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Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Lifeprints

We just don't know. 

We don't know how long we'll walk this earth. We can hope we'll live long, healthy lives and die full of days and peacefully in our sleep. But we have no guarantees of this. 

I think we also forget how important we are in the lives of others. I keep learning this lesson over and over. One of these days I'll grasp it. 

One of our customers at the coffee shop passed away last week. For the entire time & has been at the shop she's talked about Chuck. I only had a handful of interaction with him but could see why he had grown on her so completely. 

Chuck ordered a large black coffee through the drive thru. And expected a few sarcastic moments of banter. He gave & and co-workers business and life advice. A successful encounter for & was when she'd get the final comment and watch him driving away shaking his head. 

Who would think that a few minutes a week could add up to a real relationship? Or that the arrival of three baristas at the visitation would mean so much to his grieving family? We do make a difference. A positive or negative one, we make one.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Back in Central Time Zone

I wish, Terri, I'd love to go to Paris...but alas I had to settle for a place  offering a mini Eiffel Tower (said in my head in a cheesy French accent.) And there was more air than road involved in this trip. 
This was my first time ever in Vegas. There have been moments of awe and wow, and those words actually covered all points on the emotional spectrum.

The Arbonne conference was amazing. Their new marketing guru is uber creative and has a great, artistic eye. The company has huge heart. And the new products = 2 thumbs up.

A highlight of the trip was going to the Wynn casino's country club steakhouse and chowing on some amazing vegan food. Wowza. 











Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Scraps and Snippets - Easy Candy Cookies

Easy Candy Cookies

1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1 TBSP  peanut butter or coconut oil
1 to 2 Cups of miscellaneous add-ins.

dried fruit (cherries, blueberries, banana chips, cranberries, raisins)
nuts (peanuts, chopped pecans or walnuts)
other (shredded coconut, broken pretzels, crushed potato chips, crispy cereal, granola)

Melt chocolate, add peanut butter/coconut oil and stir well. Add mix ins and stir. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper covered cookie sheet and refrigerate until hardened.

I made peanut butter with broken pretzels and dry roasted peanuts. And another batch with chopped almonds, coconut oil and dried cherries. 

Makes about 20

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ A Different Twist With Practice...

Sometimes, I get frustrated and bored when practicing my violin. One can only play Happy Birthday so many times, ya know. Happy Birthday and Bingo. And other odd snippets with quirky titles like "Snow Day" that may or may not really be written sound like what I'm producing.

Then, while I'm squeaking along, I might notice that I'm not alone. And that the creature who is with me is very fascinated by the mesmerizing movement of the bow. Then... I feel a little tempted to use my bow in other ways. Yeah. Very mature. But fun. 



Monday, April 22, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Flawless Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts. So tasty. Unless they are wimpy mush. This guarantees no mush. Preheat oven to 425.

Peel the top layer off, chop the dry stem end off. 

Bring water to a boil. 

Drop the sprouts into the water and boil for two minutes. 

Grease a pan large enough to hold your sprouts.

Place sprouts in pan and drizzle with a little oil and spice of choice. I used garlic flavored oil. 

Roast for approx 25 minutes. Some of the outer leaves may crisp and darken which only makes them more tasty. Check sprouts for preferred texture. If you want them more tender, add a few more minutes.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Strange Thoughts...


If you ran away and joined the circus, what would your role be? Would you run a concession? Would you train elephants? Be a clown? Ringmaster? Why? 

I would NOT be a clown. I would NOT want to taint another generation of innocent children. In case you don't pick up on the tone, clowns are not my favorite critters. FEARFUL and a little creepy. But, I did have a bad clown experience. I was five...something unexpected and loud happened, I spilled my popcorn. And another incident at a circus had me spilling a very large, very sticky pop down the back of the person in front of me. But that had nothing to do with clowns.

What I would do? Feeding peanuts to elephants. Yes. Low level trapeze. Six feet off the ground. I'd do that.  Maybe five feet.

 

 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Glimmer...

It feels like the world is growing darker. Deception is piled up like steaming piles of excrement wherever we turn. Opinions are becoming so deeply ingrained that the only way to win an argument or make a point is through dramatic emotional attack or physical violence. 

Why does our society think screamed words or social media bullying or fists of fury are going to buy them respect, converts or supporters? Or is the crown "earned" when standing over a bloodied victim and donning the self-awarded title of King of the Mountain? 

I am so grateful for the glimpses of good that we can still see in the aftermaths. Those who treat others with respect and kindness....even if that other person doesn't agree or will ever agree. I am so grateful to see forgiveness change the darkness to dawn. I am awed by the moments where I witness true love for humanity and life. I'm encouraged by those who choose to get up every morning, in spite of their struggles, and make the effort to go out and face the day. And smile, and offer kind words, and a human touch, and hope in a very, very dark world. A small flame of light puncturing the darkness, adding a glimmer where there had been only dank.

There is the truth. Right? Life matters. Living it matters. Treating it as precious and fleeting and beautiful, even in the raw grittiness of it, matters. Please. As you struggle with your emotions and fears, your doubts and your sorrows today, remember that life matters so much. And that the way you treat life makes ripples that lap into eternity. Choose to live life today and to make a difference in someone else's life. Reach out to, touch, laugh with, cry with, smile at, extend hope to, hug or love someone today. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Prayers

Blather. Just can't do it.

My violin teacher went to Boston to support his dad as he participated in the Boston Marathon.

They are okay, even though his dad was very near one of the explosions.

My prayers are with those who were injured, those who's lives will forever be impacted by this afternoon, and those who lost a little more innocence, a little more peace and gained a new layer of fear.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Uhhh. Desert Island Food List

Hmmm. What shall I write about? 

Plinky Prompt time. But I don't care for the the wording. So I'm tweaking it. 

What seven foods would I require if I was stranded on a desert island. Note, not dessert, desert. But... since I brought it up. 

Dark chocolate

Peanut butter

Oatmeal

Fruit....yes...I know...but there will be fruit on a deserted island. If I had a preference, I'd say raspberries, pineapple, mango, orange and blueberry would be lovely. 

Black beans

Organic heirloom tomatoes, spinach and lettuce would be nice, too. Maybe a little kale and some arugula. (How about I get stranded with a bunch of seeds so I can have a lovely garden?)

Cilantro

Odd combo isn't it?


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Squeaking Pains

Well, good news and bad. 

My epiphany was kind of, really, an epiphany. 

My counting discovery that the one, two, three, four or one &, two &, three &, four & can also become simply one, two, three, one, two, three. 

However, one is supposed to actually play the notes like that...one, two, three. Playing my practice pieces revealed that I was counting one, two, THREEEEEEEE.  one... which gives the songs a lovely wheeze.

So. We did some clapping. And some breaking sections down into tiny little three note segments. 

When he was somewhat satisfied that I could indeed clap one, two, three and play three notes in a row, he thought he'd tackle my self-confidence. 

Trust me, self-confidence and the violin are not comfortable friends. The violin definitely lets me know immediately when it's not happy with me. I guess I could call it a hypercritical little thing. 

However, Mr. Teacher said that making faces when I hit a sour note, or cringing when I poise to play, or laughing my way through a dismal, mistake-filled performance all scream that I don't believe I can master this little, wooden beast. Can you imagine the message I'd send if I did actually toss my cookies on his shoes? 

So, he played a little game with me. Told me to pretend that he was a Donald Trumplike entity and he could make or break my career. But that he knew nothing about music. I was supposed to play 5 measures of this simple little song as if I was nailing and had nailed it. Because he wouldn't know any difference since he was music illiterate and the only way he'd know something was wrong was if I gave him non-verbal clues. 

I reverted to a childhood tactic (real story) and asked if I could play from the hallway. He asked me if I'd ask that of Donald Trump. I said I would because I couldn't possibly play in the same room as the hair. I got a look, then I played. And I cringed through the entire thing. It was wicked awful. I peeked over at him. He told me Donald Trump fired me and told me a story about confidence being as important or even more important than skill or talent. He also told me that a perfect performance is almost impossible to pull off. No matter how much practice, preparation, talent and skill, there are so many things that can go wrong that perfection is so not going to happen. Amazingly, perfection or lack of, is not even going to be noticed by the average music lover. What they will notice is my lack of confidence. 

So. There you go. Counting and confidence. On my to-do-list. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Banana Blondies with Caramel Banana Topping


Lightly grease 9 x 13 pan. Preheat oven to 350.


Blondie:

1/2 Cup softened coconut oil
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup (heavy) vanilla protein powder (Arbonne)
2 TBSP ground flax seed
3 bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Cup chopped pecans
1/2 Cup almond milk
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Instructions: Place almond milk in a bowl and add the lemon juice. Let sit a minute until the milk begins to curdle. Add the ground flax and stir and allow it to gel a bit. 

In another bowl cream together sugar, protein powder, coconut oil and bananas. When mixed well add cinnamon, vanilla, salt and baking powder. Add the milk/flax mixture. Finally add the flour and stir well. 

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Topping: 

1/2 Cup chopped pecans
3 chopped bananas
1 Cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon

In a pan toss chopped pecans and heat, slice the bananas into the pan. When heated, add the sugar and cinnamon. Stir over medium heat until sugar begins to caramelize. 

Pour/spread the banana mixture over the blondies.   


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Did I or Didn't I? Good Question

I may have had a click moment with the violin. You know, when something clicks in your brain and you think you "get it". 

Or not. 

You know I'm struggling with "ain't got no rhythm" issues. Last week was even more of the same. 

1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & seems to work with pacing those eighth notes and quarter notes. But. Then there is 3/4 time. I think that's a whole different animal. Kind of. 

My teacher patiently explains things to me. I watch his lips move, I hear what he's saying. I nod like I get it and repeat things to myself to help me to remember what he's told me. I think he might be catching on because he has asked me at least once to tell him what I'll be working on in practice. But. While I'm listening/staring/repeating and thinking I'm still the equivalent to a cow looking at a new fence. My brain is accessing facts, like what's coming out of his mouth, but my mind is spinning out of control trying to interpret what he's saying into something I can understand. And basically I'm like, "Duh...what is this that the nice farmer put in my path? What do I do with it? Will it be my friend? And what's that over there?"

Practice time is either super frustrating while I attempt to remember and do, or exciting because I think I recognize the snippet of the song I'm attempting to play.

Last night I think I finally clicked with the 3 count. But I won't know til today when I attempt to play in front of him. Will I get an enthusiastic response or will he explain it to me like I'm a five year old? Yikes. That is the question.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Parched


Don't think the things you say and do have an impact on others ripple-tidal wave style? 

We had a local Arbonne training meeting on Saturday where we met some people we hadn't met before. 

One of them, Rachel, grabbed hold of &'s arm and started chatting. In the realm of Facebook, we have the ability to get to know a little bit about people without ever actually meeting them. Sometimes good...sometimes scary. Right?

They chatted a bit and talked about running. & is running a 1/2 marathon next month and has been conditioning. That little bugger can run 8 miles and live to tell about it. Whew. Huge accomplishment. But I digress.

Rachel is a runner and she said a few years ago she was running in Colorado. The altitude and the distance snuck up on her and she got overheated. There was a convenience store and she stopped. She said she could see her reflection in the glass as she opened the door and that she looked like she was in trouble. Runners usually don't carry cash.

She asked for a cup of water. And was turned away. Really? 

Fast forward to a few years later. She's in our city, running with a friend. They get near &s coffee shop and the heat starts kicking their hind-ends. Rachel began to feel overheated and her friend noticed her color turning to red. The friend suggested they run across the street and ask for some water. Rachel said she'd never have gone by herself after her encounter in Colorado. But with a friend she felt a little more supported. 

They walked in. Asked for water. & was working. And Rachel said, "Not only did you get me water, you smiled, filled the cup with ice, offered refills until we were ready to go, and talked to us like we mattered." 

Rachel then went on to say, "We don't buy ice cream or coffee anywhere else now, Tazza has our loyalty. And I'll never, never shop at a ___name of convenient store chain_____ again. 

One cup of water. 

One tiny act of kindness, actually, more like an act of simple human connection. 

Be that glass of water in your world today. Bring refreshment, comfort and hope.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ a Teaser

I'm a little snobby about bananas. 

The texture and peel color have to be just right for me to crack one open and scarf it. 

Just a shade too ripe and the whole experience is ruined for me. 

I also hate banana flavoring. 

Last night, & invited Rob and I to her apartment for supper. Yum. I think this needs to be a weekly occurrence.

For dessert she decided to whip up a version of McFosters celestial banana and serve it over ice cream. 

See the top few statements. Meh. I thought. 

Oh my! She tossed some Earth Balance into a hot pan. Chunked some bananas  and threw them in. Sprinkled brown sugar over them and Vietnamese cinnamon over that. And cooked it until the sugar and Earth Balance formed a caramel. 

Needless to say, I'll have an exact recipe very soon. Right now, I'm planning to whip up a banana brunch cake with caramelized banana topping. Hello!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Apple Cinnamon Protein Cupcake Muffins

Apple Cinnamon Protein Cupcake Muffins
 

Makes 15 -16 Muffins. 22 Minutes at 350. (40ish mini-muffins bake 14 min at 350)

1 3/4 cups all whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup vegan cane sugar
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder (Arbonne, is highly recommended)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup non dairy milk
1 tsp lemon juice
2 TBSP ground flax seed
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Cup applesauce

Preheat the oven to 350. Line or lightly grease the muffin tins. Place milk in a container and add lemon juice. When milk begins to curdle add ground flax and stir. Let sit while you do the rest of the prep, It will begin to gel and replaces eggs.

In a large bowl place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and
cinnamon. Mix with a fork.
 

Add the milk/flax/lemon juice mixture, applesauce and vanilla. Stir until blended.

Fill the muffin tins or cupcake wrappers about 2/3's full.

Bake for 22 minutes. Let cool. Makes about 40 mini muffins. Bake them for approx 14 minutes.


Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Screechy, Screechy, OH! I Get It

Seems little tiny details really do make a difference when playing the violin. 

Like knowing where your fingers are supposed to go. A teeny bit up or down and not good. Then there's timing...you all know about my whole rhythm ridiculousness...well, I think I figured something out. 

My teacher explained it to me again, for the tenth time, maybe twentieth, and I think I understand, kind of. 

In my book there was a little section when I started learning eighth notes that had 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & underneath the score. And it said I should count those out loud while playing. Well, I didn't. I had enough trouble just counting 1 2 3 4. I thought I couldn't add the &, too. And still learn the crazy-backwards-but-not-really G string. So I kept kinda counting 1 2 3 4. What difference would it make and why clutter up the simple tap, tap, tap, tap of 1 2 3 4? And, of course, I didn't ask my teacher. Though I'm sure he appreciated that there was one thing I didn't ask him to explain again. He probably assumed that though I'm slow, I was still trying to obey the basic, iron clad rules.

Now. I maybe got away with this for a bit. There were the few times he nailed me for not actually counting because he could tell by my note issues that I was a bit off. He can tell by my behavior issues that I'm a lot off, but that's another story. 

Turns out, that 1, 2, 3, 4 isn't necessarily how I was supposed to be counting. I'm supposed to count the lowest denominator of notes. So if a piece has eighth, quarter and half notes, I need to count 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 because the eighth notes follow that pattern and nail number and & and the quarter notes hit on the number and play through the &. Hello!

So life lesson. Little things do matter. They add up and make the musical score that follows us through life. I don't want to screech or be three clicks forward or two clicks behind all the folks playing alongside of me. For reals.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Scribbles and Scrambles ~ Road Trippin with Gratitude

Our Easter weekend was rich with sensory details. 


I took a whirlwind trip (10 hours) to Kansas City with Lindsey and & (the Vegan cheese girls) to help with an Arbonne party. Why would I go to Kansas City to help with an Arbonne party? Well, because I'm an Arbonne girl, now. (A mature woman, extremely professional and mature, actually.) I'm a huge fan of the products and the business is as good or better than the products. Just sayin. And feel free to ask questions about either one. 

But I digress. The cheese girls went along for moral support and because Cafe Gratitude was exactly 25 minutes away from our party. We not only managed a meal at Cafe Gratitude, but a side trip visit to FUD for a shared dessert. Oh, and hit a cute shop that looked like &'s Pinterest board. 



Anyhoo, I digress again. 


If you happen to be Vegan, vegetarian or love flavorful food served with charming quirk... and passing through Kansas City, give Cafe Gratitude a shot. I'm pretty sure you'll leave as impressed as we were. And full. 

We split one of the bowls. Not sure what it was called. I'm E-something. Each of the names is an I statement...or I'm statement. Like I'm Amazed. I'm Beautiful, I'm Positive, I'm Upbeat, I'm Creative. And none of those may actually be the names of the dishes. However, whatever I'mer's we chowed were delicious. Like I said, we split a brown rice/quinoa bowl of deliciousness....and a CLT (Coconut Bacon) YUM sandwich with the best black bean soup ever. And shared a raw nacho appetizer with a blob of -bury-your-face-in-it's-so-stinkin-good guacamole.  

Fud was a few blocks away. Would have loved hoofing it there and checking out the quirky neighborhood, but we did have a reason to be in KC, and time was ticking, so we drove. 

We shared a Vegan brownie sundae. Cashew ice cream and nine toppings. That sucker was amazing. Seriously. Nuts, chocolate and caramel drizzle, goji berries, blueberries. So good. 

Highly recommended by all three of us. And Kansas City is seriously just three hours away. Who knows what might end up happening there that will need our time and attention, ya know. Also. Heard IKEA is opening up there, too. Hello! 
















Monday, April 01, 2013

Scraps and Snippets ~ Buffalo Scalloped Potatoes

Buffalo Scalloped Potatoes

5-6 medium potatoes thinly sliced or diced
1/2 onion thinly sliced or diced
1 TBSP Earth Balance
1 tub Vegan cream cheese (8 ounces, I used Trader Joe's)
2 stalks finely diced celery
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried parsley
1 and 1/2 cups of the following liquids...water and red hot/pepper/wing sauce. I uses 1/2 cup Frank's hot sauce and 1/4 cup of habenaro hot pepper sauce and 3/4 cup water. This was a spicy combo. Nicely spicy for heat lovers, too much for weenies. :  ).

Instructions:

Dice or slice the potatoes and onion. Heat the Earth Balance in a skillet and toss in onions and potatoes and brown so they are semi-crunchy and caramelized. 

While the potatoes are browning, preheat oven to 350 and slightly spray 8 x 11 or 10 inch round pan. 

In a medium bowl mix liquids with the cream cheese. Add the spices and mix very well. Add the diced celery and blend. 

When your potatoes and onions are cooked to your preference slide half into the baking pan. Pour half of the buffalo sauce over the potatoes. Add the rest of the potatoes and repeat with rest of the sauce. Bake at 350 for approx 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender and the sauce is bubbling.