SHIRLEY TEMPLE: The girl, the woman, the dolls

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The news of Shirley Temple Black’s passing wasn’t only sad, it was eerie. It arrived as I was about to ship off the last Shirley Temple doll I was selling from my late mother’s vast doll collection. Not only was it the last one, it was the best one. The incandescent 35″ life-size Ideal Playpal Shirley in her original bi-color party dress from 1959. She lit up my mother’s doll room just as the real Shirley Temple had in all of her movies.

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MY DANCE WITH ONLINE DATING

My P.O.V. on online dating after trying it for a year. Published in the Northwest Observer 1/17/2014. UPDATE 4/14/2014: The very last man I met online has become the best guy friend ever. No regrets!

Click on the image twice then enter Ctrl+ to make it larger, Ctrl- to make it smaller.

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Q&A WITH TOMMY HAYS on WHAT I CAME TO TELL YOU

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Tommy Hays is the author of the 2006 novel The Pleasure Was Mine which was selected for several community-wide reading programs in various cities and counties, including Greenville, SC and Greensboro, NC. His other adult novels are Sam’s Crossing, which has been recently re-released, and In the Family Way, winner of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. He is Executive Director of the Great Smokies Writing Program and Lecturer in the Master of Liberal Arts program at UNC Asheville. He teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Murray State University. What I Came to Tell You is his first middle grade novel.

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THE TALE OF THE SQUIRREL-PROOF BIRD FEEDER

From Audubon.org website

From Audubon.org website

Let me explain why I was so determined to outwit the squirrels stealing birdseed from the wild birds I’d attracted to my yard. Of course they didn’t see it as stealing. It’s their natural right to snarf up anything they can. And boy are they smart. Ultimately though, I won this war.

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AUTHOR 2 AUTHOR: JO MAEDER’S Q&A WITH SUSAN CRANDALL

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The new novel from Susan Crandall is a departure from her previous books and yet pure Susan: rich characters and dialog and a can’t-put down story. Thank you Nicki Leone, Authors Round the South “Author 2 Author” series, Wanda Jewell and SIBA. And, of course, Susan!

Jo: The South, to me, is filled with fabulous, exotic names. Like Starla. How can you not love a character named Starla? Is there a story behind her name? Eula, too. Or shall it remain “one of Egypt’s mysteries”?

Susan: I can see Starla has influenced your phrasing.  She had a way of doing that to me too!

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PISSALADIERE RECIPE – THE QUICK AND EASY (ALYCE) WAY

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Hi. This is Alyce speaking. Or Al-ees, as the French say. I chained Jean-Luc to his computer to write. Also so he can’t see me make my E-Z pissaladiére (or the spelling of easy). Pissala is a fish paste made from sardines and anchovies. I’ve left it out. This is supposed to be quick and easy, and I’ve already added more time with the tomatoes — which are a big no-no in J-L’s eyes. Trust me, this is plenty pungent without the paste. Anchovies alone are enough to cross it off a lot of people’s list, especially with onions, garlic and olives as well. But it’s one of the first things Jean-Luc taught me how to make (Chapter 17 of Opposites Attack) so I’ll always have a soft spot for it. He calls it “what your American pizza wishes it could be.” And remember to put a pretzel in your mouth while slicing the onions. Just rest it between your lips. Your eyes won’t tear. 

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AUTHOR 2 AUTHOR: SUSAN CRANDALL’S Q&A WITH JO MAEDER

From Lady Banks Commonplace Books (“Front porch literary gossip from your favorite Southern bookshops”) where I explain the difference between a Yankee and a Damn Yankee, and more. This is part of the Authors Round the South’s “Author 2 Author” series. Thank you Nicki Leone and Susan Crandall. Be sure to check out Susan’s outstanding new book WHISTLING PAST THE GRAVEYARD (link below).

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Author 2 Author: Susan Crandall Talks to Jo Maeder

 

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ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING

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The 1984 “Burning Love” Elvis Presley 21″ doll by World Dolls is the official doll icon on my home page. You click on him to enter the portal to Mama Jo’s House of Dolls. After considering several dolls for this honor, Elvis was the clear winner. We grew even closer after that. I was sure he’d be one of the last of Mama Jo’s dolls to be listed in the shop. Then I met John Firesheets of Jamestown, NC.

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SOCCA!

Socca baking

Somewhere in my Opposites Attack research of foods popular in the South of France, I read about socca, a flat bread/pancake/crêpe made from chick pea (a.k.a. garbanzo bean) flour. It sounded more like a Latin-American dance than something you would eat. One passage stuck in my head about a man at a big outdoor market in Nice who was famous for his socca. He made it in a large copper device over an open flame. It was even better when accompanied with his fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. All that made it into the novel.

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WILD BOAR DAUBE FEAST (PART FOUR) – MORE COOKING & DEVOURING

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When I decided to dive into this challenge with the same naive pluck as Alyce, the heroine in Opposites Attack, I thought what was the worst that could happen? It would be awful, we’d order pizza and drinks lots of French wine. In the end it’s about the company. Fortunately, pizza was never delivered.

You’ve followed all the steps outlined in PARTS ONE, TWO and THREE. Not so hard was it? (I assure you it took me longer to write these four blogs than I spent in the kitchen making the daube). It will take even less time if you’re making this for a much smaller group. This version is for 12-14 people.

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