Moody Days Happen To Us All

There are days like yesterday, where I was in a bit of a “funk”. Not mad at anyone but myself. And not even mad really, but disappointed in myself. I just needed to be silent, to put out the “closed” sign, and not deal with anyone for that day. I needed to leaf through the mornings event in my head, comb out the thoughts with a delicate brush and then remain speechless for the rest of the day. Doesn’t always happen that way, as normal life whispers quietly in from under a door and unlocks it from the other side.

I gave it a funny look but it paid no attention to me. My apologies!

When someone tells you that they are feeling depressed, for whatever reason, listen to them. There are different levels of depression, and yesterday, my level was about a 6. Felt like crying, but didn’t. Felt like I wasn’t smart, but I’ve always known that I wasn’t in the top three percent of a class as far as “smarts”, but if the test would be on being a creative person, I feel confident that I’d probably be at least an eight.

But I wasn’t in a classroom, not exactly. But it felt like it, and my mind froze. It was not a good day. Bits of funk kept stopping by, saying “I’m here! Don’t try and ignore me Diana! I’m not going away today!” As if we were “best friends”.

So, after hours of trying to make my best friend, Funky Flo try to go away, it seemed apparent that we were going to just hang out yesterday, make some chocolate chip cookies, and take long naps together.

But, it’s a new day and Funky Flo is not allowed in today. I’ve given her a very, very threatening look and I’m not kidding. I will thrown the cookie pans at her if she tries to hang around me today! (not the cookies…I’m not stupid…)

Yesterday was a bad dream that I had all day. It’s passing now.

I have not forgotten what makes life worth living, or who my really family and friends are. And one of those friends, is me. I have the power to make myself happy again.

Today, I’m unwrapping myself slowly, tossing blame out the window. Knowing that another opportunity is out there for me, somewhere. Maybe it’s buried, but I’ll find it. I don’t mind digging in the dirt.

Sorry Funky Flo…our friendship ends here. Go run some errands, or hop onto a train, but just GO! It’s not me, it’s you. I have no further interest in allowing you to steal my joy.

Much to my surprise, she smiled at me as she left.

Peace.

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Beautiful Is Found In Art, Women And In Words

So many assumptions are made these days. We look at the way women are dressed and we assume that she is classy because of the solid grey business suit she has on with a strand of white pearls and her hair neatly pulled back. Maybe we assume that when we’re looking at unusual displays of art work (Susan Hiller, artist, born 1940), not only is their talent questioned, but perhaps their state of mind as well.

But we really are just assuming things. We don’t know what is the truth as we think we do. Maybe the artist whose work is unusual to our eyes that is truly exceptional. And maybe the women in the grey business suit is secretly scheming the perfect murder.

In both of these scenarios, beauty could be written in the form of poetry.

We can “reject” someone else’s vision because it’s not our own taste of art. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not beautiful to another. Example, artist Cindy Sherman’s photography of self-portraits expose the fiction of what is the “real” women behind the images of Western culture. This is her work, yet it does not reveal anything about who Cindy Sherman is, the person. But I see her work, and because I find it to be beautiful, in my eyes, she is as well.

Displaying one’s own vision of art is having the freedom to do so.

Deciding how you want to dress or wear your hair one day and then completely changing your look the next day is totally up to you. I’ve been known to having green hair myself when I was younger, and some purple streaks added to my hair when I was in my late forties. So what?

We each have to be who we are without worrying that we aren’t pleasing others.

Words are only stringed together, and some can last only moments, others last a lifetime. But often, the words we chose to describe something or someone can leave a bitter taste on the tongue and darkness in the heart. As women, we should be more supportive of each other. We have our own language that men will never understand!

So please, chose your words carefully. Because there really is beauty found in everything.

Now, it’s time for me to go for a little walk, and see what beauty I can find. It truly does exist. Life is an adventure, and I want to see it clearly, truthfully, the good and the bad. It changes so quickly, too quickly in fact.

And when I come home, I’ll write a poem of whatever I saw, and it’ll be beautiful if only to me.

Peace

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Addicted To Cooking Shows? Me too!!

It’s late in the afternoon, and I just finished making a fresh veggie salad using my home grown tomatoes, some cucumbers, and red onion. I got the idea after having something similar at a Greek restaurant. I enjoyed it so much I had to go home and try to make it myself, and I have to say, it’s not half bad.

So now that it’s resting in my fridge, I’m looking for something to watch on t.v., and I found one of my favorite cooking shows, The Gourmet King.

Is the host really a gourmet king? I would guess, no, he isn’t. But is he as cute as hell in his little pink t-shirt with a plaid vest over it, tight pants, and overly done blonde highlights in his hair? You bet he is! And his guest, the one’s that actually do the cooking, are almost as cute. There’s one woman that is a regular on his show, and she reminds me of someones grandmother. She’s just as cute as can be, that seems to always make some of her favorite Sunday afternoon dishes, such as freshly made noodles, squid, and oyster mushroom soup. Whenever she smiles (and she smiles often), I smile.  But she’s not there today. Today’s guest chef is making chicken thighs fried with shrimp in a garlic sauce with some type of oriental vegetable. The gourmet king appears to like it!

And I have NO idea what they are saying….because it’s in Korean, I think. And even the subtitles aren’t in English. But I really don’t care. I can still watch the hour long show and enjoy it every time. Food is food!

So I started thinking about all the cooking shows that I enjoy watching. There’s the bar-b-que pit masters, which cooks up a LOT of pork; pork ribs, beef ribs, brisket, etc. Too much fat on it? HELL NO! Is there such a thing when you’re cooking bar-b-que? And don’t forget that sauce when you’re taking your final plate to the judges. It could cost you that winning trophy! Watching the judges sample all that meat….*sigh*.

Then, there’s a show called Cupcake Wars. Do those cute, little cupcakes look like they would even start a war? No matter what you may think, I still find cupcakes to be delicate, frilly, and always fun. All those delicious piles of frosting, butter or cream, sprinkles, pretty colored paper wrapped around each one, and some have incredible fillings that just thinking about them makes me want to lick my fingers!  And when did they get to be so expensive now too? Some from $3 to $4 dollars for a cupcake? Really? But I love the way the final two contestants have to “fight” for the win by having an enormous cupcake display built according to a certain “theme” that they are given. I’ll sit there, holding my need to go to the restroom until I’ve seen both of the displays so I can judge them for myself, as if it mattered. And trust me, it matters. Someone always gives the other dirty looks from across the room, and someone else leaves crying. Such a shame.

This doesn’t even touch the surface of all the cooking shows I watch! But I’m not the only one, or there wouldn’t be so many of them in the first place!

So, what do I really get out of watching them all?

Do I want to be a chef in a 5 star restaurant? Nope. Do I wish that I knew how to cook the perfect rack of lamb? Probably not. Do I want to see how many jalapeno hamburgers I can eat in 15 mins so I can have my name put up on a wall? Certainly NOT! And does it bother me that I can’t cook most of my meals in 30 minutes or less? Well, sometimes. But whatever Rachel Ray. Whatever.

I don’t want or need to be the perfect cook. But I enjoy watching others cook, measure, slice, cut up, season, and taste the food. Sometimes I get ideas from watching them, other times I know that I’ll never make what they are making but I appreciate all the work that can go into a really good, gourmet meal. The only time of the year that I want to invest a huge amount of cooking time into is Thanksgiving and Christmas. And in those two cases, there’s always a few bottles of wine floating around while I’m cooking.

I’ve come a long, long way from thinking canned corn beef is good with eggs for breakfast. But I still enjoy a chili dog with chips for what I call a simple meal. Only now, I make the chili from scratch. (With help from watching chefs on t.v.)

And it does make a huge different in the taste! And I’m even a bit proud that I did make it from scratch and that it’s not from out of a can like the old days.

Isn’t that what life is about? Doing things that make you proud of yourself? I think even Alton Brown would be proud of me. Maybe. Pass the wine baby and let’s cook!

Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

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Discovering A New Book…

“….that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. ” Quoted from the book, “The Shadow Of The Wind”, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

The very first book I ever read that stayed with me was, “The Diary Of Anne Frank”. Amazing. Chilling. How is it that some people do not enjoy reading a good book?

I love everything about the reading experience. Finding a comfy spot on the sofa, one with just enough pillows underneath my head so I don’t get tired. Turning off the volume on the television, and sometimes even my cell phone so I won’t be disturbed during the better parts where the words crawl on my skin or tugs at my heart. Have a little snack close by, one that doesn’t come off on my fingers so I won’t dirty each page as I turn them one after another.

I really do hate getting book pages dirty! Grrrrrrrr!

Often, fighting the desire to keep reading because I know that there are dishes in the sink that need to be washed. I’ve even thought of how was I going to explain to my family that I can’t talk to them right now because I need to know what’s going to happen next to one of my new favorite characters? Was she going to find out who was trying to kill her? Was it her best friend? Her husband? Or the midget, deaf man who had only 8 toes that just got out of prison that lives above her? (too obvious, but it could be him!)

Sometimes it’s hard to try and fall asleep without thinking about where I left off in a book that I’m reading if it’s that good! And let’s be honest, if a book is “that” good, why sleep?

I want the writers description’s of the people and places to take me away, bring me into their world.  Maybe it’s a world of mystery, forbidden desires, or a subject that makes people a bit uncomfortable with themselves. I want a book to make my emotions surface, make me feel things, many things, to feel everything! To feel alive!

It’s all in that first chapter.

If a beginning chapter grabs my attention, opening it’s arms to me and seeps into my mind word after word, then I cannot help but to breathe it in, anticipating what will develop in the next chapter. And the next chapter. And the next.

I may not know much, but I hope that I know how to tell a story, or how to share a dream or emotion onto paper. Allowing some secrets to “come out and play”.  I want to continue to improve my writing by reading the great writing’s of other authors. I want to always find the courage to write from my gut, from  my heart, and not to write only what will sell and make no apologies for it. My writing is simply mine.

I want to always read books that will stay with me inside.  I want to laugh with the characters, cry with them, worry for their safety, secretly wish that they were real and lived next door to me. (Well, not the zombies, but that’s another story).

Not all books will touch me, but the ones that do, I promise you, I’ll never forget.

Finding books to read like this, continues to push me to want to become a better writer. Not a writer like most, but a writer like me. Just me.

Peace.

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Forest, My Forever Angel

As I’m sitting outside on my patio, staring at three large tomato plants, all I can think about is, “Please, don’t die too.”

Each plant was purchased when they were small, young, and in need of attention. I thought that I’d help them to grow, give them a chance of life, rather than waiting to see if they would be bought or tossed into the trash because no one wanted to put the time or effort into them. I knew that they would need large pots, a lot of dirt, plant food, and my attention. But that was fine with me. I’m good at giving attention to things, or I’d like to think that I am.

They’ve each have some small problems along the way. Brown spots, dying leafs, bugs, snails. Oh, those poor little snails. It was them or the plant. I chose the plants, but not without some sadness. I’ve always liked snails. Not sure why, but I do.

But, they’ve survived. So far. Even with heat in the mid-100’s, they are making it. And their tomatoes have been pretty tasty too. But, please, don’t die. Not this week. Not this month. I’m doing everything that I can so they don’t die.

I understand that something’s are out of my control when it comes to death. I believe in heaven (and hell, sure. Why not?), and I believe in angels, spirits, and even ghost. I’d like to believe that I have a good outlook and can handle death when it comes knocking.

But today, death came knocking with a light, heartbreaking sound that stabbed me in my heart, drained me of my blood, and took something, someone, very special to me.  It wasn’t unexpected. He’s been sick for awhile. But he was my partner. And the pain I’m feeling is very deep.

Forest, my little four legged partner. Thank you for a wonderful, blissful, loving life and for sharing it with me for what was almost 18 years. I’m better for having had you in my life.

I’ll try and take good care of the tomato plants for you. For me too.

Be my forever angel….Love you. Always.

 

Peace.

 

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Father’s Day, Quiet Wishes From Your Daughter

Today is Father’s Day. Many are counting their blessings because they have or had a wonderful father in their lives. I always remember my father on this day too, and wonder if he ever misses me or my sister. Hard to say, because we haven’t spoken in over 17 years.

I made a decision years ago, and it’s been the right one for me. We don’t speak anymore, at all.

Yet, I forgive my father for being not the “perfect” father.

I’ll refrain from bad mouthing him here, only because I don’t want anyone else to say what a bad person he was, or how could he do those things to you, etc. Those memories, those bad events all happened so long ago and strangely, despite it being in the past, can still bring tears to my heart and to my eyes. And I’m done crying over those memories.

I’d rather think of him in a positive way. My father was extremely protective of me and my sister, to the point that the neighbors were scared of him. At one time, he worked three jobs to make sure that we all had food in our mouths and a nice home. I had my own room that was painted in my favorite light green color, I had toys everywhere, pretty dresses and Donnie Osmond pillow cases that I loved. It didn’t look like the room of a scared little girl. But it was.

One memory that I’ll always have of my father, was when me and my sister were visiting him. It was the night before my parents divorce was final, and he wanted to have us over to make us dinner. He made us mini-frozen pizzas. My sister was siting at a table, eating her pizza, and I was siting on his lap, and he was crying.

I asked him, “Why are you crying daddy?” And he said, “Diana, I’m so sorry. I treated you the worst of the three, and you’re the one that loves me the most.” And he continued to cry and held me close. That night, when he took us back home to mom, I went to bed wondering why this had to happen? I knew that mom had to leave him, but that didn’t make it any easier.

I will remember that for as long as I will live.

My mother did what was necessary for all of us to have a life without fear, without pain. She had to eliminate the bad, start over again, and do whatever it took to give us a chance to live, to experience the world, and to be stronger woman ourselves. She made a hard choice without knowing where the road was headed, but she made it and I love her for it.

I can’t forget what happened with my father, but I also can’t hate him for it either. I sometimes wished that we could talk on the phone, share our stories. I wish he would have been at my wedding, or at Christmas dinners. I faintly remember his laugh, and that bothers me that I can’t anymore. Sad.

My deepest wish is that even though we don’t talk, is that I wish him well, and that somewhere in his heart, he knows that out of the three of us, I still cannot help but feel some kind of love for him.

Happy Fathers Day, quietly, from me to you.

Peace.

 

 

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Accepting That I’ve Changed…Again!

I’m painting my toe nails (a lovely shade of red, like apple red) waiting for “The Gourmet King” to start in about 20 minutes, I remembered a “girl”, (okay, I’m remembering a long time ago, so?) that would not be the least bit interested in watching a cooking show, much less one that wasn’t spoken in English! But it’s such an adorable show! Their production set is very colorful. It’s like a rainbow of happiness with a wok and soy products! Doesn’t matter that most of the times they are making items that I could never or even want to eat, but because it looks like they are having so much fun, I’m glued to my sofa, watching and waiting for the meal to be done and see them taste the final product….and give us the viewers that cute little “ah, this is sooooo good!” look.

Secretly, I wish that I could be a guest on their show, but I can only dream.

The “girl” Diana, who’s still in here, somewhere, didn’t want to get to know about Asian cooking. Give me a fortune cookie and I was happy!

I’m also addicted to (and I say this in a good way) Bollywood movies now. Am I kidding you? Nope, I am not. At first, all those corny songs and dance tunes made me sick but after watching a few (sometimes with a glass of wine, I admit), I now love them and I’m a little hurt when there isn’t at least three dance songs in any one movie. It’s true. Makes me a bit uncomfortably, really. Kind of like watching a “Seinfeld” show without showing the character “George”. It would be weird, right?

There are some young people that are blessed to be given a world of unique and wonderful experiences from an young age. I wasn’t one of those kids.  Some are fortunate to have traveled to Europe before they can even drive a car, and some have lived in more than one state before starting high school.

Not me. I was always a Los Angeles, California girl. Never traveling until I was in my thirties. Was I a happy one? Yes, most of the time. Had my share of struggling times, sure, but who hasn’t?

But I really didn’t get to understand just how to “live”, until I got older. Much older. When life gets harder because you have big bills to pay, rent to worry about, health issues, etc. All the things that you don’t care to think about when you’re young. At least I didn’t.

I have a new appreciation for things that are “different”, and I wished that I thought about learning about them all when I was younger. And when my mind and body were also younger!

I’m starting to worry that I won’t get to learn about all the things I want to because the life clock is ticking. “Tick..tick…tick.” I can hear it even now, reminding me that I’m getting older. The eyes don’t see as well (reading glasses in almost every room), my body is become frail, (some major back aches happen every so often) and I don’t remember as good as I used to.

Crap. It’s called aging and it’s a bitch.

But I’m also finding another type of happiness in the stillness that comes with getting older.  I’m not so worried if I say something that doesn’t please everyone. I don’t care if I leave the house without makeup (at least not as often, let’s be honest). I appreciate things more so now, and some of my fears of trying new things aren’t so scary any more. Better to try then not try at all, right?

Suddenly, I’m slightly uncomfortable sharing this, but that’s okay too. Ten years ago, I would have never thought to have a “blog”. But look at me, blogging with friends and strangers. Written a book even.

Who am I exactly?

After I paint my toe nails red and finishing watching the Gourmet King, I’ll get back to you. In the meantime, I’m going to shrug off any worries right now, and just live my life.

You should do the same.

Peace.

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Poetry Is Never Dead…

Poetry is an art. It’s meaning is different from one person to the next, and conveys different ideas, and pictures to each reader. People write poetry for different reasons as well.

I’ve been writing poems since I was very young. When I was 15 years old, living alone, in a single apartment, I would often open my window late at night that look out at Hollywood Blvd and sit on a pillow with a tablet and a pen and write my poems. Back then, I had notebooks filled with poems! Now, what does a 15 year old girl, living alone in Hollywood write about? Being alone at 15 years old for one!

That’s a whole other story, and here I’m only talking about writing poetry. Sorry folks!

Poems don’t have to be “great”, or “rhyme” all the time. They just need to be written from one’s heart. I’ve always found that I write poems only when I’m sad, or in a dark place. Which, luckily, isn’t that often anymore.

But tonight, I felt like writing the following poem: (no title yet)

Sweet, invisible dream of mine,

I never know if I should pay attend to you,

Or let it softly play out

In my head.

And I’ve thought all of this before,

Details rushing by so I cannot share them,

Or want to admit desire

Stuck in a tunnel.

Flustered, I’ve tried to make the dreams stop,

Wasted effort cause they know my mind,

And my heart wants it

I am ashamed.

Look in a mirror, nothing’s changed,

I’m still waiting to vanish away into arms

That can hold me still

Can’t breathe on my own anymore.

If I opened my eyes, what would I find,

Looking back at me?

A broken heart that cries

Dangling on a string.

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Diana’s Beading Pictures

Leas Original Bead Glass Necklace  Aztec Earrings  Green Jade and Carnelian Necklace  Garnet bracelet

Sometimes, good things unfold when bad events happen. Well, learning how to bead is what happened to me when I was sitting at home after having thyroid cancer surgery.

I won’t bore you with any details of what happened, but I will tell you that I became addicted to beading.  After a few bad experiences, I soon was making necklaces, earrings, and bracelets for myself and family and friends. I even tried selling my jewelry, and did so at many flea markets across town, on-line, and arts and craft shows. It was exactly what I needed.

But then, another wonderful thing happened while I was playing with gemstones and silver findings. I met the women of the beading world.

Women that bead or make jewelry are unique, unlike any others. They are passionate about their craft, and more than willing to share what they’ve learned and help others. I mostly only string beads (which means that I take gemstones and other items, string them onto a wire or silk thread), but there are women artist that are truly just that, artist, that make their own beads, or spend hours if not days and weeks making a one of a kind piece of jewelry that often times just blows my mind!

The very first picture I have posted here, the one with the large glass (and quite beautiful) bead was hand-made by my friend and jewelry maker “Lea Avroch”, owner of LA Jewelry Designs. Her passion is creating glass beads (and other items, but I’m just talking beads here) that you can use for your own jewelry designs.

I never thought of myself as making jewelry pieces. But it helped me to deal with something that was very scary at the time. And because of it, I got something wonderful out of it. Not only did I realize how easily one’s life can change, I learned how to do something new and met a lot of interesting women.

It’s been years since I first started to bead, and many of these women are still my friends. Now, we not only share beading “stuff”, but things that happen to us in our personal lives, good and bad. Lea’s daughter recently got married and she shared her wedding photos with us. It was a lovely wedding!

So although it started as a “bad” thing, dealing with thyroid cancer, it ended with a “good” thing because I learned something new, and I made good friends.

Good sometimes happen when bad things try to beat you down. All you can do is look the bad in the eye, stare it down, and maybe toss a large bead at it and knock it out. I did.

Peace.

Diana

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Cranberry, Cauliflower and Peas Pulao

What a wonderful looking dish! Really could see myself having this for dinner!

Sublime Palate

IMG_1164

Hello everyone,

Yes, it has been an awfully long time since I have been away. Thank you to those who have missed me, checked on me and encouraged me to come back. It means a lot and thank you for being there! I have missed sharing my thoughts and recipes on this platform.

I am looking forward to sharing some of the food that I have been eating and cooking. Let’s start with rice dish – a staple in my house.

Did I ever mention my dislike for raisins? I am not, I mean, really NOT fond of raisins. No, not even a bit. On the other hand, little V, who, by the way, is not that little any more, can survive on raisins alone. That is, if he had his way 🙂 He can have as many raisins as he can get his hands on.

I was cooking a quick +…

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