Sunday, February 19, 2017

Nut Cake By Helen Osterman

  Despite John’s penchant for ice cream, frozen custard wasn’t the only dessert that graced the luncheon table at Simons Mansion. Occasionally, there was also nut cake, similar to this one that mystery author Helen Osterman’s mother and grandmother used to bake.

Nut Cake
By Helen Osterman (www.helenosterman.com)


½ pound butter
2 cups sugar
6 eggs, separated
3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter and sugar together; add egg yolks. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add, alternating with milk. Fold in walnuts and vanilla. Last, fold in well beaten egg whites. Butter and flour a large, springform pan. Add mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 1 ½ hours, Yield: 10-12 servings.


Note from Helen: “It’s interesting that when I was a child, many moons ago, no one worried about calories or cholesterol, and very few were overweight. Of course, we had no television until I was twelve, and everyone worked hard.”


From "Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles From 'Bryony'"

All proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties. www.bbbswillgrundy.org.

Order the cookbook at www.bryonyseries.com.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Feb. 12 through Feb. 17

YAY! A free day! (ish) Finally!

I do have one story I couldn't get done yesterday before I had to leave for WriteOnJoliet and a a few Pets of the Week to finish either today or tomorrow (probably tomorrow). And, of course, I work part of Sundays.

But still...

Before the Blood, here I come! (as soon as I'm done with social media).

And on that note...

First, the non-bylined work: the health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars. Three of them can be found at the link below. http://www.theherald-news.com/lifestyle/ Gotta Do It, runs each Sunday and often stays on the home page throughout the week.

Feature briefs for Tuesday (health), Thursday (faith), Friday (Arts and Entertainment), and Sunday (People) are also edited (texted and photos) by the lady of this blog, but only the stories have bylines.

Another option: I do post the briefs and calendars on Twitter during the week, so you're welcome to follow me at @Denise_Unland61. And of course, I post curated content relating to the BryonySeries at @BryonySeries.

Just an FYI: On free days, holidays, and Sundays I'm not on call, I only post the blog to my "real" Twitter account, as my company insists we do take time off. I'm less reasonable, so unless I'm on a real vacation, I still post to the BryonySeries accounts.

FYI: videos have not been attaching to my Herald-News stories, although they do run for a time on the home page. You may also find them under the "videos" tab.

If you'd like to watch a video, and it's not showing up for you, message me, and I'll manually attach it. No worries for this week, though, although I will have videos for Sunday.

Thank you for reading The Herald-News. 



Churches in Joliet and Minooka partner to offer red carpet event for people with special needs (VIDEO EXTRA)

Local special needs individuals enjoy prom-like event at Crossroads Christian Church

On Friday night, 180 volunteers played fairy godmother to transform Joliet’s Crossroads Christian Church into a Cinderella-at-the-ball experience for 95 special needs individuals.

The event is Night to Shine, a complimentary prom-like, red carpet experience for people ages 14 and older with special needs. Crossroads Christian Church, where Night to Shine was held, partnered with The Village Christian Church in Minooka to bring this international event to the Joliet area.



Chance meeting early in life leads to happily ever after later in life for two couples with Joliet-area ties
Unusual first meetings lead to marriage for two happy newlywed couples

Both couples met in their youth, and both couples believe God brought them together. Was their love written in the heavens? Read on and decide for yourself.



An Extraordinary Life: Joliet court reporter used shorthand, typed transcripts and raised a family while working
Marie Walsh tackled life with passion

An old-fashioned court reporter who learned shorthand while a student at the former St. Francis Academy (now Joliet Catholic Academy), Marie worked at the old courthouse and was the legal secretary for Will County Circuit Judge Angelo F. Pistilli, said Marie’s daughter, Kathleen Walsh of Wilmington.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/02/07/an-extraordinary-life-joliet-court-reporter-used-shorthand-typed-transcripts-and-raised-a-family-while-working/akgwgtw/


Pets of the Week: Feb. 13

Click on the caption of each photo to find out about that pet, including where he or she can be adopted.



Joliet area adults staving off prediabetes with new program through YMCA
YMCA offering second yearlong program for adults at risk for prediabetes

The program’s goal is to reduce body weight by 7 percent and increase exercise to 150 minutes a week. This is accomplished through participating in 16 weekly sessions, plus additional monthly sessions, in a classroom-based setting, the website stated.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/02/12/joliet-area-adults-staving-off-prediabetes-with-new-program-through-ymca/auhn85m/


Mystery Diner: Hamburgerseria recovering the tradition of gourmet burgers in Joliet

Yes, I was at a gourmet hamburger joint and I was going to order a hot dog. And not just any hot dog, but one that was deep fried, wrapped with bacon and doused with sour cream and avocado. I held the avocado and forged ahead.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/02/10/mystery-diner-hamburgerseria-recovering-the-tradition-of-gourmet-burgers-in-joliet/a7sqg2e/


Joliet faith-based crisis hotline addressing the challenge of remaining open (VIDEO EXTRA)
The Upper Room Crisis Hotline ministers to emotional and spiritual needs

Ultimately what The Upper Room seeks to do is “walk with people in their pain,” Lentz said. That goal is for anyone, Lentz said, whether that person is Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, or an agnostic or atheist.

“Anyone who calls is cared for on that telephone call,” Catharine Lentz, executive director, said.



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday (on Wednesday): 'Lil Desert'

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

'Lil Desert

Although it’s never once mentioned between the pages of Bryony why nineteenth century pianist and composer John Simons owns Arabian horses, Diane Roberds of Indiana offers some insight, based on her experiences with the breed. 

For years, Roberds fancied quarter horses until she purchased an Arabian horse from the annual horse auction of the 115 year old Salem Ranch in Flannagan, Illinois (http://www.salemranch.com/). The ranch is residential counseling center that offers a structured Christian program in a farm setting for at-risk boys. In the past, the ranch specialized in Arabian horses, but now accepts donations of other breeds. 

“I had been going through the list of horses that were going to the auction and I jokingly said I might be interested if the prices were reasonable,” Roberds said. 

So in March 2009, Roberds purchased a 17 yr. old Egyptian Arabian mare named Desert Shalome. According to her registration papers she was foaled in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, and had changed hands several times before winding up at Salem Ranch. 

Roberds fondly calls her ‎'lil Desert. Arabians, Roberds said, are known for their beauty (“They have finely chiseled heads, tipped out ears, a dished-out faces,” Roberds said), temperament, elegance and stamina. They trot gracefully and proudly as they carry their tails high. 

“I can see why a musician would like Arabian horses, “Roberds said. “They are classy and elegant, like classical music. My Arabian is small; she looks like a small horse or large pony. She's independent and a little stand-offish but a very nice, quiet and dependable mare. We--my husband and I--like her enough to say she has a forever home." 

Arabian horses have one less vertebra than most horses, so the coupling on their back is shorter, necessitating a special saddle for optimal fit. At seventy, Roberds enjoys riding ‎'lil Desert, but she feeding and grooming her is fun, too. 

“She really is a sweet little horse,” Roberds said. “I’ve been horse-crazy from the time I was three years old,” Roberds said. “My kids grew up with horses. If I was younger I might want to show them—I’ve done a few fun shows, but I’m not really a competitor.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

2017 Ed Calkins Day Recap in Photos

First, me wearing my Calkins Day garb, candy bowl in hand, ready for the parade.



Next, Timothy prepares to take the parade to Indiana...



And then Daniel gets ready to take the parade to Joliet Junior College...


The actual parade route, which ended at my work place. I left the candy bowl in the break room.










Later that night, Rebekah made Irish soda bread (sans raisins) from the BryonySeries cookbook, Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles from "Bryony." We liked it with plenty of butter, although I'd like to experiment with a less sweet version.


I didn't get to the limerick (bummer), but Timothy said several people stopped him at Land O'Frost, where he works as a corporate chef, to wish him a "Happy Calkins Day!"

All in all, a delightful vigil to Valentine's Day!

And did I say the cookbook is a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties? No? Yes! Buy yours here at www.bryonyseries.com.

Tomorrow: A video of the parade route.







Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Calkins Day! A Primer and Tips for Celebrating

What is Calkins Day?

It's the official holiday of my BryonySeries, initiated for pretend by the real Ed Calkins himself.

It's a day to celebrate, via "parade" the fun and joy of the imagination.

First, a background of Calkins Day

http://bryonyseries.blogspot.com/2017/01/getting-prepped-for-ed-calkins-day-one.html

Second, background on the "real" Ed Calkins

http://www.bryonyseries.com/The_Steward_of_Tara.html

And thirdly, how I intend to celebrate. Feel free to join me in your own space in the world.

For starters, the right outfit. I ordered a red and white striped shirt, very similar to Ed Calkins' style at the distribution center. With the shirt, I'm wearing with jeans and gym shoes (far nicer than I ever wore in the distribution center).

Now for the parade.

A traditional Ed Calkins parade featured Prime Minister Dan Yates (also a distribution manager supervisor from our past), pulling the Steward of Tara himself (Ed Calkins) on a pallet jack, while Ed tossed candy to the carriers.

Now I don't have a pallet jack available to me (pity). But I can distribute newspapers and candy. I have a red Calkins Day candy bowl (to complement the shirt) filled with bite-sized wrapped chocolate ready to go.

Tomorrow morning, since I have permission to work from home, I'm buying several newspapers from the gas station across the street and leaving them with the front counter as freebies to customers in honor of Calkins Day.

Timothy and Daniel are each taking some candy to work, to keep the parade moving east (into Indiana) and west (the west side of Joliet, anyway).

I will carry the rest to work and leave it in the break room for others to enjoy.

Throughout the day, I will "toss" virtual candy pieces along the trail of my day. Rebekah is home today and she is making the Irish Soda Bread from the BryonySeries cookbook, sans yellow raisins. If you missed the posting of the recipe yesterday, you may get it here: http://bryonyseries.blogspot.com/2017/02/irish-soda-bread-in-anticipation-of.html

Finally, I will recap the day with an original limerick. Photos and limerick to follow in tomorrow's blog.

A joyous Calkins Day to you and yours!






Sunday, February 12, 2017

Irish Soda Bread (In Anticipation of Calkins Day Tomorrow)

Melisa found it odd that Irish soda bread was a Simons Mansion staple, but since John offered no explanation, she felt uncomfortable asking for one. We don’t have the authentic recipe, but this one is just as good.


Irish Soda Bread
By Janet Cooney

½ cup margarine
½ cup sugar
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/3 cup buttermilk (or sour milk by putting 1 tablespoon vinegar in a measuring cup and adding milk to exact measure)
1/3 cup yellow raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together margarine and sugar; add remaining ingredients. Grease 1 x 4 x 3-inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.


From "Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles From 'Bryony'"

All proceeds benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties. www.bbbswillgrundy.org.

Order the cookbook at www.bryonyseries.com.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Steward Setback Saturday: Ed Calkins (Finally) Gets His Due

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ed Calkins (Finally) Gets His Due

Busy day today, oh my!

I just looked up from editing Visage, noticed the sun had set, and checked the time. Wow, what a short day: some last minute gathering of information and adding of numbers before seeing my accountant this morning, a power walk, mail check, some editing, and BAM! The day's nearly done.

This past Thursday, Rebekah and I spent the day at Joliet West High School, where I had the privilege of speaking to one hundred freshman English students divided into four class periods. I'll post the details on Monday, but suffice to say that, because of it, Ed Calkins, Steward of Tara, is inches closer to legendary fame.

Several days before my engagement, the English teacher had emailed me a list of questions the students had compiled. One of the questions was, "Would you ever base a story on a real high school?"

That's when I informed the students Bryony contained one and only one character based on a real person. Then I proceeded to tell them about Ed Calkins, the first Irish vampire, who subdues his victims not through bloody attacks, but insulting limericks.

While I won't say the parade in Ed's honor is rapidly approaching, with each retelling of his story, it becomes more plausible. In the meantime, Ed needs to order his poet into action. It's been a long time since the steward has sent a blog post penned in his own (ahem) hand.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Feb. 5 through Feb. 10

Okay.

I'm sure I'm sounding like a hiccuping record: a busy week going into a packed Friday and moving into a working weekend.

I'm covering two events today and members of a coin club are coming into the office this afternoon. I have my Sunday cover to finish, my Sunday pages to fill, extra social media today because our associate editor is gone for the day, two interviews before 10 a.m...and I'm sure I'm missing something...

Next week should bring some relief.

One of my sons is tentatively scheduled for surgery on Monday, so that will be a lighter work day. And I'm off on Friday, ready to embark on a fiction writing marathon. And if my muse is slow to engage, I have WriteOn Joliet on Thursday night and my monthly fiction writer workshop on Friday night. so there!

Note: For the story about Joliet Junior College's culinary competition, I uploaded one video clip to The Herald-News site and five additional videos to the Joliet Facebook site, which I moderate. Four are about five minutes in length and show each JJC team member's skills portion of competition. The fifth is longer, about five minutes, and contains highlight from the actual cooking part of the competition.

If you don't belong to Joliet Connect, message the page or send me an email at bryonyseries@gmail.com, and I will add you.

And now onto the stories...

First, the non-bylined work: the health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars. Three of them can be found at the link below. http://www.theherald-news.com/lifestyle/ Gotta Do It, runs each Sunday and often stays on the home page throughout the week.

Feature briefs for Tuesday (health), Thursday (faith), Friday (Arts and Entertainment), and Sunday (People) are also edited (texted and photos) by the lady of this blog, but only the stories have bylines.

Another option: I do post the briefs and calendars on Twitter during the week, so you're welcome to follow me at @Denise_Unland61. And of course, I post curated content relating to the BryonySeries at @BryonySeries.

Just an FYI: On free days, holidays, and Sundays I'm not on call, I only post the blog to my "real" Twitter account, as my company insists we do take time off. I'm less reasonable, so unless I'm on a real vacation, I still post to the BryonySeries accounts.

FYI: videos have not been attaching to my Herald-News stories, although they do run for a time on the home page. You may also find them under the "videos" tab.

If you'd like to watch a video, and it's not showing up for you, message me, and I'll manually attach it. No worries for this week, though, although I will have videos for Sunday.

Thank you for reading The Herald-News.



Joliet Junior College hosts culinary regionals, comes in second   (VIDEO EXTRA)

JJC wins gold medal, second place in regional culinary competition

Michael McGreal, JJC culinary arts department chairman, said that judges said the food was some of the best they’ve tasted, and the student’s floor skills – the way they worked as a unit – were flawless.

“I’m extremely proud of them,” McGreal said.



Joliet area residents meet monthly to discuss abolishing income tax (VIDEO EXTRA)
Local group supports Fair Tax Act of 2017

“If the Fair Tax bill law came in today, at your next pay period you would have 23 percent more money.  It’s oversimplifying, but it’s that simple,” said Jan Nahorski of Joliet. “People would now be able to save up for a down payment on their house quicker, be able to save up to buy that newer vehicle and be able to pay off old debts faster. That’s money in our pocket.”



An Extraordinary Life: Minooka area priest served the Diocese of Joliet's Deaf Apostolate Ministry
The Rev. Mark Fracaro loved theater, but loved serving people more

“You could feel there was something more than a human touch there,” said Rev. Lee Bacchi, chaplain at St. Edward Hospital in Naperville, who considered himself Fracaro’s best friend. “There was a grace working through him. God’s grace was working through him. He was just so good; he was someone you could count on.”

http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/02/04/an-extraordinary-life-minooka-area-priest-served-the-diocese-of-joliets-deaf-apostolate-ministry/ag3uh4/


Plainfield preschooler battling kidney tumor (VIDEO EXTRA)

Wilms tumor the most common kidney tumor in children ages 3 and 4

The tumor had grown into Brooklyn’s inferior vena cava, a main vein that supplies blood from the lower half of the body to the heart, Amy Rauen said.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/01/31/plainfield-preschooler-battling-kidney-tumor/ae8egi8/



Mystery Diner: Plainfield's Katie O'Connor's has wide array of Irish options

The wings were good, not doused with sauce, but enough to make your hands messy. I vowed to used just one hand in this meal and I held true to it. The bartender saw I was a mess quickly and helped out with an extra stack of napkins as I sipped on a Lagunitas Sumpin Sumpin Ale, an IPA.




Community invited to Bolingbrook mosque for tour, presentation and 'some nice ethnic food'

Muslim Association of Bolingbrook to host open house Feb. 18

Dr. Sabeel Ahmed is the director of Gain Peace, an outreach division within the Islamic Circle of North America. He said the open house will consist of a tour of the mosque with an opportunity to watch how Muslims pray, using chants, bows and prostrations.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/02/08/community-invited-to-bolingbrook-mosque-for-tour-presentation-and-some-nice-ethnic-food/aopez27/



Joliet chapter of beer can collectibles to host show on Feb. 12

Camaraderie half the fun for beer can enthusiasts

“One group of guys coming down from South Bend deal in cans,” William Novak said. “They have cans in the $1,000 range for one can.”

Thursday, February 9, 2017

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: A Recipe for the Ailing

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day #10, and a Recipe for the Ailing

Bryony Prequel, Section One, Chapter 9: Check!

Word count: 819

Well, missed another morning today, but I'm feeling confident I can make it back up, now that the story is in my "blood," so to speak.

Had a bit of a mishap last night and moving at a slow pace, but today, I'm very thankful for twenty-first century comfort food. Had I lived in Victorian times, someone might have served me one of these:

Barley Water

2 ounces pearl barley
1/2 pint boiling water
2 quarts boiling water
2 ounces figs
2 ounces raisins, stoned

Put the barley into the half-pint of boiling water, and let it simmer five minutes; pour off the water, and add the two quarts of boiling water, figs, and raisins, and let it boil till reduced to a quart. Strain it for a drink.

A great Favorite with Invalids:
My note: I already don't like it.

Brisk cider OR acid jellies (when cider is unavailable)
Water
Sugar, to taste
Toasted bread OR toasted crackers
Nutmeg

Take one-third cider or jelly to two-thirds water, sweeten it, crumb in bread or crackers, and grate on nutmeg.

Both recipes adapted from, Miss Beecher’s domestic receiptbook: designed as a supplement to her Treatise on domestic economy.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Sometimes the Best Writing Advice is Still...

...simply to write.

We spend so much time trying to get it write, we paralyze the process of moving words from brain to page.

Or when the words don't flow, we revert to creative procrastination or time-wasting distraction.

So just write.

A word.

A character's name.

A phrase.

A snippet of dialogue.

Starting in the middle or the end.

Or sometimes, as I did once for a "Kellen" chapter in Before the Blood, I started the character walking down a path, uncertain where he'd wind up. (I was determined not to lose a full Saturday of writing possibilities to a sluggish muse. And the technique worked).

And speaking of writing, I'm off to do the same.

Happy Tuesday, vampire fans! :)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Taking the Long Road

Life is, sometimes, a series of trade-offs.

All of us must decide how we shall spend each twenty-four block God, in His mercy and kindness, graciously gives us.

I've spend the last few weekends with mostly work projects, not working on the novel. And I shall do do again this weekend.

However, these were all projects I was pleased to tackle. And I'm learning a new skill, video editing, in the process. And the only way to accomplish all of the above was to, temporarily, trade off my fiction.

Which means finishing the formatting for Cornell Dyer and the Missing Tombstone takes a back seat until the weekend after this one. Because that will be the first opportunity for returning to it.

That said, today's post is short on purpose so I can spend my thirty minutes on Before the Blood.

Happy Monday, vampire fans! :)


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Friday, February 3, 2017

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Jan 29 through Feb. 3

So I've taken on these extra work projects...

In fact, last week I had the news cover, and this week I'll have the news cover, and next week (when I'm the on-call editor), I'll have the news cover and video training as well. Oh, and did I mention I have video training that weekend, too?

Now I did volunteer for these projects (Cue Donald Horshack's hand waving in the air, for those of you old enough to remember), so I'm not complaining, just stating.

But...but, you ask. What about fiction? Quick reassurance: I have not forsaken it. And at the end of these crazy few weeks, I'm taking a day off. On a Friday. So I can have a long writing weekend, which will most likely be followed by a week of running wire so I can catch up on briefs.

In the meantime, I'm steeped into the last section of Henry's seventh chapter that needs structuring. And so, during this time of extra "work" work, I'm picking off this part bit by little bit. The plan is to be at the chapter eight stage by the time I hit the long weekend.

Isn't that a good plan?

And now onto the stories...

First, the non-bylined work: the health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars. Three of them can be found at the link below. http://www.theherald-news.com/lifestyle/ Gotta Do It, runs each Sunday and often stays on the home page throughout the week.

Feature briefs for Tuesday (health), Thursday (faith), Friday (Arts and Entertainment), and Sunday (People) are also edited (texted and photos) by the lady of this blog, but only the stories have bylines.

Another option: I do post the briefs and calendars on Twitter during the week, so you're welcome to follow me at @Denise_Unland61. And of course, I post curated content relating to the BryonySeries at @BryonySeries.

Just an FYI: On free days, holidays, and Sundays I'm not on call, I only post the blog to my "real" Twitter account, as my company insists we do take time off. I'm less reasonable, so unless I'm on a real vacation, I still post to the BryonySeries accounts.

FYI: videos have not been attaching to my Herald-News stories, although they do run for a time on the home page. You may also find them under the "videos" tab.

If you'd like to watch a video, and it's not showing up for you, message me, and I'll manually attach it. No worries for this week, though, although I will have videos for Sunday.

Thank you for reading The Herald-News.



Joliet library's 'Miss Sheila' retires after 23 years of service to children and families (VIDEO EXTRA)

Sheila Kinsella hosted her final story time at Joliet Public Library

Kinsella never simply read a story; she engaged the children in a dynamic shared activity.



An Extraordinary Life: Joliet man proud of his service to family and country
Family man David Jameson never removed his World War II cap

What was the best day of his life? The day in 2010, David and his brother, Joe Jameson, also a veteran, experienced an Honor Flight. Equal to it was returning to France in 2004 with several family members and a group from his Army division.



Pets of the Week: Jan. 30

 Click on the caption of each photo to find out about that pet, including where he or she can be adopted.



Elwood woman and cervical cancer survivor on a mission to get women screened (VIDEO EXTRA)

Just hearing the word can cause a sinking feeling. For Paulette Apostolou, 49, of Elwood, the distress of a cervical cancer diagnosis was combined with regret.

Apostolou hadn’t received a Pap test in 14 years.

“I didn’t think I needed to go,” Apostolou said. “I was busy building a business with my ex-husband. Just life. I didn’t take care of myself.”



Mystery Diner: Plainfield's Sovereign has sophisticated menu with a purpose

The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at The Herald-News. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff before or during the meal.

It’s clear a ton of time was put into the creations. You could go after anything from arctic char to chorizo seitan, two items I couldn’t locate or explain to you if I tried. Or there’s a grilled rib eye, pork tenderloin and Amish chicken breast.



Joliet couple builds bridges between people in need and people who can help (VIDEO EXTRA)
KC and Gail Crino’s ministry is to meet people’s most basic needs

KC’s pastor at Judson, the Rev. Kevin Comfort, summed it up like this: KC ministers to people who “need someone to walk alongside them.”



Homemade rosaries to be part of St. Ray's event in Joliet
Joliet woman makes rosaries for the cost of materials

Each rosary from ABC Rosaries costs an estimated $65 to $75. Christine Merriman charges only for materials, never for labor. She said she makes them with sterling silver and genuine stones, such as amethyst and Swarovski crystal. She then adds a simple cross – not a crucifix.



Upcoming programs at Forest Preserve District of Will County are for the birds
Winter an ideal time to begin bird watching

Even if a birder only sees Canadian geese, there’s “always rare stuff hiding or coming through with the other birds,” Bryerton said. Sometimes a bird is separated from his own group and travels along with another until he catches up.

“They don’t care if other birds are there,” Bob Bryerton, district naturalist, said. “Any spot of open water is all that concerns the bird: ‘This is open water and I’m going there.’”




Thursday, February 2, 2017

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: Leslie Ormandy and "Simply Supernatural," Part 2

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Leslie Ormandy and "Simply Supernatural," Part 2

Leslie Ormandy teaches two Vampires in Literature courses at an Oregon community college, has re-edited and published Varney the Vampire, and is the originator of the site www.simplysupernatural-vampire.com, a delightful stopping point of all things vampire.

There, Ormandy has links to a wide variety of Victorian literature; a collection of her vampire short stories, as well as the stories and essays her students have written; and links to whimsical items for vampire fans, such as festivals, crossword puzzles, clothing, and movies.

Ormandy has also included essays and links on many vampire characteristics and topics including sex, the victimization of children, children as vampires, porphyria, evil, Dracula, religion, euthanasia, vampire as metaphor, and more.


7)  What else does the class contain?

"We talk about vintage vampire poetry; we look at some modern stuff; and they all try writing a vampire sonnet and a vampire haiku. We’ve talked about vampires as pedophiles, and, at some point, we talk about religion, because you can’t really talk about vampires without talking about religion. I wrote a short story, The Blood is the Life, about a vampire who could walk into a church because she had once accepted God.”


8) I understand you provide modern translations for several vintage stories. What led you to re-edit Varney the Vampire?

"It’s a lost story. Very few people read it, although it was once massively popular, like Twilight. Everyone was reading it, and it spawned many look-alike stories, but now, no one reads it. Also, I’m good at Victorian syntax and explaining things. It was a big undertaking, but no one else was doing it. The story is fascinating. It’s love, romance, and vampires feeding.”


9) Where do you draw inspiration for your short stories?

"A theme will suggest itself, and the little muse will sit on my shoulder and demand I write the story. I just cannot rest until I do. It’s kind of scary what comes out of my psyche.”


10) What are the criteria for student submissions?

"I am an academic and picky. Submissions have to be well-written and connect with both humans and vampires. It’s hard to define what’s well written. You just know it when you read it.”


11) Who’s your site’s primary audience?

"I have a different audience than many other vampire sites. My audience tends to be more academic, but the site is not just for my students. I’m quite well-read in the UK and Europe, and I have a large following in Russia.”


12) I understand you’re currently enjoying steampunk literature. What was your introduction to it?

"My daughter brought a steampunk book home from the library. It had vampires in it and it was set in the Victorian period, thus combining two of my favorites.”


13) What made the most impact from your trip to London for a vampire conference?

"A lot of manuscripts are buried in libraries, so the stories literally have not been read since that time period. It was incredible to touch books that old. I’d like to explore more pre-Victorian vampire stories and Greek vampire stories.”















  




Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Goodbye, Tate Publishing

Last night, a local author I'd interviewed several years ago contacted me and she was very upset.

She, like a number of other authors I'd interviewed for The Herald-News through the years, had published her book with Tate Publishing, which many of these authors didn't realize was a vanity press...or even understand what a vanity press is.

I remember one parent years whose high school child had written a novel and was "accepted" for publication with Tate and how "impressed" Tate was with the novel felt it the several thousand dollars spent to get the book in print was well worth it.

And I'd plenty of similar stories from other authors who'd signed contracts with other pay-to-publish companies.

These authors had no idea they weren't signing contracts with traditional publishing houses. And, as the impartial interviewer, it was not my place to tell them.

And now...Tate, who I'd considered the King of Christian vanity publishing, is gone.

https://tatepublishing.com/current.html

I imagine vanity presses have fallen on hard times. The ability to publish for free has existed for awhile (Here's looking at you, Lulu), with, perhaps, Createspace leading the pack.

But with the advent of eBooks and the ability for anyone with some basic computer and editing skills to start a small press, authors really don't need to spend thousands of dollars to turn their manuscript into a printed book.

Now it's true that authentic self-publishing for free doesn't necessarily lead to increased sales (Here's looking at you, Denise), and it's arguably contributed to the vast amount of slush out there (Here's , hopefully, NOT looking at you, Denise), BUT...

At least the author understands the process up front and hasn't dumped a substantial amount of money to start at zero, as far as sales are concerned, or confused about what is or is not traditional publishing.

And while readers have more badly written books to navigate to find ones they'd like to read, the self-publishing process have widened the choices and given authors a real opportunity to turn their manuscripts into books someone might want to read.

Goodbye, Tate. I won't miss. And I imagine other authors out there, once they move past the shock an disbelief, might feel the same.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Progress?

So the long couple of weeks at work culminated in a very short weekend and less fiction progress than I had hoped.

I didn't leave work on Friday until ten o'clock; consequently, I didn't get to sleep until after the witching hour and then started Saturday by oversleep (seven-thirty). By the time I finished social media, walked a bit, and met someone for an interview, it was nearly noon.

I did finish the three character questionnaires for the last section of Henry's chapter seven in Before the Blood, but that's all. Oh, and I did succumb to a thirty minute nap.

After Rebekah came home from work, and we walked, I headed into work for a couple more hours.

Sunday after Divine Liturgy was more work, which is how I generally spend Sunday afternoons. I did get walking in and yoga in.

Cornell Dyer and the Missing Tombstone still requires formatting adjustment, and I, possibly, could have done it last night, but I felt I needed a mental break. Instead, I watched an episode and a half of the Korean drama, Descendants of the Sun with Rebekah.

This weekend, I'm covering an event that begins Friday and finishes up Saturday (which I will have to write on Saturday, as it will run on Monday), so I'm planning on taking the middle part of Friday off, just to build some free (i.e. fiction writing) time off. Because the following week, I'm back on as weekend editor.

That said, I'm hoping to spend my thirty minute morning writing time structuring this last chapter section, which, in a regular novel, might be its own chapter (or two. or three). This way, I'm prepared for more sweeping and global writing.

And maybe, just maybe, I can correct Cornell's formatting errors come Saturday. Maybe.

At any rate, that's the sentiment this last Monday morning in January.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Food Safety and Storage Back in the Day

A cookbook of vintage recipes is incomplete without anchoring it in the time frame.

In addition to recipes, the official BryonySeries cookbook defines unfamiliar terms used in Victorian kitchens, as well tips on food safety and storage 

Below is an excerpt and five tips from Memories in the Kitchen: Bites and Nibbles from "Bryony."


In the 1890’s, books such as Miss Beecher’s domestic receiptbook: designed as a supplement to her Treatise on domestic economy, first published in 1860, were the kitchen Bibles of many Victorian cooks.

Since no good cookbook is complete without a few “helpful hints” the following, adapted from that receiptbook, are some the kitchen at staff at Simons Mansion and Mrs. Bertha Parks, housekeeper to the Reverend Galien Marseilles, might have utilized from time to time.


1) Buttermilk dissolved in potter’s ware dissolves the glazing and becomes poisonous.

2)  Lard and Drippings must be kept in a dry, cold place and should not be salted. Usually the cellar is the best place for them. Earthen or stone jars is the best place to store them in.

3) Indian meal should be purchased in small quantities, say fifteen or twenty pounds at a time, and be kept in a covered tub or keg. When new and sweet, it should not be scalded, but when perfectly fresh and good when used, it is improved by scalding. It must be kept very cool and dry, and if occasionally stirred, it is preserved more surely from growing stale or musty.

4) Tea, if bought by the box, is about five cents a pound cheaper than by small quantities. If well put up in boxes lined with lead (Editor’s note: It is now known to be dangerous to store tea in lead), it keeps perfectly. But put up in paper, and it soon loses its flavor. It therefore should, if in small quantities, be put in glass or tin and shut tight.

5) The most perfect way to keep Hams is to wrap and tie them in paper and pack them in boxes or barrels with ashes. The ashes must fill all the interstices, but must not touch the hams, as it absorbs the fat. It keeps them sweet and protects them from all kinds of insects. After smoked ham is cut, hang it in a coarse linen bag in the cellar and tie it up to keep out flies.



Saturday, January 28, 2017

Getting Prepped for Ed Calkins Day: One Striped Shirt, Check

“Of course, the highlight of the year is the Calkins Day parade on February thirteenth, my birthday. In fact, I have a petition circulating to make February twelfth through the fourteenth a three-day national holiday. Would you care to sign it?” (Bryony, Chapter 22, Lisa Harding)


As she walked in his direction to join him, Melissa saw a pot-bellied, bespectacled, gray-haired man wearing blue jeans and a white and red-striped shirt. He was pushing a pallet jack full of newspapers toward the table where John-Peter sat. Ed Calkins! The Steward of Tara! (Visage, Chapter 23: No Holds Barred)


Ed approached the next carrier. “Would you care to sign my petition? You see, my birthday falls between Lincoln’s birthday and Valentine’s Day, so I believe it should be a national holiday, complete with a parade.”(Visage, Chapter 23: No Holds Barred)


No new carrier slipped through the ranks without at least one request to sign Ed Calkins’ petition. Ed’s birthday fell between Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and Valentine’s Day, a fact significant enough, Ed felt, to warrant a three-day national holiday.

“The time will come when everyone around the world will eagerly anticipate the Ed Calkins Day parade,” Ed always said, beaming, as he pressed both paper and pen into the hesitant carrier’s hands.

In the meantime, Ed himself offered the joys and excitement of his parade to the elite crowd fortunate enough to deliver newspapers in the middle of the night from the Jenson warehouse. 

For as long as John-Peter could remember, he celebrated each February thirteen watching a carrier pull Uncle Ed through the building on the pallet jack, one John-Peter had decorated with green streamers and balloons for the occasion, while an exuberant Ed waved to his constituents with one hand and tossed bite-sized, wrapped pieces of candies from the other one toward the work stations.
("Staked!" Chapter 4: Midnight Apprentice)


Ah, Ed Calkins. What would this character be like without his famous petition and delusion that February 13 should be a national holiday? And yet, what better way to celebrate fiction in general and the BryonySeries in particular, than with a nonexistent holiday?

Sooooooo, in preparation for February 13, Ed Calkins Day, I've begun collecting items I will need for a modest parade Calkins Day parade of one (me).

And here we go!



Friday, January 27, 2017

Story Round-Up: Features in The Herald-News, Jan 22 through Jan. 27

Today is a long day, and tomorrow is my first day off in fourteen of them, and the only one I will have truly free for a couple of weeks.

Next weekend I'm covering an event, and the following weekend I'm back on as the weekend editor - although, if I'm smart, I'll build in some shorter days somewhere. (Be smart, Denise, be smart).

One interesting note: Feb. 13 is Ed Calkins Day. What is that, you may ask? Ah, more on that tomorrow!

But when a series has a built-in holiday, it's poor form for the author to miss it, as I have done every year since I wrote the first book. This year, I'm addressing my neglectful behavior.

And now onto the stories...

First, the non-bylined work: the health, faith, and arts and entertainment calendars. Three of them can be found at the link below. http://www.theherald-news.com/lifestyle/ Gotta Do It, runs each Sunday and often stays on the home page throughout the week.

Feature briefs for Tuesday (health), Thursday (faith), Friday (Arts and Entertainment), and Sunday (People) are also edited (texted and photos) by the lady of this blog, but only the stories have bylines.

Another option: I do post the briefs and calendars on Twitter during the week, so you're welcome to follow me at @Denise_Unland61. And of course, I post curated content relating to the BryonySeries at @BryonySeries.

Just an FYI: On free days, holidays, and Sundays I'm not on call, I only post the blog to my "real" Twitter account, as my company insists we do take time off. I'm less reasonable, so unless I'm on a real vacation, I still post to the BryonySeries accounts. I won't be posting to my personal Twitter account this weekend, only to BryonySeries.

FYI: videos have not been attaching to my Herald-News stories, although they do run for a time on the home page. You may also find them under the "videos" tab.

If you'd like to watch a video, and it's not showing up for you, message me, and I'll manually attach it. No worries for this week, though, although I will have videos for Sunday.

Thank you for reading The Herald-News.


Two Joliet area boat enthusiasts now licensed by U.S. Coast Guard (VIDEO EXTRA)
David Ferro and James V. Smith complete rigorous U.S. Coast Guard training

Ferro and Smith agreed these classes were among the most difficult they’ve tackled, ever. The instruction itself took three weekends and not consecutive weekends. This didn’t count homework assignments and studying, which they often did together.



An Extraordinary Life: Lockport bar owner was made to entertain
At home and work, Paul Blough made everyone feel welcome

It didn’t matter to Paul who was in need. If someone asked, Paul gave. If it furthered commonality, Paul was in.



Pets of the Week: Jan. 23

Click on the caption of each photo to find out about that pet, including where he or she can be adopted.



Mystery Diner: Metro Grill &Bar has expansive menu

I actually started with the house-made monster meatball appetizer, which is a half-pound meatball with meat sauce, Parmesan and Parmesan bread triangles.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2016/12/16/metro-grill-bar-has-expansive-menu/aq9u7fs/



Two downtown Joliet Lutheran churches building a vibrant ministry

First and Santa Cruz maintain separate identities, work toward common goals

“There’s a lot of vibrancy,” Rev. Keith Forni, pastor, said. “That has to do with the young Latino families that are coming into their own realization that it’s time for them to step up in leadership and deeper involvement to sustain ministry in the heart of Joliet.”

http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/01/24/two-downtown-joliet-lutheran-churches-building-a-vibrant-ministry/apu07tv/


Award-winning author to speak about revisions at the Plainfield Public Library

Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author Lori Rader-Day to lead a revision workshop

During her one-hour workshop – and in the handouts she will distribute – Lori Rader-Day will explain why the 50,000 words NaNoWriMo requires of participants does not , in fact, count as a complete story by industry standards.

http://www.theherald-news.com/2017/01/24/award-winning-author-to-speak-about-revisions-at-the-plainfield-public-library/anggbml/

Thursday, January 26, 2017

BryonySeries Throwback Thursday: Leslie Ormandy and "Simply Supernatural," Part 1

Monday, February 27, 2012

Leslie Ormandy and "Simply Supernatural," Part 1

Leslie Ormandy teaches two Vampires in Literature courses at an Oregon community college, has re-edited and published Varney the Vampire, and is the originator of the site www.simplysupernatural-vampire.com, a delightful stopping point of all things vampire.

There, Ormandy has links to a wide variety of Victorian literature; a collection of her vampire short stories, as well as the stories and essays her students have written; and links to whimsical items for vampire fans, such as festivals, crossword puzzles, clothing, and movies.

 Ormandy has also included essays and links on many vampire characteristics and topics including sex, the victimization of children, children as vampires, porphyria, evil, Dracula, religion, euthanasia, vampire as metaphor, and more.


1) People of many eras have enjoyed vampire stories. Why do you suppose they do?

 “While the eras may change, I think people still have pretty much the same interests and concerns. Vampires are all about magic. People have always been interested in magic, and they have always been worried about death. You have corpses walking around, taking in life. Nothing makes you feel more alive than that edge between death and life.


2) When did your fascination with vampires begin?

 "With Dark Shadows, the original series. When I first showed Barnabus to my students they weren’t too impressed, but back then, oh my gosh! We all thought he was so hot. After that, it was Anne Rice, but then my interest went dormant for a while, until I started teaching. I’d be doing research papers and run across an occasional vampire.”


3) How did you devise the vampire lit class?

"I was reading Varney the Vampire down at my dad’s farm and thinking about the concepts of life, death, and eternity. I thought it would be fun to be able to discuss those concepts with students. The first time I taught the class, in 2007, Twilight was becoming popular, but it wasn’t huge yet, so the class was predominantly male. I actually started with the literature of the Victorian period since one-third of my MA is in Victorian Lit.”


4) What can people learn from reading Victorian literature?

"The industrial revolution brought huge societal shifts. It’s similar to the changes we see today as we lose the middle class and become once more upper and lower class. It is so reflective of the Victorian time period. We can learn a lot about society from their choices.”


5) Why do you discuss so many vampire-related topics in your class and on your site?

"Because vampires are something that we can connect with, wrestle with, think about, and, if we cannot think, we are easily led and being led is easier than thinking for oneself. Topics that always in the top ten on my site are Dracula, the vampire disease, and the short stories.


6) What is the most popular topic with women?

"Women like the romantic aspect. When you walk through a bookstore today, the hugest section is the paranormal romance, but in the back, there is usually a tiny section where vampires are still monsters. I like both aspects, but I prefer my vampires as monsters. I find it an odd mix to love something that could kill you, and, when the vampire doesn’t, it’s had to make such a huge choice. Vampires as monsters have no qualms about what they are.”