Category Archives: Life

Bloom Where You’re Planted

Author Claire Cook considers herself a late-bloomer having published her first novel in her mid-forties. I knew of Claire’s work because I read the second book she wrote, Must Love Dogs and then picked up a copy of every book that followed.

Years later I met Claire online on the Goodread.com website. Our conversation started after Claire visited my online journal and read some of my writing. At the time I had just written “I Forgot that Sunflower’s Die,” which was just a few lines that touched upon the death of my daughter’s father. Claire had also lost a parent as a child and she shared her story which had recently been published in Good Housekeeping magazine.

Since then Claire’s periodically sends a note cheering on my writing, and with each book she writes I’m reminded that it’s never to late to follow your heart.

Whether you find yourself writing at a child’s swim practice or in the humid, hum of a bustling laundry mat, remember to love what you have and to bloom where your planted.

Here is Claire Cook’s interview on the Today Show…well done, girl:)

well

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Filed under Aging, Authors, Books, Fiction Writing, Films, Life, Writer's, Writing

Roasting Roma’s

Roma's and Roasted GarlicI planted 80 Roma tomatoes in early spring and have been harvesting produce for about a month now.

Today I roasted about 300 tomatoes and I was finally completely satisfied with my recipe.

Here is how I prepared them.

Slice Roma’s in half, lengthwise. Drizzle with olive oil, added salt, pepper, a hand full of garlic ( I prefer fresh but used loads of minced and it was excellent) oregano and finely chopped basil.

Mix well so all tomatoes are well coated.

Place face down on a baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees until skin start to pucker. Different baking surfaces will cause  the length of time vary.

Remove from oven and scoop into a blender or food processor, buzz for about 10 seconds.

Pour into a food mill or a potato ricer.

Potato Ricer

Process all tomatoes, add fresh basil to taste, simmer sauce to desired consistency and enjoy!

Perfect

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Filed under Food, Home & Garden, Life

This Weeks Good News

WordPress  ranked my blog post “No Escaping the Bridget Jones Syndrome, the best of 227,832 bloggers.

Nicholas was certified and hired by the community college to tutor in all achedemic areas including chemistry and physics.

Benjamin and Rachel leased a new home:)

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Filed under Blog, Life

Speeding: A How To Guide

After being pulled over for speeding today I discovered that you can side step a ticket by wrinkling your nose at the officer.  Said officer opened his mouth, rolled his eyes and said “fine,” but he didn’t give me a fine.

Thanks for the great haircut Cookie:)

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Pushing a Turtle

Three-toed_Box_Turtle.
Image via Wikipedia

Today I drove around a corner near my Mother’s house, which is on the Mississippi River, and slammed on my brakes. There was an enormous turtle sunning in the middle of the road and I stared at it from the top of my steering wheel hoping it would get busy and cross the street. He didn’t, so I got out of my car, leaving it in the middle of the narrow road to stop anyone coming around the corner from hitting me or the turtle.

First I tried shuffling my feet behind him hoping to spook him into running for the ditch. Apparently, he noticed the size of my shoes. Instead of running he turned towards my feet confident that his 2 foot mass trumped my size 5 sandal. He hissed and I think he even growled, a noise that would have made my dog run sideways away from him. Not that that is saying much since Jack has been known to runs sideways when the kids burp but you get the idea. We keep telling him to tell himself that he’s a big brave dog…whatever.

I briefly considered wishing the very large turtle  the best of luck and leaving, but he was so extraordinarily large that abandoning him, regardless of how disagreeable I found him, would never be right. In light of the green swamp slim covering his back, the 2 inch claws on all 4 of his limbs and my neatly pressed white blouse, carrying him seemed unsafe, unsanitary and was otherwise out of the question since I was afraid of him. I kept telling myself, I’m a big brave dog but it didn’t work for me either.

I shuffled my feet a few more times and he continued to come after me, he didn’t appear to have teeth but I wasn’t willing to do any further investigation into that theory. After that I tried to taunt him into chasing my sandals to the side of the road but he remained unmoved. When that strategy also failed I went back to the car and inspected its contents as I considered my options. I grabbed a cardboard shipping flat, hooked the edge over the turtles shell and I scooted him to the shoulder of the road.  At that point he began walking in the direction I was moving him,  like an old man who just remembered where he intended to go right before he  forgot. Minutes later the turtle was making his way down the weedy ditch and I was making my way home.

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Filed under Fiction Writing, Life

The Last Day of School

Yesterday was Alexa’s last day of school. It was a bittersweet day that Alexa both looked forward to and dreaded.

When Alexa’s Dad died 2 years ago she wrote and read a tribute at his funeral, a good-bye letter if you will. In her letter she said that she feared the big days ahead, like graduation and someday getting married. She said that the milestones in her life would be marked by his absence.

Alexa made it clear to me that she would not walk in a graduation ceremony afraid she’d be reduced to tears and throughout her last year of high school I wondered if she’d graduate at all. She struggled with chronic illness related immune deficiency and she grieved over lost health and a lost father. Her grades fell.

Her greif counselor told me not to push her and sometimes I didn’t, and sometimes I did. I knew if Alexa didn’t graduate that she was still an able, capable girl, even more important Alexa knows she’s an able capable girl. But I was afraid if she gave up on graduation that it would give her more of a reason to give up on life. Alexa and I discussed our terms, she agreed to follow through with earning the credit needed to graduate and only said, “just stay with me,” and so I did.

Finishing class yesterday reminded her that she couldn’t call her Dad to say, ” I did it Dad,” but she imagined what he might  have said and how proud of her he would have been.

After her online classes ended at noon we loaded into the car and left for the suburbs of Minneapolis. Nick had a new car to pick up and Alexa and I made plans to visit Cookie Strange at Great Clips in Champlin.

Cookie is one of my closest friends, daughter. I’ve known Cookie ever since she was born and her Mother named her Emily…which she later changed to Cookie. Cookie works magic on hair and I will follow her to the end of the earth because she makes my hair fabulous.

The last time I got my haircut I had it done locally, it is viewable in all of my online photos. The cut was alright but it wasn’t the kind of cut that you could blow dry and go and it didn’t fare well on windy days in the garden. I need hair that you can seriously mess up and I prefer an modern edge because age appropriate just sucks,  as always Cookie delivered.

When Alexa and I finished getting our hair cut we went to Totally Tan. As Alexa’s health has worsened her skin color has become very light but her hair is dark. During the summer she frequently hides in jeans feeling like her legs glow white. She also burns easily so I agreed to take her to a place that offers a full body spray tan.

After I paid for Alexa’s tan, Alexa looked at me and said…”Aren’t you going to go?” I hesitated, I have  to attend a birthday party and a wedding today…but thought I could use some color. After asking a pile of questions I decided to try it. The experience was absolutely dreadful, it so cold it almost took my breath away and I forgot to use the shower cap so I stepped out once again feeling like Bridget Jones.

On the drive home Alexa and I talked about her Dad, upcoming graduation parties, what to wear to the wedding and we started to turn a warm brown …maybe not so bad. By this morning I staggered to the kitchen for coffee on gingerbread colored legs and thought; definitely not bad.

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Filed under Books, Cooking, Education, Fiction Writing, General, health, Life, Minnesota, Minnesota Fiction, Politics

Wisecracks

I went shopping yesterday and decided it was too early for me to have taken on such an activity. I got half way through shopping and everything felt surreal,  fuzzy and I felt bit feverish.

Throughout the day I kept attempting tasks unsuccessfully then I slept about 16 hours, lost about 3 lbs over 3 days and today I have a headache. It’s like getting off a plane at Heathrow…

During one of my naps the phone rang, it was friends who got no answer knocking on my door…so they called from my driveway. I woke up, invited them in at their own risk and made tea. They teased me because I was wearing flannel sleep pants and they read my previous blog post where I was caught on my patio in racier sleepwear just days before and they felt ripped off.

Wisecracks.

I always forget that friends and family keep track of whats happening in my life by reading my blog.  This is a stupid post…

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Filed under health, Life