International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day… A day to celebrate women and their contributions to the world. When I think about International Women’s Day, I think of the women who influenced my life – regardless of their level of fame (or infamy) or world-wide contribution. Here are a few of the women I believe heavily influenced who I was, who I am, and who I will be.

Anna with Me (the gypsy in the back) and my little sister (a bandit) and cousin
Marjorie and Me

The Grandmothers… They are Anna and Marjorie. Neither are alive today, but they both made a lasting influence on me while they were here. Both encouraged education, independence, and family. Neither tolerated complacency. And with all they had in common as grandmothers, as women they brought their unique self to the table. Marjorie was feminine and loved to sing and garden, while Anna was a tomboy (even as an adult) who loved to bake, play dominoes, and took no guff off anyone. While Marjorie taught me the power of a smile, Anna taught me silence equates to condoning.

Mum and Me

My mum… She is one of those people who other people gravitate around because she radiates this warm, loving, comfort. Complete strangers have literally asked her for a hug, while it takes her a matter of minutes before she knows the life story of everyone she comes in contact with. She doesn’t have to say a word, they simply share. I’ve seen shoulders ease and a sense of contentment settle upon people. For my little sister and I, she is our bedrock.

George Sand… I’m not sure when I first learned about George Sand (aka Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin), but I know that when I did – I knew I wanted to be her when I grew up. She lived life on her own terms – an independent writer in a time where a noble woman was meant to only marry, look pretty, and have plenty of children. She was smart, independent, wore men’s clothes (because they were more comfortable than all those skirts), cussed up a storm, and loved (and was loved) by brilliant men. While I’m not a fan of her writing (think romance novels from the 1800s) nor would I have made some of the decisions she made, I loved that she lived the life she wanted to live instead of living the life everyone else expected her to live.

Kate Chopin… Unlike George Sand, Kate Chopin is not someone I admire because of her life. Rather, I admire her because of her work. Well, one piece of work she wrote that literally changed my life forever… The Awakening. I first read this book when I was 12 or 13, and it created the weird, wonderful epiphany deep within me: it’s my life. The Awakening tells the profoundly sad story of a women who had two choices – to live the life she wanted or to live the life that society expected of her. She chose the later, and the consequences were profound. It is a story that is rich, textured, and sad. It is a story I’ve held up as my Geiger Counter for regrets.

What about you? What women have played a strong role in your life? What women do you appreciate for their role(s) in your life?

Doing my due diligence and being straight up, it is important I state the links to the above items are links via an affiliate program I’m involved in with Amazon.  While the price, through the program, remains the same for everyone – I do receive a small amount of money based on whether you follow the link and purchase the product.  However, I can verify that I’ve purchased these products and recommend them.


What Made Me Happy in February

One of the nasty habits I have is that when time passes, I often focus on what I didn’t get accomplished during that time period.  I’m very goal focused, and when I don’t complete the goals I intended to complete – no matter what the circumstances – I mentally beat myself up and wallow a little too much.  I do this with each passing New Year, each passing birthday, and even at the end of each day.  Whatever wasn’t checked off or crossed off on my list is ammunition for me to focus on the negative – focusing on what didn’t get done instead of what actually was done.  This tends to skew a person’s overall perspective.  Not this year!

One of my goals is to do a better job appreciating time and what I accomplished in that time.  So, every month I plan to identify what I appreciate about the month – not necessarily in what I’ve accomplished or haven’t accomplished, but to simply identify a few things that I’m grateful for – that I’m happy about happening…

Snow… It snowed!  While most of the people around me hate the snow, I absolutely love it (as mentioned in an earlier post).  And we got a lot of snow to love in February.  Most of it is gone now, but I’m incredibly happy it paid a visit.  It just made everything feel fresh, cozy, and still.  Stillness in live is definitely under-appreciated.

Blogging again… I met my scheduling goal for the month, and I’m very happy about it.  Yeah, blogging!!

Ghirardelli Chocolate and Caramel Hearts… These evil creations are wickedly wonderful, and I inhaled an entire bag of these.  I received these as a little Valentine’s gift, and I devoured the bag.  I love them so much that I ended up going and purchasing another bag to share with my mum.  Though, I do admit there wasn’t much sharing involved.  I believe she ate a total of 4 of these bad girls… Not because she didn’t like them but because there was only 4 left.

Treatments begin… 2019 has been a devastating year for me and my little family.  My mother’s cancer returned with a vengeance, a friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, another friend was diagnosed with a brain tumor (not cancer but growing out of control), and a friend’s husband was diagnosed with brain tumor (don’t know if it is malignant yet).  In February, Mum started her radiation treatments while the friend with breast cancer has her surgery (and will soon start her radiation).  The friend with the brain tumor started her over 30 radiation treatments, while the friend’s husband was referred to treatment at a prestigious hospital.  While February was the start, at least it was a start for everyone.  More gratitude will be felt when everyone is done with their treatments and can celebrate.

A good hair cut… One should never under-estimate the power of a good hair cut.  In February, I decided it was time for a change.  I had been spending the last 6 months pulling my hair back, pushing it out of my eyes, and annoyed that after 4 hours of “air drying” – my hair still wasn’t dry.  So, I simply stepped out of the shower, took a pair of scissors, and gave myself a blunt bob cut.  It reaches down to my jaw line.  I love the hair cut and have received a lot of compliments, but I wasn’t too clever because I still have it falling in my face (pulling it back behind my ears doesn’t work for long) and even though it is shorter – it still takes over 4 hours to “air dry” my hair.  While I wanted to go short, I didn’t want to go too short, so this is the best for now.  No matter how short my hair was cut, though, I feel fortunate because my hair grows relatively fast, so I’ll be able to change it up again in a few months.

What about you?  What was it about February that made you happy?


Comfort Time…

There are times when seeking out a little extra comfort is needed.  It is needed to sooth the mind, body, and soul.  How and where someone seeks out that comfort depends on the individual, but I typically do it when I’m ill, exhausted, or simply stressed.  Most recently, I needed a little comfort for stress and exhaustion.  This is where I found my comfort…

My family:  They are always my touchstone.  I can count on them to make me laugh, provide reassurance, and give me the space to settle. 

My bed:  A freshly made bed is always a source of coziness.  Soft bed sheets, layers of blankets, and plush pillows… I’m feeling myself relax just thinking about it!  I admit, there have been times when I wanted to spend all day in bed (and actively tried to finagle my day, so I could) simply because of that warm security my bed brought me.  But even spending a few hours in bed can do wonders for my wellbeing.

Comfy clothes:  Warm and soft are my demands when it comes to comfort.  Typically, flannel pajamas and soft slippers that encase my feet gently.  I recently purchased these slippers because they looked not only soft and warm but provided the flexibility that I could wear them outside when I needed to quickly run out to my car.  However, it didn’t take long before those slippers were claimed by my mum… leaving me with my old slippers (though still warm and soft).

Food:  Comfort food is a term people utilize liberally; however, food can provide a sense of contentment.  For me, it is the basics… warm chocolate chip cookies, blueberry or banana muffins, and English muffins with melted butter sliding into the nooks and crannies.

Books:  The book I recently reached for was the recently purchased, “The Girl Who Drank the Moon” by Kelly Barnhill.  Amazing story that I highly recommend.  The story is layered, sweet, and compelling.

Ultimately, for me, when I feel that need to be comforted, I will put on the softest pajamas I own, crawl into my freshly made bed, and read a stack of books until I fall asleep. Typically, a cup of warm tea keeps me company, while a cookie (or two) keep the tea cup company. It is what I do… What about you? What do you do when you need to carve out comfort time?

Doing my due diligence and being straight up, it is important I state the links to the above items are links via an affiliate program I’m involved in with Amazon.  While the price, through the program, remains the same for everyone – I do receive a small amount of money based on whether you follow the link and purchase the product.  However, I can verify that I’ve purchased these products, and I would not recommend them if I didn’t truly love them.



Recipe: Crab Dip

I use to work at a food manufacturing company, where one of the great perks of the job came in the research and development department. It was there that they not only tested new ideas, they tested recipes for existing products. These recipes, if successful, were utilized in a variety of ways – from marketing/advertising to business-to-business opportunities. Though I didn’t work in research and development, I was friends with the person who whipped up those recipes and became one of the few privileged who sampled those dishes. One of the best? This crab dip!

This has now become a family favorite. If there is a big gathering and this crab dip is sitting on the table, my cousin will dive in. In fact, if it were physically possible, she would literally dive into the bowl. So, I thought I would take this opportunity to share this wonderful recipe with you.

Recipe: Crab Dip

Recipe:  Crab Dip

Ingredients

  • • 16 oz. of cream cheese (preferably whipped)
  • • 1 cup of mayo
  • • 4 tablespoons of chopped dill pickles
  • • 3 tablespoons of chopped onions
  • • 1 pound imitation crab meat (chopped)

Instructions

Thoroughly mix together the cream cheese and mayo. Add chopped dill pickles and onions and mix. Finally, add imitation crab meat and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and serve with crackers, plain tortilla, or pita chips.

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