Welcome to the official website of best-selling author Linda Kupecek.

THE MYSTERIES OF KALE

I may be a writer of mysteries, but I am also aware of mysteries in my everyday life. For example, last night, a friend came to dinner and raved about my kale.
This is a mystery to me. As the author of The Rebel Cook: Entertaining Advice for the Clueless(TouchWood Editions, 2006) I have established myself as a klutz in the kitchen. A klutz with a lot of laughs and charm, but no way a real chef.
So to have somebody actually ask for a recipe from me was a major event, worthy of a small parade, or at the very least, a glass or two of chardonnay.

So here, is my recipe for kale, shoplifted from other, real cooks, who know what they are doing.

THE REBEL COOK KALE:
Wash the kale well, and tear off all the little curly parts. Throw the stems away.
In a large skillet (I use non-stick) melt butter (or margarine) and olive oil until it is foamy. Add as much garlic as you can stand. And kosher salt. (A little goes a long way with kale.)
Don’t let the garlic burn (I always do and have to start over, oh bother, as Pooh would say) and then add the kale.
Stir it around so that it knows that somebody is watching. Cover it, and let it do its thing for a few minutes. Then check again, just so that it knows it can’t get away with anything.
After about one minute, it will turn a brilliant dark emerald green. In another few minutes, it will turn dark, dark green and start to become crisp. This is when you should turn off the heat, cover it, and pray with all your might that it is time to serve dinner.

People who hate kale love this recipe. Go figure. I always think I am lucky to get it onto a dinner plate, and I always, always have doubts that it is edible. But so far, the votes are pro-kale and pro-Rebel Cook. I am sure it is a hallucination on my part.

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THE GRIM WIFE

One of my favourite tv shows is The Good Wife. I love it for the smart writing, the interesting characters and the great acting. But, oh my goodness, has it ever taken a dive (in my humble opinion) in the opening episodes of this season. The writers (the glorious Kings, for whom I have great admiration) had established terrific characters and relationships in earlier seasons, especially Alicia and Peter, and Alicia and Kalinda, and Kalinda and Cary.
Will any of us ever forget Sexy Boots Kalinda (as she is known to her fans) played with great panache by Archie Punjabi, stomping into a Home Depot type store to buy a sledgehammer (which she uses rather effectively in following episodes)?
Kalinda has been set up as a strong, mysterious person with a troubled past. I think most Good Wife fans were expecting a terrific payoff when we finally discovered who was stalking her, and what her fears were. Oh dear. Oh yucch. The story devolved into something worse than expected.
As one of my fellow screenwriters said, “I just don’t believe it. I am not so much offended by the crassness, as by the fact that I don’t believe these people in this relationship.”
But, hey, I am not going to give up on The Good Wife. Like a lemming, I am going to continue to watch every Sunday, because I am Always Hopeful. Hopeful that there will be a big payoff for the Kalinda storyline and that Kalinda will rise again, and not sink into the morass of cliche. Hopeful that Archie Panjabi’s career will survive this. Wondering what sort of conversations have gone on between actors and writers (not that actors have much sway in this, as a former actor, I know this oh so well…)
I just want good taste and good writing to triumph. Let us put these episodes behind us and never speak of them again.
Linda

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BUTTON BACK

I have a new phrase to offer to chiropractors, massage therapists, and physicians: BUTTON BACK.
It is excruciating. It limits movement. All that pain, and it is caused by a person, a button collector like MOI, spending way too long bent over a big tray of buttons, sorting and ooh and aahing and thinking and trying to decide which to keep and which to move onto another home.

After a few hours of this, lost in the meditative world of the button collector, one feels so relaxed. And so doubled over with excruciating back pain. As I write this, I am bent over like Quasimodo, only with none of the rewards of being a famed literary character. I am just me, an author with a modest bestseller and several other well regarded books to me name, lurching around the house and the computer with Button Back.

Maybe I could launch a line of Button Back health products: Button Balm, Button Back Beautiful, and so on. It would be a big hit with the button crowd. Of course, the only place I could sell this stuff would be at the National Button Society Show in the U.S. every August. I figure I have almost a year to figure this out.

On the other hand, maybe I should just do some yoga, and think of buttons.

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BUNNIES AND SQUIRRELS

For as long as I can remember, we have had squirrels in our back yard. Our neighbourhood has many beautiful old trees, and there is a community of squirrels that happily play along our street, summer or winter. They have lots of personality, which is putting it in a very kind way. I suppose I could be less kind and say they are noisy and have a tendency to jump from tree to roof. This sounds very cute, unless you are sound asleep and suddenly, what must have been a really overweight squirrel lands heavily on the roof about your head. YOW.

Now we have more homesteaders. For the past few months, a rather large rabbit has been hanging out in our backyard. The first time I saw him (or her) I opened the garage door, saw this large thing on the lawn, and screamed. (I am a nervous sort of person when I encounter large, strange living things on my lawn.) The rabbit got frightened, too, and ran away. I was disappointed it wasn’t wearing a little blue velvet jacket.

Now, there are two rabbits. I think they hang out in the wildflowers at one end of our garden. They don’t seem to be doing any harm. They basically just sit on the lawn and look like a Duhrer print.

I don’t know which I prefer. The rabbits are quiet but sort of boring. The squirrels have loads of personality and are very energetic, and even though they work out by leaping from tree to tree to housetop, I think they should take dance lessons instead. Less intrusive. Plus, the squirrels have very bad table manners and leave half eaten crabapples all over the sidewalk, which is messy and inconsiderate.

I hear somebody spotted a cougar in their backyard the other day, so I guess I should be grateful we have only bunnies and squirrels to deal with.

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Labour Day

A long weekend is always welcome, even to a self-employed freelancer. I usually work nonstop during a long weekend, because the phone isn’t ringing with distractions. I have always done my best and most intense writing on holidays. (I blush to admit that sometimes I have forgotten that not everybody feels the same way, and have made absentminded phone calls on Sunday evenings, trying to clear up some obscure bit of information. I really, really hope that everybody I have done this do has forgiven me by now. I suppose it is like people calling me to confirm a dental appointment at 7 a.m., after I have worked until 4 a.m. and fallen into bed in the hopes of sleeping til 11 a.m. Ah, we all follow our own path. Mine is just a bit more irregular than those of others.)
Labour Day is special in other ways, a reminder of how unions have created better and safer workplaces in every industry, including mine in the cultural industries. I also love hearing my elders’ stories of the Labour Day celebrations in the Drumheller Valley in the 1930s, when every Labour Day was an occasion for free ice cream, games, races and laughter.

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WHY WE SHOULD WRITE OUR OWN OBITS

I am addicted to The Good Wife. So I was dismayed to read of the recent death of Tony Scott (one of the producers) , in what was apparently a suicide leap. What dismayed, upset, enraged me even more was an incredibly stupid and meanspirited article which began by belittling his talent and substance as a director, then went on to glorify his famous brother, Ridley Scott. What sort of death notice is that? Sure, I suppose that in the big picture, various aspects of the career should be noted, but for pete’s sake, the man just died! Don’t belittle him before the body is in the grave, the ashes are in the urn, whatever. I wondered if the meanspirited (or just plain stupid) journalist had an axe to grind with T. Scott, maybe some history.
I came to two conclusions. First, that we should all prepare our own obits, just in case our nearest and dearest go MIA, and some distant acquaintance is the one to sum up our life’s achievements. And secondly, mmmmmmm, that I have a vivid imprint of Tony Scott’s name on the credits of tv shows and films, but ….. is this significant? ….. have no idea of the name of the meanspirited writer who chose to belittle him in death.

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The howl of The Party – Steve Franken

I recently read that Steve Franken passed away. I took a few moments to thank him, silently, for the howls of laughter he generated as the drunken waiter in the Peter Sellers film, The Party. Every time I watch the dinner scene, as he staggers around the table with what looks like a Cornish game hen on his platter, I scream with laughter. When he pours the wine through a guest’s long ponytail, I am helpless, making so much noise that the neighbours are probably concerned there is mayhem happening in our house. What a gift he left the world through this performance alone.
I am going to put that DVD in my player this evening, and do my form of homage to the late Steve Franken, with extremely loud, lively, weeping laughter.

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THE TIN DOLL HOUSE

I still remember the tin doll house I had as a child. My parents eventually got rid of it, and of course, like hordes of other baby boomers, I spend my time looking for a replacement, so I can revisit my childhood.

So when I was sitting in the misty rain at a country auction, wondering what the heck I was doing there, everything became clear when a Tin Doll House from the 1950s came up for bids. I was so excited that I bid and bid. I bid against myself. The auctioneer finally said, “Madam, you are bidding against yourself. Could you please not do that?”

My wild bidding against all competitors (including MOI) resulted in my ownership of a rather wonderful litho painted tin doll house with a pile of pink and blue furniture to furnish it. I imagined setting up a corner of my house with the doll house, a child’s table, a few select teddies and bunnies and perhaps some vintage children’s books and teacups. This was before I was reminded that my house looks like an episode of Hoarders and there is no space, anywhere, to create this wonderful montage, an ode to childhood lost and regained.

To my great shame, that dollhouse has been buried in my basement for over fifteen years (protected by a cloth, so I am not totally irresponsible).

As I embarked on a project to clear my basement by selling on Kijiji, I unearthed the doll house, took wonderful photos, and posted it. The bright side of all this, is that the dollhouse is now worth more than what I paid. Not a fortune, but at least I don’t feel like a total idiot.

If only I could figure out how to add a photo to this post, you would see how wonderful and jolly this 1950s memento is.

As it is, I muse on how I searched long and hard to find something that was a reminder of my childhood, and then totally neglected it for years.

Could somebody please buy this doll house?
Linda

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NEVER LIST-LESS, ALWAYS LISTING

I love making lists. Every night before I go to bed, I make a list of the tasks i hope to accomplish the next day. Then I grab another note pad, and prioritize that list. Then I grab another note pad (all of them are cheery florals or witty sayings, like ‘you can never have too many shoes’) and make another list. By the time I have expanded all my lists into household, career, creative, financial and personal, my kitchen table is littered with note pads.

The downside of this, is that, for some of us with many obligations, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get through these lists. About a week ago, I felt a moment of despair, realizing that I had accomplished maybe one tenth of all the items on my LISTS, and was able to use a big pink felt pen and cross off only a few. This is no way to end a day. So bad for the self esteem.

Then, I had a brilliant idea. Instead of starting the day, say, a THURSDAY, with a list of things to do, I would instead go on my merry way. And, at the END OF THE DAY, I would make a list of THINGS TO DO ON THURSDAY (just before I went to bed on Thursday) and carefully note everything I had accomplished, and then, with great self-satisfied flourish, run a big pink or red felt pen through it. And go to bed tremendously pleased with myself.

I think this is a brilliant idea and that I should patent it for all disorganized people like myself.

On to today’s list!
Linda

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O CANADA DAY

This is a great day to think about all the blessings we have, living in Canada. People have nice manners, and are generally kind and good. We have a health care system that works, despite some glitches (okay, like 8 hour waits in ERs). We have clear skies, good roads, and generally speaking, government with integrity. I may rant about reduced government funding for CBC and the arts, but I am still grateful that I actually manage to get some dough to do my work every now and again, and that I have a wonderful publisher (Heritage House Group and TouchWood Editions) who are still in business, malgre tout, and who are committed to Canadian authors.
I like being able to see a nice mountain or a Mountie every now and again. And being able to go to a nice, clean, friendly library.
Most of all, I am grateful just to be a Canadian. We may be dismissed globally as being nice (or so I am told) but we are still NICE, and there is nothing wrong with that.

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