Happy Easter

Happy Easter!

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Matthew 28:16

Image by Robin Moreau
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I Love You, but OFF WITH YOUR HEAD!

Fertilizer Heart – Image by Robin Moreau

We are over the half way mark in January and stores have already stocked their shelves with a color array of reds, pinks and white. Googly eyes stare back at me as I walk past the card aisle with all hope to be chosen for my Valentine. As the years go by, I’ve noticed the decor, cards and cheap gift trinkets are getting uglier and lack any class whatsoever.

I hate Valentine’s day. For retail businesses, it is a smart but overrated, fish hook marketing strategy that pulls the wool over many consumer’s eyes and pick pockets their wallets. The price of flowers triple, and restaurants are booked with reservations and for what? Loved ones scramble to show their significant other how much they love them by going into debt in a matter of minutes. Nope, not me. I best be getting (and showing) lovin’ ALL year round. Don’t be saving it up for one day and feel obligated to follow the overrated trendy suit of other blindsided consumers.

So where does this St. Valentine holiday come from? Certainly not from a day of romance. Valentine’s day origininated from the Roman festival Lupercalia, but it originally was held on the 15th and by far, NOT romantic! It was a day full of animal sacrifice, with bloody violence and sexual behaviors with the intenion of warding off evil spirits and infertility. Roman legend has it that King Amulius ordered to have the founders of Rome, his twin nephews thrown into the Tiber River to drown….all because of their mother’s broken vow of celibacy. Thankfully, a servant took pity and placed them in a basket, then cast down the river, where later they were found by a she-wolf and eventually adopted by a shephard and his wife (history.com, 2017).

Nice.

She Wolf – Sculpture at Capitolini Museum, Rome

The most common legend is from 3rd century A.D., a man named Valentine was executed by Roman Emperor Claudius II because while imprisoned, tried to convert Claudius to Christianity. This didn’t go over so well with Claudius and Valentine was beheaded. Then Pope Gelasius from the late 5th century A.D. decided to eliminate the pagan celebration and have the “martyrdom of Saint Valentine instead” (para. 12-13).

How romantic do you feel now? So for this upcoming Valentine’s day, I think I will opt out yet again, to pass on the retail love quorum of madness and stick with the year round deed of showing my love to my loved ones. No beheading or throwing anyone into the river to drown.

Coffee Cake. No, Coffee Loaf

Alrighty! Here we go. I am going to attempt to make a gluten free, vegan coffee cake for Christmas morning.

Now, let’s start off with 2 cups of Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour because 2 cups sound about right in most recipes. And I’ve made a mess. Surprise, surprise.

Image by Robin Moreau

Typical. I guess I will add baking powder? Baking soda? Both? Okay! Ironically, I’m watching the Netflix show, “Nailed It”. So, we will see if this coffee cake, gets nailed.

Meanwhile, my husband is getting all scrappy and making fun of the show and me, while eating a sandwich. With real bread. Jerk. He is a chef and a darn good one. But really? You have to eat in front of me?

Anyway, sugar, cinnamon, oil and I guess I won’t use vanilla. I don’t have any.

My husband is totally mouthing off. “Omg I’m going to vomit!”

I thought at first he was talking to me, but it was the gal on Netflix who was crying because her recipe didn’t turn out.

“I’m throwing up my sandwich!”

[The drama saga continues]

And this is why wine is made.

A bit of organic olive oil and sprinkle the mid section and top with cinnamon and sugar.

Image by Robin Moreau

In the oven! DEVIL!!! I forgot pecans when I went to the store!

Image by Robin Moreau

Well…it looks good but it smells a little too much olive oily. Hope it turns out! 350 in the oven is a standard time and I guess the time should be about 40 minutes or so. I’ll keep a close eye on this baby.

Tick tock.

Hurry up and wait.

I think I spilled flour on the floor because I pretty much lost it and did this mini little 1990s break dance.

I’m seriously impatient and snuck a peeked. It’s rising! It’s rising! That’s a good sign!!!

Image by Robin Moreau

Time for a snack and a glass of wine! OMG I’m so exciting and nervous at the same time!!! I hope it turns out. Do you think it will turn out? My husband is still poking fun at the people on the show. I hope he likes my coffee cake!

He will eat this coffee cake and he will like it.

Drum roll please……

Omg, omg, omg!!! I swear to howdy, this is the moment you all have been waiting for! Okay, maybe just me! Let’s taste this!

Not bad….a little chewy….not too cinnamon-y. My hubby actually approves so WINNER WINNER! Woot, woot!!!

Image by Robin Moreau

So This Is Christmas

So this is Christmas…

A week full of rain

It makes me feel ageless

I am numb to the pain

So this is Christmas…

Though filled with orange spice

My heart is a callous

From an August sacrifice

So this is Christmas…

I’ll try not to be blue

I can be quite the actress

You’ll take no notice, I will pursue

So this is Christmas…

I won’t shed a tear

I’ll fight until breathless

It has not been a good year

So this is Christmas…

Lights will dim soon

What once was full of brightness

Will again be a dull afternoon

So this is Christmas…

A new year will begin

I’ll push to be ambitious

And raise my weary chin

Faker, Faker Trouble Maker

Totally annoyed. It’s 2am and I’m awake. I’ve laid here for a half hour hoping to fall back asleep and nope. Apparently my mind has had enough sleep but my eyes beg to differ. Stupid aging.

So what’s on the agenda for today? I need to paint more Christmas cards and more gifts are in the works. My husband added a few more people to my list. Isn’t that nice of him? To add more people to my list?

It is actually quite alright because I love giving. I probably give too much. I seriously cannot help it. I have always loved to give and Christmas is my weakness. Last year I snuck into my parent’s storage, stole their Christmas stockings, filled them up with goodies and delivered them with the addition of wrapped gifts.

Image by Robin Moreau

One year when I worked at the hospital, I chose a family and my department all pitched in and bought gifts. I wish I was there to see the family open gifts. You know, I always see videos or commercials with people providing gifts to the homeless and their pets on the streets of large cities. I love it and want to be the person giving the gifts.

I think it’s the reaction; the joy of receiving something. It is not the gift itself, but the idea of someone is thinking of another and cared enough to provide a gift. If you have a heart, it takes time to find the right gift. Even gift cards are hard to pick out. At least for me they are.

I always have these little mini arguments with myself when picking out gift cards. It’s a battle of what I think the person would want, what I think they would need and what is their favorite store. Complete epic mind-boggling battle. I pace around and around the gift card carousel for at least 20 minutes determining the perfect card. And it doesn’t get easier once I pick the card because then there is the dollar amount. Do I give $25, $50, $75, or $100? This decision is a little easier, depending on who the person is, but then there’s the possible reality of the dollar amount I want is not available. So I kick it up a notch.

Oh but then…then the cards have a trillion different designs. DEVIL!!! I must pick through each one to find the perfect pictured card for this person that probably won’t even notice the snow capped pines or the tiny wreath hanging on the front door of a log cabin.

“Are you finding everything okay ma’am?” Screeching halt to my moment. First, let’s get something straight. I do not need help picking out a gift card. It doesn’t matter that I have been indecisively and indefinitely riding this gift card carousel, so let me finish having my moment…but since I’ve been interrupted, now I feel rushed to make a decision, therefore I will not be happy with my choice. Second, DO NOT CALL ME MA’AM. It makes me feel old, I don’t like it, it makes me grumpy and it is just rude. Sigh. I always fake a smile and reply, “no thank you”. Ugh, I think I vomited in my mouth a little bit.

Gift giving takes thought and I don’t want to be bothered by a sales person every few minutes because they can’t help but realize I haven’t made a decision and I obviously make them nervous simply standing and staring at the gift card carousel. But they are doing their job, and it’s not their fault my brain goes into overdrive during the holidays. Just suck it up and be nice Robin.

It could be worse. I could be tormenting shoppers by sitting in my car, in the busy mall parking lot, with my car in reverse but not backing up. Just deciding where I want to go next. Not really. I just want to see how long that person will wait for my spot before realizing I am never backing up.

Just kidding. I wouldn’t do this. But you have to admit, the thought of it makes you giggle a bit.

Little Bit of Wonder

What is it about Christmas that feels so magical? Is it the idea of gift giving? The lights? The baby Jesus? Throughout the year I drive through town going about my daily business, passing along stores and people without an expression on my face. It’s like the conveyor belt of life, same stops, same action, just waiting for the next delivery to take place.

Then December comes and the whole town and neighborhoods are lit with color. I find it fascinating. The lights twinkling create a sense of wonder. This is my favorite part, the lights. Well, it is my second favorite part. The first is I like to smell the trees. Oh there is something about the smell of fresh pine. It makes my eyes roll into the back of my head.

Last year we had gone to Home Depot and we walked in through the garden center. We weren’t there for a tree. The smell hit me. I walked right up to a group of trees, fell forward with arms embracing one and face planted myself into the middle of the sappy branches and just stood there. Needless to say, my kids were embarrassed and my husband rolled his eyes, “Come on! Get out of the trees” he snaps. People looked at me strangely. I didn’t care, I was having a moment. I back out, looking like a porcupine with pine needles sticking out of my sweatshirt. I felt invigorated, customers looked bewildered.

Beyond the smell of pine are lights and they are magical. So magical that when it is dark, if I stand in the midst of them twinkling around me, the tears will roll down my cheeks. I can’t help it. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “oh, puhleeeaaase”. But its true, I am not kidding. I am like a kid that is overwhelmed with joy. You should see me when the Santa comes around. My family purposely avoids the Santa. Remember the movie Elf, with Will Ferrell and his reaction when he sees Santa? That’s me. I make a scene, ensuring Santa sees me and waves. But only the real Santa. Not the fake Santa with the stupid, fake, white silk beard. Pffft.

Image by Robin Moreau

There is something about all of it. The sparkling, glittery ornaments that I am careful to touch because I just know I will get glitter in my eye and I would be cursing all the way to the sink to wash my eye out. The tiny porcelain villages with tiny people, snow and of course, the smell of trees and all of the lights. Something magical happens. No longer am I on the conveyor belt of life. I find myself absorbing every moment. It makes makes me feels young again…

8…8 Business Cards…MUAH-AH-AHHHH

I try. I try to stay organized at home and limit paper clutter. Paper clutter drives me insane. I also try to stay ahead of the game and decide to address the Christmas cards I painted this year. I pull out my address book and shuffle through the pages.

What the heck? All this stuff falls out. I have ripped return labels and a zillion business cards falling out of every crevice of my stupid, outdated, why do I still have this and nobody uses address book. Instantly annoyed. I know, I know, you are probably reading this and asking, she still keeps a paper address book? Some of you may even ask, she sends out Christmas cards? I do…get over it.

But why? This is my question. Why do I have business cards to people I am pretty sure I will never contact! Literally this is what I found in my address book:

1. One card to my dogs’ veterinarian…who has retired.

2. One card to my son’s oral surgeon from 2010. ???

3. One card to my neighbor. Wait, what? I don’t know. But yes, it’s true.

4. One card to my real estate agent when we bought our home.

5. One card to our mortgage lender when we bought our home.

6. One card to my son’s orthodontics. Ugh, like forever ago.

7. One card to my hairdresser. Actually this is the 3rd, 4th, or 5th card, maybe more….because I have one on the fridge, at least one in my car and 2 in my wallet. And her number is saved in my phone. Hmmmm…. so why do I have multiple cards?

8. I have one card to my dermatologic surgeon, which I actually have used in the past for cosmetic stuff, so this one is a keeper. I may need to pretty myself up again someday when I find the time. Or if pretty is even possible.

9. There are 9 paper scraps of random addresses.

10. Only 11 incorrect addresses and I don’t know the current addresses. Obviously I didn’t want to keep in touch. Not worthy of my stupid, outdated paper address book. Ha! Poof, be gone!

11. 4 addresses to people who are dead.

12. 3 addresses to people who are dead to me.

13. 8 addresses to people I will never write to, not even sure if the addresses are correct, but the idea sounds lovely but we all know it will never happen because I really don’t care if I stay in touch or not. And even if I did, it would be then and only then, once contact was made, I would ask myself, I don’t recall why I would ever stay in touch with this person.

14. 8 addresses to family members I have never met. At least I don’t think I have ever met.

15. 11 people left. Correct addresses. No, one address could be iffy. I won’t count this person. 10 people left. Five of them are getting Christmas cards. I have eight stamps. This has worked to my advantage and I have come out ahead.

Now I need a pen. One that won’t smudge. A nice, smooth writing, ball point pen. A ball point pen that actually has ink. That actually writes. In my jar I have 13 pens….