Ginger Kitty was a street walker for the first year and a half of her life. I found her by accident in the window of a pet food store on view for adoption. I was halfheartedly looking for a cat to adopt, but didn’t even see her in their window when I wandered into the store. I’m a sucker for an orange tabby.
She was thin and shy. Very wary and not at all affectionate, but there was something about her that struck me.
This was a few years ago now. She’s still wary and not terribly affectionate, and many days I’m not entirely positive she likes me. But she’s a funny kitty.
She was such an incredible sport about the move across the country. Really, until we broke down, she was pretty happy. After that, she started expressing dissatisfaction, but was amazingly tolerant of the whole process.
Moves within moves and different situations have really tested her. Each making her appreciate the life I offer her more and more. When I travel she is downright affectionate upon my return. Just one more reason to travel.
When life throws us a curve ball, she manages to let me know that she more than tolerates me. When I’ve been sick, she has curled up with me for hours, when normally she sleeps in another room. As we are boxing and moving, we are all a more than a little stressed out. Last night when I couldn’t sleep, I went and found her in another room, carried her back to bed with me, and let the purr-box help me relax. The amazing thing is she stayed with me, most times this will last about a 2-4 minutes. This night, she settled in on my chest, and stayed with me for 2 hours, until Coe made us go out.
As I sit an write, she is curled up with me again. She know when her mama needs a little extra love.
I love Nola. I’d move here in an instant if it weren’t for the storms. The coffee is better, there is color everywhere, and they have some of the best food in the world. Tied for my favorite thing about this city is how they embrace everyone and make gumbo.
While out for a walk this morning the Hispanic car wash guys said good morning to the African American woman with her dew rag tied on her head. This in itself isn’t note worthy.
It’s that they said Good Morning Mishpocheh. If you aren’t up on your Yiddish, here’s your lesson for the day. Mishpucha (say it like you are clearing your throat on the ch: mish-pu-CH-a) means family.
Having been through a divorce and various breakups, my own and friend’s, I know that we choose sides. I’ve chosen sides. I’ve had people choose for and against me. It’s human nature, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.
Sometimes the friend is yours from start and that’s the natural position, to leave with what you brought. Sometimes you realize your friend is the problem, for both you and the other person. Sometimes you don’t have to choose sides.
In a perfect world you don’t have to choose. You can amicably agree that this is not meant to be and walk off into your own sunset. Sadly though, usually someone feelings are hurt, someone’s upset, someone has to be the bad guy and friends feel like they have to choose sides.
With divorce and break up’s being more than norm, than the exception to the rule these days, people feel more and more like they have to take sides. What do you say, or how do you say to your friends, I don’t want you to choose. I want you to be friends with both of us.
With technology, there are so many new wrinkles to this question. Now, not only do you have to choose whether you see this person in the real world, you have to choose whether or not to be “friends” online. It’s not even OK to “like”your friends’ ex because you took your friend’s side.
I find this all so disappointing and disheartening. Friends should be valued, treasured and savored. Life is too short to create rifts and angst where there is none. We are all multi faceted and are different things to different people. Why not embrace that?
I’d love to know your thoughts and experiences you have had. Would you do things differently? What did you say to your friends?
We all have things that happen to us. We also have those things that we make happen. I make myself happy every day. I make the life I want to live. I make the friends I want to have. I make conscience choices every day to be as genuine as I can.
Part of being genuine in my life is knowing what I can and cannot do. I cannot control anyone else. I cannot make anyone else happy. I cannot make anyone do anything they don’t want to do.
I can make my life the best it can be. I can be as happy, grateful, thoughtful, and peaceful as I want to be. My life is mine to enjoy to the fullest. I will not waste a single minute. I will savor them all, for the ones we have are all we are going to get. Make the most of them all. Make every single minute count.
We cannot undo what has been done. Be mindful of your words and actions. The things you put out there cannot be taken back. You get what you give. If all you are putting out is hatred and anger, how do you expect to find genuine positivity and love?
Enjoy all the day has to bring; a good book, a new song, and a happy heart.
In college I studied English and art; the things that made me happy. I am still the English and art major at heart. It is still the written word that brings me joy. The use of language to tell a story and transport you to another place. A splash of color, a glistening dewdrop, or a majestic sunset bring me such happiness. Seeing the pure pinkness of my cat’s nose while she naps in the sun and how water droplets bead on my dog’s coat when we walk in the rain. These are a few of my favorite things.
I now sit at a desk all day pushing a pencil, really a mouse and a keyboard. It drives some of my friends a little nuts that I don’t want to talk about work. I have the luxury of being able to leave it at the office and that is where it stays. It is not the thing in life that brings me joy, so why would I want to talk about it? It certainly does not define me.
I want to be defined by the happiness and joy in my life, the new knowledge I glean each day, and the smile I leave for someone else. I love to learn now that I am learning on my terms. School was never fun and that’s why I thought I wanted to be a teacher. Today I teach what I want, the way I want. I teach people tiny ways to be happy and how to spread joy. Even when I teach at “work”, I have fun. Because otherwise, why do it.
If we can’t have fun, what’s the point? What defines your life and how you live? Are you working just for another paycheck? We all have to have money to live, but do you make the best use of your life outside of that paycheck?
A few recent snaps that made me smile and I hope they will you as well. May this day bring you all the smiles and joy you desire.
When I was a kid, my favorite foods were mac and cheese and shrimp scampi. The first time I was served scampi with the heads on, I didn’t eat shrimp for a year. I was a little horrified
Fast forward a few years and a trip to New Orleans. We went to Pascal Manale’s, home of Barbeque Shrimp. There is no grill involved in this BBQ, just lots of butter, garlic, and bread to dip. This was a hedonistic mess of goodness sautéed and served family style. This recipe was developed in 1953 and is one of the city’s most copied creations.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. There are dozens of variation and takes on this recipe. My favorite was one we had a few years later at Slice Pizzeria on Magazine St. It was the garlic and butter plus a huge amount of herbs that reminded me of a chimichurri sauce. The herbs really brightened up the heaviness of the butter and took this dish to a whole new level.
This Sunday we had a Mardi Gras dinner with a bunch of friends with everyone making their Nola favorites. I’m happy to report my barbeque shrimp were divine, and the dish was scraped, sopped, and mopped clean. I will definitely be making this again, and very soon!
Here’s what I did:
New Orleans Style Barbecue Shrimp Recipe
1 Sticks of Unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp Garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme, chopped, plus more for finish
1-2 Tbsp Fresh Oregano, chopped, plus more for finish
1-2 Tbsp Flat leaf parsley, chopped, plus more for finish
Juice of 1 Lemon
about ¼ cup Louisiana Hot Sauce
about ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
generous dusting of white pepper (I’m allergic to black pepper)
generous dusting of Tony Chachere’s
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt)
2 lbs tails on shrimp
½ cup Abita Amber Beer (optional for deglazing. I didn’t have any)
Start with 2 tablespoons butter in a medium hot skillet. Add the garlic and sauté until slightly browned. Add the fresh herbs and cook for 2 minutes. Deglaze with the beer if you have it, otherwise add lemon juice and reduce by half.
Add Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, pepper, salt, Tony’s and shrimp. Toss to coat. Put lid on skillet and sauté shrimp for about 5 minutes or until done. Do not over-cook!
Chop up thyme, oregano, and parsley so you have about a cup of herbs combined. When Shrimp are done, add remaining stick of butter and stir in, followed by cup of fresh herbs. Serve with good crusty French bread or dinner rolls for sopping.
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
In my ongoing quest to do something new each week, I was presented with an opportunity to do something to help a friend and many others. I have just contributed to my first Go Fund Me and I hope you will as well.
This from my friends Valerie & Kathryn:
As many of you know, our dear sister, Anne, lost her battle to addiction this past July. In her honor, we would like to establish a scholarship at the Yakima Valley Community College to help fund individuals working towards becoming addiction counselors. (This is the college where Anne received her training.)
We are hoping to raise $5000 which will set up a perpetual scholarship, that will exist as long as the community college does. This is our way of celebrating Anne and her efforts towards fighting addiction and helping others. We hope that by helping others to become counselors, we can save lives and make a difference. Please consider donating to this cause. We have set up a Go Fund Me site which can be found at:
If you are not in a position to donate, instead, please talk to your family and love ones about addiction. If you notice anyone struggling, please encourage them to get professional help.
Here’s to helping make someone’s day, and life, just a little bit better.
There are times when we feel alone and that the skies can’t get much darker.
Then someone reminds you they care.
A call, a note, a smile
Do not forget everything we do impacts someone or something.
It’s hard to not let other’s poor behavior impact us.
We must rise above. Be the light that shines. We are the change.
Sitting in the sunshine
I am renewed
I have the strength of those around me
To help me up
I’m thankful everyday for the good people I have in my life and that I, in turn, have the means to help others.