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Friday, April 29, 2016


I am so lucky.  I have a couple of second Moms, but the one that's known me the longest is Darlene, my stepmom.  She's been in my life since I was four.  We've been through a lot together: the deaths of my father, mother, grandparents, and many on her side as well.  She has always tried to be a good mom to me and my sister, Kelli, even though she claims she didn't always know what she was doing, she helped shape us who we are.  She has no idea how much she has made an indelible mark on us.  She is an amazing inspiration.

She has run marathons, half marathons, and 5 and 10ks.  In her 50s and 60s!  She quit smoking years ago, got her weight off, and has always encouraged me, even when I've made mistakes.  Her way of counseling me is comforting, honest, and always makes me feel better when I have to have support for a number of things.

She still walks up to 3 miles a day AND goes to the gym after that on most days.  I am walking most days, so I can keep up with her this summer, and she is 20 years older than I am.  She encourages my writing, and don't worry Dar, I will have the book finished by August!  I've been fortunate to have her, and I know she can never be replaced.  Happy Birthday, my friend, confidante, and mom!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Love and Marriage after 40 - Divorce and Empty Nesting

What begins middle age?  When do you find yourself dating and marrying for a second time? 
According to the National Center for Health Statistics:

"What leads couples to divorce in later life, after many years of marriage? A 1970s Canadian study of over two hundred individuals divorcing after twenty or more years of marriage found that adultery, alcoholism, and incompatibility were frequently given as causes. In this sample, 75 percent of the middle-aged and older adults noted long-term marital unhappiness, and about half claimed to have postponed divorce until their children were adults."

Although this study was in the seventies, things have not changed.  In fact, for my age group, middle-aged divorces are becoming more, not less common.  In my circle of friends and family, adultery seems to be the biggest killer of marriages, yet the couple does not divorce until the kids are all out of the house, or at least in their late teens.  So, what do you do when not only your spouse, but your children as well, leave the home?  
It's called, "Getting Back on the Horse."  Like Dede always said, you must pick yourself up and wipe off the mud.  Move on.  It's a bitter thing to bear, but one must do it to survive, keep a relationship with your child/children, and to find love again.  How do you do all this and keep your sanity?  I'm not sure sanity is important, because when a spouse leaves, you do kind of go into a manic rush.  What do I do now?  This is a common question.  It's equally hard on the kids, as they don't have their "home" to come back to when they are gone: mom is in one place and dad the other.  
The divorce aside, as it happens, sooner or later in the majority of marriages in the U.S., the empty nest is even harder, particularly when you put everything into your kid/kids.  Once you get over the initial shock, however, you find a freedom as never before.  It is one that you can't quite explain till you go through it.  Kind of like people telling you that your kids will grow up really fast, and you don't believe them till, 'Poof' they are grown!  This is your time.  Your job is not over, but the day-to-day management of children is erased.  This is the time to find yourself.  
I know, that's a major cliche, but it happens to be true.  You are free to pursue your own interests, take your own adventures, and find another love - if that's what you want.  How do you do that?
Stay tuned ...

Politics - Cruz versus Trump

Politics again?  Why, yes!  This week we do a quick glimpse on the positions of the Republican candidates, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

Both men tow the party line well:  They agree on Second Amendment Rights, Border Control, and Veteran Affairs.  On both of the sites below, marketing their agendas, there is a lack of issues that the Democrats have, such as: Equal Pay, Women's Rights, and multiple positions that Clinton and Sanders have covered in detail on their sites.  Ted Cruz has a Senator site, where he goes into greater detail about his plans for the country, but Trump seems to lack substance in his agenda.  Cruz has at least a Senate seat, and Trump has never held public office or even served in the military.  You don't have to have been in the military to be an effective Commander-in Chief, but you should at least have served the public in some capacity.

Each gentleman has a distinct difference in their delivery and rhetoric.  Cruz is calmer than Trump, who seems to incite his "fans/supporters," always yelling and not saying anything of quality in his words.  Anyone can make broad statements, but Cruz is more detailed - even more than Trump, on his Senate site.  These two men are very similar.  Just like Clinton and Sanders are similar, but they should be if they are in the same party.

As stated before, in a previous blog, I am a registered Dem, but if I had to choose between the two GOP candidates, I'd have to say Cruz would get my vote.  Trump can't bully Congress like he does people in business.  Politics is a whole different animal.

I'm curious ... If Hillary Clinton had been married three times, with children by each man, been on a reality show, filed for bankruptcy three times, and left each man for the other man ... Would she be considered a viable candidate?  Think on that!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Recipe: Banana Split Pie


This recipe was originally taken from a friend, long ago.  It's perfect for Mother's Day, and I will be making it to take to my Mother-in law's for the special event.  I make mine as sugar free as possible, due to health issues in the family.  It can be made the fat way, as well!

It can be made in single servings, like shown above, or in a long casserole dish, which is the way I make it.  You have choices galore!

Main Recipe:

1 large sugar free Cool Whip tub
3-4 bananas
1 large can crushed pineapple
1 sleeve of Graham Crackers
2 Pints of strawberries
2 large boxes of sugar free vanilla pudding, with 2% milk or Fat Free Milk
1 pint of blueberries

Follow directions on pudding box, but use one less cup than called for, so it is thicker.  Set aside.
Crush Graham Crackers in a bowl, transfer to casserole dish or individual cups, spreading the bottom to cover.  Use more crackers if necessary.

Slice bananas into discs, and place them on the Graham crackers, covering them.
Use half of the Cool Whip to cover the bananas.
Drain Pineapple in a colander, (do not use water!) Spread over Cool Whip.
Spread pudding on top of pineapple.
Cover pudding with bananas like before.
Spread the other half of the Cool Whip on top of bananas.
Cover top with halved strawberries.
Sprinkle with blueberries.

Chill for at least 3 hours.  Serving size depends on what you use to put it in.  It will need to be a deep dish pan or casserole dish.

Optional ingredients:  Nuts, Cherries, Chocolate Syrup upon serving.  I don't use these, due to personal preference.

Listen to Stewie from "Family Guy," may be unappetizing, but definitely funny!

Dede's Wisdom - Nobody Said Life Was Fair

Dede, my grandmother, and a staple of my blog, always said, "Nobody said life was fair."  She was right.  I'm sure most of you realize this now.  I'm also sure you've heard it before.  However, it is pertinent to not only hear it, but to live knowing it.  Being aware, and believing it, can release you from the fairy tale you may be living.  I lived a fairy tale once, and when it was gone, it wasn't fair, it stung like the devil, and it was a shocking eye-opener to the real world - jolting me out of the "pink fluff" I was living, like being shot out of a canon.

Now, I've come to to terms that nothing is fair.  For example, my father dying suddenly from a heart attack at 37, and I was 15 was definitely unfair.  I even blamed my father and God for leaving me.  I thought God did it on purpose, but that's the mind of a 15 year old.  My mother passing at only 62 was not fair, either.  The feeling of loss is only soothed by the fact that they are at peace now.  I hope.

I have at least five friends at the moment, that I know of, that are going through cancer treatment - at 48!  Not fair.  I am actually stunned at the cancer that my friends have.  We all grew up in the same place, went to high school together (three of them), and the other two also live in the same area - fearfully close to a nuclear power plant.  Hmm ... I wonder.

My ex-husband had a heart attack, bypass, and lost the sight in one eye all within 3 years.  Not fair.  I have also had health issues to bear, and no one told me that I deserved it.  No one deserves to go through turmoil in their lives, or even the day-to-day struggles we face.  However, we can change the way we think and react to these situations.

Dede would say, "Oh well, get back on your horse," after an incident, illness or any situation where it didn't work out the way I wanted.  She was never a quitter.  She lived with life-long health issues and pain, starting at 16 through to her dying day.  She never, ever quit going, loving life and loving her family and friends through many problems, while giving advice when asked.  Believe me, all of her grandchildren relished the 2a.m. "cereal time," when she would get up in the middle of the night to eat a bowl of cereal and talk to one of us.  We cherished that time with her, in the quiet of the night, alone and chatting about everything you can think of, from the inane to the serious.  She was full of wisdom, and guess what?  She was always fair.  I think she was because life wasn't, and she wanted to present the other side, so we didn't lose hope.  What I took from her, is that my issues may not be fair at times, but there is always hope.

It's like that grandmother in the movie "Parenthood," shown below.  She reminds me of my Dede.  Enjoy life, my friends, because you never know what will come your way.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Hillary versus Bernie

For the first political weekly blog, I wanted to know more about where the politicians stand.  Today, the first candidates to go under the microscope are Hillary and Bernie!  Next week, I will cover the Trump/Cruz positions.  The following links take you to the candidate's own site, where they cover what they think are the most current and pertinent issues to Americans.  Do you agree?

When commenting on politics, please don't be rude or use profanity.  Never attack someone else.  Simply give your opinion.  Let's keep the debate fun, folks!

Two things jump out at me when reading the candidate's positions.  Bernie seems to be exceedingly specific on his issue topics than Hillary, who is more broad in her topics.  Both agree on a lot of same things, I mean, they are both running Democrats, so to some extent, they have to be similar and tow the party line.  The other thing that jumps out at me is Bernie's lack of a gun control policy.  I am disturbed by that.  I like the way Bernie's topics are laid out, as they are specific.  You know what he is going to do, and how he is going to pay for it.  Across several broad topics, Hillary gets more specific in her explanations, but still holds back more than Bernie.  This disappoints me, as I expected more from her.

Hillary is more old-school politics, or politics as usual than is Bernie, who seems to have bucked the political system throughout his 30 year career.  This is reflected in their choices of topics.  However, when Hillary gets down to the nitty-gritty of her policies, she reminds me of Bernie.  They are very similar, and the research and reading has made me think about who I really want to vote for.

Read for yourself, and let me know what you think!  What do you think the biggest difference is between these two candidates?

About me:  I was a registered Republican for over 20 years, and then switched to the Democratic party in 2008.  Although, I had been voting as a Democrat for 8 years.  I switched my party, after voting for "the best person for the job," both Republicans and Democrats, depending on their topics, but the Republicans hard-line over Women's Rights, Big Business, Gun Control and more - well my dislike over the Republican policies simply seemed to grow, pushing me to the left in a big way.  

Monday, April 11, 2016

Dede's Famous Chocolate Pie!

   My grandmother, Dede, always made this chocolate pie, and when I took over making it, at about age 13, she would keep me home from a date just to make it!  lol

RECIPE:  Makes 2 Pies~

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cream Pie with meringue...

6 egg yolks
3 cups of sugar
1 stick of butter, softened to room temperature
3 cups of milk
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 cup of Hershey's Cocoa
4 teaspoons of vanilla
2 Marie Callendar's pie crusts


8 egg whites
1 cup sugar
cream of tartar

Follow directions to make Marie Callendar's frozen pie crusts (2).  Cook before adding pie mixture.

For pie:  Mix all dry ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Mix all wet ingredients, then add to saucepan.  Cook on medium heat until it bubbles and thickens to a pudding consistency.  Keep stirring gently throughout the cooking process, so that it won't stick to the bottom.  Pour into cooked pie shells.

For meringue:  Whip egg whites only with beaters for five minutes, then add 2 teaspoons cream of tartar and sugar.  Whip five more minutes till creamy.  Pour and shape onto two pies.  Cook for 15-20 minutes on 350 degrees, or until meringue is a medium brown.

When I make this on holidays, I have to make enough for everyone to eat AND take home! 

How to separate eggs:

Hope you enjoy our family recipe!

Best~ Veronica