Friday, September 30, 2011

A Cage Without a Key

The fog is like a cage without a key. - Elizabeth Wurtzel

Fog sat heavy on the horizon, a cloak of condensation hiding the secrets of the city, of its inhabitants, of its past. The streets were empty, the air silent. An outsider might have thought that something was amiss, but in this city, in this time, the scene was commonplace, more normal than not.

Within one of the boarded up buildings lining the abandoned streets, a little girl sat quietly at a small desk. She carefully traced the outline of her hand on a yellowed sheet of paper with a stubby red crayon. Over and over again, she traced, methodically, almost hypnotically, until the sheet bore the indentation of her ministrations.

The adults around her paid her no mind, interested only in their own affairs, but she felt no loneliness, no sense of longing or need. She just kept tracing her hand.

The building she occupied somewhat resembled a home but was a mere shadow of its former purpose. Furniture was strewn meaningless around the room, lopsided, upside down. The desk that the girl sat at was the only item that seemed to still have any sense of import, a relic from a different time and place.

Across the room, one of the adults ran into an upended table, the resulting sound that resonated through the largely empty house startled the occupants. The little girl finally stopped her tracing, dead brown eyes lifting towards the source of the noise. A thought skipped through her empty mind, a fleeting piece of her humanity grasping at anything tangible.


The woman who caused the commotion stared blankly at the table then grunted and shuffled away. But the little girl was mesmerized. Carefully, she put down the crayon, which was almost completely used up anyway, and rose from the desk.

She had grown used to focusing her broken mind on a single task, much like her tracing, so she managed to dedicate her energy to making her way across the room, motivated only by that single coherent thought.


When she arrived at the table, she pushed at it with her hand.


She tried again, this time pushing harder. A squeak resulted as the edge of the table scraped across the hard-wood floors.


A smile tried to work its way across the girl’s broken face. Her mouth twitched with the effort. Those nearest to her stopped to watch, forming a small and awkward audience around her and the table.

She lifted her leg a fraction and kicked the table with all her might. This time she re-created the sound that had initially startled them all. And this time she did smile.

Loud. Noise.

“Loud noise.” She said in a quiet voice that was rusty and hoarse from lack of use.

The adults moaned their agreement and went back to shuffling aimlessly.

But the little girl was awakened, as if from a dream. She remembered the day of the outbreak. The panic in the streets. The rush to quarantine the infected. She remembered being herded into the random house, being separated from her parents. The men in masks had shouted at her to “move it!” She had cried for her mother.

Once inside the house, there had been panic. Adults rushed around, yelling at each other, yelling at the men outside. The doors were locked, then immediately boarded up from the outside.

They were trapped.

And the little girl remembered that they had been trapped for a year or longer.

Reeling from the rush of memory and feeling, she looked down at her cold, gray hand and finally knew that she was dead.

Author's Note: This week we were to be inspired by one of two pictures for the Red Writing Hood prompt. I chose the picture below, which gave life to my zombie tale. New Orleans always sparks my imagination. :) This is the 600-word prologue of a longer piece. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Of Fruit Roll-Ups and My Little Ponies and Not Growing Up

I’m not a grown up. 

I still love fruit roll-ups. I have one everyday at lunch. Sometimes, I have two. If they still made the ones with little cut-outs, I’d eat them by cut-out, smallest to largest…or least favorite shape to favorite shape. I eat a lot of things in such a precise, scientific order. Sweet Tarts? Green to Orange to Blue to Pink and Purple. Pink and purple are my favorite Sweet Tart colors, but despite that, those are not my favorite color colors. See, I’m not a really girly-girl kind of girl. Until it comes to My Little Ponies. 

Growing up, I was the kind of kid who played in the dirt more than with dolls. I wasn’t a big fan of Barbies unless it was for cutting off all their hair and switching up their heads and bodies. I was what you might call a tom boy, but like with any other label or stereotype, I didn’t quite fit in the round hole perfectly.

I was one of those rare little girls who fell in love with horses at an early age. I know. A little girl who loved horses? It’s pretty shocking. My Little Ponies were pretty much a given for me to adore. I watched the cartoons, played with the toys. When I see a My Little Pony at Wal-Mart now, I still have to stop and marvel over its pretty hair and colorfulness. Deep inside, I have a nearly overwhelming urge to buy one, rip it out of its package, and gallop it across my bedroom floor. I do manage to resist. Most of the time. I think they look so different now than they did when I was a child that I can fight the temptation. But…

I’m not a grown up.

When I go to antique or thrift stores and see the My Little Ponies from my childhood, the First Generation Ponies, I cave. I might even seek the suckers out. Of course, partially, this is from a Pony Renaissance that occurred late in my teens. During this Renaissance, I bought up a boocoodle of ponies and sold the suckers on eBay to adult collectors. You didn’t know there was an underground My Little Pony collecting movement? Oh, lemme tell you. 

I probably want this t-shirt. Because it speaks the truth.
There are hundreds of collectors out there. Little girls like myself who grew up but still miss the whimsy and fun of a colorful toy pony with a colorful tail to brush. It’s true. And like collectors of pretty much anything else, these peeps are serious. I once sold a My Little Pony on eBay for over a hundred bucks. Yep, a single pony that I had paid like a dollar for from some unsuspecting thrift store owner. 

During this brief stint dealing ponies, I made over a thousand bucks, and anytime I see a “vintage” pony in a store now, all I want to do is buy it and play with it and then sell it for way too much money. It’s a sad reality, I know. But again…

I’m not a grown up.

I do things like watch Disney movies and sing all the songs at the top of my lungs.

I get ridiculously excited at the prospect of going to a fair and eating my weight in cotton candy, funnel cakes, and corn dogs and riding The Scrambler until I puke.

I buy a new stuffed animal on almost every vacation I make. Particularly if it’s a Disney vacation. And I may or may not sleep with those stuffed animals, along with my cats and my husband.

Speaking of Disney vacations, my husband and I try to go to Disney World every two years. We went there on our honeymoon. We don’t have kids, but we enjoy it just as much as a kid would.

I love visiting zoos. Take me to a zoo, and I’ll skip around like a kid. One of my favorite things to do in this world.
I eat things like potato chips and popcorn for lunch.

I still believe in things like magic and happily ever after. Fairy tales that come true. Villains who are eventually conquered.

Technically, I may be a grown up, but...

I’m really nothing but a big kid at heart. And I like it that way. So I’m gonna stick with eating a fruit roll-up at lunch everyday. To be honest, I think it may be keeping the old age at bay.

What makes you "not a grown up"?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

No TV for Me (Kind Of)

Never, did I ever, think I would be saying that we cancelled our television service.

But the world is changing. Our nation is changing. It may be subtle, but it’s happening none the less. Necessity may be forcing the change at first, but eventually, I believe we’ll be glad we made certain changes, glad that we came full circle and back to basics. My husband and I cancelled our television subscription a couple of weeks ago. Yes, it’s true. We still have a TV, but now we have no cable or satellite. We made the decision based on a necessity to save money, but as I suspected, we’re pretty glad we made the change.

Sure, it was rough-going at first. Adjustments were necessary. My morning routine of flipping on the television while Jeremy and I got ready for work was turned on its ear. Now, instead of the sound of Matt Lauer and The Today Show, we listen to the sounds of coffee brewing and slow, early-morning, sometimes incoherent conversation. I missed the TV routine for a total of about five minutes, and then I began embracing the fact that sometimes the sound of silence is the best sound of all.

We also had to revamp our nightly ritual of eating supper in front of the television. I can hear you all cringing now, and I don’t blame you. I cringed a little when I wrote that. I was raised in a household where I sat down to dinner every night with my family at the table. No TV. No cell phones or other distractions. Just family and togetherness. Having been raised in such a house, I was surprised and disappointed in myself when Jeremy and I started eating in front of the television. One or two suppers here and there evolved pretty quickly into a nightly event, and suddenly, my good manners and upbringing were a thing of the past.

I wish I could say that no TV has reformed us from our ways, but alas, we still gather around the coffee table in the living room to eat. Instead of watching TV, however, we now watch movies and DVDs. We just couldn’t seem to give up the habit of being entertained while we ate. But hey, I still have hope. It’s all about baby steps after all.

In addition to a newfound love and renewed appreciation for our DVD player, we are also enjoying the gifts of technology. For most of our television watching needs, which includes mainly my obsession for Glee, we’re trying to stream our favorite shows from the internet. Can anyone say Hulu? (LOVE!)

I find it pretty ironic that going “back to basics” and getting rid of our television service has caused us to become more tech savvy, but again, it’s saving us money, and in today’s economic climate, saving money is the name of the game.

With the cancellation of our satellite service, we have trimmed our household needs down to the bare essentials. Electric, internet, cell phone, mortgage, insurance, and car payment are the only bills we have left. We’ve never had a home phone, so we save money there each month as well, and now that it’s finally cooled down, we’ve turned off our air conditioning for even more savings.

Truth be told, we could probably trim our household expenses down even further, but I feel really great about our changes, especially the television decision. So far, it seems to be working out wonderfully. Ask me again in six months, and I may be whistling a different tune and begging for my remote control back, but for now, I’m glad to be cutting some corners and finding that we really don’t need it all to be happy. 

Author's Note: This post was written in response to The Lightning and the Lightning Bug prompt "Never." The idea was to begin your piece, whether it was fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or otherwise, with the word "Never." As in, "Never forget to bring a towel to the sauna." I hope you'll click the button below and check out this truly awesome writing community. We're small, supportive, and fun. The linkup is available through Wednesday, so if you don't have a post ready now, no sweat. Come link up anytime between now and then. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"A Strange Journey": Censorship and The Rocky Horror Show

  1.  An attempt to deprive us of what may deprave us.
  2.  A decision made by ONE to force certain values on ALL and to limit or block what ALL is exposed to in the name of morality.
  3.  A limit on personal freedoms and the right to choose.
  4.  Something that makes Katie Ross MAD. Like, REALLY, REALLY MAD.
I’ve been on a tear through the last week or so. Like, so mad that I’ve been unable to think straight, much less type a coherent thought. I’ve talked about how passionate I am before, and there are few things that incite more passion within me than the nasty little subject of censorship. Now, from the definitions provided above, I would say there’s no arguing which side of the censorship coin I fall on, but to be perfectly clear, I find the idea of censorship and the thoughts and reasoning behind it to be despicable in the worst way.

Nevertheless, I did hesitate to write about this particular topic. Not because I’m afraid of sharing my opinions. Nope, if that were true, I wouldn’t make much of an opinion columnist. I mainly was concerned about writing on this particular topic in this particular setting, because I’m embarrassed. Embarrassed for my community, for my elected officials, for the fact that a stereotypical view of the South and its people is being supported by the actions of a few.

But I can’t hold my tongue any longer. I would just like to preface this by saying that there are many open-minded people living in my neck of the woods. We may be outnumbered, but we’re down here.
What’s all the fuss about? Well, the mayor of my fair city decided to cancel a stage show in our Cultural Arts Center for fear he’d “get run out of town” for letting the show go on. He objected to the content from a rehearsal video posted to Facebook by one of the show’s cast members. The show was “The Rocky Horror Show.”  

For those unfamiliar with “Rocky Horror,” it is a stage musical/farce (with a film version that’s the longest running movie in history) with strong sexual, bisexual, and homosexual themes. It’s definitely a musical for adults; there’s no argument there. And when the city agreed to allow “Rocky Horror” to be performed in our Cultural Arts Center, it was agreed that there would be age restrictions on who would be allowed to attend.

Well, now that agreement is a moot point, because someone decided that the stage show didn’t reflect my community’s “values,” and as such could not be performed in the community’s Cultural Arts Center. Never mind the fact that I’m an adult who can make those kinds of decisions for myself. Never mind the fact that the show was going to generate revenue for the city. Never mind the fact that the city had already agreed to allow the play to be performed. None of that is relevant, because one individual, an elected official who is supposed to make decisions for the good of the community AS A WHOLE, decided based on one rehearsal video that an adult-themed show with an adults-only audience didn’t fit into his mold of our community.

Needless to say, the backlash from this decision has been far-reaching. A Facebook movement has over 3,000 members. A fund-raising campaign with the aim of finding the show a new venue has raised over a thousand dollars. Stories on the cancelled show have been featured on,, The Huffington Post, and many, many more news and media outlets alike.

I won’t bore you all with more ranting and raving on why I personally think the mayor’s decision was the wrong one, but I will say this: I don’t believe anyone has the right to take away my ability to decide what may or may not be “good” for me to view or see. Censorship is alive and well in America, and until we can become more accepting of others and ourselves, it will be alive and well for a long time to come.  

Friday, September 23, 2011

Skip Me Over

Single White Female Seeks No One. Because I don't need anyone. Least of all, do I need you, flipping through these ads, looking for a cheap one-night stand, or whatever it is you're looking for. I’ll tell you what you’re looking for: Not Me. Not Me cause I’m independent, bull-headed, opinionated, strong-willed, dramatic, hard-to-handle.Your worst nightmare.

I like cats and books about ghosts. And tables. I have the strangest affinity for tables. Take me to an antique store, and I'll find a table I must have. Guaranteed. It'll be my downfall. I'll go into debt buying tables and hoarding them. You see, I'm neurotic in some of the worst and the best ways.

I’m Not Easy. I’m selfish and self-absorbed, constantly looking for ways to make your life miserable, or that’s what you’d end up thinking, so skip me over. Don’t dial me up. Check out Britney three ads down instead. She likes to be used. She enjoys being bossed around and dinner at cheap Italian restaurants. She’ll be your doll, all dressed up and perfect, while I’m in jeans and a t-shirt, hair sticking out every which way, crooked teeth, no tan. Britney’s better for you anyway. Y’all match. You look good together. You make a handsome couple. She suits you. It’s true. Plus, she’s easy, and I’m not. I’m anything but. I will complicate your life to no end, but if you can handle me, if you can handle a little bit of crazy and a little bit of mean. If you can handle a complex girl, with a complex complexion (cause I do get zits, man), who’s anything but easy, then I’m worth it. I’m your girl.

But if not, don't waste my time or your's. Just skip me over.

Everyone else has.

This week's Red Writing Hood prompt had us writing personal ads for our characters. Click the button above to check out all the amazing responses. 

PS - I totally missed my one-year blogiversary this past week! So have some cake and thanks for sticking around to read my words and watch me grow. Much love!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Madness of Love

Love that is not madness is not love. - Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Jane Farrell was in love. Those around her knew this to be true because of the uncharacteristic rosiness in her cheeks and the soft twinkle in her eyes. Plus, she unabashedly told everyone around her, whether they asked or not.

Family and friends were relieved at this blossoming of first love. Whispers of “old maid” and “spinster” had surrounded Jane for years, and now, it looked like that fate would not befall her after all.

The sullen and shy Jane Farrell was actually the object of some unwitting man’s affection. It was a miracle, but one that no one seemed to suspect or question.

Jane’s coworkers, who didn’t share her family’s easy affection for her, did not find the news of Jane’s relationship so easy to believe.

“What’s his name?” Suzy Callahan had asked casually when Jane first declared her undying love and affection for some mystery suitor.  

The bustling room full of telephone operators had suddenly fallen silent, as everyone anxiously awaited Jane’s answer.

Jane, gangly and coltish with legs to her neck and long, unkempt, rat-colored hair, had smiled wistfully, showing off a mouth full of crooked teeth. “Daniel.”

“Daniel what?” Suzy had grinned, knowing full well that she’d caught Jane in a lie.

But Jane did seem to know her lover’s last name, and it had fallen off her tongue as easily as her own. “Daniel Roberts.”

So the ladies had gone back to connecting their calls and eavesdropping on party lines.

But Suzy refused to let it go. She just couldn’t fathom how Jane Farrell had gone from a nervous and neurotic single woman with no prospects to a newly confident and cheerful other half of a couple in one day.
She continued to question Jane on her relationship with Daniel daily.

What’s he look like?

Where does he take you?

Where’s he from?

And Jane politely answered every question posed without hesitation: giddy and gay over her first love and thrilled that the popular Suzy Callahan had apparently taken an interest in her.

She happily detailed date after date and even began dressing better and wearing more and more rouge. Her long, stringy hair was washed on a daily basis, and the shadow of her former, awkward and plain self began to fade away.

But, as it goes with first love, Jane’s world came crashing down on a sunny Friday morning.

She rushed into work with tear-filled eyes, and Suzy and the other girls knew immediately that the dream relationship had ended.

Curious as always, Suzy was the first to approach the distraught Jane. “What happened, Jane?” The sweetness in her voice belied her true intentions: to fetch a juicy piece of gossip.

Jane looked up at her new friend and sobbed. “It’s over with Daniel!”

“Why, whatever for?”

But Jane was far too upset to answer, and she was excused for the day, leaving Suzy and the other girls to speculate like mad.

They didn’t have to speculate long.

News of Jane’s termination from the telephone company spread like wildfire. The cause? Well, that information was sketchy at best, but Suzy, ever the diligent investigator, discovered the answer herself after tracking down and visiting the infamous Daniel Roberts, who was recovering in a midtown hospital after being attacked by a stranger.

As he described his attacker, a mousy woman with gangly legs and rat-colored hair, Suzy smiled smugly.

She reported her news back to her coworkers with glee, and each time she ended her story of Jane Farrell’s tragic first love, she punctuated it with two words and a wicked grin: Love hurts.

Author's Note: This piece of fiction was written in response to Write on Edge's Red Writing Hood prompt: 

"Your assignment this week was to write a piece where you explore the first broken heart for your character – or for you."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Out of Order: How to Overcome a Writing/Blogging Drought

I feel like I need to hang a sign on Chicken Noodle Gravy's doors. It would read in big red letters:

Out of Order

And it would give readers some sort of indication as to what the heck is going on around these parts. Because something is definitely going on...and that something is defined by the fact that pretty much nothing is going on and how that sucks. 

I'm going through a dry spell; I can admit it. We all have them. I haven't been inspired to write much of anything lately, and so honestly, I haven't written much of anything, even though I know the whole key to overcoming writer's block is writing through it. But what I have written in the last couple of weeks has been drivel and that annoys me. It's annoying enough having to deal with writer's block in the first place, but having to deal with bad writing, too? Well, that's just too much. So instead of writing badly, I just don't write at all.

Not a good answer.

And because I've been so absent as a writer, I'm finding that I'm pretty absent as a reader as well. When I sit down at my laptop to catch up on blog reading or (miracle of miracles) actually WRITE something, I get distracted by things like this:

And like this:

                                                                        Source: via Katie on Pinterest

Because, I mean, who wouldn't? But getting distracted by cat videos and beautiful horses isn't really getting me anywhere in the whole "become a writer" endeavor that I've taken on, so I'm determined to start "writing through" this...whatever it is. Even if writing through it means I write some really horrible crap, at least I'll be writing something. 

So, in the spirit of overcoming this blog/writing drought I'm in, I'm going to make up some advice for myself and for you, if you choose to follow the advice of some random internet lady who has no idea what she's talking about. 

Without further ado, I bring you: How to Overcome a Writing/Blogging Drought in Ten Five Four Three Easy Steps!*

3) Take a "break" from blogging. This is not to be confused with a break from writing, because that's not accomplishing much of anything. We've been over that. But getting away from your computer and bloggy land might do you some good, might give you a little perspective, and I'm pretty sure that getting out of the house will provide you with better blogging fodder than the view from your couch provides you. Fact: no one can blog about the lint under their husband's recliner or the drink rings on their coffee table and make it sound compelling. True story. 

2) Pick a fight with your husband and/or significant other (like how I added the and/or there? Hey, I don't judge! Whatever floats your love boat, man). Now this particular step is to be handled with care and caution. I don't recommend picking any fights that might end in violence or divorce, because that's not cool, but a tiny little fight over clipping toenails in the kitchen should be allowed. Passion is definitely something that gets the creative juices flowing, and chances are getting a little "het up" will be a great way to open the flood gates o' inspiration. Studies show. 

And the number one way to overcome a writing/blogging drought is:

1) Write! Who cares if you write complete crap that you wouldn't even wipe your tail with? No one will read it, unless you're like me and like sharing everything, so what does it matter? Write a story about that gnat that flew up your nose last week. From the gnat's perspective. Write about how your front porch steps desperately need to be painted. Write a letter to your former arch nemesis with whom you are trying to make amends. It doesn't matter what you write. Just write. Because writing is what you love and without it, you feel a little empty inside and that makes you cry. And no one likes a big cry baby. 

*The author of this blog does not endorse these three easy steps. Follow at your own risk.

There you have it. The end of the Chicken Noodle Gravy Blog Drought of 2011. Now back to your regularly scheduled posts full of awesomeness and killer writing. 

PS ~ I will catch up with my blog reading. Someday. I promise. I miss you guys!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Will Remember: 9/11/2011

I was naïve, a brand new freshman in college with my entire life ahead of me and an afternoon anthropology class looming in my immediate future. I had just finished my early morning College Algebra class; its complicated formulas and mile-long equations were the biggest challenge in my life at that moment.

Four months had passed since my high school graduation, and I had taken the first steps towards making my childhood dreams come true. I was enrolled in the University of West Georgia, pursuing a degree in English, naïve, innocent, and enjoying the first few freedoms of college and being an adult.

The drive home from my morning class was an easy one. I cut through country roads to get back to Bremen in just under twenty minutes. I had a few hours to study and work on Algebra homework before having to go back. I had my radio tuned to my favorite station, fully expecting to enjoy a little music on my drive and to forget about the evilness of math for just a few moments. 

Instead, I was introduced to a new kind of evil.

The radio wasn’t playing music. Not any station. Frantic voices were detailing a frantic message. New York City was under attack. The United States was under attack.

I was naïve alright. I had been raised in a nation that was strong and proud, that didn’t have to worry about things like random attacks from foreign countries. I would never be so naïve about such things again. The bubble I’d lived in for so long had been popped.

Fear paralyzed me. What did this mean? Was my family in danger? Was this just the start of something more? The reports at this point were sketchy at best. No one seemed to know what was going on and that only scared me more. I remember calling my mom, begging her for an explanation of what was going on. In my experience, my parents always knew the answers, but this time, even she was confused and frightened. 

When I got home, I turned the television on and witnessed pure horror. I don’t have to describe what I saw because many of you saw the same thing. You watched along with me as the devastation unfolded before our eyes.

I wasn’t the only one with my entire life ahead of me on that warm September day. Thousands of others had their entire lives ahead of them as well, and their bright, beautiful futures were stolen from them without a thought.

Ten years have passed since that September day. The words that became a mantra during that trying time for our country ring true to this day: We Will Remember. And we have. We have remembered the bravery of so many of our fellow countrymen (and women).

We have remembered the courage displayed in simple ways, the kindness of stranger reaching out to stranger to offer comfort and compassion, a helping hand. We have remembered the lives lost, the souls taken away from us: a brother, a wife, a beloved child, a mother and father, a friend. We remember them because remembering them keeps them alive in our hearts; it means they didn’t die in vain.

We will always remember the attacks of September 11, 2001. We will remember them, and we will remember to never be naïve again, to never take for granted our freedom or our love of a proud and strong country.

This was in response to The Lightning and Lightning Bug Flicker on Inspiration Prompt: September. Come join us to link up and meet other great writers!

PS~ Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband Jeremy! Long before the attacks of September 11, 2001, September 11th was just his birthday.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Etsy Shop Spotlight: Camp Honeybelle

Lately I've discovered something I didn't really know about myself. I like to shop. Now, this will come as a shocking revelation to anyone who knows me, because in the past I've avoided shopping like the plague. I hardly ever buy anything, and when I do, it's usually off the clearance rack of some store, and it's usually because I really need it.

I don't even like the process of shopping. Elbowing through people and feeling like I'm in everybody's way isn't my idea of a good time. Which is why I have kind of started getting into online shopping. Same stuff without the people there to get on my nerves. A win-win. The problem with online shopping? I like to go thrifting and antiquing and flea-marketing...and online shopping doesn't really lend itself to that. Or so I thought.

Etsy is the answer to all my troubles. The wide variety of shops and products on Etsy provides me with my thrifting and antiquing fix and then some. I had previously thought Etsy only offered handmade products, but when my friend Nina of The Adventures of ArtsyNina started her own Etsy shop called Camp Honeybelle, I realized I was mistaken.

Psst! You may remember Nina from before, when I featured her on The Dish.

Camp Honeybelle sells both vintage and handmade items, and for me, it's like a dream come true. Nina has an eye for the stylish and retro. The items she sells in her shop are always quality products, but more than that, they're unique and cute. I've purchased both handmade and vintage items from Camp Honeybelle, and I've been thrilled with my purchases.

I bought the sheet music below to frame and hang in my living room. As you can see, I haven't done that yet (because I'm lazy), but I still love the style and uniqueness of the piece.

I also purchased this adorable mixed media Argyle kitty cat that Nina hand-crafted. She had previously made me a mixed media owl to hang on my wall, which I adored, so the kitty was a natural choice for me.

Each item is lovingly packaged and has this adorable shop card with it!
But don't let my poor photography sell this shop, hop on over yourself to see everything that Camp Honeybelle has to offer, including: vintage dishes, books, clothing, plus handmade cards, owls, pottery, etc. Seriously, y'all, Nina has an artistic and creative eye, and she knows her stuff. She's constantly adding new items to her shop, which makes a daily visit imperative. Let her dress up your house with her retro fact, let her dress YOU up as well with some of the cutest vintage dresses ever. Can you say Jackie O?

Don't take my word for it. Just look!

For all you Etsy lovers and shop-owners, be sure to stop by The Adventures of ArtsyNina on Fridays for her Friday Shop Hop, where you can link up your Etsy shop and discover some truly excellent shopping. The Hop is growing fast, and each week more and more shops are linking up, so take advantage of this great promotional opportunity!

And guess what? Camp Honeybelle and House Unseen, Life Unscripted (another of my favorite people and blogs) is hosting a giveaway that ends today. So hop over HERE to check it out ASAP!

PS! I suck a promotion. Otherwise, I would have told you yesterday that Bernie over at Budugalee is offering a sale on her awesome cards. Pick any three cards for $7.00! So there's no better time to purchase your Halloween cards than RIGHT NOW!


Monday, September 5, 2011

Etsy Shop Spotlight: Budugalee

I have a rule over here at Chicken Noodle Gravy. Yep, only one rule, so I try to stick by it no matter what. My one rule is that I only blog about things that I'm passionate about. That's why I don't do reviews much. I know that reviews can be bad or good, but I'm not particularly fond of writing bad reviews, so I just avoid writing about anything I don't like. It's my blog; I can do that kind of thing.

The point is that I only plug something if I feel really good about it. I don't like BS, so I try to not spread it around too much. All that being said, I'd like to plug a couple of things in my next two posts: the Etsy shops of two of my very best bloggy friends.

I'll begin with Bernie of One Mixed Bag. Now, you've heard me gush about Bernie before in The Dish, but this time I'd like to focus on her Etsy shop: Budugalee. By the way, try saying the name of the shop aloud...funny stuff and SO Bernie :)

As you can see from the banner above, Budugalee is already all decked out for Halloween, which is another reason to love this shop, because who isn't ready for Halloween and some cooler weather? But I digress. Bernie's Etsy shop specializes in handmade, uniquely-designed cards. Card-making has been a hobby of Bernie's and only recently did she start expanding that hobby into the world of Etsy.

Now, I can speak from personal experience because I have purchased cards from Budugalee, and I just want to tell you how excellent these cards truly are. Her card stock is substantial, and the card feels like a quality product. Almost like the ones you'd buy in a commercial card shop...only better. Really. Bernie's cards are better than anything you can buy in a traditional store, because they are unique and one-of-a-kind. They are made with love and care, and this fact is obvious as soon as you see one of her cards in person.

Most of the cards from Budugalee contain wonderful vintage images that Bernie dresses up with cute scrap accessories, glitter, and much more. I've purchased several cards from Bernie already, and I've truly been impressed with her workmanship and creativity.

Just look!

Easily my favorite greeting card EVER. 

Knowing I love owls, Bernie made this card especially for me! I'm thinking of having it framed I love it THAT much!

Each card is stamped with an official Budugalee stamp from Bernie and her husband's rubber stamp shop:  Rubber Stamp Shop. They even make custom stamps! Check them out!
I hope these will give you an idea of the style of card Bernie makes but don't think she's limited by anything. Her imagination is vast and wonderful, and pretty much anything you can think of, Bernie can probably do. This fact was proven when I ordered a custom card from Budugalee for my husband's birthday. I made some interesting requests to say the least, but Bernie was able to take my vision and turn it into a fabulous (not to mention hilarious) card. I can't wait to see my husband's face when he gets the card!

Oh, and by the way, when you purchase cards from Budugalee, you'll be in for some fast shipping and carefully packaged items. I sold on Ebay for years, so I know just how important little things like this can be when you make online purchases!

I really can't gush enough about Budugalee Cards, so I'll stop before I get carried away. If you're ever in the market for greeting cards or blank cards of any kind, hit Bernie up. She's got a talent for it, yo!

Linking up with:


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Birds on a Wire

Well, here we are again. 
What should we do today?
I don't know. 
Should we fly over to that fence?

Well, here we are.
Can't see as much from down here. 
But it is a little more comfortable than that wire. 
Yep. I guess so.
That crow sure is loud over there. You'd think he'd keep it down so that mockingbird couple doesn't come after him again. Some birds never learn.
You think the mockingbirds will hatch a nest this year?
Don't know. Guess we'll find out soon enough.
After last year's disaster with that cat, you'd think they'd take a year off. 
Guess that's their business.
Maybe. I'd just like a little peace and quiet in the neighborhood for a change. With their constant chattering, I can barely concentrate on what I'm doing. 
I sure wish that crow would shut up. Should we fly back to the wire do you think?
Up to you.
I like being able to see what's going on. You can't see anything from down here.

Well, here we are.
You see anything we can eat? I'm kinda hungry.
Is that a french fry in the middle of the road? Oh, I love french fries. Should we go down and get it?
Up to you.
I think we should. There haven't been many cars yet. I think we'll be safe.

Watch out!
Let's go back!

Well, here we are.
Guess we shouldn't have gone down after all. 
Nope. Probably not.
I just really like french fries.
Yep. Me too.
But I guess it's not worth it.
Nope. Probably not.
Betcha that crow will go after it. Mark my words. 
Yep. Guess he probably will.
Crows have all the nerve.
Yep. They sure are brave.
Brave!? Ha! They're just stupid. Flying down to the middle of the road to get some dumb french fry. Like they don't have any sense at all. No wonder the mockingbirds chase them.
Yep. Guess you're right.
Of course I'm right. I'm always right. So, what should we do today?
I don't know.
Should we fly over to that fence?

Author's Note: Our task at Lightning and the Lightning Bug this week was to write a story using only dialogue. Come join us by linking up and checking out our fantastic community of fantastic writers!


Friday, September 2, 2011

A Bus to Nowhere

Sometimes I think of escaping on a Greyhound bus, just heading over to that station in town that doubles as a beer and lotto haven and demanding a ticket to anywhere. Wouldn’t that be romantic of me?

Of course, the clerk behind the dusty, crowded counter would ask, “Where to?” And I’d have to actually make a decision.

Decisions have never been my thing. Probably why I’m stuck in this dirty little town with nowhere to go and nothing to do. I should work on that, making a decision once in awhile.

Every now and then.

But the impulsiveness of my Greyhound dream is ruined by the uptight clerk just working for the weekend and that miniscule pay stub that’ll barely keep the hot water running.

Hot water is always the first to go, too. You figure you can’t live without electricity, but hot water is far from being vital, so you stop paying the gas bill first. Unless you’re my sister who takes forty-five minute showers. She scalds the impurities from her skin and gets down-to-the-bone clean. When she steps out of the bathroom with her dark blonde hair hidden under the tall towel turban resting on her head, she smiles with sweet ferocity and asks, “Oh, did you need to take a shower?”

I learned at an early age to appreciate a cold shower, so hot water would definitely be the first to go if I was the clerk behind the counter, with my tiny paycheck, enjoying a chance to ruin a customer’s attempt at impulsivity.

“Hey, lady.” The squeaky voice of the clerk knocks me out of my daydream violently, and I find myself standing in the stark reality and fluorescent lights of J’s Quik Stop.  The clerk behind the dusty, crowded counter says, “You’re holding up the line.”

What am I doing?

I blink at the clerk with the leftover pimples and crooked teeth and find myself demanding a dream. “I want a bus ticket.”

“To where?”

There’s a hundred and forty-seven dollars and sixty-three cents in my pocket. I grabbed it from the bottom of my jewelry box before leaving the house and telling my mom: I’ll be right back. She smiled sloppily at me and took another swig of Jack’s.  Okay, honey.

“To where, lady?”

And I tell him some anonymous place that doesn’t matter.

Two decisions in one day. This must be a world record for me.

He prints out the ticket, and I hand him my money. It’s a transaction that will determine my future, my place in life. The ticket feels heavy in my hand. Substantial. I stare at it for a moment, while the line behind me made up of men with six-packs sighs and fidgets like a six-year old who has to go potty.

The clerk clears his throat.

I smile, then turn around and walk away. There’s a bench just outside of the Quik Stop, with an ad promising of a quick and easy divorce for just under six hundred dollars. I smile at the pretty irony, because I divorced my life for just a hundred and some change.

I sit down and wait for the faint sound of the bus in the distance, arriving to carry me away.

I don’t know what awaits me in that anonymous town, hundreds of miles away, but I do know that I’m finally doing something. And, for now, that has to count for everything.

Author's Note: This week for Red Writing Hood we were challenged to write about a season of change for our characters. I was once a bored and jaded teenager, dreaming of leaving my small town behind for a pipe dream. Thankfully, I stayed put and realized my dream just where I was, but the romance of a bus trip to nowhere has never left me. 

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