Life Lessons

"Figuring out our gifts in life is part of our journey to becoming enlightened human beings.” – Allison DuBois

Sunday, December 31, 2017


Song - Don't Panic by The Hot Club of San Francisco

Best wishes for a great new year!

"Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath."
--Mark Twain

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Where Have You Been?

Song - A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall by Bob Dylan

Where have you been my darling young one?

I'm a bad, bad blogger.....I forgot November and December!

Well I didn't really forget them.  It was more like they bowled me over!!!

 I babysat my son's sweet pup Chewy. What a cutie!

We had 22 guests for Turkey Day!

I completed two commissions and started a new painting.

This was from our Spring trip to Scotland - a piper greeted us in the Highlands near Glencoe.

My mom and I had some downtime at Lake Tahoe.

We had a great cousin's reunion which I did a lot of family tree work for.

David, Timmy & myself

And then Christmas just blew by......

And I was sick the entire time (3 months) with some kind of 
flu-bronchitis-pneumonia-cold-cough thingy! UGGG!
And being stubborn - I never went to the doctors.

Lucky for me, my husband and my boys all cook as well do their loveys, so I had plenty of help.

I hope you will forgive my absence for the last two months.

I'm still here!

As a treat I am going to share two special yummy recipes 

Pumpkin Bread a la Monica

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

1 ½ c. flour
½ tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. pumpkin puree
½ c. vegetable oil (I sometimes use ¼ c. water and ¼ c. oil)
2 eggs, beaten
¼ c. water
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. cloves
½ c. chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour, salt, sugar, & baking soda together. In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin, oil, eggs, water, & spices. Pour into bowl with dry ingredients & mix until all are combined. Stir in the nuts. Pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3-in. loaf pan, bake 50-60 minutes until done in the middle. Remove from pan, cool on a rack.

Jacque's Delicious Cranberry Honey Butter

 1/4 c. honey
1 c. butter
1/4 - 1/2 c. chopped dried cranberries
& orange zest to taste

Jacque placed the butter in small canning jars with handmade labels. 

“And now let us welcome the New Year —full of things that have never been.”


Monday, October 30, 2017

Spooky Transformations

Song - Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr.

It all began with a simple wreath on the front door.....

And ended with my youngest son's head in a jar......yikes!

Let me tell you what transpired.

There were barfing pumpkins and then......

.....big 'ol pumpkins began to arrive......strangely in pairs!

The table was set with tools, pumpkins, gut containers and carrot-parsnip noses.

So.......we all got to work decapitating, pulling out innards and furrowing our brows trying to think of the very best design........all while sipping some mighty fine wine!

 Suddenly it got very quiet........and that's when it happened.......

Everyone entered into..............."the twilight zone"!

We were creating, working and thinking so hard that smoke almost came out of our ears!

As pumpkins became Jack-o-Lanterns......we all began to relax.

Candles were lit and soup was poured.....

we dined until our bellies were filled....perhaps we relaxed a little too much....

Because a sweet Grandma was abducted by a man with a mustache.....

 And a cuddly dog was taken by a wild couple in plaid.....

 It made all of our hair stand right up on end!!!

As Witches took to riding in the night sky.....

And Goblins came out and frightened us all......

The skull of a dead man arrived just in time.... see the Grinch stealing Halloween and.....

Bats flying by.

We had oogly eyes just watching it all....

and laughed at the lovely little white holes and fly fishing ties....

But the worst of the worstest and badder than bad came a.....

....surprise knife to the skull!!!


Happy Halloween one and all!

"When witches go riding
And black cats are seen,
The moon laughs and whispers
'Tis near Halloween."

--Author Unknown

For the Head in a Jar Prank - Click HERE

Sopa de Tortilla recipe - Click HERE

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Closing Down

Song - October Road by James Taylor

The intense heat that we endured in California this summer has faded and we are now officially into Autumn. The days are comfortable and the nights are crisp.

Everything seems to have received the earth's message that it's time to close down for another year. I listen to the acorns "thud" on the roof of our house or on our little lane.  Cars drive by and you can hear the tires crunch the acorns into dust.

 The leaves on our maple trees are beginning to change color.  

The last of the Dahlia's and roses are blooming.
Unfortunately they were not happy campers this year as they were trying to survive the blazing heat spells, lower water consumption and not having Moi take care of them. 
It was just too dang hot to go out there!  

My friend, the Flicker sings to me every morning and in the late afternoon.

The days are decidedly shorter and our shadows are much longer.

I am harvesting apples in hopes of future cobblers, applesauce or my mama's famous apple pie!

The birds are filling up on nuts and seed for the approaching cold weather.

 As I plant my spring bulbs......the squirrels are planting and hiding their acorns.

 All day long I am replanting my flowers that the squirrels have dug up to make room for acorns.

YES.....I am talking about you Mister!

Meanwhile, there are so many wildfires in Northern California right now.

It's difficult to complain about the smoky air around here when so many have lost everything.

I am reminded of my Great-Aunt Theresa who at the age of 82 lost her home 
and belongs in the 1991 Oakland firestorm - she told me that everyone was so generous 
buying her new mixing bowls and beautiful fluffy towels.  

But it was her old chipped dishes and comfortably worn bedspread that made her feel at home.

"Mostly it is loss which teaches
 us about the worth of things." 

--Arthur Schopenhauer

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