Saturday, April 19, 2014

April 19th Challenge

Hi, it’s Christina –

Good morning. Oh what a glorious Spring day here in Central New Jersey. This is what Spring should be like, not too hot, not too cold, sunny with all the flowers and trees in bloom. I just love the Japanese cherry trees and the weeping cherry trees. The shock of pink against the lime green is so beautiful.I keep asking, but I still haven’t received one for our front yard.

I totally forgot to mention it, but yesterday marked the one year anniversary of this blog. What originally started as a two week project, has turned into a daily “must” for me. If I can’t blog first thing in the morning, my day just doesn’t seem to ever get into sync. Over the past year, you have been with me through me winning my first award for writing. You talked me down from a panic attack over going into NYC to accept the award. You cheered with me when my daughter got into her first choice college, and you cried with me when my son moved out and my daughter left for college. You rooted me on during the insanity of NaNoWriMo. We have celebrated every holiday together. You’ve sent prayers when requested. You’ve laughed with me, and I’m sure a few times at me. All in all, this has been one of the most wonderful years of my life, and in part, I have all of you to thank for it. I appreciate all of you, and may God bless you as much as you have me.

I did manage to get some writing done yesterday, again mostly from a horizontal position. Yesterday was better than Thursday, and so far today has been better than yesterday, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that tomorrow won’t be too terrible. It took me a little over three hours, but I also managed to get the Easter baskets finished. (This photo is from a previous year.)

That still leaves, the eggs – both dying the real ones and filling and hiding the plastic ones, the letter from T.E.B., the cleaning, the baking, the cooking, and the grocery shopping. My hubby’s not going to be happy, but I’m sending him to the grocery store. We qualified for the free ham or turkey at out ShopRite, and it has to be picked up by today, the dog is out of his morning chew sticks, and I want juice, danishes, bagels and muffins for tomorrow’s breakfast. It’s less than ten items, I think he can handle it.

I had a nice surprise yesterday. At around quarter to six last night, my dog started fussing, so I thought he needed to go out. I open the garage door, Colby goes rushing out, I follow at a much slower pace; and there it was, a box, just sitting in my garage. I walk over and check out the label. It's addressed to me. To the best of my knowledge, I hadn't ordered anything. Curiosity piqued, I abandoned the dog, who was perfectly secure by our invisible fence, and brought the box inside.

Dani asked, "What's that?"

"I don't know." I reply.

"Who's it addressed to?"


"Who's it from?"

"I have no idea."

"So open it!"

"That's what I had planned on doing before you started asking all your questions."

"Can I open it?"

"Sure, why not?"

I hand the box to my daughter, and with painstaking care, she opens the box. After a few minutes, she gets the box opened, reaches inside and pulls out a beautiful gold box, adorned with a royal purple ribbon and bow. Thankfully, tucked inside the ribbon is a note.

It seems the Easter Bunny is a bit of a detective, and he managed to track down my address so he could leave a box of incredibly yummy chocolate truffles, as a thank you for editing his book.

It was a wonderful and totally unexpected surprise, and I had never heard of the chocolatier. Being a confirmed and admitted chocoholic, I thought I knew (and probably sampled) most of the chocolates the world has to offer. Between friends traveling, me traveling, and a brother-in-law who sets up candy store all over the world, I thought I had them all covered. Happily, I was wrong, and missed a chocolatier who has been around since the mid-17th century.

Bissinger’s started in Paris, sometime in the early 1600s. Then in 1668, King Louis XIV, bestowed the title of “Confiseur Imperial” on the Bissinger family for their confectionary excellence. Their name and reputation grew throughout Europe, and in 1845 they found their way to America, when Karl Bissinger settled in Cincinnati, Ohio. Over the past 169 years, Bissinger has received many Sofi awards, been featured in Food magazine, and has caught the eye of numerous celebrities including Lauren Bacall and Oprah.

See, this is what happens when you have a historical romance writer do a blog. A tiny thing sparks my curiosity, and I need to seek out its history. Hopefully I didn’t bore you too much. If you have a chance to try Bissinger’s chocolate truffles, do so. So far I have tried an espresso flavored one and a raspberry flavored one, and they were delicious. The only complaint I have is, there was no key in the box, so I have no clue what the flavors are before I try them.

Okay, enough already. I have tons to do today, and one of them needs to be some work on FTQ. I hope y’all have a fantastic day, and happy writing!

Your Last Challenge was:

Write a story about Easter eggs…

I love Easter eggs, all kinds of Easter eggs.

When I was a little girl, I used to go over to my neighbor, and best friend, Nadia’s house. Her and her family made Pisanke, aka Ukrainian Easter eggs. We would use these strange sticks with a medal nail pushed through the end, we’d heat the nail up with a candle flame, dip the hot nail into pure beeswax, then draw on the raw egg. After we drew everything we wanted kept white, we would submerge our egg in yellow dye. After the egg absorbed enough of the dye to be a deep rich yellow, we would take it out, add beeswax to everything we wanted to stay yellow, then dip the egg into the orange dye. We’d repeat the process with the red, then purple and finally the black dye.

When the egg came out of the final dye bath, it looked hideous. It had lumps of grey beeswax all over it, and the only part of actual egg showing was black as pitch. Ah, but that’s when Nadia’s mom would bring our eggs over to the stove. She would warm a towel by rubbing it on the inside of a hot pan, then she would take the hot towel and start to rub our egg with it. That’s when the magic happened. As she rubbed, the ugly grey wax began to melt away, and all our colored designs started to appear.

Right from the start, Nadia’s eggs were beautiful, and mine were a disaster. My lines were shaky and incomplete. I’d miss covering portions of the design in beeswax, so the color scheme was off. I guess I just don’t have enough Ukrainian blood in me. 

I haven’t given up though, every few years I get out my Pisanke kit and give it a whirl. Although they are better than when I was young, I could never make the pieces of art that Nadia can, but that’s okay. I kinda like the silly face eggs my daughters have been making the past few years.

Your Next Challenge is:

To spend tomorrow enjoying your family, whether you celebrate Easter or not.

You have 24 hours. There is no right or wrong, just enjoy. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize how someone else chose to spend their day. Go