What you will find here

This is a place to examine plans filled with hope; plans which promise a refuge from chaos; plans which will shape our futures. Veterans with and without PTSD, Pentecostal Presbyterians, Adjudicated Youth, and Artists-Musicians-Writers: I write what I know. ~~~ Evelyn

Friday, July 25, 2014

Excerpt from Follow the Bees Chapter Four



          He was a huge Newfoundlander; dark and muscular.  Colette was a yellow lab, large by most standards, but diminished by her companion.  They looped across heathery fields and bounded over streams full of koi.  The sun never rose; it never set; it burned golden in the powder blue of the dream-world sky.  In a lucid dream, everything was brighter, smelled richer, felt fuller, tasted like heaven.  In lucid dreaming, everything had meaning.  The Labrador and Newfoundlander nipped affectionately at each other, as dogs do.

          They topped a rise and she heard murmuring.  A bee circled her, buzzing.  She snapped at it and continued chasing her friend.  More droning; three more bees joined the first.  They flew in front of her, diving at her tender nose.  She yelped. More singing, more bees.  She stumbled as a dozen sank into her thick mane, stabbing her with their stingers.  She howled and tumbled down the hill.

The Newfoundlander rushed to her side, devouring as many bees as he could.  The whirring deafened her as hundreds of bees attacked her, stinging and dying as she tried to outrun them.

          The phone was ringing.  Colette fell out of bed, gasping and sobbing.  Her skin was on fire, remembering the dream-stings.  She grabbed the phone blindly, “What?”

          “You’ve got a nosy neighbor.” The usually gruff voice sounded dulled.

          “Camp?”

          “You need me to come and clean his clock?” Slurred.  Camp loved Bushmills.

          “Camp, what time is it?”

          “It’s – aw fuck – it’s only midnight.”

          “In Wyoming.  It’s midnight in Wyoming.”

          “A-yup.”

          “I’m in Florida.”

          “Ah hell, Spooky, did I wake you?”

          “I was being stung to death by bees.”

          “No shit?”

          “Don’t call me Spooky.”

          Good natured silence balanced them.

          “Deputy Fife doesn’t believe I’m a credible witness.”

          “His loss.” The tinkle of ice against glass.  “You doing OK?”

          “Sure.” Colette crawled off the floor and sat on the bed.

          “Bees, huh.”

          “You tried to protect me from them.”

          “I was in your dreams?”

          Always, but she didn’t say it.

          “So, what do the bees mean?”

          She took a deep breath.  She realized he was giving her time to pull herself together, to slip into her safe teacher-mode.  “Bees represent betrayal, usually sexual in nature.  Mindless mob ruled by instinct and preservation of a singular concept, fanatically so.  Bees are ancient and the first insects to be domesticated.”

          “I know something about bees, too.  They can’t really fly.”  The ice and glass tolled again.

          “What do you know about Ralph Waldo Emerson?”

          “They were those mutant turtle things, right?”

          If she closed her eyes, she could still smell his skin.  “He wrote a poem.  Lots of poems, but there’s one in particular.  It’s creepy to me.  I keep hearing phrases from it.  ‘Alway, alway something sings’.”

          “Do you – need some company?”

          “Camp, this is the first vacation you’ve taken since Noah launched his ark.”

          “That wasn’t a no.”

          “Are you fishing?”

          “A-yup.”

          Metaphysically, she threw herself at him for a brief moment.  “Be careful where you put your hooks.”

          “I keep them in my tackle box.”

          “Nope.  There’s one scattered on your boat, hidden.  Be careful not to get stuck by it.”

          She heard him take a sip.  “Good night, Spooky.”

          “Good night, Camp.”


Excerpt from

Follow the Bees

© Evelyn Rainey

Available for publication.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

START more recipes here




Gluten-free and Vegetarian/Vegan Recipes

 

To meet my needs of being “gluten-free”, there are no ingredients that have wheat in them. Since one out of one-hundred people now have problems with the way the United States processes their foods, there are plenty of brands which are marked GF Gluten-free. However, read all the way around the label and determine if there might be traces of wheat or if the product was processed in a plant or on machinery that also handles wheat. (These statements are usually NOT found near the list of ingredients.) If this is the case and you are gluten-sensitive or have a wheat-toxicity, don’t use it!

 

I also deleted recipes which called for hidden gluten – like shrimp, frozen mangoes and parsnips.

 

Vegetarian foods allow the use of milk, honey, eggs, and other non-kill animal products; vegans do not. I have endeavored to post only recipes with vegan-appropriate ingredients. If I really liked something, though, that was vegetarian rather than vegan, I will note it.

 

Whenever possible, use non-GMO products (non-genetically modified).  If you think gmo’s are ok for you, you haven’t read any science fiction books, let alone Charles Darwin.

 

These recipes are not an attempt to substitute wheat or animal ingredients with something else. These recipes are “naturally” or originally gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Thursday, July 17, 2014

SVENGALI TOMATOES


 

(not sure about this, but I bet it’s a memorable taste!)

1 1-pound can tomatoes, cut up

¼ cup canned frozen cranberry-orange relish

2 Tbsp light raisins

1 Tbsp sugar

½ tsp ginger

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp cayenne

Combine all ingredients; simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

(Mrs. Janet Stark Halvorson, Maryville, TN © Southern Living 1968)



Gluten-free and Vegetarian/Vegan Recipes

To meet my needs of being “gluten-free”, there are no ingredients that have wheat in them. Since one out of one-hundred people now have problems with the way the United States processes their foods, there are plenty of brands which are marked GF Gluten-free. However, read all the way around the label and determine if there might be traces of wheat or if the product was processed in a plant or on machinery that also handles wheat. (These statements are usually NOT found near the list of ingredients.) If this is the case and you are gluten-sensitive or have a wheat-toxicity, don’t use it!

I also deleted recipes which called for hidden gluten – like shrimp, frozen mangoes and parsnips.

Vegetarian foods allow the use of milk, honey, eggs, and other non-kill animal products; vegans do not. I have endeavored to post only recipes with vegan-appropriate ingredients. If I really liked something, though, that was vegetarian rather than vegan, I will note it.

Whenever possible, use non-GMO products (non-genetically modified).  If you think gmo’s are ok for you, you haven’t read any science fiction books, let alone Charles Darwin.

These recipes are not an attempt to substitute wheat or animal ingredients with something else. These recipes are “naturally” or originally gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Excerpt from To Hold Back the Dark Chapter Four



            Church the next morning was a joyous event.  Matt stood in for Patsy as music director and Atticus announced the arrival of Patsy and Le’Vander’s boy.

            “What are you doing?” Jeremy hissed at Venutha.

            “What?  Nothing.”  She sat back on the pew.

            “You look like you’re looking for someone.”

            “I might be.”

            “Who are you looking for?”

            “A friend.”

            “Well, sit still and she’ll find you.  What, did you bathe in perfume this morning?”  Jeremy rubbed his nose.

            “It’s not a her.  It’s a him.  And he happens to like my cologne.”

“Shush!” Wren-at-Dawn commanded.  He turned his attention back to the choir and the way Lanza’s lips moved as she sang.

            Venutha stuck her tongue out at him.  Jeremy grinned.

            Debbie sat with her eyes closed.  Her head ached with the remnant of a nightmare and her left shoulder twinged.  She must have slept on it wrong.  In her lap and sprawled beside her was the dog Venutha told her last night was named Awohah.  The dog sighed deeply and Debbie rubbed his ears.

 

##

            “No kidding?  My kid has been begging me to take her to Gatlinburg.”  John Parker frothed two lattes for the couple at the counter.  “I don’t suppose you’d do me a favor?”        

            “What?” the older man asked cautiously.

            “If I give you a postcard, would you mail it from Gatlinburg?  Then she could – you know – have a piece of it.”

            “That’s sweet,” the woman said.

            “Here,” John snatched one out of his apron.  “I already had it made out and stamped.”

            The older man hesitated but the woman took it.  “Elizabeth Court.  What a lovely name.”

            “Ah, she’s a real killer, she is.  I don’t get to see her often; I move around a lot.  So she keeps tabs on me by the postmarks.  Puts pins in this huge wall map, following me around the country.”

            “Isn’t that sweet,” she smiled.

            The man held out a ten.

            “No, no.  The latte’s on me.  One favor for another.”

            “Well, thanks,” he softened.

            John Parker smiled.  He’d always been able to tell so much of the truth that what little – but vital – bit of it that was the lie was overlooked by all but the most cynical of listeners.

            Isabel Cortez made him send out a postcard every Monday, to keep track of his whereabouts in his search for his daughter.  Now that he’d found Hreno, he had to find a way to snap the leash that Earther held on him.

            When he first escaped five and a half years ago – he broke the neck of an orderly at the prison’s clinic, stole his clothes and identification, and left at the end of his shift – he discovered the wonder of this new planet Earth.  Cars – Stelt like cars – and dancing.  Stelt loved to dance.  The food was tolerable, once he got the hang of money; and got some money.  But he liked popcorn, the kind with butter and salt that left his hands all greasy.  What he didn’t like were the whores.  Women and men would befriend him and take care of him, but then they wanted sex but refused to be married.  That made them whores, and he killed every single one of them, after raping them as punishment for their promiscuity.  When he was arrested, after wandering in search of his daughter for seventeen months, he freely admitted to three of the slayings.  Had they asked him about all the others, he would have admitted to them, too, but they didn’t ask.  While awaiting trial, she showed up – Isabel Cortez.  When they were alone, she proclaimed herself as his new lord, his Strategia Oscura.  She offered him freedom of a sort, if he could find his daughter.

            “Of course I can find my daughter.  We’re connected.  She’s woven from me.  Set me free and I’ll lead you to her if she’s still on this world.”

It was completely the truth. Everything except, “I’ll lead you to her.”  He would never allow Cortez near his little girl.  She made his last Strategia Oscuro look meek.

He heard the bells on First Baptist’s tower and took off his apron.  He had the afternoon off.  And he did have plans.

 

##

 

When Debbie arrived at the old church at 9:45 Monday morning, Morgan was waiting for her.

“I turned on the air, and started a pot of coffee.  I set up the chairs in a circle.  Didn’t know if you’d need the tables or not.”  He opened the door and took the canvas satchel from her.  He frowned at the weight of the bag.

“Books,” she supplied.  “Crochet books.”

            “I’ll put them on the counter.”

            She watched him as he walked away from her toward the kitchen.  He was trimly dressed in khaki jean shorts and a flowered Jimmy Buffett shirt.  Leather – hand-tooled by the look of them – sandals allowed his feet a quiet passage along the Formica floor.  Debbie glanced up at the florescent lights and ceiling fans.  “This is nice. Thank you, Colonel.”

            “Actually,” he brought her a mug of coffee.  “It’s General, or it will be soon.”

            “Congratulations.”

            He shrugged.  “It means I’ll only have five years before I have to retire, but I’m ready.”

            “A lot can happen in five years.”

            “A lot has.”

            “The first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps, the third year it leaps.”

            “Excuse me?”

            Debbie looked down.  “It’s an old gardener’s saying about transplants.  It seems to apply to major life changes, too.”

            “You’re very wise.  It like that.”  He stepped closer.  “I like you.”

            He put his arms around her and drew her into his embrace.  She succumbed eagerly to his kisses.

            “Grandma, wake-up.”

            Debbie bolted upright, muffling a little shriek.

            “Geeze, sorry!” Thomas backed away.

            Debbie looked at the clock beside the bed.  “These damn nightmares.”

            “Mommy, Grandma said ‘damn’!” the boy ran down the hall.

 


Excerpt from

To Hold Back the Dark

© Evelyn Rainey

Available for publication.

 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

BAKED TOMATOES WITH RICE




6 tomatoes

Salt

½ cup diced celery

¼ cup diced green pepper

2 Tbsp chopped onion

2 Tbsp butter/margarine

2/3 cup rice

¾ cup water

Dash of pepper

Remove seed and pulp from tomatoes; salt insides. Bake in shallow baking dish at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Sauté celery, green pepper and onion in butter for 3 minutes; add rice, water, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cover. Let stand for 10 minutes (note, this recipe called for “instant rice. Cooking time should be lengthened for normal rice). Add tomato pulp. Fill baked tomato shells with mixture; bake for 5 minutes longer. Yield: 6 servings.

(Janet Chamnes, Easley, SC © Southern Living 1968)



Gluten-free and Vegetarian/Vegan Recipes

 

To meet my needs of being “gluten-free”, there are no ingredients that have wheat in them. Since one out of one-hundred people now have problems with the way the United States processes their foods, there are plenty of brands which are marked GF Gluten-free. However, read all the way around the label and determine if there might be traces of wheat or if the product was processed in a plant or on machinery that also handles wheat. (These statements are usually NOT found near the list of ingredients.) If this is the case and you are gluten-sensitive or have a wheat-toxicity, don’t use it!

 

I also deleted recipes which called for hidden gluten – like shrimp, frozen mangoes and parsnips.

 

Vegetarian foods allow the use of milk, honey, eggs, and other non-kill animal products; vegans do not. I have endeavored to post only recipes with vegan-appropriate ingredients. If I really liked something, though, that was vegetarian rather than vegan, I will note it.

 

Whenever possible, use non-GMO products (non-genetically modified).  If you think gmo’s are ok for you, you haven’t read any science fiction books, let alone Charles Darwin.

 

These recipes are not an attempt to substitute wheat or animal ingredients with something else. These recipes are “naturally” or originally gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Excerpt from To Build an Army Chapter Four



The phone rang, jarring Ben away from the most recent Kathy Reich’s novel.  “Ben Feinstein.”

“Ben, it’s Atticus.  Your dog’s in the cemetery again.  She’s not bothering anybody, but it’s supposed to freeze tonight.  Just thought you’d like to know.”

Ben glared down at the snoring schnauzer. “I’ll be right there.”

Every chance the dog had, she escaped and went to lie on John’s grave.  He tossed on his heavy sheepskin coat and grabbed a quilt from a closet beside the door.  He was at the cemetery in less than five minutes.  The parsonage’s front yard was full of cars and Ben remembered there was supposed to be an elders’ meeting this afternoon.  As he got out of his truck, the elders were all leaving.  He nodded shyly at the few who greeted him and went to retrieve the dog.  She lay there, as if she were dead herself.

Suddenly, the hairs down his arms and legs zinged.  He heard shouts coming from the elders and turned, expecting to see lightning bolts shattering the clouds.  Instead, he saw a silver white circle expanding to the size of a garage door and people began leaping through towards the elders.

Ben gaped.  He knew this was what happened, but he’d never seen it for himself.  Twelve children, three men and two women tumbled from the white circle and were screaming and bleeding and shaking short knives and what looked like beaded nets.

“Is that all?  Are there more of you?” Atticus roared above the din.

The refugees argued among themselves.

Like a stream of gold, the dog bounded past Ben, around the circle the elders had formed, through the screaming foreigners, and leaped into the center of the portal.

The voices fell silent.

Ben ran up to Taralyn.  “Where’d she go?”

The young woman shook her head.

They waited, holding their breath.  In minutes which felt like hours, a child tumbled through.  A rope was attached to her leg and stretched back into the light.  Right behind her appeared a golden rump and shaggy tail of John’s dog.  As her head cleared this side of the portal, Ben could see blood dripping from its snarling fangs.  She was protecting the child from whatever monster had the other end of the rope.

Without thought, Ben ran, grabbed the rope, and yanked it with all his might.  The end, attached to an empty gauntlet, flew out of the portal just as the light winked out.  He knew what he’d seen through that circle would haunt him if he let it; a man – with face and neck torn away by an animal – roaring in fury.  Numbed, he turned around.  The creature which had savaged the soldier was panting joyfully.  The girl she had rescued clung to the dog’s chest as if she would never let go.

Atticus looked stunned.  Several of the elders stood gaping in confusion.  The newcomers quieted and moved as a group away from the rest.

“I thought only people with souls could travel through a portal,” Sarah’s voice trembled.

“You’re never had a dog?” Eduviges asked.  “Dogs have souls.  So do cats.”

Sarah sputtered, “That’s not in the Bible.”

“Neither are ukeras, but they have souls,” Gwen knelt down in front of the girl.  The child squeezed her eyes shut and clung more fervently to the dog.

“Welcome in the name of God.  We serve the light.  Whom do you serve?”

The dog hassled and pressed her muzzle on top of the girl’s head.  Muffled against the golden fur, the girl responded, “I serve the light, the bringers of light, and the light eternal.  And so does Ohamaha.”

“Would you like to join your family?”

Swiftly, but with absolute certainty, a woman stated, “She is not ours.”

A man beside the woman agreed.  “Ventu has no claim on us, nor we on her.  We took her in – is all – for a short while.”

“And she brought nothing but disaster in her wake,” snarled the younger man.

Ben was watching the dog.  Whatever had happened on the other side of that medallion of light had been miraculous for her.  Ben had feared she would pine away and die within a week, so deep was her grief.  But now, her eyes twinkled.  She grinned and huffed in that way that dogs do when they’re laughing.  And she’d saved this little girl.

“You need to come with us, girl,” Gwen reached toward her.  The dog growled deeply, brooking no interference.

“She can come with me.” Ben heard himself saying.  “John’s dog found her.  She can come home with us.”

Atticus stared down at the vet who showed up six months earlier, claiming he’d been told to come here in a dream.  There was a goodness in the man, Atticus had felt it when they prayed together before allowing Ben to join the church.  A good man with a deep sorrow.  Atticus nodded.

John’s dog seemed to understand.  She stood slowly and with the child still holding her, walked to Ben’s truck.  He wrapped them both in the quilt after buckling the girl in the front seat.

And then Ben headed home.

“Dogs have souls,” he said aloud.


Excerpt from

To Build an Army

© Evelyn Rainey

Available for publication.