Thursday, April 28, 2011



1 package Steam Fresh veggies
2 large tortillas
1/2 cup cooked hamburger, chicken, or sausage
1/2 cup sauteed onions 
2 cups Grated cheese 
Place Steam Fresh veggies in microwave, while you saute sliced onions and either hamburger, chicken, or sausage.  Leave meat out, if you wish.
Place tortillas on cookie sheet.  Add 1/2 cup of the grated cheese to half of each of the tortillas.  I use sharp cheddar, but you can use any type of cheese you enjoy.
Place the steamed veggies and the meat, onion mixture onto the two tortilla and fold in half.  Place in the oven, or toaster oven, at 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
Remove from the oven and top with sour cream and serve.  You can add salsa, and guacomole as well, if you wish.  Serve with a garnish of sliced lemon for color, and a sprig of parsley.  Enjoy! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


    When I opened my e-mail on Monday, I was touched by an e-mail from a good friend and I want to share it with you, at least part of it.  It made me reflect on the nice things people have done for me over the years.  The author remains anonymous, but it bore the title, “Five lessons to make you think about the way we treat people,” and it touched my heart.  One of the stories follows and I know it will touch your heart as well.
     “One night at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm.  Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride.  Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.  A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 60’s.  The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.
     She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him.  Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door.  To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home.  A special note was attached.  
     It said, “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night.  The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits.  Then you came along.  Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away.  God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”
Mrs. Nat King Cole.
     It brought tears to my eyes.  Nat King Cole was one of my favorite singers.  He rose to stardom on television, radio, nightclubs, and through his records.  It was a sad day indeed when he died.  I still listen to records of his velvet voice, which gave me many wonderful evenings of great music.  I miss him.
     The other story that grew a lump in my throat was about a little boy who was willing to give up his life, or so he thought, to save his sister.
     “Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease.  Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.  The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.
     I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes I’ll do it if it will save her.”  As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks.  Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.
     He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?”
     Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.”
     Good deeds happen everyday, we just don’t hear about them often enough.
     Do something nice for a stranger today.  It will make you feel great!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


    First anniversaries come along only once in your married life.  My husband wanted to do something exciting and memorable to celebrate ours.  He did!  Oh, yes!
     Did you like to play in the mud as a child?  Well, I did.  I loved squishing it between my toes and rubbing my feet into the gooey mess.  Kids!  They like the craziest things.
     Well, I’m no kid anymore, but I still like to do crazy things, now and then.    That’s why my husband gave me a big surprise for our anniversary.
     We drove up to Calistoga, the wine country, for a lovely weekend at a spa.  I thought we would drink wine and be pampered for the weekend.   Okay, we did get pampered, just no wine.
     It was a quaint little place, smaller than I thought it would be, but quite nice.  They had just remodeled and it was bright and clean.  It had all the fun things that any big spa had, with a big swimming pool, and they were so good to us.  Whatever we needed, they provided.
     The Golden Haven Hot Springs Spa and Resort was going to give me a weekend to remember.  I will definitly never forget this weekend.
     The first day we went shopping in all the sweet little boutiques along main street, stopping at wonderful art galleries that had both sculptures and paintings.  We were in heaven; we both love art and visit all the galleries we can find.  A love of art is a personal thing, with each painting stirring something deep inside your soul.  We saw all types of paintings from abstract to impressionism.  It was worth the trip just for that alone.
     There were so many Cafes’ along mainstream, with delicious aromas floating through the air to titilate your palette.  We didn’t know where to start, but we stopped and shared a Rueben at one of them.  After an afternoon of gallery hopping, we took a pizza home for a quiet supper and we curled up with a good book.  
     Our morning started with Eggs Benedict, at a cafe’ with open beams and a “Let’s have fun” attitude.  The place was full of happy people, chatting away and laughing at everything.  What a great way to start our day.  We left laughing as we drove back to the spa to begin our day. 
     My introduction to the spa was a mud bath.  Now, I loved mud as a child, but sinking my whole body into a tub of peet moss, clay and volcanic ash...Give me a break...mud?  I am all for a new experience, but I was not so sure I was ready for this.
    Here I was, naked as a Jay bird, trying to get into a tub of hot mud, which was no easy task.  The tub was deep and had high sides, that you had to climb to, and sit on, to let yourself down into the mud.  Now, I am only five foot tall. (I am a little short on one end.)  I finally got onto the edge of the tub, hung onto the bar on the other side, and slowly lowered myself into the 105 degree mud.  HOT!  HOT!  
    Your body rather floats on top of the mud, but they warn you not to stand up in the mud, because the lower you go the hotter it gets in the tub.  I sank into this oohy, gooey mess, as it warmed my body, it relaxed every muscle and felt good.  The attendant placed a cool cloth on my forehead and brushed a mud pack onto my face.  When he left, we looked at each other and burst out laughing.  What a sight!
     My husband has been to the mud baths before and loved it, as for me, ten minutes in that muck and I was ready to rid myself of it.  But that wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought either.  I couldn’t get out of the darn tub.  I tried three times, but the mud kept sucking me back in.  My husband grabbed my legs, which didn’t work the first time, so I put my arms around his neck and finally slid out of the tub on a sea of mud.  I stood there laughing.  I looked like the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
     We showered off the black muck and jumped into a hot tub to relax some more.  Oh, it felt so good to have the jets massage those muscles I strained getting out of the tub.  Now that is what I call relaxation.  I loved it! I wanted to spend the rest of the day in the warmth of the hot tub, with the water caressing my body.  
     Way too soon, they showed us to a cooling down room, where we were wrapped in a blanket and ice cold clothes placed on our forehead and at the back of the neck.  I was so relaxed, but there was more to come.
     After a few minutes we were escorted to the massage room, where we were treated to a full body massage.  WOW!  Those hands were magic, as they kneeded each muscle to a completely relaxed state.  I felt like a wet noodle when she finished.  I was so relaxed that all I wanted to do was sleep.
     Believe me, that was an anniversary I will never forget...Mud and all!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


     Have you ever wondered how novelists come up with their story ideas?  Well, I have, especially these last few weeks when I had to stay off my feet due to my leg injury.
     Ordinarily, I read a novel every Thursday, part of my weekly routine.  But, in the last few weeks I’ve read four novels and a book of short stories.  I love to read and I also enjoy studying the different styles of writers.
     Stuart Wood, for example, injects humor into the conversations of his characters.  There is also a familiar place that shows up in each mystery, so you feel at home.  It makes you feel that you are there, like you are a part of the story.  That makes it personal. I especially like the Stone Barrington novels, which are my favorites.  He is a lawyer, detective, and a darn good one.
     And then, there is another of my favorite authors, James Patterson.  I’ve read most of his novels too.  My favorite character in his books is Alex Cross, the detective and FBI agent who chases the villain and usually catches him in the end.  You will probably remember the movies “Along Came a Spider” and “Kiss the Girls” that aired on television.  The books were even better than the movies, and the movies were pretty darn good.  
     But, I still wondered how they come up with the ideas for their stories, so I did a little research on the matter.
     Some writers get their ideas from the newspaper or TV news, while others observe people and eavesdrop on conversations that may spark an idea.
     Well-known author Kurt Vonnegut, said, “Somebody gets into trouble, and gets out of it again.  People love that story.  They never get tired of it.”
     I agree!  That’s the basis for most all good stories.  Whether it’s a love story or a mystery, there has to be suspense to keep the story alive and move it forward.
     The novelist has a great imagination that lets him conjure up characters and put them into real-life situations that advance the story.
     If a story isn’t fast-paced, I usually put it down in favor of one that is.
     My favorite genre is the Murder Mystery.  That is usually what I read and most often I read the whole book in one sitting, if I can.  I like instant gratification.  I want to know “who done it,” before the day is out.
     But, ideas come from everywhere, everyday.  Little events that happen in the life of people around you, something you observe that starts your creative juices flowing, or an original thought that is expanded into a good story using a keen imagination.  If it works, that’s all that matters.
     Writing is a lonely occupation and one that puts your emotions and fears out there for all to see.  It’s like opening a vein and bleeding onto the page.  So much of the author goes into every story he or she writes.  You might find that a lot of the dialogue comes from life, or from the author’s fantasy life.
     Fiction or non-fiction, the story will probably touch those who read it, and perhaps make a difference in their lives.
     A novel is the story of someone’s life, real or imagined.  We read for entertainment and to learn, sometimes both at the same time.  A well-written book will stir your senses, whether it’s Science Fiction, a Mystery, or a good love story that leaves you with a lump in your throat.  
     Your minds eye will conjure up a much better picture of the action, than what you see on television or movies.  
     Pick up a book and lose yourself in another world, the world of imagination, where anything can happen, and usually does.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


     Writing this blog has many advantages.  I have made so many new friends of some of our readers, and a blast from the past, as an old friend contacted me.     
     Friendship is something that is very precious to each of us.  We have longtime childhood friends and new ones, who we are just cultivating.  
     Friends are there for you, no matter what.  They stand by you through the peaks and the valleys of life.  When you are in the depths of despair, your friend will reach down, take your hand, and lead you back.  But how often do you let your friends know just how much they mean to you.  
     Friendships are like beautiful flowers in a garden, they need loving care.  They need food, cultivation, and an abundents of water to make them grow, or they will whither and die.  How long has it been since you reached out to a friend from the past, and cultivated that friendship?  That certain someone that you lost touch with over the years?  Someone you grew up with, or worked with, long, long ago.
     I often wondered about an old friend who used to own the Desert Lanes, way back in the ‘60’s, I think it was.  His name is Harland Garriott, a man I will never forget.  He was a handsome devil, with a great sense of humor and always ready to help.  Of course, he was a very good bowler, but even better than that, he was a good friend.  
     I lost touch with Harland when he sold the bowling lanes and moved away.  I didn’t know where he went, but that didn’t stop me from thinking about him now and then.  My husband and I used to talk about Harland often and wondered what he was doing.  We questioned whether he got married and finally settled down.
     Perhaps I will find out about my old buddy, because he happened to read mey column and e-mailed me the other day.  What a surprise that was.  I ran across a picture of my old bowling team last week, which brought him to mind, and it wasn’t two days later that his e-mail arrived.  Now, is that mental telepathy or what?  I wrote back to find out where he lived so we could connect again, but I haven’t heard from him yet.  I hope I do.  I would like to know if he has had a good life, as I have.
     Old friends are wonderful and comfortable, but new friends are extra special as well.  I recently made a new friend of one of our readers when she called to invite me to a recital in Pendleton.  We met for a salad before the recital, our first meeting, although we have talked on the phone a few times.  
     It is exciting to make new friends, especially when you have something in common.  Our love of music and art gave us a place to begin our friendship.  
     The minute I saw Calista Hutchinson enter the restaurant I just knew she had to be an artistic person.  Cally, as her friends call her, looked as I imagined she would.  She was tall and beautiful, with a casual hair-do that framed her tanned face and twinkling eyes.  She was dressed in a stylish, peach sweater that lay softly over a long flowing skirt that fell to her ankles.  She wore large silver hoop earrings, that matched her hair, and bracelets that jingled as she moved.  Cally is definitely a woman that I will enjoy getting to know.
      I do love writing my column and my blog!  There are so many wonderful percs that go with it, and I found two of them this month with a voice from the past, and the chance to meet a lovely new friend.  Isn’t life great!