Create Changes

Change-1

Why am I here when I have so much work that really has to be finished today?  I saw something that I couldn’t resist — and this doesn’t take nearly as much time as making an episode of our “Three Ingredients” serial.

Sometimes things change, beyond our control, when they’d be much better left as they were.  At other times we try and try to enact a positive change, but we spin our wheels, getting nowhere.  That’s when the old adages “Be patient” or “It’s not meant to be” grate against the spirit.

When we’re trying to make a change, and despite all dedication, determination, and diligence it just won’t happen, what’s to be done?

Then we change how we go about creating that change!

First I saw the quote above. It’s attributed to Jim Rhon, a “business philosopher.”  Then I thought of a song and I really got into the old music video of it.  So I had to take time to share those two things with you.

Roll with the Changes!

 

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Earth Hour – 29 March 2014

Dear readers — 9:30 PM, your local time. Lights out!
Hugs,
teagan

Mungai and the Goa Constrictor

Today, Saturday 29th March 2014, billions of peoplein over one hundred and fifty countries (that means over seven thousand cities) will turn out the lights. A World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) initiative, dating back to 2007, has once again united the world in an effort to bring attention to energy consumption, sustainability and climate change issues.

This remarkable annual global occurrence takes place between 8.30 pm and 9.30 pm (YOUR) local time.  Starting in New Zealand and ending in Tahiti, lights of some of the world’s most iconic monuments, landmarks and skylines will be switched off. Many will also turn off their televisions, computers, Xboxes and PlayStations, and any other power-driven gadgets they have.  

This is undoubtedly the largest ever collaboration to help safeguard the planet, and numbers of participants are growing every year. The hour has, in many places, evolved into something much longer. Environmental projects are taking…

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Three Ingredients – Stay Tuned

Perils_of_Pauline_-_1947_Poster Hello everyone, I think this is the first weekend that I’ve failed to give you a serial episode since we started this, way back with the Three Things. So I hope you will tune in next weekend to find out what is happening with Pip, Granny Fanny, Cracker the Parrot, and the rest of the 1920’s crew.

The mean Queen of Clubs is on the loose somewhere in Savannah.

The mysterious King of Clubs left his calling card with (partial) amnesiac Pip.

And there’s still that unfinished sting operation at a ritzy reception Granny Fanny has to cater.

However, the real world intruded on me… and there is a lot of mundane work for me to do this weekend. Maybe this is a good time for you to do catch-up reading of past episodes.  Click on the Three Ingredients button at the top of the page.

So please come back next weekend… Same flapper time — same flapper channel!

Cyberbullying’s Latest Frontier: Amazon Book Reviews

Bullying is simply despicable.

TIME

Correction appended, March 10, 2014

The creature with which Anne Rice is most commonly associated is the vampire, but that doesn’t mean she’s a stranger to trolls — at least of the online variety.

The Guardian reports that the author has signed on to a petition to encourage Amazon to stop allowing reviewers and forum participants to hide behind anonymity. Under the current system, the petition says, those who dislike an author are able to bully him under the guise of reviewing his work:

People have found ways to exploit this flaw in the system and are using it to bully, harass, and generally make life miserable for certain authors on Amazon. These people are able to create multiple accounts and then use those accounts to viciously attack and go after any author or person that they feel doesn’t belong on Amazon or who shouldn’t have published a book, made…

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Three Ingredients – 18: Fungus, Quiche, Quinoa

Cat_menu_Episode-18Dear readers, I’m finally back to following my own rules — working “three ingredients” into the serial episode, and treating you to recipes or videos, and some factual information along the way.

Ingredients for this episode are from my very talented friend Ishita.  To be fair — no, Ishita didn’t give us an unappetizing sounding ingredient like “fungus.”  She originally said Quorn, but I thought that was not invented during the timeline of our serial.  So after looking it up, I settled on fungus, which relates to Quorn.

With The Three Ingredients serial our story items are not always about recipe ingredients.  They may be utensils, preparation methods, or any food-related Quinua copything.  I’m going a step further in that direction with the gluten free “quinoa” (pronounced KEEN-wah) ingredient today and giving you an informative video.  However, I am not leaving you without a recipe this weekend, because Ishita recently blogged a delicious recipe, Quinoa, the Mexican Way! (Thank you, Ishita, for making this easier for me, by sharing your recipe.)

And now, I hope you’ll enjoy the Kooky ingredients of Episode-18.  Bon appétit!

18.  Fungus, Quiche, Quinoa

King of Clubs cardTime seemed to freeze.  I stood in a field of grass that swayed in a gentle breeze.  My head hurt and my stomach was upset.  I stared at the playing card Alastair Wong handed me.  How had it come to be in my pocket?  I felt like there was some significance to the King of Clubs card.  I delved my sluggish thoughts, but it was like swimming in mud.  I couldn’t remember what I should know about the card.  While I looked at it additional questions flooded my consciousness.  Why was I standing in the middle of a large herb garden?  Most of all, why had I been in a root cellar?

I wrapped my arms around myself, suddenly cold.  I noticed a tear in the sleeve of my dress and a scrape on my elbow.  Taking my fingers away from the spot I saw blood, dirt, and some kind of fungus.  Who knew what might grow in the darkness of a cellar.  The wound was dirty; it needed to be washed, I thought distractedly.

Then my exploring hands felt a gritty coating on my back and shoulders.  Alastair must have thought I was trying to dust myself off, but I was really just trying to figure out what had happened to me. Why couldn’t I remember?

He gently started to dust off my shoulders.  “Pip, you’re a mess,” he pretended to chide me.  I was sure he could tell I was distraught and wanted to lighten my mood.  “You have dirt on your face, and… what’s this all over your back?” the young owner of the local Chinese restaurant added.1920s Shanghai night

Alastair removed his hand from my shoulder and looked at his fingers.  His eyebrows knitted in a perplexed way.  I looked at the substance I felt on my own hands.  I sort of remembered landing on bags of something that broke my fall, like a cushion.  “Is it wheat or maybe some kind of seeds?” I muttered, still groggy.

“Fat hen!” he exclaimed.

“What did you call me?” I demanded, thinking my ears surely deceived me.

“No,” Alastair said. “Goosefoot.”

“That isn’t any better!” I cried.  How dare he?

“No, Pip.  I mean the grain.  Jeepers, what’s the real name—?  They call it fat hen, sometimes goosefoot…  Quinoa, that’s it! I haven’t seen much of this around here.  I think it’s quinoa.  That’s a high protein grain crop,” he said, showing off his knowledge of foodstuffs.  I was sure he was just as educated as any big restaurateur.

A sudden blast of sound startled me.  Alastair loudly blew a whistle.  Then he blew it two more times.  I covered my ears against the eardrum splitting noise.  Applesauce!  As if I didn’t already have a headache. You’d think he 1925 Judge Magcould have warned me.  Why did he blow a whistle in the first place?

I felt really woozy, and it must have showed.  Alastair stepped closer to me and took my elbow.  I didn’t realize until then that I stood dangerously close to the trapdoor type opening of that cellar. He guided me a few steps away from it, but his eyes narrowed suspiciously as he looked down.  Alastair bent to inspect the hatch.  It was covered with sod.  My mind was still muddled, but I realized the covering of dirt and grass explained why the door was so heavy and difficult when I shouldered it open.

“Somebody wanted to keep that cellar hidden,” Alastair said as he looked curiously into the dark maw of the vault.  “You don’t remember how you got here, huh?” he asked.

I shook my head then wished I had not moved it.

“Somebody must have pushed you into that cellar.  I’ll bet you landed on a bag of this quinoa,” he pondered looking at his dusty fingers.  “Then whomever it was closed the door and left you there.  Did you see anything else down there?”

“I felt bags of potatoes and rutabagas,” I replied.  “There was only a crack of light coming from the hatch.  I 1916 Vogue springmade out the shape of a ladder and used it to climb out.  I couldn’t see what else might be in there.”

The pink light that heralded sunset deepened.  The clouds turned orange and red in prediction of a fair night.  Alastair looked up expectantly toward the horizon.  He must have heard something I had not noticed, but then my ears were still ringing a bit.  A moment later I caught a faint shrill sound.  He smiled.

“We’ve been looking for you nearly all day, Pip,” Alastair told me, seeming amused at my puzzled expression.  “What in the devil were you doing out here?”

I confessed that I had no idea how I got there.  I couldn’t remember.  “Tofu,” I muttered.  “I remember something about tofu and Granny.”

He smiled at that and looked a little relieved.  “You had me worried.  I expect everything will come back to you,” Alastair told me as he led me away from the cellar.  “You were supposed to come to the restaurant to pick up some tofu.  Miss Fanny seemed intent on forcing it down her patient.”

Patient?  “Wha—?” I began, but my brain wouldn’t finish digging for the information.

Barrie Craig adventures“It’s okay, Pip.  Marshal Myrick?  The doctors Vale did surgery on him at their place?  After he was ambushed?  Do you remember any of that?  It sounds awfully exciting!  It’s okay,” he said in answer to my pleading look.  “It will come back to you.  Anyhow, when you didn’t show up I thought Miss Fanny’s Model-T must have broken down, so I headed out to meet you.  I got all the way to the Vales’ animal hospital and still hadn’t seen the car or you,” Alastair explained.

Applesauce!  Had something happened to Granny’s Model-T?  She’d kill me!

Alastair’s voice intruded on my panicked thoughts.  “Everybody was trying to guess where else you might have gone.  When you called, I remembered you saying something about cilantro, but you didn’t explain.  I figured if you had made a detour to get cilantro, then the Queen of Clubs Herb Farm was the only place that was between the Vale’s place and Wong’s.

“We found the Model-T hours ago, but we couldn’t find you anywhere.  The Wetson house and the buildings around it were deserted.  But I understand they’re linked to the ambush and the bootleggers somehow?” he said.1914_Ford_Model_T_Speedster

Slowly I nodded.  I wasn’t sure why, but what Alastair said seemed right.  I had a half-formed memory of something like that… I remembered being in the Model-T with Granny driving that cherished car like a bat out of hell.  Then I remembered all the blood at the scene of the ambush.  There were dead bodies.  I remembered that very clearly, even the coppery smell of the blood.  I turned away from Alastair and wretched, but there was nothing left in my stomach.  Thank goodness.

“Come on,” he said gently.  “My truck is right over here.  You can rest there.  The others will be here in a minute.”

“Others?” I asked groggily.

“Yeah.  That’s why I blew the whistle — to let them know I’d found you,” he said and motioned toward his truck.1920s delivery truck

Then I saw the truck, not too far away.  I thought I could walk that far.  The truck was painted with the name, Wong’s Chinese.  I noticed Alastair had added his new slogan below the restaurant name, “You’re always right with Wong’s,” and I thought it was strange that I could remember him telling me that silly slogan, but I couldn’t remember what had happened to me that day.  When we reached the truck I saw a crate of eggs in the back.  Half the eggs were broken.  I gave Alastair what must have been an odd look.

“I didn’t exactly drive carefully once we figured out something was wrong, that you’d gone missing,” he said and he blushed a little.  “When I said I was going to meet up with you, in case you’d broken down, Momma had me take some eggs.  She said Doctor Veronica likes to make quiche…  Then I forgot to give them to her.  I hit a lot 1920s woman scientist-microscopeof bumps on the way out here.  Not so good for eggs…  Maybe Doctor Ronnie can salvage some of them.”

He was saved from further explanation by the sound of yapping.  High pitched barking grew closer.  Something white bounded through the tall grass.  For a second I didn’t know what it was, but my mind started filling in blanks.  It was a little poodle.  Cotton, the name came to me; Veronica Vale’s dog.  Just as those thoughts fell into place the poodle pounced into my arms.

As the sky grew increasingly red with sunset, the field became more populated.  Veronica Vale puttered up in their slow moving jalopy.  She jumped out of the car and hugged me while I held the dog.  Cotton then struggled to get down.  “Cotton, you naughty girl,” Veronica chided the dog.  “You know you’re supposed to come when I call you.”  The dog only wagged her tail in answer, totally unrepentant.

Then a familiar automobile drove up, but I couldn’t say why I felt I knew it.  I recognized the car, but that was as far as memory would take me.

JCLeyndecker Arrow Collar adVeronica noticed my odd expression when a tall attractive man with deep blue eyes got out of the car.  He had a severe expression on his face, and an official bearing that made me feel like a kid in trouble.  He looked angry and I reflexively drew back.

Mrs. Vale seemed to think she was explaining the man’s presence when she spoke.  “We made Hank stay behind with Moses.  Mind you it was a task, because he was already out the door to go looking for you before Alastair even finished saying that he didn’t see you on the road anywhere.  However, Hank really should be resting from that head wound, and we couldn’t leave the marshal alone.  So I made him stay behind to mind the patient.  But the rest of us have been searching high and low for you,” she said then paused and looked expectantly at my blank expression.  “Hank radioed Dabney.  He left off investigating the bootleggers and joined our search for you.”

Who was Hank? I wondered silently.  A kind face hovered in my mind.  I associated him with a uniform and a radio.  That’s it!  Hank was the youngest policeman on Savannah’s force, and he was a wizard with radio equipment.  But who was this angry looking man?

“I whistled to the others, when I heard your signal,” Veronica added with a nod to Alastair.  “Vincent and your grandmother should be here shortly.”

“I’m sorry,” I began, “but who is that?  He looks like a copper.”  I said that quietly so as not to offend the man who was only a few feet away by then.  He looked like he was already annoyed enough.

When I spoke, Veronica looked at me intently.  She stepped closer and got all doctor-like.  She checked my eyes and felt around on my head, despite me trying to push her hands away.  “Pip…” she said warningly, and I was reminded that, well she was a doctor.  She asked what was wrong.1920 Radio News

“She can’t remember anything that happened today,” Alastair supplied while I struggled to form the right words.  “And apparently there are some other things she can’t remember too,” he added with his voice dipping in a worried tone.

Doctor Vale looked suspiciously at me and felt my head again.  By then the man had walked over to us.  “You do have a little bump on your head, but…” she began, but her words trailed away.  “You know Dabney Daniels, don’t you?  The police detective?” she asked.

I said nothing, but I spared a timid glance at the detective.  He looked from Doctor Vale to me and back to her again.  His posture became stiffer, if that was possible.  His face reddened.  Was he angry with me, I wondered.  Had I done something I couldn’t remember?  Broken some law?  Surely not.

Then Veronica leaned toward me and sniffed.  The awful sickly sweet smell still clung to my hair.  Right then, I would have given just about anything to wash that odor out of my hair.  It nauseated me every time I breathed.

Her eyes grew large.  “You’ve been drugged, Pip!” she said with surprise.  “Do you remember anything?  Anything about somebody frightening you, or doing something to you?” she asked, but I shook my head.

The detective’s hands clinched to fists.  Veronica put her fingers to a smear on my face, and then smelled of her hand and nodded knowingly.  “Someone probably grabbed you from behind.  Do you remember anything like that?”Life October 1929

Suddenly I remembered the air whooshing from my lungs as someone roughly caught me around my middle.  Yes, they had been behind me and I had not seen who it was.  Then I remembered everything going black.

“Show him the card, Pip,” Alastair said somewhat hesitantly and motioned to the detective.

I was sort of relieved to know that I wasn’t the only one who felt awkward around the man.  I couldn’t blame Alastair.  This detective was a fierce looking customer.  I took out the King of Clubs card and extended it toward the man without speaking.  Was I really supposed to be acquainted with this man?

“That card fell out of her pocket after she climbed out of the cellar,” Alastair supplied for me.

Ordinarily it would have annoyed me to have someone try and do the talking for me.  After all, I was a flapper — a modern woman!  However, Alastair simply picked up on how fuzzy my brain was and helped fill in while I was tongue-tied, so I was actually grateful.

The detective took the King of Clubs card from my hand.  His face turned from red to white, and then even redder than it was before.  A vein in his temple started to throb.  Reflexively I took a step backward.  That was one angry copper.  My stomach churned violently, and the unpleasant smell in my hair was inescapable.  The pain in my skull had grown from an ordinary headache to a horrible vice-grip that made me feel like it would explode.1920s-photoplay-new faces

“Pip,” the copper spoke my name as if he had used it many times.  “Do you understand what this means?  The most notorious gangster this side of the Mississippi River grabbed you, drugged you, and threw you down into a cellar!  Then he left his calling card in your pocket!  Was it a warning?  Or was it a bizarre clue? Or what?” he said in a demanding voice.

Flinching away from him I took another step backward.  How could I know the answers to those questions?  I felt my knees giving way.  The ground beneath my feet seemed to heave and spin, fit for the trapeze act my friend Mona was learning down in Sarasota, Florida.  Mona?  Yes, I suddenly remembered Mona and Andy, and Frankie.  Frankie who betrayed us all.

Then large black spots filled my vision.  I saw the tall detective take a big step toward me, just before the black spots crowded out all the orange light of sunset.  I felt him catch me with one arm and lift me up from the approaching ground.  Consciousness was escaping quickly, but I knew he sat me in Alastair’s truck.

***

Mavis adI awoke to something warm and wet against my face.  “Cotton, leave her alone.  Come here girl,” I heard Veronica tell the poodle.  Alastair Wong held me tightly.  I was still in the truck, but we were not in that field any more.  I recognized the lovely white house with a green roof.  We were at Veronica’s home.

“Don’t try to move yet, Pip,” Veronica instructed as she hurried from her old car.

I didn’t move, but that was mostly because I was so overwhelmed by all the different noises.  The put-put of Veronica’s engine, the louder sound of the truck, the yapping of Cotton.  A horse whinnied from the stable, and from inside the house I could hear a bird screech.  A parrot.  Cracker, I thought with a smile as another memory was retrieved.  Then I almost faded out of consciousness again.  I took a deep breath and focused on my breathing.

Alastair shut off the truck’s engine and that helped.  It seemed to remind Veronica that her car was still running and she rushed back to turn it off.  I felt safe and warm, tucked under Alastair’s shoulder with his arm around me.  He didn’t flinch and I had no wish to move.  However, as Veronica ran back to the truck I knew I couldn’t stay there.  I clawed my way toward a more alert state.Parrot in flight

A shutter banged against the wall and the parrot flew out of the building that housed the animal hospital.  That was also where we sat up a recovery room for the marshal after his surgery.  I was pleased that more bits of memory fell into place.

The clever bird could open anything when she set her mind to it.  She alighted on the back of the truck seat.  The parrot started preening strands of my hair as if it was feathers.  “Dainty dish,” the bird chirped as if she meant to comfort me. “Dainty dish, fourandtwenty.”

The roar of a mud-spattered motorcycle startled everyone and caused the parrot to flutter skyward.  I turned to see the man who rode it take off a goggled helmet.  To my surprise it was Vincent Vale.  I must have looked every bit as astonished as I felt because Veronica chuckled softly.

“Didn’t you know Vincent had a motorcycle?” she asked as the parrot settled back onto the truck’s open door.

1920s BSA Motorcycle ad“We were ready to search the four corners of the earth for you,” Alastair told me as he loosened his arm.  “And there weren’t enough cars to go everywhere Detective Daniels said we should look.”

“So Vincent rolled out his pride and joy,” Veronica said.  “It hasn’t touched a street in ages — let alone all that mud,” she added with a combination of a wince and a laugh.

Vincent got off the vehicle.  That’s when I saw that there was someone sitting behind the veterinarian on the motorcycle.  Boots, heavy trousers, and a leather helmet with goggles made for a smaller version of Vincent.  Gloved hands removed the helmet.  A cascade of hip-length gray hair tumbled from the helmet.

“Granny!” I cried incredulously.

***

Video:  Quinoa 101

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7uvygMiwfo

Photos are either from Pinterest or they have been purchased, unless otherwise noted.

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

Sunshine and Spring

Blogs that Bring Me Sunshineherecomesthesun

Here, it is officially spring… though I’m not sure you could say that spring has truly sprung — especially after seeing the weather forecast.  While I’m inside, I know that I really should be writing the next episode of The Three Ingredients.  But I think it is still simmering in my subconscious while I pine for the sun to come out from behind the clouds.

Just now, Shatarupa at My Kitchen Adventures sent
me a “Sunshine Award.” She brought me sunshine by thinking of me, and by visiting this blog.  Recently I promised myself that when “awards” come my way I would use the opportunity to promote and encourage other bloggers.  That’s because I tend to throw the award rules out the window and do it my way.

I’ve noticed that a lot of bloggers don’t “accept” or have time to play with awards, so I don’t “nominate” anyone. (Okay… Now read that again — I’m not nominating anyone, so relax. I’m giving you a free advertisement.)

Since I’m not following the rules at all, I didn’t post the beautiful award.  But I do try to show my support, encouragement, and appreciation for other bloggers.  So I’m making my own rules again.  I’m sharing with you the first three blogs that I followed when I started writing Teagan’s Books, and then three of the most recent.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGKPHFrHVVY

You all bring sunshine into my heart.  Seriously.  I value all of you more than you could imagine.  I hope you will visit these wonderful blogs.  It makes for an eclectic collection.  However, my interests range far and wide.

Among the first blogs I followed

Mary’s Author Mary J. McCoy-Dressel

David’s Barsetshire Diaries

Lynn’s Strangled Thoughts and Random Musings

Among those I’ve recently followed

(Of course) Shatarupa at My Kitchen Adventures

Olga’s Just Olga

Carol’s Carol Anfinsen the Art of Living

More Sunny Fun

Oh, why not…?  Green is my favorite color, but I recently discovered that yellow makes me happy.  So much so that I made a Pinterest board and named it Mad about Saffron.  As friend RC said, “That’s a whole lot of yellow!”  So if you need a lift, check out my yellow madness.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrbni0tVBZ8

Sending all of you sunshine-super-hugs!

Three Ingredients – 17: Rutabaga Limbo

Hello all,

This weekend I am unfortunately pressed for time. So I didn’t follow my “rule of three” and write about three ingredients. However, I did pick one food and worked into the idea of Pip feeling she is in limbo.  Next time I’ll go back to that rule of three. Episode-18 will be about the ingredients sent by Ishita at Kooky Cookyng.

However, I couldn’t bear to leave you in limbo. So decided to at least jot down something I could do quickly.  Here is a little episode to give your imagination fodder for what might happen next; a mostly non-food tidbit of The Three Ingredients.

17.  Rutabaga Limbo

Either I woke up feeling horribly nauseous, or the queasiness woke me.  I’m not sure which. I opened my eyes to complete darkness.  There was no light, no sound.  The way my stomach tossed reminded me of a small boat on the ocean.  It was as if I sailed in a lightless limbo.  Oh… that was a bad train of thought to have with an unsettled belly.  Think of something else!  Anything else, I told myself.

I stood unsteadily.  However, the motion set my ears ringing and bile rose in my throat.  Collapsing to my hands and knees, I vomited despite efforts to hold it back.  After my belly had emptied, it calmed and so did the ringing in my ears. jiminy cricket

The sound of a cricket came to me.  Good.  The utter silence had been very disturbing.  I became aware of the cool moist earth beneath my palms.  Where the Sam Hill was I?  I sat back on my heels, focusing all my senses.

My eyes might as well have been closed — it was that dark.  Bare ground was beneath me.  The air had a musty odor.  A sickly sweet scent clung to my bobbed hair.  It almost made me sick-up again.  The cricket’s “chirping” was the only sound.  Still sitting, I turned.  My eyes widened and strained, trying to see in that heavy darkness.  When I looked up I was rewarded with the sight of a thin line of pink light.

The faint glow allowed me to see shadowy outlines a few feet away.  There were large lumpy shadows. One shape was tall and narrow.  Cautiously I stood.  The dizziness abated after a moment and I groped my way to the shape.Rutabaga seeds

I stumbled over something and stooped down to let my hands figure out what it was.  I felt a burlap bag and round lumps.  Rutabagas.  I felt around and found another bag.  That one felt like potatoes.  I moved closer to the wall and the tall shape.  Yes, a ladder, my questing hands confirmed for my still foggy brain.

Gazing up at the line of pinkish light I realized I was in a root cellar.  But how had I gotten there?  My memory was completely out of sorts, and it made my head hurt to try and figure it out.  The moldy air made me sneeze, which also hurt my head.1922 Sat Post

I dragged the ladder into place beneath the crack of light.  That would be the door to the cellar.  Unsteadily but carefully I climbed.  I reached and pushed against the hatch, but it only moved an inch. Then it dropped back down, scattering dirt in my face.  I rubbed my nose and tried not to sneeze again.  I was already dizzy and didn’t want to sneeze while I was on that ladder.

Moving a couple of rungs higher I was able to put my shoulders against the cellar door and push.  The muzzy feeling gradually left my brain.  It puzzled me that the cellar door was so heavy.  I heard a muffled sound somewhere beyond the cellar.  I pushed again, harder.  That time I was able to shoulder open the door.

Looking around, the first thing I noticed was the pink sunset.  Everything else that met my eyes was unfamiliar.  I still didn’t know where I was, but I didn’t think it should be evening.  Why couldn’t I think clearly?  No, it shouldn’t be sunset.  It should be morning.  However, I couldn’t remember why I felt that way.

I crawled out onto the grass.  The muffled, faraway sound reached my ears again, but it seemed much closer.  It was a voice.  I heard it again — my name.  I took a deep breath to shout in answer, but my nose filled with the sickly sweet odor from my hair and I had a fit of coughing.

“Pip!” came a familiar voice, but I couldn’t place its owner.1920s flapper thinking

Rising to wobbly knees I looked toward the sound.  I saw rows of plants.  It was a garden.  Then I saw a figure running toward me, trampling the rows of plants that I suddenly recognized for herbs.  I knew him.  My muddled brain searched for a name.  All I came up with was tofu.  I knew that wasn’t the name, but I remembered I was supposed to be getting tofu.  Granny wanted tofu, but why would she want that?

“Pip! Where have you been?  Are you all right?  Holy Hannah we were so worried about you!” said Alastair Wong in one frantic sounding stream of words.  “There’s dirt all over your face,” he added sounding puzzled.

HandkerchiefsMy answer was another sneeze.  Alastair immediately reached into his breast pocket, but seemed to find it empty.  I realized he meant to offer me a handkerchief.  Oh yes, there would be a hanky in my pocket.  As I removed the embroidered soft cotton cloth something else came out of my pocket and fluttered to the ground.  I hardly noticed it, but Alastair stooped to retrieve it.

Alastair inspected the small rectangular piece of paper.  His expression shifted from confusion to fear as he looked at it.

“What is it?” I asked.

I didn’t remember having kind of paper or note with me.  I could tell it was too stiff to be a shopping list.  In Alastair’s hand it looked more like a calling card.  Wordlessly Alastair handed it to me.  It wasn’t a business card.  It was a playing card — the king of clubs!

King of Clubs card

***

Recipe

Roasted Rutabaga

Roasted Rutabaga

Recipe credit:  Food Network Magazine. Photo credit:  Antonis Achilleos

Total Time:  50 min

Prep:  10 min

Cook:  40 min

Method

Toss 1 large peeled and cubed rutabaga with 3 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper on a baking sheet. Roast at 425 degrees F until golden and soft, 40 minutes. Toss with 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and chopped parsley.

Tune in again next time for Fungus, Quiche, Quinoa as the mystery deepens!