Happy New Year!

Are you all ready to have a whopping, successful 2013? Every one I have spoken to recently has proclaimed, “THIS is going to be my year! I can feel it in my bones!” Isn’t that exciting?

I am thrilled to be surrounded by so many positive people. Their joy and happiness is oozing out from their pores… It’s contagious. In today’s society with so many people out of work, investments not keeping up with inflation, housing market down in the dumps, a fiscal cliff looming, and crazy people running around killing others… I am beyond ecstatic to hear the upbeat attitudes of my friends.

So… Have you made any resolutions? Last year I made 10. I painted them in watercolors, framed them, and hung them on my wall to keep them in front of my face. That strategy worked, for I completed each one. It wasn’t always easy, and I may have strayed a little off course… But all in all I followed through. The one I had the most trouble adhering to was my #1 resolution… Which was to Be Happy. I have learned this past year that happiness is an emotion… and we mortals do not always have control over them. Yes, I can make the mental decision to CHOOSE to be happy, but sometimes sh*t happens and you have to deal with it.

My other resolutions were easy… Use Up Craft Supplies On Hand, Sit Down To Eat, Pack A Healthy Snack, Shop Independents, Reach Out To Friends and Family, CREATE, and three more I can’t seem to remember right now.

This year I have made only one resolution… To get through each day as stress free as possible. I am living my life one day at a time with no thought of the future. I wake up each morning and put one foot in front of the other until it’s time to go to sleep. I have no grand plan, nor do I dream of my future and head for that goal. It might sound like a boring way to live… and normally I would agree with you; however, for now living like this is keeping my PTSD at bay and more importantly keeping me sane and off pills. Maybe some day I will stick my toe in and test the water… See if I can handle making a goal to strive for… see if my toe gets bitten off by a man eating shark, or gets kissed by a goldfish. For now though… I’ll keep my feet covered with socks and shoes, and not take any chances. I’m tired of being nibbled at by man eating sharks.

I look forward to each New Year as a time to start fresh… Like a ‘do over’. Any mistakes we have made in the past are just that… In the past. There is nothing we can do to change them, however we can learn from our mistakes and change the way we do things TODAY, right now!

Go out and be the best you can be… And I am certain 2013 will be YOUR year too.

Happy, Happy New Year!

Deb

Beach Day…

Last night was a humdinger of a Nor’easter! The wind roared like a freight train knocking out power for a portion of our area. The dogs were so frightened they refused to go out and ‘do their business’… preferring to wait until morning. I can’t say I blame them.

This afternoon we still had wind gusts of 23 mph and a temperature high of 37 degrees. So… I took this opportunity to bundle up in my winter woolies, grab my camera and head to the beach. Why not? It seemed like the perfect day to go to the beach. It was AWESOME!!!

I pulled up to my private parking spot, (well, it’s not really a private spot, but in cold weather, off season, or extremely early in the morning no one else is there… so I consider it mine) and bound up the three wooden steps to my private bench on the boardwalk (again, not private… see above). I sit facing the ocean, wind at my back marveling at the beauty. HUGE waves are rolling in one after the other as the strong wind gusting in the opposite direction blows the spray back in graceful arcs.

A thunderous CRASH is heard as the wave breaks against the jetty grabbing my attention. A local young man has erected an American flag at the end of the jetty in honor of his grandfather who served in World War II. The wave does it’s best to topple the flag, but the flag pole doesn’t budge. The next crashing wave produces a brief glimpse of a rainbow in the spray as a backdrop to the flag. It is so fleeting I can’t catch it on film.

Gingerly I walk down the concrete incline to walk in the sand. Hoping to get closer to the flag and get a clear shot of a rainbow, I find it’s just too far away, and DRAT I didn’t bring my telephoto lens… Oh well, I guess the rainbow wasn’t meant for me to share. I walk and snap pictures as I go admiring the beauty of the sun setting behind me creating long shadows on the sand. Ribbons of sand blow pass my legs as the wind drifts the grains back towards the sea. I am in a dream, swirling in the sand and wind.

Surfers are bobbing in the water like oily black seals waiting for their PERFECT wave. The swells are quickly coming towards them, one right after another and crashing before they can catch one. Eventually I watch as one bold surfer tries to ride one in before the one behind it crashes over him. Oops… too bad. He could only hold on a short while. He tumbled in the white surf until he could get a grip. Back out he goes to try again.

My fingers are beginning to freeze and feel chapped, my cheeks are burning from the sand blasting derma-braison courtesy of Mother Nature. I look up and realize I have walked about 1 1/2 miles… time to head home.

I hope you enjoy my photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Flag holding steady.

Flag holding steady.

 

Waves rolling in one after another.

Waves rolling in one after another.

 

Long shadows in the sand.

Long shadows in the sand.

 

Pure beauty!

Pure beauty! And in New Jersey!!!!

 

 

Ginger Cookies…

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When my dad was a young man his PASSION was sailing. An athletic man, he loved all sports and felt ‘at home’ near water. During the summer he would hang out at the Jersey Shore on weekends with his buddies… Belmar Beach. He was the traditional ‘ladies man’. Tall, blonde, blue eyes, and B-U-I-L-T! Outgoing and gregarious he always had a group of friends around him… and a lot of laughing girls hanging on him.

My mom’s family had a summer home in Belmar and she too spent many hours basking in the sun at the same beach. She and her friends would spread their towels on the sand and slather themselves with baby oil… never stepping one foot in the ocean. Oh no, they weren’t there to swim… they were there to be seen.

Dad, strutting down the beach  one day spotted this bevy of beauties. “Wowza”, (Mom was a real ‘looker’)! A conversation started, dating followed closely behind, a year later they were married on that very same beach… and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now married and children following soon… they join Monmouth Boat Club in Red Bank, NJ. Dad helped run the club, raced boats on the weekends, updated and repaired the building… while mom and her friends set up the Women’s Auxillary.

What does all of this have to do with Ginger Cookies at Christmas? Monmouth Boat Club is where they met another couple, Mary and Sandy Huntsman. This Ginger Cookie recipe comes from Mary. As a matter of fact she is FAMOUS for these cookies. My mom would make them every Christmas. She would make it a week long project by baking just a few cookies each day. I would visit and eat a whole day’s worth when she would be trying to bake enough to send off to my brother… hee, hee. Only special friends got these cookies.

Now that she is gone I will continue the tradition. I hope when I no longer roam the earth, one of my daughters will take the reins and bake them.

My own children have never had these cookies, a travesty I will certainly rectify beginning this year.

Without further adieu… I give you…

Mary’s Great Ginger Cookies

¾ cups butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 egg

¼ c molasses

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

2 tsp baking soda

2 cups flour

 

Cream butter and sugar until blended. Beat in egg and molasses. Stir flour and remaining ingredients until well mixed.

Cover and chill in refrigerator at least 2 hours (or overnight).

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Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper

Roll chilled dough into ¾” balls. Roll balls in sugar to coat, place on prepared cookie sheets.

Flatten slightly using the bottom of a glass that has been dipped in sugar to prevent sticking. Cookies should measure about 1 ½” across and ¼” high.

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Bake at 350 for 14 minutes.

Let rest 2 minutes before removing to cooling rack.

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Tip: Keep dough refrigerated when not in use.

I also make sure the cookie sheets are cool before making the next batch.. so the cookies don’t spread too much.

If you prefer a chewier cookie, roll 1” balls, and bake for 10 minutes.

These are good sturdy cookies that hold up well to shipping.

The dough lasts for a long time in the refrigerator making these cookies perfect for do-ahead baking. Plus it freezes well.

 

I hope you enjoy them!!

Jello Popcorn!!!

I have been obsessed with popcorn lately. I purchased a bag of MUSHROOM popcorn… which is the type used by the movie theaters. Each kernel pops larger, whiter, and fluffier than the kind you buy in the local food market.

My ‘go to’ popcorn combination for the past few years has been a little bit of butter sprinkled with Old Bay Seasoning. There is nothing better than a rainy day, an old movie, and a bowl of buttery popcorn. Ahhh…

It’s time to mix it up a bit! Time to break out of my rut and try something new. Grabbing my laptop I searched ‘popcorn recipes’ looking for something else to try. I ran across a website Just Poppin specializing in popcorn and read with interest about this mushroom popcorn. I was curious… so I whipped out my debit card and made a purchase. FYI… I must have been really excited as I very rarely purchase online.

BTW… if you have time, go check out the Just Poppin website. They have very clear, concise directions on popping corn to get the best bowl of yummiest e-v-e-r!

The moment the kernels hit my doorstop I ripped the package open and popped a batch of kettle corn. New popcorn, new recipe… YUM!!! Sweetness and Salty exploding in my mouth at the same time… riding on the outside of tender, fluffy popcorn. Hardly an old maid in the batch! HEAVEN!

Next on the hit list was the old fashioned Caramel Corn. Expecting this batch to remind me of cracker jacks, I was disappointed. The taste was ‘spot on’, but the texture was all wrong. The coating was too thick and chewy. The popcorn was only supposed to have a THIN candy coating of caramel instead of a blob. However, that didn’t prevent my son and me from gobbling the entire bowl. I have to go back to the drawing board on this one.

Perusing the Internet I came across a recipe for JELLO POPCORN. What? Who in their right mind would have thought THAT was a good idea??? A box of Strawberry  J-E-L-L-O has been hanging out in my cupboard for two years… time to put that lonely box to good use.

I have to admit… I was happily surprised. It’s not popcorn to eat while watching movies on a rainy day… but if you are throwing a party or need something sweet NOW… JELLO POPCORN is the answer.

Strawberry Jello Popcorn

Strawberry Jello Popcorn

Recipe:

8 cups popped corn (1/2 cup unpopped kernels)

1/4 butter

3 Tbl Light Corn Syrup

1/2 cup sugar

1 box (3.5oz) Jello – Any flavor. *NOT sugar free

Line a large roasting pan with parchment paper. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Pop corn and place in prepared roasting pan.

Melt butter in sauce pan over medium high heat. Add corn syrup, sugar, and Jello. Stir well and cook until boils. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir, and drizzle over pop corn. Mix well.

Bake 10 minutes.

Stir, cool, and EAT!!!

I got my EYE on you…

Eyebrows that is…

Didja know there is an entire salon that deals exclusively with… EYEBROWS? Really! I’m not kidding.

Have you taken a good close look in the mirror at YOURS lately?

A few towns up the road there is a place named The Arch Brow Bar. According to their website they are ‘pioneers in the art of eyebrow shaping’. I thought I would go in and see what they do. I was stunned. I had no clue there was so much you could do to eyebrows, including dying them. “OK”, I thought to myself. “I’ll bite. Let’s see what it’s like to get your eyebrows dyed”.

Years ago I had a large mole removed from the beginning of my right eyebrow. Hair that I used to tweeze now was needed to fill in the bare area… that wasn’t happening.

Also as we grow older our brows lighten on the outside edge causing a ‘surprised’ look. I am not self-conscious about my brows, but I thought this would be a fun adventure. A ‘girly’ thing to do… which is so out of character for me.

First off you have to OBTAIN an appointment with a ‘browista’… not a ‘barista’, a ‘browista’. The place is so booming my appointment had to be made 2 weeks out. I thought you could walk in off the street… silly me.

The day of my appointment I was asked to arrive a few minutes early. The receptionist handed me a clipboard with a 2-page information and medical history form to fill out. “What the heck?” I looked around the waiting room at the other patrons. I was definitely out of my realm. A group of young twenty-somethings, brandishing fresh mani-pedies, and cell phones blinged out to the point of blinding all the drivers on the highway outside filled the chairs.

I finally got called to the back room where the magic happens. Speak about being under a microscope!!! The ‘browista’ pulled a giant magnifying glass with a light towards my head where she got a better look at every flaw on my face.

After much scrutiny it is discovered I needed a wax (no duh), and I have a cowlick in my right eyebrow. “What? A cowlick? In my right eyebrow?” Did you know you could have eyebrow cowlicks? At my advanced age you would have thought I knew this already. However, since I’m not a ‘girly girl’ I never noticed.

The dying process took seconds. I thought they were a little dark… but hey, what do I know? I’m not well educated in the art of eyebrows, so I left the decision of color up to the professional. I was assured they would lighten in a few days. I studied my reflection in the mirror, overlooked the red puffiness and liked what I saw. In all my years I never gave any thought to my eyebrows and now I have become obsessed!

Next came the joy of paying for this experience. Without giving the exact amount, because I am too embarrassed to say I spent this much on something so frivolous, let me just say that I spent less on dinner for two at Applebee’s last night. PLUS the ‘browista’ needs to be tipped. Fifteen minutes of consultation, waxing and dying… and it needs to be repeated every 3 to 4 weeks.

Bottom Line… I loved the concept, was pampered and treated well, loved the final result, am saddened that my meager household budget can only afford ‘special occasion visits , and would consider going more frequently when I win the lottery… or marry a millionaire, whichever comes first.

Christmas Stockings…

Want to see what I made today??? Christmas Stockings!!!

They actually look much better in person than these photos. I think after the New Year I need to concentrate on taking better quality pictures for this blog.

I am so excited! Thanks to PINTEREST I got the idea to purchase a painter’s drop cloth at Home Depot to make a tablecloth for half the price of a pre-made one. It took me F-O-R-E-V-E-R to cut a 104″ circle and hem it… by HAND! It looks GREAT! Right now I left it the natural color… however it reminds me of a blank canvas just screaming to be painted.

When I moved to this house two years ago the stockings I have had for years didn’t seem to fit the ‘new me’ and my new lifestyle. I moved in October and Christmas came too fast to worry about making a new set. Last year I was in a ‘Bah Humbug’ mood and used gift bags. So THIS year I decided we HAD to have new ones. I hit the stores looking for the perfect stockings.

ICK! All I found were cheap, ugly, boring stockings. Sitting around staring at the pile of leftover painter’s drop cloth… a lightbulb clicked on… I’ll make them myself! The first one I made was mine. I wanted a ‘beach’ theme, inspired by Hurricane Sandy. Sewing is my life, so I pulled out my needles, threads, and scissors ready to start applique production. “NO! Let me do something different”, my brain screamed at me.

I hunted around for the fabric paints I bought over a year ago and scrounged them out of a long forgotten drawer. My mind conjured up all kinds of designs. I decided to paint out of my comfort zone and paint ‘loose-y, goose-y’. I love the final result.

Next was my daughter’s. I lost the carefree attitude and painted a lot more ‘controlled’ like I normally do. In reality the colors are hot pink, purple, and turquoise. Great combination. Her ‘groom to be’ is in the navy, so next up was to paint an anchor for his.

Last, but certainly not least was my son’s. He is in the movie biz… so film strips seemed appropriate.

My other daughter is jealous I didn’t make one for her and her husband, however I explained that only people sleeping over on Christmas Eve get one. Santa will fill their stockings at their house… not mine 🙂

Now that the hard work is done… it’s time to add the icing on the cake. I want to make embellishments and add a pretty bow to the hanging loop. I’ll paint and sew some holly leaves for the guys, a starfish for mine, and an ornament for my daughter’s.  There’s no rest for the weary!

 

No words…

My heart goes out to the families and loved ones dealing with this morning’s senseless tragedy. Words fail to describe the sadness I feel and hope the picture above convey’s my true feelings.

Many posters on the Internet are blaming lenient gun laws as the culprit. I happen to disagree. I firmly believe it is the personal responsibility of the gun owner to use the weapon correctly. Just as an automobile can become a weapon in the wrong hands, so can a gun. It is the unstable person carrying out their demented dreams that kill people… NOT the weapon itself.

I do not own a gun, nor will I ever. However I do own many things that used incorrectly could possibly cause as much damage and death as these killers have.

Today in China a man used a knife to injure 22 students and 1 adult. A person with issues is still a person with issues… whether he/she owns a gun, knife, bow and arrow, or a pair of scissors. Tighter Gun Control will NOT stop these things from happening.

It is sad we feel we are taking our lives in our hands to attend a movie, shop in a mall, or go to school… but that is the society we live in today. We go out in public at our own risk.

 

Refrigerator Delivery…

Woo! Hoo! I finally got a new refrigerator! It wasn’t easy, and it took 2 years, but it finally sits regally in my kitchen. Although it is larger than the one it replaced my kitchen looks and feels larger. I guess it’s the light bouncing off the stainless instead of being sucked in by the old black one.

Like shopping for a car, I look around until I know what I want… THEN I begin searching for the best deal. I have been dilly-dallying looking at refrigerators for the past few months, checking out all the different features. Did I want an icemaker and water dispenser… and if so, did I want it on the door too? Should the icemaker unit be on the inside of the door, on the top shelf in the refrigerator or in the freezer? These are all questions I never in a million years thought I would have to worry myself with.

Of course my daughter and I fell in love with the Cadillac of refrigerators. It had every bell and whistle… and a price tag to match. Once my eyes stopped spinning in my head I grabbed her arm and we left the store.

I just wanted a refrigerator that keeps my ice cream frozen and vegetables fresh. On advice from a friend I realized the more bells and whistles you have, the more things can go wrong. True… plus I’m a simple girl. So… uncomplicated is the buy word.

On my way home from work Monday I decided to stop in Home Depot and begin my search in earnest. It was time to research cubic inches, height, depth, annual cost to run, and so much more.

I did a ‘once around’ the appliance section, looking for the simplest refrigerator with a freezer on the bottom that I could find. I kind of wished I had someone with me to play ‘devil’s advocate’. I was reminded of the time I purchased my microwave. A friend came along and convinced me… rightfully so… to not be so cheap with myself and purchase the microwave a step up from the one I settled on. That day I learned I shouldn’t ‘settle’ if I could afford it… today I remembered that lesson and changed my way of thinking.

Turning the corner at the first aisle I looked for the refrigerator my daughter fell in love with a few weeks ago. Not only was it there… but ON SALE! AND…. On CLEARANCE!!!!! Once all the discounts were applied it was HALF PRICE!!! My name was written all over it… S-O-L-D! I had been in this store for a total of 10 minutes and here I am ready to buy an expensive refrigerator.

I wasn’t planning to purchase a refrigerator today, so monetarily I wasn’t prepared. My debit card only allows up to $950 a day, so when making large purchases I need to call ahead and let the bank in on my plans. Normally that’s not a problem… however today I couldn’t get them on the phone. I stood at the register for 20 minutes listening to repeated recordings over and over again. UGH!

“Ya know… it would be faster for me to drive to the bank and get the cash. I’ll be right back”, I said to the startled sales clerk. And with that I left. I drove the mile and a half to my bank, withdrew the cash, admonished the manager, and was back in my car within 15 minutes.

Whoa… wait a minute. I never asked the cubic feet, I have no idea if this thing will even fit in my house. In addition, delivery is not included, nor is set up and haul away because it is a clearance item. Oh well… my gut tells me this is the right one so I ignore my instant of panic and drive on.

“Okay, I’m back”. I tracked down another sales clerk and started all over again. This time when the register asked for payment I began to pull the money out of my purse. John… according to his nametag looked at me dumbfounded.

“We can’t accept cash”.

“What? You are kidding me, right”?

“Nope. I have to escort you to the Pro Service Desk up front. Store policy is to not accept cash here on the floor. Management is afraid we will stick it in our pocket instead of the cash drawer.”

So… to the Pro Service Desk we go. I pay… then we arrange the delivery…. For an additional fee. It can be delivered next day! Whoopie!

Again it is explained to me that it is ‘curbside’ delivery. Continuing, I’m told that I will be called a half an hour before they plan to arrive, it will be a box truck. I was then told there was a possibility I might be able to persuade the drivers to pull it in my kitchen if they have the time and it’s not too difficult… wink, wink.

The next morning I get up early. My plan is to clean up the kitchen a bit, slip a few bucks in my pocket for a tip and when they call to say they are a half an hour out I will move the cars to the street to make it easier for the guys to drop it off near my back door. Besides… I’m afraid if it is left on the curb someone will come by and steal it when I’m not looking. Seriously!

Of course it didn’t happen like that. Things never are that simple. I inadvertently gave Home Depot the wrong phone number, so I didn’t know they were coming until they got here. It wasn’t a box truck either… it was a HUGE tractor trailer which blocked my street and ticked off a few neighbors who couldn’t get around it… with a gigantic fork lift with tractor tires! The nice driver offered to drop it at the back door for me if I moved the cars. His lift was wider than my driveway, but that didn’t stop him from driving up the curb and on my next-door neighbor’s gravel walk way… until the beginning of the fence made him stop.

So far so good… My old refrigerator is scheduled to be picked up by NJ Clean Water in a few days. The new one in the backyard is waiting for my neighbor to get home and help my son move it inside. I have a hurt pinky finger… no, really… so I’m not a lot of help.

I popped a tendon or something in my left pinky and it’s killing me. Our dog knows it to and is constantly trying to lick it and make it better. Dogs amaze me!

This has all happened so fast that I haven’t even had a chance to ask my neighbor if he would be home and willing to help. I was just taking a chance. After waiting all day my son decides our neighbor isn’t coming home until late and pops up out of the chair and says, “OK, let’s get this refrigerator in the house”. The sun has set and it’s dark outside… and NOW he wants to move it in??

I begin to empty the old refrigerator as he goes outside to unwrap the new one. Due to Hurricane Sandy there is not a lot of food to move. It all had to replaced having had no power for so long. I place the frozen food in the sink and everything else on the counter. This shouldn’t take long I surmise. Ha!

I obviously am not educated in moving heavy objects. I measured the door opening and the refrigerator… oops… off by an inch, and that’s not including the handles. Uh-oh.  The first thing we learned was how to remove the back door. Next, grabbing a flashlight, the manual, and screwdriver my son goes to work removing the handles. This is all way outside my comfort zone. Uh… it requires a tool I don’t own… a 3/32 Allen Wrench. Damn! My tool selection is lacking. I have the basics… A hammer, wrench, pliers, and multi head screwdriver… that’s it. My neighborhood is a ghost town with no one home to borrow from.

Oh well… it can’t be done without this tool, so I jump in the car headed to Home Depot to purchase a set. “Wait… Sears is closer, they sell Craftsman Tools”, I think to myself. I pull into their lot, run in the store and frantically search for the tool department. Apparently not all Sear’s stores carry tools… ours being one of them. Who knew? HOWEVER… I notice the Lands End turtlenecks I love so much are on sale for $10 each!!! I stop and pick up a few. SCORE!

Back in the car I head out of the lot when again I think, “Wait, Target is right here. They have a tool department”. I swing the car into their lot. Knowing I have chicken thawing in my sink at home and my back door is off the hinges allowing cold air to stream in the house, I half run to the back corner of the store to the tool section, crossing my fingers they have what I need. The only Allen wrench set comes in a whole case with all kinds of other tools. Crap! I don’t need all the rest of the tools, just the wrenches. I glance up at the price… oh hey… the entire set is on sale for $9. SOLD! While I’m at it I noticed a fun little tool my future son-in-law would love for Christmas, so I grabbed that too. Another SCORE!

I race home! My son is waiting. It is cold, dark, and getting late. I took a chance and ran to my neighbor’s hoping he has come home and can help. Nope… still not home.

Success! The handles come off and we are ready to haul this puppy inside. It didn’t go smoothly, but between the two of us (mostly him) the refrigerator finally made it into the kitchen where it belonged. I quickly began putting the food in and noticed the compressor never kicked in. “Oh, please don’t tell me it doesn’t work!” My mind goes into overdrive trying to figure out what to do with the food. I guess I can put it back in the old one, which is now out in the back yard, and run an extension cord out the window. Damn!

When all else fails, read the manual. This refrigerator runs by computer electronics. According to the manual if you press two buttons at the same time, hold for 3 seconds, stand on your head and spit wooden nickels you should be able to program the temperature settings and get the thing humming. It took ten minutes to realize the door had to be open for all of this to work. THAT tidbit of information was NOT in the manual.

All’s well that ends well. Thank heaven’s my son was here or that behemoth of a steel box would still be sitting in my back yard. Now… what type of orange juice should I buy? Some pulp, no pulp, Home style, Grovestand, Calcium fortified or Vitamin D? There are just as many decisions to purchasing orange juice as there are purchasing the refrigerator it goes in.

New refrigerator????

O! M! G!… Have you seen the price of refrigerators lately????  I paid less for my 1972 Super Beetle back in the day. How can these manufacturers justify the cost? Will it cook and serve me dinner? Does it come with diamonds in the ice cube trays? No?

My current refrigerator works, just not well. I purchased my home 2 years ago, equipped with this black box, to match the black stove/oven. Black, ick! The color sucks all the brightness out of my kitchen, making it hard for me to ‘make friends’ with the space. I told myself the color wasn’t so bad, the appliances work, I can’t afford to replace them, and in the end of it all who really cares?

Turns out I care. I’m spoiled. My old house had a really nice stainless steel refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom. I got used to being able to see all my food at eye level. That refrigerator was too big and wouldn’t fit in the available space, so I didn’t bring it along.

So for two years I ignored the color. I plan on redesigning the kitchen soon any way, so I’ll wait until then to purchase a new one… UNTIL… I reach in the vegetable bin and pull out a slimey FROZEN cucumber… AGAIN! I have thrown out so much frozen goo it kills me. Sometimes it’s fine, other times it’s not. There is no rhyme or reason to when I should expect it. Oh… and the freezer? The freezer can’t keep my ice cream frozen… the spoon cuts through the half gallon like it’s pudding.

I have played around with the control settings, and even called in a repair man… all to no avail. I give up! It’s time to bite the bullet and purchase a new one.

The hunt is on!!! I have so many decisions to make. Cost doesn’t really factor into it… I will pay whatever it takes to get what I want (and hope it’s on sale), I just don’t know what that is. I know I want the freezer on the bottom, but do I want French Doors or just a single? How about an ice maker… yes or no? One side of me wants the ice maker so I can thumb my nose at my late husband who would never allow me to have one; but will I really use it? And if I DO decide on an ice maker do I want it on the door? How about that nifty water dispenser… yes or no? And the smaller drawer just for cold cuts… is that really a bonus? Stainless steel or white? Counter depth? Cubic feet? ACK!!!!

I’m a simple girl. I only want my produce fresh and my ice cream frozen. I can pour my own water and crack my own ice cube trays… right? Do they still make simple refrigerators or am I dating myself??

Any suggestions???

 

Unsettled…

I can’t get over the feeling I’m ‘unsettled’. You know… as in ‘not on my path’. I believe everyone has a path in life to follow. You don’t know which direction you are to head, but as long as you stay on target most things work out. Little side trips off the main trail are OK… your heart and soul will tell you when to return to the original plan. These blips on the radar are meant to expand your thinking, giving you a better view of your goal in life.

In the past I know I have been travelling in the right direction. It hasn’t been easy… and the bumpy road certainly has not been paved with gold. There are no cheerleaders on the sidelines pointing the correct direction. At every turn I made a choice by listening to my head and heart. 99% of the time I felt I made the right decision. It’s that 1% that is bothering me now.

I am not on my path. In my heart I KNOW I’m headed the right way; however I feel someONE or someTHING is standing in the way and I can’t get around it no matter how hard I try. It’s very frustrating.

A few weeks back I was baking pies for Thanksgiving. The music was cranked, I was singing along having a grand time. I was happy. I haven’t felt genuinely happy in a very long time. It felt sooooooo… good. Having made many pies in my life I can toss them together on autopilot so I let my mind wander a bit.

Crack! “CRAP!” My bowl shattered into pieces. This wasn’t just ANY bowl! No, it belonged to an old set of Pyrex my mother gave me when I left home at the age of 18. It was the ONLY thing she gave me. Just a few moments before I was marveling at the beautiful shape it was in. Having only hand washed these bowls over the years I patted myself on the back for keeping their color bright and clear.

Wahhhhhhhhh…. My bowl is in pieces!

It was my own damn fault this bowl broke. Not paying attention I placed the bowl on the stovetop because there was no room on my teeny tiny counter. The burner was still on simmer from cooking previously. All seasoned cooks know you NEVER place Pyrex on an open flame. It even says so embossed on the bottom of the bowl.

My PTSD kicked into high gear. As I wiped up the mess and tried to stop the melted butter from oozing into the gas burners, all I could think about was that it served me right to have my favorite bowl break. I was happy and not paying attention. I chastised myself for letting my guard down. I should have been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Obviously I am not allowed to be happy. Every time I am happy… BAM… something happens, and it usually is not a good thing.

I start to silently cry over the broken bowl. Tears drip down my cheeks. Two of my kids are in the other room, so I suck it up and quickly flick them away. At first I am amazed at myself… it’s only a bowl for heaven’s sake. I don’t get attached to material possessions. Really! Yes, my mom gave me that set, and yes I really liked it… but so what? It can be replaced. My first reaction was to throw the rest of the set away, mostly so I wouldn’t have to look at the space the broken bowl would not be filling. Then common sense prevailed and I put the remaining bowls back on the shelf where they belong.

I wasn’t crying over the loss of the bowl. No, I was crying over the loss of my happiness… and my feeling of not deserving it in the first place. I can be very hard on myself at times. PTSD is not very forgiving.

My fight or flight response told me to stop baking. Give up, run away from the kitchen. The most important pie, the chocolate cream was already made… the others were ‘extras’… my contribution to the Thanksgiving table. Stopping now would mean nothing to anyone. I fought the urge with all my strength and stayed. I stubbornly finished each and every pie I originally set out to bake.

A pumpkin pie with a gingersnap crust, a chocolate cream with graham cracker crust, and apple hand pies were completed with a determined look on my face. Gone were the tears, the smile, and the singing. All the fun was drained out of me and finishing the baking became a chore. But I am NOT a quitter… so I completed the task at hand.

Sometimes it’s the PTSD blocking my way. I can work around that. First I stop what I’m doing and become completely still, then take one huge breath in through my nose and exhale through my mouth. That forces my racing heart to slow down. Next I focus my mind on something totally different, like a difficult math problem. Once under control I resume what I was doing… like baking pies.

Not all detours are caused by the PTSD… and those are the ones I don’t know how to get around. Those are the blockades that frustrate me. I can’t explain what they are, how they get there, or WHY they are there… they just are… and I feel unsettled because of them.

So… How do I find my way? I’m stumped for an answer. It seems every time I think I have a solution… boom… another blockade slams down in front of me… and I stop dead in my tracks wondering what in the hell happened.

I can do so many wonderful things… I raised 3 good kids, cared for a sick spouse, started up and ran a multi-million dollar business, travelled cross country and back without a map in the days BEFORE GPS, sailed in a hurricane, and so much more. You would think getting back on my path would be a piece of cake… er… pie, wouldn’t you?

Life shouldn’t be this difficult! I live for the day everything falls back into place and I am happy everyday… the way I know I can be. It’s just a little out of my reach, I can see it in the distance, it’s coming… I have to believe that!