Follow that runaway train…of thought?

I used to believe that I spoke and had thought processes like other people.  I would ruminate something, I would say it out loud, the other person would reply and there you have it!  Conversation.  So imagine, to my chagrin, when suddenly my friends and (most) family members could not understand me.  They would tilt their head to one side and stare at me, quite perplexed.  It was like I was speaking a foreign language.  I would then continue to explain my thought process, step by step, and then they would open their mouths slightly and melodiously say, “ohhhhhh,” whilst nodding their heads.  What had happened to my talent for great conversation?

As I said before, I can hold conversations with anybody of any age, any gender, on any topic.  So it befuddled me when it appeared that I was babbling incoherently.  It occurred to me one day that there were certain people who completely understood me and what I was saying.  My sister was top of the list.  My mother too.  My dad, most of the time.  My niece, however, gave me THAT look one day.  I gave her a questioning look back.  She calmly asked, whilst politely puzzled:  “What does Baba (grandma in Croatian) have to do with a glass of water?”  At first, this bewildered me.  Then the AH-HA moment hit!  Get ready for this doozy.

First, let me ask if you have ever seen the show Gilmore Girls?  I LOVE watching this show!  Why?  The amount of fast-talking conversation is incredible.  They jump from topic to topic in seconds flat.  Basically, they talk like I do.  There is no desire to scrimp on words and get to the point quickly.  It’s about conversation and language and using all kinds of words and comparisons and leaping from one idea to the next.  That was what my AH-HA was about.  I was speaking quickly, and as I spoke a new idea would pop into my head.  However, I might not say anything aloud about it, but then my next thought would be spoken out loud leaving a possible gap in the logical conclusion.  Get it?  No?  Ok, here is the train of thought explanation of the “Baba and the glass of water story”:

Me out loud:  Baba is in so much pain with her hip, but she just won’t let anyone help her.  She has to do it all by herself because she doesn’t want to bother anyone.

Niece out loud:  I know, even when I invite them over for lunch she says it’s too much work for me and that I have so many other responsibilities so why don’t we just come over to her place for a meal.

Me in my head:  She has always been like that.  So stubborn.  That’s why we never learned to cook because she had to do everything.  Even her brother-in-law told me that she won’t even have a glass of water in his home, but she expects them to come to her place for elaborate meals.

Me out loud:  Not even a glass of water!

Niece:  *dumbfounded look

Ok…now you are caught up with how my brain works.  There are the inner thoughts that are constantly in motion.  It’s like there are trigger words people say to me and my mind grabs it like a football and starts running for the end zone.  With every yard I pass, a new thought gets attached to it.  By the time I get to the end zone I have left the football field and ended up on the soccer field.  See what I mean?

I decided to do some quick research about this special phenomenon of mine.  With my Google prowess I typed:  the difference between male and female thought patterns.  DING!  There is quite a variance between the gender brain functions and thought patterns.  I will summarize it quickly if you don’t feel like reading about it.  Scientists study four primary areas of the brain:  processing, chemistry, structure, and activity.  With processing, it appears that males use more gray matter than white matter and with females it’s the opposite.  The gray areas are localized and lead to those gents having more of a tunnel vision so they focus on one thing until complete.  The ladies, with their white brain, basically have their brain networking with the gray parts.  Thus, women are able to multi-task fantastically.  Both are good in their own ways.  The rest of the article was interesting, but being a multi-tasker, let’s get back to the story.

I then explained to my niece how my brain works…as you now also know.  I still continue to speak in this way.  One day at my parent’s place my mother was telling me and my sister about this lady in the village.  The story continued about some surgery.  Then it went to some doctor.  Then something about pills.  Then how awful THAT man is.  She was shaking her head in anger and the rest of us just looked at each other.  My father asked, “What man?”  My sister and I burst out laughing.  We were prodigies!  After a few precise questions we finally figured out who she had been talking about.  Her whole story had involved words like “her” “that lady” “that neighbour” and “him”.  Once names were attached to the pronouns we had the final answer.  Way more fun than Jeopardy, but just as challenging!

Fast forward a few months.  I was visiting my niece again.  I was regaling her with some fantastic story and when I stopped she smiled and slyly said, “I actually followed that train of thought almost all the way to the end.”  Kudos to her!  I am bequeathing her with the gift of pursuing that runaway train…of thought!

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Geraniums and other mysteries…

I do stop and smell the flowers.  However, nowadays with the new everlasting hybrids, most flowers do not have a scent.  You need to go and stalk people who have been planting for the last 25 years.  They have the wonderful originals.  Standing around you can actually smell the lilacs when the wind blows.  I have tried to keep flowers in my house, but to no avail.  Besides aloe plants, everything else either gets too dry or overwatered  a.k.a. drowned.  So imagine my surprise when I realized that I can actually keep geraniums alive.  Yes it’s true.  I learned the secret from my mother-in-law.  It’s a simple trick and yet I find that it applies to situations in everyday life.

My mother had a green thumb.  I am not sure if she always had it, but our house could’ve been a greenhouse.  A botanical garden.  I recall a wonderful green plant (nope…no idea what it was called…all I know is that she used to use kitchen twine to tie this climbing plant to the spindles of the staircase.  Oh yes, this went on for years until my brother and I decided to challenge each other to slide down the bannister.  Keep in mind, this plant started from a cutting and ended up being 12 feet long.  It wound up the stairs and up to the bedrooms.  I will always remember this:

Me:  (whispering) No…mama is gonna kill you!

Bro: (whispering) not unless you tell her!

Me:  It’s a long way down.  You’ll fall!

Bro:  Don’t tell…

NOTE:  This dangerous endeavour was even more high faluting as our mother was sitting precariously around the corner in the family room watching tv.  Daredevils?  Idiots?  You decide.

And then he began his slide.  He started at the top of the stairs.  He straddled the bannister and launched himself down.  Suddenly,  his leg got caught on the foliage halfway down and then he flipped over and fell down onto the ceramic floor.  The only thing that saved his hide was that he had a frickin’ nose bleed!  Otherwise our mother would’ve whipped his butt!  The important thing was to fix him up and make him well…before she could beat him.  Oh…European upbringing…so logical.   The worst thing on my part was that, not only had I predicted the fall, but I couldn’t help laughing when he fell.  Yes, I was a good big sister.

I recall seeing the Giant Beanstalk strewn on the floor.  Not sure what happened afterward.  The fact that little bro lived AND did not receive any punishment that I can recall made this evergreen moment memorable.  The other floral memories I have are African violets.  My mother was obsessed with them.  We had them all over the house.  She prided herself on having these plants thrive and having family and friends comment on how she could make them live and grow exponentially when others could only condemn them to death.  My mother had a gift.

I myself thought repeated drownings were important in order for flowers to survive.  Yes I killed everything until I purchased geraniums.  Beautiful flowers.  Many colours and yet Wiseguy’s favourite were the bright ruby red ones.  Not pink or white.  The red ones were the ones that his mother always loved.  Her reason for loving geraniums was simple…they bloom all summer long and into fall.  A little chilly weather and they still bloom and thrive.  So, after being a mass floral murderer I tempted fate and extended my interest into the daring flora.  I bought and took care of the bright red geranium.

I bought fancy pots.  I purchased the good soil.  I hoarded and applied “miracle grow” to ensure that they would thrive.  I carefully planted these beautiful flowers and watched them bloom and grow.  (Reminds me of “Sound of Music”…”bloom and grow forever…”)  Then something strange happened.  My beautiful flowers started drying up and blowing away.  Did I do something wrong?  What happened?  I felt like a failure.  I slaughtered a living green being.  I felt horrible.    I didn’t know what to do.  My hubby’s favourite flower and I was killing it.

I finally came to the conclusion that I couldn’t keep any plant life alive.  One weekend we ended up visiting the in-laws.   We arrived and walked into the backyard.  My mother-in-law was beside a geranium and was bending branches off the geraniums.  The flowers were already drying out.  I asked her what she was doing.  She replied, “In order for the new flowers to bloom you need to cut off the dried flowers.  You don’t want to keep wasting nutrients on the dead flowers when you can feed the new blooms.”  I wasn’t sure what she meant.  “See,” she pinched the stem of the dried petals and pulled it off.  “Now, the new blossoms can bloom beautifully because the nutrients are going where they are supposed to go.”  I went home and I gently bent and tore away the dried stems.   It was time to feed the blossoming blooms.

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I compare my life to the blooming geranium.  Sometimes you need to cut off the dead blooms.  The dried out blooms being negative people.  They won’t feed you any wisdom, kindness, or goodness.  It is best to just let them go.  Learn how to handle things that grow.  That includes children, grandchildren, parents,  siblings, family, friends.  We are always learning and growing.  So instead of drowning those in order to save them, perhaps it is best to let them go.  It is up to them if they want to survive and move on.  For those newfound petals that are blossoming, be there for them.  They are vibrant, excited, and usually happy.  Those are the flowers you want in your garden because together you can make a happier life.  This is how I view my beautiful geraniums…mysteries leading to life lessons.  Happy growing!

Bacon…and other hazards

It’s a rainy Saturday morning.  Good news is that I’m alive and I’m breathing!  Best of all…there is bacon frying in the pan.  I love the smell of bacon!  (Hence the extreme importance of having inhaling capabilities.)  I love the way it transforms from soggy white and pink strips to brown, crunchy, salty yumminess!  (I was going to say “goodness” but I’m sure my pulmonary valve would slap me).  As I move in closer to the stove top to flip the strips…ATTACK!  The bacon fat pops out of the pan and onto my arm.  Ouch!  It burns!  And yet, I stay there to complete the task.  That got my mind racing and thinking about other kitchen hazards.

Over the many years of frying bacon I have built up a super-power immunity.  My fingertips have also learned how to pick up hot cooked items and transfer them to other vessels.  Again, it’s a built up resistance.  Some days I feel like Wonder Woman …then again, I don’t think she could handle bacon grease, but I digress.  Below are what I believe to be substantial culinary threats.

COOKING HAZARDS:

  1.  FRYING
    • Whenever you have hot oil in a pan or pot you are challenging the kitchen gods.  You believe you will not be besieged by fiery oil droplets and yet they are laughing at you saying “Oh yeah?  Bring it on!”  Frying bacon (yes, I keep coming back to this deadly onslaught) can lead to either arm burns or grease on your clothes that for some reason will NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER wash out.  Frying potatoes…a.k.a. french fries.  If the taters aren’t dry you are looking at water going into boiling oil and this ultimately leads to the oil boiling over onto your stove.  BEWARE!
  2. SLICING
    • Welcome to knife-dom!  I used to think that dull knives would be better to ensure I wouldn’t get cut.  Those darn machetes always found a way to make me wish I had shares in “Band-aid”.  I learned to sharpen my knives (and my skills).  Using a dull knife on a tomato is what led me to the divine art of honing my knives.  It also guided me to new lessons in advanced first aid.  I could cut myself, yelp in pain, get an adhesive bandage unwrapped, apply first aid cream to it and hog-tie it to my finger in 45 seconds.  Boo-yah!).   Knives actually slid off the super thin tomato skin and would ultimately impale me.  After years of thinking I knew how to use a knife I saw a preview for a movie called Julie and Julia and decided to actually find the first cookbook from Julia Child.  In this book Julia showed me how to hold a knife and how to cut and slice things.  Beginner stuff.  I am very grateful to this wonderful woman for saving my appendages.  For you new chefs out there, here is a good link on how to proceed with onion cutting.
  3. BOILING
    • I always believed that boiling was safe.  Yes I did understand that hot water could burn you, but unless it was poured on your skin directly it was safe right?  Yeah-NO!  I recall the day I decided to make home cooked macaroni and tomato sauce.   The pasta was on sale and the sauce was Ragu sauce.  This was definitely within my newfound culinary skills.  I put water in a pot.  I added salt.  I felt like a true wife/mother/chef!  I put the lid on the pot and waited for the water to boil.  It took longer than it should have because I kept lifting the lid to see if the water was boiling.  Hence the phrase “a watched pot never boils.”  Although an idiom about patience, I followed the true meaning…that darn water won’t boil while I’m watching.  Whilst playing with the kids I heard the pot lid clanging.  The water was boiling!  Yay!  I lifted the lid and promptly burned my wrist. Yes…steam is lethal.  You thought bacon fat was bad?  Steam burns last several days.
  4. BAKING SHEETS
    • I decided to branch off and learn to bake.  Cooking is more fun because there is room for error.  Lots of room for trial and error.  Baking?  Heck no!  There is a reason everything is measured to the minutest ounce / milligram.  My old oven had this wonderful ejection mode when pulling out the baking rack which catapulted super hot cookie sheets onto my awaiting bare arms.  To date only one major burn; an inch long and half inch in diameter.  THAT is my real life cooking tattoo.  Also a daily reminder of being careful when playing with fire.

I am sure there are many other hazards I could reveal to you, but then you would surely want to eat out daily or hire a chef to make your meals.  I have lived, breathed, survived many culinary challenges and I LOVE cooking!  I love hearing the click, click, whoosh of my gas stove firing up.  I know there are new adventures in foodie-dom for me.  One thing I learned from dear Julia Child was:

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”

Worst case scenario, I can always hook up with my granddaughter Kennie and we can make food into art.  XOXO

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Pizza delivery and smiling faces…

The day started off dismal.  It started with droplets of rain.  The drive to work was a staring contest.  No eye blinking just in case someone slammed on their brakes.  Stop, go.  Stop, go, speed up, get excited about time gained…slam brakes.  Yup, one of those mornings.  I had enjoyed my weekend and decided that 5 hours sleep would be fine.  Nope.  After 40 years of life those hours of sleep suddenly become diamonds in the rough…sought after desires and rarely achieved.  This was how my sad misadventurous day began.

It was Monday.  As all Americans know, Monday is the worst day of the week.  It is blabbed about, gossiped about, ruled as the “worst day of the week”.  Everything bad happens on Mondays.  Even if you had a wonderful weekend full of relaxation or fantastic outings, the coming of another work week puts many people into a foul mood.  Why?  Very simply…negativity.

Being a school teacher, back in the early ’90’s, I learned how to praise children (not condemn), I learned that I received more positive feedback from the children when I had good things to say instead of constantly nagging about the bad things and the errors they had made.  Now, if school is supposed to prepare our children for the real world, shouldn’t we be telling them that they aren’t performing to their full capacity?  Is it not our job to tell them that although they have an 8 hour workday, they should work longer (with no extra pay) because they take pride in their work and it’s not about money?  As responsible adults, we should tell them that their failure is much more memorable than anything they have accomplished?  Failure leads to more memorable gossip and makes everyone else feel better about themselves.  Yes, there should be a “Reality Course” for young children, middle class children, and high school children.  NOT!

The most wonderful experience with teaching children and being around children is their genuine optimism.  Yes they have their cranky days when their hair isn’t right or the shirt you pulled out for them is NOT what they want to wear.  Devastating isn’t it?  I personally love hearing what children find sad and what makes them happy.  We grow up and forget what our naive youthful selves used to find wonderful.  Let’s explore.

Weeds?  Nowadays I can’t find a strong enough poison to kill dandelions.  As a child, that was the bouquet of roses that I presented lovingly to my mother.  Clover?  Well, look for the four-leaf clover for luck right?  Nope, try to mow it down and make it go away.  Sand?  Don’t get me started.  The gift that keeps giving right?  All over the house, in their body cracks…it spills out constantly.  Mud?  Oh my…another phobia…until I saw little 1 1/2 year old La-la sit in the dirt, bucket and shovel in hand.  Pretty useless since she really wanted a mud bath.  Oh yeah…that child was warrior ready, with mud all over her hair and face and body.  Also, she was very happy of her accomplishment.  Which brings me to my accomplishment on a Monday.

After a nice, happy weekend, Monday was here and it was time to commute to work and begin another frantic, hectic week.  Many deadlines and too many items to have done with a limited timeline.  Usual week.  One of the weird items to be done on Mondays is to order food for new trainees.  Not a big job.  As long as my internet connection is top speed it goes well.  Often, it does not work.  No surprise, but having it work well makes me happy.  (Yes, lower my expectations and the little achievements are like climbing Everest…sorry climbers).  This Monday was no different as I rushed to click and order.  Regular job day, but the result was different.

As delivery man showed up, I had the pile of food placed on a table.  I had the credit card ready to process.  I gabbed and smiled and laughed with the delivery man…no point in dragging him into my drama day.  He had been delivering here for the last two Mondays.  I thanked him for the hot food and delivering on time and he said, “I like delivering here.  You always have such a big smile and it makes my day.”  Wha what?”  I thought.  I know I try to make everyone feel comfortable and even on a bad day I try not take it out on others.  For some reason, having a total stranger tell me that I made their day, made me forget about my miserable day.

I made the conscious effort, yet again, to find the positive in my day.  Many of us are overworked.  Our jobs and perfection at our jobs debilitates us.  We curse ourselves and berate ourselves when things go wrong.  That idea of perfection…who actually defines it?  We are our worst critics.  We are our hardest judges.  We…need to stop criticizing ourselves and find the things we do well and pat ourselves on the back.  We are our own worst enemy or our own best friend.  It is up to us (ourselves) to decide our life worth.

Today I thank Pizza Delivery Guy for giving me a simple compliment.  He really did mean it and I really did appreciate it.  It’s nice to know that compassion and camaraderie still exists.

Scene opens: (Doorbell rings)

Wiseguy:  Hey nice to see you again!  (he and pizza delivery guy practice new words in a European language)

Pizza Delivery Guy:  Yes we have been very busy.

Wiseguy:  Thanks!  See you soon!

Pizza Delivery Guy:  Yeah…see you next week!

(Note 1:  PDG says next week.  Pizza delivery is NOT a weekly thing.)

(Note 2:  Ok, it is a weekly thing and we love pizza and our PDG is a super nice guy.  Nuff said!)

Wiseguy and I are appreciative of all things around us.  We do appreciate helpful people and we let them know it.

As for my pizza guy, thanks so much for making my dismal Monday a memorable day for me.  It’s nice to be appreciated for something as simple as a smiling face.  : )

P.S.  Wiseguy’s Pizza Guy and my Pizza Guy are two different people in two different cities.  Any situations and similarities are coincidental.  Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

She shoots! She scores? Had a fun time missing it.

Almost at the end of August and it’s a beautiful day.  A bit of a cool breeze while the sun shines above.  Summer is almost over.  Kids are getting ready to go back to school.  Kids.  I am sure that summer is never long enough for them.  We adults like to say that we remember what it was like being a kid, but the actual playtime, gaytime, fun feeling, is a distant memory.   The stories are there, but the actual excitement we felt playing the games are not as apparent.  So, when I saw an empty playground with one child, one basketball, and a very high basketball net, I couldn’t help doddle at the stop sign to see what would happen.

Playgrounds have come a long way from the equipment we used to play on.  Everything nowadays seems to be tamed to the point that I’m surprised safety harnesses aren’t in use for each jungle gym.  The components from slide to monkey bars have your basic menage a trois…red, yellow, blue, happy colour scheme.  Our slides used to be made of nice steel.  So shiny and slippery, until the sweltering heat of summer.  Then, you either lay down to burn your back and slide down quickly, or your calves and thighs left skin behind as you melted your way down the burning hot slide.  WHAT FUN!  And it sure was!

Swings.  To be able to fly like a bird was incredible!  Learning how to use your legs in that back and forth motion to propel yourself was a talent.  Then you would get daring and lean your head back and hope that you wouldn’t behead yourself.  Or how about the “jump off the swing in midair” trick?  Yeah there were a few miscalculations and you would land flat on your back.  Some broke ankles.  Meh.  It was all in a day’s play.

Now the tire swing.  There was a dizzying experience.  Truly.  Four youths, hanging onto rusted chains, sitting on a rubber truck tire.  Now, does the pusher of the tire swing it straight? Heck no!  You grab that tire and you start running in a circle. Then as you are about to spin out from dizziness, you grab that chain and spin your best friends around and hope someone barfs.  Oh yeah!  Goal accomplished!  If no one vomited, then you had the pleasure of watching them get off the swing and fall down cause they couldn’t walk straight.  Glory days!

Of the painful child apparatuses, I would declare that the see-saw was the most butt fatal.  True?  Yes.  I believe the term “see-saw” came from a child exclaiming the following:

Mom:  Jr., where is your brother?

Jr:  First I see him on the wooden lever.

Mom:  See?

Jr:  Yeah, then I saw he were gone.

Yup, something like that.  You see them go up then you saw them fall on their behinds as the best and unfairest part was that someone would always rather jump off and watch you flop down on your derriere.  It wasn’t about going up and down.  It was about who would torture who first.

The good ol’ days. So much fun.  It was all about having laughs…ahem…the last laugh.

But, I digress.  Truly, more than usual this time.

Back to my pretty girl in the park.  Crouching ball player, wishing tiger.  Wishing that she would jump up high enough with the ball and slam dunk it in the net.  Crouch low, ball set in palm of left hand and clutching with right hand, spring up, MISS!   I noticed that she was by herself. Perhaps if a parent had been around there  might have been tears of woe.  Since there were no witnesses, she seemed content to pick up her ball and try again.  Crouch, hold ball, lay up, jump.  Miss again.

Sadly, I had to leave my stop sign and continue driving before a cacophony of horns could sound off.  I smiled.  I was proud of that little girl.  I was happy for her.  It also made me think.  Was she playing or practicing?  Was someone hoping she would be the next great basketball player?  Was she going to try out for the basketball team at school?  Was she trying to outplay a sibling or friend?  Was she just having fun and trying to see if she could get the ball in the basket?  So many questions and no answers.

Driving away I smiled.  First, I loved seeing a child playing outside.  With video games and tv shows and DVDs many children don’t see the outdoors.  Second, I loved her tenacity.  I loved her precarious approach to getting the correct stance in order get the perfect shot.  Then, watching in slo mo as the ball went up…straight up…no curve to actually get it up and over.  Ball in air.  Ball drops.  No biggie. She crouched right back down and picked it up again.

Still smiling, I thought about how, yet again, a child had taught me an important life lesson.  The basket was the goal.  You crouch, get ready, get set…miss.  It happens often in life.  High school.  Bad marks in a class.  Fail..  You could go for your driver’s license.  Fail.  You could get married and have it not work out.  Fail.  You could apply for a job and not get it.  Fail.  You could sit at home and do nothing, ensuring that you never fail at anything.  That too is a fail.

Life is about trying things.  Life is about exploring.  Life is about failing.  Through so-called failure, you win.  Failure is about learning.  At first it might not work out, but that failure taught you something very important.  It was a guideline.  It was a message to you.  Many great inventions were created by oopses.  I admire that kind of failure.

Nowadays, I don’t worry about failure.  My life is about what I haven’t failed at.  There were many wishes and dreams I gave up on because I was worried someone would laugh at me or criticize me.  Now, not trying new things is my new definition of failure.

So, if you see pictures of my fantastic artwork (sale of canvas and paint at art shop).  If you see pictures of lopsided casseroles or flat birthday cakes, enjoy them with me.

She shoots, she…could’ve scored…but she had a fun time missing it.

 

 

 

How to Save a Drowning Orchid

I have never been very good with flowers. I even managed to kill a harmless, small “cannot kill” Ikea, cactus.  That takes quite a special kind of Killer talent. After ridding my house of any beautiful, living blossom, I actually felt relieved. I knew that there would be no little white bugs flitting about my house. No fear of anything being knocked over. No need to wonder if I had watered (or drowned) any plants. And surprisingly, my family did not die from lack of flora breath in the air. All was well.

Fastforward 10 years.  We had just completed a much dreamed about kitchen renovation.  Being an avid fan of makeover shows, I realized there was always a stunning arrangement of fresh flowers to accent and complete the transformation.   After years of plant freedom I decided that I was older and wiser and would somehow miraculously inherit Mother Nature’s whimsical and illustrious talents.  Whilst grocery shopping one day, I saw a magnificent white orchid that asked, nay, demanded: “TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER.”   Nope.  Overdramatizing (a little).  It looked really bright and happy and cheerful and appeared to say (if flowers could speak) “I’m yours.  Take me home”.  I was happy.  My new flowerage (?) was happy.  My newfound blossoms would reign over my new regal domain.

My orchid was astounding! I was amazed at the elegance and beauty of each petal and how it seemed to lord over my new dream room. What started as five blooms became six blooms and then seven and then eight. Amazing too, that the Curse of the Serial Plant Killer did not strike. For weeks I ensured that I followed the instructions: just a little warm water daily. I did well. Always just enough. And it always stood there beautiful and proud.

One day, while rushing about, I realized that my majestic orchid looked…well…droopy. When was the last time I had watered it? Two days? Three days?  How did I forget to add that ounce of warm water?  To compensate for my lack of care, I dispensed a whole waterfall of life giving liquid. That would do the trick. That decision was the beginning of the end. What was once beautiful, elegant, sturdy flowers became serial floral demise.  Whole blossoms began dropping. One at first, then two at a time. It was over. Serial Plant Killer struck again. Egad! “Waaaahhhhhh!!” I screamed out to the sky: “HOW DO YOU SAVE A DROWNING ORCHID?!” That death sentence actually made me suddenly ponder the similarities between plant life and human life.

How do you save a drowning orchid? How do you save a person that is drowning in fear or unhappiness and is having kneejerk reactions to life? How do you get them to search for that lifeline that will drag them out of their drowning fear or anger or hurt or regret that they feel? Oftentimes we forget about those around us and when we finally remember them we give a “quick fix” through gifts of sorts and then move on believing everything will be fine.

Love, like water, needs to be given daily. It doesn’t need to come showering down like a big party then leave you feeling hung over and alone for days after that. A nice, kind, gentle, daily dose is what keeps true love on the right path.

True love is about friendship, kindness, and understanding. It is always there, like a slow trickle of water that will never leave you feeling dried out or thirsting for love from others.

My dear orchid, I am sorry that I let you down as I now know that I let myself down. Tough lesson, but a lesson well learned. I need to take time to love myself. Don’t love myself only on some days and not others. I am always worthy of love and by loving myself and not expecting it from others, I will never thirst for it or hope that I am worthy to receive it. My water trough of love will always be full. And by having great love for myself, my love for others will be stronger and the love I receive will be even more appreciated.

Rest in peace, my dear orchid. Lesson learned.

 

Pizza Presto

I LOVE pizza!  Always have and always will.  To me, there is something just so tasty and comforting about pizza.  If you get the right sauce combination, you know, not too spicy, but fragrant enough with the right herbs, you have built the best base to start your layering of a fabulous pizza masterpiece. 

I have purchased frozen store pizzas to mangia.  Then I switched to making my own homemade dough (via bread maker).  I found it was much tastier.  On quickie dinner nights,  I have purchased a slab pizza, from the local bakery.  It is a baked slab with just pizza sauce.  I add my choice of delicious toppings and..voila!  Dinner in 30 minutes. (I love chopping and slicing everything by hand.  Makes me feel like a real professional chef!)

My Vegetarian Mushroom Red Pepper and Green Onion Pizza pre-oven time.  Look at all those colours!

Then there was the day that I was craving pizza and had no dough.  I also had no desire to wait for homemade dough, and absolutely no desire to go to store to buy some dough.  What to do?

 Necessity is the mother of invention. I foraged through my fridge and found Greek pita bread.  (They are different from regular pitas in that you can’t stuff them.)  I noticed that they are the thickness of a thin crust pizza and really, all I needed was a vessel that would carry my pizza toppings.

So it began.  I  pulled out a pita, put on pizza sauce, layered some shredded mozzarella on top, topped that with chopped onions, then some mushrooms, and finally tomato slices.  I decided to forgo the pepperoni that day.  That adventure could be saved for another day.  Instead of turning the oven on, I put that into the toaster over on 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Molto bene!  Fantastic!  Personal pizza ready in 20 minutes.  Mmmmmm!

This discovery has also assisted me in many ways since.  Since they are really “personal size”, I could top each one with whatever the kids liked to have on it.  Some preferred more meat, some preferred more veggies.  In the end, there was something for everyone.

This has become my go-to hot appetizer as well.  I cut each pita into 8 wedges and ta-da!  Little mini pizza hors d’oeuvre.  Very pretty too.

Vary the recipe as well.  Use Bononcini or goat cheese instead of mozzarella.  Use an olive oil, with garlic infusion, instead of pizza sauce. 

Pizza really is a versatile dish.  Easy to make, easy to eat, and just makes your taste buds feel sooooo happy.

Hmmmm, I’m kind of craving some pizza right now.  Mmmmmm.  How about you?

My Vegetarian Mushroom Red Pepper and Green Onion Pizza AFTER baking!