Every Moment…


Every moment is a deep breath and a step forward.

Everything stripped to its simplicity.

A rebirth with each raw heartbeat.

And still…

There is only Love.

Written 08-03-2016, 2:57pm
Copyright © 2016 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

3 Comments

Filed under Glioblastoma, Poetry, Random Thoughts, Writing

The Things You Dream When Your Husband Is Fighting Glioblastoma


Go Grey In May - Glioblastoma Brain Cancer Awareness Graphic by Aberrant CrochetA few nights ago I had this dream that I was approached by vampires.

We can cure your husband, they said.

We’re really the only cure for cancer there is.

All your husband’s knowledge, all his skills, all the things that he knows that nobody else knows…

These things can live on.

They can be preserved.

We can save your husband.

And in my dream, my husband thinks hey – that’s a great idea!

What a great solution, he says. It’ll save my life, he says.

And I have an absolute fit.

I say – giving up now

to DIE

and become a VAMPIRE

is QUITTING!

And he says, no it will save me.

And it’s not like you and the kids have to do it, it would just be for me.

I will be saved and we can still be a family. You don’t have to become a vampire too.

And I say – if you don’t have the willpower to keep fighting

and keep LIVING NOW,

and you’re going to give up

and become a VAMPIRE

and be DEAD –NOW-,

what makes you think you’re going to have any willpower not to turn me or the kids in vampires too?

What makes you think you’re going to be able to control your new vampire personality traits?

You have a hard enough time getting through cancer treatment and controlling your cancer personality traits as it is.

I WAS SUPER UPSET!

And I woke up at some point because John had to get up in the night. Quite exhausted from all of my dream arguing.

And when I went back to sleep I continued to dream about insurance paperwork.

Then the next night, I dreamed that there was a trial where wives and husbands we’re donating their blood to help with some kind of research to benefit their husbands and wives who had glioblastoma. By comparing the blood from life partners they hoped to come up with something that would help cancer patients. Because in theory, they spend the most time together and live biologically similar lives. So study the partners and look for a connection.

So of course there were tons of us who were like – SURE!

Take some of my blood already!

I’ll do whatever you need to help save my husband, wife, lover.

And so I said yes.

I filled out paperwork and was brought into a little room where they’re going to take my blood and start running tests.

They bring me in, close the door, and they forget that I’m there.

And after a while of waiting I realized that everyone has left the building, and I am locked in this room and no one has noticed.

It all seems like some kind of cruel joke.

Another time I dreamed that without John, I couldn’t protect my children from being kidnapped. Crazy right?

Then there was the dream about John being in his last days.

And friends said they would come over for a visit, share a meal with me and see how he and I were doing.

Several people wanted to come around lunchtime or dinner time, so I made plans  and  got the house ready, prepared food for everybody and got ready for company.

But it turned out that everyone was too busy, and had their own things to worry about.

So no one came or let me know that they couldn’t come after all.

And I waited and waited after making all that food. Then John said I was silly, and wasted my time.

And I said, but I’m trying so hard to do this right.

The reality of GBM messes with your head enough while you’re awake.

And I’m only the wife of the survivor.

It’s a nightmare of a cancer, boggling the mind as to how it can even exist.

There’s too much to do.

I don’t need it eating up my sleep too.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

5 Comments

Filed under Glioblastoma

When waters threaten to overwhelm…


Dealing with grief and trauma…

It’s like handling an onion.

Cut back a layer, more tears.
More “lessons.”
More insight.
New “weaknesses.”
New strength that takes you awhile to recognize.

Sometimes it feels like multiple events chain together.

What I can tell you is that you must invest in more than the “big” things.

You must invest in little moments and little successes.

Humans desperately need to be of service.
They need to be of value.
They need to make a difference.
Life must have a meaning.
And they need more than just a few micro joys.

That is what offsets our darkness.

If there are not enough investments into the bank account of our positive experiences, when the negative and the demanding experiences come (and they always will), we risk overdraft.

There’s not enough positive to offset the negative.

It hurts our psyche. And then it gets taken out of our very organs and cells to try to compensate.

Even when you don’t feel like it, it’s important to invest in the tiny Joys that life can offer.

Find something different. Find something soul feeding for you.

Invest your time with your family. You never know when that’s going to change.

And you don’t want to feel like you ever missed out.

Even when you don’t feel like it, be your own fairy god mother and grant yourself a wish.

Put yourself to bed.

Nurture and reassure the hurting child inside.

Don’t be afraid to talk it out with a counselor. It’s not always appropriate to use family or friends to talk it out with.

Lean on your spiritual beliefs and look for answers in the little things.

Not sure what you believe?  Then begin a pilgrimage to find that.

Take it slow and savor each moment.

Much love. You can do this.

Last thing: write a letter.

Get out everything you want to say, and maybe don’t know yet that you do.

It’s not for others to see. You can even burn it later. But say in that letter everything you wish you could out loud.

I promise it helps.
::hugs::

1 Comment

Filed under Artist Information & Notes

I don’t know yet how to begin to explain…


It’s like all the worst possible challenges you can imagine.

Mixed up with experiencing (mostly) the best possible of people.

And we’re just along for the ride.

I have no idea where we’re going.

I just hang on to John.

Take the next step and breathe.

1:44am
April 10, 2016

3 Comments

Filed under Random Thoughts, Writing

Sonorous abyss…


The gap amplifies.
Dear God.
I fear I falter.

April 2, 2016
1:08am

7 Comments

Filed under Artist Information & Notes

It’s always someone else. Until it’s not.


The surgeon from the ER is straight and practical about telling us what we face.

John wasn’t having a stroke.

I learn new words. Glioblastoma multiform, grade 4.

His brain cancer surgery is scheduled for this Friday morning.

It hurts so bad right now.

I tried to sleep some. But can’t sleep long.

I’ve had about 5.5 hours of sleep in 3 days.

One of our retired law-enforcement friends says it’s the adrenaline. And that it will run out.

And I know this.

I’m not trying to stay awake.  I’m just stuck there.

I’m still in shock.

I still want to wake up.

Now. Please.

John’s my rock.  And he’s in grave danger.

With everything I believe about energy and faith. I don’t know how to be right now.

I have to balance between being positive and being ready.

And there’s no peace in any of it.

There’s so much work to do.  So many legal and financial things.

Things I have no idea how to begin.

Why do we do this? Why do we make the system so painful?

It’s been almost 10 years since John came home from his last overseas deployment.

It was just in time, because I was falling apart.

I was afraid to be alone, because of my emotional state.

The gaping hole that simply his absence created in me.

I was not afraid for his life. He’s the most capable man I know.

It was the whole feeling of him being disconnected from me.

Not being able to pick up the phone.  Not knowing where he was.

Always waiting for a call in the middle of the night.  Maybe.

And I carried a gaping, oozing wound with me everywhere.

No matter how ok I was, I wasn’t. Because my life was constantly seeping from me.

My other half was gone, and the hole in my side would not close.

People were sometimes bewildered as to why I was so deeply affected in that way.

So was I.  It was so horrible. Long deployments are not kind.

And until that time, I had no idea how tied together John and I are.

Tough, down to earth people. We’ve faced so much hardship together.

Things most people never face. And never will.

All my greatest fears of losing this wonderful family of mine were faced back then.

I thought.

And then John went through it with me 2.5 years ago when I developed a blood clot from my ankle surgery.

And he fell apart having to face his fear of me dying.  Because his adopted sister died of a blood clot.

And now, I wonder if it was all to help prepare me/us instead. Like did God plan this all along.

And I don’t want that to take hold in me, because I don’t want to somehow manifest something I don’t wish.

I have poured out my soul in this.

I put a general announcement out to the worlds we’ve been a part of.  College, the Texas Guard, my spiritual groups, my crochet friends.

John’s name has been added to many prayer lists at churches around the world, thanks to connections we’ve gathered over time.

And I hope for many more.

Hundreds of people are praying and sending Reiki and doing energy work on him right now.  On us.

I know I’m alive because of prayer and positive will from communities and friends.

I know I’ve experienced many miracles.

But the only thing so dark as this that I’ve ever experienced before was nearly losing my son in the womb.

Those 8-9 weeks we didn’t know if our son would live or die.

The night I hemorrhaged, and prepared myself to lose my baby, I suddenly heard a voice that guided me then.

“Mommy, don’t give up on me.” 

It was clear as day, out of nowhere.

One of the most profoundly spiritual things I’ve ever experienced.

From that point on, no matter how much doctors told me that I wasn’t facing reality and needed to prepare….

I knew my unborn son was alive.

It carried me through the face of so much medical disbelief.

I so desperately want to hear a voice right now.

 

10 Comments

Filed under Friends and Family, Writing

Mom Thoughts…


As my kids grow older

and transition into adulthood,

I am ever grateful for 5 little words.

“Mom, I need a hug.”

02/10/2016
9:23 am

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry, Random Thoughts, Writing

Craft Bullies…


I cannot believe… I’ve never seen this video before.

Someone shared it over at The Crochet Liberation Front Ravelry Group.

I think it’s absolutely HILARIOUS!
And that its satire also reveals some points, if anyone’s listening…

5 Comments

Filed under Crochet Community, Humor

Heart Carvings…


The message that daily consumes my very be-ing.

In every deed and every thing,
let not my life be a waste.
Let not my actions be careless.
Let me live as love and shine as light.
Kindness ever guiding me.

It is how I honor my family and elders.
It is how I heal my wounds.
It is how I speak when my words are stuck.
And when no one understands.

Yet there is an abyss, that once drawn, even a star cannot escape.

Written 01-21-2016, 12:56am
Copyright © 2016 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

2 Comments

Filed under Writing

Ever had that feeling….?


The kind where you just don’t feel right.

Like something’s afoot, but you can’t figure out what.

You wonder if it’s just the weather, or the food you ate, or Mercury’s retrograde.

But it’s not. There’s something else.

Like the world is holding its breath, waiting for an unknown shoe to drop.

That’s the kind of feeling weighing on me tonight.

Stay safe out there.

xoxoxo

5 Comments

Filed under Random Thoughts

The Elephant in the Room…


For my last post of the month, I felt I had to address something.

And that’s the explosion of traffic that just manifested in my blog stats the last two days.

There has been more traffic yesterday and today – individually – than any other day of traffic in the history of my blog.

I wish I could say it’s because I’m a rad crochet personality. But that’s not why yesterday and today’s stats have each broken all other traffic records in a single day on my blog.

The last “all in a day” record? Yeah, that was back in fall 2011 when we had the Cama Beach Crochet Retreat and I posted all those photos during the week.  In fact since I posted every day of the retreat as well as during my extra few days stay afterward, the entire week had high traffic stats. So did the video I made (in summer 2011) from the 2010 crochet retreat too.

Makes sense.

And a close 2nd was my article in summer 2012 about The US Olympics Committee bungle with Ravelry.

Again, makes sense. Crochet, crochet, crochet. Check.

And while it hasn’t broken a record for hits in a single day, the absolute #1 post on my blog is my 2011 post on “What Does Frogging Mean?

So what is it that’s breaking all the records this week, two days in a row? And ain’t over yet? (Vast majority of traffic from the US too.)

Tape Ball.

Yep, it’s my article from last year’s NaBloPoMo about the game Tape Ball, aka Candy Ball.  The simple but fun game played with a large ball that’s made with cling wrap/plastic wrap, leftover wrapping paper, candy, prizes, underwear, a sense of humor and a lot of shenanigans.

My phone keeps going off – “Your stats are booming!!!”

Guess I’m glad that I took my time and compiled a complete how-to last year. To be honest, I did it so I could have something to go back and reference for myself. And at least for now it’s turned into a record-breaking post.

In addition, oddly, my 2011 story about accidentally making butter in my Ninja blender when I was trying to make whipped cream for Thanksgiving has also been getting an unusual amount of attention the last two days too. The 4th most popular post on my blog, incidentally. Either a lot of people accidentally screwed up their Thanksgiving desserts, or someone’s trying to get back to their old-fashioned roots – with power kitchen tools.

Gee, you know thinking about it – that’s an awful lot of blog popularity all written back in 2011 right there.

Does that mean I was a better writer then?

I don’t know, but in either case, I predict that this holiday season will be a lot more fun for some strange reason.

And I want pics.

 

2 Comments

Filed under 'Tis the Season, NaBloPoMo

Getting Close Now…


I debated on what to write about tonight.

The only NaBloPoMo I ever lost was because of the Thanksgiving holiday, and unexpectedly NOT having access to a computer before midnight.

And of course, I didn’t have a smart phone of any kind back then.

These last 3 nights, I managed to blog via cell phone only. A neat trick, these new-fangled tech tools.

I attempted useful, meaningful and whimsy.  And overall seemed to avoid any major auto-correct mishaps on my blog.

Not that it would have really mattered for NaBloPoMo.  Since it’s not supposed to be about quality, but instead about commitment.

But if you’ve followed me for any time, then you know that I rather despise the idea of “lazy” posts.

I’ll experiment with writing exercises. I’ll play with different styles.

I’ll tell stories and write poetry.  I’ll share information and play show ‘n tell.

But I’m not a real fan of following the crowd or throw-away posts.

Real writing is about sharing some piece of heart, after all. Right?

Unless there’s nothing else left but sheer commitment to the process.

In the end, perhaps there’s a lesson in that.  As it’s often commitment that keeps the world ticking and that drives us to success.  Not the prettiest, the loudest or the tastiest things that cross our paths.  Simply the steadfast things.  The ones we know we can rely on. That which always has our back. What is it that’s always there, even when things don’t go to plan? It gets us through.

Practice, training, love….  None of these are always easy, always sexy, always fun.  But investment in each pays off in troves.

And to dig further into that… What do we want that foundation that we can rely on to be?  What do we really want to commit our energy to in life?  But likewise, from what do we wish to draw upon to help propel us forward?

It’s all too easy to put off important things, because we don’t think we have time to do it right.  We don’t write that letter, because it won’t be a masterpiece. We don’t make that call, because we don’t have enough patience.  We don’t share that story that’s crying to be told, because we’re not good enough to do the telling.  We don’t invest in the relationships that matter the most.  We don’t plan room in our lives for memories, for smiles, for people, for stumbling, for tears, for sticky fingers and sloppy kisses.

And when there’s no extra room, when we live our lives so close to the wire, by the skin of our teeth…

When every minute is spoken for in ways we’d never want for our children, much less ourselves…

It’s time to look up and see the cliff we’re heading for.

Thanksgiving is over and now November NaBloPoMo is winding down to an end. Tomorrow marks the last day of the challenge.

I hope everyone had a marvelous holiday weekend with good memories and camaraderie.

 

3 Comments

Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Numinous


nu·mi·nous

ˈn(y)o͞omənəs/

adjective

“Having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity.”

or…

The feeling you get when you’re in the presence of something greater than yourself.

Have you ever felt “the Hand of God” upon you?

Ever known something you shouldn’t.

Had faith without logical reason.

Felt compelled as if it meant life and breath.

Charted a path against all odds, because something called you….

I’m here to tell you that if you can believe.

If you can embrace.

If you can allow yourself to calm the noise and simply Know Thyself.

It’s worth it.

Leave a comment

Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Is time travel like crochet or like knit?


We just watched the new Terminator movie tonight.

And it got me thinking about the fabric of time.

Is it more like crochet? Or is it more like knit?

If you travel back in time, and something goes wrong and the timeline is changed… is it like a run in your pantyhose?

Something that ripples like a straight line through the entire length of knit fabric, permanently changing the landscape? Erasing an entire line of loops?

Or is it more like crochet?  In that if a loop of the fabric is damaged, its spread remains fairly localized. But the altered appearance in that area is more pronounced, leaving remants of threads and half memories?

And instead of erasing a line of loops, a little pot hole is formed, and the face of the landscape changes across multiple “lines?”

Do you think time as we know it is at risk from time moths?

#musings

6 Comments

Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Measure or Weigh? Which Do You Do With Your Yarn?


Do you measure or weigh your yarn?

Or neither?

The obvious reason to do either, is to be sure you have enough yarn for your project.

It’s fairly common for patterns to tell you up front how much yarn you need in terms of yards or meters. Some will also tell you how much yarn you need in terms of thickness and in actual weight.

When you buy yarn for your project, commercially produced yarn will state on the label how much yardage or meters and / or how much weight the yarn has. But even if it doesn’t show the weight, you can easily use a kitchen scale to weigh your yarn.

So what if you’re designing on your own? What if you don’t have a pattern, and you’re making something you’ve never made before?

You could measure length, but for speed, consider weighing your yarn.

How does that help you ask?

The weight of your yarn can be used as a means to gauge where you’re at in a project and how much more yarn you still need to finish it.

Say you’re a fairly experienced crocheter but you’re making your own hat design. You know what you’re doing, but you’re not entirely sure how much yarn you’re using to do what you want to do.

Weigh it. You can weigh both the UFO and the yarn you have left halfway through the project to help you gauge whether you have enough yarn weight left to finish it. If the finished portion weighs far more than the leftover yarn, then you’re probably going to run short on your project.  And if the yarn you have left weighs far more than your project does so far, then you’ll probably be ok.

You can also weigh your completely finished object so you know how much yarn to put down in your notes for the next time you make it.  Or for your pattern if you’re going to write and publish it.

Handy right?

Still, it seems that people have different opinions as to which method is more accurate. Weight or length?

So I put it out to you. Which method do you use? Share your answer in the comments below!

4 Comments

Filed under crochet, Crochet Education, NaBloPoMo, Yarn

12 Brilliant Ways To Create More Time To Crochet!


1. Sleep in your clothes. You’ve probably heard about laying your clothes out the night before to save time the next morning.  But I say heck – why not cut the time out altogether?  Go to bed dressed for tomorrow.  That way you don’t have to dress when you get up in the morning, thereby saving you even more time.  Note: T-shirts, jeans and knit items work the best.

2. Eat breakfast in the shower.  How long do you take to eat breakfast in the morning?  I’m guessing you probably scarf something down in 5-10 minutes tops, don’t ya?  Well that’s still 5-10 wasted minutes you could be crocheting instead!  Multi-task by eating in the shower.  I know, brilliant right?  Hello smoothie! Instant Breakfast shake! Just pop it in a spill proof container and voilà, suck that puppy down while you rinse and you won’t even taste the suds.

3. “Services will be down for scheduled maintenance.” No seriously! Send this notice to your boss, put it on your website, place a sign on your desk and then get to your scheduled crochet maintenance! Trust me, the world will be amazed at how much better everything seems to work!

4. Skip the makeup. After all which is worth more – Maybeline or Malibrigo. Obviously, when your priorities are straight, there’s no contest.  Use that time to pretty your crochet instead.

5. Have a Cro-Go Bag.  Seriously, I don’t just mean your emergency go bag essentials that you should always have tucked away in the trunk.  I mean get in the habit of keeping a crochet bag packed and ready to go – to take in your car.  *Crochet in the drive-through, crochet in the pick-up line at school, crochet at the red lights.  Crochet in the waiting room at the county tag office.  You never know where you might be delayed and there are moments to be caught anywhere.  Especially if you’re a Mom Taxi.  And if you suddenly find yourself having to wait on someone – no worries, you can be productive.

12 Brilliant Ways To Create More Time To Crochet - photo and article by Aberrant Crochet6. Crochet on the phone.  Blue tooth and speaker phone were made for crochet, unless you need to count.

7. Let Amazon deliver.  Seriously. More and more you can find anything on Amazon.  Even Malibrigo.  Save your gas, let them deliver goods to your door and use that time to crochet!

8. Skip lunch.  Well, is your crochet important to you or not?

9. Cover your end tables with crochet projects and WIPs, thereby eliminating the need to dust.  Ergo, more crochet time.

10. Store your clothes in the dryer. Seriously, why fold and put them away?  You’re just going to put them on again before you go to bed.  So leave them in the dryer, toss them if they get cold and save that folding time for crochet!

11. Better yet, barter for laundry service.  You wash and fold my clothes for me, I’ll totally crochet for you.  Oh here, this one has a wine stain.

12. Barter for meals.  You want more time to crochet anyway, right?  Well cooking eats a lot of time!  Covert that time instead into crochet time.  Find the best foodie cook you know and offer to trade them your time, hour for hour, in crochet.  Make sure they have lots of pot holders.

And there you have it!

12 BRILLIANT ways to increase the #crochet quality of your life.

Do you have an idea to add?  Share it in the comments below!

Got a friend in need who could use these tips?

Do them a favor and SHARE this post with them!

World peace will thank you later.

9 Comments

Filed under crochet, Crochet Community, Humor, NaBloPoMo

Diversify or Specialize: You Can’t Do Both – Right?


“Austin is a smaller version of New York city.”

This is what a friend of mine (from New York) told me once. I’ve heard that Austin and Seattle are similar in personalities, but I hadn’t heard it being anything like New York before.

Granted, I have not yet been to New York.  Still, I’m not sure that I can agree with her.  And certainly, it would probably be best for her to never repeat that to a native Texan who didn’t already love her. In fact, I’m not sure a native New Yorker would appreciate the comparison.

Still, if you stop and think about it, both cities are incredibly diverse in culture. Pretty much every kind of food, every kind of belief system, every kind of hobby can be found in both places. I never think about Austin’s unique nature much until I travel to other areas and suddenly realize that wait – something’s missing. Or when a friend comes to visit and comments on it.

Oddly, my friend’s comment got me thinking about competitive marketing in the Austin area.

Austin is a colorful and amazing city with a lot of talent to offer. And all of the surrounding cities take on a similar general personality. We’re laid back and friendly here.  We don’t take anything too seriously, except our food and our friendships.  And our social demographic is influenced by the fact that Austin/Round Rock is considered one of the most educated cities in the US.

There are so many diverse and interesting things that can be marketed or written about here. I figure working for Austin Monthly magazine must be a great job as a writer. Surely fun and rarely boring.

But then I was thinking about niche businesses. How marketing (and writing) changes when you specialize instead of diversify.

Austin’s happenings and culture seem like bountiful writing resources, where there’s a plethora of colorful possibilities – pretty astounding. There’s so much texture and color to explore here, all unified by the fact that is all quirky Austin.

But if I were to try to switch things up, and dedicate a specialized magazine to say – crochet in Austin – suddenly there is no diversification. Because in spite of our colorful and rich stories, Austin is still essentially a small town community.  We don’t have the kind of population you see in other cities.  Which also means that the amount of crocheters in Austin is pretty small. And hard to find. Or a least, when you need a substantial support system to justify such an endeavor.

That got me thinking.  That in marketing you can be specialized, or you can be diversified, but it’s near impossible to be both.

Unless perhaps if you walk the fine tight rope of specializing in being diverse.

Welcome to Austin Mural - Austin's Famous Street Art

3 Comments

Filed under Business, NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Stop Salting My Chocolate!


I’m the poster child for “Ick, that’s too sweet.”  And I love dark chocolate.

The darker the chocolate the better.

Mmmmm... Chocolate....My husband jokes that one of these days he’ll come home to find me huddled in a corner, gnawing on a bar of baker’s chocolate.

Precious….

It’s that serious.

And it’s not a new thing.

I love chocolate.  But I am not a chocolate slut.

I am a chocolate snob.

Which is also why it is unlikely that my dear hubby will ever find me gnawing on baker’s chocolate.  Most of it doesn’t make the cut for that kind of treat.  And I should know.  Because making chocolate deserts is a hobby of mine.

I’ve been a fan of good dark chocolate, since childhood. I’m not sure if it started because my Grandma Leona also preferred dark chocolate, and so maybe I decided that because Grandma was cool, then I preferred it too.  Or if it was part of my ingrained <ick – I can’t stand über sweet things quirkiness> all along.

The thing is, dark chocolate wasn’t that readily available when I was a kid.  Or at least not in my area.

There was Hershey’s Special Dark, which I could sometimes get in a bar, but usually could only find in a bag of Hershey’s Miniatures.  Those Miniatures were one of the few types of candy bags my Grandma would ever indulge in.  (At least that I ever saw at her house.)  And usually only for the holidays.

Special Dark was better than milk chocolate, but it still wasn’t all that good.  Maybe the caterpillar that I once found wrapped in a Special Dark bar is what set me seeking in a different direction.  (No kidding.)  I took it back to the drug store, showed them the worm and his little cocoon inside the wrapper and got my money back.

And maybe I’d already decided that I could wait for better chocolate.

In general, I preferred Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.  Which, by the way, I swear used to have more cacao than they do today.  I mean today, now you see semi-sweet morsels AND dark chocolate morsels for sale at the market.  Today they seem much sweeter.  And when I make the same deserts I made 18 years ago with the semi, I don’t get the same results.  Baugh.  Seems I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Then somewhere in my teens, along came Dove and the world became a little brighter.

As I grew older, I explored many brands and flavors.  Dark chocolate and chipotle, dark chocolate and green tea, dark chocolate and pomegranate.  Among my favorites?  Dark chocolate and pecan, dark chocolate and hazelnuts, dark chocolate and caramel, and the ‘ol stand by of dark chocolate and almond.

I know.  Not quite as exotic as the others.

And I learned that chocolate, like coffee, has different flavor nuances depending on where it is grown.  Guatemalan chocolate is different than Costa Rican chocolate.  And btw, I think Godiva is overrated.  Except the liquor.

But the ickiest flavor to me is salted chocolate.  The only salt that should be allowed in there is the salt in any butter used.  That’s it.

And here’s the thing.  I recognize that salt can be used to help bring out a flavor, or even to create a spark of interest that wouldn’t otherwise be there.

But today, it seems most ALL the dark chocolate sold in store is salted.  If it’s dark, then by golly let’s salt it too.  Ugh.  And most of the caramel too.  If I want dark chocolate covered caramel, I’m extra out of luck.  Either the chocolate is salted, or the caramel is.  Either one tastes bad.  Ocassionally I can find it without.

I supposed I should count my blessings.  The flooded market of ocean-water flavored chocolate keeps me from indulging most of the time.

But still, leave me some options people! Those who like salted dark chocolate will still like unsalted dark chocolate.

It’s a binary system.  Those who like salted chocolate and those who don’t.

So leave options.

It’s a win-win.  And everyone gets to have chocolate.

Hopefully one day I’ll be telling stories to my grand-kids about how all the chocolate companies used to salt dark chocolate candies all the time. Kinda like how Coca-Cola tried to replace a winning product with New Coke.

And the kids will be all like, “Ewww, Grandma, for real?”

“Yep,” I’ll say, “For real.”

“But Grandma, how did you survive it?”

And I’ll simply say, “Well kids, therein lies the lesson.  Learn to make your own.”

 

4 Comments

Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Ordinary People…


Today a friend shared her experience with reuniting a lost dog with his family.

She noticed him on the side of the road on the way to the store and again on the way back.

So she stopped.

He was exhausted and dehydrated.  He’d run his pads off.

She called the local shelter, who contacted an owner looking for the very same dog.

And she stayed with him until they were reunited.

An ordinary person. Making a difference to an ordinary dog and his family.

It’s easy to think that we don’t have time.

Or to think that we have no real impact in the world.

If I were to disappear tomorrow, the world would continue without me.
So why be bothered? Why worry?

But small random acts of kindness by ordinary people can make a difference to other ordinary people.

It is such as these that make for heroes.

Because now someone’s life and reality is different.

Now that future has shifted for the better.

And they’ll never forget the experience of kindness.

This is how we teach and mold a better society.

And this is why ordinary people matter.

I know I shan’t forget my teachers.

3 Comments

Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts, Writing

Penny-Wise Porterhouse Steak


I thought it’d be interesting to share a recipe from my Grandma Dot’s collection.

She was born November 20th, 1919.  And my Grandpa Jack was born the very next day on November 21st, 1919.

96 years ago TODAY.

And I guess if I stop to think about it, Grandpa Chester was born August 27, 1916.

99+ years ago. 

Wow.  No way. He was 55 when I was born.

Anyway, I have a pile of recipes from both sides of my grandparents that I am going through.

This one was interesting to me as a sign of the times, stretching every cent.

Penny-wise Porterhouse Steak

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1 egg
2 T. grated onion
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 c. very fine cracker crumbs

Combine meat, egg, crumbs and seasonings. Mix well. Shape to resemble steak, about 1 1/2″ thick. Preheat broiler pan until thoroughly hot. Place steak on broiler pan so that surface of meat is 3″ from flame. When brown, turn. Again place surface of meat 3″ from flame and continue to cook until steak is well browned. Serves 5.

Seven simple ingredients.

Simple recipe.

Feed a family of 5.

Just make sure you get the shape right.

 

2 Comments

Filed under NaBloPoMo, Recipes