Music...A common language

Check this out...even in this crazy world we live in...there is a common language that we all speak. Some people know the language better than others...but we all can hear it, even if we can't "say" it exactly correct. Wow...


Makes you think a little bit about all the hateful and horrible things that people do to each other. I've never understood hate. I don't see what a person could have done to make you so angry, and lose all compassion for human life. Don't get me wrong, there are people that I don't like, there is one guy that I REALLY can't stand (pretty close to hate), but life is too short to waste on being angry.

If music can be a shared language for us, maybe it can also make us realize that we aren't that much different from the person sitting next to us. Maybe it can help us realize that the "Horrible things" aren't so horrible...and the hate isn't worth the effort.

Enough pondering for an early Sunday morning...I already went to the gym this morning, now I am enjoying my coffee, listening to Little Joe snoring on the couch (yes, he slept on the couch last night), and getting ready to read my book!

Happy Sunday!!


Do You Have a Passion? (Or are you a passionate person?)

What is your passion? I mean, TRULY? What is something that you love to learn about, engross yourself in, surround yourself with, and/or simply love?

Can you have more than one passion? Yes
Can your passion change daily? Yes
Can you share your passion? Yes (you should!!)

I'll share a little bit of what my passions are today...(yes, in list form...)

1. being an awesome mom & wife - I still haven't figured how to do this exactly...but I try darn hard to do so! Whether it is making sure that my husband is taken care of, or showing my son how to tie his shoes (for the umpteenth time). This will be a lifetime passion of mine. Sometimes I think it comes easy; sometimes I feel like I have lost the "passion". But I know that this is one thing that truly brings joy to me: my husband and son.
2. music - so many different forms and sounds and colors. I know music. but I don't know EVERYTHING about music. I know what sounds good. I know what brings a good resonance to my ears; I know that I love Beethoven and Mozart and Verdi and Bach and Handel and Tchaikovsky and Dvorak and Mahler and ugh...I could go on with who I love...I'm OK with Stauss, Wagner, some Italian operas, opera in general isn't my favorite. I love some folk music, but not all of it. I like some Gershwin, but it depends on who is singing it. I love R&B, but not the new nasty stuff. I love Jazz, but not all the time. I love choral music, but not modern stuff. Daniel Pinkham is an exception. I love movie soundtrack music, but only if the movie was good too. Enough about music...I seriously could go on forever.
3. landscape history - how does the built environment and the existing landform create a landscape for human interaction? Ugh. This could be a dissertation...but I find that looking for pattern and proven successes in landscape can teach us lessons for the future and cultural development. (I think I want to teach a class in this!!!)
4. Michigan history (including Detroit history) - Detroit has such a colorful history. Looking solely at the census for the past 100 years, Detroit was once an icon of what a city should be. Now it is an icon of what a city DOESN'T want to be. But the bones are still there. The architecture is still there. The art is still there. The people, maybe not so much.
5. french horn - I wish I still played. I love listening to horn music. There is something sultry, smooth and bold about the horn. It isn't used enough. (I think that is the complaint of all horn players...we were always relegated to playing the peck horn part, which sucks!!)

Tomorrow, I know my passions will be different. Maybe they will be similar...but that's what I like about me. I have so many interests, and I truly enjoying so much.

What are your passions?


I'm not getting a kickback...but HOW COOL IS THIS??

This would help me achieve one of my goals for this year. Most of the GF recipes have the amounts in mass/weight, rather than cups of whatever. So...this would be PERFECT. Now, I just have to find one at a store near me, or order it from Amazon.com. I could have bread again!! YEAH!!!



Here it is. The cake I made for my cousin's 16th Bday party. Yes, I worked hard on it. Yes, I learned lessons about mixing fondant colors. But..how cool is this cake???

On a random note - I found the cake stand at an antique market in Livonia. That place on Plymouth Rd., just west of Wayne Road? The one that looks like a flea market? Yeah - that one.


Feeling Creative

So, I've had some time on my hands recently, and I was feeling rather creative. I love papercrafts, and I love sarcastic art. (Heck, I just like sarcasm). Anyways...I decided to MAKE a Valentine's Day Card for my dear friend, B. She is a cardiologist. a HEART DOCTOR. So...I made her this card...

How cool, right? I thought so. :)

I'm feeling somewhat creative lately - nothing major, just want to create. We'll see where this path takes me. :)



Horoscope for today:

You want to meet your obligations today, but may be fearful about making a promise that you cannot keep. You are particularly aware of your own shortcomings and don't want to set yourself up for failure. However, being overly concerned about your ability to follow through now is counterproductive. It's of no value to judge the current situation by what you did or didn't do in the past. Keep things as simple as possible; do what you can and then let it go.

Can you say “INSECURITY”? Sheesh! This horoscope makes me want to crawl back in bed and not even try to start my day! I get it..”you can’t do everything, you aren’t perfect, do what you can do” blah blah blah…Wow. I’m in a foul mood, and it is still early today!

Just a few things going on here in the Lawson house…(yes, I am going to make a list)

1. Joseph got his hair cut. This might seem minor and inconsequential, but this was the first time he actually took an opinion when the barber asked what he wanted, and he didn’t say “Princeton” which is the style he has had ever since forever. He decided he wanted “long” hair…not supershort. So, he looked so different now. I like it…but different, nonetheless.

2. I went to the gym this past weekend and I am still feeling it. I tried a class called “Strictly strength”…which apparently used to be called “Basic Training”. Wish I had known THAT DETAIL!! Just this morning I can bend my right arm again…my bicep was destroyed during the “lift until fatigue” part of the workout. Ow. Ow. Ow. But – I had a great time doing it, and oddly enough, I want to go back! New leaf, People. Get Jen in shape for a triathlon. We’ll see how this goes this summer.

3. As for the career things…I can’t say much, because nothing is in writing. I have SO many things going on, but nothing has been set in stone…so I am in total flux. Just know that I am scared out of my mind, but looking forward to SO many awesome changes. For the better. It’s not that I was unhappy in my previous job, but getting laid off has opened my eyes to so many other possibilities that I never even considered. Yeah!

4. Making a cake for this weekend. My cousin’s sweet 16 bday party…I’m looking forward to making it!! I LOVE making cakes! It is very relaxing…and creative. So FUN! I’ll post pics when it is done.


Racking the Wine...with a little help.

So, last Sunday evening...I decided to rack my wine. I started this wine on December 29th...so it has been fermenting/etc. for a few weeks now. It has been stinky, and cloudy, and now...check. it. out:

I had a (little) bit of difficulty though...and I'm SO glad my favorite 6-year old son was there to show me how to do things. First...after siphoning the wine into the bottles...I couldn't put the cork in. Yes. You read that correctly. I couldn't figure out how to work the corker....Until...MY SON SHOWED ME HOW. No joke. geek. But, I hadn't soaked the corks long enough, so there was some difficulty there....AND....to make matters worse, I didn't have the corker screw set correctly. (I learned this after "finishing" each bottle with a hammer to pound the cork in the rest of the way). But....this is the end product:
Yumm!! Chardonnay. I'm going to let it rest for at least another month...and then start drinking it in April-ish. I did taste it while racking it...it was bright, fruity, not very mellow, but tasty. We'll see what happens!!!


Spoonbread isn't BREAD!!!

OK. Anyone who tells you that spoonbread is good...is incredibly mistaken. And GlutenFree Spoonbread? Disgusting. Incredibly disgusting. I found a recipe that was GF, and looked easy. It was made with cornmeal...and the recipe made it sound so yummy. It even looked REALLY pretty when it came out of the oven:

Instead, what it did taste like was cornmeal mush souffle. Yup. I just typed that. I don't think cheese would have helped this recipe out. And cheese usually fixes EVERYTHING! So, if you are ever offered spoonbread...be forewarned.



Some really cool things are happening right now. I "THINK" I have a job offer. Well, i do, officially - verbally...but nothing is in writing, and I have NO IDEA about any of the details. am I frustrated? A Little. Am I ecstatic? A Lot. It's the one I want. It will be cool. When I know more - I will tell you more. but, for now...just know that things are working out.

Having this time off of work (that is, being a full time working mother/wife/woman), I've had some interesting insights to life. Some are random...some are not so random...some are philosophical...some are life-altering.

1. I am NOT a stay-at-home type of person. I know I have mentioned this before...but it is SO true. I talk to the dog, and I assume she also understands me. I also will admit that I have dropped my son off at school in my PJs.

2. I love a good cup of homemade coffee in my favorite mug, watching the snow fall.

3. We have too much JUNK in our house. We need to purge. And it mocks me. All day long...I stare at the junk, and it stares back. I tell myself that I will get rid of it - but then another pile of junk starts mocking me...and pretty soon I'm overwhelmed. I'm working through it slowly...but there is still a LOT of stuff.

4. I try to do too much. I know I love lists...but my to-do list for today has 38 things on it. No Joke. Some are small. Some I know I will never get to today...or tomorrow. I try to over-achieve, and then I fail.

5. I have no willpower. Not about food...but about working out. I should be exercising every day. And I'm not. I have no excuse for it either.

6. We, as a society, place too much emphasis on success...without any specific definition. Different people have different expectations of success...and until we ALL learn that success is defined by each individual...we have a LONG way to go to respect others, much less ourselves. I know...Heavy. But so true.

7. I like teaching. But not teaching kids. I like teaching adults. I want to be a professor. Wait...I know I already am an adjunct professor...but one of these days...I want to work at a major University and have an office and be the COOL professor!!

8. I am a people person. I need to be around people to thrive. Adults, kids, doesn't matter...but I am a social creature...I do not do well whilst by myself.

9. Our mail lady is very nice, but VERY afraid of Dax.

10. I am a HORRIBLE procrastinator. The worst. Definitely the worst. I always do a good job on whatever it is that I need to do - but I try to fit too much in, and end up procrastinating. Maybe there is a connection between this item and #4. Yeah, probably.

11. I love to cook. I love to share food with people. I love to share my love of food with people. Being GF doesn't HAVE to mean that you can't love food anymore - you just have to not love certain kinds of food, and learn to like new kinds. This ties into one of my goals for this year. Yeah...learning to cook with GF flours. I haven't necessarily started that...but I did learn that cornmeal is really gross. :)


Naked Joe (!!!)

Ok - so...anyone else have trouble keeping clothes on their kid? Seriously.

Little Joe would rather run around in nothing but his skivvies and a pair of socks. All. The. Time. If we don't leave the house on the weekend...he will never ever get dressed. When will he grow out of this? I mean, I would understand if it were the middle of summer, and we had no air conditioning...but this is ridiculous!!

Even on Xmas morning - I was taking pictures, and of course, he was half naked...at least he had a shirt on! but this kid cracks me up!

In positive news...he is almost 50 inches tall! Wowza! He'll be taller than Aunt Barb by the end of 2nd grade! :) His feet are huge...(size 3) and he is wearing a size 7 pant...he needs the length! He is going to need a new bike! I should probably start looking on Craigslist for a taller bike for him! and more long pants! I was hoping that the snow pants I got for him this winter would last through next winter...now I'm thinking that they probably won't.

Vegetable Goodness

So, last Friday I went to Meijer after I dropped Little Joe off at school. I figured I might as well get my grocery shopping done, so I wouldn't have to fight the crowds on Saturday. Holy CROW!! Have you ever been on a Friday morning, before 9AM? The people there are NICE!! and SMILING! And...the produce guy puts out CLEARANCE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES!!! Each pack you see in the picture...no more than a dollar. the cukes were 40 cents. the oranges were 50 cents. And since most of the fruit is going into the juicer...SCORE!!!

But, I had to figure out what to do with the tomatoes (all romas) and peppers. So...I oven roasted them. The house smelled so incredibly GOOD!!

Post-roasting pic of the tomatoes:

And for the peppers...just a little EVOO under the broiler for a few minutes...and look at this!!! They peeled easily and are now in my freezer to toss into GF pasta or whatever. OMG - YUMM!!