So for the past week my car has been giving me trouble. Anyone who knows me well is probably nodding their head right now, because I am notoriously unlucky with vehicles… hell with just about any mechanical or electrical device! Any sufficiently advanced piece of technology that I own will inevitably end up dying before it’s normal lifespan, because I am just cursed. I think I was meant to live in the stone ages, LOL.
After a week of my transmission acting up and getting decidedly worse each day, it finally died completely. Replacing or rebuilding a transmission can cost thousands of dollars (that I definitely don’t have) so I was in a bit of a panic! Enter “Mr. Fix-it Extraordinaire”; aka my Dad, Carlos. He’s famous among his friends and family for being a jack-of-all-trades who doesn’t believe anything is beyond fixing! After a morning spent under the hood/car, he finally traced the issue to a transmission fluid leak, which was being caused by a faulty CV Joint that had been installed at Pep Boys just 6 weeks earlier. It is unclear whether Pep Boys installed it wrong, or if the new part was defective, but either way it ended up being covered under warranty, which saved me a potentially expensive repair bill.
Now on the morning the car died, I had texted my client to let him know, and warn him I may have to rearrange my work schedule if I was without a car. As a devout Christian, he told me he would pray for me to receive a quick and inexpensive answer to my car repair woes. Although I am an atheist, I appreciated the sentiment.
Pep Boys managed to get my car finished in a day, and I was able to pick my car back up a few hours before I was scheduled to work. Talk about my luck looking up! I even had time to have a delicious brunch at Angie’s Restaurant with Dad & Pam. I headed to work in a good mood and with a happy belly!
My client wasn’t home when I arrived at his house and started cleaning. When he pulled up and saw my car in the driveway, he came in the house and called up the stairs to me, “Prayer answered!”, referring to his recent promise to pray for my car troubles.
I couldn’t help but smile at his enthusiastic faith and good intentions… but the atheist in me, who credits my Dad for my good fortune since he found the Pep Boys error, couldn’t help but have the sacrilegious (but oh so funny) thought:
10 days ago I scanned a few old pictures to compare myself with my younger sibling, and now look what it started! I have not stopped scanning photos since! That little task got me motivated to pull out my 2 giant boxes of old pictures and start organizing and scanning them into digital photos. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for years, but could never quite face the daunting task!
So far I have scanned almost 500 photographs, and still have thousands left to go. I suspect I will run out of motivation before I finish them all, but my first goal was to pull out all the photos I could find of me. This wasn’t too big of a chore, since once I hit my teenage years I started hiding from cameras, and there aren’t all that many photos beyond my grade school days.
I managed to find most of my school pictures, although a few years are missing. Try not to make fun of me! (Click the first picture to open the gallery full-size)
My favorite social activity came about thanks to my son… I have an adult son with Asperger Syndrome, and since the age of 12 he has been obsessed with games. In an effort to bond with him at that age, I decided to learn how to play some of the games he enjoys. My choice was between video games, or geeky strategy-style games, and I chose the latter (video games are just not my thing).
So now I hold game-night dinners at my house once a month or so. I’m still not terribly good at the games; I don’t have that Spock-like logical brain that my son has, plus I’m too anti-conflict to play anything even remotely resembling an effective strategy, hahaha! We still have a lot of fun, and it indulges my need to play hostess. If I had to choose, I would say my favorite game is Dominion, a deckbuilding game.
This year I decided to join my local Community Garden, Garner Grows, and this has been another great social activity. This one actually gets me out of the house, and even forces me to face the dreaded outdoors! My EDS causes fairly severe temperature intolerance, and summers get very hot and humid here in North Carolina! I’m enjoying the garden activities now that it’s still spring and the weather is cool, but I’m not sure I will be able to tough it out come summer. Thankfully, I am still able to contribute to the garden by maintaining their website. It’s my first foray into web design for almost 20 years, so it has been a learning experience, and I am really enjoying it!
12 oz Pictsweet frozen spinach, cooked as directed and drained
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese grated
Melt butter in saucepan, then add flour and to form a roux. Stir over medium-to-low heat for 1 minute, do not let turn brown.
Slowly stir in cream, whisking continuously to prevent lumps.
Add garlic salt
Add grated Parmesan to saucepan and cook on low until fully melted.
Add cream cheese and cook on low until fully melted *1
Combine cream sauce with spinach and artichokes
Place in baking dish and sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbly and browned on edges.
*1 To make cream cheese easier to blend without lumps, microwave in a bowl for 60-90 seconds to soften. Mix a small amount of cream sauce into the bowl until smooth, then add to the pot with the rest of the sauce
So this past weekend at the Garner Grows Plant Sale, my Dad pulled out some pictures of me from elementary school, talking about how much you can see the resemblance between me and my youngest sibling Layla at that age. It got me thinking… we looked even more alike when I was a teenager. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of photos from that era because that was the age I developed my camera-shyness (bordering on a phobia, LOL).
So I contacted my Aunt and Uncle, remembering that I was a bridesmaid at their wedding, to see if they had any photos of me. Sure enough, they had a couple, and here they are!
Here is a comparison of Me and Layla at around the same age:
Layla has more freckles from their Mom, but we both definitely have a lot of our Dad in the mix! I don’t have any pictures of Dad that young, but here’s one of him at 19, and another in his 20’s.
These cookies add real maple syrup to keep them nice and chewy even after a few days! I like to make a double batch, and use my 1½ inch cookie scoop to scoop the whole batch, then freeze them so I can pull them out and do a few freshly baked every time I want some… because who doesn’t think cookies are better hot out of the oven?
1 cup unsalted butter melted and then cooled for at least 5 minutes
1 ½ cups light brown sugar packed (300g)
½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
2 large eggs room temperature preferred
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup maple syrup (60ml)
3 ¼ cups all purpose flour (415g)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips
In a large bowl, stir together melted butter and sugars.
Add eggs, one at a time, stirring until combined.
Stir in vanilla extract and maple syrup.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients, stirring until completely combined.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Cover bowl with clear wrap and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes
While the dough is chilling, preheat oven to 350F (175C) and prepare cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper (if you don’t have parchment paper, you can bake directly on an ungreased cookie sheet).
Scoop about 1 ½ Tablespoons of cookie dough. Place them at least 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet.
Bake about 13 minutes (cookies will appear to be a bit underdone, but edges should be just beginning to turn golden brown).
Allow cookies to cool completely on cookie sheet. If desired, gently press a few chocolate chips on top of the hot cookies.
Keep unbaked cookie dough in fridge while waiting to put the next batch in the oven, and do not place cookie dough on a hot cookie sheet.
This was technically my Nanny’s recipe, although it looks pretty much like every other Wedding Cookie recipe out there with one exception… all the sifting! It’s not strictly necessary, but I’ve found that in the cookie dough, the sifted ingredients make for a more tender, crumbly cookie that melts in your mouth! And in the topping, sifting the powdered sugar seems to help it stick to the cookie better. Your choice!
These cookies are great for dietary restrictions! They swap out well with many Gluten Free varieties of flour since they don’t rise. And I’ve even made them with Sugar Free powdered sugar. The only thing I haven’t tried yet is swapping out a vegan butter substitute… let me know if you try it!
1 cups butter , softened
2 cups sifted flour
½ cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cups chopped walnuts
extra sifted powdered sugar for rolling
Cream butter and sugar together on high with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and flour, mix well on low. Dough will be dry and crumbly.
Fold in nuts.
Scoop using 1½ Tablespoon-sized cookie scoop and place on ungreased baking sheet about an inch apart. Since these cookies don’t rise, they don’t need much space. Bake at 350 for 13 minutes.
Roll in powdered sugar while still hot. OPTIONAL: Roll a second time once cool
Makes roughly 28 cookies using 1.5 TBS cookie scoop.
My kitty Cali left an impression on me this morning… quite literally! Because EDS affects my skin, making it fragile and prone to being easily marked, it doesn’t take much to leave a lasting impression, or even a bruise or scar.
This morning Cali was feeling a bit insecure. She suffers from severe anxiety (treated with Prozac) as well as PTSD from a previous abusive living situation, so it’s not unusual for her to need a little extra attention. She planted herself on my knee for about 10 minutes wanting some reassurance, and left these adorable paw imprints in my skin! My friend Aimee pointed out that the 3rd toe on her right paw is shaped like an adorable little heart (click here to zoom to full size)!