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Are You Being Taken for Granted?

How often have you wished someone would stop taking you for granted?

Think about it before your answer.

How many times have you felt that way?

How bad did it feel?

Without dwelling on each experience, make a mental list of names of people you’ve felt have taken you for granted.

Now add one more name to that list.

Your own.

We passed the valet parking and found a safe spot next to a huge bush in the neighborhood of quaint bungalows. Katherine’s hairdresser had recommended the restaurant. Its atmosphere of was rich, dark, inviting, beautiful, and trendy. We ordered Shiraz and a seafood fondue. We told secrets, we laughed and we treated the bartender like he was our best friend (although we did stop short of saying anything indiscrete when he was nearby).  We were completely comfortable and happy.

About an hour in to this perfect night, another middle-aged woman sat at the bar, alone. She was waiting on friends, and it was obvious she was well acquainted with the bartender. He was a huge man with a deep voice and broad smile. He made us feel protected as he poured our drinks. The woman had a friendly look, blonde hair, expensive earrings that resembled peacock feathers, and a fabulous turquoise scarf. A flattering, dark coat covered her outfit.

I could see Katherine bristle. I wonder if she noticed her own physical reaction. After a few minutes she said, “My hairdresser told me I’d be the most unattractive woman in this place.”  I looked at her, shocked.  Was she kidding? Did he really say that to her? Was he being sarcastic?  I didn’t know what to think… I was shocked that she apparently believed it to be true.

I looked around. A row of tables against a wall held four older couples. Behind us, the tables were filled with younger, attractive people. If there was one common element, it was money – not beauty. No one was stunning.

I realized Katherine’s statement was based solely on the appearance of the woman who shared the bar with us.  I was saddened that the presence of a lone person could be so offsetting for her.  “Katherine, listen to me…”

She looked at me with anticipation and with the openness of a child. Her face told me that she knew the words I was about to speak would be from the heart and for her benefit. I wished she knew how beautiful she was in that light. It felt good to have her trust.

“When we were young we worried that our legs were too boney or too curvy…”

“Fat,” Katherine interrupted.

I silenced her with a look and kept talking, “ We worried that our hair was too straight or too frizzy. Instead of all of that worrying, we should have been showing off our flat bellies!”

We both laughed and I pretended like I was going to lift my blouse to show off my skin.

“Now we’re 45 and we can do anything we want with our hair, we’ve grown used to our legs, and we’d give anything for those pre-baby bellies.  Stop comparing yourself to anyone else, and be happy for who you are… today… right now. So what if you need glasses to read now?  They look great. We laughed again as I toyed with my glasses.

“One day we’re going to be 75 and we’ll look back on tonight and we’ll say, ‘I’d give anything to be back there. I was young and beautiful, and I had money. I could do anything I wanted. If only I could go back to that time, there’s so much I would do with my life!’ We’re healthy, beautiful, happy, and independent.  Go buy yourself a gorgeous turquoise scarf; you can afford it, and that’s the only thing she has that you don’t. “

Take yourself of the list of people who take you for granted. Go shopping. Look in the mirror. Enjoy your reflection. Smile. You’re fabulous!

A mask of smiles

See that girl? The pretty one. The one who’s smiling and getting all the attention.

Tonight she’s going to go home and cry herself to sleep.

Best Nail Polish Removal

When I was a girl, I used cotton balls or paper towels and a bottle of nail polish remover to take the color off my nails. It was a messy job, and it took a lot of paper towels, and the cotton balls tended to leave little strings attached to my nails.  As a young adult, I had my nails professionally manicured.

Ah the 80′s…. Where did I get all that money?  I also used to tan… DON’T DO THAT!!! Skin cancer scars aren’t pretty, trust me.

When the twins were born, manicures and tans were quickly forgotten as all of my time and money were devoted to the boys. Since the boys turned 15 or so, I started paying more attention to myself again, but now I’m frugal – we had so little money for many years when they were growing up so I’m uncomfortable paying more than I have to for anything. The last professional manicure I got only lasted a week – she put the polish on too thick or it wasn’t dry or something, it just kind of peeled off in gooey pieces.

Over the years I’ve tried those short round bottles with the sponge and nail polish remover inside (great concept, but it doesn’t work as well as I’d want it to). Then I found some wonderful pre-moistened pads (sold in sets of 5 for $5 – $7). They’re GREAT for travel, but not for frequent use. The package says each pad will clean 10 nails – that’s a bit optimistic. I’d use the nail pads and wet them with old fashioned polish remover to finish the job.

I love the texture of the pre-moistened pads – it helps remove the nail polish, and somehow prevents them from dripping. I just wasn’t completely happy with them (except for travel) – they were a bit expensive considering I still had to buy nail polish remover. Also, to really do the job correctly, I needed to use two pads.

Inspiration led me to facial buff sponges (usually $1 – $5 for a 12 pack). I cut them in two and they EASILY clean 10 nails.  I bet they’d clean all 20 – but  I never do all my nails at once (I hate being so immobile). They have a perfect texture, they don’t drip, and they don’t leave any little hairs behind on my nails.

I wasn’t going to post another blog tonight, but I had to let my nails dry. :)  I took the teal off and painted my nails pink.  What do you think about the teal? My son Jordan picked it out.

Creamy Tortellini Soup (Vegetarian)

Here’s a wonderful, creamy, vegetarian soup you can eat warm or cold!

I’ve made this twice now. It was better than expected the first time, and then I tweaked it to be even better the second time.  My roommate and I were sold on this at first bite – and then declared our love for it when we discovered it’s yummy cold as well. Note: the picture is from the first attempt, so it has less mushrooms and spinach than my modified recipe.

Here is the modified recipe with notes about the original.

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour

4 cups water

14oz can of vegetable broth

Sliced fresh mushrooms (at least 6 big ones)

1/2 cup chopped onion

½ tsp dried crushed basil

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp oregano

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

2 cups cheese tortellini

12oz can evaporated milk

6 handfuls of fresh baby spinach

Optional: ground black pepper, shredded parmesan cheese

 

Melt the butter in a 3.5 or 4 quart pot, add the flour and gradually add in the water, stirring til smooth and watching out for any potential lumps.

The original recipe called for an envelope of white sauce mix. I couldn’t find that ANYWHERE, so used the butter and flour instead. 

Stir in the broth, onion, basil, salt, oregano, cayenne pepper, and mushrooms.

The original recipe called for 3 cloves of minced garlic to be added at this point. (It’s not that I’m lazy or that I don’t like garlic; it’s just that I made a silly promise to a guy that I’d give it up – that may be a story for later.)

The original recipe also called for just 1.5 cups sliced fresh mushrooms, and that’s all I used the first time. The mushrooms were SO good and added so much flavor, that, that I just bought a good sized carton the next time and used them all.

Cover and cook on very low heat for a couple hours (you’ll know when it’s done because it’s going to smell so good you don’t know how you can wait much longer, and you certainly don’t want it to reduce too much.)

I use a gas stove. You could also follow the original recipe by using a slow cooker and cooking for 5-6 hours on low or 2.5-hours on high.

Now it’s time to add the tortellini. Stir it in, cover and cook as long as directed on the package.

The original recipe called for a 7 or 8 oz package of dried tortellini. I bought the kind from the refrigerated section of the store, and used 2 cups. It took some skill to find it – it’s between the cream cheese and Jell-O at Kroger – swear! (I wouldn’t have found it without the assistance of a clerk.)

Once the tortellini is cooked, stir in the evaporated milk and the spinach.  It’s going to look like WAY too much spinach, but it will shrink and wilt and trust me you’ll love it.

The original recipe called for 6 cups spinach, which I measured as carefully as I could. It wasn’t enough. The soup was better, and preparation was easier when I just grabbed 6 handfuls.  I buy spinach in a rectangular plastic carton, so there’s plenty leftover for salad!

Keep it on the heat until the spinach is cooked the way you want it.  You’re going to love it!

 

Hearts & Fail – a metaphor

Hello! This is my first blog post, so it’s quite simple. 

I’m making a card for a dear friend’s birthday. I wanted to include something fun and creative inside. I’d saved a tutorial for an origami heart on Pinterest, and I thought that would be perfect.

I found the heart I wanted, I knew if I worked for it, I could have it and it would be perfect, and I would give it away.

I pulled up the tutorial, found a crisp dollar bill and set out to work. It seemed like it would be super easy – the tutorial had step by step instructions with photographs and an accompanying video. I decided to use the steps and consult the video if I got stuck. However, the steps and the video weren’t consistent. My project didn’t resemble the heart in the video or in the photographs. I tried turning it upside down and sideways, reviewing the video over and over, rereading the steps. It just wasn’t working. 

It seemed so easy, I had everything I needed, including confidence. I really thought I was doing everything right, but I ended up with a failed heart.

I gave up. I found a better tutorial for a simpler heart. In this video, the man was actually describing what he was doing as he was doing it. I ended up with a heart out of paper – which was the goal – but it was just so simple.

I turned my back on the heart I wanted. I decided I wasn’t worthy of making it work, that it just wasn’t meant for me. I looked for, and easily found, something else that met the need, but it wasn’t at all what I wanted. I was settling.

Determined, I grabbed another dollar and attempted the first tutorial again. I used a combination of the step-by-step instructions and the video. With a bit of skill and luck and lessons learned, I ended up with the heart I wanted. I’ll mail both of them inside the birthday card. One complex, one simple, both different but neither wrong. 

I won’t settle for anything less than true love.

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About me:  Lover of harmony, of being kind, of knowing/celebrating who you are, of music, and musicians. Mom of awesome twin boys men. In to lucid dreaming, writing and cruelty free food.

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