Category Archives: Humor

#blogchallenge: Fortune Cookie #7


by Lillian Csernica on May 7, 2018

fortune-cookie

christthetao.blogspot.com

Today’s fortune says:

A surprise gift from another will make a lasting impression.

 

The Kindness of Cousins

Bennie stirred the potion with a copper rod. Three circles right, three circles left. If he’d added the ingredients in strict accord with the recipe, the copper rod would show it by remaining clean and shiny.  Taking a deep breath, Bennie lifted the rod out of the potion.

Verdigris.

Bennie flung the corroded rod into the corner where three other rods already lay. He didn’t want to dump out another three hours’ work. He didn’t want to start again. He did want to complete the potion and show Magister Verlaine proof that not all of the Magister’s harsh criticisms were valid.

Bennie grabbed an earthenware mug in the shape of a toadstool and poured himself a beer. He wasn’t the best at making potions, but he did brew a damn fine beer.

A flutter of wings drew his attention to the window. The shutters were open wide to keep the fresh air blowing in and dissipating the fumes from the potion. A red shouldered hawk hopped down from the windowsill and gave Bennie an expectant look. A small cloth pouch hung round the hawk’s neck on a cord.

“Oh, hello, Alistair.” Bennie picked up a dish of seed corn from the kitchen shelf. “Here you go.” He set the dish on the floor.

Alistair straightened up and bit through the cord around his feathered neck. The pouch fell to the floor and Alistair fell on the seed corn, pecking away. Bennie gathered up the pouch, wondering what Alma May had sent him this time. His cousin had already survived the rigors of Magister Verlaine’s teaching style. The pouch contained a small scroll and a single peridot as big as the tip of his thumb.

“Greetings, Benedict. I hear you’re mixing the Contrass Potion. Let me give you a short cut. Grab a fresh copper rod. Three turns left, drop the peridot in the potion, then three turns right. Check your rod, then hold this scroll in the fumes.”

With a profound sense of relief, Bennie drained his mug of beer and snatched up a fresh rod. Setting the mug aside, he took a deep breath, stirred three circles left, then dropped the peridot into the potion. Three circles right, and—

Lavender light burst upward from the potion, blinding Bennie and sending him staggering backward. He tripped over a stack of books and fell sprawling. The rod. The rod! Shaking off the slight spinning in his head, Bennie staggered up and yanked the copper rod from the potion. Clean. Shiny.  Perfect!

Bennie let out a shout of delight. He grabbed the scroll and held it over the potion. Alma May’s writing faded out. New writing scribbled itself across the scroll.

“Look in the mirror. What color do you see?”

Puzzled, Bennie hurried over to the round mirror hung over his sink. He hadn’t heard of the Contrass Potion affecting the silver backing of mirrors, but if it could corrode copper, it might blacken silver as well.

Bennie stared into the perfectly ordinary mirror. His face was now a lovely shade of lavender, made all the more bizarre by the scattering of green bumps. The scroll in his hand stung his fingers with a sudden mild burst of magic. He held it up to read the new message.

“Rule One: Never take short cuts. Rule Two: Never trust a sudden free offer of help. MV will accept the potion, but the price for your gullibility is seven days of wearing this face. Much love, your laughing cousin.”

a_witch_stirring_a_green_potion_in_a_cauldron_111029-195354-976009

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Blog challenges, Family, fantasy, Fiction, Humor, Lillian Csernica, sword and sorcery, Writing

The Great Fortune Cookie Challenge!


by Lillian Csernica on May 2, 2018

271318011_0_640x640

Now that I’ve had a chance to catch my breath after the A to Z Blog Challenge, I feel like keeping the ball rolling. For years I’ve had the peculiar hobby of keeping every single fortune I’ve ever received from a fortune cookie. I eat a lot of Chinese food, so I’ve amassed quite a collection.

fcgoldnew

onepassionpalace.com

Every day in May (except Sundays) I will post a new fortune. Here are your options:

Write a flash fiction story, 500 words maximum.

Find or create an image that expresses your interpretation of the fortune’s meaning.

Tell us how the day’s fortune has come true for you!

Once you’ve created your blog post, come back here to that day’s fortune and post the link to your blog entry. That way we can all run around seeing the variety of interpretations everyone comes up with.

Since we’re starting off on the 2nd of May, I’ll give you two fortunes to choose from:

There are big changes ahead for you

Generosity and perfection are your everlasting goals.

I will pop in later with my own fortune cookie post. Let the creativity begin!

jobat_gelukskoekje

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Blog challenges, creativity, Fiction, Food, Goals, Humor

#atozchallenge G is for Garden Party


by Lillian Csernica on April 7, 2018

g

One of the key elements of the Kyoto Steampunk series is writing each story from a different character’s point of view. Blown Sky High (Thirty Days Later) features a garden party presided over by Constance. This was an excellent opportunity to let the reader into her mind and see just how Constance is coping with the challenge of navigating through Kyoto’s expatriate society along with all the Japanese diplomats Dr. Harrington encounters.

A Victorian garden party is a lavish affair, held outdoors in a fine English garden full of stately oaks, manicured hedges, and an abundance of flowers. In 1880, did Kyoto provide the necessary landscape? Traditional trees in a Japanese garden included pine, bamboo, and plum. Because they do so well in winter, they symbolize steadfastness, perseverance, and resilience.

69a9ec0b5a0449e0b3bb11f38831b417

cn.hujiang.com

Springtime flowers in Kyoto include irises, azalea, hydrangea, plum blossoms, and waterlilies. Best of all are the roses. If you’re planning a visit to Kyoto, be sure to see the Kyoto Botanical Garden.

e152c1911b0a1af9197f0d4967ac296b-black-n-white-daughters

pinterest.com

Blown Sky High is an important story in the series. It’s more lighthearted, and it takes a look at the expectations placed upon “the fairer sex.” When events at the party take a sudden unexpected turn, Constance must look to Madelaine and her bluestocking habits to save the day. To learn more about Victorian women who redefined their roles in society, please read this excellent article.

 

flower2bdivider

labibliotecadeseshat.blogspot.com

 

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under #atozchallenge, Blog challenges, Family, family tradition, fantasy, Fiction, historical fiction, history, Humor, Japan, Kyoto, Lillian Csernica, marriage, mother, nature, parenting, research, steampunk, travel, Writing

NaNoWriMo 2017: Fantasy for Fun & Profit


by Lillian Csernica on October 20, 2017

nanowrimo-logo

That’s right. I’ve gone and done it. I have officially signed up for NaNoWriMo 2017.

I’m in the editing stage of The Flower Maiden Saga, so this year I’m going back to basics and writing a good old-fashioned sword & sorcery novel. When I first started to read fantasy, I gravitated to C.L. Moore’s Jirel of Joiry, Fritz Lieber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, and of course Conan the Barbarian. Red Nails remains one of the most chilling and thrilling stories of its kind.

stock-vector-cartoon-medieval-wizard-and-brave-knight-with-sword-characters-vector-set-692367181

Now the tricky part will be getting my daily 1667 words written while I’m doing all of this November stuff as well:

2017-1

A road trip up to EuCon in Eugene, Oregon. John will be teaching drawing classes in the Art Bus, which is sponsored by Imagination International Incorporated, the folks who make Copic markers.

d355257c7d2ea5ce00f5dfd3f92c6203-thanksgiving-quotes-happy-thanksgiving

Making Thanksgiving happen.

fc43u

Celebrating John’s birthday.

And the usual daily chaos that keeps me on my toes.

All this and write 50,000 words? 200 pages? No problem!

Stay tuned, folks. Let’s see if I can make it to the end of November before my head explodes!

450x300-head-exploding-cartoon-exploding-head-4917903

 

 

6 Comments

Filed under art show, artists, autism, birthday, classics, Conventions, cosplay, creativity, Family, family tradition, fantasy, Fiction, Food, historical fiction, Humor, legend, Lillian Csernica, neurodiversity, parenting, research, special education, Special needs, sword and sorcery, travel, Writing

By Appointment


by Lillian Csernica on September 28, 2017

"Honey, it's scheduling! Don't worry, I'll get it."

Now that I have entered the fifth decade of my life, health concerns have become more of a priority. I had no idea how much work would be involved in simply gathering the information I’d need to make sure I’m doing all the right things. This week is a good example. Four separate appointments!

1ad07e4c894fc65e2f9a9659033d06c8-dental-hygienist-sleep-apnea

Sleep study I have obstructive sleep apnea, so my neurologist prescribed a CPAP. It’s done me a lot of good. For one thing, it got rid of the nightmares I’ve had all my life. Turns out they were caused by my brain screaming at me to wake up so I’d breathe properly. Having now lost seventy pounds, I no longer have so much tissue in my airway. The new sleep study will determine if I still have apnea and/or need any assistance from a device.

'I'm sensing you may still have some boundary issues.'

Psychiatrist With the quality of my sleep improving, I’m hoping I can start weaning myself off of at least one of my insomnia meds. In a perfect world I wouldn’t need any of them, or the anti-depressants. One step at a time, right?

bizarroanalogy

Therapist Once a week I see my MFT, who helps me deal with the ongoing stress in my life. Coping with the depression is a priority, along with dismantling the behaviors that fuel my emotional eating. I keep the weight off, and everything else improves.

484adbb35a4e9d597e4f09173a544650-weight-loss-humor-minutes

Weigh-in at the medspa Also a weekly event, the accountability is important to keep me following the program. Because the diet is high protein, no carb, with limited fruits and veggies, I also get a B complex injection. There are handouts, recipes, refills of the supplements I take, and advice from the nurse who has also been through the program.

Did I mention the constant effort of convincing myself not to order pizza, buy that jar of Nutella, have just one potato chip, or drink anything that has caffeine? Oh yeah. If mental wrestling resulted in actual muscle, I’d make Mr. Universe look puny!

bcd2f92ecfebf0791f236c7c0c6b2802-weight-loss-tips-healthy-weight-loss

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under chocolate, Depression, doctors, Food, frustration, Goals, Humor, Lillian Csernica, Self-image, specialists, therapy

Talk Like a Pirate Day


by Lillian Csernica on September 19, 2017

This is a very special day for me, dear to my heart for three important reasons.

ChristopherFortune

First, I met my husband of thirty years at the Northern Renaissance Faire where he was playing a pirate aboard the good ship Cardiff Rose, aka the fencing booth. See that tall, dark, handsome fellow in the middle? Bosun’s Mate Christopher Fortune!

5102oqewu2bl

Second, my first published romance novel, Ship of Dreams, is a love story between an English Lady and a notorious French pirate. There are sea battles and sword fights and many people talking like pirates in English, French, and Spanish. I had such a good time writing this book!

82500aa41ec88574e56bbf7d1276148c-pirate-images-father-christmas

pinterest.com

Third, I once received a letter to Santa Claus that asked Santa what he thought about pirates. (I volunteer every holiday season at my local post office, replying to the letters the local kids write to Santa Claus.) This took some thinking on my part. Hollywood has done a lot to romanticize what pirates were and what they did. Speaking on behalf of Santa Claus, I had to strike a balance between truth and a child’s sense of adventure.

In the letter from Santa I said that the real pirates of history weren’t very nice people. They tended to get a lot of coal in their stockings. Santa Claus does believe that pretending to be a pirate can be a lot of fun. You find out amazing things about sailing ships, life at sea, and all the different kinds of treasure pirates captured.

The boy who wrote this letter to Santa Claus happened to live in my neighborhood. The next time I crossed paths with his mother, she told me all about how excited her son had been to get a reply from Santa himself. She thought the answers to the pirate questions were just right. I love it when I hear how much the kids enjoy their letters!

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

1 Comment

Filed under Christmas, cosplay, dreams, Family, Fiction, historical fiction, history, Humor, legend, love, marriage, pirates, publication, tall ships

Reblog: Self Care Isn’t Selfish


This isn’t just an Instagram aesthetic. It’s actually really good advice for us. If you’re unfamiliar with self-care, it is the simple act of caring for ourselves. We deserve it, not because it makes us better for others or for our lecturers or for our flatmates, but because it makes us healthier for ourselves. […]

via Self-Care isn’t Selfish — the married millenials

Leave a comment

Filed under bad movies, cats, charity, chocolate, Depression, dogs, Family, Food, frustration, Goals, Humor, Lillian Csernica, love, marriage, nature, parenting, Self-image, therapy, Writing

Universal Studios: Eating and Drinking


by Lillian Csernica on July 3, 2017

hqdefault

Lard Lad Donuts. A cardiologist’s nightmare.

When we’re at an amusement park, Chris and I have to make John eat. He gets so excited he just wants to move on to the next ride or show.

The heat was in the 90s, so I made sure we had water bottles that we refilled frequently. Anywhere we saw a restroom sign, there would be a water fountain close by. This was very helpful knowledge when bottled water was selling for $3.49 each.

honeydukes-pumpkin-pasties

getawaytoday.com

I’ve already mentioned the supreme delights of Butterbeer. Available at Honeyduke’s is the magical ice cream that never melts. I’m not sure that we really tested the truth of that “magic.” John ate it rather quickly. Florian Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor also offers many chilly treats.

lad-lard-donut_simpsons_universal

The Giant Donut — This is, if anything, an understatement. We’re talking about something roughly the size of the front wheel on a child’s tricycle. The GD is most commonly available with either bright pink frosting dotted with multi-colored sprinkles, or chocolate frosting and chocolate sprinkles. I’ll give you one guess which one John chose.

p4094538

themeparkinsider.com

Minion Cupcakes — Red velvet cake with a good inch and a half of blue frosting swirled on top. From there you could choose the Twinkie Minion version, or the round, flat, yellow disc decorated with white eyes and black details. I’m not a fan of Twinkies. Neither is John, thank God. By the time he was halfway through his cupcake, his lips had turned cyanotic blue. When he was finished, he stuck his tongue out at me. One of my nicknames for John is “Puppy Boy.” With that blue tongue he could be a Chow!

nooanp-b88402489z-120150520165707000gsb9nivr-10

ocregister.com

Here we have the Chicken Thumbs meal available at Cletus’ Chicken Shack. The coleslaw is all right. I like a lot of pepper on mine, but that’s just me. French fries aren’t on my diet, and John had already eaten all of his, so I offered the fries to the four Australian gentlemen sitting nearby nursing their pints. They were happy to accept. Throughout the park the French fries are dusted with a seasoning mixture that will make you even more in need of a cold drink. They are tasty!

ls

yelp.com

The second night we were in the park we had dinner at Luigi’s Pizza.  For a cafeteria-style restaurant the food was quite good. Pasta or pizza or even pizza-by-the-slice, plus a small Caesar salad.  The desserts were what you’d expect in an Italian restaurant, featuring huge slices of a six layer chocolate cake edged with mini chocolate chips and topped with serious whipped cream. You do get your money’s worth at Universal Studios.

your-body-is-an-amusement-park-enjoy-the-ride

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under artists, bad movies, chocolate, classics, creativity, dreams, fairy tales, Family, family tradition, fantasy, Food, history, Humor, Lillian Csernica, memoirs, parenting, perspective, research, travel, Writing

Universal Studios: Screaming and Laughing


by Lillian Csernica on July 2, 2017

stock-vector-couple-have-date-in-roller-coaster-girl-and-boy-204087895

Next up: Shrek 4-D. This adventure was so amazing and funny we saw it both days.

1496762

rs.locationshub.com

You start out in Lord Farquad’s Dungeon, where the Three Little Pigs and Pinocchio are being held prisoner. The Magic Mirror and the Ghost of Lord Farquad get the story started as a prelude to what happens during the 4D movie in Ogre-Vision!

shrek-4d

themeparkinsider.com

No spoilers here, but I will say this is more than just a visual experience. Four out of the five senses get some stimulation. One of them hit me right where I live, bringing a whole new dimension to this thrill ride!

despicable20me20minion20mayhem-preview

zimbio.com

Minion Mayhem — Another wild ride! When the Minions all get thrown into prison, Gru starts a recruiting campaign. This is the basis of the ride’s storyline. Gru’s henchman Dr. Nefario has created another evil death ray gizmo that will turns even humans into Minions. (I got to be a purple Minion!) John and I can’t wait to see Despicable Me 3.  What we saw during the ride convinced us we had to see the whole movie. John bought a Minion key ring with his name on it. I bought a charm that shows Kevin and Bob back to back, both of them holding serious ray guns! The perfect keepsake to remind me of the time John and I joined the ranks of the Minions!

The Simpsons Experience — Ever wanted to be inside an episode of The Simpsons? This will do it for you. It’s an insane 3D ride through Itchy & Scratchy Land, facing the homicidal robot cats and mice. There’s an ominous undercurrent to the ride’s lead-in, which explodes into some genuine terror (at least for me) when you experience the very realistic sense of being trapped on a shattered roller coaster.

Yes, that’s right. If you weren’t already in enough of a panic, the ride starts going backwards!

universal-studio-tour_20110328002008

Back when I was ten years old, just the prospect of going behind the scenes at a real working movie studio was a huge thrill. In today’s modern digital world, visitors expect a whole lot more given the endless competition for their attention spans. Now the Studio Tour includes a 3D adventure between King Kong and some vicious dinosaurs. The grand finale is the hyper-realistic, HD adventure Fast and Furious: Supercharged.

I confess a certain nostalgia for the Jaws portion of the tour. There I was, sitting in the tour shuttle with John just as my mother had sat with me. John has a pretty good grip on what’s real and what isn’t, but that didn’t stop him from yelping when the shark reared up out of the water. Another fine family tradition, watching the next generation get freaked out by Bruce the animatronic shark.

clip-art-rollercoaster-896034

julyneurofeedback.com

2 Comments

Filed under artists, autism, bad movies, classics, creativity, dreams, fairy tales, Family, family tradition, fantasy, history, Horror, Humor, legend, Lillian Csernica, memoirs, mother, nature, parenting, perspective, research, science fiction, travel, veterinarian, Writing

Universal Studios: Hogwarts in Hollywood!


by Lillian Csernica on June 29, 2017

We stayed in a lovely hotel, the BLVD, on Ventura Blvd. Excellent suite, two queen-sized beds, refrigerator, microwave, big bathroom. The small snack bar downstairs had many of John’s favorite items at quite reasonable prices, which made life easier and more economical.

The Universal Studios shuttle stop was a mere five minute walk from the hotel. The main parking lot is up a long steep hill, so that was a considerable mercy.

unist0292

lifeinusa.com

The City Walk leads to main entrance. Lots of shops, restaurants, and more neon than Las Vegas!

We went through the usual security clearance, then entry turnstiles which require ticket, photo ID, and a scan of your right index fingerprint. This was the first time I’d encountered the fingerprint scan. I found that somewhat disturbing.

WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER

playbuzz.com

John made straight for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

img_0774-580x435

stevejobko.com

The Hogwarts Express with its delightful conductor.

hogsmeade-smaller

blogs.gazetaonline.com.br

Hogsmeade is a combination of the village and the highlights of Diagon Alley, featuring Ollivander’s and Honeydukes.

 

John chose the wand of Narcissa Malfoy. This is one bad ass wand! The interactive model comes with a map that shows where you can work spells on items in the shop windows.

interactive-wand-map-harry-potter

everydaysavvy.com

We rode the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster. A rather brief ride, but quite entertaining and a great way to start the adventure.

Stumbled into Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, the gift shop for all things HP. There are a lot of archways coming and going in there. We took a wrong turn and found ourselves in the First in Line lane for Harry Potter: The Forbidden Journey. The ride attendants must have thought we’d been cleared by the people at the entrance. They put us into a car and away we went! The posted wait time was eighty minutes, so this was an amazing turn of luck.

31a63d2300000578-3468107-image-a-16_1456673280989

dailymail.com

Harry Potter: The Forbidden Journey was a nonstop 3D freak-out for me. BIG spiders spitting venom in our faces. Really big dragons breathing smoke and fire. Dementors getting up close and personal so they could suck out our souls. It was a good thing I had not yet sampled the Butterbeer. Just ten seconds into the ride I had serious worries about throwing up. The 360 degree spin over the Quidditch field just about did me in. John was shouting and laughing and having a glorious time. Once we were released unharmed, I wobbled over to lean against the nearest wall. That is one hell of a ride.

butterbeer

huffingtonpost.com

John and I both enjoyed the frozen variation of Butterbeer. Cold, sweet, and refreshing indeed! Never have I consumed something that gave me such a nasty case of brain freeze so suddenly! Given the heat and relative humidity, that wasn’t entirely unwelcome. I applied the cure for brain freeze I learned while watching Popular Mechanics for Kids with John many moons ago. I pressed my tongue against the roof of my mouth, which warms up the nerves there and makes the brain freeze melt.

 

The Hogwarts light show — Better than anything I’ve seen at Disneyland.

Watching this fabulous display was the perfect way to end the evening. We did a whole lot more in the other areas of park during the twelve hours we roamed through the various wonders available to us. More to come in my next post!

k4735860

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under artists, bad movies, classics, creativity, dreams, Family, family tradition, fantasy, history, Humor, Lillian Csernica, parenting, research, romance, science fiction, travel, Writing