly decorated with precious stones.

4. Glass mirrors were invented by the Romans. Those Romans were clever people!

5. It is said that glass mirrors disappeared during medieval times because religious people said the devil watched through mirrors.

6. In the 12th century handheld mirrors were very popular and most well dressed ladies used them. They also used them like jewelry, wearing small ones on a chain around their necks. These were all highly decorative and pretty.

7. King Henry VIII used to be an avid collector of mirrors.

8. These days most people have mirrors in their house, either in the bathroom or bedroom. Some people have decorative mirrors in their living areas.

9. Because of its long history, mirrors have lots and lots of superstitions attached to them.

10. Breaking a mirror is meant to be bad luck for seven years. If a mirror falls off a wall then someone is meant to die.

11. Vampires and witches don’t have a reflection in a mirror because they don’t have a soul.

12. Opinion seems to be mixed on the best thing to use to clean a mirror. I’m slowly using up all my chemical cleaners and going natural so I’m suggesting a “green” way to clean glass or mirrors. Use equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Clean off with a soft rag.

13. Interior decorators use mirrors to make a room seem lighter or larger than it really is. Mirrors are also used to reflect a wonderful view so the house inhabitants get double the pleasure and lastly, they’re used as decoration.

Do you like mirrors? Do you have any tips or factoids to add?

Fun on the Winter Snow

Thursday Thirteen

The 21st Winter Olympics commences in Vancouver on 12th February. I can’t ski, and I’m terrible at skating, but I do enjoy watching the events on television. If I’ve counted correctly, there are 21 different events for spectators to watch. Here’s a list of the ones that interest me most.

Thirteen Winter Olympic Sports

1. Downhill Skiing – the object is to ski down a hill as fast as you can.

2. Slalom – the skier weaves in and out of poles, aiming for the fastest time possible without missing a turn.

3. Figure skating – this event comes in pairs, women’s and men’s figure skating. It’s dancing on ice with jumps and turns and wonderful costumes. There is a compulsory part of the event plus a free skating program.

4. Snowboarding – it’s a combination of skateboarding and skiing. There is a slalom event plus the trick event, which is done in an area called a half pipe.

5. Crosscountry skiing – as the name suggests, the skier navigates a course of up to 50km long. It’s sort of like running on skiis and is very physically demanding.

6. Speed skating – this is like running a sprint race except the competitors wear skates. They wear tight suits – very sexy.

7. Curling – it’s sort of like bowls on ice. There is a granite stone that is propelled down an ice rink. Sweepers brush the ice in front of the stone to make it go either faster or slower in the hope it will reach the target at the other end of the rink.

8. Luge – a sport for a single person or two people. The person lies on a sled and travels down the ice track feet first. The object is to go fast and not crash.

9. Bobsleigh – Either four or two men push their sled to start and then jump in, trying to get to the bottom of the course as fast as they can. You might be familiar with the movie Cool Runnings made about the Jamacian bobsleigh team.

10. Ice Hockey – it’s hockey on ice. It’s played on an oval rink with two teams of six players on the ice at the same time.

11. Ski Jumping – the competitors ski down a steep ramp, then jump as far as they can. The skier with the longest jump wins.

12. Skeleton – it’s lying in a face-first position on the sled, and traveling down the ice track at high speed. The fastest time wins.

13. Biathlon – is a combination of cross country skiing and rifle shooting. It’s a timed event with a penalty given each time a target is missed.

I have to admit that I hate speed and prefer to keep my feet on the ground. Apart from Wii Fit, I haven’t tried any of these sports.

Have you tried any of these sports? Do you enjoy watching the Winter Olympics (on TV or in person)?

28 Days of Heart

Great Things About Being Single

Thursday Thirteen

I’ve been reading non-fiction books about relationships again as a form of research. Without fail I come across interesting tidbits and germs of ideas for stories. Yesterday I was reading Hot Love – How To Get It by Tracey Cox, and she had an amusing list of some of the great things about being single. I thought they’d make an excellent TT.

Thirteen Great Things About Being Single

1. Both sexes – You don’t have to answer to anyone.

2. Male – no one rolls their eyes when the remote accidentally sticks on the sports channel.

3. Male – You can clip your toenails without someone vomiting in the background.

4. Male – You don’t have to tell her she doesn’t look fat/her bottom’s not big/more than a handful is a waste.

5. Female – Everything smells clean and fresh. There are no lingering boy smells.

6. Female – You can change your mind every five minutes just for the hell of it.

7. Female – Fat days seem less important. So long as your stomach’s flat by Friday night, who cares if you’re bloated on Tuesday?

8. Female – You can talk on the phone all night about absolutely nothing and lie outrageously about how wonderful Susan looked in her new outfit without someone saying afterward, “But you told me she looked like mutton dressed up as lamb.”

9. Male – You don’t have to be nice to her stuck-up, snotty friends.

10. Female – You don’t have to explain why it’s essential to own 25 pairs of black shoes.

11. Male/Female – The toilet seat is exactly how you like it.

12. Male – No one tells you you’re driving too fast.

13. Male – You don’t have to battle past feminine apparel and toiletries just to get in the bathroom.

One extra because it made me laugh – Female – You can make your own smells without feeling unladylike.

Source: HOT LOVE(How to Get It) by Tracey Cox

Do you have any things to add to my list?

Things With Bite

Thursday Thirteen

During a recent evening walk, hubby and I were talking about bed bugs, which then led to other things that bite.

Thirteen Things That Bite

1. Bed bugs

2. Fleas

3. Sandflies

4. Spiders

5. Snakes

6. Mosquitoes

7. Scorpions

8. Leeches

9. Ticks

10. Cats and Dogs

11. Sea Lice

12. Bumble Bees

13. Head Lice

A few of the above things have latched on to me. I’ve had malaria, which was MOST unpleasant and as a child caught head lice. Yuck! I’m thankful we don’t have snakes in New Zealand. So far, I’ve escaped bed bugs. I hope that trend continues.

Have you received bites from any of the above? Do you have any things with bite that I can add to my list?

What An Insult!

Thursday Thirteen

I’m not sure where this list came from – it’s been on my hard drive for a while. I obviously saved it to be a TT because there are exactly thirteen items.

Thirteen Insults

1. I used to think that you were a pain in the neck. Now I have a much lower opinion of you.

2. No, I don’t mind that you’re talking so much — as long as you don’t mind that I’m not listening.

3. Save your breath. You’ll need it to blow up your date.

4. Someday you’ll find yourself, and you will be just as disappointed as the rest of us.

5. You say you’re a wit? Well, you’re half right.

6. If there’s ever a price on your head, take it.

7. I’ll never forget the first time we met — although, I’ll keep trying.

8. Your entire purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

9. Do you still love nature, despite what it did to you?

10. Now I know why some mammals eat their children.

11. Oh my God, look at you! Was anyone else hurt in the accident?

12. I look into your eyes and get the feeling someone else is driving.

13. Sure, I’d love to help you out. Do you remember which way you came in?

And one extra – I’d like to leave you with a parting thought, but I’m not sure you have anywhere to put it.

Do you have any good insults to add to my list?