Posted in Mondays

Cats Vs. Dogs: An Age Old Battle.

Hiya, Welcome back to PEP! I can’t believe nearly a month of 2018 has already gone by! I’m making a start on my goals for the year and any time I get impatient and think progress is going too slow, I just remind myself it’s only January, there’s still so much of 2018. Plus, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I’ve created a new product for Imaginative HandiCrafts. I now offer what I call Adorable Animal Jars. Currently, I have Mr. Panda and Unique Unicorn, but I will be expanding the line as well as multiple other products in the coming weeks. It’s like the forced hiatus I’ve been under the last few months has opened an absolute well of imagination in terms of my writing and products.

Mr. Panda and Unique Unicorn Jars

I’ve been approved for my dog-sitting business, I’m just waiting on them to contact me on the next step to get the ball rolling. Hopefully, it’ll start moving along in the next week. If I haven’t heard anything, I’ll be checking in by Tuesday.

I love animals, I have since I was little. I grew up with cats and dogs from the time I was born. First, there was Sponge, also known as Momma Kitty. She was like a second mother at times as she was a year older than I was and had that old soul, maternal nature. She was named Sponge as at the time, my parents lived in Austin, Texas and there was some massive flooding on some streets. My father was out there as a volunteer and fished her up out of one of the streets and brought her home to my Mom. She was probably about 6 weeks old at the time. She was instantly my Mom’s cat, followed by me when I was born. She lived to be 16, just short of her 17th birthday. She had bone cancer in her jaw, inoperable. But she lived a long happy life. There as also PePe, short for ?’s Red Hot Pepper. There’s a name in front of that but it’s not mine so I’m not sharing it and he was actually a registered gray toy poodle. We called him PePe for short. When I was 3, we got BoBo, short for Beauregard, a Rottweiler. I didn’t do any of the naming for the first few animals. Unfortunately, when I was five, he passed away from heartworms so we didn’t have him long but he still left his place in our hearts. No matter what anyone says about Rottweilers, they are not mean animals unless you make them mean. He wasn’t the only one I’ve known and they’ve all been sweet dogs. Plus, we now keep a regular check on any dogs for heartworms. Also when I was 5, we got my Baby Kitty, Sparkle. I did name him but I was only 5, give me a break. It needed to start with an S to go with Sponge. They were both American Striped Tabbies so they looked related even though they were years and cities apart. Shortly after we got Sparkle, we lost PePe. He was boarding at the vet at the time and the vet claimed he ran away. But I saw something in the back that told me that he died and they didn’t want to own up to it. PePe had lost an eye when the fence between us and the neighbors at the time went down and the big dog next door that didn’t like little dogs other than the one he lived with came over and BoBo couldn’t stop him. Plus, he was older so there was no way a one-eyed older toy poodle just ran away, not when he knew we’d come back as it wasn’t our first trip. To make up for it, he insisted on buying us a new dog. So, shortly after we changed cities again, just after my 7th birthday, we got Angel, the peach toy poodle we had for years. She was the runt of the litter and I’ll be honest here, not the smartest dog of the lot. She and Odie had a lot in common. She was 7 before she was potty-trained and that was only because at the time, we lived in an upstairs apartment and she enjoyed going down the stairs, up another set of stairs to the grass, then back down and back up the stairs. It was handy when it was raining as she’d take herself out and we could stand at the top of the stairs under cover. Until then, we lost so many deposits on apartments due to her accidents, no matter how hard we tried to train her. When I was 11, we bought a house in Tyler, where I grew up and I’d been asking for another big dog for years and so for Easter in 2000, we got Astro, my Labrador/Chow mix. His mother was a pure Labrador show dog that the neighborhood Lab mix had jumped the fence so the owner of his mother was selling them for cheap as she couldn’t register them. The chow was very minimal, he had a thick undercoat that he would grow in the winter and shed in the spring and, very rarely, if he thought we or his territory was threatened, he’d growl and bare his teeth. But overall, he was a very lovable Labrador with no Chow markings who’d never met a stranger. Sparkle lived to be 17, he had end-stage Renal Kidney failure and Angel also lived to be 17, she was my only pet to simply go to sleep and not wake up. Honestly, I think she had a broken heart as she and Sparkle had been playmates since they were kitten and puppy and she was blind and deaf by the time Sparkle passed so she couldn’t understand where he’d gone. Astro passed when he was 15, as big dogs do, his hips were giving him problems and he eventually got to where he couldn’t get up so it was time. Currently, I have Lucy and Lily, who I have posted pictures of. We got Lucy in 2012, just a few months after we lost Sparkle. We hadn’t planned on getting another cat just yet, though we knew he wouldn’t be the last. But a friend contacted us and said a friend had gotten her not knowing she was allergic so she couldn’t keep her. We agreed to see her and when this little tortoiseshell kitten strutted in with her big polydactyl paws as if she had arrived, so the party could start; we knew we had to have her and her name would be Lucy. Five months later, we saw a picture of Miss Einstein on Facebook via another friend from a shelter in Fort Worth. She was sick with a cold and in solitary in the back and was going to run out of time before she’d be able to be adopted. She was in a little pumpkin had for Halloween and absolutely adorable so we decided to adopt her as Lucy needed a playmate. However, the name had to change so since she’s a diluted tortoiseshell to Lucy’s dark pure tortoiseshell fur, I knew Lily would be perfect; Lucy and Lily-the drama queen and the diva princess. Currently, I am dog-less as I’m currently living in a rental but I’ll eventually get another dog.
Here’s some digital pictures I have of each animal. Unfortunately, PePe and BoBo were before digital cameras so I don’t have any pictures to upload of them. But here’s Sponge, Sparkle, Angel, Astro and another of Lucy and Lily.

This week’s question: What would be your dream dog?
My answer: I already know some breeds of dogs I would love to have. I want a Great Dane: Scooby; A Beagle: Shiloh; a Jack Russel Terrier: Wishbone; a Dalmatian: Pongo; a Siberian Husky-I have loved this breed since I was young but I don’t actually have a name yet; Another Rottweiler-no name yet, a German Shepherd: again no name yet; another Labrador named Faith; and I don’t know what breed but I think a little dog that I would name Meeko-maybe a pug. As you can see, I’ve spent some time thinking on future pets as I will eventually be buying land in the next 10 years. But I have multiple short and long term plans I’m working on.
What’s your answer? I’d love to know any dream animals you’d love to have as well as any current animals. If you have any name ideas for a Husky, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, I’ll definitely take them into consideration.

This week’s baking and cooking: This week’s savory recipe was Chicken and Apples, the chicken turned out good, the apples were nothing but mush so that won’t be a repeat. This week’s baked good was a Hot Chocolate Cake with Hot Chocolate Icing and Hot Chocolate Glaze. It was good but, and I’m not entirely sure what happened except that the oven in this house is jacked up, a small circle in the center was under-done. It was kind of like having a lava cake but not on purpose. I did the toothpick test I’ve always done in addition to the new fingerprint test I read about in the cookbook I used throughout the cake, including the center, and it all came back as done. But when I cut the cake to layer it, just a small circle-about the size of my balled fist, was under-done. I’ve never had this happen so I’m unsure about what happened. This oven is messed up about 350 degrees and up, it either cooks fast and burns or cooks right on mark, I’m never sure what it’ll do so I must go by feel and smell, not just the timer. It’s certainly helping develop a sense for it which will be helpful in my future professional baking. If ya’ll have any idea what happened here, I’d be happy to hear. This next week’s recipe is another slow-cooker-there’s one more week in January, it’ll be a side: Easy Cheddar Polenta. Then the next week starts February’s month of Soups and Stews. I’ll also be making a Pear pie this next week. This should be interesting as I actually have the least experience with pies and bars.

Hot Chocolate Cake-Edited

This week’s writing: I do have quite the mind sometimes.
Did you know a soup spoon can kill you with enough velocity? Yeah, most people don’t realize that just about everything sitting around them can be turned into a lethal weapon with the right ingenuity. I didn’t used to but if I wanted to survive, I had to learn and quickly. Too quickly, really. Sometimes I wish my childhood had lasted longer, other times I look at those that had a full childhood and I’m so grateful I’m nothing like them. Spoiled saps they are. Of course, I imagine if they could see me, they’d be glad they’re nothing like me, never mind the fact that if the circumstances were dire enough, they’d want my skills, or to have me around. After all, isn’t that why we’re together in the first place? Your daddy put a target on your back and you begged me to protect you, even after all we’d been through, you don’t want anything to do with me except to protect you. Hmm, not that that went too well though, did it? After all, if I was protecting you, you wouldn’t be choking on your own blood in the middle of the dirty kitchen floor in the dinghy hide-out you found. If you had trusted me, I’d done what I was paid for and protected you. But no, you had to stick your nose where you didn’t belong and now you’re paying the price.
Why am I not getting you help? Simple, I got a better offer. Oh, don’t worry, I would have protected you regardless of the offer, for old times’ sake and all. But I certainly wasn’t going to put my neck on the line for you, even before the offer, not after the way you’d treated me when you learned what’d become of me after the massacre. But after the offer, well, I think we can see the evidence here. Protect you until you do something stupid, then wait and watch until I can confirm you’re dead. You don’t have long now, I can see by the shallow breathing and rattling that your lungs are slowly filling even as you lay there. Such an agonizing way to go, really. © Paula Crofoot

Monday Motivation: Believe you can and you’re halfway there: Theodore Roosevelt.

Writing Prompt: “Go to Hell.” “Been there. Devil didn’t like me and spat me back out.”

Music I’m listening to as I’m posting this: On The Greens (Of Old Donneen) by Richard Rossbach: Celtic Favorites (Disc 3)

Posted in Mondays

Be Your Own Boss

Hiya, Welcome back to PEP! I hope wherever you are, you’re keeping warm as I know it’s extremely cold in various parts of the US at the least. Here, in Texas, as usual, it’s fluctuating as it was freezing in my part earlier this week but currently it’s reached 70 F. I prefer the cold for this time of the year as fall and Winter is my favorite time of year.
My interview went well last week and it’s looking like good prospects will come out of it. I’m also going to start dog-sitting/walking alongside Imaginative HandiCrafts and my writing. I’ll be cobbling together a few things, letting me be my own boss for the most part and still make rent and pay bills. I’ve always wanted to be my own boss. I have one novel that I’ve finished the second draft, letting it sit for a couple of weeks before looking at once more and a few others that are in first draft as well as a couple in progress. My top passions are my writing, crafting-personal and for IHC, animals-my pets and others-I’m only sitting dogs as that’s the company I’m going through’s policy and they provide insurance-I’ll give ya’ll the info on that once it’s gone through, I don’t want to jinx it. I also love gardening. Books and tea are two of my other passions and I have several things I want to pursue as new hobbies that I think I’ll enjoy. One of which is photography as I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures, I don’t like being in pictures though I am used to it. That’s my next one alongside calligraphy. But I need a good camera, right now I just have a somewhat cheap digital camera I got in College for my art classes. Not a terrible camera, good for vacations but not great for a focused photography hobby. So, if any of my visitors have suggestions, I will gladly take them as well as any tips. I’ve also finished my Bullet Journal, for the moment, I might add more as time goes by.
Just a quick photo of one page:

Bujo WoY 2018

This week’s question: What’s your favorite food?
My answer: I have several, to be honest. My preferred cuisines would be Mexican, though I’ll admit I’m used to Tex-Mex, I have had authentic Mexican cuisine, and Italian but I’m open to trying just about anything. I have eaten blood sausage-Ireland, snails and frogs legs-cruises-two different ones, buffalo-Texas. My only real no’s on food is liver, olives, most rice-I’ll try it but more often than not, it’s dry and I don’t like it. But any country I go to, I’m going to try their cultural dish, that’s part of the fun traveling.
What’s your answer?
This week’s baking and cooking: This week’s cooking was Beef Stew. It was really good. I’m going to start posting pictures of my baking and probably, once I’ve moved out on my own, pictures of the dishes. But right now, I can’t promise anything about the savory dishes. But I do take pictures of every baked dish for my Instagram, paulacrofoot, so I’ll start posting them here for ya’ll. This week’s baked was Red Velvet Cake, it’s really fluffy and moist and I’m especially proud of the frosting decoration on it, it’s the best I’ve ever done.
I went pink-ish for an early Valentine’s Day theme since it was a Red Velvet:

Red Velvet Cake

This week’s writing:
Another Month gone and still no…
Sheila flipped through the rest of the book but there was nothing else written, nothing to show what the writer was looking for. There wasn’t any information about who had owned this journal, where they’d been, or even when… as this journal was clearly very old.
She did so love going flea market and storage unit hunting as you never knew what you might find. She’d found all kinds of treasures that, as is, made her quite a sum of money as well as some that she’d DIYed into something that then made her some money. But this, this tapped into another passion of hers, history. There was clearly something to this old journal as they’d, more than likely she, was waiting on something but something ended the journal abruptly and she was dying to know what it was.
Little did Sheila know, the dying may be more literal than she’d first thought…
© Paula Crofoot

Monday Motivation: All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination: Earl Nightingale.

Writing Prompt: You never kill the spiders in your home, you just whisper “Today you, Tomorrow me” when you set them outside. Now, in your most dire moment, an army of spiders arrives to have your back.

Music I’m listening to as I’m posting this: I’ll Name The Dogs: Blake Shelton-Texoma Shore

Posted in Mondays

Bujo or no? Homemade VS Store-bought?

Hiya, Welcome back to PEP! Sorry about the super-late post. I didn’t have time to prewrite this last weekend and I had a interview this morning that took longer than expected. Add to that, I’ve done some reorganizing of files this weekend and working on a binder for my planner, bullet journal and extra writing necessities and I’ve been busy for a 3 day weekend. Does any of my visitors keep a bullet journal? If so, chime in and let me know what layouts you use. I’m still working on mine as I just got it Friday. I started one late last year but it fell by the wayside as I wasn’t really happy with it. I have plans for this year as I’ve decided, come hell or high water, 2018 will be my year. I decided that about 2017 and it tanked about mid-year but I’m determined 2018 will be better. My words of the year is Survival and Live.
This week’s question: Where were you 10 years ago.
My answer: Geez, this one will age me. Ten years ago, I was starting my second semester of college at Abilene Christian University. (BTW, I am a Christian, but not Church of Christ) I was actually in the middle of my first year as a Interior Design Major. That quickly changed as that semester had my first actual design class. The previous semester had generic art classes all art and design majors had to take. I discovered that while I can design a room I’m standing in, and really enjoy it, but to draw up plans took too much math and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get it right. I would draw a plan and my professor would tell me I just put a 9 ft couch in a 6 ft room even through the couch was way smaller than the room on the diagram. I changed majors the next semester to Family Studies that I did get my bachelor’s of science in. I still enjoy being creative, hence Imaginative HandiCrafts, and interior design, I just restrict it to my own area where I don’t need the stupid plans.
What’s your answer?
This week’s baking and cooking: I was going to bake red velvet cake only to realize that my housemate used the last of the white vinegar I needed for it. So, instead, I baked oatmeal cookies, her favorite, and snickerdoodles, one of my favorites. I now have five dozen cookies in this house. I’ve made the sweet and spicy beans that went with the chicken and the sausage and beans. Both were really good, though I’ve discovered I am not fond of chickpeas and, as usual with all new recipes, will be modifying it next time I make it. After the first time, I never make a new recipe the same the next time. Which you really shouldn’t as everyone has different tastes. This week will be Beef stew. I think tomorrow will be a really good day based on the weather forecast. I also made a large bottle of home-made ranch. I enjoy making things from scratch, including condiments and the like. It’s better for you, a lot of times cost-saving and honestly, I think better tasting. I know I like the ranch better than the store-bought and I always bought Hidden Valley Ranch.
This week’s writing:
“You’ve looked better, what happened?”
“I ran into some old friends.”
She did a double-take, “Seriously? Your face looks like hamburger meat, what kind of ‘old friends’ were these?”
“The kind I would’ve preferred to have left in the past.”
“No kidding. Are they going to be an issue? I can get Mac to help out.”
“They shouldn’t be.”
“But you don’t know that for a fact.”
The long pause and guilty look in his brown eyes told her that much.
“That settles it. Mac’s going to hang around the bookstore until we’re sure they’re gone.”
“That’s not necessary.”
“Like hell it isn’t.”
“I don’t want you to go through any extra hassle because I’m a mess.”
She poked him in the shoulder before continuing to patch up his face.
“You were a mess. You’re cleaning that up and it’s no extra hassle to have Mac hang around. Honestly, I think he gets bored if he doesn’t get threaten someone every once and a while. Seriously, they need to have their heads examined if they come around here and stick around after meeting him.”
“Most wouldn’t stick around after meeting a 8 ft. tall demon.”
“But you did. That makes you better than them.”
© Paula Crofoot
Monday Motivation: The limits of the possible can only be defined by going beyond them into the impossible. -Arthur C. Clarke
Writing Prompt: “Sorry, I have a clingy and feverish assassin on my lap. I’ll call you back when I’ve convinced him that a cold doesn’t mean he’s dying.”
Music I’m listening to as I’m posting this: Centuries: Fall Out Boy-American Beauty/American Psycho.

Posted in Mondays

Take a Break

Hiya, Welcome back to PEP! I am currently feeling really relaxed as I did something I’ve not done before. I spent this weekend during absolutely nothing, cooped up on my bed with my laptops, books, and magazines. Essentially, I took a mental health weekend. It was going to just be one day but it felt really good Saturday night so I decided to do it again Sunday, knowing I’d be back at the usual routine today anyway. While I don’t have a ‘schedule’ for the weekends, I usually end up being ‘productive’ as defined by society demands anyway. This weekend, I did nothing that I didn’t want to do other than my three personal challenges which are things I want to do anyway or I wouldn’t have challenged myself to do them. More updates on my challenges and goals throughout 2018. I feel revitalized and ready to go, I fully understand why people recommend mental health breaks/days/weekends. It’ll be a long while, probably middle of the year, before I do it again but I enjoyed it and definitely recommend it to anyone stressed out. My primary stress is finding a job as the seasonal job I had is gone, as expected, and my original plan, as they do, has shifted though the end goal hasn’t changed.
This week’s question: Now this is an ironic question after this last weekend-Three pet peeves?
My answer: My three pet peeves: passive aggressive behavior, just say it already; people who say, no offence as if it downplays whatever they just said that was insulting; and people who either stand right in the middle of the sidewalk and not move or a group of people moving slowly on the entire side of the sidewalk and block the entire sidewalk/walkway. All you can think is, ‘Move!’
What’s your answer?
This week’s baking and cooking: I baked Jumbo Chocolate Mint Chip cookies. They turned out really good. I used a few tips from Duff Goldman’s book and they, even in my temperamental oven, didn’t burn, without the parchment paper I’ve had to use since living here. This week I’m planning on baking Red Velvet Cake from scratch, I’ll let you know how it goes. Sometimes, my cakes aren’t fluffy. I haven’t made this week’s new recipe, it was supposed to be Sunday as like I said, I took a mental health weekend so Sunday, I had breakfast for dinner. I’ll be making both this next week. January’s theme is slow-cooker/crockpot recipes. This week will be Sausage and Beans and Fried chicken with Beans.
This week’s writing:
“We’re being led by an idiot with a crayon.”
“A purple crayon.”
“Oh, excuse me. We’re being led by an idiot with a purple crayon.”
“It’s all in the details.”
“The only detail I see here is the Idiot!”
“I have a plan.”
“Really, cause all I see is an idiot making scribbles while the hunters are getting closer.”
“It’ll be okay.”
“Sides, if you’re so worried about his plan, why don’t you come up with something.”
“Because I’m not from here. I’m running blind here and depending on the only one who is from here, who is currently making some bizarre plan using a crayon!”
“Don’t start with the damn color again or I’m shoving it down your throat!”
“Yes, ma’am.” © Paula Crofoot
Monday Motivation: Be the Hero of your own story, not the sidekick. It’s your story to write, star in it. -Paula
Writing Prompt: I tried to do it differently, I tried to make them all my friends, but now… now I want them dead.
Music I’m listening to as I’m posting this: Get Low: Liam Payne & Zedd-Single

Posted in Mondays

Happy New Year!!!

Hiya, Welcome back to PEP! Happy New Year!! Here’s to a great 2018! Happy-New-Year-Sayings

I have several goals that I intend to fulfill this next year. I don’t waste my time with resolutions, I never manage to keep them and no one I know has ever managed to keep them. Whereas goals are more attainable and while I still don’t make them all, I make more than one, I make at least a couple of them. I also make short term goals and long term goals. The short term goals, such as losing a certain amount of weight, and a few long term goals, such as learning a new skill, have different end dates. The short term goals are within the first six months and the long term goals are by the end of the year. This year, I do have a couple of weight goals, toning goals, and skills goals. I don’t know about the weight goals but I’ll probably update about the toning, exercise and skills goals I have as I achieve them. This coming year, I’ll be continuing the same new recipe weekly I’ve been doing the last four years. Each week, I make a new recipe, each month a certain theme. January is crockpot month, also known as slow-cooker recipes. I’m also going to add on a weekly baking recipe this year. I want to eventually bake professional as well as my writing and want to expand my recipe array. I just got a new recipe binder that I’ll be updating with just baking recipes and continuing adding my savory recipes to the first one. On here, I’ll be updating each week with the recipe of the week, both savory and baking and how they went as well as some pictures. I also want to create new products for Imaginative HandiCrafts and expand the inventory. I also intend to share more of my writing here as well as publishing at various sources. I also intend to submit a book for publishing. I’ll keep you updated as to how that goes. I’ll be posting each week here. I don’t have plans to up my posting schedule as once a week, every Monday, is working well right now but that could change. I’ll also be moving with a new career, a huge step for me. 2018 is going to be a BIG year for me. With this blog, I’m hoping it’ll be additional accountability for me to achieve every one of my goals.

This week’s question: Do you have a plan? Do you need a plan? Have you had a plan fall spectacularly to pieces?
My answer: This question is fairly open-ended. So I’m going to answer short term and literally. I have a plan, as I do need a plan to achieve my goals. However, I have a few different plans as no plan is 100% in stone, unable to fail, and if a plan doesn’t work, I roll with the punches. I wouldn’t say I’ve had a plan fall spectacularly to pieces but I have had plans fail and had to change as I kept moving.
What’s your answer?

This week’s baking: I didn’t end up doing any of my baking this week as not only was it holiday week and I chose to take the time off. Also, there’s only a few of us to eat the sweets I’ve baked thus far and they aren’t all gone yet. So, I’ll be making the red velvet cake and mint chocolate cookies this next week or two. I’ll update ya’ll on the progress of that as well as the first savory recipe of 2018 next week.

This week’s writing:
She was the broken and battered girl who longed to be loved, though she was painstakingly careful no one could see that side of her, and he was the misunderstood boy who only wanted to love, also hidden just as well. Until today, she’d never paid him any attention, but he saw her.
But she couldn’t help but see him today as she turned from her locker and bumped directly into him. She froze, everyone knew of Matthew’s reputation, infamous as it was. No one ever wanted to be around him in fear of being hurt. They also knew where his locker was, as little as he used it, and it was nowhere near hers.
He didn’t say anything, simply stared at her with his dark brown eyes under black fringe.
Proud of her voice staying steady, “Can I help you?”
Still silent, he simply handed her a yellow rose before turning and leaving, leaving Marigold and the surrounding students speechless. She gazed at her hand, still clutching the yellow rose. There had to be a reason for this, and the first step was figuring out what the yellow rose signified as flowers held their own language. © Paula Crofoot

Monday Motivation: The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.

Writing Prompt: This is the first prompt of January which means it’s time for the Chain Prompt. Remember how it works? I write a little b it on this prompt, then ya’ll pick it up in the comments and we keep it going.
When I lifted my head, I only saw fangs glimmering in the moonlight. I jolted back but before I could even lift my feet, a dark voice rang through the dim light.
“Don’t bother, darling. Even if you were to get by me, I have friends here that won’t let you leave without talking to me.”
“I don’t want to talk to you!”
“How come? It can’t be the fangs, you just saw them for the first time.”
I swallowed hard, “No, that was a jolt but no. You’re a player, everyone knows it.”
“Is that why you won’t give me a chance.”
“That’s all I need.”
“So my side of the story doesn’t matter?”
I hesitated, did it?

Music I’m listening to as I’m posting this: I’m listening to every song, over 2200, on shuffle as I write and post this on my new laptop that I got for Christmas-which was a total surprise; Settlin’: Sugarland-Enjoy the Ride.