No, you say. Not me. I couldn’t do that. I have no talent.
Or, why would I do that? I don’t like reading.
Or, I have no time to write. No desire.
But think about this. You are actually in effect writing. Because you’re writing your own story as you’re living your life.
It’s up to you to determine how the story goes.
Yes, there are always other people in your story who come along and complicate things, but you’re the main character, the one who deals with the complications and puts things back together. Or changes things for the better.
Do kids even do that anymore? With all the different play food items there are in stores today, do they even need to try to enjoy the fun of making mud pies?
Our granddaughters have all kinds of play food items, plus all kinds of kid’s kitchen appliances, cooking utensils, plastic dishes, etc. They like to see what they can put together for each other, and what “meals” they can make for mommy and daddy and their dolls, but the “food” they “cook” with is plastic, perfectly shaped and colored to resemble real food, from ice cream to pizza to cakes and pies and burgers and hot dogs. And everything in between, or so it seems.
They don’t have to imagine they’re making something that doesn’t really look like what they say it’s supposed to be. Everything is “served” looking like what it is, and no one has to guess what they’re being “served”.
I’d have loved to have had all the fun food toys we bought for our daughter to play kitchen and tea parties. And our granddaughters have even more, or so it seems, especially since they have most of what we’d saved from their mom’s toys.
But having all the play food and kitchen toys didn’t instill any love of cooking in our daughter, but that’s a whole other topic.
But maybe it’s because she never really learned the art of making mud pies. Even though she’s an only child, she spent a lot of time with other kids at daycare as well as with other kids in our neighborhood. They didn’t make mud pies either. She never really wanted to. It just didn’t interest her.
Maybe it was the times I grew up in, as well as being an only child with not a lot of other kids my age to play with living nearby. And not having the huge selection of toys that kids have today. I had a small set of play food, but it wasn’t anything like what kids have now. And my dolls did seem to enjoy it.
But I sure enjoyed making mud pies. That’s actually one of the memories I do have from being a little girl. I pretended for hours I was really cooking, and was so proud of myself when I presented my mother with all of my goodies.
My mom actually let me use one of her old saucepans that was clearly beyond its useful life. And she found a few small aluminum pie plates and cake pans that I could use to “bake” my creations. And a couple of very old kitchen spoons.
In my little girls’ world back some 60+ years ago I didn’t need anything more to make my creations!
I carefully mixed the dirt I dug up from different areas of the flowerbeds, making sure I didn’t leave a gaping hole that my mom would see, or step in. We had several water spigots outside where I could get just enough water to make my “batter” the right consistency. Experimenting taught me that the thinner batters made for better “cakes” and “pies” while the thicker batters were better for “cookies” and “biscuits”.
“Baking” was really important, and it took forever (so it seemed) to get them done. You see, when making mud pie creations you have to let them bake in the sun. And sometimes that takes longer than you’d think. You had to check them often to make sure they didn’t crack.
And of course you had to serve them in the pans you prepared them in. Otherwise it would be a disaster. I can still see them in my mind. Of course most likely the actual creations look nothing like I remember, but we didn’t have digital cameras then, so there are no pictures to compare them to.
As my mud pie baking skills improved I’d add bits of decoration to them. I started with grass in the cake tops to look like coconut. That was interesting. Then I tried adding dandelions (I knew not to bother my mom’s flowers) to the top. They looked good at first but the next day…not so great.
Rose petals looked good, too, but I was careful to use the ones that had already dropped on the ground. I also experimented with putting pebbles in the “cookies”, you know, sort of like chocolate chip cookies?
And when my mom “tried” them, she was always so pleased with my creations, and said they were delicious! Thank goodness we all had enough sense not to really eat them!!
You’d think with all my “baking experience” I’d have really gone all out when I became an adult, making and decorating cakes and cupcakes. Unfortunately my talent was in the actual baking, not the decorating. That’s not my forte at all. But I do like to make cookies, and I use that talent every Christmas.
But maybe this spring I’ll start to teach our granddaughters the fine art of making mud pies. At their parents’ house of course. And remind them their baby brother won’t be quite old enough to help yet.
They’ve already learned how to decorate real cookies with tons of sprinkles, so I’m sure they’ll be good at mud pies. And I’m sure they’ll end up wearing a lot of mud like they did the sprinkles.
Anybody have some favorite mud pie “recipes” to share with the girls? Maybe they can even put together their own cookbook!
The other day my husband told me about his dream about our adventure at a lush tropical paradise we were fortunate enough to visit.
Did I mention this was a dream? Maybe something to do with Valentine’s Day? Or not…..
Ben said we drove for a few hours and arrived at the gates of a huge fortress, sort of like a castle. He stopped and blew the horn several times until the gates swung open, and we entered into a large area where we were stopped by guards and had to show our ID’s to go any further. They saw our names on some sort of list and told us to drive on.
At that point we drove further up to the gates of a large castle-like structure where we were greeted by a tuxedo-clad flamingo with a pink clipboard who checked off our names on his list, then parked our car for us, and directed us to enter the building.
As we entered, the entire setting turned into a tropical paradise, with a sign saying “Welcome to Flamingo Paradise”!
And we didn’t even wonder about how it could be possible. It was a dream, after all!
Everyone who worked there was a flamingo who could actually talk! And we understood them perfectly. Why not? This was a magical place, after all!
We headed to the reception desk and checked in to our suite. Another flamingo sent our luggage to our room, and when we got there a blonde haired flamingo was unpacking our bags for us. (Remember, it IS a dream, after all.) She told us if we needed anything to just call the front desk and they’d take care of it.
And she left an itinerary of activities for the weekend. Which began with cocktails and lunch on the terrace, which was a meet and greet for other couples who’d signed up for the weekend.
“When did you sign up for this?” I asked my husband. Who replied he didn’t remember anything about it, so we should just enjoy it! I didn’t dare ask the cost! He probably didn’t know, anyway!
It was HIS dream, after all, so that’s what we decided to do.
Lunch was a luxurious seafood buffet on a beautiful terrace filled with huge pots of colorful flowers, and more tuxedo-clad flamingo waiters serving wine and tropical drinks.
We were seated at tables of four, and introduced to other couples who’d supposedly signed up for the weekend as well. Funny thing…they didn’t remember signing up for it either. But we were determined to make the most of an amazing situation!
After all, how lucky could we be to be in a tropical resort with talking flamingos waiting on us hand and foot?
Could this be an updated dream version of my favorite song “Hotel California?”
Maybe this was “Hotel Flamingo”?
After lunch we were directed to enjoy several saltwater pools around the flamingo estate. There were cabana-boy flamingos offering us towels and more drinks, books and magazines, sunscreen, and plates of food. A person could gain 50 pounds here during a weekend, but the flamingos assured us that wouldn’t happen! You don’t gain weight in a dream! Or get sunburned. Or intoxicated either, based on the amount of drinks we were consuming!
After a relaxing afternoon we returned to our room to find an engraved invitation to a special formal dinner that evening. Of course we didn’t think we’d brought formal clothes, but as we finished reading the invitation there was a knock on the door, and two flamingos walked in carrying a tuxedo for Ben and a beautiful cocktail gown for me, decorated with sparkling teal jewels, along with matching shoes! It was amazing! And both the tux and the dress and shoes fit perfectly! The dream flamingos thought of everything.
And what a night to remember! Champagne and hors d’oeuvres on the terrace followed by an amazing dinner served by the flamingos, followed by dancing to an all-flamingo band who played music by our favorite older groups from the Beatles to the Four Seasons to the Eagles and Chicago and more!
As I’ve said, it’s a dream, so anything can happen!
The next morning we were treated to a room service gourmet breakfast served on our balcony by another flamingo, who also gave us our itinerary for the day. I looked over it and immediately worried that I wouldn’t enjoy any of it.
“Trust us,” he said, “ you’ll enjoy it all. We’ve never had an unsatisfied guest!”
The activities planned for the morning included scuba diving and parasailing. I knew Ben couldn’t do the scuba diving because of his breathing issues, and I had no desire to try. However, it was his dream, so I had to go along with it.
And since it was a dream, when we got to the boat we both put on the scuba gear as instructed by our flamingo guide, and went into the water. It was actually easy, and we enjoyed swimming into schools of brightly colored fish and seeing lots of coral reefs, as well as remains of sunken ships. The flamingo instructor was our underwater guide, and he did a great job. Plus Ben had no breathing issues, and I had no problems under water, even though I can’t swim. But obviously in dreams, anything is possible!
Then it was parasailing with another flamingo. I don’t like heights, but because it was a dream I enjoyed it, and so did Ben. Flamingos know how to have a good time!
We ended our day on a beach where the flamingos were sunbathing along with other guests at the resort. Of course there were flamingo cabana boys in t-shirts and shorts bringing drinks all around. We were all talking with the sunbathing flamingos, who obviously had the day off from their duties at the resort.
At the end of the afternoon we all headed back to the hotel to prepare to leave. What an incredible two days it had been! And like at the end of every vacation, we found ourselves not really wanting to leave, at least not right away.
Obviously other guests felt the same way, as we discovered while we were checking out. The flamingos assured us it would be ok, and that everyone feels that way at the end of such a magical stay at such a romantic resort.
And then….what do you think happened? Of course, like with all dreams, Ben woke up and shared his story with me so he wouldn’t forget it.
But how would you write the ending? Because I’m not sharing what his was, at least not right now.
Sometimes it develops over time. It can also fade over time if it isn’t well cared for.
Sometimes it’s not reciprocated.
Sometimes we think it’s love when it’s not.
Sometimes we try to make love happen when it’s not supposed to.
Sometimes we want it to be love so much that we make more of it than it actually is. We imagine it is, and then discover it was all in our imagination.
Sometimes we look back and rethink everything that happened in the relationship to determine what went wrong, what we could have done differently, and what we could have done to prevent everything from falling apart. And we blame ourselves every time.
And that’s analyzing it. Which you just can’t do. Because you’ll never come up with an answer that will change a thing.
As I said in the beginning, love just happens. When it’s time.
And if you don’t have a special someone for Valentine’s Day, it’s not your time yet.
If you’ve ever gotten married, been in a wedding, attended a wedding, planned a wedding, dreamed about your future wedding, or even imagined planning a wedding, you absolutely must read this book!
Because it really delves into all of the emotions and the behind the scenes drama that almost always surfaces in families when weddings are being planned.
Of course, since it’s a novel there are a lot more instances of drama that unfold which would probably make any real life couple not only lose their minds, but even risk calling off the entire event! Or eloping and not telling anyone until after it’s done.
As a sometimes wedding planner, I always love stories about weddings…the actual planning, the excitement of wedding gown shopping, cake tastings, planning the guest list and seating to make sure people who don’t like each other aren’t next to each other (and what happens when they are!), the ups and downs of things going wrong, family and friends trying to tell the bride and groom what they should and shouldn’t do, etc., etc.
Then there’s always an unexpected twist…and in this book, there are quite a few! And for someone who can usually figure out how events are going to unfold, and even how a lot of books are going to end…let’s just say I never ever anticipated the ending of this one! Not even close!
The characters are totally believable, in fact some of them reminded me of people I’ve dealt with in my wedding planning semi-career.
Nothing ever goes smoothly in the planning, either in real life or in this book. But the important thing to remember is that the wedding is just one day. Your marriage is for a lifetime.
So whether you’re only dating, engaged, planning a wedding, married, or just looking for a lighthearted fun book that’ll make you laugh, as well as wonder what comes next, you can’t go wrong with this one!
Download it on your kindle or go out and buy it and enjoy! I know you will!
You say you’re too busy and don’t have time to call or even text a friend? When you promise you would?
Must not really be that good of a friend. Or you’re not that good of a friend. And I’ve sure found that out.
We make time for things we really want to do and for people we care for. We don’t make promises and forget about them.
Saying you can’t find the time to do something really means it’s not really that important to you. Sure, there are days we really are overwhelmed with a “to do” list that doesn’t seem to end, but we still can make time tomorrow to do what we really need to do.
Those of us of a certain age remember that song by Connie Francis, released back in 1959.
All I really remembered about the song were the chorus lyrics “Stupid Cupid, stop picking on me!”
Now this is a song about teenage love, of course. A lovesick girl carrying her boyfriend’s books to school and who can’t concentrate on her homework because she’s thinking about the guy and blames it on Cupid?! And she wants to clip his wings so he can’t fly?
Ok, this was the fifties/sixties. And it was a really long time ago. Songs like this made sense back then.
But let me ask you. How often have you actually wanted to say “Cupid you’re really stupid! Why’d you do that?!” Or change it around to say “Cupid is Stupid!”
What’d he do this time? Surely this little curly haired cherub who flies around this time of year wearing a diaper and shooting heart-shaped arrows at people wouldn’t do anything wrong!
At this time of year, if you’re one of those people without a significant other in your life, you really don’t want to hear about Cupid. You don’t want to be reminded how that obnoxious little pudgy cherub is missing you with his arrows again.
There were a lot of years I felt like that. Every time I saw a picture of that pink faced little guy with his arrows I wanted to scream. Every time I walked into a store with all the Valentine merchandise I wanted to run. I really didn’t want to be at the office that day either because I had no one to send me flowers or balloons. It really was an uncomfortable day.
Things have changed over the years, but I still remember those feelings. I felt left out, because it was only me, and no boyfriend or husband.
So I get it. And I have a suggestion.
This year, let’s show Cupid how it feels to be left out of the fun. No, we’re not going to hurt him, but we’re going to show him that not being included in the celebration isn’t exactly a good time.
This year we’re going to take those heart shaped arrows away from him. He’s going to have to actually go out and meet people, talk to people. And try to get a woman interested in HIM, without any help. And he’s certainly not going to be dressed up like himself (after all, if you were a woman and a guy came up to you dressed in a diaper carrying a bow and arrow, well, I don’t think the results would be too good!). He’ll have to wear regular clothes, and come up with a story about who he is, where he’s from, what he does, etc.
Keep in mind Cupid is shy. He only works about a few weeks or so every year, and doesn’t really understand what real people are like, how they feel, etc. So chances are he’s going to feel a bit uncomfortable trying to accomplish this. I can sort of imagine this whole thing as a Will Ferrell movie. How about you?
I’m sure Cupid won’t like being in this role. Not at all. But it will teach him that trying to play with people’s hearts, their emotions, isn’t cute. It isn’t fun. And it can hurt when you’re on the outside looking in.
Of course, if it were a movie, it would either end up with Cupid actually finding the right woman for him, or better yet, waking up and realizing he’d been dreaming it all, and promising himself that next year, things would be different! How, I don’t know yet. What do you think? How would you end it?
Now this may not have solved your problems with Cupid for this Valentine’s Day, but isn’t it nice to just think about it in a lighthearted way for once? And maybe poke a little fun at it all?
So go out and buy yourself some flowers, or balloons, or even a big box of candy. And write a card to yourself telling you how wonderful you are.
Because you are wonderful, and special, and one day you will find what you’re looking for.
While the flamingos were enjoying their coffee the other morning, they happened to be watching TV, and once again saw all the commotion about Punxsutawney Phil most likely seeing his shadow again, and how it meant six more weeks of winter. Which did not make them happy. For a number of reasons.
“Why should a groundhog get to predict the weather?” asked one of the flamingos. “What does he know about warm weather and sunshine? He lives in the ground and sleeps all winter. How can he have any idea what the weather is?”
“That’s right,” another Flamingo said. “Everyone knows groundhogs are notoriously unreliable. They say they’re going to do something, but they’re always forgetting because they’re too busy hibernating! They don’t even look at their calendar to see what appointments they have!”
“And did you see those groundhog shaped cookies someone was passing around? All brown….no color…not even a touch of pink! How boring!” (Naturally the main flamingo chef made that comment!)
“That groundhog couldn’t even carry on a good conversation ,” added Freddy Flamingo. “All those clicks and squeals…if he didn’t have an interpreter we’d have no idea what he was trying to say!”
“We went through this several years ago, and I thought we’d gotten it all settled!” said Frankie Flamingo. “What the heck??”
Yes, the flamingos were quite upset. And if you’ve ever seen a bunch of upset flamingos, you know it isn’t a pretty sight! When I left for work that morning, they were once again still squawking about Groundhog Day!
When I came back home that evening, they had all calmed down. Or so I thought. Little did I know….
You see, unbeknownst to me, they’d once again planned their own version of Groundhog Day, and were calling it, what else…Flamingo Day?!!
And since they didn’t want to share their day with any other animal, they once again chose February 6 for their big event! Why they didn’t make it an annual event that first time, I’ll never know…but I guess they will from now on. They still didn’t have a lot of time to plan, or send out press releases and invite the media, but I’m going to make sure next year they’ll make all their plans well in advance, and have just as much of a celebration as Punxsutawney Phil. In fact, probably more. After all, how often do flamingos get to be weather birds?
You may not have seen the event for yourself the first year they did it. But it was actually quite spectacular.
Since flamingos are quite flamboyant, as opposed to groundhogs, they wanted to create a splash on their day. There was no emerging from a hole in the ground, being half asleep, and certainly not looking your best. On the contrary, on Flamingo Day the chosen flamingo had to look her best when she emerged onto the stage, her pink feathers immaculately groomed, her makeup perfectly done, and her jewelry especially designed for the occasion. With the appropriate cocktail in hand, of course. After all, it’s always 5:00 somewhere, and no self respecting flamingo ever has an important event such as this without the appropriate cocktail!
As the flamingos explained to me, it doesn’t really matter where the sun is in relation to the star of the show, because on Flamingo Day the sun will find her, and she will definitely be able to make the determination whether or not she sees her shadow. And if we will be having an early spring or not.
So the time arrived. For some reason they picked 3:00 in the afternoon for the event to take place. By the pool, of course, even though it was definitely too cold to go swimming! And at exactly 3:00 Vincent von Flamingo, the host of the event, strutted out, appropriately dressed in top hat and tuxedo jacket, and proclaimed that Dazzling Dorothy, Flamingo Prognosticator Extraordinaire, and Weatherperson of Wonder, would in just a few minutes be presenting herself on stage to make her first major prediction about spring.
The crowd went wild! Actually it was a huge crowd of flamingos who had flown in for the event, some from as far away as Puerto Rico and Aruba. Dressed in an array of colorful hats, sparkling jewelry, and of course sipping from an array of pink cocktails garnished with hibiscus flowers and pineapple, they were more than ready to witness the inaugural event of Flamingo Day!
And Dazzling Dorothy did not let anyone down, as she strutted to her place on the makeshift stage to stand under a floral canopy designed to shield her from the elements until it was time to see if she saw her shadow. What a sight! She was perfectly attired in her very own floppy hat, adorned with jeweled pink feathers and tropical flowers. Her jewelry, sparkling with colorful gems, pearls, and beautifully crafted silk flowers, wrapped gracefully around her neck. Perfectly completing her outfit was a stylish pair of sparkling shoes, with 4 inch heels, making her appear even more impressive!
The crowd went wild, taking pictures, videos, and squawking in delight! They knew this was going to be a day to remember!
Dorothy looked around, smiled at the crowd, and said, “Are you ready for spring? Me, too!” She raised her glass, downed the rest of her drink in one gulp, tossed the empty glass to Vincent, and stepped out from under her floral canopy. Taking a quick look around, she took off her hat, looked up at the sky and then back down, and happily announced, “The Groundhog was wrong! There’s no shadow! I proclaim an early spring! Now let the party begin!”
Cheers erupted throughout the crowd. Glasses clinked together in celebration. Pink feathers flew, and from the stage, Vincent announced, “The party’s inside! It’s time to celebrate!”
And the flamingos certainly celebrated! Shrimp of all kinds. Special Flamingo Day cocktails! And of course, instead of those unexciting groundhog cookies, bright pink flamingo cookies, all beautifully decorated for the occasion!
It was an awesome day to remember. And trust me, this year’s Flamingo Day celebration, will most definitely top that one! They’re even inviting Punxsutawney Phil himself to join in the fun and see how NOT seeing your shadow is done!
And you know what? I think this time he’s going to join them! I wonder if he’ll be wearing any flamingo attire? Wouldn’t he look good in a pink top hat? And maybe he’ll even bring some of those groundhog cookies decorated with pink icing and sparkly sprinkles!
Happy Spring! It’s definitely coming soon!
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