Friday Five

1. How Time Flies! The 8-week creative writing class I was teaching through The Loft Literary Center has come to an end. It was my first time teaching online and it was a great experience. Each week at least one student pointed out something about a master work or presented a writing sample that gave me an a-ha moment.
Some of the students took the time to let me know how much they enjoyed the class, but this comment just blew me away: “Our lesson last week, applying the senses, helped me see the world from a different perspective. I now see things I normally don’t pay attention to. I hear sounds that were always there but never discovered. Applying those senses are going to help me imagine things that I’ve never imagined before, and words and ideas are going to come out freely.” Can someone get me a tissue?
I’ve signed on to teach the same class this summer. The class is called Back to Basics and it begins on June 4 for 8 weeks (with one week break for July 4th week). Each week we discuss a different creative writing technique: dialogue, characterization, setting, etc., which allows us to get in depth about each topic. The information is applicable to creative nonfiction (memoir) or fiction. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about it, visit The Loft.

2. This is my all-time favorite comfort meal: grilled cheese and tomato soup. It’s quick and easy to make and tastes oh-so-good. And I always feel happy when I eat it. Sometimes I doctor the soup and add herbs or veggies, as I did here, but I also love plain Jane tomato soup. Some purists insist on only cheddar cheese in the sandwich, but I like to get fancy. Fontina, gouda, mozzarella? Bring it on.  (Note: I won’t be quitting my day job to become a “food stylist” – see below.)
What is your favorite comfort food?

3. Around the world in 195 countries. I’ll be jetting off on my much-anticipated vacation to The Netherlands in a few weeks and I’ve been reading up on the delectable delights I can stuff my face with such as stroopwafels and rijsttafel (Indonesian food with Dutch flair).
Even if you don’t have the opportunity to go far on your vacation this year, you can still get a taste of the world.  I came across a wonderful project started by Sasha Martin who now lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and missed all of the exciting travel and food  adventures of her youth. So she’s traveling the world through her stovetop. Each week she goes to a new country by exploring its culinary heritage and planning meals, the ingredients of which can all be found in her local markets. She cooks for her husband (known as Mr. Picky) and her beautiful daughter, Ava. Together they are working their way around the world for 195 weeks! Up this week: Marshall Islands and the sweet macadamia nut pie below.

4. Marketing guru Seth Godin posted an interesting discussion on his blog this week about the gulf between what we say and what we do. It gave me pause because I’ve been guilty of a few of these in the past. It’s a good reminder to keep what I say in line with what I do in all facets of my life. Here’s an excerpt from his post:

We say we want a revolution…

Of course, what we say doesn’t matter so much. What we do is what matters, and we have far more influence that we’d like to confess.

We say we want local merchants to offer great service, deep selection and community values, but we cross the street to the big box store to save $3.

We say we want companies to honor their promises and act transparently, but one new product or big discount from a business that has deceived us in the past and we come right back for more.

We say we hate spam, but we send it. And sometimes buy from it.

We say we’d like people to think first and act later, but we get cut off in traffic and all bets are off.

Hypocrisy may be an epidemic, but the problem isn’t in what we say. It’s what we do.

5. Reggie builds his defense. 


This tissue stuck to the bottom of my paw? This is completely circumstantial evidence. You can't find me guilty based on this little old tissue.

Bathroom Floor

Oh, that? You left the bathroom like that? No? Um, a pigeon did it. That's right. A rogue pigeon flew in through the window and went straight for the garbage can. That's what I'm going with.

Have a great weekend everyone! May you not encounter any rogue pigeons. 



  1. Reggie’s in trouble. My dog once came in, frantically moving his tail, a sure sign she had done something wrong and when i touched her the face was full of coffee. She had take apart the bin gotten her face iinto the coffee filter.
    My favourite comfort food are spaghetti with thyme/cream/parmiggiano sauce.
    I love the idea to cook around the world. Fantastic.


    1. That comfort food sounds delicious! Anything with pasta is a win for me.

      Reggie has never gotten into the coffee filter, but I wouldn’t put it past him. 🙂


  2. That grilled cheese and tomato soup looks divine! Like you I can go fancy with it, or have it ‘plain Jane’. 🙂

    In defense of Reggie, he may have, you know, just walked through the crime scene after the pigeon left, or something.

    Congrats on your writing class going so well, Jackie.
    Have a great weekend!


    1. I’m sure this dastardly pigeon was framing Reggie all the way. I wouldn’t put it past a pigeon.
      I’m sure you’ve had similar rewarding experiences in writing workshops and classes. I’m so happy the students were getting benefits from the lessons. One student said he was planning to download the lessons and re-read them all again. Wow!
      Have a super weekend!


    1. I’m a big fan of spaghetti – or any pasta really. Can’t go wrong there. Enjoy the weekend and your last days on the job!


    1. Oh, I am so with you there. On Sunday mornings, I love to make blueberry pancakes. It feels so leisurely and rushing off to work or errands is the last thing on my mind.


    1. Reggie thinks he’s being so smooth, just walking into the living room and laying down on his dog bed. Little did he know the telltale evidence is attached to his foot! 🙂
      That floor is the original to the building – 1920s I think.
      Happy weekend to you and Sara!


  3. I love Reggie!!
    I also enjoyed the Seth Godin mention. Timely with my line of thinking lately. I took one of my kids to see The Lorax last night. Dr. Seuss would not have approved, I do not believe. And I think it magnified the concept Godin talked about: not what we say – what we do.
    We may say the right things – talk of going green – etc. But materialism is rampant. Another iPad is released and folks flock to nab it…. while their other iPad is charging at home.
    I’m cranky. Nevermind me. 🙂


    1. So true, Lenore. Consistency isn’t always easy. It can be inconvenient, difficult and sometimes more expensive to have our actions match our words. I work on it every day!


  4. A real purist would fix grilled American cheese with Campbell’s tomato soup–no additions. 🙂

    The comments from the student? Awesome. You must be the best teacher, Jackie! How I wish I could take your class now that I’ve started writing a memoir. No time until Sept., unfortunately.

    The first time I left one of my dogs alone, he unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper and took a bite of each and every square. It was unbelievable.


    1. Well, thank you! It was so gratifying to learn that the students appreciated the lessons and, more importantly, benefited from them. I know there are a lot of other ways they could be spending their time and money, so I’m happy that felt it was well worth it.

      Too funny that your dog took a bite of every square of toilet paper. I can just picture Reggie doing that. What on earth was he thinking? 🙂


  5. You must be a great teacher Jackie. I am going over to look at that link.
    And that Reggie – well how could you ever be cross with that beautiful face and those soulful, trusting eyes?


    1. Thank you for saying that, Judith. I’m new to teaching in an online format and I wasn’t sure if the students were “getting it.” It’s so heartwarming to get the messages and know that they found the class beneficial.

      Reggie makes me laugh every single day. What a joy he is – even digging in the trash. 🙂


  6. Your trip is going to be so much fun! Can`t wait to hear all about it.

    Comfort food- fried chicken with hot sauce, collards, fried green tomatoes, lady peas or black eyed peas with jalapeno jelly.

    Reggie- hilarious.


    1. A woman after my own heart – collards and fried green tomatoes!
      I love to eat collards, but hate to cook them. If you have any tricks to keep them from smelling up your whole house, I’m all ears.

      When I lived in Atlanta there was a local greasy spoon called Matthews that all kinds of good Southern comfort food. When we went to lunch there we reeked of the food. It was in our hair and on our clothes. 🙂


  7. Sounds like a wonderful class, Ms. C! If I lived in the area I might have to give it a try… now THAT would be a REAL challenge for you!
    I think poor Reggie is going to have to work on his poker face (he looks like he knows he’s in trouble in that mugshot)!


    1. You tell plenty of wonderful stories through your artwork, SIG. A picture is worth a thousand words…maybe yours are worth two thousand! 🙂


  8. Jackie, I loved the class. The lessons each week helped me to think like a real writer, and more importantly, gave me the confidence that I was lacking. I would love to take another of your classes.

    I love grilled cheese and tomato soup, but mashed potatoes and gravy are my favorite comfort food.


    1. Thank you for saying that, Nancy! It means a lot to me that you gained something from the class. You’re a wonderful writer with a unique perspective. Keep on writing.

      PS – I could eat a plateful of mashed potatoes and gravy – and nothing else.


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