Sunday, November 29, 2009

it's all too fresh..

We lost a very dear family friend this past week, and had to be strong, and support the family through these tough days. But being there at the wake and the funeral... just destroyed me...
It's all too fresh for me, and I can't seem to recover from it yet. I've cried harder the past few days than ever... I miss him more and more, and need him by my side ever more...

This path just seems to get harder and harder... I hope the pain inside doesn't win over the strength, I have no choice but to be strong, my boys need me and will need me more and more, I must stay strong... but it's just proving to be more challenging as time goes by...

I'm hoping...

I miss you my love... please help me by giving me strength to get through this storm...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

giving thanks...

I guess this one day of the year is the day we reflect... we stop... to be thankful for all that is good in our lives. This one day when we gather with our loved ones, our friends and appreciate our lives, the people that make it a special life for us, we give thanks for the little things that make us smile inside....we give thanks for the roof over our head, for the love we share with the ones around us, for our health..... then we feast, get stuffed much like the turkey we just ate and the next day...we go on with our lives, slowly forgetting all those little things we gave thanks for, as we once again get overwhelmed with all the other little things that cause us to worry and stress over, and we slowly get back to the rush of life, zooming through our days...forgetting to even smile at times let alone be thankful.

I don't mean to sound so cynical on a joyous day like this, but let's face it... that is exactly what happens in life, we commemorate and celebrate holidays such as Thanksgiving, by counting our blessings and being thankful, and like Valentines Day by expressing our love to that special person in our lives.... Then we forget... we forget everything and get into the zombie mode till the next holiday slaps us on our face to be awake that day and enjoy the present. On this day of giving thanks... I want to pass on a message to all of you...


My husband was such a man...why wait till a day on the calendar instructs you to give thanks, or to say I love you or to be happy... why not be that way on all the days in our lives...however long or short.
So, today as any other day I give thanks for the gift that was given to me, his presence in my life, his love that to this day overflows my heart, for the countless happy moments that we had together, for my beautiful boys he left behind. I am thankful for having known and loved him, I am thankful for all that he taught me... for all the "I love yous", for all the hugs, for all the smiles, for all the walks, all the talks, each time he held my hand or asked me to smile...
And not just today, or tomorrow, or the next day... but for all the days that lay ahead in my life..

Enjoy your family and friends today, enjoy the food and festivities, give your thanks and tomorrow.... don't forget all that you were thankful for... each day is a blessing, hold it dear to your heart, own up to it and be awake for each moment...

I leave you with my warmest wishes for today and some love from my heart..

Monday, November 23, 2009


Well my friends our first recipe swap day has finally arrived, I'm very excited (as I often get when food is the topic :)... Looking forward to some good food today in the blogosphere.

I'll be sharing a family favorite on our Thanksgiving table. My mom has been making this dish for quite a few years, she's the kitchen queen on this holiday and is in no way ready to relinquish that throne to me just yet. But I have been taking on a few of the dishes year by year... squeezing my way in sort of speak. I've put my twist on this recipe of hers for the past couple of years and I'm happy to report... that she approves. So here it is without any further ramblings... (I know... I talk too much) of our favorites.... a simple yet delicious dish.


This recipe is for 6 apples, which makes 12 halves, believe me you will want to double or even triple this one.
This is what you'll need:

* 6 medium Gala apples
* 1 cup of roughly chopped pecans
* 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/4 cup cold butter cut or torn into small cubes
* 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
* 1/8 tsp. of graded nutmeg or powder

* preheat your oven to 350*F

* mix all the ingredients but the apples in a bowl,
without over mixing, you don't want your butter to melt.

* cut apples in half lengthwise, leaving skin on,
* cut a very thin layer off the bottoms so they don't wobble,

* core the apples leaving most of the flesh in,
** make sure your stuffing is mixed before you prep the apples,
they will turn brown quickly.

* place apples on a sheet pan and fill with pecan mixture,
** make sure each one gets enough pecans and butter peaces

* bake for 25 to 30 min.

** take caution not to over bake
apples should still be a bit crunchy and
the pecans nice and toasty,
the butter and most of the sugar will melt.

* serve these warm delights either before dinner, as a starter with some nice Brie cheese,
serve them for desert or during the dinner.

Either way this is a very easy and a yummy addition to your table.

*and since we don't waste anything in the kitchen... if you end up with some pan drippings just drizzle the juices on top of the apples.

Enjoy and leave a note here if you are playing LET'S EAT!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

six word saturday


Thursday, November 19, 2009

happily sad...

I've been getting out of my cave a little more lately, taking up on peoples art exhibit here, a dance recital there, out for drinks with my girlfriends... and have noticed something interesting that I'd like to share with you lovely folks, my good friends here in this cyber corner of mine...

As I'm out and about socializing once more, trying to find joy in things again, I've run into quite a few people that I haven't seen since those dreaded days following Gag's death. Most of them are very happy to see me getting out, to see me smiling and enjoying myself, and yet others seem to have this puzzled look on their faces.... Not to say that they don't want to see me happy, but I think they are just lost in wonder at how I'm even able to function after all that's happened let alone be out with people enjoying myself. And believe me it doesn't bother me that they think this way, nor does it deter me from smiling and finding the joy in things once again...

The truth of the matter is that I am by nature a happy person, always have been. In fact that was one of the things that my husband loved about me, he loved that he was married to a happy person, someone that found joy in the simple things and was able to laugh out loud with him. As you all know he too was a very happy guy and loved life and laughter, and often told me that my smiling face was what made him look forward to each day... so imagine if he was married to a grumpy, negative, nagging person... what a drag that would've been for him. Now, I wouldn't go as far as describing myself as having a bubbly personality.. I have plenty of days where I'm a bit of a cynic and wear my pessimists hat at times, but overall I'm happy. Sure I have a great deal of sadness inside, I have a broken heart that may never heal, my soul is crippled and the pain can be quite unbearable for me at times, but what helps me get through my days now ARE those glimpses of happy moments, the joy that I find each day in the little, simple things. It is my personality, I can not help but wake up each morning and yearn to find things that make me smile.... such as the faces of my boys sleeping in the morning light, a little "good morning" to Gag's photo by my bed... the smell of my coffee... just to name a few...

There are plenty of things in my life that can make me unhappy, bitter and an overall angry person, and ya... I can walk around complaining, crying, nagging all day long and at times I have to reach rally deep inside to find the strength to even get out of bed on some mornings... But how could any of these benefit any of us??? I've grown up in a happy, safe and loving home... with parents that taught us to find the good in everything and everyone, to be good to ourselves and to others as well, I had a wonderful marriage to an incredible person, although short lived but a very rich connection filled with an abundance of love and happiness... and now I want to carry on that tradition of joy in my home, I want my children to see me smile, to feel that love and joy that was present when dad was alive.... Why would I ever abandon that character of mine... only to become a sad... lonely...bitter person... I would never do that to my children, to my loved ones, to myself and most of all to Gagik.

So... it does come down to who we are and how we react to the things that life has in store for us... people always tell me they are amazed by my strength and how calmly I have handled all that has happened to us... but I don't know if it's all about being strong as much as being true to ones nature... like I said, I am by nature a happy person, I can't help but be this way... I don't know how else to be.... So for now I am a happily sad person... and that's just fine by me.

Be true to yourselves...

Monday, November 16, 2009

simple things....

the sunlight in the morning,
the smell of cinnamon in my coffee,
a hug from my boys,
fresh baked muffins,
the warmth of a scarf around my neck,
a hot cup of tea in my favorite mug,
long conversations,
cooking up a storm for my family,
a good book and a quite space,
movie night with my boys,
the way children laugh,
colors on a canvas,
a good laugh,
a good cry,
a call from a friend,
a good movie,
looking through old photos,
a walk through the woods after rain,
the color of sunsets,
getting wet in the rain,
hearing "I love you mom"...

thank you Christina for giving us "simple things"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

my everything...

Four months ago today, at 8:38pm I lost my everything....

my husband
my best friend
my teacher
my lover
the father of my children
my partner in crime
my drinking buddy
my ocean breeze
my ray of sunshine
my voice of reason
my peace of mind
my soul mate
my pillow
my warm embrace
my goodnight kiss
my shoulder to cry on
my Saturday night date
my joy in life
my smile
my everything...

My name is Mari and I'm a recovering widow...

enjoy your loved ones fully...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

six word saturday..


have a great Saturday...

Friday, November 13, 2009


Yes you read it right... I've up and joined a boot camp...why you ask??... I don't know I've been trying to find an answer to that same question for over a week now, walking around in pain as my body is sore in places you don't even want to know. Now, mind you there are far more fun and interesting groups I'd rather be part of... say.... oh off the top of my head..... a Martini lovers group?? Where a bunch of us get together tasting a variety of Martinis and not doing a whole lot else.... or say... computer addicts anonymous?? Where us blog and facebook addicts can sit around and discuss how the computer world is interfering with our social lives...all the while holding on to our laptops tightly in our laps, eagerly checking our comment boxes.... But, I chose the boot camp...a wise choice given the health hazards of the above mentioned... don't you think?

So, here's the thing... I'm not getting any younger, and I'm certainly not getting any thinner sitting on my behind blogging all day... and there comes a time when one must choose to either be happy with the way we look and feel.... and not complain about it all the time... or choose to do something about the things that interfere in our thoughts at night and shut that nagging voice in our head once and for all. I think... most of us who are trying to trim down are going about it the wrong way... we get into fad diets and quick fix workout routines for all the wrong reasons. We think that just by starving ourselves, or running our asses off for a whole week, will help us fit into those old favorite jeans of ours or that little cocktail dress for an event we're going to. But, what we fail to realize is that these routines might work for short term results, but in the end we gain all the pounds we've shed and then some....

What I've come to understand the past couple of weeks, is that in order to really stick to a plan...(and this plan shouldn't be all about trimming down, looking good, and loosing some pounds, but more for feeling better, having more energy and just overall bettering ourselves), we should approach it differently... Let me explain, when we decide to go on a "diet" which in turn means cutting calories, restricting some food intake, and avoiding some food all together... we are setting ourselves up for failure right from the start, because we all know that it is human nature to crave what we can't have.... However if we start by committing ourselves to an exercise routine, we start feeling better faster and in turn start to watch ourselves a bit more carefully around the table... Let's face it, if we put ourselves through hell each time we work out... naturally we are not going to want to stuff unnecessary calories down our throat, in turn throwing all that work down the drain. I think we love ourselves far too much to do that...

So... bottom line is, if you want to lose some weight... look at it from a different angle, sign up for some activities just to feel better, that's it... that alone should be your only motive... and the rest will follow. You will naturally want to watch what you eat, you will undoubtedly have more energy to be even more active and in the end will definitely shed some pounds, and in the process you'll have some fun, get stronger, fitter and will feel much healthier. The ultimate bonus will be... when you look good and feel good about yourself... you will be a happier person, and believe me your kids and family will appreciate that.

Get out there and move... just for the sake of happiness.

By the way I love my boot camp trainers and the program they have put together, they are changing lives every day out there... well done guys!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

update on recipe swap

Just a quick note to let you guys know that our recipe swap date has been set, it's on my side bar... so start flipping through your books and notes of all the yummy food you've had and share with us on the 23rd. Thanksgiving favorites.

I also want you guys to head on over to Just Jules today, she has a great post for Veterans Day.

Enjoy your day everyone!


Monday, November 9, 2009

the creators..

Went to an art exhibit this weekend, it was of one of my all time favorite artists Emil Kazaz.
He has quite an imagination, passion and vision that is apparent in his work. I'm no expert and am in no way qualified to judge an artist, or give you a detailed analysis of his work. However what I can tell you about is how I felt as I walked around, looking at the paintings, sketches and the sculptures (which were my favorite part of the show).

Who are artists?? Artists are the writers, painters, sculptors, singers, dancers, directors, composers.... visionary people who create. Their imagination and the yearning to create make our world a colorful one. A world that speaks to our soul, opens our eyes to different realms, a world that warms our hearts, makes us cry or laugh at times, that makes us feel, makes us smile. A world without these riches would be quite a sad one, if you ask me.... A few notes of a song can lift our spirits.. or a scene from a picture can make us feel alive inside... a simple photograph can bring tears to our eyes... or perhaps the brushstrokes on a painting can inspire us in so many ways.
What a gift to us humans, to those who have this vision, this incredible ability to express and put out this imagination which lives in their minds, hearts and is embedded in their souls... And what a gift to those of us who see and appreciate their creations. Whether we like a piece of art or a particular group of music notes put together, we must appreciate the "work" that went into creating it, the feelings that were involved in the molding process, the love and all emotions that are ultimately responsible for the end result.

I couldn't help but feel humbled as my eyes jump from one piece to the next, catching all the little details in the paintings, all the colors that dance together on a canvas, or as I felt the many curves on a sculpture, I imagined the number of hours and days.. months that it took to finish each peace... What was involved in the process, how many moments of victory or defeat were felt... yes we can get technical about it, and really dissect this process.... but that will not take away the fact that in the end... it is still a work of creation... The artist is the creator... and we're just going along on the ride and enjoying every minute of it...

Yes artists are creators... of beauty, of pain, of joy, of love, of darkness and of light without which we would all be pale on the outside and inside...

Here are some of the sculptures from the show, enjoy!

So, make some time... go to a concert or an art gallery, stop for a moment to listen to a street musician or look at a statue you pass by in detail, although natures creations are beautiful, and the colors that surround us make our lives fuller.... sharing the vision of our human creations will no doubt enrich your soul....

Saturday, November 7, 2009

six word saturday


hosted by Cate at Show My Face

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

recipe swap... tell me what you think???

Hey guys, I have a blog idea and wanted to see what you thought about it....

I want to start a recipe swap day.... and it will go like this:
Once or twice a month, say like on a Monday...(why Monday??? well it is the longest and the most boring day of the week, and just because...) whoever wants to participate will post a favorite recipe on their blog. I'm not asking you guys to give out old family secret recipes or anything... it could be something you created or something form a cookbook or a magazine that you like. We can make it seasonal, special holiday recipes etc. etc.

So tell me what you think and if any of you guys are interested in joining in the fun. I'm going to throw in a bonus recipe today. It looks like most of you showed interest in the delightful dish I had posted last week, so I will share this one today.

Looking forward to some feedback from all of you guys...

Ok, so this dish is a middle eastern one, we usually eat it in the morning, when we can have some friends over, and spend a nice Sunday morning. It is very hardy and will keep you going for most of the day.


You will need a few cans of Fava Beans (depending on how many people you are having)
  • *a 29oz can usually will feed two
  • *empty the beans and the juice into a large pot and just warm it up
That's it for the cooking part of things, it's all the yummy condiments that make this dish, and this is all the extras you put on the table to add to it:
  • *olive oil
  • *lemon juice
  • *tahini (sesame paste)
  • *salt, pepper, paprika and cumin powder
  • *chopped onions
  • *minced garlic
  • *chopped tomatoes
  • *chopped jalapenos
  • *chopped parsley
  • *pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • *crumpled feta cheese (optional, I like adding this to mine)
  • *chopped hard boiled eggs (optional)

To serve, pour some beans with juice in a bowl, mash the beans a bit with your fork, pile on all the goodies, season to taste, mix it all in and enjoy, a shot of chilled vodka goes well with this, especially if you have some friends over.

So leave me a few words below and let me know what you think of the recipe swap idea and we'll go from there, Thanksgiving is around the corner, so we can start with some dishes for that holiday.