Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Life Threw Me for a Loop

"Life Threw Me for a Loop" - Where does this saying come from?  *scratches head*  I know what it means, but why couldn't I just say "life's messing with my game"  or  something like that?  Anyway, life's really messing with my game when I ...

  • am happy cause it's Friday until, someone points out it's really Tuesday. 
  • wake up to bright sunlight and think I overslept until, I realize I was napping.
  • drag myself to the gym after work, and fall asleep in my parked car.
  • have a complete conversation with my husband only to realize later that I've been talking in Spanish (a language he doesn't know).
  • have to ask my husband to repeat what he just said for the third time.
  • have to make my own candy for my sugar fix, because I forgot to put it on my shopping list. Ok, this last one's lame, but so true.

Life's a bowl of #%#!!!
when you're an indoor cat.
"Life is just a bowl of cherries" - Where did that come from?  What if I don't like cherries? Maybe we should just say "Life's a bowl".  I can agree with that, can't you?  And depending on where we are in life, it can be a bowl of cherries or a bowl of  #%*# !! 

Now you decide.  Life's a bowl of ___?____ when...

  • I ask an officer to help me get this dad to move his car and the guy gets arrested for showing a fake driver's license. 
  • the book I just bought is painful to read because of grammatical errors. (Ok, that's my pet peeve.)  
  • my sculptor son is being commissioned to work on an art project.
  • I give sound advice, it's ignored, and it all comes back to bite them and me. 
  • I realize how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family.
  • I have to wipe a pre-schooler's butt, because he tells me he's too little to do it for himself.  (Yep, I have a few of those in my class.)
Are there any idioms you think are idiotic?  Has life thrown you for a loop?  yes/no  What's in your bowl?

Saturday, September 21, 2013


I've got a new book out called:TEAPOT TALES. It's a fairy tale anthology. 

The proceeds from the sale go to help support "ChaBooCha" (Chapter Book Challenge), an online writing challenge.  ChaBooCha has helped me grow in the area of writing stories and setting deadlines.  I hope to continue writing fairy tales and produce my own fairy tale collection.  As it is, TEAPOT TALES contains  three of my fairy tales and seven of my illustrations.  

"How Shadow Saved His Fairy"
by Brenda A. Harris

If your interested in checking it out, it's now on Amazon in paperback and on Amazon Kindle.

TEAPOT TALES was published by Melusine Muse Press (September 2013).  The book contains thirty-five short stories (including 2 poems) written by 21 international authors.  Therefore, there's a U.K. and U.S. version.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The End to a Sugar Free Week

I joined Becky Fyfe's Sugar Free Challenge to see if I could avoid consuming sugar for 5 days. 
Good bye Sugar
No sugar tonight in my coffee,
No sugar tonight in my tea,
No sugar to stand beside me,
No sugar to run with me... (by The Who)
No walk to Jack for a shake with whipped cream,
No drive to the Tea House with B,
No spoon of Fluff from my frige,
No Honey Nut Cheerios for me... (by Brenda)
Sugar is such a BIG part of my life.
What I discovered was that I could live without sugar.  I didn't lose weight though, at least not as quickly or severely as the green witch from Oz.  
Maybe it was my diet that has helped me curve my sugar cravings.  Instead of sugar, I ate lots of Ritz Crackers.  It could be that my body was substituting white flour for sugar. Below, you'll see my meals and my snack options.  I ate a lot and lost 1 pound.

Brenda's Diet

Breakfast: 1 banana and 10 nuts
Lunch: Grilled veggies and 10 nuts
Snacks: 1/2 Cup Fruit cocktail in 100% fruit juice, sweet potato
            slices, 1 serving baked potato chips, 15 Ritz crackers, Nuts,
            grilled banana
Drinks: Water
(Tummy ached in the evening and next morning from eating too many nuts.)
Breakfast: Banana and 5 nuts
Brunch: Oatmeal with grilled banana, cinnamon, and milk
Lunch: 1 Cup chicken marinera stew with lots of veggies
Dinner: 1 Cup of chicken marinera stew
Snacks: 1 Cup Fruit cocktail in 100% fruit juice, 1/2 cup grilled sweet potato slices, 1 serving baked
             potato chips, 10 Ritz crackers, Nuts, 1 Banana
Drinks: Water
(No tummy ache - reduced nut intake.)
Wednesday - Sunday
Breakfast options: Oatmeal with raisins grilled banana and milk, caramelized onion slices with egg,             Plain yogurt with mashed grilled banana
Lunch options: 1 cup of chicken marinera stew with lots of veggies
Snack (options): 1/2 Cup Peaches or mandarin oranges in 100% fruit juice, grilled sweet potato
            slices, 1 serving baked potato chips, 10 Ritz crackers, Nuts, Banana, 1/2 avocado, fresh
I did not experience any physical or emotional changes. I noticed that I did not crave sugar, but I missed the freedom to eat without restrictions. There's nothing like free will. I couldn't wait until I didn't have to think about what I could eat.  I hoped that I would lose 2 or more pounds on this challenge, but I didn't.
Chili Stew Recipe
1 large onion                         
1 large poblano pepper
On the eighth day I was free!
1 large jalepeno pepper                              1
1 Yellow and 1 red Pepper
1 Roast Beef Tenderloin
1 mexican squash
1can chili tomato sauce
2 large crookneck squash                           2
2 large zucchini
4 bullion beef cubes
3 cups water
1 tsp. Comino
Dash of Coney Island Hot Dog Sauce
3 tablespoons Chili Quick                          3
Black Pepper to taste
2 cans kidney beans
1.  Sautee onion and peppers.  Add meat and stir.
2.  Add all vegetables, water, and bullion cubes.
3.  Add spices.  Stir. Taste.  Add Kidney Beans.
4. Add Fritos and VAVOOM - it's Da Bomb!
Italian Primavera Stew
1/2 jar primavera spaghetti sauce
4 chicken bullion cubes
3 cups water
The following week, I gorged on fruit. 
Much better than sugar. 
Oregano Thyme
Chicken breast 1 lb.
2 zucchini
2 yellow crook neck squash
1 acorn squash
1yellow and 1 orange pepper
1 onion
1 Garlic clove
Add and stir:
1 can peas

I stayed on the diet for 7 days. Although, on day 7, I had a cup of Honey Nut Cheerios.  Oh, well I did surpass my 5 day goal.
Honey Nut Cheerios, I missed you !

 Thanks, Becky!  It was a trip.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Sugar Free Challenge

"What are little girls made of?

Sugar and Spice and Everything nice."
When God created Adam and Eve, he took some rich brown soil and formed them.  However, when he made me, he went into his kitchen and opened a can of sweet condensed milk.  Then, he poured it into a pot, set it on the stove to medium high heat, and stirred it with his favorite wooden spoon.  It took a while, but God is patient.   He stirred until it caramelized – that's me.

Blood doesn’t flow through my veins; it’s butterscotch pudding, and my eyes aren’t brown they’re dark chocolate brown. 

My husband will vouch for what I’m telling you.  In our many years of marriage, he’s noticed that mosquitoes and fleas react differently to me.  If you and I were placed in a room infested with mosquitoes and fleas guess who they would swarm and pounce on?  Wrong, not you.

So, when a FB buddy of mine (Becky Fyfe) challenged me to join her in a week long abstention from sugar I said NO WAY! okay, but I warned her I was destined to fail.  My reason?  About a month ago I decided to go without sugar for a day.  (I succeeded until sunset at which time the vampire in me had to eat some Marshmallow Fluff.)  What I discovered was that my day without sugar was like life without “pizzazz” (thanks Sheldon Cooper). 

What do I mean?  Well, do you remember when Dorothy kept repeating that she wanted to get back to grayscale Kansas, because there was no place like home?   *shakes head*   Dumb girl.  I’d much rather be one of the Lollipop kids singing and dancing down that yellow path in the land of Oz.  Oz had “pizzazz!”  The day I tore myself away from my life source sugar, was like a day in grayscale Kansas.

I invite you to join Becky and me in this harrowing sugar free challenge.  I’m starting on Monday cause there’s no way I’d make it through the weekend.   You can let me know if you decide to join in my  “comments” section.  I’ll let you know how I’m managing during the week.   

BTW:  Becky Fyfe is even giving away a prize in her drawing.


Friday, June 28, 2013


Brenda A. Harris
Word Count: 346
Anthology yes
Girl Inc.

Name of female superhero:  Jasmine Snodgrass

Superhero Appearance (hair, eyes, body type, etc.): straight black hair, black eyes, slender, confident.

Human alter ego appearance (if she has an alter ego): frail, lacking confidence, unkempt 

Costume: Hoody, Camp Counselor T-shirt, jeans, sneakers.

Personality:  Quiet, kind, resourceful, and at times gloomy

Brief description of how the superheroine gets her powers:  She thinks God made a mistake when she was born, because her life is *lousy*.  At her lowest point, God directs her to interview for a job as counselor at a "Special Needs" summer camp - a job she knows she is hopelessly under qualified for.

Powers: God gives her the power of suggestion.  She can influence lives by implanting thoughts.  With certain people (she doesn't know why), she is even able to manipulate their actions. 

Anything else important:  She tries to do good, but at times she lashes out in fear and anger causing her power to be manipulated by evil forces.

The bus, crammed with kids and counselors, held her captive.  Jasmine shifted her gaze to her T-shirt and traced the words Camp Counselor.  A new start. 

She looked out the window, but her eyes saw only her reflection.  A failure.  Maybe this time.  Maybe this job.   Turning away, she looked before her at the rows of heads bobbing to the rhythm of the bus.

Her bangs made her eyes itch, but she held her gaze.  Six rows in front, she saw Mikey, a young man, begin to cry.  "Momma, Momma..." The wailing grew louder.  He punched his body and pummeled his head.  "Momma!"

His counselor tried soothing him.  "It's okay,  Mikey.  Everything's okay."  Mikey stood up.  Chest heaving, red face wet, and with arms swinging,he bellowed, "Momma." 

He resembled a frightened bull, and he was strong enough to do serious injury, mused Jasmine.  She watched as counselors tried to placate him, but Mikey was oblivious to their words. 

“What did Mikey truly need?” she wondered. Jasmine pictured Mikey's  mother.  Perhaps, she loved him dearly.  Perhaps, she was the only world he knew, and now he felt alone without her.  Who would comfort him and erase his fears? Who could replace his mother? Not Jasmine!  Her face pained at the thought of her ineptitude. 

Jasmine took another look at her reflection and breathed deeply.  She remembered.  God had swaddled her with love despite her sorry life.  Hope rose.  If God's love was a father's love,  could she send Mikey motherly love? 

Cementing her gaze on Mikey's head, she imagined passing her hands over his tussled hair.  "There, there Mikey,  I'm here," she whispered.  In her lap, her hands began a gentle soothing motion.  They smoothed his hair, wiped his tears, and in her mind she hugged him.

Six rows up, the autistic young man slumped back into his seat; his soft voice responding to her invisible caresses. "Momma.  Momma."  He touched his head mimicking her strokes and sighed.

Jasmine turned to stare at her glass image.  Dear God!  What power have you given me?  Is this why I’m here?

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Love Story

People need love.  We should all agree with that, but how do you express love? 

There are expressions of love that I am so touched by.  People living in poverty welcoming strangers into their home, sharing a meal, or giving of themselves to aid someone.  That touches my heart.  I think, wow.  If I had less, would I be more generous?

A transient couple I met and counseled for months, was staying with relatives in a rough apartment complex.  Before they relocated again, in search of work, they came to my office to say their goodbyes.  After many hugs, the gentleman took out of his pocket a disposable pen.  It was his farewell gift for the help I had given them, and the friendship I'd offered. 

Through the years, I've thought about their generosity.  In the U.S., the gift of a cheap pen for services offered might be laughed at, but to the undocumented immigrant couple, it had precious value. 

It's possible that I was touched by the gift, because I'm an immigrant, too.  Although I did not come to the United States impoverished, I am able to empathize with their struggles.  Or, perhaps It's because I'm a writer and an artist, whose favorite tool is a pen. 

Do you have a love story to tell?

In some impoverished places, something as simple as a pen is a gift well received.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

People Are Surprising

People make me smile, laugh, shake my head in amazement, and cry.  They can also frighten, but I'll skip that one.

The dear people I know are so very different from each other.

My friend Denny is a sensitive sympathetic soul.  She loves cute animal.  She emails and texts cute animal photos with warm fuzzy sayings and so on.  You know the type. 

Recently, she moved into an apartment.  It became infested with roaches when her neighbors fumigated.  The day I visited, the roaches came out to greet me.  Even the fresh pot of coffee she made had roaches floating about.  Ugh!

How could I help my dear friend?  I offered to bring her a cup of D.E. (diatomaceous earth) powder to sprinkle around her home.  "It's organic and environmentally friendly", I explained.  "It consists of the fossilized remains of microscopic shells. It kills any creature with  an exoskeleton, because it works by dehydrating insects when they ingest or absorb it."

She looked aghast.  Oh no, she could never use something that would cause roaches to suffer.  Oh how awful.

Really?  I was surprised.  Roaches carry disease.  They chew into plastic, cardboard, and clothes.  They pollute our food and water supply.  Yuch!

I suppose that didn't matter to her.  Perhaps, she was thinking they were one of God's creatures - which they are.

Amazing, but true.