When You Need the Ear Monster

When I was a young girl, I couldn’t fall asleep if my ears were not covered. I believed in the Ear Monster, and the Ear Monster tore off all the exposed ears of sleeping children. So I slept with my covers pulled tightly over half my head.

I shared a room with my sister at the time, and I remember being absolutely blown out of my mind that not only did my older sister sleep with her ears uncovered, but she also slept facing the wall, leaving her back exposed to the outside. Another big no-no for me.

We slept in separate twin beds, pushed up against walls directly across from each other. The wall on my side was my safety, my shield. If I wanted to lie on my side, I had to lie so my back faced the wall–always. To lie the other way, with my back facing open space, meant that any monster under my bed, or in my closet, could have sneaked up on me and snatched me from my bed, and I’d never see it coming.

I needed to feel prepared, facing the direction of any possible incoming attacks from the monsters that only came out at night. I must have scared them off with my ready-to-defend-myself position because they never came after me one time –not once.

I had forgotten for a long time about the Ear Monster, but I thought of my childhood nemesis when I remembered my college Creative Writing professor, who had once instructed the class I was sitting in to look to children for inspiration when we were struggling to write because children have highly imaginative and creative minds.

My professor was right. My childhood imagination ran amok, especially at night.

I am currently writing my third book, a book I had planned to have completed months ago. I’m near the end, but for the past few weeks I’ve been getting stuck in certain places, unsure of the path to take the story while on my way to the ending I’ve already written. You can say I’m blocked.

I need my old childhood imagination. I need the Ear Monster.

 

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Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

The Little Things…

Today was the epitome of what a spring day should be, and it was about time because only a few short weeks ago there was snow on the ground. But this morning, as I walked my dog underneath the warm sunshine, I watched birds flap their wings boldly as they flew in the sky, and listened to them chirp their soothing sounds. I love listening to birds sing. For me, the sound is the first proof that winter is finally coming to an end and the days will soon be getting longer. 

I took a moment to appreciate that not only was I physically well enough to take my dog for a walk outside, but also, that I was able to hear and see all the beauties of the day. Ever since I had read an article written by a young man who had lost his sense of taste after suffering a nasty cold, I have imagined what living would be like without other senses. 

When people are asked about our five senses, the ones that people probably consider the most are hearing and seeing. I remember as a child watching a blind woman in my grandmother’s neighborhood walking by herself, up and down the streets, with only a stick to guide her. I was amazed and when I asked me grandma about it, she very causally responded that the woman walks by herself outside all the time. Everywhere.

I have been in public places where I’ve watched hearing impaired people communicate through sign language, and of course, before most any TV show or sporting broadcast, a voice instructs the audience of the option available to select for the hearing impaired.

Also, I’ve seen many movies and TV shows that have included characters who are either deaf or blind, so I have many times considered what it would be like to be deaf or blind. Yet, I don’t remember ever contemplating how life would be if I lost my sense of taste, but since reading that article, I think about that possibility all the time.

Losing one’s sense of taste may not seem so life-changing as compared to the thought of losing one’s sight or hearing, and that may be true. But food is a big part of people’s lives. Not only is it needed to stay alive, but people often feel an identity by the food they eat as being part of their culture.

The man in the article described eating with no sense of taste as being the same as chewing a piece of gum that has lost its flavor.  Basically, when the gum starts to taste like rubber. This is how this man’s food now tastes to him–all the time. Like rubber.  There is no getting a fresh piece of gum for him any longer. Everything he puts in his mouth has the same bland, dull taste.

The food he eats will no longer satisfy any craving he may have. His taste buds have deceived him. About a month ago, I was watching a movie about the Australian band, INXS. I learned that lead singer, Michael Hutchence, had lost not only his sense of taste, but his sense of smell, as well, after a confrontation with a cab driver that left Hutchence on the ground with a banged up head. Hutchence would take his own life years later.

As I walked my dog this morning, I took a moment to appreciate the ability to take in the scene in every way possible. I could see the gorgeous blue sky with its white fluffy scattered clouds. I heard the birds sing, as well as the roar of lawnmowers, and smelled the earthy scent of freshly cut grass. All of this combined, helped to bring out the true beauty of that day.

I may never realize the feeling of flying in my own private jet, or  having more money than I know what to do with, but today I am grateful to have all of my senses.

Sometimes, it truly are the little things that matter in life.

 

Erotica Author, Lizzie T. Leaf and Her Sexy Twix Recipe

Erotica author Lizzie T. Leaf is here to tease at least two of your senses. So tempt away, Lizzie, the kitchen is all yours!

I love to make this easy treat for a cozy Saturday night when I want to snuggle with my wonderful husband and share some personal time.

More Twix

Photo by Mister GC

Shortbread
1 cup (2 sticks) (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup (85 grams) powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups (250 grams) all purpose flour
½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 300oF (150C) and place rack in center of oven.

With an electric mixer or hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add egg and beat until combined.

Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour and salt and beat until the dough just comes together.

Refrigerate the dough until firm.

Roll out the dough or press onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet front-to-back half-way through baking.

Caramel Filling
3 – 5.5 ounce bags (15.5 ounces total) soft caramels or make your own http://www.instructables.com/id/Caramel-Recipe/
2 tbsp. milk or cream
1 tsp. butter
dash salt (opt)

Place your caramels, milk and salt in a microwaveable bowl and nuke for 1 minute at a time, stopping to stir, until melted, 3-4minutes.

If you’re using homemade caramels, you can reduce the amount of milk and microwave time. If you’re using hard caramels, increase the milk.

Pour caramel over the baked cookie.

Once the caramel has set, cut into whatever size pieces you desire. For best results, chill them in the freezer to firm up before dipping.

Chocolate Topping
12 ounces (240 grams) milk chocolate, cut into fairly uniform pieces
1 tsp. non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening or butter

Place chocolate in a small saucepan set on medium heat. Be sure to stir the chocolate as you carefully melt it. Adjust temp so your chocolate does not burn.

Add shortening or butter to help make the chocolate thinner for dipping as needed.

Dip the bars in the tempered chocolate and place on waxed or parchment paper to set.

Do not attempt to move your Twix bars before they’re set or they’re liable to come apart.

Once they’ve set, you’re ready to share and enjoy! For best results, store in the fridge.

Here’s a brief intro to my vampire story that is guaranteed to warm your chilly spring nights.

Socialite Deb Stein lives a life of luxury until she takes the hunk dressed as a vampire to her bed. When she wakes up one of the living dead, she’s pissed-off. To complicate matters more, she has to find a new identity since everyone thinks she’s dead. Plus, if she’s dead, she can’t touch her trust fund, and that means she has to work! How can someone who has never held a job find one?

And her social life is in the tank. Her new friends are a street guy called Rat and fellow strippers at the dive where she works. If she ever sees Aaron Lowell again, she’ll put a stake in his heart.

Aaron Lowell feels guilty he took his mentor’s advice and left town after taking the sexy socialite into the undead world. Concerned, he returns to check on her and discovers she’s become a stripper—and not a very happy one when she sees him. But she’s still hot, and he can’t stay away from her, even if their meetings are explosive.

Can two vampires move beyond anger, combined with a strong sexual attraction, to find the kind of love they both crave?

BUY LINK

To read excerpts from other books by Lizzie T. Leaf please click onto Amazon.

Lizzie T. Leaf loved books since she opened her first one. Her dream was to write them herself. Lost in the hectic day to day world of family, job, laundry and housework, writing became a distant memory. When the twinkling ember did spark, it was usually doused by someone demanding their share of her time.

Lizzie’s life went full circle. The desire to put the stories that continued to play in her head on paper emerged stronger than ever, and at a time when there was someone who encouraged. Now she lives her dream.

Learn more about Lizzie T. Leaf on her website and blog. Connect with Lizzie on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

See all of Lizzie’s book on Amazon.

Love Dogs? Then Boycott China

My Twitter feed has blown up with tweets about the upcoming horrendous Yulin Dog Meat Festival that is set to take place on the summer solstice. If you don’t know about this barbaric festival, take a moment to Google it, and then do what you can to raise awareness. Tweet, donate, share on social media. I have signed petitions and tweeted up a storm against last year’s festival, but the festivities went on, and over 10,000 dogs and cats were stolen from streets and backyards to become someone’s meal in the most brutal way.

It is utterly disgusting. I don’t think that tweeting and signing petitions are enough. Short of flying to China myself and rescuing as many dogs as I can, the only thing I can think to do from here is to boycott everything that is China.

How hard would it be to boycott Chinese products? I don’t know because I’ve never tried it before, but I’m bracing myself for a huge challenge.  A call to boycott “Made in China” isn’t new. Most likely everyone’s heard that cry before. I do try to be a conscientious consumer (although I really hate referring to people as consumers, because we are so much more than consuming maniacs, at least we should be, but I will call myself a consumer in this case), especially when it comes to the food I buy.

I am not an over-shopper. I hate shopping. Usually something has to break before I consider replacing it. I finally bought a new phone last month after three years with my old one, a Motorola that most likely was made in China, by a six year old, even though Motorola is an American company. (Yeah, this boycott’s gonna be tough.) It’s not that I suddenly got sick of my old phone. It lasted a long time, especially considering that I didn’t buy it new. The thing just suddenly stopped sending texts, and probably receiving them, too. 

When I told a friend about my plan to boycott all that is China, he informed me that if I shop at Walmart that it would be impossible to find anything that isn’t made in China in that store. Luckily, I don’t shop at Walmart. I can probably count on both hands the amount of times I have stepped into that store in my life. I stay away because of what I believe are unfair employment practices.

Since I won’t even buy food for my dog that was made in China, because of the many recalls pertaining to food and treats for dogs in recent years that were made in the country, steering away from food made in China shouldn’t be difficult at all.

However, it is my plan in the next few months to buy a new computer. And this is where the Chinese boycott may prove difficult. The desktop I am currently working on is eight years old, and, like my phone, I believe that too was bought refurbished. I would have to call an ex-girlfriend if I really want to confirm this, because she’s the one who bought the computer for me, but the specifics aren’t that important to me. I won’t be making any phone calls to her anytime soon. So, the question is, can I find a computer that isn’t made in China? I’ll soon find out.

I also need a new desk chair because the one I just threw out was, no kidding, twenty-one years old. I did not buy that new either. I didn’t buy it at all, actually. The chair was given to me by my sister’s boyfriend at the time. I was looking for a chair and he had one he wasn’t using. It was a comfortable chair. A lot more comfortable than the temporary seat I am sitting in right now. Will I find a comfy desk chair that isn’t made in China? Again, I’ll soon find out.

In the much more distant future, I will hopefully be looking to purchase a new car NOT made in China, rather America, preferably. I am currently driving a ten-year old Dodge. Knock on wood, the car’s been good to me. And I’ve been happy with it. Like my old phone, my computer, and my old chair, the car, too, was not bought new. This lack of “newness” in my life never occurred to me until now. I guess I just don’t need “shiny and new” all the time.

I like broken-in. Worn. Reliable. Experienced.

I am starting my boycott on all Chinese products today. I know the country won’t feel my sole boycott in the slightest, and children and women will still be forced to work long hours at slave wages in deplorable conditions. And, most likely, the horrific Yulin Dog Meat Festival will still go on this year.

But at least I will no longer be contributing to a country’s barbarities.

I’m through with you China.

 

 

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Photo is public domain.