Welcome to My Broom With a View

Aside

Welcome to my view of the world from my little broom.  I’m a 40-something woman, been divorced for over a decade, raising one great son pretty much by myself.  I work full-time, and now I’m dating again.  I’m not sure why it’s so different this time, but something about it just bears sharing with the rest of the world.  Plus I like to cook and do a few other things I’ll also share just to break up the monotony.

 

It Happened. It Really Happened.

It has been six months since I posted anything on this blog.  The reason?  I have been busy having an actual real relationship!  I was scared to write about it, for fear I would jinx things.  But, it looks like things are going to continue for the future, so I think it’s safe to share this with you.

I met Handyman over a friendly beer last summer.  Then we didn’t see each other until November, when we got together again for another beer.  Things started progressing in December and from New Year’s Eve until today we have been inseparable.  It has gone so well that he moved in with me.  I never thought I could live with someone else, but apparently I happily can!

All my friends like him.  My son likes him.  My dogs LOVE him.  He met my family and didn’t run away screaming.  He treats me like a princess and that’s what every girl wants.

About the only difference we have is politics.  He’s conservative, I’m liberal.  But, we just try not to talk about it too much and it works just fine like that.  When we do discuss it we are calm and respectful of each other’s opinions.

I first met Handyman on Match.com, so I give that venue credit for creating a good match.  Internet dating worked!   So for those of you out there who have been in the spot of feeling hopeless when it comes to dating in your late–very late–forties, I am living proof that things can work out for you!  Don’t give up!

Handyman

I have hesitated to write about this, because I don’t want to jinx anything.  But, I’ve been dating someone for a couple of months.  I found him just when I had truly given up, too.  I had deleted all my profiles off the dating sites and decided that I would be better-off spending my evenings and weekends painting, sleeping, or giving the dogs a bath rather than out trying to meet people off the internet.

Isn’t that what they always say, though?  You’ll meet someone when you aren’t looking?  I actually met him last summer via Match.com, but timing was bad.  We reconnected in November and have been seeing each other ever since.  I shall call him “The Handyman” because he does laundry, washes dishes, helps me cook, fixes things, etc.

We have a ton of things in common, and our differences are manageable and not a big deal.  We even share the same birthday!  He and my son get along great.  He’s got a great sense of humor.  He loves my dogs, and my dogs adore him.

I’ve enjoyed being with Handyman so much that it’s too comfortable.  There’s no drama, no conflict, no stress.  As a result, I have been secretly waiting on the other shoe to drop.  When is he going to finally open up and reveal that dark, ugly, nasty secret that must be hidden there?

Friday night we started talking about how much fun we’re having, and he said “I can’t figure you out… I’m waiting on the other shoe to drop.”  I laughed and said I was feeling the same way.

My pal Stephanie told me that instead of waiting for shoes to drop we should just both take off our shoes and have fun.  That’s what I’m trying to do.

My Last Holiday Party

Well it wouldn’t be December without my holiday party, although this was my last one for reasons I’ll explain.  My Pinterest board shows the menu.  You can see it by clicking here.

I had to make those amazing meatballs again, the ones I served at the baby shower.  They disappeared, again.  I also did some old favorites—goat cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates.  The Columbia restaurant’s 1905 salad.  And an international cheese board. 

The new dishes I tried.  One was mini stuffed twice-baked potatoes.  Very easy and holiday-bakedtatersvery inexpensive to make.  You buy those little creamer potatoes at the warehouse club in a big bag, bake them in the oven, then scoop out the insides with a small spoon.  The rest of the story is just like full-sized twice-baked potatoes.

holiday-cheeseballAnother new dish was the jalapeno popper cheese ball.  I did not make it look like the football that’s shown on Pinterest, I just did it like a non-sports-related cheese concoction.  It was pretty well-consumed.

I also tried my hand at Cuban sliders.  Basically you take a package of King’s Hawaiian Rolls and you use them to make a pan of ham and swiss cheese and pickle sandwiches.  Then you melt some butter, stir in some mustard and drizzle it holiday-slidersover the sandwiches, then bake and serve warm.  They are equally good when they cool off.

For dessert this year I made a fruit galette.  I made it with apples, holiday-galettepears and blackberries and it was also a big hit.  It was easy as pie (no pun intended… well, maybe a little).  I took a packaged pie crust, I put in sliced apples and pears, with a few blackberries, a little sugar and some lemon zest.  Baked it.  Sliced it.  Served it.  Watched most of it disappear.

I also served a Christmas sangria that was a big hit.  It’s basically white wine with some holiday-sangriasparkling cider, granny smith apples, halved fresh cranberries and sprigs of rosemary.  It was also a big hit.

My best friend came in from out of state for the weekend and helped me with food and clean up.  We had a great time together.

But, I was disappointed in the turnout.  I set the date months in advance and tell people when it is for them to put it on their calendars.  And, without fail this year, lots of my regulars made other plans and then said, “Oh, we have a conflict.”  I wanted to say, “No, you don’t have a conflict.  You don’t want to come to my party so you made other plans.  There’s a big fucking difference.”

And that, my dear readers, is why I’m done hosting a holiday party.  I had the worst turnout in 8 consecutive years.  The people who were there were a lot of fun, and I was honored by their presence, but I just don’t think I want to spend $300 on food and décor next year to have people find “conflicts.”  Either my party isn’t as fun as I thought it was, or the food isn’t as good as I thought it was, or maybe both?  Either way…there’s a certain amount of freedom that comes from knowing I’ve let myself off the hook for next year.

I am, however, a social creature.  So that doesn’t mean I won’t want to do something.  I’ve already decided that IF people request a party or event, I will possibly organize a community dinner, in which everyone brings something and makes a commitment to attending.  I’m not doing days of food prep only to have half the food I make go in the trash.  But we’ll see if there are any requests.

Anyway, I want to wish all my readers a happy everything.  Happy Christmas!  Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa!  And of course, Happy New Year!  May the turnout for all your holiday functions exceed your wildest dreams!  Thanks for reading BWAV!

 

 

Timing is Everything

So back in the summer I had a date with a nice man.  I’ll call him Ben.  We had a nice time talking, but he did tell me something about an almost dead relationship that was sort of an obstacle he had to get over.  He was very up front and candid about it.  I appreciated that.

We took a walk along the waterfront, had a pleasant enough small kiss goodbye, and after that I got a text from him that said he definitely hoped to see me again in a couple of weeks after I got back from a trip I was taking.

And then?  I never heard another word.  It was weird.

Of course, in that time I had several horrible loser dates and more dead-ends, and I finally just deactivated all dating site profiles and decided I was content to just be alone.  Seriously content.

About three or four months later, I saw Ben on LinkedIn.  We had a chat, and agreed to meet for a drink.  He had not contacted me because the relationship he had apparently wasn’t as dead as he initially thought it was, and had lingered on awhile longer.  But now, it’s definitely over.  We’ve had dates #2 and #3, and we have a fourth date planned for New Year’s Eve.

I’m not optimistic, because there’s been entirely too much disappointment in my romantic life for me to think my luck has changed.  I’m just taking it one day at a time and enjoying myself.  I just thought I’d remind those of you who are looking like I am … timing is everything.  Just because something doesn’t work today doesn’t mean it won’t have a chance at working tomorrow.  Hang in there.

 

 

Not One Little Bit

quote-oh-i-do-not-like-it-not-one-little-bit-dr-seuss-310198Something really funny happened last night I just had to tell you about.

I got tired of the ex-almost-husband contacting me, as I told you.  So I posted this about him.  I know it was kind of drastic, but dammit I am sick and tired of men lying on dating sites and this was one I caught red-handed, because he came to me!

This woman messaged me last night on Facebook and said something like, “I saw your blog post about Bobby, I went out with him twice this week and I am just sick to my stomach.  Please contact me.”  So I did.  We had a nice chat.  He had just told her his full name, so, like any smart woman, she googled his name.  And my blog popped up.

She was a very nice lady—a cautious woman with two children.  She was just sick that she had trusted him enough to give him her children’s first names, but, she had not yet had sex with him or even let him know where she lived. She thanked me for sharing what I knew.  She was especially shocked that he dated me for 18 months while dating another woman for 14 of those months.  I told her I was stupid to have taken him back and forgiven him after that.  That was my bad.  She said she understood.

I told her on www.pof.com I had not found one person who was sane and honest.  They were all losers and liars, and that I’d had much better luck over on www.match.com   Every man I met there was who they said they were, and, good men to boot.  I remain friends with two of the guys I dated from there (Chef Robbie and Fox News, sadly I had to kick Six Flags to the curb, as you’ll recall).  None of the people I met there left on bad terms.  She said she got more contacts on POF, and I said, “Yeah, but are any of them any good?”

We wished each other luck with finding a good man, and the conversation ended.

Anyway, it got me to thinking.  She could have gone to him and showed him my post to get his side of the story, but instead she blocked him on all channels (POF, Facebook, etc.).  And, if she found my blog post after three months, someone else will find it soon enough.  Eventually someone will tell him.  At some point I suspect he’ll be reading THIS one.

The fact is…everything I have said is the truth.  I’m not the one lying on POF, he is.  About having a college degree.  He doesn’t have one and never did.  To me, that’s a pretty big lie.  He’s also lying about not being a player, but that’s more of a matter of opinion I suppose.  Define “player?”

I would have never posted that if he hadn’t kept contacting me.  I asked him to leave me alone and he wouldn’t.  I paid an expensive attorney to tell him that, and he still wouldn’t listen to me.  So now, I have saved at least one woman from the heartache that I went through.  And I don’t feel bad about that.  As Dr. Seuss would say…”Not one little bit.”

BWAV Fave: Nuts.com (Try Their Nuts!)

nuts4I don’t remember how I first discovered Nuts.com, but all I can say is I’m glad I did. I *think* I went out looking for pine nuts and stumbled upon Nuts.com, but I can’t remember at this point.  What’s important is that this is one of my very favorite online vendors to do business with!

They not only sell nuts, but also dried fruit, trail mix, candy, grains, baking supplies… a ton of stuff!  I’ve ordered a little bit of everything from there over the last year or so:  various nuts and seeds, brown sugar, dried mango, colored Jordan almonds, and most recently a huge assortment of red and green candy for a holiday “candy buffet” I’m hosting.

I want to give credit where credit is due.  Most importantly, their stuff is always fresh. nuts1 SUPER fresh.  The dried fruits are soft and chewy, the nuts taste like they just came out of a roaster, and the candy is never stale.  They stand behind their freshness guarantee so I know if I ever do get anything that’s not fresh, they will make it right.

What is almost as important is their shipping speed.  They tend to ship your order the same day unless you’re ordering really late.  I am in North Carolina and my orders always arrive in two days.

nuts2Another plus is the quality of their chocolate.  OMG it is absolutely delicious.  It is some of the best chocolate I’ve ever eaten, especially for the price.  Try the “Ultimate Malted Milkballs.”  You will love ’em!

And that brings me to their prices–they are very reasonable.  And, if you order more than $59 worth you get free shipping.  Go ahead and order that much–try a little of everything–and order some sample packsnuts3 which are a great deal to try new foods!  So far with every order I’ve placed over $59, I have also received a free sample pack  of something new to try!

They make custom gift-trays, as well as custom trail mixes.  You really have to see this store to believe it!  I am truly impressed with www.Nuts.com

The Baby Shower: Decor

I’ve shown you the menu, and the party favors, now it’s time to talk about the decor for the co-ed baby shower I just hosted last weekend.

The mom-to-be chose a “rustic” theme for the baby boy’s nursery, complete with lots of navy blue, plaid, and, well… “rustic” stuff.  So, I chose that for the baby shower decor.

baby13

I scoured Etsy for great invitations and found this one from a shop called Minted Press.  Her prices were reasonable and service was quick.  Of course, I okayed this design (and all other major decisions) with the mom-to-be first.  I also checked in with dad-to-be, since it was a co-ed shower!

With a color scheme of navy and khaki/burlap, I set out on a quest.  I found everything navy, khaki and cream that I could find.  I found pom-poms at Just Artifacts, ribbons at Papermart, etc.  I used a 40% off coupon at the craft store to get about 10 yards of burlap so I

A really nice diaper cake from Pinterest.

A really nice diaper cake from Pinterest.

would have enough to craft with, and also decorate with.  I covered my dining room table in burlap, the dessert table in burlap, and the bases of the diaper cakes in burlap so they blended in with the table top.

Let’s talk about diaper cakes!  That is a post all by itself I suppose, but I am a big believer in the diaper cake for a shower decoration.  You can buy them ready-made, or you can make them yourself.  They are very labor-intensive and difficult to maneuver, but making them yourself saves a ton of money.   You then decorate them with gifts for baby:  teethers, rattles, socks, nail clippers, brush and comb, toys, etc.  I’ve included pictures of my cakes in the gallery at the bottom.

A dad's diaper cake (from Pinterest).

A dad’s diaper cake (from Pinterest).

I mentioned cakeS.  Yes, there were two diaper cakes.  One for mom, one for dad.  The dad one, instead of including gifts for baby, included beer and liquor mini-bottles.  Much like the one you see here, although mine did not look nearly this good.  Check out the gallery for a glimpse of the one I made, which included dad’s favorite beer (Dale’s Pale Ale).

I felt like in keeping with the rustic theme we needed to have some tree slices.  I looked all over for them and found that they were quite expensive in most places.  But, hey, you only have to buy them once and they pretty much last forever.  I found mine on Etsy from ScenicCo.  They worked with me on sizes and gave me a very good price on the purchase of several hunks of wood.

I loved the concept of creating a clothesline of baby clothes.  I saw it on Pinterest so I baby5was pretty sure I could pull it off (famous last words!).  I will tell you it was harder than it looks because you’ve got to have sturdy things to tie the line to.   I used Command hooks and the line did not want to stay on them, and then at one point I put too many things on the line and the weight pulled the hooks off the wall and I had to start over.  I finally got it to stay, as you will see in the gallery pictures below.

baby14I also liked the idea of a burlap pennant banners.  I found a package of two on Amazon and glued chipboard scrapbooking letters to them.

The rest of the decor was tissue pom poms baby11and fresh flowers.  I wanted baby’s breath, but couldn’t find a bulk quantity of it locally so I settled on alstromeria flowers in yellow and pale orange, keeping with our rustic ambiance.  All-in-all, I think it blended pretty well together.  You can see the pictures in the gallery below.

 

Disposable plates made from palm leaves.

Disposable plates made from palm leaves.

My favorite unique find–disposable plates that looked like they were made of wood.  Made from pressed palm leaves, these plates were more expensive than paper, but they were so worth it!  I got them from Webstaurant Store, which I’ve written about before.  I got the 8″ plates, as well as a package of platters that were also disposable.

To coordinate with those plates, I got disposable wooden forks.  Again, Webstaurant Store has the best price on items like this.

One thing is for sure, nothing ever looks as good as it does on Pinterest!  But, the mom- and dad-to-be were thrilled, loved the shower, and seemed very content with my efforts.  And that’s all I ever wanted in the first place.

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The Baby Shower: Mistakes Plus Party Favors

Dark blue Jordan almonds from www.nuts.com

Dark blue Jordan almonds from www.nuts.com

The co-ed baby shower I hosted for a dear friend is now in my rear-view mirror and I’ve had time to reflect on what went wrong, what went right.  I’ve already posted about the food.  Now it’s time to post about what went wrong.

First, I spent an hour making up little cellophane bags of colored candied Jordan almonds, tied with curling ribbon, for my guests as party favors.  And then?

I forgot to put them out in the party area.

That’s right.  They were left sitting in my guest room (which, unoccupied, is my party staging area).  I didn’t remember them until all the guests had left.

Second, I underestimated just how long it would take to do everything.  Even though I hustled all day the day before the shower, and, the day of, I still came down to the wire, jumping in the shower at 3:05 with the guests of honor arriving at 3:30.  Thank goodness I can throw on clothes and makeup really fast!  As a result I didn’t get a lot of good pictures of everything.  For instance, I made these cute little bags of Jordan almonds…. oh I already mentioned that.

The shawl pins used for "corsages" for the mom and grandmothers.

The shawl pins used for “corsages” for the mom and grandmothers.

I also I made the mom-to-be and the grandmas special jewelry “corsages” that were really cute if I do say so myself.  They were shawl pins embellished with baby-themed charms, available at FoxiBelle’s on Etsy,  and a little picture frame that said “Mommy” or “Grandma”.  Sadly, I have absolutely no pictures of them to show you.  (I’m just glad I remembered them, and that they didn’t end up next to the damned almonds sitting in the guest  room!)

BUT… I did want to share with you a couple of great sources if you want to make the Jordan almond party favors for your next event.

baby2

Ivory Jordan almonds from www.Nuts.com

Of utmost importance are the Jordan almonds.  You want them to be really fresh, and, if you need them color-coordinated, available in solid colors.  Nuts.com has those, and, get this–they are cheaper than the solid-color M&M’s that are often used for party favors.  Jordan almonds in solid colors are available for $7.99 a pound.  Solid-color M&M’s are $12.99 a pound!  The almonds are much more elegant and “special” than M&M’s, in my opinion.  And the ones from Nuts.com are super fresh.  Order extras so you can munch on them while you make up your little favor bags!

I did almonds in dark blue and ivory (they didn’t have a khaki colored Jordan almond).

baby

Navy crimped curling ribbon from www.papermart.com

For cellophane bags and curling ribbon, look no further than Papermart.  I’ve talked about them before.  You can’t beat their prices or quality.  The cellophane bags need to be small, otherwise you will spend a small fortune filling them up with candy!  Click here for the bags that I used, and I bought the smallest size available

The cellophane bags I used for Jordan almond party favors. Available at www.papermart.com

The cellophane bags I used for Jordan almond party favors. Available at www.papermart.com

(2.5″x2″x6″).

For curling ribbon, you simply cannot beat Papermart.  Click here for their crimped solid color curling ribbon selection.  You get 500 yards for $1.60!   That is a steal!  And they come in tons of colors to match any decor or occasion.  They also have smooth curling ribbon,  and even patterned curling ribbon.   For my party, I used navy and ivory crimped curling ribbons.

Then, just put about 15 Jordan almonds in each cellophane bag (I mixed the blue and ivory almonds together and put some of both in each bag), tie them up with curling ribbon (again, I used both colors for a more festive look), and you’ve got a very elegant party favor for a baby shower, wedding, or other special event!

In my next post, I’ll talk about the baby shower decor.

The Baby Shower Menu

babyIn my last post I mentioned a meatball recipe that I served at a co-ed baby shower.  I thought today you might be interested in seeing the whole menu (with my modifications, because you know I can’t leave most recipes well-enough alone).  And maybe even some photos?

In addition to the meatballs, I also served my homemade chips and salsa.  Then there were Paula Deen’s famous BLT deviled eggs.  I did modify that recipe some, by substituting about 3/4 of the called-for mayonnaise with sour cream.  I like sour cream better for deviled baby7eggs, it gives them more a twang, and they are less…mayonnaise-y.  I also added just a touch of sweet relish to the recipe for a little more flavor.

There was also fruit salad, but alas, it was not as cute as the picture above.  I was going to make that salad and the grocery stores had NO whole watermelons and NO whole cantaloupes.  So, I settled for a mixture of watermelon, mango, green grapes, kiwi, blueberries and raspberries, finished with a honey-coconut water dressing as described in this fruit salad recipe.  It’s a very simple dressing:   2 teaspoons of honey to 1/2 cup of coconut baby2water (for a large party-sized batch you probably need to double that).  It adds a hint of sweet refreshment to fruits, especially fruits that are out of season and not at their peak flavor.

The baby’s room is being decorated in what the mom called a “rustic” theme, and so we agreed on a rustic decor for the party consisting of lots of navy blue and burlap.  (My next post will be about decorations.)  I found a recipe for little mini cheese balls and I thought, “Hey!  Those look very rustic!”  They were also very delicious and were very fast to disappear.  Definitely a recipe you could make days in advance, and just insert the pretzel sticks the day of the party.  I served alongside some rustic crackers for spreading.

Also somewhat rustic looking were these tortellini skewers.  You boil up some cheese tortellini baby3al dente and gather some olives, basil leaves, mozzarella balls, and cherry tomatoes, and thread them on skewers.  The only problem was I couldn’t find the colored tortellini so mine weren’t as colorful as the ones in the picture.  But, they were still quite tasty, because I marinated the cooked tortellini overnight in Olive Garden brand Italian dressing.  Then I gave the finished skewers a very light drizzle of the dressing just before serving.

baby6Next, I offered up some little finger sandwiches.  These “Lemony-Cucumber” sandwiches were really delicious (would be even better served in the summer when cukes are at their peak).  I have some tips on these, though.   First, use a very good quality cucumber, preferably Kirby or Persian cucumbers.  Remove the seeds if using Kirby.  Slice neatly using a mandolin if you have one, and take care to dry the slices for a while on paper towels.  Also, I recommend what the recipe calls for–a really good quality, hearty wheat bread.  I used Nature’s Own brand, which is good for regular sandwiches, but it just didn’t stand up well to these when it was time to slice them.  Finally, in hindsight I wish I had done two things differently.  One is using Irish butter, which I think would have really enhanced the flavor (see my thoughts on that here.)  The other is sprinkling just a touch of kosher salt on the cucumbers before making the sandwiches, just to bring out their flavor a little more.

Last but not least, since this was a co-ed baby shower, I wanted to offer up one more hearty baby5recipe for the men besides the meatballs.  So, I made this taco crescent ring.  There was not a single slice of it left when the party was over so I am assuming people liked it?  I did not serve it as shown, but simply with sour cream and salsa (who has time for fresh lettuce when you’re prepping all this other food?)   I’ll warn you that it is NOT as “big” as it looks in the picture.  It looks ginormous in the picture but it comes out probably 10-12″ wide when you’re done.  It does not come out as pretty as this picture (thanks, food stylists everywhere, for making the rest of us feel inferior).  I also recommend baking it and serving it from a pizza stone.  The pizza stone bakes the crescent rolls up better than a metal pan, and, keeps it warmer longer during serving.

baby4Finally, for desserts I served cupcakes and marshmallow pops.  What are marshmallow pops?  Marshmallows with a straw inserted in them, then dipped in white chocolate, and decorated with sprinkles, drizzles, etc.  This picture is of very well-done ones that I found on Pinterest.  Mine were not this pretty, but they did look nice enough.  Several pieces of advice on this one.  First, get good paper straws that are both decorative and sturdy.  I bought mine from an Etsy shop called Eve’s Party Market.  They sell tons of different designs to match your party decor and their prices are quite reasonable.  Second, use good white chocolate, not “vanilla bark.”  I used Ghiradelli, which was at my warehouse club for the upcoming holidays.  It was quite affordable and it melted beautifully and it coated the marshmallows very smoothly.  They looked “glazed” when finished.  Third, with chocolate use only oil-based food coloring.  If you try to use liquid or gel coloring you run the risk of ruining the texture of the chocolate.  You can find oil-based coloring in a ton of colors on both Etsy and Amazon.  Fourth, the chocolate is much-improved with a touch of flavoring.  I used cotton candy flavoring (also available on Amazon).  But, I didn’t read it carefully when I started and it was glycerin-based, not oil-based.  So in one batch of melted white chocolate I put too much and it completely ruined the batch.  The chocolate “seized up” and wouldn’t flow smoothly.  I had to throw that away and start over, using only a couple of drops of the flavoring.  So, buy oil-based flavorings made especially for candy making.

I do not make pretty cupcakes, so I didn’t even attempt that.  I had a friend who bakes make a couple dozen for me.  She did 12 chocolate and 12 vanilla, and tried her best to color the vanilla ones “khaki.”  It came out looking like peanut butter frosting, but it was still vanilla and it was delicious and the colors were in line with the rustic party theme!  I have a ton of fancy chocolate cake decorations that a friend of mine gets for me where he works (thanks, John!  xoxox) so I decorated those myself.  You can see those in the photo gallery below.

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Itsa’ Spicy Meatball

meatbalsSo this past weekend I hosted a baby shower for a couple of friends.  It was actually the first baby shower I’ve hosted in my life.  I took it very seriously.  We booked the date in August and I started ordering decorations and supplies and planning things down to the tee.  If you’d like to see the entire Pinterest board, just click here.

What I want to share with you today is one of the recipes from the party that turned out to be a huge hit:  sweet and spicy cranberry meatballs.  I have never seen a pot of meatballs completely disappear, but the slow cooker was filled with about 3 pounds of meatballs, and not a single one was left.  Not one!  

I’ve been to parties where they served slow cookers full of meatballs.  Everyone brags about the fact that the secret ingredient in them is grape jelly.  And they are good, I’ll give you that.  But this recipe?  Oh it is soooo much better than those!  If you’re a grape jelly meatball fan, please give this one a try.

The main base is whole cranberry sauce.  Then you add in some ketchup, hoisin sauce, and an assortment of spices.  The end result is a very sweet, tangy concoction that apparently cannot be resisted.

Now before I post the recipe, I have a secret to confess:  I used store-bought meatballs.  The recipe has you make your own, but I didn’t have time so I went to the local warehouse club and bought a big bag of “Italian style” meatballs.  I wasn’t too sure how those would go with this sweet and tangy sauce, but now I know how they go–fast.  They go very fast.

Next time, I hope to make the meatballs from scratch, but just know that you can get away with using a good quality store bought meatball!

Here are the ingredients:

Meatballs
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 22 saltine crackers crushed
  • 1/3 cup dry minced onion
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 can whole cranberry sauce 14 oz. can
  • 1/4 cup quality hoisin sauce like Kikkoman or Lee Kum Kee
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Franks Buffalo Hot WINGS Sauce to taste*
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

And here are the instructions:

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Place a baking rack on top of a baking sheet. Set aside. (If you don’t have a baking rack, line baking sheet with parchment paper.)

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients, mix until well combined. Roll meat mixture into desired meatball size**. Place meatballs onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  2. Meanwhile, add all of the Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Sauce ingredients starting with just 2 teaspoons hot wings sauce to a bowl and mix to combine. You can add more hot sauce to taste at the end of cooking.
  3. Line the bottom of your slow cooker with meatballs, then a layer of Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Sauce, then the remaining meatballs followed by the remaining. Sauce. Gently stir meatballs an hour after cooking.
  4. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours. Taste and stir in additional hot wings sauce (I use a total of 2 tablespoons which is spicy) Keep warm until serving.

Again, as I mentioned, I didn’t make the meatballs by hand.  I just dumped all the ingredients in on top of frozen meatballs and stirred occasionally as they cooked.  No worries about “layering” your meatballs or mixing the sauce in a separate bowl.  Why dirty up a bowl you’ll have to wash when it’s all going to combine in the slow cooker anyway?  Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Oh, one more thing.  The photograph above shows the meatballs on toothpicks.  Don’t do that.  They are best served hot, and that means straight out of the slow cooker.  It’s not as elegant of a look, but we must preserve food quality over appearances, right?  So put the slow cooker out on the table with a big spoon in it and be prepared to watch meatballs disappear!

The Ugly Truth

nia4My mom has Alzheimer’s.

There, I said it.

I have watched for seven years as the disease slowly progressed and day-by-day, cell-by-cell, darkened the little neurons in her brain.  In seven years she went from being forgetful and otherwise completely functional to being unable to read or write and often trying to put her underwear on over her head.

Your brain is like a giant power grid.  Alzheimer’s just shuts off the power very slowly, one switch at a time, until most of the lights are off.  Sadly, it does this without shutting off the power to your heart.  That would be a lot kinder and gentler way to die in my opinion.

The problem is that mom was my best friend.  We were very close.  I still talk to her several times a week, sometimes for over an hour a day, but the conversation consists of me telling her the same things over and over again, because she asks me the same questions over and over again.  She has no short-term memory left to speak of.

She can still shower and use the toilet and feed herself, but it’s a matter of time before those lights go out, too.  She falls more and more often, and that may ultimately lead to a broken hip, which will render her immobile and totally unable to care for herself.  This is not going to end peacefully.  It’s going to be a slow agonizing death for her, and for us as we watch her go through it.  The only “good” news in this is she doesn’t really seem to know what’s happening.  At least she is not aware of how bad the situation really is.

I was told years ago by a friend that I should find an Alzheimer’s support group and start attending.  She said my life was going to get a lot worse before it got better given Mom’s disease.  I didn’t do that, I just thought I could handle it on my own.  Now I’m fighting with someone I love very much, and was even thinking of cutting them out of my life (which I’m definitely not going to do, I’ve calmed down since then).  Why?  Because my world without a healthy mom is spinning out of control so much that I don’t know whether to shit or go blind (a favorite expression of southerners everywhere).   Mom was definitely the glue that held our family together, and Alzheimer’s is now making it difficult for all of us.  It’s a cruel cruel disease that takes prisoners and kills them very very very slowly, while the family and friends suffer the torture that the disease inflicts.

We have a charitable giving campaign at work every year.  I didn’t participate for years, until last year.  I started directing a small donation to an Alzheimer’s research institution.  I upped the donation this year when it was time to sign up again.  It’s too late for mom, but I have to hope they will have a cure by the time I am her age.  I dread the thought of putting my son through the agony of watching me slowly fade away the way we’ve all watched Mom disappear.

I have started online therapy, as I mentioned.  I started out being angry at someone and what we’ve come to conclude is that everyone is off balance because of the tragedy that has befallen Mom.  I am trying to make peace with it but I’m angry and I miss my mother, dammit!  She has a heart condition, and I keep hoping that her heart will just give out one day, and that she can die quietly in her sleep.  I guess we all hope that will happen for those we love, because the suffering that they go through, and that we go through watching them, feels too great to bear.

My mom has Alzheimer’s.

 

 

Online Therapy

In my last post I was pretty upset.  So much so that I felt I needed to talk to a bh_logo_mediumprofessional.  I knew if I waited for a live appointment I would talk myself out of going, so I opted for online therapy at www.betterhelp.com   I thought I’d fill you in on how that works, in case you’re interested.

BetterHelp.com is an online therapy service, staffed with licensed counselors and therapists.  You fill out a questionnaire so they can match you up with someone.  If at any time you are not happy with your therapist, you can request to change to someone else.  My therapist’s name is Tiffany and she’s got a master’s degree plus she’s a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).  I like her.

You correspond with your therapist in a private chat room.  You can talk as much as you want, as often as you want.  The therapist replies as soon as possible.  I find that Tiffany always responds within 24 hours.  You can also book live chat sessions for one hour, in which you chat real-time.

It’s definitely different than face-to-face therapy, but I like the fact that when I have something to say–even if it’s 2:00 in the morning–I can just say it and get it out.  I know that appointments and waiting weeks or months to see a good therapist would deter me from going through with this process.

I can’t really say what has been concluded thus far.  It’s personal, very personal indeed, and it involves other members of my family who didn’t give permission to have their business plastered all over my blog.  As upset as I am, I’m really trying to respect their privacy.  But, let’s just say there are some deep issues that involve the past and the present that I have to try and stumble my way through and get some closure on.

With most therapists charging $100 an hour or more, I think the price is quite reasonable.  You get the first week free, and you can cancel if you aren’t happy.  After the first week, you have to pay for 11 weeks at $35 a week.  You have to pay for all 11 weeks at one time.  But, that’s less than $400 for 12 total weeks of therapy and I don’t know any place that you can get that kind of assistance for that price.

I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made so far and I am glad I signed up for this.  If you need to talk to someone, give Better Help a try.

Saying Goodbye

Sometimes you have to cut people out of your life to move on and heal and be sane.  I’ve realized I have to do that with someone.  Someone you never want to have to do that to.

I’m sitting here at 2 am having doubts about my decision.  Everyone says the mean, cruel, hateful behaviors that I’ve been subjected to over the years are just a product of a particular generation, but I don’t buy that.  I know other people from the same generation who are nurturing, kind, and loving.  (Seriously, I’ve heard of the Millennial generation and the Baby Boomer generation, but never “the Asshole generation!”)

My heart just aches and I feel so empty.  I can’t stop crying.  Things have been said that cannot be taken back.  I am reliving all kinds of painful incidents.   I’m kicking myself for things that I said that made the situation worse.  I’m also looking at how others have been treated and I’m seeing a pattern of cruelty and abuse that looks very familiar.  I want to write about the details but I just don’t think I can.  It’s too raw and too painful.

I’m calling a therapist tomorrow so I can go talk to someone.  I suddenly feel like there is this huge gaping wound in me that is not going to heal.  I can’t think, I can’t function. I feel like I was hit by a truck.  Then again, I’m kicking myself for letting it bother me!  It’s like I can’t win and I am lost.

I’m (Still) So Done

760443c74a5693c6d942994122e0a6d4I cancelled my Match.com subscription months ago.  I went over to PlentyofFish.com and gave it a shot.  I’ve now hidden my profile from view.

All I found on there were men who didn’t have a damned thing in common with me, or, men who thought it was their duty to tell me what was wrong with ME.  Like I fucking care what Cletus Numbnuts thinks of me????

When I saw Bobby’s profile up there, my heart just sank.  Not because he’s on there (although I didn’t exactly enjoy seeing his stupid banjo-picking low-budget ass), but because there he was, lying his ass off.  And I realized that probably everyone else is lying, too, and there’s no point in putting myself through that nonsense.

I’m just going to be alone when it comes to having a significant other.  I prefer my own company to that of someone I’m not a good match with.  Given some other things that happened this week in terms of family drama, I’m kind of in a slash-and-burn mood.  Might as well cut off all the things and people who aren’t bringing me joy.  That includes the parade of idiots from Plenty of Freaks.

I’m Just So Done

It’s been a high drama week.  I’ve been on Plenty of Fish (POF) for several months, hoping to find someone nice.  Nope.  I did find my ex-fiance.

The ex-almost-husband contacted me yet again! WHY he feels the need to keep crawling around like the miserable little cockroach he is just truly puzzles me.  But, I’m done playing around.

For the woman out there who has the good sense to do her research on him… let me fill you in!   I’m going to make sure you know what you’ve found.

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This is Bobby Gene Chandler.  He’s being awfully creative with the truth in this profile.  His Facebook profile says he lives in Newport, but his POF profile (shown above) says he lives in Cedar Point.  Not sure which it is.

He is NOT a “Christian” to my knowledge.  He told me how much he hated religion.

He is not an aircraft planner and estimator.  As far as I know he used to be, but according to Facebook he is now or recently was a “machinist” at Flander’s Filters.

The big lie?  He does NOT have a bachelor’s degree.  He finished high school (as far as I know), but I’m not sure he’s ever set foot on a college campus.  I don’t understand why anyone would lie so much about something that is this verifiable.

My lawyer made it clear to him two years ago to leave me alone and never contact me again.  This is the second time he’s contacted me since then.  He sent me this little e-mail on www.pof.com acting like nothing bad ever happened.  Like we are friends or something?  Please!

And the funniest thing…. says he doesn’t want a “player.”  Yet he’s the one who cheated on me for over a year, when we were supposedly in a serious relationship.  Why I forgave him for that is beyond me.  Just sheer stupidity I guess.

Anyway, if you are dating this man, be careful to verify every fact and detail that you believe to be true.  Sadly I’m guessing you’ll find that there’s some creative story telling going on.

Epilogue:   At least one woman saw this blog post and contacted me.  Read about it here.  

A Lobster Pasta Conconction

Mario Batali's Fettuccine With Lobster, Tomatoes, And Saffron: I was perusing a cookbook from ABC’s “The Chew” and ran across a recipe that I apparently overlooked for the two-plus years I’ve owned the book.  It sounded so good I decided to splurge and try it:   fettuccine with lobster, tomato and saffron.

I never cook with lobster.  I think I’ve bought one fresh lobster in the grocery store in my entire life.  But, it sounded so good I had to give it a shot.  I decided to go for it, and when I got to Harris Teeter much to my surprise lobsters were on sale for $7.99 a pound (instead of their regular $14.99 a pound).  I felt a LOT better about making it after I saw that two 1.25 pound lobsters totaled about $45 before the discount was applied.

The recipe calls for potatoes in it, and I just couldn’t figure out why anyone would eat potatoes with pasta.  Can we say carbohydrate overload?  So, I left out the potatoes.  I also found that the recipe called for no seasoning, and left much to be desired in terms of taste as a result.  I had to add quite a bit of salt and pepper to make it sing.

Mine didn’t look like the one in the picture because I used the substitution of one can of San Marzano tomatoes, and I wasn’t sure how to include those, so I pureed them and it made a rich red tomato sauce.  My son had seconds and everyone loved it so I’m sticking with that approach.

Here, for your dining pleasure, is my version of this recipe, scaled down for three people with enough leftovers for one or two more servings:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1-to-1.25 pound lobsters, steamed (have the fish monger do this) and cooled
  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, cut into 1/8″ julienne
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 15 ounce can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes, pureed
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

Directions:

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 2 T. salt.
  • Remove the lobster meat from the shells and cut into 1/2″ pieces.
  • In a large saute’ pan, heat the olive oil until smoking.  Add the onion, celery and garlic and saute’ until golden brown, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, wine and saffron and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  • Drop the fettuccine into the boiling water and cook to 1 minute less than package instructions.  Just before it’s done, carefully ladle 1/2 cup of the pasta water into the pan with the sauce.
  • Add the lobster to the tomato sauce in the pan and toss through.
  • Salt and pepper to taste (this step is really important!)  IF you like spicy food, add 1/2 t. or more of crushed red pepper to the sauce and simmer for a few more minutes.
  • Drain the pasta in a colander and add it to the pan with the sauce.  Add the chives and toss to combine thoroughly.
  • Serve in pasta bowls.

Giraffe: A Challenge Entry

I’m once again entering the monthly challenge at More Mixed Media.  This month’s theme is “anything goes + bright colors.”  I knew right away which piece I wanted to enter:  my giraffe.

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Giraffe is built on a 3/4″ thick canvas.  He started out as a pretty simple construct, and as I started applying layers of colored acrylic paint to build him up, I realized that some animal print papers and other mixed media goodies would help make him pop.  Below are pictures showing the progression of his creation.

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An Example of One That Didn’t Make the Cut

Last year I went out with Ray a few times.  He was nice enough, but extremely nerdy and had major temper issues.  He lost his cat temporarily one night and basically said he should end his life if the cat wasn’t found.  I decided then that he was not for me.

But, we remained friends.  On Facebook.  And here’s an exchange that happened yesterday.  This will demonstrate WHY he didn’t make the cut.  I deleted names and pictures to protect the identity of my friends, as well as Ray, whose identity I’d just as soon forget.


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Three Dates, One Weekend: Dates #2 & #3

online-dating-header2Well, like I said, when it rains, it pours.  I’ve been on such a dry spell for so long and then BAM, here are three eligible guys who all want to take me out on a date.  I already told you about date #1, which was Friday afternoon.  Here’s the report on date #2 and date #3.

Date #2 was early afternoon on Saturday.  We met at a brewery and enjoyed some craft beers together.  His pictures did not do him justice, he was much better looking in person than in his photos.  The conversation flowed easily and I think would have gone on for hours had I not said I needed to be home by five o’clock.  We had a lot in common and got along famously.

Date #3 was around dinner time.  He had to drive almost two hours to get here and I had already verified where he worked, made sure he was who he said he was, etc., so I had him pick me up at my house.  My son was home so they got to meet and got along very well.  We went out to dinner and again, the conversation was plentiful and effortless.  We laughed a lot, and enjoyed a good meal together.  He also was better looking in person than in his pictures.  After we ate I suggested that we either go to a new mini-golf place that opened up in town, or, we go back to my house and watch a movie and have some more cocktails.  He opted for the movie, and we ended up watching “The Hangover,” which is one of my all-time favorite movies.

Both #2 and #3 were very flattering and complimentary about my looks and my personality.  They were both perfect gentlemen, and both indicated that would like to see me again.  I have learned that too often people say that and don’t mean it, or, they change their mind about it before the next date ever comes to fruition.  So we shall see.

The good news is that I had a great time this weekend, and there were no ugly surprises.  Nobody chewed with their mouth open, farted at dinner or suddenly started pledging allegiance to Donald Trump (which would, I’m sorry, be a deal breaker for me.  I could forgive a fart, but not complete lunacy).  I’m about to go out of town for a week so I don’t have to think about what the next step is for awhile.  I do know I’m not good at juggling lots of guys at once.  This business of having three dates in one weekend is not something I will repeat.  But it sure was nice after such a long dry spell to have some options for a change!

Three Dates, One Weekend: Date #1

So when it rains,it pours.  I have had one date in the last year, and now I have three in one

Young couple holding hands with sun-flare.

Young couple holding hands with sun-flare.

weekend!  Apparently getting brutally honest in my dating profile about what I’m looking for and what I won’t tolerate was just the trick to attract some potentially good matches.

Date #1:  Friday Afternoon Cocktails

I met Ken at a waterfront bar and restaurant.  It was blazing hot outside, absolutely sweltering.  I had just come from a business meeting and had on a dress.  (A dress made out of a non-breathable fabric that had my ass sticking to the leather seats in my car thanks to profuse sweating.)   I cleaned up pretty good for this one, and felt pretty good about my overall appearance.

His pictures had not been very clear on Match.  They were all kind of distant shots of him so it was hard to tell what he really looked like.  YES he was very nice looking in person!  I was pleasantly surprised.

We sat and talked over beers and an appetizer for almost two hours.  The conversation flowed, we had a lot in common, especially in our love for the beach.  We laughed a lot.

He has been married twice, and has no kids.  Has all the things on “The List,” with one technical problem.  He still lives with his ex-girlfriend.  Apparently she has two small daughters and he felt obliged to let them live there so they can finish out this next school year.  He volunteered this information up front and was very candid about it.  He said they just live under the same roof but otherwise do not have a romantic relationship.  I think that’s a little odd and might bother me if we move forward.  I guess I’ll just have to wait and see about that one.

When we finished our beers we went walking on the waterfront.  He held my hand and we had a nice chat strolling along the docks.  Then we both agreed it was entirely too hot to be out there so he walked me back to my car and we parted company.

A little while later I got this note from him:

Thank you for meeting me. You are engaging, attractive, and intelligent. I hope I can see you again. I stopped by <bar name omitted> to watch the storm come in. Looking out over the river as the lightning flashes, thunder and cool breeze roll over the deck. Thinking of you.

This one shows some real promise!  I have dates two and three later today, one for lunch, one for dinner.  I’ll be back with a report about those!

“The List”: What I’m Looking For

downloadI thought I would share with you “The List” that I have posted on my online dating profile.  As I mentioned, it seems to appeal to at least a few men.   See what you think, and I’m always open to suggestions if you can think of any.

Thanks for looking at my profile! I remain optimistic that someone special for me is out there, but he’s going to be very hard to find. I am looking for someone who (reasons in parentheses).

*has a professional career and/or a successful business who is financially secure (I am a very self-sufficient, financially stable woman. We don’t have to make the same amount of money, but you do need to be able to take care of yourself and be able to interact with my professional career environment.)

*has a college degree OR equivalent military or professional experience (I have an advanced graduate degree. I have tried relationships with people who did not go to college. There is always too vast of a difference in backgrounds for it to work out well. If you haven’t finished college you must be exceptionally well-read and worldly due to military or other professional experience for us to be compatible).

*is single (I have no interest in being a married guy’s “traveling companion” or friend with benefits. If you’re separated please let me know the date your divorce is scheduled.)

*respects the fact that I do not participate in organized religion (you can do it…that’s fine. But I won’t. It’s just not my thing).

*does not smoke cigarettes at all (an occasional cigar or joint is fine with me, but cigarette smoke and smell really bother me)

*lives within a 1-2 hour drive (hard to date someone who lives much farther away than that)

*supports equal rights for LGBTQ (I have many friends who are LGBTQ. They are important to me, and I can’t date someone who disrespects them or makes fun of them).

*is turned on by an independent self-sufficient woman who makes her own living (it’s just who I am, and it’s a little late in life to change that. I’ve dated people who tried to change me. No bueno.)

*loves dogs or at least enjoys dog presence (I have two dogs that are family members to me. I adore them. I have also never met anyone who dislikes dogs that I really have much in common with).

I will be back later to tell you about the three meet and greets this weekend!

 

From the Trenches….

Just an update for you, in case you’re wondering how dating is going.  After many month sof hitting on absolutely NOTHING on Match.com, I decided to try Plenty of Fish  again.  I wasn’t having any luck on Match.

Then, one day I had a great coffee date with a guy named Charlie.  He seemed to be very interested in me.  He said he wanted to see me again, and he e-mailed me a few times, then disappeared.  No more Match account, and no more e-mails.  Ghosted again.  

Not long after that, I had a date with Butch, a doctor.  I enjoyed his company but he had a mustache that drove me crazy.  I don’t like mustaches in general, unless they are accompanied by a beard.  I think just a mustache looks very “porn-star-ish.”  But, I figured if he stuck around long enough I could tell him, “Hon, not only is your mustache a distraction, it’s also poorly groomed.  Here’s $20, go buy some taste on your way to the barber shop to have that shit shaved off your lip.  You look like you’ve been bobbing for caterpillars.”

(Or something like that).

We met once for drinks and a bite to eat, and it went very well.  Then we went out on a date one night, and that also went well.  He travels a lot for work and so do I, so we didn’t see each other for the next two or three weeks or so.  He texted me a few times, and seemed interested.  Then one day I got an e-mail from him that said he didn’t think we should see each other or try to move forward any further.  I have no idea what that was about.  In a way it was a relief because I really did dread dealing with that mustache issue.

So I was getting very frustrated.  I had changed my online profile to include a “must-have” list.  I decided if I was going to have any success, I needed to be very up front about what I wanted.  So, I made a list.  “The List” as it has become known has all the qualities I’m looking for in a man.  Things I must have.  For instance, it says that any suitor of mine must love dogs.  I’m not going to deal with someone who doesn’t appreciate dog presence.  It also says that my perfect mate will respect and support equal rights for LGBTQ persons, because I have several friends who are LGBTQ and I can’t date someone who doesn’t respect them or who makes fun of them.

“The List” is NOT superficial.  It says nothing about looks, build, occupation, income, or penis size.  It is a carefully thought-out list of things that are really important to me, and it was created in large part due to bad experiences that I do not care to repeat.

I received several nasty notes from guys who did not meet the requirements set forth on the list.  “Do you honestly expect to find someone like this?” was what one guy asked me, while simultaneously calling me an “alpha female.”  I blocked his ass and moved on about my day.

One day, though, I was contacted by someone who said, “I’ve read your list.  I think it’s great.  I think I meet everything on it.  Hope to talk to you more.”   And then I got another e-mail, and another!  So this weekend, I have THREE meet-and-greet dates with three different people.  All of them seem very nice, and I’m excited to meet them all.   Fingers crossed that these go well.

A Vintage Corset Dress

I don’t always work in two dimensions–sometimes I use three!  This is a mixed-media piece I did using chipboard cut-outs from Creative Embellishments and lovely little feathers from Paper Mart.  I textured the background with modeling paste and stencils, and sprayed it with about a dozen layers of spray colors from Shimmerz.

It is for sale in my Etsy shop.  Just click here to view the listing.  I’m also entering it in this month’s mixed media challenge over at More Mixed Media.

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Dating Grammar Hell

bad-grammarI thought you might enjoy seeing some of the delightful people who LIKE ME on Match.com   These are their opening profile statements.

I don’t need a guy who is great looking.  I don’t need one who is well-built.  I don’t need one who makes a ton of money, either.  But…I’m a grammar snob.  What can I tell you?   I like language.  I like people who can use it reasonably well.  Most people on Match.com just don’t think it matters.  Or else maybe they don’t KNOW that it does?  Either way, I’m completely turned off.

I am letting my Match.com account expire in 10 days when it runs out, and I don’t think I’ll be renewing.  For now, you just enjoy these literary works of jean-ee-us.7 6 5 4 3 2 1

 

 

Food Anti-Porn

Everyone is always talking about the joys of great food porn.  I love it myself.  But what some people don’t realize is that floating around out there on Pinterest are images that are just the opposite of porn:  they are anti-porn.  So disgusting, they will make you think twice about eating another bite of anything.  And, it just so happens that I have a Pinterest board dedicated to such…delicacies.

Click here to see the board.

Admittedly some of the posts on there reflect my personal dislike of cauliflower, but there are lots of vintage photos of culinary delights you have surely never seen!

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Purple Girl

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This is “Purple Girl.”  She is a mixed media art piece I made on  12×12″ canvas.  She started with layers of various papers and ephemera and textures, and then was built up from there with layers and layers of acrylic paint.  Purple is my favorite color!  I gifted her to my dear friend Tracy, who admired Purple Girl and I’m proud that she has her hanging in her beach house.

I’m entering her in this month’s challenge over at More Mixed Media.   Their theme this month is Anything Goes with purple as an optional color, and she’s pretty danged purple!

 

Follow-up:

I’m proud to have been selected as a “top five” entry in the challenge!

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Serrano Steak: A Super Simple Savory Serving

Sorry for my excessive use of the s words, but this recipe was stupendous and extremely simple!

Now that I’m taking some time off for the summer and have time to cook, I’m getting more Hello Fresh boxes.  We had this recipe tonight and it was absolutely delightful.  I wanted to share it with you.

Worried about whether beef is good for you or not?  Check out this post and learn all about the health benefits of beef!

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Speedos, Part Deux

I’ve caught a lot of flack for my first post on Speedo bathing suits.  Just read the comments over there and you’ll see what I mean.  I have apparently offended some men out there.

In my defense, I’m not the only person who feels this way.  Check out the comments on this Jezebel article and you’ll see that I’m not alone.  The bottom line for me, and for many other women, is we just don’t want to see your dick through your bathing suit.  It’s too much information.  Sorry guys, but if you saw a woman with an extreme camel toe bikini on I doubt you’d like it, either.

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It isn’t just about how you’re built, men.  I previously said that I didn’t mind seeing well-built Olympic swimmers in Speedos, but the truth is I think they also look ridiculous in those little “budgie smugglers.”  I realize they wear them for competition, and I understand why, but I still find a pair of board shorts a LOT sexier and more appealing.  And, so do most of the women I’ve discussed this subject with.

Someone also pointed out to me that they see a lot of women on the beach wearing bathing suits that are excessively revealing.  Well, they need to fix that.  I think it’s important to dress for the body you have, not the body you wish you had.  I wear a one-piece, and I will the rest of my life.  I know my limitations and I know I simply do not have the figure for anything less than a steel-belted radial lifting/firming/shaping bathing suit.  So, that’s what I wear.  I’m not out there flashing my gut or rocking a camel toe for all the world to see.

So, take offense if you like, get mad, and tell me to grow up (as one person did).  I still think the little marble bag banana hammock swim suits look ridiculous and provide entirely too much information about a man’s anatomy.  Nothing is going to change that.

Ladies, what do you think?

A Mixed Media Challenge: “Pink”

I am taking the summer off, and so far I’m enjoying the hell out of it.  I have never had a real summer off like this, so I’m spending a lot of time doing exactly what I want to do.  We’ve done some home improvement projects, and, I’ve done a lot of painting and mixed media art.

This is a mixed media piece I created to enter a challenge.   It started out as just  decorated canvas but the more I worked with it the more screwed up it got until I had ot just fall back and start over altogether.  As the challenge was to use the color pink, I opted for spray painting the canvas in many shades of such a lovely color.  Then I added some mixed media embellishments that were also painted, along with a silk flower or two, and some handmade clay flowers and butterflies.  It’s not my best work but it was fun to make and I’m sure I’ll find something to do with it.

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Something Fun: A Tie Dye Party

Today I thought I would give you an idea for something really fun to do on a sunny day:   host a tie dye party.  It’s not very expensive, and it’s a lot of fun.

Step 1:  Grab a coupon for your local craft store, then go buy a tie-dye kit.  All three of the major craft chains (Michael’s, AC Moore and Hobby Lobby) usually put out a coupon once a week for 40% off or 50% off one item.  Grab one online or from your local sale flyer and then head to the store.  Buy the Tulip brand tie dye party kit.  It looks like this:

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The packaging may vary, but look for the kit that makes 36 projects.  Realistically, it will make more like 15-18 projects using the colors you really WANT.  Just know that going in.  It typically retails (in North Carolina) for $29.99, so with the coupon, you’re looking at it costing about $1 per project.

Step 2:  Find some stuff to tie-dye.  I order men’s white v-neck t-shirts from Hanes.com, but you can also watch for those at your local discount store.  And, sometimes the craft chains put Gildan brand t-shirts on sale for as little as $1.99 apiece.  But, don’t limit yourself to t-shirts!  You can do tote bags, socks, scarves, and even underwear.

My son really likes to tie-dye boxer briefs.  He once made a pair using the brown dye in the Tulip kit.  It was kind of disgusting but funny.  (Use your imagination).  This is also a good way to repurpose white shirts that have a stain on them, or that have turned yellowish.

Tell guests to bring their own garments.  That way you aren’t trying to buy shirts for everyone, and, they can be sure to have the right size and style of whatever it is they want to tie-dye.  Be specific about how many garments you want them to bring.  Whether it’s one, two or three, or more, make sure you have figured on having enough dye and supplies  for the quantity people will bring.

Pre-wash all the items, and do not dry them with fabric softener, which can impede the dye’s absorption.  I recommend also drying them once, to shrink them.  Then, wet them again (a rinse cycle in the washer is great). It’s easiest to fold and shape the tie-dye design with a damp garment, which is why you need to rinse them one more time.

(Be sure to tell your guests to do this pre-washing step before arriving, and to bring their shirts damp, if possible.)

Step 3:  Set up a tie-dye station outdoors.  You really need tables for this, if at all possible.  Cover the tables with plastic (the kit comes with a plastic table cover, but you may need more).  Don’t use newspaper!  The dye will soak through it and stain your table.  Just a few minutes before the party, add cold water to the dye bottles and mix them up.  Do NOT pre-mix the dye earlier!  It has to be mixed fresh and used within an hour or two.

The kit contains gloves and rubber bands for tie dying, but you’ll probably need extra gloves and you’ll definitely need extra rubber bands.  It takes a lot of rubber bands to create most of the styles that people want to make when they tie-dye.  So, have extras of those.  Good thick strong big rubber bands are ideal, but whatever you have will work.

Finally, you’ll need to have a supply of plastic bags.  The shirts have to be wrapped in plastic and left to process for at least 6 to 8 hours–24 hours is better.  I recommend a package of gallon-sized Ziploc bags for shirts and larger projects, and a package of quart-sized bags for smaller items.  (They are a little pricey but they are the easiest to use and they ensure that dye doesn’t leak out of the bag).

When you invite guests, you can go ahead and tell them to bring one Ziploc bag per garment.  If they are going to bring their garments damp, the bag is a perfect container for transporting the damp items.

So…. you’ve got a plastic-covered table, dye, gloves, rubber bands, and plastic bags.  Now what?

Step 4:   Start the party and fold the garments.  The dye kit comes with some instructions on basic tie-dye folding and design.  You can also find some great design suggestions and ideas online here (just click here to go to the Tulip website).  Pinterest also has lots of other suggestions that you can search for.  Print out the design ideas for your guests so they have something to look at and refer to when folding and shaping their garment.

This is the fun part, where the table comes in handy.  You have to fold and work the garments, and rubber band as needed.  Once the garment is folded and banded, you put on gloves, apply the dye, and place the garment in a bag.  Rainbow Spider DIY:

My advice for a smooth and successful party is to have everyone fold and shape their garments first, THEN apply the dye.  This way someone who is folding and working on a shirt doesn’t bump into an open bottle of dye that someone else is using.

Step 5:  You’ll rinse the shirts out after several hours.  The package says 8 hours, but I recommend 24 hours.  The dye can process for that long without harming the garment.

You should probably print out these instructions for your guests to take home with them…

  1.  Remove garment from the bag and in a stain-proof sink (such as stainless steel, or a laundry sink), rinse the garment thoroughly until the water runs clear.
  2. Remove the rubber bands, unfold, and wash in the washing machine by itself, with no other garments.  Remember there’s still soluble dye in this item that can stain other things it touches, so it’s important to wash it alone.
  3. Dry thoroughly.
  4. For the first 2 times you wash it, you’ll want to wash it alone, or with other tie-dye garments, just to be safe.  After that, it’s fine to wash with other colored clothing.  I’ve never had the dye rub off on other clothes after that point.

There!  That’s it.  Provide a snack or two and some cocktails and you’ve got a really fun afternoon, with a take-away that guests can keep and enjoy for a long time.

Hemorrhoids & Too Much Information

The other day someone left me a voicemail.  It was so inappropriate and disturbing Hemorrhoids3-500x333that I feel compelled to share it.

I had been trying to reach this person by phone, to discuss something rather mundane.  I had called several times and gotten no answer.  Had left a message, gotten no return call.  So when they called me back, and I was on the other line, they left a message.

This is the verbatim transcript of it:

“Hey, sorry it took me so long to get back to you.  I’ve been laying on my side with an exposed hemorrhoid and constipation for five days and today’s the first day I can let my butthole go and nothin’ try to come out.  But anyway, it hurts, it made it raw, my butt cheeks are bleeding.”

After rambling on about their asshole for 90 seconds or so, apparently they were intoxicated enough to think that perhaps they were leaving a message on an answering machine, rather than a cell phone (which is the only type of phone I have).  They decided I had picked up the phone and so the rest of the message is them going, “Hello?  Hello?”

This is why I don’t answer the phone anymore often than I do!

What’s worse is that, to find a graphic for this post, I Google’d “hemorrhoids” and selected “images.”  I thought I’d find pictures of medications, commercials, irritated people’s faces.  Uh, no.

I’m warning you, people, do NOT Google that word and click on images!  Why?  Because apparently there are a lot of people out there with hemorrhoids who have cameras and are also flexible enough to use them to capture the moment.  <shudder>

Have a magical day and thank you for sharing this little nugget of joy with me.

Starbuck’s

This picture looks nothing like me, or the guy I had the date with today. We’re both about 20 years older than the people in the picture. But, hey, it’s at a coffee shop so it’s suitable for this blog post.

Today I had a coffee date with a guy from Match I just started talking to a couple of days ago. I  don’t usually try to meet people so early, but his profile seemed genuine and the communication we had by e-mail seemed sincere enough.  He had a nice face in his pictures.  A rugged, dark haired, dark-eyed guy who appeared to be Italian or Greek (turned out he was a combo of both).

He mentioned that he was heading to the beach and would be coming through my town on his way today, and wondered if we might meet for coffee.  His approach was very gentlemanly and I thought to myself, “Why the hell not?”  He suggested Starbuck’s, and we agreed to meet at 4:00 p.m.

I got there a little early, got a drink and sat down on the patio.  It was a gorgeous day–much too nice to be indoors.  I wanted to get settled and comfortable, and I also wanted to see him walk in and make sure he was what was in the pictures I had seen, and not somebody who was a lot older, or completely different!

He had told me he had a jacked-up step-side pick-up truck that he affectionately named “The Overcompensator” (I knew then he had a good sense of humor).  When I saw a big truck roll into the parking lot I knew right away it was him.

After he got out of the truck I waved to him and he came over to the table.  We shook hands, introduced ourselves, and sat down.  We talked non-stop, and found that we had a lot in common.  We both had found online dating to be very sketchy at best, filled with people who were … well, sketchy.  We both have a sibling we don’t have any use for (I know, family dysfunction is probably not a positive, but at least we have the same kind of dysfunction!).  One of the best things we had in common was our love for the beach.

A New York native (not just any New Yorker, but a Long Islander), he moved here years ago.  I love New Yorkers.  They are friendly, honest, real people, so the fact that he was from there did not bother me in the least.  His accent was really kind of cute.  And I was very impressed that he loves it here, rather than complaining about the south (which people from the north sometimes do).

He is gainfully employed with a reputable company, and considers himself a bit of a workaholic.  His younger daughter just graduated from high school, so his kids are pretty much grown.  He loves to travel.  He doesn’t like organized religion.  We both had some of the same questions about how the universe started, and what is really “out there” (or not out there, as the case may be).  He wants to take things slow, and just be friends first and see what happens.

He seemed genuinely interested in me, my career, my family, and my interests.  He asked good questions, shared some of his own anecdotes, and we had a lot of laughs.  He kept telling me how funny I was because he said I was really “dead-pan.” (I never knew I did that, but okay.  As long as he found it entertaining, that was a plus for me.)

In summary….I really enjoyed myself!  I didn’t even look at my watch until almost two hours had gone by.   I needed to get home to make dinner, and he needed to get on to the beach.  So we sort of concluded our get together, again with a handshake.

He said that I was very interesting, and a lot of fun, and that once he gets back from a business trip next week, would I like to get together again?  I said sure, I’d love to.  And, I really would!

So, perhaps there is intelligent, single life out there after all.  Only time will tell….

 

My Picker

pickerSo after encountering what was obviously a scammer, and a guy who thought we should go straight from talking briefly online to me coming to his house for a drink to sell my art work to him, I am very comfortable with my decision to unsubscribe from Match.com   My subscription ends in July (it’s paid up until then and they don’t give refunds), so I will continue to monitor traffic on there, but then I’m done.

I was discussing this with a friend of mine, who said “Match sucks… I’m on Plenty of Fish.”  I was like, “Hmmmmm…. should I give it a try again?  After all, it’s free….”  So I logged back in and updated my profile and started surfing.  Who is the FIRST person I see?   Ghost Boy!

Now that might not seem so strange, except for the fact that when we first met, he talked about how ridiculous and useless those online dating sites are, how awful they are, etc.  He went on and on about what a waste of time it was to be on them, and how all you encounter are the same old losers.

I tend to agree.

When I read his profile I just shook my head….

I am just a normal guy with a big heart…I am finished with the game players and am looking for someone who is ready to settle down and enjoy life. I am looking for a lady that is stable and is full of self confidence……feels good in her own skin, and does not have hang ups about herself. I like confidence!……. Heck, It does not matter what you do….just as long as you enjoy it! Tired of the games? Me too! Looking for a honest, caring, supportive and faithful companion. Have you purged your past relationships and opened up all the luggage and worked through the issues? Have you extinguished all the old flames still burning in the back of your head for someone else? I am not looking just for sex, games or to make someone jealous or help you get over the person that just dumped you. I am seeking a real lady that has it together and understands the real reason that men and women join together. Are there any women out there that are REALLY looking to settle down now days?

This is new since I joined the site…

1. Okay, I see that this is going to be difficult….you girls must get overwhelmed with useless banter…..If I drop off with conversation it is because I can tell you are distracted and not paying attention….SORRY, but that much I have figured out already….

Doesn’t like games, huh?   Could have fooled me.  Wants a woman to be herself, and direct?  Could have fooled me.  I was never “distracted” from our conversation, if anything he was the one who didn’t respond in a timely manner to texts and such.

I suppose I am still second-guessing myself when it comes to this whole dating thing.  I’m 48 years old (and the clock seems to tick faster and faster straight towards 50). What did I do wrong where he is concerned?  If I came across this profile and had not met him I would think, “We’re a great match,” but clearly we are not.

As one of my southern friends once said about another friend, “Her picker is broke.”  (For you non-southerners out there, a picker is a fancy term for a selection tool, and not someone playing a banjo or other stringed instrument.  And broke is just our more colorful way of saying “broken.”  I do indeed realize it’s grammatically incorrect, but it sounds more southern that way!).

I think my picker is broke!  

But, hey, it’s free to look, and interestingly enough someone from Match has asked me out for a coffee this afternoon, so I’m going to go see how that goes and I’ll report back to you…of course if my picker is broke how in the hell will I know what to make of him????

Me, Myself and I

Well so ol’ Ghost Boy kind of irked me enough that I decided to put him completely out of sight and out of mind.  I deleted him from my Facebook friends, and, I put his phone number on my spam numbers list and I erased any trace of his presence.

A few days later, something told me to look at my spam messages, and sure enough, he had made contact.  Something about “just checking in.”  I responded with a very cool, aloof and brief message:  “Assumed you weren’t interested.”

So he wrote back again to say he “understood that” and then started talking about how busy I was and how he had to go take care of his dad.  I just ignored it because there is one simple universal truth that I have found over the years since text messaging became commonplace:  nobody is too busy to send you a text message, if they really want to.

I have to wonder what his game is.  Or I should say “was” because I have stuck to my guns about not responding.  In my world, Ghost Boy is very much like George Washington, Christopher Columbus and Abraham Lincoln–he’s just history.

When I first met him he talked about how all the women his age were emotionally damaged and how hard it was to meet someone who had their act together.  You don’t get much more together at my age than I am right now.  I’m rocking my career, I have no skeletons in my closet (all skeletons are in the living room and visible to anyone who comes into my life), and I’m not emotionally damaged.  I’m not bitter, I’m not angry, and I’m not looking for a man to solve my life’s problems.  My son is 18 and self-sufficient.  I make my own money, I own my own house, and, I can’t get pregnant.  I’m a damned catch, I’m just not having any luck getting anyone else to recognize that.

That’s okay.  Out of all the top 40 hits out today there is finally one for people like me.  It’s called “Me, Myself and I” and it goes like this:

Oh, it’s just me, myself and I
Solo ride until I die
Cause I got me for life
(Got me for life, yeah)
Oh I don’t need a hand to hold
Even when the night is cold
I got that fire in my soul

So, the summer has started, I’m done with the school year and it’s time to have some fun.  Just me, myself, and I!

Ghosted!

Today’s vocabulary word, boys and girls, is “ghosted.”  This is when someone you are interested in suddenly just disappears and stops returning your texts or talking to you.  I just learned this word because it happened to me.

It’s a long story that really doesn’t matter now, but I met someone “live” in a coffee shop in town a couple of weeks ago.  We hit it off, he seemed to be really interested in me, he friended me on Facebook and called me.  He told me how pretty he thought I was, liked my figure, etc.  He picked me up from the airport when I returned from a business trip, took me to breakfast, and I thought we had a splendid time.  He texted me later that afternoon.  And the next day.

I asked him if he would like to come over to a cook out I was having on Friday, he said he would if he didn’t go see his father.

I never heard from him again.

Meanwhile he posted all weekend on Facebook from our town, so he apparently didn’t go see his father.

What.  The.  Fuck.  Am.  I.  Doing.  Wrong?????

Then I find out from someone who knows him that he’s got a reputation for being clingy and hanging around a lot when he finds someone.  So let me get this straight…now even the clingy needy guys don’t want to be around me?  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, I really don’t.  I’ve tried every dating service, and every approach and I am still batting a big fat zero.

One of my besties tells me not to give up, she’s sure there’s someone out there for me.  It’s very hard to remain optimistic about that after all this time and effort.  And then there’s the people who say “stop making an effort, and it will happen.”  Well, I’ve tried that, too, and it doesn’t work.

I guess being alone is just what I’m destined for and I’m really okay with that.  I just thought at some point I might run into someone I could go do stuff with, and at least be friends with.  Can’t even seem to manage that.  dat

 

It’s Me Again

Image result for say no to match.comI apologize for neglecting BWAV for awhile.  A lot has happened in my business and in my full-time job that has taken up all my energy and attention.  Since those two topics are off limits for this blog (a self-imposed rule I instituted when I started it), I will spare you the details.  Let’s just say I’ve been busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.

I was going to cancel my Match.com membership because it was getting me nowhere.  When I signed on to do that, I found that it had just renewed.  For three more months.

I don’t know what I’m doing wrong on there.  I see men post about what they’re looking for, and the description fits me.  I contact them, and they never write back.  Do I have bad internet breath or what?

Then, I get contacted by every mouth-breathing illiterate idiot on the planet.  And, they’re usually the same trolls who were hanging around the last time I was on Match.  They haven’t updated their pictures, which appear to be old and out of date.  They often look somewhat scary.

So, there’s a set of people I’m interested in, and a set of people interested in me, and there is apparently no intersection of the two sets.  It’s rather frustrating.  I have set Match to cancel at the end of this membership period.  It’s just not a good venue for meeting people.

Wait, I did meet one very nice person.  But, we just had nothing in common.  There was no spark whatsoever for me.  He liked hunting and guns and weapons and was always bitching about “kids today.”  I understand why, because he’s a university campus police officer and has to deal with the students when they are at their worst, but it was like we were on opposite sides of almost every issue.  I tried to like him, because he was a very fine, decent man.  But it just wasn’t right.

Next time I’ll tell you about the most recent “in-person” fiasco.

Small Voices Matter

My friends have a child in the Lewisville (Texas) Independent School District (LISD).  Their daughter is being bullied and the school district is giving them a very hard time.  Please join me in standing up to LISD by sharing this post.   #smallvoicesmatter

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Chimichurri: It’s What’s for Dinner

I thought I’d share a few recipes with you today to maybe get us talking about food and cooking again?  I love those boxes from Hello, Fresh, but dang if our schedules can get synced!  Every week that I have time to cook and want a box, they have recipes that feature things I don’t eat, like broccoli and salmon.  Yuuuuuuuuuuuck.   When they have cool looking recipes, I am traveling or busy and can’t order the box.

I do, however, keep an eye on their recipes.  It’s always an option to print them out and make them at home, which is what I’m going to do with my latest craving, and that’s for something with chimichurri sauce.

If you have never eaten chimichurri sauce, you don’t know what you are missing!  It is so flavorful, and super easy to make.  It’s a South American condiment with a parsley or cilantro base.  Some recipes call for both parsley and cilantro.  From there, recipes vary regarding ingredients.  I’ve seen recipes that include garlic, chili peppers, cumin and shallots.  Then you need a liquid (usually vinegar) and an oil to make it all blend together.  You just put the ingredients in a food processor and whirl them into this amazing sauce that is bursting with a fresh taste and vibrancy you just don’t get anywhere else.

For a great chimichurri sauce recipe, look to Bon Apetit Magazine by clicking here.

You can use chimichurri on steak, chicken, and even on vegetarian dishes if you’re not a meat fan.   Here are two recipes from Hello, Fresh that are particularly appealing and that I’ll be making in the next few days.

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More Mermaid Mixed Media

I’ve got another mixed media piece I wanted to share.  Yeah, it’s a mermaid deal.  Yeah, I promise I’ll be working on something besides mermaids soon enough.  Meanwhile, this is my latest endeavor.2016-02-12 10.42.28

It’s made on a 6×6″ canvas that’s gallery wrapped and 1.5″ thick.  Loaded down the first layer with modeling paste for texture, then sprayed tons of Shimmerz paints on to create a multi-colored background of aquas and blues.  On top of that I applied some acrylic medium and sprinkled on iridescent flakes and shiny little beads.

The mermaid and gears look like metal with a rich patina, but that’s just Pebeo iridescent paints in Blue Black and copper, applied to die cut chipboard pieces (“chippies”) from Creative Embellishments.  I topped everything off with a few metal watch parts and pieces.

This is one of my March entries in their challenge contest over at Creative Embellishments.  The  inspiration for this month’s challenge is this picture:

sweet_wallpaper_wonderful_2033_background_editionAnd the “twist” is “why I’m lucky.”

I’m inspired by the ethereal look of the sky in this picture, and I try to apply that to all my mixed media works.  And, I’m lucky because I live only 90 minutes from the ocean and I love all things nautical and aquatic (could you tell?)  I never thought I’d get this close to the beach!  It sure is nice, and I’m a very lucky, fortunate girl.

Here are a few other views of the piece:

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Electric Crab (Killin’ Time, Part 5)

Ever since I started taking Saxenda I rarely feel like eating.   The stuff does a great job of killing my appetite and thus I don’t cook so much anymore.  I’m not sure how much weight I’ve lost but it’s pretty significant!  I haven’t gotten a Hello Fresh box in months!  Hard to want to pay for one when nothing really tastes good.   So, with all this spare time I have from not cooking, I continue to paint.

My friend who owns three beach houses she uses for rental properties has asked me to paint some things for her houses.  I’m really honored by that prospect and I’m excited that someone thinks my work is good enough to display.  I’m going to be able to put a little placard below each painting with my contact information on it so maybe I’ll sell a few pieces along the way?  I don’t really want to make much money off these–just enough to buy more canvases and paint.

One of the first pieces I have made for her is one I call “Electric Crab.”  Here he is…

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I got the inspiration for him when my friend showed me several paintings that she liked, and one of them was a big blue crab.  It was lovely, and something far beyond my skill level to paint.  I went online and found several colorful crab paintings for  inspiration and then just started sketching.

She asked me how do you start a painting?  How many layers of paint go on?  How do you know when  you’re finished?  In this case what I did first was paint in a nice background of pearlescent white paint with faint color splotches blended in for an interesting “sandy” background.  You cannot see in these pictures how shiny the background is, but it is my interpretation of wet sand.

Once that dried, I had to put pencil to canvas and sketch an outline.  At first I painted him with two claws, four legs and two backfins.  I later went and looked at pictures of crabs again and realized they have six legs, so I had to add in two more legs.  I started out applying layers of yellow paint, trying to mimic a neat watercolor painting I saw online, but eventually I just had to wing it on my own and start applying color in my own way, rather than emulating that artist’s work.

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At some point I put a blue outline on the crab and thought, “he should look electric” and then the name “Electric Crab” came to my mind and stuck.

This is a big canvas–30″ x 48″–and I had never painted anything so large before.  I enjoyed working on this scale because details are very easy to apply.

My friend likes this, but I confess I am still not happy with him.  However, there is a point you just have to stop, or else you’ll muddy up what you’ve done already and make a mess.

The local art gallery is having a show next month and I can enter 3 paintings for $15.  I’m going to enter Electric Crab plus two of my mermaids just to see what happens.  Since we are only 90 minutes from the beach there’s a pretty big demand here for coastal art, so maybe someone will like what I’ve done?

Killin’ Time (Part 4)

It was only in the last year or so that I really got into mermaids.  I have always loved the ocean, and for years I collected dolphin figurines and sculptures.  That was my passion for the longest time, until I realized I had collected just about every dolphin trinket made in China and my curio cabinet was smack full of dust catchers.

In the last few years I have become great friends with a gal named Lindsey.  We met through the jewelry business I used to own, and we have remained friends since.  We both love the beach and water so much that we call each other “Salty Sis(ter).”  She loves mermaids and I kind of picked up on that, I suppose.

Anyway, here is a painting I just did of another mermaid.

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A friend requested a mermaid painting for one of the bedrooms in one of her beach houses.  I drew this one freehand and it’s an original design.   Her earrings are three-dimensional pearls, and the scales on her tail are painted with several colors of iridescent paint for a shimmery effect.

Killin’ Time (Part 3)

Well, since dating hasn’t been something to spend time on, and since my promotion at work went through (Yay, me!), I have been relaxing in my ample spare time with some paintings and art.  Here is another piece that I did in my first ever mixed media art class.

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I have tried and tried to get this picture to rotate one turn to the left so you can see it as its meant to be seen. I cant seem to get it done!!!!

I decided to sign up for an art class at Emerge Gallery in Greenville, NC.  My teacher, Gail, was just amazing.  She let us work on individual projects that interested us.  Our first real exercise in painting was to find a painting or picture we liked and “copy” it.  I found something on the internet like this, and set out to make a painting of it.  Mine looks very little like the original, but I did have fun painting her!  It’s all acrylic paint, with real starfish in the corners for a 3-d accent.

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I’m signing up for the class again next week!  Looking forward to making more art with Gail!