Whipped Cream


I began the day with a frenetic need for coffee. Since we are starting a four day weekend with perhaps no time at my desk for work, I wanted to kick off my first food of the holiday with whipped cream. Real whipped cream. Not that yucky shit from the store in plastic tubs. Or worse still, the kind you spray over yourself during sex. Or on a strawberry shortcake.

No, please folks, it’s so damn easy to make REAL whipped cream. Surely you have a few minutes twice a week to make thick whipped cream for your coffee. Think of all the money you will save at Starbucks. Or Peets. Or Micky D’s.  (Those of you who actually get a coffee beverage at Micky D’s are released from reading any further. you are not a gourmet diner.)

Pour about 1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream into a medium bowl. Add a rough shake of confectioner’s sugar. Perhaps two tablespoons. Beat the hell out of it with a hand mixer. Takes about 3 minutes. The way you know it’s ready is the way it really tightens up and thickens and then it actually pulls away from the edges of the bowl and darkens like it may become a pale yellow and your thoughts turn to butter and you don’t want butter in your coffee. So that is when you are done!

I add some sugar and cocoa to my coffee cup and stir. Then I put one dollop of whipped cream on top. But that is never enough. So I add one more. Perhaps just a bit more to cover the top nicely. It’s beginning to melt. Refrigerate the rest of the whipped cream and use for the next two to three days. Can’t you just wait to get up now to have your coffee tomorrow?

Sit down with the clicker in your hand. Find something really wonderful saved on the DVR, like Grey’s Anatomy or House or The Housewives of New York, (make fun but the latter is actually best with coffee and whipped cream) and indulge yourself in the fatty goodness of your new cup of coffee. YUM!!

So now my weekend is started off right. I have to immediately begin thinking about how I will have beautiful indulgencies all four days for myself. Because treating myself is my holiday.

What can I do? Get two rib-eyes for my darling man to grill with Jocko’s seasonings? Make tacos from my childhood restaurant that burned to the ground? Homemade soup is out of the question with the heat barreling down on the country. Oh this is the Fourth of July weekend. A barbeque is in order. Like the rest of the country. Hmmmm what to barbeque.

The fact that we do not own a barbeque yet does not stop me from thinking about this.  Surely I can find an affordable one on short notice?   But there is the fact my husband works nights this entire holiday and will not be here to light the barbeque. Nix that idea.

Frying hot dogs and hamburgers is just not good enough for a holiday that started with real whipped cream.

I run through my best recipes in my mind like flexing a card file in an old library. I cannot find anything light and easy and holiday like. Hmmmm. Now what. Starve? I could lose some weight. Drink only coffee and eat fresh strawberries drenched in real whipped cream all four days? I would not survive.

It seems I cannot think of a great food for this holiday weekend. Even my mothers recipe for macaroni salad is not turning me on right now as I made it recently.

I wonder what the rest of my friends are eating? Hmmm??  Tell me.  Divulge. I need to know. Please. What are you planning to (as the English say) “tuck into” this weekend?

Oh I just got a whiff of an idea.

I could set up a French – Italian style cheese and bread and meats board to snack on all four days. That and a few good bottles 
of  J. Dusi Zinfandel. And then there will always be my coffee to start it all off in the morning. Oh I like this idea. Yep, that it’s it!

Off to the store for the best cheeses and breads I can find. Be back soon whipped cream!!

Published in: on July 1, 2011 at 7:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Past Life Memories and How They Affect This LIfe


Have you ever wondered if you have lived before?  Has deja vu seemed so real that you think you must have lived that exact moment in the past?  Has a place far away seemed so familiar you are sure you have been there before? How about people?  How many times have you met someone and said, “You seem so familiar.”

None of this has to be a mystery if you at least allow yourself to explore the concept of past lives through past life memories.

And in my case, as you’ll see, whether or not I believe it’s true has no bearing on the fact that the memories I’ve had have deeply affected my life today and helped me to grow and change immediately upon understanding the possiblity of a past affecting today.

I have had past life regressions led only by the very best in the business.  Dick Sutphen and now Tara Sutphen.  And these are not woo-woo people.  You would be shocked to see how centered and grounded to this earth they are.  I love that.  I love that these are people I want to have at my next dinner party.  They are that brilliant and interesting.

If you are still with me on this subject, allow me to share with you my first past life regression, back about 20 years ago, before I was even sure I believed in it.

I was just exploring the idea of “new age” as it was called back then.  And so I went to my first (and one of the very first produced) Whole Life Expo’s in southern California in the mid- 1990’s.  I learned when I signed up that if I volunteered then I could attend for free.  Well, that was right up my alley.  By volunteering I got close and personal with the likes of guest speakers Timothy Leary and Terry Cole-Whitaker.  (And if you are too young to know who Timothy Leary is, please google him!!) That was certainly a thrill for me!  Terry is the woman who’s book title I quote often “What You Think of Me is None of My Business.” What a great quote to live by!

I chose as my free course “Past Life Regressions” by Dick Sutphen.  Now, I had been reading a few of his books already, and he was a poet on top of that.  I felt connected to him in his photos.  But nothing prepared me and the rest of the 300 people in the room for the passionate charismatic man who walked in the door and glided up to the stage.  We were mesmerized.   He had long shiny wavy white hair, framing a weathered ruddy face.  He wore tight stonewashed jeans on his thin frame and a flowing white shirt.  And cowboy boots.  And he glowed with an ethereal light.

We spent time listening raptly to his ideas on past life regression, hypnosis, and other metaphysical ideas.  And then, it was time for the actual group past life regression.  All I could think was how it would be IMPOSSIBLE for me to regress anywhere in a room full of noisy people.  I was instantly disappointed that he was so famous his room was packed and I was somehow not getting a more personal experience.

BOY!  Was I ever wrong!   I have quite a few moments in my life when I know for certain that my life has changed in that instance.  This first past life regression workshop did just that for me.

Dick adjusted the microphone and ran his fingers through his long beautiful hair.  When he finally spoke his hynosis voice was even deeper than his speaking voice. Melodic, rhythmic, sensual, and soothing.  The perfect voice to not only put 300 people in one room into an altered state, but to lead past life regressions with complete trust.

Dick tells us, his deep voice booming over the microphone to get comfortable.  I look around me and realize I just cannot sit in a worn blue convention center chair to be relaxed.  So, I joined a few other rebellious people and lay on the Vegas style giant floral printed carpeting.  As I lay back a light directly above shines into my eyes.  But Sutphen had begun his countdown and I needed to stay put.

Sutphen launched into the hypnotic relaxation technique he had perfected over the years.  After more than ten minutes of hearing his deep, deep voice say, “going down, down, down, deeper, deeper, deeper” I felt very relaxed and peaceful.  Suddenly  he told us to notice our feet.  What did we see?

It was instant in my brain.  I saw brown toes.  Bare feet.  I was a young man with long black hair.  And it did not feel strange to be male.  It was just so normal.  I instinctively knew I was Egyptian.  My conscious brain tried to take over and I began to fight with myself, “Of course I think I am from Egypt.  I have always been fascinated by Egyp…….” but then Dick’s booming voice permeates your numbed mind and I stopped analyzing.

He tells us to look around and see where we are. I see I am standing in an outdoor community gathering place of some sort.  There are stone walls, in a semicircle surrounding a general laundry area.  I could feel and see clearly the hot sun.  While my mind unfocused for a bit and I fought with myself that it was only the light overhead, my vision kept moving forward.

I squished the warm sand between my toes.  I felt and then knew I was from a wealthy family and I had an excellent future ahead of me.  I felt happy.

Suddenly standing next to me was another young man who I recognized as my dear friend Drake in this lifetime.  In this lifetime he has been my disco dance partner and sometimes lover.  In Egypt we were best friends and we were typical young men with one thing on our minds.  We were teasing one another about the cute girls coming to do laundry.

It was at this point my consciousness of today fought forward to think “you cannot be making this up.  You would never make this shit up.”

But Sutphen’s deep sing songy voice interrupted and he asked us to find someone in that lifetime that was important to that lifetime.

It was then I realized I was totally enraptured with one girl who had long black hair.  She was short and lovely with full red lips.  She paid absolutely no attention to me as she did her laundry.  I recognized my feelings of being in love with her.  Then out of nowhere I recognized her as my mother Jackie in this life time.

Now my logical mind practically cried out, “Ok, you are not making this up because there is no way in a million years you would pick your mother to love in another lifetime.  Just no way.”  I began to relax and allow the story to unfold.

Dick told us to go forward in time.  I saw a funeral of sorts, with Laura Zink, a friend’s mother in this lifetime, as my grandmother, screaming with emotion.  It was my funeral it turned out.  I had not lived much longer than the scene I first saw.  I had committed suicide over my depression and desperation to love the pretty young girl.  I had asked her to marry me and share my life and she had turned me down with laughter and mocking.

Out of nowhere my brain kicked into analytical mode.  I began to think.  “Oh, now I know why my mother and I have such trouble getting along in this lifetime.  We are together so I can be mean back to her for rejecting me in this Egyptian lifetime.”  What an idiotic thought.  But a perfect example of how wrong your conscious mind usually is.

With years of extraordinary practice behind him, Sutphen uttered the precise words that would give me answers I needed.  He instructed us to ask our higher guide to tell us why we had witnessed this particular past life and what we were to learn from it.

I had only experienced true telepathic thought three times up until this time.  This one was phenomenal.  Telepathic thought is INSTANT knowledge that cannot be articulated in our archaic communication we call language.  It is instant and complete knowledge.

Using the very inadequate language of today, I will try to express what perfection I learned.

“I had asked my mother’s soul to be with me again in this lifetime and for our relationship to be particularly difficult so that I would have the opportunity to learn to love myself. The important thing was, that I not “feel” loved by her in this lifetime.  I could either hate myself again like in Egypt or love myself unconditionally and without the validation of another soul to verify my self worth.”

It was a great sacrifice I has asked my mother’s soul to give this time around.  But she had agreed.

As Dick Sutphen brought us back to the present I discovered my face and cheeks and neck were soaked from sobbing tears I had not remembered shedding.  He walked quickly to the exit, leaving all of us to sort through our life-changing regressions.

Less than two weeks later I visited my mother for the first time in three years.  She never knew of this regression or what prompted me to visit.  But we began a new relationship.  One where I appreciated her for being her, and for giving me the most difficult lesson of learning to love and respect myself and my life no matter what anyone else says or thinks.

Since this very miraculous regression, I have eagerly sought the Sutphen’s every chance I got over the years to go through more such experiences.  They are always just as outstanding in revealing to myself another lesson I am to learn in this lifetime.  I seem to have been a Gypsy (and you all can easily imagine that one!) with the man who was my third husband in this lifetime.  Oh did we have lessons to finish up in this lifetime!  I was once a Priest who was imprisioned and tortured all of my short adult life.  Hence, my eating patterns and need to never feel starved in this lifetime.  My regressions can fully explain every lesson I have to learn in this lifetime.

Are they real?  Well of course I cannot prove them.  Although there are many, many books on the subject that do indeed prove it with people researching their past lives and discovering that obscure person they remembered had actually existed.  But that is not my need in the regressions.  My desire is to see these experiences, relate them to myself today and see how I can grow and change because of the information.  I don’t need to overeat in this lifetime, I’m not going to be imprisioned.  I can love my mother for helping me to learn to love myself in this lifetime.

See…it has changed my life.  And how I relate to others and each of my life lessons.

Without even regressing I bet I was supposed to dedicate my life to my creativity.  Which is why every time I get a job NOT on that track, it does not work out.  Yep, I’m pretty sure that is my lesson, but perhaps I’ll go see one of the Sutphen’s or get out their Regression CD and lay down for a while.  And see what my mind turns up this time.

Published in: on July 31, 2010 at 9:40 pm  Comments (1)  
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Comfort Food Cupcakes


What is comfort food?  In my case, these oooey, gooey cupcakes so fattening you have to lie down after you look at them, and then you have to nap after eating one.

Lately, during another personal crisis in this recession (will it never end?) my ego more than a little bruised by the turn of events, I decided to look for some comfort food.

I went straight for my recipe for Black Bottom Cupcakes.

Oh yes they DO taste as good as they look in these pictures and they are so simple.  I actually always have these ingredients in my home so it’s never like I have to plan for it.  And that afternoon, on a day of spending way too much time in a state of terrorized worrying about our future, I knew I needed these cupcakes.

There are two parts to this recipe.  The first ingredients are:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa*

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup water

5 Tbls vegetable oil

1 Tbls apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 tsps vanilla

Ok, now you have all those ingredients in your house, don’t you?

In a large bowl whisk together the flour and 1 cup sugar , cocoa, soda and salt.  Then add (I make a well) all the wet ingredients; water, oil, apple cider vinegar and vanilla.

Whisk until well blended.  Take a lick.  Yum!

Fill 12 paper lined cup-cake cups 2/3 full.  Sit to relax and using your finger, swoop up leftover batter and suck.  Oooh la la!  Do this until the bowl is clean.

Next ingredients:

8 oz package cream cheese, softened

1 egg

1/3 cup sugar

6 oz package of chocolate chips (although it never hurts to add more!)

In a clean bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, sugar and egg until smooth.  (sometimes it gets too runny with an actual beater, so I hand beat)   While hand beating, think of who is really pissing you off and smack that batter around.  Get our your aggressions.  Oh yeah!

Now, stir in the chocolate chips.  YUM!

Spoon several tablespoons of cream cheese mixture into each cupcake.  (Now, while there is raw egg involved, it has never hurt me, so I lick this bowl clean too.  I mean, this IS my comfort food, right?)

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minute or until tops gently spring back.

AHHHHHHHH!!!  Delicious!

You may wonder where I originally got this recipe.  Well, WAAAAYYYYY before Food Network or the Web existed, people cooked and wrote down their recipes to share on little 3×5 cards.  Archaic, huh?  I still have this little card.   It is beat up, but still easy to read after 30 years.  I was director of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program in Visalia, CA and a volunteer named Annabelle made these to bring to the office.  I begged for her recipe and the above is exactly it!  Except she liked to add a tiny sprinkling of finely chopped walnuts on each cupcake before baking too.

Ah yes.  Comfort food, through and through.

I am happy.  sigh…….what worries?

* Hershey’s makes a brand new dark chocolate cocoa!  Perfect!

Green Knees


I used to show up for junior high and high school with green hands and green knees.  But not because I chose to.

Now this was the mini skirt era, making it especially tragic for me to have green knees!  Then top that with the fact my mom swore up and down we would thank her later if we did not ever start shaving our legs above our knee and you begin to get the picture of where I completely lost all self-esteem.  ‘Cause when you are wearing pantyhose under that 12 inch mini-skirt, it smooshes down all your long hairs above your knee and you look like a creature from another planet.

Yep, that was me walking onto campus at Hanford High School.  Green knees, hairy legs.  But, as it turns out,  I learned something that would affect my life forever from those events.

My mother was something of an anomaly.  At the time I thought everyones mother was like her.  But eventually I saw the differences.  She worked 8 or more hours a day as a bookkeeper at Turners Feed Mill.  Most other kids mother did not have a job in those days.  She was therefore always tired.  She slept alot.  She frowned upon us having friends over after school because, well, she was tired.  Her interests were in entertaining and reading.  And she taught me both well!

But let me get back to those green knees.

Along about Jr. High, my mother met a walnut farmer at Turner’s Feed Mill.  I can only imagine that conversation.  We must have done something at home that caused my mom to express that my sister, Toni, and I were growing up spoiled or not understanding the value of money.  As a matter of fact, my father used to say that ALOT to us.  “You kids just do not understand the value of money.  You think it grows on trees?”

So, back to the walnut farmer, who was probably just being conversational, so he must have said something like, “bring them over to the farm and make them pick walnuts for a day. That’ll teach them how hard it is to earn a buck.”   And my mom must have thought that was a hell of an idea.  She probably said, “what time and where?” to a very shocked walnut farmer.

So one night at dinner, out of the blue, my mom announced that we were going to pick walnuts to earn our Christmas money that year.  My sister and I looked at each other over the roast beef, brown eyes wide and wondered what that meant.  My father, being the constant spin doctor in our house, told us this was fantastic news, because we could earn far more money picking walnuts than babysitting and ironing his handkerchiefs.  (I earned 1 penny for every handkerchief of my Dad’s that I ironed, as a way to earn my way to YMCA camp. This was not, of course, real money, as it was just a way to make us do chores and “think” we were earning money.  But we never saw that money. It was all on paper til it added up to the cost of camp.  Then suddenly that little chore did not make money anymore.)  The sky was the limit in his mind.  His version of how much money we would have after picking walnuts was pretty motivating.  And then my mother told us how early we had to be up, and I was not so excited again.

Despite our non-enthusiasm, my mother awakened us at 5 AM on a Saturday morning and we took our picnic basket and hats, sunglasses and water in a plaid thermos and drove what seemed like miles and miles to the walnut farm.  The sun was already up and a large Mexican family was already working furiously picking walnuts.

Now, here is how it works.  You are given small buckets to fill up, and then a HUGEMONGOUS bucket that equaled about 3 of the smaller ones.  It took 3 of the giant buckets to fill a burlap sack.  For every burlap sack that was filled, we would earn 75 cents.  One tree would produce about 4-6 burlap sacks.  Since my mother was friends with the walnut farmer, we had to fill our buckets extra full so we would not be abusing his generosity.  On top of that, we had to pick up every single walnut on the ground around a tree before moving onto the next tree.  We had to be the ultimate worker for him, since he was doing us a favor.

We were given all our supplies and a row of about 6 walnut trees to start with.  In the row next to us was the Mexican family.  They had the technique down perfectly.  They surrounded a tree and crawled into the trunk, their hands lightening fast as they picked walnuts.  This was their livelihood.  This was no game to teach the value of money.  This was their rent, food and clothing they had to earn.  Looking back, they were very nice to us since we were actually taking a row of work away from them.  They had lively Mexican music on a small transitor playing and they talked loudly in their native language.  They were working hard, moving fast and taking their job very seriously.

Meanwhile, we got on our hands and knees and began tossing walnuts, still in their wet green coats, into the buckets.  At first we thought this was pretty fun. No problem.  We crawled around fast and tried to work as fast as the Mexican family, but they were just too experienced.  Nonetheless, we picked and picked.  A walnut still in it’s hull is pretty large and in our small hands we were only able to pick up one, at the most two in each hand.

I  had started on my hands and knees, holding up all my weight on one arm, while the other threw the walnuts into the bucket, this grew quite tiring quickly.  So next I sat up on my legs, but this position really hurt my back and killed my knees.  I was in no shape for this kind of work.  I tried one knee bent up and only one knee on the dirt.  I spent more time trying to think up an intricate system of sitting on my knees or crawling around than actually doing the work.  I began to do each of the positions back and forth trying to keep myself moving.   One thing – I was always a creative sole.

After about an hour we asked when our first break was.  My mother, down on her hands and knees with us, scoffed at us and told us to keep moving.  When we learned she expected us to actually finish this entire row of trees we knew the day was going to be long and horrible.  Meanwhile, the Mexican family had moved onto the next tree in their row.  We hadn’t even filled a burlap sack yet.

Now, this sounds like an easy task, but the ground around the tree trunk was full of leaves, limbs and anything else that had fallen from the tree when it was mechanically shaken that early morning.  You have to dig through all kinds of stuff including any earthworms who have crawled up to see what all the comotion was about.  Many hulls have already broken open and they are oozing their juices.  There is really nothing hard about this work except that it is truly back breaking.  And painful for your knees as you crawl around on twigs and remaining hulls beneath you.

That was one of the longest days of my life.  Probably for my mom too.  Who felt uber responsible to pick ever single walnut and get this job done right for the farmer.  It must have been terrible for her, as her two spoiled daughters complained about everything.  Our knees hurt.  It was hot.  We were hungry.  We were thirsty.  Did we have to split our earnings with her? Finally, we finished up one tree and moved onto the next.  We begged for a lunch break.  It might have seemed like we had worked for half a day, but it had only been two hours so far.  At this rate, 6 trees would take us 12 hours.  Even my mother knew this was not going to happen.  She tried to motivate us by saying we could have lunch after the second tree was done.  But now we were moving much slower.  The Mexican music was so far away now we couldn’t hear it.

Eventually we did have our lunch.  Which turned out to be a big mistake.  Because following lunch we slowed tremendously and actually sat on our butts scooting around in the dirt to pick walnuts.  We were pathetic.  My mother was having none of it.  She cracked her temper which was better than a whip.  We crawled back onto our aching green knees and picked and picked walnuts.

At some point in the late afternoon, when the heat finally got to us, probably about the 4th or 5th tree, my mother called it quits.  We received $20.00 for our days work, $10.00 for each Toni and I for our Christmas expenses that year.  This was in fact, a nice sum of money for us at the time.  But as I remember that amount of pay, I think of that Hispanic family having to earn a living that way and how many walnuts they had to pick just to pay the rent or get groceries.

We picked walnuts for three years.  We learned to bring music and plenty of water and knee pads.  But nothing kept our knees from turning green or the exhaustion after only a frew trees or the aching back.

Did my mother teach us that we should grow up to work hard for our money, no matter how difficult the work?  She absolutely did.  In fact, I think every single parent should use this type of labor intensive lesson for their kids as they grow up. It was brilliant.

But did she also teach us about another culture and how hard those people were willing to work for so little.  She did, without knowing it.  I will never, ever in my life forget those Mexican families and how incredibly hard they worked as a family unit.  I find it difficult to imagine that we have any Americans growing up (besides farmers kids) who would be willing to actually work this hard for their spending money.  We are spoiled rotten as a country.  It’s sad to see it that way.  But I’ve been there.  Down on my hands and knees.  And if there is anyone who wants to do that work for me for what is way beneath minimum wage, then I say, let them.  No, beg them to please, please do it for us.

I didn’t write this to become a political statement.  I really didn’t.  But it turns out, the thing my mother taught me the most from 3 years of picking walnuts was how to be respectful, understanding, and insist on civil rights for those that put food on my plate every day.

When I was a little girl…by Denise Lapp Tallman


When I was a little girl, I kid you not, I used to play office.  For some reason, my mother used to give me her old deposit slips and scratch pads and bits and pieces of papers to play with.  (Now that I think about it, that was a strange thing to do mom!)  At a young age, about 6 years old, I liked to be in charge of an office I dreamed up in my head, with LOTS of paperwork.  I guess I had a hard time coming up with the type of office exactly I worked for, but eventually I settled on either a car dealership or a shoe store like Cassidy’s in downtown Hanford.

I would sit at a little table in my bedroom with pencils, a stapler, stamps and stamp pads (come to think of it, these all probably came from my mom and her bookkeeping jobs, too) and lots of types of papers.  I had no idea what the heck I was doing, but I would come up with a certain ritual for the sale of a car.  Three types of papers, write on them, stamp them HARD to make a lot of noise like I was very busy, staple a bunch together, make little piles. As I recall, I always made a deposit slip for everything, something I must have learned from watching my mom pay bills and get her banking together.

I do remember going to Bank of America in downtown Hanford all the time. In fact, at one point she used to work there.  (It’s so weird how I can’t remember what you just said but I can remember all these details from 49 years ago.) Perhaps this is where I got the idea of stacking and stamping lots of papers.  (For all you young ones – this was before computers and debit cards so it was ALL tons and tons of paperwork that had to be balanced by each teller, with only her little head. Imagine that!)

So, playing office was one of my forms of entertainment.  I suppose I cannot be too upset today when my job as an Exec. Asst. for a non-profit deals with tons and tons of stacks of paper.  My latest mass mailing was over 300 pieces.  I seem to be very organized and adept at this sport of paper pushing.  Do I thank my Mom for inspiring me?  Or was I born with this nifty talent? Pisces are not supposed to be necessarily organized and good at any type of paperwork.  Pisces are best known for their drama, creativity and dreaming.  Somehow, I have found a way to live with both sides of my brain working together.  It’s an interesting phenomenon.

When I was a little girl, Hanford California seemed like a boring, boring, boring place.  I dreamed of living with the movie stars and living out those fabulous exciting lives in a big city.  But Hanford did have some true one-of-a-kind places you can never forget.  All my classmates from Hanford High will quickly agree about these:

The singularly most important place in Hanford, CA still exists today!  Superior Dairy!  All our celebrations in town ended with a Superior Dairy sundae and every hot night in the summer ended with a trip to the take-out counter for one of their cones you still cannot believe you are supposed to eat all of.  Superior Dairy is famous for their HUMONGOUS scoops.  I promise you, you must believe me, do not ever order a 3 scoop on a cone.  Just be reasonable and get it in a cup.  One scoop of ice cream takes the high school kids working at the counter, all their muscle, digging out about a pint of ice cream all piled high and pushed to look like only one massive scoop.  It takes them a long time to build a cone at Superior Dairy.  And it begins melting immediately, before you have paid.

Was there really a question how we all learned in our generation famous tongue action?  We are award-winning lickers and could have won huge trophies if anyone ever thought to give us one for this kind of determined tongue activity.  Every young child, as early as 2, is taught how to lick an ice cream cone in Hanford, CA.  It’s part of our heritage.  So many kids born in colder climates simply have no idea how to eat an ice cream cone.  They think ice cream comes on a spoon.

Now I remember as a high school student making fun of the waitresses at Superior Dairy.  They never seemed to smile, no matter how funny we knew we were.  Looking back, I bet we were not funny at all.  And a bunch of loud rambunctious kids thinking they are a laugh a minute must have been truly very trying for those poor waitresses.

But the best time of all to obtain some Superior Dairy ice cream was whenever I was sick.  My mother always came home from work with a chocolate milkshake for me.  It was a miracle drug!  Here is how I remember it:

THE CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKE

Sick.

In bed.

Fever.  No food.

Lots of covers.

Mom calls from her job

What can she bring me to feel better?

“A chocolate milkshake

from Superior Dairy.”

She decides this is ok

I lay there waiting

Salivating.  Dreaming.  Swallowing.

I fall into real sleep finally

while waiting.

Then, Tootsie barks, keys in

the front door.  I lay in

anticipation of my one great love;

icy cold smooth chocolate

homemade rich creamy

ice cream made with

chocolate liquor for flavor.

I await.

In comes the prized pink and white

striped paper cup and lid and straw.

I feign my dire illness.

I take the cup in a

prone position and in order

to show Mom just how

sick I am,

I tip the cup back to

my head while I am

lying on the pillow.

The lid falls off.

I lie there with an

empty straw in my

mouth and milkshake

all over my neck

and chest and bed.

My mother is not amused.

And I cry.  Because I

will not get a second

milkshake tonight.

To this day, when I am back anywhere near Hanford, I drag everyone with me to Superior Dairy.  The rest of the town could disappear, but as long as I can get my cone stacked precisely with chocolate on the bottom and orange sherbert on top, then I will never forget my childhood.  And as far as memories go, my mother’s favorite ice cream was maple walnut, a flavor not found anywhere else but Superior Dairy.  I like to dine on this sweet nutty flavor to feel closer to my mom sometimes. Now those are great memories.

When I was growing up I can only remember one shoe store and it was on our main street which was not called main street, instead it was 7th Avenue. Anyway, the shoe store was Cassidy’s.  Unfortunately, I have very sad stories relating to Cassidy’s.  It was so sad I actually wrote a poem about it long ago as therapy.  Here it is:

THE FIRST TIME I FELT UGLY

My reflection at 13 was a Circus mirror

of huge and exploding breasts,

a wiggly valentine-shaped butt

and a bumpy oozing inquiring face framed by

long auburn Phyllis Diller frizzy hair.

All of which could be fixed so I hugged

myself and began the long process of

learning to love myself.

However, I could not change one thing

in the Looking Glass.  And that was the

submarine sandwich sized feet that carried

the rest of me into a room.  They were just big

enough to leave me no choice in

Cassidy’s Shoe Store on Main Street.

It was awesome that I always entered

the air-conditioned store with the highest belief

that this time my size would be available in

the latest fashions.

The shoeman sat on the little silver stool

and placed my big foot between his legs on the

black rubber escalator pad.  And every damn time

he sadly  announced I was a size 10

and that they had very little in those larger sizes.

But he kindly sat between my legs in his

polyester lime green leisure suited legs

and tried to help me stuff my foot

into the shoes I has seen in

Seventeen Magazine and on Marsha Brady.

I was willing to die for the white knee-high

boots with fringe all around the top.

And we pushed and jammed my ankles and toes

until I gave up in tears.  My mother told

him to bring me a pair of “these”

holding up a horrible pair of

black sandals with chunky heels

and a duplicate of ones my grandmother owned.

Then I would leave

like one of Cinderella’s step sisters,

a shoe box neatly tied with

string under my arm and a very young

heart filled with disappointment.

That was the first time

I ever felt ugly.

When I was a little girl, over half a century ago now, (does that thought disturb you fellow Hanford High Classmates?) every single birthday and anniversary and holiday had to have a cake from Maccagno’s Bakery.  (It may be of psychological interest to note so many of my memories revolve around food – was it the constant dieting my mom had me on?)  For years, I would take new friends from other towns to Maccagnos’, to proudly show them the wedding cake book of photos which displayed my first wedding cake when I married Joe Maciel.  It was used as a display cake in their album because we had over 250 people to feed and this cake was gigantic!  Unwieldy!  And my colors were pink and blue – my mother was right – absolutely ghastly colors.  YUCK!  That was one ugly cake looking back on it.  But heh, I was only 21 years old.

However, my real love at Maccagnos Bakery, besides the soft squishy fresh French Bread, is their chocolate thumbprint cookies.  My closest friends and my son Dustin Paul,  will all stop at Maccagno’s Bakery on the way to visit me, and bring me 2-3 pounds of these awesome cookies.  When I finally get that cupcake tatoo on my rear end, I’m adding a chocolate thumbprint cookie too.  I just decided.

And finally, keeping with the running food theme – where were YOU the night Rubalcaba’s burned to the ground?  This could so be a song – “the night Rubalcaba’s burned to the ground.”  (Was it Rubalcava or Rubalcaba?)

Well, my first husband Joe Maciel and I were sitting right there inside the restaurant.  We were starving.  It was a long wait to be seated.  We were sipping margaritas.  I was salivating for my huge tostada I was expecting to smother with their little squeeze bottle of french dressing – something no other Mexican restaurant I have ever visited has offered.  As I recall we were with friends or family members.  People began to notice a smokey smell, but we chalked it  up to something had been burned in the busy kitchen.  Finally, swinging doors brought us our waitress with her arms lined with our hot plates.  “Be careful, it’s hot” they always said when they placed our food in front of us.  JUST as we picked up our forks to take a bite, people began to scream “Fire!”  “Get out of here”.  Now the fire was in the roof so no one could actually see any danger yet.  It seemed a little hysterical to jump up and run.  I figured it would be a little kitchen fire that needed a fire extinguisher.  We’d be back to our tables to finish eating in no time!  Ah hell, we got up to leave.  Joe suggested we all pick up our hot plates and take the food outside to eat it while we waited.  But I did not want anyone to think we were thieves, and flatly refused.  “Leave it” I proclaimed.  “We’ll be right back!”

Those of you who lived in Hanford at the time know what tragically happened that night.  The fire was throughout the roof and Rubalcaba’s quickly burned to the ground.  Not only did we never get to finish our dinner that night, but it would have been our LAST dinner because they did not rebuild. Oh, if only I had listened to Joe and taken my plate outside to eat.  Dang!   I am salivating still remembering those tostadas.

I have to give tons of credit to my ex-husband who sent me home that evening, but he stayed, working all night long to help the firemen put out the fire. He is always there for others.  Dustin – you should forward this to your Dad to read!  He was a hero that night!  (Dustin and I above)

I have so many more memories of Hanford, CA.  Turns out, it must not have been such a boring, boring, boring place to grow up afterall!!  If someone could just find me some knee-high boots with fringe that fit, and a pound of Maccagno’s thumbprint cookies I’d be in heaven right now.

Cooking: hobby, therapy and smiles


One of my treasured ways to spend my time is cooking.  I firmly believe that cooking from scratch is the best food for you and such wonderful therapy.

I am not saying it does not take more time.  On the other hand, if you cook a pot of spaghetti from scratch, you can get a weeks worth of meals out of it.  So, perhaps in the long run it does NOT take any more time. What if I convinved you that it actually SAVES you time!  Think of coming home every night after work for a nice hot meal, ready for you with just a few minutes warm up.

A few days ago I got an itch to make my chicken breast, leeks and apples entree.  You know, all my recipes just come from a cookbook.  You DO OWN A COOKBOOK right?  If not, just go to http://www.foodnetwork.com and search any food you want and there you go!  A gazillion recipes.  It’s amazing there !  You can just enter in a food you have like “beef ribs” and all their recipes will come up from all their shows!

So I wrote down on my weekly shopping list the few things I needed:  6 Granny Smith apples, chicken breasts, 3 large leeks, apple juice and if I could find it, apple brandy or carvados.  The rest of the recipe called for normal things in my kitchen, butter, cream, sugar, thyme.   I try to only shop once a week and so we keep a list on the kichen counter for us to write down anything that is running low or out.

Then I waited for the right time on my days off to cook.  Seems like tonight will be the night.  Now, watch how easy this is.  It’s a BREEZE!  You are SOOOO going to want to go cook!

First of all, my chicken breasts were frozen, so I had to unfreeze and take the big Moosh to the dog park.

Then is was about an hour of cooking. Brown the chicken breasts in butter and thyme.  Peel and core the apples, slice or chunk up.  Brown them in butter and sprinkle with sugar.  (Careful, they get very fragile when cooked.) Cut off the green part of the leeks, then clean thouroughly.  You have to be sure you open up so the many, many rows of leek lose their sand and dirt.  Chop up into 1/2 inch pieces.  Saute the cleaned leeks in butter til transuscent.   Add back in the chicken, apple juice and a dessert wine I had on hand, and it let cook over medium heat for 15 minutes to finish cooking the chicken.  Add  cream, cook down for a few minutes thicken.  Toss in the apple pieces to heat and serve! Voila!

It’s 95 degrees here suddenly. Overnight from the low 80’s when it’s comfortable to almost triple digits.  Yuck!  However, this weather just forces me to think about cold macaroni salad and blue cheese burgers.  There is a wonderful health food store in Phoenix called Sprouts.  They have a butcher and make their own hamburger patties with blue cheese crumbles throughout.  YUM!  I grab some buns and packages of macaroni (which costs pennies) and rush home.  I already have the eggs to boil, mustard, mayo and sweet pickles to make the salad.  This will make at least four meals this week.

My mom never put paprika on her macaroni salad.  But she always added boiled eggs.  In fact, she added boiled eggs to everything.  My Dad had a deviled egg sandwich every day of his life – I kid you not!  We had to leave a paper towel on the kitchen table, with a glass turned over for his milk and the bag of Lays potato chips.  When he came home every day of his life from the City of Hanford engineering department, he took his deviled egg sandwich out of the fridge (that we had made earlier before school) and had his peaceful lunch.

Another thing I always have ready to cook at my house is chocolate chip cookies.  Trader Joes has the cheapest salted and unsalted butter I can find, so I always go there once a month and stock up and keep the butter in the freezer until I bake.  Costco sells those enormous bags of Nestle chocolate chips – which I keep in the cupboards.  Although I dearly love the inexpensive ones with chocolate liquor that Trader Joes sells too.  There is always butter, flour, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and chips in the house.  Need a fast desert – TA DA!

And let me for a minute talk about biscuits.  One of the last times I ever saw my girlfriend of 30 something years, Colleen Garcia and her husband Allen, I made breakfast for them at our home at the coast.  To this day whenever I make biscuits, about twice a month, I can hear her in my ear saying, “you’re gonna make them from scratch?”  and I remember showing her how easy it is.  And so much better than those horrible things you buy in a roll that you snap open.  And it doesn’t not take much longer – I promise.

Into your food processor you measure out 7 tablespoons unsalted frozen butter, 2 cups flour, 1 tbls baking powder and a 1/2 tsp salt. Process for a few seconds till butter is all crumbled.  Do not over process!  This makes biscuits tough.  Then pour in slowly while processer is running, 3/4 cup cream. Just be sure it does not become mush.  When it’s a nice soft dough rolling around in one ball, take out, kneed 3 times in flour, fold in half a few times to make a nice crack to open up automatically after cooked, and cut out some biscuits with the rim of a glass or biscuit cutter.  Then bake at 450 for 14 minutes.  I like to add a tiny dab of butter (using up the last tablespoon) and sprinkle of sugar to the top before baking – but it’s not necessary.  Now, while you make your candied bacon and eggs with chives, your biscuits are baking and puffing up and will be the hit of your meal!  Now why would you buy that horrible processed food instead??

Ok, go forward young men and women – and COOK!!

Searching for healing stones – It’s a rock lovers paradise


I am sure you will be surprised to learn that my love affair with beads and development of my own creative talents through my hands, began long ago on a trip to Sedona, AZ.  This was so long ago, I was still married to another man!  We traveled on vacation to Sedona so I could feel the vortexes and find my metaphysical counterparts there.  We both were overwhelmed with the energy in the Sedona area.  During this trip, based on my research, (ever the researcher,) we drove 20 miles away and up a gorgeous hill called Cleopatra’s Hill, to Jerome.  A tiny copper mining ghost town being overrun with artists, their old homes practically falling off the cliffs.  Not only was this town precious, but it had a view – a straight as the  crow flies view – of Sedona and the red rocks from up high.  What a place!  The three blocks in and three blocks out of town were nothing but artist boutiques, Haunted Hamburger, a ghostly bed and breakfast called Ghost City Inn and a bar called The Spirit Room.  I leapt out of the car and proceeded to adore every store, the next one more than the last.  In one of these very stores, way back 25 years ago, I found the most gorgeous double strand bracelet made of unique beads.  I had to have that bracelet and bought it quick.  Back home in Los Angeles, my husband noted we could teach ourselves to make these bracelets and give them as gifts.  And the rest is history!

At the same time, my interest in crystals and semi-precious gemstones was developing.  I knew of crystal healing and eventually turned my mom onto to it when she got breast cancer.  To this day, I still go to my first Crystal store from that first trip and make a purchase.  The staff at Crystal Magic taught me to drift among the crystals until I noticed I was drawn to one over and over.  Then I was to bring that stone to them and they would drag out this huge book by someone called Melody, with extraordinarily detailed information about every single kind of rock found in the earth and its particular healing properties.  I was so lucky I was taught this system long ago.  I still love to drift among crystals in a store and when I am just crazy drawn to one I look up the description.  These days, there are many other expert books out there besides Melody’s books, which now has an updated version.  But still, at the best Crystal store anywhere, Crystal Magic, their staff has all the latest books behind the counter and will pull it them out for you to look up details about a particular stone.

Only a few weeks ago we had a salesman come to the museum selling semi-precious stones.  You can imagine my excitement when the store manager said I could purchase a few things on her discount.  I handled and looked at hundreds of strands of beads, but I kept going back to this blue-grey stone I had never seen in my life before.  The crystal cut of the stone was sparkling and gorgeous, little spheres of energy on a string.  I really wanted this stone.  I was told it was called Kyanite.  I never heard of it.  Without researching it at all, I bought a strand.  Later in the day I looked up Kyanite and found out it helps with neurological disorders including Epilepsy.  (I have Epilepsy in case you didn’t know)  I used to be so surprised when this happened, but I’m not any more.  It’s some kind of “conversation” I have with the stones I guess.  They just talk to me and jump into my hand!

So, it was not much of a transition to couple both of my loves of beading and metaphysics and begin making healing jewelry.  Over the years I’ve done this mostly for myself.  But I’ve always loved making things for others.

I start by asking the person who needs the jewelry to give me a list of things that bother them.  It can be a serious illness as well as emotional issues or even just something as standard for all of us as overeating.  I then research in many ways, the best stones that offer healing properties for those very specific challenges.  I often spend hours researching – sometimes over the course of several days.

Then the search begins for the stones that call out to me.  I keep the person who I am making the jewelry for close to my heart while I think about and handle stones.  When they practically yell at me “I’m the one!” I buy that one.

I am extraordinarily lucky to have unreal access to ANCIENT BEADS at The Bead Museum.  It would be close to impossible to find some of the stones available at the museum anywhere else.  Our founder Gabrielle Liese began collecting four decades ago and she realized then that beads told the history of humankind.  It was an extraordinary realization that propelled her into action to collect from around the world. Today, the Bead Museum is the only comprehensive bead museum in the world and we consistently have researchers at the museum updating our timeline that goes back 17,000 years, or studying in our extensive library.

So when I tell you that a particular ancient bead over 1200 years old is made of the exact healing stone you need for your jewelry, it is a little happy dance for me.  Just Sunday we discovered two tiny plates of 1200 year old Carnelian beads.  (The Carnelian is of course much older, it’s the beads themselves that are 1200 years old!)  Plus, the story brought back to us from our founder is that the beads were probably worn by Shamans based on where they were discovered.

Now if that isn’t the most perfect healing stone I don’t know what else is!

I myself have some 800-1200 year old beads called Nila Beads found in an area of northwestern Africa that was once called Jeanne, Mali.  My husbands best friend bought them for me for my birthday last year.  What a fabulous gift!  I have taken my time to restring them into a necklace for myself – as I want to mix them ONLY with other 1000 year old beads.  But if ever there was a place to obtain those beads, the Museum is going to be the place.

And so this past few weeks as I made a healing necklace for someone, I was in search of Carnelian as a focal bead because it helps to heal lower back issues.  I really wanted some extraordinary Carnelian for this necklace.  When I told the future owner about our “find” of the 1200 year old Carnelian she was thrilled to have a bead for her necklace.  It’s certainly going to be a one-of-a-kind healing necklace!

Today I decided, since my orders were filled for the week, to work on a healing bracelet for myself.  I wanted to add a copper Goddess Talisman to it and put in all the stones I could use in my life right now.  Of course that beautiful new Kyanite was part of the whole piece.  It is not only helpful with Epilepsy but with communication too.  And some Lepidolite – which helps one to be more centered and focused, helps with sleep and how about some astral travel!  Oh, and some beautiful deep purple Charoite – a fairly new Russian stone I love.  It helps with production of hormones, which if you are going through Menopause you know where I’m coming from!  And also to help with sleep issues.  I have recently fallen in love with this strange pink, black and garnet stone called Eudialyte.   I have searched and searched for this stone and figured it was just going to be one I could not find, but suddenly it started coming to me – even walking in the door with a senior volunteer at the Bead Museum!  It helps you to trust yourself and ease compulsive behaviour like overeating and shopping. Then I pulled out my favorite sparkly Labradorite.  I just love the look of this stone.  It inspires creativity, focus on your career and self-esteem an lo and behold – it helps you to lose weight.  Well, might as well add that one!

The finished piece is perfection to me.  I used copper findings to match the Goddess.  Copper is good for low energy and I find myself tired often these days. I think I’ll wear it to bed I love it so much.

I make necklaces and bracelets for now.  if you know anyone who would benefit from one of my healing stone jewelry, have them contact me at denise@whimsicalmysticaljewelry.com.

Now, I hear there is a new place for me to find healing stone beads.  Gotta run!!

It’s a Dogs Life Now


I just sat outside in the 90 degree weather, having a ball, watching my puppy play with another pug and gabbing it up with women I barely know.

This is my life 4 nights a week.  What the heck?

I used to party 4 nights a week.  I used to sit in a barber chair, tilted back until I was laying out horizontal and have Honey Wild Turkey poured down my throat.  Partly because it was a cheap drink ($1.00) and partly to display I could swallow.

I used to lie about my name.  Or even better, give out made up nicknames like Tiffany Titwell or Hoover or Eureka.  Or Creamy.  Or Bubbles.  Come on, you get it.  I know you do.  Uh huh.

I used to win Disco Dance Trophies.  (Yes I am that old!) The most I ever won was $20 bucks and a cheap trophy, but heh, I did it!

I used to be the life of the party.  Loud and crazy and willing to talk about sex at the drop of ….well….let’s say some underwear!

I used to think the omelets at Denny’s were really GOOD at 2 in the morning,

reading tarot cards

with some stranger and counting out my last pennies to pay for breakfast.

But, as I said, now I look forward to sitting outdoors in a dog park with virtual strangers, talking and gabbing and laughing about dog antics.

SO I HAVE TO ASK – WHO THE FUCK AM I NOW??

Ok, I know who I am, but seriously, did any of YOU see this coming?  I cannot say I ever did.  Not ever.

So they say a dog changes your life. I always thought this meant all that responsibility changed your life from happy-go-lucky to something with a leash on it.  I wanted nothing to do with a leash attached to my body.

And while I knew the statistics about dog owners being more healthy, I had no idea how much I’d suddenly be outside every day.

Just a little puppy.  Who has completely and totally enveloped me with love and laughter and the need to find other people who are like-minded.

The late afternoon starts with me waiting for that call from Ninja’s grandma Jackie saying they are off to the dog park and will Mushu coming out to play too?  (That’s Jackie to the right with Mushu.)

I throw on my dog park garb – because let’s face it, you must have something with that perfect sense of doggy friendly style, while being faddish and creative and comfortable.  I pat on some make-up because with all the cameras at the dog park, you never know whose Facebook you’ll end up on.

Then I begin the big tease with Mushu.  “Do you want to see Ninja?  Do you?  Huh?  Do you want to see Aunt Jackie?  You want to go to the Dog Park?” I lift my voice up several octaves at the end of each sentence, which causes Mushu to tilt his head back and forth like a furious windmill.  He seems to understand that my lilting voice means something VERY EXCITING is about to happen.

Once I grab his purple gladiator halter and leash off the key rack by the door, he knows.  He runs in circles crying like he’s about to have sex.  Finally he cools down enough to get his garb on and we drive the four blocks to the dog park.  (One day, when it’s not 90 or more degrees, we’ll walk it.  Just think of the exercise!)

The squealing at the park is not from Jackie and I.  It’s from Mushu and Ninja.  You’d think they were long-lost brothers.  And for the next two hours they race, sniff butts, chase, catch the girls and bark at the big dogs in the big dog park next door. Mostly they just do a lot of Pug Wrestling at our feet.  It’s quite the show.  They growl and squeal and nip and, well, it looks just like the world wrestling championship.  They get so involved in the wrestling, they fall off the bench, or run so hard at the bench they hit it “POW” and bounce off it. They are just happy campers and that makes us humans delirious.

There are a lot of regulars now that I know.  Almost everyone has rescued their dog and loves to tell their story over and over.  Sadly three dogs have been dumped at the park since Mushu and I began going.  Of course dog park dog owners will NEVER let a dog go the pound where they have so little chance of living.  Nope, they all gather together in a football huddle and decide who can do what and when.  Last night my friend Jackie decided the little puppy that was dumped was going to be her new dog.  And she took him home. That puppy has no idea the great life it’s about to live.  She named the Chihuahua-min/pin-dachshund mix “Diego.”  Ninja tends to mother him and Mushu wants to be sweet to him.  One big happy family.

Another friend, Kathy, has her dogs certified to visit rest homes.  I LOVE this idea and want to see about doing this with Mushu when he’s a bit older.  What a great way to utilize a good dog.  I know there was a cat that hung around my Mom in the last home she lived in.  What a nice comfort.  And Mushu has so much love to give.  Pugs are very lovey dovey and great lap dogs.

There are mostly dogs that are well socialized for Mushu to play with.

Curry, from the pound, is part pit bull and part dachshund.  I mean LOOK at that face.  How could anyone have given him away?

Then there is BIG PUG George and his owner Ashley.  So cute and adorable.

There are lots of Boston Terriers who chase the Frisbees like they are in training for dog Olympics.

There is always a gaggle of white terriers.  One looks just like the dog on the “Caesar” dog food ad, so we all call him Caesar.

There is a HUGE assortment of Chihuahuas.

There are the old dogs who nap.  And those like Jake who like to push the tiny dogs to the edge and make them frightened.  Mushu learned how to cope with Jake and he is not his nemesis anymore, I am proud to announce.  Ah our little baby is growing.

Now, you may think this is all silly and just a story about a few hours of my life at a Dog Park.  But you would be wrong.  I actually CAN’T WAIT to get to the dog park every day.  I look forward to it.  I imagine it’s like my Dad unwinding with his Bourbon and 7 every night.  Cause that’s how I feel.  Unwinding.

Meanwhile, Mushu gets exhausted and sleeps for the next 18 hours.

Yes, my life is very different these days.  And while I could never have imagined it, I am exhilarated by it and I’ve become unrecognizable as the annoying woman who tells stories about her damn DOG all day.  Uh huh,  that’s me.

But I will secretly tell you, some of the ladies and I get in a little sex talk each night.  I guess some things will never change!

Published in: on April 18, 2010 at 6:54 am  Comments (4)  
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Serendipity


One of my heros in life – Julia Cameron who wrote “The Artist’s Way” – quoted an anonymous someone as saying “Leap and the net will appear.”  As most of you know, it quickly became my life motto.

But you may not know she also wrote an entire chapter about being aware of serendipitous happenings.  And ever since I read her book the first time (since then I’ve read it at least 10 more times) I have been accutely aware of things directing my life if I just allow it and pay attention.

Serendipity.  Are YOU paying attention?  We get so tied up in our daily “stuff” we completely ignore it most of the time.  But it can change your life if you learn to pay attention to it!

This week something unusual happened – something serendipitous – all in the course of a few hours which was truly cause to pause and pay attention.

First of all our friend Kevin called out of the blue.  He and Mark had seen Stephen’s gorgeous handmade necklace that Maria was wearing in my blog a week before, and wanted one for a friends birthday.  (picture to the right)

We seemed to have exactly what they wanted already made up in bright colorful yarns and feathers and beads.  Kevin and Mark came over later that day and decided it was perfect and took it with them to their friend paying us for our wares.

Serendipitiously, about an hour after hearing from Kevin, a former classmate wrote me on Facebook to say that she would like some jewelry made for her for some specific health issues.  I was thrilled, as I have been doing this kind of work with gemstones for two decades yet never tried to market it.   I began in earnest to research the perfect healing stones for her to make an extremely personal and incredibly powerful bracelet.  I was exhilirated with the creative process.

Stephen and I have been making jewelry as gifts for years and years always considering it a “hobby.”  Not until today did it seem like a viable way to have fun while earning some extra money for our talents.  Our eyes had been open for the serendipity of the moment.

I love reseraching and then finding the perfect gemstones with the necessary healing properties for someone’s issues.  And Stephen’s original necklaces (must give credit to bead artist Amy Loh-Kupser of Idaho for teaching us both the basic technique) would have taken off almost a year earlier when a shop manager in Sedona said they were interested in seeing more of  his work to possibly carry his line.  (Serendipity we were both just completely BLIND to!)

More Serendipity occured when Kevin and Mark had asked us for a business card to put in their gift box and of course we didn’t have one.  Well, this led us to discuss a business name and think about a website to sell our work.

At this point we had both finally seen the obvious serendipity of all these circumstances, and so, with great clarity, we began to toss around ideas for a business name.   But you know how life goes, we were busy with work and “stuff.”

That night, while walking from my computer to the kitchen for some Toll House refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough,  (yum!)

I heard in my head, “Whimsical, Mystical Jewelry.”  It was so sing-songy I began saying it over and over in my mind without any thought to what I was doing.  It was just some words dancing around in my head.

Serendipty at work and there I was, NOT paying attention again!

Fortunately, like a brick slamming me awake, I finally heard the song as the very clear message it seemed to be and wrote it down.  “Whimsical, Mystical Jewelry.”  Well now.  That most definitely described our jewelry.  Stephen’s gorgeous feathery pieces most definitely made with whimsy and my pieces were made with healing stones and mysticism.  Hmmmm.  I kept tossing it around.  Finally I looked up the name on line.  It did not come up.  No one had this website  yet.  That was astonishing.

Was this it?  Just like that?  Without spending countless hours on the computer trying out name after name to market exactly what we do?

I called Stephen on his Tanker truck.

“What do you think of ‘Whimsical, Mystical Jewelry’?”  He had an instant response.  “I love it!” he proclaimed.

I sat back down at my computer, a paper plate of cookie dough at the ready to spur my creativity.  I turned on my graphics and played around with some unusual fonts I had downloaded for free recently.  (Serendipity, again?)   I finally decided on the “Bleeding Cowboy” font.   Then I opened up the art program and messed around until I liked the whimsy yet mysticalness of the two-colored logo.

And that is how, through huge spoonfuls of serendipity, another door opened for Stephen and I, with an extraordinary new set of possibilities for our life direction.  All because we PAID ATTENTION to the messages.

Are you paying attention to your daily

?

Our new business is brewing like a pot of coffee around the house these days.  So please share our news.  We’ll let you know when http://www.whimsicalmysticaljewelry.com is up and running!  (oh yes – we own that site now!)

Have a Serendipty filled day today!  (And please share in the comments below if something unique happened for you today!  It inspires all of us!)

Tangerine, Butter Yellow and Cherry Necklace


I was crazed with desire to finish a necklace.  I am guessing it’s because I had nothing else like it.  And I’ve never seen anyone else with anything close to what was in my mind waiting to become reality to others.  It’s an incredibly happy and complicated feeling.  That need to get it out – onto the wire in a perfect order.  Much like the painter who must get it out onto the canvas, or the writer who must get it out onto paper.  And it cannot be just a slam bam thank you mam kind of “getting it out there.”  It  has to be exactly like your head is creating it. The only problem is…..your mind has not really finished creating it.  You only know it’s scratching at you, begging you, fighting with you to get OUT!

I feel lucky to find creativity in so many outlets.  Beading, writing, dancing, acting, producing, painting, directing. Five nights ago I allowed myself to ignore my taxes waiting to be done and my bills needing to be paid.  Not to mention the nails I needed to paint before I went back to work and my hair that needed to be washed along with the dishes in the dishwasher.  Oh wait. I have time to turn on the dishwasher.  Whew, one thing done today.  I drifted over to my creativity corner, which happens to be advertised as this apartments dining room, and looked at all the beads I’d pulled together on a pink felt mat. They were the colors, shapes, textures and patterns yakking at me in my head to do something with them right now.

The very surprising thing is – I have never in my life liked yellow.  I have no yellow clothes.  I never have.  I have no orange clothing either.  I walk right past earth tones. Unless its semi-sweet chocolate cake.   And here on my fuzzy creating mat, antagonizing me to ignore the rest of my life, were little piles of yellow, earthy, and persimmon colored beads.  These beads were new in my life.  They are semi-precious gems.  Agate, jasper, citrine, and carnelian.  The fact that I ever bought them at all is weird. But there they sat- together for the first time, pleading with me to hurry and create a pattern.

The necklace would be designed around the gorgeous agate I showed you in the last blog with the window into its soul.  That will be my focal bead to some extent.  But each of the agates I selected are little stories of history.  Magical!

I moved the beads around like chess pieces for hours trying to find the exact pattern for these lovely stones.  Some strange knowledge in my own soul would let me know when it was “right”.  It had to resonate with my body and make a visual “poem.”

I got to the end and I discovered it was not long enough.  I fretted.  I fumed.  I discussed with Stephen.  I went through all my beads over and over.  Nothing looked right. I strung some seed beads – which would be the only thing on this necklace that was not a semi-precious stone if I used them. They looked and felt very wrong to me.  I told Stephen, without thinking it through first that “I need it to be all semi-precious so that the circle of energy is not interrupted.” I have no idea where that idea came from, but it sounded right – as good an explanation as any.  I stopped.  I was stumped.  I realized my creative voice wanted perfection.  I would have to wait until I got to work to obtain a perfect strand of  tiny citrine chips to finish with.  It must have been the way the stones were telling me to arrange them.  So, I listened.

At work the next day I gathered everything I needed to finish.   I was so eager to get to wear this necklace!  It was killing me!!

But it was three more days before I could finally sit down again to the dining room table.  It was all still there – just waiting to be created out of my little ‘ol mind.  At this point I began to think about  making a double strand bracelet to match.

So, here it is!  What do you think?  The finished necklace is all agate, citrine and carnelian.  In the bracelet, I used the same stones but added some tri-colored jade and mook jasper.

Semi-precious stones created by the earth herself offer tremendous amounts of energy and healing powers.  I mean, just LOOK at the electrical energy pulsating off these stones!

The following is a list of just some of these stones healing properties:

Agate – powerful emotional healer, improves memory and concentration, increases stamina and encourages honesty.  Also helps to prevent insomnia and insure pleasant dreams, to enhance personal courage and protect one against danger. Agate provides a calming influence, improves concentration and helps to develop and increase one’s analytical talents.

Citrine – Enhances body’s healing powers.  Diminished self-destructive tendencies.  Raises self-esteem.  Helps you to be more lighthearted, cheerful.  Used to heal kidneys, colon, gallbladder, digestive organs, heart.

Carnelian – Facilitates concentration, helps to become more joyous, social.  Opens the heart for love.  Energizes.  Used to heal kidneys, lungs, liver and pancreas.

Jade – Strengthens immune system.  Aids eye disorders and female problems.   Powerful emotional balancer.  For gentle souls who need to be more assertive.  Brings you wisdom, clarity and justice in difficult situations.  

Mook Jasper – Slows aging process, awakens ability to “know” the right direction to take.

I think now that I have such powerful jewelry, I’ll take it to Sedona for a nice cleansing.

I LOVE making my own jewelry – and for others too.  It’s just so fulfilling!