Gramma Goes Vegan. Grampa too.

The past six months of 2018 have been SO very interesting, and SO full of changes–as you might guess from the title of this blog post. Okay…this may be a bit long to read. But if I didn’t think it worth sharing, I wouldn’t have. 

“Gramma” is me, though I usually go by “Mimi” or “Mimaw” to my little grandbabies.


 I could eat her up. My little pineapple!

But, being a writer and lover of language, that alliteration is too cool to change. “Grampa” is of course, my beloved and maddening spouse. It’s rather fun to refer to oneself in the Third Person, I’ve decided. So here goes:

Yes, I have gone VEGAN. As of February 7, 2018. Not politically (but I’m getting closer to it, admittedly…I am the Rare Green-Christian) In his usual selfless manner, Grampa joined me in it so I wouldn’t have to deal with two styles of eating in this house. He is not only maddening, he’s maddeningly-supportive-saintly.

But why?? At ages 63 and 69, why are we doing this? Good question. For me, here are a few of them:

#1: My immune system is getting crappier. From Dec 27 to January 28th 2018, I was freaking sick. First, a lousy head cold. Then our grandson, then Grampa gave me Influenza, as in Type-A. It hit me quite hard. On its heels, a rip-roaring chest cold. Thank heaven we’d discovered DoTerra oils Breathe–before this. What amazing natural relief!

#2: Other aspects of my health were getting worse and new, serious ones appearing. 

  • My chronic pain from Fibromyalgia and a degenerating spine had/have worsened to the point where I could/can no longer sit at my desk, or stand, or even walk my poor dog. In 15 minutes, my legs go numb–and lately, they get weak unless I sit down and rest them. This. Is. Ridiculous.
  • In the past year-plus, I’ve had 2 bad falls forward where I cannot catch myself. Once, tripping over a barrier in a parking lot. Second, over my dog (at least it was inside) Now I’ve got two bad shoulders and a more-deviated-deviated septum, and a much worse knee. Have a nice trip? Not really!
  • My eyesight had gotten so bad that I stopped taking photos to sell, because I couldn’t focus the camera. I considered closing my Etsy shop altogether.
  • I was diagnosed with Central & Obstructive Sleep Apea in 2017 and have learned to use a CPAP machine nearly every night. I’d rather not have to sleep this way.
  • My brain hasn’t been working for quite some time; not well enough to edit a manuscript, or write a blog post, etc. No concentration. No motivation. Depression and scattered thoughts. Feeling very overwhelmed. Cue a new antidepressant!
  • But the worst of all was this…my annual exam and blood testing gave me lousy news: I had become PRE-DIABETIC.

    You gotta be kidding.

    What?!?! There is no diabetes in my family! Everyone dies, and I mean everyone on both sides of my family, from some type of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Blocked arteries run rampant. Faulty valves all over the place. My dad died of a sudden heart attack at age 47; so did his dad, at 64. My grandmother and aunts/uncles on both sides, of congestive heart failure in their 70’s/80’s. My mom died on the table during open heart surgery. See what I mean?

And me? I was eating grass-fed meat, organic produce, organic butter, unsweetened Greek yogurt, baking my own goods with spelt flour, using stevia instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners. Not exercising (the growing pain) but I mean sweet Jeeezus…

I was TRYING. Not hard enough—or more correctly, not in the right direction.

After that phone call heralding prediabetes, I spent a few days of angry sulking, coloring in my mandala coloring book, thinking and praying about what the heck to do next. mandalamandalamandalamandala

I thought of the various diets and WOE (ways of eating) that I’d tried: Nutrisystem. Atkins. Low Carb…High Protein…Low Fat…in the midst of this I became ill from Epstein-Barr virus (2004) and then the chronic pain got me labeled with Fibromyalgia (2006). Then I tried Medifast (lost 20# in a month! Gained it back when I ate meals again!) I was a Pesca-Ovo-Vegetarian for a year and a half ( around 2009-2010) and I gained TEN MORE POUNDS. Three years ago, I used to log all my eating, and reduced calories to 1200/day. I was in a women’s weights class also, and lost 30 lbs–and felt much better. Then the class was cancelled, I never found a replacement, I fell and injured myself, the weight came back…you get the idea.

With all of this thinking, I felt pretty angry, frustrated, lost–and desperate.

I looked to the example of my best friend, Sue, who had stayed with us recently. She’s two years younger than me, but is decades healthier. Slim, energetic, on NO meds (I take four and they’re urging me to take more). She’s able to work up-the-wazoo for all hours, cheerful, caring, never sees a doctor, not addicted to foods…

Oh, and there is the way she cured thyroid tumors by eating the way she does. That was 15 years ago, and she’s been smart enough to keep eating a basically VEGAN diet. (I knew were BF’s for some reason. God knew I needed her.)

But VEGAN. The WOE I dreaded most. Why won’t you do what I suggest? I felt God whisper in my heart. Look at the example before you! 

On Feb 7th 2018, I got up and said, like Frodo offering to take the Ring: “This is it. Today I begin, though I’m not sure of the way.” No meat. No dairy. No refined foods. I started.


Sue had learned from The Hallelujah Diet so I sent for their materials. We tried some of their recipes, some good. Some of their “ideas” we found really, really strange. Not eating breakfast…of any kind? Ever?? Hmm. I also read The Blue Zones  and learned tons. What the longest-lived people on the planet DO eat. Mostly veggies, fruit, and grains. A little fat, a little oil. Tiny portions of meat for “seasoning.” Plant-based.

But we needed to find where we fit into all of this. I asked my BF how and what she ate, asked for advice. I read and read until my eyes fuzzed over. Grampa and I cleaned out the cupboards and fridge–and went shopping with a new kind of list. Grampa made it about a week, then seemed to flag. And Grampa, believe me, LOVES his veggies–he was the salad fan of the house, not Gramma! He didn’t complain, but Gramma could tell…he was acting tired and grumpy and unsatisfied with all of the salads, baked taters, and such. There was so much they weren’t sure of…

And oh so much more. 

Hello Fish, are you a sentient being?

 One day, she said “To heck with this–want a scrambled egg?” And they had some (this is sounding like a children’s book). And, back to First Person–we also, later, added fish in again–the occasional grilled or baked kind of salmon,tilapia, tuna, cod.

We were finding balance. We’re still learning, and maybe fish will go one day.

Gramma mainly wanted & needed to eliminate the foods linked to CVD, to obesity, to any form of diabetes. And finally, she found groups on Facebook that helped–a lot. Forks Over Knives–watched the film (Netflix) But…why NO oil? (even allowed on the super-strict HD) Why NO eggs? Why NO salt? (she and Grampa already used sea salt in very small amounts).

There was another FB group: Whole-Foods-Plant-Based Eating. Lots of tolerance and understanding for a wider range of eating-styles. Lots of advice, info, recipes. Pretty good. Another group is “Vegan, Vegetarian and Plant-Based Eating.” Ah ha…!

PLANT-BASED EATING. That’s what they were doing!

Okay, so nobody even knows what it is when you say it is the Way you Eat. People have heard of Vegans–but this Plant-Based things? Not a clue. But that’s okay. Who am I to judge? Still learning here. Still learning!


So that is how Gramma is eating–and mostly, so is Grampa. He still has issues with the totally-no-meat thing and likes some milk in his coffee…but he’s trying. He really is.

Eat to Live. Eat the Rainbow. Obey God, and be well.

It’s a journey, and we’re on it–together.





Revise. Edit. Repeat?

Intro-Confession: I’ve never edited a whole ms before. Not that’s mine, anyway. I’ve been a beta-reader for others, but my own? SHEESH. Thar could be a snake in ma boot, and I might miss it. Ouch.

That isn’t a funky sock.

Backstory: The “first completed draft” (a term I use loosely since I do edit/rewrite as I go) —all 128K messy, astonishing words of itspaghetti-mess sourcewas done a day before our local and large writers conference. For once, I hit a writing goal! (applause please) However, I canceled a pitch appt because, dang it, the draft was just that: a DRAFT, aka not revised, not edited. —> THIS————>

Percolation: So, then came the Sitting of the Manuscript, aka percolating, to rest my gray matter from it and “do other writing.” (meaning, I worked on my business/photography, and resurrected sewing skills for baby gifts) Then a long vacay in the merry month of May

Feet beach

Ah, vacation!

took me away from work, and coming back…found my printed ms scattered all over the carpet by my desk: my lonely dog had lain on the ms box and made an incredible mess.

Dog guilty
Looking guilty as can be.

I shuddered and studiously avoided looking under the table for, oh, about two more months.

Pressurized & Stirred Gently: My spouse gently asked when I was going to…you know, uh, the book? My friends asked. Heck, my massage therapist even asked (she wants to read it). Growing disgusted, deeply, with myself, I began to Clean the Office So I Could Edit the Book. And I cleaned all around those pages. Finally, I grabbed an empty green plastic bin, a new and pretty one I’d emptied of…something…in my cleanliness, and plunked on the floor to tackle the mess.

Wow. That was relatively easy and oddly satisfying! Enter hanging folders and organization—by chapter, mostly. Faint stirrings of pre-editing/revising excitement ensued. And yet, the Green Box has gone untouched for a couple of weeks. Or so.

Sneaking Suspicion: An unsettled, uneasy feeling in my gut. Furtive glances at the Green Box under the table, which is labeled on top with a full sheet “Current Ms” – just in case I forget what’s in there.  Things have gone from procrastination to full-blown avoidance, pretty sure. But I’ve got good reasons for, um, not doing what I’m supposed to do.

Sample of Excuses: (a) I’ve not been feeling great (that chronic pain/fatigue increasing) and (b) not sleeping well while adjusting to Little Beastie the Cpap mask. (c) We’ve had a string of company, including my BFF who is an avid reader and has assigned herself to be my personal cheering section of one.

“Where is your book?” she asked, following me into the less-messy Bear Pit that is my office.

“Here,” I said proudly, pulling the Green Box from beneath the table. “All ready to edit! I’m going to do a read-through and make some notes first, er, soon.” Then I distracted her by showing her “character art” and “research.”

“Well, when you’ve edited it, I still want to read it,” she said, standing up to exit the pit. “When you get it done.” She is a persistent creature, darn her. Pressure on.

Revelation! Furtive glances at Box again. Unsettled feeling in my gut. What if…er…hmm. Could I be afraid to edit my book? Okay…yeah, the truth hurts. But afraid. why???fear

Perhaps, as a former therapist suggested (maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned the therapist part): “Could you be afraid of success?” Well, HECK no. I would LOVE to experience real success, for a change. Sounds like fun, actually!

“Why” is for truly important questions. Like why some scientists say we came from single-celled slime-balls in a primordial soup. Like why hand-dryers in public restrooms are jet-powered and motion-activated, yet getting the toilet paper to roll-down from the container nearly takes an act of God and the patience of Himself, as well.

Forget the WHY and move on to the HOW. why1 no_edited-1

Actually, I have no idea HOW this editing process will go for me, given I am a Revising/Editing Virgin. I’ve printed out a few sources as guidelines. Another very good friend of mine, an Indie-published author of several novels, insists that I will “find out what process works for me and what doesn’t,” by just DOING it. And that “everyone’s is different; there is no formula for revising and editing one’s book.”

So that should be a good thing since my brain eschews formulas like my dog spits out lettuce. Pa-tooie.

One Last Step: Tonight I was supposed to start the ms read-through, and make notes. But…the table right next to my desk that makes that “L” work space I like, was still stacked with papers—the bane of my life!!– until a few minutes ago (okay, like an hour ago). Is that procrastination again and wh–Again with the whys. Screw ’em.

Shame, disgust, insecurity—gave way to action. I swept the pile to another surface (sigh) but the table is now CLEAR to launch…or is ready to set if we keep with the food-ish metaphors. The next course of action was, of course, to blog about this…of COURSE. Because sharing. Next, I’ll begin. I’d planned to stay up all night! I’ll…yawn. YAWN. Boy, is it late even for me.

But, hey—I am ready now. Fear swept aside, mostly. So for now…

Let her sleep tealmtn butterfly swirls cones gray

Of words.











Scene on a Screen and Splitting Phrases

20160316_165752I found this draft I’d written over six months ago–SIX–and realized hey. I never published this post. So here it is, in all its late glory (inside the brackets) **Warning–fiction excerpt included!**

[…”I wrote 1883 words last night on my WIP. NEW WORDS. Never before scene, I mean, SEEN on a SCREEN. From my brain to the page. Totally out of context, but I also worked on a short story the other night, too. It’s not finished yet, but hey…that’s right: this writer is writing again. Crazy, huh?

Even crazier, I’ll introduce the partial scene and include an excerpt. This is a rare thing for me and from me.

2TybeeOcean LtontheWater aquatint_edited-1Background: the POV character and his friend, both once crew on a space vessel, are stranded on a primitive planet in a very primitive culture–a little like Dances with Wolves meets Star Trek New Gen or, um, one of those. The tribe that has taken them in is moving camp and comes to a very wide, deep river. The two men are from a watery planet, and they’ve not seen much of it since coming to this much drier one, months ago. When they see it, one of them gets a bit excited. [Note: the characters’ names are initialized only. I am funny that way.]

*Excerpt from Chapter “Big Small Water”

Water. So much of it. A smile split my face and I laughed. “So we see. Will we go down there—“

“Eyaaaah, big water!” R  belted out the cry and took off sprinting, as best he could, down the rocky hill and over its tuffets of grass. The best I could hope for was that he wouldn’t kill himself.

T__ stared at this spectacle, then turned to me. “What is wrong with him? He has never seen a river?”

“It’s been awhile,” I answered. We set off in R’s wake; those walking or riding did as well, while the carts took a gentler, winding route across the hillside to make the banks of the (river).

T’s steward brought up her horse, and with a nod of dismissal at me, the princess mounted and rode off after R and the rest. I tried to find R’s tracks and the route he’d taken…finding garments along the way. His brown and gold tunic draped recklessly over a boulder. One shoe…a dozen steps further, the other one.

Uh-oh. A Tav hearth-worker held out a braided belt that until moments ago, had been around my friend’s narrow waist. I tucked it under an arm with the other things. 

I knew how he chose to swim when he could. Pausing to give my aching ankle a break, I scratched my sweaty neck and considered how R’s public nudity would affect our harmony with the Tribe. It certainly wouldn’t shock them; they had little modesty themselves. He wasn’t ugly, just scarred and different from the other men we’d met here—we both were. They made us aware of that fairly often. But other than the healers in the healing tents, no one else had seen us entirely unclothed.

But the heat of this place bothered R to the point of torment. 

When I finally arrived at the river, a crowd of women, slaves, and children had gathered at one spot on the bank. Much pointing and exclaiming was going on. Some of it I understood and much I didn’t, but it wasn’t hard to guess.*

Enter clumsy “split phrasing.” In cut-pasting this scene in my blog, I found a few places to correct and tighten, again (sigh. it seemed so ‘done’) I have this annoying tendency to put things in the wrong sequence in a sentence and to split phrases that shouldn’t be split. Example: “Much pointing and exclaiming, some of it I understood and much I didn’t, was going on.” Can you say Awkward? I sure can. So I changed it to read, for better flow, to read,  “Much pointing and exclaiming was going on, some of it I understood and much I didn’t.” 

Ah, the mess of a first draft. I wish I could say I’m a pro at writing them but…wait a minute. I kind of AM a pro at it, as there are a number of Partial First Drafts Plus Random Rewrites stacked in my study, twelve years into this writing phase of my life. Or should that be “Twelve years into this writing phase of my life, there are a number of…” (But who’s splitting hairs?)

It’s the FINISHING and POLISHING to get a FINAL PRODUCT that I’m still working towards. In fits and starts.  Life as a nonlinear (and possibly a slightly lazy) person and writer can be tough. If you are a nice, organized, orderly ESTJ personality, then completely ignore what I just said (that means you, Sue H) In the editing process, this scene might be cut. But I doubt it.

Why? Because it meets criteria, that’s why. What criteria?

  1. Does it advance the plot?  (yes)
  2. Does it expand what we know of important character(s)? (yes – to this point, it’s not shown that water is so important to the men to this degree, nor R’s reaction to it)
  3. Does it contain GMC (goal, motivation, confict)? (yes, in more than is shown here)

The running man “R” does make it to the river, where he not only swims but does something even more astonishing–at least, in the eyes of the tribal people. And that princess who took off on her horse after him? She is pissed off, among other things.skinny-dipping

It’s complicated, but should be a good read. For now, I have a webinar to attend–on writing….”    *****

Update (ie, today)

The webinar was a waste of time. I haven’t written much NEW for a couple of months now. I had set goals to finish the first draft of this book before our trip to France, but realized that waddn’t goin’ to happen. Then some incredibly stagnating and bogging-down stresscloggedbrainplungerfunny happened, all summer long, one after another. You ever have one of those seasons? I did. I am still in it.

So writing has not been flowing, and I’ve dunked my strange self into my photography and some reading instead. But you know what? Just reading the above post tickled my interest to return to the unfinished story above. Reading & writing are funny that way.

Now to get everyone to leave me the HECK alone so I can work on it. Fixing meals? Forget that. Going out socially? Nah. Having friends over to sit around the firepit, drink wine and talk? That would mean we’d have to actually clean our house.

It’s a beautiful summer afternoon…I’m watching it from my window.

And wondering if I can finish the draft of that latest scene...where they tried to escape but ended up in a cage?  Split phrasing aside–they’d better figure it out and split outta there.

My characters will thank me for it.






A Matter of Honor: My Gypsy Ways Part 1


Once a wild dreamer gypsy-soul

heartartsA few days ago, I ran away from home. 

Okay…it was only for four days, three nights.

Still. Just me. Alone. Traveling solo for the first time in decades–and without plans, without reservations: just winging it.

You see, a family member who lives with us has a cluster of mental illnesses and bad behaviors, and quite frankly—it was making ME an unstable, unhappy person in dealing with it/him. It has been eroding my marriage, my productivity, my emotional health and that of my husband’s. My physical health is precarious at best, without added stress.

With constant stress, it’s a disaster. All over.

There are usually two normal, chemical-physiologic reactions to extreme stress: Fight or Fight. Also know as: “The fight-or-flight response (also called the fight, flight, freeze, or fawn response in post-traumatic stress disorder, hyperarousal, or the acute stress response) is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.” (thank you, wikipedia)  Also known as “If I can’t fight this thing, I will DIE. So I’d better the hell RUN!” caveman_op_640x398

It’s a primitive thing, this reaction. We are now supposedly modern, educated. We can, in theory, “avoid” or “shut down” this thingy and tell ourselves we are NOT going to DIE.

People with  decent and good health need time to recover from this constant onslaught of stress. For folks like me, whose health is compromised (a very long, annoying story of ‘I thought I’d be so much better by now, but I’m not’)…well. If the stress is constant, you never have enough time to recover, since it takes so much longer to rebound from pretty much anything, anyway.

So your energy-cup gets emptier…and emptier.cup draining


I couldn’t get my balance. Sorry, psychologists (including the one I’d been seeing for months, who sort of DUMPED me a few days before this).

My cup ran over. Went dry. With day after day of the overload, I couldn’t recover. Depleted, I ran. Yes…what to do…heart racing, seeking refuge…Flight!

Thinking it would become a Wild Gypsy Adventure, I hurriedly packed my bag, my camera, my laptop, a few clothes, and got outta there; meaning my comfy, air-conditioned home. Intending to not only ‘gypsy,’ I thought it would free me for hours of writing, photography, thinking, praying–and peace. I was looking for an epiphany, even to chasing one, as a family member said to explain why he and his daughter were going to walk “The Way,” the Santiago de Compestela trail from France to Spain.

Maybe my epiphany had a more desperate–or just an immediate–element to it, but do know the inner struggles of that relative walking The Way? No, not any more than he has of mine. So, I had in mind to go back to Taos, NM. A trip there seven years ago, with a good friend who was mired in grief from the death of a child, had been a mixed bag; enjoyable but hard. Yet it was a new and invigorating experience.

And just outside of the touristy-artsy stuff IN Taos, there is Taos Pueblo, a World UNESCO site. Over a thousand years old, it is an understated kind of amazing. The first time, we wandered around and soaked in the atmosphere. My friend is very spiritual, more so than I. Everywhere, she saw signs of her departed son. I didn’t expect her strong reactions to Taos, the Pueblo, or its people.

But they were so kind to her. Gentle, soft-spoken when you enter their shop or approach the table where they sell goods—baskets woven from the red willows that grow, lush, along their sacred stream (thus the name they give themselves, the Red Willow People). When my friend tried to speak of her adopted, Native American son, she broke down weeping. The Pueblo women offered her hugs. Gave her gifts of pottery, of food, of jewelry. One even told her to go wash her face in their sacred stream to help with her healing—and trust me, it is forbidden for non-tribal people to even touch the waters of the stream. So it was very, very special.


An unnamed sacred stream. Aaaah.


At Taos, my photographer-self emerged. I’ve sold a number of the pics I took there. It was a point-and-shoot camera, and I was thrilled & pleased that anyone would even buy a picture I took, at the time (I still am. Always.)  I opened in one online shop, then closed it when I found Etsy. Sold a few off-line also. A friend bought my “Three Crosses of Taos.” Others bought “Remembrance,” a shot I took of the mud wall along the cemetery that showed a large wooden cross and traditional homes with aqua blue doors in the background, against a violet sky and the mountains in the distance. Another popular one was of the old church ruins in black and white. I called it “Bent’s End,” but on this year’s Gypsy Tour, I learned that is wrong (the governor was killed in front of his house, in town).

When I returned, I had a much better camera: Little Red, my Nikon D3300. I still shoot with the lens she came with (and am having serious covetous of getting that ‘bigger’ lens now, sigh) Slung over my shoulder, I proclaimed Little Red to the booth when I paid to enter the Pueblo. They no longer charge for cameras (it used to be $6) – but the night before, I discovered they have Rules & Permissions for Taking Photos at Taos Pueblo.

I read them…yoops. As a noob, I either didn’t pay attention or didn’t think they’d ever apply to ME. And they charge a fee, depending on how you want to use/sell photos. Since I didn’t have time to ask for permission from the tribe in this trip, I intended to take just a few shots, you know—for my blog.LittleRedCamera

Then I realized: I didn’t trust myself. When I take photos of PLACES it is to SELL them. I took the tour, this time, and learned vastly more. Our guide, a young college student named Hawk, did his job well. A musician, he is studying management so he can handle his career as an artist, and support other artists (of course, this spoke deeply to me) Both Pueblo and Apache, he is understandably proud of his heritage, his blood.

Speaking of…there have been bloody uprisings orchestrated by the Red Willow People and other pueblo/southwestern tribes against their oppressors—the Whites. But since the slaughters of the 1800’s, they learned other tactics. They learned to stand fast, and to persevere in what they wanted.

Taos-Pueblo-Mountain_edited-1They wanted their lands back—100K acres of mountain land, which on the map is simply labeled ‘Pueblo Mountain.’ It is sacred, like the stream. It is integral to the practice of their Nature Religion. It took them over 60 years, but the elders persisted—and they got it back.

All of their sacred land in the mountains.

I am incredibly impressed with that. Not through violence (though it was a part of the earlier history) but through asking and pressuring and petitioning the government—over and over and over. Until they got back what was theirs. Surprisingly, it was President Nixon who returned it to them (he wasn’t a total scoundrel–see?)

Mainly, they persisted.  This is the key to so many things, it seems. I think I am finally starting to get it…sort of.

When you don’t understand but are trying…stand.

When you’re discouraged and have done all you know how to do…stand.

When you’re overwhelmed and you cannot stand…sometimes you just have to flee. To rest. To recuperate. To freaking protect your soul. 

Then come back, and stand again. Some day, things will change–either the Thing or You.

So there I was, revisiting Taos Pueblo—I thought it was to retake some photos with my better camera. But the feeling that I’d wronged these people was strong…selling those photos without permission…I couldn’t shake it. What could I do to make restitution, at this point?

I took Hawk aside and thanked him first for our tour, and for how kind his people were to my friend in her deep grief. Then I made a confession about my photos, and asked him how to make amends. He went blank, but was polite. He had no idea, really.

I had to figure it out myself. I bought some of their goods—this time, to give away. (except for the Fry Bread. Couldn’t get anyone to share a piece with me, the germaphobes, so I had to eat it)

Also, I didn’t take one photograph. Not even one.

Wouldn’t you like to see those earlier pics of Taos Pueblo from my first visit–the ones I sold? Yeah, I’d like to share them with you, too. But I can’t-not anymore. They are in my little secret file. I don’t have the heart to delete them, but neither can I market them.

It’s a matter of honor, you see.

I’m going to stand on that, for now. And what else did my gypsy adventure show me?

Until next time…



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA (2009) Strong Gaussian Blur applied.



W-w-walking in Paris

Have I had NOTHING to SAY since APRIL?? Maybe…no, anyone who knows me knows I hardly ever have nothing to say. I was busy quenching my burning fernweh the rest of April, until we left in May. So April was a prep month for shopping, to be stylishly clothed and reasonably equipped, for my first overseas destination ever~

France. Paris. Normandy. Aaaaah.


Paris StSulpice (18)

Grrrrowl, at the Luxembourg fountain at St-Sulpice.

6Paris Eiffel first view(21)3Paris Arch & Champs Archbw (26)

My first view of…wow. A tower. An arch. Huh!

9 days in that beautiful, puzzling, amazing city; 3 days in Normandy at D-Day sites. Paris was…hard to describe (no wonder most visitors just show pics).  It was great, and hard, and stressful, and fascinating. My physical limitations were a major challenge, more than I thought they’d be. I was SO sorry I had not worked out harder, gotten my stamina up more! (as if.)

Trying to navigate Paris’ twisted, narrow streets; the colored spaghetti-maps for bus, Metro, train with their teeny lettering. Google maps maybe? Umm…..

“How do we get to…(fill in blank of famous landmark)…?” 

“Easy, Madame…” said our concierge at the hotel– “only 5-10 minutes to bus! Only 10-15 minutes to Metro! From there, you take 58 bus to 10 Metro, then walk a short…” After “walk” all I heard, after Day Two, was ‘blah-blaaah-blah.’ You will see why in a moment.

First day there (Day Two technically), we wanted to get our Paris Museum Passes at the CityVision office north of the Seine at (x) address. Emmanuel, the concierge, told us how to get there but it was a different address. “Take this bus to that bus, then a short walk of 10-15 minutes…”

[I had yet to learn what ‘a short walk’ means to a Parisian.]

“Buuut…it says so-and-so on line,” I protested. He smiled indulgently (a slightly all-knowing Parisian look that I learned to know) and repeated HIS directions. But I knew better! The God-Ordained Address on the website with our tickets was RIGHT. So we went MY way.

Oh, foolish wanderer. Except, the vouchers exited my purse at some point while walking, walking. Except, I had no idea how far we’d need to walk–blocks. Long blocks. And LOST is not a strong enough word for how lost we became, and how FREAKING FAR WE WALKED down the Rue du Rivoli. *shudder* To find the office I “knew was right” was… closed. A sign directed us to, yes, the one Emmanuel had given. *INSERT HUGE FREAKING SIGH HERE* Which we could not, after more WALKING (now a much-hated word), find to save our lives.


Me. Dead woman walking.

We were saved by an elderly lady who used to teach English, who basically told us to obey her, get on the bus with her, and get off when she told us to. And thank God for her…she was totally right. I’d missed the office while taking pics of golden Jean d’Arc earlier, before all the wa

I can’t even type the word. But here’s that pic of ol’ Jean. You may know her as Joan. Not even a good picture to make all that LOST worthwhile!Paris Rue du Rivoli (15)

So, okay, the w-walking. First of all, within two days I discovered: Parisians do NOT walk. None but the very elderly and even then… No. They “stride purposefully” to their destinations, so of course it takes them only 5-10 minutes to get ‘there.’ (choose your ‘there’ -pretty much anywhere) Only tourists walk, stroll, amble, peruse. And if you deal with chronic pain, it’s more like 20 minutes pour moi, monsieur. Minimum. 

There is an exception for the strolling-thing for Parisians. Lovers may stroll. Lovers stop on the sidewalks, in the museums, at lines at take-away counters, at cafes, at bus stops–and entwine themselves and make-out. Yeah, I used that old hippie term of the 70’s. It’s very descriptive of what Parisian couples do. (and boy, do they smoke a lot too. shocking)

Lovers lip-lock whenever they want to. I got a little jealous, since my spouse and I are past that phase (and speaking of him: the walking was nothing to him. nothing! but as always he didn’t hold it over me, bless his soul) HOWEVER, I ain’t dead yet, so I noticed those lovers. And the dark, Gallic men…ooohhh la-la-laaaa. So Paris is still the City of Light & Love. I wish I had pictures of the lovers, but it seemed a wee bit intrusive at the time (now, not so much).

Lancelot and Guinevere

Oh Beloved, take me.
Liberate my soul.
Fill me with your love and
release me from the two worlds.
If I set my heart on anything but you
let fire burn me from inside.

Oh Beloved,
take away what I want.
Take away what I do.
Take away what I need.
Take away everything
that takes me from you.  ~ by Rumi

That poem was “just because” – just because it’s so pretty, so romantic and soulful, and I thought we needed some Love just now. I know I do.

Anyway, what did I take away from Paris? Time will tell if it was anything profound. So far: Wistful, bittersweet Joy. Humility of my, how-you-say, lack of exposure to…all of this continent, this Europe–this slice of it called France? The small, very small slices I was blessed to experience. Somehow, it filled me yet left me wanting much more.  Collage 2 Paris fb



Can I stay here forever? Hmm.


Within, oh, a week or two, I found myself wondering…and astonished, really. Kind of like forgetting the suffering of labor while birthing a baby. Afterwards, all you remember is that it was painful, but what you really LIVE is the joy of having your child.

Pain mostly forgotten…new plans simmering in my brain. Fly to the coast and spend a night or two. Then fly over that ocean to…next year? The year after that?

Be quiet, fernweh–you spoiled brat, you.  

And thank you, app-gods, for 



Eiffel Well Always Have Paris blue sky smszjpg

And we will. Eiffel at Dusk© Aerie Images




How much do you love me?

On the wall by my desk is a quote from Michael Hyatt:

“People lose their way because they lose their why. One of the most important aspects of achieving the goals you set is to get deeply connected with your motivations for each one.”

 I really like this quote. (emphasis mine, and no, I didn’t link to Mr. Hyatt’s website or whatever because I’m writing this in a hurry today. please forgive me this once.)

So, I’ve had many good and valid reasons for not writing lately. A stressful, three-week long visit from an exhausted, stressed-out daughter with her two darling little (and I mean little, as in 6 months old and two yrs old) grandsons in tow–PLUS her two dogs, one who is a sneak-biter and the other who loves to attack OUR dog. Aaaaaah.

How I love them all! Except her dogs. Not the dogs, and I am a dog-lover.


My Callie: Barker, not biter.

How my beloved visiting family, and another one who still lives with us in addition to all of that, do exhaust me and destroy my home, my peace, my creative drive along with it! Like a hole in a spaceship’s hull, my drive was sucked–whooosh!!–right out of me. Aaaaaah with an extra AAAAH. 

Oooh, the hole in the spaceship reminds me of my book…

With it, my exercise “schedule” (a loosey-goosey term anyway) was gone. The healthy, normal way we eat, my husband and I, went down the drain. In came Chipotle burritos, other fast food on the run, and eating out waaaay too much. Feeding little people is incredibly challenging and time-consuming, especially a toddler who seems to exist on cups of milk, and air alone. And keeping them “happy”as in “not breaking my eardrums with their screams.”

With that little additional stress, my physical pain level has skyrocketed, even with drinking the illustrious Limu Original (mentally insert trademark here ‘cos I’ve forgotten the darn keyboard shortcut for it) and staying active (meaning “endlessly exhausted chasing toddler and baby and trying to please adult children”).

And yet, I can sit in my chair or bed for an hour or so and play games on my tablet. And I can sit for an hour or so at my desk and read, google stuff, or post on facebook or email. And sometimes work on photos (I’m really behind on those also however). Hey, I’ve even written a few blog posts.

I believe all of this is called “procrastination.” Ya think? 

When I made a vow to write, and to finish this damn manuscript into something that could be called A NOVEL, I set goals of an approximate word count to tick-off every Monday. I’m so far behind on my word-count now, I don’t know what to do to catch up…and maybe move my finish-goal to July instead of June. Except for this overseas vacation we’re taking soon…to France. That kinda interferes with the goals, too. (no, not going to lug a laptop and try to write while there either. gawd no)

Aaaaaah. What is wrong with me?!

So last night, a question nagged at me: How much do I love this book I’m writing? THIS particular book?? I’ve been working on one form or another of it for almost TEN YEARS – with long/short breaks abounding at various times (including a two-year break from writing).

It seems a profound question. The ms (book) whispers to me (yes, books can whisper. just ask the two main POV characters of this current story who insist on speaking in 1PPresent when I’ve never written in that tense, ever…ugh)

How much do you love this story? Are you so tired of the process that the love is gone? 

Very good question. I am tired of it. I liked the initial concept, which started with what is now called Book 2 of the Trilogy. It took me about 120k words to figure that one out (duh. at least I did figure it though) At the end of that vast wc, I said “Oh! Now I know where they came from!”cropped-star-eyes-copy.jpg

Great. About time. But it’s looking like my mind/heart/soul want to finish Book 1 mainly so I can re-write the story in Book 2. And Book 3 has another great love story and plot line too…Tan and Kallista

Oooh I’m getting The Feels here. Just a little, but it’s something! 

And thus, Book 1 has to be told! It is like an entire Backstory Novel…but without those awful flashbacks. It is NOT a flashback story. (you can thank me for that later)

And you know what? One of the things I hate–so common in movies/storytelling now–is to tell the story via a flashback. Oh gawd, I hate it more as the years progress! It is, in my humble opinion, just lazy storytelling.

The opening scene…clearly something catastrophic and amazing has occurred…a man lays dying and gazes at the sky…or a woman sits at a desk writing or staring into space and we hear the thoughts… Once upon a time, I was a queen…or a man with a family…or whatever: you fill in the blanks.

JonSnow msfinished regret

What if this episode would have opened with THIS? And then the flashback…oh gawd no.

OH wait…the flashback will do that for you. UGH. Which is what I’m trying to do with this damn Trilogy. Wait. No, it isn’t. It is NOT A FLASHBACK. A flashback is a scene or two or three…or the whole stupid movie/book.


Anyway. Do I still LOVE this first book, which tells of where the V’s came from? 

Not as much as I did. Life is just, plain, stupidly wearing me down. The pain, the struggle, the demons on some days…are making writing SO hard. (wah. inserts thumb.)

Maybe Paris will help? I sure as heck hope so. I pray that the ferweh I’ve been feeling will be cured, at least for a bit of time, by experiencing France for ten days.

Meantime, this is short because I want to spend time with my WIP/ms/book and see IF I can fall in love with it again. Can I? Because, dammit, I don’t want to finish it after all these years and have it be stale. Flat. Overedited. Worst of all: lifeless. Pointless!! Yuck!!

Mr. Hyatt is right about goals, and it applies to lovers, too. You gotta spend time together to stay in love. Get deeply connected. Know that you do, and still can, enjoy your lover and remember just why it is you love them, what you love about them.

My lover is calling me still…and I am going. Because I think that I still love this book–enough to finish it. 

Now go and work on yours. I mean it…GO.  ( If you want to procrastinate just a little bit, check out my pinterest board for this, particular book. Maybe inspiration will hit you, too)



A great image. (I can’t credit it but to say I found it on this website. please don’t sue me)





Cue the nerdy-hot scientist.





Don’t eat that. Instead, write.

I tend to eat my stress, do you? Some smoke. Some drink or gnaw fingernails like I do (now I wear fake nails to control it) Some game. Some exercise obsessively, which is hard for me to imagine. I mean, who wants to do that??



But upon occasion, once upon a midnight dreary of long writing stints. Or two…


What I like to think I eat most of the time… (image

Others, like my dear husband, just don’t stress out much–or show it. And he doesn’t even internalize it, as in with ulcers and stuff…he is just a

dog hilarious

Another Chill Guy.

Chill Guy. Clearly not an ENFP personality type. More like an ESFJ or an ISFP, I dunno. Being an ENFP gives me a short attention span, what? A fairy…a dog sleeping…

Wish I could become like that Chill Type, but I’m can’t. I also once was slender; now not so much (and no, you don’t get a pic of the “current” me)

VeiledGirl me cropped

Weren’t we all like Twiggy in the 70’s? Proof that I was.

Writing and the sedentary life that accompanies it, along with a chronic pain & fatigue condition, do not help me achieve my necessary weight goals. BUT I must overcome!

Neither does a loooong visit from stress-inducing family members, God love ’em (and so do I, it’s just a long story


What’s a word-count, grandma? Me not care.

you do not want to read). But I must overcome!

Blogging is once again my warm-up-to-fiction today. I joined Jerry Jenkins’ Guild a couple of months ago and set goals for the first time in my writing life! And I am as of yesterday almost 6K behind the word-count goal I set. Possibly more…but who’s counting? AAAAAAAAH.

It’s bugging me. So while Papa (aka Chill Guy)  does Grandparent Duty, I’d better keep hitting these keys and GET ER DONE.

What keeps you from your writing goals? We cannot, I repeat cannot, let this stuff hinder us from finishing the manuscript. Because we all know that the book that’s never finished is never published–and never read. Righty? Right!

JonSnow msfinished regret

And we really, really don’t want this haunting us in the form of REGRET on our DEATHBEDS. Right?! Right!

Oh, crap. So I’d better make this short, huh? 

I found some gems courtesy of the magnificent & successful Neil Gaiman when I was warming up to my warm up.

So I will leave on the note of a wiser writer than I: 

“We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. And that is why we write.” ~ Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book 

“…when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. (underlines added by me)

“Writing is flying in dreams. When you remember. When you can. When it works. It’s that easy.”

SO I grabbed a quick (healthy) sandwich and sparkling water, and NOT the other stuff.

And baby, I gotta go get my 1000–or three–in now.

1000 words eddiem

Shut up and write.

Get off of here and do yours, too.

Writing Critique Groups & Other Secret Societies



AND secret…

My dad was a good father and grandfather, a nerdy chemist with a gentle spirit and quirky sense of humor. He seldom raised his voice. He loved to play cards and tell the occasional raunchy joke. He never exercised, and he smoked like a medieval chimney. After lighting up, he liked to leave the burnt match (burned side up) sticking out of the butter just to annoy my mother, whom he adored.DadAmy popart style_edited-2


To ask for salt at the table was to “pass the NaCl.” I thought every kid knew the elemental name for iron, nitrogen, water, carbon dioxide, uranium… right?  Oh. You mean they don’t?

Dad loved anything about outer space or science fiction, from 2001: A Space Odyssey to Star Trek to The Outer Limits (ok, that’s more like the horror-genre, but hey). He taught me a bit about constellations too. That pattern like a pot with a handle? Ursula Major, the Big Dipper. That big “W” there? Cassiopeia, a Greek queen, lounging on her sofa.  He and I stayed up all night to watch the Apollo moon landing (well, he did; I dozed on the sofa until his excited ‘This is it!’ woke me) 


Not the Greek “queen” on the left, the one on the right.


SACRED and Secret.

Dad was also a 32nd Degree Mason. Yes, that’s right! In those days (and still in some circles) being a Mason was a Good Thing, Martha. He went to meetings, made friends; they did service projects sometimes, but he wasn’t allowed to talk about certain “stuff.”

To get into the Masonic Lodge, a man had to be invited or sponsored. You had to know a Mason, to become one.

I was proud of my Mason-dad. Then…teachers came to my church (Dad didn’t go at the time as Pentecostals were too freaky for him. Go figure.) They said “Secret Societies are Evil.” Occultic. Possibly devil-worshiping; definitely NOT Christian.

My dad…worshiping something occult?! This worried me a lot as a 17 yr-old in love with God and Jesus. I worried about my dad, so I decided to ask him about it.

But, um, how does one ask a parent if they are worshiping the devil? I mean, really.

I did anyway, but as tactfully as I could manage. He assured me that the secrets were not anti-Christian. But they were more about “universal brotherhood.” And a lot of what they did, nobody else would even care about it. He spoke of symbolism, ancient traditions of craftsmen, statesmen, scientists and such. Nothing evil, nope. Probably boring to most outside of a Masonic lodge.

Finally, I asked the million-dollar question. “Dad. Are you a Christian? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and is he your Savior?” I was told that nobody could confess these things and lie; that you would somehow know if they were or they’d choke up.

Without hesitation, my dad said that he had been a Believer & Christian since boyhood. He even showed me a little black book (Masonic) and explained, or tried to, some of the symbols and things written or drawn in it (which, as he’d said, I didn’t)

I was at peace. Whew. He went to his Final Peace not long after that when a massive myocardial infarction took him. Thank God, I didn’t have to wonder where he’d gone.

As fun as it talking about my long-gone earthly father, what the hey does this have to do with Writers Critique Groups? Glad you asked, and I’m going to tell you in a paragraph or four. 

I started writing fiction in my late 40’s. When I first heard about Critique Groups, it excited me. Kindred spirits! Sharing and encouraging each other, reading one another’s work and giving feedback! Having tea together and practically glowing with future authorship-kinship. Kum-ba-ya.


Just wanting to be loved, yes, that’s right.

So I started asking around, looking for a Group to join. Like the golden-retriever personality I once was, I thought everyone would want me, pet me, love me. I’m not illiterate…reasonably personable (so I thought)…not too ugly or strange (sooo I thought) and teachable. Kum-ba-yaaaaaa.

“So-and-so has one they love,” a fellow-writer would say. “But I don’t know if they have openings. Or how to get in touch with them.” (This was before social media, guys. If you didn’t have their email or they didn’t use one, you were out of luck until you saw them again/wrangled a phone number out of them)

Or “Mine isn’t taking new members just now, sorry.”  (me, with hopeful eyes) “If you do in the future, would you let me know?”  *insert sound of crickets chirping here*  “Oh. Sure.”  (liar, pants on f…)

Finally, someone invited me to visit theirs. Yay, romp, slobber! I went and was promptly overwhelmed by what they were doing, and too shy to bring any of my own work; I just talked about it. “There’s this prince, back from a war and he’s lost his faith and is in love with half-sisters and well…um.” (I’d not learned about log-lines at that point, can ya tell?) 

They were polite. But told me that they “didn’t do romance.” I should join a romance-writers group. Oh…that’s what I wrote? So I kept asking, kept looking. And got a lot of those “looks” in return. I even joined a Romance Writers Group and got involved, tried to find critiquing. Still no luck. Now I was feeling weird…what was I missing? Not asking or doing? Or worse, for awkward-with-groups me, why was I not connecting with other writers?

Honestly, I started wondering…were Critique Groups like Secret Societies? Was there a Secret Writers Handshake? A Mystic Book I’d not seen? Things to which I’d not been made privy…or should have learned via osmosis? Did I miss a vital step in Social Development for the [Literary] Human Being??

I’d even visited one or two Christian-based groups. The writing submitted was not at the level I was getting used to, and one person even went so far to say his work was ‘inspired by God, so it can’t be changed or criticized.’

Well, holy sacred cow. You’re kidding–oh, you’re not? cow15

So I started my own Critique Group while I worked hard on the Craft. We met for three years and I learned a lot. About what a good story might be. How to encourage another writer. How to give truly helpful feedback and not just ‘you missed a comma here, a capital letter there’ stuff. (Here’s a good site to see what I mean – it’s for written crits but you get the idea: Guidelines for Writing a Critique.) No secret handshake or rites, though. I’d decided to be as open as possible about accepting folks, even if we weren’t compatible in our writing journeys. As I eventually had to realize.

Silly me. Open skull, let brain fall out.

I ended my group and wrote on my own, and took a long break from Crit Groups–and from writing entirely when I got very, very stuck in Life.  Photography saved me, sort of, during that time. Aerie Images was birthed then.

His Last SalutescratchheadcartoonregretReception (42)MyNikon graywht posterized

When things “settled down” a couple of years ago, I took out (one of) my unfinished ms, and visited another Crit Group. It was a VERY INTENSE one. It was torture for me, as I tried very hard to fit in with those writers. I never did feel accepted; quite the contrary. I finally left the group after realizing that their Secret Handshake was still secret to me even after a few months.cave creepy

I had to leave before it was the death of my writing dreams. It took me a long time to get over that group. Did I make mistakes with those people? Yes. Did they? Yes.

And then, I started writing again–trying to. Though that experience put me off Critique Groups, I felt alive again. I became determined to find a good one. A former member of my group contacted me and said “Hey, want to get together and talk writing–and just be friends?” Well, YES. And I’ve been asked to a critique group that I think, after visiting twice, that I will join. It’s small, it’s casual but to-the-point, and the writers are actually, well, NICE. Two even write in a similar genre of my current WIP. One is a multi-published author, so we are not


Amazon…an agent…editor…here somewhere…

The Blind Leading the Proverbial Blind.

One very important thing I had to learn (still am) is that I am conceited and prideful–I tend to think I know more than I do, and though I mean to be “teachable,” I really am not so much. But I am more aware now of both of those issues and give myself an invisible head-slap when either, shall we say, starts acting up? Whack. 

kirk slap

It does work. Just keep it inside, ok?



Hopefully being knocked down a peg or two has taught me to notice more, when I am (1) Full of It=Pride and (2) Pretending at being teachable when I’m getting all closed-up.  

It’s no secret, and I’m getting better at it. 

Want to send me an excerpt of your writing? I’ll be honest, fair–and kind. Tell me in Comments, then send it to my email.

I’m here.








A Recipe Story: Platta by Any Other Name…

When I first wrote a Recipe Story on these yummy, easy pancakes and had it published on what was then ‘The Dabbling Mum’ website (no longer in existence) I could not for the life of me find out more about them. They were called “platta” by my German step-grandmother, via my mom’s stories, aka “Thin Pancakes.” So I assumed the pancakes were GERMAN. German grandmother…German pancakes…right?

Well, not quite. There was no “platta” in German, but “platte” seems to mean “plate.” And in Low German, “platt” means “flat.” And they are flat–no leavening in these. Fatter than a crepe and richer in taste, but thinner and lighter than a regular American pancake. I am trying not to drool right now, they are that good.

Anyway. A writer’s need to research again drove me to try the word ‘platta’ one more time…just now. And guess what?? I found it! All hail the internet.

Platta is a SWEDISH thin pancake. Say what? Well…I guess Germany is just a hop across the water from Sweden. Maybe my grandmother got it from another immigrant. Somewhat edited, here is that Recipe Story:

Shortly after my mother’s birth in 1929, her very young (17 year old) mother passed away.

A few years later, my grandfather remarried a sweet woman of German descent

Grma Leona Heiden House In Yorba Linda

Gma Leona, Daughter of the Platta Lady

who promptly adopted my mom as her own—and it was from her mother, our step great-grandmother, that this recipe came. Great-Grandma Heiden was off-the-boat German (I remember her being rather hard to understand with that accent) and Platta was what she called these pancakes.


The Platta Lady 

Though I didn’t know it as a child, they are much like crepes…And oh, how we loved them—especially my sister and I.

From the age I could sit on a chair by myself, I remember my mom standing over her faithful black cast iron skillet at a stove, cooking Thin Pancakes. castironThey were a staple of weekend breakfasts that I simply took for granted, like Palisade peaches or my mother’s love. She’d shovel a somewhat wrinkled-looking stack (more a “pile”) of thin, soft, sweet crepe-like concoctions on a plate which we topped with butter and homemade peach jam. If the peach jam was gone, we sprinkled them with sugar. This was indeed Breakfast Heaven. 

At least one of our weekend breakfasts—or whenever we could cajole mom into making them— included our Platta. As a child I assumed everyone ate them. I was shocked when I found out it was special tradition of our family…so much so that at one of my wedding showers, mom gave me a cast-iron skillet.

“Now you’ll be able to make Thin Pancakes,” she said with a smile. I knew how to cook about four things, not being domestically-inspired at this phase of my life. Though I didn’t even know how to cook a roast (yet), I knew this would be one tradition I had to keep alive. It took a few tries to figure out how to make a decent platta; my first few attempts were no more than sticky piles of near-inedible batter. 

Shirley about 1970 at CA beach

My mom, in her sassy pancake-making days. Here at her fav place-CA on the beach in the 70’s. 


Eventually, I put my own stamp on Platta, and experimented a bit. I added one more spoonful or so of flour.  I learned how to cook and flip one to keep it intact–that ‘wait ’til bubbles form on top’ secret with cooking pancakes. I gently filled and folded them into a nice-looking plate worthy of a restaurant.

Ah-ha! I had the perfect platta, based on Mom’s old recipe.

We had different ways of eating these Thin Pancakes. My dad liked powdered or regular sugar and butter on his, as did my brother. My sister prefers hers the same way I do, with various (peach still the favorite) fruit preserves and butter. Making them for my children now, they like maple syrup instead of preserves or jam – which in my opinion is much like the sacrilege of putting ketchup on  steak—much to my kids’ amusement.Peachjam posterz

Plattas are tender, like young hearts they need a bit of loving, vigilant watching, and careful handling to come out right, and you must let them sizzle a bit around the edges to make sure they’re strong enough to hold together.

Mom is gone now, but her adopted German-Dutch heritage – and her Platta – lives on in (the stomachs of) my children and me. Every now and then, they beg me for these sweet, tender pancakes for breakfast, especially on a special occasion—a birthday morning or weekend, or just anytime they want something extra-special.


As an empty-nester with a husband who doesn’t like a sweet breakfast, I make them for myself fairly often. I’ve whittled the recipe down to “Platta for One” (see below the main recipe) The fillings and toppings still vary. Greek yogurt inside with a dollop of fresh fruit or preserves. A cream cheese-yogurt with a warm compote of blueberries or blackberries.

And best of all, Palisade peaches in season–especially those giant, juicy Red Havens at the start of peach season.

Oh, YEAH. Peachesinbowl vibrant color_edited-2

THIN PANCAKES (PLATTA) RECIPE   (Serves 3 to 4 with approx. 3 pancakes each) 

3 eggs

6-7 generous TB unbleached white flour*

1 ¼ c. milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 t. sugar/stevia

Dash of salt

Butter, jam, syrup for topping

While mixing the batter, heat a twelve or eight inch skillet on medium to med-high heat.


  1. Use a blender to blend eggs until they appear thicker and have a lemony-color.
  2. While the blender runs on slow, add flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the batter is semi-thick like whip cream.
  3. Add milk, vanilla, sugar, and dash of salt and then blend, on high, until frothy.
  4.  Add 1 tsp. butter or oil to skillet and melt to sizzling.
  5. Add enough batter to cover the bottom of skillet to an 1/8” depth.
  6.  Cook pancake until bubbles form in center and sides are nearly solid. Lift carefully and turn to other side; cook until light golden brown.
  7.  Serve hot with toppings as desired.\

[I promise to update with a photo as soon as I make some…likely tomorrow]

*Hungarian “High Altitude” Flour for above 7000ft*



Since I’ve been on a reduced calorie eating plan I’ve had to adjust my Platta rations severely. This version is ONLY 139 calories (toppings not included).

First, start heating a small NOT-STICK skillet on med-to medium-high heat while you mix the batter (which takes less than a minute.)


  • 1 large Omega-6 egg, beaten in blender ‘til thick

While blender is running (same as main recipe) add:

  • 3 heaping tsp Unbleached Flour (wheat or spelt), one at a time (we’re at 7000. ft so I use Hungarian High Altitude Unbleached Flour)


    Best kept secret of mtn cooks

  • Add a dash of salt, granulated stevia (not liquid) and  a few drops of pure vanilla extract. Blend for about 30 secs to a minute until smooth and thick – do not over-blend.

Spray the skillet & add the bit of butter, and let it sizzle. Immediately pour-in enough of the batter to cover the bottom of the skillet, plus a bit more (not too thin a layer). Cook as above in #7 instructions – bubbles form and edges start to crisp a little.

To serve: Mix a generous 1-2 TB of Fage Greek Yogurt* (Plain, Zero % Fat) with a little stevia. Spoon into center of a cooked pancake, add fresh fruit and fold over; repeat with two other pancakes (approx.) until batter is used up. Top with more fresh plain fruit and enjoy!

*Use Fage yogurt. Seriously, this stuff is like AMBROSIA—so creamy, rich-tasting and tangy (with th stevia it becomes close to clotted cream, no kidding) – plus it’s VERY high in protein, which you need when ingesting the carbs-galore in these pancakes! Better than whipped cream, which is saying a lot for me as I love any kind of cream.


Oh, my. Sigh.

Calories = 139 per serving (from

Protein = 8 g 

Palisade Peaches and Wine