A post of little things

by Pari

This is a post of little things because I’m making a very big dinner tonight. I started cooking last weekend and got the six dozen matzo balls out of the way. Yesterday I made the chicken soup and the butternut ratatouille. Oh, and did I mention the dozens of chocolate chip and pine nut meringues or the chocolate macaroons? Or the chopped chicken liver? Or the mock chopped chicken liver (veggie version)?

Today I’m preparing the brisket, the salmon with yogurt dill sauce, the sweet potato salad, the charoseth, etc etc.

Elijah – and my other guests – better be hungry!

Begin little things:

Spam #1: Captcha

Yes, we had to turn it back on. Alas, we had to turn it back on. One piece of spam won’t sink a blog, but close to 100 items a day tries anyone’s patience. So please take the time to type in those little letters in order to comment. We adore hearing from you. Believe me, we wouldn’t have decided to use this gateway process unless it was absolutely necessary to our sanity!

Spam # 2:  Please don’t send me your email newsletters, invites on FB, updates etc unless you know me and I’ve asked to be informed. I may sound like a grump, but it’s the accumulation of those little things that render me so.

Spam #3 Okay, so now I’ve exposed myself for the grump I am, I have a couple of questions. How does a person market ebooks w/o spam? How do you grow your virtual world w/o being utterly obnoxious?
Advice please.

Vote on my cover: This is a first mock-up of my FIRST piece of original fiction to be published only in ebook mode. Yep. I’m taking the plunge on a book that editors said was wonderful but that mystery readers wouldn’t want to read because it features a character who communicate with insects and other animals.

I disagree.

But back to the cover . . .

The difference between the mock-ups below is slight. As a matter of fact, it’s only the type of bee in the hand. But it’s enough to give each one a unique flavor. My question to you is which best implies the slightly mystical relationship between human and insect?

#1 — Light bee cover


#2 — Dark bee cover

End little things:

Back to my Pesach preparations. I’ve got to buy the flowers, clean the house some more, set the tables, count the dishes to see if I need to buy a few more plates and bowls . . .

But I do have one last question for you:

What smallnesses are affecting your world today?

43 thoughts on “A post of little things

  1. Alafair Burke

    I prefer the light bee. The dark bee is on the verge of being fly-like and a little icky, but the light one is really sweet (and still very eye catching).

    Funny you mention little peeves. I'm writing in my living room today b/c that's where the recovering Duffer prefers to be these days, but for some reason my tivo or cable box or something is making this tinny rattle sound. For some reason I can block out the tremendously loud sounds of construction on a new building across the street, but that tivo rattle is driving me bonkers!

  2. Erin Danzer

    Hi Pari!
    Just a quick vote on your cover. I like the light bee cover. I think it shows more of a connection between the bee and person just because of the colors used. The dark bee makes me think of discord between the two.
    Also, your book sounds interesting, the little bit you said about it. Good luck with it!
    And good luck tonight at dinner!

  3. Twist

    Light bee. Butternut ratatouille … sweet potato salad … may I come to dinner? ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Shizuka

    Definitely the light bee cover. The dark bee looks threatening a la "killer bee."
    I imagined the bee stinging and the girl without the use of her hand for a good week.

    My peeve right now: people who talk or keep their cell phones on (not on silent)
    in the library or the movies. I was at the main NY library last Friday and someone kept getting e-mail alerts. I wanted to fling the Oxford Dictionary at his head, but it was too heavy for me to lift.

  5. Tammy Cravit

    I like both covers, so I'm not likely to be of much help there. Looking forward to the e-book when it becomes available! And, have a wonderful Pesach, my friend!

  6. pari noskin taichert

    Wow. I'm impressed with the votes — and the reasons for the choices — so far. Very interesting.

    Alafair, Little noises go under our skin straight to the nerves. I have the same problem — dripping sinks, rattles, clicks in the dark of night.

    Erin, Thanks for the input. I like your comment about the discord. I'm going to think about that. I do hope you'll take a look at the book once I get it out.

    Twist: yes.

    Shizuka, "Killer bee?" Boy, I hadn't thought that, but I can sure see it now that you've mentioned it.
    Re: cell phones — I really agree. There should be some places that are just plain cell-phone free. A library is a prime place for that kind of rule and respect.

    Louise, Thank you.
    I'm sorry to hear about the computer troubles. I don't know what happened with the post; I did everything the way I do it every two weeks. Had it set up yesterday morn.
    Ah, well . . .

  7. pari noskin taichert

    This seems to be unanimous. I'm fascinated.
    As to the plunge . . .it's a big step for me. I have several things I can post if I can make the time to learn to format etc. I've hired a friend to do the book.

    Have a wonderful Pesach too! I just finished making the mock chicken liver and am working on the real thing right now. Have the brisket in and the sweet potato salad in process. Of course, I've been up since 6. <g>
    What do you do for the holiday?

  8. Murderati fan

    As soon as I saw the light bee, my childhood awakened with all the innocence and mystery.

    You, as usual, are a marvel! Judy

  9. David Corbett


    I'd join the chorus of "light bee" voters if the hand in that photo weren't missing a finger.

    (Did I make you look?)

    Small thing in my life at this moment? Well, small by some standards. It's 100 pounds, and slooooooowly emerging from its mother's womb. My girlfriend is here to shoot the birth of a baby walrus here at Six Flags, and we've been on high alert the past 24 hours. Very tricky: just getting Uquq (the mom) pregnant was a major task (more on that some other time), and walruses born in captivity are so rare no one knows exactly what to expect. Good news: the ultrasound confirms the baby is alive and moving. Uncertain news: Will mom take to the little guy, or try to tusk him? And if the latter, will the tusking be rough love, as in elephants, or something less benign?

    I guess we'll find out.

    Have a grand pesach! Sounds to me like your guests will be gorged.

  10. JT Ellison

    Light bee, definitely.

    Handling the last minute issues for taxes, dreading the severe weather coming Tuesday night into Wednesday and collecting items for a trip. The personal to do list is filled with silly things, like cat litter and food.

    Wish we could be there for this feast!

  11. Gayle Carline

    Light bee cover. The dark one looks too big and, for lack of a better word, fake. No offense meant. The littler bee makes the glow around it seem more promising and real. Good luck with the e-book!

    Ah, the little things. They're all the things that keep me from moving forward with the third book. Laundry. Dishes. Cleaning the living room so we can have our Easter egg hunt on Sunday morning (long story, but it's our tradition and I'll probably blog about it). Playing ball with a very bored Corgi who'd rather be at doggy day care. That teeny headache in the front of my sinuses making my brain all foggy.

    Oh, and your menu – now I'm hungry.



  12. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Light bee as well for me.
    Have a wonderful Passover, Pari. I wish I could find a Matzoh Ball soup that didn't have chicken stock. Without having to make one on my own, of course.
    Congratulations on taking your book out on your own. I happen to be a huge fan of detectives-who-talk-to-insect fiction. It's my favorite sub-sub-sub-genre.
    And, David, I'm envious of your day today – what an amazing thing, to see a walrus born.

  13. Tammy Cravit

    Pari, we'll probably do something small at home for Pesach. Our temple's community Seder is $36 a person for a potluck dinner, so we're definitely not going there. My mom used to do the big huge Seders like it sounds like you're doing, but I've never been that energetic.

    Stephen, Matzo ball soup is easy: You just need to buy some matzoh ball soup mix (like the one shown at http://tinyurl.com/3zwj9je, for example) and throw out the packet of chicken stock. Add your favorite veggie stock, however many eggs the mix needs, some chopped up carrots and celery and onion, and you're good to go. Like I said, easy. (Messy, but easy.)

  14. Allison Davis


    Lovely passover feast, perfect to read an insect thriller by.,..yes, the light cover, I'll jump on the bandwagon (what Alafair said). I noticed the spam coming back and wondered why you had turned off the key to get in….

    To market, start with us and have each of us post on our FB accounts. Also, I bought a lot of books from authors I didn't know but got to know on Twitter — good writing communitiy out there (I'm @allisondavis531) and that's easy to do to drive people to your download site. Go on the bee community sites (they are tight and there are a lot of them)…and promote there.

    Don't get me started on the small things today…mondays are notrious for them…since today is TAX day there's also a few big things looming that are annoying as well. Right now, everything that is distracting me from writing (like my day job) is annoying.

    ื—ื’ ืคืกื— ืฉืžื—

  15. pari noskin taichert

    You did make me look. Fie on you!
    A baby walrus. OMG! I'd love to meet your girlfriend some time.

    If you and Randy are ever in this neck of the woods on Pesach, consider yourselves invited! And good luck with all those small things to do. I've got pages of them right now.

    Thanks for the feedback about the bee.
    And my menu is a little thing? Really <g>?

  16. pari noskin taichert

    Stephen, Thank you. BTW: I make veggie matzo balls every year and cook them in veggie broth. They're quite good. And I'm glad to hear about your literary tastes. Might help in a week or two . . .

    Our synagogue charges a similar amount, though it's not potluck. But I started the tradition about 8 years ago and now it's such a joyful and meaningful thing for me to do — my gift to my friends and family — that I keep it up.

    Thank you so much for the good advice on marketing. I'm going to use some of those techniques. It's weird . . . I'm such a good PR/marketing person for others but have a difficult time having the objectivity to do my own work. Sheesh.
    Do you celebrate Pesach? If so, what's your night shaping up to be?

    It's big. Actually I have two pots: one for the homemade chicken soup, one for the veggie broth.
    And Happy Pesach back at you! Are you going to a Seder?

    Thank you for your vote. It seems pretty clear which one people like.

  17. Sandy

    Light bee cover because it's more ethereal, which is very appropriate. The little thing today? The sun stayed for but a short while here in CT this a.m. We haven't seen much of it this spring…

  18. Allison Davis

    Pari, I don't usually being brought up Catholic although I attended many a seder (with g'ma commenting, "couldn't you have brought home someone shorter?") but I am seriously considering "being in your neighborhood" next Pesach with that menu. Fabulous. I'll bring wine.

    Stephen you can get decent organic veggie broth by the case at Costco or call me and I'll walk you through a simple recipe. I make veggie matzo ball soup that is very good (despite my heritage).

  19. pari

    Alex and Brett,
    Great minds!-

    I'm sorry the sun hasn't been out much. We, on the other hand, could really use rain. There are fires burning all over New Mexico — and the spring winds aren't doing much to help the firefighters right now.

    You're welcome to come. Wine is always good too.
    Our Seder is informal since so many of my friends aren't Jewish. What I like about the holiday though it that connection to the past as well as horizontally with so many Jewish families around the world. AND it's an incredible opportunity to examine our own versions of slavery — from the literal to that of the psyche.

  20. Erin

    I like the light bee as well. The dark bee looks likes he has been smushed. I hope you have a great Pesach Pari!

  21. lil Gluckstern

    Light bee in a landslide, and yes, i checked the hand, and I, too, am starving right now. Have a great dinner, and holiday. (When do you rest?)

  22. pari noskin taichert

    I plan to calm down from external activities after Pesach. Then I can focus on work and on the numerous personal issues that will be changing my life in the coming four months. Um . . . rest?

    The brisket is starting to smell soooooo good. I make it with sauteed mushrooms and it's just fabu.

  23. Catherine

    Yeah I vote light bee too. Mainly because the other bee vibes a little bit sluggish and sinister. Not a bee I would want to connect to.

    Minor annoyance is sometimes me. As in my reaction to something minor and not moving away from it. Because, really I do have the choice. I sat in a courtyard the other day, the breeze was lovely and the sun was filtered by some strategically placed trees…the rhythmic sniffing of the person on the next bench over…not so much.Twenty minutes. I sat there reading for twenty freaking minutes letting this minor annoyance tease at the edge of me and probably expended much more energy trying to block it, and or will that person to move than I would of if I'd just moved myself.

    Eventually I started counting the beats.Triple time. I could of waltzed to it. At that point yeah, the absurdity took over and I did go. Little little thing.

  24. KDJames

    Is there a version with no bees? I'm feeling kind of squirmy here. If I have to pick one, I prefer the light harmless-looking and perhaps even happy bee. But I do have to point out that, with the title STUNG, the dark bee looks like it would be more likely to get the job done.

    This week, all the things in my life seem small because I'm holding them up against the knowledge that friends and co-workers are dealing with the aftermath of devastating tornado damage. Things I thought were so significant and weighty last week– just aren't.

    Pari, I hope you are even now having a wonderful and meaningful seder with loved ones who appreciate all your hard work. Cooking is such a labour of love, isn't it? A blessing to be able to share it with others. Enjoy!

  25. Reine

    The magical mystical light bee tour.

    The little thing of my day? The "a" on my aging computer takes 6 or 7 hits to work.

    Happy Pesach.

  26. Anke Wehner

    Two things to keep in mind about ebook covers
    1) What people will see while browsing is the thumbnail. On Amazon, that thumbnail is 115 pixels high.
    2) Most dedicated ereaders are black and white.

    With the light bee, I don't think you can tell that that's what it is at that small size. With the dark one there's a better chance to recognise it as an insect. (If I thought the bee was important to the cover, I'd probably try something to zoom it in more… Maybe having it sit on the fingers rather than in the palm, and cropping a deal off the hand.)

    The red title doesn't seem readable very well at that size, and converted to greyscale it disappears nearly entirely, so as it is now, I'd recommend changing the colour to white, or something else light.

    Your book does sound like an intersting idea – I read mostly fantasy and like authors who mix up their genres, and from the description it sounds like a fantasy mystery. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. pari noskin taichert

    You're so right about how much we cause the little things ourselves. No, you weren't sniffling. But with a slight alteration of attitude you shifted the entire vibe from one of major annoyance to one of absurdity first, then change. I'm going through a major change in my life right now and I can feel myself getting stuck again and again in the tiny things because those annoyances actually provide a little relief from dealing with the big ones. However, I don't want this to become a habit because once the change is done, I don't want to be so damn sour.

    First of all, my prayers for your friends and co-workers. Major events such as what you're talking about put everything else in perspective.

    As to the cover and the book title, I hope there's the right kind of cognitive dissonance for potential readers and that it intrigues them. That's the idea, anyway.

    And you're so right about cooking as a form of love. I thought a lot about that last night. It's so satisfying to nourish the people you care about.

  28. pari noskin taichert

    Thank you for the Pesach wish. It's been beautiful so far. And I'm delighted to be done with the cooking.

    Your little annoyance is a biggie. I've had that happen before and it's incredibly frustrating if you use your keyboard a lot. Would it be worth getting it fixed or updating? I'm thinking of getting a new computer for some of the same reasons. Every day when mine starts slowly and loudly I think, "Is this the day the thing blows up?" Not a great way to start any day.

    Wow. Thank you. Every bit of your comment is great advice. I'll send it forward to the woman who is helping me. It's also going to be useful when I jump in and try to design some of these myself.

    A question: How do you know so much about this? Do you have a bunch of ebooks up? Are you a designer? An avid ebook reader?

    And I do hope you'll check it out once I get it up. You're right that it's a cross between fantasy and mystery.

  29. Anke Wehner

    Glad to be of help. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I've been drawing for a while, and have some interest in photography, from which general composition and colour related things may translate (and there were one or two elective design courses at the university), but mostly I'm an avid reader. I pick up bits here and there, when fans discuss covers, or in blogs written by and/or aimed at self-publishing writers (for example http://www.lindsayburoker.com/ … she had a post on covers a while ago, too), or when Jim C. Hines posted drafts for a cover and got comments from an actual designer. I might like to create covers for myself later, so I try to pay attention to what works well, but I'm not a professional.

  30. pari noskin taichert

    Thanks for the further info, Anke. I actually went to your blog after you commented. Isn't the internet grand?

    Thanks for the vote and the Passover wish. I've been eating too many of my pine nut/chocolate chip meringues today. But other than that, it's shaping up to be a good week of Pesach observance.

    Squished? Oooooo,yuck. Thanks for the feedback.

  31. Catherine

    Pari I was rather grateful that you posted about little things as I was having a week where big things seemed to dominate, everything. The biggest was that my uncle died last week, and while his death was at the end of a lengthy illness and now he isn't in pain… he'll be missed. He is the first of my Dad's 7 siblings to pass. I can't remember if I posted here before or after his funeral….it was a big day. However I remember feeling relieved to think back to something small…and to something that I could change.

    Absurdity really does help nullify sourness. Even in the midst of the funeral there was a moment where everyone was butchering a hymn and the organist stopped before the last two verses and everyone sort of exhaled in relief…and then the priest went ' There's two more verses…' and so we all went back to butchering…and I thought how my uncle would of found this little moment of the absurd priceless.

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