Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Just a Couple of Funny Christmas Songs to Share Today

by M. J. Joachim

This one's a classic that still keeps me giggling every year!

And now to get those 12 Days of Christmas straight...

Merry Christmas!

M. J.

Photo credit: Xavier Romero Frias, 12 Days of Christmas, CCA-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License; Santa Claus, Jonathan G. Meath, CCA-Share Alike 2.5 Generic License

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Poetry: Sam Spade, My Black Cat

by M. J. Joachim

This poem is a true story about a cat I owned as a teenager, long before I learned I was extremely allergic to cats. I wrote it quite a while ago. It still tenses my heart as I think about Sam Spade, my black cat who I loved so dearly.

He was just a playful kitten
As happy as could be
He was black and shunned
By his mama and the other three

I saw him in that litter
Knowing he'd become the runt
A tiny little scrawny thing
Tan siblings gave the brunt

I picked him up and held him close
This teenager was I
I knew he'd have a lot to give
If only he would try

His tears, they fell on deafened ears
As babies all were bought
I held this baby in my arms
True love is what he sought

I took him home for nothing
No charge was asked of me
This little blackened kitten
Was given away for free

He wasn't worth a price to pay
For those who knew their stuff
He was just a worthless give away
His own mama was even rough

I took him home and cared for him
He loved me like no other
He met me at the bus stop
Where he hissed at my brother

He walked home on my shoulder
Daring all who looked my way
This big black cat now
Scared everyone each day

In the end he had been murdered
Halloween the night they chose
Black cats deserved true torture
For causing so many woes

I found him buried deep
Within a box in my garage
Poison was the culprit
With not a soul to charge

He was black and singled out
From the day he started life
Opinions formed about him
That always caused him strife

But I knew he was more than words
I took the time to know
The heart inside this cast out cat
I let his feelings grow

He offered love, protection too
He was a perfect friend
Murdered for his differences
That he could not defend

I dug up a few old pictures from 1982 to share with you today. I took pictures of them with my phone. Technology sure has changed! None-the-less, this is Sam Spade back in the day, and he was quite a wonderful cat to have too!

Best of the day to you all! Thanks so much for visiting, commenting on and sharing my post today.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: M. J. Joachim, ©2014 All Rights Reserved, Sam Spade

Monday, December 15, 2014

Rockhopper Penguins

by M. J. Joachim

Rockhopper penguins are small, feisty little birds, weighing approximately six pounds and growing less than two feet tall. They have large tufts of feathers positioned between their eyes, on top of their heads that look like a big, bushy eyebrows. Their tiny red eyes are highlighted by a thin yellow stripe of feathers situated above them, on either side of their head. 

Rockhopper penguins got their name because of the way they hop around on land. Using both feet, they jump up and down from the base of their rocky habitats, all the way up a mountainous series of rocky steps, to the tops of steep cliffs overlooking the ocean in the southern hemisphere. During this process, they bend their heads down to measure each step with their orangey-red beaks, creating a swift motion where their heads bend down and swoop up, as they strategically hop up each step to reach the colony grounds. 

Rockhopper penguins have migrated to the same rock cliff nesting areas for centuries. During their life cycle, they usually mate monogamously, living half of their days on land and the other half in the sea. Mating and nesting takes place on land from October through March, while migration and swimming occurs in the ocean from March through October. 

Rockhopper penguins carefully prepare their nests with great care, weaving grass, twigs and other materials to build a suitable environment for their eggs. Nests are built in the rocky crevices of cliffs within their colony. Females lay two eggs; one is usually eaten by predators, leaving the other an optimal chance of hatching. Males and females both care for their young. While the father or mother watches the baby, the other gathers fish from the ocean to feed their chick. Parents regurgitate food into their chick’s mouth during feeding times.

Chicks stay in their land colonies for approximately one year. They incubate, hatch, become fledglings, molt and finally make their way to the sea, where they will eventually mate and return to the rocky cliffs, nesting in their turn. During this time, parent rockhoppers train their chicks, often testing their abilities to hop before allowing them to feed. When baby rockhopper penguins molt, new feathers push out the downy baby feathers, and replace them with adult feathers. This prevents the birds from getting cold during the process of losing their first feathers.

The oceanic cycle for rockhopper penguins begins at the end of molting season. Colonies make their way to the sea, hopping down the steep cliffs of their land colonies. In the ocean, they use their wings like flippers, diving in and out of waves, bobbing up and down in short hopping motions, as they journey to their feeding grounds. Their diet consists mainly of lantern fish, small crustaceans – primarily krill and squid.

Rockhopper penguins are very noisy birds. Like other penguins, they cannot fly. Consequently, one of the ways they protect themselves and their young is by aggressively chattering at predators and other penguins. Their strutting, pecking and fast-paced jumping, as well as other quick and jerky body movements quickly communicate an attitude of warning or welcoming those who come near them, as the need arises.

Thanks so much for visiting, commenting on and sharing my post today. Penguins are pretty cool little animals, which is why it’s so much fun learning more about them.

Until next time, I wish you every good thing,

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Rockhopper Penguins on Westport and Saunders Island in the Falkland Islands, Liam Quinn, CCA-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Facebook Addiction

by M. J. Joachim
I hope this one gives you a smile!

It starts out innocently enough. You sign up to get a Facebook account so you can keep in touch with distant relatives and a few friends. One chat turns to two, and then three. All too soon you learn how to turn off the chat so you can play a few games without being interrupted. You're hooked. There's no escaping it as you meet and greet new people building farms and fighting the Mafia. Then the hearts, smiles and hugs get passed around, and before you know what happened, you can't wake up in the morning without checking your email before getting your first cup of coffee. It's contagious, and you've caught the fever.

Facebook addiction should have you running for your life, but only after seeing what everyone else is up to for the day, and letting them know you won't be on for at least a week. Yea, right! Who are you kidding? You're as addicted to Facebook as everyone else. You just have one more status report to write, one more game to play, and one more link to post. Then you can take a real break from Facebook, and stare at the coffee pot, shaking from withdrawal, wondering how you're going to work at your computer and beat all those temptations that are interfering with your job anyway.

It's even worse when you need to do some research on the internet. There it is at the top of your screen, that little box that's only a click away. Quick! Switch gears and check your email before it's too late! Gotcha! Your inbox is filled with Facebook messages, replies to posts you've made or commented on, friends accepting your invitation from a few weeks or months ago, and friend requests from people who should definitely be on your inside circle for better networking capabilities. What are you going to do now?

Good move, as you calmly get up to stretch your legs and use the bathroom. It's probably time for a little snack too. Hey, that's a great idea! Why don't you call your mom who you haven't seen in a few weeks because of your all too busy schedule, and drive thirty miles across town to have lunch with her? You can catch up on all the latest family news without ever signing into Facebook and enjoy a relaxing drive too.

As you greet your mom for the first time in weeks, she tells you she has a surprise for you. She brings you back to your old room that she's converted into an office and says, "I followed your advice and stayed anonymous. But I need you to help me figure out how to add you as a friend on my new Facebook account, and since you're already here, now is as good a time as any. Don't you think?"

Happy Thursday Everyone! Thanks for visiting, commenting and sharing my post today!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: ProducerMatthew, CCA-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


by M. J. Joachim

Trying to get caught up isn’t working. I just need to keep plugging away and hope I don’t electrocute myself in the process.

Here’s hoping you’re not in the same boat!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo Credit: Public Domain, PD-US

Friday, December 5, 2014

Gluten Free Crustless Cheese Quiche

by M. J. Joachim

Is it me, or do these large eggs look really small?

I figured 9 eggs would be enough to make my crustless quiche. I put them in my storage container and added a little whipping cream - just a couple of tablespoons + a little salt and pepper. Then I sealed the lid and shook the heck out of them until they were scrambled.

I’m careful to crack each egg in a cup and add them to my storage container one at a time. This makes it easier to remove any small shell fragments, should they get in with the egg.

Then I used some non-stick GMO free cooking spray for the bottom of my baking dish and poured the mixture in…

Definitely NOT 9 large eggs with whipping cream! I can remember when 6 - 8 would fill the dish.

In goes the cheese - I used brie and cheddar. I also added a couple dollops of a green onion cheeseball I had on hand.

Top with some meat - I used thinly sliced black pepper turkey lunchmeat. 

Not even halfway up the baking dish - I mixed up 3 more eggs with a dash of whipping cream and poured it on top.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 - 40 minutes, until firm and a knife comes out clean.

This is my own original recipe, something I came up with because I had a few ingredients I needed to use up before they expired or went bad. You can probably use whatever kind of cheese and meat you want. I won’t guarantee how it will turn out. I’ll simply tell you my Gluten Free Crustless Cheese Quiche turned out divine.

And get this, I figured out how to make a video slideshow for this recipe this afternoon too! I even added some music to the background, so don't forget to turn up your speakers.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: M. J. Joachim, ©2014 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Awareness is Key when Helping Those in Need

by M. J. Joachim

I think what irritated me most this past week was searching for free books on world hunger and malnutrition. There are plenty of books alright. However, finding them for free wasn’t exactly in the cards. I get that publishers and authors want to make a profit. I’m just not sure doing it on the backs of starving people is the way to go.

There are plenty of causes, charities and philanthropic opportunities to do whatever it is we need and want to do, so that we can help those in need and relieve the negative plight of those less fortunate than us. There are also lots of scammers willing to portray themselves as such, tugging at our emotions and profiting from our willingness and desire to help those in need.

The Bible says, “Don’t let the left hand know what the right hand is doing,” or something close to that. When you give, do it in secret, not to win awards, toot your horn or make yourself famous. Taking care of those without basic essentials is our responsibility and privilege. It is their right to be taken care of, and we owe it to the human race to do our part in taking care of them.

Not everyone is trying to take advantage of others. I couldn’t be cynical enough to believe that if I tried. I am intelligent enough however, to recognize that some people and organizations make far more profit from their efforts than the people they claim to help and serve. All I ask is that we all perform our due diligence, light the lamp as it were and know our efforts are truly fulfilling our intentions.

People are hungry. You don’t need to buy a $30 book to read about it. There are other, free resources available to give you the information you need. There is an abundance of food banks waiting for your non-perishable contribution. There are people in the streets, begging for a meal or some loose change.

A word of caution about that last one. Not all beggars in the streets are starving. Some make a very nice non-taxable living and are part of organized groups. They play the part, putting a nasty blemish on those truly in need. I’ve seen some of these people changing shifts in Tucson, Arizona. It’s scandalous and wrong, turning many off from donating to those truly in need. That’s why it’s so important to do your research. We all can and should help. We simply need to be sure we’re actually helping those in need, instead of contributing to scam artists making a profit off the misfortune of others.

Thank you for visiting, commenting on and sharing FlashTyme today. This post is part of the 2nd Annual Holiday Food Drive, taking place today through Saturday, everywhere online. You’re invited and encouraged to join us. Together, we can make a difference!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Old Beggar, 1916, Louis Dewis, PD-US

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Blooming Orchid

by M. J. Joachim

It is a gift from my kids - either Mother’s Day or my birthday this past year, I forget which. The bloom was positively gorgeous, until it withered and died.

For months I stared at that long stem, noting that the leaves were still very green and healthy, so I knew I hadn’t killed the poor darling. I kept watering it, hoping it would bud and bloom again. Much to my dismay, nothing - just a long stem with tiny brown spots where buds and flowers used to be.

There simply had to be a way…so I youtubed it and watched quite a few videos on how to grow orchids. I also read articles from reputable gardening sites. Each said to snip it at the first nodule. I was fearful, but one day I decided it might be worth it to just go ahead and cut the darn thing.

With my scissors at the ready, I rewatched a couple of youtube videos, making sure to do exactly what they said and demonstrated. That was several weeks (possibly 2+ months ago).

Today I’m sharing the new bud that has finally appeared and promises to grow more orchid blooms. Isn’t it lovely?

Happy Wednesday to you!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: M. J. Joachim ©2014 All Rights Reserved

Monday, December 1, 2014

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park - Payson, Arizona

by M. J. Joachim

The rocks are shiny, slippery and beautiful. The trail well traveled by people from all around the globe. A geological masterpiece, believed to be “the largest natural travertine bridge in the world.”

All I know is the hike is grueling, but well worth the effort and pain that follows. 
From the Phoenix area, it takes approximately two hours to reach Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, located a few miles north of Payson in Eastern Arizona.

There are a few trails to choose from, each leading to a scenic view for those who don’t want to hike down into the canyon and under the bridge. There are also grates in some of the bridge trails, so you can see through to the bottom of the canyon.

It’s slick and a little intimidating at parts, but I wouldn’t miss this adventure for anything. Zigzagging across the river and rocks, doing what I like to call low impact rock climbing - we’re not scaling tall rock cliffs, but we do move up and down from one rock and boulder to the other, to make our way through the canyon and out the other side after following the trail to the bottom. Once you’re on the other side of the bridge, it’s time to hike back up to the top.There’s no way out, but up.

Bring water bottles in a backpack if you go. Leave the pets at home if you want to hike under the bridge. Costs is $5 p/person to get in. There’s plenty of parking. Park hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m Memorial Day through Labor Day. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the year. The park is closed on Christmas. Call 928-476-4202 for more information.
I hope I’ve tempted you to go. This place is amazingly awesome!

Thanks for visiting FlashTyme.

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: M. J. Joachim ©2014 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Luna's Desktop Photo Shoot

by M. J. Joachim
©2014 All Rights Reserved

I definitely think she wants my attention, don't you?

Well lookee there! She's taking my picture!

Oh no! Could I get in trouble for this?

I'll just look at her like I'm sad.

I'm just bashful, that's all!

Shadow Lives for Food!

by M. J. Joachim

I don’t know if all beagles are like this, but Shadow lives for food! It’s not about an internal clock at feeding time. It’s about making sure he gets his share whenever food is anywhere in the vicinity.

Shadow was a rescue dog. My daughter found him at the pound and saved him from being put down a few years back. His story is one of survival. It is guessed that he wandered the streets for a year or more, before being picked up and kenneled. His chip no longer valid, no way to track down his previous owners, Shadow was facing a very drastic end.

I often wonder what it must have been like when Shadow walked those streets alone. He still reacts to sirens in a most peculiar way. Almost sympathetic, sometimes they make him let out a lone, solitary howl, as if to say he hopes no one is hurt. Other times he cowers, bothered by their high pitch.

Feeding time is always full of energy, as Shadow start dancing and prancing, going in and out of the kitchen, coming back to me as if to say, “What’s a minute early going to hurt? Please, feed me. I might not get another meal!”

He knows he will though, especially in this house, and treats too! Still, he paces until he gets fed. Never satisfied, Shadow watches Luna closely as she stares at her food, prissy eater that she is. She plays the game, tormenting him after he’s gobbled up all his kibble in record time. She eats a few bites, goes to get a drink of water, races outside to chase a cat, Shadow quickly following her lead. He saunters back in, looking at her bowl still half full of food, waiting, always waiting.

We look at Shadow and say, “Don’t you dare!” He slowly backs up and pouts, never wanting to displease us, but sometimes letting his drive for food get the best of him. Luna has gone hungry once or twice this way. She’s learning to eat at feeding time or face the consequences of us picking up her bowl or Shadow eating what’s inside it instead. Their interaction and communication during feeding time is quite the sight to see.

I’ve worked hard to get Shadow to calm down at feeding time. I tell him, “Sit like a gentleman.” He sits so I can put his bowl on the floor. Sometimes all I have to do is look at him to get him to sit. We’ve come a long way from him jumping up and knocking the bowl from my hands, scrambling to get each and every kibble piece, shyly looking up at me to see if I am mad.

It’s kind of hard to get mad at an animal who survived a year on the streets and lived from one meal to the next, so we worked things out the best we could, because Shadow lives for food!

Thanks for visiting, commenting and sharing today. I always appreciate it when you stop by!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: M. J. Joachim ©2014 All Rights Reserved

Luna Gets Ready to Pounce!

by M. J. Joachim

You can’t see it, but my desk and chair are directly in front of her. It’s nearly 8 o’clock at night, I’ve been working on my computer all day, and Luna wants some attention in the worst way.

Luna is the dog that thinks she’s a cat! 

She arches her back beneath my feet under the desk, puts up her front paws and does those super long stretches, kneading my legs with her nails. She chases anything that moves, often tossing toys in the air and catching them. She jumps on high surfaces and sprawls out, looking at the rest of us like we are fools. 

Yes, she thinks she’s a cat and right at this moment she wants my attention in the worst possible way. Luna, tail wagging her little butt as fast as it can go, front paws batting at me as if I’m one of her toys, Luna is getting ready to pounce!

…and I am getting ready to catch her with open and loving arms!
M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: M. J. Joachim, ©2014 All Rights Reserved

Let the Season Begin!

by M. J. Joachim

I don’t know what it is about the holidays, but every year around mid November, I start to feel the slow and steady nudge of the season. It begins with a quiet thought, as extreme heat from summer drastically fades. The first signs of it are simple enough. The windows get opened during the day. We are able to leave the door open while we sleep at night. A thin blanket dawns on my side of the bed, assuring my husband colder days are close at hand, and I scramble to find that light-weight sweater to wear with my jeans. Today I’m pulling out the comforter - even my husband feels the chill in the air now.

Not one to shop, mid November calls to me to pick up new jerky spices and get some thin sliced meat. Tradition mandates that I make it every year - all season long. This year my daughter wanted to try her own spicy marinade, so we worked side-by-side in the kitchen, trimming the little bit of excess fat off the meat, pasting our herbs, spices and rubs all over it and putting it in the fridge to cure. I like to say we cure it, but we all know it’s marinading for a while until I find time to put it in the oven to dry, which takes several hours.

Once that first batch of jerky starts getting made, I’m all about Thanksgiving. Busy as I can be cleaning, shopping and moving things around; everyone else pretty much stays out of my way unless they expect to be recruited to help. And when I say recruited to help, they know it might just be a Mombo sized project or chore, so they tap me on the shoulder once in a while, smile and nod knowing I’m doing my thing, announcing the holidays with my usual charismatic flair. I live for these moments when Mom can do no wrong, because even if things aren’t perfect, Mom did them, so they’re the best! Things rarely are perfect, you know, so it’s just as well my family is flexible and loving about it. Let the season begin! The first batch of jerky is in the oven and Thanksgiving is only a week away!

Here’s hoping all your reflections of the season are as nice as mine!

Best to all,

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: 1st batch of jerky 2014, M. J. Joachim, ©2014 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What's in a Name?

by M. J. Joachim

Time to make some kick-ass jerky this year!

I picked up all the ingredients yesterday.
Found this when I was shopping
And can't wait to try it out!

Thanks so much for visiting and sharing!
Don't forget to click on the above link
So you can make some jerky too!

Best to all,

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved

Monday, November 17, 2014

Duct Tape to the Rescue!

by M. J. Joachim

Mental Note: Do not stretch the vacuum hose farther than it should go!

Temporary Permanent Fix: Duct Tape! 

Works every time!

So glad you stopped in for a visit! Hope to see you all again soon :)

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: M. J. Joachim ©2014 All Rights Reserved

Friday, November 14, 2014

Tina Turner Bed Head

by M. J. Joachim

When I woke up this morning and saw my bed head in the mirror, the first thought that crossed my mind was “Tina Turner,” except my hair was so much worse.

Yea, I almost went back to bed to start again! Instead I decided to blog about it…

Here’s to the weekend!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Helge Overas, Tina Turner, GNU Free Documentation License

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Daylight Savings Arizona

Quite a few of us Arizonans think this video is way too funny!

Best of the day to all,

M. J.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Shadow & Luna Stake Out New Territory

by M. J. Joachim

Shadow and Luna know they aren’t allowed on this couch. They have claimed me, however, and it happens to be right next to my desk. Dogs are funny that way. 

Yesterday, I was typing away, doing my best to focus and get the words out before they vanished and evaporated into thin air. Luna would have none of it. She stood on the arm of the couch pawing at me like she does, trying everything she could to get my attention. I blindly patted her paw away and told her, “In a minute, Luna. In a minute.” 

Next thing I knew, she jumped on my lap and pawed at the keyboard. Startled, I laughed as I looked at her little face. That was all it took. She started kissing me all over, then promptly jumped down, picked up a toy and threw it at me with her mouth. 

Needless to say, I took a break from my typing and enjoyed the moment at hand.

Life happens, and then we blog about it.

Do your pets make you smile as much as mine do me?

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Shadow and Luna, M. J. Joachim, ©2014 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Yam Yield

by M. J. Joachim

It simply amazes me! I cooked up one nice, decent sized yam and this is what I got! A pot full of deliciously mashed yams, enough for a family meal side dish, or for a few meals and snacks just for me!

I mashed mine with a little garlic salt and low-fat milk. You simply can’t go wrong when you eat your yams!

Thanks so much for visiting, commenting on and sharing FlashTyme today! Oh, and uh, don’t forget to eat your yams!

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credits: USDA Public Domain; Mashed yams, M. J. Joachim, ©2014 All Rights Reserved

Monday, November 10, 2014

Ordinarily Extraordinary, Revealing Oneself

by M. J. Joachim

I think it’s the differences that make the difference. Ordinary is to just so-so as extraordinary is to new, thrilling and exciting.

There are times to be ordinary. There are times to be extraordinary. Then again, there are times to be neither, attempting to be a fly on the wall.

The reality is that we’re all in this together, which is not to imply that none of us count or all of us count just the same. No, there are some of us who were born to succeed more than others. (Define your definition of success.) There are some of us meant to be supporters in a world of grand proportions. At times, I think we’re all of the above. 

It’s not about letting go of or forgetting anything that’s ever hurt us. It’s about learning the lessons readily available from every ounce of pain we carry, as we live out our days unable to wash the slate clean, because sometimes, those blades cut too deeply - we bleed too profusely. It’s real when life cuts you to the quick like that. 

Who stands tall at the end of the day is not necessarily the one holding the knife either.

Unless of course bitterness and grudges reveal less than stellar dispositions, after being cut in the first place.

Oh, the things that give us things to think about…

Happy Monday Dear Blog Friends,

M. J.

©2014 All Rights Reserved Photo credit: Diego Deslo, poco a poco, Wikimedia Commons, License CC-BY-SA 3.0, Picture of the Day