Monday, December 30, 2013

Dear Father Time

Yes, another year has passed, and it is time to write you a letter. I just wanted to let you know this year has been a roller coaster ride for me. And I want you to know that I really don’t like roller coasters. The make me kind of nauseous.



Even though this year has been full of challenges, I believe that it has made me a better person. And I believe that the challenges it presented me with made me appreciate the things that I celebrated all the more.
But I was wondering if you could make some arrangement for this New Year to be a little less crazy. I really do like stability, and I would love it if this year presented me with a little more.

And if you have a chance to talk to Santa could you tell him that I do appreciate that he bought me a Powerball ticket, but I am a little disappointed that it’s not the winning one.


Anyway stay safe on New Year’s Eve, and enjoy your retirement.

Sincerely,

Heidi

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Smoked Sausage Cooked in Pear and Jalapeno Sauce

If you want to liven up your meal a little with some simple inexpensive items Smoked Sausage with Pear Jalapeno Sauce is the way for you to go. The combination of the pears and jalapenos provides a nice sweet and spicy kick to traditional smoked sausage.

Three items is pretty much all you need.

6 Smoked Sausages
1 cup pear juice
3 sliced deseeded jalapenos



Here’s what you need to do.
1.       Slice and deseed your jalapenos.
2.       Heat your pear juice to just boiling, add the jalapenos. Reduce the heat, and allow it simmer for 15 minutes.
3.       Pour your sauce over the smoked sausage as you cook them in a skillet.
4.       Now pair it with a side dish of your choice.

There you have it its sweet spicy and simple.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Arsenal E'Vega Ashes to Snow

Rap artist Arsenal E’Vega’s new release Ashes to Snow mixes great beats with great rhymes. And isn’t that what rap is supposed to be? As I listened to Ashes to Snow I realized that Arsenal E’Vega that his music focused on two things. One is the relationships in his life. And the other is the world that he lives in.



The song Greed is Good caught my attention. The lyrics in the song talk about how individuals often focus on getting money. How there are those who believe that if they could choose between money, respect, loyalty or power which would you choose. It’s an interesting question. And Arsenal E’Vega answers the way many people answer the question. They will choose money first. But I don’t think that is his belief. In the song he points out that he is in it for the long haul. He also points out that there are individuals who don’t have money that are spending loads of it, while those who actually have money are sitting on the money.

And I really liked the video for the song Rose Gold from his previous album called Death to the King Rise the Empire

I really enjoyed listening to Ashes to Snow. Arsenal E’Vega’s ability to combine lyrics that are insightful with rhythms that make you want to dance is a great addition to the rap community.

Feel free to check out his music, but keep in mind that like many rap artists he does use profanity in his music so if you are sensitive to this you have been warned.


Check out his music on Dat Piff and let me know what you think of his music.

Related Links
Arsenal E' Vega Turn't Up

Friday, December 27, 2013

My 6 Favorite Posts From 2013

Well it’s close to the end of the year, and I thought maybe I would show you guys my favorite posts from this past year, and give you the chance to take a second look at the posts. Going through my posts from this past year was kind of interesting. I was able to see my moods on different days, and I was also able to see how I’ve grown some in past year. It also gave me loads of ideas for things I want to post about in the future. So I hope all you will visit these posts, and let me know what you think.


Hello, it’s what someone thought Marie Antoinette’s Helicopter might look like.

No, these aren’t the traditional movies you expect to see on Valentine’s Day, but they are great movies that have a romantic story. It was fun to


Yes, I like this post, it was fun to write, and it made me think about how tastes evolve. And hey Cambodian Space Project is a great band.



This post just brings back great memories of a day I spent with two great friends.



I really wanted to point out that Labor Day really is more than an extra day off.

Number 1 The Geek Girl


This post really is all about enjoying the things that really interest you. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Forgiveness

Recently, I had an incident where someone I knew was extremely rude to me.  She told me that I did something wrong in an insulting manner. She slammed some papers in front of me, and demanded that I fix what I did. And she did it in front of a group of people. I saw red! How dare she treat me or anybody else like that! The other individuals in the room knew she was rude, and they spoke words of encouragement to me. But I was still fuming!

forgiving others


I wasted a lot of time that day replaying the incident in my mind. I thought about the things I would do to get her back. I thought I’ll never speak to her again, that’ll show her. I thought I’ll tell the boss, then she’ll get in trouble. I thought I’ll tell my co-workers nasty things about her. That will teach her.

In the end, I decided that none of those things would be productive. I decided that the only person who would really suffer through all of this was me. I decided to take that big step, and forgive the individual. Was this easy? No, it took a lot of effort.

First, I had to tell myself, to let go of what happened. I had to do this repeatedly. I had to consciously say to myself think about something different. I had to remind myself that if I keep going through the incident, I’m not really forgiving the person.

Second, I had to tell myself to continue being polite to this person. I had to tell myself, part of forgiving is maintaining a relationship with the individual who has wronged you. I had to say Good Morning to my co-worker. I had to be respectful of her.

While, I can’t say that my co-worker and I have a great relationship, I can say that we are able to work together. She now speaks to me in a much more respectful tone. My other co-workers reported the incident to management, and it was brought up that she had treated other co-workers in a similar fashion. 

Management addressed the situation, and things are better for all of the people in the office.

I was glad that I choose to forgive my co-worker instead of carrying out some crazy retaliatory fantasy.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Post Holiday Shopping List

So we've all spent the past month shopping for everybody and their brother. Now it's time for that post holiday shopping list. You know the one where you buy yourself all sorts of lovelies. So here's my list.







Let me know what you think of my post holiday shopping list, and if you have any items that should be added.





Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Important Life Lessons from The Christmas Story

The Christmas Story is a marvelous story, it tells us about how Christ came to earth at Christmas. But it is also packed full of life lessons for our everyday life. Here are three life lessons that I have learned from the Christmas Story.

·         News travels fast!

The wise men saw the star, and the shepherds heard the angels, the news of the Christmas story spread like wildfire. Yes there was divine intervention in the spread of this news. But think about it, how long did it take for news to spread about the birth of the new Prince of England when it occurred. It was the talk of the town. If something important is going on around you people will begin to talk about it, and they will want to know more about it.

·         The Best Things in Life Often Come in Small Packages



In the Christmas story Jesus came to the world as a small baby. Jesus was a small package that wound up changing the world. It doesn’t matter whether you are a Christian or not, there is no denying that the birth of Jesus changed the world. Diamond rings come in small packages, and they are a girls best friend. A kind word may be a small thing, but it might be the one little thing that turns around a person’s bad day.

·         Always Make Hotel Reservations if You’re Traveling

While the Christmas story doesn’t say specifically whether or not Mary and Joseph had reservations at the inn, they probably didn’t. Plan ahead when you travel. Make sure that you have the reservation confirmation number. And most importantly, plan for the unexpected.


I hope that you all have a Merry Christmas, and may you all make loads of memories.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cucumber and Salmon Finger Sandwiches

Finger Sandwiches are the best for those holiday celebrations, and while the Christmas parties that require finger foods are almost over, the next big celebration will be here before you know it, and you’ll need some sort of food for that New Year’s Eve party you’ll be throwing. Cucumber and Salmon Finger Sandwiches are the perfect light sandwich that will please your crowd.



Here is what you need.

A loaf of cocktail bread
Thinly Sliced Cucumbers
Thinly Sliced Smoked Salmon
Freshly Chopped Dill
Softened cream cheese
Now the work begins.
Set your cream cheese out to soften.
Slice your cucumbers into thin slices.
Slice your salmon into thin 2 inches slices.
Chop up that dill, you’ll need about ¾ of a cup.
Mix the cream cheese and dill together.


Spread the cream cheese blend over a slice of cocktail bread, add a cucumber slice, then add a slice of salmon, and finally top it off with another bread square. Repeat the process and soon you will have a plate full of yummy Cucumber Salmon finger sandwiches.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Bobaloo's Christmas Tree

Guest Blogger Bobaloo

Yes, it is Christmas time, and that means the Christmas tree has been put up and decorated. I love the Christmas tree. In fact I love the entire process of putting up the tree from beginning to end. First we get to go into the basement, and dig out the tree. This is so much fun. My pet human began moving around boxes in the basement. This creates a lot of new space for me to explore. I just have to see what is behind those boxes.

The next step is also exciting we begin moving the boxes upstairs. I of course must supervise this process. As the box with the tree in it is drug up the steps, I walk next to my pet human. I tell her not to drop anything, and her response is ‘Get out of the way’. So I scamper up the steps a little bit ahead of her. I cannot wait to get into that box.

The box is finally in the living room. It’s right there. I look at my pet human, to see what she is going to do. I tell her ‘What are you waiting for, open the box!’ And like a good pet she does as I command. The box is full of strange items that look like parts of a tree. She begins to pull them out. I must inspect each item she pulls out. They don’t smell like a tree though, they smell like the basement. I walk around the items carefully as my pet human begins to place each of those branches on a pole. Before you know it we a fake tree in our living room. I immediately run under the tree, and look for a place that I can perch myself in the tree.

But I have to put this thought aside for a moment because we are going back to the basement. I wonder what we are looking for now. Soon another box is brought upstairs what could be in it I wonder. When the box is opened, I take a closer look, and my heart leaps with delight. There are so many shiny objects in the box I can’t believe it. It’s a dream come true. And my pet human begins putting the items on the tree.
When she isn’t looking, I jump into the box. And I find a stuffed gingerbread man. I love it! It fits in my mouth, and I carry it away. It is just the size of those birds that are outside of my window. So I am able to toss it into the air and of course bite its neck just like I would do to those birds if the opportunity arose.
But then I remembered, I was supposed to find a place to sit in that tree. I quickly ran over to the tree, and I spotted the perfect spot. And my pet human exclaimed ‘Don’t climb the tree!’ I thought I can go with the flow on this one. I’ll just do it when she is out of the house.

The next day my pet human leaves the house. I usually don’t like it when my pet leaves me, but that day I was excited. It was my opportunity to get into that tree. I ran to the tree, I do have to admit that it looks beautiful. I spotted my place where I could sit. I jumped into the tree, but something went a little wrong. This wasn’t like the trees I climbed in my youth. It began to move forward and before you know it. The tree hit the ground. I was startled! All of the shiny decorations that were on the tree were lying on the floor next to the tree. And my dream of sitting in a tree was gone.

So I did what any cat would do. I began playing with the shiny balls on the floor. It was great fun, and my roommates even joined in. We played and played, and soon I felt tired. So it was time for a catnap. I found a cozy spot in the middle of the tree that was now lying on the floor. And I started to dream about all of the play I had done that day.

Then came the second time in the day when things went all wrong. My pet human arrived home, I greeted her at the door as usual, and I began to tell her about my adventures. She entered the living room, and she was not using the happy voice she usually uses when she returns home. I don’t know how to describe it, but it was upsetting. She was not being polite, and in fact some of what she said was just a little rude.

She went over to the tree and stood it up. And the tree decorating began all over again. And all of my fellow felines know what that means, as soon as my pet human leaves the house again, I can make another attempt to climb that Christmas Tree.


Fellow felines I would love to hear about your Christmas tree adventures so feel free to share them below.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Dear Santa

Dear Santa:

I really do hope that this letter makes it to you on time. I have been pretty busy, and I haven’t been able to send off my Christmas list for the year. I hope it doesn’t upset you that my list is getting to you so late, but like I said I’ve been pretty busy. I know that you’re busy this time of year so I decided to just ask for one thing.

This year I would like a Powerball ticket. Well, I guess I don’t just want any Powerball ticket. I want the Powerball ticket. You know the winning Powerball ticket. I know you are saying picky, picky, picky, but this year I really could use that winning ticket. I’m not really greedy. I just would like to try that independently wealthy lifestyle.

You know it would just make things a little easier. Imagine all the good things I could do with that winning ticket. I could help my friends out, I could help strangers out, and I could help my family out too. It would be a gift that would actually give to others. And providing me with that winning ticket could provide me with the opportunity to make your job a little easier next year. You know with all that sharing I would be doing with everyone, everybody else’s lists would be shorter next year. It’s a win, win situation for both of us.

So, when you make a pit stop at the local convenience store on Christmas Eve, just pick up the winning ticket for me. There’s no need to grab a snack or drink while you’re there, because I’ll have milk and cookies waiting for you.

Until Next Year

Heidi
122013

Make sure to check out last year's Dear Santa


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Weekend Outfit

I am always on the lookout for a cute, and comfortable weekend outfit. And this is the weekend outfit that I would love to wear this weekend.



Low-rise Waist Buttoned Suspenders Jeans Chic Nova




Chiffon Blouse with Red Lip Print with Single Chest Pocket Chic Nova




Mini Poker Stud Earrings in Red Chic Nova



Cartoon Yumm Print Backpack in Red Nylon Chic Nova



Cony Hair Pom Beanie in Red Chic Nova


Vintage Hollow Out Shoes in Black and White Chic Nova

Let me know what you think of my outfit.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I Have a Dream Part 2

I have a dream, yes once again it’s time to take a look at our dreams. In the first post we looked at three things that you need to do to make your dreams come true. Now let’s take a look at something else that will happen when you’re busy trying to make your dream come true.



YOU MAY GET DISCOURAGED!

Yes, while you are making a dream come true, there will be times that you will get discouraged. Let’s take a look at ways to keep working towards your dream even though you get discouraged.

1.       Make sure you take a look at everything you have accomplished toward making your dream come true. Make a list of the things you have done that will help your dream come true even if it’s the smallest thing. You will soon find that you have moved much further along with your dream than you believe. You might find that you’ve much further along with your dream than you thought. Taking a look at what you’ve accomplished will help you see that you may have a long ways to go, but that you’ve come a long ways since you started.

2.       Remember dreams don’t happen overnight. My primary example today is Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela started working towards the end of Apartheid during the 1950’s and he was imprisoned in the 1960’s, but Apartheid didn’t end until the 1990’s. That was at least three decades of his life he spent working towards his dream. Just because your dream doesn’t come about immediately, don’t give up. In the time that you’re working toward your dream, you are growing as a person. Your personal growth is part of what will provide you with the character you will need when you fulfill your dream.

3.       Enjoy the time it takes you to fulfill your dream. Remember that there is more to life than a dream. You want to do more than work don’t you? Make sure that you take times to spend time with people who encourage you. Make sure you spend some time with people who make you laugh. And make sure you spend time doing things you enjoy.


So remember just keep moving forward you’re sure to get somewhere soon.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dutch Cabbage

Yes, it’s that time of year to look for those hearty meals, that inexpensive, and well fill us up. Dutch cabbage is one of those meals. It tastes great, and it’s so easy to prepare.

What you’ll need

One head of cabbage chopped finely
1 pound of sausage
1 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter

Here’s what you need to do.

Chop your head of cabbage. While you are doing this melt the butter in a skillet. Then add the cabbage so cook until it is coated with the butter, but don’t let it get soggy. Set this aside.
Break up the sausage and brown it. When it is completely browned, add your cabbage. Now mix the vinegar, mustard, water, and sugar. Mix all the ingredients together while they are cooking. Cook for approximately 15 minutes. Don’t allow the cabbage to become soggy while you are cooking.


Now you have a tasty meal that tastes great.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Flush Me Freddy by Angela Ambrosini

I had the opportunity to interview Angela Ambrosini the author of Flush Me Freddy. Here is the interview and the review of her book Flush Me Freddy.



Can you describe your book in 30 words or less?
I would describe it as, uncomfortably evocative.


How did you come up with the title of your book?
Since the main character of the story is the only one with a name, Freddy, I thought adding the description of what happens to him to be the actual title. I remember calling my sister one morning and she telling me she was in the process of flushing her kid’s fish because it just died then she asked me gracefully, “so are you coming over for dinner?”


Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
I think my favorite character in the book is the main girl. Notice that I have not given names to any characters but the fish in the book. This style of writing, I believe, is called micro-fiction. I want the reader to focus on the events happening and how it affects them on a personal level rather than focus on a name that might remind them of a person they know. It’s common for people to associate names with bad or even good events and I feel that this would have given readers a different insight into the book.


The main character in your book has to flush her pet goldfish Freddie as a child. The incident is something she revisits often throughout her life. Do you think that what often seem to be small incidents to most people can be an event that individuals play through several times throughout their lives?
Yes. This is a main reason why I wrote the book. I grew up believing that when we are faced with even the smallest events in life we tend to overlook them. Overlooking these small events is what can sometimes cause much larger issues. I want my readers to spend the time reading my story and take the time to really see their life  – hoping to notice even the smallest moments they almost missed.

In your book the mother states you need to make all major life decisions by age 21, was that something you were told, and do you think that most of your life is shaped by age 21?
This is something I was told by my mother that eventually stayed with me. I realize when I became an adult that this was a mother’s way of getting out of something such as allowing their child to go to a party, etc. I always found it humorous and wanted to share this with my readers. It’s those simple things our mother’s tells us that I think are most memorable ones.

When did your interest in writing begin, and why did you become interested in writing?
It started out as a test to see how readers react towards characters without names. It then became something more – I added a lot of childhood memories and began to tangle in a simple story that I feel most people can relate to. Growing up in a world where my family didn’t really understand English, I depended on visual memorization and body language to communicate. This story was a great way to express that.


I really like the simplicity of the cover of your book, who designed it, and what was the inspiration?
Thank you! I designed it- I am a creative/marketing director with a master degree in design. I added the fish to the to simulate how the fish itself, like my main character in the book, the girl, was trapped in her life and was trying to escape the book or the minds of the readers– if you will.

Tell me a little bit about where you are from and has that had any influence on the book you wrote?
I was born in Brooklyn, NY. My family is from Italy and English is my second language. I always found communication in different languages and cultures profound and interesting. I am trying to communicate without barriers. Barriers to me sometimes in stories are characters names, points of references like specific dates – with my book I am focused on using extreme visuals. I wanted to create a visually stimulating story with nothing but paper and words.


What makes a good book in your opinion?
A good book, in my opinion, is one that keeps you wanting more.

Do you have plans for any other books?
Yes. I have a novel completed – a spin off of Flush Me Freddy. It was the original story I wrote before Flush Me Freddy and am hoping it will be the next to be published.




Flush Me Freddy is the new short chap book by Angela Ambrosini. The book focuses in on a few events that occur in a female’s life. As the female moves through life these events affect the way she views life. Like real life, there are small events that shape her attitudes. An event from her childhood will connect to an event as a young adult.

Angela describes the events in the book in a way that made it easy to visualize what was occurring in the story. And like real life, it is often the small things in the background that make an event so real. It can be one phrase from a conversation, or the odor in the background that makes a memory vivid. Angela has done an excellent job of bringing these events to life in Flush Me Freddy.


When I received the book from Angela, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wasn’t really sure what a short chapter book was. But I was really pleased with the book. It is short, and it is extremely well written. You can easily read it in an hour. And after I finished reading it, I thought about some of the events that have shaped my life. If you’re looking for a book that will make you reflect on your life, this is the book for you. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Dear President Mandela

I’ve been experiencing some minor setbacks in life recently, and sometimes things get a little discouraging. I know that you are a person that faced some pretty big setbacks, and I was wondering how did you stay motivated?

Now I know that during your lifetime you sought to gain more freedom for your people. And in doing that you were given a life sentence in prison. When you were sentenced to life imprisonment did you feel like things would never change? I mean my problems really aren’t that big, and I get discouraged. So I wonder if you thought things would never change when they announced your sentence in 1962.

While you were sleeping on the floor in your small cell each night did ever ask yourself, why did I participate in those acts of sabotage? I mean I am always asking myself what was I thinking when I said I would do that? So I don’t see how you could not have asked yourself that question.

And how on earth did you occupy your mind during the hours that you spent working in the lime quarries. I know that was really hard work, but it also must have been extremely boring. I know when I’m doing boring work my mind tends to wander. I think about everything from my grocery list to my dream job. Did you spend some of that time thinking about how to convince people that they needed to allow the majority of the individuals in South Africa to participate in the government? Did you start work on speeches that you believed that you would give someday? Or did you simply count the stones?

Any strategies you have on how to keep discouragement from getting the best of you would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,


Heidi

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sprightly Moans

Some people like pop, some people like country, and some people like something a little more edgy. Sprightly Moans might be a band that is for you. Sprightly Moans is a band based out of Austin, Texas, that focuses on making loud music. If you’ve ever heard acid rock from the 60s and 70s, then you have an idea of the band’s sound. And I’m sure that there may be a few listeners who believe they are having a flashback when they listen to the music.
                                                                   Sprightly Moans

I listened to the band’s Demos II on Reverbnation, and I liked what I heard. The music has a lot of guitar, and a lot of drums. My favorite song of the three songs that are available on Demos II is Twin Kilns. It kind of reminds me of Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles. And that’s mainly due to the drums in the song. And a little bit of that far away vocal sound that is in Tomorrow Never Knows. The lyrics are honest, the vocalists clearly states that ‘nothing good can come of this.’


The band has opted to release their music in ep forms so that it is more affordable, and partially so they are able to release music more often. If you like music like Jimi Hendrix you should definitely check out their music on Reverbnation, and hopefully they will release a new ep soon.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Why is Santa Here?


“God put Santa Claus on earth to remind us that Christmas is 'sposed to be a happy time.”

― Bil Keane, Jeffy's Lookin' at Me

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

'Tis the Season

Yes, it tis’ the season for gift giving. We are all searching for ultimate gift for those we love. But what do you get for all of those people in your lives who have everything? You know like parents and grandparents. They just don’t need anything or really want anything.  Here are a couple of suggests that I have for those hard to buy for individuals.

1.       The donation.  Is there something your family member is passionate about? Do they love bird watching? Or is their passion children? There are loads of great charities that you can make a donation to in your family member’s name. Whether supporting a child through World Vision, or The Nature Conservancy, this gift is one that will keep giving for ages.



2.       The parent or grandparent coupon book. This one will take a little creativity on your part, but put together a coupon book for your parent to redeem throughout the year. You can include an evening at the movies, a picnic, or a day fishing. The point of the coupon book is to provide you and your loved one the ability to spend quality time together. It’s a gift that will keep giving throughout the year.




3.       Give your parents tickets to an event they will enjoy. If your dad is a sports lover? Tickets to a local team might make him happy. If you have minor league teams in your area season tickets might be awesome! Do your parents love to learn new things? Maybe there is a really cool exhibit coming to a museum in a nearby city.



Keep in mind that gifts don’t always have to be a lot more than an object that is sent to the local charity shop when your parents do their spring cleaning. A gift can be something simple as something you share with your loved ones.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Amy Crusan-Kramer

A few months ago I read a book called Sam's Story by Amy Crusan-Kramer. I really enjoyed the book, if you haven't had the opportunity to read it you should. Sam's Story is a series, and the second book in the series has been released. You should check that one out too! It's a lengthy book, but it's good.



Amy has agreed to do a guest post today, and hope that you all read and enjoy what has written. And be sure to check out her blog, facebook page, and pinterest page to learn more about her books.


Have you ever noticed that everyone in a family has their ‘role?’  Not something foisted upon them … they just seem to grow into it.  Well, that’s how my family felt, anyway.  I had the rebellious, always-in-trouble brother; the sister who was involved in everything and succeeded at everything; and the cool athletic successful sister.  I’m the youngest of four … I was in my mid-forties … and I still didn’t have a role.  I wasn’t a ‘joiner’ in school, never had a lot of friends, I didn’t really enjoy school but got average grades and played in the band … but I never excelled at anything.  I hated family get-togethers, and feared that other family members saw me as the slightly-odd relative that preferred the company of her pets and books to most people.

There was only one thing that I thought probably set me apart … but I was too embarrassed to share it with anyone.  My imagination knew no bounds, and I seemingly always had a story going on in my head.  Virtually anything could set a story to racing:  characters in a television show or movie, real people in the news or even a stranger I’d observed while shopping or dining out.  Once started, I could go for weeks, imagining where their lives might take them … until someone new caught my attention and I was off and running with a their story.  My father died in an accident when I was twelve and I subsequently found myself in therapy (which probably saved my life).  In one session, I tentatively hinted at the hidden world going on in my head.  My therapist responded, “Oh, Amy, you have quite the imagination!”  She didn’t say it judgmentally, but, at that age, I was so vulnerable and afraid of being different, I didn’t tell her any more.  I wondered if I was crazy, but those ‘stories’ in my head provided escape and, in a strange way, comfort.

In 2009 three things happened:  1. My ancient desktop computer breathed its last breath, and I decided the replacement should be a laptop.  I splurged at the recommendations of everyone I knew who owned an Apple product, and purchased a MacBook Pro.  2.  The 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama and Joe Biden had captured my imagination … and, in my mind, I had a story brewing.  3.  I commute two hours each day on a train to work.  These three incidents created the perfect storm … I’ve got this story, I’ve got a portable computer and I’ve got the time.  “Amy!  Write this story down!”  And that’s how Sam’s Story came to be.

The moment I began typing the “Prologue,” something burst inside of me, and there were times that my fingers couldn’t type fast enough!  What does Oprah call it?  An a-ha moment?  Well, that’s what it was … and what I was doing felt so right, it almost brought tears to my eyes.  Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t all peaches and cream.  There were things so painful to write that I had to set it aside for a couple days … and, after one emotionally draining section, a few weeks.  I realized that I was working through many of my own demons as I documented Sam’s life, and sometimes needed a break from the emotions that I’d kept pent-up for so long.  We’re not the same person, Sam and I, but we share many aspects of our personality and experiences.  People who know me, see some of the obvious similarities.  But there are some things that only Sam and I know we share … and that’s okay for now.

I will be turning fifty in 2014 … and I’ve finally found my niche!  I’m a writer!  I will be eternally grateful to Samantha Skylar for helping me make that discovery!

Amy D. Crusan-Kramer
December 7, 2013


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Warsaw Stew

It’s cold outside in Indiana. And that makes for perfect stew weather. And Warsaw stew is a little twist that will keep your  warm and keep  your stomach full.


Here’s what you need


1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
¼ cup water
½ lb  cubed pork
1 tablespoon bacon drippings
1 pound sauerkraut
1 bouillon cube
1 cup diced polish sausage
1 pound sliced cabbage
¾ cup diced bacon
1 large onion
2 tablespoons floor
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt and pepper
Potatoes or rye bread

Brown the pork and add it to a stew pot. Add mushrooms, sauerkraut bouillon, and sausage and simmer for a couple of hours. In a separate pan cook the cabbage for 20 minutes in bacon drippings. Take out the cabbage and drain. Fry the bacon and onions until golden. Mix the flour and water and add it to the bacon and onion mixture. Add the cabbage, bacon and onion mixture, tomato paste, salt and pepper to the stew. Serve with potatoes or rye bread. Keep in mind the stew gets better with age. So it’s great if you can prepare the stew a day ahead of time, and reheat it.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Easy Handmade Candy Cane Garland

Handmade candy cane garland is an easy and inexpensive way to get your entire family involved with decorating your home for the Christmas holiday season.

This is what you’ll need.


Paper I used some pages of an old torn up book.
Crayons I used red and green
Scissors
And some ribbon or string, whatever suits your fancy.


First draw a picture of a candy cane on the paper. I drew one, and then traced the pattern onto the rest of the sheets of paper. Then cut out the candy canes.
Next grab your crayons, and color some lines on the paper you cut out.
Now punch a hole in the top of each candy cane, and string the string through the holes.

Hang it up, and you have garland that was easy and fun for everyone to make.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Whatcha Been Watchin?

Yes, it’s time to look at some movies that I’ve been watching, and I think you might want to watch too.
First, I am now caught up until Season 7 of Dexter. I know there is one more season to watch. And I can’t wait to see it, but I’m also sad to see the series end. I’ve developed a love hate type of relationship with Dexter. There are things about him that I absolutely love, but at the same time I can’t understand his ability to be so cruel. And his step sister Deb is an interesting character too. I mean Deb truly is one of those individuals who continue to love Dexter with all of his faults. I think with the season 7 finale I found myself kind of hating Dexter. He has managed to warp Deb from a strong individual to one who is willing to do anything for the man she loves. If you have watched season 8 please don’t spoil it for me. As soon as it hits Netflix I plan to watch it, and see how things end. If you haven’t watched Dexter, and you enjoy exploring the darker side of the human personality, you should definitely check it out.


Yes, I’ve finally started watching The Walking Dead. I always knew it would be a good show, but I just never started to get into it. I’ve watched season one, and it is a great show. I like how the show focuses on how life is when all of the things we depend on so much are lost. And the kicker is if nature doesn’t kill you the zombies certainly will. Don’t tell me what is happening in the current season. I want to watch all the episodes and find out for myself.



And the final movie is completely different than TV shows about serial killers or surviving the zombie apocalypse. It’s a documentary about wind power called Windfall. It’s a couple of years old, but it’s an interesting film. The film shows how a town becomes divided over wind turbines that are being built in their community. And while I still believe that wind power is a great alternative energy, the movie did point out a lot of the down sides to using it. Give it a watch and let me know what you think of the film.



And let me know if there are any good movies or shows you think I should be watching.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Quest for the Ultimate Hot Dog

Baseball, Hot Dogs and Apple Pie are all part of what it means to be an American. Well it’s not baseball season, and well there are loads of apple pie recipes on the internet, but does the internet tell you where you can find the Ultimate Hot Dog.  So over the next few months, I’ve decided to seek out that Ultimate Hot Dog. Is it at a stand? Or is it at a local ball park? I don’t know, but I do know I want to find it.



The first hot dog joint I visited on this quest is Coney Express. It’s located in Southgate Plaza in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Coney Express is less than a mile from my house, so when I have a craving for Coney Dog’s it’s a joint that I visit often.



This is a drive thru coney dog joint. It offers hot dogs in the usual coney dog fashion. The chili cheese fries are great when you pair it with your coney dog that consists of coney sauce, onions, and mustard. And if you’re not in the mood for a dog, the join has some great nachos at a really low cost. They are packed with meat, lettuce and of course onions.

I have to admit I really like this joint. It has stuck with the south side of Fort Wayne through thick and thin. So if you’re out near Southgate Plaza and you’re hankering for a dog. Coney Express will probably meet your need.


Do they serve the Ultimate Hot Dog? Well so far in my quest it is the ultimate because it’s the only one. Their dogs are pretty good, but is there a better one available? You’ll have to wait and see where the quest leads us. And if you think you know where the ultimate hot dog can be found, let me know, if I can I’ll test it out and share my opinion with the rest of the world.