Saturday, March 26, 2022



For someone like myself or my partner, it is a no brainer. We both love to cook. While dating, we took turns cooking for each other. When he told me that he makes a "mean chili" then I was ready to take him on. Actually, I believed no one could make it better than I did. Same thing with spaghetti or lasagna. Wrong on all occasions. This man had no limits...ah-ha...until you got to the real Southern dishes. The kind that my Grandmother passed down to me. Then, I had him. Same thing for him. There was no way that I even wanted to eat something called Yorkshire Pudding, much less know how to cook it. Beef Wellington? Not in my recipe book! Definitely not Bangers and Mash, Toad in the Hole, or Welsh Rarebit. And this is really just a grilled cheese sandwich with a little HP sauce. The first time he told me that he would make me a typical British breakfast I was truly excited. Well, I was about the way he prepared the eggs and I loved the tomatoes and mushrooms thrown in on the side. But no thank you to the baked beans and the British kind of sausage and bacon and let's not even get into the black pudding. (Don't ask me what it is and I won't tell.)The sausage and bacon have totally different flavors than ours. Plus, I love my bacon very crispy.
British breakfast with all the trimmings.

Beef Wellington
Bangers and Mash

Welsh Rarebit

My favorite, even with the mushy peas! Atlantic Cod is the best!

When our son lived with us, he did comment that we should open a restaurant and call it The Brit and the Belle. It would have the best of the UK and the South.
Both of us have taught each other the best of the best of both cultures. For me, it was a matter of the language. Yorkshire pudding is not pudding at all. Well, it is baked pudding made from a batter of eggs, flour, and milk. It comes out to a crispy pastry cup that can be filled with onion gravy alone or with bits of roast in it. It soon became one of my favorites. 

Until I was educated on some of these dishes, I had planned on living on Fish and Chips while in the UK and sometimes a good Chinese take out or Indian chicken curry. These little shops are up and down the streets. Most of them very good. Going into a pub and having a real British beer has become one of my favorites, but that is the only place I want my beer warm. Here in the states it had better be served ice cold. Not sure what the reasoning is behind that. It is what it is.

When Steve asked me if I was going to make roast potatoes with the roast I was making, I looked at him as if why would you ask such a question. My grandmother always did it on Sunday Roast day. I put in all of the usual veggies to cook with the roast, except when he saw it, he did not know what to say or do. So he just laughed when he asked if that was truly what I thought roast potatoes were? He could not make any up right then. It is a rather long process. The next time we had a roast, he made the roast potatoes. I have never tasted something so heavenly ever. Not that my Grandmother's were bad. They were in two different categories. No comparison! The English version is first cooked in potato pieces in water, let alone to cool, then placed in a very hot oven with shortening in the dish and baked until golden. The outside is crispy and the inside is so perfectly soft.
Roast Potatoes

His stories turn out to be about the same. He was over to Memphis for a business trip where he was staying at The Peabody. He ordered a typical breakfast of eggs, toast, bacon and he saw this scoop of white stuff on the side. He asked what it was. The server told him that would be grits. Some guests liked to salt them, some preferred a bit of sugar and always a little more butter. He did take a bite and could not believe that people ate this stuff. Even at The Peabody, they serve grits in like an ice cream scooper and plop them on your plate. NO, no, no, no. That is not the proper way to serve grits. That was a long time ago. I am sure that they serve them differently now. (I hope!) My story for this culinary delight is that I invited Steve over for an Easter dinner with my Mother and daughter. As we passed the dishes around the table I announced what each one was. Not knowing his Peabody story, I noticed a worried look on his face. His polite and gentle personality did have him take the spoon and get a small amount for his plate. (Notice that I said 'spoon' not an 'an ice cream scooper.')  Everything else he was fine with. It was a typical American Easter Dinner. Ham, green bean casserole, cheese grits, carrot souffle and biscuits. Two of the items he had not eaten the way I had cooked them were the cheese grits and carrots. The carrot souffle never but he knew he liked carrots and of course green beans and ham. No problem. I will give him credit. He did take a bite of the grits. Then I saw a smile. He finished what was on his plate and asked if he may have a little more of the cheese grits. He shared the story of his first encounter of grits. I told him no wonder! I could not even eat grits that way unless I had a lot of butter and salt. 
Cheese Grits which can also be made with a touch of jalapenos baked in to give a little kick to it.

Once we were an item and cooking a lot of meals together, we just fell into place of taking turns being the chef or else the sous chef. The sous chef not only has ingredients washed, prepared for cutting and measuring units out along with the proper bowls and pans. Also they help to clean up along the way. In our kitchen the sous chef also helps by reading out the recipe as we go along. 

There is no way that we plan on opening our own restaurant, although we do give credit to our son for having such a creative idea. Way too much work and we enjoy our evenings together. Not in a restaurant working, not even in our own.

Sunday, March 20, 2022



Patience is most definitely a skill. I know that when I feel as if I am at the end of my rope that it is past time that I need to do something immediately to work on increasing my ability to engage in becoming a more patient person.

First, let's define what I am actually talking about. The lack of having patience - impatience - is when things are not going the way that I expected. In reality, it happens to us every day of our lives. There is some kind of disruption that takes place where your plans  are not going the way that you had set in place. Some of these things are smaller in nature than others. First of all it is important to expect delays will happen. Traffic jams, hitting every red light instead of smooth sailing when you are off to work or an appointment. There comes a time that you just must accept them. A good expression that I heard was to just give up the fight and accept you may have lost the battle but not the war. Settle down, breathe in, let it go and feel your body calm down. These little things can lead to bigger disruptions in your work life or just everyday life in general.


This Chinese Proverb is oh so true. It will bring more peace to your life. Accept what is happening, be thankful for cell phones if you need to call to apologize for being late if you feel that is necessary. There will be time to do what you need to do once you give in to what you truly have no control over.

Developing the skill of patience is work and has many benefits which have been well researched:

  • Patience will make you a healthier person. Being stressed leads to hypertension, high cholesterol, ulcers, heart disease and even strokes. Less physical illness has been connected to having patience which is where lower overall stress levels occur.
  • Patience help you to develop a healthy attitude. You tend to enjoy life more. The old saying of, "Good things come to those who wait," is so true. More productive decisions lead to greater success.
  • Patient people have a greater sense of gratitude. Thinking more of what you have to be grateful for helps shrink your focus on what isn't happening towards more of all the good that has happened. 
  • Patience can also transform relationships. It can slow you down to think before you say and do things that you will be sorry for later. It develops the skill of empathy; understanding how the other perspective may be feeling. Choosing care and compassion for the other person and talking it out.

We all need to slow down. Most of us live at a fast pace which in turn makes having patience even more difficult. Taking time to smell the roses is not such a bad idea, huh? Calming breaths to just be able to let it go is a good skill to help slow it down. 

Self-talk is important. In your head thinking about the other person and how it must feel to be in their shoes and how you may respond. Empathy helps to build connections. It helps one to see the big picture. Sometimes it is a conglomeration of many little things that lead to the big problem. The quote from Fay Weldon, "Nothing happens, and nothing happens and then...EVERYTHING HAPPENS!" Sometimes it feels that way. Just as you may have had patience on the little things, once it moves on to the big picture; this is not the time to stop practicing patience. Cultivate an 'attitude of gratitude.'

We do control our own selves, our thoughts and our actions. I have been working on choosing to develop more patience by being kinder to myself so as not to become impatient in developing the skill of patience.

I am not endorsing to take up fishing. (Although, I remember the good old days of my grandfather teaching me how to wait for the fish.)Just comparing the patience that it takes to wait for a fish to bite is a good analogy to what it takes to grasp the skill of practicing patience.

Saturday, March 12, 2022



How many times have I tried to hide some of the quirkiness that lurks within me? At times it was more important for me to follow the road that I should take, that I was expected to take. Trying to be like others by wearing the right clothes, having the right hairstyle and make-up, finding the right partner, having the right job, and the list goes on and on and on.

The list is not always a bad list. What is not good about it is that if someone does not fit into this so called "way to look and act" then they are left out feeling that they are in the wrong and just too quirky for normal society. I say, Go Your Own Way. (Fleetwood Mac had it right.)

Most of the time I feel that we as awesome humans have to let it go and remember that we were born to stand out and we should embrace it. A quote from Alysa Vertullo backs me up on this, "You're born to stand out. Embrace it." For some reason it reminds me of pink flamingos with their vibrant color and standing on one leg.

The problem for me is when I feel as if I am getting in a rut and becoming too much in a routine then I know  it is time to step out of a so called normal routine. And by the way, who is it the person who says what is and what is not normal. We all do not fit in the same standard nor should we feel others are a bit too quirky. I have always thought this way, just not always verbalized it. I cherish that certain things that my friends may say or do or wear may or may not be for is for them. That is all that matters. 

Once I reached a certain age, I believe that this thought came to be a reality. There were several career choices that I thought about pursuing. However, they did not fit into what was expected of me. Maybe I never would have made a living of being an artist, an actor, a writer or a musician. Now, is the time to experiment and find out. Nothing is wrong with becoming a teacher, a secretary, an accountant, etc. Just don't let it chain you to someone who can't get out of that mold now and then. 

For example, if going on a holiday for one person means going to the warm beach front and lying by  the ocean with waves coming in or out by the pool instead of hiking through the mountains or visiting museums and old buildings then each person has found their own bit of quirkiness. What is good for one may not be for another. It is not to be a struggle to find our own identity. What makes me happy is to take the path that is calling my name. 

Which path do I want to take? If quirky means non-conforming, well then go for it. Just for me, I sort of need to find a happy medium. Act the part from time to time but never let there be times to stand out as an individual and take a different path. "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the less traveled...and that has made all the difference." Robert Frost, I believe he was saying to embrace your life and you will find the most accepting home within your heart. That makes a huge difference.

To be truthful, I can so relate to the little girl on the right. In my first dance recital at about this age, the music started, everyone began dancing and I noticed that the audience seemed to be having a grand ole time. So what did I do? I sat down on the stage and watched my friends dance too. In reality, I probably clapped the loudest of any audience member. I think that my Mom went under her seat. I had a good time and that along with my imaginary friend that went everywhere with me, let's me know that I have always had a quirky side. 

And to end this blog, let me share a very quirky writer's words:

Sunday, March 6, 2022




It is a fact. Procrastination does steal time. It is usually thought of in a negative way. Things that I need to get done today, yet put them off, only steals my time tomorrow. So, why do I do it? Why do any of us do it?

The definition of procrastination is the action of unnecessarily and voluntarily delaying or postponing something despite knowing that there may be negative consequences for doing so. The actual breaking down of the word in Latin is 'pro' meaning forward and 'crastinus' meaning of tomorrow. Most of the time it is a habit such as putting off daily errands or even big events like going to an appointment, submitting a report whether it be for a job or an academic assignment or even communicating some difficult conversation with a friend or partner.

Sometimes it is not always a negative response. If it gives one a low self-esteem, guilt or just plain ole not good enough then we are headed in the wrong way. However, there is another way to look at some types of procrastination. Sometimes not acting on something if we are waiting for possibly more information to help us make a better decision is a good thing. In my former job, I learned early to not act hastily when all of the information has not been gathered. Better to wait and make an informed decision than to go off the deep end and have to change everything around and end up eating my own words or explaining my own actions.

There is a term that I used with students called shaping your deadlines. If it is a major project, it can feel overwhelming to have one BIG MAJOR deadline staring me in the face. That is when the normal human reaction takes over. Some people (and I include myself) actually can talk ourselves into the view that we work better and more effectively under the pressure of an immediate deadline. This is really a myth. It is thinking too big and the job may get done but is it the best that we could have done? Shape your major deadline into developing the skills of divide and conquer. Check out the big deadline requirements and break them up into smaller chunks. Most of us do not do well when fear grips us and we believe we will fail. Yet throwing out the work at the last minute will always take me over the edge in knowing it is not my best work. A Norman Vincent Peale quote shares this view with me: "The really happy people are those who have broken the chains of procrastination, those who find satisfaction in doing the job are full of eagerness, zest and productivity." One gets this way by breaking the overall job into smaller bits that are more manageable. Each step is a "WIN" which emits a checkoff of one goal toward the big one. It helps to see the end becoming more doable.

One study that I read about helped my brain and my self-esteem by not calling myself a procrastinator. It is ok to say that I procrastinate, because I do. We all do at some point or another. The question then is why do we do it? Several good ideas come to my mind:
  • fear of failure
  • no motivation
  • no planning or purpose
  • perfectionism
  • thinking too big
  • distracting environment

Setting your big goal takes care of the fear. It helps in the planning and purpose of the goal and it stops us from thinking too big by following shaping your goal into smaller increments. It lets us see positive smaller goals heading into the large overall job. If in the smaller goal we experience failure then it is easier to learn from that small set back and change how we go about accomplishing it. 

Creating a vision board helped me see the steps to head to the big outcome. It gives me a sense of purpose. It also is something visual that I can get motivated about. Sitting down and waiting until I get motivated to do something is going to give my brain more time to think up ways to make a mountain out of a molehill. Practice letting things go. For a perfectionist, nothing is ever good enough. Breaking your goals down to smaller goals can help that mindset.

Now the revealing part of why I have been procrastinating on completing my novel which is almost completed. It started with the pandemic. Please don't judge and call this an excuse. Maybe in some ways it is. Before we all were in lockdown, I took my laptop and went to local coffee shops. I was there by 9ish. I even got to know some of the servers and managers. There were other writers in these places working too. I felt motivation to keep going and finish what I had started.

One way that I read to overcome the changing of my environment is to work on getting my environment conducive to a new focus. I have a study. I have a vision board. I have to also get my mindset that when 2 of our 4 legged fur-babies need me, to use this as a time to let it serve as a short break before getting back to work. 

In other words, I can't let my environment as always being  something fixed, as it used to be. I still am not ready to go back inside a coffee shop. On sunny days I may have to try to take my laptop over to a patio just to try it out. Learning that I can have distractions, as long as they are on my terms. 

 “Today isn’t just another day. Today I’ll create something beautiful.”

-Austin Kleon.

Don't wait until tomorrow. Start today!