Independence Day Hodgepodge

Thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes both here and on Facebook. It’s meant the world. As most of you know, I tend to get pretty sentimental around Patriotic holidays.

Maybe it’s because it’s my birthday, or maybe it’s because the last couple days have been rough (just had one of my close friends moved to hospice with end stage cancer this week), but I’m not in the mood to tear my guts out today…or think too hard. She says she can feel good thoughts and prayers, so whichever way you believe…I’d appreciate anything for my friend Kenda.

It seems I have several friends battling this disease and winning (thank goodness), but even one loss seems like too many. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been my first friend/family to battle cancer, but she hasn’t lost yet…so all prayers are appreciated. This song is dedicated to all of my friends fighting cancer and all the folks who are loving and supporting them.

Today is also Independence Day… Which, of course, had me thinking back to the men and women who battled for our nation as well as our founding fathers. We had some pretty amazing guys!

With guys like Washington, Edison, Jefferson, Hancock and company, it’s hard to decide on a favorite…but I have a couple. Alexander Hamilton always seemed like a player/stud, so I had a bit of a soft spot for him.

My favorite quote came from Nathan Hale:

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

My second favorite is Patrick Henry‘s:

“Give me liberty or give me death.”

I must have always had some sort of fascination with sailors, though, because my all time favorite (and I have no idea why) was John Paul Jones. There’s something kind of badass about a guy who says, “Surrender? I have not yet begun to fight.” I understand that kind of mentality. I respect that fiery passion.

What about you guys? What are your favorite things about Independence day? Who is your favorite Revolutionary War/Founding Father?

Hope you enjoyed the fireworks on my birthday! 😉

Aging, Gateway Books and Sex Ed

My Birthday Goblet

My Birthday Goblet

This last weekend was a busy one for yours truly. My sister and her guy were in town to throw a “Milestone Celebration” aka 40th birthday party for moi. Now technically, Kitt Crescendo was born on the 4th of July, but for celebratory purposes for my out-of-towner sib, this last weekend worked best.

Above is the sexy goblet she bought, especially for me…that had been filled multiple times with a lovely sangria.

She did a fabulous job with the event and a good time was had by all.

Oddly enough, mine wasn’t the only birthday party I went to that day…though mine was the only one with jello shots, etc. My next door neighbors are good friends…and their 3 year old also had his party earlier that day, so I stopped by.

At the party, I got into a conversation with Julie, grandma of the birthday boy, in town from Georgia. She’s in her late 50’s, recently widowed. During our talk, she found out that I’m a writer, and as often happens, 50 Shades got mentioned. Seriously, I’m going to start calling it “The Gateway Book”. Well, most of us view it that way anyway, but….for this woman, it truly was.

It was a gateway to rediscovering her libido.

Recently widowed, what she said struck me as a bit sad, but not all that uncommon.

“If my husband were alive today he’d be like ‘sure, now you find your sex drive. Why couldn’t you have done that sooner?”

As my dear friend Ande Lyons and I have talked about often, this is one of the many reasons that prompted her to create Bring Back Desire. So, of course, I mentioned the website to my new friend and encouraged her to check it out. Seriously, between Bring Back Desire and GirlBoner even the most inhibited person can find ways and means to embrace their ‘innerwildkats’…;-)

Her story is not so uncommon. She married young, had children, raised them. Fairly conservative upbringing. She’d given up many of her outside hobbies to raise the kids. When it came to doing things for fun, he was the more dominant personality, so she went along with what he liked to do and put her passions aside. No one had really talked to her about speaking up or doing her own thing.

She was content in her marriage. She loved her husband, but “didn’t have much time or energy for sex”. It wasn’t until the “Gateway Book” that she started feeling her sex drive rev back to life, but by then her husband had passed away.  Now she’s on this voyage of self discovery and making up for all the lost time of hobbies and passions set aside. She’s an outgoing, vivacious woman, so why not?

But as I considered her exploring (which has definitely included sexting, men, etc), one thought popped out at me.

I hope she’s being safe!

I mean, when we think about ‘the sex talk‘ we’re usually thinking either teenagers or the basic talk you have with small children. Why on EARTH would we need to have this talk with someone who has grandkids? Seriously. Isn’t the horse already out of that barn? Maybe. But think about this. The last time she’d probably been given the sex talk, the only thing she had to worry about were these:

  • Reputation
  • Pregnancy
  • STD’s treatable by Penicillin

What do we know? She’s past childbearing age, so pregnancy is no longer a concern. She’s older and widowed, and she’s not so concerned with reputation anymore… But now there’s more then just herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis. HIV and AIDS are nothing to scoff at. Age doesn’t make you immune.

Does she know to talk safety with her potential partners? Does she realize that condoms protect her from more than just pregnancy? Have her partners been tested? Has she? Somehow I couldn’t picture her daughter bringing this topic up with mom, the way mom may have with her daughter years ago.

When I’d mentioned my general thoughts to my brother-in-law, an ER doc, he commented on the fact that STD awareness discussions seemed to stop once people got out of their twenties and thirties as if the libido disappeared during that time as well. He mentioned that retirement communities and assisted living facilities still had the occasional outbreak of an STD that required treatment among their residents, and when it spread, it was usually pretty rampant.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled to death to hear that the sex drive is thriving with the 50+ set (in fact, this Podcast is faboulous proof that life does not end at 50)… I just hope and pray that those folks rediscovering themselves and their sexiness remember to be safe while enjoying life. In fact, if someone you love may be at this place, talk to them about it. Nothing says love like looking out for someone else’s health while they rediscover the joy of living sexy!

And for those of you who are wondering how I feel about turning 40? I Feel GREAT!!!!

As always, I’d love to hear from you guys, so feel free to share your thoughts, insights or questions…

First Try At Gluten Free Cakes

20121007-211840.jpg

Here is the end result of my gluten free German chocolate pound cake for my stepdad’s birthday. The icing was amazing! The only change I would make based on the link to the recipe from yesterday’s post? Instead of only one baking German chocolate bar, I’d go 2.

20121007-212204.jpg

This is the gluten free carrot cake. I have to say, this cake did not taste gluten free. If you look at the recipe for this one, be prepared…the icing recipe doesn’t actually make enough to cover the entire cake. Also, in order to ensure that the confectioner’s sugar doesn’t overwhelm the cream cheese flavor, double the cream cheese based on the recipe, then double the recipe. This means 12 oz of cream cheese, not 6.

If you decide to use gluten free all purpose flour instead of the recommended pizza dough flour (which is what I did), you will need to add 1/2 a teaspoon of xanthan gum.

Pausing To Aid In Celebration

Hi Everyone!  I had this big ole blog planned for today, but it’s gonna have to wait.  My mom called and notified me that we will be having a party for my stepdad’s 60th birthday tomorrow at their new homestead.  She also notified me that I make dessert.  This is not an easy feat as my step-dad is a ciliac (has a gluten allergy).  She said he wanted German Chocolate cake, and I found this awesome looking recipe.  When I called, though, and talked to my stepdad, he said Carrot cake sounded good to him.  Unsure of which one was better, I’ll be making both.  Better safe than sorry.  That also means my big ole blog plan is out the window…

Recently, they rented out their home in Chicago to move closer to me.  I suspect she did it just in case hubby and I decide to grace her with grandkids, she wanted to be nearby.  Well, that and my step aunt & uncle live in the area.  So they bought 5 acres about an hour away from me.  It comes complete with a little lake (that gators come out of) and a barn.  Fortunately, the area around the house is fenced so that I can bring my dogs with us when we go to visit and they get to play in a big yard.

Here are some pictures I took from around their house the last time I was out there.  I love all the lily pads they have in their lake. Can’t wait till they bloom!

The barn

Mom loves trees and plants