Saturday, May 30, 2009

Coming Out: The Emancipation of Artemis

About The Emancipation of Artemis, created by Jennifer Summer, from Jennifer's journal:

i have been blessed in my life with an extremely large extended family -- my friends.

i realized one day that out of all these women, i can count on one hand the number of them who have not had an experience with abuse in some form or another.

i realized that i had spent a large portion of my childhood in hospital waiting rooms, watching a close family member endure numerous operations and countless health problems due to the acts of one malicious, psychotic attacker.

i realized just how widely spread this epidemic has become.

and then i decided to do something about it.

i don't have the qualifications to assist in a professional, controlled environment, but i do have passion and an ability to express myself artistically, and i began to brainstorm a way in which i could combine those two things in order to make an impact.

and now, several years later, that dream has come to fruition. through the efforts of not only myself but my wide circle of kindred spirit chosen family, we have joined our voices together as a chorus for change.

and, thus, the emancipation of artemis was born. right now it is a single benefit that will be held at the york st. cafe in newport, ky on friday, june 5th (7 p.m. - 10 p.m.) and will feature a photography exhibit, live music, poetry readings, guest speakers and an art sale. the talented people in the 'contributing artists' section have all donated their original work to be sold, and the individuals in the 'performers' section of 'the event' menu will be lending their talents during the show.

every single dime raised will go directly to RAINN so that they may continue to do the amazing work that they do for people all over the united states.

but my dream is for artemis to become a global organization; for artists around the world to hold their own events and raise money for groups such as RAINN that help those who need it most. and, in light of what has been accomplished thus far, i believe that dream is an attainable one.

eight women have bravely come forward and opened themselves up -- they've shared their story and shown their face. they are not victims. they are not dreary, they are not tragic. they are triumphant. they are survivors. they are warriors.

they are living proof that we are so much more than just the sum of our experiences.


Since you'd figure it out anyway when you go to the Artemis site and click through the gallery, I'll just tell you: I am one of the eight women whose portrait and story is part of the exhibit. 

I wasn't able to travel to be photographed by Jennifer herself, so she asked me to send her a photo from my portfolio. I selected one taken on my wedding day, by Karen Varnas.  Partly because I didn't get photographed by Jennifer (and therefore, the image doesn't "match" the others), and partly because my story is the longest, I feel like I did it wrong somehow.  It's the anxiety brought on by telling a bit of what happened.  

Reading my own words, my cheeks burn with shame.  I'm afraid for people to know this about me, that it will hang over every time I meet them.  That they will wonder what I did to bring it on myself.  That they don't know that I sometimes want to know that, too; for someone to treat me so badly, there must be a good reason, something terrible that I did.  I used to wonder if there was an invisible sign on me that invited men to try things on me, without my permission. Maybe they could see that I had been wounded while very young, and wanted very much to be loved.  

Please don't misunderstand me.  I am happy beyond what I thought was possible.  I know that the way I was treated was not my fault.  I am lucky enough to love and be loved by my best friend of nearly sixteen years.  I had long since accepted that a gray veil would hang between me and the world -- it's just how my brain works, I thought.  After my diagnosis and thyroidectomy, I knew differently, and I saw clearly that the way I was being treated was wrong, wrong, wrong.  I tried to imagine a good friend in my position, and thought of what I would tell her.  In the end (or is it the beginning?), I did exactly what I would have told my hypothetical friend: called my mom, packed a U-Haul, and got the hell out of there. 

Jenn herself was of immeasurable help and comfort to me while I was struggling with what I wrote about for the exhibit.  I still keep on my desk a photo she took of a single daisy, standing tall in a field. She captioned it: "It doesn't matter where you've been. What matters is where you are now." Looking at it, meditating on it, helps me to re-anchor myself in my joyous present. 

I forget sometimes that the Bad Old Days can never return.  Sometimes, they do still cast long, frightening shadows, but those shadows grow fainter every time I glimpse them.  I am grateful to be out, to be away, to be home.  In the night when I am afraid, I reach out and find my best friend, my beloved husband, sleeping there under blankets beside me.  I feel my own face, my beautiful long hair, the ridge of scar tissue at my throat, and I know who I am, where I am, and I am no longer afraid.  

Getting out, getting away, going home, I had help.  I reached out, and so many hands reached back to me. Among them were Jennifer's hands, loving and fierce.  She is a beautiful soul, a very talented artist, and this work she is doing is of immense importance.

And if you're struggling like I was, or at all, don't be afraid to ask for help.  Or, be afraid if you have to be, but ask despite the fear.  It's worth it, I promise you.

The Emancipation of Artemis:  Artists United to End Violence Against Women
Friday, June 5 2009
7-10pm (music begins at 8pm)
York Street Cafe
Newport, KY

National Domestic Violence Hotline
HopeLine - 1-800-SUICIDE


Friday, May 29, 2009

Jiffy Mix

While riding in the car from my maternal grandfather's home in Holt, to visit my paternal grandfather in Clinton, I was always excited to see the silos of the Chelsea Milling Company looming up along M-52. It felt a lot like glimpsing a beloved film star.

We almost always had a box of Jiffy Baking Mix in our house when I was a little girl. Invented by Mabel White Holmes about 1930, it was the very first prepared baking mix. My mother made pot pie crust and pasties with it, along with drop biscuits, shortcakes and pancakes. When I was in middle school and learning to bake, I liked to make the cake recipe from the back of the box. It made one layer of delicious vanilla cake that I loved to eat warm, with a glass of cold milk.

One of my favorite food memories is of smelling the warm, cinnamon aroma of a Jiffy coffee cake baking, knowing how good it would taste when Mom finally declared it cool enough to slice and served us each a piece. I still make this cake from time to time (probably not often enough), and it's still simply delicious.

Coffee Cake

2 cups "JIFFY" Baking Mix
3 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp. shortening, melted (I use butter - MB)

1 Tbsp. "JIFFY" Baking Mix
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. margarine or butter
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350°, grease 8" square pan.

Blend together batter ingredients and spread into prepared pan. Combine topping ingredients (use cold butter and a pastry blender to keep the streusel crumbly - MB) and sprinkle over batter. Bake 25-30 minutes. Serve warm.

What could be simpler? The recipe doubles easily, too. So delicious.

Here's the cake recipe, too. I plan to make this one this weekend, and to eat it with berries and orange sections. It's such a good, simple treat.

Old-Fashioned Cake
makes one single-layer cake

1-1/2 cups "JIFFY" Baking Mix
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
2 Tbsp. shortening, softened (again, I always used butter - MB)
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375°, grease, flour and line 8" round pan, with wax paper. (Cut wax paper slightly smaller than pan.)

Combine all ingredients and beat 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely before serving.


Eat, and be happy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Running Through

More recipes at Stephanie Tourles' blog.

Little House in the Suburbs is my new playground. It's full of lotsa ideas to keep it cheap, green, and real.

I'm around, just working hard and feeling somewhat uninspired. My sister's baby is due in a few weeks and I'm crocheting my fingers off.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

World War II by Alberto Vargas

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chocolate Mousse

A yummy classic from Elise at Simply Recipes. I have a few very good recipes (Julia Child's in Mastering the Art of French Cooking is rich-rich-rich and yum-um-my), but this one is simpler. Simple is good -- you don't have to wait as long to sample your sweets. Enjoy!

Chocolate Mousse

4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons espresso or very strong coffee
1 cup cold heavy cream
3 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon sugar
Whipped cream and berries for garnish (if you like)

Whip the cream to soft peaks (cold cream, cold bowl, cold beaters), then refrigerate.
Combine the chocolate, butter, and espresso in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not simmering, water, stirring frequently until smooth.
Remove from the heat and let cool until the chocolate is just slightly warmer than body temperature. To test, dab some chocolate on your bottom lip. It should feel warm. If it is too cool, the mixture will seize when the other ingredients are added.
Once the melted chocolate has cooled slightly, whip the egg whites in a medium bowl until they are foamy and beginning to hold a shape. Sprinkle in the sugar and beat until soft peaks form.
When the chocolate has reached the proper temperature, stir in the yolks. Gently stir in about one-third of the whipped cream. Fold in half the whites just until incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites, and finally the remaining whipped cream.
Spoon or pipe the mousse into a serving bowl or individual dishes. If you wish, layer in fresh raspberries and whipped cream. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours. (The mousse can be refrigerated for up to a day.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Orange and Beet Salad & Peanut Butter Cookies: in memory of Bunny and Ned

Last month, I became a supporter of The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, TN. I sent my donation in memory of Topsy, the traumatized elephant electrocuted by Thomas Edison in an effort to discredit Nikola Tesla's polyphase (alternating current) system. I sometimes fantasize about getting a steampunk-y group together, donning elephant masks, and rampaging through Greenfield Village, a veritable Edison shrine (Ford worked for the Edison Illuminating Company in the 1890s, so it's understandable). Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum are national treasures, and I've enjoyed visiting both over the years. The kindly old engineer who used to drive the GV train worked on the Michigan Central Railroad where my great-grandfather was a conductor, many years ago; this accorded my father the honor of riding in the engine itself to talk over the glories of the Age of Steam when he visited. But, I digress...

Today, I wept when I learned that two Asian elephants at the Elephant Sanctuary died during the last 24 hours. Bunny passed away from natural causes at 57 years of age yesterday. She had lain down in a pleasant place earlier this month, and received palliative care until her peaceful death yesterday evening.

photo of Bunny from The Elephant Sanctuary

Ned was confiscated by the USDA last fall after he was seen performing in an emaciated condition. The people at the sanctuary tried nursing him back to health; Ned would eat and gain weight, then lose it again. On Wednesday, he lay down and did not get up again. Medicine and fluids were administered to keep him comfortable. He died early this morning at the young age of 21.

photo of Ned from The Elephant Sanctuary

I hope that an autopsy will reveal why Ned failed to thrive, and that if his previous owner's treatment caused Ned's condition (instead of, say, a longstanding, hard-to-diagnose illness of some kind), the owner faces stiff penalties. Elephants truly never forget, and so many of them have suffered at the hands of human beings and bear scars both physical and psychic. That there are kind souls like the people at the Elephant Sanctuary gives me hope.

In honor of Bunny and Ned, here are two recipes. The peanut-butter cookies include the classic elephant treat: peanuts. The salad combines Bunny's favorite food (oranges) with beets, which Ned enjoyed eating.

Peanut Butter Cookies
(makes about sixty 1 1/2-inch cookies)

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla

Sift or whisk flour and baking soda together.
Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars together until fluffy.
Beat in egg and vanilla.
Stir in the flour mixture until blended. Shape into 1-inch balls and arrange about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Press flat with a fork, making a crisscross design on each cookie. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand briefly, then remove to a rack to cool.

Orange and Beet Salad
adapted from Simply Recipes (and very delicious!)

1 bunch of beets, leaves removed - about 4 or 5 medium sized
2 large navel oranges, pared and sliced
1 bunch of arugula leaves, cleaned, and any thick stems removed
Several thin slices of red onion
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

In a small jar, mix the following ingredients:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Make salad dressing.
Cook the beets with their peel on (simmer for 30 minutes or until beets can easily be pierced through with a fork). Drain beets and let cool before peeling.
Slice or quarter beets. Place them in a small bowl and marinate them in half of the oil and vinegar dressing for 30 minutes.

Compose individual salad plates with arugula, a few slices of orange, a few beets, a few slices of red onion and a few chopped walnuts. If you want some added color, gently add a few slices of the orange to the beet juice from your bowl of beets. Let the oranges absorb the beet color and use in your salad. Sprinkle dressing over the individual salads.

Be kind to animals. We need each other.

photo of Tarra and baby bird from The Elephant Sanctuary

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Save Wardenclyffe!

Wardenclyffe, Nikola Tesla's laboratory at Shoreham, Long Island, is up for sale for $1.6 million.

The Tesla Science Center is trying to raise the money to buy it and turn it into a museum. At their website, you can donate via PayPal. If you'd rather take the scenic route, you can click the very fun animation below (courtesy of zia_narratora at LiveJournal) to donate. Tea says that if you donate $20, she will do a PG-rated drawing of Tesla for you (hilarious suggestions at the link -- "Tesla inventing Peeps!").

Save Tesla!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dancer Dreams

This past weekend, my husband and I attended our niece's dance recital. Seeing all the little girls in their tutus, jumping and prancing out of sync, made us laugh; they are so cute. Watching the older girls, especially the ballet and lyrical students, made me yearn to dance. My dance style developed in gothic clubs, so it's a flowing weeping-willow dance, a "sorrowful ballet," as one writer described gothic dance, a bit like the lyrical style. I love to dance, but I always wanted to study dance with a teacher, in a proper class.

When I was four, my parents agreed that I should take ballet. I was thrilled. My mother and I waited for my father to get home so that we could go to the dance shop and buy my black leotard, pink tights, and lovely pink leather slippers. I ran to the window every five minutes, wishing Daddy would hurry home so I could get my real ballet shoes. I practiced leaps and twirls, certain I was a beautiful dancer and looking forward to becoming an even more beautiful dancer.

Daddy eventually came home. In his hand was a piece of pink paper in a white envelope. Mommy's face fell, and Daddy shrugged sadly. It was 1980, and the school district had laid him off. He had no job. We didn't go to the dance shop and I never learned ballet.

It's trite and a little embarrassing to speak of "the inner child" anymore, but mine wants to dance. Today, I learned that a dance studio near my office teaches beginning ballet to grown-ups. I'll be calling this week to check the price. Even if I only take a class or two, I very much want to wear special dance clothes, and real ballet shoes, in a real studio. Wish me luck.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Crepes Kristina

This is a dish that I've helped Kristina assemble for office parties. Unbelievably yummy for any time of day. The recipe is easy to double or triple, if you've got a crowd on your hands.

Crepes Kristina

For crepes:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted

For filling:
1 jar Nutella
4 bananas (or however much you like)

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth.
2. Peel and slice bananas. Set aside.
3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
4. Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side.
5. Spread each crepe generously with Nutella. Lay banana slices, overlapping, down the center. Roll up and serve sprinkled with powdered sugar (or not, as you like).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Skin-So-Smoothie recipe!

Stephanie Tourles has posted her fabulous "Skin-So-Smoothie" recipe on her blog! Go check it out! Then make it and drink it and love it!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Chocolate Waffles

Chocolate is good for what ails you. Or, more accurately, me. When I eat flavonol-rich chocolate or drink Cacao Royale, I feel endorphins surge through my blood. I feel awake, alive, and very sexy. I hope you do, too.

Chocolate Waffles

1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour (works with all-purpose flour, too)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup milk

Sift the flour together with baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar.
Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla and chocolate.
Add the sifted ingredients alternately with the milk.
Using a measuring cup, dip batter onto hot waffle iron. Close iron and bake 4 to 5 minutes or until steaming stops.

I love these topped with vanilla ice cream and strawberries. Yes, for breakfast. Mmmmmmmmm...

template by - header image (c)