Life as a single Mother-Empty nest, Dating, Ex-husband, Best Friends, Full-time Employment, Unemployment, night school...How do these all relate to one another? Come with me:

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer foods

If your family is anything like mine, summer can be a busy time. Soaking up every ounce of sunshine you can. Who wants to spend it in a hot kitchen? Not me!

With all the summer celebrations and quick trips into the mountains on the flip of a coin it is good to have some summer salads and dishes on hand. Makes relaxation nicer when you can grab a pack of hot dogs, or chicken breast and leave the house as fast as you can pack the cooler and grab a few blankets.

One of my favorite simple summer salads is this Macaroni and Tuna number:

Tuna Macaroni Salad. 

Begin by boiling some pasta. You can use any type of dry noodle my favorite for this salad is the Ditali pasta. (small tubular similar to elbow approx 3/8" long). It seems to hold the flavors in better. Boil the pasta in a pot of well salted water just to the Al Dente stage. or when it shows a slight resistance when chewed. (I check this by cooling one piece out of the pot and tasting)

While the pasta is boiling, dice some sweet green, yellow, red or orange peppers. Some green onions thinly sliced from the white on through the green. One medium sized cucumber. And one large ripe tomato.

This is the perfect time of year for this salad. It is great for the outdoor activities and most of the ingredients can be found in your own garden or the local farmers market.

Depending on how much pasta you are cooking, open and drain one or two 5oz cans of tuna fish in water. Or two pkg's of the new tuna in a pouch.

When the pasta is done, remove from the stove and drain. Let the pasta cool. Pasta can be rinsed with some cool water to accelerate the preparation. However, the more rinsing, the more starch is removed and the less the dressing will stick to the pasta.

Stir the vegetables and tuna into the pasta. Mix thoroughly.

In a separate bowl (again portions depend on the amount of pasta used) mix together the following ingredients: 1c light mayonnaise, 1Tablespoon yellow or 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, 1 Tablsp black pepper, 1 Teasp Salt, 1 clove chopped garlic, 2 Tablsp milk, and 1/2 teasp lemon juice.

Whisk well. Dressing should be the consistency of creamy salad dressing. If it is too stiff, add more milk. Too liquid, add some more mayo.

Pour dressing over the pasta and vegetables and stir until all is coated.
Keep refrigerated.

As I have been known to get a little bored with recipes... this salad can be changed up a little by replacing the tuna with a can of tiny shrimp or even fresh shrimp chopped finely. Different vegetables can be added or omitted. And a cup of Ranch dressing will substitute in a pinch for the dressing.

Should keep for up to 7 days in the refrigerator. A few days less if it has been in a cooler or in the sun.

Great with burgers, or BBQ.
Make a big batch for your Independence day party.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More summertime fun

This has been a busy summer. I fear the blog has taken a backseat.
I have worked a full time job since I was 18 yrs old and attended night school more years than not. That did not leave a lot of time for play. Most free time was spent with my young children attending to their needs and wishes. I have more recently been unemployed for the past month and as summer is my favorite season of the year, I have taken every opportunity to soak up some sun and enjoy some time off.
I have enjoyed working in the Engineering field and made so many lifelong friends and acquaintances over those years. I am however feeling quite burned out with cubical life. I am a people person. I like to work with people. I like to get out into the world and change things up during the day. I am not the right type of personality for office life.
Not to mention the change in the corporate jungle over the years. It is a man eat man world. Add that to the man eat woman world I feel I have battled for so many years and the stress builds.
I am looking into some new ventures. I am looking at some changes in my career life.
In the meantime.. the girls and I have been having the time of our lives. Summer fun on a budget.

Outdoor rodeos

Parades, family reunions,
Art and music festivals

And camping and mountain picnics
Hiking, swimming, and just playing in the sun.

Hope you are all enjoying the weather. Getting out and not sitting inside.
Happy summer

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer Time Summer Time Sum Sum Summer Time

In Utah nearly every week you can find a small town festival. Many of those small towns are no longer small. But the smaller the town, the more fun the festival.

Last year my daughter and I attended a rodeo in a very small local town. And had a great time.

The town we live in used to be a very small town. Although it is growing every day it has so far not lost its small town charm.
This week is our own town celebration. A celebration that started in the 1920's and continues much in the same way as the first celebration.

Have you heard of onion queens? Blueberry queens? Peach royalty? Our town has Strawberry days. And I would much prefer a festival of strawberries than onions or potatoes.

These days there is a traveling carnival, boutiques and some other more modern festivities. But there are many of the more historical activities as well. Rodeos, pie eating and baby contests, tours of historical buildings, a parade and outdoor concerts of some local bands.

The last of which occurred last night. It was perfect weather. We have had a lot of summer storms the past few days and it is just now clearing up. A beautiful backdrop of the purple mountains and blue skies was perfect. It lasted just one hour but was a nice break.
In tradition, one of the free benefits (besides the concert itself) is the free cup of strawberries and cream served up by the local lions club. Yum.
I would say the only annoyance was the amount of children under the age of 10 running wildly through the crowds.This community has a large child to parent ratio and a free concert is a great attraction. I love that children are exposed to cultural activities, but sure would be nice if some parents would remember that some people came to see the show not babysit their children so that they might. - stepping off soap box.

My older daughter works with some disabled adults and she and a coworker brought them out to enjoy the evening. They had a great time. Some actually knew the words to some of the Eagles and Little River Band tunes and sang along. And we got the others up on their feet to dance with us.

We received many horrible looks of disgust. The leers of some of the spectators made me a little uncomfortable for the girls. I don't understand why so many people were disgusted by disabled people and yet let their own children run amok knocking over chairs, tripping over people sitting on blankets and other smaller children in their path.

One is the victim of a stroke in her early twenties, another a car accident at age 18. These could easily be anyone of their children... It was heartbreaking.

I was a bit aggravated. But we all had a great time regardless.
My younger daughter danced along with her friends and we enjoyed the weather, the music and the evening.

Tonight is the rodeo. One of the largest in the state. Can't wait. More fun to come.
This week will be a busy one. I love Summertime.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A taste of something new

A good friend came into town this week. And coming to town for her is no small thing. As she now lives on the other side of the world in France. I always love when she comes to town. Because even if we have not seen each other in 5, 10 or even 15 years, it is as if we never apart.

We talk and reminisce until our throats are sore and laugh until our guts ache and our mouths are sore from smiling.
I love her.
Last night we had a chance to meet up with her younger sister and brother, my daughter and a few other friends.
I love food. I like to try new things but I am not too brave. I like to know what I am eating, and I like to keep to ingredients which are not too far from my regular palate.
There are many culturally diverse choices in eating establishments in our area. Not as many as possibly the larger cities in the US but a good mix.
As much of a food wuss I am, however, I have been hesitant to venture into new cuisine areas as the menus were intimidating. I didn't want to order and pay for an entire dish only to discover I hated it. I needed a foodie. I needed a restaurant tour guide.

For a few years, I worked with a man on visa in the United States from India, another from Peru and one more from Argentina. However I left those jobs and they left town before we had a chance to meet for dinner.
Last night, thanks to my good friend and her family. I had my first taste of Indian cuisine. I loved it!

My daughter, her boyfriend Brandon and I all fell in love with this food on first bite. We tried most everything at the table.

I will definitely be eating more Chicken Tandoori, Chicken Briyani, Mango Chicken and Garlic naan bread very soon.

After dinner we had some time to kill before our next event started. It was a beautiful although chilly for June, night and we once again caught up on old times and new.
One highlight....or low light of the evening was the passing of a man in his possible late fifties, running by. Not a bad looking man. Until he chose to whip his shirt off in the middle of the crowd forming. the loose skin on his chest bounced with every step. More power to the man. Truly he was comfortable in his own skin.
I however would have preferred he keep his shirt on.

While we were hanging out downtown I came to the realization that the tickets I had purchased online for the comedy show were still at home. I had neglected to pick them off the printer. I sent my daughter and Brandon home after them. ugh.
As I was standing in line awaiting their return just before the show was to begin, the door hostess informed me that with an online purchase the actual tickets were not required. We were in-fact already on the reservation list. I felt horrible. But they showed up in time and we ended up with front row seats.

Comedy sports is a very small improv comedy venue. The picture is a bit deceiving as this building is no bigger than an alleyway with a roof. Two groups of four actors act out short comedic skits in a competition style show. It was hilariously entertaining.
The above skit was extra funny because it was a Russian (left) and a Frenchman (right) and they did the accents spot-on! And as I was sitting next to an actual French woman, made it that much more fun.

And as we were on the front row, my daughter was dubbed scorekeeper.

I wore my new converse shoes and we decided that they went well with our coca cola.

We had a wonderful night. Will definitely return for all.
Although I feel a little funny accepting gifts from my friend when she visits. Who could really pass up on French chocolates? and perfumed soaps, and a yuuumy wine infused mustard I cant wait to try on my next sandwich. Thank you again my friend.

The best gift was a hand written recipe for chocolate mousse. I will be sure to post it here when we make it as long as Darlene is O.K. with that.

I wish her a safe trip home and can hardly wait for her next visit, or the time I get the funds to visit France.. whichever comes first.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

5 minutes of fame

Video Courtesy of

This is my aunts, (my mothers sister) dancing group. They are fun to watch. They range in age from forties to the oldest member who is in her 90's. 

They meet twice a week and practice and it keeps them young. They tried out foe America's got talent in LA this past January.

They didn't make it past the first round. The judges thought they were great. Sharon really liked their show. But Howie ended up giving them a no. 

Turns out they were a great act. Just not what would make a great Vegas style show. 

They danced at a New Jersey Basketball half-time show and had a great trip to New York.

My mom, and two more of the sisters went along making it a great get together with four of the five sisters. 

Maybe you will get to see them live in your city some day. I think they are great

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A hidden Gem in the most unlikely place

I am not always able to find the time to post here on my own blog the things that are on my mind. I find only slightly more time to catch up on the blogs I follow regularly. But the people I have (virtually) met online are some of the most amazing and down to earth people I may ever meet. If only in the spirit of the written word.

One person I have met through the blog-o-sphere I feel deserves a shout out is indie singer Chris Blake. Although Chris is an amazing performer which I will discuss later in this post, my initial introduction and admiration for him came as I read a post on I felt his pain as I read the words he wrote about his recent divorce. I remember thinking how strong he was and how profound his writing. I felt an instant connection. At the time I did not know he was an entertainer. At the time I read the article, I was a twitter newbie. I followed a few celebrities and had even fewer followers. I followed a link to his twitter feed and laughed with every tweet of his. His antics raising his son as a single father were humorous and lighthearted. Again, I was in awe.

I was intrigued and wanted to know more about this amazing person. I followed the link from the dating papers blog to his song Happiness. I loved it! 

I found his myspace site and there is not one song of his that doesn't take me to new heights. He has been declared as an Indie Rock, Alternative artist. I don't care how you label his music, to me it is soul searching, haunting and beautiful.

I continue to follow his tweets. He is very conscious of his audience and responds personally to each of his fans and followers. But on a very personal level. He is not a big star, but I see big things coming for him. But in light of it all, he is a stand-up guy too. That is something to be commended.

As a single parent, I stand up and applaud Chris Blake. It doesn't hurt that he is hot as hell.

I wish him great things ahead. Although I know he is headed there all on his own.

Here is a taste:
Mean by Chris Blake

You can find Chris Blake here:
Or follow his day here:

Chris -Love you man, keep up the great work