Here are some cocktail recipes my co-workers helped me taste test, here at the house, on a recent Saturday night, playing Cards Against Humanity.

We’re good people. Really we are.

I didn’t set out for the party to have a cocktails-with-a-literary-twist Tequila Mockingbird theme, but it did. I think that’s because we writers enjoy a good drink.

We’ve done this before, except mixing up old-fashioneds because that’s what Don Draper did.

We tried out recipes I found in the newspaper. I clipped a page from the Denton Record-Chronicle years ago and kept it because it had recipes for saffron cocktail onions and preserved cherries and tiki drinks that needed falernum.

It’s hard to find falernum. Charles Dickens described it in his literary magazine, All the Year Round, as “a curious liqueur composed from rum and lime-juice.”

I made some and we used it to mix up Losers, which was barkeep Todd Thrasher’s take on the rum swizzle.

A glass of The Loser

A glass of The Loser being served during the Adult Beverage Hour of the Writer’s Clock.

And we downed a pitcher of some of the best sangria I’ve ever had, my-and-my-daughter’s take on a recipe in The Guardian.


10 limes (organic, you’re going to use the peel)

10 whole cloves

5 whole unsalted almonds

1 tsp. sugar

1 liter white rum

Peel the limes, taking care to cut away any of the white pith. Combine the peels with the cloves, almond, sugar and rum in a large glass container. Store, loosely covered, in a sunny place for three days, strain and discard the solids. Pour the liquid into a jar or bottle and cover. Store at room temperature.

(You can juice the limes and save it for another use … such as mixing up Losers.)


The Loser

1/2 ounce falernum

1 ounce dark rum

1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

3 ounces pineapple juice

Ice, pineapple slice (optional)

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add falernum, rum and juices. Pour into cocktail shaker and back into the glass (because, like Bond’s martinis, this cocktail is better shaken, not stirred). Garnish with a slice of pineapple, if desired.



1 orange (organic)

1 bottle red wine

1 bottle pink m0scato

1/4 cup brandy

1/4 cup madeira

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

About 1/2 cup orange juice

Slice the orange thinly and muddle in the bottom of a large ceramic pitcher. Open the wines and pour in the pitcher with the brandy and madeira. Chill for a day. About an hour before serving, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool slightly and then pour into a large pyrex glass measuring cup (at least two-cup size). Add enough orange juice to reach 2 cups and then combine with wines in the pitcher. Add several cups of ice before serving.


More fun with Arduino

by Peggy on August 26, 2015

I asked Sam if these little Arduino computer-building projects he does once a month at North Branch Library was just building, or coding, too.

He says he has to edit code to get the devices to do what he wants them to do.

Here are two more short videos of the results of the build. A timepiece and a pinwheel (but you tell me if it doesn’t make you think of a jumping bean.)



What we do for air conditioning

August 23, 2015

I doubt my late husband could have convinced me to move from California back to Texas without the miracle of air conditioning. I still marvel at how I lasted the first months of my freshman year at North Texas State University, moving from central Wisconsin into an un-air conditioned room on the fourth floor of Bruce Hall. […]

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How long can this go on? (Or, where’s my hockey stick?)

August 15, 2015

 Yesterday, fellow Mayborn winner Dan Burns asked a provocative question on his Facebook page: FIVE COMFORTING AUTISM LIES – A SUMMARY 1. There is no autism epidemic. 2. Autism is genetic and has always been with us. 3. Autism is nothing to worry about. It is just another way of being. 4. The belief that vaccines […]

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Reflections on nine years and three days

August 2, 2015

Saturday we took care of errands ending up at the grocery store just before lunchtime. About halfway through our trip, we saw an assistant manager leading three new trainees around the store, pointing out the location of various items. Sam stopped and watched for a second. Then he announced that three days before was the […]

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Building Arduinos

July 28, 2015

Tonight was Sam’s second time to go to North Branch Library and their meet-up group for Arduino. Sam says there’s a lot to explain about Arduino. “The possibilities are endless,” he says. “You can build drones. But today, it was mostly about building electronic musical instruments.” For example, he built this little theremin today. He […]

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Summer Slushie

July 27, 2015

So refreshing! My dad made these for us once years ago. When I realized I had both strawberries and watermelon in the kitchen, I tried to remember what he did. After I was finished, I recalled that he tossed in a few ice cubes to help the blender along, but I didn’t do that today. (When you have […]

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Blueberry Pie

July 9, 2015

Rita Pooler won a wild blueberry pie contest in Maine with this recipe. I pulled it off the Martha Stewart website in the 1990s. It’s still there, if you search “Rita’s Simply Blueberry Pie” there or on just about every other major foodie web site. We don’t have wild blueberries in North Texas, but every […]

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PDG Caramel Ice Cream

June 16, 2015

When an etude or solo went well in my weekly lesson, my music teacher at the Eastman School, Cherry Beauregard, would so clearly enunciate his compliment — “that was pretty damn good” — I’d almost not notice how inappropriate it was. Of course, times were a little different then, too. Mark had never been a student of […]

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Random Thoughts on the Crazy Coyote Trail Run

June 6, 2015

Texas is crazy hot. You can drink water at the aid station, but you may also find it’s better applied directly to your head. Water bottles dropped on the trail can be used as cooling devices. A still-warm-in-its-wrapper bacon McMuffin dropped on the trail likely makes the strangest item you’ll ever turn into the lost-and-found […]

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