Random Thoughts

1.) Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?  Open, you can see the monsters that way.

2.) Do you take shampoo and conditioner bottles from hotels?  Well, of course!

3.) Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out? Oh, MY goodness!  Sheets MUST be tucked in to keep out the monsters who could come out of the closet at any moment!  Everyone knows that a nice cotton sheet will repel all unwanted guests.  And, really?!? UN-tucked sheets are just wrong on way too many levels to delve into here.

4.) Have you ever stolen a street sign? Umm, hmmm.  Well, that depends on your definition of “stolen”.

5.) Do you cut out coupons and then never use them? I am the Coupon Queen.  There are simply things you should NEVER pay for, like toothpaste and shampoo.

6.) Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees? I am allergic to bees, so I’ll be taking my chances with the bear.

7.)Do you always smile for pictures?  Yes

8.) Do you ever count your steps when you walk?  Uh, No.  I am not that OCD.

9.) Have you ever peed in the woods?  Yes, in a national park, on a hike.

10.) Do you still watch cartoons?  Do The Simpson’s count?

11.) Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some? Well, if I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore!

12.) What do you drink with dinner?  Depends- Lemonade, beer, wine, Kool-Aid.

13.) What do you dip a chicken nugget in?  Mustard or Honey or that amazing Polynesian Sauce from Chick-Fil-A!

14.) What movies could you watch over and over and still love?  The Women, To Kill A Mockingbird, Independence Day, My Fair Lady, The Princess Bride, The Notebook, Under the Tuscan Sun, …

15.) Were you ever a girl scout?  Yes

16.) Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine?   Not in a million years!

17.) Can you change the oil on your car?  Yep!

18.) Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket?  Nope.  I can cry on cue and by quite hysterically “Sorry officer”.

19.) Afraid of heights?  Not really.

20.) Do you sing in the car?  All. The. Time.

21.) Is Christmas stressful?  Of Course!

22.) Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid.  A Nurse (thank God I got over that!), A Teacher, A photographer

23.) Do you believe in ghosts?  No

24.) The first concert you ever went to.   Sandi Patty- Don’t judge.

25.) Walmart, Target, or Kmart?  Target!

26.) Nike or Adidas?  Nikes

27.) Can you curl your tongue?  Nope

28.) Have you ever cried because you were so happy?   Yes- a lot of times!

29.) The last concert you saw?   Not sure.

30.) Can you swim well?   Not particularly

31.) Can you knit of crochet?  I’m not that old yet!

32.) Are you a dog person or a cat person?  Yes.  Mostly cat because they are independent and self-cleaning.

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Who Am I?

I Am

I am Creative and strong
I wonder who I’m going to be when I grow up
I hear the soft waves hitting the beaches at Cape Cod
I see the bridge to everywhere
I want to accomplish my goals
I am creative and strong

I pretend that I am already free to be who I am
I feel comforted by love and belief, with strong attachments
I touch the edge of the universe
I worry that I may die too young
I cry when I think of what could have been
I am Creative and strong

I understand that I cannot change the past, but I can change tomorrow
I say I can be anything I want to be and do all I imagine being possible
I dream of being a success and making an impact on the world
I try to look for and savor small pleasures
I hope my children become strong, ethical, kind and generous
I am creative and strong

This is a post inspired by MamaKat’s Writer’s Workshop, which is pretty much my main source of inspiration at the moment.  If you’ve hit a dry spell, or, like me, are simply overwhelmed with life in general at the moment, check out her blog!

If I Were Still Alone. . .

It is ironic that Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop chose this as a challenge of the week.  It is exactly part of my current struggle in an ongoing saga of, “Who the hell have I become?”  I am middle age-ish and in the midst of Erikson’s Generativity vs. Stagnation stage,  I am frustrated at my lack of being “settled” somewhere- anywhere, just settled.  Ya know, pick a career and make a go of it!  Be somebody!  Excel!  Accomplish! Settle!

I am in the process of moving from three part-time jobs to ONE full-time job.  While this sounds like heaven on earth, finding the job has been nothing if not completely stressful. Like, wake up at all hours of the night and not be able to go back to sleep resulting in pretty much continual exhaustion, stressful.

Over the past three weeks I have, admittedly, entertained thoughts of, “What if it were Just Me?”, “What if I had never married and had kids?”, “How would this be different?”  The answers?  Well, I’m SO glad the Writer’s Workshop asked! 

The ten things I miss about being alone, in no particular order, are:

1.  The freedom to come and go as I choose.  Having the ability to make my own schedule was amazing and simple and wonderful.  Lonely at times, but I was a good friend to myself and I had a good time.

2.  The freedom to eat whatever I want, whenever I want.  Sometimes, given the amount of stress I have, the whole “We must eat at 5:00 thing is overwhelming indeed.

3.  The capacity to move across town or across the country if that would be best for me.  I can find jobs in my chosen field, just not in my current locale.  Major bummer.  It’s either uproot my kids and hope my husband could find work elsewhere, or suck it up and maybe change career paths- SO not my choice!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

4.  The ability to make all decisions based solely on what’s good for me. See above.

5.  The freedom to go home at night and sit in front of the TV and do blessedly-NOTHING, which includes thinking!  The ability to get lost in, say, Matlock where every detail is taken care of in a mere 60 minute time slot. 

6.  Expendable income.  I just want to be able to buy, say, a latte without having to scrounge change from the floorboards. 

7.  The ability to pick up and go out at a moment’s notice.  You know, when a friend calls and wants to just go downtown and hang out.

8.  The freedom to spend the amount of time I need doing research and writing.

9.  Peace and quiet.

10.  A clean house.

THOSE are the things I miss most. 

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop

Panna Cotta

I LOVE dessert!  I love sweets, mostly chocolate ones, but all sweets are a delight.  I especially have a fondness for the creamy, custard-like, smooth as silk wonderment that is Panna Cotta; an easy, yet elegant dessert.  I enjoy cooking and making people feel special because I cooked for them.  I am especially fond of this recipe.  I have been making Panna Cotta for years, but decided to try this recipe I found at David Lebovitz’s blog.  If you enjoy cooking, good cooking, you really MUST check it out! 

 The recipe is simple:

4 cups  heavy cream (or half-and-half)

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

2 packets powdered gelatin (about 4 1/2 teaspoons)

6 tablespoons cold water

 

1. Heat the heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan or microwave. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.  (If using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean into the cream and add the bean pod. Cover, and let infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the bean then rewarm the mixture before continuing.)

 2. Lightly oil eight custard cups with a neutral-tasting oil.

 3. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.

 4. Pour the very warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

 5. Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the prepared cups, then chill them until firm, which will take at least two hours but I let them stand at least four hours. If you’re pressed for time, pour the Panna Cotta mixture into wine goblets so you can serve them in the glasses, without unmolding.

 6. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each Panna Cotta and unmold each onto a serving plate, and garnish as desired.

Personally, while I like lemon toppings, I really like this Red Wine Sauce, also from David Lebovitz’s blog.

Red Wine Syrup  Makes 4 servings

 1/2 cup (125ml) red wine

3 tablespoons (50g) sugar

1/2 to 1 small basket of strawberries (about 4 ounces, 100g)

1. In a non-reactive skillet, cook the red wine and sugar until the bubbles get thick. Once the syrup is reduced to half its original quantity (1/4 cup), remove from heat and scrape into a bowl to cool completely.

 2. Rinse, hull, and slice strawberries. Toss in syrup, let stand for a minute to two, then spoon onto custards.

Try it yourself and see!  in the meantime, visit MamaKat’s Writer’s Workshop for some ideas of your own!

Slop Bucket List

Inspired once again by MamaKat’s Writer’s Workshop, here are the Top Ten Things I NEVER Want To Do:

10.  Camping- in any form- tent, camper, lodge, etc.  I am not a high maintenance kind of girl.  I don’t require designer things or to have my nails done.  I don’t need lattes from Starbucks or fancy jewelry.  However, I DO require indoor plumbing, a heat/air system and a nice soft bed free of bugs and rodents as well as the possibility that if I close my eyes, one might appear.

9. Play in a Band:  I sing and I enjoy it.  However, I just don’t like loud music.  I never really have. 

8.  White Water Raft:  The only white water I want to see is from the current in a jacuzzi.  That’s as adventurous as I get.  Sorry. 

7.  Professional Bra Fitting:  Ladies, there’s just not that much there in the first place, and I really don’t need someone else to call attention to my short-comings.  Also, true confession- I have never wanted to be any bigger than the size “A”  I am.  When I was pregnant and they got to the enormous size of a “C” cup (not even kidding), they were, frankly, in my way.  They made exercise difficult and they were sweat traps.  So, I’ll just be an “A”.  I like it that way.

6.  Wear Contacts:  If God had meant for us to intentionally stick things in our own eyes, He would not have made blinking a reflex!  Think about it.

5.  Be A Nurse:  I am a compassionate woman.  I am.  And, perhaps being, say, an obstetrics nurse would be okay.  However, to get to that point, there are a lot of “dues” to be paid, and frankly, I’m just not willing to voluntarily clean up anyone’s bodily fluids.  I am a sympathy puker.  I’m not thinking that is on the list of attributes that make an effective nurse.  So, while I am amazingly grateful to those nurses who have been there for me at various stages of stomach upset and post-op insanity, I am unwilling to pay that price to “be there” for total strangers. 

4. Go Sky-Diving:  Why?  Why would anyone jump from a perfectly well-functioning airplane?  Why leave the relative comfort of such a vehicle, opting instead, for a thin piece of nylon that is “supposed” to launch via “pull cord”?  Hello?  What if the chord breaks?  Malfunctions?  What if. . . .?  Well, the possibilities are endless, so uh, no thanks!

3.  Go caving:  Again, why?  Why crawl into a space inhabited by God knows what with a light attached to your head?  I want to go into a place with lights ON in the ceiling, operated by a switch.  Oh, and that dank, musty smell?  I’ll skip that too please.

2.  Run a Marathon:  Again, why?  Is something chasing you?  Did you lose a bet?  Seriously?  For fun?  I don’t get it.  My running shoes are for “running” errands.  They provide a nice bounce in my step at the grocery and Target.  That’s all I need, really.

1.  Eat raw oysters.  I love fried oysters.  Anything fried is good, and so wonderfully bad for you at the same time.  But, the slime of the little critters is beyond my ability to swallow and the mere thought of allowing it to “just glide down your throat” as some have suggested, makes me gag!  So, thanks, but no.

Top Ten Dramas

Wow!  Life has a way of just happening all over the place and it has certainly been awhile since I stopped here.  However, I am only 25 days late starting my New Year’s resolution to write-often.  Hmm, maybe it should have been about procrastination?  Nah, I’ll save that for some other year.

So, from Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop:

Here are my life’s Top Ten, well, sort of.  My ACTUAL top ten would be, well, maybe not so reader-friendly and some of them are far too personal to include in even an anonymous blog like this.  However, in no particular order, here is the portion of my life that made the “Top Ten” cut:

10.  In the second grade, I deliberately misspelled a word in the classroom Spelling Bee so that I did not have to get up in front of EVERYONE in the WHOLE SCHOOL and compete.  I actually did this same thing in the eighth grade.  In eighth grade, I really just wanted to see if I could make the top score in the preliminary competition/spelling test.  I did.

 

 

 

9.  I once suggested, okay, DARED my sister to eat an earthworm.  She did.  I have never lived that one down.  My story is that she made a personal decision-totally her choice.  That’s my story and I’ve stuck to it for over two decades.

8.  I almost died in childbirth the first time around.  Lots of blood loss, thousands of stitches (literally) and 9 months of recovery time, which obviously left me delusional since;

7.  There is a child number TWO?!?!?!?  and in that experience SHE almost died.  After a 14 day stint in the Neo-Natal Unit, well, I came to my senses and thus, we have only two children.

6.  I broke both of my wrists in the first grade.  I was, innocently enough, waiting, like a good girl, to have my turn at the jump rope when-BAM– out of nowhere I was knocked down by two boys running where they weren’t supposed to be.  UGH!  Yep, two broken bones in each arm,  right before Christmas!

 

5.  I almost drowned.  In a lake.  On a mission trip.  = Huge trauma which created the fact that I will NEVER take a cruise ANYWHEREever.  I understand that it is probably totally illogical to connect drowning to a cruise ship sinking, but umm, have you seen the news lately?!??  The Titanic isn’t alone people.  It COULD happen.   It did– just the other day.  I’m just sayin’.

4.  I never took less than 18 hours per semester, because, yes.  Yes, actually, I AM that much of an overachiever.  Oh!  AND, my GPA?  3.89 cumulative, thank you very much!

 

3.  I once bought a frozen pie crust, thawed it, and passed it off as my own at (Gasp) a church (Gasp!) function.  Oh, the Horror!!!

2.  I have talked/cried/distorted the truth in order to avoid not one, but TWO speeding tickets in my life.  I have never actually been given a ticket.

1.  I once stole a mini styrofoam ball from our local five and dime.  I was 6.  I hid it and played with it at night in my room.  I have NO idea what the big thrill was.  Go figure!  I eventually threw it away because I became convinced that I would go to jail if it was ever found.  Oh, the price, had I actually PAID for it?  A whole seven cents. 

And, there, in all it’s mundaneness, is my Top Ten.