Chocolate zucchini bread

I have not made it, but I tasted it when my friend Michelle made it, and it was yummy!

Makes two 9×5 inch loaf pans

2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
chopped walnuts if desired


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, lightly grease two 9×5 loaf pans. In a microwave safe bowl, microwave chocolate until melted. Stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth

In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, grated zucchini, vanilla and chocolate, beat well. Stir in the flour, baking soda, slat and cinnamon. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean.

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We cannot fix the problems of the world, but we can make our corner of it a bit better.

About 9 years or so ago, my 17 year old foster daughter spent the weekend with some friends. When she got back early Sunday evening, she was eating like she was ravenous. When I questioned her, she said it was because she really didn’t have much to eat all weekend. I was really upset, and I told her that she should have called me. We took her into our home to improve her life, and part of that was that she should never go hungry. She explained that the two girls that she was staying with (twin sisters) had spent all of their money on formula for the baby of one of the girls. They were both working, but the mother of the baby had lost the birth certificate, and until she got the new one, she could not get WIC, so they had to buy formula out of pocket. I was pleased to hear that at least she had gone hungry to benefit the baby.

The next day I took her grocery shopping for the girls. I shopped for them the same way that I shop, buying what was on sale, thinking of meals in my mind. I bought a variety of fresh, canned and frozen products, some staples and a few treats. I don’t recall how much I spent, but we got a cart full of groceries for about $150 or so. We delivered it to her friends. I explained that this was a one time deal, I was not going to shop for them again. But that I was hoping that this would get them over the hump until the WIC vouchers came, and might help them get a little bit ahead of the game.

When we got home, my daughter said something that stuck with me to this day: “I thought you were just going to buy them a couple frozen pizzas. I hope I can be as generous as you one day.” I thought for a few minutes, and then I told her that was not the way to look at it. I said you need to start practicing generosity now, with what you have. It is not about how much you give, but that you give. When you see a need that you can meet, you should do it. I was not always able to spend $150 on groceries for someone. My resources have grown over the years, and they still wax and wane at times! Sometimes I could buy someone a sandwich, or a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly. The point is to give what you can when you can. That way you have practiced generosity, so that when you have more, you will give more.

This concept came to me again a couple months ago. I was at a celebration of life service for one of my elementary school teachers. She was an amazing woman, and many people had come to celebrate her life with her family. One of the things that kept coming up was the hospitality that she and her husband showed to so many people over the years. I was standing in line behind a young man who was a friend of the family, and he mentioned how much he loved their parties, and he hoped that he could share such hospitality “some day”. I told him the same thing that I told my daughter, “do not wait for someday”. Practice hospitality now. If you have a friend in need, invite him out for a cup of coffee, have her over for a pizza or a home cooked meal. It is the spirit of caring for another, not the size of the meal or the extravagance of the celebration that matters.

Think of what you want to be for others, and start doing it with the resources you have now. Do not wait for the future, if you do not have the practice as part of your spirit, it will not get any easier when you have more.

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I am not less able to have compassion for others because I have not been a mother

This post is in response to a blog post that I read the other day. I sent this to her in an email, but I wanted to post it here as well. I will not quote her directly, as I am not trying to flame her, or take away from the good that she is trying to do on her blog.

Basically she says that mothers (and she does specifically say mothers, not parents) connect to stories of children with problems in ways beyond the comprehension those of us without children. She also says that the same stories tug at the hearts of mothers more than those who are not mothers.

This is my response to her:

I am not a mother. Not for lack of wishing for it with all my heart. There is not a day that goes by that I do not have some thought of if I had been able to have children, and probably at least 1 day out of three that I shed tears over what I have missed.

I am a pediatric physical therapist. I have spent the last 28 years taking care of and loving other people’s children. Many of them have permanent problems, some of them have had degenerative problems. I was an MDA Summer camp counselor for over 20 years. I read your “about me” section, and you mention that you struggled to conceive your son. Imagine that you did not have this success, imagine that you ended up at 50 without a child (there are many people that fertility treatments do not work for, and many reasons that adoption is not the answer). And then imagine that someone tells you that you cannot love enough because you were never a mother, or that your opinions do not matter because you were never a mother, or you see people write that their children are what gives their lives meaning (so does that mean that your life therefor is meaningless?)

I do understand that people’s lives change when they become parents, and that there is a love for your children that is different than any other love that you have felt. There are plenty of people in this world who do not have children who dedicate their lives to research to cure diseases, to caring for children and people who cannot care for themselves. One could even make an argument that those of us who do not have children are able to dedicate more of ourselves to our careers, research etc. I know that over the years I have given more of myself to my patients and their families than I would have been able to do if I had children of my own to go home and care for. Although I absolutely love my job, and my patients and their families, I would have happily been a bit less of a therapist to allow for time dedicated to my family. But I was not given that choice. So I take great offense at your assumption that I cannot connect to these stories, that I cannot have the same passion for a cause as a parent would have. I am not a second class citizen, or less valuable, or less able to love or have passion because I was unable to have children.

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For the record friday

I’m trying to get myself to write more, so I was looking around for link-ups for ideas for posts.

1. Favorite Picture of the Week

I’m excited about learning to knit Fair Isle, this is the swatch for the hat I am going to make for my neighbor:

2. What TV show are you addicted to right now?

Wow, that is a difficult one! We watch entirely too much TV! Big Bang Theory is always great, and I always love Bones. We also never miss Elementary and Shameless. Sadly the list could go on for a while!

3. What Book(s), if any, did you read this week?

I did not really read any books this week, but I did read a great one last week: Inside These Walls, By Rebecca Coleman
I really enjoyed the story, it made me want to stay up late to finish it.

4. Song you can’t stop listening to

I just listen to whatever is on the radio, although I enjoy music, I am not a big one for seeking out new stuff.

5. Something funny/awesome that happened was….

It was awesome to have a snow day at home with hubby on Monday!!

6. Something not so awesome that happened was….

It was a rough developmental clinic at my job this week, several children with problems that we had to discuss with their parents, that is always difficult.

7. Favorite blog post you posted or came across this week….

I loved the bedroom in this post, I’d love this bedroom, and I’m not a little girl!

8. The best dinner you had this week was…

Homemade stuffed bell peppers, made with ground venison! Yummy!

9. Plans for the weekend….

Attend a continuing education course in the use of Pilates in physical therapy.

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Childless not by choice

I am participating in Kelly’s Korner “Show us your life” post, today is about infertility. This is such a difficult subject for me. I can rarely write about it without crying. I can sometimes touch on it quickly during conversations without losing it, but if the conversation gets more in depth, tears are sure to fall.

All my life I planned to have children. My life went very well in all areas except one. I went to college, continued on to Physical Therapy school, and after graduation got a job as a pediatric physical therapist. I bought my first new car, moved into my first apartment by myself, and brought home two cats. After about 10 years I bought my own home, fenced in the yard, and took in a stray dog. My life was full of family, friends, pets and many other wonderful things. I just never did well in the dating arena. I have never been a bar or nightclub sort. I tried various singles church events etc, but never had any luck. Finally I decided to give internet dating a try. Fairly quickly I met a great guy, but he was not sure that he wanted anymore kids (he had a daughter from a first marriage). I struggled with this, as I knew I wanted kids, but I also wanted love, and I finally decided that I did not want to give up the surety of a man I loved in the present for the possibility of children in the future, especially as I was 36 years old.

After much discussion, we decided to get married, and that he was okay to have a child if we got pregnant. We did not prevent pregnancy after that point, but I never got pregnant. For various reasons too complex to address succinctly here, we never pursued fertility treatments. So now I am left with the reality that we are childless not by choice (his daughter is out of high school, lives in Illinois, and has chosen to distance herself from us).

I have posted a few other things about infertility, and our specific situation.

My Daily Struggle
But I thought you didn’t have any kids??!
It is hard to think of what I will never be

This is one of my sweet kitties, her name is Lexi.

Posted in Childless not by choice, Show Us Your Life | 2 Comments

Some yarny fun!!

These photos are from several years ago. I cannot recall when I took this class, and I cannot even find the info on Flickr to see when I uploaded them! Anyway, I took a class to learn how to dye yarn. It was part of a combined class: learn to dye sock yarn, and then knit socks with it It was really fun to do the dying!

This is one skein laid out after I dyed it.

These are my three skeins hanging in the shower at home to finish drying.

Here is the skein that is on the left above, wound into a hank, and below it is wound into a cake.

IMG_0165 by euler357
IMG_0165, a photo by euler357 on Flickr.

I did complete one sock, and have part of another one done, but they are in a knitting bag, and I do not have any photos of them!

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Stop all the clocks…

This post has been rumbling around in my head for a couple days. I hope that I can do justice to this topic, because this is very important.

This week a dear, dear friend passed away. Katie McGuire was an amazing woman who touched many lives throughout her lifetime. I met her 30 years ago when she was at my physical therapy school recruiting counselors for MDA summer camp. When I was told of her passing on Thursday morning, I felt such shock and disbelief. She was still so young, and so vibrant and full of life. Since Thursday I have wanted or almost expected to hear an announcement on the radio, or read about her in the newspapers. She held such an important place in the lives of so many people, extending way beyond the boundaries of her family, who of course will miss her more than many of us can imagine. There is a poem by W. H. Auden that expresses what I feel.

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
W. H. Auden

To me this just conveys the sense of how the world is a little less without Katie, things do not shine quite as brightly. Someone wrote (I’m sorry I cannot recall who) on a Facebook post that when Katie was with you she made you feel like you were her best friend, and that was just so true. She was always so surprised, touched and thankful when anyone would give her a gift, or acknowledge how much she had helped them. She did not see anything amazing in the way that she gave so much of herself. It was just the way she was.

When Katie had a battle with cancer many years ago, I remember that I was doing a home health job, so I spent many hours in my car. I would pray for Katie whenever she entered my mind, praying for her to be pain free, and to have peace in that moment, as well as for her healing. I remember telling God that he could not have her yet, that she had to many things left to do on this earth, too many people here still needed her so much. When I talked to her about this later, she said that she could feel when people were praying for her, that there were times when all of the sudden the pain would stop, or she would feel lifted up and full of hope and energy. When she shared that the doctors felt that she had beat the cancer, I remember being so happy that she would be with us for years to come. How I wish that it had been many more years than this.

Since Thursday I find myself thinking of Katie all of the time, missing her, thinking of her children, grandchildren and other family, I also think of all of us whose lives she has touched. For perhaps the first time ever, I have found myself looking forward to a funeral. If I can’t be with Katie again, I want to be surrounded by people who love her, who understand what an amazing person that she was. People who will understand that all the superlatives in the world are not enough to accurately describe our dear, sweet, wonderful, special Katie McGuire.

And I am thankful for our short phone call a week ago when we made plans for two weeks from now for lunch. I would have much rather had the time spent with her, but at least I got to talk to her one last time.

Death is Nothing at All

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well.
Henry Scott Holland

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It’s a new year!

I’m a bit behind posting for the new year, but that’s pretty typical! Chris and I had a relaxing New Year’s day after spending a nice evening at our friend’s house to ring in the new year.

Chris downloaded Civilization V, and spent quite a few hours playing that, while I spent time up in my sewing and crafting room! I managed to cut off and finish the edges of 4 pairs of pants that needed hemming. I hemmed one pair while watching TV later in the evening. I will have to work on the rest this week!

I also came up with a card design! I completed one fully, and have 4 more in various states of completion. About 1/2 hour of work and they should be done. I’d like to come up with another design today, but we shall see how that goes. I really need to do some purging of excess stuff, as well as collecting all like things together to allow for some serious organization. I’d love to hire an organizer to help with the final organization portion. I’d rather do the weeding out on my own. An organizer recently told me that they can help with that as well, but I’m not up for the pressure of doing it with input from someone else!

Anyway, here is the card!

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Blogtember – September 9th

The instructions for today are:

Monday, September 9: Take this short personality test and respond to your results. (at the end, find the detailed profile of your personality account – click “click to view” under “You” and “self awareness and personal growth.” You can even google your type and find more info on it!)

This is how I came out:

Extravert(56%) iNtuitive(12%) Feeling(75%) Perceiving(11)%

You have moderate preference of Extraversion over Introversion (56%)
You have slight preference of Intuition over Sensing (12%)
You have distinctive preference of Feeling over Thinking (75%)
You have slight preference of Perceiving over Judging (11%)

I have taken these tests in the past. One of the big things I notice while taking them is that I often have a difficult time choosing between two answers! I really want there to be a “maybe” or “mostly” or “sometimes”! I have considered trying it answering them one way, keeping track, and then doing the opposite to see where I end up, but that seems a bit time consuming!

The other thing that I think of when I take these tests is of an exercise that I did in my Psych class when I was in college. We all took a test (I don’t recall the specifics of the test!), it was scored, and we all received a personality profile in the next class. After we had read them we were asked how accurate we thought they were. Most of us said we thought they were not perfect, but not too far off. Then the instructor told us that we were all holding the exact same profile!! He said that they are designed in such a way that they can describe many people, especially as we all give heavier weight to the parts that we feel are like us, and less weights to the parts that are not like us. He said this is how Zodiac sign descriptions etc are written. Ever since this class, I have been somewhat skeptical about these tests, especially when you add in what I describe above, that I feel like I could answer many of the questions either way!!

Apropos of nothing, here is a photo of my cute puppy on the boat!! (I just wanted to include a photo in the post!!)

On the boat with Merlin

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Getting back on the horse! (And a rant about the poor writing I find on various blogs!)

I sort of fell down a deep hole after attempting to blog every day in May. Work just kept getting crazier, and other things in life continue to need to be attended to. Things such as laundry, dishes, pet feeding, husband feeding! I could manage for a while on oodles of noodles and PB&J, but hubby…not so much!!

Work is slowly getting better, and we are basically clothed and fed. Plus I miss the excitement of the idea that someone might be reading!!

We have had WICKED rains here lately, although I shall not complain much as compared to many others, both locally and around the nation, we have had minimal damage. Although… it is a bit disheartening to live with a very wet basement floor, even if it is bare concrete!

At the moment I am hiding from other jobs around the house that I need to be doing, and I will quickly return to them after this brief respite!

The rant is regarding the wanton butchering of the English language that occurs on these here interwebs! I was talking with my daughter about this yesterday. I cringe when I read things such as ” I cannot bare it when people cut me off in traffic.” It is supposed to be “bear”,from the root word “forbear”. Another one I see all the time is when people are “pouring over the new book I just bought.” The word is poring!! Just this morning I someone write “and without further adieu”!! It is supposed to be further ado! Adieu is the French word for goodbye!!

Well, I shall bid you adieu, as I am being summoned by hubby!

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