Friday, June 26, 2015


• What is Buddhism?

Buddhism is a religion to about 300 million people around the world. The word comes from 'budhi', 'to awaken'. It has its origins about 2,500 years ago when Siddhartha Gotama, known as the Buddha, was himself awakened (enlightened) at the age of 35.

• Is Buddhism a Religion?

To many, Buddhism goes beyond religion and is more of a philosophy or 'way of life'. It is a philosophy because philosophy 'means love of wisdom' and the Buddhist path can be summed up as:

(1) to lead a moral life,
(2) to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and
(3) to develop wisdom and understanding.

• How Can Buddhism Help Me?

Buddhism explains a purpose to life, it explains apparent injustice and inequality around the world, and it provides a code of practice or way of life that leads to true happiness.

• Why is Buddhism Becoming Popular?

Buddhism is becoming popular in western countries for a number of reasons, The first good reason is Buddhism has answers to many of the problems in modern materialistic societies. It also includes (for those who are interested) a deep understanding of the human mind (and natural therapies) which prominent psychologists around the world are now discovering to be both very advanced and effective.

• Who Was the Buddha?

Siddhartha Gotama was born into a royal family in Lumbini, now located in Nepal, in 563 BC. At 29, he realised that wealth and luxury did not guarantee happiness, so he explored the different teachings religions and philosophies of the day, to find the key to human happiness. After six years of study and meditation he finally found 'the middle path' and was enlightened. After enlightenment, the Buddha spent the rest of his life teaching the principles of Buddhism — called the Dhamma, or Truth — until his death at the age of 80.

• Was the Buddha a God?

He was not, nor did he claim to be. He was a man who taught a path to enlightenment from his own experience.

• Do Buddhists Worship Idols?

Buddhists sometimes pay respect to images of the Buddha, not in worship, nor to ask for favours. A statue of the Buddha with hands rested gently in its lap and a compassionate smile reminds us to strive to develop peace and love within ourselves. Bowing to the statue is an expression of gratitude for the teaching.

• Why are so Many Buddhist Countries Poor?

One of the Buddhist teachings is that wealth does not guarantee happiness and also wealth is impermanent. The people of every country suffer whether rich or poor, but those who understand Buddhist teachings can find true happiness.

• Are There Different Types of Buddhism?

There are many different types of Buddhism, because the emphasis changes from country to country due to customs and culture. What does not vary is the essence of the teaching — the Dhamma or truth.

• Are Other Religions Wrong?

Buddhism is also a belief system which is tolerant of all other beliefs or religions. Buddhism agrees with the moral teachings of other religions but Buddhism goes further by providing a long term purpose within our existence, through wisdom and true understanding. Real Buddhism is very tolerant and not concerned with labels like 'Christian', 'Moslem', 'Hindu' or 'Buddhist'; that is why there have never been any wars fought in the name of Buddhism. That is why Buddhists do not preach and try to convert, only explain if an explanation is sought.

• Is Buddhism Scientific?

Science is knowledge which can be made into a system, which depends upon seeing and testing facts and stating general natural laws. The core of Buddhism fit into this definition, because the Four Noble truths (see below) can be tested and proven by anyone in fact the Buddha himself asked his followers to test the teaching rather than accept his word as true. Buddhism depends more on understanding than faith.

• What did the Buddha Teach?

The Buddha taught many things, but the basic concepts in Buddhism can be summed up by the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

• What is the First Noble Truth?

The first truth is that life is suffering i.e., life includes pain, getting old, disease, and ultimately death. We also endure psychological suffering like loneliness frustration, fear, embarrassment, disappointment and anger. This is an irrefutable fact that cannot be denied. It is realistic rather than pessimistic because pessimism is expecting things to be bad. lnstead, Buddhism explains how suffering can be avoided and how we can be truly happy.

• What is the Second Noble Truth?

The second truth is that suffering is caused by craving and aversion. We will suffer if we expect other people to conform to our expectation, if we want others to like us, if we do not get something we want,etc. In other words, getting what you want does not guarantee happiness. Rather than constantly struggling to get what you want, try to modify your wanting. Wanting deprives us of contentment and happiness. A lifetime of wanting and craving and especially the craving to continue to exist, creates a powerful energy which causes the individual to be born. So craving leads to physical suffering because it causes us to be reborn.

• What is the Third Noble Truth?

The third truth is that suffering can be overcome and happiness can be attained; that true happiness and contentment are possible. lf we give up useless craving and learn to live each day at a time (not dwelling in the past or the imagined future) then we can become happy and free. We then have more time and energy to help others. This is Nirvana.

• What is the Fourth Noble Truth?

The fourth truth is that the Noble 8-fold Path is the path which leads to the end of suffering.

• What is the Noble 8-Fold Path?

In summary, the Noble 8-fold Path is being moral (through what we say, do and our livelihood), focussing the mind on being fully aware of our thoughts and actions, and developing wisdom by understanding the Four Noble Truths and by developing compassion for others.

• What are the 5 Precepts?

The moral code within Buddhism is the precepts, of which the main five are: not to take the life of anything living, not to take anything not freely given, to abstain from sexual misconduct and sensual overindulgence, to refrain from untrue speech, and to avoid intoxication, that is, losing mindfulness.

• What is Karma?

Karma is the law that every cause has an effect, i.e., our actions have results. This simple law explains a number of things: inequality in the world, why some are born handicapped and some gifted, why some live only a short life. Karma underlines the importance of all individuals being responsible for their past and present actions. How can we test the karmic effect of our actions? The answer is summed up by looking at (1) the intention behind the action, (2) effects of the action on oneself, and (3) the effects on others.

• What is Wisdom?

Buddhism teaches that wisdom should be developed with compassion. At one extreme, you could be a good hearted fool and at the other extreme, you could attain knowledge without any emotion. Buddhism uses the middle path to develop both. The highest wisdom is seeing that in reality, all phenomena are incomplete, impermanent and do not constitute a fixed entity. True wisdom is not simply believing what we are told but instead experiencing and understanding truth and reality. Wisdom requires an open, objective, unbigoted mind. The Buddhist path requires courage, patience, flexibility and intelligence.

• What is Compassion?

Compassion includes qualities of sharing, readiness to give comfort, sympathy, concern, caring. In Buddhism, we can really understand others, when we can really understand ourselves, through wisdom.

• How do I Become a Buddhist?

Buddhist teachings can be understood and tested by anyone. Buddhism teaches that the solutions to our problems are within ourselves not outside. The Buddha asked all his followers not to take his word as true, but rather to test the teachings for themselves. ln this way, each person decides for themselves and takes responsibility for their own actions and understanding. This makes Buddhism less of a fixed package of beliefs which is to be accepted in its entirety, and more of a teaching which each person learns and uses in their own way.

Prepared by Brian White 1993, with thanks to Ven S. Dhammika.
Copyright 1996-2015, BDEA/BuddhaNet. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Story Basket

I started a blog several years ago to archive stories about my life. These are those stories carried over to this blog for archival purposes. Maybe I'll tell more stories as I go along.

Thirteen Chapter

December 22, 2010 § Leave a comment
In 2005 (and this date, like all others, is subjective due to my memory being a steel sieve), I had everything plotted and planned out to end my life.  My mate would be at work, my sister had come to get my son and take him down to their house and my grandmother, whom I was living with, was visiting family out of state.  I didn’t have to work so no one would be calling to check in on me.  I’d taken enough tylenol to choke a horse and drew a hot bath and as I lay there with my eyes closed floating and ignoring everything around me, some nagging little voice inside of my head nagged at me.
That bath ended up being just a bath that lasted well until the water was no longer warm and my mate came home from work.  My sister brought my son home and after I woke up and crawled out of the tub, I told him what I’d planned on and, instead, called to make an appointment with the doctor to talk to him about medication or something.
In the weeks prior to that, I had spent so much time in my life just packing up boxes and boxes of possessions, things I couldn’t bear to get rid of and things that I wasn’t using and put a date on them.  The plan was, if I hadn’t looked for it in over a year that I would go back to them, take one last look through and then get rid of it.
In 2010 when I am packing up to move, I am just now going through those boxes and clearing things out of my attic that really should have been gotten rid of years before.  Somehow, though, the boxes of crap have carried their energy with them and every one I open, despite it going back out again, carries with it all the negativity and bitterness I carried with me at that point and time in my life and it just clings to me like nettles.  Every time I try and wipe it off, it stings me.
Fire is the great purifier. Maybe that should be the answer to some of that nonsense from that time so I can move on.

Twelve Chapter

December 22, 2010 § Leave a comment
When I was young, which is what most of my stories thus far have been made of, I was essentially ignored until I did something wrong.  Sometimes they were things that I didn’t know were wrong and I was forced to sit and guess and grasp and straws and try and figure out what was wrong because asking never got me anywhere.  As a matter of fact, when I tried to ask, all I was met with was a stone wall.  They completely ignored me as though I weren’t even there, leaving me to turn didos on myself and try and figure desperately what I’d done so that they would at least respond to me when I spoke.  Sometimes when communication was necessary, they would leave me notes taped to places where I would “see them” like in the middle of the television or on my door or on the mirror in the bathroom.  And then there were the notes that were stuck literally everywhere like “close the cupboard door” and “shut the fridge” and “don’t drink the soda” or whatever they felt like yelling at me for when they weren’t speaking with me.
Sometimes I wonder where my paranoia comes from when I start thinking the other shoe is about to drop and I’m going to get fired for doing something I didn’t know I was doing or thinking my girlfriend is going to break up with me because I’m not her ideal of perfect (or really any ideal at all).  Sometimes I write blog entries.
I learned to live my life alone in my room with only my things around me and homework that needed done.  I had to walk on eggshells wherever my dad was concerned.  I never knew when he walked through that door rather or not he was going to be happy to see us or if he was going to raise his knee up so as we ran to hug him when we came in the door that we would run into it and fall back on the floor.  When we asked what we’d done wrong, he ignored us, walked past us like our hurt and tears didn’t matter and, apparently, they didn’t.  We needed to get a thicker skin.  Now when I speak to someone and they don’t respond or they’re angry at something that isn’t me, I feel just like I did when my dad brought his knee up and knocked me down when I was so happy to see him when he came home.  It taught me very quickly that I was only worthy of being ignored or screamed and punished and then ignored harshly when I did something wrong.  I learned that feeling happy and excited to see someone and to look forward to something, anything, was a foolish emotion that only led to being hurt.
Sometimes I wonder where my feelings of sadness and inferiority come from.  Sometimes I write blog entries.
I think that’s why it’s so hard now that I’ve figured out how incredibly important touch is and being able to touch someone and have them touch you without that touch being sexual in nature and just simply feeling good being around someone.  I have triggers and sometimes they’re hair triggers and a heavy breath out of place sends me into that same pool of helplessness and hopelessness that I’ve been in since I was eight years old.  Knowing what depression is now, I can remember feeling it even then.
When I think back, I have never been actively praised for anything that I can remember other than when I graduated from massage school.  My dad said he was proud of me.  Thankfully I haven’t really been around him enough since then so he hasn’t had a chance to be an asshole to me again. I can actually think that once in awhile my dad isn’t a complete prick and maybe does care. Along those lines, I read a quote earlier today that said “just because someone doesn’t love you like you think they should, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have”.  I find that rather apt.  Maybe my dad just sucks at love.  He doesn’t understand it.
Sometimes I believe that everyone loves me as much as I love them.  Sometimes I write blog entries.

Eleven Chapter

October 11, 2010 § Leave a comment
Does she see us going the long haul? Could she see us settling down together forever or am I someone who is good for the moment but not permanent? Is she with me because marriage isn’t possible? Does she resent that? Would she ever consider marriage if it was legal? Once she was over her heartache and realizes she could have those things with me that she thinks Fate stole?
I didn’t say anything to her at the time because she was hurting, but it seemed like she was saying she would never have those things again and it made me question.
What’s he got that I ain’t got? I’ve got so much more than he ever had and somehow I think it’s not quite good enough.
I want to marry this girl someday. I wonder if she’ll ever feel the same.

Ten Chapter

January 10, 2010 § Leave a comment
When I was young somewhere between 8 and 12 where my life stops having any kind of order or sense, much like the rest of my life has been around it, my parents took me to visit their family friends.  We did this on several visits and I am not sure where they were living at the time.  It might have been Pennsylvania.  They lived in an apartment building and while we were staying with them, it was said that we were absolutely forbidden from going back down through the trees and down to the little stream.  Where did we naturally go?
There were other kids down at the stream and they had found some clams in the stream.  Freshwater clams.  I was intrigued.  I had never seen clams in a stream before.  I’d thought they only came out of the ocean.  We spent a lot of time down at the stream playing with the other kids until they came out looking for us.  The friend I had been with had told me to come back up around the house and go play in the big pine tree and just to say that I had been there the whole time.  When I was asked, I responded that, in fact, I had been in the tree playing.  At least for the last five minutes, not that I volunteered that up.
Apparently the son of the family friends had gotten caught doing things he wasn’t supposed to be doing before and ended up being punished for doing it and bringing me down there.  He ended up making a big noise when he got his ass beat and I ended up not punished at all since I was little and impressionable.  I didn’t understand what the big deal was.  There were other kids there and we were just looking around down there and playing in the water.  I still don’t know what the big deal was.
Apparently in Pennsylvania you aren’t allowed to play in open water or try and catch squirrels in big pine trees.

Nine Chapter

January 10, 2010 § Leave a comment
I used to be horribly, terribly afraid of drag queens, drag kings and transgendered people.  They used to scare the high holy hell out of me.  The very IDEA of someone wanting to be friends with me or date me who was transgendered was absolutely squickworthy and unreasonably so.  I had no idea why they scared me like they did, but to have a completely irrational fear of them told me there was more to look into with the problem.
I was raised that the gender you are born into, the lot you are born into, is what you are to become.  If you are sexed female, you will follow typical gender rules assigned to the female gender.  Should you be born male, you had to be macho and otherwise you could get away with whatever you wanted.  A lot of the rules with me changed, however, since I liked to go and get dirty in the shop working with dad and re-roof houses in the summer but I also liked to putz around in the kitchen and sew and cross stitch.  Girls were girls and dated and married boys.  Boys were boys and dated and married girls.  I, unfortunately, seemed to be male with female tendencies, much to my mother’s dismay.
She always used to tell the tale of how bad she wanted a boy and how his name would have been Chad Walton Bartholomew.  She was convinced she was having a boy all through her pregnancy and even bought blue clothes for me.  Well… I guess she partially got her wish.  I always used to tease her and tell her she needed to put me back in and bake me long enough.  She never really found that funny.
Looking deeper into things led me to realize that I was not, in fact, related to these little female creatures I had been born into but somehow never got the memo or the key card to let me into the member’s only area that told me how these strange little beasts worked.  I never got the insider’s book on how to be a girl.  Instead I always thought it was normal for girls to do things with their dads like I did with my dad.  I always thought it was normal to want to tear down walls and rebuild houses and have a workshop in the garage.  What was the sense in painting your nails a different color every day and owning sixteen different handbags to match all your outfits?  What’s the point of having a million pairs of shoes to wear with different clothes and what’s the point of accessorizing?  Put on a shirt and pants and shoes and out the door you go.  Run a brush through your hair and over your teeth before you leave, too, if you want to make a good impression.  I didn’t understand getting up four hours before school so you could dress and bathe and do your hair and makeup and all that crap.  Get me up an hour before school, shower, clothes, brush, out the door.  Done.
I wasn’t really part of the female gender, although I do understand it decently well, I figure.  I know that girls think everyone is always dropping them subtle hints and clues and shit or always talking behind their backs or making a dig at them.  So as long as I realize that women are crazy and think everything I say and do is against them, I’ll be fine.  As long as I know that I can neg them into doing what I want, that works even better.  That way I can get away from them that much faster.
I understand males a lot better.  No talking in the shitter, no frilly decorations and don’t worry about wearing makeup because we want to know how you’re going to look when we wake up beside you.  Plain, simple, direct and to the point.  That makes sense.  You can greet someone you know without saying a word and you don’t have to stand there and chatter to them all afternoon about what you’re wearing to whatever thing you’re going out for.  Guys are good to be dressed.
The reason why queens and trannies bothered me is because deep down and underneath it all, I was one of them and I was terrified to face it about myself.  Thankfully after a lot of gnashing of teeth and ruined velvet dresses, I got the hint.

Eight Chapter

October 5, 2009 § Leave a comment
When I was eight years old, my parents liked to drive to visit friends of theirs when they moved all over the country and would take me along with them.  At one point, their friends had moved out to New Jersey and while we were out visiting, they agreed to take me to the shore to get steamed clams.
I had eaten steamed clams when we had been in Pennsylvania visiting my aunt when she lived out there and fell in love with them when I was four or five.  Finding them had been nearly impossible.  So when I had a chance to get some off the coast, I was stoked!
I asked dad to get me a couple dozen clams and I waited happily at the table for him to come back with them.  When he came back to the table, he only had six.
“Where’s the rest of them?”
“You get around those and I’ll go up and get you more.”
“But I wanted at least a dozen of them.”
“The guy wouldn’t give me more.”
“What?  What for??”
“Just get around those and I’ll go up and get you some more of them.”
I polished off six of them no problem and dad went back to get me the other dozen and a half.  The guy at the shop said he would give him another six, but dad told him that he’d be back for the other dozen.  He brought them back to the table and I gave him a look.  He told me the guy wouldn’t give him more.  So I ate all of those and dad went up to get another half dozen for me.
The cook came out with dad to the table and stared at me.  “Who’s helpin’ you eat them?”
“E-excuse me?  What?”
“Who’s helping you eat all those clams?”
“Nobody here LIKES clams but me.”
“Somebody’s gotta be helpin’ you eat those clams.”
I just looked at my parents like “save me from this frigging madman.”
I ended up getting my last half dozen for free because I was the only eight year old kid he’d ever seen eat two dozen clams in a single sitting.
This story was reminded to me by my father who told it to my girlfriend as we sat eating fried pickles and drinking rumritas on my parent’s anniversary which so happened to also be the day I graduated from massage school.

Seven Chapter

October 4, 2009 § Leave a comment
Apparently I am called “The Miracle Worker” at work.
A client of mine, after I had worked on her and gotten some relief for hip pain she had been having for several years, came back through the darkened glass door separating the clinic from the reception area and called to me.
“I just heard your nickname.”
“Oh?  What’s that?”
“The Miracle Worker.”
“Oh!  I didn’t even know I had a nickname!”
Leave it to me to have a nickname I didn’t know about.  At least it’s not that silly rhyming bullshit.  I HATE that.
Apparently the story began with a client who had cancelled her membership six months or so prior to coming in for bodywork before a rigorous training session.  She was a self-admitted hardcore “push yourself to the limits” kind of person and was having some pretty severe pain.  She had turned down one of the people up front a few times when asked about renewing her membership.
When I got finished with her, she came back out front and said she would make it work somehow and renewed her membership.  The two girls up front looked at each other and said I was “the miracle worker”.
So today when a client was talking about how wonderful I was for helping her pain, they jokingly made the comment about it being my nickname.  At least my client said she agreed.
Apparently this nickname has stuck.  I don’t mind.

Six Chapter

September 20, 2009 § Leave a comment
I had a stunning revelation today.
As I was lying in bed three quarters asleep and only a fraction of the way awake, I felt a body press against me and a head rest against my folded arm that tucked under my head.  I knew who it had to be.  I could feel her even through the partial dream haze, but she was supposed to have been at work.  Cue the attempt to wake up.
I rolled over onto my stomach.
An arm closed around my waist.
My eyes blinked without ever opening and a rolled onto my side, clenching and unclenching my fist to try and wake the limb I hadn’t realized was asleep and heard a soft sigh beside me.  My eyes finally opened and lit on her face.
She’d had a panic attack trying to go to work that morning and had spent hours organizing and prepping and mailing things before she’d come back upstairs and curled up with me in bed.  Cue instant protect mode and I wrapped her in my arms and buried her head against my chest, holding and petting her until she fell asleep.
I don’t know how long we lay there, me stroking her head and running my nails lightly over her shoulders but a strange thought struck me right between the eyes.
I loved her.  Not just that I loved her, but that I was in love with her.  More than just the several month crawl until one or the other of us got sick of each other, but the “I could see myself eventually living with you on a permanent basis” or “I wanna grow old with you” kind of vibes.  Like the “I don’t mind spending hours holding you like this when you need it” thing with a “I would do anything it takes to soothe the pain”.  The complete connect with someone.
When she later woke and I finally found the balls to spit it the fuck out, her response was, “Well, duh.”
Well, duh, indeed, I thought with chagrin.  The thought had just occurred to me.  Apparently it had been known to her all along.  Imagine that.  The last to know.

Five Chapter

September 18, 2009 § Leave a comment
I have always loved to draw.  When I was young, my grandfather would always sit at the dining room table and doodle.  There were some of his drawings around the house stuffed in scrapbooks and such from when he was in the war and had drawn pictures to send home in the mail, many of them scenes from the battlefield he was in day in and day out.
When my grandfather was young, he had the opportunity to go and work for the Walt Disney company as an artist.  His parents denied the opportunity and so he had to turn it down, but I wonder how different my life would have been if they would have allowed him to have traveled and been an illustrator.
I take my love of art from my grandfather and although I might not be good, I still take pleasure in the simple act of creating something from nothing and calling it mine.  It’s like my grandfather is still here with me when I create.
Hopefully he isn’t terribly put off by the naked figures I draw frequently.  However, he did call my grandmother “Butch”.

Three Chapter

August 24, 2009 § Leave a comment
When I was eight years old-ish, the style that was all the rage was having your hair cut in what was called a wedge cut.  For anyone who has no idea what I’m talking about, Dorothy Hamill was still “in” when I was a kid.  Does that date me a little?  It should.  Anyway, for those of you who have no idea what it looks like, I’ll help you out.
The Wedge looked a LOT like a bowl cut, only it was said to be fashionable.
The Wedge looked a LOT like a bowl cut, only it was said to be fashionable.
My best female friend at the time had her hair cut like this and told me I’d look cute if my hair was cut this way, too.  Thankfully the stylist did the more modern version and gave me some spiffy bangs.
…. although looking at it now, my hair looks very much the same now as it did then.  Hm.  Maybe it was more formative than I’d thought.
Regardless, my hair was cut this way.  It had a really cute back to it with a little hair down at the nape of my neck and was short and could have been kinda spiky if my parents would have let me do it that way.  Going from waist length hair to something this insanely short helped the headaches I’d been having and I didn’t get my hair stuck in the chains of the swings anymore and it didn’t static stick to the back of my classroom chair.  All around it seemed to be perfect.
That is, until people started calling me a boy.  I don’t remember being upset about it other than a mild irritation.  My best friend had figured out for me that I was a girl and I clung to that label because it made me a connection to my then best friend.  If I wasn’t a girl, we couldn’t be friends and I wanted to be friends with the little girl with the same first name as me who lived the house after next down from my two best boy friends, the brothers who lived near the creek.  The little girl and I were in the same class, sat beside each other in class and had the same first name, although mine was just the abbreviated version of her longer name.  The older of the brothers was in our class up until the first grade when he was held back through no fault of his own, at least as far as I could tell.
I had made the gender switch from something that gender didn’t matter to someone who was a girl to fit in with a friend.

Four Chapter

August 24, 2009 § Leave a comment
When I was in the first grade, I started out the year with a substitute teacher.  I remember her name only because I would later be in junior high with her younger son and in theatre and drama with her older son.  They were both pretty amazing people, although completely different.  The older boy was hugely overweight.  The younger was really fit and muscular.
She taught our class for the first half of the year while our regular teacher was on maternity leave.  When our teacher came back, we had to get used to a whole new teacher.  The first one was fun and seemed to enjoy being with us.  The regular teacher seemed to hate being there and was immensely cranky.  She had outbursts in the classroom about things that should never bother her, but all of those were forgotten to vague remembrance.  The only one that stuck with me was when my friend tried to hand in a paper he had to make up due to being sick a few days before.  The teacher was reading a story to the class while he tried handing it in.  He was waving it at her and calling her name so he could come and sit down on the floor with the rest of the class.  She jerked it away from him, wrinkled it up into a ball and threw it across the room.  We all sat stunned and stared.  She told my friend he would have to do the paper again even though he had just done it.
I couldn’t believe someone in a position of authority like that had flipped shit like that and made him redo a paper he’d already done just because she lost her temper.  That rather tempered me.  I had decided in some small verse that I would always strive to be in control because it wasn’t fair for someone to do that to someone else.

Two Chapter

August 16, 2009 § Leave a comment
Nothing in life is ever really in order, is it?  I mean, when we think back in time, does everything seem like a line or does it seem more like we’re trying to walk back through the fog and find the things we’ve said and done in our lives and try to put a time on it.
Job applications are notorious for asking me to put a time frame on things.  Put in three personal or business references that you have known at least one year.  Seems simple enough, doesn’t it?  But then they have to go and do that thing that asks how long you’ve known this person.  Fuuuuck I don’t know!  Doesn’t it suffice to know I’ve known them and they can give me a character reference?  It doesn’t help things when they put on the application that falsification can be cause for dismissal even after you’re employed, so I take my best guess and hope it’s good.  I put down names, numbers and guess at times.  The only person I can figure the years I’ve known is because I met her my freshmen year of high school and I have a definitive date for that I can count up from.  Ask me how long I’ve known my girlfriend, however, and I couldn’t tell you.  I have no idea how long she and I have known one another.
I know we met at a coffee house and we found that we had a shared then ex friend in common.  I remember talking and having a good time.  I do not, however, remember rather or not I talked to her after that although I know I did because we’re still talking and I spent a lot of time at her house crafting and exercising and whatnot before we were ever a couple.  But ask me how long I’ve known her?  I have no idea.
I had to ask her and she’s sitting and counting.  We finally figured out we’ve known one another since 2003.  Both of us had to sit and figure out events from around that time and count on fingers and toes.  After ten minutes of figuring, we finally came up with a number that is recorded and will probably be forgotten just as easily as it was begun.
This rather long winded explanation boils down to a point, I promise and that is to explain to you that this memoir is not going to follow any kind of a timeline.  I am making up the ages and they might change depending on the story.  I will put the stories in as they are recalled and they will all be on no kind of order or relation to one another.  They’ll just be down and I don’t ever intend on making them have a timeline.
I’ll have to actually post my first memory that I can recall.  I only have my age from my mom who says it was around eighteen months old.
Regardless, I hope you’re here to enjoy my stories more than you are to try and piece together the person.  However, if you do, let me know because I’m sure we’ll both be surprised.

One Chapter

August 16, 2009 § Leave a comment
One of the things that was common when I was younger living in the country, was for one of the houses to host what could really be referred to as a “Country Block Party”.  Someone would host a party, invite everyone in the neighborhood to come and have food and drink and conversation, let the kids run wild and play so the adults could have some peace and quiet and a beer or two.  Anyone could come as long as someone called or dropped by beforehand so there was enough food and as long as everyone brought a dish and some drinks.  Usually when a certain house hosted, there were easily a hundred or so people there at any given time and from what I can remember, everyone seemed to have a good time.
The lady of the house, and if she knows I’m writing about her will hit me for calling her a lady, was my babysitter for several years after my great grandmother wasn’t able to sit for me any longer.  Mom dropped me off at around seven in the morning and I would sleep for another half hour or so before her boys got up and we would all sit on the pull out sofa and watch morning cartoons when there still were such a thing and have breakfast in special plastic bowls and drink from fruit shaped cups.  We played games together, argued over rather or not I could be Battle Cat or Man at Arms or if I had to be a girl character and over what shows we would watch in what order or what we would do after cartoons were over in the mornings.  We’d swim together in the pool in the back yard and wade in the creek in the afternoons or help clean out the top shelves of the cupboards.
When I was probably five years old or so, this particular neighbor had a country block party.  There was to be a bonfire at some point, there was plenty of food and I’m sure they were roasting a hog somewhere because the acres and acres of the land they owned smelled like cooking meat and baked beans.  As was typical of children in the same neighborhood, some of us knew one another, some of them were the cousins of the boys who lived at the house and some were the children of friends.  No one really discriminated against anyone else as far as it went.  We were all kids and we were all doing things and it was of the good.  As fate had it, we were all down at the creek and several of us were wading around in the water.  I’d taken my shoes and socks off and left them on the shore with everyone else’s with my jeans rolled up over my knees looking for crawdads and minnows.  One of the boys shouted up at the two girls standing on the shore and asked one of them to “ask mom if we can take off our shirts”.
The oldest girl wandered off and when she came back, she said, “Yes, mom says we can take off our shirts.”  There were whoops as shirts hit the shore one after another, my needlepunched Mighty Mouse shirt following.  That is, until I heard her say, “Oh, not you!”
I frowned at her.  Why not?  I decided to play it off.  “Oh, I know, I was just turning it around.”
“Well, good.  Girls don’t take off their shirts, silly.”
Huh.  Okay, so what did that have to do with anything?  I’d been over at the house before and gone swimming in a pair of the boy’s trunks.  I’d stripped down to my underwear and gone wading out into the creek before.  What difference did it make?
Even now I still don’t really understand.

Old Massage Posts

I have some old massage posts I'm moving over for archive purposes. :)

There are a few things that make my job more difficult during a massage. Many times clients will hold their arms up where they think I want the limb positioned. Sometimes they will pick up each finger in secession as I massage each one. They anticipate where I will work next. When I adjust their head or move their hair, they pick their heads up from the table. Some clients will hold their heads rigid while I work their neck and don’t allow their heads to move with the natural flow of the massage. Instead of allowing their head to roll to the side, they will tense against the work I am doing. When I undrape their leg, they move it closer to the edge of the table.
Many of these motions are unnecessary. In the six years I have been doing massage, I’ve gotten very good at picking up limp body parts and positioning heads or limbs where necessary. The general rule in my massage is “If I need you to move, I’ll tell you or I’ll do it myself”. I can pick your head up and adjust your hair. I am able to pick up each of your fingers on my own. Your leg is fine where it is. Your only job is to enjoy the massage. And I will never tell you to “just relax” because the first thing you do is tense.
Many of my clients aren’t aware they’re being too helpful during a massage. They don’t know that instead of just allowing my massage to flow as I pick up each relaxed finger, I have to look down at their hand instead. I’m no longer intuitively following the flow of their body and where their muscles need focus. Instead I am focused on how high they’re lifting their finger, which finger they’re lifting, how much tension they’re holding and if that tension is from their help or if it’s instead from muscle tightness. I move from the fingers to the wrist and then into the forearm. As I friction up the forearm, their elbow goes rigid. They hold their arm up from the table.
I gently shake their arm and wait for them to allow me to do my job. I move into kneading or circular friction depending on the client. I’ve stopped picking up arms like many of my coworkers do. I allow them to lie on the table. Too many people would unintentionally straighten their arms and shove me away from the table. Sometimes I can completely let go of someone’s arm and they’ll hold it in the air. I call this the “ET phone home”.
The worst part for me is when clients won’t allow their bodies move to the rhythm of the massage. I do quite a lot of muscle stripping during neck massage. I begin at the point of the shoulder and move toward the head in one long, deep stroke. A client’s head should slowly turn away as I work and then very gently roll back toward me. This motion should just happen. There is no effort involved on the client’s part. It happens with the stroke of my massage. If I am putting my body weight into the base of their skull to try and force the head to turn and I can actively feel the client pressing back against me, that signals two things: they are not relaxed or the pressure is too much.
Unless your therapist specifically asks you to do so, do not:
  1. hold your arm up for them. We are all quite capable of lifting and holding your arm. You do not need to hold it up for us. I promise.
  2. lift each finger to meet them. We follow a groove. Many times I am not even looking at your hand as I’m working, I’m focused on how the muscle feels. I don’t see with my eyes as much as I see with my fingers.
  3. lift your head. Your head is not heavy. You do not have to pick it up or move your hair for me. I will do that for you. When I do a lift or stretch, you don’t have to move your head. Many times I am testing the motion of the muscle.
  4. fight against the massage. If you’re fighting against the motion I’m making, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. It actively works against what I’m trying to accomplish with my work. I can’t get in as deep and you won’t feel lasting benefits from the massage.
  5. move your leg closer to the edge of the table. If you are not in a good position for me to work, I will move you or ask you to move for me. Many times when you move, it puts your leg so close to the edge I can’t stand close enough to the table while still working.
  6. lift your legs so we can adjust the bolster. I’ve been kicked in the face twice and almost kicked another three. Not to mention I don’t know where the bolster needs to be when your legs are bent at a ninety degree angle. Leave them on the table so I can place the bolster at the curve of your ankle where it belongs.
In addition to distracting me from the work I’m doing, some of these motions will affect my body mechanics. Poor body mechanics lead to wear and tear on the therapist’s body. We want to do this job for a long time. If you want to be helpful to us, let us do what we love to do while you get the massage you need.
Many times when clients come to a massage therapist, all they know is that massage is supposed to make them feel better and that someone has spoken of it to them rather it be a coworker, a friend or family member or even a doctor or chiropractor. They don’t know what the various types of massage are, what they do or how they can help them. Many therapists, being surrounded by terminology and modalities all day long, often do not realize that a client doesn’t know exactly what it is they are looking for until they are a little more knowledgeable.
Massage therapists often refer to the different types of massage available as their “modality”, defined as ‘the application of a therapeutic agent, usually a physical therapeutic agent’. It also refers to the sense of touch, which is especially poignant for massage therapists who “see” through their hands. The modality each therapist employs will be dependant on their education level. Most massage therapy schools teach Swedish massage with small supplemental courses in other types of massage such as trigger point, lymph drainage, deep tissue, pregnancy, and hot stone. Many therapists right out of school are only comfortable in Swedish massage, but some will supplement their education while in school to attend workshops and classes to learn more about their craft.
The first thing you should expect from your therapist is professionalism. They should conduct themselves in a manner befitting a member of the medical community. A client’s body should be properly covered and draped at all times. Women’s breasts and male and female genitals should be covered at all times by sheets and/or blankets. Many therapists will use a chest towel to cover women’s breasts when doing abdominal massage if requested by the client. Each therapist should ask either on their intake form or verbally if you are comfortable with abdominal, gluteal or face massage and should respect these wishes. Each therapist should consult with their client before a massage to find out what their trouble areas are and explain briefly the type of massage to be performed.
Communicating discomfort to the therapist during the massage should result in an immediate correction of the problem. Some forms of massage therapy are not always pleasant, but it should not be painful or cause clients to feel exposed or vunerable. Many therapists will be more than willing to correct their pressure, technique or draping to make a client feel more at ease. If at any time a client feels uncomfortable before, during or after the massage, that client has the right to end the session or discontinue their sessions entirely.
Therapists will ask their clients about pain or tight areas, where the client would like work done and ask if the client would like their entire body massaged or just upper or lower body. Depending on the pain levels and the necessity of work, a client may decide they would like only their upper body worked on from the waist up, the lower body for feet, legs and gluteal region, or a full body massage that works in elements of the entire body. They will also ask about pressure. Some clients prefer light pressure, some prefer medium and still others prefer deep pressure. If a client is unsure, they may ask for medium pressure and instruct the therapist to use more or less pressure for each area worked upon.
All of this and we still haven’t covered the types of massage available. It’s easy to see how clients could be confused, let alone covering any body issues they may have. This series seeks to explain each of the different modalities of massage and explain each one to give prospective clients a good idea what it is they’re looking for and what to expect from their first massage session.
With all of this going through your mind, are you really prepared to answer the question, “What kind of massage are you looking for today?” You mean there’s more than one kind? When you first walk into a massage therapy clinic, it may be slightly disorienting. Not only are you becoming acquainted with a new setting, the tranquil music and subdued colours might seem rather odd compared to the bright colors and flashing lights that surround us from day to day. Each clinic is different from the way the therapists dress to rather or not there is a receptionist to greet you and even your surroundings. Given there are many misconceptions, you may be confused or overwhelmed about what you may find or what to expect from your therapist, especially if you have never been to a massage therapy clinic before.
I’ve begun research on trigger point therapy yet again, pulling out and dusting off one of the books I’d been reading while I was still in school. I also pulled out a few other books I’d been meaning to read and put them on my Amazon Reading List on LinkedIn. So far I’ve been plugging away at the Trigger Point book and what I’ve found is amazing. What I’d like to do eventually is write up a few pages about the therapies that I offer and link to them from my webpage. That way clients know exactly what they are in for when we speak about therapies. That will probably be something that I begin work on here at WordPress before it becomes a final thing on my website. Trial and error and editors are fantastic, in my humble opinion, before you post something live on a professional website. Anyone who follows my blog can read the information as it happens.
Coincidentally, as I get things written up, I have a couple of websites that I want to add my articles to as well and get my name out there with research and facts. There are so few credible sources that I would like to join their ranks. I can also add a hands-on and experience base that not everyone has.
I have a lot planned for this happy little blog. Be sure to check in. I’m even planning a Twitter account for Touch of Nirvana since that seems to be all the rage. Look for the trigger point article within the next few months.

Recipes copied from another blog

I have found two websites definitely worth saving and I thought I’d drop them here, especially since one of my clients asked me about the crock pot meals.
Do all your shopping for the week, freeze the meals and drop them in a crock pot before you leave for work. Dinner is ready when you get home. I’ve done all the recipes and they were all good. Some of them I had to tweak because I don’t like my food quite as spicy or sometimes it needs a little beefing up for the family. I’ll post the tweaks I’ve made sometime in the future.
One pot dinners are amazing. If I don’t have to use more than one pot, bowl or kettle for a dinner on a weeknight, I’m in love. (See the chicken pot pie soup and chicken or beef pot pie recipes if you need clarification!) I’ve not yet tried these, but they look incredible. Again, as I work through the recipes, I’ll post any tweaks I’ve made.
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Posted by  on April 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

This soup was the $500 grand prize winner for the Better Homes and Gardens December 2012 contest and it is worth every ounce of its winnings. We make this soup at least twice a month. It’s inexpensive and tasty and, with a few alterations of my own, even my picky son will eat it.
Chicken Pot Pie Soup
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken breast
  • 1 16 ounce package of gemelli noodles
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry
  • 1 cup half and half or light cream
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup chopped fresh broccoli
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  1. In a large pot, cook carrot, celery, onion and garlic in hot butter 5 minutes until tender. Stir in broth, chicken, noodles and seasonings. Simmer, covered, ten minutes or until noodles are tender.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together half and half and flour. Add to pot. Add broccoli and peas. Simmer uncovered five minutes until slightly thickened  Spoon into bowls, top with biscuits.
Quick Biscuits
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 450
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and cream of tartar. Cut in butter to make coarse crumbs.
  3. Make a well in center and add milk. Using a fork, stir until just moistened.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, gently knead dough until it holds together. Pat into a square, cut into 12 rectangles.
  5. Place one inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until golden.
We serve ours with honey butter and the soup is great reheated.
Recipe written by Beth Seuferer from West Des Moines, Iowa.
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Posted by  on May 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

Simple Summer Spaghetti

Prep: 20 min
Cook: 20 min
Yield: 4 servings
12 oz package dry spaghetti
¼ cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
Pinch crushed red pepper
2 cups cut up zucchini
1 cup cut up summer squash
1 cup cut up red bell pepper
2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
¼ torn fresh basil
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of slated water to boil. Cook until just tender. Drain.
  2. In extra large skillet, combine olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook over medium heat about three minutes until garli begins to soften. Do not let garlic brown. Stir in zucchini, squash, red bell pepper, tomatoes and torn basil. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Heat thoroughly.
  4. Serve spaghetti noodles topped with vegetable mixture and top with a sprinkle of each cheese.
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Posted by  on July 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

Veggie Quesadillas

Ready In: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

juice of 1 lime (around 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2-1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
1 clove garlic, peeled and pressed through a garlic press
1 medium zucchini, trimmed, and thinly sliced (1/4 inch) lengthwise
1 red bell pepper, ends sliced off, cored and seeded, and cut into wide strips
1 red onion, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
12 corn tortillas or 8 flour tortillas
1/2 pound grated cheddar or Monterrey jack cheese
a handful of cilantro leaves, washed and dried
sour cream and salsa for serving

  1. Preheat your grill on high.
  2. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, chipotle or paprika, salt, and garlic. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet, and pour half the dressing over them, turning them to coat the slices evenly.
  3. Turn the grill down to medium-low and roast the veggies, turning them and adjusting the heat as necessary, until they are completely tender, 10-12 minutes. Remove them to a plate, dress with the remainder of the lime juice mixture, and set aside.
  4. Heat a large griddle (or a heavy frying pan) over medium-high heat, and lay half of the tortillas into it (if you’re using a pan, you’ll need to do this in batches). Divide the cheese over them, top with the remaining tortillas, and cook until the bottoms are golden and crisp. Flip them, and cook until the tortillas are crisp and the cheese is melted.
  5. Open the quesadillas and divide the cilantro and grilled veggies among them, cutting the vegetables as necessary to fit, then quarter the quesadillas and serve with sour cream and salsa.

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Posted by  on July 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

Quick Chicken and Dumplings

Ready In: 60 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

4 cups milk
2 bags frozen peas and carrots
4 cups cooked, cubed chicken
4 10.34 ounce cans cream of chicken soup
4 cups Bisquick
1 1/3 cup milk

  1. Heat 4 cups milk, peas and carrots, chicken and soup to boiling, stirring often.
  2. Stir Bisquick and remaining milk together until soft dough forms.
  3. Drop by spoonfuls onto chicken mixture.
  4. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Cook uncovered over low heat 20 minutes. Cover and cook 20 minutes more.
Tonight I was totally not paying attention to the time thanks to my car breaking down on the freeway and having to be towed to a repair shop and walk two miles home. I turned around and it was time for my significant other to be home from work and that’s when we eat. I sprung up and flew into the kitchen to start the Hawaiian Delight for dinner. My SO comes in and says it makes her sick when she eats it, the roommate says it makes him sick, too, and my son won’t eat it. That recipe totally comes off the menu. I spring for the next menu option and go for the chicken for our Monterey Chicken. I only have two small chicken breasts in the freezer. LAST DITCH! I grab the two packages of frozen cheese tortellini and slam them down on the stove. I grab a pot of water and the pasta basket and start that heating. I’d already melted the butter in the skillet and peeled the garlic and I didn’t want to waste it. Grabbing the two chicken breasts out of the freezer, I popped it into the microwave to defrost. The garlic went into the butter to brown. The chicken went into the skillet with a lid, cooking on each side for six minutes. The pasta cooked for four minutes. While the chicken cooled, I put some pasta sauce in the skillet with the leftover butter and garlic. It kinda burnt in the pan, so I just mixed it in. Then I put the pasta in and stirred it and the chicken into the sauce.
This is completely, hellaciously delicious. I am totally adding it to the recipe book.
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Posted by  on November 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

Asian Stirfry Chicken and Broccoli

4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoon black bean sauce
4 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup oil
5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, minced
20 ounces frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1 small bunch green onions, finely chopped
2 cups rice (4 cups cooked)
Whisk together the soy sauce, black bean sauce, brown sugar, grated ginger and lime juice in a small bowl and set aside. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped garlic, minced chili peppers and ground coriander and cook until slightly softened and fragrant, just a couple of minutes. Add the minced chicken and cook until lightly brown and cooked through, using a spoon to break up chicken as you go. Increase the heat to high, add the soy sauce mixture and the broccoli and cook, stirring constantly until the broccoli is hot and the liquids in the pan have slightly reduced. Transfer to a serving bowl, top with sliced green onions and serve over rice. Serves 4-6.
My Notes:
I picked this up off of the Great Value website and it’s actually pretty good as is. I didn’t mess with this other than double the recipe because we eat a lot of it.
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Posted by  on November 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

Homemade Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Ready In: 40 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings
1 small bunch of basil leaves
½ cup olive oil
1 small yellow onion
1 garlic clove
one large chicken bullion cube, crushed
1 29 ounce can tomato puree
1 quart chicken stock
¼ cup heavy cream
1 loaf Brownberry Natural Health Nut bread
sliced provolone cheese
sliced pepper jack cheese
sliced swiss cheese

  1. Puree basil, olive oil, onion, garlic and crushed bullion cube in a blender or food processor.
  2. Add mixture to a 6 quart saucepan and heat over medium heat until bubbly and fragrant, only a few minutes.
  3. Add tomato puree and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes more.
  4. While the soup simmers, place one slice of cheese between bread slices. Cook until golden brown on each side. (brush with olive oil before pan cooking)
My Notes:
This is my all time personal favorite that I pirated from Randy Snoke of George House Coffee and Tea Co.
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Posted by  on November 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

Coca Cola Chicken and Herbed Potatoes

Prep and cook time about 60 minutes
Makes four servings
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, flattened to 1/4 inch thick
1 12 oz can of Coke
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup honey barbeque sauce
Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat to medium. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook and additional 10 minutes until done.
Herbed Potatoes
3 large potatoes
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
2 tablespoons oil
celery salt to taste
garlic salt to taste
Preheat oven to 450. Cut unpeeled potatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Place the potato slices on well greased shallow baking pan. Brush potato slices with oil and sprinkle the herbs over the top. Bake potatoes for 20 minutes until they are well browned and crisp.
My Notes:
This recipe takes about an hour all said and done from the slicing to the prep and defrosting the frozen chicken that I like to use since it stores well. Defrost the chicken, wrap in plastic wrap to keep the chicken together while you pound it out, then drop in the pot. I serve these herbed potatoes with a lot of things because they’re just super simple to make and can bake while you do other things.
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Posted by  on November 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

Italian Sausage Rigatoni

Prep and cook time about 60 minutes
Makes four to six servings
19.76 ounce package Mild Italian Sausage, grilled and coin sliced
2 pounds rigatoni
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves
1 large red bell pepper, chunked
1 26 ounce jar pasta sauce
Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese for topping
Cook pasta and sausage according to package directions. Keep warm. Saute garlic in olive oil for 30 seconds. Add peppers and cook until tender. Combine sausage with pasta sauce and peppers. Heat until warm. Mix with pasta. Top with shredded cheese.
My notes:
This works well served with garlic toast and a small salad. It reheats great, so don’t worry if there’s leftovers. It also freezes well so you can make TV dinners. You can drop the pasta down to a pound if you like your pasta super saucy. I like mine a little on the drier side.
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Posted by  on October 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

Lemon Chicken and Noodles

Ready In: 60 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

1 bag frozen chicken tender strips, thawed
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
12 tablespoons butter, divided
4 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 cup chicken broth
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 package wheat egg noodles

  1. Cook egg noodles according to package directions. Drain and toss with a tablespoon or two of butter.
  2. Mix flour and lemon pepper seasoning together on a plate. Coat chicken with flour mixture.
  3. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Cook chicken over medium-high heat until cooked through, browning both sides.
  4. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
  5. Add onion and cook until soft, 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Scrape up any drippings. Add lemon juice and boil until mixture is reduced by half.
  7. Remove from heat and add remaining butter.
  8. Return chicken to pan and heat through. Serve with egg noodles.

And now for my notes:
I have found that sauteing the chicken doesn’t always work well for me. I put the chicken in, cook it about 5-8 minutes on one side, turn it and do the same on the other. I keep a lid on it while it’s cooking so the chicken cooks entirely through, the breading stays on the chicken and not necessarily on the bottom of the pan and everyone is happy. Make sure when you add the chicken broth that you use the spoon and mix up your pan drippings into the sauce. It gives it extra flavor and makes the pan a lot easier to clean later. Giant Eagle sells frozen chicken breast tenders that work great for this recipe. I throw them in the microwave to mostly thaw them, bread them and toss them into the pan. Some of the bigger tenders I give a slice lengthwise, but otherwise they’re pretty well ready to go and makes this an easy dinner on busy nights. If you don’t want your sauce to break (separate the butter from the rest of the sauce), make sure you remove the sauce from the burner first. I don’t know why this makes a difference but it does. I know from experience. This recipe gives one good sized meal to each person. When we’re feeling extra hungry, that’s when I whip out the homemade lemon cheesecake. Since I have a growing pre-teen boy, I double the recipe. It makes really good leftovers and reheats well.
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Posted by  on October 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

Very Quick Broccoli Cheese Soup

Prep and cook time about 30 minutes
Makes four cup and a half servings
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium leek, thin sliced
1 small shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons quick mixing flour
2 cups half and half
2 cups vegetable broth
1 head fresh broccoli florets (3-4 cups)
1 carrot, diced
4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
precooked bacon slices
Melt butter in microwave safe casserole dish. Add leek and shallot and microwave on high 1 minute. Stir in flour and microwave 1 minute. Stir in half and half and microwave 1 minute. Add veggie broth, broccoli, and carrot, microwave 10 minutes. Add cheese and stir until melted. Cover and microwave 2 minutes. Top with bacon and serve hot.
My notes:
This recipe originally came with a pasta and more, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be used with a casserole dish. We eat this with bread to dip in the soup. It’s pretty filling. This doesn’t really reheat all that great since it becomes watery. You’re better off making it fresh more than once and since it really only takes half an hour, you should be good.

Never really gets easier

Story time since it's on my mind and I wanted to share and ask a little extra patience.  May 20th. Mary and I are at a local garden shop...