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     This time of year makes me look back to when I found Miranda. Miranda was an ugly looking broad hanging out on a bale of hay next to a cash register. Her posture was tilted, hair was frizzy and she had dried glue stuck to her back. I fell in love with her anyway. It was because of her that I found myself.

     I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. There were lots of occupations I thought I would be good at but none that I felt I was meant to be. As a young girl I thought I would like to teach the deaf after reading about Helen Keller in grade school. I took a sign language class after high-school. For a presentation speech I taught the class how to sing I’M DREAMING OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS IN SIGN LANGUAGE. I enjoyed it but still I felt there was something else and this wasn’t it.

I went to college and majored in Computer Information Systems but I knew it was only because I thought it would be a high paying field. I worked for an insurance company and daydreamed about moving up the corporate ladder, but still, I knew it wasn’t for me. So, for a long time I walked around in a fog, searching for what it was I was meant to be. There was a nagging feeling inside my soul-I knew there was something. But what it was I didn’t know. I wondered how anyone ever really knew and what happened in their life to make them understand. I questioned whether I would ever find my calling. I married and had children and thought motherhood might be it. Maybe, I was simply just meant to be a mother. Still, the feeling wouldn’t subside. My eyes were opened the day I found Miranda.  I saw the light in the strangest of places because I looked at it right. (I always loved that similar lyric by the Grateful Dead)

     It was Autumn, my favorite season and I was going to buy some Mums, Pumpkins and a few decorations for the house. I gathered my purchases and headed to the cash register. As I was waiting for the woman to ring me up, I looked down and saw this very ugly witch with an eerie smile leaning against a pumpkin. Immediately I was drawn to her, she looked like I felt. On my bad days, I certainly can be a witch and if I could fly off on a broomstick I probably would. “How much for her?” I asked holding the witch up to the sales lady.  “You mean our Miranda?” Initially I had no idea who she was calling Miranda and thought maybe she was a bit loony. Sure enough she was talking about the witch. Apparently the workers fell in love with her too, despite the fact she wasn’t easy on the eyes and the stick she was glued to was broken off. “She’s broke, she replied. I didn’t care, if she was ugly, broke or missing an eye I just knew I wanted her.  

     After promising to take care of Miranda, I left and went across the street to the grocery store. While walking past the produce section it hit me. The first story I knew I had to write. It was about a little girl named …Miranda. By the time I left the grocery store, I had a beginning, middle and an end. Excitement flooded through me and I knew this was it. I was meant to… write. I went home, wrote my first draft, and found I wanted more. I finally understood what passion was. I always had it but never recognized it. I searched for many years hoping to find my essence, waiting for it to magically appear. And magically appear it did, thanks to Miranda. She inspired me. Because of the ugly witch I found beauty –From the moment I saw her I had a hunch she was meant to be in my life. For so many years I searched for the job that would pay well and thought that would bring me happiness. In the end I found something that I will continue to do even if I never receive a dime for doing it. If I judged Miranda on her appearance I might still be lost.

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I got some positive feedback from my crab-ravioli recipe so I thought what the heck I would throw another one out there. I am busy writing for a class I just started and only have a few minutes to spare for blog time. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to introduce another yummy recipe. Once again it’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I am sure you could make it work.

Mmm Mmm Mushrooms

6 Portabella mushroom caps

1 bag of frozen spinach

-clove of garlic

-roasted red pepper from the bottle

-tablespoon or so of olive oil

-pinch or more of parmesan cheese

-2 or three slices of cheddar cheese per mushroom

Defrost spinach in microwave to save time. Once done fill cap of mushroom with spinach.

Place sliced roasted red pepper on top of spinach 

Top with fresh garlic(as much or little as you like)

Place slices of cheese on top and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and a small shake of salt and pepper to top it off.

Wrap mushrooms individually in foil and heat for about ten to fifteen minutes.

You can use a conventional oven, a toaster oven or the grill (my favorite) to make these.

I have received many compliments on these and you will too.

Enjoy-Let me know how they turn out.

Thirteen Things about Maribeth

I thought it would be fun if I wrote thirteen things I forgot at the store since I wrote “IF ONLY I MADE A LIST” earlier this week.

1…. Saline Solution (I have been wearing my contacts way too long. I have forgotten this about ten out of ten times-I only remember when my eyes start irritating me at night-I promised the optometrist I would take out each night. I really hate breaking a promise so I plan on getting this on my eleventh trip to the store)

2… Toilet Paper (I went to the store for toilet paper because we were out and was forced to use tissues. I did NOT leave the store with toilet paper)

3…Spring Water (I reminded myself twice while in the store to make sure I got myself a gallon of spring water. I walked down the aisle and was distracted by the great sale on juice. I got the juice and forgot the water)

4…Coffee and Coffee Creamer (This really peeves me when I wake up and realize I forgot the coffee again. Hubby isn’t pleased when I beg him to do a coffee run prior to work-but he does anyway. What a guy)

5…Hairspray (Used the last spray while getting ready for work and told myself to pick up another bottle at the store after work. That did not happen)

6…Garbage bags- (Realized when I emptied the refrig of leftovers filling the garbage. Hubby took out garbage and asked me to put another bag in. Light bulb came on-I forgot the bags. He shook his head in disgust)

7…Hand soap (Went to wash hands after changing a diaper and realized I forgot to buy hand soap. Had to use dishwashing liquid)

8…Razors (As I bent down to shave my legs it occurred to me I never bought new disposable razors. And I had already thrown the dull ones away. Hubby would be very disturbed if he knew I was forced to use his)

9…Wet Wipes (Next diaper changing I pulled out wet wipe only to discover it was the last one-Hubby called to remind me to buy wet wipes. Baby wasn’t too happy that I used wet paper towels

10…Lollipops (I promised all three Kiddo’s I would buy them lollipops for their good behavior. Came home without them and their behaviors immediately turned for the worst. I wasn’t too happy with myself. My forgetfulness was the cause for an hour long screaming/crying session)

11…Shampoo (For some reason I bypassed this aisle completely. I lathered baby shampoo on and hoped it would work-wasn’t all that bad)

12…Pledge-(Friday’s are clean night with the hubby. He asked if I wanted to polish the tables or Windex the windows. I burst out in my famous nervous laugh

13. Windex…Hubby was not a happy camper

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Today what popped into my head was not a story but a recipe that I created (Though there may be similiar recipes out there they were not my influence). Once you get to know me you find out quickly that I am organized in an unorganized way. This is exactly how I cook- A little bit of that, a dash of this and maybe a few pinches of whatchamacallit. But to my surprise and my family’s liking somehow it always turns out edible and actually quite delicious. You won’t find exact measurements for what I use but if you are anything like me you will make this recipe work.

Here we go…

A bag of your favorite frozen ravioli’s-any will do-cook them according to package.In a Sautee pan put a nice amount of olive oil-We like ours oily so I put more.

Slice roasted peppers (the kind you find in a jar) and imitation crabmeat (or real if you want to splurge-I never do:)). I usually like the peppers and the crabmeat slivered but still chunky-Again your choice. Throw both into the oil and add fresh garlic (as much or little as you like). You can use minced garlic in the jar if you don’t have fresh- A dash of salt a pinch of pepper and a handful or two of parmesan cheese.

Sautee all together for a few minutes, pour over ravioli and serve. Voila gourmet made simple. And if your kiddo’s aren’t into gourmet just butter their ravioli’s and they will be just as happy.

I’m sure you noticed by now this is my first attempt at putting a recipe up and it is not very organized. I apologize for this but I am pretty sure you will forgive me once you tried this dish. Next up my famous portabella mushroom recipe.

Enjoy!

Even though I aspire to be a list girl some day, the fact is, right now I’m not. There are days I feel ambitious and put together. I actually look for a pen and paper to write a list. Somewhere along the lines of searching I usually find something else, like a random photograph of me from way back when. Within seconds my mind forgets the list and begins analyzing the picture. How old was I? What was my mother thinking when she put those pants on me? Did I really think I looked good making that ridiculous pose? By now the list is forgotten. Actually I don’t recall ever planning to make one until I’m standing inside the grocery market somewhere between aisle eight and aisle ten asking myself what it is that I didn’t want to forget. I carry on a conversation with myself. Okay let’s see, Milk? Check. Bread? Check?  Diapers? Remembered. Who needs a pen and paper when you got a mental list? The nagging voice won’t give up. There is something you forgot, it taunts. Determined to go home with everything I came for I walk up and down  each aisle slowly scanning everything. I assure myself if I am forgetting something it will pop out at me. Nothing pops out so as far as I’m concerned I am good to go.  I am confident I am walking out of the store forgetting nothing. I enjoy the drive home and congratulate myself for not forgetting anything. I carry all of the bags into the kitchen and begin to unpack. As I put each item away I am still sure it’s all here. I start to whistle then hum, whistle then hum and then it happens. I could hear him walking down the stairs. The sound of his footsteps trigger something, I feel my heart drop and I don’t know what I want to do more burst out laughing or start crying. I don’t turn towards him hoping he forgot. Then I hear the words I did not want to hear. “Hey Mar, did you get coffee like I asked?” I start to giggle out of sheer nervousness. Not because he is an ogre and I am afraid of what he will do but because I am embarrassed to tell him I forgot everything he asked me to get. And what makes it even worst is he called me ten minutes before I left work to remind me. I swear to myself that next time I will make a darn list just to avoid looking stupid again. You would think I would have learned by now but unfortunately I have not. This week alone I went to the store on three different occasions and forgot something each time. The items forgotten are usually the ones that I needed the most or at least the ones that would have been the first on my list if I made one.