The Vegan T.O.A.S.T. Sandwich

As I ate supper tonight, I thought of my vegan blogging friends Jeff and Lee .

My Uncle Larry fixed his own vegan treat – “Tangy Onion and Artichoke Spring Teaser (T.O.A.S.T.)”.

It had: 12-grain toast, squirt mustard, sweet onions, 4 artichoke hearts, olive oil, crushed red peppers, black pepper.

He served it with cottage cheese mixed with sliced grape tomatoes and a veggie tray assortment.

We topped it off with decafe coffee.

It was quite yummy!

A Back-Street Affair

Creepy French Street
The five words – gallows, tide, mat, section, staple
          Tom stole away after dinner. It was pitch dark, with only the orange glow of the streetlights to shine on his path.  He told himself he was only going for a stroll – a catwalk (you might say) – but his legs were carrying him in a definite direction.  Like a convicted man moving toward the gallows, his steps were guided by a force beyond himself.
          There was a time when Tom was happy at home with Julia.  She was loving and kind.  Tom was a faithful companion.  They would lay together for hours each evening in the glow of the fireplace, listening to Dave Brubeck, reading French novels.  But the tide had turned.  Tom had grown restless of late.  He went off looking for something more.  Someone to feed his longing, his desires, his hunger.
          He walked toward the Italian section of town and tried to think of better days, searching for a reason to turn back.  But all he could picture was Luigi.  Young.  Dark haired.  Strong hands.   If Julia ever found out, she would be crushed.  She worked so hard to feed him – body and soul.  To think that there could be another would be just too much for her.
          Tom knew it wasn’t right, but his legs kept moving him onward.
          Tom entered the alleyway and moved steadily to door and stood on the mat just outside.  He called out, softly at first, and then more insistently.  More demanding.
          The door opened.  It was Luigi, with a plate full of spaghetti.
          “Ah, my little Tom-cat,”  Luigi said lovingly as he knelt down and stroked Tom’s cheeks, scratching behind his ear.
          “You are the only cat I know that loves spaghetti,” he said, putting down the plate in front of Tom,  “And I love you for it.”
            Spaghetti had become a staple in Tom’s diet.
            Tom rubbed his cheeks against Luigi’s strong hand, wishing it was an affectionate goodbye, but knowing instead he was marking his territory and that he would be back again.  And again.
Word Count: 343

A Happy Meal at McDonald’s

While standing in line, I was tapped on the shoulder.

I took the cell out of my ear and turned around.

“Excuse me, sir, but your conversation is bothering me,” said a woman in a large floral print dress.


“Your conversation.  Could you take it somewhere else?”

I put the phone back to my ear.  “Hey honey, would you hang on just a second?”

“I’m sorry to intrude, sir, but I’m trying to concentrate on my order.”

“Let me get this straight.  My conversation was keeping you from concentrating on whether you want to order a Big Mac or a Quarter Pounder with cheese.  Am I right?”

“You don’t have to take it personally,” she said, straightening her shoulders.

“Oh, I’m not taking it personally.  If I were taking it personally I would point out that the cheap perfume you are wearing is giving me a migraine and the fact that you are occupying about 85% of my personal space is giving me the willies.”

“Are you implying that I’m overweight?”

“I don’t want to further complicate your deliberations, but you might want to add a McSalad to your menu options.”

“Well, I never…”

“Tell you what,” I said, putting the phone to her ear.  “How about you talk to my wife and I’ll place your order?”

Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken #mcdonalds

Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken

#mcdonalds in  McDonald’s Global Menu Items

(inspired by a writing prompt from Today’s Author)

In Memory of Lawrence Liebster (May He Rest In Peace)


Hollie from The Queen of Query has nominated me for The Liebster Award.

I am grateful, bemused and bewildered.

According to Hollie’s nomination post –

The Liebster Award is intended for new blogs  (particularly those with 200 or less followers) to raise their profile awareness.

But just who was this Liebster anyway?

I imagine some literary agent – Cyrus Brood – who for 40 years took great pleasure in denying the dreams of aspiring authors, flitting query letters in the waste baskets, lining the bottom of his birdcage with manuscript pages. laughing at proposed plots over martinis with a gang of publishers at the local steam room.  

Then one day, a woman in a brown skirt comes to him in tears.

“Are you Mr. Brood?”

“Why yes, I am?”

She hands him a manuscript.

“I am Iris Liebster.  This was my son Lawrence’s.  He shot himself last night.  His last request was that I give this to you.  Will you read it?”

“Well, I, um… ” he looked into her eyes,  “I will.”

And he did.  And it was good.  Very good.  It was a critical success.  It became a best seller.  A whopping best seller. 

With his share of the royalties, he established a trust for “The Liebster Awards”.

With this story in mind, I simply must accept this award and follow its terms, which are –

1)  Post 11 random facts about myself (below).

2)  Answer 11 questions (further below).

3)  Make up 11 more questions (in later post).

4)  Nominate 11 more blogs (also in later post).

11 Random Facts:

1)  I am a man who cherishes “decency and good order”, seeking out patterns in what others accept as random.

2)  I ate “Jambalaya” for supper.  It was not only decent.  It was very, very good.

3)  My youngest daughter was born in New Orleans, home of the “Saints” football team.

4) I’m currently reading Waiting for God by Simone Weil, considered by some to be a secular saint.

5)  I just finished reading The Rabbit Hole, a Pulitzer-Prize winning play about a couple grieving the death of their son.

6)  I’m writing a trilogy of short stories – “Life”, “Liberty” and “The Pursuit of Happiness” which I hope to publish and adapt into a script soon.

7)  I am essentially an unhappy person who nonetheless laughs at life and finds joy in Christ.

8) I just purchased tickets to see the play “Freud’s Last Session” which depicts Freud debating C.S. Lewis on issues of God, sex, death, and life.

9) When I was in high school, I played Eeyore in “The House on Pooh Corner”

10)  I wrote a post today about a pre-game prayer my basketball coach said at the sectional tournament that may have cost us the game.

11)  I’m participating in a six-week workshop on “Writing Your Spiritual Autobiography”.

11  Questions

(and my answers)

1.  What would you say first inspired you to try writing?

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

2.  Do you listen to music or other aural ambiance while you write?

Yes.  Right now I’m listen to “Artist Radio based on Iris Dement” from Spotify.

3.  If you could only visit one more place in the world, where would it be?


4.  eBook or printed book?

Both.  Whatever I can get conveniently (and free) from the library.

5.  Traditional Publishing or Self-publishing?

Undecided.  I’m looking at a traditional publisher for my trilogy of shorts and self-publishing my spiritual memoir.  But that may change.

6.  In two words or less, how would you describe your sense of humor?

Ironic iconoclasm.

7.  If your current novel were made into a movie, who would you cast as the lead?

Robert Redford

8.  Who is your favorite fictional character?

Owen Meany.

9.  Do you dress up for Halloween?


10.  What are you reading at the moment?

Waiting for God by Simone Weil, and –

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

11.  What is your favorite quote?

… we must feel the reality and presence of God through all external things, without exception, as clearly as our hand feels the substance of paper through the penholder and the nib.   – Simone Weil

Tuna Fish Friday (a prompted poem)

save picture

Are you sure today isn’t Friday?”

We had meatloaf yesterday.

We have meatloaf on Thursdays.

And we had meatloaf yesterday


And Bingo –

We always play Bingo on Friday.

And we just played Bingo.

Are you sure today isn’t Friday?

I’m sure this is Friday.


I’m as sure as I’m sitting here.

I’m as sure as day is day.

And night is night.

Today is definitely Friday.


But this sure as hell isn’t tuna fish.


(The first line is a writing prompt from Today’s Author)

(image “Old man looking” from artisrams, some rights reserved)

My Top 10 Anti-Resolutions for 2013

10.  I will not eat the food left over in my refrigerator from our Thanksgiving meal.

Time to clean out the work fridge.

(from akeg, some rights reserved)

9.  I will not go to the Super Bowl, sit behind the goal post and wave a placard with “Habbakuk 2:16b” on it.

 { “Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed…”}

8.  I will not personally disprove the Big Bang theory.

church sign

(from mikecogh, some rights reserved)

7.  I will not hide shoes behind books in the Goodwill store so I can get them for half-price on the first Saturday of the month.

goodwill sign

(from revger, some rights reserved)

6.  I will not petition the Vatican to make folk singer John Prine a saint.  He has been divorced and remarried (at least once).  He is not Roman Catholic.  And neither am I.

john prine

(from wfuv, some rights reserved)

5.  I will not react so enthusiastically to my discovery of what “meggins” are that I go out and buy some.  (see Matt Robb’s post)

tight pants

(from Tricia Wang 王圣捷, some rights reserved)

4.  I will not enter any writing contest where the entry fee exceeds the top prize.

writing contest

(from thepocnews, some rights reserved)

3.  I will not comment on a blog post written by a woman grieving the sudden death of her husband by correcting her grammar.  (Or, asking her out on a date.)

i (I)  m (am) so sad(.) he (He) wus (was)my life.

2.  I will not use parentheses excessively…

(unless I absolutely must whisper something in the reader’s ear.)

1.  I will not pursue a Marketing Internship for the Hoosier Lottery (though I may submit the slogan “Be a Real Loser – Play the Lottery” for free).


(from chicagogeek, some rights reserved)


(Inspired by a writing prompt from Today’s Authors)