Archive for the ‘A Little of This’ Category

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Lessons learned.

561689_4607946087514_1328031851_nThis vegetarian (hopefully transitioning into vegan) thing is actually going pretty well.  It has been several weeks since I ingested meat.  I can honestly say I don’t miss it.  So far.  I have watched my men eat big, fat, juicy steaks.  I have cooked eggs and bacon for them.   I have made pot roast.  There was chicken/andouille gumbo…not one bite.  I am kinda proud of that.  But as I have re-learned as of late, pride does indeed come before a fall, so I am not getting too cocky. Just taking it one meal at a time, then one day at a time.

IMG_3003And really, if I were ever going to gorge myself this past week would have been it.  If  you think you are a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond never think your words don’t mean anything.  They do.  They can help or they can hurt.  It’s quite a shame to find out at such an advanced age as mine that I am still stupid when it come to such things.  There are for certain two ways words can hurt.  By repeating something said in confidence that should have never been said.  And by being the person that said it to begin with. You never know how things will then get repeated or how many times or how close to what you said is the end of the story. So at 53, I have learned several very valuable lessons over the past week.  Not the least being, if you don’t want your thoughts/words repeated, embellished, misconstrued  ~ then don’t say them to begin with.  I want to be that person that doesn’t say or repeat unkind things.  I know you have all heard the saying “Karma is a bitch.”   Well, only if you are first.  So Karma came back and bit me in the bum.  Nothing I didn’t deserve.  And now feelings are hurt.  And I can’t un-hurt them.  I can apologize, which I have done.  I can learn from my mistakes, which I have.

Why do people gossip and tell things they know are not true or true but hurtful?  To build themselves up.  To feel better about their own faults and shortcomings. To make themselves feel important and bold and truth bearers.  But frankly it makes the opposite true.  And anything said in confidence likely should have never been said to begin with.  So you can’t blame anyone but yourself if what you said was repeated, misquoted or completely changed and embellished upon.  Don’t say it to begin with. Don’t repeat things that are detrimental to someone.  What purpose could it have?  Only something bad.  Keep your mouth shut.  OR remember the old but true adage : If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything.  That will never be the wrong thing.  Because once the hurt has happened, asking for forgiveness is weak and may not be granted.  But that is about your only option.  Words can’t be taken back.  Hurts can’t be taken back.  And maybe before you repeat things you know will hurt someone if they hear it, it would be best to keep it to yourself.  What good purpose could there be for doing such a thing?  It honestly shouldn’t have taken me 53 years to put into practice since it is something I have known my whole life.

I am here to say publicly to anyone who sees this that from this moment on, I am done with the gossip.  I am done with the talking behind anyone’s back.  If it isn’t something I would say to you, you can be sure from today forward, I won’t say it at all.

I plan on taking some serious time to reflect on my  own life, shortcomings, faults and personality flaws.  That will likely take me the rest of my life if I live to be an very old woman.  I have a lot of soul searching to do. Hurts to try and mend. If I tend to my own life the way it deserves to be tended to, I won’t have time to get involved in conversations and things that will serve no good purpose.  And if I am not a party to those conversations, then I can’t be misquoted or held accountable for what I heard.

I have witnessed so many times what women will do to each other in the name of friendship. And most of us have things to be ashamed of in that department. Not the least of them being me.  I have been just as guilty as anyone in voicing my opinion as fact as if I were smarter or more knowledgeable than everyone else. To sound important or whatever the reason, it was wrong.  I have never lacked self esteem and it has been my downfall I am afraid.  This very week I have been humbled by how insignificant I am and what and who should be my priorities.  But my insignificance in no way lessens the impact of my alliances and words. And for that I am sickened and so very sorry.  Honestly and truly sorry.  That’s about all I can be.  I can’t take things back.  I can’t know what credit I have been give for things that I actually have not done.  But I am guilty of enough that that is really not important.  I can’t blame anyone but myself for my poor judgement and alliances.  I take full responsibility for my own actions and words.  I am one to throw caution to the wind in the past not being careful what I say or to whom I say it. Those days are gone forever.

Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.  I am going to wake up everyday thinking about that and try to make it to the end of the day without making any that are irreversible.



Friend or Foe???

For some reason the last couple of days I have thought a lot about being a woman.  The unbelievable balancing act we all perform on a daily basis.  The times we are completely off balance.  Sometime falling flat on our faces, only to find ourselves at the top of the heap the next minute. Several conversations I have been a part of have turned to the very broad subject of women.  I have discussed everything from how hard women who are successful have to scratch and claw and live down their success to what a price a woman pays for such successes.

Don’t beat me up too bad for my views on this subject.  I talk myself in and out of things all the time!  I am very VERY capable of arguing both sides of many arguments.  Not that I am arguing but I tend to be a debater even in my own head!

I doubt there has ever been a man who has had to ask himself if he could juggle work and family.  Not to say their role is easier.  It is just different.  Women and men are as different as night and day.  Therefore how we react, what we want, how we get what we want, and how others accept us is different as well.

My husband and I have a healthy respect for the role each of us plays in our marriage.  I have seen his job (from a good distance) and I want no part other than to support him.  And he says the same of mine.  Though I don’t think that is completely true really.  I don’t do anything that he can’t do and some times better than I can.  Honestly, together, we make one hell of a force to be reckoned with.


I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.  ~Anaïs Nin

At times I have felt somewhat inferior to my husband.  But I can honestly say I have never felt inferior to men in general.  And believe me, my husband has never made me to feel inferior.  Anytime I have been in that horrible place, it has been my own doing.  Likely some sort of “hysterics” as some like to refer to our moody, hormonal crankiness.  In fact Jerry treats me quite the opposite.  It seems sometimes he honestly believes I can do anything I set out to do.  Not always true but that is one of the many things I love about him.  He has always treated me as his equal – or more.

Much of my thoughts on women and roles in family, work and society have been the result of far too much time spent watching seasons 1-3 of Mad Men.  After one episode  I just blurted out “We had to burn our bras!   They gave us no other choice.” Of course I meant it figuratively.  I pay too much for my bras to set fire to them 😉

And then it brought to mind another example and how quickly it was forgotten the role women played in the successful outcome of our armed forces during WWII.  Rosie the Riveter is an Icon – based on real women, who stepped up to a task and accomplished things that frankly seem to have been forgotten by many. Women not only had to hold down the fort, but they had to provide the ammunition.


I suppose being raised by fairly liberal parents,  it was even more absurd to me that we had to fight to vote, to work, to be educated, to have dominion over our bodies and very likely the reason I have no regrets for my choice to be a wife and mother instead of another profession. I have never felt like I had to apologize or feel inferior because I am less educated than some and my payment “for services rendered” doesn’t come in the form of a check.  But the payment far exceeds anything I could have hoped for, had I known what to hope for.  I always believed I could do and be anything I set my mind to.  And I am happy to report I have been successful so far.  There have been rough patches, disappointments, hardships – but whose life hasn’t had those things and more?  Yet, I always knew I was doing what I was meant to do.

Alas, times have changed.  Some good changes, some not good.  Women still get paid 70 cents on the $1 for the same job as a man. That might never change. Women still have to run as “the woman candidate” instead of just “the candidate”.  Science/Medicine/the pharmaceutical industry have spent untold money and man hours on “THE little blue pill” and we still have to have fundraisers for breast cancer research.  Why? I have my theories, but won’t subject you to them today.

So as we walk the tightrope that our lives become sometimes, and teeter on the brink of one disaster or another, it is ever so difficult to meet the demand of the situation and still remain feminine.  What would be seen in a man as strong in the face of adversity, likely would be seen as overbearing or aggressive in a woman.  Double standards will always exist I suppose.

What can we do?  Support each other.  That’s one thing we CAN do.  Women could see their commonality rather than their differences.  Women, of all people, should be able to see past color, religion, creed, sexual orientation, politics.  We have the capacity to influence so many.  We are strong.  We are capable.  We, so many times, hold the future in our arms.  It is an awesome responsibility to be a woman in the free world.  It is also an amazing privilege.  In all that responsibility and privilege comes an obligation to all other women.  Support women owned businesses, read women authors, educate ourselves about women in history and the sacrifices they made.  Study the plight of women who don’t know freedom from oppression and fear of harm.  And if you can, get involved. Teach yourself about how other women, in other parts of the world live. Then teach others.

And whatever we do, be true to ourselves.  Be proud. Respect ourselves and raise our daughters to be the same.

There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.  ~Madeleine K. Albright


I’m getting there! Warning: LONG post Ü

To a state of organization that is.  Slowly, VERY slowly.


These are my new cubbies in my studio. I call it my studio because it makes is sound like I do something in there 🙂  And take a gander at my birthday present from my children!  ADORABLE!


A fairy village!  I wanted it so much!  I had seen it first on pinterest and then in HearthSong catalog.  So precious!  And of course what studio would be complete with out this:


We had a big celebration over the weekend ~ my birthday, Hannah’s birthday, Jessica’s birthday and our 34th wedding anniversary.  Jerry whipped up an amazing meat roll to put on the grill. And we ate the last of it last night in a very delicious stew he made from the leftover. meatroll

I made a Persian Love Cake –


I was bound and determined to conquer this cake and after some tweaking and substituting it was quite delicious. My notes are at the end of the recipe.

The original recipe was not gluten free but I adapted it. And it called for candied rose petals for garnish but I had seen a similar recipe with pistachios and used them instead. I didn’t do the rose petals because I knew I nor my people wouldn’t like them. BUT if you want to do them, here is the recipe for them.

Candied rose petals

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Petals from 2 organic roses

Whisk egg whites in small bowl until foamy. Using pastry brush, brush rose petals on both sides with egg whites; sprinkle on both sides with sugar. Dry on nonstick rack at least 6 hours or overnight.


  • 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour (or regular all purpose if you aren’t gluten free)
  • 14 tablespoons baker’s sugar or superfine sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom ground

For cake: Preheat oven to 325°F.  Butter two 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line pan bottoms with parchment paper; butter parchment.

Sift flour, 7 tablespoons baker’s sugar, baking powder, and salt into large bowl. Whisk yolks and next 4 ingredients in small bowl until smooth.

Add yolk mixture to dry ingredients; whisk until smooth. Beat egg whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 7 tablespoons powdered sugar; beat until whites resemble thick marshmallow fluff.

Fold whites into batter in 3 additions. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until cakes are golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks, peel off parchment, and cool completely. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap and store at room temperature.)


  • 2 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rose water

For frosting: Combine 1/2 cup cream and saffron in small saucepan. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat; let steep 20 minutes.

Chill until cold. Beat remaining 2 cups cream, powdered sugar, and rose water in large bowl until soft peaks form; strain in saffron cream. Beat until peaks form. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours. Garnish cake with rose petals

NOTES: I made a few changes.  My cake fell a bit when I removed it from the oven.  I am not sure if it was my flour blend or if I beat the egg whites too long.  But for whatever reason, it was a little on the sad side. I had a box of Betty Crocker gluten free yellow cake mix that I whipped up quickly and added a tsp of vanilla bean paste to the batter.  When it was baked per box instructions and cooled I layered it between the layers of the original cake and made the frosting which I quickly found out I was not a fan of SOOOO…I dumped that expensive batch 🙁 and whipped up a batch of Buttercream with a pinch of saffron and a little of the saffron infused cream I had left from the first frosting recipe and a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste. And I garnished it with chopped pistachios.   It was wonderful.  Everyone really liked it.  I think had I stuck right to the recipe the reception would have been less than favorable.  So all’s well that ends well.

It was a very very good weekend!  And now tell me, how is it Thursday already?  Jerry will leave for Malaysia on Monday and when he comes back home we will head for Vermont for our belated anniversary trip.  SOOO excited.  Even with the floods.  I am not about to cancel my trip unless something much worse happens between now and then. And I realize that is always possible. Either on that end or this one. But our plans are to go and dine and sight-see and spend our money just as if we weren’t butt deep in water 🙂 I think its very important to let the folks know someone who witnessed Katrina and made it thru Rita knows how it feels to a point and knows how important it is to trudge forth. It is devastating to a community when something like this happens and you have to “just get back on your horse and ride again”.   Besides its a little over 5 weeks and I have all the confidence in the world that most roads will be at least partially open, even if they are pig trails. I reserved an all wheel drive vehicle for our time there. I am sure there will be places I won’t get to take Jerry that I had hoped to, but we will still enjoy ourselves. Autumn in Vermont.  Squeeeeee!

Autumn country side in Vermont

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