Category Archives: love

dark chocolate covered candied orange peels

Ran across THIS online – recently and realized I could NOT go one more week of my life without making and consuming these delicious wondrous treats.


So here I go.

I started with four oranges…


cutting off both “ends” and scoring the peels – slicing off little strips and just…eating the oranges. because why not?


Blanching the strips in boiling water – TWICE – for several minutes (3-4) each time.


straining and rinsing the rinds in between the two blanchings


meanwhile – I had one cup of sugar boiling with one cup of water – making a simple syrup


after blanching, straining and rinsing the peels twice – I put them in the boiling simple syrup


and covered it – turning it to low – and letting them simmer in the sugar water for an hour.


then I removed them from the syrup with a slotted spoon and placed them on a wire cookie rack (parchment paper underneath) to cool and dry for a few hours.



they’re so beautiful ..and delicious – just candied like that!

but chocolate makes everything better.


so I melted some dark chocolate chips…


double-boiling – water in the pot, and a glass bowl with the chocolate inside.

until it was all smooth and creamy-licious…


and then dipped each slice right on in!


and placed them on parchment paper to cool and harden…


omg so freaking delicious and beautiful.

I love orange-vanilla everything, and orange-chocolate everything. I’m in heaven.

(the house smells delicious after blanching the orange peels, too, bee tee dubs)


sharing is caring  – click this link to donate and/or share all over the internet.


in the words of my sweet friend Roger:
“Currently, I’m both in production and fundraising modes for my film, “Steve Ross: Giving Back to America”.
It’s a film that I started working on in 2000 about a Holocaust survivor who spends his life after liberation helping young people stay off the streets and steers them to schools.
He becomes a licensed psychologist for Boston for over 40 years, founds the iconic New England Holocaust Memorial, and, after a 67-year search for the US soldier who liberated him from Dachau, is united with the soldier’s family.

Right now, I am in the midst of a crowd funding campaign on a website called Jewcer to raise funds to continue production and edit a rough cut of the film. Week 2 is coming to an end and we’ve raised about 8% of our goal of $40,518.
We could surely use a push with 30 days to go. The website is
If you’re in a position to make a contribution, I’d greatly appreciate it. But, perhaps, the best way to help out is to share the link to the website on any social media you may be on, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like, plus emails and any groups to which you may be connected.
Thanks in advance for whatever help you are willing to give. It’s vital to tell Steve’s story to the world while he and other survivors are here to share it with us.”

and from the fundraising site:

The Jewish Innovation
Since 2000, I’ve been working on a film about Steve Ross, founder of the New England Holocaust Memorial and survivor of 10 concentration camps over 5 years. Despite his tragic childhood, he came to America as a war orphan, learned English and earned 3 college degrees. First, working with youth on the streets of Boston and then as a psychologist, he helped at-risk kids stay off the streets and stay in school, helping them find jobs. His most enduring accomplishment was founding the inspiring New England Holocaust Memorial, which stands in the heart of Boston on The Freedom Trail. After a 67-year search, he found the family of the US soldier who liberated him from Dachau and showed him compassion for the first time.
The Impact
As more and more Holocaust survivors pass away, the truth about what happened to them fades, as deniers grow more prevalent. Steve Ross is a survivor who tells the world of the atrocities that inspired the construction of an iconic Holocaust Memorial in the heart of Boston’s Freedom Trail. This film will afford Jews and others an opportunity to see and hear one of the most outspoken and compelling survivors of the Holocaust, and meet several other survivors who bore witness to the brutality of the Nazis. They will also meet some of the people who were saved by Steve Ross from lives of crime and abuse to become outstanding citizens who paid it forward to help future generations.
This film will help Jews of all ages better understand what happened to their people,
to work towards tolerance and understanding, and inspire all people to strive to achieve exceptional accomplishments.
Participating in funding this film can help raise awareness of the tragic past, while paving the way to a more hopeful future.
What the money is for
The funds will go towards completing the shooting of the film, and for the editing of a rough cut of the film. Approximately 80-90% of the film has already been shot, but except for a demo reel/trailer, no post production has been commenced. The amount needed would pay primarily for a professional editing studio, under the direction of the producer, to edit the preliminary version of the film during a three month period. The funding will also cover some of the costs for our small, professional film crew to shoot additional material, acquisition fees for the archival film footage, some legal fees, and minimal administrative costs needed to push the film towards completion. Funds beyond our goal would go toward graphics production, a second cut of the film, and possibly, some marketing and distribution. Please note that all professional organizations working on this film are providing top level services at substantially discounted rates.”  – click this link to donate and/or share all over the internet.

happy father’s day!


help out if you can….

jump turn wiggle wiggle wiggle

This year, Mother’s Day is celebrating its 100th anniversary (first celebrated May 9, 1914) and I couldn’t help but list 100 things I love about my own personal mother.
mee maw mother mama
Here we goooo…….
1. your delicious cooking

2. your spot-on gift giving of the right thing at the right time


3. passing on your love of folk music record albums

4. and flea market junk shops covered in kudzu

5. letting me do dumb things to my hair because hey, it’s just hair

6. you get ALL the Jeopardy questions right

7. you took me to see my very first theater movie and it was Raiders of the Lost Ark

8. you took me to meet Darth Vader when RotJ came out


9. you chaperoned my field trips

10. you volunteered at my school

11. those awesome carnivals at Solomon

12. those outfits and scrapbooks you tried making

13. you didn’t make me wear those bubble suits

romper best

14. you made me wait til Jr High for makeup

15. and leg-shaving, no matter how I clamored in 5th and 6th grade

16. the year of the 7 Easter Dresses because they were all so awesome we couldn’t choose just one

17. all the hard work and help for my first wedding


18. all the hard work and help for my second wedding

19. getting on a scary plane to be there at my second wedding


20. loving Noah so so much


21. being a dog-lover


22. helping keep my hamster alive when she had breast cancer

23. helping keep Marty alive when she got hit by a car


24. keeping scary adult things to yourself when I was too young to be exposed to them

25. flirting with my dad all the time


26. board games!

27. making chicken and dumplins for my friends


28. letting me drag Carrie along anytime we went to Phenix City/Columbus to visit family

29. Chrysalis


30. driving me all over the place until I was 21

31. helping me move to Asbury

32. helping me move BACK from Asbury

33. coming to visit me while I was at Asbury

34. letting me hop on a plane and go to Honduras without you

35. white water rafting, lightning storm tubing with us and braving the bugs in TN

36. heading up Girl Scouts in Hawai’i

flying up

37. and Alabama (man I bet that’s a lot of work)

38. super fun best birthday parties ever


39. sleepovers in the summers that lasted for weeks at a time!

40. your thick dark hair

41. and your pretty eyes!


42. your always awesome fingernails

43. your love of diversity

44. and tolerance

45. and humanity

46. that time you called me “MITCH”

47. not trying to make YOUR fears, MY fears

48. your long voicemails

49. red velvet cake

50. bratwurst and German potato salad on my birthday every year

51. coke and milk

52. Roger Rabbit; my first drive-in movie with you and dad in the Chevette (I was still awake when Cocktail came on, too, but I don’t think you guys noticed. but maybe you did.)

53. Chuck E Cheese for my 16th birthday and not making me feel too dumb about it 🙂

54. back to school shopping; must have been QUITE a chore for you.

55. not murdering teenage Janet

56. not EVER making me feel like you didn’t love me just like I was, or you didn’t want to be my mom

57. Easter baskets well into my 20’s

58. and Christmas stockings, too

59. your amazing contagious laugh

60. when people tell me I’m just like you .. and “whimsical” and “funny” are the two words they use most often

61. your broad, super sense of humor

62. your hugs that feel like home

63. your never-ending belief in my potential (even now!)

64. ‘RISE AND SHIIIIINE” sung at the crack of dawn. not.


65. ‘away in a manger’ and dootselling (sp?)

66. terrific breakfast every school morning for 12 years

67. never making me feel I had to worry about money

68. but not spoiling me and getting me every darn thing I wanted

69. forgiving my dumb mistakes time and again

70. and not allowing them to change your view of me

71. always praying for us, Will and Noah and me.


72. coming to rescue me the first time I ever babysat a baby.

73. not trying to taint my relationships with anyone just because YOUR relationship with them wasn’t positive.

74. letting me try my hand at ballet, gymnastics, etc…even if it never panned out

jump turn wiggle wiggle wiggle

75. not liking peanut butter, cheese, or chocolate because hey, more for me!

76. your love of Lemon Love’s Baby Soft

77. manners. and phone manners. respect for everyone (obviously, unless they do things to lose it)

78. thank you notes!

79. chores & allowances

80. teaching me that in life bad behavior = you’re going to have a bad time.


81. and good behavior = you’re going to have a good time

82. decorating for Christmas all together

83. all your bunnies all over the house

84. letting me watch the Simpsons and In Living Color with you guys on Sunday nights

85. NOT being the kind of mom who leads her daughters to believe skinny and covered in makeup is the only way to be pretty

pretty ladies

86. your love of TOYS


87. ..and butterflies and curly hair

88. and soft blankies and babies

89. and sweet tea and irises

90. …and framed photos

91. and singing cards and dancing snowmen

92. and comfort food and Pixar movies

93. and liverwurst and cream cheese sandwiches

94. and driving fast and taking naps…

95. and reading in bed and Christmas lights


96. and funny movies and long books

97. …and Butterfingers

98. and the under-dog and the downtrodden

99. awesome cars and comfy shoes

100. and hopefully 100 (or more) other things I’ve inherited from you…



the last several years have taught me that parenting is HARD and no one – nobody – does it perfectly (just like being a kid is hard, and no one does it perfectly)…

but if you can be loving, and forgiving and funny and giving, interested and interesting, calm in the storm and exciting when you can be, intelligent and open-minded, well-read and worldly, (mostly) patient and always encouraging…then you’re the perfectest mom there is, and you’re a lot like MY mom.




thnks fr th mmrs

so the rest of November went like this:

I spent almost a week in Alabama for my favorite uncle’s funeral.

it was small, sad. it was good to see all the people I love, hug their necks, kiss their faces. it was too damn hard to say goodbye to Uncle Peter, though.

I was not ready for it.

I know… no one ever is. but still.

Upon my return to MA, William departed almost immediately for Wisconsin to spend about a week with his mother, who’s recently begun battling cancer.

William & his mom

mom and dad

his little sister and her four children live there, with his parents, and so he got to visit with them, as well

We were all reunited on the 20th and after an uneventful week of school, work, hikes, duck feeding, Marty wrasslin’, and the like –

our next door neighbor’s house burned to the ground on the 27th.

I say “next door”, because it’s the lot right beside ours, but the house is really directly behind ours, across a bunch of water, so we were safe.

the family lives in CT, and this is their summer-home…

the brown house on the right

Sirens and lights were going by our house and we had no idea why…until Noah called to us to come see ‘Neighbor’s house is on fire!’….

beautiful house that the owner poured his heart into

that my mom, ‘aunt’, and ‘sister’ stayed in for a week when they came from Alabama for my wedding. [and another dear friend who flew in from Texas for a couple days too]

the morning after

only remaining semi-wall standing

so heartbreaking, and my view of the lake is that much sadder now.

luckily, no one was injured – the neighbor’s (on the other side) house was damaged some, but their cat was saved – whew.

no word yet on the cause (that we’ve heard, anyhow)

the next day…still reeling…and we’re off to CT for Thanksgiving with William’s fam:

…the next day, people headed to our place for Thanksgiving II: The Turkening

there were hikes and games and movies and leftovers like you wouldn’t believe!

and we discovered someone’s gotten as tall as his aunt!


hope December holds more happy happy memories for us

and less loss.


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my favorite uncle is dying.

I mean, I have other uncles.

Roy and Tommy were both married to my mom’s sister, Bebe, and they’re wonderful lovable men, but I don’t know them that well.


Roy & Bebe

Tommy & Bebe

My dad has two sisters who have had multiple husbands and I don’t think I’ve even met all of them.

Their current husbands, Mike and Alan, I’ve met both of them one time each. They’re nice.


aunt evelyn : uncle alan

aunt genny : uncle mike

aunt genny : uncle mike

I have fake uncles, Reg and Barry and other men I love, but none like Peter



Peter was born in Frankfurt, West Germany – like me. [my mom was born in Florence, Italy and was therefore named Florence. I always wondered why he wasn’t named Frank]





I’m pretty sure he was a jock in high school, super handsome


he’s dead center, blue grey jacket. at my parents’ (both on far right) wedding in 1978.

married a lady who was all wrong for him (or so I understand)

brought my wonderful cousin Edye into being with that first wife

Edye won’t have her dad anymore, soon, and I can’t imagine what that’s going to be like

the world will be completely different.

…somewhere along the way he ended up in the Army and in Germany and divorced from that first wife

met, loved, married my beautiful Aunt Barbara

who will be a widow soon and my heart’s just ripped in pieces for her.

lived in this super awesome a-frame house (which wasn’t white when I was younger, but cool and wood…also didn’t have those add-ons off to the sides when I was younger) my whole life just about

thanks googlemaps

thanks googlemaps

struggled with diabetes, let me play his Atari, had a LIBRARY in his house which I thought was just the coolest (also where I discovered my love of Stephen King novels), grew THE most awesome beard, had a series of awesome dogs [Bojangles…Cajun…Dweezil…Fortune…Max…Barney…the list goes on]




see that epic beard?!

that beard’s probably why Edye and I ended up with really handsome bearded dudes..

always sent me THE raddest gifts at Christmas and birthdays

when we moved to Hawai’i and couldn’t take our beloved dog Bubba with us, he moved in with Pete and Barbara so we wouldn’t have to surrender him to a shelter

there’s lots and lots I don’t know about him, but

he’s funny and smart. he loves his family.


especially his granddaughters, Katherine and Alainey.

Peter and Barbara, they were always there.

Most people grow up having family – uncles and aunts and cousins and grandparents and nephews and nieces and what-have-you close by. Family get togethers are a matter of course, nothing out of the ordinary.

We were Army, my family, and didn’t really have any other family that lived close to us. Until we moved to AL, that is, and suddenly Peter and Barbara and my grandma were only about 1.5 hours away, and we joined the ranks of ‘families who get together and have holidays and celebrations and spend time with one another.’

it was pretty awesome. what I’d always wanted, as we moved from Army base to Army base.


that looks like an Easter. (see the eggs by my grandma!) (see all the happy smiles…what the heck, people. thanks for smiling, mom 🙂 )

they were at my high school graduation ❤



and my first wedding

and all sorts of important days

the surprise 50th birthday party I threw for my parents

(my mom in pink. Peter in yellow. grandma laughing, sitting off to the right)

all my life


he had a camera in his hand most of the time, and maybe that’s one of the reasons I do too


although, after this day, above, with bubbles, I remember finding out his camera had no film in it; all day long



he’s the last of my mom’s immediate family. her dad died in the 80s. her sister died in the 90s. her mother died in 2007.


that’s my mom, in the middle.

I don’t know what this must feel like for her. I have a husband, a dad, a grandfather..

I can imagine those horrible feels, I can empathize somewhat.

but your big brother? The last member of the family you were born into?

I don’t know those feels at all.

I think the last time I saw him might have been 2007.



and I think the last time I spoke with him on the phone was in 2011.

he sounded so unlike himself..and it scared me so much, it hurt me so much

that I was too scared to talk to him after that. I was an idiot, so stupid.

my mom would tell me how he was doing, and Barbara, and I’d think about calling, WANT to call

but the fear was bigger.

so selfish and it’s my loss. My loss.

his birthday’s Monday.


it’s me – in his cowboy hat, early 1980’s

[I think my mom said that ^ was his Smokey and the Bandit hat]

it’s him, on his birthday, 62 years ago this weekend

and he’s in a hospital in Columbus, GA and I want to be there with my mom and Barbara and Edye

but I’m not. I’m here in New England and we had our first flurry this morning.


some sort of infection, my mom said. machines unplugged this morning. he’s not conscious. they won’t transport him to the hospice facility because he wouldn’t survive the trip.


that’s me, and that’s him