Saturday, December 19, 2009

RAWS in 2010

As part of my commitment to reduce the clutter in my life, I have decided to force my own hand. I am making a list of fifteen books that I must read by the end of 2010 or I must set them free. Read ‘em or get rid of ‘em, if you will. So here is my list of fifteen books I have been wanting to read, meaning to read, and haven’t read because I get easily distracted. (I also keep being given new books that are shiny and, well, distracting.)

The Best of American Short Stories edited by Michael Chabon

Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life 
by Thomas Moore
My review for this book can be found here.

The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By

The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By by Carol S Pearson
My review for this book can be found here.

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam

by Karen Armstrong
My review for this book can be found here.

Jazz by Toni Morrison
My review for this book can be found here.

edited by Gloria Wade-Gayles

My review of this book can be found here!

by Richard J Leider and David A Shapiro

by Bruno Bettelheim
My review for this book can be found here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Venetians (cookie recipe)

These cookies are a favorite from my childhood. I called them "Rainbow Cookies" and, although they require a lot of work, they are absolutely worth the effort. Only a few of these is enough to satisfy a sweet tooth. You can find this recipe all over the internet. I found this one here. The image shows these cookies made with seedless raspberry jam but these are just as good with the apricot preserves.

On a trip to Manhattan to see a long lost friend, Jorin, I bought a box of these--enough to share and to take a few home. However, I forgot the box. I hope Jorin and Connor enjoyed them.

"From the recipe files of "El's Kitchen"
8 dozen
Submitted by erobertson11746
December 11, 2008

4 eggs separated
8 ounces almond paste (not marzipan)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 drops green food coloring
1 (12 ounce) jar seedless raspberry or apricot preserves
6 ounces semisweet chocolate bits

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees

Grease 3 (9by13by2 inch) baking pans.
Line with wax paper and grease the paper
 Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, transfer them to another bowl.
Add the almond paste to the electric mixer bowl, breaking it apart with a fork.
Add the butter, sugar, egg yolks and almond extract and beat until light and fluffy.
Beat in the flour and salt.
Lightly stir in the beaten egg whites.
Remove 1 1/2 cups of batter and spread it evenly into 1 of the prepared pans.
Remove another 1 1/2 cups batter to a small bowl. Blend in the green food coloring and spread batter evenly into the second pan.
Add the red food coloring to remaining batter and spread into third pan.
Bake the cake 15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
Remove the cake from the pans, peel off the wax paper and cool on racks.
Heat the preserves and strain.
Place the green cake layer on a flat baking sheet and spread 1/2 of the warm preserves to the edges.
Cover with the yellow layer and spread top with remaining preserves.
Cover with red layer. Cover with plastic wrap weigh down with a large cutting board and refrigerate overnight.
 The next day melt 3 ozs chocolate over hot (not boiling) water. Spread to edge of cake and let harden about 30 minutes.
Repeat on the bottom with remaining 3 ozs chocolate.
Trim edges of cake evenly and cut into 1 inch squares.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

My friend, Mary Emily, sent the following email to me. Please share this with as many people as you can. If you cannot donate money directly (by going to her page or through ordering some Mary Kay then passing this email along by sending it to others is a way to help.
Dear Friends,
I have taken on a new challenge - I am going to run a marathon! Since I had no idea how to go about accomplishing something like this, I joined The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) Team In Training. I have chosen to run in the Country Music Marathon in Nashville on April 24.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services. Blood cancers are the leading cause of death among children and young adults under the age of 20, but affects adults as well.
I am proud to run in honor of Ali Jackson. Ali is a typical college freshman, but she is an amazing young lady. Seven years ago, Ali was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), a blood cancer. After several years of procedures and treatments she has beat cancer and is a survivor! It's tough enough being a teenager, but to have faced the challenges she has with so much grace is absolutely incredible! My hero, Ali, and all the others who are battling cancer inspire me through the most difficult miles in my training runs.
I am asking you to support me, Team in Training, and all the 'Ali's' out there. Here's how you can help:
1. Visit my fundraising page at to make a tax deductible donation and find out more information about Team in Training.
2. Go to . Place an order and put 'Mary Emily LeDonne - LLS' in the comments. 25% of what you spend will be contributed to my fundraising efforts (and you will receive free shipping). Share this info with friends and family so that their purchases can also benefit LLS.
3. Send lots and lots of encouragement! Follow my progress on my TNT web page, ask questions, and cheer me on - it will be soo appreciated!
I look forward to updating all of you on my marathon training progress. Thank you in advance for considering this opportunity to support me.
Mary Emily

Sunday, December 13, 2009

2010 Cannot Come Fast Enough for Me

I was going to write a post about the past year but after getting halfway through the stress and complications of 2009, I realized that I don’t want to be there, thinking about those things. Instead, I want to turn towards 2010 and perhaps think about the intentions I have for the coming New Year.
• I would like to lose the weight I gained in 2007. I was bed-ridden at the time and I gained the weight as a result of not exercising. Now that I am exercising daily, I can’t seem to let go of the weight I gained. I don’t know why but I’d like to make it happen somehow. • I would like to continue submitting my writing. That means I need to keep revising what I have written while possibly writing more new things. The challenge in this is, of course, the fact that too much time spent at a computer can be exacerbating. • I would like to make a list of the must read or rid books in my life. In other words, gather at least 15 books I must read by the end of the year or I get rid of them. Perhaps if I create a “must read” pile or shelf I can manage to work my way through it before 31 December 2010. It would help a great deal if I would stop borrowing books from the library, of course. Oh, and stop getting new books. Between the library temptations and the new books, I can’t possibly catch up let alone keep up so I need to really make a commitment. • I would like to update this blog with more consistency. After all, I can post from a variety of perspectives. As caregiver. As patient. As writer. As reader. As teacher. As student. I have an opportunity and a voice. I just find it hard to share something(s) so very personal. And knowing I don’t have to do so means that I can consciously choose to do so. • I would like to practice something artistic other than writing. Calligraphy or drawing. I started sketching for a while but I was discontented with the results. Not necessarily toward my inability to communicate what I wanted onto the page so much as the style that was proposed. And it isn’t that the author insisted that his style was/is the way but there’s just this inevitability in the results that didn’t appeal to me after a few days. • I would like to take the relationships in my life and deepen them. We all know that during times of challenges and complications, friends can fall away. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is easy to maintain a lot of simple relationships but to have one that will follow you through the difficult times you have to be ready to be more transparent, more vulnerable, and to do a lot of work. Relationships, especially the truly valuable ones, are hard work. Sometimes even a little scary.
I realize that some of these are a bit vague and lack the sort of concrete goal setting that will afford me the ability to know when (if) I have succeeded (fulfilled) my intention. As broad and vague as these things are here and now, it is a foundation from which I can build a more clear vision for 2010.