Wednesday, January 30, 2013

L♥VE Potion, Lotions & Lore (eBook) CONTEST!!

I am happy to announce that I am part of this project! "LOVE Potions, Lotions & Lore" is a 60 page eBook for sale on Amazon. It's priced at mere $.99 and all of the proceeds are being donated to National Center for Family Literacy

"Love Potions, Lotions & Lore" E-book celebrates the spirit of love. It was published by FolkHeart Press: an independent book publisher located in Northern California. And it includes the works of 18+ authors and artists from around the world (Denmark, Switzerland,USA) sharing their thoughts, hopes, and artwork. Anthology topics include true love, love of family, love of art, food lore, and more.
(from: FolkHeart Press - press release)

The National Center for Family Literacy is located in Louisville, Kentucky. The center provides free resources for parents and early child educators to support literacy in the home and in the classroom.

I hope you will take a moment to check it out, buy a copy for you, or for a friend - and most of all, I hope you enjoy both my poem, and all the other wonderful stories, art and beautiful words.

AND, right now you have a chance to win a copy for FREE!! It's simple, all you have to do is leave a comment below in relation to "Love Potions, Lotions & Lore" - what's your personal love story? Your favorite way to woo your mate on Valentines Day? And on Valentines Day, I'll pick my favorite comment! On Valentines Day, Thursday, February 14th, I'll pick my favorite comment, and announce the winner on my blog!

So, you will have to remember to check back to see if you won!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Blame Shift

I've spent a lot of time lately looking around at my life, and life around me. This didn't start intentionally, and I wasn't looking to go on another long "soul searching" trip - even though I probably should. Let's admit it, I'm hardly 100% content. (and to clarify, the discontent is attached to the outside "life around me" portion of this gander. I very much am content with my, immediate and personal life.)

So what is the issue?

There is a whole lot of blame shifting going on - everywhere. I hear it in/on the news, when people talk about their lives, or gossip about the lives of others they know - no one seems to be a fault, for anything - everyone wants change, yet no one wants to do the hard work - it's that guys fault, or this chick, and no one ever listens. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Everyone is taking a cue from people like Taylor Swift. A person who has built her career on blaming every guy she has ever dated for everything wrong with her life. Do we not remember the old adage, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me?" It applies to her life - SO WELL - as it applies all over the map. You don't need to be a psychologist to know Miss Swift needs to go to a councilor and have a look inside to find out what the cause of these problems are. To quote Tina Fey, "She needs some time to learn about herself." And yes, I know the Taylor Swift fans out there are so angry, but I don't care, but it makes sense they are angry at Tina Fey for pointing out the obvious, because they emulate Taylor Swift, and feel/think what she says is how you are supposed to live your life - you complain all the time, and never take the time, or the steps, to improve your life.

And all of this has led me to sit back, look around, and think - "What the hell had gone wrong, that everyone feels we should all be playing the victim?" Isn't that what's going on?

Back in 2007, when I signed up facebook it was a peaceful place. Well - to be honest, no one I knew was ON facebook 2007, so it was EXTREMELY quiet - thus the peacefulness. But a year later, the site exploded, and I went from having 5 "friends" to well over 300 (Who are they? Not a clue...). I reconnected with old friends from Grade School, High School, and old jobs. I made connections with colleagues, students, writers, and others in my current life - and I fell in love facebook.

And then a black cloud floated over the social media site, and suddenly all the "Taylor Swift-ing" began. Everyone sat down and began to do nothing but complain. Complain about the government, jobs, significant others, coworkers, this, that, and every other thing on the planet. PARANOIA! And on top of that, if you happen to disagree with them, you are quickly told how they (the Swift-er) is RIGHT. ALL the time. No one wants to listen to anyone else. Everyone is so consumed with seeing their own beliefs stamped in black and white, and reveling in how perfect their perceive opinions are. It's utterly nauseating.

[And don't even get me started on the "that's what Karma gets you" crap I keep seeing. To set the record straight, karmas are "lessons" that happen to ALL of us - not just that chick/guy you dislike - stop it.]

This is all I'm seeing everywhere, not just facebook - but all over.
How are we ever going to move forward in this world, if all we do is spend all of our time complaining, and griping, and not actually doing anything? If it's broke, fix it. If you can't fix it, move past it. If you can't move past it, try to find a new way to look at it. Everyone has issues in their lives, no one is ALWAYS happy and walking on a silver lined clouds made of marshmallows and sunshine. And most of all, you're opinion is just that, an opinion - just like MY opinion is just that, too. It's an opinion, and opinions aren't always right, sometimes they're extremely wrong.

Own your own life.
Stand in front of a mirror and make a deal with yourself. Decide that instead of victimizing yourself, because shit went wrong, that you will move past it and become a better person because you had to work hard at something. Say, "I'm better than this, and god damn it, I deserve to be happy. Today I will STOP wallowing and I will kick ass." Maybe, if one at a time we do this, it'll spread and the world can act like we're not in junior high for about five minutes.

Life is short, and no one owes you anything - and no one owes ME anything either. But I do owe myself the life I want, and that means I'm going to have to work hard, and I'm fine with that.

That's what life is about - if you want to know the "secret" - there is no secret. There is being grateful for what you have, thankful for for what you don't, the knowledge that at times life won't be easy, but you will get through if you choose to look at the bright side.

Everything is a choice. You can choose to be angry and bitter and to feel slighted, or you can be grateful, and take the steps to become happy. Own your own life. OWN IT. Stop the blame shift.

And to quote Patti Smith, "We created it, let's take it over." So take it over already.

One last thing on karma - if you believe that karma is a lesson brought on to you (or to others) because of the actions in your or their lives, then wouldn't that mean that celebrating the misfortunes of others is... bad karma? If you get what you give, and all you give is grief, then why will you ever have anything in your life but that?

Exactly. Stop the blame shift. Own it. Love it.  Be it.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Old-Fashioned Vegan Fig Newtons

You know you love them, fig newtons I mean - but then you go and read the ingredients label and realize that they're about as good for you as eating plastic - so you pass. (Seriously, you should pass)
But I have a recipe for you, which will bring the fig newtons back into your life.

Also, I was bored the other day, and really had a hankering for some cookies, but wanted to skip the gold old sugar cookies I eat WAY too much. On top of which, I have a few bags of dried figs (don't ask) in my pantry, and figured it was time to make them into something I would actually eat, rather than attempting to convince myself that, at some point, I would "snack" on them.

No I won't.
That's not the kind of snacker I am.
I'm a hummus kinda snacker. I'm a woman who like to dip things. (don't be a perv, or be a perv - embrace it. enjoy it)

So this is what I came up with.

What you will need:

For the Dough -
 3 Cup Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Florida Crystals, or your vegan sugar of choice
1/2 tsp salt - I like kosher, but that's just how I roll
3/4 tsp baking powder
between 3/4 to 1 tsp baking soda (my oven is old, and some days I need to adjust my soda additions due to it)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
12 TBSP Earth Balance, or vegan butter of choice - Room Temp
3/4 Cup Unsweetened Organic Apple Sauce

For the Filling -
2 Cups figs - you can use fresh if you'd like, as previously stated, I used dried
1 Medium Orange
1 inch of the Orange peel
1 Medium sized Apple
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 TBSP Florida Crystals
2 TBSP water

In a bowl mix Flour, Sugar, Salt, Baking Powder, Baking Soda & Cinnamon. Mix well prior to adding Earth Balance and Apple Sauce. Mix until a ball of dough forms. Kneed for a minute or two, cover and place in the fridge for 2 hours (or over night - I barely made it two hours. That's what happens when you bake on cravings... )

Once your dough is chillin'

In a food processor - peel and core the apple, toss it in. Peel orange, toss that into food processor with the inch of peel you saved, Figs, Sugar, Cinnamon and water. Process until it becomes smooth, not SUPER smooth, but a nice spreadable consistency and the orange peel isn't a big lump.

Transfer to a container with a lid and pop that in the fridge too. You want to let it sit for the two hours because you want to let the flavors meld. Most Fig Cookie recipes tell you to cook the filling, then puree it, before putting it in the cookies - I'm avoiding this, because you're ALREADY going to cook the center when you bake them. Why do it twice? This way you're going to get some of the vitamins and minerals that are in the figs, apple and orange when you eat the cookies.

-Two Hours Later-

Preheat oven to 375* - and get out your cookie sheets. Either line with parchment paper, or grease the sheets.
Cut the dough into sections and begin rolling. You want the dough to be about 1/8" thick, 2" wide and 10" long. So roll them out, and cut them to size. You'll need 2 identical sides to make the cookies. Dollop the fig filling down the center of one strip, dampen the edges of both the bottom fig covered strip, and the second strip of dough that will be on top. Then press the top dough into the bottom, pinching to be sure they stay closed. Place on cookie sheet - repeat.

Brush each cookie log with a bit of Earth Balance, and back for 16 minutes. (I like to rotate the sheets at the 1/2 way mark). Allow to cool, and then cut into individual cookies.

They're yummy, make great snacks for at home or a work/school lunch and they're a lot lower in calorie then the traditional butter/egg version. Let me know what you think! And most of all, enjoy!!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 10 - Let the Routine begin! (again!)

I've been cruising the old internet to try and find me a nice representational art piece to stick on this here blog post, and this is what I found. What stinks is that I can't find the artists name, and that bugs me - because I very much like it - and, as a writer, I find it very much represents editing to me. 

Today is the 10th, we are past a week into the new year and I am editing my new story, staring back at The Hope Saints which is patiently waiting in the editing queue, and attempting (poorly) to submit poetry to more magazines. 

I'm having problem with submitting poems because I'm looking at the bunch I've recently written (and not posted on here) and I very much don't like them. Well, I like one of them - but out of 20, that's not that great. Oh to be so overly critical... 

The next few weeks are critical, because I'm off my writing routine and if I dont' get back on track soon, none of these things will even matter. I will have no words to submit to any one, or any to edit. I blame Downton Abbey (yes, I'm one of those people) - but in reality, it my husbands fault for not allowing me to throw the TV out. (I'm completely kidding. It's your fault. Nothing is my fault. I'm awesome, like toe socks and almond butter.)

I have a deadline, and that is what I will be working on today and tomorrow, on top of everything else. Lucky for me the weather has cooled off, and after living in L.A. for a year, I've fully accepted that 55 is freaking cold. (You heard me. It's cold.) So that means today will be filled with exercising, playing, writing and eating. Almost all of my very favorite things in all of the world. 

So I'm off!

Good speed my friends! 


Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Silence

It's the silence that holds the words that really matters. The silence is where you find the true meaning of what is (not) being said. The words are merely potholes in the conversation, meant to distract you from everything else. To distract you from the (truth) silence, because - you see - in the silence is where everything else grows. Contempt. Joy. Happiness. Rage.
Silence is the petri dish for stunted emotions. And in knowing this, you being to realize, the clinking silverware isn't accidentally running into each other, but are sounds of what isn't being said. Just as the plates that are put away too loudly, and the cupboard door closing a bit too hard. They are the hints as to what needs to be said, housewares tongues that speak volumes.

But nothing is said. So it changes.

Fear grows out of the silence. If you wait to long to questions it, the nothings become shadows, and the shadows become fears - fears that haunt you. But there is always oblivion too. A place where people go who can't hear the silence at all, they hear every other word, but it only sounds like the clinking and the slamming. The brain forgot to process the enunciation, and was left with a sound effect. Bang. Boom. Clink. Zap. Bam. CRASH!
I suppose that's better than the fear.
Because the fear... well, that is something on it's own.

Unbridled, some would say - and why? Because not asking, hoping and wishing the silence will just "go away" - it never works. All you're left with is the fear "What if? WHAT IF?" and too much time brings us to unbridled. (its so much nicer when that is coupled with "passion" and not "fear", but that's the silence for you.)

The unbridled fear, if not taken care of (which probably won't be, seeing the silence was never dealt with) then will morph into paranoia. You will lose sleep over assuming what it all meant, knowing - somewhere deep in the back of your brain, if you would have just asked, none of this would be an issue in the first place - but you didn't and here we are, and it's 3am, and sleep isn't coming because you have distorted and twisted the silence and the fear into paranoia and you think you know, but you know you don't know, because you can't possibly know, but you have to know, and why can't I sleep? and why can't I sleep? and why can't I sleep??

Then you do.
And it's dawn.
And for a moment you feel normal - like the silence never came in the first place.
But then you remember.
And you're brought up to speed like a montage in a million movies that should have never been made.
And the shortness of breath starts
Panic ensues

All because you never dealt with the silence

Then, there you are - back at the beginning - alone with the quiet one, the one who isn't saying things with their words, just with cutlery and baking sheets. It's been hours, days, weeks, months - and everything is hanging there. Weighting you down.

And s/he looks at you and you looked at them - it's the crossroad to  fix everything, to ask what you should have asked before the whole warped situation spun out of control, leaving you haggard and antsy.

All you have to say is, "What's wrong?"
All you have to say is, "I'm sorry."
All you have to say is, "I love you."
"Can I help?"
"Did I do something?"
"What can I do to make this better?"
"Do you need some time alone?"

and you say...