I want to start this post off by stating the fact that I am completely for creative self-expression. At the end of the day, I could care less how a person wants to live their life. Or maybe, what I mean to say is, I care that someone has the opportunity and right to live their life.
Now… watch this:
Basically, our little red-head is becoming an adult today and is ready to explode onto the scene with self-expression. If I allow myself to sit and really think about it, it is an absolute beautiful thing to be self-assured and confident. She knows who she is and what she wants, at this point any way.
I think that is the inspiration for this post. Is the core of who we really are, the same as it was when we were 18?
I’m trying to remember the girl I was 30 years ago. I was planning to go to college and become a television journalist. I wanted to live in NYC and travel the world. I wanted to be sophisticated and bright. I wanted to be married, no kids.
Is that girl still inside of me?
Granted, life took me on some twists and turns, however, I did go to college. I did become a television journalist. I did travel the world. I did live in a bigger city (not NYC, but I did visit it once.) I did get married and I chose not to have children. I guess you could consider me bright, and maybe more cultured than overly sophisticated.
With that being said, what about aesthetics? A tattoo is a big deal. The one my step-daughter is getting looks similar to this:
It will be a half sleeve with flowers and vines, in black & white and with shading. If done well, it will be pretty, BUT, it is a really big deal because at 18 – what if?
What if you decide later you hate it?
What if you try to get a job and are denied because of visual tattoos?
What if the artist has a shaky hand?
What if people judge you?
Should it matter?
What happens when it fades? I showed her my tattoo that is 17 years old, and it never sees the light of day, and has begun to fade.
There are a lot of things to consider. PLUS – she is still in high school. She graduates this year. I realize she will eventually go back to class in January (next semester,) and will the half sleeve be super distracting?
Gosh, I sound like a mom.
THEN there is the issue/non-issue of her gay pride birthday. I have absolutely no issue with it, but her grandmother is going to have this sour-puss face about the whole thing. Honestly, this too shall pass, but I just hate that any negativity hits these kids over their life choices. Scratch that – being gay is not a choice. I hate that any negativity hits these kids over who they are at their core.
It takes a lot of guts to live your life out loud. I commend them on openly embracing who they really are, and every one else can just shove off. Their lifestyle and choices are between them and GOD/a higher power, and I, for one, will not be accused of ever stifling or meddling in something that is really none of my business. This is their journey. All Tim and I can do is provide a solid foundation and a safe place to turn when times get hard.
I’m struggling to put a single thought on this blog. Clearly, I am not focused, but I did get an excellent night’s sleep. What to do?
I mentioned in the video that this morning there was a little 4-egg blessing, which was a nice surprise. I love when little accidental acts of kindness make their way to me. So a big thank you to the awesome people at 3 Squares Diner in Americus.
I also brought up Botox. Any of you use Botox? I need it, but then again, who cares? If you use it for migraines, I totally get it. But if it is just for vanity’s sake, I’m not sure. I’ll probably try it one day, but… eh….
You see… I am babbling on my blog also.
What’s going on with me?
I tell you what – I am going to walk away and have a cup of coffee. When I return, I will have a topic.
Yep. No luck.
Maybe that is okay.
Ah… public service announcement: Make sure you are registered to vote and know where your voting precinct is. If you aren’t comfortable voting in person, please make sure to request an absentee ballot.
As for me and my house – We are voting for the Biden Harris Ticket. Even my die-hard Republican husband. That should speak volumes.
More good news: I agreed to help out with a non-profit organization called The Social Exchange. The mission of the Social Exchange is to bring about community healing through education, wellness services, and the arts and humanities. The Social Exchange provides supportive, educational and treatment services for the overall health and well-being of individuals with a focus on criminogenic, addiction and mental health issues. I will be assisting with the art committee. The vision of the organization is this: “Our vision is to transform the isolation and lack of community experienced by those suffering from social deprivation. The Social Exchange seeks to inspire renewal and a sense of value to the individual and our society through incorporating the arts and humanities within our community. We aim to provide excellent education, treatment, and preventive services for a minimal fee of service or no cost to the individual, as well as offering events and activities that have compassion, creativity, diversity, and wellness at their core.”
I also recently joined the Americus Sumter Remembered Movement in support of the Americus Civil Rights Center and Museum. I am currently working with them by helping with publicity. I’m also the Public Image Chair for the Americus Rotary Club. And I’m still involved with the Healthy Sumter Movement and the Patient and Family advisory Council for Phoebe Sumter Medical Center. So yes, I did get involved.
What are you guys watching on television? I just recently finished the entire series of Married At First Sight.
My husband and I watched all of the episodes and I have to tell you, it really helped us find new ways to communicate. Sometimes reality tv can strike a cord and mirror what you may be doing, and sometimes when we see someone that reminds us of ourselves and they are not reflecting what we would want others to see, it sort of makes you take a closer look at how you are living your life.
I’m also watching Season 5 of Lucifer. I LOVE this show so much.
And we are also rewatching Glee. We are on the second season and use this as something light to watch during dinner.
If you ever turned your nose up at the series in the past, you might want to give it another go.
And finally, I am currently in 80s heaven with Cobra Kai!!!!!!
I LOVE IT. Seriously, give it a go. I was a huge Karate Kid fan back in the day, and honestly, I had a huge crush on Johnny. It is crazy to see Johnny my age now. You will fall in love with the characters, even if you never saw the old movies.
And finally, I am still on my Marvel Movie Marathon for my husband. Tonight’s movie will be Thor’s Ragnarok. I’ve watched the following movies in order:
Captain America: The First Avenger
Iron Man 2
Iron Man 3
Thor: The Dark World
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Captian America- Civil War
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Here is what is next:
What are you into these days? Share in the comments!
Now that I have had a little coffee, I suddenly became inspired.
It really is the most wonderful time of the year – we are hitting the FALL season. Normally, I would be spending each and every weekend attending festivals: The winery’s grape stomp & harvest festival, the peanut festival, the historic fair, the sunflower jaunts and so much more. Instead, I have time to just be a normal person in an adnormal, COVID-infested world.
Last Friday, I did, indeed, spend an hour outside of City Hall handing out masks to the public. We have this program called, “Mask Up Sumter,” where we make free face masks available to the public. It was hot as hades and of course, I had to stand out there with my mask on. I’m pretty sure I almost died from heat stroke.
The hour went quick with my friends Nichole and Qaijuan, as we had reservations at Floyd’s Pub at the Historic Windsor Hotel. During this pandemic, the hotel has been serving dinner out on the Veranda, which happens to be the second floor of the hotel.
I have to tell you, I felt totally safe. First of all, we had to wear our masks in the hotel, then we were required to use hand sanitizer and our temps were taken before we were shown to our table, which happened to be in a corner with absolutely no diners around us. It was cool enough because there was a fan overhead and the sun was beginning to set.
Since the week was a challenge, we decided to kick things off with a shot of Patron. So glad we did. It took the edge off. You will noticed that all of the drinks are served in a plastic cup.
We had a few laughs and ordered a few drinks. We tried really hard to stay off of the subject of work and instead, discussed cow tipping and road trips!
We teased Qaijuan relentlessly about having a harem following him around. Poor guy, in this female dominated climate.
Floyd’s which is an extension of the reknowned Rosemary & Thyme Restaurant, was featuring a limited menu. Since I was low-carbing, I opted for a bunless Windsor Burger (with no lettuce or tomato,) and a side salad. I also imbibed on a refreshing Cosmo Grey Goose Martini.
The General Manager of the hotel is a friend and he wanted to showcase one of his newest creations. This was a scoop of Guinness infused ice cream with hazelnut liquer and Cafe Campesino coffee. Again, I took 2 small bites and gave the rest to Haley. It was DIVINE and reminded me of a Jamoca Shake at Arby’s. I would have consumed the whole thing, but I am doing so well on my diet, I just couldn’t finish it.
Later on, Qaijuan and Haley left, while Nichole and I moved inside to the bar, where there was only one other couple allowed in, and I grabbed a glass of Rose and our friend, Vic, the General Manager, sat down with us as we discussed business and politics.
The new morning, Tim and I went our separate ways. He went to Preston to help his daughter rip out some drywall as she and her husband prepare to gut and rebuild the house they just purchased. I ended up going with Qaijuan and Haley to my hometown of Macon.
We originally had reservations at the Downtown Grill, but instead, we decided we wanted a little seafood, so we headed out to Lake Tobo.
We took a few pics by the water then stopped by the Fish & Pig, this cool lakeside seafood and BBQ restaurant right next to the marina.
Unfortunately, there was an hour and a half wait, so we started back down the road toward downtown. Thinking we may have messed up canceling out reservations with the DG, we kept driving and I was replaying restaurants in my head. THEN it hit me – The Back Burner.
Oooh.. the Back Burner. Such good vibes are at this Continental Restaurant located at one end of Ingleside Village.
I met the owners of the Back Burner several years ago when they first took over the restaurant. Their names are Julio and Karen Rosas. I was assigned a “love story” to cover of power couples in the community through Macon Magazine. Julio and Karen were one of the couples.
Their love story is such an American Dream story. I literally fell in love with them as I interviewed them. She was a customer at the Tic Toc Room, he was a cook there (and had worked his way up as an immigrant,) and eventually they met and fell in love. Now they own one of the most successful and truly amazing restaurants in the heart of Macon.
I gave the restaurant a call on Saturday night, around 6:15 and asked was there any way they could fit us in. They told us they were very busy, however they made room for us. We got there about 6:30 and again, we felt completely safe. Everyone was masked up and socially distanced.
I ordered a glass of Prosecco, Haley had a Moscow Mule, and Qaijuan had a virgin Champagne. We laughed and chatted as I watched them consume some of the most beautiful crusty bread.
Next up, we ordered appetizers. We had the house-smoked, maple leaf duck breast that was served with a sweet ginger chili sauce and teriyaki glaze; the shrimp mozzarella cakes with a lemon, garlic, dill aioli; and escargot de bourgogne with garlic crustinis.
I ordered the special – Garlic encrusted prime rib in a bowl of auju, served with a homemade horseradish sauce. I skipped on the masked potatoes, but was able to consume the meat and veggies! That steak melted in my mouth!!
Haley ordered the Scottish salmon with lobster risotto, French beans, and Champagne cream sauce.
Qaijuan ordered the New Zealand rack of lamb with mint, ginger aioli.
We were in culinary heaven!
Later on in the evening, Julio came out to our table to thank us for coming in and presented us with three complimentary desserts. OMG…
I had to. I just had to.
He presented us with this strawberry cake, a pecan bread pudding, and a peanut butter and jelly pie on a graham cracker crust. We divided the pieces in thirds and sampled.
We made it home with our bellies happy and time well spent.
Yesterday, Tim and I loved on our baby boy all day. We took him out to the farm for a ride on the gator to tempt his senses and give him a little adventure. We even tossed the ball in the backyard. He was being so good! Unfortunately, my MIL is not a fan of my dog, as she is terrified of German Shepherds, so I did not stay there very long. Tim and I took separate cars, so it worked out.
Dorian and I came back and took a nap. Isn’t he a gorgeous boy?
That night, Tim and I pulled some chairs out, got the splash pad going and let Dorian run and catch the ball. He was having the best day ever!
We wrapped the night up with Dorian’s bath, watching Spider Man: Homecoming, and talking with each other.
I started a new book this weekend – The Whiskey Rebels! Stay tuned for the review later.
Honestly folks, I am in such a good place. Even with the daily stressors, I am good. It took a really long time to get here, but man oh man, it was worth the wait!
I finally finished, “Cilka’s Journey” by Heather Morris, earlier this weekend. It was the continuation of the story from the Tattooist of Auschwitz which you can read about HERE. One of the main character’s from the first book was a Slovakian woman by the name of Cilka. You immediately are drawn to Cilka’s bravery in Auschwitz and find her story to be intriguing. Apparently, she was considered one of the most beautiful women and this caught the attention of a very powerful SS officer. Most of the women in the camp were required to shave their heads, however she was allowed to keep her hair.
The story ends with many of the women being shipped off on a train heading to another camp, however, Cilka was charged with working with the Nazis (since she was used as a sex slave for the officer,) and was sent to the Siberian working camps.
Guys… this is based on a true story and I have been curious about these Russian work camps since I saw the movie White Nights back in the 80s.
THAT brings you to Cilka’s Journey.
WOW. This poor girl was sent to work at Auschwitz at 16 and then sentenced to fifteen years in Siberia. Again she is repeatedly raped, forced to work in mines, however, for whatever reason, Cilka was smart enough to strategize and end up working the hospital and was trained as a nurse. I won’t go into great detail, because THAT is her journey and the basis for the story, but what I can tell you is this girl was full of heart! It is amazing how anyone can withstand the brutality and harsh conditions these people had to live through.
While reading, I began to wonder what I would do? Would I go along to get along? Would I fight and end up in the hole, only left to die from the elements? It truly boggles the mind.
What I can say is I have truly enjoyed reading these two novels by Heather Morris. If you are looking to get a behind-the-scenes look at life in the Gulag and understand what it takes to survive, then this novel is for you!
I made it to Friday and yes, my friends, it is Labor Day weekend. Of course this weekend will fly by so quickly, but I hope to take full advantage of the relaxation!
Before I share a few recipes with you, I thought I would catch my friends up on my life.
It is grape/muscadine season in South Georgia and luckily, at Tim’s family farm, there are plenty to pick from! Cotton decided to help me pick some out. If this pic was a scratch & sniff, you would just love that candy-sweet smell this fruit gives off.
There are two varieties: dark ones and green ones. The green ones seem to be the sweetest. Tim’s mom makes jams out of the dark ones.
There are also tons of pear trees all over their property. They are super sweet and there are several varieties.
This is the extent of my awesome conferences I get to attend. Yep. Zooming it from the Roosevelt Board Room at the Windsor Hotel.
My dear friend and tourism associate, Karla Scarsafava, came for a visit from Henry County (south suburb of Atlanta.) We grabbed a delicious lunch at Gyro City Mediterranean Grill.
I’ve actually cut my TV time down, but I have to tell you – Frozen II did not hold my attention.
Been making time to take a lunch with friends. We socially distance at the Visitor Center and either I bring my lunch or I pick something up.
We had our friends/neighbors over for dinner.
That’s my baby boyfriend – Atlas.
Little man goes from being a doll to being an asshole.
Typical 6 1/2 month old German Shepherd.
My parents came for a visit a few weekends ago. It was so nice to see them. We ate, watched tv, talked, and played trivia. It was the first time that I have ever beat them!
Chicken Cordon Bleu – Low Carb!
Brown Butter Sauce
1/2 c butter
1/2 c beef broth
2 tbsp cream cheese
10 oz swiss cheese, shredded
Boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp black pepper
8 slices of Swiss cheese
8 slices of cooked ham
1 c powdered Parm
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp coconut oil
chopped parsley for garnish
Heat butter in a large saucepan on high heat. Whisk for 5 minutes. Watch for brown spots.
Remove from heat and whisk vigorously. While whisking, slowly add broth, cream cheese and shredded cheese. Heat lightly (melt cheese) and add a little salt to taste. Remove from heat, place in a blender and smooth. Cool sauce before serving.
350 F and use a 13 x 9 baking dish.
Place chicken between 2 pieces of parchment paper and pound. Sprinkle each piece on both sides with pepper. Place 1 slice of swiss and 1 slice of ham on top of each thigh. Roll and secure with a tooth pick. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with Parm & Italian seasoning & coat.
Heat 1 tbsp coconut oil over medium heat. Place chicken rolls in a hot skillet and cook until brown on each side. (Takes about 4 minutes.)
Turn chicken and cook 2 minutes until golden. Transfer to a greased baking dish. Bake until cheese melt and chicken is done. (About 5 minutes.)
All to rest for 5 minutes (and remove toothpicks.) Slice crosswise. Drizzle with sauce.
Okay, in the words of Michelle Obama, “When they go low, we go high.”
Yes, there is no question about it, that is the right thing to do.
My friend, Qaijuan Willis said, “Lord, don’t let my gift take me where my character can’t keep me. I am your student, teach me.”
This struck a cord with me. As I mentioned in the video above, I have a challenge in front of me and I am trying very, VERY hard to do the right thing.
I am supposed to have a meeting with someone this afternoon, and who it is should not matter, nor should the subject matter. The real issue is the why and the how. Why is this person in my life and what are we talking about. And finally, how am I going to react?
I already know the subject matter and unfortunately, this person has created a scenario of division. The main question on the table is how will I react?
If you knew me in my 20s, you KNOW how I would react. I would have an attitude the moment this person came in the door and would have taken every opportunity to snip and snap at them. In my 30s, I would have sat across this person with a RBF and just undercut them every chance I got. But now, in my late 40s, I know better. I can do better. But I still have a desire to do choice A or choice B. It is within me. The trick is can I keep the old me at bay?
I’ve read multiple books on dealing with difficult people, as well as books on setting boundaries with toxic people. This person has a reputation of being verbally abusive in meetings, specifically to women. If I had a choice, I would NOT meet with this person. However, I do not have a choice. I thought about what I would tell a friend or how I would instruct a mentee when dealing with someone like this. Here is the advice I need to take:
Be calm (This is the most important. For me, that may mean a little prayer and meditation after lunch.)
Understand the person’s intentions. I am very clear on what is happening, I need to try to put myself in their position.
Get some perspective from others. I have invited 2 of my team members to be in the meetings, though this person would prefer to meet with me alone. I do not work for this person, so I am able to dictate how this works.
Let the person know where you are coming from. I will be clear, calm, concise, and matter-of-fact.
Build a rapport. It is always easier to control a situation if they believe you are on their side. I can at the very least, attempt to set the tone for our working relationship.
Treat the person with respect. I have been in meetings where there was little respect for me and I know how that feels. I need to push my personal judgement aside and be kind and respectful
Focus on what can be actioned upon. That way there is a way to prove that I am compromising, yet keeping set within my boundaries.
Ignore. According to Business Insider, if you have tried everything and the person is still not receptive to your position. I would have done everything I could to be flexible – but if it comes to bite me… then there is….
Escalate to a Higher Authority for Resolution. This is considered the trump card and shouldn’t be used unless you’ve completely exhausted your means. Sometimes, the only way to get someone moving is through the top-down approach, especially in bureaucratic organizations.
At the end of the day, it really isn’t as big of a deal as I am making it. I think I am more so disappointed with some other people in our community for being so gullible and backing this person.
It is what it is.
And at the end of the day, what no one realizes, if this ends up causing issues for me down the road, it will be the catalyst for me making some sweeping changes.
Place the parm, paprika, and cayenne pepper in another shallow bowl and stir well to combine. Divide the parm mix between 2 separate bowls so you can do a dry, wet, dry dipping of steaks.
Dip a steak into the first bowl of Parm, then into the egg mix, then into the second bowl of Parm. Use your hands to coat both sides. Place the coated steak on a plate and repeat with the remaining steaks.
Place the 1/4 cup butter in a cast iron skillet on medium heat. When hot, add the coated steaks, working in batches. Cook for 3 minutes on each side (maybe longer – get to right consistently.) You want them to be golden brown and cooked through. Place steaks on a warm plate and cover.
To make gravy: Melt 1 tbsp butter in same skillet. Add onions and garlic and saute over medium heat. Use a whisk to stir in cream cheese, whisking until there are no clumps and it is melted. Slowly add broth while whisking. Cook, stirring constantly, until mix comes to a simmer and is smooth. Reduce to medium low and continue to simmer, until it thickens. This should take about 2 minutes.
Remove foil off steaks and cover with gravy.
This is a great way to have a little comfort food with low carbs!