Happy Halloween

Today is that fabulously fun holiday where children and adults everywhere get dressed up and pretend to be someone they’re not. When I was a child we never bought our costumes, we just made them with “found” articles. I was a Hobo more than once. Another easy costume was Huckleberry Finn. When I got older my favorite was to go as a gypsy.

Once I hit college age, I understood that to be “sexy” was the normal thing to do, and so freshman year I went as the center part of an Oreo cookie with my roommate and her best friend. Believe me, the white leotard and tights were indeed sexy. The next year I was a black cat, and I don’t think I have to say much about that. My favorite costume was my Elvira one. I can’t believe that Cassandra Peterson is still dressing up as the Mistress of the Dark. Good for her, and she looks great!

The history of Halloween (or All Hallows Eve) is a pretty interesting one. It originated as the Celtic festival Samhain when the dead could walk. It’s also known as the Norse Wild Hunt where the dead would hunt and the living stayed indoors so that they wouldn’t be “caught” by the hunt. Of course the Halloween that we celebrate now has little in common with Samhain or the Wild Hunt. Ours is much tamer.

Get dressed up and enjoy your Spooky Halloween Night!


My Wonderful World

Sometimes I live in my own little world. This is a magical place where one day soon, I will look out my window and see a unicorn in my back yard. When I wake up in the morning, a pastel-colored rooster hops up on my bed and sings good morning to me in French. His name is Pierre and he thinks he’s the reincarnation of Elvis. As you can see, my little world is a great place. The sky is usually pink and blue with white puffy clouds floating by. It only rains during the night, and the flowers bloom all year long. The temperature is always only between 55 and 75 degrees. Everyone there gets along; there is no anger or sorrow.  But, the best part of all is that my pets can talk.

Now, before you think I need to be hospitalized, I do know that this only exists in my head, and it’s not real – or is it?  The oddest thing that’s really happened to me is that once while my daughter and I were in the car, a shadow passed overhead and I pulled over, and proceeded to start to get out. When my daughter asked me what I was doing, I told her that I had been going to get out, find my bow and arrows and shoot the dragon. True story. I had been playing Skyrim on my Xbox for too many days in a row.

Each person’s reality is different from everyone else’s; just like we all see the same colors differently. Isn’t that an amazing fact? Think of the endless realities all around us. The world is bigger than we can imagine. What a great thought.

Embarrassing Behavior

     This is an embarrassing confession. On Saturday I couldn’t get onto AOL which is my main email account. What happened was that a new company took over our internet service and some of the servers were down. I could get on WordPress and YouTube, but not AOL. This was completely disturbing since I drink my morning coffee while reading email and most importantly, my daily tarot card reading. You would think from that sentence that I am completely superstitious, but I’m really not. It’s just my daily habit. Really, I swear.

      So, in retrospect I feel like a fool. I was upset and snarky until I called tech support and he helped us with a new DNS number. But, my first thoughts were: what a first world problem that was; and, secondly, how embarrassing, too. My day was not “right” until I was able to check my email. Really – that was a valid issue? Seriously, what just happened?
Was it that my morning habit was messed up? Or was something else going on. And, if it was just that my habit of reading mail while drinking coffee was interfered with, why don’t I have the same distressing bad mood when I miss my morning work-out?

Now that I’ve thought about it, I do have the same reaction to missing my work out. I am cranky and out of sorts when I don’t follow my daily habits. When it comes down to it, what creatures of habit we are. Both good and bad habits, too. So, here I am with egg on my face, once again. I’m hoping to become a much more gracious and forgiving person. After all, we’re all a work in progress.

Food, Comfort and Love

     Like many people, I equate making meals, desserts and sweets with giving love and comfort to my family. When it’s cold outside, I usually make soup or stew along with home-made bread (from the bread machine) and some kind of dessert. When I googled this idea, a lot of cooking comfort food came up, but I couldn’t find anything on cooking with love. In the movie Simply Irresistible, the main character is able to change the food she cooks by her mood; thereby sharing her own happiness and sadness with the people who eat at her restaurant. This is an extreme example of how emotion may affect the food you are serving. But I wonder why there aren’t any studies on this.

     In the Chinese culture certain foods have symbolic meaning; for example eggs symbolize fertility and are eaten to celebrate the birth of a child. http://chinesefood.about.com/od/foodfestivals/tp/foodsymbolism.htm Sometimes the food included within a meal can symbolize different things. This is something that I don’t think that we do here in America. However, most of us eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day and ham on Christmas Day. In my family we always had Limpa bread at Christmas to celebrate our Swedish heritage.  I’m sure that other cultures have certain foods that they eat on certain days also, but this is not really what I’m talking about.  In ancient civilizations including Rome, the rule of  hospitium privatum (hospitality) was such that even if your worst enemy came to your door seeking food and comfort, you were to provide it to him and do everything within your power to keep him safe.  http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/SMIGRA*/Hospitium.html

     One of the most loving things you can do is to feed someone. Often-times at the end of the day, creating a meal is the last thing that you may want to do. But, I’m talking about those nights when you have some time and can create a meal that shows how much you value and love your family. It’s at those times that the meal becomes almost a magical experience.

     Those are the times that I enjoy cooking the most.  I only wish the feelings came more often.

Binge Watching on Netflix

     Well, it seems that I’m binge-watching once again. About 10 months ago, I watched all the Ally McBeal episodes in about a month. Then I stopped. I had some great books to read, and didn’t want to “go there” again. But then I stumbled upon Revenge and am back at it. I looked into this behavior (after all, staying up until 1 or 2 am a few days in a row can really get to you) so I just had to figure out just what was going on.

First of all, I found out that I really had some good company. It seems that this is considered “normal” behavior. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-new-you/201402/binge-tv-is-our-new-way-watching-breaking-bad A lot of people do this, watching as many as six episodes in a row. Yes, I have done that, hello 3am on a Sunday morning.

So, what is it that gets us so? Well it seems to be the character development that reels us in. We get to understand the characters, know their motivations, etc. A down side? Well, like all tv watching, it really isn’t that good for us. I’ve actually sat for about 4 hours in a row, which usually never happens unless I’m binge watching. Even when in the middle of a great book, I do tend to walk around at some point. But, I’ve been couch potato-ing it a bit. Not good, and I do I do I do, need my sleep.
So, I do plan to stop – of course I do….when I get to the end of Season 3; which is all Netflix has.

Motivational Monday

     Since last week was one filled with procrastination, I thought that I’d start out this week with motivation!  My goals are to do all those things I didn’t do last week.

     I’m also going to tackle some of the less fun things I need to do, like more organizing; more cleaning and more throwing the less useful “stuff” away.

      It’s always easier to do nothing, or keep things that same than it is to change, even if the change would be beneficial.  So, I looked up these quotes to help.  Hope they help you, too.

Vegan Apple-Cherry Pie

I thought that I’d do another food post.  This is a recipe that I really haven’t shared with anyone before.  I don’t really follow a “real” recipe as I came up with it myself.  It’s a good dessert to have when you’re craving apple pie, but don’t really want the usual pie.

Pie filling ingredients:
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
5 Granny Smith apples peeled and cut into small pieces
1 can 14.5 oz. Red Tart Cherries drained
¼ tsp almond extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Mix together and turn into a pastry shell. Dot with Vegan butter. Put top crust on. Slit top crust to let hot air out. Pinch edges together. Brush top with Almond Milk (or any other Vegan milk) and sprinkle with sugar. Cover top with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil for last 15 minutes of baking.

Bake in pre-heated oven at 450° until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust, 25 to 45 minutes.

A note about the crust….I’m a crust snob. I love my homemade crust; but the bought ones are okay, too. Usually I look like I’ve thrown flour onto myself by the time I’m done, but what are aprons for? The first time I made a crust (I never had to learn how, since I was convinced I would marry rich and have a butler, maid and cook) it took me six tries.

I was so frustrated that I threw the fifth failed crust into the air, (screaming in frustration) where some of it stuck to the ceiling. The next crust I rolled out (after the crying was done) was the crust that worked. Sometimes we have to have a temper tantrum in order to learn.

Here is the finished product.