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The Incredible 80s

We’re talking about our favourite decades.

I was a child in the 80s, so I didn’t really have any idea how amazing they were. I recently watched the  National Geographic documentary The 80s, narrated by Rob Lowe, and it was a somewhat eye opening experience. Some of the things I vaguely remember, some of them were complete news to me.

One of the most memorable occurrences for me and my family was when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. I am half German and lived in Germany at that time. My grandmother had been cut off from her family because of the Wall. I only met her bother when I was a tween because he had reached an age where he was allowed to leave East Germany. Years before that, one of his nieces had done the impossible-she had escaped East Germany by hiding in a false bottom in a car. As I said, I was pretty young. As a child you don’t understand what she had gone through to do what she did. I remember my mum and my aunt speaking about it in awed voices, but I wasn’t sure what was so important about it.

Now, looking back with adult eyes, I am amazed at her bravery.

So when the Wall came down it had a special meaning for my family;).

But the 80s also had Jane Fonda, New Coke (something I missed completely), computers, Ghostbusters and The Goonies, and shoulder pads. All in all it was pretty cool;).

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Do you have a favourite memory of the 80s?

Better late than never…

And, for once, my caption doesn’t refer to me being late to post!

For us Canadians Thanksgiving has already gone, but there’s never a bad time to count one’s blessings! For me this is actually a particularly good time, since we just had a loss in our family so profound I’m still trying to come to terms with it. When you lose someone you love with all your heart so many emotions come to the forefront it’s sometimes hard to sort through them. But one thing that usually happens too is that you learn how important the people and systems you’ve built are, just by the support you receive.

So, in honor of my dear brother, here are the three things I’m most thankful for today.

Ann Aird

Me, at about two- or three-years-old

I’m thankful for my past. This isn’t something I’m usually thankful for, because it’s a checked, rollercoaster ride of profound highs and lows, and I’ve often looked back at parts of it with confusion, regret and even shame. Yet it gave me the family I have, the friends I love and the memories that make me smile, even when I feel like crying. I’m glad to be at a stage in life where I can now appreciate who I am, rather than constantly wanting to be someone, or something else. The past made me this person, honed my talents and gave me my perspective on life, and so I give thanks for it.

Sable, aka Beansie-Pup

Moe butt warm

Moe last winter, warming her butt

That probably seems like an all-encompassing kind of thankfulness, but I’m also thankful for my present. The here and now. My hubby, who is my rock and soft place to fall. My kids, who have grown into adults I truly enjoy being around. Even my furry friends, both of which seemed to know that ‘Mummy’ needed some extra attention over the last few days. The friends, old and new, who rallied around and carried me through. I’m even thankful for Facebook, without which it would have been almost impossible to connect with everyone and also express some of my emotions. That last one is one for the books, since everyone knows social networking isn’t usually my favorite thing!

And lastly, I’m grateful for whatever the future will bring. No matter what that is. If I can feel joy or sorrow, happiness or fear, it means I’m alive and that’s enough.

Peace and love!

That for Which I’m Grateful

Yummy KiltGood morning, MANhandlers! Today’s photo is one I came across that made me stop, stare and thank God for men, kilts and work boots. Enjoy!

When I received the topic for this week’s blog post, I thought, “Name three things I’m most grateful for? Easy peasy.” Turns out that’s not quite true. I think I wrote this post four times, and every time I started fresh, there were three new things in my life I found myself grateful for. I decided to go with the first version because, while it’s much more personal than I tend to ever get, it’s the most authentic. Here’s what I came up with.

#1: My Husband

It might sound a bit trite, but he’s the thing I’m most grateful for in life. There are too many reasons to list, plus I’d probably get all sappy, so let me hit the high points. First, that man loves me more than anything else in the world, and he makes sure I know it–texts, notes, voicemails, emails, flowers, surprise dates. He is a cuddling machine. He listens to what I have to say. He’s brilliant and not stingy in sharing the knowledge, so I’ve grown marginally more intelligent over the years. (Yay, osmosis!)

Above all, when the shit really hit the fan and I found myself in a very precarious emotional spot due to some serious ongoing health issues, he stood by me, behind me for support and in front of me as interference. He was where I needed him to be when I needed him to be there without my ever having to ask. He simply loved me harder.

This man has taught me more about love than I ever thought possible, and I am a better woman for having been his partner for eighteen years.

#2: My Friends and Family

thank you noteSo simple. So true. I have a very, very small inner circle of people who surround me. There are quite a few people who orbit the group, people whom I value, but those closest to me? There are only a handful. These are the people I can call at 3:00 a.m. when my old Labrador Retriever had a seizure and my husband was out of town, the person I meet at Starbucks in “our spot” and can count on to be honest no matter how hard it is to hear, the person who goes to doctors’ appointments with me so I don’t have to be alone, the person who calls and says, “My Spidey Sense was tingling…what’s wrong?” and the person who simply shows up with a cold Dr. Pepper despite her personal war against sugar and says, “You need a little sunshine, Denise. Let’s sit outside.”

I do my absolute best to be worthy of their friendship, be they blooded family or not. My life is richer because of these people who form the nucleus of who I am.

#3: My Writing

This one might strike you as odd. Let me explain. Several years ago, I lost my job after a back surgery gone wrong. My job had become my life. It was everything I identified with, everything I used to define the parameters of “me.” When those parameters crumbled, I was left a shivering mass of naked regret. A decade spent building a career — gone. Disability was suddenly an unavoidable reality, and I hated myself for it. For a long time, I sulked. I didn’t want to rediscover joy in life. I didn’t want to find new passions. I wanted my old life back, and was so busy looking over my shoulder that I nearly missed what was right in front of me. Remember my darling husband? He bought me a laptop, brought it home and said, “Write. It used to make you happy.” I sulked a bit longer, then got up in pain in the middle of the night and went to the living room. There sat the computer. I opened it up and wrote the first few pages of Legacy, the first book I sold. Writing helped me rediscover who I was, who I am, and it gave my flagging sense of productivity an outlet that I could physically, safely, manage. I found myself in the words when I thought I was lost, when things were so bleak for me that I went to a very dark place I don’t talk about. My imagination was unlocked and I found  my happy inside. How can I ever thank him for that?

Take a second and let me know who or what you’re most grateful for. I’d love to celebrate them or it with you.

Merenda


woman black and white film noir lookMerenda is an Italian term used by my relatives that means a group of women meeting for afternoon tea and gossip. Just change it to coffee, and pretty much that’s me, meeting my friends at the local coffee shop. We talk for hours, throw the tarot, work on our sketch books and sometimes go shopping. I can’t seem to get away for at least three hours once I’m there. My family and friends come first in my life so I don’t find it a problem I have to solve in order to write more. I choose not to write as many books, and that’s okay.

Merenda has to be in my DNA – from the time of my great grandmother, the women in my family have gathered to share gossip, laughter, as well as their sorrows. I come from a strong line of women who held the family together by sheer determination and will. They were an incredible support group for each other, as women often are.

Happy Reading!

Viki Lyn
http://www.vikilyn.com
http://www.vikilyn.com/blog
http://www.facebook.com/VikiLynRomance
http://www.twitter.com/VikiLynRomance

Once Viki Lyn wrote her first male/male romance, she was hooked. Now she gets to write about two sexy men as heroes instead of one.

What inspires – the reality that romance between lovers is a hope more than a guarantee. Her stories are sexy, but it’s always romance that drives the story to its final happily-ever-after.

Viki has worn many hats, working in corporate finance to owning her own art gallery, but writing has been a long lasting passion.

Viki Lyn: Award winning author of male/male paranormal and contemporary romances. You can find all of Viki’s books at the following sites: Amazon, All Romance Ebooks and GLBT Bookshelf.

Thou shall not kill.

For archangel Razi-el, he had no choice. He would break God’s commandment again if it were to save Uri-el from a demon’s talons. Yet even God’s most trusted archangel cannot avoid punishment. No longer Razi-el, he is now Izar, a Protector sworn to kill for the angels.

When a Protector kills an angel, Izar is summoned to work alongside Uri-el to capture the killer. Izar is shocked when his bloodlust spikes hot for the archangel. He knows better than to go after forbidden fruit. Refusing to give in to temptation, he ignores his body’s tempestuous arousal for Uri-el until a heated argument turns his blood into molten lust.

As they rush to find the killer, their passion plays into the demon’s plan. Izar will have to make a choice between life and death if he is to save Uri-el again.

http://www.ellorascave.com/sins-of-lust.html

Moravian Christmas Cookies

This may surprise some of you, but I am a CHRISTMAS NUT.

Nope, not religious. I’m talking the whole tacky ornament, Santa loving, Grinch adoring, stockings-and-ugly-sweaters kind of Christmas nut.

I ADORE Christmas. I love getting together with my family, giving them the most fabulous presents I can come up with, eating, cooking, laughing, and sneaking around playing Santa.

When I was little, my parents had to make a rule for me. We couldn’t open presents until 5:30am. That didn’t stop me getting up at 1:00, 2:30, 3:25, and 4:59.

Yeah. This is a lifelong condition.

So, it is with a sense of great jubilation that I share with you my single favorite Christmas cookie recipe.

OMNOMNOMNOM

OMNOMNOMNOM

 

Warning: These cookies taste like you just jammed a sleigh-full of delicious and spice into your mouth. Also, one batch makes about a trillion cookies. But, good news. The batter can stay refrigerated for up to two MONTHS. (not a typo.) Yay for liquor-laced cookie dough!!!

And, without further ado…

 

MORAVIAN CHRISTMAS COOKIES

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 cups Shortening

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed Dark Brown Sugar

A five pound bag of flour (you won’t use all this in the dough, but you will need the vast majority by the time you’re done. Think of the rolling out. These cookies are a commitment, but it’s like marrying an ancient billionaire. Pain in the hoo-ha for the short term, but CRAZY AWESOME later!!)

4 cups of Molasses

3/4 cup Brandy

2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

2 tablespoons Milk

1 teaspoon White Vinegar

2 tablespoons Cinnamon

2 tablespoons Nutmeg

2 tablespoons Cloves

1 tablespoon Ginger

 

Directions, in case you’re not scared enough now. IT’S WORTH IT!!

 

In a big bowl, mix together shortening, brown sugar, and 3 cups flour. Add molasses and brandy. In a separate bowl, dissolve baking soda in milk and mix in vinegar. Add to molasses batter with all the assorted spices. Now here’s where it becomes a workout. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Your arms will be exhausted, and you may give up too soon. That is okay. Refrigerate at least overnight, but up to two months! Liquorrrrrrrrrrrrrr. 🙂

When you’re ready to bake, let a chunk of the dough come up to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. If your oven runs hot, you may want to knock it down to 260. You know your oven. I don’t. Moving on!

On a floured board roll out dough to 1/8 of an inch thick. If too sticky, add more flour. If too dry, add more dough. Cut 3 inch cookies. I recommend using parchment paper on your baking sheets, also, btw. Bake them for ten minutes total, the first five on the bottom rack, and the last five on the top rack. Remove and cool.

 

These cookies will turn you into a bakery, but they make your house smell of nutmeg and cinnamon and ginger and cloves. AMAZEBALLS. And the taste? They’re much better the next day. The spices ping your tongue. Yeah, so they’re a lot of work. Yeah, so they have about seventeen ingredients. THEY ARE SO WORTH IT.

 

Christmas is a commitment, people. Your December 25th can be just like every other day of your life, or it can be special. MINE WILL BE SPECIAL, DAMMIT!!

 

*omnomnomnomnomnom*

 

 

 

 

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