The Song of Karen (or whoever)

IMG_1584I went to the Crystal Harp Healing Session at The LoveLight Center with an open mind. I wasn’t sure what the ‘healing’ part was about, but I have heard Cheryl play that instrument before, and that was worth going back for.

There were about 9 of us seated in a circle. Shoes were shed at the door. The sequence was this:
1. She played for the group.
2. She then played an individual melody for each person present.
3. She closed with another song for the group.

It took about half an hour. It was free.

What was it like? Well, you know how when you have a massage or acupuncture session, sometimes there is an emotional release? It was like that for me (full disclosure: so okay, I was crying).
Right before Cheryl said that she was guided to play ‘my’ song first, I was sitting there thinking:

I wonder if my mother is here?

One moment before the music began, I suddenly felt like she was standing right behind me.

Is that you, Ma?

My mother Mary died in February 1996 on Leap Day. She was only about two years older then than I am now.
Then the music started.
Then the tears.
Yep. It was her.
Thanks, Cheryl.

 

Dear Coffee, I love you

coffee“Before coffee, I’m up, I’m moving around, but I’m not awake,” said some wise soul somewhere. Until I typed the words, I actually couldn’t remember where I’d heard it but I just did. Peter Falk uttered this truism in one of his Columbo episodes.

Truer words (about me) were never spoken.

How did I get here?
College.

My other favorite coffee quote is from a Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail

“I love Patricia. Patricia’s amazing. Patricia makes coffee nervous.”

:)

I have surrounded my coffee drinking with cool stuff. (Why should the tea drinkers have all the fun rituals?)

  1. A Keurig, so that I never have to wait more than 30 seconds for my coffee.
  2. Coffee straws (see picture), just because I like them.
  3. Cute mugs, like the Dunkin Donuts one pictured here. I have several of these because they remind me of my Dad (who was a doughnut maker once) and my friend Sheri (who bought me one I really wanted one year for my cubicle at work when I really didn’t need another coffee mug).
  4. My little coffee warmer. Okay, so I have two of these: one in my home office and one next to my bed. They make me happy.

My current favorite coffee is Green Mountain’s Spicy Eggnog, about which I often wax rhapsodic. Alas, it is a seasonal flavor.

So, I buy it by the case.  My friend Traci told me about Big Cat Coffees and the pricing there is FAB.U.LOUS.

Please participate in the poll below:

 

 

Comment below with your favorite coffee flavor!

A welcoming place

Bean Tree WestbrookI had the great pleasure of attending the Bean Tree Open House today with my daughter, Izzy. Their Facebook page describes Bean Tree as “a studio for creativity and growth”.

Sign me up for that.

When we entered the house through (after much discussion) the middle of three doors, we found ourselves in bright, cheerful kitchen. Nancy Carroll introduced herself and offered us the option of having some tea or to poke around the studio a bit first. We decided to poke.

Everywhere we looked there was something beautiful to see: a silver angel on a key ring, colorful mosaics hanging on the walls, lovely pottery pieces of all kinds. The energy in the rooms was warm and inviting. The pottery studio is on the left side of the house, and the collage studio is on the right. The kitchen is a central area where the aforementioned tea was brewing, and (nice surprise!) some plates of small baked goods were available: cookies and sweet rolls and scones, oh my! :)

bean tree como collageThe collage room drew me because I am interested in one of the upcoming Intro to SoulCollage (registered trademark keyboard symbol…where are you?) workshops Nancy has planned. There were tables of images available and a poster board on an easel so that today’s guests could contribute to a community collage for the Open House. Izzy and I took our time choosing our images. I found one that shrieked ‘brave!’ at me and after taking Nancy’s advice to trim it a bit, made my contribution. You can see it there on the left. Guess which images were from Izzy!

 

And then I ate a cookie (note to self: ask for the recipe-so good!).

Was that wrong?

There is another class mentioned on the website that I am interested in finding out more about: The Power of Home: An Art Journal Workshop. Yay! So much to look forward to!

What about you? How are you staying creative these days? Add your comment below.

Also, please consider helping me achieve my goal of reaching 1000 followers by clicking on the ‘sign me up!” button on the upper right corner of my blog. If you are already a follower, thank you so much! Here is a virtual cookie to show my appreciation!

cookie

 

Telling our story

scarfI was at a craft show a couple of weekends ago. The weather was awful–freezing rain coating the icy snow on the ground that fell overnight. As soon as I got through the door, I stopped to shake it off of me. The first thing I saw was a table of scarves and hats, and the small dark-eyed woman standing behind it caught my eye.

I took a minute to look at the items on the table. I noticed a black and white scarf  that I knew would make a great gift for a number of the people on my list.

I asked, “How much is this?”

“Fifteen dollars,” she replied, “and you can pick a free cookbook from the box,” she added, hopeful, hands clasped in front of her.

I looked down. The ‘cookbooks’ were some old cooking magazines from 2008.

Well, all-righty then.

As she was wrapping it up, I was looking through my bag for my checkbook (note to self: Clean this damn thing out!).

I asked, “Did you make these?”

“Yes. Well, me and my daughter did. And then after she died, I made some more myself,” she told me.

What? Oh, no.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” I told her, and suddenly found myself hugging her. “Yes, it was hard,” she said, and proceeded to tell me about how her diabetic daughter who couldn’t feel her feel very well had a blood sugar drop that caused her to get into a car accident. “She went through the windshield and died instantly, the…the….” she trailed off.

“Medical examiner?” I offered.

“Yes! Yes, the medical examiner said. She didn’t feel anything, he said, and that made me feel a little better, but I was still pretty sad. Until my birthday,” she said.

This is what happened on her birthday: She and her husband were having lunch, feeling the feelings only parents who have lost their child feel. Suddenly, her glass of water slid across the table. About four inches. By itself. “I said, ‘Did you see that?’ to my husband. “‘That’s her wishing you a Happy Birthday,’ he told me, and we both teared up. Then I felt much better. I knew she was okay.”

Sometimes, people just need to tell their story.

Even if they aren’t writers.

Thanksgiving dinner for one

IMG_0089It so happens that I will be working Thanksgiving (as is the majority of my family) and therefore I will be a Party of One for Thanksgiving Dinner.
I also plan to continue my NaNoWriMo efforts and so will have very little time for cooking and such. I do, however, love food. And, you know, eating.
So, here’s my plan for a traditional-ish Thanksgiving Dinner for one:
MENU:
  1. Rotisserie turkey breast. Okay, full disclosure: I am buying it (precooked) on Wednesday (they are cheaper if you get them cold vs hot at Hannaford’s). It takes 6 minutes in the microwave but if you have a crock pot you can stick it in there on low 2 or more hours ahead of time and it will be ready (and moist! NOT DRIED OUT AT ALL!) when you want to eat it.
  2. Instant mashed potatoes: the Idahoan brand Buttery Homestyle is the best! Very fast: 3 minutes and 30 seconds in the microwave. Hint: put 1 3/4 cup of water rather than 2. You’re welcome.
  3. Quick turkey gravy: I think the McCormick Turkey Gravy packets are pretty darn good. You can pour the drippings from your turkey breast container (if there are any) into gravy. Ready in 5 minutes or less.
  4. Stove Top Turkey Stuffing. I forget how long this takes. I might make it the day before.
Now, everyone has their one thing that they must have on the table or it’s not Thanksgiving-Butternut Squash is mine. This will need to be made ahead of time: roast or boil a small squash (I always get it prepeeled and also precubed if I am really feeling lazy) until soft, mash with a potato masher, add 1-2 tablespoons each of butter and brown sugar, sea salt to taste.
Interesting Trivia: I’ve heard (I think it was from Clinton Kelly on The Chew last week) that the general rule of thumb for the number of Thanksgiving side dishes is this: you must have one side dish for every person coming to dinner. Right. So. That would be one. And done. :)
I made bread dough (recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Herzberg and Zoe Francois) today and put it in the fridge so now I just have to bake  it off that morning. I can make a roll or two or a whole loaf and-OH! I almost forgot the cranberry sauce!!!
Which reminds me of and is a nice segueway to that song Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses:
“I’m spending this one alone,” he said
“Need a break, this year’s been crazy”
I said, “Me too, but why are you?
You mean you forgot cranberries too?
ENJOY!!!!

 

 

Mental health break

IMG_0012I took a two-day break from Nano writing and went away overnight to celebrate my husband’s birthday (and, you know, to take a break from sitting! At the computer! Writing! OMG! I haven’t been able to feel two of the fingers on my left hand for a week!).  We had supper at Nolita,  a new-ish Italian restaurant in York that we like.

I felt a little bad that he hadn’t had a cake on his birthday and gotten to hear the sweet strains of the “Happy Birthday to You” song wafting toward his ears on his day, but so be it. We wanted to have the cake with the entire family, and that couldn’t happen until the following day.

When we arrived at the restaurant, my husband had to run back to the car to get his reading glasses (he is so not into my rendition of “This is what’s on the menu” that he’d rather run back out into the 27 degree cold dark night that to listen to it).

That’s when the waitress came over and I mentioned it was my husband’s birthday. She said, “Does he like tiramisu?  We give a free tiramisu for someone’s birthday.”

Now, Bill does not like tiramisu, but oh my God! I love it!  But, it was his birthday after all, so I asked if there were other dessert options and she said they have gelato. As (my) luck would have it, I’m pretty sure the only thing he dislikes more than tiramisu is gelato.

“Yes, he does like tiramisu! Bring that!” I said, conscience clear.

What I hadn’t realized (and in fairness to me, I was halfway through my Italia Margarita at the time) was that said tiramisu would be accompanied by, um, fanfare. And I’m pretty sure that if there is one thing Bill dislikes more than gelato and tiramisu, it’s fanfare. In our 26 or more (we can’t agree on this) years together, he has never, ever seen a cake coming toward him with a gaggle of servers singing the birthday song to him.

And yet, I lived to tell the tale, so it’s all good.

Also, that tiramisu rocked!

 

 

 

Passaggiata

I live in a rural part of my town in Maine. There are few places that I can get to on foot that wouldn’t require packing for a half day passaggiattatrek. That’s why I looked forward to the Bean Supper this year. This is a destination that I could comfortably walk to and from and to which there was a good chance I could convince my daughter to accompany me.

As we walked along my road, the word ‘passaggiata‘ came to my mind. This is, as I understand it, the Italian custom of taking a walk through the town after dinner.  Historically, this is something my family has only practiced on holidays.

You know, hardly ever.

Other than the walk we took after Thanksgiving dinner one year, I am hard pressed to remember any other times we’ve done this. Why not? Okay, in the summer it’s because I am no match for those horseflies that will use every ounce of energy they have in their creepy little bodies to enter either my nose or my ears or, failing that, sting the crap out of me. But this time of year there is no good reason. Oh, yes, one: I’m too lazy.

Well, tonight I am happy to say that we walked to dinner, ate, and walked home. The rain felt lovely. Despite the deluge that was predicted, it remained fairly light so we didn’t get too drenched.The company of my daughter was much appreciated. I even entertain the thought of doing this again tomorrow night.

We’ll see.

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