Voice Threaten



If you watch TV in North Carolina you must be familiar with the CPI Security ad where what is clearly a robber, a man who practically has a black mask on over his eyes breaks into a house and an announcer says in a deep threatening voice, “CPI Security, identify yourself.” The sound of the husky voice is enough to drive the would be robber out of the house, that and the follow-up voice saying, “the police have been notified.”


My family thinks I missed my calling as a security voice announcer. I say it is never too late. I agree that I have a deep and what can be a scary voice when I am mad. If were a criminal heard me voice telling me to get out I would run for the hills.


Today, I was looking out my office window and noticed a giant black crow standing in the middle of my tender Arugula seedlings eating whatever he wanted. I ran out the garage screaming, “Get the HE%$ out of my garden, “ at the top of my lungs.


Well, walking just behind my giant magnolia tree was an old man I did not see, and a little further up my yard was a woman walking her dog, who apparently was peeing on my grass. Quickly I heard a small voice from the woman, “I’m sorry.” Then the old man, “Me too!” I ventured further down the driveway to find the people I had scared to death.   “I’m sorry, I was screaming at a crow,” I explained.


‘Thank goodness, “ the old man told me. ‘I was worried you had video cameras and were one of those CPI Security people.” I got a big laugh out of that and told him my child also thought I was one of those people. I quickly let him and the dog walking woman know I did not consider them intruders, but secretly I was hoping that maybe she won’t let her dog pee on my new grass again.


If you are looking to make a recording to scare people off your property I am offering my voice up for recordings. I also can do voice messages that scare teenagers when the liquor cabinet is opened or wildlife that might attempt to walk in your garden. I find a there are a lot of advantages to a threatening voice and I’m happy to share it, I’m just glad I did not give any old people walking by my house a heart attack today.  That would not have been good.

The Rainbow Moment



Russ is away so Carter and I decided to grab a quick bite of dinner out. As we were leaving our local eatery we saw a huge rainbow that stretched from one side of the horizon to the other. We both stopped and in the waning light of the evening took in the beautiful colors. Then as is the way of this decade we pulled out our cameras and both took photos and videos. Of course only Carter’s phone could capture the whole thing in one shot.


We got in the car happier than a mother and teenage daughter usually ever are together bathing in the joy that seven little colors in the sky brought us. Of course the tale of the pot of gold being at the end of the rainbow can never be proven since you can never actually find the end of the rainbow, but the happiness seeing that rainbow together tonight brought me something much better than gold; a close moment with my daughter.


If you have a teenager I hope that you can have a rainbow moment with them. It washes away all the crap.

How Old Are You When You Start to Appreciate Good Health?



When I was little I remember an old man, who as I think of it now was probably was not so old, whose house burned down saying, “Well at least I still have my health.” I was about ten or eleven and thought, that is the craziest thing I ever heard, you lost everything, why are you talking about your health? Taking health for granted is certainly something the young can do. The problem is you don’t really appreciate it until it is jeopardized.


Today I went to visit a good friend who had a big health scare and has had to endure a lot of pain for the last six weeks and has many more weeks ahead of her. The good news is she is alive thanks to a good husband and living near a good hospital, but living with pain is something I don’t think any of us want to experience or expect at a relatively young age, did I mention she is younger than I am?


Between my brother-in-laws serious heart attack this winter and this friend’s big illness I am really appreciative of my health. I am not looking for anything I need to fix, but I certainly am feeling my age creeping up and the need to do as much preventative maintenance as possible.


I’m not talking about lines on my face, I am perfectly happy showing the life I have lived when I smile. I’m talking about the things that might kill me. Fat in my organs rather than just fat on my thighs or plaque build-up that could break off and cause a stroke or heart attack.


Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance, that’s what it is after 50. So please pay attention to any warning signs your body might be giving you that something is different. My brother-in-law is alive because a co-worker did not just let him go home and lie down when he thought he hurt his back, it was a heart attack. My friend got to the ER because her husband took her. Waiting would have had a different ending.


I really want all my friends and family to stick around and be able to say right up until the end, “I have my health.” I just don’t want anyone to say it in response to his or her house burning down.

You Are Being Watched



George Orwell wrote 1984 in 1949. He only got the idea that Big Brother is watching our every move off by a few years. I wonder if George were alive today he would recognize our world of cell phone cameras, security cameras, you tube postings and thousands of hours of reality TV as what he described in his prophetic work?


With the proliferation of cameras and ways for people to share what they have filmed I don’t know why people continue to act like no one is watching when everyone is watching. Police should be the first to know that their every moves are being scrutinized. But the people who protest those same police actions with illegal reactions are also being filmed. The problem now is there is no way for society to prosecute all the wrongs that are being filmed.


Not all people protesting are doing anything wrong, but surely if you are doing something wrong the chances are great that someone or something is going to catch it on film. Has society gotten so numb to these pictures of people breaking windows or trashing cars that don’t belong to them that we no longer see the faces? Are their grandparents upset by their showing up on TV or is it all OK somehow?


I never understood when a college team wins a big game and their fans go out and burn things up in their town. The team won, why are you destroying things? How can we change this pattern of reacting to something bad or good with destruction?


I for one figure there are cameras watching everything so I don’t even want to scratch my backside when I’m out in public in case I show up on some horrible You Tube video. When I was a teenager the worst thing that might happen to you was if you went out of the house dressed in a terrible outfit you might show up in the back of the Glamour Magazine with a black bar across your eyes and the label of a “Glamour Don’t.”   I don’t think I ever knew anyone who was published as a “Glamour Don’t,” but the fear of being called one was real. Today, I don’t think people have that same fear. I feel like the reaction to something like that would just be the middle finger.


Now more people are watching, but less people are caring. I think I need to reread 1984 and see how Orwell’s character’s reacted. Somehow the idea that we are being watched has just made people react worse not better.

Puppy Therapy



Today was the first day we have gone to the Durham Bull’s game this season. The cold and rainy weather has not made baseball the first thing I want to do, despite my love of going to the game. I could care less about baseball on TV. For the most part I find it to be a slow and arduous thing to watch, but live and with friends at the ballpark I love it.


Today we filled our seats with my cousins Leigh and Sarah and their families and our friends Richard and Michelle. Carter also brought a friend. It was a full house in our seats, which helped keep me a little warmer in the cold wet weather.


This was the first time I had seen my cousins since their father passed away. We had so much to catch up on about the last weeks of his life and his funeral, which I missed since we were in Rome. Having a serious family talk between cheering for a good hit, or screaming about a bad call or giving kids money to go buy peanuts or discussing if it were better to eat a soft pretzel or cotton candy was almost surreal.


The one thing I learned that I was most happy to hear was how important my father was to my cousins through his brother’s whole illness and death. I just don’t think we always know if we are being helpful as family on the periphery, but hearing how much my cousins appreciated my father made my heart happy.


It was a double header today since yesterday’s game was rained out. We stayed for the first winning game, but then we needed to leave because we had driven Michelle and Richard and they had a new puppy we needed to spend time with. Hartley, the perfectly darling eight-week old little Jack Russell Terrier with the little white heart on her forehead was thrilled to see us and get to go out.


She is still such a tiny baby that she needs to snuggle to stay warm and nap every few minutes. I happily volunteered my cushy lap as the best place for her to do both. I think that holding a puppy is the best remedy for anything that is ailing you. It was great to spend time with my Cousins, but the sad reality that their father is gone really hit me today. Hartley was the perfect medicine for a sad heart.


Thanks to Michelle and Richard for being such kind hosts and letting us crash with Hartley and drink coffee and catch up. Too long between visits means we never really fully get through everything. Thanks for the puppy therapy. Now if we could just take them to the baseball game everything would be perfect.

Curried Veggie Salad


I did not do anything all day except walk and binge watch “the Forsythe Saga” and just as I was about to pass out I realized I had not written a blog!  How I forget to do this when a I have been writing for three years I do not know.  Obviously it takes more than three years for me to create a habit.
This is the third salad I made for my luncheon.  I took this picture the first day I made it.  I later added cashews when I served it again and it was greatly improved
1 small head of cauliflower broken into florets

1 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed

1 onion sliced thinly

1 mango cubed into 1/2 chunks

1 bag of baby spinach

Big handful of cilantro leaves-chopped
Spice mix

1 T. Mustard seeds

2 t. Cumin seeds

2 t. Coriander seeds

1 t. Turmeric

1T. Curry powder

1 T. Sugar

Olive oil

Juice of 2 limes

1/2 cup cashews
Blanch the cauliflower Ina big pot of boiling water for 1 minute and the drain and set aside.
Put a frying pan on a medium heat and put the mustard, cumin and coriander seeds in the pan and heat for about two minutes just to toast.  Remove from pan and grind them up with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.  Add all the other spices and mix well.  Set aside.
Using the same frying pan put the onion I with a table spoon of oil and cook on medium heat for five minutes.  Add the spices and continue cooking for another five minutes.  Remove fro. Frying pan and put in big bowl.  Add the drained cauliflower to the pan and cook on medium heat about four minutes to get it browned.  Add to the onion bowl.  
Add the chick peas, mango, spinach and cilantro and toss together.  Add the lime juice and a splash of olive oil.  Sprinkle with cashews right before serving.


Coconut In This Salad Is The Bomb




I made a blanched green vegetable salad yesterday with some shaved coconut and fried onions in it. It was fine then, but today when I went to have the leftovers it was fantastic. The sweetness of the coconut and the tang of the lime had married beautifully with the chili in the salad.


I used broccolini because I found some at Trader Joes, but I have to say it was the disappointing part of the salad, at least the tough stalks. Next tie I might just use the tops of regular broccoli.


Big bunch of Broccoli- lightly steamed and shocked in cold water to stop the cooking

Big bunch of green beans lightly steamed and shocked

Cup of cooked and shelled Edamame

Cup of Cilantro leaves- chopped

¾ cup of chopped coconut – not the flaked sweet kind. I used Trader Joes Coconut sticks that I chopped

1 large sweet onion

1/3 cup of Wondra Flour or rice flour

¼ cup of olive oil –for dressing and more for frying

Juice of 2 limes and zest of one

2 small dried red chilies

1 t. mustard seeds


Make the fried onions first my very thinly slicing the onion and dredging it in the wondra or rice flour. Pour a bit of the oil in a frying pan just to coat the bottom of the pan and heat on medium heat. Use a fork to pick the onions up out of the flour so you shake any excess off the onions and put in the fry pan and cook quickly, turning to keep them from burning. Remove from the pan to a paper towel covered plate and salt while still hot. You make need to fry the onions in batches.


Make the dressing by putting ¼ cup of oil in a small pan with the mustard seeds and red chilies and heat it up on medium. Cook until the mustard seeds burst, about two or three minutes. Mash the chilies with a fork and break them into small bits. Set the oil aside to cool. Add the limejuice and zest when cool and mix well.


Put all the green vegetables in a big bowl and pour the dressing over it. Tossing everything to coat. Add the coconut – It tastes better if it can marinate overnight. Add the onions right before serving.


You can add cooked chicken or shrimp to make it a whole meal.