Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Solitary Reaper

A favorite of mine....
The Solitary Reaper

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?—
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?

Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;—
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

........Those last two lines.....

Saturday, September 9, 2017

This Bridge - The Foresthill Bridge


Today I find myself writing about this local bridge.

I am using this picture to draw memories.
What are you writing today? Anything that you'd like to share?

Is there a local bridge, river, landmark or building that you obsess about?
Do you care to share?  Have you written about it?

The Foresthill Bridge

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Writing For Bliss - Diana Raab, Ph.D

A Review by Toni - Writing for Bliss by Diana Raab, Ph.D
Review and giveaway (see end of review for details)

If you are interested in a free give away copy, please leave a comment in the section below.  I will announce the winner on Tuesday, September 12th.


     I had no idea that I would love and feel this book so much.  I thought it would be like so many other "how to guides."  I also had no idea of the connections I would find in reading this book.  I have been journaling since I was very young and I have journaled and written stories and poetry all my life.  I will try to write a sensible review and try not to just gush all over the "page."

     My normal way to read and absorb this kind of book is to read slowly and savor each bit of advice and do all the exercises, and in so many cases these kinds of books don't get finished and become neglected because of that process.  Thank goodness the author recommends reading it through and going back to work on the writing prompts, so I was able to read and take the book into my mind and just be with it without having to act right away.  I will confess to having a few side journaling experiences that did distract, but that was wonderful and it ended a three week journaling drought in my life at a time when I needed it so much.  And yes, the book talks about that too!

     In reading the book I truly learned  (am learning) how to "Write for Bliss." I learned what bliss means, and what it is, and what it is like to experience it through writing.  I learned some of the reasons why I write and how to write what I want and not just what I want others to "hear."  I learned to use my journal as a path into the wonders inside my mind, soul and heart.  I learned how to write the good, the bad and ugly.  I learned how to STOP writing when it is too much.  I learned (am learning) to be patient and cherish the unknown parts and that what I don't know now can be lived at a later time.  I don't need to have all the answers today.

     I found comfort that there could be breakdowns in exposing the raw pain onto the page and I felt comfort that it is okay to seek therapy for courage, healing, and emotional support.  I found courage in confirming statements that there is healing in writing and writing is therapy.  

     Diana Raab put in many beautiful insights of wisdom from writers, healers, seekers and teachers such as, Steinbeck, Jung, B. Siegel, Hemingway, Rollo May, Thich Nhat Hanh, Virginia Woolf  and Rumi.  And that is just a scant sample of the hosts she includes in her book.  This makes it more than a "how to book" it is a gift of medicine for living and pure care and love for the writer's heart and soul.

     And not to disappoint, it is all bundled up with the key ways in which we can prepare for writing through grounding, breathing, meditating, knowing your shadow along with many other techniques to help with cohesive healing and blissful writing.  There are sections on self awareness, transpersonal psychology and setting our intentions.  This includes segments on the wounded healers and storytellers and your inner child.  And still yet, even more! The book contains the "how-to" parts of writing poetry, writing about sex, and even sharing your writing, if you are inclined to share.

     Also, I don't want to leave out one of the best parts that helped me to connect.  In writing the book the author shares her story with us.  Throughout the teaching, she shares her own inspirational path and journey.   Her story is beautiful and transforming, brave and humble.  I feel completely enriched by her story and her book.  I connected to her story and her way of teaching and sharing.  What beautiful care and hard work she put into this book to share her writer's soul and a life time of reality and wisdom from with the words from so many enlightened souls.

     I am so truly grateful to have this book in my life.  I felt as though I entered into the souls of many writers and I don't feel on the outside any longer. I feel connected and pulled in and very encouraged beyond words.  But from the experience of this book, I am sure that  someday soon I will be able to find the words and heart to write more of what that means to me and how I feel about that.

     I recommend this book to all writers, all healers, and all humans whether you write or not.  Read the book with gentle compassion for yourself and your journey.  This book revived my heart and soul in just a simple read through.  I am so eager for a second pass and a third pass and to work on the writing prompts. And I feel so hopeful that I will be able to get deep inside me and find the courage to love, heal and share.  All the "feels" and love for this book.

     I have a therapist/mentor that I have been working with for the past year.  I can truly say that through that care and growth that I have been able to connect to this book.  I just don't want to leave that part out as it is through that connection that this connection became so real and possible for me. Each and every week I learn to live in connection and this book helped me make more connections.

     Thank you Serena at Poetic Book Tours for including me in the blog tour.  I received a free copy of the book so I could review it and have a place in the tour.

If you are interested in a free give away copy, please leave a comment in the section below.  I will announce the winner on Tuesday, September 12th. (USA residents only)  There is one copy to be "raffled off" by random number selection.   Winner will be posted on September 13th.

All the other lovely book details below:
Blog Tour Schedule: 

Aug. 18: Modern Creative Life (Poem)

Sept. 5: Soapy Violinist (Review)

Sept. 5: Modern Creative Life (Guest Essay)

Sept. 15: Mia Sutton (Review)

Sept. 20: Diary of an Eccentric (Book Spotlight/Giveaway)

Oct. 3: Katherine & Books (Book Spotlight/Review)

Oct. 6: Life’s a Stage (Book Spotlight)

Oct. 10: The Reader’s Handbook (Review)

Oct. 13: Life’s a Stage (Review)

About the Book:

A personal narrative can truly have healing and transformative powers. In her inspirational new book, Writing for Bliss, Diana Raab, Ph.D., examines how life-changing experiences can inspire you to write a compelling narrative of your life. A how-to guide for anyone interested in growth and personal transformation, Writing for Bliss will take you on a unique journey of self-discovery, and guide you to your own personal bliss.

Geared for the emerging writer, the seasoned writer, and those in academia, this book leads spiritual seekers down the path of self-discovery through writing prompts, tools for journaling, and embodied and reflective writing techniques; and offers ways to find the best vehicle for profound self-expression.

Those who can benefit from writing a life narrative may have been exposed to early-life trauma, loss, or addiction. Writing your story is a way to reclaim your voice, reveal a family secret, or simply share your story with others. Journaling is a cathartic and safe way to work through your feelings and “direct your rage to the page.”

With the help of this indispensable guide to therapeutic writing, you’ll understand yourself better and be able to deal with various challenges in your life, such as depression, anxiety, addiction, loss of loved ones, diseases, and life transitions.

Offering step-by- step practical exercises for journaling your thoughts, emotions, and memories, along with techniques to jump-start your writing, Writing for Bliss will help you achieve the therapeutic results of writing for healing, and provides essential information for using this technique to transform your life in a meaningful way.

Available on Amazon:


Advance Praise:

 “Poet and memoirist Raab (Lust) credits her lifelong love of writing and its therapeutic effects with inspiring her to write this thoughtful and detailed primer that targets pretty much anyone interested in writing a memoir. Most compelling here is Raab’s willingness to share her intimate stories (e.g., the loss of a relative, ongoing struggles with cancer, a difficult relationship with her mother). Her revelations are encouraging to writers who feel they need ‘permission to take... a voyage of self-discovery.’ The book’s seven-step plan includes plenty of guidance, including on learning to ‘read like a writer,’ on practicing mindfulness meditation, and on addressing readers as if ‘seated across the table from [your] best friend.’ Raab covers big topics such as the ‘art and power of storytelling’ and small details such as choosing pens and notebooks that you enjoy using. She also helps readers with the important step of ‘finding your form’” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“Writing for Bliss brims with the truths of Raab's life, as well as that of other established and beloved authors and philosophers. Writing for Bliss is far more than a "how-to-manual"; it enlightens the creative process with wisdom and a delightful sense of adventure. Bravo to Bliss!’ —LINDA GRAY SEXTON, author of Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back To My Mother, Anne Sexton and Bespotted: My Family's Love Affair With Thirty-Eight Dalmatians

About the Author:

Diana Raab, MFA, PhD, is a memoirist, poet, blogger, speaker, thought leader, and award-winning author of nine books and more than 1,000 articles and poems. She holds a PhD in psychology—with a concentration in transpersonal psychology—and her research focus is on the healing and transformative powers of personal writing. Her educational background also encompasses health administration, nursing, and creative writing.

During her 40-year career, Dr. Raab has published thousands of articles and poems and is the editor of two anthologies: Writers and Their Notebooks and Writers on the Edge. Her two memoirs are Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal and Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey. She has also written four collections of poetry, her latest collection is called, Lust. As an advocate of personal writing, Dr. Raab facilitates workshops in writing for transformation and empowerment, focusing on journaling, poetry, and memoir writing. She believes in the importance of writing to achieve wholeness and interconnectedness, which encourages the ability to unleash the true voice of your inner self. Dr. Raab serves on the board of Poets & Writers (Magazine Committee), and Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Santa Monica, California. She is also a Trustee at the University of California, Santa Barbara.




Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Easy Cheesey Fettucini Sauce by Toni

Simple easy dinner. Its just a bowl of pasta.  Ok..this is not diet.  But so good.

As usual I don't have a recipe....but I did try to get some adequate measurements.  The red utensil is a 1/3 cup measure.

Start boiling the water in the sauce pan.  When the water is boiling add 1/2 package of fettucini noodles. (Salt water if desired)

Then in a meduium sized skillet, add about 3 tblspoons of butter, melt and sautée with four cloves garlic and about 1/8 cup finely chopped onion.

Cook about 3 minutes, careful not to burn the butter or the garlic.

Add a few tablespoons of flour and mix well and then add about 1/3 cup of half and half. I was cooking lightly over medium or low  gas flame.

Stir in a heaping 1/3 cup of sour cream...(uh huh.... so now you know how good it will be).

Add salt and pepper as desired and 2 tablespoons of parsley.  Fresh is THE best but I was out and this was a no trip to the store meal.

Add a handful of cheddar cheese.  Mine was about 1/2 cup.. (Tillamook cheddar) I have big hands, so maybe more.

Stir in about 1/3 cup parmesan cheese.  Again fresh is best, I only had the Kraft stuff. Even more parmesan would work... cheese y'know!

Add in about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of water to thin and let cook simmer about 10 minutes. (Broth would be tastier...I had none)

When the noodles are ready, per package instructions, or how you like it best, strain and put back in the pan and add about 1 cup of the sauce...There will be an extra half a cup of sauce or so....
Go ahead and add it if you want.

Enjoy...then blog about it.  (Simple ingrediate list after the pics)

3 tbls butter, 4 cloves garlic, 1/8 finely chopped onion, 2-3 tbls of flour, 1/3 cup half and half, 1/3 cup sour cream, 2 tbls parsley, salt, pepper, handful cheddar cheese, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, 1/2-3/4 cup water..(broth would be better)

Sunday, August 20, 2017


There was this time .. a few weeks ago... I wanted cheesecake....

It turned out great.  I made extra  crust....   There was caramel topping and whipped cream involved.

Recipe. Cheesecake

soapy news

The lastest soap to come out of the soap kitchen is pumpkin spice.. it's a light scent with tumeric for coloring and ground oats for scrub.

The blend has 5 ounces coconut oil for lathery moisture. 

I love homemade soap.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

People writing songs that voices never share

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains

Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
'Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking,
People hearing without listening,
People writing songs that voices never share

And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

"Fools" said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you"

But my words like silent raindrops fell,
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming

And the sign said, "The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
And whispered in the sounds of silence

~ Paul Simon

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

belated summer cooking -Tupperware

So totally annoyed with my blog issue is that I upload multiple pics to from my phone, then I go to app or blogger to uncover draft but I can't see the pics.  For me that part is the worst about blogging.  I need keypad and free fingers to write but I need also to upload my photos journals.  Am I whining?  Perhaps... :).   I don't like this typing on the phone thing... ha ha how do people type on phones.... ;) kidding, I just did it. 

Ok so last year, in efforts to cook chicken in the 100 degree temps, I  decided to get some microwave cookware.  Yes.. I went to a real Tupperware  party.  I got mini tupperware prizes too. That party was a freaking blast... women, food and wine.. what more to say.  Fun for days!!!

I bought a cookware set on sale.. with free cookbook.  I never got around to doing much with it.... so this year... epic hot summer... I got a 7 dollar whole chicken.. rubbed it down with chili powder, salt and pepper and stuffed with celery.  
Bad blog notes..because I can't remember how many minutes per pound.... I cooked it for 37 minutes.  
There was a how many mins per ...pound instructions but I can't remember.  Text me and I can find out.  Also.. add a cup of water or broth. 

It turned out fantastic.  No oven.  A chicken is a lot of meat, so I make chicken tacos and soup meat.  Check out the skin and doneness of it .. wow!!

I know some think this is undercooked... it just needs to sit longer. It was perfect.  I checked with thermometer.
Those wings..

 For the Tacos..
The top pile was for tacos the middle pile was for soup with the chopped celery.... deboned and de-skinned...(boooo.. but I have fat to loose on my own human be-ing that I carry I have rules..)

 Soup mix in fridge. For the next day. 

Taco meat for tacos...


Next evening soup was yummy.

Easy summer time cooking.  I am sorry my post is so casual.... need to flow better with a keyboard. That's how I blog... free flow.

For my food buds.. I have a cheesecake that was grand to post.  I recommend cheesecake to the world.  It was delicious. Pics coming.

Happy cooking... do your best for heathy, clean..kind, food. Doing the best with what you have is a win!  

Cook and be happy.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

August Read - South of Broad

It is early August here in Northern California.  It is about the time of year when people have quit complaining about the heat and have finally committed to the heat and warm sunny skies.  The yard is starting late summer shriveling from long sunny days and having never quite recovered from the previous drought years.  The side lawn was completely forgotten this summer and remains a wasteland, even the weeds jumped ship to the main lawn of crab grass and everything that survives in a front yard that isn't grass.  The summer makes me feel lazy at times, especially on the days where it is just too hot to run or do anything.  At least on some days that is my excuse.  Today being one of those days.  One of those days where I am not training for a 1/2 marathon and seriously the guilt of not doing so has vanquished for the rest of this day at least.

Late breakfast, naps, no chores... and while I should be dusting and getting the house ready for the week, I decided to blog.   

What am I reading these days?  I can't seem to finish books unless I have a review or blog tour. Which is partially the reason that I like to do them. Accountability... I mean one can't just give up reading????    I am reading a book called Crash and Burn, Lisa Gardner.  It is good, just a bit scary, so I don't read it before bedtime.  I am also making my way through a book called Self Therapy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Wholeness and Healing Your Inner Jay Early.  It's a self help book, so I am making my way through it, and I say that step by step is the way to make it through the book.  

I have stacks of to-be-read books all around me. I think that comes from a time when I didn't think I'd feel complete if I didn't have books near by with all kinds of choices.  It is amusing as I recollect about that time as I would have NEVER read two-three books at a time.  The days of grieving over a finished book have been long gone.    Now I can sit and read morsels of different books and I am not so driven to even know what is happening next.  It is kind of  like the tv, I will put it on and get episode 2 when I feel like it.  That doesn't bode well for actually finishing books that I start.  Commit Toni Commit!

This afternoon I pulled a book from my bedside table.  South of Broad by Pat Conroy.   I know many of my book blogger friends and associates have read this.    I don't even know what it is about, but I opened the book and started reading and it was like a gourmet reading treat. And I could only wish that Nick Nolte was reading me as he narrated Conroy's other book in movie form. So in my mind he is reading it to me.    It stimulated my mind and I can't wait to get back to it and I suppose that is why I decided to come here to talk about books this Sunday.   

Would anyone care to read with me? Let's check back next month and chat about it. Pretty please.


Pat Conroy is the author of eight previous books: The Boo, The Water is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline, The Prince of Tides, Beach Music, My Losing Season, and The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life. He lives in Fripp Island, South Carolina. Photo copyright: David G. Spielman

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A big sweeping novel of friendship and marriage” (The Washington Post) by the celebrated author of The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini

From Publishers Weekly:
Charleston, S.C., gossip columnist Leopold Bloom King narrates a paean to his hometown and friends in Conroy's first novel in 14 years. In the late '60s and after his brother commits suicide, then 18-year-old Leo befriends a cross-section of the city's inhabitants: scions of Charleston aristocracy; Appalachian orphans; a black football coach's son; and an astonishingly beautiful pair of twins, Sheba and Trevor Poe, who are evading their psychotic father. The story alternates between 1969, the glorious year Leo's coterie stormed Charleston's social, sexual and racial barricades, and 1989, when Sheba, now a movie star, enlists them to find her missing gay brother in AIDS-ravaged San Francisco. Too often the not-so-witty repartee and the narrator's awed voice (he is very fond of superlatives) overwhelm the stories surrounding the group's love affairs and their struggles to protect one another from dangerous pasts. Some characters are tragically lost to the riptides of love and obsession, while others emerge from the frothy waters of sentimentality and nostalgia as exhausted as most readers are likely to be. Fans of Conroy's florid prose and earnest melodramas are in for a treat. (Aug.) 

How can you resist that editorial?

Happy August!  Have a great week of peace and love.  #nevergiveup

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Poetry and Ponderings by Diamante Lavendar

 A review by Toni:

My book reviews tend to be simple, this I know is true.   I will do my best to describe my journey in reading this collection.    I did not read it in one sitting.  I believe it was about four or five settings.   I found all sorts of nuggets of truth, pain and beauty in the collection.  My journey with the collection/story was filled and rewarded with morsels of wisdom and bits to ponder upon later.   I feel I traveled a road of pain, recovery, faith and spiritual healing with this collection.   Many parts were very "familiar" to me and it rang true to my soul.  It is sweet prose grounded with a gentle straightforward way of "speaking."

The Mother's Day piece:  It really socked me in the gut.... for what I may have lost with my own mother and for what I DO  have with my own daughter / grand daughter.  The reminder of  the blessing and gift of having a daughter, and grand daughter brought tears to my eyes.   I have every intention of sharing this piece with my girls.

As a former runner struggling to get back my faith and strength back, I completely connected to the piece called Don't Give Up. My motto is #nevergiveup.  I feel empowered by the words; "The sun always shines after it has been gone awhile."

Although I shudder at the thought of giving any attention to a molester, I was drawn to read the piece Portrait of a Molester.  I won't say too much about that, but I thought differently about it after reading.  I think of survivors needing a voice and  of victims that need words.  This is a piece that will help the ones lost for words find some words, or  structure. Or perhaps it is a place for people to gather and let go and  slay our demons collectively.   And in turn, perhaps help one another on the journey to healing and spirituality.

The affirmations throughout the book are wonderfully inspiring.   There is much to be shared, gained and experienced with this collection.  My thanks to Diamante Lavendar  for writing this lovely nurturing book of truth, pain, inspiration and God.

Thank you Serena and Poetic Book Tours for allowing me to be a part of the tour.

Tour Schedule:
July 11: Impressions in Ink, and here and here. (Review)
July 13: Wall-to-Wall Books (Review)
July 13: Reading Writings (Book Spotlight)
July 19: Reading Writings (Review)
July 20: Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf (Review)
July 25: Mia Sutton (Review)
July 26: Readers Handbook (Book Spotlight)
July 27: Soapy Violinist (Review)
July 31: Katherine & Books (Interview)
Aug. 2: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)
Aug. 9: The Book Connection (Review)
Aug. 15: the bookworm (Guest Post)

Book information and praise:
From Award-winning author of Breaking the Silence, Poetry and Ponderings: A Journey of Abuse and Healing Through Poetry by Diamante Lavendar
A Journey of Abuse and Healing Through Poetry
A raw collection of religious poetry and prose based on one Christian woman’s experiences of being abused, and how she healed herself with God’s love in order to move past the assaults.
In this rare collection of nonfiction Christian poetry and prose based on real life experiences, Diamante Lavendar, a victim of abuse, shows the reader the raw emotions of pain, hate, and denial that occur before a victim of abuse can find a way to heal from the pains of assault. Knowing herself the very difficult journey of being a victim, Diamante was abused as a child, and turned to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain. Many years later, she started to heal under God’s watchful eyes and was able to find love in her life again. She shares these truly inspiring, religious poems in the hopes that it may help other victims heal their hurts, as she did while writing the poetry collection.
Advance Praise:
Poetry and Ponderings is the most loving and beautiful dedication to Diamante Lavendar’s daughter. Anybody who has gone through a grieving time needs to read this classic expression of love and devotion. I tip my hat to the author for this marvelous collection of wisdom, insight and truth.”
-Mel Novak, Actor, Best known for his role in Bruce Lee’s Game Of Death.
“Tragedy turned triumph. Poetry and Ponderings beautifully leads the reader from gut wrenching pain to glorious freedom and healing. A must read for survivors and those who love them.”
-Sarah Boes, Founder of More Precious Than Rubies, reaching victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
“Diamante’s Poetry and Ponderings are an affirmation, and flow to the close of her book with the summation of her awakening. She has, in each poem, walked us through to her understanding and acceptance; we are the creation of God’s breath, as souls to live life to the fullest, and with forgiveness … ‘Writing is her way of leaving her mark: one poem, one story at a time.’ This book achieves this endeavor.”
-Sam Eastwood, International Poet
About the Poet:
Diamante Lavendar has been in love with reading since she was a child. Diamante believes that everyone should try to leave their own positive mark on the world, and to make it a better place for all. Writing is her way of leaving her mark—one story at a time. She began writing in college and has published poetry in anthologies over the years. Most of her writing is very personal and stems from her own experiences, and those of her family and friends. She writes to encourage hope and possibility to those who read her stories. To learn more about Diamante Lavendar and her books, please visit her website.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Love Each Other

Just because we know how to get up after a fall, or what needs to be done,  sometimes we just need a leg up .. a little help.. that's why God made Eve and mothers, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors, and tribes. Help each other people.  Love each other.  Happiness is love.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Friday - Summer Foods - Protein (recipe)

7/1/2017 - post edit.  Sorry the original post didn't have the pictures. Something went haywire. :)

Some Friday nights... it's just steak and salad.   This was a few weeks ago.  Tri-tip cooked with tips from

And simple protein trail refuel.

Simple quick chili by Toni

1 .5 lbs ground beef
1 chopped onion
7 cloves garlic
2 tbls parsley - fresh is best
Two celery stalks choppped
1 can organic crushed tomatoes
1 can organic tomatoe sauce
1cup water
Chili powder - 2-3 tablespoons.
1/2 pack taco seasoning
1 packet chili seasoning
1 can dark kidney beans
1 can pinto beans

I put the pan on high.. put the ground beef in and chopped it to large chunks and started adding ingredients.


Friday, June 30, 2017

Self Care and Love

Meeting one's SELF.  Who is that?   The real you, that warm, non affected by this life person that resides inside you  just beautifully "being."  The true soul of the core that is watching and waiting.  The soul that is patience, beautiful and joyful.  That beautiful being, the inner priestess voice otherwise known as "me" or "you" or Self. 

That presence inside is the presence of reason, love and all beautiful things waiting to flow out and spread through the body.  It doesn't judge, but it sends rays of love and understanding within and to the universe.  Finding and connecting with that love is truly the greatest love of all.  Knowing about "it" isn't quite enough.  Knowing and not really connecting just leaves one in want of the seemingly allusive present moment and all good gifts from within.   Knowing about it and not being able to reach .... but then.... finally....

Connecting to it is everything.

A little Self Prayer

Internal priestess
To meet you is lovely.
I have known you forever
How wonderful to let you
reign free in peace.

Internal priestess
To hear you is lovely
To hear through your ears.
How wonderful to hear
your silent gentle vibes.

Internal priestess
To feel you is lovely
I have felt you forever.
How wonderful to feel
compassion through you.

Internal priestess.
To heal with you is lovely.
Your warmth surrounds.
How wonderful to heal
with radiant heat.

Internal priestess
How lovely to love you.
I have loved you forever.
How wonderful to love
through your grace.

Internal priestess
How lovely to connect
through breath and light.
How wonderful that I
completely love and accept you.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Beat the Heat - Trails - Donner Pass - Pacific Crest Trail

June 2017 brought a weeks worth or more of triple digits.  It was a heat wave, it seemed as the concrete didn't ever cool off.  The options for trail running in Auburn were a bit bleak, and I checked the temperatures for the cooler SF Bay area to run and  it was hot there as well in the Marin Hills. All beach trails within driving distance were hot.  The difference was only 10 degrees.  So 106 or 96.. in the sun it just felt hot.  So I went to my weather guide to find the cool spots in California.  Donner Pass in the Sierras was reporting 80 degrees. SOLD.

It is only about 1 hour and 20 minutes away.  So that is where the adventure began.  I set out to hit the Pacific Crest Trail towards Squaw Valley for a bit of out and back trekking/running.  However when I got there, the trail was snowed in.  A few experienced hard core looking hikers with gear and proper hiking boots reported that there was no one yet able to navigate that section of the trail.

So a bit up the road there was a trail and a hiking routes toward Donner Lake.  It wasn't much of a trail for "running" but it worked out for a nice adventure.  The trails were rocks and sometimes just mountain rock.

The altitude was high and the sun was pretty bright.  But not more than 20 minutes into the hike, a gigantic cloud cover appeared over the mountain and the weather dropped to a blissful 74 degrees.  I set off with phone and water bottle.  There were a few places that were rock that I lost my nerve and confidence in my trail shoes and my own legs so I turned back and did some intervals.  I was able to run ok at that altitude whenever I could find a suitable trail.

I was able to hike on my own for a quite awhile and it felt amazing to have confidence. When I got far away and things seemed a little uncomfortable, I hiked back to what I was calling "base" at the time.

Picture time.... Right???  First off peeking at you!
This is Lake Mary.  The property around it was marked private,
I so wanted to see it.
The rocky trail

I kept going back to look up to those green rocks, so 
Much energy swirling around the mountain. The energy
of survivors, and hikers.  It was very big and beyond
words to describe the beauty.

Donner Lake, the view before the cloud cover.

Beautiful snow melt ponds... crystal clear. Very quiet and

I took off out on the snow, but it was too hard and slippery.
The cloud on its way to provide sunscreen from heaven.

So I went the other direction... I got a feeling I would encounter 
A bear and there were no travelers in this direction so I turned back.
(If I was a bear, I would be hanging out there....)

 My journey on gps.

Spring in June in the Foothills... one of my favorite pictures of the day.

I will make it out to Donner Lake soon.  There is a road around the lake that goes for about Seven miles. I need to "street" and distance train for a 1/2 marathon.   I keep flaking out and going to the hills and mountain trails, can you blame me.  There is so much beauty and the elevations and up hills are making me so strong.

Have a blissful week. Let the sun, moon and beautiful sky remind you of nature's love.
Be well and be joyful.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Outdoor Pizza Kitchen

It is no secret that the third week of June 2017 rolled in the big  high temps in Northern California.    I proceeded with the good faith that I could satisfy the BBQ Chicken - "pizza" urge without heating up the kitchen to the afternoon blaze.  

I hate to call it pizza, because I think that people, including myself expect it to taste like pizza.  Pizza to me conjures up scent and taste memories of red sauce, crust, the base and beginning and end to all good pizza.   This is Pizza derived and cooked like pizza, so we can just call it BBQ Chicken pizza.  But I think that is why some people  have a hard time loving this dish.  It has been quite popular in California for decades.   I had it the first time  over 23 years ago at Planet Hollywood restaurant in a Harrah's casino, in Reno..or was it Tahoe?  Reno?  Tahoe? 

It was too hot to run the oven at high temps for 30 Minutes, so off to the back yard grill where it was already 104 degrees.  The dough was made in the morning and rose like a champion.  I marinated and later grilled bbq chicken pieces to chop up for the topping.   The rest was just a matter of assembling.

I did put the dough on the cast iron pizza dish and  grilled for about 10-12 minutes about 450-500.  I brought it in the house and I flipped it and then assembled the "pizza" and then out it went for another 10-12 minutes at 425-450.

To rise

Sweet Baby Rays Sauce to marinate the chicken
For later.

Risen...then to the fridge to wait for cooking later.

It's grillin' time.
I think these little pieces only took about 10-12
Minutes at 400. Keeping in mind that they are going
To cook again on the "pizza"


Chopped up Chicken
Olive Oil the pan

Spread dough  with your fingers and poke with fork

Grill covered for 10-12 minutes about 450



Spread a light layer of bbq sauce on crust
Add thin slices of mozzerella cheese, chicken,
Red onion, green onion, a bit of grated mozzerella,
And a light drizzle of bbq sauce.  I used a sandwich
Bag with a little hole in the corner.



Grill it with lid down, my indicator for doneness
Is when I can see the mozzerella cheese puff and melt.



The perfect crunch

I hope you enjoyed the pics and the photo recipe guide.  As always
Comment, email or PM me with questions.

This is a super easy to make dinner.  It requires a bit of time and a process.  But it is "cheap" and only a few ingredients, and a super tasty meal.   If you wanted it to be more whole food, then make your own bbq sauce.  But really the amount is so minuscule....

If tastebuds allow... add cilantro and/or parsley.

Love and peace