An Elf’s Day Off (a work in progress)

Coming along well! Keep writing.

M.L. Millard Books and Writing


Chapter One

When you think of elves in the North Pole,  you probably think of toymaking. The truth is that elves do many jobs in the North Pole, and Gildy worked at the post office.
Sorting mail is really a one-elf job, but elves are social creatures, and Gildy sometimes wished she had someone to talk to while she worked. The reindeer dropped by once in a while, but her hours were mostly solitary, prereading letters from children and tossing anything addressed to “occupant” and anything that smacked of adults trying to pass themselves off as children. An addition to the house indeed!
“Santa will get right on that,” Gildy grumped as she tossed the request in the trash.
She put requests for soccer balls, phones, ukuleles, and dollhouses in a red velvet bag and lugged the bag to the sled outside. As it was…

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Shelter in Place Standup

Here’s another humor piece from Marie.
Hey, at least she’s writing about her mullet.
I ‘m still pushing buttons on my washing machine.


Do you like my mullet? I have a secret about my mullet. I started cutting my hair myself seven months before the shelter in place. Everyone’s posting pictures of their terrible quarantine haircuts and I’m posting mine like “OMG you guys isn’t it horrible how we can’t go to the salon?” I fit in for once. But no, what really happened was that last August my hairdresser moved away at the same time I happened to lose some income and I decided that no sane hairdresser would give me the mullet I’d wanted for a while and so I decided to do it myself. I’d had a really nice pixie cut. And it was just getting to mullet status when the salons all had to close. My friends on social media all knew about my mullet. I was proud of it. I posted pics asking whether it was long enough…

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Shelter in Place Week 9: Worry, Debates, and Tai Chi Muscle

Rae Rae’s week 9 post:

M.L. Millard Books and Writing

I have remembered what it felt like when I was a teen lying on my stomach. The other day it felt like there was something under my quads—a wadded up blanket or something. But no, it’s muscle.
Nine weeks ago I decided to do tai chi poses every day instead of once or twice a week. I also walk about half an hour a night, but it’s the tai chi stances building quad muscle. Welcome back, quads! I’ve missed you lo these twenty years.
One thing that’s remained consistent over the years is my hypochondria. Only it has shifted to parental worry. My teen, who has only left the house once or twice for things like drive-by parties with her dad and therefore has very little chance of having the Covid, has been sneezing with mild tummy discomfort the last few days. Yes she’s been eating sketch takeout and always…

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So You Married an External Processor

Ah! So true for so many. Here’s another insightful blog from my friend, M.L. Millard.

M.L. Millard Books and Writing

I am not a psychologist. I’m merely an internal processor married to an external processor. But I think I might have some insight that can help you with your marriage if you’re a different kind of processor than your spouse.

It took me nearly twenty years to see how my husband’s being an external processor affected our marriage. First of all, I didn’t hear the terms internal processor/external processor until a few years into our marriage, and then I didn’t really think about which one I was and which one my husband was for years after that.

When I finally labelled my husband as an external processor, I realized that I had wasted much time trying to please him in ways that he didn’t really want to be pleased. Example: Once, my husband said that we should have dinner every night at 5:30. Together. At the dinner table. As an…

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Shelter in Place, Week 3

I say we use the Vulcan sign instead of handshakes.
Am also going to reblog your post to my blog page. My Covid-19 SIP confinement has left me feeling happy with a lot of laziness, including writing for my blog.

M.L. Millard Books and Writing

Depression. I have struggled with it for a long time, and I’m kind of surprised it’s not worse than it is now. I have done what I can. Daily walks, zoom chats, and practicing my instrument as if the world is going to resume business as usual someday and I can gig again.

Some people really miss hugs. That’s not what I miss. I miss chats that aren’t being recorded. I miss going to my mom’s house or my sister’s house or a long walk with a friend and saying what I really think without fear of those words getting to the wrong person. We’re all a little more careful on Zoom. Well, not all. Last week I was talking to someone and they said something about a leader of a country that made me nervous. I almost wanted to add “May he live forever,” just to be safe.


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On The Trails Again

Our group, the Redwood Empire Trail Riders, likes to hit the trails together, or on our own. Here are photos from some of our rides.

Near the coast.

One of our favorite annual rides is to climb Pine Mtn up to the Bob Dog Winery. Oh yeah, Tim and Candy treat us well there every year. It’s not unusual for us to buy some of their premium wines each ride up the hill. Their wines make much appreciated gifts.

Near Bodega Bay, Northern California

This week the weather is perfect for riding, despite the cold, cold wind. Will see what photos we can share with you soon. Now saddle up. Happy trails!

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Anything Goes Frittata

I first tasted frittata on a trail ride with the Redwood Empire Trail riders. My friend, Mary Ottoboni, made a simple frittata that was especially inspiring to me before we hit the trail that morning. Yum!

I’ve been experimenting with making frittatas ever since I enjoyed Mary’s breakfast special. Here’s my home spun recipe:

Anything Goes Frittata:
This works well because you may use whatever happens to be in your fridge along with the eggs and milk.

I use a slightly smaller than 8 by 11 baking dish, with light coat of cooking spray or touch of butter. Makes about 8 servings.

Start with the baking dish loaded with fresh spinach—I fill it right up to the top before adding the eggs, etc. (See photo. I have used other veggies on occasion, but spinach is my favorite for frittata. Suit yourself with how many veggies to use.)

Sprinkle Cooked Sausage or Bacon over the spinach. If you prefer, skip adding any meat.

About 5 or 6 slices of bacon, broken up works for me. (Variations: I have used two chopped chicken sausages  or about one C. of diced ham. On occasion, I have also added chopped salami and a small taste of marinara sauce.)

In a bowl mix the following:

10 eggs, break the yokes then stir with the following:
1 to 2 C milk or Half and Half.

Add about 3 tablespoons of Artichoke-Jalapeno dip (from Costco. If you dare!) You may also choose to add dabs of cream cheese or skip either of these.
Sometimes I add around 2 Tbs. of sour cream

Seasoning to taste: Salt, pepper, minced onion, slight splash of garlic.

Pour egg mixture over the spinach & meat. (Also good without breakfast meats.)

Sprinkle on about one C shredded cheese. (Your choice.)

Bake at 350 degrees. My oven is slow, so it takes about 45 min. If you’re using fewer vegetables, eggs or milk, adjust the time. Some online recipes suggest 35 min.

Let the frittata cool about 10 min on a rack before cutting. This easily reheats the next day. Enjoy!

This variation was baked in a pie pan
and included bits of ham.

Thank you, Mary Ottoboni for the inspiration!

Robin Moore

P.S.  A pie pan or cast-iron skillet works just as well too. Just use fewer eggs, etc.

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Tech vs. Horse Play

Arrrgh! It’s necessary for tech updates around here. But I’d much rather be out playing with the horses and dog.

The horses look quite fit on their winter pasture near the coast. Here’s Gracie and her buddy Mustang Argo out on about 250 acres with no added feed or supplements. Barb and Clara took me out to their ranch a week ago to check out and love on the horses. (Yes, Clara is expecting soon.)
Ahh, there’s nothing like hoofing it around the hills to keep in shape.

Keeping in shape with tech changes around here isn’t so simple though. First, Kevin’s six year old cell phone burst out of its back cover. Yeah, it did. My phone was just plain dying without a constant battery charge, so two new phones came home with us last week. Oh! Then there’s the woes of updating the computers around here at the same time.

Double arrgh! Now where’s that horse? Where’s the dog? I’d much rather go play with them.

Eventually I will grasp using our new technology. It started out with updating from Windows 7 to Windows 10. That worked fine on my new laptop three years ago when it was necessary to install 10. However, the laptop was mainly for my reading pleasure (?) while watching the news, playing here on WordPress, and checking out social media, etc. It was not planned for forays into serious writing. So my skills in learning the Windows 10 software are sorely lacking. Adding to the new tech woes, it became necessary to replace both of our desktop computers. (Mine had been around since 2007.) The slippery slope of tech replacement became worse.

If you look closely way out in the middle of this side hill you’ll see Gracie and Argo looking barely bigger than a couple of ducks. You might say they have plenty of room in those hills.

I suppose it’s not such a rough hill to climb in technology if one has a tech handy 14 year old in the house. Sigh. We don’t. But we’ll get through these changes.
In the mean time, I can still pretend I’m out with the horses and the dog.

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Trail Ride Fun

Mickey, a Kiger Mustang, checks out his selfie image with Aaron. An all around good sport, Mickey is sensible boy on our trail rides. He’s settled in well from his prior wild horse status in the Oregon hills.

Here’s Greg and his former racing mule, Gee. At the track Gee was a record smashing race mule, running for several years, but he’s finally settled in to the idea of not racing on the trails. However, he still wants to be out front. He does make a good look out scout too.


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Broccoli Cheese Soup, Mmm, Mmm

20191227_171236Robin’s Broccoli Cheese Soup:
Here are my preferences. Maybe you make it another way? 
The photo above also shows added chopped ham.


Over boiling water:

Melt 3TBS butter (not margarine) in top of double boiler

Add ¼ C. flour + salt & pepper to taste, stir with the butter until smooth

Gradually add 2 C. chicken broth, stirring occasionally,

As sauce starts to thicken stir in 1 C. milk, keep stirring

Add 1 C. cream or half & half, stirring


I prefer using block cheese, rather than pre-shredded.

Shred Cheddar and Jack cheese in food processor

Need 2 C. shredded cheddar

& 2 C. Jack cheese

Gradually add cheese, no more than 1C. at a time, stir frequently while the cheese melts

Add ¼ C. Parmesan cheese


While stirring the sauce and adding the cheese, cook 2 lbs.  fresh Broccoli florets. I microwave them. (About 5 min.)  Cook al dente—don’t over cook.

Place Broccoli in food processor with blade. Pulse until chopped. I like to leave a few larger chunks of broccoli.


After sauce is thickened and broccoli has been chopped:

Turn off the heat.

Drain water from bottom of double boiler and use that pan for mixing up the soup.

Add chopped broccoli to the kettle, pour in and stir in the cheese sauce.

May be served immediately, or cool and then refrigerate, covered.


Makes about 2 quarts, or five 2 C. servings. (I prefer generous sized servings of soup.) Takes about ½ hour to 40 min. to prep and prepare.


Variations: Substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth. I’ve even substituted one C. of beef broth in place of one C. of chicken broth.  Reduce the amount of milk or cream if desired. Vary the types of cheeses. Add leftover diced ham (about one & one half cups.)







My favorite ingredients for this soup:

Bag of fresh Broccoli from Costco

Sharp Cheddar

Jack Cheese

Parmesan Cheese

Chicken broth (could use a veggie broth instead)


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