Recipe of the Day: Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce and Whipped Cream

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup hot water
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons shortening
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
Lemon Sauce (below)

3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup water
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat oven to 325°.
Spray loaf pan, 8 1/2 × 4 1/2 × 2 1/2 inches, with cooking spray.
Beat all ingredients except Lemon Sauce in medium bowl with electric
mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly.
Beat on medium speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
Pour into pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out
Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan.
Serve warm or cool with Lemon Sauce and Whipped Cream

Mix sugar and cornstarch in 1-quart saucepan.
Gradually stir in water.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and
Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat.
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Serve warm or cool.

Recipe adapted from a Betty Crocker recipe.

Turning 70

Today I turn 70 years old. In many ways, I find that hard to believe. It seems like we just celebrated my mom’s 70th birthday and that was 20 years ago.

She was beautiful at that age. I am not.

But I’ve been inspired to write this from two posts by Ciphers From Cindi

And from an article by Seclusion 101 with Anne Marie

I share two things with Cindi from Ciphers from Cindi; the spelling of our names and the fact that we both turned 70 this year.

A lot of this post will be prompted by these three articles.

First, I still can’t believe that I’m turning 70. It seems like I just graduated from high school and that has now been over 50 years. I can remember so much of those four years; hell, I can remember when I celebrated my 18th birthday, and my 12th, and my 9th and even my 6th! I still remember my 3rd birthday when my grandmother gave me a little gray elephant lamp. I loved that lamp and I loved my grandmother. See the cake in this picture? That was my birthday cake.

Now after all of these years, I have the signs of old age; using a cane, walker, and wheelchair; having arthritis, sleeping a lot more, taking a lot more pills. The sad thing is that a lot of these things are nothing new. I’ve had arthritis since I was 22 and needed walking aids since I was 38 and pills since I was 55.

Cindi mentions writing lists and forgetting things if they aren’t written down, and I can relate to those things too, but I’ve also been a list writer since I was a child.

She mentions that her life now is “before and after” and I can relate to that as well. My life for the 35 years has been “before the car accident and after”, and then “before Courtney died and then after”, and then “before cancer and after”. It just shows that life is not linear and it spirals around to the past and back to the present.

Cindi recommends taking lots of pictures and I’m glad I did that. I inherited my grandmother’s huge photo collection and I was able to get some of Dad from my Auntie June who was Dad’s sister. I wish I could have gotten some of the pictures, or copies, that Mom had.

Anne Marie talks about the ups and downs of aging. For me, the worst is the high levels of pain. It seems like I am rarely not in pain. The doctor is reluctant to give me the meds that would help because they cause problems elsewhere, like in my kidneys. I guess her goal is to keep me alive as long as possible, but if I have to suffer this much, why would I want to live longer?

Anne Marie also talks about appearance. I’m not obsessed with this and maybe that’s because my mother was. She was frantic about the idea of getting older, hated getting wrinkles, and worried about dying. She spent most of her older years wishing for a facelift. The idea of someone coming at my face with a knife is enough for me to say no to that. Even lasers have no appeal to me. I don’t mind my wrinkles. I earned them in so many ways. I’m not concerned with my body because everyone else seems obsessed with that, so why should I worry? I love my gray hair, I just wish there was more of it… both hair and gray.

I had to laugh at Anne Marie’s comment: “Health – Health can be challenging as we age. Apparently when you hit 65, your warranty runs out and parts start to go. That does not mean you have to believe every advertisement or meme out there. I still have my hearing and my sight is as good (or as bad) as it has ever been. I have only fallen down once and found I couldn’t get up. (That incident involved a bottle of tequila and a hot tub, so whatever).” I also have my hearing and my eyesight and my sharp brain. So what if everything below the waist is shot!!

I’ve been retired for 20 years now and on Medicare for 5 years, and I think I’m finally able to handle both better. We are still trying to downsize and move to a smaller home in town instead of commuting 15 miles each way to get to Sequim and 35 miles each way to get to my doctor appointments in Port Angeles. Being in town will simplify both. But I’m getting discouraged. We were supposed to be moved this last spring, but Covid 19 put a crimp in our plans. Now we are aiming for this spring? Will it happen? I’m starting to have my doubts and I’m so tired of having everything packed up and in storage, for 2 years now.

I feel like I’m running out of time. And I still have things I want and need to do.

Yule Holly Butter Mints

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
Dash salt
5-1/2 to 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 to 4 drops green paste food coloring
3 to 5 drops red paste food coloring

In a large bowl, cream butter. Gradually add water, extract, butter flavoring and salt; beat in enough confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until dough achieves a stiff putty consistency, about 3 minutes.
Divide dough into three portions. Knead green food coloring into two portions. Knead red food coloring into remaining portion. For holly leaves, shape teaspoonfuls of dough into balls; roll in granulated sugar. Flatten to 1/8-in. thickness; cut with a holly leaf cookie cutter. For holly berries, shape 1/4 teaspoonfuls of dough into balls; roll in sugar. Arrange leaves and berries on serving platter. Store at room temperature.

Choices and Opinions

Dec 3 2020

I keep hearing and reading what I call “an either/or” mentality… as if there is only one choice to any problem.

Right now on the news they are suggesting there are only two choices for Christmas shopping… Black Friday or Online shopping. Seriously? Are you saying there are no other options to buy Christmas gifts? And I’m amazed at how many people buy into this. You mean no one will be going to small local stores, or people will not be buying things all year long, or the thought of handmade and homemade gifts are out of the question? Or maybe just get fed up and go with a no gifts holiday?

I saw some people “discussing” the refugee situation, and how since we “can’t take of our own” we should not take care of anyone else. No, we CHOOSE to not take care of our own… not only returned military and veterans but the homeless, hungry, and mentally ill. We could take care of them if we wanted to, but too many religious leaders and politicians prefer to live in mansions and drive expensive cars and send the message that this is what all of us could and should do. But in reality, we should take care of all of the people in need!! We need to support school levies because our children are our future. We need to make sure all people have a place to live, no matter where they came from, have enough to eat, and have proper medical attention. But those are no longer priorities. The only thing that is important is money and profits.

Then there is the argument between pro-life and pro-choice and that you can only be one!! Bullshit. A lot of people believe that ALL life is important, not just pregnancy, that the quality of life is important at ALL stages, and that people need to have the choice of what that means to them. This includes not just abortion, but also birth control and sexual identity. If you don’t want to have an abortion or marry someone of the same sex, then don’t. But you have no right to demand that everyone else needs to do what you insist is the only way to do it.

And lastly, is all this crap about religion. Again, it seems like there are only two choices. Either you are a Christian or you’re not. And if you are not, you are the devil incarnate and a Satan worshiper. And banish the idea that you could ever combine two or more religious practices!!! I’m getting really tired of seeing comments from both sides…. that everyone needs to “simply be a Christian” or that all religion needs to be abolished. You know there are many in between these two; it’s all a part of religious beliefs evolving as we learn new things. Whatever happened free will and free choice? How does my own personal beliefs make any kind of impact on your own? And if it does, you really don’t have much faith in your own beliefs.

Religious freedom means ALL religions or no religion. Our US constitution assures that. Don’t believe me? Go read it for yourself. And religious freedom doesn’t mean just Christian religions, especially since so many Christians can’t agree about what that even means!

Opinions are important and it’s important that we share them. But there are two things you have to remember about opinions… they are not facts and they only apply to ourselves.

There is never just one way to do anything; not what we believe, think, do, read, eat, wear, live, and everything else in life. I’ve had so many people tell me “you’re doing it wrong” simply because my way was different from theirs… from my belief system to what I eat to how I crochet and sew.

We are not robots, we are human beings and as humans there is no way we all are going to see things eye to eye and from the same perspective? Is it really so hard to expect acceptance of other ways to do things? It doesn’t mean you have to embrace those other ways…just respect the right to make those choices.

If you want the right to make your own choices, in anything, you need to extend those same rights to everyone else on the planet. All 7 billion of us.

UPDATE: I wrote the above five years ago, at the end of November of 2015. A lot has changed in the past five years. When Donald Trump decided to run for president, I never dreamed he had a chance of winning, but somehow he managed to get to the White House. In five years my feelings about some of this have changed. I went from being a Humanist Pagan to a Paganized Atheist, basically the same thing, the only difference is that before I leaned more towards the Pagan aspect, and now I’m more Atheist.

Now we not only have the above to disagree and argue about, we also have the 2020 Election, a more divisive political landscape, a pandemic and quarantine and lockdowns, and those who have turned it into yet another political argument… to wear masks or not, to get a vaccine or not.

2020 has been a difficult year for so many. Too many black people are being gunned down by white people. Too many people have died from Covid 19. Too many people are out of work, losing their homes, trying to feed hungry children, and if parents manage to hold on to their homes and jobs, they are juggling work, childcare and helping their kids do distance learning. And in the midst all of this, there are still those refuse to wear masks and social distance and who want to take away equal rights for people of color and those of different sexual identity.

And now we are back around to Christmas time again, where Trump followers are insisted that it’s only “Merry Christmas” and it’s only a Christian holiday and thankful that “Trump brought back Christmas into their lives”. Either these people have very short memories (like 4 years long) or lack education in American history or only believe what they are told to believe.

Just for the record. Christmas has been an American holiday since the late 1800’s and it’s never been just a Christian holiday, it’s a blend of all kinds of fun cultural traditions. The United States has never been a Christian nation. There is no War on Christmas, only in the small minds of Fox news.

As rough as this last year has been for so many of us, the last thing anyone needs to is to be told “my way or the highway”. Let’s all just celebrate the holidays in the ways that work best for each of us.


“A platitude is a trite, meaningless, or prosaic statement, generally directed at quelling social, emotional, or cognitive unease.”

“God won’t give you more than you can handle.” This line was the title of a blog article I posted written by a Christian minister who was told this by people due to several challenges that he and his wife were dealing with. It started a short discussion of other platitudes that people hear. And it was a topic I felt I needed to expand on.

The problem with platitudes is not that they might be true, it’s that they are a quick and easy way for the person to say who is watching someone deal with these challenges and they don’t know what else to say. By issuing a platitude, they can then pat themselves on the back and feel that they did something. But platitudes usually do more damage than good. Instead of a platitude, action is usually a much better way to help.

“Everything happens for a reason”. I personally believe this is true. But I have to be the one to decide what’s true and what the reason might be, and not be told what that reason is by someone else. Because my reason might be totally different than someone else’s and for some people, they might not want or need a reason at all. It’s not up to anyone to decide if this is true for anyone else. Even though I believe it (I’d rather have a reason than have something happen randomly), it’s not up to me to decide what that reason is for someone else.

“What doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger.” Again, while this may be true, that’s not up to you to decide this for anyone else. The idea of what is strong is very subjective.

“It’s God’s will…” I personally have a problem with this one as makes me feel I’m nothing but a puppet under someone else’s whim. I was told this with every challenge I faced.
“Satan is testing you.” I was actually told this one when my daughter died.. by the pastor’s wife. I felt like I was a pawn in a chess game.

“It’s all apart of God’s plan for you.” Another one I have a personal problem with.. why make any decisions for yourself if someone else is doing it? And if being raped, having my daughter die, getting cancer is all apart of God’s plan… I demand a re-write.

“Time heals all wounds.” Again, while time MIGHT heal some wounds, it doesn’t heal all wounds, they are still with you. And it doesn’t do anything for the pain of the wound at the present time. However, I do believe that time allows you to learn to deal with the wound.

“I will pray for you.” While prayer can be good for the person doing it (for themselves) or even in a united effort to help someone, like in a prayer circle, it can help as long the person who is being prayed for is on board with it. Just saying “I will pray for you” is an easy way out and doesn’t actually help anyone else. Like praying to end cancer or praying to end world hunger or homelessness, doesn’t do anything at all. These things take action. If you want to help someone, be there to listen to their fears and grief. Fix them a cup of tea. Rub their feet. Hold their hand or their head as they vomit. Just do something. You don’t have to say anything at all.

“The good die young.” I was told this one too… oh, well, in that case, I just won’t grieve for my loss.. because “God called her home”… and “it’s all apart of God’s plan” so I should celebrate her death, not mourn. Again, while I do believe that people die when it’s their time, that doesn’t make their death any easier to take. Grief is a process and each person has the right to decide how their grief will proceed and the length of time it will take. It’s rarely the same for each person.

“It could be worse…” Of course, it could be worse, but that doesn’t mean what is happening right now isn’t painful. When my children and I were in the car accident, my mother said, “At least no one died”… so I should be grateful. But I had just been told that I was going to lose my leg and I would never walk again and that my children were in the hospital and I couldn’t go to them to comfort their own fears… so I felt I had every right to be sad and angry about the situation we were in.

“Just think about how much worse other people have it.” Yes, they are, and if given time I will realize that on my own. But this just negates the pain and suffering that you are dealing with at the time, more guilt. It’s like when you were a kid and you didn’t eat your dinner, and your mother said, “think of all of the starving children in China (or India, or where ever). Feeling guilty because starving children didn’t have enough food never helped those starving children, and eating all of your dinner didn’t either.

“You deserve what you are getting.” This usually comes from someone who doesn’t approve of your lifestyle or choices. Again, I heard this after my daughter died. “If I hadn’t turned my back on the church, God wouldn’t be punishing me.” The irony of this was that when she died, I was a very devout, active, church-going Christian, so it had nothing to do with my being a Pagan later and an Atheist now. And it was my church family that turned their backs on me, literally, when they shunned me and I left religion for good.

“Stop whining, everyone goes through this!” I was told this when I got cancer for the third time. When I was in chemo, I kept reading about people who blithely went from chemo to work without any side effects at all. These stories made me feel like a total failure because chemo caused so many side effects for me there were times I didn’t think I would survive the treatment. This platitude just made it worse. And then I read an article by Melissa Etheridge about when she was going through chemo where she talked about how sick she was. Suddenly, I didn’t feel alone about losing my hair, bone pain, and constant nausea. She became my hero.

The worst one of all…

“Hate the sin, love the sinner.” Probably the most damaging, judgmental crap of all time. Who is to decide what the sin is and who is committing said sin? And if the sinner should be punished, and how? That’s why we need to depend on civil laws and we have the right to expect all people will be treated the same.


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