Facing Fears

Public speaking has always been fairly terrifying for me, but I’m facing my fears and slowly but surely, getting over them. It helps a lot when one know what they’re talking about. But it helps even more when I can get out of my own neurotic head, and move from thinking, Oh, my God… they’re all looking at me! to It’s my job to make them comfortable and to teach them something. They’re all counting on me.

It does not help to pretend everyone is naked. I have a very good imagination, but not that good. Or bad.

I spoke twice this past weekend. I won’t deny, that kind of pressure takes a toll on me. I was so exhausted from it, I slept all afternoon on Sunday. But I think both presentations went as well as I could make them, and that’s all I can expect of myself: My best.

So, thank you to the Henderson Heritage Park, and St. Luke’s United Methodist Women; the two groups who gave me the opportunity to speak. Both events were blessings I enjoyed very much. Some day, I hope I can get up and speak without feeling wiped out afterward or nervous before and during. That’s my goal. To become good at public speaking. It’s my new quest. There. I’ve put it out to the world. Now let’s see where it goes.

What are your fears and are you trying to conquer any of them?

Too Much Great Food

I’m all excited about some new food discoveries:

Blue Apron:  This is a meal delivery business. I was given a free week of food from my daughter for Mother’s Day. Basically, a big box came to my door and inside was all the ingredients I need to make three meals for two. The recipesare included and it takes you step by step through making a  delicious meal I might not have normally made. Iwas prepared to poo-poo this concept, but by golly, in the end, I do believe there is a market for this and I have to give a nod to those companies who are serving this niche market. Cost-wise… not sure it’s a financially sound idea unless you have plenty of money to spend. I could buy all of the products to make these six meals for far less than the amount they charge. But… would they be delivered to me? Measured out? Including the steps for the entire meal? Without me having to even think? Nope. I’d have to go to the grocery store, plan the menu, find the recipes, unpack the groceries. Chances are, I’d buy more than I needed and have waste. OR… more likely, I wouldn’t do it at all. I’d order out and have more calories and a higher price tag on the meal.

Tonight I made Seared Cod with spring vegetables in a vinaigrette. Delish! I would have never thought of this spring veggie salad and I know I’ll be making it again. It was outstanding. So, I’m pretty excited about Blue Apron delivered meals. It’s in-home cooking school. It’s fun. It’s nutritious. I’d recommend it to anyone who can afford it, has very little time to spare to eat well, and who enjoys trying new recipes and foods. Especially a single person or a couple who is only home in the evening for one meal.

My husband’s garden: There really isn’t much my husband can’t do, and do well. Turns out, gardening is also among his talents. Right now the peas and beans are flowering in his beautiful garden. The tomatoes and peppers look great. We’ve been enjoying lettuce, kale, spinach and radishes. He keeps it beautifully weeded. It’s a thing of beauty. I couldn’t be more proud of him. And because he also makes lunch sometimes, I now know how much I love….

Radish sandwiches. Because of my husband’s garden and cooking, I now am in love with a radish sandwich. Recipe? Cut up radishes in thin slices. Put on white bread with mayo and butter. Lettuce is nice, too, but not a must. Yeah. It’s really, really good. I know. Who would have ever thought?

Cake donuts: I really don’t want to think about them because it only makes me want a dozen. We have a small business in our area who sells their baked goods at a local grocery story a couple of mornings a week. All these years I thought I only liked fluffy glazed donuts. Then I tasted these cake donuts. Curses. Now I know that twice a week I can go buy as many cake donuts as I can carry out, and they are, to me, heavenly. I think this is just cruel. Why? Why me? Why did I have to go and fall in love with cake donuts from Buresh Bakery? In all the grocery joints in all the world… why’d they have to walk into mine?

I’m doomed.


I Can Fix That For Ya


Writers create characters from  many people in their past. Actors in movies, our teachers, friends, and, of course, our relatives. One relative from my past would certainly be Aunt Virginia, who everyone called, Jidge. I have a classic tale about Jidge that should leave you having an image of this woman from my childhood, and yet another goofy story about my silly life.

Aunt Jidge had wire-like grayish white hair. It stood out around her head in a type of afro, which I assume resulted from an old-lady perm gone terribly wrong. Jidge had pop-eyes which left her looking curious, in an astounded sort of way. I don’t have a specific memory of her smoking, but she must have because her voice had a sandpaper quality. She was a big woman with layers of chins and arms. I remember big brown moles on her face and some stray hairs on her chinny-chin-chin. So, yeah. Aunt Jidge was kind of a frightening looking woman to a kid, but I was used to her, so she didn’t scare me… but, I wouldn’t have crossed her without first preparing to take off at a sprint.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I tended to miss a couple of days of school here and there because of dreaded awful menstrual cramps. I would have been loathsome to discuss this when I was younger, but over the years, doctors have done things to me that have quite effectively eliminated most of my pride. Plus, we now listen to Viagra and Depends commercials during dinner… so, really, once those topics are up for conversation, what isn’t on the table to discuss?

So I’m home one school day when I was around sixteen, writhing on the couch, clutching my gut, and cursing being female, when Aunt Jidge takes a look at me and says, “I can fix that for ya.”

Since my pain was at a point I could almost no longer bear, I was completely up for whatever cure scary old Aunt Jidge had up the sleeve of her sweater.

She waddled into the kitchen, got out a glass from the cupboard and filled it half full with water. She put it in the microwave. Heated it to boiling. Then she took my Dad’s bottle of whiskey and filled the rest of the glass with its dangerous amber liquid. “Now, drink it all at once!” She hands the warm concoction to me.

She had a look in her eye, sort of a cross between demanding, knowing, and just plain devilish. I did what I was told. I’m pretty sure I was unconscious within five minutes, and there is the story of the first time I got drunk and passed out. Essentially, a crazy old aunt slipped me a hot toddy. I slept right through my cramps in an utterly relaxed state. Yea for crazy Aunt Jidge! It’s amazing what adults could do to kids back in the seventies!



Malcolm’s Choice

The picture above is old. Maybe 29 years old. Something like that. It’s of me at maybe 22, and my dog Malcolm. I’m laying on a super-cheap couch Steve and I bought for our first home; an old two-story farmhouse belonging to the family my husband worked for as a hired hand.

Malcolm had quite the history in my family. He first belonged to my sister, Gwen and her husband John. I believe they owned him when they lived in St. Joseph Missouri. Then they had their first child, Jackie, and I think that was the reason behind Gwen and John bringing Malcolm to live at my parent’s farm… on which I was living too… at the time I was probably 14 years old.

Malcolm was a Labrador, and anyone who has had labs knows they have great personalities. That dog was like the cool guy at the party. He had all kinds of swagger and strut and I spent a lot of time hugging on that dog. He was an excellent listener.  I completely trusted Malcolm.

Honestly, I don’t remember much about my teen years. I know Malcolm didn’t like every guy I dated. He barked at some and wouldn’t let others pet him. I remember saying I wouldn’t marry a guy unless Malcolm approved of him. Well, I held to my word. Along came Steve and lo and behold, Malcolm didn’t as much as bark at him. He loved Steve right from the beginning. So did my mom now that I think of it. I remember getting head to head with that dog. I said, “This one? Are you sure?” His tail wagged.

Our wedding day

Our wedding day

That dog did not steer me wrong. I haven’t always realized it, but Steve is just what the dogtor ordered… sorry, couldn’t resist the bad pun. My husband married me 31 years ago today. I’m lucky to have him. And I’m very glad I listened to my good old dog, Malcolm!