Welcome to my blog! Curious about its name? (No, I didn’t misspell Electric.) As long as I can remember, I have been one of those people whose interests have covered a wide range of things (hence the name). First and foremost, I LOVE to cook and bake, and, when in the right mood, I love tackling complicated recipes that yield great “You made that from scratch?!” moments.
Three women were very influential in my love of cooking. Many years ago, I happened to catch a television show called “The French Chef,” and I became a lifelong fan of Julia Child’s. I watched her shows whenever I could, and her cookbooks found their way into my extensive collection. Julia became my culinary idol, and for many years I have cooked with an autographed postcard from her framed and overlooking my stove. (I had to buy the postcard on Ebay, but it doesn’t really matter. I wish it had been inscribed to me, but that’s the way it goes. I only paid $8 for the card, and am glad that it found its way to someone (me) who truly appreciated it.)
My other two major influences in my love of cooking were my mother and my sister. Both have passed away now, but they continue to inspire me. Mom was the best cook I’ve ever known, and she began teaching me to cook when I was very small. (I was able to show my great-aunt, who wasn’t much of a cook, how to cook cauliflower and how to make basic mornay sauce when I was about 2 1/2 years old.) Together, Mom and I made homemade marshmallows, gumdrops, pate-a-Chou, cream puffs, noodles, buttercream and 7-minute frostings, and our fantastic Hungarian casserole, to name a few of the gastronomic delights that we created. My sister (Madge), who loved to travel and who often took me with her, encouraged me by example and by suggestion to try my hand at international fare. Legendary among our creations were our cheese and onion enchiladas with homemade cornmeal/flour crepes/tortillas and delicious chunky tomato enchilada sauce. (The basic recipe came from a 1959 Betty Crocker cookbook that my sister had received as a wedding present that year.)
As much as I love going all out and cooking and baking decadent recipes, I try to find ways to cook and bake delicious, yet healthy foods. As a long time member of Weight Watchers, I love the fact that anything at all can be part of a healthy diet. The key is portion size and moderation, which works for me. (Ok. I admit. It works for me MOST of the time.) I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in November of 2011, and so far, I have been able to control it with diet and exercise alone. For that reason, I always keep track of carb counts. My carbohydrate intake and my Weight Watchers plan are always foremost in my mind.
I also love reading (especially on my Kindle Paperwhite), music (talk about eclectic taste!), the ocean, rocks and minerals, photography, olives (you read it right), movies, a wide range of television shows, travel (although it is often vicarious in nature), news and politics (which I will keep out of my blog), technology, large and small kitchen appliances, gadgets, and numerous other things. Because of my eclectic range of interests, I can honestly say that I have not been bored since I was a toddler waiting for my brother to get off of the nursery school/kindergarten bus. (In retrospect, I’m fairly certain that I could have used those hours spent at the window in more productive ways.)
My immediate family consists of my husband of almost 39 years and our daughters, Megan and Kelli. My husband has owned, managed, and operated a farm in Missouri for 38 years, with 34 of those centering around a large farrow-to-finish hog operation. He’s been out of the hog business now for about four years, and is finally finding the time to allow himself to relax and to do some of the things that he has had to put on the back burner for years. He still keeps busy before, during, and after planting and harvesting time.
Our daughters have been out on their own for quite a few years. Fortunately, they live close enough to each other that they get to spend quite a bit of time together, and they are about an hour and a half away from my husband and me. I can’t imagine having grown children who prefer to keep their distance (both literally and figuratively) from their parents. My husband and I both love being around our daughters, and we look forward to their visits.
Megan, Kelli, and I have a lot of shared interests (as well as “telepathetic” thoughts and comments), which explains why the time goes very quickly when we are all together. (We use the word telepathetic, which my late sister and I coined many years ago, because it says so much. My sister and I first discovered “the gift” many years ago because we had the ability to say the same obscure, often inside joke type of comment at exactly the same time, much to the chagrin of our husbands. The things that we would say were a blend of telepathic and pathetic thoughts that only we “got.” Megan and Kelli also have the dubious distinction of sharing “the gift.” My sister would be so proud. I hope she’s looking down on us and smiling when we utter our telepathetic comments in perfect concert.)
My professional life has been spent as a teacher. I taught what was described as “remedial reading” for four years after I graduated from college. I spent the next eight years after that as a stay-at-home mom, and then I returned to teaching as a second grade teacher for three years, and as a Chapter I/Title I reading (and sometimes math) teacher in a very small school in a nearby town. I’ve been there for 29 years, with 25 years spent as a teacher/academic team coach/technology coordinator/parent resource center facilitator.
Here’s a real blast from the past: I wore so many hats that I felt a lot like Sam Drucker on “Green Acres” and “Petticoat Junction.” Remember Sam? He was the town’s postmaster, editor and publisher of the Hooterville World-Guardian. He also claimed to be the constable, Justice of the Peace, and the superintendent of schools. Many times, he would literally change hats to reflect the job that he was performing at the time.
I digress. In July of 2009, I retired from my full-time job, and have spent the last four years teaching four mornings a week teaching Title I reading. I still love it when students suddenly “get” concepts/techniques that have, until that moment, eluded them. (I like to call those “light bulb” or “ah ha” moments.) I still feel as if what I do makes a difference. When that ceases to be the case, I’ll quit teaching. I have the best of both worlds now because I have a 3-day weekend, and I still get to help children improve their reading skills.
I’m blessed to have wonderful friends, several of whom go back a long way with me. Although I wish we had more time to spend together, but I know that we will be there for each when the need arises. Having lost some very important relatives, most of whom have passed away over the last ten years, I try to make a conscious effort to remember that life is much too short to waste with negativity and worry. (I haven’t quite mastered that, but I’m giving it my best shot.) My mom, dad, sister, in-laws, and other relatives who have passed away have left indelible memories with me, and some of my eclectic range of interests can (and will) be attributed to them.