Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Dreaming Dreams . . .
"There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, "Yes, I've got dreams, of course I've got dreams." Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they're still there. These are great dreams, but they never even get out of the box. It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams on the line, to hold them up and say, "How good or how bad am I?" That's where courage comes in."
I've always been a dreamer. When I was a little girl, I used to daydream about one day becoming a great writer or artist. I'd write little stories and poems, and even short plays for the children in the neighbourhood. We used to act them out in my best friend's garage behind an old gray blanket we had hung over a skipping rope strung across the expanse of the garage, our willing audience sitting out in front of us on every lawn chair in the neighbourhood that we could find.
The clothes for my paper dolls were never good enough. I always had to make them more and I'd draw them out, colour them and then cut them out to play with them . . . scraps of material became clothes for my dolls, along with snippets of ribbon and tissue.
I always wanted a beautiful big doll's house. I never got one, but I had the old and discarded Sear's catalogues. I used to cut out pictures of furniture, carpets and dishes and paste them onto cardboard boxes and that was my doll's house and furniture . . . I got a lot of pleasure out of doing that and I expect I enjoyed it every bit as much as I would have enjoyed a real doll's house.
When I was five I wanted a Chatty Cathy doll. Never got one, and so I tied a string around my Little Miss Eaton doll's neck and would yank on it every time I wanted her to talk. We had wonderful conversations together . . .
I also really wanted a Tressy doll whose hair would grow with the push of a button and a yank. That was a bit harder to manufacture, but I managed . . . it didn't matter to me that her name was Barbie and that her hair was made out of scraps of coloured yarn . It didn't even matter that I had to stick it on instead of pull it out. For those few golden moments, to me at any rate, she was Tressy . . .
I remember wanting a Clue game so badly that I could taste it. My friend Susan had one and I spent hours over at her house playing it with her. I ended up making my own out of bits of paper and cardboard, drawing in and colouring all the squares and pieces myself and cutting them out. Everything was quite authentic and true to the game. It was as good as any that could be bought . . . at least in my child's mind, and I, for one, got hours of enjoyment out of it
Yes, I've always been a dreamer and always had dreams. As an adult my dreams have changed somewhat, but have not been all that different. I still long for the things that I basically longed for as a child, to be an artist and a writer. I don't dream about dolls anymore or games I don't have. I do look at the catalogues from time to time and wish I had this or that and I am betting Todd is wishing that we had a pound for every time I say . . . when we win the lottery . . . He knows it will never happen, as do I. We don't buy tickets coz we're Mormons . . . but hey, a dream is a dream, right!
One thing that I had been working on these past half a dozen years or so was writing a cookery book. I have spent minutes, hours, days and months poring over my recipes and testing them, editing them, photographing them etc. Compiling them into the shape of a book wasn't all that easy really, as I have tons and tons of recipes that I have saved through the years and that were my tried and trues, my favourites. I wanted to include all my family recipes, and recipes gifted to me by special friends. I wanted it to be more than a cookery book. I wanted it to be a keepsake and something I could be proud of, a sacred snippet and remembrance of my cooking history. It was my dream to one day see it in print.
I never did try to send it to a publisher. Call it lack of faith, or what you will, but I think I realized before I even started that, unless you are a celebrity chef or blogger, publishers, especially in these economic times, just won't touch you. They're all about making money, big money . . . and risking an investment on an unknown just ain't going to happen. So I decided to go the route of self publishing. I investigated all sorts of self publishing venues and finally decided to go with Lulu.com. A few months ago my dream became a reality when I published my very first cookbook. I can remember saying to my Todd at the time . . . even if nobody ever buys it, at least I can say that I have finally done what I set out to do and made my dream a reality. I knew that I would either sell or buy copies for family members, coz well, let's face it they love me and it's only natural that they would want one. I sold a few downloads, and was well pleased to do so.
Imagine my joy and surprise the other day when I received this e-mail. (I will leave the sender's private information out to protect her identity!)
Just had to let you know that I received your “Recipes From the Big Blue Binder” cookbook! I can’t tell you how thrilled I was. It is so well done and I love how you included some of your drawings and writings. Look forward to using the book this week!
Thanks again for sharing these recipes!
I looked over at my Todd, with the largest grin ever on my face. I said to him . . . "Todd, what does it mean when you write something and have it put into book form and then someone actually buys it and likes it?"
"Well," he said, "I think it means you are an author."
Imagine that. This little girl who once wrote prose on the back of cereal boxes and on scraps of paper torn out of old scribblers and who had a dream to one day be a writer has actually written something that someone was willing to fork out good money for . . . and, what's even more important than that . . . they liked it! AND . . . I didn't have to pay them to or give birth to them in order for them to say so! That, my friends . . . is the icing on the cake. That, my friends, is a dream . . . come . . . true. I am an author.
I had dreamers on my mind yesterday when I was painting away in the afternoon. I had sketched this girl earlier on in the week and I was really pleased with how it turned out. Click HERE if you want to see what I am talking about . . .
I had a mother would could make (and often did) make soup out of just about anything. There was nothing that was safe from her soup pot and we all loved her soup!! Even today if you go to visit her she is sure to haul a big ice cream bucket full of homemade soup of one kind or another out of her freezer to thaw out and feed you for supper. And . . . it's always delicious! I love to make soup too and often do. We had a huge bone leftover from our New Years Eve roast dinner and so the other morning before we left for church, I popped this into the slow cooker. When we got home we were rewarded with the most beautiful smells as we walked into the kitchen here at Oak Cottage. All that was needed was to warm up a crusty loaf of bread and we were in heaven . . .
*Marie's Beef, Barley and Dried Mushroom Soup*
Comforting, thick and hearty this soup is full of lovely rich and earthy flavours. This is stick to the ribs food. This is winter food. This is . . . like a warm hug on a cold winter's day.
1 medium brown onion, peeled and diced
1/2 cup diced celery
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 small turnip, peeled and diced
(Or a chunk of swede (rutabaga) peeled and diced)
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 large soup bone, either leftover from a roast or purchased specifically for this purpose
(If you are using a purchased one, roast it for in the oven first, until it is nicely browned. This
helps to bring out all the flavour)
1 to 2 cups of leftover roast beef, cut into cubes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chipolte chili paste
6 cups boiling water
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
4 oxo beef stock cubes, crumbled
1 bay leaf, crumbled
1 tsp dried oregano
1 heaping TBS of tomato paste
1/2 cup pearl barley
Put the dried mushrooms into a small bowl. Cover with boiling water and then set aside for a few minutes to soak. Scoop out the mushrooms and place them into a slow cooker. Strain the soaking water in through a sieve. Add all of the remaining ingredients, and give them a good stir. Pop on the lid and set it on high. Walk away for 5 to 6 hours and forget it.
When you are ready to eat, take off the lid and remove the bone. Trim any meat that may remain on it off and cut it into chunks and return it to the soup in the pot. Skim any fat off top if there is any and then ladle out into hot soup bowls. Eat, hot, with warm chunks of crusty bread on the side. Delicious!
PS - If some of you could spare a few prayers for my good friend Hazel I would appreciate it so very much. She has been hospitalized with this flu that's been going around and could really use some, thanks so much!