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Guided by prompts from WDC blogging challenges... and of course, life
This is a collection of writings prompted by WDC blogging challenges from "Journalistic Intentions, "Blogging Circle of Friends , "30-Day Blogging Challenge and, well, life.
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November 1, 2021 at 1:44am
November 1, 2021 at 1:44am
         It's November 1, 2021 and day 1 of the November "30-Day Blogging Challenge. November is also national Epilepsy awareness month here in the USA. Why should you care about that? You don't have to, but I do. I live with Epilepsy every day. For those of you who don't know me yet, I'm Jenn. I'm a mom, a wife, a survivor, and a warrior. Former science instructor, full-time nerd, and critter lover. I write poetry and have found a new love in blogging.

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Our first prompt for the November 30DBC is "We all have possessions of some type. Tell us five possessions you can’t live without, and why they are on this list." You'd think this would be an easy one, but while I have lots of stuff, I could most likely live without a lot of it. But, I'm gonna give this the old college try anyway. Who knows, maybe I'll learn something about myself in the process.

Top Five Possessions I Cannot (or Won't) Live Without and Why (in no particular order)

1. My medications - There are a lot of the darned things, but some of them are the only things - short of God, food, and water - that are keeping me alive and/or from being in so much pain, so yeah they're on the list.

2. My computer - Computers are so multipurpose in this day and age! Mine keeps me engaged, keeps me connected to family, is what I listen to music on, updates me on the news and weather, stores my photographs and writing, connects me to WDC, connects me with all of my health care team... and the list could go on and on so I'm cutting it short right here. I could live without it but I'd become bored and a bit lonely.

3. My vacuum cleaner - With a 100+ pound longhaired German Shepherd for a fur-son, I have clouds of fur floating across my floors and piles of dirt that have to be vacuumed daily. The cats also shed everywhere and break things constantly, so even if we got rid of the dog (which we wouldn't ever do) we would still have to clean up after the cats. I'm sure I could make do without a vacuum and just use a broom, but why would I? I like the convenience of the thing.

4. My pillow - I have tried to sleep on other pillows and I never get the quality of sleep on those that I do when it is my own pillow. When we travel, I now bring my pillow with us so I won't wake the following day being angry at everything. There's a lot to be said for a good night's rest, after all.

5. My house - Why? Because it's mine. Because owning a house means not having to move around a lot or deal with shiesty landlords. It is something I can leave to my kids when I pass. I'm close to the hospital, there's plenty of room for my brat-dog to run around in the yard, and my neighbors are great. Oh! And I can have whatever darned kinds of pets I want - no landlord to tell me this kind of pet or that kind is prohibited on the premises. If I want snakes, I can have snakes; if I want goats or other livestock, I can have those (granted I wouldn't put a cow or horse on the lot as I think there needs to be plenty of room for larger animals to roam and graze). Owning your own home does have it's boons.

Possessions are only temporary things though and while all of these things make it easier for me to live, more bearable even in some instances, I know that none of them are permanent and I sure as heck can't take them with me when I die. Of all of them, I think my meds would be what I couldn't live without the most - even though they're also what I want the least to have to live with.
October 30, 2021 at 9:38pm
October 30, 2021 at 9:38pm
         I think it is wonderful how different we all are here at WDC but we all have the same love of writing. I appreciate seeing things from perspectives different than my own. There are some things that I see one way while others see in an entirely different light. I am grateful to be able to read your works and answers to thought provoking questions and prompts, to read everyone's newsfeed posts. I appreciate SM and SMs for creating this safe-haven for writers and various other logophiles to express ourselves. I equally appreciate everyone who has over the years reviewed my work and given me their opinions/advice on how I could make my stuff better. You all have been a huge help in finding weak areas in my writing that I didn't see and offering me suggestions on how I could make them better. Thank you everyone for your encouragement, honesty, and help. You are all awesome in my humble opinion.
October 30, 2021 at 1:37pm
October 30, 2021 at 1:37pm
"Journalistic Intentions - October Entry 8 - Beer Cheese Soup

         I'm the kind of girl that likes to save the best for last. These prompts were no exception. I mean, what could be better than cheese and beer? I don't get to drink like I used to, but I still appreciate a good brew when one presents itself, and I thoroughly enjoy cooking with beer. Adding beer to many different dishes brings a new dimension to the flavor profile of the food - and it also has the ability to tenderize any meat that you are cooking in it. Win-win in my opinion. Now, beer cheese soup, whoever first thought of this concoction was a culinary genius. Nothing sounds better and more warming on a cool Fall day than a thick beer cheese soup. Now, I think creating this delightful soup myself would be a trial and error process until I found the right combination of cheeses and beer. There are just so many of both out there that you could potentially have a different flavored beer cheese soup each day for quite a while. (My mind is not thinking mathematically today so this is the closest estimate I can give you right now). Let's just say there are tons of possible combinations. I'd probably start off with a nice extra sharp cheddar and see how it tasted when paired with a nut brown ale or maybe even a stout. But, I think the stout would be better suited for combining with a blend of gouda and sharp cheddar. Like I said, the possibilities are almost endless. Some combinations likely wouldn't turn out well at all, but others could end up being your new favorite soup. And why not add things other than the spices, like maybe some rice or potato chunks to thicken it up a bit more... Well, now I've gone and done it; I have made myself hungry - again. So, I'm off to scour my fridge for something that tickles my fancy because I'm feeling too lazy to actually cook anything right now. But beer cheese soup is definitely something I'm going to have to try to cook for myself.
October 29, 2021 at 10:17pm
October 29, 2021 at 10:17pm
"Journalistic Intentions October Entry 7 - Boudin

         I had never had boudin until I moved to East Texas when I was 25. I had eaten smoked sausage prepared in a variety of ways, hot links, summer sausage, brats - but no boudin. But the farther east you go toward Louisiana, the easier it is to find boudin. The stuff is everywhere. But even though it is on the supermarket shelves around here, it took a crazy Cajun friend of mine to talk me into trying it. And once I did, I was hooked. Cajun boudin is almost a meal in and of itself all wrapped up in a tidy package of pork intestine. If that sounds gross, just know many smoked sausages and bratwurst also have intestines as their casings - and you really don't want to know what all goes inside the casings on most sausages. In this case, ignorance is bliss, promise me. But I have never been one with a weak stomach and have tried and eaten many things that the contents of would make many others queasy. But if you haven't tried Cajun boudin, it is definitely worth a try. The sausage is a mixture of rice, pork organs, pork meat, and a whole host of vegetables and Cajun seasonings. Boudin is great to eat by itself and is equally tasty thrown into a gumbo or etouffee. Cajun cuisine has many culinary offerings to surprise and delight your taste buds but I have to say, boudin is one of my favorites.
October 29, 2021 at 12:36am
October 29, 2021 at 12:36am
"Journalistic Intentions - October, Entry 6 - Sean Sherman  

What would it be like to take a portion of your heritage, strengthen your skills in that area, and share it with the world? Sean Sherman and the rest of the cook staff at Owamni could tell you because that is exactly what they did. The Sioux Chef, Sean Sherman, and his peers at the restaurant have taken Native American cuisine and shared it with the world. Even better, Mr. Sherman encourages other Indigenous peoples by purchasing most of his ingredients from Native producers and they use only the ingredients that would have been found amongst the tribes in pre-colonial times. It culminates in a healthy culinary lesson on culture and history. What a wonderful way to embrace your culture! Now, if more people would do similar, perhaps we could come to understand more about the Indigenous cultures within the United States. The Native American culture within my family has been lost. What a spiritual moment it would be to relive even something as simple as the cuisine of my Cherokee ancestors. This is like a call to get back to my roots and expand on my experiences. I would be down to give Mr. Sherman's food a try. How about you?
October 29, 2021 at 12:13am
October 29, 2021 at 12:13am
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DAY 3279 October 29, 2021
October is almost over and the insanity of nanowrimo begins. Are you participating in the writing challenge? Or are you working on other goals?

I won't be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I have too much on my plate already what with all the doctor visits, QOTD, blogging for BCOF and 30DBC; writing poems for "EXPRESS IT IN EIGHT, "Promptly Poetry Challenge, and any of the numerous monthly contests I enter {{item:2216416}, "The Random Poetry Contest, "Dark Dreamscapes Poetry Contest, ** Image ID #1935693 Unavailable ** , "Your Better Nature Contest, "Test Your Poetry etc.). My main goal is to stay as close to healthy as possible physically and mentally - but I have a writing goal which is to enter all these contests and challenges for the entire month of November. Writing is a welcome break from the problems of a tortured reality and I believe it helps me keep going. Happy writing everyone!
October 28, 2021 at 11:46am
October 28, 2021 at 11:46am
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DAY 3278 October 28, 2021
What would you say to your 80 year old self about all the things you've witnessed in life? Would you discuss what you've missed out and regretted or would you congratulate yourself on all the things you've accomplished?

If I am blessed to live to be 80, I would congratulate myself on making it that far and chuckle at the memory that I never thought I would see life past age 21. I would reminisce over memories of hell-raising, pushing everything past their limits, trying new things, and the journeys inside my mind to find myself. Regrets are only missed opportunities and in my life there has never been room for those. At 80, I would pour myself a glass of Crown and sit down next to the love of my life to chill to some Muddy Waters and Travelling Wilburys playing on the radio. I would be utterly amazed that I not only proved the doctors wrong, I did so by a landslide amount, as I wasn't supposed to live to see 45. My eighty year old self would alternately laugh at and curse the youngsters for their strange ways and their horrible music, their lack of responsibility, and their sense of entitlement. I'd stare deeply into my husband's sky blue orbs and fall in love with him all over again, like I had each day of the last fifty-six years. Then I would take a big drink of that Crown Royal XR and smile huge, sigh, and happily drift off into daydreams of more of my youthful shenanigans. I'd be grateful for the lot of it; the good, the bad, and the crazy. Life is, after all, what you make of it.
October 27, 2021 at 5:24pm
October 27, 2021 at 5:24pm
"Journalistic Intentions October Entry 5 - Fish and Chips

         While the concept of fish and chips still exists in my neck of the southern US, we do things a bit differently down here - and we don't call our fries "chips". Not a big deal really, it's just that if you say you'd like some chips in my part of Texas, you would be handed a bag of either potato chips or corn chips to eat with your fried fish. But, that's just a difference of locality that changes the lingo. However, how we fry our fish is also different. Rather than making a batter to dip the fish filets into, we use a dry cornmeal mixture to coat the fish before we put it into the deep fryer to cook. Rather than using saltwater fish like cod or haddock, we tend to use primarily freshwater fish such as catfish, bass, and crappie when we fry fish. We like our fried fish so much in the southern US that we have this thing called a fish fry where copious amounts of fish is fried up for large groups of people to enjoy while we socialize with friends and family. There are plenty of fries to be found at a fish fry too. Like I said we do fish and chips, we just do it differently. And at a fish fry you can almost always find additional sides like coleslaw or baked beans and some kind of roll, biscuit, or bread (my choice is cornbread).

         But you know, as I discussed the differences and similarities, I couldn't help but wonder where the term "French fries", or "fries" for short originated. So, I looked it up thanks to the world wide web. But, there are so many different stories about when and where fries were created that I'm going to save that discussion for another day.
October 27, 2021 at 4:04pm
October 27, 2021 at 4:04pm
"Journalistic Intentions October Entry 4 - Lion's Mane Mushrooms

         This topic has come up many times in my daily life over the last few weeks, so I decided to research it more and write about this little mycological and culinary marvel. There are precious few fungi that are both used in culinary creations and medicinally. Usually, you find one without the other. What exactly is a lion's mane mushroom? How are they used medicinally? What kinds of things do they treat? How are they commonly cooked and eaten? I intend on answering all of these questions here.

         The Latin name for lion's mane mushroom is Hericium erinaceus and in various parts of the world has also been referred to as "bearded tooth fungus", "bearded hedgehog mushroom", and "monkey head mushroom", to name but a few. An interesting fact about the Latin name of this fungus is that both the genus name, "Hericium" and the species name, "erinaceus" mean hedgehog inn the Latin language, according to Wikipedia (how correct this piece of information is remains to be seen, but it is interesting).

         The lion's mane is native throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, preferring hardwood trees as hosts. While the lion's mane is native throughout the northern hemisphere, it has been listed as threatened in the UK, however, they are produced industrially in the US on a small scale and on a larger scale in Asia. The mushrooms (the fruiting bodies of the fungus) generally produce in the fall months, between August and November. The greatest spore production within the lion's mane mushroom happens during these months around midday each day and tend to produce more during warmer days with moderately high humidity. This particular fungus has a slow mycelium growth (the main part of the fungus that is found within the tree it is growing on) and has been known to be able to last decades within the host tree.

         Lion's mane is a specialty mushroom commonly used in gourmet cooking and has a flavor that has been likened to lobster, shrimp, or crab. The mushrooms can be dried, fried, cut into steaks and pan cooked, cut into strips and sauteed with chopped garlic, onions, and the like, or even eaten raw. One of the recipes I found worth trying was a vegetarian ceviche  . Check it out some time.

         Lion’s mane mushrooms have been known for some time in parts of Asia to be great for various body functions and conditions. For centuries, traditional Chinese medicine has used lion's mane mushrooms for aiding in the cure of certain ailments. In Japan, Buddhist monks revered and understood it to be almost a mystical source of nutrition. Studies have shown that lion's mane could possibly stimulate brain cell growth, protecting those cells from damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. Studies have also shown possibilities in regenerating cells damaged due to peripheral nerve injury, to potentially slow the progression or reverse the spread of certain types of cancer, to improve digestive and circulatory health as well as supporting the heart, prevent blood clots, and to reduce inflammation. These mushrooms have also shown promise when attempting to improve immune function, manage diabetes, and improve mental health.

         The only side effect of ingesting lion's mane I was able to find was caused by an allergic reaction to the mushroom. It sounds too good to be true, right? Makes me want to try some right now! Today supplements of lion's mane can be found in powder form, pill form, and as a tea. And don't worry. You can buy the raw mushrooms at specialty grocers or if you reside in the US, you can order a kit so you can grow your own lion's mane mushrooms!

October 21, 2021 at 11:36am
October 21, 2021 at 11:36am
"Journalistic Intentions October Entry 3 - Cheese

         All my life I have had a love affair with cheese. As a kid, I would get into trouble with my mom by sneaking into the kitchen around dinnertime and eating the crispy browned cheese off the top of dishes like pizza and lasagna. Grilled cheese sandwiches were my favorite lunchtime fare until I got into high school and learned you could add hot ham to the sandwich and make it even better. But even today, if I am feeling bad all I want to eat is a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of either chicken noodle or tomato soup. For me, cheese in any form is the ultimate comfort food. It is the best food for the munchies and is an excellent addition to any meal. I married a man who is just as enthusiastic about cheese and our girls also share our love. We joke we are like a family of mice we like cheese so much. It is probably our most purchased and eaten food item. Shredded, sliced, block - I buy them all every time I go to the grocery store to shop. You will also find cottage cheese, soft cheeses, and curds in our fridge. Recently, I have seen signs that my husband is even more bonkers for cheese than I am. I have caught him sleepwalking to the refrigerator in the middle of the night and grabbing slices of cheese or handfuls of shredded cheese. I have even awoken in the morning to find slices of cheese in bed with us, stuck to his arm or torso and even stuck to the bed sheets. Cheese is by far my favorite food though. In fact while I have been able to survive without eating many greens due to one of my health conditions and one of the medications I am on, I really don't think I could go a day without eating cheese. I would be like I was as a kid or maybe even take a few lessons from the hubby and sneak it every chance I got.

Here's to the love of cheese! Possibly the world's greatest culinary discovery.

for the love of cheese

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