Jaxon and Drew

he's  very proud of his new cousin. [the baby, Drew, is the exact image of Jaxon at that age]
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Valorie and the dudes

Val has the neapolitan equivalent of sons... chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla...
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group hug

in back: Ty, Valorie, Tiffany;
front: Mema, Drew, Jaxon, Papa, Nolan, Gavin
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Papa - Mema - and 4 of the 6 grandsons

it's not easy getting everyone together for a photo.
left to right: Mema, Drew, Jaxon, Papa, Nolan, Gavin.
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2011 congressional budget

2011 congressional budget with links thanks to jamie dupree -------

m'sippi finally made it to the #1 position in something besides obesity.... if texas doesn't watch out... we're gonna take the 'everything is bigger' title away from them.

The Omnibus Arrives | Jamie Dupree Washington Insider


ceremony rituals initations oaths traditions

the more i ponder, the more i realize.... ceremony, traditions, initiations, rituals, oaths.... all those things people use to 'enter' a marriage, political office, religion, club, organization..... things that are strictly human creations.... are the biggest problem of humanity. it is where the majority of our social problems originate.

the need to belong has produced our division.

do i need a piece of paper from my government to know i am in a relationship? do i need the blessing of a church leader to know i will remain with my partner for life? no.... society needs those 'things' to try and define my life.

i am not saying these are not needed for society, i am saying when too much importance is placed, when people start believing that the ritual is more important than the commitment [think about how much some spend on planning weddings and how little is spent on planning the life together, or how much effort and money is spent to keep the 'undesirables' from being recognized by our government as a legal couple] --- therein lies the problem.

ceremony, traditions, initiations, rituals, oaths --- these are created to make a person feel important, vital, needed.... that somehow, you are special to have been allowed to enter this group, to be part of the inner sanctum.

1] you are not special....then again,

2] if you need these to feel special? to be part of the group? you are special... in a sadly pathetic existence.

think carefully next time you feel the need to enter an organization...

what are you entering?

what is your reason for joining?

what is the purpose of the initiations?

what is needed to make you part of the group?

if your answer to any of those questions is NOT "to make this existence better for the future" then you should reconsider:

WHY do i feel the need to be part of this group?


2010 and changes

facebook has a little doo-hicky thingy that does a smattering of status updates... here's mine definitely a long, strange trip... people lost, people born, home lost, so much lost, and i have so much for which to be grateful... i am rich beyond measure


Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

(Adapted from Baked Explorations, Recipe featured in Food and Travel, November 2010 Edition)

Makes 34

* Chocolate Whoopie Pies
* Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling

* 490 g (3½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
* ¼ teaspoon salt
* 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
* 1¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of (baking) soda
* 90 g (¾ cup + 3 tablespoons) dark unsweetened cocoa powder
* 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
* 110 ml (4 ounces) hot coffee
* 110 ml (4 ounces) hot water
* 350 g (1¼ cups + 2 tablespoons) firmly packed light brown sugar
* 170 ml (6 ounces) rapeseed (canola) oil (can be substituted with vegetable oil)
* 1 large egg, room temperature
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 110 ml (4 ounces) buttermilk, room temperature, shaken

1. Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F). Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick baking paper or silicone baking mats, set aside.
2. Using a fine mesh sieve, into a large bowl, sift the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Using a whisk, whisk to combine well, set aside.
3. In another large bowl, whisk together the cocoa and espresso powder until well combined.
4. Add the hot coffee and the hot water to the cocoa mixture and whisk until both powders are completely dissolved.
5. In another bowl, stir together the brown sugar and oil until well combined and then add it to the cocoa mixture; whisk until well combined.
6. Add the egg, vanilla and buttermilk to the cocoa mixture and then whisk until smooth.
7. Using a large spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the cocoa mixture, scraping the sides and the bottom of the bowl as you fold.
8. Use a one tablespoon-capacity ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets about 2.5 cm (1-inch) apart.
9. Bake, rotating baking sheet halfway through, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top. A cake tester inserted into the centre of the cookie should come out clean.
10. Let the cookies cool completely on the sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling

* 5 large egg whites
* 300 g (1½ cups) caster (superfine granules) sugar
* 440 g (1 pound or 4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm cubes, cool but not cold
* ¼ teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* gel paste food colouring, optional

1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk the egg whites and sugar together.
2. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water but do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl.
3. Heat and continuously whisk the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and the colour of the mixture is milky white, about 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Remove the bowl from the heat and attach to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg mixture on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy.
5. Replace the whisk attachment with the paddle attachment, gradually add the cubed butter and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy (If the buttercream looks like it is splitting, don’t worry, it will eventually come together).
6. Add the salt and vanilla and beat for 5 seconds to combine.
7. Colour the filling by mixing in (at medium speed) the food colouring, 1 drop at a time, until the desired colour is reached.

Assembling Chocolate Whoopie Pies

1. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper and set aside.
2. Transfer the Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream Filling to a large pastry bag fitted with a Wilton 1M pastry tip.
3. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies.
4. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down very gently.
5. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.
6. Chill for about 30 minutes to firm up before serving.



as i was pouring my last cup of coffee from a french press i was reminded of the priceless value of patience... the best moments of life require patience, resilience, and recognition....

first up on the itunes this morn was 'someday never comes' by ccr..... while we may not remember complete days, we do remember moments.... 'someday' may never come... some moments do --- do you recognize those moments for the nirvana held within?

the first time your baby smiles ... just for you, a lover's embrace that took 30 years to create, hugging a friend, a gorgeous sunset, a breathtaking sunrise, warm silk, that euphoric moment of orgasm.... and most importantly --- grandchildren.

everything precious comes with a price.... sometimes that price is as simple as patience and breathing... taking one day at a time -- recognizing and enjoying the moments of peace and tranquility when they occur... and thanking the Creator for another chance at a new day.

soooo, as i enjoy this last cup of coffee... allowed to steep while i was enjoying the first two cups... i wish for you a smile.... and the opportunity to recognize the moments in your life of contentment and peace --- don't let the world intrude as you truly enjoy each small moment of happiness.

First thing I remember was askin' papa, "Why?", For there were many things I didn't know. And Daddy always smiled; took me by the hand, Sayin', "Someday you'll understand."

Well, I'm here to tell you now each and ev'ry mother's son You better learn it fast; you better learn it young, 'Cause, "Someday" Never Comes."

Well, time and tears went by and I collected dust, For there were many things I didn't know. When Daddy went away, he said, "Try to be a man, And, Someday you'll understand."

 And then, one day in April, I wasn't even there, For there were many things I didn't know. A son was born to me; Mama held his hand, Sayin' "Someday you'll understand."

 Think it was September, the year I went away, For there were many things I didn't know. And I still see him standing, try'n' to be a man; I said, "Someday you'll understand."

Well, I'm here to tell you now each and ev'ry mother's son You better learn it fast; you better learn it young, 'Cause, "Someday" Never Comes."