14 November 2009

Gobble Up The Season

"The hardest arithmetic to master
is that which enables us to count our blessings."
~Eric Hoffer

Ugh! I absolutely cannot believe that Christmas is only 35 minutes away! Where did the year go; where did life go? I’m not ready! I’ve only got $10.00 in my Christmas savings plan so far! I’m just kidding; I don’t have a Christmas savings plan. Are you kidding me? I’m still working on my 2009 New Year’s resolution list and still trying to shed last year's turkey and fixing's.

It seems like yesterday when I was joking about the Halloween stuff already being put out at the stores and now the stockings are hung by the chimney with care...in what was once the lawn and garden section. Poor Thanksgiving; cursed with the middle child syndrome. I was absolutely delighted to walk into my hair salon the other evening and see a Thanksgiving tree. How often do you see that? I tried not to make eye contact with the big plastic rat underneath the tree; a leftover Halloween decoration. (See what I mean, hurryin' through the holidays!) You almost have to. "Hurry up and eat, Grandpa...I need that plate for my Christmas dinner!"

I wish we had more time to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday, my jeans are not as flexible, however. Perhaps it's time for Liz Claiborne to come out with a holiday pants line. One size fits all, Halloween through Christmas. It's so sad that you spend a couple of days cooking and preparing and then it's all over with in 30 minutes or less; a culinary orgasm of sorts! Well at least the "big O," that is. We all seem to keep going back for more and more and more! It is really the only day during the year that such a wide variety of foods are prepared causing us to stuff ourselves relentlessly like animals who are hoarding their food for the winter months.

Is it a coincidence that the holiday season is followed by the "new" year or is it a health club scam? No matter, I am thankful for all of it! Any opportunity I have to eat ANYTHING with the word pumpkin in it works for me. And of course it begins with the plastic one filled with treats that I trick my son out of.

As with every year for the past nine, I am thankful for the title of "Mommy" to one of the most amazing children created by my heavenly Father. I am thankful and blessed by those who call me friend. It is an honor to have you in my life and whether you are near or you are far, you are never more than a heartbeat away. And last, but not least, I am thankful for my gift of humor that has not failed me yet. It is my oxygen and you are my regulators. Dive in and enjoy your holiday.

I am sharing one of my most favorite Thanksgiving dishes of all time. Since I have long been the "token orphan," I have been blessed to be invited to many different homes for the holidays and it was at one of those homes that I first tried Artichoke Mary Lou and it has since become my own Thanksgiving tradition. Not only is it a beautiful dish, but it is absolutely delicious and easy! Also, I have thrown in a quickie dessert that follows. Gobble til you wobble!

Happy Thanksgiving from my space to yours,

Sunnie Welsh
The Paper Whisperer

Artichoke Mary Lou

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
3 cloves chopped garlic
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tomato chopped
1 can artichoke hearts w/liquid
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

In large glass pan or casserole dish, place olive oil, onions, green onions, celery parsley and garlic. Mix well. Add bread crumbs, tomato, salt, pepper and artichokes with their liquid. Mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Sprinkle Parmesan (I use the shredded kind) all over top and put back in oven until melted.

The Big "O" Chocolate Cake

1 box of chocolate cake mix (your choice)
1 jar of caramel ice cream topping
1 bag of Heath bar crumbles (in the baking section)
1 tub of Cool Whip

Bake cake as instructed and allow to cool. Take the end of a wooden spoon and poke holes all over the cake. Pour the jar of caramel all over the cake (it will seep down into the holes). Spread tub of cool whip over entire cake. Sprinkle as much of the Heath topping over the top. Cover and chill. It is so easy and folks will NOT stop asking you for the recipe.

28 June 2009

"You Have No New Messages"

"Before you look for validation in others, try and find it in yourself."
~Greg Behrendt~

So yesterday I finally rented the movie, "He's Just Not That Into You." The movie was based on the book by the same name, written by Greg Behrendt. Cute, cute and keeee-yute!!! The stars? Why, you and me, of course. (Nope, I didn't get paid either.)

I read the book a few years ago and could not put it down. It was hysterically enlightening to "hear" a guy's point of view on this subject. Greg had a way of softening the blow of rejection and instilling vital facts that have left me very cynical towards anyone affixed to a penis. Now I do the "blowing off" because now I have the upper hand. *That was funny on soooo many levels*

Anyway, the movie begins with the narrator reminding us that as little girls we are programmed to believe that if a guy acts like a total jerk, certainly he must like you. (I would LOVE to see the boy that sat behind me in the sixth grade and made my life a living HELL...a preview of coming "attractions, perhaps?)

"If a guy treats you like he doesn't give a shit, it's because, HE DOESN'T GIVE A SHIT!" That was one of my favorite lines from the movie and one of the hardest realizations for females to grasp. *READ THE BOOK!* However, this "information" is moot in my case and probably in many others my age. Now when "he" doesn't call, I focus on the negative for a couple of seconds (oh yeah, there's not one) and then I rejoice in the positive; I get to spend the evening enjoying a menage a trois with my two favorite men, Ben and Jerry.

At times during the movie, it was excruciatingly painful to watch the lead character (Old Me) make a complete ass out of herself. I sympathized with her pain and laughed at her constant need to check her answering machine for messages. In one scene she is in the middle of a yoga class with her cell phone flipped open and unable to stop staring at it. You are lying if you say, "YOU CAN'T RELATE" to anything about this movie. "They" so have us pegged!

Yeeeeears ago,I cut a cartoon out of magazine because it made me laugh to the point of tears. There is a girl sitting on a sofa in front of TV. Next to her is a table with a telephone on it. On the TV you see, "We interrupt this program to bring you an important message, HE'S NOT GOING TO CALL!" It still makes me laugh. Why? BECAUSE I CAN RELATE!!! Oh the silly days in my life that I wish I could have back, knowing what I know now, of course.

The movie is uproariously funny and has something that EVERBODY can identify with. Drew Barrymore's character even bellyaches over the perils of modern technology with my second favorite quote in the movie. "I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies."

Get a group of your girlfriends together, (old, young and/or clueless) and have a "He's Just Not That Into You," intervention party. Fun, fun, fun! And for goodness sakes,if you have a daughter, don't make her read Moby Dick or Tale of Two Cities, MAKE HER read "He's Just Not That Into You!" The Classics are beautiful, but reality can be ugly. Life is not a fairy tale and all you have to do is turn on Jerry Springer to see that "Happily Ever After's" are few and far between. (I'm kidding, people) In real life, you don't find a toad, kiss him and he turns into a Prince. The sad truth is, you find a "Prince," kiss him, and THEN he turns into a toad!

Here is how my outgoing message sounds NOW: "Congratulations, I gave you the right number! Now you have exactly 60 seconds to convince me WHY I should call you back....beep."

To thine own self be true,
The Paper Whisperer

06 March 2009

Special Delivery

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."
~William Wordsworth~

I walked to my mailbox with the usual trepidation. The ONLY reason I go there is when I am starting to worry that the postman will issue me a citation for "full-upedness." What was my hurry, after all? Unlike the Fifth Dimension's hit song, I do not love Bill, I NEVER will, and when I look at him, I DO NOT see the passion eyes of May, I see PAY! When I arrived at the mailbox, Bill was there, as usual, but today was different. There was something else in the mailbox, something very special, something that I had not seen in a very, very long time. It was a letter with a beautifully handwritten address. I examined it very carefully, admiring the way my name was written in elegant cursive writing. Finally, I slid my finger between the flap and the envelope and tore into my "special delivery." I inspected the paper up and down, front and back. The stationary was cheerful with a very happy rainbow and floral design. At the top of each page was written, "May you find the special moments in each day." May you indeed!

As I began to read, I stopped to absorb the handwriting; the beautiful cursive letters that have become so "Greek" in today's world of modern technology. I began to read my special letter, penned with so much warmth and sincerity. As I neared the bottom of each page, a lump formed in my throat. I did not want it to come to an end. I was reminded of the times as a little girl when a letter would arrive from my grandmother. It was as exciting as opening packages on Christmas morning. She always had scented stationary and the fanciest writing you have ever seen, by little girl standards, at least. I would run to my Father's office to quickly write a reply. It was just as much fun.

It was the words at the end of my special delivery that made the most impact. "I know e-mail is faster, but being a traditionalist, I believe a handwritten letter is more personal. I am trying to keep myself true to my beliefs and not succumb to the technology that eliminates human touch." How profound is that? Do you remember the last time you received a handwritten letter? I picked my brain trying to remember, to no avail. Thank you dear Annie for your written words. You have humbled me and motivated me to send out a few handwritten letters of my own. Prior to your letter, I could not be bothered to take the time. I feel ashamed. Unlike you, I have allowed modern technology to impede on my sense of goodness.

Ironically, I am the one who screams the loudest when I receive those cards at Christmas which are stamped (usually in gold letters) with each family members name. Address label, as well as return address label, are typed and computer generated onto self-adhesive labels. And of course the message inside sure wasn't thought up by you or even Santa Claus for that matter. Not so much as a "Hi, how are you?," "Have a great year!," or a "Kiss my bum!" written ANYWHERE!! Every now and again, I might get a "Merry X-mas." What the hell is that?!! Are you too lazy to write out the word "Christ?" Remember Him? The one the "holiday" is all about? Grrrrrrr! Newsflash!! It DOES NOT warm the cockles of my heart to know that your computer was thinking of me during the Holidays!!!

I hope this message (I can't bring myself to type out the word blog for fear of the hypocrisy behind this whole message) will inspire you to sit down and write someone a handwritten letter. Wouldn't it be exciting to bring back the days of staring out the window in anticipation of the mailman's arrival instead of closing the blinds in his face? Now go do the "write" thing!

Peace Out,
The Paper Whisperer

01 March 2009

If These Walls Could Talk

"To bear defeat with dignity, to accept criticism with poise, to receive honors with humility--these are marks of maturity and graciousness."
~William Arthur Ward~

Oh yeah, THEY CAN and THEY DO! If you haven't jumped on the Facebook bandwagon yet, what on earth are you waiting for? Forget the moon! This, my friends, is the giant leap for all mankind! *Rolling eyes*

Not so very long ago, I was a self-appointed "rebel without a facebook cause." I didn't "get it," nor did I want to! And since I have never had the "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" mentality, I remained steadfast to my conviction that Facebook was silly and certainly not for me. Nosiree Bob! I was far more mature and sophisticated! *Yep...eyes still a'rollin'!*

After many pleas from friends, family and countrymen, I finally created a MySpace. I put all my love into the "designing" of my new "home away from home." I was so proud of it and couldn't hardly wait for visitors. There was just one problem (okay, a few); there was no one to "invade" my space. What good is my space without space invaders?! Where did everyone go? You know! All of the sudden MySpace was "like sooo last year!" I would post comments on friends spaces, only to have them answer (weeks later) with a comment back that went something like this. "Hey girl (ugh)! God, I never check my MySpace! Get a Facebook so we can chat it up!" But, but, I DON'T WANT A FACEBOOK! I want MySpace! I want people to enjoy visiting me. I have beautiful artwork, awesome music that I change frequently and all my friends in "top 10" order!

Day after day I fought the transition. I continued setting the mood with my music, dangling carrots in the form of mood status updates (e.g. "Robin is lonely") and ALWAYS leaving the light on! I felt like Linus sitting in the pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin. *Big sigh* Blow out the candles, turn off the music, and pull the plug on the "Vacancy" sign. Clearly if you build it, they will not always come. *Note to self: "gas up"the computer and do Mapquest to Facebook*

Better late than never, I (never) say. "Pull into" Facebook expecting to find a wild party going on...HUGE disappointment! I sat staring at my graffiti-less wall and my blue silhouette against the white background (a "newbie," respectfully). I got up and made a pot of coffee because I planned on burning the midnight oil designing yet another "den of iniquity" for my social pleasure.

First things first, let's get rid of that silly silhouette (try saying that 3 times straight!) and post a real photo. There we go! One sip of coffee and I'm done with my "in your face-book!" There are no pretty backgrounds that accentuate your character. There are no music players that add background music to all life's ups and downs. Just a plain old page that separates me from NO ONE!! How will my "peeps" know how much I love Lucy or Lance Armstrong? How will anyone know how much I care about the homeless, the hungry and hot tamales? No one will ever know whether or not I "accepted the rose" or "lost that lovin' feeling." Eeeeegads!

Ho-hum, let's start "collecting" friends, at least. That's what you do on Facebook, you collect friends. Never mind if you like them or not, just add them to the collection. They are objects now; little icon faces that tell the world, "You've got a friend!" *James Taylor strumming the guitar* Let's see, I've collected about140 now and I actually know about 10 of them. They all seem genuinely sweet, however. Most of them are extremely courteous in that they let us know where they are and what they are doing at every flipping minute of the day! My day seems rather mundane compared to Dick, who is "going to cut the grass" or Jane who is "wishing she had a Facebook Friend with benefits and a vodka martini." "Note to Jane: Now, you will! Merry Christmas from your Facebook friend!*

All joking aside (but just for a minute) Facebook has been tons of fun. Had it not been for Facebook I would not have reconnected with old friends and been "stalked" by new ones. (Told ya it would only be a minute) I would not have the joy of "witnessing" old high school friends come together once again after many, many (okay, not so many) years. I think we can all agree that the "high school years" were often times painful for so many of us. It is refreshing to see everyone loving everyone, devoid of the hurtful cliques from younger days. No one seems to care that Dick has the personality of a throw pillow; we continue to comment on his stamp collecting photos just to show the love. We ALL care that Jane is an ignorant slut, but we overlook her imperfections because that's what friends are for.

I would trade my high school years for $20.00, but I would not take a million for the old friends that have waltzed back into my life as parents, grandparents, survivors and/or lovers of life. Each friend is a blessing and another brick in my wall. The lesson is not lost if the wisdom is put to use.

Peace out,
The Paper Whisperer

01 February 2009

A Glutton For Punishment

~Miss Piggy~

As if I didn't know how "UNHEALTHY", unhealthy foods were already, I had it "sliced" into me this weekend, literally. Christian and I went to the Texas Roadhouse for lunch (you know anything that has the word TEXAS in it completely negates healthy!). But, what the "howdy," Christian was getting his hair cut next door and smoke "signals" seemed to be begging us over. Besides, Christian had a "free" kids meal token that he won from school. Don't you love that word "free?" In small (very small) print underneath the words, "free kids meal," were, "With the purchase of and adult meal AND beverage." "Free, l'il pahdner , just so long as you have a parent we can lasso." No biggie, we love The Texas Roadhouse and the fact that they serve those piping hot rolls with cinnamon honey butter (are you feelin' your arteries harden yet?) as soon as you sit down.

The server walked up to our table, placed the rolls down (you are what you eat just popped into my head...rolls, get it?) and introduced herself. I'm like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, BACK AWAY FROM THE ROLLS! I politely acknowledged her while reaching for the 6" bowie knife they supply you to eat with. I grabbed a roll and began the surgical procedure preparing my roll for the big butter slather. In my gluttonous state of confusion, I sliced off the tip of my index finger. Blood was gushing from my finger as I sadly watched the steam from the rolls subside....no "anesthesia" for me.

Clearly, I would "need" to dive straight into some comfort food. The server came back and spied all the blood and asked me if I was okay. "Oh yeah, I'm fine, just changing my oil. Now could you run along and find me a tourniquet to stop the bleeding and a doctor to reattach my finger tip!" She came back with a lovely blue band-aid and a fresh basket of rolls. No butter for me! As I perused the menu for finger food (pun intended), I spied the combo appetizer (no spoon, fork or bowie knife required). Three items, all fried, all injected with cheese and all served with my choice of THREE sauces! (ONLY in America) Ah, yes, just what the doctor ordered. Sniffling and looking up with pathetic eyes, I spewed my order to our server. I was careful to hold my E.T.'ish (phone home) finger up where she could see it. I felt the need to justify my impending smorgasbord of lard.

It came, I saw, I conquered...all the while being lambasted by my eight year old. "Eat as I say, NOT as I do," I politely reminded him. So the server brings my check and my total was $4.27!! Although, I couldn't put my finger on it (haha), I assured her that there must be some kind of mistake. "No, no mistake. All the appetizers on Saturday are half price!" I looked at Christian and said, "What do we have planned for next Saturday?" He looked at me and said, "Don't even think about it!!" Big Sigh!

Haircut for Christian - $14.95 (plus tip)
Meal for two at the Texas Roadhouse $4.27 (plus (finger-tip)
Being kept in line by the cutest cowboy in Colorado.......Priceless!!

Oink Oink,
The Paper Whisperer

20 January 2009

Better Late Than Never

"You are not your circumstances. You are your possibilities. If you know that, you can do anything."
~Oprah Winfrey~

I absolutely love a New Year! I compare it to the quintessential Monday diet, but on a much grander scale, in that, we are not afforded fifty-two Monday's, but rather one lousy chance per year to "get it right." As I headed out from Georgia to Colorado on New Year's Day, I began getting my resolutions in order; crossing all my T's and dotting all my I's, as in, "I" promise to do this and "I" promise to do that! Thus begins the journey down the path paved with the best of intentions and the most righteous resolutions. I have chanted the same mantra every year since 1980...."This is YOUR year, Robin!" Yada, yada, yada. And make no mistake, it always is "my year" right up until about the 15th of January, that is. Big sigh!

Somehow I just feel differently about 2009. I am older, boy am I older, and far more wiser. With that being said, perhaps 2020 will be "my year," as in "hindsight is 2020." I will be a few months from age 60, probably about to give birth to my third child. I seem to have a child every 20 years and have dubbed it "Robinetics," the ability to make life much harder than it was meant to be. :0) God, I am like some sort of prehistoric animal that you would think would be extinct by now. I am referring to the "dumb blonde." Do you think there is an exhibit at the Smithsonian yet? I am changing my drivers license to read, "Dumb Blonde Donor." In the case of death, please forward (good hair day only) worn out shell to Smithsonian.

Aside from resolving to be a better mother, friend, and human being, good health is going to be a priority for 2009. I am vowing to stress less and laugh more. And trust me when I tell you, I am my own dinner and a show. Front row tickets anyone? Oooops, sorry, already SOLD OUT! Do I care that I have friends who will laugh at me instead of with me? Not on your life! If I can't set a good example at least I can be a horrible warning. I have certainly given new meaning to the phrase, "Do as I say, NOT as I do!" I preach it to my children on a daily basis...at least to the one that calls me!! I won't mention any names, but he still lives with me.

I studied hard preparing for 2009. I read a plethora of books that promised to "show me the way," and point me in the right direction, if you will. Yeah, that's not working for me. I am completely "zenned" out and my ying is butting up against my yang. Is life really that complex? No, of course it isn't! I finally found the answer in the last book I picked up, not for $19.95 at Barnes and Noble, but . 25 at a garage sale. The book was titled "All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten." The title piqued my curiosity and I happened to have a quarter in my pocket (and yes, I'm glad to see you). The book turned out to be worth its weight in gold. The author, Robert Fulghum, a genius in his own right, imparts his Credo, as follows:

"All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:

Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life-learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup-they all die. So do we. And then remember the Dick and Jane books and the first word you learned-the biggest word of all-LOOK." Amen, Mr. Fulghum

So there you have it people. Life is your value meal; BIGGIE SIZE IT!! Have a glorious New Year. Be safe, be healthy, be wise and be yourself, you are the only one that you have to spend the rest of your life with.

Peace Out!
The Paper Whisperer