wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Orion’s Gift – Review

Author Diana Wallace Peach has kindly reviewed my novel, Orion’s Gift, and has included it in her April reviews on her blog. You can see all the reviews there.

I enjoyed writing this book because it included many scenes from my travels to Baja California. The plot is totally fiction, but it was inspired by characters I met there.

Diana W. Peach’s Review of Orion’s Gift by Anneli Purchase

Sylvia and Kevin are both escaping abusive relationships and individually head to Mexico to camp along the beautiful beaches of Baja. They end up meeting and fall immediately into lust, which gradually turns into something deeper. But nothing’s going to be that easy as the drug trade south of the border strikes a little close to their camper-homes, and even worse, their exes are trying to hunt them down.

Romance with lots of misunderstandings and emotional turmoil is a major theme in the book, but the subplots add a lot of drama to the story. Both exes—who are quite different from each other—have chapters from their points-of-view which adds to the building tension. The subplot regarding the drug trade escalates the danger, particularly for Sylvia.

I liked the quick pace of the story and there was plenty going on to keep me turning the pages. The descriptions of camping in Baja include well-researched details, not only regarding the landscape but also the challenges, the things visitors need to know, and some of the pitfalls. I enjoyed the authenticity they lent to the story.

Kevin was my favorite character as he’s pretty solid and straightforward. Sylvia suffers from insecurities throughout the book, but this struck me as realistic based on her history as a victim of domestic violence. She also has a secret that interferes with any dreams of a future with Kevin. A well-rounded story and highly recommended to readers of romance.

*****

You can find Orion’s Gift by going to my website: www.anneli-purchase.com


32 Comments

To Share or not to Share

 

 “To be, or not to be, that is the question”

By William Shakespeare, otherwise known as Willy Wiggle-sword.
(from Hamlet, spoken by Hamlet)
 
To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.
 
 
Della’s Version
Spoken from Lincoln’s Woodshed
by his girlfriend, Della:
 
To share, or not to share, it’s out of the question:
Whether ’tis nobler for the stomach to suffer
The stings and pangs of outrageous starvation,
Or to take in my arms the tines of moose
And by chewing, end the ends of them.
 
 
 
 
I’ve got my nose right on this tine and it smells so-o-o   go-o-o-od!
 
 
 
Oh yeah! I’ve found the mother lode!
 
 
 
But what if Lincoln finds me and sees that I didn’t call him in on the smorgasbord … should I tell him what I found?
 
 
 
M-m-m…. O-h-h-h! This is so-o-o-o good.
 
 
 
It’s nice to share, but … no-no-no-no-no, I have to get my fill first. Call me greedy, but I’m not sure Lincoln would share if he were the one who found it first … would he?
 
 
What’s that? You say I have a dribble on my chin? That’s okay. I can wipe it off later. No time right now.
 
 
 
To share or not to share…. Oh piffle! I’m gonna go for it.
 
 
 
I’ll just point out that I’ve left him lots of other tines.
 
 
 
 
Still, I’d hate to be caught being greedy. I’d better make a run for it.
 
 
 
I can always go back to my feeding station on the other post. There’s still some good nibbling left on those tines.
Amazing how much flavour is still in there after 17 years.
 
 
 
Wanna watch me nibble with my sharp teeth?  I warn you that Anneli is not a good photographer. She wiggled as I nibbled. Also, try to ignore the neighbours’ power washer. I did. Click on the video link if you feel brave and later, why not check out Anneli’s website if you’ve never seen it. www.anneli-purchase.com 
 

 

This is the ghost of Nibbles Past. 

Don’t touch me, Della.

You’d better run fast.

DSCN8773a


44 Comments

Blackberries

Who doesn’t love blackberries? They’re sweet and tart and good for us. BUT, the plants are so thick they grow into a formidable barrier wherever they take root.

Blackberries grow wild in many places, especially on Vancouver Island. They are tough plants with fierce thorns for protection, and they have their prolific growth patterns perfected. The vines that come up from the roots each year will easily take root wherever the end (or middle or any other part) of the vine touches the ground.

It is listed as an invasive plant. No kidding!

The blackberries in front of our hedge had grown so much that they were pulling down our wire deer fence, squeezing through the cedars, and slurping up all the water we were giving the hedge.

I’d had enough.

You can see that locals had made us their dog walk. Why let your dog poop by your own property when you can bring it over to someone else’s and let them do their business there?

Unfortunately, many of the ones who picked up after their dogs then thought it was okay to fling the plastic poop bag into the blackberries. And while they were at it, why not fling any other garbage in there too? After all, out of sight, out of mind. I found a water bottle from a local coffee shop, beer cans, beer bottles, a ball point pen in two parts, candy wrappers,about six  poop bags, and even an umbrella.

And one conscientious person didn’t pick up their doggie’s “doo” but left it for nature to take care of. Actually I prefer that, but please, move it out of the way? Then again, when you get hundreds of people bringing their dogs to poop, how is it going to look and smell if no one takes care of that business?

I’m glad I don’t walk there, but it IS in front of my house.

It took me several weeks of cutting, hacking, pulling, cursing, and wincing to get the blackberry vines to let go and to pile them up in heaps.

 

The blackberries have been cut down,

But new ones come up from the ground,

The old vines have the hardest spikes,

They give a poke that no one likes.

 

The young vines wrap so easily,

Around my arm, around my knee,

They tangle right into my hair,

They scratch me, and they don’t care where.

 

I wonder if it’s worth the woe

To cut the vines so they won’t grow.

For every piece I cut away

I get another scratch and pay.

 

My arms and legs have red designs

They’re scratched with deep and angry lines

And even as the first pain fades

I run to get some more Band-aids.

 

 

 


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Comfort Food

Yesterday I felt the need for comfort food. I took out a bag of frozen apples and a bag of frozen pears, but the pear bag was bigger than the apple bag, so rather than have one pie too big and the other too skimpy, I combined the fruit and made pearapple pies.

While I had a messy kitchen and a hot oven, I thought I might as well make some almond pie squares using half the sugar and adding a cup of coconut.

I won’t do the recipe thing here, because I’ve done posts on them both before. I’ll put the links to the posts with the recipes at the bottom of the page.

 

Almond Bars:

https://wordsfromanneli.com/2018/06/13/almond-bars/

Apple Pie:

https://wordsfromanneli.com/2016/08/11/apple-pie/

Anneli’s books to read while you eat your comfort food:

http://www.anneli-purchase.com/


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Old Slippers

Several years ago a good friend gave me a pair of brand new slippers for my birthday. I didn’t think I really needed slippers, but when I started wearing them, I thought, “Darn! These are comfortable.”

Over time I became attached to them, and Emma realized this. Now we had a competition over possession of the slippers.

I should have remembered what happened to my Birkenstocks when she was just a puppy and she ate the straps right out of one of them.

“Did I do good, MA? Huh? Huh?”

 

She has outgrown the chewing habit, but she still likes to take a little nibble if the flavour is especially good.

So if she only nibbles a bit, how did the slippers get like this?

Well, she knows I need my slippers in the morning, and when she wants me to get up, she brings ONE of them to the bedside. This may be after she has slept on it.

And who knows where the other one is?

So the conversation with the dog goes like this,” Thank you!” (which is what I have to say to make her give it up – she has me trained). Then I say, “Go get the other one.”

She runs around the house to wherever she left the slipper and brings it back to me.

Then she makes me beg for it and say, “Thank you!”

After five years of nibbling and fetching, my slippers have changed shape somewhat.

Do you think I need new slippers?


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Six Years Old

I know you’ve seen these photos  before, but a puppy’s life in review doesn’t change. Emma’s photos look the same at 9 weeks as she did when I took them. I love how she laughs at the camera. Maybe that little finger of mine that looks like it’s missing is tickling her.

She wasn’t terribly interested in a stuffed toy unless I tried to take it away. That fuzzy bed I paid big bucks for – well … a week or so later, she had figured out how to take it apart and had the circular wall separated from the base. Guess she wanted to see how it was put together.

She was a sweet puppy, full of fun, and always up for a treat, as her fat little belly proves.

Soon she had learned to sit, come, and stay, and here she is saying, “Now I want you to take me seriously. Someday I’ll grow into these big mitts.”

“Somebody’s coming,” she tells the Captain.

When we go to Montana, she still follows Ruby’s lead and does as Ruby does. Which turned out to be a bit of a problem because she learned all of Ruby’s bad habits as well as the good ones.

She has taken over the couch when we are camping, while Ruby still stays on the floor (thank goodness).

 

Hats off to you, Emma. Happy birthday.

 


27 Comments

The Nuthatches Make a Move

I’ve decided this is a better location, Martha. Even the exterior is more interesting with its designer bark siding.

You go ahead up there, Nathan. I’m going to check out this one at the lower level. Less of a target, maybe? And the chipping is easy. Look at me! I’m almost halfway in already.

What if Martha’s right? I’m kind of conspicuous up here. Besides I’m wondering if I’m getting too close to the inside of that crater on top.

 

How ‘re ya comin’ along down there, Martha?

Eeeeuuuw! What is THAT in there? If it moves, I’ll eat it.

Oh … ah …  er … fine, Nathan …

but I seem to have come up against a gnarly knot in this hole.

Sheesh! Just look at ‘er. She’s halfway through to the other side. Maybe that gnarly knot will slow her down and put me back in the running.

Now let’s see. Where was I going with this fibre? Mustn’t let on to Martha, but was I going to put that fibre in the nest or did I just chip it out of there? Is this how it sneaks up on you? Forgetting things?

Nathan, what’s wrong with you? Put that fibre into the nest already. Dithering around like you don’t know if you’re coming or going? Unless you’ve decided on my nest after all?

Oh, this is too frustrating. I need a break. Up this tree looks like a good place to get away for a while.

 

Nayyyyyy-thannnnn! See me up here? Catch me if you can!

See me?

Here I am.

Just to the right of the trunk. If you can find me, I’ll help you with the building again….

Look at Nathan! Isn’t he just so cute, but I have to play hard to get or he’ll take off after Mitzi. She’s been mooning around Nathan, especially the other night when the moon was full.  C’mon, Nathan. Up here, in the tree. Come and find me.

Martha or Mitzi,

So itsy and bitsy,

They’re both after me

As I chip on this tree.

 

Martha is strong,

And with her I belong,

But I’ll let her dangle

Until I finagle

A way to find love with them both.

 


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Family Planning

Have I ever found a good tree for making a nuthatch nest in! Hydro poles don’t fall easily. Say, Martha, come check out the house I’m building for you.

 

I’ll just catch my breath before she comes. Don’t want her to think I can’t handle this job. Although it is a bugger to excavate all this wood to make a nice bedroom for the children.

 

Hmm … still a way to go. But she can help when she gets here. IF she gets here.

 

Where the heck IS she? I need her to help chip the hole deep, and also to put the resin on the inside of the entrance. Oh, I’ll do the outside, but she can do the inside.  That’ll discourage any other birds from bothering us. They don’t want to get sticky. And we’ll just slide through with our sleek bodies and we won’t even get any on us.

 

Hey, Martha! Bring that stick you found for smearing the resin droplets around. Hope she hurries up. I’m getting a bit frazzled from all this work. Having a bad hair day, too. Ah … here she comes.

 

Nathan, I thought you said it was ready for the resin! This is nowhere deep enough yet. We’ve got work to do!

 

Whaddaya mean, Martha. That is …  how many kids were you planning on having? … Martha? Where’d she go?

 

Maybe if I bring her a little treat from the feeder, she’ll get into a better mood. Just hope she doesn’t want ten kids.

 


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Moon Walk

Why? The moon is WAY behind the branches of the tree in this photo, so why don’t the branches show up as being in front of the moon?

I moved over a few steps to get a clear picture.

 

The sun has lent its warming glow

And moon reflects a brilliant show.

A golden globe that floats on high

Suspended in a magic sky.

 

Why don’t we go there for a while

And take our moon boots, go in style?

A bouncy moonwalk, we will do

Upon the moon rock, me and you.

 

And if we see the man in the moon

You’ll catch me if I start to swoon,

Then back to Earth it’s time to scuttle

Snuggled in our cozy shuttle.

 

Once again from Earth we’ll sigh

To see this marvel in the sky.

Golden warmth has filled our soul

I hold your hand and I feel whole.

 

 


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Simple but Good Scalloped Potatoes

Since we are all at home and have plenty of time, I thought it would be a good time to  make scalloped potatoes, and have enough for several meals if I put the extra portions in little tubs in the freezer.

The food processor makes a lot of the jobs easier, like slicing potatoes and onions and grating the cheese, but you can certainly do it with a knife if you don’t have a food processor.

I like to get all my ingredients ready before I start building the creation. Celery sliced fine, thin bits of ham, sliced potatoes, sliced onions, and grated cheese (I like to use Asiago in the middle for a zippy taste, and something that melts well – like cheddar or mozza on the top).

Don’t ask me how many potatoes. Maybe six? Seven? As many as it takes.

Butter a large casserole pan and put a layer of potatoes in the bottom.

Grind some pepper onto the potatoes but DO NOT put salt on if you are using ham. If you still crave more salt when it is done you can always sprinkle a bit on at the table.

Layer the onion, ham, cheese and celery in the pan. I ended up with one layer of celery and two of ham, probably three of potatoes, with Asiago in one of the middle layers. Arrange it any way you like. It doesn’t matter that much. I’ve heard some people say not to put the cheese and the onion next to each other or the cheese tastes too much like onion, but you have to suit yourself. Throw some more pepper on  now and then.

The cheddar or mozza goes on last, but before that last layer, I poured about two cups of half and half (coffee cream) into a measuring cup and added a couple of tablespoons of pesto. You don’t need to do the pesto thing but I thought I’d try it and we liked it. Parsley is probably the standard green stuff to put on it at this point.

If you use milk instead of cream, you might want to add two tablespoons of flour and mix it into the milk before pouring it over the layers.

Then sprinkle cheese on top – lots of cheese! – and cover it with tin foil and put it in the oven at 350 for an hour, or hour and a half. Take the tin foil off 15 minutes before you take it out so the cheese can brown a tiny bit.

Poke the potatoes with a sharp paring knife to check for tenderness. (This is probably the only time you can poke something with a sharp knife and expect tenderness.)

In that hour and a half while the scalloped potatoes are baking, you have plenty of time to make a salad to go with it.

There was so much food in this one dish that I was able to put away several portions in the freezer to take out for quick lunches some other days.