Family and Relationships

•04/27/2012 • Leave a Comment

I haven’t written in a long time. Over a year I’m sure. Maybe more. Lots of changes have taken place. I moved. I got married ❤ and sadly, my Mama passed away. I thought at first I’d write about the love story of my husband and I but then chose not to. Some things are sacred and friends and family are already in the know. Then I thought I’d write about the experience of my Mama passing. I also changed my mind about that for the same reason. Some things are just to sacred to “Blog about it”. However what I do feel compelled to write about, is something I learned from my Mama. It was something she said a few months before she passed away. We were on the phone and talking about, I think my cousin, who is a teacher and young, busy mom of 3. She said “If YOU don’t cultivate relationships, then you won’t have any”. That’s pretty deep and I’ve spent a good amount of time pondering that statement.

My Mama and I didn’t always have a good relationship and I’m very thankful that over the last 5 years before she passed away, we repaired and made things right between us. I’d be stricken with so much guilt if we hadn’t. She made a lot of mistakes. She was genuinely sorry and remorseful. I forgave her and that was the end of it. I wanted my Mama. We are not all perfect. I have 2 sons, 18 and 21. I too have made mistakes and am going through the same thing with my older son and I thought at the time, “I hope to be forgiven some day”. I was in her shoes and know how she felt. I feel a connection to her in that we’re very much alike. We made mistakes. We made mistakes that our children bore the consequences of. We felt and feel genuine remorse and have a desire for forgiveness for our mistakes and want/wanted, a genuine, loving relationship with our children.

That statement she made seems fairly straightforward. I have really thought about the deeper meaning of it. I wondered, upon whose shoulders does the responsibility rest, for maintaining contact and relationships? Should it rest upon the shoulders of our younger generation? They’re busy. They’re busy either working on starting their lives or franky as in the case with my cousin, living their lives and being parents. Perhaps the responsibility should rest upon OUR shoulders. The parents, aunts, uncles, etc who have completed parenting and are free to relax and just live. It has also left me thinking about the latter of generations in families and how those rungs can become blurred with some having children at a later age in life. I have a cousin who is 50 and a mom of 2 young boys AND a 22 year old. She’s got feet on 2 rungs. I have a cousin who is 49 who never married and never had any kids. Yep, the rungs are blurred. That also leaves my nephew the only boy who can carry on our family name. If he doesn’t have kids, the family name will disappear with him. He’s the last one at this point in time.

For me personally, I’ve slipped into the next rung and am finally coming to terms with that fact. I don’t know if I’m doing it gracefully or not but I’m doing it. I’m in the older generation now. My kids and their friends and young cousins are all coming of age and seemingly “running the show” now or soon will be. I’m a house wife and I have time. For me, I’m going to take that lesson she learned and try hard to cultivate and maintain relationships with others in my family because, regardless of what rung they’re on, I know that they matter and that I want to have relationships with my family members, old and young. Who really cares who has learned that lesson as long as I have. Perhaps that’s something everyone needs to think about. Somebody needs to be in charge of maintaining familial relationships and contact while our younger generation are getting their lives started and in order. If nobody is, family grows apart and well, that’s just no good. So, in YOUR family, upon whose shoulders does that responsibilty rest?

❤ ❤

Sagittarius, myths and facts.

•06/19/2010 • 10 Comments

 

 I’m not sure why I want to write about Sagittarius. I think there are a handful of reasons, not the least of which is that I am one. I know several. My father is one, one of my sons was born on a cusp of Sag, I have a handful of friends that are Sag and I never met one that I didn’t like. Ever. That includes myself. I like me. Even people who I just really get along with that I didn’t know were Sag, there were times with them that I found out and realized “No wonder I like them so much!”

HONESTY: Sagittarians are wonderful people. We’re honest, some say to a fault because most other signs aren’t used to the level of candor and honestly you’ll receive from a Sag. While it is true that at times our honesty is more than you want, rest assured, we’re never honest with an intent to harm anyone’s feelings. That’s just not the cloth from which we’re cut. People’s feelings get hurt more often, but not always, when they’re fishing for compliments. We assume you ask for the truth because you want the truth. We also have egos that don’t bruise easily. That we can take the truth, unfettered by “prettying up”, it’s only natural for us to assume the same of others. We only learn from experience that that isn’t the case with most other people and learn to temper our honesty with more tact, just don’t expect us to lie to you. Giving another person real, candid honesty is the most respectful thing we can do and is something that many others will not. Learn to appreciate that. It’s a gift we give to you.

INTUITION: We’re an intuitive bunch. We can usually spot disingenuous behavior straight away and I personally am repelled by that as are most other Sags that I’ve met. We can certainly understand and even appreciate, others need for privacy so if you don’t want to share everything, that’s fine. However if we know you’re not being genuine or start telling us lies, we will be aware of it. A mature Sag can spot your true colors in pretty short order. This is usually why Sags are often surrounded by so many other quality people. We will not entertain relations with those we don’t trust.  We also have a keen sense of what underlies the behaviors of others. We can quickly assess what makes a person tick and that allows us to be a better friend.

DATING AND RELATING: Sagittarius people are, I’d say, one of the only signs that understands and fully grasps the concept of “As well as, not instead of”, when it comes to dating, friendships and others of the opposite gender. Many Sag people have been in relationships where jealousy reigns supreme even when our partner indicates they trust us. Jealousy is an indication to me at least, that you don’t trust me or my ability to withstand the advances of others and make no mistake, I won’t soon forget your lack of faith in me when I’ve given you my word. I find that incredibly insulting. Sure, we have lots of friends of both genders but it isn’t illicit. When we like somebody and make friends with a person of the opposite gender, it isn’t “instead of” our partner, it’s as well as and we won’t stick you in a closet and hide you while we’re out enjoying people and life. If we’ve promised to be faithful, rest assured, we will or we wouldn’t have said we would. Remember that honesty thing? If we have NOT promised to be faithful, we probably won’t be.  On that, many people mistake our genuine appreciation of others as flirting and say as much when they talk about Sag. This isn’t always true. While we do enjoy flirting, more often than not, we’re simply being honest, decent human beings and if we think you’re a beautiful person, we’re more likely to tell you about it. That doesn’t mean we want to have sex, it just means we’re being genuine and think you’re a beautiful person. That’s all. We still plan to go home to our partners who we also believe are beautiful or we wouldn’t be there. A Sag can’t fake it. A relationship may be short lived, but know this, we appreciated you while it lasted and will likely still be your good friend, unless you did something to warrent otherwise. Blessed be the man or woman who steals the heart of a Sag.

HONOR: We are a very honorable bunch, us Sagittarians. We truly believe in “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and it often baffles and hurts us when this doesn’t happen or when our genuinely good intentions are questioned. We are one of the few who truly can be taken at face value. I can’t speak for all others, but I personally believe that you get back out of life, that which you put into it. If you’re being dishonest and cruddy to people, being selfish and nasty, that’s what you can expect back. Hence our forthrightness in our dealings with others as well as our seeming streaks of good luck. We’re decent, humane and honest people and as such, that’s what we get back out of life. It’s a lot easier to find success when you truly know what your dealing with and you know what you’re dealing with because you yourself have been genuine and honest with people you interact with. It isn’t luck, it’s being a decent person. We reap what we sow.

LIFE OUTLOOK: We are a creative bunch and please don’t try to curb that creativity. Animals, nature, beauty in ALL things…. it’s what fuels our fire. We NEED a creative outlet. Some of us, like me, write. We enjoy capturing the beauty of what we see, feel and experience and want to share that with others via whatever medium we choose, be it photography, art, writing, painting, cooking, teaching, etc. Because we often feel what other’s feel and are impacted by that to some extent, we enjoy sharing our experiences because we want you to see and feel the greatness of experiences that we have had too. I have a personal motto “I just like to know stuff” and that’s true of most. I don’t care if it seems relevant or not. I do truly just like to learn things. Regardless of astrologers write ups about our personality, you can take this straight from the horses mouth, we just like to know things and continue to know more and more and more. Everything we know, learn and experience is relevant to us in some way. Plus, our interest is genuine so if we’re asking you questions about yourself… keep that in mind.

FREEDOM: I will say on this, we are a freedom loving group of people. It isn’t that we are non-committal to projects, people, relationships, etc. it’s that it needs to be our choice. I’ll use a scenario from when I was little. My Mother would tell me to please stay inside. As long as the door was open and I knew I was free to go, I was happy to comply and stay indoors. It was my choice to do so. As soon as the door was closed and locked behind me, it was no longer my choice and I’d find a way to get outdoors again. I will not be trapped. I’ll scramble out the window, or whatever. Not to get away from my mother but to retain my sense of freedom. The same is true in all other aspects of my life. It needs to be my choice. A Sag will NOT be controlled. People say we are non-committal to things but the reality is that we need it to be our choice. Respect me enough to allow me to CHOOSE rather than try to force me or trick me into something. If you trick me into something and I find out, it’s the worst offense you could commit against a Sag. Freedom is about choice, take that away and I’ll run the first chance I get, again, not to get away from you but to retain my freedom and my right to choose. If I run, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about you, it means I feel controlled and I won’t have it.

SEX: Ok here we go…. one of the many popular subjects when people seek out info on signs. A Sag is different from many others in this regard. As has been well established, we like to enjoy enjoying, we like to share, we are creative and this too can be an outlet. However, where other signs can just  hook up indiscriminately, you will not find that with a Sag. If we are not interested, we won’t go there… if we are and you’re willing… be ready for some fun. We are not inhibited, we like to experiment and like all else in life, it’s something to be enjoyed. Don’t be shy around a Sag in the bedroom. We don’t hold unrealistic expectations, ideas or anything else.  You must however be comfortable in your own skin, literally and figuratively. It doesn’t matter if you think you look funky in a certain position as long as you enjoy it! That’s all that matters! That and RESPECT…..Sag’s don’t kiss and tell.

OPTIMISM: Sag people can most definitely be hurt. We just aren’t likely to mope about, whining and moaning about it. We will quickly recover and get on with our life. Most of us have a very sunny disposition and are optimistic in the extreme. If for example, you tell me that you got mugged, I’ll of course be sympathetic and feel your pain right along with you. But I will always find a bright side and I might say “Well if we all have a 20% chance of being mugged once in our life and a 1% chance of being mugged twice, at least now you can get on with it knowing that it isn’t likely to happen again”. That isn’t me being insensitive, it’s the Sagittarian optimism and way of looking on the bright side.

VARIANCES: There are exceptions to every rule and no two people are exactly alike. There are however certain traits that are similar in all Sag’s.

Chocolate Mousse, Vegan (Yes it kicks ass!)

•04/01/2010 • 1 Comment

 

Who’d a thunk it, vegan chocolate mousse. I am now a believer. See, after I went through a BOATLOAD of stress and drama in my life, I ended up moving and am settling in for now. So far so good. My best friend Fred has been amazing and I’m really happy he and Sam were able to help as much as they have. Fred and I are now “Roomies” although he’s a bed hog. Although I knew that before. Anyway, throughout all the BS, needless to say, my dietary intake went to hell in a hand-basket. I hadn’t realized how strict my diet really was. I started eating meats, processed foods, dairy products now and then despite knowing better and essentially it made me really ill and sluggish. Immunity decreased, sickness set in, bloating, weight gain, water weight, fatigue, etc. After about a month of that, I couldn’t take it anymore. Historically I’m about 90 – 95% vegan, as a general rule. Once in awhile but not often, I’ll have some fish or chicken. It isn’t because I can’t eat living creatures or anything, I just don’t tolerate meats in my system well and am also lactose intolerant so I avoid dairy products like the plague animal fats just clog the ole’ arteries and raise cholesterol. Also I just do NOT like commercially prepared and processed foods. There is always something in it that doesn’t agree with me. Even canned veggies are loaded with sodium which I am also sensitive to. At any rate, after a month or so of eating the typical American diet and feeling like total poop, I’d had enough. Now it’s fresh raw vegetables, soy milk, etc and after only a few days, I’m feeling more back to normal.

Last night I read about a vegan chocolate mousse. Yeah right, I thought. Oookay… I liked the idea of the organic silken tofu. See tofu is really bland and absorbs the flavors of whatever it’s with. I thought it would be great for a sweet tooth and could make some nice desserts as well as could be used, with other things, to replace things like cream cheese, ricotta, sour cream, salad dressings, alfredo sauce, etc. So I went and bought some. OMG it’s wonderful! My Aunt Joyce (RIP) used to make the firm tofu fried up with some seasonings and give it to my sis and I as kids and we really didn’t like it. Of course, this was 30+ years ago and it’s improved dramatically since then or… I’ve learned more about it. At any rate, last night I made the vegan chocolate mousse. It’s awesome! It does NOT taste anything like tofu. Not in the slightest. If you’re like me and sensitive to prepared foods, sugars, salts, dairy, crap like that, you might want to give this a try. Low in fat, no egg, no dairy, no animal products, no commercial processing other than what they do the bakers bitter chocolate. It’s pretty damn good! Just be sure to read the labels on anything you buy to ensure it hasn’t got anything that might upset your system. There are a lot of products out there and even though some cost a bit more for the higher quality, they’re worth it.

1 pound silken tofu

8 oz bakers (bitter) chocolate (UN-sweetened in bar or chips) NOT semisweet or milk chocolate. Those both have added cocoa butter, milk, sugars, etc and add unnecessary fat, calories and animal products.

1/3 cup soy milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp almond extract (optional)

1/2 tsp salt product. I use NoSalt which is a sodium free salt replacement.

About a cup or so of Splenda. Taste as you go to see how sweet it is and stop when it’s sweet enough for you.

Melt chocolate in large double boiler. Large enough to contain all ingredients because that is eventually where it’s all going to go. The melted chocolate won’t be coming out of the pan until it is being poured into serving cups. When I did it, I didn’t read far enough ahead and used only a small pan just big enough to hold the melted 8 ounces of chocolate….. it was a real pain the scrape it all out and into the mixing bowl later. If you’re better at it than I am, it can be done in the microwave but eh… I was afraid I’d over nuke and burn it on the edges. I’ve seen it done on half power and by adding little bits of chocolate at a time as it’s nuked and stirring but…. anyway.

In a separate bowl or food processor or simple blender, empty the contents of a 1 pound (16 oz) package of silken tofu – drain the water our of the package first. It’s about the texture of a really soft custard. I use Nasoya organic brand. Then pour in the half cup of soy milk, tsp of vanilla, 1/2 tsp salt and if opted for, a tsp of almond extract. It’s supposed to make it a little bit Amaretto-ish. I did it with a shot of Amaretto and it wasn’t that great. I should have used almond extract. If you’re using a blender or food processor, blend it all until it’s smooth and creamy. I used a bowl so I used a regular hand mixer. A fork really won’t do because at the end, you will really need to beat it pretty good because I read that with a fork, the silken soy doesn’t smooth out as much and will still have tiny curds. Don’t add splenda yet.

Once its all beaten smooth, scrape the sides of the blender/processor/bowl with spoon and blend again just to make sure all lumps are out and all ingredients are thoroughly mixed in. Once the chocolate is melted and there are no more lumps, remove from the double boiler, set on a hot pad or other safe surface for something hot and pour contents of silken tofu, soy milk, etc into the chocolate and mix. This is if you have a hand mixer and bowl. Of course, if you are using a food processor, then you’ll need to scrape all the melted chocolate into the food processor or blender. Some recipes call for adding maple syrup to the chocolate but then it somehow turns into this taffy like material that I think would be hard to work with. I didn’t use the maple syrup because I don’t want added calories. Mix it all up really good until it’s all smooth and creamy. Now what you will have is an unsweetened, unset chocolate mousse. NOW you add your sweetener. I started adding the Splenda a small bit at a time and just kept on adding and mixing and tasting until I thought it was sweet enough. It was easily a cup or maybe a little bit more. I didn’t measure. Once it’s sweet enough, scrape the sides and pour into serving dishes. I poured mine into 4 large ones but it’s really thick and rich once it’s done and 6 would probably be better.Set in fridge at LEAST 2 hours. The chocolate will re-harden and it makes a wonderfully rich, sweet, chocolaty mouse.

You can add whatever topping you choose. Raspberries simmered in some splenda and water and thickened a bit, slivered almonds, or a cashew whipped topping which is another recipe to make and can be found here: http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=13007.0

Total time spent on it, about 20 minutes less the chilling overnight. I ate some this morning and it’s wonderful! I will be making it again 🙂 It’s rich, thick, chocolaty, sweet and filling and is low cal, low fat, low sodium, non dairy, no animal products 😉

St Patrick’s Day Grub

•03/17/2010 • 2 Comments

 

Well, I normally don’t do any big thing and we did the Shepherds Pie last night. Today however I am feeling pretty good. I tried banana bread with chocolate chips once and loved it. Then, whomever baked it for the little market I got it from changed it up and it was no good anymore. So, I decided to make my own. It’s bad ass. Of course I cut half a piece off…. below is a picture. It’s not that bad for ya either. The recipe, if anyone is interested in it is below the picture.

Banana Chocolate Bread

2 cups whole wheat flour, 2 cups splenda, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 4 med sized  over-ripe bananas (lots of freckles), 1/2 cup orange juice, with or without pulp. It doesn’t matter. 1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil, 1 container banana cream pie yogurt (fat free), 3 eggs (from cholesterol free carton of eggs which is about a third of a cup, 1 cup chopped unsalted walnuts, maybe a little more if you like, half bag or so milk chocolate chips. Just mix in how many you want. Be careful because the oil from the chocolate will really gooey up the banana bread and make it really heavy.

Sift together all dry ingredients, flour, splenda, baking powder, baking soda, salt, walnuts and chocolate chips

In separate bowl combine 4 smashed up bananas, orange juice, egg, oil and yogurt. Mix well but no need to beat it up.

Pour banana mixture into the dry mixture and stir. It should be about the consistency of normal cake batter. Makes 2 regular loaves or 1 gigantic one. 🙂

I made one gigantic one. Oiled and floured the pan and baked at 350 for an hour and a half. 2 loaves would be about an hour or so baking time. Let it cool before you take it out of the loaf pan. Eat it warm with a large scoop of vanilla fat free frozen yogurt. That’s good stuff. 🙂 The only really naughty part is the chocolate chips. You might be able substitute with carob chips but I haven’t tried it. I have tried carob in other things and I personally don’t like it much. 🙂

 

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Dini, you’ll be missed. We love you.

•02/07/2010 • 4 Comments

DiniCuddle I find myself heartbroken at the unexpected loss of a dear friend. She was an amazing dog with a beautiful soul. A friend of mine found her and saved her when she, in terrible condition after having been abandoned on the street, walked up to my friend and he kept her, cleaned her up, got her healthy again and he loved her and she loved him.

I met her 2 years ago when I first met my friend Fred. She truly was an amazing friend. Always there to say hello, always happy to have a visitor, always cuddled with me when I needed it. She and I had a special relationship and we understood each other. We had a lot in common.

I’ve always felt a special connection with animals. Dogs have a surprising array of emotions and an absolutely endless capacity to love. They aren’t toys for the kids, they aren’t things to own like a possession, they are living, breathing, sentient beings and members of the family. Her untimely death leaves me feeling the immense pain of having lost a best friend. Fred, well I can only imagine his suffering. No matter what happened, Dini was always there for him. In sickness and health, through loneliness, heartbreak, broken relationships, you name it. He has seen more than his fair share of hardship and she was always there to give love and companionship just as he did her when she was down and out, abandoned, hungry, sick, tired and alone.

We didn’t know she was ill. She collapsed yesterday and was rushed to the veterinary emergency hospital where she took a turn for the worse during the night and could not be saved. She passed peacefully this morning with Fred there to give her comfort as she went and to say their good bye’s. I wish I’d been able to say good bye. I did see her last week and she seemed fine. She laid by me in the morning as per usual while I drank coffee and Fred was still asleep. I’m happy we had that last morning time together. I didn’t know it would be our last.  One thing I take heart in, that last time I saw her, it had been nearly 6 weeks since we had morning time because of a falling out I had with Fred. I could tell she missed me and she could tell I missed her too and we did get in some extra loves to make up for lost time. Fred can take heart in that she always knew how much he loved her and he never let her forget it. She indeed had a wonderful life.

RIP Dini. We don’t know when you were born or how old you really were or what made you ill and we’re sorry about that. You will most assuredly be missed by all the people who’s lives you touched. Thank you for sharing the early mornings with me and for all the loves and cuddles you always gave me.

The most beautiful of Dogs, Dini.

•02/06/2010 • 4 Comments

 UPDATE 2/7/2010, beautiful Dini, RIP. She didn’t make it and she died this morning.

Dini, you sweet, adorable nanny pooch. I love you so much. Even when Fred and I didn’t get along, I always loved coming over because I got to see you. When I drank to much, you laid on top of me so I couldn’t walk around and get hurt with my bad vision, not last Christmas but the Christmas before.

You, you beautiful pooch, lay injured and ill in the veterinary emergency room tonight and I cry hoping you are okay. Fred and Sam cry too. I’ve talked with them tonight. You are loved beyond belief. I wish I could lay by your side and be there for you the way you were there for me. Especially when I felt hurt. Fred doesn’t know this but many times I came over, it was more to see you than him.

Now you’re hurt and I can’t be there because I don’t know where you are and the vet’s office is closed. At least he told me what happened to you. He knows deep down I love you as much as he does. You, my beautiful pooch, I adore and love you. You always made me welcome every time I came over. You always greeted me with kisses and loves and I always gave you a treat. It was my arrival routine.

You are the most beautiful golden retriever I’ve ever known. Your golden hair flowing in the wind when I took you out by the lake to potty in the early morning hours while Fred was asleep. We had our morning time and I love you for it, Dini. You made so many mornings happy for me. Just by being there and licking my hand, laying on the sofa with me and cuddling while I drank coffee and sat in his living room while he was sleeping because it was to early for him to be up. Dini, you beautiful pooch, I love you and I hope you are ok and make it through the night.

Your loving friend, Deena.

I’d be lost without you

•02/06/2010 • 1 Comment

Love-It-Up-125x125

Dear Internet, I just wanted to take a moment this valentines day to share with you how much you’ve meant to me all these years, and of course to tell you via my loving and best friend here named Blog. I met you 16 years ago and you’ve changed a lot over the years, most often for the better.

Internet, you are the very reason that I have met many of the people I now hold in very high regard, call my friends and listen to for hours on end, often also by virtue of my loving friend Blog. I have to say though it is YOU who is also responsible for my having even met Blog in the first place. Please don’t be jealous I wrote to Blog first. You my dear internet were at the beginning of it all.

You are the reason I met my best friend in real life too. You’ve ushered into my life many wonderful things and people. Good food, family and friends that I’d lost track of and many more of my unseen but always felt neighbors. Many times you’re the door upon which I knock when I want to visit.

You’ve been there in it with me at the depths of my research, facilitating it all. You’ve been my introduction to geographical places that in real life, I’ll never have the luxury of actually visiting. If I’m bored, you also take that into account and show me all things applicable to cure it such as icanhascheezeburger.com . You supply me with myriad experiences for which I put my literary skills to use.

Internet, I can honestly say I love you and would be lost without you.

Love, Deena.