There’s a fortune in my cookie that says I will succeed amongst interesting friends

Chinese New Year is February 19th — the year of the Sheep portends gentle calm tidings so take a sip of Jasmine tea and let’s celebrate.

Chinese and Chinese-American cuisine is my fave, although Thai is a close runner-up.  According to a Smithsonian article, the fortune cookie served at the end of meals in either restaurant is of Japanese origin.

Pragmatic soul that I am, Fortune Cookies will still be a part of my Chinese New Year celebration.

How, you might wonder, does a child growing up down the street from the Rosarita’s plant where jalapenos, beans, enchilada sauce were once canned get her taste for Chinese food?

My Popa.

Reinforced by a Hawaiian school teacher (okay, Mrs. Viola Payne’s recipe was for Fried Rice, but to an 8 year old, that’s Asian).

Made unbreakable by repeated visits to China Town when I lived in Los Angeles.

waldorf cafe
Waldorf photos courtesy of Phil Hannum on Facebook Group: Growing Up in Mesa in the 70s

Popa made Chop Suey. I don’t recall necessarily liking it (what child likes mushrooms?) but he also took me and Mom to eat out many Sundays at the Waldorf Cafe, a diner on Main Street in Mesa, Ariz. If I think about it I can see the white tabletop with the silver glitter flakes embedded in the Formica and a fuzzy image of the owner’s smile… or maybe it was the cook.

waldorf to leftAs I recall,  fortune cookies once had fortunes in them. Forecasts.

Hey! I am all for knowledge such as how to say “Pass the rice wine,” in Chinese and winning lottery numbers, but I enjoyed the forecasts more than the pithy little sayings.

A friend, who shall remain nameless lest she curse me with misfortune and release the skeletons in my closet, or perhaps release the skeletons from her closet into mine since they are not busy until the month of October, taught me that pithy little sayings can be transformed into fun with the addition of a simple phrase before or after:

Between the sheets….        or              …Under the covers

Try it with these fortunes:



YOU WILL LAUGH LONG, LOUD, AND OFTEN between the sheets.


“Stop,” you say, snorting with laughter. “Carol, you have made me hungry and besides, I already play that game.”

fortune-picAllow me to alleviate your needs with the FORTUNE COOKIES RECIPE, direct from Andromeda’s Cookbook:

Ingredients: 3 egg whites, 3/4 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, 2 cup all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons water

1  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2  Grease cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper.
3  Have fortunes ready to go on small strips of paper.
4  In a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites and sugar on high speed of an electric mixer until frothy, about 2 minutes.
5  Reduce speed to low, and then stir in melted butter, vanilla, almond extract, water and flour one at a time, mixing well after each.
Consistency should resemble pancake batter. Spoon the batter into 3 inch circles on the prepared baking sheets. Leave room between for spreading.
7  Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges begin to brown slightly.
8  QUICKLY remove one at a time, QUICKLY place a message in the center, and fold in half.
9  Fold the ends of the half together into a horse shoe shape. Hang over cup to dry. If they spring open, place them in a muffin tin to cool until set. (I skipped the hanging over a cup and just put them in the tin.)
Note: Although these cookies are not malleable if overbaked, you need to bake them long enough until they are golden around the edges or they will be too under baked and remain soft, spongy and pancake-like.
Tips: I have made these several times and they have turned out different each time — the first and third being the best. I used the bottom of a regular spoon to swirl the batter in to THIN 3-inch circles.

I think they would be delicious and look divine if one half was dipped in chocolate and then maybe rolled in sprinkles, don’t you?

Remember, Confucius did not say, but that does not make it not true: Woman who makes her own fortune cookies has imagination and hot fingers!

Wishing you all good fortune, Carol

P.S. Know what I love more than fortune cookies? Sesame Balls! C-Fu Gourmet makes the best in the Valley, but here is a recipe link in case you want to try making them yourself.

A Silvery Night in Jewelry Affaire

  One of the most fun things about working with Susan Lenart Kazmer , ICE Resin and Susan’s Industrial Chic Line is the opportunity to create in a 180 degrees different direction than writing fiction, grants, blogs and designing books.

Just like a finished manuscript, sometimes a piece of jewelry comes together perfectly and I send it off for an editor to love (or not).

My sparkling little evening bracelet arrived in my mail box a few days after the always inspirational Jewelry Affaire magazine.

Pretty cool, as for me, making jewelry is more like playtime. You can find me toward the back. Before you get to my “Silvery Night”, do pause a moment to adore the “Grapefruit Pink” bracelet of Chelsie Boyd and the “Mermaid Net” necklace by Emily Deister.

And, if you are looking for pieces made with Industrial Chic components, check out Debbie Cole’s Blue Bird Reversible Necklace (the bird image with the crown is absolutely darling!)




STORY… Talisman Project with ICE Resin

Brambles by Carol Baxter

As I write this post, there is a cacophony of voices in my head as my former newspaper editors Jerry, Richard, Jim, Pete, Tom and Autumn telling me that my words must be pared-down. Jen Cushman is there too, reminding me one word for the Talisman Project, Carol.

I learned from each of those editors, but the best advice came from Autumn. “Write until the story is finished.”

I protest to Jen, “I had a negative space in the heart that needed  filled and whether it is science fiction or fantasy, it is the characters that make me take my time to read a work of fiction.”

Characters with their foibles, courage, hates, loves, desires, and interactions make the STORY. (I am quite partial to science fiction and fantasy… Greg Bear, Guy Gavriel Kay, Jacqueline Karey, Patricia McKillip, Gregory Benford, and Harlan Ellison to name a few.

STORY is my Talisman for 2014 because if I stopped writing “Brambles” right now to make a piece of jewelry that said NOVELIST, it would take time from my preciously carved-out writing time–besides, I when one writes until the story is finished, one gets stories of many different lengths and I am working on more than just one.

A couple of years ago I made this bracelet as a gift for an author friend, Eve Paludan, and I liked it so much, I made one for me but it has sat neglected in my jewelry box.

I made it with an open back bezel and chain from Susan Lenart Kazmer’s Industrial Chic Line.

To make something similar you will need:

Torn words from a dictionary, ICE Resin, German Glass Glitter, Staz-On Ink, a bit of paint (it looks like I used a green aqua color to tint the resin), chain, clear packing tape, a craft cup and a stir stick, jewelry pliers, and a disposable paint brush.


1. Tear your words out and edge if you wish with ink so they stand out.

2. Mix ICE Resin per manufacturer instructions. Add a drop of acrylic paint for color if desired.

3. Apply packing tape to back of bezel. Burnish edges with your fingers so the resin does not leak.

4. Drip a little resin into the bezel. Add words and glitter. Drip more resin. Tip: be careful not to over fill when working with a smaller bezel.

5. To place word STORY on flat piece of metal, I painted on a little ICE Resin first, put the paper down,  another swipe of resin then a wee bit of glitter.

6. It dries and is ready to wear in about 6 hours.

Stay tuned on the ICE Resin blog for more Talismans and interesting, touching stories of why a particular designer chose his or her Talisman word. We hope it moves you to achieve your dreams!

If you want to know more about Talismans, Susan talks about them as numbers in these posts: 4 plus 3 and Lending Power to the Ordinary.

Provide for your errors

“… charitable contributions and provide for your heirs,” said a client dictating changes to a document over my cell while the house phone was ringing. Then I read the sentence out loud.

… provide for your errors…



English grammar

You can provide for your heirs. I am told they favor money.

You can provide for your hares. They like green stuff too—lettuce.

You can provide for your hair. I am sure there are hair products out there tinted with Solid Green FCF.

You can provide for your errors with contemplation and study. If your errors are of a more grievous nature, the state will provide for your errors and in that instance, your heirs, hares and hairs will suffer.

Heirs, hares and hairs all enjoy clean air.

Before you tell me that error and air does not belong with hare and heir, think about dialects.

The English Language provides for you to make many errors. In fact, I am completely convinced that English Language and Mother Nature are at happy hour in some dive laughing hysterically….

because you can dive off a cliff or meet your friend at the  local dive aka bar. Or it could be a dive bar as in one frequented by people who like to cliff dive.

Bar. Ballet bar? Drink bar? Bar the way? Ug! I have heard native English speakers complain about the words in other Romance languages that change depending on gender, saying how difficult it is to learn, but I think there are bugaboos no matter the language you are learning.

“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a crib house whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”
–James D. Nicoll

“Viola “is the first word that comes to mind. (Yeah, I could write a whole other post on how the phonics educated child learned that “v” was a “w” and “io” was “ah”.)

The longer I write, it seems the bigger the hurry, end even if there was no hurry, the adage is true: EDITING YOURSELF IS UNWISE.

I have errors I routinely make as a less-than-fantastic typist and perhaps a titch of dyslexia:

  • from becomes form
  • the becomes teh
  • dropping the r in country so it becomes a somewhat smaller plot of land

The aforementioned dive is filling up with customers fast, most noticeably the Grammar Police—bots adept at catching i before e and errors, and error that are not error because  my character is speaking in the vernacular.

Yes, the Grammar Police deployed by Microsoft Word pretty are akin to government workers—with the exception of IRS workers who I am convinced get Bonu$e$ based on catching errors.

When I deem them ready, the novel, a memoir, and short story will go to a trusted editor.

That red-pen wielding  human will strike  my errors thus  allowing me  to provide curls for my hair and provide beach-side air for my heir.

Note to heir: I know you want a bunny rabbit. You will have to buy it and love it and care for it and think of a better name for it than George.


Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning.

A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.

Spinster’s Folly, the new book by Marsha Ward, is worthy of your time

It is Day 7 of the blog tour for Spinster’s Folly by Western novelist Marsha Ward.

I expect a book to lead me into another world (usually science fiction) and immerse me in its characters.

This year, I made an agreement with myself, that just because I downloaded a book to my Kindle, brought a book home from the library friends’ book sale, or walked out of a retailer with one, I would allow myself the pleasure of not knowing the end if the book was not worthy of my time. Without an easy way to get to the eBook-of-the-night’s cover, the character(s) must vigorously, joyously, walk off the page.

Marsha Ward authorMarie Owen, in author Marsha Ward’s Spinster’s Folly, does just that. Marie feels she is on the verge of becoming a spinster and there are few prospects for a decent suitor let alone a match in Colorado Territory, but sometimes, you can’t see what is plainly in front of you.

Marie is the heroine, yet I recall the first time characters from Spinster’s Folly waltzed off the page. —that they did this in supporting roles made me beg Marsha to be one of her beta-readers. Here is a bit of the excerpt she read that day:

Julia drew her shift over her head again, smoothing it down over her body as she glanced sidelong at Rod. He lay beside her, his eyelids only half open as his breathing slowed.

“You’re a caution, you know that?” she murmured, wanting to snuggle against his bare chest, but resisting the impulse. The night wasn’t as long as it needed to be, and they had best get to sleep.

He took a long lungful of air before replying. “I missed you. I missed my Julie-girl.” He slid his arm under her neck and, turning to her, exhaled softly into her ear.

“There now, don’t you begin again,” she remonstrated, chuckling in a low tone. “We’re gettin’ too old for that business.”

“What do you mean, woman? I can still love you ’til the day breaks.”

She wanted to tell him that was nonsense, but knew he would take it as a challenge and that would be that for a good night’s sleep. Instead, she gave him his nightshirt and asked, “Did you encounter any difficulties in makin’ your arrangements with Ed Morgan?” She waited until he’d put the nightshirt onto his head before she let her fingers explore the red spot at the base of her throat where his enthusiasm had gotten out of hand.

Gems in life are where you find them.

The bulk of what I read is science fiction. I was easily in my 30s the last time I read a Western, although in my 20s, I read a lot of Louis L’Amour. I found his plots quick and his characters believable. L’Amour was a master of allowing the reader to escape into the magic of another time and place.

Marsha WardMarsha Ward is a master of allowing the reader to escape into the magic of another time and place.

Spinster’s Folly  is the 4th in the Owens Family Saga but stands up tall on its own two feet.


Marsha Ward is an award-winning poet, writer and editor whose published work includes four novels in The Owen Family Saga: The Man from Shenandoah, Ride to RatonTrail of Storms, and Spinster’s Folly; and over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She also is a workshop presenter and writing teacher. She has her own blog as well as one for the characters living in her head. You connect with Marsha on Twitter and Facebook.

What would it take for you to “by” this truck?

I confess I never purchased a Saturn vehicle but I sure liked that company’s no hassle price, especially after spending five and a half hours at a particular dealership.

The first rule of used car buying, I was told by a former used car salesman, is to go in knowing what amount the bank or credit union will lend you.  I had been through Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book so I had a ball-park idea in my head, but I did not head out on my car buying excursion with a note from the credit union in hand. I knew what was out of my price range.

I bit on a flyer for a small 4-door at $85/month. (My bad, of course there was only one at that price and it had already sold… although it did lead me to the dealer’s Website to check out a few cars; also already sold. Heaven forbid that someone update the site.)

Car dealerships, at least this one, do things a bit backwards these days: There is no sticker on the window giving cost and mileage and data because, we were told, “car prices change constantly”.

My fiancé and I were greeted by a finance guy rather than a salesman. “Do you have an appointment?” “No.” Since when do I need an appointment to buy retail? This is not a Rolls Royce or a diamond from Tiffany’s. He invited us inside to his desk then asked me what I had in mind.

“Low miles, well-maintained. Used.”

He inquired what I could afford in between telling us that he had been in finance for nine years, had been upside down in multiple houses in Detroit and lost them all and now he was traveling with this clearance event.

I am annoyed. “I don’t want to talk about finance until I see if there is anything I like.” Off we go to the lot.

At this point, please begin to keep in mind that I was not born with the shopping gene.

Of course, my eyes were drawn to the blue car. A Ford Focus. 2012. Ah well. No Ford 500 to be seen, a Sport Trac that is tricked-out and is beyond my price range, Chevy’s version of the PT Cruiser is cute, a Ford Ranger truck with low miles, but mostly 2011 or 2012 models. I look up a few on my iPhone app. I tell my fiancé that I am not seeing anything that floats my boat, this was a bust and we should leave.

The finance guy comes over and tells me that an ’11 or a ’12 looks better to a bank. But it is out of my price range. I tell him, “I know from researching online that I need to go ’07 to ’09, maybe ’10. Leave me to look and come back if you have something.”

We part ways.

I go back to look at the red Ranger. 18,700 miles and an ’06. I was not thinking truck, but wow the mileage is LOW. The sticker in the window reads “consignment” and it has wheelchair plates from Louisiana. Probably a single owner, came out here to have his/her family take care… this might be it.

Meanwhile, the finance guy is back driving by with what he says is an ’07 with low miles. I ask my fiancé to deal with him, please, while I run Kelly BB on the truck. Under $11 k without anything special. Turns out the car is a 2011.

Finance guy is not listening and wasted my love’s time. STRIKE ONE.

I want to know about the truck. (We figured out later that this was not one of the vehicles brought in for the liquidation sale, so finance guy probably was not keen on selling it.) We go inside and sit down. He goes off and returns with a price of nearly $20,000. Do car salespeople not realize we have technology in our hands now and they can’t BS us? I am irritated. It shows in my voice. If he had looked at my sleeves he’d have seen the beacons. “I understand you have to make some money but no way am I buying that truck until you come close to Kelly’s.”

He keeps talking. “What would it take for you to buy it?”

Borrowed image:

STRIKE TWO. You moron! “I just told you.”

He turns the finance paper over and begins to write, “I will by this—”

STRIKE THREE: By?!? You have been selling cars 9 years and you can’t spell buy?!

“I don’t need you to flip a piece of paper over and write I will buy this truck at such and such a price. We are done here.” He keeps talking. “We are done here.”

My fiancée and I walk out. The manager chases us down. Gets an earful. Convinces us to test drive the truck to lunch. We come back and it takes our new finance guy three and a half hours to “almost” do the deal. (When we walked in we were one of two customer, when we left we were one of four.) I say almost because at 4:10 I get an emergency call from a client and I need to be back at my computer an hour away to fix it.  Twenty minutes later, there is still no paperwork in sight so the dealership lets me take the truck home and the fiancé manager came to me the next day and I finished the paperwork.

I am happy: I have truck and my daughter gets my car to drive for college.

However, as I am leaving, Mr. Moron Finance comes over and asks me how much it would cost to write his life story as a movie script.